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!

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

For your chance to win a copy of the book, Disconnected: How to Protect Your Kids from the Harmful Effects of Device Dependency, COMMENT WHY you need this book!

What is your biggest struggle when it comes to screens and devices in your home?

One winner will be randomly selected to receive the book Disconnected on September 15, 2020, and notified by email.  

Must be a US Resident for shipping purposes.

  • 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?
Carney-Family-RV-Trip-Zion

Our family was camping before camping was COVID cool.

Families are jumping in RVs and heading to campgrounds this summer in record numbers.

Six years ago our family spent seven months in an RV journeying around the United States. We needed to stop the chaos that was our everyday life, slow down, and enjoy one another and our lives for a little while.

Isn’t that exactly what the pandemic is making us do right now, whether we like it or not?

No matter if camping is part of your 2020 plan or it’s something you are considering in the future for your family, you will want to get this new book- See you at the Campground.

See-You-At-The-Campground-Book-Review

The Authors Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi interviewed me about our RV Family Sabbatical on their podcast and when I saw they released another book, I had to check it out!

Whether you’re new to camping or a seasoned pro, See You at the Campground is an awesome resource containing everything you need to know from hiking with infants to navigating RV dealerships to mixing the perfect campfire cocktails. No seriously, anything and everything you want to know about camping is in this book!

Camping-quote-jeremy-puglisi

4 Ways to Choose Your Own Camping Adventure this Summer and Beyond

1. RV Camping Adventures

Are you an RV camper? Would you like to be?

As I said, we lived in this motorhome for nearly seven months of 2014. You don’t have to buy an RV to camp with your family, but it’s definitely not a shabby way to go. If you don’t have an interest in buying, you can certainly rent one on Outdoorsy and try it out for a little while.

Carney-Family-RV-Trip-Zion

#1 RV Rental Marketplace

2. Cabin Camping Adventures

Now that we no longer own an RV, our family camping preference is staying in cabins. To learn more about these types of camping accommodations you can check out my post from the San Diego, California KOA, and the Williams, Arizona KOA. Both locations even have fun alternate accommodations such as safari tents and teepees too!

Williams-Arizona-KOA-Cabin-Camping

3. Tent Camping Adventures

I’m not going to pretend that I am in the least bit a tent camper. I am not. But, the few times I have done it, have been awesome. I can’t imagine doing it with kids, but maybe you have more patience and tolerance than I do!

Havasupai-Falls-Arizona-Camping

4. Glamping Adventures

Lastly, Keith and I love taking “Glamping Getaways” such as this one we did last summer at Autocamp near Yosemite. Getting to stay in a fully equipped Airstream in the middle of the great outdoors is heaven to us.

Autocamp-Yosemite

For your chance to win a signed copy of the book, See You at the Campground, comment which of the 4 Camping Adventurers you are and WHY you need this book!

One winner will be randomly selected on July 28, 2020, and notified by email. Must be a US Resident for shipping purposes.

 

11-free-summer-activities-for-kids

Our summer may look simpler this year than it normally does.

Instead of being disappointed or frustrated about our losses during this season, let’s choose to embrace the slower pace of the summer of 2020.

If you’re like me and hanging out at home more, with little desire to spend a lot of money right now, perhaps these fun, but low-cost, ideas will be of interest to you. 

11-free-summer-activities-for-kids

1. Plan a themed family night

Look at your summer calendar and see if there are any days coming up that you could purposely celebrate. For example, National Ice Cream Day is coming up on July 21! Why not surprise your family with an ice cream party that day or set up a sundae bar after dinner?

One of our family’s favorite theme nights we’ve ever had was a backward dinner, where everyone shows up to eat with their clothes on backward. You also serve the meal backward starting with dessert first and serving the salad last. 

The point is to be silly and plan a fun family night that you wouldn’t ordinarily do.

Little-Free-Library

2. Seek out Little Free Libraries

Little Free Libraries are “take one, leave one” book stations, and are located all over the place. Visiting Little Free Library locations with your child both encourages a healthy habit of reading and helps kids recycle books they’ve already read.  

Our youngest and I enjoy trying to match the theme of the books we donate to the theme of the little library we are donating to, as we recently did at our local dog park. Get creative with your experiences and enjoy exploring your community together.

Check out littlefreelibrary.org for a map of libraries near you, as well as best practices during the Coronavirus.

3. Make a Boredom Bucket

I’m giving you permission to stop playing cruise director and constantly entertaining your child this summer!

