The secret to a happy kid is often as simple as a good night’s sleep. Studies show that sleep helps with our immune systems, memories, learning and gives us that conquer-the-world feeling. But every parent knows a full night’s rest is sometimes easier said than done. Here are some tips to help your kids be their best and awaken refreshed.
- Consistency is key. If you think you’re doing your children a favor by letting them stay up late, think again. Studies have shown that behavior improves when kids go to sleep at the same time every night. Children who are in school need nine to 12 hours a night, so set a regular bedtime and stick to it.
- Develop a routine. Find pre-bedtime activities that are soothing for your child. It could be bath time, reading books or telling each other stories. Be sure and adhere to that pattern every night and it’ll become an accepted part of the day-to-day expectations.
- Bedtime is quiet time. Your child’s bedroom is their sanctuary, and leading up to nighty-night time, it should be calm, cool, dark and quiet. Speak in whispers to set the tone and help your children settle down.
- Glowing screens, whether they’re television or tablet, can be quite disruptive. Plus, most kids have a tendency to want to keep playing on the device long after lights out. Establish a rule that all electronics are shut down at least an hour before bedtime. That way, you can avoid arguments that could upset the routine.
- Get that excess energy out. Kids have all kinds of energy to burn! Make sure they’re getting enough playground/running around time during the day. If they’re exhausted, bedtime will be that much sweeter.
We hear it all the time at Pigtails & Crewcuts: parents can’t believe how much homework their kids get these days—even in kindergarten! And as parents, neither can we! But rather than complain, we’ve committed ourselves to making homework fun. Here’s how we’re doing it, and how you can, too.
- Create a designated homework space. It should be an area that your child enjoys, and one that’s free of distractions (especially the television). Let your child help decorate and store special school supplies here, so he or she is ready to focus on the task at hand.
- Dole out rewards. If you’re really struggling to get the wheels turning on homework, a little reward tends to go a long way. Think about the motivating factors for your child. Is it TV time? Play time? Selecting a prize from a paper bag (that you thoughtfully filled)? A promise of a trip to the park or a favorite museum? Decide what will work best for your family and establish the rules early. Then sit back and let the homework games begin!
- Schedule in breaks. A list of assignments can be overwhelming to a child (and parent!). Break the evening’s homework in to simple tasks, and take a break after each accomplishment. Run around the yard, stand up and do jumping jacks or blare some Pharrell Williams and bust out some silly dance moves. Then get back to work!
It’s back-to-school time! Ready to do some arithmetic, Pigtails & Crewcuts style? Check out our A + offer this year for major savings (and just a little bit of math):
Who: You and your family.
What: Big savings! Come in during our back-to-school period and we’ll make it worth your while by giving you a voucher for $5 off on your next visit 7 weeks later.
When: Our back-to-school period runs August 10th through August 25th. Come back October 1st through October 15th to use your $5 off voucher.
Why: Because we love (your) kids! We want them looking their best, from the first day of school through the last.
We’ve all been there: “Hi honey! How was your day?”
- “Um. I don’t remember.”
Broad, open-ended questions can be hard for kids to get their heads around. With school starting again, it’s time to start fresh and get the conversation going. Often, it’s as easy as simply rephrasing what you’re asking. Instead of “How was your day?” try asking your child something more specific, like, “What was the best part of your day?” or “What did you read in class today?” or “Who did you sit with at lunch today?” as a starting point for more back and forth.
Here are some tips to get your kids to answer questions using more than one word.
- Turn off all distractions. We’ve all seen the zombie stare that happens if a TV or computer is on in the vicinity of a child. Hit the “off” button and engage kids in doing something they enjoy while chatting. Bake cookies, build a fort, go for a walk, play with toys or find a fun, relaxing pastime to take the pressure off. Conversation will come easier this way.
- Make the most of mealtime. Conversing over a meal is a life skill that is, hopefully, established in childhood. Start dinner off by letting everyone share the best part of his or her day, and let the conversation flow.
- Be your own best example. Your children will model their social skills after you, so it’s important to practice what you preach. Initiate conversations with your significant other, or friends and family so your children see you engaged in asking questions as well as listening. Also, help your kids out by sharing some questions they can use to get conversation going. “Why don’t you ask your grandmother what she did today?” for example.
- Use context clues. Kids’ memories are still developing, so it is entirely possible that their “I don’t remember,” holds water. Stay in the know by keeping in regular contact with their teacher, babysitter and other parents so you know the right questions to ask. By asking something like “Who did you swing with during recess today?” you’re likely to get more details than you would by inquiring, “How was recess today?”
- Be aware. If your child isn’t comfortable answering your questions, give him or her some space, but try and find out why those questions cause anxiety or discomfort. Offer options, such as, “Would you like to talk about this later today?” You may have more luck when a better mood sets in, or your child has had a chance to give the topic some thoughts.
In July 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved and signed, and we’ve been celebrating July 4 and America ever since! While fireworks and backyard barbecues may be the first thing that spring to mind when you consider the national holiday, there’s a lot more to it.
Here are some fun facts you may know about July 4.
- John Hancock was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence. Because of that, his name later became synonymous for the word signature. “I need your John Hancock.”
- 26 copies of the Declaration of Independence exist.
- The White House held the first event celebrating the Fourth of July in 1801.
- The date wasn’t actually declared a national holiday until 1941.
- If Benjamin Franklin had his way, the turkey would have become our national animal. He was outvoted, and the bald eagle won.
