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March 27, 2020

Parenting Children During the Coronavirus Pandemic: Tips for Parents

By Stephanie C. Nash, LICSW
President & CEO, Episcopal Center for Children

This is an unprecedented time in our world and, understandably, there are many questions and concerns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The shut down of schools, business establishments, and restaurants combined with social distancing, and self quarantine have resulted in major changes to how we navigate our daily lives.

Families with children of all ages are impacted by these changes. Parents are creatively looking to adapt to new routines to support their children while seeking to establish responsibility, peace, and joy in the household. The balancing act can bring both rewards and challenges.

Staying at home and following the directives from government officials is important. We all need to find safe and meaningful ways to support our children, one another, and seek self care. Here are some tips to help.

Tips for family and self care while home:

  • Do frequent hand washing with soap and water. When not available use hand sanitizer.
  • Wash or clean incoming groceries before bringing them into your home.
  • Wipe down common household surfaces that are used frequently, such as the kitchen counters, dining table, door knobs, refrigerator handles, bathroom counters, faucet handles, and other surfaces.
  • Create a calm tone in your home. Adults should strive to be self aware. Anxiety may be high for adults in the home, but it is important to provide reassurance and calm to your children - they are watching and listening to how you respond to this crisis.
  • Check in with your loved ones and talk with your children about their thoughts and feelings. For younger children, follow their lead. Be honest and use appropriate talk. Limit child viewing of daily news broadcasts. For older children, be honest and have age appropriate discussions. Validate their concerns while providing reassurance and understanding for their feelings.
  • Maintain routines as much as possible. Young children especially will need structure that replicates a school week. Make time for snacks and movement breaks.
  • Give daily, positive affirmations and encourage family members. This might be as simple as saying, “Wow, you are doing great at sharing the game with your sister” or “Thanks for being helpful by clearing off the table” or “You were so responsible with your online assignment.”
  • Offer healthy and nutritious snacks and meals.
  • Use the time at home to engage in activities with your family - such as board games, baking, puzzles, home projects, book discussions, arts and crafts,  jam sessions, home recitals, dance and exercise workouts, yoga, barbecue, cookout, front porch picnics, and more.
  • Set boundaries. Give yourself permission for some quiet time/space during the course of the day. For many parents or guardians, that might mean getting up before everyone else, or having a quiet time to pray, meditate, or do breathing exercises.
  • Encourage family chores that are age-appropriate for everyone in the family. Offer praise for completed chores and talk about how everyone is working together.
  • Set intentions and realistic expectations for yourself. One way to do that is to write down what you intend to accomplish for the day.
  • Exercise self- compassion. Be kind to yourself during this time of challenges.

The gratitude for the commitment and compassion of first responders and health care providers is beyond measure. Thoughtful expressions of kindness from friends and neighbors within our communities continues to reflect humanity at its best.

About the Episcopal Center for Children
The Episcopal Center for Children (Center) is a nondenominational, nonprofit organization that has been dedicated to serving the needs of children and their families for the past 125 years. In June 2019, the Center suspended operation for its K-8 therapeutic school for children with emotional challenges from the greater Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area. The Board of Directors continues to be committed to its longstanding mission of serving children in determining plans for the Center’s future. More information is available at eccofdc.org and on Twitter and Facebook @ECCofDC.

December 30, 2019

Sock ons and Plod Ons

Great ideas!

Sock Ons

Made of soft, stretchy material, Sock Ons are designed to fit over regular socks, keeping them firmly in place no matter how hard your baby kicks and tugs.

Plod Ons

are designed to protect baby’s knees as they crawl around on hard floors or scratchy surfaces. Made from soft and stretchy cotton, they fit snugly over tiny knees without restricting movement and are ideal for any time of the year when delicate knees might otherwise be bare.

December 22, 2019

Christmas tree from Karabin Farms and hauling it home in Chevrolet’s brand new 2020 Traverse!

