10 Tips for Potty Training Victory

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1. Plan Ahead

Potty training is a large investment of time.  Most families choose the warmer months to potty train due to being able to dress in less clothing, which makes easier undressing for potty time.  Make sure to ask friends and families what their potty training route was, and write down ideas that appeal to you.  Write down a general list of potty training ideas and options, and discuss them with your family.  Ask for their input and their thoughts.

 

 

2. Streamline Your Plan

Once your ideas are discussed and the ideas you’d like to incorporate are in place, take the ideas that appeal most to you and your family and make a step by step plan.  Paste it up around the house: on the fridge, in the bathroom, or any other place you and your family can easily find it.    

 

3. Introduce the Potty Chair Early

Introduce the potty chair at the beginning of the process when your child is showing signs of readiness—stays dry for two hours, interested in the bathroom, etc. Demonstrate how it works and instill a sense of potty ownership in him or her by wrapping it as a present or decorating it with stickers.

 

 

4. Acclimate Your Child to Potty Training

Before officially starting potty training, break out all your potty training items and let your child touch them, play with them, and get comfortable with them.  Show how they are used with a doll.  Fear in the beginning is normal, but letting your children get used to the items, and seeing them in the bathroom, will help them associate those items with potty time.

 

 

5. Remain Positive and Patient

Remember: Potty training accidents happen to everyone.  Remain upbeat and positive.  Children thrive on positive energy. Praise and rewards can help tots feel more comfortable with new skills and keep them motivated during each potty training stage.  Maybe introduce a sticker chart or some other reward system for when a successful potty time is achieved.  Always give lots of love and affection after a job well done.

 

 

6. Be Consistent

Be consistent – once tots are out of diapers – they stay out of them. It’s proven that toddlers train faster if they don’t switch back and forth between diapers and training pants.  Also, children who utilize cloth diapers and cloth training pants tend to potty-train quicker due to being able to feel the coolness of the wet diaper

 

 

7. Surround them with Potty Training Items

To sustain a child’s interest, use interactive approaches, such as games, videos, songs, and books.  Keeping them surrounded with potty training tools will help drive the ideas home.  Here are a few links to some of the best products available for potty training:  http://www.babycenter.com/303_potty-training-books-videos_10364583.bc http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/837417/18-best-potty-training-books-and-videos 

http://www.parentdish.com/2009/05/01/ten-top-potty-training-books-for-kids/

 

 

8. Work Together and Communicate

It’s important that everyone in the child’s life is made aware of the potty training process you are adopting.  Daycare workers, church childcare workers, grandparents, and step-parents should all be involved and kept in the loop on the potty training protocol.  Communication is important in keeping consistent.

 

 

9. Pack a To Go Potty Training Toolkit

When traveling, bring familiar potty training supplies like a child-size adapter seat for a full size toilet, along with toilet seat covers, so your child can get acclimated to going in unfamiliar territory.  Bring a favorite potty training book with you, too, to help the that goes along with using public restrooms.  Don’t forget a motivational reward or two!

 

 

10. Use Rewards

Small tokens like lollipops, inexpensive toys, and other trinkets are wonderful motivational rewards for children who are potty training.  You can also use an inexpensive tiara or crown for the child to wear for each successful potty break.  Keeping the spin positive and just brushing over the accidents is the key!

Megan Wilson is a stay at home mom, blogger, and  cord blood banking advocate.

 

Gluten Free Lunch Ideas

The Loving Hut Salad

 

If you or one of your children is gluten intolerant, packing healthy, fun lunches can be a challenge.  Kids may not want to eat glucose free all the time, and they definitely want food that is seen as “Cool”.  With a few manipulations to your grocery list, you can make your children a lunch they’ll enjoy, and actually eat instead of trading-off with other kids. 

