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After all the excitement of high school graduation, summer’s next task is preparing our kids for college. High school gave us a taste of what it’s like to be a hands-off parent, with kids learning to advocate for themselves, speaking to their teachers and administrative staff on their own, scheduling homework and study sessions, and navigating clubs and sports. Undoubtedly, though, we still had our hands in the mix. We could give our opinion on their classes, suggest how to approach a teacher, and wake them up when their alarm didn’t go off, fully aware that in just a few short months, the kids would be taking care of everything on their own. Or would they?

Online parenting forums are filled with folks looking for ways they can make life easier for their college-age kids. They want to know who to contact to change a class, how their child will get from one end of the campus to the other, and what to do if their son or daughter doesn’t like their roommate? As we check off the list of things to bring to school and push our child to email the future roommate to find out which one is bringing the microwave, we are missing the point of college: to let our children explore adulthood and start figuring life out for themselves.

Just a few weeks before my 18-year-old son went off to university, I had a big argument with him over laundry. I had told him that he needed to start doing his wash himself to get into the habit. Then I happened to walk into his room at a time when there were clothes everywhere. Naturally, I exploded.

“I know you’re not going to be able to manage on your own,” I shouted. “You can’t even get into a routine of doing your laundry! You have no idea what independent adult life requires. You have to be committed to taking of yourself. You need to get to it now or you’re not going out with your friends!

There it was—all my worries about how he would survive packed in five angry sentences. My son shut me up quickly with his answer: “Mom, first, I’m 18½, and you can but you shouldn’tbe telling me when I can and cannot go out with my friends. As you remind me often, I need to make my own decisions since I’ll be leaving in a few weeks. Second, you’ve invested a lot of time, money, and heart in supporting and funding my education. I’ve completed 5 AP classes and several rounds of SAT tests. Do you seriously think that I’m not capable of separating clothes by colors and pushing buttons on a machine? Last but not least, I take four showers a day and am an ultra-clean person who does not like wearing the same clothes more than once. Do you seriously think that will change?”

I started in on a rebuttal, but he stopped me with: “Can you just answer yes or no. I really need to know how much faith you have in me. You also seriously need to know how much faith you have in how you raised me!”’ He scrunched his forehead, crossed his arms, tapped his foot, and waited for me to answer. Of course, I burst out laughing! I knew he was capable. I was just anxious.

I smiled and said, “I have a feeling that you’ll wait until you have no more clothes to wear.”

“You’re right,” he responded. “I might do that once or twice. But I’ll live and learn. Isn’t that the point, Ma?”

We spend 18 years preparing our kids for being on their own, and that includes going to college. If we have done our jobs correctly, they should be able to find the phone number for their counselor, read a bus schedule, or set their alarm clock. If we have done our job right, the kids should know that pizza for dinner every night probably isn’t a great idea. They should also know how to find their way to the local market or department store. After four years of high school, they should know how to study and organize their notes. They should know that skipping class is a bad idea. And, as my son reminded me, they’ll even learn that eventually, they’ll have to do their laundry.

Still, it’s hard to stop ourselves from stepping in, just when we should be letting go. Here are some ways to ease the transition… for them and for us.

  1. Let the kids choose their own classes. Colleges today are pretty good about knowing what classes a student needs to take to complete a degree. That’s what college advisors are for. Let the staff members do their job. If your student has a question, he or she can call or email the advisor directly. If your child wants to run things by you, that’s great. But whatever you do, don’t call the school on your child’s behalf.
  2. Quit nagging. It’s the easiest way to shut down communication. Your idea of nagging might be different than mine, but there is no need to constantly ask about studying and homework and whether your kids are getting enough sleep or eating regular meals. This is the time for them to figure out what works best for themselves. Let them do it!
  3. Don’t obsess about grades. You won’t be getting a report card from your child’s school anymore. And if you constantly ask how they did on a test, it only puts added pressure on them. College is hard… and lots of kids struggle through their first semester. A bad grade doesn’t mean they aren’t going to be successful. There is a learning curve for everything. Let them ride that curve.
  4. They don’t need everything on the what-to-take list. It’s okay if you send them to school without a warm-enough coat or the right-size bed sheets. Dorm rooms are small, and there is no way you can know for sure what they will or won’t need. There is undoubtedly a store nearby… and there’s always Amazon. Seriously, they can buy what they don’t have.
  5. Stay out of roommate issues. Your son or daughter might call to complain about their roommate, but that doesn’t mean they need to get a new one. Part of living in a dorm is learning how to deal with people. Disagreements build communication and self-reliance. Encourage them to work things out. This is problem-solving at its finest.
  6. Do not expect to hear from your kids every day. More importantly, do not overstress “keeping in touch daily.” Please don’t hang it over their heads if they skip checking in for a day or two. You’re sending them off to start their independent lives. Growing into adulthood means not having to call mom or dad every single day. Be grateful to hear from them whenever they call, without guilt trips or shaming. Gentle, short text reminders like “I miss you” and “hope you’re doing well” are okay. But be sure to add, “I’m so excited for you.” And moms, cut down on the emojis!
  7. Feeling homesick doesn’t mean someone should come home. Most kids are going to get homesick at some point. College is a huge change for them. They are used to parents and siblings being around all the time. Now they are alone and have to make their own decisions. It’s not easy for sure, but don’t respond right away with, “It’s okay, why don’t you come home.” Chances are, after a bout of homesickness, the kids will perk up and be just fine. And a little homesickness will make those school breaks all the sweeter for both of you.

Yes, our babies are leaving home, and we can’t help being emotional about that. But this is exactly what we’ve prepared them to do. We’ve raised young adults who are capable of figuring out things for themselves. Now let’s take a step back and let them do just that.

As Julie Lythcott-Haims says in her groundbreaking book, How to Raise an Adult, “No one can give another person life skills. Each of us has to acquire them by doing the work of life on our own.” So guide and step aside. Make way for your children to forge their own path through their own experiences. It’s how life is learned best.

First published on Tools of Growth – http://toolsofgrowth.com/

The post College-Bound Kids? Check Your Parenting Boundaries! appeared first on Active Family Magazine.

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By Dr. Dante Gonzales

This is a question I get from a lot of parents and older adults that I come into contact with. In the past orthodontic treatment was mainly for children and adolescents. But within the last 20-30 years there have been many advancements in orthodontic treatment. And at the same time there has been an increased desire among adults to not only look their best, but feel and function at their best. With the convergence of these two factors, we now see many orthodontic offices seeing upwards of 50-60% of their patients as adults. This is a huge change from 35 years ago when adult orthodontic treatment was less than 10% of the market. Adults are realizing that the benefits from orthodontic treatment need not be for adolescents only. Adults can also gain these benefits from orthodontic treatment, and these days it doesn’t have to be with big metal braces. These days we can treat patients with very discreet appliances like clear braces, or lingual braces (cemented on behind the teeth), or clear aligners (eg. Invisalign).

