Category: Parenting Encouragement

Distraction-Free Parenting {FREE Challenge}

Distraction-Free Parenting {FREE Challenge}

Just last week in our Facebook group, I took a poll about parenting goals for 2018. Which of these mean the most to you?

  • Additional family time
  • Extra adventures (travel & day trips)
  • Fewer distractions during family time
  • Greater understanding of child development
  • More emphasis on learning at home

The number one response was “fewer distractions during family time,” which got me thinking…

What does distraction-free parenting look like?


 

istraction-Free Parenting | family communication, positive parenting, fun family activities, parenting tips, family relationships


(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you.You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

If you’re anything like me, you might struggle with the temptation to reach for your phone during family time. It’s so common, in fact, that a whole book has been written about it!  

One of our regular family activities is going to our indoor community pool. We try to go one or two evenings a week, after my husband gets out of work. At first, I had a hard time relaxing in the water; my mind kept racing with a multitude of things to add to my to-do list.

Over the last few months, swimming has become one of my favorite ways to unwind because it’s a distraction-free zone. From the moment we arrive at the aquatic center, my phone goes into my bag and I am 100% focused on my family.

Throughout 2018 I am going to take the parenting lessons I have learned at the pool and spend time cultivating our family relationships phone-free. 


Rolling Prairie Readers exists
to create a community of lifelong learners
where parents inspire
and empower their children
to follow their passions
and use their unique gifts
to make the world a better place.


Inspiring and empowering our kids starts with building authentic relationships with our kids. Trust me when I say, I’m not writing this as a perfect parent who has it all figured out. Distraction-free parenting is one of my very real struggles as a mom, and I would guess it resonates with some of you as well.

Being a work-at-home, homeschooling mama of two means that some multitasking is necessary. Sometimes, I’ll read a chapter of a book on my Kindle app while my girls play outside or pin images to Pinterest while we’re watching football on Sunday afternoons. I listen to podcasts and audiobooks while driving, and I brainstorm blog post ideas while I’m in the shower.

One of my friends recently told me that her parenting goal is to let go of the things that won’t matter in a year. So, for 2018, I am going to focus on living a less distracted life! That means:

  • no Facebook when I should be writing
  • less Instagram during homeschool lessons
  • turning my phone off during family time

Distraction-Free Parenting | family communication, positive parenting, fun family activities, parenting tips, family relationships

In 2018, I’m inviting each of you to join me in being less distracted while we are with our families. This is a yearlong parenting challenge built on baby steps, with one small activity or idea coming your way on the first of each month. If you would like to be part of our distraction-free parenting series, just fill out this quick form.

 Your first Distraction-Free Parenting challenge email will arrive in your inbox on Monday, January 1st.


30 Winter Activities | Free School Holiday Survival Guide

While your kids are home from school this winter, try out this list of 30 “boredom-busting” activities for the whole family!

Here’s what’s included:

  • a weekly calendar template with tips for creating a flexible family schedule
  • a “menu” of more than 20 low-prep activities to keep your children happily engaged
  • lists of recommended seasonal books to grab at the library
  • a family reading log
  • our favorite resources for learning at home
  • AND 30 winter boredom busters!

Click here for more details!

3 Tips to Make School Holidays Easier {FREE Download}

3 Tips to Make School Holidays Easier {FREE Download}

Hooray, the holidays are here! Having our children home from school (whether it’s fall break, winter break, spring break, or summer break) is a wonderful gift of time and family togetherness. It’s also a fantastic opportunity to go on fun adventures and learn through play. However, school holidays often fall during the time of year when we are inundated with extra activities and a longer-than-usual to-do list.

How do we enjoy the break while still getting things done and keeping our kids learning and happy?

3 Tips to Make School Holidays Easier | activities for kids, family activities, holidays, raising children, fall, winter, design your day, free printables

Take a Break

It’s important that we build in time for kids (and ourselves!) to relax during school holidays. Getting up early, following a schedule, and doing things we don’t really enjoy can take its toll. Before your kids get out of school, block off a day or a few hours to do absolutely nothing. (YOU TOO!) Snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie, do a puzzle, or take a nap. If you know you’ll have a busy afternoon, take a slow morning. If you have a busy travel schedule, build in a “recovery day” for the entire family.

Offer Choices

Being a student is hard work. Children are told where and how to sit, when to go to the bathroom, when to eat lunch, and more. There are a lot of benefits that come from being part of a larger learning community, but our children also need to learn to self-regulate. Offering our children choices during school holidays can lead to more confidence and cooperation.

When your children are younger, offer them two choices that you like. (Would you like apple slices or applesauce with your lunch?) As they mature, you can give them a more open-ended opportunity to plan their entire lunch–or outfit or schedule, etc.

Designate a Line Leader

Several years ago, I grew tired of listening to my two children bicker constantly. I decided to use one of my tools from the classroom to make things easier on all of us: the line leader. On odd days of the month, my older daughter gets to go first in the shower, up and down the stairs, getting in and of the car, you name it. Our younger daughter gets to be line leader on even days of the month.

It sounds silly, but it can negate one hundred arguments each day. The line leader chooses the vegetable for dinner, who gets to push the cart at the grocery store, who gets dropped off first at AWANA, you name it! And of course, Mom and Dad always get a veto.

30 Winter Activity Ideas for Families | FREE School Holiday Survival Guide at flourishwithyourfamily.com

FREE School Holiday Survival Guide from Rolling Prairie Readers! Get yours at FlourishWithYourFamily.com

School Holidays Survival Guide

Over the years, I have created a handful of printables that make our home life a bit easier. I have bundled them up into a FREE downloadable guide to help your family flourish during the school holidays.

