NYC Spring Break Staycation with Children

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Spring Break is almost here! The best parts about spring break in NYC are no suitcases to pack, no reason to stop the mail, and no suffering through the delays at crowded airports.  There are so many amazing things to do right here at home in NYC! This year if you are choosing to take a NYC spring break staycation with children instead of a vacation, here are some suggestions to make it a fun and memorable spring break in NYC.

Macy’s Herald Square Flower Show. Take the escalator throughout the store, where they will have events setup on different floors and you’ll feel like you have traveled to a whole new destination.

The Liberty Science Center. See the nation’s largest IMAX Dome Theater and the 12, 800 square foot interactive skyscraper.  This place is great for toddlers to teens.

Roosevelt Island. Take the tram, see NYC from above and explore the 2 mile long narrow island!

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Take a family tour, attend a workshop, gallery talk or a film. Create, experiment, and explore at the MoMA Art Labs.

The Zoos and Aquariums. There’s many to pick from in NYC: The Bronx Zoo, Queens Zoo, Central Park Zoo and Tisch’s City Zoo, New York Aquarium, Brooklyn Aquarium, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens County Farm Museum, Staten Island Zoo.

With all these exciting things to do at home, you won’t be bored this school vacation! Enjoy your spring break staycation in NYC with your children!

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March Madness Math

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March Madness is more than just an opportunity for some good basketball, it’s also a way to sneak in some math practice for your little ones.  Here are some great ideas to keep them busy and learning without even realizing it! The best part is…you all get to see the big game!

Brackets: March Madness brackets can be used for more than just picking teams aimlessly. For children in 4th grade and up, look up each team’s statistics, compare their numbers and complete the brackets based on who has the best stats.

Jerseys: Cut paper in the shape of jerseys (the size of a standard playing card) and write the numbers of the players on them. The options for working with the numbers using the players jerseys are endless! During the March Madness games, challenge your kids to find specific jerseys:

  • Locate certain numbers
  • Sort by odd and even numbers
  • Add the jerseys of the players as they score (best to restart this after halftime because numbers could get very large)
  • Ask for players jerseys with specific numbers in the “one’s place” or the “ten’s place”. For example, “Give me all the jerseys with the number 5 in the one’s place (answer: 5, 15, 25, 35, etc.).

Timeouts: During every break, timeouts and commercials, give the kids a small basketball to dribble while counting the number of times the ball hits the ground. Next, have your “March Madness” player calculate their own stats:

  • How many dribbles per minute?
  • Compare/contrast their best and worst times
  • In a group, calculate how many dribbles per minute for the kids “team”, combine numbers and average out.
  • Adults “Team”: For added fun, have the adults join in on the action and see how many dribbles per minute the adults can get…it may surprise you who has the better skills, those little hands are fast!

It’s hard not to love sports and team spirit, but this year during March Madness teach them more than just your favorite cheers. Shhhh, they won’t even know you’re “drilling” them.

 

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Measles: What you Need to Know

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Katerina Silverblatt, MD; Heights Pediatrics

Measles is a viral illness that was until recently, thought to be almost eradicated in the USA.  The recent outbreak in California is a reminder that it is unfortunately not as easy as one may think. The number of cases in the California-centered measles outbreak rose to at least 149 patients across eight states, Canada and Mexico.

Symptoms of the measles include a fever as high as 105 degrees Fahrenheit, a cough, runny nose, redness of eyes, and a rash that begins at the head and spreads to the rest of the body. It can lead to inflammation of the brain, pneumonia and in some cases, death.

The immunization for measles is currently recommended for all children ages 12-15 months with a booster shot at the age of 4. However, the first dose can be given as early as 6 months of age – that’s advised by the CDC in case of serious outbreaks. The booster shot can be given as early as 6 weeks after the first dose. Parents that are traveling with their children to areas with increased incidence of measles should consider immunizing their children earlier than otherwise recommended, keeping within the CDC guidelines.

Officials, such as members of the DOH, can take steps to protect unvaccinated people if their exposure to the measles virus is known. If caught within three days of exposure, a measles vaccine can provide protection from the illness. Within six days of exposure, receiving a substance called immunoglobulin– concentrated antibodies extracted from donated blood that boost the immune system– can also protect the patient, experts say.

The recent rise in measles outbreaks corresponds with a drop in vaccinations in some communities. In 2014, only 8 percent of measles cases occurred among individuals who were vaccinated.

On a lighter note, Christopher Robin dealt with his “measles” just fine and we hope that we all will if needed.

Sneezles

BY A. A. MILNE

Christopher Robin

Had wheezles

And sneezles,

They bundled him

Into

His bed.

They gave him what goes

With a cold in the nose,

And some more for a cold

In the head.

They wondered

If wheezles

Could turn

Into measles,

If sneezles

Would turn

Into mumps;

They examined his chest

For a rash,

and the rest

Of his body for swellings and lumps.

They sent for some doctors

In sneezles

And wheezles

To tell them what ought

To be done.

 

All sorts of conditions

Of famous physicians

Came hurrying round

At a run.

They all made a note

Of the state of his throat,

They asked if he suffered from thirst;

They asked if the sneezles

Came after the wheezles,

Or if the first sneezle

Came first.

They said, “If you teazle

A sneezle

Or wheezle,

A measle

May easily grow.

But humour or pleazle

The wheezle

Or sneezle,

The measle

Will certainly go.”

 

They expounded the reazles

For sneezles

And wheezles,

The manner of measles

When new.

They said, “If he freezles

In draughts and in breezles,

Then PHTHEEZLES

May even ensue.”

 

Christopher Robin

Got up in the morning,

The sneezles had vanished away.

And the look in his eye

Seemed to say to the sky,

“Now, how to amuse them today?”

Thank you to Dr. Katerina Silverblatt at Heights Pediatrics for sharing this valuable advice with our families! Heights Pediatrics has been serving the Brooklyn Brownstone community for over 40 years.

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Food Restrictions: Modeling Neutrality vs. Deprivation

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We’ve all heard the story of the child whose parents were so strict with candy that the child binges on it the second it is readily available. While this is largely an exaggeration there is certainly some truth to it. Complete restriction of certain foods or entire food groups should be utilized only when there is a food allergy or intolerance, to a certain food or food group. In the case of an unhealthy food there are ways to allow your child to experience those foods without fostering bad habits on either end of the health spectrum. It’s important to stay neutral with these foods as coming down on either side can have lasting affects on the way your child associates feelings and food.

a) Talk to your children about nutrition and WHY they don’t consume that food on a regular basis or as often as playmate does. Make it personal, truthful and neutral: “We don’t eat candy very often because it’s not the best choice for your body to grow big and strong. You tend not to feel well, feel tired, or play well with others when you have it more often.” On the converse, remind them when they make a healthy choice as to why it’s a good choice. “I’m so proud of you for choosing to have a little bit of salmon with us for dinner. You always feel well when you eat those foods and they are good for your heart and brain to grow big and strong!” Positive reinforcement and a little explanation go a long way.

b) Don’t celebrate or reward with food directly. When allowing your children to have the restricted food try not to do so for a special occasion, during an illness, or in reward for another good behavior – These actions say “food is love and has a relationship to your feelings or accomplishments” That type of modeling directly leads to obesity, eating disorders, and the chronic diseases that follow. Sometimes this is especially challenging as in the case of a birthday party or a holiday like Halloween. In those cases try to neutralize the experience around the food and emphasize the activity of dressing up, spending family or friend time, and receiving fun gifts instead of eating sweets.

c) Assure them that they will have the food again. Don’t specify a day or time, but give reassurance that they will have the cookie sometime in the next week, or, that while they can’t have more now it will be available at the next birthday party. These strategies have shown to suppress the get-it-while-you-can phenomenon than tends to push us to eat past the point of a proper portion. Your child will not feel the need to over consume if they know there will be more in the future. Follow through with these promises to establish a healthy relationship proven to lead to self-regulation in adolescents and adults.

Thank you to Kylie Reiffert for sharing this advice with our families!

Kylie Reiffert is a nutritionist and holistic health expert with an educational background in both biochemistry and nutrition. She works with individuals and families constructing individualized nutrition plans to help you and your family reach optimum health, “Because YOU’RE Not Everyone and Everyone is Not YOU!” For more information email krnutritionfoods@gmail.com

 

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Blizzard Snow Day Activities For When You’re Stuck Inside

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Snow days are very exciting for children, but can wreck havoc on the plans of parents who all of a sudden find themselves at home without any “plans” for the day. With the threat of cabin fever looming ahead, don’t panic! Here are 5 simple ideas that will keep your little ones occupied on snow days this winter. Bonus: You will all have fun with them while stuck inside during a blizzard!

1. Bubble paint: Mix paint into bubble solution and use the bubble wand to blow bubbles over construction paper. Watch the colors pop and make a beautiful painting!

