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What are your kids doing this summer while you work? – 7 No Cost Tips

Are you having a hard time keeping your kids busy this summer while you fulfill your work responsibilities?

Here are several no-cost tips to help keep them busy while you accomplish your goals:

1. Check out programs at your local library.

There are often contests during the summer to encourage reading. Some libraries have a weekly or monthly movie afternoon and offer classes on a variety of subjects.

2. Plant something.

This is fun and costs nearly nothing. For example, use an old plastic cup (hammer a nail through the bottom a few times to make holes for drainage) and fill it with dirt from the yard. Then, grow a dandelion!

This may sound funny to plant one just for fun, but it’s very easy and grows fast. And for just a few cents, you can buy a packet of seeds.

3. Check for classes offered at local stores.

Call nearby gardening centers and craft stores. Often, they offer free, or very low cost, classes that appeal to both kids and parents.

4. Get your kids to help you.

If you work from home, look for various tasks to give to your children. Once they know the alphabet, you can have them alphabetize or file documents.

Fun jobs can include sticking mailing labels on envelopes, sorting papers, organizing your desk drawers, and shredding papers (if they are old enough to think safety first).

5. Review catalogs.
Save all the catalogs you receive. Then, have your kids go through them with a marker circling things they’re interested in.

Later on, you can look them together and review what they’ve found. If nothing else, you’ll have some great ideas for gifts your kids will be happy to receive.

6. Teach household chores.
Provide some lessons on tasks to do around the house. For example, you can show your children how to separate dirty clothes for the washing machine, fold clean clothes, set the table, dust, and water the plants.

Older children can do the laundry, load the dishwasher or make a simple meal. To make it fun, you can offer simple rewards for finished tasks that are completed in a timely manner.

7. Have children organize their room.
Try to turn this into a fun activity by providing a specific goal. For instance, have younger children place all their books, dolls, action figures, blocks, or other toys in a pile then sort through them by subject, color, characters, etc.

With older kids, give them a task (vacuum, dust, make the bed, take out the garbage, etc.) with specific deadline times. Then, reward each task accordingly. Maybe they collect a sticker for each accomplished task and then turn them in at the end of the month for an ice cream cone, CD, trip to the park, special family time, etc.

The summer months can be a fun and productive time for both you and your children. Be creative and think of ways to get your children involved in educational activities that will help them learn and grow.

And it doesn’t need to be difficult. Remember, just by conducting some research and planning activities in advance, you can save a lot of time, money and stress.

Mom Business Owners - 5 Ways to Increase Your Energy Fast

As a mother and entrepreneur, taking care of your family while dealing with the stress of running a business can really zap your energy.

To help you have enough oomph to go from sunrise to the late hours of the evening, here are five simple steps you can take now:

1. Exercise!

For many of you, this is the dreaded “E” word and not at the top of your priority list. But it doesn’t have to be.

If you hate the thought of going to the gym, find something that you like to do. There are many ways to get in shape such as: dancing, playing tennis, cycling, walking, swimming, taking yoga, and more.

Look for creative, fitness alternatives. After all, if you find an activity that you enjoy, it will be much easier to fit it into your daily routine.

And if this doesn’t work, find a workout buddy. Not only can you motivate each other, but you’ll get a much-needed break from family, work and life stressors.

And while you’re at it, try to set fitness goals. Whether you want to lose weight, build strength and stamina, play a better game of tennis, or even train for a marathon, even the simplest goals will help you get the healthy exercise you need each day to jumpstart your energy levels.

2. Snack Right!

Take a look at what you are eating each day. It can be very easy to grab a handful of candy without even thinking about it. And once you have an idea of where you need to make some changes, start small.

Where you would normally have a bag of chips, have a bowl of popcorn or low-fat crackers. Try an apple or banana instead of a candy bar. It can also help if you have your favorite fruit ready to go and sliced into small pieces.

By cutting out high-sugar snacks and replacing them with more healthy alternatives, you’ll give yourself an energy burst. Remember, it only takes a few changes to make a difference so you don’t need to transform your entire diet overnight.

3. Get Enough Rest!

It can be difficult to get enough sleep when you are worried about your children, business success, bills, and other time-consuming activities. However, sleep is essential if you want to have enough energy to accomplish all of your tasks and stay healthy.

In fact, according to the best-selling book, “You Staying Young,” by Michael F. Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet C. Oz, MD, “lack of sleep is associated with mental decline and overeating (which leads to major aging conditions).”

It’s a Catch-22, but you can get the shut-eye you need. To start, schedule your time accordingly. Designate a certain amount of time for reading e-mails, making calls and handling business priorities. Also write down your family schedule and leave room for last-minute activities and emergencies.

Then, try to go to bed at the same time each night. And if you can get up an hour or two before other members of your family, you’ll be able to get some work done and get a jumpstart on the day’s activities.

4. Prioritize!

Get the tough jobs done first. Focus on your most important tasks and finish them as soon as possible. This may be difficult, but it will allow you to move on to other activities without worrying about upcoming deadlines and unfinished work.

Also, try to get any extra projects done in advance. This will give you extra time for unscheduled activities and keep you ahead of schedule.

5. Get Organized!

With a crazy schedule, it can be very easy for things to get out of control fast. But if you are organized, you’ll have less stress.

For example, if you need something but know you’ll have to look through piles of things to get to it, you can feel run down just thinking about it. But if things are where they should be, you can sit down and get your tasks done without distraction.

These are just a few steps to help you have more energy and get on the fast-track to business success while raising a family.

It can be difficult to handle all of the responsibilities of being a mother and business owner. But by reviewing your current eating, exercise, sleep, and procrastination habits, you can start making simple changes to have an abundance of energy to get it all done!