Have You Played Today? Why Adults Should Embrace Play

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“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”

Remember when recess was the best part of the day? Why is it that adults stop playing? Why are we always so serious? If you have been wondering why you are feeling down, consider the last time you played. I’m willing to bet it is has been a long time since you genuinely played. True play uplifts your spirits!

As a working mom, I get it. We are so busy that it is hard to find time to play. Then, when we do have time, we feel a little guilty. No more! According to psychologists, play is vital (especially for adults!). One researcher told the Washington Post, “Play is a basic human need as essential to our well-being as sleep, so when we’re low on play, our minds and bodies notice.”

To help you get past the guilt of playing, check out these five solid reasons for giving childlike play a place in your life.

Play to bond.

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Playing is fun, and if you are having fun with the ones you love, you are making memories. Play creates bonding opportunities between parents and their kids; plus, play is also a wonderful way to bond with your partner or rekindle the flames.

Play to relieve stress.

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Playing is a great way to release tension. When you play, you can escape what is worrying you. If you are facing a stressful situation, you can playful attitude can help you handle it in stride. One study found playful personality types “reported less stress in their lives and possessed better coping skills. Perhaps they have these attributes because they are better able to keep stress in perspective.”

Play to increase overall satisfaction.

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When you key into the type of play you enjoy and find ways to play this way more regularly, you will find more satisfaction in your life overall. Some companies have even embraced the idea by incorporating play into their offices or by taking employees on fun outings where they can play like kids (such as go-karting).

Play to strengthen cognitive skills.

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Numerous studies have proven that playing games improves cognitive skills, which is why older adults are encouraged to play such games. Help Guide explains, “Playing chess, completing puzzles, or pursuing other fun activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function.” But why wait until you are elderly? Start playing puzzle games on your cell phone today!

Play to improve your health.

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According to KCHA, “Playing can boost your energy and vitality and even improve your resistance to disease, helping you feel your best.” A natural benefit of physical play is that it is good for your heart and overall health. If you loved riding your bike as a kid or enjoyed roller skating, it is time to bust them out again! Have active fun and stay healthy!

Your assignment for today

Do something you loved doing as a kid. Embrace play — comment below to tell me what you did.

Surviving the End of the School Year Freefall

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Dear Mom,

Hang tight. The last few weeks of school is the second toughest time of the year (after December). Between the dance recitals, end of the year banquets, end of course testing, teacher gifts, and warm weather excitement, our kids are going crazy. They are not following the rules. They are more hyper than usual. They are done.

And, you are likely done too. The good mom you were in September is long gone. The mom improvement goal you made in January lasted until Valentine’s Day. The mom who volunteered to bring fancy treats for school parties is now rushing to be the first one to sign up for paper plates. We are over it. We have used up all of our fun and shiny goodness, and now we are done.

But, school is not over yet! We have a few more weeks to get the kids out the door on time with homework done and lunches packed. We may not do it perfectly, but we can do it. We can make it to the finish line without losing our minds.

Here’s how we can get it done.

Stick to the Routine

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The routine has gotten you this far – don’t throw it out now. Keep doing what works. For example, the sun is up a little later, but school starts at the same time in the morning. So, keep bedtime as close to the same time as you have all year.

But Expect a Little Less

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If you feel done, just imagine how your little people feel! When you are tired, it is hard to do everything with the same energy as usual. So, yes, stick to your routine, but extend the kids some grace when they don’t act exactly the way you wish they would. Show a little more patience.

Write Every Important Date Down

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Like December, the end of the school year calendar is jam-packed. In order to stay on top of everything and not forget when your kids need to take this test or be at this banquet, you need to write everything down as soon as you receive a notification.

Purchase the Teachers the End of the Year Gift They Deserve

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With all the busyness of this time of year, don’t forget to purchase a gift for your child’s teacher. These men and women go above and beyond (and aren’t paid nearly enough). Give them something that shows you’ve seen all the hard work they’ve done this year and how much you appreciate them. Go ahead and buy it now before you end up rushing out the night before the last day of school.