Boredom is mightily beneficial, if we are strong enough to allow our children to experience it. Use this summer downtime to let your kids figure out how to entertain themselves, by themselves, just like we had to do back in the day.

summer-boredom-bucket

One way to set your son or daughter up for success is to help them create a Boredom Bucket, Bin, or Basket with quiet activities to occupy them when they don’t seem to know what to do with themselves. It’s that or a toilet bowl brush so let them take their pick!

CHECK OUT  MY SUMMER OF SIGNIFICANCE PRINTABLE PACK HERE

Putting together a boredom bucket also doesn’t need to cost you anything, unless you want to mix in new items. Your child can choose what items go in the bucket or you can go through their room like I did and pick out small items that have rarely gotten used. You can also add new items to the bucket or switch items out throughout the summer to keep it fun.

These magnetic balls are pricey, but they have been our son’s favorite boredom cure this summer so they are worth it!

4. Start dialogue journals 

School may be over, but we want to keep up on our student’s penmanship. So, grab one of your child’s barely used notebooks from this school year and start a dialogue journal with your kids to help them:

  • Improve their penmanship.
  • Get more comfortable expressing their thoughts, feelings, and ideas through the written word.
  • Think about the thoughts and feelings of another in this interactive form of communication.
  • Create a keepsake from their childhood to be cherished later.

Click HERE for more details on how and why you may want to get started on this!

Parent-on-purpose-chores

5. Strengthen life skills 

Take the time to teach your children the life skills that will help them when they start back to school and beyond. What is it that your child needs to know and that they can learn to do this summer?

Not sure? Get my life skills age-appropriate summer task checklists HERE!

6. Go Geocaching

Here’s a family-friendly activity that’s high on both fun and fresh air. Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt offering lots of hidden containers (called caches) and tips and clues for finding them in public spaces such as parks. It was one of our kids’ favorite things they did as we traveled around the USA in our RV in 2014.

Geocaching-kids-summer

Create a free account HERE or download the app from Apple or Google Play on your smartphone. Make sure to bring hand sanitizer and a pen to sign and date the logbook in each geocache you find before placing it back where you found it.

7. Join a summer reading challenge

There are many ways to motivate your child to read more this summer. Start with your local public library to see what they are offering this summer or join in one of the many reading challenges being offered online.

Have a kid who loves pizza? This may be the reading program for them!  Camp BOOK IT is Pizza Hut’s new summer reading program where kids ages 5-12 can earn free pizzas from June through August. Half Price Books is running their summer reading challenge too or you can sign up for Scholastic’s Summer Read-A- Palooza as well.

send-summer-postcards

8. Send postcards

Postcards are an easy way to get our kids working on their penmanship while sending some love through the mail this summer.

Who knew you can even order postcard stamps from the comfort of your home on Amazon right HERE. I like buying postcards showcasing our beautiful state, but you can buy unique sets of postcards like these if you don’t have an option or desire to purchase them locally.

kids-in-the-kitchen-summer-life-skills

9. Make a homemade treat in your kitchen together

Hanging out in the kitchen with your kids this summer will provide so many benefits! Not only will you have some fun together, but you will also have the chance to teach your children lifelong skills.

What recipe can you teach your kids how to make? Homemade Strawberry Fruit Rollups is one of our favorite family summer treats and it’s the only recipe I’ve ever posted on my blog!

Kitchen-life-skills-for-kids

WANT TO CREATE SIGNIFICANT FAMILY SYSTEMS IN THE KITCHEN THIS SUMMER?

glass-jar-tradition

10. Start a glass jar tradition

One of the most important things we can do is take the time to create simple traditions in our homes that teach our kids the values we deem most important. One way to do this is to create an annual glass jar tradition to teach the values of generosity, gratitude, joy, or presence.

Here are four glass jar traditions you could start this summer!

chalk-art-glass-window

11. Create a chalk art family masterpiece

I know that chalk art is so “Coronavirus quarantine,” but this mosaic design we painted on our glass door brings me so much joy. I don’t think I’ll ever erase it!

Grab some masking or painters tape and create a design (with chalk markers) on your window or on your driveway and let each family member take part in bringing your artistic creation to life. Make it a fun, family affair!

What are other simple, fun, and low-cost activities are you enjoying with your family this summer?

Create-Significant-Summer-Systems-Kids-in-Kitchen

As we head into summer, let’s talk about how we can use this June, July, and August to strengthen our family systems and raise kids who are contributors!

