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The little book with BIG resources!

Don’t be THAT Parent…

Besides the obvious don’t drink, smoke, or swear parenting rules… I’ve observed a few other dos and don’ts to keep in mind. Hey maybe they’ll sound familiar!

Encourage their likes, not yours:

Too many cases there are parents who relive their childhood through their kid. Just because you weren’t able to land your big baseball career on your own, doesn’t mean you should push and urge your child to love the sport. Encourage what they like, there’s no such thing as too much support. Don’t be that parent.

Applaud for effort, not for grades:

Okay okay, let me clear that up… Yes, grades are important. But is a letter grade so important they should be punished or ridiculed for it? Clearly there is a difference between trying their best and simply not trying at all, and THAT is what you should be basing your applause on. The pressure of making sure they earn “good” grades for YOU only puts more stress on THEM as students. Learning should be fun. Unfortunately, children tend to drift from that mind state at a young age because of the early pressure of getting grades their parents are proud of (or not).

“All As this year! Got it?” Don’t be that parent.

Because I said so:

Is there anything about that phrase that doesn’t make you cringe?! This should never be a go to answer. This is merely an easy way out, and quite frankly the most irritating thing for a child to hear. Nothing beneficial comes from “because I said so…” because you know the child’s next response will be something along the lines of “BUT WHY?”. Do you and your child a favor and give them a proper answer. In the end, they will understand or choose not to accept it. Or… try responding with a question. Either way, you will not have to keep repeating yourself. “Because I said so… because I said so…” Don’t be that parent.

Don’t make me:

You know what’s coming next! The infamous “Don’t make me tell your father”. Don’t put on the act of miss nice guy because you don’t want to be the bad cop this time. All you are doing is giving your child a scary authority figure and that is not fair to your partner. Punishment decisions should be made in agreement without the threat of another loved one. Don’t be that parent.

Written by: Stephanie Falcone

 


What about Omega 3’s for your kids?

Omega-3s are essential fatty acids — we need them for our bodies to work properly.  So how do omega-3s benefit children?  Here’s the rundown on the research.
Keep in mind that few of these studies are definitive, and larger studies are needed to determine therapeutic benefit.  Also, some studies used food sources of omega-3s, and others used omega-3 supplements.  More research needs to be done before we’ll know the full implications.

Are omega-3 supplements for children an option?  Before starting any supplement for your child, be sure you consult your physician first.

Omega-3s for Infants, Prenatal Health, and Pregnancy
Omega-3s are important for children’s health right from the start – actually, before they’re even born. Here’s some of the evidence.
Cognitive development. Some studies show that infants fed formulas enriched with the omega-3 fatty acid DHA show improvements in hand-eye coordination, attention span, social skills, and intelligence test scores. Studies have shown that children born to mothers who took supplements of omega-3s (DHA and EPA) during pregnancy and the during the first months of breastfeeding scored higher on cognitive tests at 4 years of age compared to children whose mothers did not take supplements of DHA and EPA.
Asthma risk. A 2008 study found that the teenage children of women who took fish oil during pregnancy were less likely to have developed asthma.
Growth. There’s some evidence that when omega-3s are added to formula, it promotes growth and brain development in premature infants.
Preterm labor. A 2003 study found that women who ate eggs enriched with omega-3s were less likely to go into premature labor than women who ate standard eggs.
Although none of these studies are conclusive, there’s good reason to make sure that infants – and pregnant women — are getting their omega 3s such as DHA and EPA.
Many infant formulas are now supplemented with DHA. A mother’s breast milk is an ideal source of omega-3s, although it may be affected by how many omega-3s she’s getting in her diet.
Omega-3s for Children and Teens
ADHD. Kids with ADHD may have lower levels of omega-3s in their bodies than normal, and a few small studies have looked at fish oil supplements as a treatment. They found that the supplements might improve behavior, reduce hyperactivity, and boost attention in kids under 12.
Depression. Fish oil is often used as a treatment for depression in adults; there have been a few studies in children too. One small 2006 study of fish oil in depressed 6- to 12-year-olds found it helped their symptoms significantly.
Diabetes. One small study looked at kids who were at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that those who ate a high omega-3 diet were less likely to develop the condition.
Asthma. Omega-3s may reduce inflammation in the airways, which could benefit those with asthma. One small study of 29 children with asthma found that those taking fish oil for 10 months had fewer symptoms than those who didn’t. However, other studies of omega-3s as an asthma treatment have not found consistent evidence that they help.

