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Posts Tagged ‘Tips’

How to Become an Expert Photo Organizer

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Whether you’ve got boxes of printed pics or you’re at full storage capacity with digital photos, these organizing tricks will help you keep track of your precious memories.

Printed Photos

Start by gathering, sorting, and identifying your photos, says Cathi Nelson, founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers and author of Photo Organizing Made Easy: Going from Overwhelmed to Overjoyed. Make one pile for album-worthy photos, one pile for art projects, and another for irreplaceable photos that will go in a photo-safe box. Use the 20/80 rule when sifting through photos: Keep 20 percent (the ones that tug at your heartstrings or help tell the story of your or the subject’s life) and toss the rest. Get rid of duplicates, blurry images, and most scenery shots. On the back of the photos, note the date, location, and people with a pencil (try Stabilo All pencils, which won’t bleed through). Then decide if you want to organize chronologically or thematically (birthdays, holidays, vacations) and what type of photo storage you’re going to use (archival photo box or binder). To hedge against damage or loss, scan your prints—services like Fotobridge can do it for you (up to 10,000 images at once) in about three weeks.

Digital Photos

Your most beloved images—scans of prints and ones you took digitally—should be stored in three places (think a flash drive, a computer, and a form of cloud storage). If you’re overwhelmed by zillions of digital photos, use Google Photos, which lets you search images by person, date, and place, so you can find what you need instantly without creating albums if you don’t want to. Make sure to set aside about 30 minutes every month to clear out clutter on your phone’s camera roll and complete a backup. When you’re done, pick some recent favorites to actually do something with: Post a video montage of your vacation on social media or print a few recent photos of your kids to send to older relatives who aren’t online.

 

This article was written by Tamara Kraus from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Things Healthy People Do Every Morning

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Fads like barefoot running and IV drip bars may be fun to read about — and there’s no shame in giving them a whirl — but jumping on these bandwagons won’t necessarily lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Really, simplicity and repetition still reign, which is why it’s good to build healthy habits into your day. Here are a few easy ones to try each morning if you want to start your day on a healthier note.

1. Drink hot water (with or without the lemon)

Instead of going straight for the caffeine, start with a hot cup of water. It may not taste like much, but doing so can improve blood flow, aid in digestion (perfect after a Sunday brunch) and even cleanse the body of toxins. Plus, it helps you meet your water quota. Speaking of which, make sure you have a water quota.

2. Balance your breakfast

Try to get an equal amount of protein, fiber and produce at breakfast. Of course, eggs are a go-to protein. And if you’re not one to make breakfast every morning, hard-boil a batch to eat throughout the week. Just make sure you buy high-quality eggs from vegetarian-fed hens, such as Eggland’s Best. Its eggs have twice as much vitamin B12 and omega-3s, six times the amount of vitamin D and 25 percent less saturated fat than ordinary eggs. Try them in a huevos rancheros-inspired chopped salad for breakfast and be on your way for the day.

3. Meditate

Don’t diss meditation until you try it, and don’t feel like you have to be floating on a cloud, om-ing or burning incense while you do it. All meditation requires is to sit still in a comfortable position and tune into your body. You can try these five-minute techniques or download an app that guides you (try Simply Being).

4. Move

You can rise early for an intense HIIT class, or you can simply take a walk down your block. The point is to get moving. In one study published by the American Medical Association, simply increasing walking pace reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in study participants. Furthermore, a 2008 study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise concluded that if more people walked more often, it could help reduce the prevalence of chronic disease.

5. Slip yourself a superfood

Here’s the super-unofficial definition of a superfood: a food that’s more nutrient-rich than other nutrient-rich foods. We’ve got a handy superfood list you can take to the grocery store, but for breakfast, think blueberries, strawberries, almonds, apples and avocados — for extra nutrients, try these baked eggs and avocados.

Your mission: No matter what you eat for breakfast, pick one superfood side. Just think about how that adds up over time.

6. Slow down

Instead of rolling out of bed, getting ready and jamming out the door to make it to work, take a beat. Allowing yourself time in the morning to just be can help you handle the stress that may come with the rest of your day. Enjoy your hot beverage of choice, read a book or stretch as you reflect on yesterday. This is that “me time” you’ve been craving. Sure, sometimes kids, unexpected situations and life in general can get in the way, but does that mean you shouldn’t try?

