Viewing category ‘children’

Committed: The Ties that Bond

with Angella Dykstra

I'm a mom of three, a professional accountant, and an amateur photographer and writer. I am not a marriage expert. But my husband and I take "Til death do us part" seriously, and here I'll be sharing how we keep our marriage strong while we both do that insane work-life juggle.

Check out my Work It, Mom! profile and my blog, Dutch Blitz.

What To Do When Your Kid Is Being Bullied

Categories: children

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I was bullied as a child, which makes me pretty sensitive to anything that my kids say that may be hinting at them being subject to the same. We’ve been lucky – so far – that all they’ve suffered is the usual kid stuff. Feeling left out, someone poking fun, etc. Not fun for them at all, but nothing that would be considered bullying, be it emotional or physical.

A few years ago, my middle son said that some boys he played soccer on the playground with were being a little bit too rough. One kid would trip the others, and another kid would bump shoulders a little rougher than necessary. The boys weren’t listening to the other kids when they asked them to stop, and my son was getting to the point where they didn’t want to play anymore. It was time to intervene.

Here’s what to do when your child is being bullied, or subject to kids who don’t understand fair play, or has another conflict with someone.


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Talking To Your Kids About The Birds And The Bees

Categories: children

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Our oldest child, a son, just started sixth grade and is now attending middle school. (He also just created his own Apple ID and joined Instagram. Sigh.) At the end of fifth grade, he had a few ‘family life’ classes where they talked about hormones and body changes and all of the things he would be expecting to happen in the very near future.

He came home with questions to ask his parents, and we had a lot of fun with them.


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Easy Birthday Party Planning

Categories: children

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Some people will go to great lengths — and expense — when it comes to throwing their child’s birthday party. Some people will rent out an activity center, some people will rent games and such to be held at their home, some people will hire entertainers.

I am not one of those people.

My kids all have birthdays near holidays. My eldest is December 29th (Christmas break), my middle is August 25th (summer break), and my youngest is at Thanksgiving. Trying to have friends over for a party is almost impossible, so we don’t. Well, we do, but we do it a few weeks later. On their actual birthday, we have extended family over for dinner and cake and the blowing out of the candles.


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5 Fun Activities To Do As A Family

Categories: children, family, friends

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I wrote recently about ideas for being active as a family, but spending time together doesn’t have to always revolve around sports and exercise. We make family time a priority, and while sometimes it does involve hiking or running, we definitely don’t spend all of our time together getting our heart rates up.

Fall is here, and with it comes temperatures that make it more comfortable to be outside. I love summer — it’s my favorite — but when the temperature is in the high nineties, the only thing I want to do is go jump in a lake. Literally. Now that the sun has lost its sting, we’re excited to be both outside and inside without melting.

Here are some things that we like to do as a family in the cooler months:


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Getting Your Family Organized While You’re Away

Categories: children, travel

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A few times a year, I find myself heading out of town for work, and I’m usually gone for three to five days. My husband is more than capable of running the show while I’m gone, but I do as much as I can to make it less hard on him than it needs to be. We run this house as a team, but we both have areas that we’re in charge of. Here are some of the things I do to help him do “my” jobs while I’m away.


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Making Family Dinners A Priority

Categories: children, family

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My husband grew up in a home where his family sat down for dinner together every night, barring the occasional meeting or extra-cirricular activity. It was the same at my house — we all sat down for dinner, chatted about our day, and it kept us connected. Every once in a while we’d have a “State of the Union” meeting if there were a number of bigger things to talk about, which helped us gel as a family unit.

My husband and I wanted the same thing for our own family, and we’ve managed to make it happen. There were times when I worked out of the house, there were times when I was “just a Mom” (Ha!), and there have been times where I work full-time, but from home (like right now). There are challenges to each situation, be it a demanding work day, or toddlers clinging to your leg while you prepare dinner, but you can make it happen if you make it a priority.


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School Lunches Made Easier

Categories: children, school

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I have three kids who are in school, which means that there are three kids who need to have lunches made. When the last school year ended I had a Twitter/Facebook status about not having to pack school lunches and it was favorited, retweeted, liked, and commented upon multiple times. Hatred of making school lunches seems to unite us all.

Here’s what I do to make it a little less horrendous, and more manageable.

1. Pack the lunch kits the day before. Every once in awhile I’ll decide to put off packing lunches until the morning, and then I am reminded why that was a no good, very bad idea. Mornings are extremely hectic with three (or any) kids. There’s breakfast to be made/eaten/cleaned up, everyone needs to get dressed in weather-appropriate clothing, somebody is always unable to find their shoes and there’s a mad rush to get out the door in time.


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Ideas For Being Active As A Family

Categories: children, family

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My regular readers know that I am a pretty active person. I run three days a week, and will be running my first half marathon next weekend. I also attend a strength boot camp class two or three times a week and have for the past five years. My husband has taken up running for the cardio — he hates running — and also goes to the gym.

We also spend a lot of time with our kids being active. We place a high priority on family time, whether we’re playing board games or exploring the outdoors. Here are some of the ways we are active together as a family:


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How To Talk To Your Kids About Their Friends At School

Categories: children, friends, school

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I don’t know about you, but I can be a bit of a Momma Bear when it comes to my kids. I want them to be happy, to know they are loved, and to have a life without unnecessary hurts and problems. As someone who was bullied as a child, I want to make sure that they aren’t subject to the same bad experiences that I had. One key to that is making sure that they choose good friends.

My kids are generally pretty good at choosing friends who are sweet, thoughtful, and not brats. They come from families who encourage fair play, no name-calling, and apologizing when necessary. We have had a few instances where a kid at school — not a close friend — has been hurtful or mean, and thankfully the teachers are quick to help you all work it out.

Here’s how we help our kids choose friends who will lift them up, and not bring them down:

1. After school — or at dinner — we ask “Who did you play with today?” We get to know more about how they spent their day, and they know that you care about their day.

2. Get to know the kids at school. I volunteer to help chaperone events or help with crafts and it allows me to get to know the kids my kids spend their days with.

3. Keep the conversation open. My kids love to talk about their friends, and I will use those times to ask questions about said friends. What do you have in common? What do they like to do in their free time?

4. Be careful with your wording. If your child has a friend that you’re not keen on, saying anything negative about that friend will only put them on the defensive. Instead, if your child brings up questionable actions or behavior of their friends, talk about it and get them to come to their own conclusions.

5. Encourage them for good friend choices. I’ll often tell my kids that “so-and-so is a great kid” or “I like how well you and so-and-so get along.” Encouraging your kids in good friend choices can go much further that discouraging them from spending time with kids who aren’t very nice.

How do you talk to your kids about their friends at school?

Planning A Family Game Night

Categories: children, family

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One of the best things about our kids being out of the toddler stage — in addition to no more diapers — is that they are able to play so many more games than they could at that age. If we have a wide-open evening, we’ll sit down for a rousing game of Monopoly, complete with banter and smack talk. If we only have a short amount of time, we’ll often bust out the Uno deck of cards. Family games night is a great way to get your kids away from the screens and it builds relationships as well.

Here are a few tips for planning a great game night:


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