This is part of an article from WebMD that was written by R. Morgan Griffin and reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD.  Go to http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/who-needs-omega-3s to read more.


Halloween Safety Guide

Halloween Safety Guide

It’s just about that time of year! With this super sweet holiday, be sure to make it a safe one as well. With help from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), I have created this halloween safety guide for parents to ensure this Halloween is surely a treat!

 

When it comes to costumes:

  • Steer children in the direction of bright fabrics, even better ones that are reflective

*** Add reflective tape to costume and trick or treat bags

  • Make sure shoes fit comfortably and costume is of appropriate length to prevent any nasty falls
  • Suggest hats or non toxic face paint instead of masks as a safer alternative
  • Avoid swords or costumes with violent props

***A child can be easily injured if he trips/ falls

  • Do not wear decorative contact lenses. As creepy and fun these might be, these lenses are not prescribed by a professional, cause serious damage and are in fact illegal.

Trick or Treaters Halloween Safety Guide

 

When it comes to pumpkins:

  • Young children should be encouraged to paint their pumpkin, not carve for obvious reasons
  • For carved pumpkins, use flashlights for the safest lighting option. If candles are insisted, votive candles are safest.
  • Candle lit pumpkins should never be left unattended
  • Place lit pumpkins someone sturdy and far away from flammable objects (ex. Curtains)

Pumpkin Carving Halloween Safety Guide

When it comes to your home:

  • Double check outdoor lights for visitors/ replace burnt bulbs
  • Safety proof your outdoors for trick or treaters. Remove anything children could potentially trip over (ex. Flower pots, garden hose)
  • Sweep wet leaves on pathway and steps, maybe even snow!
  • Restrict pets from contact with visitors due to excitement (jumping, biting) or allergies

When it comes to trick or treating:

  • Children should always be with a responsible adult, even just around the neighborhood
  • Only knock on doors with lights on, that is the universal sign for “guests are welcome”
  • Carry a cell phone (parents)
  • Use sidewalks and stay on well lit streets
  • For safety reasons, do not cut across yards
  • Always use crosswalks and look both ways before crossing
  • All children and adults should carry a flashlight
  • Be sure your child is familiar with 9-1-1 in case of emergency

halloween candy halloween safety guide

When it comes to health:

  • Before children go wild, an adult should examine all treats throwing away all expired or treats that have been tampered with
  • Candy is not the only treat, consider investing in fun Halloween coloring books/ pencils / nick nacks
  • Ration candy and other treats to avoid belly aches and further health concerns

 

Stay safe and enjoy your Halloween!

By: Stephanie Falcone


Creative Halloween Craft Ideas!

Creative Halloween Craft Ideas for Kids!

Halloween marks the start of fall and also the holiday season. It is such a fun and exciting time especially for the kiddos! With all the fun themes, characters, and symbols that go along with Halloween there are opportunities for so many creative halloween craft ideas! With the weather cooling down crafts are fun ways to keep the kids entertained inside the house! Crafts are also a great way to bring the whole family together for some bonding! Here are 5 Fun & Creative Halloween Craft Ideas to do with kid’s!

Halloween Handprints!

ghost handprint creative halloween craft ideas

Spider Handprint creative halloween craft ideas

Kids love when they can get their hands messy, especially when mom is ok with it! That is why hand and footprint art is always a hit! Not only is this fun but they are great keepsakes!  There are so many Halloween themes that can easily be made by hand and foot prints. Here are a few ideas:

– Use white paint and an upside down foot or hand on black paper to make a ghost!

–  Use a fisted hand dipped in orange paint to make the perfect pumpkin!

– Use black paint and both hands to make spiders or bats, your fingers will be the legs/wings!

