Why Feeding Kids Matters

Why Feeding Kids Matters

It was my middle daughter who first set me on a journey to feeding kids in schools. She'd always been good about packing her own lunch and eating what she brought without complaint. Then, three years ago, I noticed (with alarm) that she was bringing her food home untouched. I wondered how she was making it through the day without any nutrition. She initially gave me excuses about being distracted or not having enough time, but now I know she was trying to figure out how to explain it.

Finally, after I had reached a point of being exasperated and quite worried, she admitted the classmate she sat beside at that time didn't have enough food in his lunch bag. And because of the school policy that prohibits students from sharing food (for allergy safety), she felt unable to eat her lunch beside him. She reached a point that it was so upsetting to her, she would pull out a book instead of opening her bag in front of him.

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Time For The Holidays: Thank you, Flipp

holiday-time

My sister and I made our way around the table—each of us folding the festive napkins just so—as we set the kids' table for the dinner ahead.

I looked at her when we met at the last seat and said, Feels strange and wonderful, doesn't it?

For the first time in over a decade, no kid in sight and no sounds of mooooooom being called from the other room. Between us we have kids old enough to watch out for younger siblings/cousins and wise enough to handle a lot of the moments that used to need a parent to fix.

One of our guests was there with her toddler and newborn baby, and as we sat down to dinner my sister and I tried to reminisce about those days and how it felt to eat cold plates of food and miss out on most of the adult conversation. But it seems our memories were blurry. We said, but it must have happened to us, even though it felt too distant to remember moments so recent. We laughed with an oh well and took turns holding the baby instead.

flipp-app

This year, I had a full day to dash from shop to shop finding the perfect ingredients for our well-planned Christmas feast. I was able to take my time making the best choices for staying within our holiday budget by using my favourite Flipp app, and that gave me some room for extra surprises (hello, crab legs!). 

But still my eyes wandered to the babies accompanying their weary parents through the shops and to the newborn in my dinner guest's arms. 

holiday-time

How can those days already be behind me? Why were they in such a hurry to leave? 

Where have those stolen moments with the weight of a warm, flushed child on my lap at the table (so I could stay in the company of the adults awhile longer) already gone?

The other night, I happily walked the hallways with that brand new baby, so her mama could eat a warm meal. And when I came back to my table and reluctantly handed her over, my dinner had gone cold.

As I ate it, those memories came back to me more clearly. And I knew why it was so easy to forget the taste of less-than-perfect food.

 It was made and served with pinches of love and then abandoned with dashes of love.

And that made it taste just as good.

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This post was sponsored by Flipp who helped me buy my holiday groceries this season. I am a long-time and weekly user of this easy-to-use app for planning my weekly grocery lists and saving money. I also use it to find the best prices for non-food items. I enter my list and instantly know where the best prices in my area can be found. I can clip from flyers and download coupons for added savings. It takes the same amount of time it does to scrawl a list (except now you won't lose it before you leave for the store). So, yes, even parents with young babies can add it to their smartphones. 

Stories about my family life, as always, are mine. 

 

{Giveaway}: Little Shutterbugs

Photocontest

Summer break is around the corner.

Can you feel it sneaking up on you like I do? 

Are you clicking on 1,000,000,000 ideas to keep your kids busy posts on Pinterest?

Yeah, me too.

The biggest challenge we face every year is entertaining differing interests and ages. 

So while we are great about planning family-friendly outings and camping trips to fill up the summer months, it's harder to find day-to-day activities we can all enjoy.

Luckily, there is one trait all four of my kids share, and it's creativity. Our dining room table turns into a summer art studio, and we seek out classes and options in our community that allow them to express themselves artistically.

They are already signed up for some great cartooning and art camps and this summer we're going to try something new with my older kids.

Canadian photo printing company, Posterjack, is on the hunt for a new Summer Kidtographer. They are looking for junior shutterbugs between the ages of eight and 12 to show off their summer experience through the lens of a camera. 

Four kids will be chosen from entries and provided with their own Canon PowerShot SX520 HS, along with a memory card to save all their photos. Three lucky shutterbugs are chosen by the team at Posterjack and one is chosen by fans on Facebook based on the photo entries.

From July 1 - August 24th, the Kidtographers will be snapping daily photos to be featured on the Posterjack blog and other social media channels. On September 1st, each Kidtograhper will be awarded a $150.00 Posterjack gift certificate to turn their favourite photos into lasting art. 

