Tips and tricks for helping out the picky eater in your home
Sometimes kids just won't touch a single piece of food that's put in front of them. It could be that they will not take a second look at a fruit or vegetable or they reject anything that doesn't come out of a bag with a funny character on it. It's a learning process trying to figure out what works and what doesn't work in terms of getting kids to eat a healthy and balanced diet. It's about letting go of control and encouraging healthy eating habits. Try these top tips to try and help overcome picky eating!
Sit down and have a meal together as a family every night ( if possible!)- Sitting down with your kids and eating with them as a family as frequently as you can is the most important and often overlooked contributing factor to overcome picky eating. There are plenty of studies proving positive correlation between regular family dinners and increased vocabulary, academic performance and even the increased consumption of fruits and vegetables in children. Kids learn best from modeled behavior, they need to watch you eat and enjoy different foods to learn how to do the same!
Make a mealtime schedule + stick to it- Set designated times for meals and snacks and stick to a plan. This helps regulate kids' appetite and sets a peaceful rhythm in the home around meals. Kids like to know what to expect, be sure when mealtime is over, the food is gone. This does wonders for kids who take hours on end eating one serving of food. A good meal time is anywhere between 20-30 minutes. In many social situations like school lunch, mealtimes are usually around this amount of time.
Expose them to a wide variety of foods- Exposure to a large variety of food tastes and
textures is crucial for future food acceptance, especially within the first year of life. If the goal is to have your children eating more foods and being okay with trying new ones, how else do you expect them to get there without providing opportunities to try, see and learn about foods? Everyday, try to expose them to a new food type, vegetable, fruit or texture. For textures think finely chopped, fork mashed, crispy foods, or chewy foods. Also try talking about the foods on the plate differently, talk about all the colors on the plate and how it's important to eat all the colors of the rainbow to make our bodies strong. Teaching them about the food on their plate is also helpful. Tell them where it comes from and what it does for the body. For example "carrots make your eyes super strong, salmon comes from fish in the sea and makes your brain grow!"
Get kids involved with cooking + meal prep- Being involved in the cooking and food preparation helps prepare them for the meal to come and eliminate the element of surprise. They can be the ones to help you chop and mix bananas into their yogurt instead of being surprised at the chunk in their mouth. Cooking with kids can be challenging, but it also can be a lot of fun! They feel more in control, which is so important. They are also willing to try new things if they help assemble it. Letting them get their hands on the food prior to eating will increase their chances of putting it in their mouth.
Accepting where your child is on this journey- This is by far the hardest for parents. Do your
best to accept your child for where they are along their journey to enjoy a wide variety of foods.
You can't force them to be anywhere that they are not. Fortunately though, you can be the single most important contributing factor to helping them move forward! It may take longer than you think and you may not reach all the goals you have set. But continuing to encourage and support them, and taking baby steps, will help them in the long run!
Hopefully using these silly simple steps, you can start enjoying mealtimes with your children
again, and hopefully your kids will learn to eat new and healthy foods along the way!
Each holiday brings the opportunity to participate in unique celebrations with your kids and Saint Patrick’s Day has no shortage of fun festivities. Whether you are lucky enough to be Irish or just love celebrating the holiday, try these fun and educational ideas to bring some luck to your home.
Eat all things green!
Celebrate the day by feasting on all things green. For breakfast, try some green eggs and ham while reading the Dr. Seuss book to your kids or dye your pancakes green just for fun. For lunch, try serving up a buffet of green foods - broccoli, celery, salad, guacamole, and grapes. Wash it all down with some green juice. Who knows? Maybe your child will try some new foods trying to get good luck on St. Patty’s Day.
Set up a leprechaun trap!
Make a Rainbow Cake!
Rainbows are a wonderful natural phenomenon that creates a sense of awe in young children. They're also a great symbol for St. Patrick's Day. Use this as an opportunity to explore the wonder of color. With spring approaching, try to look for moments where you can go for a walk or a drive after the rain to see a rainbow with your toddler. If that's not possible, use a prism to create a rainbow indoors on a wall or the floor. After that experience, you can make this rainbow cake to reinforce what you've discussed about rainbows and color. It can also be used to introduce new skills like measuring and stirring. The best part is that it's a rainbow you get to eat when you're finished. To create the cake, simply use your favorite cake recipe, in a round pan (rectangular works as well). Frost it in a simple white frosting, then decorate it with a candy that comes in a rainbow of colors. Skittles and M&M's are ideal choices. Depending on how advanced you want to make your cake, you can also use food coloring to make the actual cake a rainbow. Make each layer a different color and simply put frosting between each in order to have the stack stay together.
