• How to Establish a Morning Routine for Kids

    Clothes to put on. Teeth to brush. Shoes to tie. There are a lot of little things you and your toddler need to do to get ready for the day, and it can be overwhelming if you don’t have a routine set. Well, we’re here to help you start one! Here are our best tips for establishing a morning routine for kids and toddlers:

    1| Put Your Plan in Narrative Form

    how to establish a morning routine for kids

    Sit down with your child to plan out your new morning routine, and put it into the form of a story. Let your child illustrate each step of the plan. This will help your little one remember what they need to do each day, and you can refer back to your handmade book whenever there are additions or questions.

    2| Start the Night Before

    Planning, in addition to practice, always makes perfect. Prep for your morning each night before you and your child go to bed. Lay out the next day’s clothes, prep lunch stuff, and get their backpack or bookbag packed and ready to go.

    3| Have a Morning Spot

    The morning routine you establish for your kids will be made easier if they can always store and find things they need in the same spot of your home. Find a high-traffic place for shoes, coats, and backpacks, and feel free to label cubbies for easy organization.

    4| Make Waking Up Fun

    Forget alarms! If you’re going to get your little one out of bed in a good mood, try playing their favorite song or waking them up with a joke. This will help them see waking up as a good thing—something that will prove to be valuable well into adulthood!

    5| Stick to the Routine on Weekends

    It can be easy for kids to fall out of their good morning habits if you stray too far from the routine on the weekends. Stick to your daily schedule as much as you can, but make it extra fun. Reward them when they successfully follow the routine on weekends… maybe an extra TV episode or their favorite breakfast will do the trick.

    6| Get Up Before the Kids

    We know it’s not fun, but you’ll have to resign yourself to getting up before your kids. That way, you can take care of you before it’s time to get the kiddo crew ready for the day. Make time and space for just you and do something that relaxes and centers you, whether it’s a morning run or a strong cup of coffee.

    7| Make Sure You’re Getting Enough Sleep

    It will be easier for everyone to wake up if they’re getting enough sleep. As a general rule of thumb, adults need between seven and nine hours, and toddlers need as many as 10 to 14 hours of sleep per night.

    8| Find the Right Child Care

    The best end to your piece of the daily schedule for your kids will include dropping them off at a trusted child care provider. At Noah’s Ark Child Care Academy, we will continue on with the morning routine for your kids, from goodbyes, to naptime, to pick up.

    Want more ideas and tips for busy moms and dads? Check out our blog. If you need a little help with child care, we are here for you. Explore our daycare options and get in contact with us for more info!

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  • How to Survive (and Stay Well-Fed During) the Picky Eater Phase

    Head shakes. “No!” muttered through mouthfuls of food. Little hands raised from high chairs in obvious “stop” motions. These are all signs that you’re in the dreaded toddler picky eater phase.

    Don’t fret! We’ve scoured the web for the best tips and tricks for getting through the picky eater phase, and we’ve thrown in a few recipe ideas for good measure. Let’s take a bite.

    Give Them a Reality Check

    Parenting’s first tip is to remind your child that you’re not a short order cook. No parent has the time, resources, or patience to cook custom meals for everyone, so when it’s time to eat, tell them: “this is what’s for dinner. If you don’t want it, that’s fine.” Don’t force them to eat it, but by letting them know that what you’ve made is the only option, they’re forced to choose to wait or give in to the so-called “yucky meal.”

    Put Nutrition in New Packaging

    It’s the picky eater cliché: A little one frowning at a full plate of steamed broccoli. So, when you can’t convince them to eat it as-is, try repackaging it in something they like. If they like pasta but not vegetables, try zoodles! Here’s our favorite kiddo-friendly zoodles recipe.

    Eat Together—and Make it Fun

    Your child looks up to you, so if you’re eating and loving your meal, it’s more likely that they will, too! Add another layer of picky eater persuasion by making dinner super fun. Play fun music or invite their favorite relative or friend over once a week. If dinner is fun family time, you’re less likely to deal with cranky, whiny kids at meal times.

    Set Up a Rewards System

    It may feel a little icky, but parenting experts recommend trying “bribery” and reminding yourself to not feel guilty about it. When met with a picky eater’s grimace, say, “If you take five bites of this, you can have dessert!” or “If you finish your plate, we can play your favorite game tonight!”

    Want more down-to-earth, actionable parenting advice? Check out our blog for awesome posts like:

    BONUS: MOMables’ picks for best healthy meals for picky eaters.

