Whether we like it or not, the internet is part of our children’s lives. They need it for school and they use it for play. Sometimes, honestly, it gives us a break when they are “quietly” using the computer. Sadly, we can never let down our guard when it comes to keeping our kids safe online. Here are 5 easy internet safety tips. Feel free to add your own in the comment section!
- Content Blockers – Don’t be afraid to block content. Your child doesn’t need to see everything on the web when she is searching for her latest science project.
- Communicate – Content blockers don’t block everything. Be sure to talk to your kids about what to do when something inappropriate pops up.
- Openness – Keep your child’s computer in the open like a family room where you can supervise activity more easily.
- Guidelines – Be clear on when, how long and what sort of work and sites a child can visit on the computer.
- Pay Attention – Children can innocently (or not so innocently) get caught up in sites, messaging, etc that is harmful. Nothing replaces a parent who pays attention.
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Your children have either gone back to school or will start very soon. After a summer of late mornings, not so strict bedtimes and carefree afternoons, it may be hard getting back into the swing of school. A few easy tips:
- Adjust bedtimes – While your child is getting used to getting up earlier, be sure to have him go to bed earlier even if it’s only 10 minutes. Increase that time every night even on weekends so that within a week you are back to school night bedtimes.
- De-clutter study spaces – It’s hard to focus if your child’s desk or study area is full of clutter and remnants of the summer. Be sure to clear off her study area. This will serve as a visual prop that something different is happening and it will help her focus on her studies and not her crafts from summer camp.
- Celebrate – Cook your child’s favorite dinner the night before school or the night of his first day of school. Let him know that education is a gift to celebrate!
Don’t forget the little brother or sister who is left behind. Play school by reading a book together, counting, drawing letters, etc. to help him or her understand what big brother or sister is doing all day. End your playtime with a cuddle and say how glad you are that he or she is still home for middle-of-the-day cuddles!
What back to school tips do you have?
Reading to your child has many benefits from developing language to growing imagination. We have blogged about bringing your child’s books to life including I Am A Bunny & Skippyjon Jones. We had a request to bring A Cuddle for Little Duck to life and we had fun doing it! We liked A Cuddle for Little Duck because it is a sweet book of the simple joys of everyday living and the importance of cuddles – what’s not to love about that!
What you need:
- A Cuddle for Little Duck book
- Yellow & orange construction paper
- Non Toxic glue
- Googly eyes
- Scissors (adult use only)
- A nature trail, forest preserve, prairie, pond or pet shop if you can’t go outside in nature.
- Open arms for cuddles
What to do:
- Read the book A Cuddle for Little Duck
- Act the scenes: run through the meadow (a prairie, park, empty lot, yard, will work), go to a pond to look at frogs (pet shop will work in a pinch), sit under a tree and tell your child a story (mommy duck tells a story at lunch to baby duck), put on some music and shake your tail feathers like little duck
- Cut a big yellow circle from construction paper for ducks body, a smaller one for head and 2 ovals for wings (teach your child shapes while you do this)
- Cut small triangle from orange construction paper for beak and two bigger triangles for feet
- Glue all the parts together to form a duck
- Glue on to face the beak and googly eyes
- Be sure to give lots of cuddles throughout the day
If there is a children’s book you would like us to bring to life, please let us know by leaving a comment!
Tomorrow is our J is for Jeep Twitter Fitness Party. We are super excited because we will be talking about a subject we love – fitness and Jeep! We are excited to share our new Jeep jogging stroller with you and are THRILLED to announce that Derek Kite will be tweeting with us. Derek is a dad of three, married to the illustrious Valerie from the blog A Nation of Moms, and has extensive knowledge of fitness – you know all the tips on how to work in fitness as a family, how to stay fit even on a busy schedule, etc.
A little about Derek:
Derek is a former professional triathlete, duathlete, and runner. Derek brings to the sport of triathlon/duathlon his expertise and experience in running, having trained with some of the world’s fastest Kenyan and American runners. He was named Rookie Duathlete of the Year (2003), finished 3rd in the nation in triathlon and 6th in the world in duathlon and has several other podiums under his belt, including two consecutive wins at the Malibu Triathlon.
