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Sleep Routines for Kids

 

One of the most important things you can do to help your kids get a good night’s rest is to establish a sleep routine. No doubt you did this when they were babies, but it’s important to keep it up as they get older (it’s helpful for adults too!). When you do the same things each night before bed, your brain gets the message that it’s time to head off to Dreamland. Get your kids involved in the process, and let them choose—within reason—what they’d like to do before bed. There really should only be three or four things max (including brushing teeth!), and the whole thing shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes or so.

What’s particularly crucial for success? Turning off the devices an hour before bedtime. The bright light from screens, including the TV, can interfere with the body’s internal clock. It literally tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime…and not time for sleep. Go over our list of ideas below with your kids (feel free to add your own), then download the My Wind-Down Routine printable using the button above. They can fill it out and post it up next to their bed. Sweet dreams!

Turn off all the screens
Dim the lights
Draw
Play a quiet game
Listen to quiet music or white noise
Write in a journal
Listen to a calming audiobook or podcast
Read a book
Take a bath or shower
Eat a healthy snack
Drink warm milk or chamomile tea with honey
Say prayers or give thanks

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Take the “Shake My Booty” Pledge!

 

We’re serious, people! This is a real thing we’re hoping you’ll actually do with your whole family. By signing this promise, you all will pledge to move your tush in some way every single day. Why swear to shake your butt? Simple: It’s the biggest muscle in your body, and you need it to do almost everything. Your behind is stealthy that way. A preview of the pledge is below, but be sure to download your own and print out enough copies for everyone in your fam. Hang them in a place where y’all can see them, and then do your best to keep each other accountable.

The good news? You really don’t have to get all your exercise in at once. Short bursts can all add up. And to make it easier to sneak in those extra minutes, we’ve created a fun activity jar printable that comes with 30 instant fitness ideas. Just pick one out, and get your shimmy on!

The Shake My Booty Pledge

I, _________________ do so solemnly swear to SHAKE MY BOOTY for at least 60 minutes a day in whatever way makes me happy! By signing this pledge, I also understand that I do NOT have to get all my minutes at once. Five minutes here. Ten minutes there. It all counts!

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Cheat Sheet: Healthy Eating for Kids

 

Helping kids make healthy food choices doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute created a simple way for kids to eat smarter: Just apply these categories: Go, Slow, or Whoa. The goal is to eat a lot of Go foods, some Slow foods, and just a few Whoa foods over the course of the week. Use the guide below to get started, then download and print our five-day food tracker so kids can see how their choices stack up. If they notice that their Slow and Whoa categories are bit on the long side, have them take up up the challenge again and see if they can do better the next week. It’s all about making small, incremental changes so don’t worry if you don’t see those Whoa foods totally eliminated. That’s not the point anyway. Treats are perfectly fine once in a while…that’s what makes them treats! Here’s to healthier eating for the whole family!

WHOA: Stop and think before you eat! Whoa foods are very high in sugar, fat, and/or calories, and often don’t have many vitamins. Consider them once-in-a-while treats.

Things like: soda, candy, cake and cookies, regular chips, ice cream, and fried foods

SLOW: Foods you can eat sometimes—like two or three times a week. They tend to be higher in sugar, fat, and/or calories than those in the Go category.

Things like: burgers, hot dogs and other processed meats, baked chips, crackers and pretzels, 100-percent fruit juice, pancakes

GO: Foods you can eat anytime! They’re low in sugar, fat and/or calories, and they usually have lots of vitamins and minerals. Try to eat as many different Go foods as you can!

Things like: fruits and veggies, dairy, eggs, whole-grain foods, water, lean meats and fish, beans and nuts

Have even more healthy-eating fun and play Superfood Bingo at the grocery store! Your kids will see just how many yummy Go foods there are!

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Instant Ways to Get Your Kids Moving

 

Kids need to get at least 60 minutes of heart-pumping exercise every day. If your munchkins are already sporty, that goal really isn’t too hard to reach. But if your kids aren’t naturally athletic or just aren’t into competitive sports, you may have to work harder to get them moving. (And P.S. this is true for all kids who love their screen time…which is basically all of ’em!).

