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Archive for December, 2018

How to know your kids are contagious (and when to keep them at home)

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No one likes to be sick. As a parent, when you feel terrible, you just wish that the world would stop and you could just curl up on your bed and sleep. Unfortunately, this is not how the world works. Even when you are sick there are things that have to be done.

However, when your kids are sick, you’ll need to decide whether they are contagious or not before sending them off on their way. You don’t want to spread whatever your child has to the entire school.

So how do you know when your child is contagious?

1. Fever

Fever is a sign that your body is still fighting the virus or bacteria. A fever is always a sign of sickness, so if you notice that your child’s temperature is running high, it’s a sign they should stay home today.

2. Runny nose

If their sinuses are draining, they are sick — despite the color of the drainage. “All colds are contagious regardless of mucus color.” says Sara DuMond, MD.

3. Feeling sick

We live in a culture where even if you are feeling sick, you just keep going. When our kids say they feel sick, it can be easy to ignore it and send them on their way.

However, that might not be the best approach. DuMond said, “When your child is feeling his worst (days three through five), he’s most contagious. But symptoms can last for up to two weeks, and he’s contagious as long as he’s sick. Of course, you can’t quarantine him for days. So wash your hands frequently after touching him, and keep him away from other kids during the … peak.”

“In most of us, flu is contagious for about a week. By the time you’re feeling better, you have probably stopped spewing virus particles everywhere,” Dr. Salber says. Therefore, if you are feeling really sick you are probably still contagious.

When should you keep the kids home?

If you suspect your child is contagious you should keep your kids home — it might be inconveinent, it might be unexpected, but it’s the right thing to do.

What to do?

If your child is sick there are a lot of options. You can see if you can work from home, take a sick day yourself or call the grandparents or a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your child. Be sure to call the school and excuse your child’s absence and work on getting their day’s work so they don’t fall behind.

 

This article was written by Christa Cutler from Family Share and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

4 Shortcuts to the Most Impressive Holiday Cookies I’ve Ever Made—And They’re No-Bake

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How does she do it? Cheating of course. My secrets for deceptively fancy holiday cookies.

My Nutella Cones with Hazelnut Praline are the type of easy-to-make, destined-to-impress shortcut cookie recipe this (and every) holiday season needs. They’re inspired by the Nutty Buddy, an ice cream filled, chocolate dipped, peanut sprinkled number. But seeing as it’s December, an ice cream filling isn’t appropriate. So, I swapped the frozen stuff for Nutella, threw in a few other pre-made shortcuts, and came up with the fanciest, easiest cookies I’ve ever made. And they’re no-bake to boot.

Instead of making every part from scratch, I put together a cookie shortcut dream team. The result? A stunning and stunningly simple cookie guaranteed to make you the countess of the cookie swap.

Don’t tell anybody, but these are my secret shortcuts:

The Cone

A simple sugar cone offers the same slightly sweet, cracker-like experience of my first favorite snack, Barnum’s Animal Crackers. They’re just the right texture and not-too-sweet base for what becomes a decadent finished product. I ordered these mini cones from amazon.com (actually, looks like I got the last box!) but you can use a serrated knife to trim the tops off of regular-sized sugar cones. Use the leftover cone bits in place of graham crackers for a delicious press-in crust. (Try it in this sweet potato pie.)

The Creamy Center

Nutella behaves a little like a homemade ganache—a spreadable mixture of chocolate and cream often used to fill truffles or no-bake pies. It holds its shape but stays pliable at room temperature making it the perfect shortcut filling for my (alternate name) Winter BuddiesTM. For extra texture, I folded in a handful of toasted hazelnuts but you could use toasted almonds or salted peanuts if you want. The nutty filberts help balance the sweetness of the Nutella but if you’re a No Nuts Person you can leave them out.

The Crispy Shell

To create the crispy outer shell, I made a homemade version of “Magic Shell”—an easy-to-make combo of chopped chocolate and coconut oil—but you could definitely use the pre-made stuff.

The shell does two things: first, it lines the cones with a water-tight chocolate seal. Without this coating, the cones get soggy as they soak up moisture from the Nutella filling. You can skip it, but the cones will lose their crunch after about 8 hours. Once your cones are filled with the nutty Nutella mixture, you’ll dip the finished bites in more magic shell to contain the gooey interior.

