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Frozen Bananas

Beat the heat with this delicious summer treat!

Frozen Bananas

You Will Need

Bananas

Popsicle Sticks

Nut or Seed Butter

Chocolate Syrup

Honey

Trail Mix

Granola

Chopped Nuts

Parchment Paper

  1. Peel a banana and cut it into two pieces.
  2. Insert a Popsicle stick in the flat end of each piece of banana.
  3. Use a butter knife or spatula to cover the banana with your choice of nut or seed butter; honey or chocolate syrup.
  4. Roll in granola, trail mix or chopped nuts.
  5. Place the bananas on a tray covered with parchment paper and freeze.

Children will “go bananas” for this fun frozen treat!

Get Your Kids to Spring Clean With You

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It’s springtime, and many of us will be taking on spring cleaning tasks like washing the windows or deep cleaning our kitchen appliances. Many spring cleaning tasks involve heavy lifting and require stronger cleaning solutions than we use for our day-to-day chores, making them less than ideal for kids to help with. But there are some tasks that are suited to doing with your children, should you want to get them involved in your spring cleaning routine.

We take spring cleaning very seriously at Lifehacker. Far be it from us to let an opportunity to refresh, reorganize, and declutter our homes lives pass us by. We’re also pretty psyched to hit the reset button on our tech usage, take a close look at our finances, and give the heave-ho to the day-to-day habits that have gotten a little musty. Welcome to Spring Cleaning Week, wherein we clear the cobwebs of winter and set the stage for sunny days ahead. Let’s clean things up, shall we?

A few general tips to consider: First, take the time to clearly explain and/or demonstrate the task ahead. Sure, it will add a little time to the process, but it will also help them learn, and save you from having to do their work over. Speaking of doing the work over: Try to avoid that if you can so you don’t inadvertently send a message that their best wasn’t good enough. It’s also a great idea to get them dressed for the job at hand—have them wear old or sturdy clothes that you won’t mind getting dirty. And, of course, you’ll want to take into account the age and skill level of your child, as well as any other concerns like allergies or respiratory problems that may make it less than ideal for them to participate in a given task.

Washing the Car

It’s my personal opinion that washing a car is one of the most fun chores around and when the weather turns, it’s a great job to get the kids involved in.

Start with the interior and have them help sort through any trash and recycling that are cluttering up the car, take out any stuff like toys or a stray sneaker or books that need to be returned to their rightful home. Then, have the kids use a handheld vacuum to vacuum the seats and floors.

Once the interior is clean, the real fun can begin! Washing a car’s exterior isn’t rocket science, but there are a few best practices to know: Work from the top down; wash and dry the car in sections so that soap and water residue doesn’t dry onto the car as you work, leaving sudsy residue and water spots; use car wash soap instead of dish soap, which can dull the car’s clear coat.

Dusting Baseboards

The great thing about turning kids loose on the baseboards is that they’re already low to the ground anyway! Plus, dusting baseboards requires nothing more than microfiber, like this dusting cloth from Casabella, which makes it perfect for kids—no harsh chemical products, no sloshing buckets of cleaning solution, just a rag and some crawling action are all that’s required.

Vacuuming Furniture

You can add a little extra fun to this chore by letting your kid keep any change they find hidden in the cushions. The job is easy and can/should certainly involve making a pillow fort out of couch and chair cushions, decorative pillows and throw blankets as you take them off the frame of the furniture. Then, put the upholstery or crevice attachment on the vacuum for your kids and have them do the honors, starting with vacuuming the frame, then giving the cushions and pillows a good THWAMPING to redistribute stuffing and knock out dust. Then, replace the cushions and vacuum them as well. Finally, launder blankets and throw pillows if needed.

Doorknobs and Lightswitch Plates

This is an easy little task that only a rag or paper towels and a small amount of a gentle all-purpose cleaner: Have kids wipe off doorknobs and light switch plates—which, by dint of being touched all the time, get quite grimey and germy—going room by room. You can divvy it up by room or give one kid doorknob duty and another light switch duty and have them count to see which one you have more of in your home, to make it a little bit more game-like.

