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  1. Embarking on family adventures, such as road trips, airport travels, or exploring foreign lands, often poses the challenge of picky eating. A change in routine, exposure to new environments, and the availability of unfamiliar cuisines can all contribute to a child's resistance to trying new foods. As a registered dietitian, I emphasize the importance of healthy eating, consistent meal frequency, adequate protein and energy intake, and hydration while minimizing highly processed foods. In this article, we'll explore the reasons behind children's picky eating during travel and offer practical tips to ensure proper nutrition whether on a road trip, at the airport, or overseas. Tips to Improve Eating Habits and Promote Nutrition on the Road, at the Airport, and Overseas Create a Portable Pantry for Road Trips I advocate for planning by packing a cooler with ice packs and a variety of healthy snacks. Options like cut-up/whole fruits or vegetable sticks paired with a healthy dip like dark chocolate/regular hummus, plain Greek yogurt, or nut butter packs, along with single-serving packet choices such as yogurt-covered/plain raisins, applesauce, low sodium jerky, seaweed snacks, popcorn, dried mango, dates, mini energy bars, cheese sticks/balls, drinkable kefir, cheese/nut crackers, plain/dark chocolate pretzels, pistachios or dark chocolate almonds, and sunflower seeds can provide essential nutrients during long drives. As a dietitian, I recommend avoiding excessive reliance on sugary treats, which can lead to energy spikes followed by crashes. Airport Adventures Navigating airport dining can be challenging, but with thoughtful planning, it becomes manageable. Carry a mix of healthy snacks such as the ones mentioned above. Look for airport restaurants offering balanced options like salads, wraps, or grilled chicken. Whether you're on a road trip, at the airport, or overseas, having a stash of familiar, healthy snacks can be a game-changer. Hydration is Key I stress the importance of staying hydrated during travel. Carry reusable water bottles and encourage regular sips. Limit sugary drinks and opt for water or diluted 100% fruit juices. Coconut water is also a great choice! Proper hydration is crucial for maintaining energy levels and overall well-being. Balanced Fast Food Choices While on the road, fast food may be the most convenient option. However, as a dietitian, I recommend making mindful choices by selecting items with a balance of protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals. Many fast-food establishments now offer healthier alternatives, such as grilled chicken options or salads. Opt for Buffets or Family-Style Dining Choose restaurants that offer buffet or family-style dining options. This allows children to explore various dishes in smaller portions without feeling overwhelmed. It also gives them a sense of control over their meal choices. Embrace International Flavors Traveling abroad provides a unique opportunity to expose your child to diverse cuisines. Encourage kids to try small portions of local dishes. For food safety, focus on foods that are cooked thoroughly and filtered bottled water. Engaging in the cultural aspect of food can make the experience more enjoyable. Explore Local Markets While overseas, immerse your family in the local food culture by exploring markets. Allow your child to pick out fresh fruits, vegetables, or local snacks. This not only promotes healthy eating but also provides an exciting cultural experience. Maintain Routine with Time Zone Changes If traveling across time zones, try to maintain a consistent mealtime routine as much as possible. This helps regulate your child's hunger and ensures they receive the nutrients their growing bodies need. Set a Healthy Example Children often model their behavior after their parents. Demonstrate the importance of nutrition by making mindful food choices yourself. If they see you enjoying a variety of nutritious foods, they may be more inclined to do the same. Juggling picky eating during family travels requires creativity, preparation, and a dash of flexibility. By understanding the reasons behind picky eating while on the road, at the airport, or overseas, and implementing practical tips, you can transform mealtime into an opportunity for nutritional exploration. As a dietitian, my emphasis is on creating lasting memories of nourishing adventures for your child, ensuring they receive the nutrients their growing bodies need.
  2. until
    Join Kids' Work Chicago Riverview and observe our PreK classrooms to see the curriculum and learning environment in real-time, then chat with lead teachers at a Q&A session! This is a free event, but RSVP is required. Please go here to register. Ample parking in Kids' Work Riverview's private lot in front of our center. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: sierra@kidsworkchicago.com.
  3. until
    Join Kids' Work Chicago Riverview and observe our Jr.K/Kindergarten classrooms to see the curriculum and learning environment in real-time, then chat with lead teachers at a Q&A session! This is a free event, but RSVP is required. Please go here to register. Ample parking in Kids' Work Riverview's private lot in front of our center. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: sierra@kidsworkchicago.com.
  4. until
    Join Kids' Work Chicago Riverview and observe our Jr.K/Kindergarten classrooms to see the curriculum and learning environment in real-time, then chat with lead teachers at a Q&A session! This is a free event, but RSVP is required. Please go here to register. Ample parking in Kids' Work Riverview's private lot in front of our center. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: sierra@kidsworkchicago.com.
  5. until
    Join Kids' Work Chicago Riverview and observe our PreK classrooms to see the curriculum and learning environment in real-time, then chat with lead teachers at a Q&A session! This is a free event, but RSVP is required. Please go here to register. Ample parking in Kids' Work Riverview's private lot in front of our center. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: sierra@kidsworkchicago.com.
  6. until
    Join Kids' Work Chicago Riverview and observe our PreK classrooms to see the curriculum and learning environment in real-time, then chat with lead teachers at a Q&A session! This is a free event, but RSVP is required. Please go here to register. Ample parking in Kids' Work Riverview's private lot in front of our center. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: sierra@kidsworkchicago.com.
  7. until
    Join Kids' Work Chicago Riverview and observe our Jr.K/Kindergarten classrooms to see the curriculum and learning environment in real-time, then chat with lead teachers at a Q&A session! This is a repeating event, with a 2nd open house on for Jr.K/Kindergarten on Wednesday, October 25, 2023, 9:45 A.M. - 11:00 A.M. This is a free event, but RSVP is required. Please go here to register. Ample parking in Kids' Work Riverview's private lot in front of our center. This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: sierra@kidsworkchicago.com.
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    In this session, we will walk through the transition from Early Intervention to Early Childhood. Using the workbook "When I'm 3, Where Will I Be?" as a guide, we will explore the importance of a parent's voice and what rights parents have during the process. Parents will learn how to prepare for the Transition Planning meeting, Evaluations, and the IEP meeting, as well as create a timeline that fits their needs. Participants will leave with tangible resources to help make the transition as smooth as possible. This session will be presented by Tareema Jean-Baptiste from Starnet Chicago. This session is being conducted at NPN's Preschool & Elementary School Fair. RSVP to the school fair to attend! RSVP here: https://www.npnparents.org/events/event/369-npn-annual-preschool-and-elementary-school-fair/
  9. NPN Amy J.

