Holiday Giving Is The Perfect Lesson In Love
The holiday season is the perfect time to teach our children the beauty of giving back to others. At a time when so many people are focused on getting something – why not take a moment to guide your children in the merit and blessing of giving!
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
Bake As A Family. Although having kids in the kitchen with mixers, cookie dough and measuring cups filled with powder may not be the most care-free option for a mother – this time together can be the best time for bonding and may even turn into a family tradition! As a family, deliver these cookies to your neighbors, your local fire and police station, and even have some packaged at the door for the frenzied postal and delivery drivers who are working hard to get your packages to you on time for the holiday season
Sponsor A Family. There are local organizations that can help you find a family that needs your help this holiday season. Include your children in buying gifts. Let them pick out what “they think”is the best gift idea – and you can supplement these choices with those that you believe are needed and will ensure the holiday is filled with joy for this family in need.
Help The Homeless. Even though this is the time of year when many organizations focus on the homeless community, you can pack gift bags for your family to hand out during your daily travels. Choose practical items such as socks, gloves, hats, snacks, water bottles, gift cards for food and some interesting items that will surprise them! This is something that can be done all year long – your kids will really enjoy doing this – and hopefully it will become a tradition with their own family.
Handwashing: A Powerful Antidote To Illness
How many times have you and your child washed your hands today?
You might not have given it much thought. It’s either part of your routine, done frequently without thinking, or maybe you don’t do it much at all. But as your pediatrician may have told you, hand washing may be the single most important act you and your child have for disease prevention.
Making It Habit
As early as possible, get your child into the habit of washing her hands often and thoroughly. All day long, your child is exposed to bacteria and viruses—when touching a playmate, sharing toys, or petting the cat. Once her hands pick up these germs, she can quickly infect herself by:
- Rubbing her eyes
- Touching her nose
- Placing her fingers in her mouth.
The whole process can happen in seconds, and cause an infection that can last for days, weeks, or even longer.
When To Wash
Hand washing can stop the spread of infection. The key is to encourage your child to wash her hands throughout the day. For example, help her or remind her to wash her hands:
- Before eating (including snacks)
- After a trip to the bathroom
- Whenever she comes in from playing outdoors
- After touching an animal like a family pet
- After sneezing or coughing if she covers her mouth
- When someone in the household is ill
Studies on hand washing in public restrooms show that most people don’t have very good hygiene habits. “Hand washing” may mean just a quick splash of water and perhaps a squirt of soap, but not nearly enough to get their hands clean.
Steps to Proper Hand Washing
So what does a thorough hand washing involve? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following steps:
- Wet your child’s hands.
- Apply clean bar soap or liquid soap to the hands, and then place the bar on a rack where it can drain before the next hand washing.
- Rub the hands vigorously together. Scrub every surface completely.
- Keep rubbing and scrubbing for 10 to 15 seconds to effectively remove the germs.
- Rinse the hands completely, then dry them.
How Long to Wash
Keep in mind that although 10 to 15 seconds of hand washing sounds like an instant, it is much longer than you think. Time yourself the next time you wash your hands. Watch your child while she’s washing her hands to make sure she’s developing good hygiene behaviors. Pick a song that lasts for 15 seconds and sing it while you wash. Encourage your child to wash her hands not only at home, but also at school, at friends’ homes, and everywhere else. It’s an important habit for her to get into, and hopefully one that’s hard to break!
Immunizations ＆ Infectious Diseases: An Informed Parent’s Guide (Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Pick-Your-Own Pumpkins at Chesapeake Pumpkin Patch
It’s time to pack up the family and head to down the road to our very own hidden treasure –
the Historic Greenbrier Farms in Chesapeake!
225 Sign Pine Road, Chesapeake, Virginia 23322 – 757-421-2141
This historic Chesapeake farm has an amazing crop of pumpkins – three additional fields and so many different varieties.
Varieties this year include – Max Gold, Jack O’Lantern, Lumina (White Pumpkins), Atlantic GIANTS –
plus two varieties that are perfect for that delicious pumpkin pie.
So many colors, and so many sizes – no matter you age — you will be amazed!
Pick-your-own pumpkins are only $12 and includes a free hayride
to the patch and fun fall games for the kids.
Don’t forget to stop by the petting zoo! Make your plans now!
The fields are open for pumpkin picking on Monday- Friday* 9 am to 5 pm.
The fields are open for pumpkin picking PLUS games and festival activities on
Saturday and Sunday and Sun. 9 am. to 6 pm.
*Weekday pumpkin patch picking from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. does not have the games and festival activities.