What a great holiday experience we had picking out our Christmas tree this year! We packed our family of 6 into the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse which includes seating for up to eight with unsurpassed cargo space with award winning 3rd row and headed off to Southington.

We headed to a great farm, Karabin Farm in Southington, CT. They had so many beautiful trees and a great little store and animals to see! Such a great Holiday experience.

Once we picked out our tree it was so easy to fasten to the top of the Chevy Traverse. We all piled back in the Traverse, which is perfect for a winter road trip and transporting a Christmas tree back home. We found that this mid-sized SUV is spacious enough to accommodate a big family yet doesn't compromise on style. The third-row is best-in-class with legroom which was great for the tall teenagers.

the Traverse offers technologies to help keep passengers of all ages connected. Technology highlights include Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, 4GLTE Wi-Fi (with connectivity for up to seven devices), 7 USB ports, a 120V charging port, and a hidden glove box locked by security PIN when in valet mode. This made some happy kids as they connected their music to the car stereo and we sang Christmas carols on the way home with our tree!

Another great feature when you have teen drivers is Chevrolet’s Teen Driver system and is the latest feature designed to encourage young drivers to develop safe driving habits right from the start. When active it can prevent the driver from shifting the vehicle out of park until the driver’s seat belt is buckled. This is the Buckle to Drive all new feature!

The Traverse we found also has great cargo space and passenger legroom and has SmartSlide feature that allows seats to tip up and slide forward even with a forward-facing child seat in place, providing open and easy access to the third row. It is so easy to access all seats and the comfort is amazing.

We had a great experience in the 2020 Chevy Traverse and at Karabin Farm, created memories we will cherish.

December 11, 2019

MyFirstWorkout / Hoopman! Portable Basketball Goal

MyFirstWorkout.com

https://myfirstworkout.com

My First Workout® is a strength and conditioning program created for online access by Certified Personal Trainer and Mom, Michelle Miller, for children ages 5-10 years old.  The entire program consists of 12 individual workouts that all build upon each other.  The My First Workout® Kit contains the first program in the series consisting of 13 of the best exercises for every child to learn and 8 custom-made, child-size pieces of equipment necessary to complete the workouts.  The exercise programs are all available in both video and poster format at their website.  Designed with every type of child in mind from an advanced skill level to beginner, and those who learn quickly, to those who require a greater amount of time.  This step-by-step program allows children to move at their own pace and make it easy for any parent, guardian, or grandparent to confidently teach their child how to properly prepare the body for a lifelong habit of exercise.  

 

Hoopman! Portable Basketball Goal

HoopmanKid.com

Hoopman! portable basketball goal by ciao! baby encourages families to add a slam dunk to their fun anywhere-they-go.  This truly portable basketball hoop with ball comes in a carry bag with shoulder strap, weighs 5 pounds and quickly folds out securely in place to promote active play. Get a game-on in the yard, at the park, at your relatives house, and any location you want to see your little one enjoying going up for some hoops indoors or outdoors. Great to encourage confidence and coordination in your toddlers and for brothers and sisters, welcoming them in to take time for family play-time together. Invented by Mompreneur Kimberly Strong, she recommends this product for children ages 3-7 years old.  The Jamberly Group designs “products that let you go!”  The Hoopman! portable basketball goal comes in Red, is patent pending, and meets all safety standards. There is no other product like this on the market. 

November 21, 2019

Bee Simulator

Bigben and Varsav Studio are delighted to announce the release of
Bee Simulator,
now available on PC, Xbox One, PS4™ and Nintendo Switch™.
 
Explore the world through the eyes of a bee with Bee Simulator! In this educational family game, you play as a pollinator bee in an urban park inspired by famous Central Park. Collect pollen, fight off wasps, interact with your fellow bees and confront multiple threats. Your entire hive is threatened the day when humans decide to chop down the tree you call home. The fate of the whole swarm is in your tiny hands!
 