As a professional runner, he competed in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Trials in the steeplechase and was coached by world-famous coach, Joe Vigil, with former training partners Deena Kastor, Meb Keflizighi, and Dan Browne.
Derek attended and competed for Lubbock Christian University, where he ran and trained with Kenyan teammates. He earned 14 All-American honors in running and 5 National Team Championships. By his senior year, he was 4th in Cross Country National Championships, the Indoor 3-mile National Champion, and the Outdoor 3,000-meter Steeplechase National Champion.
Even as a young athlete, Derek has always been a coach at heart. And with over 17 years of coaching experience and 13 years of professional racing, he has a keen understanding of the many needs of the endurance athlete. Derek can attribute his very eclectic coaching style to training under about 20 different coaches with different training philosophies.
Impressive isn’t it? We are just super excited! You can follow him at @anationofmoms
To help you on your fitness track, we will be giving away J is for Jeep jogging strollers throughout the party.
There are quite a few blog moms attending the event as well. These moms have the J is for Jeep jogging stroller so they can give you first hand experiences of it.
The blog moms attending are:
- Jyla’s Three of Us @jylasthreeofus
- A Nation of Moms @kitekoop
- Girl Gone Mom @GirlGoneMom
- Steals, Deals & Life @stealsdealslife
- Real Mom Reviews @RealMomReviews
- Mommy Mandy @MommyMandy
- Houghton Happenings @tweetmomRN
- Written by Mama @WrittenByMama
- The Life of Rylie & Bryce too! @thelifeofrylie
- Not Quite Susie Homemaker @NotQuiteSusie
- Shop with Me Mama @shopwithmemama
- One More Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest @TheRhinoMisses
- Baby Dickey @BabyDickey
- Minnesota Must Haves! @mnmamamusthave
- Freckleberry Finds @freckleberrymom
- Suburban Coupon Mom @Suburbancoupon
- Party of Five & Counting @MommyinNJ
- A Mom’s Balancing Act @mombalancingact
- All Aboard the Review & Giveaway Train! @Giveawaytrain
- Jabbering Jessi @JabberingJessi
We can’t wait to party with you! be sure to follow @kolcraft and all the moms listed above so you can increase your chances of winning a Jeep jogging stroller! More info on the J is for Jeep Fitness Twitter Party can be found here.
Have kids? Want to get in shape? Ready to be out enjoying the summer? Join us for our J is for Jeep Twitter Fitness Party!
What? Win a J is for Jeep jogging stroller, connect with other parents, and hear from fitness experts how to stay fit and healthy with your family!
When? Tuesday, August 7 from 11 am until noon CST.
Where? On Twitter! No need to RSVP, just come to the party by following @Kolcraft on Twitter and using hastag #JisJeep.
What you can win:
A few of the MANY features we love about the J is for Jeep Jogging stroller!
- iBaby sound system for music on the move
- Air filled tires
- Forward locking swivel wheel
- Shock absorbing suspension
- Reclining seat
Hope you can join us for the party!
Kids can meltdown and have tantrums for a variety of reasons – hungry, wet, tired or just not getting what they want. When you have a screaming, crying child you can’t reason with him and it’s easy to feel embarrassed when you are in public and people are giving you “the look”. You know – that judgmental look of “If that were my kid…”, “That kid is so out of control…” or “What is wrong with that parent?”
There are many schools of thought on discipline and child rearing. We are fans of gentle parenting – not yelling at or spanking children. One simple thing you can do when your child is having a meltdown is count to 10 with them. At the end, breathe deeply & ask your child to do the same with you. It’s simple, but it helps focus your child on something other than the meltdown at hand. It is rhythmic which calms your child. If your child can’t quite count yet, count for him or her and breathe deeply. You will see your child mimic your behavior. If your child is having a hard time hearing you above her screams, gently blow in her face. This triggers a natural reaction for your child to stop screaming and breathe.
What tips do you have to calm your child during a temper tantrum or meltdown?