Two of the biggest deterrents to adults getting orthodontic treatment were always the aesthetics and duration of the treatment. Adults were faced with the fact that metal braces are so obvious and make your smile full of metal. The other concern was the length of time in treatment. In many cases orthodontic treatment could take 24-30 months. That’s a long time to have a “tin-grin”.  However, the field of orthodontics has undertaken a lot of research and every few years make significant advancements in orthodontic treatment. Treatment has become more efficient and doesn’t take as long as it used to. Today, there are adjunct procedures that can help increase the rate of tooth movement. Combining these procedures with more efficient treatment can result in patients finishing their treatment in 30-50% less time than it took 35 years ago. Some patients may finish orthodontic treatment within as little as 6 months. All of these factors have made adult orthodontic treatment more appealing, and made more adults more attractive in the process. 

Even with all of these advancements many adult patients still wonder “am I too old for braces?”. “Can my teeth still move at this age?” “Will it negatively effect my teeth?” “Could I lose my teeth if I go through orthodontic treatment at my age?” These are all questions older patients tend to ask.  These are all valid questions. However, these questions have to be answered on a case by case basis.  The bottom-line is that almost anyone over the age of 6 or 7 can benefit from orthodontic treatment. The main factor in qualifying someone for orthodontic treatment is not the age, but the health of the teeth, gums, and the surrounding bone.  If the teeth, bones, and gums are all healthy then you are a great candidate for orthodontic treatment.

Whether you’re young or old, treatment is the same physiological process that moves teeth through the bone. Adults may have denser bone tissue than children, so the teeth may move a little slower and treatment take a little longer, but age does not keep them from moving. Nor, does it increase the risk of complications.  However, adults can have more wear on their teeth, have missing teeth, crowns, bridges, and even implants. These factors can complicate treatment, or cause the results to be slightly less than perfect. But one should never let perfection get in the way of achieving something excellent, or at least very good. All of the complicating factors that adults may present with are well within an orthodontist’s realm of treatment experience. Most orthodontists have undergone an extra 24-36 months of training. That extra 5000-7000 hours of training and experience is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to undergo orthodontic treatment with a trained orthodontist. While some general dentists perform orthodontic procedures in their offices, they do not have near the training or experience that a new orthodontic graduate has in regard to the training and knowledge of moving teeth. 

To move your teeth an orthodontist can use traditional metal braces, clear ceramic braces, or clear removable aligners, like Invisalign. All of these appliances can move teeth and achieve the same result in the same amount of time.  All of these appliances will deliver a controlled force to the teeth that gently and predictably move the teeth into the most ideal position for function, comfort, and aesthetics.

 If you’re considering orthodontic treatment to correct longstanding cosmetic or bite problems or to remedy the effects of tooth loss, keep a few things in mind:

  • The bones of adults have stopped growing, so some structural changes may not be accomplished without surgery. However, in most cases skeletal structural changes are not necessary to achieve great results.
  • The entire process may take longer for you than for a child or adolescent. While the time it takes to straighten teeth varies from person to person, on average, treatment lasts about 12-24 months. These treatment times can be reduced with procedures that accelerate tooth movement.
  • If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, you may also need to see a periodontist as well as your general dentist and orthodontist to ensure that the treatment is not complicated by bone loss resulting from gum disease.

One of my oldest patients that I ever treated was 78 years old. I was treating her grandkids at the time when she approached me to ask if she could get braces too. The first question she asked me was “am I too old for braces?”. To which I replied, “of course not, as long as your teeth and gums are healthy we can straighten your teeth.” Her main concerns were the crowding and crooked teeth, and her two upper canines that stuck out and were very obvious. She had said that those canines and her crooked front teeth had bothered her since she was a adolescent. After a thorough examination of her teeth and bones, we determined that her mouth was healthy enough to undergo orthodontic treatment. She wound up going through 18 months of braces alongside her grandkids. And finishing treatment,  she was overjoyed with the result. She said that her only regret was that she didn’t do this treatment sooner. During her visits to check her retainers and make sure the result was maintaining, she would tell me that in her entire life she had never smiled so much. Her entire demeanor had changed. She felt like she had become a better version of herself. Even her friends and family noticed the change, not just in her smile, but in her attitude.  She lived for another 12 years after the braces were removed and she probably smiled more in those last 12 years than in the previous 78.  So if you are an adult the question you should ask yourself is not “am I too old for orthodontic treatment?” , but instead ask “is there anything about my bite or smile that I would love to improve?” If there is, then you may be a great candidate for  a new smile from orthodontic treatment.


Dr. Gonzales grew up in southern California. He has always had a passion for learning and for sports. After graduating from U.C.L.A., his love for science drew him to work in immunology research for one year at Veteran’s Hospital in Los Angeles. Dr. Gonzales then went on to receive his dental degree at Tufts University in Boston. There he graduated at the top of his class with the honor of Summa Cum Laude. Following his passion for orthodontics, Dr. Gonzales attended the University of the Pacific Orthodontic program in San Francisco. The world class orthodontic training at U.O.P. helped Dr. Gonzales become a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics, an honor bestowed upon only 1 in 5 practicing orthodontists.

After graduating from his U.O.P. residency in orthodontics, Dr. Gonzales worked with several orthodontists around the Bay Area. Working for a year with several orthodontists gave him great insight into what was working well in private practice. Taking all of the best aspects of each office, Dr. Gonzales decided to go into private practice on his own. In September of 1998, Dante Gonzales Orthodontics was founded. In those first years of private practice, Dr. Gonzales noted that both the clinical side of orthodontics as well as the business of orthodontics are forever evolving. In order to provide patients with the best clinical orthodontics and the best office experience, it takes a constant commitment to learning not only what is new in orthodontics, but what is working and what is not. It’s this commitment and passion for learning that keeps Dr. Gonzales and his practice at the forefront of orthodontics, and this helps him provide not only excellence in orthodontic treatment, but also excellence in service for his patients.


The post Am I too old for braces? appeared first on Active Family Magazine.

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By Elizabeth Kang

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach is my family’s newly-discovered favorite beachside-resort in the Southern California area.

