When Netflix’s popular “13 Reasons Why” series about a teen suicide prompted the Palm Beach County School District Superintendent to send a warning letter to parents on its negative impact, Stand UP Foundation’s teens were inspired and have launched a positive campaign – #13ReasonsWhy#WeStandUP for Social and Emotional Health.
Timed to coincide and work with the Great Give Palm Beach & Martin Counties online fundraising campaign on May 17, 2017, Stand UP Foundation teens are bringing awareness to programs they already have in place that address adolescent social and emotional wellness topics and provide ways to keep healthy teens healthy and resources for and support to those struggling.
“Our teens put together 13 Videos, 13 Blogs and 13+ Resources to share their story why an organization like Stand UP is so critical to continue to thrive,” said Ashley Le Grange, a licensed mental health therapist who founded and directs the nonprofit organization Stand UP Foundation. “Watching the Netflix series may leave you asking well now what? This “catalyst for conversation” can be good but we go beyond shock and talk to promoting prevention, teaching leadership skills, mentoring and building connections and collaboration among teens and the community.”
“When you see Royals Prince William and Princess Kate, our own First Lady Melania Trump and pop icons like Demi Lovato all pushing for taking the stigma away from different aspects of social and emotional health conditions and assuring people that asking for help is OK, you know our culture and communities need to change,” added Le Grange. “SUF’s programs teach high school students to be leaders, peer advisers and mentors to middle school students and stress prevention, responsibility and resiliency. By starting to work with middle school students today, we hope to make their lives happier now and later and help avoid the current problem we are now seeing at our state colleges that have long waiting lists for students who want to see campus counselors because they are struggling adjusting.”
Stand UP Foundation has organized conferences, awareness walks, retreats and camps addressing topics such as suicide prevention, bullying, eating disorders, healthy highs, and stress management. This summer Stand UP with Camp H2O partners SUF with Blue Line Surf and Paddle Co. to provide healthy water-based physical exercises in combination with themed social and emotional growth topic activities. The camp is for ages 6-14. High school students interested in training to become volunteer counselors and receive community service hours are encouraged to attend an information meeting with their parents on May 22, 5:30pm at the Stand UP Foundation office. Register at www.standupfoundationfl.org or call (772) 263-3974.
Although the Great Give Palm Beach and Martin Counties 24-hour online fundraising event doesn’t begin until midnight on May 17, donors interested in supporting Stand UP Foundation may make a pledge now as well as view the 13 Videos, 13 Blogs and 13+ Resources at www.standupfoundationfl.org. Donors will be directed on May 17 to give at the official Great Give website at www.GreatGiveFlorida.org . Stand UP Foundation will also have an information table at the Great Give CityPlace Takeover from 10am-9pm on May 17 at the CityPlace plaza in West Palm Beach.
(back row left to right: Mason Adams, Charles Brenner, Mark Hanna, Jeremy Loomis, Boys Director, Cameron Hanna; front row left to right: Owen Blackwell, Clara Sullivan, Brianne Jordan, Lindsay Kehl, Haley Rothman) Teen leaders from Stand UP Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing prevention, leadership and mentoring programs, are fundraising with the Great Give Palm Beach and Martin Counties on May 17 online and at CityPlace plaza in West Palm Beach. www.standupfoundationfl.org and www.GreatGiveFlorida.org
How Much Water Do You Need Daily?
We’ve all heard that drinking 8 cups of water a day is the right amount for us, but is that really true? Let’s check how much water do you need daily!
I know I drink water like a horse, and I drink 3 to 5 cups with my midday meal alone. If I were to drink just eight glasses of water per day, I’d probably shrivel up and die from thirst. So how much water do I really need? How much you do you need?
Hydration is also important in order to cut cellulite on your stomach!
Your Body Knows Best
When it comes to drinking water, listen to your body. It will tell you, “Hey pal, how about some hydration? I’m getting a bit parched over here!”
Your mouth will get a bit dry, and you’ll find that your head feels full of wool when you need to drink water bad. When it reaches this level, it means that you’re in serious need of hydration. In fact, if you notice that your mouth is very dry, your body is probably already suffering from a lack of water.
