Tips for a Healthy School Year

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tips-for-a-healthy-school-yearKeeping your children healthy when they’re constantly surrounded by germs is difficult. Especially when children want to touch everything! These healthy tips will guarantee your child has an incredible school year.

Healthy Lunches

A diet that is high in fruits and vegetables as well as iron rich foods will help to strengthen your child’s immune system.

Check out some great healthy lunch ideas here.

Healthy Habits

Teaching your child healthy daily habits will assist them in preventing the spread of germs.

Get your children used to clean hands by washing their hands often or using hand sanitizer when necessary. Do they know the proper way to wash their hands? Washing with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds does the trick. Have them sing row, row, row your boat while washing their hands.

We know kids naturally love to share things, however, it’s not a good idea to share eating utensils or cups due to viruses and bacteria being transmitted easily.

Play! Children need to get plenty of exercise to help their mind and bodies remain healthy.

Ensure your children are getting enough sleep. Try to stick to a bedtime routine, whatever works for your family is great, keeping a routine will allow your child to know what to expect each night. Limit nighttime use of electronics, not only will your child rather stay up playing, but the lights from the screen can interfere with falling asleep and staying asleep.

Habits to Prevent Cold & Flu

Teach your children the proper way to cough and sneeze, cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue or the inside of their elbow – never with their hands! The goal is for them to avoid touching their eyes or mouth during the school day. These are the easiest points for the cold virus to enter your child’s body.
Choosing the right backpack for your child can make a world of difference for comfort and functionality. Carrying a heavy backpack can take a toll on your child’s back. If the school allows it, rolling backpacks are a great option. If not, try to find a backpack with padded shoulder straps to add extra comfort.

Make certain it’s the correct size for your child – you don’t want it too large or too small. Always make sure they are using both straps and they are tightened properly.

Children should only carry necessary items – your child’s backpack should not weigh more that 10% of their body weight.

Organizing and distributing items properly within your child’s backpack will help to lessen the strain on their backs. You want heavier items placed closest to the back, whereas lighter items such as pens, pencils, etc., you want them placed towards the outside of the bag. A healthy child is a happy child!

Back to School Tips for Preschoolers to have an Excellent School Year

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back-to-school-tips-for-preschoolers

Set your alarm clock, it’s back to school time! Whether this is your child’s very first year attending school or returning for another, we want it to be fun and safe. These back to school tips will ensure a hassle-free school year for both parents and kids.

Night Before

We as parents, no matter how prepared we think we are, can struggle in the morning with getting our children out the door. The key to peaceful mornings begins with the previous night’s bedtime routine. Getting a solid night’s rest will lead to a pleasant morning. It is important to get your child accustomed to going to bed at a decent time again after late-night bug catching, fire work watching, and sleeping in!

It makes sense to start maybe a week prior to actual “go” time. While your children are picking out their bedtime stories, utilize this time to pick out the clothes they will be wearing in the morning. Setting the whole outfit out in a reachable place allows your child the opportunity to dress themselves in the morning. It also creates much needed independence and pride.

First Day

As the morning comes, one SECRET to success is to get ready before you even attempt to wake up your children. We’re talking walk-out-the door with your travel mug of coffee ready. This allows you to focus on your children in the morning and not feel rushed.

A few quick helpful hints to happy mornings:

  • Preparing backpacks, the night before
  • Always check your child’s backpack for project assignments and or show and tell dates
  • Do homework right after school
  • Set up a calendar that is strictly focused with school events and hang it in a place you will always remember to look
  • Create a pencil box that is specific for homework, fill it with supplies: glue sticks, sharpened pencils, erasers, coloring crayons, color pencils, safety scissors and markers. Keep it in one location so it is always easily accessible.
  • Find library books that are due the night before
  • If rain is in the forecast set out an umbrella with the backpack
  • If colder weather is in the air set out gloves and hats along with coats by the backpack
  • Move car seats around the evening before if needed
  • Teach your child to put shoes in the same spot each afternoon

Summer Activities for Kids of All Ages

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july-25-summer-activities-for-kids-of-all-ages
Summertime is here- which means it’s time to fill the freezer with Popsicle and the backyard pool with water! Looking for ways to keep your children entertained and cooled off both inside and out? Check out these fun indoor and outdoor activities guaranteed to be a hit.

Way too hot outside? Try these activities to ensure your kids remain cool while enjoying their summer.

