The Power of Unplugging at Sleepaway Camp

Written by Lauren Kasnett, Co-Founder + Summer 365 Counselor
Give me a U
Give me a N
Give me a P
Give me a L
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Give me a G
Yea, you know what we’re talking about. UNPLUG! It’s a simple and beautiful (and perhaps elusive) concept that is becoming a big fixture of conversation for us lately. One of the most commonly asked questions and discussions we engage parents in about sleepaway camp is – what is the electronics policy? And of course it is. In a world where we are totally and pretty much unavoidably immersed in technology, parents want to know what happens during summertime at camp.
In our everyday lives, for both parents and kids alike, there are a whole lotta screens and a whole lotta hours logged in front of them. Between cell phones, computers, TV, video games, and apps we are constantly connected and forever liking / commenting / scrolling / refreshing (and we bet sometimes you even think you feel your phone buzzing even when it’s not… yes this has a name it’s called Phantom Vibration Syndrome). And this is a not an anti-technology PSA. In fact, we love technology (wait for it… here is our plug) and hope you enjoy our website, blog, and social media accounts! However, as wonderful as technology is we know our kids are spending too much time connected to their screens and not enough time connecting to real people in real life. There is an increasing amount of research showing that technology is affecting our biological capacity to connect with other people (Barbara L. Frederickson, a professor of psychology at UNC, wrote a great op/ed piece in the NYT “Your Phone vs Your Heart”).
So this takes us back to that question what is the electronics policy at camp? And we are over-the-moon, elated, jubilant, and ear-to-ear when we tell our clients that by and large the majority of sleepaway camps are electronic free zones. We can almost always hear a smile over the phone in the event that a parent doesn’t give a small cheer or a “that’s awesome!” While every camp has their own specific policy (some do not allow campers to bring anything with screens, others just prohibit wifi enabled devices, some only allow music on an mp3 player, and so on) there is a common ethos and philosophy shared by camp directors and leaders – camp is a time to unplug which provides the opportunity for SO MUCH MORE. It is a time to connect, communicate, collaborate, engage, and be outdoors and have fun! Children will write letters home (yes ones actually sent via snail mail) and sit for a meal without a phone or iPad in hand and have conversations. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?!
So there will be none of this…
and lots of this…
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We wanted to share this absolutely fantastic, insightful, and powerful TED Talk from camp industry leader, Steve Baskin. He so poignantly articulates the conundrum we face with modern technology when it comes to our kids, and he explores the most magical place where kids can unplug and create genuine connections and friendships and learn critical interpersonal skills. It’s a place where both elementary aged kids and teenagers put down their phones, log off the computer, turn off the game system AND thank their parents for it. We bet you can guess where this place is, eh?!!? This is a must watch (especially for any parents who have friends that aren’t so sure about sending their child away to camp or if you have spouse that needs some convincing). Share this video and spread the summer camp love!
Unplugging Our Kids: Steve Baskin at TEDxSanAntonio

Unplugging Our Kids: Steve Baskin at TEDxSanAntonio

Make sure to check out Summer 365‘s website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and for more great camp advice and information!

Battle Winter Workplace Depression

Written by Nutritional Therapist, Naomi Mead.

