Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Proper Hydration for your Child

Have you ever wondered how much your child should be drinking on a hot day or after strenuous exercise?  Proper hydration can keep your child in the game while dehydration can lead to serious issues. 

In reading an article on Hometown Health TV ( regarding children and sports drinks, I came across some interesting facts and links.  The article discusses the book “Home Team Advantage: The Critical Role of Mothers in Youth Sports”  The author of this book Brooke de Lench is also Founder and Editor in Chief of

Hydration Facts from Home Team Advantage:

  • Make sure your child is properly hydrated before and after sports or activities.  Two out of three children are dehydrated before practice even starts.
  • Children do NOT instinctively drink fluids: it is up to you to make sure they get enough.
  • Children can become seriously ill from sharing water bottles.   Some examples of this are flu, mononucleosis or hepatitis.
  • Drinking from contaminated water from a hose or in some cases a school fountain can expose your child to high levels of lead or ground bacteria.
  • The Parent’s Healthy Hydration Guide –

Children need to drink 5 to 9 ounces every twenty minutes during exercise depending on their weight.  Brooke suggests giving younger children a water bottle with marks on the side showing how much he/she should drink each time.   Check with your doctor to find the proper hydration statistics for your child’s age and weight.

For more details on this article plus additional health related information check out

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in Well Rounded Wednesday

Well Rounded Wednesday – Five Questions to Assess if your Preschooler is Ready to Ski.

Here we are in the heart of a snow-filled winter season and there I am on top of a ski mountain!  Many parents love getting on to the slopes but question whether their child is ready and where they should start.  I did some research on ski mountains across the country and programs they offer for children.  Here is what I found:

A Sampling of Children’s Ski Schools Across the Country:

In Vermont, Killington the following programs are offered.  First Tracks Program for  children 2-4 combines the Friendly Penguin daycare with on-snow sessions designed to introduce children to skiing or other outdoor activities. For kids 5 – 6 there is Ministars.  It is an innovative program that teaches your children to enjoy the sport of skiing in a safe, fun and educational environment.

In Beaver Creek, Colorado, group ski lessons are available for children ages 3-6.  The service includes: a day of lessons, lift access, and a healthy kid-friendly lunch. The day starts indoors with educational pre-ski activities.

For Parents in the Tri-State area, Shawnee Mountain in Pennsylvania offers a number of programs including: SKIbaby: Intro to Skiing for ages 3 & under, Mommy & Me: Private lesson for 3-year-old child and guardian and SKIwee programs for ages 4 – 6

With just a quick google search I was able to locate all these options.  Ski resorts cater to families and have created exciting ways to teach your children about the joys of skiing! 

So you know where to go, how do you know if your child is ready?  In “Learning to Ski:  Is Your Child Ready?”  Sue Way suggests the following assessment:

1.)  Is he/she comfortable being dropped off in a school or pre-school type environment?

2.)  Does he/she have the strength and endurance to be physically active for up to one hour in the cold and in weather that may be wet and possibly windy and stormy?

3.)  Is he/she physically strong enough to walk around in skis and boots?

4.)  The most important factor to consider is whether your child will have fun.  Children have a lifetime to learn a sport.  If you want them to succeed, it is important that they enjoy themselves.

5.)  Will he/she wear proper clothing without a fight?

* Sue’s questions and more details can be found at

If you were able to answer the questions with a resounding YES – bundle up, wear a helmet, keep hydrated and enjoy the slopes!

Action Steps –  Check out local ski establishments for the child friendly classes.

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Getting your Preschooler to Try New Foods – Free Pancakes Today!

A great way to introduce new foods and new cultures into your family meals is to use all the special ‘Days’ or  ‘Months’ on our National Calendar.  A quick google search provides some great examples.  I found out February is National Potato Month, Fabulous Florida Strawberry Month, North Carolina Sweet Potato Month and National Pancake Day. 

