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Self-Care Tips for Today’s Busy Moms

Self-Care Tips for Today's Busy Moms
Being a mom has always been hard work. That said, these days it can feel more challenging than ever. Surveys show moms are still generally expected to handle most chores around the home, even when both spouses have full-time jobs.

With so much to do, moms often put their own needs last, but it’s not okay to neglect self care. On the contrary, attending to your own needs is essential. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others in the long run.

That’s why busy moms should keep the following self care tips in mind. From saving time by having meals delivered for kids to combining self care activities, even if you have a packed schedule, they’ll help you find time for yourself.

Make it a Priority

Odds are good there are certain tasks throughout the week that, if you don’t literally enter them into a schedule, are at least prioritized in your mental to-do list. Self care needs to be one of them. Schedule a spa day appointment

Passively telling yourself you’ll make room for a rewarding or relaxing experience isn’t enough to make yourself actually follow through on your plans. When you’re in the middle of a busy week, it becomes easy to forget about self care if it’s not treated with the same priority as your other major responsibilities.

Make a point of scheduling self care activities every week. Doing so makes you more likely to actually find time for them.

Exercise with Friends

Staying fit is key to self care. Experts consistently find that working out is simply one of the healthiest and most effective ways to reduce stress in your life. So is spending time with friends.

If you don’t think you have time for both activities in a typical week, you can combine them by working out with a friend or family member. This is a simple way to optimize your self care routine when you have a busy schedule.

Choose Playlists Wisely

You probably have many weekly tasks that give you the opportunity to listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks. Whether you’re driving or prepping a meal, use this time wisely.

Studies show that listening to music you enjoy helps reduce stress. Additionally, learning about interesting topics can also yield major mental health benefits. The main point to remember is that you shouldn’t choose what you listen to randomly. Put together a few playlists featuring your favorite tunes, podcasts, or books, and listen to them when you’re completing regular chores.

Get Enough Sleep

Don’t fall prey to the idea that you need to skip sleep to get everything done!Woman sleep on sofa. Flat style vector illustration.

Yes, it’s easy to think you’re being more productive by going to bed later or getting up earlier, but in the long run, lack of sleep will prevent you from being your best self. You’re much better off getting a full eight hours every night.

Ask for Help

You also shouldn’t give in to the urge to be Supermom. You’re human, and that means you may need some help from time to time. Getting comfortable with asking for help will make it easier to find more time for self care. Whether it’s a spouse, friend, or other family member, there’s a good chance someone in your life can take on a few of your responsibilities when you’re simply too busy to handle everything on your plate. You can also look for ways to reduce your workload, such as having meals delivered instead of prepping them yourself all of the time.

If you want to be a good mother, partner, and employee, you need to be as mentally and physically healthy as possible. These tips will help you reach that goal.

Rae Steinbach is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing for Yumble

Announcing the 2019 HelpTeaching.com Scholarship Finalists

Announcing the 2019 HelpTeaching.com Scholarship Winner and Finalists

This year, the HelpTeaching.com Scholarship received hundreds of entries. Students from all over the United States and Canada submitted stories, poems, and informational articles on topics such as understanding disabilities, making new friends, and taking care of the environment. After reviewing all of the entries, we have this year’s finalists and the winner of this year’s college scholarship. All of the finalists’ entries have been published on HelpTeaching.com and the winner will receive $1,000 to apply towards college tuition expenses.

Honorable Mention

Although these pieces didn’t quite make the cut, we felt they were still worthy of recognition.