Make your Own Marshmallow Shooters

This DIY marshmallow shooter is fun for kids of all ages. It’s super easy to make and will keep your kids entertained for hours.

Pipe Cleaner Animals

This is a simple and affordable craft for you and your children to do together. Follow the only instructions to learn how to make 10 different animals, or let your child be creative and come up with their own imaginary animals.

Mason Jar Aquariums

It’s time to bring the ocean indoors with these adorable mini aquariums. You can make these look realistic by adding plants, rocks, and of course, your child’s favorite sea creatures. Just top it off with some blue water and voilà!

Time for some fun in the sun? Try these outdoor activities to keep your kids cooled off and entertained.

Painting with Ice

This activity is perfect for kids to show their artistic side. All you need is food coloring, Popsicle sticks, and some paper.

DIY Sponge Balls

There are a ton of water activities for the summertime, but this one is perfect if you don’t have water toys on hand. Your children will love throwing these around at each other. Try getting a poster board and adding some washable paint to the sponge – they will be able to create a fun splatter design!

DIY Kid Car Wash

Are your child’s outdoor toys a little dirty? We have the perfect solution – a DIY car wash! This is very simple to make and offers another use for the sponge balls from the previous activity.

How to Protect your Children’s Pictures Online

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how-to-protect-your-childrens-pictures-onlineHaving small children means having a world full of firsts– everything from the first day of school to losing their first tooth, sharing your child’s experiences online has become the norm. Because social media is such a huge part of today’s culture, it is hard to imagine not sharing all of your adorable photography memories with friends and family. But it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest technology updates to ensure that your child’s memories stay safe.

Check Your Privacy Settings

Start by examining the privacy settings on your social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Each platform offers their own customizable privacy settings, so get to know your account and understand what your current settings mean. For instance, make sure that your privacy settings on Facebook are set to only share with your friends. This means that only those you request or accept, can see your child’s smiling face. You can even create customizable lists for your albums on Facebook so that you can pick among your “friends” who can view your album.

Oversharing

Too much of a good thing, can be a bad thing. This is true with uploading pictures to social media as well. Constantly uploading pictures, can accidentally reveal a little too much information about your children’s lives. As tempting as it may be now, avoid posting embarrassing pictures of your children on the internet because those images could hang around online for the next 20 years.

Turn Off Your Location Services

When posting your child’s portraits to social media from your phone, make sure that you disable your devices’ location services. When your location services are turned on, your device shares your location along with your photos, making your location public.

If publicizing your location is a concern for you, make sure that you also avoid uploading images of your child with a geo-tag or landmark. This will help you avoid sharing your child’s whereabouts.

Keep Others in Mind

Be conscious of others in your photos. Online privacy is important and keeping children’s images safe is a concern for most parents. So, before posting images of your child and their friends, make sure that you have consent from other parents.

As a parent, it can be easy to fall victim to oversharing. So keep these tips in mind when posting pictures of children online and stay in control of the images and information that you disclose on the internet.

How to Start Preschoolers with Photography

By | Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers, Photography Tips | No Comments

image of little girl with camera

Does your phone camera gallery include 99 million selfies of your little one? Chances are the answer is yes, especially since there are many children advanced with basic technology. If you haven’t thought about introducing your preschoolers to photography yet, you may be missing out on lots of fun — it’s a portable activity that goes anywhere.

Photography builds motor, visual, and creative skills — all as it opens small eyes to the wonders of the world. Digital cameras also give kids just the instant feedback they love, for a quick boost in confidence as they learn and improve.

Get Started

Start by teaching kids how to hold the camera. Kneel to their level to look at the view screen with them. Show them how to click the shutter. If they have problems holding the camera still, rest it against a doorway, windowsill, or chair.

If kids need more help understanding the idea of framing a picture, use an empty picture frame, holding it up so they can see how to fit objects and views inside. For first shots, keep it simple. Flowers or favorite toys are good subjects. Review the shots with the child until they get the hang of it.

Photo Adventures

After they master the basics, young photographers are ready to go on assignment. Take them on photo hunts for favorite colors, clouds, birds, people wearing baseball caps — you name it — or they do! Take cameras on outings like a visit to the zoo or to a grandparent’s house. Older kids might ask grandparents about objects that are special to them, such as something given to them by their own grandparents that they’d like to have photographed. The act of photography itself can open a door to family stories, all while making new memories with the youngest generation.

