3 Quality-Time Hacks for Working Moms

Like 60% of two-parent families in the U.S., both of my parents worked growing up. My mother was particularly busy since she had her own law practice and worked seven days a week. She often spent nights preparing for her client meetings, cooking, or helping with the occasional school project. But, for some reason, I never felt like my mom was too busy for me.

Many of my friends and my co-workers are working moms and they are constantly trying to strike the perfect balance between their work-life and their professional life. How can they be a hands-on mom and break the glass ceiling? How can they raise confident, self-aware kids that feel loved all while working 10+ hours at a charter school or while their dealing with the stressors of medical school?  When I reflected on my own childhood, I realized that my mother had the same dilemma but used some of these life-hacks that almost made it seem like I had a full-time mom.

1. Mommy & Me Day

I have two brothers and each of us had our own”Mommy and Me Day.” I always looked forward to my turn. Whether it meant going to a client meeting with my mother as her ‘assistant’, going to the park, or going to Burger King and a movie, I loved Mommy and Me Day. I didn’t always get to share the cool things that I did at school every single day, but I didn’t get upset because I knew I’d have a lot to share when it was my Mommy and Me Day. This is a tradition we continued through elementary school that quelled our sibling rivalries and created some of the best memories I have with my mother. So, whether it’s going to the park, getting a mani-pedi, or a Barnes and Nobles/Starbucks trip (my personal favorite) Mommy and Me Day is perfect for busy parents to create lasting memories or traditions with their kids.

2. Secret Diary

This mom-hack comes from my favorite elementary school teacher, Mrs. Feibus. I remember her as a caring, calm, talented- and super busy teacher with three kids. One day during share circle Ms. Feibus said that she worried about missing her il_570xn-852757315_7uejdaughter’s school events and not spending a lot of time wither her because of their mix-matched schedules. But then she told us about their secret diary- just for her and her daughter. “No boys allowed,” she said. This way, they could share details about their day, her daughter would tell her secrets, plus they both received the physical and mental health benefits that come along with journaling. This is something that I often suggest for my parents who work the graveyard shift. Those who have tried said that they look forward to picking up the journal during their lunch breaks and noticed that it helped improve their child’s reading and writing too!

3. If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em! 

This is one of my favorite mom-hacks, especially for those who are struggling to connect with their pre-teen and teenaged boys. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard “all he wants to do is play video games” when it comes to the boys spending time with their family. It may seem weird or even silly at first but you might actually end up having a lot of fun! After finally playing a game of Call of Duty with her animated-family-playing-video-game-13765868eighth-grader, one of my school-moms was so delighted to overhear her son bragging to his friends about how fast she picked it up. Whether it’s Call of Duty, FIFA, playing basketball, or watching a reality T.V. show, participating in something that your child likes to do is a great way to bond with them on their terms. And, you might even find a new hobby in the process!

 

Are you a busy parent? What do you do for quality time with your kids? Comment below or tell me on Twitter!

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3 Ways to Get Your Child Reading Without Books

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“Put down that game and pick up a book!” Sound familiar? You’ve either heard it as a child or you’ve said it as a parent. If your kid hasn’t found their favorite series or genre yet or if your child, like many kids across the world, have trouble reading, getting them to read at school and at home can be quite a feat. But, whether your child struggles with reading or reads all the time, these three strategies will have them reading all the time without even realizing! 

1. Comics

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, “comic books are toys.” And, yes, comic books are riddled with fart sounds, bright colors, and cartoons, but, they also provide many academic benefits.  Not only do comics get hesitant and developing readers excited about reading, comic books also help kids learn about specific topics (especially in science and history), and helps them understand dialogue and point of view. Don’t know where to start? Classic Marvel series and the hilarious Captain Underpants Series (my childhood favorite) were popular picks in my classroom library. You can check this list of kid-friendly comics as well.

 

2. Closed Captioning 

During my Parent Teacher conferences this suggestion often left my students very excited and left their parents very skeptical. Nonetheless, closed captioning, or using subtitles while watching T.V., can help improve your child’s literacy in many ways. Believe it or not, closed captioning does more than force your child to read the words at the bottom of the screen. The words help early readers match words with sounds, helps them with spelling, and helps early readers with word identification. Some studies even show that closed captions help the viewer read faster and pick up more vocabulary words.

 

3. Cooking

Like board games, cooking with your child goes way beyond just improving your their reading level. Not only do you get a chance to bond, but you’re teaching an important life skill at the same time. As far as reading is concerned, following a recipe allows kids to put events in chronological order (sequencing) and helps them pick up more vocabulary words; two very important parts of reading comprehension in grades 1-3. Not to mention that sight words like ‘in’, ‘under’, ‘a’, ‘to’, and many other ‘must know’ words for young readers appear over and over again in recipes and provide great practice.

 

What are some creative ideas you use to get your child reading? Comment below or tell me on Twitter!