Via Jodi Aman:

Sometimes when teens are starting to have their independence, they get a little bit overwhelmed with obligation and responsibility. And they’re highly motivated to resist those things.

These are some things that you have to do to get your child motivated. First, have some confidence in them. You have to believe that they can do it so that they can believe that they can do it. Two, you’ve got to be the bridge. They have to start to do stuff for themselves, but you have to be the bridge and encourage them. The third is to teach them that responsibility equals freedom. The more responsible they act the more that they could ask for from you.

The next thing is sleep schedule. Have them sleep at night instead of during the day. If they’re up during the day, everybody’s up and moving and they feel like part of the world. The next thing is the “carrot”, having something that would motivate them. You have to give them something that’s important enough to supersede that “I don’t care”. The last thing is to make little goals instead of big goals. Give your teen little goals that they could accomplish and feel that sense of accomplishment.

Get that teen up and moving and live a happier and healthier life.

via Child Development: The term “sibling” refers to children who are related and living in the same family. Sibling rivalry has occurred as long as families have existed. Think back to biblical times and Joseph’s problems with his brothers or of Disney’s “Cinderella” and the dreadful experience she had with her step-sisters!

It seems strange that whenever the word “sibling” comes up, “rivalry” seems sure to follow, despite the fact that there are many solid sibling relationships in families (brothers and sisters who genuinely like and enjoy one another). However, it’s typically rivalry that gets the most attention.

What causes sibling rivalry? Think about it. Siblings don’t choose the family they are born into, nor do they choose each other. They may be of different genders, probably of different ages and temperaments, and worst of all, they have to share the one or two people they want most for themselves: their parents. Other factors which may cause sibling rivalry include:

  • Position in the family. For example, the oldest child may be burdened with responsibilities for the younger children or the younger child spends his life trying to catch up with an older sibling.
  • Gender. For instance, a son may resent his sister because his father seems more gentle with her. On the other hand, a daughter may wish she could go on the fishing trip with her father and brother.
  • Age. A five and an eight-year-old can play some games together but when they become ten and thirteen, they will likely have very different interests.

The most important factor, however, is a parent’s attitude. Parents have been taught that they must be impartial with their kids, but this can be extremely difficult. It’s inevitable that parents will feel differently about children who have their own personalities with varying needs, dispositions, and places in the family. Picture the age-old conflict of the young child whining: “It’s not fair. Why can’t I stay up until nine-thirty like Johnny?” Fairness has nothing to do with it. Susie is younger and needs more sleep. It’s as simple as that, and parents are advised never to give in to the old “it’s not fair” strategy. Besides, when Susie is finally allowed to stay up until nine-thirty, it will feel like a privilege to her.

Many parents feel that in order to be fair, they must treat their children equally. It’s simply not possible, and can be dehumanizing if a mother feels that when she hugs one child, she must stop and hug all of her children. Hugs will eventually become somewhat meaningless in that family. When Susie has a birthday or is ill, she is the one who merits the special attention and presents. You can be sure that no matter what they may say, the other children in the family recognize the inherent “fairness” of the situation.

Ever since we decided that sibling rivalry is a normal occurrence in a family system, we’ve had a terrible time figuring out what to do about it. Here are some do’s and don’ts that may be helpful in reducing conflicts as well as the negative effects of sibling rivalry:

  • Don’t make comparisons (e.g., “I don’t understand it. When Johnny was his age, he could already tie his shoes.”). Each child feels he is unique and rightly so; he is his own person and resents being evaluated only in relation to someone else. Instead of comparison, each child in the family should be given his own goals and levels of expectation that relate only to him.
  • Don’t dismiss or suppress your children’s resentment or angry feelings. Contrary to what many people think, anger is not something we should try to avoid at all costs. It’s an entirely normal part of being human, and it’s certainly normal for siblings to get angry with each other and have the impulse to physically fight. They need the adults in their lives to assure them that mothers and fathers get angry too, but have learned self-control and that angry feelings do not give license to behave in cruel and dangerous ways. This is the time to sit down, acknowledge the anger (e.g., “I know you hate David right now but you cannot hit him with a stick.”), and talk it through.
  • Try to avoid situations that promote guilt in siblings. First, we must teach children that feelings and actions are not synonymous. It may be normal to want to hit the baby on the head, but parents must stop a child from doing it. The guilt that follows doing something mean is a lot worse than the guilt of merely feeling mean. In situations like this, parental intervention must be quick and decisive.
  • Whenever possible, let brothers and sisters settle their own differences. While it may sound good, it can be terribly unfair in practice. Parents have to judge when it’s time to step in and mediate, especially in a contest of unequals in terms of strength and eloquence (no hitting below the belt, literally or figuratively). Some long-lasting grudges among grown siblings have resulted when their minority rights were not protected.

When One Sibling is Disabled

Quite different considerations must come into play when there is a disabled child in the family, especially if it’s a child who requires a lot of extra support both in and out of the home. In this case, non-disabled siblings can be resentful of the time spent on their brother or sister; they sense the parent’s preoccupation. They often feel they are receiving only “surface attention,” and that the parent is not really alert to their needs.

There is one critical point that should be made and emphasized in all such cases. Whatever time and effort are spent with the disabled child, it’s done with the goal of improvement: making the child better able to function independently over time. As he improves his skills, the demands on his parents will decrease commensurately, freeing them to devote more time to other members of the family. It actually boils down to, “Come on, let’s everyone help, and ultimately everyone will benefit.”

