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Archive for August, 2011

THE IMPORTANCE OF AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS

Posted on: August 30th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

As kids across the Tampa area return to school, they’ll also head back to sitting at their desks for six or more hours a day. It’s critically important that parents find additional ways for their children to stay active and stimulated after-school.

As Hilary Clinton states, “For millions of children, ‘Home Alone’ is not a funny movie, but rather the way they spend their time after school and during the summer. It is during these hours that our children face the greatest risk of violence and other threats, but it also is during these hours that they have the greatest chance to learn, grow and find the hero within.”

After school programs are designed to develop a talent or a skill that is usually neglected. These programs can be educational, recreational or both. Whatever type they are, they should aim to keep your child active, interested and have been proven to them exceed in academics.

A quality after school program is more than babysitting and homework help.

A good program addresses the entire child: academic, social, physical and creative. Compared to unsupervised children, students who regularly attend quality after school programs tend to achieve higher scores on standardized testing, have improved school attendance and higher graduation rates and learn to respect other cultural backgrounds and develop better conflict resolution and social skills.

After school programs keep your child busy. Studies indicate that children who are kept busy through diverse, engrossing activities are less prone to abuse drugs and alcohols, depression and burnout. Significant increase in achievement, attendance and a reduction in drop out rates are additional advantages of a good after school program.

Many children are put into recreational after school programs so that they stay active and maintain a healthy weight. Currently
 15 percent of children below the age of 16 are obese. Sports, tae kwon do and dance classes are a great way for kids to have fun and to stay active.

Programs also keep a child entertained as well as busy, and thus prevent them from becoming addicted to TV, cell phones and other technology. By giving them ways to burn up their excess energy and explore their creativity, after school programs help to shape the overall personality of the child.

A good after school program also widens your child’s area of interests and introduces them to new things, which will be interesting and sometimes challenging. Mastering a new art form or a new skill increases the child’s self-esteem. It also allows you to introduce your child to new career options.

Socialization is another great advantage of after school programs. Children get to meet others who share their interests and make new friends. An acting class or a soccer team can be lots of fun allowing the kids to effortlessly make new friends. Many programs, like these, coach children for performances or matches. Performing onstage or playing a match can be a great experience for a young child.

For more information on parenting, visit Angela Ardolino’s site,www.tbparenting.com

Here are some of the programs offered in Tampa Bay:

www.ymcatampabay.org

www.patelconservatory.org/

www.sealswimschool.com

www.musictogether.com/tampabay

www.mjpaa.com

www.musicshowcaseonline.com

www.southtampataekwondo.com

www.lowryparkzoo.com

www.glazermuseum.org

www.flaquarium.org/

www.tampabayhistorycenter.org

www.yogalotusroom.com/KulaKids

www.mosi.org

HEALTHY HABITS KEY FOR STUDENT’S SUCCESS AT SCHOOL

Posted on: August 25th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Now that the frenzy of preparing to send the kids back to school has ended, parents may be breathing a little easier. But what parents often fail to consider is that children need more than the items in their backpacks to succeed in the classroom.

Nothing contributes more to a child’s ability to learn than the combination of a healthy diet, daily exercise and adequate sleep.

These healthy habits coupled with a diet rich in protein, low sodium and low-fat meats, reduced fat cheese and low-fat dairy products and whole grains boosts a child’s ability to concentrate, solve problems and think creatively at school.

Carefully managing a child’s diet seems like a daunting task, but it’s as simple as making a commitment to eating at home more often. After all, parents select the groceries that are brought into the home and control the foods that are available for snacks and meals.

Giving the chips ahoy cookies the heave-ho, opens the door to nutritious and delicious alternatives such as apple slices with caramel dip, reduced fat cheese sticks and veggies with ranch dip.

The connection between a healthy diet and a child’s academic success is even more striking when children frequently eat meals with their families.

These children tend to consume more fruits and vegetables and eat fewer snacks than those who eat on their own.

High school seniors who frequently eat meals with their families have been shown to score higher on academic placement tests, more often describe themselves as “happy” and according to a University of Michigan study, are less likely to use illicit drugs than their counterparts who routinely eat on their own.

Regularly sitting down to meals together gives family members an opportunity to share daily activities and become more emotionally connected to each other. Along the way, children are developing a healthy attitude toward food.

Providing more nutritious foods for children and eating meals as a family require some planning, but it’s well worth the effort.

Encouraging family members to help with grocery shopping and meal preparation will help keep everyone on track. The goal is the keep food selections low in fat, sodium and carbohydrates and rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Lean protein should be a staple of every growing child’s diet.

As parents, it is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of back to school shopping.

Remember that nothing will contribute more to your child’s success at school this year than a commitment to sending him off each day with a healthy mind and body.

Dr. Cesar Lara contributed to this article.  www.BestMedicineForWeightLoss.com

For more information you can visit these websites.

www.wholesometummies.com/tampabay
www.Panera-tampa.com www.eatfitlifefoods.com
www.Shop.Amoretogo.com

FAST FOOD EVOLUTION

Posted on: August 22nd, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Quick meals, snacks don’t mean unhealthy options.

Between the chaos of extracurricular activities and distractions of technology and the convenience of fast food, the traditional family meal around the dinner table is on the endangered activities list.

Not only does the family dinner have social benefits but physical as well. Studies show that kids who take part in regular family meals are less likely to smoke, use drugs or drink alcohol. They also make better eating choices when away from home.

Establishing healthy eating habits at home is the key step to creating a nutritional foundation for your kids. A study published by The National Institutes of Health shows that children who did not receive adequate vitamins and mineral scored lowered on standardized tests and had below average non-verbal IQ scores.

Although there technically is no such thing as “bad” food, drive-thru chain restaurants’ foods are high in sodium, saturated fat and trans fat, which can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and developmental delays in children 5-12.

But as school gets back into full swing, you may find that you have even less time to gather the family each night around the dinner table, making the typical fast food options even more appealing. But speedy food doesn’t have to equal unhealthy food.

There are a variety of casual restaurants that provide quick, inexpensive and healthy dining experiences for the whole family.

Panera Bread, where the calories are right on the menu, makes it easy for you and the kids to choose a healthy, delicious meal. For the budget conscious, Panera offers a free “My Panera” card, which provides complimentary items, tastings and demonstrations. Plus its kids meals, created with organic and whole grain ingredients, have earned national kudos.

Another alternative to consider is a pre-cooked or packaged meals to-go service. Events by Amore and Fitlife Foods are two options here in the Tampa Bay.

Events by Amore has a wonderful no preservatives or additives menu that is also all natural and gluten free. Their maxim is “Eating healthy does not mean you have to sacrifice taste” because that is one of the biggest obstacles to getting more people to eat healthier. All of their meals are packaged individually getting rid of the guesswork. You and the family can choose from an extensive menu or can have personalized meals for any particular allergies, religious reasons or preferences.

Fitlife Foods also prepares daily to-go meals for its members while encouraging a positive lifestyle change. It prides itself on helping customers save time, manage their weight and achieve their goals. They cater to individual needs, providing four membership options. Its most popular option is the 21-day challenge, which includes three healthy, balanced meals a day as well as a personal wellness coach for 21 days. You also can just walk-in and pick up individual meals, including the popular Tampa Bay BBQ Mac n’ Cheese.

Healthy eating is also important when it comes to your child’s school lunch as well. Many parents depend on schools to provide lunch but some schools fall short of providing kids with enjoyable, healthy options.

For parents in Florida, there’s also another option. Created by two moms tired of the unhealthy school lunch options, Wholesome Tummies offers flexible, customizable solutions for all schools, including delivery and on-site food service management. Wholesome Tummies uses only organic or all-natural ingredients and the lunches contain no added trans fats, no high fructose corn syrup, no added nitrates, no artificial colors and no artificial flavors. The company also offers nut-free, vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free meals.

Providing your children with the gift of health is the best gift you can give them. Don’t lose sight of all the options available to help you give that gift. Changing eating habits for the better can be difficult, but the rewards are numerous. Family meals are not just nutritionally important, but they’re also important for strengthening your family bond. Even if you’re not sitting around your dinner table, any table with healthy choices on it will do.

For Additional Information on These Topics Visit:

www.Panera.com (Panera)

www.Shop.Amoretogo.com (Events by Amore)

www.Eatfitlifefoods.com (Fit Life Foods)

www.Wholesomedb.rightbrainmedia.com/Default.aspx (Wholesome Tummies)

www.kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/habits.html?tracking=P_RelatedArticle  (Importance of the Family Meal)

www.poweroffamilymeals.com/ (Importance,Tips and Recipes)

www.livestrong.com/article/212122-effects-of-poor-diet-in-children/ (Effects of Poor Diets for Kids)

www.youngwomenshealth.org/fast_food.html (Fast Food Facts)

www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_eating_kids (Easy, Healthy Recipes)

www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/ (Facts on Childhood Obesity and Heart Disease)

www.thedailymeal.com/11-good-conversation-topics-family-dinners (Conversation Topics for Family Dinners)

 

BED TIME ROUTINES

Posted on: August 15th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

1. Consistency is the key.  Children need 11-12 hours of sleep every night so depending on what time they need to get up and get ready in the morning, choose a bed time and stick to it every night.
2. Create a routine.  Do homework, prepare for next day, take a bath, brush teeth, get in bed, read book, go to sleep.
3. Remind kids of their bed time 30 minutes and 15 minutes out until they get use to the routine and telling time.
4. Create calm time before bed time by reading a book together or writing in a journal before bed time.
5. Kids need to sleep in their own beds.
6. Keep TV and video games out of bedrooms.

