{     Offering the Best Childhood Preparation for Social and Academic Success.     }

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Teachers Agree: Kids Who Travel Do Better in School

download (6).png

Here’s a good reason to book that overseas excursion.

If you’re looking for an excuse to book your dream family vacation, here’s one you’ll love: Kids who travel do better in school, according to a survey of those who know best—teachers.

More than 1,500 teachers were surveyed as part of a poll commissioned by the Student and Youth Travel Association, and more than half (56 percent) said travel has “a very positive impact on students’ education and career.” And almost three-quarters (74 percent) of educators agreed that travel has “a very positive impact on students’ personal development.”

The survey specifically took a look at the benefits of student travel—i.e. far-flung field trips. Surprisingly, teachers are a fan, even though the trips take kids away from the classroom.

Students don’t usually have time to practice their reading, writing and arithmetic while traveling, so just how does it help them get ahead in school? According to the survey, 53 percent of teachers say the first-hand experience of exploring a new area or culture helps students better understand the curricula, while another 54 percent say it positively impacts their performance at school.

That’s because travel often inspires a “transformation”—an increased ambition to know, learn and explore, they report.

It makes sense. Traveling to another state or country is an eye-opening experience. Learning about other regions, cultures, religions and languages help children grasp big-picture concepts like tolerance and curiosity—and those skills can help tremendously in the classroom. Teachers said student travel led to more intellectual curiosity (55 percent), increased tolerance of other cultures and ethnicities (52 percent) and increased tolerance and respect overall (48 percent).

Learning how to navigate a new place also helps build self-reliance. Teachers also reported that student travel led to increased independence, self-esteem and confidence (56 percent) and better adaptability and sensitivity (49 percent).

While the survey mostly focused on student travel, it’s easy to imagine the same benefits apply when traveling with family. So don’t feel guilty about booking an exotic getaway with your kids. After all, teachers agree: It’s educational.

 

This article was written by Audrey Goodson Kingo from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Random Acts of Kindness Ideas for Kids

download45.png

“Be nice, and don’t be a bully.” Chances are your kids hear that all the time—at home, at school, or during their after-school activities. Instead of making kindness just another rule, what if we showed kids that it’s a superpower they can choose every day to make both themselves and others feel good?

Research shows that being kind increases happiness and well-being, and that kindness can lead to increases in peer acceptance. Here are 7 ideas for acts of kindness you can do with your child to help them grow confident in their abilities to impact the world around them.

 

A family shares a kind note at a Kindness.org event. 

 

1. Share a kind note

Words matter. What does your child have to say? Ask what kindness means to them and help them choose someone to surprise with a kind note. A new classmate, a friend, or a teacher’s aide are all great choices.

Your child’s note can be anything they want it to be, from a kind word on a piece of paper to a homemade card or letter you put in the mail together.

2. Demonstrate the power of encouragement

Grab some colorful sticky notes and pens. Ask your child to fill them with encouraging compliments like “You’re awesome”, “You can do this”, or “You’re a good friend.” Tell them you’re collecting them for someone special as a surprise.

When your child isn’t looking, add their name to the notes and hide them around the house for them to discover.

3. Pick up litter together

The next time you’re taking a walk with your child, collect a few items of litter together. It’s a great time to have a conversation about how each of us has the power to make the world around us more beautiful.

You can do this act of kindness in so many places—from the playground to the parking lot. While there are no guarantees, your child might just take a little more interest in keeping their toys from “littering” the carpet.

 

Kind note from a child that reads,

 

4. Find someone to thank

A kind word goes a long way. Wherever you go with your child, there is almost always someone you can thank for their help!

Encourage your child to say thanks to a teacher, a grocery store cashier, or someone holding the door for them. You can even make a game out of finding people to thank together.

5. Add gratitude to your evening routine

Asking your child what they are grateful for can be an eye-opening (and profound) experience. Try asking your child before bedtime what made them happy that day.

Kindness.org co-founder and chief strategist Melissa Burmester shares, “I’ve started doing this with my two-year-old and it’s become one of my favorite times of the day. Yesterday she was grateful for sunshine, fig bars, and Grandma. The day before that it was puddles to jump in.”

6. Play “I Spy Kindness”

Kindness is all around us if we start looking. Unexpected smiles. People helping strangers carry shopping bags. Someone who gives up their seat on the bus or train.

The more kind acts kids witness, the more ideas they’ll have for kind acts of their own! The next time you’re out running errands together, make a game out of spotting acts of kindness.

