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4 Tips To Make School Fun For Your Kids

Transitioning from summer to school can be tough!  Ruth, from the iFamily Mom Squad, gives us some great tips on how you can make school fun for your kiddos!

Check it out…

4 tips to make school fun for your kids

If your kid is a bit reluctant to start school this year, there are some ways you can make it a bit more fun. You can do this without spending a lot of money and it helps to brighten their day. Some kids are homesick while others wish summer could go on a little longer. Even if your child is excited to return to school, these ideas will still be fun and easy.

Tip 1: Back pack friend

Make your child a back pack friend! I developed this idea last school year as a way to help my daughter transition into kindergarten. During the day she would miss being at home. Drop off time was challenging, and after speaking with a co-worker I devised a plan to make her a friend that she could carry in her backpack. I found a coloring image of a teddy bear (choose any character that your child may like) and made two copies. I made it small enough to fit in my daughter’s pocket. We each colored the bear and inside the heart we kissed our bears with a little lipstick. I sprayed a little perfume, lavender for calming and told her that she could take my bear to school with her. If she felt lonely she could hug her bear and I carried her bear in my purse to think of her. This helped calm her and made transition a little easier. She calls it her ‘Kiss, kiss bear’.

Tip 2: Pack a note

Older children that like to read, might enjoy a note, a joke, a doodle or a comic to find in their notebook. Many kids love surprises and they don’t have to be lavish. You can use your imagination on this one! Maybe your kid loves comics- you could cut a strip from the morning newspaper or create your own. You could leave your child a quick note to have a good day, jot down a silly joke or draw a silly picture. Either way, your child will find a little joy in their day.

Tip 3: Play with lunch

I enjoy going to the store and finding fun additions to lunch that are healthy. I have found yogurt tubes with secret messages, crackers with letters and numbers or shapes on them, food items they can customize, and my personal favorite turning their food into creatures. Google search can provide you with a lot of ideas. Character or prank sandwich bags are fun too! Playing with their lunch can be fun for both you and your child. Lastly, if you want to get them involved, have them pack your lunch also! The point is to keep it fun and simple, as we all know…lunch isn’t very long.

Tip 4: Schedule a visit

Some kids really enjoy having their parents visit them at school. They feel proud of what they have done and all that they know. There are various ways to get involved. If you don’t have a lot of free time you can stop by for lunch or volunteer to read or help with an activity. Parents with more time could volunteer at the school on a regular basis and support their child’s classroom. Contact your child’s teacher and school administration for options they have available.

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Tips to Surviving the First Week Back At School

Summer has come and gone and Back to School time is here once again!  Getting back into the routine of begining a school day can be a little chaotic that first few weeks… Liz, from the iFamily Mom Squad, is here with some tips on Surviving the First Week Back to School!

Back To School

TIPS TO SURVIVING THE FIRST WEEK BACK AT SCHOOL

The lazy days of summer are fading away and the mornings will now be filled with school runs, finding lost shoes and attempting to get out the door on time.  Thankfully, it does not have to be as stressful as it could be.

Here are a few tips on surviving the first week back at school!

Make Ahead Dinners

One of my favorite things to do to add ease to our evening is freeze dinners ahead of time! Take time to make your families favorite meals or make extra portions in the days leading up to school. Cooking dinner will be one thing you can check off of your to do list!

Plan Lunches

Plan your child’s lunches for the week ahead and stock the fridge accordingly, eliminating any unnecessary shopping trips. Even better, have your kiddos help you with your list (with guidelines, of course). If buying lunch is an option, give them a chance to choose a “special day” to buy lunch.

Plan your outfits the night before

…even for you mom! It seems so easy, but I think we forget how this little step can make the morning routine a breeze.

Give your kiddos a to-do list in the morning!

Make a chart that will make it fun getting all tasks their completed. Getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating breakfast and gathering up their jacket, lunch and book bag!

Homework Space

Make a dedicated homework space so your child knows exactly where they should do their school work each day. This should be an area separate from the TV or any other distractions. Another idea is to set them up in the kitchen next to you while you are reheating your freezer dinner or making lunches for school tomorrow, because you are on top of it mom!

Start the first days of school with a positive outlook!

You could make your kiddo their favorite breakfast while talking with them about their first days of school. Take advantage of this time and ask them about what they are looking forward to about their day. Also, make sure to check in at the end of the day and ask specific questions about school. This also helps out in case you need to make any changes in their routines.

