As the end of the school year approaches, it is time to think about presents for teachers, a token of appreciation for working all year with our kids. I had the opportunity to volunteer quite a bit in my kids' elementary school this year, and it made me see just how amazing and patient their teachers are on a daily basis. Here are some ideas for acknowledging their efforts:
Yesterday I spent three hours after school doing nothing but driving. Did I go on a road trip? Not unless you count Severna Park to Cape St. Claire, and back and forth again three more times, a road trip. I have two children and between them they take soccer, private guitar lessons, performance guitar lessons, four dance classes, musical theater, cub scouts, daisy scouts, archery, and before-school chess and orchestra strings. I am a full-time chauffeur nearly every day and nonstop on the weekends. We are, without a doubt, over-scheduled. My son asked me if he could start martial arts. I said, "Is there an eighth or ninth day I don't know about?"
The kids love it. They adore their activities, enjoy the time with friends and are proud of the skill improvement they are achieving. But I've learned something important. We have to make room for down time. I have started making sure that we don't take part in anything immediately after school. They need a break. They want a snack. They run outside and check in on friends. They do their homework. The day is already crazy enough, but without this period of time where they can choose to chill out, or go climb a tree, I fear that they would burn out from everything very quickly.
Use the down time to find out about your kids' days. Talk to them, learn the gossip and make sure they are still excited about all the activities in which they continue to participate. Even if you have to schedule it, the down time can be just as necessary as the activities.
The events at the Boston Marathon earlier this week were horrific and terrifying. The images on the TV screen were hard to watch and even more difficult to avoid as the pictures were everywhere. So, how do we handle this information in regards to our kids?
First, I have tried to keep the TV news off as much as possible when they are around. I have an 8-year-old and a 5-year-old. The younger one doesn't need to deal with the news at all, and seems relatively oblivious to the story. I want to keep it that way. But the older one has friends who have brought it up in school. It is particularly worrisome to him because my husband and I run marathons and he is interested in running, too. I could see his eyes grow into saucers as a boy brought it up at soccer practice.
I decided to have a casual chat with him after school. I simply asked if he had heard anything about it that day at school. He had. I asked if he had questions. He wanted to know who did it and why. It's so hard when we don't know the answers ourselves.
The best thing I could think to do was to explain that sometimes bad things happen, but that we must live life without being afraid. I focused more on the fact that most people are good and that there were so many heroes there to help. Isn't it great that communities come together to help each other? The police and firefighters were there to make things better. All of this seemed to give him more confidence in the situation. He seems okay and wanted to know what we can do to help.
He also knows something that I know. You don't mess with runners. They will keep running no matter what. Nobody will hold them back. He and I are both excited to continue our training for upcoming races.
The weather is nice, the flowers are blooming and your kids, and you, can't stop sneezing. Spring allergies are strong this year and sometimes it's hard to find relief. In the pharmacies and grocery stores, the allergy medicine shelves are almost bare. The doctors are overbooked with appointments. Aside from taking medicine, here are some helpful tips to lessen your symptoms and, hopefully, feel better.
1) Keep windows and vents closed in your car and house whenever possible. If you can see those thick layers of pollen on the car and outdoor surfaces, you will be breathing that in!
2) Enjoy more outside time AFTER it rains. The rain washes away some of that pollen and you can breathe a little easier.
3) Use simple saline spray. It can help keep your nasal passages clear.
4) When you are playing outside, avoid areas with densely packed trees or flowers.
5) Eat foods high in antioxidants and Omega 3s, like nuts and salmon, which have anti-inflammatory components. Foods like apples and red grapes also have antihistamine properties that can help.
Seasonal allergies can be painful and frustrating. Try a combination of ideas to help with the uncomfortable symptoms.