What Carrying Extra “Weight” Does to Your Body


Before jumping to conclusions about what I’m going to say……slow down. I won’t ever judge or comment on a mother’s extra pounds. What I’m referring to, is extra weight from another living being in the form of a baby,toddler or maybe even a grown kid. My 3 year old says “uppy”. Some throw their hands up in the air as a form of sign language for the “pick me up”. Fortunately for me, my daughter is a petite 28 pounds. Even with her size, after time my body feels the effects of the frequent “uppy.” Just how does this new “weight” influence our mechanics and what can we do to alleviate some of it?

1. Change it up.

Just as you wouldn’t go to the gym and focus on strengthening one side, you shouldn’t carry your little one with the same arm all the time. Your baby is a weight, and constantly holding your baby on the same side will eventually lead to imbalance of the muscular system. Often, mom’s complain of back pain along with sciatic issues, (pain running from the hip all the way down the leg to the foot). When one side is taxed, other muscles will take over to compensate. Quite frequently, assister muscles of the back and hips end up strained. Switching sides each time you carry your baby will help balance out your alignment and help avoid pain patterns.

2. Exercise.

I know, we’ve all heard it and who has the time, right? With a new baby around we are normally getting more activity then we can handle and just want to sit down for a moment! Just ten minutes per day with some simple movements will strengthen and maintain balance in the body. Some of my favorites include; hip raises, modified push-ups and wall squats for an easy and quick overall workout.

Hip Raises: Lie down on the ground with your feet planted on the ground and your knees up. Squeeze your gluteal muscles and your abs in tightly and slowly lift hips off the floor. Hold this position for 2-3 seconds lower keeping everything tight the entire time. Repeat 6-10 times.

Modified Push-Ups: A push-up modified by keeping your knees on the ground. Remember to keep your back straight and shoulders down. Keep control when lowering with your elbows in. Repeat 6-10 times.

Wall Squats: Stand with your back against the wall and feet shoulder width apart. Lower down slowly to a seated position or wherever you feel comfortable and push back to standing keeping the weight on your heels. Use caution to keep your knees from going past a 90 degree angle.

3. Use caution when lifting.

Recently, a client came into my office doubled over in pain after picking her 16 month old out of the crib. Every time you pick up your baby, whether it be from the floor, crib or car seat, you are placing stress on your body. Next time, squeeze your belly muscles in (yes they are there!), stabilize your scapula by pushing your shoulders down, and carefully lift with intention. I realize at 3 am this is not the first thing that enters a mom’s mind, however, most injuries tend to occur with fatigue so this is an even more crucial time to concentrate. Muscles have memory as does the nervous system from our everyday movement. This means, repetition of proper movement leads to habit over time.


4. Invest in a baby carrier.

One of the best ways your can bond with your baby is holding them close with a baby carrier. My advice is to take your baby along to pick one out. With a plethora of styles, everyone has their own preference of what feels best. Just like shoes, try them on and carry your child around the store to make sure it’s comfortable. Most have adjustable straps that can be catered to your body. Make sure these straps are tightened, so your baby does not cause your shoulders to lean forward. You want the fit to be secure so that while walking around you can stand up straight and not feel top heavy.

5. Learn to say “no”!

Oh boy, this is one of the most difficult things to do as a mother. Trust me, the sooner you learn to let your child develop their independence the happier you all will be. As my daughter approaches 4, my feelings are torn. She’s my baby and my last child. As much as I don’t want her to “grow up”, I keep thinking 4 is the age I will start to feel “normal” again, emotionally and physically. My left side is chronically stiff as is my shoulder from years of holding her. The other day when she said “uppy” I told her to walk, and surprisingly she did without a fuss. Deep down I wasn’t so sure if this made me happy or sad. I know this is the end of her toddlerhood and beginning of a new era. As time goes on, my body will thank me for putting this “weight” down. As we both let go of her dependence for being carried, we will just have to increase our cuddle time on the couch!


