All Entries For kids
Want to get kids off to a healthy start this school year? So does SparkPeople! That's why our very own Samantha Donohue, dailySpark blogger and healthy lunch packer extraordinaire, wrote our latest e-book: A Month of Fun and Healthy School Lunches from SparkPeople.
We think it's just what you need to get kids excited about packing lunch--with tips and recipes for meals they'll actually eat.
With A Month of Fun and Healthy School Lunches, you'll end the food fight and get kids excited about packing lunch--with fun yet simple meals they'll actually eat. Written by a mother of three, with 50 easy and healthy recipes plus plenty of ideas tested by real parents in real life, this e-book turns lunchtime into fun time while reinforcing the importance of eating right!
The book includes:
- Tips for Making Healthy School Lunches Kids Will Actually Eat
- Mom-Tested Tips for Saving Money and Time
- Fun, Easy Ways to Turn Lunch into Something Special
- The Basics of Planning a Healthy Lunch
- Dozens of Meal Ideas: DIY Lunches, Finger Foods, Sandwich Makeovers and More
- Also: Tips for Teens, Tweens, and Kids Who Insist on Buying Lunch
- Bonus: 25 Healthy, Kid-Friendly After-School Snack Ideas!
The book is available now on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com for just $2.99.
No e-reader? No problem! If you don't have an e-reader, such as a Kindle or NOOK, you can still read these e-books. Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble offer free downloads of their e-reader apps for PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and other mobile devices.
Click here for more info about our other great e-books, which are a fun way to learn more about healthy cooking. Read More ›
August is flying by. All too soon a new school year will begin, and with it will come the same mixed feelings and buzz of energy that surrounded the end of the school year. Besides the traditional anxieties of getting to the bus stop on time and remembering to pack a healthy lunch, for many parents of kindergarten-age students, there is another anxiety, this one with much higher stakes than being tardy on the first day of school: When should you enroll your child in kindergarten?
When we were kids, most US children started school at 5 years old. It's a much bigger decision now, with controversy and even politics on both sides of the issue.
I followed the old rule and kept it simple. I enrolled my son in kindergarten for one reason: He was 5 years old, and being five meant going to kindergarten. He started school two days after his late August birthday in 2009. To me, it was a no-brainer. From the start, there were good signs: In the first week of kindergarten he met his (still) best friend, and their birthdays are less than a week apart! They were instant buddies.
But the naïve bubble in which I was living soon burst.
Their birthdays are within a week of each other, in two different years. His newfound chum was an entire year older than him and there were kids in his class who were nearly 18 months older than him (At age five, that's almost a third of your life older!) Evidently, it was not as simple as I thought.
How much did you (or do you) think about when to start your son or daughter in kindergarten? Is your child one of the youngest or the oldest in the class? Have you heard the term redshirting?
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It's almost parents' favorite time of year: back-to-school.
That's why we're asking for your help. We hear from members all the time how difficult it can be to get kids to eat right--and even more so when they're away from home and tempted by pizza and chocolate milk in the lunch line.
Would you be willing to share your best tips in the comments below?
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Every morning, I start my day with a hot chai. In the summer, it is a particularly special treat. Instead of my usual vanilla chai, it is transformed into a half-coconut, half-vanilla chai. I realize it has too many calories and I should opt for sugar-free syrup (at least it is nonfat), but I consider it my one indulgence. My one addiction.
My morning pleasure.
It makes me happy.
Happiness. Most of us want it. Many of us have it. The drive-thru window where I get my chai provides an interesting backdrop for a small study of the differences in people's levels of happiness.
There is one girl who is simply bubbling over with happiness each and every time I see her. It is genuine. She actually makes you happy. I would love to meet her parents.
Then there is another person whom you dread hearing on the speaker and seeing at the window. Nothing about him even whispers, "Hey, I'm a mostly happy guy."
With which person do you most identify?
There are two ways that we can think about happiness. We can consider things that come and go, but bring happiness to us when we experience them (for many, these include shopping, eating, and drinking). We can also consider something that I think of as our "way of being." We can have episodes of happiness or we can just simply be happy. Read More ›
Water is the best thing you can give your kids to drink during the hot summer days. But how do you get them to drink it? How do you get them to chug down plain old water at the pool when they're surrounded by other kids guzzling down sugary juice boxes? How do you get your hard-playing child to drink water instead of sugar-laden sports drinks? How do you expect them to get a bottle of water at the baseball game instead of a cold, fizzy soda?
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Disclaimer: Psychological research is largely based on averages for groups of people. We prove practically nothing in psychology! It is too difficult--people are too complicated! When dealing with the human mind, one size does not fit all.
Think back to your grade school and high school years. Think about the kids you went to school with. Who was popular? How would you describe those kids? Who did you like the most among your peers? Why did you like them?
Research on popularity is now being understood with a new lens. For decades, it went like this: Researchers would ask kids who they liked and disliked, and would then add up the number of likes and dislikes for each child. Based on the votes, kids were categorized as popular, average, controversial, rejected or neglected. Those kids who received the most ''like'' votes (and rarely received dislike votes) were classified as ''popular.''
Recently, researchers have been paying attention to children’s comments a little bit more and have started to debate whether being liked is the same as being popular. The answer: Being liked by many peers is not the same as being considered popular by peers. Popularity is based more on reputation than on the degree to which one is liked.
The (mostly) bright side: Popular kids tend to be competent both athletically and academically, and are often physically attractive. They also show lots of prosocial behaviors and have good senses of humor. The dark side: Kids who are popular tend to be socially dominant. Popularity often involves aggressive physical and psychological/social behavior. For some kids, the more relationally aggressive they are (spreading rumors, threatening not to be somebody’s friend), the more likely they are to maintain their powerful ''popular'' status. And, unfortunately, when being mean to others pays off, it becomes a reinforcing cycle. Read More ›
Few things are worse than a summer cold.
