Posts tagged ‘parenting tips’

A Presidential Pooch


I'm a Chipper Mom | Expert Advice for Moms and ParentsThe ads in the papers, TV, and push notifications on our apps all say “Presidential Savings” to capitalize on a day meant for celebrating our US leaders whom have lead this country to where it is today. You might not like where we are today as a nation but if you turn off the noise and focus in on family you’ll quickly realize the most important guidance starts in the home and empowers the core character of our children. And feel lucky that you only have to guide your family and not the many layers of government that help the President run a country of billions.

My own parents instilled in us the understanding that we are all a part of what makes a home, community, country and world, good. Treat your neighbor with respect, care for the environment around you, and never shy away from lending a helping hand.

There are many ways to instill a sense of giving in your children. The basic assigning of age-appropriate tasks like making the bed to taking out the trash teach responsibility which is at the core of self-discipline. Introducing your children to experiences, which include people or animals in need, will activate their hearts and emotions allowing everyone to tap intoPresidential Puppy empathy. It’s empathy that drives our compassion to help others and perhaps that is why so many presidents had dogs in the White House. Sure, it makes for incredible photo ops but research shows caring for an animal or having an animal in the home reduces stress and increases compassion.

Schools across the nation are beginning to welcome pets into the classroom to help teach responsibility and care for others. This tail-wagging program is helping reduce the stress of bullying cases for these participating schools. I’ve often wondered why we need a pet to teach us this when human-to-human interaction should excite these emotions. After years of working with animals through 4-H and now as a foster family for Rocket Dog rescue I realize it is the innate understanding of Adopting dogs as family petsunconditional love. Dogs and most pets don’t hold anything against us. They will give love, be an enthusiastic participant in play and stand by your side no matter what you choose to do. They won’t judge. They lift you up when you feel down.

Research shows having a companion beaming with unconditional love and attentiveness strengthens our own emotions and helps us with relationships. Our four-legged friends keep us physically fit; they stop to say hello to neighbors which helps strengthen our awareness of our community. They help us think beyond ourselves. As we celebrate President’s Day – remember: to lead is to guide others with decisiveness based on realizing what is best for all and with compassion for everyone.

Imagine if our world leaders met at dog parks instead of windowless rooms with hardback chairs. I imagine we would treat each other differently. Like Harry S. Truman once said

Children and dogs are as necessary to the welfare of the country as Wall Street and the railroads.

February 16, 2015 at 9:07 am Leave a comment

An Inspired Childhood | Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe


An inspired childhood is our gift to our kids and it is built on what we give emotionally, do to set an example, and provide as a means to supporting the skills our children will need to grow up and be successful independent contributive adults. It is the giving of ourselves and the sharing of our own stories – how will you build your family foundation?

Continue Reading December 30, 2014 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Helping your family “Fall Back”


Helping your family Fall Back!” –  Daylight Savings Time ends November 2, 2AMTips for Adjusting to Daylight Savings

An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later.

                                                                                                – Winston Churchill

Before we had kids, I used to love the end of daylight savings time – a wonderfully lazy Sunday morning gift. In that gloriously anticipated hour, I’d sleep late, or indulge in coffee and reading the Sunday paper front to back (yes, back in the day of the paper actually showing up on your doorstep).

As a parent, next Sunday reminds us that there are no more free hours. Instead, we walk out of work in the dark and wake the kids up when their little bodies are telling them it’s still too early.

Your overtired, off-schedule little ones can be a challenge, but take heart: it usually takes less than two weeks for circadian rhythms to adjust. As the family looks forward to a snuggly autumn and winter, here are some tips for “falling back” more gracefully:IMG_1708

 

  1. Be consistent. Keep meals and activities schedules in place. Keeping your routine with little standard time tweaks will help ease the transition.
  2. Get outside. Sunshine is the reset button. When you can get your kids into the sunshine first thing in the morning, their bodies will adjust more easily. No sunshine? No worries. Just seeing the light of day, and the fresh air, makes the moment the perfect wake-up call. Check out this list of 50 ways to get outdoors in your own backyard for some ideas!
  3. Adjust your schedules. Start bedtime 15 minutes earlier a week as you head into the November 1 weekend.
  4. Nap. Nap. Nap. If you have young children, watch for signs of fatigue and put them down before they miss their sleep window. Crankiness doesn’t help the transition.
  5. Give your early risers what they need. For children over four years old, early rising will be an issue. Give them a stack of new library books and an alarm clock. Agree that they must stay in bed until their “wake-up time,” and allow them to peruse their new books if they’re up early or download some FREE coloring pages here. Blackout curtains can help since it will be much lighter in the morning.
  6. Connect. On Sunday, take advantage of that gloriously anticipated hour to enjoy your family. Take a fall leaf walk in the park before the winter weather sets in. In the evening, enjoy an early dinner, a cuddle on the couch; and an early evening story or movie.
Chipper Family Moments Pamphlet for November

Chipper Family Moments Pamphlet for November! Click here to sign up.