Jessica Shenning, a freshman at Georgia State University, shared a short story about a little girl who enjoys baking with her mother and learns how to bake a special treat of her own. Read Learning to Bake >>

Jamie Lee, a student at the University of Virginia, wrote a story that reminds kids “there’s no place like home.”  Read There’s No Place Like Home >> Depositphotos_30502391_s-2019

Lydia Colon, a senior at New Smyrna Beach High School, wrote about finding sand dollars in the ocean. Read Sand Dollars >>

Elise Carlson, a doctoral student at the University of Central Florida, focused on a slightly more taboo topic – toilets. Her piece helps kids learn how a toilet works. Read How a Toilet Works >>

Finalists

#10 The Science of Slime

If you’ve ever wondered how slime is made or the chemistry behind it, Jasmine Ma, a student at Middle College High School @ San Joaquin Delta College, has the answer. Her piece The Science of Slime helps kids learn more about the sticky substance.
Read more >>

#9 Between Sand and Sea

Dianne Mercado’s informational piece about the intertidal zone helps students learn about the different seasons found there. Dianne is a student at the University of Central Florida.
Learn more about the intertidal zone >>

#8 The Wood that Sings

Have you ever wanted to play the marimba? High school senior Molly Goins shares valuable information about the beautiful percussion instrument in her short piece.
Discover what it is>>

Boy having bruises on his leg illustration

#7 What Happens When You Get a Scrape?

When you get a cut or a scrape, your body goes through a special process to help it heal. Amber Katharine Voightschild, a high school sophomore and homeschool student, describes the process in her informational text.
Find out how your body responds >>

#6 The Appalachian Creation

Graduate student Jenn Sisko wrote an informational article about the rocks that make up the Appalachian Mountain chain. Jenn attends Hamline University.
Discover how the mountain range formed >>

#5 Our First Thanksgiving

Lauren Collins, a recent high school graduate, and soon-to-be freshman at William Woods University wrote a piece about the first Thanksgiving from the perspective of one of the attendees, a native American girl.
Read more about the event >>

#4 Farmer Flynn and His Barnyard Companions

Farmer Flynn and his barnyard friends help kids learn more about where their food comes from and share tips for healthy eating in a short piece by Haein Kim, sophomore at Duke University.
Find out how what you eat makes your body healthier >>

#3 Uffo Goes to the North Pole Depositphotos_9260203_s-2019

As the polar ice cap begins to melt, the life of a polar bear becomes more difficult. Juan Restrepo, a student at Lees-McRae College, wrote a short story about a young polar bear named Uffo and his struggle to survive.
Learn more about Uffo and his mother >>

#2 Understanding the Human Heart

How much do you know about the human heart? Courtney Varela, a student at Swansboro High School, knows a lot and she put her knowledge into a creative short story for kids. After reading the story, kids will be able to know more about their own hearts too.
Discover more about the human heart >>

Winner

First Place Ribbon

#1 How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

Although the title sounds like a song from The Sound of Music, this short informational piece by Lucy Henneker actually shares information about a famous mathematician, Maria Gaetana Agnesi. Lucy is an incoming freshman at Wheaton College.
Read the winning piece >>

Watch for more details about the 2010 HelpTeaching.com Scholarship and start preparing your stories now! Don’t forget to check out 2017’s winner and finalists and the winning pieces from 2018 too.

3 Tools to Help Kids Learn Over the Summer

3 Tools to Help Kids Learn Over the Summer Learning can take place anywhere, not just in the classroom. Summertime offers many opportunities for kids to gain knowledge.You can help them learn by introducing them to three simple tools designed to get them interested in learning, even if they don’t realize that’s what they’re doing.

1. Ask Questions

Sometime during the toddler years, kids go through a “why” phase. They use the question “Why?” to help them figure out the world and everything in it. Unfortunately, many kids quickly grow out of that stage. To help kids learn over the summer, re-introduce them to the art of asking questions. It may seem annoying to have a child who is constantly asking how and why things happen, but when you realize those questions help them learn, it’s much easier to handle.

To help kids learn to ask questions, start by asking questions yourself. For example, if you’re at the zoo and see a zookeeper standing by an animal cage, take the time to ask the zookeeper a question. You don’t have to be at a zoo or museum to ask a question either. Ask questions of people all around you – your mechanic, the teller at the bank, the person stocking shelves in the grocery store. Even if you already know the answer to some of the questions you ask, you’ll show your children how easy it is to ask questions on their own. They’ll also discover that people are usually more than willing to answer the questions they ask.

