Family

Tips On Finding Summer Programs For Children

Summer is here and the yearly dilemma for parents can be what to with the children. Many single parents rely on school and after care while they are at work. When school is not in session, this can be a challenge. Non-profits can offer summer programs at low cost to fill this gap. An accountant mentioned that summer programs can be eligible for a “Child independent care credit” when a working parent has an income. This means that some of the money spent on programs counts as child care for a tax break.

A rabbi whom I interviewed, suggested calling one’s local synagogue or Jewish Community Center (JCC) to see what is being offered for children. She said that there were sleep-away camps, particularly in the Northeast. A woman at the JCC, said in larger communities there are day programs. The JCC can also be a resource for what else is available where one resides. The Protestants and Catholics have Vacation Bible School which gives parents a break when they need some child care.

There are non-religious options, such as The Boys and Girls Clubs. The one I contacted charges $700 for the entire summer or $350/month. This is all day sessions which includes food and many activities. Local community colleges and recreation centers have their own programs which can be a little less than other day camps. There are programs for special interests, such as chess camp, with a low fee so that all can attend. These people do it for the love of chess (or whatever it is) and to get youngsters excited about it too.

Summer provides the chance to take advantage of the special family events around town. Go to street fairs and festivals to enjoy the lively atmosphere, music and great food. This is almost like being on vacation in Greece, Africa or other exotic locales. Many parks have concerts which is a nice opportunity to have a picnic with the kids. Some cities show movies outside with food carts nearby. Play tourist in your own city. It is amazing how many people have not been to museums, the planetarium, zoo or other attractions right on their own door step. Go to a larger metropolis nearby or the countryside for a change of scenery. There is an artist colony on the periphery of our city. My sons and I feel as if we have been on vacation after browsing through the offbeat shops and indulging on homemade ice cream plus other treats.

Get away, whether it is to the shore, lakeside cabin or a farm nearby. My mother took me to Wildwood, New Jersey every summer. Swimming in the ocean and walking along the boardwalk created lasting memories for me. When parents and other relatives live out of town, going for a visit can be an affordable adventure. There are new places for the kids to discover. My sons were thrilled to visit a farm near the city where my mother lived. The tractor and fabulous milkshakes were an extra bonus. They picked blueberries and strawberries which is not possible on their home turf. What may seem like a mundane activity to you can be a unique experience for your child.

Some single parents send their children to their parents for a chunk of the summer and use that time to work extra hours. They accumulate more time off to spend with their youngsters upon their return. Or, when their offspring is with the other parent, they put in overtime and have more days off with the little ones. My mother sent me to sleep away camp for several weeks every summer and worked during that period. I had a blast and she was off when I was home. Camps can be pricy, so perhaps make them a special treat and not the main course for their summer break.

A young teenager may be too old for summer programs and too young for employment. Parents in this case recommended a membership to the local pool or recreation center. This gets them out of the house and interacting with others. Some children’s museums and other program invite this age group to be a junior intern and entertain the young campers. My sons did the summer reading programs at our library with other activities, such as magic shows. Young teens were on hand to make this program a success. These individuals can be volunteers for various charities during their summer break. My sons volunteered with a cat rescue group and that encouraged me to become one too.

Make the most of each moment during the summer, because one day your little ones will be in their twenties just as my sons are now.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   https://www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

5 Simple & Fun Family Bonding Activities

5 Simple & Fun Family Bonding Activities - Copy (2)   Ways To Bond With Your Children

Did you know the number of divorces has gone down since the 1990’s? It’s true, there are fewer divorces now in the United States than there have been in two decades. But that is little comfort to families who go through it and you might be feeling as though your bond with your children has been compromised in the face of the emotion and stress even the most amicable splits bring.

It is important to nurture your family with quality time. Not only will it help to keep your family close during hard times, but give your children the support they need to adapt and grow. It brings positivity to their daily life (and yours).

Here are five easy, fun activities that you can do with your family to help bring you closer together.

Cook a Meal

Every week my family and I spend the evening making individual pizzas with our favorite toppings, then after dinner we watch a movie. It is the perfect weeknight activity that gives us a chance to spend time together, talk, and do something relaxing at the end of a long day.

Cooking a meal is such a simple way to connect and a lot of fun, too.

Take a Hike

Living in Utah, I consider myself so very lucky. We have trails everywhere, gorgeous mountains, endless lakes…it is an outdoors lovers dream. We try and get out once a month to hike a new trail all together.

It is an adventure each time and my kids love taking pictures on their phones to post on Snapchat to their friends. It has even gotten a few of their buddies involved and hiking with us!

Find the natural beauty where you live and explore it as a family.

Game Night

Whether it is video games or board games, a bit of friendly competition is a lot of fun. There are so many options, as well. RPG tabletops, card games, multiplayer video games…you can find several that will tickle your family’s fancy.

You just might find that game night becomes the favorite night of the week!

Volunteer Together

A less popular, yet amazing, option for bonding time. Volunteering is a way of helping a cause, doing some good, assisting others and still spending time together. All while teaching lessons of empathy and gratitude.

Soup kitchens, nature cleanups, animal shelters…you can find something that works for your family.

Find Local Meetups

Families will often get together for fun activities as a group a few times a month. That might be potluck dinners, park days or local events. It is worth checking websites like Meetup.com for information on what is happening in the neighborhoods around you.

All it takes is a bit of time and creativity and you will be overflowing with ideas on how to spend time and bond with your kids!

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

 

Teaching Children and Teens Conflict Resolution Tactics

Teaching Children and Teens Conflict Resolution TacticsIt goes without saying that divorce is difficult for everyone involved. Even when it is as civil and cooperative as possible, it is disruptive to the lives of both the divorcing parties and those around them. Children are especially affected and a divorce can lead to emotional and behavioral issues that are difficult to address.

But in spite of its difficulties, a divorce can be the perfect time for a teaching moment. Your teen is facing a lot of stress in their life, not only related to the changes happening in your home and family. Teaching them coping strategies can help them along the way. Also, as you are going through the process of conflict resolution, you can teach them right alongside you.

Why Young People Fight

Listening to your teen or adolescent talk about their day, you may have noticed a trend – there is a lot of drama. Welcome to the world of developing minds and social skills. Young people are prone to fighting and even outright cruelty.

Why is that? Part of it is the underdevelopment of certain areas of the brain, which includes risk assessment, emotional control, and impulse control. As they age and gain more experience, these parts of the brain will also grow and start to more impact their decision-making skills and ability to manage difficult emotions.

Until then, you can teach them alternative strategies for conflict resolution that help them avoid fighting, whether that is emotional or physical.

Effective Conflict Resolution Tactics

When teaching teenagers conflict resolution tactics, there are a couple tactics which are more effective than others.

  • Encourage communication. It may sound over-simplified, but most conflicts can be resolved through communication. Encouraging them to sit down and talk about their feelings and what they think is happening is an effective way of promoting a peaceful end of a fight. It also teaches how important listening can be, given how many conflicts are started from a miscommunication in the first place.
  • Ask them to consider the other point of view. “How would you feel if you were in their position?” This is one of the most powerful questions when dealing with a conflict. Children can become very focused on their own feelings and miss the fact that the other person has their own to deal with. By making them consider the other person, teens have a chance to build empathy.

While teens may have hot tempers due to a variety of circumstances, with patience, it is not impossible to teach them how correctly deal with conflict in their lives.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn