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Helping Your Child Pick—and Stick—to Their New Year’s Resolutions

 

As we will say goodbye to 2018 and welcome the new year, it is a time to consider New Year’s Resolutions.  While many utilize their New Year’s resolutions to help spur on weight loss and other healthy habits, they can also serve as an important learning lesson for kids.

Why Make a New Year’s Resolution?

When you take away the term “New Year’s resolution,” the basic principles behind it are setting goals and achieving those goals. This is something that all children can benefit from—and even enjoy!

Many may think having your child come up with a New Year’s resolution is a bit excessive or overambitious, but childhood can be the best time to teach new habits. Although adults may make resolutions and not stick to them throughout the year, this does not necessarily mean that children will follow suit.

Helping Your Child Succeed

One of the best ways to help your kids pick and stick to a New Year’s resolution is to encourage them to consider something fun and measurable. You should also guide them toward narrowing down the list to their top three resolutions, including only things that are realistic and achievable.

There are four areas that are ideal for establishing goals:

  • Personal goals
  • Friendship goals
  • Helping goals
  • School goals

We are the greatest example for our children, so if we serve as a good role model in the resolution department, they are likely to follow suit. Remember, it takes six weeks to create a habit!

New Year’s Resolution Ideas for Kids

There are plenty of excellent New Year’s resolution ideas for children that are fun, healthy, challenging and positive. The one area you may want to steer your child away from are material goals.

Here are some ideas that may work for your child:

  • Invite someone from school or an after-school program over twice a month
  • Spend at least one day a month, if not more, unplugged from technology
  • Help cook one healthy meal two times a month
  • Read two new books per month
  • Learn or improve a skill, such as public speaking
  • Participate in more physical activity
  • Perform a random act of kindness once a month
  • Maintain a certain letter grade average throughout the year

Goal setting and achieving those goals are just two of the many life skills children need to learn in order to lead successful lives. Drama Kids International is proud to offer drama programs for children that can help them learn other important life skills, such as leadership, public speaking and self-confidence.

How Kids Can Give Back Over the Holidays

 

The holiday season is upon us. Finding the perfect gift and spending quality time with your family are probably two of the more pressing issues on your mind. What if we told you there was a way to easily achieve both at one time?

Volunteering during the holiday season is a way to do just that! You’ll not only enjoy quality time together, but you’ll also be giving the perfect gift to those in need!

How Volunteering Benefits Kids

There are plenty of benefits for children who volunteer, including:

  • Making them more likely to make positive, healthy choices
  • Helping enhance self-esteem
  • Improving psychological well-being
  • Encouraging compassion and altruism
  • Providing experiential learning opportunities
  • Helping children experience and appreciate diversity
  • Teaching valuable life skills

And the benefits of participating in a community service project aren’t just limited to the ones we’ve listed!

Ideas for Holiday Volunteering

No matter the age of your children, there are always simple ways they can volunteer and help out the community.

If you have a younger child, he or she can help pick out non-perishable food items that can be donated to a food bank, decorate cards for soldiers overseas or children who are in hospitals, or even stuff new socks with items that homeless men and women could be given when passed on the streets.

Older children can donate gently used books and DVDs to local children’s hospitals, schedule a visit to a nursing home and interact with the residents, or host a hot chocolate or cider stand from which the proceeds are donated to a local charity.

Keeping the Volunteer Spirit Year-round

It’s great to volunteer with your kids throughout the holiday season, but keeping that effort going year-round is a fantastic goal to have!

By keeping some form of volunteering on your family’s schedule, you’re helping your child learn that it’s not about what you have, but about empathy and the value of giving to others.

You can help encourage your child’s altruistic side by letting him or her pick a cause to support and discussing the difference between donating time and money. Both are valuable donations for the cause/charity of your family’s choosing, but it’s still important for your child to learn the difference between the two types of donating.

Looking for other ways to inspire your child to become his or her best self? Check out the programs Drama Kids International offers that are specially designed to help kids gain valuable life skills.

Three Thanksgiving Crafts Your Child will Love

 

The Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching, and while menu planning and Black Friday strategizing are probably near the top of the list, chances are that coming up with fun, kid-friendly Thanksgiving craft ideas is also something you’ve considered.

We know it’s a busy time of the year, so we’ve found three kid-approved ideas that are simple, yet fun!

Kid-approved Thanksgiving crafts

Not only are these activities a fun way to keep your child occupied, but they also present an opportunity for him or her to get involved in the holiday festivities and help with the decorating!

Feather Place Mats

This activity requires some feathers, orange (or whatever Thanksgiving color you prefer) card stock, kid-safe scissors and glue.

First, your child will trace the dinner plate you plan to use on your turkey day table. Then cut out the traced circles. Once those have been cut out, all he or she will need to do is put a dab of glue on each feather and then glue them along the edges of the circles. Voila—brand-new feather place mats!

Paper Leaf Table Runner

Break out the fall-colored construction paper or lined paper and child-safe scissors—and let your child’s creative side shine!

This is another crafty activity that lets your child become part of the Thanksgiving decorating, by having him or her cut out leaf designs. Once the designs have been cut out, your children can then write a few things they are thankful for on some of the leaves.

Then glue the leaves together into small groups, to create a design that will run down the center of your table. The finished product creates a heartfelt, homemade runner for the family table.

Corn Husk Flower Painting

Corn and Thanksgiving are just a natural fit, so this craft is something that makes sense and is fun for kids!

You’ll need some dried corn husks, some non-toxic paints, chalk markers and a hot glue gun to make this project come to life. First, an adult should hot glue the corn husks together in a flower pattern. Then allow your child to paint the “flower petals” to his or her heart’s content once the glue has dried.