  • Green leafy salads – all varieties!
  • Quinoa Salads or Quinoa Tabbouleh
  • Cheese crackers/Mock Fish crackers
  • Fruit:  Grapes, cherries, oranges, blueberries, bananas, oranges, starfruit, jicama, etc.
  • Veggie sticks:  carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce wraps, etc.
  • Mango-Ginger Chutney with GF lunch meats and/or salad
  • Stew/Rice packed on top to keep the stew together and warm
  • Nori Wraps – nori wrapped around cucumber, avocado, etc. – with or without rice
  • Sushi – California rolls, tuna, salmon, cucumber, inari, etc. rolls.
  • GF Pretzels with grain mustard dip
  • Celery with GF Cinnamon peanut butter or cinnamon hazelnut or cinnamon almond butter
  • Raw nuts/seeds and dried fruit
  • Homemade GF granola bars/granola cereal
  • Polenta Fries
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Savory grits
  • Yogurt (with fruit, or fat free Greek yogurt, etc.)
  • Red pepper strips with tzatziki
  • Taco salads/nachos: Chips, guacamole/avocado, salsa, shredded lettuce, shredded chicken
  • Chicken/tuna salad (use Greek yogurt instead of mayo to lower the fat)
  • canned salmon/tuna (packed in water)
  • Chilaquiles
  • Onigiri ·  Jicama strips
  • Beef or salmon jerky
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • String cheese or “Laughing Cow” cheese bites
  • Egg Muffins (NOT Egg McMuffins) with cheese/ham or green onion/garlic or mushrooms
  • Teriyaki Chicken salad
  • Steamed veggies
  • Risotto with seasonal veg and/or seafood
  • Parmesan crisps
  • Lettuce wrap sandwiches
  • Dates with cream cheese and walnuts (definitely a dessert!)
  • Nori strips for snacking
  • Garbanzo beans:  on salads, fried or baked/crispy for snacking or salads
  • Baked Falafel
  • Fruit kebabs
  • Hummus with veg sticks or pita or baked wrap “chips”
  • Fruit leather 
  • Popcorn
  • Smoothies
  • Cinnamon nuts
  • Gluten free corn tortillas with cheese      
  • Cucumber salads or sandwiches
  • Little fruit-filled mochi or red bean-filled mochi
  • Rice cakes  
  • Sweet rice cakes
  • Baked sweet potato chips (or parsnip chips, etc.)
  • Rice with nori & sesame seeds
  • GF Oatmeal with cherries or cinnamon with a little rice milk
  • Sandwiches made with gluten free bread and lunch meat (Most varieties are gluten free)
  • Baked potato in a thermos-bake the potato, add toppings, and put in a thermos!  It will stay warm till lunch!

With gluten intolerance on the rise, many companies are offering gluten free alternatives to your favorite products.  There are many ready-to go foods you can purchase that are gluten free as well.  Gluten free dry cereal, gluten free pretzels, Jell-O, and candies like M&Ms are gluten free.  There’s even a Lunchable clone that is gluten free in your local grocery! You can always bake with gluten free flour to make sweets and treats for your loved ones. Here are some links to gluten free dessert recipes: http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/desserts/gluten-free-desserts-00000000058813/index.html http://allrecipes.com/recipes/healthy-recipes/gluten-free/desserts/  http://www.instructables.com/id/Gluten-Free-Desserts/

 

(Sources: http://glutenfree.wordpress.com/2008/08/21/gluten-free-lunch-to-go-ideas-for-what-to-pack/)

Megan Wilson is a stay at home mom, blogger, and Family Cord supporter

 

Tips for Getting Your Child Excited about Going Back to School

first day of school for the fifth grade girls

Going back to school can be hard for most kids.  Saying goodbye to summer play dates and sleepovers, having to start setting the alarm clock each day, and the dreaded homework are all daunting to kids.  Getting your children excited for school can seem impossible, but by involving them in the process of gearing up for the school year, you can alleviate some of the stress associated with the start of a new school year.

Let your children pick out their school supplies.  Many times children love picking bold, bright colors to tote around at school.  Folders, pens, pencils, let them go wild!  If they choose supplies they love, they’ll be more excited to get to use them at school!  Make sure to keep them separate from the general supply in your home.  Exaggerate the importance by putting them in their school backpack, or in a bag marked with “For School!”  If you’re on a tight budget, you can let them pick out a few things.  The dollar store usually has a good selection of school supplies, so starting there might be a smart idea.

