Smart Start Blog
Want your child to build confidence, improve math scores, maintain focus, refine social skills, and increase their chances of getting into a top college? Does your child need to build literacy, improve grades, or just learn that patience and hard work help develop confidence and skill?
If so, your kid should be playing an instrument.
Many parents put music on the back burner, thinking only math and reading skills matter. And while we agree that they matter (we are a tutoring company after all), we value the importance of educating the whole child, and know that studies have proven again and again that music lessons help children in ways that carry over to the classroom as well. Many of our math tutors, science tutors, and test-prep tutors come from strong music backgrounds, and help kids manage academic work so they have time for music.
Today we celebrate Johann Sebastian Bach’s birthday. Bach remains one of the greatest composers of all time, although during his lifetime he was often criticized for his complex melodies and arrangements. For students to stay competitive in our quickly changing society, they need to know how to innovate, chart new territory, and think outside the box, as Bach did, in order to stand out to private schools, top universities, and potential employers.
Need some proof? Check out these top four reasons music helps kids succeed:
#1 Success in School
Studies show kids who play instruments earn higher grades and standardized tests scores, and fare better on cognitive and spatial development tests (which are often used as a measure for kids to get into gifted programs). Colleges love musicians, too! According to the U.S. Department of Education, “Many colleges view participation in the arts and music as a valuable experience that broadens students’ understanding and appreciation of the world around them. It is also well known and widely recognized that the arts contribute significantly to children’s intellectual development.”
A 2001 report by the College Entrance Examination Board states that students who studied music appreciation scored significantly higher on the SAT (63 points on verbal, 44 points on math) than students who do not. The National Center for Education Statistics reveals that music students not only receive more academic honors, but also make up the largest percentage of students receiving top grades.
#2 Improve Brain Development
Studying music has been shown to improve concentration and focus, which carries over to the classroom as well. Children who study music increase coordination, dexterity, complex thinking, and fine motor skills as they translate notes into hand movements.
Musicians quickly adjust tempo, rhythm, and style, and they improvise constantly. This helps the brain learn to quickly adjust to new situations, maintain focus, and build abstract reasoning skills, which are fundamental for math and science reasoning in school. Music has been shown to dramatically increase spatial reasoning skills in students as young as three years old.
#3 Build Confidence, Patience & Work Ethic
Kids who study music learn early that persistence pays off. They understand that reaching a goal often takes hours of practice, focus, determination, and stamina as they work through initial failures. Kids who study music also build a real sense of pride and self-confidence when they work hard and reach their goals.
This attitude carries over to academic and professional life, as academic courses such as AP Biology, physics, math, and foreign languages require intense stamina. The self-discipline required to master music translates to highly effective work habits, study skills, and an intrinsic motivation to learn.
#4 Improve Social & Life Skills
Music opens doors for kids to interact with each other during lessons and recitals, and to join ensembles, orchestras, and music groups as they get into middle and high school. Students often get to travel with school bands, helping them discover new cultures, create strong bonds with peers, and have a richer social life.
Embracing music also allows kids to experience highs in life that come from a deep appreciation of music. Learning an instrument helps students connect with themselves and with others as they share in the joy and wonder that music can bring to life. It also helps kids make smart choices. Afraid your guitar playing son will turn to drugs if he joins a band? Not so. The Texas Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse states, “Secondary students who participated in band or orchestra reported the lowest lifetime and current use of all substances (alcohol, tobacco, drugs).”
Committing time for the arts is essential to building skills that lead to success in school, work, and life. Most of our academic tutors grew up playing an instrument and went on to study a wide variety of impressive academic subjects, from Aerospace Engineering, to Law, Medicine, Biology, Chemistry, and beyond. Our test-prep tutors and homework tutors can help students balance school workloads so they have time for music, because we believe in the importance of helping kids develop a well rounded foundation incorporating arts and education.
College-Bound Seniors National Report: Profile of SAT Program Test Takers. Princeton, NJ: The College Entrance Examination Board, 2001.
Getting Ready for College Early: A Handbook for Parents of Students in the Middle and Junior High School Years, U.S. Department of Education, 1997
Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. New York: Pantheon Books, 2001.
Texas Commission on Drug and Alcohol Abuse Report. Reported in Houseon Chrinicle, January 1998.
