It’s Time For A Change: Setting Goals for the Whole Family
With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy for family members to focus on their individual goals, like a big project at work or making the soccer team. If you’re looking to bring your loved ones closer together, try setting a family goal! Working together to achieve a goal will allow you to spend more time together and have something to look forward to completing. What’s more, parents can model behaviors that will allow their children to successfully achieve their own goals later in life.
Stumped on where to begin? Consider these family goals to get started:
- Plan a “Family Fun Day” every month. Set aside a day each month for your family to spend quality time together. Set a budget, brainstorm ideas, and decide on an activity as a family unit. As tempting as it may be to invite along friends, keep this activity family-only to make it more special.
- Participate in a community service project. Choose a cause your family is passionate about and research ways you can volunteer. Giving back to the community sets a great example for kids, provides help to those in need, and makes you feel good!
- Start a new family hobby. Spend time together as a family by doing something you all enjoy. Whether it’s doing a nightly crossword puzzle, baking sweet treats, or going on a bike ride, as long as your family is together and having fun, you’ve succeeded!
- Set up a family savings fund. If your family has big plans, like going on a vacation or purchasing the latest video game system, encourage everyone to contribute to the cause. Place a piggy bank in your kitchen and have family members add money to help reach the goal more quickly.
- Live a healthy lifestyle. The foundation for a healthy lifestyle starts at home. Create family goals to eat more fruits and veggies, increase your physical activity and get enough sleep. Rely on family members to hold each other accountable.
Set Yourself Up For Success With A Healthy Breakfast
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but not all breakfasts are created equal. In order to reap the benefits from your morning meal all day long, aim to eat a balanced breakfast that includes whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy and fruits or vegetables. Eating all of these foods together in the morning can help set you up for success throughout the day. A healthy breakfast can:
• Aid in weight loss. By eating the recommended combination of food groups in the morning, you’ll fuel up your body for the day ahead. When you skip breakfast, you are more likely to make poor food choices later in the day and overeat. Eating breakfast also boosts your metabolism and gives you more energy, allowing you to burn more calories throughout the day.
• Increase your focus. When you “break the fast” each morning with a balanced meal, your blood sugar levels stay in check, making it easier to focus on tasks at hand. Studies have shown that eating breakfast increases productivity, creativeness and memory, one of the reasons why breakfast is so important for school-aged children.
• Keep your heart healthy. Research shows that people who don’t eat breakfast are more likely to suffer from heart disease and stroke. Skipping breakfast has been linked to obesity, insulin-sensitivity and high cholesterol, all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
• Ensure you get your daily amount of vitamins and minerals. Eating a balanced breakfast puts you well on your way to getting the recommended vitamins and minerals each day. Breakfast foods typically contain high amounts of calcium, vitamin B, iron, protein and fiber. Those who eat breakfast are more likely to meet their daily recommendations for vitamins and minerals than those who don’t.
No matter how you eat it—rushing out the door in the morning or while leisurely reading the daily paper—be sure to treat your body right by having a healthy breakfast to start the day.
The Screen Time Balancing Act
The appropriate amount of screen time for children has been a hot topic of conversation for years. Now, with so much of children’s socializing, learning and entertainment accessed online, parents are adjusting their screen time rules to adapt to the new normal.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends avoiding screen time for those under 24 months, with the exception of video chatting, and allowing no more than one hour a day for children ages two through five. For all other ages, the AAP guidelines focus on healthy concepts of digital use and citizenship. Even though your children may be spending more time in front of a screen, the basics from the AAP remain the same.
Guide your children to appropriate content. Whether it’s an app, website or television show, know what your child is viewing. Sit down together and create a list of approved screen time activities. Even better, watch or play with your child to share your experiences and answer any questions.
Set screen time limits. While the right amount of screen time may vary among children, a schedule is helpful for all. Set aside a specific time of day or certain amount of time for your children to watch the latest YouTube unboxing or play games. Avoid screen time before bed so it doesn’t interfere with sleep.
Understand that not all screen time is equal. Participating in distance learning or connecting with friends and family by video chat is more productive than zoning out while watching a television show. In today’s world where opportunities to socialize are limited, the benefits of face-to-face interaction are a positive result of screen time.
Educate your children about online dangers. As children spend more time online, it’s extremely important to talk to them about the dangers of the internet. Children should be aware of online bullying and the potential for internet predators, including how to spot these behaviors and what to do when they see them. For teens in particular, parents should emphasize the importance of protecting their privacy while online.
Sign up for the Gold Rush … Summer Camp 2022 here!
