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family resources Archives - Parks' Place Learning Center

Do You Know the Dietary Needs for Your Child? Are They Meeting Them?

By Family, Family Wheel

Children are notorious for being picky eaters. It’s easiest when they are infants and their choices are limited between milk and formula. As children get older, sneaking veggies in between bites of fruit or other snacks is still pretty easy. It gets trickier as they get older, but at every age, it’s important to know their dietary needs to ensure they’re being met.

Do You Know the Dietary Needs for Your Child?

Dietary needs refer to how much protein, fat, sugar, and fiber are in the meals they eat each day. It’s also about the vitamins, minerals, and overall nutritional value they receive. In general, how nutritious are their daily meals?

Nutritious meals have a variety of foods from different food groups:

  • Proteins
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Dairy

Aim to limit calories from:

  • Added sugar
  • Saturated fats
  • Sodium

Age-Appropriate Dietary Recommendations

The dietary recommendations differ for children at each age. A one-year-old’s dietary needs are different from a four-year-old’s; therefore, a balanced meal will be different for each.

Importance of Nutrition for Children

Nutrition is critical for all aspects of a child’s health, wellbeing, and ability to function. Unfortunately, not all foods that kids enjoy are nutritious. When children don’t meet their dietary needs, malnourishment can occur. Interestingly, malnutrition does not solely mean underweight. Even overweight children can be malnourished. This happens when children consume too many calories but lack sufficient fiber, vitamins, minerals, or other vital nutrients.

Malnutrition can lead to missed growth and developmental opportunities, as well as education due to delays. Behavioral problems can also arise in both the short and long term. Some issues stemming from malnutrition can be resolved, but if it persists, the damage can be lifelong.

Taking Action

A good starting point is learning the dietary recommendations for healthy children and understanding the healthiest food options. Parents can consult their child’s pediatrician and learn to decipher food labels. Food labels provide information about calories, fat, protein, sugar, fiber, and certain vitamins and minerals. By offering healthier options, parents empower their children to make healthier choices.

Reflection:

  • What Are Your Children’s Nutrition Challenges? Identifying where your children’s nutrition might be lacking is crucial for improvement.
  • What Ideas Do You Have to Resolve Them? Perhaps introducing creative meal presentations, involving kids in meal preparation, or trying new recipes could be effective strategies. Brainstorm ways to make nutritious eating exciting for your children.

From self-care tips to creating precious family moments, discover how you can make this journey fulfilling for both you and your children. Get your copy of  “The Family Wheel” today! Have questions? Feel free to Contact Us.

Actions to Take to Improve Your Knowledge and Skills as a Parent

By Family, Family Wheel

A lot of parenting is figuring things out day by day, however, there is an old saying “You don’t know what you don’t know”. There is so much information out there, but rather than getting overwhelmed, the goal for parents should be to continuously learn and grow with their children. It’s true parents can’t know everything, but they can be proactive and improve knowledge and skills to ensure they are able to help their children grow up to be strong, healthy, happy, members of society. Read on to learn actions to take to improve your knowledge and skills as a parent or guardian.

Why It’s Important for Parents to Take Action

Another old saying is “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Parents who don’t put in the effort to build their knowledge and skills can find themselves in challenges they don’t know how to handle because they weren’t aware of it and didn’t plan for it. Some challenges have easy remedies, and parents can learn from the experience. Unfortunately, some challenges have lifelong consequences for the entire family.

Ways to Gain Knowledge and Skills

  • Books or Articles from Trusted Authors: Reading books and articles written by trusted experts in the field of parenting can provide valuable insights and practical tips. Look for authors who base their advice on research and real-life experiences.
  • Workshops or Classes: Many communities offer workshops and classes on parenting topics. These can be a great way to learn from professionals and connect with other parents who are facing similar challenges.
  • Online Education Courses: The internet has a wealth of online courses covering various aspects of parenting. These courses are often flexible and can be completed at your own pace, allowing you to learn on your schedule.
  • Parenting Apps: There are numerous apps designed to assist parents with various aspects of child-rearing. These apps offer tips, advice, and even interactive tools to help you navigate the challenges of parenting.

Steps Parents Can Take

Being proactive in improving knowledge and skills will be different for each parent. The good news is that reading this blog is a fantastic starting point. It’s important to remember that parents don’t have to know everything all at once all of the time. Building knowledge and skills is a journey that takes a little time each week to make a difference.

Reflection:

  • What is Something You Could Commit to Doing Each Week? Whether it’s reading an article, watching an educational video, or attending a virtual workshop, dedicating a small portion of your week to learning can add up over time.
  • What is a Parenting Topic You’d Like to Learn More About? Is it discipline strategies, effective communication, child development, or something else? Identifying the areas you’d like to learn more about can guide your efforts to improve as a parent.