Written by: Karyn Hendricksen

Karyn Hendricksen is a health and wellness enthusiast. She is passionate about gathering as much knowledge as possible pertaining to staying healthy, naturally.

Karyn’s education includes a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and Specialist Certification in Muscle Activation Techniques. She loves to educate others on how fun and easy it can be to lead a healthy lifestyle through both blogging and public presentation. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her awesome husband Russ, and daughters’ Alexa and Stella. She can be found at: www.restorativewellnesscenteraz.com

Something to Chew On: 3 Ways to Ease the Teething Trauma

Teeth Relief Slide

You are finally getting it. The nap schedule is
consistent. The crankiness from the fourth trimester has subsided. You are
fitting into your jeans and beginning to feel “normal” again. And then…………”BAM”,
right out of the blue your little one turns from somewhat predictable, to not
at all. Her usual sweet face is now fussy and full of drool. She is always
shoving something including her fist, inside that tiny mouth. Your baby is
teething, and your schedule and calmness just got turned upside down. According
to the website babycenter.com, teething can start as young as 4 months and
continues until 2 years old. During this time, babies can experience symptoms
similar to being ill including: diarrhea, rash, low-grade fever, fussiness, and
low appetite.

 All babies are not created equal. Some moms will notice the pearly whites without a sign from the baby that they are coming in. While others, will experience what I did, and feel helpless and sad for their uncomfortable little one. Rest assured, there are ways to make this time much less traumatizing for you both. Here are three tips to keep everyone happy.

 1. Use Natural Products to Ease the Pain

I remember when my daughter was teething; the products on the market were controversial. Today we are lucky to have an amazing product from Wellements Baby, called “Teeth Relief”. This product is made from 100% natural ingredients so moms don’t need to worry about adverse reactions. These ingredients include: Olive Oil, White Willow Bark Oil, Clove Oil, and Natural Vitamin E. The composition of this product will help soothe your baby’s gums and may help with inflammation. Because it is safe, you can reapply as often as needed.

2. Go with the Flow

It is great for everyone to have baby on a schedule. However, don’t let small changes stress you out. In the first two years of a baby’s life there are so many physiological occurrences that it is nearly impossible to maintain 100% consistency. During teething time, your little one may want to be held more or may take shorter naps. Know that this time will quickly pass and getting back to a normal routine is the important part.

3. Give her Something to Chew on

Everything will find their way into baby’s mouth during this time because it just feels better to have something rubbing against their sore gums. It’s good to have a few eco-friendly “chewables” on hand so your baby won’t take your keys. Some awesome products include, Sophie the Giraffe and Green Sprouts Cornstarch Teether. Another simple solution is a cold, wet washcloth. Store it in the refrigerator for an hour and it will feel great on baby’s gums.

We are always looking for more tools for teething. Do you have a natural remedy to share?



Essential Oils To The Rescue


As a parent who does my best to feed my kids mostly organic and minimally processed food, I often look to natural alternatives to over the counter medicine. For the past year I have been experimenting with essential oils on my family. Essential oils are liquids distilled from various parts of specific plants (Modern Essentials, 2014). One of the benefits of using essential oils is that they can penetrate the cell wall and are absorbed directly into the skin (Modern Essentials, 2014). Here are the top five Essential Oils I use on a daily basis:

1. Lavender

Lavender is wonderful for scrapes, bruises, and cuts. It’s also a natural sleep aid and stress reducer. You can apply a couple drops of lavender directly on the skin for relief fast healing or on the back of the neck for stress relief.

2. Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is oil derived from the dried leaves of a Eucalyptus Tree. The most common use for this oil in my family is in place of “Vicks.” I put a drop underneath the nose to help with stuffy and congested coughing and breathing. If the symptoms are caused by a respiratory infection, this oil can also act as a natural antibiotic. I would recommend rubbing it into the chest and neck area to relieve bacteria in the respiratory tract.

