Families Matter Newsletter
February 2022
Volume 18, Issue 4
Handling Daily Family Life!

It's only January, and the ever changing family calendar for 2022 is already starting to fill up! But it doesn't have to be this way! Consider implementing a new resolution, albeit a month late! 
Call it the "Slow Down the Family"
In our fast paced parenting culture, where children's time is often spent in lessons, virtual learning days, organized sports, and other structured activities, it can be challenging to do less and trust that our kids will do just fine. But even the doctors are urging us to slow down. Recent research is available on the subject of over scheduled kids.
Unstructured play time gives children space to create, reflect, problem solve, and become more resilient human beings.

So how, exactly, do we free up time? Here’s some tips to get you started:
Re-think the family calendar - Look at all the activities, rank your priorities, and invite the kids to help decide what is most valued, and what can be let go.
Adopt a “One-Structured-Activity-at-A-Time Per Child” Policy - This helps children prioritize and decide which sport or lesson means the most to them.
“Schedule” your free time - Ensure that free time happens by
writing it into your calendar. Declare Family Hang-Out Days! Own your family time.
Go outside - Natural spontaneous play and creativity will blossom! Enjoy some back-to-basics like puddle jumping and making mud pies.
Source: Taken from an article by Lucy Rector Flippu, Education.com  
Combo Snacks For the Win!
In a study from Cornell University, kids who were served a combo snack of cheese and vegetables were satisfied after eating fewer calories than those who munched on potato chips. That's probably because protein-rich cheese and water-and fiber-rich veggies are both naturally filling foods.
Try one, or all, of these tricks with virtually any veg:

  • Add salt – A sprinkle of salt can help tame a vegetable’s bitterness. Don’t be afraid to season produce. We hear a lot about the need to reduce sodium in our diets, but the vast majority of the sodium Americans consume is in processed foods, not fresh foods with a little salt on top.
  • Add lemon or lime juice – A squeeze of acid, like citrus, on a vegetable can help brighten its flavor and make it seem less bitter. Plus, the Vitamin C in citrus can help make the vitamins in vegetables more available to the body.
  • Add some fat – A drizzle of butter or olive oil makes pretty much anything taste better and vegetables are no exception. Like Vitamin C, fat can help unlock some of the nutrients in vegetables.
  • Add a touch of sugar – A thin drizzle of honey or even a little maple syrup in a glaze can help the vegetables go down much easier.
  • Add some cheese – Who can resist veggies topped with a little grated Parmesan cheese? (Not me.)
  • Serve with pasta – Almost any of these veggies can be served with pasta, such as penne. Top with a little olive oil and cheese for a healthy, delicious dinner. A bit of bacon or sausage in the mix is also delicious.
Source: Parents Family Feed
Tip to Relieve Winter
Chapped Hands
Dry, cold winter air strips all of our skin of nourishing oils, especially the face, lips and hands. It might sound counter-intuitive to suggest you strip away layers of skin at this dry time of year. But it’s a great hand-protector to do so regularly; because those dry, cracked areas of your skin are actually dead….and once they’re gone, fresh, nourished skin can show itself.
Source: Healthy Living
Tips for using Digital Media Wisely
1. Focus on media containing a strong learning component to teach similar skills they are learning in school or pre-school readiness. They should be learning through the play not just being entertained.
2. Set a time limit and content restriction on any device used by your child.
3. Look for games where two people are needed for play. This encourages interaction with the game and another “real” person.
4. Focus on interactive apps and games, not passive screen watching. 
5. Remember to monitor how long your child is in front of any screen—computer, smart phone, TV, etc. For young children, it should be less than 2 hours a day for kids under 5.

Source: NAEYC and Fundamentally Children
Looking for a new Sweet Treat more on the healthy side?

Listen to your Heart
Find an old stethoscope and let your children use it to listen to their hearts. Encourage them to describe the sound the heart makes as it beats. 
Let them listen to one
another hearts after doing jumping jacks. 

What differences can they hear in the heartbeats? 
Talk about how we can keep our heart healthy. 
February FUN!
Old-Fashioned Valentines
Give your main squeeze an old-fashioned valentine that shows off your crafty side.
Here's how: Set up a card-making station with colored paper heart cards and baskets of supplies—patterned tape, decorative-edge scissors, stamps and ink pads, markers, glitter glue, colored pens, stickers, ribbons, sequins and buttons.
Source: Family Circle, February 2017
No-CANDY Valentine Ideas
Sticker Page—with a tag that says “Thanks for sticking with me Valentine”
Bubbles —At discount stores you can find small “gift” containers of bubbles. Attached tag: “You Blow me Away!”
Balloon— attach a deflated balloon to small piece of card stock with the saying “You make my heart POP!”
Drinking Straw— At discount stores find fun drinking straws. Attached tag: “You are Ex-STRAW Special!”
Playdough— Get individual playdough “mini” containers. Attached tag: “Doh you want to be my Valentine”
National Dental Month
The “Do The Daily 4

1. Brushing our teeth 2x a day
2. Daily flossing
3. Rinsing w mouthwash daily
4. Chewing sugar-free gum
February Quick Fix!
Contact the Extension Office at 273-7683 or sonya.mcdaniel@okstate.edu

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