Whether your kiddo is starting a whole new school or just jumping up a grade we need to remind our kids that everything is going to be ok and we have their backs.  Give them your time, attention and extra hugs this week.  I hope this has given you some ideas and inspiration for starting school on the right foot.   Have a great first week back to school!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Back To School Crockpot Meals

Ready, set, here we go!  Back to school means back to alarm clocks, homework and after school practices!  Some nights it’s hard to find time to fit in a home cooked meal for your hard working family.  Crockpot meals can be a real lifesaver!  Bridgette, from our iFamily Mom Squad, is here to share some of her favorites.  Take a look…

Back To School Crockpot Meals

Back to School Crockpot Meals

Yes, you read that correctly, everyone is getting ready to head back to school already!  I don’t know about you, but when we were in traditional school, that first week was so chaotic! Between getting up on time, making last minute triple checks and remembering what time the bus comes…. Dinner would be the absolute last thing on my mind. I couldn’t think about spending hours cooking subpar food that we had already had two days ago. Which is why I fell in love with crockpot meals, slow cooker meals, dump meals or whatever you want to call them. They truly make dinner time much easier and less of a hassle.

For those first two weeks back to school, consider dinner made! These 10 crockpot meals are delicious, easy and can feed a crowd or be packed for lunch!  Get out your notepad and start making your list!

Cheesesteak sandwiches

This easy recipe from Lauren Greutman is one of my favorites! I also substitute the beef for chicken at times. All the gooey cheese and veggies are seasoned to perfection and definitely make. Simply toss everything in before you head out to grab the kids and it will be ready right in time for dinner!

Ingredients:
2 green peppers, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 – 2 1/2 lbs. thinly sliced steak (I used top round)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 envelope dry Italian dressing mix
1 cup water
1 beef bouillon cube
6 slices of provolone cheese
6 hoagie rolls

Classic Pot Roast

The pot roast can be used in so many ways with so many different sides. You can make it into tacos, burrito bowls, roast sandwiches and more! This recipe from Don’t Waste The Crumbs is one of the best! I personally brown my roast before placing it into the crock pot. Place your roast in the pot in the morning… cook it on low for a meal that is sure to please everyone!

Ingredients:
1 chuck roast (3-4 lbs)
1 lb baby carrots (or carrots, cut to about 1″ pieces)
1½ lbs potatoes (any variety, cut into about 1″ pieces if necessary)
4 Tbsp homemade dry onion soup mix
1 batch homemade cream of mushroom soup

Chicken Fajitas

Tacos, fajitas and any TexMex really, are pretty much staples in my house lol. Chicken fajitas are one of the quickest to make in my opinion. These fajitas from Cooking Classy are great! ( I don’t use the honey in her receipe)

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 red , orange and green bell pepper, julienned
1 large yellow onion , halved and sliced
4 cloves garlic , minced
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp honey

Slow Cooker Tikka Masala

Over the past few years, my family and I have fallen in love with more dishes from India, the Middle East and Mediterranean. One our favorites is chicken tikka masala! It is cheap, can feed our whole family for practically two days lol! This recipe from Table For Two definitely takes the cake!

Ingredients:

8 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, or about 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 lbs.) – cut into 1.5″ cubes
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1: 29- oz can of tomato puree
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Garam masala
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp salt, or to taste
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-3 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on your heat preference
2 leaves bay
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp cornstarch
Lemon juice from half a small lemon
Chopped parsley or cilantro, for topping

BBQ Chicken

Chicken is a go to meat in our house. It is can be used in just about anything! BBQ chicken is perfect for nights that you just want to chill out and not worry about who is getting messy when heading out to do family things. This recipe from Family Fresh Meals was one of the first BBQ chicken recipes I tried. Even my husband approved of it!

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless, skinless  chicken breasts
1 cup  BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste

Cheesy Chicken Penne

Two words, cheese and noodles! Do I need to say more? This recipe from The Slow Magical Cooker is the perfect dish for kiddos and cheese lovers!

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 (10.5-oz) cans cream of chicken soup (don’t add water)
½ cup chicken broth
¼ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. dried leaf tarragon (can substitute oregano or thyme here)
1.5 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
Add at the end
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 lb. penne pasta (cooked according to package directions on the stove-top)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Nothing is better than getting a bowl of hot soup during the cold months! Chicken tortilla soup has been my favorite soup for years and I don’t see anything changing that lol. This recipe from Cooking Classy is definitely what you will see me eating once that frost kicks in! Don’t forget the sour cream and extra cilantro!