3. Melaleuca

A more common name for Melaleuca is Tea Tree Oil. This oil has many awesome benefits, my favorite being a cleaning agent.  Since it is antibacterial, it can be used in cleaning products to stop the spread of germs. It can also be applied to cuts, bruises, and wounds to prevent infection.

4. Frankincense

Frankincense oil is extracted from the bark of a tree. It is most commonly used for matters of the brain including anxiety, memory-loss and depression. It is also great for the skin to reduce redness and inflammation. I have used it for years on my daughters eczema combined with fractionated coconut oil. It literally clears her skin up overnight. Personally I enjoy placing a couple drops on my hands, rubbing them together and taking a giant inhalation. It calms my nervous system and heart rate down almost instantly.

5. Lemon

Lemon oil is from the peel of the lemon fruit. It has many uses including; detoxifying, cleaning, and enhancing mood. I use it every morning in a shot glass with warm water and four drops of oil to detoxify my body and energize me for the day. I also keep it by my sink to wash fruits and vegetables.

As with any health product, make sure to research any oils you choose to use. I would also recommend trying a little at first on small kids in case any reaction occurs. My personal favorite is a company called DoTERRA Essential Oils.


Out of my top five favorite essential oils, which would you use most and why?


Written By: Karyn Hendricksen, MS M.A.T

Karyn Hendricksen is a health and wellness enthusiast. She is passionate about gathering as much knowledge as possible pertaining to staying healthy, naturally.

Karyn’s education includes a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology and Specialist Certification in Muscle Activation Techniques. She loves to educate others on how fun and easy it can be to lead a healthy lifestyle through both blogging and public presentation. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her awesome husband Russ, and daughters’ Alexa and Stella. She can be found Restorative Wellness Center

Is Screen Time a Good Thing for Babies?


In this digital age, there is an increasing conversation about whether or not screens and tablets are good for babies & toddlers.

Let’s take a look at babies’ anatomy:  babies’ brains grow exponentially in the first 3 years and the brain triples in mass in just the first 12 months! The stimuli babies and toddlers experience during this period profoundly influence brain development. Researchers say that it is best to leverage this early physical brain growth by offering babies and toddlers opportunities to cognitively exercise their brain with active learning, beyond passive observation, such as TV watching.

The imagination needs to be exercised like a muscle in order for creativity to be developed.  And over time, children’s play became more elaborate and three-dimensional.  So, the more interactive a screen, such as an interactive app or game, the better.  However, without the draw of screens, researchers do observe that toddlers are more verbal, more social, more creative creatures versions of themselves.  At Little Spark, we encourage you and your little one to actively participate in play that is both interactive and stimulating.Little Spark Logo

Guest Blog Post by:
Susan Kim
Co-Founder of Little Sparks

Wellements Baby Contest Winner!!!


We wish we could have picked more than one winner because we are so honored and appreciative to have such amazing fans, but we know we couldn’t have picked a better one!! Thank you Amanda Pennington for supporting Wellements Baby!

Our Winner

Amanda who is a mother of 3 boys and has one on the way was so excited to win that she couldn’t stop crying when she found out the news. It couldn’t have been better timing for her to win since baby #4 is due in a few weeks. She first heard about our contest when a friend sent her the link. She was already a fan of our page and new all about our products. Amanda was so overwhelmed from winning that she couldn’t put into words how much this prize will help her family!  She loves that she won’t have to worry about buying diapers for an entire year! Amanda loves being a mom and enjoys watching her children grow. This holiday season Amanda and her family will be expecting the arrival of their new baby. They will also be celebrating with family and enjoying time together.

Thank You

We just wanted to take a minute to thank all of our Wellements Fans. We know that without your support we wouldn’t be able to have such amazing giveaways. Please stay connected to our page because we will be having more contests in the future.


Here is our Scoop on Poop!


