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Archive for June, 2018

Save Time and Keep Your Family Healthy with These Quick Tips

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Most moms are aware of the need to keep their children healthy to ensure proper growth and development. However, when the demands of the day limit your time, sometimes being healthy isn’t as convenient. When you’re at work all day, it can be easy to develop poor habits just to ease the stress. Things like preparing healthy meals, making sure the kids stay active, and even keeping up with doctor’s appointments do require a bit of time and effort, but are important. If time prevents you from being able to keep your family healthy, consider these time-saving tips below.

Pick One Day of the Week for Meal Prep

Any mom would agree that when you’re pressed for time, one of the most time-consuming tasks is preparing meals for the family. Bogged down by demands from work, household chores, and perhaps running the kids around to their after-school activities, it’s much easier to order takeout or grab a kids meal from a fast food restaurant and keep moving.

Though a treat every now and again won’t do the kids any harm, often time the quickest meal solutions are the unhealthiest for them. To cut back on time and the number of processed foods and saturated fats your family is consuming, why not pick one day to prep meals? Choose a day where you have the most time and cook all your meals. You can then place them in plastic containers and freeze them for the week.

Schedule Appointments Together

Visiting the doctor periodically – especially during school-age is imperative for children. Annual physicals, vaccines, and shots, as well as other medical services, allow doctors to provide you with the best child development & nutrition resources to ensure your child is developing properly. Doctors can also recommend adjustments in nutrition, supplements, and ways to help your child grow in confidence, like giving your child Healthy Height’s nutritional shakes that promote growth in height. Be that as it may, most working mothers are plagued with minimal time off from work. Not to mention, a scheduled doctor’s appointment tends to last longer than anticipated, which can cause conflict.

If you work in an environment where time isn’t flexible, try to kill a few birds with one stone. Take off one day instead of trying to break it up into hours. Schedule the entire family’s appointments for the same day. While it will mean sitting in waiting rooms all day, it eliminates the need to take off several hours every few months.

Work Out Together

It can be tempting to let the kids sit in front of the television or on the computer all day while you tend to the household chores (or take a break), however, too much screen time is detrimental to your child’s health. It is important for all of you to get active to remain healthy. If time prevents you from being able to get the kids out, consider working out together. This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym together or sit in front of the television doing exercise video moves either. There are a lot of fun activities you could try indoors or outdoors to get active. Whether you go outside and play basketball or stay in the house and rock out to your favorite dance simulation game, you’re moving, sweating, and working out. Not to mention, you’re creating fun memories with your family.

Unfortunately, time isn’t something we can make more of. All you can do is learn how to make the most of the time you have. If you’ve been trying to prioritize your family’s health, but find time to always get in the way, utilize the above-mentioned tips. They are all convenient solutions that not only save you time but allow you to ensure your family is as healthy as they can be.

 

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

The Healthiest Kid’s Meals at Fast Food Chains

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McDonald’s announced they’re removing cheeseburgers and chocolate milk from their Happy Meals. They’re just the latest fast food restaurant offering surprisingly healthy options: Here’s what to order.

Though many of us grew up happily eating, uh, Happy Meals, the rise in childhood obesity has caused parents to rethink stopping through the drive-through to pick up a kid’s meal from McDonalds on the way home. Though fast food restaurants have spent the better half of the last decade pushing healthier choices in hopes that families will decide to come back as regular customers, applesauce and low-fat milk haven’t really enticed mom and dad. But that all might change as McDonald’s announced today that strict Happy Meal changes would be coming this summer. How many calories will be in a Happy Meal come June? Fewer than 600. All kids meals will also contain only 650 milligrams of salt. Other big changes include less-sugary chocolate milk, slimmer kids fries, and no cheeseburgers.
But though McDonald’s changing Happy Meals might be today’s news, they’re not the only fast food restaurants with surprisingly healthy kids meals. In light of the big changes at McDonald’s, we researched the healthiest kid options now on the menu at every top chain. Here, what you should order the kids when the fast food counter is your best option to eat:

Healthiest Kid’s Meal at Subway

In a 2016 The Daily Meal ranking of all the fast food kid’s meals on the market, Subway took the top spot with the overall healthiest meal: a Veggie Delite sandwich with a side of apples and low-fat milk. Though the veggie-based sandwich is the most healthful option, the turkey breast sandwich is also a good option for those looking to add protein.

