It’s time for your child to head back to school. You roll your eyes, because that means coming up with a new lunch five times a week, for the rest of the school year. What’s a parent to do? Here are some ideas for creative and healthy lunchbox ideas that you can send to school with your child.

  1. Bento Boxes

Bento boxes are originally from Japan, and they are a very creative way to serve your child food. There are containers especially made for this purpose, or else you can simply use a variety of boxes in an assortment of sizes that you already have.

Bento box food is generally shaped to look like flowers, animals or cartoon characters. The sky is the limit as far as creativity. There are plenty of websites dedicated solely to this artistic endeavor. Check them out and make your child’s lunch fun each and every day.

  1. Pasta

Pasta is an easy and quick lunchbox idea. Make a batch early in the week and then load it up with various vegetables and sauces to make many different options. You can pair spaghetti noodles with green peas and Parmesan, or add broccoli and a simple yet delicious tomato sauce to pasta shells.

  1. Sandwiches

Sandwiches have been an old lunch standby for as long as most of us can remember, but they are not to be scoffed at. There is almost nothing you cannot add between two pieces of bread that does not automatically become delicious. From peanut butter to BLTs, sandwiches filled the lunch boxes of our own childhood and continue to do so for our children.

Keep them fresh by storing any vegetables or other moist food in a separate container, so your child can put it all together directly before consuming it. Add new tastes to expand your child’s palate and prevent boredom, such as wasabi or sriracha mayo.

  1. Veggie Burritos

Why not turn an old favorite into a new lunch idea for your school-age child? Veggie burritos are easy to make and easy to store. What’s not to love about that? Simply choose a type each of beans, veggies, cheese and sauce, and then wrap it up. Your child will never get tired of all the options and combinations available.

  1. Soup

Soup is another great lunchbox standby. With all the thermoses and container options out there, it is easy to find something to keep it in, even keeping it warm until being eaten. A broth filled with numerous kinds of vegetables such as cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, zucchini and onions is healthy and lasts well in a lunchbox. Simply add a piece of bread and a few cheese sticks for a healthy, well-rounded meal.

  1. Salads

Salad is a great lunch option, and it does not have to be boring. Load it up with chickpeas, nuts, seeds, and top it off with a healthy dressing for a lunch your child will thank you for. There are now salad storage containers sold even at the big box stores that have special compartments to fit all the components of the salad – even tiny squeeze bottles for the dressing.

With all the options available, there is no reason for your child to get bored with their school lunches. Thanks to a variety of storage options, your child’s lunch can safely wait for lunch break and not even go bad. Fill up your child’s lunchbox with healthy meals to keep your child fueled all day long.

The professionals at TLC Family Care personally assist nannies, babysitters and families in St. Louis, Atlanta, Chicago, Nashville, Memphis, Charlotte, Miami and Orlando to find the right childcare arrangement. Our mission is to provide a safe and personalized  approach for families and caregivers to connect with each other that is not an internet search. TLC has worked with families, nannies, sitters, newborn care providers, and tutors for over 35 years and looks forward to working with you! To find great nanny and babysitting jobs visit us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or Call 314-725-5660.

Families everywhere are getting ready for the beginning of the new school year.  Here are some helpful tips from Good Morning America parenting expert Ann Pleshette Murphy so you can be prepared for the first day.

1. Start readjusting to a school-year bedtime now.

2. Hang a family calendar and color-code everyone’s activities.

3. Gather all school forms as they arrive.

4. Book babysitters now for your school’s parents’ night and other dates when they’ll be in-demand.  Call TLC for Kids to help with all your babysitting needs.

5. Create a family station where you can find what you need as you head out the door.

6. Set up an in/out box for school forms.

7. Look at online organizational websites.

8. Discuss goals for the year.

9. Institute a night quiet hour.

10. Reach out to your child’s teacher.

 

Good luck on the first day.

 

The professionals at TLC Family Care personally assist nannies, babysitters and families in St. Louis, Atlanta, Chicago, Nashville, Memphis, Charlotte, Miami and Orlando to find the right childcare arrangement. Our mission is to provide a safe and personalized  approach for families and caregivers to connect with each other that is not an internet search. TLC has worked with families, nannies, sitters, newborn care providers, and tutors for over 35 years and looks forward to working with you! To find great nanny and babysitting jobs visit us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or Call 314-725-5660.

 

Summer is almost here and it’s time to start thinking about childcare for the break.