7. See something, do something

Kids pay attention and see more than we think. The next time your child asks a question about someone who is experiencing homelessness or about an issue on the news like immigration, do one small thing about it together as a family.

Help your child give gently used clothing to a shelter for families, make a donation, or volunteer together.

Jaclyn Lindsey, CEO and co-founder of Kindness.org, reminds us that while children may have trouble understanding the complexity of these issues, by doing an act as a family you are empowering them to feel like they can help.

“As a mom to 9-month-old Abel, I hope when he’s old enough to perceive these challenges, my husband and I have led by example. We want him to instinctively treat all people with dignity, never jump to conclusions about someone because of their circumstances, and to never look down on someone unless he is helping them up.”

Every act, no matter how small, makes a difference. (That goes for you, too!) Help your child engage their kindness superpowers today!

Jaclyn Lindsey and Melissa Burmester are the co-founders of Kindness.org, a nonprofit whose mission is to educate and inspire people to choose kindness through scientific research, education, and storytelling. 

 

This article was written by Melissa Burmester and Jaclyn Lindsey from Parents and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Six ways to raise a resilient child

download5345.png

Helping our children navigate the stresses and strains of daily life is more important than ever. Figures released in November last year by NHS Digital show a worrying rise in young people’s mental health problems; sadly, my experience as a GP confirms this. One in eight children aged between five and 19 in England has a diagnosable mental health condition; the prevalence of emotional disorders, including anxiety and depression, has risen by 48% since 2004. “The pressures young people face range from school stress, bullying and worries about job and housing prospects, to concerns around body image,” says Emma Saddleton, helpline manager at the charity YoungMinds.

While we may not be able to remove all these challenges, we can pass on skills to help young people cope with stress and adversity. “It’s what’s known as resilience,” Saddleton says. “The ability to overcome difficult experiences and be shaped positively by them.” Our brains respond to the information around us, so resilience can be taught, modelled and nurtured at any age. “By doing this, through strong support networks and encouraging communication, we can help young people understand when they feel down and know what they can do to make themselves feel better,” she adds.

As a parent myself – I have a son of eight and a daughter of six – it’s something that’s high on my agenda, and I’ve discovered some effective techniques. Crucially, they don’t require you to overhaul your parenting style, but simply to make a few tweaks that will help your children thrive.

Have one-on-one time with each child, without distractions

I have a full-on job, two school-age children, and an elderly mother to care for, so I understand that we’re all busy; I’m not trying to pile on the guilt. But I’ll never forget what my daughter, then four, said one day. We were working on a jigsaw, but I kept nipping to the kitchen to check my phone. When I rejoined her for the third or fourth time, she rightly observed, “Daddy, you’re not really here, are you?”

Resilience comes from relationships; children need nurturing. It’s not a magical “inner strength” that helps kids through tough times; instead, it’s the reliable presence of one, supportive relationship, be it parent, teacher, relative, family friend or healthcare practitioner. My key point is, it’s quality, not quantity, that counts. Ten minutes of fully focused attention is better than an hour when your mind is on other things. If you’re on your tablet at the dinner table, you’re teaching them it’s OK to always be distracted. And that they are not important enough for your sole attention.

One-on-one time doesn’t have to be time carved out of an already hectic schedule. Make bathtime, car journeys, meals, queues count. Chat, listen, talk about your feelings, encourage them to express theirs. Once these one-to-ones become regular, your children will know they always have a safe space to open up.

Give sleep a chance

I see so many children who are struggling to sleep, waking tired, with dark circles under their eyes. A lack of good-quality sleep is a huge driver for stress: it has a negative effect on memory, concentration, cognitive function, and decision-making.

One of the fastest ways to improve sleep – for all of us – is to limit screen time before bed. The type of blue light emitted by digital devices suppresses production of melatonin, the hormone that signals to the body it’s time for sleep. In addition, looking at screens before bed keeps us emotionally wired and stimulated, making it harder for us to switch off.

It’s a steely parent who can ban tech completely, and I don’t think you need to. But I would urge you to issue a household ban on devices at least an hour before bedtime. Turn off the wifi, if need be. (TV isn’t so bad if you need that as a compromise; we tend not to sit as close to the screen.)

Earlier in the evening, insist everyone uses “night-time mode” on their devices, which swaps the blue light for a warmer glow. You can download apps that do this (such as f:lux), too, or buy blue-light-cancelling glasses. It’s also worth switching your children’s night lights to red ones – red has the least impact on melatonin production. When I did this in my children’s rooms, they slept in more than an hour later the next morning.

