3 Rituals to Add to Your Morning Routine to Bring Your Family Closer Together

For many families, the process of getting dressed and out of the door can be a bit chaotic in the mornings. Sometimes there’s barely time for breakfast, so there’s definitely no time for family bonding, right? Well, not necessarily. With a few carefully selected routines, you can connect with your loved ones without adding stress to your day. Here are three rituals to add to your morning routine to bring your family closer together.

1.Music

Music is powerful, motivational, and memorable. Not only can it help wake the family up and start everyone’s day on the right note, but the perfect tune can become the “family theme song.” Pick a song that fits the family dynamic and makes everybody want to dance, then start playing it every morning. If you really love music, you can create a whole playlist. If you get tired of your designated theme song, you can always replace it with a new one. After playing it daily, your family will affectionately come to know the song as “our song,” instantly creating warm thoughts of family. 

2. A Shared Activity

For some families this activity will be sitting down at the dining room table for breakfast. For others, it will be morning yoga. For families short on time, it may be something as quick as cramming into the bathroom to brush their teeth at the same time. Whatever your family chooses to do, be intentional about sharing a morning activity where everyone is in the same place, at the same time, doing the same thing. On the surface, it won’t feel like a big deal. But years later, you’ll cherish the memory of the laughs you shared during those rushed mornings as you made silly faces in the bathroom mirror.

3. Verbalize One Thing You’re Looking Forward To

This quick practice is simple enough to make a habit of but meaningful enough to make an impact. By stating what you’re looking forward to, you’re starting your day with optimism and isolating the most positive aspect of what’s ahead. By listening to what everyone else in your family is looking forward to, you will learn a lot about the current events in their lives, every single day. This will help you stay in tune with each other, with very little effort. And with nothing more than a one-sentence check-in at the beginning of each day, you’ll have a starting point for a conversation to return to later in the day. 

Starting your day with family time is an investment worth making. Use these three tips to build family bonding into your morning routine. Looking back, your children will appreciate the effort you made to weave the importance of family in the fibers of each and every day.  

Ryder and Nicole Erickson3 Rituals to Add to Your Morning Routine to Bring Your Family Closer Together
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Three Ideas To Spice Up Your Family Biking Adventures

Cycling is undoubtedly a popular and well-loved sport. Data from Outdoor Recreation report for 2018 even revealed that it is the third most popular outdoor activity in America. As the report said that there is an estimated 47.5 million bikers in the US, you have a good reason to engage in this activity as well. Since biking is suitable for almost any age, you can make your biking joyride even more special by tagging your whole family along.  

Why consider family biking?

Family biking is a great idea because it is a fun and healthy way for parents and children to strengthen their relationships. You would also be happy to know that every member of your brood will enjoy the many benefits that come from pursuing outdoor activities such as biking. For one, biking can tremendously help in maintaining a strong and fit physique. Pedaling on your bicycle is likewise a great stress buster as the simple activity relaxes the mind. However, there is still a chance that your kids (or even spouse) may not show as much enthusiasm with biking. They may see the sport as boring or tiring. To make your cycling escapades a more memorable event for your family, you want to tie it up with other exciting activities. Listed below are a few suggestions:

Explore biking trails. 

Biking trails offer a convenient route that you and your family can follow. These spots often feature scenic views so it is a great way to make your little ones appreciate nature. You can likewise turn your biking adventures into lessons on how to protect and preserve the environment. It is advisable to do some research about the trail before the trip so you will  know what to expect. However, even with extensive research, the trails can still surprise your family. Therefore, expect a fun biking adventure  

Do community service.

To pursue a hobby or a leisurely activity with the whole family is already commendable. However, you can further improve your family bonding sessions by combining it with a purpose. By signing up as volunteers to some biking groups that organize altruistic activities, your family can easily give back to the community. Your family can also opt to organize your own charitable activity through biking.

Mix it with other fun activities.