Cleaning and Organizing a Bookshelf

Bookshelves, like baseboards, get quite dusty but deep cleaning really only requires a good microfiber cloth, making it a good task for kids to help with. Remove all the books and knick-knacks from shelves and work from the top down, since dust will travel south as you clean. Smaller kids can be tasked with wiping books off while taller kids can work on the bookcase itself. Then, have the kids pitch in with putting everything away by having them organize books by color, or alphabetically by author.

Washing Trash Cans

Trash cans and recycling bins get super dirty, even if you’re diligent about always using liners. While you don’t need to clean them regularly, it’s not a bad idea to wash them out once or twice a year, and it’s a great job to do outside on a nice day. Much like washing a car, it can be a lot of fun for kids to splash around with a bucket of sudsy water and/or a hose. A large car washing sponge, dish soap, water and a rag for drying are really all that’s needed for the job, and you can have the kids start by finding all the trash cans and recycling bins in the house, emptying them if they’re full, then bringing them all outside to be washed. Once they’re clean, dry them using a rag (an old bath towel would be perfect here) and have the kids bring them back inside to be put away.

 

This article was written by shared by Jolie Kerr to Lifehacker and Jolie Kerr on Offspring from Lifehacker and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

A Trick to Teach Kids Compassion

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It’s easy to conclude that people generally suck. Don’t they, though? There’s the driver who cut you off, the lady who appears out of nowhere to swipe the last Costco sample off the tray when you’ve been waiting patiently in line, the “friend” who’s forgotten your birthday three years in a row. I get why we’d assume others just aren’t trying.

But this, of course, is a damaging outlook to take. It closes us off from connection, and makes us cranky and bitter. As a parent, I want to teach my daughter to view others with compassion over judgment—a tough skill to learn, but one that will serve her every day. Sabina Nawaz, writing for Harvard Business Review, shares an activity that I like a lot. She and her kids play what they call Multiple Meanings, a simple people-watching game that promotes empathy. Here’s how it works:

We take turns creating stories from observations of people and events on trips to and from school. For example, if we see a man walking rapidly on the sidewalk with tattooed arms and a sleeveless vest, we might make up a story that he’s late for work because his car broke down, so he’s walking fast to get help. Maybe he owns a tattoo parlor across the bridge and is a walking advertisement for his business. Or maybe he’s meeting someone in the park and is running late. Our children then use the skill when they’re upset about something at home or at school. This is especially helpful when my sons argue and come to me for mediation. To reduce the heat in the conflict, I ask: “What other meanings can you make about why your brother borrowed your Lego airplane?” The goal is to be able to calm themselves down and be more empathetic, so they approach someone else with curiosity instead of judgment.

We often teach kids to mind their own business. But what if we didn’t? What if we taught them to wonder about people, even those who might hurt them? What if we reminded them that everyone is fighting a hard battle? What if will pushed them to challenge their assumptions and give others the benefit of the doubt—or even better, ask them about their lives? In Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong, she asks her husband if he believes people are doing the best they can. His response was this: “I don’t know. I really don’t. All I know is that my life is better when I assume that people are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgment and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.” That is exactly it.

With your kids, help them use their natural love for stories to come up with their own narratives for the toddler throwing a tantrum in the grocery store, the man who’s getting upset at the bank or the bully in the book their reading. In the end, the story they’re changing will be their own.

 

This article was written by shared by Michelle Woo to Lifehacker and Michelle Woo on Offspring from Lifehacker and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Don’t Have Time to Exercise? Do it With Your Kids

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As a working mom with a to-do list longer than the refrigerator, trying to find time to workout and raise happy, healthy children is nearly impossible. But who says you have to compartmentalize exercising and parenting? By exercising as a family, you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Staying Fit as a Family

Unless you’re a professional athlete or trainer who works out for a living, exercise shouldn’t be something you separate from the rest of your life. Between work and other responsibilities, you’re already away from your children enough. By bringing them into your workout routine, you can spend quality time with them and stay fit.

There are numerous advantages associated with working out with kids. One of the biggest benefits is that it helps your kids see exercise as normal and healthy, as opposed to something that’s strange and unsatisfactory.

