The Importance of Creativity in Preschool Education

Instilling creative thinking in children is incredibly important for their early educational development and helps to prepare children for a successful future. Through creative play, a child can develop physical, social, intellectual, and emotional skills as well as helping to develop and establish self-expression. Children of all ages, but especially toddlers and preschoolers, delight in expressing their ideas through sounds, colors, shapes, and role-playing activities.

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6 Great Winter books for Preschoolers

Cold and windy Winter days can lead to cabin fever, especially for little ones. There is nothing better to warm up your little ones’ creativity and critical thinking skills than reading a book to them, and since we are in the middle of winter, why not read about snowmen, animals that thrive in the cold (and how the ones who don’t, survive), and the world around us during these cold days.

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Ideas to (and why you should) Nurture Imagination and Creativity in Your Toddler

How often do you find yourself sharing your house with a princess, Iron Man, a unicorn? If you have little ones, I’m sure the answer is quite often. Children are hardwired to be creative and imaginative, and as parents, we know the importance of fostering our children’s imaginations. And while it is fun to sit back and watch the fun, it’s even better for their development to join in the fun once in a while.

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Halloween Safety Tips for Little Ones

Trick or Treating is just about a week away, and as everybody looks for their favorite costumes and plans trick or treating with family and friends, we often lose sight of the dangers associated with this fun activity. There are a lot of people out and about, it’s dark, there are decorations everywhere, and the costumes can make it difficult to keep track of the little ones.

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Don’t beat yourself up: Great parenting isn’t mistake free

Every parent, no matter how many children they have, goes through guilt whenever they feel that they are not being a perfect mom or dad. As parents, we put ourselves through tremendous stress to provide the best possible life for our children, and there is no shame in that. It is important to do everything that you can for your children. We want our children to have access to as many learning and growth opportunities as possible; we want to spend a lot of quality time with our children; to be at every birthday party, sports game, playdate; to cook them healthy meals and help with homework.

It’s an exhaustive list, and it can be extremely overwhelming, and sometimes you feel as though it isn’t enough! Take a deep breath – because like Bob Marley said, “every little thing is gonna be alright.”

As a society, we often place many high expectations and unrealistic goals on ourselves and our children, and for families in which both parents are working, this can be extremely difficult to deal with – especially if you follow along with the parenting how-to books that you see on Amazon and other book retailers.

It’s time to give yourself a break and recognize that nobody knows your child quite like you. Don’t let yourself get beat up because you think that you are not doing everything the books say you should be. You will completely stress yourself out, and that will have a much deeper effect on your child than missing that soccer goal.

A study published in March 2006 concluded that a mother’s mental health directly affects her kids. Kids whose moms were treated — successfully — for depression were much less likely to become depressed themselves. But if the mom’s depression continued, her children were more likely to become depressed, too.

BabyCenter has a great article about this and a list of Wisdom for Happier Mothering – head over to their website for more reading. Here are a few tips from their site:

  • We all have guilt, just don’t let it take hold. We feel because we intend to do the best by our children, but that is not always possible. You cannot let guilt hold you down.
  • Your instincts are just fine. Good parenting comes from the soul, heart, and gut. Treat others as you wish to be treated is a great motto to live by.
  • Taking care of yourself is important. Don’t forget that you are more than just a mother or father, you are a human being that deserves to be able to take care of yourself.

Parenting isn’t easy – nobody ever said that it was. But beyond the day-to-day struggles of getting kids dressed, making dinners, and giving baths, there are mental struggles that we as parents deal with every day. Often it’s too much to bear, and it can take its toll on us if we allow it. It is important to take a deep breath, sit back, get a look at the larger pictures, and say to ourselves “every little thing is gonna be alright.”

5 Unique Tasty Lunch Ideas for School

It can be difficult to come up with healthy, tasty lunches that you can pack for your little ones while they are at school. It can be an arduous task, most items need to be soft or small, which means you are spending a lot of time chopping, steaming, and prepping foods. You want to make sure that these meals fill them, are healthy, and that they enjoy them.

That is why it is important to find toddler lunches that are quick to prepare, easy to pack, and don’t necessarily need to be reheated. Below is a list of 5 lunches that you might want to consider bringing into your child’s rotation. They are easy to mix and match so that you can find the perfect recipes for your little ones!

Homemade Lunchables

Most children LOVE lunchables – and parents love the ease that comes with them. Unfortunately they are filled with processed foods filled with sodium and other preservatives that you may not be interested in giving to your child. And your child can help make their homemade lunchables, which makes this a win-win! Some options to include are: low-sodium turkey, cheese, whole-wheat crackers, cooked green beans, apple slices, and nut or seed butter! Get creative!

