As parents and nannies we teach our kids how to ride bikes, how to be polite, and how to read and write. But how often do we teach them the importance of giving back to the community?
According to the United Way, research shows that kids not only have fun while volunteering, but volunteering also enhances development, promotes a healthy lifestyle, and teaches social responsibility.
Luckily, volunteer opportunities aren’t hard to find, and most are welcoming to all ages of children.
Here are some ways you and the kids can give back to the community:
• Adopt a Park: There are municipal programs for the adoption of stretches of highway or parks, but you don’t have to get involved on an official level. You can unofficially adopt part of your child’s favorite playground, and then make a commitment to clean up the area. Your child will learn how to take pride in his/her favorite place, and together you’ll be making the park a cleaner, better place.
• Make and Deliver Greeting Cards: As a family, choose a local nursing home/food pantry/women’s shelter, and sit down together to create cards for the holiday you choose. Once you’ve made the cards, most organizations will welcome you and your children to their establishment to hand out the cards to its residents. This is a great activity to do with children because they love arts-n-crafts, and there is always a holiday or event where people want to receive cards. Plus, it teaches them that a simple act of kindness is always appreciated.
• Collect Materials and Donate to a Shelter: Shelters are always needing and wanting materials and volunteers. With your children, pick a shelter nearby and contact them to see what they need. After you decide, you and your kids can find items in your house or at a local store to donate.
To find more volunteer opportunities specific to your community, check your local newspaper, look for ads posted in shopping centers, or contact an organization you are passionate about helping to see how you can help them.
One organization that is important to us at TLC is Autism Speaks. TLC for Kids is happy to be joining the St. Louis Autism Awareness Walk this fall. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org If you are interested in walking with us on October 11th!
What is there to do during the summer in Miami? Other than soaking up the sun and playing on the beach, Miami is a kid-friendly city.
Here are five places for you to visit with your children:
1. Monkey Jungle. Monkey Jungle is a 30-acre park broken up into three sections: the wild monkey swimming pool, the Orangutans, and the Amazonian Rainforest. Families and children can walk through the jungle, and see each monkey living in their natural habitat. There is also the option of buying food to feed the monkeys.
2. Perez Art Museum Miami. Once a month, the art museum in downtown Miami, invites families in to exhibits and permanent collection free of charge. Then, the second Saturday of every month, the museum also schedules child-friendly art-making activities from 12-5 p.m. This is a great learning experience!
3. Fruit & Spice Park. Fruit & Spice Park is deemed one of the nation’s most unusual parks. At the park, you’re encouraged to pick and eat the fruit right off the trees (or ground). The park has more than 500 varieties of fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs and nuts. The park even has a bamboo grove, and a lake with a waterfall and lily pads. This is a good activity for days when the weather is nice, and exposes your children to the wide variety of available foods.
4. Coral Gable Arts Cinema. On the second Saturday and Sunday of each month, a family-friendly movie is shown at 11 a.m. for only $5 (popcorn included). This is an affordable option that allows the entire family to enjoy an activity together.
5. Miami-Dade Public Library. Not only does the library have tons of reading for your children and family, but they are also offering free museum passes. The Museum Pass offers patrons FREE admission for a family of four to the Deering Estate at Cutler, Fruit & Spice Park, HistoryMiami, Miami Children’s Museum, Miami Science Museum, Pérez Art Museum Miami and Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. All you have to do is visit your local branch!
Miami does have a lot of fun things to do with the kids during the day. AND, they also have a very exciting night life! While visiting take a night or two and check out one of their great restaurants or bars. TLC for Kids has trustworthy and experienced sitters who can come to the hotel and watch the kids. Call TLC for Kids Miami to book a sitter today (305) 256-5905.
During the summer months, many kids go to baseball, basketball, volleyball, swimming and dance camp. We instill values of practice makes perfect, but what about their academics? Luckily, there are lots of tips and tricks to make learning as fun as attending a summer camp with their friends.
Strengthening math skills:
• Let your children help in the kitchen. Allowing your children to join you in the cooking process teaches them how to read the recipe and measure the ingredients. Recipes also expose your children to fractions, which kids typically have problems understanding.
• Play board games and have your child be the scorekeeper. Games like Yahtzee and Monopoly are good games to help strengthen your child’s math skills because each includes lots of adding, and Monopoly gives your child the chance to learn more about money.
• Grab a stopwatch or a stopwatch app. Children love to play with stopwatches, and giving them one opens up lots of learning opportunities. One way they can use the stopwatch is by timing how long it takes their bike to ride down the street or around the block. Then they can keep track of how fast they go and chart the difference in their time the more they practice. This strengthens number recognition, telling time, and subtraction skills.