This newly remodeled Surf-City gem is a sprawling oasis of endless Summer fun, with numerous pools, waterslides, onsite shopping, restaurants, bike rentals, and even a kids’ club and spa. Although it’s near plenty of attractions (just a 30-minute drive from Disneyland, near numerous beaches, shopping, state parks, hiking trails, and more,) the resort offers so much in the way of entertainment and fun, there’s really no need to even leave the property to enjoy a fantastic Summer getaway. Check out my three-night, fun-filled itinerary for an overview of all the family friendly activities offered at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach. 


3 p.m. Check-in to your spacious, newly remodeled room. Bright and clean, with room to spread out, the accommodations at the Huntington Beach Hyatt are impressive. With a huge walk-in closet, oversized bathroom, and upscale, modern finishes, rooms at this resort are a breath of fresh ocean air.  

4 p.m. Explore! Take a walk around this sprawling resort to get your bearings, and be sure to stop and admire the stunning fountains, gorgeous lobby and hidden pathways. Check out the onsite shops to pick out memorabilia and gifts to bring home, or perhaps the sunscreen and hat you may have forgotten to pack.

5:30 p.m. Dinner at Pete’s Sunset Grille. With three onsite restaurants, plus room service and a poolside snack bar, there’s plenty of variety to keep everyone happy and satisfied. For a casual dinner with a fun and modern surf-side theme, grab a table at Pete’s Sunset Grille. Enjoy Pete’s legendary fish tacos, or a juicy burger, along with kid-friendly favorites.

7 p.m. S’mores on the beach! For an additional fee, Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach will set up a complete private s’mores service on the beach, including your own personal s’mores assistant, who sets up a cozy fire, chairs, blankets, and a s’mores and hot chocolate station, along with anything else you may need. It’s the perfect (and most delicious) way to wind down the day and take in a stunning beachside sunset.


9 a.m. Breakfast at Watertable. Enjoy an elegant al fresco breakfast at the Hyatt’s stunning onsite restaurant, Watertable. With rich wood beams and exotic accents, this upscale restaurant is full of style, with a modern-contemporary menu to match. Watertable lays out a sumptuous breakfast buffet worth waking up for, or guests can choose from the regular breakfast menu (Chicken & Waffles was superb.)

11 a.m. Bike about town! Guests can conveniently rent beach cruisers, children’s bikes, helmets and all the gear needed right onsite at Toes On the Nose Surf & Bike. Take your rentals for a spin along the paved beach path, or ride into town to explore. (Toes On the Nose Surf & Bike also provides surfboards, bodyboards, wetsuits, and more.)

12 p.m. Lunch Seaside. Park your bike rentals and enjoy lunch on the town at one of Huntington Beach’s numerous fun and casual hot spots along the Pacific Coast Highway. 

1 p.m. Poolside Cabana Time. Treat you and your family to a relaxing, private cabana by the family pool for an afternoon of shaded respite (for you,) and exciting pool time (for the kids.) Completely fenced in and secluded, the family pool is a wonderful way to while-away an afternoon. It offers a shallow baby pool, large family pool and hot tub, along with three separate waterslides, plus poolside service, and (inside the cabanas,) a television and refreshments. 

6 p.m. Dinner in flip flops. Who would have guessed that some of the most delicious pizza in SoCal is tucked away inside a resort? Surprisingly enough, that’s exactly what to expect when ordering a giant slice (or a whole pie) from Tower 15 Pizzeria, which serves up cheesy thin-crust slices, along with fresh salads, sandwiches and pasta, in a fast-casual environment. 


9 a.m. Breakfast in Bed. Take advantage of in-room service and order an indulgent breakfast in bed on your last day — you’re on vacation, after all!. The family can stay in their jammies and linger in bed just a little bit longer. 

11 a.m. Picnic on the Beach. Pop into the Hyatt’s convenient Surf City Grocers to pick up gourmet grab-n-go fare for a beachside picnic, including sandwiches, salads, and bottled drinks. Afterward, head over the Hyatt’s beach-access bridge to enjoy some beachside fun-in-the-sun. Don’t forget to rent some boogie boards for the kids at Toes On the Nose Surf & Bike!

2 p.m. Retail Therapy. After everyone’s had enough sand and sun, head back over the bridge to do a little shopping at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach’s cute little shops, and be sure to purchase a keepsake to remind you of your trip, such as an ornament, plush doll, or t-shirt. 

3 p.m. Spa & Camp Hyatt. Now’s the time to take advantage of the fantastic Camp Hyatt kids’ club (ages 3-12) and enroll your children for some fun, supervised interactive time while you enjoy the soothing Pacific Waters Spa. The kids’ club does require a 24-hour advanced reservation, but a little planning ahead is worth some much-needed adult time.

6 p.m. Date Night. While the kids are safe and secure at Camp Hyatt, enjoy a romantic date night dinner at Watertable. Conveniently located on the property (in case you need to zip back to the kids’ club,) Watertable is the perfect romantic choice for your last night in Huntington Beach. Enjoy an upscale meal and perhaps a bottle of local wine while watching the sunset, and savoring your last night in Huntington Beach.

The post Endless Summer at Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach appeared first on Active Family Magazine.

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By Dr. Laura Markham

Children love vacations. Not because they get to go to Disney World or some other place they’ve idealized in their minds, but because of a much richer treasure. Usually, parents are more relaxed, more fun, more emotionally available. It’s common for kids to say that their favorite summer memory is something free and simple, like lying on a blanket looking at the stars with the family. These sweet pleasures are the golden experiences that shape rich childhood memories.

Kids also love vacations with extended family. They follow the older cousins around like puppies, and forge lifelong bonds with the kids their own age. These visits often shape their memories of grandparents and provide a sense of heritage.

But vacation can also be stressful. Kids often stay up late, get disconnected from parents, and melt down from the overload. I call it Family Vacation Stress Syndrome. (Of course, parents often experience their own version, whether from extended family tensions, grandparents judging their parenting, or logistical pressures. So the first rule for a restful vacation is to find a way to restore your own peace when you get off balance!)

Even if it’s just your own family on a vacation you’ve all looked forward to, the disrupted schedules, traveling, and the crash and burn from all the excitement can easily be a recipe for tears and tantrums. Here are my top tips to help you manage life during vacation–whether in the summer or in the winter– so you can maximize the joy and minimize the tears.

1. Give kids plenty of warning about upcoming events so they know what to expect. 

 Before traveling, you might make a little book to show them what will happen each day. (“Then we leave for Grandma’s, where you’ll get to play with all the cousins.”) Your book doesn’t have to be fancy — print out photos on loose-leaf paper, and put them in a 3-ring binder. Many kids love to draw a picture of what will be happening each day to add to your book. This helps them both enjoy the anticipation and conquer any fears. And seeing those smiling faces in advance helps them warm up more quickly to relatives they don’t see often.