Thanksgiving is about spending time with family and being thankful. Hopefully some of these craft ideas will inspire some quality family time and help your child embrace his or her creative side just a bit more!

Drama Kids International offers age-appropriate developmental after-school enrichment classes for children ages 4–17 that help them learn to better communicate and express themselves, harness their creativity, and build confidence and self-esteem

Halloween Treat Ideas for the Classroom

 

Halloween is right around the corner and while you’ve probably been busy helping come up with the perfect costume for your child, chances are Halloween treats for the classroom haven’t yet crossed your mind.

Don’t worry, our Drama Kids International team has got you covered on the tasty Halloween treat front!

Easy Halloween Treats

The goal is to come up with a Halloween treat your child can share with friends that is both delicious and easy to make. Of course—you always want to check with your child’s school to make sure that treats are allowed and learn of any special requirements or limitations.  Below you will find some of our favorite options.

Halloween Muddy Buddies

Delicious and festive, these muddy buddies are an obvious choice! You’ll need Rice Chex cereal, chocolate chips, peanut butter, butter, vanilla extract, powdered sugar, Kit Kats, candy corn, candy skulls, sprinkles and candy eyeballs to make these happen.

The best part? Halloween Muddy Buddies take less than 10 minutes to make! You can find the full recipe here.

Before you send these treats with your child, be sure that items containing peanut butter are allowed in your child’s classroom and/or school. It’s important to be mindful of food allergies. (See below for allergy-friendly treats!)

Rice Krispie Treat Mummies

This Halloween snack option only need three ingredients: snack-size rice krispie treats, white chocolate chips, and black edible piping gel or icing. In under 10 minutes, you can have adorable little mummies who are just waiting to be eaten. The full recipe for these treats can be found here.

Looking for more festive ideas? Woman’s Day offers a number of different options, all with varying degree of difficulty and time required.

Allergy-Friendly Halloween Treats

Food allergies are increasingly common in this day and age, especially among children. While a child can be allergic to any food, there are eight common allergens that account for 90 percent of reactions:

  1. Milk
  2. Eggs
  3. Peanuts
  4. Soy
  5. Wheat
  6. Tree nuts (walnuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, etc.)
  7. Fish
  8. Shellfish (including shrimp)

Because of the prevalence of peanut allergies, many schools are peanut-free zones in order to protect their students. If you’re worried about coming up with allergy-friendly Halloween treats for your child’s classroom don’t be—we’ve included some excellent options for you below!

Cheese It Up

We know how much children enjoy cheese and there’s no reason why this snack favorite can’t be made festive. You can make fun pumpkin or other Halloween-related shaped cheese treats by getting a cookie cutter or two for a tasty and nutritious treat. Note, this is not the right treat choice if there is a dairy allergy in the classroom.

Popcorn for All

You can decorate a paper bag with Halloween stickers and colors and fill it with homemade popcorn quite easily. Add a bit of fun to it by adding food coloring to the butter and shaking the popcorn in it for a festive treat.

If your child’s classroom requires labeled or packaged items, remember that there are allergy-friendly options out there, such as BoomChikaPop, which can come in individualized bags and simply be put inside the Halloween-decorated paper bag.

Sweet Tooth Options

Sometimes a sweet treat just hits the spot. Consider these candies, which are all guaranteed safe for nut allergies: Tootsie Roll Company brand items like Tootsie Rolls, Junior Mints and Caramel Apple Pops, York Peppermint Patties, Skittles, Starbursts, or Jolly Ranchers.

We hope you find our quick and easy Halloween treat suggestions helpful or inspiring! One more thing: Don’t forget to share once you figure out the perfect treat for your child’s class!

Drama Kids International provides children with a place to learn much more than drama! Our focus is on life skills and confidence building. Interested in finding a program for your child? Visit our website to find a Drama Kids location near you.

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Tips for Helping your Child Handle Bullying

 

Tips for Helping your Child Handle Bullying

 

As the school year progresses, chances are your child will experience bullying. He or she may not be the victim, but could still witness it in the classroom, hallway or on the playground.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and Drama Kids International is here to share valuable tips on how to help your child handle bullying.

How common is bullying?

Bullying is a very common thing, with more than one out of every five students having reported being bullied. Female students are more likely to experience a form of bullying.

There are three types of bullying—verbal, social and physical. Students who are bullied report that they are called names, insulted, pushed, shoved, tripped, spit on and excluded from activities on purpose. Bullying is reported to take place in the hallways or stairways at school, in the classroom, the cafeteria, outside on school grounds, on the bus, or in the bathroom/locker room.

How to help your child

First, your child must know how to identify bullying. It’s likely that he or she has been teased by a sibling or friend at some point, which is usually not harmful and done in a playful manner. But your child will need to know that when the teasing crosses the line into being hurtful, unkind and constant, it has become bullying.

Be sure children know it is not their fault if they have been the victim of bullying and reassure them that together you will figure out what to do about it. It’s also important for your child to know that it’s OK to speak to a teacher, principal or counselor about what is going on. Keep the lines of communication open and support your child.

ACT UP! to Stop Bullying

We know how detrimental bullying can be for children, which is why we created the ACT UP! to Stop Bullying program. This is a series of workshops designed for third through fifth graders, which utilizes student participatory drama activities and group discussions to teach children about the various forms of bullying and how they can properly respond. In ACT UP! to Stop Bullying, children will learn things like:

  • The different forms of bullying, including physical and verbal attacks and more subtle forms like leaving someone out from a group on purpose
  • Different roles they can play when bullying occurs, such as silent participant, observer or preventer
  • How to model good behavior

 

Bullying is something that must be taken seriously. If you would like to learn more about our ACT UP! to Stop Bullying initiative, reach out! Our Drama Kids team would love to see it come to a school near you!