Tag Archives: Parenting

When Your Child Starts to Fall Behind {a guideline for parents}

happy boy doing homeworkby Ria Clarke 

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As much as we, as parents, like to believe that we are on top of things, there are times when we let things slide. After all, life is stressful and filled with distractions and constant interruptions. Falling behind happens to the best of us.

But what happens when you begin to notice your student making low grades, or you get a note from the teacher that there’s an issue? What’s a parent to do? Here are some practical steps to get your child back on track.

1. Identify the problem if possible. Make a mental checklist and ask yourself important questions: Have you created a dedicated learning space at home that is free from noise and distraction? Is your child getting enough sleep? Is your child over-scheduled? Have they had a recent eye or hearing test? Are they too engrossed in gadgets or television? Rule out overlooked easy-to-resolve issues, first. 

2. Communicate with the teacher. Don’t wait for the problem to mushroom. My son’s second grade teacher has after-school tutoring for children that are falling behind. During these sessions, she gives them the personalized attention that may be impossible during the regular class period. Regular communication with your child’s teacher will help nip problems in the bud before they get out of control.

Asian Mom Daughter3. Make the necessary adjustments. If you have identified that your child is over-scheduled or is not getting enough sleep, take the necessary steps to ensure that your child cuts back on extra-curricular activities or nighttime television so that he or she is well rested. Make sure your child has all the supplies and essentials handy in their homework center and make sure that distractions are kept to a minimum. And, keep yourself in the loop on their progress by checking over your child’s homework so you catch any errors or missed problems before assignments are handed in and graded.

4. Review the material. Not all teachers offer after-school tutoring, but you can help your child by spending the time to go over concepts at home. Visit your local teacher store and purchase homework helpers and various learning aids to reinforce what your child has been doing at school. Make the review sessions short but meaningful so your child doesn’t get resentful or frustrated.

5. Consider professional help. Ask your child’s teacher for references, or check your local library or go online to search for homework help or private tutors. Investigate established places like LearningRx, Omega Learning Centers, Appleton Learning, Huntington Learning Center, or Kumon for extra help.

SonKissingMom High ResIt is also important to recognize that each child is different and learns differently. Work with your child’s teacher to help your child unlock the potential that may be locked inside. It may be frustrating at first but stick with it. Remember that practice makes perfect.

Ria Clarke is the proud parent of a second grader and a toddler. She’s also a SAHM and freelance writer of various lifestyle and educational issues. When she’s not actively involved in projects and homework or chasing down a toddler, she can be found in the kitchen baking or curled up with a good book.

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Filed under Assessments, Behavior Management, brain training, Extracurricular, Organization, Parenting, Uncategorized

Creative Ideas for Peaceful School Mornings

Happy School Kidsby Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

This article originally appeared in Little Black Dress|Little Red Wagon Magazine. 

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It’s 8 a.m. and my household has already witnessed three meltdowns, two resulting in tears, and one of them mine. Seriously, it should not be this difficult to get the kids ready for school and out the door.

When I was pregnant, I envisioned school-day mornings with homemade breakfasts, freshly poured (maybe even squeezed) OJ, neatly parted hair and happy smiles. While this may have been pie-in-the-sky, I am a put-together enough person to at least achieve toaster waffles and canned juice without weeping and gnashing of teeth.

So, this year, dangit, I am vowing to pull off more peaceful school mornings. And I’ve called in three pros to advise and counsel: Cheryl Bahneman, Francie Towey, and Beverly Boney. As the champions for working moms everywhere, these three run the Primrose Schools at Brookstone and Oregon Park (Cheryl), Primrose Schools at Macland Pointe and Sprayberry (Francie), and Primrose at Bentwater (Beverly).

I love, love, LOVE the fresh, creative tips they shared for making mornings more peaceful on the home front.