Winter Workplace Depression – How do I Battle & Overcome

We all have moments of workplace frustration, but at this time of year when travelling to and from the office in the dark and cold, this feeling of frustration can turn to something deeper. With the possibility of sunshine and summer holidays seemingly light years away, the 9-5 (or 7-7!) routine can feel particularly bleak.
If jetting off for some winter sun is not an option, what can be done to boost your mood and motivate yourself through the working week? Rather than becoming resigned to endless months of gloom (with the continual countdown to Friday afternoon), these feel-good approaches to a happier winter can help to get you back on track.
Mood Foods
More and more evidence is coming to light to show how what you eat can impact on how you feel. The following feel-good foods make great office snacks, so have them close at hand for that 4pm dip:
Brazil nuts- just 3 of these a day provides your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of selenium. Studies have shown increased depression and anxiety in individuals who have low levels of selenium.
Winter berries – bursting with mood-boosting antioxidants and phytonutrients. They are also rich in vitamin C, which our bodies have a greater demand for during periods of stress.
Dark chocolate (yes!) – stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that bring on feelings of pleasure. It is also rich in magnesium which has a calming effect in the body.
Bananas- their combination of vitamins B6, A, C, tryptophan and potassium give them the ultimate mood-lifting power.
Boost the Bs!
Vitamins B6, B12 and folate are all essential for the production of serotonin- the “feel good” hormone. They also lower homocysteine- an amino acid that has been linked with heart disease and depression.
B vitamins are depleted in the body by both stress and alcohol, so to ensure you boost your B vitamins this winter you should maintain a good intake of the following B-rich foods: green leafy vegetables, salmon, chicken, avocado, nuts & pulses. During particularly stressful times, a B vitamin supplement may also be recommended.
Sunny D
Researchers are now discovering that vitamin D may play a very important role in mental health and depression.
Studies have shown an association between low vitamin D levels and various mood disorders including depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). During the winter it can be difficult to get enough vitamin D through diet, so you may consider a supplement in the D3 form.
Get Moving
It can be hard enough to pack your gym bag let alone get to the gym when you’re feeling down, but regular exercise really is the ultimate mood booster. Exercise is a natural stimulator of many important “feel good” hormones, including serotonin and dopamine. Studies have shown exercise to be equally effective as anti-depressants in improving mood in individuals
So if you find yourself battling with the office doldrums this winter, make these simple yet savvy changes and get that spring back into your step.

Naomi Mead is a Nutritional Therapist for Healthspan’s Nutrition Expert and a contributor to HuffingtonPost. The role of nutrition in health is very important to Naomi as well as the therapeutic power of good food. Her main area’s of expertise are weight management, female health, sports nutrition and digestive disorders.


Written by Role Mommy Contributor, Eric Ruhalter

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What’s your kid going to be for Halloween this year? I’m not saying. Because it’s going to change at least 4 more times before it’s final. So I’m just ignoring them for another week. Then they have to TRULY commit, I make them swear with a spit handshake, to a costume that they agree to sport for this annum’s Halloween festivities.
And I’ll make it! With my own two hands, I’ll make that costume. Whatever it is they want to be. And I’ll make it out of things I find around the house. And duct tape. Lots and lots of duct tape.
Last year my daughter wanted to be Barbie. She wanted to look juuuust like the doll she had. A pristine, beautiful, perfectly appointed, blonde Barbie with high cheek bones and sparkly eyes. So I duct taped the doll to her face. Barbie! Wassup!?
My son? He wanted to be a pencil. That was easy. Hold pencil touching nose and forehead. Duct tape. BAM! Pencil!
This year my oldest son is 14. He kind of knows my game. (Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 14 times shame on me.) He told me he didn’t want me to bother investing my valuable time in any costume fabrication for him. He just wants to wear one of those full body stockings – The suit that covers you head to toe in one solid color. You can buy them online for 24.99. But I did it at home for just 3 rolls of duct tape. BOOYEAH!!
Yeah. Halloween’s a whoppin’ fun time. Come visit us. We’ve got top shelf candy! Though I may throw some old batteries in your bag too. I don’t know how else to get rid of them! But do stop by! Leaky candy bags and torn costumes repaired while you wait. Duct tape!*
(*Please note: No duct tape was actually applied to any children. This fictitious account is low-brow allegory intended to depict some of the inherent mild frustrations affiliated with the annual pagan ritual of Halloween.)
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Eric Ruhalter lives in Morristown, NJ with his wife and 3 kids. Eric is the author of the parenting humor book: “Phrazzlers: Funny New Words to Describe the Wild World of Parenting.” See funny videos and slideshows at

Mid-Career Access Road

Written by Role Mommy contributor, Debra Etelson.