– Use yellow, white, & orange paint  to make stripes on the hand and it will look just like candy corn!

After the paint dries you can go back and use markers & crayons to add details, such as faces & stems!

 Homemade Decorations

Sometimes buying cute Halloween decorations from the store can get pretty pricey. One way to avoid that is use everyday items and turn them into Halloween Décor to use year after year.  If you have kids they will like this idea too and they will definitely want to help! Here are a few ideas:

 Milk Jug Ghost Lanterns!

Milk Jug Ghost Lantern creative halloween craft ideas

First collect a group of gallon milk jugs and clean them out. Next use a black marker to draw a spooky ghost face on the front of the jug. Cut the back side of the jugs off, Line the jugs up outside or in a window. Lastly use a string of lights and place them in the openings in the back of the jugs. This project looks great especially when it gets dark.

Candy Corn Traffic cones!

Candy Corn Traffic Cone creative halloween craft ideas

You can find miniature traffic cones at Wal-Mart or dollar stores for pretty cheap. Since they are already orange and shaped like candy corn all that has to be done is adding the yellow and white! You can do this numerous ways rather its paint or colored tape. These candy corn pieces will look great around the house or in the front yard!

Painted Pumpkins!

Painted Pumpkins Creative halloween craft ideas

Carving pumpkins is a great tradition and super fun. However it can be dangerous for kids to do on their own. An alternative that gets the kids involved and allows them to show off their creativity is painting the pumpkins! With different colored paints and decorations you can paint a pumpkin into almost anything.  Halloween characters such as Frankenstein or a witch, your child’s favorite character, animals, or just a silly face! You can add more detail by gluing on googly eyes, rhinestones, & hair!  This is a fun project the kids will LOVE!

Fun Treat Bags!

Treat bags are always popular at Halloween.  Rather you are passing them out to trick or treaters or making them for the kids Halloween parties, candy and snacks seem to be essential.  Here a few fun creative ideas for treat bags!

Candy People

Candy People creative halloween craft ideas

This is such a simple and cute idea that kids will absolutely love! Not only do they get to help assemble the people, but they also get to play with them like a toy, and eventually eat the candy.  What you will need is a glue gun and some assorted candies. Use a pumpkin lollipop for the head, boxed candies such as nerds or dots for the body, and long, skinny candies such as tootsie rolls, smarties, and twizzlers for the arms and legs!

Popcorn Hands

Popcorn Hand creative halloween craft ideas

This is a simple Halloween treat that the kids will really get a kick out of!  Get a box of disposable plastic gloves and drop a piece for candy corn in each finger hole as the finger nails. Then stuff each glove with popcorn and tie the bag closed with something like a trash bag tie. To add more detail to the treat get a pack of plastic spider rings from the dollar store and place them outside on the fingers!

Decorated Trick or Treat Sacks!

Homemade Trick or Treat Sacks creative halloween craft ideas

When trick or treating kids will need something to carry their candy in so why not make it into a fun activity.  Making their own bags is a great way to get in the Halloween spirit and express their creativity. You will need some sort of blank container rather it’s a plastic bucket, a felt bag, or just a paper bag with a handle. For decorating you will need markers, crayons, paint, various decorations, any craft supplies you think will be fun to use. Spread all the supplies out on a big table and let the kids decorate their bag however they want rather its Halloween themed or made to go along with their costume they are sure to have a blast!

Photo Sources

http://www.lowescreativeideas.com/Halloween_Handprints_0911.aspx

http://www.kxkc.com/Article.asp?id=1788492&spid=21289

http://www.kxkc.com/Article.asp?id=1788492&spid=21289

http://isewcute.blogspot.com/2011/10/halloween-crafts-for-kids-to-do-part-1.html

http://www.perkins.org/resources/cindys-corner/spooky-halloween-hand.html

http://craftyladyabby.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html

http://www.backroadscharmingtowns.com/2006/09/articles/a-tale-of-apples-pumpkins-corn-stalks/


Camping…Check!