Ingredients:
2 1/2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth (4 1/2 cups)
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cups finely chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic , minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Chicken Teriyaki

This is definitely my oldest favorite! Anytime I ask the kids what we should have for dinner, Phoenix is pretty much guaranteed to say Teriyaki chicken! This recipe from Rachel Cooks is probably the reason she loves it so much! I make this about once every 10 days… she can’t get enough! I love that it doesn’t require a ton of ingredients!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds, or about 3 large, boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch + 1/4 cup water
rice or quinoa, for serving
sesame seeds, for garnish
sliced green onions, for garnish

Beef and Potatoes Au Gratin

This is definitely a man’s meal lol. Meat and potatoes are a classic combo.  Add in cheese… well I mean it’s cheese! This recipe from The Magical Slow Cooker is actually on our menu for tomorrow!

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef (plus a touch of salt and pepper to season)
3 lbs. peeled russet potatoes, sliced a ¼ inch thick (about 7 cups total after being sliced)
1 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 cups shredded sharp cheese
½ cup chicken broth (or beef broth

Chicken Cacciatore

Coming across this recipe, I was hesitant at first.  I’m not a huge pasta fan and my husband doesn’t always trust my Pinterest recipes ( I have failed a lot of them).  I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed this one!  Once again, it’s noodles so the kids will love it. For mine, I make sure the veggies are chopped really small so my picky eaters won’t object. This recipe from Heather at Passion For Savings has my husband’s favorite pasta dish! Plus it doesn’t require a lot.

The best thing about these meals is that not only can you dump it and go, you can even make them in advance and freeze them! Whenever I am on my P’s & Q’s, I have a freezer stocked full of meals that I can dump in the crock pot and go on with my day.

As you get ready to head back to school, take a load off with these easy meals that will help you get into the swing of things!

 

From iFamily to Yours,



Shopping Tips: What Eight Things Should You Be Buying Right Now?!

Back to school shopping is on everyone’s minds as summer comes to and end… but what are some other deals to be on the look out for this time of year?!  Sarah, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, shares some of her great shopping tips with us!  Take a look…

8 Things You Should Buy Right Now 

I always like looking for the best deal, and on most things I can usually find it. But when a major hit came to our budget recently I quickly turned into my mother—deal shopping became super charged deal shopping and only looking at something if there was a 70% off sign above it. This complete mind alteration made me think; last article I listed out where to find the cheapest back to school items, while looking in the latest shopping ads I realized there are a lot of other items on sale right now which I don’t need for my kindergartner but could use for the family!

Bedding

Primarily targeted at those going off to college, but sheets (especially twin sheets) bed décor, rugs and lamps are all on super sale right now. If you were thinking of updating a room in the house look at some of these items; just one or two pieces can drastically change a room.

Clothes and Shoes

This is an obvious one to update the kid’s wardrobe but think about you as well. A lot of places are marking down basic summer items right now and just because it is September doesn’t mean it is turning cold; and a lot of basic items can be worn under cardigans and jackets. Shoe stores are running BOGO events too. When you buy the new shoes for the kids throw in an additional pair for yourself. Bonus points if you can find something on clearance which becomes even cheaper as part of the BOGO! (Channeling my mom on that one!)

Backpacks

Yeah I know, we aren’t shopping for school supplies but hear me out! I was of the mindset that after I got rid of my diaper bag if it didn’t fit in my purse (which is about the size of said diaper bag) then the kids didn’t need it. Then I bought my great, very adult, expensive but on sale, pre-budget- blowup backpack and took it on our latest trip to the zoo. I AM IN LOVE! I still had both hands free and room enough to carry everything from snacks to wipes to my husband’s wallet and still had room for more! This being said, maybe it is time to look for one that is on sale, while not all of them are Trolls or Peppa Pig, some are basic in color and tailored to adults—and on sale!

Sandwich bags and lunch box supplies

Even if my kindergartener decides to take her lunch to school she still eats lunchables, applesauce, and cereal at home, so I will be stocking up on these items when they are on sale in a few weeks. Sandwich bags can always be used in my house; from breakfast carriers in the morning to leftovers, a surplus of these will be much appreciated. Clear out a place on a shelf in the garage to put all of these items.

Kleenex

Along this same line, Kleenex will be on sale right now because every classroom will have you bring at least two boxes per child. However, did you know that most homes use Kleenex as well! Stock up now for every room in the house and put some on that “supply” shelf in the garage! Come cold and flu season you will be happy you did!