Explore the Irish culture
Learn about the Irish culture by checking out books or movies about Ireland and the history of Saint Patrick’s Day from your local library. Have the kids watch a video of an Irish dance performance (YouTube is a great place to find one) and have the family try some of the dance moves themselves, consider adding a little Irish music to the day. Purchase a CD of Irish jigs or fire up your favorite music streaming surface and look for Irish-themed playlists. Simply playing Irish music is likely to get your toddler spinning, jumping, and dancing. The upbeat tempo just begs for it! You can even introduce the best part of the Irish jig by interlocking arms, then spin around in a circle. This activity will get the whole family moving and probably produce some giggles too. For the crafty, try painting or drawing an Irish flag or four leaf clover. If you are lucky enough to be Irish, make a family tree and discuss your heritage. For dinner try serving a traditional Irish meal like corn beef and cabbage. If this isn’t a family favorite, Reuben sandwiches may be a good alternative.
There are so many ways to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day that do not involve the stereotypical party we may first think of. Parents can get creative with crafts and activities that are family-friendly and sure to become a well loved tradition in years to come!
Hello Team ELM Family! We are excited to announce we’ve opened a store front o; we are located at 45 East Railroad Avenue, Jamesburg NJ 08831. More information coming soon about our open house on Saturday, April 4th from 1:30pm-4:30 pm!
This has been a dream for Erika, and the whole team since Team ELM started back in 2015. Somewhere for the team members to have as a home base and for the company to branch out and thrive! Here’s what going on!
Monday- Thursday 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Monday 5:00 pm Reading Class
6:00 pm Math Class
7:00 pm Writing Class
Tuesday 4:00 pm Reading Class
5:00 pm Social Studies Class
6:00 pm Math Class
7:00 pm Science Class
Wednesday 4:00 pm Math Class
5:00 pm Reading Class
6:00 pm Writing Class
Thursday 4:00 pm Social Studies Class
5:00 pm Reading Class
6:00 Math Class
7:00 pm Science Class
Friday 3:00 pm Math Class
4:00 pm Writing Class
Saturday 8:00 am SAT/ACT
9:00 am Test Prep Strategies
Sunday 8:00 am SAT/ACT
Fridays 5:30pm -7:30 pm
Saturday’s 11:00 am- 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm- 4:00 pm & 5:00 pm- 7:00 pm
Sunday’s 11:00 am- 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm- 4:00 pm & 5:00 pm- 7:00 pm
All supplies included, plus decorations (1 bouquet of balloons, door hanger & birthday sign)
Please call to sign up your children for any of the classes we are offering, the tutoring sessions over the weekend, or to plan a birthday party! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call! We look forward to this new chapter with our Team ELM family and can’t wait to see you very soon!!
Difficulty adjusting to school
School is in full swing, but you may find on some days your child may start the day off, especially Monday, with tears, or maybe a tummy ache. They aren't faking it, anxiety affects the body, and could cause actual aches and pains in children. But don't worry, it's not unusual for kids to need a little extra help adjusting to school. Here are a few tips that might make mornings easier!
Give your child a way to hold onto you during the day- For many kids the hardest part of going to school is saying goodbye to you. Develop a parting ritual such as a hug and a saying you repeat everyday. " I love you, you love me, have a great day, I'll see you 3!" Maybe put a laminated picture of the family in their backpack. Many also like a token for their pocket, such as a paper heart with a love note, or a seashell you found on the beach together, that they can feel and hold for reassurance if they feel alone.
Laugh out the anxieties instead of crying- Giggling is a child's way of venting anxiety,
and any child who is having a tough school year, may feel anxious or fearful inside. Give them as many opportunities as possible to giggle! Spend some time every morning playing a chase game in your house, tell silly stories or jokes, see who can make the funniest face! You'll find their separation from you goes more smoothly.