Cycling is quite a versatile sport because you can easily pair it up with other fun activities. If you wish, it can only be a prelude to other exciting activities such as camping or fishing. Your family can bike your way to a certain park or beach where you can then have a picnic or go swimming. Another idea is to join fun parades by biking. Some states or biking organizations also hold bike festivals from time to time,

Safety reminders

Of course as with any other sports, safety should always be a top priority. You do not want to spoil your biking trips with any untoward incidents so be mindful of precautions you have to take. Using proper biking gear and accessories will help keep your spouse and children (especially the little ones) from getting hurt. It also pays to check if the state or town where your family will bike has certain biking policies that you need to follow so you can avoid breaking any rules. 

Family bonding times are essential in fostering a happy and loving relationship at home. Moms and dads who wish to give their children an amazing childhood should make it a priority to plan activities that the whole gang can enjoy together. There are all sorts of activities to choose from but if cycling interests you,, family biking is surely an awesome idea. 

Ryder and Nicole EricksonThree Ideas To Spice Up Your Family Biking Adventures
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3 Ways to Celebrate the End of the School Year

The kids have studied hard and successfully completed another year of school. It’s time to celebrate and let loose! Leave behind the stress of homework and pop quizzes, and turn your sights to something more exciting. No matter your student’s age or personality, the perfect summer adventure is just around the corner. Here are three ways to celebrate the end of the school year.

  1. A Summer Vacation
  • Theme Park

You can’t go wrong with a classic summer trip to an amusement park.With themes for every niche, you’re guaranteed to find a park that fits your child’s needs. Here are some options:

  • Beach

Sand castles, crashing waves and endless sunshine. Those are just a few of the perks of making the coast your destination of choice. If your little one had a busy year and is in need of a reset, let the ocean provide a bit of natural R&R.  

  • Road Trip Across the Country

Even though the school year has ended, the learning doesn’t have to stop! What could be more fun (and educational) than a hands-on geography lesson with family? Get your children involved in the process of deciding which tour stops should make the cut.  

  1. An End-of-Year Party
    • Slumber Party

During the school year, slumber parties are few and far between due to demanding academic and extracurricular calendars. However, summer nights stand in stark contrast to those busy schooltime schedules. Gather the gang and throw a slumber party for the ages. Pull out all the stops and ring in summer with kid-friendly, late night fun. Shadow puppets, funny movies and scary stories are time-honored go-tos that will start the night off right.

  • Pool Party

Warm weather was made for pool parties and backyard BBQ’s; combine the two for the party of the summer. Increase the fun by giving your little one a bit of creative control over the music playlist, poolside menu or guest list. But most importantly, make sure to prioritize water safety.

  • Game Night

Gather all the board, video and computer games you can find, then extend invitations to friends and family alike. You can even ask guests to bring their own game collections to share. Add some finger foods and a little music, and you’ve got yourself a night full of fun!

  1. Plan Extracurricular Activities
    • Join a Sports Team

P.E. may not be in session over summer break, but your student can still stay in excellent shape. Keep busy and stay fit by checking out local chapters of clubs that host recreational sports (e.g. the YMCA and Boys & Girls Club). With a plethora of teams available, your child is bound to find a sports program that will bring them hours of summertime fun.

  • Take a Class

Make summer learning fun by allowing your children to take control of their studies. Local community colleges, universities and community centers offer summer courses for kids of all ages. Students will end the summer, even smarter than they entered, by: learning a new language, taking up a hobby or developing a skill.

After a year of tedious study, your children deserve some time to relax. Pick a few of the options above to start summer break the right way.

Ryder and Nicole Erickson3 Ways to Celebrate the End of the School Year
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One Way To Easily Reach Goals & Be A Better Parent: Set Family Goals

Admit it, your goals and aspirations as an individual doubled or even tripled the moment you become a parent. Maybe you want to lose that extra weight by eating healthier and at the same time, you want to save a certain amount of money to enjoy financial freedom. While working on these targets, you are probably concerned about raising smart and responsible children too. Likewise, you wish to create family memories that your kids can cherish for years.

With the many hats that a mother or a father has to wear, parenthood can sometimes feel like a huge burden. Most of the time, defining the goals is the easiest part of the journey. The real challenge starts in the process of accomplishing each one as you may encounter stress and difficulty that can push you to quit.

