Guest Blogger

Keep the Season Merry and Safe

Keep the Season Merry and Safe


Keep the Season Merry and Safe with Innovative Takes on Holiday Gatherings

Keep the Season Merry and Safe.  The 2020 holiday season poses new challenges for parents trying to balance family life and health concerns.  However, with caution and creativity, it is still possible to enjoy some seasonal socializing. Families who have already experienced stress or loss over the past year may especially benefit from the opportunity to laugh, interact, and even celebrate. Whether you plan an online meet-up or a small in-person party, a little innovation can go a long way.  This goes towards keeping the spirit of the holidays alive during difficult times. Barefoot Faith Journey invites you to consider the following ways to celebrate safely.

When health concerns are paramount, online might be best.

The easiest way to keep a gathering safe is to host it remotely. By now, most of us are familiar with many of the technologies for online interaction. With applications such as Zoom, Skype, and Facebook Messenger readily available, families can choose which best suits their personal preferences and tech capacities. Communication and planning are key to hosting a good remote party, so everyone knows when and how to join.

Families that are used to online meet-ups for work or school responsibilities might consider making their virtual gatherings more festive by adding costume themes. For smaller children, think about themes from superhero movies or their favorite animated series. Older children and adults might find a period dress a fun way to step out of every day. If everyone prepares snacks and beverages in advance, you can chat.  Also, maybe even play games and enjoy some holiday treats.

Online Activity

As always, when engaged in online activity, make sure you protect yourself and your devices against cyberattacks. Use a secure network, set up strong passwords, and avoid clicking on any dubious links.  Also, be aware of downloading any applications that you haven’t carefully vetted. And never give away private personal information online unless you know you are dealing with a secure and trusted source.

If it is safe to do so, consider hosting a small in-person event.

Depending on weather and public health regulations in your area, you may be able to host a holiday event.  Even if it is just for a few close friends and family. Always check the recommendations for your state and county.  Do this before making plans.  Invite people you can trust who will abide by precautions as well as communicate clearly with you about potential risks. In general, outdoor gatherings are safer than indoor ones. Ask that your guests bring masks, and set up a small hand-sanitizing station near a point of exit and entry. As much as possible, everyone should provide their own food and drink, and avoid sharing utensils.

Colder Climate Ideas

For colder climates, firepits and outdoor heaters might be a good option for creating a comfortable outdoor space. Just be sure to follow your area’s rules and recommendations for fire safety. Add fairy lights and tiki torches for ambiance, and plan games or entertainment that don’t involve interpersonal contact.

Indoor parties might still be possible, but remember to take precautions.

For those in areas with reduced risk, indoor gatherings are still possible. When meeting up inside, it is preferable if all guests have already been sharing a quarantine bubble.  Also, minimizing outside contact. Travel over long distances for social events is generally discouraged, but those who feel it is safe or necessary should heed these travel safety tips suggested by experts. Even when gathering with others in your quarantine bubble, avoid unnecessary physical contact.  Also, check temperatures beforehand, and remember to wash hands frequently.

It has been a difficult year for many of us. You can still celebrate the holidays with friends and family, this year just requires a little more creativity. Even if you have to arrange your events a little differently this time around, remember, some things haven’t changed.  The holidays are still a time for celebrating the relationships that make our lives richer.

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Guest Blogger

Tips for Meeting Your Kids’ Needs as they Grow

My guest blogger, Alex Robbins, talks about Tips for Meeting Your Kids’ Emotional, Physical and Educational Needs as they Grow.  Funny he should send this to me at this particular time.  Tonight, as I was sitting in my son’s hospital room, we had a “Comin’ to Jesus” meeting about our emotional, physical, and educational needs.  He is 14 now and you can imagine how that conversation went.  Please, talk to your kids!

Tips for Meeting Your Kids’ Emotional, Physical and

Educational Needs as they Grow

Tips for Meeting Your Kids’ Needs as they Grow

Meeting all of your kids’ needs takes a lot of work. As a parent, your child’s emotional, physical, and educational needs are just a few of the things you have to focus on. Below, we’ve put together some great tips and resources for each of these areas in your kids’ lives.