The Sparkle

Crushed hazelnut praline adds a sparkly finish to these otherwise brown on brown treats. I made a homemade praline but you can use store-bought candied nuts (or those rectangular sesame candies) for a similar effect. Or, skip the molten sugar part and top the cones with more chopped nuts. Just be sure to add them while that outer coating of magic shell is slightly tacky so they stick.

And if all this still feels too fancy, tie a big ribbon around your favorite box and call it a (holi)day. For more homemade cookie inspiration, check out some of our favorite cookie recipes here.

 

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

6 questions you should ask your kids every single day

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In today’s digital world it is becoming harder and harder to actually connect with our children. They come home from school to the waiting television and usually end up playing video games on the tablet while watching TV (no judgement, we all do it). We don’t really know our children because none of us really know how to communicate anymore.

The typical daily parental question is, “How was your day?” And the typical response from our kids is “fine,” “good,” “OK” or any other one word response they can come up with without actually thinking. This question is lame. It will always get you a one-word answer and leave you wondering why you even bothered to ask. The key to understanding our children is to trick them into talking by asking questions that cannot be answered with “fine” or “good.”

Here’s some proven suggestions that will give you true insight into your child’s life.

1. What made you laugh today?

The random things that kids find funny are absolutely hilarious. My nieces and nephews tell the worst jokes, but their insane laughter is contagious and we always end up laughing together. You know what they say; families who laugh together, stay together!

2. What made you sad today?

Hopefully the answer to this question is nothing too major and depressing, but kids have emotions too. No one likes to voluntarily share sad things that happen every day and our kids are no different, but children are also inherently honest. When asked point-blank, in a place they feel safe, they will open up. You may have to pry, but it will be worth it.

3. Who did you play with today (note that teenagers prefer the phrase”hang out”)?

As much as it may worry us, our kids’ friends will have a huge impact on who they become, which is why we have to know who they are. This is a subtle way to find out if Susie is still hanging out with bad news Bobbie or if she has found new friends to play hopscotch with during recess. When you know your children’s friends, you don’t have to hope they will stay out of trouble.

4. What made you proud today?

Sometimes we are too preoccupied to fully appreciate the lint collection being shoved in our faces right at dinner time, so give your children this chance to brag a little bit and show off their creations or good deeds for the day. This also creates a killer opportunity to praise your child and to reinforce good behaviors.

5. Who made you smile today?

People are the source of true happiness and true friends will bring that joy to the forefront. The people who make your kids smile on a daily basis are the ones worth keeping around. Those are the true, lifelong friends that will hopefully be in their lives forever.

6. What’s something interesting you learned today?

This is the ultimate show and tell moment for your children. Despite what they may think, our children really are learning new things daily. This question makes them actually stop and think about what they learned and helps them internalize those things by condensing and sharing them with you.

You may be thinking there is not enough time in the day to sit and ask all of these questions and that’s OK. Tweak these questions to work for you and your family. Ask them all at once or twice a week, ask a couple each day or ask them all every day. If it is hard to talk during family dinner time, then bedtime is the perfect opportunity to review the day. Sit on the side of your child’s bed (even your teenagers) tuck them in and ask these six great questions. Try it in a way that works for you. You will be grateful you did, even if your kids do complain you’re getting repetitive.

 

This article was written by Kelsey Robertson from Family Share and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

10 fun winter activities for kids

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Wondering how on earth you’re going to entertain the kids all winter now the nights are drawing in and the clocks have gone back?

Then read on!

I don’t know about you but it seems infinitely easier to entertain the kids in summer, when you can throw open the back door and go to the park with the sun on your faces, than it does in winter when you’ve got to wrap them up and really think about where you’re going and for how long for.

It might be tempting to draw the curtains and switch on the telly, but with a bit of lateral thinking it’s actually easier than you think to make the most of the great outdoors in winter.

This year we’re partnering with Simplyhealth and their #MyEveryStep campaign, which is all about the little steps we can take to lead healthier lives, and as autumn turns to winter we’ve come up with 10 fun winter activities for kids to help keep them (and you) entertained as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer.

10 fun winter activities for kids

1. Make a bird feeder. It doesn’t have to be super complicated – all you need are three things: a cardboard toilet roll tube, peanut butter and bird seed. Spread the peanut butter over the toilet roll tube, roll it in the bird seed several times so it sticks all over, then thread the tube over a branch outside. Birds and wildlife will come flocking and the looks on the faces of your own little birds is priceless.

