Monday, May 16

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Wednesday, May 4

A to Z: 12 Hacks for Traveling with Kids

Summer is on the horizon, which means family vacations are being strategically planned and plotted!  While making memories as a family is important, traveling can be taxing. Take some of the stress out of your summer travel plans with these simple parenting hacks!

  • Make sure your vehicle has a first aid kit with all the basics.
  • Keep kids entertained with a travel binder stocked with pencil cases, paper, coloring sheets, worksheets, crossword puzzles, etc. The binder not only keeps everything contained, but acts as a portable writing desk.
  • Play the license plate game or road trip bingo with these free printables!
  • Bring audiobooks that the whole family can enjoy while riding in the car.
  • Tether sippy cups to car seats, making sure the length of string is long enough for use, but short enough to not be hazardous.
  • Purchase suction cup shower caddies and attach to the car window for a place to store small toys, crayons, etc.
  • Leave the expensive stroller at home. Cheap strollers are usually much smaller, lightweight, and won't be missed if they’re stolen at the amusement park.
  • Pack small trinkets and snacks into a paper bag for each child. As a reward for their patience and cooperation, hand these out during a halfway point or once you reach your destination.
  • Freeze juice boxes to keep them cold and refreshing during travel. As a bonus, they’ll keep other snack items cool and refrigerated.
  • If you’re worried about spills and stains, cover your car’s seat upholstery with an old bed sheet. If dirty shoes are a potential problem, bring plastic grocery bags or a pack of shower caps to keep shoe pairs together and contained.
  • Keep out crumbs and gunk by putting muffin liners in cup holders.
  • If you’re headed to a friend or family member’s house, travel light by packing clothing in vacuum-sealed bags. Just borrow the vacuum before heading home!

Contributed by Rebecca Stokes, Fairmont Private Schools

Monday, May 2

SNACKTIME: Child-Friendly Vegetable Salads

Fruits and vegetables provide enormous health benefits, but little ones may find it challenging to meet the recommended number of daily servings for each. In fact, national surveys indicate that most children do not consume enough vegetables, and that about one-third of the vegetables children did eat were mostly from potatoes, such as French fries or chips.

The following strategies can be helpful to get your child to eat a variety of healthy vegetables. It may take some time, but encouragement and a little imagination will increase the odds.

Start Small - Mix familiar salad greens with one or two new veggies.

Color is Appealing - Children naturally navigate towards red, so try red cherry tomatoes, red bell peppers, and even red beets. Carrots also come in a variety of colors including purple. Identifying colors can become a fun game and take pressure off eating.

Shape - Get creative with cubes, sticks, and Julienne sliced vegetables. Special peelers can create visual interest with creative swirls and curly cues.

Size is Key - Bite size pieces are easier for small mouths to manage. Carrot or celery sticks are favorite finger foods and dip easily.

Salad Dippers - Homemade or store bought, dips can help veggies get eaten. A creamy salad dressing, bean dip (hummus), or a cheese dip can entice little ones to try new vegetables.

Sweet - A bit of natural sweetness added to salad greens, such as apples, berries, jicama, mandarin oranges, or melon balls can help stimulate appetites.

Getting kids to eat a variety of vegetables from the rainbow diet can be fun!

Contributed by Leslie K. Kay-Getzinger, Regional Dietitian for Nutrition Management Services