All Articles Tagged "Parenting"

Should This Mother Be Locked Up For Beating Her Children For Breaking And Entering?

June 22nd, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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Should This Mother Be Locked Up For Beating Her Children For Breaking An Entering?

Source: WBRZ

Listen, I’m at the point of my writing career where I am emotionally exhausted by the laborious work of humanizing poor Black folks, particularly Black woman, in the face of so many who flat-out refuse to show a smidgen of empathy for us.

But I’m going to do it anyway.

This time, I’m going to show love and support to 30-year-old Schaquana Spears, a Baton Rouge mother of six and wife of an incarcerated man, who was recently arrested and charged with child cruelty after beating her three sons who she caught breaking into a neighbor’s home.

As reported by ABC affiliate

A Baton Rouge mother was arrested after deputies say she admitted to whipping her sons as punishment for breaking into a house. Schaquana Evita Spears was booked on child cruelty charges. Her 13-year-old reportedly told East Baton Rouge detectives that Spears struck him with an RCA cord multiple times. He had cuts on both arms and marks across his body. The other two boys ages 12 and 10 also had injuries according to arrest documents. Spears was booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on two counts of cruelty to juveniles. Her bail was set at $2,500, according to jail records.”

ABC affiliate WBRZ picks up the story with an interview with Spears, which you can watch here.  In it, Spears tearfully talks about how much she loves her children. She also added:

…because I didn’t want them to commit another crime; did to them what my mother did to me, I’m a bad person? 

Spears is out of jail right now thanks in part to Winter Applewhite, another Baton Rouge area mother, who posted the $2,500 bond after hearing about her story in the news (You can watch the interview with her here.) Still, Spears has to go back to court to face charges that might result in jail time.

And according to KATC, District Attorney Hillar Moore has released a statement about the case, stating:

Parents have the right and obligation to discipline and teach their children. We often time see children who have no parental authority or discipline which eventually results in delinquency and criminal acts. We need more parents who discipline their children. Surely you would expect a parent to discipline a child who is burglarizing other people’s homes as this could be a deadly encounter for the child. The degree of physical discipline will be reviewed. The law does not allow excessive pain or cruelty but does allow physical parental discipline. I only have the short synopsis which does indicate that the discipline resulted in marks on the child’s body and possibly an open wound. I will review all of the reports; meet with the DCFS office and review any history of this mother and her children to get a better picture of the entire family dynamics before making a decision. In the meantime my office is working with the juvenile court to ensure the speedy release of the mother under conditions satisfactory to the court.”

FYI: None of the articles I read have provided clues as to who actually called the police. But if I had to speculate – and going off of tradition – it was likely one of the kids themselves. It was an old trick of the trade that many of us youngsters who were in danger of the belt, would implore to keep ourselves from getting an ass-whupping. Back in my day, which is not that long ago I might add, the cops would have advised the complainant in the case to take that ass-whupping and do better in life. But we are in different times…

And thank God for that!

Seriously. Ass-whuppings are overrated and counterproductive. Not to mention, very few of us have managed to survive them without feelings of resentment, anger and other trauma.

I know folks don’t like to hear this but we have to find another way of disciplining the children. How we’ve always done it ain’t working. And this is not just me saying this, but research. Tons of it. This includes this bit of research from the University of Texas, which analyzed five decades of studies and concluded that “The more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties.”

While no expert, I think breaking and entering is definitely a sign of anti-social behavior.

As such, talking it out, empathizing or finding other non-aggressive ways to discipline the boys, probably would have been more effective in not just keeping them from breaking into another person’s home, but breaking into anyone’s homes in the first place.

With that said, I believe the Baton Rouge police department could have used less heavier hands in this situation too.

And that is the rub here. We as a society can’t tell folks to not beat their kids, when the system is right around the corner ready to beat us, then throw us in jail or even kill any of us when we don’t act right.

I mean, I guess she could have called the cops on her own children and let them discipline them the legal way. But who wants to bury a child? Shit, if it was my kid, they can keep the next door neighbor’s stereo if it had to come down to choosing between their life and the so-called justice system.

And that’s just real.

