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Ideas & Activities

As the sun comes up I can’t help but reflect on what transpired the day before and how I am expecting this day to begin... Yelling? Anxious? Disharmony? Tears? Will I be tripping over toys and (those wonderfully sharp) Lego’s? Will there be forgotten backpacks, trumpets, homework? ...and if I have to pick up those dvd’s all over my floor from my two year olds fascination at opening them and chucking them everywhere like a ninja, I am seriously gonna lose it.

Can anyone relate?

I am 42 years old with 3 beautiful children from the ages 2-15. I have experienced time going by so fast, I have a 15 year old already. YIKES! Is it too much to ask that I want peace, harmony and unity with my family (I know, so maybe I was a hippie in a former life) But my expectations are real! I want less time yelling, more time smiling and enjoying. Family means team. We are a team..And this team is NOT gonna win if we are not in harmony working together.

So, I had an epiphany this bright early morning and I want to share before the chaos begins.

CHORES VS ACCOUNTABILITY

Lets think about this for a moment..Let it marinate.

The word CHORE...how does it make you feel? I know how it makes me feel and what memories come with that word. Reflect: I am 16 years old and my chore was to come home from school and vacuum. Did I? Oh I pulled the vacuum out and ran it up and down the rug a few time just to create the lines in the carpet but I never turned the thing on. (If it wasn't about ME, it didn't matter.)

Now, lets think about the word ACCOUNTABILITY..how does that make you feel?

Vulnerable? Instantly it becomes about ME! Unfortunately, I feel that this is a word not many of us are willing to confront. Who wants to be left accountable? The world uses it in such a negative way, but it’s not a negative word..It’s a positive word and more people should take pride in accountable. It builds character. It’s respected and honored. 

Now back to my epiphany...

Get out your colorful markers, your chart paper, your dry eraser board, your magnets..whatever. (I know you have em’, cause you’ve been making these silly charts for years)

Lets create ACCOUNTABILITY charts! (for the FAMILY, not just the little ones) Yup, we are all gonna hold ourselves accountable, let them see your faults. We are not perfect and our children need to see this first hand. We can ALL work at this team thing together making progress. (Hey, if the work together, as well as the coach)

INCENTIVES

Is there money involved? Maybe. Are there activities involved? Maybe. (whatever you chose that would work for your family..could be different for each member) I know my 15 year old is motivated by money, but my 2 year old is motivated by ice cream and my 10 yr old loves time spent with me.

RESPONSIBILITIES

Start with 3 things..Let them choose what their responsibilities will be in helping out the family. Three and under ideas:

1. Consider picking up toys with supervision

2. Assist in making bed

3. Sorting laundry (a good learning experience)

Pick 3 things for yourself as well, mine will look like this...

- making dinner more often (instead of eating out)

- spending at least 15 quality min with each child a night (not including two year old jumping on me during that time)

- getting up 15 min earlier than everyone else to do a daily devotional (some well needed God time)

WEEKLY

At the end of each week you gather around your beautifully designed charts as a family and you go over it one at a time..Discuss and praise each one. (family time, harmony, positive...see my expectations weren’t too far off)

This is an example of what I am going to do, but you have to do what works for your family. For example, the conversation might look like this:

“So, Skylar how do you think you did this week?” Maybe you say something positive to initiate everyone else in this.”Sky, I know I saw you vacuum twice this week. Good Job! I also know you said (put it on them) you would vacuum all 5 days. How do you think you did?”

“Are there areas you need to work on? Cause I know I didn't make dinner all 5 days.”

Their incentives come with what they accomplished, not what they didn't. Everyone needs room to improve.

So if Vacuuming is $2 a day for the week and they did it all 5 days they get $10. If dusting is $3 a day and they only did it 3 days they get $9, but they had an opportunity to make $25 when they only made $19.

Are you following me?

Speaking the word ACCOUNTABILITY into our children's lives early on will achieve more responsible adults holding themselves accountable for their actions. In the end we are building some pretty important character qualities in our children that I personally feel they will be grateful for later on, along with their self-assuredness.

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We are ‘LEAPING with LOVE’ and excitement for the month of February!

As we enter the month, the preschoolers will be gathering materials for introducing our Buildings Study. We will be talking about various buildings, how tall they are and how they are made. We will even build some ourselves.

-Did you know?
The tallest skyscraper in the USA measures 1,776 feet.. Its the “Freedom Tower” in NYC.

February is also National Children’s Dental Health Month!

-As a school we will be focusing on dental health and healthy habits.

-We will have 2 local dentists coming to speak to our children!

-This years campaign slogan is called “Sugar Wars” focusing on effective ways to defeat the effects of sugar as we learn to maintain good oral health.

We celebrate Chinese New Year on the 8th.. learning which animal each of our birth years represent and sampling some cultural goodies!

-Do you know what animal yours is?

I learned that I was born in the year of the Ox (I will refrain from sharing what year that is)

On Wednesday the 10th, we are excited to celebrate 100 days of school!!!!

Finishing that week with our Valentines Day Party on Friday the 12th! (The kids have worked so hard on their Valentines Day bags.)

2016 is also Leap Year. We get an extra day this year to love on our kids.

