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Posts from the ‘Emma’s Children’ Category

Book Giveaway!

The lovely team at Twigtale is running a giveaway of my book, Keep Calm and Parent On.

Head over to their Facebook page and let them know your favorite “Keep Calm” saying in the comments and voila, you’re entered!

Good luck & keep calm,

Emma

https://www.facebook.com/twigtale

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Giveaway: “The Food Allergy Mama” Cookbook.

Happy Friday everyone! I want to let you know that my new giveaway is starting in 3 hours! If you enjoyed my review of Kelly Rudnicki’s “The Food Allergy Mama” cookbook, you can now enter to win your own signed copy!

Follow this link to the Emma’s Children Facebook page and it will take you straight to my ‘Rewards & Giveaways’ page. You can enter using your e-mail or Facebook and then Follow on Twitter & Tweet for extra entries!

Good luck!

Xx Emma

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Beat the Heat with My Favorite Frozen Treat!

The summer is a great time to let the little ones enjoy a frozen treat. I absolutely love popsicles but the kind you can buy in stores are often packed full of sugar and high fructose corn syrup. It can be hard to find them just made from whole fruit, but I think they taste much better this way! They’re pretty simple to make yourself, so why not? Here are a couple of my favorite recipes!

Jamie Oliver’s Yogurt Pops – How good do these look?! The color is brilliant!

jamie-oliver-300 Makes about 6 pops.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 small ripe & peeled bananas
  2. 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries OR 1 cup frozen blueberries (I like to mix a little of each)
  3. 2 cups nonfat plain yogurt
  4. 2 tbsp. honey

Directions:

  • Combine ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth
  • Divide mixture evenly into molds (amount will vary depending on size of molds)
  • Freeze for 10 minutes, remove, insert popsicle sticks
  • Put back in the freezer for at least 3 hours; until frozen solid
  • Run mold under warm water for a quick second, gently pull each pop from mold and serve immediately!

You can find popsicle molds at most grocery stores or drugstores. Here’s a great list of BPA-free molds, too! I personally like stainless steel molds. They’re a little more pricey but work wonders at keeping them cold and no plastic involved. You can also find 100 popsicle sticks for about $4 on Amazon.

Watermelon Whole Fruit Popsicles

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Makes about 12 pops.

Ingredients:

Remember to use seedless watermelon. You can use honeydew, cantaloupe.. really any fresh, organic fruit you have on hand! This recipe can be altered to fit your child’s tastes.

  1. 3 cups watermelon puree (about 1/2 a watermelon)
  2. 1/2 cup blueberries
  3. 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
  4. 1 kiwi peeled & sliced
  5. 1 peach or nectarine diced small
  6. handful cherries pitted & chopped

Directions:

  • Puree watermelon chunks in blender until smooth & set aside
  • Fill molds with the chopped fruit
  • Pour in watermelon puree until each mold is full to the top
  • Repeat freezing steps from above and serve after 6-8 hours

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Hope you enjoy these sweet and frozen treats! Don’t be afraid to get creative!

Emma x

Totally Awesome Awards 2013!

I’ve been nominated for a Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Award!

Red Tricycle is an amazing site for parents and families. I especially love their site because they really do have it ALL: Kid-approved recipes, the latest tech reports, amazing crafts, games & more.

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I’m so thrilled and honored to have been nominated, but now I need your help! Please take a quick minute to vote for me. You’ll find me under Most Awesome Parent Education Programs in the greater LA area! This link will take you straight to the voting page.

Choose Emma’s Children and you’re vote is cast. Super simple and I really appreciate the support.

Let the vote for Emma’s Children begin!!

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Nanny Emma’s Top 10 Tips

Many of you have asked me what I consider to be the most important key essentials to parenting. Well, here they are! In this video I discuss my ‘Top 10 Parenting Tips’ that are truly the root of my philosophy. After 17 years of working with children around the world, this is what I’ve boiled it down to.

I’ve seen first hand how poor behavior can be improved by addressing one of these key points! You can also find my Top 10 Tips on my Website if you want more information or want to print them out. 

Enjoy!

My Guide to Joining the Food Revolution!

