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  4. NPN Laura

    5 tips for traveling with kids

    Sponsored article by Diono Traveling opens doors to new experiences and quality family time and memories. However, with cranky kids, unpredictable schedules, and long packing lists, traveling with your baby is also challenging. Read on for five tips to make traveling with kids less stressful. Research your destination Before you start your trip, conduct in-depth research of your destination. You could determine the current weather conditions of the location you are visiting to enable you to pack appropriately. Researching your destination beforehand also helps you plan for either indoor or outdoor activities. If your baby is still breastfeeding, you also need to determine whether or not breastfeeding in public is allowed in the location you are headed. While some states do not prohibit breastfeeding in public, others demand that mothers find a private area to feed their young ones. Pick the right time to travel Determining the right time to travel is crucial, especially when traveling with younger children. Consider traveling at night when your babies are likely to be asleep to allow you more hours of peace in the plane and fewer distractions when driving. If night drives and flights are not ideal for you, consider scheduling your drive or flight thirty minutes before your baby’s nap time. Once the flight takes off, or you start driving, you could do a short story or a quick snack or bottle to help the baby drift off. Traveling at night in your car also means little or no traffic jams or roadworks so you will reach your destination faster. Beware of heatstroke Did you know that a kid dies from heatstroke in a car every 10 days? Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition characterized by high fever and hot, flushed skin. It is caused by prolonged exposure to direct sun, extreme heat, or high humidity with limited airflow, especially in a parked car. Avoid leaving your child alone in the car to prevent heatstroke. You could also invest in a portable stroller fan from Diono to give your child a cool, comfortable ride. Stock up enough snacks Even when you have meal arrangements at your destination, ensure that you have a few snacks available for your children. The food at the destination may differ from what your child usually eats, so they may only take a few bites. Your flight may also be delayed, get unexpected traffic jams, or the tour may take longer than anticipated, so taking a few snacks with you prevents you from dealing with a hungry, cranky child. Some travel-safe, healthy snacks you could stock up on include crackers, cheerios, granola bars, nuts, pretzels, string cheese, fruits, and vegetables. Pack wisely Be sure to pack enough essentials when traveling with kids. A few essentials include: Diapers, wipes, pull-ups, and sanitizers. To be safe, carry one diaper per hour of travel Comfort items such as pacifiers. Ensure that you carry more than one pacifier to prepare for emergencies like it getting flung on the floor A tablet or smartphone loaded with your baby’s favorite shows or movies Water Art supplies such as a blank paper and crayons A plastic bag for trash Proper preparation can make the difference between a fun and miserable family trip. Implement the above strategies to make traveling with your kids a breeze.
  5. As a parent of a special needs child, I look forward to the periods of platitude. Every developmental stage is an uphill climb that seems to take forever. So when my child hits a plateau and can thrive in an age-appropriate developmental stage, I relish in the peace that comes with it. I have learned to relax during these periods until it’s time for the next developmental growth challenge. Well, during the spring of 2021 when we had finally settled into our “new normal” and were thriving in a pandemic world, BOOM! I started to notice my usual rule-following, kind-hearted son becoming more irritable out of the blue. And when I say "out of the blue," I mean over things that were never an issue for him in the past. He seemed more tired than usual, he was more sensitive to touch, and even though he has