BS Family

Why We Love Camping in the Yard

Love Camping in the YardSimple Summer Fun

Camping in the yard gets kids excited for a new experience while gradually acclimating them to sleeping somewhere other than their bed. When families camp in the year together, kids get to experience the feeling of camping in an environment that feels safe and familiar with people they’re used to.

It’s also a creative, fun, easy, and affordable way to have a family bonding experience and feel like you’re getting a change of scenery without having to commit to planning travel and accommodations. It’s the perfect stay-cation for busy families with limited time and resources! Not to mention, if you live in the suburbs like we do, you’re less likely to encounter ferocious bears and mountain lions, though you might see the occasional deer or fox!

Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a rural, wooded area near streams and ponds, be sure to plan plenty of outdoor activities you can do right in your own yard, like games of catch and Frisbee, to make up for the lack of fly fishing and hiking.

Here are some ideas to make your backyard camping trip a memorable, no fuss experience:

Set up a tent in the yard and fill it with your child’s familiar comforts, like a sleeping bag they’ve used before or an air mattress covered with their own bedding and favorite blanket

Make sure you have a lantern and/or flashlight inside the tent, along with books to read before going to sleep

If you have a firepit or a safe way to build a bonfire, then great! Roast hot dogs and marshmallows for an authentic campfire experience. Don’t forget to pack the skewers so nobody burns their fingers!

Bonus points for chocolate bars and graham crackers to make s’mores

If you don’t have a safe way to build a fire in your yard, setting tiki torches around the perimeter of your camping area (or even LED candles) improves the atmosphere nicely so that your kids aren’t terrified in the pitch dark. Even stringing lights from a tree would work!

Bonus points for sparklers!

Pack a cooler with anything you’d normally want with you: water and beverages, snacks, sandwiches… try to avoid returning inside the house as much as possible

Bonus points for real canteens!

Depending how much you want to get the experience of “roughing it,” returning inside to get ready for bed is optional: everyone can brush their teeth outside with bottled water and travel-size toothpaste and toothbrushes!

If you live in a busy or high-traffic neighborhood where the normal sounds would detract from your experience, bring a white noise machine inside your tent, or download a smartphone app that plays nature sounds like streams, waterfalls, and rainfall

Pack a bag with antibacterial hand wipes, paper towels, napkins, paper plates, plastic cups, and plastic utensils to truly replicate the al fresco experience

Have a bathroom-only rule for going in the house and explain to the kids that most campgrounds have a separate toilet facility that’s usually not immediately adjacent to your camp site (they might get a kick out of that if they’ve never been camping)!

Be sure to think of fun games to play (identifying constellations and making up stories about them), campfire stories to tell, or shadow puppet figures for flashlight fun

Don’t forget to pack some kind of wetness protection in case the excitement of sleeping somewhere “new” causes your child to wet the bed (er, sleeping bag). Pack an extra change of pajamas too, just in case.
Ready for Anything

Camping in the yard is sure to be an experience your kids will never forget, and it’s a great way to prepare them for an actual camping trip – whether with the family, a summer camp, or a friend’s family. After camping at home, your kids will feel ready for the wild!

Parenting – “The Power of Letting Go”

Parenting1My first child graduated from high school and I entered a new stage of parenting. The graduation process was a true personal growth opportunity for me and I had to learn to “let go”, just a little bit more. Watching my child navigate through the graduation journey gave me greater insight into the meaning of “training a child.”

Like many parents, my mission is to rear responsible, independent, and socially conscious children. During the months, days, and minutes leading up to graduation, I wanted to step-in and “demand” that she does things my way. It was challenging for me to watch my child do things the “hard way” when I thought I know of an easier more efficient way to get things done.

I relied on my faith, while implementing effective parenting skills. It was during this time I found myself encouraging her to build problem solving skills; while I stood on the sidelines. In the process of standing on the sidelines cheering, I found myself “listening” more and trusting her judgment. Throughout this process, I found peace by staying in the “here and now” and keeping an open heart.

Many of you may have experienced a range of emotions during graduation season, just know that this is only a moment in time. Enjoy and learn from each moment.