Here’s what’s included:

  • a weekly calendar template with tips for creating a flexible family schedule
  • a “menu” of more than 20 low-prep activities to keep your children happily engaged
  • lists of recommended seasonal books to grab at the library
  • a family reading log
  • our favorite resources for learning at home
  • AND 30 winter boredom busters!
FREE School Holiday Survival Guide | activities for kids, family activities, holidays, raising children, fall, winter, design your day, free printables
Making Learning Fun for All Families | Two Moms, One Podcast

Making Learning Fun for All Families | Two Moms, One Podcast

A while back, I had the opportunity to chat with Yvonne and Raewyn at the Two Moms, One Podcast show. The moms asked me to come on and talk about a topic I’m passionate about: making learning fun for all families.

For whatever reason, it seems like kids of this generation are growing up thinking that learning is hard and reading is boring. While we could talk about standards and excessive testing, I think a major issue to consider is that our children don’t have much free time. (Certainly school wasn’t any more fun a generation or two ago.)

I have lots of great memories of hands-on fun at school. We got to incubate and hatch chicks, make a solar kitchen, go on the “Oregon Trail,” dress up for pioneer day, etc. After school, I would run outside with my neighborhood friends for hours. We had a lot of freedom to explore and learn new things through discovery.

To contrast, this generation goes to school all day, followed immediately by after-school activities and sports programs. Our kids are surrounded by information (often instant access on the phones in our pockets), but somehow seem disconnected from the discovery process. It breaks my heart to hear the negative feelings our kids have about  learning.

When Yvonne and Raewyn asked me for tips that parents can use to make learning fun and bring hands-on learning experiences back to our family culture, I was more than happy to share!


Listen to Melissa Droegemueller of Rolling Prairie Readers talk about making learning fun on the Two Moms, One Podcast show.

You can click here to listen to the podcast,
or scroll on for my best tips and resource recommendations.


(Reminder: Rolling Prairie Readers uses affiliate links at no additional cost to you. You can see our full disclosure policy here.)

Making Learning Fun

  • What should your child be learning?
    This will take a bit of research. Get familiar with your state standards website and also chat with your child’s teacher about current learning objectives in the classroom. Another great resource is the Core Knowledge series of books, which make it easy to know exactly What Your First Grader Needs to Know.


You may be interested in our Age-Appropriate Learning Workshop!


  • Match up your child’s interests with a new skill. Teachers can’t always tailor every lesson to a child’s specific personality and learning style, but parents can! Bring in a sensory tray for your young writer or take your kinesthetic learner out to the trampoline to practice math facts.  If you’re not sure exactly how to create a personalized learning plan for your child, then be sure to sign up for our freebie!
  • Talk positively about school, education, and learning. We all want our children to graduate and get a job. We also want to inspire and empower our children to follow their passions and use their unique gifts to make the world a better place. That can only happen when our kids read for fun and learn outside of the classroom.
  • Build stamina with your little ones before they start school. Read aloud often. Allow them to create art and build cities with their blocks. Take them outside to explore nature. Most importantly, play games where they are expected to take turns, follow directions, and finish a task. Buy toys that can be used in a variety of ways to extend the experience. (See our must-have materials for learning at home.)
  • Create a flexible learning environment at home. Children aren’t meant to sit in desks all day long. Let your kids lay on the floor, work at the couch, bounce on an exercise ball, or do their homework outside. Take frequent brain breaks. Dance, take a walk, hang upside down…

FREE Personalized Learning Plan: custom learning activities for your toddler or preschooler!

Get a FREE personalized learning plan for your child!


Making Math Fun

Utilize your child’s learning style to practice math at home. Let your tactile learner use “manipulatives” to act out the problems. Teach your visual learner to draw the information and find key words. Make up skip-counting songs for your auditory learner to learn their math facts. Play Uno, Rack-O, and Pass the Pigs. (See our favorite math toys here.)

Making Language Arts Fun

Read-aloud from a young age! Go to the library often, and bring home books that interest your child. Read a book together, and then watch the movie as a family. Write about family trips when you get home! Go to author events and buy signed copies of books. Try book subscriptions and book clubs.

Making Science Fun

Try a new experiment each weekend. (You can get family science activity ideas on my Pinterest board here.) Go on nature walks and explore animal habitats in your area. If you’re okay with quality screen time, then you could watch either Rachel and the Treeschoolers or the new Magic School Bus.

Making History Fun

Some children will love to learn more about history by reading books. Series like The Magic Treehouse, I Survived, and Who Was….? can bring the past to life. You can also watch age-appropriate documentaries and take family field trips to history centers all around your state!

Making Geography Fun

Obviously, there is no better way to expose your kids to geography than traveling together. You can explore maps, directions like north, east, south, and west, learn about public transportation graphics, and distance. Children can also learn about landmarks, natural resources, and other cultures. Even if you can’t go far, family adventures are one of the best ways to make learning fun!

There are many ways to strengthen geography skills from home, too. Buy maps and globes, stock your family library with a quality atlas, and explore the world through webcams and travel sites.  You can even use classic games like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? or Stack the States!

Making Learning Fun | parenting, families, hands-on learning activities for parents and kids, tips for parents, math, science, history, geography

Making learning fun at home is an attainable goal for all families. Try one new learning experience each week! Choose positive language about school, and most of all, model lifelong learning for your kids. If I can help at all, just let me know!