There are other measures to be taken to lessen sibling rivalry and tension in families with a disabled child. Every child deserves a certain amount of quality time with a parent. It needn’t be long but it should be undivided. Maybe a short quiet chat before bedtime, or lunch at a special restaurant. Additionally, when one of the non-disabled siblings is involved in a school or community function, the parents should make every effort to be there, no matter how much advance planning is required. Should the disabled child go, too? Take your cue from the child who is involved in the function — it’s his night. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

When One Sibling Is Gifted
Different people, including gifted children, have abilities and talents in different areas. Talk openly about this reality with your children so they can begin to develop appropriate expectations for themselves. You can do this by comparing your own strengths with those of your husband/wife or other family members or friends. There are two important points to be emphasized:

  1. Don’t expect to be great in everything.
  2. Recognize and develop those areas of strength you do have. Help your children make similar comparisons among themselves in the hope that they will have a greater understanding and respect for each other (e.g., “My brother gets all A’s in school but he can’t hit a baseball.”).
    It’s also okay to mention your weaknesses. This can be especially effective if there is something you don’t do as well as your non-gifted child (e.g.,”I wish I could make brownies as well as yours.”).

Above all, honesty and acceptance are the greatest consideration you can give your children when the ways in which they are like and unlike one another come up in discussion.

Some Useful Sibling Conflict Resolution Strategies

Common Mistakes Parents Make in Managing Sibling Rivalry

  • Taking sides, such as attempting to punish the child who is at fault, (usually the one seen pounding on the other child). How long has this child put up with the taunting of the other child before taking drastic measures?
  • Ignoring appropriate behavior. Parents often ignore their children when they are playing nicely. They only pay attention when a problem arises. Behavior Mod 101 teaches that behaviors that are ignored (go unrewarded) decrease while behaviors that receive attention (are rewarded) increase.

Simple Parenting Techniques That Work

1. When the sibling rivalry progresses to excessive physical or verbal violence OR when the number of incidents of rivalry becomes excessive, take action. (Action does speak louder than words). Talk with your children about what is going on. Provide suggestions on how they can handle the situation when it occurs, such as:

  • Ignoring the teasing.
  • Simply agreeing (in a kidding way) that whatever the teaser is saying is true.
  • Telling the teaser that enough is enough.
  • When these measures aren’t working, ask the person in charge (parent, babysitter) for help.

2. When the above does not work, introduce a family plan to help with the situation that provides negative and positive consequences for all concerned, such as:

  • When there is any fighting or shouting, all involved will have a consequence such as a timeout or the temporary removal of screentime.
  • However, when we can go the whole day or afternoon or evening (whatever makes sense for your situation) without fighting, everyone will earn a privilege such as (1) you can have a snack, (2) I will read you a story, (3) we will all play a game together, (4) I will play outside with you (catch, etc.) or (5) you can stay up later. (Note that several of these provide parental attention for appropriate behavior).

3. Develop a system for evenly distributing coveted privileges. In other words, a system for taking turns for such things as:

  • Who gets to ride “shotgun” in the car. (It’s amazing how many teenagers and young adult siblings still make this an important issue).
  • Who gets to push the button in the elevator.
  • Who gets to choose where to go to eat lunch or dinner.
  • Who gets to chose the television show.
  • Who does the dishes or takes out the trash (rotate on a weekly or monthly basis).

For more parenting techniques visit Parenting 101. For help in improving your ability to cope with the rigors of parenting, we suggest Stress Management For Parents.

Yes, siblings can create certain stresses, but if they are overcome successfully, they will give your children resources that will serve them well later in life. Siblings learn how to share, how to come face to face with jealousy, and how to accept their individual strengths and weaknesses.

Best of all, as they watch you handle sibling rivalry with equanimity and fairness, they will be gaining knowledge that will be valuable when they, too, become parents.

via familyvacationcritic: With so many size restrictions and federal regulations, what we can bring on a plane is confusing enough, aside from worrying about the right gear to bring for kids. Here’s a guide for what to pack in a carry-on bag for the kids.

What to Pack in a Carry-On Bag
Every person with a seat gets one carry-on bag, while mom and dad also get to bring one laptop bag, one purse, or one diaper bag. Now, what do you bring?

For Infants. Pack your standard diaper bag complete with all the items you pack up for an outing: diapers, a changing pad, wipes, diaper cream, plastic bags for soiled clothes, blankets, tissues, pacifiers, teeth toys, extra change of clothes (two, just to be safe), a hat to keep baby’s head warm when the plane gets cold, bibs, bottles, breastmilk or formula, nursing pads for mom, baby food, infant feeding set, snacks, and a few of baby’s favorite toys. If your baby has any medications or you’re concerned about illness, bring medicines in your carry-on bag for the kids, including infant pain and fever reducers, teething relief and gas relief.

For Toddlers. Pack a backpack (preferably one your toddler can carry) with your essentials, as well as toys, including a change of clothes for an accident, diapers or pull-ups, plastic bags for soiled clothes, diaper cream, snacks (plenty if the flight is long and your child won’t eat the meal served), drinks purchased after security, small books, favorite toys and your child’s “lovey” that helps them keep calm and sleep. Stash a small first aid kit with bandages, motion sickness relief, fever reducers, pain reducers and any prescribed medications in this carry-on, or your own.

