More to Know

Articles and expert advice to help you guide your child to educational success.
Have a topic you'd like covered in a blog post? Submit here.

DIY: Lemonade Stand

June 30, 2014

By Nikki Cecala

A girl and boy stand smiling behind a lemonade stand.

Lemonade stands are a great way to introduce children to business and money while under your supervision. It’s also easy to start up and can be a lot of fun! Operating a lemonade stand teaches your child responsibility, the value of money, how to improve interactions with people, and encourages the entrepreneurial spirit. It’s a great activity for children ages three and above with adult supervision.

There are only a few steps to starting a lemonade stand.

First, check the laws in your city. City officials have the right to shut down a lemonade stand or hand out fines if operating a stand without a license. Check the guidelines first.

Second, choose the type of lemonade you wish to make. Lemons (these are healthier!) or lemonade powder?

If you’re making the lemonade from powder, decide how sweet or sour you want to make it. Experiment by adding a few extra spoonfuls of sugar to the pitcher at a time. Let your child determine how tart or sweet it is so he or she can take ownership of the product.

If you’re using lemons, roll them on a table first, as this will help get more juice out when you squeeze them. Then cut each lemon in half and squeeze out the juice. Add it to a pitcher with water and sugar and mix well using a big spoon. Slice an extra lemon and add the slices to the pitcher for decoration and added flavor. If you would like to be more creative with your lemonade, try adding strawberries for an additional refreshing flavor.

Third, choose a location. If you really want your child’s business to succeed, I recommend the local park or beach. Of course, you can also display the stand in front of your house or somewhere safe in your neighborhood.

Check the weather forecast so you can bring enough sunscreen, water, or an umbrella. Make the stand look presentable but noticeable enough to lure customers in. Have a neatly written, personable sign that indicates the cost per cup and whatever else your child is offering along with the beverage. Help your child come up with a clever name so if he or she continues to host the stand throughout the summer, people may recognize and remember the unique business name.

Here are a few more items you should bring to the stand:

  • Ice
  • Cooler (for keeping ice and lemonade cold)
  • Cups
  • Cash box (with coins for breaking change)
  • Folding chairs for sitting

At the end of your child’s lemonade stand business, I recommend making a journal of the experience, profits, and lessons learned with your child. Go over the pros and cons, make recommendations, and ask your child’s opinion of the experience and what he or she would do differently. This will help your child further succeed with any future lemonade stands or other businesses he or she may be interested in.

Check out Lemonade Day, a website that helps children dip their feet in the entrepreneurial world with a 14-step process that inspires children to follow their dreams and educate them about operating small businesses. See what dates the National Lemonade Day celebration begins in your town!


Recipe: Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas

June 26, 2014

By Ana Vela

A plate of rice, beans, steak, roasted corn on the cob, and a whole wheat tortilla.

Growing up in Texas, I can’t remember any of my mother’s homemade Mexican meals without accompanying flour tortillas. Flour tortillas are a tradition in my family, and as a child I looked forward to assisting my mother in making them every Sunday. Although flour tortillas are not the healthiest choice, it seems you can’t eat any Mexican meal without being given a generous portion of them.

According to the National Diabetes Education Program, 11.8 percent of Hispanics/Latinos are diagnosed with diabetes. Unfortunately, like so many other relatives in my family, my father was diagnosed with diabetes last year. At that point, my mother decided to make adjustments in her cooking to accommodate my father’s new diet restrictions.

What was the first recipe to change? It was our beloved flour tortillas. My mother adjusted her over 30-year-old recipe to make whole wheat flour tortillas by swapping refined flour to whole wheat. Why? Whole wheat flour is one of the best choices a diabetic can make for carb consumption. Eating whole wheat tortillas have other benefits as well. They can help you control your weight, are a good source of calcium to keep your teeth and bones strong, and can keep your heart healthy.

Of course, my mother made this change for everyone in the family. We eat them so often now that my 3- and 6-year-old nieces refer to them as “brown tortillas.” It just goes to show that family recipes can be made healthier and still be delicious.

Here is my mother’s recipe for whole wheat flour tortillas. She and I both hope you enjoy it.

Yields: Approx. 20 whole wheat tortillas

Prep Time: 15 minutes for mix, 60 min to roll and cook tortillas

6 cups of whole wheat flour

¾ cup of vegetable shortening

1 tbsp of salt

2 ¼ cups of hot water (not boiling), approximate

Hand mix flour, vegetable shortening, and salt.

