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Friday, July 13th, 2012
Parents teamed up with Embassy Suites to find out how you vacation. According to our survey, more than one half of families, consider themselves “vacation dabblers,” who sporadically take days off throughout the year for shorter, one- to two-night trips. This is a surprisingly high percentage, considering people need at least three days to benefit from time off. On the other end of the spectrum, only a mere 13% are considered “vacation maximizers,” who patiently save up vacation days for one long trip.
So what does this mean? Those two-day mini vacations gaining popularity may seem great in theory, but commonly aren’t rejuvenating enough. To help families “moremize” their vacations, Embassy Suites has started a Facebook contest to give away week-long vacations. All you have to do is go to the page and post a picture of your family’s best “vacation face.” Don’t forget to include a caption to explain how your family plans on getting the most out of your summer vacation before, during, and after.
When the contest ends on July 20th, five lucky winners will receive seven nights at any Embassy Suits Hotel, roundtrip airfare for four, and $10,000 spending cash—the ultimate vacation!
Whether or not your family wins the contest, here are some helpful vacation tips from health and happiness expert, Dr. Susan Biali, to keep in mind the next time you’re contemplating how to spend your days off.
* Looking forward to a vacation actually improves your attitude at work and makes you more productive. This is what Dr. Biali refers to as “vacation anticipation.”
* “Vacation dabblers” should make sure they spend their couple of days off relaxing—not doing errands and running around. Those aren’t real days off and defeat the purpose!
* Post-vacation memories can help to rejuvenate you when you’re stressed. Display vacation photos and keepsakes where you can see them often to serve as pleasant reminders of fun family times.
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Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
As a parent, you want nothing more than to have your children love one another and play nicely. Not only is a sibling bond important, researchers say it’s also good for your child’s emotional health. According to a study from Brigham Young University, kids who had a sister throughout their childhood were less likely to feel fearful, lonely, or unloved than kids without sisters. Even if your children only show their emotions through endless arguing, researchers agree that sibling conflict is still far less detrimental than complete lack of affection.
Although kids don’t always get along, what if your child wasn’t even able to talk to her sibling, let alone utter the words “I love you”? One mom shares the story of both her daughter’s struggle to communicate with her brother, and her son’s single heartbreaking wish: to hear his sister say his name. To read Amy Kohn’s touching tale, check out our August issue or click here.
Image: happy sister and brother together via Shuttershock
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Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
You know how a typical vacation glow tends to vanish as soon as you dump all the dirty laundry from the trip on your basement floor and begin sorting it? Or maybe that’s just me. But not this time! It’s been two weeks since my five-year-old son, Julian and I headed to Grand Bahama Island, courtesy of the kind folks at the Grand Lucayan, and we’re still feeling chill. Julian has declared that he won’t remove his orange resort wristband (“until I’m an old man and die”—yipes!) and I’m still smiling thinking of all the happy little moments over our three-day trip that I hope I never forget.
Julian’s beach experience so far had been limited to summers at the Jersey Shore, so with all due respect for Snooki, he was totally blown away when I pointed to that backdrop of blue beyond our resort and told him it was the ocean. “What? Are you kidding me?” he yelled. I’ve seen my share of islandy-beaches, but the view made me as giddy as my little guy. As soon as we unpacked in our spacious, marina-view room (one of 519 at this huge yet totally low-key haven) we quickly switched into a slow-as-honey pace that was such a departure from the daycare-work-home-bath-dinner-bed routine of our usual weekdays that the whole getaway now feels kind of like a dream. After dinner at Irie’s Restaurant, where I had a yummy mahi mahi stuffed with crabmeat and Julian split the lobster-topped pasta with one of two little boys on the trip who were nearly his age (two vacay playmates? jackpot!), we returned to our room to find giant chocolate chip cookies and milk had been delivered with the turndown service. Sweet! This place clearly knows kids (and carb-loving moms!).
