Looking for fun family activities with the family without breaking the bank? Amy McCready, Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and frequent contributor to The TODAY Show, Rachael Ray, MSNBC, Fox & Friends, ABC News and Sirius XM Radio has all the answers on spending quality time this summer on a budget, the Nestle Share of Joy of Reading program and more!
Candace Rose: With summer break only a few short weeks away, how can parents prepare for a fun summer without the chaos?
Amy McCready: "Well, Candace, just because kids are on summer break we don't want to let our household routines take a vacation, so it's really important to keep kids on a set schedule during the summer. Using bedtimes as an example- summer bedtimes can be a little bit later than during the school year but we don't want them to be up too late and the bedtimes should be consistent each night. So having that set routine in place just ensures that everybody knows what to expect. It's good for kids and it's really good for mom's in terms of saving their sanity."
CR: How about mealtime? Do you have any tips on getting the family together in one place to eat?
AM: "Well, I don't know about you but in my family, kids seem to be running in every direction so it's few and far between that we're actually all together, so I really love easy on the go snacks and one of the ones that I especially love is the fruit smoothies and slow churned shakes from Dreyer's or Edy's depending on where you live. The reason these are so great is because they're so easy, you don't need a blender, there's no mess, all you do is is add 1/3 cup of milk and stir it up. The smoothies are made from real fruit and if you use skim milk they're fat free. The shakes are 1/3 less calorie and half the fat of regular shakes, so it's really a great, easy option for your kids that they'll love. It comes in eight flavors and if you go to IceCream.com you can find out all about the flavors and where you can buy them in your area."
CR: What are some affordable activities that families can participate in together?
AM: "Well, there's so many things depending on what's available in your community. Even just going to the park as a family and throwing a frisbee around is a great idea. I think it's just getting out of the house and doing something together is really, really fun. The more you can schedule those family activities you're going to love it and so will your kids. Of course when you're on the go every mom knows she needs to have snacks available, so try to remember to pack some of your kids favorites like their Nestle favorites – Nestle Crunch, Butterfingers, Baby Ruth or Wonka. When you buy those products you can actually give back at the same time. Nestle Share the Joy of Reading Program ensures that low income children all over the country have access to books and we know from reading is fundamental, the children's largest literacy organization in the country, they tell us that kids can lose up to two months worth of their reading achievement over the summer. We really want to keep reading an important part of the summer routine and if you look for packages with the Nestle Share the Joy of Reading program logo on it and go to CelebrationCorner.com/RIF you can learn a lot more about that."
CR: Do you have any additional information you'd like to share?
AM: "Well, the one thing that we should also talk about is our kids teeth because in the summer is when a lot of kids get their braces, so if you have kids who are busy going to camp or on vacation Invisalign Teen otherwise known as clear braces is a great option. Our kids love them just because they're lightweight, they're easy and comfortable to wear but parents love them because you don't have all those emergency visits to the Orthodontist when brackets break or wires come loose. It's a really great option, they cost about the same as traditional braces and they're also covered under Dental programs that have orthodontic benefits. So a lot of great options for parents during the busy summer season to save everybody's sanity."
CR: Where can we go for more information?
AM: "For more information on any of these things we've talked about, you can go to News2Know.com."