Use the occasion to make a little celebration! 

  • Read a book to your child about the featured food.
  • Have your child draw the food, where it comes from or how it is prepared
  • Select  a recipe with your child to dine on the honored food!
  • Discuss what it taste like.
IHOP National Pancake Day, February 23, 2010

To get you started, in celebration of National Pancake Day, IHOP is offering free shortstacks of pancakes today from 7am – 10pm.  They are asking that customers consider a donation to a local children’s hospital through Children’s Miracle Network or other local non-profits.

Bon Appetit!

© 2010  All rights reserved. 
Posted in Must Have Monday

Must Have Monday – Handmade Blankets

I have long been a supporter of local, small businesses.  It’s not to say I don’t love Whole Foods or Starbucks however there is something so wonderful about buying something gorgeous from the actual person that made it!  So many businesses are built on the dreams of amazing people just bursting with ideas of how to do things better or how to creativity make something beautiful.  In my childhood, I was always told I could do whatever I wanted but I had to put my heart and energy into it.  That belief in me has taken me places I never imagined!  I truly believe that by supporting talented small business owners, we are telling them same thing!  “I believe in your dream, I think you are amazing at what you do, put your heart and energy into it and you can be a success!”

So what does all this have to do with Child Development?  Well, for families with pre-school age children, many times there are also babies or friends with babies and certainly baby showers!  An acquaintance/friend of mine has such a talent for putting together gorgeous designs and hand-making baby blankets, cloths and baskets.  She can take the planned colors of the baby’s room and make it into a beautiful handmade gift.

Sweet Baby Blanket Amy Butler French Wallpaper

When I look around at what I have kept with me, move after move, it is the handmade items that I have saved all these years:  a purple patch blanket from my Nanna, a cross-stitch framed saying from a best friend.  There is so much love that goes into items like these; they deserve to be treasured.

On all the other ‘Must Have Mondays’ I have provided the disclosure that I was not compensated for my post.  In this case, I feel I must share with you that I do know the business owner and I do have a shoe carrier from EnolaAshley (which I LOVE!)  I ask, as always, that you make the decision based upon your own assessments.

Parents should evaluate the appropriateness of any product in their own child’s situation.  Please feel free to check the consumer product safety commision ( or with other groups that test the safety of children’s products.

© 2010  All rights reserved. 
Posted in The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Snow Days! Five Fun Indoor Activities

Its been snowing….alot!  There was snow in 49 out of 50 states last week.  All this snow brought warnings to stay off the road, to stock up, to stay inside and for many it meant school closings.  The initial change in normal routines brings excitement.  However, there is only so long the little ones can sled, build snowmen and forts, and pelt each other with snowballs before its time to warm up with some hot chocolate.  After days on end with long periods of indoor time, cabin fever can strike both pre-schoolers and their parents.

I came across some Facebook posts of Moms discussing what to do to avoid running out of things to do indoors.  The moms: Sarah, Heather, Julie, Samantha and Sara shared some fun, surprisingly simple and ingeniously multi functional ideas for their kids.  I have listed their snow day ideas and a few of mine below.  If you have ideas of your own or activities for a snow day, please post in the comments below.

Five Fun Indoor Activities for Snow Days:

  1. Washing Money – You will need paper towels, a bar of soap, a cheese grater (must be supervised) a spoon, a bowl, a sponge and a pile of coins.  Lay some towels out to catch splashes.  First step is to make soap flakes.  Your child can use the spoon or rub the soap o the grater (watch their fingers.)  Second, fill the bowl with water, pour in the soap flakes and have your child stir it up.  Next, take a coin, put it into the water and then scrub with the sponge.  They can have a pile of dirty and clean coins.  One mom mentioned the coin cleaning kept her girls occupied for 45 minutes and they loved it!
  2. Dance Party – Clear the furniture from a large area.  Bring in an iPod or radio.  Turn it on and let the fun begin.  As a child, my best friend and I actually used to make routines and put on a show for our Moms.  Younger children may be able to make routines with simple moves or even imitating animals.
  3. Make a train or a fort – Since you have moved all the chairs, line them up and make a train.  You can have a conductor, a caboose and passengers to get on and off the train.  Talk about where you are going and what you will see.  Afterwards, tape together pieces of paper and have the children draw all the things they passed on their train trip.  You can also build a fort.  Once again, they can use their imagination about who is outside the fort, their location and who is inside the fort.  They can draw out their ideas afterwards.
  4. Shape Hunt –  Cut out shapes with construction paper.  Give the shapes, one at a time to your children.  Have them run around the house and find other objects of the same shape.  They can then come back and draw what they find.
  5. Cooking – Cooking is chemistry, art, mess making and delicious!  What better to warm the body and soul on a cold winters day than homemade cookies or cupcakes.  There are many simple recipes in which a supervised child can do the lion’s share of the work.  On the Food Network site, search cooking with kids.  There are great ideas from shredding lettuce to icing a cake.  Kids can learn about shapes while using cookie cutters or mix up ingredients by squashing them around in a plastic zip bag.

There are so many ‘T.V. Free’ ways to have a great time even when the family is cooped up from the snow. 

Bonus Idea:  If you would like to use technology, try Skpe!  You can have a video playdate with your child’s friends: share story time or a coloring session.  It’s a great way to get your child comfortable with technology while keeping it a learning/sharing experience.

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in Well Rounded Wednesday

Well Rounded Wednesday – Five Rules to Making Museums Fun

In researching schools for my Master’s degree, I was pleasantly surprised to learn there is a Master’s Degree specifically for children’s programs and education in Museums.  This week I visited the Museum of Modern Art ( in NYC and the Metropolitan Museum (  to take a look at what they have to offer for children.

Welcome to the Met.  Enter here.

Museums truly house some of the greatest treasures in the world.  Meandering through the halls of the Met (or your local favorite) could be the catalyst for discussions on everything from art to Ancient Egypt.  Did you know they actually took a temple from the banks of the Nile and rebuilt it inside the Met?!    Spending a little time exploring museums isn’t just educational, it’s an adventure!  You may find that some room or exhibit really piques your child’s interest.  A trip to the museum may just be the spark that ignites a passion for art, architecture, archeology or some other lifelong passion.

So, how can museums be incorporated into your child’s life?  Here are Five Rules to Making Museums Fun:

  1. Get a read on your child – In my family, there are those like my artist Mom, who could spend a whole trip on one floor or artist and those like my husband who wants to see the “big stuff” and then head out.  You know your child best, get a read on their patience level and interest and build your plan.  This trip is for your child.  There is no rule that says your must see every room and every floor in one trip.  Go in and just check out a particular wing.  It will keep museums fun and there will always be more to explore.
  2. Use what the Museum creates: classes and guides – Using the Met and MOMA as examples, I explored the guides and what is available for children.  When you arrive at a museum, head straight for the information desk.  There are typically free guides, made by experts to make your trip educational and fun.  For example the MOMA has a Ford Family Activity Guide – Shapes.  There are simple activities related to specific shapes that your children can find in paintings as you move through the museum.   The Met offers a Family Guide with tips for kids, things to look for and some fun activities.  They also have family audio guides.  A quick look at the museums websites will give you a list of classes and group activities for children.  The Met has storytime, sketching, films, “how did they do that” classes and more for children from 3 up.
  3. Let your child be the tour guide – Once you have made a few trips.  Your child will have his/her favorites.  Make it a play date and let the kids be the guides (with you as the GPS of course.)  This is a great way to share excitement, build confidence and a whole new exciting adventure. 
  4. Take coloring materials – If you wander into the sculpture garden at the Met you will see artists of all ages with pens, pencil and pads of paper.  They sit at tables and on the floor sketching out sculptures and works of art from all over the world.  Bring along some crayons and an art pad and join the fun.  Busy parents, this may be a great time to get off your feet and catch up on some reading or periodicals that have piled up.
  5. It doesn’t have to be a production:  Getting to a museum doesn’t have to be a big, official production.  Just as you would get ready for the grocery store or the mall…pack up and go.  As I mentioned in rule 1, nothing says you have to spend the whole day or see every masterpiece.  Baby steps… 

