News: parenting

Parenting without Saying No

By Dallas Stevens

by 

 

Parenting is a delicate balance of knowing how to raise your kids with integrity while also preparing them for the real world.

Sometimes this means doing things that seem counter-intuitive to make sure our kids are actually hearing what we are saying and learning from situations.

Something that I learned from teaching and in the first couple of years of parenthood is that opportunities to talk to children without saying no is so important. Now as a mother of two, parenting without saying no, don’t, and stop is an important part of my every single day.

 

Parenting without saying no and creating boundaries for our children with intentional wording. 

Sometimes it’s hard to admit that hearing no is really tough. And in a very real sense, I by no means want my children to grow up without having ever been told no and my kids still hear no on a daily basis. It is absolutely part of life and one I want them to hear.

However, I have drastically cut down on its use in our home by saying no without actually using the word. And in cutting down, it has made use of the word more effective for us. So why would I advocate for adopting the “parenting without saying no” approach?

Very simply… because they listen better.

The way we are hard wired as humans is to listen to the sentence structure. We sometimes hear the first part of a sentence, almost always hear the last part, but rarely hear the middle unless we have our complete attention on the person talking to us. And really, what young child is giving us their undivided attention at all times?

Beyond just the way we hear, it’s also important for all of us to have clear directions. If we are given vague instructions, it leaves a lot of gray area. This is because there are a thousand alternatives to “not” doing something, but only one course of action that should be done when told specifically what to do.

So why would we not want to stop saying no to kids and adopt a system that helps our children listen to us better? Or be more obedient?

Read about and listen to my podcast episode on the power of saying MAYBE.

So how do I remove negative words when talking to my child?

It’s really easy to say no… WAY too easy. So it’s not going to be a cake walk to retrain your mind to ditch negative words and actions like “no”, “stop”, “don’t”, “can’t”, etc. but it is possible. It took me a long time and I am still not perfect. It’s all about practice.

Instead of saying “I can’t talk right now” when I am waiting on hold on the phone and my daughter comes to ask me a question, I say “I am on the phone right now. I can talk to you in a little bit”. I do this because I am focusing on what she is going to hear. If she is not giving me her undivided attention, she may only hear “talk right now”. Instead, I want her to hear “on the phone” and “in a little bit”.

Related: Need help navigating your child’s behaviors?

Likewise, if my daughter is in danger and is too close to the street I am not about to yell “Don’t go in the street!” because I don’t want her to hear the last half of it. I want her to hear “Come here please!” or “Move away from the street!”

Alternatives to saying no & using negative language with kids

There are numerous examples I could give, but thought some of the best were in the image above. We have also replace “don’t touch” with “please keep your hands to yourself”/”please keep your hands in your pockets” (we go to antique stores a lot).

And my husband is working on not using “my ears don’t hear whining” because she has shut down too many times. Instead, we encourage her to use her words and express her emotions in a way that we can understand.

Read more from Parents with Confidence about adapting your parenting style to your child’s needs.

Is it possible to discipline without saying no?

Yes! This has everything to do with the idea of being intentional with our words and giving clear instructions to our children. Using positive phrasing actually has the ability to set clearer boundaries than the word no itself.


Magda Gerber once said “A child who is never told “no” is a neglected child.” And I completely agree, but sometimes it’s also more about how we tell them no, rather than the word itself! We must affirm what our children need to do. Rather than discipline and teach them by telling them what not to do, it’s a lot easier to tell them exactly what we want them to do. In telling a child not to hit, maybe he thinks “Well can I kick?”

When my daughter threw a small wooden ball and it hit me in the forehead instead of saying “NO! Don’t throw that!” I simply said “Ow! That really hurt. Please keep your toys in your hands.”

In the end my parenting has become much more intentional by using negative language and “no” less and coming up with a more positive approach. It makes the power of “no” retain its meaning and has created clear boundaries for my children.

Get the Positive Discipline Cheat Sheet

Need help reframing how you see or respond to situations with your kids? This cheat sheet will help you through some of those tough moments when you want to react with frustration instead of love. The sneak peek is below, but be sure to subscribe to download the full, printable version!

 

 

Watch this response to many of your questions & concerns about reducing negative parenting language.