a speech delay, he is verbal — but he really did not want to talk at all. [Related: Raising a Black autistic boy in America] My husband, his teachers, and his therapists all saw this dramatic change in him. For weeks, I chalked it up to the time change. He has always had a hard time adjusting to the bi-annual time changes, especially when we spring forward, so I just assumed this particular year was just a bit harder for him. After weeks of dealing with his attitude, I finally spoke to his pediatrician. She referred me to an endocrinologist. After blood tests and an exam, the endocrinologist looked at me and said, “Well mom, the hormone fairy has asked him to the dance, and he has accepted." He is only 11, My baby is growing up, What does this mean? and Oh no, it’s time for the sex talk, were all the thoughts running through my head. I pulled myself together enough to ask her, "What does puberty look like in a child with autism?” She told me it is different for each child; however most will be more sensory-defensive during this time. She asked me to close my eyes and imagine what it would feel like to feel every single hair growing on my body, what would it feel like to feel the lump of an adam’s apple forming in my throat, and to feel all of the aches as the muscles grow and form in my body. She explained that this is what my son is feeling on a magnified level. This completely explained his change in behavior and his new sensitivity. [Related: Tips for your next IEP meeting from a special-ed attorney] Armed with the knowledge of what was happening, my husband and I immediately put a plan of action in place. The first thing we did was communicate this information to his teachers and therapists. This allowed them to make adjustments in their support. It helped him to continue to be successful and get the most out of school and therapy. Second, we talked to him about what was going on with his body. We discussed the physical and the mental changes that were happening. What stood out to me most was that once we assured him everything he was feeling was “normal,” his irritability lessened by 50 percent. I realized the unknown of what was happening was half of the stress he was feeling. We also asked him to tell us what things he thought would help him cope. He said exercise. Lightbulb moment! My son is a swimmer, and pre-pandemic he was in the pool for three 2-hour sessions per week. This gave his body good sensory work out. Since the pandemic he had been only able to do one 45-minute session per week. His body and brain needed a workout to cope and process all the changes that were happening. Since our son had done Tae Kwon Do in the past and enjoyed it, we picked that up twice a week. It took a few weeks, but we finally started seeing our son return to his rule-following, kind-hearted, non-irritable self. Lastly, we told him to come to us with any questions or thoughts he had about what was going in with his body. We told him nothing was off limits. We also prepared ourselves to be ready and open to answer any questions and have uncomfortable conversations. This part is ongoing, and things come up day by day. However, we have built a deeper level of trust that will be helpful as we enter the teen years. What I have learned on this journey is to start researching and talking to your doctors about puberty when your child is 10 years old. Prepare yourself and be open to questions and conversations. Honestly, if puberty was on my radar, I would have had a preparatory conversation with my son at 10 years old. I would have told him in a very clinical way what changes he may see in his body, and to let me know when it starts happening. Trust what you know about your child. If they have sensory issues, prepare for them to feel body changes on a deeper level, and think of activities they enjoy that can help their bodies cope with the feelings. Be patient, give them grace, and assure them that all the strange things they are feeling are normal and okay. Lastly, as a parent of a special needs child, remember our journey is a marathon: Breathe and give yourself a break. You are doing great!
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  7. NPN Laura

    NPN Second Chance Auction

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    If you got outbid last week in our Online Auction, you have another chance to win! NPN's annual Second Chance Auction offers even better deals on items Chicago parents want and love, including kids' classes, activities, restaurant gift certificates, massages and access to cool experiences you can't find anywhere else. With the proceeds from our auction, NPN, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, will be able to continue to provide support and resources designed to solve the challenges of parenting in Chicago. Bidding opens May 18 at 5am and closes at 10pm on May 19. Preview link for items at www.biddingforgood.com/npnparents Questions? Email Amy Johnson at director@npnparents.org. Thank you to our sponsors: Major sponsor: Children's Learning Place Special thanks sponsor: A&H Childproofers Friend of NPN sponsor: Bright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
  8. NPN Laura

    NPN Second Chance Auction

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    If you got outbid last week in our Online Auction, you have another chance to win! NPN's annual Second Chance Auction offers even better deals on items Chicago parents want and love, including kids' classes, activities, restaurant gift certificates, massages and access to cool experiences you can't find anywhere else. With the proceeds from our auction, NPN, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, will be able to continue to provide support and resources designed to solve the challenges of parenting in Chicago. Bidding opens May 18 at 5am and closes at 10pm on May 19. Preview link for items at www.biddingforgood.com/npnparents Questions? Email Amy Johnson at director@npnparents.org. Thank you to our sponsors: Major sponsor: Children's Learning Place Special thanks sponsor: A&H Childproofers Friend of NPN sponsor: Bright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
  9. As parents it is hard to imagine our kids as adults, especially if your child is developmentally different. Will they go to college, trade school or get a job? Are there employment opportunities and, if so, what type? Will they be able to live independently? The panelists on this webinar can help you prepare for the many different options for your child so they can live the most fulfilling life possible. PEERS Chicago will discuss their social coaching program for young adults and Urban Autism Solutions will present their residences, transition academy and farm solution program. We will also learn about Elmhurst University's Learning and Success Academy and Anixter Center will discuss their pathway to college and employment programs. Our esteemed panel consists of: Diane Gould, CEO & Owner, PEERS Chicago, Heather Tarczan, Executive Director, Urban Autism Solutions, Tim Ahlberg, Assistant Director of Admissions, Elmhurst University ELSA and Dina Donohue-Chase, Vice President of Growth & Innovation, Anixter Center
  10. NPN Tareema

    NPN Playdate: STEAM Sunday at Bennett

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    NPN Playdates are back! Join us for STEAM Sunday at Bennett Day School. There will be fun STEAM activities for kids and light snacks. Parents, grab a cup of coffee, relax and enjoy as your kids experience some fun activities! This event is for kids aged 2 - 5 years old. Spots are limited so register today! Bennett Day School is located at 955 W. Grand Ave. Enter the school from the double doors on Morgan St. Ring the buzzer when you arrive and stop at the front desk to check-in. Parking/Public Transportation Information: If you are planning to drive, you can park for free in the gravel lot on the NW corner at Morgan and Hubbard (across the street from Bennett's campus). There is also free parking available on the west side of Morgan and south side of Hubbard, or metered parking on Grand Ave. Bennett is two blocks west of the Grand Blue Line stop and the Halsted 8 bus, and 2 blocks north of the Pink/Green Line Stop at Morgan if those options are convenient to you.
  11. The University of Chicago Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab (BIP Lab) invites all Chicagoland families with 3- or 4-year-old children to register to attend one 30-minute learning session on early math while openings last! Parents or primary caregivers who attend a session with their child will receive $40 for their time. Families can select from Chicagoland locations on or off the University of Chicago campus. Sessions at the Museum of Science & Industry include free admission and parking! Locations will be added and updated periodically. Register at www.biplab.uchicago.edu/about-time. The About TIME initiative is a cutting-edge research program that aims to evaluate which digital and non-digital math learning materials help children best develop numeracy skills at home and what role parents can play to optimize learning. Help researchers develop recommendations on how to support children’s early math skill development. Engage with your child in math learning and get paid to attend a learning session. It’s a win-win! Questions? Contact the BIP Lab at: biplab@uchicago.edu.
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    Come discuss the book Parent Nation with author Dana Suskind, MD and award-winning, Chicago-based journalist Heidi Stevens and NPN's executive director, Amy Johnson. World-class pediatric surgeon, social scientist, and best-selling author of Thirty Million Words Dr. Dana Suskind returns with a revelatory new look at the neuroscience of early childhood development—and how it can guide us toward a future in which every child has the opportunity to fulfill their potential. PARENT NATION offers a powerful blueprint for a society that helps all families meet the developmental needs of their children. Weaving together the latest science on the developing brain with stories of families from all walks of life, Dr. Suskind shows that the status quo—scores of parents left to shoulder the enormous responsibility of early childhood care and education on their own—is not only unsustainable, but deeply detrimental to children, families, and society. Buy the book and join us for a thought-provoking and inspiring conversation. Everyone is welcome, even if you haven''t read the book yet! RSVP required. Zoom link will be sent to you via email, immediately after registering.
  13. NPN Lauren