7. Set intentions in the shower

If you think about it, that time spent in the shower could really be maximized. While you shampoo, set some intentions for your day. They don’t have to be about exercising or eating healthy at all. It can be as simple as this: What do you want to accomplish today? What will make you feel fulfilled at the end of the day? Reflect on how you’re feeling. Self-care reduces stress, and less stress makes you healthier.

So, while it’s pretty hard to drill “healthy” down to one definition (it’s not exactly a one-size-fits-all situation), it’s also hard to deny that committing to a handful of simple habits can make a difference. They’re tried and true and completely good for you.

This post is sponsored by Eggland’s Best.

 

This article was written by Catherine Conelly from SheKnows and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

10 fun & free things to do with kids in a heatwave

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Ever noticed how a rise in temperature seems to directly correspond with a rise in the amount of loose change flying out of your purse?

What with ice creams, drinks and whatever else they’re begging you for I feel like I shell out money hand over fist as soon as the sun comes out.

 

With three little people now pretty much eating and drinking and costing the same as each other days out can get expensive, so when the mercury rises how can you enjoy the warm weather without breaking the bank?

It is possible – this weekend we had huge fun with the garden hose on our allotment – such a simple thing but such fun!

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With that in mind I asked 10 mums and dads to share their favourite fun and free things to do with kids in a heatwave that won’t cost you a penny and here’s what they said.

10 fun & free things to do with kids in a heatwave

1. Head to the nearest beach. “Sandcastles, splashing in the sea, collecting shells and rock pooling – hours of fun and all for free!” says Sally at The Happy Home.

2. Hold a good old-fashioned water fight. “Kids versus adults is so much fun (and wears us all out!) says Charlie at Our Altered Life.

 

3. Freeze toys in a tub of water. “Give them a knife and some salt and tell them to get their toys out,” says Emma at The Money Whisperer. “They love it!” (Adult supervision might be a good idea for this one!)

4. Make edible flower ice cubes. “They look so good (especially in mama’s gin!) and it’s something to look forward to if the hot weather stays for a few days,” says Emma at Ready Freddie Go.


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5. Fill a paddling pool with Orbeez (that’s colourful beads which grow 100 times their original size when they come into contact with water, in case you had to google it like I did). “Fill a paddling pool full of water and chuck in a couple of big packs of orbeez – it’s great fun like a huge jelly bath!” says Nikki at Yorkshire Wonders.

6. Make a den with the washing line. “Making a den with bedsheets and pegs using the washing line was always a favourite of mine!” says Fran at Back With A Bump. “Probably not so much for my mum who I probably left to tidy it all away!”


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7. Set up a car wash. “We have a Little Tikes plastic car which my daughter washes,” says Lauren at Sophie’s Nursery. “We give her a washing up bowl filled with soapy water and a sponge and she loves it! It doesn’t have to be a car – we have also done a baby wash with plastic dolls.”

8. Turn on the garden sprinklers, sit back and relax. “When it gets too hot we get the sprinklers on – George loves running between the sprinklers to cool down,” says Carla-Marie at My Bump 2 Baby.


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9. Go stream dipping. “It’s loads of fun and keeps them cool,” says Lianne at Anklebiters Adventures.

10. Play hide and seek in the woods. “We would run off ahead of our parents and leave them clues along the way in the form of arrows made of sticks,” says Ben at Wood Create. “Then we would find a good spot and draw a circle on the floor with a number in it. The number would relate to the amount of steps to the hiding place, but it could be in any direction – then wait to be found! Great fun as a kid!”


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Are you in the middle of a heatwave where you are? Do you have any fun and free activities you can recommend? I’d love to hear what they are!

 

The post 10 fun & free things to do with kids in a heatwave 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.

5 Tips for Teaching Your Children What a REAL Hero Looks Like

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It can help them build up their own self-esteem and self-worth.

Mentors and role models, we all know, serve great value in our lives. They teach, inspire, excite and support us.

Sometimes, however, our culture’s obsession with celebrity and wealth can create an environment where children are choosing their heroes or role models based on status or power.

