Three Ways Kids Can Give Back this Thanksgiving

Three Ways Kids Can Give Back this Thanksgiving

Time surely flies, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It is important to teach our children from an early age that this festive holiday is about more than roast turkey and pumpkin pie. It is an opportunity to be thankful for what we have and who we share our lives with. This season, along with enjoying a bountiful meal surrounded by lots of food and merriment with loved ones, let’s make sure we embrace the notion of giving back and giving thanks. Kids must learn to appreciate what they have, no matter how much or little, big or small. Showing gratitude and doing what we can to make the lives of others better is a powerful lesson and something that every child will grow to appreciate and carry on into adulthood. We love our kids and want them to grow into thoughtful and kind individuals. Let’s take time this Thanksgiving to reflect on what we hold dear and show those around us that we value their lives too. Here are three ways kids can give back this Thanksgiving. Volunteer There is always a need for a helpful volunteer, not only during Thanksgiving, but year-round. Depending on your child’s age and maturity level, how you choose to volunteer may differ, but the sentiment is the same – helping and giving time and service to those in need. Perhaps you can help at a soup kitchen or shelter. Homes for the elderly may need some fresh faces for help with the residents. Pet shelters can be crowded, and they may seek extra help with feeding and grooming. Ask around your...
How Good Nutrition Leads to a Better Day of Learning

How Good Nutrition Leads to a Better Day of Learning

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but good nutrition all day long is the key to a healthy body and mind. When children are well-nourished, they have the fuel to be at their best and perform at their peak.   Healthy food provides the needed nutrients to keep a child’s mind sharp, alert, and ready to learn. That’s why we must instill healthy eating habits into our kids. And the earlier we start, the better they’ll fare. Learning to love wholesome foods and choosing good food over junk is important for a lifetime of health and prosperity.   When kids are well-fed and have a steady stream of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals delivered into their system all day long, they won’t get those nagging hunger pangs or headaches, and will be able to concentrate to focus on their schoolwork rather than being sidetracked by thoughts of when their next snack or meal will be. It is important that they eat regularly all day long rather than having just one big meal which could make them tired or too full at once. Most schools have lunch and snack time which is great for keeping that constant fuel stream flowing steadily.   Before the school day begins, a well-balanced breakfast is key, full of fresh fruit, whole-grain oats, some protein, and some fat. Skip the juice and go for a real piece of fruit instead. It is more filling and provides healthy fiber. Too much sugar may feel energizing at first, but that crash will come by the time your kid gets to school....
Two Ways for Shy Kids to Make Friends

Two Ways for Shy Kids to Make Friends

Lots of kids are timid and shy, and their personality may affect their ability to make friends. When a child is very quiet and doesn’t step out from their safety net, other kids may not get the chance to notice how great they really are. These shy children may never be the life of the party, but every child has their own special qualities and the ability to engage with their peers to develop a circle of friends. Some kids only wish for a handful of companions while others hope to be part of a larger group, but either way, when a kid is super-shy, they may have trouble getting noticed or fitting in. As parents, we can help our less-outgoing kids find ways to make friends. Here are two ways to encourage your child to overcome their shyness and develop meaningful relationships. It may take time and practice, but they can do it and will enjoy the results… a new best buddy!   After-School Sports Team A sports team is a great way for shy kids to come out of their shells. As part of a team, all the kids must band together towards a common goal. Whether the kids are shy or outgoing, they are all part of group and must communicate, play as one, and celebrate victories together. If your kid shows an interest in sports, get them on a team right away. They will bond with teammates and find friends they may have never had the chance to interact with. Sports also brings out confidence which can be another factor in getting your child to...
Encourage Your Kids to Step Out of Their Comfort Zone