    Daycation: All I ever wanted

    Family vacations are overrated. As we’ve read on our Forum, seen on social media, and heard from fellow parents, “Vacations are basically just taking the sh*t show on the road.” With little kids, they’re anything but relaxing. So with spring break in the rear view and summer “vacations” still a ways off, it’s time to plan the next-best thing: a daycation, all to yourself. Here’s how. [Related: To the moms running on fumes, here's how to refill the tank] Mark your calendar You know how people say that the hardest part about exercising is getting to the gym, or even getting out the door? Same goes for a self-prescribed holiday: the hardest part is making the mental commitment to do so. If you’re the type who uses a calendar, go ahead and block it out as you would a true vacation day or mental health day. I recommend blocking a Friday, so you can treat yourself to a three-day weekend instead of having to hop back into reality post-daycation. Block the full day — don’t wimp out and just book the morning. I’m talkin’ 9AM to 5PM. Better yet, block 8AM to 6PM. If you can get out of dropping off and picking up the kids on this day, do it. That saying “It takes a village” applies to solo daycations, too. No guilt allowed. Allow yourself to daydream Now that you’ve got a day off to look forward to, it’s time to think about what you would truly enjoy to do with your day. (Imagine that!) Try not to default to a combination of forced “relaxation” and obligatory busywork, e.g., eating half a gummy and washing your delicates. Newsflash: That’s not a vacation, parents. That’s a Saturday night. [Related: 3 steps moms can take to get some me time every week] Think bigger: What does your ideal (solo) vacation look like? Can it be loosely replicated in the city of Chicago in a single day? Unfortunately, we don’t have any private islands within our city limits. But we do have a lot of wonderful ways to play hooky. While I can’t pretend to know what your daycation fantasy is, I can share mine (a full day at the Langham complete with lap swimming, lobster rolls, and literally any of these treatments), and hopefully inspire some well-earned daydreaming. For instance, if you love nothing more than pretending to read a paperback novel while dozing off poolside, this can be achieved. So can a truly luxe spa day, a gorgeous day spent hiking in nature, a decadent brunch followed by hours of bookstore browsing, an unexpected day-trip to another city, or even a deep meditation session. Make it happen If you have an agenda in mind but are struggling with execution, check out the list below for some ideas. Then, book it and start the count-down. Anticipation is half the fun. Enjoy! Spa Day $: King Spa & Sauna in Niles $$: Aire Ancient Baths in West Town $$$: Kohler Waters Spa in Lincoln Park $$$$: Chuan Spa at The Langham in River North Pool Day FREE: Portage Park Pool $: InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile $: East Bank Club $$: The Peninsula Hotel Forest Bathing & Nature Days FREE: Calumet Woods in Riverdale FREE: Forest Glen Woods in Forest Glen FREE: LaBagh Woods in North Park $: Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe $: Morton Arboretum in Lisle Day Trip Wilmington, IL — 75 minutes Michigan City, IN — 75 minutes Milwaukee — 90 minutes Harbor Country, MI — 90 minutes Lake Geneva — 90 minutes
  14. NPN Jana

    Kids' Work

    Providing Positivity, Support, and Balance for Young Children and their families! Kids' Work is a nurturing, stimulating, and accepting learning environment that supports young children in developing social skills, self-confidence, and an understanding of the world around them. Top Rated Preschool & Daycare Serving Chicago, IL.
  15. NPN Laura

    NPN Online Auction

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    NPN's annual Online Auction offers great deals on items Chicago parents want and love, including kids' classes, activities, restaurant gift certificates, massages and access to cool experiences you can't find anywhere else. With the proceeds from our auction, NPN, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, will be able to continue to provide support and resources designed to solve the challenges of parenting in Chicago. Bidding opens May 11 at 5am and closes at 10pm on May 15. Preview link for items at www.biddingforgood.com/npnparents Questions? Email Amy Johnson at amy@npnparents.org. Thank you to our sponsors: Major sponsor: Children's Learning Place Special thanks sponsor: A&H Childproofers Friend of NPN sponsor: Bright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
  16. NPN Laura