Make a Morning Map

Create a checklist or picture map to help kids stay on track with the morning routine: make bed, go potty, brush teeth, get bookbag, etc. Laminate the list and provide a dry-erase marker so that children can check off the steps as they go. “Setting concrete expectations about the sequence of tasks is important for little ones,” affirms Francie.

“Allowing your child to chime in when creating the list will ensure their ownership over this idea, too,” Cheryl adds. Let them help type and add clip art to make their Morning Map. Feeling crafty? Take a pic of your child doing each action, and use those for a customized checklist.

Create a Family Command Center Binder

Fill a three-ring binder with page protectors and dividers. Label the dividers: Family Basics, Contacts, Pending, and then label one divider with each child’s name.

In the page protectors under Family Basics, slide in emergency info and babysitter instructions. The Contacts section is for important numbers and business cards: school, doctor, vet, painter, plumber. Pending page protectors hold Netflix mailers, receipts for online purchases, upcoming birthday invitations. In each child’s section, keep their extracurricular schedules, school information and the like. “Creating organizational systems that work is key for peaceful routines,” affirms Beverly.

Have Homemade Breakfast in a Hurry!

Okay, so making a huge hot breakfast every morning isn’t always (ever?) realistic. Instead, opt for grab-and-go homemade: Make batches of homemade pancakes and waffles once a month. Freeze them on cookie sheets and then rebag into freezer baggies to reheat in the toaster. Voila—homemade in a hurry!

Take the Pressure Off

Finally, set a positive tone for your child’s school day by letting them know you’re behind them, regardless of performance. “Children thrive more when they don’t feel pressure from their mom or dad to perform,” shares Francie. “The most important attribute a parent can teach their child is to try. If a child learns that, they will do amazing things—without stress.”

Sources:

Primrose School at Brookstone, www.primrosebrookstone.com

Primrose School at Macland Pointe, www.primrosemaclandpointe.com

Primrose School at Oregon Park, www.primroseoregonpark.com

Primrose School of Sprayberry, www.primrosesprayberry.com

Primrose School at Bentwater, www.primrosebentwater.com

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10 Ways to Fight the Summer Slide and Keep Skills Sharp, Part I

by Kristen Thompson

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Teachers routinely get a shock when they return to their classrooms in the fall and see the first test scores of their new students. The initial reaction is generally, “What in the world did they do last year?”

In reality, it’s not what they spent the previous year doing – it’s what they spent the summer not doing: exercising their brains. It’s a phenomenon so well known it’s often called “the summer slide.”

During the summer, kids lose an average 2.6 months of grade-level equivalency in math computation skills and 25 percent of their reading skills. That explains why teachers usually spend four to six weeks re-teaching materials in the fall.

So what’s a parent to do?

In this article, we’ll share five ways to fight back against the summer slide. Later this week, we’ll share five more practical tips.

Five Easy Ideas: 

  1. Create a Brainy Toybox. Make a rainy day toybox so kids don’t end up watching TV all day. It can consist of age-appropriate puzzles, Playdoh, circle-the-word booklets, art supplies, craft ideas, board games, playing cards, etc.
  2. Print Brainteasers. Bookmark or print out brainteasers from sites like the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Sites like www.Funbrain.com offer entertaining material on spelling, reading, math and grammar, and http://www.GamesForTheBrain.com has classic strategy games.
  3. Stock the Seats with Car Games. Buy or create a book of games you can play in the car. Even a simple game like “20 Questions” can help improve a child’s logic and reasoning and memory. For more travel game ideas, check out www.schoolbox.com.
  4. Unplug. Limit television, computer and video game time. Invite your child’s friends over frequently to encourage creative play and interaction.
  5. Reward Reading. Have your child create a reward system for the number and level of books he/she reads over the summer. Hang a reward chart somewhere prominent, like on your child’s bedroom wall or the refrigerator, and let your child add a sticker every time they finish a book or chapter. After a certain number of stickers are earned, a tangible reward may be in order…maybe a new book??
Start with those five easy, fun ideas to help bridge the learning gap between May and August. We’ll share five more ideas in Part II of this series.

