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Posts Tagged ‘WI’

16 ALLERGY-FRIENDLY TREATS THAT ARE TOTALLY SAFE TO TAKE TO SCHOOL

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Whether you’re revving up to dominate the class bake sale or just looking for something sweet to slip into your kid’s lunch box, here are 19 nut-free options that are safe to take to school. Bring on the cupcakes, cookies and hand pies (and don’t forget to save some for the baker).

 

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Hand Pies

Finally, a toaster pastry that tastes as good as it looks. Plus, they’re egg-free.

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Well Plated

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Whip up this whole-grain, egg-free dessert in one bowl.

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Super Healthy Kids

Healthy and Fun Yogurt Snacks

Playtime meets snack time. Gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free if you use coconut or almond-milk yogurt.

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The Busy Baker

Soft and Chewy Sugar Cookie Bars

Way faster than rolling out cookie dough balls.

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Paper& Stitch

Homemade Cereal Cannolis

Shh, these start with pre-bought shells.

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Aww Sam

Colorful Terrarium Pudding Cups

Up the ante on gummy worms.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Watercolor Doughnuts

Mom might want to taste test these first.

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Chew Out Loud

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake Bites

Just the right size for tiny hands.

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Erica’s Sweet Tooth

Mini Banana Pancake Skewers

Cutest-ever morning snack.

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Dessert for Two

Strawberry Rice Krispies Treats

The secret ingredient? Strawberry fluff (and no eggs in sight).

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Hello, Wonderful

Easy Apple Fruit Doughnuts

You won’t find eggs or gluten on the ingredient list.

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Thirsty For Tea

Waffle Fortune Cookies

The cutest way to write your kid a note.

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Hungry Rabbit

Rainbow Cookies

They’re our favorite color.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Samoa Cupcakes

Best birthday ever.

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Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

Glazed Doughnut Cookies

So cute, they give the doughnut emoji a run for its money.

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Femme Fraiche

Galaxy Whoopie Pies

They’ll vote your kid class president.

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HOW TO UNSCHEDULE YOUR CHILD

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It’s come to this: Doctors are now being told to prescribe play. The American Academy of Pediatrics details the urgency of the matter in a policy statement. There is a play deficit in this country, and we know it, don’t we? In articles about parenting, it seems that there’s no breed dissected more than that of the bubble-wrapped child who’s shuttled from Mandarin to fencing to organic cheese making classes until bedtime. We love reminiscing about the days when we could hop on bikes and meander for hours with the neighborhood kids (few of whose names our parents ever took the time to learn), and yearn for our kids to have that experience. We’ve learned that play enhances brain structure, helps kids practice empathy and makes them more creative and innovative.

And yet it’s strangely difficult to crack some of the structure of children’s lives. I know that I feel some pressure to add more adult instruction to my daughter’s days when I’m handed an inch-thick packet of extracurricular activities by her school teacher (“Ooh, robotics fight club”), or when other parents ask me what her schedule looks like for the fall (“Um, we’ve got Halloween?”), or when I read interviews by musicians and dancers and athletes who mention they started their paths to mastery at age three (“Argh, we’re already too late!”). To back off, it takes some real willpower and planning. Here are some tips for unscheduling your child in today’s overscheduled world.

BE REALISTIC

You don’t need to move to the woods so your kids can frolic in streams all day to give your family more healthy play time. There are benefits of having scheduled activities—higher self-esteem, lower rates of drug and alcohol use over time and social bonds. Some parents of middle schoolers told me that having their kids deeply involved in extracurriculars they love is what has kept them mostly safe during a time of peer pressure and emotional disarray.

The goal here is simply to protect your kids’ downtime. Denise Pope, one of the authors of Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids, tells the New York Times that young children need an hour of play time (which does not include dinner or homework or baths) for every after-school scheduled hour. You might set a rule for your kids such as one sport or activity per season. (I’ve decided to put my daughter in another voice class, which she absolutely loves.) You have to find the right balance for your family.

START WITH A GOOD PLAYTIME SETTING

Dr. Robert Murray, the lead author of the AAP report The Crucial Role of Recess, tells me, “Parents can absolutely help their child find safe, interesting environments for them to explore—but it’s important to let him or her self-direct.” He suggests playgrounds, beaches and streams, woods and parks, fields, the zoo, local farms or indoor spaces where kids can pretend play with peers. Wherever you choose to go, step back and give them some “BE Time,” which he describes as the antidote to parent-directed activities.