    NPN Online Auction

    until
    NPN's annual Online Auction offers great deals on items Chicago parents want and love, including kids' classes, activities, restaurant gift certificates, massages and access to cool experiences you can't find anywhere else. With the proceeds from our auction, NPN, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, will be able to continue to provide support and resources designed to solve the challenges of parenting in Chicago. Bidding opens May 11 at 5am and closes at 10pm on May 15. Preview link for items at www.biddingforgood.com/npnparents Questions? Email Amy Johnson at amy@npnparents.org. Thank you to our sponsors: Major sponsor: Children's Learning Place Special thanks sponsor: A&H Childproofers Friend of NPN sponsor: Bright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
  17. NPN Laura

    NPN Online Auction

    until
    NPN's annual Online Auction offers great deals on items Chicago parents want and love, including kids' classes, activities, restaurant gift certificates, massages and access to cool experiences you can't find anywhere else. With the proceeds from our auction, NPN, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, will be able to continue to provide support and resources designed to solve the challenges of parenting in Chicago. Bidding opens May 11 at 5am and closes at 10pm on May 15. Preview link for items at www.biddingforgood.com/npnparents Questions? Email Amy Johnson at amy@npnparents.org. Thank you to our sponsors: Major sponsor: Children's Learning Place Special thanks sponsor: A&H Childproofers Friend of NPN sponsor: Bright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
  18. NPN Laura

    NPN Online Auction

    until
    NPN's annual Online Auction offers great deals on items Chicago parents want and love, including kids' classes, activities, restaurant gift certificates, massages and access to cool experiences you can't find anywhere else. With the proceeds from our auction, NPN, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, will be able to continue to provide support and resources designed to solve the challenges of parenting in Chicago. Bidding opens May 11 at 5am and closes at 10pm on May 15. Preview link for items at www.biddingforgood.com/npnparents Questions? Email Amy Johnson at amy@npnparents.org. Thank you to our sponsors: Major sponsor: Children's Learning Place Special thanks sponsor: A&H Childproofers Friend of NPN sponsor: Bright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
  19. NPN Laura

    NPN Online Auction

    until
    NPN's annual Online Auction offers great deals on items Chicago parents want and love, including kids' classes, activities, restaurant gift certificates, massages and access to cool experiences you can't find anywhere else. With the proceeds from our auction, NPN, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, will be able to continue to provide support and resources designed to solve the challenges of parenting in Chicago. Bidding opens May 11 at 5am and closes at 10pm on May 15. Preview link for items at www.biddingforgood.com/npnparents Questions? Email Amy Johnson at amy@npnparents.org. Thank you to our sponsors: Major sponsor: Children's Learning Place Special thanks sponsor: A&H Childproofers Friend of NPN sponsor: Bright Smiles Pediatric Dentistry
  20. Have you noticed a regression in your child—behaviorally, developmentally or socially—since the start of the pandemic? You're far from alone. Join NPN for a webinar on how to detect and manage COVID regression, whether you have a child with special needs or a typically developing child in the crucial development years of 2–5 In this discussion, you will hear from behavioral specialists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, and psychologists about the typical signs that your child may be experiencing developmental regression due to the pandemic. You will also learn about the strategies professionals are using, services that are available, and what activities you can do in the home to combat COVID-19 regression. Our esteemed panel consists of: Dr. Shay McManus, Neuropsychologist, Eyas Landing, Dr. Chrisna M. Perry, PhD, Founder & Director, Comprehensive Learning Services, Lorell Marin, Founder, CEO & Therapist, LEEP Forward, Nicole Cissell, Clinical Director, BGF Children's Therapy, and Jason Wetherbee, Director of Clinical Services & Program Development, EB Pediatric Resources We appreciate our Supporting sponsors, Comprehensive Learning Services and LEEP Forward A special thank you to our Presenting Sponsor, Eyas Landing
  21. NPN Jana

