3 Tips to Improve Working from Home with Children

Many of us have had to completely adjust our way of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including working remotely. Parents can no longer drop their children off at school and begin the commute to work. They are now forced to find a way to juggle parenting, monitoring remote learning, and remaining productive at work. The change is massive, but there are a few ways that you can make it work.

1. Dedicated Office Space

When you walk into your office, your brain clicks into work mode. This is not as easy when you are at home with all the distractions around you. It is crucial to create an office space in your home to help trigger your mind to begin thinking about work. Inform your family that this area is designated for your time. If you have young children, you can create fun signs to remind everyone in the house that when you are at “work,” you are not to be disturbed.

2. Create Routines

You once had a great routine. Children went to school, where they had set times for classes and meals. You went to work and had a set lunchtime. Those routines disappeared once everyone was in the house. Now there is food in the house, class schedules are more relaxed, and you must adjust. While you can work with your employer to create a more flexible work schedule that allows you to also assist with education requirements, there are some routines you can put into place. Have everyone still up at a set time for breakfast and get dressed for the day. Remember, our minds work on habits. Set a lunchtime and a snack time, so you do not find yourself snacking throughout the day. Finally, set a time when you will quit work and school for the day. Every day will not be perfect, but as your family adjusts, it will get better.

3. Set Expectations

Children do best with clear expectations of what is being requested of them. While you will want to set expectations for your children, you also want to converse with your employer about what working remotely will look like. With your children, they should know when they are to be in class or learning on their own. For your work situation, make sure meetings are scheduled in advance, so you do not run into the problem of having too many people on video calls at the same time. Have clear rules set for tracking hourly work, and ensure everyone is relaxed with children sometimes interrupting.

It is unknown when life will go back to the “normal” we knew before the pandemic. Therefore, it is up to us to adapt everyone to return to pre-March 2020. With these three tips, you reduce stress and create an atmosphere everyone benefits from. Working from home while parenting will come with good days and bad days, so take it one day at a time.

How Moms Can Make Time for Themselves

Moms literally do it all. Between work, kids, household chores, and some semblance of social life, it can be challenging to find any time for themselves. We’re giving some great tips to help busy supermoms enjoy a little “me time.”

FINDING THE TIME

The first step towards enjoying “me time” is finding the time for it. It involves rearranging your schedule a bit so you can sneak in an extra 15 minutes here and there to unwind.

Instead of using your kid’s nap time to work or clean, spend it doing something you enjoy instead. You can get the kids involved with the household chores, so you don’t have to take up your valuable alone time doing that.

Getting up a little earlier than the kids or going to bed a little later also allows you to have a bit of alone time. You may be exhausted, but you’ll be surprised at how rejuvenated you feel after having your morning cup of coffee in peace or relaxing with a glass of wine and a good book at the end of the day.

WHAT TO DO WITH THAT TIME

Once you find the time, you have to decide how to spend it. While the obvious is merely sitting in silence and enjoying the quiet, the more “me time” you carve out, the more fun things you can do to relax. Try:

  • Reading a book
  • Listening to music
  • Binge-watching a show
  • Having an at-home spa session
  • Playing online games
  • Eating your favorite food
  • Talking to a friend
  • Taking a walk
  • Getting crafty with some scrapbooking, crocheting, etc
  • Having coffee with friends
  • Going shopping

CONTINUING “ME TIME”

Now that you’ve found it, you want to keep the trend going! Scheduling alone time gets more manageable as your kids get older, but there are always ways to find more kid-free time in the present. Surround yourself with supportive mom friends who are willing to trade off valuable “me time” moments. With a good community and these helpful tips, “me time” is within reach.

How to Keep Your Children Focused During Remote Learning

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced radical changes in virtually all sectors, including education. The stay-at-home government directives have pushed schools to adopt the concept of remote learning for our children. The short attention span of children could, however, easily threaten the success of this initiative. Here are some tips on how, as a parent, you may come through for your children to help them stay focused during remote learning.

Provide the resources

The success of remote learning for children dramatically depends on the availability of the necessary resources, including laptops and internet connections. One of the essential parenting tips for distance learning requires you to provide your children with laptops or desktop computers connected to the internet. You may also have to show your children how to navigate basic computer programs essential for the remote learning sessions.

