13 Sites With Kindergarten Graduation Prep and Celebration Tips

It’s that time again for many families with young children: Kindergarten Graduation!!!

In preparation, please check out this updated list of 13 blogs to inspire you and your friends with different ways that you can make your children’s kindergarten graduation an exceptional experience.  These blog entries cover the ceremony, how to make the cap, recipes for some tasty graduation treats and of course some gift ideas.


If you are wondering what kind of ceremony to have for your kindergartener and his classmates, these five blog posts will help you come up with some ideas.  The kids are young, so their attention span isn’t incredibly long. This makes it’s important to keep the ceremony short and to the point.  Many times the ceremony can be held during the school day so as to not add any additional budgetary concerns by having the event at night and requiring additional staff

The Ceremony

The Cap

One of the cutest things you can make for your child to wear on their graduation day is a cap and gown.  Some schools choose to rent the gowns and some own them.  Many schools skip the gowns altogether, but stick with the cap and tassel.  These five blog articles will give you some ideas on how to create caps for the kids to wear that aren’t very expensive.  You can get a group of parents together and make them for every student.

The Treats

It wouldn’t be a celebration without treats.  For food, think of different yummy kid friendly snacks, such as finger foods.  While you are considering what snacks to make, try to come up with some that look like a diploma or graduation cap so that the snacks can tie into the event.  The next five blog posts will give you some tasty ideas to make for your little graduates.  Remember, these treats don’t have to be difficult or expensive to feed the guests at your kindergarten graduation.

The Gift

The graduation gift can be anything from favor bags for all of the graduates to something special from mom and dad to commemorate the day.  These bloggers have ideas for both options.  Whatever the present, make sure you take plenty of pictures of the big day so that you can create a mini brag book or some scrapbook pages to remember this milestone event.  The next five blog entries can help you figure out what gift you want to give the graduate in your life.

One of the best gifts you can give your child is your time.  These blog entries have given you lots of ideas on how to celebrate this milestone in your child’s life, but even if your school doesn’t opt to do a big ceremony you can make the day special for your graduate just by being there.  Remember, before you know it you will be celebrating your child’s high school graduation, so make sure not to miss a minute of this ride of a lifetime.

Trend: Parents are Giving Their Kids Posh Easter Baskets

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Posh parents are foregoing the traditional Easter baskets  filled with candy, plastic toys, and bubbles and opting for baskets with more expensive items inside.

One New York City mom, Laura Rolston, told local station CBS that she is having her son Christopher’s picture taken with the Easter Bunny at Roosevelt Field Mall and then giving him a basket of clothes and more elaborate gifts.

“Stuffed animals and bath toys and stuff like that,” the Patchogue resident told the station. “Little clothing for him. It’s definitely a little more than when I was a kid. I’m a new parent and I’m excited and I don’t mind spoiling my little boy a bit.”


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It’s part of a new trend to make Easter baskets that rival the best birthday and Christmas presents — complete with clothing, toys, and even electronics.

Some parents say the extravagant and gift filled Easter basket are a result of parents’ tried to steer their kids away from eating so much candy. Still, others say it’s gone too far.

“We hear that these baskets, parents are putting them online and saying, ‘Look at my basket, my basket is bigger and better than the other basket’ and again, at the end of the day, it should be about tradition, should be about a holiday, shouldn’t be about who has the biggest, better, most awesome, expensive basket,”  Lyss Stern of the DivaMoms.com blog told a local Fox station.

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“We hear that these baskets, parents are putting them online and saying, ‘Look at my basket, my basket is bigger and better than the other basket’ and again, at the end of the day, it should be about tradition, should be about a holiday, shouldn’t be about who has the biggest, better, most awesome, expensive basket,” Stern told MyFoxZone.

Eco-Friday: How to Raise a Green Baby

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These days, babies seem to come with a lot of stuff. Even before they are born, parents-to-be are bombarded with ads and catalogues, all spurring a buying frenzy on a large range of items that are considered ‘essential’ for baby’s wellbeing.

There’s something to be said, however, for going back to basics. A simpler, more environmentally friendly attitude towards child rearing can make everyone’s lives a little calmer and less filled with ‘stuff’. A wet wipe warmer and a diaper disposal contraption are conveniences, not necessities, eventually filling garbage dumps and landfills for centuries to come.