Listen, I’m not trying to get too preachy here. As I said earlier, I’m not really here for spankings. And while I sincerely hope that Spears is not only freed from this nonsense but reunited with her kids, I also hope she gets the parenting help and support that she desperately needs.

But more often than not, poor and Black folks in particular are tossed into jail when alternatives could be found and would be found if they were more affluent people. And too often, poor and Black women have their children taken away from them, also when alternatives could be found if they had more affluent. As such, the very people who want help or need help will never go after the help that they need or want, out of fear of jail or having their children taken away.

Worse, when we seek to arrest and criminalize parents first, instead of looking for ways to actually assist them, we not only further complicate the lives of people who are already in difficult positions (try getting a job that the courts are going to require her to get, to prove her upstandingness, with a child cruelty conviction), but we also kind of defeat the moral and ethical grounds for enforcing the law to begin with.

Based on what I read, it’s hard to believe arresting this particular woman, and breaking up this family unit, was in the best interest of the family, or the children. To me, that sounds a bit impatient and even slightly vindictive.

And you know, that’s totally something an abusive parent might do…

Charing Ball is a writer, cultural critic, free-thinker, slick-mouth feminist and bonafide troublemaker from Philadelphia. To learn more, visit

Here’s Why You Should Stop Making Comments About Your Kids’ Weight

June 22nd, 2016 - By Allyson Leak
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It’s pizza night in your house and like every other Friday your kids get to enjoy movies, pizza, games, and lots of laughter. In the midst of the fun you happen to glance over and see your 10-year-old daughter who is obese reach for her fourth piece of pizza (yes you’ve been counting). Do you intervene or let her indulge?

According to the CDC obesity now affects one in six children and adolescents in the United States and childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. The percentage of children aged six to 11 years in the United States who were obese increased from seven percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2012.

There is a new study called “Don’t Eat So Much: How parent comments relate to female weight satisfaction” that wants parents to hold off on talking to their obese children. The lead author was Dr. Brian Wansink and he found that the repercussions of a parents comments on a daughters weight can last her whole life and can potentially lead to things like unhealthy eating and eating disorders. In a nationwide survey 500 women in their 20s and 30s were asked questions about how they felt about their bodies and the types of things their parents said to them during their youth. The results concluded that a woman’s dissatisfaction with her adult weight was only related to the extent she remembered her parents making any comments about her weight, but not about how much she ate and even among normal-weight young women with similar weights, those who recalled their parents commenting about their weight were more dissatisfied with their body weight.

If you decide to still have the talk with your kids here are some suggestions:

– Make sure it’s one on one so they don’t feel embarrassed.

– Try to speak to them in a non-judgmental tone.

– Let them know that they aren’t being singled out and that the whole family will work on being healthy too.

So what can you do if you don’t want to have the talk? Here are three action tips and added insight from “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think,” by Dr. Brian Wansink.

Change The Way You Eat

You can change the way you eat and make sure you are buying mostly healthy options at the grocery store so your little one doesn’t have access to junk food.
“A study of 854 Washington State children under three-years-old showed that a child is nearly three times as likely to grow up obese if one of his parents is obese. If you’re overweight, your child has a 65–75 percent chance of growing up to be overweight. So, is that little paunch on your fourth grader baby fat? Not if you’re sporting the same paunch.”

Assess Your Child’s Happiness

Pay attention to how happy or sad your child is. If you notice they are sadder on certain days or doing certain things or around certain people then change up their routine a bit. “People were almost twice as likely to reach for a comfort food when they were happy than when they were sad.”

Pay Attention To Portions

If you pack a lunch for them then it may be easier to monitor their portions by using small and medium sized Tupperware containers. “Big dishes and big spoons are big trouble. As the size of our dishes increases, so does the amount we scoop onto them. They cause us to serve ourselves more because they make the food look so small.”

Study: People Without Kids Much Happier Than People With Them–But Not For The Reasons You’d Think

June 21st, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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According to a study done for the Council on Contemporary Families that studied 22 countries (European and English-speaking destinations), the United States has the largest deficit in terms of happiness when comparing parents and people without children. Utilizing the International Social Surveys of 2007 and 2008, and the European Social Surveys from 2006 and 2008, researchers from the University of Texas, Baylor University, and Wake Forest University found that most countries dealt with some pretty unhappy parents while a few, including Norway and Hungary, had more caregivers who were actually happier than nonparents. What’s that really all about?

