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Monday, November 23, 2015

The Gift of Words: Reading and Games

Some children start kindergarten with double the vocabulary of others. Knowing many words and understanding them are important in developing thinking skills and in getting ready to read. Click on the following link to read some ways to add to your child's school readiness with the gift of new words:
It's never too early to start! 

(taken from 

Also, check out the "Best Selling Children's Books" list for all ages on our blog. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

How to Deal With Picky Eaters

1. Respect your child's appetite--or lack of one

If your child isn't hungry, don't force a meal or snack. Likewise, don't bribe or force your child to eat certain foods or clean his or her plate.

Serve small portions to avoid overwhelming your child and give him or her the opportunity to independently ask for more.

2. Stick to the routine

Serve meals and snacks at about the same times every day. Allowing your child to fill up on juice, milk or snacks throughout the day might decrease his or her appetite for meals.

3. Be patient with new foods

Young children often touch or smell new foods, and might even put tiny bits in their mouths and then take them back out again. Your child might need repeated exposure, up to 15 times, before he or she takes the first bite.

Encourage your child by talking about a food's color, shape, aroma and texture--not whether it tastes good. Serve new foods along with your child's favorite foods.

4. Make it fun

Serve broccoli and other veggies with a favorite dip or sauce. Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters. Offer breakfast foods for dinner. 

If a child is served a variety, they are likely to eat more. Also, serve a variety of brightly colored foods.

Rename foods to make them more appealing, serve them "x-ray vision carrots" or "power peas," instead of carrots or peas.  

Place favorite character stickers on snack bags or fruit or vegetables and research shows that they will eat twice as much.

5. Recruit your child's help

At the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. Don't buy anything that you don't want your child to eat. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, stir batter or set the table.

6. Set a good example

If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.

7. Be creative

Add chopped broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce, top cereal with fruit slices, or mix grated zucchini and carrots into casseroles and soups. 

8. Minimize distractions 

Turn off all electronics/gadgets during meals. This will help your child focus on eating. Keep in mind that television advertising might also encourage your child to desire sugary or less nutritious foods. 

9. Don't offer dessert as a reward

Withholding dessert sends the message that dessert is the best food, which might only increase your child's desire for sweets. You might select one or two nights a week as dessert nights, and skip dessert the rest of the week--or redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt or other healthy choices. 

10. Don't be a short-order cook

Preparing a separate meal for you child after he or she rejects the original meal might promote picky eating. Encourage your child to stay at the table for the designated mealtime--even if he or she doesn't eat. Keep serving your child healthy choices until they become familiar and preferred.

In the meantime, remember that your child's eating habits won't likely change overnight--but the small steps you take each day can help promote a lifetime of healthy eating. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Brain Building Basics


Brain building basics include:

1. Look- Make eye contact so you and your child are looking at each other. 

2. Chat-Talk about the things you see, hear, and do together, and explain what's happening around you.

3. Follow-Take your child's lead by responding to their sounds and actions, even before they are old enough to talk. When they do start talking, ask follow up questions like "What do you think...?" or "Why did you like that?" 

4. Stretch-Make each moment longer by building upon what your child does and says.

5. Take Turns-With sounds, words, faces and action, go back and forth to create a conversation or a game.

Check out this great new website called Vroom and sign up for their free App for Amazon Fire, Android, or Apple devices.

On your device you will receive one brain building activity a day for each child you have. These activities help spark connections in your child(ren)'s brain(s) that they need for development and future learning. 


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Establishing Bedtime Routines for Children

Sleep is an essential part of our day to ensure we are healthy and ready to engage in what life has to offer.

Click on the link below for some tips on:
  • Establishing a specific bedtime and a bedtime routine
  • Helping your child feel comfortable for bedtime 
  • Ensuring that your child is safe while sleeping alone
  • Helping your child become more independent in sleep

Below is a Sleep Guidelines Chart for Different Ages of Children

Thursday, July 30, 2015

7 More Easy Ways to Be a Fantastic Parent (Six Part Series-6/6)

Health Advice All Parents Should Follow

1. Get your children vaccinated. Outbreaks of measles and other diseases still occur in our country and throughout the world. 

