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Birthday Party Theme Ideas

Your little one is year older and super excited about the upcoming birthday party. It must be the most awesome party in the whole class. Here are a few themes that can make any birthday party tons of fun and entertaining.

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  • Zoo or safari theme
    • Adults can paint animal faces on younger children. Be sure to use the appropriate type of face paint.
    • Encourage all the children to come dressed as their favorite animal.
    • Have themed cake or cupcakes with zoo animal faces.
    • Set up some of your child’s stuffed animals around the house and walk through a safari path that you have made, pointing out the animals as you go.

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  • Luau theme
    • Hand out grass skirts to guests as they arrive.
    • Set up a tiki bar with various flavors of fruit punch.
    • Demonstrate a simple luau dance and encourage all the guests to learn how to do it.
    • Give all the children a goodie bag with items that they can use at the beach for their next family vacation.

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  • Circus theme
    • If you have a family pet, get creative and present a lion taming show with your pet.
    • Find a long piece of wood with no rough edges or use a few old shoe boxes taped together to make a small balance beam. Assist your aspiring acrobats across.
    • Set up games like pin the tail on the donkey, ring toss or a water balloon toss if it’s warm outside.
    • For those daring parents, set up a pie-throwing Children will always remember the birthday party where they were able to throw some pie.

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Additional creative themes include a fantasy land, a scientist’s laboratory, an undersea adventure, a spaceflight, a pirate’s treasure hunt or a prehistoric-period adventure with dinosaurs and fossils.

New Year’s Resolutions

The start of every new year brings the excitement of the unknown and offers the opportunity for reflection on the year that has passed. The idea of a clean slate, even a new beginning, gives us the opportunity to create goals that we want to accomplish over the course of the next year.

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In 2018, you can make creating New Year’s resolutions a family event. Give your children a pen and paper for them to write out three goals that they want to accomplish. You can ask questions to help get them started:

  • What hobby, sport or instrument do you like?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • How many books did you read this year?

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While they develop their goals, work on a few of your own. Make this time together a chance for your children to experience your “grown-up” life. When all of you are all finished writing out your New Year’s resolutions, take turns reading them out loud to each other. Reasonable, well-thought-out goals can empower your children to achieve something that they had not considered before.

Tack up your lists on a pin board or put them on the fridge. Review them occasionally throughout the year to see how everyone is doing. At the year’s end, have a celebration, whether you hit your goals or not, and start planning for next year!

Helping Children Cope with Divorce

It can be difficult for children to deal with their parents’ divorce. Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and member of The Goddard School Educational Advisory Board, offers four things to keep in mind when helping children cope with divorce.

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  1. Although the stigma of divorce stings less these days, partly because it is so common, children almost never think it is as good an idea as the parents who seek it. Don’t insult them by trying to talk them into agreeing with your point of view about its benefits or its hazards. Children, especially the young ones, love having their families together and often feel anxious, angry and saddened when they begin to come apart.
  2. Most parents work at separating and divorcing without traumatizing their children. Children often recover from this loss without serious emotional scarring and with their ability to trust in relationships intact, especially when parents acknowledge how their children are feeling about this event and when children trust the adults to hear them out and love them through it.
  3. One of the most difficult aspects of divorce to young children, besides a change in family income and lifestyle that may accompany a divorce, is the threat to (or in some cases the end of) their parents’ friendship with each other. This particular loss may leave children feeling more alone and worried that they might be next.
  4. Boys and girls typically respond differently to divorce. Boys show their distress more obviously with behavioral, school or social troubles. Girls may seem okay at first with few outward signs of distress but may suffer the effects later when they enter their first close relationship and feel overwhelmed by self-doubt, suspiciousness and fear of abandonment.

GODDARD SYSTEMS MAKES ANNUAL DONATION OF TOYS TO TOYS FOR TOTS

Franchisor of National Play-Based Preschool Donates 230 Toys Following the 2017 Toy Test.

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the national franchisor of The Goddard School preschool system, is pleased to announce that it surpassed last year’s donation to Toys for Tots by 50 toys.

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Two hundred and thirty toys, including 100 of this year’s winning Toy Test toy, Melissa & Doug Star Diner Restaurant Play Set, were donated to Toys for Tots this year to help Toys for Tots fulfill its mission of providing gifts to less-fortunate children during the holiday season.

GSI employees donated 130 toys, which is up from the 80 toys donated in 2016.

Following the November announcement of the winning Toy Test toy, GSI purchased 100 Melissa & Doug Star Diner Restaurant Play Sets to donate to Toys for Tots. Every year, GSI purchases 100 of the winning Toy Test toy and donates the toys to the program, which is run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve.

Since 2008, Goddard Schools have hosted an annual Toy Test to determine the best educational toys of the year with help from the most discerning toy critics: preschoolers. The Goddard School Toy Test Committee evaluates dozens of toys submitted by the world’s most popular toy manufacturers every year. Committee members select educational toys that best support child-initiated play and collaboration, among other criteria, to pass to the next round of judging. Preschoolers from 50 Goddard School locations nationwide then play with the toys, and their teachers help them select the top 10 toys. The public then votes on the best toy from the 10 finalists to select a winner. 

