• Parenting Central Tips for Parents


Planning a Vacation This School Break? Here’s What You Can Do Both Indoors and Outdoors

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There’s never a bad time to ask the age-old question – What are you doing for this year’s vacation? With the pandemic (and all the uncertainty it causes) still in effect, your answer will depend on the destination in mind, if it is safe to travel there, your mode of transport, and the required precautions needed.

In this article, we share the best pandemic-friendly travel options for this year’s school break. We’ve also included some fun family activities if you decide to spend your holidays at home.

Let’s start with the pandemic friendly travel options:

Book a Private Vacation Home

As a family, a rental can prove to be a viable option as it allows you to book a home instead of just a room. Additionally, rentals include amenities such as a kitchen, porch, and backyard giving you the perfect “home away from home” experience.

Once you have a destination in mind, search for vacation rentals on apps such as Airbnb and Homeaway or contact a local rental company. Rentals are often cheaper if you book them for longer periods.

As for health and safety, rental platforms have come out with stringent cleaning protocols for all hosts. These include:

  • Mandatory masks when interacting with guests
  • Disinfecting all high-touch surfaces after each guest stay
  • Providing guests with sanitizers and other cleaning supplies if required

Vacation on an Island

According to AFAR, choosing an island resort can be the perfect choice to practice social distancing. Major hospitality chains such as Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, and more across the country are providing discounts to lure customers. As a result, you could stay at an island resort for a fraction of the price compared to pre-pandemic costs.

You can avail of the following services at a resort:

  • On-demand food service
  • Amenities such as private beaches, pools, etc.
  • Daily cleaning and disinfecting of your room

It is advisable to review the COVID-19 guest policy as a test report or vaccination proof might be needed prior to booking.

Rent a Recreational Vehicle (RV)

The popularity of RVs has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic as reported by TravelPulse. Since May 2020, more than 80% of RV renters have been first-time users. An RV provides all the basic amenities you need while allowing you to travel safely during the pandemic. 

Traveling in an RV can save you thousands on flight and hotel costs while allowing you to visit numerous places across your state or even the country! Popular places to visit include:

  • National Parks
  • Beaches
  • Camping Sites

If you’ve chosen to stay indoors this vacation, here are some fun activities to get the full family involved:

  • Re-paint your Front Door– All you need is one afternoon and a new vibrant color for your door. In the end, your home will have a fresh look and some extra curb appeal points. 
  • Build a Bookshelf– This will require the supervision of your kids but will teach them some valuable carpentry and painting skills. Visit your local hardware store to buy the necessary supplies, choose the design and get right down to it.
  • Construct a Treehouse– A treehouse is sure to bring back some fond memories. This project will require proper planning, to ensure it is safe and durable. Additionally, it might take a good week to complete it, keeping you busy for most of the holidays.
  • Install a Fence– This could be the most challenging project from the list as it can involve carpentry, welding, painting, and landscaping. You’ll need to choose the type of fence and the required height and location before beginning to build. 

Whether you plan to travel or stay in the comfort of your home, this school break you have plenty of amazing options to choose from. Remember to stay safe and take necessary precautions.

Painless Parenting Strategies to Help Your Child With Their Homework

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Every parent wants their child to do his or her best in school. One of the assessments used to track a child’s progress in school is homework. However, most children don’t get excited at the thought of having to do homework, which can make it one of the most difficult things to get your child to do. If homework is a bone of contention between you and your child, then worry no more. Here are a few painless strategies to help put an end to homework conflicts, including some tips on how to use technology to your advantage.

Connect with help

For most parents, it has been years since they came across a high school math problem. No matter how much you want to help your children, there are bound to be times the questions they ask fall outside your area of expertise. Edmentum explains this is a good time to explain to your child you don’t know the answers, but you will help in whatever way you can.

Luckily, there are many services and resources such as STEMful‘s classes and camps, as well as online references such as Homework Helper and Fact Monster that can come to the rescue. Look for websites and apps that are age- and learning-level appropriate, in addition to matching with subject matter. Seeking additional help will not only have your child better prepared, but it also helps them develop research skills that will surely be helpful in the future. 