TLC for Kids have great nannies ready to work this summer. All of our nannies are experienced, screened and excited about playing with your kids this summer! TLC summer nannies will explore the city with your kids. They will go to the Zoo, the Science Center, the pool, and all sorts of fun places.

 

Contact us today to start your summer nanny search.   St. Louis, Mo. 314-725-5660   South Florida 305-256-5905

While you may be stuck at home and scrambling to get it all done in a day – parenting, working from home, schoolwork, take a moment and remember that you can use these time to make priceless memories with your family. Memories are often one of the strongest elements of your life as a parent. Consider the many ways in which you remember your child’s first years. Perhaps you remember the smell of their bath soap as you remember giving them their first bath. Perhaps you remember the way it felt to touch your child for the first time. You may even remember the unique smile that came across your lips the first time your child smiled themselves. These are all fabulous ways to remember your child. However, how can you preserve them?

A Variety Of Ways

There are many ways to keep your memories alive and beautiful. In many ways, it is easier today to remember yesterday than ever before. As you consider your options, contemplate using several ways to remember your child and your family. Putting together a collection of different methods to remembering can help you to really form a strong bond over time. Most people lose memories within a few years, unless they are particularly strong. Still, by the time your child is in college, chances are many smells, touches and unique looks will have faded. Here are some ways to preserve them.

Journals: One of the best ways to remember your child’s first years and every year after is to use a journal. If your child is a newborn or just starting life, then now is the perfect time to start a collection of your thoughts. What is unique about a journal is that they are very easy to use and they allow you to collect thoughts not just pictures. Journals make a great tool to use along with other formats, too. You can add photos to your journal as well as small trinkets if you would like to.

Keepsake Boxes: As your child grows, there is no doubt you will have small items that mean a lot to you. In fact, just leaving the hospital you may have their identification bands, their cap, and even the outfit they wore home. These are all great items to keep in a keepsake box. Easily placed in a corner of a closet, these boxes are very easy to use and offer a great tool for collecting items.

Picture Albums: A simple form of collecting pictures is the picture album. You simply need to print off or purchase your pictures and put them into place. It only takes a few minutes to jot a note on the back of the picture to get things started.

Scrapbooks: Another way to keep hold of your memories is a scrapbook. Many new moms and dads have good intentions of using a scrapbook but they may easily become overwhelmed. If you are worried they will be too much trouble, don’t be. They do not have to be updated often and you can often do them whenever you have time. They are not complex, but can easily be added to by pre-purchased items and sheets. The process can be easy.

Video: Filming the birth of your child, their journey home and everything until their college graduation is becoming a common family occurrence. With a smartphone and the cloud, all those memories are easily tucked away. Video works very well to capture memories since it is a moving documentation of the events. And don’t just go for the planned birthdays, school performances, and holidays. Capture the little things such as a dance-off, making family dinner or family game night.

Which way is the best way for you to keep memories of your child? Choosing several methods may work best for you. The key is to capture are many memories as you can and then to keep them safe. When you use several options, you are able to get more information than you could with just one.

For example, perhaps you have a video recording of your child’s first birthday. You can see everything that is happening. Now, you want a few pictures, too to add to the scrapbook that you are creating and to send to friends. Add to that a few great notes in your journal about the day and the way you were feeling and you have a complete memory of the event that will last a lifetime. Go for it, your child will appreciate it in the years to come, and so will you.

 

To assist with the current crisis, TLC is temporarily offering FREE MEMBERSHIP and DISCOUNTED AGENCY FEES to all Medical Professionals and First Responders. We know you cannot work at home and want to help you ensure you have solid care arrangements for your loved ones.  Call TLC at 314.725.5660 to learn more and get started.

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Louis, Tampa and more!. Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

To some, it seems like the ultimate gig. You get to travel to tropical islands and exotic foreign destinations with all of your expenses included — plus your regular salary. But while outsiders may hear “all-inclusive trip to the Jamaica,” a nanny hears “a long flight, a new location, no toys and strange food.” 

Though you may actually serve sandwiches on a blanket multiple times on the trip, being a travel nanny is no picnic; it’s work. And unlike your usual set up, where the parents go to work and you’re at home in familiar territory with the kids, it’s all new, to you and your nanny family. So before you pack your bags, it’s important to prepare, communicate and set expectations that will ensure that everyone has a successful trip.

Who Is In Charge?