Developed in close collaboration with beekeepers, Bee Simulator is a fun and educational experience that conveys an environmental message suitable for all ages. Freely explore and evolve in a vast realistic environment. Tips and information are shared throughout your adventures explaining the secret life of bees. With cooperative and competitive multiplayer game modes for up to four players, Bee Simulator brings the whole family together!Learn while having fun - communication methods, hive and community life, protection techniques and threats that bees face

A realistic open world
Co-op and PvP multiplayer modes for up to four players
Partnership with Yann Arthus Bertrand's GoodPlanet Foundation to raise awareness of protecting bees and the environment among players. As part of this collaboration, €1 out of every game sold will be donated to the foundation
Change your perspective and discover the world through the eyes of a bee!
  Bee Simulator is now available on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation®4 and Nintendo Switch™
 
Find us on  YouTube and Twitter 
October 15, 2019

The Magic Christmas Ornament Collection

The Magic Christmas Ornament Collection

Invite the magic of Christmas into your home this winter with The Magic Christmas Ornament Collection. This spellbinding Christmas storybook and collectable tree ornament set will inspire new traditions and pull readers, both young and old, into a world of holiday splendor. The Magic Christmas Ornament Collection includes an heirloom quality case bound hardback book, an ornament just like the one in the story, and a beautiful decorative package, perfect for making the gift of Christmas a lasting memory.

On Christmas Eve, Victoria’s father gathers her and her brothers, Joseph and John, around the fireplace to tell the story of a very special ornament that has hung on their tree for as long as they can remember. Their father found the ornament in a mysterious tree one snowy evening when he was seven years old, and brought it home. After hearing the story and going to bed, Victoria, Joseph, and John sneak back downstairs, and discover the ornament has magical powers! It whisks them away to the happiest place on Earth: Santa’s workshop! The children can’t believe their eyes as Santa himself appears before them. They also see mountains of toys, reindeer prepping for flight, the largest Christmas tree ever, and hundreds of elves - one of whom seems very familiar. This elf, named JJ, gives them a tour around the workshop, tosses Victoria one of Santa’s ornaments, and leads them outside, straight to a mysterious tree in the woods. Victoria somehow knows to place Santa’s ornament into the tree’s knothole, and the magic of the ornament whisks them right back home. When they return, the children know they’ll never forget the magic of Christmas that they witnessed that night.

Full-spread illustrations, featuring dazzling and colorful scenes, will inspire the festive spirit in readers of all ages. This beautiful hardcover comes in a shiny gift box with an ornament just like the one in the story—perfect for holiday gift-giving, reading aloud, and cherishing year after year. In true Christmas spirit, a portion of all proceeds will be given to the Marine Corps' "Toys for Tots" program. The book alone is available for $19.95. The price of the full collection is $44.95.

The authors’ father and grandfather, Sylvester (Ziggy) Barbato, was one of nine children from an Italian immigrant family. Ziggy often told James, his son, that their family was too poor to afford toys, but he always vowed that his children would experience the spirit of Christmas nonetheless. The Magic Christmas Ornament is an original story created by James Barbato and Victoria Barbato, allowing their family to share the magic of Christmas—and all of its excitement—with yours.

About the Authors:

James (Jim) Barbato is a former college professor and business owner. He is also the son of a U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant and lived all across the United States and Canada for the first twelve years of his life. As a child, Jim developed a strong Christmas spirit, inspired by the stories his father would tell. Jim often told original stories to his own three children, including the story of "The Magic Christmas Ornament," which they still remember and cherish as adults.

Victoria Barbato is currently an Instructional Coach for English language instruction in the Boston area. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Education and a Master’s degree in English, and is passionate about teaching and creating equity in educational opportunities for all learners. Growing up, Victoria was greatly inspired by her grandfather’s and father’s stories because they connect to the importance of family, convey fascination with the world, and always have a message of hope.

