Category: Being Your Best Parent

How STEM camps fill summer learning gaps

*SPONSORED POST BY ID TECH*

You’re familiar with summer brain drain, right? Perhaps your community calls it "the summer slide" or chooses to combat it with programs boasting “summer brain gain,” or other fun plays on words. 

No matter how you refer to the phenomenon, it’s real. And when it comes to STEM, it’s a lot more prevalent than you may have originally thought. With such “summer learning loss,” kids leave school to enjoy their time off, and in doing so, leave their textbooks a...

Posted on March 20, 2018 at 8:35 AM

Why I'm not saving for my son's college education

It was February 2016—less than three months before our son was born—when my wife and I attended NPN’s Preparing for Parenthood: Workshops & Expo at the Erikson Institute. Among the people we spoke with during that event was someone from Bright Start College Savings. As we flipped through the pamphlets on the table separating us from this man in a bright orange shirt, he explained how 529s (“tax-advantaged savings plans that help put money toward your future student’s education” if you...

Posted on March 13, 2018 at 1:03 PM by Matt Beardmore

How to do Disney World and Disneyland right with kids in tow

Planning a Disney vacation can be an overwhelming experience filled with a mixture of excitement and angst. Here are some tips I’ve learned over our many trips to Disneyland (DL) and Walt Disney World (WDW).

Have a loose plan. Choose two to three things you want to accomplish each day, then go from there. I get input from my family then sketch out a general plan. You will definitely see and do more, but this allows you to plan FASTPASSES (line shortcut, free with your ticket). Consider...

Posted on January 23, 2018 at 7:44 AM by Christina Hollister

Setting personal goals is even more important when you're a parent

It was a Sunday afternoon last month and I found myself doing something I rarely get the chance to do: laying on the living room couch in a silent house. With our young son asleep in the other room, I was mindlessly flipping channels looking for something, anything, to keep my mind off the fact I had no workout planned. For the previous six months, I started every day looking at my workout log and preparing myself to meet that day's challenge. I followed that routine as close as the rest ...

Posted on January 03, 2018 at 7:00 AM by Matt Beardmore

When you're an introverted parent with an extroverted child

There are characteristics I hope I can pass along to my 17-month-old son—my honesty, work ethic and reliability are a few. Preferring to be in the background in social situations is not one of those characteristics. Thankfully, he doesn’t seem to be following in daddy’s footsteps in that regard as no matter whether he’s with my wife and me at music or French class, the local playground, or NPN’s Fright-Free Halloween Fest, he always seems to be in the middle of the action, chatting with a...

Posted on November 08, 2017 at 12:57 PM by Matt Beardmore

How was your day? Tips on talking to your kids about school

When you ask your kids the question, “How was school today?”, count yourself lucky if you get an “OK” or “fine.” As parents, we all want to know: Are they having fun? Are they playing nicely with others? Are they nurturing healthy relationships with their friends and peers? And the one that worries us the most, Are they eating lunch? Every day, tons of us suffer from not being able to communicate effectively with our children. As a mother of three and a parent educator, I’ve had to learn ...

Posted on October 30, 2017 at 8:46 AM by Nilmari Donate

When parents fight on the playground

It was Father’s Day morning, so I took our 13-month-old to the park for a little father-son bonding. It was early, so I was surprised to see a few families already camped out near our favorite pieces of equipment. What I wasn’t surprised to see was one mom with a phone pressed against her ear and paying little to no attention to her young son. If you’ve read my blog, you know one of my pet peeves is parents focusing on their phones instead of their children, so the sight of this woman on ...

Posted on August 02, 2017 at 2:18 PM by Matt Beardmore

6 ways to teach your child a foreign language this summer

Worried your child might be losing her immersion language skills over the summer? Are you teaching your family language and eager to find new ways to connect your child to your family language? Parents of children learning other languages, whether through school, nannies or family, will find these ideas helpful to give their kids critical language exposure and support their development this summer.


Get books! You can find bilingual books and books in world languages at your local...

Posted on July 06, 2017 at 10:26 AM

5 tax breaks every parent should know about

While it may feel like children require an outpouring of funds, here are several child-related tax breaks that may allow you to save some on your taxes. 

1. Dependent exemption: You are entitled to a personal exemption for each person claimed on your return. For 2017 this means you reduce your taxable income by $4,050 per exemption on your federal return and $2,175 per exemption on your Illinois return. The savings are these amounts times your tax rates. Note that the exemption phases ...

Posted on June 28, 2017 at 10:01 AM by Lisa Niser

How moms can make it in the new gig economy

Photo: courtesy Colleen Keilers

*SPONSORED POST BY THE MOM PROJECT*

 

“I am so sorry to do this, Colleen,” the text began. “But I am flying to California tonight to move in with my sister. I can no longer be your nanny.”

It was 9pm on a Sunday. My husband and I had been deliberating on the state of our careers. He had recently started a new job that would involve 50–60% travel. I had been working as a manager at a digital marketing agency, but shoehorning a full-time workload ...

Posted on May 30, 2017 at 8:19 AM