Mommy/Kid/Teens &Tweens

Staying ON Track With Home School and Online Learning

A guide for parents To organize life during mandatory shutdown due to the Corona Virus Pandemic.

It’s been a rough year for all of us. Some of us went from being happily employed to being unemployed the next day amid this COVID 19 break out. The biggest adjustment I think has been for parents who now have to work or work from home and also adopt a new role as teachers . As an essential worker, I myself have had to juggle my job, housework, grocery shopping, laundry and teaching the kiddos. I do have to applaud the teachers though because everything else is easy peezy but teaching kids who think they know more than you is very challenging. And for the record for all the teachers that are reading this…clap clap eyes on me( and the entire class shuts up and pays attention to the teacher)… does not work at home! Here are some easy tips for both working moms/dads and stay at home moms and dads to help get organized for distance learning.

Dedicated Housework Time

Housework seems to take most time in my opinion. And right now with the kids at home I’m sure there is more than normal amount of housework that piles up. While we are trying to accommodate online learning at home, it’s very important to have a dedicated day or two for housework housework. For instance, Monday is my cleaning day since I work on the weekends. For a lot of parents out there who work Monday through Friday, Friday might be a good day to tidy up the entire house, get the laundry done etc. This will help you free up some time on the weekend to organize schoolwork and plan rest of the week. It will also help create some time for rest and relaxing before another busy week. I know most of us are probably really tired on Fridays. However, if you can just gather some strength to tackle some housework before bed, it will really help you stay on top of things for the following week. Also, don’t forget to delegate chores, especially if you have older kids at home. Pay them, bribe them or whatever but any help is better then no help!

Wake Up Early

For those of you who are working from home, or are stay at home parents it’s essential to wake up early to stay ahead of the task throughout the day. I know we are at home and we like to sleep in. However, I have learned over and over again that when I wake up late we run behind on things all day long. Even though we are home, try to stay on your normal schedule as much as possible. I usually wake up early, get all the housework done, do my exercise and make breakfast before waking up the kids. That way when the kids do wake up we can have breakfast and focus on online learning for a good 2 to 3 hours.

Download Apps

Download your kids apps that they are using for online learning on your phone. That way you can check what assignments the kids have to do and if they are even keeping up with their assignments. If you’re still working, you can keep track of all the work that is required of them from work and send them reminders throughout the day if they still have not completed them. Write out all Zoom meeting times so that everyone knows when to be online.

Stay In The Loop With Teachers

The teachers send several emails throughout the day. Make sure you read them and jot down important dates and information. Write out a general schedule of each of your child’s class and post them in the study area where they can see it and follow it every day. For my kids I have made a general schedule of what is expected on a daily basis from each of their teachers including which days they have their zoom meetings online. I look at their Google classroom frequently to see what is due and if there are any messages from the teachers.

Get Into A Routine And Try To Stick To It

Try sticking to your normal school time routine as much as you can. For us, one of our teachers has a daily zoom meeting at 9am. My daughter wakes up early everyday and gets ready like she is going to school for her meetings. I try to have breakfast ready to go for them by the time they get downstairs. After breakfast, it zoom meetings and solid 2-3 hours of online study time divided by the two of them. Face it…. we as parents will never be able to keep our kids undivided attention like their teachers do. So dedicate a few hours in the morning for study time and use the rest of the time learning other subjects and and life skills. If you need ideas on some quality learning activities with you kiddos, check out my recent blog Surviving Mandatory School Closures With Older Kids.

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Surviving Mandatory School Closure With Older Kids

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So by now the entire country must be under mandatory school closures due to COVID 19 pandemic. With all entertainment, airlines, shops, restaurants closed, what can you do to keep kids entertained at home? If you want them to roll their eyes and moan and groan then tell them to read a book! This unfortunate event might in fact be a chance for parents to spend some quality time at home and take time off from the normal hassle and bustle. Parents can really take this opportunity to teach kids new things. This may be the time to bake those cupcakes with the kiddos that you never had the time to do so. I know this is a very challenging time for all but here are some cool things to do with your kids at home and make the most of this time together.

