10 Legitimate Work From Home Opportunities for New Moms

wfhUntil you get used to the changes, being a new mom can wear you out. It can also make working outside of the home a bit more difficult than you expected. Many mothers are very creative and entrepreneurial with their new found time at home, and revel in their ability to earn money while staying home with their new bundle of joy. You may be surprised at the variety of opportunities there are for you to work from home.

  1. Bilingual Technical Advisor – If you have skills in technical support and are fluent in a second language, you may want to consider becoming a technical support advisor. There are positions available for day, evening and overnight shifts, depending on the company you work for. Businesses need tech advisors to help keep thing running smoothly around the clock, and often find that hiring telecommuters is more efficient than maintaining on-site call centers.
  2. CEO/Executive Director – Usually when you think of a CEO or ED, you imagine someone in a corner office with a spectacular view. Now, thanks to the Internet and advances in technology, you can run an organization or company from the comfort of your home. If you enjoy a challenge, have the qualifications and experience necessary for the position and you know how to keep the lines of communication open, it’s definitely worth looking into.
  3. Grant Writer and Manager – You can work with one particular organization, or freelance and work for several in this position. It’s not difficult to work at home to prepare grant proposals and fill out the applications. Strong communication skills are needed to write the grants clearly and concisely. You may also need to communicate with the organization in a variety of ways daily, so make sure you have the required resources.
  4. Teaching – If you have your teaching degree, you may be able to get a job teaching virtual classes. Even elementary classes are now being taught online. Charter schools, some academies and educational organizations recruit excellent teachers in a variety of areas. There are national organizations that employ licensed and certified teachers for virtual classes all over the country. Virtual teachers have many of the same responsibilities of in-school instructors, including evaluation of student success, monitoring the students’ progress and working with other instructors.
  5. Online Fitness Coach – For new moms who have a background in being a fitness coach, you can transfer your skills to an online business using email and phone calls to coach your clients. Online tracking programs, logging in food choices and calorie intake are all a part of this burgeoning enterprise. You also provide workout guidance. For the busy person who desires to get or stay in shape this is a blessing. As a new mom, this career could be a double blessing, since it may encourage you to get back into pre-pregnancy shape as you offer help to others.
  6. Project Manager – You don’t need an office anymore to keep people on track with what they need to do to get the project finished. This area has also opened up as a telecommuter position, like so many other formerly office-based careers. You will need excellent communication skills and the ability to use a variety of contact methods to stay in touch with all the players. Your organizational skills will be key in successfully completing the project. These positions can be done independently or you can hire on with a company or consulting firm.
  7. Travel Advisor – Moms who enjoy working with people and sales may enjoy consulting clients on planning perfect getaways. This work is done completely over the phone and through email. It’s also an industry that is growing as a telecommuting job, and for those who are self-motivated, highly organized and goal oriented, this position may prove to be quite satisfying.
  8. Customer Service Agent – A working phone will get you a job as a customer service agent. Many big companies like American Express, AAA, U-Haul and others of their ilk are hiring more people to work from home as customer service agent. The down side is that you may need to work a specific schedule. On the other hand, if that works for you, there’s the chance that you would be hired as a permanent employee with steady paychecks and much-coveted benefits. Before taking on this position, check the strength of your resolve and self-esteem. Customer service positions require a tough skin, because unhappy customers can be somewhat abusive.
  9. Freelance Writer – Excellent writing skills can land you writing projects that you can complete just about any time as long as you meet the deadlines. Guru.com and Elance.com are just two of the many companies that match clients to contractors. The nice thing about working through such companies is that they have safeguards in place to ensure that you will get paid for the work you do. You won’t have to worry about bounced checks or no payment. They do charge a small percentage for collecting your fees, however.
  10. Crafter – For the crafty mama who enjoys making things, you can consider opening up an online store. You have the choice of working though a site like Etsy or one of the other online craft clearing houses like Artfire or Craftsu, and you can also build a local customer base. Many people do both. Be aware that competition is stiff, so you will need to be marketing savvy as well as creatively gifted.

