EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Archive for July 2011

I recently left my cell phone charger at a hotel I had stayed in during a work conference.  I didn’t replace it for a week.  My cell phone sat silently in my purse for 7 days.  I didn’t miss it at all.

But my children, and other adults I know, did.  I was “unavailable” because I could not be reached at all times of the day and night.  Clearly, this won’t do.

Parents are apparently supposed to be “available” to their children – no matter how old they are –every day, at any given time.  The same holds true for many other adults in our lives.  I know that cell phones and other mobile communication devices are a fact of life and invaluable for many businesses.  I know that many people no longer have a land line, but…

This is a lot of pressure.

If you feel like a yo-yo sometimes because you are pulled back and forth due to constant messages and information you have to attend to, this list is for you.

If you don’t know whether to answer a text, a ringing phone or an email, this list is for you.

If you find yourself checking your purse or pocket no matter whose phone is ringing in a crowd, please keep reading.

A list to keep children focused on real life communication that doesn’t include a phone an iPad or anything else that is hand held:

Talk to your children face to face.  While you are talking look them straight in the eye, smile, hold their hand, touch their shoulders, nod your head and lean in to listen very carefully to what they say back to you.  Now it is your turn to talk again, then listen, then talk…

When you are with your children – be stingy.  Play, sing, sit quietly, lie on the couch, cook spaghetti, garden, pick out fruit at the grocery store, ride in the car, watch their soccer game, or visit a friend.   But be selfish about it.  Don’t share yourself with anything or anyone else but your child.

Insist that your children talk with you instead of always texting, calling or emailing. Even very young children have access to personal hand held devices and think that this is the way to communicate with their parents.  It’s not.  This is in addition to talking directly and personally, not a replacement.

Take a break from whatever you have that allows you to be “available” 24/7.  Set a goal for yourself to limit cell phones (or whatever you carry constantly), computers and any other communication screen.  This will be a very important model for your children.

I know we live in a very hectic, fast and quickly changing world.  But a week without a cell phone was great.  And guess what—the world survived!

“Women use cell phones more than men.”



-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director



A good lunch should represent about a third of your child’s daily nutritional needs.  Depending on the age of your child, this can be an easy guide or difficult. Due to hectic summer schedules, it is easy to be talked into a quick lunch of fast food. It is also tempting to spend a lot of money on the pre-packed lunch collections that children open and eat.  While convenient for adults these typically are high in sodium and fat calories. They are difficult for young children to manage and create high garbage and waste.

Summer day camps, picnics at the park & beaches and neighborhood water days often find children and families packing a lunch.    “Brown bags” can be a selected canvas lunch bag or lunch box used each day. Be sure this is big enough for an ice pack and plastic container(s) for foods that need to be kept cold.  Thermoses and cloth napkins are also a wonderful way to keep lunches environmentally friendly.  The NYS Dept. of Conservation has estimated that disposable school lunches generate an average of 67 lbs of trash per child/year.  Summer lunch garbage adds to this!

When packing lunches, use this list as a starting guide and include:                                                                              

1 serving of protein                                                                                                                                                                      

 1 serving of dairy                                                                                                                                                                            

2 servings of fruit and/or vegetables                                                                                                                                              

2 servings of grain

Tips when planning and packing lunches:

*Let children plan their lunch and include children in food shopping
*Take time after dinner and prepare healthy lunches for the next day                                                                                                      *Combine new foods with children’s favorites
*Choose whole grain beads – sandwiches on toast are also favorites
*Include fresh, seasonal fruits
*Cut up, raw veggies with a yogurt dip and raisins are popular
*In containers close to the ice pack: cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, applesauce (with a spoon)
*Reuse zip lock bags filled with dry unsweetened cereal trail mix
*Include water to drink if there is a dairy serving of cheese or yogurt
* Bagel chips instead of potato chips
*Macaroni or potato salad – left-overs of favorite foods can often be packed
*Keep sweets and salt to a minimum

Be careful of group/camp food exclusions that often include peanut products.

For more information about nutrition and nutritious lunch choices investigate and

 along with many other information websites for families.

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Looking for some good books for summer reading?