Talking with Kids About Feelings

Discussing emotions and feelings can prove difficult at any age. However, it’s important to begin this dialogue with your child at an early age.

Unique Ways to Meet the Emotional Needs of Your Child

Helping Kids Identify and Express Feelings

Feelings Activities and Fun Ideas for Kids

Understanding Your Teen’s Emotional Health

Kids Feeling Blue: 5 Ways to Get them Talking

Helping Your Kids Be Active

It’s easy to let your kids sit inside and stare at screens all day. However, you need to encourage kids to spend some time getting active, especially in the sunshine and fresh air.

How Much Physical Activity Do Children Need?

Couch Potatoes Start Early: How to Get Kids Moving

Children, Sports, and Exercise: Choices for All Ages

How to Encourage Free Play

How to Limit Your Child’s Screen Time

Meeting Educational Needs

Although you can work with your child’s school to help maximize their education, you can also do many things at home to boost their learning.

Encourage Your Kids to Try Storm Spotting

Online Lesson Plans for Teachers and Parents

Parent-Teacher Conference Tips for Parents

{7} Surefire Ways to Make Your Kid a Better Student

7 Tips for Helping Your Child with Math at Home (When You Hate Math)

Parents: 8 Ways to Help Your Teen Make a College Decision

Helping your kids be active, express their feelings, and do well in school is just a small part of the puzzle when it comes to being a parent. However, by focusing on areas like these, you can help your kids grow into adulthood with everything they need in their toolbox.

Check out the blog at Barefoot Faith Journey for more family and parenting posts.

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Guest Blogger

Swimming Pool Safety Tips for Parents and Kids

Swimming Pool Safety Tips for Parents and Kids

Swimming Pool Safety Tips for Parents and Kids

Backyard swimming pools are the pinnacle of summer fun.

They’re also deadly.

While fatal pool drownings are on the decline, more than 350 children still die in swimming pools every year. It only takes a second for a child to slip away and into danger, which is why it’s so important that families practice pool safety.

If you have a backyard pool, here’s what you need to know about enjoying it safely.

Securing a Backyard Pool

When buying a home with a swimming pool or installing a new pool, take these steps to make it kid-safe:

  • Install pool fencing at least four feet high with self-latching and childproof gates.
  • Pool safety covers are another option. Safety covers are designed to support a person’s weight and are different from normal pool covers.
  • Use pool alarms for added safety. There are several types of pool alarms available.
  • Keep swimming pools in good repair. In addition to leaks and cracks, some pools can collapse from damage.

Swimming Skills for Kids

Children are safer when they know how to swim. Here’s what parents need to know about teaching kids swimming skills:

  • Kids are ready to start swimming lessons around age four or five, experts suggest.
  • Swimming skills every child should have included getting in and out safely, turning around, floating, and breathing.
  • Children should also learn how to tread water and swim moderate distances.

Pool Safety Rules for Parents and Kids

No matter a child’s swimming ability, there are some rules every family should follow when it comes to backyard pools:

  • Even strong swimmers shouldn’t swim alone. Always supervise children in and around water.
  • Don’t treat floatable toys as safety devices. Instead, use life jackets for inexperienced swimmers.
  • Keep pool toys out of sight when not in use so children aren’t tempted to enter the pool area.

What to Do in a Swimming Emergency

Finally, parents should understand what to do in a swimming pool emergency. Here’s how to respond if your child has an accident in your backyard pool:

  • Learn how to recognize the signs of drowning.
  • Know how to safely rescue a drowning person without putting yourself in danger.
  • All parents should know how to perform CPR. A variety of organizations offer CPR training.
  • Always seek medical help after a swimming accident to prevent dry drowning and other complications.

Swimming may seem like harmless summer fun — and done safely, it is! However, backyard pools are also a hidden danger in your home. Make sure you’re taking the right steps to keep your children safe around backyard pools so you can prevent a tragedy.

Guest Blogger:  Alex Robbins

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