 

**Edited for Author’s Notes:

 

  • The list provided is simply a visual to help say no less. In fact, that is the thesis of my article. In no way have we ditched the word “no” forever. It’s all about finding alternatives and choices, especially in the hard moments as a parent when nothing is working.
  • Also, the phrasing of “negative language” and “positive language” simply refers to the grammatical English term in that the sentence is or is not negative.
  • For more responses, such as one to the “we will not buy that” alternative, please watch the video. It explains how we say no, divert attention, and create boundaries with our words. Thank you all for your great feedback and responses!

www.roshambobaby.com

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LEARN ABOUT HAVING A POSITIVE ATTITUDE {MAGNET ACTIVITY FOR KIDS}

By Dallas Stevens

via momentsaday.com

 

LEARN ABOUT HAVING A POSITIVE ATTITUDE {MAGNET ACTIVITY FOR KIDS}

Activities and ideas for teaching kids about having a positive attitude

You are a living magnet. What you attract into your life is in harmony with your dominant thoughts.

– Brian Tracy

We used this marble wand to demonstrate and explore the concept behind the quotation above.

Magnet activities for kids to explore what it means to attract positive thoughts into their lives

When we surround ourselves with positive experiences, positive people and positive influences then we can be sure to have a more positive mindset.

Here are some sample discussion questions that can be used along with magnet activities to inspire positive thinking for kids:

  • What makes you happy?  Why?
  • Who are your best friends?  How do they make you feel?
  • What is your favourite activity?  How does it feel when you do it?
  • Where do you enjoy spending time?  Why?
  • When you feel happy, how does it influence your actions towards others?
  • What can you do to ensure a positive attitude every day?
  • If you wake up and think, “This is going to be a great day!” what do you think will happen?  How about if you think, “This is going to be a bad day”?

Magnet activities for kids to explore having a positive attitude

Magnets, of course, can be used for many fun educational activities.  Please note that they should always be used under adult supervision.

Here are some more magnet activities to try:

4 Fun Magnet Activities for Preschoolers from Teaching Mama

9 Magnet Play Activities from What Do We Do All Day

Fun Science Experiments: Magnet Magic from Babble Dabble Do

You may also like to check out this post with 10 more activities about developing a positive attitude.

Fun tools to explore magnetism from Child.com.au

Magnetic toys and tools from Child.com.au can be found here

Thanks to Child.com.au for sponsoring this post as well as 10 readings of my storybook Mason’s Greatest Gems.  The book shares how to “mine your inner gems” and develop virtues.  Character building activities such the one described in this post are a great follow-up to the story.

Child.com.au has donated each institution I visit a $100 gift voucher to use on educational materials from their extensive range.

Activities and storybook for kids to learn about new virtues

I recently enjoyed visiting a primary school in Mount Isa (outback Queensland) to do a reading.  This visit was especially fun because the kids knew all about mining as their town had a huge mine in it!

After the book reading, I asked the children to name the virtue from the scenarios on the free printable found here and the child who answered correctly got to stand up in front of the group holding the gemstones I had prepared (pictured above).  After all the gems on the worksheet had been covered, we went through the virtues again by asking for new examples (and the students then sat down as their virtue had a new example described).

www.roshambobaby.com

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10 Phrases to Help You Develop a Growth Mindset in Parenting

By Dallas Stevens

By 

One shift in thinking has drastically improved my parenting, and that is moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset about being a mom. This growth mindset says – you are always learning and it’s never too late to make a more positive choice. When you make a mistake it’s not an indication that you are doomed to be a failure; it’s an opportunity to grow.

The concept is easy enough to understand, but changing the thinking habits I had wasn’t as simple. One of the interesting things about growth mindset that Carol Dweck states in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, is that we can have a growth mindset about one area of life, but not another – that’s how I was about parenting. I had a growth mindset about things like creativity and academic learning. However, when it came to parenting, I expected myself to be a natural at being a mom.

I felt so awful about making mistakes in parenting. I’d feel so terribly guilty that I could barely make room for more positive, growth oriented thoughts. However, over time I discovered certain phrases that would quiet down the negative judgmental inner voice and allow me to learn instead of getting stuck in a place of depression and hopelessness. Here is a collection of 10 helpful tips about the growth mindset for parents.