2. Coach your kids about the social behavior you expect.

Role play with them in the car before you arrive, or make a game of it before you go:

“In the hotel hallways, we use inside voices and we don’t run. Why do you think that is?”

“What do you when Uncle Norman wants to hug you hello?” (Don’t force kids to hug if they don’t want to, but teach them to offer a hearty handshake instead.)

“What if you don’t like the dinner that’s served?”

“When you want to leave the table, how do you ask?”

“The airplane is like a flying village with everyone close together, so there are special rules to be safe and considerate. Let’s see if we can guess what they are… It can be hard to stay in your seat…what do you think you could do on the plane if you get bored?”

“What will you do if the cousins start arguing?”

3. Keep kids on their usual schedule as much as possible.

Kids need the security of familiar routines. They get stressed by unfamiliar events and what feels to them like chaotic unpredictability. Do what you can to keep them on schedule, and be patient when they get hyped-up or irritable.

4. If you’re flying with kids, plan to arrive early

…enough that they get to “run” a bit in the airport hallway after sitting still in the car and before sitting still on the plane. Make sure to change diapers and use the bathroom just before boarding. If you use overnight diapers (more absorbent), you might get lucky and avoid diaper changes on the flight. Bring small wrapped “presents” – books, treats, chapstick, puzzles, simple crafts – for each child. Kids can look forward to getting one as soon as they’ve buckled their seat belts, and more whenever you need a distraction mid-flight. Blue painter’s tape always comes in handy, too — you can make a tic-tac-toe board on the tray table, use it for crafts, tape up blankets around his seat to make a cozy fort, and even make a hopscotch board in the airport while you’re waiting. Be sure to bring bottles, sugar-free lollipops or something else to suck on during take-off and landing if your child isn’t nursing (sucking on anything will help equalize the air pressure on those tiny ear drums.) And even if you don’t usually use screens with your child, it’s smart to have movies downloaded and at the ready so your child has something to watch even if there’s no wifi on your flight.

5. Plan no more than one event per day.

What you want to avoid, of course, is racing around before you leave, getting stressed out by a busy trip that includes lots of meltdowns, and returning home in need of a vacation. Kids tend to get cranky and stressed with travel and schedule changes, so plan to do less. You’ll all enjoy it more.

6. Have age-appropriate expectations.

A four year old can’t be expected to sit quietly while you enjoy a fancy dinner. If you’re doing a lot of visiting with adults, be sure the kids have something to occupy them. If they can read, buy them a new book for the occasion, one they can’t wait to get into. If they’re too young to stay absorbed in a book, be sure there’s an option to watch a screen. Even if you usually have dinner as a family, vacations are a great time to feed kids early– less pressure on the kids to “behave” at a table of adults, and the adults can enjoy a chance to talk at dinner. Remember, you need to recharge your own batteries, too!

7. Snuggle with your child every morning

…before getting out of bed. It’s very grounding for kids to connect with you and review how the day is expected to unfold — even if it will be a lot like yesterday.

8. Schedule in some quiet decompression time every night.

Be sure to bring some favorite, comforting books from home.

9. Make sure you have nightly quiet time after lights out

…to lie with your child and listen to her chat about the day. Ask about their favorite thing today, the worst thing, and what they’re looking forward to tomorrow. This is when you’ll hear about minor conflicts or insecurities that your child is working to handle with the other kids. Don’t feel you have to jump in and “solve” the problem — your child mostly needs a chance to be heard and have her feelings acknowledged, so she can figure out how to advocate for herself.

10. Bring Blackout curtains with you on vacation

to keep your child asleep longer in the morning — and to help your child settle on those summer evenings when the light stays so long.

11. White noise machines can be invaluable

…both to keep kids sleeping longer in the morning, and to block out the sound of adults and older kids carousing, so little ones can settle down.

12. Physical Activity

Be sure your schedule includes plenty of visits to the playground or other opportunities for the kids to get wild.

13. Down time.

Kids need downtime, just to chill out, snuggle, and do whatever relaxes them. If they don’t get it, they can’t really be blamed for melting down when the over-stimulation gets to them. 
What does your child do at home to relax? Draw? Play with her imaginary friend? His little figurines? Make sure every day includes a little downtime with your child’s favorite activity to help him regroup.

14. Soothing activities for little ones

…that work for most kids:

  • Sand play – Put some sand in a lasagna pan on the deck, add small figurines, vehicles, and a strong spoon for digging.
  • Water play – At the beach or lake, of course. But even on a back deck with a spaghetti pot of water. For variety, add ice cubes, paint brushes, sponges, plastic water pitchers. Toddlers love to “paint” the deck or wash the picnic table.
  • Bubbles. You’ll have to help the little ones, but all kids love bubbles and blowing bubbles reduces stress. You can easily make your own bubble mix (Add 3 Tbsp of Glycerine and 2/3 cup of dish soap — Joy & Dawn are best — to a gallon of water.) Any twig with a loop of yarn can be used as a bubble wand.
  • Clay- If you’re in a rented space on vacation, limit clay to a tray, pan, or outside. But clay, sculpey or playdoh is a wonderful, tactile way for kids to knead and pound out the stresses that inevitably accompany all new experiences.

15. Watch your kids’ food intake in the midst of too many treats and hyped-up schedules.

Many tantrums originate from hunger. And all parents recognize the sugar high that sends kids bouncing off walls and then crashing into tears. If necessary, speak with grandparents in advance about limiting treats. And carry small protein-rich snacks with you so your child doesn’t have a melt-down while the adults are negotiating where to go to dinner.

16. Time with you.

Your kids may be chasing the older cousins, but they still want, and need, time with you. This is a perfect opportunity to turn off your cell phone and see what an inspired parent you are when you have a chance to relax and revel in just being alive. Just want to lie under the umbrella with your magazine? Make that your reward after you spend five minutes in the water with your child. You’ll be amazed how much more alive — and connected to your child — you feel after a five minute water fight. And how much more willing your child is when you need their cooperation.

17. Look at this vacation as a chance to recharge and reconnect your family.

Don’t try to work on vacation — this is family time. Forgo organized evenings in favor of family board games and keep your focus on connecting rather than sight-seeing or structured activities.

18. The most important tip, as always in parenting, is to manage yourself so you can stay calm.

Remember that traveling can be stressful for everyone, and your kids depend on you not only to regulate their environment, but also to help them regulate their moods. Make sure you take this opportunity to trade off child care responsibilities with other adults, if possible, so you get a chance to replenish your own spirits. You’re never too old to have a summer vacation you’ll always remember.