Price: Starting at $12, and going up based on size
Stonecrusher will ALSO be out at the Festival each weekend giving monster truck rides. Rides are $5 per person!
For More Information, visit: http://www.historicgreenbrierfarms.com/fall-pumpkin-patch
Introducing MyProcare for Parents
Apple Tree Learning Center is pleased to offer MyProcare, a free online portal for you to
access account information and easily pay tuition. MyProcare is safe, secure and created
with your convenience in mind.
- Go to MyProcare.com.
- Enter your email address (the email you have on file with Apple Tree Learning Center) and
- Enter the confirmation code sent to your email, choose a password, and press Go.
Then you may:
a. View your child’s time card, immunizations and more.
b. Use the Pay button to make a payment with your card. Please note that there is
an online processing fee for all online payments. ***This portal will replace all previous online
payment options effective 10/1/17. After this date the link on our Apple Tree Website will be
Parents will still have the option of paying in the centers; however, all credit card
transactions will incur a processing fee of 2.5%. To avoid the processing fee, parents
are now able to pay by ACH with no additional fee. All families on automatic credit
card payments will also need to reregister and complete a new draft form by 9/29/17.
Directors will have these forms available starting 9/22/17.
If you have any questions please see your director for assistance.
Apple Tree Learning Center and MyProcare
Helping Your Child Adjust To Preschool
You have just started a new school year and your preschooler is still struggling to adjust to school. It’s heart wrenching and frustrating to leave your child sobbing at the door of the classroom each morning, even if you know he’ll soon recover and have a fun time without you. Here are helpful tips to help ease separation anxiety and make the transition a bit easier on both of you.
Children can pick up on nonverbal clues, and will sense your anxiety or uncertainness about the classroom, teacher or decision to leave him at school. Portray a sense of calm and confidence. You are making the right decision. Preschool is a wonderful place for your child to grow, learn and develop new and fulfilling relationships with caretakers and friends outside of the family.
Children thrive on routine. They need to know what to expect and what is expected of them. Create a consistent morning ritual – having breakfast together, packing his lunch, preparing for school, happily departing home and saying hello to the new teacher before saying goodbye to each other.
Give a loving hug or kiss, assure your child that he’ll have a wonderful time at school and that you will return shortly… and promptly leave. Your child will soon come to accept that that’s how the separation plays out. Sticking around to comfort your child only prolongs the goodbye, making it tougher on everyone involved.
Don’t sneak out.
Leaving without saying goodbye with hope of avoiding a tearful farewell or a full-on meltdown, only makes the separation worse. You don’t want your child to feel abandoned or tricked. You also want them to know what to expect, including a loving goodbye.
Send along a little love.
Some experts recommend giving a child a transitional object to take to school for comfort. This may be a picture of the family, a favorite stuffed animal, doll, a lovey or blanket. Make sure your child’s teacher is ok with bringing things from home before you commit to sending in a favorite. Some teachers have a policy of leaving the item in a cubbie or school bag and allowing your child to visit it when needed.
Involve the teacher.
Talk with your child’s teacher about his reluctance about going to school or his anxiety to leave you. If she knows how your child feels, she’ll be ready to help you with the separation and provide extra comfort. Teachers have lots of effective strategies for helping little ones adjust to the goodbye, such as having a special activity ready for your child, putting aside a favorite toy for him, having a helper on hand to provide extra attention or creating a ritual for starting the day at school.
It’s reassuring to remember that starting school and being away from a parent is often a tough transition for preschoolers and their parents. Kids adjust to the change at their own pace, some needing a little extra time to feel comfortable and excited about their time away. Your patience, reassurance and consistency will help them to make the transition and embrace a rewarding new experience.
Let’s Be Friends!
Making friends is an important part of your child’s development at preschool, and friendships often develop as children play and learn together. With a few tips, your guidance as a parent can help your preschooler to adapt to this new social environment and learn to play well and be a good friend in the classroom and at play.
Some children seem to make friends easily. They might be able to name their friends. They might look for their friends when they arrive at preschool or playgroup, or ask you about having playdates with their friends.
Some children might not have friends they can name, but they might be keen on making friends. And others might be slower to warm up and need time to watch what happens before joining in.
Friendships help children feel like they belong, which is good for children. Knowing how your child responds to other children gives you a good basis for helping him make friends and friendships in a way that suits his personality and temperament.
Preschoolers develop friendships during play. And as your child plays, she builds skills that help her with friendships now and in the future. These are skills like sharing, taking turns, cooperating, listening to others, managing disagreement, and negotiating different views and ways of thinking about things.