The Magic Christmas Ornament Collection

By James Barbato and Victoria Barbato

Pure Imagination Enterprises LLC

ISBN: 978-0999869222

Collection $44.95 (Super Premium Hardcover Book, Ornament from the book, and Decorative packaging)

Super Premium Hardcover only, 11” wide by 8.5” high, 32 pp. $19.95, ISBN: 978-0-9998692-0-8

Ornament only (Ornament from the book) $19.95

 

For more information, please visit magicchristmasbulb.com.

View the Trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3NUPs_GulA

 

September 27, 2019

Family weekend at the Kartrite Resort & Waterpark!

The Kartrite is a new resort and waterpark which opened last spring in the Catskills. We decided to check it out and share it with you! The kids and I packed up and took off for a weekend adventure.

The waterpark is New York's biggest Indoor Water park and was so much fun! The kids loved the numerous water slides and the surfing on the Endless Summer Flowrider! The indoor water park catered to all ages, from slides for adults and kids to Puddle Ducks which is a section for toddlers!

The resort also offered fun activities outside of the water park. There were shows, games for the kids, smores at the bonfire, movie nights and a great arcade and rope course on the bottom floor!

What a surprise I had when we got off the elevator to our room - 3rd floor, right before my eyes was The Chill Spa! Luckily, my nails were chipping and that was my excuse to sign in for a manicure, a little "Me Time". I wish I had know about the spa prior to heading out to the resort, I would have scheduled more time for a facial and massage! The Nail technician was amazing! The staff was so friendly and it was such a relaxing experience. I recommend sneaking away and checking out this little gem within the resort!

There are a few different restaurants within the resort and Harvey's Wallbanger was the one with the good burgers!

The resort is new and working out some kinks with staff and service within the resort and restaurants. At times our patience was required, which is hard with kids! All in all the kids said they had a great time! Another fun weekend away!

The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark

September 18, 2019

Car Seats Designed with Mom & Dad in Mind for Baby Safety Month

Raising little ones is no walk in the park—and frankly, neither is finding the right baby gear. Busy parents that are always on-the-go already have enough on their minds, which is why Chicco strives to eliminate the guesswork when it comes to choosing and using car seats by thinking through the little details that make parents’ lives easier first.

September is Baby Safety Month and we’re celebrating our car seats’ thoughtful features that make life more convenient — like flexible, dish-washer safe CupFolders, simple and clearly labeled installation instructions and quick-release LATCH systems with convenient carry handles that make any road trip a breeze.

NextFit Zip Max ($369.99 on ChiccoUSA.com): The NextFit Zip Max is made for extended rear-facing use, accommodating children in the rear-facing position up to 50 pounds. It’s designed with 25% more legroom, which opens up space in the backseat to make it easy on mom and dad to get their child in and out of the car and features extended calf support in the forward-facing position, along with all the comfort, safety and easy installation features Chicco users know and love.

 

September 17, 2019

Why Kids Should Spend Time Outdoors

Why Kids Should Spend Time Outdoors

Kids today are growing up in a totally different environment from what their parents remember from their childhoods.

With everything moving at such a fast pace, and with phones and tablets to keep children distracted, the great outdoors is often neglected.

However, parents should put in more effort in ensuring that their children get enough time in the sun, as it has a myriad of health and mental benefits. For one thing, an article on Parents reveals that kids who spend time playing outdoors are more likely to grow up to be well-adjusted adults, less prone to psychiatric disorders. Read on to find out about the other advantages of letting your kids spend plenty of time outdoors:

It’s a fun way to exercise

During outdoor activities, whether it’s in the local park or hiking up a small mountain, there is always some form of exercise involved. Children will be using monkey bars, trying to climb trees, jumping, or running around. This is a great way to get them the exercise they need to help their young bodies grow in a healthy manner. As an added bonus, you get to squeeze in a workout yourself while participating in an intense game of catch or hide and seek. Take it a step further and spend a bit on a kid-friendly soccer set or a classic Lifetime jungle gym to encourage even more physical activity.