Your thirst is only noticeable when the concentration of your blood increases by about 2%, and dehydration only starts at about 5%.
Very few of us notice that our mouths are leathery and dry throughout the day, as we are fairly busy people. When we do notice, we usually take steps to drink more water, and we feel great that we’re solving our thirst problem.
However, drinking more water than we’re accustomed to can actually be good for our health!
You’ve probably heard that drinking water can help to make weight loss easier, and studies in 2003, 2007, and 2008 proved that increasing water intake can help your body burn more calories, reduce the amount of food you eat, and speed up your metabolism.
Water can help you to lose weight, but the primary way that it does so is by filling your stomach and stopping you from eating and drinking things that will increase your body’s calorie count.
Check here what is fat flush water and what does it do
So How Much is Enough?
The Institute of Medicine has determined how much water the average man or woman needs to drink to be healthy:
Men — The average man should drink 3.7 liters or 15 cups of water per day.
Women — The average woman should drink 2.7 liters or 11 cups of water per day.
That’s a lot more than the 8 cups that you’re used to drinking! The good news is that you don’t need to get all of your water just by drinking!
The recommendations above is for total water intake, which means liquid in all of its forms. The water can come from fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, and, yes, even beer! (I know what I’m going to do to increase my liquid intake this weekend!)
Lifehack: Make drinking water every hour on the hour a habit. If you drink one cup every hour, you’ll get more than your 8 glasses per day. Once you get used to drinking one glass every hour, it will be easy to drink 2 or 3 glasses per hour. You’ll have to pee a lot more, but it will help regulate your body!
You might also like: Bottled Water VS Tap Water: Is The Extra Money Really Worth It?
A Word for the Wise: Cut Out Flavored Drinks
Did you know that drinking lots of water is one of the natural remedies against cellulite?
Drinking more water is just the smart thing to do, but many people opt to drink other liquids in order to increase their total water intake throughout the day.
While drinking soda, coffee, tea, beer, and other drinks will help you to get more liquids in your body, you’re doing two things wrong:
- Adding Calories — All of the drinks above have calories, which means that you’re adding extra calories to your diet and giving yourself more energy to burn to avoid gaining weight.
- Adding the Wrong Nutrients — Coffee and tea both contain healthy nutrients, but they usually are accompanied by sugar and milk. Beer and soda both have lots of sugar and calories, so they’ll just go straight to your gut.
The truth is that water is the best thing for you to drink if you want to get more liquid and hydrate yourself properly!
It’s a calorie-free beverage, so you won’t have to worry about increasing the amount of food you eat every day. There’s nothing harmful in clean drinking water, so toxins and chemicals aren’t a concern with water.
Find the fruits and vegetables that are rich in water and low in calories, and stay hydrated the tasty, low fat way. Watermelons and strawberries are both 92% water, and you can get about 115 grams of water from an apple or a red tomato. Get enough water and keep that calorie consumption low by eating these healthy fruits and veggies!
Add more water to your diet, and don’t be content with just the 11 to 15 cup minimum. It will do your body a whole lot of good to get more water, so bottom’s up!
Here’s an interesting infographic I have found at skinnyms.com
Slumber Party Planning Tips
As much as you want to give your child a fun slumber party, let’s face it — inviting a bunch of kids into your home (not just to hang out for a few hours, but also to sleep overnight) can be daunting. You have to think about sleeping arrangements, food, activities and more. How can you minimize stress? What are some good tips for slumber party planning? To help answer these questions, here are some key ideas to keep in mind:
- Determine the guest list. Decide ahead of time how many kids you can logistically fit in your home, and ask your child who he or she wants to invite accordingly. If you already know your home can’t accommodate 12 kids, it’s best to say so upfront and minimize the guest list to the number you can handle. Likewise, if kids will need to sleep in more than one location, draw names about who sleeps where in order to avoid hurt feelings.