It might help to remember that many of these skills are hard even for adults. Your child is still learning and she needs lots of opportunities to practice being a good friend.
Providing time for children to play with other children from preschool or playgroup can help them develop friendships. Here are some ways that you can prepare your child from the homefront:
- Talk with your child about who he plays with, why he likes playing with them and what they like to play. If you know who your child likes to play with, you can talk to other parents about playdates.
- Make a time for children to meet and play. You could invite other children and parents to your home, or arrange to meet at a local park.
- Stay close. It can be reassuring for your child to have you nearby, particularly if the children don’t know each other well. As your child gets more confident you can be further away, although it’s still important to be aware of what’s going on.
- Keep an eye on what’s going on. This will help you know whether children are just enjoying some rough-and-tumble play, or whether the play is getting out of hand. If things are getting too rough, you’ll need to step in.
- Set a time limit for the playdate. When children get tired, they often find it harder to cooperate. It’s good to finish play time with everyone wanting to do it again.
Our 2017-2018 School Supply List
Be sure to head out this weekend and save money on your school supplies. Download the 2017-2018 School Supply List!
Keep The Learning Going This Summer
How many times have you heard “Mom, I’m bored…” this summer? It seems that the anticipation of summer break is oftentimes the best of times, and once the kids are at home without their friends – the boredom sets in. Here are some smart strategies from the staff at Greatschools.com to keep the learning going this summer:
Summer vacation can be either a learning wasteland or a learning paradise. The temptations are great for children to spend hours watching television or playing video games, but with a little ingenuity and planning, the summer can be transformed into a time to stretch the mind, explore new hobbies, learn about responsibility and build on skills learned during the school year.
Keep the Learning Going
Teachers spend an average of four to eight weeks every fall reviewing and reteaching material that students have forgotten during the long summer break. Many students lose the equivalent of one to two months of reading and math skills during the summer and do not score as well on standardized tests as students who continue to learn during the summer. The effect is cumulative: Each summer a student isn’t learning adds up and can have a long-term impact on overall performance in school.
That doesn’t mean that children should be doing math worksheets and studying vocabulary lists to preserve the skills they have learned during the school year. Summer is the perfect time for children to discover that learning is fun and can happen anywhere. “You don’t want your kids to think that learning is only something that happens in places called schools,” says Susan K. Perry, author of Playing Smart: The Family Guide to Enriching Offbeat Learning Activities for Ages 4-14. “Rather, you want them to grasp that learning is fun and can go on all the time, anytime, anywhere, with handy materials, not only based on the instruction of an actual schoolteacher. The summer is a great unstructured mass of time to try out new things and explore interests that don’t necessarily fit into the school curriculum.”
Learning can take place whether you are taking a trip to a far-off place or spending the summer in your own neighborhood. But be careful not to over-plan. “To avoid boredom, a child has to learn to be motivated on his or her own, to a certain extent, and that is an acquired skill,” says Perry. “If every time your child says, ‘I’m bored,’ you step in with a quick solution, they’ll never learn to develop their own resources. But do provide some options. Just don’t try to instill learning. That’s not how it works.”
10 Fun Summer Learning Activities
Here are some activities to get your child started on a summer of learning fun:
Grow the biggest zucchini in your neighborhood
What better way to learn the basics of science and how things grow than to plant your own garden? You can start with seeds or small plants. Talk about what plants need to be hardy: air, water, sunlight and nutrients. Vegetables are especially fun and educational to plant because your child will learn where food comes from and will also get to eat the end product.
Clip, paste and write about your family adventures
A family vacation is a perfect opportunity to create a trip scrapbook that will be a lasting souvenir of family adventures. Collect postcards, brochures and menus from restaurants and tourist attractions. Encourage your child to write descriptions of the places you visited and tell stories about your family’s escapades. Or suggest a scrapbook on your child’s favorite sports team or a chronicle of his year in school. The scrapbook might contain photos with captions, newspaper clippings or school mementos.
Many photo-sharing Web sites, such as Shutterfly or KodakGallery, will help you (for a fee) create professional quality photo books, where you arrange the photos and write captions.
Young children can make their own puppet theater. Begin by cutting off the finger-ends of old gloves. Draw faces on these fingers with felt tip markers and glue on yarn for hair. Or glue on felt strips to create cat, dog or other animal faces. Then your child can create a story that the finger puppets can act out. For older children, find books containing play scripts for young people (see “Helpful Books” sidebar)and encourage your child and friends to create their own neighborhood theater. They can plan a performance, make a simple stage at the park or on the steps of someone’s home, create playbills and sell tickets.