While some people are ever concerned that being environmentally friendly is more work and less expedient, there are plenty of ways you can raise a green baby without sacrificing comfort or convenience. It’s easy!

Feeding a green baby
Whether breast or bottle feeding, your baby is happiest and healthiest when getting fed. So leaving that debate aside, let’s look at how you can feed green. While breastfeeding has no impact to the environment, for obvious reasons, bottle feeding needs a little more forethought in order to be green.

Go for glass bottles instead of plastic. They’re better for baby, and the environment.
Avoid bottles with disposable inserts. If you have enough bottles, keeping on top of washing them isn’t a big a deal.
Use washable nipple pads, instead of disposable. There are great ones made from organic cotton that work beautifully.

As you switch to solids, you can avoid pre-prepared and packaged foods easily with a little forethought and preparation. Fresh veggies and fruits that have been pureed are perfect for little ones and the bulk store is a great place to stock up on dry cereals and baby pasta!

Sleep setup for a green baby
Babies spend a lot of time in their cribs, napping and sleeping. It’s best if they are doing it safely with organic bedding. Investing in a crib that converts into a toddler bed down the road is much more friendly because it reduces waste.

Consider also furniture that is made from sustainable materials and limited chemicals. Carpets, paints and and finishes are often replete with VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which are toxic chemical compounds found in synthetic materials.

In fact, the whole nursery where baby spends a large amount of time every day and night will benefit from keeping it allergen free. Limit the number of stuffed animals and toys to a select few and make sure that your rugs and other accessories like cushion covers are made from organic materials and are easy to wash and maintain. Indoor air quality is important, so investing in air purifiers is a great way to keep dust and other allergens down.

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Clothing a green baby
Organic clothing is another great way to minimize baby’s exposure to harsh chemicals. Non-organic fibers contain petrochemicals, PVC and other compounds that have been linked to health issues. Organic clothes provide a double bonus for the environment too because their manufacturing processes are sustainable. Almost 20% of all water pollution occurs in the manufacturing of non-organic clothes! And, fortunately, organic does not have to mean blah, fun, modern designs, colors and styles are no w available through brands like Finn + Emma.

When it comes to the fabrics that are closest to baby, forget the packaged wet wipes and get a batch of washable organic cloths! They’re all you’ll need, along with a wet bag for when you’re on the road, to keep baby clean. As for diapering, consider this: the average baby will use up to 6500 diapers before they start potty training. It takes up to 500 years for disposables to decompose.

If you do the math, you can see why landfills are overflowing! If you’re not keen on washing them yourself, there are plenty of services that will pick up the soiled ones and leave you with a fresh pile of clean ones. Look for a local service that doesn’t employ harsh chemicals in the cleaning process, minimizing the eco-footprint in more ways than one!

Other considerations for a green baby
From toys to laundry detergent, you can always make a choice that is more environmentally friendly and those ones, not coincidentally, are usually better for baby’s health and wellbeing.

Rather than a chemical and scent infused soap, opt for a gentle and natural detergent that still gets the job done without risking skin allergies or other reactions. Always remember too that baby’s first instinct is to put things in their mouth. Toys made from organic cotton yarn, or untreated woods preserved with natural waxes, are safer options.

Look for the G.O.T.S. certification on the textile based products you select, which show that the fiber used is certified at least 95% organic, inks and dyes meet specified toxicity and biodegradability levels and certain metals and chemical compounds are not used in the manufacturing process, such as heavy metals and nickel.

Whatever choices you make for baby, and for you, an environmentally friendly one is always available and more accessible than you might think!

Anna Schwengle is the founder of Finn + Emma, a land where sustainability, fair trade, and organically grown cottons live. But Finn + Emma collections aren’t just sustainable, they are also contemporary, whimsical, and sophisticated. Perfect for the trendy baby in your house.

There are no boring designs and toxic chemicals here. Just an abundance of fresh prints and heirloom quality construction. Only the finest 100% organic cotton, eco-friendly dyes, and all natural, untreated Indian wood will do for your little munchkin. https://www.finnandemma.com

 

Manage Your Kids Screen by Embracing Screen Monitoring Apps

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While there are strong arguments against screen time and there are calls for the use of less apps, devices and technology by kids because they are perceived as barriers to interpersonal interaction, the case for technology for educating, training and enhancing development is strong as well.