With fall approaching… it’s time to familiarize yourself with autumn activities. More specifically, CAMPING!
Camping is one of America’s favorite outdoor activities and continues to grow each year. There are countless recreational parks that allow camping in either tents or motor homes. Simply Google those in your area!
Camping requires a variety of items. I’m here to help! Use this camping checklist to ensure a good time in the outdoors with your family!
CLOTHES
Just as every other day, clothing is essential. Depending on the weather conditions, which you can never be too sure about, pack an assortment of breezy or cozy clothes.
socks
shoes
water friendly shoes
hat
sweater
rain jacket
underwear
swim suit
t-shirts
shorts
pants
*In precaution of rain or storm, pack extra socks!

FOOD
This portion of the trip depends on the amount of people intended to feed. Nevertheless, I will assist you with suggesting which foods are best to bring camping. Depending on whether you are roughing it in tents or camping luxuriously in an RV with kitchen appliances, these items may differ.
Condiments- ketchup, mustard, mayo
Liquids-water, juice, coffee, soda
Snack foods- chips, pretzels, granola bars, pop tarts, cookies
Sandwich items- bread, pb&j, veggies, meat
Canned food- soup, fruit, veggies
And last but not least… marshmallows! CHECK

BEDDING
No one likes a cold nose and toes when they’re trying sleep. Be smart, pack warm.
air mattress
sleeping bags
memory foam pad
pillow
sheets
extra blankets
And don’t forget the stuffed animals!
ACTIVITES/ TOYS:
This is why you’re here right! Pack the car with everything in sight. From Frisbees to bicycles, you can never pack too much sports equipment and toys! Also, click the site below for a list of Disney kid’s camping craft ideas.
http://familyfun.go.com/summer/summer-crafts/summer-camp-crafts/classic-camp-crafts/
SAFETY KIT:
This is important. Remember to pack a safety kit in case of emergency. With children running around, constantly playing outdoors, a scraped knee is common! Don’t worry, you’ll be prepared with this checklist.
bandages
gauze
antiseptic creams and ointments
sterile wipes
headache medicine
tweezers
scissors
sunscreen/ aloe spray

 

References:
Disney Family Fun: Classic Camp Crafts

R.E.I.: Camping With Kids

Written by: Stephanie Falcone


Falling Gracefully With the Autumn Leaves.

Now that the Summer has come and gone, the changing of the seasons is upon us and it is officially time to make changes from the hot Summer scorchers to the cool Fall afternoons. This means pulling out those boxes of Fall decor, putting  bright summer clothes into the rear of the closet, and preparing for the frigid weather that will insist we reach for a warm, cozy sweater and hot apple cider. While the change of weather and more hectic schedules may change the pace of life, this doesn’t mean that Fall should not be just as refreshing and sporadic as Summer. Read on for some ways to spice up the autumn lifestyle and keep the sun shining both indoors and out.

With the coming of a new time of year, it’s not just the season changing. Our days get busier, our wardrobe changes, activities outside of responsibility appear scarce, and our taste buds change gears towards home-cooked comfort foods. These three suggestions below will help guarantee direction towards a comfy, cozy and exhilarating Fall season.

Keep the colors.

While we sometimes tend to lean towards darker colors in the colder seasons, switch it up and go for brighter fall tones. Bring on the layers and pair those fun, Summer dresses with tights, boots and a light jacket. In the market for a new Fall pea coat? Be on the look out for bright reds, oranges, and yellows instead of the average black and grey winter regulars.

Fall clothes shopping for the kiddos?? Check out the Holiday and Fall styles at Gymboree right now and save 25% OFF online and in-stores!

 

Reach for new recipes.

 

 

Whether it may be afternoon snacking or crock pot dinners, Pinterest is an awesome resource to switch up the dinner menu and find some healthy, cheap, and easy family recipes. Check out these 25 Tasty Soups and Stews, something for everyone and perfect for the Fall time weather! Need grocery shopping made easier? Take advantage of our door to door organics coupon by receiving $10 OFF your first order. Perfect for the fresh vegetables you’ll be needing for your new Fall soups!

 

 

Make time for crafts.