Infants:  Choose picture books, board books & material books, small (hand-size) books, books to sing.                                         

Suggested titles:

Good Night Moon. Margaret Wise Brown

Baby Day! Nancy E. Wallace

Froggy’s Baby Sister.  Jonathan London

Rock-A-Baby Band. Kate McMullan

We Got My Brother at the Zoo. John Hassett

What’s On My Head? Margaret Miller                         

Toddlers:   Choose bright pictures with little text, repetion of words or predictable story lines, simple stories.  Choose bigger books but easy to hold and manage.  Select books with familiar themes (i.e. animals, vehicles, eating) and real pictures.                                                                                                                                                        

Suggested Titles:

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Bill Martin Jr. 

The Everything Book. Denise Fleming 

Rise and Shine. Raffi

Big Fat Hen. Keith Baker

Spot’s First Walk. Eric Hill

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Bill Martin                 

PreK & K:   Choose stories with simple, familiar text, rhyming words and silly word play.  Choose groups of titles by the same author, books that have meaningful themes that will open discussions and reflections (caring for pets, friendships…). Also, look for books with interesting illustrations.                             

Suggested titles:

Mama Cat.  Denise Fleming 

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Laura Numeroff

My Visit to the Dinosaurs.  Aliki

The Mitten. Jan Brett

Click Click Moo Cows that Type.  Doreen Cronin

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. Mo Willems

School age children typically have book lists from school.  Visit your public library for recommended titles, reading activities and special events held all summer long.

When choosing books for any child keep in mind the child’s developmental age, stage and interests.  Nursery Rhyme Classics and children’s favorite authors; Dr. Seuss, Robert Munsch (Love You Forever…), Ezra Jack Keats (Peter’s Chair…), Don Freeman (Corduroy series), Leo Leoni (Swimmy…) and Jonathan London (The Froggie series) are wonderful books for children.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

“The more that you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you know the more places you’ll go.”  

Dr. Seuss


-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


There is clear evidence that eating breakfast is important to brain and body.  “Breakfast jumpstarts the brain and keeps children alert for the day.  Eating breakfast is important for everyone, but is especially so for children and adolescents. Children who eat breakfast perform better in the classroom and on the playground, with better concentration, problem-solving skills, and eye-hand coordination.” American Dietetic Association.

Pediatricians, schools, homes and health awareness advocates resoundingly agree that children who start the day with breakfast are ready to take on the day’s activities and challenges.  But, in a busy summer lifestyle breakfast is often hurried, loaded with empty calories or simply skipped.  As adults sip coffee at the table or in the car, children often munch on donuts or other quick sweets.

Fast food chains and restaurants now offer alternatives to syrupy, gooey or greasy breakfast choices.  There are multi-grain options for favorite breads, bagels and crackers. Single serving containers of nutritious breakfast classics are available at grocery stores. This is the result of an informed population but also the ever increasing concern of childhood obesity and lack of physical activity.  Healthy habits start very young and last a life time.

So are you busy this summer with children who are on the go?

Don’t skip breakfast!  Be creative and try these ideas:

Survey your children- Buy fresh, seasonal fruit- Plan for breakfast every day    

Breakfast Food Ideas: p.b.& j. sandwiches, cream cheese and jelly sandwiches, ham & cheese roll-ups, cheese sticks, yogurt with fruit or crunchy cereal, donut & quarter pancakes (make pancakes, fold in half when cool and cut a circle in the fold.  You have a donut and a quarter!  Eat warm with raisins, berries or peanut butter or freeze for tomorrow), fruit smoothies,  juice pop-ice (pour any juice in an ice cube tray and freeze or buy inexpensive plastic freezie molds), ziplock baggies (reuse) of breakfast trail mix made of cereal, raisins, coconut, berries, small crackers or bagel bites, juice boxes, granola bars, hard boiled eggs, french toast served with fruit cottage cheese with fresh fruit, classic eggs, egg salad on toast, and almonds.
 When children eat breakfast they are just better.  They are in better moods, they have a better outlook on the day, they are in better health and they are able to use all of their many skills and talents.   They are learning a better way to take care of themselves.

“Mom!!! What’s to eat?! – Every child in America


-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director



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