Self-Care Vacations

Here’s Why You Should Take Self-Care Vacations and Where to Go

You’re probably familiar with the common term “self-care” used in the wellness industry. While it has become something of a cliché, there are many benefits of embracing self-care. Besides the obvious benefit of feeling better overall, you can expect a couple of gains that come when you increase your self-care routine. For effective results, it’s recommended to leave work worries behind and explore different vacations, which help you unwind and recharge.

So, the next time you put in for vacation, get ready to travel! These are some of the top places to visit if you want to enjoy some self-care moments and rejuvenation, courtesy of Moms Exchange.

Nature Adventures in Seattle

One of the places you can visit or relocate to if you want to keep your self-care routine in check is Seattle. This is a robust city that offers many benefits, things to do, and proximity to nature. Seattle is also referred to as the Emerald City, and for a good reason.

The name is related to the greenery and nature that surrounds the city year-round, even in the winter months, thanks to evergreen forests enclosing the city. This access to nature is a benefit that you can use for your self-care routine.

Also, apartments in Seattle, Washington are quite affordable. When searching, you can explore online rental property listings within your budget range and with the amenities you want, including bedrooms and pet-friendliness. You can use 3D tours to view the property.

Explore Wellness Retreats in Rome, Italy

A recent study showed people who take wellness retreats enjoy significant improvements, which were maintained after returning home. If you want to focus on yourself, a wellness treatment can boost your energy levels and also boost your mindset.

Most wellness resorts offer services that cover all your wellness needs, including luxury spas, fine dining, and other wellness activities. Rome is among the best places you can visit if you want to enjoy a wellness trip, as it offers many retreats to choose from.

Visit Stockholm for a Yoga Retreat

There are many reasons yoga is recommended for your self-care routine. Among the benefits of yoga, the practice improves balance, flexibility, and strength. Also, it helps you in dealing with back pain relief, and you can also ease symptoms of arthritis.

In addition, yoga offers benefits for heart health, and it’s one of the best ways to relax if you want better sleep. If you’re looking for a city to visit to cool your mind, Stockholm is top on this list. It’s a good city for practicing yoga, as it offers more than 100 studios across the capital.

Tour San Francisco for Hiking and Physical Exercise

To ensure your wellness routine is complete, it’s important to incorporate physical exercise. Working out gives you immediate benefits that can strengthen your body and give you the energy you need to handle life’s challenges and stresses.

An exercise like hiking helps you with weight management, strengthens your bones, and improves your ability to do other activities without risking falls. If you want to visit the best city for hiking, San Francisco offers some of the top hikes. Two of the trails in San Francisco that you should check out include Philosopher’s Way and Mount Davidson Trail.

To improve your routine, consider traveling to a place where you can finally enjoy some peace and unwind. Self-care vacations are one of the most effective ways to rejuvenate yourself and get the energy boost you need to keep pushing forward.

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Budget-Friendly Tips for Moms and Dads

Taking a family-friendly trip is a great way to bond and have a little fun while on break from work or school, but it can also be an expensive endeavor. Whether you decide to fly or drive, you’ll need to think about food, transportation costs, lodging, and paying for events and activities, plus any unforeseen issues. Planning ahead can save you a ton of money and can prevent stress so you can just focus on having a good time with your loved ones. Here are a few tips on how to prep for a budget-minded trip when you have young kids.

Safety First

Your first priority should be the safety and proper maintenance of your vehicle. Check your battery for corrosion and if you find any, disconnect the cables from the battery and clean them with a wire brush before reconnecting. Check all the belts and fluids like oil, power steering, and transmission. You’ll want to make sure your windshield wipers are optimal and replace them if necessary.

Properly inflated tires affect your fuel economy as well as road traction, and while you’re at it, check the wear by inserting a penny upside down in the tread. If you can see Abraham Lincoln’s head, it’s probably time to change that tire. If you notice your brakes feel a bit sluggish, you’ll want to have a qualified mechanic check to see if the drums and rotors need replacing. If you’re advised to purchase replacements, Ride Digest has a review to help you decide which ones will be best for your vehicle and budget.

Find the Right Gear

When taking a trip with the family, it’s essential to make sure you have the right luggage and travel gear. If you’re flying, keep your baggage in the same color to help you easily find your things. Additionally, bags with handles and wheels will allow you to maneuver through the airport smoothly. Keep your destination in mind when looking for luggage; for instance, if you’ll be camping, you might want to look for sturdy backpacks for each family member.

Find the Right Destination

Taking a vacation with the entire family can wind up being costly once you factor in food and lodging for the duration of the trip, but if you can find a destination that offers a kitchen in an affordable setting, you can save money while keeping everyone happy. Look for areas that offer tons of activities for your family to enjoy.

Plan for Stops

If you’re driving rather than flying, be prepared to make plenty of stops. Road trips with children can be stressful, but if you plan for several breaks, you can solve a few problems at once. Kids will love the opportunity to get out of the car and break up the monotony, everyone can take a restroom break, and you can let the little ones stretch their legs and get a snack. These are perfect ways to boost everyone’s mood; plus, you can throw in a few roadside attractions that the kids will love. Prepare for these ahead of time by looking up the best ones online, as this will also allow you to find coupons and deals so you can save a few bucks along the way.

Don’t Overpack

Believe it or not, packing for a trip with the family is an art form. Not only do you have to think about what everyone might need over those days, but you should also consider how you can refrain from overpacking, which can cause a few problems of its own. To start with, pack the essentials and bring along a roll of quarters and laundry soap so you can hit up a laundromat during the trip or, even better, find accommodations that include a washer and dryer. It will also help to pack a small bag for each person with overnight items if you’re going to be breaking up a long drive into two days; this way, you can easily grab those bags on the first night when you reach your destination rather than bringing in everyone’s luggage.

Taking a trip with young children doesn’t have to be stressful. By planning ahead as much as possible, you can ensure that everyone has a blast while making memories that will last a lifetime. What’s more, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg if you know how to prepare.

5 Tips To Help You Turn Your Great Idea Into a Successful Startup

Every successful business starts with a great idea. However, a great idea is just an idea until you take the steps to turn that idea into a business. These tips from Moms Exchange can help you get started turning your idea into a successful startup.

1. Do Your Research

The first step is to make sure your idea is actually marketable. This requires market research. Identify what the need for your product or service is and who needs it. Research who else is already meeting that need and how you can do it differently or better. Do pricing research to determine how much your target market is willing to pay you to meet their needs.

2. Write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan is one of the most beneficial steps you can take to set yourself up for success. A clear plan helps you assess how likely your business is to be profitable, giving you an idea of what your start-up costs are going to be and how much money you are going to need to raise. A strong business plan is also a critical tool for convincing lenders and investors to fund your business. With your plan, you can develop your marketing strategy and identify potential risks so that you can mitigate them.

3. Fund Your Business

It is hard to start any successful business without startup funding. You can try soliciting funds from friends and family; however, make sure they understand the risk. You don’t want to ruin relationships if you can’t pay the money back. Small business loans are another option, but traditional lenders are often hesitant to loan money to new business owners. You may have more success with online lenders.

Bootstrapping involves using your personal funds to start your business. This may include cash from your savings, credit cards, lines of credit or personal loans. This is a risky method because if your business doesn’t succeed, you could end up losing everything. Crowdfunding is another popular option; however, with government data indicating more than 440,000 businesses are started every month in the U.S., there is a lot of competition for funds. Grants from the Small Business Administration and other organizations can be a big help. Finally, you can try to attract investors by putting together a good sales pitch.

4. Consider Going Back to School

Not everyone who has a great idea for a business knows a lot about actually running a business. Returning to school to get an advanced degree, such as a Master of Business Administration, can provide you with the knowledge base you need to successfully run a business. Joining an online MBA program is a good way to build your skills in areas such as accounting, corporate finance, economics and strategic planning. Because many online programs can be completed on your schedule, you can continue working while you get your education.

5. Try a Side Hustle

You may not be completely ready to seize the opportunity to launch your startup, and it’s OK to take it slow. If you want to give your idea a test drive before you jump fully into starting a new business, consider making it your side hustle while you continue to work a regular job or go to school. 

Having a great idea puts you a step ahead of the competition when it comes to starting a new business. With hard work and careful planning, you can turn that idea into reality

Tips for New Business Owners on Encouraging Employee Self-Care

It’s easy to feel like a hero when you’re running your own business. You’re the boss, and you often take on many different roles: employer, customer service representative, marketer, accountant. But if you don’t take care of yourself and your employees first and foremost, it will show in the work your company provides.