Healthiest Kid’s Meal at Burger King

CNN reports that a Chicken Nuggets King Jr. meal (4 pieces) with ketchup, applesauce, and fat-free milk offers the lowest option in calories, saturated fat, and sugar.

Healthiest Kid’s Meal at Wendy’s

With 20 grams of protein, 10 grams of fat, and only 270 calories, the Grilled Chicken Wrap is the healthiest entrée on Wendy’s kids’ menu. Pair it with apple slices and a bottle of water, and your child will be eating a pretty well-rounded meal that just happens to be fast food. Just try to say no to a Frosty (and if you can’t, just make sure it’s a junior!)

Healthiest Kid’s Meal at Dairy Queen

According to a 2013 study from the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Dairy Queen had the fewest amount of options for healthy kids meals that meet expert recommendations for elementary school students. However, they’ve since cleaned up their act with a kids Livewell option (which meets nutrition standards as set by the National Restaurant Association) that features a kid’s grilled chicken wrap, a banana, and a bottle of water.

Healthiest Meal at Taco Bell

After ditching kids’ meals entirely in 2013, parents have had to decipher the regular menu for healthy options for their little ones. According to a 2018 article by Shape, nutritionists recommend ordering off the “power menu,” for high-protein options—just make sure you skip the rice. A mini quesadilla with chicken or beef aren’t too bad, either, if the kids are being picky.

 

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

How to Become an Expert Photo Organizer

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Whether you’ve got boxes of printed pics or you’re at full storage capacity with digital photos, these organizing tricks will help you keep track of your precious memories.

Printed Photos

Start by gathering, sorting, and identifying your photos, says Cathi Nelson, founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers and author of Photo Organizing Made Easy: Going from Overwhelmed to Overjoyed. Make one pile for album-worthy photos, one pile for art projects, and another for irreplaceable photos that will go in a photo-safe box. Use the 20/80 rule when sifting through photos: Keep 20 percent (the ones that tug at your heartstrings or help tell the story of your or the subject’s life) and toss the rest. Get rid of duplicates, blurry images, and most scenery shots. On the back of the photos, note the date, location, and people with a pencil (try Stabilo All pencils, which won’t bleed through). Then decide if you want to organize chronologically or thematically (birthdays, holidays, vacations) and what type of photo storage you’re going to use (archival photo box or binder). To hedge against damage or loss, scan your prints—services like Fotobridge can do it for you (up to 10,000 images at once) in about three weeks.

Digital Photos

Your most beloved images—scans of prints and ones you took digitally—should be stored in three places (think a flash drive, a computer, and a form of cloud storage). If you’re overwhelmed by zillions of digital photos, use Google Photos, which lets you search images by person, date, and place, so you can find what you need instantly without creating albums if you don’t want to. Make sure to set aside about 30 minutes every month to clear out clutter on your phone’s camera roll and complete a backup. When you’re done, pick some recent favorites to actually do something with: Post a video montage of your vacation on social media or print a few recent photos of your kids to send to older relatives who aren’t online.

 

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

When It Is And Isn’t OK To Let Your Kids Quit

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Here, experts weigh in on when to push perseverance, and how to know when to quit.

As moms we’ve all been there. You sign your kid up for swimming or Little League or tap dance, and they refuse to walk onto the field, lose it in the locker room or seem game the whole time — then voice their hatred of the horrible class on the ride home (and at bedtime, and at breakfast the next morning). It’s a teachable moment, to be sure, but what’s the lesson? That their feelings are valid, and you’ve got their back? Or that stick-to-itiveness is everything?

When it comes to playing musical instruments in particular, experts describe a “honeymoon period” that ends when the novelty of, say, getting to bang on their drum set wears off. “Musical children are not born — they are raised,” according to USC music ed professor Robert Cutietta. “From the beginning, parents need to prepare for the time when their child is no longer in love with the instrument” by setting achievable goals and routine practice times. As for sports, a good rule of thumb is to stay on for the full season — after they’ve pushed through tough practices and gotten to know their teammates — then reevaluate.