Working from home doesn’t have to mean stuffing envelopes or doing some mundane, time consuming work for pennies. Think creatively, discover what your gifts and talents are and look for ways to use them to your financial advantage. Be wary of scammers. Legitimate jobs will not ask you to pay them and unless you are very, very fortunate understand that no online job will make you a millionaire in a year’s time. Any job that offers to do that is most likely a scam.

10 Reasons Christian Parents Should Enroll Their Kids in Christian School

christianschoolRaising children is difficult enough, especially when you’re committed to instilling Christian values in a world that seems increasingly less respectful of such views. Public schools are federally mandated to be free of religious instruction, and your children spend the majority of their days on school property. This can make teaching Christianity’s central tenets even more difficult, and is a leading reason why many Christian parents opt for a private, faith-based education over a public, secular one.

  1. They’ve Lost Faith in the Public Education System – Stories about overworked, under-appreciated teachers who have lost their fire for educating young people, and state mandated curricula that leave much to be desired are, sadly enough, not altogether uncommon. Private schools are known for focusing on their students with an emphasis on encouraging graduation and advancement to college. If you’re concerned that your child isn’t getting the one-on-one attention she needs in an over-crowded classroom, smaller classes focusing on Christ’s teachings as well as academic learning may be a better choice.
  2. They’re Impressed With the Results of Christian Schools – Some of the brightest minds in the world have had a private school education. Names you might recognize include Bill Gates, Barbara Bush, Princess Diana of Whales, John McCain, John Kerry and Tommy Lee Jones. While Christian schools are centered on the word of God, they also tend to be academically competitive in a way that many public schools are not.
  3. The Desire for Children to Receive a Faith-Centric Education – Sunday school is not always enough to deeply teach the Christian faith and all of its tenets. At a Christian school, religion classes are almost always a requirement and are taught every week, if not every day. Getting that extra dose of religion in their lives can help children learn more about their own faith while they’re learning academic subjects.
  4. To Encourage Kids to Become Stronger Christians – When religion is a part of your child’s daily life, their faith becomes stronger with every passing day. Questions they may have about Christianity or religion in general can be answered in a Christian school setting, and students are able to examine their faith in a tolerant environment. The constant reassurance of faith will help make them stronger Christians in every aspect of their lives. Having other children surrounding them who believe the same things will reaffirm faith, as well.
  5. To Help Kids Learn the Importance of Morality Public schools aren’t really known for teaching morals, which is where Christian schools excel. Your moral values can be reinforced while your children are at school, rather than being challenged by a secular curriculum. They will better be able to make moral decisions after learning the standards of upstanding, moral behavior.
  6. Instilling Faith-Based Academic Teachings – If you want your child to know how their Christianity can affect all areas of their lives, Christian school is the way to go. With certain private schools, all of the school subjects are taught with a Christian context. This is something you would never be able to find in a public school, which generally teach Creationism as a theory and evolution as a fact.
  7. Teaching Children to Be Respectful – The teachers in most Christian schools do more than teach just subject matter; they also teach respect. Simply learning more about Christianity will build a level of respect in your child they may never have reached were they left to their own devices in public school.
  8. Maintaining Discipline in the Classroom – Disciplinary systems within a public Christian school are typically much more strict than their public counterparts, with higher standards of conduct and classroom behavior. Parents looking for a less permissive environment may find that Christian school suits their needs perfectly.
  9. Finding Diversity Without Secularity – Though Christian schools do teach the Christian faith, there are still parents who will send their children to private Christian schools when they don’t share the faith. This is a great way to expose your children to the fact that the world is made up of all kinds of people, some of which believe different things, while still encouraging a foundation of Christian learning.
  10. Teaching a Biblical Approach to Human Existence and Purpose – It’s natural for people to question their existence, their purpose on Earth and the philosophical implications of being able to think on a higher cognitive level than any other animal. Christian schools will focus on answering these questions based on what’s taught in the Bible, again strengthening the faith of your child while teaching them more about their religion.