It’s a great bonding experience

While it can be tempting to spend the weekend on the couch on your phone, it’s much more rewarding to go outside with the entire family. Bonding outdoors can start as early as when your children are just babies or toddlers, and can have a great effect on how your kids view personal relationships. Temple University developmental psychologist Kathy Hirsh-Pasek explains how play encourages emotional attunement and how to empathize with others.

A family picnic on a hill is not just a fun way to spend a weekend; it’s a practical way to teach children how to understand others and regulate their own emotional responses. What's more, your youngest children may stand to benefit more than you think from this outdoor bonding. Babies are especially perceptive, and often need the comfort of a familiar face when they are two to six months old. In fact, a study from the University of Sheffield found that little ones as young as 6 months old can distinguish between human faces better than some adults. If you have more than one toddler in tow, iCandy has a wide variety of double and tandem strollers that let your kids sit in front of each other which enhances their bonding experience with their sibling. Not only is this a smart way of using rest periods in the stroller, it’s also a safe way for your babies or toddlers to bond while observing everything that is around them. Carry around a handy Beebo for easier bottle-feeding and you’re all set for a stress-free family bonding experience!

It allows them to appreciate nature

The future of the planet depends on our children, and getting them to appreciation it very young is more important than you think. Having your kids feel the grass, inhale fresh air, or play in a stream are all key experiences that will help them cultivate a deeper love for nature. If you really can’t get them to look up from their tablet screen, just teach them how to use it better with apps like Disneynature Explore and Meet the Insects which they can use while playing outdoors. This is a compromise that underscores the advantage of having web-connected devices while playing in and learning about nature.

All in all, having your kids spend time in nature is beneficial for the whole family. You get a significant amount of physical activity all while enjoying a much-needed bonding experience. You don’t even have to go hiking or drive to a faraway lake to reap these benefits, as even just a day at the local garden or park will do the trick — anything to give your young ones a taste of the great outdoors.

August 12, 2019

Girls Trip!

This year I wrote myself a bucket list and the promise to start crossing things off! The list started with: 1. take a trip, 2. drive a brand new car, 3. go on an adventure, 4. Girls Trip, and the list went on ……..

Girls Trip!! My friend and I needed a trip away. Just a weekend, 2 days of no responsibilities, laundry, cleaning, chauffeuring the kids, making dinners, ect. just to rejuvenate. I called my girl friend and told her about my bucket list and our upcoming adventure! There wasn't much convincing necessary, she left her husband in charge and agreed to go on a well-deserved adventure with me!

We needed a car that could handle our over packing, lack of sense of direction and a long drive! The new SUV, Chevrolet 2019 Blazer was the perfect choice! We over packed as usual for our weekend away. The cargo space with the adjustable cargo management system allowed our items of various sizes to store nicely in the trunk. Our water cooler and road trip snack bag fit perfectly in the spacious back seat!

Our destination was New Hampshire! Omni Hotel Mount Washington was perfect for us. We drove 4 hours each way and loved the 4G LTE Wi-Fi, Navagation Sysem and Rear Vision Camera. This made driving so enjoyable!

 

The hotel stay was beautiful! It was amazing sitting on the deck just catching up with each other! Everything a girl’s weekend should be. Such an amazing time.

Our adventure part of the trip was jumping back in the Chevrolet Blazer and headed to the Mt. Washington Auto Road! We were so happy to be in this SUV what a wild ride up the mountain! The Blazer with the advanced AWD system delivered the traction and dynamic handling needed both going up and down the steep mountain.

The Traction Select system let us make real-time adjustments to the vehicle’s throttle response and stability control to maximize the performance in the surface conditions on the way down the steep inclines.

Our two nights away from our families on a "Girls Trip" was amazing. We loved the SUV, the Hotel and our adventures. We felt rejuvenated and ready to get back to our busy family lives, a trip we will never forget and look forward to jumping in a Chevy Blazer next year and plan another!

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