Make chocolate mousse or build a bird feeder
Toy stores and craft shops are full of kits for making things, from bird feeders to model airplanes to mosaic tableaux. These projects teach children to read and follow directions, and offer the added benefit of creating a finished product. Science experiment books encourage children to observe and ask questions while providing hours of hands-on fun using scientific concepts.
What child wouldn’t be inspired to bake cookies or make chocolate mousse? A cookbook geared for children is a good place to start. Ethnic cookbooks provide an excellent way to explore the food of other cultures, and open up conversations about how people do things differently in other parts of the world. Children are much more likely to eat something strange if they make it themselves.
Paint the picket fence, baby-sit or volunteer at a soup kitchen
Even young children can learn to be responsible by helping to set the table, take care of a pet, clean out a closet, wash the car or paint the picket fence. Ask your child to be your energy consultant and help find ways to conserve energy in your house. Outside summer jobs and community service help children learn to be punctual, follow directions and serve others.
Become the family’s junior travel agent
Half the fun of a trip starts before you get there. Involve your child in the planning by practicing how to use a map to find cities and tourist attractions, and how to estimate distances. If you are driving, work with your child to figure out how many gallons of gas it will take to get there and estimate the cost. If you are flying or traveling by train, check travel schedules and costs.
Research your destination in books and on the Internet. If you are going to a different state, look up information about the state, such as the state flower, state bird and interesting attractions. Have your child write to the state tourism bureau to ask for information.
Visit a jelly bean factory or a glassblowing studio
Whether you are going on a trip far away or staying close to home, seek out places where children can learn how things are made. In San Francisco, you can visit a teddy bear factory; in Arkansas, a glass blowing studio; and in Hawaii, a macadamia nut factory. To learn about some of these options, see our “Helpful Books” tips on this page.
Turn a museum trip into a treasure hunt
Get your children excited about visiting a museum by exploring the museum’s Web site and taking a virtual tour. When you go to a museum, take into account short attention spans and don’t try to cover a whole museum in one day. To make them less intimidating, start in the gift shop and let your child pick out some postcards of paintings or objects on display. Turn your museum trip into a treasure hunt by trying to find those paintings or objects in the museum. Look for interactive exhibits and for periods of history that your child has studied in school.
Get stickers, tattoos and comics for free
Composing a letter helps build writing skills and can be especially rewarding when your child gets a reply in the form of a cool free item. The book, Free Things for Kids, suggests more than 300 places you can write to get such items as stickers, temporary tattoos, comic books, magazines and sports memorabilia. Some of the items cost a dollar or less, but the majority are free. The author has been writing about “free stuff” for years and is considered an expert in the field. The book, updated annually, also includes Web sites to check out for free downloadable software, ezines or other items to send for by mail.
You can help your older child build citizenship skills as well as practice his writing by encouraging him to write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper or a local government official about an issue he is concerned about, such as building a bike path or renovating a local playground.
Become an investment guru or a math wizard
Summer is the perfect time for older children and teens to learn about the stock market and the value of investing. A good way to get started is to investigate publicly held companies that teens are familiar with, such as Apple Computer, eBay, Nike or Tootsie Roll. The Motley Fool “Teens and Money” Web site is devoted to helping teens learn about saving and investing. Your older child might also want to join a Junior Investor program to learn more about the stock market. It is also possible to help your teen get a head start on high school math by doing math puzzles.
Now that you’ve got a list of things to do – and half the summer is left to conquer these ideas – it’s time to gather the kids AND their friends and have some fun while learning!
7 Ways To Keep Your Kids Safe At The Beach
This article was written by Patrick Quinn, Writer and co-founder of Life of Dad, the Social Network for Fathers
Patrick is an experienced lifeguard with great life experience in the perils of families in danger at the oceanfront.
Take a moment to review this very informative article for your families safety for this summer and all of those ahead:
When you go to the beach (or anywhere) with your kids, YOU are the first and most important line of defense when it comes to their safety. Gone are the days when the beach meant that you can sit in a chair and read a book, or take a nice nap in the sun. You now have to be constantly on guard. If your child is near the water, you need to be near the water too. If your child is in the water, you should be ankle-deep right behind them at the absolute minimum. A 10-second glance away could be all it takes. Consider the lifeguards a final option when all you have done to keep them safe has failed. Do not rely on them or anyone else when it comes to the safety of your kiddos.