Nurture a routine

Unlike adults, children may take some time before they adapt to the discipline of unsupervised learning via the internet. To help them stay organized and disciplined, you should help them set a routine, such as a calendar or digital organizer, to keep track of daily events. The routine should match that of the digital learning program for the kids’ schools. Such a routine helps the child to keep pace with the learning program and not fall behind.

Review progress

Like in classroom-based learning, remote learning should be monitored in terms of the student’s progress. As a parent, you should supplement the distance learning program assessment by regularly checking your child’s progress. Progress review may involve doing some spot checks and asking some basic concepts taught during the remote learning sessions.

Think big

To make remote learning work for your children, you may have to come on board and help them create bigger goals and gradually achieve them. It would help if you showed your child how to look at the bigger picture regarding how the pandemic is slowly shifting the education sector’s dynamics and creating challenges. After demonstrating this, you may show the child how they can come on board and help resolve the pandemic’s problems by thinking creatively.

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How To Host A Socially-Distanced Family Halloween Party

Skipping Halloween 2020 might be tempting, but having a little fun, tradition, and normalization in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic may be a healthier and happier choice. Everyone needs a little joy, right? And Halloween is a great way to connect with people during these times.

Let’s look at some tips for how to go about celebrating Halloween while respecting social-distancing practices this year.

Decide To Either Go Small Or Virtual

You have two main options for a healthy Halloween party in 2020. Some people may prefer to take advantage of both options, having small and virtual Halloween parties with different groups. For example, they may have a small family party with their inner circle and then host a virtual party with plenty of friends. Find what feels right for you.

Have A Masquerade Party

This is the perfect way to take advantage of the fact that everyone must wear masks anyway. Hold a masquerade party this Halloween 2020 and make it a fun part of the night!

Host Your Party Outside

One of the safest ways to host your socially distanced Halloween party is to move it outdoors. Depending on the weather where you live, it may be wise to have your party during the early afternoon. This isn’t traditional, but nothing in 2020 is going to align with tradition! You can also consider getting outdoor heating options set up. Decorate your yard with spooky decorations, mask up, and set up some hand sanitizer stations for everyone to feel comfortable.

Watch Spooky Movies Together Online

Many streaming services now offer a “Watch Together” button. Host a virtual scary movie night!

Alternatively, you can set up a projector in your backyard to do this socially-distanced and in person.

Hold a Pumpkin Carving Contest

Again, this can be done virtually or socially-distanced. Post your photos online to show off each person’s work!

Ask Your Guests

One of the key takeaways this year is that everyone handled the pandemic differently. Once you have some suggestions in mind, get in touch with your potential guests to ask how they feel about them, and let them chip in with any tips that may make them feel more comfortable. This will ensure everyone attending feels safe and free to have a fun time.

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How to Redecorate Your Home on a Budget

Decorating on a budget may seem impossible, but it does not have to be. There are multiple ways for people to decorate their homes to reflect their unique tastes and desired look. Simple efforts can yield tremendous results, from modern contemporary homes to cozy and relaxed spaces.

Work With What You Have 

Before filling your digital cart, look through the belongings you already own. Simple items can easily be repurposed in new, unexpected ways; the only limitation is your creativity! For instance, paint mason jars for colorful storage, or re-organize dresser and shelf units with books, trinkets, and more. Sometimes, redecoration can be as simple as moving your belongings from one room to another. 

Apply a Fresh Coat of Paint 

Paint is always a good choice for decorating on a budget. There is such a vast range of color possibilities, each one with its corresponding mood and style. Changing the color of the room’s walls can drastically change how a room looks. Adding a focal wall or specific detailing can also aid in decorating a home. Some people even choose to add crown molding and decorative trim, painted in a contrasting color, to change a room’s look. If you live in a rental space or cannot paint the walls, temporary wallpaper and stickers can help you create a fun accent wall. 

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End-of-Summer Activities for the Whole Family

As the summer months come to a close and children prepare their backpacks for a new school year, it can be quite the bummer for both parents and kids. However, just because summer is coming to a close doesn’t mean everyone has to be gloomy. The weather is still warm, so there’s still plenty of time to have some fun. Here are a few end-of-summer activities for the whole family.

Head Over to the Local Park

It may be too late for a long hiking trip, but there’s always time to take a walk at the park. Gather the whole family and head over to your favorite city park to enjoy some quality outdoor time. If you want to take that extra step to make it a lot more fun, you can even prepare a scavenger hunt for the kids.