2. Introduce them to Experts

When it comes to asking questions, one of the best places to find an answer is an expert on the topic of the question. The summer is a great time to help kids gain access to experts in many different career fields, not only to ask questions, but also to observe them as they work. Since
kids aren’t in school all day, they have more time to see how different adults spend their time. While many jobs don’t aren’t ideal for having a kid underfoot, some workplaces may allow children to shadow
a family member or close family friend for a day. Spending a day on the job can help kids learn more than simply reading a book or watching a video. It also gives them access to multiple experts in an industry and many of them will be ready to teach kids what they know.

When it comes to introducing kids to experts, think beyond careers and focus on interests and hobbies, too. For example, if your child is interested in the Civil War, see if you can set up an interview with a local Civil War reenactor. If your child wants to become a stronger swimmer, contact the swim team of a local college and see if a student would be willing to sit down with your child and give him some advice. Many adults who have hobbies would be more than happy to
take some time to sit down with your child and share about their interests.

Don’t forget about classes either. Many groups hold special classes during the summer. If your child is interested in cooking, for example, you may find a cooking class taught by a local chef. If your child likes sports, look for a sports camp that features a professional athlete or coach. These classes often cost money, but the cost is worth it if your child gets to interact
with someone at the top of their field.

3. Watch Videos

Of course sometimes your local area won’t offer special summer classes or experts that are of interest to your child. Thankfully, kids have the internet. Online they can find tons of videos related to their interests, many of them featuring some of the top people in the field. For example, TED Talks and Big Think have been known to feature some of the world’s greatest scientists and thinkers. Websites such as Top Documentary Films also can help kids learn by allowing them to access documentaries for free.

Since it’s summer, you may not want your kids sitting in front of the computer or TV screen all day. That’s where videos from sites like YouTube come in handy. Many YouTube channels (such as these channels for social studies) contain short videos designed to help kids get snippets of knowledge. A simple search for how-to videos can also help kids pick up a new skill by watching short videos. Maybe this summer they’ll learn to play the guitar, take ballroom dancing lessons, or discover how to make homemade ice cream. With millions of how-to videos on YouTube, kids can learn almost anything.

Sure, you want your kids to relax during the summer, but you don’t want them to stop learning. By connecting these tools with other summer learning activities you can ensure kids are being filled with knowledge over the summer.

For more resources to get kids learning on their own this summer, share our Ultimate Guide to Free Online Self-Learning for Kids, which is full of free videos, courses, and other materials to help kids explore their interests and find answers to their most pressing questions.

What tools do you use to help kids learn over the summer? We’d love to hear your ideas!

5 Summer Science Exploration Ideas for Kids

Science surrounds us and summer offers the perfect time for families to explore science in action. Avoid the summer slump and try some of these suggestions for summer science adventures with your child. Most of these activities are low-cost or free, but be sure to check with your local library before heading out to learn about free and discount passes to museums and other local attractions.

1. Participate in a Citizen Science Project

Science is collaborate by nature, so join in and lend a hand by participating in a citizen science project. Project participants support scientific research by:

These are just a few of citizen science projects looking for volunteers and many welcome help from children working with the guidance of an adult. Search for other citizen science projects at Zooniverse and SciStarter.

2. Become a National Park Service Junior Ranger

With parks from Maine to California and everywhere in-between, the National Park Service offers an affordable option for hands-on summer science fun. Fourth grade students qualify for free annual park passes through the Every Kid in a Park program. The Junior Rangers Program gives kids the opportunity to explore nature, attend ranger guided programs, and complete activities for each park. If your budding park ranger completes a Junior Ranger Program, each park offers a patch or badge and a certificate of completion. Can’t visit a particular park? Visit the NPS’s on-line WebRangers page.

