parenting

10 Fun Activities to Do with Kids In Between Online Classes

October 5, 2020

With the closure of schools also came the closure of playgrounds and other places where our kids could go and enjoy themselves. However, being at home doesn’t have to be ‘boring.’ Below I list 10 fun activities that don’t take up too much time and can be done with your children when they have free time after their online classes. Not only will these slow down the inevitable “mom I’m bored,” but the time spent together doing these activities may also help develop your relationship with your child. Watch educational videos together Who says learning has to stop once the online classes stop? Keeping your child engaged through other forms of education such as watching interesting videos will help keep them in the learning mindset. Play games together Bringing out the board games and the cards and sitting down as a family to play these games keeps the excitement. It also gives your child something to look forward to after their online classes. If your child played sport in school, this could be a great way to let them bring out their competitive side. Get crafty Letting your child be creative through drawing and art allows them to express themselves and fosters mental growth. Giving your child this opportunity allows them to try out new ideas and new ways of thinking and problem-solving. Exercise together Find fun ways of staying active with your child, such as dancing or yoga classes. Studies have shown that kids who are physically fit are more able to handle physical and emotional challenges. It can also give them a feeling of accomplishment so they’re more ready to learn. Allow them to cook with you Teaching your child valuable life lessons such as cooking can help them prepare for their future. It can be something as simple as weighing out the ingredients, so that they can have fun in the kitchen while still staying safe away from knives and heat. Have an indoor picnic You can take the food you made together and have a picnic in your house as a little change from the regular dining table meals. Doing this also teaches your child the reward of enjoying the meal you cooked, and how the hard work is worth it. Practice a new skill Learning something other than what your child is being taught in online school keeps them well-rounded. Helping them learn something new like juggling or origami also gives them something to show off to their friends once physical school starts up again. Let them present their learnings Allow them to get creative with what they’ve learned. Encourage them to make their own interesting presentations about what they learned in their online classes. Showing that you care about their learning motivates them to pay attention to new information. Introduce them to chores What better way to teach your child the importance of chores and how to do them than when you’re stuck at home? It can be as simple as encouraging them to tidy up after themselves, so they learn a sense of responsibility. Let them rest Finally, let your child rest so they have time to recover from their online classes and they feel more energized for activities later in the day.

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How to Create a Productive Learning Space at Home

September 4, 2020

One of the main struggles of homeschooling parents today is figuring out how to effectively engage their children in their studies. Parents who have been to their child’s classroom know the value of a colorful and visually pleasing educational space. It’s important to replicate this at home to help develop your child’s creativity. This can also help maintain your child’s focus and help him stay motivated to learn. Here’s how:  1.    Separate the learning space. You don’t need a big room to create an effective learning space for your child. A simple table in the corner of the room will work just fine. The key is consistency. Ensure that your child only uses this space for learning so that they can stay focused when completing their tasks.  2.    Learn what works for them. Parents understand the pressure of creating the “perfect” learning space. However, what’s more important is creating it specific to your child’s needs. This way, he will be more willing to do his tasks. For example, place images or colors that your child likes around the area. Also, if your child prefers to work in a quiet space, make sure that he is far from any noises.  3.    Lessen distractions. As a parent, I’ve learned that less is more. Too many toys scattered around the room may distract your child from focusing on his studies. With at-home learning spaces, it is best to keep the room as organized as possible.  4.    Make it comfortable. Like adults, children will work better when they feel better. Therefore, make sure that your child is comfortable by playing quiet music or giving them a soft pillow while studying.  5.    Provide visuals. Our brains are naturally stimulated by visuals. This said, put creative and inspiring images such a maps or animal posters around your child’s learning space. Doing so can help him focus on educational topics that may be useful to him. While it’s important to spark your child’s interest, remember not to overdo it by putting too much information around him.  You know your child’s needs better than anyone, so remember to approach learning at home with a positive attitude. We can do this. Good luck!