“Not only is including your kid in your workouts an effective way for him or her to have positive associations with exercise, it’s a great way for you to remember that working out shouldn’t always be a chore. So many adults are focused on sets and reps, when they could really benefit from playing,” trainer Naomi Nazario writes in Men’s Health..

The question is, how do you exercise with your kids in a manner that’s safe, effective, and challenging for all ages? The following suggestions may help:

Go For Walks Before or After Dinner

One of the easiest ways to get exercise is to take a nightly walk, either before or after dinner. While this isn’t rigorous exercise, it’s enough to get your blood flowing. Even more importantly, it provides an outlet for having conversations and seeing how your kids are doing on a heart level.

Play Games on the Trampoline

Older kids may enjoy neighborhood walks, but younger kids will get bored pretty quickly. Switch things up to keep each of your children fully engaged.

One idea is to play around on the trampoline – which is an extremely good platform for exercise. It engages your muscles and builds core strength. If you have a trampoline in your backyard, jump together. Don’t have a trampoline? Visit a local trampoline park and play games like H-O-R-S-E or dodgeball. This probably isn’t something you’ll do every day, but it’s a good weekly activity to mix things up.

Play Sports in the Backyard

If you have athletic kids who play sports – or even kids who like the idea of sports – you can get some really good exercise in by playing various games in the backyard or driveway.

For example, you and your kids can have a lot of fun playing basketball, kickball, or even four square. Over time, these may even become family traditions.

Create Fitness Competitions

Kids love competition. If you’re able to make fitness into a game, you’re much more likely to get your children involved on a regular basis. One idea is to have a weekly competition. Something as simple as the loser of a round of a game having to do certain exercises can result in a great workout.

Watch YouTube Workout Videos

As your kids get older and become more interested in organized workout routines, you may think about doing YouTube workout videos together. YouTube has a huge collection of workout videos from both amateurs and professional trainers. They’re free and can be accessed on demand in your own living room.

Finding Balance in Your Life

If you spend too much time working out on your own, you won’t have much of a relationship with your children. If you don’t workout enough, you’ll be unhealthy. Life is all about balance, and you need to look for ways to balance parenting and fitness. As this article shows, a little tweaking makes it possible to do both.

 

This article was written by Emily Green from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Celebrating Moms, Dads, Grandparents and All Who Raise Children! – Lee Scott

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Lee Scott, Chair of The Goddard School’s Education Advisory Board and early education programming expert talks about celebrating Moms, Dads, Grandparents and All Who Raise Children!

It is spring and a great time to celebrate all those who parent children, whether they be moms, dads, stepparents, aunts, uncles, grandparents or others.

Families today come in all forms. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2016 report, the majority of America’s children live in families with two parents (69 percent). The report does not distinguish parent types such as biological parents, same-sex parents, or stepparents. Single parents comprise 23 percent of households with children followed by those headed by grandparents, other relatives, or foster parents.

Children learn about Mother’s and Father’s Day celebrations through their school, television programs and advertisements, and/or friends. It may be confusing or awkward for some children if their parents are not the stereotypical mom and dad. We can support these celebrations by broadening our appreciation for all parents. We then shift the focus of the celebration to parenting and not on the type of parent.

There are many fun ways to celebrate these special days. Try the classic homemade card expressing appreciation for the parents or a special breakfast prepared by the children. These gifts still work today as they did in the early 1900s when the days became official. Neither has to be elaborate. The fun is watching the children make and share their creations.

Another wonderful way to share appreciation for parents is through storytelling. Spend time as a family sharing stories of the past and present, which provide children with a sense of belonging and connecting to family and the world around them. You can also read books about parents and families. Here are five of my favorites that celebrate all parents:

  1. Oh My Baby, Little One, Kathi Appelt and Jane Dyer

A mother’s love is carried throughout a young child’s day, ending with the celebration of being together again. The story helps children and parents with separation anxiety.

  1. Who’s in My Family?: All About Our Families, Robie H. Harris and Nadine Bernard Westcott

A trip to the zoo helps two children learn about all types of families. They explore not only the animals but also all the families visiting the zoo.

  1. Mommy, Mama, and Me, Leslea Newman and Carol Thompson

This book is fun because it goes through daily routines in a playful, rhyming manner. Great for young ones! There is also one titled Daddy, Papa, and Me.

