Advice for Parenting During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has restructured family life across the globe. Children are participating in online education and many parents are working from home. Being uprooted from the familiar routines of everyday life can be disconcerting. Both adults and children have had to adapt. However, parenting during the coronavirus pandemic can go smoother by following the following practical tips.

Talk About What Is Happening

Children can be frightened by what they don’t understand. Explain to them what the virus is, and what measures the nation is taking to deal with it. Be open and listen to their questions. Be honest in your answers, but don’t overwhelm them with a lot of technical jargon. Keep it simple.

Stay In A Routine

A flexible and consistent daily routine will go a long way toward making your children feel stable and secure. Don’t fall into the trap of overachievement. Overplanning the day is as bad as having no direction. Balance the schedule for work and play. Encourage your children to be part of the planning process. They can help work out a schedule for schoolwork and chores. Allow them to pick a fun activity to do such as a board game, crafts, or enjoying a movie night as a family. Part of the daily routine should be exercised. Get outside for fresh air and sunshine as much as possible. Working in exercise each day will help manage stress and your child’s excess energy.

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How to Answer Your Kids’ Tough Questions

Children are curious about the world. Every day they learn something new. Since kids rely on their parents to fill in the blanks and fully answer inquiries, they will ask tough questions out of the blue. A parent should not be afraid or shocked into silence when that moment comes. Instead, they should use the following tips to calmly and effectively answer their children’s questions.

Have your child clarify the question

Children can ask a seemingly-random question because they saw something on the news or overheard something from friends at school or a relative. Before a parent answers a tough question, they should ask the child why they want to know. It’s the simplest way to understand the problem. Sometimes, the child wants a simple yes-or-no answer. Knowing why they ask will help a parent satisfy the child’s curiosity.

Give your child an honest answer

Children are very alert to what’s going on around them. Therefore, the parent shouldn’t act uncomfortable or try to lie to the child. If the parent lies to protect the child, they’re only making matters worse. The child will know the truth sooner or later, and they won’t trust their parents anymore. That child will hide most things because they don’t want the parent to lie to them again. Parents should tell their children the truth, no matter how difficult it can be. They should also limit the answers to a few words because kids take time to understand.

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10 Activities for Children on a Snow Day

As soon as the weatherman predicts a lot of snow, it’s usually followed by shouts of joy from children while grownups scramble to come up with plans to keep their kiddos engaged and entertained. Instead of turning snow days into TV marathons, there are plenty of activities that don’t involve a screen.

With a little planning, you can keep your children busy with numerous snow day activities. Here are 10 fun ways to combat snow day boredom and make it a day to remember!

Create an Obstacle Course

For an indoor obstacle course, gather some supplies like balls, pillows, books, empty toilet paper rolls, and other household items and map out your course. Make it challenging by having kids complete it with books on their heads or spinning around in circles before weaving through obstacles.

For an outdoor obstacle course, grab some items like hula hoops, scraps of wood, sleds or pool noodles and allow your kids to have fun using their imagination.

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Preparing Your Child For a Broadway Show

The New York theater scene is one of the world’s most famous, and the chance to see a show on Broadway is a lifelong dream for many. Children will especially delight in the incredible stage design, magnificent performances, and breathtaking ambiance of a live play or musical. Some children may even see a Broadway show and discover a passion for theater, going on to pursue careers in music, dance, acting or production. However, before surprising a child with a trip to Broadway, it’s important to prepare them for the experience.

START WITH AN AFFORDABLE SHOW

Children may wind up not being as enthralled by a show as their parents would like. This can be disheartening, but the blow will lessen if you avoid exorbitant ticket costs. As an introductory experience, choose an affordable Broadway show that runs for no more than two hours, keeping an eye out for discounted or last-minute rush tickets.

Parents should choose a kid-friendly Broadway show that they can still enjoy; shows like Wicked and Frozen are filled with familiar stories and characters revitalized through the magic of Broadway.

