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Throw a Kid-Friendly New Year’s Eve Bash in 4 Steps

December 31, 2015

By Jessica Vician

Throw a kid-friendly New Year's Eve Bash | There’s no need for a sitter if you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve bash that both kids and adults will love. The key is to provide food, drinks, games, and music that all ages can enjoy. | A child smiles as he holds a sparkler on New Year's Eve.

There’s no need for a sitter if you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve bash that both kids and adults will love. The key is to provide food, drinks, games, and music that all ages can enjoy.

Serve sparkling drinks
The bubbles are half the fun of a New Year’s Eve party, so serve club soda with lime, sparkling apple cider, and other sparkling fruit drinks (like sparkling cranberry juice or orange sparkling water).

Set up the non-alcoholic drink station with ice, colored straws, and plastic cups (and sippy cups depending on the children’s ages), and keep it separate from the adult alcohol drink station so kids can serve themselves.

Dish out food that makes you feel like a kid again
Everyone loves mac and cheese, grilled cheese, and pizza. Buy some mac and cheese bites and pizzas from the frozen section of the grocery store and cook grilled cheese, cutting it into quarters. Put a vegetable tray with hummus on the coffee table.

With these finger foods, you don’t need to make anything separate for the kids or adults. Everyone will be happy to eat like a kid again, and the kids can reach the healthiest options since they’re sitting right on the coffee table.

Create a radio-friendly playlist
You know your kids love singing along to Top 40 radio, so embrace the songs you both like and create a playlist that everyone will dance to. Choose the radio edits to avoid any swear words.

Celebrate the ball drop in an earlier time zone
If you’re trying to get your kids back into an earlier sleep routine for school, you won’t want them to stay up until midnight local time.

Ask your adult guests to celebrate an earlier ball drop (if you’re on the East Coast, watch London’s countdown; if you’re in the Central, Mountain, or Pacific time zone, watch New York’s countdown). The kids will get the experience of the countdown and can go to sleep whenever they’re ready without feeling like they’re missing out.

Are you going out or staying in with the kids tonight? Tell us your plans in the comments below. 

Tags :  holidaysactivitiesfamily funsocial
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Focus on Faith for Kwanzaa

December 29, 2015

By Jessica Vician

Focus on Faith for Kwanzaa | Kwanzaa’s seven principles, or Nguzo Saba, represent African cultural values that contribute to building and growing a community among African Americans. Each day, one of these principles is discussed. While all of the principles are important and bring value to the family’s discussions, this year I feel it is especially important to focus on the faith principle, or imani.

Kwanzaa’s seven principles, or Nguzo Saba, represent African cultural values that contribute to building and growing a community among African Americans. Each day, one of these principles is discussed. While all of the principles are important and bring value to the family’s discussions, this year I feel it is especially important to focus on the faith principle, or imani.

The imani principle’s purpose is “to believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.”

This faith does not focus on religion, but rather faith in ourselves and others to do the right, just, and moral thing. 2015 has been a year filled with angst, anger, terrorism, and fear throughout our nation and the world. But out of that negativity rose community. People have banded together to fight corruption and evil and to demand better from our leaders and each other.

That positivity and community can give us faith and motivate us to challenge ourselves and inspire our families to be better. Before Kwanzaa ends on January 1st, gather your family and talk about the imani principle.

As you sit around the fireplace or dinner table, ask your family these questions:

  • What does faith mean to you?
  • What do you admire most in your teacher? In your father, your mother, your sibling or cousin?
  • Who is your hero and why? How can you be more like him or her?
  • How will you be a better person in 2016?
  • How will you help others in 2016?

These may seem like simple questions, but it’s an important exercise for families with children of all ages. Sometimes the simplest questions are the ones we forget to answer as we get older and busier. These questions can help you reflect on the past year, on your life so far, and refocus for the coming year.

Gather your family, discuss these questions, and strengthen your faith in yourselves, each other, and the community. It’s the best way to make a difference in your local community and eventually influence the global community.

Tags :  holidaysculture
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The Santa Tracker Awakens

December 24, 2015

By Jessica Vician

The Santa Tracker Awakens | Grab your children, sit them on your lap, and find out where the reindeer are flying him right now with Google’s Santa Tracker. | A globe sits with a Santa hat on.

It might be daylight where you are reading this message, but somewhere in the world it’s nighttime and Santa Claus is delivering gifts to good girls and boys!

Grab your children, sit them on your lap, and find out where the reindeer are flying him right now with Google’s Santa Tracker.

Show your kids how big the world truly is and throw in a quick lesson on time zones.

Keep the Learning Going
This tool is Google’s version of an advent calendar, where kids can unlock a new game, video, or lesson each day before Christmas Eve, when the Santa Tracker really takes flight.

Even if your family hasn’t visited the site every day, you can still go back to Santa’s Village and try the activities from the days leading up to today.

Check it out with your children and awaken that Christmas magic and wonder.

Merry Christmas from all of us at YOU Parent, and to all a good night!

