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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.”

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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!

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Children’s summer events at the Linwood Library

This summer the Linwood Library offers plenty of fun activities for the entire family including Summer Storytime, Board Game Nights, and Evening Programs. These activities are fun for the entire family! You can visit the Linwood Library website for more information, but below are some events that you may be interested in:

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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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2019 Summer Reading List for Toddlers

With Memorial Day now behind us, Summer is almost here! While we still have a couple of more weeks of school, now is the time that you should seriously think about what to do for the summer with your little ones, especially if you have haven’t signed up for our Summer Session.

One thing is certain: learning shouldn’t stop over the summer months. Reading is an incredibly important part of a toddler’s development: develop a large vocabulary of words and how to use them, helping them to understand that words are made up of smaller sounds, learning the letters of the alphabet, and understanding that marks on a page represent letters and words. Through the summer you should make sure to try to read to your toddler as often as possible!

Every year Reading Rockets puts together a list of summer reading books for various ages, including a great collection for toddlers. Here are a few of our favorites, followed by a link to Reading Rockets where you can see the entire list!

Five Enormous Dinosaurs – Fantastic book where children join in on the countdown of stomping dinosaurs from five to zero. The numbers stay on the pages as you flip through, and the book wraps up with an identification of each dinosaur at the end.

 

Pigs in a Blanket – Very cute cartoon-style illustrated book about three little pigs getting out of bed and following them as they go about their activities through the day. Their silly antics are accompanied by rhyming text.

 

Who Has Wiggle-Waggle Toes? – A fun, humorous book that encourages participation as you read about a group of young children showing off their wiggle-waffle, flip-flop, wacky selves engaging in familiar activities as your little ones such as swimming and dancing.

 

Ruby & Rufus: Love the Water – Little ducklings Ruby and Rufus enjoy the beautiful summer weather by diving and swimming in a pond with their striped inner-tube. As the weather changes to winter, they enjoy sliding on their now frozen pond. Children love following along to these 2 cute little ducklings!

 

This is just a small sampling of books that Reading Rockets has listed. For the full list follow along here, and if you have older children, you will find great books for them on this list as well! Do not let summer go by without taking up some of your favorite books, and maybe even some new ones! If you enjoy any of these books or have suggestions of your own, leave us a comment below!

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South Jersey Memorial Day Weekend fun for the whole family!

We are quickly coming up to Memorial Day weekend – the official start of Summer 2019! The forecast is calling for a nice weekend, which is perfect because there is no shortage of things to do with the kids this weekend. From parades to ceremonies, to kite festivals and boardwalk fun – you are sure to find something that will entertain everybody. Here are a few events that are happening in our area this weekend:

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Spring Is In The Air

Spring Is In The Air

Spring is officially here! As the weather starts to warm up and the world comes back to life your restless kiddos are probably ready to get back to playing outside until the sun goes down. In honor of the beginning of spring, we have a few fun activities for outside and inside to get you and your family ready for the spring sunshine!

Get Creative! – Crafts are a great activity that will have your little ones excited for spring even while sitting at the kitchen table! Crafts are not only fun but can help your little ones’ cognitive development. Check out Easy Peasy and Fun for a great list of fun ideas!

Go Outside! – Today is National Take a Walk in a Park Day! So what better way to enjoy the beautiful weather and shake off the winter cold than to go for a walk in the park! Mommy Poppins has a list of some of the most exciting playgrounds in the state! Or check out Visit NJ for a list of some of the amazing national and state parks we have right here in New Jersey!

Get Cooking! – Another great activity is to make some spring themed food! Parade has a great list of spring themed foods and snacks that are not only fun to make and eat, but also delicious and nutritious! Maybe you can make a few of these treats and take the family out for a picnic!

Celebrate Nature! – Today we celebrate Earth Hour from 8:30 – 9:30 pm where we can set down our electronics and really connect with nature! Maybe celebrate by reading a book by candle light or relaxing in your backyard. If 8:30 is a little too late for you and your little ones, try finding a different time today to feel connected to nature!

We hope you spend this lovely spring day enjoying time with your family whether it’s in the kitchen or walking through a state park! As always, click share on the side of the blog to tell your friends and family about these fun spring activities and let us know in the comments which ones you gave a try today!