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  • Daycare Drop-Off Tips: For the First Day and Beyond

    Our Favorite Daycare Drop-Off Tips from Real Moms and Dads

    It seems like just yesterday you and your baby were coming home from the hospital, but now, it’s Daycare Eve, that nerve-wracking day before their first big day at daycare. We’ve got a few quick tips for you and your little one to minimize stress on the first day—and for many days to come!

    Stay Positive

    The first of our daycare drop-off tips is one we hear from lots of experienced moms and dads. If you’re calm, cool, and collected, your child is much more likely to feel confident about their first daycare day, as kids often pick up on their parents’ emotional cues.

    Get Snazzy

    You know that confident, secure feeling you get when you find that perfect first day outfit for a new job? Your child will feel the same if they have a cool new pair of shoes or special shirt with their favorite character on it ready for their first day at daycare—it gives them something to look forward to!

    Do a Practice Round

    This tip is especially important for children who haven’t spent a lot of time away from mom or dad. Go through your routine the day before; drop them off for a playdate or at a friend’s house for short visit at the same time you’ll be dropping them off at daycare. This will help acclimate them to your new routine.

    Talk About It

    Change is scary. An easy way to mitigate this fear of newness is to talk to your child about where they’re going. Explain where daycare is on a map in relation to your home, or show them photos of the daycare facility online.

    Big Kiss (and Go!)

    Leaving your child on the first day at daycare is kind of like pulling off a band-aid—it hurts, but the quicker and more confident you are while it’s happening, the easier it will be for everyone. Make sure your child knows you’re leaving, give them a big hug and/or kiss, and go. Don’t dawdle!

    Be BFFs With the Staff

    Make a point to be friendly with your daycare’s employees. They will be with your child often, so if they know and like you, they’re more likely to understand and connect with your child. Tell the staff about your child’s communication style, and make sure to express gratitude for the staff’s dedication.

    Looking for more down-to-earth parenting advice like these first day daycare drop-off tips? Browse our blog for tips from busy moms and dads just like you!

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  • 7 Potty Training Tips for (and From) Busy Parents

    If your kiddo is going through fewer diapers and staying dry through nap time, it might be time to start potty training. Experts say many children are ready between the ages of 18 and 30 months, but others will need to wait until they’re three years old.

    Every kid is different, so here are a few signs to help you know when it’s time to start potty training:

    • Your child can walk to and sit on a toilet
    • Your child can pull down and pull up their pants
    • Your child can stay dry for up to two hours
    • Your child can follow easy directions
    • Your child can communicate when they need to go
    • Your child seems interested in the toilet
    So, is it time? If so, we have seven potty training tips to help you potty train your kiddo quickly—and with no tears and minimal stress.

    Tip #1: Make Potty Training Seem Cool

    When you talk to your little one about using the toilet, make it sound grown up and cool. Say things like, “wouldn’t it be awesome to potty like a big boy?” and “soon you’ll be pottying just like Mommy!”

    Tip #2: Establish Bathroom Talk

    What To Expect says it’s important to use technical words like “urinate” and “defecate,” but “potty” and “poop” work, too. Once you have the vocabulary straightened out with your child, they will know how to communicate with you to make the process easier.

    Tip #3: Turn Motivation Into Momentum

    Try rewarding your little one for each successful potty with something small, maybe a penny in their piggy bank or a cool sticker on their potty chart. Once your kid is getting the hang of it, slowly phase out the reward process and let their natural motivation take over.

    Tip #4: Try Going “Nakey”

    Parents’ potty training tips from real moms includes the concept of letting kiddos go naked for bathtime and then encourage them to use the toilet before or after their bath. No clothes means fewer barriers between them and the potty. Once they have a handle on naked potty time, clothed potty time will be an easier concept to grasp.

    Tip #5: Teach Them “Wet” and “Dry”

    Sometimes kids will worry about being wet, so it’s a great idea to teach them how to check whether or not they’re dry. This will give them a way to feel secure even when you’re not together—and when they tell you after work how they were dry at daycare, you’ll have another reason to give them a big hug!

    Tip #6: Dress For Success

    Time is of the essence in potty training, so you’ll want to start dressing your child in clothes that are easy for them to pull down, with no tricky snaps or buttons.

    Tip #7: Get Others Involved

    As it’s often said, it takes an army to raise a family. The same is true for the potty training process! Get your siblings, your friends, your child’s grandparents, and other caregivers involved. They’ll help establish a consistent experience for your child and your kiddo will love the extra praise and support.