Whitney Gallagher is Director of Private Tutoring for 1 On 1 Academic Tutors.
March 20th marks the vernal equinox, and the official start of spring. Spring signifies a time for new beginnings, and this special day is celebrated around the world. Turn the vernal equinox into a teachable moment as students can learn about earth science, planetary rotation, cultural traditions, history, and global awareness through the lens of the equinox.
The word equinox comes from the Latin aequus, meaning equal, level, or calm, and nox, meaning darkness, or night. During the spring and fall equinox, the sun is positioned directly over the equator, and day and night split equally into twelve hours each.
Here are some cool ways the vernal equinox is celebrated around the world!
- It’s New Year’s Day, or Nowruz, in Iran, where families celebrate with picnics and festivities, visiting elder family members and setting the Haft-Seen, a table including seven special items including spices, apples, garlic, green grass, coins, vinegar, and ancient dishes. Families often see the first sprouts of wheat or lentil seeds planted a few weeks earlier. This is a fun time of year and a celebration for Iranians of all ages. Learn to say “Happy New Year” in Farsi: No Rooz Mobarak (Happy New Year)!
- It marks a national holiday in Japan, called Shunbun no Hi, or Spring Equinox Day, to celebrate nature and show respect for all living things. Beautiful cherry blossoms start to bloom during this time in Japan, and families remember ancestors as they celebrate new life in nature. This year many will remember those lost in the earthquake and tsunami, and will bring flowers and offerings, including sake and rice balls in commemoration of those lost.
- Los Festivales de Primavera (Festivals for Spring) in Mexico, where children march in parades dressed as flowers or animals, and many flock to two famous sites to celebrate the arrival of spring. Chichen Itza, a Mayan archaeological site in the Yucatan, boasts an awesome display of Mayan astronomical and architectural knowledge, as light and shadow create the image of a serpent slithering up the steps of the beautiful Kulkulkan (plumed serpent) Temple, also called El Castillo. The serpent appears a few hours before dusk each day, and only appears in the days surrounding the vernal equinox each year. The Pyramid of the Sun, the Aztec pyramid in Teotihuacan, draws hundreds of thousands of people dressed in white, who climb to the summit to stand with outstretched arms. This tradition is often carried down from ancestors, and many ask the gods for energy and health on the equinox.
- World Storytelling Day happens today, and it’s a great time to share oral history with your family and pass on stories to your kids. This year, the theme is trees, and the day encourages many people around the world to tell and listen to stories. It celebrates storytelling as a craft and helps us stop and listen to enjoy one of the oldest forms of passing down history and myth.
Spring equinox is a perfect time to plant a garden with kids, and help kids learn about the effects of water and sunlight as they take pride in watching life spring from seeds they planted and nurtured. Help kids chart the progress of their plants with daily and weekly notes on watering, growth, and conditions. Gardens provide a fun way to connect science and math, while inspiring writing, art, and nutrition!
These are just a few of the events around the world that come with the spring equinox, but all present a perfect educational opportunity for kids to learn a bit about history, language, and story, while celebrating rich cultures around the globe.
Whitney Gallagher is Director of Private Tutoring for 1 On 1 Academic Tutors.
About a decade ago, determining whether you’d take the SAT or the ACT was a simple task. Generally, if you lived in the Midwest, the Rockies, or the South, you took the ACT, and if you lived near either coast, you took the SAT. Today, it’s not quite that simple. Many parents and students often ask, “Which test is easier? What do schools prefer?”
All four year colleges accept either the ACT or the SAT, with no preference for one over the other, and some students submit scores from both. The ACT has grown in popularity, and now roughly the same percentage of students take the ACT as the SAT. What test should you prep for? What’s the difference? Here’s a quick breakdown:
ACT: 215 questions divided into 4 sections (English, Math, Reading, Science); 205 minutes long including optional 30 minute writing section (shorter test, but less time per question).
SAT: 170 questions divided into10 sections (3 Critical Reading, 3 Math, 3 Writing, 1 experimental section not counted into the score); 225 minutes long
Types of Questions
ACT: More straightforward questions based on content knowledge (in grammar, usage & math); difficulty level of questions is random
SAT: Trickier, more logic-based questions; questions get more difficult as you move through each section (with the exception of chronological reading passages)
ACT: No penalty for incorrect answers.
