• When Is Your Child Ready for A Sleep Over?

    As parents, we look forward to our children’s milestones, whether it’s the first steps, the first tooth, the first best friend, or the first day of school. One of the biggest social milestones is the sleepover, but it’s important that the child be ready for this big event. How can you know if your child is ready?

    First, understand that there’s no “right age” for a sleepover. It’s completely subjective, and you have to base your decision on your particular situation and your unique child. If you trust the adults involved, your child is excited to go, and your gut tells you it’s a good idea, then go for it! Here are some thoughts on how to make sure everyone is prepared, and everything goes smoothly.

    • Talk to your child. The best way to know whether the sleepover is the right choice for your child is to talk to him or her. Gauge the child’s level of interest, and consider past experience to determine whether this is a good choice.
    • Talk to the other parents. Ask questions about the plan, until you’re satisfied that it’s going to be a safe and healthy environment. Make sure that the other parents have all the information they will need, too, like your contact information and your child’s habits, preferences, and allergies.
    • Have a plan in place. Know that it might not work out, and you might have to go pick up a pajama-clad child late at night. That’s ok, you want your child to know his or her own limits and do what feels safe.
    • Give your child some control. Discuss how the child is feeling ahead of time, and pack comfort items to make the night easier. Let your child know that it’s ok to call you, or even come home if something feels uncomfortable.
    • Consider hosting, if you’re nervous. Sometimes, the best way to know whether your child is ready for a new level of social interaction is to observe it for yourself. When the first sleepover happens at your house, it gives you more control over the situation, and you’ll be better able to decide if your child has the level of maturity necessary to brave a sleepover somewhere else next time.

    If you’re looking for a fun party idea, but your child is not quite ready to take the leap to a sleepover, consider a fun party at BounceU. At BounceU, we love kids! That’s why we’ve created the best private party place in the universe, where families and friends can get together and go a little wild. We specialize in creating stress-free, unique, and exhilarating parties that make your child feel like a VIP. Whether you’ve got a special event on the horizon or just want to come in for an Open Bounce, call us at (631) 777-5867 or visit our website to see what makes BounceU so special.

  • How To Have A Successful First Day Of School

    Whether it’s preschool or college, the first day at a new school is a big deal for kids and parents alike. Even if the school isn’t new, going into a classroom full of new kids, with a new teacher, can be a little bit intimidating for a child. How can you make sure your child has a good first day? There are some concrete steps you can take ahead of time to ease anxiety and help your child be eager for that first day of school.

    • Involve the child in the preparations. Take your child back to school shopping, and involve him or her in decisions about things like backpacks and lunchboxes. It’s fun to pick out special pencils or other school supplies that can help the child feel confident and ready. The night before the first day, encourage your child to lay out clothes and school supplies and ask for help packing a lunch or snack for the next day.
    • Visit the school ahead of time. Meeting the teacher and becoming familiar with the space are two great ways for kids to feel more comfortable about that first day. If possible, get to know a classmate ahead of time too, so that your child already has a friend when the class starts.
    • Read books together to stave off the jitters. Books are a great way to help kids understand that other people feel the same way they do. Moreover, reading together is a great way to spark conversation and help the child to open up. There are great books about school from preschool all the way up, so do a little bit of research and you’ll be sure to find one that fits.
    • Talk to your child about how he or she is feeling. It’s easy for us to project what our children may be feeling, but the best way to know for sure is to ask. Talk about school, friends, how he or she feels about riding the bus or participating in extracurricular activities, and whether he or she is excited that school is starting. You may learn things about your child that you didn’t know, and you may be able to pass along some wisdom that is comforting.
    • Send something comforting to help ease the day. In most cases, your child will not be able to take a lovey to school. However, you can do little things that will provide comfort and let him or her know you’re there in spirit. Put a note in the lunchbox, give the child a watch to wear to keep track of the time, or allow your child to keep a small favorite item in the backpack, just to know it’s near. Something to glance at that gives a feeling of home will go a long way toward easing anxiety.
    • Rehearse for the big day. For little kids, practice things like dressing, undressing, and hand-washing, so they’ll feel more confident doing those things at school. At any age, it’s helpful to practice getting ready for school before the first day actually arrives, to make sure it all goes smoothly.

