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Healthy, Energizing Snacks for the Family

January 14, 2014

By Noralba Martinez

Healthy, energizing snacks include oranges, cherries, tomatoes, strawberries, and pickles

Winter can be a drain on your child’s energy levels. Between colder air and less sunlight, it’s hard to stay alert. Keep your family’s energy levels up with healthy snacks throughout the day. If you plan ahead, these snacks can be fun and inexpensive.

You should offer your child snacks in between meals. They should be packed with energy-rich nutrients and have a low calorie count in order to keep a child satisfied until the next meal. You can find packaged snacks at your grocery store or make your own at home, which is healthier and inexpensive. Just remember to package the snacks in small grab-and-go containers for quick access at any time.

Here are some tips on making healthy snacks for your family that will not break the bank.

  • Provide healthy, easy-to-eat foods. Cereal, pretzels, sliced bananas and apples, and raisins are great finger foods for young children. Be sure to include fruits and vegetables when possible for nutrients. Foods with protein will keep your child fuller for a longer period of time, so try foods like peanut butter, Greek yogurt, and cheese.
  • Prepare safe food. Slice everything small to avoid choking and teach your child to sit every time he or she eats. Cook together. When you do have the time, prepare the snack with your child to make healthy eating a family experience.
  • Model healthy eating. Eat the same snack with your child if possible. It would be unfair for your child to see you eat something unhealthy and different from what you are offering him or her.
  • Go green. You can now find snack-size containers and bags at stores to package food. Be eco-conscious and buy reusable containers.
  • Reduce serving size for children. Remember that the serving size on the nutritional information on all food packages reflect a serving size for an adult so limit the amount served to your child.
  • Practice portion control. Do not offer a big snack for your child because he or she will not be hungry to eat the next meal.

By following these suggestions, you can prepare healthy, energy-rich foods that your whole family can enjoy, keeping them alert for any activity.

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4 Ways to Make Reading to Your Baby Fun

January 9, 2014

By Jessica Vician

Video by Libby VanWhy

The more experience your child has with books, the easier it will be to teach him or her to read. It may seem silly to read to an infant or a younger child who does not yet speak. He or she can’t understand what you’re saying, right?

The truth is, we don’t really know how much a baby can understand before he or she starts to speak. But we do know that by reading to your very young child, you are helping his or her brain develop. As if that was not enough, it’s also an opportunity to bond with your child, and can even be fun for you!

To show you how fun reading to a young child can be, the YOU Parent team filmed this video, demonstrating a few tips.

  • Exaggerate your voice.
  • Use different voices for different characters.
  • When reading about animals, make their sounds to help your child identify the sound to the animal.
  • Point out words on the page and sound them out.

Next week is Book Week, so what better time to practice these techniques when reading with your child? Be silly and dramatic—you’ll both be smiling from ear to ear!

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Parents and Schools: A Partnership to Prevent Bullying

January 8, 2014

By Sunny P. Chico

When I was growing up, my sisters and I were the first Hispanic students in our northern Chicago neighborhood. As you can imagine, we were not immediately accepted by many of our classmates. Kids can be cruel, and we felt that very personally, sometimes on a daily basis. As much as I want to protect every child from ever experiencing that, I know as an educator that the bullies out there are sometimes facing their own trauma, and have no idea how to cope with it other than by lashing out.

When someone is bullying, they have a lot of aggression, a lot of pain, and misplaced anger. Sometimes it’s ignored because others view it as just the way kids are—kids are cruel and they’ll grow out of it. In many instances, though, bullying starts with what the child sees at home. The child will model the behavior he or she sees at home. Children need to get their frustrations and energy out, and they will mimic the behavior of others because that is the only way they know. If they see violence in the home, they will be violent. If they hear shouting in the home, they will shout. If they see swearing or name-calling, they will repeat those behaviors outside of the home. The child will absorb and internalize those behaviors and feelings and may bully others as a result.

We have lost too many kids to bullying. We’ve lost them to suicide, and we’ve lost them academically and socially. Whether these children are the victims of bullying or they are the bullies themselves, grades get worse, students drop out of school, and some join gangs or engage in other high-risk behaviors. We need sustainable prevention and intervention embedded throughout the school curriculum.

We have to remember that bullying is always present in our children’s lives and in our schools, therefore educators need to continue to address it just as they address curriculum and learning. Educators can’t do that, though, without parents who are supporting their children at home and are communicating with the school about what their children are going through. Both parents and educators are here to give our children and students the best chance in life. To do that, we have to work together on issues like bullying. When left unchecked, these issues can destroy our children’s futures, but the right intervention can save lives and strengthen our communities.

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NPR of Ohio Answers How the Common Core May Meet Special Needs

January 7, 2014

By Amanda Gebhardt

In 2010, a coalition of states, led by the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), released the first national set of education standards in the U.S. Referred to as the Common Core State Standards, they define, grade-by-grade, the skills that students should be able to demonstrate in order to be college and career ready.

Many have criticized the standards, and there is still much debate about how the they will be assessed, but the standards themselves may offer enough instructional flexibility to support students in a variety of ways.

We read this article about how the Common Core may be used to support special needs students and wanted to share it with all of you.

Read through the article and let us know what you think in this forum.

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Respect Your Child’s Teacher

January 6, 2014

By Jessica Vician

Respect your child's teacher

While your child’s educational success starts at home, as soon as your child starts school, his or her teachers will be sharing that responsibility with you. By giving your child’s teacher the proper respect and receiving respect in return, you will start to build the kind of partnership that will promote your child’s academic success. Sarah Cripe, a pre-kindergarten teacher in Kalamazoo, Michigan, offers these tips on how to work with your child’s teacher:

  • Get to know your child’s teacher. Introduce yourself at the beginning of the school year and tell the teacher that you want to know how your child is doing throughout the year. This gesture shows the teacher that you are an involved parent and they will try to help you.
  • Ask the teacher what you can do to help your child succeed. You are both working toward giving your child a bright future. Share your goal for your child so they can help him or her achieve it.
  • Don’t judge a teacher based on a bad previous experience. Unfortunately, sometimes your child will have a teacher who is not as invested or effective as you might want. However, don’t bring that negative experience into a new school year. Give the new teacher a chance to work with you and help your child succeed in the classroom.
  • Be involved. Make sure your child finishes his or her homework every night. Ask your child about his or her day at school. By being involved in your child’s education at home, you can monitor his or her success and address concerns as soon as they come up. If there is a concern, discuss it with your child’s teacher.
  • Speak directly with the teacher. Don’t express teacher concerns in front of your child. These actions could hurt his or her relationship with the teacher. Schedule a meeting to discuss the concern with your child’s teacher first, and if necessary the principal, rather than involving your child or saying something in the heat of the moment that you might regret later.

By establishing a relationship and keeping the lines of communication open with your child’s teacher, both of you can work toward the common goal of helping your child succeed in school. For more tips on helping your child succeed in school, see the YOU: Your Child’s First Teacher books.

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