Tags :  holidaysactivitiesfamily fun
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Our 7 Favorite Christmas Articles

December 22, 2015

By Jessica Vician

We’ve wrapped up seven of our favorite Christmas articles and put them under the proverbial tree to gift you with helpful tips and inspirational stories.

Merry Christmas!

Sometimes when families get together, conflict can arise, so how do you avoid it between blended families during the holidays?

The Holiday Brady Bunch: Blending Families by Sunny P. Chico
Holidays are about spending time together as a family and celebrating. When my husband and I married, I was blessed with three daughters from my husband’s first marriage while I brought with me my two children from my first marriage.

Even though my stepdaughters were raised Jewish and my children are Catholic, we celebrate holidays through our cultures and the uniqueness of our religions. 

Sometimes when families get together, conflict can arise, so how do you avoid it between blended families during the holidays?

Read on for Sunny’s three tips to avoid conflict with a blended family.

Change is good even around the holidays. If you have a grown son or daughter who is now married, consider what this means as you merge families and holiday traditions.

Grown Kids and Changing Traditions by Amelia Orozco
Change is good even around the holidays. If you have a grown son or daughter who is now married, consider what this means as you merge families and holiday traditions.

Keep reading for Amelia’s advice on how to embrace new traditions with your expanding family.

Holidays are full of social gatherings where alcohol is often a staple. Through my work as a family counselor, I’ve seen the effects that irresponsible drinking can have on a family. We need to be conscious of what image of social and holiday drinking we give our middle and high school children.

Enjoy Alcohol Responsibly This Holiday by Noralba Martinez
Holidays are full of social gatherings where alcohol is often a staple. Through my work as a family counselor, I’ve seen the effects that irresponsible drinking can have on a family. We need to be conscious of what image of social and holiday drinking we give our middle and high school children.

Click to read Noralba’s tips for responsible social drinking that doesn’t send your teen a misleading message.

The true meaning of Christmas for Christians is about celebrating the gift God gave us through the birth of his son. It’s a time to reflect on how blessed we are despite the bad moments we faced throughout the year.

True Meaning of Christmas by Sunny P. Chico
The true meaning of Christmas for Christians is about celebrating the gift God gave us through the birth of his son. It’s a time to reflect on how blessed we are despite the bad moments we faced throughout the year.

Read more about what Christmas means to Sunny and her family and how to reconnect your kids to the true meaning of Christmas.

The holidays are a time of giving, and what better way for your child to show love and appreciation than with a homemade card? We created these holiday card templates for you to download and print for a DIY family activity.

DIY Activity: Holiday Cards - Free Download!
The holidays are a time of giving, and what better way for your child to show love and appreciation than with a homemade card? We created these holiday card templates for you to download and print for a DIY family activity. 

Click for the free download, grab the crayons, and start coloring!

Try this easy DIY activity with your children to make heartfelt, homemade ornaments and jewelry from plastic take-out containers.

DIY Shrinky Dink: Repurposed Plastic Ornaments and Jewelry by Judy Razo
Here’s another fun DIY activity for the kids to try.

Creating gifts together is a great way to teach your children the concept of giving—they create something they’re proud of and then give it away for the sake of someone else’s joy.

Try this easy DIY activity with your children to make heartfelt, homemade ornaments and jewelry from plastic take-out containers.

Spark your family’s joy and wonderment with these 5 holiday activities. From being awed by zoo lights to “transporting” to Germany for a Christkindlmarket, create magical holiday memories with your family this season.

5 Must-Do Holiday Activities by Jessica Vician
Spark your family’s joy and wonderment with these 5 holiday activities. From being awed by zoo lights to “transporting” to Germany for a Christkindlmarket, create magical holiday memories with your family this season.

Read through my top 5 holiday activities and share yours in the comments.

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Celebrate Las Posadas with These 3 Activities

December 17, 2015

By Jessica Vician

Celebrate Las Posadas with These 3 Activities | get in the spirit and teach your children about Las Posadas, try one (or all) of these Las Posadas activities. | The star piñata being hit on Las Posadas.

In the nine days before Christmas, many Mexicans and North and Central Americans celebrate Las Posadas, a time to remember Mary and Joseph’s journey to find shelter before bringing Jesus into the world.

During Las Posadas, people reenact that journey by traveling door to door, singing carols to request shelter, just as Mary and Joseph did. Once they reach a home that welcomes them inside, everyone celebrates with food and music while the children take turns hitting the piñata. Once it’s broken, everyone shares the candy and fruit that was inside.

To get in the spirit and teach your children about Las Posadas, try one (or all) of these Las Posadas activities.

1. Act out a Play
Children’s Ministry Magazine wrote a short play that you can share with the children in your family and/or neighborhood. Ask them to rehearse and perform during Las Posadas.

2. Create Poinsettia Art
Let your children get messy with this art project that allows them to make poinsettias and learn the story behind Las Posadas.

3. Light the Way with Luminaries
Make luminaries to light outside your home and welcome the carolers. While traditional luminaries are paper bags with sand and tea lights, this list of DIY luminaries has creative alternatives that your family can make together to impress visitors.

How does your family celebrate Las Posadas? Tell me in the comments below.

Tags :  holidaysculture
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