That’s why I wrote a book to help children identify positive role models who will empower them to be their best, The Hero Book: Learning Lessons from the People You Admire. We need to help children think about what makes their ‘heroes’ admirable; encourage them to seek out positive role models whose examples will provide positive guidance and empowerment; inspire them to emulate the traits and actions of those they admire; and strengthen their self-esteem by showing them all the admirable qualities they possess.

Here are some top tips on helping your children find positive role models:

1. Turn it upside down.

When you talk to your children about their heroes or role models, get them thinking first about the qualities and traits that they admire in people; that way, they’ll begin to view people through the lens of those qualities that they find inspiring.

2. Talk to your children about your role models, and, when you do, be sure to highlight WHY the person is your role model.

Mention the qualities that inspire you—like the person’s kindness, integrity, hard work and courage—so that your child can see that heroes might be well-known people, but can also be people who they see everyday who act in ways that inspire others.

3. Show them they are heroes too.

Once you’ve shown your children that people can be admired for their qualities and characteristics, it’s then easy to let them think about the great qualities that they possess—helping them to build their self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

4. Show them how they can learn from their role models.

Now that they’ve thought about the qualities they admire in others, who they choose as role models, and what they like about themselves, you can explain to them the best way to show you admire someone is to emulate the things you think are great. For example, if they admire someone for being kind, suggest they think of some kind things they can do. If they admire someone for being talented at a skill, have them think about a skill they want to be good at, and how they plan to practice and work hard to improve it.

5. Plan a HERO party and make it fun.

There’s a free parent’s guide that offers activities for planning a children’s party that inspires children to think about role models and celebrate the hero inside themselves.

 

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

The (Proven) Best Activity You Should Be Doing with Your Kids

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There have been numerous research studies demonstrating that one of the most beneficial activities you can do with your children is consistently eating dinner together. The benefits of eating dinner together as a family are wide-ranging and important.

Eating dinner together helps improve the vocabulary of young children because the children are exposed to a wider and more difficult set of words than in their usual environments. To be fair, the study included all family meals together, not just dinner. It also showed that frequent meals together boosted vocabulary even more than being read to aloud. Young children were exposed to more than 1,000 rare words at meal time, compared to only 143 from parents reading books out loud. As an added benefit, kids with larger vocabularies start reading at an earlier age and with less difficulty than other children. Mealtime talk, especially during dinner:

“often incorporates discussions and explanations of current events, world knowledge, and even abstract general principles…mealtime talk constitutes an opportunity for the problems of everyday life and proposed solutions to be discussed, often in the context of stories.”

Older children also benefit intellectually and emotionally from family dinners. Enjoying regular family dinners is a powerful predictor of high test scores – it’s a better predictor than time spent in school, doing homework, or time playing sports.

Most importantly, it’s also hugely beneficial to the emotional state of adolescents and teenagers. There are a number of studies demonstrating regular family dinners reduce a number of high risk teen behaviors. In one study, entitled Family Dinner Meal Frequency and Adolescent Development: Relationships with Developmental Assets and High-Risk Behaviors, there is a significant reduction in high risk behaviors – alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, sexual intercourse, depression-suicide, antisocial behavior, violence, school problems, binge/purge eating, and excessive weight-loss – all from consistent family dinners. Another study demonstrated a lower rate of depression and suicidal thoughts is associated with regular family dinners.

Aside from the prevention or reduction of negative behaviors, there is a strong association between regular family dinners and good behaviors, such as a strong association with good moods in teenagers, an optimistic outlook of the future.

Now that we know how important family mealtimes are for children, what’s the best way to institute this in a household with working mothers or a household where both parents work? The key is to cut down on time spent preparing the meal and cleaning up after the meal is over, in order to maximize the time and quality of the meal.

One of the best ways to save time preparing the meal and cleaning up, and maximizing the time spent actually enjoying dinner with your family, is to look at the large catering platters and party platters from grocery stores. For example, Walmart party tray prices are extremely reasonably priced when looked at on a per-meal basis. A typical party tray will feed my family for 2-3 dinners, and has a wide variety of items so no one gets bored. The cost per person per meal can be as low as $1-2.