Well, the study’s findings seem to come about not because, as some would assume, having a child is this soul-crushing thing that zaps you of all your time, money, and energy; but rather, it’s because of the lack of policies set up to provide affordable child care and opportunities for employees to spend time with their kids. Parents from the United States were the most unhappy due to the lack of policy changes that could be most beneficial, including a focus on “the duration and generosity of paid parenting leave, the number of annual paid sick and vacation days guaranteed by law, the cost of child care for the average two-year old as a percent of median wages, and the extent of work schedule flexibility offered to parents of dependent children.”

Without some flexibility with these things, many mothers and fathers find it hard to balance their work responsibilities and their familial obligations. As researchers pointed out, countries that had pretty solid policies to help working parents found no gap in happiness for those with kids and those without. In fact, they found that policies that were beneficial for nonparents, including guaranteed minimum paid sick leave and vacation days, helped parents and made everyone happier. The same was true for certain countries that offered less expensive out-of-pocket costs for child care. Fathers reported that their happiness was more likely to be impacted by child care costs, and mothers said their happiness was most affected by time policies, including paid sick and vacation days, allowing them more or less time to be at home with their families.

So to summarize, the better the packages and policies that benefit working moms and dads, the happier they are. When they aren’t so accommodating for parents, you see the large gap in happiness between those with and without children. The less stressful balancing work while raising children is for parents, it seems, the happier everyone is.

Do We Have To? Why Adulting Is Worth It

June 6th, 2016 - By Chad Milner
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I was catching up with a friend over the weekend, and we often jokingly blaming each other for doing a poor job of keeping in touch. They asked me what I had planned for the holiday weekend and I replied that all plans revolved around my nephew’s birthday. But honestly, what I really wanted was to be left alone and “adult” for a day.

“You mean, you want to be left alone to not ‘adult’? Because the responsibilities you have are adult-ish,”  my friend said.

I had to think about that for a moment.  They were right.

As you likely know, adulting has come to be the term we use to express the burden of maturity. How ironic is it that when we’re younger, we can’t wait to grow up, get out of school, and have the freedom that our parents do? But once we get here, in adult land, we can’t stand it.  In 2016, you can’t look on any social media timeline without coming across a post that celebrates the good ol’ days, because…remember when we didn’t have responsibilities?

Work is cumbersome, so we live for the weekend.  As a parent, Friday to Sunday evenings tend to be busier than the weekdays.  The weekends just don’t include enough time to get everything done, and we begin to count down the months, weeks, days, hours and minutes until we can get a break.

I often associate the term adulting with the fun stuff that my daughter thinks of–the fun stuff and freedom.  As a responsible parent, prioritizing my daughter’s needs, with my obligations and self-care coming secondary is a force of habit.  Yes, it’s daunting, but I pretty much do that in my sleep.  The working for a paycheck part is the easy part: your boss is the oppressor, and know that you have to do it every day for decades to pay bills.  The parenting part of adulting is the most stressful part and you don’t escape it. 

Parents and children equally oppress each other.  We restrict our children’s freedom their own good (usually) and very certainly, kids restrict our freedom as well.  As much as my daughter doesn’t want to listen to me and wants to do exactly what she wants to do, the feeling is mutual.  When raising progenies, everything requires meticulous planning that almost makes having filter-free adult time almost not worth it.  As a single parent, forget about it.  There’s no dropping off the kid for the weekend and “doing you.”  As true as all of this is, I love it and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

While my daughter and nephew often say “I can’t wait to grow up,” and I reply, “You better enjoy this time,” I prefer being an adult and all that comes along with it.  At 30, my body somehow gives me daily reminders that it is no longer my greatest asset and that my mind is.  Somehow, my mind has convinced me that the disgusting liquid that my parents and their friends would drink when they hung out while all the kids had to play in another room is now delicious.  Drinking and sex–being that I have a kid–I know the consequences are absolutely worth all of the mornings I wake up with twinges for no reason…and all of the headaches that come along with “adulting.”

Home Alone: Would You Leave Your Sleeping Baby To Run An Errand?