Have a Family Countdown

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If your kids are clearly ready for school to end and summer to begin, make a family countdown. Count down the days left while encouraging them to stay strong to the finish. Make it a whole family affair and then celebrate when summer officially begins.

Take Time to Breathe

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Finally, take time to breathe. Look for little pockets of time where you can rest and relax. Remind yourself that this busyness is just for a season. Summer is coming soon.

Fun Things for NYC Families to Do This Memorial Day Weekend

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Memorial Day is Monday, May 27th. For New York families, this gives us one long weekend to help us make it through the rest of the school year until summer break begins. Since the last month of school is always crazy, I like to find something fun for my family to do over the holiday. However, with all the busyness at the end of the school year, I also don’t want to push myself or my daughters by doing anything too big. With that being said, I’d like to share with you some ideas that will make celebrating Memorial Day easy and fun.

Support the Armed Forces at Fleet Week

Photo: Military News

Photo: Military News

Since Memorial Day is the national holiday to honor those who have served in the United States military, look for ways you can support those currently serving and honor those who have died serving. One way to recognize the military is to attend one of the many Fleet Week events taking place from May 22nd – 27th. Little ones will love seeing all the men and women in uniform as well as the opportunity to tour the ship and meet NASA astronauts.

Check Out Governor’s Island

Photo: Governor’s Island

Photo: Governor’s Island

If your family has never visited the 43-acre park known as Governor’s Island, Memorial Day weekend is a perfect time. During this holiday weekend, they offer several events that are family-friendly. Plus, it is a cool way to see the city.

See a Parade

Photo: Rove

Photo: Rove

Over Memorial Day weekend, you have tons of options for seeing a parade. Again, this is a great way to honor the holiday for reasons beyond the start of summer since the parades celebrate the military. If there is not a Memorial Day parade in your area of New York, you can always make plans to applaud the soldiers at the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade.

Head to the Beach

Photo: NYC Parks

Photo: NYC Parks

For many, Memorial Day is not complete without a visit to the beach. Fortunately, NYC families can get to a beach – though it may be a crowded one on Memorial Day. As long as you mentally prepare for the crowds and have abundant patience, then a visit to Coney Island or Rockaway Beach is a fun way to celebrate the holiday and get excited about summer vacation. If the weather does not cooperate with all your fun outdoor plans, then head to the New York Aquarium. You’ll be inside, but you can still get that ocean-feeling!

Take a Last-Minute Trip

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Last but not least, it is not too late to plan a short family getaway over the long weekend. You can visit my family’s favorite – Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resorts. Plus, Hershey, Pennsylvania is a great family-friendly destination for this time of year. It is home to Hershey Park (naturally) where chocolate is celebrated, but it is also close to the Crayola Experience.

If you are wanting a little more grown-up but still kid-friendly, consider the Mohonk Mountain House, in New Paltz, New York. This is an all-inclusive clifftop resort with tons of family-friendly activities.

What is your family planning to do this Memorial Day weekend?

This Mother’s Day Celebrate Your Mom Friends

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I’m sure this Mother’s Day you will be surrounded by your kids and told how much they love you. Which they totally should because this is your special day! But, this year, I’d like to make a Mother’s Day suggestion. After you have celebrated your own mother and been celebrated for being a mother, take time to celebrate the other mothers in your life – your mom friends.

We All Want to Hear We are Doing a Good Job

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Of course we love receiving cards and gifts from our little ones that tell us we are “the best mom in the whole wide world.” But, it is something entirely different to receive compliments about your parenting from other moms. For whatever reason, we easily compliment our mom friends on their purses, shoes, and decorating skills, but we seldom compliment them on their parenting. I know I always feel great when another mom tells me I am doing a good job.

Motherhood is Lonely

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Mother’s Day is wonderful, but for many moms, it is a difficult day. For women who have lost their moms or struggled to have children, Mother’s Day can be lonely. In addition, being a mom, itself, is lonely. For instance, found that 90 percent of mothers feel lonely since having children and 54 percent felt “friendless” after giving birth. Yikes! This is another reason why we should make every effort to reach out to the other moms in our lives this Mother’s Day.

