Family breakfast or family chaos?As much as I love having dinner as a family, breakfast time is my favorite moment of the day. My kids straggle into the dining room with bed head, in their pajamas and toting a book (or several books). They sit at the table and get ready to eat their breakfast. And read. My husband and I serve up eats and sit down with our boys. And it's either a quiet morning meal or one full of chatter. And it does always end with a little bit of chaos.
I'm a big believer that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I notice a huge difference in my kids' behavior if they have a less healthy breakfast or a breakfast that's rushed. So I'll always make the extra effort to ensure that we always sit down for our morning meal.
As a kid, I used to eat breakfast at our kitchen counter with my mom or dad. I'd scan the newspaper while keeping an eye on the morning television news. And my brothers and sister, much older than me, would float in and out depending on their schedules. For all of us,
Blog Posts by Charlene Prince Birkeland, Shine staff
Family breakfast or family chaos?As much as I love having dinner as a family, breakfast time is my favorite moment of the day. My kids straggle into the dining room with bed head, in their pajamas and toting a book (or several books). They sit at the table and get ready to eat their breakfast. And read. My husband and I serve up eats and sit down with our boys. And it's either a quiet morning meal or one full of chatter. And it does always end with a little bit of chaos.Read More »from Where Do Your Kids Eat Breakfast?
Does your morning look this calm?I always find it ironic that I've got my family's weekday morning routine down to a science when they only have a few months of school left. It's also comforting to know that the mornings will (hopefully) continue to run smoothly because we've established a pattern that works for all of us. Well, at least until summer break.Read More »from Tips to Make the Morning Rush More Sane
If you're eager to make your morning rush a little less hectic, there's still time. I've tested many tips over the past five years with my boys. What's worked so far?
-Tidy up the house each night. A clean kitchen and breakfast table makes for a smooth transition when the kids wake up and sit down for their morning eats. If you take a few minutes each night to organize your kitchen and eating area, you'll find that the next morning, you can focus on making breakfast (and lunch!) and prepping to get out the door instead of cleaning up from the previous night's mess.
-Wake up and get ready before the kids are awake. This single action, which sounds so simple and
Celebrate leap day!Wednesday, February 29 is a leap day and since it only happens once every four years, it's a perfect opportunity for a mid-week celebration with the kids. (If you need some fun facts about leap year, be sure to read Claudine Zap's post.)Read More »from 10 Ways to Celebrate Leap Day with the Kids!
Looking for cute ways to insert a little leap year fun into your child's day? Check out these ideas:
-Make (Leap) Frog cupcakes for dessert.
-Whip up a batch of Frog Eye Salad (via Talented Terrace Girls) with your kids.
-Surprise your kids with these adorable (and super easy) frog cookies.
-Get outside and play a game of leapfrog!
-Jump rope and count by fours.
-Read The Leap Year Turtle by Robert Paske.
-Create a treasure hunt for your kids; they have to find 29 hidden prizes! (Don't forget to draw up a treasure map! I used this one from Craft Gossip for inspiration.)
-Make a trail mix with 29 different kinds of pieces. Need ideas? Try marshmallows, cheerios, dried cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, sunflower seeds,
- Charlene Prince Birkeland, Shine staff | Moments Of Motherhood – Sun, Feb 26, 2012 10:19 AM EST
What will your kids remember from kindergarten?Whenever I meet parents who have a child in kindergarten, I always say the same thing: That first year of school is pure magic.Read More »from 5 Things Your Kindergartener Will Remember from the First Year of School
Sure, the ups and downs over the course of that school year -- any school year -- are many. Kindergarten brings tough and emotional days as kids (and their parents) learn to adjust to school life and adopt new social and life skills. They hate writing. They love writing. They want to love writing by oh holy cow it hurts their hands and their arms because they are squeezing the bejeezus out of a pencil or crayon.
But kindergarten year as a whole? It's pretty cute.
Those true kindergarten moments -- when they are immersed in class art projects that bring to you as their masterpieces; when they use their sweet "kid spelling" as they try to write a story; when they show how insatiably curious they are by asking their teachers (and parents) question after question -- make me want to bottle up the energy and excitement of the kindergarten year and give it kids
Do you help out in your kid's classroom?The school year is half over (yikes!). While some parents are mapping out summer camp schedules, many others are still trying to figure out how to make time to volunteer at their child's school. (And some of you may still be wondering how you're going to complete mandatory volunteer hours...)Read More »from 5 Ways to Get Involved at Your Kid's School
Whether you're a working parent or the chief household officer (or both!), finding time to participate in school activities can stretch your scheduling skills. You have an additional challenge if you have more than one child in school and want to volunteer in both classrooms. (Kindergarten through third grade usually has the most classroom volunteer options. As kids enter older grades, parent involvement in classroom activities is reduced and usually related to class parties, field trips or larger school events.)