A recent cover article of the New York Times magazine “Mid-Career Time Out” by Judith Warner discussed the early 2000’s trend of highly educated women who left prestigious and lucrative careers in order to raise their families. Ten years later, the author discusses the challenges many of these women have faced: difficulty in work re-entry, stress on marital relationships from shifting balance of power and expectations, raising a family on a single, often reduced income due to the recession, and a change of identity and self-worth.
The article interested me because I was a full-time working mother who wanted to work less, especially after the birth my second child. Unable to reduce my hours because that would mean forfeiting our health insurance, I remained a “full-time conflicted working mother.”
My love for children had influenced my decision to become a pediatrician, and I was spending more time with my patients than with my own kids. Due to my hours, I was rarely there for pick-up or drop-off during Sam’s first year of pre-school. He was the youngest student in the school’s history to take a bus to school and back home to our babysitter. Knowing that thousands of women shared my experience didn’t make it any less painful for me. I was sad that I was missing so much of this magical time in their lives. We made a family decision that after my third child, we would bite the bullet and I cut my work week to 3 days.
Nine months into this improved schedule (which made a huge difference in my quality of life), we found ourselves in the pediatric ICU with Leo in diabetic ketoacidosis. Type 1 Diabetes in an infant requires a degree of hypervigilance that is emotionally and physically exhausting. Oct 1 2007 was my last day of work until I returned a few months ago. Relating it to the above mentioned article, I would call my experience a “Mid-Career Access Road” replete with potholes, construction zones, and broken traffic lights. For a while, it seemed liked more of an off-ramp, and I did not know when or if I could return to work.
Here is a list of experiences on the Access Road:
1. Endocrinology sabbatical (still doing it)
2. Gluten-free shopper and baker (still doing it)
3. School lunch lady volunteer (cleaning tables and buttering sandwiches which my kids can’t eat-but I got to see them socialize during lunch)
4. Soccer mom
5. Elementary school art appreciation/history teacher (a program run by parent volunteers -don’t worry-we had training sessions to make up for my lack of art history knowledge)
6. Fundraiser (not too shabby, our family’s team has raised over $150,000 for JDRF)
7. Lab courier (my least glamorous role, I brought a stool sample of my friend’s child to the hospital lab so she didn’t have to miss work)
8. Lobbyist (see MDmommy goes to Washington
9. Class mom
10. Board Member (for JDRF and my children’s camp)
11. Mommy blogger
The silver lining is that I was able to be more present in my children’s lives than I initially thought I would. I am grateful for this. Make no mistake about it, I would have given up all these experiences in a heartbeat if it meant my children wouldn’t have to live with their health conditions. I have learned over time that we lack control over when and which challenges confront us. We do control how we react and what we do when they occur.
Not all women have control over their decision to opt-out of the work force. Certainly, no one can foresee all the sequelae of their decisions.
I am merging from the access road back onto the highway. Although the roadwork has followed me, I have become a better navigator. For all the times I may have asked “WHY” or said “ENOUGH”, the obstacle-ridden access road has prepared me for re-entry into my pediatrics career.

IMG_1152c rop.JPG Debra Etelson is a practicing pediatrician who lives in New Rochelle, New York with her husband and three sons, ages 7, 10, and 12. In her blog , she shares her experiences of raising and advocating for her own children who have chronic medical conditions.