Moms Need a Village

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It takes a village to raise a child. This Mother’s Day honor the women in your village. Who is helping you raise your child? Who is helping you become a better mother and woman? Not only will you be acknowledging their importance in your life, but you will also be strengthening the bonds of your little village.

We All Want to Feel Appreciated

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I don’t know about you, but I really (really) appreciate a sincere thank you. It just feels good to feel appreciated. When my family acknowledges all that I do, I feel like my heart grows three sizes. Since much of what moms do day in and day out goes unnoticed, Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show some appreciation for the other moms in your life. Today’s the day to thank your mom friend for treating your kids like her own.

A Smile, A Hug, and a Thank You Goes a Long Way

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The best thing you can do for another mom this Mother’s Day is make her feel seen and loved. We are all working so very hard, and a smile, a hug, and a thank you can go a long day. Who knows? The mom you encounter may be at the end of her rope. Her family may not have made her feel like an excellent mother on this special day. But, if she can tell you are in her corner, supporting her, it can make all the difference.

I wish you all a very Happy Mother’s Day! Thank you for walking alongside me during this season of motherhood.

How I Make Kid-Free Travel Easier for Everyone

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It’s no secret that I love to travel or that I love my girls. It is also not a secret that I strongly believe parents should take kid-free vacations. You can read all my reasons why I am so pro kid-free vacations here. However, I realized that while I have told my readers the importance of heading away with their spouse and leaving the kids behind that I haven’t explained what I do to make it easier.

Mom friends, I am here today to make it easier for you to leave the kids at home. Whether you are worried about the logistics or the guilt, there are a few things you can do that will instantly make you and your kids feel better about your upcoming kid-free vacay.

I Leave Them with People I Trust

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First things first – I always leave my girls with people that I trust. Who these people are is going to be different for everyone, but here are some things that I think make it easier.

  1. Choose people your kids know. It is even better if you choose people your kids love.

  2. These people should know your kids. They should know your kids’ routine and their quirks.

  3. Pick people who will keep them safe but will also help them cope with you being away by filling their days with fun and happiness.

I Prepare Them in Advance

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My girls are old enough now that I can prepare them in advance for an upcoming trip. For example, I put it on the family calendar so they can countdown. I tell them where they will be staying and who they will be staying with. I also tell them the basics of where I am going and how they can reach me if they need me.

I Keep in Touch

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Today’s technology makes it so easy to stay in touch while you are away. You can even keep in touch while you are in the middle of the sea on a cruise! I know some parents worry that if their kids talk to them while they are away, then they will get more upset. This hasn’t been the case for our family. We call them and use video chat to stay in touch. We also send and receive pictures from their caregivers the entire time we are gone.

PS. A good cell phone call makes all the difference –, especially for international travel!

I Leave Them Notes

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I also like to leave my daughters little notes in their luggage for the days while I am away. Just like how I will leave a note in their lunchboxes, these little notes are sweet reminders that mommy is thinking of them even while I am away.

I Buy Them Souvenirs

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Like most moms, when I am away from my girls, I spend countless minutes of my time away thinking of them, looking at pictures on my phone of them, and shopping for them! How can I not, right?! It makes my heart happy to find gifts I know my girls will love while I am away and helps me when I am missing them.

What tricks do you have making travel without kids easier? Let me know in the comments!

Why Moms Love Netflix

From   TrishTech

Okay, moms, time to get real. Where would we be without Netflix? Moms everywhere have come to rely on Netflix for both their kids and themselves. When used the right way, Netflix is a mom’s best friend. Seriously – moms really love Netflix – in a 2018 poll, Netflix outranked all other brands (including Band-Aid) in the mom category.

If you have not yet jumped on the Netflix train or you are on board but have considered dropping Netflix, I’m here today to remind you why Netflix is worth every penny.