It starts out thick and sticky and then gives way to soft and yellow. By the first week of your babies’ life you are up too your ears in it!!!!  You got it….POOP!   If you are breastfeeding your baby will be pooping yellow mustard seeds 8-10 times a day. If your baby is formula fed his/her stools will be a little firmer and tanner. Either way, poop is its name and examining it will be your game!!

Shh…Now I have a very secret mommy confession, please don’t tell anyone! I was obsessed with both of my infants poop! I know disgusting, but true!! Both my children were breast feed and nothing made me prouder then a good mustard seed poop!! I felt like it was my way of making sure they were getting enough nutrients.  Then it hit…CONSTIPATION!!!

What Is Constipation?

Dr. Sears says that constipation refers to the compactness of the stools and the difficulty passing them, not the frequency of bowel movements. The consistency and number of stools varies according to age and from baby to baby.  Here are some signs that your baby may be constipated.

  • In a newborn, firm stools less than once a day with straining and difficulty passing them
  • Dry, hard stools and pain on passing them
  • Hard, pebble-like stools passed by a baby who strains during a bowel movement, drawing her legs up on her abdoment, grunting, and getting red faced
  • Streaks of blood along the outside of the stool
  • Abdominal discomfort along with hard, infrequent stools

Please watch the following video to hear more about how to handle constipation

 What could be causing your Child’s Constipation?

Baby Center gives some reasons why your baby may be constipated

  • Formula. Babies who breastfeed exclusively are rarely constipated. Breast milk has the perfect balance of fat and protein, so it produces stools that are almost always soft — even if your baby hasn’t had one for several days. If your baby is on formula, it’s possible that something in her formula is making her constipated. Ask your baby’s doctor about switching brands. (Despite what you may have heard, the amount of iron in formula doesn’t have any bearing on constipation.)
  • The introduction of solids. Don’t be surprised if your baby becomes mildly constipated as she steps up to solid food. That’s often because rice cereal, usually the first food given during this transition period, is low in fiber.
  • Dehydration. If your baby isn’t getting enough fluid, she’ll become dehydrated and her system will respond by absorbing more fluid from whatever she eats or drinks — and from the waste in her bowels, as well. The result is hard, dry bowel movements that are difficult to pass.
  • A medical condition or illness. Though it’s uncommon, constipation can be caused by an underlying medical condition such as hypothyroidism, some metabolic disorders, some food allergies and botulism. If your baby passes hard, painful stools, you’ll want her doctor to check her out, just to make sure.

Rarely, constipation is caused by a condition called Hirschsprung’s disease, which is typically diagnosed within the first few weeks of life. A baby with this disease suffers from a birth defect that prevents her gut from functioning properly.

What can we do to Stop Constipation?

Alright, we know what it looks like and what causes our little ones to suffer from it. Now, what can we do to prevent or help our little ones with their tummy troubles?  The Mayo Clinic suggests the following things.

To help prevent constipation in children:

  • Offer your child high-fiber foods. Include in your child’s diet foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, whole-grain cereals and breads. If your child isn’t use to a high-fiber diet, start by adding just several grams of fiber a day to prevent gas and bloating.
  • Our Very Own Solution: Wellements Baby Move is a natural formula designed to help infants and toddlers with occasional constipation. Our blend of organic prune concentrate and prebiotics is specifically formulated to be gentle and safe for infants 6 months and up.
  • Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids. Water is often the best bet.
  • Promote physical activity. Regular physical activity helps stimulate normal bowel function.
  • Create a toilet routine. Regularly set aside time after meals for your child to use the toilet. If necessary, provide a footstool so that your child is comfortable sitting on the toilet and has enough leverage to release a stool.
  • Remind your child to heed nature’s call. Some children get so wrapped up in the activity at hand that they ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. Postponing the event can lead to problems in the long run, however.
  • Review medications. If your child is taking a medication that causes constipation, ask his or her doctor about other options.