Remember, parenting is a journey filled with learning and growth. By taking proactive steps to enhance your knowledge and skills, you’re investing in your child’s well-being and creating a positive environment for their development. From self-care tips to creating precious family moments, discover how you can make this journey fulfilling for both you and your children. Get your copy of  “The Family Wheel” today! Have questions? Feel free to Contact Us.

Potty Training Tips

Toilet Mastery: Guiding Your Child’s Potty Training Journey

By Parental Resources, Toddlers

Toilet Mastery – How do I teach my child?

Age 2 is a good time to start

Watch for readiness signs:

Child stays dry for as long as 2-3 hours.
Child seems to understand the general idea and is able to let you know when he or she has the urge to urinate or have a BM.
Child is interested in learning.
Child can manage clothing and potty chair.

Read more in the full article.

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Types of Early Learning Providers

Fun Holiday Games for The Family

By Family, Fun, Parental ResourcesNo Comments

The Holidays are here and it’s the time to have fun and share good memories with your family. Below are some fun holiday games and activities that you can play with your kids. Playing with kids is a great way to bond and create lasting memories as well as help them develop their creativity.

This holiday season, try a new holiday game to play with your family and share the laughter and love.

Read More

Saying Goodbye to Family and Hello to School

By General Announcements, Parental Resources

Saying Goodbye to Family and Hello to School

Your child may be starting childcare at a new provider or starting child care for the first time. You may be preparing your child for their first day of VPK or kindergarten, or even first grade. Starting care can be challenging for you and your child if they have difficulty separating from you. Anything new can be scary for your child, and the fact that you will not be there to help them adjust to their new surroundings may make it scary for you, too. 

Transitioning from Home to School

Home–to-school worries regarding transitions may be caused by your child not understanding that she will be safe and have fun in her new environment. She may worry that she has never been away from you and fears being without you. Separation anxiety is common in young children and parents as well. 

Before the first day at a new school or with a new teacher, ask the school staff or program director what they do at the beginning of the year to help make the first day go smoothly. Find out the name of your child’s teacher and other adults who may be supervising your child. 

Talk to your child about what she can expect. Let her know that you will always come back for her. Remind her that you love her, have never left her, and you will continue to be there as you always have. 

 

Establish Routines

A routine is when you complete specific tasks regularly. Children thrive with routines because it creates structure. A child must have the routine and tasks explained and see it modeled by you to follow the routine regularly. 

A few weeks before the first day, tell your child that “We’re going to practice getting ready for school!” Make sure to sound excited and happy about it. Choose two shirts, two pairs of pants, and two pairs of socks and set them out. Ask your child, “Would you like this shirt or that one? These pants or those?” Offering your child a choice gives them a sense of control and will make them more cooperative with the getting dressed process. 

Establishing cooperation as part of your morning routine will make your life easier. Remember to praise your child for getting dressed and being so cooperative. Praise reinforces the desired behavior and increases your child’s confidence. 

Once everyone is dressed, it’s time to grab your bags and go. Get buckled into the car and drive to the school. Park and explain that this is the part where you would typically walk your child to her class and kiss her goodbye. 

 

Keep It Positive

Tell her that she will get to do fun activities, make new friends, and play outside, and at the end of the day, you’ll be there to pick her up. She’ll probably want to get out and play on the playground, but let her know she’ll have to wait until the “big day” when school starts. On the drive home, you might assure your child that you were nervous about your first day, but it turned out well for you. 

You may not wish to make the “practice run” to school every day before the big day, but it’s best to practice getting dressed each morning. Make sure that you are up with lunches packed and dressed by the time you will typically need to get out the door. 

 

Enlist Support

Encourage family members to show their support. Tell them to ask your child if she is excited about school. Have them remind her that she will get to play and make new friends. Bring up the topic at dinner time, when the family is together and can share their experiences. 

 

What to Do On the First Day of School

When the big day arrives, be sure to get up a little earlier to allow extra time to offer reassurance. Follow the routine you have established, offering choices in clothing and getting dressed. Write a love note to tuck in her lunch. Small children may wish to bring a comfort item such as a stuffed animal or blanket on the first day. Just be sure to check with the care provider or teacher about their policy about this. 

When it’s time to leave, remind her again that she will get to play and make new friends. Let her know that the teacher or care provider is there to help her if she needs anything. Remind her that you will be back at the end of the day right on time to get her. Keep your voice and energy upbeat and excited for her! 

 

Dealing With Your Sadness

While you may be excited for your child, sending them to care or school for the first time may bring you sadness. This is only natural. Children pick up on how we’re feeling, and if you let your fear and despair come through, it will only add to your child’s nervousness. Remind yourself that your child’s care provider or teacher works with children because she loves them and has been doing this work for years. Make sure to reach out to friends who you can talk to about how you’re feeling. Friends with children will no doubt identify with you. 


Celebrate

This is an exciting time for both you and your child. Your child is gaining independence, and you are acquiring a bit of autonomy. Don’t be afraid to talk to your child’s care provider or teacher about your concerns. She is there to support you. Enjoy this new time in your life. One day you will look back on it as one of your fondest memories.