Croods Sneak Peak: Behind the Scenes at Dreamworks Animation Studios

West coast correspondent, Kristin Flannery gives us a sneak peak at the new Dreamworks Animated film “Croods”
Last month, Rolemommy was invited to a parenting blogger summit and we were given an exclusive tour of DreamWorks Animation in Glendale, California, as well as presentations that detailed the many behind the scenes secrets that went into creating “The Croods,” which will be released in theaters on March 22.
During the summit day, they covered so many topics from the original idea, the first script, and how it “evolved” (sorry, had to say it since it’s a caveman movie), the storyboarding, character movement and voices, the 3D process, and the creation of the creatures and lands the Croods live in.
We were also pleasantly surprised by a guest appearance from DreamWorks Animation’s CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg!
As we get ready for the nationwide premiere of Croods, Rolemommy kicks off our coverage by taking you through the story pitch presentations….
The producers Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco with their story artist Steve MacLeod took us through a typical storyboard meeting and presentation.
Chris explained that he and Kirk started out by writing a script like you would do for any movie. Then up on the wall we saw what goes into the next step, which are storyboards mocked up so they can visually seen the scene before it goes to the artists. If you have ever wondered what it looks like it is exactly like a scene from an ad agency that you see in the movies with each scene in individual cubes, almost like a comic book.
Chris explained that story boards are really critical to the animation process because the story boards enable the team to develop the story and script as a fluid process. Through storyboarding, animators can change the dialogue, the setup, they can add elements to the scene and they can write dialogue to move the story along. Chris believes that this is where the rubber meets the road in animation as far as he is concerned is the story process.
Steve MacLeod was a guest story artist actually storyboarded a great deal on this movie. He began as a story trainee and worked on this film for five years when he was right out of college. Can you imagine beginning something when your child is born and then having them at the premiere? Steve’s daughter is in kindergarten now and old enough to see the movie! As Chris Sanders pointed out “That’s the shocking truth of how long it takes to make these. If you have a child at the beginning, they will be going to the premiere.”
Story board artists take the original script, in this case, “The Croods” written by Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sander, work on the sequence (those squares I mentioned before) then, we’d come into a room, which happened to be the room we were in and he would do this pitch. It would go through the pipeline and they get a lot of notes which are any ideas how to make it better. Steve said “It’s kind of a back and forth. I’ll get the script, I’ll read through it, and then we’ll do what they call a launch, and that’s where the directors will tell me all the little specifics or details that they want to include in the script, anything they don’t want to take out, what things are flexible. We’ll start storyboarding, and then we’ll do an even rougher drawing, if you can imagine. After that, I’ll pitch a rough, they’ll give me notes, we’ll see how close we are, and we’ll do a couple more times. It’s a vicious cycle until finally we feel like it’s really close, we’ll send it to editorial who starts putting all the dialogue and some temp music and scratch dialogue. It won’t be the celebrities quite yet.”
Steve didn’t just work on one character, “Well, it’s hugely collaborative. So, it actually happened simultaneously. Some people are developing the look of the characters, and then we’ll try to use their drawing designs and incorporate them into the drawings.”
What you will notice about the film is that the main character, Eep, (voiced by Emma Stone) is not a classic prototype but a girl a little bit chubby, big boned which was a conscious decision. Steve clarified, “Well, you know, we got these designers Carter Goodrich, Shane Prigmore and Shannon Tindle. They were looking at all these primitive cave paintings. And they tended to have certain shapes. They had to fit with the story, so we really wanted like cavemen. That extended to the voice actors, as well. We wanted to make sure the voices inhabited that kind of body type, and that body type belonged in this kind of a world. It’s a pretty rugged world, so we wanted characters that looked about as resilient and real as we could.” Kirk added ” We also always wanted Eep to be athletic and make you feel like she actually could do everything she’s doing, which usually those princesses can’t do. So, we always were looking at more like beach volleyball players and downhill skiers and just people that were athletic and for the whole family because we wanted it to feel real that they could actually do what we’re making them do.”
When the voice actors are cast this could change some of the characteristics of the animation. Even though they have been storyboarding a character a certain way once they get the actor in the recording booth the have a video camera recording them from two different angles. Chris explains, “A lot of the time, we’ll grab a take that they did, and we’ll take the video as well as the voice, and we’ll give that to the animator because there might be something kind of special that the actor did during that take. Emma Stone (Eep), I think we pulled more video on than any of the other actors because she is so animated. She could change expression in one frame of film. So, she’d be like happy and she’d suddenly have this cartoony upset face. And when we would go back and play it, it would be like one frame she’s happy, one frame of transition, bam, she’s unhappy. So, the speed at which she could change expressions was extreme.”
The Croods is in theaters March 22nd but you can check out Emma Stone’s animated expression in this trailer….

The Attack of the Scary Flu!!