    Head, Heart, Hand Parenting

    In this video, join Reena Vohra Morgan of Hive Educational Consulting and Parent Coaching as she shares a parent-centric framework grounded in attachment theory, brain science, and responsive parenting strategies. In this introductory workshop, you will learn ten pillars that can help you develop healthier family relationships and bring more peace, calm, and joy to your home. This session is useful for parents with children of any age, from 0 to adulthood. This video was recorded live on 8/11/23.
  10. NPN Amy J.

    Head, Heart, Hand Parenting

    until
    Join Reena Vohra Morgan of Hive Educational Consulting as she shares a parent centric framework grounded in attachment theory, brain science and responsive parenting strategies. In this introductory workshop, you will learn ten pillars that can help you develop healthier family relationships and bring more peace, calm, and joy to your home. This session is useful for parents with children of any age, from 0 to adulthood. Reena Vohra Morgan is a mother to three children and has over twenty years of experience in education. She holds a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Development, Montessori certificates, and is a Jai Certified Parenting Coach. In combination with theoretical knowledge, practical experience, and compassion, Reena uses a strengths-based, reflective approach to coach and empower educators and parents. She offers concrete strategies, tools, and manageable action plans to support adults who interact directly with children. Reena is certified in positive discipline and Resources for Infant EduCareers (REI). Reena resides in Chicago with her family. Questions? Contact Amy at amy@npnparents.org.
  11. until
    Join us for Sunday play at Sacred Heart Schools! There will be fun activities and open play on the turf field if it is nice out or in the gym in case of inclement weather. Parents, relax and enjoy coffee and light bites during this relaxed, fun morning! This event is for kids aged 2 - 5 years old. Spots are limited so register today! Sacred Heart is located at 6250 N. Sheridan Road in Chicago. Park in any of the school lots: https://www.shschicago.org/directions-parking
  12. Does your child struggle with focus, irritability, or sleeping? Have you noticed that your child has become more clingy, fidgety, or finicky with food? Are you concerned about a change you observe in your child's behavior? Trying to figure out what is the root cause of a change in a child's behavior can be overwhelming. Well, NPN is here to help. In this session, we will discuss anxiety and bring clarity around what anxiety symptoms look like, when a diagnosis is appropriate, and what supportive resources and treatments are available. This webinar is for children ages 2 - 8 years old who are neurodiverse or neurotypical. Our Esteemed Panelist: Dr. Chrisna M. Perry, Ph.D., Founder & Director, Comprehensive Learning Services Dr. Bill Pasola, Psy.D., Psychotherapist, Smart Love Family Services
  13. until
    We're excited to launch Parent Chats! Your monthly virtual opportunity to join in on a casual conversation centered around topics that matter to you. Unlike our monthly webinars that are more structured and have a presenter and topic - you get to lead the discussion, vent about current happenings, or just observe and chime in as you see fit; think of it as our forum in video format! Sitaara and Amy from the NPN staff team will join you. If you've been craving connection but not eager about getting out in the real world for it to happen - we hope you join us. Here are the topics and dates for each Parent Chat this June through August. Participating parents will be automatically entered to win raffle prizes at each chat! In this June chat, focusing on pregnancy - preschool, you could win: - A one hour consultation with infant sleep expert, Serene Swaddles - A one hour consultation with childbirth educator, Serene Swaddles - A birth options consultation with Jo Ann Lindberg of Birthlink June 9th: Chat about the early years: pregnancy - preschool July 14th: Talk about the elementary school years: Kindergarten - 6th grade August 18th: Celebrate the tween-teen years: 7th grade - 12th grade
  14. until
    Choosing a preschool for your child can be an overwhelming task, especially in Chicago where there are so many options. What does a Reggio-Emilia, Arts-Integrated, or Play-Based curriculum mean? What does a STEM-focused curriculum look like in preschool? With so many different preschool philosophies, how do you know which philosophy works for you and your family? In this discussion, you will learn about various philosophies in early childhood education programs and the benefits of each philosophy regarding character development in early childhood. In addition, our panelists will discuss some things to consider during the preschool search to help you prepare to choose a preschool for your family. There will be time for Q&A at the end! Our esteemed school panel consists of: Kevin O'Brien, Director, Mary Meyer School Meg Fitzgerald, Director of Early Childhood (PreK-SK), Bennett Day School Samantha Maxwell, Preschool Director, Bubbles Academy Arts-Integrated Preschool Dr. Camille Franklin, Ed.D, LSW, Family Engagement Coordinator Network 4, Chicago Public Schools OECE Sarah Cudnik, Owner and Executive Director, Kids' Work Chicago Riverview Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors: Mary Meyers School and Bennett Day School. And we appreciate our Supporting Sponsor: Bubbles Academy Arts-Integrated Preschool By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsor. Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors
  15. NPN Tareema