Computers and Cell phones

Technology is all on sale right now, although targeted more toward those going off to college. But you can benefit now as well! If you aren’t thinking about buying right now but have some questions take advantage of stores bringing in more “experts” during this time. There will be someone that can answer your questions now about processors and data plans and then when the budget turns around or when you are ready for an upgrade you will know exactly what to ask for!

Swimsuits

This has nothing to do with school but it happens every year—stores want to clear out for their fall lines and swimsuits just don’t fit in. This is where you can take advantage of some great markdowns. Still scared to look in the mirror? It is proven that people are at their thinnest in the summer months; we are more active, tan and because of all the extra vitamin D we are getting we feel better about ourselves.

Patio furniture

Planning a Labor Day bbq? I know that my daughters’ 3rd birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I would love to have some more outdoor seating. Perfect timing! Everywhere is trying to clear out their patio furniture to either make room for school supplies or dare I say it fall holiday merchandise. Wait until about the end of August to get the really great deals; but don’t shop around too much, with good deals these aren’t going to be around for long!

From iFamily to Yours,


Are You Ready For Back to School? Early Shopping Tips!

It’s hard to believe that we’re already closing in on July here in the metro area and, before we know it, back to school time will be upon us. Even though we’ve got another month before the kiddos return to their classrooms, it’s never too early to start preparing and grabbing those must need items from the store to stock up for the coming year. Gabrielle, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, shares three simple tips to help you get a head start on your upcoming year today on the blog. Take a look…

back to school

Are You Ready For Back to School? Early Shopping Tips!

As usual, my bi-weekly Target run was full of wonder.  There were the usual adorable finds in the $1.00 bins, a great pair of yoga pants that I just had to have, and some surprising deals. But when I got to the checkout line, I was hit with the most unexpected reality check.  (And not the usual one of “OMG, I only came in here to pick up two things.  How did this cart get full?)

This was different.  Directly in front of me was a little girl, gleefully loading her newly purchased school supplies into her newly purchased backpack.  The little girls eyes sparkled with delight, while mine widened with fear. I haven’t done half the things I wanted to do this summer.  It cannot be time to buy school supplies already.  A quick look at my calendar tells me I am wrong.  The school year is quickly approaching, and if you’re anything like me, you haven’t even peeked at the supply lists the schools sent home.  Don’t worry.  Here are few tips to help you get prepared.

Tip 1: Don’t Panic

There are still a few weeks left.  You do not need go into the nearest store and empty the office supply shelves.  That’s a great way to waste money on lots of things you do not need.  However, now would be a good time to gather those aforementioned lists.

Tip 2: Check Your Inventory

My kids came home on the last day of school with tons of barely used binders, un-sharpened pencils and at least 3 functional pencil boxes.   We have several unused backpacks that we received as birthday gifts or from church giveaways.  All of those can be used again next year.

Tip 3: Buy Some Essentials

There are a few items on almost everyone’s list.  Plan to pick up a couple of packs of paper, and a few spiral notebooks on the next Target run.  Next week grab a box of crayons and a couple of packs of pencils.  Throw a box of Kleenex and some hand sanitizer in the cart next to that cute little top from the clearance section.

Doing a little bit at a time takes the sting out of back-to-school shopping.  Using what you already have on hand will save time and money, and sticking to your list will help you avoid unnecessary clutter  and confusion.  I’ll try to remember that next time I head to Target.
From iFamily to Yours,

Gabrielle

 

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How to Get Back in the School Year after Winter Break: Homeschool Edition

All of us are back to school, and hopefully, find some sort of groove as we find ourselves at the end of January (can you believe that?!) However, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette, has some great tips for easing back into a schedule after winter break for homeschoolers. Take a look!

 

How to Get Back in the School Year after Winter Break: Homeschool Edition

 

Since summer 2016, I have seemed to ask myself daily many questions that I have yet to answer. How long should we focus on one subject? Are they lacking in one subject? Is this too easy or too hard? All of these questions and more are constantly swimming around in my head when I start to think of our home school progress. But one question seemed to literally pop in my head during my kids “winter break”. How do we prepare to get back in the swing of things after winter break?! My eldest daughter still attends traditional school and when my youngest were in school they all just kind of got thrown back into the lion’s den. I knew how it went! So we had a routine, the day before would be a lot similar to the very first day. We would lay out clothes, pack lunches, do hair and make sure they were in their beds on time! But now that we home school, there really is no rip off the Band-Aid approach. There is no prep day, butterflies or first day excitement to worry about.