Get out and exercise

We all know that regular activity is important, and that most of us, children included, need to do more of it. But what if I told you that, as well as keeping them physically fit, exercise will increase your child’s resilience? It actually strengthens the brain.

It’s well documented that exercise is on a par with medication when it comes to treating mild to moderate depression and anxiety. This could be because it gets the body used to moving more fluidly in and out of the stress state. The same hormones released when we’re stressed (cortisol and adrenaline) are raised temporarily when we exercise. Regular physical activity teaches our stress-response system to recover more efficiently.

It can be a lot of fun to do this together, and I’ve learned that kids do what they see us doing, not what we tell them to. I’m a big fan of “movement snacking” – short bursts of exercise throughout the day. I’ll put on the radio before dinner and we’ll all dance around in the kitchen. Or my kids will join me doing squats, star jumps, bear crawls or frog hops. The sillier I look, the more they seem to enjoy it.

Teach delayed gratification

Resilience means understanding you can’t always have what you want as soon as you want it. It’s an important concept to pass on in the age of Amazon Prime, Spotify, Netflix and Uber. Psychology teaches us that people who can accept delayed gratification lead happier, healthier lives. Without the ability to defer pleasure and reward, our kids are losing an important skill for their wellbeing.

One of the best ways to teach it? Playing board games. These require impulse control, turn-taking, and mental flexibility. They exercise the prefrontal cortex, the rational part of the brain involved in decision-making, emotional regulation and, yes, resilience. Board games are also a good way for you to model resilience by being a good loser.

But there are no shortage of other ways to encourage delayed gratification: learning a musical instrument; listening to whole albums instead of skipping from track to track online; mastering a new sport; even watching a TV series together week by week, instead of bingeing in a couple of sittings.

Eat the alphabet

Nutrition has a significant impact on mental health. Good-quality food changes the composition of our gut bugs, which helps send calm signals to the brain. Poor-quality, highly processed food sends stress signals instead. A diverse diet, rich in fibre, will lead to greater diversity in our gut bugs, which in turn will help make us more resilient, and anxiety and depression less likely. Persuading kids to eat more healthily can feel like an uphill battle, though, especially if they’re fussy, so this is not about becoming a top chef – just trying a few tricks that can really benefit them emotionally.

Related: ‘It’s been bittersweet’: three Indian women on 50 years in the UK

I like to challenge the whole family to “eat the alphabet” over 30 days. I think it’s a realistic goal to consume 26 different plant foods in a month: A for asparagus, B for banana, C for chickpeas, and so on. It turns healthy eating into a game, and encourages children to try new foods. Turn it into a competition and see who can tick off all the letters first.

Model gratitude

Instead of pestering your children with questions such as, “How was school?” and, “What did you do today?”, teach them to reframe their day.

The following is a game I learned from a friend, who played it with his daughter over dinner. Everyone must answer three questions:

1) What did someone do today to make you happy?

2) What did you do to make someone else happy?

3) What have you learned today?

I love this simple exercise for how it helps us all find the positive in every day. It teaches gratitude, nurtures optimism, and recognises kindness. It doesn’t matter what may have happened at work or school, or how stressed any of us may have felt when we sat down at the table; the whole mood seems to lift once we’ve played this game. I learn things about my kids that they’d probably never have thought to tell me otherwise. Try it. It might just become the highlight of your day.

 

This article was written by Dr Rangan Chatterjee from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

8 Parenting Trends That Will Be Huge in 2019

Parenting is all about personal style: Maybe you’re relaxed and free-range, maybe you’re a total worrywart. That said, parenting trends do come and go. (Remember the rise and fall of the Tiger Mom?). Here’s what’s hot in the kid-rearing world for 2019. (Take from it what you will.)

Twenty20

Authoritative Parenting

This trend is a bit like Goldilocks: As a mom (or dad), you’re not too strict/rigid, but you’re also not a total pushover. Authoritative parents (a term coined by developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind) are flexible and more democratic, a balance-focused approach that’s picking up steam going into 2019. A few common traits of the authoritative style: Having expectations for kids, but providing them with the resources and emotional support they need to succeed; listening to your children and pivoting based on their opinions; placing limits on their behavior and fair and consistent discipline when rules are broken.

Twenty20

Raindrop Baby Names

If you’ve noticed a lot of Liams, Arias, or Emmas in your kid’s class, you’re not alone. So-called “raindrop” names pack two or more syllables into four (or fewer) letters. They also include soft consonants only—think M, N, L, R or Y. And while they’ve been climbing the charts for years, we expect them to blow up, come 2019.