If you’d like to be reminded regularly of ways to have a growth mindset, connect with your kids and communicate effectively, make sure you sign up here to get an invite to Bounceback Texts.

10 Phrases to Encourage a Growth Mindset in Parenting

  • Always learning – short and simple, you can think about this phrase to remind yourself that it’s healthy to be in the process of learning, you don’t have to know everything.
  • Connection, not perfection – this is my personal favorite growth mindset phrase for  remembering the priority in my relationships is connection, not getting every detail perfect. It is useful to think when I find myself getting stressed about a family event not going as planned, when I want to support a friend and don’t quite know the right words, or when I find myself waiting for just the right time to talk or play with my kids. Connection, not perfectionnudges me towards what matters most.
  • I’m in tune with my kids and I can make adjustments to our routines when needed. Have you ever felt like a failure when your perfectly worked out routine falls to pieces? It’s helpful to  remember that your job is actually paying attention to this and making a change.
  • This used to work for us (or I thought this would work for us) but I am empowered – I can make a change when things aren’t working. It can be hard to have a growth mindset when something you thought would be perfect for your family….isn’t. We put a lot of store in parenting choices like schooling, breastfeeding, foods we feed our kids, childcare, sleeping arrangements and so on. It’s not to say the way we handle these decision isn’t important, they are. However it is a mistake to believe there is one right way and if you find it everything will be great. Sometimes we have to make a change, and it can be humbling and scary, but holding on to patterns that don’t work for your family is no way to be a leader. Which leads us to another phrase that helps you have a growth mindset about parenting…
  • It takes strength and wisdom to recognize you need to change course, and then take action to make that change. 
  • I made a mistake and I am a big enough person to learn from it and move forward instead of clinging to something that isn’t working. Sometimes it stings to admit we were wrong, but compounding a mistake by clinging to something that isn’t working for you isn’t the answer. Learning from it and moving on is freeing.
  • It’s never too late to make a more positive choice. Sometimes I’ve been caught up thinking that everything is a mess – why bother? This phrase reminds me that making a more positive choice is always an option.
  • I can change directions. I can start over from now. Some days we need a do-over. Permission granted. You can start over from now.
  • I am a work in progress and this is part of that progress. It’s great to have a vision of where you want to be, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that the process of learning and growing has great value. You are someone valuable right now.
  • I always have potential for growth. Yes you do – you are not too old, too broken, too dumb. You have potential for growth. It’s helpful for me to remember I am not stuck being one particular way; through effort and time I can change if I wish.
  • What have I learned from this? Reflecting on what you’ve learned, even from the most uncomfortable situations, helps you grow.
  • Mistakes mean I’m learning. I always loved the song my Dad would sing to me when I was a kid that had a chorus that said, “Oops, you made a mistake, and you’re beautiful to me.

What phrase do you like to say to yourself to help you remember that you don’t have to be perfect?

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Best Snowsuits for Kids – snow play all day!

By Dallas Stevens

Eyes need protection all year round! Pair Ro·Sham·Bo Baby's children's sports sunglasses with these 5 best toddler snowsuits to keep Junior safe from head to toe.

By 

As kids get older it’s easier to send them out doors in the cold and snowy weather to play for long stretches… if you have the right snow gear. A good snowsuit can be the difference between drinking a warm beverage in it’s entirety while watching the kids romp and play from the window, and repeated blasts of cold air from the door opening and closing as the kids come in because their snow suit doesn’t fit right or their clothes are starting to get wet.

Bast Play All Day Kids Snow Suits

I know what a pain to shop for snow suits, so, to make it a little easier I have gathered the top rated snowsuits for kids on Amazon. These snow suits all have a minimum of 50 reviews and an average rating of at least 4 stars.

Top rated Snow Suits

 

Arctix Youth Overalls Snow Bib

4.5 stars with over 600 reviews- Great for everyday wear, this snowsuit has reinforced cuffs and scuff guards to prevent fraying at the ankles. They also have gaiters- an internal sleeve that fits inside the snow boots to keep legs and feet completely protected from the snow. This snow suit has elastic sides and adjustable shoulder straps for a good fit on a wide range of body types. It also come in a wide range of sizes and colors. Reviews appreciate the warmth of this snowsuit.