2. Indoor bowling: Take empty water bottles and fill them with a little water to anchor them. At the end of a hallway or up against a wall, set the bottles up (6 work well) in a triangle, roll the ball and hit those pins! Younger kids should use a larger ball, but older children can use a tennis ball for a bigger challenge.

3. Make story stones: Take smooth round stones, if you don’t have stones in the house, you can use blocks, or cardboard box “cut out” cards, and place a sticker on each one. Make the stickers into open-ended words/phrases that will intrigue your child, such as animals, or people. Move the stones around using them to create different stories. See how many stories you can come up with. Your child will have so much fun they won’t know they are actually learning!

4. Have an indoor snowball fight: Instead of going outside in a blizzard, crumple white or blue paper up into a ball and cover in plastic wrap until there is a smooth, opaque layer. Use a hairdryer to heat the edges so that they won’t unravel. Repeat these steps until you have as many snow balls as you want and then time to play!

5. Use dry erase markers on windows: Dry erase markers are easy to wipe away on glass. Kids can use the markers to draw spontaneously or create designs, and play educational games. Let their imagination take over, by having them draw a blizzard scene. Try a “math contest”, allowing children to take turns answering different problems, or a game of hangman, challenging your child with this week’s spelling words.

We know being stuck at home on a snow day can be daunting, but try these activities to pass the time, and have loads of fun! Happy snow day!

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Re-Writing the ‘Kid’s Menu’ by utilizing the “Add On Method”

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During the 1950s – 60s, the idea of “kid foods” versus “adult food” grew out of the arrival of fast food, boxed meals, and processed snacks. It wasn’t long before the amount of sugar in these foods began to rise.  Today, sugar is added to almost every product on the market and even more so in foods marketed to kids. Science has now proven that sugar is an addictive property – even more so than cocaine! We also know and that our brains are wired to crave the foods we are given and reject foods that do not contain these addictive qualities, and your picky eater was born!

The best way to combat this is to begin at infancy and make your own baby food, create home cooked meals each night feeding your toddler the same food you consume. That is just not the reality for many of us. There is, however, a way to combat the picky eater or sugar addicted child by utilizing the “Add on Method.” Begin introducing 2 new healthy adult foods per week. Allow your child to try those foods multiple times. Studies show that it may take up to 10 tries for our brain to figure out if we like something! Yes, your kids will fight you on this one and that’s never easy, but it is certainly worth the long-term health benefits. Try cutting the portion of “kid food” in half and giving them tastes of the salmon and asparagus you made for yourself. This allows them to try the new food but doesn’t insist that they eat a large portion or go without, as their familiar food is still an option. Try not to allow options for the main dish as this teaches that they do not need to learn to like new foods. Slowly transition the processed “kid” foods out of the picture as they come to like more real foods. Remember YOU are in charge of what comes into your home and what is offered for meals and snacks. Rest assured, research shows that children will not go hungry and will eat what you make available to them.

Thank you to Kylie Reiffert for sharing this advice with our families!

Kylie Reiffert is a nutritionist and holistic health expert with an educational background in both biochemistry and nutrition. She works with individuals and families constructing individualized nutrition plans to help you and your family reach optimum health, “Because YOU’RE Not Everyone and Everyone is Not YOU!” For more information email krnutritionfoods@gmail.com

 

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Introducing Whine and Wine Parties!

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There’s no manual for parenting, but there is something better – The Successful Child’s Whine and Wine Party! Our gatherings are where parents, relatives and friends can connect with our certified experts on topics related to child behavior, learning, social skills and more. Based on the groups needs, each party is a custom-tailored experience.

Presentations are interactive and entertaining. Experts come to the host’s location of choice and present valuable and actionable information in a fun and personal way, while the guests Whine and Wine the night away.  Guests leave with new knowledge and parenting tools, plus it’s a perfect excuse to have a fun night out with friends!

Sign up now to host your Whine and Wine Party!

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Ways to Stop Yelling at Your Kids

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When you’ve had a really long day (week, month, year) and you’re exhausted, the last thing that you want to deal with is a misbehaving child. It’s a habit that many parents resort to when they are at their wits end. In an attempt to break a “bad” habit, here are tips to use in your household to prevent yourself from yelling at your kids the next time they get out of hand:

Take care of yourself. Prioritize sleep, exercise, alone time (me-time) and adult time. This allows yourself to be healthy, engage in positive relationships and avoid high stress levels.

Schedule Family Fun Time. Engage the family in activities that allow positive interactions, including movie time, snuggling, and hopefully, laughing and talking as much as you can.