LISTEN IN as my author friend, Danielle Wurth, and I talk about one chapter of her new book- KIDS IN THE KITCHEN– and how we can use the summer months at home to teach our kids what it is we need them to know in the kitchen while having fun doing it! Now there’s a summer win-win!

7 Ways to Create a Summer of Significance in 2020

  • Grab the Summer Skills Lists in my ‘How to Create A Summer of Significance in 2020 Printable Pack HERE!
  • Download Danielle’s Kitchen Zones Printable HERE
  • Want to make a Family Recipe Binder? Download Danielle’s Printable HERE
  • Check out Danielle’s Books HERE 
  • Get Danielle’s favorite label maker HERE 

Kitchen-life-skills-for-kids

 

 

 

7-ways-to-create-a-summer-of-significancei-in-2020

The Summer of 2020 is being called ‘The Summer of Nothing’ and ‘The Endless Summer.’

While I can certainly relate to the feelings and realities behind both of those statements, I know that I want to make this summer matter despite our circumstances.

Childhood is short. Summer is even shorter. God willing, we only get 18 summers with our kids, so how can we bring significance to this summer that may be simpler than we’re used to?

7-ways-to-create-a-summer-of-significancei-in-2020

1. Strengthen your family values and purpose

Have you taken the time to claim your core values and purpose for raising your kids? It will be nearly impossible to live out a summer of significance if you haven’t taken the time to define what ‘significant’ even means to you.

Start by defining your core values and what it is you want to instill in your children while they are growing up under your care. 

What do you want your son or daughter armored with when they leave your home one day headed into adulthood?

Claim it. Name it and strive to live it out this summer.

2. Prioritize play

Most likely any vacationing or summer camp plans your family had scheduled for this summer were cancelled. Although we’re disappointed with all of the changes to our calendar this year, let’s take a deep breath and instead think about how you can bring more fun to your simple summer days.

How about planning a themed family dinner night? We still talk about the backward dinners we did when our kids were younger, where we all came to dinner wearing backward clothing and started our meal with dessert and ended with salad.

What is it that brings your family joy when you do it together? Plan more of THAT to create significant summer moments and memories for your family.

Click HERE for FREE ideas for being more playful this summer! (Be sure to look for my Boredom Bucket idea helping kids to be playful on their own!)

create-summer-significance-2020-printable-worksheets

3. Cultivate an atmosphere of growth

Our time spent in Coronavirus quarantine exposed many strengths and weaknesses in our families. 

What’s something that didn’t go so well during your time schooling at home? Focus on strengthening that area this summer.

While it’s important to play and relax, it’s also crucial to keep learning and growing through the summer months.

For instance, I’m so tired of online learning and am looking for ways to help my youngest keep up on his math skills. This summer we’re using Learning Math Wrap-Ups to strengthen his multiplication and division facts. Check out this whole line of awesome hands-on learning wrap-ups HERE, where you will get 20% off and free shipping too!

Learning-wrap-ups-math-learning-palette

Learning Wrap-Ups sent us these products for our son to try! I’m so grateful that he enjoys using them, and his math skills are improving!

4. Teach life skills

Having the kids at home provides a perfect opportunity to teach them what it is we want them to know before they leave our homes for adulthood one day.

This summer we can take the opportunity to teach our children how to do their own laundry, cook, clean, or change a tire. Perhaps you can finally open that bank account or help your child start a business. Or simply teach them to tie their shoes or handwrite, address and mail a thank you note.

What life skill will you purposely teach your child this summer?

Parent-on-purpose-chores

GET MY SUMMER LIFE SKILLS- FOR TODDLERS THROUGH TEENS- PRINTABLES

5. Make mindful entertainment choices

Binge-watching random television shows, scrolling social media constantly, or playing video games non-stop isn’t a good use of our child’s time. Sure, there may be space for mindless entertainment choices this summer, but we must purposely set boundaries on them, so they don’t consume our days.

Why not purposely choose documentaries to educate yourself as well as create conversation and awareness of cultural issues in your family this summer?

What healthy entertainment choices will you choose for your family this summer?

4 Ways to Save Your Sanity with a Summer Screentime Strategy

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6. Go on local adventures

We were so excited to celebrate our high school graduates and my husband’s 50th birthday on an Alaska cruise this summer. Unfortunately, our epic trip, along with many other things have been cancelled this summer. As disappointing as it is, we have to pivot and plan for other adventures this summer of 2020.

Where can you plan to go explore, get out in nature, and enjoy the outdoors where you live?