2. Go puddle jumping. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you need to stay indoors. Put their wellies on, zip their raincoats up and let them jump in puddles until their heart’s content. Trust me, it will keep them entertained for waaay longer than you think.


winter activities for kids

3. Play conker maths. Collect as many conkers as you can – which is huge fun in itself – then charge them with the task of counting them and sorting them into groups from smallest to biggest. If you’ve got a pair of scales even better – they’ll be at it for hours.

4. Go toadstool hunting. Toadstools start popping up in forests all over the UK as soon as the nights start drawing in, and they really are a sight to behold – whatever your age. We recently went looking for some while taking part in BBC Children in Need’s #HatsOn campaign (see 5 easy ways to raise money for BBC Children in Need) which is all about making the most of the great outdoors and the kids walked much further than they would normally do (without complaining!) in search of the much-coveted red ones.


winter activities for kids

5. Clear up leaves. If you’ve got a garden the chances are you’ve got leaves that need clearing away at this time of year. Turn a chore into an activity the whole family can enjoy by collecting the leaves and jumping in them – this is the stuff memories are made of! It’s a brilliant sensory experience for little ones too.

6. Make a bonfire. Autumn is the perfect time of year to gather your garden waste (don’t forget the leaves!) build a bonfire and watch it snapple and crack. They’ll have as much fun building the fire as they will watching it burn – just make sure there’s a responsible adult on hand at all times (ideally one with eyes in the back of their head).


winter activities for kids

7. Have a winter picnic. Who says picnics are just for summer? If you’ve got a bonfire going, make the most of it by taking hot dogs and flasks of hot chocolate into the garden while you watch it burn. Then when the flames have died down toast marshmallows in the embers (don’t forget to make sure the responsible adult is on hand).

8. Sign up to a beach litter pick. We all know plastic is a huge problem in our seas, and it’s easier than you think to help make a difference. Beach cleaning events, where members of the public volunteer to help pick up litter on beaches, happen all over the UK and are a great chance to breathe in some sea air as well as being lots of fun too. Use the Marine Conservation Society’s postcode finder to find a beach clean nearest to you.


winter activities for kids

9. Go ice skating. The ultimate winter sport, the chances are there’ll be an ice rink in your town or city in time for the festive season. Most offer hold-on penguins or animals for little ones (I find them rather handy too!) and it’s great exercise, focusing on lower body movement and leg muscles.

10. Go stargazing. The good thing about the nights drawing in is that the stars come out earlier. Brush up on your constellations, wrap them up warm and take them outside to point out the different formations. If you’ve got a pair of binoculars even better.


winter activities for kids

Do you have any fun winter activities your kids love at this time of year? I’d love to know what they are!

This post was written in collaboration with Simplyhealth. I’m proud to be supporting their #MyEveryStep campaign, shining a light on the little steps we can all take to leading a healthy life every day. As always all opinions are my own and based on my own honest experience. To find out more about Simplyhealth’s #MyEveryStep campaign follow @SimplyhealthUK on Twitter and Instagram.

The post 10 fun winter activities for kids #ad appeared first on Confessions Of A Crummy Mummy.

 

This article was written by crummymummy1 from Confessions of a Crummy Mummy and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Ways to Show Gratitude This Holiday Season

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The holidays are here, and as per usual, they’re busy and hectic and make you want to swap swear words into “Little Drummer Boy.” To make sure you don’t let the season fly by without recognizing how fortunate you really are, try out one of these seven ways to show gratitude. 

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Send Holiday Cards 

No, it doesn’t have to be a whole production with a photo shoot and monogrammed envelopes. The point is to let the people you love know that you’re thinking about them and grateful for all they do. Find a pretty, festive design (we’re obsessed with all of Rifle Paper Co.’s holiday options) and spend a little time sending holiday greetings to your nearest and dearest. 

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Start a Daily Gratitude Journal 

We know what you’re thinking: I don’t have time for this. But before you rule it out, try it for a day or two. Keep a little notebook next to your bed, and when you wake up in the morning, jot down one to three things you’re thankful for. Say, your daily coffee, or your health. 

