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8 Scheduling Apps to Keep Your Family Organized

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By Courtney Ingalls

Best Scheduling Apps to Keep Families Organized!

All parents know that as their kids get older, their lives start to be consumed by more activities such as school, work, sports, and clubs. Yes, it can sound overwhelming but luckily there are ways to keep your family more organized. Scheduling apps are easy to use and allow the whole family to be in the loop when it comes to each other’s schedules! Here are some of our top picks for scheduling apps that will keep your family organized.

Psst… Check out 13 Fun Fidget Toys to Help Kids Focus- and even parents will love!

Cozi 

With the free Cozi app, not only will you be able to stay in the loop with schedules, but so will everyone else in the family. Cozi uses a color-coding feature where each member of the family has a designated color that will show up next their designated events. The scheduling app also gives you the option to start menu plans and to-do lists that your family can edit.

TimeTree

Have your family’s schedules all on one calendar when you use the TimeTree app! When it comes time for your family to plan a trip or a fun day to spend together, it will be easier to check TimeTree than having to tackle the sometimes impossible task of getting everyone in the same room.

Any.do

If you are a fan of organizing, then this app is the one for you! Any.do is user friendly and gives you the option to organize your events and lists into categories. You are also able to organize your itinerary even further writing notes and putting deadlines on tasks so every family member can stay in the loop!

FamilyWall

Instead of having to take the time to combine everyone’s calendars into one, FamilyWall will let you sync your schedules in minutes. The app also wants to make sure you feel safe when using it, which is why there is security and privacy for all the information you share with other members of your family. Take it one step further and turn on the locator option which will let you check on a family member’s location!

OurHome

Aside from scheduling events and activities for the family, you also need to keep track of the tasks that everyone is doing around the house. OurHome allows parents to assign different tasks to each kid. Once you designate jobs for everyone you can set due dates, create repeating schedules, add reminders or apply late penalties to make sure your kids are staying on the right track!

Flayk

Keep your family organized by using Flayk! This scheduling app is a fan favorite and is an easy way to keep your family in the loop with what everyone is doing. Something that makes Flayk unique is that you can pass tasks and events onto other people. Things can come up day to day, which means you might not be able to take the dog on a walk, or grab your kids from soccer practice. With Flayk, you can send out a notification to each family member and you will be notified when someone accepts the task.

Google Calendar

Add another Google app to your phone! The Google Calendar app brings you your family’s schedule with a view. When anyone adds an event to the calendar, you are able to add a photo or a location. This app is even more beneficial to families who have gmail accounts because events that are emailed to you will be added straight to the calendar so your family can stay informed.

Picniic

This scheduling app is so great that it can pretty much organize your entire life for you. Not only is it used for its calendar, but you can also use it to locate family members, store files, upload and share pictures, create a shopping list and much more. You can also integrate popular services like ones that track your kids time online.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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Parenting Techniques For Raising Resilient Children

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By Cara Zelas

The past 18 months have been rough, the global pandemic has knocked us off our feet and challenged families in all facets of life. It has been a test on our endurance, relationships, and mental health.

The rollercoaster of emotions for parents has been difficult to manage, and as an educator, I want to examine emotional well-being and analyze the consequences for children. I try to view the world from my children’s perspective and attempt to understand how this pandemic has affected their life experiences. I have discovered that children are more resilient than we realize. I want to nurture this resilience, the ability to rebound from setbacks and overcome failures, and to arm them with essential tools to face obstacles that are sure to come their way.

Psst..check out The Best Apps and Devices to Keep Track of Your Kids

8 Active Strategies to Build Resilience:

Build positive relationships 

Helping your child establish positive relationships through clear communication, openness, honesty, and trust helps your child feel like they can take risks and make mistakes knowing they have a strong web to catch them. On a subconscious level, this allows your child to try new things with less hesitation and more confidence.

Develop confidence

Encourage your child to have a positive outlook on who they are. Nurture self-kindness and celebrate unique gifts and strengths. Allow space for mistakes as from mistakes, we learn, grow and gain confidence.

Manage emotions 

Giving feelings a name. With the right vocabulary, children have a way of expressing how they feel. Acknowledging emotions by using simple language, “I see you are feeling (insert emotion),” provides validation and gives your child the affirmation that you are listening and understanding them in the moment. Emotional self-regulation techniques such as simple breathing activities or taking a walk are easy to implement and are effective.

Enable independence 

Give age-appropriate responsibilities. Simple household chores are small, un-directed tasks that give a sense of responsibility and confidence. If your child is old enough, drop them at family or friends for playdates, allow them space to be separate from their home dynamic. Encourage independent thought about events happening in their lives, let them form their own opinions, have a discussion, even if you disagree – this is a wonderful opportunity to show your child how to be respectful of all ideas and points of view.