If the Fall leaves are already raked and the frigid weather is keeping you from doing much else outside, dive into a new Fall craft. Hit the ground running with seasonal decorations and create your own instead of buying them at the store. With Halloween right around the corner, of course pumpkin carving is a good place to start. Make a day out of it, invite the neighborhood over and have a pumpkin carving contest! If you have little ones in the house and want to stick with seasonal arts and crafts the simple way, check out this blog post all about easy Fall crafts for kids. Your house will be decorated to the brim in no time!

 

Need even more ideas?? Our Pinterest Page is loaded with DIY projects, new recipes, and Fall crafts to keep you busy for the rest of the season!


5 Creative Ways to Make Your Kids Sack Lunch More Fun!

5 Creative Ways to Make Your Kids Sack Lunch More Fun!

Now that school is in session that means some parents are back to packing sack lunches for the kids every day.  Kids can definitely be picky when it comes to foods they like and often times parents can’t be sure that those lunches are being touched at lunchtime. Besides that packed lunches are often repetitive and sometimes it can be hard for parents to think of ideas of food to pack. Here are 5 creative ways to make your kids sack lunch more fun !

1)      Give their lunch some Shape & Character!

One of the simplest ways to make your child’s lunch more fun is to make their normal lunch entrees in to fun shapes that they will recognize.  The possibilities are endless you could make stars, hearts, dinosaurs, animals, or even their favorite character.  This is super easy all you would need is some cookie cutters. Use large cutters for sandwiches and small ones for snacks like cheese and fruit! If you have time to get fancier you can go a step further and decorate the shapes you make.  The kids will be sure to get a kick out of their sandwich making a silly face!  Use round items like grapes, olives, or sliced boiled eggs for the eyes use a cracker for a nose or beak, and slice snacks like cheese or fruit into the shape of a grin!

butterfly sandwhich 5 creative ways to make your kids sack lunch more fun

lion sandwhich 5 creative ways to make your kids sack lunch more fun

2)      Put their FOOD ON A STICK!

How could they resist? I’m not sure what it is but when it comes to kids, eating their favorite foods off of a stick is just so much more fun than eating the same thing in the form of a simple sandwich or snack packed in a boring zip lock baggie. Food Kabobs are great way to make sure your child is getting all the food they need for a healthy lunch and have fun while doing it! Any part of the lunch can be made into a kabob; it could be the main course of meat and cheese, veggies such as cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, fruits like strawberries, kiwi, and grapes, or a variety.  For the stick you could use many things. You could make it edible by using something like a pretzel stick; however popsicle sticks and drink stirrers will work great too!  Just remember especially with littler kids to stay away from anything sharp because that could end dangerously.

kabob 5 creative ways to make your kids sack lunch more fun

3)      Give their Lunchbox a Theme!

Kids will sure to have a ball with a themed packed lunch!  You could go TONS of different ways with this!  A circle themed lunch could be a bagel sandwich packed with an apple, and a cookie. A color theme by making all of the food in their lunch the same color. Another fun theme could be basing the food in their lunch on their favorite TV show or book. For example you could do and under the sea theme with a SpongeBob shaped sandwich, goldfish crackers, star shaped fruit like Patrick, and blue yellow for the water. You could also use upcoming holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas for themes!

Thanksgiving themed lunch 5 creative ways to make your kids sack lunch more fun

pooh bear lunch 5 creative ways to make your kids sack lunch more fun

4)      Slip them FUN notes with messages or jokes!

Food isn’t the only way to add excitement to lunchtime. Adding a fun note or message is a great way to brighten your child’s day and let them know you care! Rather it’s words of encouragement, a compliment, a simple” I love you,  from mom”, or a funny joke  it will be sure to put a smile on their  face and warm their hearts a little.  Jokes and riddles are especially fun because kids love to laugh and be humored. It also gives them something to share with their friends to talk and giggle about during lunch. To do this you could cut up little strips and tape or lay them on the inside of the lunch box. Write the riddle or joke in big print on one side and the answer or punch line in smaller print on the other side. To find material for your jokes you could get a joke book or simply search kid friendly jokes online!

lunch jokes 5 creative ways to make your kids sack lunch more fun

5)      Let them help you pack it!

