Great Ways to Get Your Kids Talking

Great Ways to Get Your Kids Talking

As parents, we want to keep the lines of communication open with our kids from an early start. We want to be sure they know that we are always here for them, no matter the situation. But sometimes, it can be hard to get our kids to open up. They may not feel like talking or they don’t offer up much information when they do. Depending on their age, they may feel embarrassed or afraid that we’ll be judgmental, or perhaps what they share will get them into trouble. But we must reassure our kids that we are here to lend an open ear and a helping hand whenever possible. Here are two ways to get kids talking when it seems as if they are reluctant to do so. It may take some time, but the more we make ourselves available, the more they will willingly open up and communicate with us. Trust and compassion are key, and with our guidance, they will share what is going on in their minds and lives… even through the often-tumultuous teen years and beyond. Start First Thing When the day begins, it is a great time to talk. After a restful night’s sleep, kids are refreshed and feeling brand new. Whatever may have happened the day before has been processed to some degree, and your child may be more apt to discuss. Chit chat over breakfast or on the drive to school. Once your child has had the time to talk with you, they can go about their day with a weight off their shoulders. Make it a habit of taking time...
3 Books That Teach Kids About Differences in Others

3 Books That Teach Kids About Differences in Others

Children must learn about diversity as soon as they are able to understand the concept. In today’s world, there are so many kinds of people from all walks of life, and we are all special and unique. With knowledge comes understanding and acceptance, something that needs to be taught to kids at an early age, so it becomes part of their being. We need to help our kids embrace the differences in others and find compassion and commonality when- and wherever possible. Children of all ages will have questions about people, cultures, lifestyles, religions, etc. that are unlike theirs. As parents, we can do all we can to help our kids grasp these concepts, but we may not have all the answers. That is where the power of books come into play as a teaching aid to educate ourselves and our children. The more they know, the more well-rounded they will become. Here are some books that teach kids about the differences (and similarities) in others. Share them with your child to open their hearts and minds. We All Sing with the Same Voice by J. Philip Miller and Sheppard M. Greene The name of this book started as the name of a song featured on Sesame Street, and We All Sing with the Same Voice is a powerful example that teaches kids that no matter where they come from or how they look, they are all the same on in the inside. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings I Am Jazz is a real-life story about Jazz Jennings, a transgender teen who is now a...
3 Ways to Keep Kids Entertained Indoors When It’s Too Cold Outside

3 Ways to Keep Kids Entertained Indoors When It’s Too Cold Outside

The weather outside is certainly frightful, but that does not mean that the kids aren’t antsy for something fun to do. While going outside to play may not be an option, finding fun indoors is something that can be done. Frigid temps and too much snow make outdoor play too dangerous, so here are some super-fun ideas for at-home entertainment. Once the weather gets milder, everyone can head back outside again and play in the fresh air.   A Day at “The Movies” No need to brave the storms to make it to the local movie theater when you can rent a kid-friendly film at home and make the experience as close to the real thing as possible. Dim the lights, pop some fresh popcorn, serve up refreshments, and snuggle up on the sofa. You can even craft “tickets” from construction paper and have one of the kids collect the stubs. Make it a double-feature for a full afternoon of on-screen, at-home entertainment.   Make-Your-Own Sundae Bar Even on the coldest of days kids still crave the taste of delicious ice cream. Make it healthier with low-fat frozen yogurt, and let the culinary adventure begin. Set out bowls of various toppings like fresh fruit, carob chips, raisins, chopped nuts, sprinkles, chocolate sauce, and cherries, and let each kid create their very own specialty sundae. Jazz things up by serving the fro-yo in a long boat-shaped dish with sliced bananas and whipped cream for a homemade banana split that will have everyone digging in!   Sock Puppet Theater Let the kids use their imaginations by decorating old tube socks and...
Warm and Tasty Weekend Breakfasts

Warm and Tasty Weekend Breakfasts

With the winter weather giving us a chill, what better way to start off the weekend than with a warm and hearty breakfast the kids will love? Make Saturday and Sunday mornings extra-special with delicious breakfast meals that fill everyone up and never let you down. These kid-friendly meals are easy to prepare and even easier to eat. The comfort of a warm meal on a cold winter’s day makes getting out from under the covers worth every bite. School day morning breakfasts are always a rush, but these weekend meals are perfect for sitting at the kitchen table for a while with family as you enjoy a nourishing meal together. Here are two warm and tasty weekend breakfast recipes that will have everyone asking for seconds. You will love preparing them for your family and seeing their faces light up with the very first bite! Egg in a Pancake Kids love eggs and pancakes, so why not combine the two breakfast favorites for an adorable-looking dish that tastes as good as it looks? Here’s how to whip up this simple breakfast dish: Makes 4 servings Ingredients: 8 pre-made frozen pancakes 8 medium eggs 1 cup maple syrup Non-stick cooking spray Thaw out the pancakes and set them out on a large cooking sheet sprayed with non-stick spray. Use a round 1 ½ inch diameter cookie cutter to pop out a round circle in the middle of each pancake and save the removed pieces. Inside each hole, crack an egg. Place in the oven pre-set at 300 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until the egg sets. Serve with the...
Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?

Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?

Many parents are not sure whether their child is ready to start kindergarten. According to Babycenter, “Your child must reach the age of 5 by the cutoff date, which is usually around September 1 in most school districts, though some states have later or earlier cutoffs or no deadline at all. Many schools still use these dates to determine who is ready for school, but research shows that your child’s chronological age isn’t the best way to decide whether he has what it takes to be a successful kindergartner.” Some kids are more advanced than others at that tender age, and other kids seem to be behind the curve in one or more areas. Deciding to enroll now or wait another year until your child seems better prepared can be a struggle. There are pros and cons to both, and ultimately the decision is with the parents. According to Care.com, “One of the best allies in making this decision is your child’s pre-k teacher. The teacher should have the best idea of whether the child can meet social and academic expectations. Parents are not always the best judge of readiness, because they can be plagued by anxieties.” Babycenter adds, “If your child is not in preschool or you just want another opinion, check with your child’s doctor. She will know about your child’s physical development and can offer helpful feedback as to whether your child is ready. You can also talk with family members and friends who know your child well.” When you’ve gathered this information along with what you assess of your child’s level of emotional and intellectual readiness, you...
Three Terrific Toys That Help with Vocabulary

Three Terrific Toys That Help with Vocabulary

Expanding our kids’ vocabulary is essential. Learning day by day helps them broaden their vocabulary word by word. These three exceptional teaching tools are interactive games that kids will love playing with. It will feel like playtime, but you’ll be impressed at how well they help kids learn. Read With Me Scout This adorable plush puppy will become your child’s favorite new companion. Scout reads to your child as they read along in one of Leap Frog’s five interactive books. As children develop listening comprehension skills and new vocabulary, they have a ton of fun while learning. Kids can also enjoy music and lullabies through the toy. Read With Me Scout engages with your child, asking questions to make sure they are paying attention and absorbing the information. Cute and creative, this toy is as sweet as it is smart! $34.99   Sparkup Magical Book Reader Kids will be mesmerized by Sparkup Magical Book Reader. You can prerecord yourself reading any picture book and the reader will play it once it’s clipped to the nifty device. If you prefer, you can download recorded stories and the reader will even play sound effects. As you child flips through the colorful pages of their favorite book, Sparkup reads along at their pace. This gadget helps kids become more confident with their reading skills with the aid of a high-tech partner in learning. $69.99   Spinning Lights Learning Hippo An interactive purple hippo will become your child’s teaching tool while they have fun spinning and watching the moving lights. Spinning Lights Learning Hippo encourages language development and introduces numbers too. Paired with...
Explore Through Reading

Explore Through Reading

We all know that reading to and with our kids helps them broaden their vocabulary and enhances their education. No matter your child’s age, reading is important, so they can become well-educated and perform as well as possible in school. The sooner we begin reading with our children, the more they will learn and the more they will embrace the joy of reading for a lifetime. But reading is more than education alone. The pages of books are like magical explorations to different times and places. Through reading, children can experience new ideas, take journeys, and embark upon special adventures. They will discover new people and uncover new passions as they flip the pages. Most of us won’t ever have the opportunity travel to far-away lands and meet people from cultures we’ve never heard of. We may never come close to kings and queens, wild animals, mountain peaks, or hidden treasures. But when we open a captivating book, we can imagine we are right there. And since children are so naturally imaginative, they can leap into the scenes page by page. When you choose a book for your child, consider what gets them excited. Perhaps your child loves looking above at the nighttime moon and stars. Pick up a book about space travel, the planets, or astronauts. Maybe they are into music. Find a biography of a beloved musician or about the history of rock and roll or Motown. When reading becomes entertainment, kids don’t even feel like they are learning. But as they absorb the words and become involved in a storyline that intrigues them, they will continue...
Can Food Additives Affect Your Child’s Behavior?

Can Food Additives Affect Your Child’s Behavior?

We all want to feed our children with the best nutrition possible. But with so many artificial foods and ingredients on supermarket shelves, it can be difficult to be sure if what we’re feeding them is healthful. Even if we read the labels and attempt to select nourishing choices, we may inadvertently skip over food additives we’re not aware of. And many reports and studies have suggested that these additives may affect children’s behavior negatively. As per WebMD, “Artificial food colorings, preservatives, and other additives may play a role in increasing hyperactive behavior among young children. British researchers found removing food additives from the diet of a group of 3-year-olds caused a reduction in the children’s hyperactive behavior reported by their parents. And when the food colorings and preservatives were added back into the children’s diets, the parents reported an increase in hyperactivity.” What to do? According to Whole New Mom, “Generally speaking, the more natural a food is, the less likely it is to cause a severe behavioral reaction. Keep in mind that there are plenty of individual differences in how children react to specific foods and additives.” Shopping for organic, all-natural foods is your best bet if you are not label-savvy. Activate recommends, “A balanced diet that includes protein, a variety of fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and plenty of fiber.” You can also consult with your child’s pediatrician or a nutritionist for tips and advice. Perhaps the U.S. will make changes as some other countries have. According to the Child Development Institute, “Many countries have banned artificial coloring due to the detrimental effects these chemicals have on children....
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....