    Preschool Philosophies Round 1

    until
    Choosing a preschool for your child can be an overwhelming task, especially in Chicago where there are so many options. What is English Early Years curricula? How about Catholic, French Language Immersion, and Montessori, what are the differences, what are the similarities? With so many different preschool philosophies, how do you know which philosophy works for you and your family? In this discussion, you will learn about a variety of philosophies in early childhood education programs and the benefits of each philosophy in regard to character development in early childhood. In addition, our panelists will discuss some things to consider during the preschool search to help you prepare to choose a preschool for your family. There will be time for Q&A at the end! Our esteemed school panel consists of: Erin Woodhams, Director of Marketing, Admissions, and Communications, British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park Erin Roenna, Community Relations Coordinator, Montessori Academy of Chicago Cecilia Porter, Director of Admissions, Lycée Français de Chicago Corey Jacobsen, Director of Marketing & Admissions, Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors: British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park, Lycée Français de Chicago, and Montessori Academy of Chicago. And we appreciate our Supporting Sponsors: Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph School By registering for this event, you agree that NPN may share your name and email address with our presenting sponsor. Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors
  16. until
    Come join us for a delightful Summer Fun playdate on Sunday, June 2nd, from 9:00 to 11:00 AM at CST Academy in Lincoln Park. CSTA warmly welcomes you to a morning filled with sunshine-inspired hands-on activities, sensory exploration, and access to our indoor gym! We’ll be serving freshly brewed coffee, refreshments, and wholesome snacks. This event offers a fantastic opportunity for your child to have a blast while families discover our multidisciplinary services, including Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, ABA therapy, and our therapeutic preschool and kindergarten program. CST Academy is located at 1765 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
  17. NPN Tareema

