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July 15, 2021

What Comes Next: Back to Child Care Following Shelter-in-Place

By Rebecca Parlakian,, Senior Director of Programs at ZERO TO THREE.,

Your young child has just had months of time with you at home. Most likely, there have been no other caregivers outside of your own family, due to shelter-in-place guidelines. But now—as communities begin to re-open—you may be facing a major transition for your family: Heading back to child care. If you imagine this change may be harder for your child after months of “just you,” you are probably right.

Here are some tips for managing the preschool transition post-COVID:

Remember that this is not just a regular transition back to school. Your family went through a tough time. You managed a lot of stressors—balancing work and family demands, financial concerns, worries about illness. Even very young children sense when there is stress in the household. Your child has managed this period of confusing changes and now they are encountering yet another big transition—going back to child care. Stress adds up and our resilience can be run down over time. Your sensitivity and patience are key ingredients for helping your child make a successful move back to their care setting.

Your worries are important. As communities re-open, you may have concerns about the safety of your child’s child care program. Many parents are feeling this way. Talk to your child’s teacher and the program director to learn what procedures they are using to keep children safe and healthy.

Use pretend play to explore the routines of preschool or child care with your toddler. Take turns being the parent, child, and teacher. Act out common daily routines, like saying good-bye to mommy and/or daddy, taking off your coat, singing songs, reading stories, having Circle Time, and playing outside.

Read books about child care. If you’re able to access a public library (or online stories), choose a few titles about going to preschool or child care. Talk about the story and how the characters are feeling. Ask how your child is feeling (excited, scared, worried, happy?). Check out titles like The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas, Bye-Bye Time by Elizabeth Verdick, or Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney.

Listen to your child’s worries. It’s tempting to quickly reassure your child and move on, but when you listen and respond to children’s worries, they feel safe and supported. Explain that starting something new can bring up worries and questions and that lots of people feel that way. It can also be helpful to share a time when you started something new and how you felt.

Suggest coping strategies. When you allow your child to share her worries, you can help her think through how to deal with them. For example, if she is worried about missing you, the two of you can make a book of family photos to keep in her cubby and look at when she is lonely.

Notice nonverbal messages. Most 2- and 3-year-olds are not able to use language to fully explain how they are feeling. Your child may “act out” his worry by clinging, becoming withdrawn or more fussy, or by being more aggressive. Another common reaction is for children to begin using more “baby-like” behaviors. For example, if your child is fully potty trained, he may start have toileting accidents. He may ask that you feed or dress him even though he can do these things by himself.

It’s natural to be frustrated by this return-to-baby behavior. But by meeting your child’s need for nurturing with love and patience, you’ll find they soon return to their “big kid” behavior. Remember that your child is facing—and managing—a big change in their life. They may need more support from you during this transition.

Get back into the routines of bedtimes and waking times. The transition to child care is easier when you are not also dealing with an tired, cranky little one. In the week before your return to your child’s program, begin to use “school night” bedtimes and wake-up times so that everyone can get back into the child care routine.

When your child starts back, ask whether there is a new drop-off routine. Because of new health screening and sanitizing requirements, you may not be able to stay with your child to help them transition during morning drop-off. Talk to your provider about new drop-off procedures and ask if it will be possible to have a teacher stay with your child to help them with the separation.

Consider letting your child bring a special object from home. Does your child have a favorite stuffed animal or blanket that offers comfort? Check with your child care program to confirm your child can bring this object from home. A favorite teddy bear can ease the transition when you say good-bye at drop-off. A family photo in your child’s cubby can also be comforting.

Talk with your child’s teacher about how you soothe your child. When teachers use similar comfort methods, babies and toddlers feel more safe and “at-home” in the child care setting.

Keep your tone positive and upbeat. Children pick up on the reactions of the trusted adults in their lives. So try not to look worried or sad, and don’t linger too long when it’s time to go. Say a quick, upbeat good-bye and reassure your child that all will be well.