Children these days are digital natives from birth. This new generation was born in the age of technology and a lot of children learn their ABCs from rhymes they listen on TV or tablets, not necessarily from toys or books.


Video games are just a click away. Gen Z consists of fast learners that process short, preferably visual, information easily and quickly. Hence the popularity of picture based social apps. A lot of tweens, teens and in-between prefer texting, so much so that their parents and most adults do not even understand their language.

Shopping, Gaming and corresponding are all done online. Hanging out in shopping malls, going to the arcade and writing letters have long since been obsolete.

This aptness leaves the parents or digital immigrants baffled sometimes. Parents get weary when they hear stories on the news about kids getting involved in sexting and its consequences. News pieces about online dating resulting in violence and child predators using social media information to kidnap young kids are all quite scary for modern parents.

But there are things parents can do and fortunately, apps available that can help.

Learning and using technology

It is advised to parents that they learn technology. Use smartphones and go on the internet. This is the only way they can connect more with their kids and understand the depth of their problems. If they’d understand how these gadgets work they’d then be able to use it for their help and benefit.  If you have a similar situation at home, you should start adapting to technical changes happening around us instead of running from them. Your children are going to adopt these changes sooner or later and you won’t be able to help them without technical knowledge.

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How does technology help?

There are a lot of parental control apps around. One we learned of recently called FamilyTime (available on iTunes and Google Play) helps parents facilitate communication and monitor their kids’ digital lives. This type of app also help parents monitor and interrupt dangerous activities like sexting, oversharing with strangers, using unsafe mobile apps and becoming too screen addicted.

With the FamilyTime app and similar apps like it, parents can keep an eye on the following:

  • Web history
  • Bookmarks
  • Frequently visited sites
  • Calls
  • Contacts
  • Text messages
  • Installed apps
  • Location history

Restrictions

You can restrict the use of:

  • Mobile applications.
  • Untimely and excessive device use with screen locks.
  • Speed limits

Location alerts

You can get alerted for:

  • Geofenced places
  • Panic situations
  • Pickup reminders

Restriction Alerts

  • Suspicious contacts
  • Blacklisted apps
  • Overspending

Set Safety boundaries

They may be tech smart but they are still kids and they can commit mistakes or do things that can cause them harm. Kids also tend to hide their digital activity from parents, especially cyberbullying and sexting. In that case, you need to monitor them to know what they are up to. Even if they don’t hide they can get into trouble by mistake. They might be the digital natives, but they should know their boundaries.

Utilize a parental control app and keep the young digital natives safe! Good luck parents!

Tips for Raising Great Teens Without Piling On Pressure

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As a parent, the desire to see your children succeed is a natural one. There is a difference, however, between encouraging your kids to do their best and placing them under so much pressure that they resort to desperate measures in order to achieve success. Striking that balance can be challenging, but it’s important to help your kids reach their full potential without browbeating them into submission.

Praise Effort Over Accomplishments


When your children are praised for their efforts towards meeting a goal, they learn that the most important aspect of their accomplishments is the effort they expend to reach them. When your teen realizes his work is the key to success and the praise of his parents, he’s more likely to focus on that aspect than the end result.

Make sure your child knows that what you’re looking for in terms of success is honest, concerted effort to do his very best.

Rather than demanding that he be the valedictorian, the quarterback of the football team and first chair in the student orchestra, help him understand that the foundation of success is hard work and strong effort.

Emphasize Integrity, Not Winning at All Costs

When teenagers feel like they’re under an intense amount of pressure to succeed academically or athletically at all costs, they’re more likely to view cheating as a tool of survival, rather than a morally and ethically bankrupt choice.

Talking about the importance of honest effort and making sure that your teenager knows you value that honesty over an achievement reached through questionable practices can help to put these dilemma into perspective for your teenager.

Avoid Over-Scheduling

Extracurricular activities can be fulfilling and exciting experiences for your teen that help him learn new skills while exploring his interests and talents. When he’s bogged down by a schedule that’s cram-packed with them, however, desperation can begin to set in.

