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August — that month where we like to cram in one last vacation, one last get away, one last opportunity to enjoy some summer with the family.  Though we dream of the ideal trip and we do everything we think we need to to ensure a peaceful and fun vacation, it never fails, when traveling with children, all bets are off.  Whether you are taking a once in a lifetime vacation, heading to a family reunion or just taking a weekend away with the kids, here are a few tips to help ensure that your next vacation has fewer crankies and meltdowns and more fun for everyone.

 

1)   Really make peace with why you are taking the trip.  If it’s to unwind, get away, have peace and quiet, then, look into hotel babysitters, go with family who can help out or consider taking along a teenage family friend to babysit.  Traveling is stressful, kids create stressful moments and sometimes our children are not really behaving out of line, but we are too stressed out to deal with their issues effectively.  Enlist help!

2)  Consider the age of your child and their normal routine.  Though you may be looking forward to introducing your 3 year old to Disney for the first time, they still need naps, regular breaks for healthy food and a place to get away from the over-stimulation.  A child is much more in tune with their senses than most adults and we need to make sure that they are sticking pretty close to their routine — no matter how much you paid for the dolphin show that is right at nap-time.

3)  You are probably really excited about your trip, and your child is excited because you are, but most children do not really have a sense of what a vacation means — particularly if you are going to a new place, with new routines or even new cultures.  Your child may be a little antsy and not old enough to voice that or doesn’t know what they are feeling to tell you.  Before you leave for your trip show them photos online, talk about the things you will be doing and give them some reference points that are somewhat familiar.  ie. “We’ll be staying at a hotel just like when we went to see Aunt Sally.”

4)  Let them take something that is familiar.  Whether it’s a stuffed animal, action figure, blanket or favorite ratty t-shirt — let them bring at least one thing that gives them comfort.

5)  Get enough rest yourself.  Your kids will feed off of your energy. If you’re tired, frustrated, cranky or upset, your children will feel that and mimic something similar making your struggle all the more difficult.

6)  Eat well.  It’s so easy to indulge and eat lots of sugar, fast food and hamburgers on vacation.  Make sure you are getting in some nutritious options including whole grains and fruits and veggies.  This will help keep everyone’s energy levels at an optimum.

 

7)  Lastly, manage your own expectations.  Life in general unpredictable.  Life with kids even more so.  Life as a vacation with kids….all bets are off.  Take deep breaths and remember why you are on vacation and have fun!

 

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The New Year is upon us and now is the perfect time to help your children think about how they would like 2011 to unfold.  Setting intentions is a way of life–even science has proven a link between conscious thought and the experiences we have.  Forming positive intentions it is something that children must be encouraged and show how to do.

 

Setting intentions is simply the act of formulating a clear list of feelings you would like to experience and goals you would like to accomplish; and then releasing your attachment to them.  Children are AMAZINGLY good at this!  For those who are too young to really formulate thoughts separate from mom and dad, let them watch you as you make your list or create your vision board, or talk to them about what you are hoping to feel and/or accomplish in 2011.  You will be modeling a habit that will serve them well as they get older.

 

Children age four and up should be encouraged to have fun, think outside the box and form intentions without a parent’s well-intentioned limitations.  To help the process, ask your child to draw a picture of what they will look like, feel like and/or experience in the coming year.  Let them cut pictures out and make a collage or vision board or give them a new journal to write their list in.  Let them make a crossword with their favorite feeling words or write a poem to express how they want to be seen in the coming months.

 

To help encourage your children here are some leading questions that you can ask:

 

1.   What is your favorite feeling in the whole world?  Describe how you are when you are feeling that feeling.

2.   What do you look like when you are your happiest, your most content, your most excited?

3.  Who are you with when you are the happiest, most loving or having the most fun?

4.  What color comes to mind when you are feeling happy, loving, excited?

5.  What sound makes you feel like all of your dreams are coming true?

6.  When you think about being in your heart, what music do you hear?

7.  Describe your favorite time that you can remember and use feeling words.

 

The most important thing to remember is that there are no right or wrong intentions.  The point of this exercise is to set conscious intentions and line them up with how we will feel when those goals are met.  Words and thoughts are powerful; help your child(ren) live with positive intentions by leading them to consciously choose what they want to experience in life.

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As Einstein proved in his theory of relativity, everything is energy.  Including us. Not only are we made up of energy but we are directly effected by other people’s energy on a daily basis. You can often  times feel when someone is in a bad mood without them saying a word. This can easily affect our own mood. Our senses pick up on subtle  energetic cues and frequencies from everything that surrounds us.

As children, we are highly open and even more sensitive.  We are  sponges as we bring in new information and try and make sense of the world. We are not only taking in what people are saying, but we are  subconsciously picking up on their energy and reacting to it.  Since  we are so open, childhood is often the time when we begin to form  lasting energetic patterns.

Therefore, we want to make sure that the patterns being formed are healthy.  Kids pick up on energy at school, during  interactions with other children, from TV, but most  importantly from you!

As a Reiki master I do energy work on a lot of families and the  interesting thing I have noticed is that the energetic patterns/blocks  are in most cases identical between parents and their kids.  Children  subconsciously absorb /react to the energy the parents are putting  forth.  Therefore, by keeping yourself in a joyful space, this helps  children to model this same type of behavior.  Many parents forget to  take care of themselves and they begin to suffer energetically as they are continually giving to everyone but themselves.

A way to keep your own energy replenished and in a good space is by  making what I like to call a joy list.  List at least 30 things that  bring you joy.  This can be something little like eating a piece of  chocolate, buying yourself flowers, or taking a bath to something big  like going on a vacation.  Make sure that everyday you do at least one  of the little things off your list and once a year you do something big.  Take time to connect to the joy and appreciate the gift you are  giving yourself.  Reinforce that you are worth it. By reinforcing this  in yourself, you are reinforcing it your kids.