With your child snuggled next to you, reminisce about the good old days where you took that extra hour to sleep in your bed. Free of diaper wipes, stuffed animals, blankies, and shin guards, you could read the whole paper. Today, you’ve got the whole world in your arms.

Chipper Tip:  Remember to check your smoke alarm and flashlight batteries when you set your clock back and add a few more canned items or flats of water to your grocery list – you are winter ready!

October 26, 2014 at 5:30 pm Leave a comment

3 Chipper Tips For Halloween


Why do mummies never reveal their true age? Because they like to keep it under wraps!

Let's Go Chipper | recycle crafts | DIY Halloween Mummy Craft

Make some fun Recycle Halloween Crafts! Click here for instructions.

Halloween is almost here and is a time where both kids and parents get out the cute or scary costumes, the spooky decorations and the delicious candy for a family fun holiday! Enter our Halloween Contest by sharing your costume ideas or past costume pictures to our Facebook wall! Winner will receive our Chipper Family Moments intro box of fun ideas and activities to connect family.

Chipper Family Moments  | Halloween Costume Contest

Click here to enter our Chipper Family Moments Halloween Contest!

Whether you’re Olaf, Elsa or even a scary Vampire this year, Halloween can also be a useful learning experience in both manners as well as safety for your little ghosts and ghouls. Three rules to remember this upcoming Halloween; be safe, be healthy; and don’t forget your manners!

Caution! Witch Crossing.

Chipper and Paisley Flashlight Shadow Animals

Help your children be safe by giving them flashlights, reflectors, or glow sticks to help them see and be seen by drivers when crossing the streets. According to safekids.org, on average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween than on any other day of the year, so make sure they’re prepared, understand the importance of staying on the sidewalks, and are aware of their surroundings. A parent or responsible goblin should always accompany the young witches and wizards and should remind them to only visit homes with a porch light on and NEVER enter the home or vehicle of a stranger.

Happy Healthy Haunting!

Chipper Healthy Halloween Snacks and Treats

Click here for Healthy Halloween Snacks and Treats!

Remembering to keep happy and healthy eating habits with all the surrounding candy can be quite a challenging task. Remind your children how important it is to eat a good meal prior to trick-or-treating and to avoid tummy aches by rationing treats for the days after Halloween; all things in moderation. It’s also very important to sort and check each of the prized candy to confirm no tampering was done. An adult should throw away spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious treats. To promote healthy diets for children, some companies will even buy back the candy from your little ones this year; to find a place near you, check out this website >>>> http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/

I Witch You A Happy Halloween!

halloween-chipper-FB

Halloween is a great opportunity to practice good manners. Remind your little goblins, ghosts and ghouls not to be greedy. One piece of candy from each house is the general Halloween rule and a nice “Thank you!” at each and every house is a must. Even if the candy choice isn’t a favorite of your little ones, a “Thank you!” is still important and shows everyone how polite and well mannered your young Trick-Or-Treaters really are. Another great way to practice good manners is to remember to stay on walkways and avoid stepping on flowerbeds and lawns. Teach your little minions (or monsters?) to treat each home they approach like it’s their own! What other manners do you teach your kids during All Hallows Eve? Share with us in the comments below or on Facebook!

We just couldn’t resist one last treat – Have A Fang-Tastic night!

Knock! Knock!

Who’s There?

Wanda Witch!

Wanda Witch who?

Wanda Witch you a very Happy Halloween!

October 23, 2014 at 6:00 pm Leave a comment

Daily Thanks: Four Ways to Develop the Habit of Gratitude in Your Family


I'm a Chipper Mom“It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” David Steindl-Rast

Daily expressions of deeply felt gratitude is a common experience among happy, healthy families. Like any other good habit, learning to feel and express gratitude takes practice. Fortunately, even before you’re great at being thankful, practicing gratitude will affect the happiness and success of every family member. To build your gratitude habit, adopt some of the following practices:

1. See the Sunrise – Starting your day with a quiet moment of reflection centers both your body and mind. Before your day gets away from you, imagine the people and things that are gifts in your life. Activating your brain with what’s so great about parenting, you are better prepared to greet the inevitable “ Mommmmmmm, where are my cleats, flash cards, homework I forgot to do?” with appreciation and patience.

