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Dr. Jack Maypole: Potty Training On The Go!

little-feet-dangling-off-the-potty_t20_yrozr0For that parent in the eternal state of carpooling or attending to the business of life maintenance, the messy of business of potty training a child ‘in the field’ is best done so you are not literally potty training in the field. Here are a few tips, that are more based in pragmatics than in best evidence, however they are spun from the better elements of learning theory and motivation.

For starters, set your expectations low and don’t feel pressured to succeed in potty training when you are a family on the go (no pun intended). Kids are sharp, and will pick up if you are stressed about NOT having an accident. Frankly, if it bothers you overly much, continue your good work at home and talk frankly and reasonably that wearing an ‘about town’ diaper when going to the supermarket is normal. Is a child unhappy about a diaper? Make it a ‘big kid pullup’ and as with all things potty training, maximize praise for compliance and meeting goals (Peeing in the toilet, or letting you know that they need to go…or just went), and avoiding–at all costs–getting upset, freaked out or mad if there is a (well named) accident.

If you are ready to take a chance, and to push the envelope and take a child out (assuming they are progressing well in their home potty training, that they have developmentally appropriate milestones, and are in good health) then I recommend parents begin with short hops (trip to the corner store, nearby playground, or a short dog walk going sans diaper. When one gets home from a trip out of the house without a diaper or pullup, celebrate. Praise. Clapping. Stickers. High fives.

Over days and trips, venture further and consider going without a diaper as long as a child seems engaged and excited about doing well. Don’t fuss over the inevitable setbacks.

And, make a pit stop before you run out the door. And: go light on the beverages as able.

Taken altogether, kids will soon (and eventually) arrive home dry. Celebrate accordingly!

Dr. Maypole, member of The Goddard School’s Educational Advisory Board, is a well-respected pediatrician, associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and director of the Comprehensive Care Program at Boston Medical Center.

Five Benefits of Teaching Children to Cook

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Cooking is as important a life skill as swimming or riding a bike; however, like those other skills, cooking is not generally taught in school. Parents are usually responsible for teaching their children to cook. Here are five benefits of teaching children this valuable skill.

  1. It’s a great bonding experience. If you teach your child how to make a favorite family recipe, she will have a memory that can last a lifetime.
  2. It leads to healthy eating habits. By purchasing fresh, healthy ingredients and using them to prepare a meal at home with your child, you will give him a better understanding of what healthy eating looks and tastes like.
  3. It helps build math skills. Cooking involves math, such as measuring out a cup of milk, counting eggs or doubling a recipe. Using math practically in the kitchen helps bolster those skills.
  4. It helps boost confidence. If you serve spaghetti and meatballs and announce to the rest of your family that your child helped prepare the meal, it may give him a sense of accomplishment, which will increase his self-esteem.
  5. It encourages the development of communication and collaboration skills. If you and your child are baking a cake, you have to talk about what you are doing, such as measuring flour or stirring batter. You must also work together to assemble the cake.

Learning through Meal Prepping: Five Benefits of Encouraging Children to Pack Their Own Lunches

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Letting children assist with packing their own lunches can be beneficial. You can teach your children about responsibility and portion control and boost their creativity and decision-making skills by inviting your children into the kitchen with you for a lesson. Here are five benefits of allowing children to help prepare their own lunches.

It emphasizes portion control. Bento-box lunch containers are an easy and exceptionally helpful tool for teaching your child about portion sizes and meal organization. When your children select their lunch items with you, provide them with a bento-box container and explain what healthy meal portions look like. They can use the bento box to pack their lunches, which helps them visualize and be aware of the portion sizes they are packing.

It introduces the importance of nutrition. Your children’s favorite go-to treats, such as fruit snacks and cookies, don’t necessarily make some of the healthiest snacks. When they’re in the kitchen with you, teach them about what the key food groups are and how those food groups keep their minds and bodies well nourished. Provide different vegetables, fruits, proteins, grains and dairy products, and let them choose what to put into their lunch bags. Guide them to pack meals with all the food groups.

It aids in independent learning and decision making. When your children are preparing their lunches with you in the kitchen, give them options for what to pack. Allow them to choose from two or three different things. Do they want a chicken sandwich, a turkey sandwich or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Do they want carrots or cucumbers? Do they want strawberries, apples or grapes? Once they decide, let them gather and pack their choices, and then help them focus on the next food group. Once you establish a routine, they will make quicker decisions. Picking their own meals lets them feel independent and accomplished.

It boosts creativity and introduces the art of cooking.
Getting your children into the kitchen at a young age helps them start cooking and learning the steps it takes to create a meal. Instead of providing them with premade and wrapped turkey sandwiches, let them make some with you. Start by letting them select the bread, get out the condiments and select the meat, cheese and toppings they want on their delicious sandwiches. This shows them how much time, effort, creativity and skill it takes to make a proper lunch.