If your child doesn’t know any of his or her future classmates, invite some over for a play date or sleepover!  Getting to know some friends before school starts will ease nerves and give them a head start on making new friends.

Ease them back into a school schedule; start setting the alarm earlier a little each day, and going to bed a little earlier each night.  Make sure your child is getting enough sleep as well.  Sleep deprived children are at a disadvantage when it comes to focusing and learning.  Get them back into the groove of learning by taking a few trips to your local library.  Let your children pick some books they’d like to read.

Get crafty by making a countdown with your children!  A quick trip to your craft area can yield you all the supplies you need to make a nifty calendar that the kids can check off each day leading up to the first day of school.  This calendar can also include a list of goals your child can come up with for each subject or school in general.

Another great way to motivate your children to go to school is by sharing stories about your positive school experiences.  Field trips, class projects, and funny stories are all ways to get your child thinking optimistically about their school year.

If your children are starting at a new school, consider going and taking a tour.  If your child is fearful of their new teacher, call the school and see if there’s an opening for you to go visit the teacher during the days leading up to the beginning of the classes.  Letting your child meet their teacher can help calm their trepidation and ease the intimidation factor.

Instilling your children with a positive outlook on their education can go miles.  Always encourage and uplift your children.  Positive thinking is contagious!  It’s easy to help your children transition into this school year with smiles and an upbeat attitude. 

Megan Wilson is a blogger, farmgirl, and a cloth diaper and Family Cord advocate.

Making Meal Time Family Time

Angel Table

 

Studies have proven that teenagers who eat meals with their families more often are less likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors. But don’t wait until they are teens to get into the habit of eating together. (Teenagers tend to be suspicious of anything new their parents institute during adolescence. Planning ahead minimizes the suspicion around meal time and establishes a foundational family gathering early in the lives of your kids.) If a family meal sounds too overwhelming to achieve, carve out time and get everybody involved. Once it becomes part of the family routine, you’ll be glad you did.

 

When children are small, routines are easier to establish. Meal time, nap time, bath time and bed time can be set and kept by parents fairly regularly. As kids grow and become more involved in activities outside the home, schedules become more complicated, especially if you have more than one child. You have two options then:

  1. Set a definite dinner time that nobody is allowed to miss regardless of practices, meetings or rehearsals, making family everyone’s top priority.
  2. Plan meal time week by week (or day by day if you’re up to it) based on the best times in everybody’s schedule of events.

 

When schedules become hectic, it is vital that each family member do their part to make the meal preparation and clean up as efficient as possible. Assign tasks to each family member and rotate the tasks every so often. Even small children can set the table or clear the dishes. Other tasks might include:

  • pouring drinks
  • making a salad
  • baking dessert
  • chopping or dicing
  • washing and drying dishes
  • storing any leftovers
  • checking the pantry for ingredients for the next night’s meal

 

The old adage, “Many hands make light work” is true. With pre- and post- meal tasks shared, mealtime can be focused on conversation and relationship. Often family meals result in conversation naturally, but for those times when it does not, here are some tips for mealtime ground rules:

  • No electronic gadgets during dinner. This means television, cell phones, mp3 players, video games and anything else with an on/off switch that limits interaction with the people in the room. Even urgent phone calls can wait 45 minutes to an hour to be returned. This is why voicemail was created.
  • Everyone gets the opportunity to share about their day, good or bad. Other family members will listen attentively to each other.
  • Stay positive. Not every day of your lives will be good days, and that’s okay. However, try to leave arguments and disciplinary consequences for another time. No family wants their time together to become the most dreaded part of the day.
  • If conversation runs dry (i.e. your house is home to adolescent males), have a question box on or near the table filled with conversation starter questions that everyone must answer honestly, including parents. Questions are meant to get to know each other on a different level and to provide some laughs. Sample questions might be:
    • What was your most embarrassing moment?
    • If you could be a superhero, what superhero ability would you most want and why?
    • What is your favorite TV show/book/website/song right now?
    • If you had to choose one or the other, would you rather eat pickled pig’s feet or monkey brains?
    • What made you laugh today?

 

It takes some extra effort, but having a healthy family is completely worth it. Everybody’s got to eat; why not eat together?

