Positive Words Do Make A Difference!
With a new year upon us this is the perfect reminder to cherish the good that surrounds us with POSITIVE words and behaviors – and there is no better place to start than as a parent. Parenting is a balancing act that requires control – often tangling with the fine line of encouragement and exasperation. Positive words that you speak over your kids can help instill confidence and control in your WHOLE family in both the short term and long term.
Words spoken can become meaningless when they are not exhibited in an action. However, words alone do have great power – both positive and negative. We can all make a choice to speak in a positive way to everyone around us – especially to our children and all young ones that we encounter throughout the day. This behavior is one that they will begin to imitate – even though they may not recognize they are doing so. You never know how the words of encouragement that you speak today will affect your kids to carry with them for the years ahead.
Be intentional in the morning – and set aside specific words that you are going to speak to kids. Write them down if you have to, or simply use your favorite word of encouragement that brings a smile to YOUR child’s face – over and over again. The more you can follow up these words with actions of affirmation – the more power these words will have. Have fun and spread the kindness beyond your home – you’ll be amazed at the goodness that will follow!
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.
Four Ways Your Child Can Help YOU Prepare For The Holidays!
The holidays can bring a lot of cheer to the home, but sometimes stress can enter the door now and then as well! The holiday activities tend to get a little tougher when the children are out of school. When there’s too much to do and not enough time, it’s time to get the whole family pitching in to lighten the load. Kids are often so excited and eager for the big day that they’ll gladly help with chores. We’d like to help you with some ideas to “de-stress as you prep” this Christmas season.
1. Clean Their Room
The holiday season is a time for entertaining family and friends. This is the perfect time to have your children clean their rooms, as well as clear out all clutter to make way for new toys. This chore includes the cleaning out closets, clearing out under the beds, and taking care of any items that are not being used. This task may require guidance from an older sibling or a parent. Use this as a time to encourage generosity, thankfulness, and let them choose to donate items to local shelters for families in need.
2. Create Christmas Cards
Now is the time to get out the art supplies! Gather the kids around a table and talk about all of the people in your lives that are so special and would love to have a personal card delivered. Encourage your youngsters to make holiday cards for their own sending to friends and family. If you have some pretty card stock or construction paper with markers and stickers – this can become quite an exciting “chore” for children of all ages. If this it too much – why not have your children help you stuff envelopes and give them a lesson on where a stamp is placed on an envelope as well as return address labels. This is something most kids don’t know, and will benefit from this teachable moment!
3. Create Gift Tags
A homemade gift tag makes every gift that much more special. Gather up your art supplies and show your kids hows to create a simple or fancy gift tag. You will need construction paper, kid-safe scissors, a hole punch, twine or ribbon, markers, stickers and even glitter (if you can handle the mess!) The gift tags can be cut into all sorts of shapes and sizes. Let their imagination go wild…You can never have too many gift tags!
4. Help With Light Cleaning
When you have company coming over, it can be fun to involve the whole family as a cleaning crew to prep the home for the new arrivals. Children of all ages can be given safe tasks for cleaning. In fact, even the littlest in the bunch will enjoy the task of putting things back where they belong. Let them help dust, sweep, wipe down counters, and straighten the pillows on the couch. With everyone working together to make the house tidy, you’ll get the work done faster. Kids usually enjoy pitching in to help with these important holiday chores, too.
When you include your children it not only lightens your own load, but it gets them involved and makes them feel like they are a part of the whole holiday process. There are many teachable moments when you work together, and when kids feel important and needed – the holidays get that much brighter!
How To Reduce Screen Time For Your Children
In a society where technology prevails, it can be tougher than ever to convince your child to voluntarily look away from the screen. This doesn’t just mean the television – most households now have multiple smartphones, ipads and laptops.
In a recent report by Common Sense Media, it was found that 42% of children 8 and younger have their own tablet devices, and spend an average of 2 hours and 19 minutes a day looking at screens. Tablets and phones can be great educational tools, but if used too often they can also disrupt sleep schedules and even impact expressive speech and the ability to recognize emotions. Here are the top ways to reduce screen time:
- Set An Example: Though it may be tough moving away from screens yourself, it is one of the most impactful ways to reduce screen time for your child. Younger children learn by observing, and making an effort to put down your phone, computer or tablet will set a good example.
- Create Rules and Follow Them: By setting rules for your child, they will begin to understand when it’s time for screens and when they have to step away. A good place to start can include: no television during dinner, no digital device with a screen before bed, and setting designated times that the kids can enjoy a device with a screen. Abiding by these rules may be harder on you than the child. Think about when you’re busy and you need to keep your child occupied — what do you do? Most of us send hand them a tablet, stream their favorite show and head off to do our chores. However, if you’ve set a rule for no screen time, it is important to stick to it.