It teaches responsibility, routines and time management. Whether you pack meals after dinner or after your children get home from school, make sure to schedule a meal-preparation time that works best for your family. Meet in the kitchen at your designated time, and start preparing the lunches. By establishing a routine, such as meeting every night or twice a week at 7 PM, you will be familiarizing your children with following a schedule, helping them plan meals. If you want to make meal preparation more fun, consider getting a small chalkboard or whiteboard to keep in your kitchen. Have your children write out the days of the week and the foods they want in their lunchboxes each day. This can keep you organized, and it encourages your children to start planning meals.

How to Make Your Own Slime

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Slime can be a great teaching tool that incorporates STEAM learning. Help your children learn about science by creating slime with them. Use technology to research slime recipes, and use math to measure out ingredients.

Try this recipe for making slime, and then use the slime for the fun activities below.

  • Use slime to teach your children about shapes. You can create more than one batch of slime. Use one batch to demonstrate things to do with slime, and encourage your children to use the other batches to mimic your actions;
  • Make silly slime masterpieces. Encourage your little ones to use food coloring, confetti, glitter, various buttons and other trinkets to decorate the slime;
  • Optimize the use of sensory learning. Incorporate scents by adding scented food coloring or essential oils, and ask your children how the different smells make them feel. For example, ask how a discreet calming scent makes them feel compared to a more distinct scent;
  • Boost your children’s exploration skills by having them search for hidden items in the slime;
  • Strengthen your children’s gross motor skills by working with them to imprint objects into the slime, such as letters or numbers.

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Screen Time Guidelines for Summer Break

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Searching for a summer camp program? A high-quality summer camp provides fun, hands-on activities that aren’t reliant upon technology. Technology may be used to enhance the activities, but screen time is used sparingly. To limit how much screen time your child has this summer, follow the steps below to create a reward system at home.

  1. Select readily available tokens that your child cannot easily access, such as stickers or playing cards.
  2. Think of some helpful tasks that your child can do around the house. Tell her that she can earn a reward for each task she completes without being told to do it. Examples include cleaning up after herself, bringing in the mail, feeding the pets and setting the table. Explain the concept of exchanging the token for a prize or privilege. This system will also help your child learn and understand the concept of spending money to purchase a product.
  3. Explain to your child that each time she wants screen time, she must hand in one of her tokens. Set a time limit for each token that is suitable for the age of your child. For example, one token could equal ten minutes of screen time. You may want to set a limit for the number of tokens that your child can use each day. Write down these rules and explain them well to stop any arguments before they start.
  4. Let your child know that if she has no tokens, she will have to do more chores to earn screen time.

Your little ones will be so excited to earn their tokens that they will not realize how many helpful tasks they are completing.

Goddard School Preschoolers And Families Learn How To Make A Difference On Earth Day

The Goddard School®, the nation’s best-in-class preschool system, is proud to showcase the importance of environmental conservation through its month-long Root for Earth event, which is designed to teach children about daily environmental impacts and give busy families realistic tips for making a difference.

Preschoolers will participate in a new challenge this year to illustrate the environmental effect of single-use plastics. They will upcycle a month’s worth of single-use plastics into works of art to show how much plastic waste they saved. Each creation will be featured on The Goddard School’s national Facebook page, and members of the public can vote for their favorite project from April 22 through April 26. Winners will be announced April 29.

To demonstrate how children can make a difference, preschoolers will plant gardens, participate in recycled runway fashion shows, try glow-in-the-dark yoga and enjoy other eco-friendly projects inspired by science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. On Earth Day, Goddard Schools across the country will turn off all non-essential lighting for one hour to save nearly four million watts of energy. Since 2011, this Lights Out! initiative has saved up to 25.3 million watts of energy.

“Root for Earth provides students with a great opportunity to focus on the importance of caring for our environment through engaging STEAM lessons,” said Dr. Craig Bach, vice president of education at Goddard Systems, Inc., franchisor of The Goddard School. “Equipping children with the knowledge and leadership skills to meet future environmental challenges is imperative.”

How to Make a No-Sew T-Shirt Tote Bag

The average American family takes home about 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year. If you could stack them all up length-wise, they would be as tall as a 254-story skyscraper, which is 94 stories taller than the tallest building in the world! During Root for Earth, which takes place from April 1 to April 22 this year, we are educating children on the impact single-use plastics have on the environment and brainstorming alternatives to these plastics. Say no to plastic bags by making your own no-sew t-shirt tote bag at home and using it on your next shopping trip!