Set realistic goals

Teaching your child to set goals and following through is important for developing fortitude and perseverance, especially when the going gets tough. Setting goals is important because it helps your child develop intrinsic motivation, responsibility for their actions and is a life-long gift. Try these ideas: let your child pick their goal, break it down into smaller steps, write it down (In a study conducted by Prof. Gail Matthews, people who write down their goals are 20% more successful In accomplishing them than those who did not), put a time frame on it, discuss potential hurdles that they may encounter and help with problem-solving before they begin.

Take risks 

Have a conversation about taking risks and trying new things, rather than saying, “be careful,” tell them the consequences of their actions. Allow for some freedom and space to explore and step back to observe.

See failures as opportunities

Reframe failure as a course correction. Connect with your child by telling them a time you set a goal, made mistakes, or failed but kept going. Sharing personal experiences or stories makes it more meaningful and you can model the steps and outcome.

Don’t rush to their rescue

Unless your child is in immediate danger or in harm’s way, let your child process what is happening when something goes wrong or they are facing a challenge. As parents, we want to save our children from any kind of hardship however this sets up our children to buckle under pressure or any uncomfortable situation in their future. Let your child problem-solve on their own and endeavor to create an environment where your child feels safe to ask for your help when they need it.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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5 Tips For Getting Your Kids Started on Chores

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By Courtney Ingalls

How to Start Your Kids on Chores

Incorporating chores into your kids routines is important but can sometimes be hard to do. You might not know when is the right time to have them start or how to figure out a solid schedule for them to follow. Chores are not only great for showing kids how to do tasks they will need to know once they grow up, but it also teaches them responsibility.

Many times parents have to go through the process of trial and error (A LOT of errors) to figure out their families flow. Not sure how to get started? Here are some tips that will lead you on the right path to having a cleaner house!

Begin at A Early Age

Kids are the most eager to help their parents or any adult with a task when they are in their toddler to preschool years. There is no better time than this age to start introducing the idea of chores to them. Start off by having your little ones “clean” with you. If you are wiping down the windows, give them their own cloth, let them hold the vacuum with you as you clean the living room carpet.

If you really want to go the extra mile, there are also cleaning toys, such as Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House Dust! Sweep! Mop! Play Set, that you can buy your kids so they can get extra excited about helping out!

Make Cleaning a Family Affair

Another reason that kids should have chores is because it connects them more with their family. Once you decide your kids are ready for chores, the best first step is to have a family meeting to discuss why you all will be doing chores and to delegate which family members do what. It is important for kids to see that chores are just as important for adults as it is for them.

If you’re not sure if your kids will be able to complete daily tasks, it is a good idea to designate a day throughout the week where the whole family will clean together. Being able to do chores alongside adults will give kids the confidence that they can complete tasks and will teach them how to complete these chores when it comes time to do it themselves.

Find Age Appropriate Chores

Now that your kids are starting to see why chores are important, it’s now time to give them ones that they will be able to do at their age. For ages 2 and 3, kids can start learning how to do basic chores with the help of their parents such as picking up their toys, dusting and helping their parents pick up spills.

Once they hit the ages of 4-7, most parents feel they can give their kids more responsibilities. These include setting and clearing the table, keeping their own rooms clean, and learning how to fold laundry. When your kids hit the ages of 8 or 9, that’s when many parents believe they are ready for tasks many adults do during their regular day such as learning how to work a washer and dryer, taking out the trash and washing the dishes.

Parents know only too well that every kid is different and every household has unique chores they believe are the most important for their kids to learn, so keep in mind to give out chores that fit your family.

Give Kids Visual Aids

Having visual aids will help your kids stay on a set chore schedule and will help them build a routine. It can be hard for kids (and parents) to remember what their tasks are every week, so keeping these visual aids in places where they will see it often is a perfect way to remind them.

If you have a little one who hasn’t mastered reading yet, then chore cards are great visual aids to get! These cards have illustrations of different chores on them so even though your kids can’t read, they will understand what they need to do from the pictures. For older kids, a chore chart is great to keep them organized. You can either buy a magnetic chart or simply print ones offline that they can check off as they go. Being able to cross chores off on a chart will give your kids a sense of accomplishment and will help your kids stick with it each week!

Praise for Completing (or Trying to Complete) a Task

Everyone loves to hear that they have done a good job on a task and kids are no different when it comes to their chores! Kids will be more willing to continue with their chores if you praise them for the good work that they have done and some kids might feel confident enough to take on other tasks around the house. Adults also have to remember that kids are not going to clean the way we do, so try not to focus on each chore being done perfectly. Instead, make sure to let them know they did a good job and then give them a tip on how they could do it better next time.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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Tips for Traveling With Kids Not Vaccinated For Covid-19

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Traveling with Covid-19 Unvaccinated Kids — An Expert Share Tips

Summer is back, and if you haven’t noticed, people are traveling. As more states and countries start to open up, many of us are frankly itching to visit family or experience a vacation again. But while many of us parents and older kids are vaccinated, our younger children are not vaccinated, which is a concern for many families wanting to travel. Whether you are scouring online to find a great getaway deal or looking to book tickets soon, we chatted with Dr. Steven Gelman, Director of Outpatient Pediatrics at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, about traveling with unvaccinated kids this summer.