SAT: ¼ point off for incorrect answers. No points off for blank answers.
ACT: Includes science reasoning section mostly based on ability to interpret data.
SAT: Does not include science section.
ACT: Math through trigonometry with no formulas provided (a bit tougher).
SAT: Math through Algebra II with formulas provided.
ACT: Optional (30 minutes) and not factored into the score, although most schools prefer to see it. It’s usually a high interest persuasive essay question.
SAT: Required (25 minutes at the beginning of the test), and usually asks for examples from literature and history.
ACT: Tests more usage, grammar and rhetorical skills, and questions are more intuitive (which sentence sounds right?).
SAT: Requires an excellent knowledge of vocabulary and word roots.
ACT: 36 possible points
SAT: 2400 possible points (200-800 points per section)
Which Test Is Right For You?
Many make the quick assumption that if they are more of a science and math person, the ACT is for them. However, the ACT science section typically only contains one question that requires previous science-based knowledge. The bulk of the science section is based on data analysis, and the ability to comprehend research passages, charts and graphs. If reading comprehension is a strong point, usually it carries over to ACT science. Although the writing section of the ACT is optional, most schools prefer to see it.
Do you study hard or slack off? Don’t get me wrong, it’s imperative to study for both tests; however, if you are a bright underachiever, the SAT may be a better test for you as it’s more of an aptitude and reasoning test, and focuses less on content knowledge. If you study hard to earn high marks, the ACT may be a better fit as much of it is based on content knowledge.
Do you work quickly? Some lean toward the ACT because it’s a shorter test, but the sections include more questions, and it allots less time per question. If you are a slow reader or worker, you may feel more comfortable with the SAT.
Are you a wordsmith? The SAT focuses more heavily on vocabulary, and the writing section is required, so if you love words, the SAT may be better for you.
Experts agree that if possible, it’s best to take a full length practice test of each exam to see which feels better. If you think you’ll do better on one, and it feels better for you, go with that test. Both tests allow score choice (you choose which scores to send to schools) and students are allowed to take both tests; however, most find it much less stressful to focus on preparing for one. Studies show a strong correlation between formal one-on-one test prep with a tutor and increased scores, so be sure to put in as much study time and test prep prior to the test as possible!
Whitney Gallagher is Director of Private Tutoring for 1 On 1 Academic Tutors
It’s that time of year again when we take a moment to reflect on the past and make some resolutions for a better year to come. A new year provides a great opportunity for parents and students to sit down together and focus on achievements made over the past twelve months.
Sitting down with your family and recording accomplishments you are most proud of, both for yourself and for each other, is a wonderful way for families to focus on how working hard to meet goals really pays off. Help your child come up with achievable resolutions for the coming year by sharing some of your own reasonable resolutions.
Avoid setting yourself and your child up for failure by keeping goals specific and making them visible. Keeping a list of family resolutions on the fridge helps everybody remember to continue making an effort to keep them.
Here are a few examples of resolutions that might be a bit too ambitious and vague, ultimately setting the stage for failure: This year I will earn all A’s; I’ll lose lots of weight; I’ll avoid all junk food; I’ll be really popular; I’ll make lots of money; I’ll get a new car; I’ll learn Spanish; I’ll be a better person; I’ll be grateful.
Although great in theory, the goals above are too broad and will quickly be forgotten. Both adults and children need simple daily tasks they can check off to work toward achieving an overarching goal or resolution.
Here are some examples of better, more achievable versions of the goals listed above: This year I’ll write down all of my homework in my planner, and check it off at night so I make sure I’ve completed it; I’ll exercise for 30 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays; I’ll eat a home cooked meal including vegetables every day; I won’t buy any prepackaged, processed snack food; I’ll make an effort to meet new friends by joining the yearbook club; I’ll join a book club; I’ll save money by not buying anything one day each week; I will volunteer two days each month; I’ll learn and practice a new Spanish verb each week; I will be more patient with family by thinking about their point of view before responding; I will say thank you and write thank you notes.