Work with your teen to determine what activities he’d like to maintain and how they can be scheduled so that he doesn’t feel like he’s being spread too thin by a demanding schedule and placed under too much pressure by coaches, teachers and other authority figures.

Remember, you’re not the only person that can place your teenager under pressure to succeed.


Focus On Your Teenagers’ Needs, Not Your Own

If you’re completely dedicated to your teenage son’s football career or your daughter’s cheerleading prowess, it’s wise to ask yourself why these things are so important to you. If the answer is simply that you want to support your child in an activity she excels in and has a talent for, that’s one thing.

Should a bit of deeper examination reveal that you’re inadvertently living vicariously through your teenager’s success, however, you may want to reevaluate things. In these cases, it’s all too common for a teen to continue something he’d much rather abandon because he feels so much pressure from a parent to be the very best.

If you’re reliving your own glory days through your teen, he’s probably under far more pressure than you realize.

Provide Affirmation and Support

When a demanding schedule is something that your teen has chosen for himself and he’s committed to doing everything he can in terms of reaching his goals, the best thing you can do for him is to offer plenty of support and affirmation. Let your teen know that you’re proud of his efforts, but that his value to you doesn’t lie in how much he accomplishes and your love isn’t contingent upon his success.

Allow Teens to Explore Their Interests

You may have dreams of your son being a professional athlete, but his interests may run more towards the arts or academia. To truly support your kids and help them reach their full potential without stressing them out under the burden of your demands for perfection, allow them to explore the things that interest them and make an effort to show your support.

A teenager who knows he’s loved unconditionally and that the support of those he looks up to most isn’t contingent upon him toeing the proverbial line is generally more secure and less anxious than his over-burdened peers.
It’s not easy to set aside the hopes and dreams you have for your child in favor of allowing him to find his own path, but it’s an important part of growing up and asserting his independence. By supporting his efforts and applauding the hard work he does, you’re effectively helping him reach his potential without adding an unmanageable amount of stress to his plate.

Mediocre Rich Kids Will Earn More Than Poor Bright Kids, Education Secretary Admits

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High achieving smart but poor kids wind up earning significantly less salary as adults than children with mediocre academic abilities who were born to parents that are professionals or managers.

This inequity is apparent even when the workers have the exact same position, work experience and education attainment, UK’s Education Secretary recently admitted.


 

“Children from high-income backgrounds who show signs of low academic ability at age five are 35 per cent more likely to become high earners than their poorer peers who show early signs of high ability,”  UK Education Secretary Justine Greening said at a conference on social mobility last month.

She added: “Graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds who do make it to the top jobs still earn, on average, over £2,200 a year less than their colleagues who happen to have been born to professional or managerial parents – even when they have the same educational attainment, the same role and the same experience.”

In singer Lorde’s song “Royals”, she sings about “postcode envy” which is a real thing and then there is the “Postcode lottery” which children who go to school in wealthier areas benefit from.

During the conference, Greening blamed the current school funding system for contributing to inequity in opportunity for equal pay.

We have that same “postcode lottery” here in the US. With much of school funding coming from property taxes of the surrounding homes, naturally, schools in areas sign high home values will be better funded than those in poorer parts.

Brits agree that one’s parents’ socioeconomic standing benefits how well a person does in life.

A Social Mobility Commission poll conducted last year found that 45% of Britons believed “where you end up in society is mainly determined by your background and who your parents were”. Just 29% of people bought into the idea that success is based on merit alone.

Unlike our Education secretary in America who only has experience attending and sending her own children to private school’s, UK’s Greenfield went to public schools, called a comprehensive school in England. Also, she was the first in her family to go to university so she can relate.

“I’m not someone who ever planned to go into politics,” she said. “Far from it. Actually, some of my earliest memories of politicians are of my father shouting at politicians who turned up on the news, frustrated that he felt they didn’t really talk about his life.”

 

Nation Siblings Day; Survey Says that Sibling Rivalry Thing’s A Myth

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Today is National Siblings Day!

It’s a day to celebrate your brother and sister by posting a photo of yourself and/or with your siblings with the hashtag, #NationalSiblingsDay to post on social media.


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The day was started by native New Yorker, Claudia Evart in 1995 to honor and celebrate siblings.  After losing her two siblings early in life in separate accidents, she knew how important siblings could be in our lives.