Materials

  • Old t-shirt
  • Fabric scissors
  • Black marker
  • Ruler

Instructions

  1. Lay the t-shirt flat.
  2. Fold the shirt in half, making sure the sleeves line up.
  3. Cut off the sleeves, cutting along the inside of the seams. If you don’t have fabric scissors, you can cut the sleeves off individually using regular scissors.
  4. Lay the t-shirt flat again so that the front of the shirt is facing up.
  5. To cut out the neck of the shirt, place a plate on the top of the shirt so that half of it covers the neck. Using a marker, trace around the edge of the plate. Then cut along the line and remove the neck of the shirt.
  6. Turn the shirt inside out and lay it flat again. Make sure the bottom edges are even and smooth.
  7. Using a ruler, measure 3.5” up from the bottom of the shirt on each side. Mark the measurement on each side with the marker.
  8. Measure horizontally along the bottom of the shirt, making a hash mark every half inch.
  9. Cut the bottom of the shirt, cutting along each half-inch hash mark up to the 3.5” hash mark. Do that all the way across the bottom of the shirt so that you’re left with 3.5”-long strips.
  10. Starting on the left side, tie each pair of strips together all the way across the bottom of the shirt.
  11. To close the gaps between the knots, starting again on the left side, tie the top strip to the bottom of the adjacent strip. Make sure to tie each knot tightly.
  12. Once the second row of knots is complete, tie a double knot on each end to reinforce them.
  13. Turn the shirt “inside in” so that the knots are inside the bag, and your bag is ready to use!

 

*An adult should oversee all activities. Activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

8 Ways to Make a Weekend at Home Feel Like a Family Vacation

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You don’t need to go anywhere to capture the vacation vibe.

Spring and summer school breaks are coming up, and while many of my friends hop on the first plane, train, or rental car outta the city year after year, my family and I have found ourselves stuck at home many times in the past. The thing is: We’re all feeling it, the vacation itch. That’s why I like to bring the vacation vibe to us for special weekends. From decor to activities–and most of all, mindset!–we make weekends at home feel like the best family vacation ever.

Unplug

This is a tough one (at my house, anyway), but at least try. Put your phones, tablets, and computers in a drawer–padlocked if necessary–and spend the weekend like you’re on a desert island, devoid of news updates, texts, and annoying robocalls. You will survive, and maybe even feel refreshed.

Change the Decor

Go nuts with colorful flowers and funky lighting, and hide your regular artwork and rugs to take “your house” out of your house. So maybe you’re not at a fancy hotel in the Swiss Alps, but you’ll barely recognize your digs and will have a blast setting up (and then luxuriating in) this alternate universe.

Eat Exotic Foods

Roll your own pasta (it’s not as hard as it sounds!) and toss in a little Puttanesca sauce to bring the flavors of Naples to your kitchen. If you’d prefer to take a break from cooking, order a lavish Mediterranean meal or a Spanish feast if there’s a tapas restaurant in town, or get something decadent online, like Russian caviar. And don’t stop there. Go the extra mile by bringing in exotic dessert or candy to go with it. After a wedge of Turkish Baklava or a box of Baci (y’know, the delicious Italian chocolates that come with a message inside), you’ll feel like you spent the day anywhere but home.

Switch It Up

Do you usually eat dinner in the dining room? Try a picnic on the bedroom floor. Maybe you’ll get leave some crumbs, but that’s what the vacuum is for. Similarly, skip your queen-sized bed and have a slumber party in the living room or under the kitchen table (maybe vacuum first, in this scenario).

Bring Camping to You

If you have a yard or garden, pitch a tent out there and eat dinner under the stars before cozying up to sleep. Once you’re zipped inside a tent, you really won’t notice if you’re in your yard or atop the Rocky Mountains. This way has some added conveniences in that you can wash your hands after they get covered in s’mores and the beer will stay cold in the fridge.

Have a Rave

Glow sticks: check. Bubbles: check. Techno: Well, my daughter will make sure it’s Selena Gomez–but, check. If you can’t make it to Ibiza this summer, turn out the lights, have a fashion contest to see who can come up with the wildest outfit, and boogie down till sunrise.

Throw a Film Festival

Pick a theme, from beach movies to French thrillers, and hunker down for a lazy weekend of nothin’ but movies. Create a themed cocktail or amuse-bouche for each film and see if you can borrow a projector from a friend to get the full experience. To really build a retro vibe of a drive-in movie experience, serve a classic snack like Entenmanns’s Minis Apple Snack Pies–what’s more of an American staple than apple pie made by a baked goods company founded in 1898?

Make It a Spa Weekend

Go to Sephora and load up on sheet masks, then start lighting scented candles, ripping off rose petals, and running a hot bubble bath. If you really want to feel decadent, find a local masseuse who does house calls and turn those muscles to mush in the comfort of your own home.

*This piece is sponsored by Entenmann’s.