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Go Wild With Compliments 

You know when a total stranger compliments you and it makes your whole day? Pay it forward and let that gal at the Starbucks know when you love her scarf or lip color (just make sure you’re genuine). It’s a small way to make someone else—and in turn, yourself—feel good. 

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Volunteer 

Raise your hand if you frequently think to yourself, “I should really give back more,” only to let other things take priority. *Raises hand sheepishly* This season, make good on your promise and spend some time helping people who aren’t as fortunate as you are. Check out Volunteer Match, a volunteer engagement network that can help you find opportunities to give back in your area. (A quick scroll in NYC found listings for helping seniors care for their dogs and becoming a reading partner for a local child.)

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Hand-Write Thank You Notes 

Hand-Write Thank-You Notes 

Whether it’s a fancy sweater from your mom or homemade cookies from your desk-mate, take the time to hand-write a thank-you note. It’s so much more personal than a text or email, and takes little to no extra effort. (Especially if you stock up on greeting cards in advance.) 

Thank the People Who Make Your Life Run Smoothly

Think: Trash collectors, mail carriers, dog walkers and even your go-to manicurist. Give them a written or in-person thank you, along with a monetary token of your appreciation: This handy guide can tell you how much to tip.

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Teach Your Kids Gratitude

Now that you’ve got the whole gratitude thing down pat, teach the younger folks in your life that the holidays are about more than just gift-getting. Maybe it’s encouraging them to pick out a toy for a local charity drive. Maybe it’s spending a day with them at a soup kitchen. Either way, set the example that giving and thanking are just as important as receiving. They’re little sponges, after all.

 

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

25 Creative Elf on the Shelf Ideas That Take 5 Minutes or Less

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These quick and easy ideas will make moving your Elf so much easier every night.

It’s Elf on the Shelf season again, otherwise known as the time of year when parents everywhere scramble to move the doll before their kids wake up. We don’t blame you if you opt out, or just hide him in the fridge for the 14th time. But if you want to step up your game this year and surprise your kids with the Elf’s impish shenanigans, it’s actually easier than you think. We’ve rounded up some of the funniest and most creative Elf on the Shelf ideas on the Internet. The best part: Creating these funny scenes takes less than five minutes, and if you’ve got string, marshmallows and toilet paper at home, that’s pretty much all you need. Check out everything Elf can do this holiday season:

Trap your kid

Hang out with the Minions

 

Elf on the Shelf Banana

 

All you need is a Sharpie and a bunch of bananas. Via Fancy Shanty

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Get tied to the tracks

 

Elf on the Railroad

 

If your kid’s a train fanatic, just wrap Elf up in tape or twine and toss him on the track. Via Fancy Shanty

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Get all rolled up

 

Elf on the Shelf Toilet Paper

 

Uh-oh, looks like Elf got wrapped up in toilet paper and tossed down the stairs. Via Fancy Shanty

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Hit the gym

 

Elf on the Shelf Gym

 

All you need is a straw and two marshmallows to make it look like Elf is pumping serious iron. Via Dirty Diaper Laundry

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Scarf down popcorn.

 

Elf on the Shelf Popcorn

 

Stash Elf in the microwave and it will entertain your kids for at least 20 minutes trying to find him. Via Just a Little Creativity

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Get tucked in a bun.

 

Elf on the Shelf Hot Dog

 

Elf tastes better with ketchup and mustard. Via Just a Little Creativity

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Make snow angels.

 

Elf on the Shelf Snow Angel

 

All you need is rice, flour, sprinkles, sugar or pretty much anything for Elf to make snow angels. Via Lil Blue Boo

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TP the Christmas tree.

 

Elf on the Shelf TP Christmas Tree

 

But not too much. You still have to clean it up, after all. Via Lil Blue Boo

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Email Santa.

 

Elf on the Shelf Email Santa

 

Just think of all the behavior reports Elf could make to the North Pole! Via Lil Blue Boo

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Do yoga with friends.

 

Elf on the Shelf Yoga

 

He IS pretty flexible after all. Via Picklehead Soup

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Make mischief.

 

elf on the shelf family photo idea

 

All you need is a dry erase marker, your favorite family photo and a sense of humor. Via Mandy with Multiples

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Be the Sexiest Elf Alive.

 

Elf on the Shelf People Magazine

 

Or, he can be on the cover of any other magazine you have lying around. Via Picklehead Soup

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Bust out of a box of Cereal.