1. Amazing kid-friendly programming

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Netflix has countless options when it comes to kid-friendly programming. In addition to great kids films, there is also a ton of television shows that kids love. For example, my girls are crazy for Spirit Riding Free and the fantastic Trolls animated show. Kids can watch their favorite shows and characters over and over again.

2. Tons of entertainment options for adults

Plus, there endless amounts of programming for adults to binge watch. Are you a fan of reality television? They have it. Are you a fan of stand-up comedy? They have it. Are you a sitcom-lover? They have plenty. Are you a fan of dramas? Take your pick.

3. Set up multiple profiles

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Since no mom wants their list to be a mix of grown-up stuff and kids shows, Netflix allows users to create multiple profiles. Everyone in my family has their own profile making it easy to curate personalized lists and find your most recently watched programs. Plus, the kids profiles make it safe for kids to navigate without parents worrying about them stumbling on to something inappropriate. You can also use Netflix’s Parental Controls.

4. Download shows and films for when you need them

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Moms know that there are sometimes when you need a way to control or quiet your child – and one of the most effective ways is by letting them watch Netflix on a mobile device. With the ability to download certain shows and films, it is easy to save your kid’s favorites on your device to play in your moment of need without using valuable data. For instance, Spirit Riding Free is one of the titles available to download.

5. A sanity saver

After a busy day at work and coming home to take care of my girls, there is something very rewarding about sitting on the couch at the end of the day to binge watch a few episodes of my favorite Netflix show. Whether I am using it as a way to relax at the end of the day or using it to help me kid’s make it through a long appointment, Netflix is a sanity saver.

6. Easy to watch anytime and anywhere

Most of all, Netflix’s app makes it easy to watch shows anytime and anywhere. While you are breastfeeding, while you are doing laundry, while you are riding the subway, moms have discovered the joy in watching Netflix while they get stuff done.

Business Insider reports, “The streaming giant surveyed 1,000 moms in the US to find out how they find time to stream their favorite shows, or "sneak" them, during the day. And their answers revealed some interesting viewing habits. 48% of the moms said they sneak-binge while making dinner, 9% while walking the dog, 40% while taking a bathroom break, and 57% while doing the laundry. 17% watch while in their driveway.”

What is your favorite thing about Netflix? What do you binge watch? What shows on Netflix do your kids love? Let me know in the comments.

10 Family-Friendly NYC Events This April

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Can you believe the first week of April is already over? Where has the time gone? As the season changes, there are more and more fun things to do in NYC – especially outdoors. With an abundance of outdoor fun, I have identified ten of my favorite family-friendly things to do in NYC this April.

Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival

On Easter Sunday (April 21st) beginning at 10 am, the annual Easter Parade takes place along Fifth Avenue (and St. Patrick’s Cathedral) with participants wearing their finest Easter attire and outrageously silly bonnets.

Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival NYC

The cherry blossoms bloom in April in NYC and families have multiple opportunities to see them and snap the perfect Insta-worthy photo. Sakura Matsuri is held April 27th -28th at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. You can also sign your family up for a Cherry Blossom Tour of Central Park in the month of April.

EarthFest

With Earth Day taking place each April, it is the perfect time to teach your kids to respect the earth. One family-friendly event to help you is EarthFest taking place April 13th at the American Museum of Natural History.

Paw Patrol Live

Photo:  TimeOut  (Courtesy of PAW Patrol Live and Madison Square Garden)

Photo: TimeOut (Courtesy of PAW Patrol Live and Madison Square Garden)

If your kids are fans of Paw Patrol, then make plans to see PAW Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue. This live-action show will take place April 13th and 14th at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, Midtown West.

Apple Blossom Children’s Carnival

Nothing screams “SPRING!” more than an outdoor children’s carnival. Take the whole family to the Apple Blossom Children’s Carnival at Queens County Farm the first two weekends of April.

Dinosaur Safari

Dinosaur Safari heads to the Bronx Zoo beginning April 19th. Your family can see these giant animatronic roaring dinosaurs up close.

Outdoor Roller Skating at Pier 2

After ice skating season ends, it is time for roller skating! Families will love the Pier 2 Roller Rink at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The roller skating season officially begins April 12th.

