Archives for the month of: August, 2015

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It is important for children to get a good night’s sleep. Depending on the kid’s age you may be dealing with different issues related to sleep time. However some quick tips can help kids sleep easily and well.

Avoid Stimulation Close to Bedtime
In order to fall asleep easily your child’s body and mind should to be relaxed. Make sure she has a nutritious dinner, but not a big one, as this will keep her awake. Also close to dinner time avoid any foods or drinks that contain caffeine.

We think it is best to avoid stimulating activities close to bedtime.  Create a sleep routine that you and your child would enjoy, and will calm her. Television shows are best avoided at this time. And the same holds true for scary stories. The routine should last about 20 to 30 minutes.

A Consistent Routine
When you follow a consistent bedtime routine there will be less arguments and negotiations regarding the same. You can ask you child if she will go to be bed right away or in five minutes. Do this only once. You could also announce that bedtime will be in five minutes. This allows her to mentally gear up for the change in her routine.
It is best to avoid singing or rocking your child to sleep. This can trigger a condition known as sleep-onset association disorder, which makes your child dependent on your singing or movement. Allow your child to fall asleep by herself.

Comfort is Important
The bedclothes should be comfortable and the temperature of the room should be just right, neither too cool, nor too warm. If she is scared of waking up alone, reassure her with an age appropriate object like a favorite soft toy or a flashlight. If your child happens to wake up when you leave the room and calls out for you, wait a few minutes before responding. She may go back to sleep by herself. If she comes out of the room, then gently, but firmly accompany her back and get her settled for the night.

Bedtime is precious family time, and with a little bit of planning it can be both, relaxing and special.

Follow the Bryerson Family Education Blog for more articles on family and education.

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This great piece of advice has been repeated generation after generation, in households across the world. After a good night’s sleep the stomach is empty and the body needs replenishment, before you are ready to start your busy day. Kids breakfasts deserve more attention as they are growing, and require proper nutrition from the right sources.

How to Plan Your Kids Breakfasts

We believe that it is easier to say that your child needs to eat a wholesome breakfast, than it is to actually serve it every morning before school. However, it is worth the time and effort that it involves. A good nutritious breakfast will provide your kids with energy to last them through the morning. It will also help them focus and concentrate on their work. Here are a few nutrients that should be an integral part of kids breakfasts.

Complex Carbohydrates: Include carbs such as whole grains and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes. These will keep your kids full for several hours as the carbohydrates take time to breakdown. This also means that the complex carbohydrates will offer the body energy for several hours.

Proteins: Proteins are considered to be the building blocks of life. Children need more proteins than adults as their bodies are growing rapidly. Including proteins such as eggs, pastured beef, seafood and nuts to the breakfast is a great idea. Protein rich food sources also offer the body vitamins and minerals like iron and B vitamins.

Healthy Fats: Your body needs good fats that provide it essential fatty acids. These are crucial for optimal brain functioning. Choose the fats for your meals wisely. Avocado and other nut butters, coconut oil and grass fed butter are wonderful options.

Veggies: While fruits seem to be an easier choice, do try to add some veggies to your kid’s breakfast. You could add them to an omelette, smoothie or a sandwich.

Planning your meals and shopping for them in advance will ensure that your family eats healthy meals.  Do avoid sugary packaged breakfast foods and refined carbs. These tend to spike the blood sugar in the body, making it difficult to concentrate.

Follow the Bryerson Family Education Blog for more articles on family and education.

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College is important. By completing a degree, you are planning your future career and ensuring that you have a job that will help you support yourself and your family. However, financing a college education is not easy. Most students have to take on extensive college loans to help them through college and they find it extremely difficult to make ends meet. As a parent, what can you do to ensure that your children can afford college? How can you save enough money to ensure that your child is not left holding a ton of student loans?

Saving For College IS Easy and Affordable

You can save for your child’s education by setting up college 529 Plans. A college 529 Plan is designed to help students and families plan for their education through a special tax-deductible program. These programs are applicable on almost any college and university and you can apply to any university with this kind of saving plan. At present, there are two types of plans available: savings and prepaid.

1. Savings plans are like 401K plans. Other features of a savings 529 plan are as follows-
a. There is no lock on college costs
b. All expenses included tuition, room and board, books, computer, mandatory fees, etc. are covered in this savings plan
c. Some plans have contribution limits but the limits are usually more than $200,000.
d. With this kind of plan, you choose the investment option and the value of your savings increases or decreases based on the option. Your investment is also subject to market risk. You can evaluate the value of your investment by checking the 529-plan quarterly performance.
e. There is no age limit, no residency requirement, and enrollment is possible all through the year.

2. Prepaid plans are also available and this plan allows you to pre-pay or pay all the costs of an in-state college education.
a. These plans have a limited enrollment period.
b. You can lock the tuition rates at selected public and private colleges and universities.
c. Only a few limited options are covered under this plan but some plans cover almost everything.
d. State plans are offered and they are guaranteed by the state at a set value. You may have to be a state resident to be eligible for this plan.

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Making the decision to homeschool can be overwhelming.  Thankfully, homeschooling textbooks are available to provide a plethora of information for both new and veteran homeschooling families.

As your child’s first and foremost teacher, here are four books that will help you move forward on your homeschooling journey.

1. Deschooling our Lives
Edited by Matt Hern

This book presents an overview of ways that families are educating their children without using traditional schools.  A collection of inspiring essays, this book will challenge what you believe about schooling.

2. The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas:
500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids Ages 3-12
by Linda Dobson

When you’ve run out of educational ways to keep your children engaged, crack open this homeschooling textbook.  Inside are over 500 inexpensive, kid-tested ideas for teaching all of the subject areas.  For instance, your child could create a map from a book that is being read, or write her spelling words in colorful sidewalk chalk outside. With this book, you won’t hear the words, “I’m bored” again.

3. Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
By John Taylor Gatto

This book was written by a prior “Teacher of the Year” in the state of New York.  It is recommended reading for every parent in our country, whether or not they are planning on homeschooling.  Conventional schooling, by its nature, cannot meet what the author proclaims as the true goal of education—to discover that special ability and talent that each child has, and help it blossom.  This book will help you feel empowered about your decision to homeschool.

4. Carschooling
By Diane Flynn Keith

Are you on the road a lot?  This book examines over 350 appealing games that will reclaim travel time for education time.  Presented in an easy-to-use manner, this book will provide details on how to help your five-year old practice his new reading skills, or your nine-year old bolster her math facts.  The whole family can play, and create fond memories of being in the car.

These four books will bring creativity into your homeschool.  They offer practical support; ideas and encouragement that will help you feel more confident in your ability to teach your children at home.

Whether or not you are homeschooling, be sure to follow us for more articles on family and education.