For School-Aged Kids. At this age, kids can definitely carry their own backpack or rollaway carry-on. Put your cell phone number and your name somewhere visible on the outside of the backpack, in case you become separated. Inside the backpack, allow your child to bring some favorite toys, such as crafts, video games and books to keep him occupied on the plane. Pack a sweater in case the flight gets chilly. Bring some snacks and purchase some beverages after security, as well as gum to help reduce ear pressure. Stash a small first aid kit with bandages, motion sickness relief, fever reducers, pain reducers and any prescribed medications in this carry-on, or your own.

For Teens. Teens can and will pack a carry-on for themselves, but be sure to make sure the essentials are there, and that the rule-breakers are not. Teens should have their IDs and passports on them, and their wallets with cash. Let them carry their own ticket and have a copy of the itinerary, in the event you get separated, as well as their cell phone. Put a copy of your insurance information in your teen’s carry-on as well. Teens should also carry their own prescribed medicines, but have on hand aspirin and other basics in case they need it. Glasses and/or a spare set of contacts should also be carried on.

For Yourself. Be sure you have a bag with your wallet, IDs, passport, credit cards, at least some small cash, tickets, itineraries, insurance information, membership cards, prescription medicines, glasses and/or a spare set of contacts, jewelry, camera, cell phone, charger, book/magazine, laptop and charger, and anything you couldn’t bear to lose if your luggage is lost. If you’re traveling with an infant or small child, you may want to bring a change of clothes, or at least a shirt, in the event of a spit up or accident.

For more ideas on what to pack the kids in a carry-on bag, be sure to check out our interactive family packing list.

What You Are Allowed to Bring In a Carry-On
Different airlines have different size standards they permit as a carry-on, and more and more airlines are grabbing passengers’ carry-ons at the gate for being too large or when the overhead bulkhead is full (a common occurrence in winter, when everyone has coats and extra gear). Some airlines are beginning to charge an extra fee if your carry-on gets gate checked. A good rule of thumb: Keep the carry-on size small enough to fit under the seat in front of you. As long as it’s that small, and you do not mind losing the legroom, you will always be able to bring the carry-on with you.

The 3-1-1 rule still applies for all carry-on baggage. This TSA regulation states that you cannot bring any liquid or gel that’s more than three ounces, and you are permitted one quart-sized clear, zip-lock baggie per person in which to store them. Parents traveling with infants are permitted to break the three-ounce rule when packing breastmilk, formula and baby food, but remove them from your carry-on before going through security, and alert security personnel.

Due to the 3-1-1 rule, it’s best not to bring any juice, water or other items you may typically have on hand for the tots. Instead, purchase the items once you are through security, and store them in your carry-on to have them handy for thirsty kids who are impatient for beverage service.

Infant carriers, car seats and strollers can be brought through security to make traveling with small children less taxing at the airport. It is recommended that although infants and children under 2 can be held in the lap of a parent, a separate seat be purchased for the child and the infant carrier or a car seat be installed in the seat to keep the child secure during take-off, landing and during the flight. Strollers will have to be gate checked, but if you have a family of four traveling through the airport, it may make it easier to maneuver through an airport if holding a young child and a few carry-on pieces.

That said, you may find it more cumbersome to travel with bulky gear and prefer to check strollers and car seats. Better yet, rent these items at your final destination. Rental car companies provide car seats with advanced reservations, and some companies partner with hotels to provide stroller and car seat rentals. Inquire ahead and avoid the extra trouble when you can.

via njfamily: It’s winter… which means you probably spend 20 minutes in the morning searching for the left mitten that’s lost in a snowdrift somewhere. Here are tips to keep them from getting separated.

Mitten Clips
One easy solution is to buy those handy little clips, where one end clips to their jacket and the other to the mittens. More precocious kids may pull them off, but its a good option for babies and toddlers. These are surprisingly hard to find once the snow starts falling, so check amazon for the best variety.

A String
All you need is a long piece of string (twine, ribbon, yarn) that you match to the length of your kid’s wingspan. Tie the string to both mittens (you may need to make a small hole and a knot, but it is worth it in the long run). Then run one mitten and the string through both sleeves of the coat. The mittens will then just hang out the bottom of the sleeves and you’ll save your sanity.

Grab some adhesive Velcro and cut a piece as long as the cuff of her jacket. Then separate (aka un-velcro) the halves, remove the adhesive backing and stick one piece to the outside of his jacket cuff. Then press firmly. Next, turn his mitten inside out and press the other piece to the inside of the mitten cuff. When you velcro the pieces together, they’ll create an extra barrier against snow, as well as increase his chances of returning home with a complete pair. Check out for more detailed instructions.

Buy Multiple Pairs
If you’ve got a favorite pair of gloves or mittens you like, buy two pairs, so they can be mixed or matched as needed. It will cost you a little more at the outset, but save you a headache in the long run. As an alternative, Lands End will actually sell you a single kids glove throughout the season if you lose one of your pair.

Keep a Stash of Stretchy Gloves
Those little stretchy gloves aren’t the warmest outerwear you can buy, but for a dollar most places, you can stockpile a bunch of them and keep them handy as a backup for when your kid inevitably loses their “good” gloves. The best part is that they can fit many sizes, great if you lose your own gloves. Check dollar stores and the dollar bin at Target, they always seem to have them there.