Claudia created the Siblings Day Foundation (SDF), a tax-exempt organization, whose goals included the establishment of National Siblings Day.  Claudia selected April 10 in honor of her late sister, Lisette’s birthday.

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The folks at NationalToday.com learned from a recent survey that the concept of sibling-rivalry is a myth.

Only 3% of Americans hate their siblings while 92% of the 1,000 Americans surveyed said they do not fight with their siblings. Only 8% of Americans report having physically fought with their siblings.

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Few siblings carry long-term grudges against each other. Only 3% of male subjects surveyed still hold a grudge over a childhood fight, while females are half as forgiving: 6% still feel a bit bitter.

Some people have best friends in their siblings. One in 10 American siblings are best friends. About 8% of Americans talk to their siblings every day, while another 8% say their siblings know them better than anyone else.

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If given a choice, more Americans (36%) would chose to be an older sibling  versus being an only child (15%), while  1 in 3 would enjoy being the youngest.

OTHER SIBLINGS DAY INSIGHTS
#1: We shared—or still share—clothes (7%)
#2: We are in a group text (6%)
#3: We share the same friend group (5%)
#4: We’ve embarrassed each other on social media (5%)

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To learn more about National Siblings Day, you can visit [nationaltoday.com/us/national-siblings-day/].

Guide to Explaining Holy Week to Children

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This week is Holy Week for Catholics and Christians that are preparing for Easter.

EHow assembled an excellent summary of the week that can be used for helping parents explain the holiday to their children.


It is instructional also for non-Catholics as well who may want to understand or explain the holiday for themselves or their children too.

 Palm Sunday

When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on his donkey, there were many followers who wanted to see him. People crowded around him and called his name. Many called out “King” or “Savior.”

Worshipers knelt down and waved palm fronds as Jesus passed by. Children and grownups wanted to hear him speak to them. They wanted to touch him. Sick people wanted their Savior to make them well. Another name for this day is Fig Sunday.

Holy Monday and Tuesday

Some people believe that on the Monday of Holy Week, Jesus freed the animals being sold and killed. The freeing of the many sheep and oxen has been compared to the slaves being set free. Tuesday is the day that the Pharisees got together and made a plan to gang up on Jesus and kill him. Holy Monday and Tuesday are not major days for celebration, but the events did lead up to Jesus’ death.

Spy Wednesday

Judas had been Jesus’ good friend, but he got jealous that so many people loved Jesus. Judas got together with the Pharisees and said he would play a trick on Jesus and kill him.

Today, many people go to church on Ash Wednesday to remember this day. A priest will put ashes from burned palm fronds on a person’s forehead in the shape of a cross and say a prayer.

Holy Thursday

The Last Supper was on this day. Jesus sat down to eat with 12 other people. Those people were the disciples. His friend Judas was there that night. Jesus shared his bread and wine with everyone. He told the disciples that it was more important to serve someone else than to be served.

He lovingly washed the feet of his disciples. After the meal was over, Jesus wanted to be alone to pray. Guards appeared a short time later and he was arrested.

Good Friday

Jesus was forced to make a huge cross and drag it up a hill all by himself. He had a crown on his head made of a branch of thorns. He was nailed to the cross by his hands and feet. One of the ways Good Friday is celebrated is by fasting, which means not eating at all. It is a day to mourn the death of Jesus, but also to celebrate that he gave his life for everyone.

Holy Saturday or Black Sabbath

After Jesus died, he was put in a tomb. The tomb was like a cave. The guards rolled a big rock in front of the opening to make sure that no one could get in or out. They knew that Jesus was dead, but they still wanted to close off the opening just to make sure he didn’t get out. Some of the ways to commemorate this day are meditating, praying, and lighting candles in church.

There you have it!!

Study: Most Child Flu Deaths Occurred in Unvaccinated Kids

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A new study of deaths in children from influenza analyzed over four flu seasons found that most deaths occurred in unvaccinated children.

The study, “Influenza Vaccine Effectiveness Against Pediatric Deaths: 2010-2014,” to be published in the May 2017 issue of Pediatrics (April 3 online) analyzed 291 deaths of children between ages 6 months through 17 years.