Here is a list of things to run through before you head to big blue with the kids:
- Know your swimming limitations. Please take note that I’m not saying “DISCOVER your limitations.” If you think the water might be too rough for you, then I assure you that you are right. Err on the side of caution always. Don’t put yourself into a dangerous situation, especially when you are with your kids.
- Be especially cautious in unfamiliar waters. By most standards, I am an excellent swimmer. However, new bodies of water present new challenges that I might not know about and don’t want to discover when I’m in it. Always investigate the place you’re entering first. Ask locals, scope out potential problems and stay out if you’re unsure. If it’s a hot day and you see a delightful-looking area of water that is free of other swimmers, assume there is a reason for it. There might be a riptide, polluted waters or it might be off-limits for some other reason you are not aware of.
- Recognize a Riptide. Riptides (sometimes called “undertows”) are channels of water that flow from the beach out to sea. You have all of these waves coming in and they have to go back out to sea somewhere. The water is pushed to the side by the waves that are behind it until it finds an exit. This is usually in a spot that’s deeper than the surrounding areas and when the water rushes out, it forms a channel and makes it even deeper. Take a second to watch the water before you go in. Is there a section of the beach where the waves just aren’t breaking? Does the whitewater that’s rolling in mysteriously disappear in a section? That is the deeper water. Waves break where the water gets shallow. If they aren’t breaking, it’s deeper there and you should move your kids somewhere well away from it because chances are, that’s the spot that’s pulling out to sea. What looks to you like the most serene patch of water can very well be the most dangerous. Also, don’t swim very close to jetties or piers. Riptides often form next to them as water is forced out to sea.
- Know how to get out of a riptide. Riptides can be very scary if you’re in one. You swim and swim and swim towards shore, but either make no progress, or get farther and farther away. If you’ve never been in a riptide, imagine swimming to the end riptide-diagram of your pool, only you’re swimming uphill and the water is pushing you back. There is a very simple solution to this. Swim parallel to the shore, not towards it. The riptide might only be a few yards wide. Once you’re out of it, getting to shore will be relatively easy again.
- Talk to the lifeguards before you go in. This is a surprisingly simple thing to do that most people overlook. When it comes to the ocean, they know more than you might ever know. They are the experts and you should respect that. Ask them where the safest place is for you and the kids. Have them point out dangerous spots (they’ll know where they are and where they form with changing tides). If you’re not a strong swimmer, let them know and ask them to keep a particular eye out for your children. If you show them that you are making an effort, they will make an effort for you as well.
- Recognize when someone is in trouble. When someone is in desperate need of help, they cannot call out, they cannot scream. They simply go under. I’ll leave this quote from it here: “Children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.”
- Assign a guardian when you are away. There are obviously going to be times that you can’t watch the kids. You might have to go to the bathroom or feed a parking meter. A mistake that many people (especially those in groups) make is assuming someone else is watching the kids. They are there with eight other adults, so someone is looking out while you’re away, right?? The problem that arises is that every other parent is also assuming someone else has their eyes on your kids. When you need to leave, assign someone specific to watch your children. Tell them “You are in charge of them until I come back. DO NOT STOP WATCHING THEM UNTIL THEN.” Be firm about it. If you don’t give someone this responsibility, you can’t assume that someone is going to just naturally take over.
So please take caution this summer. Watch your kids at the beach, at the pool, heck, even near the mall fountain. Once you know what to look for and what to look out for, you can spend time on the beach passing that knowledge on to your children. They will be safe while you’re with them and armed with the lessons you give them, they’ll be safe in the future when they are on their own.
Love You To Pieces
Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 14th this year. You’ve got an audience of one to create for and little kids (and big ones too) love to surprise their special someone with a gift that is straight from the heart. Mother’s Day poems and hand-made cards are gifts that she will always treasure from such little hands. Take a look at this very simple card that can be made from items that you have on hand in your home:
Love You To Pieces!
Card For Mom
Create a card that is adorable and super simple. This easy craft can be created by preschoolers with a little help from an older sibling. This simple design sends a clear and colorful message using construction paper, glue stick and a marker/pen. Everyone has these materials on hand so this is a simple and fun activity.
- 1 sheet white or light colored construction paper – folded into a trifold
- 2-3 sheets of colorful construction paper – torn into small pieces
- glue stick
- crayon, marker or pen
Step 1: Fold the light colored construction paper into a trifold (as seen in picture above).
Step 2: Write a message to Mom with a heart, flowers, or a drawing of yourself on the folded paper.
Step 3: Using the torn construction paper and glue stick – decorate the card in the most creative way!
Step 4: Sign your name…and give it to your mom on that special day!