All Posts By

Elizabeth Harrington

Healthy Snack Options for Your Kids

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As parents, we all know that getting our kids to eat anything healthy can be a struggle. Trying to find a variety of items for breakfast, lunch and dinner can be hard enough, but finding “healthy” snack options can be even worse. There are just too many unhealthy options to choose from, whether it be a bag of chips or that high sugar pudding cup. But finding a healthy alternative for both the home or school doesn’t have to be impossible. Here are just a few of our favorite snack ideas for you kids.

To start us off right there’s cheese. Cheese is a great snack because you sneak calcium and protein into your child’s diet while giving them something yummy to eat. It will also give them plenty of energy to finish out their day. Pair it with veggies or fruit to give your kids a well-rounded snack. Staying with the fruit and veggie snack options, Carrots and celery are the perfect healthy snack for your kids. You can pair them with a number of other foods like cheese, peanut butter, and hummus. With any food, sometimes it might take a little coaxing to get them to try something new like hummus. But once they do, it can be a great addition to your snack bags!

If you are not only having trouble finding healthy snack options at home, but also fun things for your kids to do, then look no further than popcorn. Popcorn is super popular with the kiddos and if you combine it with a movie, then you get two things accomplished with one smart move. Popcorn actually has 4 grams of fiber per 3-cup serving, which makes it a filling snack. Plus, it’s very versatile. You can transform air-popped popcorn with all sorts of toppings. Just remember, we are going for healthy here, so don’t go too far with the butter or sugary toppings.

Whether you stick with simple and easy like a scoop of peanut butter or get more creative with it, there are an endless number of snack options to give your kids. You can even get your kids involved in making their snacks. Once you get a few favorites in the daily rotation, mixing it up will be a breeze.

After School Care Programs Could Earn You Money And Save You Worries

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after school care needs

Americans have a love-hate relationship with work. Many of us would be all too happy to not have to go to work and would love to have more free time on our hands, but the fact is that we also work some of the longest weeks and take fewer vacation days than most other nations in the world. This work schedule can mean many things, but the biggest is that it can be hard to watch your kids after they get out of school.

In today’s world, it is estimated that somewhere around 11.3 million children take care of themselves after the school day ends. Either due to having both parents at work, or only having one parent in the home, who is working.

There are many after school care needs programs throughout the country, especially for younger children. Programs that could be run by the school, or privately ran by individuals like a business of sorts. They aren’t daycares in the traditional sense, but more of a location to have your child be to learn, be safe, and mind by adults experienced with kids.

Day care centers are generally a good place to leave your toddler to learn, as a child’s early education is one of the most important time periods in their lives. In the first few years of life, 700 new neural connections are formed every second. That is the most developing of any time of a child’s life.

Some of the benefits of an after school care needs program are that your child’s learning experience could be dramatically improved. A national evaluation found that over 40% of students attending 21st Century Community Learning Center programs improved their reading and math grades.

The programs can also have the benefit of helping your child become more well mannered in the classroom, improve or increase school attendance, academic aspirations, and significantly reduce the likelihood of a child dropping out at some point in their learning career.

This can also have a dramatic effect on worker productivity, as parents concerned about their children post-school can miss on average of eight days of work per year. That means a loss of money for parents and this worker productivity which can cost $300 billion annually worldwide for businesses.

If you have any questions concerning after school care programs for your child, feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to help.

Teach Your Baby! 3 Tips to Help Them Learn

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baby care needs There is a misconception going around the parenting world that education and learning doesn’t matter as much during the first few years of your child’s life. In actuality, this could not be further from the truth. In fact, the birth-to-three period is the fastest rate of brain development across the entire human life span, so early childhood education and baby stimulation matter very much.

You should spend a lot of time and energy focusing on baby care needs during your child’s first few years of life. By stressing the importance of baby care needs in these early years, you’ll set your children up for the following years as they maneuver through their schooling career. Below are a few ways that you can help teach your infants and give them a chance for a successful future.