New Year’s resolutions provide a perfect opportunity to teach kids about setting reachable goals. Notice the latter set of resolutions include specific actions that will lead to goals. Creating a chart and checking it off each night helps hold students and parents accountable for goals, while helping families bond when they overcome difficulties and find the willpower to keep their resolutions.
When students see parents working hard to meet goals alongside them, they develop a clear understanding of the value of hard work, determination, and persistence.
Whitney Gallagher is director of private tutoring for 1 On 1 Academic Tutors
With the school year underway, many parents and students are beginning to think about private school and college applications. SAT, ACT, or the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) are likely on the horizon, and the preparation for these exams can be daunting.
What can you do to help? Quite a bit, actually!
Working with an expert test prep tutor on a weekly basis will help get your student started on a solid study plan. Although we recommend giving students space to work with their tutor during weekly tutoring sessions, daily support from parents is priceless. Here are eight simple things parents can do to help students stay on top of test prep and school applications:
- Keep a desk calendar penciled in with upcoming dates and long-term goals, and a whiteboard to record daily tasks and achievable objectives.
- Read and discuss articles with your student to help expose them to different types of writing and vocabulary. Hold dinner table conversations about books or articles, and set a time each day (can even be 10 minutes) where the whole family drops everything (this means PHONES, computers, game controls, and iPads!) and reads. Then discuss and encourage students to use new vocabulary.
- Be patient, encouraging, and supportive, but not overbearing. Remind your child that tests are only one indicator of a much bigger picture that schools consider.
- Designate a time each week to check in with your child’s progress and discuss upcoming deadlines. Many students put off preparation until the last minute, leading to test-anxiety. Help your child avoid added stress by setting a time to check in, and starting prep early.
- Have your child take at least three full length practice tests on Saturday mornings prior to the test. Empathize with the tenacity this requires, and remind your child that this will help him know exactly what to expect on the actual test day.
- DO NOT try to translate scores to percentages and let your child see them. The test scoring system is completely different from scoring on regular school tests. This will increase anxiety, and make students think they did much worse than they likely did. Rather, encourage your child to continue targeted daily review.
- The day before the test, your child should relax, eat healthy meals, stay hydrated, and get lots of sleep. Students should not try to study the day before the test as this can lead to mental fatigue.
- Stay positive and calm during test prep and after the test. Your anxiety will transfer to your child, so keep an upbeat, encouraging attitude.
Think high stakes tests like these stink? So do we, but most schools still use them as one of a few key factors in determining admission.
Your patient, consistent support as a parent can make a huge difference for your child! And if you need a little extra help, our tutors are always on hand to lift the stress of the test prep process with tailored instruction.
Whitney Gallagher is director of private tutoring for 1 On 1 Academic Tutors.
Some students are committed to rigorous study. Some are expert test takers. Some enjoy the process of learning new things, while others like to test their knowledge through exams and classroom discussions. Every student is different, and as a result, many challenges arise in the classroom setting. How can one teacher make every parent happy – or every child successful?
Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) recently announced the postponement of a controversial mandate that would have required homework assignments to make up no more than 10 percent of a student’s overall grade. LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy delayed a decision on the policy until the 2012-2013 school year, with the hope that more time will allow for more thoughtful discussions between teachers, parents, and administrators.
All teachers are not created equal, and neither are all assignments. Homework is valuable, particularly with older students, when it reinforces and builds upon classroom learning (or develops lifelong skills like reading). However, many parents and students complain about time consuming “busy work” that makes little or no impact on a student’s overall education. Many teachers are reluctant to assign this work as well, but feel compelled (or pressured) to do so.
When I was a full-time tutor, I spent more than 20 hours each week with three siblings attending a demanding, prestigious, private middle school in Los Angeles. Almost all of our time was devoted to the completion of homework – not test preparation. I’d arrive at 4pm, and we’d often be completing homework through dinner, and past 9pm. Although the students were extremely bright, their workload, and understandable desire to exert adolescent energy rather than sit in a chair and study, made the process consistently laborious. While I enjoyed our time together, I felt terrible that they often had little or no time to spend with their family, or to simply “play.”