Know your Triggers and Pick your Battles. What sets you off? Take preventive measures so that you can teach yourself how to handle specific situations OR discover what you can do to avoid putting yourself in those situations.

Plan Ahead and Give Fair Warning. Be clear on expectations so there is no confusion. Also, make sure there are no surprises and that your child is aware of transitions and/or any changes that are about to happen.

Walk away and take deep breaths. When it gets ugly, your gut reaction is to scream. Instead, try to put your mind in a relaxed state by walking away, counting to 10 and taking deep breaths.

Get Physical. You might prefer to jog in place or do jumping jacks. This helps to release stress and helps to distract you before you are ready to face the problem head on.

Wait several minutes before returning (depending on age). Once you have calmed your nerves, you can address your child in a more productive manner. This also gives your child time to think about the situation.

Squeeze an object. Remember those squeezable stress toys that you loved as a child? Break them out again (or invest in new ones)! Take all your anger out on the ball OR Play-Doh, before resorting to yelling. You will appreciate it in the long run!

Lower your Expectations. Research what is developmentally appropriate for your child. Don’t expect a young child to be able to sit quietly for hours in the car or at a library, when that is more then they can handle.

Whisper. This will get the attention of your child and makes them focus more to hear what you have to say instead of tuning you out.

Most importantly….

Ask for Help. Taking care of young children can be exhausting and overwhelming. If you need, ask for help from family, friends or professionals. Take a break and the time to rejuvenate yourself.

Forgive yourself. When all else fails and you can’t hold back, don’t beat yourself up. Use it as a learning experience and note that the next time you will respond differently.

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Play Outside in the Cold!

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When the temperatures drop, often so does the desire to get out and play. It’s important to remember that cold air doesn’t hurt children; however, a lack of fresh air and too much indoor time does.  Follow these simple tips to make playing outside fun and safe, even with the bitter temperatures:

Dress Warm. Wear layers: a couple of shirts, sweater, warm socks, boots, gloves/mittens and a coat. Also, invest in good thermal underwear for kids. They can be pricey, but well worth the money.  Wool thermal keeps kids warm even in subzero temperatures and keep them from overheating at the same time.

Start a Routine. The more that you play outside, the more likely you will continue to go out. Research has shown that playing outside lowers anxiety and stress for children as well as adults.

Discover New Places. When your “go-to” park is not an option because of the weather, go for a long walk. Remember, it is most important to get fresh air, but it doesn’t matter where you get it.

Use your Imagination. Build a Fort or a snowman. Go on a wildlife hike and look for other creatures that might be out there.

Go on a Winter Scavenger Hunt. Make a list of items that you might see outside, like pinecones, acorns and squirrels and compete to see who can find them first.

Stay Well Hydrated. Cold weather inspires us to drink hot cocoa and coffee, but we still need water, especially with increased physical activity.

Wear Sunblock. The sun that glares on the snow can be intense, it is important to protect yourself.

Have a Treat. When you return home, enjoy a mug full of hot chocolate to warm you up! :)

Don’t let Mother Nature keep you a prisoner. Get outside and have some fun! You’ll be glad you did…

 

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Help Improve Your Child’s Work and Study Habits in 2015

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For the start of 2015, one of your goals as a parent should be to help your child improve their work and study habits. The good news is that it’s not too late to turn things around for the remainder of this school year AND by making these changes now, you can also setup them up for a higher performance into the future. Here are tips to get you started:

Notes should be organized and complete. If information is incomplete or missing, have your child consult with the teacher and/or another student in the class to review material and ensure that all information is correct.

Schedule ahead of time. Prepare for completion of assignments and tests in advance.  If possible, break up the task into shorter sections. This will ensure that you are not working on everything at once leading up to the final due date and/or test.

Make sure that your child is not hungry. If your child hasn’t eaten, not only is their energy level down, but it also decreases their ability to focus on the material.

Encourage short breaks. If your child tries to complete their work/studying in one long seating, they might “burn out” or become overwhelmed with the material/information. During a study session, include several little breaks to rest their eyes and mind.

Review with peers. Research has shown that bouncing information off of other students can be helpful with comprehension and retaining information. Make sure that they are using time appropriately, and not just for socializing.

Avoid using Social Media, computer and/or video games. Set aside a special time to complete these activities. Times that they should be studying aren’t appropriate times for your child to be on Facebook or playing video games. They are distracting and taking attention away from studying and the task at hand.

Using these strategies should help you and your student be more organized in the upcoming year and allow you to have more quality time, rather then cramming (usually leading to yelling) at the last minute!

 

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