1)Learn to SEW

Sewing is a fun and fast disappearing skill that must be taught to kids. There are plenty of online videos to teach kids basic sewing skills on you tube. Check out two of my two favorite videos.

make easy scrunchies

2) Learn LOOM Knitting

Knitting can be frustrating for kids. Last Christmas I bought my daughter a loom yarn kit and she loves it. It is very easy to use and you can make tons of stuff from beginning hats and scarfs to more advanced things like bags and slippers. This is a nice beginner loom kit https://amzn.to/2WsHipN. Also here is a nice beginner video on loom knitting.

3) Quilling Paper Art

This is something that I have always wanted to learn to do. I have seen finished projects of quilling art and they are just stunning. This is a very delicate art and will keep kids busy for hours!

4) Cooking/Baking

This is a great time to teach kids to cook or bake. When my girls are out of school in the summer time I have them help in the kitchen and have them chop things up or do simple cooking like cooking rice in the rice cooker. This is a good time to teach kids traditional/ cultural cooking. For instance I teach my girls to make ROTI( Indian tortillas), curry and Indian sweets.

One thing I know my kids would enjoy is cake decorating or cookie decorating. Check out these basic decorating videos. Also check out creativebug.com for more ideas.

5) Teach Them Life Skills

For all of you who have college bound kids this is a good time to teach them things that will be helpful when they get to college. And even for the younger ones, you can teach them simple things like making their beds, tidying their rooms/closets, washing clothes. Here Is a list of things that you can teach kids and get help around the house at the same time😉.

  • How to use the rice cooker
  • How to do laundry the proper way and put them away.
  • How to clean the house
  • How to wash dishes/turn on dishwasher
  • How to wash the car
  • How to change tires( for older kids)
  • Car maintenance…oil change etc
  • Learn to cook simple dishes
  • Learn about financial security/saving ( for times like this)
  • Learn how the Stock market works( great time to teach them since everyone is looking at it closely right about now).

6) Cultural Teachings

This is the perfect time to teach kids things from your own culture. Some examples are:

  • Second language lesson
  • Cultural music lesson
  • Cultural cooking
  • Cultural dance
  • Cultural art

7) Learn a MUSICAL instrument

With the school closed, all extracurricular activities are also closed. Many activities such as music lessons are now being offered online via live videos. Most places are also offering discounts so this would be a good opportunity to either learn a new instrument or help the already talented musicians in your house get some private lessons.

8) Pottery/Arts and Craft

Just like music lessons, a lot of craft places are also offering lessons online. CreativeBug https://www.creativebug.com is a online crafting school associated with Joan’s Fabric and it offers full length crafting videos on pretty much any craft you can think of. Currently they are offering 2 month free trial so check them out.

9) Gardening

California is currently being drenched with rain. This is the time of the year that I start my gardening especially my vegetable garden. Take advantage of the sunny days (when you have them) and take the kids out to garden. Take the time to teach them how to get ready for planting, when to plant what, essential insects, bad ones too and how to get rid of them. Organic gardening in also in right now. Let them have their own section in the garden so they can be responsible for what they plant.

10) But Most Importantly.….

Enjoy this time together as a family. We are so busy in our lives all the time and this may be the time we have longed for …. to slow down and appreciate those around us. Tomorrow is not promised to us so love and cherish these moments and all those around us. Take care and stay safe.

Please send me comments on how you are coping through this COVID 19 pandemic.

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Fighting The Stomach Bug

The tips below are from my personal experience and meant to be for informational purpose only. Please seek advise from professional MD for guidance in case of any illness. All opinions are mine and not part of any paid partnership.

Nothing rips you apart more than seeing your child wail in pain, cry, dry heave and run to the bathroom several times and throw up their guts hour after hour. This is a common scene when one has the “stomach bug”. We have had enough of our share of this nasty bug to know that early and aggressive treatment is the key to containing it and getting rid of it.

The stomach bug more commonly known as the stomach flu and medically termed Viral Gastroenteritis, is a horrendous illness that gives its victims excruciating stomach pain, cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, loss of appetite, fever, chills, and dehydration. It is extremely contagious and you can count on the rest of the family contracting it if one has already fallen victim.