 

You don’t have to be sitting at a desk in a classroom for a moment to be teachable. As a parent you are the best teacher!  

Here are some things to do and ideas you can share with your children this month! 

*Instead of reading a bedtime story..share family stories and loving memories.

*Replace that box of chocolates with homemade chocolate chip cookies made with LOVE. Valentineʼs is a perfect time to show your children how to bake. 

Bernards Township Library, Basking Ridge
-Valentine Drop in Crafts: Feb 13th, 10:30 (materials provided) 

Somerset County Park Commission
-”I Love Horses” Valentine Trail Ride: Feb 14th (mini lesson with instructor)

Environmental Education Center at Lord Stirling Park, Basking Ridge
-Maple Sugaring, Feb 20-March 13

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February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. 

 

Clip Art: Dental Hygiene B&W - preview 1

 

 

We are celebrating at Sunshine Preschool and Infant Care by having two local dentists visit our school to teach our preschoolers all about dental health!

For the first visit, preschoolers were treated to a puppet show, a story about losing your first tooth, and they even got to pretend they were teeth! We are looking forward to our second visit next week.

 

Fun Facts

Childhood dental disease is the #1 chronic childhood illness

But, good news!  It’s also the most preventable!!

 

Follow the 2-2-2 rule! :

Visit your dentist TWO times a year, and brush and floss TWO times a day for TWO whole minutes!

 

Here are some tips to encourage dental health:

 

  • Make it fun! Put on some music and have kids brush until the song is over.
  • Brush your teeth with your kids, they will see you doing it and want to be just like you!
  • Reward them with a new toothbrush for doing such a good job!

 

For more information you can visit

American Dental Association

http://www.ada.org/en

Mouth Healthy Kids

http://www.mouthhealthykids.org/en/

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Happy New Year!!!

 

If you are anything like myself (and everyone else in the world) one of your New Year's resolutions is to become a healthier version of yourself in 2015. There are many ways to go achieve this goal, from starting a new active hobby, to signing up for a gym membership, or resolving to eat better and make healthier choices for you and your family. 

One of the most fun and effective ways to stick to a New Year's resolution is to partner up with someone, and who better to partner up with than your family!

PBS.com has some great tips on how you can do this. I'll briefly summarize for you, but you can find the link to the full article at the bottom of this page.

 

1. Be a good role model for your family. 

  • Chances are that as an adult, you are making the decisions about what kind of food enters the house and what gets cooked for dinner. If you set a good example for your family by eating right and remaining active, they are more likely to mimic that behavior and live a healthy lifestyle as well. 

2. Find fun ways to incorporate exercise in your every day routine. 

  • Whether it's playing basketball, doing yoga, or putting on some music and dancing around the house, these activities all get your heart pumping and you get to have fun while doing it!

3. Limit tv and electronics time.

  • Unplug. Go outside and play. Go for a walk. Play catch. Anything that gets you and your family off the couch and moving. If tv is an important part of your nightly routine, make a game out of it. Every time a commercial airs, use that time to get up and get moving. Jog in place. Play a game of tag. Practice yoga poses. 

4. Keep healthy options available around the house. 

  • If you and your family only have fruits and vegetables available for snack time, chances are that's what you will be eating. What you bring into the house will get eaten, including cookies and sugary snacks, so choose wisely.

5. Have fun!

  • No matter the activity you choose, make sure you and your family enjoy doing it. The more fun they have, the more likely they are to stick with it!

 

 

Here are some healthy, and kid friendly, approved meal ideas that you can make together!

http://www.brit.co/healthy-kids-recipes/?utm_campaign=pinbutton_hover

 

Link to PBS Article : 

Encouraging Family Fitness & Healthy Habits

http://www.pbs.org/parents/food-and-fitness/sport-and-fitness/family-fitness/

 

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One of my favorite things about fall is all of the fun fall flavors and recipes! From squashes to pumpkins to apples, there are so many things you can do with fall produce. Cooking is such a great bonding experience between children and parents, and kids really enjoy having a hand in preparing and eating the foods they help to create. With the weather cooling down I turn to a few favorites that I thought I would share with you.

 


Enjoy!!!

 

 

This granola recipe would be great for a make ahead, grab and go breakfast.

http://minimalistbaker.com/pumpkin-maple-pecan-granola/

 


Another breakfast (or breakfast for dinner) recipe. Serve with apple cider for an extra fall twist!

http://www.cookingclassy.com/2014/08/pumpkin-french-toast/?crlt.pid=camp.1FS712egfPzs

 


Chili is one of my favorite fall dishes to make. It's so versatile that you can add almost anything to it and it will turn out beautifully.
This vegetarian chili can easily be adapted for meat eaters by adding ground beef, turkey, or shredded chicken. Bonus: you will have plenty of leftovers for lunches!

http://cookieandkate.com/2012/butternut-squash-chipotle-chili-with-avocado/

 


And last but certainly not least, dessert. Growing up, my mom would make pumpkin chocolate chip whoopie pies every fall,so these hold a special place in my heart...and stomach.
This recipe calls for the chocolate chips in the cream cheese filling, but you could also add them to the "cookie" batter and they will be just as yummy!

http://www.cookingwithanne.com/2008/11/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-whoopie-pies.html

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