White Sierra Youth Toboggan Insulated Bib

4.5 stars with 200 reviews. Articulated knees, stretchy ribbed sides, and adjustable shoulder straps mean a custom fit while also allowing for range of motion. Many reviewers mentioned the high quality of materials and construction and felt that the sizing was true to fit.

Columbia Snowslope II Bib

4.3 stars with 131 reviews- Light weight and warm, with reinforced cuffs, this snowsuit is ready to see your child though more than one season of snow. Columbia Snowslope II has a unique outgrow cuff system allowing you to lengthen the legs for a longer lasting fit. Reviewers mention the ease of cleaning between uses because dirt can simply be brushed off after drying.

iXtreme Boys’ Snowbib

4.5 starts with 90 reviews- This snowsuit features internal gators and zippered cuffs to create a layered barrier against the snow. The zippered pockets and key or mitten loop make these a great choice for a day on the slops or out and about everyday. Reviews note that they run slightly large making them a good fit for huskier kids.

London Fog Classic Bib Pant with Zipper

4.6 stars with 50 reviews. A geat snowsuit, it is machine washable and features a cargo pocket on the side making it a good choice for the slopes or a everyday use. They come in a range of colors and sizes from 2T all the way up to 14/16 youth. Reviewers appreciate the quality and warmth of these snow bibs.

More top rated snow gear:

 

Hanes Thermal Underwear Set

Don’t forget a breathable base layer, these thermal underwear have flat, no rub seams and shrinkage control, however, reviewers note that these run small so you may want to order up a size or two.

 

 

Fox River Kids Snow Day Over-The-Calf Socks

A warm pair of wool socks can make a big difference in staying warm and dry while playing in the snow. These socks are made of soft Merino wool and have a flat toe seam for comfort.

OutdoorMaster Kids Ski Goggles

For kids 6 and up these goggles offer UV protection to protect eyes and can even be worn over glasses!

For more of the best snow gear for kids, check out these posts:

 

www.roshambobaby.com

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7 Reasons to Eat Family Dinner Together

By Gen Cohen

Research shows that sharing dinner as a family improves teenage behaviors, increases toddler vocabulary and teaches kids to eat healthier. Check out these benefits of eating with family:

By Anne K. Fishel, Ph.D. via parenting.com

Over the last 20 years, dozens of studies have confirmed what parents have known intuitively for a long time: Sitting down for a nightly dinner is good for the spirit, the brain and the body. Research shows that shared meals are tied to many teenage behaviors that parents pray for: reduced rates of substance abuse, eating disorders and depression; and higher grade point averages and self-esteem. For young children, conversation at the table is a bigger vocabulary booster than reading aloud to them. The icing on the cake is that kids who eat regular family dinners grow up to be young adults who eat healthier and have lower rates of obesity.

As a working mother, who has learned by trial and error with my two sons and husband, and as a family therapist, who asks every family about their dinners, this is what else I've learned:

1. It doesn't have to be daily.

You don't have to have dinner every night to reap the benefits. It could be breakfast, a weekend brunch, a take-a-break-snack at night or a combination of these. And there's no magic number. The point is to make a commitment to a family meal where everyone sits down to share food, have fun and talk about things that matter.

2. Play with your food.

With so much of our play now conducted online, adults and children have lost the opportunity to play with real objects that can be touched, smelled and transformed. So play together. Cooking is an activity that still involves our senses and our hands, and it is something we still can do together. You can set out salad fixings and have everyone choose vegetables to create faces, trees and cars. Play with taste by slipping in a new flavor or spice and asking everyone to guess the ingredients.

3. It's doable.

Despite parent's hectic work schedules and kids' busy extracurricular activities, it's very doable to have nightly dinner. The whole process of cooking and eating together can take just an hour (less than 30 minutes to cook and the average meal is 22 minutes*), and that hour is transformative. If we still planted vegetables, played instruments for our entertainment and quilted on the front porch, we might not need family dinners, but it's the most reliable time of day that we have to connect with one another. When kids feel connected to their parents, it's like a seatbelt on the potholed road of childhood.