“Fun, interactive programs like our annual Goddard School Preschooler-Approved Toy Test are successful because they allow children to think critically while developing their social, creativity and collaboration skills,” said Dr. Craig Bach, GSI’s Vice President of Education. “This experience provides children with the opportunity to engage with the top educational products on the market that are aligned with The Goddard School’s philosophy of learning through play.”

Past preschooler-approved Toy Test winners include Laser Pegs, K’NEX, Learning Resources and the 2016 Toy Test winner, the John Deere’s Gearation Board.

For more information on The Goddard School and the Preschooler-Approved Toy Test, please visit www.goddardschool.com/toytest.

 

Hot Chocolate Recipe

A cold winter night and a cup of hot cocoa fit perfectly together for any occasion. Have a cozy night at home with your little one and share some silly stories over a cup of hot chocolate. Turn off all the lights except one and make shadows on the walls with your hands to put on a shadow-puppet show with your child. Read stories together or make up your own tales!

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Spice up your cup by following this recipe!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 2 packs of cocoa mix
  • A handful of mini-marshmallows
  • A dash of cinnamon
  • A topping of whipped cream

Directions

Heat up a cup of milk and add two packs of cocoa mix for that extra-delicious chocolate taste. Then, mix your ingredients well. Next, add a handful of marshmallows and a dash of cinnamon. Finish with a squirt of whipped cream on top.

What are your children’s favorite additions to their hot chocolate?

Increasing Self-Esteem

Encourage self-esteem in your children so that they grow up to make confident decisions. Being confident will allow your children to get back up after being knocked down by something not going their way, such as not making a sports team or getting a bad grade on a test.

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Here are some tips to help boost self-esteem:

  1. Give your children options. Choosing from options helps children learn to make their own decisions at an early age.
  2. Assign age-appropriate tasks. Ask your children to help around the house to teach them to contribute to their team.
  3. Let your children dress themselves. Let them use their skills to complete simple tasks like picking out an outfit or buttoning and zippering their clothes.
  4. Refrain from praising your children. It’s great to let them know when they do something awesome, but instead of telling them how great it was, tell them why it was great. Include the details of why their painting is spectacular or why you appreciate how they did their chores.
  5. Let your children see that you enjoy spending time with them. We all have busy, hectic lives, and sometimes we forget how important our affection is to our children. Plan weekly time with your child and plan the things you will do together each week. Consider visiting the local library, going on nature hikes or cooking a new recipe. Planning a specified time will give you and your child something to anticipate each week.

What are some ways that you try to boost self-esteem in your child?

Apple Ring Cookies

Give snack time some healthy zest with these apple ring cookies!

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Ingredients

  • 1 apple
  • Your choice of nut- or seed-based butter
  • Raisins
  • Sliced almonds
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Shredded coconut

Slice apple into thin rings and remove core from each ring. Spread nut butter on one side of ring. Top with almonds, walnuts, raisins and coconut. Feel free to substitute chocolate chips for the raisins and/or chocolate-hazelnut spread for the nut butter.

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities. Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Making Mornings Easier

Getting ourselves ready for work, our children ready for school and our pets ready for a day alone in the house can create a ton of stress in the morning and cause us to forget important steps in our morning ritual. For example, have you ever forgotten to send your child to school with a lunch or to take your dog out and later come home to a mess on the floor?

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Follow these steps the night before to help your mornings work seamlessly.

  1. Choose and lay out your outfit and accessories and assist your children in doing the same. You might want to try on outfits before bed to ensure you’ll be satisfied with them in the morning.
  2. Pack lunches for the whole family. It’s a great idea to encourage your children to help with their lunches, which will help teach them
  3. Check that their homework is done, and that any outstanding papers or permission slips are signed.
  4. Premeasure your pet’s food for the morning, making it quick and easy to place in their bowl.
  5. Put a list of things that need to be finished in the morning on your refrigerator and check it off so you don’t forget anything critical.

What are your family’s before-bed rituals that help your mornings run more smoothly?

 

Toys for Tots Donation 2017!

Each year Goddard Systems, Inc. holds a collection for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. In addition to the toys collected from our employees at the corporate office, Goddard Systems purchased and donated 100 of the winning toy from our Preschooler-Approved Toy Test, the Melissa & Doug® Star Diner Restaurant Play Set!

Thank you to all of those who donated and those who helped vote for our top toy! We wish everyone a very happy holiday!

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Pictured from left: Bob Scopinich, CFO; Rich Agar, VP, Operations; Craig Bach, VP, Education; Joe Schumacher, CEO; Jim DiRugeris, VP, Franchise Development; Renee Benedict, VP, Information Technology and Paul Koulogeorge, VP, Marketing, Advertising & PR.

 

Jogging Memories with a Journal

As your children begin to learn to write, encourage them to keep a journal. This practice will enhance their arithmetic skills while allowing them to create memories from their childhood. Many of us might not have clear memories of when we were young. By encouraging your little ones to record their favorite remembrances and exciting milestones, they will have pages of memories on which to reminisce.

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Begin by asking your children to write a great, funny or inspiring thing that happens to them each day. Doing this will also boost their moods by noting uplifting things that are surfacing in their lives.