If you struggle to get your child to the bus stop on time, or always feel like you are rushing to make school drop-off, I know you have researched multiple tips to ensure a speedier, stress-free way of getting your child to school on time.
My Child Was Easily Distracted In The Morning
I am the parent of a child who dawdles in the morning, and, if left unchecked, would stay in his PJs happily building LEGOS or drawing. Now, before, anyone jumps on this sentence as a means of suggesting he’s not enjoying school, know that, my kid does indeed like going to school. He is not trying to stall in order to miss or be late to school; he just struggles to understand the concept of time and how to manage it accordingly.
Memorial Day weekend is almost here, bringing the unofficial start of summer and the start of vacation season.
With two children ages eight and ten, my husband and I have experienced many family vacations, and, over the years, I have picked up some helpful tips to make these trips more enjoyable.
Packing smart doesn’t mean skimping on what you need for a trip. It means being mindful of what you must have on a trip in order to make it as enjoyable experience as possible. For some families, electronics are a must to ensure a calm and peaceful journey, for others, disconnecting is important. Some families prefer to bring their own outdoor gear, others find it better to rent at their destination.
When packing you need to think about the benefits and disadvantages of each item you bring. Whether traveling by car, plane or train, you never have infinite space, so being mindful matters.
If you have more stuff than you can handle and you must have certain items on your trip, consider shipping to your hotel. Often this costs less than paying extra baggage fees (if traveling by air) and is easy enough to arrange. When my family went on a trip sponsored by my husband’s company, I knew I couldn’t pack all the diapers and other items I needed for my youngest, who was an infant at the time. I was able to coordinate the shipment of diapers and other products to the hotel and everything was there on arrival.
Get A Place With A Kitchen
Family travel can be costly, and the idea of spending more on an accommodation that includes a kitchen may seem foolish. Yes, in some cases, your initial trip investment will go up, but the savings on meals, not to mention avoiding the often disastrous experience of dining out with small children is well worth it. Furthermore, vacation rentals are often a better value than standard hotels, and deals can be found if you are flexible with your dates and/or willing to stay further from the main attractions of your destination.
Even though my kids are better at behaving at restaurants these days, I still prefer the having our own space for meals when we travel. I like that we can wake up when we want and not have to worry about finding a place for breakfast or waiting online at a mediocre breakfast buffet. I like that if we don’t have to think about reservations. And, I like that if we want to eat a meal out, we always have the option to do so.
We keep our meals very simple. (Think lots of pasta, cereal and sandwiches), and pack much of what we need ahead of time (if we are driving). At our destination, we will pick up milk and other perishables.
What about all-inclusives? My little experience with all-inclusives has been underwhelming. I appreciate the convenience, but most of the time the food is average at best, and you still run in to a lot of the same challenges you would if you had to rely on restaurants. However, if you must do an all-inclusive, bring some food storage bags and use them to take some extras of things like muffins and bananas to have on hand in case your child wakes up hungry before the buffet opens.
Have A Mix Of Planned And Unplanned Time
There are people who plan every moment of their vacations, and there are people who just want to see what happens. Neither approach is ideal when it comes to family travel. Too many planned activities is exhausting, however, if your family has must-dos on their list, most often you can’t just show up and expect to participate. Popular activities often require reservations ahead of time, often months in advance. Smart planning also takes advantage of things like museum and transit passes.
While it is tempting to fill every moment of your vacation days with something to do, always being on the go can be exhausting. Kids (and adults) need time to recharge, and often the best vacation memories can be made on those “lazy” days.
These laid-back days are also when you are most likely to get the true vibe of wherever you are visiting. Taking it slow allows your family to better experience the local culture, people and environment.
Don’t Make it Just About The Kids
A family vacation is just that, a FAMILY vacation. Everyone, including the adults should enjoy the trip. Of course, there will be activities that are more for the children, and it is OK if that is the main focus of the trip. Just be sure to include activities you enjoy, even if they aren’t what your kids might choose.
As a child I was dragged to many sites I had little interest in, and, yes, I complained. Now that I am an adult, I can appreciate how much I learned from being exposed to interesting and unusual places.
Aim to have at least one activity for each person in your family to enjoy. For you it might be a museum, for your partner, it might be a site of historic significance, for your kids, it might be a candy shop. This gives everyone a chance to experience something they truly enjoy, and opens up the rest of the family to things they may not have chosen to do on their own.
Say Yes More
Vacationing with children is hard enough without stressing over what they eat or getting them to bed. Let them have ice cream every night and stay up well past their normal bedtime. Or, if that much deviation from the routine would be too hard on your family, consider allowing for some small perks like an extra hour of device time or letting your kids purchase a small souvenir item.
Saying yes more opens you up to new possibilities as well. If your kids want to explore a place not on your list, or if you see a tempting roadside eatery, saying, “yes,” may lead to the highlight of your trip.
Traveling with children will never be 100% stress free, but with some careful planning and an open mind, family vacations can be a great experience for all.
Being a parent today means having access to a wealth of information to guide you toward raising your kids in the best possible way. In the “old” days our parents and grandparents maybe had a handful of books and an occasional newspaper advice column to turn to for help. Most of the time, people with kids were just making it up as they go, and didn’t live under constant fear of shame and ridicule. Or, at the very least, any shame they felt was limited to a close circle of friends and family.
