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May 14, 2020

Eric Oldfield's 5 tips to help prevent COVID-19 learning loss.

5 tips to help prevent COVID-19 learning loss.

1. CREATE HAND-BUILT PROJECTS. With all the screen time kids are getting from online learning (not to mention their non-educational screen time), sometimes the best thing you can do to get kids flexing their brain muscles is to have them physically design and create something with their own two hands like a 3D puzzle, creative board game, pop-up storybook, or time capsule, to name a few examples. 

2. TAKE UP AN EDUCATIONAL HOBBY. Now is the perfect opportunity for students to take up a new hobby. Learning a musical instrument, taking a coding class, or joining an online trivia league can help students of any age stay sharp through the pandemic days.  

3. MOVE THE LEARNING OUTDOORS. It may seem basic, but a little sunshine and fresh air are excellent for everyone’s mental health and can help bored students reinvigorate their learning by helping them escape the monotony of their home learning space. Physical activity can also help memory recall and increases mental dexterity. Try passing around a soccer ball in the backyard while learning the state capitals, or playing hopscotch while reciting new vocab terms.  

4. ENROLL THEM IN AN ONLINE EDUCATIONAL COURSE. Think of it as a virtual summer camp. But before you blindly sign up for some online program, look for some specialized programs designed to keep children learning with engaging activities and personalized instruction, and take advantage of these slower months boost problem areas.

5. ENCOURAGE THEM TO KEEP THEIR CURIOSITY PIQUED. Even inquisitive children can use some coaxing to keep learning over the summer. There are many services, like Brainly, where children can ask questions, learn new things, and keep stimulated to prevent the COVID slump. 

Regardless of what you choose, staying mentally active during school closures (and throughout summer) can give your child a leg up come September.

Eric Oldfield, Chief Business Officer of https://brainly.com/, the world's online learning community, and father of two school-age daughters, is well aware of the risks of two months out of the classroom can have on students, and he has tips aimed at combating it. 

May 8, 2020

What Mother's Day Means To Me Even In Our "New Normal"

I feel as though right now is such a transitional time for so many moms. I am at home with my kids’ homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, and trying to be a sexy wife. All while trying not to go crazy. I don’t know about you, but I have gained so much more respect for teachers and mothers. On Mother’s Day, even though I cannot go anywhere, I am going to put makeup on, get dressed up, and take some pictures with my family to celebrate. 

The meaning behind Mother's Day is so amazing, and I think Mother’s should be celebrated daily. I hate when moms say,, “Well, I am just a mom,” as if it’s not a worthwhile adventure! Being a mom has been the hardest, most rewarding adventure of my life. I believe that my greatest lessons and deepest insecurities have been shown in motherhood. I think that being a mom has shown me the purest form of love, not because I love my kids unconditionally (I do), but because they love me unconditionally. My kids have shown me to love without expectation, especially when they are so little. You can hurt their feelings and they will forgive you quickly. They look up to me. They cheer for me. They love me in all my mess and in all the chaos, sometimes I think they love me more than I love me. 

I have found a lot of mixed emotions around Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day can be happy for some because they get to spend it with their children and family. On the other hand, it can be extremely hard for mothers who have lost a child or had a miscarriage. My heart also goes out to the moms who don’t get to be with their children — those with strained relationships with their mother or mother-in-law, with moms in prison, in the hospital, in the military, or who have passed on. Mother’s Day may be a special day for me, but it is also an extremely difficult one for so many others.

I think even men, specifically husbands and significant others have it difficult! I know, don’t roll your eyes just yet.  They are expected to buy their wife something from the kids and then make sure they get something for their own mother, all while trying to balance who they spend the day with. Do I try to get dinner with my mom before Mother’s Day? Do I send her flowers? While most of the time our partners forget to take the garbage out or pick up something from the store.

Seriously, maybe it is just me, but I want to feel special on Mother’s day and be thought of! But when kids are young they can’t go buy you a gift, and if your husband doesn’t take the time, he (insert eye roll) forgets. Or, if you are divorced or separated, then what? Even if they remember, what should they get? Fresh flowers? A necklace? I’ll be honest, I can be challenging to buy for.  Half the time my husband picks something out for me and it’s not exactly what I wanted anyway. Then he feels bad and unappreciated as if it was a waste of his time to try. 