Sometimes as parents we can get to the end of our rope and be tempted to follow “might is right” parenting which ends in spanking and yelling at our children. Studies have shown that spanking, even “mild” spanking, can cause long-term mental health issues for children.
Some advocate time-outs as an alternative to spanking in order to set boundaries, but there is another school of parenting called gentle parenting. Gentle parenting takes time, patience, communication, self-knowledge, a willingness to go on the parenting journey, did we mention patience? The result is a loving, respectful relationship where even your discipline teaches your child about love, respect, trust and understanding.
3 Tips To Move Towards Gentle Parenting
- Step back – When you are aggravated by your child’s behavior. Take 5 seconds to stop, step back and take inventory of why your child’s behavior is irritating you. This isn’t easy especially if your child is throwing a tantrum in the middle of a store! The rewards of mentally stepping back, however, are tremendous.
- Listen – What is your child really saying? Is she overtired? Does he feel misunderstood? Is she afraid? What is behind the anger or tears?
- Be positive – Turn a negative situation into a positive. Try to redirect towards something positive, refrain your “no” into a yes or see where you can proactively set limits before the crisis boils over.
Gentle parenting isn’t a “free for all” where children do as they please. It is about choosing to give children a safe, loving, respectful and trustful upbringing. It may not be the easiest way to parent, but it is a way of parenting that focuses on a more peaceful interaction between child and parent reaping long-term results of trust and love for parent and child.
Have you heard of gentle parenting? What do you think about it?
Reading to children has so many benefits and you can extend those benefits by reinforcing the story that you have read. A couple of months ago we blogged about bringing your child’s books to life by reading them and doing activities with I Am A Bunny book. Today our craft focuses on the lively series of Skippyjon Jones. We love the Color Crazy book because it teaches children their colors as well as using their imagination. After all, why can’t four Chihuahuas be red?
What you need:
- Skippyjon Jones Color Crazy book
What to do:
- Read Color Crazy book together
- Reenact the book by drawing the scenes on a piece of paper: a blue sun, a purple puddle, etc.
- If your child is just learning her colors, reinforce this by asking her what color Skippyjon Jones colored the sun, etc.
- If your child is older, fold pieces of paper in half & put them inside each other to make a booklet. Have them make their own color crazy book. Ask them what color they would like to make the sun, a puddle, a bunny, etc.
What fun ways do you bring your child’s books to life?
Summertime is a fun time for new adventures and bonding more with your children, but the heat and “I’m bored” can cause any parents nerves to be a bit on edge. We have 3 easy parenting tips to help keep your summer fun and not frustrating.
- Focus on Fun – Summer is a time for memories and doing things a bit off schedule. While you will want to stay on routine (children work best with routine), you can be flexible for fun. Take some time at the beginning of the week to plan at least one fun activity every day. It can be as simple as running through the sprinkler for 30 minutes, making a simple craft or taking a nature walk.
- Set Rules – Just because it’s fun time doesn’t mean the regular rules don’t apply. Be consistent with your parenting rules of sharing, kindness, cleaning up, etc. Kids need consistency, not chaos.
- Be aware – Are you planning too many activities that your kids are constantly exhausted or too little so they are bored? Taking a few minutes to be aware of how your kids are responding to your summer activities can help you adjust accordingly.
What summer parenting tips do you have?
Parades, picnics and pool time are hallmarks of the 4th of July. You can enjoy your holiday and keep it safe with these few parenting tips.
- Keep firecrackers away from children. Be sure firecracker remnants like sparkler sticks, etc. are not in left on the ground where toddlers and babies can pick them up.
- Have a bucket with water and a hose handy if you are using firecrackers.
- Keep children away from grills. If the grill is cooling off, take turns watching so children do not play near the grill.
- Appoint a lifeguard when around water. When we gather with family & friends it is easy to start talking and not realize nobody is watching the kids in the pool or at the beach. Appoint someone to watch in 30 minute intervals. have a whistle that you pass to the designated lifeguard.
- Remember sun safety and wear sunscreen, hats and keep hydrated.
What 4th of July tips do you have?