Getting Back into the Swing of School

Getting Back into the Swing of School

School is back in session. Summer is over and the kids are back to basics. Books, backpacks, brown bag lunches, you name it. The fall is upon us and the regular routine is in motion. But are your kids really back into the swing of things? If you need some tips to get your kids out of summer mode and back into classroom status, we’ve got you covered. Learning can be as fun as time off. Schedules that are a bit strict aren’t all that bad. School can rule! Your kids just need a little swing in their step. Bedtime Lights out when you say so is rule #1. Without proper sleep, your kids won’t function at their finest. They will be moody, groggy, temperamental, and just off their game. Lack of sleep means lower concentration, trouble focusing, and sets them up to struggle in school. Set a reasonable bedtime and be sure the kids are sufficiently relaxed before hitting the sack. Wind down an hour or so before bedtime so they are ready to shut their eyes shortly after their head hits the pillow. Mornings after a restful night’s sleep will go much smoother too…for everyone! Breakfast Start the day with a healthy dose of good nutrition. An empty belly is not a recipe for learning. Provide a balanced meal that includes fruit, whole grains, protein, and some fat. Even if there’s not much time for a sit-down meal, prepare a take-along your child can eat on the way to school. Even a simple smoothie with all the essentials will do the trick. Just make sure you serve...
The National Toy Hall of Fame Contenders

The National Toy Hall of Fame Contenders

Let’s Hear it for the Toys! Toys of yesteryear, today, and those that have stood the test of time will have a chance to be inducted into NY’s National Toy Hall of Fame this year. From dolls to board games, simple to hi-tech, these toys are at the top of their game. They are in the running to make history in Rochester, NY. The Best of the Best The National Toy Hall of Fame recently unveiled this year’s finalists! They include American Girl, Tickle Me Elmo, He-Man, Masters of the Universe, Uno, Magic 8 Ball, Chutes and Ladders, the Fisher-Price Corn Popper, Tudor Electric Football, pinball, the sled, chalk, and tic-tac-toe. Vote for Your Favorite Toy! Toy lovers are welcome to weigh in on the selection process through September 19th. “The three toys that receive the most public votes will be submitted on one ballot and will join the other top-three submissions from members of the 23-person National Selection Advisory Committee. The public will collectively act as one member of the committee. The final inductees will be revealed at a special ceremony at The Strong on Thursday, November 8,” notes the National Toy Hall of Fame.” http://www.toyhalloffame.org/players-choice-ballot Prior inductees include LEGO, Monopoly, the Rubik’s Cube, alphabet blocks, and Atari 2600 Game System. Be sure to vote. And stay tuned to see which toys make it to the hall of fame. Is there a toy you’d love to see get this high acclaim? What’s your child’s fave toy and what was yours when you were a kid? For more info like this, please visit All My Children’s blogs. By: Melissa A....
Reading is Everywhere – Beyond the Books

Reading is Everywhere – Beyond the Books

Reading expands a child’s vocabulary. The more they take their turn turning the pages, the broader their vocabulary will become. That’s why encouraging children to read is so important when it comes to their education, even from an early start. While we usually think of books as the primary source of reading material, they are only one of many ways to bring reading into children’s lives. Let’s explore more reading options to enrich and expand every child’s mind. Cereal Boxes After pouring that bowl for breakfast, don’t be so quick to return the box to the pantry. Most cereal boxes are covered with fun and informative reading material, perfect to peruse while crunching on corn flakes. Some cereal boxes geared towards kids may include riddles, rhymes, and recipes, making the reading fun to do while kids fill their bellies. Public Transportation  If you often take the train or subway with the kids, all you have to do is look around to find something to read. Every car is filled with ads and posters your kids can scope out and sound out. Even if you are only going a few stops, take those moments to make it a point stimulate your kids’ minds as you make your way from point A to point B. Waiting Rooms You’ve surely spent your fair share of time staring at the clock in waiting rooms with the kids. Doctor’s and dentist’s appointments never seem to run on time and you’re stuck with fidgety kids who’d rather be anyplace else. Pick up a magazine or pamphlet and spend the time reading. Many pediatric offices provide...
Fall-Flavored Kid-Friendly Smoothies