Kristen Thompson is a parent, former teacher, and also the director atLearningRx Kennesaw, a center that specializes in helping learners of all ages and stages reach their full potential. LearningRx is located at 3420 Acworth Due West Road, Suite B, Kennesaw, GA 30144. 

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Creative Ways to Organize Children’s Artwork

by Diane Burdick, M. Ed.

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One of the best (and worst) things about elementary school children is their enthusiasm for the new skills they master. Now that the school year is well under way — and your child’s coloring and drawing skills are better than ever before — you’ve likely amassed a large collection of artwork. While each work of art is a precious memory, you don’t necessarily have enough room in the house to store all those pictures and drawings. Instead of admiring the art for a few minutes then secretly trashing the papers when your child isn’t looking (come on, you know we all do it!), organize the collection. Here are some creative ideas to do just that:

File It

Purchase a 13-pocket plastic accordion file for each year and file the papers in the appropriate month, as a pocket-style scrapbook. Use the extra pocket in the file as a list of events over the year, a collection of your child’s sayings over the year, or information on your child’s class like the name of your child’s teacher, class photos, etc. The one, right, is cute…and available through amazon.com or schoolbox.com.

Frame It

Elevate your child’s artwork above refrigerator status. Highlight one piece of artwork from your child each week or month, and display it in a nice frame. Depending upon your child’s age and your home decor preferences, choose a place for their framed art such as in their room, in a hallway, by the front door or in the living room. Choose a fun brightly colored frame, or a clear shadow-box style so that you don’t need to worry about matching the frame to the colors on the paper.

Hang It

If your home has a more casual look, or if you don’t want the hassle of getting in and out of a frame each week or month, consider installing a clothesline-like system, where you can easily hang artwork. If you hang the line low enough, your child could even swap their art as often as she wishes. Use fun colors for the clips or clothespins and consider adding fun nobs or decorations on the clips to add even more life to the display. Here’s an affordable clothesline from The  Schoolbox, that even includes multi-colored pins: http://www.schoolbox.com/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=29177&CategoryID=58. (Photo from www.unplggd.com.)

Digitize It

Do you like the idea of keeping all your child’s artwork, but don’t like the idea of hanging onto all that paper? Try scanning the artwork and saving  it on a digital file. Let your child name each picture, then sort it by the season, topic, or by date your child created it. Or, take a digital photo of your child holding each piece of artwork, and save those files; this makes a cute digital scrapbook that shows not only the artwork, but also your child’s age and stage when each piece was crafted.

Another benefit of the electronic file is that you can use it as the wallpaper or screensaver for your computer. You can e-mail the artwork to long-distance relatives so that grandma and grandpa can be a part of your child’s developmental changes.

However you chose to celebrate your child’s artwork, make them a part of the process. Your attention to their creations validates their creativity and encourages your little budding artist to flourish.

Diane Burdick, M. Ed. holds a masters in elementary education and a bachelors in history, and is currently pursuing her specialists degree with a concentration in teaching and learning. A homeschooling mother of three, she also enjoys freelancing for online publications.

Article edited by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

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Making Homework Fun, Part II!

by Kate Wilson and Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

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As a parent, it’s up to you to set the right tone, provide the right support and create a positive atmosphere for homework time. We shared three TIPS on how to do this in Part I of this series, and now here are three more!

1. Set a goal.

Don’t you work better (and faster) when you know you’ll get to do something fun as soon as you’re done? Well, kids are the same way! So, at the start of each session, ask your child what they look forward to doing as soon as they’re done. Tell them that their goal is to finish their homework by ___(pick a concrete ending point, like 4:30), so they’ll still have plenty of time to do x. Then, if they start dragging their feet, point to the time and remind them of their fun goal.

And, sometimes a small treat may be an appropriate motivation, too. We’re not talking full-scale bribery here, but just a small reward, like a piece of her favorite candy or favorite cookie, once homework is completed. Small enticements can be very motivating!