The first time we encountered this illness was when we were vacationing in Canada at a family reunion. My elder child naturally gets sick first as her hand hygiene tends to be not so great. I recall that she got sick late at night and would wake up with immense stomach pain which will be followed by her running to the bathroom to throw up. Then came the diarrhea. It got so bad that she could not control it, she would just poop in her sleep sometimes. I remember taking down the bedsheets and throwing them in the washer hour after hour tirelessly. She was throwing up so much that we got concerned about dehydration. However, every time we gave her something to eat or drink she would immediately throw It up. The cycle of throwing up and cleaning up continued for 24 hours. Between the cleaning and tending to my child, I did not have much time to research what was going on. I had exhausted all the medications that I had brought with me. Luckily I had got some anti emetic from my pediatrician for some reason I cannot remember now but at least whenever she was able to keep it down, it allowed her to sleep off her misery. By the end of day two, her stomach ache was beginning to subside and she was asking for food. We started encouraging foods that was appetizing to her and a lot of water and Gatorade. By the end of day three it was looking like we were in the clear from this horrible nightmare. But lo and behold, the entire household full of family got sick one after another.

Right after my daughter, it was naturally I who got sick especially after handling all the poopy bedsheets and being thrown up on. I have never ever been so sick in my life till that day and I felt so horrible for what my daughter had gone through just two days prior. My poor baby had suffered so much pain and now I was experiencing first hand what she went through. As my condition worsened, I spent most of the day clenching my stomach in fetal position in bed, running to the bathroom to throw up and poop. Any tiny bit of sleep that I got helped ease the pain but would start up as soon as my stomach knew I was awake. The diarrhea made it worse. My husband trying to feed me was no help….I did not want to see or smell food. Finally a medical professional in the family suggested some medication from the Canadian Pharmacy that was similar to the anti emetic just…..so much more powerful in milligrams and in my opinion the holy grail for us surviving the stomach flu! This medication allowed me to sleep longer helping me pass the hours to get to the 48 hour mark. We knew now that the ‘bug” at least ran a 48 hour course and then recovery period would occur. So my goal for the rest of the day was to sleep this virus. By the second day I was fatigued but now able to get out of bed. I had to because there was an important family function that needed to be attended to. At first I thought I was not going to make it. I pushed my self to sit and drink some black tea and eat plain toast. To my amazement, the bread made me felt better, enough to where I was able to attend the function for about an hour or so. On day 3 I was 99 % back to normal. I did my research on this stomach flu as my younger daughter and husband were yet to be infected. Here are some tips that I have learnt from our experience. Please keep in mind that the medications mentioned above were either prescription or ones that I used with my own discretion and precaution. I highly suggest to consult your physician before use of any medication either for yourself or your children.

Tips For Fighting Off the Bug

These tips are applicable to both adults and children.

  1. Be prepared for the sickness to last at least 72 hours. The first 12 hours is rough with continuous vomiting and diarrhea.
  2. When your child starts throwing up, your first instinct will be to give them more food. Don’t! Their stomach are under turmoil and cannot tolerate any food.
  3. Dehydration is always of concern especially with vomiting and diarrhea. It’s ok to encourage sips of water and Gatorade but don’t be surprised if they throw that up also.
  4. Don’t worry if your child has not eaten anything for sometime. It’s ok. Believe me,. when they start recovering, they will be asking for food themselves. And be prepared when they do because they will be super hungry from all the diarrhea and throwing up!
  5. When you do start solids, offer bland foods such as toast with butter, bananas, black tea, soups, crackers, jello, rice. AVOID milk products. STOP eating if nausea returns and try again in a few hours.
  6. SLEEP SLEEP SLEEP. Sleeping the flu off is your best alternative. Sleeping can be hard with all the throwing up. Seek medical advise to see if an antiemetic can be prescribed so that your child can get some relief. There are also some herbal antiemetics available over the counter that work well too.
  7. Once your child starts showing signs of recovery (usually end of day 2) start encouraging lots of fluids to recover from dehydration and also to help flush the bug out of the system.
  8. By day 3 you should see almost complete signs of recovery. If you don’t please seek medical advice.
  9. In the meantime, it is very important to contain the virus so that the rest of the family does not catch it. Wash all beddings, disinfect all surfaces, clean the bathrooms and anything else your child might have come in contact with. I usually disinfect the entire house including door knobs and light switches to be on the safe side.
  10. WASH WASH WASH your hands at all times. Try to also wipe your child’s hands frequently with antibacterial wipes to reduce the spread of the virus.
  11. Try to isolate the sick child in one area/bedroom with their own bathroom. This will help contain the virus. And whoever the main caretaker of the child is , must take extra precaution making sure that they are not spreading the virus all over the house. Make sure they are taking frequent showers and washing their hands. If at all possible, have a different member of the house be in charge of food prep for a few days to minimize the spread of the virus.