Having a child is a lifetime commitment, and the values you teach them are the ones that they’ll carry throughout their own lives. Christian parents also know that their responsibility to their children extends beyond their physical bodies, also encompassing their immortal souls. In some situations, the best possible method of raising Christian children who cling to their faith is to enroll them in a school that reinforces those beliefs.

How to Encourage Cooperation in Preschoolers

cooperateParents often dread the Terrible Twos and feel a sense of relief once their kids get past that stage. Unfortunately, many parents find the same challenges happening with their preschoolers too. Children at this age are still struggling with independence, so it’s no wonder that getting them to happily cooperate can be a struggle. Here are some ways to encourage cooperation and create a more peaceful environment.

Offer lots of choices. Rather than telling your child what you’ve decided, offer her a few choices and let her make the final decision. Giving her options and letting her choose will give her some power over different situations throughout the day and will lessen her need to stubbornly oppose whatever you suggest. Often, a child doesn’t disagree with what you’re proposing. She simply disagrees with the idea of being told what to do. When you allow her to have control over simple things, it encourages her to cooperate rather than dig her heels in. Avoid open-ended questions like, “Would you like to help clean up the playroom now?” because the answer will almost always be no. Also, make sure you only offer options that you’ll be comfortable with. Avoid questions like, “Would you like to brush your teeth?” Instead ask, “Would you like to brush your teeth before or after we read our bedtime books?”

Get kids involved in problem solving. Kids can come up with lots of creative solutions to problems if given the chance. When you’re struggling with a particular issue, whether it’s getting out the door on time in the morning or picking up the playroom, ask your child for his ideas on how he’d solve the problem. Of course, many of his solutions are going to be impractical or silly, but with some gentle guidance he will probably come up with some workable solutions too. When you use one of his ideas, he’s much more likely to actually follow through because he was part of the problem solving process. This is also an important life skill that will help him with friends and at school.

Reinforce positive efforts. When you “catch” your preschooler helping out, make sure to let him know how much you appreciate his efforts. When children feel that their efforts are an important part of making good things happen they’re much more likely to continue to help out. Remember the effort doesn’t have to be a big one. Focus on the small things and soon you’ll be seeing bigger and more frequent efforts. So when your child helps you set the table for dinner, puts his clothes in the hamper after a bath, or gets ready for school without reminders, make sure you give him a big thank you and a hug.

Make your expectations clear. When you ask for your child’s help, does she know exactly what you want her to do? Often, instructions that seem very clear to an adult are confusing to a child. Encourage your child’s cooperation by being very clear about what you’re asking and giving examples of what the behavior looks like. Instead of saying, “Please help me clean up your room,” you can say something like, “Let’s work together to get all your books neatly stacked on the bookshelf and to put all your toys into your toy box.” By being specific, you’re helping your child be successful in the tasks she’s doing.

Break the task down in smaller, more manageable pieces. Many children get overwhelmed by big tasks. They don’t know where to start or how to get from the beginning to the end. By taking a bigger task and breaking it down into smaller, more manageable pieces you can guide your child through it step by step. By tackling each step individually, he will successfully make his way through the whole list and accomplish the bigger task without struggling. Feeling successful will make him want to take on more and more challenges.

Add some fun! Even everyday tasks like cleaning up after playing or getting dressed in the morning can be made fun by adding silly songs and games. Find ways to make things fun for your child and you’ll see cooperation automatically go up. That might mean singing a funny song while he cleans up his toys, playing a counting game while he brushes his teeth or pretending to be a dragon while he puts his clothes away in his “cave.” Letting your child’s imagination run wild during boring tasks will make it more fun for you and him.

Why It’s Okay for Kids to Not Get What They Want

noFrom the moment you become a parent, all you want is to love, protect and provide for your children. You want them to have more than you had, regardless of how your childhood might have been. It’s both normal and natural to want to provide a better life for your children, but it’s important to realize that it’s not only okay for them to not get what they want all the time, but also necessary.

