6-Ways-to-Make-Your-Child-Feel-Loved this School Year

As parents of school-aged kids, many things feel uncertain and out of control right now heading into a new school year.

We have little control over whether our kids get to go to the classroom right now or if they have to be schooled virtually from our kitchen table.

One choice we do have, despite our circumstances, is the ability to make our child feel especially loved in our home this school year and beyond.

6-Ways-to-Make-Your-Child-Feel-Loved this School Year

1. Light a Candle of Honor

One of our favorite family dinner traditions we regularly did around our dinner table when our kids were younger was the Candle of Honor.

Each night (or whenever you want), choose one child (or adult) to honor because of a positive character trait they showed or something they accomplished that day. Light a candle in front of your honoree, acknowledge why you chose them before the meal, and let them blow the flame out while everyone gives them a round of applause.

The candle of honor tradition is such a small, simple, and fun way to acknowledge and impact your family members.

Be prepared for younger children to get upset or complain when they aren’t chosen. Thankfully, this too shall pass as they learn that their turn will indeed come around. The Candle of Honor becomes a strong family tradition as you teach your children to celebrate one another regularly in your home.

2. Turn an ordinary moment into an extraordinary one

As a mother of five, it can be difficult to feel like I’m giving everyone the attention they need or deserve. So, I’m always seeking out simple opportunities to celebrate each of my sons and daughter so that they feel uniquely cherished in our family.

Our youngest got to go back in person to school first, so on the night before he headed back to the classroom, I threw a little after-dinner celebration focused on him.

candle-of-honor-simple-celebration

  • Instead of just handing our son the variety pack of camouflage washable masks I had purchased him for school, I used it as an excuse to throw him a little Back-to-School after-dinner celebration.
  • I googled how many days had passed since his last day of school before the pandemic shut everything down and wrote on a blank notecard, “After 192 days, you get to go back to school.” Yippee. Hooray. Whoo-hoo.
  • After dinner, I lit the Candle of Honor and presented him with a slice of cheesecake (that Kneaders mistakingly gave me when I ordered a cherry pie for myself) and a recycled gift bag with his set of masks and a hand-me-down chapter book from a friend.

This simple celebration cost me nothing but a little time. I threw the idea together in a matter of minutes yet my intentional effort made my son feel special and loved.

This is the name of the game friends.

Be on the lookout for ordinary moments that you can simply turn into extraordinary ones with a little extra effort this school year.

3. Talk around the family table 

It’s so vital that we create space in our families to talk around the table, breakfast bar, or wherever you gather with your people regularly. Get to know who is in your child’s world this school year- virtually or in the classroom. Know the names and happenings of their friends, enemies, teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and the other people they encounter every day.

Ask your students what’s bothering them about their school year so far?

What are they enjoying? And in turn, tell them what’s going on in your life.

Our homes need to be a haven where we gather consistently with our people over meals and speak truth and love to one another.

4. Encourage contribution

Find ways for your children, from toddlers to teens, to help out around your home. Even though your son or daughter will most likely complain about unloading the dishwasher, doing their laundry, or scrubbing a toilet, having regular chores helps children feel a sense of belonging which equates to feeling loved.

raise-Contributors-kids-chores

Not only should your son or daughter be contributing to the good of your family home, but it’s essential that they also learn to contribute to your local community and the world at large.

5. Create a meaningful school year photo album

One of my favorite back to school traditions is putting my sons’ and daughter’s annual school photo into their You are Loved School Days album (which I happened to design.)

School-Photos-Keepsake-Album

When we take the time to intentionally create a meaningful keepsake book with their school photos each year, it tells our child that they matter and that they are loved.

If you haven’t started an annual school year album, you can check out my simple product to help you do so HERE.

6. Start a dialogue journal

A dialogue journal is a perfect way to begin one-on-one communication with your child by writing back and forth to one another in a simple notebook.

Grab a barely used notebook and start a dialogue journal with your school-aged kids to help them improve their penmanship and to get more comfortable expressing their thoughts, feelings, and ideas through the written word. It also makes a fun keepsake to look back at later in life.

To learn more about starting a dialogue journal with your student, click HERE.