Throw a Small-Scale Summer Bash

Who needs a ton of people to party? One of the best ways to celebrate the end of the summer months is to throw your very own end-of-the-season bash in your backyard. Set up the pool, play some games, and make some snow cones. This bash will be that cherry on top of the summer for your entire family.

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STEM Programs for Girls

Jennifer Powers - New York City - STEM Programs for Girls

STEM is an educational approach that uses real-world applications with hands-on and minds-on lessons. STEM is an acronym that represents science, technology, engineering, and math. Providing high-quality STEM programs geared towards attracting girls has become necessary for bridging the gender gap and increasing opportunities in STEM-related occupations.

 

Designated STEM programs for girls can increase gender diversity, empower girls, and allow them to have higher-paying jobs in an increasingly tech-focused market. If your daughter has shown an interest in the STEM field, look into programs that can help her hone that passion into professional expertise!

 

Programs

The programs listed are a fraction of the STEM programs offered. It is important to research the programs to find the best fit for your child. Hopefully, these offerings will help you get started!

 

Seattle Girl’s School STEAM Camp

This program seeks to combat the trend of girls losing confidence in the male-dominated field of STEM. To challenge this trend, Seattle Girl’s School STEAM Camp provides project-based, real-world experiences that offer endless leadership, collaboration, and problem-solving opportunities.

 

USI Girls Only (GO) STEM! Camp

This girls’ camp is for middle school students in grades six through eight. It offers problem-solving experiences with cool gadgets, opportunities to make friends, and exploration of the great outdoors. If your daughter loves adventure, this is the camp for her!

 

Exploring Engineering for High School Women

This engineering program for sophomores, juniors, and seniors lets them learn about the design process, from brainstorming to making their idea a reality. If your daughter is starting to look at engineering as a college degree, this program is perfect!

 

Girl Develop It

Girl Develop It offers affordable programs for adult women wanting to learn web and software development in a judgment-free environment. That means mom can get involved, too!

 

Spectacles at Wesleyan College

Spectacles offers projects, experiments, and field trips that encourage middle school girls to see science and math in new and exciting ways. It also provides opportunities for girls to network with women already in math and science-related fields. For families that don’t have many connections to STEM professionals, it’s an excellent way for daughters to network.

 

Latinas in STEM

Latinas in STEM is a program geared towards girls in K–12, and it focuses on inspiring students in underserved communities to pursue STEM careers. Their goal is to educate the girls and educate parents so that they can support their daughters.

 

Takeaway

There is a wide variety of quality STEM programs for girls that represent all types of interests. STEM programs must intertwine at least two of the subject areas and apply them in real-world everyday life. Another letter has been added to the acronym STEM—A for art, thus making it STEAM. Finding a suitable STEM or STEAM program that best fits the interests and beliefs of the daughter and family can guarantee a bright future full of possibilities.

4 Ways to Bring Your Family Together

Jennifer Powers - New York City - 4 Ways to Bring Your Family Together

Most families spend an average of 37 quality minutes per day together. Getting more time together doesn’t have to be complicated. Even mundane, everyday tasks can become a fun-filled family affair. Here are four simple ways to bring the family together before summer ends!

 

Invite the Family to Help with Tasks

Chores, cooking, and exercise are things many parents already have on their to-do lists. Why not invite the family to help out? Not only will quality family time increase, but parents can also instill essential values at the same time. Children may not efficiently load the dishwasher or safely use a knife, but side-by-side with a parent, they learn the importance of work and get the attention that nurtures the family relationship.

 

Listen to Each Other

A little bit of conversation can do a lot to enrich family relationships. Asking the right questions and actively listening to answers communicates interest and love. Come up with a question each day to learn more about loved ones. Find common interests to discuss, and find ways to pursue those interests. Allow children to participate in planning family vacations, deciding family values, and setting up family rules. Letting children participate in family matters helps them see different perspectives and get invested in family goals.

 

Turn Off Devices

On average, a smartphone is unlocked about 150 times per day, and nearly half of parents think their child has a smartphone addiction. Limiting device usage is a simple way to create more time for family. Bust out a board game, start a family book club, or go on an adventure. These activities don’t have to cost a dime—not even adventures! A walk around town can turn into an expedition. Children and adults alike unleash creativity and forge strong relationships when they put their devices away.