Every year the leaders at Apple Tree Learning Center plan a specially-themed summer camp that is sure to entertain, educate and elevate every camper to a new level of confidence!
This year our teachers have a whole summer filled with excitement as we lead you on a journey of discovery with fun activities. We have field trips for our 4yr and School age groups, water play, cooking projects, science projects, in house events and crafts. This daily adventure will include fun, learning, and timeless Bible stories .
Saddle up for a summer filled with gold nuggets of truth about our Rock of Ages!
The greatest benefit of our annual summer camp program is that it prepares your child to walk into the school year with even more knowledge, confidence and motivation to succeed in the classroom.
If you are searching for the perfect SUMMER CAMP HOME for your child, please contact our: Suffolk —(757) 539-9000, Greenbrier Academy (757) 547-9530, Mt Pleasant (757) 410-8532, and Hickory (757) 410-7722 locations for enrollment.
We are here to answer your questions so that you can learn more about all of the plans that we have for your child to have fun with their friends exploring, dreaming, thinking, creating, and most importantly … a summer filled with learning and fun!
Six Tips To Avoid Seasonal Allergies
Spring is full of sunshine, blooming flowers, and, unfortunately, pollen. Pollen is a very fine powdery substance that is carried from plant to plant by the wind, insects, and other pollinators. As trees, grasses, weeds, and flowers begin to grow in the spring, the amount of pollen in the air increases dramatically, triggering seasonal allergies in millions of people. If seasonal allergies have you sniffling, itching your eyes, and feeling rundown, take these steps to keep your symptoms at bay:
- Take allergy medications before symptoms start. It takes a few weeks for antihistamines and corticosteroids to become fully effective. If you typically suffer from seasonal allergies, begin taking these medications regularly well before spring gets underway.
- Avoid the allergen. When possible, stay inside on days that have a high pollen count and on dry, windy days when pollen will be swirling around. If you’re lucky, maybe you can convince someone to do your yardwork and mow your lawn for you!
- Shower before bed. If you spend any amount of time outdoors, shower off before you go to sleep each night. This will remove pollen particles from your hair and body and will ensure you’re not bringing the pollen to your bedsheets where you could be breathing it in all night long.
- Keep doors and windows closed. Since pollen particles are miniscule, they can easily make their way through a window screen into your home. Bedroom windows should remain closed as much as possible to prevent pollen from dusting your bed and clothing.
- Use allergy filters in your HVAC unit. Choose high-quality air filters designed to trap allergens. Inspect the filter regularly and change it when it is visibly dirty, especially during the pollen-filled spring months.
- Wear a mask. These days, wearing a mask doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore. If you do have to be outdoors on a high pollen count day, consider covering your nose and mouth with a mask so you don’t inhale pollen.
Celebrate Pi Day on March 14!
March 14 marks the annual celebration of Pi Day. Embraced by math lovers everywhere, this unique day recognizes the irrational number Pi (or ℼ). Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, which is always 3.14. Hence, we celebrate Pi Day on March 14. Around the world, people commemorate advances in math on Pi Day, and you can take part too with these fun activities.
Create a DIY pizza pie bar.
Set up a pizza making station at home to celebrate Pi Day. Give each person a pre-made crust and allow them to customize their pizza with toppings of their choice. Encourage pizza makers to incorporate the ℼ symbol or other mathematical designs (think fractions or addition problems) with their toppings.
Watch a math-themed movie.
Movies about math cover many topics, making it easy to find one to enjoy! For older viewers, watch Good Will Hunting, 21, Moneyball or A Brilliant Young Mind. Great family-friendly math-inspired films include Life of Pi, Hidden Figures, and Queen of Katwe.
Have a pie eating contest.
Gather your friends and family for an old-fashioned pie eating contest. Make mini pies of your choice or go all out with regular sized pies. While the first person to finish their pie is the ultimate winner, be sure to have an award on hand for the messiest eater as well!
You don’t have to eat or watch a movie to commemorate Pi Day. Find a 3.14-mile route in your neighborhood and go for a run, walk, or jog in honor of the world’s great mathematicians. If you prefer interval training, use 3.14 to guide your sets.
Play Pi games.
Pi-themed games can be played by people of all ages! Since Pi is related to circles, find as many perfectly round circles as possible throughout the day. If words are more your thing, have a contest to see who can come up with the most words that begin with “pi-” in a set amount of time.
Create Your Own Cozy Book Nook
What could be better than a dedicated space to dive into a book and escape from the world for a bit? Whether you have a corner, a closet or even just an empty wall space available, you can create a cozy area for snuggling up with a good book. With a few key elements, you can create a book nook you’ll never want to leave.