Written by Role Mommy Contributor, Danielle Feigenbaum

0-1.jpeg The Flu or not the Flu, THAT is the Question

“They say this is the worst flu season EVER!” First of all, who are “they” and second of all, how do “they” know? You can’t turn on the news or have a conversation with someone without the “scary flu” coming up. I know all about it – the flu attacked my house – I think. On Tuesday January 8th, my almost nine year old daughter complained about her throat and that she was tired, so she put herself to bed at 6:30, fully dressed. She slept through the night and woke up Wednesday with 103 fever. I figured it was a quick virus, I was wrong.
When she still had a fever on Thursday and wasn’t really eating, I took her to the doctor. The strep test was negative, ears and lungs were clear so they said it was a virus… all you can do is give fluids and rest. Friday – still high fever, Saturday – still high fever, by Sunday when her fever hit close to 105, I panicked. Her doctor said it sounds like the flu. (Yes- she did have the flu vaccine – the mist, not the shot – but does that matter?) I felt so bad for her, the poor thing, I was giving her Tylenol and Motrin to keep her fever on the low side and keep her more comfortable. It was too late to give Tamiflu (only effective within first 72 hours of symptoms) and there are side effects such as vomiting and aggressive behavior in some patience which made me nervous anyway.
I took her back to the doctor on Tuesday (since her fever was still 102 and it was day # 7 with fever!!) and luckily her lungs were still clear and there wasn’t any secondary infection. That is what can be so frightening, especially with young kids and the elderly. It may not be the “scary flu” itself, but when you have the flu, your immune system is weak so you are susceptible to other infections like pneumonia and other dangerous invaders. Thank goodness she was fever free by Wednesday and finally went back to school on Thursday.
Looking back, my son had a “virus” with 7 days of fever and a terrible cough in mid-December… could it have been the flu? Did my daughter actually have the flu? It does feel like a lot of people are sick, but do they all have the flu? We may never know, but what I do know is that getting the vaccine should lessen your chances, making sure your kids wash their hands a lot and using lots of hand sanitizer can all help you stay well. I am a big fan of Lysol spray and wipes, any suggestions on what you use to stay healthy?
Good luck to everyone and I hope nobody gets attacked by “The Scary Flu!”

Funny Stuff a Mom Has to Deal With

Written by Role Mommy Guest Contributor, Allen Jennifer.
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Roseanne Barr once said, “I know how to do anything – I’m a mom.” And being spit-up on, puked on or peed on is only the beginning of the strangest things we, as mothers, have to deal with on an everyday basis. So much so, I sometimes feel that I could win the Nobel Prize for Ingenuity, if they ever started such an award!
I know I’m not alone in this. Anyone who is a mom knows you never stop being one. From trying to change a diaper using only one hand while holding you baby up with the other to waking up in the middle of the night worrying about your 40-year-old kid, we mothers have all been there and done that. Here are some nuggets that I’ve collected over the years of funny stuff we moms have to deal with.
When my daughter was four, she asked me why I married Dad rather than someone who wasn’t already part of the family. That needed some quick thinking. Then there was the day when I went to the kitchen for 2 minutes to get a glass of water, leaving my daughter in yard with our German Shepherd. I came out to find that my daughter had bitten the dog squarely on his neck and was holding on for dear life. It took some coaxing to make her let go. The poor dog was so confused!
The first thing I did was wash all the fur out of my daughter’s mouth. The next thing I did was ask the child why in God’s name she would want to bite the dog? Her answer was quite simple. She wanted to teach the dog a lesson and show him what it felt like to be bitten. She was sure that once he experienced the unpleasantness of it all, he would tell all his friends and dogs would stop biting. Who could argue with that?
My personal favorite is when my daughter asked me how I knew everything. She was awe-struck after repeated experiences of me being able to fix stuff for her. My answer was that I was only allowed to be her mother because I had passed the Mommy Test with flying colors. This answer made things really clear for her, not only did she realize that mom could fix anything! Oh well, at least that belief lasted for a few years till adolescence.
And if you want to really understand the meaning of multi-tasking, watch a mom go through her daily chores!
Despite all the funny stuff I’ve dealt with, muddled through or just plain given up on, I wouldn’t trade it all for anything in the world. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
About the Author: Hi, this is Allen Jennifer from Livesnet, a site devoted to helping people find the perfect baby gears for their needs, and offer tips on daily problems. I love to write about parenting tips and baby gear reviews. Why not visit our website to see my hot reviews on mamas and papas stroller.

How to Find the Ideal Sport for Your Child

Written by Role Mommy Contributor, Brett Callan.