Think about creating a special good-bye routine. For example, you can give your child a kiss on the palm to “hold” all day long. Or, the two of you can sing a special song together before you leave. Good-bye routines are comforting to children and help them understand and prepare for what will happen next.

This hasn’t been an easy few months, but the return to child care is one sign that life is going back to (a new) normal. Supporting your child through this process—staying patient and loving even in the face of challenging behaviors—is a loving way to take that next step, together.

Looking for more information? Visit zerotothree.org/coronavirus for our latest resources and updates for families.

July 6, 2021

Selling your Children's Information Online

By Trip Elix guest blogger

Whether you like it or not, social media is part of the fabric of our lives. Universities and major corporations will use social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and others to research your child. What they don't expect is that you understand this, and can plan ahead of time. Think of them more like a sales portfolio, selling your child's background and prior interests. Companies and colleges are using social media and searching for profiles of your children. With this in mind, think of social media accounts as a sales portfolio, and you should groom the account as such. There is an advantage to having multiple emails and social media accounts as well. Just make sure the one associated with the profile you want to build is registered to

a smartphone and a computer. Get a separate cheap used smartphone for this. Register the device to them only using wifi; it doesn't need a cellular chip. Add the social media accounts to the device for the profile that you want to create.  Social media uses the GPS in phones to track individuals that is why it is important to have a separate device. 

The one that your child will really use should not have their real name; never allow them to use the same computer that the other profile is accessed from. You should start this process when your child is at least 14 years of age. 

Your child will stand apart since most other children will have an abundance of images that they will need to remove. You should take the time and help your child craft exactly what you want the companies and colleges to find. Imagine the advantage of having pictures of school events, awards, and extracurricular activities neatly displayed for anyone to appreciate. The reason for starting at 14 is it will have enough information and posts by the time they are 18 to make it look completely legitimate; after all, it is real.

Embellishment is completely optional. Building a flowing social profile on the networks takes time; each photograph or post has a corresponding time and date stamp. While no one will know or could possibly go back and check events’ dates in the past, someone looking at the profile may notice if all of the images were uploaded the same day. Thus, it is important to create posts and images over an extended period of time. You might want to create a calendar event to remind yourself to produce a posting at least every two weeks for a child under 16, and once a week until they graduate from college. Future employers will also look at the same profile, at the same information, all displaying a childhood filled with personal achievement.

The social profiles you create will be the sales tool for your child’s future. Think of it as your child’s digital portfolio. You should keep it completely private and change the account settings to the public one around the time your child is in 11th grade or just before they start looking at colleges. When people look on the internet for profiles, often they stop looking when they believe that they have found the correct one, the one you created and seeded for them.

Trip Elix is a podcast host and the author of Protecting Kids Online!  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07675JRXV 

July 6, 2021

Buddy phones

ONANOFF who specializes in safe audio headphones for kids aged 9 and under. They are about to announce enhancements to their BuddyPlus range that have been given a makeover in design and capabilities to include functions better suited to the increasing array of uses kids have today, from gaming to homeschooling.  

 

 They have a range of safe audio functions to keep sound under the 85dB recommended by the World Health Organization and features like StudyModeTM   that help isolate voices from other sounds, producing crisper vocals for studying or watching lessons. As you can see below, they are also highly customizable coming in lots of different colors and decorative stickers! 

June 7, 2021

MMS tips on a safe return to summer activities for children

The physicians of the Massachusetts Medical Society recognize the need for a return to activities that help to foster physical, mental, and emotional wellness in children and support a return to these activities.  While children do not typically suffer the same potentially serious health consequences as adults when they contract COVID-19, they still can become dangerously ill and may carry and spread the virus. It is important to use specific measures to protect them.