2. Roll up your own sleeves.

Okay, so it may have been decades since you last did long division, but it’s time to polish those skills, Mom and Dad. The best way to motivate your child to do his or her homework is to be there to help them.

This doesn’t mean that you need to write the entire thing, but you should be readily available if your child needs help. Your presence cuts down on frustrations and also expedites the process; you can refer them to books and websites they may need, or help them look up an answer. Bonus: you are also modeling good study skills.

A great idea we recently heard: Use homework time to check your own e-mail and wrap up loose ends on your computer, too. Sitting with your child, say, at the kitchen table while you both work sends the message that homework time isn’t punishment; it’s important. Even for adults.

3. Talk with the teacher.

Use your child’s teacher as a resource. If your child seems to be struggling (something you will also be able to observe if you’re there to help with homework), or if homework is taking an inordinate amount of time even when your child applies himself, there may be an underlying issue. Ask your child’s teacher is he or she observes similar issues at school.

And, if you feel that too much homework is being assigned, you can politely broach that subject with the teacher, as well. Ask the teacher: “How long should it be taking for ___ to complete his/her homework assignments? I’m asking because homework seems to be taking several hours each night, and I don’t know if this is normal.”

Okay, so your child still may not be begging to do their homework after implementing these tips, but hopefully the process is a little less arduous, a little less fuss, and a lot more productive. And maybe, just maybe, even fun.

Kate Wilson is a professional blogger who enjoys writing about child development issues. She is also a cook, avid reader, and environmental enthusiast. 

Elizabeth D. Cossick, M. Ed. has a bachelors in education from The University of Georgia and a masters in curriculum and instruction from Lesley University, Cambridge. In addition to being the editor of A Learning Experience, she publishes Little Black Dress | Little Red Wagon Magazine. She resides in Atlanta with her husband, two young children, and a frisky Westie named Munson.

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Making Homework Fun! (really)

by Kate Wilson and Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

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Okay, so you will be hard pressed to find a child who loves doing homework. So, it is expected that children might fuss a bit when it’s time to unzip that book bag and buckle down. Enter: you. The parent. As a parent, it’s up to you to set the right tone, provide the right support and create a positive atmosphere for homework time. Here’s how:

1. Put on your empathy hat.

First, step into your child’s shoes and feel what they feel for a moment. Children have been at school, under the scrutiny and rules of someone else, all day. Now that they’re home, homework, in their minds, deprives them of playing, socializing and just being–all the things that they have been waiting to do all day.

So, don’t fuss back. Don’t scold. Don’t slap. Tell your child that you understand homework isn’t what they want to do at the moment, but assure them that you are going to help them get it done well, quickly, and maybe even with a little fun thrown in. Then calmly follow the next steps….

2. Make homework inspiring!

Novel idea: What if you tried to make homework actually inspiring? Impossible, you say? Well, let’s unpack this idea a bit. If you freak out at your child and use coercion and/or monkey torture to force him to do his homework, you are starting a battle that, I promise, will likely become a daily struggle (not to mention a waste of perfectly good monkeys).

Try this easy tip instead: Write (or print) a different joke or riddle at your child’s homework place before they begin each day. For an array of fun kid-friendly jokes and riddles, check out: http://101kidz.com/jokes/. You can print some, cut them out, and leave them to be discovered by your child.

Starting homework time with a giggle sets a positive tone and creates associations that homework can actually be (gasp!) fun…and, dare we say, inspiring?

3. Have a snack ready.

It’s yum-o time. Set out a fun snack that your children get to munch while they work. Something yummy that also doubles as good “brain food” is ideal: peanut butter on graham crackers, carrot sticks and ranch, tortilla chips and salsa, apples and caramel dip, crackers and cheese, a sandwich, trail mix, a bowl of cereal with milk.

Then, every once in a while, surprise them with a plate of cookies or a favorite “splurge” treat…something to make them feel rewarded for sitting down without fuss to do their homework. And, if you’re worried about peanut butter smudges on their papers, get over it. Completed homework that smells like ranch is better than pristine blank homework any day.

