Keeping our Kids’ Minds Busy

July 8th, 2014

Summertime usually means vacation, relaxing and no school! But did you know that during the summer months, kids forget a significant amount of what they had learned the prior school year?

The NY Public library has ongoing programs to keep kids’ brains engaged.

Scholastic also gives some great tips & reads for the summer months. Follow us on Twitter to find out more: @Metro_sitters. Or check out the cool @Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, breaking the world record for kids’ summer reading!

Memorial Day Weekend

May 22nd, 2014

This weekend is the long awaited 3-day weekend, when many NY’ers are eager to kick off their almost summer celebrations! There are so many things to do in NYC for Memorial Day weekend on your staycation; but you can also escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a nice getaway!

See these tips from our favorite bloggers and twitter accounts, including @mommypoppins and @timeoutkids!

If you’re staying in NYC… Beaches are open! Ship tours for Fleet Week, family festivals and parades abound! If you’re looking for a low-key afternoon, Monday features a family friendly outdoor concert in LIC near the waterfront- where there are many great local eateries, parks and sights!

Traveling somewhat locally? Events in the Hamptons and out East on LI

Crossing the border to NJ? Can’t forget those beaches!

Looking to travel further? TODAY has some last minute ideas!

Fun this weekend!

May 15th, 2014

Hi parents!

Are you looking for something fun and family-friendly to do this weekend? Check out the Spring 2014 Kid Fest
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Safety & Planning

April 11th, 2014

As parents, our children’s safety is our first priority. It’s probably not a topic that any parent looks forward to discussing with their children, but coming together and making a catastrophe or emergency plan is invaluable. With everything going on in the world today, from natural disasters to terror threats, it’s a serious topic to think about. Safety must always come first.

Some simple items to discuss with your kids include:

-Picking a specific location as a meeting place

-Making sure that your kids know appropriate emergency contacts

-Teaching your kids their/your phone number, address and appropriate uses for 911.

Check out the links below to learn more:

*FEMA’s guide for families

*Be informed, make an emergency plan and/or a kit

*Preparedness for natural disasters

Kids in the Kitchen

April 2nd, 2014

Just when we think that the weather will allow some fun outdoor activities, we learn that mother nature has some other ideas in store!

If you find yourself (or the babysitter, even!) cooped up at home with the kids, why not have fun cooking or baking? Even using some no-bake recipes can be a blast! Sure, you could run to that boutique coffee shop up the block, but what fun is that?

There are plenty of ways kids can help out in the kitchen. Get a little creative with your little ones! It doesn’t have to be a gourmet meal, nor does it have to be something as simple as ants on a log. English muffin pizzas, anyone?

Kids want to spend quality time and show that they are growing to become more independent. Cooking and baking are also great activities to encourage sharing and turn taking. They’re also great ways to make math fun and interactive- measuring, counting, and timing are all skills you can work on while in the kitchen.

Here are some great tips from The Food Network on how to involve the kids in the creative process!

Spring activities in NYC

March 27th, 2014

Spring is just around the corner (we hope)! Check out some great ideas from one of our favorites, Time Out NY Kids!

There are several *free* ideas, and also suggestions in the outer boroughs- not just Manhattan. We love that!

If you’re looking for specific dates, they keep a great Monthly calendar. Check out the Calendar for March to get an idea.

50 Things to do with Kids in NYC This Spring

March 2014 Calendar

July 10th, 2012

Preparing for Baby

 

So you’re having a baby? Congratulations! Time to sit back
and relax for the next nine (actually more like ten) months, right? Well, you should certainly relax and be sure to
take extra good care of yourself during your pregnancy, but many moms-to-be
feel overwhelmed with all there is to do to prepare for the arrival of their
little bundle of joy.

 

To help you navigate the overwhelming world of baby, I got
together with some of the industry’s most well known experts to talk about what
you really need to do to prepare. Here is our list of seven things to consider:

 

1. Think about where
your baby will sleep and play.
For those of us in New York, the nursery may
be a section of the living room or our own room, or it may be a full bedroom with
windows and all! Whether it’s a closet or entire wing of a home, the experts
offer the same advice: stick with the basics and make sure to invest in
attractive storage, because you will inevitably acquire more toys and trinkets
than you could ever imagine. For ideas and inspiration, I turn to my favorite
blog,
Nursery Notations.
Interior Designer Andrika King has impeccable taste!

