27 Ways to make Wonderful Memories with your Family this Summer

27 Ways to make Wonderful Memories with your Family this Summer

*This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. If you would like to read more, here is our disclosure statement.

27 Ways to Make Memories with Family this Summer

School is OUT! I remember being so so so excited for summer vacation as a child and loving every aspect of summer! I loved going to the pool and spending time more time with my mom! I will cherish these memories for a lifetime!

What are the best ways to create lasting memories that your child will remember for years to come?

Think back to your childhood, what are memories that stand out to you? Sure, I remember some of my favorite vacations with going to amusement parks and the ocean, but ones that stand out to me are going on bike rides around town, playing on the swing set in the back, having a water balloon and silly string fight in the front yard…just to name a few. What stands out to me are FUN and somewhat simple experiences!

Here are 27 Ideas to help you create your own wonderful memories with your family this summer!

  • Spend time OUTSIDE!  Connect children to nature at least 1 hour a day where they can learn and explore.
  • Go Swimming
  • Go Biking together and explore new trails and paths around your city or explore new cities together
  • Go fishing together
  • Grow a Garden together and teach your children how to care for the plants
  • Have an outdoor picnic
  • Play in the rain, splash in the puddles, make mud pies
  • Search for flowers and bugs outside
  • Go on a hike on a nature trail and search for birds
  • Set up a butterfly or hummingbird garden to observe throughout the summer
  • Catch fire flies at night
  • Have a campfire and roast marshmallows
  • Camp in the back yard
  • Search for things at night with a flashlight (a memory that stands out to me with using a flashlight was searching for night crawlers outside with my dad to go fishing with)
  • Teach your children how to listen to different bird sounds and set up a bird feeder to learn the different types of birds in your area
  • Blow Bubbles outside
  • Write and draw with Sidewalk Chalk in the driveway
  • Have a water balloon fight, play with the hose outside and run through the sprinkler, or play on the slip and slide
  • Have a silly string fight
  • Play kickball outside
  • Play basketball
  • Play flashlight tag at night
  • Start a rock collection and learn about the rocks you find outside
  • Help your children learn different responsibilities around the house by creating a chore list and find ways to make the chores fun (such as dancing and singing while sweeping or mopping the floor or create contests while doing a chore
  • Ask your kids if there is a new skill they would like to learn such as how to play an instrument, a new sport, or how to cook different meals
  • Have your children help you with meal ideas for the week and let them help you in the kitchen
  • Make a mess in the kitchen with your kids and have fun while doing it!
  • Do Yoga poses every day together either inside or outside

I hope these ideas can help inspire you to make simple, but lasting memories with your kids that will last a lifetime with them!

I also wanted to share with you an amazing resource from And Next Comes L, where Dyan has created an ebook with a list of over 600 Everyday Sensory Play Experiences! Everyday Sensory Play lists 600+ everyday sensory activities designed to give your children the right sensory input that they want and need!

Everyday Sensory Play Ebook Photo

We hope that you have a wonderful fun filled summer with your children and would love to hear about the wonderful memories you are making with your children or past childhood summer memories!

 

25 Ways to Show Support For a Family with a Child with Special Needs

25 Ways to Show Support For a Family with a Child with Special Needs

*This post contains affiliate links. There is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family. If you would like read more here is our disclosure statement.

25 Ways to Show Support For a Family with a Child with Special Needs

25 ways to show support for a family with a child with special needs

This post was originally written about Mother’s day, but the more I thought about it the more I realized these are actions that we should do all year round for mothers, parents, and fathers of children with special needs. These can seem like such simple acts of kindness, but they can go a long way for a family. 

Mother’s day can be a wonderful day where mother’s feel appreciated and loved for many, but sometimes it can also bring up pain and sadness depending on what memories this day brings to you. Maybe you recently lost a mother or you are a mother who lost a child. This time a year can bring back sadness and hurt.

Maybe you are a single mother  or father taking care of a child that has complex medical needs or a child that needs a lot of attention and care. Or maybe you are a family trying to find ways to help your mother have a day where she can feel appreciated and loved for everything that she does for you. Whatever avenue you are on this Mother’s day, I hope that these tips can help all Mother’s especially those with a child with special needs feel loved and appreciated for all of their hard work. If you are a husband, loved one, or friend to a mother with a child with special needs, we hope these ideas can spark some inspiration to help make Mother’s day and every day a success!

