spring break

Traveling with kids can be stress free by following these simple tips


Us parents are a brave bunch, aren’t we? With the prospect of meltdowns occurring while we hurtle along the highway at rapid speeds, we hope that this year, it will be different.

No drama, no stress, no screaming or crying kids in the backseat -  sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? For those of us who have braved the roads with multiple meltdowns happening just behind the passenger seat and beyond, we anxiously set upon each new family road trip with a silent prayer to the vacation gods that they will keep our kids not only safe but quiet as well.

As one who tempts fate yearly embarks on a road trip annually with the family on what has become a tradition, I’ve learned the hard way about what works - and what doesn’t. For the unprepared, a packed vehicle that includes three children and a lengthy jaunt to distant locales can easily turn into a recipe for disaster. Experience this scenario once and you’ll vow to never put yourself in that position again.

I was recently asked to provide my top tips and advice to the Toronto Star for an article in the newspaper’s Summer Driving Special Section. It was a (pleasant) surprise to see that it ran on the front page of the section as well as with a picture of the family packing up the car (see below).

For the full text of the article, you can read it here: The Toronto Star - Surviving a Family Road Trip

For more tips and advice about how to travel with kids, check out some of my other posts on the topic:

And for those who would rather not go too far afield:

Summer Driving section edited

And if you’re still looking for tips on how to travel with kids, check out my YouTube video on the topic here:

VIDEO: How to Travel With Kids - Top 5 Tips For Parents


So what do you to to keep the kids calm and quiet during your family road trips? Are there any additional tips that you’d add to my list? Tell me about them in the comments section below.

Want more of my parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!



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DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own.

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Kids going crazy? Feeling stressed?

Gotcha. You’re not the only one.

March Break, Spring Break, it doesn’t matter what you call it. Kids are not going to school and parents are under the gun to keep them entertained. Family outings are great, but so are those times when you can kick back and relax indoors - inexpensively.

As with most kids, mine love watching the tube, especially when we sit down to have a family movie night. Deciding on what to watch has always been a bit of a challenge, as the choices are either slim, or the kids are not in agreement with each other. Such is the reality for those of us with kids of varying ages.

The solution to this problem has been Netflix.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my membership. Movies, documentaries and kiddie shows galore, available whenever and wherever I - or my kids - need it to be. We’ve had Netflix for less than a year and it’s already become a family favourite, particularly for the kids. Whether you’re going on a family vacation far away, or staying close to home, being able to log on to Netflix whenever and wherever you are is a bonus - especially when you have young kids in the mix.

During this year’s school break, we’re going to be going to town with a number of the latest selections for kids.

On the agenda for my boys:

Happy Feet Two

Turbo

My Friend Bernard

OriginalJpeg_boxshot_70140910_en_NORDICS

For my daughter, some movies that appeal to older children:

Akeelah and the Bee

Gulliver’s Travels

Hugo

Akheela

What I love about the service is its ease-of-use and I’ll continue to be blown away by the algorithm that seems to know just what I or the kids may want to watch next, based on our previous viewing. If I can squirrel away some time for myself, perhaps I’ll finally get around to watching the full House of Cards series. Fingers crossed.

What are you doing while the kids are off school for the week? What are your favourite kiddie movies and shows? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!

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Kids jumping up

During the March Break, it’s really difficult to tear the kids away from the screen. As we continue to try to navigate the topic of Parenting in the Digital Age, we wonder how we can balance screen time and time spent outside, being physically active.

Many studies have emphasized the problem of childhood obesity and the need for kids to have less time glued to their electronic devices - one of the apparent causes for children who are over the ideal weight for their size. Watching TV, playing video games and fooling around on the iPad are probably not the best ways of getting kids active.

So how do we get our kids outside? What do we do to entice them away from their beloved gadgets for more physically - engaged activities? As March Break is the time of year that kids have a full week off, parents have the opportunity to make some choices for their children in terms of what they will do.

As part of an interview with CBC Radio’s Fresh Air Program, I was asked my opinion on the topic of getting kids active over the break.

You can listen to the full interview here.

Want more parenting advice and tips? Click on the image below to get your copy of my eBook today!


Image courtesy of www.cbc.ca

 

 

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The Top 5 Activities For Bored Kids

by Samantha on January 12, 2013

What to do when the kids say "I'm Bored!"

What’s a parent to do when the kids say “I’m bored!”?  Whether it’s winter break, spring break, summer break or just another rainy day, we’re often stuck. At a loss for what to do to entertain our kids, we give in to our more base instincts by allowing them to watch much too much TV and eat junky food in an effort to buy ourselves more time. For shame. Thankfully there are some simple rainy day activities for kids that moms and dads can pull off without too much effort. These can be used throughout the year, whenever you see your little one starts to demand some entertainment from you.Here is a radio interview that I did with CJAD 800 to provide my top tips to keep kids busy over the holidays. Fortunately these tips are great to follow any time the kids are going a bit crazy. Use them whenever you need them 😉artis and crafts for kids

Top 5 Rainy Day Activities For Kids

1)   Cooking, baking, candlestick making: It’s about keeping the kids occupied. Cooking is always a good way of entertaining children. Keep the kids occupied by planning a special cooking project or two that they can enjoy. How about baking some cookies and cakes that they’ve never made before? How about a full meal, from appetizers to entrees to dessert? Shopping for the goods and actually preparing them will take up enough time to keep them entertained and engaged.

2)   Local museums and galleries – Many museums and galleries have family-friendly entertainment and activities year-round, and for reasonable prices, if not free.  Now’s the time to check them out and make the best of your local sites. Consider a visit to your local science center, art gallery and similar and make a day of it with the kids. Culture’s always a good thing, right?

3)   Arts and Crafts – A tried and true distraction, arts and crafts can keep the children entertained for hours, if planned correctly. There are a number of simple activities that parents can arrange that the kids would find interesting and fun. Go to your local dollar store and buy some inexpensive supplies such as glue, construction paper, glitter, etc. and let the kids go to town. You’d be surprised at how creative the kids can get. Gear the activities towards your child’s age group and let them use their imaginations.

4)   Outdoor activities – Whether it’s spring break, summer holidays or the dead of winter, fresh air and outdoor activities are always a good idea for antsy kids. The winter season is often a great time to enjoy cold-weather activities such as skating, tobogganing or building snowmen. Summer, of course, brings warm weather, swimming and outdoor sports. In this age of technology and video games, everything that’s old is new again. Encourage your kids to “kick it old school” - literally - and hand them a football (or basketball, or baseball).

5)   Free EntertainmentLibraries and community centers have a number of activities geared towards children that are often free or at a very nominal price. As well, city-run programs that are outdoor often include children’s entertainment. Now’s the time to take advantage of those hard-spent tax dollars for municipal and city programs. Check ’em out and bring the kids along as well.

RADIO INTERVIEW: What to do with the kids when they’re bored/are out on vacation/have nothing to do What are your favorite rainy-day activities for the kids? Tell me about them in the comments below! Image courtesy of http://blog.allstate.com


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