Stay tuned….we’ll be back soon with three more tips for surefire homework success in Part II of this Making Homework Fun series!

Kate Wilson is a professional blogger who enjoys writing about child development issues. She is also a cook, avid reader, and environmental enthusiast

Elizabeth D. Cossick, M. Ed. has a bachelors in education from The University of Georgia and a masters in curriculum and instruction from Lesley University, Cambridge. In addition to being the editor of A Learning Experience, she publishes Little Black Dress | Little Red Wagon Magazine. She resides in Atlanta with her husband, two young children, and a frisky Westie named Munson.

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The Coolest Birthday Gifts Ever (Hands-On Science Part III)

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

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Science is one of those subjects that, when done right, is just as fun on a Friday night at home with the kids as it is in class. This is part three in a three-part series on fun science projects for home or school.

While the supplies under your kitchen sink make for great science experiments (as shared in Part I and Part II of this series), there are also some fabulous (affordable) science kits that you can purchase at specialty toy stores to provide hours of exploration and discovery.

Here are our favorites, which would also make welcomed birthday and Christmas gifts. Think of them as toys that pack a one/two punch. ONE: They’re tons of FUN. (Seriously, who doesn’t want to make a robot?) And TWO: They teach and reinforce critical thinking skills (cause and effect, reading and pre-reading strategies, direction following, synthesis, analysis, prediction…).

Now doesn’t that sound like a better gift than the usual overpriced plastic thingymajig that will become toy box fodder in two days? We thought so, too.

Five Rockin’ Science Kits

  • Tin Can Robot

Description: Recycle a soda can by turning it into a silly robot that can wobble around! Kit includes all working parts, motor, wheels, arms, googly eyes, and fully detailed instructions. Requires screwdriver and empty soda can (not included). Great way to recycle! Ages 6+.

Price: $14.99

Available at: The School Box store or online here: http://www.schoolbox.com/Tin-Can-Robot-Kit

  • Electromagnet Science Kit

Description: Build a doorbell, telegraph system and even a catapult using a true electromagnet! Kit includes: disc, latch and neodymium magnets, compass, straws, wires, sand paper, switch plates, wood screws, nails, light bulbs, battery holders, iron filings and more. An instruction booklet walks young scientists through an array of project options and experiments for hours of captivating fun.

Price: $26.99

Available at: The School Box stores or online here: http://www.schoolbox.com/ProductDetail

  • Big Bag Of Science

Description: This giant kit is designed to whet the appetites of budding young scientists of all ages. With more than 70 unique, fun, hands-on science activities, this kit guarantees hours of science fun. Amaze your friends and family with such activities as making water disappear, having liquid flow uphill, making a 30’ soda geyser, growing fake snow instantly, balancing 6 nails on the head of one nail – and much more. Store all components in the reusable zipper bag. Ages 8 and up.

Price: $39.99

Available at: The School Box stores or online here: http://www.schoolbox.com/Big-Bag-Of-Science

  • Solar Rover

Description: Learn how regular sunlight converts to energy as it powers this rover to roll along the floor. All you need is a recycled soda can! Ages 8 and up.

Price: $19.99

Available at: The School Box stores or online here: http://www.schoolbox.com/Solar-Rover-Kit

  • Weird Slime Laboratory

Description: Create green jelly worms, tadpoles and leeches, invisible jellyfish and more! Learn about the properties of matter, wet spinning, hydrated crystals and cross-linked polymers. Kit includes eight activities, each of which builds on the skills learned in the previous one. Ages 10 and up.

Price: $19.99

Available at: The School Box or online here: http://www.schoolbox.com/Weird-Slime-Laboratory

For more hands-on science kits, check out these other awesome ideas and kits (erupt a volcano, anyone?): http://www.schoolbox.com/Science-Fair-Projects-And-Kits.aspx

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Hands-on Science for Home or School, Part II

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

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Science is one of those subjects that, when done right, really is just as fun on a Friday night at home with the kids as it is in class. This three-part series will explore fun science projects perfect for home or school.

