Categories
Parenting Resources

Mother’s Day Brunch Ideas

Want a special way to celebrate Mother’s Day with your family? Get the kids in the kitchen to help cook these homemade brunches mom will love.

by Reesa Lewandowski

After many years of spending one too many Mother’s Days in crowded, overpriced restaurants, I realized what I loved the most was spending the day with those I loved, in the comfort of my own home. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together this quick list of make-at-home brunch ideas that any mom would love to wake up to.

These recipes are kid-friendly, so be sure to enlist the help of your little ones. Put on a pot of coffee and get cooking! Here are eight easy ideas to inspire you:

Berry Bruschetta

Slice up strawberries and cook 8-10 minutes in a pan to warm them up.  Let the natural flavors and juices release. Spread cream cheese on top of sliced french bread and top with the berries. Younger kids can help with the cream cheese spreading; older kids will enjoy strawberry slicing, too.

Granola Parfaits

Layer Vanilla Greek yogurt, granola, and fresh berries to make a delicious parfait. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of mint. Kids of all ages can help with all the steps on this one!

Mini Quiches

Create these mini quiches by Jennifer Pallian of Foodess in about 30 minutes — right in a muffin pan. The recipe includes details about which tasks the kids can do, including egg stirring (younger kids) and cheese grating (older kids).

Breakfast Kabobs

Slice your favorite french toast or pancake recipe into bite sized pieces and skewer onto wooden sticks with berries and bananas. Serve with warm maple syrup on the side. Kids of all ages will love the skewering! Older kids can help measure ingredients and help with cooking, too.

Egg in the Hole

This protein-packed brunch favorite is so easy and delicious. For an extra-special treat, use heart-shaped cookie cutters to create the hole for the egg! Crack an egg in the center and cook until the bread is crispy and the egg is set. Kids will enjoy cutting out the hole and cracking the black pepper.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Create a light salad with spinach, walnuts, strawberries, and a vinaigrette of salt, pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Kids can help shake the vinaigrette and toss the salad.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Here’s a great way to add a touch of flare to a plate of bacon and eggs. Quarter red bliss potatoes and coat them in olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Older kids can help cut the potatoes; younger kids can help toss the potatoes in the oil mixture.

Fresh Orange Juice

Pick up some delicious fresh oranges and have the kids get busy squeezing some juice for their mom. If your little one wants to take charge of this task, be sure to check out these OJ-making tips for preschoolers from Sugar Spice and Glitter.

Finishing Touches

Make your brunch special with fresh flowers arranged by the kiddos. Whether you opt for store-bought blooms or find wildflowers around your home, mom’s heart will be warmed when she sees what the kids have created. Here are tips to help the kids with flower arranging basics from Kids Activities Blog.

And while everything cooks, kids will also enjoy making these handmade mothers day cards from Cute DIY Projects, too.

Celebrate

Now that everything is ready for mom, wake her up with hugs and kisses, flowers, and tasty treats. Even if every dish doesn’t quite come out perfect, the excitement the kids will have from helping to create the meal will make this a day she’ll love!

Categories
Creative Writing

How to Inspire a Love of Creative Writing in Your Child

A professional writer shares inspiring secrets and 9 games to help inspire your kids to find the fun in putting words on a page. (Smash book, anyone?)

By Reesa Lewandowski

creative-writing
As a blogger, I know that staring at a blank page can be daunting. I also know how good it feels once it’s filled with words that (I hope!) can help other people. By inspiring your children to love writing (especially if they now say they hate to write), you’ll be giving them a gift that lasts a lifetime. Strong writing skills are important everywhere — on a school exam, in a college course, and at the workplace. Here are a few of the things that bolstered my love of writing — and how they can give your reluctant writer the boost he or she needs.

Do Some “Creative Reading” with Your Child

One of the best ways to get kids to love to write is through reading to them. Ask your child to point out phrases and words that he finds fun or interesting. Encourage him to predict what might happen in the next chapter. Almost every child loves to share their opinion.

See a list of writing classes near you > >

Create a Sacred Writing Space

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Let them be in charge of what inspires them! Create a bulletin board where they can pin pictures, words, and other clippings that jump out at them as inspiration. Think a Pinterest board for kids! Let your kids choose where their writing space will be. Let it be a place they really love.

Plain white paper doesn’t excite anyone. Take your child to a bookstore or office supply store and let her pick out a journal that resonates with her. Or for a different twist, purchase marble notebooks and allow your child to Mod Podge the covers. (Simply gather a few old magazines and tell him to clip out words and pictures that inspire or describe your child, then attach them, following the Mod Podge instructions.)

Next your child needs some distinctive writing utensils like pencils, colored pencils, and fun erasers.

Last, something you may not think about is a dictionary. In today’s tech-forward world, we often rely on autocorrect and spelling checkers to think for us. It is still vital for your child to learn how to spell and to know synonyms and antonyms of words. (Think SAT and ACT tests!) It also can be fun to flip through a thesaurus and read random entries.

