If your household is anything like mine, bedtime is a serious struggle. As much as I try to wear my kids out during the day and keep their night time schedules high and tight, it feels like they avoid sleep like the plague.
Whether it’s my oldest son sneaking out of his room, or my youngest having a hard time winding down, bedtime can be difficult.
Some of the ways I attempt to curb the struggle include nightly gratitude practices and bedtime affirmations. These simple phrases help promote a full heart, clear mind, calm nerves and thus, peaceful slumber!
The affirmations on the list rhyme and are easy to remember, but we’ve done our readers a solid and created a printable that kids can keep bedside. I framed one to have on my son’s night stand so we always have it handy after stories!
For clarity let’s define the practice of reciting affirmations as consciously choosing words that will either help eliminate something from your life or help create something new in your life. Every thought you think and every word you speak is an affirmation.
So if the goal is to ease bedtime struggles, we can do so by providing kids positive affirmations that expel negative thoughts, and soothe the anxiety that often accompanies bedtime.
Additionally, when practicing intentional gratitude, children build a foundation for positive behaviors that will enhance their lives down the road. Studies show there are many benefits to exercising gratitude.
Introducing this practice early on in a child’s life may increase mental strength, boost empathy and augment overall well-being.
It may also reduce aggression and alleviate negative emotions such as envy and resentment. Is there a better way to end the day?
My son and I enjoy reciting affirmations aloud together, and we’ve quickly made this gratitude practice part of our nightly routine. Typically we choose two or three per night, but vocalizing all seven certainly can’t hurt.
We hope our bedtime affirmations help foster good sleeping habits!
With the turn of a new year tomorrow, its a time of reflection and goal setting for many of us – and not just for adults. Today, we are sharing New Years Reflection and Goal Setting Worksheets for your kids!
This is the perfect opportunity to discuss with your children the importance of reflection and setting personal goals for the year. Our worksheets are designed to be thought-provoking, fun and encourage personal growth and development. They include:
Year End Reflection Questions – Before your child decides how they want 2020 to look, dig deeper into the past year. Surprisingly, some of the answers can be a catalyst for major goal motivation. This worksheet is also a great conversation starter with family and friends (and you know we love a good conversation game.)
S.M.A.R.T. Defining Sheet – S.M.A.R.T. goals is a simple way to assist in goal setting. It is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals helps to clarify ideas and focus efforts that ultimately increase the chances of achieving accomplishments.
S.M.A.R.T. Worksheet – Have your child work through the S.M.A.R.T. process questions to plan out their 2020 goals.
This is the perfect opportunity to discuss with your child the importance of reflection and setting personal goals for the year
Teaching goal setting can be a challenge, so consider these simple tips:
Break big goals into little goals. If your child has a challenging goal they want to achieve, break it down to a step-by-step process. That way, they are continuing to accomplish small wins as they go.
Keep them short term. An important thing to keep in mind for younger kids, is to focus on a small goal that is easily achievable within a short amount of time. For example, a goal for a kindergartner may be to learn tying his/her own shoelaces within a week.
Celebrate the wins. Hitting goals is exciting. Be sure to acknowledge the great accomplishment that your child has made and let them know how proud you are of them. They will certainly want to achieve more.
Share your goals. Use this activity as a way to be candid and give examples of some of the goals you plan to achieve.
After the activity is done, have your child hang their worksheets on the fridge or in their room; this will serve as a daily reminder and motivation for the goals they plan to achieve!
If you enjoyed this activity, check out our other kids activities here.
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I mean, every year we’re driven to leap into Christmas (or whatever your celebration!) and bypass Turkey day. It’s almost as if we will eventually dismiss the Holiday all together.
In recent years, I’ve tried to give Thanksgiving its due recognition, but I’m ashamed to admit I’m guilty of pulling out the Christmas gear in the second week of November.
Alfie the Elf on the Shelf has already graced us with his presence. The tree is up, Santa’s face is plastered everywhere, the stockings are hung tenderly with care…you get it.
Because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the magic of the holiday season, we’ve listed 5 Awesome Ideas for Thanksgiving Day that’ll allow you to fully acknowledge Turkey day, and perhaps begin a new tradition with the ones you love.
What could be more appropriate on a day designated for giving than to volunteer and give back to the community.
I like this idea because you can put in a few hours of the day volunteering for an organization you’re compelled to get involved with and still have time to feast, drink and spend time with family as you desire. If you’re looking for local charities and non-profits this is a great resource. A couple of tips:
Choose a cause you’re passionate about
Find an opportunity that matches your skills, interest and schedule
Get the kids involved
Check with organizations about their Covid-19 policies to be sure they’re complying with CDC regulations**
To make things even simpler, piece a Thanksgiving meal together for a family in need. Each day add a canned good item to a basket or donate a gift card. Reach out to local food banks to see where there is a need for Thanksgiving meal donations.
