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Five Habits of Emotionally Healthy Families

In difficult situations, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, it can be hard to manage emotions for both children and adults. By focusing on the emotional health of your family, you can help each individual express themselves in a constructive way and forge a path forward to grow as a family. Incorporate these habits into your daily family life to build a strong emotional foundation.

 

  1. Treat each other with respect. While everyone agrees that children should respect their parents, adults should also show that same respect back to their kids. Modeling this behavior at home will set up expectations for how kids treat others—and how they expect others to treat them—in the future.

 

  1. Share feelings, both positive and negative. The family home should be a safe space for members to express what they are feeling, from happiness and excitement to anger and sadness. When it comes to the negative feelings, acknowledge them and then work together to find appropriate ways to address any underlying issues.

 

  1. Seek out each other’s opinions. For each member of the family to feel valued, they should have the opportunity to express their opinions. This includes expressing their thoughts on mundane things, like what’s for dinner, and on big decisions, like a family vacation. Actively listen to all opinions and consider them (as much as you can) in your choices.

 

  1. Celebrate the big accomplishments and small victories. Cheer on your family members as they succeed in their endeavors, whether it be a good grade, learning to ride a bike or a well-earned promotion. By recognizing your family members’ achievements, you can show your support as they build their self-esteem.

 

  1. Accept each family member as they are. In a family, you see the best side of each member, as well as the worst side. Everyone has imperfections and makes mistakes. Showing your unconditional love to your family members will fill their emotional buckets and help your family grow in trust.

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.

Inclement Weather All Centers Closing – Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Dear Apple Tree Families,

The National Weather Center has updated the status of Tropical Storm Isaias. It appears that the storm will increase speed overnight and will be a Category 1 Hurricane when it hits land. It is projected to reach the Hampton Roads area as a Category 1 and will not diminish in strength until approximately 8am tomorrow.

Due to the strength of the storm and potential threat for power outages, all Apple Tree Learning Centers will be closed tomorrow, Tuesday 8/4/2020.

Any summer camp events scheduled for tomorrow, such as the Game-On Bus will be rescheduled for next week.

Thank you for your understanding as we all prepare for this weather event.

Sincerely,
Apple Tree Kids Executive Team

Virginia Back To School Tax Free Weekend is August 7-9th!

The 3-day sales tax holiday starts on Friday, August 7 at 12:01 am and ends the following Sunday (August 9th) at 11:59 pm.

What is it? 

During the sales tax holiday, you can buy qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star™ and WaterSense™ products without paying sales tax.

What items are eligible?

Detailed lists of qualifying items and more information for retailers can be found in the 2019 Combined Sales Tax Holiday Guidelines.

Languages: The Beauty and Benefits of Multiple Voices

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 60 million Americans, or 20 percent, speak a language other than English at home. In total, approximately 430 languages are spoken in homes across America. As the number of people who speak one or more languages continues to grow, researchers are able to study how being bilingual or multilingual impacts society. Their conclusions are clear: speaking more than one language has many benefits.

 

  • Knowing more than one language is good for the brain. Research has shown that young children who are exposed to more than one language have increased executive function in their brains; that is, they are better at performing complex tasks, multitasking and monitoring their performance. For older people, speaking more than one language is also helpful, as it can delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms by four to five years.

 

  • Opportunities for work increase for those who are bi- or multilingual. Being able to communicate with others throughout the world and throughout your community is a valuable employee trait. Job seekers who speak more than one language are more competitive in today’s diverse work environment and can often garner higher earnings than those who speak one language.

 

  • Speaking in a native tongue makes for more meaningful travel experiences. When traveling abroad, those who speak the language of the country they are visiting have more access to hotels and activities, as they are not limited to those that accommodate foreigners. Often travel can be less expensive—and more authentic and rewarding—with these options.

 

  • Being bi-or multilingual opens up one’s world. Speaking in multiple languages allows people to do more than just communicate; it allows them to truly connect with one another. Language is the gateway to learning about other cultures’ traditions, history and viewpoints and leads to increased understanding, empathy and friendship. Knowing more than one language can broaden a person’s perspective, allow them to see the world through new eyes and express themselves in a different way.

Important News – Summer Camp 2020 Registration Forms – Due by June 11

We are so excited to blast off into Summer with “To Mars and Beyond!”

Summer Camp starts June 15th! As many of you are aware, the Governor has allowed our state to enter Phase 2 of the COVID-19 reopening process. All centers are still restricted with capacity allowances, limitations on summer camp programing as well as enforcing social distancing and good hand washing/hygiene practices in the classroom environment.

With that said, spaces in the Summer Camp programs will be limited. If your child’s center is full then we will try to assist families with openings at other Apple Tree locations nearby. Remember we have 4 locations in Chesapeake and 2 in Suffolk.

As of right now, we are not permitted to schedule field trips since there is no way to provide social distancing on the vans. Therefore, we have been working diligently with our vendors to provide the children the same field trip experience here at each center. Camp Calendars will be sent out on a monthly basis so that we can adjust the events for possible future fields trips as the Governor continues to make changes to the restrictions with each phase of reopening.

Attached you will find the forms that need to be printed, completed and returned to the center director by Thursday, June 11th. We are sending the forms out electronically to decrease the amount of contact as possible. The forms include:

1- In-House event permission slip
2- Sunscreen Authorization Form
3- June Activity Calendar (This is for you to keep)

All students ages 6 months old to 12 years MUST have completed forms on file in order to have sunscreen and participate in the events. Please make sure you return the forms by June 11th.