• Be Patient

• Breathe

• Don’t take the “I got it” personally

• Embrace the new relationship you are building with your child

• Just as you helped your child learn to walk, remain a steadying force in your child’s life

• Listen, Love, and Laugh

• Remember you once were your child’s age

This can be an exciting time in parenting. Similar to the birds, there comes a time to let the little birds fly. Be confident in the skills you have taught your child. Trust their ability to make good decisions. Of course, it is only natural to worry or feel anxious about your child’s well-being. It is during these times that you must remind yourself of the life lessons your child has learned. You will be surprised by what your child has learned from you. Continue to encourage their efforts has they enter into young adulthood.

Through this experience I have learned that my child needs me more, but only in a different way. Instead of “directing”, I am a “consultant” here for guidance. Embrace this new phase of parenting, and smile as your child explores new horizons.

How to Ease Your Children Pleasurably Into Adult Independence

Ease Your Children Pleasurably Into Adult IndependenceChildren grow up quicker than we realise and most, especially those leaving care, are still heavily dependent on support from the adults around them.

Here’s how parents and children can work together towards the child’s successful adult life.

Children learn most through play and interaction.

Ages 0-5: Keep a box of their favourite or new toys and books as the rewards for every time they learn a life skill. Make learning a game and fun to do.

If they don’t achieve the goal you had for them don’t give rewards until till they do otherwise they will not see the treat as a reward but take it for granted.

Ages 5-11: Start a token rewards system which they can swap for pocket money on payday. They can be rewarded for doing homework, housework, going to the shop for household items. This will give them a sense of self worth which in turn make them strive more towards independence, especially if you make it fun like racing to finish first. Think of how payday feels.

Teach them to recognise and control their emotions such as stress and anger from this age, to help them through their biological changes coming up. Suggest ways they can relax and work through their challenges. You can reward them for achieving this too.

11-16 year olds are now working towards GCSE so depending on what career or further studies they have in mind reward them with days in/out with their peers for the homework that leads to their goal.

Give them jobs that would give them the skills to enter their chosen field e.g. a little DIY. One boy I know wanted to design computer games for a career and had made a game at the age of 15 on his home computer and was playing it. Someone interested in computers would need art, maths and English with high scores to work towards their goal. Reward the homework in the relevant subject area and get them to design leaflets to share or even sell their product interests, to develop their chosen skill.

Have them go to, or create a club in their subject area. Interest motivates people to achieve their goals.

Use their interest to establish independence. An example would be buying and selling from home, e.g. computer games. This would teach them budgeting, time management, & social networking.

Open a bank account where they can have full control over their savings, and suggest voluntary weekend jobs that interest them.

The general idea is to develop their responsibility and life skills through their area of interest, as this will keep them motivated. The more independence they learn the less stress you and they will have when they flee the nest.

Things We Learned From Being Raised By Good Hearted Parents

To be kindEvery time I get asked what my parents is like, I could not think of the times they were angry at me nor the times I got reprimanded by them. It will always boil down to one thing, they are good-hearted individuals. They are far from being perfect as parents and as individuals. But they try to be good examples for us.

A great deal about having good-hearted parents is that they treat us right and that they inculcate the right values as we grow older. Here are some of the values I learned from them.

To be kind

To show kindness is to be considerate. I complain of the simplest inconvenience shoved my way. My mother may not scold me for being bratty, but she always reminds me that others have it worse. That is, I am luckier than some of the people. I am reminded of this every time I encounter difficult people to deal with. It has become a mantra that others are also fighting a battle that I am not aware of.

To forgive

There is no point in hating others because it is a double-edged knife. You can’t hate others without hurting yourself. At times when I hurt my parents for not appreciating the things they do for us, they don’t hold grudges. They forgive without me apologizing. It comes with being kind. So, I also learn to just let hard feelings go and not become a slave of hatred.

To be generous

If you have three brothers to share everything with, then you will really learn to be generous. Without our parents, my siblings and I will have a free for all mayhem to have the last bag of chips. But, our parents are such patient individuals to teach us the importance of generosity not only from among us but to others as well. The united duo says that being greedy, wouldn’t take us anywhere than hatred from others.

To love unconditionally

Share love and expect nothing in return. It is true that we cannot please everyone in this world. That is the reality I have to deal with. My parents, like the superheroes they are, came and saved me from that despair. They taught me to just show care and love, but do not expect something in return for love should be unconditional.

Our parents are still the best teachers and I am thankful for having such wonderful individuals who raised me right. Cheers!

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