    NPN Playdate at LEEP Forward

    until
    NPN Playdates are back! Join us for Sunday play at LEEP Forward! There will be fun activities and snacks for the kids! Parents, grab a cup of coffee, relax and enjoy as your kids experience some fun activities! This event is for kids aged 2 - 5 years old. Spots are limited so register today! LEEP Forward is located at 1447 w Montrose
  18. until
    Join NPN and CPS for a Sunday Playdate at the The Dr. Fisher Early Learning Center in Lincoln Park. Parents, grab a cup of coffee, relax and enjoy as your kids experience some fun activities and get to know this CPS Early Learning Center. This event is for kids aged 2 - 5 years old. Spots are limited so register today! The Dr Fisher Early Learning Center is located at: 1840 North Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614
  19. until
    Join us for a Sunday Playdate from 9-11am at Bright Horizons in Lakeview as you have the opportunity to Create Art, Engage in STEM activities and Play in the space. Healthy snacks will also be provided. This is a great opportunity to connect with other parents, have fun as a family, and take part in exciting and educational activities for your preschooler. This event is for children ages 2 - 5 years old. Spots are limited so register today! BONUS! All families in attendance will be entered into a raffle to win four tickets to the new Cirque du Soleil show, Crystal, at the NOW Arena. Bright Horizons at Lakeview is located at 2840 N Lincoln Ave. Street parking is available directly in front of the school.
  20. until
    Join NPN on Sunday, February 11, from 9:00 -11:00 AM at the British International School of Chicago, South Loop (BISC-SL) for a fun and free, Super Bowl-themed playdate. It will be a big win for your 2-5-year-old when they suit-up for the BISC-SL team. We’ll be exploring, experimenting, imagining, creating, playing, and meeting new teammates at our very own Super Bowl Sunday playdate. Your child will enjoy a half-time allergy-conscious snack while you get a cup of coffee, chat with parents and learn more about BISC-SL. British International School of Chicago, South Loop students aged 3 through 18 experience the kind of extraordinary educational opportunity that gets children excited to come to school each day. The personalized, holistic approach to learning ensures that every child's learning needs are met. BISC-SL emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills to prepare students for success in a rapidly changing world. BISC-SL is located at 161 W. 9 th Street. You are welcome to park in the Roosevelt Collection parking garage for 2 hours of free validate parking. We look forward to seeing you on February 11th ! Visit bischcagosl.org for more information on our school.
  21. until
    THIS EVENT IS FULL: WE ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTING RSVP'S. PLEASE JOIN US FOR OUR NEXT PLAYDATE ON 1/28! Sign up here! NPN Playdates are back! Join us for Sunday play at Kids' Work Chicago Riverview! Their large indoor play spaces will be open, crafts will be available, plus goodie bags with snacks for the kids! Parents come and relax and enjoy as your kids experience some fun activities! This event is for kids aged 2 - 5 years old. Spots are limited so register today! Kids' Work Chicago Riverview is located at 3429 N. California Ave, near I-94 on California between Addison and Belmont. The parking lot in front of the building has plenty of spaces and there is also ample street parking in the neighborhood! All families in attendance will be entered into a raffle to win a gift certificate to Goldfish Swim School Roscoe Village.
  22. until
