Tips to make goodbyes better for both parent and child

(BPT) – As a parent, you’ve probably experienced the clinging, clutching and crying that often accompany a goodbye when your child returns to day care or preschool after a long holiday break. Separation can be difficult for both children and their parents. Remember, separation anxiety is perfectly normal and can start at any time during the first three years.

The challenge of separation can vary greatly depending on your child’s age, developmental stage, temperament and environment. But there is relief. Child development experts agree families can learn how to ease separation anxiety and manage transitions by developing a predictable routine between the parent and/or caregiver and child — a consistent way to say goodbye.

Saying goodbye helps your child

You may be tempted to sneak out and avoid a scene, but that only tends to make your child more anxious. Creating a consistent and predictable routine will help ease separations that are painful for both of you. The repetition of a goodbye routine will help your child develop a sense of security and facilitate a smoother transition from your presence to your absence and back again.

“Neuroscience has shown that the consistency and predictability will help your child learn to anticipate your return,” says Dr. Victoria Simms, child development specialist and president of the Simms/Mann Institute. “It’s very important for young children to have experiences that promote security. Consistent routines leave a positive imprint on the brain that will help set the stage for easier transitions during times of separation.”

Tips for easing separation anxiety

1. Bring a familiar object from home. Children often find comfort in familiar objects such as a cuddly lovie, toy or blanket. These special items are called transitional objects. By introducing a transitional object early on your child will begin associating it with you and what you represent to them: warmth, comfort, security and most of all, love.

2. Create your own consistent goodbye routines and rituals. Creating a consistent and predictable goodbye routine is key to making transitions easier. Designate a special place in your house where you can focus on each other for a few minutes before saying goodbye. Don’t forget to confidently give your child a hug and a kiss and be on your way.

3. Comfort yourself. When you’re comfortable and calm, your child will feel less anxious and more confident. Remember, thoughtful distress can help you and your child grow and spending the time to say goodbye will enable your child to manage the separation and help your child reconnect with you in a more positive way when you return.

To further help parents and caregivers understand the importance of creating consistent and predictable routines, the Simms/Mann Institute recently launched the CuddleBright(TM) Experience, a product that incorporates all the elements needed to get your goodbye routine off to a strong start.

By integrating the latest neuroscience research and years of child development theories, the CuddleBright(TM) Experience aims to connect and comfort both parents and children during times of separation. The product is specially designed for children ages 0-5 and their parents. It includes a cuddly lovie, a beautifully illustrated board book, “A Cuddle Before I Go,” and a special keepsake heart that will serve as a transitional object for the parent. These items work together to create a loving goodbye routine for both parent and child. In addition, the CuddleBright(TM) Experience includes a parenting guide focused on 18 child development topics that provide tips and strategies for navigating parenthood.

For more information about the CuddleBright(TM) Experience visit

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90% child bone mass acquired by age 20 – nutrient packed foods can help

(BPT) – Most people associate bone density and skeletal concerns with advanced age. However, healthy bones form during childhood with the majority of bone density established before kids reach their 20s. Is it time to shift the focus to the early years rather than the later?

Up to 90 percent of peak bone mass is acquired by age 18 in girls and age 20 in boys, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. What’s more, bone mass peaks by the late 20s for most people, which means at this point bones have reached their maximum strength and density.

Bone is a living tissue and childhood is a critical time to focus on bone health and establish good habits that support skeletal wellness throughout life. Some factors effecting bone mass cannot be controlled, such as gender, race and hormones. Nutrition, on the other hand, can be controlled and is one of the best ways to increase your child’s bone health while teaching them positive eating habits.

Nutrition ideas to boost bone health

Studies show an increase in childhood bone fractures over the past four decades. Experts agree adequate levels of vitamin D and calcium decrease the risk of developing fractures by supporting bone strength. During the winter months, many children are not getting enough vitamin D — an essential vitamin needed for the body to absorb calcium — so it’s an important concern with decreased daylight hours.