Blow Up a Balloon with Yeast

How does yeast make bread rise? This experiment from Science Bob will explore that question…with a balloon!

Materials:

A packet of yeast (available in the grocery store)

A small, clean, clear, plastic soda bottle (16 oz. or smaller)

1 teaspoon of sugar

Some warm water

A small balloon

Instructions:

  1. Fill the bottle up with about one inch of warm water. (When yeast is cold or dry the micro organisms are resting.)
  2. Add all of the yeast packet and gently swirl the bottle a few seconds. (As the yeast dissolves, it becomes active – it comes to life! Don’t bother looking for movement, yeast is a microscopic fungus organism.)
  3. Add the sugar and swirl it around some more. Like people, yeast needs energy (food) to be active, so we

    will give it sugar. Now the yeast is “eating!”

  4. Blow up the balloon a few times to stretch it out then place the neck of the balloon over the neck of the bottle.
  5. Let the bottle sit in a warm place for about 20 minutes.

If all goes well the balloon will begin to inflate!

How It Works:

As the yeast eats the sugar, it releases a gas called carbon dioxide. The gas fills the bottle and then fills the balloon as more gas is created. We all know that there are “holes” in bread, but how are they made? The answer sounds a little like the plot of a horror movie. Most breads are made using YEAST. Believe it or not, yeast is actually living microorganisms! When bread is made, the yeast becomes spread out in flour. Each bit of yeast makes tiny gas bubbles and that puts millions of bubbles (holes) in our bread before it gets baked. Naturalist’s note – The yeast used in this experiment are the related species and strains of Saccharomyces cervisiae. (I’m sure you were wondering about that.) Anyway, when the bread gets baked in the oven, the yeast dies and leaves all those bubbles (holes) in the bread. Yum.

 Make it an Experiment:

The project above is a DEMONSTRATION. To make it a true experiment, you can try to answer these questions:

1. Does room temperature affect how much gas is created by the yeast?

2. Does the size of the container affect how much gas is created?

3. What water/room temperature helps the yeast create the most gas?

4. What “yeast food” helps the yeast create the most gas? (try sugar, syrup, honey, etc.)

For more fun science projects, visit http://www.sciencebob.com/experiments/index.php and stay tuned for the the next feature in this series on A Learning Experience!

For awesome science kits that kids love (that would also make great birthday presents), check out this top-shelf array from The School Box: http://www.schoolbox.com/Science-Fair-Projects-And-Kits.aspx.

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Hands-on Science for Home or School, Part I

by Elizabeth Cossick, M. Ed.

Comment on this post and be entered to win a $20 School Box gift card!

Science is one of those subjects that, when done right, really is just as fun on a Friday night at home with the kids as it is in class. This three-part series will explore fun science projects that your young scientists will enjoy at home or school.

Color Symphony

adapted from ZOOMsci

  • several disposable cups
  • 3 different colors of liquid food coloring
  • milk, at room temperature
  • white glue
  • liquid dish-washing detergent

Instructions:

  1. Take the milk out of the refrigerator and let it warm up a little. It’ll work better if it’s not cold.
  2. Put the milk in a cup (fill the cup about 1/3 of the way).
  3. Add drops of food coloring in a triangle or square pattern.
  4. Put a drop of dish-washing soap in the middle of the food coloring design and watch the colors move. Cool, huh? Milk has fat in it, and the soap breaks up the fat. The food coloring swirls into the places where the fat used to be.
  5. Now, instead of using milk, try it with glue. Soap also prevents glue from sticking together. If you let the glue harden, you can cut away the cup and you have a colored disk.

For more fun science projects, visit http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/ and stay tuned for the the next feature in this series on A Learning Experience!