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Celebrating Dr. Seuss’s Birthday

Dr. Seuss is known all around the world for his whimsical characters, colorful illustrations, and captivating stories. He is an author that is beloved by children and adults, generation after generation. In honor of his birthday we have come up with a few ways for you to celebrate the memory of an author that has touched our hearts and imagination for decades.

 

Activities For Your Favorite Books – This list from We Are Teachers provides you with a variety of activities to compliment you and your children’s favorite Dr Seuss books! Spend some time today sitting down and sharing your favorite books then spending working on fun and educational activities!

Make Seussical Snacks – Another great way to celebrate is to make some Dr Seuss inspired snacks! Whether it’s green eggs and ham or the Cat’s hat, your little ones will have so much fun spending the day making treats to enjoy with the whole family!

Colorful Crafts – Crafts are not only fun for your little ones but can help with their cognitive development. Crafts can be used as a way for your little ones to identify shapes, colors, and build dexterity. These Dr Seuss crafts are sure to keep you and your little ones happy!

Donate A Book – If you are looking for a unique way to honor Dr Seuss, try donating some of your gently used children’s books! You can donate books to local libraries, thrift stores, or local shelters. Big book stores also often have the opportunity to donate a book with a purchase! Spread the cheer so that all children can have the chance to enjoy the wonderful worlds of Dr Seuss.

Read!Lastly, the best and easiest way to celebrate Dr Seuss is to simply, read! Whether you’re going to the library, a book store, or your own book shelf, pick out a few of your favorite Dr Seuss classics and spend some quality time together just reading and enjoying family time!

We hope you are inspired by some of these ideas and choose to celebrate Dr Seuss’s birthday with some of his classic stories. Let us know in the comments if you and your little ones tried out any of these crafts or yummy snacks! Click share on the side of the blog to remind your friends and family to embrace their inner child today!

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Adorable DIY decor ideas for your kids room

Kids rooms change so often – colors, themes, layouts – that it can be very costly to have to purchase new decorations and wall art each time you switch things up. A simple way to change the look of your kids’ room, and to have them help in decorating their own space, is to create some DIY decor from inexpensive items, or things you already have in the house! Below are a few cute DIY decor tips for your childs room:

  1. Door Basketball Hoop: What a cute idea for the little one that loves to play sports! Paint the back of their door with black chalkboard paint, attach a cheap basketball net that you can get from Five Below, hot glue a plastic tub to the door for chalk, and you have an instant basketball court for your little ones to play with!
  2. Activity Table: If you have an old table laying around, or even an old, smaller kitchen table that you can cut the legs down on, grab some paint and a round metal bowl, and get to work. You can paint the table with your child any color that you want – you can even decoupage it or the chairs for a really cool added detail – and if you cut a hole in the center of the table and hot glue a metal bowl into the hole, you have an area to hold pencils and art supplies! What a great idea!
  3. Silhouette canvas art: Don’t purchase expensive canvas artwork for your child’s’ room – download free stencils instead and have your little one create their own artwork! They will be excited to paint, and even more excited to hang their beautiful creation on their wall! Simply tape the stencil to the canvas, and paint the entire surface. Once dry, remove the stencil and you have a cute piece of artwork that you can hang on your child’s wall that they will be proud of.
  4. Photo Collage on a Letter: Kids love this project. It is simple, cheap, and a great way to encourage gross motor skills. You can head to any arts and crafts supply store and purchase a large foam or wooden letter, print a bunch of important photos of your child and your family, have them choose which ones they like the best and use double-sided tape to stick them to the letter, making a collage. You can apply decorative stickers for an added effect and a hint of extra cuteness. Once you have placed all of the photos where you want, paint a layer of Mod Podge overtop, wait for it to dry, and then paint a second layer to seal in the photos. Instant letter-shaped photo collage!
  5. Checkerboard table: If you have a smaller table and chairs for your child (The IKEA’s LACK table is the perfect size and price, about $10), you can transform it into a checkerboard table with some paint, tape, a ruler, pencil, and some creativity. Once you have laid out the tape and created the squares, you can use small cork rounds that fit inside of the squares on the table. Use googly-eyes, paint, markers, and other items to decorate the 24 round pieces so that you can a creative, cute checker set!

These are just a few ideas that we found over at HGTV’s website. For a full list of DIY decorating tips, head over to their website and get full directions for the ideas listed above as well as more! It doesn’t take much to make a kids room look completely different, and with the creativity and items that you may have laying around the house, you can encourage your child to think outside of the box and help make their room a space that they love.

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