    Need to de-stress after a long school day? Come to BounceU! At BounceU, we love kids. That’s why we’ve created the best private party place in the universe, where families and friends can get together and go a little wild. We specialize in creating stress-free, unique, and exhilarating parties that make your child feel like a VIP. Whether you’ve got a special event on the horizon or just want to come in for an Open Bounce, call us at (631) 777-5867 or visit our website to see what makes BounceU so special.

  • Goody Bag Ideas For Your Child’s Birthday

    So, you’ve chosen a theme, picked out the décor, lined up some great activities, and made the menu. Your child’s party is in the bag! But wait, aren’t you forgetting an actual bag? Here, we’ve got some suggestions for goody bags that will make your child’s birthday party memorable.

    • Keep it simple. For parents, goody bags can be an annoyance. No one wants their child to come home from a birthday party with a bunch of plastic junk that is going to end up underfoot. Rather than hitting the party aisle of the bargain store, think outside the traditional party favor and go for one nice item instead, like a friendship bracelet or stuffed animal that relates to the theme. Think outside the box for this one: you could send home superhero masks and capes, personalized flashlights, a CD with music from the party, or something else cool you dream up on your own!
    • Go for books. No one objects when a child comes home with a new book, which makes them a great item to give away at a party. For an interesting twist, ask each child to bring a book, and organize a book swap in lieu of the party favor bag.
    • Give something edible. A big cookie that corresponds to the theme of the party is a fun favor, and so is a snack bag with a clever pun or poem that’s party related. Theme-related lollipops or cake pops can also be a hit.
    • An activity is a fun favor. A craft or Lego kit will give guests something fun to do after the party is over. It can be as complicated as a jewelry making kit, or as simple as a box of markers or a bucket of sidewalk chalk. Choose something that corresponds with the theme, and your party will be long-remembered. You can even have the kids complete a craft as one of your party activities, and send them home with their creation as a favor.

    What’s a great way to make sure your party hits all the high notes? Throw a BounceU party! At BounceU, we love kids! That’s why we’ve created the best private party place in the universe, where families and friends can get together and go a little wild. We specialize in creating stress-free, unique, and exhilarating parties that make your child feel like a VIP. Whether you’ve got a special event on the horizon or just want to come in for an Open Bounce, call us at (631) 777-5867 or visit our website to see what makes BounceU so special.

  • Easy Party Foods To Make For Your Child’s Birthday

    Planning a child’s birthday party can be so much fun! Brainstorming with your child, you can use whatever he or she is interested in to create an amazing theme and design a party that will be remembered for years to come. What’s more, some of the foods that will be the hit of your party are really very easy to make.

    • Popcorn. What’s easier than popcorn? Want to dress it up? Make it with mix-ins like movie theater candy, cookie pieces, or nuts, or drizzle it with chocolate and toss on some sprinkles.
    • Cupcakes. Cupcakes are the quintessential birthday food, and if you want, you can make them into an activity, too. Just provide kids with plain cupcakes, frosting, and decorations, and let make their own delicious creations.
    • Kebabs. All you need for this is skewers and your own imagination! Skewer meatballs and cheese, fruit and marshmallows, raw veggies to dip in dressing, or whatever else you think will be a win with the kids.
    • Cookies. This is another food that you can turn into an activity by letting the kids apply decorations, or you can create cookie pops by baking balls of sugar cookie dough, rolled in sprinkles and perched on popsicle sticks.
    • Finger foods. Sandwiches cut into quarters, bagel bites, pizza rolls chicken nuggets, goldfish crackers, and cookies are all favorites that take very little time and effort. Fairy bread is a fun addition to a party: it’s just bread, buttered and covered in sprinkles, cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters.
    • Take the cake. There’s nothing like cake for a dramatic candle-blowing photo op. If you don’t have time to make it yourself, there’s no shame in a bakery or grocery store cake. In fact, your local market may have some really creative ways to make a cake that caters to your theme.

    The ultimate way to throw a great kids’ party? Host a BounceU party! At BounceU, we love kids! That’s why we’ve created the best private party place in the universe, where families and friends can get together and go a little wild. We specialize in creating stress-free, unique, and exhilarating parties that make your child feel like a VIP. Whether you’ve got a special event on the horizon or just want to come in for an Open Bounce, call us at (631) 777-5867 or visit our website to see what makes BounceU so special.