BACK TO SCHOOL FAIR IN TAMPA BAY

Posted on: August 9th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

After a summer of relaxation it’s going to be tough to shake off the laid-back lifestyle and get back into super parent mode.

Luckily for parents all over the Tampa Bay area, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on August 13, will be just what you need to get back into the swing of things! The Back To School Fair is a day to prepare, protect, educate and inspire children for the upcoming school year! Four years ago, Angela Ardolino of Parenting with Angela, created the biggest and best back to school event to help Tampa Bay families get prepared and excited about the upcoming school year. Not only have they brought together great schools and after school programs of Tampa Bay, but they also have the best local resources available such as pediatricians, dentists and student related services participating in this event.

This annual event will feature live entertainment, informational speaker sessions, karaoke, games, arts & crafts, face painting, balloon artist, workshops and a whole bunch of fun! The 2011 event will take place inside the new, state of the art Glazer Children’s Museum located at 110 West Gasparilla Plaza, in downtown Tampa. Fair goers will be able to enjoy the entire museum and fair for only $5 per person and the first 150 kids will also receive a tote bag filled with Back to School supplies and other goodies. Museum Members are free!

Throughout the day parents and their kids can enjoy walking around and visiting the variety of booths as well as sit and enjoy the workshops and stage entertainment. Local area businesses will be on hand to provide information on topics such as health & wellness, safety, private schools, local resources, childcare, after school programs, school supplies, tutors, children’s retailers and more!

So mark your calendars! The Back To School Fair on your calendars for August 13,
9 a.m. – 4p.m. at The Glazer Children’s Museum, and enjoy the last few days of summer with your family.

For additional information visit www.BackToSchoolFair.com

GETTING YOUR RELATIONSHIP READY FOR BABY

Posted on: August 5th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

xpectant parents spend a lot of time preparing for the arrival of their baby. By the time they bring their little one home, they’ve taken classes, read hundreds of books and bought enough onesies to fill an entire dresser.  But even with all the preparation, the reality of caring for a baby can be overwhelming.
When your household grows from two to three, your relationship with your partner is bound to change. Here are some ways to get a handle on what to expect:

SLEEP
At first, your newborn may only sleep for a few hours at a time, and when they are up a parent is up. This can cause sleep deprivation, which makes you and your partner irritable and turn household tasks into ordeals. You’ll also have less time for work, for yourself, and for your partner. Creating a routine that works with both parents’ schedule is a must.  Schedule naps if you need to so that you can keep from becoming sleep deprived. Try trading babysitting with friends and neighbors to catch up on sleep, errands and mommy/daddy time.

STRESS
Being a new parent is wonderful, but at times it can be really difficult and stressful, too. This can generate feelings of guilt for a mom or dad who isn’t enjoying every second of being a new parent. It’s important to remember that it’s OK to want — and to take — a break from the baby when you need it.  Weekly dates without the baby will help you and your partner stay connected, which is incredibly important to a strong family unit.

EMOTIONS
A baby can stir up surprising feelings of jealousy. Sometimes new dads get jealous because the baby takes up so much of mom’s time. Dad may feel like a third wheel, or maybe he’s jealous that he doesn’t get to spend as much time with the baby or do as much of the parenting. These feelings are completely normal when the structure of a family changes so drastically.  Communication and understanding are so important when emotions run high.

DIFFERENCES
Even without all the outside parenting advice, you and your partner may realize you have different approaches to parenting — one of you might be more inclined to pick up the baby whenever he or she cries while the other lets your little one cry for a while, for instance. And trouble spots in a relationship, such as who does more work around the house, can get worse if new parents don’t sit down and talk about what’s bothering them.  Establish house rules and boundaries ahead of time to prevent disagreements later.

TAKE CARE
Moms have their own challenges to confront. Pregnancy temporarily robs them of the bodies they’re used to; a couple of extra pounds and dark circles under the eyes from late-night feedings can make a woman feel self-conscious and less attractive to her partner. Some moms also find it difficult to reconcile the image of a mother with that of a sexual woman, so they may be less interested in intimacy.  Take time to take care of you.  If mom isn’t happy and healthy it’s hard for the family to be happy and healthy.

For more info visit kidshealth.org