Put Them in the Sleeve
It’s a simple fix, but if you put the gloves inside the hat and stuff them all in the sleeve of a coat, they should actually be there when you get back. Not ideal for wet items, but works well, especially at crowded places like schools.

Buttons and Elastic
If you can sew, try a more permanent solution. Stitch a piece of elastic to the inside of the coat sleeve. Then attach a button to the edge of the mitten. Cut a small hole in the elastic (just about the size of the button), put the button through the hole and you’re ready to attach them together.

via In general, babies less than 1 year old should avoid chocolate, particularly, dark and milk chocolate. These contain caffeine-like substances. Caffeine is unsuitable for very small children because of its stimulating effect. As children reach a year old, they can tolerate small amounts of white chocolate, which contains less caffeine. However, even in this case, the high sugar content makes it far from ideal as a baby snack.

Babies are designed to take in breast milk or formula for the first four to six months of life. A baby’s digestive system can’t handle solid foods, including chocolate, for up to six months. You may find that even after that, it takes several months to wean your baby onto mashed solids. Babies generally start out on wet cereal and move to pureed vegetables and eventually to pureed meats and mashed foods. This process may last another six months and more. Chocolate doesn’t feature as a recommended stage in introducing your baby to solid foods.

Though no evidence appears to link moderate caffeine consumption in children with serious long-term complications, you should avoid giving caffeine products to babies. At less than 1 year old, their systems are still very sensitive. A small amount of caffeine to an adult can be a large dose for a baby. This amount can stimulate a baby and make him feel alert and uncomfortable. It might even throw off sleeping and feeding routines. A teaspoon of milk chocolate contains around 1 milligram of caffeine. A teaspoon of dark chocolate contains around 4 milligrams on average. Children less than 2 years old should ideally avoid all caffeine.

Tooth Decay
Though babies less than 1 year old have only small developing teeth, these are vulnerable to tooth decay. Sugar rapidly speeds up tooth decay because it provides a food source for acid-producing mouth bacteria. Cleaning your baby’s teeth may be difficult, so sometime the acids build up around teeth. Chocolate usually contains a lot of sugar. Giving your infant chocolate may result in some tooth problems or poor oral health.

Chocolate contains many calories for little nutritional benefit. Getting your baby used to high-sugar foods can lead to problems such as obesity later in life. Some babies even show allergic reactions to chocolate, according to the USDA’s Nutrition Assistance Program. If you notice excessive sickness or light diarrhea after giving your child chocolate, avoid offering her any more. If she develops a fever, rash or severe symptoms, take her to a doctor immediately.

via Shakespeare: Fishing with kids is a great family outdoors activity. To make the experience fun, safe and pressure free, consider these 10 steps.

Fishing means catching fish. Whether you plan to fish from a boat, shore or a dock, scout out locations where fish are plentiful.

The local tackle shop is a great place to get some help. If possible, bring the kids along when you visit the store. Have them observe while you ask for pointers on where to go, productive baits for the area, and information on fishing regulations and fishing licenses.

Organizing gear in advance minimizes stress. Check as you pack: fishing gear, snacks, drinks, water, sunscreen, bug repellant, rain jackets, hats, first-aid kit, sunglasses.

Safety must come first. Life jackets, while sometimes uncomfortable, are a must for kids around water. Hooks have barbs so should only be handled by adults. If you prefer, barbs can be pinched down. Shakespeare’s Hide-A-Hook Float is a great device that hides the hook within the bobber for safer casting.

Boys and girls alike are naturally curious, so explain how a float works and moves when a fish bites. If casting jigs, tug on the line while the child holds the rod to simulate a hit. Demonstrate setting the hook, emphasizing that like any skill, in takes time to learn.

Teach kids how to grip the handle of the rod keeping it in front of them in a 9 to 11 o’clock position. Explain how the reel handle turns and how to react to a bite.

A sidearm cast, not an overhead, is better and safer for kids. Here’s an overview:

  • Shoulder-check no one’s in harm’s way
  • Bring the rod back keeping it above the waist
  • Swing the rod forward while flicking the wrist and releasing the line prior to the rod pointing at the target
  • End with rod pointing at target
  • Offer lots of encouragement for young casters

Success can result from the simplicity of a bait and bobber on a lightweight rod. Buy a quality spinning or spin-cast combo between 3’6″ to 5′ and spool the reel with 6-pound monofilament line.

Worm and minnow soft-baits are durable and won’t spoil. Rig baits on a 1/32- to 1/8-ounce jig. Marabou or tinsel crappie jigs also work well.

A jig dangled beneath a small float and occasionally twitched is an effective tactic for youngsters. For kids who want to become more engaged, teach them a slow reeling or hopping jig retrieve.

Learning to fish takes patience. Coach kids how to slowly and steadily play fish, stopping when the fish is at the water’s surface. Encourage kids to independently land a fish quickly or to ask for help. Once the catch is out of the water and admired with photos secured, demonstrate proper release methods. If it’s fish for dinner, explain selective harvesting.

Fishing should be always be fun. Keep this objective in mind and regardless of the number of fish caught, each outing will be a success.

via Fishing. boy’s life:

You don’t need to buy expensive fishing gear for kids to start fishing. Even a simple setup can catch a ton of fish, according to fishing pro Tom Redington. The key is to keep the fishing kit small and light — light pole, light line, line bobber — and kids will have more fun and catch more fish.

