Monday, April 25, 2011

The Easter Bunny Came Early!

What a joy it is to what the children have so much fun with crafts, decorating, and "hunting".  Here at Ducky's we had our Easter party this past Thursday and lets say I was sure tired by the end of the day, although the children were not because they were all on a sugar high from cupcakes!

It has been pretty quiet around the day care for the last few weeks with mom's or dad's being off of work for a while and with me hurting my back and having to cancel child care for a week to recuperate.  But along came Wednesday and I finally had an extra little one for us to do some Easter crafts with.

Wednesday we made Bunny hats, Easter Lily's made out of our hand prints. We also had some baking fun by make chicken nests with eggs and the famous "Peeps".  The girls had a blast with this project and just as much fun eating them afterwards.

Thursday was a busier day with having my regulars come in for our party.  We started off with making chicks out of tennis balls, followed by decorating paper eggs for our mom's and dad's.  While the children were having fun decorating their eggs I snuk off to the living room to hide some plastic goodie filled eggs.  I then told the children that I had seen the Easter Bunny outside and he told me he had snuk into the house early because he heard we were having our party today.  Wow, you should have seen the children's faces when I told them this.  It was priceless and I wish I had the camera out at that time.  So I continued on with what the Easter bunny told me....... he laid eggs around the living room and they were to collect them all in the baskets he left, once all were found, they had to sit in a circle and listen to me.  So that's what the children did and the noise begun!!  Every egg that was found I would here a "WOW" or "I have another one", "Look, look, it green, blue, orange..." .  We found them all and sat in a circle, they all got to pick the color they wanted and then we continued on by practicing our colors and sorting.  Them we counted everyones eggs to make sure they all had the same amount.  Now was the fun part.... they got to open the egg and see what the Easter bunny left them.  The girls got barrettes, chocolate eggs, stickers,  light up little ducks for the bath tub.  And the boys got a hot wheels car, stickers, candy eggs and a light up little frog for the bath tub.

By the time our egg hunt was over it was 5 minutes to 12 and lunch wasn't started...... So I asked the children what the Easter Bunny's favourite food was and once they figured it out they then learned that that was part of our lunch too.  They though it was funny that the Easter likes carrots and so do they!  That's all they talked about for the rest of lunch time.  We ended lunch off with some homemade chick cupcakes that I made early in the morning before the children even arrived. And then it was nap time, or I thought!  Only one child ended up falling asleep, the rest were on a sugar high from the cupcakes (let's just say I have learned to give them cupcakes after nap time from now on!).  We finished our day off with playing rabbits and coloring a few Easter pictures.  At home time each child got a little Easter from me and they got to take them home to find out what was in them.  Because I will admit it, I was just to tired to keep everyone's things separate from one another and didn't want to keep taking the candy away from the kids, because they weren't allowed to eat it before supper.  So that was left up to mom and dad to deal with!!! Sorry mom's and dad's but "Ducky" was exhausted!

Remember to take take a "hop" over to Ducky's Photos to see more of our fun filled day's

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Positive and Playful Parenting

OK, so I have been receiving some great "share it forward" e-mails from one of the community child educator programs that is around good old Saskatchewan.  I keep meaning to post them and "share them forward" for all of you too but it just keeps getting set to the side..... So finally here is one.  I find alot of theses quick messages to have some great tips and even ideas on what to do with your children and family often.

Positive Parenting is simple steps that can make parenting fun and easy.

Everyone no matter the age learns and grows better in a positive environment.  If you praise instead of criticizing there will be no resentment. Think about how you would feel if your boss continually pointed out all your mistakes and never praised you. Criticism breeds resentment, causes others to justify their behavior, wounds the others sense of importance, and destroys the person’s sense of pride, even children. 

Think about the flip side, when your boss praises you how to you feel?

Praise your child for what they do well not what they didn’t do right. This will leave your child feeling happy. Children like everyone else, likes to feel valued. Children will continue the praised behaviour. Use positive parenting to raise your child in the best environment possible.