Twenty20

No More Gender Reveals

After *this* gender reveal gone (very) wrong, it’s safe to say that hosting a Pinterest-inspired party just to announce the sex of your baby is kinda passé. Don’t get us wrong: It’s great to be excited and celebratory about the arrival of your kid, but forcing your closest pals to show up and toast a yet-to-be-born baby at a party that’s either all pink or all blue is a bit over the top. It also forces your newborn to subscribe to gender norms while they’re still in utero, a concept not all parents are into.

Twenty20

Subscription Everything

No, we’re not just talking about Amazon Prime. We’re talking subscription baby food, toy kits, diapers and more. In fact, there’s even a subscription service that helps with postpartum recovery items. Because apparently you can never have too many sitz baths.

Twenty20

Grandparents-Only Photo Sharing

In 2018, locking down an Instagram handle for your baby before they were born was all the rage. But going into 2019, parents are opting to be a bit more intimate (and targeted) with their photo updates. Case in point: Tiny Beans. The photo sharing app allows you to add specific people and post a pic a day (plus a caption) into a calendar-like grid. Grandparents near and far get an email alert that a new photo has been uploaded…and you’re spared the internal dialogue as you decide whether or not it’s kosher to post a bathtime shot.

Twenty20

Audio Books vs. Screen Time

According to Pinterest, searches for “audio storytellers” are up 126 percent going into the new year. What does this mean? For parents, audio books are the ultimate screen time work-around. It gives parents a distraction mechanism for kids resisting bedtime (hey, it’s not a screen, but it has the impact of a screen) and helps them calm down and settle in at the end of a rowdy day. Where to start? Check out Epic!, which features a range of audio versions for best-selling titles, like Giraffes Can’t Dance or Goosebumps.

Twenty20

Lawnmower Parents

Brace yourself, this term was actually created by a real live teacher dealing with this parenting style in her classroom…and it’s not pretty. In a nutshell, a lawnmower parent acts in a way that cuts down any problem that dare cross their child’s path. “Instead of preparing children for challenges,” the teacher describes, “they mow obstacles down so kids won’t experience them in the first place.” The problem with a lawnmower parenting approach is that your child never has to struggle or fail as they go through their early life. (And you thought being a helicopter parent was bad.)

Twenty20

Hands-Free Breast Pumps

It’s yet another Pinterest reveal: Moms are on the hunt for wireless breast pumps. (Search for the term is up 114 percent.) If you haven’t heard of the Willow Breast Pump (or the Freemie), familiarize yourselves. This fairly recent technological wonder slips underneath your bra and doesn’t need to be hooked up to an outlet, meaning you can do housework, your makeup, run a meeting…you get the idea.  (Now, if only they could figure out how to spill-proof the bottles…but that’s a problem for 2020.)

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

10 Ways To Pack More Gratitude Into Your Life

download (11).png

Inspired ways for families to embrace and celebrate the spirit of the season — and beyond.

By Angela Zimmerman

It happens every holiday: You’re so caught up in shopping, traveling, cooking and planning that you forget to focus on the stuff that really counts. From honoring family traditions and treasuring togetherness to practicing compassion and counting your blessings, the real magic far exceeds the chaos that has come to saturate the season.

This year, why not put gratitude on your to-do list? You’ll feel better, your kids will be happier, and it’ll bring you closer together than any toy or trinket.

Gratitude is a unique character strength in that you can actually teach it to your kids — rather than, say, crossing your fingers and hoping they’ll figure it out. It’s a quality that transcends religion, philosophy, culture and ceremony. It has been scientifically proven to boost happiness.

It doesn’t always come naturally, though. Kids can be self-centered — and with the rampant consumerism at every turn of the holiday season, it can be hard for them to look beyond the shiny storefronts and their own wish lists. But by teaching, modeling, reinforcing and nurturing gratitude, you’re giving your kids a gift that will last well beyond the holidays — and hopefully a lifetime.

Try these tips to really drive the messages home.

Create A Grateful Home Environment

Have a discussion with your kids about what gratitude is and what it means to feel grateful. Find natural ways to weave it into your family life, whether it’s pausing before a meal or ending each day with a moment of reflection. Encourage your kids to think about what they’re grateful for every single day, whether it’s the sun in the sky, the fluffy family dog, or participating in the school play.