The next morning, we experienced one of the highlights of our trip: the Unexso Dolphin Experience. We dangled our feet in a lagoon while two incredibly charming bottlenose dolphins performed like Broadway stars with fins for us. Julian laughed his head off every time they flipped or dove, yet when it was our turn to enter the water and pet the adorable Andros, my guy simply shook his head. Not happening. After the encore though, as we headed off the dock, he spotted a macaw, ran to it, and even dared allow his little arms to be used as a perch (see the pic?). Then he looked at me and said, “Do you want to live here? Because I’m serious, I want to move here.” Me too.
The next day, more water fun. We had a picnic on Gold Rock Beach, a little slice of paradise where Pirates of the Carribbean was filmed. Mother nature seems to have made this place for kids. You can walk into the aquamarine sea for the length of a football field and still the water only comes up to a tot’s waist. Exquisite. But the water at Grand Lucayan was pretty amazing too—four pools, including two infinity pools. Julian loved sitting on a chaise lounge in our favorite of the bunch (yes, a lounger in the pool—how fantastic is that?).
We didn’t want to leave. No, that is a massive understatement. There were big, fat tears and hysterics involved. Our last night, after an outrageous Asian pupu (queue the laughter from three little boys) platter feast at China Beach, we finished packing up. Which is when a crying Julian proceeded to try to hide the boogie board we couldn’t fit in his suitcase under the bed, “so I can find it when we come back with Daddy and Celeste!”
I kind of wanted to cry, too—it was just so special to have a few unhurried days together. Time to float in beautiful waters and meet sea critters, yes. But also time to answer my son’s 42-questions-an-hour (like, “Hey, why did those people put their dishes on the floor in this hallway? That’s not nice!” “That’s called room service, Julian” and “What is this cereal? It’s so good! Is it Cheerios with colors in them?” “They’re Froot Loops, my friend, and they’re only for special occasions!” “What’s occasions?”) without being distracted by the concerns/smartphones/chaos of our inland life. And I hope we return, because the Grand Lucayan’s kids’ club, anchored by an open-air classroom and boasting an area for babies called Grandma Lucaya’s, opens after renovations in a couple months and looks fantastic. But in the meantime, I need your help: How will I ever get this kid back to the Jersey Shore?!
Grand Lucayan, Rates in season start at $259; off-season start at $159.
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Friday, September 9th, 2011
Honor your grandmas and grandpas on Grandparents Day, which is September 11. Parents.com consulted with Patricia Babuka, CEO and co-founder of GrandCamp Adventures, a line of products (storybooks, music, games) designed to strengthen connections between the older and younger generations. Babuka shared, “Grandparents want to connect with their grandchildren. While 80% of grandparents say their grandchildren are their top priority, they wonder how to entertain them.”
The interaction strengthens family ties, increases love and happiness, ensures the preservation of family history, and builds a solid environment of security and safety. Plus, “grandparents are given the valuable opportunity to tap into and enjoy youthful energy and see a world of possibilities. Parents find that children are nourished with a different kind of learning and sharing experience. Since grandparents are free from day-to-day parenting, they provide a special time of uninterrupted play,” says Babuka.
Here are her three suggestions for how grandparents can bond with their tiny family members, whether they live near or far away.
Make time for the relationship and make that time sacred. A majority of grandparents today are online, making the Internet a key way to stay connected. Grandparents email grandchildren often and have Skype and telephone calls for quick chats about what happened that day. Those who keep long-distance communications short, fun, and frequent develop great rapport with their grandchildren.
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Tuesday, August 30th, 2011
This post is written by John O’Sullivan, Digital Art Production Manager for Parents magazine.
Our daughter has a weird nickname. It’s “The Emily Bear Show.” Neither my wife nor I are completely certain how it solidified. But, like any good nickname, it stuck.
So, when we had the opportunity to take The Emily Bear Show to an Off-Broadway bear show, we certainly snapped at the chance. We took her to “The Berenstain Bears Live! in Family Matters, the Musical,” a touring show now playing in New York City.