Volunteering can also be as simple as donating goods to a local food bank.
Usually in need of assistance, hospitals offer a variety of volunteer opportunities suitable for all ages. I hope to incorporate this idea into our future Thanksgiving plans as Covid-19 restrictions are hopefully lifted. It always feels good to pay your good fortune forward.
2. Turkey Trot
Want to go for seconds and thirds guilt free this Thanksgiving? The average American will consume 3,000 calories on Turkey day (and honestly you should because, duh, it’s Thanksgiving!).
An awesome way to kick off the day, get the endorphins going, and burn some pre-meal calories is to run a turkey trot! My husband and I did this a few years ago and I have to say, indulging was that much sweeter after a solid 10k. You can find fun races in your area using this convenient tool.
Turkey trots range in size from a just a few runners to thousands. The organizations hosting the event usually use the entrance fee to fund local charities and in some races the 1st place prize is a frozen turkey! Dust off those running shoes and get trotting!
With Covid-19 restrictions in place, Turkey trot races are offering virtual options. I’ve also considered mapping out a 3.1 mile race in our neighborhood for our family to run without paying to enter an actual race.
3. Celebrate Native American Culture
If you’ve never been, I highly recommend a day trip to the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. I find it immensely important to educate myself and my family on Indigenous People and their many contributions to modern day society. You can find Native influence in our arts, agriculture, and even modern medicine.
Make it a quest to discover local tribes or plan a trip to a reservation. Try a Native recipe. Watch a movie starring Native actors. Here is a great list of children’s books to help explain a history that is often depicted inaccurately in school teachings and otherwise.
Some of my favorite memories from childhood Thanksgivings is playing football with my cousins and family after our feast. It became such a tradition that a trophy was made for the winning team each year. So fun!
Whatever game you play, because it certainly doesn’t matter, make it light and fun and try and get everyone involved! Play a board game, create a scavenger hunt, or enjoy a round of cards. Pro tip: Put the electronics down and get back to the basics!
Our Table Talk Printable is an awesome way to dig deep with the people you spend the holiday with. This conversation generator will have everyone at the table involved! Simply print out the questions, cut, and throw them in a container.
Pass the container around to each guest until all of the questions are answered, OR have everyone at the table answer the question pulled. You’d be surprised at the level of intimate conversation these questions inspire!
Lately I’ve been catching myself using the “You need to eat healthy foods first,” phrase often. My son has a fervent sweet tooth, and like most kids, prefers sugary snacks to the vitamin rich foods he needs for solid growth and development.
But to a child, what is this “healthy” term, and why must it be the barrier to the tastier things in life? After asking myself this question, I decided it was important that I break it down for him.
A colorful diet is a healthy diet, and fruits and vegetables are the gateway. In this Colors of Nutrition printable learning activity, kids will first color the produce page. Next, they will cut and glue each fruit or veggie on the corresponding “color” page.
For every color page there is a quick passage about nutrition. It’s important for kids to grasp what healthy means, and understand how colorful foods impact the body in different ways.
Get started with our Colors of Nutrition printable download below!
Have your child or student fill in the fruits and vegetables on the produce page. This can be done simply with crayons, pencils or markers. Another option is to use construction or tissue paper for more color and scissor practice.
Then, have them cut the pictures out and glue them to the corresponding color page. While gluing each fruit and vegetable, read the nutrition excerpt on the page. Be sure to emphasize the importance of a colorful diet!
Red colored fruits and vegetables keep our hearts strong and healthy. They also contain antioxidants, which lower the risk of diseases such as cancer.
Orange colored fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin A, which keeps our eyes healthy and Vitamin C, which strengthens our immune system and keeps us from getting sick.
Green colored fruits and vegetables support our liver and contain disease fighting antioxidants. Cruciferous green colored foods such as broccoli or brussels sprouts are a good source of Vitamins C, K, E and fiber.
Purple and blue colored fruits and vegetables keep our brains healthy and support memory function so we can remember things. They also contain those disease fighting antioxidants.
Yellow: Much like orange, yellow colored fruits and vegetables contain Vitamin A, which keeps our eyes healthy and Vitamin C, which supports our immune system. Yellow foods also help our bodies heal cuts and scrapes.
White colored fruits and vegetables protect us from certain diseases and contain nutrients that help us digest food. Cruciferous white colored foods such as cauliflower are a good source of Vitamins C, K, E and fiber.
In addition to this learning activity, have your child assist in shopping for produce and meal prep. This way it’s possible to have organic conversations about nutrition and the value of a healthy diet. Feel free to supplement this activity with more on the affects of colorful foods on the body here.
The finished product!