Start with a small hook. Although it seems like a big hook would work better, a little hook is much more effective at catching the smaller fish and can still hook the big ones. Next, put a little split shot weight just a few inches above the hook, followed by a small bobber.

Smaller bobbers are more sensitive, so choose one that’s just big enough to hold up the weight of the sinker. Clip the bobber about a foot from the end of the line. By keeping the bobber pretty shallow, you’ll avoid snags and keep your bait visible to fish that are looking up to feed.

The line should also be light. Six-pound test is universal, but anything between four- to eight-pound test line will work great to catch crappie, bass, catfish and panfish.

An entry-level rod and reel is fine for kids or beginners. Click here for more information about choosing a fishing rod.

via Parenting Chaos: Planning a road trip? When it comes to planning a family vacation there is no such thing as being over prepared. By planning ahead parents can avoid many meltdowns and tantrums along with being ready to handle any bumps in the road.

How to Prepare for a Road Trip with Kids:

1. Pack Lightly
Traveling with kids requires packing a ton of stuff. When deciding what comes and what goes, think minimalist. A car that is overflowing with stuff will do nothing but add stress to everyone. Keep to the bare essentials and try to stick to items that are designed specifically for travel. Trust me you just do not want your car to be overflowing with junk…

(I just could not even begin to imagine traveling like this…)

2. Pack Snacks:
There is nothing worse than hungry kids. When it comes to eating on the road there might not always be a fast food joint or store easily available. Plus who really wants their kids fueling up on only fast food? A small car cooler packed with healthy snack options is an easy way to save money on your trip while making sure your family is eating right. As an added plus car coolers typically fit beautifully in between captain seats and can be used as a table space or some may even have additional cup holders.

3. Pack Quiet Car Activities:
Simple activities that your kids can play on their own in the car will be your friend! Some of our favorites for traveling are our DIY Paint Chip Puzzles, DIY Lacing Cards, and DIY Story Book Puzzles. Making your own toys, games, and busy bags for travel is an awesome way to save money!

4. Electronics are your friend!

Family road-trips aren’t a daily occurrence, because of this we are a lot more lenient about our screen time rules when traveling. There are going to be parts of your trip where there is no where to stop, nothing to look at, and bored kids. Packing electronics gives your child access to eBooks (you can find an amazing amount of eBooks for free), movies, and even educational games. Most smart phones can act as a hot spot, and most cellular plans will allow you to up data for a month (just remember to call to knock it back down after the trip)! Also your local library is a great resource for finding movies or eBooks for your trip.

5. Avoid the Flat tire!
A flat tire when traveling is already miserable. Add kids into the mix…and yeah, you don’t want to go there! No one wants to be stuck on the side of the road with kids in the car, especially when hundreds of miles away from home!

It’s always a good idea to have your car checked and tuned before you head out on a long road trip. Make sure you get your oil changed, your car systems checked, and your tires looked over. If you’re tires are getting a little bald, you’ll want to get those changed before your trip.

Sam’s Club is a great place to get those new tires. A Sam’s Club membership continues to get you unbeatable summer deals on everything, including auto & tire services! On these tire brands Sam’s Club has the best all-in price (or will match offer): Michelin, Goodyear, BF Goodrich and Pirelli. Not only do they have low prices on tires and offer a great value on their Tire Installation Package* ($15/tire, $25/dually tire) but my favorite part is that they offer emergency roadside tire service — for three years from the date of purchase, members have 24-hour toll free access for emergency tire change service! A great deal for us moms!

Other services available to active Sam’s Club Members are:

  • Tire Mounting
  • Tire Lifetime Balancing
  • Tire Lifetime Rotation
  • A Value Stem
  • No Charge Tire Lifetime Flat Repair

How Sam’s Club’s #DareToCompare offer works: Bring a valid “all-in” quote from a tire sales and installation retailer to your Sam’s Club Tire and Battery Center service counter. The quote must be printed on dealer/retailer letterhead and dated within the past 7 business days. The tire must be the same brand, same line, same load index and speed rating (service description) as the tire intended for purchase at Sam’s Club. Sam’s Club carries some club-specific tire lines – in these cases, Sam’s Club will compare the club-specific tire line to the equivalent general-market tire line.

via OUTDORIA: Ask yourself: do you want your kid to end up being the type of adult who thinks milk comes from the supermarket? Or that if they sink a line in the local pond they’ll reel in a box of Bird’s Eye fish fingers? We didn’t think so.

Fishing is almost a rite of passage for kids. Not only is it heaps of fun and a great way to spend quality time together, it helps them learn about the circle of life and how that relates to the food we eat.

Now, we’d be lying if we said fishing with your kidlets will be as easy as it is when you go by yourself. The reality is you’ll probably spend most of your time helping them cast, baiting hooks and untangling line. But fishing with your kids or grandchildren can be incredibly rewarding, and just as much fun as fishing alone or with your mates.

Focus on the kids, not the fishing
The fact of the matter is, you’re probably not going to catch as much when you take your kids along. This is especially true if they’re under primary school age. But don’t let this put you off. Remember – you’re going out there to teach your kids how to fish, not to bag a monster yourself. If they get bored and start splashing about in the shallows, try not to get all worked up about how they’re scaring all the fish away. Deep breaths people.