- Plan a simple, fun menu. Typically at a slumber party, you can expect to provide the evening’s dinner, a variety of snacks, and the next morning’s breakfast. Save yourself some stress by keeping the food simple: Find out if any kids have allergies ahead of time, and then create a kid-friendly menu. Dinner could be pizza or takeout. Snacks could be items that are easy to pick up at the store like chips, crackers, fruit, candy, desserts and so on. Then, in the morning, you can provide store-bought muffins, a prepped breakfast casserole you can pop in the oven, fruit, donuts, juice and milk.
- Stick to disposables. Especially if you’re planning a slumber party for lots of children, skip washing dishes and go with disposable plates and utensils. This will make cleanup easier and simplify meal times.
- Plan a few fun activities. There are lots of ways to keep kids entertained at a slumber party. You might ask your child to pick a movie or two that everyone can watch, or you could get everyone involved in meal prep by having them top their own pizzas or put together simple sandwiches. Set out board games and card games. Provide a stack of mad libs. Another idea is to have the kids take on some sort of DIY project like using fabric markers on T-shirts or making their own jewelry.
- Make nighttime less scary. For those kids who are afraid of the dark but embarrassed to say so, leaving a nightlight or hallway light on can be a real comfort. Likewise, you can make the party more fun and add illumination by ordering glow sticks or other glow-in-the-dark products that you hand out to participants.
- Communicate expectations. Be in touch with parents about your expectations — what time to drop off kids, what time to pick them up, what kids need to bring to the party, etc. The better you communicate, the less chance for misunderstandings. Likewise, make sure all the parents have your phone number and you have theirs in case something comes up and you need to reach them.
- Get backup. If you’re at all unsure about being able to handle the party alone, enlist backup by way of a spouse, friend or other parent. Having other adults on hand to manage logistics, answer questions, comfort kids, etc., will help ensure everything goes smoothly.
The good news, when it comes to a slumber party, is that you don’t have to be overwhelmed by the prospect. With ample preparation you can minimize stress and everyone can enjoy a safe, fun experience!
Author bio: Jeremy Thompson is a born entrepreneur and Partner at Premier Glow. His many businesses include a DJ company, selling bubble gum and novelty toys.
12 Amazing Reasons Why Dogs Are Good to Help Raise Children
It takes a village to raise a kid. That’s an old saying that holds true to this day. The extended family setup may have evolved and changed to mean day care, pre-school, and a baby sitter but the concept is unchanged. Another reliable “village member” that will help you care for your kid and keep him company is your dog.
Yes, it’s true; dogs have a soft spot for babies, and vice versa. Together, they make a household more fun, a little more chaotic, but certainly with more love to go around. Growing up with dogs will teach your kids a lot, including to be more generous with their time, space, food, and affection. They will know that they are not the center of their parents’ universes, and that there will be times that your child and your dog will have to rely on one another for companionship. They will grow up as inseparable buddies.
Dogs have incredible maternal instincts. They will protect the child as fiercely as they would their own pups. There have been many videos on YouTube and Facebook where dogs have saved the lives of their owners or their children. These are real-life stories, and we know that there are thousands more that have not been captured on film.
Our infographic illustrates how friendships between man and dog start at the tender years. Read on and prepare to shed a tear or two. There’s plenty of love to go around inside your home. If you’re looking for more information on dogs and kids, check out this post by Maternity Glow. https://www.maternityglow.com/dogs-kids-benefits/
Six Tips for a Healthy Winter Season with the Whole Family
As winter approaches, many parents are looking for ways to counter the often excess eating that comes with the holidays. It can be difficult to remain active in the cold weather, contributing to some extra winter weight. These simple steps can help you eat better and exercise more, based on proven principles and research from ChildObesity180 at Tufts University.
- Plan ahead to make sure healthy choices are always on-hand. Meal planning for the week ahead will not only ensure that you set up healthier options for day-to-day choices, but can also become a creative outlet for families to plan together. Plan for meals that have a balance of healthy fats, lean protein and complex carbohydrates. Try a “Meatless Monday” or similar theme night to simplify planning even more.