The good news? You still have plenty of options to get involved at your child's school. Your first step is to think about what's important to you in terms of your volunteer efforts: Do
- Charlene Prince Birkeland, Shine staff | Parenting – Thu, Feb 9, 2012 5:25 PM EST
What do you do with all of those Valentine's Day cards your kid brings home?A quick peek around Shine or on Pinterest and you'll see that kids and their parents are busy creating adorable Valentine's Day cards to hand out at school next week.Read More »from What Do You Do with the Valentine's Day Cards Your Kids Bring Home from School?
The Valentine's Day card process -- from deciding what to give out through purchasing, making, addressing and signing cards -- is time consuming and causes angst for many a parent and kid. (Understatement, right?) But when school Valentine's Day parties are over and classmates have brought their treats home, where will all of those personalized, handcrafted or cute store-bought Valentine cards end up?
If you've followed me here at Shine or on my personal blog, you already know I'm a memory keeper. I like holding on to school momentos because they are such telling snapshots of my kids' lives at places in time. While I don't save everything my kids bring home from school, I definitely save Valentine's Day cards.
As for the cards handed out by classmates, you and your kids can use or save them in a variety of ways:
- Charlene Prince Birkeland, Shine staff | Moments Of Motherhood – Fri, Feb 3, 2012 1:02 PM EST
Sick days.My son woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible stomachache. After several hours, he finally fell back asleep only to wake up again with a severe sore throat and fever. As I wondered what bug he'd picked up, I recalled a notice sent home from his school last week; the form letter said he'd been exposed to strep throat. Boo.Read More »from The "Get Better Box": 5 Ways to Make a Sick Day More Tolerable
My kid is miserable today. But when we hit that unavoidable in-between time -- when he's feeling better but not well enough to return to school -- I'll need to be ready to make his time home a little more comfortable.
Movies and video games get old. A few years ago I started to keep and old-school "Get Better Box" for sick days (hat tip to Mbutterfuge). Beyond little toys, I've added a few items to that box. The key is to make sure the kids only see these things during sick days. And once they are healthy and back at school, don't forget to clean everything in the Get Better Box!
Here are a few of my favorite (and parent-tested) Get Better Box items to
Turn your child into a baker!Both of my boys love to cook...just like their mama. Whether it's helping with dinner, baking cookies or frosting a cake, they are front and center. It's wonderful to see them in the kitchen, of course, but I've also used our baking activities as a way to work with them on math skills (fractions), reading and the basics of following instructions. And when I sense they're having an off day, I've learned that it's easy to get to the root of their funk by starting a baking project together. While we're gathering ingredients and mixing things up, we talk.Read More »from 10 Ways to Turn Your Kids into Bakers
If you love baking and are eager to have your kids join you in the kitchen, these 10 tips are for you:
-Invite your kids to be in the kitchen with you so they can watch you bake. Start with a simple, tasty recipe or activity. Need some starter ideas? Try healthy breakfast cookies. Draw on cookies. Make mini cupcakes. Whip up no-knead bread or basic pizza dough.
-Ask them to help you with simple tasks (e.g., "Can you mix this batter?
Grab a flashlight and read under the covers!When I ask my kids to list some of their favorite moments in the day, "reading stories at bedtime" is always on the list. It's been part of our routine since they were babies, and even as they grow older and can read on their own, they still love that quiet time together where we all get lost in a story.Read More »from 4 Ways to Make Nighttime Reading Even More Fun
Whether it's a bedtime story or you're cuddled up on the couch with your kids on a rainy afternoon, reading with your children is one of the most important activities you can share. In fact, literacy expert Pam Allyn recommends setting aside time during the day to read with your kids. Why? At bedtime, parents can find themselves rushing to finish a story because their minds are racing with thoughts of what they've left to do...work, laundry, prepping for the next day, etc. I know I've been guilty of speed reading bedtime stories.
If bedtime stories are what you have to work with, you need to make the most if it. Two important aspects of bedtime stories are that you keep it calm and
Most kids start celebrating Valentine's Day in preschool. You'll likely be asked to have your child bring in a pack of cards to distribute to the entire class. (Don't address the cards! Just identify who sent them.)
And despite how you may feel about Valentine's Day, your kid will be super excited. Why? Because the class has probably been crafting up a Valentine's Day storm.
If you're looking for an inexpensive and easy way to make Valentine's Day cards with your kid(s), look no further. All you need is a pack of blank index cards (you can get a pack of 300 for two bucks!), markers or washable acrylic paint, scissors, and if you want to get fancy, a glue stick, a washable ink pad, and colored construction paper. (All stuff you probably already have, right?)
Fancier still? Pick up some Valentine's Day stamps, felt heart stickers, decorative pencils or lollipops.
Check out the slide show for details!
Share your family photos and any other fun, embarrassing or incredible moments thatRead More »from 5 Easy DIY Valentines from Index Cards