But cheer up, there is one simple thing you can do to successfully sweep all your targets in one strike. It is as easy as making your goal-setting an important family activity. A research done by the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) found out that having a partner to work on your targets increases your chance to achieve the goals by 65%. This proves that making your spouse and/or kids your partner, you strengthen your resolve to commit to the goal. Aside from increasing your chance of success, this practice also offers many extra benefits for the whole family:

Enhances Relationships

The act of working together toward a common goal may be more effective in fostering a solid connection within the family than any other bonding activities. As you reach your objectives, you will most likely support and encourage each other every step of the way. The process gives you a chance to communicate and spend quality time, making you more understanding and appreciative of each other. When you finally obtained the fruits of your labor, you may be delighted to discover that it also comes with a priceless reward – a stronger and happier family.

Resolves Conflicts

Each family member has a unique personality that may result in clashes and disagreements. Some families can choose to conveniently ignore conflicts, leaving it unresolved for years. However, when you are working on a common goal, family members have another reason to quickly fix and iron out misunderstandings. This results in harmony that is essential in building a positive environment.

Teaches Valuable Life Skills To Kids

As you exert effort to achieve goals, you show your children the importance of values such as perseverance, patience, and hard work. These life skills that can help secure your child’s future is not that easy to teach using words alone. By making your kids part of your goals, you effortlessly instill those values by example.

Children who actively contribute to the fulfillment of family goals can learn problem-solving strategies and communication skills. It can also boost your child’s self-esteem and teaches them how to cope with stress.

So do you want a healthier lifestyle, financial freedom, responsible kids, a thriving business, and clutter-free home? As long as you set realistic goals, you should not let fear hold you back from weaving big dreams for you and your family. You can achieve all your goals in life and at the same time be the best parent you can be, just start by setting family goals.

Ryder and Nicole EricksonOne Way To Easily Reach Goals & Be A Better Parent: Set Family Goals
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Five Tips to Stress Free Travel With Young Children

One of the best parts about having children is the opportunity to visit new places and show your children the world. However, many parents run and hide at the mere thought of navigating an airport and flying with young children. Traveling with children can be very overwhelming, but with focused planning, direction and a little bit of experience, flying with young ones will seem much more manageable. Although there is no way to say you won’t have any turbulence ahead, these tips will hopefully help you to avoid a mile-high meltdown.

Choose Your Flight Time Wisely

One of the easiest and most helpful travel tips for families is to thoughtfully choose your flights based on your children’s needs. If possible, plan to fly around your little one’s nap time—Ideally, they would stick to their schedule and then sleep while on the flight. Also if there is a direct flight option, take it. By avoiding layovers it will simplify the entire travel process for you, require less planning on your end, and eliminates the stress of rushing to catch your connection.

Prepare Your Supply Bag

It is easy to overpack a diaper bag, or carry-on suitcase with who knows what, but when traveling with children it is essential to pack the right supplies for in-flight needs. The supply bag includes diapers and wipes, and two changes of clothes in case of an accident. Also be sure to bring hand sanitizer and wipes to avoid germs that live on planes. Bring any medications your child may need in your supply bag rather than checking it in case the luggage gets lost. Bring lots of mess-free snacks like crackers, and a spill-proof cup for each child. It is better to be over-prepared with supplies than at 30,000 feet without a clean diaper for your little one, so keep the length of the flight and total time to your final destination after the flight in mind when determining your supply quantities.

Engaging Entertainment

You may feel the need to pack your children’s entire playroom for a plane flight, but if you strategically plan and select toys and entertainment for the kids, you will be just fine. The key is to entertain and engage your child. Bring wrapped surprises for each child, such as a new toy car or mini doll. When you board the plane, ask the flight attendant for some plastic cups that the kids can stack and play with. Choose toys that last a while like coloring books, stickers, lace-up toys, etc. If your child is old enough, ask them to pack their own backpack with their toy choices for the flight. Be sure to load up any tablets with lots of videos for longer flights. And finally, use your children to entertain each other. Ask older children to help with their younger siblings—this will keep both busy and occupied with each other.