- Build a better lunch (together). Involving kids in the cooking process can get them more excited about what’s in their lunchbox and help you avoid calorie-dense fare in favor of more wholesome options. Try packing lunch-sized portions of fruits and veggies over the weekend to streamline lunchbox prep on cold winter school mornings.
- Join the “balanced plate” club. Instead of focusing on the “clean plate club”, which can send the message that portions don’t matter, talk to kids about how to set up a balanced plate. ChooseMyPlate.gov has resources and clear, colorful visuals. Challenge your family to serve themselves dinner and learn appropriate portions of fruits, veggies, grains, protein and dairy.
- Eat the rainbow. Foods that are (naturally) brightly colored are full of different antioxidants, vitamins and minerals—and they tend to be fruits and veggies. If you and your family “eat the rainbow” by including seasonal foods of every color between breakfast, lunch and dinner, you’ll be sure to get a mix of these essential nutrients. Younger children might have fun with a chart that helps them track their “rainbow foods” every day.
- Move more by making family activities physical activities. It’s easy to incorporate meaningful movement into typically sedentary activities. Try doing jumping jacks, pushups, or wall sits during TV time, especially in the commercial breaks. Make household chores a game, race, or obstacle course that encourages extra steps. Turn up the music and dance your way through dusting and vacuuming to increase the cardio impact – just don’t go too quickly to make sure you still pass the white glove test!
- Get out of the house to limit screen time. Especially in wintertime, the snow and cold can persuade us to keep warm indoors with our favorite shows. We all know it’s important to limit screen time, but it can be hard to cut back on a habit without building a new one. Making a rule to spend more time outside as a family – even just 20 minutes each day – can give you the extra push to stick with it. Try hiking, ice skating, basketball, or rock-climbing for a change of pace. Experimenting with new activities and adding a new spin to established routines will keep things interesting and increase your chances of finding activities that the whole family will enjoy. aabgsdfkdkdfkOver time it may even become second nature to head outside to play instead of straight toward the couch or the fridge.
Forming healthy habits like these early in a child’s life can help to prevent serious issues like obesity down the road—and they’ll last far longer than anything on your holiday shopping list. For more resources, visit www.ChildObesity180.org.
IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, IT’S ABOUT ME!
By Miyelmi Josefina Abraham
Follow us on Instagram: @mypositivekidcoach
It is a common expression used in Spanish; from which, I would like to start writing this, the 1st article to my Blog of Life Coaching for parents. From this phrase, I can give off many analogies; but the main one, in my opinion, that words, reflect the biggest challenge of human relationships: The world does not revolve around you!
We live on a planet where there are as many perspectives as people are in it!
So, at this point, I would like to highlight the relevance in our lives and our relationships; of a word, that people often use but most of them don’t know how to practice: Empathy.
According to the website “definición.de “this word derives from the Greek word “empatheia”, also called interpersonal intelligence (a term coined by Howard Gardner) and refers to the cognitive ability of a person, to understand the emotional universe of another” .
Based on that definition, which I can take 3 keywords: skill, understanding and emotions; I could say that “empathy is the ability to understand emotions”. This means, that individuals need to develop skills for managing emotions as an essential tool for life. This teaching comes from early childhood; so, parents must help children, to discover and understand the feelings of others and their own. If they cannot express their emotions, it is difficult to develop a real empathy with someone around. You have to show them the world, with a vision of sensitivity.
So, Empathy, is part of our essence as human beings, begins with our ability to understand from another perspective (learning even on the expectation of others), it is not about to change our view, religion or values, it is simply to assess people’ perspectives and caring for others.
From my view; “Empathy is the key to change the world!” Starting because it would help prevent bullying and other forms of intolerance.
But how we can cultivate an empathy culture in our children?
There are several methods, tips and techniques that can help in this process. But I’m going to share with you what I have defined as the 6 commandments to help children develop empathy:
- Be empathetic with your children. That helps them to develop …
Self-esteem: be always positive.
Confidence: You know how fun it is to be a child, because you are also one *
Security: We learn from our mistakes.
2. Be empathetic to your environment …
Gratitude:after received a good service.
Sensibility: To forgive others for any wrongdoing to us, everyone has had a bad day once.