Now that I have given you my secret scoop on poop, I would love to hear yours? It would only be fair to share any embarrassing stories you have about you and your child’s poop. Please tell us any funny stories you have about this topic.


5 Tips for Starting the School Year Off GREEN


Just when you have your summer schedule down … BAM!!  The school year sneaks up on you. Summer is over and that means back to school shopping is here.  With all that shopping and consuming means a lot of waste and or wear and tear on the environment.  Follow the five tips below so you can start the school year off right and help the environment at the same time.


1. The Lunch Box

We all remember the brown sack lunch filled with little zip lock baggies our moms use to send with us to school everyday. Well, times have changed and we now have reusable lunch boxes and lunchskins that are not only eco friendly, but free of toxins.  The newest trend is the Bento lunch box. Check out LunchBots and Planetbox and see why we are crazy about them.  If you are still into the old traditional sack lunch you can find brands like Mimi the Sardine, which are made from organic cotton. These lunch boxes and reusable lunchskins are all great alternatives and will help reduce the amount of paper and plastic waste a school lunch can produce.


2. How to send a Healthy Green Lunch

Alright, we figured out what to carry our lunch in, and now we need to put some healthy locally grown organic food in it. I know organic food can be pricy, so what I do to help cut the cost is make sure that any foods that are part of the Dirty Dozen or Clean 15 are the ones I buy organic. These two lists name the foods that have the highest levels of pesticides in them. Another great way to buy organic and save money is to shop at a local farmer’s markets. The Local Harvest is a website that allows you to put in your zip code and find a farmer’s market in your area. I have also found some great recipes for packing lunches in The Lunch Box, Healthy Meals that Keep them Smiling.


Look for alternative forms of transportation. Use getting to school as a time to get some exercise and spend some quality time with your children, by riding a bike or walking them to school. If you live to far to walk or ride have your child take a bus or carpool with a family that lives in your neighborhood.


4. School Supplies

This year as I was standing in the school supply isle with my kindergartener I was overwhelmed by the amount of waste I saw.  The number one offender had to be the school notebook. That is why when taking  a closer look I couldn’t believe what I saw…you guessed it…100% recycled paper.  Tons of stores carry it and all you have to do is check the package for the label before you buy it. I also wanted to point out that by filling a notebook from cover to cover before buying a new one is a very easy and effective way to cut down on waste. Not only can you buy recycled paper, but TreeSmart makes recycled pencils that are great.



Almost half of the money spent on back to school shopping goes towards buying clothes. This can get very expensive very quickly. Hand me downs are always a great way to save money and help the environment.  There are many specialty children stores that have gently used second hand clothes, like Kid to Kid. Another great resource can be friends or families that have older children. If you’ve exhausted all your options and still have things you need, try to buy well made, high quality clothing. Sustainable fabrics like organic cotton are the way to go.


The typical American school kid generates 67 pounds of discarded school lunch packaging waste per school year according to About.com.  That is more than 18,000 pounds yearly for the averaged sized elementary school.  If we all take responsibility for our environment and follow the 5 easy tips above we can make a difference in the size of the carbon foot print we are leaving behind for future generations.


What are some ways you can help make your child’s school year GREEN?


The Healthy Snack Trap


All Natural Junk Food

I read somewhere that close to 20,000 new packaged foods make it to the grocery shelves each year.

Companies are getting smarter (or sneakier) at drawing us into their health food trap with words like fortified, all natural, no added sugar, and gluten free.  Real food is being replaced by chemicals and packaged with fun shinny bright advertising claiming how healthy it is.

Often times “healthy snacks” are laden with extra sugar and sodium to compensate for the taste of the artificial or chemical ingredients used in most processed foods.  It’s no accident once you open the bag of goldfish you can’t stop eating them.

According to an article in the Huffington Post

 “Food made of sugar, fat, and salt can be addictive. Especially when combined in secret ways that the food industry will not share or make public.”