Minimize Carry-On’s

Depending on how many children you have, you may have your hands full without even carrying any actual baggage. Now add all the carry-on luggage, car seats, strollers, and maybe an infant in there and you probably won’t even be able to get from the car to the check-in desk without falling over yourself. With that said, it is best to check anything and everything that you can so that you can be as hands-free as possible. Most airlines allow you to check up to one stroller and one car seat per child at no additional cost. If your child is small enough, use an ergonomic carrier or wrap to hold your child. They even allow you to “wear” your babies through security which is a huge plus. If you opt for the stroller route for younger kids, swap out your heavy-duty wheels for a smaller, travel-friendly stroller that can be easily gate-checked. Your most important responsibility is getting your children from point A to point B, and that is much easier accomplished by only bringing the necessities.

You’ve Got This

No matter how hard you try to prepare for flying with children, things still happen. A baby may cry, drinks might get spilled all over the seats, and the iPad might die mid-flight. Take a deep breath, and keep your cool because it is all ok. Let’s be honest, crying from babies is toddlers is pretty much inevitable, and although you may think the passengers around you would throw you out mid-flight because your little one is upset, they won’t. Most people have been there before and get it. As long as you are doing your best to console, and diffuse the situation, the majority will understand.

Having children shouldn’t limit your travel opportunities, it should encourage them. They always say the hardest part is just getting there, but that doesn’t mean getting there has to be so hard. If you plan ahead, thoughtfully pack, and prep for the journey ahead, traveling with young children will be stress-free and enjoyable for the whole family.

Ryder and Nicole EricksonFive Tips to Stress Free Travel With Young Children
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Four Quick and Simple Tips for Large Families on a Budget

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to completely overhaul your family’s lifestyle in order to budget and find areas to save some extra money.

There are many simple steps that can get you on your way to a financially balanced household. Even the smallest changes in your family’s spending habits can make a big difference in saving money and staying on budget, especially when you have a large family.

And best of all, you don’t have to sacrifice meaningful family time or become an extreme coupon clipper in order to do so. Saving money can even be a family activity or teaching opportunity for your children. Involving them in the process can help teach them important financial lessons about saving money and doing things over having things.

Here are four quick, simple tips for large families on a budget.

Live Within Your Means and Create a Budget

Living within your means is all about knowing how much your household makes and spending less than you bring in. It is important to take inventory or make a list of your income and prioritize expenses. This will help you get started with a monthly budget and enable you to create a spending plan for your money. Whether you use traditional pen and paper, or a mobile budget app, simply starting a budget will get you on your way to getting ahead and getting organized. Creating a household budget and adopting the live within your means philosophy can help you reach your family’s financial goals.

Save Wherever Possible

After you create a budget, the next step is finding out where you can drawback your spending. Reducing the number of trips you take to your local coffee shop is just one small way to save extra cash. Ultimately, those trips can add up and it might be the one thing that puts more money than you think back into your pocket. Another area you can save big in: grocery shopping. And you don’t have to become an ultimate coupon clipper to do so. Reducing your grocery trips to once or twice a month and always going in prepared with a list are simple ways to reduce overspending on your trips. Retail shopping can also work the same way, and with the internet at your fingertips, you can quickly and easily save by comparing prices online, signing up for newsletters for deals/discounts and finding promo codes.

Family Time at Home

Taking the family out to dinner or the movies isn’t the only way to spend quality time together as a family. While it might be tempting to get out of the house with the kids, there’s plenty of family fun to be had right in your own home. A home movie or board game night with delicious snacks are just two examples of fun, simple, at-home activities for the entire family. Or, take home-movie night a step further and create your very own movie. Grab a smartphone and help your kids record their very own film. Whipping up a home-cooked meal is another option that can incorporate the entire family and be special bonding time, especially when you have a large family to feed. Involve your kids in the planning and shopping process makes it a family affair. Activities don’t have to be restricted to just inside your house. For families who are really itching for outdoor fun, pitch a tent in the backyard complete with sleeping bags and items to make s’mores.

