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Archive for August, 2016

Naptime Has Never Been More Fun

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At least for Laura Izumikawa anyway. The photographer, based out of Los Angeles, doesn’t watch T.V. or take a nap herself while her 4-month-old daughter, Joey Marie Choi, sleeps. Instead she dresses Joey in costumes that are sure to put what you wore for Halloween last year to shame, and shares them with family, friends and her 279K followers on Instagram.

While we don’t know Izumikawa’s secret to get Joey to sleep through her time as Beyoncé, Pikachu or the Statue of Liberty, we do have some tips you can follow for a more successful nap time.

  • Choose a regular, daily naptime and stick to it—early afternoon is best.
  • Have your child visit the potty before heading off for their nap.
  • Naps should occur in the same place your child sleeps at night.
  • Choose a calming activity to do for a few minutes before naptime to help your little one wind down, e.g., they can practice a few yoga poses or flip through their favorite book.Capture 2
  • Enter the room with the lights off or dimmed low.
  • Play soothing music or sing a soft lullaby to help them fall asleep.
  • Provide a “lovey” for naptime snuggling.

The Benefits of a Musical Environment

MusicYou can make music with just about anything found in your household. Adding a musically inclined environment to your child’s life offers extensive benefits for her emotional, intellectual and social development.

For young children, music helps identify teamwork. It shows that you can create something greater with the help of more people. For example, the use of drums, guitars and vocals can produce a better song than a song only containing the use of drums.

Music allows children to express themselves through creativity and openness with others. Enjoying music gives preschoolers a common interest and can create lasting friendships. Here are some ideas to incorporate some tunes into your child’s daily activities.

  • Allow your child to sit at the kitchen table with pots and pans to use as drums while you make dinner. This engages your child with you in the kitchen and keeps him away from the possible dangers of the kitchen while you are cooking. Provide him with different types of pans and utensils (for example, plastic utensils and metal pans) so that he can learn to create various sounds. It is best not to use glass in this activity.
  • Sing along with your child in the car. Preschoolers are not yet at the age where they become self-conscious of their behavior. In fact, most little ones love letting out their strong vocal chords for everyone around them to hear. Encourage your child to do this more often, even if it is a little loud on the ear drums! Playing basic songs and repeating them regularly will help your child retain simple melodies and rhythms.
  • Plan a dance party for family fun night. Encourage your child to get up and show you his moves by playing freeze dance. This is done by a family member controlling the music and stopping it at random times. When the music is stopped, everyone freezes until the song restarts. Freeze dance always results in tons of giggles by all the family members.

Fishing for Crackers

Fishing for CrackersSpruce up snack time with this easy, healthy and fun snack!

Ingredients:

  • Carrot sticks
  • A bowl of hummus or veggie dip
  • Goldfish crackers

Dunk the carrots into the hummus or dip. Then put some goldfish crackers on a plate and use the carrot stick to “catch” the crackers.

Black Bean Hummus

Black Bean Hummus RecipeSpice up snack time with this quick, easy and, most importantly, yummy black bean hummus.

Ingredients:

  • 15-oz can of black beans
  • 1 garlic glove
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of tahini
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin

Drain black beans. In a blender, puree all ingredients, adding water if necessary. Season with salt to taste. Serve with crackers or raw veggies.

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

Four Ways to Encourage Gratitude

072O2495Teaching children how to be grateful is important. Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and member of The Goddard School Educational Advisory Board, offers four tips on how to encourage gratitude.

  1. Regularly express your own thankfulness verbally. Saying things such as “We are very lucky to have grandma nearby” or “I’m thankful to have a son like you in my life” or “Your dad made that so easy for all of us” can help demonstrate the appreciation you have for the people around you.
  2. Express gratitude behaviorally. Take a casserole to a neighbor who has been kind or needs some extra help for whatever reason—even better if the children help you make it. When the hand-me-down toys end their cycle, make a thrift store run with the children in tow.
  3. Make generosity part of your family’s routine. When seasons change, collect clothes from everyone’s closet to donate or take canned goods to the local soup kitchen.
  4. Take the children along on community fundraising activities, runs, walks, etc. Explain to them why this matters to you. Make sure your children meet the organizers and understand the purpose; if it’s personal, it’s remembered.