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Distance Learning: Overcoming the Challenges

July 16, 2020

In the previous article, we discussed the challenges that we face as we transition to online learning. It might be a little overwhelming to some of us considering that this is the first time we’ve experienced this kind of setup. So, how are we going to overcome the stress of transitioning to online learning? How can we balance our work as well as our children’s needs? We’ve listed down a few tips to help you out. Challenge 1: Keeping children focused Your child’s dependency on electronic devices and other online activities will definitely increase with the need to be online more frequently for classes. What you can do: Before the start of their class, remind them first of how important studying is — whether it is by going physically to school or doing it virtually. Motivate and give them a reward whenever they accomplish something. A simple hug, a pat on the shoulder or even putting on a star sign on their work can go a long way to motivate them to focus and do better. Another option is to restrict your kids from switching their screens on other websites or apps. Try installing mobile apps that have the option to lock other apps you don’t want your kids to access during their online classes. For Apple users, you can visit the settings of your phone and just search for “Screen Time.” Challenge 2: Establishing a routine It can be difficult to structure your day with your child when you’re unsure what activities need to be included every day. However, this is only a short-term and temporary challenge that can be overcome with time and experienced with the ‘new normal.’ What you can do: Many of us are not familiar with how homeschooling works or how to structure a day of distance learning. Being at home means that you can do things at your most preferred time. However, this might be hard when you also have a child that you need to attend to. Make sure to set a schedule of their day and your day too, the day before. Designate certain times for learning, socials, meals, and don’t forget to set a fun time as well. When you’ve already established a schedule, make sure to stick with it. Challenge 3: Balancing work and responsibilities with teaching It’s important to cater to your own needs as well as your child’s, which can be difficult when they need extra help understanding how to adapt to this new method of schooling. However, this adaptation can happen pretty quickly and before you know it, you’ll be able to multitask even better than you currently do. What you can do: Be transparent with your company about your conflicting priorities and make sure everyone knows what they can expect from you. Balance is a huge key here, though with a lot of trial and error — and that’s okay. Putting on a boundary setting on your kids might also be a great help. Tell them that while they’re in their online class or after you teach them, you’ll also have to work on your own things. See to it that they understand the current situation in the best way possible. Challenge 4: Understanding content Understanding content that you haven’t learned in years can be daunting, but you likely have more time now to catch up on this so you can be a better teacher to your kids. What you can do: Understanding the lessons you comprehended from long ago may be different now. Therefore, stock up on the latest reading materials. There’s a lot of downloadable files out there that can help and guide you. Take this chance to discover new things together with your kids as this can add up to your bonding moments as well. Challenge 5: Reducing anxiety from real-world concerns The news can be overwhelming at the moment, but distracting yourself from it by investing your full attention to your child’s homeschooling and wellbeing can help you forget about these worries. What we can do: The overwhelming news popping out everywhere is one of the causes of our stress nowadays. Just make sure that it doesn’t consume you. Be reminded that your kids need you now more than ever. Remember too that we are all experiencing this uncertain crisis. Stay calm and don’t let this pandemic affect you and your relationship with your children. This is the time where we can get closer to our family. A blessing in disguise that we never asked for, but have come to realize, also has great benefits. No matter what your situation is, the most important thing is to optimistically deal with the trials you have no control over and be strong enough to overcome them as a parent and as an individual. Take things one day at a time and accomplish whatever you can, Mommies! We know you can do it!

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Distance Learning: Challenges for You & Your Kids

July 9, 2020

With schools transitioning to online learning at home, many parents are wondering what they can do to support their child. If you’re wondering the same thing, you’re not alone. Distance Learning and Homeschooling are unchartered territories for many parents, but these challenges can easily be overcome. Here, we list those challenges so that you can prepare and ensure a swift transition from classroom learning to distance learning. Keeping children focused Your child’s dependency on electronics and other online activities will definitely increase with the need to be online more for classes, which can lead to distractions from online games. Establishing a routine It can be difficult to structure your day with your child when you’re unsure what activities need to be included in every day. However, this is only a short-term and temporary challenge that can be overcome with time and experience with the ‘new normal.’ Balancing work and responsibilities with teaching It’s important to cater to your own needs as well as your child’s, which can be difficult when they need extra help understanding how to adapt to this new method of schooling. However, this adaptation can happen pretty quickly and before you know it, you’ll be able to multitask even better than you currently do. Understanding content Understanding content that you haven’t learned in years can be daunting, but you likely have more time now to catch up on this so you can be a better teacher to your kids. Reducing anxiety from real-world concerns The news can be overwhelming at the moment, but distracting yourself from it by investing your full attention to your child’s homeschooling and wel-lbeing can help you forget about these worries. So, while these challenges may be scary or overwhelming, remember that we’re in this together. Stay tuned for the next article, where we'll talk about how to overcome the challenges we've listed here.

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I’m a Young Mom and Proud of It

June 5, 2020

There is no book or class out there that could possibly prepare you for the adventures you are about to endure as a parent. When I was 21 years old, holding a positive pregnancy test in my hand, I felt my world stop – all the things I had planned, my goals, my career, my future – just blurred out of focus. I was shocked. I never thought I’d be a mom at 21. I cried and felt hopeless. It felt like I hadn’t lived my life to the fullest and I was not ready. But I guess no one ever really is, whether a pregnancy was planned or not. Obviously being a young mom, I heard a lot of “but you’re still a baby yourself”, “what about school?”, “can you really handle being a mom at your age?”, “you just wasted your future” – and so much more. I was constantly criticized for getting “knocked up” too soon and not doing things “how I was supposed to”, but to be honest, I wouldn’t change a thing. Yes, I’m a young mom, but that doesn’t mean my life is over. Do I regret it? No, I don’t. Some might say that I missed out on my twenties, and it did kind of feel like that at first. But the moment my daughter was born, everything changed. I realized that my life was so much more than parties, drinking and dating. And I most definitely do not regret putting my career on hold just to be able to take care of my baby and be with her every day. I truly cannot imagine my life without my husband and my daughter and I wouldn’t trade any of the sleepless nights for one minute away from the two of them. My baby’s smile lights up the entire room and makes me love her so much it hurts, and to me, there is nothing better than that. Now I’m taking my third year as a mom, and although it’s been tough at times, I can proudly say that I’ve grown so much as a woman and a mother. I’ve also discovered some little-known perks of being a young mom and I’d like to share them with you. Easier adjustment Transitioning into motherhood could be quite disorienting. Yet, when other moms complain about how difficult it was to switch gears and give up the lifestyle they’ve been accustomed to, I couldn’t relate. I went from being a college student to a young mom. I didn’t have a decade of “me” time, lazy Sundays or a vacation. I was already on hustle mode at 21, so everything from that point on felt like progress. Sharing accomplishments I’ve heard a lot of young women say that they’re waiting till they’ve “accomplished everything they want to accomplish” before having kids. And again, I just want to say that your life does not end when you have a baby. I think it’s beautiful to be able to show your kids how to get from one point to another despite the countless obstacles and setbacks. To grow a life alongside your child and be able to share your accomplishments with them like having them watch you accept your Master’s degree or starting your own business. Refocused goals and ambitions Nothing will change your perspective quite like bringing a new life into the world. It could be a desire to do good, a spark of creativity or a fundamental rearrangement of priorities. Becoming a mom can change us in ways we never expected and it gives us a reason to do more and be better. Many young moms, including myself, are grateful to have had that shift sooner rather than later. A reason to grow-up Your 20s are a time for self-growth and self-discovery, a time to define adulthood and ourselves. Others would think that the only way to find one’s self is alone, somewhere, in solitary introspection. In my experience however, there’s nothing quite as introspective as motherhood. It will show you your flaws, shortcomings and deep-set issues. Seeing yourself through the lens of a new life can be transformative and has given me an urgent reason to grow up and be my best self. “When I had my son, it wasn’t just about me anymore. My thoughts revolved around him and how I could give him a better future.” – Mommy Audrey Grandparents Giving birth to my daughter at a young age also means that my parents are still young. Not only will they be able to spend more time with her, but they’re able to share their knowledge and help me as well. I’m thankful for the support and love they’ve given me and my daughter. “I was a teen mom. It was in high school when I got pregnant. I had no idea how to take care of a baby, I could barely take care of myself. That’s why I’m so thankful I had my parents with me. They showed me how to do everything – from changing diapers to putting my son to bed. And I love how they get to be very involved in his life.” - Mommy Nela Spending more time with them This is the best perk for me. Having my daughter at 21 instead of 31 means I have an extra decade to be able to watch her grow into the person she’s meant to be. An extra decade of love, growth, warm hugs, hand holding and heart tugging. And that to me is precious. So yes, I am a young mom but my life is far from over– in fact, I think it’s just getting started. To all the young moms out there, face this stage with optimism. The love and joy that your child will bring you will be immense. Planned or not, a baby will change your whole life, and with them you can live the greatest adventures ever imaginable.  

