Parenting

  • Summer Reading Tips

    I have always loved to read. Even as a kid I was never pushed to read. Give me a good book any day and I’ll get sucked right into it. Reading has many benefits that can especially help with brain development. The United States Department of Education found that children who choose to read on their own time are more likely to score higher on reading scores than those who don’t (from the National Education Association). The Department had polled 12th-grade students in the 1990s and found out that the number of students who said that they “never” read or “hardly ever read” rose from 9 to 16 percent (National Education Association). Most kids have a hard time getting excited about reading: when it’s assigned to them, it feels like a chore, and when it’s on their own time, it seems boring.

    “Incentives”

    Fortunately, there are always so many ways to help your child get excited about reading over the summer. Many organizations and companies have summer reading programs. For example, T.D. Bank will give $10 to kids in grades K-5th who have read 10 books over the summer months. The kids just have to track their reading on a sheet and hand it into their nearest bank (you can find the information here). The organization We Are Teachers posted a list of 10 programs that they love on their blog. It includes programs from companies like Barnes and Noble, Scholastic, and Chuck E. Cheese.

    Ideas

    We Are Teachers also suggests checking out your local public library. Public libraries will always have summer reading activities for kids of all ages. For example, the Princeton Public Library offers a program for kids ages K-5th, while the Woodbridge Public Library offers an escape room type activity for teenagers. The libraries have great programs that will not only get your kids reading, but will have them getting involved with their community as well.

    If your child is struggling to find something to read, Read Brightly has created their own list of what they think were the best children’s and YA books of 2018. Surely, your kid will find something to read on this list.

    Activites

    If you want to plan out an entire summer’s worth of reading, Reading Rockets has a list of activities and adventures that you can do with your kid over the 10 weeks of summer. These activities are more educational and help maintain reading skills over the summer months. One activity involves writing out favorite flavors of ice cream and listing them in alphabetical order. These are great activities for younger kids who are just developing their reading skills.

     

    Summer reading doesn’t have to be hard. There are so many helpful and amazing ways to get your kids’ minds active, and still make sure that their season off is one to remember.

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  • Avocado Day Recipes!

    Happy Avocado Day!

     

    In honor of Avocado Day, we made our own guacamole! Here’s a quick recipe so you make some for your family. As a special treat have the kids help with tasks that don’t require the use of sharp objects. 

    We found this guac to be surprisingly quick and easy to make, and we hope you enjoy!

    Guacamole

    Ingredients: 

    • 2 avocados
    • Cilantro
    • 1 lime
    • 2 medium-sized tomatoes
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 3 pinches of garlic salt

    Instructions:

    1. Cut both avocados in half, make sure to remove the pit with a knife. Scoop out the flesh of the avocado from the skin and put it in the bowl. Now discard the avocado skin and pit. Gently mash them around with a fork until a chunky texture has been achieved. Make sure the avocado is still chunky, and not creamy. 
    2. Cut and dice the tomatoes and add it to the avocado mixture.
    3. Chop up the garlic cloves (we love garlic over at KCC) and the cilantro into small pieces and toss it in with the avocado and tomato.
    4. Add freshly squeezed lime juice and the garlic salt (we really love garlic here).
    5. Gently mix all of the ingredients together until everything is evenly blended.

     

    Now you can enjoy this perfect little appetizer!

     

     

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  • First Year of Feeding

    Are you wondering when you can start your baby on more interesting foods? Look no further! We have all your answers right here in a month-by-month guide starting at breast milk/formula and ending in mac and cheese!

    Birth – 4 months

    Only feed your baby breast milk or formula – NO solid food at this time!

    Breast milk

    See “Breastfeeding Battle” to see how to know if your baby is getting enough milk.

    Formula

    A simple rule to follow for the first 4-6 months, according to babycenter.com is to give your baby 2.5 ounces of formula per pound of body weight. Therefore; if your baby is 6 pounds – you give about 15 ounces of formula in one 24-hour day. If your baby weighs 10 pounds – give them 25 ounces in the day, etc.

    Signs your baby is hungry

    Lip smacking, rooting (turning towards you), or putting hands to mouth.

    Your babies hungriest times take place during growth spurts, which occur during 10-14 days after birth, 3 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 months and 6 months.

    Signs your baby is overfed

    Vomiting after feeding (spitting up is completely normal, but vomiting is not), tummy pain, drawing legs up, or a tense tummy.