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Nowadays, it can be difficult to encourage children to explore the outdoors, what with the distractions of television, video games, and the Internet in the home. However, it’s vital that you encourage your children to be active, as it offers a variety of short and long-term benefits. Not only does it allow your children to practice fitness and enjoy a healthy outlet, it can also create habits that extend well into their adult life. With that being said, the next step is to look for a sport or activity that is well suited to your little one. The following are several tips on how to find the right sport that matches with your child:
-Give Them a Taste of Everything: 
For children, variety is an almost essential requirement. Preferences and interests range widely from child to child, and finding the right one can seem like an overwhelming challenge. Therefore, give your child the opportunity to try out as many as sports as possible. This doesn’t have to require much time or money – instead, there are a variety of ways to give your child a taste of what’s available. Whether through playing with parents or other children, this can be a great starting point to determine which sport suits your child. In addition, make sure that you get your children’s opinion when looking for sports. If your child is enthusiastic about a particular activity, then this can be an effective way to nurture an active lifestyle.
-Choose the Right Setting: 
While trying out different activities for your child, try experimenting with different type of settings and places. Does your child prefer playing and bonding with others? Organized sports may be a good match, as they provide kids the opportunity to work in a team, as well as build long-lasting friendships. On the other hand, if your child is more on the shy side, then solo activities such as biking, running or skateboarding may be a better option. Individual sports are a great way to allow them to learn at their own pace, without peer pressure or dependence on others.
In addition, consider the actual environment of the sport, as this can affect the enjoyment of the child. If your child enjoys fresh air, then perhaps hiking in the outdoors or playing baseball or soccer can be ideal. On the other hand, if your child prefers to stay in the water, then try choosing a sport that’s matches with that environment. Whether you choose surfing, water polo or simply swimming in general, there are an endless variety of sports that can work with your child.
-Have Fun: 
With any sport or activity, it’s vital that your child is fully involved in the process. Continuing with a sport that a child is disinterested in, or even dislikes, can create a great deal of negative emotions attributed to the activity. At best, it can seem like a chore; at worst, it can cause unhealthy habits. If he or she doesn’t seem to be having fun or lacks enthusiasm, then it may be time to try another sport. In general, make sure that your child is having fun in whatever activity he or she chooses.
Brett Callan is a writer for Murray Callan Swim Schools, where their Vista swim lessons offer customized support for children throughout San Diego. He loves to enjoy the San Diego weather whenever he can, whether from the beach or at a pool.