If you didn’t get a chance to take part in Food Revolution Day, no worries! Joining the Food Revolution should be a lifelong change and you can start with my simple tips… So take a stand for good food and essential cooking skills. Remember: Cook it, share it, live it!

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I originally wrote this article for the Huffington Post Parents Blog. There’s plenty more if you follow that link, including some great Spring-Summer recipes the kids will enjoy, but without further ado…

Here are my top tips for getting kids on board with healthy new foods:

1. Serve vegetables as an appetizer. While you set out the rest of dinner, keep hungry kids occupied with veggies. (I love carrot sticks and fresh cut bell pepper.) When you serve veggies before dinner, they’re more likely to be eaten.

2. Offer control. Picky eating is often about control, not taste. Offer two options (“Shall we have peas or broccoli trees with lunch?”) and give your child the power to choose one.

3. Remember tiny tummies. I often hear from parents concerned that their toddlers aren’t eating enough. But when they describe all the child ate that day, it’s really plenty of food. Children’s tummies are quite small — about the size of their clenched fist. What looks like a reasonable snack to grown-up eyes might be an overwhelming portion for little ones.

4. Never underestimate the power of a silly face. At snack time, try arranging cucumber slice eyes with a ranch dip smile and carrot teeth, or peanut butter eyes and a celery mouth on an apple slice head.

To make it a meal, add a bit more protein. “When my kids were really young,” Mary remembered with a laugh, “one of the silliest things was to do low-fat cottage cheese on lettuce and make faces with veggies.”

5. Make it interactive. Who says you shouldn’t play with your food? Steamed artichokes with lemon butter for dipping, roasted asparagus with a little cup of grated parmesan, lettuce wraps for stuffing with seasoned chicken or beans and veg — kids love interacting with their food! For bonus points, give each component a cool name — “trees with snow” will add a dash of giggles to a dish of broccoli with parmesan.

6. Delegate sous chef duties. At the market, have everyone pick out one fruit or veggie they’d like to have that evening. (“Only one each, not two,” you say, ensuring they’ll want at least one.) Then, let them add their chosen food to the pizza, soup, or salsa. When children are involved in the cooking, they’re much more likely to try the result.

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7. Be a veggie pragmatist. As a busy mum herself, Mary is the first to acknowledge that it’s not always possible to browse the market with your children. When that happens, reach for frozen vegetables. “The nutrient profile on vegetables that are flash frozen are just as good,” she says, and frozen veggies are more forgiving of busy schedules and fickle toddler tastes.

8. Zucchini bread is not a vegetable. Quite a few recent books suggest ways to “sneak” fruit and veg into children’s meals. Boosting nutrition is all well and good, but it’s also important to teach children what things look and taste like in their natural state. Don’t just sneak a cheeky puree into the pizza sauce — tell them it’s there, and let them see how it’s prepared.

9. Grown-up food is kid food. As a child, I ate what my parents ate, and so did all the other kids I knew. Giving children bland, nutrition-poor “kid food” like macaroni or chicken nuggets is a recent phenomenon, and it does no one any good. Unless there are allergies involved, serve one meal for the family.

10. Don’t give up. Studies show that children have to try a food 10-15 times to like it, and I’ve certainly found that to be true. Encourage children to play with a new food, touch it, smell it, and above all taste it, but keep things lighthearted. Remember your child isn’t just being contrary — being suspicious of new food is an entirely reasonable instinct, especially for children.

11. The no-thank-you bite. If your child refuses outright to try new things, introduce a “no-thank-you bite” rule. With this rule, if a child doesn’t want to eat something, that’s fine — so long as she takes a small bite and says “no thank you.” If she still doesn’t like it, chalk it up to one of those 10-15 necessary new food exposures and move on.

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day ~ Easy Chicken Stir Fry

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day is on May 17th! He is doing some amazing things with his Food Revolution Foundation. Check out his page, get involved, and take a stand for healthy food!!

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I made this video in support of Food Revolution Day 2013! I invited Private Chef, Jennel Tiller, to bring you an easy chicken stir fry dish. Jennel is an incredible chef, she cooks on super yachts and for high profile clients, but in this video she shows you how quickly you can throw together a healthy family meal.

