We celebrated Father’s Day at A+ Kids Learning Academy with a delicious “Donuts with Dad on Fathers Day” event! Look at all these happy sugar sweet smiles!
As summer arrives, many parents are looking for ways to prevent summer brain drain and keep their preschool student active in reading. Experts have reported that reading should be included in the daily lives of even the youngest of children. This list of Summer Reading Tips to Prevent Summer Brain Drain with your Preschooler is sure to provide you with enough activities to keep them going until schools starts back up in the fall.
Reading to your child is not only a great way to model reading for fun, it’s also a time to bond and share time together in a meaningful way. Building a love of reading can begin during this sharing time. Parents may be surprised to find that this form of reading can even continue well through adolescence and may even help boost your child’s reading skills and strengthening their vocabulary.
Head to the Library
The library is a very happening place during the summer. Most will host a variety of activities and events, as well as read aloud’s with librarians or special library guests. Spending time reading and searching for new preschool reading books to enjoy is a great way to build interest in a variety of reading materials. Check out the library recommendations and books on display for even more great book ideas and fun activities.
If you feel like you’ve fallen off the healthy habit bandwagon, you’re in luck. March is National Nutrition Month, so it is the perfect time to tackle that health commitment you made at the beginning of the year with renewed energy.
You may be wondering why we celebrate nutrition month and how it can help you get back on track. It’s simple really. Nutrition Month is a time set aside to focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating and exercise habits.
This year the National Nutrition Month theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” So instead of feeling like you have to change everything at once, you can start small, with just one fork at a time. Whether your eating habits involve preparing meals at home or making choices while eating out, it’s important to develop a way of eating that is sustainable.
Are you ready to join the movement? Then here are a few effective ways you can start putting your best fork forward.
Eat a balanced, varied diet.
Eating a variety of nutrient dense foods across all of the food groups reduces your risk of many preventable and primarily lifestyle-based chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Work to incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your daily diet.
Choose lighter options while dining out.
Finding healthy options at restaurants is now easier than it ever has been. Most restaurant chains offer lighter, healthier choices. As you peruse the menu, look for options that are steamed or roasted. Likewise, ask for sauces, dressing, and cheese on the side, and control your own portions by asking for a to-go box and putting half of your meal in the box.
Set a good example for children.
If you have children, you know how quickly they pick up on things. That is why it is especially important to model good eating habits for children. This modeling begins in the kitchen. Inviting your child into the kitchen to participate in age-appropriate cooking tasks is a fun way to get young ones involved. Serving balanced meals and making the time to enjoy dinner together is also important to help your family build healthy, mindful eating habits.
Eat breakfast every day.
Breakfast is one of the most frequently skipped meals by everyone, but it’s also one of the most important. Breakfast helps get your metabolism going and sets the tone for your eating all day long. If you really don’t have time for breakfast, then at least grab a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts to give you a good mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.
Drink more water.
Water is another essential to a healthy lifestyle. Your body uses water for nearly ever metabolic process it completes. If you have a hard time drinking enough water, try keeping a water bottle with you all day, using a simple tracking system, or flavoring your water with a few pieces of fresh fruit. Try to drink at least half your weight in ounces of water each day.
Adopt the “one more” mentality.
It can be tough to completely overhaul the way you eat all at once. Instead of trying to do it that way, focus on getting in just “one more” healthy food choice each day. If you struggle with veggies the most, work on fitting in one more serving each day. Then once you have that mastered, move on to another healthy habit. Doing a little at a time will make the process much easier and help you stick with it.
If you really want to make your celebration of this month fun, then consider getting involved or organizing some nutrition month activities, such as
- A cooking demonstration or nutrition event
- A presentation at your local park or senior center
- A food donation campaign for your local food pantry or shelter
- A commitment to try one new healthy recipe as a family each week
- A visit to a local farmers market or farm
- A “lunch and learn” on healthy eating
- A scavenger hunt for healthy foods or recipe ingredients
National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to refocus on the healthy habits you started in January or to invite others to join you in your efforts. Use these tips and remember that it’s about starting small and making simple changes every day that you can stick to long term.
What is NCAPM All About?
April of 2017 marks the 34th year of National Child Abuse Prevention Month (NCAPM), a time dedicated to raising awareness of this devastating social issue and ending child abuse once and for all.
Since 1983, this month has been a time for communities to have a dialogue about the ways to not only stop the abuse of children, but providing education and resources for families and young adults to make sure that the abuse and neglect of children doesn’t carry on for even one more generation.
What the Statistics Say (And What they Don’t Say)
Are the numbers of abuse victims still high enough to warrant a month of awareness and advocacy? Sadly, the answer remains an absolute “yes”.
Despite what you might think, America still has a huge abuse and neglect problem. Current statistics report a staggering 3 million children a year who deal with some form of abuse. Sadly, these are just the cases that are reported; we will likely never know the true statistics.
This is one of the worst rates of abuse in any industrialized nation. The time has come to say, “Enough!” We can do better, which is why each April we renew our promise to the children of America.
Time Can’t Heal All Wounds: Ongoing Symptoms of Abuse
Abuse would be bad enough if the hurting ended with sores and bruises, but abuse creates many scars that do not manifest until later in life (often manifesting in dangerously rebellious teenage or young adult behavior).
Over time, the young victims of abuse may also be affected by the following issues:
- Increased tendency towards drug and alcohol abuse
- Serious depression, including suicide attempts
- Higher instances of “risk-seeking” behavior, such as multiple sexual partners, and other unsafe sexual practices
- An almost 80% instance of some type of psychological disorder
The list of effects is startling, but what is most unacceptable are the nearly 1,600 children who died as a result of abuse last year. Until that number reaches zero, the NCAPM will advocate and raise awareness of these issues affecting countless American families.
History of the NCAPM
Did you know that the first specific laws regarding child abuse were only signed in 1974? While we’ve certainly come a long way since then, there is still a social stigma and problem of reportage and awareness that we need to deal with as a nation.
What started as a single week of awareness in 1982 became a full-fledged month of action starting in 1983, and the events and actions have inspired the creation of new laws and statutes that aim to eliminate harm to innocent and vulnerable children.
Whether in your own community, online, or by joining a larger march or event somewhere near you, you can become part of the NCAPM’s history this April–don’t wait until next year.
Ideas to Get Involved
There are many ways you can participate in this nationwide awareness month. Activities can be simple:
- Organizing a block party or “meet and greet” with your neighbors
- Attending parent meetings at your children’s school
- Finding city or government-organized events for NCAPM
Or, you can organize with other parents and local families to put on bigger events, such as:
- Running for local office or a PTA board
- Attending and speaking at local government meetings (such as city council)
- Organizing letter-writing campaigns and petitions
Keep in mind, these are just a few ideas. Be creative and think about new and interesting ways that you can help children and families who have been affected by neglect and/or abuse.
Moving Our Communities and Families Forward
Whether you visit the official NCAPM website (provided by the government’s Child Welfare Agency) or you find local events to raise awareness, the important thing is to get involved. It’s also important to remember that April is only the beginning–staying vigilant and engaged in your family and community throughout the year is the best defense we have against future abuse and neglect.
For too long, the victims and families who have suffered from abuse and neglect have been silent. April is a time for these voices to be heard, loud and clear. Now is the time–take a stand against abuse and neglect!