Equality: Each work is needed in the world. We are all valuable.3. Provide opportunities for children to practice empathy…
Teamwork: Sports, board games or any game that require decision.
Family: Let your children participate in family conflicts or challenges where they can review and understand the perspective of a family member.
Review: Talk with your children about controversial issues, giving your views on others and encouraging them to participate.4. Encourage your children to express their emotions.
Fun: Play with your kids something like… “My favorite thing is…” The best part of my day was…” “One thing that upset me was…” “My favorite person is … because I love it when …”
Freedom: Do not force your children to feel your way, to love something or someone just because you think is right. Explain why that is important for you, but respect his/her feelings. Also ask why and how you can help?5. Making mistakes is natural and is ok!
You have made mistakes and you keep doing. Kids are human as well. Being mad about their mistakes, just makes them feel, they are doing something wrong and you will be disappointed about them. You should say that is normal, and encourage them to find solutions.
- Being different is wonderful!
Perfection does not exist. It’s all about perspective!
Disillusionment is relative. It is an expectations improper handling.These 6 Commandments will help you to cultivate a culture of empathy with your children and maintain healthy relationships! So, START NOW!My wishes for you: Tears of joy, warm hugs and HAPPY children!If you liked this article, share it! and remember to follow us on Instagram: @mypositivekidcoach* Includes maturity and physical changes
Acai, Hibiscus & Banana Popsicles
It’s been so nice and warm the last couple of days that I couldn’t help myself and made some popsicles. I actually had one for breakfast this morning. They are super easy to make and quite healthy too. I made a reduction with acai pulp, hibiscus tea and banana. Then I swirled it around with Greek yogurt. A guilt free breakfast that tastes like dessert!
This recipe makes about 7 small popsicles
½ cup of dried hibiscus flowers
1 cup of boiling water
100gr of frozen acai pulp
8 tablespoons of honey
1 banana, chopped
2 cups of Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon of vanilla essence
For the chocolate shell:
300grs of dark chocolate, chopped
3 teaspoons of coconut oil
Dried coconut (optional)
Place the hibiscus flowers in a small bowl, add the boiling water and let it steep for 5 minutes.
Once the 5 minutes are up, pass the tea through a sieve and discard of the flowers.
Place the hibiscus tea, 6 tablespoons of honey, acai and banana in the blender. Blend until smooth.
Then place the mixture in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Let it reduce to a thick syrup while stirring so it doesn’t burn. This will take about 5 minutes. Then transfer it to a bowl to cool down.
Once the acai mixture has cooled down, start making the yogurt part. Whisk the Greek yogurt with the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey and vanilla.
Place a bit of the acai mixture in the popsicle molds, then add some of the Greek yogurt and then some more of the acai mixture. Use a toothpick or tip of a knife, to make the swirls. Insert the sticks and freeze overnight.
If you want to coat them in chocolate, microwave the dark chocolate with the coconut oil in intervals of 30 seconds. Stirring in between until it is completely melted. Dip the popsicles in the chocolate shell and immediately sprinkle some of the dried coconut. You can eat them right away. If you want to keep them in the freezer, wrap them individually in plastic film or a Ziploc bag.
Checklist for Playground Safety
It doesn’t matter if it’s a playground at school, in the community or rigged in your own backyard, any place where you’re going to let your child play is a place that needs to be inspected regularly for safety. What goes into a properly functioning playground? How can you conduct your own playground inspection in order to feel confident that your child or children can be safe? To help answer these questions, here’s a playground inspection checklist. To determine the security of a given play area, these are the things to look out for and avoid:
- Broken or Rusted Equipment: Loose bolts, busted swings, missing caps and cracks in materials are all warning signs that playground safety has been compromised. Be especially sure to look for cracks in plastics. Likewise, metals that rust or corrode over time become less durable and more dangerous. Check the places where metals come into contact with the ground and see if damage has occurred.
- Broken Glass and Trash: Debris around a playground is more than unsightly; it’s dangerous. Broken glass can cut kids and cause infections. Trash can create hazards that make it easier to fall or get hurt. Before letting children play at a site, make sure all broken glass, trash and debris is gone.