About one-fourth (26%) of the children who died had been vaccinated against influenza before illness onset. Among 153 deaths of children with underlying high-risk medical conditions, 31% had been vaccinated. Vaccine-effectiveness was higher (65%) among children without high-risk medical conditions.

Though uncommon, influenza-associated deaths among children occur annually, with varying incidence depending on the severity of the flu season.

Since 2004, the number of influenza-associated deaths among children younger than age 18 has ranged from 37 in the 2011-2012 season to 358 during a 2009 pandemic.

The study supports current recommendations for annual flu vaccination for all children age 6 months and older.

read the report here

7 Things You Can Do to Trim Down After Baby

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Pregnancy is a great blessing for every woman. Just like many, you are also super-excited about having a baby and probably have explored near most books and guides on caring for your newborn. And, it’s been a couple of months that you’ve had your delivery and you and your baby are now a part of one another’s routine.

While the good days are going on, you are definitely worried about getting your body back in shape. You’ve probably gained a little baby weight and your body isn’t the same as it was before. Instead of worrying about it too much, here are 7 proven ways to get your body back after pregnancy. It’s time to set some realistic goals and sticking to them.


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  1. Take Naps

The first step towards getting your body back is taking enough naps. This may include out of the routine naps, other than sleeping at night. After your pregnancy, you’ll experience a dramatic change in your sleeping and eating patterns.

A lack of sleep would hinder the loss of baby weight and will eventually affect your overall health. Moreover, staying awake for too long at night increases your cravings for snacks — perhaps that high-calorie doughnut in the fridge.

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  1. Breastfeed

While cutting calories will help shed that extra baby weight from your body, you will still need to be very careful not to cut too many of them, especially when you are breastfeeding your baby.

The production of milk in your breasts will itself burn between 300-500 calories a day on average and nursing your baby on irregular timings will itself be enough to help you lose the baby weight. While you cut off unnecessary fats from your diet, it is important to consume the healthy ones and eating enough calories daily. Rely more on breastfeeding rather than feeder milk.

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  1. Forget the Diet

Do not try to rush into things. Do not diet to lose the weight. You should still follow an exercise routine and avoid fatty foods, but don’t starve yourself — it can be dangerous for your health.

Your body has gone through a very tough process of growing a baby. Also, the production of testosterone for women is already high during and after pregnancy, which means that the metabolism will be high as well. Stick to your regular diet, eat when you feel hungry, don’t push too hard during workouts and you’ll be back to normal in a few months.

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  1. Keep a Check on Calories and Fat

Once again, I would put stress on calorie consumption and healthy fat intake. Avoid any low or zero calorie foods. You don’t need to starve or dramatically change your diet plan. Aim for the lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables, fresh fruits, fresh juices and low-fat dairy products.

Eat a lot of nuts and almonds throughout the day as a snack when you feel any cravings arise. Avoid chips, sodas, and similar items, but most of all, avoid those fad diets that does more harm than good, especially during pregnancy.

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  1. Meet Someone Who’s Recently had a Baby

You should try to meet someone who has recently had a baby (if you don’t have a friend who’s given birth before). Create a good relationship with them. It will give you the support that you desperately need because they have gone through the same bodily changes as you have or are about to.

Having a partner with the same goals can keep you motivated and focused on your goals. If not, find a personal fitness trainer who has experience related to after-pregnancy body changes.

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  1. Eat Healthy Snacks

I know that cravings can force you to give in and have a snack (and it’ll most likely be a sugary one), but eating too much sugar can increase blood-sugar levels which aren’t healthy for you nor for the baby. At the same time, if your sugar levels are down, you tend to grab the first thing in the kitchen to overcome the temptation, and in most of the cases, it is a snack.

Instead of those oily and unhealthy ones, buy some healthy snacks and store them in your kitchen. Also keep low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese as they help with fat loss. Some other options include celery, eggs, chicken salad, whole-grain cereal, hard boiled eggs, apples, almond butter, and smoothies.

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  1. Stay Active

Last but not least, try to stay as active as you can during the daytime. I know it is pretty daunting, especially when you are sleep deprived and stressed out, but still, you should try to stay active.

Being lazy all day long can slow down your metabolic rate and your body would end up storing more fat than it would be burning. Even though it’s easy to not want to exercise or even think about it, try to engage physical activities and create a routine to keep yourself active.

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