Encourage Your Kids to Step Out of Their Comfort Zone

It’s always beneficial for people of all ages to have a variety of interests and to try new things. When it comes to children, much of what they do are “firsts,” but after a while, many kids fall into routines and feel fine with doing the usual day after day. While doing what they enjoy is perfectly OK, it’s a good idea to encourage your child to broaden their horizons and explore new activities to learn and grow into well-rounded individuals. As parents, we can show our kids the ropes when it comes to opening their minds and hearts to new adventures and experiences. Some kids will be open for the excitement while others may need some convincing, but no matter their interest level, you can be sure that they will benefit from your motivation and push for them to explore and become enlightened. Here are a couple of suggestions to help you get your child out of their comfort zone and ready to enjoy so much more of what life has to offer. After-School Fun There are many teams, clubs, classes, and lessons available to kids once the school day is over. After-school activities are where kids can expand on their talents, meet new friends, learn new skills, and develop useful social skills. Your child has the potential to reach new heights and realize what makes them excited when they have the chance to broaden their after-school experiences. For instance, your child may take piano lessons, but along with those, you may want to sign them up for after-school sports too. They will have a chance to interact...
Grocery Shop with the Kids and Teach Lifelong Lessons Down the Aisles

Grocery Shop with the Kids and Teach Lifelong Lessons Down the Aisles

We all need to shop for groceries and many times when we head to the supermarket, we have the kids along with us. Usually they are asking for “forbidden” snacks or wondering how much more time we’ll need to be there, but rather than make the trip as quick as possible and routine, use the shopping outing as a teaching moment. Sure, you are obviously there for the food and beverages, but so much more can happen as you peruse the aisles in search of the week’s dinner recipe ingredients and the kids’ lunchbox fillers. There is a lot you can teach kids of all ages from the moment you grab a grocery cart ‘till you pay for the bagged-up groceries. Good Nutrition As you fill your basket or cart, talk to your children as to why you are choosing the foods you’re buying and why they are good to eat. Talk about what your kids need to grow to become healthy and strong. Mention the vitamins, protein, and healthy energy these foods provide. If you don’t want the kids eating sweets or processed foods, explain why. Simply saying “no” to artificially-colored snacks won’t suffice. When children know more about what they are eating and why, they will be more inclined to enjoy their (healthy) food, they may become less picky, and they just might look forward to helping you shop and prepare meals in the future. Money Matters We don’t let our kids throw anything and everything into the grocery cart. One reason is for nutritional matters but the other is due to the cost. Grocery shopping is...
Two Important Ways Parents Can Learn Parenting Tips from One Another

Two Important Ways Parents Can Learn Parenting Tips from One Another

They say, “It takes a village…” and the sentiment is overwhelmingly true. Parenting is hard work and by leaning on others in the community, we can all be stronger, smarter, and more successful at the task at hand. No matter our age, experience, or satisfactory work thus far, a helping hand, a shoulder to lean on, and sage advice are always useful and ought to be embraced. Parents can learn from others when it comes to raising happy and productive kids. Every parent has that “special something” that another may lack. We all have our strong suits, tricks and tips, and skills that make us great parents, and others in the same boat have their unique qualities as well. When we all put our hearts and minds together, we can raise the future generation with confidence and pride. Here are two winning ways parents can learn parenting tips from one another. Be open and be willing to share and the results will astound you. You’ll see it in yourself and the wonderful children you are raising! Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Your Mistakes As parents, we can’t be perfect 100% of the time. There will be moments of doubt, despair, and we won’t always make the best decisions. This is OK – we’re only human. The point is to learn from these mistakes and do things better the next time around. When you feel all alone in a parenting conundrum, be open to discussing your feelings with other parents. You will learn that you aren’t the only one who feels like they have “failed” as a parent. When...
Fun Ways to Sneak Vocabulary Lessons Into the Everyday

Fun Ways to Sneak Vocabulary Lessons Into the Everyday

We all want our kids to learn as much as possible, even while they are not in school. As parents, we can keep the education going even after the school day is over. One area where we can keep the momentum going is with vocabulary. Kids are like sponges when it comes to taking in knowledge, so use any possible moment as a teaching moment while keeping things light and fun. The kids won’t even think of it as learning, but you’ll know that you’re giving your child the tools to develop their ever-expanding vocabulary. Here are some fun ways to sneak in vocabulary lessons no matter where you are! Sing-a-Longs Whether you’re in the car or hanging out at home, put on some upbeat child-appropriate music and sing with your child. Some of the words in the lyrics will be new to your child, so point those out and give your child its meaning. Suggest using the word later that day when applicable. Your child will be proud to show off their knowledge and will be eager to play new songs with even more new words to add to their vocabulary. Doesn’t that sound like music to your ears?! Go to the Zoo  Take an adventurous trip to the zoo and as your child has a blast seeing all the interesting animals, they will learn new animal names, countries of origin, and descriptive words about the animals’ behaviors and habits. Your child will be excited to learn as much as possible about the unique creatures, yet won’t feel like they’re being given a tedious lesson. The time spent...
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff- 3 Things Parents Shouldn’t Worry About So Much