At home, give kids access to open-ended materials to tinker with, even stuff you might see as junkBlocks are always awesome, but so are random pieces of string, aluminum foil, masking tape, egg cartons, toilet paper rolls and emptied shampoo bottles.

PREPARE FOR THE SUCK

Realize that it’s sometimes hard to give kids downtime. On weekends, the first thing my daughter asks when she wakes up is “Where are we going today?” When I tell her nowhere, she whines and declares that is so boring. And then parent-friends will start texting me: “What are you up to today? Wanna bring the kids to library story time? Or princess ballet class? Or go watch a movie?”And I often want to say “Yes!” It would be easy to strap my kid into the car and do any one of those things. But it’s good to sometimes say no. I know that my daughter’s groans will eventually turn to silence, and as I do my own thing around the house, I’ll often find her cheerfully playing with her dollhouse or making something out of a cardboard box or drawing with chalk in the backyard.

Put white space on your calendar and prepare for some protests. Then find something to do and let your kids do the same.

CONNECT WITH OTHER BACK-OFF PARENTS

Some parents are finding that as much as they want to unschedule their kids, there’s a problem: Their children have no one to play with. Playgrounds are barren as every other kid is off at chess or tae kwon do at 3:30 PM. A project called Let Grow is addressing that issue, connecting local parents who want to give their kids more independence by doing less for them. You can sign up to find nearby families.

Once you find other likeminded moms and dads, you might consider setting up a play street, in which community members transform a residential city block a car-free space for children and families to play together, say, either weekly or monthly, or lobby schools to start their own play clubs, in which they keep their gyms or playgrounds open till dinnertime for self-directed free play.

It’s true that unscheduling kids takes a lot more work than it did years ago. But after doing it, you may very well find that your family will be less stressed and happier. And plus, it’s the doctor’s orders.

FIVE TIPS FOR TEACHING GOOD CITIZENSHIP

We all want what is best for our children. We want them to be healthy, well-educated and happy, and we want to encourage them to be upstanding, productive members of society. Here are five tips for teaching good citizenship to your children.Sisters

  1. Set a good example. If you’re heading to the polls on Election Day, take your child along to show him how the process works and how important voting is. If you’re at a park with your child and you spot some trash on the ground, pick it up and put in a garbage can. Set an example by performing random acts of kindness.
  2. Read books with a positive message. Books such as “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss and “The Legend of the Bluebonnet” by Tomie dePaola encourage compassion and generosity toward others. Reading age-appropriate biographies about inspiring figures from history can also provide role models for children.
  3. Help your children sort through their old toys and choose items to donate. Take younger children to a clothing drive or food bank to help sort items. For older children, try to find something that speaks to their interests. For example, if your child likes animals, take him to volunteer at an animal shelter or SPCA.
  4. Discuss current events. Age-appropriate discussions about current events can help to get children interested in and passionate about what is going on in the world.
  5. Use a chore chart. Ask your child to perform simple chores around the house. List the tasks on a chart and draw a star or place a star sticker on the chart next to each completed chore. When a certain number of stars is accumulated (say, ten), reward him with a treat.

THINKING ABOUT SCIENCE

The Goddard SchoolScience is more than test tubes, microscopes and formulas. Scientific thinking involves asking questions, learning from mistakes, trying again, exploring new activities and solving problems. Children are natural scientific thinkers, and they want to learn and solve problems.

Young children benefit from the active, hands-on activities that foster scientific learning in every Goddard School classroom. Encouraging your young scientists at home is easy and fun. As you try the following activities with your children, talk about what is happening, ask questions and encourage them to describe what they see.

  • Bake with your children. Watch yeast rising, or see what happens if you don’t follow the recipe carefully;
  • Grow flowers or a vegetable garden. Chart your plants’ growth and note any changes. Enjoy harvesting your garden together, and let your children help make a healthy salad for your family;
  • Visit a farmers’ market or a farm to learn about animals, the effects of weather on plants and more;
  • Take apart an old clock or phone and reassemble it;
  • Make steam or watch ice melt;
  • Look for patterns in the natural world, such as the lines in bark or the symmetry of flower petals. Describe the sights, smells and sounds you experience on a walk;
  • Offer your children magnifying glasses;
  • Visit a children’s museum or natural history museum;
  • Go outside at night and look at the stars;
  • Ask your children what will happen when you roll a ball, walk a Slinky down stairs, manipulate clay and use other items, and then test their hypotheses. This can be a lot of fun.

