Results tagged “back-to-school”
Gluten- and Peanut-Free Labeled Snack Sacks, $8-10, snacktaxi.com
In more than a dozen prints, reusable snack and sandwich bags labeled "gluten free" or "nut free."
Tili Zip&Seal Bags, from $8.50 per set, tilibags.com
In six different prints. Also great for travel.
Kleen Kanteens, $19.50, potterybarnkids.com
Also in girls' styles.
Thermos Funtainers, $17, bedbathandbeyond.com
Thermos Hot/Cold Food Jar, $19.50, potterybarnkids.
In boys' styles.
Call me old-fashioned but with all the changes the education system has gone under in the past few years, it's up to parents now more than ever to make sure their child is reaching their full potential at school. While the primary learning that you instilled in them as a baby, toddler and preschooler are now being left in the hands of highly-qualified teachers at school, it doesn't mean that you have to completely remove yourself from the education equation. Actually, teachers hope you'll do just the opposite and continue your role in their learning success. Not quite sure how to go about that? Don't worry, you're not alone, and there are plenty of ways for you as a parent to ensure your child's school success from home.
1. Read together
The statistics still say that reading to/with your child 20 minutes a day is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. So whether they already know how to read or are still learning, it's still important for you to take the time to read with them. The best time to do this is before bed and as they graduate from picture books with small words to chapter books, take turns reading aloud and talking about what's happening in the book. Who knows, there could be a bookworm inside them just waiting to come out!
2. Healthy habits begin at home
Although we're just coming off summer where most parents (including me) are a little more lenient about bedtime and morning routines, it's important to set a good routine for the school year to keep them on task. Making sure they get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner, get exercise and not spend too much time playing on computers and watching TV, are all important elements to them being successful during the school year. While, of course, you still want them to have fun with friends and have time to play, it's just as important that they have the most energy saved for listening and learning during class. If it helps them focus, try setting up a reward chart where they can see their progress in school matched with rewards like watching TV, computer time and playdates.
3. Designate a homework space
Just as we like having our own desk space, your kids also need a designated place in the home where they can feel comfortable doing their homework. Even if it's little worksheets or reading a handful of pages out of a book, making a special area for them to do their homework will give them that extra boost they need to get it done. Places to consider as homework areas include their own in-room desk, the dining room table, a reading nook, or in my home we have lap desks for the couch, available at RoomitUp.com, $24. Wherever you find the space, make sure it's comfortable for them and free from distractions like the TV and yes, even siblings!
4. Learn from the world around you
While sitting at a desk in school is important to their learning success, it's also just as important for them to be aware and learn from the world around them. Taking trips to local museums, the farmers' market and day-trips to other areas are all a great chance for you to talk about geography, science, history, math and to practice reading. In fact, you don't have to leave home, doing simple things around the house like having them help with laundry, cooking and yard work are also great ways to sneak in little lessons.
5. Be involved
One of the best ways to really ensure your child's success in school is to be involved and be present in their lives and education. We all get busy with work and other activities but sometimes we have to take a moment and remember that they are our greatest asset and the future of our world. The first years of school are just a prerequisite of what's to come for them as they continue their life-long education journey. Talking with their teachers about their progress and being involved in school activities like the PTA is a great way to ensure their continued interest and success in school.
I don't know about you but it's finally, finally our turn to head back to school this week and as it turns out, we were ready in every department except the lack of ingredients to have a fantastic first day of school lunch. So immediately after I dropped my daughter off at the kindergarten classroom, snapped a few photos and had a few tears, I went to the grocery store to get prepared for the lunchtime battle. Last year I remember her coming home sometimes with her full lunch intact and not impressed by my attempts at PB&J sandwiches accompanied by dried-out carrot sticks.
Tapping into my creative side, I've come up with a whole new lunch menu this year that will hopefully get the kids as excited to eat as I am to make. Remember, you don't have to be a gourmet chef to prepare a nice lunch for your kids, but what you can do is make it as healthy and tasty as you would want it to be. My golden rule: if I wouldn't eat it, why would you expect them to?
Make it a wrap or a roll
Get your kids excited for lunch again! Take something as simple as a turkey and cheese sandwich and creatively make it into a wrap on a whole wheat tortilla with a bit of hummus to keep the sandwich moist and fresh, and if your kids are really adventurous, a few leaves of spinach.
Another option is to fill the ingredients of the sandwich horizontally so you can then roll it like a piece of sushi and then cut it into bite-size rolls. It's a sushi sandwich! Add your child's favorite ingredients to create only a wrap that they could love to eat so you know there won't be any trading going on at the lunch table. Great combos are cream cheese and jelly, salami and cheese, turkey and cheese, peanut butter (or other nut butter) and jelly or honey, and ham and cheese.