 

2. Enjoy a little
shopping.
Babies need a lot of stuff. Stroller, car seat, carrier, monitor,
onesies, pjs, tiny little socks, and the list goes on and on. Luckily you are
not the first person who needs to shop for a new baby, and the stores who sell
all these baby things have registry lists ready and waiting, and they’ve pasted
the tests of thousands of new moms before you. Allison O’Neill, owner of
Bundle in New York stresses the importance
of asking for help when shopping:  “Our
store associates are trained to fully understand every product in the store, so
take advantage of that and ask questions. They can help you chose what makes
most sense for your situation and end up saving you hundreds of dollars.”

 

3. Consider how you’d
like to document baby’s arrival (and the first few months):
Time and time
again, I hear new moms comment how quickly the first few months go by, so I
always encourage them to keep a baby book and take LOTS of pictures. As you
think about documenting this time, you might want to consider a professional
photographer. “Many moms find one important thing missing when they take their
own photos – themselves!” says photographer
Alice
Garik
. “By working with a professional, you’ll be sure to get beautiful
pictures that also include you and capture how you feel during this amazing
time.” Photographer
Emily DeWan agrees,
“I love documenting the relationships between family members. The little
details can tell such amazing stories: holding a parent’s hand, cuddling the
family pet, playing with siblings, and exploring the world around them”. Both
Alice and Emily are available for sessions in the New York City area and I
highly recommend them both!

 

4. Start thinking
about childcare.  
Finding reliable and
qualified childcare can be overwhelming, especially in a big city.  If you are returning to work, you will need
solid childcare in place whether that is in the form of a daycare or nanny, and
most stay-at-home moms, or those who work from home, also find they need
regular childcare to stay on top of their personal lives (and maintain their
sanity). It’s also a great idea to consider a regular sitter for a “date night”
with your partner. Brooke Woodward, founder of New York City-based
Metropolitan Sitters recommends, “Having
a babysitter for a consistent ‘date night’ will help you keep a good balance
and will give you both a few hours to enjoy the company of one another”.  In my experience, whether you need a
full-time nanny, or just want to have a great person “on call” for emergencies,
using a reputable babysitting service, like Metropolitan Sitters, helps take
the stress out of this process. They are experts in matching you with a sitter
whose availability, experience and values will match that of your family.

 

5. Begin planning
your child’s education.
Parents are a child’s most important teacher and
reading to your child is an easy habit that not only builds vocabulary but can
also help you establish a strong bond and comforting routine that will help
your child go to sleep at night. Sharon Thompson, founder of
Dream Workshop notes “Sharing a
favorite book with your child will create many cherished memories of time
together.” Talking to your child during all the small moments of the day is another
way to increase his or her vocabulary. For example, while walking down the
street with your little one, name the signs you pass or introduce your child to
neighbors in the elevator.

 

Lastly, to relieve anxiety about your child’s education, it
may also be help to officially join an organization that has a nursery school
while you are pregnant.  Many religious
organizations, community centers, and arts organizations have a nursery school,
which gives preferential admission to members. 
If you’re not religious, some community art centers, like Third Street
Music in NYC, have nursery schools. 

 

 

6. Speak with your
partner about your financial situation and its security.
In mid-June, the
USDA reported that a middle class family could incur up to $300,000 in costs to
raise a child from birth to age 17 (and this does not include college).  This
statistic was certainly a wake-up call fore me, so I called Audrey Schwartz, a
financial services professional with
New
York Life
. She gave me some good food-for-thought:  “I ask each of my clients ‘if some unforeseen
tragedy were to happen, is your income, family and college savings protected?’
 My website has easy-to-use calculators
that can help a new parent determine the amount of life insurance needed as
well as forecast the cost of your alma mater when your baby is ready to attend.”
 Audrey also offered to give any of our
readers a free consultation, so please give her feel free to
contact
her
. It will help you sleep better (when baby allows!).

 

7. Don’t forget to take
care of yourself.
 Nurturing the
cocoon of wellness and nutrition you carefully sustained for your baby (and
yourself) is even more essential post-birth.  Mindful and healthy
nutrition habits help not only your body recover faster, but also fuel
sustained energy even as you may feel drained from the baby’s ever-changing schedule.
 Even though your days and evenings may go by in a whirl, take restorative
breaths often, pay attention to the way your body feels, and proactively
recruit help when you need a rest.  If you are breast-feeding, continue to
replenish your body with proper hydration and nutrient dense foods.  Sara
Dan, a fitness and nutrition expert with
ZippyT
Fit
 recommends, “Shop and chop fresh vegetables in batches, and
keep them in a clear glass container, so they are ready to be tossed into
stir-fry, salads, couscous, and late night omelets!”  She also encourages
her clients to prepare to reconnect your freezer with frozen vegetables and
frozen fruits, and healthy leftovers.  By implementing a proactive
nutrition strategy, you and your baby will start your new chapter healthy
together.  