 

Schedule Family Time

Many families are too busy to get much unstructured time together. Formally scheduling family time helps families keep relationships a top priority. Schedule the same time every week for family time, so everyone gets into the habit. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time to make a difference.

 

Make these trying times a bit easier with a little more family time!

Mastering Decluttering: Staying Motivated and Donating Items

Jennifer Powers - New York City - Decluttering staying motivated donating items

Deep-cleaning the house is a wonderful and frustrating experience for just about everybody. It starts with a blast of motivation but quickly shifts to exasperation from an overwhelming mess. In the end, cleaning can lead to an organized home and satisfied inhabitants. But a deep dive into your material possessions helps more than just the house or the people living in it. If done right, it can help the neighborhood.

 

Staying Motivated

The first step of cleaning the house is simple in theory—it’s getting started. However, a project as big as deep-cleaning a home is tough to start. Nearly everyone wants to do it but doesn’t want to sink time and energy into the project. Some are afraid they’ll find themselves stuck after they start. When starting to clean, everything has to be moved, including big furniture pieces. It’s about cleaning what’s visible and what’s hidden, so get ready to sweep up dust behind entertainment centers and beds.

That means the house will have to become messier before it gets cleaner. In that case, not everything should be tackled at once. It’s better to start small and organize shelf-by-shelf and keep in mind what would be best donated or kept. People could move items in need of sorting to other rooms or even outside if the weather permits. Still feel stuck? Habitat.org has so many tips to help you get started!

 

Donating Items

Donating old, unneeded things helps people clean out their space and declutter their lives, but it also assists people who may need those items more than others. It helps to think of objects not as useless, but as necessary for others.

Humans are sentimental creatures, and most hold back on donating items they don’t use. This leads to extra clutter sitting in the backs of closets. To master the art of decluttering, it’s best to look beyond emotion and ask if it still has a purpose in the house or would be better off helping another. There are plenty of charities in need of donations. And people are not restricted to donating only the clothes in their closets—many stores will take dishes, appliances, furniture, toys, and almost anything else. If it’s in good enough condition to be donated, it will most likely make a difference in someone’s life.

Eco-Friendly Ways to Use Your Money

Jennifer Powers - New York City - Eco-Friendly Ways to Use Your Money

Climate change is all around us, rearing its ugly head in the form of recent severe weather catastrophes and damage to flora and fauna. Many of us wonder what we can do to stave off and potentially reverse these adverse impacts. If you are among this group, there are simple daily habits you can adopt to minimize your carbon footprint. And, some of these methods can save you a few bucks!

Make Your Own Coffee or Tea

You can save a few quick bucks and reduce pollution by brewing your own coffee or tea at home. There are many varieties of coffee makers currently on the market, and all of them get the job done. Paper cups, plastic tops, plastic stirrers, and other items you might use at your favorite coffee house create tons (literally) of plastic and paper trash every year, and a lot of it can’t be recycled properly. This kind of trash sits at waste dumps and landfills for decades without decomposing. Meanwhile, home-based coffee brewers and products can be packaged in recycled materials and are made of sturdy materials such as silicon. Plus, you can brew as much as you want and add the flavorings you love without paying $4 a cup!

Use Eco-Friendly Shopping Bags

On recent grocery store runs, you might have noticed fabric shopping bags on sale by the checkout counter. These are bags you can buy and bring with you when you go grocery shopping. Many of them are manufactured using recycled materials and fabrics. If you don’t like the appearance of these, you can always look for a better quality shopping bag online. “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is a slogan that you can live up to by making simple earth-friendly choices like this. You may even opt for nylon produce bags, which are lightweight and last a lifetime!

Buy Items with Less Packaging

You can’t control what companies and large corporations produce, but you can control what you buy. Refusing to purchase items with unnecessary packaging can add up to reducing the overall consumption of over-packaged goods. These companies will eventually feel the financial pressure and change their packaging practices if enough consumers decide to observe this.

 

Sometimes, adopting eco-friendly habits might be financially rewarding. If you buy drinks and foods in aluminum packaging, save every one of those cans or containers after washing them out. You might be surprised at how much cash you earn when you finally take it all down to your local recycling center!