What other ways are you striving to show love to your student this school year?

11-things-to-do-in-philadelphia-with-kids

One of the favorite places our family visited along our 7-month RV journey around the USA, was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I had never given the historic city much thought, but boy was I impressed. We voted it the best walkable city along our American tour with so much to do, see, eat, and learn about!

11-things-to-do-in-philadelphia-with-kids

1. Begin at the Independence Visitor Center

Plan to start your visit to Philadelphia at the Independence Visitor Center, which is right across the street from the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Independence National Historical Park.

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE: The Independence Visitor Center functions as the exclusive pick-up location for free, timed tickets to Independence Hall, which is important because sightseers visiting between March 1 to December 31 must have a ticket. Check HERE for all current details.

Indepence-Hall-Junior-Ranger-Program-Philadelphia

ALSO, GET your Junior Ranger Activity Booklets while at the Visitor Center. The Junior Ranger program keeps the kids engaged while visiting the National Parks and they love building up their childhood collection of badges.

2. Visit Independence Hall

Independence Hall is the building where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted. It is now the centerpiece of the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.

How to Obtain Independence Hall Tickets

Assembly-Room-Independence-Hall

The Assembly Room in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, where the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence

3. See the Liberty Bell

Across the street from Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell is displayed in the Liberty Bell Center. Admission is free to learn about and admire this iconic symbol of American independence in person!

4. Head to the National Constitution Center

We purposely planned our visit to Philadelphia during Constitution Week and got to tour the National Constitution Center for FREE on Constitution Day September 17.

At the Center, you will learn how the Constitution was drafted and ratified; how it has been interpreted over time; and what it means for us today.

Learn about ticket pricing and hours of operation and special events HERE

5. Take a self-guided tour of the US Mint

All tours (which take approximately 45 minutes) are free and self-guided; no reservations are necessary, even for large groups. Check the website HERE for operating hours and details, as the Mint is currently closed for touring due to the pandemic.

CHECK OUT THE KOA WHERE WE STAYED WHEN VISITING PHILADELPHIA BY RV

6. Send a postcard from the Benjamin Franklin Post Office

send-postcards-benjamin-franklin-post-office-philadelphia

Free Franklin Post Office & Museum is the only Colonial-themed post office operated by the United States Postal Service. It is a living portrayal of a bygone Colonial lifestyle, and it is the only active post office in the United States that does not fly the American flag (because there was not yet one in 1775 when Benjamin Franklin was appointed Postmaster General).

Be sure to bring along your loved ones’ home addresses and mail them a postcard with the special postmark “B. Free Franklin” that is still used to cancel stamps today. The museum on the second floor features displays of postal history and memorabilia.

7. Visit Benjamin Franklin’s gravesite

Kids-throw-pennies-on-franklin-grave-philadelphia

Christ Church Burial Ground in Philadelphia is an important early-American cemetery and is the final resting place of Benjamin Franklin and his wife.

Be sure to bring along a few cents if you plan on making a visit to the grounds. The Franklins’ tombstones are easily the most visited, as evidenced by the many pennies which are thrown onto Benjamin Franklin’s burial site. In addition to being a symbol for good luck, throwing coins is a nod to Franklin’s motto that “a penny saved is a penny earned.”

Check HERE for admission details.Benjamin-Franklin-Grave-Visit-With-Kids-in-Philadelphia

8. Grab famous Philly cheesesteaks for lunch or dinner

Genos-Philly-Cheesesteaks-with-kids-Philadelphia

For lunch, we walked the one mile from Independence Mall to Geno’s Philly cheesesteaks, which happens to be right across the street from rival Pat’s.

Both Pat’s and Geno’s are open 24/7 minus a few holidays and are regarded as “tourist traps” by any local, but for out of towners, the experience is part of the fun!

9. Run up the Rocky Steps

Kids-visit-Rocky-Steps-Philadelphia

After lunch, we drove a couple of miles to The Rocky Statue and the Rocky Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art which are two of the most visited attractions in Philadelphia — and they’re both free.