The best part is that there is almost no cleanup and no preparation time. This helps create a stress free environment where I can focus on listening to my children and learning about their lives, while sharing stories at dinnertime. On days where I do cook dinner, I usually end up being stuck in the kitchen and missing out on most of the conversation, and at the same time, it takes much longer for me to prepare the food and then cleanup afterwards.

For health conscious mothers, Costco offers similar party platters and has recently become the world’s largest seller of organic foods, prime meats and other high quality food products. I’ve spoken to Costco staff and it’s clear to me that they use the same high quality ingredients in their platters as they sell on their shelves.

Eating family dinners together as frequently as possible is clearly one of the best activities you can do with your children. As a working mother, it’s critical to prioritize and maximize high quality activities with the family. In the case of dinner time, the most important activity isn’t food prep or cleaning, it’s actually sitting down with your children during the meal, chatting with them and listening to them. One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to do this is to shop in the catering isles at large grocers.

 

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

Can You Have the Kids at Home AND a Clean House? My Summer Experiment

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I’ll be honest – while I’m super organized in my work life, my home shows a vastly different side of my personality. I am a piler by nature, and while I do work to keep things clean and sanitary, I’m never going to qualify as a minimalist or even as particularly neat. That being said, I love the feeling I get from a completely clean kitchen counter, or a fresh-smelling and laundry-free bathroom. 

It’s a constant struggle, though, between my desire to have a beautifully clean home and the fact that there are five people actually living here, with work and school and activities and all that those things entail. I love having the house where the kids can spontaneously invite friends for lunch, but they also like to build massive forts and pull out all of the dress-up costumes. The reality of this problem I have is that I’ve seen other people do it and I know it is possible. So my challenge for this summer is to strike a balance between allowing for all the fun that the time off of school can bring while still keeping a house that doesn’t make me cringe every time the doorbell rings out of worry that someone will see my mess. So I’m working on a plan. Tell me what you think. 

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Wake up fresh every morning. 

This one is all about perspective. If I want a fresh start every morning – and I totally do – then I need to plan for that the night before. That means dishes done, counters cleared, and even a spray of some air freshener to ensure a sweet start in the morning. 

Work together as a team

Everyone in our home has chores to do. When we all do them it helps to manage the daily mess and keep things in order. It’s easy with the flexibility of the summer schedule to let things slide, so I’m going to make an effort to keep things on the schedule in order to keep things in line. 

One thing at a time

When my kids were younger I was somewhat good about the idea of introducing one toy or activity at a time. We’re going back to that this summer. So if they want to make slime – my least favorite project ever – fine. But they’re going to clean up every single thing before they go swimming or start reading or whatever else is next in the endless string of summer activities. 

Have the tools in place

One of the keys to getting things done is having the right tools available. That’s why I love the delivery options available through Grove Collaborative. I can choose the cleaning and household products that I need and have them delivered to me each month so that I’m always prepared. Right now new customers can get a free kit with your first order of $20:

  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap
  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s hand lotion
  • Free Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap
  • Grove Collaborative replaceable head dish brush 
  • Free Shipping & 60 Day VIP Trial

I have to say, the Mrs. Meyers soaps are quickly becoming a favorite and their tub and tile cleaner is amazing! 

Set realistic expectations

I know that I can’t expect every day to begin or end perfectly. Some days I might have to do more work so that other days I can deal with the other things that life throws my way. But I’m trying to approach this challenge with a positive outlook and recognizing the benefits that keeping a clean house will have for me and for my family. 

So – all you readers out there who are better at this than I am – I’d love to hear your best tips for maintaining a clean home! 

 

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

What Does The Tooth Fairy Pay These Days, Anyway?

toothfairy.pngAs a kid, the idea of the tooth fairy can be magical, fun, even thrilling. As a parent, it can be anything but.

If you have ever freaked out after hearing how much money that fluttering creature brings your kid’s toothless friends, have woken up in the morning panicked because you realized you forgot to shimmy some money under your child’s pillow, or have just gotten downright frustrated with the tooth fairy, you’re not alone.

It’s no wonder people have a hard time determining the tooth fairy’s payout in their own homes ― the rates are all over the place.

The mythical dental sprite’s reward has recently decreased, according to multiple surveys.