Fall-Flavored Kid-Friendly Smoothies

Kids love the sweet taste of smoothies. Whether for breakfast, a mid-day snack, or even a sip-sational dessert, the thick and cold beverage is always a winner. So, why not swing into the season with fall-flavored kid-friendly smoothies? The taste of autumn is always a crowd-pleaser, taking those classic flavors of fall and creating new recipes to enjoy. Here are two fall-inspired smoothies that will be loved by kids and adults alike. Grab a glass and get ready to gulp! Each recipe makes two smoothies. Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Pumpkin spice is all the rage come fall. Every coffee shop offers a latte boasting the fall flavor. There are ice creams, teas, muffins, you name it, all bursting with that perfect pumpkin spice goodness. You can create a scrumptious smoothie with that amazing autumn flavor too. Ingredients: 1 cup canned pumpkin puree 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 cup unsweetened almond milk 3 tablespoons honey or agave syrup 5 ice cubes Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth and frothy. Pour into glasses and serve. Sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar on top for an extra kick. Apple Pie Smoothie Apple pie reminds us of Thanksgiving with its sweet and tart taste. Whip up a smoothie that has all those apple pie flavors…no fork required! Ingredients: 1 cup unsweetened applesauce 1 cup soy milk (or low-fat milk) ½ cup vanilla yogurt (not Greek) 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 5 ice cubes ¼ cup maple syrup (or pancake syrup) 6 vanilla wafer cookies (crushed) Combine all ingredients in blender (aside from crushed cookies) and blend until smooth and frothy....
Quotes for Kids

Quotes for Kids

As summer sets and a school year begins, bring some inspiration into the atmosphere with kid-friendly quotes to encourage and excite your child for a new year ahead. These quotes are powerful, strong, sentimental, and educational, perfect for making this year the best yet. Laughter is always a mood-changer. Joke around, smile, and “LOL” as much as you can! Simple and to the point, being kind to others is a must. Every child is unique. Remind your child their differences are what make them special. Go for it! Your child can do it, no matter how big the hurdle. Believe and achieve. Always look on the bright side. Positive vibes come from within. Work hard, be passionate, and make it happen. The children are our future. Do you have any quotes or sayings to inspire the next generation? For more information like this, please visit All My Children’s blogs. By: Melissa A....
Head Off with Happiness

Head Off with Happiness

With a new school year about to begin, many kids may feel the blues since summertime is coming to an end. Although fun in the sun will be replaced with lessons and learning, happiness is still very much part of the picture. Part of making sure our kids are happy is to start each day with plenty of positivity and good energy. With a smile and sense of satisfaction, kids will set forth for a day that is full of potential and possibilities. As parents, we can set the tone for such valuable vibes, creating an atmosphere of excitement and thrills for what the new day beholds. Here are some easy ways to start each school day with a little ray of sunshine. Your child will walk out the front door feeling empowered and enlightened; the perfect way to kick off the morning with that magic touch. Make a Quick Breakfast Together Kids love to create in the kitchen, but the mornings before school can be rushed. Still, there can be time to bond over breakfast by preparing an easy meal as a team. Perhaps you can prep overnight oats the night before and the kids can add all the tasty toppings at the breakfast table. Berries, chopped nuts, honey, and dried fruit will take the oatmeal up a notch, and they’ll feel like mini chefs! Serve with a glass of orange juice or milk and you’re good to go, filled with energy and good nutrition that will last ‘till lunch. Notes in the Backpack or Lunchbox Leave little sticky notes in your child’s backpack or lunchbox, so when...
The Art of the Afternoon Nap

The Art of the Afternoon Nap

For babies and small children, nap time is essential. But as kids get older, the naps become few and far between until there’s no more napping at all. Sure, kids these days are busier than ever. Aside from school there are after school clubs and activities, sports practice, dance rehearsal, piano lessons, religious class, you name it. It is no wonder kids do not nap; there is barely enough time in the day to squeeze one in. Before throwing in the towel (or the blanket, in this case) altogether and declaring napping a no-can-do, consider these reasons to find a way to fit in an afternoon nap. A well-rested child is better off when it comes to his well-being. Naps Clear the Mind We all know that naps give our bodies time to relax. But the brain needs a regular recharge too. After a long day at school, a child’s mind may be running a mile a minute, making concentration dwindle and patience run short. A 20-30 minute nap before homework could do wonders for your child’s ability to focus. He will be better able to stick to the task at hand without any crankiness or confusion. The rest of the afternoon and evening will be more productive, pleasing both you and your child. It Could Make Sleep Time Even Sounder Some people think that an afternoon nap will disrupt the natural sleep cycle. But as long as the nap is brief and not too close to bedtime, it could actually make a good night’s rest a great one. Kids won’t become overtired by fighting fatigue, which often leads...
Back-to-School Goals