2. Protect that smile. Encouraging your child to brush twice a day with a dab of fluoride toothpaste will guard against cavities.

3. Be vigilant about safety. Child proof your home thoroughly, and never leave a child under 5 in the tub alone. Make sure car seats are installed correctly, and insist that your child wear a helmet when riding his bike or scooter. 

4. Listen to the doc. If your pediatrician thinks your child's fever is caused by a virus, don't push for antibiotics. The best medicine may be rest, lots of fluids, and a little TLC. Overprescribing antibiotics can cause medical problems for your child and increase the chances of creating superbugs that resist treatment. 

5. Keep sunblock next to your child's toothpaste. Apply it every day as part of the morning routine. It'll become as natural as brushing her teeth. 

6. Put your baby to bed drowsy but still awake. This helps your child learn to soothe himself to sleep and prevents bedtime problems down the line. 

7. Know when to toilet train. Look for these two signs that your child is ready to use the potty: He senses the urge to pee and poop (this is different from knowing that he's already gone), and he asks for a diaper change. 

Easy Ways to Be a Fantastic Parent

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

7 More Easy Ways to Be a Fantastic Parent (Six Part Series-5/6)

Always Say "I Love You" 

1. Love your children equally, but treat them uniquely. They're individuals. 

2. Say "I love you" whenever you feel it, even it's 743 times  a day. You simply cannot spoil a child with too many mushy words of affection and too many smooches. Not possible. 

3. Keep in mind what grandmas always say. Children are not yours; they are only lent to you for a time. In those fleeting years, do your best to help them grow up to be good people. 

4. Savor the moments. Yes, parenthood is the most exhausting job on the planet. Yes, your house is a mess, the laundry's piled up, and the dog needs to be walked. But your child just laughed. Enjoy it now--it will be over far too fast. 

Boost Brainpower & Physical Activity

5. Teach your baby to sign. Just because a child can't talk doesn't mean there isn't lots that she'd like to say. Simple signs can help you know what she needs and even how she feels well before she has the words to tell you--a great way to reduce frustration.

6. Keep the tube in the family room. Research has repeatedly shown that children with a TV in their bedroom weigh more, sleep less, and have lower grades and poorer social skills.

7. Get children moving. The latest research shows that brain development in young children may be linked to their activity level. Place your baby on her tummy several times during the day, let your toddler walk instead of ride in their stroller, and create opportunities for your older child to get plenty of exercise. 

Easy Ways to Be a Fantastic Parent

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

9 More Easy Ways to Be a Fantastic Parent (Six Part Series-4/6)

Raise Grateful Children 

1. Show your child how to become a responsible citizen. Find ways to help others all year. Children gain a sense of self-worth by volunteering in the community.

2. Don't raise a spoiled child. Keep this thought in mind: Every child is a treasure, but no child is the center of the universe. Teach him accordingly.

3. Talk about what it means to be a good person. Start early: When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why. 

4. Explain to your children why values are important. The simple answer: When you're kind, generous, honest, and respectful, you make the people around you feel good. More important, you feel good about yourself. 

5. Set up a "gratitude circle" every night at dinner. Go around the table and take turns talking about the various people who were generous and kind to each of you that day. It may sound corny, but it makes everyone feel good. 

Don't Stress About Dinner

6. Serve a food again and again. If your child rejects a new dish, don't give up hope. You may have to offer it another six, eight, or even 10 times before he eats it and decides he likes it. 

7. Avoid food fights. A healthy child instinctively knows how much to eat. If he refuses to finish whatever food is on his plate, just let it go. He won't starve. 

8. Eat at least one meal as a family each day. Sitting down at the table together is a relaxed way for everyone to connect--a time to share happy news, talk about the day, or tell a silly joke. It also helps your kids develop healthy eating habits. 

9. Let your children place an order. Once a week, allow your children to choose what's for dinner and cook it for them. 

Resources: Easy Ways to be a Fantastic Parent