The Original Tooth Fairy Poll (yes, that is a thing) from Delta Dental, which has been recording rates since 1998, saw an all-time high average in 2016. The fairy was forking over about $4.66 per tooth then, a 75-cent increase compared to 2015. For their latest results, Delta Dental surveyed 1,007 parents of children ages 6 to 12 in December 2017. Results showed the tooth fairy paid an average of $4.13 per tooth last year.

In 2015, Visa found that $1 was by far the most popular amount for the tooth fairy to leave behind, based on 4,027 telephone interviews conducted from May to June 2015 (32 percent of those surveyed reported this amount). The average per tooth was $3.19.

The fairy was a bit more willing to part with her money for some kids, though. Almost one-fifth of the Visa survey participants said the fairy offered $5 for a tooth, and about five percent said the flying being left $20 (!) or more.

If you’re thinking, “I never got that much from the tooth fairy when I was a kid,” a survey from LendEDU, a personal finance marketplace, might make you think twice. The company surveyed 400 baby boomers, 438 generation Xers and 400 millennials in an online poll in March and asked how much they received from the tooth fairy as a kid.

LendEDU’s results reflect that baby boomers (ages 54 and older) received an average of $0.69 per lost tooth. Generation Xers (ages 39 to 53) received $1.39, while millennials (ages 24 to 38) got $2.13. The company adjusted the rates for inflation using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator and found that on average, the tooth fairy left behind about $5.77 per tooth for baby boomers, $5.54 for generation Xers and $3.72 for millennials. That fairy is quite generous.

Of course, these surveys only give you a sample of the tooth fairy trends in the United States. Factors like the state of the market and a family’s income can play significant roles. And if you want to get creative with what the tooth fairy leaves, there are always Etsy and Pinterest

There is one stat, though, that might make caretakers playing the role of fairy breathe a sigh of relief. 

According to the most recent Original Tooth Fairy Poll, more than half the parents surveyed (about 55 percent) said they the tooth fairy may have missed a visit a time or two.

At least you’ve got that going for you, dental liaisons.

 

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

Bill Nye’s Tips for Getting Kids Excited About Science

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Bill Nye, the ‘90s television icon, the teacher who helped kid-me understand topics like buoyancy and momentum, the man whose mission it is to help make science more accessible to the masses, is back. (Not that he ever left—he’s always been really, really busy.) These days, Nye is teaming up with Nintendo to help promote the just-released Nintendo Labo and is getting ready for the premiere of the third season of his Netflix show, Bill Nye Saves the World. At a time when science instruction time is quickly declining in elementary schools, I asked our favorite Science Guy what parents can do to get kids excited about the subject he loves most.

Don’t Wait

When it comes to catching the science bug, that incessant hunger to understand how the natural world works, Nye says there’s a cut-off age. “When we did the Science Guy show in the 1990s, we had very compelling research that 10 years old is as old as you can be to get the so-called lifelong passion for science,” Nye says. “And I think its about as old you can be to get a lifelong passion for anything. When did you want to tell stories?” The motto in his business: “Science every day in every grade.” There’s really no such thing as “too young.”

Know the Power of Algebra

If your middle school math teacher didn’t quite make the message clear, let Nye tell you again: Algebra is important. “Here’s one thing that has been shown: Algebra is the single most reliable indicator of whether or not a person pursues a career in math or science,” Nye says. “It’s not clear that it’s cause and effect. It seems to be. Learning to think abstractly about numbers apparently enables you or encourages you to think abstractly about all sorts of things and so one change we could make in education is getting people interested in letters representing numbers earlier in their academic careers—that is to say, third grade rather than seventh grade.”

Focus on the Why

It’s not enough for a teacher to stand in front of a classroom and make kids recite the words “Molecules are made of atoms …” Kids learn through stories—they need to know why science is important in their lives. In all sorts of everyday situations, explain to them how science is at work. “I don’t have polio because I got the polio vaccine,” Nye says. “I am alive because my grandparents did not die of the Spanish Flu in 1918. I really like calling a car from my phone rather than wandering around looking for a pay phone to call a taxi. This is all brought to us by science.”

He goes on. “I was just talking the other day to this guy about his tires. Tires now are guaranteed to go 60,000 miles or 80,0000 miles. When I was a kid, tires would go 15,000 miles and then my parents would have them thrown out and have new tires put on. We feed 7.5 billion people because of agricultural technology. It’s extraordinary. Science, people!”