    Want more parenting advice and answers like these easy-to-follow potty training tips? Browse our blog for real parenting advice for busy moms and dad.

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  • Quick & Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids

    Healthy and easy lunch ideas to get you through the busy school mornings.

    For most of us mornings are a blur, having to get ourselves ready for work and our our kids ready for school before anyone is late. Unfortunately, when it comes to putting together school lunches, the quickest and most convenient options aren’t always the healthiest—until now!

    We know that you want to feed your kids wholesome and healthy food, but that you need it to come together quickly so you fit it into your already crammed mornings. Because of this, we’ve put together a list of quick healthy recipes and snack ideas that your kids will love and will take you less than 20 minutes to prepare.

    The First Step: Meal Prep

    The trick to easy lunch assembly in the mornings is to have all the ingredients you need on hand and ready to go. Most of the ingredients in these recipes can be prepped days in advance to help you make packing your kids’ lunch bags a breeze. 

    Many of these recipes call for shredded chicken, thinly sliced veggies, hard-boiled eggs, cubed or shredded cheese, etc. On Sunday, cook the chicken, make the eggs, and prep the veggies and cheese, and store them in air tight containers in the fridge so you can just quickly grab your ingredients when you need them.

    Turkey & Cheese "Sushi" Roll

    turkey and cheese rolls
    Source: wearychef.com

    These fun turkey and cheese “sushi rolls” are fun to eat and easy to make. All you need is whole wheat or veggie wraps, shredded mozzarella cheese, shredded carrots, and thin turkey slices. Pair them up with your kid’s favorite veggies or fruits for a complete meal.

    Ready in: 5 minutes

    See the full recipe here.

    BBQ Chicken Sandwich

    Source: eatingwell.com

    You’ll want this delicious comfort food for yourself! Toss some shredded chicken in BBQ sauce, throw in shredded carrots for extra crunch, put them on a whole wheat bun, add some lettuce, and you’re done! The original recipe uses ranch dressing to add extra flavor, but you can skip this to cut back on some fat and calories. Make sure to use low sugar BBQ sauce!

    Ready in: 10 minutes

    See the full recipe here.

    Banana & PB Rolls

    Source: weelicious.com

    This easy and yummy recipe is quick to make and packs the nutrients and energy your kids will need to get through the day. All you need is a couple whole wheat wraps, two bananas, and some peanut butter or your favorite nut butter. Spread the peanut butter over the wraps and place the banana on top and roll it up. Once you’re done and your roll is tight, cut up 1/2 inch slices to make it bite size.

    Ready in: 5 minutes

    See the full recipe here.

    Lunch Kabobs

    Source: momontimeout.com

    Food on a stick! All you need is some grilled chicken, cubed cheese, and your kid’s favorite veggies, and you have a nutritious and fun lunch. Pair it up with some hard-boiled eggs, crackers, or fruit and you’re all set!

    Ready in: 5 minutes

    See the full recipe here.

    Bean Quesadillas

    Source: eatingwell.com

    Thanks to their cheesiness, quesadillas are a welcomed meal for most kids. You can make a healthy spin on this Tex-Mex classic by using part-skim or low fat cheddar cheese, whole wheat tortillas, and black beans for extra fiber and protein.

    Ready in: 20 minutes

    See the full recipe here.

    Strawberry Sandwich

    Source: eatingwell.com

    Brighten up your kid’s day with this fun and sweet sandwich. Combine cream cheese and honey in a bowl, then spread it over whole wheat bread generously. Finally, stack sliced strawberries on top and finish up your sandwich. Pack it with your kid’s favorite healthy snacks, such as pita and hummus or chips and salsa.

    Ready in: 5 minutes

    See the full recipe here.

    Breakfast For Lunch

    Source: eatingwell.com

    Who says that breakfast is just for the morning? This quick and easy recipe will make things fun for your kid as they enjoy some of their favorite breakfast foods. To assembly this quick lunch, simply make a sandwich with toasted whole wheat waffles, your favorite seed or nut butter, and apple slices. Then pack them with some of your kid’s favorite breakfast foods or snacks. For example, you can use grape tomatoes, cottage cheese with a sprinkle of cinnamon, grapefruit, an a hard-boiled egg.

    Ready in: 15 minutes

    See the full recipe here.

    These nutritious and easy healthy recipes will brighten up your kid’s lunchbox and get them excited about eating nutrient-packed foods! Once you get the hang of these recipes, experiment by changing up the fruits, nut butters, and veggies in the recipes to keep things exciting and fun.

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