Milk is an obvious source of vitamin D and calcium, but for kids with lactose sensitivities or those who don’t like drinking milk, there are other options. In fact, there are many foods that are a good source of both vitamin D and calcium.

Eggs: Eggland’s Best eggs come from hens fed an all-vegetarian diet consisting of healthy grains, canola oil and supplements like alfalfa and vitamin E. As a result, each EB egg has five times more vitamin D, plus three times more vitamin B12, two times more omega-3s, 10 times more vitamin E and 38 percent more lutein compared to ordinary eggs.

Kale: Just one cup of kale has 10 percent of your daily calcium and 133 percent of both your vitamin A and vitamin C needs for the day. If you struggle to get your kids to eat veggies, simply blend kale in a fruit smoothie, make kale chips by baking with garlic and olive oil, or mix cooked kale into spaghetti sauce or an egg frittata mixture to make it a seamless addition.

Figs: Five medium fresh figs have around 90 milligrams of calcium and other bone-healthy nutrients like potassium and magnesium, according to WebMD. Dried figs are a good option also, plus are a great natural sweetener for bakery items like cookies. A half cup of dried figs have 120 milligrams of calcium.

Almond butter: Want a bone-boosting alternative to peanut butter for your little one’s toast and PB&Js? Try almond butter! In addition to being a good source of protein, two tablespoons contains an estimated 112 milligrams of calcium and 240 milligrams of potassium.

Tofu: Soft enough that even tots can safely eat it, tofu is considered by some to be a modern superfood. Packed with nutrients, calcium-enriched tofu contains more than 400 milligrams of calcium. Cut into small pieces, saute and add to your kids’ favorite dishes such as macaroni and cheese or scrambled eggs.

“Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient when it comes to good bone health, but it’s also difficult to get the necessary amount through food,” said Tammy Lakatos, a registered dietitian. “That’s why we love Eggland’s Best eggs — they have five times more Vitamin D than ordinary eggs, plus, they’re easy to integrate into your diet, whether in omelets, salads, wraps, casseroles or desserts.”

Want a bone-healthy recipe that both kids and adults will enjoy? Try out this recipe and find more meal inspiration at

Easy Pizza with Sauteed Greens, Garlic and Eggs


4 Eggland’s Best Eggs (large)
4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
10 ounces baby spinach, about 10 cups
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) bag refrigerated pizza dough
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup low-fat shredded mozzarella
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese


Preheat the oven to 450 F. Coat a large round baking or pizza pan with cooking spray. Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add the garlic and cook until starting to brown, about 1 1/2-2 minutes. Add the spinach, tossing with kitchen tongs, and cook until wilted, 3 minutes; season with the salt and pepper. Transfer to a sieve or colander set over a bowl and let drain 5 minutes; discard liquid.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 15-inch circle and transfer to the prepared pan. Spread the ricotta evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge. Top evenly with the spinach then sprinkle with the mozzarella and Romano cheeses. Bake until the crust is lightly browned, 20-22 minutes.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the eggs and cook until the whites are just set, about 3 minutes. With a spatula, gently flip the eggs over and cook 30 seconds longer. Top the pizza with the eggs. Cut through the eggs into 8 slices.

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Back to work: Ease your baby into bottle feeding

(BPT) – During your first few weeks with baby, your lives were intimately entwined: eating, sleeping and eating some more. All occurring at erratic, irregular times, and around the clock, might we add.  

As the calendar on maternity leave begins to run out, it’s hard to fathom how this intensive baby schedule is going to fit in with your working life. Now is the time to start planning for your return to work, especially if baby will be eating from a bottle for the first time.

It’s a scenario that will be familiar to many moms. About four-fifths of U.S. infants are breastfed at some point, according to a 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When babies reach 3 months old, 44.4 percent are exclusively breastfed, and that percentage dips to 22.3 percent by the age of 6 months.

Whether you plan to pump or switch to formula, preparation is the key to ensuring a smooth transition.