Then there are women like me. I know that my husband is most likely going to forget, so I buy his mom something, my mom something, and myself something. I think that there are so many things to think about that we miss. I am a mom, I have a mom, and my husband has a mom. I also have a blended family and want to make sure that my kids recognize all their grandmas. You put all that together and it can be difficult to manage. I am by nature a people pleaser, so it's hard for me to demand that I get all the attention. I want to celebrate the moms in my life. I have spent years on mother's day exhausted going from one place to the next with the hopes of getting home in time to maybe celebrate me. It's a challenge for me to balance it all in one day — even on a day, that’s supposed to be about celebrating me. 

Self-care is different for every woman I know. Some women lock themselves in a closet just to get away because they need some quiet time. I know some moms who like to relax and take a bath with a glass of wine, while others just want to take a nap. I do not believe there is a one size fits all. Self-care for me is coloring my grays, putting on a face mask, and taking a bath. Some would say that “self-care” is selfish, but I believe that I cannot fully show up without taking care of myself, physically, emotionally, and spiritually first. I can’t pour from an empty cup. Be sure to take time for yourself and your heart. What makes you feel celebrated? How do you feel loved the most? Do those things. Here are a few ideas of my own to get you started.

Self-care Tips For Mother’s Day

·         Take a bath

·         Paint your nails

·         Walk around the block alone

·         Put some headphones on and listen to your favorite song

·         Ask your kids to tell you things that they love about you

·         Plant a garden

·         Buy yourself flowers

·         Buy some new shoes

·         Do a 10-minute work out video

·         Make a new habit body ritual — dry brushing, happiness oil, and lotion.

 

I am a mom every day. Some days are the best days of my life; other days are miserable, challenging, and absolutely exhausting. Sometimes I feel like I am messing everything up — including my kids. (It scares me when I think of all the therapy they are going to need.) But at the end of the day, I believe with all my heart that every mom is the perfect mom for her kids, though it is not an adventure to be taken lightly. You were chosen to be a mom. Celebrate that every day, especially on Mother’s Day.

About Leslie Lee: 

As a mother, entrepreneur, beauty guru, and registered nurse, Leslie Lee is able to offer a distinctly personal approach to both her business and mentorship programs--one that is centered on providing care and helping individuals nurture the things that make them unique. Her life experiences have molded her into the kind of professional that she is today. Leslie is on a mission to transform the aesthetic industry by shattering traditional beauty standards and helping her patients find their own brand of beauty regardless of age, gender, or skin tone. 

 

Leslie is also the owner of Liv and WYLD, a monthly subscription box that provides consumers with premium, medical-grade skincare products that they can try out to see how they answer their needs and fit their lifestyle. She carefully hand-picks all the items that go into each box based on the information she receives from the person who subscribed to the program, ensuring professional personalization. And what’s great about it is that for every purchase, Liv and WYLD donates a box full of basic necessities and personal care products (aptly called HopeBox) to “And Now She Rises”, a non-profit group that helps victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

April 17, 2020

Homeschooling driving you crazy?

Turn Chores into Lesson Plans.

While becoming your child’s teacher can be very stressful, this may be a wonderful opportunity to turn chores into lesson plans. We should insist children help around the house, using everyday things that need to get done as opportunities for them to learn math, science, language arts, and social studies.

  • Emptying a dishwasher and stacking plates of different sizes is an excellent opportunity to teach younger children about ratios.
  • Sorting laundry is great for learning the concept of ‘sets’, not to mention expanding vocabulary regarding colors.
  • Preparing a shopping list and calculating the number of people in the household, what they eat, the number of days they need food and all the other aspects of food preparation is an opportunity to apply math concepts in the kitchen. Baking and measuring ingredients is also a wonderful way to learn everything from math to chemistry, as well as improve children’s literacy and vocabulary when following a recipe.
  • For older children, learning politics and geography is as easy as watching the news and looking up online facts about other countries.
  • Bio-chemistry -- research the coronavirus pathogen.
  • A class in ecology can be built around understanding how a pangolin got sold in a food market in China, and what happens when wild animals are used commercially (a pangolin may have been the original host for the virus, having been infected by bats).
  • Social studies are as easy as calculating a child’s social network and mapping how it has changed.
  • Civics can be taught by asking children to do a good deed for others like checking up on a senior or doing some yard work (when it can be done safely).
  • Physical fitness and every aspect of health studies should be a breeze when everyone is discussing handwashing, mental health and the right amount of sleep to grow healthy brains. An exercise routine and downtime from being online is all part of a good schedule at home.
  • To perfect language skills, reading together with little ones, or keeping a daily journal or online blog if a child is older, are great ways to get children reading and writing. So  are letters and emails to extended family members when visits aren’t possible.
     