This dish is quick, easy, and very healthy! See below for the recipe.

Healthy Parents = Healthy Kids, it starts with YOU!

Not only is a healthy balanced diet essential for proper development but it’s an absolute must for your child  to be able to function properly. A poor diet will affect your child’s behavior so take a good look and know what you’re feeding your child. Teach them how to make healthy choices. Habits are formed easily, so start them at a young age and be a good role model.

Here are some really important and interesting facts from Jamie Oliver’s Website.

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Easy Chicken Stir Fry Recipe:

Serves 4-6 people

Marinade:

½ cup soy sauce

1 cup teriyaki sauce

1 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp sesame oil

½ cup water

1oz toasted white sesame seeds

1 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tbsp ginger,minced

Whisk all of the ingredients in a bowl, separate a ½ cup of marinade and reserve for finishing the dish.

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Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts thinly sliced (can substitute thighs or a mixture of both)

1 tbsp garlic, minced

1 tbsp ginger, minced

1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced

¼ cup scallions, thinly sliced

1 ½ cup carrots, julienned

1 cup purple cabbage, sliced thinly

1 ½ cup sugar snap peas, halved on an angle

1 ½ cup broccoli rabe, stalks trimmed, and cut into bite sized pieces

¼ cup of water

2 tbsp olive oil divided

  • Garnish w/ chopped cilantro and roasted peanuts

Directions:

  1. Place cut chicken in marinade,  coat well and let sit while preparing the rest of the dish.  Set aside the reserved marinade.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to boil.  While waiting for the water to boil, heat a large frying pan with one tbsp. of olive oil over medium high heat.
  3. Add garlic and ginger to the pan and sauté until softened.
  4. Add the scallions and carrots, sauté.  Add ¼ cup of water to help steam vegetables in the pan, cook off the water.  Turn off the heat.  By now your water should be boiling.  Add the peas and boil for 3 minutes (keep their crunch)  Using a vegetable skimmer, remove the peas from the pot, letting as much water drain as possible and add to the frying pan of vegetables.  Do the same with the broccoli rabe.  Mix well and place vegetables in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside while cooking the chicken.
  5. Reheat the fry pan over medium high heat with one tbsp. olive oil.  Add the marinated chicken.  Sauté,  browning the chicken, until cooked through.  Add the chicken to the vegetables.  Add the reserved marinade to taste.  Serve over cooked brown or white rice and garnish with cilantro and peanuts if desired.

See more from Jennel Tiller at: JennelTiller.com.

Enjoy!

With love,

Emma x

Are You Afraid of Saying “No”?

One of the things that most surprised me when I moved to the States was how rarely I heard parents say “no.”

“No” is a powerful tool. It’s best paired with a concise, simple explanation: “No, you can’t touch the oven, it’s hot and it could burn you.” “No, you mustn’t hit your brother, because that hurts his body.” Doing this helps establish that your rules aren’t arbitrary.

“No” doesn’t have to be angry, and children shouldn’t automatically worry that they’re in trouble. Parents often display anger when they’re frustrated or frightened—much better to go to your child, get down on his level, touch him, and calmly but firmly deliver your message.

Wielding a firm “no” is especially important for those times when you can’t get to your child fast enough to prevent bad or dangerous behavior.

Here’s my top tips for using “no” effectively in my latest video.

Stay tuned for more on this topic…

Nanny Emma’s Picks: The Best Books for Kids, Part I (ages 1-6)

This article was originally published via Huff Post Parents. Enjoy! ..and get reading!

2013 marks the 50th anniversary of some truly fantastic children’s books. The first entry in two beloved children’s series, Amelia Bedelia and Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective were published in 1963, as was Where the Wild Things Are, Dr. Seuss’s Hop on Pop and the lesser-known but brilliant, dreamy Swimmy.

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For several generations now, these beloved classics have awakened children’s curiosity and shaped their imaginations for a lifetime to come. If I were to say, “Let the wild rumpus start,” I bet that more than one of you would instantly think of Max in his white pajamas and crown.