Besides, you want to make fishing an experience your kids enjoy, right? If you berate them every time they start getting squirmy, not only will they lose interest fairly quickly, all those happy family moments you’re trying to cultivate are going to be recalled fondly for all the wrong reasons. Hey, remember when Dad lost his sh*t at the lake, his head went purple and we cried so much that strangers kept asking if we needed help? LOL!!! Oh memories.

Sometimes it’s not just kids who need to exercise a little patience, and you know what they say about leading by example. Over time, kids learn that if they’re patient, they’ll catch more fish. So guide them in this direction but don’t worry if they don’t catch on straight away.

How old do they need to be?
If they’re old enough to stand and hold a rod, they’re old enough to fish. We’ve taken kids as young as two out for a fish. Granted, we didn’t catch a whole lot (though we didn’t always go home empty handed either) but it was still a lot of fun for all of us.

Bear in mind that if you’re taking tots along or kids that aren’t strong swimmers yet, you need to pay extra close attention to them around water. It’s all-too-easy to take your eye off them when you’re trying to untangle the bird’s nest of fishing line they’ve just created, and we don’t know about you but we’re not really keen on adding any more material to our future teenager’s arsenal of parenting faux pas. Hey, remember that time you took us fishing and I almost drowned?! Btw I need fifty bucks to get a neck tattoo.

Where can you take kids fishing?
Whether you prefer freshwater or saltwater, there are heaps of places you can take your kids fishing. The main features to look for are either railings (like on a jetty or fishing platform) or graduated banks. Kids like to get as close to the action as possible, so we’d suggest avoiding anywhere with a sudden drop-off where they could fall in if they lose their footing.

It’s also a good idea to choose a spot that’s relatively free of snags. While fishing close to structure might be a good tactic when you’re on your own, if the kids keep getting snagged it’s just going to be frustrating for everyone.

Fishing off the beach is a great way to lure the littluns – although if it’s a surf beach you’ll probably need to help them cast out over the waves. Kids can leave their rods in a rod holder and then busy themselves building sandcastles and looking for shells until they get a bite. And if they decide to abandon the whole fishing thing altogether, guess what? You’re at the beach! It’s a fail-proof day out.

Jetties are excellent places for kids to have a go at casting on their own. The railings mean there’s little danger of your kid going over with the line, and they’re also less likely to get wet fishing from a jetty than say, a beach. Getting drenched and standing around on a cold day is definitely not going to score you too many good parenting points. Hey, remember when we went fishing and I caught pneumonia and was bedridden for three weeks?

Also, because there’s often just as much action (or more) directly below the jetty as there is further out, it’s not going to matter if those little arms can only cast a couple of metres out. When they do get that fish, your kids will feel especially triumphant knowing they did everything themselves.

Many lakes and dams in Australia are set up specifically with family fishing in mind, so if it’s your first time going with your kids, hitting up a lake is about as stress-free as it gets. There are often barbecues and playgrounds nearby and some have purpose-made fishing platforms to sweeten the deal.

If you’re in Victoria, check out our guide to the many stocked family fishing lakes around the state.

Choosing fishing gear for kids
A great way to get your kids keen on fishing before you even get to the water is to let them choose their own rod and reel. There’s a wide variety of small rods designed for children in bright, kid-friendly colours that are lightweight, easy for small hands to handle, and usually come in a combo with a spinning reel.

Many cheaper rod and reel combos come ready-spooled with line. However, it’s not a bad idea to spend a bit extra and get some quality line to replace this with as cheap line is often harder to cast and more prone to tangling.

If you’re looking to get some gear for yourself, check out our guide to fishing gear for beginners.

Bait or lure?
Fishing with frozen bait is a lot less confronting for kids than seeing a live animal (even if it is just a worm) wriggle around on a hook. Also, because frozen pilchards and squid are still identifiable as animals (as opposed to strips of mullet for example) they can be a great way to educate kids about the food chain.

Soft plastics are also a good option for younger anglers, provided they’re reasonably confident casting and retrieving, as they’re not smelly like bait and the kids can change up what they’re using (from grubs to minnows for example) if they get bored.

A word on hooks
The last thing anyone wants is a hook through the finger (or ear) and when kids get excited they’re likely to start waving the rod around with the hook flying everywhere. While there’s no sure-fire remedy for this, making sure the tip of the hook is embedded in the bait is one way to mitigate the chances of an injury. While this may make it harder to set the hook when you get a fish, at least you’re less likely to go home with a new piercing. That’s right, sweet child o’ mine, you’re not the only who can claim to be ‘scarred for life’.

Fish on!
When you get a fish on the line, let them reel it in. Nothing compares to the excitement of catching a fish and once they get a taste, any boredom they were feeling will be washed away. Be aware that some kids might struggle to use a reel with the weight of a fish on the end of the line so make sure you’re right there with them to help reel it in if needed.

Catch and release or dinner?
Always be respectful of the fish you’ve caught and make sure the kids are ready for what’s coming if you decide to take it home with you. (Pro tip: watching Finding Nemo in the lead-up = never a good idea.) A good way to gauge whether they’re ok with the fish being killed sent to fishy heaven is to ask ‘should we take this one home for dinner or put it back?’