This weekend, have your kids grab their iPads or smartphones or lend them your fancy camera and tell them to start snapping. Applications will be accepted until midnight on Sunday, June 14th (that's an entire weekend to capture their best photo).

Your tiny photog can submit that photo along with this information to kidtographer@posterjack.ca:

  • name
  • proof of age
  • city
  • a recent photo taken by the child
  • a brief explanation (250 words or less) on why they should be Posterjack's next Summer Kidtographer (parents/guardians can help write it) 

Good luck and have fun!

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And just for reading along, Posterjack is giving one of my lucky readers a $50.00 gift certificate (with free shipping anywhere in Canada) to be used for any product on their site (digital photos can be turned into vibrant artwork on canvas, peel & sticks, metal and acrylic prints).

Just enter below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Partners In Teaching

The first day of school is such an emotional milestone for kids as well as for parents who open their hand to let go of their child's and then raise it in a wave until we see his backpack climb onto the school bus or walk through the doors of the school. 

I've been through it four times now. And no matter how excited and proud I felt each time, there was also a messy mix of other emotions at play. 

For some kids, it's an easy day. For others, it's harder. 

I knew it would be the latter for my boy.

When I saw how scared he was, I wanted to turn around, take him home, and pretend the first day was still in the future.

Sethschoolsmall 

But then I watched the way his teacher really noticed him, and I felt better about moving his hand from mine to hers. I kept watching as she took him to the front of the line beside her—where he stayed for the rest of that year.

He's a very bright kid, who enjoys school and looks forward to going. But he's also incredibly shy and deeply sensitive. He can be hard to read, because he keeps so much of what he's thinking and feeling inside. It isn't always easy for him to communicate what he needs. 

For him to succeed in school, I knew my husband and I would have to work closely with his teachers to help them understand and support him. And I knew we'd have to show him that we believed they could. For our family, having school-aged kids means valuing the relationship between school and home. 

We make an effort to get to know our kids' teachers, especially since we expect they'll make an effort to do the same for our family. The Ontario College of Teachers provides parents with information about their certified teachers with a search tool on their website called Find a Teacher. By searching a teacher's name, parents can learn about a teacher's qualifications, educational background, and current status with the college. 

We're just over the halfway point of grade school with our wonder boy, and we could not be more grateful for the many ways his teachers have helped him shine. 

His kindergarten teachers let him take his time getting used to the classroom. They encouraged him and cheered him on and helped establish school as a place he wanted to be. 

His grade one and two teachers learned to read his body language instead of waiting for him to find the words, and they made him feel heard because of it. They celebrated his successes and pushed him through his challenges with empathy and care. They let him know they were there for him.

During a parent-teacher interview with his grade three teacher, he told me and his teacher he wished it wasn't so hard to talk to the other kids. Without skipping a beat, she said there were kids in the class who told her they really liked working with him and together they would figure out how to get to know those classmates better. And then she met my tear-filled eyes with tears in hers, and I knew she'd make it a priority to help him. 

In grade four, he had two teachers who were new graduates. And we had our reservations about how things would go. To be honest, I think we underestimated the calibre of education and knowledge they would have coming into their position (all teachers who wish to teach in Ontario must be certified by the Ontario College of Teachers, you can learn more about the process here). They can bring new ideas and strategies to the classroom and their approach to social dynamics led to one of his most confident years yet. 

His current teacher—at a brand new school—has brought a wealth of experience and specialized training to her role. He's finding new ways to stretch his thinking in a program geared to gifted learners, and we are watching him grow confidence and enthusiasm about his alternative way of thinking and learning.

When it comes to the partnership between our family and our kids' teachers, we believe it's a relationship worth investing in. We choose to participate in our province's education system, by having our children in its schools, and we feel it's our responsibility to stay informed and educated, so we can best support our teachers as they teach our kids. 

To stay up-to-date and informed about the Ontario College of Teachers, you can sign up to receive the e-newsletter, The Standard (click here), which provides reports on trends in education, information about changes in education legislation, as well as services to help you learn more about how the College works to set and ensure high standards in teachers and education.

A few months ago, we sat down to make some holiday cards for the kids' teachers and my son turned to me and said, I'm going to need a whole bunch, Mom. I have so many teachers to thank. And I remembered that scared boy and felt such gratitude for every teacher who has brought him this far.

 

Is there a teacher who has made a difference in your child's school experience?

I would love to hear your story.

 

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This post is sponsored by the Ontario College of Teachers.

The story, opinions, and wonder boy are all mine.

 

 

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