Use appropriate tools

Along with curriculum changing, the tools children need for learning have evolved. It is no longer sufficient to stock a backpack with pens, notepads, highlighters, and paperclips. Kids need electronics to assist with their educational endeavors. To run current apps, videos, and other resources, your child needs a device, such as a tablet, that will be comfortable to use. Look for one with ample battery life, an excellent display and plenty of power and memory. Pair the tablet with a folio case so that it’s not only protected, but it makes looking at the screen easier for you and your child.  

Kids Health points out many parents find it beneficial to install parental controls on whatever device is used, as that will only allow children access to the sites and programs necessary for school work. Not only will this keep your child focused, it helps protect your child from internet predators.

Create the right environment

Every child has his or her favorite workspace; for some, it might be the dining room table, while others might prefer the comfort of their rooms. Whatever the location, it is essential that you make it an environment that will provide the right working and learning conditions for your child.

Ensure that the space is comfortable, well-stocked with school supplies, well-lit, and free from distractions. For your child’s comfort, consider supportive, ergonomic furniture for lengthy study sessions, and add appropriate chargers for whatever electronics are used so your youngster doesn’t need to drop everything when a battery runs low.

Get more involved

Try to be close during homework sessions so you can offer guidance and support. Even when the assignment is outside your realm of knowledge, you can help your child interpret instructions and by reviewing the work once it’s complete. While being more involved is important, fight the urge to complete your child’s assignments or provide the correct answers.

Instead, encourage your youngster in a manner that will help develop your child’s problem-solving skills. Start by setting up a school work routine that details the time and place homework should be done. Instill organization skills by teaching them how to use a planner or a notebook to jot down the given assignments along with their due dates, or even encouraging your child to use an app that helps with organization and time management. Whatever solution will appeal to your youngster is a good one!

While rewarding your child is encouraged, you might also want to consider letting them know of the consequences of them not following the set homework routine.

When it Comes to Learning, Fun Makes All the Difference for Kids: Tips for Parents

Have you ever wondered what to do with your kids on a slow weekend when there’s nothing else going on? You could turn them loose on gaming devices and let them play away the hours, or look the other way while they text the latest gossip to school friends, exchange snapshots on Instagram, or head over to Facebook so everyone knows what they had for lunch. It may keep them occupied, but they’re empty hours, time that could be better spent engaging in fun educational activities that support what they’re learning in school. 

The ideal scenario would be to intermix educational activities with school-based learning so that key concepts are reinforced. Also bolstered is rote learning, which, as Oxford Learning explains, helps kids develop foundational knowledge and the ability to quickly recall facts. 

If you’re not sure how to go about it or what constitutes an educational activity, consider the following ideas:

Storytime With Apps

Parents should always make time for storytime! Reading stories helps kids build their literacy skills, fuel their imagination, boost their creativity, and they’re just plain fun. Plus, when you read a story using an app like Unuhi, your child gets access to a bilingual feature, which can be a helpful tool for learning another language. It’s a good idea to use a screen protector for your iPad to keep your device safe from scratches and to keep text and pictures visible on the screen.

The Alphabet in Pictures

For this activity, your kids will need to know how to use a basic point-and-click camera or your smartphone, if no cameras are available. Tell them to take pictures of everything from A to Z, and write down every object they photograph. It’s a good exercise for strengthening vocabulary and word-object association skills and, hopefully, instill an interest in photography. Make a game of it with the promise of a special sweet treat for everyone who gets through the entire alphabet. 

Physical Interaction

The more you can couple learning with physical activity, the more likely you are to engage a child’s interest, according to Parenting Science. It’s also a good way to let them burn off some pent-up energy. Young ones love to play games with balloons, so hang a piece of string or twine across the family room or basement for a game of balloon volleyball — the kids will be squealing with delight in no time. 

There’s nothing quite like a good old-fashioned scavenger hunt, a great way to teach kids to follow instructions. They’ll also enjoy playing their own homemade musical instruments. Get out some wooden or plastic spoons and those old cooking pots and plastic beach buckets, and record your little ones as they rock out on their favorite tunes. (But be sure to keep the Ibuprofen handy!)