Most likely, you don’t have to venture further than your home state for family fun. Many times we take for granted the beautiful places that surround us locally that we’ve never taken the time to visit… yet.

What adventures will you create this summer that will add to your family narrative and strengthen your relationships?

Summer-2020-Bucket-List

7. Celebrate life, and loved ones, in simple ways

What can you do to celebrate Dad on Father’s Day so that he feels special and loved?

When my kids were younger, they loved it when I planned a special day for each of them. My sons and daughter got to pick what they wanted to eat for breakfast in bed and what our family would do (within reason) that day.

In my Create a Summer of Significance in 2020 Printable Pack, you will get monthly celebration calendars for you to plan your June, July, and August, as well as a fun fill-in-the-blank All About Dad printable for Father’s Day.

Questions to Ask Yourself-

  • What does each family member need this summer to strengthen them physically, mentally, emotionally, and relationally?
  • What frustrated you the most this school year? Work on improving that area this summer so when school rolls around again you may have established better habits.
  • What summer family tradition can you repeat again this year? Summer wouldn’t be summer without this…. bike rides to the bagel shop or boating on the lake. What are the simple things your family does together that can still happen this summer of 2020?

Summer-of-Significance-2020-Printable-Workbook

Teach-High-Schoolers-Personal-Health

As my firstborn sons wind down their senior year of high school, I question what I still need to teach them over these next couple of months before launching them off to their respective college campuses come August.

One area where we parents seem to fall short in our teaching is helping our son or daughter manage their health.

In general, we do a relatively good job of talking with our kids about the importance of eating a healthy diet while getting proper exercise and plenty of sleep. Yet, are we failing to prepare our kids to manage their health when they leave our homes?

From the many stories I’ve heard from doctors and nurses, I’m thinking so.

12 GIFTS TO GIVE YOUR HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR FOR GRADUATION

Emergency Room Nurse Charity Hollywood says she consistently sees ill-equipped young adults stream into the emergency room where she works near a large university campus in Arizona. She says that she is striving to raise her 6-year old twin sons to be confident and capable from a young age and encourages other parents to prepare their children better when it comes to managing their health.

What skills do young adults lack when it comes to their health?

What can parents do differently while raising their kids so that they can launch adults who are more confident and capable when managing their health?

Teach-High-Schoolers-Personal-Health

Read more

Dialogue-Journals-with-foster-children

While many of us are finding ourselves at home with our family members during this season of the Coronavirus pandemic, it can be challenging to figure out positive ways to spend our time while helping our kids grow in the process.

Two important areas we can devote our efforts to right now is strengthening family communication and our kids’ life skills. 

Over our summer breaks, I used to do dialogue journals with my elementary school-aged kids to help them:

  • Improve their penmanship.
  • Get more comfortable expressing their thoughts, feelings, and ideas through the written word.
  • Think about the thoughts and feelings of another in this interactive form of communication.
  • Create a keepsake from their childhood to be cherished later.

What you need to start a Dialogue Journal

All you need to start your dialogue journal is a simple notebook and a writing instrument. Nothing fancy required. I even like to recycle the kids’ old school notebooks that still have plenty of unused pages left in them. (Rip out the used pages!)

Dialogue-Journal-with-kids-coronavirus-quarantine

As the parent, you begin the journal by writing Dear Son or Daughter and the date. Then, tell your child something about your day and ask them a question. Leave the notebook on their bed or somewhere they will naturally find it. Then, your child is to write you back in the same format, asking you a question as well. And the journal gets casually passed back and forth creating improved penmanship, communication, and a keepsake to look back on.

TIP: You can liven up the notebook covers even with sayings or photos of the two of you on the front. I used to do a dialogue journal with the foster teen I mentored, and it was an excellent way for us to “talk” about the hard stuff that’s sometimes difficult to express in person.

Dialogue-Journals-with-foster-children

TIP: You could even do a Dialogue Journal with a friend or loved one who lives locally too. Ride your bike or drive over and drop the notebook at their door, and they can do the same when they are done.

Ask questions to get your child talking about their feelings and thoughts about their experience in quarantine and what they are missing this summer.

Click Here for 20 questions you could ask your child in your Dialogue Journal or use the cards to communicate around your family dinner table!

Use this time to strengthen your family communication through starting dialogue journals with your children. Not only will your son or daughter learn pertinent skills for today, but you will intentionally create a keepsake to be cherished tomorrow as well.

Have you done a dialogue journal with your child before?

