Archive for category Quick Tips

For young children making their first friends and having their first play dates, be sure to have a couple of activities in mind when your young child has a friend over, as they might need some direction at first. Perhaps a box of dress-up clothes or a plan to make cookies, whatever you child is interested in (and make sure to consider the interest of their friend as well).

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Parents (especially single ones): Plan ahead for urgent situations. If your child gets sick and you can’t take off of work (or if you get sick and you have your child to take care of), it’s important to be prepared for these types of situations. Develop an “emergency list” of friends and family members you know you can call on. And, in addition to your list, have the number of a local babysitting service that you’ve pre-screened and feel comfortable using.

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Parents with a nanny, babysitter, or extended family member who may take care of your child(ren) on a weekly basis, remember to take about 20 minutes every week or so and sit down with your child’s carer and look at your/your child’s schedule and talk about how things went this past week and your goals for the coming week or so. This allows us to feel that we’re a part of the child’s daytime life, and the nanny to feel they’re an essential part of the family.

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Creating these felt clothes organizers will help you and your kids prepare outfits in advance for the week by labeling which outfit is for what day (that way you never forget a gym day, a picture day, or a dress up day again). This will also help cut down time in the morning for kids who tend to spend those extra precious few minutes picking out their outfits.

What you’ll need

  • Different-colored pieces of felt

  • Scissors

Instructions

  • Designate a different colored piece of felt for each day of the week (we used 18- by 12-inch sheets of Eazy Felt), cut off the top corners, and label the day with cutout felt letters (you can also use puffy fabric paint).

  • Cut a 1-inch-diameter hole in the top center of the felt and a 2- by 2-inch X on each side of the felt near the bottom.

  • With your child, select the week’s clothes and dress a hanger with shirt, pants, or skirt for each day. Poke a pair of socks and underwear through the sign’s two X’s, then hang the sign over the clothes by hooking the hanger neck through the top hole.

(Image courtesy of Spoonful.com)

 

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Why not hold a pot luck swap party as a fun social experiment to swap recipes with others to try something new and healthy?

Invite friends asking them in advance to make their two favorite (or signature) dinner dishes to pass on. Then, when everyone has arrived at the party, take all of the dishes and portion them out so that each family ends up with two dinners different from the ones they brought. This allows you to have two dinners for the week AND lets you try someone else’s favorite and/or signature dish to explore new recipes and flavors. Just make sure you know everyone in the group’s food allergies and dietary restrictions before you start cooking. This is also a great time to turn healthy cooking into a family activity and get the kids in on the food prep, too!

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Designate a snacking zone. Restrict snacking to certain areas, such as the kitchen, and avoid connecting eating with screen time. You’ll save your child countless calories from mindless munching. If your child needs to snack on the go, offer a banana, string cheese, yogurt sticks, cereal bars, carrot sticks or other drip-free items.

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To help prevent your child from becoming a picky eater, as they eat solid foods, start offering them out-of-the-usual fare, such as avocado, pineapple, cranberries, figs, red or yellow peppers, mangoes, or other exotic fruits or veg. Have kids choose a few foods and mix them together for a colorful snack.

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Are your little ones getting into everything in your kitchen cabinets? Why not devote a lower cabinet just to them? Fill it with some mismatched Tupperware, a plastic spoon, and other toddler-friendly items. They’ll feel like they’re “helping” out in the kitchen while you can keep an eye on their safe play.

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Having family dinner together is important, but how about trying a family cooking night? Select the meal in advance, shop for ingredients with your child and then cook together as a family (giving your child age appropriate sous chef duties). Sitting down to a meal you have all cooked together makes dinner night even better.

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While your kids have off for the holidays, take this time to give back to the community. Have your children pick out a meal from a cookbook, shop together for ingredients, and cook it to drop off together at a local family shelter, hospital, or fire department. Tis the season of giving!

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