Rather than struggling to teach children curriculum that has little to do with what they are living now, use the experience of being at home during a pandemic as the basis for a child’s learning. Be creative. There is no subject that can’t be taught in your home. Post your ideas for others to see. Better yet, have your child post their own lesson plans and in the process improve their literacy skills.

Use the curriculum provided by teachers, but let it inspire new approaches to teaching the same content. While I certainly couldn’t take on calculus, there are plenty of ways to learn statistics online and to apply these ideas to probabilities of infection.

Older children will need more structure and should be expected to advance through their standard curriculum, but even then, it will be more meaningful and easier to motivate them to do their studies if they can see the application of those ideas to their world now and, even better, let them teach their parents things we adults don’t understand.

Michael Ungar, Ph.D., is a Family Therapist and Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience; and author of Change Your World: The Science of Resilience and the True Path to Success. More about Dr. Ungar: www.michaelungar.com


April 7, 2020

Volunteer in Your PJ’s: Beat the Quarantine Blues and Support the Troops

Even if you're stuck inside, you can still give back to our troops and veterans through Soldiers' Angels. With many virtual volunteer opportunities, including special support for the Coronavirus crisis, our virtual volunteer opportunities will keep you, your kids, or even your employees engaged!  See the full list at soldiersangels.org/COVIDVirtualSupport.

Virtual Volunteer opportunities for all ages include: 

Make Masks: Have a sewing machine and basic sewing skills? Urgent help is needed to help supply VA Hospitals with masks. As medical supplies continue to run on low supply, healthcare workers are now requesting homemade masks to help protect against COVID-19. 

Here's a video providing instructions for the preferred type of mask that includes a pocket for the insertion of a filter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87EEfUGQA6k&feature=emb_title

Cards of Support: Stuck at home in self-quarantine or shelter-in-place orders? Don't let boredom set in-- pick up a pen and greeting card and write a note of support for deployed service members and veterans! After you write your cards, simply include $1 per car card and mail the cards to Soldiers’ Angels headquarters in San Antonio. The cards will be included in care packages that are shipped to deployed service members around the world and will also be sent in bulk to VA's and veteran-focused assisted living facilities. The $1 will go towards one of the many Soldiers' Angels programs providing COVID-19 relief and support. 

Mail your cards and $1 per card to: Soldiers' Angels 2895 NE Loop 410, Suite 107 San Antonio, Texas 78218

Make No-Sew Blankets: Nothing says I appreciate you like a warm, cozy blanket. Our Sewing & Crafting Team makes No-Sew Blankets all the time for deployed service members, veteran patients, and military families who are expecting. We constantly get thank you notes from recipients who tell us how much they treasure the handmade gift they were given. 

No-Sew Blankets are easy to make and are a fun activity. Check out instructions here. Check out our No-Sew Blanket Supplies Idea List on Amazon!

Make Para-Cord Bracelets: A para-cord bracelet may seem like a small item to include in a care package, but service members love them! Not only are they useful survival items, but creating a para-cord bracelet requires a personal touch and an item that a service member could carry with them at all times. Personal items like this have a tremendous impact on morale and often become cherished by the recipient. 

Please Note: Since these bracelets are going to deployed service members, the bracelets must be made from MIL-SPEC cording in the colors black, olive green, tan, or camo only. All the supplies you need in the correct color and specifications can be found on Amazon! 

Virtual volunteers can mail your completed Para-cord bracelets, cards of support (including $1), masks, and blankets to: Soldiers' Angels 2895 NE Loop 410, Suite 107 San Antonio, Texas 78218

April 6, 2020

Chevrolet shares free coloring book pages!

Our friends at Chevrolet wanted to share six free, printable coloring book pages of the 2020 Corvette available on Chevrolet’s Pinterest and Instagram channels. Parents can download and print the pages, for a creative coloring activity for any children that love cars.

 

There are other coloring book page options out there as well.