Bonus Rule:  Make it budget friendly.  If you find your children enjoy trips to the museum, it may pay to research family membership.  Museums offer discounted or free admission with membership.

Action Step:  If this sounds fun and do-able, get it on your calendar.  Instead of saying, “we should do that someday” pick a day within the next two months to give it a try.  Get it on your calendar and your family calendar.  Enjoy!

If you make it to a musuem, please feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.

© 2010  All rights reserved.

Posted in Child Development

Theories of Human Development

The ways we teach and understand children today are still heavily influenced by six theories including work by Freud, Erikson and Piaget.  When someone says your child is “going through a phase” what does it mean?  More importantly, can how we parent have a long-term impact on the child’s development?  What if we potty train early or late?  When might a child experience separation anxiety?  The stages children go through include everything from  forming attachments through cognitive-development. 

The Teaching Company - Portable Educational Courses on DVD, Audio CD, Cassette and MP3

There is an amazing company called The Teaching Company (  They find and record brilliant Professors from around the globe on hundreds of topics.  The course range from Understanding Opera to History of the World. 

There is a course available on DVD, Audio CD or by download call “Theories of Human Development.” .  It is a series of 24 lectures by Professor Malcolm W. Watson at Brandeis University.  It is a great way to listen and understand some of the basic principles behind your child’s development and behavior.

Parents should evaluate the appropriateness of any product in their own child’s situation.  Please feel free to check the consumer product safety commision ( or with other groups that test the safey of children’s products.

© 2010  All rights reserved. 

 Here is a write-up from the Teaching Company website on the course itself:

Course Image

“Six Theories of How We Become Who We Are

The six major theories have had a pervasive impact on the way we, both scientists and the general public, see ourselves. They are:

Sigmund Freud’s Psychodynamic Theory. The lectures discuss this theory, the earliest of the six, including such concepts as the Oedipus Complex and Freud’s five stages of psycho-sexual development. Although now widely disputed, Freudian thinking is deeply imbedded in our culture and constantly influences our view of human nature.

Erik Erikson’s Psycho-Social Theory. This is the theory that gave rise to the term “identity crisis.” Erikson was the first to propose that the “stages” of human development spanned our entire lives, not just childhood. His ideas heavily influenced the study of personality development, especially in adolescence and adulthood.

John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth’s Integrated Attachment Theory. This was the first theory to focus primarily on the formation of parent-child relationships. It explains the connection between relationships that occur early in our lives and those that happen later, including romantic ones. Attachment theory has generated thousands of scientific studies, and has led to changes in many childcare policies, such as those allowing parents to stay with their children in hospitals.

Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory. This theory modified traditional learning theory developed by such behaviorists as B. F. Skinner, which was based on stimulus-response relationships. It considered learning to be no different among infants, children, adults, or even animals. Bandura’s approach is influential in such areas as the effect of media violence on children, and the treatment of problem behaviors and disorders.

Jean Piaget’s Cognitive-Developmental Theory. Piaget’s influence created a revolution in human development theory. He proposed the existence of four major stages, or “periods,” during which children and adolescents master the ability to use symbols and to reason in abstract ways. This has been the most influential of the six major theories. In the 1970s and 1980s, it completely dominated the study of child development.

Lev Vygotsky’s Cognitive-Mediation Theory. Alone among the major theorists, Vygotsky believed that learning came first, and caused development. He theorized that learning is a social process in which teachers, adults, and other children form supportive “scaffolding” on which each child can gradually master new skills. Vygotsky’s views have had a large impact on educators.