 Do you know why your child won’t eat healthy snacks, because inadvertently, you’ve taught them not to!  ME…never.  Yes you.  Let’s be honest.  There is no guarantee they will eat the veggies or fruit you put in front of them.  Chances are high they will eat the Cheerios and food manufacturers are counting on you to do exactly that.

“If you give your children a lot of sweet, salty, and high fat foods throughout the day then these are the flavors their taste buds will come to expect.” Dr. Rose explains.

We may actually be hard wiring our kids to crave these kinds of unhealthy foods.

Here are some fun facts to drive my point home.

  • Did you know that sugar triggers the brains feel good chemical dopamine almost exactly the same way as other addictive drugs.
  •  We are one of the only countries that allows companies to market junk food to children.  In an article titled Sugar Babies Dr. Mark Hyman reports “Studies show that the worse the food, the more the marketing.  The average 2 year old can recognize and name junk food from their baby carriage in the supermarket.”
  • Dr. Rose from It’s Not About Nutrition say: “Compared to cereals advertised to adults, the cereals aimed at kids contain: 56% more sugar, 52% less fiber and 50% more sodium.”
  • According to a study published in Appetite, a research journal specializing in behavioral nutrition, when preschoolers drank water instead of a sweetened drink, they ate more raw vegetables.

5 Tips to help avoid the healthy snack trap

  1. Stay on the outer edge of the grocery store.  This is where most of the produce and non-processed food lives.  The rest is pretty much unnecessary!
  2.  READ LABELS. Do you recognize all the ingredients?  If not put it down!
  3.  Just eat real foods.  This is the easiest motto to follow.  Did it come from the earth?  Note: apples, vegetables and other real foods requireno label reading.
  4. Plan ahead.  We haven’t totally lost our minds and we know a lot of this is easier said than done especially while totting screaming kids through the grocery store.  BUT does it really take that much more time to cut up an apple then to grab the bag of animal crackers?
  5. Use “kid friendly” snacks as occasional treats and not everyday snacks. This is your change to teach kids about healthy eating.  Remember you are actually shaping your kids taste buds and setting them up for a healthy palate in the future.

What do you do to get your child to eat healthier options?

Soccer Mom Syndrome


Do you suffer from Soccer Mom Syndrome?

I’m not talking about the kind where your life is consumed by a circus of kids piling out of your minivan like clowns as they rush to soccer practice. I’m talking about the kind where you bring Doritos and Gatorade to all the kids on your child’s team. I know it seems harmless.  After all, your child is running up and down a soccer field not sitting in front of the t.v.  BUT, it may be more harmful than you think.

As parents you obviously want your child to eat healthy.   The problem is, when we have 5 minutes to pick the kids up, go to the grocery store, feed them and get them to practice, we tend to forego the healthy option for the easy one.   Don’t feel bad.  You are definitely not alone!

What exactly is Soccer Mom Syndrome?
Dr. Diane Rose breaks down her theory for us.

Soccer Mom Syndrome, SMS for short, is a theory about the tendency of parents to give their child an unhealthy snack over a healthy one for multiple reasons. Some justifications include:

  •  “My children are active in sports and other activities so they must be healthy and can eat an unhealthy snack because they are going to work it off.”
  • “My children worked hard in their activity today (i.e. soccer game) so they can have an unhealthy snack as a reward.”
  • “My children and I are all so busy because of our activities that we don’t have time to prepare healthy snacks.”
  • “My children are given unhealthy snacks at their activities and love them, so there’s no way I can control that.”
  • “My children are picky and won’t eat healthy food so I’d rather feed them unhealthy food than have them go hungry.”

SMS stems from two major issues in our opinion.

