March 31, 2016
Top 5 Spring Activities for Kids of Every Age
Spring is here and that means the flowers are blooming, the air is fresh, and you’ve switched from hot to iced coffee. Here are our top five favorite activities to do with your kids this spring, organized by age.
3 and Under
Spring is often accompanied by many rainy days. Use those days for some fun spring crafts with your kids indoors. We love this Footprint Flower Pot idea from Crafty Morning!
Make play dough! If your kids are a little too advanced for the craft above, but you still need to entertain them on a rainy day, this is a perfect baking and crafting combo. Let them help you bake the play dough, and they’ll love playing with it even more. Get creative with this homemade play dough recipe from I Heart Nap Time.
7- 10 Years
Pick and press flowers. Take the beauty of nature home with you. Let your kids have fun picking flowers outside, and then go home to press them. Check out this guide to pressing flowers from 5 Minutes for Mom.
10 and Up
Explore new passions. Photography is a fun way for your kids to experience the outdoors and get artsy at the same time. Phones double as great cameras these days, or you can go old-school and pick up a vintage film camera from a consignment shop. Either way, hand over the reins and let them have fun.
Have a picnic. When the sun does come out, get outside and soak it in! Grab a blanket and some snacks, and enjoy the beautiful spring weather. Perfect for babies and older children alike. If your kids are school aged or older you may want to bring a ball or frisbee for them to enjoy too.
October 22, 2015
The Two Most Important Things I Learned About Family Management as a Nanny
Written by: Flayk Beta Tester
As a nanny of two kids it’s my responsibility to drop off and pick up Noah and Ethan for all of their scheduled activities. Their parents make the plans and then rely on me to make sure they make it to music class, swim practice, speech therapy, and playdates. Once in awhile, Noah’s swim practice collides with a playdate their mom has set for Ethan and the mom and I have to coordinate to make sure we’ve got it covered. I’ve been with this family for two years and these are the top two do’s and don’ts I would recommend to keep your family organization on point.
# 1: Do communicate daily to stay on top of changes in plans and new activities
If you set a schedule at the beginning of the week and assume it will stick, you face the risk of life getting in the way. Let’s face it, we’ve all had to back out on commitments if something more pressing comes up. When something on the schedule changes it benefits everyone to communicate this as early as possible. Now we use Flayk to let the family know if someone can no longer follow through with a task. Ethan’s mom might plan to pick him up from school, but if a work meeting runs late she will flayk the task to me to let me know right away and find out if I can fill in for her.
Last week I committed to going grocery shopping for the family, only to realize that with a few extra playdates I only had about 15 minutes without the kids every day, certainly not enough to check off all the items on the list. Since I was able to flayk the task early Friday morning, they knew right away and the dad could stop by the store on his way home from work. So much easier than frantically texting all of them. Plus, if I had waited until they got home on Friday to tell them I didn’t have a chance to go grocery shopping, they would have had to go out again after an already long week.
# 2: Don’t rely on sticky notes to do the job
The kids’ mom and I laugh about this now, but it wasn’t funny at the time. In the morning the two of us agreed that I would bring Noah to the park for a playdate from 2-4 and she would pick up Ethan from swim practice, which also ended at 4. I took the kids to the library before she left for work and since we usually came home for lunch she left a note on the counter telling me she forgot about a parent-teacher conference that afternoon and asking if I could actually pick Ethan up from swim practice ― this was back before we all had Flayk. Well, the kids and I ended up having a picnic lunch that day and never came home for lunch, which means I never saw the note. When their mom and I got home at the same time that night we were both shocked to see that Ethan wasn’t with the other. A look of panic rose on each of our faces as we realized no one picked Ethan up from swim practice! Of course, Ethan was fine, but the miscommunication we faced proves that notes on the fridge don’t always do the job. Life isn’t perfect, things come up and you have to be able to rely on flexible solutions.
August 3, 2015
4 Ways to Motivate Your Kids to Help out Around the House
Written by: Flayk Beta Tester
My kids don’t usually need incentives to help out around the house. At 4, 6 and 8 years old they’ve learned that picking up their toys, feeding the dog, and emptying the dishwasher are their responsibilities. Everyone in the house has a job and they typically complete their chores on their own, no nagging required.
I can’t say always because last week Ava had a temper tantrum about cleaning up the Playdough, and Jacob refused to put the dishes away because he was too busy watching the hockey game, which I couldn’t turn off because dad was watching it too. Family management at its finest.
It’s times like these when I wish a magical nanny would fly in on an umbrella. When she doesn’t appear, I turn to these tips for motivating my kids to do their chores
1. Offer something good in return
Promising a reward for good behavior is a surefire way to get your kids moving. If you do “x,” I’ll give you “y” in return. I usually lean towards offering novelties as bonuses, as opposed to activities that are a part of our normal routine. For example, I would present ice cream as a reward, but not reading a book before bed. To me, reading is an important part of my kids’ lives and I wouldn’t want to use activities that encourage learning as bargaining chips.
2. Take away a prized possession
As much as I favor positive reinforcement over punishments, sometimes I simply can’t entice my kids to stay on track with a reward, which is when I suggest presenting a consequence. Perhaps they’ll lose the privilege of dessert, or maybe you can take away the tablet with their favorite games. The consequences don’t have to last forever, or even a day. Depending on their age, your family habits, and the size of the issue at hand, sometimes just an hour of no TV will do.
3. Make it seem like their choice
All you have to do to make this work is frame the proposition the right way: “Either you can pick up the Playdough and go to the park, or you can leave the table a mess and go to your time-out chair. It’s up to you.” Whether it’s a reward or a consequence, put the decision in their hands.
This method is not only empowering for your child, but also gives them a sense of responsibility over whichever action they choose. You know you have outlined the parameters, but they feel like they have the ability to shape their future.
4. Use Flayk
Flayk’s the best tool I’ve found to put all of these tactics into practice (even in the Beta stage). I previously used sticker charts with all my kids but now I’ve adopted Flayk for my 6 and 8-year olds, and my 4-year old can’t wait until she can use it.
I get to assign point values to each chore, and the kids can win more points for bigger jobs, like vacuuming the house. They know that with 50 points they can watch an extra episode of Sofia the First, or they can save up and redeem 100 points to pick out a new book for our library (what can I say, my kids love to read). It’s still up to them to decide if they want to do the chore or not, but they know if they do they’re one step closer to getting a reward.
With Flayk’s incentives, the odds are high that the kids will do their job, while at the same time I’ve encouraged independence and decision-making!