Preventing a False Sense of Entitlement

When kids are handed big-ticket items and gifts without having to lift a finger for them and never hear the word “no,” it creates a false sense of entitlement that can follow them into adulthood. A child that’s accustomed to receiving everything he wants the moment he expresses the slightest interest comes to believe that he’s entitled to those things, and that everyone in his life should bend over backwards to see that he gets them. He never learns to earn the things that he wants, and is likely to be in for quite a shock when he reaches adulthood and doesn’t get his dream job straight out of college.

Instilling a Sense of Appreciation

Things that you earn simply hold more value than things you’re given, regardless of the price tag. That same fact holds true for your children, as well. When your child works to earn something she wants or puts in a real effort to obtain it on her own, she’s learning a valuable lesson in independence and the ability to truly appreciate the things that she has. No parent really wants to raise a spoiled, ungrateful child; still, handing things over to them without a moment’s pause or expecting them to work towards them at all helps you do just that.

Teaching Kids the Value of a Dollar

Your primary responsibility as a parent is to prepare your children for adulthood. One of the most important lessons you can impart to your kids as they grow up is that money doesn’t just appear out of thin air, and that the things they want have to be paid for. When your child saves up her own money to make a big purchase, or at least contributes to it, she’s able to understand just how much money it takes to buy nice things and that it doesn’t always come easily. In adulthood, that lesson is one that will serve your child well as she learns to budget effectively, rather than maxing out credit cards and amassing staggering debt to maintain the standard of living she became accustomed to throughout her childhood and teenage years.

Teaching Patience in an Instant-Gratification World

Today’s kids don’t have to wait for very much. Their entertainment is streamed directly to their computer or smartphone on demand, food can be microwaved in a few minutes and many of the things they want can be downloaded in mere seconds. As a result, many kids never learn how to wait patiently to obtain the things they want, or how to deal with the realization that everything their heart desires may not be available the moment they ask for it. When kids don’t get what they want, you’re not depriving them of basic needs. You’re actually teaching them how to be patient, as well as imparting the lesson that good things can come to those who are willing to work for them.

Because Lavish Gifts Don’t Make or Break You as a Parent

Expensive gifts might break the bank, but they aren’t a “make or break” indicator of your value as a parent. It’s tempting to give kids all the luxury items they ask for, especially if you feel guilty about how little time you’re able to spend together or because they’re being subjected to a nasty divorce. Still, you’re only soothing your own conscience when you ply kids with gifts as compensation. Saying “no” doesn’t make you a bad parent, just as showering your child with material possessions doesn’t automatically mean that you’re a particularly good one.

Falling into the trap of catering to your child’s every whim affects more than just her development and attitude towards material goods. It’s also very easy to end up deeply in debt if you’re stretching yourself beyond your means to provide luxury items at the drop of a hat. Remember that a financially solvent, comfortable home is more valuable to your child than stressed, overworked parents that are constantly anxious about their level of debt.

10 Ways to Score Awesome Spring Break Vacation Deals

staycationIt’s time for spring break and you want to celebrate the season as a family, but funds are limited. You don’t need to be sidelined from enjoying time away from the usual grind. There are ways to have an exciting vacation without breaking the bank. With a little creativity and thinking outside of the proverbial box, your family can enjoy a memorable vacation that doesn’t exceed your budget.