Early Theorists: Locke, Rousseau, and even Darwin

To give you the best understanding of these theories, this course also explores the general history of the study of child development. It touches on the work of other important researchers, such as John Watson of Johns Hopkins University, who developed behaviorism, and Arnold Gesell of Yale, from whose work sprang such well-worn phrases as “just going through a stage” and “the terrible twos.”

Professor Watson also discusses the era of observational research on children, which marked the beginnings of child study as a true science. This period was pioneered by scientists who began publishing detailed accounts of the development of their own children. These early “baby biographers” included Alfred Binet, who first developed intelligence testing in France, and even Charles Darwin.

You may be struck not only by how much we have learned about child development, but also by how much our attitudes toward children have changed. Until the beginning of the 19th century, there was no interest in child study and, in fact, no concern for children. Such factors as poverty and high infant mortality created an atmosphere in which children were barely tolerated, or used for labor.

In Paris in 1750, 33 percent of all newborns were left in foundling homes or on doorsteps; most died. In England, boys and girls as young as four were often sent to work in mines.

You will see how attitudes toward children gradually improved, due mostly to the efforts of physicians and religious leaders. And you will appreciate the tremendous contribution that two renowned philosophers, John Locke (1632–1704) and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778), have made to the field of child development. Their ideas about children—whether they are inherently good or bad, or whether they actively shape their environments or passively react to stimuli—still form much of the basis of our modern theories.

The lessons of this course are not simply about learning, behavior, and relationships in youth, but at any age. Taken as a whole, they provide our best answers to the questions of human nature—how we learn, adapt, and become who we are at every stage in life. “

Posted in Ongoing Journey

Tech Update! Featured Blog on Preschoolers has a wonderful page with resources for Parenting to Preschoolers.  It is with great excitement that I share, From Hedge Funds to High Chairs is now a featured blog!

The page has articles on items such as: activities & fun, behavior & discipline, birthday parties & holidays, food & nutrition, family & home, health & safety, learning & education, parenting resources, potty training, sleep,   social & emotional growth, technology & entertainment.

Amanda, the parenting preschool guide for chooses blogs to feature on the page.  You can find the write-up here or view it below:

From Hedge Funds to High Chairs


From Niki Robbins, Guest

The Author working with Kids

Name of Blog or Site: 

From Hedge Funds to High Chairs

Date of My First Blog Post: 

January 4th, 2010

Who I Write About: 


Why I Started My Blog: 

The purpose of my blog is three-fold.

1.) To share insight as I begin my own research and studies of child development and early childhood education.

2.) To aggregate information from well-respected organizations, websites, publications and periodicals or raising happy healthy and successful pre-schoolers.

3.) To follow my transition from the world of finance to the early childhood education as I begin down the road to open a Nurery School.

I have launched from hedge funds to high chairs as a virtual classroom for reader to follow and learn as I work towards a brick and mortar version!

What I Love to Write About: 

Topics include:

Must Have Monday – Great Items for pre-schoolers including educational toys

Teachable Moment Tuesday – Using current event to teach valuable lessons

Well Rounded Wednesday – Ideas for raising well-rounded children including sports, art, music, travel etc

There are also posts of care and feeding of a pre-schooler, building child development knowledge and building my school.

Tips and Tricks: 

  • Be creative!
  • Be yourself
  • Blog early and schedule delivery
  • Be organized – make sure your page is in a format that welcome reader in
Posted in Teachable Moment Tuesday

Teachable Moment Tuesday – End the Use of the R-Word



My best friend and mother of two recently sent me the a communication from the Special Olympics (  This is a cause that is near and dear to her heart.  I too feel very strongly about eliminating the use of such derogatory words from our vocabulary. 
  The Special Olympics has started a campaign in order to ‘End the Use of the R-Word.’  The points they made in their pledge were written so eloquently.  I decided to sum up the comments for you:

  • “…create a more accepting world for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and all those people that may appear different, but have unique gifts and talents to share with the world. ”   

  • “Often unwittingly, the word is used to denote behavior that is clumsy, hapless, and even hopeless. But whether intentional or not, the word conjures up a painful stereotype of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It hurts. Even if you don’t mean it that way.”   