 

I hope these tips are helpful for you. It’s completely
normal to feel overwhelmed. Just remember, “It takes a village!” and be sure to
ask for help from yours.

November 3rd, 2010

As many of us know “dining out” with a child can be a difficult task.  Thank goodness for Carla Sullivan and her mini munchers website!

Mini Munchers is a website that gives you access to several children’s menus in NYC!  It also has a fun and incredibly useful rating system (indicated by crayons) that can save you time and prepare you for any outing.

According to mini munchers founder, Carla Sullivan, the restaurants are ranked on:

  1. Stroller-friendly entrance?
  2. Easy access to table (With stroller)?
  3. Highchairs and/or Booster seats?
  4. Bathroom? (Location, Changing table, Handicap stall)
  5. Crayons or other entertainment?
  6. Kid’s cups? Straws? Kid’s drinks?
  7. Varied Menu?
  8. Reasonably priced/good value?
  9. Timely Service? (How long does the food take? How long before check comes?)

The website also has a feature that allows you to search for restaurants based on cuisine, location and cost.

Next time you are planning a long day out of the house please make sure to take advantage of this terrific resource!

Metropolitan Sitters & NY Metro CPR

October 13th, 2010

Metropolitan Sitters has teamed up with NY Metro CPR!  Every month Metropolitan Sitters will host a CPR Course led by Jason Mundy, owner of NY Metro CPR.  Jason has been teaching CPR since 1997 and is excellent at creating an informative, yet enjoyable classroom experience. 

Jason will teach us:

-Ways to prevent emergencies

-What do and how to know if a child is choking 

 -When to know that CPR should be performed and how to perform it

-The difference between Child & Infant CPR  

After the course each sitter will take home a procedural booklet and will receive a certification card that is valid for 2 years.

In September alone we held two courses allowing our sitters who do not already have the certification to learn and practice in a small class setting.

Our CPR courses are just one way we are able to provide a safe environment for the children and families we work for.

5 healthy kid approved snacks!

September 3rd, 2010

Amy Shapiro, registered dietician/nutritionist and founder of AWS Nutrition shares with us ‘5 healthy kid approved snacks’ 

 

1.      GNU Flavor & Fiber Bars:  Created locally by a father for his 4 year old daughter this snack bar tastes like a treat while providing fiber to keep kids hunger at bay.  The American Heart Association Eating Plan recommends that children older than two get the majority of their calories from complex carbohydrates high in Fiber.  This bar, which is easy to toss in a lunch box or backpack, provides just that! 

2.      Edamame:  Full of fiber, protein and heart healthy fat, edamame is the perfect snack and children LOVE it!  You can eat it hot or cold so it is easy to serve at home or pack into a lunch box.  Also a ½ cup provides 10% the RDA of Vitamins A & C! 

3.      Hummus:  All kids love to dip, dip, dip so why not get them to eat veggies dipped in hummus?  If they simply won’t eat veggies then whole-wheat pita or whole grain crackers work too!  The perfect combination of protein, fiber and omega 3 fatty acids to keep their blood sugar stable, their tummies full and brain development going.  It is also fun to eat with friends. 

4.      Peanut butter pinwheels:  Simply spread all natural peanut butter on a whole wheat tortilla, sprinkle with granola, raisins or sliced banana then roll up and cut into ½ inch slices.  This snack is not only easy to make but it has staying power.  The protein and fat in the peanut butter paired with the whole grains in the tortilla will help your child perform at their best without getting hungry!  Also try Almond butter, which has 3x the calcium of peanut butter for variety on the same treat!

5.      Home made banana ice cream:  make your own ice cream by freezing 2 whole bananas cut into chunks.  Once frozen add to a blender, add 2 TBSP non-fat milk (or any other milk substitute) and blend until smooth!  Scoop into a cup or a cone.  This is just about the easiest way to get your child to eat one of the two servings of fruit they should have a day!  Bananas can help to prevent anemia and constipation since they are good sources of iron and fiber and this potassium rich fruit also helps to improve brainpower and focus!