Stay connected- Start your child's day with a five minute snuggle in bed or on the couch. Just bringing 100% of your attention to loving them. Make sure that every day after school when you're reunited, you have special time put aside to hear all about their day. Maybe it's taking them to grab an ice cream cone, or a quick run to the
grocery store to spend that special one on one time with them. Doing little things like that will increase their sense of security.
Be alert for reasons why they're worried- Most of the time kids do fine after a couple weeks. But occasionally, their unhappiness indicates a more serious issue; maybe there's a bully, or they can't see the blackboard, maybe they're having trouble following along and they're too afraid to speak up. Ask calm questions about their day, listen deeply and reflect on what they tell you. If you feel there is an issue you can't seem to get to the bottom of, reach out to their teacher for more help.
Create a calm household routine- Getting your child ready for school begins in the home. It is important to have a consistent and calm household routine, which should feature peaceful mornings and early bedtimes. If you struggle getting your child up in the morning this indicates they are not getting enough sleep, they will feel restless and frustrated in the morning, which can result in tantrums when it's time to leave for school. Making sure your child gets enough sleep is very important, follow a familiar routine and ensure the bedroom is cosy and the temperature is right.
Following a few easy tips will help your child cope with school. It is not hard to see why a lot of children find it difficult to adjust to school. It's about making school become the norm; somewhere they feel safe and comfortable. Hopefully you'll have no more tears and tantrums in the morning. You may even find your child doesn't want to come home at the end of the day!
Whether you couldn't find a sitter for New Year's Eve or you just don't feel like fighting holiday traffic, you can still have a fun, kid-friendly celebration. A “ Noon Year Eve” Party is the prefect solution for letting kids have time to celebrate without staying up past bedtime! The key is to keep the kids occupied as the clock counts down and celebrate a little earlier in the day at 12pm instead of 12am! Whatever you choose to do with your family on the eve of the New Year, you can make sure it's memorable with sure-fire party pleasers.
1. Have a fun countdown
There are so many fun ways to help kids mark time until the new year arrives. Pick the time you want to start (and end!) and count down the hours by opening a bag, package or even popping a balloon. Mark each bag with the time and include a fun activity for each hour. Here are some ideas of what to stuff in the bags:
Party hats and noisemakers
A deck of cards and game instructions
Pens and paper to write New Year's Resolutions
2. Let Your Kids Pick Out Fun Outfits
Get your kids excited about their big day by allowing them to dress up however they want. Encourage sparkly, festive attire and explain to them the whole reason we celebrate the changing of our calendars. They will feel like rock stars with free creative reign over their looks and you won’t have to stress over someone throwing a fit.
3. Set up a Photo Booth
Put all that crafting to use by constructing a photo booth. Just hang a paper backdrop (festive New Year’s Eve wrapping paper will do the trick) and set up a camera on a tripod or have a designated phone photographer in place. Blast some music and have the kids dance around, posing with their new, festive props—they’ll have a blast and so will you. One day your kids will be off celebrating with their own friends. These photos will be a precious keepsake that’ll last a lifetime.
4.Craft a Blessing Jar or a Wishing Well
Grab a canning jar or something similar from the cupboard or get one from a dollar store. Cover it in construction paper and label it either Blessing Jar or Wishing Well.
If it's a Blessing Jar, you and your child write the blessings you notice in your life over the coming year on a piece of paper, fold it and drop in the jar. Next New Year's Eve, you dump it out, read it and get to feel that warm, fuzzy feeling.
The Wishing Well works essentially the same way. Except instead of putting blessings in your jar, you put your wishes. At the end of 2019, you get to see how many wishes came true, how many you get to carry into 2020 or how many you're willing to discard for new wishes.
5. Play the photo timeline game
Print out some photos – try for at least one from each month – from the last year. Create a challenge by hiding them around the house and asking children to find and arrange them in chronological order. It's a win-win: Kids love to look at themselves and you get to marvel at how much they've grown over the past year. You both will enjoy the walk down memory lane and wonder at the adventures the new year will bring.
Counting down to 12 p.m. instead of 12 a.m. allows your family to celebrate the new year together, and the little ones don’t get to miss out on all the fun! You don’t need to go above and beyond throwing a huge party! Little activities will ensure fun for all and a good way to ring in the new year, together!