Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Backpacks and Backaches!

A huge thanks to Premier Chiropractic for sharing their expertise on backpacks and for the great tips on how to minimize the impact those bags can have on their tiny bodies!

It’s already that time of the year where summer-long vacation is coming to an end and where families are getting the kids ready to get back to school. School shopping has come and gone and backpacks are getting filled up to get the former vacationers a good start. Some are heavier than others as the weight tremendously varies depending on the student’s age. According to a New York Times research, the average elementary school-aged child’s book bag’s weight averages 5 to 8 pounds. By 6th grade, it has quickly grown to 18 to 39 pounds. With such loads being carried every day, it is important as a parent to know the impact a heavy backpack has on a child’s developing spine. 

A good place to start is this: the backpack should be 10% of the elementary child’s body weight and 15% for older kids and teenagers. When carrying a heavy book bag, the tendency is going to be to hover forward, bringing the head in front of the shoulders, which needs to be compensated for by the pelvis. Bearing more than that suggested weight for long periods of time then weakens your child’s postural back musculature, putting an inappropriate load onto the lumbar spine and discs. This is even more true if your child has scoliosis. These muscles are therefore vital for proper spinal development. 
So, then, what can we do to decrease this load? First, a book pack with two shoulder straps represents a much better option than messenger bags that are carried on one shoulder only. Doing so can create even more spinal and pelvic distress due to the great deal of compensation smaller muscles who are not designed for that task have to perform, especially at a young developing age. Making sure your child can (and actually does!) carry his or her bag on both shoulders ensures a healthier central and equal load on the spine.

Second, verify with your children that they are only bringing home the books they will need for their homework and assignments that night. The unnecessary ones should be left in the locker or in the classroom to spend the night until they are needed. Also, if your kids have lockers, quick trips during lunch time to drop off the books they used in the morning and pick up the ones for the afternoon are a good way to lighten up the load. Removing the clutter that eventually and magically accumulates after a while and reorganizing binders and notebooks puts less stress on the back.
Finally, another idea that is not necessarily esthetically “cool” is to wear the backpack forward-facing where it is covering the kid’s stomach. Worn that way, the new “bellypack” constantly activates the postural muscles of the back helping them maintain a better and stronger posture. The only dilemma here is convincing the kids this is a good idea...
It is important to understand the proper uses of a book bag. By reducing the weight of the bag as much as possible on a developing spine, you will contribute to your child’s healthy spine for years to come. 

For any additional information on strategies to ensure your family’s spinal health or if you have questions and want to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Mercier via their website, visit www.premierchiropa.com .

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Musikfest with Kids!

As parents we all know that a great date night, concert or simple evening out with friends can easily be had at this famous music festival each year in Bethlehem. But what about bringing your kids?!? We excited to premier a simple guide to the festival, give some tips on how to navigate it with the kids in tow and list some upcoming shows at the festival you wont want to miss. 

10 things to know when "Festing" with the kids!

10. Strollers are needed! 
If you kids are under 7 opt for the stroller, chances are even if you only use it for hauling around your extra gear, they are worth bringing. A baby carrier is a great option for your little ones, I usually stash one in addition to the stroller in case someone needs a change of scenery. This is a BIG festival and sometimes things you are interested in seeing are FAR apart - too far for kids to walk without endless whining at least.  Our Valco Tri Mode holds all three kids and is perfect for these situations.

9. Plan ahead. 
Have a show or activity planned our before going so that you will not waste time wandering looking for something to do.  This also helps you park strategically (see 8). The full children's/family schedule can be found here.  

8. Park strategically.
Map out the place you want to end up and seek out parking close by.  If you park too far from your venue/tent, chances are the kids could be toast before you arrive! See the map here.

7. Plan your Potty Stops
Bathroom access may be limited to port-a-potties, so warn your littles ahead of time especially those who may be weary of them. Potty before you leave home and maybe stash a travel potty in the car to use before you head in.

6. Go Early
Daytime or early evening visits are ideal, crowds will likely be at their peak during the hours of and preceding the headlining shows. Additionally the heat should be more tolerable. See the schedule for headliners here. The crowd tends to shift to a more adult oriented group and gets MUCH busier after night has fallen.

5. Stock your bag! 
Plan ahead for your little ones needs, fill it with anything you think might entertain them while walking a to/ from the car or otherwise keep them happy including kid friendly cups and snacks.