Life is a balancing act, and learning how to prioritize tasks and manage time begins at an early age. If a student knows that homework accounts for a very small percentage of their overall grade, they may be less inclined to devote time to assignments (or complete them at all). But if homework is weighted too heavily, we may be falling into the trap of missing the forest for the trees. If a student can excel on exams, should they be required to complete time-consuming assignments every night? The end goal, after all, is for our youth to grow up educated and enlightened… isn’t it?
For now, it’s in your hands – the parents, and teachers, and school officials. Do you think there should be a government mandate on homework, or should individual teachers decide what’s best for their own classrooms? In the mean time, don’t forget the value of play, self-directed exploration, reading for pleasure, and quality time with the family.
Well-rounded students are more inclined to develop well-rounded lives.
Wendy Wegner is editor of educational content for 1 On 1 Academic Tutors and the K-12 Examiner.
You’ve seen this before – eager students with backpacks in hand, staring at the clock on the wall as it ticks along at a painful pace. And then, finally, the bell rings, signifying a much-needed break from homework and exams called “summer.” Ask any child what their favorite season is, and I’m sure there’s no question. The beach, fun with friends, movies, staying up late, and so much more. But how does that sudden shift in routine affect students’ long term learning?
Research shows that without some form of summer instruction, students lose an average of 2.6 months of math learning and most fall significantly behind in reading and writing. That’s why it’s so important for adults – tutors, teachers, and parents - to create learning opportunities that have no boundary, schedule, or expiration date.
Education doesn’t need to involve text books, either. We’ve brainstormed 10 creative ways to keep your child’s mind active this summer and hopefully inspire a love of learning that will last a lifetime.
- Break out the recipe box… it’s cookie time! Chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin – whatever flavor your child prefers, baking is a fun way to bring math and science into your home. Recipes involve measurement, fractions, and chemical reactions, and after your child puts in all that hard work, there’s a tasty reward on the other side.
- Even 20 minutes of math facts and revision just every other day can have a significant impact on your child’s math retention, especially for students in grades K-8. Contact your child’s school or a local book store for educational worksheets, or pick up a few math games using dice and playing cards. The lessons they learn will carry over to the next school year and prevent the common learning lapse that can last throughout the fall semester.
- Support your child’s creative interests by encouraging them to enter art or literary contests. There are several websites, journals, and magazines like Teen Ink that give students the opportunity to be rewarded for their talents and hard work. Next stop - the Nobel Prize
- Next time you head to the grocery store or farmers market, hand your wallet to the kids. I’m not talking about a pile of credit cards, but actual hard, cold cash. You know – the green paper? After a history lesson about “who is who” on the various bills, switch over to math as your child figures out how much they can buy with a budget in hand. Honing these skills today is sure to leave a lasting impression on their personal and educational futures.
- Heading out of town? Find ways to incorporate cultural, historical, and environmental lessons into your vacation. Whether you’re traveling to a foreign country with new languages and customs, or visiting one of our country’s majestic national parks, there is always something valuable for young learners to absorb. Encourage your child to help you with pre-travel research and get in touch with local visitor centers to make the most of your time.
- “Hey kids, turn off that video game and turn on your… video game?!” Yes, you heard me right. There are several computer and video games aimed at entertaining and educating, and they’re being praised by parents and children alike. Try games like the “Personal Trainer” series by Nintendo DS that can help children learn how to cook, get fit, and even strengthen their math skills.
- Encourage your child to send a letter or email to an adult they admire. Authors, athletes, doctors and other professionals can serve as positive role models to students of all ages, and oftentimes they’ll write back!
- Do you remember the first time you started a blog or built a website when you were a kid? Yeah, me either. Students today have an incredible opportunity to learn technology, build strong writing skills, and share their work with the world through the Internet. Blogs are a great way for children to research, create something from scratch, and build a passion for learning. As always, though, remember to use caution and keep their online surfing safe.
- Parents who love to read inspire children who love to read. Consider rallying the family around a specific book, author, or series this summer and you’ll not only get them reading, but you’ll create a valuable opportunity for the family to gather together and talk about what they’ve learned. Young adult literature likeThe Hunger Games, the Harry Potter series, Twilight, and more can keep young and mature readers interested all summer long.
- Wouldn’t it be cool if every time we learned something new, we got one step closer to ending world hunger? Believe it or not, but it’s true! FreeRice.com is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Programme. Through interactive, educational games and the support of charitable advertisers, every correct answer equals 10 grains of rice donated to a hungry person in need. What a great way to teach your child the limitless value of their education!