This post is the first of many in the self-care series where we will provide you with resources and advice on how to help take care of ourselves as a parent. We need to learn to also take care of ourselves as a parent to be able to provide the best care for our children.

Help Provide Them with a Break

My mother is always wanting to do everything for her children. She is constantly putting her children and her husband first in her life and doesn’t always take time for herself. Helping your mother be able to take a break from the busy schedules can help reenergize herself so that she can be the best version of herself to help her family.

Ask Them How you Can Help

This is a BIG one…and as a mother you need to be able to learn to accept help as well. Ask her what she may need done around the house, or how you can help out to make this next week a little easier for her. Is there something you could help by taking care of her children or going with her to be able to go out in the community and participate in a fun activity with the entire family? There are endless possibilities of ways she may need help, but make sure you are there for her and ask her what she needs help with.

Find out an Activity They Really Enjoy and Do That with Them

Don’t be afraid to just ask her is there something you would really like to go and do? Find out from other family members what are some of her favorite activities to do and provide time for her to complete that activity with her. Now keep in mind you may have to also figure out child care for this mother if you are wanting it to be just the two of you. This may take some extra planning depending on her situation, so make sure you take that into consideration.

Listen to Their Needs (don’t judge or provide feedback unless they ask)

Maybe just taking the time to listen to her and allowing her to share her feelings and opinions without feeling judged is what a mother might need. Bring her a cup of coffee or tea and allow her the opportunity to just sit and chat in a judgement free zone. You never know how much of an impact this simple act can make for someone that may feel like they are alone.

Let Them Know You are Here for Them

Let your mother know that you are here for them as a loved one or a friend and know that you are available to talk or go do an activity with them. Let them know that they can call you if they are needing help or just need some advice. It is always good to know which friends or loved ones you can always count on to help you out when you need it.

Make a Meal for Them and Their Family to Share Together

For some mothers, cooking a meal can be very tough and frustrating. It can take a long time to create a healthy meal for a family to share together. You have to find the time to go grocery shopping, prep the ingredients, and then cook the meal. That can be very time invasive, so just the kind act of making an entire meal for this mother to be able to share with her loved ones can be a huge act of kindness.

Help with the Yard Work

Yard work is another chore that can be daunting and take a lot of time, which a lot of mother’s don’t have enough time. Helping out with mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, or watering the flowers can be a huge help for some mother’s and families.

Ask to Help Clean the House

The act of asking to help do the laundry or clean up the kitchens or bathrooms can also be a huge help around the house. This can help the mother’s have more time to spend with their loved ones doing something they enjoy together. I know if this was me, I would love to have someone help clean up my house.

Help Run an Errand

Depending on their situation, just finding the time to be able to leave the house for a simple errand, can be a hard task for some mothers. Asking to help go get groceries or drop off some packages can be a huge help for some!

Provide them with a Gas Card to help with Transportation to Appointments

Gas can be expensive, especially if you are a family where you are constantly driving to appointments for your child. A gas card could go a long way for some mother’s to be able to have sufficient funds to know she can get her children to their appointments on time.

Let them take a Nap or Sleep in

Sleep is one of those things that can be neglected when you are a mother to a child with lots of needs or just a very busy lifestyle. Help a mother out by offering to take care of the child for a while to allow her to sleep in or take a nap. Sleep is a necessity and can help a mother be the best version of herself with enough sleep and energy.

Provide Her with Opportunities to Listen to Books through an Audible Subscription

This one is a personal preference, as I love to listen to books on my audible app through Amazon. I am someone that doesn’t take the time to sit and read, so I love being able to listen to books on tape and I am able to multi task at the same time with either doing dishes or folding laundry. I also love listening to books in the car! This has opened up so many more opportunities for me to be able to catch up on reading that I otherwise would not do.

Ask if they Would Like to Do Something as Family Where Everyone Can Join in and Participate

Is there an activity that the whole family would like to be able to do together? Help them find a way to complete that activity where everyone in the family will be able to help participate with to help create fun memories for the mother and family to be able to cherish for a lifetime.

Provide Uplifting and Encouraging Books to Read or Listen to Help them Relax

Our family loves finding books where the message is uplifting and encouraging. Maybe there are other mom’s out there that also like to read encouraging books as well. Find out what your mom likes to read and provide opportunities for her to do that. My mom has loved watching and reading inspirational books by Joel Osteen.