For whatever career your kid might be interested in, talk about how science will be necessary—there’s just no skipping it. “Suppose you were at a party and people are standing around talking and someone says, ‘I never learned the alphabet. I thought it was arbitrary.’ Can you imagine? In the same way, we want science to be part of your education no matter what you end up doing, whether you become a lawyer or a venture capitalist or a plumber or an electrician or a care provider or a circus performer.”

Work With Video Games, Not Against Them

Nye has been hearing the question for years: “Are video games messing up my kid?”

“There’s always concern expressed about video games,” Nye says. “These kids todayWhen I was young, doggone it … Look, the video game is going to be in your household.” Believing that video games can help kids get excited about STEM, has teamed up with Nintendo to promote the Labo, a series of DIY cardboard kits for the Nintendo Switch. It ingeniously melds gaming with making—the screen guides kids as they build real toys they can play with, from a fishing rod to a piano to a robot suit. “It is inherently hands-on,” Nye says.

“I became a chemical engineer because I’m a tinkerer,” Nye adds. “I tink.” He remembers playing with cardboard boxes as a kid. “There’s nothing better,” he says. “The refrigerator would come in a huge box. I mean, oh my God, come on, that’s living. You could crawl inside and it became a tank. And all the forts you could build! Monsters cannot penetrate cardboard. It’s very well documented.”

Let Kids Play

To help kids learn and gain confidence, sometimes moms and dads need to get out of the way.

You can provide them with materials to experiment with—perhaps a pair of socks for them to test their nerves or a penny, eye-dropper, glass of water and some dish soap to explore cohesive force. And then see where they go from there. “Kids love science,” Nye says. “The people who have trouble with science are the parents. Let kids be fearless. Let them mess around. Let them find out how the world works for themselves.”

 

This article was written by shared by Michelle Woo to Lifehacker and Michelle Woo on Offspring from Lifehacker and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Life-Changing Tricks to Make Morning Routines Easier

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We asked you what product or strategy helps streamline your mornings and get you out the door on time. These ideas are serious game changers.

I wait until I’m at work to have my coffee. It motivates me to get ready and keeps me from lingering.

Libby Cutler, Richmond, Virginia

I keep the kids’ socks, shoes, and hair stuff next to the garage door so we don’t have to run around for the last few things we need to leave the house.

—Valerie Thompson, Houston

I shower and wash my hair in the evening, then sleep on a silk pillowcase. In the a.m., I just fluff out my hair with a light styling product. It saves me up to half an hour.

— Susan Katz, Henderson, Nevada

I set my alarm to an upbeat song to stop myself from pressing snooze. There’s no better way to get moving in the morning.

— @DARTHCAKEINATOR

Twenty years ago, I decided to wear only dresses to work. They’re easy and comfortable, and they require less outfit coordination.

— Kimberly Gremillion, Alexandria, Louisiana

While preparing for bed, my husband and I talk through the next day. It helps us get on the same page in case we forgot about something. And knowing we’re ready for the day ahead helps us sleep better.

— Mayhew Lester, Dallas

I taught my five children to make their own lunches. From the age of about four, they started learning what should be included in a healthy(ish) lunch and being given a budget at the grocery store to use on their favorite snacks. This also helps keep them from complaining about not liking what I packed or not having an extra snack after school.

— Ashley Gaines, Jacksonville, Florida

The Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker is a game changer in the mornings. I’m able to serve my 5-year-old a hot breakfast while tending to my newborn at the same time. Talk about a win!

— Molly Woodsum, Tallahassee, Florida

One of our young daughters used to require 45 minutes to get dressed in her winter gear. Amazon’s Alexa helped us implement our pediatrician’s advice to set a timer. The kids jump to get their shoes, coats, and backpacks every time she rings.

— Amanda Dreyer, Madison, Wisconsin

A keypad lock on my front door. Because I mostly walk, bike, and take public transportation, I rarely need car keys; the keypad lets me forgo carrying a house key, too. No more search-and-destroy missions or fumbling around before leaving the house, which translates into less stress getting to my destination.

— Kate Schwarz, Washington D.C.