If you decide to take it home, after you’ve established that it’s of a legal size, make sure you dispatch it quickly and humanely so the kids don’t have to watch the poor thing flapping around and slowly dying in the bucket. We’ll skip the italicised flash-forward and let that visual speak for itself.

Fishing licence
While people under the age of 18 don’t need a fishing licence, remember that (depending which state you’re in) all the adults fishing may need one. It’s always a good idea to check out your department of agriculture and fisheries website for information about species, size and bag limits within your state. Hey, remember that time you were arrested for illegal fishing? Okay, okay, that would never happen. But you get the point.

Now grab your little nippers and get out there. The memories will be worth it – the good and the not-so-good!

via skyscanner: It’s summer, and time for the big annual summer holiday! If you’re flying with kids you might be worried about arriving in one piece. What if they act up, or spend the whole flight screaming? What if you land more frazzled than ready for fun? We could say “stuff ’em” and tell you not to worry about people who tut and sigh, but we know it’s not that easy.

First of all, here’s some hope that everything will be alright: consumer champion Sarah Willingham explains why she loves travelling with her kids and how she copes on flights

Next up, some top tips from Skyscanner staff and well-travelled mums who know a thing or two about flying with children …

1. Understand the charges and regulations for each airline

If you’ve ever looked into flying with babies you’ll know that there are so many variations in the charges and regulations involved with taking your baby on a flight. Different airlines have different rules. Some charge for one thing; while with another it’s free. Check out the table below which explains all of the variations parents need to be aware of when flying with babies.

2. Plan and plan some more

Blogger Vicki from online parenting magazine Honest Mum‘s top tip for flying with kids is be prepared-over-prepared. Vicki says: “you can never have too many wet wipes and snacks! Fill your bag with snacks, games, playing cards, a portable DVD player in case the aircraft doesn’t have one and make sure you buy water once you’re through check in. I always take extra clothes and medicine, you never know when your kids might get a temperature or feel unwell.”

3. Write notes for fellow passengers

Worried the other passengers on your flight are going to hate you if your child screams all the way to Malaga? Or, even worse, enjoys a penchant for kicking the back of the seat in front. Why not follow the example of the parents who handed out bags of sweets to fellow passengers on their flight or pen them a message of apology in advance.

4. Wet wipes and Pull Ups

Cathy from says: “pack some spare clothes for them and for you – even now my daughter is potty trained, I’ve kept some emergency pull-ups. And you can never have too many wet wipes! That way if there are delays or you’re in a plane that’s stuck on the runway for ages, you won’t be panicking…or spending a whole flight smelling less than fresh after an accident or unexpected illness. You almost certainly won’t need it but it makes me feel much more relaxed, and I think my daughter picks up on that too. That way flights are an exciting adventure, not a potential nightmare scenario.”

5. Keep it simple

A game can keep kids occupied and make the journey fly by – but you don’t want to be carrying lots of equipment to make it work. So keep it simple. Easy games like I-Spy are the best. Get ideas for more simple, cost-free, games you can play with the kids on your next journey.

6. Consider a backpack for hand luggage

Gretta from says: “my kids are teenagers now, but my top tip for flying with younger children is to have a backpack as hand luggage so that you have both hands free. That makes it easier for you carry your child or hold their hand or push a buggy or show your passports or whatever else you need to do at the airport.”

7. Hold your baby up high

Ok, so this one won’t work for everyone, but some parents have found that holding their baby above their head makes them stop crying. No scientific reason we can think of for this one working but hey, if it does the trick… Not one to do on takeoff though!

![Holding a baby over your head can help calm him or her down](
“Baby in flight”)

8. Pack each child a plane bag

Katie from says: “pack them a plane bag – We have three young children and my girls have amassed many flights between them at a young age. We always pack a plane bag for them, we don’t let them see if before we get on the flight and in it are cheap pocket money toys to keep them entertained. Things you can buy in supermarkets and that only cost a couple of pounds each, like crayons, colouring books, little sets of Lego they can build and of course sweets in case all else fails! They love it and get excited to open them as soon as we are up in the air.”

9. Check the flight price for your little one

Assume your baby is flying free under 2? Double check. Oksana found she was expected to pay far more than she had imagined on one recent flight: “you may be surprised that some airlines force you to pay up to 75% for a ticket without a seat. This happened with me and my one-and-a-half year old son. In this case you don’t save money! Buy a normal ticket. At least you will get extra space – that is really valuable.”

10. Check in early

If you are flying with the family, or holidaying with your extended kin (sharing a villa with your sister and her five kids perhaps?) you’ll be struggling to all sit together if you leave it late to check in. So do this online as soon as check-in it opens. Unless you don’t want to sit anywhere near your sister’s five kids, that is.

11. Tell the police

Skyscanner PR Manager and mother-of-two Mary Porter has loads of tips on flying with toddlers. Our favourite is: “warn young children of the ‘Aeroplane Police’ who are looking out for badly behaved children. I am not suggesting you scare them out of their wits (and admittedly we never did explain what the Aeroplane Police actually do when they catch a naughty child). However, it proved hugely effective in stopping my toddler climbing over seats, playing with the fold down table, kicking the seat in front and all the other things that passengers around you really love.”

12. Pre-order your baby milk from Boots

Baby milk is something that always throws up questions. What can you take? Will you have to taste it at security? How much are you allowed and will it be enough? To avoid these questions did you know you could pre-order your milk from Boots and collect from a store in the airports departures? Find out here which airports are available. Alternatively check out Skyscanner’s guide to hand luggage restrictions do you don’t get caught out.