§ Praise and encourage appropriate behaviour.
§ Show affection for your child.
§ Recognize her accomplishments

Children learn best through play.
Playful parenting understands the importance of play in a child’s life. Playful parenting is an effective way to learn more about what your child is really feeling. Children tend to open up when things are more relaxed and things are easy going. Positive interactions are more likely to leave a lasting impression of trust and belief in you as a parent. Remember that you’re always building a relationship, if you use positive parenting, this will keep the pathways to communication open. If your child trusts and is comfortable, your child will always come to you when there is a problem and it will be easier for you to engage your child in conversation.

Interactions between parents and children are important for laying the foundations for the child’s social and emotional development. Becoming a playful parent will provide the right emotional setting for you and your child to bond with each other gracefully. Playing can be a way to identify with your child. Think about how you felt when your parents played a game with you? Did this leave a lasting impression for you? How did you feel towards you parents, more open, more positive, and more relaxed? Remember this when you play with your child. You are not only bonding but creating lasting memories.
Do fun things together as a family, such as:
§ Playing games
§ Reading
§ Going to community events

* thank you to the team that puts Share it Forward together!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lets get Sneaky with VEGGIES and FRUIT

Okay, I will be the first to admit it... I'm one of those mommy's who tries to sneak extra fruit 
and veggies into my kids any way I can! My middle child is one of the pickiest eaters around, 
and if its not Kraft Dinner and hot dogs, she doesn't want it (will for the most part).  So I have
been doing alot of searching on how to get some vegetables into to her and my other children with 
out a big fight. 
Here are some great ideas I have been trying that seem to work and a few that I will be trying
to get my children and the ones in my care to eat more veggies and fruit.

We all know by now that we should be eating five to ten servings of fruits and vegetables each day 
according to Canada's Food Guide. But knowing and doing are two different things, aren’t they?
Sometimes it is just not easy to get them all in there. We are constantly tempted to fill up on convenience
and junk food. If your family is anything like mine, they’d much rather fill up on crackers or a bowl of 
pasta instead of trying a plate of steamed broccoli.    
Start the day with a breakfast smoothie. All you have to do is throw some fruits, low-fat yogurt and 
ice in a blender. You may also want to add a scoop of protein powder in there for good measure. 
Just blend for a few seconds and you have the perfect breakfast ready to go. To make it even more 
appealing for your kids, use some frozen yogurt or a scoop of ice cream in the smoothie. They won’t 
believe that you are letting them have ice cream for breakfast. To make this even more fulfilling for you 
to know they are getting all the vitamins they need, toss some spinage in there too.  I don't know to 
many children that will eat half a cup of raw spinage or even cooked but when putting it into a smoothy 
it doesn't change the taste of the drink (it will make it bright Green though) but gives you all the great 
nutrients you want you family to have.
Dried fruit makes an excellent snack any time of the day. Add some small cartons of raisins to
your child’s lunch box, pack some yogurt-covered raisins in your hubby's briefcase and keep some trail
mix sitting around for snacking. You can also add dried fruit to oatmeal and cereal in the morning. 
Add some fruits and vegetables to your family’s sandwiches. You can add some banana, sliced 
apples or strawberry slices to a peanut butter sandwich. Top a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, 
cucumber and anything else they will eat. You can even make a sub shop style vegetable sandwich by 
combining several different vegetables with some mayonnaise and cheese on bread. 
Have a salad bar at dinner. Set out a variety of chopped vegetables, some cheese and croutons
as well as several choices of salad dressing along with the lettuce and let everybody create their 
own perfect salad. 
Let them drink their fruits and vegetables. Keep an assortment of fruit and vegetable juices in the
fridge and encourage everyone to drink them as a snack. Get creative. You could start “family cocktail
hour” by pouring everybody a glass of his or her favorite juice over ice. Add some straws, cocktail 
umbrellas and sit together to talk about how everybody’s day went. 
Try this for dessert. Put a small scoop of ice cream or frozen yogurt in a bowl and top it with lots 
of fresh or frozen fruit. 
Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks. You can cut apples into slices and top them with peanut butter 
or cheese. Cube cheese and serve with grapes. Cut up some fresh veggies and serve them with ranch 
dip. And of course there’s ants on a log. Spread some cream cheese, cheez whiz, or peanut butter on 
the inside of a stick of celery and sprinkle raisins on it (wow, fruit and vegetable in one snack). 
Try some new fruits and vegetables. Pick something exotic to get your family’s curiosity. With a little 
luck their curiosity will outweigh their initial apprehension to trying something new. You could try 
artichokes, plantains, papaya, mango, star fruit, or anything else you can find in the produce department 
of your local store. 
Start “My Veggie Day”. Each family member gets to pick a vegetable one day of the week. They 
qualify to pick a vegetable as long as they tried each vegetable the week before, otherwise they loose 
a turn and Mom gets to pick. 
Incorporate a few of these ideas and you will have everyone in your family eating more fruits and 
vegetables in no time. 
Here is another couple of tips:  Now that everyone in the family has gotten a taste for it, make sure 
you always have plenty of fresh fruits and veggies available and ready to snack on. When you buy your 
groceries and wash your fruit and veggies take some extra time and cut them up right away.  This way
they are ready to offer at the moment your little one says “I'm hungry...” or the instant they walk in the 
door from school.  This way its easy for both you and your children to grab them and hand them out
 instead of waiting till the cut up for them. You can even go one step further and place them in snack 
size baggies right after you cut them up.  This way your family can help them self's and it often makes 
younger children feel good about themselves that they can grab something with out having to ask and 
you once again get the satisfaction of knowing its healthy for them!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sleep Routines