I Hope this information from my personal experience is of some benefit to you. Stay well and stay safe and please feel free to leave a comment.

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Popular Books To Read For Elementary School Kids

Kids these days are reading all sorts of neat books. I love going to the Scholastic book fairs at school just to check out all the new reads that they have for the kids. My girls are always talking about new books that their friends are reading, or what their teachers and librarians are sharing with them. There are so many fantastic books out there that really grab the kids’ attentions and gets them to love reading like you want them to. Reading is really important as we all know but getting these kids to enjoy reading can be a huge challenge. My second grader loves to read books versus my third grader who gets through the first three chapters and gives up on the book because it’s too much reading or she cannot see the pictures of what is in the story in her head. Even though kids should read at the grade level some may not be ready. It is important to find books that keep their interest going so that they can keep reading the entire book and continue to embrace the love for reading. If your child is not interested in reading don’t give up. Here are some tips to revive your child’s lost interest in reading.

1) Choose books that are appropriate.

My second grader wanted to read chapter books like her sister but wasn’t quite ready for them. So we found books that were like chapter books but With a lot fewer chapters. This helped her finish the book and made her feel like an accomplished reader. I find books like Nancy Clancy, Katie Woo, Owl diaries are easy to read, entertaining, engaging and age-appropriate mini chapter books for Elementary school kids.

2) Pick Books That Are In Line With Your Child’s Interests.

Pick books that your child already has a interest in. Whether they are into princesses, trucks, fairies, they are more likely to read if they are already interested in the subject. For instance my second grader loves to read fantasy character books such as fairies and princesses and my 3rd grader loves books about history, science, and the world around us.

3) Take Them To The Library

Make a point of taking the kids to the library once a week or a few times a month. Sit there with them, go through books look at books, pick out books. Even if they don’t bring a book home to read, the fact that they went to the library and sat down and flip through a book or a magazine gives them a feel for what it feels like to read a book. And who knows maybe they will decide to bring a book home to read. As parents we need to foster positive learning habits. If we don’t take them to the library, if we don’t read with them, they will not learn these habits. Also reading to them doesn’t mean reading a book every single night when they go to bed. We used to do this but as the kids got older and and life got busier with after school activities, we were too exhausted to read at night. However we do make a point of reading in other ways. Such as sometimes I will make them read the headlines on the evening news report while we are sitting and watching the news. Or will flip through a magazine at the doctors office and we would be together.

4) You Don’t Have To Read A Book All The Time.

Be creative with the reading material. When you get the Sunday paper, pull out the comics section and let them read the comics. Grab a new magazine such as the National Geographic, or the girls world magazine once in a while and use that as your reading material for the month. Make them read the roadsigns on the way to school or on that long never ending road trip! For some kids, like mine, reading can be really exhausting. Audiobooks is another great option for kids who lose interest after reading a few chapters. My third grader has been reading the Laura Ingalls wilder books, but very easily lose interest because the chapters along and there are a few pictures in there. To help her out I ordered some audiobooks from the library for her to listen to on her chrome book. I figured if The books were being read to her that would be less and work involved on her part so all she would have to do was follow the words with her eyes. This has been helping her get through her chapter books to the end and it has also been helping her with comprehension, actually understanding what the book is about rather than just reading it to get to the last chapter. There are many options for audiobooks. Audible from Amazon is one option if you have Amazon prime however if you check out your local library they have audio books online we use hoopla. It’s available from my local library. All I have to do is download the app,

Set An Example

I have to force my self to read. I used to be an avid reader in school however life happened during adulthood and reading took a back step. However as parents we all know now whatever behavior we model, the kids will pick them up also. So the last time we were at the library, I also picked out a book for myself. The girls were quite surprised to see an adult reading. Now when the girls read, I sit and read next to them.Sometimes we have friendly challenges like who can read for the longest.

Reading no doubt is very important for kids, we just need t get a little creative about it to keep the interest alive.