A surprising amount of people (adults included) lack knowledge of basic geography; don’t let that happen with your kids. Cut out pieces of colored paper in the shape of the seven continents, and using a smaller piece of paper, cut out the shape of an airplane. Then, place the names of each continent on a small piece of paper, put them in a large glass or bowl, have each kid pick a continent, and have them put the paper plane on the appropriate space.  

Make Your Own Lava

If the kids think volcanoes are cool, they’d probably jump at a chance to make their own lava. For this one, all you need is a tall drinking glass or beaker, vegetable oil, water, some food coloring, and a couple teaspoons of salt. Fill the glass about three-quarters full of water, followed by several drops of food coloring (whatever color you like) and a quarter cup of vegetable oil. The oil will float to the top of the glass. Then, sprinkle two teaspoons of salt onto the oil to create colorful globs of “lava.” 

Adding salt will keep the process going. It’s a pretty cool rudimentary chemistry experiment, one that teaches kids about the different properties of common substances. The oil floats, because it’s lighter than water. The salt is heavier, so it will sink into the water along with some oil, but when the salt dissolves, the oil it dragged down floats back to the top. 

Despite a mild revulsion toward schoolwork, children actually enjoy learning new stuff, especially when it has a definite “cool” factor. You can stimulate their curiosity with easy yet educational activities that cost nearly nothing to put together. That’s a blessing on a lazy Saturday or Sunday when there isn’t much going on.

Courtesy of Pixabay

It’s Never Too Late to Teach Kids to Have Healthy Habits

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When you have kids, it is your responsibility to teach them habits that will help them live their healthiest life. Things like finding the fun in exercise, making healthy food choices, and spending time with the right kinds of people are all values that we can instill that will have a positive lifelong impact. Learn more about teaching your children how to develop healthy habits.

Physical Activity

Exercise is essential for all ages, but it doesn’t always have to come in the form of a regimented program. Some children can burn calories and keep themselves healthy while engaging in outdoor learning opportunities. Hiking, exploring, and swimming are all great ways to spend time together as a family while staying fit. Even children geared more toward intellectual endeavors can join in on the fun. Take astronomy, for example, you and your kids can walk around at night looking for stars and constellations, which you can then identify with a smartphone app. This is a win/win: exercise and education. Just be sure to carry around a wireless charger to keep your phone powered up. And remember, the trick with exercise is to cater the activities to your children’s interests. When they look at it as fun, it won’t feel like such a chore.


Young children naturally gravitate toward sweet foods. From a scientific standpoint, this makes perfect sense. A child’s predisposition to shun bitterness is a biological function that helps them avoid toxic substances and ensure they prefer their mothers’ milk. However, a lingering love of sweets can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

To encourage children to eat healthy, model this behavior yourself. Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Perhaps most importantly, get your kids in the kitchen to help you prepare food. When kids have some control over what they eat, they are more likely to experiment with wholesome ingredients and to try new things.

Peer Relationships

Children, especially adolescents and teenagers, want to fit into the crowd. But, as we all remember, finding the right group of friends can be terribly confusing and challenging. Talk to your children early about spotting toxic friendships. If they cringe when they receive a text message or don’t like being around a friend or group of friends, it’s time to find a new peer group. Women’s Health also points out that knowing that someone is talking behind your back and having a realization that a friend’s advice is always bad advice are other signs to move on.

Raising assertive children – the kind that will stand up for themselves even against their friends – starts by talking about the different styles of communication: assertive, aggressive, and passive. You also want to teach them about boundaries and model confidence in your own adult relationships. This might mean cutting your high school best friend out or even leaving an unhealthy romantic relationship. A key point here is that children mimic what they see. 

There are so many moving pieces to the puzzle that is childhood. It would be impossible to cover them all in a single blog post. But, those listed above – eating well, exercising, and choosing the right friends – are a great start to a solid foundation. Remember, teaching your children healthy habits starts with you and it starts today.