Here are a list of possible encouraging and uplifting books 

This Life I Live: One Man’s Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever by Rory Feek

Start with Amen: How I Learned to Surrender by Keeping the End in Mind by Beth Guckenberger

The Magnolia Story by Chip GainesJoanna Gaines, Mark Dagostino 

Get Them a Special Gift to Show your Appreciation and Love

A bouquet of flowers

Gourmet Chocolates

Locket Necklace

Succulent Plants

Indoor Herb Garden

Mom Coffee Mug

The special gifts could go on and on forever. Every person likes a special gift that comes from the heart. These are just some ideas to get you started in the gift giving process.

This post goes out to all mothers who work hard to provide for their families and work to take care of their children to the best of their abilities.  I hope you can find some inspiration from the ideas listed above to show your love and support to all the mother’s in your life. This list is not just about mother’s but both parents or fathers who are just trying their best to raise happy healthy children. Is there something you would like me to add to this list of ideas? We would love to hear from you!

5 Ways to Better Understand Autism

5 Ways to Better Understand Autism

  • This post contains affiliate links, there is no extra cost to you, but will greatly help our family.

5 ways to better understand Autism

I believe that God has a plan for us and that we are to love everyone…Now you are probably thinking how does God fit into all of this? Well I believe that God has me here on this Earth for a bigger picture and that I am here to help others show love and acceptance to others.

Why is it so hard for us to understand something that is different from us? Why can we be so judgmental?  Why is it easier to be sad or mean instead of nice or happy?

Everyone is Unique

There are a lot of why questions in life and every one of us has a unique answer to those questions. Everyone is UNIQUE. We all go through different experiences in this life that shape who we are as a person. Now you are probably wondering when is she going to start taking about Autism? First I want to paint the picture that every person has unique and different personalities. We can look different, think differently, like different things such as foods, and we all have different skills that we are either good at or bad at.

Every person is unique, just like every person with Autism is unique. No one person is alike, has different meaning for each person and if you have met one person with Autism, you have met only one person with Autism. Please do not base your opinions based on one experience you have had with someone with Autism.

These are views that I have learned along the way as a sister, a professional, and as someone who is wanting to learn more about the Autism world, so that I can learn their perspective and be able to understand their viewpoint better.

When talking to your children or loved ones about Autism come from a loving and positive viewpoint.

Here are some ways to help us understand Autism

  1. We all see the world differently, but the world can look very different for someone with Autism. The brain is wired differently and different connections can work well or may have more difficulty working.
  2. The senses may be wired differently as well. Sound, touch, taste, smell, or movement can feel much different for someone with Autism. We all have different sensory preferences such as the foods we like or the activities we enjoy. Respect everyone’s sensory preferences and differences.
  3. Communication may be difficult and social interactions may be very hard for someone with Autism. Find ways to include someone with Autism in an activity in a way that they can handle the situation. In order to do this, you first need to get to know the person and understand their likes and dislikes.
  4. The special wiring in their brain can make something that we may think as easy be very hard for them, or something that we may think as being hard, can be easy to them.
  5. Someone may develop behaviors to help them cope with stressful or chaotic feelings due to being overwhelmed with an experience due to the their senses. When the brain and senses don’t communicate well the brain can become overwhelmed. These behaviors can look odd to us, but it can help them feel calm inside. The person may not be able to say out loud how they are feeling. From the outside they could look like they are fine, but on the inside they could be feeling chaos.

How we can learn to understand their point of view

  1. Take the time to get to know the individual. Find out what they like and don’t like.
  2. Find a way to be able to communicate with them. Do they talk verbally or use a communication device?
  3. See if there is something that you can do together that you both would like to do.
  4. If someone is talking mean about someone with Autism, stand up for the person and say something positive about them.
  5. I have heard many times that people with Autism just want to feel understood. In order to do this we need to take the time to learn the world from their perspective and not be quick to judge or place opinions.

I loved this quote from the video Amazing Things Happen, “People with Autism are not ill or broken, they have a unique view of the world.” If we take the time to learn and share the world from their point of view, we may be able to see the amazing things they can do.

If you are looking for a video to be able to share with your children or loved ones about Autism, I highly recommend this video from Amazing Things Happen! Amazing Things Happen is the creation of independent animation director Alex Amelines. Here is the link to the Facebook page for Amazing Things Happen.

If you found this post or video helpful please leave a comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts!

If you are looking for further resources to help you better understand Autism, here are a list of books that may be helpful!