The Fear of Hunger

Dr. Diana Rose brings up a really good point.  “Fear of hunger is rampant amongst parents I know.” As a parent, your sole responsibility is to care for your children and feeding them is pretty high on the priority list.  When kids don’t eat it can be really stressful! So there is a tendency for parents to feed their picky-eaters anything, no matter how healthy or unhealthy it may be, for fear of them going hungry. The truth is, your child will not go hungry. Dr. Rose reiterates, “Kids need to know hunger is a natural consequence of not eating.”  She also ads that giving them permission not to eat may diffuse the control situation, allowing them to decide if they want to eat or not.  If you can’t stand to wait until the next meal, which they will survive to see, you can always offer them something an hour later.

Lack of Time and Easy Options

Unfortunately the busy culture of our society promotes fast and easy options that tend to be more on the unhealthy side.  Let’s me honest who has time to whip up the perfectly healthy dinner or snack in between the madness of working, keeping up the house and being a taxi driver parent extraordinaire.  We know the snack packs and chicken nuggets make life a lot easier!   This is one of those things that requires effort and planning.  Maybe its something you can prepare on the weekends.  Maybe it’s about making a grocery list so that you do have health go to options available.  Click here for my list of 10 snacks you don’t have feel guilty about.  Listen, sometimes were good at this and sometimes its one of those days, we get it.  But remember healthy eating starts at home.


 Why is SMS such a problem?

I know the snacks at soccer practice don’t seem like a serious threat but eating habits are developed early.  What we really need to pay attention to are the long-term effects of SMS. Picking convenience over health is a lesson that can stick for a lifetime.  So think about the BIG PICTURE and remember that when you put in the work to teach good healthy eating habits you are setting them up for a healthy lifestyle.  Dr. Rose sums it up well.  “When you don’t…well…all you have to do is look around to see what happens.”

 So, what can you do?

  •  Research some fast healthier options in your neighborhood.
  • When you have the time, cut up some fruits and vegetables for your kids to grab as a snack.
  • Eliminate unhealthy snacks from the home – my mother always said, “nothing out of a bag or a box”.
  • Forego popular sports or sugary drinks. What’s wrong with plain, old water?
  • Always think long term! These eating habits you instill in your kids will set the stage for how they view nutritions later in life.

What are some healthy snacks or meals you like to prepare for your family?

Secret to Family Happiness


Shh!! I have a secret! You guessed it….the secret to family happiness! Here is how I was reminded of how to make my family happy.

Every summer I fly around the country with my children like a mad woman!!!  Why, you may ask??? “To be honest after I read the blog “Went to Europe, loved the playground: Why travel with kids is a waste,” I’m not sure. The only real answer I have for now is that we live in Arizona and it’s just to hot to stay here all summer. So instead we go back and forth between the East Coast and West Coast visiting, sight seeing, and thoroughly exhausting ourselves.

When I read the blog above, it was like a light bulb went off in my head! It really brought me back to my parenting roots. It reminded me that my goal as a parent was to create a strong family unit, which in turn would help create a well rounded contributing member of society. Why have I been schlepping my five year old and almost two year old to museums, activities, and cities for the past few summers?  All they really want is quality time with mom and dad.


 Don’t Just Take My Word for it

Ramon Zabriskie, an expert in “recreational management” at Brigham Young’s Marriot School found through studies that everyday togetherness is the secret to family happiness. Zabriskie did a study with fathers that showed that kids were happiest when they were doing activities like watching TV and playing board games with their dads. His research team surveyed fathers and children between the ages of 11-15, but he believes if they did another study with mothers he would find the same thing. He also surveyed 3 year olds and 5 year olds and found very similar results, so it doesn’t matter how old your kids are they just want some quality time with you.


The Good News

Parents put your credit cards away!!  Zabriskie’s study showed “core activities” ie shooting hoops, reading books, coloring together to be more meaningful to your kids then “balance activities” ie activities that cost money. Yahoo! He did point out though that balance activities weren’t worthless just not as important. So, this summer every time I get a knee jerk to take my kids somewhere I think they “need” to go, I am going to remember what truly makes them happy….a family swim, staying in our pajamas and watching cartoons together, and playing board games.


What core activities make your family happy?