How to Stay Healthy This Winter Plus Giveaway

Batten down the hatches…we’re in for a cold spell!

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But that doesn’t mean we have to all get colds, right? Most kids are returning to school which exposes them, and everyone in their homes, to lots of illnesses. In addition, homes and schools in the northern hemisphere crank up the heat which creates indoor conditions which dry out throats and noses which make us more susceptible to viruses and colds. I didn’t know that…did you?

Check out what WebMD has to say about the need to improve indoor humidity during the winter months: http://www.webmd.com/women/home-health-and-safety-9/dry-indoor-air

So other than that, what can a parent or teacher do to help kids stay healthy?

Here are five simple steps:

  1. Wash hands often: everyone should have their own towel…perhaps a different color for each member of the family.  This helps colds from spreading. Another good idea is to keep a basket of small washcloths near the sink…instead of reaching for the big bath towel to dry a little pair of hands, there will be less laundry with these smaller ones.
  2. Dress appropriately: when it is cold, children should be dressed warmly, with hats or hoods on their heads.
  3. Get enough sleep: young children need LOTS of sleep so set up bedtime routines and stick to them.  Our body renews and cells regenerate during sleep.  Did you know that children between the ages of 2 and 5 need 11-14 hours of sleep?  For more information about sleep and young children, you can go to: http://www.sleepforkids.org/html/sheet.html.
  4. Make every meal and snack count:  a good breakfast is a MUST and snacks can provide additional important nutrition, especially for picky eaters.  Breakfast doesn’t have to be a bowl of cereal. One of my sons loved having left over pizza or lasagna for breakfast. For more ideas on healthy meal planning for the whole family, you can visit: http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/habits.html
  5. Keep a sick child home: I know it is difficult, especially when parents work…but your child will get better sooner and the teacher and the other children in the class will thank you. If your child has to stay home, a board game, some picture books and a pad of paper and box of crayons will help pass the time.

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These are simple steps…but they really work!! How you keep your family healthy? Please share in the comments. Someone will win a set of washcloths and someone else will win some fun packs of tissues.

Top ALA Picture Books Make Great Holiday Gifts for Kids

The gift-giving holidays are almost here. The stores, online catalogs and media are all trying to get you to spend your money – but what does a young child really need or want?

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If you want to know the truth – not much! Paper and crayons or markers, some clay or play dough, safety scissors, glue, picture books – and you, of course!

On Friday, I usually review a picture book, but this is a great time of year to check out some of the top picture books of 2014 (all are on the American Library Association’s Notable Books list)…you might want to pick up a couple to put under the tree. I reviewed two of them this year – if you click the links, you’ll also find the craft activity instructions that accompanied each post.

A Big Guy Took My Ball written and illustrated by Mo Willems

Ball written and illustrated by Mary Sullivan

Bully written and illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Count the Monkeys written by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Exclamation Mark written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild written and illustrated by Peter Brown

Nino Wrestles the World written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales Continue reading

PPBF: One Big Pair of Underwear – Sharing is Fun

I know you don’t want to hear this, but Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Christmas won’t be far behind! It’s a busy time for everyone, especially parents of young children.

Keeping the stress level down is definitely a challenge. One of the most important things is for moms and dads to have good communication with each other so they are on the same page about activities and gifts – present a united front for the kids – things go much more smoothly if you do.

Whether you’ve got one child or several, sharing is almost always an issue. Young kids can be very possessive about their things. Sharing is a learned skill…most kids don’t come by it naturally. Reading today’s Perfect Picture Book with your children would be a great opportunity to talk about sharing.

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ONE BIG PAIR OF UNDERWEAR

Written by Laura Gehl

Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Publisher: Beach Lane Books (2014)

Ages: 2-8

Themes: Sharing, counting, animals

 

Opening Lines:

“One big pair of underwear, Two brown bears who hate to share. One bear wears the underwear. One bear cries, “That isn’t fair!”

Synopsis:

From Booklist: “The word underwear is enough to make kids erupt in giggles. But when two bears contemplate sharing one pair of underwear, youngsters will be rolling in the aisles. Add rhymes, tongue twisters, and alliteration into the mix, and you’ll find spirited entertainment in this picture-book introduction to basic concepts. A joy to read aloud with digitally colored pencil illustrations that are full of charm and humor.”
Why I like this book:

  • Great read-aloud
  • Hilariously funny…just the word underwear is enough to get kids laughing!
  • Great rhyming counting book

 

How a parent can use this book: Continue reading