 

 

 

Author Bio

Tiffany Marshall has a 20+ year background of working with teenagers in a variety of settings. As a result, she has discussed topics ranging from younger siblings to abuse, from sexual identity to egg storage and from God to death.

 

Ditching the Dashboard Dinners

Pepporoni Pizza salad koolaid

 

Meal times have been a bonding ritual for centuries, that is until recently. Over the last two decades, as parents work longer hours and children have more after-school activities, more and more family evening meals are turning into dashboard dinners and TV suppers.

 

While the dust is gathering on the dining table, the effect is taking its toll on our children. This is because, experts say, family meals aren’t just about food. Sitting down together for a meal is an important routine that makes both children and adults healthier, more confident, physically stronger and even smarter.

 

According to a report from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, children who eat dinner with their families five or more times a week, have half the risk of going on to develop alcohol or substance abuse problems than those who eat with their families two or fewer times a week. Children who join their family less often at meal times are also one and a quarter times more likely to associate with peers who use illegal drugs such as heroin, acid and methamphetamine.

 

Even with the best of intentions, sometimes it’s not easy to keep your children at the dinner table, especially when they are younger and easily distracted, or adolescent and would prefer to watch television or surf the Internet. For younger children, simple strategies work best, like offering a reward for finishing their meal- and it doesn’t have to be a sweet one; a family game is just as effective. Routine is important for diners of all ages; eating meals regularly is an important part of a healthy mealtime strategy.  

 

It is not only the routine and structure of family meals that is important, but also the atmosphere. Many parents are rushing round doing something else at meal time while their kids are eating. This is tough on their digestive system, and bad for their children’s morale. If your meal time is limited, choose healthy meals that take less time to prepare, or prepare them ahead of time, so that the focus is on eating rather than preparation.

 

All is not lost. For families who have been missing meals and the company of their family, there are simple steps that lead back to the dining table. These can help to boost your family’s physical, intellectual and emotional nourishment. Try these strategies:

 

Turn off the television, phone, computer and anything else that can interrupt a family meal. Don’t allow your children to participate in these activities until the meal is over. Get children involved. Let them help with preparation of meals and clean-up. This can help give younger children valuable life-lessons, and can help older children feel they are contributing family members.

 

At dinner, talk to your children about the best part of their day, and their plans for tomorrow. Share details about your day, without making the conversation heavy.

If you can’t all manage to sit down to dinner together every night of the week, designate three or four specific days for family dinners. This will prevent everyone making individual plans at the last minute. If dinner is completely impractical due to other commitments, don’t forget that breakfast or lunch is just as good a time to eat together.

 

Keep meals healthy and nutritionally balanced. This is just as important for your teenage children as it is for your younger ones.

 

The family meal shouldn’t be rushed. Take your time to enjoy your meal and allow it to digest properly. Keep conversation light, and don’t use a family meal as an excuse to pick an argument. Take turns speaking, and listen to everyone.

 

Now is the time to bring your family back together at meal times. You’ll soon find that your family bonds are stronger, your children are healthier and your older children will be at much less risk of forming emotional problems and addictive behaviors.

 

 

Corinna Underwood is a single mother of one son. During her free time she freelances as a guest blogger on many aspects of pregnancy and parenting including donor sperm and healthy nutrition.

 

Choosing a Daycare

Digger

Choosing to put your child in daycare is a tough decision on its own.  Once you decide that daycare is an option for your family, selecting the right caregivers is your next hurdle.  Many parents don’t know where to start, and are overwhelmed by the options.  With a few tips you can make sure to choose a facility that is right for your child!

1. Choosing Child Care Strictly Due to Location 

Location should be a consideration when choosing child care for your youngster. But choosing a child care facility strictly because it is close to your home or work, without carefully determining whether it also meets your family’s expectations for other considerations, spells potential disaster. Parents need to make sure a facility provides the right education focus, environment, hours of service, safety, and other criteria as well. Then, a convenient location essentially seals the deal!