With that in mind, the Massachusetts Medical Society urges parents and guardians of children who plan to return to group activities this summer to consider these safety tips:

·         Get them vaccinated - Ensure that your child is vaccinated, if they are age 12 or older. The vaccines are proven to be safe and effective and have gone through rigorous scientific process and trials across all age groups. If you have questions about the vaccine, please schedule time to discuss with your child’s physician or health care provider

·         Know vaccine protection timeline when planning - Remember that, even if your child has received the first or second dose of the vaccine, they are not considered fully protected until two weeks have passed from the administering of the second shot. Please note that timeline and compare it to your child’s schedule of activities

·         Use expert health guidelines - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided guidance for youth summer activities. Please familiarize yourself with these guidelines and ensure that your child’s camp, sports, or other activity is aware of and adheres to CDC and state and local guidelines

·         Mask use - If you or your child’s physician and health care provider feel that it is best for your child to wear a mask in some or all settings – regardless of whether they are required or not – encourage mask use. Prepare your children for the probability that some of their peers or adult staff may still need to or prefer to wear masks (The Massachusetts Medical Society endorses the use of masks for all those wishing to reduce the risk of respiratory tract infection during the time of year when respiratory pathogens are most likely to circulate and whenever respiratory infections are known to be circulating when people are in close contact and indoors.) 

·         Keep kids home when sick - When your child is ill with even minimal symptoms, please keep them home from their activities and contact their physician or health care provider

·         Ask for safety protocols - Ask the directors of the activity for a copy of the list of protocols and precautions in place and how they plan to ensure that children are supervised and reminded to deploy the safety measures; this is especially important for overnight camps at which an increased amount of time is spent in communal settings

·         Urge your child to advocate for themselves - Encourage your child to report illness to staff if they begin to feel unwell while participating in their activity

·         Follow health guidelines - Remind your children to be attentive to and compliant with directives given by activity supervisors regarding social distancing, mask use and hand-washing

·         Always be prepared - While parents and guardians should expect the locations of their child’s activities to have ample supply of hand sanitizer, consider packing extra for your child

·         Sharing is off-limits for now - Remind your children that sharing food and drinks is not safe

June 3, 2021

GPS trackers to be compatible with the LTE-M update of 4G cellular networks

It's difficult for even the most attentive parent to always know where their children are at any given time. Thankfully, keeping an eye on your little ones is becoming much easier thanks to Invoxia, creators of one of the first GPS trackers to be compatible with the LTE-M update of 4G cellular networks. Invoxia Cellular GPS Tracker is here to give parents some peace of mind when it comes to their children’s safety.

The Cellular GPS Tracker has a host of advanced features including its ability to work inside and outdoors as well as its exceptional battery life of up to 4 months! It is discreet, compact, and portable enough to be placed virtually anywhere. Its comfortable design won’t interfere with children's range of motion. And it locks tight onto school bags or clothes to stay with them from home to bus to the classroom and beyond. These features are thanks to a novel combination of radio technology protocols that switch between Bluetooth and LTE CAT-M1, 4G network.

Advanced Features:

GPS Tracking – Visualize exact location of items and loved ones at any time within the companion app. Location data can be requested any time or sent every 5, 10 or 30 minutes when on the move.

History – See precise route of the Cellular GPS Tracker during any time period.
Anti-Theft Alerts – Receive notifications in real-time when an item is moved or suspicious activity is detected. Alerts can be triggered by moving an item or by gentle vibrations such as lock tampering.


Panic Alert – Emergency button feature helps notify an individual if their loved one is in trouble through a push notification.


Geofencing Alerts – Set geographic areas in companion app to be notified when Cellular GPS Tracker enters or leaves the security zone.
Proximity Radar – Access hot/cold proximity radar on a smartphone to find valuables more easily inside and outdoors.


IFTTT Compatibility – Connect Cellular GPS Tracker to favorite connected products and services to automatically trigger actions E.g. Setting the house alarm when leaving the home or opening the garage door when entering a driveway.

Another idea is to attach it to your key chain and never lose your keys again! A gift to all ages!

May 24, 2021

Returning this summer to activities like camps, sports, and summer school.

As improving metrics have allowed for thoughtful and careful adjustments to COVID-19-related guidelines, many children will be returning this summer to activities like camps, sports, and summer school.