The post Family Vacation Survival Guide appeared first on Active Family Magazine.

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By Meg Meeker, MD

When public health experts release information about a concomitant rise in teen depression and social media use, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently did, I don’t waste time worrying about cause and effect. I recommend to all teens, especially girls, to dial down on social media — or eliminate it altogether.

That’s right: When it comes to treating depression in teens, I wage war against the illness. It is, after all, life-threatening.

I recently spoke with a 14-year-old girl suffering from a major depressive disorder who remarked that every time she went on Instagram, she felt bad about herself. When she saw photos of her friends, she viewed them as thinner, prettier, happier, and more popular. When I told her to stop using her Instagram account for two weeks, she said she wasn’t sure she could.

Her mother sat beside her feeling helpless and overwhelmed.

In November 2017, the American Academy of Pediatrics published an article on teens, depression and social media in the journal Pediatrics and cited the following:

1. Viewing certain media content can cause teens to feel anxious and afraid.

2. Teens can turn to social media to avoid facing their feelings.

3. Teen depression may stem from lack of genuine social interaction because digital media use replaces it.

4. Teens may feel anxiety from not being connected to what friends are doing all the time.

5. Cyberbullying may result in anxiety, depression, and suicide in teens.

The article stresses that clear associations have been observed between use of social media and depression/anxiety symptoms in children and adolescents. From where I sit, associations are evidence enough for me to work hard to convince parents that they must highly control and manage kids’ social media use, which holds only entertainment value.

Even adults who have been on Facebook know that seeing peers who appear happier, wealthier, prettier, etc. can cause jealousy. Transfer those feelings into the mind of a teen girl who has not developed a solid identity, mature cognitive thinking, and psychological maturity, and who may experience family issues, physical challenges, or learning issues, and we can understand how depression can take root.

I see the relationship between social media use and depression in teens in my pediatric practice. When I treat teens struggling with depression, anxiety, and ADHD, I tell them to get off their screens. In the hands of a depressed adolescent, phones can be dangerous. In my view, they are weapons. I wonder how we have gotten to the point in America where young children carry these weapons in their hands to school, soccer, parties, and even bed — and no one sees the danger?

Parents, we need to wake up and understand a few things here. When 36 percent of all teens and 45 percent of teen girls report feeling desperately sad and hopeless and have contemplated suicide, we need to do something.

Kids who grow up without social media miss out on nothing.CLICK TO TWEET

So what can parents do? Fortunately, a lot.

First, it is imperative that parents get over the fear of taking charge over kids’ social media use. In fact, we must get over the fear of limiting any screen time. Many conscientious parents fear their children will miss out, hate them, rebel, feel like the odd kid in their class, etc., but none of this is a good reason to opt out of taking control. Parents must be genuinely concerned about the real risk of depression and anxiety kids face if they don’t do anything.

Second, choose a social media-weaning plan for your child. You can choose for your child to go cold turkey or gradually wean the hours they spend on it. Either way, your kids will be angry but the anger will pass. And when it does, you will have a different child on your hands.

Third, if your child struggles with anxiety or depression, get her off all social media. Period. If she doesn’t struggle, limit social media to 30 minutes per day. The article in Pediatrics noted that in a study in which young adults were asked over a span of two weeks about well-being, life satisfaction, and Facebook use, the authors reported that more Facebook use predicted decreases in these measures; in addition, the more they used Facebook over the two weeks, the more their life satisfaction decreased over time.

Fourth, do not allow social media to be private. Everything that your teen views on social media should be visible to you. Some parents see lack of privacy in social media as a violation of privacy for their teen, but this is unreasonable. Parents need to know if their kids are getting bullied, sent sexts, or anything else that can harm them.

Fifth, keep your eye on the enormous long-term benefits. The last thing any good parent wants to hear their 25-year-old son or daughter say is, “Why didn’t you protect me?”

Kids who grow up without social media miss out on nothing. What they gain is deeper relationships with friends and loved ones, never being cyberbullied — and having less risk for depression and anxiety and more time playing. We simply need the courage to give them these.

The post TEENS AND SOCIAL MEDIA: TIME TO DIAL IT DOWN appeared first on Active Family Magazine.

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By Elizabeth Kang

Next up in our Scottsdale Resort Spotlight series is the locally revered and immensely family-friendly Arizona Biltmore. 

Known for its captivating architecture, rich history and lavish surroundings, the Arizona Biltmore is a luxurious and fun-filled family getaway. Set on 39-acres of pristinely maintained landscaping, stunning fountains and eye-popping flora, this elegant resort leaves a lasting impression. Read on to discover our top reasons that make this Conde Nast 2018 Gold List-winning resort stand apart from the rest.

A Notable Past. First opened in 1929 and soon after dubbed the Jewel of The Desert, the elegant and iconic Arizona Biltmore was (and still is) a favorite hideaway of socialites, politicians, celebrities, and athletes. (Ronald and Nancy Reagan even spent their 1952 honeymoon in one of the resort’s original cottages.) Famous business tycoon William Wrigley Jr. — of the Wrigley chewing gum brand  — became the Arizona Biltmore’s first sole owner in 1930, when he built the hotel’s very first pool, the Catalina Pool, which is said to have been Marilyn Monroe’s absolute favorite resort pool. She was often seen sunbathing and relaxing poolside.

The resort has also inspired many an artist and musician, just as it did when Irving Berlin wrote the iconic holiday song White Christmas, while sitting by one of the Arizona Biltmore’s many sparkling pools.  Also created at the resort’s poolside was the original Tequila Sunrise cocktail, invented in the late 1930’s by one of the Arizona Biltmore’s bartenders at the time, Gene Sulit. It’s said that Sulit created the eye-catching cocktail after a guest requested a new poolside libation. 

Guests and visitors who are interested in learning more about the Arizona Biltmore’s rich and storied history are welcome to attend one of the resort’s History Tours, which are given three times a week at 10 a.m. On Fridays at 6 p.m., the resort hosts a fun and lively Happy Hour History Tour.

The Stunning Architecture. Designed by Harvard graduate and Frank Lloyd Wright student, Chase McArthur, the Arizona Biltmore is regarded as an architectural masterpiece and Arizona Landmark. The Biltmore has the honor of being the only hotel in the world designed and inspired by the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. 

In the Arizona Biltmore’s lobby, guests can look up to admire the largest gold-leaf ceiling in the world, and all throughout the resort one can spy the famous and intricately designed concrete Biltmore Blocks, with patterns that are said to represent the refraction of light.

The resort completed at 50-million-dollar renovation in 1996, with guest rooms which were redesigned and refurbished with a nod to the style of Frank Lloyd Wright’s, and 1930’s glam. 