Be sure to find ways to use children’s photos in crafts, framed and hung, as gifts, as cards, screen savers or in scrapbooks. Kids can use their photos to write stories, whether on paper or digital devices. Encourage them to create a memory book that journals the world through their eyes at various ages, which they can share with their own children in years to come.

Photography is a rewarding way for children to explore their world and share their vision with others.

Photo Gifts for Father’s Day

By | Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers, Portrait Photography | No Comments

june-6-fathers-day

Father’s Day is just around the corner and that means it’s time to hit the craft table! This holiday is the perfect opportunity to let your child be artistic while creating a meaningful gift that’s sure to be cherished for years to come.

We’ve found some great DIY Father’s Day gifts for you and your child to work on together. Use your favorite portraits of your child or your Teddy Bear Portraits school pictures for the perfect personalized gift. Be sure to allow your child to help choose the pictures used. Letting them assist with the creative details will add that personal touch.

  1. Photo Key Chains

    These key chains are a perfect gift for any Dad out there. The ideas are endless! Your children can be super creative with it, starting with choosing the picture, to decorating the backside with fun scrapbook paper, stickers, or sayings.

  2. Photo Messages to Dad

    This blog shows great examples of various ways for you to photograph your children holding up messages to their father. This is great for siblings, but will also work perfectly for an only child. If you can, have your child help write the message you choose, this will help include them in the process. After your photo shoot, just create a collage, and pick out a nice frame.

  3. Customized Picture Frame

    Creating a customized picture frame allows you to display your favorite picture of your child in a personal way. You and your child can work together to decorate the frame with something they think their Father will enjoy. Have fun with it, don’t be afraid to be creative.

These ideas are guaranteed to make any Father or Grandfather smile this Father’s Day! Don’t be afraid to let your child participate, their personal touches are what makes these gifts so wonderful.

 

 

Teddy Bear Portraits Sales Profile: Michelle Garrison

By | Daycare and Preschool Photography, Photography and Portrait Sales, Professional Photographers | No Comments

sales-profile-michelle-garrison

When it comes to embodying the spirit of Teddy Bear Portraits, Michelle Garrison has led the way. She has invaluable insight into how Teddy Bear Portraits became the industry leader in preschool and daycare photography. Michelle happens to be named among the many that have been with Teddy Bear Portraits for over 30 years! Let’s tap into her expertise when it comes to being the epitome of our core values: enthusiasm, effectiveness, trailblazer, loyalty and competitiveness.

When asked about her experience, Michelle exclaims “I enjoy working for a company that cares about their customers and strives every day to give great customer service, produce quality portraits and stands behind their word given to each and every account.”

Michelle started in October of 1987 and navigated her way through various production positions. From there, she moved into receptionist and office manager positions, made her way to the operation team and then landed in the fast-paced, forward thinking sales department.

For over 17 years, along with her colleagues, Michelle has been instrumental in hiring, training and growing the sales team into the prosperous group it is today. Before moving into an executive sales role, Michelle spent time as a field sales trainer. “When selling our program, I enjoy the relationship building and being able to promote an innovative program that stands out from all others,” she explained.

We asked Michelle “What’s a great example of a really hard objection you had to overcome in the field or over the phone to win business?” She replied with valuable insight, “The hardest I feel is loyalty. While we definitely respect someone for their loyalty to another photography company, we do want them to use us.  We ask that they try us at a different time of year to experience firsthand our technologically advanced one-of-a-kind Same Day Program.”

She continues, “This allows the center directors and parents to experience Teddy Bear Portraits and everything we have to offer. Once they use us and realize they cannot receive the care, benefits and amazing service we offer anywhere else, they will continue to use us and be a lifelong customer.”

When asked what she thinks sets Teddy Bear Portraits apart the most from other school photography companies she states, “Staying innovative and our passion and commitment to servicing our accounts with the utmost care and quality and staying true to what we stand for.”

We’re always on the lookout for great talent to join our growing team. If so, then we’d love to hear from you. View our job openings.

Photo Gifts for Mother’s Day

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photo-gifts-for-mothers-dayClear off the tables, set out the glue, roll out the ribbons—Mother’s Day is arriving soon! It’s time to make gifts for mom. One way to make this year’s Mother’s Day DIY project a hit with kids and mothers is to make a photo gift featuring your child’s image.