Hand mixing the ingredients together.

Slowly add hot water as you continue to hand mix the ingredients to ensure consistency is doughy, not watery.

Kneading the dough.

Knead the dough.

Begin plucking off 1-inch diameter balls. Knead each of these into a ball with your fingers until it is shaped like a fat disk.

The bundles of tortilla dough sit.

Let all the bundles sit for 5-10 minutes.

Heat up an iron skillet on low setting (higher setting will burn the tortillas).

Rolling out the dough with a rolling pin.

Using a rolling pin, stretch the dough into the round, flat shape of the tortilla.

The flattened dough sits on the iron skillet.

Place the flattened dough onto the skillet.

Let the tortilla cook on each side for about 2 minutes. Flip as needed until it is well cooked and has a nice brown color to it.

The cooked tortillas sit on a paper towel and cloth napkin to cool.

On a cloth napkin and paper towel, place all the cooked tortillas to let them cool off.

Enjoy these tortillas with any meal – breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

A tortilla sits on a plate with roasted corn, steak, rice, and beans.


Psychology: Children and Motivation

June 25, 2014

By Dr. Tyffani Dent

A mother smiles with her two daughters.

I have two daughters. Having them made me realize two things: God has a sense of humor, and my mother’s prayer that I have little girls “just like me” was not meant as a blessing. I have come face-to-face with the realization that my daughters have very different levels of motivation for learning and completing tasks.

My oldest has always been very easy. We would provide her with a task or new opportunity and she would demonstrate a phenomenal eagerness to learn and do. She was persistent in staying on tasks, enjoyed new challenges, and would work without much assistance from us.

In my youngest, I found myself cajoling, arguing, fussing, bribing, and begging her to stay on task and try new things. She would look at me politely and say, “No, thank you,” letting me know she had manners but no desire to do what I asked.

As a psychologist, I realized that my daughters had different motivation types. One can either be intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. An intrinsically motivated person has the internal desire to perform a task because he or she enjoys it, likes the idea of learning something new, or believes it is just something that he or she should do. My oldest is an example of intrinsic motivation.

An extrinsically motivated person does not have this same desire. When this person does perform tasks, he or she will do so for a specific reward that he or she values more than the task itself. My youngest is an example of an extrinsically motivated person. With these children, we run the risk of them not working to their full potential, as schools and society do not always offer tangible rewards for learning or excelling at a task or activity.

In the case of my youngest and extrinsically motivated daughter, I found that I was not alone in my begging, bribing, or giving in to her candy demands. At her preschool, I noticed sticker charts for saying ABCs, certificates for coloring, and candy for listening (all extrinsic motivators), even though research shows that only focusing on external rewards is not successful in the long term.

In acknowledging the need to increase intrinsic motivation in children, one study provided a few tips:

  1. Set a goal that your child finds meaningful. For my daughter, this meant learning to leap higher, which involved her actively going to ballet class.
  2. Stimulate his or her interest. When trying to get her to want to learn colors, we asked her what she thought would happen if we mixed colors together. By engaging her interest, we helped her motivation to learn.
  3. Show your child that working gives him or her power. Children like a sense of control and to believe that what they do has an impact. Give your child choices so he or she feels control over the situation. For my youngest, we asked her, “Do you want to write your numbers or say them to Mommy?”
  4. Work and play do not have to be separate. Make the task into a game. Learning does not have to be boring. Be creative—use a sibling’s board game to learn problem solving or counting.
  5. Sometimes extrinsic rewards are beneficial. Even though stickers, charts, and occasional candy aren’t optimal, sometimes they can help motivate your child.

Children may have different levels of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. As parents, we should try to increase intrinsic motivation in our children. Now, I am going to get myself a cup of coffee, because even adults like rewards sometimes.

Dr. Tyffani Monford Dent is a licensed psychologist, motivational speaker, and author. She lectures and trains on issues of mental health disparity in minority communities, children’s and women’s issues, and sexual abuse intervention and prevention. Dr. Dent is also the executive director of Monford Dent Consulting & Psychological Services, LLC and the author of the book Girls Got Issues: A Woman’s Guide to Self-discovery and Healing.


How to Address the Fear of Becoming a Father

June 24, 2014

By Mario Vela

The author holds his newborn daughter in the hospital.

I’m 32 years old, and for the last seven years I’ve been terrified of the thought of being a father. I am an analytical person, and can lose myself in thinking of worst-case scenarios. But now I am finally comfortable and excited that my wife of ten years is expecting just had our first child.

Why have I been concerned all these years? I questioned my ability to raise a child since I never had a traditional father figure. My mother left my father when I was an infant and married someone with whom I always had a contentious relationship.

In my journey to becoming an expectant father, I’ve used my analytical nature to my advantage. I have thought about why I was afraid to have children, have worked through my fears, and have developed some ideas to help transition from my role as a husband to my new role as a husband and father. I want to share these tips with expectant and new fathers to help them, too.

  • Create a list of parental figures. Think about your role models. What good qualities do they have? Try to embody those qualities and pass them along to your child. Do not limit yourself in gender- or culture-based learning, as it is possible to learn more from diverse perspectives. Since I had an open mind in learning from others, I was able to leave some of the limiting social constructs of my own upbringing behind.
  • Learn from others. Have dinner with your friends with kids and learn from their experiences. Spend time with them and listen to their triumphs with their children and also of the challenges they encounter. Ask yourself if this is the life you want to pursue.
  • Create a support system. My wife and I recently moved to a different city, so creating a support system has been a little more difficult than usual, but we have developed relationships with friends whom I value and trust. Those people have helped me overcome my fears and will help us when our baby arrives. It’s important to know we’re not alone.
  • Spend time with other people’s children. Visit with your friends’ and family’s children and interact with them. Rather than just hearing stories from others, this will allow you to learn from experience and see the patience and care required to raise your own children.
  • Be honest and set realistic expectations with your partner. When my wife let me know that not having children was non-negotiable to stay married, I came to the realization that my children are a source of my legacy. I finally realized that I have something to offer.

Through this decision-making process, I learned from some of my closest friends and relatives. In the end, I made a personal and, for me, a very difficult decision: I know that I can offer a strong future to my children. I kept questioning my abilities as a father, and eventually learned that I have every right to be a father, and that I will be a good one.

*Editor's note: Mario and his wife Ana welcomed their baby girl less than two weeks before we published this article. Congratulations to Mario and Ana!


Ramadan: Lessons and Traditions

June 23, 2014

By Munzoor Shaikh

Ramadan Kareem

Ramadan is a very special Muslim holiday, which we observe by fasting from dawn until sunset for a month. This year, the holiday begins on June 28 and ends on July 28. Even if you don’t observe Ramadan, there are lessons and traditions that your family can learn and practice throughout the year.

The Purpose
During Ramadan, Muslims fast to improve self-restraint and increase awareness. For example, many of us have snacks, coffee, or even full meals without being hungry or thirsty. During the fast, we see why we feel the urge to eat or drink beyond our physical needs so we can transition to a higher level of emotional and spiritual awareness.

In the middle of a fasting day when we feel hungry, we turn to that moment of awareness and remember our blessings. Often taking that moment’s pause can instantly resolve the hunger and nourish us from a spiritual perspective. It also helps us feel connected to other people around the world who are hungry or thirsty simply because they do not have access to food and water.

Fasting Rules
The formal rules of fasting are simple. Muslims cannot eat, drink, or inject anything into their bodies (like eye drops, etc.) from dawn until sunset for the duration of the month. At sunset, Muslims usually break fast with some water and dates. At night, from sunset until the next dawn, Muslims can resume all non-fasting activities as usual. Exceptions are made for those who are ill, pregnant, or prohibited by their doctor for any reason, as Islamic belief asserts that our bodies have a right over us and we must give our bodies that due right when necessary.

Celebrate and Respect
It might not seem like it, but most Muslim families find Ramadan to be a time of celebration and fun! How can the process of not eating and drinking be fun? During Ramadan, families and friends make a concerted effort to spend time together. Since there is no food to distract us, we have true quality time together, sharing our thoughts and emotions and forming a deeper connection. Families also break the fast with dinner or have pre-dawn meals together at 3:00 am! Additionally, there are nightly prayers that families and friends like to observe together. Muslim families share most meals together during this month.

You and your children can respect fasting Muslims by asking them about their experience as they fast. Some find it respectful not to eat or drink in front of fasting Muslims, but this is not a hard and fast rule.

Feel free to join the celebration! Break the fast with a Muslim friend at sunset one day or join them in fasting for a day or two. You could even fast for an afternoon to sample the experience.

The most important things for all people to learn, regardless of religion, are to celebrate life together, become more aware of our actions surrounding food and drink, and connect more deeply with others.

Tags :  culturesocialphysicalholidayteachers
1 2 3 4 Next