They’ve hit a wall

Nobody likes losing, but for some kids, the prospect of not coming out on top can be reason enough to want to throw in the towel. “Children who tend to be quitters in general when life just doesn’t go their way should be encouraged stick it out,” writes Pearlman. “Some kids struggle with losing or not being the best or most valuable player. Their inclination may be to pooh-pooh the league, coach or other players right before begging to drop out. These kids need to be pushed to persevere through less than ideal circumstances. That’s when growth happens.”

They’re super competitive

Writes family coach Dr. Catherine Pearlman: “For some children, starting something new brings on a tsunami of fear and anxiety. It doesn’t matter how much they want to do it or if it was their own idea. The anxiety of a new social situation or of the requirements of the activity can be overwhelming… Quitting for the anxious child can become a way of life if she is never taught how to manage distress… Provide support during the class as needed. With each successful stressful situation the child conquers, strength and resiliency are bolstered for the future.”

They’re generally anxious about starting anything new

Kids should stick it out when…

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It’s OK to quit when… 

They’ve given it their all

“If a child is begging to quit an activity that he previously devoted a good deal of time and effort to but is no longer interested in, let it go,” advises Pearlman. After all, they’ve fully experienced the activity, and initial nerves are no longer at play. “There is no value in demanding a child continue with piano or Taekwondo just because you’ve invested seven years.”

They are consistently miserable

Protesting before gymnastics every third week when she knows her buddies will be at the playground is one thing. Having predictable night-before meltdowns about it is another. “Sometimes being on the team [or in the class] causes undue stress on the child or family,” writes Pearlman. “When the strain outweighs the joy, drop out.”

It’s not the right fit

Some kids were not built to swim the butterfly stroke, but kick butt at chess. When the child and the activity are out of sync, there is self-knowledge to be gained by bowing out gracefully. “The notion that persistence is essential for success and happiness is deeply embedded in popular and scientific writings,” write researchers in a study for Psychological Science. “However, when people are faced with situations in which they cannot realize a key life goal, the most adaptive response for mental and physical health may be to disengage from that goal… In some contexts, persistence may actually undermine well-being and good health.” Parents’ Renee Bacher asks a simple, clarifying question: “Does the activity seem to build your child’s self-confidence — or does it tear it down?”

 

 

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

4 Ways to Raise Siblings Who Love Each Other

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Siblings who fight a lot gain surprising advantages, from thicker skins to sharper negotiating skills. Plus, “Savvy parents know that a conflict-free relationship between siblings is not the same as a close-knit relationship,” writes Chicago Tribune parenting columnist Heidi Stevens. The goal is to have kids who love as hard as they battle. Here, four tips for raising lifelong best friends who share everything—including you.

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Fight smart in front of them

When parents handle conflict and anger with each other in a healthy, respectful way, they are modeling how their kids should face off. If you slam doors, hurl insults or, um, actual household items, it’s a safe bet they’ll mimic you the next time someone pushes their buttons. Added incentive to hit above the (emotional) belt? Kids cannot keep secrets. Ask anyone who’s died a little inside while her kid told the dentist how Mommy threw her egg sandwich at Daddy.

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When in doubt, let them work it out

Unless your kids’ fights are about to enter the realm of bloodshed or bullying, or they’re stuck in a pattern where an older child seems to always dominate a younger one, give them a minute before you get involved. Per experts, siblings’ fights are valuable opportunities for growth. Hair-trigger intervention only perpetuates their reliance on you as a referee. Also, stepping in may mean taking sides—a surefire way to stir up sibling rivalry. “It can be more difficult to hang back and observe emotional situations than to try to solve problems for your kids on the spot,” writes parenting expert Michelle Woo, citing research on how kids in Germany and Japan become self-reliant by problem-solving amongst themselves. “[What kids] need is consistent guidance, a place to explore their feelings, a model of kindness. What they probably don’t need is a referee monitoring every single play.” As Jeffrey Kluger, author of The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us, told NPR: “One of the most profound effects siblings have on you is that area of conflict resolution skills, that area of relationship formation and maintenance.” 