Are you having issues with getting your child to sleep?  Don't think you are alone!  Many, many parents have these same issues and problems.  Most can find a routine to work for their child(ren) but some times it can take many days or weeks for your child(ren) to learn what he or she should be doing.  Here are some tips that I thought I would pass along that I received from an e-mail through one of the health care programs in our area.  I hope maybe some of these tips can help you if you are having trouble getting your little ones clam and ready for bed.
 Bedtime routines are not limited to after dinner, preparing your child for bedtime starts when they first wake up.

Wake up Routine: If you want your children to have an early bedtime around 7pm, then they need to be up before 8am. If they sleep in, their nap will be later and therefore bedtime will be later. Try to wake them up at the same time each morning.

Physical Activity: Children who are physically active fall asleep easier. Therefore it’s important that your child is physically active throughout the day.

Naps: For most children, if they miss their nap there is a danger that they will be over tired and find it hard to settle at night. If they sleep too long or too late in the afternoon, after 3pm, they will not feel sleepy at bedtime.
Bedtime Routine: Incorporate a routine after dinner leading up to bedtime. This will signal to your children that bedtime is approaching and that when the routines are completed; it’s expected for them to go to sleep. If you keep the same routines at the same times, your children will know what will happen next and when it’s time to sleep. A routine provides your children with stability. A common bedtime routine might be a bath, snack, story, brush teeth and a bedtime snuggle.

Remember as you get closer to bedtime, keep activities quiet and calm. Minimize after-dinner television because this may stimulate a child.

When getting your children ready for bed, dim the lights, dress them in cozy sleepers and blankets and try snuggling. This encourages relaxation and will create drowsiness. Always try to create an environment that will induce sleep. Soft music may also help.

If your child does not want to go to bed: Try waiting in your child’s room until they fall asleep. As you keep a consistent day and bedtime routine, you will find the wait time for them to fall asleep will shorten. Don’t make eye contact while you are in the room, and be as boring as possible. Wait until your child is calm, and then move away. If he gets upset come back and reassure him by touching him but not by making eye contact. As he becomes more settled move further and further away.

Night time restlessness: Settle your child back to sleep if they wake during the night by comforting them. Touch them but don’t speak or make eye contact. Just comfort them until they go back to sleep or are settled enough for you too leave.