  1.  Consider a Staycation – So many families use this opportunity to travel to places like Disney World, fancy resorts and high-end amusement parks. You really don’t need to go very far to have an enjoyable break. Find out the tourist offerings in your area, and get to know your own backyard. So often, people neglect to enjoy the rich heritage and sights of their own cities or towns in favor of big spending in exotic locales. The money you save on gas and airline tickets will afford you the chance to explore all the local excitement that you’ve been missing.
  2. Check Discount Travel Sites – These websites are in abundance. Searching for just the right vacation at just the right price only takes a little of your time, even if you have to search several discount travel websites to find a great deal. If you know the area you would like to visit or the type of adventures you are seeking, you can narrow your search considerably.
  3. Work With a Travel Agent – A good travel agent will find you the perfect springtime getaway. Create a list of all the things you would like to do while you are away, and where your budget stands. The more detailed information you can give your agent, the better she will be able to meet your needs. It helps to know a little about the cost of some activities in the area; for example horseback riding along the beach can be a little pricey. Take those things into consideration when setting the budget within which you wish to work.
  4. Take Advantage of Perks – When you get a travel package, there will likely be coupons or tickets that come with it. You may have to ask for these extras, but they’re almost always available. Sometimes asking will get you even more than what’s normally offered. Take advantage of these perks. They usually consist of free or discounted food and activities, all of which can add up over the course of your trip.
  5. Think Ahead – If you are planning a cruise and are going to take advantage of the off-ship tours, consider booking those in advance. You may save some money by setting up side excursions prior to your trip. If you are working with a travel agent, be sure to ask about how you can get the best deals on side trips.
  6.  Travel Off-Season – When you are lucky enough to have kids that aren’t in school, or if you are home-schooling your kids, you can take advantage of off-peak destinations during the spring without hitting hot destinations while everyone else is on a designated spring break.  Booking a trip when your destination is experiencing a down time can mean huge savings for you. Prices generally drop for hotels, and for many activities as well. If you can score a coupon book through the local chamber of commerce, you can also get meals at discount rates.
  7. Grab an All-Inclusive Package – There are some spots that are completely self-contained, especially if you’re looking at resort destinations. You get to stay at the hotel and all the amenities are right there, including entertainment, restaurants and activities. Generally these bundles can be expensive, but if you can manage to go during an off peak time you may get a great deal when you consider how much those perks would cost if they were purchased separately.
  8. Consider Mom and Pop Resorts – For those who are just interested in some quality family time, looking into visiting one of the smaller resorts can be a big money-saver. Many privately-owned resorts have very reasonable rates, as well as friendly service. They may not offer all the glitz and glamor of the commercial destinations, but the low key environment is perfect for spending unplugged time with the kids.
  9. Travel In a Pack – Get some of your friends together and book as a group. Many places offer group discounts, so you and your friends can save money by traveling together. Organizing a group trip will take some planning, so you may want to get started well in advance or have a travel agent help you. Take advantage of special rates offered for groups for shows and activities in the area while you’re there.
  10. Book a Room With a Kitchen – This can save you a lot of money, particularly when you have kids. Even if you only make one meal a day, you will be saving money. Many rooms come with refrigerators and microwave ovens. If your room doesn’t have one, ask if they have any available.

Spring break deals sometimes need to be made by piecing together the best and least expensive of what’s offered. Keep in mind that what will really make your vacation awesome are the memories you create and not the money you spend. You can have a tremendous retreat wherever you decide to make it happen.

21 Blogs Spotlight Breakfast Recipes You Can Make the Night Before

morningMornings can be chaotic when you are trying to get lunches made, kids fed and backpacks ready to go out the door.  Unfortunately, many kids head to school without eating a proper breakfast.  While there are plenty of time-management tips for finding more time in the mornings, one great one is making breakfast ahead so there’s one less thing for you to do.  In these 21 blog entries you will find recipes that you can make on the weekend and throw in the freezer, as well as others that you can make the night before and let them cook overnight in the slow cooker.  There are even recipes that can be prepped the night before and baked in the morning while you are packing up lunches.

For the Freezer

Make breakfast burritos ahead, wrap them up and toss them in the freezer.  Depending on the age of the kids, they can probably warm them up in the microwave on their own and eat it or take it with them as they walk out the door.  Same thing could work for other breakfast sandwiches.  Take a look at these seven blog posts for some freezer-friendly breakfast ideas.

In the Slow Cooker

How nice would it be to wake up to the smell of breakfast already cooked in the slow cooker?  The family could help themselves as they got ready and you could continue on with packing lunches and backpacks.  The nice thing is that these recipes are healthier than those sugary cereals kids typically eat.  See if any of these seven blog articles can whet your appetite.

In Your Refrigerator

For a change of pace you can make up breakfast the night before and put it in the refrigerator and bake it in the morning.  Imagine the look on your family’s face when they smell a hot breakfast baking on a school day.  You will be a breakfast hero!  Whether it’s a breakfast casserole or coffee cake, you can find the recipe on these seven blog entries.

