The TSL Kids Crew Blog
It’s going to be icicle cold on New Year’s Eve in the Capital Region, with low temperatures projected to be below zero in the Albany area.
For parents with younger children, that means all of the fun on the night before the new year likely will come indoors. And for that to happen, you need to prepare to celebrate with the kids in style.
For starters, we’re talking about shopping at party supply stores like Party City in Latham, and at supermarkets such as Market 32 or Hannaford in Clifton Park and throughout the area to get all the goodies you need.
To make the kids really feel comfortable on New Year’s Eve -- a traditionally big night for grown-ups, of course -- invite family members and friends to celebrate indoors.
If you want to make it an early night for younger children, pretend that 8 p.m. really is midnight, and start your 20-second countdown to the New Year at 7:59. Regardless of whether you choose 8 p.m. or midnight as your magical time, you’ll need a plan to keep everyone engaged and happy.
With help from The Spruce, here are some ideas to consider for the night:
Alexa, how can parents keep their kids safe from the pitfalls of Echo and other “smart speaker” devices?
On the day after Christmas, Amazon announced it celebrated its “biggest” Christmas ever behind robust sales of its Echo voice-command products, which include the larger Echo and the smaller Echo dot.
But your son or daughter asking Alexa how many quarts are in a gallon is much different than asking the voice remote to send an expensive product that is billed to your account and shipped immediately. Or asking Alexa for some information that you'd rather your kids learn from you.
They aren’t the easiest things to write, but they make a world of difference to those who receive them. And they can make the sender feel pretty darn good, too.
We’re talking about thank-you notes.
Whether it’s for Christmas presents, birthday gifts or to the neighbor who invited your child to join their family to see Sesame Street Live! at the Times Union Center in Albany, thank-you notes just make the heart feel good.
And writing thank-you notes is a great life skill for kids to learn at an early age. There are many occasions when adults need to write notes of thanks; developing the habit as a child make it second nature as the kids grow older.
From realsimple.com, here are five tips for writing those notes with your kids:
It’s almost Christmas Day and your kids want to get a gift for Grandma and Grandpa, but with these nasty roads and at this late hour, a trip to Crossgates or Clifton Park Center just won’t work.
What should you do?
How about a homemade present? Grandma probably would prefer that over another scarf, anyway.
Here are some last-minute ideas, courtesy of Parents magazine and other sources:
The holidays are a special time of year. Traditions often are the main reason why.
We might look back, years later, and remember the year we got those stereo headphones for Christmas or that Snoopy soap dish for Hanukkah, but we always remember the traditions ― the ones that make the holidays unforgettable.
Members of our TSL family have those traditions at home, and we’re sure your family does, too. Cherish them and do everything you can to keep them alive. That’s what they kids will remember.
It’s never too late to start new family traditions, either. Here are some ideas you and the kids might enjoy:
Everyone has one. You know that, parents, don't you?
When it comes to children and cellphones, not everyone has one, but a shockingly high number of kids do. Consider these facts from the website GrowingWireless.com.
So it's likely your child has asked for a cellphone -- whether it’s for Christmas, a birthday or just because -- and as you ponder the response, you should consider the following thoughts from a cnn.com article that offers tips from Dana Graber, co-founder of CyberWise.org, and Lori Cunningham, founder of the blog The Well Connected Mom.
OK, so today your child is 12 years old. With your oldest on the verge of being a teenager, it’s never too early to think about parenting a teen, right? And that means, among the changes the teen years bring, it will be time to teach your child how to drive. (For those of you who tweet, we like to use #anxiety when talking about this subject. And also, just know your older sister will remind you of how you rolled your eyes when she talked about all the challenges parenting a teen brings.)
For an opportunity to get on the road, your teen will offer services that he or she otherwise wouldn’t dream of doing. You know, a trip to Hannaford to get milk and eggs, a trek to the Speedway for gas for your morning commute, a jaunt to the post office at Colonie Center to stand in line to mail those Christmas packages.
But before your teen angel can do any of those good deeds, he or she actually has to get a driver's permit and learn how to drive. And get a driver’s license, of course.
In addition to your #anxiety tweets, the learning curve takes patience and focus.
From our friends at the State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Company, here are steps to take before you let your kid get behind the wheel of your car.
Hey, parents, do you usually have to remind your kids to brush their teeth?
We’re seeing several hands go up.
Hey, kids, do you generally have to be reminded to brush?
More hands going up. Exactly what we thought!
Brushing twice a day is the healthy way to go, but so is eating broccoli, and we know where that falls on the fun list. If parents and kids want to keep their chompers around until well in adulthood, we all need to brush at least twice a day.
Teeth-brushing is a skill, just like tying your shoes or learning how to ride a bike. Helping your child get into the habit of brushing twice a day for two minutes isn’t easy, but according to a page on the American Dental Association’s MouthHealthy website, the following creative approaches can go a long way toward ensuring your kids’ long-term dental health.
She was in the hospital one year on both Christmas and New Year’s Day when her two children were young.
Those holidays were somber, with a lightly decorated hospital room taking the place of a home adorned with an ornament-filled tree, stockings and Christmas music softly emanating from stereo speakers.
After she got out of the hospital, she and her husband vowed to make other patients’ lives a little easier during the holidays by volunteering at a hospital in the Albany area. So a few years later, the couple visited hospital patients at St. Mary’s Hospital in Troy, then teamed with their two children to serve homemade cookies and brownies to families in the waiting room at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady.
“After being depressed and wondering whether I would ever make it out of the hospital myself, I decided I wanted to do what I could to make other patients’ lives a little brighter during the holidays,” she said. “Just seeing smiles on their faces and the hope in their eyes made it all worthwhile.”
According to Parents Magazine, volunteering teaches even toddlers and preschoolers about compassion, empathy, tolerance, gratitude and community service. And children who volunteer are more likely to do so as adults.
When volunteering, decide whether your family is interested in a one-time project or a longer-term commitment, such as putting in time at an animal shelter once a month. Then make sure to contact the chosen organization to ask what approvals you need and how you can help.
According to Parents Magazine, once you've picked a project, tell your children what to expect and why it’s important. Lastly, be enthusiastic and have fun!
With some inspiration from the magazine, here are some volunteer paths you and your kids could take:
If a puppy is on your child’s Christmas list this year, don't bring home the first cute face you see. When adding a four-legged member to your household, there are several things to consider.
According to petMD, you should choose the family dog based on three major factors:
Among the questions to ask qualified personnel at places such as the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in Menands, Homeward Bound Dog Rescue in Schenectady or one of the many Albany-area pet stores are: How safe is the dog for all family members? How much care will this dog need? Will the dog be compatible with the existing family pets?
Now that you’ve considered the above questions, here is the list of the best dogs for kids and families, with a short description, courtesy of petMD:
The Ideas Written About In This Blog Are Based On The Personal Opinions And Philosophies Of The Contributor Who Has Taught Elementary School For Twelve Years And Has Run A Recreational Childcare Business Since 2009.