Pump and freeze: Two weeks before you return to work is the ideal time to start pumping and freezing extra milk so you have plenty in your supply. Set aside time after one feeding per day to pump, and store the milk in the plastic bags that are designed for use with the pump. If baby is going to a daycare provider, be sure to label them with your last name and the date.

Practice with a bottle: In this two-week period before work, start offering breast milk or formula from a bottle so baby becomes accustomed to this new approach to eating. Some babies aren’t picky, while others will protest. In the latter case, that might be because your baby strongly associates you with food! Before a regular feeding, try leaving for a brief outing while another caretaker stays behind with baby and offers her a bottle. Many parents have found that eventually, with practice, baby will accept a bottle.

Have a supply plan for your child care provider: Talk to your child care provider about what they need from you. If you are providing breast milk, have a conversation about what happens when the supply runs low. Some provide formula, while will require that you send a container or two they can keep on hand for backup. With that in mind, a test feeding at home with formula is a good idea, so you can confirm baby does not have any allergies.

Pumping at work: If you plan to pump, set up a meeting with your boss a couple of weeks before you return to work to plan on how this will fit with your work schedule. One way to do it is to break up your lunch hour into three 20-minute segments, pumping once in the morning and once in the afternoon, which leaves a 20-minute meal break for you. Also, talk about where you can pump, preferably in a clean, private lactation room not far from your work space.

Keep formula on hand: Over the next few months, your baby’s eating habits will emerge and change. Even if your workplace is generous with time and resources to help you stay on your pumping schedule, a busy week can collide with a hungrier than usual baby, which can tax your supplies. Have a couple cans of powdered baby formula on hand so your family is ready in any situation. Consider store brand infant formula, which is just a nutritious and safe as the nationally advertised name brand versions, because all infant formulas sold in the U.S. must meet the same Food and Drug Administration standards and offer complete nutrition for baby. Store brand formula can save families up to 50 percent, or approximately $600 per year. Even if you are already feeding baby with a certain brand formula, switching to store brand formula is safe and well-tolerated in infants, according to “the Switch Study,” a clinical study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia.

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Back to school with diabetes: 5 steps to keep your child safe at school

(BPT) – For parents of children living with diabetes, back to school season includes more than the usual shopping trips for supplies and clothes.

Diabetes management is a 24-hour job. During the school year, your child is spending a large portion of their day in class or participating in extracurricular activities. So it’s critical that you feel confident that school staff members are trained and able to support your child’s diabetes care needs. Most of all, you want your child to feel safe while also having access to the same opportunities as their peers.

You are not alone. There are nearly 210,000 children living with diabetes in the United States, according to the American Diabetes Association. Here are a few important steps that parents of children with diabetes can take to make sure their kids are safe at school:

1. Know your rights. Get the facts about legal protections at school for your child. Federal laws protect children with diabetes from discrimination. Also, many states have laws in place that include additional safeguards to ensure your child has what he or she needs to be safe and healthy. Discrimination can come in many forms — such as not providing your child with access to diabetes care so he or she may safely participate in extracurricular activities or field trips, and not allowing self-management during the school day. Learn more about your state’s laws and whether they offer protections and guidance in addition to federal law at More information about existing legal protections is also available at

2. Have a written plan. Do you have a Diabetes Medical Management Plan in place for your child? If not, this is a perfect time to ask your child’s health care provider to develop one. Even if you already have a plan, it needs to be reviewed and updated so the school has the correct information.

You should also update or develop your child’s Section 504 Plan, which is an accommodations plan developed for students eligible for protections under Section 504, a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. This agreement between the parent/guardian and the school spells out what the school is specifically going to do to make sure your child’s diabetes is safely managed. The plan also identifies who is going to help your child when the school nurse is unavailable.

Students who qualify for services under another federal law — the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act — will need to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Both of these plans are developed by a coordinator at your child’s school to create clear lines of communication around individual needs and support for your child, from self-management requirements to snacks and supplies. You should contact your school’s 504/IEP coordinator, who is often a school principal, guidance counselor or teacher, to initiate the process or to update your child’s existing plan.