Shape it and stick it
If something is in a cool shape, tell me they won't be at least curious to try it. It seems to work with Play-Doh so I'm betting it works with fruits and vegetables too. My new favorite thing to do is take whatever fruits and vegetables are in season, for fall it's apples, grapes, peaches, plums, nectarines and melon, and make them into fun shapes with the Kotobuki Vegetable Cutters, $10 for 6, at amazon.com.
Another great trend in lunches is to take the ingredients and make a kabob on a stick for them to eat. You can add pineapple chunks, banana slices, grapes and cheese onto a stick to make a healthy snack that they'll think is fun to eat. The same goes for sandwiches, cut it with their favorite cookie cutter shape and they'll gobble it right up!
Have them mix their own trail mix snack
This is one of my favorite things to do as an adult and the kids have actually caught onto the idea this year. Every week, we make a new trail mix to have as a healthy lunch time snack by mixing a few of our favorite ingredients like raisins, almonds (or your favorite nut), chocolate chips, dry cereal (like Cheerios), pretzels, dried fruit pieces like apples, peaches, apricots, blueberries and cranberries.
Build your own sandwich
Some kids prefer to have everything separate so when the time comes, they are able to make their own meal. In our house, we love making cracker sandwiches instead of using bread. By adding about 8-10 crackers, pieces of protein like lunch meats and cheese and perhaps their favorite dip or spread (like hummus or ranch), they can make their own lunch time meal.
Serve up healthy versions of treats
My daughter was complaining that all the kids at school had special treats like chips and cookies in their lunch. Well, not to be outdone, I created a healthy version of chips and treats for her to bring to lunch. Instead of potato chips out of a bag, we made sweet potato chips. Having a treat in the lunch box is definitely okay too, it's just hard to know if they actually eat that first. We love making healthier cookies like oatmeal raisin and pumpkin and zucchini bread to add as extra treats.
I know it seems like the summer just flew by, but at the beginning of summer you were probably thinking, "when will it ever end?" Well, now the time has come and they're headed back-to-school with new teachers, perhaps a new school and maybe some new friends. If you think about how uncomfortable you are in an unfamiliar situation, just imagine how your child feels. It's definitely overwhelming and not something that they are probably looking forward to -- no matter how excited you are about them heading back. To make the back-to-school transition a little easier, we've come up with a few tips that anyone can do to make the first few weeks easy and FUN because really, who doesn't want to have a little fun before it's time to rush into the crazy holiday season?!
Decorate for back-to-school like you would a holiday
Kids love decorating for a holiday and really, summer is short on them. So now is the time to be creative and start decorating for back-to-school by making a wreath out of rulers and pencils, a centerpiece out of erasers and a pennant with the school colors. It will make the first day of school seem festive and will give your house a cheery lift before Halloween comes swooping in. For more unique back-to-school decor ideas visit, kaboose.com.
Everyone loves to bake
My kids love treats, especially when it's something we are making together. Take this back-to-school opportunity to make something new and special that can be taken in their school lunchboxes like healthy granola raspberry breakfast bars or cookies made with the new ABC mini cookie cutters at williams-sonoma.com, $12.95. It will make back-to-school a little bit easier with something sweet to eat!
Buy something new, but also something helpful to help back-to-school transition
If you already did the back-to-school shopping and let your kids pick out a new backpack, lunchbox and a couple of graphic tees, then that's a great start to getting them excited about what's to come. However, how about something new that could really help them in the transition. Are they late sleepers? Maybe a new alarm clock could be of use. Are you starting them on a weekly allowance? Maybe a new coin purse or a new money saving system might be fun. Or perhaps they are going to be having more homework this year? A lap desk might be a great addition to their room. Letting them pick out something extra special that will help them in their school success will definitely give you a smile and also give them the confidence boost they need during the first few weeks of school.
Send a little something from home with them
The first few weeks of school can make a child homesick so tucking in a little note or something special inside their backpack is a great way to lift their spirits. While we hope they're so busy learning and playing with friends during recess time that they won't notice you're not there, not all kids are like that. I especially love the Mini Lunch Notes from Peagreen, $9.95, at amazon.com that can be kept next to the lunch making station for a quick and sneaky tuck-in in their lunchbox. Other ideas include putting a picture of the family in their bag or recording a quick "I love you" message on the recordable Talkatoo, $16.99, at amazon.com.
Make learning into a game
Really, what kids don't love playing games with their parents?! Making up silly songs to learn spelling words, playing hop scotch to learn geography or just making everyday dinner time into a game will not only help your kids learn but also make school fun. Put on your silly hat and get them excited about the new song Mom will sing with them to learn their new words.