How to Not Feel Jealous of Your Nanny

jealousYou spent days combing through a pile of applicants, sat through several awkward job interviews and dealt with the hassle of running thorough background checks on the finalists in your nanny search competition. You checked references, made sure that your favorites had the right certifications and eventually found the nanny of your dreams. After all of that hard work and the elation that comes with knowing that you found the best possible caregiver for your children, you expected to be able to sit back and enjoy the knowledge that your children are happy and safe while you continue to earn a living. What you found, however, is that you’re completely jealous of your nanny and worried that she’s going to somehow take your place in your kids’ hearts.

Realize That Jealousy Could Sour Your Working Relationship With Your Nanny

It’s one thing to feel a twinge of envy now and then when you hear about the exciting adventures your nanny had with your children while you were stuck at the office, but it’s completely another to let the green-eyed monster ruin a perfectly good working relationship. When jealousy rears its head, you may very well find yourself looking for shortcomings or mistakes from your nanny, just to reassure yourself that she’s not actually perfect. In the end, though, all you’re doing is finding tiny flaws to harp on and constantly bring to your nanny’s attention. Eventually, petty complaints can become more than your nanny is willing or able to handle, which can eventually cause her to leave her post altogether. Unless you’re in a position to quit working altogether or you’re itching to start the process of finding a great nanny all over again, it’s wise to check your jealousy before it ruins the professional relationship you have with your existing nanny.

Know That Your Children Don’t Love the Nanny More

Your nanny spends the day with your children doing fun things, such as going on outings and getting involved in exciting activities. You’re the disciplinarian that comes home and reestablishes order at the end of the day, managing the schedule and making sure that everything runs smoothly. It’s easy to fall victim to the idea that your children will grow to love their nanny more than they love you, but it’s important to remember that no childcare provider will ever take the place of a parent. Even if it seems like they’re having more fun with the nanny sometimes, you’ll always be number one. 

Change Your Perspective

You can view your nanny as someone that you’re in direct competition with for your kids’ love, attention and affection, or you can choose to see her as an invaluable member of your team. The former will only inspire more feelings of jealousy and perpetuate the cycle of nanny envy, while the latter makes it easier to see her as a comrade, rather than the enemy. At the end of the day, you and your nanny have a common goal: seeing your children through the big moments in life and helping them reach developmental milestones in a happy, loving environment. The simple act of making a concerted effort to change the way you see your nanny can affect noticeable change on the quality of your professional relationship.

Be Honest With Your Nanny

As a professional, private childcare provider with a bit of experience, there’s not likely to be much that your nanny hasn’t experienced firsthand or learned about from other nanny pals. You may think that you’re doing a bang-up job of hiding your feelings of envy, but there’s a good chance that your nanny has an idea of what’s going on. Starting a frank, open conversation about the fact that you are struggling with some jealousy establishes a line of communication between you and your nanny that didn’t exist before, and may actually serve to break down a few barriers that were inadvertently built as you kept her at arm’s length as a result of those feelings. Don’t be afraid to let your nanny know how you’re feeling, especially if you have the suspicion that you were a bit harder on her than was strictly necessary when jealousy and bitterness first began to sink in.

Your nanny is open, loving and affectionate with your children because she genuinely cares for them and enjoys her work, not because she has any interest in replacing you as a mother figure. Both your nanny and your children are fully aware of the fact that you are the mother of your children, so try not to give in to those feelings of envy and fear. Instead, realize that your jealousy is actually a sign that you made the right choice, and that you found a nanny that your children are happy to spend time with!

21 Blogs Sharing the Pros and Cons of Kids Having Cell Phones

According to a survey completed by Pew Internet and Life Project, 20% of kids’ ages 6 to 11 have cell phones, whereas 75% of kids’ ages 11 to 17 have them.  How do you know when it is the right time to get your child a cell phone?  And if you do get your child a cell phone, should he have Internet access?  These are difficult questions to answer, but these 21 blog articles will provide you with the pros and cons to help you make the right decision for your child.