Keeping your employees healthy and happy is a sure way to provide better service, increase retention rates, and ensure everyone enjoys coming to work each day. Moms Exchange shares some great tips on accomplishing that.

Here are some tips for new business owners on encouraging self-care:

Provide healthy meals

If you want to motivate your team members to take care of themselves, it helps if they’re actually provided with the means to do so. Take a look at your current work schedule. If you’re not providing meals, try hiring someone part-time or contracting the task out to a local business to help organize this responsibility.

Having a healthier workforce actually saves companies money in the end by reducing costs related to healthcare and turnover rates, which is especially important. There are many companies nowadays that provide fresh, healthy meals on the go, such as Blue Apron.

Encourage use of wellness benefits

Many employers offer wellness benefits to their employees in order to help them take care of themselves, such as gym memberships, health insurance plans, and weight loss programs. If your company doesn’t currently offer any wellness benefits, consider proposing the idea to upper management. It can be a great way to motivate and retain your employees.

Offer stress management and mindfulness courses

One useful class you can offer to your team members is a stress management course. Classes like this are essential for keeping mental health in check and reducing the potential negative effects associated with increased levels of stress at work.

Another great course to consider is mindfulness. This class teaches employees various techniques that can help them focus better, increase their energy levels, and reduce stress by taking time for themselves throughout the day.

Improve your office ambiance

It’s very important you keep your team members satisfied with their jobs. A great way to accomplish this is by making a few adjustments to the office environment that could potentially make them happier and more productive, such as adding a ping-pong table or flat-screen TV, putting in better lighting to improve morale, or increasing the number of windows so employees can be closer to nature.

Office ambiance has been shown to improve employee satisfaction and productivity rates, as well as contributing to better overall health.

Cater to your employees’ needs

Each worker is different, and it’s important you treat them as such by catering to their individual needs. For instance, some employees may want flexible work schedules, while others would prefer a higher salary. New moms may prefer to dress more comfortably as they work to quickly cater to their babies’ needs, so you might want to loosen up your dress code. You should aim to make each of your team members equally happy with their jobs.

There’s no universal formula for employee happiness, and what makes one person happy may not be the same for someone else. That’s why it’s crucial you take the time to get to know each team member individually so you can tailor your management style in a way that benefits everyone best.

In Conclusion

There are many ways to encourage employee self-care. You can provide healthy meals, use wellness benefits offered by the company, offer courses on stress management and mindfulness, and more. Improving your employee’s mental state can only improve your business. Make sure to keep that in mind! Hopefully, this article gives you some great ideas on encouraging employee self-care.

Safe Active Outdoor Fun For Kids of All Ages

Outside play is a healthy, fun and important part of growing up. As children age, they will be drawn to outdoor playgrounds — both formal and informal — through school and with friends, so it’s crucial for them to learn the rules of safe play. By giving examples at home, children can enjoy the outdoors while parents relax a little, worrying less about injuries.

Here are some tips to enjoy safe outdoor play in your backyard and beyond.

Exploring the outdoors

Nature can be an open classroom for kids. As seasons change, miracles of life unfold and science lessons play out before their curious eyes. KidsHealth notes small children can especially benefit from outdoor play. Have little ones collect leaves, bark and flowers, and have a show and tell session for their natural treasures. Make nature play extra special by turning the moment into a picnic lunch or snack. Even with smaller children, supervise them but step back a bit. Allow them the freedom to explore without holding your hand — it will help them develop courage and independence that can be crucial in older ages.

Give older kids more responsibility and freedom. Teach tweens outdoorsmanship, conservation and respect for nature; they may even benefit from a backpacking camp. Children are less likely to litter or waste resources when they get to know nature.

Outdoors play encourages tactile learning

Unlike learning from a book or computer, Miracle explains that outdoor play is experiential. Some children thrive in a kinesthetic learning environment where concepts are taught through doing rather than listening. A child may be bored by a video on ladybugs but completely enthralled when one lands on their fingernail. Even those who enjoy book learning can appreciate a change of pace and the opportunity to get their hands dirty while learning. Outdoor learning is play and vice versa.

While out in the woods and trails, however, you should be mindful of potential hazards. Toxic plants such as poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac are present in many areas of the country. Before taking children out into semi-wild areas, learn the basics of identifying these plants. You might even add a plant identification app to your phone like PictureThis so you can spotcheck plants in the moment.

You don’t have to stray far to learn from nature

Most of us do not have to go far to enjoy nature. If we look at our backyards, diverse plant, insect and animal life pervades. For those with backyards, playsets and swing sets combine playtime with outdoor time, even if it’s just beyond the backdoor. Sand boxes, water tables, soccer nets and child-friendly gardening tools can open up whole new worlds. But still, safety needs to be a priority.

Backyard safety begins with teaching your children boundaries and rules. Make a safety plan with set rules, even if it’s just a small list that you place on the back door. A young child should know to not leave the yard without permission, for example, as there’s always a chance you’ll be called away for a moment. As children get older, these rules of course can evolve, but they also will form the basis for alert play.

To give your backyard an added dose of protection, consider investing in a fence if you don’t already have one. This ensures your children have room to roam without the dangers of leaving the perimeter. A fence is a big investment, so be prepared to fork over some money — the average fence runs around $4,500, but prices fluctuate based on materials, location, and the amount of labor involved. You can find a worthy fence company near you through websites like Angi, compare ratings and reviews, and get all arrangements in writing. Note that some may even have seasonal specials that can help you save a few bucks.

Outdoor play is an important part of growing up. It allows kids to develop innate safety skills and connect with nature. They can explore and exercise surrounded by fresh air in ways that cannot be replicated in a classroom, so look for ways to accommodate your child with safe opportunities for outdoor play.

If you’re a new mom feeling lonely, isolated, and disconnected, join Moms Exchange to connect with moms worldwide.

Your Budget-Friendly Back-to-School Survival Guide

As the summer comes to an end, you may be excited to break out your pumpkin spice lattes and fall decor. However, you also need to adhere to a new back to school routine for your kids. Getting children used to a new routine and getting all the new clothing and supplies they need can cost a lot of time and money. You can avoid some of the most common BTS disasters and expenses, however, by following a few budget-friendly back-to-school survival tips.

Find Your Back to School Groove

After a summer filled with fun, sun, and freedom it can be hard for parents and children to get back into their normal school-year routine. You can help everyone find their groove by following a few simple steps. Try easing everyone into their new routines early and talking to your kids about what will change as school begins. One way to get nervous kids excited about going back to school is to take them on a fun shopping trip. You can check out stores like Old Navy or Kohl’s to pick up new clothes, shoes, and even uniform pieces without breaking your budget. For parents who want to save even more, check out promo codes and sales at Old Navy, and coupon codes and cashback opportunities through Kohl’s. If you’re stocked up with plenty of outfit options to choose from, you will likely keep those last-minute clothing disasters at bay.

Make Mornings Less Stressful

Mornings will set the pace for the rest of your day, and that extends to your kids. So, get everyone off to a positive start by planning ahead. You can prep some overnight oats for breakfast and lay out some outfit options for your kids to make waking up easier, even for cranky children. If you have children who are hard to dress, being prepared can also cut out morning temper tantrums and save you a lot of grief.

Create Cozy Sleep and Study Spaces

Your kids’ rooms can also help them succeed in the new school year. You can create a perfect homework space in a corner or section of their bedroom. Be sure to set up a kid-friendly desk in an area that is free from distractions to help them study and work on projects. Lighting is also key when it comes to setting up a productive study space, as well as organization. You can use calendars and bulletin boards to keep track of assignments. Sleep is essential for studying and success, so make sure you take steps to help your kids get better back-to-school sleep. Start adjusting their sleep schedules before summer ends or keep them one the same throughout the year. You may also need to replace worn out bedding and pillows. Macy’s has quality sheets, comforters, and pillows that won’t break the bank. If you download the Macy’s app, you’ll get 25% off your first app order.

Save Money on Supplies

If you are getting your kids ready to go back to school, you may already have your school’s supply list. From scissors to pencils to paper, the list of school supplies seems to grow each year but your costs don’t have to. You can get the best school supplies for your children and still save money with a few helpful tips. Cut out gas costs and get low prices by using Amazon for your school supply needs. You can take advantage of free shipping, and you may even be able to find daily deals to save you even more. If your state offers a tax-free weekend, this is a wonderful opportunity to save, especially on big-ticket back to school items like laptops and clothing. And remember, you can also save money by taking steps to protect high-dollar products. For example, if your child will be using an iPad, either at school or at home, you can reduce the chance of damage with an OtterBox Kids EasyGrab iPad case or other kid-friendly option.

The back-to-school season doesn’t have to cause you stress. With a few money-saving tricks, you can get your kids back to school with fewer costs (and fewer problems) and get back to sipping those pumpkin spice lattes sooner.

Drug Prevention for Parents

Drug Prevention for Parents Begins with a Healthy Foundation

In the United States, about 21 million Americans had a substance abuse problem in 2015. Of these 21 million, the issues of about one in three individuals were related to drug use. No parent wants their children to grow up to experiment with drugs or alcohol, but you don’t have to be afraid. Healthy, happy children are less likely to experiment with drugs. Stay calm and follow these tips on how to give your kids a healthy foundation, brought to you by Moms Exchange.

Create a Bond Between Your Children and the Outdoors

Being cooped up all day isn’t healthy. So, encourage your children to engage in outdoor play and new learning opportunities. If you catch your children looking to the skies with wonder and awe, use it as an opportunity to begin lessons on astronomy.

Other ways to lay a foundation for a love of the outdoors include backyard nature activities, family hikes, camping trips, nature center visits, trips to the zoo, and more. There are plenty of ways to encourage your child to embrace nature.

Establish the Foundation for a Healthy Body and Mind

Try to instill healthy choices into your children by choosing good foods for them to eat. Even the pickiest eaters have nourishing options that they love. If you can dress the food in a fun way, your kids are more likely to gobble it up. Try yogurt with pineapple and apples, sweet potato fries, or pretzels in peanut butter.

To keep your child at a healthy weight, never bring up dieting. Do not shame children for their weight or discourage eating. Food should never be given as a reward or used as a punishment. Instead, encourage nutritious meals for your children.

Physical activity is also critical for your child’s physical and mental health. Regular aerobic activity helps with brain development and may aid in concentration.

Lead By Example

As a parent, you are responsible for modeling the behavior you want to see in your children. From how you interact with others to healthy habits to taking care of daily and weekly chores. Children watch and listen to everything you do, so take the opportunity to lead by example. For instance, school-aged children can benefit from seeing their parents going back to school. This shows dedication and tenacity, particularly when they see you with your own homework and studies. More parents are choosing to get a new degree or achieve an advanced degree, and there are plenty of programs to help you balance family, work and school.

Hold Age-Appropriate Conversations About Drugs

How you teach your children about drugs depends on their ages. These ideas can help you talk with them about substances:

• Tell your children that just because a medicine is good for someone else does not mean it is good for them.
• Explain how the wrong medications can be harmful when not taken appropriately.
• You can discuss illicit drugs with preteens. Explain why some people struggle with drug use. Describe the adverse effects and clarify why it is not acceptable in your household.

If your children are comfortable discussing drugs with you, they may be more likely to come to you if they encounter drugs in middle or high school. While it is critical to set clear rules and boundaries, you want to be available to your children for anything.

You are the one who lays the foundation for the rest of your children’s lives. If you establish healthy habits early on, then your kids are less likely to explore harmful substances. Children with a meaningful and healthy relationship with their parents and peers tend to have a more stable future.

The Parents’ Guide to Balancing Work

Family and Self-Care During COVID-19

Parents know the value of routine. A consistent schedule keeps everyone on track, helps establish boundaries, and signals to your children (and to you) that life is safe and predictable. This moment in history, however, is far from routine. The COVID-19 pandemic upended everyone’s lives, and now we’re just starting to get back to a sense of “normalcy.”

This makes it harder to work; it makes it harder for your kids to learn; and it leaves everyone feeling stressed out and unhappy. How do we fight it? Create new routines, embrace flexibility, and focus on the things that matter most.

Here are some tips from Moms Exchange to get you started.

Schedule Family Time
Don’t let quality moments fall off your radar.

• Consider picking up an active hobby, such as yoga, you can do together as a family.
• Commit to family dinners together every day.

Teach Independence
Help your kids learn how to entertain themselves, and your workday will go much smoother:

• Younger children may not have the skills to play independently – here’s how to build them.
• Set up a study space where kids can take classes or do homework.

Lighten Your Load
Too much on your plate can leave you stressed and unhappy – here’s how to unload some work:

• Assign children age-appropriate jobs to teach them how to maintain their space.
• Here’s how to approach a tough conversation if your partner isn’t doing their fair share at home.
• If you’re in a position to delegate tasks at work, do so.

Be Your Own Boss
If these tough times have got you rethinking your career goals, perhaps starting your own business is the ideal way for you to balance work, family and health.

• Getting more free time for family and self-care and gaining a sense of accomplishment are just two of many reasons why you should start a business.
• Need business ideas? There are over 100 worth considering, or you can get inspired to come up with your own.
Compare business models, such as LLC and sole proprietorship, to figure out which would be best for your entrepreneurship goals.

These tools will go a long way toward redefining normalcy and fostering happiness for your family. When you have a renewed sense of stability, your self care will improve, you’ll be able to thrive at work, your kids can find a new rhythm at school, and the inherent uncertainties of the moment will be easier for everyone.

Navigating Parenthood And Self-Employment

When I first decided to leave the workforce, I was a little intimidated. I was raising a family, but I also had an entrepreneurial spirit and no desire to completely leave my profession behind. It was rough, but I got through it and so can you. Here are my secrets (brought to you by the great people at Moms Exchange).

The sooner you establish your brand, the more you’ll be recognized.

Your brand is essential when you work for yourself. It’s like your name among your friends, how people recognize you from afar. A good logo will be easily translated across print and the web, and it will accurately reflect what you do in a single glance.

Learn everything you can about payroll if you have employees.

If you have any employees, then it’s important to understand what goes into payroll. I didn’t have much experience with payroll, so I spent time learning what I could to ensure I had all the bases covered. Thanks to some online guides and tutorials, I picked up on the basics of the process. However, it’s understandable if this is outside of your wheelhouse. I recommend looking into payroll related services that can help you automate much of your payroll.

You have to have great equipment to be efficient.

The first three months in business, I was still working off an old laptop that loaded at the speed of dripping honey. It was awful. Because I am stubborn, I thought it would be fine. It was not. When I finally broke down and bought a new computer (I ordered directly from the manufacturer because it was cheaper), I realized just how much my technology had been holding me back.

I also bought a new desk and ergonomic work chair. My sciatic pain was very distracting, and the chair really helped.

Adapting to your family schedule is your only hope.

Not gonna lie — running a home-based business with a family is a ton of work. I finally got into the groove by getting out of the mindset that I had to work eight hours each day all at once. I used my kids’ school and nap times to work. I also found that I could check emails from my phone and participate in conference calls once my husband could take over.

New customers don’t have to come all at once.

Like my kids, my business was growing. I learned the hard way not to take on too much at once. There is no shame in saying no to a new project if it will reduce your ability to effectively complete what you already have on your plate.

Co-working spaces are a lifesaver.

When I did agree to take on new business, I thought I only had two options: meet my clients out for lunch or allow them to come to my home office. Neither was viable all the time. Restaurants weren’t private, and my children were never going to let me get through an entire meeting in peace.

Enter my local co-working space. When I needed to meet face-to-face, I simply spent $30 to rent the conference room for a couple of hours — snacks and coffee were included, which was a huge plus.

Your friends and family want to help, let them.

The hardest and most valuable lesson that I learned was that I didn’t really have to do it all alone. Listen to your friends and family. They are likely begging to help. If grandma wants to take the kids to the bounce house, let her. If you don’t have a strong network, don’t be ashamed to pay someone to clean the house or prepare meals. Time is your most viable resource — use it wisely.

It’s been years since I started working for myself. The kids are teenagers, and now my biggest problem with productivity is running out of coffee. But the early days are still fresh in my mind, and my hope is that my experiences can help the next generation of entrepreneurs find their fast-track to success outside of the office.