If you are unable to print these forms, please speak with a director for assistance.

Additional Phase 2 restrictions that we need to make you aware of:
1- Children 4-12 years old are allowed in group sizes of 20 with 2 teachers.
2- Children 3 years and younger are limited to a maximum of 12 individuals per group to include children and teachers.
3- Children and staff in childcare are not required to wear masks.
4- Parents who enter the building for any reason MUST wear a mask. Your temperature will be taken and you will be asked to wash your hands. If you are sick or show any symptoms of illness you will not be permitted to enter the building.
5- Curbside drop off and pick up procedures will remain in place.
6- Water play is limited to sensory tables. No pools or water features.
7- Outdoor play times are required to be increased throughout the day to allow for the children more exposure to fresh air.

We will continue to keep everyone posted as updates become available.

Thank you for your assistance and support during the pandemic. We appreciate all of our families and hope that everyone is continuing to stay well.

Sincerely,
Apple Tree Kids

Summer is here…. it’s time to celebrate!

 

Summer is here, and while the summer of 2020 will be unlike any we’ve experienced before, you can still find ways to celebrate the season. Take advantage of the warm weather and let the summer sun brighten your days.

Feast on a summer dish. Enjoy the fresh fruits and vegetables of the season, like juicy strawberries, sweet cherries and perfectly buttered corn on the cob. Make good use of your grill with classic barbeque foods and eat outside as much as possible. Don’t forget dessert—nothing says summer like a big ice cream cone.

Select the perfect summer tunes. Certain songs just take you back. Create a playlist of songs that remind you of summers past or select an already created playlist from a music service. Search for top “songs of the summer” or turn on some reggae to go straight to the islands!

Get wet. The hot summer days almost beg for the cool relief of water. You don’t have to go for a swim to get wet, though. Have a water balloon fight with your kids, wade through a creek or head out on your boat. Research shows being near water really does make you happy, so go out and find some this summer.

Soak up the sun. We all know the importance of protecting your skin from the sun’s UV rays, but spending time out in the sun can also be good for you. Your skin produces vitamin D, which keeps bones healthy, fights diseases and reduces depression, in response to sunlight. Get out for a walk, read a book outside or have a chat with your neighbors and you’ll reap the benefits of the sun.

Relive your childhood. In a time when your previously planned summer activities may not happen, take time to enjoy the summer as you did as a child. Catch fireflies, drink lemonade, play card games, run through the sprinkler and roast marshmallows. Be thankful for the little joys in life that continue throughout time.

Creating Strong Family Bonds

One of the upsides of the COVID-19 pandemic is that families have been able to spend a lot of quality time together. A strong family bond is a lasting connection that all family members carry with them, creating a sense of security and belonging. Research shows that strong family bonds contribute to higher self-esteem, fewer behavioral problems and improved communication skills. Need ideas on how to build your family bond? Try the following:
1.    Share meals. While busy schedules can make finding time to eat together difficult, make sharing meals with your family a priority. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, eating together allows family members to catch up with each other, talk about how they are feeling and laugh together. If time is tight, start with a few days a week. Try to keep phones and electronic devices away from the table to allow for uninterrupted time together.
2.    Be kind to one another. You may feel like you can let your guard down around your family, but remember to treat each other with respect. Give compliments, say thank you, support each other’s interests and celebrate successes. Treating family members with kindness makes everyone feel good.
3.    Focus on experiences. If you think back on your childhood, you probably remember the experiences you had with your family (the camping trip when the raccoon almost got in the trash), not the things (the fancy, new TV). Go on a hike, ride bikes and plan special events and you’ll likely find yourself creating great memories that will last a lifetime.
4.    Volunteer together. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community and feel good while doing it. For families, volunteering together comes with another set of benefits. You’ll get to reinforce your family values, share unique experiences and see your family members in a new light. What’s more, you’ll become part of a bigger family that is your community.
5.    Try new things. Sometimes trying new things can be scary, but doing it as a family can make it less stressful. Sign up for an art class, cook a new food or travel to a place no one has ever visited before. Who knows, you might just find a new passion that brings your family closer together.

Summer Camp 2020 Is Right Around The Corner!

June 15 to September 7, 2020

One small step for your kids…one giant leap for God’s Kingdom!

Blast off with the first VBS to land on the moon! Apple Tree Learning Center’s ” To Mars and Beyond” will help kids discover the wonders of God’s universe. They’ll become Voyagers on a journey through space, exploring where God’s power can take them. Beginning in your Assembly area-an outpost on Mars-they’ll lift off to distant planets on special missions to collect power sources. Along the way, they’ll learn how God walked with heroes of the Bible, and that God is always with them, too. Add to the adventure with out-of-this-world fun, learning, and timeless Bible stories that inspire kids to give glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine!

Every year our staff works hard at creating a calendar plan filled with Summer Camp FUN!

Download our Themes and Bible Focus PDF

This theme is designed to engage every child – at every age – with the perfect blend of fun and learning — all captured in a weekly calendar timeline.  The greatest benefit of our camp is that it prepares your child to walk into the school year with even more knowledge, confidence and motivation to succeed in the classroom.

Don’t let your child miss out on a chance of a lifetime where they get to have fun with their friends exploring, dreaming, thinking, creating, and most importantly … a summer filled with learning and fun!

Take a step and plan your child’s summer fun, contact any center to REGISTER YOUR CHILD!

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