 

This article was written by Alex Richards from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

5 Ways to Make Tough Conversations with Kids Easier

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1. Time it right.

Weekend mornings are preferable because you’re not rushing to get everyone out the door and your kids can return to you—and the topic—if they have more questions or fears later in the day. Many kids (and grownups) are grouchy and exhausted by the evening.

“And even if your kids seem to be in a great mood, a drowsy brain can’t take in information as well, and any tears or anxious questions make it hard to wind down for sleep,” says Dawn Huebner, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of the self-help children’s book

2. Rehearse beforehand.

If the situation is emotional for you—for example, your pet needs to be put down or someone in your family is sick—take time to practice what you’re going to say, either in front of a mirror or with your partner or a close friend. That will help you keep your composure and deliver the news in the way that you want, says Dr. Huebner. “It’s okay for kids to see that their parents are sad, but the initial conversation sets the tone, and if you’re sobbing or stumbling over your words, your children may feel frightened.”

3. Speak on their level.

Complex concepts such as moving, divorce, or death are difficult for children to comprehend, says Paige Greytok, a family psychotherapist in Greenwich, Connecticut. If you flood your kids with all the nitty-gritty details, they may get overwhelmed or shut down. Instead, use short and straightforward sentences with age-appropriate explanations.

4. Validate in the moment.

Labeling emotions can help your young child put words to whatever feelings bubble up. For instance, you can say, “It sounds like that makes you sad” or “Is that scary?” But resist the urge to jump into fix-it mode. “It’s tempting to minimize feelings by saying something like ‘Don’t be afraid,’ but remember, whatever your child is feeling is real and valid to her,” says Dr. Huebner. “Children need to ‘feel felt’ before they can move on to things like processing and problem solving.”

5. Check back in.

The conversation isn’t over when it ends, points out Greytok. With a hard topic, kids will have further questions, so make it clear that you’re always available to discuss this again and that they can come to you with any questions or worries, big or small.

 

This article was written by Kate Rockwood from Parents and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Sneaky Ways to Make a House Kid-Friendly

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Anyone else’s home victim to a messy (albeit adorable) tornado of a child? Same. But today we’re here to remind you that you don’t have to sacrifice on style to master function. Take this apartment by designer Jess Gersten: While luxe and immaculate at first glance, every last decision was made with her tiny clients (a six-month-old boy and three-year-old girl) in mind. Lucky for you, we’re spilling her secret pro tips below. 

Courtesy of Jessica Gersten Interiors

ROUND-EDGE FURNITURE

No bumps and bruises in this tactile living room. Every piece of furniture that lands at toddler eye level or below was selected for its soft edges. See: the circular glass coffee table, the twin club chairs, the wooden accent table, the mid-century lounger.

Courtesy of Jessica Gersten Interiors

WOOD

Gersten relied heavily on hardwood furnishings, which are super hard-wearing, impervious to stains and easy to wipe down in a pinch. (Also, no need to put a needs-to-vacuumed rug beneath a dining table when you’ve got those gorgeous floors.)

Courtesy of Jessica Gersten Interiors

LEATHER (& FAUX LEATHER) UPHOLSTERY

The one question to ask yourself: Is this easy to wipe clean? The foyer bench seat is sealed leather, which makes it a safe spot for the kids to kick off their shoes after coming inside from the park. In the living room, the cushions and seat backs on the sofa sectional are also clad in easy-wipe faux leather.

Courtesy of Jessica Gersten Interiors

VINYL WALLPAPER

Wall treatments are a gorgeous design statement—but they’re easy prey for grubby fingers and errant magic markers. The solution? Easy-wipe vinyl wallpaper from Elitis, which Gersten used across accent walls in all the bedrooms.

Courtesy of Jessica Gersten Interiors

WOOL RUGS

We know what you’re thinking: Beige rugs in a kid zone?!  But all of the pale carpeting in this home is strategically 100 percent wool. Fun fact: Wool is effectively stain-repellant thanks to the natural lanolin oils in its fibers. Translation: Wool doesn’t soak up spills like other materials do—and it’s the easiest material to steam clean as needed.

Courtesy of Jessica Gersten Interiors

DOUBLE DUTY DECOR

Think fashion and function when it comes to pieces they’ll outgrow. The teepee in the girl’s room, for example, is both a fun design note as well as storage solution and activity hot spot. In addition to a cute indoor playhouse, toys and mess can be quickly tucked inside at cleanup time. 

Courtesy of Jessica Gersten Interiors

KID ‘ZONES’

Keep the messiest activities (see: snack time, arts and crafts) to a designated spot for a solid defense against major messes. This child-size Jens Risom dining set is the first place these kiddos flock to because they have ownership over it—and it makes them feel like tiny grown-ups!

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.