Talk to your baby as if you were having a real conversation with each other
It might feel a little strange at first because your baby won’t be able to answer you quite yet, but they will at least pickup how a typical conversation is structured. I the beginning, babies won’t be able to verbally communicate back to you, but by talking to your baby as much as possible, you’ll help them learn the ins and outs of a two-way conversation.

Be as silly as you can with your baby
That goo-goo gaga talk might seem like you’re being unproductive but your infant child will actually respond to those sounds. Babies typically tune in to high-pitched baby talk and can understand those sounds better than normal pitched words and phrases. As the months begin to pass you both by, you can gradually start to transition from the baby talk to using real words along with your baby talk sounds.

Be intentional with your time with your baby
Spend some time each day by turning off electronics and removing any immediate distractions in the area. After you set the environment, let your baby crawl around and explore the different aspects of the room. Doing this will improve infant stimulation and work out their curiosity muscles and you’ll get a better sense of what interests your child.

Make sure you’re having plenty of fun and paying attention to how your baby is learning during his or her first few years of life. If you want to learn more about baby care needs, contact Growing Room Child Development Centers today.

3 Fun Activities to Do With Your Toddler That Will Increase Brain Development

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toddler learningA few decades ago, in 1975, more than half of all kids had a stay-at-home parent. Now, fewer than one-third of children today have a full-time, stay-at-home parent to care for them. Spending time with adults is an essential part of a toddler’s life. These kids can learn so much from parents, babysitters, and any other adult that is a part of their life.

Since toddler learning is so important, early childhood education should continue outside the classroom. Here are a few fun activities you can do with your child that will help with toddler education and brain development.

  1. Go for a long nature walk — Going for a nature walk or an “adventure” can be a great bonding exercise for you and your toddler. Your child will begin to develop an appreciation for nature and their curiosity will take over almost immediately. Make sure you’re prepared with at least rudimentary knowledge of botany and nature, because your kid will surely ask a million questions during the walk. Just seeing all the wonders of nature in real life will help your toddler’s brain grow. In addition to the education and bonding benefits going on long nature walks provide, these walks are also great for some much-needed physical activity.

  3. Bake something delicious together — Another fun activity you and your child can have that will contribute to toddler learning is making a mess in the kitchen. You can show them how to bake cookies and how much fun cookie cutters can be for kids (and adults). Make pancakes, fun cheesy meals, and anything else you want with your kid.

  5. Work on a creative art project — Arts and crafts can be great ways for your child to express themselves and let their creativity out. They might even develop a skill that they can take with them throughout their entire life. Finger painting, drawing, building blocks and any other art project can be a wonderful learning exercise for kids of all ages.

Having fun with your kids doesn’t just have to be about making a mess. Your kids can learn a thing or two as well if you do the right activities. If you want to know more about toddler learning, contact Growing Room Child Development Centers today.

3 Helpful Tips to Prepare Your Kid for the Future

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child careEvery parent knows that raising kids is a challenging, but equally rewarding, job — and that it isn’t just providing food, shelter, and clothing to your children. To set them on the right track for the rest of their lives, you have to teach them important, and sometimes difficult lessons about relating to others, engaging with the world around them, and acting responsibly. While child care centers can help kids learn, it is ultimately the parents’ responsibility to teach their toddlers how to navigate through life successfully at every stage.

  • Let Them Play — One of the most important aspects of child care is to encourage them to play as much as possible. Of course, you can’t let them run wild 100% of the time, but remember that play is the primary way through which children learn. It’s their job, in a sense. Keeping kids in structured schedules and planned activities can get extremely boring for them, and can curb their natural inquisitiveness. Encourage active play as well as the kinds of toys that help develop fine motor skills.
  • Know How to Discipline — Your children will never grow into productive adults if you never discipline them. But you also can’t scream in their faces every time they do something wrong. While there are many approaches to discipline, and you may make some mistakes along the way to finding the solution that works for your family, aggressive discipline doesn’t generally work. There are often natural consequences to kids’ actions, as well, that may be as effective as any punishment you could mete out.
  • Let Them Complete Their Own Tasks — Teaching your kids to complete simple tasks will help them learn how to take care of themselves; in fact, more than 11.3 million kids take care of themselves after the school day ends. While it may be easier for you to tackle all the chores that need to be done, it’s important to help your children learn how to be independent. There are no set guidelines as to when children should be washing their own laundry, for example, or cooking meals for themselves; you and your child can decide together whether they are up to the challenge of each responsibility.