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The Struggles and Fulfillments of Being a Solo Parent

May 11, 2020

In all honesty, being a solo parent is so much harder than I thought it would be. After my husband left us, raising two 7-year-olds, a 2-year old, and a baby was definitely not a pretty picture for me. But with the help of my parents and my sisters, we were able to live through each day. I remember having chit chat with my single mom friends during my first months of handling single parenthood. My friend, Mommy Jo, told us something that stuck with me: “Yung ‘single mom’, they're two words that describe a single person in two different roles. You find what you need and make things work para magampanan lahat ng responsibilities ng parehong nanay at tatay.” ~ Mommy Jo Whatever the reason is as to why you’re single parenting, being a solo parent is a big change in your life, and it’s completely exhausting. It’s different than just being exhausted from studying for exams or being tired from work. It’s the kind of exhaustion that would sometimes make you forget that you can breathe from all of it too. So, if you’re scared – and that’s okay, you’re human – I want to help you out with a few things I’ve learned myself: The Struggles of Being a Single Mom 1. Financial Strain. For a solo parent, this is the biggest struggle we have to deal with at first, and sometimes even until our child grows up. We were supposed to share this load with someone, so, the first question that always comes to mind is: “How can I support myself and my baby?”, especially if you chose to no longer include your partner in the picture. But a lot of single moms like you and me are making it happen. Do not feel guilty if you feel like you’re not providing enough for your child. You’re working hard and doing your best for your baby. That’s what’s important. “Mga laruan, damit, childcare, tuition, and medical fees – the cost of parenting, that's all in the background. You are facing them alone. But eventually, you’ll manage to give your children a great childhood that's full of magic, wonder, and adventure.” ~ Mommy Jo 2. Emotional Challenges. The feeling of not having your old social life back, the fatigue from not having time for yourself, the desire to blame someone for the responsibility that has immobilized you in your house and your job, and the guilt for thinking that your baby’s a burden. If your situation is a result of a decision you sometimes regret, learn from it and move on at your own pace. Focus your energy on living a wonderful life with your child. Have faith and you’ll get through this each day. 3. Decisions. Single parenting can wear you down, especially when it comes to decision making. At first, you may think it’s a good thing because you can just make the decision you want to make. But you’ll realize later that some decisions are hard to figure out on your own and be able to make the right one for your kid. It won’t hurt to seek help from your family or your other single mom friends who’d understand. 4. The Judgment of Society. This applies not just to us single parents but even to our baby. People judge too quickly without even understanding the reason why we’re in this situation. Even in this time and age, we’d still experience the disapproving look of the oldies, gossiping of coworkers, and the “I feel sorry for you” look when they see your child. But what you always need to remember is that no matter what the reason was, you’re a brave woman. You decided to raise your child and even though you’ll be doing it alone. “I-expect mo nang may judgers talaga sa paligid, kahit pa na alam nila yung sitwasyon mo at ng anak mo. Pero narealize ko rin na hindi ko sila kailangan i-please. Ang importante, nasusustentuhan ko anak ko at sarili ko. Ang importante, masaya kami ng anak ko kahit sa mga simpleng bagay lang.” ~ Mommy Maine 5. Dating. As if it wasn’t hard before, yes, it’s harder now. A lot of people would have a hard time continuing to date you after they find out that you already have a baby. And if ever you’re lucky enough to find someone, you may have trouble with your in-laws in the future. However, just remember that what’s important is you and your child’s happiness. 6. Explaining to your child. This may also include dealing with your ex (if that’s the situation you’re in). This may be one of the most heartbreaking things you’ll ever have to talk about with your child. Questions such as “Where’s daddy?” or “Why don’t I have a dad like other kids?” or “When can I meet him?” will surely be brought up by your child. And I’ll tell you that as early as now, you’ll need to be honest about it. Don’t think of “I’ll save my child from the heartache and lie for now (or forever).” The sooner your child understands that his/her father is not (and may never be) part of the picture, the better you can both accept the situation. But, don’t worry, because there are always two sides to everything! Despite these struggles, there’s a brighter side to look forward to. The Bright Side A lot of people feel sorry for us solo parents, thinking that we have a lonely life. But single parenting is not something for others to take pity on or feel sorry for. So, here’s a glimpse of the brighter side. 1. Having one person in charge. Being a solo parent also means you’re the boss of the house. Yes, it’s tiring and draining. But, let’s look at the good points too: Your child would only have one role model. Most of the time, parents have