Ensure adequate lighting. Proper lighting is especially important when reading. If possible, set your reading area by a window to utilize natural light. Floor lamps or wall-mounted lights are great choices to provide task lighting for a book nook. Want a fun vibe for your space? Add white or colored string lights to draw you to the reading nook.
Set up a comfortable seating area. To encourage spending lots of time in your reading nook, a comfy place to curl up with a book is key. Consider an oversized chair, chaise lounge, bench seat, indoor swing chair or a bean bag chair. Place an end table near your seat to hold a drink, snack, or your phone. And don’t forget to add pillows and plush blankets to make your book nook extra cozy.
Personalize with accessories and décor. Decorate your book nook to match the mood you want. If the reading space is for kids, entice them with bright colors and bold patterns. Design your space to mimic the feel of your favorite books or go classic by hanging reading-themed pictures or famous book quotes on the wall. To separate your space from the rest of the room, hang a canopy to provide ambiance and privacy.
Add books! What’s a reading nook without books? While you don’t have to create a full library, plan for a traditional bookshelf, wall shelves, a rolling cart or even a small basket to house your books. If you prefer to read your books on an e-reader, keep your charging wire and a USB wall charger in your reading nook.
Meditations and Relaxations for the Whole Family
After the hustle and bustle of the holidays—parties, late nights, and road trips—adults and kids alike savor the opportunity to slow down. As normal activities resume, embrace the slower pace and spend time together as a family. Try these meditations and relaxations to create a calming atmosphere.
The simple act of intentional breathing can go a long way in relaxing your body. Teach family members tricks for breathing. You can do five-finger breathing in which you trace the outline of your fingers with an in and out breathing pattern. Or try hot air balloon breathing where you breathe in through the nose and then exhale as much as possible as if you were filling up a hot air balloon.
Guided meditations are helpful to focus your thoughts. Some versions provide prompts to relax the body, while others offer positive affirmations that you can carry with you throughout the day. You can find guided meditations on YouTube or use a meditation app for your smartphone or tablet.
Listening to relaxing music has a calming effect on the body. Slower-paced music can relax your mind and body and cause you to feel less stressed. Classical, smooth jazz, or soft pop songs are effective, so turn on these tunes while cooking dinner or relaxing in the evening.
The wonderful thing about yoga is that it can be done by just about anyone, whether you are a kid, adult, or senior. If you’re a beginner, start with easy poses that provide a great stretch and improve your balance and flexibility. Adjust the basic yoga moves to fit your range of motion.
Spending time in nature has a calming physical effect on the body. Outdoor activities can improve your mood and combat anxiety and depression. If you can’t find the time or it’s too cold to head outdoors, listen to nature sounds like a rainstorm or rolling ocean waves to reap similar benefits.
ATLC Holiday Closings
Dear Apple Tree Learning Center families,
Our centers will be closed on the following dates during the upcoming holidays:
- Friday, December 24
- Monday, December 27
- Friday, December 31
- Live Facebook Christmas Program
- Santa Visit
- Christmas Parties
Family Gift Ideas That Won’t Break The Bank!
Gift-giving is a staple of the holiday season. It’s a way to show your gratitude and appreciation for your loved ones. However, buying gifts for an entire family can be costly. Simplify your gift-giving this year by choosing a budget-friendly gift that all members of the family can enjoy.
A delicious treat is always a win. Up your game by gifting a food item with a unique twist, like gourmet popcorn seasoning, a sampling of real maple syrups or hot chocolate bombs. When in doubt, stop by your local bakery and gift your favorite cookies or cupcakes.
Board games, yard games, card games, puzzles…the options are endless when it comes to choosing a fun activity-focused gift for the family. Group multiple games together to appeal to all members of the family or add special edible treats to kick family game night up a notch.
Everyone in the family will be cozy this holiday with a new set of matching pajamas. Purchase PJs that reflect the family’s style: classic, fun, or over-the-top. You can even get a set of pajamas for the family dog!
While a year-in-review video may be time consuming to put together, it is an inexpensive way to give a gift. Compile photos and videos from throughout the year and set them to a fun soundtrack. Everyone will love looking back at the fun memories and appreciate the good times all over again.
Give the gift of year-long outings with a membership to a local attraction, like a museum, zoo, or waterpark. The recipients of your gift will have many fun-filled days throughout the year and will think of you each time they use their membership.
Cooking and Dining Items
Meals are a great way to bring the family together, so why not make it exciting? Gift your favorite family an ice cream maker, fun taco holders or a character-inspired waffle maker. The whole family will want to help in the kitchen!