June 3rd, 2016 - By Allyson Leak
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Imagine it’s 3:00 p.m. and your 11-month-old twins are finally down for a nap and they sleep everyday like clockwork for two solid hours. You are sleep deprived and have a ton of work to catch up on and would love a hot coffee from the café next door to sip on while you work.

What do you do? Do you forgo the coffee, wake the kids up and take them, or put the monitor on them and run the 25 feet next door to get your mommy treat?

A user from the British based parenting site called Mumsnet asked other users on the site this same question.

She said: “Would you leave a peacefully sleeping 10m old home alone for 7 minutes?” “Baby reliably naps at the same time every day for at least an hour. The 7 minutes is going to a shop to collect something approx 50m away”

Most of the parents said “no” and “no chance” while others left longer comments stating why leaving a sleeping baby was such a bad idea. One user said “No, absolutely not. I’m sure the baby would be fine for 7 mins in the cot, though 7 mins is a long time to scream and no one comes. The bigger danger is that something happens to you. If you get knocked down by a car and carted off to hospital no one will know about the baby in your house on his own. If your car gets bashed and you have to sort out details with the other driver then you’ll be loads longer than 7 mins. If your tumble drier sets the house on fire then 7 mins will kill your baby. Just not worth the risk. Either wake the baby and take him or ask a neighbor to sit with baby/run the errand.”

A few parents seemed to be on the fence about it and compared it to being the same thing as going in the backyard to do chores while they sleep. One user stated: “If you had a 50m garden, would you go to the end of it to do some weeding while the baby slept inside? Of course you would.”

Another user said, “It’s logically as risky as having a shower (where you can’t hear s**t) or going in the garden to sunbathe hang out washing when they’re asleep. You’re hardly constantly monitoring them then either. It’s irrational to think popping out for 7 min is any different.”

In addition to people’s opinions the bigger issue is a legal one. Although surprisingly, the law is kind of vague about the issue if something bad does happen to the child when you leave, they will have child protective services knocking on your door and you could risk having your child taken away.

According to info on, most state laws are vague on the subject and only two states have laws specifying the minimum age a child must be to be left at home alone. In Maryland, a kid must be at least eight-years-old and in Illinois, a kid must be at least 14-years-old. Instead of establishing a minimum age, the rest of the states weigh several factors to determine when leaving a child alone is legal.

The major factors include:

-The child’s maturity level

-The amount of time the child was left alone

-The parents’ concern for the well-being of the child

Travel Trials: I Hate Traveling With My Mom But Don’t Know How To Tell Her

June 3rd, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Traveling With My Mom


(As relayed by Lauren R.D. Fox based on a culmination of experiences)

Traveling with my mother has always been a catastrophic event due to our different personalities.

Truthfully, the trouble begins before we even step foot on a plane. In fact, it starts with the packing process; I tend to wait til the last minute to pack my suitcase whereas she likes to have her own luggage suited up and ready to go three days prior to departing for her trip. It never fails that we end up arguing about packing, and if it’s not that when we’re debating what and how much is being packed.

I like to be prepared, so that means I may throw in a few extra outfits, shoes or accessories because who wants to be invited to a place or event and not look the part? My mother, on the other hand, has a looming fear of overweight luggage (even if it’s not her own).

Aside from these minor (sometimes major) issues, my mother is not as adventurous as I am and likes to pick low-key activities to do while we’re on vacation. When I suggested we go on a Swamp Tour in New Orleans, she said no because of her fear of crocodiles and being in a small boat. On other trips, she’s wanted to know my every move, even if I was with family members, or she monitors how many drinks I’ve had while when we eat.

In August, my cousin will be getting married in Napa Valley and we will be attending — together. My mother would like us to travel together and share the same hotel room; I, however, have other plans. I plan to leave for Napa Valley four days before the wedding to spend time with my boyfriend and I will be booking a hotel room with him. I don’t want to leave my mother stranded so I plan to book her a room, as well, but I know she will be upset that I won’t be spending much time with her during our trip.

How do I break the news to her?