  • “Did you know that by casually using the word “retard(ed)” to refer to an action as less than ideal you are making someone with an intellectual disability feel less than human – whether you mean to or not? Demeaning any of our fellow human beings by using inappropriate words toward any population negatively impacts all of us.”   

There is a danger to us, to our children and to others even in passively using derogatory words or phrases.  Whether it is done in an outright hurtful manner or casually in jest, the comments may be interpreted as truths.  Your children look up to you and look to you as a source of information and truth.   It would be awful to have your child miss out on the unique-ness of each individual by going in with a pre-existing set of words to describe someone.  “Our language frames how we think about others.”  
On this ‘teachable moment Tuesday’ please take a moment to examine your conversations and eliminate use of the R-word.

Spread the Word to end the Word




 If you would like to take the pledge further: check out USA Networks along with the nation’s leading non-profits has put together a pledge, action plan, town hall and an amazing website dedicated to “seeing beyond stereotypes and appreciating each other for the characters we are.”
© 2010  All rights reserved. 






Posted in Organizing Your Kids, Your Home and Yourself, The Care and Feeding of Your Pre-Schoolers

Organizing the Refrigerator to Encourage Healthy Choices for your Family

 I saw an article in Body and Soul Magazine earlier this year  about how to make healthier choices when we grab food from the fridge.  The idea is to put the healthiest choices right in your eye sight and make them as easy to ‘grab and go’ as possible.  After the reading the article, I made some simple changes in our refrigerator.  I have found myself eating healthier than I have in years and losing less fruit to rotting or being forgotten.

So here is my fridge:

Healthy Food Choices are Easy to Grab and Go!

The article suggested dividing the fridge into categories.  Here is my interpretation and use of the categories:

  • Dinner – This is my top right shelf.  I use it for our dinner entrée type items and leftovers.
  • Grab and Go Fuel – This is my top left shelf.  I leave high protein (fuel) snacks like cheese sticks, yogurt and nuts.
  • Fresh Food Snacks – This is the middle left shelf and is usually where we look first when we open the door.  I have filled this with fresh-cut fruits and vegetables, salsa, and sauces (more on this later.)
  • Beyond Deli – This is the middle drawer.  It has additional cheese, deli and chocolate.
  • Liquid Assets – We keep this full of cold beverages.  As you can see there is a wide variety of beer which is not necessary for a healthy fridge! 🙂
  • Green Market – These are the drawers at the bottom.  They are full of additional fruits, vegetables and leafy greens.

So a little more on fresh food snacks:

The article suggested keeping fruit cut up so they are easy to grab and eat.  I found I was buying fruit, which I love, putting it in the drawer and then tossing it later because it had rotted.  I bought these great storage containers at Macy’s.  They have a divider.  It takes me 5 minutes to wash and cut fruit and put it into the container.  My concerns was that washed cut fruit goes bad faster.  I have found we eat the fruit before that is an issue.  There is something so fun and pretty about ‘ready-made’ cut fruit.  Cut your produce, fruits and veges, into bite size pieces and store them right at eye level.  For kids, put the cut fruit, in an easy to see, easy to reach spot in the fridge.

There is nothing wrong with taking a little help from the store and splurging when it comes to fruit!  Trader Joe’s has pre-cut apples (green and red.)  They have found a way to keep them from turning brown.  It costs more than purchasing the apples yourself and cutting them however I find it a simple, healthy treat that really saves time!  Consider skipping a $2-5.00 coffee and use the money for a few healthy treats instead.

© 2010  All rights reserved.