How to Use the Internet to Keep Kids Happy, Busy, and Learning This Winter

How to Use the Internet to Keep Kids Happy, Busy, and Learning This Winter

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When kids are stuck inside over the winter, you know all too well how restless they can get. As a parent, you need to find ways to keep them busy, but you also want them to have fun, get some exercise and learn. How to do all that indoors? Go online and check out the millions of resources that are right at your fingertips. Here are just a few ideas for skills kids can learn online.

Learn New Art Skills

Kids often doodle when they’re bored, so why not spend some time doing online art lessons to really explore their creative abilities? With online drawing lessons, children can learn the basics of drawing using different materials. Once they have more experience, they can delve into more advanced drawing techniques like portraits and cartoons. Drawing is about more than creativity, although creativity in itself is an important part of learning that allows kids to appreciate the beauty and think outside the box. A drawing also sharpens children’s fine motor skills and builds neural connections.

Learn an Instrument

The internet is a great resource for kids to learn an instrument because they can take lessons at their own pace without ever having to leave home. Learning to play an instrument from home also gives you more choices so you don’t have to worry about finding an instructor in your area. The saxophone is an incredibly fun instrument for kids, but getting started with lessons and finding the right instrument can be confusing if you’re new to it. Start by looking at the types of saxophones and the differences in each one. The alto saxophone is the most common choice for beginners, but you may also want to consider the size and the style of music your child likes best when deciding whether a tenor, bass, or soprano sax would be a good option.

Learning an instrument is one of the best all-around educational activities for children, and the long, cold days of winter are ideal for taking the time to practice. After all, music instruction isn’t a one-time activity. It takes perseverance and commitment, so winter is a great time for kids to focus on this new skill with fewer distractions.

Learn to Dance

Kids may not go out to play as much over the winter, but they still need exercise. Not only is activity important for physical health, but they will also be happier and better behaved if they’re able to get some energy out. Childhood 101 features some of the best YouTube channels for brain breaks—those times when children need just a short break to get moving so they can refocus. These videos work for longer exercise sessions too and give kids an introduction to different types of movement that may spark a new interest. They may discover an interest in ballet, yoga, or hip-hop, which you can encourage so they can enjoy their new activity all winter long.

Learn STEM

The educational buzzword these days is STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. That’s because today’s kids will be going into careers that involve innovation in these fields more than ever. One of the best ways for children to truly “see” and experience science is by conducting their own experiments. The internet is full of ideas for fun and easy science experiments you can do from home, like this Rainbow Magic Milk experiment from Earth Science Jr. The best thing about doing experiments is that the process of learning how they work leads to new questions, so children can keep exploring the science behind what they see. You can even make game time a way for kids to engage in STEM learning with science games from PBS Kids.

Between STEM, the arts, and physical fitness, the internet is a great resource for educational opportunities your kids will love. Use these ideas as a springboard for exploring the online world with them this winter. When they start to feel bored, encourage them to branch out from their current interests and try something new to keep learning fresh and fun.


Photo credit: Pexels

Parent-to-Parent Advice: How People with Disabilities Can Prepare for Parenthood

Parent-to-Parent Advice: How People with Disabilities Can Prepare for Parenthood

By: Ashley Taylor

  

Nearly 1 in 5 Americans have a disability. If you are one of them, you probably have many questions about starting a family of your own when you are differently abled than other parents. Luckily, regardless of ability, there are many ways to achieve your dream of being a parent and giving your child a happy, healthy, loving home.

Here’s some parent-to-parent advice on how to prepare your home – and your life – parenthood when you also have a disability:

Planning for Parenthood

There are many things to consider when planning for parenthood. If you have a genetic condition, it’s understandable to worry about passing it on to your child. Talking to your doctor can alleviate fears and help you understand what to expect.

Just like able-bodied parents, there are options available for you if you are struggling to conceive.The success and availability of in vitro fertilization have given hope to many infertile couples who have not been able to conceive. Since 1978, 5.4 million babies have been born worldwide with the help of IVF. Although you’ll want to plan in advance and save money for IVF treatments, it might be worth it for the chance to finally hold your own baby in your arms.

Whether you’re concerned about passing on a genetic condition or whether you’ve been struggling to conceive, adoption is also an option for you. Having a disability does not automatically disqualify you from adoption, although it might limit the countries or faith-based adoption services you can work with. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you are empowered to make the choice to adopt, if you decide that’s what’s best for your family.

Home Preparation

Making some home modifications can help create a safer space for your future children as well as for yourselves. Both you and your child will thrive in a home that is safe and comfortable for all family members, regardless of ability.

One of the simplest and most low-cost ways to modify your home is to ensure that it is well-lit and that all pathways are clear of hazardous objects that may cause falls, trips, slips, or injuries. For those with limited wrist mobility, you could replace door knobs with door handles, which will also be beneficial for those living with arthritis or carpal tunnel.

Other modifications make childcare easier and more accessible. For instance, if you’re in a wheelchair, you might consider purchasing accessible furniture. Many options are available for parents with disabilities these days, including wheelchair-friendly cribs and baby changing carriers. When it comes to carrying your child, you could use a sling or purchase a specialized carrier that attaches directly to your wheelchair.

Finding Support

From worrying whether your child might inherit a genetic condition to having concerns about prenatal and postnatal health, the journey into parenthood is slightly different for all of us. As you plan for your future family, there might be unexpected worries, questions, or other situations that pop up along the way.

During each of these scenarios, it’s important to realize that you’re not alone; there are many, many other parents who’ve experienced something similar. It’s important to surround yourself with supportive loved ones, friends, and family. Join support groups and online communities for other disabled parents. You might even check to see if government assistance is available in your area.

In many respects, being a parent with a disability is very much like any other parent. Just because you are differently abled doesn’t mean you will love your children any differently. Parents and children come in all shapes, sizes, abilities, and personalities – and none of them are perfect. As long as you love and care for your children and find a parenting style that works for your family, you will be the best possible parent you can be.

Photo courtesy of Pexels by Pixabay