Favorite Child Syndrome: Learning How To Distribute Your Love

June 2nd, 2016 - By Allyson Leak
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Having a favorite child is a concept that many parents and children joke about, but sometimes there is some truth to those jokes. Some parents may never ever admit that they have a favorite child, but having a favorite child is more common than you think. A 2005 study out of the University of California at Davis found that 65 percent of moms and 70 percent of dads had a preference for one child and it was usually the older one.

It’s better to not be in denial about this even if you just keep it in your own head. Internally admitting it is more beneficial for the whole family in the long run because this way you can be more conscious about making sure that all of your kids feel special.

Here are some ways to remedy it…

Spend One-On-One Time
It is so important to have a date night with each child alone. And on your date night, make sure you are doing things they are interested in. Go and watch movies they like or go to a restaurant of their choice to make them feel extra special.

The Little Things
Each child brings something unique into this world. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion for you to let them know you love them just the way they are. You could do little things like randomly picking up their favorite donut or treat. You could also leave them a sticky note on their bedroom door saying, “I love you.”

Extracurricular Activity
If you were a dancer in high school then you may have a ton in common with your daughter who loves to dance. But if your other daughter is into science fiction or something that doesn’t interest you, make an effort to learn more about that, too. Research to find out the next time there is a local science fiction fair and let her know about it. It will show her that you genuinely care.

Ph.D. Ellen Weber Libby says: “favorite children grow up with distorted, inflated views of themselves. They are vulnerable to feeling entitled and believing that rules don’t apply to them. They are likely to struggle with intimate relationships. Additionally, they are likely to grow up alienated from their siblings.”

Sounds heavy, but here are her signs for behavior when favoritism has gone too far.

  • Parents who have favorite children are defensive regarding their treatment of the favored, overlooked or unfavored child. When spouses, friends, teachers, or strangers point out attitudes or behaviors reflecting unfair treatment of one child over another, these parents have many explanations and justifications for their behaviors.
  • One child works hard to get parental affirmation and does not succeed. These children, either passively or aggressively, direct their energies at accomplishing this goal.
  • A parent excessively praises one child while ignoring, criticizing, or saying little positive about other children. These parents have difficulty acknowledging one child’s shortcomings (often the favorite) or appreciating other children’s strengths (often the overlooked or unfavorite).


Should We Start A Parenting Revolution?

June 2nd, 2016 - By Clarissa Joan
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I love my children, as most mothers do. I endured a tremendous level of struggle to give birth to the two living children I have. This struggle included being pregnant four times. I have experienced a miscarriage, a full-term stillbirth, a full-term natural birth, and a full-term vaginal birth with pain medication. I fought the good fight to become a mother. Yet and still, my struggles to motherhood have not excused me from the reality that raising children is very hard.

After delivering our oldest daughter, our Pastor called to congratulate us and offer some words of wisdom. To quote him verbatim he said, “this ain’t for no punks.” I have since learned that he was absolutely correct, but why is parenting so hard?

Meet Dr. Shefali Tsabary author of 2010 bestseller, “The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children.”

“Children carry a blueprint within them, they are often already in touch with who they are and what they want to be in the world. We are chosen as their parents to help them actualize this. The trouble is that if we do not pay close attention to them, we rob them of their right to live out their destiny. We end up imposing on them our own vision for them, rewriting their spiritual purpose according to our whims.”

Recently, The Washington Post interviewed Dr. Shefali Tsabary about her mission to change the way we as parents think about our relationship with our children. In her new book, “The Awakened Family: A Revolution for Parenting” released May 31, 2016, Dr. Shefali discusses the idea that maybe it is us, as parent, who need to change and not our children.

Dr. Shefali is not alone in her thinking. Many great minds held to high esteem across the globe agree with her. His Holiness The Dalai Lama, himself, wrote the preface for bestseller, “The Conscious Parent.”

Dr. Shefali’s parenting philosophy is that a successful, fun, and mutually beneficial parent-child relationship is at its core a partnership on life instead of a dictatorship.  

For many parents, hearing a viewpoint as such is like trying to mix oil and water. Culturally speaking, as an African American woman, the phrase “children are to be seen and not heard” comes to mind.  

And, the list goes on. “Sit still and be quiet.”

“Don’t touch anything.”

“Because I said so.”

“I’m the boss.”

“Stay in a child’s place.”

“Do as you are told.”

“Listen to me.”