Now, we have a whole Internet full of ideas on how to raise kids, and, more often than not, a contradictory list of all the ways you’re doing parenting wrong. You would be right to think we shouldn’t let our worth be determined by randos online, but, what can I say, those keyboard warriors have a weird power about them.
As much as I share about my motherhood experience, I do hold back, because I know many of the things I do as a parent would be met with ridicule and shame. My style is a mishmash of attachment, tiger, free-range and anything else you may think of. My parenting often changes with my mood or based on what I feel my kids’ need. I consider outside input, then do what I feel is best for my family.
No matter how I hard I try, I still feel shamed by parenting “advice” online, whether it is coming from an expert or just a bunch of moms in a Facebook group. I acknowledge that as a writer who focuses on parenting, I also contribute to this mess. I hope anyone who reads my stuff takes it with a very large grain of salt.
I think we need to laugh at how varied and disconnected parenting advice can be, so I made I list of all the things I have done or am doing wrong as a parent.
The summer is winding down, and many kids are already back in the classroom or will be in a matter of weeks. While every school year has its challenges, starting kindergarten, heading off to college, or moving to a new school bring unique worries for both students and parents.
I asked my followers on Facebook to share their insights and tips on making those transitions easier for families. I was amazed by their responses, and am pleased to share some of them here with you. If you have more suggestions on making school transitions easier, please share them in the comments.
Many parents agreed checking out the school before classes began was crucial for easing new-student anxiety. Many schools offer official orientation days where teachers and sometimes older students walk the incoming students around the building and answer questions. Other schools will offer individual tours of the school if arranged in advance.
When my husband and I were considering areas for our growing family, we wanted to be sure we would settle in a place our kids could thrive and be fulfilled. Though this meant looking into a number of factors, such as schools and overall quality of life, I made a point to place one particular community element at the top of my list: the local library.
Whether the town or city we visited was large or small, I took stock of how regarded the library was in the community. I took special care to observe the children’s section, as I knew that would be where my family would spend most of our time, yet also made note of the overall condition and atmosphere of the building as a whole.
To me, a library that is active, clean, well-staffed and highly regarded reflects a community that is engaged, involved and invested in the happiness and well-being of its members. This does not mean the library needs to be huge or filled with all the latest technology. I am well aware of how underfunded libraries are, and how unfortunately many communities lack the resources to improve old buildings, pay staff and keep shelves stocked. If you are able, please consider donating to your local library and other programs that support libraries across the country.
When you are exploring potential neighborhoods, here are some things to look for in the local library.
If you just finished watching the second season of Bridgerton, you likely noticed how prominent a role croquet played in highlighting the smoldering, competitive chemistry between the Viscount Anthony Bridgerton and Miss Kate Schwarma.
Or, you might be fonder of Heathers and how croquet was used to show the divide between the haves and the have-nots.
And who could forget the memorable scene in Disney’s version of Alice In Wonderland, where Alice was forced to play a highly unusual and markedly unfair game against the Queen of Hearts?
For years, croquet has captured us through pop culture, and may even seem a bit exclusive. However, this centuries old game really is for everyone.
I sat down with Tom Rosenberg, President and CEO of American Camp Association, to talk about how families could choose the best overnight camps for their children.
In our interview (posted below), we discuss taking the time to research the options available and consider what camps would appeal most to your children. We also discuss concerns such as tuition costs, homesickness, and device dependence.
My nine-year-old and I were updating his PJ Library reusable wall calendar for January, when he noticed Tu B’Shvat, the Jewish holiday celebrating the new year of the trees, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, fall on the same day this year, Monday, January 17.
As we look ahead to Tu B’Shvat, we can be mindful of Dr. King’s work, how climate justice and racial justice are linked, and how we can bridge the Jewish values of caring for our planet and working toward a more just world together.
“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. King’s words continue to ring true, as we look back on his legacy and wonder if we have gotten closer to achieving his dream for an equitable world.
While Tu B’Shvat is traditionally a holiday focused on trees, specifically the trees of Israel, and celebrating the land, the festival can be used an opportunity for both Jews and non-Jews a like to consider the topic of environmental justice.
Tu B’Shvat is the perfect time to ask ourselves, and our children, do we have access to clean water? Can we breathe clean air? Do we live in a place that is safe from the impact of hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters? Are we close to parks, nature centers, and other places for appreciating the environment?
If the answer to these questions is yes, we can take the opportunity to think about how others might be living, and note how environmental inequality is very much an issue in the U.S. and beyond.
Family vacations during school breaks are always something to look forward to and can still be enjoyed even in the era of COVID-19. Thankfully, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise domestic travel is safe for fully vaccinated individuals who wear a mask in public. If your children are too young for the vaccine, the CDC recommends you limit your travel to a short road trip to a location with outdoor activities that allow for social distancing.
Read on for ways to enjoy vacationing with your family in these unique times.
The annual Met Gala is the place for high society to see and be seen in the most glamorous, avant garde and jaw-dropping fashion. From models to movie stars to even politicians, anyone who is anyone was on the red carpet at the event of the fall.
Scrolling through this years looks, I am reminded of all the creative clothing choices my youngest child has made over the years. From the moment he first became aware of clothes, he’s loved to dress up and express himself in unique ways. While I may have a mother’s bias, I think his looks could definitely upstage or at least turn a head or two if they were to strut their stuff at the Gala.
Here are a few of my favorite looks from recent years:
Overalls And Boots
Nothing says style like a snazzy pair of red cowboy boots.
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