- Provide Alternate Activities: If your child is bored, they’re going to want to reach for a device for entertainment. Engage with them by going outside, playing games or reading books – you’ll create fond memories and a desire for other forms of fun!
Delayed Opening – Thursday 1/18/18
This is an important message regarding operations for Apple Tree Learning Centers for Thursday January 18th.
All Apple Tree Centers will operate on a 3 hour delay. We will open at 9am due to the freezing temperature and road conditions. Due to the delayed opening time we will only be serving lunch at 12pm and afternoon snack at 3pm tomorrow.
Academy classes K through 5th grade will be on a delay with a start time of 9:30am.
Child care is available for all public school students for an additional fee.
Sidewalks and parking lots have been salted; however, they are still icy and slippery from the below freezing temperatures. Please be careful and hold your child’s hand when walking in these areas to prevent falling.
We appreciate all your support and please be safe.
DELAYED Opening – Monday, January 8th-Please Read
This is an important message regarding operations for Apple Tree Learning Centers for Monday January 8th.
All Apple Tree Centers will operate on a 3 hour delay.
We will open at 9am due to the condition of all secondary roads throughout the area.
Due to the delayed opening time we will only be serving lunch at 12pm and afternoon snack at 3pm tomorrow.
Academy classes are canceled but all-day care is available for academy students and public school students for an additional fee.
If you are working tomorrow and plan to bring your child to the center for care please dress your child appropriately. Winter coats, hats, gloves, scarfs and shoes will be necessary to play in the snow. We also encourage packing a change of clothes if needed. We will be taking the classes outside for a little snow fun. Outdoor time will be limited and scaled back. Parents please do not ask teachers if your child can stay inside as we do not have a classroom set aside for non-outdoor play. Please refer to your parent handbook for outdoor play policy.
Parking lots have been plowed and sidewalks shoveled; however, they are still icy and slippery from the below freezing temperatures. Please be careful and hold your child’s hand when walking in these areas to prevent falling.
We appreciate all your support and please be safe driving tomorrow.
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!
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.
‘Tis The Season To Have Some Fun With Candy Canes!
Candy Canes are a staple of the holiday season.
Check out this website with a alot of fun candy cane activities to keep you and your family busy this season.
Here is one of our favorite activities from the list to get you started!
Candy Cane Scented Playdough
It’s that time of year to make candy cane scented playdough! This activity can become YOUR family’s tradition to officially start off the holiday season. Every time you and your kids make a new batch of this peppermint-scented playdough you will be amazed at how much more festive the holiday season becomes. Here are the ingredients to get you started:
-1 cup flour-¼ cup salt-½ Tbsp. vegetable oil-1 cup water-1 tsp. cream of tartar-1 Tbsp. Peppermint extract-Red food coloring
Courtesy of: http://whereimaginationgrows.com/
Let’s Find Out! Three Tips For Raising Curious Kids
Young children are naturally curious. They have an itch to explore their world and figure out how things work. And parents have compelling reasons to foster this inherent inquisitiveness.
Curiosity is tied to academic achievement, with research showing “unequivocally that when people are curious about something, they learn more, and better.”
For parents, children’s unending questions can challenge our knowledge—and our patience. But if we want to nurture their curiosity, perhaps the best response we can give is simply this: “Good question. Let’s find out.”
Here’s how that might look:
Let’s explore: Rather than squelching toddlers’ and preschoolers’ curiosity, redirect it if necessary: “You can’t do that, but you can do this!” If they want to know what it’s like to draw on walls, make some bathtub paint and set them loose in the tub. Take kids on nature walks and follow their pace—as they stop to dig in the dirt, look at bugs, pick up leaves and hunt for “treasure.” If you let them explore independently—particularly with open-ended toys such as blocks and “make believe” materials—they get curious and are more likely to find new, creative ways to play.
Let’s look it up: In the information age, the answer to many “Why?” questions is in our pocket. When kids stump you—as mine regularly do me—it’s easier than ever to say, “I don’t know. Let’s look it up!” But before going online or to the bookshelf, first ask your child, “What do you think?”
Let’s ask an expert: Help your curious child see that we are surrounded by experts who are willing to share their knowledge. Curiosity can drive connections. Start by thinking about your network of friends and family—and how they might be able to share their skills, hobbies, and life experiences with your kids.