Unlike your usual routine, there will be times on the trip when you and the parents are both present. In these scenarios — such as on the plane, during some sightseeing and back at the hotel — who is in charge? Many parents will want to be, but many won’t. Some may prefer flying first class while you handle the kids in coach. Others may not want to undermine the authoritative status you’ve already worked so hard to achieve. Either way, discuss it before you set off for your destination. If you know you’ll be in charge somewhere big and crowded, consider asking the parents to invest in wearable technology that keeps kids from wandering. For example, the Mommy I’m Here child locator uses Bluetooth technology to alert caregivers if a child has strayed an unsafe distance.

What Are the Expectations?

Will you be meandering through museums with the kids in tow, or will you be holed up at the hotel while the parents explore alone? Either is fine, as long as you know what’s expected. Knowing beforehand allows you to properly prepare. For example, if you’ll be in charge during the six hour flight, you may want to introduce earphones earlier that week so young ones won’t be reluctant to wear them. And, if you don’t already own one, a headphone splitter is a must. If you’ll be in charge of meals and snack time, you may want to pack nutritious kid-friendly snacks, like BodyKey protein bars or Nutrilite smoothies from Amway. If given enough notice, consider following the company’s Twitter page to learn more about other healthy on-the-go product offerings.

When Is Your Down Time?

For everybody’s sake, it’s important to remember that this isn’t a vacation for you but a vacation for your employer’s family. That means this trip shouldn’t count as your paid time off, and you shouldn’t expect to see and do everything you would’ve had you made the trip yourself. With that being said, you are deserving of down time. Talk to your nanny family beforehand to set aside time for yourself. For longer trips, you may even suggest a full day off to see the sights on your own instead of receiving the day’s usual compensation.

Where Do You Sleep?

To cut costs and keep you close, many families expect the nanny to share a room with the kids. If you’re OK with this, then by all means accept. If not, speak up. If having your own room is important to you, consider pitching the idea of an AirBnB-type home rental. That way you’ll have your own space, but you’ll also be just across the hall if anyone needs you.

How Much Are You Paid?

This depends on the family, expected duties and trip duration, among other things. But, in most cases, nanny employers will disburse your usual salary and will also cover food, travel and lodging expenses. Others may add a $50-$100 or more, daily bonus to compensate you for being away from home, and others may come up with a 24-hour rate, so they don’t have to keep track of work hours. If you’re unsure about the rate your employer has offered, do the math. According to federal labor laws, if you work more than 40 hours a week you’re entitled to overtime pay at one and a half times the regular hourly rate of pay.

This article originally appeared on Regarding Nannies. 

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Louis, Tampa and more!. Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

 

Regular schedules provide the day with a structure that orders a young child’s world. Although predictability can be tiresome for adults, children thrive on repetition and routine. Schedules begin from the first days of life. Babies, especially, need regular sleep and meal programs and even routines leading up to those activities.  sitters available for hotels and visitors

As they gets older, when a child knows what is going to happen and who is going to be there, it allows them to think and feel more independently,  and feel more safe and secure. A disrupted routine can set a child off and cause them to feel insecure and irritable.  

Dinnertime is a great place to start setting a routine.  Sitting together at the dinner table gives children the opportunity to share their day and talk about their feelings.  This is also a great time to include some responsibility in your child’s routine, such as helping to set or clear the table. 

And regardless of how exhausted you or your children may be, don’t be tempted to skip winding down from the day.  This is part of a nighttime ritual and allows both child and parent to decompress after a busy day. It also helps bedtime go more smoothly.  This is usually the time of day when parent and child can spend some quality time together, so fight the urge to start the laundry or do the dishes until after the child has gone to bed.  If this isn’t possible, consider trading off these duties with your spouse each night to ensure your child has quality time with each parent on a regular basis. Take the time to find out what wind-down strategy works best for your child.  Some children are actually energized instead of relaxed by a warm bath, so if that’s the case with your child, bath time should be saved for a different time of day. Whatever routine you settle on, make it quiet, relaxing, and tranquil for everyone.  

And though routines are essential, there should be some room to be flexible as well.  You might be out late at night on a family outing, have unexpected company show up that may result in a skipped meal or nap in the car while running errands in the evening.  In these instances, it’s important for you to keep your cool. If you express frustration or anger about disrupting the routine, your child will as well. Prepare children for such unexpected events and show them that though it can happen from time to time, the routine will return the next day.