  • How To Help Your Child Make Friends

    It’s a well-known fact that friends are important, and making friends is a crucial skill for children to develop. Sometimes, though, it’s not very easy to do. It can be hard to watch your kid struggle with making new friends, and knowing you can’t make friends for them can make parents feel helpless. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make it a little bit easier.

    • Be proactive about setting up playdates. Whether or not your child makes friends easily, it’s smart to talk to other parents and create social occasions to foster interaction. When you invite kids to your home for playdates, you are fostering positive relationships not just between the children, but also between the parents. Building a community of support, where the kids and adults are friendly and supportive of each other, can be extremely valuable in many different areas of your child’s life.
    • Look for extracurricular activities. Find something your child truly enjoys, and then find a way for him or her to spend time with others who have similar interests. If your child has trouble making friends, it’s probably best to steer clear of activities that are overly competitive, in favor of those that are more cooperative in nature.
    • Rehearse social situations. Before a playdate, discuss what it means to be a good host. Help your child plan activities for the playdate, and rehearse conversations or situations that might arise. Similarly, talk to your child about things that happen at school, and practice how best to respond to uncomfortable situations.
    • Get to know your child’s friends. When you take the time to know your child’s friends, you learn about how your child interacts with others, what his or her social group is interested in, what kinds of influences are impacting your child, and how all the kids get along with each other. Friends are some of the most important people in your child’s life, and it’s worthwhile to get to know them.
    • Help your child to consider others. Empathy is an extremely valuable trait, important for a person’s whole life. Foster care and concern for others in your child’s life, and teach him or her how to be a good listener, sensitive to the needs of others.
    • Stay aware of your child’s social life. There’s a difference between getting too involved in your child’s interactions and paying attention to what’s going on. Multiple studies indicate that children do better when parents monitor their social activities, supervising where children play and helping to steer them toward friends who bring out the best in them. When you’re aware of what’s going on, you can help your child to avoid problems like bullying, as well.
    • Learn to listen. Spend time with your child, doing something you both enjoy, instead of asking direct questions. If you are willing to put in the time and pay attention, your child will open up about how things are going socially, and you’ll be able to figure out how to help.
    • Don’t pressure your child to be popular. Friends are important for children, but popularity is not. Sometimes, parents interpret a child’s behavior as shy when it’s really just introversion, and the child would rather spend time alone than with others. It’s ok to be an introvert, and as long as your child has one or two good friends, there’s probably no cause for concern.

    Ready to entertain your child’s new friends? Why not have a BounceU party? At BounceU, we love kids! That’s why we’ve created the best private party place in the universe, where families and friends can get together and go a little wild. We specialize in creating stress-free, unique, and exhilarating parties that make your child feel like a VIP. Whether you’ve got a special event on the horizon or just want to come in for an Open Bounce, call us at (631) 777-5867 or visit our website to see what makes BounceU so special.

  • Best Lunch to Pack For Your Student on a Field Trip

    Field trips are an exciting part of a kid’s school career- a chance to get out of the ordinary routine and see something entirely new. For parents who usually rely on the ability to purchase school lunches, though, field trip sack lunches can be a bit of a puzzle. Don’t worry, we’ve got the skinny on how to pack the best field trip lunches around.

    • It starts with the sandwich. Make no mistake, though, sandwiches don’t have to be boring! Think outside the slices of bread, and pack a pita full of goodness, or roll up a tortilla to make pinwheels. Sandwich fillings can be anything from turkey and ham, to avocado, to vegetables, to cream cheese and strawberries. Your options are only limited by your imagination and your child’s dietary preferences.
    • Finger foods are everything. Veggie sticks and fruit that’s easy to manage, like grapes, blueberries, or larger fruit cut into slices or chunks, make lunch a quick and easy endeavor. Air popped popcorn and other healthy, salty snacks like whole wheat pita chips or multi-grain tortilla chips are always a welcome addition. Skip the salads and other foods that require utensils, and anything they have to fuss over to prepare. Lunchables might seem easy until your child is still struggling to open the pizza sauce packet when it’s time to move along and see something exciting.
    • Skip the banana. Bananas are the bane of field trip lunches because, by the time the kids get to where they’re going, the fruit is probably brown and mushy. Since you want kids to eat their lunches instead of throwing them away, it’s probably best to forego bananas altogether. Similarly, squeeze a little bit of lemon juice over those apple slices or avocado chunks, to keep them looking fresh and appetizing until lunch time. Oranges and other citrus fruit may seem like a good, portable option, but peeling them can be tedious on a field trip.
    • Don’t forget the treat! Slip in a little indulgence like a cookie or brownie, and add an extra, so your child can share the wealth with a friend.
    • Make sure the drink is both portable and healthy. Juice boxes made with 100% juice and reusable water bottles are the best options on field trips. Even if your child is normally a milk drinker, you’ll want to skip the milk when the lunch is likely to be on a bus or outside for much of the day.
    • Packaging is key. Before you stick it all in a brown paper sack, put everything in plastic zipper bags, and put those bags into a bigger zipper bag, so that no matter what happens, the food remains secure and edible. Label the lunch clearly with the child’s name as well as any important information like allergens.