    Virtual 40+ Moms Group

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    Attention moms over 40 with children between newborn and 4 years old (or about that age) - this is the group for you! Please join NPN volunteer, Cathy, who leads a Zoom chat for moms 40+ to connect and talk about the unique challenges and joys you face as moms. Please sign up for this group to attend one or all of these meetups and drop in for as long as you can! This group will meet at 8:00 to 9:30 PM. You will receive a Zoom upon RSVPing and the link again before the meeting. NPN members only. Please register once for you and your child(ren). You will receive an email confirmation after you register. Questions? Contact Cathy at giantjumperee@gmail.com.
  22. NPN Jana

    Virtual 40+ Moms Group

    until
    Attention moms over 40 with children between newborn and 4 years old (or about that age) - this is the group for you! Please join NPN volunteer, Cathy, who leads a Zoom chat for moms 40+ to connect and talk about the unique challenges and joys you face as moms. Please sign up for this group to attend one or all of these meetups and drop in for as long as you can! This group will meet at 8:00 to 9:30 PM. You will receive a Zoom upon RSVPing and the link again before the meeting. NPN members only. Please register once for you and your child(ren). You will receive an email confirmation after you register. Questions? Contact Cathy at giantjumperee@gmail.com.
  23. NPN Jana

    Virtual 40+ Moms Group

    until
    Attention moms over 40 with children between newborn and 4 years old (or about that age) - this is the group for you! Please join NPN volunteer, Cathy, who leads a Zoom chat for moms 40+ to connect and talk about the unique challenges and joys you face as moms. Please sign up for this group to attend one or all of these meetups and drop in for as long as you can! This group will meet at 12:15 - 1:45 PM. You will receive a Zoom upon RSVPing and the link again before the meeting. NPN members only. Please register once for you and your child(ren). You will receive an email confirmation after you register. Questions? Contact Cathy at giantjumperee@gmail.com.
  24. NPN Jana

    Virtual 40+ Moms Group

    until
    Attention moms over 40 with children between newborn and 4 years old (or about that age) - this is the group for you! Please join NPN volunteer, Cathy, who leads a Zoom chat for moms 40+ to connect and talk about the unique challenges and joys you face as moms. Please sign up for this group to attend one or all of these meetups and drop in for as long as you can! This group will meet at 12:15 - 1:45 PM. You will receive a Zoom upon RSVPing and the link again before the meeting. NPN members only. Please register once for you and your child(ren). You will receive an email confirmation after you register. Questions? Contact Cathy at giantjumperee@gmail.com.
  25. NPN Jana

    Gatsby Chocolate

    A little background on us at Gatsby Chocolate. My name is Doug, and I'm the cofounder of Halo Top Ice Cream. After selling Halo Top in 2019, I – along with a bunch of other Halo Top team members – were trying to figure out what to do next. We settled on chocolate after realizing quickly that there were no low-calorie chocolate options – literally none – even low-sugar chocolate products still had a ton of calories. So we got to work and spent over a year crafting the recipe for Gatsby Chocolate. We’re ecstatic with how it turned out and hope you will be too. It’s mind-blowingly great, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate that’s somehow way fewer calories!
  26. NPN Jana

    Laws and Paws

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    Ankin Law Office LLC, in collaboration with Wicker Park Advisory Council, presents LAWS & PAWS, a local gathering in the Wicker Park Field adjacent to the Wicker Park Dog Park. The event allows the Chicago community and their canine friends to learn about dog safety, the frequently overlooked legal ramifications of dog bites, the importance of pet insurance and common liability scenarios. Dog walking safety lights that attach to a collar* will be given to the first 100 guests. RSVP Required. Please go here to register *Must pick up the collar in person at the event no later than 6:00 pm This is an external partner event. Please contact the organization directly with any questions or concerns: sheila@marketjd.com
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