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Louis, Tampa and more!. Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

 

 

Toddlers can be fussy eaters who refuse to try new food at least half of the time. Approximately half of all toddlers fit this description, so it is no wonder that food issues are a source of stress for parents.

Establishing healthy eating patterns is important to avoid problems such as obesity and eating disorders later in life. Various strategies can help your child accept a wider range of foods.  It may be necessary to offer food to your child as many as 10 different times before they choose to eat it. The problem is, many parents get frustrated and give up before the fourth or fifth try. 

Try to make food fun. Colorful foods like carrot sticks, raisins, apples, grapes, cheese sticks and crackers can all be fun and healthy choices for your growing toddler. Explain to them that eating good food is important so they’ll grow big and strong, and how it will help them run faster and play longer. 

Children learn behaviors from their parents. If you restrict yourself to a narrow range of foods, your child will take notice and mimic your caution. Don’t limit your child’s food variety to only those foods you prefer. It may be that your child’s tastes are different to yours, and perhaps you are simply serving them foods they don’t happen to like.  Try to set a good example and try a variety of foods in front of your child. It could motivate them to do the same. 

If your child seems healthy and energetic, then they are eating enough. If you are still concerned, keep an eye on how much food they actually eat over the day. Children tend to graze constantly, rather than restrict their eating to three meals per day like adults. You may be surprised how those little handfuls and snacks add up. For further reassurance, check your child’s growth and weight charts, or check with your child’s pediatrician. 

Try not to worry, and remember, that unless a child is ill, they will eat. Children are very good at judging their hunger and fullness signals. Try to stay relaxed about mealtime and offer your child a wide variety of foods, and most importantly, remember to set a good example by trying a wide variety of foods yourself.  You may discover you and your toddler share a new found favorite food!

Most parents nowadays are busy – but most also still want a clean home.  Yearly events have been established culturally in which homes are given particular attention when it comes to straightening up and beginning fresh.  Communities often have bulk trash days a couple of times a year and most individuals are familiar with spring cleaning, a seasonal time in which the world seems clean and brand new – and through hard work, so do homes.  However, due to the hectic schedules of some parents, spring cleaning may often take a back seat, leaving parents feeling cluttered and frustrated. Here are some simple ways in which busy parents can help to make the most out of spring cleaning!

  1. Involve children.  Children of almost any age can help when it comes to spring cleaning.  Sometimes the tasks are more involved, such as cleaning windows, and other times the tasks are much more simple, such as putting one’s own toys away.  Regardless of the ages of your children, they can help. 
  2. Remember to keep the specifics of your child in mind when enlisting help.  Asking a three year old to clean windows is, in most cases, unrealistic. However, asking the same thing of a thirteen year old is often much more in line with their capabilities.   It is very important to keep the particulars of one’s child in mind so that the tasks are reliably completed and no one, child or parent, is left completely frustrated by the tasks.
  3. Explain the concept of spring cleaning to your children and, if necessary, your spouse.  Everyone likes a clean and organized home, and so everyone needs to be willing to pitch in and help.  Spring cleaning is a big task. If it is accomplished successfully and everyone respects the works that has been done, it should not need to be done often – usually only once a year as the name suggests.  By explaining these things to your family, it is more likely that they will be content with the work that they are doing.
  4. Set a reasonable time limit.  It is unlikely that an entire house can be cleaned and organized entirely in just one day.  Be aware that it will take time for these tasks to be completed – Especially if you are a busy parent!  Instead of creating unrealistic goals, make sure that you set reasonable time lines, not just for your children, but for yourself as well.
  5. If necessary, look outside the home for help.  There are plenty of cleaning services that can help busy individuals achieve their spring cleaning goals.  However, it will be important to find a reputable company to do the work, which means a cleaning service that will hire individuals that are trustworthy and reliable.  At the same time, it will help to give you a feeling of accomplishment, even as a busy parent, if you do not allow them to do all of the work. Take pride in your home and keep some simple, less bulky chores on hand for you and your family to take part in.
  6. Remind your family of their unity!  Spring cleaning is a great time for families to come together and help each other out in order to create a more peaceful living environment.  By simply setting aside a small amount of time, families can remember what it is that unites them and how important it is for them to act as a family.  In just a few hours, by working together a family can accomplish quite a bit in the home, possibly more than they ever may have expected possible!