Being able to keep tabs on your child can keep her safer, as would the ability for your child to call you should the need arise.  In case of an emergency, your child could call the police if she has a cell phone.  While these are good reasons to have a cell phone, there are other reasons, such as cyber bullying, sexual predators and sexting, which may make you decide not to get your child a cell phone.  For these and other reasons check out the next seven blog posts.

Are They Ready?

Determining if your child is ready to have her own cell phone can be difficult.  Each child is different, so a child who is 9 years old might be ready, while another child who is 14 may not be.  You will need to take a look at these seven blog entries and determine the readiness of your child.

Phones in School

It’s easy to say that kids don’t need cell phones in school, but when the teacher tells them to look up something on the Internet and they have to wait in line for a computer to become available because they don’t have a smartphone it may not be so black and white.  Read through these seven blog posts to help you determine if your child needs to have a cell phone in school or not.

How to Get Your Child Off the Couch

The childhood obesity epidemic continues to grow in this country year after year. There are several contributing factors, including the activity level of kids and the huge amounts of calorie laden foods they eat. Both of those things take a committed effort to change, but it’s well worth the better health and happier kids the effort produces. Here are a few ways that you can increase the activity level in your child in a real and long lasting way.


Find an activity you both like and do it together. A fun way to get your child off the couch is to find something you both like to do and then make a regular date to do it together. This could be a traditional sport, like tennis, baseball, basketball or soccer, or it could be something like jumping on the trampoline, bike riding, running or climbing on the jungle gym. Which activity you choose to do is much less important than helping your child get into the regular habit of moving. Once he makes the connection between exercise and fun, he’ll want to stay active. Doing things together also helps you get in the recommended amount of exercise. Plus it’s a great way to strengthen your relationship with your child. It’s a relaxed way to connect in a way that both of you can enjoy.

Limit television, video and computer time. Electronics can be the enemy of physical activity. Most children spend hours each day in front of a screen watching TV, playing video games or surfing the net. Not only does that keep them on the couch, it provides the perfect environment for mindless eating. This double whammy of inactivity and a high calorie diet can quickly add on pounds. Limit the amount of electronics time your child is allowed and offer him healthy alternatives to keep him entertained.

Help your child find a sport he enjoys. One of the best ways to keep your child active is to get her involved in a sport she enjoys. Enroll your child in a community center sports clinic or a neighborhood recreational program to give her the opportunity to try out a few different sports until she finds something she really enjoys. Not only will she get a great workout during practices and games, she’s more likely to participate in other casual activities, like joining in a pick-up game of basketball, playing catch with a friend or taking a bike ride with a parent.

Encourage friendships with other kids. The opportunity to play with other kids is a great motivator for your child to get off the couch. Help your child connect with neighborhood kids or classmates and suggest ways they can get together and have fun. Instead of spending the afternoon watching TV, your child can meet up with his buddies and go for a bike ride, play a game of soccer or build a fort in the backyard.

Model the importance of exercise. It’s not enough to tell your child how important regular exercise is to his health. It’s your job to show him that it’s important enough for you to do too. Find some activities that you genuinely enjoy doing and share your passion with your child. Talk with him about the benefits you get from playing tennis each week, taking a yoga class before work or training for a marathon on the weekends. Your child is much more likely to follow your lead when you follow your own good advice.

Be sensitive to your child’s self-image. If your child is overweight or out of shape, he’s probably resistant to starting an exercise routine. He may be embarrassed that he can’t keep up with the other kids or that he’s carrying around extra weight. Talk with your child about these issues and let him know that you’re on his side. Work with him to find activities that he can enjoy and feel good about doing. It may take a while for him to build up his confidence, but with persistence he’ll see his body grow stronger and leaner. Feeling better will lead to a positive domino effect, the more he does the more he’ll want to do. Remember, it’s essential that you not only address exercise, but also good nutrition, especially for overweight kids. Often, overeating is the result of emotional struggles the child is having. By addressing all the pieces of the puzzle, you’ll be able to help your child get to a weight he’s comfortable with.