    What’s more fun for kids than a field trip? Time spent at BounceU! At BounceU, we’ve created the best private party place in the universe, where families and friends can get together and go a little wild. We specialize in creating stress-free, unique, and exhilarating parties that make your child feel like a VIP. Whether you’ve got a special event on the horizon or just want to come in for an Open Bounce, call us at (631) 777-5867 or visit our website to see what makes BounceU so special.

  • Kids Need Active Play Time – [INFOGRAPHIC]

    The Importance of Active Play for Children

  • Tips for Chaperoning a School Field Trip

    If your child’s teacher asked for volunteers to chaperone an upcoming field trip, you might have signed up hesitantly, wanting to be more involved in your child’s education but not knowing quite what to expect. This can be a wonderful experience for you, your child and the whole class if you know how to do your part. Follow these tips to help keep the kids safe, engaged and under control during a school field trip.

    Know the Itinerary

    Your child’s teacher should hold an informational meeting with all chaperones before the outing takes place. This is the time to learn the schedule, logistics and chaperone guidelines. Find out how many kids you’ll be overseeing along with their names and any medical or behavioral problems you should know about.

    Plan Ahead

    While the school should take care of admission costs, and each child should bring everything they need, you never know if someone in your group might forget their lunch or need a Band-Aid. Stock a bag with snacks, water and basic first aid supplies. Dress comfortably for the destination and wear sensible shoes. Keep your cell phone on you in case you need to use it, but put it on silent.

    Act Appropriately

    Refrain from discussing your child’s grades with the teacher during the trip, and if you have other children, leave them at home. This you don’t get distracted from what’s most important – keeping your group safe and engaged on the field trip.

    Maintain Order, But Don’t be Too Strict

    It’s your job to keep your group under control, but the field trip isn’t a military exercise. Firmly enforce rules related to safety and courtesy, but allow minor infractions to slide. If a child breaks a rule, pull him or her aside and offer a quiet reprimand rather than a public scolding. Ask the teacher for advice if a child repeatedly acts out.

    Keep Your Group Safe

    Learn the names and faces of everyone in your group, and be sure they know yours as well. Be aware of any hazards around you so your group can avoid them. Take frequent head counts as the students move along, and alert the teacher immediately if someone is missing.

    Remain Positive and Engaged

    You’re acting as an ambassador for your child’s school during this outing, so model professional behavior and lead by example. Follow the directions you’re given, don’t interrupt the teacher and keep your voice at a moderate level for the setting you’re in. Remain attentive to what the teaching is saying, participate in the activities, and avoid taking calls or answering texts while chaperoning.

    If your child’s school is looking for a fun place to hold a class outing or field trip, feel free to suggest BounceU in Farmingdale. We encourage school groups to visit us for a private, supervised day of fun running around bounce houses! To learn more, or to reserve your field trip, please contact BounceU today.

  • Planning a Birthday Party for Kids with Food Allergies

    With dietary restrictions seemingly on the rise, it’s likely that your child or one of their friends has food allergies. Differences in diet can be a segregating factor for children, especially when all the other kids are enjoying their food.

    As the host of your child’s upcoming birthday party, it’s important to make adjustments to the menu so everyone can feel involved. Here are some examples of common dietary restrictions and solutions for you and your party guests.

    Learn What Food Allergies Apply

    The first step is to determine what restrictions you need to work around. If your child is the one with allergies, this is easy. However, if any friends have special diets, you need to know about them.