Psst… check out our Summer Reading List for Kids of All Ages 2021 

First, is it safe for kids to travel if they have not been vaccinated?

Yes, it is safe for kids to travel if they have not been vaccinated. That said, I would advise that families head to destinations where the positivity rates are lower, which does knock off some locations.

But if kids are too young at this point to be vaccinated, I do encourage their travel companions, such as their parents or relatives, to be vaccinated before travel. This will minimize the potential spread to the children. If parents are not vaccinated, then I discourage travel.

Realistically it’s tough to get a toddler or, even in my case, my special needs child to wear a mask, any tips that can help keep our kids safe this summer? Is this still something that a parent should be concern about?

It is challenging to get some kids to wear their masks and certainly not easy to get them to wear them properly. One of the benefits of summer travel is that many activities are outdoors, decreasing the spread. I would recommend dining outdoors with unvaccinated children and not yet eating indoors.

As much as possible, I would keep your family in a bubble and try to keep the kids close. In some ways, travel now is more challenging than it was a few months ago in that most adults wore their masks then, and you could avoid those that didn’t. Now so many vaccinated adults have removed their masks, so it is harder to know who is vaccinated and who isn’t. This comes back to the idea of traveling to cities and states where the COVID positivity numbers are low and conducive to outdoor activities as much as possible.

We have been seeing and expect to continue to see an increase in other viral pathogens, like common cold germs, increasing in the younger group as the COVID numbers drop. Like in flu season, these kids have to be monitored for any respiratory problems and dehydration. Most clear it like they always did. 

Any idea when young children will be able to get vaccinated?

Currently, children under 12 years old are not eligible for the vaccine, but we hear and are hopeful it will be available to younger children in the fall. While I am excited and hopeful for it to be expanded soon, unless it happens imminently, it wouldn’t help for summer travel. 

Vaccines are free; here is what you need to know.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus.

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Summer Reading List for Early Readers Through Young Adults 2021

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By Courtney Ingalls

Summer Reading List for Kids of All Ages 2021

There is nothing more relaxing and peaceful summer activity than enjoying a great book. Having a summer reading list is an awesome way to pass some time while also keeping your kids’ creative juices flowing and not falling into the summer slide! Whether the kids are sitting at home, away at camp, or on the beach during vacation, a good book opens our kids to adventure, new worlds and broadens their own world.

If looking for a subscription service for the summer and beyond, we are loving ouraan. com, a well-curated book subscription where books are vetted, read, discussed by a team of experts before they are sent to your reader.

In the world of books, there are so many stories and genres that will appeal to kids of all ages and reading levels. We’ve come up with a list of some summer reading books for each age group that will keep kids engaged all summer long!

Looking for cheap and easy activities to do with your kids this summer? Check out 37 Free Things to Do in New York City This Summer

Early Readers

 

Bye Bye Brain Bully: Knocking Out Self-Doubt by Carin Bail & Carina Hale

Trying to tackle life is something that every child has to navigate while growing up. With the help of Captain Communicator and Believer Achiever, Kate tries to fight against the evil brain bully and to be able to use her voice and develop some courage within herself! Your kids will learn how to combat any mental struggles they have while growing up and how to be confident with themselves! Grades Preschool-3.

Floaty by John Himmelman

Mr. Raisin lives alone in a little house, and that is the way he prefers it. One day he comes across a basket on his front step. When he opens the basket, he doesn’t see anything inside until he looks up to find a floating dog! This funny story focuses on embracing the unexpected and finding friendships that you didn’t know you needed. Floaty is the perfect first book to show little ones how fun reading can be! Grades Preschool-3.

 

 

 

Bo’s Magical New Friend (Unicorn Diaries) by Rebecca Elliott

This book is aimed at newly independent readers and includes easy-to-read text in order to boost reading confidence! Bo Tinseltail is one of the many unicorns that attend Sparklegrove School and has the cool power of granting wishes. Something that Bo wants more than anything is to find a best friend. A new unicorn named Sunny Huckleberry comes to the forest, and we are left wondering if Sunny will be the best friend Bo has been looking for. With this high-interest content and colorful illustrations, kids will not want to put this book down! Grades K-2.

 

 

Summer Camp Critter Jitters by Jory John

At this summer camp, all of the animals are nervous about going! The duck is nervous about the other campers finding out he can’t swim, and the sloth is worried that he will have to catch his own lunch. This hilarious book shows how each animal prepares for camp and brings up the question of if the animals will ever get over their nerves and make new friends. Grades Preschool-3.