Strengthening reading skills:
• Visit your local library. St. Louis City and County Libraries offer reading incentive programs for kids of all ages. If getting your child to read has previously been a struggle, this is a good way to get them excited about reading because their friends will be reaping the benefits of the program (like free Cardinal tickets).
• Write letters. Do you have a grandparent, cousin, or friend that lives out of town? Have your children write letters to them. This activity will not only teach your kids how to maintain relationships, but also strengthen their reading and written communication skills.
TLC for Kids also offers tutoring. All of TLC’s tutors have degrees in education. To book a TLC tutor today, call (314) 725-5660.
Most parents these days need more sleep. Especially parents with infants. I know I did!
TLC for Kids now has a certified sleep consultant to help St. Louis families with those sleepless nights. Visit our website to learn more about TLC for Kids Newborn Services.
I’m excited to be share a wonderful blog post today from a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, Jen Varela! Jen has been helping tired families get sleep since 2010, and wanted to share some of her sleep wisdom with you! Here are three things she recommends to all her families .
1. Sleep begets sleep
It is amazing how this works! What time does your baby go to sleep at night? Is it too late? Did you miss the “sweet spot” sleepy window? For babies six months or older consider a bedtime between 6:30-7:30 p.m. Helping your baby get the proper amount of sleep can reduce fussiness at bedtime, decrease the number of night awakenings and eliminate early rising. Also take a look at the “sweet spot” for the first nap of the day. If you wait too long then you may miss their first sleep window.
When they are infants consider keeping the window at 90 minutes between waking for the day to asleep again at the first nap. As your baby grows their ability to stay awake for longer periods of time will also grow. Between the ages of four and a half to six months your baby’s wakeful window will mature and stretch from 2 to 2 ½ hours.
Is your baby starting to crawl? Could they be in the middle of a developmental milestone? Did you know that when your baby is in a developmental burst that they will … yes, I said WILL have a sleep regression. Did the number of night awakening increase at the same time as they were working on something new? This is a good thing because they are doing what they are supposed to do. They are consolidating memories during REM sleep, integrating their experiences and making new connections in their brain.
Routine is defined by a nice flow to your day, not rigid scheduling. Doing the same thing in the same order or fashion. An example would be to eat upon waking or be social and active during alert times. The bedtime routine creates a positive association with going to sleep. You want to have a nice flow to your day and predictability can aid in better sleep. Don’t get caught up in a rigid routine, you might miss your baby’s sleep cues if you get to focused on the clock. Try doing things in the same order before sleep. A verbal sleep cue is very helpful with communicating it is time to go to sleep without it being stimulating and overly engaging. Everyone likes a little “sweet-talk” when they are tired.
Click here to read more tips from Sleep Lady consultant Joy Varela
Need a way to beat the summer heat? Scorching temperatures give nannies the perfect opportunity to try fun indoor activities.
Here are three ways for nannies to get creative with indoor play:
1. Make your own Play-Doh.
Children love to experiment, so giving them the chance to make their own Play-Doh is something they will love. Plus, creating your own Play-Doh only takes about ten minutes and a few kitchen staples: 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup water, 1 cup flour, and food dye. For instructions click here. This is a great sensory activity for children of all ages.
2. Play board games.
With technology being such an integral part of our everyday lives, it is easy for a day spent indoors to be stolen by the apps of the Ipad or DVR recordings. To avoid the technology trap, we should remind ourselves of the timeless staple that is board games. Not only do board games give parents and/or caregivers a chance to engage with the children, but they also teach kids how to follow directions, maintain good sportsmanship, and gain critical thinking skills.
3. Build a fort.
Building a fort indoors is a great idea because you already have all of the items you need in the house: blankets, sheets, pillows, chairs. The quickest way to build a fort can be done by draping a king or queen size sheet over two chairs. However, you will be surprised by the elaborate ideas your children will show you. As long as you have removed breakable and valuable items from the area, this is a simple activity that encourages imaginative play and teaches cooperation.
For more fun ideas visit the TLC for Kids Pinterest page.
TLC for Kids has lots of great full time and part time nanny jobs available. Visit our website to learn more!
Family vacations to the beach are fun for everyone. Cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Boca have great beaches and fun things for the family to do during the day. But the nightlife in Miami doesn’t include kids. Miami and Miami Beach have great restaurants and clubs for parents to see while visiting South Florida. Michael Mina 74 was recently listed as one of the best new restaurants in Miami. Why not have a date night while on vacation?
TLC for Kids Miami has professional babysitters ready to come to your hotel. Our hotel babysitters are reliable, mature and experienced. They arrive at the hotel ready to play with a bag of age appropriate toys for your kids.
To book your South Florida hotel babysitter contact us at 305-256-5905 or ask the hotel concierge to contact TLC for Kids.