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff- 3 Things Parents Shouldn’t Worry About So Much

Parents have the weight of the world on their shoulders. Every stage of a child’s life is filled with moments that have parents full of fear and anxiety, only because they want the best for their child. Kids don’t come with “how-to” manuals, so parents must learn the ropes with every step. While a certain degree of worry is natural and helpful for being on the ball and making sure children are protected and well-cared for, worry overload is never a good way to live life, even when it comes to raising our kids. To lessen the burden, it’s time to look at the big picture. Not everything needs to be perfect, and letting the small stuff go can be a huge relief for parents so they can concentrate on the more important aspects of parenting. We are not suggesting calling for a free-for-all, but a little less focus on certain things will put parenting into perspective. Here are 3 things parents could worry less about and surely things will still work out just fine.   Germs Parents need to protect their kids and make sure they don’t get sick, but many of today’s parents are going overboard with germ-killing and other over-the-top sanitary measures. Like when we were growing up, it’s OK for kids to get down and dirty sometimes. Not everything they touch needs to be doused with hand sanitizer and if they accidentally eat something that fell on the floor, they don’t need to be rushed to the doctor. Kids are resilient and build up their immunities when they come in contact with these germs. As...
Advice from Others Parents Should Take Into Consideration

Advice from Others Parents Should Take Into Consideration

They say, “It takes a village…,” but some parents resent unsolicited advice from other parents when it comes to raising their children. Nosy neighbors, know-it-all relatives, and far too interested friends want to give other parents their tips and tricks when it comes to rearing their kids. Lots of parents want these people to mind their own business and allow them to raise their children as they see fit. While some of this advice may be unnecessary, much of it can be helpful if taken into consideration with an open mind. Many people you know are truly well-meaning and only want the best for you and your family. Here are some occasions when listening and learning may be of benefit.   Tantrums    When kids have a temper tantrum it can be sheer chaos. Parents try everything to get their kids to calm down and gain composure. Some techniques work wonders while others are useless. Sure, every child is different, but some methods of handling tantrums can be applied to children across the board. If your child is in that “meltdown” phase and you’re at your wit’s end, consider hearing how other parents deal with the madness. You never know, they may just have the key to getting your child to chill out and behave well. Give their tips a shot; it’s better than struggling through another hissy fit.   Bullying    Bullying is a big problem for kids of all ages. Talking to kids at an early age about this sensitive topic is a must. Getting help from other parents who’ve already dealt with bullying can be very...
Back-to-School Tips for Busy Parents

Back-to-School Tips for Busy Parents

The beginning of the new school season is exciting, but chaotic. After a relaxing and less-stressed summer, once that bell rings for the first day back to school, the daily grind is right back in action and parents feel the heat. There are appointments, scheduling, pick-ups and drop offs, after-school activities, tutors, sports games, rehearsals… you name it. There’s a lot to do and most of the execution relies on the parents. Don’t let the mayhem make back-to-school season a drag. Make the most of these tips and you will find that the school year can be well-planned and less stressful than you anticipated. Sure, school season is more serious than the breeziness of summertime, but with some order and structure, you can make this time of year fun for all. Pre-Prep the Night Before The morning before a school day is probably the busiest. You are pressed for time to get everyone ready for the day and out the door in a timely fashion. If one thing falls off schedule, the whole morning can become a crisis. Plan ahead by picking out the kids’ clothing the night before and lay it out in their room. Bathe the kids at nighttime so they can simply rinse off and brush their hair and teeth come morning. Pack snacks and lunches when you make dinner and ask the kids what they want for breakfast so you can have it ready for them in the morning. Make sure the kids’ backpacks are ready to go and all homework is completed. The more you can do in the evening, the easier the AM...