 

 

So after an hour+ rummage through Pinterest, I found that there was no guide, step by step or tips for going back to school after winter break. NOTHING! I was so lost and worried at the same time. I didn’t want to throw them back into fact fluency and tests on properties and matter after they just had a great time off. My goal was to allow them to adjust themselves back into our routine as quickly as possible so they wouldn’t feel over whelmed or get the “back to school blues”. The truth is when you home school, a lot of the “rules” seem to go out the window. Unless you choose to stay on a strict daily schedule, you find yourself moving times, shifting lessons and even taking an unplanned day off for you and your kids sanity.

 

How to Get Back in the School Year after Winter Break: Homeschool Edition

 

So, as our first, first day back from winter break as a home school family I have learned this. There are no great expectations, there are no ways to really get prepared and there are really only a few complaints. Once I told the kids they would start back on a certain day, they grumbled of course and a few times before starting our first round of lessons. I found even a change of scenery made it a lot more comforting. So, instead of logging in and getting to work, we headed downstairs to our loft’s business center and set up stations. One was on a computer and the other two were working in their books. Plus our residence has a coffee bar down stairs which includes hot cocoa so…. Yea they were happy!

I’m sure as our years continue with home schooling things will change, I will become more confident and the kids will be a lot more use to how things work. So to all you homeschoolers out there, remember this. As long as you and your kids are growing in love and knowledge, IT WILL ALL WORK OUT!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 

 

 

 


Back to School Tips: How to Volunteer in Your Child’s Classroom

Howdy, Kansas City! School is back in full swing for most of us, and some of you parents may be looking for ways to continue connecting with your kiddos during the school year. Why not follow our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin’s advice and volunteer at their school? Below she gives us a few ideas to get started. Check it out!

Back to School Tips: How to Volunteer in Your Child's Classroom

Back to School Tips:
How to Volunteer in Your Child’s Classroom

 

Last year my daughter started Kindergarten. I was SO excited for her that I wanted to sit next to her in class all day long. However, that was pretty unrealistic! The next best thing was to sign up to volunteer in her school. I thought I’d share with you some ideas on how you can get involved in your child’s school. Your child will love seeing you around school. Being hands on shows them how important their education is to you. You will also benefit from getting involved because you can truly get a feel for the school’s dynamics, as well as see firsthand how things are done in your child’s classroom.

 

Join the PTA (Parent-Teacher Association)

I joined the PTA last year and they had regular meetings in the evenings that were convenient for my schedule. They also had a Facebook group that was very helpful to find out events and things going on at my child’s school

Volunteer in the classroom, library or on field trips

The school is always needing help with small groups of students, testing skills, or even just stuffing the cubbies with notes to go home. I had the opportunity to be heavily involved every week in the classroom, with field trips, and was the lead for the school parties. Even if you work full time and can take off a few hours in the afternoon to help with a party or donate something, every little bit helps!

Connect to your school’s website and social media outlets

Some schools might even have their own app to download with tons of information from lunch menus to calendars. My child’s teacher has a Twitter account and I am looking forward to seeing pictures and updates online.

 

Try to attend

Back to school night, open house, parent teacher conferences, music performances and any other meetings offered to parents.

 

 

If you are interested in working directly with students, check with your child’s school first. They may require some additional training before interacting with students. I found that getting directly involved with my child’s class and school was so incredibly rewarding! I got to know her teacher and classmates so well and seeing their faces light up when I came every week really made me feel like I was making a difference in a small part of this world.

 

What are some ways you have gotten involved with your child’s school? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

 

From iFamily to Yours,
iFamMomSqdErinV2

 


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How to Handle the “Back to School” Transition

Making the transition to school, whether it’s the first or the last, can be tough on us parents. It can be a time of excitement, anxiety, and even a little bit of sadness. Read our Mom Squad Ambassador, Stephanie’s experience with sending her first grader and kindergartener back to school this fall. Take a look!