Ditch The Gadgets

Put the devices down and spend time together as a family around the dinner table. You don’t have to keep the convo positive 100 percent of the time. But even as you discuss current events or something that happened during your kid’s school day, make an effort to find something to be grateful for. You can always just say, “Thank you for sharing.”

Watch TV  And Movies That Inspire Gratitude

Television shows and movies— especially those with relatable characters and easy-to-follow storylines — make a big impact on kids. Use the time together to teach kids the value of being aware of and thankful for the good things in their lives — and the rewards of taking the time to return kindness.

Play, Read And Watch Together 

Co-viewing and co-playing have proven benefits for kids, beyond just being fun and a bonding experience. Kids of all ages can reap the benefits of being read aloud to, and watching TV or movies as a family offers an opportunity to cuddle and share the experience of seeing and hearing the same thing. And, of course, playing video games as a family promotes teamwork, problem-solving and perseverance — all attributes that make for a well-rounded kid. Take advantage of these times to share your values.

Express Yourself 

Say what you’re grateful for — out loud. You can make it a family ritual or privately capture thoughts in a gratitude journal. Daily, weekly, monthly — any amount of time spent acknowledging all the good stuff in life is a super-beneficial habit.  

Give Back 

Serving others instills in kids a sense of pride and appreciation for their blessings. That can be done financially, through volunteer work or social activism and outreach. Check out this list of charitable apps and sites and this list of online resources that help kids do good

Send Thank-you Notes 

Sending cards through snail mail can really make someone’s day, but sending online thank-you cards or an email is also a valuable way of voicing appreciation.

Read Inspiring Stories 

Reflecting on the hardships that people endure can really put things in perspective. Read the acknowledgements section in a book and discuss whom the author thanked and why. Need ideas? Try books about the Holocaust, memoirs, stories about social justice and grief and books that simply inspire kids to be grateful.

Take A Walk Down Memory Lane 

Flipping through scrapbooks (hard-copy or online) or scrolling through social media memories is a fun way to look back at good times with friends and family. A birthday cake by candlelight, pics of last year’s snowstorm, two friends arm in arm … these memories are precious, and sometimes are just the spark of recollection can brighten a dark day.

Focus On The Positive 

Even in the midst of scary news, endless wonderful things are going on every second around the world. Counterbalance some of the sad stuff. Sites like Good News Network and Today’s Good News vertical are good ones to check out.

 

This article was written by Common Sense Media from Huffington Post and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

6 questions you should ask your kids every single day

download (5).png

In today’s digital world it is becoming harder and harder to actually connect with our children. They come home from school to the waiting television and usually end up playing video games on the tablet while watching TV (no judgement, we all do it). We don’t really know our children because none of us really know how to communicate anymore.

The typical daily parental question is, “How was your day?” And the typical response from our kids is “fine,” “good,” “OK” or any other one word response they can come up with without actually thinking. This question is lame. It will always get you a one-word answer and leave you wondering why you even bothered to ask. The key to understanding our children is to trick them into talking by asking questions that cannot be answered with “fine” or “good.”

Here’s some proven suggestions that will give you true insight into your child’s life.

1. What made you laugh today?

The random things that kids find funny are absolutely hilarious. My nieces and nephews tell the worst jokes, but their insane laughter is contagious and we always end up laughing together. You know what they say; families who laugh together, stay together!

2. What made you sad today?

Hopefully the answer to this question is nothing too major and depressing, but kids have emotions too. No one likes to voluntarily share sad things that happen every day and our kids are no different, but children are also inherently honest. When asked point-blank, in a place they feel safe, they will open up. You may have to pry, but it will be worth it.

3. Who did you play with today (note that teenagers prefer the phrase”hang out”)?

As much as it may worry us, our kids’ friends will have a huge impact on who they become, which is why we have to know who they are. This is a subtle way to find out if Susie is still hanging out with bad news Bobbie or if she has found new friends to play hopscotch with during recess. When you know your children’s friends, you don’t have to hope they will stay out of trouble.

4. What made you proud today?

Sometimes we are too preoccupied to fully appreciate the lint collection being shoved in our faces right at dinner time, so give your children this chance to brag a little bit and show off their creations or good deeds for the day. This also creates a killer opportunity to praise your child and to reinforce good behaviors.

5. Who made you smile today?

People are the source of true happiness and true friends will bring that joy to the forefront. The people who make your kids smile on a daily basis are the ones worth keeping around. Those are the true, lifelong friends that will hopefully be in their lives forever.