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Louis, Tampa and more!. Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

Having a family dinner is one important part of being a family. A family dinner gives a child a routine, a safe place and a warm meal together with loved ones. But what can you do if your dinner schedules do not match up? How can you keep in touch?

Many parents do not know what is going on in their teenager’s lives for several reasons. Most families discuss the day at family dinner. If your schedules do not allow dinners you will miss this opportunity. Often time’s schedules are filled with errands, sports practices, music lessons, and meeting friends. If you additionally work late or your work is second shift you might not have many chances to see your children. 

To improve the way you stay in touch you can try anyone of the following solutions. If you do not have time for a family dinner because of scheduling extracurricular issues, go ahead and try to tackle that schedule. Look at what is holding you back from family dinners and try to reschedule these events. Of course you cannot reschedule all the things planned for that week, but maybe a few nights a week you can get together and have a family dinner. When you do so, make sure your children know why you are changing the schedule and why you think it is important to have a family dinner. During these family dinners, talk to your children, discuss the day, the week, the upcoming events and especially if they have any issues or problems.

If you cannot get many of these family dinners going because your schedule is just bursting full, there are other ways to stay in touch with your children. Every morning, everybody comes through the kitchen, has breakfast, take the time and talk to them. This is the perfect half and hour to get in touch and find out about your children’s interests.

If you are the driver to school, get a chat going don’t let them plug their mp3 players or iPods in their ear, do not let them use their cell phones to talk to their friends. Start up a conversation with your kids. Find out about their school days, anything that is going on. If you are the driver you have the opportunity every time you drive your children to stay in touch, to be connected to them.

When they are home at night, get together for social interaction like playing board games or just sitting together and have a chat. It does not need to be dinner to talk to your children. Any time that they are around you is a good time. 

Oftentimes, children do not want to spend all this time with their parents or do not want to talk about their lives with their parents. But when children regularly talk to their parents and a good connection exists, keeping in touch can be easy. The more you are in touch with your children, the better are the chances that you find out about problems early. You can help redirect them with early relationships, sliding grades, drugs, alcohol and much more. Parents’ involvement in children’s life’s and education helps getting your children on a successful path. Use any and all times to talk to your children. Even though you want to talk to your children and know everything that is going on in their life, be respectful and do not overdue it. Teenagers are at a developmental stage where they want to find their identity away from the parents, therefore staying in touch can be difficult and when tried to hard, the contact can actually rather be lost than saved.

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Louis, Tampa and more!. Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.

The benefits of the internet are vital to your kid’s growth, but it may also impose some danger when used incorrectly. So as parents, you should know the ways to keep your kids safe while using the internet.

1. Create a set of rules on how to use and what time your child can use the internet. It would be advisable if you discuss it with your kids or create the rules together with your kids. In this way, both of you can agree to each rule that you impose. This will give your kids a level or responsibility when they can participate on rule-making. 

2. As much as possible, keep the internet connected computer where adults can see it (and not in your kid’s bedroom). In this way, you can monitor the websites that your kids visit.

3. Speak to your kids about online pornography. You can direct them to websites about sexuality and health.

4. Block websites with malicious content. Although there are several ways to do it, the easiest way is to follow these steps: Keep one user name for the computer and one internet browser e.g. Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. This will allow you to monitor and access the internet activity of your kids. For the Internet Explorer, you can change the setting of your security access by implementing the security zone on your Internet Options menu. This way, you can restrict website access and block specific websites that your kids shouldn’t see.

You can also use a firewall to block any unwanted content to enter your computer. There are several software’s that allow you to do this.

5. Show your kids how to use the internet properly. Although this may be taught in school, it is always good to spend some time with your kids while they use the internet. This way, you also bond with them and can direct them to websites that are right for their age.

6. If you allow your kids to enter chat rooms, make sure that they remain in public rooms. Tell him not to talk to anyone in private and absolutely no personal information (school, parent’s occupation, address, etc.) should be given to anyone.

7. Tell your kids not to give his password to anyone, even to his friends or classmates.

8. And, make the computer area free from clutter so that your kids will enjoy the time on their computer.

 

TLC For Kids, Inc. has been St. Louis’ premier nanny and babysitting agency for over 30 years. TLC For Kids’ dedicated staff is ready to assist you in finding nannies, tutors, newborn care specialists, sitters and more in Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Louis, Tampa and more!. Reach us at tlc@tlcforkids.com or 314-725-5660.