Contact Growing Room Child Development Centers today if you want to learn more!

Guide To Finding The Right Child Care Center

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child care centersToday, less than 33% of children have a full-time, stay-at-home parent. In 1975 – only a generation ago – more than 50% of children had a stay-at-home parent—usually the mother. With these changing numbers come changing times. Families can’t always afford to live off of one income, and as a result, it is becoming the norm for both parents to have full-time jobs.

This has caused a huge spike in the need for child care centers across the country. Child care centers have the same objectives but can differ in how they operate on a day-to-day basis. It’s important to research (and visit) multiple child care centers before making any final decisions regarding your child’s well-being. Here are some quick and easy tips for finding the best child care center in your area.

First, watch the staff closely to observe how they interact with the children. Are they warm and inviting, or cold and dismissive? Do they get down on the ground, or hover over the children authoritatively? These observations are crucial to determining how your child will be handled for up to 8 hours a day. You want to find a child care center with a staff that can properly watch and give attention to each child equally.

Another crucial aspect of researching child care centers is looking into their policy. Do they have toys that encourage learning through play or active learning? Do they provide healthy snacks? Do they allow the children to watch a lot of television? Determine your values and pick a center that aligns closely with them.

Finally, use your resources. This includes doing plenty of online research and talking to friends with children. Word-of-mouth is a highly underestimated form of research. When it comes time to make a final decision, always follow your gut instinct. Don’t be afraid to ask any question at all, no matter how arbitrary or frivolous it might seem. Your child’s well-being should always come first.

4 Healthy Foods For Childhood Brain Development

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day care centersChildren’s brains grow and develop 85% of their full capacity by the time they are 5 years old, according to new advances in neural development. Whether your children are in voluntary preschool, kindergarten, day care centers, or home-schooled, this is an absolutely crucial time for development. One of the best things we can do for our children during this time, aside from active learning interactions, is provide them with healthy snacks that encourage brain growth and development. Here are some kid-friendly brain foods to give your child an extra boost.

  1. Oatmeal: This is a common meal in many day care centers. Most kids and toddlers love oatmeal, and it’s not hard to see why. Oatmeal is a delicious and nutritious substitution for sugary cereals. It’s full of fiber to curb your kid’s junk food cravings and has plenty of vitamins E, B complex, and zinc to help kids focus. Oatmeal is great because it can be easily paired with any variety of nuts and fruits for an extra nutritional boost.

  3. Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and cherries are all great sources of vitamin C and antioxidants. Their seeds also contain omega-3 fats that benefit brain function. When selecting berries, keep in mind that a darker, more intense color means more nutritional value.

  5. Beans: Beans are one of nature’s most powerful superfoods. Aside from being full of fiber, beans are also packed with protein, complex carbs, and omega-3 fatty acids — all essentials for healthy brain growth and development.

  7. Milk and Dairy: Dairy products generally contain a lot of vitamin B, which aids in brain tissue growth. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are all great sources of vitamin D, protein, and calcium as well. Keep in mind that some yogurts have high amounts of sugar, so be cautious and read labels before making final selections.

Day-to-day nutrition moderation is an important aspect of infant care and child care. Today, approximately 11.3 million children are left to take care of themselves after they get home from school. If enforced at an early age, these smart eating habits can stick with kids and really make a difference in creating a healthy future.

A Short Guide to the Many Benefits of Day Care for Children

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babyApproximately 23.4% of children under the age of five are enrolled in some form of child care arrangement, including having a nanny or being in daycare. What many parents don’t know is that enrolling a child in daycare has more benefits than leaving them with a babysitter.

If you’re wondering what some of these benefits might be, here’s a short list of ways in which child care centers can benefit your children.