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Or don’t! Try this instead

A growing number of psychologists and educators swears by a conflict resolution method called Restorative Circles. You step in at the start of a fight and ask your kids to take a deep breath and sit down with you calmly in a circle. (Obviously, for screaming banshee fights, separation and soothing come first.) For just a few minutes, each child gets a chance to speak their grievance (You ask: “What do you want your brother to know?”), and the other child(ren) is asked to interpret what they’ve just heard (“What did you hear your sister saying?”). Then you go back to the first child (“Is that what you meant?”) until a mutual understanding is reached/all kids feel heard. Then everyone brainstorms ideas to find an agreeable solution.

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The family that plays together, stays together

Even—especially—if your kids are like oil and water, or more than a few years apart, it can be tempting to let them lead separate lives. Try not to. Choose toys that appeal to all age groups (Marry us, Bristle Blocks!), group activities on weekends or family vacations, and require them to show up for each other’s games or recitals. No matter how much they fight, research shows reason to be optimistic. “About 10, 15 percent of sibling relationships truly are so toxic that they’re irreparable,” says Kluger. “But 85 percent are anywhere from fixable to terrific.” After all, he notes: “Our parents leave us too soon, our spouses and our kids come along too late…Siblings are the longest relationships we’ll ever have in our lives.”

 

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

6 Scientifically Proven Ways To Raise Smarter Kids

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These simple activities can improve your child’s intellectual development.

Setting children up for intellectual success later in life is high on the list of concerns for many parents, but amidst the everyday pressures of parenting, broad goals like “making your child smarter” can feel overwhelming and impractical. Fortunately, encouraging cognitive development doesn’t have to be complicated. Add a few of these proven activities to your child’s routine, and you’ll foster intelligence in manageable, positive ways.

1. Encourage playing outside.

Structured sports are wonderful for children, but making time for unstructured play is just as important, if not more so. Research has proven that unstructured play has an integral role in the development of social intelligence. As schools eliminate recess time, making sure your young ones have time to themselves outdoors is critical. Whether you usher them out the door to build an elaborate sledding hill, play hours of tag with their friends or head to the park for supervised play doesn’t matter; leaving them to set their own boundaries and interact with children their own age facilitates crucial prefrontal cortex development that they’ll draw upon in social situations for the rest of their lives.

2. Let them play video games.

When your kids do come inside, whether on a rainy day or a dark winter evening after school, don’t worry if they race straight to their gaming console. Moderating screen time is important, but as Cheryl Olson, Sc.D., asserts, video games—even those not made to be educational—offer myriad benefits to kids. From problem-solving to creative expression to social interaction with friends, video games challenge children and give them a rare sense of autonomy. After age 10, kids’ interpretations of complex games deepens and expands, but children under 10 aren’t exempt from the benefits of simpler games.

3. Make sleep a family priority.

If you need more motivation to set a sleep schedule and stick to it, let your kids be your inspiration. After the regimented sleep schedules of babyhood and the toddler years, letting bedtimes slacken when your kids reach school age is understandable. However, if those looser sleep schedules turn into patterns of insufficient sleep, your child will suffer, and unfortunately, many already do. Right now, as many as 20 to 25 percent of school-age children don’t get enough sleep.

That lack of rest affects their alertness, their attention spans, and their ability to concentrate in the classroom, which can have long-lasting effects on grades. According to the National Sleep Foundation, kids between the ages of 6 and 13 need nine to 11 hours, with older teens functioning best with eight to 10 hours each night. Consider limiting use of electronics before bedtime and creating a new nighttime routine with your child that takes their burgeoning independence and new hobbies into consideration.

4. Try music lessons.

Has your child ever expressed interest in music? If not, you may want to gently encourage it. Researchers at Northwestern University have found evidence of a link between music and literacy. The key, according to researchers, is that kids need to be active participants in music lessons. If children aren’t engaged with and creating music, they miss out on many of its benefits. Try talking to your child about enrolling in their school’s band or orchestra, or consider private lessons if they express interest.

Kids who do embrace making and learning music will gain “neurophysiological distinction” as they decipher differences between specific sounds. This heightened awareness of sounds carries over to improved literacy for many children, which is an indicator of intelligence both in the classroom and on standardized tests they’ll take later on.