 

 

2. Picking Child Care Because It’s a Bargain 

Cheap child care is hard to ignore, especially for families on a tight budget, but don’t get swayed into using a child care provider because it’s cheap. You may get what you pay for, and that may not be meant in the best way. While affordable child care can be of optimal quality, it could also be offered by a start-up provider or new daycare that may not have experience to draw in families. It could also be a parent who wants to “babysit” other kids for extra cash. Always make sure that your daycare is friendly to your particular family situation.  If you cloth diaper, make sure they are cloth diaper friendly.  If you’re a non-nuclear family, or used insemination, make sure they are open to those diversities up front. 

 

3. Limiting Your Options to a Specific Type of Care

Parents should carefully research their options for different types of child care offerings (i.e. nanny, daycare, in-home provider, or au pair), and not be closed-minded. Often, parents prefer a particular type of care based on their own childhood or because of someone they like vs. well-thought out fact-based details. Each type of care has advantages and disadvantages, and families should discuss pros and cons and give true consideration to options.

 

4. Rushing into a Child Care Decision without Asking Questions, Doing Research

Parents often rush into choosing child care without giving careful consideration into how it will impact the development of their child. Parents may be meticulous and demand details and schedules in certain areas of their lives, yet be all too willing to make a snap decision concerning care of their child. Deciding who will be caring for your kid, whether it is occasional or every day, part-time or full-time, is a huge decision and parents need to make sure they do the proper research first.

 

 

5. Placing Your Child in a Daycare That Has No Contract or Schedule

Placing your child in a daycare is a tough decision.  You expect your child to be taken care of, along with the other children at the center.  There should always be a clearly written contract with guidelines and rules.  Make sure that the daycare has an open schedule, meaning that you can drop by at any time to make sure your child is being taken care of properly.

 

By keeping these tips in mind, you can be sure to rule out the daycares that aren’t right for your child.  Many children spend eight or more hours a day at daycare, so placing your child in the right one is an important decision!

 

 

(Source: http://childcare.about.com/od/daycarecenters/tp/pitfalls.htm)

 

Megan Wilson is a blogger and stay at home mom.  She is passionate about cloth diapering, breastfeeding, cooking, and farm life.

 

Easy Lunch Recipes and Ideas Your Kids Will Love

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Even the most creative parents can have a hard time thinking of fun new ways to come up with fun lunches for their kids. You want something they’ll enjoy eating while still getting the balance of fruits, vegetables, and protein just right. Yet you also need to do the dishes, check your bank statement, pay the electric bill, get the kids ready for bed, finish reading that book – the list goes on and on. Here are a few tried and tips on lunches that will have your kids smiling all the way til dinner – and won’t take you more than a few minutes to make!

  • Change up the bread – plain white can get old after a while. Try stuffing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in a pita pocket or slathering it on raisin bread. Serve up leftover chicken in a flour tortilla as a wrap, or turkey and cheese on a dinner roll. Wheat breads are healthier because they’re not refined the way white bread is after processing.
  • Leftover pizza from dinner? Pack it in aluminum foil to keep cold.
  • Conversely, if it’s hot food your kid wants, pour some hot soup into a thermos. Most come with a cap that can convert into a cup so they can pour it into something easier to eat from – add a spoon and crackers in a ziplock bag.
  • A word to the wise on granola bars, fruit snacks, and other “healthy” snacks: many of them are packed with high fructose corn syrup, which is the same syrup used in sodas. Check the nutritional labels carefully, especially the sugar content.
  • Peel fruits that need it beforehand and cut into finger-size pieces your kids can eat. Perennial favorites include bananas, apples, pears, and melons.
  • More cutting tips: sandwiches in shapes other than a plain cut-in-half-squares are always a delight. Try triangles, diamonds, or other fun shapes.
  • Not all sandwiches need to come in official sandwich form. Try cheese, crackers, and salami slices, or some other kind of spreadable, such as chicken salad on crackers. 
  • The same thing applies to veggies that it does to fruit – bite-size is more fun. Carrots and celery sticks are natural go-to’s, but if you’re feeling adventurous, try cutting broccoli into tiny pieces and offering a dipping sauce like ranch or honey mustard.
  • Stay away from bags of chips, which are empty calories and fat for your child. If they crave a salty snack, go with baked tortilla chips instead. A small amount of bean dip will add protein over a container of cheese dip.
  • For older kids who can mix foods together, try this snack on for size: cream cheese with raisins, cranberries, or other dried fruit and honey to spread on graham crackers.
  • Pass on the premade trail mix and make your own: dried fruit, nuts, pretzel sticks, and cereal make a delicious and surprisingly healthy treat.

