Why should I enroll my child in an afterschool activity?

     If you want to keep your child safe and happy after school, statistics show that enrolling them in an afterschool activity is probably your best bet.  Here are some reasons you might want to put your child into an afterschool program.

  • Teens who do not participate in afterschool programs are nearly three times more likely to skip classes than teens who do participate. They are also three times more likely to use marijuana or other drugs, and they are more likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and engage in sexual activity. (YMCA of the USA, March 2001)

 

 

  • Parents who are concerned about their children’s after-school care miss an average of eight days of work per year. Decreased worker productivity related to parental concerns about after-school care costs businesses up to $300 billion per year. (Brandeis University, Community, Families and Work Program, 2004 and Catalyst & Brandeis University, December 2006)

 

  • Parents in the TASC study said that the program helped them balance work and family life: 94 percent said the program was convenient, 60 percent said they missed less work than before because of the program, 59 percent said it supported them in keeping their job, and 54 percent said it allowed them to work more hours. (Policy Studies Associates, Inc., 2004)

 

  • Children and youth who regularly attend quality afterschool programs have better grades and conduct in school, are more likely to graduate, and have lower incidences of drug-use, violence and pregnancy. (Afterschool Alliance, November 2005)

After reading those statistics you problably aren’t asking your self if you should put your child in an afterschool program. Instead, you’re probably asking where to sign them up. Here are 10 afterschool activities you might consider enrolling your child.

  1. Karate
  2. Drama
  3. Swimming
  4. Dancing
  5. Music (guitar, piano, drums)
  6. Art
  7. Organized Sports (Soccer, Football, Lacrosse)
  8. Tutoring
  9. Volunteer Organizations
  10. Babysitting

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How to get your military spouse involved in your child’s life when deployed

It’s hard enough acting as a single parent when your significant other is absent from the home. After a few deployments though couples learn how to cope with the separation. However, little kids don’t completely understand why mommy or daddy just “go away” for a while. It’s always a heartbreaker when you’re a military wife and your child asks “Where’s daddy?” and vice versa. One of the biggest fears military parents have about their kids, is being forgotten. Eventually, they’ll understand the sacrifice that mommy or daddy makes when duty calls. Still, how do you keep the other parent involved when they’re not present? Here are some tips.

1. Keep a picture out of your military spouse and talk about them often. It’s important for the child to understand that their other parent is still a part of their life even when they’re not home. Also, this will help the child to remember what their absent parent looks like, so that when homecoming finally arrives, your child will recognize who they are. Nothing hurts more than to not be recongnized by your own child. So you’re not just benifiting you child but your spouse too.

2. Letter writing and phone calls are very important and can be very rare. Even if your child is too young to write a letter, you can have them draw a picture (even if it’s scribbles) and have them send it to mommy or daddy. Getting a picture in return, will put a smile on their face. Also, if they can’t hold a conversation on the phone, you can alway just let them hear your spouse’s voice tell them that they are loved and missed.

3. Video is also a great way to get your spouse involved. Plus, I’m sure your spouse won’t mind a friendly tour around the house or neighborhood to remind them what they have waiting for them at home.

4. Make a countdown! We’ve seen the 25 day countdown until christmas. Why not a countdown to your spouse’s arrival home. This helps give your child a realistic idea of how long they will be gone and when they’re coming home. Plus, let’s face it. Countdowns are fun! It’s a way to get you and your child all excited for that family reunion!

Do you have any other suggestions or ideas? Please leave a comment. We’d all love to hear it!

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How to Decorate your Child’s Bedroom the Affordable Way

What parent wouldn’t want to give their child an extravagant bedroom? Not every parent can afford to give their child their dream room. However, there are ways to give it some character.  Here are some tips on how to decorate your child’s room without breaking the bank.

 The Toy Box

      The toy box or toy chest can definitely be a bedroom fashion statement. Let’s face it, kids can be messy. Having somewhere to put all of their toys is a major advantage. On the other hand, it can also add a lot of character to the bedroom if you buy the right one. It doesn’t have to be a plain wooden chest. Try different colors and designs. If you’re doing a bedroom with a flower theme, then consider buying a chest that has flowers on it or if you’re doing an Army theme, then consider doing a camo pattern. Toy chests run anywhere from about $50 to $200. Still a little out of your price range? Not to worry. For about $50 you can alway buy a plain wooden or white chest and decorate it yourself. Here are a few adorable toy chests to get those ideas rolling…

 

The Fabrics

     What type of curtains do you plan on putting up? What color will the comforter be on their bed? Have you thought of adding some color or style to the room with a rug? Decorating isn’t just about the big things. It’s about the little things too. Plus it’s cheaper. If you have a specific theme in mind the coordinate with your fabrics. Let’s say you want to do a blue ocean theme. Here’s an example of what you could choose at a decent price.