3. Get to know the school nurse or health coordinator. The school nurse or school health coordinator is usually the primary provider of diabetes care for your child. Be sure your child is comfortable with the school nurse and that you have a good line of communication with the diabetes care team at your child’s school. Provide the necessary supplies, including insulin, glucagon, a “low box” (with glucose tablets or juice boxes) and food, and make sure these supplies are in an accessible location.

4. Make sure staff receives diabetes training. While the school nurse should always be the main point of contact for your child’s diabetes care during the school day, there will undoubtedly be times when the nurse is not immediately available or not on the premises. It is very important that additional school staff is trained by a school nurse or other qualified health professional with expertise in pediatric diabetes to provide assistance. These staff members should understand the daily needs of a child with diabetes, know how to identify a diabetes emergency, administer insulin and emergency glucagon, and know when to seek emergency medical assistance.

5. Advocate for self-management. If your child is able and your child’s health care provider approves, your child should be permitted to monitor glucose levels, administer insulin, and carry the necessary supplies needed to self-manage. You know your child’s self-management abilities best, so coordinate with your school administrator to make sure your child is as comfortable as possible throughout the day.

Follow these tips for a smooth back-to-school transition where you can feel at ease, while your child has the freedom to learn and participate alongside his or her peers. 

If you don’t feel comfortable and confident in the care your child is receiving at school, if you feel your child is being treated unfairly or if you want help with developing a written plan, contact the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES for information and guidance from the Association’s legal advocates.

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5 superfoods that support kids’ eye health

(BPT) – The start of the school year means a laundry list of to-do’s for parents. From shopping for school supplies to scheduling an annual physical, it’s a hectic yet exciting time for the entire family.

As kids settle back into the groove of the school year, you can ensure they are prepared with the right pencils and notebooks, but if they are straining to see the teacher, learning will be a challenge.

“The first step is to have your child’s vision checked annually by a doctor,” says registered dietitian, Tammy Lakatos. “The next step is to maintain healthy vision which parents can easily do by providing a wholesome diet rich in vitamin-packed foods proven to support eye health.”

While carrots have a reputation as an eye-healthy food, there are many other options that keep kids seeing sharp. These five superfoods will help keep your kids’ eyes healthy so they can better focus at school.

Bulk up on berries to maintain that perfect vision. Blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are packed with eye-healthy vitamin C. Bonus: because vitamin C is an antioxidant that boosts the immune system, it will help stave off the coughs and colds that often come along with the start of school.

Nuts and seeds
When kids crave crunch, seeds and nuts are the perfect choice. English walnuts, raw almonds, flax seed and sunflower seeds are satisfying on top of yogurt or in a homemade trail mix. Plus, these nuts and seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, which research shows can help support vision.

This breakfast staple can boost eye health, but keep in mind not all eggs are created equal. Eggland’s Best eggs come from hens fed a wholesome, all-vegetarian diet that results in a superior egg packed with eye-healthy nutrients such as 38 percent more lutein, three times more vitamin B 12 and five times more vitamin D than ordinary eggs.

Dark green vegetables
Antioxidants in kale, spinach and broccoli help keep eyes healthy and prevent disease. Each vegetable contains high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin, which studies have found lowers the risk of advanced macular degeneration and cataracts.

Citrus fruit
Oranges make awesome snacks or meal add-ons. Because citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C, you’re not only giving your child a naturally sweet treat, you’re helping support eye health. Plus, the smell of citrus will awaken the senses to help fight the afternoon slump.

Want a tasty recipe kids will love that incorporates multiple eye-healthy superfoods? Get into the back-to-school spirit and try these Green Eggs and Ham Cups for breakfast or lunch. For more recipe ideas, Lakatos recommends visiting

Green Eggs and Ham Cups

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Makes 12 cups


7 Eggland’s Best Eggs (large)
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped
3/4 cups extra lean ham, diced 
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
Shredded cheese of your choice (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sauté onions and broccoli over medium heat until soft. Add spinach, ham and continue cooking until spinach is wilted.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and seasonings. Add vegetable and ham mixture to eggs.