Activities & Entertainment Galore! With a staggering eight pools, 92-foot waterslide, full-service spa, weekend live music, next-door Country Club, wine tastings, onsite shopping, tennis courts, golf courses, and more, you and your family certainly won’t run out of things to do at the Arizona Biltmore.

The resort boasts a pool for everyone in the family, including an exciting waterslide desert oasis, a family pool, a hidden, secluded pool, along with others, such as the aforementioned Catalina Pool favored by Marilyn Monroe. Cabanas are available as a respite from the sun, and a swim-up poolside bar makes it possible that you may never leave the pool at all. 

Aside from the sparking pools, active guests will love the two 18-hole golf courses onsite, full-sized tennis courts, the well-appointed fitness center, and steam-sauna on the property. Bike rentals are also available at the resort. 

Those looking to relax will enjoy the award-winning, full-service Spa Biltmore, as well as an onsite salon and spa. Retail therapy can be found at one of the handful of shopping boutiques on the property, and epicureans won’t want to miss the culinary lessons and wine tastings offered throughout the year.


The Biltmore Block Party. For the second year-in-a-row, The Arizona Biltmore is hosting a seasonal Biltmore Block Party, which runs from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Back by popular demand, the Biltmore Block Party pays homage to the simple Summertime fun you had as a kid, but in a much more luxe environment, happily. Each weekend, the resort hosts various activities, entertainment and seasonal dining options that celebrate Summer fun.

Kids will love the poolside snow cone pop-ups, dine-in family movies shown poolside, foam parties, face painting, organized games like Simon Says, Musical Chairs, Corn Hole, ect, and much more.

Adults will get a kick out of the various themed pool parties, including Caribbean Fridays, with island-themed cocktails and a live steel-drum band, and Fiesta Saturdays, boasting taco stands, a margarita cart and more. Grown-ups and big kids alike will be tickled to take a selfie at one of the Instagram-worthy Selfie-Stations, complete with life-sized hashtags and a Marilyn Monroe cutout.

Impressive Dining Options. When it comes to food, guests don’t have to choose between quantity and quality. Guests get both a large assortment and high-caliber food options at the Arizona Biltmore. They’ll be delighted to discover a delectable assortment of dining options to choose from, ranging from casual grab-n-go selections to white-tablecloth fine dining.

At Wright’s At The Biltmore, guests are treated to a meticulously thought-out-menu that highlights indigenous ingredients and pays tribute to the cuisine of both Native Americans and early American settlers. Serving nightly dinner and a luxurious Sunday buffet brunch, expect bold flavors, fresh ingredients and upscale cuisine in a modern-luxe setting at Wright’s At The Biltmore.

Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, Frank & Albert’s is a happy balance of farm-fresh, quality cuisine with a welcoming, vibrant ambiance. From waffles, omelets, pizzas, sandwiches, steaks and seafood, everyone will find their favorites at Frank & Albert’s.

Cabana Club offers convenient poolside dining, with a southwestern-themed-menu along with many alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage options. Order a carne asada torta, quinoa salad or a big plate of nachos to enjoy by the pool. 

The Cafe is your stop for hot and fresh coffee, a quick, light breakfast and grab-n-go lunch fare such as sandwiches and salads.

For a relaxing and delicious treat, make reservations at Afternoon Tea in the Arizona Biltmore’s stunning lobby. Afternoon Tea includes all of the makings of a classic, sumptuous afternoon tea, with tea sandwiches, hot and iced tea, dainty desserts and mouthwatering pastries.

For all of these reasons, as so many more, the Arizona Biltmore makes an unforgettable family vacation, girls’ trip or couples retreat. The resort is worth visiting at any time of the year, and there are especially great deals to be found in the off-season months of June, July and August.

The post Hotel Spotlight — Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort appeared first on Active Family Magazine.

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By Amy McCready

Half the fun of any trip is getting there, right? Well, maybe not if you envision mile after mile of whining, choruses of “are we there yet” or refereeing backseat battles. But it doesn’t have to be a dreaded experience. Here are some tips to help you make the most of long road trips with your family:

Plan Ahead of Time

1. Know your limits. If your kids haven’t made the two-hour trip to Grandma’s house yet without screaming the whole way, this may not be the best summer for that cross-country trip to Yellowstone.

2. Take a practice run. If you haven’t had a family excursion that’s more than a jaunt across town, take a short day or weekend trip to get your kids used to time in the car. It will also give them a chance to practice any special “car rules” for behavior.

3. Let kids know what to expect ahead of time. Let kids know if there any special car rules or changes from the norm for a long trip. Role play these rules on the way home from school or on an errand run. Let them know about how long the trip will take, how often you’ll be stopping, what they can do to entertain themselves and how you’ll handle bathroom breaks.

4. Know your route. Do some research ahead of time to scout out possible places to stop to stretch, take bathroom breaks and for meals. Have a smartphone maps app – and a road atlas in case there’s not good reception – at the ready to help you find a good place to stop when the inevitable “But I have to go now!” comes from the backseat. Another option is traveling through the night, so kids sleep the whole time. However, sleep in a car is usually not as deep and less restful, so be prepared that kids may do well on the trip but be cranky the next day.

Pack Smart

1. Be prepared. While no one wants to over-pack, there are just some extra items that can prove invaluable on the road. Think extra diapers, baby wipes for spills and messes, extra travel cups, refills for snack cups, ibuprofen or acetaminophen (for the kids and adults), motion sickness medication, insurance cards, a map or atlas, and of course, plastic sacks, towels and extra sets of clothes in case of car sickness or accidents.

2. Have your kids pack their own activity bags. Give each of your kids a similarly sized tote bag or backpack and let them fill it with their favorite things. Your kids will appreciate having some control over part of the trip, and it’s one less thing for you to do to get ready. However, if you have younger children, you may want to guide their choices or limit the number of items they can put in the bag – this may not be a good time to pack that tambourine or 50 Matchbox cars!

3. Don’t forget yourself. You don’t need to entertain the kids the entire trip. If you’re a passenger too, bring your own way to escape – like books or magazines. It’s also a great time to get caught up on some tasks like meal planning, paying bills, or updating the family calendar, for example.

Find Fun on the Road

1. Keep them occupied. Many parents rave about books, audiobooks and DVDs – but don’t be afraid to get creative. Kids can stay busy for hours wrapping toys or creating sculptures out of aluminum foil. Pipe cleaners, Post-It notes and other basic craft supplies can hold their attention, too. Bringing a dry erase board (with washable markers, of course) reduces the need to bring sheets and sheets of paper and can be the center of lots of different activities. If you do go the DVD route or have tablets or video games, set limits on screen time, especially if this is the first long trip. Watching a screen in the car can cause headaches or tummy troubles for some kids.