    NPN Playdates are back! Join us for Sunday Family Day at Park West Cooperative for a FREE playdate. "Bring the Outdoors In" at the Sunday Family Day with Park West Co-Op Preschool & NPN on Sunday, November 12th, from 9:00-11:00 am. Come with your child to explore outdoor materials inside our award-winning preschool classrooms and indoor gym! Let your child's imagination be your guide and follow them as they investigate a variety of outdoor materials creatively used indoors. Play in our sand and water tables, investigate sticks, leaves, fruits and vegetables. Try painting, build with blocks, complete puzzles, read books, and more. Enjoy the adventure- we hope you will join us! This event is for kids aged 2 - 5 years old, and allergy-friendly snacks provided A goal at Park West Co-op is to infuse our school environment and activities with opportunities for children to further their understanding of literacy, numbers, arts and science in ways that make sense to them and are developmentally appropriate- all in a play-based curriculum. Learn more about Park West Co-op preschool here Park West Cooperative Park West Cooperative is located at 2214 N Bissell St, Chicago, IL 60614. We are accessible just two blocks South of the Fullerton L stop (Red, Brown, Purple lines) and easily accesible from both the Fullerton and Armitage bus. Metered Parking is available on Webster and Street parking is available but please allow some extra time as we are located in the beautiful and busy Lincoln Park Neighborhood.
  23. until
    NPN Playdates are back! Join us for Sunday play at Bennett Day School! Calling all explorers ages 2-5! Join us for a STEAM Sunday playdate on Sunday, Oct. 15 from 9:00 - 11:00 am. Bennett Day School is so excited to be partnering with Neighborhood Parents Network of Chicago (NPN) again to bring Chicago-area families this FREE playdate. There will be fun STEAM activities for kids and light snacks. Parents – grab a cup of coffee and enjoy as your kids have fun and engage with peers! Bennett Day School is located at 955 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60642 Parking/Public Transportation Info: If you are planning to drive, there is limited parking available in the gravel lot on the NW corner at Morgan and Hubbard (across the street from Bennett's campus). There is also free parking available on the west side of Morgan and south side of Hubbard, or metered parking on Grand Ave. Bennett Day School is two blocks west of the Grand Blue Line stop and the Halsted 8 bus, and 2 blocks north of the Pink/Green Line Stop at Morgan if those options are convenient to you.
  24. until
    NPN Playdates are a perfect start to the day. Join us for Sunday play at the British International School of Chicago, Lincoln Park in their indoor/outdoor play space! Children will enjoy unstructured gross motor activities, sensory play, crafts, and light refreshments. Parents, grab a cup of coffee, chat with other parents, and enjoy an easy morning. This event is best for kids aged 2 - 5 years old but children of all ages are welcome. Spots are limited so register today! Parking Information: There is limited street parking both free and metered around the school. There is a pay-to-park garage directly behind the school and you can bring the ticket into the school to validate for a reduced price. There is also a pay-to-park garage in the New City complex across Halsted. British International School of Chicago is located at 814 W Eastman St, Chicago, IL 60642
  25. Choosing the right therapeutic preschool for your child can be an overwhelming task, especially in Chicago where there are so many options. With so many different therapeutic approaches, how do you know which approach works for you and your family? In this discussion, you will learn about a variety of therapeutic preschool approaches, hear examples of good questions to ask and things to think about when you are researching therapeutic preschools, how insurance coverage works, and walk away confident in your ability to choose a therapeutic preschool that is a good fit for your family. Our Esteemed Panelists: Lorell Marin, M.Ed., LCSW, BCBA, DT, Founder/CVO, LEEP Forward., Dr. Connie Weil, Clinical Director, Tuesday's Child, Kimberly Shlaes, Director of Preschool Programming & Developmental Therapy, PlayWorks Therapy Inc., Katelyn Suski, Director, Chicago Speech Therapy Academy, and Dr. Jennifer King, Director, Blue Bird Day Wheaton Thank you to our Presenting Sponsor LEEP Forward.

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