- Loose Anchoring: Check to see how securely playground components are anchored into the ground and other components. If the connections are loose, the equipment is more likely to come apart and cause injuries.
- Displaced Surfacing Any playground that has loose-fill surfacing needs to be inspected for displacement in high-traffic areas. Look especially under the swings and the slide exits — is the ground uniform and even? If not, it’s an accident waiting to happen. For playgrounds with unitary surfacing, inspect for any holes, flakes or buckling.
- User or Insect Damages: Vandalism at a playground can range from annoying graffiti to dangerous equipment tampering — inspect carefully to see what has been modified. Likewise, check for ways that local insects or animals may have tampered with the playground.
After conducting your playground inspection and finding none of the above problems in place, you can let kids play there happily and freely — what’s more, you can do it with full peace of mind.
Tips For Parents Of Youth Athletes
As parents, it’s only natural to want your children to succeed in endeavors like school and sports. Adults who put their kids into athletics, however, need to remember that sports stop being fun for kids when too much pressure falls on their shoulders to succeed instead of enjoying the game. While all parents have a high emotional stake in their children’s games, parents of players need to ensure that every action they take centers around just one outcome: making sure their kid is safe and happy on the field, ice or track.
Lead by Example
Inevitably, parents pass their characteristics to their kids, meaning that active parents will be more likely to raise active children. Indeed, there’s a genetic component to health, with overweight parents more likely to raise overweight children. Children imitate behavior they see every day. Those who watch their parents lounge while watching television will be less likely to enjoy sports and exercise, while those who watch their parents participate in active hobbies will want to pursue the same hobbies. Exhibit the type of lifestyle you want your child to exemplify, both in sports and in other activities, by committing to healthy lifestyles with enthusiasm, so that they will always want to lace up for the next game.
Let Kids Decide
While some parents may dream that their child will succeed at the same sports they played, not all kids enjoy the same sports as their parents. Some kids may prefer a more active sport, or a more cerebral sport, or a sport with more physicality. Give kids lots of time and room to find out which types of sports are their favorite — whether it’s football, tennis or Ping-Pong — and allow them to quit whenever it’s clear they aren’t having fun.
Kids, in general, aren’t great at making decisions. This doesn’t mean you should make the decision for them, but help them clearly understand the positives and negatives of playing a sport, then compare it with pros and cons of changing to another activity. Your child’s participation should make him/her a happier, healthier individual; whenever he/she is neither happy nor healthy it’s time to change the plan.
Never be the Second Coach
While every parent should show up to as many of their kids’ games as possible to support the team, parents need to understand the importance of distancing themselves from the coach or referees. Parents at a game are not the coaches: they do not have any input on which kids go onto the field and which come off, nor do they have the ability to determine penalties or misconduct. A bit of good-natured grumbling about a foul is one thing, but parents who are disruptive during a game or who demand that coaches adhere to their specific wishes lead to a tremendous source of stress for their kids and the entire team.
It’s typical for coaches to quit their position of authority due to overbearing parents attempting to “help” a team. One coach calls it the ESPN effect, where parents watch sports on television and feel like they have the experience and competency needed to determine which players should be on the field. When their kid plays a game, the best role the parent can assume is a fan; and the worst role a parent can take is a second coach.
Participate, When Possible
Parents who are used to their kid being away all day at school may find themselves using youth sports as a means of getting their son/daughter out of the house for another few hours each day. While youth sports offers parents the chance to run an occasional errand knowing that their child is busy, parents should never rely on youth sports for the express purpose of a babysitter. It’s crucial to get involved with the team, whether it is raising funds for uniforms, carpooling kids to and from practices, bringing snacks on game day, or organizing road games against out-of-town teams. Parents who put in the elbow grease to make the team stronger will find their kids invest more effort and enjoy the process than parents who use it as a way to keep their child occupied.
