• How to Get Kids to Clean Their Rooms

    How to get your kids to clean their rooms—and keep them clean—in ten tips.

    Do you find yourself tripping over clothes, toys, and art supplies every time you enter your child’s room? Most parents face an uphill battle in getting their children in the routine of keeping their rooms clean—but there’s good news! We’ve rounded up some of the best tips to help your kids be a little more tidy.

    1| Move Up Bedtime

    Let your kids know that for every misplaced item, they will need to go to bed five minutes earlier.

    2| Decorate Together

    Just like adults, kids are more likely to keep spaces clean if they feel a sense of pride of ownership. So, let them pick their paint color or bedspread!

    3| Monkey See, Monkey Do

    Kids want to be like you—you are a cool adult, after all! If they see your spotless room as the example to follow, they’ll be more likely to keep their own rooms spotless.

    4| Offer Storage

    If everything has its proper place, cleanup is easier. Label storage solutions like baskets and drawers so kids know where everything goes.

    5| Try Cute Reminders

    Do your kids brush their teeth at the same time and place every night? Put a sticky note on the mirror as a reminder: “Clean up tomorrow @ 6PM”, etc. Add another note that says, “Ice cream tomorrow @ 7PM!”

    6| Make it Fun

    Turn cleanup into a game! Make your clothes basket a basketball hoop and keep score, or ring a bell when cleanup is done.

    7| Play Music

    Many kids know the “cleanup” song that has been a staple at daycares for decades, but a great way to get kiddos excited about cleaning is to tailor a playlist for your family. Pick their favorite amp-up songs!

    8| Reward Them

    Incentives always help. Keep a cleanup chart and give them a star sticker for every successful session. At five or ten sessions, reward them with a cool new item for their room, like a poster or stuffed animal, or maybe take them out to get their favorite treat.

    9| Declutter

    Make cleaning easier on everyone by decluttering with your kids. Teach them about donation and recycling and how these exercises help their community!

    And, our #1 tip for getting your kids to clean their rooms:

    10| Give Them Time Off

    Everyone needs a vacation. Give them a day or week off every once in a while and you’ll feel less like a mountain climber—or a broken record.

    Keep tabs on our parenting blog for more tips and tricks for making the art of parenting a little easier. Check out some of our recent posts:

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  • Our 6 Favorite Parenting Books

    There are dozens of amazing, authoritative parenting blogs, but there are a few physical page turners that parents need on their bookshelves. Here is a list of our picks for the most honest and helpful parenting books for moms and dads:

    The subtitle for this popular book is “Toddler Discipline Without Shame,” which is apt considering that the general theme of the book is that parenting is successful when mutual trust is established. Lansbury covers punishment, cooperation, boundaries, tantrums, and more, all with an emphasis on shared respect between parent and child.

    This book is the first in the popular life stage-based series of parenting books from the 1980s. The books follow the structure of “situation you’re in” followed by “what to do about it” and “let’s talk about it.” The Cut recommends that you read these books with a glass of wine before bed and, “remind yourself your kid is not in fact a monster.”

    This classic is a must-read for new parents, as it covers screaming fits and other newborn challenges. As Parents says, Karp’s number one piece of advice is, “Get help! Throughout history, young couples were never expected to care for a baby all by themselves. Also, enjoy this time—even the challenging moments. Your baby’s early months will go by in a blink.”

    Barnes & Noble crowns this one as America’s bestselling baby book “must-have”, and a book that will cover everything about the first two years of your child’s life. Topics include:

    • Preparing for birth
    • Bonding with your baby
    • Understanding your baby’s development
    • Babyproofing your home
    • Toilet training
    • Working parenting
    • First-aid procedures
    • And a lot more..

    This book will answer your questions about parenting and health, whether it be mental, physical, or emotional. More recent editions have been updated by leading pediatrician Robert Needlman. Look for topics like:

    • Immunizations
    • Nutrition
    • Cultural diversity
    • Raising children with special needs
    • Children and the media
    • Common disorders like ADHD, childhood depression, and autism, and their matching medications and behavioral interventions

    You’ll need to reread that title a few times before you’re able to tweet or speak about it. But, the exercise is worth it, as this book has been an instant classic since it was published in 1980. The authors are real parents and cover topics with a down-to-earth approach. Topics include “Engaging Cooperation” and “Alternatives to Punishment,” among others.

    Love our picks for top-shelf parenting books? Check out our blog for more parenting tips, tricks, and advice. We’re here to support you, whether you’re establishing healthy eating habits with kids or setting up a morning routine.

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  • How to Teach Kids to Make Healthy Food Choices

    “Broccoli? Ew!”

    Does that sound familiar? If you get less-than-glowing vegetable reviews from your little ones, this blog post is for you. In this article we’ll give you tips to teach your kiddos about nutrition and well-balanced meals, and get them excited about foods that are good for them. We believe that learning how to love wholesome foods and making healthy food choices from an early age are essential for the healthy development of all children—and we want to help you make it happen. 

    Tip #1: Get Fun Tableware

    Kids love cool stuff. Even reluctant or picky eaters will find mealtime more fun if they have awesome tableware to use. Target, for example, has a wide and vibrant collection of tableware for both girls and boys.

    Even better? Visit your local thrift shop with your kid and let them choose a few different designs for cheap! This is just the kind of thing that you can find in thrift stores for cheap and in good condition, since people usually don’t have a use for them once the kids in the home outgrow them.

    Tip #2: Don’t Make Food a Fight

    Many parents and kids make food a source of conflict, but that only adds stress to family life. Instead, let kiddos have a little bit of control over mealtimes. Let them figure out when they are hungry, and decide when they’re full—don’t force them to finish their plate. Limit unhealthy snacks in the house (and explain to them why they’re unhealthy in terms they’ll understand) and let them choose what they want to eat when possible. If they have a little control, they’ll be a lot happier in the long run.

    Tip #3: Get Reading

    A fun way to get children thinking about smarter food choices is to integrate food into reading time. Brightly has a great list of books for fussy eaters. Our personal favorite for younger kids is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle as it introduces kids to eating all kinds of foods—fruits, veggies, desserts—in a fun and beautiful way.

    Tip #4: Talk About Food

    Communicate with kiddos about food whenever you get the chance. At the grocery store, show them different fruits and vegetables, grains, and more, and explain why they’re good for them. At restaurants, talk about what things you both liked or disliked.

    Always emphasize the importance of balance—it’s okay to eat cake and ice cream once in a while, but we also have to eat our veggies, fruits, and other nutritious choices. The goal is to help them develop a positive relationship with food based on information and a well-balanced diet.

    Tip #5: Start Training Your Sous Chef

    Our favorite tip on this list—and perhaps the best way to help kids make healthy food choices—is to cook with them. Start with easy recipes that they like, and teach them a new family recipe every once in a while once they’re old enough.

    Bonus idea: document the meals you make together by taking pictures. Assemble the photos into an interactive menu. Then, have your family order off the menu and have Chef Kiddo prepare the meal with you!

    Many of us as adults have complex—and often times not so positive—relationships with food, but perhaps, if we teach our children from an early age to celebrate all foods and get them excited about nutritious eating, we can hope that they’ll have a better relationship with food when they’re older.

    Looking for more parenting tips for busy moms and dads? Our parenting blog covers big topics like surviving the picky eater phase, tackling daycare drop off, and establishing a morning routine, among many other essential topics.

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  • 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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