6. What’s something interesting you learned today?

This is the ultimate show and tell moment for your children. Despite what they may think, our children really are learning new things daily. This question makes them actually stop and think about what they learned and helps them internalize those things by condensing and sharing them with you.

You may be thinking there is not enough time in the day to sit and ask all of these questions and that’s OK. Tweak these questions to work for you and your family. Ask them all at once or twice a week, ask a couple each day or ask them all every day. If it is hard to talk during family dinner time, then bedtime is the perfect opportunity to review the day. Sit on the side of your child’s bed (even your teenagers) tuck them in and ask these six great questions. Try it in a way that works for you. You will be grateful you did, even if your kids do complain you’re getting repetitive.

 

This article was written by Kelsey Robertson from Family Share and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

10 fun winter activities for kids

download (4).png

Wondering how on earth you’re going to entertain the kids all winter now the nights are drawing in and the clocks have gone back?

Then read on!

I don’t know about you but it seems infinitely easier to entertain the kids in summer, when you can throw open the back door and go to the park with the sun on your faces, than it does in winter when you’ve got to wrap them up and really think about where you’re going and for how long for.

It might be tempting to draw the curtains and switch on the telly, but with a bit of lateral thinking it’s actually easier than you think to make the most of the great outdoors in winter.

This year we’re partnering with Simplyhealth and their #MyEveryStep campaign, which is all about the little steps we can take to lead healthier lives, and as autumn turns to winter we’ve come up with 10 fun winter activities for kids to help keep them (and you) entertained as the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer.

10 fun winter activities for kids

1. Make a bird feeder. It doesn’t have to be super complicated – all you need are three things: a cardboard toilet roll tube, peanut butter and bird seed. Spread the peanut butter over the toilet roll tube, roll it in the bird seed several times so it sticks all over, then thread the tube over a branch outside. Birds and wildlife will come flocking and the looks on the faces of your own little birds is priceless.

2. Go puddle jumping. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you need to stay indoors. Put their wellies on, zip their raincoats up and let them jump in puddles until their heart’s content. Trust me, it will keep them entertained for waaay longer than you think.


winter activities for kids

3. Play conker maths. Collect as many conkers as you can – which is huge fun in itself – then charge them with the task of counting them and sorting them into groups from smallest to biggest. If you’ve got a pair of scales even better – they’ll be at it for hours.

4. Go toadstool hunting. Toadstools start popping up in forests all over the UK as soon as the nights start drawing in, and they really are a sight to behold – whatever your age. We recently went looking for some while taking part in BBC Children in Need’s #HatsOn campaign (see 5 easy ways to raise money for BBC Children in Need) which is all about making the most of the great outdoors and the kids walked much further than they would normally do (without complaining!) in search of the much-coveted red ones.


winter activities for kids

5. Clear up leaves. If you’ve got a garden the chances are you’ve got leaves that need clearing away at this time of year. Turn a chore into an activity the whole family can enjoy by collecting the leaves and jumping in them – this is the stuff memories are made of! It’s a brilliant sensory experience for little ones too.

6. Make a bonfire. Autumn is the perfect time of year to gather your garden waste (don’t forget the leaves!) build a bonfire and watch it snapple and crack. They’ll have as much fun building the fire as they will watching it burn – just make sure there’s a responsible adult on hand at all times (ideally one with eyes in the back of their head).


winter activities for kids

7. Have a winter picnic. Who says picnics are just for summer? If you’ve got a bonfire going, make the most of it by taking hot dogs and flasks of hot chocolate into the garden while you watch it burn. Then when the flames have died down toast marshmallows in the embers (don’t forget to make sure the responsible adult is on hand).

8. Sign up to a beach litter pick. We all know plastic is a huge problem in our seas, and it’s easier than you think to help make a difference. Beach cleaning events, where members of the public volunteer to help pick up litter on beaches, happen all over the UK and are a great chance to breathe in some sea air as well as being lots of fun too. Use the Marine Conservation Society’s postcode finder to find a beach clean nearest to you.


winter activities for kids

9. Go ice skating. The ultimate winter sport, the chances are there’ll be an ice rink in your town or city in time for the festive season. Most offer hold-on penguins or animals for little ones (I find them rather handy too!) and it’s great exercise, focusing on lower body movement and leg muscles.

10. Go stargazing. The good thing about the nights drawing in is that the stars come out earlier. Brush up on your constellations, wrap them up warm and take them outside to point out the different formations. If you’ve got a pair of binoculars even better.


winter activities for kids

Do you have any fun winter activities your kids love at this time of year? I’d love to know what they are!

This post was written in collaboration with Simplyhealth. I’m proud to be supporting their #MyEveryStep campaign, shining a light on the little steps we can all take to leading a healthy life every day. As always all opinions are my own and based on my own honest experience. To find out more about Simplyhealth’s #MyEveryStep campaign follow @SimplyhealthUK on Twitter and Instagram.

The post 10 fun winter activities for kids #ad appeared first on Confessions Of A Crummy Mummy.

 

This article was written by crummymummy1 from Confessions of a Crummy Mummy and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Ways to Show Gratitude This Holiday Season

download (3).png
The holidays are here, and as per usual, they’re busy and hectic and make you want to swap swear words into “Little Drummer Boy.” To make sure you don’t let the season fly by without recognizing how fortunate you really are, try out one of these seven ways to show gratitude. 

twenty20

Send Holiday Cards 

No, it doesn’t have to be a whole production with a photo shoot and monogrammed envelopes. The point is to let the people you love know that you’re thinking about them and grateful for all they do. Find a pretty, festive design (we’re obsessed with all of Rifle Paper Co.’s holiday options) and spend a little time sending holiday greetings to your nearest and dearest. 

twenty20

Start a Daily Gratitude Journal 

We know what you’re thinking: I don’t have time for this. But before you rule it out, try it for a day or two. Keep a little notebook next to your bed, and when you wake up in the morning, jot down one to three things you’re thankful for. Say, your daily coffee, or your health. 

twenty20

Go Wild With Compliments 

You know when a total stranger compliments you and it makes your whole day? Pay it forward and let that gal at the Starbucks know when you love her scarf or lip color (just make sure you’re genuine). It’s a small way to make someone else—and in turn, yourself—feel good. 

twenty20

Volunteer 

Raise your hand if you frequently think to yourself, “I should really give back more,” only to let other things take priority. *Raises hand sheepishly* This season, make good on your promise and spend some time helping people who aren’t as fortunate as you are. Check out Volunteer Match, a volunteer engagement network that can help you find opportunities to give back in your area. (A quick scroll in NYC found listings for helping seniors care for their dogs and becoming a reading partner for a local child.)

twenty20

Hand-Write Thank You Notes 

Hand-Write Thank-You Notes 

Whether it’s a fancy sweater from your mom or homemade cookies from your desk-mate, take the time to hand-write a thank-you note. It’s so much more personal than a text or email, and takes little to no extra effort. (Especially if you stock up on greeting cards in advance.) 

Thank the People Who Make Your Life Run Smoothly

Think: Trash collectors, mail carriers, dog walkers and even your go-to manicurist. Give them a written or in-person thank you, along with a monetary token of your appreciation: This handy guide can tell you how much to tip.

twenty20

Teach Your Kids Gratitude

Now that you’ve got the whole gratitude thing down pat, teach the younger folks in your life that the holidays are about more than just gift-getting. Maybe it’s encouraging them to pick out a toy for a local charity drive. Maybe it’s spending a day with them at a soup kitchen. Either way, set the example that giving and thanking are just as important as receiving. They’re little sponges, after all.

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

This Easy Elf-on-the-Shelf Hack is a Dream If You Need to Declutter

download (10).png

It also teaches your kids an important lesson.

Elf on the Shelf has become a polarizing holiday tradition for many working moms. Yes, it’s cute and gets kids excited for Christmas, but it’s also a pain to change the elf’s position every day. That’s why we love this popular elf idea that keeps things simple for parents and even helps cut down on clutter around the house.

A photo of the genius hack went viral after it was shared on Facebook last week. The picture shows the famous elf perched on a Christmas tree holding a sign with the message, “You got to give to get.”

The sign continues to explain to the kids that their elf “Trixie” is going to be collecting toys to take to the North Pole this year, and they will be given to other kids in need. The parents also put a basket under the tree for the kids to fill up with old toys they don’t use or want anymore.

The hack is perfect for parents who are desperate to get rid of rarely-used toys that take up space—especially since the holidays are sure to add more to the collection. While some kids may normally be reluctant to part with them, they are unlikely to say no to the elf who is delivering a message from North Pole. You can encourage your kids to get rid of clutter without dogging their footsteps up or doing the work yourself.

In addition to clearing up some room in your home, it also helps teach your kids a lesson about giving and helping others. It may even inspire them to volunteer toys to be donated to needy children all year round.

Since it was posted on Facebook last week, the photo has been shared over 158,000 times and has received thousands of comments from parents who are in love with the idea. Unfortunately, the person who first shared the photo doesn’t know where it originated, so we can’t extend our thanks to the savvy mom who came up with this novel hack.