5. Emphasize effort and hard work.

Decades of research on motivation and intelligence have led Stanford University’s Carol S. Dweck to conclude that for kids, an emphasis on effort and hard work has long-lasting, positive effects on intelligence. She asserts that praising children for being “gifted” or “talented” connotes an entitlement to success, leaving them lacking the motivation needed when concepts or good grades stop coming easily. Instead, recognizing your children for finding ways to solve problems or for following through on a difficult assignment teaches them that perseverance leads to positive results, and that success rarely comes easily—knowledge that will serve them well as they grow.

With a bit of strategy, you can introduce changes to your child’s routine that promote learning, problem solving, social skills and hard work—without replacing precious free time with flashcards and regimented learning. You’ll probably even find that many of these suggestions bring benefits to your child that go far beyond the classroom. Find an approach that works for you and your child, and remember that IQ is not the only indicator of future success.

—Kelsey Down

This story originally appeared on fairygodboss.com.


Kelsey Down is a freelance writer in Salt Lake City who has been featured on publications including Elite Daily, VentureBeat and SUCCESS. She’s covered fun stuff like why TV reboots need to stop and how to hack sleep as a workout, and she also writes about personal and family wellness. Follow her on Twitter @kladown23.

 

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

7 Things Healthy People Do Every Morning

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Fads like barefoot running and IV drip bars may be fun to read about — and there’s no shame in giving them a whirl — but jumping on these bandwagons won’t necessarily lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Really, simplicity and repetition still reign, which is why it’s good to build healthy habits into your day. Here are a few easy ones to try each morning if you want to start your day on a healthier note.

1. Drink hot water (with or without the lemon)

Instead of going straight for the caffeine, start with a hot cup of water. It may not taste like much, but doing so can improve blood flow, aid in digestion (perfect after a Sunday brunch) and even cleanse the body of toxins. Plus, it helps you meet your water quota. Speaking of which, make sure you have a water quota.

2. Balance your breakfast

Try to get an equal amount of protein, fiber and produce at breakfast. Of course, eggs are a go-to protein. And if you’re not one to make breakfast every morning, hard-boil a batch to eat throughout the week. Just make sure you buy high-quality eggs from vegetarian-fed hens, such as Eggland’s Best. Its eggs have twice as much vitamin B12 and omega-3s, six times the amount of vitamin D and 25 percent less saturated fat than ordinary eggs. Try them in a huevos rancheros-inspired chopped salad for breakfast and be on your way for the day.

3. Meditate

Don’t diss meditation until you try it, and don’t feel like you have to be floating on a cloud, om-ing or burning incense while you do it. All meditation requires is to sit still in a comfortable position and tune into your body. You can try these five-minute techniques or download an app that guides you (try Simply Being).

4. Move

You can rise early for an intense HIIT class, or you can simply take a walk down your block. The point is to get moving. In one study published by the American Medical Association, simply increasing walking pace reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in study participants. Furthermore, a 2008 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise concluded that if more people walked more often, it could help reduce the prevalence of chronic disease.

5. Slip yourself a superfood

Here’s the super-unofficial definition of a superfood: a food that’s more nutrient-rich than other nutrient-rich foods. We’ve got a handy superfood list you can take to the grocery store, but for breakfast, think blueberries, strawberries, almonds, apples and avocados — for extra nutrients, try these baked eggs and avocados.

Your mission: No matter what you eat for breakfast, pick one superfood side. Just think about how that adds up over time.

6. Slow down

Instead of rolling out of bed, getting ready and jamming out the door to make it to work, take a beat. Allowing yourself time in the morning to just be can help you handle the stress that may come with the rest of your day. Enjoy your hot beverage of choice, read a book or stretch as you reflect on yesterday. This is that “me time” you’ve been craving. Sure, sometimes kids, unexpected situations and life in general can get in the way, but does that mean you shouldn’t try?

7. Set intentions in the shower

If you think about it, that time spent in the shower could really be maximized. While you shampoo, set some intentions for your day. They don’t have to be about exercising or eating healthy at all. It can be as simple as this: What do you want to accomplish today? What will make you feel fulfilled at the end of the day? Reflect on how you’re feeling. Self-care reduces stress, and less stress makes you healthier.

So, while it’s pretty hard to drill “healthy” down to one definition (it’s not exactly a one-size-fits-all situation), it’s also hard to deny that committing to a handful of simple habits can make a difference. They’re tried and true and completely good for you.

This post is sponsored by Eggland’s Best.

 

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