“Books that we read to children become part of them emotionally. They offer them scripts for how to handle things later in life, and just — beauty! Joy!” says Wendy Lukehart, Youth Collections Coordinator at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library in Washington, D.C. I couldn’t agree more.

With the children I’ve looked after, I’ve always made sure that reading together is a daily activity as integrated into the routine as breakfast or bathtime. There is an art to reading children’s books, and the secret is simple: You must be willing to be silly! Show excitement about the book, give the characters voices and engage children by asking what’s happening or what will happen next.

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It’s hard to tell which recently published books will stand the test of time, but there have been some truly brilliant ones published in the last year or two. In my decades of experience as a nanny, I’ve learned what to look for: Books that are designed to be read with children, rather than to them.

What follows is a list of the best books for children ages 1-6 published since 2010. It includes my personal favorites along with wonderful recommendations from librarians, veteran booksellers, and researchers. This is a post overflowing with the best new books, hand-picked by people who love reading with children.
Baby and Toddler:
Diane Garrett of Diane’s Books in Greenwich, CT recommends Tuck Me In by Dean Hacohen and Sherry Scharschmidt (Candlewick, 2010). Toddlers can participate by helping lift flaps to “tuck in” a sleepy baby animal on each page. With few words, bold print and its repetitive refrain, it’s a great bedtime book for the younger set.

Elizabeth Bennhoff, Early Childhood Librarian Fellow at the University of Denver, likes Backseat A-B-See by Maria van Lieshout (Chronicle, 2012). A is for Airport, B is for Bike Route: “It’s a fun book about all the different things you can see on a road trip.” After you’ve read it together a few times, this is a great book to tuck into the car seat.

“My all-time favorite for board books is Boynton — I just love her humor!” says Wendy Lukehart. Sandra Boynton’s fun, rhyme-filled books (the latest is 2011’s Happy Hippo, Angry Duck: A Book of Moods), are not your typical animal books; they’re “funny for the adults and surprising for the children, too… because the characters do unexpected things.” Boynton is both author and illustrator, and her cartoon artwork adds to the zany fun.

Preschool & Kindergarten:
No-Bot, the Robot with No Bottom, by Sue Hendra (Simon and Schuster, 2013). One of my absolute favorites, No-Bot tells the story of a robot who loses his bottom while playing on the swing and recruits his animal friends to help him find it again. I read this book in the UK and loved it so much I bought it for the children I nanny in the States. It’s fantastic fun on either side of the Atlantic!

Elizabeth Bennhoff recommends the latest by Eric Litwin and James Dean: “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons is so cool!” (HarperCollins, 2012). All the books in the series, says Bennhoff, “do an excellent job of incorporating pre-reading skills in fun ways. They have a predictive pattern that allows kids to predict what’s going to happen next, which helps their language and narrative skills. The illustrations are great and they make reading fun.” Each book also has a YouTube video with fun songs and extra animation.

Lizzie Preston, a bookseller at Hatchards, London’s oldest bookshop, recommends the lively illustrations and fun rhymes of books by Axel Scheffler and Julia Donaldson, the team behind the immensely popular 1999 book The Gruffalo. Their most recent collaboration, Superworm (Alison Green Books, 2012), “is a really big favourite at Hatchards and is one of our bestsellers at the moment.”

Ronna Mandel, the mastermind behind the terrific site Good Reads with Ronna, raves about 2013 Caldecott Medal winner This is Not My Hat by author/illustrator Jon Klassen (Candlewick, 2012). “Prepare to be lured into the brilliance of a book that marries subtle yet sophisticated artwork with short, simple sentences that say so very much,” says Ronna. “Readers old and young will love finding out the fate of one small, overly confident crook of a fish who thinks he can outsmart a bigger fish whose hat he has just stolen.” Ronna, who is also the book reviewer for  L.A. Parent, says the book is ideal for children 4-7.

Wendy Lukehart loves 2013 Caldecott Honor Book Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Roaring Brook Press, 2012). How many kinds of green are there? Forest green, sea green, lime green, pea green… Because “it deals subtly with the multiple meanings of green,” including a gentle message about caring for the environment, “it rewards repeated readings … and works with a lot of different ages.” Cutouts on each page transform into something new on the next, and even grown-ups will enjoy Seeger’s intricate, textured die cut illustrations.