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How to Pack a Lunch with a Punch!

by Diane Burdick

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Here’s a great article if you’re a parent (use these tips!) or if you’re a teacher (print these tips for your parents on what to pack for snack and lunch). It’s all about eatin’ healthy…because, in the classroom, children really are what they eat. Healthy food = healthy brains that are ready to learn.

Packing a Lunch or Snack

Packing your child’s lunch with good-for-them options doesn’t necessarily mean that your child will come up with a sack full of food at the end of the day, or that you’ll spend tons of time prepping, either. What you need is a balance: pre-packaged items that are minimally processed. Meaning? Healthy, filling, kid-friendly, but not draining on the crazy morning routine.

Play With Your Food: Cheese Sticks

Whether you cut sticks yourself from a large store-bought brick or purchase pre-packed string cheese, cheese sticks pack a powerful punch of calories and nutrition. For example, string cheese typically comes in a 1 oz service size, which has only 70 to 80 calories but a whopping 7 to 8 grams of protein. Plus, they’re fun to eat. I mean, who doesn’t love creating all those strings?!

Yummy Yogurt

Kid-oriented freezable yogurt, such as Yoplait “Go-Gurt,” Danimals “Coolisions,” and organic varieties allow you to freeze the yogurt overnight. As the yogurt package sits in your child’s lunch bag, it thaws out, but is still cool enough to each and taste great. And, it’s great frozen, too– like a healthy popsicle! And, no spoon required. Loaded with calcium, about 10% of the suggested daily amount, kid-friendly yogurt is a sure bet.

Fun with Fruit

If you’re worried about fresh fruit going bad in the house, look for prepackaged fruit instead. For example, mandarin orange fruit cups in their own juice (not artificially sweetened) are around 40 calories, but they offer 100% of the daily value of vitamin C. Flavorful, convenient and oh, so sumptuous!

Some other fruity options:

  • A small 1-oz package of dried cranberries is less than 100 calories, but offers 4% of your daily recommended fiber.
  • A 1.5 oz pack of raisins offer about 10% of the suggested daily amount of fiber, and only 130 calories.
  • And prunes (which are just dried plums) are even better for you than a fresh apple, because they offer almost 2 grams of fiber in just a 1 ounce serving size, that’s twice the fiber of a fresh apple! Look for prunes loose in a package, or in small cellophane wrappers which lock in the juiciness and freshness.

Granola Bars

Traditional chewy granola bars, such as the Quaker brand with 25% less sugar, run at only 100 calories (for the peanut butter chocolate chip variety) and offer 10% of the recommended daily fiber, 2 grams of protein, 10% of calcium, and 2% of iron. But at 20% of your daily recommended fiber per serving, the “Fiber One” bars in the chocolate peanut butter flavor are only 90 calories, and, in my opinion, are even tastier than the original.

Cereal

It’s not just for breakfast anymore. You can satisfy your child’s sweet and salty cravings with a handful of cereal from the pantry instead of greasy and overly salty chips or crackers.

For example, a dry (non-milk) one-cup serving of Quaker Oatmeal Squares provides 90% of the suggested iron and 100% of folic acid. Traditional Cheerios clock in at only 100 calories a serving, with 11% of your recommended dietary fiber. The slightly sweeter Multigrain Cheerios offer 100% of the suggested values for many nutrients such as iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B, folic acid, B12 and zinc.

The takeaway: healthy lunches are a real possibility in your home and classroom. It just takes a few minutes and a few ideas.

And, if you’re teaching nutrition to your class this year, The School Box has a super fun game to try: Food Pyramid Bingo. Because, let’s face it, Mom won’t always be there to pack the lunch. They’ve gotta learn the basics on their own, too.

Diane Burdick, M. Ed. holds a masters in elementary education and a bachelors in history, and is currently pursuing her specialists degree with a concentration in teaching and learning. A homeschooling mother of three, she also enjoys freelancing for online publications.

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Filed under Academic Success, Parenting, Snack Time