Ham and Cheese roll-up

Lunch meat just seems more fun when its out of its natural habitat, the sandwich! Use low-sodium ham and wrap the slices around string cheese to create a super fun roll-up that your child will love. For smaller children, slice the string cheese vertically to avoid a choking hazard. Combine this with hummus, sliced peppers, apple slices, or a banana and you have a great little lunch!

Yogurt Parfait

This is a great idea for when you feel like you don’t have many options and are in need of a trip to the grocery store. You can layer berries, diced mango, or even roasted diced sweet potatoes with plain (or flavored) yogurt and granola to make a delicious, unique meal! Pair this with a favorite green veggie like diced cucumbers or peas, and you have a quick, healthy meal for your little one!

Breakfast for lunch

Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? Well how about bringing that idea to lunch? Pack a hard-boiled egg, yogurt bites, mixed fruits like strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, cubed cucumber, and an applesauce cup, and you have breakfast for lunch! That was easy!

Chicken and Guac

Do yourself a favor, and next time you are at the store, pick up a rotisserie chicken. You can use it for so many items, including lunch for your toddler. This lunch tastes great and is full of protein: rotisserie chicken pieces, lightly-cooked sliced carrots, grapes (quartered if they are for really little ones), pita slices, and mini guacamole to-go cup (to prevent browning). That sounds like a lunch most parents would want to make for themselves!

While packing school lunches can prove to be stressful, you can ease your burden with some out-of-the-box ideas for lunch. These meals are healthy, full of protein, and your little ones will love having something new in their lunch boxes. They can even help prepare some of these meals themselves, making this a great activity to do as a team!

Traveling with children that suffer from motion sickness

It’s officially summer and that means beach, pools, and plenty of play time. If you are like many families, you have some sort of vacation planned for you and your children. This time of year, with the hot weather, there is no shortage of places to go – almost everywhere is accommodating. But what do you do if your little one(s) suffer from motion sickness? This can be a serious issue for your travels, but thankfully there are some ways to combat the issue.

##What causes motion sickness?
Motion sickness is caused by mixed signals being sent to the brain and can be made worse by stress and excitement, which your child is sure to feel during these trips. Just as in adults, if your little one is looking at a toy, or at a picture book while in the moving car, his or her eyes are sending a message to the brain that they are not in motion. However, other parts of her body are sending messages that they ARE in motion, the exact opposite message. These conflicting signals can cause her to feel nauseous.

Motion sickness is most common in kids aged 2 to 12 but can happen at any age, and it is believed that some children are more prone to motion sickness than others because they are more sensitive to the brains’ reaction. In fact, motion sickness can strike not only during the obvious times: boat rides, plane trips, car rides (even more so if there is turbulence or rough waters), but also during something as simple as swinging on a swing!

##What can be done to help my child’s motion sickness?

Thankfully there are a few things that you can do to help prevent or alleviate motion sickness for your little ones. It is important to be patient, as they are feeling pretty terrible, and try these tips:

– Be alert. Prior to actually getting sick, a child typically develops a cold sweat and a loss of appetite. If you notice these signs, try taking a break. If you are driving, pull over and give your little one some rest. If you are on a plane and can’t take a rest, try having them look out of the window. A cool cloth on their forehead will also help. Symptoms usually subside within 15 minutes.

– If in a car, or on a boat, have your child look ahead to a spot on the horizon. And object in the distance will send visual signals that you are moving, helping to resolve the conflicting messages that your brain is receiving.

– Distract your child. As we said earlier, motion sickness is the brain sending mixed signals about what is going on around you, and this can sometimes be curbed by distraction. Try signing or just chit-chatting as opposed to providing a toy or book, which can make them disoriented.

– Take the trip as close to naptime as possible. If you can schedule the traveling during naptime, you are ahead of the game. Children are much less likely to become sick is they are asleep during motion.

– Cool air. Provide cool air by letting the air conditioner blow lightly on your child, or crack a window for a breeze. If you are on a boat, try to go out on the deck for some fresh air.

– Motion-sickness bracelets. There are bracelets which are thought to half nausea by stimulating acupressure points on the wrist. The scientific evidence behind this is still lacking, but some people do claim that it works. Make sure to do your own research before doing this.

– Over the counter medication. There are some chewable tablets and liquid-form medications that you can try for children 2 and up, that helps to quell nausea, but you should make sure to speak to your doctor before giving any medication to your child.

Most important is to be patient with your child. If they do begin to show signs of motion sickness, understand that it is a normal thing and take the appropriate actions to help them feel better. The best prevention is to talk to your child beforehand and explain to them what motion sickness is, what causes it, and techniques to help stop it. But make sure to pack a durable plastic bag, wipes, and a change of clothes in case the worse does end up happening.

We hope everybody is having a great start to the summer, and if you are traveling anywhere, please let us know in the comments! We love to hear about the great trips our families take during the summer!

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