 

Elf on the Shelf Cereal Box

 

That’ll give the kids a laugh when they go to make a bowl. Via Picklehead Soup

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Get stuck in the snack jar.

 

Elf on the Shelf in a Snack Jar

 

Any clear jar or container (or even a glass flipped upside down) works for this one. Via Picklehead Soup

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Take a bubble bath.

 

Elf on the Shelf Bubble Bath

 

In marshmallows, that is. Mmmm, relaxing and delicious. Via Bombshell Bling

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Go fishing

 

Elf on the Shelf Fishing

 

Just round up a pencil, string and some goldfish, and you’re done. Via Rocking My 365 Project

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Go sledding

 

Elf on the Shelf Sledding

 

All you need is an empty toilet paper roll, cardboard and string, and Elf can have a snow day adventure. Via My Mommy Style

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Lead story time

 

Elf on the Shelf Story Time

 

“See, kids, Elf loves reading!” Via My Mommy Style

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Go on a date with Barbie

 

Elf on the Shelf on a Date

 

Can you feel the love tonight? Via Elf on the Shelf Ideas

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Nurse a milk and cookies hangover

 

Elf on the Shelf Too Many Cookies

 

He partied a little too hard on Christmas Eve. Via Just a Little Creativity

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Toast marshmallows

 

Elf on the Shelf Toasting Marshmallows

 

The best part? You can eat the marshmallows when he’s done. Via Just a Little Creativity

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Climb the Christmas tree

 

Elf on the Shelf Climbs the Tree

 

He’s a pretty rugged little elf. Via Just a Little Creativity

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Sip orange juice

 

Elf on the Shelf Drinks Orange Juice

 

Elf needs his vitamin C too. Via Frugal Coupon Living

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Work as a mechanic

 

Elf on the Shelf Mechanic

 

I hear he charges a very reasonable rate. Via Frugal Coupon Living

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

Why you shouldn’t sneak away from your kids when you leave the house (even if they cry)

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Even though this article was originally written with working mothers in mind, this is great information for all parents!

It’s very normal for babies and young children to be attached to their mother. Children want to feel protected, and the closer they are to their parents, the safer they feel. So it’s understandable for a child to start crying if their mother suddenly disappears from sight. To avoid this automatic crying fit, moms will try to sneak out of the house when someone else is watching the kids, but it’s better if your children see you leave.

Why should children see us when we leave home?

Before parting, it’s best to tell your kid where you’re going and that you’ll be back soon. Although it is painful to see them cry, it’s the healthiest thing to do. As they get older, they’ll understand that you always return after you leave.

It took me a while to understand this. With my youngest son, I often left the house unannounced and disappeared from his sight when he was distracted. He spent a lot of time running around the house looking for me after I left. Because of my pattern of sneaking away when going out, he sometimes got scared and thought I had left him when I was just in another room of the house.

To help reduce his anxiety, I began to look at things from his point of view and react accordingly. When I had to leave the house, I explained that I would only leave for a few minutes and then return. I also would explain that I was still at home (even when he couldn’t see me) I was just in the bedroom. I now could let my son happily play with his father in the kitchen because he knew I wouldn’t leave for the market without saying goodbye.

But won’t they suffer more if they see me go?

Depending on the child’s age and relationship with their parents, their reaction when their mother leaves may vary. However, it is always better to say goodbye when you leave so your child can start handling their emotions when mother and child separate.

It’s also important to explain to your child that you’ll leave but will return, or else even a five-minute absence can cause children to panic. In early childhood stages, 10 minutes feels much longer for your child than it does for you. Over time, the child will understand that Mom comes back after all, and their crying fits will lessen in time and frequency.

Will they every stop crying when I leave?

The crying won’t stop immediately, and maybe not even soon. But just because you don’t hear them cry when you leave doesn’t mean the babysitter doesn’t have to handle their tears when you leave. However, it’s not the end of the world if they cry. Always allowing your child to say goodbye even when he cries will allow him to get used to the pattern and thus eventually balance out his emotions.

Disappearing from your child’s sight without warning can generate feelings of insecurity and lack of protection. Never leave home without saying goodbye to your child. Remember that good communication and emotional bonds (even when they are young) generate an emotional support in your child that will affect them for their whole life.

 

This article was written by Fernanda Gonzalez Casafús from Family Share and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.