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!
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.
Helping Your Child Adjust To Preschool
A new school year can be hard on your little one, and for that matter – the parent! If you are new to this routine, and your preschooler is struggling with this adjustment, don’t worry – we’ve all been there. There are few things in life that are more difficult than leaving your child crying in the door of a classroom, even though in your heart and mind you know that this is temporary and necessary for all ages! Take a look at these tips to help you and your child transition through this to a fun and healthy school year:
It Begins With YOU!
Believe it or not, if you haven’t prepared YOURSELF for this major change in your daily life, your child can and WILL pick up on this. Even if you are nervous (as you most of us are) make sure that you exude a sense of calm and confidence – and watch what you say to friends and family – especially when your little one is near.
Consistency Is Key
Children need to know what they are doing, where they are going, and what you are expecting of them. Be sure to set up a routine – even for the youngest of the bunch. This will not only ease the chaos in the household but will also boost awareness of the routine that is exhibited in the classroom. Here’s a simple, yet effect morning routine that can easily be adapted to all age group: eat breakfast together, prepare a lunch or discuss the school lunch menu for the day, set a spot for school gear and have each child gather their things, double check for any missing items, and happily leave the house for a day of learning and friendship!
Leave With Confidence
Once again, when you leave your child in the classroom, they can feel your anxiety. Be sure to hug and kiss your child goodbye, assure them that you will return shortly, and walk away without any lengthy goodbye. Don’t sneak out without saying goodbye, this only makes things 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.
One thing to remember is that kids adjust to new environments on different timelines. If you notice that your child is having a harder time than the others – don’t worry, this process can take a few weeks. Let them adjust at their own pace, your gentleness and patience will help this life lesson be a wonderful experience.
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!
How Does Smiling Affect Your Health?
If you type “smiling makes you…” into your search engine the results immediately give insight into why a simple smile is so contagious. The search results for the benefits of smiling includes “smiling makes you live longer”, “smiling makes you look younger,” and even, “smiling makes you more attractive!” But there is one health benefit at the root of a smile, making people live longer and look younger and that is happiness.
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.