Dr. Shefali would ask, but are we listening to our children? And I agree.

My experience as a parent has not been difficult or challenging because my children do not listen. My children are children exploring this life, and it is to be expected that some margin of trial and error and testing the waters will appear.

My experience as a parent has been difficult, because my pathway to success requires letting go of my own ideals about how things are suppose to be. I cannot connect with my children and their happiness as a type A, impatient, high-strung, and low tolerance control freak. I cannot enjoy my children if I am anxious of everything outside of my management. I cannot love my children unconditionally without compassion, patience, and forgiveness. All of which requires me to worry less, laugh more, and be present as much as possible.

My children’s relentlessness to help me relax and let go of my own anxiety, fears, and doubts about life has challenged me more than any alleged behavior issues. The task of going against culture and ideals to always put our families true needs for love and connection first is at the root of my parenthood challenge.  

Dr. Shefali puts it best:

“When I speak of our children transforming us as parents, don’t for a moment imagine I’m advocating relinquishing our influence on our children and becoming their minions. As much as conscious parenting is about listening to our children, honoring their essence, and being fully present with them, it’s also about boundaries and discipline. As a parent, we are required to provide our children not only the basics of shelter, food, and education, but also to teach them the value of structure, appropriate containment of their emotions, and such skills as reality testing. In other words, conscious parenting encompasses all aspects of bringing up a child to be a well-rounded, balanced member of the human race.”

So is this the solution to our challenges as parents? Are we to forego trying to control our children, and instead listen to their intrinsic and pure desires to be true to themselves, unscathed by culture and society? Can the challenges of parenthood be eased by a revolution in our own minds?

People always compliment my husband and me on how happy and free-spirited our children are. What they don’t know is that our children’s happiness comes from our own internal, messy, and gritty battle to be true to ourselves and act accordingly.

What are your thoughts and experiences? We’d love to hear!


Clarissa Joan is a spiritual life coach and editor-in-chief of The Clarissa Joan Experience, a multi-media inspirational platform. She resides in Philadelphia, Pa with her husband, their two baby girls, and a yorkie named Ace.

All Summer ’16: Summer Survival Tips for Parents

June 2nd, 2016 - By MommyNoire Editor
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kids summer outside eating food snack siblings boy girl


Patti Barnes, Educents Blogger

The lazy days of summer are upon us and while the thought of lounging outdoors, relaxing and soaking up the sun is appealing, everyone with children knows the reality is very different. With children, summer is a whole new round of challenges –  safety, organization, and avoiding the brain drain among them. Here are some summer survival tips with the best ways to tackle these summer challenges without spoiling any sunny fun!

Keep Kids Safe! New environments and new experiences over the holidays come with new safety challenges.

Water Safety

Before you start swimming…

  • If you’re visiting a friend or relative with a pool, make sure it is fenced and the gate is locked or else always keep your child within sight.
  • Teach your children to always ask permission before going into the water.
  • Ensure nobody goes into the water alone by setting up a swimming buddy system.
  • Always wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) on boats. Even good, strong swimmers can get into trouble if there is a boating accident.
  • Check for the shallow end and deep end of the pool.
  • Check the water temperate to avoid cold water shocking your body. This can stiffen your muscles and make it tougher to swim.
  • Check out this Summer Safety journal for kids.


Sun Safety

  • Sunglasses can protect little eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. But did you know… not all glasses are created equal? Darker glasses do not mean your eyes are better protected – look for glasses that are labelled as protecting from 100% of UV rays.
  • Keep delicate skin covered-up as much as possible. Light, long sleeved tops or UV protective clothing. Don’t forget to pack a hat for everyone!
  • Sunscreen is essential for protecting from harmful UV rays. Don’t forget to apply it even when playing in the garden or walking to the park.
  • Remember to reapply sunscreen after going in the water.


Out & About

  • Ensure your child always wears appropriate safety equipment when bike riding, skateboarding or other similar activities.
  • Take the time to go over road safety with your child, reminding them of correct crossing procedures and going on a few practice runs with them.
  • In case of an emergency or if you have been separated, agree on a secret safety word with your child. Let your child know that if someone says a parent has sent them, that person will have the secret safety word.
  • Staying hydrated is an often overlooked safety issue. Children need between four and 8 cups of water a day, depending on their age, and more on a hot day. Pack a water bottle wherever you go.
  • Take a photo of your child on your phone before you leave the house. If you should become separated you will have an up to date photo with the clothes they are wearing available.
  • Write your phone number inside your child’s sneakers and teach them to show someone if they are lost. Then it will be easy for a responsible adult to contact you straight away.