Letting your child help prepare their lunch is great bonding activity and they will be sure to have a great time with it.  It’s a great way to have fun and teach them about food groups and nutrition at the same time. Not only is getting them involved fun but it’s also a nice way to encourage and ensure that their lunch actually gets eaten once they get to school.  Kids like to take pride in things they can call their own! Also if they made it odds are they made it with stuff they like to eat!

Girl with packed lunch 5 creative ways to make your kids sack lunch more fun

Photo Citations

http://sweetlittlethang.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/fun-sandwiches-for-kids/

http://www.snackpicks.com/en_US/our-experts/kellie-strickland.html

http://eat-drink-love.com/2012/06/sandwich-kabobs/

http://www.slowfoodusa.org/index.php/slow_food/blog_post/bento_box_lunches_for_kids/

http://www.greenmamaspad.com/2011/11/thanksgiving-themed-bento-lunches-for.html

http://www.etsy.com/listing/107107603/lunch-box-notes-jokes-personalized-joke

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/816918/Back-to-School-Lunches


Five Must Do’s to Soak Up Those Last Days of Summer Sun

 

As quickly passing as Summer never fails to be, we must not let it slip away too fast without taking full advantage of what the beautiful outdoors have to offer. Before the leaves turn and Fall is upon us, it is time to squeeze in some last minute activities that will allow us to soak in those last rays of golden Summer sunlight. Whether it be before the new school year starts, or before the Fall breeze keeps us inside, here are five must do’s to ensure last minute Summer fun:

 

1. With the many benefits that come with having family dinners, why not make a day of it? The Farmers Market Downtown Lees Summit offers a variety of fresh foods such as produce, baked goods and more every Wednesday and Saturday from 7:00 am – 2:00 pm. Bring the whole gang for a fun family outing and make a day of it! After you have checked everything off your list, head home to prep and enjoy a nice evening with good company and nothing but the freshest foods for a delicious home cooked meal.

Need some new dinner ideas?? Check out our Pinterest page for delicious and healthy recipes!

2. For those music lovers out there, Lees Summit and the City of Blue Springs both offer evenings of FREE music in the park. Grab a blanket, pack up the family, and throw in a couple snacks to sit back and enjoy evening entertainment at sunset. For the remainder of August, Downtown Lees Summit is offering a free concert at Howard Station Park from 6:30-10:00. In addition to Lees Summit, the City of Blue Springs also offers free music in Rotary Park at Railroad Lake every Sunday from 6:30-8:30  until September 2nd. Click here for a link to a list of their upcoming artists.

 

3. In the mood for an outdoor movie? Legacy Park Amphitheater in Lees Summit is the place to be this Friday, August 17th. Relax in the quiet outdoors and enjoy movie night under the stars. This Friday, pack up the family with plenty of blankets and enjoy a FREE showing of Dr. Suess’ “The Lorax”. Popcorn and snowcones will be availbe for purchase. Doors open at 7:00 and the movie starts at 8:20, get there early to get a good spot!

4. With the Summer sun turning our Kansas days into Summer scorchers, what better place to cool off than the water park. Enjoy a day of fun and activities at one of our very own wet n’ wild water parks here in Kansas City. Pack your own picnic and float the lazy river or ride the wave pool with free tubes at Schlitterbahn. If you are looking to switch it up, take a trip to The Bay Waterpark, Kansas City’s newest place to play in the water. Last but not least, be sure to check out The Springs Aquatic Center for a day of family fun at their very own pools and Spray Ground.

 

5. Enjoy Kansas City’s last days of Summer by exploring all they have to offer through their parks and recreation. A day in the park may be just what you need to relax, and enjoy the day with the family.  Feeling adventurous and ready to explore some of Kansas City’s greatest parks? Check out the Top 10 Kansas City Parks for descriptions, locations, and neat facts on FREE parks all over the metro area.

Lastly, if you have an animal lover on your hands be sure to check out Lakeside Nature Center, Missouri’s largest wildlife rehabilition center. Here children can explore nature and get a front row view of the center’s wild animals. See below for the center’s location and hours of operation:

Location: 4701 E. Gregory Blvd., (Swope Park) Kansas City, 816-513-8960
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 12-5pm. Closed Mondays.