FAD Market

The FAD Market is a pop-up market celebrating Fashion, Art, and Design – all things I love! The Brooklyn MADE Market is April 13th and 14th at City Point. In addition to all the handcrafted goods for sale, there are also food vendors on site.

NYC Food Truck Fest

Foodies families must make plans to visit the NYC Food Truck Fest on April 13th. This is the largest food truck festival in NYC with gourmet food trucks and unique food vendors. Make sure you go with an empty belly!

Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry’s

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Last but certainly not least is Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry’s. My family loves ice cream, so we are all about visiting Ben and Jerry’s on April 9th (from 12 pm – 8 pm) to enjoy a free scoop.

I hope you and your family have a blast enjoying all the spring fun. If you know of an event my family would love, let me know in the comments!

No More Feeling Guilty for No Reason

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Have you ever lost sleep because of something seemingly small that you did or did not do? Every woman I know has second-guessed herself at some time because she is afraid she has hurt someone’s feelings or let someone down. When you are a working mom, you feel guilty for not doing enough with your kids at home. When you are a stay at home mom, you feel guilty for not doing enough to provide financially.

If you feel guilty more often than you would like, you are not alone. 96% of women feel ashamed at least once a day. That’s crazy! It’s no wonder this generation of women feels stressed out all the time. We are carrying around tons of guilt baggage for things we shouldn’t even feel guilty about doing or saying.

Women, It’s Time to Trash the Guilt Once and For All

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After seeing how guilt does nothing but inhibit me at home, in relationships and the workplace, I am done. I want to get rid of feeling guilty over things that I shouldn’t. I’m sick of saying “I’m sorry” all the time for things I don’t even actually need to apologize for.

I caught myself recently feeling guilty and apologizing to someone recently, and after gaining some perspective realized I had not done anything wrong. They should have been the ones apologizing to me! Why do we do that?

Now that I am more aware of my personal issue, I have done my homework so I can tackle it when it strikes at unnecessary moments.

Here is My No-Guilt Game Plan

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Look for Reasons - First, I am going to look for the reasons. IS there any actual reason for me to feel guilty? If there is, then I need to do what needs to be done to make it right. If not, then I need to accept that this is not my burden.

Identify the Feelings Behind the Guilt – Next, I will question where the feelings of guilt are coming from. Often, we feel guilty because we are really feeling overwhelmed or angry. What are my true feelings about the situation?

Shake It Off – If it was not my fault or was just something minor, I will choose to SHAKE IT OFF. Carrying around guilt baggage will only make life harder. If you can quickly move on, you will be much better for it.

Be Clear with Your Expectations and Limits – Next, I plan to be upfront about my expectations and limitations. This way people cannot expect me to do more and I will not be made to feel guilty because I have been clear about what I can and cannot do.

Accept Imperfection – Finally, I will stop being so hard on myself. There is no perfect woman – myself included. Rather than placing unrealistic expectations on myself, I am going to strive to do the best I can each day and be proud of what I achieved in my 24 hours instead of focusing on what I didn’t do.

Who else is tired of feeling guilty all the time? What is your game plan for tackling guilt?

A Mom’s Tips for Avoiding the Winter Plague

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This winter has been rough for illnesses. If you are in a close working environment or have young children at home, you have no doubt spent a significant amount of time Lysol-ing everything around you. If you are like me, you hear the smallest cough and run in the opposite direction.

Plus, if you have kids, when they get sick, your whole life stops. According to John Hopkins Medicine, “elementary school children get six to eight colds each school year.” That’s a lot of times I have to take off work to stay home and take care of my kids.

During the winter, colds, the flu, and other viruses seem to spread even faster. This is because we spend more time indoors close to others, have drier nose passages, and there is low humidity where cold viruses thrive.

So, how do you survive the rest of the cold season without getting sick? Try following these tips for staying happy and healthy all winter long.

1. Stay Home When Sick

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Please, please, please leave the sickness at home. Do not come to work sick and do not send your sick kids to school. Yes, it is inconvenient, but it is the right thing to do for everyone.