We found a couple craft projects that do just that. Gather up your favorite photos and start planning the perfect personalized gift for mom this Mother’s Day. This is a great way to use wallet size Teddy Bear portraits from us. Be sure to have at least 5-10 images to ensure a variety to choose from.

  1. Photo Accordion Card

    These cards are darling and the variations are endless. Here’s a sweet example we found for Mother’s Day that can be used for Father’s Day or Grandparent’s Day. Kids learn to fold, glue, and decorate.

  2. Photo Bookmark

    Mom will love the surprise on the back of this bookmark! It involves photographing kids full-body front and back, so your center staff will need to be handy with a camera and desktop printer. Kids have fun posing for the photos and then glue together the project. Why not add ribbons or yarn and laminate?

  3. Popsicle Stick Frames

    Turn those Instagram photos and candid images into a gift that mom is sure to cherish. For this project, you’ll need regular or jumbo popsicle sticks, washi tape, glue, and magnets. Kids can embellish the frames with stickers, wood chips or ribbons.

These photo gifts are all keepers, sure to bring a smile to any mom regardless of errant glue, snafus, bent corners, or other endearing signs of tiny hands at work.

Teddy Bear Portraits Sales Team Profile: Don & Donna Austin

By | Daycare and Preschool Photography, Photography and Portrait Sales, Professional Photographers | No Comments

sales-profile-don-donna-austinDon and Donna Austin have mastered quality school pictures for Teddy Bear Portraits for the past two decades. Don joined Teddy Bear Portraits back in 1997. He has worked most facets of the field, from scheduling Portrait Days as an account representative, capturing memories as a photographer, helping parents select portraits as a portrait consultant to managing them all as a territory sales manager. In December 2014, his wife Donna was recruited as an account representative for the Knoxville, Chattanooga, and surrounding areas in Tennessee. Since then, they have teamed up to create a very successful business.

Donna worked as a bookkeeper for most her career and was desiring something a little different. It just so happened the local rep retired after 15 years so she jumped on the opportunity. Donna shares, “We’ve been so blessed to work side-by-side for the past couple years.” Don adds “What a wonderful, thoughtful and ambitious professional she is, and I’m truly grateful to call her my wife and partner.”

Don and Donna love their roles with Teddy Bear Portraits. They enjoy traveling through the Tennessee Valley, visiting with their directors and servicing their centers. Don mentions “One thing that has been key for us, is the company’s commitment to long term customer satisfaction.”

He continues, “After hearing the negative comments aimed at our competitors for years, it has been refreshing to know that our customers are taken care of. Taking advantage of technology is one thing, for sure, that sets us apart, whether in the photography and editing department or in marketing.”

Donna continues, “But most gratifying is the thrill of contributing to creating memories that last for a lifetime for families. Witnessing the joy of countless parents is priceless.”

Both mentioned their goal, since the very beginning, was to give their best each and every day.

Don continues, “It’s amazing how going the extra mile has paid back in so many ways, and we’re not talking about just monetarily. Being invited back to each center time and time again, at a high percentage rate has been our greatest reward.” Here’s to Don and Donna Austin and another twenty years!

Earth Day Inspired Recycling Center to Educate Preschoolers

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earth-day-inspired-recycling-centerTeaching kids to reuse, recycle, and conserve resources is as straightforward as turning it into a fun activity. Begin by explaining what Earth Day is and why it’s important. Teaching preschoolers about Earth Day can be as simple as setting up a recycling bin, planting a garden, making crafts from recycled materials or showing the movie, The Lorax.

What is Earth Day?

While it might be difficult to explain to preschoolers this year’s Earth Day theme is Environmental and Climate Literacy, it is possible to explain the different aspects of the earth. Start by talking about the land, water, animals, stars and people that make-up the earth.

How can we Contribute?

Develop a recycling center for your school. Start by creating a list of all the items that can and can’t be recycled. Start with the basics:

  • Paper
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Aluminum

Then set-up with two bins, one labeled “trash” and the other “recycle”. Bring the activity to life by decorating the signs with crayons and stickers. Next, include a variety of items that can be recycled, and a few that cannot. Mix them all into the trash bin for the children to sort. Ask them to move the recyclable items into the recycling bin. Keep the children engaged and create a goal chart above each bin to keep track of how much is being recycled each week!