The physicians of the Massachusetts Medical Society recognize the need for a return to activities that help to foster physical, mental, and emotional wellness in children and support a return to these activities. While children do not typically suffer the same potentially serious health consequences as adults when contracting COVID-19, they still can become dangerously ill and may carry and spread the virus. It is important to use specific/clear/certain measures to protect them.

With that in mind, the Massachusetts Medical Society urges parents and guardians of children who plan to return to group activities this summer to consider these safety tips:

  •         Get them vaccinated - Ensure that your child is vaccinated, if they are age 12 or older. The vaccines are proven to be safe and effective and have gone through rigorous scientific process and trials across all age groups. If you have questions about the vaccine, please schedule time to discuss with your child’s physician or health care provider
  • ·         Know vaccine protection timeline when planning - Remember that, even if your child has received the first or second dose of the vaccine, they are no considered fully protected until two weeks have passed from the administering of the second shot. Please note that timeline and compare it to your child’s schedule of activities
  • ·         Use expert health guidelines - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided guidance for youth summer activities. Please familiarize yourself with these guidelines and ensure that your child’s camp, sports, or other activity is aware of and adheres to CDC and state and local guidelines
  • ·         Know your comfort level regarding masks - If you or your child’s physician and health care provider feel that it is best for your child to wear a mask in some or all settings – regardless of whether they are required or not – encourage mask use. Prepare your children for the probability that some of their peers or adult staff may still need to or prefer to wear masks
  • ·         Keep kids home when sick - When your child is ill with even minimal symptoms, please keep them home from their activities and contact their physician or health care provider
  • ·         Ask for safety protocols - Ask the directors of the activity for a copy of the list of protocols and precautions in place and how they plan to ensure that children are supervised and reminded to deploy the safety measures; this is especially important for overnight camps at which an increased amount of time is spent in communal settings
  •         Urge your child to advocate for themselves - Encourage your child to report illness to staff if they begin to feel unwell while participating in their activity
  • ·         Follow health guidelines - Remind your children to be attentive to and compliant with directives given by activity supervisors regarding social distancing, mask use and hand-washing
  • ·         Always be prepared - While parents and guardians should expect the locations of their child’s activities to have ample supply of hand sanitizer, consider packing extra for your child
  • ·    Sharing is off-limits for now - Remind your children that sharing food and drinks is not safe
April 30, 2021

Family Road Trips in the 2021 Yukon Denali

Taking a road trip with the whole family can be tricky! Who sits next to who, who gets the window, who is touching who and the list goes on. Well, we found the SUV to solve those problems! GMC has done it again, the 2021 GMC Yukon Denali is perfect for a family road trip. The Yukon is the perfect family vehicle, with class-leading technology and increased storage space, offering a premium first-class experience.

I have to say I was expecting poor gas mileage on such a large SUV, but the Yukon Denali impressed us. It has a Diesel engine and the mileage was so much better than my past SUVs.

This beautiful SUV was roomy and comfortable for all 7 of us and plenty of storage in the back. Even car pool home from baseball was no worries with the 2021 Yukon Denali. If you are a large family and need the room to make family trips more enjoyable, the 2021 Yukon Denali is for you!

April 6, 2021

Brain Gains: 7 Foods to Boost Kids’ Academic Performance

With the increased focus on overall wellbeing and health amidst the pandemic, more and more parents are realizing how important of a role nutrition plays in kids’ physical, mental, and cognitive health. Patrick Quinn, a parenting expert at Brainly– the world’s largest online learning and homework help community– has some recommendations and tips for foods that promote brain health that parents can make for their kids to enhance their cognitive abilities and keep them focused while learning.

Fact is, all the books, tablets, and notepads kids use for studying are useless if their brains are not in top functioning form. There are certain nutrients that are crucial for their brain development, and better brain development means better brain function, memory, and concentration—all of which contribute to better academic performance. 

To keep your kids’ performance at optimum levels, we've rounded up seven of the best brain foods to help boost their mental power, and also talked to Brainly’s parenting expert, Patrick Quinn, for pro parenting tips on how to incorporate them into your kids’ daily diet. 

1. Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are packed with nutrients that are essential for brain health including essential fatty acids, protein, zinc, and B-vitamins. They’re also natural mood boosters that are portable and versatile, making them an excellent choice for study snacks.

Parent tip: Kids aren’t always going to love these. But mixing them in a trail mix with a few chocolate pieces or yogurt chips is a great way to get them munching on the healthy nuts and seeds. Just be careful not to send this in as a school snack in districts where nut allergies can affect other kids. 

2. Greek Yogurt
Full-fat Greek yogurt packs a lot more protein than other yogurts (and much less sugar), and can help keep brain cells in good form for sending and receiving information. It’s also full of protein and B-vitamins—essential for the growth of brain tissue, neurotransmitters, and enzymes. Greek yogurt is also a great source of Calcium and Vitamin D. Parent tip: Mix in a teaspoon of honey and some cinnamon to turn this healthy option into a delicious one as well. The problem for me at that point is avoiding eating it myself before the kids get it.

3. Berries
Berries are rich in a variety of compounds that may help promote academic performance and protect brain health. Berries (including blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries) are especially high in flavonoid compounds called anthocyanins, believed to improve mental performance by increasing blood flow to the brain. They also protect against inflammation and improve certain signaling pathways that promote nerve cell production and cellular processes involved in learning and memory. Parent tip: Berries make an easy study snack, but they can cause sticky fingers that can lead to messy keyboards and homework papers. Try putting several different types of berries on kid-friendly skewers for a fun, healthy, and mess-free desk snack. 

4. Fish
Fish is an excellent source of Vitamin D and the Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA— both essential for brain growth and function. Consuming more Omega-3s means kids will have sharper minds and better mental skills. Parent tip: Fish can be a tricky one with kids. If you get them accustomed to eating it when they’re young, they’ll be more likely to be open to new fish dishes when they’re pre-teen and teenagers. You can make fish tasty for kids by serving it simply grilled, like fish sticks, or including it in tacos or in tuna sandwiches. Another option is using canned salmon to make delicious salmon salad sandwiches that can be mixed with reduced-fat mayo or non-fat Greek yogurt, raisins, chopped celery, and carrots.

5. Eggs
The versatile egg is a great source of protein, and egg yolks are packed with choline, which helps memory development. Eggs can be served in a variety of ways and can be enjoyed at breakfast, as a mid-afternoon snack, or even at dinner. Parent tip: Eggs are great for making grab-and-go breakfasts kids can eat on the road. Scramble eggs into a whole grain tortilla to make a grab-and-go breakfast burrito, or make your own version of an Egg McMuffin at home by putting a fried egg on top of a toasted English muffin and topping it with a slice of low-fat cheese. Bonus tip: Eggs aren’t only a great healthy option that will keep them full thanks to the protein, but it’s also a really great gateway to cooking for the budding chef. Teach them how to make scrambled eggs, a fried egg, or a veggie omelet, and you’re fostering a whole new side of creativity. Plus… you might get the occasional breakfast out of that deal!”

6. Oatmeal
Oats are extremely nutritious and they can provide the energy and fuel for the brain that kids need first thing in the morning. Oatmeal is also a fiber-rich food that keeps heart and brain arteries clear. In one study, kids who ate sweetened oatmeal did better on memory-related school tasks than those who ate sugary cereal. Parent tip: Delicious AND helps with memory at school? Oatmeal should really be considered a bit of a superfood for our kids. It’s another food option that can be endlessly tweaked to suit the tastes of your individual kiddos. You can dress oatmeal up with applesauce, dried fruit, almonds, and banana to make it tastier and more appealing to kids. Due to its natural compounds, adding cinnamon also gives oatmeal an extra ingredient that will help to protect brain cells. 

7. Apples and Plums
Kids usually have a craving for sweets. Apples and plums are lunchbox-friendly items that contain quercetin, an antioxidant that helps fight the decline in mental skills. Keep them organic to get the best benefits. Parent tip: These are some of the few snacks that are on the ‘help yourself’ list in my house. It’s great because kids can grab one when they get home from school while doing homework, or anytime they want a quick bite. For a heartier snack, you can also cut apples into chunky slices and spread them with almond or peanut butter, or you can freeze pitted plums and add them to a favorite nutrient-rich fruit smoothie.

