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Encouraging Kindness

tips for encouraging kindness

“Wherever there is a human in need, there is an opportunity for kindness and to make a difference,” said Kevin Heath, the CEO for More4kids.It is important to encourage our children to be kind. It may help build character, prevent bullying, and influence children to be nice to others.

Being a role model, exhibiting how to be kind, is a great way to teach kindness. There are also many other ways to encourage kindness:

Teach teamwork: Whether your children have a play date or are just playing together as siblings, when it comes to cleaning up afterwards, have them work together. Children can learn the value of teamwork just by helping each other.

Teach sharing: Learning to play in pairs is a great way to start teaching children how to share. During play activities that require two or more children, demonstrate how they can share toys as they play with each other. Sharing teaches children about giving.

Give thanks: Teach children how to compliment the people they come in contact with. A great way to do this is by complimenting or praising a friend or relative. Children will start to pick up on how being praised or complimented can make another person feel good.

Give to charity/community service: Encourage your family to help out in the community by cleaning the local park, visiting a nursing home, or fundraising for a good cause. By spending time together performing an act of kindness, children will realize they are benefiting the community and helping others who need assistance.

An example of kindness

26 Acts of Kindness is an initiative that was started by Ann Curry in December following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. She challenged people to perform 26 acts of kindness, one for each victim in their honor. Now, in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, Ann has asked for people to participate in 26 more acts, this time in honor of victims of the bombings at the 26th mile of the Boston Marathon.

These acts of kindness can be used as learning tools for children and may even encourage you and your family to spread the love and generosity.

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St. Germaine’s 4th grade class in Oak Lawn, Illinois sent well wishes to the Boston victims.

 

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A donation of twenty six hearts to the American Heart Associate, one in honor of each of the Sandy Hook victims.

 

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Jaide, who is three years old, ran her first 5k with her mom to honor Boston.

If you choose to participate in the 26 Acts of Kindness, we invite you to post your acts of kindness to the 26 Acts of Kindness Facebook page.

Encouraging kindness is like a never ending cycle, when you do something good for someone; someday someone may do something nice for you. Being kind can make brighten someone’s day and that is the best reward of all. Do you have suggestion on how to encourage kindness in children?

Dressing for the Day

tips on how to dress
 

Many toddlers enjoy mimicking adult like activities such a cooking and cleaning, yet there is another activity that may inspire logic and decision making. That activity is learning how to dress themselves. Here are some tips inspired by Thriving Family Magazine on how to teach children how to dress:

1. Ask your child to observe the weather outside.

      • Does it look hot or cold?
      • Tell them what the temperature is and associate the temperature with a season. For example: “Although it is sunny out, the weather channel only says it is 38 degrees outside, that feels like winter weather. Burrrrr, I’m shivering.”

2. Talk about what the plans for the day are.

      •  Are you going grocery shopping with your child, going to the playground, or attending a wedding? This will help teach them the difference between casual and formal.

3. Separate clothing into categories.

      • Put short sleeve shirts in one draw and long sleeve shirts in another.

4. When children make what may be considered a good selection for a clothing choice, cheer them on. Toddlers love positive attention!

5. Based on the good dress decisions of the week, as a reward for dressing well, on a day that you and your child are spending in the house, give them the option to dress in their favorite outfit such as their superhero pajamas.

What tips do you have for teaching your child how to dress themselves?

Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits

Eating cake, cookies, burgers, pizza, and other delicious foods may be a delectable meal for some, but it can also be an unhealthy lifestyle to pursue all the time. Teaching and encouraging healthy eating habits to your children may help with their development.  There is no guarantee that your children will not become picky eaters, but suggesting the importance of being healthy may open their mind to at least trying new foods.

We found this article on PBS that explains ways to encourage healthy eating habits for your little ones. Here are some of the highlights:

Get them involved by bringing them along. Taking children to the grocery store can an adventure or a struggle, but bringing them, will allow an opportunity for your children to choose the food you purchase. Let them pick out the fruits, vegetables, cheeses, bread and other food you are planning on buying. Try to give them a simple description of what the particular food they have picked tastes like. A great way to stay away from unhealthy food is to try to avoid going down the aisles that supply it. If a child cannot see their favorite unhealthy food in front of them, they may not even think about it or want it.

Go to the source. Speaking of describing how a food tastes to children, it is equally important to increase your children’s food knowledge. Sometimes, instead of going to the grocery store travel to your local farmer’s market. Your children can meet the people that actually grow and pick the fresh fruits and veggies. Even planning a day to go to a dairy farm will teach them where dairy products come from. Besides, showing your children where healthy foods come from- stocking up on plenty of nutritious snacks in your home is a smart idea too!