2. Express and model gratitude – Albert Einstein once said, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means.” This means you. Declare your gratitude as it happens—often and out loud to whomever will hear it. There’s plenty to notice: Healthy kids, secure homes, great teachers, a cup of coffee, the driver who stopped so you could cross the street, and the trash that was taken out before you asked. It’s all a gift. Showing appreciation builds and encourages our friends and family. It also reminds them of the gifts in their own lives.

3. Make creative fun ways to show gratitude in your home – Whether you have toddlers or teens, there are wonderful ways for children to learn to visually express gratitude.

  • Try a family gratitude journal. Each person in the family is asked to share one good thing at dinner which is then added to the journal.
  • Fill a jar or bowl with tags, leaves, or stones.
  • The family fridge or a whiteboard are excellent places to display our joy at the gifts. Place post-its at kid level to note things as they happen.

You will find this exercise will quickly build on itself.

4. Make time to get out together – Walk out that door! Throw caution to the wind! The benefit of 30 minutes–as a family–outdoors far outweighs dirty dishes in the sink or the unmowed lawn. Call out to your gang to put down the electronics, come out of your bedroom, and walk away from the clothes hamper. Instead, walk together to the park. Jump on your bikes and let the kids be the guides. Get an ice cream. Make up a neighborhood scavenger hunt. Talk, share, ask questions, connect.

Being truly present is a gift. When we give quality time to our kids we are showing them love. Be grateful for them. They will be grateful for you. (even if they don’t always say so.)

Gratitude rocks

October 12, 2014 at 10:06 pm 1 comment

Read with Your Children


The morning hustle: head down getting everyone up and out the door with little time to wrap my head around what is really important to me on this day. Dashing out the door with totes, lunches, and kids in tow we zip to the highway for the first drop-off on the last week of summer camps. Music on, conversations fragmented and a red light finally offers me the first brief moment I get to pause. On this particular day, the pause at what my daughters call “the longest light” is suddenly so worth it.

“Mom, what book do you think that mom is reading to her daughter?” I look over and marvel that through the oncoming traffic and nestled into a bus shelter surrounded by the hedge greening the road my daughter notices a mother and daughter quietly reading; so focused they don’t hear or realize life whizzing by them. What a way to start the day. I am reminded that it only takes a few moments to make a meaningful connection with your child. Sitting closely, turning the pages, and discussing the story, I thought to myself “what an opportunity to connect.”

The green light sets us back on our way but I stayed in the right hand lane with the slower traffic so I could spend a little more time with my kids today. We talked about the summer library program and how we needed to catch up since we didn’t read as much while on vacation. My eldest daughter reminded her sister of the book she’s suggested, and for once my youngest agrees it might be time to try a “bigger” book. She asked if I would sit with her to read it in the beginning in case she had trouble with some of the words or understanding the story. I agreed.

For the next ten or so minutes we named all the books we could remember reading. We shared our favorite books we had read together as kids, and I shared the book my mom gave me years ago repeating what she wrote on the inside cover. I still cherish the message today.

Snuggle up and read with your kids.

Snuggle up and read with your kids.

Reading is essential to the positive upbringing of a child. The benefits are never ending but a few important ones come to mind:

  1. The opportunity to snuggle up and physically connect – using your voice to put life into the story, hands to depict characters and scenes all add to the magic of the moment.
  2. Left to right – run your finger along the page as you read and you help your child understand that’s the way to read a book. Read then discuss the illustrations to teach visual storytelling. Sometimes words and pictures are different but it’s interesting how they can tell the same story.
  3. Engaging your child’s imagination excites verbal skills – repeating words, and asking questions will spark conversation and help your child form complete sentences as well as learn new words daily.
  4. Academic excellence – it’s probably the number one goal most parents have when they think of their child’s future. Research shows early reading moments will help students perform better in school.
  5. Interpersonal relationships – all stories are based on relationships and the opportunity to learn through imaginative stories will help young children build basic skills for positive interpersonal relationships.

There are more reasons to read together and LeVar Burton is probably the biggest champion of reading to children. Research continues to validate the benefits at every age and stage of a child’s early brain development.

I could spend hours reading through this research but inspired by the mother and daughter sitting at the bus stop I’d rather turn the page with my own children and create a story or two of our own. What is your favorite childhood book – share with us on Facebook or start reading today with your children.