 

5-ways-to-parent-on-purpose-during-a-pandemic

This too shall pass. 

As unsettling as living through this pandemic is, we need to remember that this season of Coronavirus confinement is just that- a season. It will eventually end. And if we don’t let our grievances and circumstances consume us, we can proactively use this time to our advantage in simple ways.

Let’s purposely respond to our new reality instead of react our way through it.

How do you want to feel when this is all over? 

How do you want your family to be strengthened because of this period of unexpected time together?

If quarantine ended tomorrow, what would you be disappointed if you didn’t do?

There is no denying that what we’re going through is crazy on all levels. But, amidst the chaos, there is beautiful opportunity if we choose to bravely seek it out.

Here are 5 Ways to Parent on Purpose During this Pandemic

1.  Bring back a childhood family dinner tradition OR start a new one

Our calendars typically prohibit us from gathering around the table as a family often. As we find ourselves spending time eating more meals together, why not bring back a tradition from the past or start something fresh and new?

This time of Coronavirus confinement is the perfect time to gather around our family tables with purpose. It doesn’t matter if we are supporting local businesses and ordering our meals in, or if we’re trying new recipes and preparing them with our kids, or barely getting prepackaged food on the table. What we are eating doesn’t matter near like how we are spending our time together doing it.

Family-Dinner-Traditions-During-Coronavirus

We brought ‘Highs and Lows’ back to our family dinnertime, each of us sharing what the best and worst thing about our day was. This can be a stretch considering we aren’t doing a whole lot these days, which makes us dig deeper perhaps to find gratitude for the simple things in our lives right now.

How about using conversation starters to keep you at the table talking longer? Here are some of my favorites by local Arizona makers: CLICK HERE.

What family tradition can you restart during this time of confinement?

Or what’s something fun you’d like to begin?

2. Teach life skills

My teens are home doing online school; therefore, I am not necessarily homeschooling my high schoolers. But, I am taking advantage of this unique opportunity we have together at home to teach my sons and daughter some real-life skills that our regular lives haven’t allowed the time for.

What is it that your kids are going to need to know when they leave your house for adulthood? What is it that you can take the time to teach them today toward the goal of sending off a capable, confident, responsible adult one day?

If you have toddlers, teenagers or kids in between, there is so much you can (and need to) teach them. Only you know what your child still needs to learn. Is it to tie their shoes or change a tire on the family car? Perhaps it’s merely to learn family members’ phone numbers or their Social Security number?

Make a list of life skills you want to try to teach during this season of quarantine or print off my life skills for the launch checklist HERE.

3. Cultivate a playful home

I don’t know about you, but watching my sons and daughter stare at screens more is not good for me (or them!) so knowing we want our kids on devices less, means we need to purposely set up our homes with more opportunities for play and creativity.

Cultivate-A-Playful-Home-During-Coronavirus

We replaced my beautiful candle holder with this Hook It Game from Kidstop Toys and it is so much fun! The rings are rubber so no damage is done!

Temporarily replace some of your home decor with games or opportunities for your family members to engage in play together. (Kidstop Toys will ship this game or any others to you so check out their website HERE.) We set up a folding table in the living room for continuous puzzles. Our ping pong table is dusted off and games have been pulled out of hibernation.

How can you purposely place pockets of play throughout your house?

4. Live out your values

Our kids are watching how we are handling this Coronavirus crazy time. It’s crucial that we model for our children how to live this unsettling time out in faith and not in fear. This doesn’t mean that we will do it perfectly, because we won’t. Unfortunately, we’re human, and it’s good for our kids to see that.

This is the perfect time to talk as a family about how you can help, serve and support others from home right now. Are their local small businesses or restaurants you can order from to help them stay afloat during this time? What about a favorite online small retailer? Can you pick up extra groceries for someone in need?

How can you serve your friends, family and community members while staying safe and socially distant?

5. Bravely embrace boredom

There’s no better time than the present than to allow our children to be bored. We need to purposely put away the screens and send our kids outside or to their room to figure out how to entertain themselves by themselves. We want our kids to learn that they don’t need to turn to adults to figure out how to occupy their time.

My tech expert friend, Tom Kersting, recently said that “Boredom is miracle grow for the brain” and I have to agree.

Boredom-Bucket- for-Kids

You can even make your kids a boredom bucket, bin or box that they can turn to for creative activities when they aren’t quite sure what to do with themselves.

What are other ways you are choosing to parent on purpose during this pandemic?