2. Pass the time together with games. Games can involve the whole family and get your kids involved in watching the scenery around them – things like license plate bingo or using highway signs to play the alphabet game. There are always classics like Twenty Questions or Name That Tune. Or, hand over the road atlas to the kids and let them quiz you on states and capitals.

3. Never underestimate the power of snacks. Use snack cups, or use plastic storage bags to pre-portion out your kids’ favorite car-friendly snacks. Throw in some special treats for some tasty surprises.

4. Speaking of surprises…hit the dollar store to find fun items that you can pull out when you feel a meltdown coming. The new sticker sheet or coloring book can provide a distraction. However, don’t give the surprises after your child has started whining or throwing a fit – this tells them that this behavior is rewarded, and they’ll start back up later when they want a new surprise.

5. Get musical. Younger kids will love singing their favorite songs with the family. But if you can’t stomach the thought of 30 miles of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” or even the latest Disney theme song they love, put together your own fun, kid-safe playlist ahead of the trip that will keep everyone in the family happy. Or if they’re set on listening to their own music, consider headphones – just look for a set that has limits on how loud your kid can crank it up.

Put Your Focus on the Kids

1. Let the kids have a say. Giving kids the chance to have a little bit of control can help keep crankiness at bay. Let them pick their snack, which radio station you’ll listen to or where you’ll eat. When kids can make some of their own choices, they’re less likely to engage you in a power struggle.

2. Don’t forget the best way to keep kids happy on a long journey. Set aside time each day for some one-on-one attention for each of your children. If your vehicle allows, sit next to them for a stretch of the trip and read books or do puzzles. Find time at the hotel or after a lunch break. When kids get consistent positive attention, they are less likely to act out in negative ways, like hitting their brother or tossing their water bottle out the window.

Take a deep breath and enjoy your journey, whether it’s a short trip to see family or crossing states for days.

About Amy

Before Amy began her Positive Parenting Solutions journey, she was a trainer and senior manager for Fortune 500 companies.

When she found herself in the throes of parenting toddlers – complete with all of the yelling and temper tantrums you can imagine – Amy decided there MUST be a better way.

Her humble, but desperate realization ignited a lifelong fire to solve these power struggles in her home once and for all. After years of researching Adlerian Psychology and Positive Discipline, Amy put the knowledge into practice with her own family.

Astounded by the transformation she experienced with her two boys, Amy knew she had to share these methods with other parents. She never wanted another parent to feel as hopeless and desperate as she did in those early years which is why she created the Positive Parenting Solutions Course.

Amy’s experience as a corporate trainer paired with her positive parenting research and Positive Discipline certification, make her a trusted voice in parenting circles.

Not only is Amy a trusted teacher by over 75,000 families worldwide, but she is a valued contributor on many media outlets. Amy is a regular parenting contributor on the Today Show, has authored two best-selling books and has written and appeared on a plethora of other media outlets.

The post Actually enjoy your next family road trip with these simple tips appeared first on Active Family Magazine.

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By Rachel Macy Stafford

Just because summer is here doesn’t mean life’s demands and daily stressors magically disappear. Digital distraction is more than willing to ruin your family picnic. Perfection is ready to sabotage your refreshing dip in the pool. Pressure is ready to pounce from the bleachers of the ball field, and criticism is prepared to blast lane four at the swim meet. Hurry and impatience are fiercely determined to spoil a day at the beach or amusement park. As you know, distraction, perfection, and social pressures don’t take a summer vacation. They manage to weasel their way into our daily lives no matter what season it is. But it doesn’t have to be this way. How does a Live More/Love More Summer sound to you? Let’s use these precious summer months to get back to what matters most. Here’s how I do it (and by the way, this approach works year-round) … 

As my family makes our final preparations for an upcoming move out-of-state, I’ve been forced to think about what home means to me. I’ve always believed home is a feeling, not a place. But more specifically, home is the feeling of peace and completeness I feel when I am surrounded by the people I love. But recently, my definition of home has expanded.

Home is also living Hands Free.

What began as small, daily intentions to let go of distraction, societal pressure, and perfection has become a necessary way of life. Like water, air, and food, I need time to connect to what matters in some form or fashion each day—time to laugh, listen, and love are daily requirements for me.

Smelling my daughter’s freshly washed hair … feeling sunshine on my face as I wait for swim practice to conclude … jotting writing ideas in a notebook … talking to my husband when the house is quiet at night … fierce hugs before we go our separate ways … my Hands Free moments are home to me now.

But I must be realistic. As much as I would love all moments in life to be calm, present, safe, and undistracted, it is simply not possible. We live in a fast-paced world saturated with duties, deadlines, and devices. In a world inundated with distractions, it is easy to get far from home. Summertime is no exception.

Yet with almost four years experience living Hands Free, I am able to detect when I am getting too far from home. No longer am I willing to push and pressure and yes my way through life to the point I lose sight of everything that matters most.

Here are some of the difficult truths I say to myself when I am getting too far from home. These “red flags” help me realize when I need to say no, re-establish my boundaries, or reassess what matters and what doesn’t.

My distraction radar says:

“You are trying to do too much at once.”
“You are staying up too late.”
“You haven’t sat down all day.”
“You are eating at the kitchen counter.”
“Your heart is racing.”
“You are complaining more than you are being positive.”
“You are easily frustrated.”
“You are bullying yourself.”
“You are overreacting to something that has little significance in the grand scheme of things.”
“You are wearing a scowl.”

When I hear these honest admissions in my head, I don’t ignore them like I used to. Nor do I make excuses or get defensive. Instead, I do one of the following actions to bring myself back home:

  • I lower the bar. I remind myself nothing has to be perfect, just “good enough for today.”
  • I turn away from the outside/online world and turn toward my inner circle of friends and family.
  • I take a short walk. Even ten minutes of fresh air and time for reflection helps me feel rejuvenated and less overwhelmed.
  • I silence my inner critic with three powerful words: “Only Love Today.”
  • I resist the urge to push myself beyond my limits and make a reasonable plan for getting one item accomplished at a time.
  • I throw on a hat and stop fussing over my appearance.
  • I treat myself with kindness and compassion like I would a friend who is going through a hard time and doing her best.
  • I say, “I cannot worry about that right now,” and stop obsessing over things I cannot control.
  • I remind myself that although things might not be going according to “my plan,” something better might evolve if I just let go.
  • I add a ten-minute cushion to avoid being rushed and agitated if I need to be somewhere at a certain time.
  • I close my eyes and recite a prayer asking to be awake to the glimmers of goodness within my day.