Upper-Level Books

 

Marcus Makes a Movie by Kevin Hart

Marcus is stuck in a film class he has no interest in being in but realizes he can use it as an opportunity to make the cartoon superhero he has been drawing into a movie! This book, written by comedian Kevin Hart, follows Marcus’ journey through his film endeavors and how he and some helpful friends make his imagination become a reality! Hart shows through this book that if you have a dream you want to come true, you have to work hard in order to achieve it, which is something that all kids should learn. Grades 3-7.

 

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

Ten-year-old Zoe has always dreamed of becoming a great piano player and is waiting to get her first piano in order to start her lessons. When her dad ends up buying her an organ instead of a piano, Zoe’s hopes and dreams seem farther away than ever. However, when Zoe enters an annual organ competition, she realizes that life hands you some unexpected surprises. This book shows kids that even though we might strive for perfection, sometimes it’s better to be a little off-center. Grades 5-7.

 

Jude Banks, Superhero by Ann Hood

This book is written by New York Times bestselling author Ann Hood and tackles the hard topics of loss, resilience, and how families start to heal. Jude’s sister Katie was his favorite person in the world. She was the one who always called him “Jude Banks, Superhero” and made him feel special. When his sister unexpectedly passed away, Jude didn’t feel like the superhero he was told he was. While trying to figure out how life will be without Katie, Jude meets a new friend with similar struggles and they decide that they will try to tackle their tragedies together. Grades 3-7.

 

 

 

Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wolkenstein

Middle school can be rough, and as kids will be returning to school full time the next school year- this coming sweet book is a must summer read for Tweens and even adults. The story is about Will Levine and how the seventh grade is not going so great. With a considerable part of this from being bullied due to his funny-looking chin. His friendship with the ill older boy RJ changes Will’s life as a friendship is bonded through turtles and RJ’s guidance and bucket list. This book is a heartfelt coming of age story perfect for a summer read for this age group to learn about being brave and getting out of your shell. Grades 5-6.

Grade 8 & Young Adult

 

 

Lola: A Ghost Story by J. Torres

Lola is the Tagalog word for a grandmother who Jesse barely knew but was aware, like most of the family, she had visions and was able to see ghosts. Jesse shares this secret power, and while in the Philipines for Lola’s funeral, Jesse sees ghosts and realizes he must face his demons. The book shares Filipino culture and mythology. While this story is beautiful with many visuals, it does have a bit of darkness- like the grandmother trying to drown Jesse as a baby (it was not what it seems, as you will find out later) and a drunk adult. This is why we recommend the recommended age group read this book. Young Adult.

Firekeepers Daughter by Angeline Boulley

As an instant New York Times bestseller, Firekeepers Daughter has become a must-read for young adults this summer! The book follows Daunis Fontaine, a teenager who lives on the Ojibwe reservation, who put her dreams of getting out of her hometown on hold after a family tragedy struck. After witnessing a shocking murder, Fontaine gets involved with an FBI investigation and finds out that finding the truth behind these crimes is harder than she expected. If your kids love crime and mystery books, this will be one your kids will not want to put down this summer. Young Adult.

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Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi

This book is based on a true story and is the perfect combination of funny and informative. Readers will be focusing on author and main character Sara Saedi as she tackles the struggles of being an undocumented immigrant in America.On top of the steady progression towards getting her green card, Saedi is also worried about normal teenage things such as whether or not she will be able to get a prom date or if she will ever be able to properly maintain her unibrow. Saedi’s memoir is relatable and is a necessary book to read during today’s climate. Young Adult

 

 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

This book is the start of the Shadow and Bone trilogy and takes you on an adventure with magical spells and monsters. Alina Starkov is a soldier who has embarked on her first trek into the Shadow Fold. When she and the other soldiers get ambushed, Alina unleashes powerful magic that she didn’t know she had. Now Alina is training with her country’s magical military elite and is uncovering secrets in her past that can put her family and country in danger. Grades 8- Young Adults.

 

Rule Of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

If Shadow and Bones seems like a book your kids would enjoy, pick up this other magical story written as part of Bardugo’s King of Scars Duology. This book is the second of the duology and follows three people, the demon king preparing for an invasion, the stormwitch who is embracing her powers for her country, and the spy that is going undercover to seek revenge. Together, these three are working to fight off the darkness that is taking over their country before it is too late. Young Adults.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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Signs of ADHD in Children and How to Address Them

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Wondering If Your Child Has ADHD?

Many children are fidgety at times, forget to turn in an occasional assignment, or misplace their favorite shirt.  However, if you find these scenarios frequently occurring with your child or you notice that he is constantly distracted, forgetful, disorganized, or unfocused, your child may have ADHD. ‎

Here are some signs of ADHD in your child to look out for:

  • Your child constantly loses belongings. Papers from school seem to disappear regularly, and she consistently misplaces her notebooks, lunch box, folders, tablet – you name it. One minute she has her belongings, and the next minute you are helping her frantically search your home for them, regularly.