    If your baby is crying or whimpering – try changing their diaper, burping them, or some snuggle time before turning to a bottle.

    4 – 6 months

    Signs your baby is ready for solid food

    Can hold head up, sits upright in a high chair, doubled birth weight and weighs at least 13 pounds.

    What to feed?

    Pureed vegetables, pureed fruit, pureed meat, semi-liquid cereal, or small amounts of unsweetened yogurt (no cows milk until 12 months). Begin with 1 teaspoon of food mixed in with 4-5 teaspoons of breast milk or formula. Increase to 1 tablespoon of food with breast milk or formula gradually thickening the mixture over time. Wait 2-3 days in between foods so that you are offering new foods one at a time.

    6 – 8 months

    Signs your baby is ready for solid food

    Same as 4-6 months.

    What to feed?

    Same as months 4-6 plus strained fruits, strained vegetables, pureed tofu, pureed legumes. Begin with 1 teaspoon fruit or vegetables gradually increased to 2 or 3 tablespoons in four feedings or 3 to 9 tablespoons cereal in 2 or 3 feedings. Again, wait 2-3 days in between new foods to watch for signs of allergy.

    8 – 10 months

    Signs your baby is ready for finger foods

    Can pick up objects with thumb and forefinger, can transfer items from one hand to the other, puts things in mouth and can move jaw in a chewing motion.

    What to feed?

    Same as 6-8 months plus small amounts of pasteurized cheese, cottage cheese, mashed vegetables, mashed fruits, small bits of o-shaped cereal, scrambled eggs, pasta, small bits of meat and beans. ¼ – ¼ cup of dairy, ¾ – 1 cup of fruit or vegetables, 3-4 tablespoons of protein-rich food. Wait 2-3 days between new foods.

    10 – 12 months

    Signs your baby is ready for other solid foods

    Swallows food easily, has more teeth, doesn’t push food out of mouth and tries to use a spoon.

    What to feed?

    Same as 8-10 months plus bite sized pieces of fruits, vegetables, and combo foods like mac and cheese. ⅓ cup dairy, ⅛ – ¼ cup combo foods. Wait 2-3 days between new foods.

     

    Happy Feeding!!

     

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  • Sun Safety Tips

    Summer is all about spending as much time soaking up as many rays as you can before the cold winter arrives. The best way to do that safely is by slathering yourself in the best sunscreen you can find. But there are so many options, it’s hard to know which kind is the best for you and your family.

     

     

    The Facts:

    Let’s start with UV Rays: what exactly are they? UV stands for Ultraviolet radiation, and it’s a part of the “electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. It has wavelengths shorter than visible light, making it invisible to the naked eye” (Skin Cancer Foundation). There are two types of UV rays: A and B. UVA rays are slightly more harmful and can cause skin damage, aging, and cancer. UVB is the shorter wave of the two that also causes skin damage and some skin cancers. Most importantly, UVB is the reason why you get sunburnt. The best way to protect yourself against these rays is by using sunscreen and wearing protective clothing.

     

    It’s important to choose a sunscreen that has a high SPF and broad-spectrum levels. SPF stands for sun protection factor. The higher the SPF on the bottle sunscreen, the longer the sunscreen blocks the UVB rays and protects your skin from the sun. Broad-spectrum protects from UVA and UVB rays, which helps prevent against sun damage.

     

     

    My Recommendations:

    When choosing a sunscreen, it’s best to check in with yourself first. What is your skin type? What kind of protection do you need? I have sensitive skin and like to use Neutrogena brand sunscreens. Their body sprays have a sheer formula that leaves my skin feeling fresh and not at all greasy. Some of their sunscreens are also waterproof, which makes it perfect for beach days. For the face, I usually stick with them, or I use Aveeno. I like both brands because they are primarily skin care companies, and make sure that their formulas are breathable and healthy.

     

    If you are more athletic (which I am not), I recommend Coppertone sunscreens.  Their SPORT brand is water resistant and stays on through sweat, making it perfect for any heavy-duty athletic activities. It also, like Neutrogena, has a breathable formula that won’t cause breakouts or clog pores.

     

    For kids, I recommend Kiss My Face brands. I used it as a kid and found no issues with it. Their formula is organic, vegan, and cruelty-free, and is safe for all skin types.

     

    Hope these tips suit you well and let you have lots of safe fun in the sun!

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