March 27, 2020

Parenting Children During the Coronavirus Pandemic: Tips for Parents

By Stephanie C. Nash, LICSW
President & CEO, Episcopal Center for Children

This is an unprecedented time in our world and, understandably, there are many questions and concerns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The shut down of schools, business establishments, and restaurants combined with social distancing, and self quarantine have resulted in major changes to how we navigate our daily lives.

Families with children of all ages are impacted by these changes. Parents are creatively looking to adapt to new routines to support their children while seeking to establish responsibility, peace, and joy in the household. The balancing act can bring both rewards and challenges.

Staying at home and following the directives from government officials is important. We all need to find safe and meaningful ways to support our children, one another, and seek self care. Here are some tips to help.

Tips for family and self care while home:

  • Do frequent hand washing with soap and water. When not available use hand sanitizer.
  • Wash or clean incoming groceries before bringing them into your home.
  • Wipe down common household surfaces that are used frequently, such as the kitchen counters, dining table, door knobs, refrigerator handles, bathroom counters, faucet handles, and other surfaces.
  • Create a calm tone in your home. Adults should strive to be self aware. Anxiety may be high for adults in the home, but it is important to provide reassurance and calm to your children - they are watching and listening to how you respond to this crisis.
  • Check in with your loved ones and talk with your children about their thoughts and feelings. For younger children, follow their lead. Be honest and use appropriate talk. Limit child viewing of daily news broadcasts. For older children, be honest and have age appropriate discussions. Validate their concerns while providing reassurance and understanding for their feelings.
  • Maintain routines as much as possible. Young children especially will need structure that replicates a school week. Make time for snacks and movement breaks.
  • Give daily, positive affirmations and encourage family members. This might be as simple as saying, “Wow, you are doing great at sharing the game with your sister” or “Thanks for being helpful by clearing off the table” or “You were so responsible with your online assignment.”
  • Offer healthy and nutritious snacks and meals.
  • Use the time at home to engage in activities with your family - such as board games, baking, puzzles, home projects, book discussions, arts and crafts,  jam sessions, home recitals, dance and exercise workouts, yoga, barbecue, cookout, front porch picnics, and more.
  • Set boundaries. Give yourself permission for some quiet time/space during the course of the day. For many parents or guardians, that might mean getting up before everyone else, or having a quiet time to pray, meditate, or do breathing exercises.
  • Encourage family chores that are age-appropriate for everyone in the family. Offer praise for completed chores and talk about how everyone is working together.
  • Set intentions and realistic expectations for yourself. One way to do that is to write down what you intend to accomplish for the day.
  • Exercise self- compassion. Be kind to yourself during this time of challenges.

The gratitude for the commitment and compassion of first responders and health care providers is beyond measure. Thoughtful expressions of kindness from friends and neighbors within our communities continues to reflect humanity at its best.

About the Episcopal Center for Children
The Episcopal Center for Children (Center) is a nondenominational, nonprofit organization that has been dedicated to serving the needs of children and their families for the past 125 years. In June 2019, the Center suspended operation for its K-8 therapeutic school for children with emotional challenges from the greater Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area. The Board of Directors continues to be committed to its longstanding mission of serving children in determining plans for the Center’s future. More information is available at eccofdc.org and on Twitter and Facebook @ECCofDC.

December 30, 2019

Sock ons and Plod Ons

Great ideas!

Sock Ons

Made of soft, stretchy material, Sock Ons are designed to fit over regular socks, keeping them firmly in place no matter how hard your baby kicks and tugs.

Plod Ons

are designed to protect baby’s knees as they crawl around on hard floors or scratchy surfaces. Made from soft and stretchy cotton, they fit snugly over tiny knees without restricting movement and are ideal for any time of the year when delicate knees might otherwise be bare.

December 22, 2019

Christmas tree from Karabin Farms and hauling it home in Chevrolet’s brand new 2020 Traverse!

What a great holiday experience we had picking out our Christmas tree this year! We packed our family of 6 into the 2020 Chevrolet Traverse which includes seating for up to eight with unsurpassed cargo space with award winning 3rd row and headed off to Southington.

We headed to a great farm, Karabin Farm in Southington, CT. They had so many beautiful trees and a great little store and animals to see! Such a great Holiday experience.