Do you have a child with Autism and need help to find support? This post talks about 24 amazing online support groups and blogs for families! 

Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop

Welcome to Voices of Special Needs Blog Hop — a monthly gathering of posts from special needs bloggers hosted by The Sensory Spectrum and The Jenny Evolution. Click on the links below to read stories from other bloggers about having a special needs kiddo — from Sensory Processing Disorder to ADHD, from Autism to Dyslexia! Want to join in on next month’s Voices of Special Needs Hop? Click here!

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How I Learned to Ride a Bike on My Own!

How I Learned to Ride a Bike on My Own!

*This post contains affiliate links which is no extra cost to you, but can help out our family greatly with a small commission.

The Struggle of Riding a Bike

Ever since my brother was little he has struggled with having the balance and coordination to be able to ride a bike on his own. When he was really little he was able to ride a small tricycle, but as he got older he had more trouble riding the tricycle and we tried putting on training wheels on bikes, but it just wasn’t enough stability for him. Then we discovered an old tandem bike that my parents had and he was able to ride on the back of the tandem bike with one of us in the front! It was amazing to be able to get valuable exercise with biking as a family. As he got older he got taller and it was getting harder for us to safely balance with him on the back, especially with the old rusty bike.

He was Motivated to Learn the Skill

My brother was very motivated to learn the skill of riding a bike on his own, but we knew it needed to be set up in a safe way for him to be able to accomplish this goal. We had tried multiple times to ride a two wheeled bike, but every time he would crash and that would just increase his anxiety and frustration and then he would quit. It can be hard to find a physical activity that we can all do together where we are all having fun and enjoy ourselves. So we knew we had to figure out a way to make biking work for our family. That is where the bike pictured above came into the picture!

How He was Able to Ride a Bike on His Own!

As a family we had done extensive research over the years with tricycles, but it was so hard to be able to find places where we could see them in person and be able to practice riding them before ordering them. Bikes are a HUGE investment and cost a lot of money. We didn’t want to purchase something online and then have my brother not be able to ride the bike. We also knew we wanted to find something that he could use for a long time and be able to grow with him as he keeps getting taller and taller. My parents and my brother decided to go to some local bike shops and one shop had an adult tricycle in stock for my brother to actually practice riding and he fell in LOVE! He told my mom it was so easy for him to go and the seat was super comfortable! Those are huge wins, because we need to figure out how to make physical exercise as easy as possible to stay motivated to keep up with it! The only negative to the bike was it was low to the ground and we were worried about the safety of riding it.

That was when we turned to looking on Craigslist just to see if there would happen to be something used for less the price as something new. It was a MIRACLE!! We looked and there was one for sale!! We were so incredibly BLESSED! We were able to get the bike pictured above for a third of the original price and it was in great working condition!! We knew we were super lucky to find one available near us for sale! The bike pictured above is the Sunseeker X3-AX. It was everything my brother was looking for! It was easy for him to use safely and he was comfortable while riding it! His expression was priceless while riding the bike for the first time! His smile was so big and he was so proud of himself for being able to do something on his own!

Learning the Safety Skills

Now that we have a bike he can ride on his own, now we have been working on teaching him the safety skills with riding a bike on his own. We always make sure to wear our helmet and he is really good about doing that! He understands that we need to protect our heads/brain if we were to fall. We have also been taking about the street signs and making sure we STOP at stop signs and yield as well. We also talk about which side of the street to ride on. We live in a super small town, so luckily we don’t have to worry much about traffic. We have also been teaching him about how to shift into different gears and how to know when to shift into different gears based on if you are on flat ground or trying to go up a hill. It is a very EXCITING time in our lives helping my brother achieve a dream of his with being able to independently ride a bike! You will see us riding bikes as a family this summer and we can’t wait for the weather to get nicer outside!

Do you have a success story you would like to share with me or would you like to share your story on the blog? We would love to feature other families and their successes/triumphs! Is there a new skill your child has just learned or just something positive you would like to share with us? Feel free to give me your name and email address below and I would love to get to know you more on a personal level and be able to showcase your family/child on our blog!! We want to be able to spread joy and happiness with other families and advocate for children with special needs!

Does your child have difficulty learning personal hygiene self care skills? Check out our Ebook Everyday Life Skills Personal Hygiene Skills in the Bathroom for TONS of tips and resources to help your loved one become more independent with these skills!

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