How to Handle the "Back to School" Transition

How to Handle the “Back to School” Transition

This year was a little hard for me in terms of going back to school… I have a 1st grader AND a Kindergartner! Last year, I was a mess sending my first baby to school, and this year was hard for me too sending my two oldest to school (now who is going to entertain my two little ones while I do the dishes or laundry?! Haha – just kidding!)
Bella (my Kindergartner) has always been one to excel in anything school related. She loves to learn new things and is always questioning why things happen. Now that she has been in school for a few days now, I know she is going to do great! She is already coming home every day and telling me all sorts of new rules and fun stuff she learned that day.
The first day of school was a little rough at the beginning for both of us. We had asked my son to sit with Bella on the bus so she wouldn’t have to be alone – well, that didn’t happen. When my husband and I met the kids at the school to watch them get off the bus and walk them into their classes, I saw Bella sitting with another kid on the bus and when the bus driver opened the door to let the kids out, Bella’s backpack got stuck and she couldn’t get it loose before all the kids behind her were trying to get past her to get off the bus. When she got her backpack loose and was able to get off the bus, I could instantly see the tears in her eyes which of course broke my heart!
Now, its not all sunshine and rainbows for you new Kindergarten parents. We all miss our kiddos and want to know how they are adjusting and if they are making any friends. I know my daughter will be fine – just like I’m sure your kiddos will be too – but it doesn’t change the fact that we just miss our kids (even though a few weeks ago they were driving us crazy being home all summer!)

From iFamily to Yours,

iFamMomSqStephv4

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Play Dates 101

 Play Dates 101

Every school year is a new adventure.  The way most schools are set up it’s very difficult to stay in the classroom with the same friends each year.  So my kids tend to freak out a little bit when their best buddies are in the classroom across the hall and they do not know anyone in their classroom.  Making new friends is part of the social learning that takes place in school. Not only are the kids making new friends, but the parents are as well. Being in a classroom different from your best friend doesn’t mean that you can’t maintain their friendship and even continue to have play dates. In fact, it gives kids the opportunity to add someone new to the group.

My daughter once came home and told me a story about her new friend’s step dad that wasn’t so impressive; in fact it was a little creepy. She asked me if she could have a play date with this girl a few days later. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to shake the shocking story about the father, so every time the girl’s name is mentioned I try to get an idea as to how close my daughters relationship is to her. As a parent I feel it’s my job to meet and get to know the friends parents a few times before play dates can begin.   I can’t wait to have an opportunity to meet her family and decide for myself if I should let her go to her friend’s house. As for now I am not comfortable with my daughter going to her new and very sweet friends house.  I would be more than happy though, to have her new pal over to our house for a play date.  Having her friend over makes everyone happy, so it’s a good thing.  Remember to not leave last years friends out of the play dates, I usually send the parents an email or text to get the process rolling.

                                                                                          

Keep these tips in mind when planning play dates: 

1. Try to remind your children it’s okay and even exciting to be in a class without their best friends- they will make new ones! 

2. Explain to them that just because they aren’t in the same class as their old friends doesn’t mean they can’t maintain relationships with them.

3. Meet your children’s parents a few times before you set up a play date so you fell comfortable leaving your child in their care. Your comfort is just as important as their fun!

4. As your kids make new friends, don’t forget to include old friends in play dates as well! Then everyone can get to know each other!

 

-Shari Jacobs, Mom Squad Blogger

 

 

 


How to Beat the Back to School Blues

Now that school is back in session many sleeping and eating schedules have changed drastically.  These transitions along with other first day of school stresses can reap havoc on the immune system.  But with a little planning, a few simple modifications and simple kid approved recipes the school year can be a great success.

If the school hosts a meet and greet before the first day this is a perfect opportunity to drop off that giant load of school supplies. It’s also a great time to learn locker combinations or find out where a cubby is!  Just the simple knowledge of knowing whom their teacher is and how to get to their classroom is a big stress relief and helps reduce some of that first day anxiety for students.

The first couple weeks of school can be exhausting for kids of any age.  In the perfect world, two weeks before school begins is an ideal time for establishing good sleeping habits that simulate the school year. However, adjusting naturally with only small changes to a sleeping schedule is not so abrupt.  A well-adjusted body clock will not only help keep the immune system strong but will keep the students from falling asleep in class. Setting clothes, making lunches and planning breakfast the night before is big time saver if you’re looking to beat the morning rush.

Breakfast is important for keeping the kids focused throughout the day and bellyache free.  Whether it’s peanut butter with an apple or a glass of milk with a banana, make it healthy, yummy and satisfying for a great start to the day. Included is a favorite kid approved breakfast recipe “Bacon and Egg Cups”.   Very simple and can be frozen individually for a quick breakfast any day of the week.

Drinking water helps with hydration and keeps the brains sharp so let them pick out a water bottle, put an orange slice in it and take it to school.  A multivitamin packed with vitamin C should also be included for that healthy morning regimen.  Don’t forget flu shots in October!

When the kids come home from school this is the perfect time to talk about their day with them and find out if any further adjustments need to be made to their schedules.

Shari Jacobs, Mom Squad Member