Sleep Like a Tiger, by Mary Logue and Pamela Zagarenski (Houghton Mifflin, 2012), is another of Wendy’s favorites, and rightly so. “It’s a bedtime story, but it goes so far beyond the typical story, and offers a script to parents” for how to calmly put to bed a child who declares she’s not sleepy. In the book, the parents encourage a low-pressure bedtime routine, and patiently list the routines of various animals until she drifts off. Wendy “can’t say enough good things about the art,” which is original and fresh, but dreamy enough for bedtime.

Last, one of my favorite new discoveries: Twigtale, a brilliant new website that personalizes books with customized stories and your child’s name and photo. These books are fantastic — they’re unique and high-quality, and with titles like Crib to BedSoon-to-Be New Sibling and Starting School, they really help prepare children for transitions by walking them through what to expect, step by step.

Donating Outgrown Books:
As caretakers, part of our job is to cultivate gratitude and compassion in children. Donating outgrown books is a great way to teach your children about giving back, and to see your family’s books make a difference in other children’s lives.

Contact your local library, Goodwill, children’s hospital or women’s shelter to see if they need books. Larger regional charities like Books for America, which helps underfunded DC schools and shelters provide books and reading programs for children; Bookends in LA, which sends kids’ books to youth centers, shelters, literacy programs, and underfunded schools; and ROAR (“Reach Out and Read”), a student-run organization at USC’s Keck School of Medicine that reads to children at pediatric clinics while they wait to be seen by physicians, are all looking for gently used children’s books.

Many thanks for great suggestions to Diane, Elizabeth, Wendy, Lizzie and Ronna, and I look forward to seeing readers’ suggestions for great books in the comments!

Eat Your Ps (And Qs).

Table manners. What do you expect from your child when it comes to table etiquette? Table etiquette for children really shouldn’t differ that much from adults.

Kids can be expected to understand and use good manners by the time they are a year to 18-months-old. They can sit nicely at the table, they can use their utensils, they can eat nicely, and even clear their plate. Remember: the younger the better! Instill manners in them so they grow up knowing how to behave properly. You will be so proud when they start saying “please” and “thank you” without being reminded!

Keywords: Please, Thank you, You’re Welcome, Excuse Me, May I Be Excused!

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Remember, children like to mimic you! The more you use your manners the more your child will, so be a great role model!

Top Ten Table Manners:

  1. Sit nicely, with legs under the table.
  2. Napkin on lap
  3. All electronics OFF!! Yes, this includes the TV and cellphones!
  4. No interrupting without saying ‘excuse me’
  5. Don’t play with utensils and food
  6. Chew with your mouth closed (For older children encourage them not to talk with a mouth full too!)
  7. Help clear the table
  8. No burping or slurping!
  9. Stay seated until everyone is done and ask to be excused
  10. Give THANKS!

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It’s important to remember that getting a toddler to sit pleasantly and politely at the dinner table every night is an attainable goal. Although, they cannot fully grasp the idea of manners all at once. Toddlers have a hard time sitting still for long periods of time, they will make a mess (usually not on purpose!) and may have trouble using utensils properly, so set realistic expectations.

Don’t be too hard on yourself! Family mealtime is important but it is not always going to be perfect. The aim here is to get everyone sitting nicely at the table, eating a delicious dinner and connecting, all while being well-mannered. You should feel comfortable knowing your children can go to a dinner party or a restaurant and behave appropriately and not act like wild animals.

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Get your children involved! Engage them in conversation and ask them about their day. Give them a ‘job’ like putting out napkins.

If you’re taking younger children to a restaurant make sure you come prepared with a book or a coloring book. This will help them while they’re waiting for their dinner or when they’re done eating (which will probably be quickly). This way they can still be present at mealtime but have an easier time sitting at the table. You can judge when your child is getting to that tipping point.

Speaking of Marriage

Winifred M. Reilly, M.A., MFT