Once we picked out our tree it was so easy to fasten to the top of the Chevy Traverse. We all piled back in the Traverse, which is perfect for a winter road trip and transporting a Christmas tree back home. We found that this mid-sized SUV is spacious enough to accommodate a big family yet doesn't compromise on style. The third-row is best-in-class with legroom which was great for the tall teenagers.

the Traverse offers technologies to help keep passengers of all ages connected. Technology highlights include Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, 4GLTE Wi-Fi (with connectivity for up to seven devices), 7 USB ports, a 120V charging port, and a hidden glove box locked by security PIN when in valet mode. This made some happy kids as they connected their music to the car stereo and we sang Christmas carols on the way home with our tree!

Another great feature when you have teen drivers is Chevrolet’s Teen Driver system and is the latest feature designed to encourage young drivers to develop safe driving habits right from the start. When active it can prevent the driver from shifting the vehicle out of park until the driver’s seat belt is buckled. This is the Buckle to Drive all new feature!

The Traverse we found also has great cargo space and passenger legroom and has SmartSlide feature that allows seats to tip up and slide forward even with a forward-facing child seat in place, providing open and easy access to the third row. It is so easy to access all seats and the comfort is amazing.

We had a great experience in the 2020 Chevy Traverse and at Karabin Farm, created memories we will cherish.

December 11, 2019

MyFirstWorkout / Hoopman! Portable Basketball Goal

MyFirstWorkout.com

https://myfirstworkout.com

My First Workout® is a strength and conditioning program created for online access by Certified Personal Trainer and Mom, Michelle Miller, for children ages 5-10 years old.  The entire program consists of 12 individual workouts that all build upon each other.  The My First Workout® Kit contains the first program in the series consisting of 13 of the best exercises for every child to learn and 8 custom-made, child-size pieces of equipment necessary to complete the workouts.  The exercise programs are all available in both video and poster format at their website.  Designed with every type of child in mind from an advanced skill level to beginner, and those who learn quickly, to those who require a greater amount of time.  This step-by-step program allows children to move at their own pace and make it easy for any parent, guardian, or grandparent to confidently teach their child how to properly prepare the body for a lifelong habit of exercise.  

 

Hoopman! Portable Basketball Goal

HoopmanKid.com

Hoopman! portable basketball goal by ciao! baby encourages families to add a slam dunk to their fun anywhere-they-go.  This truly portable basketball hoop with ball comes in a carry bag with shoulder strap, weighs 5 pounds and quickly folds out securely in place to promote active play. Get a game-on in the yard, at the park, at your relatives house, and any location you want to see your little one enjoying going up for some hoops indoors or outdoors. Great to encourage confidence and coordination in your toddlers and for brothers and sisters, welcoming them in to take time for family play-time together. Invented by Mompreneur Kimberly Strong, she recommends this product for children ages 3-7 years old.  The Jamberly Group designs “products that let you go!”  The Hoopman! portable basketball goal comes in Red, is patent pending, and meets all safety standards. There is no other product like this on the market. 

November 21, 2019

Bee Simulator

Bigben and Varsav Studio are delighted to announce the release of
Bee Simulator,
now available on PC, Xbox One, PS4™ and Nintendo Switch™.
 
Explore the world through the eyes of a bee with Bee Simulator! In this educational family game, you play as a pollinator bee in an urban park inspired by famous Central Park. Collect pollen, fight off wasps, interact with your fellow bees and confront multiple threats. Your entire hive is threatened the day when humans decide to chop down the tree you call home. The fate of the whole swarm is in your tiny hands!
 
Developed in close collaboration with beekeepers, Bee Simulator is a fun and educational experience that conveys an environmental message suitable for all ages. Freely explore and evolve in a vast realistic environment. Tips and information are shared throughout your adventures explaining the secret life of bees. With cooperative and competitive multiplayer game modes for up to four players, Bee Simulator brings the whole family together!Learn while having fun - communication methods, hive and community life, protection techniques and threats that bees face

A realistic open world
Co-op and PvP multiplayer modes for up to four players
Partnership with Yann Arthus Bertrand's GoodPlanet Foundation to raise awareness of protecting bees and the environment among players. As part of this collaboration, €1 out of every game sold will be donated to the foundation
Change your perspective and discover the world through the eyes of a bee!
  Bee Simulator is now available on PC, Xbox One, PlayStation®4 and Nintendo Switch™
 
Find us on  YouTube and Twitter 
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