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Home Remedy: Cold Cough and Stuffy Noses

Home Remedy: Cold Cough and Stuffy Noses

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Indian folks have tons of home remedies that they have used for several generations. Some remedies still work for my family others make me raise my eyebrow in skepticism. It is really breaks my heart when those little noses become stuffy and they flop around in bed like a fish out of water trying to breath and sleep at the same time . Besides using MD prescribed and over the counter medications, here are some home remedies that help my children get through the flu season. Folks these are home remedies that you can try in addition to your child’s physician’s recommendations. These are by no means to replace the expert advise of someone who has been to 10 plus years of school and has more credentials behind their last name then the number of likes this post will ever get. Listen to your physician first! And do not use if your child is sensitive or you suspect they might be sensitive to any of the ingredients in these home remedies.

1. The Homemade Diffuser.

Growing up whenever anyone was sick at home it was a common sight to find him or her seated under a light sheet with a pot of boiling hot water with the lid slightly propped to let the steam mixed with Vicks vapor rub come through. I remember sitting under the sheets for which seemed like an eternity and coming out of all sweaty and wet. But one thing was for sure, my nose and sinuses were no longer congested after the vapor bath. The key to the vapor bath is boiling hot water. I usually keep a separate pot that I use just for this. Fill it half way and let it boil. I am blessed to have a beautiful lemon tree so I like to put a few lemon leaves in the pot as it boils. You could also add a few slices of fresh lemon after the water has boiled. Keep the lid on at all times to prevent the vapor from escaping. Once the water has finished boiling , I take the pot into a room that is small enough so that I can close it up to keep all the vapor in…..my guest bathroom works great for this. Using a teaspoon, scoop out a good heaping of Vicks vapor run and add it to the water. I also like to add essential oils. My favorites are Plant Therapy’s Germ Fighter (cheaper version of thieves but works the same) https://amzn.to/37vMmfi, peppermint https://amzn.to/36mHrwY, and Guru Nanda’s breathe easy https://amzn.to/36eKB5Q . Be careful not to add too much of these as it can make the eyes water as the steam hits them. I usually keep the pot lower and let the kids sit close to it. After adding all the fixings, I close the door and have my kids stir the pot with a wooden spoon(be carful of the hot water). This allows the steam to rise and because the room is so small we don’t need a blanket over us to contain the steam. I make the girls close their eyes and breath through their noses as much as possible. Also keep tissues available so that they can keep blowing their noses and getting the yuck out. I do this every night before shower time while they are sick. It really helps clear out their congestion so that they can sleep well.

Use old pots and rags and maintain a safe distance

2.Stubborn Cough or Sore Throat

For a cough or sore throat that won’t go away I give the kids honey, lemon, black pepper, apple cider vinegar mixture to help sooth their throats and suppress the cough. For the mixture add together:

  • 2 TBSP of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper ( my kids don’t like the pepper but you can add more if you like)
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider Vinegar

This should make like a thick paste. I usually let the girls eat it with a spoon and tell them to swallow it slowly so that is coats their throats. I used this recipe when I had lost my voice for several days after a cold and it worked like a charm each time! Please DO NOT give honey to babies less than 1 year old. This is recipe should be used for kids 6 years and older.

3. Vicks Vapor Rub

Vicks Vapor rub is the savior of cold and flu season. I love lathering up the kids with Vicks vapor rub when they are sick. They often run away when they see me walking towards then with a tiny blue tub because they hate it when the scent of Vicks hits their eyes. There are few different scents now available at the drug stores such as Levander and lemon however I prefer the classic scent https://amzn.to/2M4841D. Also do not buy the knock off brands….they don’t have the same strong scent that is needed to clear up little congested noses. Throughout the day and especially when they are going to bed at night, I mix the Vicks vapor rub with coconut oil ( baby oil or any other oil you use for skin is ok also) and rub it on their chests, around their necks. Then I apply it to their legs and back and give them a mini massage to relax the sore muscles. Take the oil and Vicks rub and massage their head too. This is long time generation to generation method of healing the cold so we don’t argue with this method and just do it. Don’t worry the Vicks and oil comes out easily with shampoo. Lastly I take good heaping of the Vicks and rub it on the soles of the feet and their feet are nice and warm. Place a nice warm fuzzy sock on their feet and tuck them in for bed. For added comfort for the little noses I turn on the humidifier (warm steam kind)https://amzn.to/2PsDf8O and add Vicks vapor steam liquid to it https://amzn.to/36IDJxn.

I hope you have found the above remedies helpful. Let me know if you have anything else that you use that works well. Take care.

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