The Winter Blues…

snoopy snow When I was younger I used to do the “snow dance” the night before a snow day and now have the tables turned.  I dread the sound of the phone ringing and their school telling me     that school is closed.  Keeping them occupied in the house is no easy task!  I guess I now know how my parents felt when I had snow days.  The first snow day my kids were able to occupy themselves but now that we are on our third in less than two weeks they officially have cabin fever!  I am sure that most parents in our area are facing the same dilemma…what do we do with our kids when we are trapped in the house?

Video games, movies, TV and iPad’s can keep them entertained for only so long and let’s be honest they are not the best things for their growing minds.  It is hard to think of things to do in the house with your children, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve that help make the day go quickly in my house.

Letting my kids help me cook is one way that I help pass the time and keep their little bodies and minds occupied.  Whether it is breakfast, lunch, dinner, baking a snack or all of the above they will have a blast!  Little one’s can use a plastic knife to help cut things and help with mixing and stirring and older one’s can learn about measurements while cooking with you.  You then get to enjoy a yummy meal and/or snack together!

Playing in the snow is another past time that can be used but sometimes it is too cold and yucky to go outside and play.  This problem can be solved by bringing the snow in to the house!  Take a bucket, lay down some towels and let the kids have fun!  Do an experiment by seeing how long the snow takes to melt and store some in the freezer for later.

I always keep craft materials around to keep them occupied as well.  Paint some snowmen or make some fun winter animals with the kids.  You can use cotton balls for polar bears, black and white paper with some fasteners to make penguins and other fun activities!

My best advice though is to keep calm and spring is right around the corner!

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Back to School Routine!

It is almost that time of year again where parents and students are preparing for the first day of school (parent’s a little more enthusiastic about this return than their students of course!). After a summer full of fun and vacations it is important now to start helping your students get ready for this return. Here are some helpful tips to make your child’s first day of school a success!
Developing and adhering to a routine is extremely important to keeping life organized, less chaotic and from preventing any unnecessary anxiety. Today for many, life goes by in a blur and we are always in a rush. Moms and dads have to get to work, students have practices and extracurricular activities that they must attend after school and every weekend is packed with errands, chores, games and plans. It is important, however, to keep some sort of routine in place to keep this already chaotic life from becoming even crazier.
One of the most important parts of a routine is bedtime. Sleep is extremely important for children and for many parents bedtime can be the most stressful time of the day. In order to make this part of your day go by easier for both you and your student start by setting up a bedtime routine. Set a time in which children are to go to sleep and begin a half an hour to 45 minutes earlier. You may start with a bath and preparing for bed and then end with a story. If you adhere to the same routine each night bedtime will go by much easier and your child will be getting the necessary sleep that they need. This bedtime routine will also make waking your student up in the morning much easier. They will be well rested so they will not be as tired in the morning. To make the bedtime routine successful for the start of school you should slowly ease your child into it 10-14 days before the start of school.
The morning is probably the second most important part of a routine. The morning is usually the time that we are the most rushed. Children have to be at school at a certain time and moms and dads have to get to work. Unfortunately how our morning goes is usually what sets the tone for the rest of our day, so if you have a morning filled with anxiety well then your more than likely to feel anxious all day. In order to avoid rushing and anxiety in the morning try to get some things out of the way the night before such as laying out the clothes, preparing the lunches, putting the backpacks by the door and even setting out the dishes and utensils for breakfast. Also wake up with enough time to get the morning routine done without rushing. I know we all want to press the snooze button one more time but try not to! Set an alarm for your child as well, this will not only help you but it will teach your student to become more independent. Whether you want your child to get dressed first or eat breakfast that is completely up to you but make sure that you adhere to the same schedule each morning! You will be pleasantly surprised in October when you don’t have to tell your child to get dressed or eat breakfast a million times! By the way breakfast is the most important meal of the day so please make sure your child eats a little something even though they do not want to (the same goes for you too)!
The afternoon is probably just as hectic as the other parts of your day as you are running around taking your children to extracurricular activities and practices and trying to get a decent meal ready for your family! During all this chaos though don’t forget about homework! Homework is very important and you need to stress that to your student. Homework should not be rushed so find a time in your busy schedule where your student can sit quietly and focus on their homework. (Stay tuned for our next topic which will be all about homework tips and how to set a routine for your student to make homework less stressful for both you and your student!)
The evening is probably the more relaxed part of the day (although most evenings in our household don’t seem that way!) but that does not mean that you should not have a routine. Try to eat dinner at the same time each evening and set some down time aside for your child. If your child completes their homework at after care set aside a few minutes each evening to go over your child’s homework with them. This will keep you apprise on what your student is learning and also show your child that you are interested and that academics are important to you.
Setting and adhering to a routine may seem like a daunting task at first but after a few weeks it will make your life easier! Check out our next topic: Helpful Homework Tips: How to make homework time successful!