About the author:
AJ Lee is a Marketing Specialist at Pro Stock Hockey, an online resource for pro stock hockey equipment. He picked up his first hockey stick at age 3 and hasn’t put it down yet. He was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago and has been a huge Blackhawks fan his entire life.
Getting there is half the fun: Survival tips for your next road trip
If you are headed out on a family road trip for your vacation this year, you are not alone. According to the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker in 2014, more than 44% of families traveled to their vacation destination via car. Although those families are saving money on getting there, they are also increasing their travel time.
For some families, the idea of sitting in a car together for eight hours does not sound like a vacation. Yet for other families, getting there is half the fun. If you are looking for ways to make your next road trip more enjoyable, check out these eight survival tips.
Play a Game – Choose a classic road trip game that you played as a child – 20 Questions, Road Trip Bingo or the License Plate Scavenger Hunt. Pack board games like Trouble or Battleship (where the pieces stay in place) or card games like Apples to Apples that can be played without a table. Bring a small dry erase board and play Pictionary. Place a pair of dice in a clear sealable container to keep them from getting lost while you play dice games like Dice War and Odds and Evens.
Get Creative – As you pass each mile and the rush of everyday life falls away, give your kids an outlet for their creativity. Purchase sticker scenes from Oriental Trading ($5.25 for a set of 12) to create their own beach, farm or dinosaur scene. Foam sticker mosaics is the less messy version of paint-by-numbers and can be found at your local Walmart. The kids can even decorate the car windows with Crayola’s special washable window markers and stencils.
Listen to Books on CD – Take a break from electronic stimulation and let your child use his imagine while listening to a story. Find something the whole family will enjoy. While your family might like a fiction series like Harry Potter, don’t overlook non-fiction books. Check out true stories about inspirational teens, sports heros or a person who ties into your vacation destination.
Start a conversation – Families are so busy these days that they often don’t have the time to catch up. Not sure how to start the conversation? Get a little help from games like ‘Would You Rather?’ or ‘Never Have I Ever…’ or pick up a box of TABLETOPICS. You will be amazed what you learn about each other and yourself.
Busy Books – When my kids were little, I filled binders will fun printables – coloring pages, maps, word searches, mazes, tic tac toe boards, etc. I also packed a simple sketch book and colored pencils so they could create pages for themselves. If you have a long trip, consider creating a busy bag which includes a few small toys like matchbox cars or simple crafts.
Snacks – Throughout the year, our children make healthy eating choices, but when we are on vacation, we allow a little junk in our diets. Pack a bag of special treats – the things you usually say no to during the year. While you want to limit the sugar since you will be in a small space, consider letting them choose a slushee at the gas station or get fast food for lunch.
Make the Most of Stops – Kids and parents alike need to run out some sillies after being in the car too long. Try stopping at a McDonald’s Play Place or a rest stop with playground equipment. Pack a Frisbee, a small ball, a bottle of bubbles or a pack of sidewalk chalk and take a 30 minute break. A little fresh air and space to run will make it a better trip for everyone.
Allow Movie Time – We always pack a small DVD player on trips and stop at Redbox (found in most Walmart stores along the way). Depending on the length of the trip, the kids can each pick a movie or agree on one to watch together. This gives everyone some wind down time after lunch or helps get through the last leg of the trip.
Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of three teens. Her children are seasoned road trippers and enjoy the car ride almost as much at the destination.
Easy Road Trip Dice Games:
1. Odds and Evens
Multiple Players – Three Dice
Place three dice in a sealable clear container to keep them from getting lost in the car. Each player takes a turn rolling (shaking) the dice. Players get one point for each even number rolled (2, 4 or 6). If the player rolls a triple even number (all 2’s, all 4’s or all 6’s), the player gets double their total score. When a player rolls an odd number triple score (all 1’s, all 3’s or all 5’s), their total points are zero. The first player with 100 points wins.
2. Dice War
Two players – One Die
Each person takes a turn rolling the die. The person with the higher number on their roll subtracts the lower number thrown by the other player and his score for that round is the difference between the two numbers. For example, if one player throws a five and the other throws a three, the person that threw the five will get two points. The winner is the highest score after 100 roles or a set time.