Looking for even more educational support this summer? Check out our writing, math, and test prep Summer Programs and connect your child with a tutor who will keep them motivated to learn.
Wendy Wegner is editor of educational content for 1 On 1 Academic Tutors and the K-12 Examiner.
Did you have a role model growing up? Did one person make an impact on your life more than others? Research shows that children who are mentored are more likely to excel in school, avoid drug and alcohol use, and behave nonviolently. While the statistics are impressive, unfortunately, many children don’t receive the attention they need and deserve.
At 1 On 1 Academic Tutors, we’re committed to expanding our reach in order to help as many students as we can in Los Angeles, New York City and beyond. Through educational services and by partnering with like-minded, youth-oriented non-profits, we can grow our efforts beyond the classroom and truly impact the communities where our students live.
Our tutors are just as passionate about making a difference, and one in particular – Marco Salazar De Leon – has made a point to show how much he cares. A tutor with our SES (Supplemental Educational Services) tutoring program in San Diego, Marco provided more than a dozen students with free tutoring during the 2010-2011 school year.
“My most rewarding experience is when a student acknowledges their own growth and feels proud of the work they put in,” says Marco. One of his students even wrote him a thank you note for the work he did. “The fact that the letter was well-written and grammatically correct made me that much more proud.”
Marco is a former volunteer with Reality Changers, a community outreach group that provides structured extra-curricular activities and mentorship opportunities to inner-city youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. He also organized a workshop series for high school students who were interested in college and looking to visit a university campus. It’s clear that his success as an educator may stem from the positive examples he was given as a child.
“My favorite professors and teachers were always well-spoken individuals who never tried to pander to the student,” says Marco. “They loved what they taught and they were always themselves. I respect the student so that hopefully they’ll respect me, and I respect the material so that maybe the value of that particular branch of knowledge carries over.”
We were so impressed with Marco’s work as a tutor that we recently brought him out to work in our Los Angeles office as our parent relations supervisor. He also started his own education blog that allows him to share his teaching and tutoring advice with others.
Recently, Marco was the grand prize winner of the 1 On 1 Academic Tutors Twitter #tutortip contest. He offered fantastic teaching advice in 140 characters or less to our community of educators, and as a thank you for his hard work, he’s going to receive his very own Nook. We hope this will help him continue to read and learn and help many more students! Check out his winning advice below, and share your own on Twitter by using @1on1tutors and #tutortip in your tweet. Thanks again, Marco!
“Students respect someone with integrity, not someone that tries to pander to them. Believe in what you teach!” #tutortip @1on1tutors
Wendy Wegner is editor of educational content for 1 On 1 Academic Tutors.
It’s been an incredible week so far, but we still have a few more hours to go. For what, you ask? Well if you don’t already know, it’s time you came on board!
The 1 On 1 Academic Tutors Foundation has recently partnered with School on Wheels – a non-profit organization that provides free tutoring, guidance, and educational resources to homeless children in Southern California. They are an amazing group of people who do amazing things for kids, and we are thrilled to offer our support.
Last weekend we offered our educational expertise and presented a comprehensive workshop to the tutors at School on Wheels. We covered the foundations of literacy and math, intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation, fun and engaging math games and manipulatives, and much more!
“The math games were wonderful, because the kids that we work with do not have enough ‘fun’ in their lives,” said Sinead Chilton, Marketing Consultant for School on Wheels. “If we can make something as mundane as math fun, then we are doing our job as one-on-one tutors. We truly appreciate 1 On 1 Academic Tutors for taking the time to help our tutors.”
But the help doesn’t stop there… we are also offering a cash donation to School on Wheels, and we need your help! We’re asking the public to take two seconds of their time, and that’s all! For every new ‘like’ on our Facebook page or follow on our Twitter page, we’ll donate $1 to School on Wheels (up to $1,000). Hundreds of people have shown their support so far this week, but we still have a ways to go! Check out the full press release here.
You only have until 11:59pm PST TONIGHT to get on board! Email your friends, text your friends, shout it from the rooftops. Help us reach our $1,000 goal before the end of the day. The countless homeless children in Los Angeles will thank you, and so will we.