Run up the steps, then turn around to cherish the spectacular view of the Philadelphia skyline. Then head back down to find the bronze statue of Rocky at the bottom that was originally commissioned for Rocky III.

10. Snap a photo with the infamous Love sculpture

One of the City of Brotherly Love’s best-known landmarks is LOVE itself — the Robert Indiana sculpture in John F. Kennedy Plaza (or LOVE Park, as it’s referred to by many). The sculpture was restored and repainted in 2018, and the park was entirely redesigned to add more green areas and a high-tech water feature since we visited in 2014.

The AMOR sculpture — a Spanish version of the LOVE sculpture — is at Sister Cities Park, a short walk from LOVE Park.

Did you know Philadelphia changed its nickname to the City of Sisterly Love for 2020 due to the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment?

11. At night relax in Spruce Street Harbor Park (Seasonal)

Facing the Delaware River, Spruce Street Harbor Park — open seasonally from spring through fall — creates the ultimate free hangout spot. Lounge riverside on colorful hammocks, floating barges, and Adirondack chairs, or play lawn games like bocce, shuffleboard, and giant Jenga games.

You can even grab a bite to eat from one of the many food vendors set up on the boardwalk. Unfortunately, the park looks quite different during the pandemic so be sure to check HERE before visiting.

I’ve only scratched the surface of all the amazingness that Philadelphia has to offer. I highly recommend visiting this beautiful, historic city with your kids.

Have you visited Philadephia for family fun?

What else would you recommend people check out?

iphone-screentime-teenager-data

The implications of our children spending more time on devices during this pandemic are nothing to ignore.

Right now, our sons and daughters may be in front of screens more than ever out of necessity, or desperation. It’s crucial that we, as parents, cultivate conversation and create boundaries in our homes to help protect our sons and daughters from the harmful effects of device dependency during this time.

We cannot stick our heads in the sand and hand over digital devices to our kids without understanding the ramifications of doing so.

Tom Kersting, a nationally renowned psychotherapist, speaker, and author just released his new book Disconnected full of information and tips we need to lead our children well when it comes to technology and addictive devices.

Take the time to listen to my discussion with Tom about his new book and what it is we parents need to know as we enter into this new school year on screens and beyond!

  • Get Amy’s Family Cellphone Contract HERE
  • Get Tom’s Book- Disconnected HERE
  • Listen to Amy’s interview- Intentionally Raising Kids on Devices- on Tom’s Reconnected Parent Podcast HERE
  • Check out Tom’s website HERE

Disconnected-Book

college-first-aid-kit

One of the most important things we can do as a parent is to teach our kids how to take care of their personal health.

Many doctors and nurses see college students coming in with minor aches and pains that could easily be remedied in their dorm room instead of the emergency room.

What can we do to give our young adults the confidence to care for their minor aches and pains?

We can begin teaching our children today how (and when) to treat minor illnesses and injuries and make up a first aid kit to give them the tools they may need to do so when they are off living independently.

College-Student-First-Aid-Kit

Here are the 19 Items I Included in my Sons’ College First Aid Kits:

1. Digital Thermometer 

2. Nasal spray for cold symptoms such as Afrin

3. Pain reliever tablets such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol

4. Emergen-C

5. Antibiotic Ointment

6. Cold & Flu medicine

7. Anti-diarrhea medication such as Immodium

8. Assortment of bandages

9. Cough drops

10. Sunblock

11. Tweezers, mini-scissors, nail file

12. Hand sanitizer

13. Lip balms

14. Instant Ice Packs 

15. Tums antacids

16. Saline nose spray

17. Allergy medicine

18. Insurance cards, immunization records, and any doctor’s information in a Ziploc bag

19. Hidden note of love from Mom and/or Dad

*This list includes affiliate links that will earn me a few cents if purchased!

college-first-aid-kit

  • Remember, this kit is to help your child remedy minor pains or sickness and doesn’t contain items regularly used, such as vitamins, sleep aids, or prescription medications.
  • Try to go over all of the included items with your child before sending this along with them. Make sure your son or daughter understands how to use everything so they won’t have to use Google or contact you in the middle of the night for advice.
What else would you include in your student’s college first aid kit?