 

Sources:

http://kansascity.about.com/od/entertainmentattractions/tp/KCFreeThings.htm

 


Fuel for School

Has your healthy eating also taken a summer vacation?  It’s BACK TO SCHOOL time!  Really, for many of us, this is like the New Year.  At my house it means back to schedules and routines.  Why not make this happen with your diet as well?  What your child eats does make a difference in how they learn.

 Also, about a quarter of 2-5 year olds and one-third of school-age children (including adolescents) are overweight or obese in the U.S.  As a parent, you can influence what your kids are eating at school and at home.

 Yes, breakfast is an important meal for growing children. Studies show that breakfast eaters tend to have higher school attendance, less tardiness and fewer hunger-induced stomach aches in the morning. Their overall test scores are higher, they concentrate better, solve problems more easily and have better muscle coordination. So whether they eat at home or at school, be sure your children eat a nutritious breakfast every day.  Avoid high sugar cereals which will leave your child with spikes in blood sugar and hunger pains early in the day.

If your children’s school provides meals, take time to go over the menu with them and discuss how to build a healthful and nutritious meal they will enjoy. Make sure the choices include whole grains, vegetables, fruits and low-fat or fat-free dairy at every meal.

If you pack your children’s lunch, take your kids grocery shopping with you and allow them to pick out healthy foods that they enjoy. Your children are much more likely to eat what you pack for them if they have picked it out themselves.  Try and incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables.  Also, use whole grain breads and less processed foods.  Have protein at every meal.  Protein gives you lasting energy since it takes longer to break down as compared to carbohydrates.  This is the energy that will last throughout the day.  Cut back on sugar.  Consider giving them a special sweet treat or letting them purchase something at the snack bar once a week.

If your children are involved in after-school activities, pack a healthy snack they can eat beforehand. Fruit or vegetable slices and whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese are healthy options that will give them the energy they need to make it to dinner.

And, most importantly, set a good example for eating healthy foods at home.

Sources:

http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442453115

http://frac.org/initiatives/hunger-and-obesity/obesity-in-the-us/

 


Organizing a Disorganized Family

 
In my line of work I meet so many wonderful people.  Whether through working, speaking, teaching, or casual contact in my daily life; almost all of them have a burning question to ask me about getting organized.  Two questions turn up far more often than any others.  One being whether or not I have ever worked with a real hoarder (the answer is yes) and the second being how to get your family on board when trying to get better organized.  This answer is not quite so simple. 
 
One very important thing to keep in mind is that regardless of how many family members you may have in your home with you, it is their home too.  Although much research has been conducted on the overall benefits of living in an organized environment, some people just aren’t interested.  Should you happen to be married to one of these, hope is not lost but it will be a challenge, for sure. 
 
When asked this question, I always tell people to never underestimate the power of compromise.  If you share a space with someone and as difficult as it may be to imagine, there are things you do that bothers them as well.  These things are your bargaining tools.  Quid pro quo…I will put away your laundry if you will make the bed before you leave the house.  I won’t throw away your magazines if you stack them neatly in a designated place. 
 
This process can work beautifully yet it must be handled delicately.  Take one thing at a time.  When one area has been successfully negotiated and implemented, begin another.  For a safe, long-term fix, I would recommend one change every three weeks to a month.  It is also important to note, that your spouse should have a designated area within the home where he or she can be themselves without having to adhere to strict organizational guidelines.  A man-cave or a scrapbook room are perfect examples. 
 
Children are another, much simpler story…clear instructions, rewards, and consequences.  Take care to clearly communicate what you expect then establish rewards for meeting or (hopefully) exceeding those expectations and consequences when not given a genuine effort.  If the effort is there, provide additional, patient training.  Children of all ages love to learn and as their parent you are their most important teacher.  All children can be organized provided they are taught and supported by an organized, loving parent. 
 
Have a neat day!
Jennifer Snyder
Neat as a Pin Organizing Experts
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