  • ‎Your child misses class instructions. You may have a brilliant child, but he constantly completes assignments incorrectly (and thus loses points) simply because he wasn’t listening to the instructions and didn’t follow the directions correctly.

  • Your child is a daydreamer. His teacher notices that he frequently daydreams and loses focus at school, missing key information and notes from class.

  • Your child has trouble waiting her turn. When playing a game or completing a group activity, your child tends to compulsively jump in and interrupt her peers rather than waiting her turn. This may frustrate her friends and others around her.

  • Your child can’t sit still. When eating dinner, doing a homework assignment, or traveling on a plane, your child can’t sit still. He is constantly wiggling and squirming, unable to stay in one place for a long stretch of time.

  • Your child has trouble completing tasks. She starts one task and then impulsively moves onto the next one before completing the first one. This leads to a multitude of unfinished tasks, assignments, and projects.

  • Your child has trouble keeping his emotions in check. He has regular outbursts, both in private and public places, and can’t seem to contain his emotions.

  • Your child makes careless mistakes. She might be a rock star at math and can correctly answer complex long division and multi-digit multiplication problems, but answers  4+1 incorrectly, possibly even subtracting instead of adding, and rarely self-checks her work.

  • He is completely disorganized. His room is a mess, and the inside of his backpack looks like a load of garbage. Loose papers, notebooks, and old assignments are piled inside of it, and he rarely (if ever) cleans it out.

  • She has poor time management skills.  She rarely turns in ‎assignments on time and underestimates how long it may take to get ready for a party, eat dinner, complete a homework assignment, or study for a test. This makes her, and possibly the rest of your household, constantly late or in a rush.

  • He has trouble maintaining friendships. Your child may not always pick up on social cues, and you might find that his interruptions, lack of sharing and turn-taking, and impulsive behaviors negatively affect social situations. Thus, your child might have difficulty making and keeping close friendships.

So what should you do if your child exhibits some or all of these traits? First off, don’t panic! ADHD is more common than you may think, and it’s certainly not your fault. However, the sooner you can seek a diagnosis, the sooner you can identify a plan of action to help your child. Start by talking to your child’s teacher and see if he or she is noticing the traits above in class.  Ask the teacher whether he or she notices your child having trouble sitting still, remaining focused on activities, listening to instructions, waiting his turn, and staying organized.

If your child’s teacher notices these struggles, and if you are also noticing these challenges at home, you may want to consider having your child evaluated. An evaluation performed by your school district is free, or you can choose to have a neuropsychological evaluation done privately. The evaluation will help determine whether or not your child has ADHD (and/or other learning challenges).

At that point, he or she may qualify for support services either through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or a 504 plan. You can also help your child at home by creating routines, limiting distractions, breaking down tasks into individual steps, and encouraging movement. The more proactive you can be at identifying your child’s ADHD and seeking the right strategies and services to support him, the more successful and confident he will be as the demands of school progress.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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How Families Can Celebrate Pride Month With Their Kids

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Celebrating Pride Month 2021

Not only is June known for being the start of summer, but it’s also the month that we celebrate Pride month! Teach your kids about what Pride month stands for and why it is important that we celebrate it. Whether you want to attend events in person or would like to celebrate at home, there are a ton of ways for kids and their families to show support to the LBGTQIA+ community!

Read a Book About the LBGTQIA+ Community

Pride Colors by Robin Stevenson
Ages: Newborn to 3

Pride Colors is a great book to help you start the conversation about Pride month and the LBGTQIA+ community with your little ones! This book teaches kids that you are free to be with whoever you choose to and that you will always be loved through rhymes and colorful pictures. Stevenson also takes the time to talk about the meaning behind each color on the pride flag!

Our Rainbow by Little Bee Books
Ages: 2-5

In partnership with GLAAD, children can learn more about the colors within the Pride flag! Little Bee Books uses bright colors and simple text to break down what each color represents and what little acts of kindness we can do to show our support!

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman
Ages: 4-8

Gayle Pitman’s book won the Stonewall Book Award back in 2015 and has since become a book that many people use to teach their kids respect and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. This Day in June allows readers to experience a Pride celebration while also teaching them about the history and culture of the community.

Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag by Rob Sanders
Ages: 5-8

This empowering book tells the story of the Pride flag and how it became a symbol for the LBGTQIA+ community. Award-winning author Rob Sanders starts the story with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker in 1978 and how it has played a role in today’s world. This book has been named one of Amazon’s Best Children’s Book of the Year and has been a fan favorite for many families.

Pride: The Celebration and the Struggle by Robin Stevenson
Ages: 9-12

What better way to celebrate Pride month than learning about all of the amazing victories the community has had over the last 50 years. Robin Stevenson’s book has recently been updated and expanded in order to provide the most up-to-date victories and historic events. This book also emphasized how we need to continue fighting for change and how young people can play a big role in that fight.