Fewer Separation Anxiety Issues
Those children who spend the majority of their time with their mothers or a sole caregiver are more likely to experience emotional issues such as general anxiety and separation anxiety. Being exposed to other children and multiple caregivers can help alleviate this experience both in the present and in the future.

A child’s first day of school is always tough, but if your child has been socialized well since the time that they were a baby, then that first day will be easier on both of you. Not only will separation anxiety not pose an issue, but your child will have an easier time adjusting to the classroom and making friends once they feel comfortable in that setting.

Day care centers are held to certain standards by the government, which means that they will be held accountable for anything and everything that happens while your child is at their facility. If you hire a babysitter or a nanny, there’s no real accountability unless you have surveillance set up in your home to ensure that they’re performing their duties properly.

Less Stress as a Parent
Leaving someone alone in your home with your child can be a huge stress factor for you as a parent. Meanwhile, day care facilities will allow you to sit in on their practice with your child so you have complete confidence that they will provide the best child care services available to you.

It’s completely normal to be nervous about leaving your child in anyone’s care besides your own, but don’t cross day care off of your list just for that reason.

Importance of Blending Fun and Learning at Home

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current child care practices Today, less than one-third of children have a full-time, stay-at-home parent. In 1975, more than half of all children had a stay-at-home parent looking after them. More people are working full-time now, which is good, but it’s now more important than ever to make every moment with your kids count. Use the time you are able to be with them as teaching moments.

Current child care practices vary and depend on both the parent and the children. Some people believe that keeping kids in the school mindset when they get home strengthens their cognitive abilities, while others believe that it’s better to let children have free time at home to relax and clear their minds. The most effective current child care practices utilize a combination of both.

You can’t expect your kids to focus on school, learning, quizzes, reading, homework, and curriculum at all hours in the day — it’s impossible. Although you do have to let them be kids, don’t let them make your home a free for all as soon as they get home from school. It’s a balance and can often be difficult to achieve, but if you do, your kids will certainly benefit and grow into great people with a real shot at success.

Teaching Kids at Home By Using
Allow your child to deconstruct a little bit when they first get home. Give them a nice snack and talk to them about their day. Plan out what works best for you and your family, whether it’s doing some more schoolwork before dinner, or waiting until after dinner to get the work done.

The best way to balance the educational and playing balance is to do both at the same time. Rather than just doing lessons with your kids, play little games as a family that will build their cognitive skills. These games, if done correctly, can both be rewarding on an educational level and improve your relationship as a family.

To learn more about the most effective current child care practices, contact Growing Room Child Development Centers today!

How Daycare Centers Can Help Your Child: Cognitive Development and Respect

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daycareRaising a child will simultaneously be the most amazing thing you’ve ever done and the most difficult. There is no one correct way to successfully raise your kids, but there are plenty of wrong ways. A common misconception among parents is that to be effective parents, they need to be with their children all the time and give them whatever they need. This just isn’t true, and it’s far better, for both the parents and the child, to have some separation at some point. Healthy separation allows the child to grow and mature.

Daycare and after school child care programs are a great way for parents to take a break from the stresses of parenthood and allow the child to grow in a new environment (and make some new friends along the way). Here are two reasons why you should think about daycare programs for your young child.

Advanced Learning

Just because you know more than your child doesn’t mean you know how to properly pass that knowledge onto them. Early education is so essential for a child’s development because during the first few years of their life, roughly 700 new neural connections are formed every second. Because of this, you should leave the majority of the early education to the professionals. Your kids will practice active learning techniques and will be on the right track for a successful future as they progress through the education ranks.


Another benefit of daycare centers is that there are more adults present that are not related to your child. If you and your spouse are the only adults regularly around your child, it’ll be difficult for them to understand the importance of respect for grown ups. Obviously, you don’t want your children to have the same kind of relationship with other people as they do with you, so it’s important that other adults have a role in their lives at an early age. The professionals working at these facilities will be able to teach your child to listen and respect to non-parent authority figures.

If you want to set your kid up for a successful childhood and beyond, contact Growing Room Child Development Centers today to learn more about toddler education and development.