Text “like 1 On 1 Academic Tutors” (without the quotes) to 32665 (FBOOK)
Wendy Wegner is editor of educational content for 1 On 1 Academic Tutors.
Many parents agree – it’s tough to feed a picky eater, let alone fill them up with nutritious foods. But one thing is for sure – you don’t have to settle for high-fat, high-caloric foods in order to include some very important calcium in your child’s diet.
I once worked with a chef who taught children’s cooking classes and it was a ton of fun to help out and watch the kids get excited about new foods and recipes. It was amazing to see how empowered they were by taking on new responsibilities in the kitchen, and how they took ownership of their meals and experimented with new and “unusual” foods (veggies, legumes, whole grains, oh my!) . The cooking teacher always reminded her students that you need to try a new food 10 times before you can really know if you like it or not. While I’m not positive about the science behind her statement, I do tend to believe it. Although it probably took me 10 years to like asparagus, and now it’s officially one of my favorite vegetables.
The point is, don’t give up on your kids. And more importantly, don’t let them give up on the wide variety of healthy fruits and vegetables available to them. It’s a wild world of food out there, and you never know what might tickle your taste buds next.
In response to the concern that some Los Angeles parents have over potentially losing flavored milk in LAUSD school lunches (fearing the loss of a calcium-rich diet), I have proposed a sample menu made with children’s nutritional needs in mind, and chock full of our favorite chemical element (there’s your mini science lesson for the day).
Meet Anne. She’s 9. And here’s a sample menu she might like
Breakfast! (some say it’s the most important meal of the day)
- 1 cup orange juice – 300 mg calcium/120 calories
- ¾ cup Honey Nut Clusters cereal – 1,000 mg calcium/170 calories (okay, so we’re already done with the recommended daily value of calcium for children – 1,000 to 1,300 – but I’m going to continue…
- ½ cup almond milk – 100 mg calcium/20 calories
Breakfast total: 1,400 mg of calcium & 310 calories
Lunch! (the very important “afternoon-pick-me-up-and-keep-me-going-strong-at-school” meal)
- 1/2 cup soybeans – 130 mg calcium/149 calories
- 2 slices whole wheat bread – 100 mg calcium/100 calories
- 2 tablespoons tahini hummus – 35 mg calcium/68 calories (a great mayonnaise substitute!)
- 3 leaves romaine lettuce – not too calcium rich, but that’s okay/10 calories
- ½ tomato, sliced – 6 mg calcium/11 calories
- 1/2 orange bell pepper, sliced – 18 mg calcium/14 calories
- Honey Graham Crackers, 2 squares – no calcium (yikes! That’s okay /60 calories
- 1 cup coconut water – 14 mg calcium/50 calories
Lunch total: 303 mg calcium & 462 calories
Snack! (the “I-need-to-keep-going-so-I-can-finish-my-homework” food break)
- 1 oz. almonds (23 nuts) – 75 mg calcium/163 calories
- 1 cup raspberries – 31 mg calcium/64 calories
- Water! (Yes, it’s a drink! And kids like it! Don’t forget to get enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated and alert)
Snack total: 106 mg calcium & 227 calories
Dinner! (growing bodies need these important nutrients after a long day of school, playing and homework)
- Fettuccini with Swiss Chard and Mushrooms – 133 mg calcium/298 calories per serving (you can also go for brown rice or whole wheat pasta instead!) <– just a note – this recipe has been kid tested and approved!
- Cauliflower mashed ‘potatoes’ – 39 mg calcium/67 calories
- And for desert! How about a chocolate Tofutti Cutie ice cream bar – no calcium needed!/130 calories
Dinner total: 172 mg calcium & 495 calories
Grand total: 1,981 mg calcium/1,494 calories !!
(a little breathing room is always nice)
You can also check out some of the very cool “50 Best Mom Food Bloggers” from Babble.com like Picky Palate, Food Allergy Mama, Lunchbox Limbo and more for inspiration!
*Nutritional values may vary. Use these meals merely as a fun, helpful guide! And always consult your child’s physician before making big decisions about their health and diet. Happy eating!
Wendy Wegner is editor of educational content for 1 On 1 Academic Tutors.
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