Get Creative with Everyday Writing

Boy_writing_1Now that your kids have their writing supplies in hand, it’s time to get those creative juices flowing. Here, 9 totally fun assignments to get kids thinking about writing in new ways:

  • Make a smash book. This is essentially a completely unplanned scrapbook. Have your kids paste in photos, brochures, stickers, or anything else…and let them then do a little “caption writing” on the page they created.
  • Invent a bedtime tale. Print off the first sentence of a few of your child’s favorite books and put them into a jar. Or write your own story starters. Aim for a variety of topics: outlandish or suspenseful, sci-fi or realistic, etc. Have your child pull out a random prompt and write what happens next.
  • Create a picture book. Art is a big part of the writing process. Have your child draw an image to go with what he or she wrote.
  • Do some local reporting. Writing doesn’t have to be fiction. Have kids write letters or cards to family members or friends. Encourage them to create a family newspaper or newsletter.
  • Include writing in playtime. Is your child playing restaurant? Have him write a menu, including meal descriptions. Are your kids replaying a scene from a trip or vacation? Ask them to make up a brochure about their experiences.
  • Keep a daily journal. This can be a great outlet for a child who has trouble talking about feelings.
  • Make a Mad-Libs book. Then have fun filling in the blanks!
  • Create a family recipe book,  favorite dishes. Also include any “secret” family recipes, and make copies to hand out as gifts.
  • Be a pen pal. Write letters back and forth to your child in a notebook or journal.

Remember to keep your kids’ writing environment stress free and unrushed. Let them take as much time as they need to get their thoughts out. And be sure to let them carry around their writing journal with them: you never know when inspiration will strike!

Find the “write” workshop or class for your young wordsmith. If one of your children shows a real love of writing — or would like a little extra support and guidance in making use of the written word — find writing classes or camps in your area.

See a list of writing classes near you > >

Do you have an aspiring writer in your family? What does your child like to write about? Let us know in the comments!

Categories
swimming

10 Tips to Ease Your Child’s Fear of Swimming

Does your child dislike swimming? Changing your mindset can prep your child to take the plunge with confidence. Here, 10 tips to help them learn to love the pool.

By Reesa Lewandowski

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Having a child who has a fear of swimming can lead to some pretty tense times for your family — especially if the rest of you love to spend time at the pool. So what is the best way to start teaching your child to swim? First, try to work on getting your child comfortable in the water, and do so as early as possible. The older your child gets, the harder it may be to ease their fears. There’s no time like the present: In fall and wintertime, indoor pools offer the perfect place for you to introduce kids to swimming, get some aquatic exercise, and cure the cabin fever that can be all too common in colder climates!

Sometimes it’s a challenge to think like a child, but that can be just the ticket to easing your kid’s fear of swimming. Here are 10 great tips to help you get your child comfortable in the water:

1. Focus on the future.

While you may want your child to be comfortable in the water as soon as possible, resist the urge to push them to do too much too soon. Remember, they have a lifetime of swimming fun ahead of them; there’s no reason to stress over learning a lifelong skill in one day.

2. Follow your child’s lead.

If your child is comfortable in the shallow end, stay there.

3. Put the emphasis on fun.

Bring water toys and buckets for them to splash and play with. Let them see that the water can be a place to enjoy.

4. Let them sit on the edge.

Kids (and adults) love to dangle their feet in the water! Think of this as a time to cool your toes, and don’t worry so much about what comes next.

5. Stay on the steps for a while.

Imagine how big and scary a pool can look to a child! Pools with steps in the shallow end give kids a great place to sit until they are ready to go deeper at their own pace.

6. Say yes to splashing.

As a parents, we often discourage splashing, but it is a great learning tool to help your child to get comfortable in the water. Splashing helps them learn the feel of the water and how their limbs work in the pool.

7. Help them feel safe.

Once your child manages to get into the water holding on to you, be sure to hold on to their trust. Let them decide when they’re ready to do more or have you walk in a little bit deeper.

8. Show them the peaceful side of swimming.

One way to help kids see the pool as a soothing (not scary) place: Show them that they can float on top of the water! Buoyancy can be a hard concept for kids to understand. A great way to get them comfortable with floating: Stand in the water and hold your arms out straight in front of you, just below the surface, then have your child lay on his back with his head resting on one of your arms and his lower back, legs, or feet resting on the other.

9. Get a little silly.

One of the first things a child is taught in swim class is how to blow bubbles in the water. This is a good trick to keep the water out of your child’s nose when she dips her face into the water. And your kids will think it’s hilarious to watch you demonstrate! Turn it into a game: See who can blow bubbles the longest. Or pretend to be a motor boat.

10. Know when to towel off.

Once your child shows disinterest in the situation, allow her to take a break. This may be a good time to have a snack, take a nap, or or play a game out of the water. Keep each experience around the water positive and happy, and your child will likely come to love the water as much as you do!

Another great way to get a child swimming is to sign them up for a swim class or swim camp. Swim teachers and summer camp counselors often have a lot of experience easing kids’ fears of swimming. With time, the pool can be a place your child loves!