Improve Your Family’s Health by Embracing the Summer Season

When you are a single parent, it can be easy to throw yourself into work, parenting, and daily tasks at home and lose sight of your physical and mental shape. This can become a significant issue over the winter months, so when the summer months come around, it is time to change things up and get active outdoors. Getting outside with your kids can be just the trick to shake up your routines and there are plenty of unique ways to be active and improve both your mental and physical health. Here are a few suggestions from Moms

Getting your family outdoors in creative ways boosts your overall health

Getting outside is one of the best ways to improve both your mental and physical shape. For example, even just a few minutes a day outdoors can decrease your stress levels and boost your energy levels. Spending time being active outside can significantly improve your focus and it can do wonders for your child’s focus and school behavior as well. In addition, many people find that getting outdoors can lead to improvements in the quality of your sleep and all-around improvements in your mental health.

When it comes to working toward improving your mental and physical shape, making it fun and creative is key. Mind Body Green suggests that simply having fun and being active can have a great impact on your health and can give you an excuse to skip the gym or other structured workout. While families often think of traditional activities to do together outdoors like walking, biking, or playing in the yard, there are plenty of other options that can motivate tired single parents and their kids to make time for extra activity.

Buzzfeed shares some great ideas for family outdoor fun that are on the creative side. Spray paint a Twister board on your lawn and play as a family or put together an obstacle course or game including fun components such as slip and slides and frisbees. Play water balloon dodgeball or open up a whole new world of possibilities by using glow sticks at night in traditional games like Capture the Flag, bowling, or hide-and-seek.

And don’t forget that Fido is part of the family too, and dogs need exercise just like you. Find creative games to include your four-legged family member such as round robin, treat treasure hunt, or freeze tag.

Ensure everyone is taking care of their chompers

Oral health can be a challenge at any age, but for youngsters it can be especially unwieldy. If your kiddos are reluctant to brush, floss and rinse properly, look for ways to make it fun. Toothbrushing songs and fun products can turn a chore into an entertaining event! And of course, it’s vital to set a great example for your kids.

If you tend to be the weak link on oral health care in the family, look for ways to make it more enjoyable for yourself, too. Find a mouthwash and toothpaste you like, and if something about your mouth bothers you, address it. Look into whitening procedures if you have stains, or if your teeth are out of alignment, explore newer treatment options. You’re no longer limited to traditional braces, thanks to convenient and affordable in-home therapies. Check out reviews to find the right option for you. Having a smile you feel good about can make a big difference in your self-confidence!

Model healthy food choices for your kids

As you say goodbye to winter and look forward to summer, start thinking ahead to adjustments you can make on the nutrition side of things for your family as well. The warm months provide plenty of opportunities to try new foods that come into season and modeling good habits for your kids can play a significant role when it comes to eating just as it does with activity.

When you are a single parent, it can be hard to maintain a healthy diet in the midst of trying to keep up with everything else. Many families will tend to go for quick, unhealthy choices when things get hectic, but there are plenty of ways to incorporate nutritious choices that don’t have to take a big effort. When you as a parent focus on quality nutrition, your kids will pick up on those habits as well.

Boost kid cooperation for meals by getting them involved

Veg Kitchen shares that putting together meals with do-it-yourself components can be fabulous for kids, as something like a fajita or baked potato bar loaded with healthy choices can be quite appealing for kids. Give kids healthy choices so they have some control over their food and get them involved in the shopping, planning, and preparation of your family’s meals to amp up their cooperation as well.

Trying to keep up with everything can be quite challenging for single parents, and sometimes, working on your physical and mental health can fall by the wayside. The summer season is the perfect time to take stock and build up good food choices and fun outdoor activities so that both you and your children can feel better both physically and mentally. Get creative about both your meals and your exercise and remember that your kids are watching and will follow your lead.

Word of the Week (WOW)

Matrescence: The process of becoming a mother.

Helpful info

1. Click here to apply for Maternity and Parental benifits

2. Apply for your child's Social Security Insurance number here

3. Complete your child's birth registration here

4. Are you eligible for Canada Child Benefits? here to find out

5. Toronto Public Health offers free prenatal breastfeeding classes online. Click here for more information

6. The Public Health Agency of Canada is committed to promoting awareness about SIDS and safe infant sleep environments. For more information, click here

7. Are you experiencing Perinatal Mood Disorder? If so, click here for more information

8. Click here to learn more about Health Weight Gain During Pregnancy

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