When my children were younger and in school, I made a breakfast menu with pictures of their favorite food and drinks, such as cereal, bagels, OJ, and chocolate milk. Before they went to bed, they circled what they wanted. It made morning time easy, with no complaints!

— Debi Muller, Plantation, Florida

Binder clips. My hands chafe and get cold easily, so I’m always wearing gloves during the winter. I keep my gloves together using the clips and put them in a clear plastic bin in the closet. It makes it easy to grab a pair of gloves and go.

— Marge Laskowski, Miller Place, New York

Setting the coffee maker on a timer the night before. The scent helps me move faster.

— @ANJUBSM

A hatchback car. I work in forestry, so I leave the house with my arms full of backpacks, binders, tools, and equipment. When I bought my most recent car, I insisted on a hatchback so I could just shove everything in quickly and not dirty the passenger seats.

— Camille Stephens, Logan, Utah

Every single clock is set 10 minutes ahead.

— Ann-Marie Lyons, Frankfort, Illinois

I spend a few minutes cuddling with my children. It makes them much more willing to do what needs to be done to get out the door.

— Tiffiny Wolf, Atlanta

 

This article was written by Real Simple Staff from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

15 Family Rules to Keep Your Household Running Smoothly

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These clever, sanity-saving house rules are parent-tested and approved.

Our rule is that everyone must knock before opening a closed door. Several times my kids have expressed their appreciation for it after going to a friend’s house. They’ve also told me they feel respected by my husband and me because of it. — Tina Z., Walterboro, South Carolina

My husband and I made a rule when we first moved in together that we only get to talk (OK, complain) about our workday after we sit down at the dinner table. Then the conversation has to change. — Amira Melnichenko, Maitland, Florida

I teach middle school; my teenage boys knew not to knock on my bedroom door for a full hour after I got home from school. I needed some me time between teacher time and momma time. — Karen Hinds, Memphis, Tennessee

We don’t get upset about spills. They’re just accidents. — Amber Sprengard, Cincinnati

Once, on a hike with a couple of other families, the kids started to complain. One mom stopped and asked, “Are you a problem solver or a problem maker?” That mantra has stuck in our family for both kids and adults. It’s a great way to reframe negative thinking. — @GIRLYTWIRLY

Put others first. We started using this simple phrase with hand signs as a silent reminder, pointing to our hand (“put”), then pointing outward (“others”), then pointing up (“first”), when our children were small and continue to use it 18 years into parenting. When it’s applied, our home becomes a well-oiled machine. — Nicole Schrock, Plain City, Ohio

No video/computer games on school nights. Placing a priority on schoolwork has worked for us. — @MANDYHOFFMAN

If something that you would rather not eat is served for dinner, you have to have a “No, thank you” bite. — Brie Ghinazzi, Boise, Idaho

Family meeting once a week, on Sundays. Everyone updates the calendar and looks at the schedule for the week so we know what to expect. — Connie Lenorud Schroeder, Niles, Illinois

I can’t take credit for it, because it was my mother-in-law’s rule first: No talking while packing up the car for a vacation. This rule has helped my husband and me start our family trips much happier. — Michelle Wigand, San Francisco Bay Area

If you pack it, you carry it. We all make better decisions about what we need/want for the day or a trip, and everyone chips in! — Debbie Burke, New Albany, Ohio

No name-calling. Disagreements happen—we have four kids—but name-calling is a one-strike rule. — @AMYOMEARA428

No TV in the morning on weekdays. In the morning chaos of getting dressed, brushing teeth, and eating breakfast, we managed to get out of the house mostly on time and were able to finalize pickup arrangements and practice schedules. — Michelle Knell, Keaau, Hawaii

If it’s not on the family calendar, it doesn’t exist. — @SHANNIEBG

If it’s full, empty it. From the trash to a sink full of dirty dishes to a full laundry hamper, this rule is practical. It also works as a mind-set. — Cecilia Tavera, Santa Barbara, California

Only touch something once. It eliminates shuffling objects from one place to another instead of just placing it in its home. — Laura Davies

Ours was passed down from my father-in-law. He said, “There is no such thing as women’s work or men’s work—just work. And we’ll all work together till it’s done.” It makes for very grateful spouses! — Barbara Knomholz

 

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