It’s also worth mentioning you can use this trick to avoid coming up with creative ideas for rearranging the elf every evening. Just set a deadline for donations and keep him posted all season long. Now that’s what we call a win for everyone involved.

 

This article was written by Joseph Barberio from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

One-Minute Ways to Calm Down During the 5 Most Chaotic Moments of Your Day

download (6).png

Keep your cool, even when you’re feeling hot.

Life demands more from us every day, thanks to everything from a nasty political climate and natural disasters to cranky kids. Moms need ways to deal with stress swiftly and with ease. Life can feel overwhelming and exhausting much of the time, which is why we need simple and effective techniques to help us come back to center when life gets tricky. It only takes one minute for all hell to break loose at work or at home, so we need tools to center us that work just as fast! Here are some tips that will help you go from chaos to calm in one minute or less:

1. How to Stay Calm During the Morning Rush

Each new breath we take is another opportunity to decide how the next moment will unfold. If our morning starts to go a tad haywire with kids who don’t want to get out of bed, or we realize we never picked up the cleaning and have nothing to wear, it doesn’t mean we can’t regroup and move forward in a way that feels better to us and our family.

In these moments where we are one step away from losing it, it feels helpful to find an anchor point. Pause for just a moment and notice where you feel your breath the strongest. Is it moving in and out of your nose? Is it your ribcage expanding and contracting, or your belly rising and falling? Wherever it is, spend a few moments breathing and focusing on your anchor point. You will be calming your nervous system so you can respond to each part of your morning thoughtfully instead of simply reacting and usually having regrets about how that went. Return to this anchor point anytime during the day as you need to.

2. How to Stay Calm When Your Kids are Fighting in the Back Seat

There were days during the “hot mess” phase of my life when my kids would fight in the back seat on the way to school. I’d be yelling and inevitably someone would get out of the car crying, and I’d feel remorseful all day for allowing their day to begin like that. It felt terrible!

I began implementing “morning mindfulness” into our car ride routine and now everyone gets out of the car feeling great and excited for their day. We started years ago, and even now at 13 and 11 my kids still want to do it, and so do the friends we carpool with. They love it!

Here’s what to do:

  1. Have everyone close their eyes and take 3-5 deep breaths, really feeling their belly rise and fall. I suggest having them imagine they are blowing up a balloon in their belly on the inhale, and then letting all the air out on the exhale. You can join them, just keep your eyes open while you drive!
  2. Have each child think of three things they are grateful for. They can be big or small, and they can decide if they want to share. If the kids are under seven, they can think of one thing.
  3. Everyone shares out loud why today is going to be awesome.

If you don’t drive your kids to school, this can be done waiting for the school bus or at the breakfast table.

3. How to Stay Calm When You are Exhausted

When you are exhausted, you need a little extra TLC. I find that creating a mindful pause with a cup of tea always does the trick to soothe my soul.

When making your tea really pay attention to your senses. What does the warm mug feel like in your hands? What does your tea smell like and taste like? Find three descriptive words for each. Using your senses is a wonderful way to be present in the moment, and who doesn’t love a cup of chai with a bit of almond milk and honey?

4. How to Stay Calm When Your Calendar is so Full It May Burst

When I feel overwhelmed, I use my favorite affirmation. I repeat “I get everything done with ease and grace” to myself until I feel calm and centered. It reminds me to take my day one step at a time, and to mindfully make my way through each task.

5. How to Stay Calm When You Walk in From Work and Get Hit With Everything At Once

The trick to this one is actually acting before you walk in the door. Spend an extra minute in your car before you get out to give yourself a minute come back to center and recalibrate. You want to walk in your door feeling like the best version of you, so take a moment to decompress and release any stress you are still holding from the day. While sitting in your car you can do a quick body scan. Relax your body from head to toe, hitting all of the major areas of the face, neck, shoulders, chest, belly, hips and legs. You will be amazed at how much tension you are holding in your body.


Ali Katz is a certified meditation teacher, and creator of the Hot Mess to Mindful Mom brand. She has been featured on ABC, NBC, FOX News and many other outlets. Find out more about Ali, her work, and her books at www.hotmesstomindfulmom.com. You can find many more tips and tools like these in the latest book in her series One Minute to Zen: How to go From Hot Mess to Mindful Mom in One Minute or Less available on Nov. 6, 2018.

 

This article was written by Ali Katz from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.