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

FAST AND EASY BREAKFAST IDEAS

Leaving the house in the morning can be hectic with children. Parents want to feed their children healthy, balanced meals that will get them through the morning, but it can be hard to think of healthy breakfast ideas that the children will like. Here are some quick and easy breakfast options.

Fruit-Infused Baked Oatmeal (makes about six servings)

1 cup rolled oats

½ tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ cup sugar-free maple syrup

1 cup almond milk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tbsp. butter, softened or melted

3 ripe bananas, sliced

1 cup fresh or frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a square or rectangular baking dish. Mix the oats, baking powder and cinnamon until they are well mixed. Combine the syrup, milk, egg and butter. Place the sliced bananas in a single layer on the bottom of your baking dish. Top the bananas with half of the berries. Pour the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer. Then, pour the liquid ingredients evenly over the oats. Place the remaining berries evenly on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is browned. Let the oatmeal cool a few minutes before serving it. If you make it the night before, cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator so you can reheat it in the morning.


Banana Split Breakfast Sundae

1 large banana, peeled and cut in half lengthwise

1 cup Greek yogurt in the flavor of your choice

½ cup granola

1 tbsp. ground flax seed

¼ cup raisins or berries (optional)

Place each banana half in a cereal bowl and top each with half of the yogurt. Then, sprinkle half of the granola, flax seed and berries on each.


Spinach and Cheese Omelet Cupcakes

2 cups washed baby spinach

4 large eggs or the equivalent in egg substitute

2 egg whites

½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

A dash of salt and pepper

1 tsp. olive oil

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Spray a cupcake tin with cooking spray. Mix the spinach, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the eggs and egg whites. Add the eggs to the spinach mixture, and then add the shredded cheese. Mix well. Pour the mixture into each cup in the cupcake pan until the cup is halfway full. Bake until the omelets are fully cooked, which will take about 20-24 minutes.  Let them cool about two minutes and serve them, or wrap them up in foil and store them in the refrigerator for the next morning. Reheat them in a microwave or toaster oven.


Simple Nut Butter and Honey Sandwich

Grab a piece of your child’s favorite whole grain bread and spread on a nut butter. If you have a nut allergy in the family, try a butter made from roasted sunflower seeds. Then, drizzle on some local honey and serve the sandwich with a glass of almond milk or orange juice. For added flavor, you can place a few slivers of apple on top or sprinkle the sandwich with dried cranberries.

HOW TO HAVE A SAFE AND FUN HALLOWEEN

Halloween is a magical night where the world of make-believe comes alive for children, but it can also be a great time to practice good manners, good sense and good fun!

The Goddard School and Trampoline Learning provide essential tips for a safe and happy Halloween.

Before Halloween:

  • Avoid masks that make seeing difficult. Opt for face paint instead.
  • Be sure that children can walk easily in their costumes. Hem if necessary.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes. While high heeled shoes are fancy, it’s easy to fall in them and little feet will tire quickly.
  • Provide children with a glow stick or add reflective tape to their costumes so that they can be seen by cars as it gets dark.
  • Plan your route so that children do not become overtired. Agree ahead of time about how many houses you will visit.
  • Explain that children must stay with parents and that they should walk, not run from house to house.
  • Take the opportunity to explain that normally children should not speak with strangers. Remind them that Halloween is a special time when it is alright for them to go door to door because you will be with them to keep them safe.
  • Share your expectations about using good manners BEFORE you go out. Let children practice trick or treating at their own door a few times. Reward good trick or treating manners with a treat!
  • Bring a flashlight to light the way.

When Trick-or-treating:

  • Start early before it gets dark.
  • Be sure children are traveling in small groups accompanied by a responsible adult.
  • Only go to houses where lights are on, preferably those in which you know the resident.
  • Be respectful of people and property. Use sidewalks. Remind children that it is not polite to walk through gardens, hedges or across lawns.
  • Cross only at intersections and crosswalks. Watch for moving vehicles.
  • Be careful around lit candles in jack-o-lanterns.
  • Ring the door bell or knock on the door only once.
  • If you are with a group, wait patiently for your turn. No pushing or shoving!
  • Say, “Trick or treat!” in a loud, clear voice.
  • If you know the homeowner, greet them with, “Hello, Mr./Ms. ____.” Make eye contact as you speak.
  • Be sure to say, “Thank you!” or “Happy Halloween!” once you have received your treat.
  • If someone compliments you on your costume, remember to say, “Thank you.”