  1. The Family Book, Todd Parr

The book focuses on how families, although often very different, are alike in love and caring for each other. This is my go-to book for beginning conversations about families, and I love the fun illustrations.

  1. Molly’s Family, Nancy Garden and Sharon Wooding

A young girl learns how to talk about her two-mom family in school. At first it is difficult, but her teacher helps along the way. Very helpful for giving children ways to answer the question: why do you have two mommies (or daddies)?

 

No matter what type of family you have, you can celebrate who you are on these special spring days.

Three Cute Craft Ideas for Father’s Day

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When you hear the term Father’s Day, what is the first thing you think of? Does “new tie” come to mind? That is one of the most common gifts and has become a traditional purchase around Father’s Day. Instead of going with the same old gift though, enlist the help of your favorite artist – your preschooler! Dad will be more excited to have a hand-crafted gift from his little pride and joy rather than a store-bought present. Here are three cute DIY gift ideas for Dad.

  1. Pencil holder

Gather a clean can or jar and some construction paper. Assist your child in cutting the construction paper to fit around the can and then help him glue the paper to the can. After the glue has dried, ask your child to draw pictures or place stickers on the can, encouraging his creativity. This is a great gift for Dad’s desk at work or at home.

  1. Stick photo frame

For this activity, you will need wooden craft sticks and a lively photo of your little one with Dad. Glue the sticks in the shape of a square (this step should be assisted by an adult), leaving a large enough space for the photo in the center. Once the glue has dried, encourage your child to decorate the frame with stickers or a message such as “I love you, Dad!” Then tape the photo face-down to the back side of the frame and it is complete!

  1. Create a book about Dad

On blank sheets of paper, write a statement about Dad on each page and ask your child to fill in the blanks. Depending on age, you can help your child with the writing portion of this step. Encourage your child to draw a picture that goes with the sentence on each page. Statements can include:

“This is what my dad looks like”

“The greatest thing about my dad is ________.”

“My dad is best at _______.”

“My dad’s favorite food is ______.”

“My favorite thing to do with my dad is _______.”

Bind the pages with staples or use a hole punch and bind the pages together by lacing ribbon through the holes.

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

 

Four Steps to Creating a Beautiful Children’s Library in Your Home

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When it comes to your home, every child’s personal library should be a happy place to retreat to. Refreshing your child’s library space isn’t a lengthy process, and it can be done quickly. If your child’s library is collecting dust or is simply needing a makeover, try these four tips to start building a beautiful children’s library right in your own home.

Clean out the clutter. A fresh start is often the best way to inspire a new vibe to your reading area at home. Remove all the books from the shelf and start to sift through them. Divide the books into two piles, books your children read often and ones they do not read often. You can toss out the books your children have outgrown or never touched; put them in a bag and donate them or give them to family or friends.

Always add new books to your children’s collection. Board books, concept books, fairy tales, picture books, rhythmic books and early readers. Figure out what you don’t have and explore from there. Make sure you have an assortment of various books so you can build a multifaceted collection for your children. Try to incorporate pieces that have a range of difficulty levels, an assortment of genres and a diversity of cultures and authors. In this way, when one of your children is in the mood for a different type of book to read, there will be many options.

Make their library fun and inviting with a warm atmosphere. Consider relocating the library to a place where it will get the most use. Whether it’s in their bedroom, playroom or family room, you want your children to be able to feel they can easily access their home library and stay a while. Motivate them to search and grab by putting books low on the shelf or at their eye level so they can take books easily and often. Don’t forget to create a reading nook with a comfy chair, bean bag or a soft rug for an inviting space for them to lounge and hang out once they have found books to delve into.

Continue to nurture the collection and reading space. As your children grow, continue to keep their library relevant, up to date and aesthetically pleasing. Clean out and add new books as their interests and reading levels change over time. Continue to add to their collection. Don’t be afraid to swap out old furniture, artwork and decor to keep them interested and curious. You always want to keep them fascinated about exploring their space. Sometimes rearranging and adding a few great books is all that’s needed.