    The best way to find out is to ask parents to inform you when they RSVP to the invitations you send out. Kids aren’t always sure of what they’re allergic to, or they’re too shy to speak up, so being aware of allergies beforehand helps ensure you have something safe for sensitive children to eat.

    Celiac Disease/Gluten Sensitivity

    According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, about one in 100 people worldwide have this condition, which causes the body to attack the small intestine as an immune response to eating wheat, rye and barley. Many others have gluten sensitivity, which makes their stomach ache after eating wheat products. Fortunately, gluten-free bread, cookies and cake are easy to come by.

    Lactose Intolerance/Dairy Sensitivity

    People with lactose intolerance – which surprisingly affects over 65 percent of the worldwide population – can’t eat dairy without experiencing bloating, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea. Milk and cheese are obvious sources of dairy, but many types of candy, cake and frosting also contain milk-based products. If you serve ice cream and birthday cake with buttercream frosting, be sure to have a dairy-free alternative for those with lactose sensitivity.

    Egg Allergies

    Intolerance to eggs is a common childhood allergy. Since this is a typical ingredient in party foods ranging from cake to doughnuts to pastries, it’s important to know if any of your guests are allergic to eggs. Work around this by making a small serving of egg-free cake for any sensitive children.

    Peanut Allergies

    Maybe you don’t plan on serving bags of peanuts, but this snack item is often processed in the same factory as cookies and candy. When shopping for goodies to hand out at a party with someone who has severe peanut allergies, make sure to read labels carefully. They should specify if the snack could have traces of peanut in it.

    Our goal here at BounceU is to make sure everyone has a safe, fun time at your child’s birthday party. You’re welcome to bring your own food, but if you prefer us to handle the menu, we can make adjustments to accommodate you and your guests. With our help, your event is sure to be unique and stress-free! To learn more about our party packages, or to book your event, please contact BounceU today.

  • Parents: Reassess Your Behavior Expectations

    When your children play in the dog’s water dish or refuse to put their toys away, it’s easy to think they’re being obstinate when in reality they’re simply acting their age. You may develop unrealistic expectations because your children’s behavior is inconsistent from day to day, or even minute to minute. Sleep deprivation, hunger and a host of other factors affect a child’s mood and behavior.

    Consider some common behavior expectations, the realities many parents face and tips to help your children behave.

     

    Resisting Temptation

    The expectation: Your two-year-old should stay out of the dog’s water dish.

    The reality: Every time you turn your back, water splashes everywhere.

    What to do: Your child sees a water dish as an invitation to play, so find a substitute for it. Consistently steer the child away from the dog’s bowl and toward a bin filled with an inch or two of water and plastic cups to play with. Set a towel under this play area to minimize the mess.

     

    Putting Toys Away

    The expectation: Your three-year-old should put toys away the first time you ask.

    The reality: After asking 100 times, your child finally puts two blocks away and then starts playing again.

    What to do: To help your child resist the urge to play, assist with cleaning up and praise your child with each successful contribution to the process. This develops good habits, even if they take time to appear.

     

    Granting Privacy

    The expectation: Your two-year-old should play for two minutes while you use the restroom.

    The reality: No sooner do you sit down than your upset toddler starts crying and pounding on the door.

    What to do: You can always let your child come with you, but if you’re adamant about privacy, try playing cars or doing a puzzle with your toddler for a few minutes. Then, say you need to use the restroom and will be back in two minutes. Hopefully, the activity you started together will occupy your child’s attention until you return.

     

    Behaving in Public

    The expectation: Your three-year-old should sit quietly at the restaurant and color the kids’ menu until the food arrives.

    The reality: Your child throws sugar packets, crawls around under the table, and screams when you attempt to make him or her hold still.

    What to do: Choose kid-friendly restaurants until your child is at least four years old. In the meantime, make eating out feel like home. Dine at your usual time, skip the dress clothes, and consider bringing your child’s familiar cutlery from home. Provide snacks, toys and a walk around the restaurant until the food arrives.

     

    At BounceU, we love entertaining children and their quirky behaviors! From toddlers to elementary school kids to pre-teens, BounceU is a great place to bring your children for a fun day of running around bounce houses. We specialize in making birthday parties, field trips and other events unique and stress-free for the whole family. To learn more, or to book an event, please contact us today.