3. Visit a Science Center

There are many fabulous science museums that offer kids access to interactive learning opportunities. For those fortunate enough to be within driving distance to a NASA center, consider a visit. Learn about space exploration, aeronautics, and ongoing missions and discoveries. Many of the centers, including Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, welcome visitors and offer tours. If you can’t travel to a visitor center, then be sure to visit NASA Wavelength and explore the vast collection of educational resources NASA has to offer.

With centers across the nation, the Audubon Society provides outdoor adventure for all ages. Visit a sanctuary, go on a hike, and explore the local lands and wildlife. Many centers offer nature themed programs designed exclusively for children and families as well as summer camps. Centers are open to the public, but those with memberships may visit for free and receive discounts on programs and camps. Find an Audubon Center near you.

4. Try Hands-On Science Activities

Hands-on science activities at home are a great way to have some summer fun, spend family time together, and even learn a little something new. Science at home is affordable and typically can be conducted with household objects and resources. Follow your child’s lead and try experiments related to his or her interests. Get started with these science activities for kids or browse this collection of home science activities from Scientific American.

5. Star Watch

Grab a blanket and the bug spray and head outside for some star gazing. If possible, get away from light pollution, you will be amazed at what you can see once your eyes adjust to the dark on a clear night. Bring a star chart and try to locate a few stars, planets, constellations, and galaxies. Use binoculars to identify surface features of the moon. If that isn’t spectacular enough for your aspiring astronomer, try counting the number of “shooting stars” during a meteor shower. August’s Perseids meteor shower is a great one to enjoy on a warm summer evening. Check out this year’s not-to-miss celestial events to watch with kids.

Looking for more ideas for summer fun with your children? Be sure to read 100 Summer Activities for Kids!

10 Activities to Celebrate World Oceans Day


World Oceans Day is June 8th and there is still time to celebrate! Put on a blue shirt and forge ahead with these ten fun ways to celebrate World Oceans Day with your class or family.

1.
Skipper your crew to a World Oceans Day event in your area. From art contests to film festivals to hands-on exhibits, there are ocean activities taking place around the world.

2. Navigate your way to the World Oceans Day website and check out their last minute celebration ideas. Find ways to help keep plastic out of oceans and landfills with your students or family.

3. Google is charting new territory with its Oceans Street View images. Allow students to explore this stunning collection.

4. Set course to Adrift.org and challenge students to predict the path of floating pollution before they try this engaging interactive.

5. The Smithsonian has made great headway in compiling this diverse collection of ocean-related lesson plans for educators.

6. For landlubbers who can’t venture out to sea, dive into an ocean-themed book for a reading adventure worthy of the high seas. Get started with one of these nautical tales.

Nautical Novels and Seaworthy Stories
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Swimmy by Leo Lionni
Flotsam by David Wiesner
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater (Worksheet)
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (Worksheet)
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
Billy Budd by Herman Melville
The Pearl by John Steinbeck (Worksheet)
Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
The Odyssey by Homer (Worksheet)
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

7. Ahoy! Teachers, students, and families can join an Ocean Guardian Program and plan a school or community conservation project, submit ocean-themed artwork, stories, or poetry, and even become involved in diving!

8. If you are swamped with lesson planning, check out Help Teaching’s collection of pre-made, ocean-themed worksheets. Or, have your students try our online lessons on Ocean Vocabulary WordsOcean Zones, Tsunamis, or Tides.

9. Set your bearings to your local aquarium. Students of all ages will enjoy viewing and interacting with the amazing variety of sea life on display.

10. Head to the beach! What better way to celebrate World Oceans Day than by digging in the sand, discovering tide pools, and surfing the waves?

Have other suggestions for celebrating World Oceans Day with students and children? Share them in the comments! Read The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Science for more ways to invigorate your science curriculum and teaching.