Sunday, March 23, 2014

4 Ways to Make Family Movie Night a Blast


If you're like me, one of my favorite family activities is to have family movie night.  What I like best about family movie night is the excitement and anticipation around it.  I want my children to look back and remember these times fondly so I try to make it fun!  Here's how I do it...

1.  Let your kids pick the movie
Of course, what else but Frozen!? Who doesn't want to watch Frozen?! What a great movie that even adults will enjoy!  You can buy it here on Amazon for $20.00 or, of course, find a Red Box machine near you!  If Frozen isn't your top pick, here are some great ideas for family friendly movies from Parenting Magazine Best Movies for Families.

2.  Build excitement
 Let your kids pick the movie and watch the trailer online.  Find out some things about the characters and ask them questions about what they think will happen in the movie.

3.  Make a cool snack
I like to make a snack that fits the theme (ice cream for Frozen for example) but you don't need to go crazy.  Popcorn is always a hit!

4. WATCH the movie.  No, really WATCH the movie.  Put your phone away and be present.  Engage in the movie and engage in your child's life.  You'll be glad you did.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Should You Provide In-Home Childcare?

Do you ever wonder if you should provide childcare to other children to bring in some extra cash flow for your family?  Maybe it would allow your family to take that some extra vacations or maybe it's a necessity?  Maybe you would really like to quit your job and stay home with your kids?Whatever the case, make sure you consider the big picture before making the commitment.

1.  Do the math.  The cost of caring for just 1 or 2 children is usually not a huge amount of money.  The reason is that you are competing with childcare centers that are able to cover the expenses differently and have a higher teacher/child ratio.  That being said, if you want a few extra dollars, it could be perfect for you.  Just make sure the extra money is worth it to you. HOWEVER, don't forget to put a number (expense) on your OWN children.  For example, if you have to work outside the home, you will be paying for your children to go to childcare which would cost you ___ amount.  But if you want to make a DECENT amount of money it may be necessary to watch more than 3 children. Also calculate what you will be making per hour versus your current situation.

2.  Consider the responsibility involved.  Caring for children is not easy, especially younger children.  They demand a lot of time and can be stressful when they go through potty training, terrible twos, or even if they experience allergies or injuries.  If the kids you will care for are babies, it's important to remember the extra time and care that these children require.  For this reason, daycare centers will charge extra for infants for children with special needs so that's something you may want to consider.

3.  Find a good family/families.  If you already have a family or 2 in mind (that you like and trust) you will be in a better situation to succeed.  It took me a long time to find families that I could depend on to pay on time, pick up on time, and had the same values and parenting style as me.  Remember you're interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you so be picking about who you choose and if it's not a good fit...don't do it.

4.  Consider all factors involved.  Watching children on the side is essentially starting your own business.  It's important to have a plan and set clear boundaries from the beginning (especially if it involves your family members children or friends' children) It may sound easy to take in a few extra kids, why not? You're already taking care of your own kids, right?  But make sure you consider all aspects before making the commitment.  How will you handle sick kids (yours or theirs)? What if you or your husband is sick?  What if they don't pay you?  Will they be bringing their own lunches/snacks?  Do they want to deduct childcare expenses from their taxes?  Will they be accommodating for your vacations?  Will they get a long well with your children?

Although caring for other children in your home can be a great business for many parents who are already at home with their kids,  it's important to make sure you consider everything involved and how it will impact your family overall before making the commitment.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Using Guided Imagery to Create a Happier Family Life

Could guided imagery really create a happier family life?  Guided imagery is an amazing tool for creating the life we want. Research has proven again and again that our imagination can help us build our own realities. The question is, what is the life YOU want? What kind of family life do you want to have?  When you are old, wrinkly, and rocking in a rocking chair, what kind of life do you want to be able to reflect upon?
These techniques can really make a difference in your life.  Don't believe me? Chat with athletes that have won races, people who have overcome illnesses, or people who have lost a lot of weight and you will quickly learn that guided imagery is a powerful tool that many of these people use.  Whether these people realize it or not, they have used guided imagery (in some form or another) to attain the goals they have accomplished. In other words,
We become the person we WANT to be.
Here's an example.  Research has shown that when people focus on a diet or quitting smoking, they will most likely NOT succeed, but if they instead focus on creating a new image as a 'non smoker' or being a 'healthy person' they are much more likely to be successful.
Now I'd like to take it a step further and suggest that you are CREATING the problems you have.  If we worry (which is inadvertently focusing on the things we DON'T want)  then we are focusing on things that make us unhappy instead of things that make us happy.  Why would we do that to ourselves? 
The same philosophy can be applied when a parent wants to be more patient with their children or be more 'present' when spending time with children.  When we take a few moments before the kids wake up to picture ourselves being the kind of parent we want to be then we are much more likely to become that kind of parent.
Take the time to listen to your intuition, then visualize the life you want.  Gradually you will begin surrounding yourself with like minded people and you will start taking steps toward changing your behaviors and creating the life we want. 
Are you ready to make it happen? Try these simple steps 1 or 2 times a day (or whenever you want!) and watch your dreams become a reality.

1. Picture your family doing the things that you wish would change (ex. fighting, sadness, or illness).

2. Next, picture yourself throwing that picture away.
3. Create a new family portrait in your imagination with the family that you wish to become.

4.  Begin focusing on that happy family image instead.
4. Finally, take baby steps to move toward that image and surround yourself with people who share these values.  Get together with other families who share your goals or have parent in a way that you admire.

Interested in learning more about guided imagery? Check our Holistic Online for more great ideas.