4. Try new activities and share talents.

Dinner can be a great place to try out new behaviors. A family dinner is like an improvisatory theater performance. The family shows up night after night, and as a group they can try out new ways of interacting with one another. Or, one member's behavior can set off a cascade of others. For example, a family might agree to refrain from making any negative comments at the table and see what happens. Or, a teenager might be invited to make a family dinner or to create a musical soundtrack for the meal.

5. Share your family history.

The dinner table is the best place to tell stories, and kids who know their family stories are more resilient and feel better about themselves. Most inspiring are lemonade-from-lemon stories, stories about adversity where a lesson is learned, or negative events that transform into something good. Stories help us make sense of the world, and they help kids connect to something bigger than themselves. Tell stories about yourself and other family members when they were the same age as your children. Tell stories about romance, first jobs, immigration, how names were chosen, a childhood pet, a favorite recipe or kitchen disaster.

6. Stay connected.

Table conversation is one of the richest language experiences you can provide for your children. When else do we sit and talk for several minutes, offering lots of comments and explanations on one topic? Try asking questions that go beyond, "How was your day?" For example, instead ask everyone to tell a rose (something positive) and a thorn (something negative) about the day, as well as a bud (what you wish will happen tomorrow).

7. It's good for you, too.

Rituals like dinner, which punctuate a world that often feels frenzied and out of control, are good for adults, too. Knowing that one part of your day is going to unfold in basically the same way, day after day, is comforting.

So, I'm ringing the dinner bell and inviting you and your family to come to the table. Dinner is more than a feeding station. Food will bring the family to the table, but it's the conversation and stories that keeps us there. In an hour, you can create comfort, fun, play and meaningful conversation—one meal at a time.

Anne K. Fishel, Ph.D., author of "Home for Dinner: Mixing Food, Fun and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids," is the director of the Family and Couples Therapy Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate clinical professor of psychology at the Harvard Medical School. She is the cofounder of The Family Dinner Project and writes the popular blog "Digital Family" for "Psychology Today." You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

*Ramey SL, Juliusson HK. Family dynamics at dinner: A natural context for revealing basic family processes. In Families, Risk, and Competence, Lewis M, Feiring, C. (eds.) New York: Rutledge, 1998.

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15 Kids' Halloween Costumes That Are Tutu Fabulous

By Gen Cohen

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Toddler Lunch Ideas

By Gen Cohen

We have new healthy lunch ideas for toddlers like delicious sandwiches, wraps and mini-pizzas.

By Jennifer Saltiel, Stephanie Eckelkamp and Kelly Ladd Sanchez
parenting.com
Honey, Almond Butter & Banana
Spread 2 slices of whole-wheat bread with almond butter or peanut butter. Top 1 bread slice with a drizzle of honey (for kids 1 and up) and a layer of banana slices. Cover with the other slice, butter side down.
Pear & Avocado
Mash 1/2 ripe avocado in a bowl. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spread the avocado evenly on 2 slices of sourdough bread. Add a layer of thinly sliced Bosc or Asian pear to 1 bread slice. Cover with the other slice and press gently to adhere. Swap in pomegranate seeds for the pear, if you like.
Apple, Cheddar & Peanut Butter
Split a focaccia square in half crosswise. Spread the cut side of 1 half with peanut butter. Top with a layer of cheddar-cheese slices and then a layer of thin apple slices. Cover with the other half, cut side down and press gently.
Strawberry & Goat Cheese
Split an English muffin and lightly toast the halves. Spread each half with softened goat cheese or plain whipped cream cheese. Top with a thin layer of strawberry jam, followed by a layer of thin strawberry slices. Place the top half of the muffin over the bottom half, and press gently.
Slice It Right
If it seems like that sandwich you packed in the morning makes a soggy return uneaten in the afternoon, swap in Pepperidge Farm Goldfish—shaped bread. It'll remind him of a familiar snack and get him to eat up. $3 to $4; grocery stores.  Try our Healthy Lunch Maker Tool for more more kid-friendly ideas.
Leave a Message
Whoever said you can't package hugs and kisses? Surprise your little scholar by tucking a love note into her lunch box so she knows you're thinking about her even though you're far away. And you'll know that every day at 12:30 p.m., she's reading your note and thinking of you, too!
Cut It Out
Turn the ordinary lunch-box staple into a menagerie of animals with these sandwich cutters. Check out Munchkin's elephant cutter, above ($3; Walmart stores).