The good news is that you don’t need to get that hour in all at once. Five minutes here. Ten minutes there. It all counts. That’s why we love the idea of making an activity jar. All you need is a container of any kind filled with ideas kids can pull out one by one. We’ve given you a head start: Just print out our list of 30 ideas, cut along the lines, and put them in your jar. Feel free to add your own…and definitely encourage your kids to decorate it! Be sure to leave it in a prominent place, like in the family room or even where your child does homework. (Did you know that exercise improves kids ability to focus?!). Have him take a short break in between subjects and shake his booty for a few!

Get a printable list for your jar by clicking the button above or just keep reading for inspiration. And if the kids are ready to really make a commitment to be more active, encourage them to sign the Shake My Booty pledge!

Do 10 jumping jacks
Do 10 sit-ups
Do 10 squats
Jump side to side like a skier 10 times
Jump rope (it’s totally ok to pretend if you don’t have one!)
Play hopscotch
Balance on one leg for 10 second. Switch sides.
Get into a push-up position (also called a plank pose) and hold it as long as you can
Do 3 somersaults
Shadow box
Have a dance party!
Hop like a bunny
Hop like a frog
Jump like a kangaroo
Walk like a crab
Shuffle like a gorilla
Stomp like an elephant
Slither like a snake
Waddle like penguin (make it harder: put a ball between your knees!)
Roll like a log
Play balloon badminton
Have an arm wrestling match
Hop on one foot then switch
March around the room with high knees
Have an arm-wrestling match
Pretend you’re surfing. Hop with both feet to switch directions
“Ice skate” on dryer sheets or paper plates
Jump as far as you can five times (grab a tape measure!)
Jump as high as you can five times
Run in place as fast as you can (until you can’t!)

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Let’s Play Superfood Bingo!

 

Who Will Be The Superfood Hero?

Turn your next grocery store visit into an exciting game for your kids! Download and print our Superfood Bingo Boards, give everyone a pencil, and then let the hunt begin. Just remember to decide on the rules before you go. Will the winner need to get five in a row? An X shape? Outer square? First person to call Bingo! gets to choose a new superfood for the family to try.

What are the superfoods, you ask? They’re your basic nutritional powerhouses…mostly fruits and veggies but also some healthy proteins (like salmon) and spices (like cinnamon). They’re all also whole foods, which means they have just one ingredient. Nothing processed here! (To teach your kids more about healthy eating, check out our Go, Slow, & Whoa food tracker.)

Here’s a list of some of the superfoods your kids might find:
Almonds
Avocados
Beets
Black beans
Blackberries
Blueberries
Broccoli
Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Chia seeds
Chicken
Cinnamon
Dark chocolate
Eggplant
Eggs
Guava
Kale
Kiwi
Lentils
Mangos
Milk
Oats
Persimmon
Pineapple
Sweet potato
Plain yogurt
Quinoa
Radish
Raw Honey (Don’t give honey to babies under age 1.)
Red bell peppers
Romaine lettuce
Salmon
Spinach
Sunflower seeds
Tomatoes
Tumeric
Yellow bell peppers

Happy food hunting!

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All About Me Adventure Passport

 

Your Child’s Passport to Adventure is Here!

All adventurers need their very own passport: It’s the key that opens the door to new destinations, and it’s a special reminder of all the wonderful places they’ve been. Encourage your kids to create their own All About Me Passports to save in their Guidebook to Growing Up or to just hang in their room. (Click the link above to get started.)

But here’s what we also love about this activity for kids: It’s a great way to get them talking. As they’re creating their passports, ask them to share their favorite memories of the places they’ve visited: What made them so great? What do they wish they could do again? Then ask them to dream up all the places near and far they’d like to go. That new ice cream place two towns over? The pyramids in Egypt? Walt Disney World? The Great Wall of China? There are no limits for this list! Learn more about the destinations online, and checkout photos and videos online. You can even make this a bigger project for kids by showing them how to create an adventure inspiration board. Paste their Adventure Passport in the middle of a large piece of card stock or poster board. Then print out photos and have kids trim them to size. Attach them all around the board and decorate with markers! 

Ultimately, the goal is to help kids tap into their own sense of curiosity, which will help them find adventure wherever they go. And that’s something we all could use a little more of no matter our age. Have fun and adventure on!

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Growing Up Guides Gift Note

 

The Growing Up Guides Gift Note
Thank you for giving a Growing Up Guides gift! You can download and print a cute, customizable gift card to share with your recipient before the first guide arrives.

The Growing Up Guides line is our newest launch, and we’re excited to hear what you think. Please share photos and feedback with us on Facebook and Instagram, or shoot us an email.

For more activities and articles, check out our Activity page.