4. Play by the rules. 
 As a very large festival rules are put in place to keep visitors happy and safe.  See the the guidelines here

3. Plan for Easy Clean Up.
Bring hand sanitizer and baby wipes to wash up before eating, stopping somewhere to wash hands before eating isn't going to be convenient.

2. Go Easy On Your Feet
Wear Sneakers/Walking shoes and don't forget sunscreen and hats (maybe an umbrella?)! Some of our favorite walking shoes for summer adventures (shown above) are the Keen Newports which we own in nearly every kid size they come for grown ups too!

1. Know what you want before you buy tickets!
Plan what you want to buy before buying your tickets and purchase the exact amount needed. The tickets aren't refundable if you don't use them all. Having left over tickets isn't awful because you can use some of them at the Steel Stacks after the festival, but usage is restricted read more about using left over tickets here.  

2018 Family Shows
Musikfest offers 10 days of great music, art and food! See the schedule below for family/kid shows taking placing during the whole festival.  Visit Musikfest.org for a full schedule of events and more details on the events.

Here is a sample of the family shows offered for 2018!

The Living Vines

Take pleasure in the splendor of The Living Vines as they gradually come to life in an exquisite transformation from vine into the awe-inspiring performances of The Living Vines. Audiences all over the world are intrigued by the layered lushness and incomparable grace of these original Living Vines. See schedule here.

O'Grady Quinlan Academy of Irish Dance 

The O'Grady Quinlan Academy of Irish Dance is proud to be the only certified school in the Lehigh Valley registered with An Comisuin Rince Gaelcha. It is the largest and most recognized Irish Dance organization headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. An Comisiun is home to dancers such as American born Michael Flatley, Jean Butler and many of the Riverdance and Lord of the Dance troupe members. OGrady Quinlan students range in age from four to college age and offer many classes for dancers to learn proper technique and to develop a strong foundation in the traditional Irish dances.

Kids and Family Activities 


Kid’s Art Activities
Familienplatz is the best place to relax in the shade with friends and family, and let your creativity run free with the Banana Factory Arts Center! The Crayola Creativity Tent and ArtsQuest Glass Studio tents are the destination for younger ‘festers to get crafty with cool activities, while the Hot Shotz Competition, daily Community Art projects, artist demos and interactive activities engage festival-goers of all ages! Plus, the addition of tuition-based workshops and Hot Glass Experiences for adults means kids aren’t the only ones walking away with an amazing work of art for their homes.

August 3, 5-9 PM

August 4-12, 12-9 PM



This year creativity runs wild at Familienplatz! Inspired by the great outdoors, festival goers of all ages can participate in hands-on projects each day at the Crayola Creativity Tent, including paper tube animals, printmaking using leaves and flowers and a nature scavenger hunt! In addition, enter to win tickets to the Crayola Experience and bring your drawn creations to life with the Crayola Color Magic Station. Finally, put your mark on the art world by contributing to community art projects throughout the ten days of the festival.

RIDES & GAMES provided by Zip and Bounce at Familienplatz

Zip, bounce and swing away on our fun rides! Weekday wristbands are available Monday-Friday, noon-4:30 p.m. for $20, and include all rides plus one zipline ride.



In partnership with HomeBase610, Lost Soul Skateboards & Lehigh Valley Apparel Creations

August 10-12, Crayola Creativity Tent

View and vote for your favorite skate deck design created by local emerging artists based on the theme of community. Finalists will have the opportunity to collaborate with local businesses and gain experience in the production and design process, including a limited edition printing of skateboards.



August 12, 1:30-3:30 PM

Come as a family to this workshop and see how creative you can be together! Make a colorful banner for your home or party using pom-poms, watercolors, and fancy hand lettering. Families of all sizes and make-ups are welcome! All materials are included, one project per registration.



August 3, 5-9 PM

August 4-12, 12-9 PM


Painting on the walls is encouraged in the Paint Shack, a small house wrapped in clear plastic! Contribute to this community art piece using Crayola paint markers and paint to create a giant suncatcher.


August 6-10, 12 PM

Crayola Creativity Tent, Familienplatz

This year, in addition to celebrating the musical arts, we are celebrating the literary arts with the Great American Read! ArtsQuest, the Bethlehem Area Public Library and PBS39 are presenting a fun and interactive family story time Monday through Friday of Musikfest.

See more details and awesome kids' activities here.

*Musikfest logo copyright ArtsQuest