Back-to-School Goals

Can you believe summer is more than halfway over? August is sure to fly by, meaning school season is soon to start. And with a new school year comes new opportunities. Goals to set and success to strive for. Before your child heads back to the classroom or attends for her very first time, setting goals to reach from the get go will inspire and encourage your little one to dream big. Starting off with a positive outlook and a plan of action will make back-to-school even better. Make Learning Fun Some kids dread hearing back to school because the fun of summer will end abruptly. But fun comes in many forms. One of which is learning. Books, lessons, and language are educational and entertaining at the same time. Assignments can be adventures. Homework is helpful. Studying is stimulating. And presentations reflect personalities. There is fun in gaining knowledge, learning new skills, and getting to the next level. Good teachers make lessons thought-provoking and powerful. And good students see the value in expanding their minds when they walk in the classroom every morning. Do Your Best One child’s “best” can be far different than another’s. As long as you encourage your child to work hard and work smart, she will aim to put her best foot forward to make every day count. It’s the cherry on top to get straight As and 100% scores on the very exam, but it’s unrealistic for most to be “perfect” at every turn. Learning is the goal with improvement little by little as milestones are reached lesson by lesson, test by test. Instill...
A Moment of Silence

A Moment of Silence

By: Chana Garelik and Melissa A. Kay Walk into the halls of a preschool and we hope that you will hear gleeful noise. Silence is replaced by sounds of children at play. Sounds of children engaged with blocks, and toys, and stories, and exploration of the world around them. Sounds of children sharing excitement, frustrations, discoveries, and ideas. A child’s day begins with noise… the natural noise of the birds chirping. The more unnatural one of a parent’s alarm clock, and then the various beeps and rushes of a stove turned on or a toilet flushing…and the noises go on. When does the child have the time to listen to their inner noise? To their inner voice? An updated article by Caroline Gregoire shares some of the ways that even brief moments without external noise, moments of silence, benefits the brain and the body. Additionally, to nurture the spirit of each child, Mother Teresa once said, “We need silence to be able to touch souls.” So, the benefits of silence make it seem like a good idea to ensure children are given a moment to begin their day with, and carry that focus with them throughout the day. But more than that, do we have the luxury of NOT providing that beneficial moment of silence for our children today? A moment of silence… allows for parents to share values for children to reflect on. It supports opportunity for parents to encourage children to think about positive ways to embark on their day and how they can care about others, how to use all they learn to benefit their classroom...
Keep Learning Going Over the Summer

Keep Learning Going Over the Summer

Keep those developing brains stimulated all summer. It is important for your child (and you too) to enjoy the summer. But along with fun in the sun and plenty of R&R, you can keep your child’s brain active with education. As long as you make learning fun and interesting, it won’t feel like work. Plus, transitioning back to school in the fall will go much more smoothly. Here are some simple ways to keep learning going during the summer months. The effort will pay off in the long run. Outdoor Reading Club Get some kids and parents together on Sunday afternoons to form a casual book club. Choose adventure books or topics that are light and fun. Perhaps you can pack a picnic and make it a learning lunch. Pick a shady spot under a tree and cool off after playtime. The kids will look forward to the change of pace and page-turning enjoyment. Museums When the weather is hot, getting indoors is something kids will be begging to do. Rather than going to the movies or an arcade, make indoor time educational. Most museums are open year-round, so round up the kids for a tour at an art or natural history museum. You can spend all afternoon exploring and admiring. There’s always something new to navigate, so go as often as you can to check out every nook and cranny. Gardening Plant some flowers, herbs, or even fruits and veggies in your yard or on a sunny windowsill this summer. The kids will be proud of their accomplishments as they see their garden thrive while learning what it...
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