Attend a Virtual Event

Youth Pride
When: June 26, 3 pm
Where: online
Price: Free, registration required

This iconic annual event is taking place virtually this year, so everyone can join in on the fun in the comfort of your own home! This year, NYC Pride has teamed up with youth-focused LGBT centers, organizations, and programs in order to put on this event. Look forward to watching musical performances, LGBTQIA+ center spotlights, and more!

Watch a Movie

Out
Rated: PG
Where to stream: Disney+

This short film is following the story of Greg, Pixar’s first gay main character, and how he tackles trying to feel that he doesn’t have to hide who he is. This film is a great starting point when having a conversation with your kids about the LBGTQIA+ community and will show them that love will always win.

The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Rated: PG
Where to stream: Netflix

Watch the Mitchell family embark on a journey to bring their daughter Katie to college while also fighting off alien robots! Although the film doesn’t make Katie’s queerness a central point of the story, many people have said it is a model for how queer people should be represented in films.

Freak Show
Rated: Not rated
Where to stream: Amazon PrimeiTunesDIRECTVGoogle PlayHuluNetflixYouTube

This witty and inspiring film follows flamboyant Billy Bloom as he decides to run for homecoming queen in his conservative high school. Freak Show is a very relatable movie for kids within the LGBTQ+ community, as well as opens other people’s eyes to the struggles teens within the community have to go through.

Make Pride Month Inspired Crafts

Dancing Ribbon Rings

These DIY rings are very simple and easy to make and are the perfect toys for kids to play with and dance with. All you need is a wooden ring and an assortment of ribbons and you can make this colorful creation. These would be a great toy to bring to any Pride month event kids and their families decide to attend.

Rainbow Shaving Cream Marbled Art

This project is a spin-off a classic rainbow art project. Using a combination of shaving cream and different colored paints, you will put the rainbow colors together to form a marble look. These art pieces will be great to hang up in your house or you can cut them into gift tags and cards you can send to people for Pride month!

Tissue Paper Rainbow

The tissue paper rainbow is the perfect craft for toddlers and preschoolers to try out. Not only is this a fun craft to make while celebrating Pride month, but it will also help kids learn the color order of the rainbow and will enhance their motor skills!

Rainbow Paper Flowers

Rainbow paper flowers are one of the most popular crafts for kids of all ages to make. These paper flowers will be great to wave in the air for Pride month celebrations and events. This craft is simple and doesn’t require many materials. Kids can also be creative and make different shaped petals or add their own decorations.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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What to Know About Facebook’s Instagram for Kids

instagram for kids
Parents should know what social media their kids use. (Getty Images)

By Analiese Dodd

Facebook recently announced that it will be expanding its popular video and photo-sharing app Instagram by launching an Instagram platform for kids under the age of 13. 

This new version of the app will encourage kids to create their own safe experience where they can share posts with their friends. There are some concerns parents should be aware of before signing their kids up for this new experience.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

As of now, Instagram doesn’t allow users under the age of 13 in order to protect kids’ privacy. This new Instagram for kids (younger than 13 years old) will allow kids to communicate with one another while limiting their access. The program is led by Facebook Vice President Pavni Diwanji, who has overseen many children-focused projects for Google including YouTube Kids. The exact layout of the kids’ app hasn’t been specified as the program is still in early development.

Instagram has said it needs to do more to protect its younger users from some of the dangers that come with social media. In particular, it is looking into ways to prevent the bullying, predation, and abuse that sometimes finds kids on its app. This new version of Instagram will severely limit access to these kinds of environments, and will give parents control or transparency over what’s happening on their child’s account.

WHY THE CONCERN?

While this new version of the app may invite kids to engage with one another, parents should still be wary of the new experience. Despite Instagram’s assurance that the app will be secure, there are still risks with getting young kids involved with this kind of social media. Sometimes when kids get involved with apps like YouTube Kids and other kid versions of apps they transition quickly to the adult versions of the app.

Buzzfeednews.com’s article “Facebook is Building an Instagram for Kids Under the Age of 13” points out several concerns that arose when Facebook started a similar kids version of Facebook Messenger called Messenger Kids. There were several problems with the program that allowed kids to enter chats with unauthorized users. The problems were limited to a select number of users, but it was still a danger to young kids who were using the app.

This new Instagram for kids app has not been fully developed or tested, but it might be best to keep as updated as possible while more information comes in. This new Instagram can be a great thing for kids in moderation, but it is easy for them to get consumed by it. Each family should make its own choice when it comes to downloading the app and deciding the parental controls that are appropriate for each individual child.

This article first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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13 Educational Apps for Children in Science, Math, Reading, And More

educational apps
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By 

Especially nowadays, it may be important to supplement learning for your children. One easy way to do this is through exciting educational apps for kids.

For the generation growing up with smartphones, it’s a great way to use their time on such devices wisely. They can still engage in entertaining games but with a learning twist!

The programs on this list are available on any platform and most have their own website so that kids can use these apps on the computer as well.