Seeing the Berenstain Bears again—and this time in the flesh—brought about flashbacks from my own childhood. The show was taken from the books. And, just like the classic stories, the musical brought about an entertaining and informative lesson on living the good life—ursine or otherwise.
Of course, Emily’s favorite bit involved Father Bear splitting his pants because he indulged in a few too many candy bars. Pants splitting is always a win-win in early childhood comedy.
The show is a perfect introduction to the realm of musicals for your little ones. It was long enough to entertain, but not too long for jumpiness to ensure. There’s face painting if your kid wants to become a bear, and the cast poses for pictures on the way out. It was a great experience for our little Emily Bear Show, it’ll be great for your little one…even if he or she has a relatively normal nickname.
The show is extended through October, and it can be found at the MMAC Theater at 248 West 60th Street in New York City. More info about the touring show is available at http://berenstainbearslive.com/
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Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
With summer vacation just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking up fun activities to fend off the inevitable “I’m bored” whining. Enter Kids Bowl Free, a bowling program in which hundred of alleys across the US (and Canada) allow children to play two games a day—gratis—all summer long. Better still, the program is already up and running for the season in some locations. To register for a pass and find a participating bowling center near you (as well as get program dates, times, and age requirements, which vary by location), visit kidsbowlfree.com.
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Thursday, May 19th, 2011
I love this idea posted on Moomah: The Journal. Before your child embarks on a new experience, whether it be camp, a new school, or a just a sleepover at grandma’s house, glue some family photos (don’t forget the pets) to manilla tags to make this adorable necklace. Cover the pictures with clear packing tape to protect them, then string them onto braided yarn, elastic, or a shoelace. When your child has a down moment, she can just glance down and see shiney, happy faces staring back at her.
Do you have any tips to help ease your child’s separation anxiety?
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Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
A new study from iVillage and TODAY.com shows salary reigns supreme when it comes to job priorities among working mothers—even when compared with important factors like a family-friendly work environment and job enjoyment.
This is just one interesting finding from the newly-published 2011 Moms At Work Survey. Overall, the survey paints a picture of the modern mom taking charge in both the office and the home. It seems this woman really can have it all—as long as a personal assistant is thrown into the mix! And interestingly, 70% of the working moms polled would prefer the assistant to help manage the running of their households rather than their work lives.
Additional results show eight out of ten working mothers “are earning at least half or more of their household’s income.” And the work doesn’t end at the office. According to the poll, more than two-thirds (68%) of working moms are still responsible for the majority of household chores so it comes as no surprise that 90% of them report feeling tired and stressed!
”Unfortunately, what working moms have the least time for is themselves — something to keep in mind as we think of ways to pamper mom on Mother’s Day,” said Kelly Wallace, Chief Correspondent, at iVillage.
The study also found:
- Women aren’t receiving a passing grade when it comes to healthy habits. 77% agree that juggling work and family makes it hard to live a healthy lifestyle with close to 25% of moms reporting that they are not allowed to get sick!
- While the good news is that 59% of women surveyed are satisfied with the amount of time spent with their children, almost half, 47%, are not satisfied with the amount of time spent keeping fit/healthy.
- 23% of working moms polled would welcome increased support from friends and family, and 41% want more support from their husband/partner to make their lives easier.
- Part-time working moms are closest to achieving work-life balance, with 46% reporting that they are “busy but balanced: I’ve found harmony between work and home,” compared to just 20% of full-time working moms who can say the same.
- Merely 3 out of 10 women are happy with the amount of time they are able to spend alone with their partners once out of the office.
- Today’s working mom is more mobile than ever before! 67% of working moms rely on their smart phone to make their lives easier.
If you’re a working mom, how do you juggle the demands of work and home life? Share your solutions for keeping stress levels in check.
More from Parents.com:
The Working Mom Balancing Act
9 Tips for Juggling Work and Motherhood
Real Mom: Juggling Work and Family
Chat with Other Working Moms
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