We hope this introduction to the colors of nutrition will inspire your child or student to consume more fruits and veggies! For more excellent learning activities, check out more printable content HERE!
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We all know that the first day of school can be an emotional time for parents and kids alike. This year brings its own challenges, with virtual learning, social distancing requirements, and block scheduling planned for students across the country.
This is new territory for everyone, and children are not immune to the uneasiness surrounding reopening schools. However, by staying positive and proactive, it’s possible to carve out an optimistic outlook for the upcoming school year.
One of the best ways to ease a child’s anxiety is through literature. By introducing characters with feelings and situations resembling their own, they are able to ascertain insight and expand their perspective.
And by forming character connections through literature with your child, you will be able to affirm their feelings and create open dialogue on topics of concern or excitement.
Below we have listed some of our favorite first day of school books you can read to prepare your child for the new year. With comprehensive subjects such as first-day jitters, meeting new friends, learning the new school rules; we’ve listed a book for it all.
You will also find some post-reading activities to stimulate follow-up conversations and engage your child even more with some of the characters and topics.
See Our List of Favorite First Day of School Books and Activities Below!
Through sweet, simple prose and vivid illustrations, this book encourages positive behavior as children see how very easy and rewarding it is to express kindness, appreciation, and love on a daily basis.
Have you child create a bucket of their own by thinking and writing down the things that make them happy and placing them in their bucket.
Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn’t want to start over at a new school. She doesn’t know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. First Day Jitters is sure to be treasured by anyone who has ever anticipated a first day of school.
Have your child make a “Jitter Juice”. Cut out all the emojis that your child feels about starting school and put them in the jitter juice. You can also make a “Jitter Juice” of your own with Hawaiian Punch and Sprite!
It’s Llama Llama’s first day of school, and he’s not too happy about it. Still, he trudges along and makes his bed, brushes his teeth, and eats his breakfast.
But once he arrives at his classroom — with so many new faces, new names, and new games — little Llama doesn’t know what to do. And when Mama Llama leaves, the little guy feels even more shy and alone. What will this lonely llama do? Will Mama ever return?
With two paper plates, make an outline of Llama Llama’s head, ears and scruffy hair. Cut out the eyes, color and glue together to create a Llama Llama mask!
In this sequel, young David heads off to school for the first time and David’s teacher certainly has her hands full! From running, yelling, and pushing with abandon to chewing gum in class, David’s high-energy antics fill each day with trouble. David’s unruly romp through school is sure to bring a smile to the face of even the best-behaved reader. Read along as David learns the school rules.
School rules are very important. See if your child knows the difference between good school behavior and what is not allowed with this “Yes, David – No, David” activity.
The topics of race and racism can be difficult to broach with children, and deciding when and how can be complex. It is a firm belief of mine, as a mother to white children, that my work to cultivate positive change needs to start at home. So I’ve decided to talk to my kids and read them stories about race, and find books that feature characters who look different from them.
This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links. All proceeds accrued from the links in this article will be donated to Color of Change, the Nation’s largest online racial justice organization. You can read more about their mission here.
My hope is that, in having these conversations early, future discussions about discrimination and white privilege won’t feel uncomfortable. I want them to be able to identify covert and overt racism, and call for justice when they see it.
I have found books to be one of the best ways to convey messages to children, with brains that are wired for stories and narrative. And because their age plays a large factor in what they should consume and retain, I’ve broken it down into groups.
If it’s time to update your classroom or at home library, here is our list of 2o of the Best Children’s Books about race and racism, broken down into 3 age groups
Studies show that babies recognize differences in skin color and hair textures. Even before it is possible to have conversations with your children, teach through through stories and actions. In addition, do your best to expose your child to a diverse environment and media that represents people of color. It’s important for kids to see their parents interact with people of other racial and ethnic groups.
When children become more vocal, it’s normal for them to spontaneously start talking about skin color. Help your child work through their curiosity by having a conversation about race. It’s also fine to bring up people’s physical differences before your child does. The goal is not to teach them to be “colorblind” but to love and respect people who look different than they do. Correct racial and cultural insensitivities when you witness them, as it is critical to model allyship.
When kids start school, their circle of exposure widens, which means that they may need more explicit guidance about race and racism. Kids this age are already receiving messages from TV and media about who has power and who is valued in our society. We must start teaching them to be critical readers and viewers.
This is also a time when we can begin to teach kids ways to combat racism and prejudice. But to do so, parents may have to first introduce them to the idea that some people get treated unfairly based on their skin color, culture or religion. Kids in this age group can also comprehend contextual examples of their privilege, like living a life without fear of experiencing racism.
We hope you love this list of Children’s books about race and racism and have selected a few to read to your own kids! To foster kindness and help kids discover the value of empathy, check out our Simple Methods for Teaching Kindness and Empathy.