You can find this 4×6 rug on amazon for the the low price of $48. If you want to go bigger you can get a 5×8 for $79 or a 6×9 for $108. This rug is perfect for kids. It’s made of recyled plastic. So if your kids happen to spill, no worries!

 While these drapes might seem plain, they still fit the theme quite nicely and can be found at a low price of only $30 for the set at AntaresPro.com.

These curtains are a little bit more pricey at $50 at TinyTotties.com. However, they are a darker color of blue if you want to tone things down a bit.

The comforter set is really what pulls your theme together. So take the time to really search and find the right one. This is twin set found on amazon.com for a low price of  only $25. For the full set it’s $60 at the Basspro website.

Changing up the fabrics in the bedroom may seem like a small change but the outcome will show a big difference. If you’re try to save that extra buck you could redecorate with fabrics for a little over $100 dollars. Not a bad deal!

How to show your child you love them (10 ways)

We all tell our children we love them, but showing them our love means so much more.

"A hug"

1. No matter how old they get or how independent they might seem, sometimes a simple hug will remind them how much you love them.

"I'm proud"

2. Let your child know how proud of them you are. You might think they know you’re proud of them, but have you ever actually said it?

"One-on-one time"

3. Spend some one-on-one time with your kids. They might not think much about it now, but they’ll remember it later.

"Discipline"

4. Discipline isn’t just a way to teach your kids right from wrong. It’s also letting your kids know that you care about them enough to take an interest in them. They may hate you now but they’ll love you later.

"Take interest"

5. Take an interest in your child’s hobbies. Do they enjoy video games? Sit down and watch them play and perhaps join in. Do they want you to join in on a tea party? Then do so. Taking time out of your day to be a part of theirs will mean the world to them.

"Let them help"

6. While it’s important to take an interest in your child’s hobbies, you should let them take an interest in yours too. Whether it’s fixing up the old car, cooking dinner, helping with the garden, or making a shopping trip. Let them help and take part in your hobbies too.

"Bedtime story"

7. Read a bedtime story before lights out. If they’re too old, then ask them about their day or strike up a small conversation before bed.  A small interaction with your child before the day is through is important.

"Reward your kids"

8. Okay, we have the discipline aspect covered but there’s another side of the spectrum, the reward. Now don’t shower them with money and gifts every time they achieve something. Taking them for a scoop of ice cream or out to the park for a job well done is the way to go.

"Have fun"

9. It’s okay to let loose and have some fun with your kids. Let your inner child come out and be a little silly! Kid’s love that!

"Say it"

10. Now, we all assume that all parents say “I love you” to their kids. Unfortunately it’s not always the case. For you parents out there who have a hard time saying it, just say it! You don’t have to say it everyday but every once in awhile suck it up and tell your kids how you feel because they need to hear it and believe me, once you say it, they will never forget it.

 

 

How to make a quick and healthy meal for your kids

Let’s face it, Veggie Tales only gets kids to eat their vegetables for so long. Between work, parent teacher confrences and soccer practice, it’s hard enough having the time to fix up dinner for the family. Never mind trying to find the extra time to make sure your family is getting a healthy meal. Here are some quick recipes to help all those busy moms and dads out there.

"Mini Pizzas"

Mom and Dad don’t have to make dinner tonight! Mini pizza are fun and easy to make for the whole family. The kids will definitely have a blast with this. All you need are these ingredients…

  • Pizza crust (wheat)
  • Pizza sauce (low sugar)
  • Cheese (low fat)
  • Whatever topping you want (veggies)

Directions

Easy! Just create your tasty little pizzas just the way you want. Heat the oven to 400F to 425F, bake for 10 to 12 minutes, and wallah! You and your family are ready to sit down to a healthy and tasty dinner the whole family will love!

"Healthy Tacos"'

That’s right, tacos can be healthy too! Plus, it’s another finger friendly food, which is great for kids not quite old enough to use the fork. All you need are these ingredients…

  • Taco shells (corn)
  • Ground beef or turkey (both)
  • Cheese (low fat)
  • Salsa
  • Veggies
  • Taco Beef Seasoning
  • Sour cream (low fat)

Directions

Heat up your meat until brown. Then add the Taco Seasoning and 1/3 cups of water. Then just set all your ingredients on the table and finite! Your tasty dinner is ready for eating!

"Mini Sliders"

Isn’t there just something so cute when foods go mini? Well it’s easier and faster to make too. Grill or fry up some mini burgers in a flash and have your kids just begging for more when they try these little delectables. All you need are these ingredients…

  • Ground Beef or Turkey (both)
  • Tiny Buns (wheat)
  • Veggies
  • Condiments

Directions

Don’t be afraid to experiment. No one says you can’t sneak some pureed veggies into that hamburg. Plus it might give a the flavor a little zing. Just heat up your mini patties and add your own spices and seasoning. Now just set everything out on the table and let your kids build their own mini sliders!