- Americans are expected to eat 150 million hot dogs over the July 4th holiday alone, according to the National Sausage and Hot Dog Council (NHDSC). They’ll eat 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
- President Barack Obama’s daughter, Malia, was born on July 4.
- More than 14,000 fireworks displays will light up the skies on the Fourth of July, according to the The American Pyrotechnics Association.
Looking for some fun Fourth of July activities? Read on!
- PBS has great coloring pages you can download, just click here.
- Martha Stewart has tempting barbecue, salads and sides recipes, just click here.
- The Crafty Crow is packed with red, white and blue craft ideas, just click here.
- Need some kid-tainment ideas? Better Homes and Gardens has a bevvy of contests and games to try out, just click here.
Summer is here, and that means parks, pools and all the play you can muster! With so much time spent outdoors, you might want to have a few hair solutions handy, in case of a bad hair day. Here are some tips for stocking your summer toolkit.
- Accessorize. If you’re running the kids from soccer to swimming to piano to gymnastics and everything in between, you might want to pack a couple of hair styling helpers so you don’t have to intervene between each session. Our favorites: a baseball had and/or a fabric headband. Both look adorable in a pinch—a little accessory goes a long way.
- Ward off the green. If your children have light-colored hair, you know all too well the damage a little chlorine can do on their darling strands. First and foremost, wet their hair before they jump in the pool. That way, the hair strands will absorb less chlorine. Next, wash their hair with some kind of clarifying shampoo (talk to your stylist about what’s best for your family). Green looks great on Halloween, but the rest of the year? Not so much.
- Protect your hair (and scalp). You hear about sun damage to skin all of the time, but did you know UVA and UVB rays also damage hair? Sun damage leaves behind dry, brittle wisps, making hair feel almost as though its been bleached. Carry along a ball cap, sun hat and/or umbrella, and try to stay in the shade when possible. If you are in the sun, remember to put sunscreen on the scalp, it burns, too! Also, make regular appointments for trims, so your stylist can help you go out with the old and in with the new.
- Go short and simple. Crewcuts for boys, bobs for girls, what could be easier? An adorable new, low-maintenance cut ensures a happier, easier summer. Not ready for a big change? Grow the hair out enough that it can be swept into a quick ponytail, and keep it out of the face.
- Help them be tangle-free. Hair tangles and summer go hand-in-hand. The onus is on parents to be proactive. If your child has long hair, style it before you leave the house. Braids are a surefire way to keep the tangles at bay!
This month, something cool happens: Father’s Day falls on June 21, aka the Summer Solstice, aka the longest day of the year. That means you have extra time to celebrate all fathers, stepfathers, fathers-in-law and father figures in your life!
How will you celebrate? Well that’s up to you. But we’ve got some ideas!
Get crafty. Personalized notepads, coasters, picture frames—it’s all doable! Martha Stewart has some wonderful simple (and not-so-simple) craft ideas to create for the dad in your life. Check out her website to get started.
Kindness counts. Food and gifts are nice, but kind words stick around longer! Do something for your father (or father figure) that lets him know what he means to you. Write it in a card, say it before dinner, or hide nice notes around the house so he’ll find them throughout the day.
Summer of style. We love it when dads bring in their kids and get haircuts together! Stop by for a daddy/daughter father/son cut, and prepare to be pampered. (No, we don’t expect dad to sit in our police car chair. We’ve got grown-up size chairs at the ready!)
Don’t forget dessert. Mustaches are about as “in” as “in” gets right now, and what a great theme for a cake. For a straightforward, fairly simple mustache cake, check out Pampered Chef’s instructions. For a more involved, hidden mustache cake, the website, Cookies, Cupcakes, and Cardio has a great idea, which you can see here.
Hooray! Summer’s here! Happy dance!
And then day two sets in.
Try as we might to fill our days with playdates, classes and camps, we, as parents, inevitably hear those dreaded words: “I’m boooored!”
Fight boredom before it begins by having a few tools at the ready. Here are some ideas for keeping kids entertained this summer.
Start a book club for kids. This is a great way to teach kids that reading can be a fun and even social activity. PBS has some great tips on getting started, check them out here.
Plant a garden or build a terrarium. Playing in the dirt is fun for all ages! Planting a garden teaches kids all about where food comes from and can help initiate important conversations about nutrition. For a quick intro to gardening, check out this article on OrganicGardening.com. Don’t feel like dedicating part of your yard to a garden? Build a terrarium together. All you need is a jar or bottle to get started. Learn more at KidsGardening.org.
It’s never too early to start yoga. Yoga is a rewarding tool for parents and kids. It can help improve focus and invite a sense of harmony. Check out this piece on Parenting.com for some simple moves for all ages.
Host a dress-up party. Whether you prefer pirates, princesses or a combination of the two, your dress-up party will keep the kids entertained for hours. Don’t feel like cleaning up? Pigtails & Crewcuts has a party room, costumes and party planners, we’re happy to do it for you!
Get artsy. It used to be that your imagination was your only limit for coming up with crafts and activities. Now, thanks to the Internet, you have no limit! Check out this Buzzfeed piece on arts and crafts to keep kids busy. It’ll teach you how to create roads out of tape, devise targets out of chalk and sponges and make a river in your own backyard.
In observance of Memorial Day, we will be closed on Monday, May 25th.
We will be closed on Sunday, May 10th so that our staff can celebrate Mother’s Day with their families. Thank you for your understanding. We hope you have a fabulous day and we look forward to seeing you soon.