Turkey Pinwheels 
Serves 1
Spread dollop of store-bought hummus on whole-wheat tortilla, then layer a slice of turkey and some spinach leaves. Roll up and cut.

Serve with:
Cheese cubes
Fruit salad

Pack it up: Svenja Lunch Box, $34, beatrixny.com; Small Round Containers, $16 for two, kidskonserve.com; Light My Fire Spork Little, $7 for three, amazon.com; Teacher's Pet Picnic Pouch, $7, oonae.com; White Traveler water bottle, $25, mysigg.com

 

Egg Salad Sandwich
Serves 1 to 2
Mix two crushed hard-boiled eggs, ½ tsp mustard, 1 tsp mayo (or plain yogurt) and salt and pepper to taste. Serve on whole-wheat or multigrain bread.

Serve with:
Oranges
Pretzel sticks

Pack it up: Maxi Storage Box in Blue, $36, mysigg.com; Sigg Cuddle Monsters water bottle, $20, mysigg.com; Light My Fire Spork Little, $7 for three, amazon.com; Jam Session Picnic Pouch, $7, oonae.com; Snack Disk, $6, oxo.com; large and small bowl set, $10, oxo.com

Vegetable Pasta
Serves 4
Mix 6 oz cooked tricolor rotini pasta, ½ Tbsp melted butter, ½ cup cooked peas, 2/3 cup quartered cherry tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with:
Carrots
Applesauce

Pack it up: Frog Zoo Lunchies, $13, skiphop.com; Large Round Containers, $19 for two, and thermos, $21, kidskonserve.com; Love, Not Waste hand Towel, $7, peopletowels.com; Beverage Bottle With Solid Cap, Spring Green 9 oz, $13, lifefactory.com; Light My Fire Spork little, $7 for three, amazon.com

 

Pita-Butter and Jelly
If your child's main food staple is PB&J, but peanut butter is a no-no at her school, here's a peanut-free option. Substitute butter or cream cheese in for peanut butter and spread on whole-wheat pita bread. Top with jelly, or if she loves apple pie, try cinnamony apple butter.

Serve with:
Hard-boiled egg (If you child hates the yolk, serve two servings of egg whites instead.)
Squeezable yogurt tube
Sliced grapes & sliced grape tomatoes

 

I Heart Turkey
A plain ol' turkey sandwich gets a little love with this Thanksgiving-inspired, heart-shaped version. (Kid not a heart-lover? Stars or dinosaur shapes work, too.) Spread a thin layer of cranberry sauce on two pieces of whole wheat bread. Layer two slices of roasted turkey breast and sliced cheese. Use a cookie cutter to cut the sandwich into the shape of a heart.

Serve with:
Baby carrots with ranch dressing dip
Squeezable applesauce tube

 

Build-Your-Own Sandwich
Let your little chef test his culinary skills by packing the ingredients to a sandwich á la Lunchables. Assembling his own meal right at the lunch table may inspire him to eat it as well. Slice lunch meat and cheese into small squares. Serve with whole-grain crackers and individual packets of mayonnaise or mustard.

Serve with:
Pear or apple slices (squeeze a bit of lemon juice on them to prevent browning)
Store-bought cinnamon pita chips

 

Mini Pizzas
This kid-favorite gets a healthy makeover to fuel your child's busy body all day long. Make these the night before to save time in the morning. Top English muffin halves with jarred marinara sauce (if your child won't object, add chopped steamed broccoli or spinach to the sauce.) Sprinkle pre-shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. Let cool, then wrap up.

Serve with:
One half cup of blueberries
Individual chocolate pudding

 

Brunch for Lunch
Who says French toast and eggs are just for breakfast? This traditional morning meal makes a power-packed lunch. Feel free to make these the night before. French toast cinnamon sticks: Add pureed squash or sweet potatoes to egg-milk batter for an extra boost of beta-carotene. Cook French toast and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture. Let cool and slice into sticks for an easy-to-eat fork-free option.