Have healthy snacks readily available. Having the fridge and cabinets filled with sliced apples, cut up carrots, whole grain crackers, and water bottles is never a bad idea. These are snacks that children can access without your help. In addition, they are snacks that can travel with them in the car. Portable snacks help keep children busy! Besides feeding children healthy snacks, being a role model and eating healthy too can benefit both you and your children.

It takes dedication to eat healthy but if a family tries to do it together, it becomes a group effort. Kids look up to their parents and want to imitate what the adults are doing. If children see their parents eating the same food as them, they may be influenced to enjoy these nutritious and delicious foods instead of complaining.

Overall, implementing health conscious food choices into the family’s meals and snacks is a fantastic way for everyone to receive their daily nutritional requirements. What do you do to try to get your children to eat healthy?

Protecting Children from the Flu

As the flu continues to spread rapidly, it is important that everyone takes the necessary precautions to stay healthy.  There are many steps you can take to make sure that your children do not get the flu this year. CNN.com had many great tips to keeping your children healthy during this time of year.

  • Vaccinate: It is never too late for your children to receive the flu vaccination.  Even though the vaccine cannot fully guarantee your children will not get the flu, it still increases the chances of not contracting the illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vaccine is about 62% effective. The vaccine can shorten the illness if they do get sick.
  • Coughing etiquette and social distancing: Continuously tell your children to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue if they feel that they are going to sneeze or cough. After they are done coughing or sneezing, they should immediately throw away the contaminated tissue. Then they should make sure to sanitize their hands. The faster they do these measures, the fewer germs will spread. Also, if your children begin to show any cold-like/flu-like symptoms, keep them home from school if at all possible. CNN Money just discovered that one in three U.S workers has no paid sick days. This will make it extremely hard to contain the flu with many sick people going to work when they should stay home. Another great way to prevent children from getting sick and swapping germs is to suggest to the teacher to separate the desks from one another during this time of year so children are not too close to one another.
  • Clean surfaces often: Sanitize all objects that are shared by the family such as door knobs, railings of the staircase, bathrooms, television remotes, telephones, toys, and chairs.
  • Practice a healthy lifestyle: Make sure the whole family is getting plenty of sleep at night, consuming plenty of vitamin C and iron, eating fruits and vegetables, drinking plenty of water, and having at least one hour of physical activity during the week.

Has the flu bug hit your household this year?  Please share your tips with us to prevent the spread of this nasty bug.  Flu Activity Video:

Teaching Kids Kitchen Safety

Kids love to mimic adults and, during this time of year, adults tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen preparing holiday meals. Before inviting the kids into the kitchen, it’s important to talk about kitchen safety with them.

Teaching kids kitchen safety is beneficial on numerous levels. Being safe in the kitchen is important, because it keeps children from getting hurt. However, it also provides them with the opportunity to help mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa while they are cooking. It isn’t necessary to make your children afraid of the kitchen to teach them safety. There are much more fun ways to do this, such as by giving your child a play kitchen on which he or she can learn!

Having a play kitchen can teach your child about stove tops, ovens, cooking times, pots, pans, and techniques, all while teaching them appropriate kitchen safety. They’ll then be able to learn about kitchen safety through play. Because it’s fun, the information will stick better. They won’t be afraid of the grown-up kitchen, because their play kitchen will have made it a fun place for them, but they will respect it, and that’s key.

There are many kitchen sets for kids; you can even get one that resembles the layout of their own kitchen. Get some play food as well, so your child can cook while learning the proper safety measures!

Replacement parts for your snowplowed mailbox

Picture submitted by a Step2 customer

You may not know that we offer replacement parts for all of our current products. There is no need to recycle your product just because a piece has broken. For parts for play kitchens and mailboxes, and everything else in between, just give our Customer Service department a call toll free 1-800-347-8372 Monday – Friday, from 8-5 ET to order replacement parts.

If something breaks, or it wasn’t included in the box, call us and we’ll get that part out to you as quickly as we can. To help us identify the parts you need, it may be beneficial to be near the product during the call.

In case you lose this number, we have molded our Customer Service phone number into our products for your convenience.

Unfortunately, replacement parts are not available for purchase online at this time.

We stand by our products and our goal is to make sure you are satisfied with your purchase, whether it is for you or your little one.