August 4, 2014 at 8:29 am Leave a comment

10 Chipper Tips for Gardening with Kids


A veggie garden is a great place to teach your youngsters valuable lessons while spending satisfying time together. Gardening is more entertaining than any video game; I have yet to meet a child who didn’t get a kick out of playing in the dirt, planting seeds and watching them grow. And finally, there’s no better way to get kids to eat veggies than to grow their own.

Gardening

Jasper the Jack Rabbit and Chipper help out in the garden!

So where do you start? These 10 ideas just might inspire your gardener-in-training:

  1. Take a field trip. Visit a farmers market or produce aisle and talk about what you see. Explain the life cycle of a veggie, from seed to fruit to dinner table. Have kids taste-test a few varieties, then help them plant the ones they like.
  2. Let them choose. While at a nursery or garden center, ask your kids to pick out a few seeds or plants they want to grow. Also let them select any extras, like trellises or containers. If they’re involved at the very beginning, they’re more likely to remain interested throughout the growing season.
  3. Give ’em some space. Pint-size gardeners love to have their own little section of a garden. They’ll treat this space with extra-special care. Let them make the decisions, from what gets planted to keeping the occasional “pet” weed.Let's Go Chipper Gardener Set
  4. Tools of the trade. On birthdays or other occasions, give your children a colorful garden tool, apron or hat. Make it a game to get dressed up as a gardener when it’s time to play outside.
  5. Family history lesson. Use your time outside as an opportunity to tell kids about your family. Was Great-Grandpa a gardener? Did Aunt Nora grow heirloom tomatoes? It’s a great way to get them interested in relatives and radishes at the same time.
  6. Theme gardens. Try an alphabet garden, where your kids choose everything from asparagus to zucchini. Or create a garden of miniatures with cherry tomatoes or mini-pumpkins.
  7. Be realistic. You can’t expect a 6-year-old to spend an afternoon weeding, so you’ll have to perform some of the mundane tasks yourself. When kids do tackle these chores, don’t expect perfection—a few jagged rows or a weed here and there won’t matter. Remember that kids have short attention spans, so make your garden a fun place where they can see real results.
  8. Let’s go crazy. Kids love unusual varieties, so don’t be a conformist. Instead, walk on the wild side with yellow tomatoes, white eggplants, purple carrots, brightly colored chard and giant pumpkins.
  9. Teachable moments. Explain how natural vegetable gardening promotes healthy living by providing safe, nutritious, low-cost food for the family. Also point out that growing your own veggies means more exercise, no pesticides and less pollution from delivery trucks.
  10. Continue in the kitchen. Invite your children to help you make dinner by adding cut-up garden produce to a salad or soup, and let them snack on a few as you cook. Don’t be surprised if they learn to love veggies.

The bottom line? Kids imitate what they see. If you love to grow things, chances are they’ll be enthusiastic, too. And remember that one of the most important things you’ll ever grow is a gardener.Let's Go Chipper | Making Change for the Better | Build Communty Gardens

Plan a community garden for your school or neighborhood! Collect spare change to fund the project and teach your kids how they can help make change for the better!

10 Best Veggies For Kids To Grow

  1. Sugar snap peas. Kids love to eat them fresh off the vine and they are packed with Vitamin C!
  2. Lettuce. Easy to grow and lots of cool color varieties, plus it contains a considerable amount of iron.
  3. Pumpkins. Plant a smaller variety, like Jack Be Little, for your smaller helpers. Don’t forget to eat the seeds which help keep heart heathy!
  4. Radishes. Within a month, these fast growers are ready to pick AND they help keep away allergy sniffles.. Just for giggles, try red, white and purple varieties.
  5. Carrots. Quick-growing carrots are perfect for short attention spans. In addition, they are filled with powerful vitamins that support your eye sight.
  6. Potatoes. Kids really dig potatoes, which are as much fun to harvest as to eat. These nutrient-dense veggies can be cooked dozens of ways!
  7. Green beans. The big seeds are fun and easy to plant. Plus they are packed with Vitamin B!
  8. Cherry tomatoes. Little hands love to pick these tiny fruits. They are sweet and nutritious, filled with fiber, protein and Vitamin C.
  9. Sunflowers. These beauties take off without much work, and come in tall or small varieties. Plus, it’s fun to harvest the seeds, or leave out the seed heads to attract birds.
  10. Broccoli. Like many veggies, garden-fresh broccoli tastes sweeter than store-bought. Broccoli is also a powerful antioxidant and great for bone health.

What other veggies do you kids love to grow? Share with Chipper in the comments!

May 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm 3 comments

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