 See more: Campground Safety, Cyber Safety, and Fire Safety for Kids


Staying Organized

Another huge challenge can be staying organized – especially when you have a number of children to juggle over summer vacation. Activities, camps, play-dates, and even staying at home all day can stretch your organizational muscles.

  • Use a chore chart to allocate chores for each of your kids. If you haven’t found an effective chore chart, try Zone Cleaning for Kids.
  • Help your children tidy all the belongings that have migrated around the house by using “tidy-up baskets.” They can move from room to room, filling the baskets with items that don’t belong and putting them away when they get to the correct room.
  • Combine the tidy baskets with a specific pre-dinner tidy time, this ensures everything can be tidied away by the end of the day.
  • Keep a calendar in a place everyone can see it. Ours is hung on the kitchen wall and we use different color pens for each person. Whenever something is planned, it goes straight on the calendar and, to cut down on the stress, no more than three plans are allowed on each day.
  • Produce a daily visual schedule, so everyone can see, at a glance, what is happening and when.
  • Plan ahead with snacks and lunches portioned out in paper bags, in plastic boxes or just bundled together in the cupboard. Being able to just add a fresh sandwich & fruit really speeds up lunch making.
  • Fill water bottles each evening and leave them in the fridge overnight.
  • Put clothes away with the items for a complete outfit together and lay them out the night before. No more rushing around in the morning looking for matching socks!

See more: Zone Cleaning for Kids is What Every Mom Needs



Stay Sharp

With less structured summer months, learning can slow down. A few active steps during summer will ensure things fall into place come September.

  •  Encourage your children to document their experiences through the summer. They can keep a journal, make a lapbook, build a website or create art pieces based on their day.
  • Use a day-out or longer trip as the basis for learning, both before and after you go. For example if you are going to the beach use the days before to imagine what you might see, learn about how sand is formed or rock pool ecology. When you are home again, look-up the creatures you have seen, draw a map of where you went or write a story about your adventure.
  • Use workbooks or worksheets as a quiet time activity.
  • Search online for free events in your community.
  • Visit your local library. They often have summer reading programs and activities.
  • Learn an instrument – you could even form a family band!
  • Have a staycation and dedicate a week at home to a particular country. Watch a program about the culture, cook the food, learn a few words of the language – celebrate a summer holiday at home.
  • Use family trips as an opportunity to research your family tree and use those discoveries as a jumping off point for learning.

See more: Summer Activities Guide to Avoid Summer Learning Loss

No matter what you have planned for the summer, remember to stay safe, stay organized and stay sharp!


Which of these activities will you be adding to your summer vacation?

Explore new ways to make learning fun this summer on Educents. Join the conversations about education happening on our Facebook Page. Or, get the latest from Educents delivered to your inbox.

About the Author: Patti Barnes is a homeschool mom to five children, a crafter, an avid reader, and a member of the Blogger Program at Educents. Educents (Ed-YOU-sents) is the first and only website to offer parents and educators access to thousands of innovative, affordable tools to help kids learn.

Hilarious Realities Of Sex After Having Kids

June 1st, 2016 - By Julia Austin
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Corbis Images

Corbis Images

There’s just not enough information out there about what happens when you try to have sex after having a baby. Or, several children. You might think that so long as your doctor gave you the green light to go for it, then everything will go back to normal. There’s just one little issue: you have little issues—er, um, kids—running your household now! The five-hour dates of cocktails and dinner that used to act as foreplay are out of the question, so you need to learn to get in the mood fast when the opportunity presents itself. Your body is not the same, no matter how much your husband insists that it is. You worry about traumatizing a child. You are exhausted from taking care of said child. And let’s not forget the fact that, now that you’re parents, you have four times as many things to argue about, so it’s rare that you’ve been getting along long enough to want to have sex. So here are 15 hilarious realities of sex after having children.