March 24, 2021

Activities to Help Kids Empower Women

Activities to Help Kids Empower Women

March marks Women’s History Month, a celebration of the incredible achievements of women throughout American history. Women play such vital roles in the advancement of science, the arts, social change, and more, and yet there is still much work to do towards equality for all. It’s important to teach kids about this significant recognition of female accomplishment and encourage them to use their voices to empower the wonderful women around them. 


To close out Women’s History Month, read on for some fun and empowering tips and activities to help kids uplift women of all ages and backgrounds. 


Identify Leadership Qualities

One excellent family activity is to help kids identify leadership qualities in different women. This worksheet will encourage you to think about people you know who are inspiring, empathetic, creative, and more. First, go through this list and write down the names of friends and family members who fit each role. Then, go back and discuss who you chose for each quality and why. Last, you can call or send each person a message to let them know you admire their unique strengths. 


Give Sincere Compliments

Another way that kids can empower women is to learn to give better, more genuine compliments. To sincerely compliment to the women around them, kids can practice applauding a person’s character, accomplishments, skills, and attitudes instead of focusing on their appearance. 

Respectfully Disagree
The women in our lives should be allies, not adversaries. Teach children to respect each other, even when they disagree on certain points. To do so, use this chart to think about how you can rephrase certain hurtful words or nonconstructive statements when talking through a disagreement. 

Actively Listen
Our last activity is to encourage women to use their voices by actively listening. Introduce this idea to kids by practicing listening with kindness and respect. Just like respectfully disagreeing, active listening is an important skill that will help children form strong connections and be there for others. By giving other people, regardless of perceived differences, your full attention, asking questions, and putting yourself in their shoes, you show them that their voice and opinions matter.


There are lots of other great ways to encourage female camaraderie in children, such as through extracurricular activities like sports, clubs, and mentor groups. With these seemingly simple activities, you can help kids learn and appreciate more about themselves and the powerful women in their lives.

https://www.redbubble.com/life/how-to-empower-women/

January 14, 2021

The KindHumans Story

With everything that has happened in 2020, we wanted to introduce you to our friends at Kindhumans! Their “Gift Kindness” campaign focuses on planet-friendly gift options For Her, For Him, Furry Friends, Treat Yourself and gift cards.

This year, choose gifts that are good for people and the planet—and help create a kinder world! Support this BIPOC, women owned, eco-friendly family business and their new Marketplace for Good. 3% of each purchase supports awesome causes like Stoked.orgSeaTrees and 501cTHREE. All of our 3rd party products meet our ethical and sustainable high standards. Want to Pass on Kindness with us this holiday season?

The KindHumans Story

KindHumans founded by wife and husband team, is a movement for good and spotlights kind humans, causes and non-profits in need of support. Justin and Suzi Wilkenfeld who were motivated to make a difference and ensure their children were raised to be kind, launched a marketplace for good to elevating community, commerce and world-changing causes. Together, the “Three Cs” form the mission of the KindHumans brand.

“I don’t care if our kids are the smartest or most athletic, I just want them to be kind humans,” said Suzi Wilkenfeld, co-founder of KindHumans. “They are the basis for KindHumans and our mission to connect good people with responsible brands.”

Our amazing community is taking the next step forward with our KindHumans holiday campaign with a gift of kindness to our membership program. We’d love you and your audience to be a part of our marketplace for good. Perks include 2% cash back, a welcome package and doubling down on KindHumans’ givebacks on acts of kindness to benefit kids, the planet or humanitarian aid. 

For 2020, our “Gift Kindness” includes amazing presents For Her, For Him, Furry Friends, Stocking Stuffers, Treat YourSelf and gift cards.

Our original 'Kindness. Pass It On!' hat is popular for everyone on your list.

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