Focused on just coding? Check out these 15 Fun and Free Online Coding Classes for Kids!

Chess for Kids

Cost: Free

Straight and to the point, Chesskid is an app that teaches chess to kids! Not only does it allow them to play, but it actively teaches them the rules and even, for the advanced, strategies on how to play. And there’s even a website for them, so children don’t always have to use the app.

Though it is free, they do offer a gold program for $10/month or $49/year which gives unlimited and unrestricted access for learning.

ABCmouse.com

Cost: $9.95/month but the first month is free

ABCmouse.com, which is both the name of the app and the url for their website, is a top-ranked and top-marketed educational site for kids. The recommended age range is 2-8.

It’s great for the tyke just learning how to develop and the more advanced learner who wants to sharpen their skills in language and memory. You can purchase a membership and cancel anytime.

Hungry Caterpillar Play School

Cost: $7.99/month or $59.99/year

Taking its origin from a fantastic children’s book, this preschool aimed learning app is the #1 learning app in over 25 countries. Developers are constantly adding to the app so kids continually have more content for learning with the best teaching techniques.

Categories specialize in: Shapes and Colors, Letters, Numbers, Art, and Reading. Watch as your child learns these disciplines, wraps themselves up in a cocoon, and turns into a beautiful butterfly.

Khan Academy Kids

Cost: Free

Available as both an app and website, Khan Academy provides in-depth resources for adults and kids alike in all areas of learning. Their Kid program helps develop kids academic ability and their creativity.

Five charming animal characters lead the learning session, adding a sense of whimsy and fun to a child’s learning experience. Easily one of the most thorough educational apps for kids on this list.

Priding themselves on being 100% free, they promise no ads or fees.

BrainPOP Jr.

Cost: Free

A mainstay in the world of education, BrainPOP Jr. uses animated videos and cute characters to teach science, math, and all the core subjects.

Sign up is free and most of their materials are open for anybody if you’re just trying to learn and not start a whole classroom program. They offer an accessible and diverse curriculum in this field of educational apps for kids.

Magnus’ Kingdom of Chess

Cost: $7.99

This is an app for parents who want their kids to learn chess through subtle means. It disguises itself as a game to help teach the rules of chess under a fun guise.

Those extra ingredients of enjoyment and subterfuge come at a price of nearly $8.

PBS Kids

Cost: Free

PBS is certainly a recognizable name that parents have trusted for over 50 years. And they supply multiple apps that specialize in different activities and ages. Visit their app site for more information, but you surely cannot go wrong with them.

Busy Shapes

Cost: $2.99

Specializing in the toddler age, Busy Shapes helps strengthen 2-5 year olds visual and association skills.

It comes from the Montessori Preschool, a renowned online establishment that offers great bundles of educational apps for kids dedicated to helping young ones learn and grow. Each of them is worth considering, but Busy Shapes is some of their best received work and deserves a special shoutout.

Duolingo Kids

Cost: Free

Easily the most universal of the apps on this list. Duolingo has become a household name in recent years with its great ability to teach people foreign languages. But they have a Duolingo Kids with a slightly cuter mascot.

It occupies the niche of teaching language, something that isn’t normally dedicated to kids who don’t grow up with it in their household. An incredibly important resource, it’s incredibly worth downloading.

Moose Math

Cost: Free

Yet another niche app, Moose Math has five different ways it approaches teaching young children math. From the basics of numbers and counting to geometry, Moose Math is a great program to help the kiddos grow their math skills. It’s a terrific free program that will help your child progress.

Epic!

Cost: $4.99/month but there is a free version

Epic! is a digital library that assists 91% of elementary schools in the US. Reading, and especially reading with your little one, is crucial to child development. This is the most comprehensive app on the market for that purpose.

It’s quicker than a library and more convenient and very much worth downloading.

Prodigy

Cost: Free for students and schools, otherwise $8.95/month or $59.88/year

Prodigy is a valuable math app for children that engages students while ensuring their growth. What more is there to ask for from an educational app for kids?

Prodigy does everything right, so it’s worth considering purchasing a subscription.

Hopscotch

Cost: Free

This one is geared for the older kids in the audience, closer to ages 9-16. Hopscotch is an app that teaches coding and adapts to the user’s skill level. That way, you child is guaranteed to learn and grow no matter their starting skill level.

And that’s the list of top educational apps for kids! Each of them you can’t go wrong with, but some are geared more towards specific age groups. Whatever you decide, I hope your child learns from them and enjoys them immensely.

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Nutritional Product Aims to Make Introducing Food Allergens to Kids Easy

food allergies
Getty Images

By Katarina Avendaño & Donna Duarte-Ladd

SpoonfulONE on Food Allergies in Kids and Their Quest to Help

Food allergies in kids are one of those things parents dread, and according to the CDC, “Food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern that affect an estimated 8% of children in the United States.” Now with more scientific research, we want to educate ourselves in food allergens and find ways that we can help our kids.

