Sunday, July 27, 2014

Easy and Nutritious Meal Ideas

Fast, Easy and Nutritious Meal Ideas

Life has a way of keeping us busy. Most parents have little time left over to focus on planning and preparing nutritious meals. With that, it is very easy to simply throw up our hands and opt for fast food.
We understand and that’s why we are offering some fast, easy and nutritious meal ideas. We think you will agree that these options are excellent time-savers and even the pickiest eaters will enjoy them.

Breakfast Ideas

We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day – but even so, it can be difficult to find the time to prepare a breakfast, and in some cases, there may not be time to eat a healthy breakfast before heading out for the day.
Start with the idea of ‘fast and easy’. Cereal can be a very healthy choice. Just add some fruit and milk and your breakfast is ready. How about frozen waffles with peanut butter instead of syrup? Another option is toast with Nutella.
Instant breakfast drinks and breakfast bars can be healthy choices and they’re perfect for on-the-run consumption.

Morning & Afternoon Snacks

It’s easy to grab a bag of chips or candy bar for a snack – but you can do much better than that. Think fruit and vegetables, then add a bit of cheese and nuts and there you are – a healthy and nutritious snack!

Lunch Ideas

For lunch you can enjoy a variety of sandwich or wrap options, for instance, grilled cheese and tomato – you can even add turkey or chicken for added protein. Soups and or Salads are options for fast and nutritious lunches.

Dinner Ideas

If you own and use a crock pot you know the value of this appliance. With most dishes all you need to do is add the ingredients to the pot and let it do its magic. You can get the dish prepared in the morning (or night before), before you start your day. At dinner time all you need to do is prepare any side dishes desired – otherwise, the meal is ready to eat.
But finding the time for preparation in the mornings is not always easy. So you need to have other ideas too. For instance, baked potatoes. Well – baked in the microwave that is. Why not make it more fun and set up a ‘potato station’ so every member of the family can add toppings of their choice. You can add a garden salad and bread of your choice to create a healthy meal.
Tacos offer similar options for individual preferences which makes this meal choice fun and less of a hassle.
Everyone agrees that it’s important to eat healthy food choices, but finding the time is not always easy. The team at Package From Santa hopes this post has given you some ideas that will help!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten

Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten

If your child will be starting kindergarten this year he/she (and you too!) may feel a bit apprehensive. Although starting school is fun and exciting, it can also be a bit scary. As a parent, you worry that your child will be comfortable and confident without you, and your child may have similar fears.
With that in mind we have pulled together a few things that will help make this important time easier for both of you. We have broken the content up into areas of development and offer some ways you can help your child feel more accomplished.

Language Skills and Development

Work with your child to develop his/her language skills. Take the time to play games related to ‘point and name’ when going through magazines or books. Read to your child on a daily basis and teach him that you read words from left to right. After reading to him ask your child some questions about the story. For instance, you can simply ask him what happened in the beginning of the story and how it ended.

The idea is to help your child develop helpful skills that will assist in learning.

Cognitive Skills and Development

Make learning fun. Practice counting – for example, count the number of books on a shelf, the items in a toy box or the shirts hanging in a closet. When you’re in the car you can count houses you pass by, cars, trucks, bill boards, etc. 

Take time to ensure your child knows colors. You can play games based on colors – such as, ask her to find two items in the room that are blue or three toys that have the color red on them. To help her learn about colors you can review a box of crayons or even let your child help you sort laundry according to colors.

Kids also need to learn things like up and down, high and low, on and off, and shapes. So take the time to point out circles, squares, rectangles and triangles. You can help him cut out shapes using kid-safety scissors.

Arts & Crafts Skills and Development

Let your kids spend time working on various craft projects. This helps them develop skills in everything from drawing to using glue, and all the while, these projects help your kids get in touch with their creative side.

Social Skills and Development

Sometimes it can be the little things that seem to be problematic. Be sure your kid understands how to treat other people with respect. Play dates with other kids can be especially helpful with this. For instance, he should know that it is important to take turns when playing games and after play time everyone needs to pitch in with the clean-up.
Working with your child will help make it easier for him as he starts school. Your child will feel more comfortable and confident and you will be more at ease while he is away at school.
Keep visiting this Package From Santa blog for more great tips and ideas about a variety of topics.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Understanding Issues Related to Bullies

Understanding Issues Related to Bullies

Whether your child is five or fifteen, bullies can be a real concern. Unfortunately, bullies are a part of life that many kids deal with on a regular basis. As a parent, you have questions. You want to protect your kids from acts of bullying that can hurt your child emotionally and/or physically. So what do you say to them – how can you protect them from this danger?

Here are seven things to keep in mind.

1)      Understand the problem. Bullying is not something that you can totally protect your children from. It is something that happens with kids and even with adults. But after we become adults we have better coping mechanisms and dealing with bullies becomes easier. Even so, it is important to remember how hurtful a bullying instance can be. Kids that are bullied may feel everything from fear to shame and anger.
2)      Talk with your kids. Sharing your own experiences with being bullied or even reading a book or watching a movie that includes this behavior can be a great way to educate children about ways to handle these situations. Kids are very uncomfortable with feeling shameful, which is how being bullied can make them feel. Talking about this feeling can help your kids feel more comfortable in sharing their experiences with you.
3)      Teach your kids that bullies are wrong. As talked about above, bullies can make their victims feel shameful, when in fact, it is the bully that is in the wrong. Bullies use taunts and tactics that cause emotional distress. Teach your kids that they have nothing to feel shameful about.

4)      Listen and empathize with your kids. It can be easy to minimize a bullying problem. After all, as an adult you have learned how to let negative comments roll-off your back. In fact, you may have learned to look for ways to use negative comments to make positive changes. But a child that is teased feels real emotional pain. Let your child know you understand that the pain is real. This will help keep the doors of communication open.
5)      Develop a plan. Offer your ideas and suggestions – and incorporate your child’s idea into a plan for dealing with bullies. One idea is to help your child feel more confident about standing up for others. For instance, you can talk about how an older sibling should always stand up for a younger brother or sister. Similarly, your child can stand up for smaller kids on the bus or at the playground. The idea is to help him or her build confidence and to understand that the victim is a victim and therefore, should not feel shame in being bullied. Conversations about this perspective of bullying can help your child better understand the concept and in the end, he/she may feel less trauma and emotional distress about these situations.
6)      Walking tall without violence. While it can be easy to say that standing up to a bully is the best way to get them to back down, it can also lead to violence and there may be a good chance that your child will get hurt. Rather than trying to defeat bullies with insults or physical harm, teach your child to rise above the feelings of shame; that is how to be brave.
7)      Talk to others. The more aware everyone is of a bully or bullying situation, the more likely it is that the behavior will be modified. Talk to other parents and teachers about bullying problems and concerns. Everyone’s child is at risk for becoming a victim of bullying and every parent has an interest in preventing this behavior.

Bullying may not be something that you can totally stop, but you can educate yourself and your children about the behavior. This helps give you and your kids more control in these unfortunate situations.

Keep reading this Package From Santa blog for tips and ideas about everything from kid’s health to home d├ęcor, money management and more.