Ten Tips to Reduce Workplace Stress

By Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC The Mojo Coach®

Workplace stress contributes to so many health issues including aging, weight gain, illness and disease. Feeling stressed during your workday? Here are a few simple tips to help you stress…less.
1. Learn how to say “no”. When you’re already overextended, taking on additional tasks will only create more stress and anxiety. Stop piling onto your full workload by learning how to say “no.”
2. Make your workspace work for you. Personalize your workspace with things that calm and soothe you. That could mean pictures of loved ones or photos of serene settings, something calming on your desk or even music playing softly around you. You can also download apps with sounds like waterfalls, birds, rain, wind or whichever sounds give you a sense of peace and serenity.
3. Keep things in perspective. Sure you have projects to finish and deadlines to meet but stress is tied to many diseases and is a main reason for many emergency room visits. Is what you’re getting stressed over worth losing your health?
4. De-­‐clutter and organize your workspace. Make the decision to keep, file or toss then organize everything left within in your space so things are easy to find. Clutter creates stress by vying for your attention so de-­‐clutter your space to de-­‐clutter your mind.
5. Improve your productivity. Take note of how you’re scheduling your workday and what you’re spending your time on. For many people, delegating certain times to check email, make phone calls, schedule breaks or work on specific tasks is a great way to get more done with less stress.
6. Be realistic. Go for progress, not perfection because trying to be perfect is a perfect recipe for stress. Of course you want to do a good job but take the pressure off by learning what’s good enough in order to keep your stress in check.
7. Steer clear of “energy vampires.” We all know them. They’re the people who drain you of your time, energy and motivation…if you let them. They also increase your stress. By spending time with those who are positive, uplifting, fun and inspiring you’ll reduce your stress while being encouraged to be, do and have more.
8. Exercise. Burn off some steam by taking regular breaks to move and stretch throughout your day. Exercising before your workday can set the tone for a productive, energetic day while exercising after your workday can help reduce your stress before you come home. No matter when you exercise, working out regularly is a great stress reducer, encourages more restful sleep, reduces your risk for stress related conditions and disease in addition to having so many other physical, mental and emotional benefits.
9. Take an objective look at your job/career. Stress is often a result of dissatisfaction and a lack of joy. Are you enjoying your work? Does it bring you satisfaction and fulfillment or is it only a means to a paycheck? Maybe it’s time to change your responsibilities, take on a new challenge or possibly a new career. Work doesn’t feel like work when you’re doing something you love so take a look to see how you’re feeling about how you spend your day.
10. Have more fun. Being responsible doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Lighten up and laugh more by being mindful of who and what you’re allowing into your life. Negative people, programs and information increase anxiety, stress and fear while positive influences strengthen your immune system and make life more enjoyable. Be strict about the messages you allow yourself to see, hear and absorb.
Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC The Mojo Coach®, founder of is a leading health, fitness, wellness, lifestyle, self-­‐improvement expert and THE secret behind some of the healthiest, most dynamic, energetic and successful people today. Sign up for your “10 FREE Strategies to Get You Lean, Sleek and Sculpted”! (These are complete programs and videos) and take the FREE “Mojo Lifestyle Assessment” to see how you score.

Keeping Kids Occupied with Mind Games

Child expert Wendy Toone offers fun ways to expand your child’s mind during the dog days of summer.

Thumbnail image for iStock_000009022880XSmall.jpgWe may be knee deep in those lazy, hazy days of summer, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t keep our kids active with challenging games and activities that will keep their minds buzzing. In fact, here are some great rainy day and car ride activities that will challenge your kids to think on their feet!
1. Mind games can keep boredom away as well as physical activity. Even small children can follow an adjusted version of “I Spy.” Just be sure that the clues are age appropriate and not too tricky. Look for easy to spot shapes, bright colors, or unique characteristics (animals, common objects such as pencils, etc.). Remember to let them give you the clues, too, to really work their brains. Finding an object is different than coming up with a clue for an object.
2. Once your child is a little older, around 4 years or so, theme games can be played. A favorite (still) of my kids is the animal game. “I Spy”-like clues can be given, but your child must rely on their memory and knowledge of animals instead of looking for pictures or representations of them. These types of games are great for long car rides, and you can make them more challenging, as your children get older. Go in order through the alphabet…”I have a long nose and tongue” = Aardvark (or anteater, both will work in this case); “I’m totally white and live in the cold” = Beluga whale. Get it?
3. READ, READ, READ. Reading to your child, no matter how young, increases their vocabulary, imagination, and overall cognitive abilities. Hearing language creates synapses – the connection of brain cells. Most of us parents think that reading at bedtime is sufficient. And while bedtime stories create a wonderful bonding time between parent and child, so can reading a story with your child snuggled on your lap in a waiting room. Granted, you can’t be expected to tote a small library around with you at all times. But if you know your day will include a little waiting time, why not pop your child’s favorite book in the day bag. Or maybe a story you haven’t yet read to them? Or take advantage of digital children’s books that can be downloaded to your cell phone or iPod? These digital books can do double duty, as oftentimes they are books that are enhanced with narration (sometimes even music and sound effects are added), so your little one can hear the book as they see the words on your phone or iPod screen.
So the next time you find yourself exasperated trying to tame the savage beast that is a toddler with nothing to do, try a few of these tips. Not all of them will work at all times or in every situation. But hopefully if nothing else, it will spark your creativity to engage your child and use your waiting time as teaching time. For there is no better teacher for a child than his or her own parent. Good luck!!!
wendy.jpegWendy Toone is a child expert having owned and operated a leading franchise children’s fitness center and now producing MobiStories, Digital Books for KidsTM, as well as being a mom to her two children. To experience the world of digital children’s picture books, visit
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