According to the CDC, “A food allergy occurs when the body has a specific and reproducible immune response to certain foods. The body’s immune response can be severe and life threatening, such as anaphylaxis. Although the immune system normally protects people from germs, in people with food allergies, the immune system mistakenly responds to food as if it were harmful.”

Yet science is amazing, and now there is SpoonfulOne. Co-founder and inventor Dr. Kari Nadeau recently published a groundbreaking book: The End of Food Allergy. The book shares on preventing, diagnosing, and reversing food allergies from research by a team of trained experts.

We recently were invited to learn about SpoonfulOne. Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, MBE, FAAPpediatrician, and Chief Medical Officer of SpoonfulONE shares, “SpoonfulONE is a revolutionary, science-backed line of nutritional products that makes food allergen introduction & maintenance easy.”

Keeping all of this in mind, we touched base with Dr. Swanson on how SpoonfulOne works in decreasing food allergies.

Psst…These Parents of a Child with Autism are ASD Advocates and Authors of The Amazingly Sensational Kids Books Series

What is SpoonfulONE?

SpoonfulONE is a revolutionary, science-backed line of nutritional products that makes food allergen introduction and maintenance easy. Each serving of pediatrician-recommended SpoonfulONE includes the food groups commonly associated with over 90% of food allergies.

How does it work?

SpoonfulONE is science-based nutrition that works in the tummy to help introduce common food allergens early during the immune system’s development. We precisely portioned the amount of proteins (30mg) in SpoonfulONE so that each serving is large enough to safely increase the production of IgG4 (good, protective antibodies). When eating SpoonfulONE, 16 foods are introduced to a child’s immune system. The immune cells in the stomach begin to recognize the foods. When eaten on an ongoing basis, SpoonfulONE teaches the immune system that the 16 foods are just foods, not allergens. Unlike other products on the market that only cover peanut, milk, or eggs, SpoonfulONE covers the food groups associated with over 90% of food allergies.

When is it too late for allergen introduction?

Ideally, we want families introducing common allergens around 4-6 months and continuing routine feeding through early toddlerhood. It’s never too late to start, however the true risk is in delayed introduction.

Can you purchase SpoonfulONE products with EBT? Are there any programs for families to make this more accessible?

SpoonfulONE recently launched SpoonfulONE for Good. We believe all families should have access to diet diversity and common allergens. If you are a parent with SNAP, WIC, or EBT benefits, or have experienced loss of employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please apply for a free, one-year subscription of SpoonfulONE products.

What is the science behind food allergies?

Multiple studies show parents can decrease food allergy risk by feeding their babies common food allergens early and repeatedly. SpoonfulONE is powered not only by global landmark research like the LEAP and EAT studies, but also our own proprietary research.

Why have food allergies more than doubled in the last generation?

Likely, in part, due to our modern world environment is more sterile than ever with the increased use of antibiotics, hand sanitizers, etc. We know that things like exposure to pets like dogs, and playing in dirt are great for the immune system and help downregulate the risk of food allergies. In addition, outdated advice pediatricians gave to delay the start of common allergens led to an increase in allergies as babies delayed introduction and inclusion of common allergens in their diets.

Why are pediatric recommendations changing from what was recommended in the past as to when you should be introducing certain foods into your child’s diet?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting your child on solids between 4 and 6 months of age. In a reversal from decades of advice from pediatricians to avoid the foods associated with food allergies, research now shows early and regular dietary exposure to a food — especially foods often associated with allergies, like peanuts — helps reduce the risk of a child developing an allergy to that food. Waiting too long to introduce and regularly feed these foods, research shows, increases the allergy risk.

What are top allergen foods that you should be introducing into your child’s diet and when? 

Peanuts, milk, shellfish, tree nuts, egg, fish, grains, soy, and sesame. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting your child on solids between 4 and 6 months of age. Additionally, new USDA guidelines also recommend introducing common allergens around 4-6 months of age.

Why is early introduction important?

We know the immune system is primed in early infancy and toddlerhood. Delaying the introduction of common allergens can increase risk so helping parents get these foods in during critical, early periods of immune development is key.

What can you tell parents who are concerned about the risk of an allergic reaction when they introduce these foods into their baby’s diet so early on?

Most parents go straight to anaphylaxis when they hear “allergic reaction.” However, the two most common signs of an allergic reaction are hives and vomiting. You do not need to drive to your pediatrician’s office parking lot when offering new common allergens to your child. We need to move away from medicalizing feeding and instilling fear with first feedings.

Once you introduce these foods, how important is it to continue incorporating these foods into their diet as they grow and how?

Intermittent or “one bite” exposure to foods may not be enough for allergen introduction. Like any great habit (think toothbrushing), research shows the immune system works best when it’s exposed to a wide variety of foods regularly throughout a child’s early years. Scientists believe regular, consistent exposure to common allergens in the diet throughout early childhood is key to staying healthy.s

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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