Yoga for Kids

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Yoga promotes healthy activities for children. Instead of sitting on the couch watching your favorite television show, get up and move around with your child. Yoga introduces children to an active, non-competitive sport. In yoga, you are encouraged to move at your own pace, showing children that they don’t always need to compete to be the best; they just need to do their personal best. Yoga also teaches concentration and determination. Not everyone can do each pose perfectly the first time. It takes concentration to focus on breathing while performing a pose, and it takes determination to keep working at it until you get it right.

What are some of your child’s favorite yoga poses?

A Short List of Summertime Safety Essentials

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Have you found a summer camp program for your child yet? A high-quality summer camp often means spending a lot of time outside soaking up the sun and exploring the world. While outdoor play is a great way to keep children active and happy (and learning!), there are some summertime essentials every parent needs to protect their children from the potential hazards of summertime.

  • Sunscreen is necessary to protect your child’s skin from harmful sun damage;
  • Children should wear sunglasses to shield their eyes from the UVA and UVB rays;
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children wear a wide-brimmed hat that can shade the cheeks, chin, ears and back of the neck;
  • The AAP also recommends that children wear clothes made of tightly woven fabrics, such as cotton, which is protective and cool;
  • Insect repellent is another important tool in a summer safety arsenal. Current AAP and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines recommend using insect repellent that contains 10% to 30% DEET in children older than two months;
  • Have plenty of water on hand – even if an activity isn’t overly physical, children (and adults!) need to remain hydrated in hot weather.

 

How to Overcome Your Child’s Picky Eating Habits

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You were a picky eater when you were a child. Now your own child is, shall we say, highly discriminating on what he or she eats, too. Coincidence? A recent study says maybe not.

The study, by researchers from the University of Illinois, gathered information from the parents of 153 preschoolers. They found that while many factors can play a role in a child’s choosy eating, genes that are linked to a child’s sensory responses could be one of them.

What does this mean if you’re the parent of a picky eater? Do you simply throw up your hands and say it’s genetic?

Keep trying

Don’t give up on efforts to entice your child to eat a broader range of food, says Jennifer Hyland, RD, CSP, LD of Cleveland Clinic Children’s. It’s important to continue to expose children to new foods over time to get them to try them, she says.

There is a wide spectrum of behavior when it comes to picky eating, Ms. Hyland says. But for most children, picky eating does not go away on its own unless parents really work at it.

Research has shown it can take anywhere from 10 to 20 tries for a child to like a particular food, she says.

But you don’t want to force foods upon your child. Keep meals an enjoyable experience, Ms. Hyland says. One strategy is for parents to ask their children to take no-thank-you bites – which means they can say, “no thank you,” but they have to at least try the food. This leads to continued exposure, and over time, it’s hoped they will learn to develop a taste for these foods.

At meal time, Ms. Hyland says, it’s helpful to have at least one food on the plate that you know your child will eat. Also, but be sure to give everyone at the table the same foods.

“Try your best to cook the same meal for the whole family,” she says. “The child may not eat all of it, but it’s important that you encourage them to at least try, and that you set an example of trying these foods yourself, so that over time, they will learn to eat these foods.”

It begins during toddlerhood

It’s typical for picky eating to start during the toddler years, Ms. Hyland says.

“Normal picky-eating can start anywhere as early as age 2 or 3,” she says. “Usually during infancy, children are adventurous eaters and they’re trying new things. The picky eating really creeps up around the time they become toddlers. Parents will say, ‘My kid ate vegetables and they liked this and they liked that and now they don’t eat anything.’ We see that pretty frequently.” 

Should parents worry about a picky eater? If your child is underweight, you might be worried that your child isn’t getting enough nutrition. This results in parents giving their children whatever they want to eat to make sure they’re getting enough calories.

If this is you, it’s a  good time to meet with a registered dietitian or physician, because there are ways to combat that problem, while still improving the picky eating habits, Ms. Hyland says.

The most important thing a parent can do with a choosy eater is be consistent and not give up, Ms. Hyland says.

However, if a child has chewing or swallowing issues, or shows severe anxiety about trying new foods,  talk to a doctor, because you child may need the help of a behavioral specialist or multidisciplinary feeding program.

Complete results of the study can be found in the Journal of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics.

 

 

This article was written by Children’s Health Team from Cleveland Clinic and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.