different personalities from each other. And sometimes it becomes hard for a child to know which one should be their role model. So, although it’s a big pressure on you, you would be the best role model that your child would ever want to become. No blame games. For those who became single moms because of divorce or separation, we know that quarrels in marriages often lead to divorce and could also have an effect on your child. But now, being a solo parent means that if things go wrong, there won’t be anyone to blame or argue with. Again, it’s a big pressure on you for making the right decisions. But then again, wrong decisions will help you grow as a mom and as an individual as well. 2. Becoming more independent and responsible. You’ll feel frustrated with the responsibility at first, or whenever challenges are too overwhelming to handle. And that’s normal. But you can take these challenges as a way for you to become a stronger, independent person who owns the responsibility to take care of a family. Later on, you’ll realize the accomplishments you’ve made with your kid. “Mas naging strong ‘yung desire ko to achieve my goals. Siyempre hindi naging madali, especially kasi I had to finish college and find a job while mayroon akong baby na inaalagaan. Sobrang struggle sa time management, pero at the end of the day, napakafulfilling yung nakakaya ko lahat ‘yun, not just for me but also for my son.” ~ Mommy AJ 3. Learning from mistakes. You and your child will learn from your mistakes. They know that they won’t need to rush into relationships. They won’t look for happiness or support in another person because they know they can have that with themselves and from you. However, be careful of stopping your child from discovering things for themselves as well. Caution is important, but you have to realize that just because it happened to you, doesn’t mean it will happen to them. And if they do get hurt, do not start with the “I told you so” or “You should have learned from me” talk. Just be there for them. 4. A stronger parent-child bond. Single parenting allows us to dedicate more time for bonding. If you’re staying at home with your kid, you’d discover activities to do and create a deeper connection. If you’re a working single mom, you’ll be able to bond with them after work with undivided attention. 5. Your child will be alright. Society believes that children being raised by a solo parent is bad for a child, but it’s not. Single motherhood is not a joke, and yes, your kid may face challenges during the early stages of his/her life. But the beauty in that is they become strong and independent earlier than the kids their age. They learn the value of money early on and they become more flexible with approaching pressure and daily stresses of life. And do you know what’s even cooler? Your child will always look up to you. As he or she experiences his/her challenges, they’ll better appreciate the sacrifices you did for your family. Advice to Single Moms I’m pretty sure you’ve heard a lot of advice from people by now, so I just want to emphasize three: 1. Take things step by step. Decisions to make and actions to take will eventually come, so don’t pressure yourself to know everything already. Unexpected things will happen, and all you can do is brace yourself as you live through one day at a time. 2. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Again, the guilt, the blame, the pressure of responsibility, all of these can consume you. But be kind to yourself and never forget to acknowledge your accomplishments, may it be big or small. 3. Don’t forget that you have a choice. There would be times when you won’t be able to change the situation anymore, but you can choose how you’ll react and your next course of action. Own up to your choices. You want to keep being beautiful and healthy? Choose to care for yourself. You want to have positive vibes, surround yourself with supportive people. You know as well as I do that those small choices will make big differences to our lives. Here are inspiring words from our fellow single moms: “The battles you face, the triumphs you earn, they are testimonies to your incredible strength of character. Regardless of your situation, you are still a wonderful mom!” ~ Mommy Jo “Okay lang umiyak. Okay lang hindi maging strong palagi. As much as ayaw mong umiyak at makita ng anak mo, kasi dapat ikaw yung malakas sa inyong dalawa, minsan ang sarap rin sa pakiramdam na ihahug ka niya, kahit ‘di niya naiintindihan kung bakit ka nagkakaganun. Kasi nareremind ka na hindi ka mag isa, na kasama mo rin siya sa lahat ng ‘to.” ~ Mommy AJ “Okay lang kahit hindi mo laging gusto. Super mom ka, solo parent ka pa, pero tao ka lang rin. It’s overwhelming to deal with the challenges every single day. And minsan napapaisip na lang ako. ‘Di na ba matatapos to?’ Pero pagdating ng anak ko galing school, tapos aakap siya sa’ken pagkatapos magmano… Sobrang sulit yung pagod.” ~ Mommy Jenn So, just hold on there! Think of all the things you and your child have been blessed with so far, and not just with the material things. Being a solo parent is hard – physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially. But dreaming for your kid and his/her future makes it a little bit easier every day. It will always motivate you to push yourself and keep moving forward during the trying times. Because you know that by the end of the day, all of these things are worth it.

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