 

 

 

Author Bio: Nadia Osman is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about lots of different topics, including sperm banks.

 

Quick School Lunch Ideas

Black Bean Noodles!

 It is no surprise to any parent that kids can be picky eaters. Those with school age children will attest to the sighs of disappoint and rising frustration when your child returns home with the majority of her sack lunch still in the bag, minus the dessert. At least when you make their lunches you have some idea of how much they’re eating. School lunch trays are easily discarded without parents ever knowing if their children ate a single bite.

 

Packing school lunches doesn’t have to consume much time every morning. In much the same fashion as once a month cooking, you can prepare once a week lunches. Take some time on a Sunday evening to put items into sandwich bags that can be mixed and matched throughout the week. The bags could contain the following items, one portion per bag:

  • sliced cheese
  • lunchmeat (enough for one sandwich)
  • sliced vegetables (carrots, celery, green peppers)
  • fruit (sliced apples, grapes, fresh pineapple, oranges, berries)
  • crackers
  • pretzels
  • popcorn
  • trail mix
  • pickle slices

If you are concerned about whether or not your child will eat the fruits and veggies, entice them by throwing in a dip of some sort. Kids like to dip things, and if a little caramel is all it takes to get your son to eat an apple, then so be it. Some of the following dips can be purchased in single servings while others will need to be divided up into smaller containers and labeled (Your daughter would not be happy to expect fruit dip and taste ranch instead.):

 

When it comes time to pack the lunches, mix and match the various portions. Pack crackers, cheese and lunchmeat together for a build your own sandwich experience. Combine apples, crackers and peanut putter for a new twist on the kid-favorite peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Add side items in the form of salty treats or fruits and veggies with appropriate dips. For more variety, toss in a yogurt.

 

While kids tend to turn their noses up at leftovers, there are certain items they don’t mind eating more than once in one week. Leftovers that are just as good cold as they were hot are perfect sack lunch stuffers. Cold fried chicken, pizza or ham can be a special treat in lieu of the expected sandwich.

 

A great way to keep refrigerated items cool in the time between when your child leaves the house and the scheduled lunch time is to freeze a box drink or bottled water ahead of time and pack it in the lunch. In most cases, the drink will thaw enough to be a beverage by lunchtime and will have kept the perishable items chilled in the meantime.

 

If your morning routine is behind schedule, have the kids pack their own lunch using the ready-made bags. Tell them they must choose at least a grain, a dairy, a fruit or veggie, and a source of protein. This teaches them about balanced meals, helps them to be a bit more self-sufficient and gives them the opportunity to choose their favorite items. The bottom line is that they will be more likely to eat something they chose for themselves.

 

 

 

Author Bio         

Tiffany Marshall spent most of her childhood enjoying the mix and match lunches her mom made. Now that she’s grown she makes her own lunch in between writing freelance articles on topics as diverse as cord blood banking and grinder wheels.

 

 

Are Our Children Spending Enough Time in the Classroom?

living the first grade life

 

The debate over whether our children need longer school hours has been ongoing for several years, but it has become an increasingly hot topic over the past year. This is mainly due to President Obama’s claim that one third of children in the United Sates between the ages of 13 and 14 have inappropriate reading levels for their age. The President has also expressed concern that also stated that the eighth grade curriculum is outdated in comparison to those of competing nations. His proposed solution is to extend the school day, and lengthen the school year.

 

In most schools in the United States, the day begins at around 8 a.m. and ends around 3.15 p.m. Proponents of increased instructional hours suggest adding an extra two hours to the day, and extending the school year from 180 days to 200 days, claiming that this will improve pupil’s learning and boost their test scores. Those in favor of a shorter school day argue that children are already under too much pressure and that longer school hours would put further strain on an educational budget that is already suffering.