Coat 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray and fill each muffin cup with egg/veggie mixture.

Top with shredded cheese.

Bake 15-17 minutes or until eggs spring back or toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a rack and remove from pan. Enjoy warm or room temperature.

*Egg cups can be rewarmed in the microwave or toaster oven if desired.

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U.S. report: Eggs essential to top 3 healthy diets, but some eggs are better than others

(BPT) – They’re considered by many to be among nature’s most perfect foods, and nutritionists are increasingly touting their health benefits.

That’s convenient for the rest of us, since eggs are also among the world’s most versatile treats. Think tasty Eggs Benedict, warm hash brown frittata, refreshing egg salad, savory egg-fried rice or sweet and creamy egg custard.

Not only can the compact and creamy protein be incorporated into a huge range of main dishes, side dishes and desserts, but it also works perfectly with many of today’s popular eating patterns. In fact, eggs are recommended in all three eating plans promoted by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture in their dietary report released last year: The Healthy U.S.-Style Pattern, the Healthy Mediterranean-Style Pattern and the Healthy Vegetarian Pattern. The Mediterranean diet, for example, focuses on nutrient-dense foods and recommends that breakfasts feature a quality protein like eggs along with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Of course, eggs are also gluten-free.

“Eggs are a nutrient power-house and one of the most wholesome ways to start your day,” says registered dietitian, Lyssie Lakatos. “Not only are they low in calories and an excellent source of protein that can keep you satiated for hours, but their endless versatility makes it easy to prepare them ahead of time for a healthy grab-and-go snack.”

Not all eggs are created equal

Consumers should know, however, that not all eggs are created equal, and the diets of the hens that lay them plays a significant part. Eggland’s Best eggs offer the benefit of five times the Vitamin D and 25 percent less saturated fat than ordinary eggs. EB eggs are also packed with other important nutrients including three times the Vitamin B12, more than twice the omega-3s, 10 times the Vitamin E and 38 percent more lutein than regular eggs.

Eggland’s Best’s superior nutritional profile is due to EB’s proprietary, all-vegetarian diet of healthy grains, canola oil and a supplement of rice brain, alfalfa, sea kelp and Vitamin E. In addition, the hens’ feed contains no added hormones, antibiotics, steroids, animal by-products, or recycled or processed foods. The resulting eggs are produced locally throughout the U.S. so they are delivered farm fresh to your local supermarket.  In fact, a recent independent study showed that Eggland’s Best eggs stay fresher longer than ordinary eggs.

“I always look to provide my family and clients with the best, and Eggland’s Best eggs are just that,” said Lakatos. “I tell my clients to include foods that are the biggest nutritional bang for your calorie buck, and Eggland’s Best eggs offer more for your calories since they are much higher in essential nutrients – and all for only 60 calories!”

See a recipe below by Eggland’s Best that is perfect for those following the Mediterranean diet:

Mediterranean Baked Eggs


  • 4 Eggland’s Best Eggs (large)
  • 2 cups frozen  hash brown potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium (3/4 cup) onion, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 (6-ounce) bag fresh spinach leaves
  • 6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 small (1/2 cup) tomato, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves


  • Heat oven to 400°F. Butter 4 (each 8-ounces & 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch deep) individual glass or ceramic baking dishes.
  • Spoon 1/2 cup potatoes evenly onto bottom of each baking dish.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are very lightly browned.
  • Melt butter in 12-inch skillet until sizzling; add onions and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until vegetables are softened.
  • Add spinach leaves; continue cooking, turning spinach often, 4-5 minutes or until spinach is wilted.
  • Add whipping cream, garlic, salt and pepper; continue cooking 1 minute.
  • Add tomato, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and basil.
  • Spread mixture over partially cooked potatoes; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
  • Using a spoon, make an indentation in center of mixture in each baking dish.
  • Crack 1 egg into each indentation. Bake 18-20 minutes or until yolks are set or yolk temperature reaches 160°F.

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