Whenever my distraction radar goes off, I try to do one of those strategies to bring myself back home. These actions help me protect what is most important in my life. They help me be the human being and parent I want to be. They remind me that each moment holds a chance to start over even when I fail miserably. They keep me moving forward on my journey to live Hands Free.

My friends, we cannot control all the circumstances of our life, but we can control some. When faced with feelings of overwhelm, take a moment to evaluate: Is everything I’m trying to do today necessary? Is there somewhere I can lower the bar? Is the feeling of home in here somewhere? And finally, ask yourself: when I look back in September is this how I want to remember spending my summertime?

Each day make it a priority to do something that brings you peace, fulfillment, and meaningful connection—even if it is only for a few minutes. This way, you’ll never get so far from home that you can’t get back to what matters most.

The post A Live More/Love More Summer: Getting Back to What Matters Most appeared first on Active Family Magazine.

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By Amy McCready

Summer’s almost here! But before you start to worry about childcare arrangements, lazy teenagers or the endless rounds of video games, take heart. With a little preparation, there’s no need to be caught off guard as you navigate schedules and ward off the “I’m bored’s!” Start here, and settle in for a fun, relaxing—and only slightly crazy—summer.

Pencil it in. Don’t wait until the bus has quit coming to finalize your plans. Grab your calendar now, and mark off vacations, camps, swim lessons and more—not to mention Grandma’s Alaskan cruise or the babysitter’s knee surgery. If you can, keep whole days open to give kids plenty of free time. You can even schedule things like backyard campouts, beach days (with a sandbox and kiddie pool if you’re inland) and lemonade stands—taking time off of work if need be—so your kids will have lots of fun to remember when it’s time for school again in the fall.

Keep up the good work. Sure, every kid needs to rest his brain for a bit. But if a child’s newly developed skills don’t get used regularly, they could be lost before the new school year begins. Enroll in a library reading program, pick up some fun workbooks or head out on a few educational outings to museums, zoos or historic sites to expand your child’s world while helping them learn. If your child struggles with academics, now might also be a great time to look into summer programs or hire a tutor to help him catch up.

Think outside the sandbox. Let’s face it: a kid can only build so many Lego models or sandcastles before she’s ready for a change. But there’s no need to listen to a chorus of, “I’m bored!” more than once. Brainstorm a list of indoor and outdoor activities—look to the Internet, friends and your kids’ own ideas for inspiration—and turn to it instead of the TV. Or put together a, “rainy day box” filled with things like craft supplies, puzzles, puppets and games that can only come out in wet weather. Keep in mind that it’s not your job (or the TV’s) to entertain your children all day long and that when given the chance, your kids will develop resourcefulness and creativity as they overcome their boredom.

Set it in stone. With your kids at home all day, there’s one thing you can count on: more messes! And you should also be able to count on a little more help. Create a Summer Contract with your child, and ensure that some things—like household responsibilities, bedtimes and media time—are non-negotiable. With your child’s input, write down a list of family contributions she can make every day or week: for instance, making her bed, emptying the dishwasher, walking the dog and weeding the garden. Make sure it’s clear she won’t be able to access her privileges, like her one hour of media time, until her jobs are completed. (Of course, if she goes over her media limit, she’ll lose her media privileges the next day.) And while later bedtimes are okay, keep them constant so you’re not negotiating every night, and they get the sleep they need. Sign the contract along with your child, and stick to it.

With these strategies, you can get ready for an unforgettable summer—one that everyone will love!

The post Get Set for Summer! Your guide to the season’s best survival strategies for parents appeared first on Active Family Magazine.

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By Jamee Tenzer

After a few years of child rearing slumber it is easy to wake up, sleepily look around and wonder “What the %!@ happened to me?

I think I had some talent right?  I could dance.  Wait, no. I could sing.  How come I can’t remember one song besides The Wheels on the Bus?  Or maybe I was the studious one – straight A’s and Pre-Law?  Wait a minute – I started that novel. Where is that again?

Where am I again?”

Motherhood can be like being immersed in a temporary land of joy-filled, diaper-laden, hugs and kisses, 24-7, marshmallow dreamy, never enough sleepy, where did my brain go haze where you are required to be of service to tiny people for whom you are the center of their universe.  (So you’ve got that going for you.)

And at some point we all awake from the haze.  In fact, we wake up many times as our children grow.  We discover new levels of consciousness as our children are able to sleep through the night, spend an entire day at school, stay home alone and eventually leave for summer camp or college.

With each milestone in their lives, we experience a new level of opportunity to recreate or reclaim ourselves.

And yes, sometimes there is regret.  How did we let that important part of ourselves go?  Why did we let go of our commitment to our health or physical fitness?  What were we thinking when we stopped going to school or quit our job?  Why didn’t we pursue our passions?

But beyond that regret is opportunity.

Real opportunity to reclaim yourself in the now.  You have a world of experiences to draw upon now that your pre-motherhood self never imagined.  And that pre-mommy you still exists.  She is just waiting for an invitation to join your party.  Imagine the possibilities when you put all that new experience to work on recreating you in the now.  Endless.

Coach Me Quick tips for Inviting Your Pre-Mommy YOU to the Party:

1. Take a look inside your own memory.

If someone were to meet the pre-mommy you – how would they describe you? Which of those attributes would you like to invite to your current party?  Were you a little more “woo-woo?”  Did you stay up late?  Did you practice yoga, run in marathons or sky dive?  You won’t want to invite all of your pre-mommy self to this party and you don’t have to.  After all, it’s your guest list and you get to be the bouncer too.

2. Take a look around at the people who are in your life right now.

Were any of them there to witness the pre-mommy you?  If so, interview them.  What do they remember that doesn’t seem to be present now?  Maybe you were more flexible?  Maybe you were quicker to anger?  Maybe you made good choices or were there more bad choices?  Again, pick and choose.  Is there anything that you would like to invite to the party?

3. What were your talents? (Hint: they are still your talents even if you are not utilizing them.)

If you played an instrument or loved to dance, how can you bring some of that to your party?

4. Share your pre-mommy self with your children.

Children love to hear about who their parents were before they had children.They will be suitably awed by your backpacking trip to Europe and the time you stayed up all night preparing for that important job interview.  You may not want to share your drunken walks home from the local bar in college or the stories of the frogs you kissed before finding your prince, but there is still plenty to share without “over-sharing.”

Your party is going to be the shindig of a lifetime, let’s get started!

The post Who Are You Again? No Need to Lose Yourself Just Because You Are a Mom! appeared first on Active Family Magazine.

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