10 Reasons Christian Parents May Choose Not to Enroll Their Kids in Christian School

prayerAt first blush, it may seem that Christian parents would obviously prefer to send their children to a private, Christian school. After all, public schools are federally mandated to maintain complete neutrality in terms of religion, teaching a strictly secular world view and approach to education. There are, however, a variety of reasons why many Christian parents actively choose to send their children to public school over giving them a faith-based education.

  1. Costs Can Be Prohibitive – Financial considerations can be a determining factor for some Christian parents. Public school is offered for free by law. Private schools are not funded by the government, so they need to charge tuition and fees in order to pay teachers’ salaries and maintain a school that runs smoothly. The tuition can be steep, and is not always able to be waived or lessened based on income. Some schools offer scholarships, but they’re generally in very high demand and are, as such, often difficult to obtain.
  2. Course Offerings Can Be Limited – In some cases, Christian schools are not able to offer the same wide variety of courses available in a larger, publicly-funded school. Smaller class sizes, fewer faculty members, physical space limitations and spiritual objections to subject matter can all be reasons why some classes aren’t available in all private schools. Regardless of faith, many parents simply aren’t willing to compromise the quality of their child’s educational experience.
  3. Doctrinal Differences – While a school may identify as parochial or Christian, there is no guarantee that a Christian school teaches the same religion that you celebrate as a family. Denominational and doctrinal differences can be very problematic for some parents. Catholic or Lutheran schools might teach a faith that’s decidedly different from a Baptist or Methodist one practiced at home, which can cause confusion in young children. Differences can include which version of the Bible is taught and how different views are expressed or accepted, all of which can be problematic when kids are just beginning to build the foundation of their own beliefs.
  4. Uniform Requirements – From the desire to allow children to express their individuality through wardrobe choices to the added expense of purchasing specific uniforms, some parents find that the uniform requirements of a private school are simply not something they’re willing to deal with.
  5. Interference With the Parents’ Role in Kids Spiritual Growth With your child learning about their faith almost every day at school, they may not participate as openly in family faith-affirming activities. Remember, even matters of faith can become dull if they’re the only subject a child gets to talk about. Plus, you might fall into the habit of not growing together in faith because you realize they are getting a good portion of it at school already. Either way, some parents feel that a Christian education minimizes their role in kids’ spiritual development.
  6. Over Sheltering – Some parents prefer their children to live their faith-based life out in front of the world where they have an opportunity to be a good witness and share the love of Christ with others.
  7. Financial Favoritism – When parents who are struggling to cover basic tuition are ignored or marginalized in favor of catering to those that are able to make large financial contributions, it can create an unfavorable climate for parents and students alike. Even in Christian institutions, financial favoritism isn’t altogether uncommon. If there are limited selections in terms of Christian private schools in your area and all of them have a reputation for favoring big spenders, you may want to look elsewhere.
  8. You’re Looking for Behavioral Correction and Habit Modification – If enrolling your child in Christian school is a behavioral last resort for you, it might not work out the way you’d hope. Christian schools have received the reputation of “straightening kids out,” but that reputation isn’t actually always deserved.  If no other school can handle your child’s behavioral issues, there may be some underlying problems you need to address. Expecting a teacher at a Christian school to work behavioral miracles is unfair to the faculty, the other students and your child.
  9. Limited Exposure to Other Thoughts and Ideas – With some private schools, the focus is more on the religious aspect of life than other areas that may be necessary for a well-rounded education. Even though you’ll naturally want your children to learn about Christian values, they also need to be exposed to the way the rest of the world works. If they’re kept in the static environment of a Christian school for their entire academic education, the very secular world of college will almost certainly come as quite a shock.
  10. Children with Gay Parents May Not Be Able to Enroll – In this ever-changing world, the concept of same-sex couples starting families is becoming more and more common. Some denominations of Christianity are even accepting of same-sex unions, but that doesn’t mean that a privately-run school will have the same viewpoint.

The decision to place your children in private school or to maintain their public education is one that can only be made by you and your family. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, regardless of your faith. If you feel that Christian school is ultimately the wrong choice for your family, you can still make every effort to instill strong, Christian values in your children while they attend public school.