1. Get Your Kids To Read More Often

    by Jimmey Jackson Jr.

    These days, it seems like one of the more prevalent concerns among parents and educators is that children just aren’t reading anymore. Then again, in an age of pulse-quickening video games, endless cable channels, attention-sucking mobile phone apps, and unlimited internet access, the idea of picking up a book can seem downright quaint. Thankfully, due to a handful of popular authors and their captivating characters, reading hasn’t totally fallen out of favor. However, getting kids to read books that don’t feature boy wizards and sparkling vampires may still prove to be a difficult task. Luckily, we’ve got some ideas on how to encourage your kids to read more, and more variedly.

    With a little effort you can help your kids find the right books to match their interests. Do they like dinosaurs? Fairies and magic? Mythological Greek gods settling their conflicts with a not-so-friendly game of football? There are books out there that tackle these subjects and many more obscure ones. You can find recommendations at sites like The Young Adult Library Services Association, Oprah’s Kids’ Reading List, and Drop Everything and Read. These are great sources for narrowing down the vast field of children’s and young adult books to find one your kid will love.

    If they need a little push, offer kids rewards and incentives for reading. Maybe let them stay up past their bedtime if the time is spent reading. Or perhaps exchange a minute of television or video game time for every minute of reading. Perhaps you’ll find that your children will want to polish off another chapter instead of blowing up aliens on their PlayStation.

    The recent explosion of tablets and e-readers makes having access to books easier than ever before. These devices can hold hundreds, even thousands, of e-books, meaning your children can have a virtual library at their fingertips anytime. And you needn’t worry about spending a fortune to fill your child’s e-reader to capacity. Countless websites are devoted to the electronic distribution of literature; for example, Project Gutenberg offers the web’s largest single collection of free e-books.

    It may take time and encouragement to instill a love of reading in your child, but once you do it’s as if you’ve pulled back a curtain and showed them a new dimension to their young lives. Books are ultimately transporting; they let you slip through time, travel to the far reaches of the galaxy, and even live another person’s life. Once your children discover the extraordinary power of books, they’ll almost never want to put them down.

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  2. Hot Topic: Naptime

    Ah, naptime. Doesn’t your toddler look peaceful when they’re asleep? And a little tranquility for you couldn’t hurt either! But what if your toddler decides prematurely that they’ve gotten over napping? Or what if, on the other hand, they seem like they’re napping too much?

    Every child has their own unique sleep patterns – circadian rhythms, tied to cycles of light and darkness and a body’s “quota” for sleep. This means that children have individual needs when it comes to napping, needs you should do your best to observe and recognize. Another factor that determines when and why kids nap is cultural; if they attend daycare or you’ve established a strict napping schedule at home, a toddler is liable to follow that schedule.

    But sooner or later, most kids are going to say they don’t need to nap anymore. When this happens, you should watch for signs that your toddler might be skipping their nap prematurely: yawning, droopy eyes, crankiness, all at around the time when they used to nap. If your child gives up their nap before 4 years old, and they still exhibit these symptoms, try offering them some quiet time in their room around their former naptime. Dim the lights and leave them alone. Even if they don’t fall asleep, it can still be a recharging break. Providing a restful environment at the right times can help kids keep a healthy sleep schedule – even if they think they know better. (And this doesn’t just apply to nap-shy toddlers: teenagers who stay up to chat with their friends could also probably use a reminder that lights out means lights out.)

    But what about children who don’t want to give up their naps? 20-30% of five-year-olds still need a nap in the afternoon. Kindergartens and daycare programs often have an optional nap, but if you know your kid needs one at a certain time, a quick chat with your kindergarten teacher or daycare professional might be a good idea. If drowsiness persists when your child starts grade school, it might be wise to ask your pediatrician about it.

    The most important responsibility you have when it comes to your child’s sleep is being observant and supportive; know the signs of drowsiness so you can provide encouragement to sleep. And any kid who needs a reminder that naptime is pretty fun should get a look at our sleepwear and cuddle pillows – browse CookiesKids.com for a superior selection!

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  3. Get $4 off a Total Experience ticket to the New York Aquarium when you spend $75 or more!

    Sponsored in part by Cookie’s the Kids Department Store on Fulton Street:

    Visit NYAQUARIUM.com for details - Offer valid until July 31st!

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    View this featured promotion on Shop Downtown Brooklyn for more information.

     

  4. Cookie’s Mall Madness Sale

    Come down to our 510 Fulton Street location in Downtown Brooklyn and enjoy up to 80% off in our Mall Madness sale!

     
  5. Cookie’s storefront on the corner of Livingston Street in Brooklyn, NY

    Want to visit us? You can find all of our locations at http://www.cookieskids.com/locations.aspx