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How to Help Your Children Achieve Their New Year’s Resolutions

The New Year’s resolution can be a fun and exciting way to introduce children to the habit of setting goals and achieving them. Experts believe that children can start as early as the age of seven with the act of formulating and following through on a New Year’s resolution. This mindful undertaking involves thought and determination that can help children learn to achieve larger goals as adults.

This activity can also be a bonding opportunity for families. By individually setting goals and collectively achieving them, children can learn from their parents’ example. Through leading by example, parents can teach children that it’s important not only to expect great things, but also to work towards them. Many parents find the SMART method for setting goals to be helpful. SMART stands for specific, motivating, attainable, relevant, and trackable.

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Five Holiday Snacks Your Kids Will Love

I don’t know about you, but indulging in sweet treats is something I look forward to during every holiday season. There’s something about those yummy pies, frosted cookies, and other sugar-filled snacks that makes them hard to pass up. But if you have little ones to feed, it’s important to take the extra step in ensuring they are eating snacks that are on the healthier side. Luckily, there are plenty of adorable and healthy snacks that you and your kids can enjoy around the holidays!

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Preparing Anxious Kids for Back-to-School

Jennifer Powers - Preparing Anxious Kids for Back-To-School

While you might be excited to have the house all to yourself again, the twilight days of summer can be stressful and nerve-wracking for children. It’s hard to trade in swimsuits and ice cream for pencil cases and lunch trays, especially if a child’s overarching mindset on school is a negative one. Use these tips to promote positivity about going back to school.

When School Supply Shopping: Ask What the Child Wants

From gym sneakers to backpacks, mechanical pencils to sequined notebooks, countless school supply products line the shelves. When it comes time to head to the local mall for some good, old-fashioned back-to-school shopping, let your child pick out the items from their list. If spending a few extra dollars on fun notebooks, folders, and pencils makes your child happy, that can translate to positivity in the classroom and while doing homework. Involve your child in the shopping process to get them invested!

When Packing the Night Before: Slip in Pieces of Home

Young children in particular often experience reluctance to leave home. And, if your child is a fresh-faced elementary schooler, they’ll be away from the nest for longer than they’re used to. For any of your homebodies and ankle-biters, try and put some small mementos in their school bags. Examples include a stuffed animal, favorite snack, or other trinkets. Avoid anything expensive, distracting, or that would bring a great deal of stress were it to be lost. In general, these pieces of home will help your child feel less anxious about the idea of being away.

When Preparing Lunches: Pack Some Comfort Foods

Turn an ordinary lunch period into something special for your kids. At the start of the school year, add the occasional sweet treat into your kids’ lunchboxes. Maybe you’ll bake some tasty chocolate chip cookies, prepare make-your-own pizzas, or slice some apples in a container with caramel sauce. Whatever the case, a taste of home can mean the world to your children, especially if school lunches on certain days look less-than-appetizing. Even if your kids are buying lunch, slip a favorite treat into their backpack!

When Helping With Homework: Be Patient & Praise Efforts

It may not be calculus or poetry explication, but elementary school homework can be pretty overwhelming for young kids. Whether learning multiplication tables or attempting a close-read of “The Three Little Pigs,” children need reassurance. If your child struggles with some of their homework lessons, stay patient and try explaining concepts in different ways. Even if your child doesn’t ace every question, praise them for their effort. Associating homework with positive feelings might not seem possible for kids, but they might be a bit more willing to sit down with their workbooks if they have a support system standing by.

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How to Encourage Children to Help With Chores

jennifer powers - how to encourage children to help with chores

If all members of your household work or learn full-time, you’ve probably created a chore schedule for everyone. Chores are a great way to teach children responsibility and cleanliness, but they aren’t always as fun as video games or television. If your children aren’t keen on drying dishes or making their beds, here are some tips to get them a bit more invested in housework.

Establish Rewards

This is by far the fastest and easiest way to entice children to help out around the house. Allowances, snacks, and extra computer or TV time are a few rewards that can inspire children to do their part. The right rewards can encourage children to complete their chores in a timely manner. However, you should always double-check and make sure that bigger chores, like cleaning a bedroom, aren’t simplified. The cartoon trope of shoving discarded items into an overstuffed closet had to have come from somewhere.