After Trick-or-treating:

  • Discard treats that are unwrapped, loosely wrapped, damaged or homemade.
  • Limit the amount of candy your child can enjoy in one sitting. Agree on a number and stick to it.

PREPARING YOUR CHILD TO READ

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Reading is one of life’s most important skills, that’s why parents should focus on reading readiness early in their child’s life. Reading begins with language and how it relates to your child’s world. Creating a language-rich environment will help your child’s vocabulary grow. A print-rich environment may also help prepare your child for reading by making the connection between your child’s world and the symbols we use to communicate.

Below are some suggestions on the steps you should take for infants through toddlers. Our next post will look at ideas for preschool and pre-Kindergarten-age children.

INFANT TO ONE YEAR

 Read simple board books with one picture per page, contrasting colors or simple pictures, and point to the items on each page.

 While reading to your child, make faces–it’s fun and your child will notice subtle differences.

 Allow your child to point and turn book pages.

 Describe everything; name colors, shapes and sizes.

FIRST STEPS (12-18 months)

 Read longer stories to your child and allow him or her to interact with the book–pointing, turning pages or even turning the book upside-down.

 Name objects as your child points.

 Make noises! Imitate cars, animals and eating sounds during play.

 Speak to your child in a normal tone to demonstrate accurate sound recognition.

 Enunciate words of interest like M-M-Mommy.

 As syllables start to represent words, such as “juice” and “more,” expand upon them  (e.g., “apple juice,” “Would you like more apple juice?”).

TODDLER (18-30 months)

 Read everything–signs, labels, toys and your child’s name.

 Take cues from your child—interested, not interested, read or just look at the pictures, read more or stop before the end of the story?

 Find and point out shapes and symbols in your home or community.

 Recite rhymes and alliterations; pause to allow your child to fill in the last word or phrase.

 Play games where symbols lead to action (e.g., two orange squares on the card means to move two orange spaces).

CHOCOLATE-BANANA YOGURT SUNDAE

Spruce up snack time or dessert with this delicious chocolate-banana yogurt sundae!

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INGREDIENTS

  • Non-fat vanilla yogurt
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Banana
  • Shredded coconut

Spoon a desired amount of yogurt into a dish. Slice up the banana, and place the slices in the yogurt. Then drizzle with chocolate sauce. Sprinkle shredded coconut over the sundae.

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

HOW TO MAKE CHORES FUN

When you’re a busy parent coming home from the workday and continuing your second job of being a parent, simple household chores can take up valuable time and can become aggravating.

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Lessen your stress by teaching responsibility to your little ones. Encouraging your children to contribute to small tasks around the house will not only help them develop gross motor skills and responsibility, but it will also provide extra time for you as a parent to bond with your children by playing a game or reading a book.

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  1. Call their help something other than chores. Emphasize that your child will be helping with daily tasks. Children may feel happier about completing their task if they are helping.
  2. Create a Mommy’s and Daddy’s Helper chart. Children will be anxious to check off their task of the day; it will entice them to complete it
  3. Add a sticker each time your child completes an assigned task. Offer your child a special prize for obtaining a certain number of stickers. Prizes can be one of the following:
    • Having an extra 30 minutes of screen time;
    • Choosing the family dinner for a night;
    • Picking the game for family game night.

FIVE WAYS TO ENCOURAGE GOOD MANNERS

Learning to be polite and respectful is just as important as learning any other life skill. Here are five ways to encourage good manners in children.

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  1. Be a good example. Children imitate what they see and hear, so if you are polite and respectful to others, there is a good chance that your child will be, too.
  2. Role play with your child. For example, ask her to pretend she’s at a restaurant. Then ask her what she would do if she needs somebody to pass the salt or what she would do if the server asks her what she wants to order.
  3. Enlist help from other family members. If you are comfortable with it, let other family members know that it is okay for them to encourage your child to use good manners. Or, say, if a grandparent burps, gently remind the grandparent that he or she should say “Excuse me.”
  4. Begin teaching manners early. Even if your child is a toddler, it is never too early to start teaching manners. After all, if a child is encouraged from day one to say please and thank you, it becomes a regular part of his everyday life.
  5. Correct mistakes politely. Your child is bound to make mistakes, and it is perfectly fine for you to correct her. Just be sure to do it calmly and politely.