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Each child comes into the world with his or her own special gifts. They have something unique to share with us that adds to the magnificence of the world. The greatest service we can do for children is to help them to “unwrap” their own special gift. By providing love, support, and encouragement, we provide a safe space to allow a child to stay connected to who they really are. True success and abundance comes from tapping into their passion, and sharing their gifts and light with the world.

In honor of Mother’s Day, we want to shine light on the incredible women who hold the most important job in the world. Thank you for nurturing, guiding, and loving the future of our country. Thank you for helping your child to find the treasures that reside within them.

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Little Soul Productions operates with the philosophy that in order for kids to understand and be aware of different concepts, they need to experience them.  The more you can engage children in the learning process, the more empowered they are to discover the true magic of the world around them.  As we honor this world by celebrating Earth Day on April 22, let’s get our children involved so they can continue to develop a strong appreciation for their surroundings.  A great way to do this is to have them be conscious and understand where their food comes from.  We can teach them how the Earth is a sustainable eco system that provides for their well being.  In order to do this, we have asked guest blogger Lindsay Sloane to share an Earth friendly recipe that you can make with your children.  Kids are more likely to try new foods if they partake in the cooking process. Be sure to talk to your children about where the ingredients come from, so they can have a deeper appreciation for this amazing planet.

By Lindsay Sloane, guest blogger

I am first time blogger, long time cook, and even longer lover of food.  I distinctively remember getting to cook for the first time. I was in pre-school at The Magic Years Nursery School in Reseda, California.  The school really incorporated cooking into the curriculum and taught students how much fun and how easy it is to create delicious food.  In honor of Earth Day, I wanted to share a nutritious recipe that kids can cook with their parents and the whole family is going to enjoy!  I wanted to share my joy of cooking and help teach children about some of the yummy foods that come from our Earth; foods that are free of chemicals, preservatives and ingredients you’ve never heard of.  This recipe is loosely based on one I learned from the Magic Years Nursery School when I was a kid.   I changed it to fit my tastes and I encourage you to do the same.

Lindsay’s Granola

Ingredients

5 Cups Old-Fashioned Oats (just dump a whole canister in a bowl)

1 Cup Raw Almonds Slices

1 Cup Sunflower Seeds (dehulled, unsalted)

1 Cup Raw Pepitas (these are the inside of pumpkin seeds – Available at Trader Joes)

1 Cup Unsweetened Dried Coconut

1 Cup Soy Flour

1 Cup Powdered Non-Fat Milk (if you buy the box with the individual packets, it’s one packet)

1 Cup Wheat Germ

1 Cup Safflower Oil

1 Full Honey Bear (one cup of honey if you are measuring)

Directions

The majority of this recipe kids can do with just a little adult supervision. Dump all the ingredients into a big bowl and mix.

Spread a thin layer onto two cookie sheets (it makes so much, you may have to do this twice)

Bake at 275 degrees until toasty and brown. Watch Closely so it doesn’t burn.

Wait for it to cool and then enjoy over yogurt or in a bowl with some milk…or even over ice-cream if you want a little treat!

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Across the nation we are hearing reports of sunshine, warmer temperatures and flowers blooming.  We have been told by doctors, therapists and moms since the dawn of time to “Go outside.”  The benefits to all levels of your being are huge.

When children go outside they expand.  They experience a fullness of themselves that they cannot experience when indoors.  This is why moms everywhere lament foul weather — kids can only go so long without expanding before they start taking up all of the space around them — inside!

Next time you go for a walk with your child or even just outside to shoot some hoops or draw with chalk on the driveway, ask them how the sun feels on their body.  They are already soaking up the benefits of vitamin D which is so important for development and healthy living, and by tuning in to the sun they will also tune into their heart space.  They will feel the opening, the expansion.  Let them describe that to you.  Have them tell you how they feel.  Pay attention to how much more creative your child is when outside (or right after they come in). 

Put some sun screen on, grab a sweater and your sneakers, and go outside and feel better!

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One of the biggest challenges parents, caregivers and teachers face is getting children to eat healthy.   As babies, my kids ate almost everything: peas, carrots, beats, strawberries, green beans, sweet potatoes…. Why then is feeding them nutritiously so difficult when they get a little older?

Think hotdogs, French fries, prepackaged cracker/cheese/meat lunches and fast food.  Truth is, children do what we do.  We eat on the run, we eat convenience foods and we eat for emotional needs more than hunger a lot of the time.  It’s not that any one of the food types mentioned is horrible….well, let’s just say not completely without merit, but we tend to make these the building blocks of our eating habits instead of once in awhile treats.

We are born with coding to know what our body needs.  And try as we might, we don’t ever obliterate that intuitive sense.   If you’ve ever just absolutely craved a salad or needed a hamburger you know what I’m talking about.  You body sends messages all the time about the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that you need.  We coat that system with preservatives and sugar creating a scenario where we think we need preservatives and sugar, but listen a little deeper and you will find that you really want an apple with peanut putter, a vibrant salad, pasta with veggies….even that protein and iron rich hamburger on occasion.

Help your children hold on to their internal menu guide by having them play a conscious role in food choices.  Let them help you pick out fruits and veggies at the supermarket.  Make a menu with food choices that are easy for you to prepare and have them check off a food from each group (bread, fruit/veggie, protein and beverage) for breakfast and lunch.  Lead them towards healthier snacks like nuts, dried fruit, crackers and cheese, a scoop of peanut butter, yogurt and granola etc. 

Tell us about your favorite healthy snack?

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