 

USA versus Other Countries

 

So how do our pupils compare to other nations? According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, (OECD) Education at a Glance 2006, global rankings in math, reading and science the top countries are Finland, Hong Kong, Japan, and Canada. The United States ranked 22nd in science and 27th in math. Reading levels were not available.[1] But how, if at all does the number of hours students spend in school, reflect on these scores?

 

You may be surprised to know that pupils in the United States actually spend more time in school, with 1,146 instructional hours per year, than do students in the countries that achieved higher ranks, such as Japan, whose pupils receive 1,005 instructional hours per year. It is important to bear in mind that there are many other factors involved. Equally important is the quality of the teaching, classroom size and the curriculum structure.

 

Longer school hours may benefit some working parents by providing extended childcare, but there appears to be little evidence that our children’s education would improve. Children may even suffer, over the long term, by having less time at home with their families. Furthermore, how many teachers would want to extend their classroom hours? The best way to help children learn is to make them want to so perhaps the solution lies within a re-evaluation of curriculum structure, and an examination of how current classroom hours can be most wisely used. 

 

Corinna Underwood is a mother of one son. In her spare time she freelances as a guest blogger in many different areas of pregnancy and parenting including cord blood banking and children’s healthcare.


Importance of Family Dinner

Family Dinner

 

Family mealtimes are a chance for parents to serve as role models, encourage healthy eating habits, and establish family traditions. Other things happen during mealtimes as well, including: socialization of children; establishment of family unity, safety, and security for children; and increased literacy and language development.  Many families have put mealtimes on the backburner, in lieu of sports, TV, or social engagements.  This ultimately puts your children at risk in the future.

Did you know that family mealtimes also decrease the chances that kids will use drugs? According to the National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse at Columbia University (2007), compared to kids who have fewer than three family dinners per week, children and teens who have frequent family dinners are:

  1. At 70% lower risk for substance abuse
  2. Half as likely to try cigarettes
  3. Half as likely to be daily cigarette smokers
  4. Half as likely to try marijuana
  5. Half as likely to get drunk monthly
  6. One third less likely to try alcohol
  7. Likelier to get better grades in school
  8. Less likely to have friends who drink alcohol & use marijuana
  9. Likelier to have parents who take responsibility -teen drug use
  10. Almost 40% likelier to say future drug use will never happen

What the study really illuminates is that it’s not the food, but the fellowship, that encourages teens to stay away from illegal substances. Three in four teens report that they talk to their parents about what’s going on in their lives during dinner; and eight in 10 parents agree that by having family dinner they learn more about what’s going on in their teens’ lives. These conversations are a key component in your child’s life. Teens who say that they talk to their parents about what’s going in on their lives over dinner are less likely to smoke, drink and use marijuana than teens that don’t have such talks with their parents.

The strength of the bond between parents and teens is directly related to the risk that a teen will smoke, drink or use drugs. We found that compared to teens in families with strong family ties, teens in families with weak family ties are four times likelier to have tried tobacco, four times likelier to have tried marijuana, and almost three times likelier to have tried alcohol.

Family dinner is an ideal opportunity to strengthen family ties. Teens that have frequent family dinners are almost three times as likely to say they have an excellent relationship with their mother and three times likelier to say they have an excellent relationship with their father; they are also more than twice as likely to report that their parents are very good at listening to them. 

Most teens who have dinner with their parents fewer than five nights a week wish they could eat dinner with their parents more often. Compared to teens who don’t talk to their parents about what’s going on in their lives at dinner, those who do are more likely to think frequent family dinners are important and to want to have them more often.

Today is the day to have dinner with your family.  Get the communication going by asking open-ended questions that go beyond a yes or no answer.  Discuss newsworthy stories, listen to their opinions, and open the communication lines between your family members.  Your children’s lives depend on it!

 

 

Author Bio

Megan Wilson, a blogger, freelance writer, and stay at home mom.  She’s passionate about farm life, cloth diapering, cord blood, breastfeeding, and cooking.

 

 

(Source: http://www.casacolumbia.org/templates/NewsRoom.aspx?articleid=604&zoneid=51)