We all know that 2020 has been a different and unique year. We have all had to make major adjustments to life as we know it, and some adjustments have been harder than others.
I think what has been the most difficult, perhaps, has been the adjustment that children have had to make. Fortunately, Camryn is back in daycare. For her, having a semblance of normalcy is important since she doesn’t understand what is going on in our world.
We are also trying our best to keep the atmosphere light and remind ourselves that she is still a toddler amidst all of this, and things like snacking and entertainment can and should still be fun and incorporated into her life.
Snacks were always a big part of childhood for me, and I know it’s the same for Camryn.
I’m excited to be teaming up with Sun-Maid to share some ideas for how you can remind little ones that childhood is always in season, no matter what going “back to school” is looking like for your family.
Did you know Sun-Maid raisins have been a better-for-you snack for kids and grown-ups alike since 1912? Sun-Maid raisins are whole fruit and have 0g added sugar. They are increadily versatile and easy to add into recipes or eat as a stand-alone snack.
Whether your kids are at home with you, homeschooled, in daycare or in school, hopefully some of these ideas can help reinstate the idea to support a happy and healthy childhood.
No matter what back to school looks like this year, here are some suggestions to kick off the school year on a bright and fun note!
1. Make Food Nostalgic
What kinds of snacks did you enjoy as a kid? What would it be like to have them now? I remember the little red Sun-Maid boxes in my lunchbox as a kid. I also enjoyed them as a pre-sport snack on the bus in high school.
Isn’t it funny how food can be so reminiscent? I love and trust the Sun-Maid brand since it was such a staple in my childhood. For many others, I’m sure, Sun-Maid raisins (we all know the little red box!) have been a household staple for as long as they can remember.
There are lots of opportunities for food to remain nostalgic throughout the life cycle! And remember that Sun-Maid offers more than just the familiar red boxes we were accustomed to growing up.
Snacking has changed over the years, and Sun-Maid has changed to keep up with the demand, too! While the little red boxes remain the core of who they are, Sun-Maid has evolved to offer better snacking solutions for every craving – always made with whole, dried fruit.
Offer the opportunity for food to be nostalgic with your kids and to create memories around.
2. Make Snacking Fun!
As a mom and dietitian, I want Camryn to also grow up with fond memories of snacking and childhood. So, we aim to make snack time a “fun” time and incorporate better-for-you foods as often as possible.
Sometimes I’ll read a book while we’re enjoying a snack. For other parents with a squirmy toddler, this also helps to keep them still and eating their food.
Other times, we’ll have a snack to accompany our afternoon craft or coloring session (stencils are a favorite over here).
And often, we’ll eat outside on the porch because it’s more enjoyable for Camryn and we get fresh air!
I want to instill the idea that food is and should be fun and enjoyable (for all stages and ages). Pairing snacks and happy, fun experiences together can surely help with that.
3. Make Snacking an Activity (A “Snacktivity”)
Another idea for switching snacks and lunches up is making the snack preparation the actual “activity” or “snacktivity.” For example, have kids make their own ants on a log or add raisins to a trail mix or fruit dip.
We love to use stencils or cut out’s of letters and numbers to facilitate learning and a hands-on activity at the same time…that ends in a delicious snack or lunch plate.
Another idea is to let them hit blend on the smoothie and add their favorite add-in’s, or throw fruit, nuts or seeds into baked goods or pancake batter.
Any way to get kids involved at young ages is advantageous and can boost their interest in food and preparation in the future.
We often include Sun-Maid raisins in our snacks because they are versatile and can be added to other snacks, like trail mix or a rice cake with peanut butter, or enjoyed as is.
Sun-Maid raisins are a naturally sweet whole fruit (made with just grapes and California sunshine), and they have 0 grams of added sugars – a big plus for parents trying to make a well-balanced plate for their kiddos!
Best of all, they are perfectly portable and make a great snack in Camryn’s lunch bag, or when we’re on-the-go in the car, stroller, etc.
4. Show Them Love and Appreciation
This one is a given but may fly under the radar. As we experience the “terrible two’s” and constant tantrums, I need to take a deep breath and remind myself that Camryn is still learning to experience her emotions.
And it’s important for me to constantly show her my emotions too, so she understands it’s okay and normal to experience different things. I like to remind her time and time again that I appreciate her and I love her, no matter how she is acting.
I’ll leave little notes in her lunchbox, or we’ll draw faces together – happy, sad, excited, so she can really learn to spot and identify different emotions.
Things change constantly with little people, so your ideas and options may differ for your children. But, I hope these ideas inspire some thought and creativity for making childhood fun amidst all of these global changes.
Let me know your favorite activities in the comments!