13. Be a slave to the (circadian) rhythm

If at all possible, choose flights at the ‘normal’ time your kids are meant to be falling asleep. If they’re shattered and it’s bedtime back home you might just find they’ll drop off. However, this could backfire if they’re so excited that they don’t want to sleep – tired and bratty is never a great start to a holiday.

14. Make regular toilet stops

“I don’t need to go” can quickly swing to the other end of the scale when it comes to childrens’ bladders – even the older ones. So make sure they go to the toilet immediately before getting on the plane/boat/train. Don’t give them too many fluids either or they’ll be up and down to the toilet all the way to your destination – extremely annoying for the person in the aisle seat! This is sensible advice for adults too. Drinking five pints of lager before getting on the plane is dangerous, especially if you’re held up during taxiing!

15. Play pilots

Kids scared of flying? So were Oksana Ermolaeva’s, a Skyscanner blogger for Russia who made the whole thing into a game. “I played role games with her”, she says. “Let your child be a pilot or a flight attendant. Play everything that normally happens onboard. This really helps to avoid pre-flight and in-flight panic.”

16. Arm yourself with snacks

For the ones on solid, gown-up food, make sure you pack plenty of snacks. Like an irascible cat which hasn’t had its morning Whiskas, a hungry toddler will damn sure let you know if they’re hungry. So, until the in-flight meal is served, fend them off with snacks. We won’t get into a debate here – obviously mainlining Haribo is not good for them, but unless they have a soft spot for grapes, it might be the only thing that works.

17. Never travel without an iPad or tablet

Travel blogger Monica from says: “most parents start off with good intentions when it comes to screen time for their little ones but you’re definitely allowed to let your standards slip during a flight! Load your tablet with games, songs, TV shows and Disney films to keep them entertained for as long as possible. Even tiny babies can be distracted for 10 minutes by a cartoon with a catchy song and it can be just long enough to enjoy your in-flight meal or avoid a tantrum. Try The Furchester Hotel – it works like magic for my little guy! Also invest in some kiddie headphones so you don’t annoy your fellow passengers with those catchy Disney songs.” Before you stock up on free apps to keep the kids entertained, check out our list of the best ones for your iPad or smartphone to get before you fly, guaranteed to keep children entertained long enough for you to at least eat your in-flight meal.

18. Keep them comfy

An impractically-dressed child is an unhappy child, so get them dressed up in soft, roomy layers that you can take on and off as the plane’s air conditioning demands – pyjamas are probably your best option. It’s worth taking a pillow too, so they can snuggle up in the window seat against the wall, drift off and dream of holidays.

19. Calpol can be your best friend

In the unfortunate event of your child being poorly when you fly, have handy an emergency stash (no more than 100ml obviously) of mother’s little helper, Calpol. Ear drops are also a winner for coping with altitude change.

20. Be prepared for upset tummies

The worst fear you might have about travelling with the kids could well be what if they get sick? A bit of advance planning will make this something to shrug off rather than panic over. Sounding like he speaks from unfortunate experience, Mark Logan, Skyscanner COO says: “always pack more sick bags than you think you’ll need for the drive to the airport in the hire car. And don’t pack away all of their clothes – for the same reason. Also, ensure that you bring your medical cards if you’re travelling within Europe. In my case, with three children, there’s a statistical likelihood that you’ll need it.”

21. Cuddly toys can make all the difference

Skyscanner Co-founder Bonamy Grimes has a clever solution for that desperate moment when nothing seems to make it all better: “stock up on toys, but make sure you hold back a favourite teddy that you bring out on the plane, and keep one in reserve for the way back.” There is always the risk of losing a cherished companion in transit, which is heart-breaking, so whenever you buy them a soft toy, buy two and if the worst happens, substitute New Peppa for Left-On-Plane Peppa.

22. Take a break

Initially this one may seem to add even more stress to your journey, but it does makes sense. Oksana says that for her kids, several transit flights work much better than one long haul. “Kids have time to move (run, jump) in airports, which they can’t onboard.” Probably best not use this tactic if they don’t like the take-offs and landings, or have a habit of getting lost in airports, though.

23. Use the time to get creative

No matter how much you love them, a bored child is a pain in the rear. Here are items for keeping the terrors from the perils of boredom:

  • Notebook and pens or pencils
  • Reading books or a Kindle
  • iPod/headphones: if music be the food of a happy child, play on!

24. Remember the wonder of flying

Flying is fun. In fact, flying is amazing. Remember that your little ones don’t associate budget airlines with baggage restrictions and commuting for business – they’re probably quite excited about going up in the sky. So you should be too. “Don’t forget that flying was once wondrous. To them it still is, so point out the small houses, the clouds, the setting sun…” says long-suffering Skyscanner Chairman Gareth Williams. And if you’re desperate, get them to count how many passengers are on the flight. We kid you not, this has been known to work a treat!

25. Take care of yourself out there

While pouring all your efforts into project managing your offspring’s on board, in-transit behaviour, don’t forget to look after your own wellbeing and comfort. Take care of yourself and the rest will take care of itself. If you are in good form, you’ll be far more able to cope with the inevitable tests thrown at you by your errant charges.