2. Avoid Others Who are Sick

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If someone does show up to work sick, avoid this person as best you can. For example, do not hug or shake hands with the individual.

3. Get Plenty of Rest

Getting enough sleep is one of the healthiest things you can do. Not only does it help you recuperate when you are sick, but it is also a way to prevent getting sick.

4. Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is another way to stay healthy all year long. Our bodies need their daily dose of exercise to stay fit.

5. Keep a Healthy Diet

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If you are filling up on junk, you will not have the reserves you need to fight off colds and viruses. Instead, eat healthy.

6. Wash Hands Often

Quite possibly the most effective tip is to wash your hands with soap and water often. The rule of thumb is to wash your hands for the amount of time it takes you to sing “Happy Birthday.”

7. Always Have Antibacterial with You

Just because you cannot always run off to the bathroom to wash your hands, you should always have antibacterial on you. I have bottles of antibacterial lotion everywhere – my desk, my car, my purse – and I even attach the keychain ones to my daughter’s backpacks.

8. Use Your Own Water Bottle

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Did you know water fountains are one of the worst places for germs? It’s true. So, instead of going to the water fountain, take your own reusable water bottle with you and send one to school with your kids.

9. Take Your Vitamins

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Protect yourself in advance by taking your vitamins. My whole family takes our vitamins, and I know it makes a big difference in our overall health.

What are your best tips for avoiding winter sickness?

 

10 Marvelous March Happenings for NYC Families

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Can you believe it’s already March? Whenever March arrives, it is a reminder that Spring and warmer temperatures are on the way. But, those of us in New York, it means we have another month of winter weather before it actually feels like spring (which officially begins on March 20th). Since we only have an average high of 50 degrees and typically have snow, families are still looking for indoor activities.

While ice skating is still a possibility, your kids may be ready for something new to do this month. So, I’ve rounded up ten super fun things taking place in NYC this March to help you out.

New York International Children’s Festival

This kid-friendly film festival takes place from February 22nd – March 20th at various theaters. This unique film festival is designed for kids 3 – 18 years old and gives kids the opportunity to see 125+ new films from around the world.

Photo:  Puppetworks

Cinderella at Puppet Works

Every Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm in March, kids can see the story of Cinderella told through puppetry arts in Brooklyn.

Photo:  FIAF

Photo: FIAF

Tilt Kids Festival

For a taste of French culture, take your kids to the Tilt Festival to experience French art, music, theater, and more. It takes place March 2nd – 31st at FIAF (French Institute Alliance Française).

Brick Fest Live

If your kids are LEGO fans, then you absolutely must make it to New York Hall of Science March 30th – 31st for Brick Fest Live. LEGO fans will get to see giant LEGO sculptures, build and more!

Orchid Show at New York Botanical Garden

This year’s Orchid Show is inspired by Singapore. If you have never been to the Orchid Show, you are truly missing out. It is a wonderful escape from the winter cold. It takes place from February 23rd – April 28th.

NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Deck your family in green and head to the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 16th in Manhattan. The northern end tends to be a little calmer if you are worried about your kids and a party atmosphere.

Photo:  Macy’s

Photo: Macy’s

Macy’s Flower Show

The Macy’s Flower Show is an NYC tradition. This year’s event will take place at the flagship store from March 24th – April 7th. This year’s theme is the sci-fi inspired “Journey to Paradisios.”

Sleep Over at the American Museum of Natural History

Did you know you can sleep over at the AMNH and have your own Night at the Museum like the movies? The museum opens its doors for sleepovers on certain nights in March. Just make sure you book your ticket early as they sell out fast!

Beauty and the Beast Marionette

Your kids will be mesmerized by Beauty and the Beast performed by the National Marionette Theatre taking place at Symphony Space on March 9th.

Winter Sports

For sports fans, there is still plenty of time in March to cheer on your favorite NY basketball and hockey teams. Take a glance at NYC Go’s Sports Calendar to find a game on a convenient date.

Which March events are you most excited about this year?