Summer is supposed to be a break from the sniffles and sneezes of cold and flu season, but I've found that when you have small children, there is no break from germs. If anything, summer–the season of pools and splash pads, shared water bottles and summer camps–just gives your children more opportunities to bring home a virus.
My boys are in a daycare that has a weekly water day all summer. The school fills up kiddie pools and sprinklers and lets the kids run around splashing and squirting each other. They have a blast. But by the end of the day, the pool is more snot than it is water. And it never fails--everyone in our house is congested and coughing within a week.
I haven't figured out how to avoid the germs altogether, but I do have a few tips for minimizing the damage. Read More ›
Few things are worse than a summer cold.
You may have heard the recent news about a school bus aide who was tormented to the point of tears by a group of middle school students. The appalling encounter was caught on video and went viral on YouTube. News stories, internet videos and even thousands of dollars of sympathy donations are among the reactions of shocked Americans across the country. The questions are rampant: How could the tormenters behave that way? How does a person sit idly while victimized? Could the bus aide have done anything to stop the boys? What did the parents do (or not do) to raise boys that would behave that way?
At some point, all of us have been the victim of someone’s bad judgment, whether it be a comment or glare because of our age, weight, or some physical feature. It is wrong, but we cannot escape it. Why are we compelled to hurt other people? Even worse, why do some take pleasure in hurting others?
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We live in South Florida. It's summer. And it's hot.
This time of year, it's 80 degrees at 7 a.m. with 80 percent humidity. It can get to be 90 degrees in the shade by noon.
I've stopped complaining about it, and my kids, born into this sweltering subtropical region, believe the freezing point to be 50 degrees. Yet, even they protest that it's too hot to play outside during the summer, which is fine by me since I'm constantly worrying that they'll collapse of heat stroke from running around the ''bases'' in our backyard.
Still, it's summer, and the kids can't be cooped up all the time. We've discovered a few ways to stay active–and safe–in the heat. Read More ›
If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it 937 times: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day—for you, and for your kids. You just spent eight hours with no food or water. You’re dehydrated, your blood sugar is low and you have little energy. And now it’s time to hurry the kids off to school before the eight-hour workday. More so than any other point in the day, you all need nourishment. Breakfast eaters typically cruise until lunch, while beaming with energy.
Scratch those unhealthy breakfasts. Here are some healthy and quick ideas for the whole family: Read More ›
A recent Duke University study examined the link between marriage, kids, and obesity among 4,500 couples. The researchers found that for every child a woman has, her risk of becoming obese increases 7%. But women aren’t alone—Dad’s risk also increased (by 4%) for every child.
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To ensure that your child has ample fuel to power through those long classes, make sure they are eating a wide variety of foods from the major food groups. Use the USDA MyPlate as a guide to make sure you’re covering all the bases. Here are some tips on making lunchtime nutritious:
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A few weeks ago, I was asked to talk to an eighth-grade health class about food and nutrition. During the school day, there were five periods of eighth grade health; each class contained about 25 students. I have worked with this age group before and was well aware of the diverse reactions I would encounter among typical 13 and 14 year olds. I knew that some would be very much interested in the topic, some would be defensive and defiant, others rude, and some just ''too cool'' to comment. But off I went, with my plastic food models, portion plates and sugar test tubes.
However, the reactions I experienced throughout the day were not what I expected. To make my point, here are just a few examples. (Trust me; the full list is much longer.) Read More ›
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about parenting, it’s how hard it is to feel judged by others. When you have kids, your whole life changes and most (if not all) of the decisions you make in life take another little person (or people) into consideration. I spend most of my day caring for my kids, trying to make sure their needs are met and they are growing up to be good individuals. So the last thing I want to hear is that I’m doing something wrong that’s going to negatively impact them for the rest of their lives. It’s hard to take criticism about your parenting skills, but that’s what a lot of people feel when their child’s weight comes into question. Read More ›
I had the most amazing experience recently that I want to share with you. My hope is that you can have an experience that is similar and just as rewarding.
On a Saturday evening recently, my oldest daughter and I had a date at our church. Our men’s group was showing the movie, Courageous. Angelo King, former Dallas Cowboy and Detroit Lion, was also present to give his testimony. I’d been looking forward to this night for quite a long time. I’d seen Courageous and was anxious to see what my daughter’s reaction might be. If you’ve not seen this movie, I highly recommend you make an effort to see it with open eyes and an open heart. It could change your life.
One of the struggles in the movie is between a father and son. The son is a runner who wants his dad to run a father-son 5K with him, but his dad doesn’t see the importance. This disconnect causes a huge rift in their relationship.
Toward the end of the movie, father and son are running together. As my daughter and I were watching the movie together at church, I reached over and poked her and just smiled. She looked up at me and said, ''Yeah, dad, they run three miles. You run like, 10.'' Ouch, that sort of hurt. I hadn’t thought about the fact that, as much as she has a desire to run with me, she might be intimidated or embarrassed because she doesn’t have my experience. I immediately responded with, ''I’ll run one mile if you’ll run with me.''
My daughter and I spend lots of time talking about her desire to be athletic. She is a retired gymnast at the ripe old age of 12 (medical reasons forced her to leave the sport). She is at her best when she is active and not sitting in front of the television. She is entering the 7th grade athletic program next year and hopes to run cross country. I, of course, am very supportive and excited by this. Read More ›