Serve with:
Hard-boiled egg (If you child hates the yolk, serve two servings of egg whites instead.)
1/2-cup fruit salad

 

Go Fish!
An under-the-sea adventure right in your child's very own lunchbox: Tuna fish sandwich shaped like a fish. Cut a corner off of the bread and reverse it, placing the point at the middle of the cut line. Use a round slice of baby carrot for the eye.)

Serve with:
Baby carrots (Write "Fish Food" on the plastic bag)
Blue-raspberry "water"—an individual Jell-O container
Mini goldfish-shaped cheese crackers

 

Fruit Roll-Up

While your child would no doubt enjoy diving into a meal of sticky sweet fruit leather, this guilt-free version offers nutrients and energy to keep her going for the second half of the school day.

Spread blueberry or strawberry-flavored cream cheese on a whole-wheat tortilla wrap. Top with fresh blueberries or sliced strawberries and roll tortilla.

Serve with:
Small container of hummus
Celery sticks and sliced cucumbers for dipping
A real fruit roll-up for dessert

 

Kid-friendly Chicken Salad
Sliced grapes and cubed apples add sweetness to plain old chicken salad. If your child eats nuts, add crushed cashews for extra crunch. Serve in a small container with whole wheat crackers or flatbreads.

Serve with:
String cheese
Cook-free S'Mores: Spread Marshmallow Fluff on one graham cracker square, nutella on the other and press together and enjoy!

 

Rainbow Wheel
A colorful, super-healthy lunch choice. Spread white bean dip on a whole-wheat or spinach tortilla wrap. Layer with lettuce, sliced tomato, cheese, thinly sliced cucumber (or pickle if your child is a fan), avocado and other favorite vegetables. Roll up the tortilla. Then slice into 4 1-inch cross-sections to make the wheels.

Serve with:
Banana
Chocolate milk

 

Cube Food
Kids love finger foods—why not serve up a whole meal of uniform, easy-to-eat cubes? Serve with a toothpick if your little one doesn't want to use his hands.

Cubed rotisserie chicken
Cubed cheddar cheese
Cubed sweet potato (microwave the whole potato for 8 minutes, let cool, then cut.)

Serve with:
Cubed cantaloupe
Cubed brownie bites

 

Ham and veggie pinwheels
Pinwheels aren't just cute toys. Try these tasty sandwich alternatives.

 

Don't forget the snacks!
It's always a good idea to toss some after-school snacks in their lunchbox, too. Stock your pantry with these delicious and nutritious munchies, sure to keep them happy until dinner.

Brain Snacks for Kids
These yummy, healthy treats make great back-to-school snacks

7 No-Mess Snacks
These neat eats are yummy, healthy and easy to clean up

7 Delish Snack Mixes
Salty pretzels, cheesy crackers, protein-packed nuts, sweet raisins and more—all mixed up for some yummy snack packs

6 Naturally Sweet Treats
Your kids will love these dessert-like snacks—just don't tell them how healthy they are!

7 Snacks that Teach
Kids can learn about numbers, letters, colors and even bugs with these yummy treats

8 Fruity Snacks Kids Love
They see: cookies, gummies and chips. Yum! You see: fiber, vitamins and calcium. Score!

7 Healthy Kid-Friendly Dips
Kids will have fun getting their fruits and veggies with these yummy sauces and spreads

7 Snacks That Won't Spoil Dinner 
Stave off "when's dinner?!" whining with these nutritious treats

 

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The Way 1 Dad Calms Down His Baby With Special Needs Is Beyond Sweet

By Gen Cohen

Before baby Gideon was diagnosed with peroxisomal biogenesis disorder at 7 months old, the Jolicoeur family was stumped when it came to calming down their baby when he was crying . . . until they discovered the magic of raspberries.

In a video recorded by Gideon's mom and posted to Facebook, we see the tiny baby uncontrollably crying until his dad swoops in and saves the day with a raspberry or two. Judging by the relaxed look on the infant's face, it definitely appears to be working.

Peroxisomal biogenesis disorder, a medical condition that affects human cells, often leaves children blind and can lead to loss of hearing as well, so it's no surprise that little Gideon took a shining to some skin-to-skin action. Talk about cuteness overload.

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