Set a Deadline

Hard deadlines are another useful trick to encourage the completion of chores. “Fold the laundry” comes off as vague and lackadaisical. To ensure your children understand the importance of chores, make sure assignments are clear, and set proper timelines for completion. For example, “please fold the laundry as soon as the dryer buzzes to avoid anything wrinkling. Then, bring the basket up to the living room so everyone can grab their items.” Notice the explanations given for actions you request, which establish the timeliness of the task. Clear instructions can also help eliminate the chance of chores being left half-finished.

Don’t Turn Chores into Punishments

If you want chores to become ordeals, assign them as punishments. That’s the fast-track to fostering animosity between children and their weekly duties. Chores should be built into schedules and considered part of home life, just like homework and family time. Avoid doling out extra chores when children misbehave. Chances are, this will create a negative opinion about all types of chores, not just the punishment. While children likely won’t grow to love cleaning, they can easily learn to loathe chores.

Make Chores a Team Effort

Convert multi-faceted chores, such as dusting or collecting items for donation, into a family activity. Put on some music, split up in teams, and see who can complete their duties quickly and accurately. Make a whole day of deep-cleaning the house, and enjoy a fun night out on the town as a job well-done. Building chores into family time helps children feel less overwhelmed with their responsibilities and can save you plenty of time on those tricky tasks. Take a look at your chores list and see which ones could translate into games!

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5 Ways To Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy

It almost goes without saying that parents want their kids to eat healthy. Getting healthy foods into your kids, however, is a whole different story. Unfortunately, supermarket shelves are loaded with foods laden with sugar and artificial ingredients that make foods more tasty and palatable for children. Add in the advertising marketing those foods and parents can be facing an uphill battle. There are, however, a number of ways to get your kids to actually be willing participants in eating healthy. Here are 5 ways to get your children to enjoy healthy food.

Hide the Vegetables

From blending up broccoli to put in spaghetti sauce to grinding up cauliflower to put in meatloaf, there are dozens of ways to pack extra nutrition into almost every type of food.  Sometimes the reluctance to eat healthy is more mental. Pulling a shade over the healthy options is a great way to have your child forget about the fact that they’re eating healthy options.  

Make Food Fun

Most parents have grown up with the idea that food is for eating, not for playing with. If you really want to get your kids interested in eating healthy foods, however, let them have some fun making their own snacks.

Grow Your Own

There may be nothing that will make kids more interested in healthy food than if they grow it themselves. If you have the time, space and energy to help them plant a full garden, then getting them to eat the results is generally a breeze. Even apartment dwellers or those with little time can still help their kids grow a wide variety of herbs and vegetables…

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Teaching Your Kids to Avoid Germs in School This Flu Season

Sneezing, body aches, fever, nausea, chills- the flu is no laughing matter, and no fun for your kids, or you to deal with. With the flu season starting in October and often peaking in February and March, it can be a challenge keeping kids healthy during the cold weather months. Luckily, there are several ways to prevent the spread of germs and help your child avoid getting sick this flu season.

Always Wash Your Hands

It may seem trivial, but proper hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses. Many children, and even some adults, do not wash their hands properly. Some don’t even wash them at all. Teaching children from a young age how to properly wash their hands with warm, soapy water is the first defense against germs. Make sure they are washing long enough by advising them to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while scrubbing their fingers and nails.

Provide Hand Washing Alternatives

Soap and water isn’t always available to children at school- especially if they are on a field trip or playing outside during recess. If the school allows it, place a small bottle of hand sanitizer in their backpack or lunch box for those times when they don’t have access to a sink.

Steer Clear of Sick Children

Socializing is an important part of the school day, but it’s also the easiest way to spread germs. Advise your child to be aware of other kids that are coughing and sneezing. If your child must go to school when they are sick, tell them to cough and sneeze into a tissue or the crook of their elbow to avoid spreading germs to others. Keep your child home if they have a fever of 100.5 or greater, or if they are vomiting. They can return to school after they are vomit and fever-free for 24 hours…

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