With a large family, it can be tough to find time to do anything extra outside of your daily routine. Work, school drop off and pick up, lessons, recitals and making dinner can all add up for an exhausting day. It’s easy to let things like finding time to manage a budget or cost-efficient ways to save money fall at the wayside. But if you can follow these three tips, you’ll find that managing your savings can be quick and simple.

Ryder and Nicole EricksonFour Quick and Simple Tips for Large Families on a Budget
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3 Tips for the Best School Year Yet

With summer rapidly coming to a close and the school year starting back in full swing, the excitement, and perhaps anxiety levels, are peaked at this time of the year. Early mornings, new classes, full days, and more structure all mean one thing––a new school year. Whether you homeschool your kids or they are about to head into another year of traditional schooling, there are certain things to remember to help prepare your family for a successful and worthwhile school year ahead. Keep these tips in mind as school starts and use them throughout the year for the best school year yet.

Use a family calendar

We cannot stress this one enough. With kids running in ten million different directions, it can be hard to keep meetings, practices, games, and events straight. Hang a big calendar in the kitchen that everyone has access to so anyone can jot down appointments or important dates to remember quickly. That way everyone will always have an idea of what’s going on, and nothing will come as a surprise. Trust us, it will save time and stress for the whole family. And everyone could use a bit more of that during the school year.   

Make family time a part of your routine

We all know how busy weeks get once school starts because that means all the activities, sports, and clubs start too. So make an honest effort to set aside some time once a week, or even once a month, to slow down and get together as a family. Whether everyone sits down at the dinner table or you plan a family game night, make sure everyone is there and has an opportunity to talk and communicate with each other. Life only gets busier and busier, and communication is key when it comes to raising a family. So be sure you keep communication as a number one priority, especially throughout the school year, because that’s what establishes a foundation for a healthy and supportive family dynamic.

Identify goals

If you want to raise a successful family, you have to raise goal-driven children. Make sure your kids grow into the go-getter, dream-chasing people you want them to be by making goal-setting a habit at an early age. Although they can be, these goals don’t have to all be academically related. They can be anything from reading one book every month to making a new friend. Setting small, yet realistic goals each year is one of the most effective ways to set your children up for success. It will get them used to the idea of setting attainable goals that they will reference in the future.

Kick off back to school by implementing these 3 tips to make sure this is the best school year yet! 

Ryder and Nicole Erickson3 Tips for the Best School Year Yet
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Talk About The Importance of Fitness with Your Kids

The fitness habits you pick up as a kid stay with you for as long as you live. That’s not to say that you can’t overcome those learned behaviors, but it is definitely harder to move past poor fitness routines the older you get. In order to establish the right kinds of ideas about fitness in your kids, it’s important to talk about it and to instill positive values when it comes to physical fitness.

It’s also vital to stress the importance of fitness as a whole with your kids.

Focus on Health, Rather than Weight

For the longest time, people have focused on silly things like “goal” weights and “ideal” weights. At the end of the day, weight is just a number that fluctuates based on the time of day, the season, and even the climate you live in. That number in no way defines who you are as a person, and it’s not at all tied to your self-worth.

When you’re talking to your kids about fitness, make sure that they understand weight has nothing to do with their value as people. You’re not concerned with the number they see when they step on the scale. You just want them to be healthy.

Emphasize the Positive

On a similar note, it’s important for you as the parent to emphasize the positives of fitness, rather than the negatives. Fitness should never be about losing weight. It should instead be about your kids’ gaining strength and skills and the ability to do things with their bodies that they couldn’t previously do.

When you emphasize the positive aspects of fitness, you entice your kids to participate in the hopes of gaining new skills—rather than making them feel as though fitness is a chore to be completed.

Let Them Know It’s Okay to Fail

Everyone fails. Most people fail at something at least once a week. When it comes to teaching your kids about the importance of fitness, you have to stress this point: it is okay to fail. It is okay to be bad at a sport. It is okay to fall off your bike.

When you make these points to your kids, you allow them to see failure as an opportunity to grow and learn, instead of as a condemnation of their current capabilities.

Regardless of the way you frame it, it’s crucial to emphasize the joy that fitness can bring to their lives—for the rest of their lives.

Ryder and Nicole EricksonTalk About The Importance of Fitness with Your Kids
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