Coping with a new reality: Advice for single parents

Mothers and fathers coming out of a divorce or separation are still dealing with the emotional effects of one of the most wrenching and emotionally exacting experiences of their lives. They’re trying to come to terms with an extremely disorienting situation at the same time they’re trying to comfort and reassure traumatized children. The healing process may take quite a while, and it complicates an already difficult role for the parent. Along the way, single moms and dads have to deal with hectic weekly routines, a new set of financial responsibilities, keeping pace with demands at work … and they have to do it all by themselves. It’s a situation that could overwhelm anyone.

A new reality

Single parenthood is a stark new reality for people who are accustomed to having a partner to rely on when things get tough. Figuring out how to do it on your own is a difficult adjustment, particularly if your children are young. If you’re having an “off day” as a parent, you can’t just hand things over to someone else. You have to develop coping skills and learn how to take a deep breath when the kids get out of control or if you’ve had an awful day at work. It’s especially important to develop those skills if you don’t have a friend or family member who can provide support.


Now that you’re a single parent, you’re making all the decisions for your family. If your ex-spouse or partner was the primary decision-maker, you may need to find the self-confidence to make important decisions that directly impact you financially and affect your children’s wellbeing. It can be a liberating and self-empowering moment for many single parents, who no longer have to compromise or negotiate with a spouse they don’t get along with and with whom they have fundamental disagreements about raising a family. Many single parents find that co-workers, friends, teachers and others with a connection to their family can be helpful when it comes to advice and sharing experiences. Remember, decision-making is an important skill, one you want your children to develop, so seeking advice and outside help in making good decisions is well worth the time and effort.

Getting organized

As the head of your family, you can do yourself and your children a major favor by organizing everyone’s weekly schedules. It’ll help you get a handle on your new life and make things easier when it comes to work, school, homework, the kids’ extracurricular activities, and more. Organize each day as much as possible so you and your children aren’t scrambling every morning. It can help your kids’ performance at school and may even give you a little extra time to exercise, meditate, or sneak in a little extra sleep. Children respond better to well-organized plans because it provides a sense of reliability and normalcy, which they may need badly in the wake of a divorce.

Find help

Some of the most successful single parents know when to ask for help, whether from someone who’s close to the family or from a support group with individuals who have been through the same situation. Spending a little time on the internet looking for local support groups may pay off handsomely for an overwrought single mom or dad. Sometimes, just having someone to share your frustrations with can make a tremendous difference.

Try seeing your new situation as an opportunity to strengthen relationships between you and your kids. Spend some time together playing educational games and interacting in ways that everyone can enjoy and learn from. It’ll bring you closer together as a family and forge a strong emotional bond that benefits everyone.

Courtesy of

5 Tips on How to Help Kids Take Turns

One of the first milestones in a child’s social development is understanding how to take-turns and/or share with others.  This is a learned behavior children need for positive social interactions, and acquiring these skills is a process rather than a simple task.  Just as we teach young children the difference between healthy food and junk food, we also need to teach them how to take turns. These skills are best practiced with a parent or caregiver initially.  In the end, you will help to cultivate your child’s patience and consideration for others.

1)Picture Books- Using a picture book about taking turns is an easy method to initiate the topic. Picture books provide the perfect visual and auditory platform to stimulate discussion. Unlike videos, books let a parent or child pause as needed to discuss characters and emotions. Here are a few books to consider:

  • My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook (interrupting)
  • Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willems (sharing)
  • Mine! Mine! Mine! by Shelly Becker (sharing)
  • Llama Lama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney (sharing)

2)Role Play/Drama- Role play is a powerful tool for children and parents to use in developing positive social skills. They have the opportunity to ‘act out’ the expected behavior without having emotions block their success. This practice helps to foster the behavior in real life. As the parent, you can choose the scenarios to act out that best suit your child. Write scenarios on strips of paper to perform. Be sure to play along, switching roles, modeling good and poor behavior.

3)Ball Toss- This is great introduction for those really little ones and those kinesthetic learners. Simply pass or roll a ball back and forth. Use this as an opportunity to expose them to vocabulary (your turn, now it’s my turn).

4)Music-Another great option to expose young children to the concept of turn taking is with music. Sing songs together with each participant taking different parts.

5)Board Games-Board games or any game that involves 2 or more players is an enjoyable technique for establishing an understanding of taking turns. Additionally, games provide exposure to the win/loss scenario. Losing often raises real emotions in young children. Before starting a game, consider having a pre-game chat about the possibility losing and how to react.



Kindness Matters!

Teaching children kindness is essential these days. By teaching our kids to be givers of kindness, rather than receivers, we contribute to their feelings of happiness, enrich their relationships, and create lifelong habits of showing compassion to others. Here are a few tips to begin today.

  1. Start early, by modeling kindness and respect to those around you. A simple greeting, compliment, or kind gesture goes a long way!
  2. Your turn-My turn dialogue helps to build turn-taking and listening skills. For example: “You can share your favorite winter activity with me, and then I’ll share my favorite activity with you.”
  3. At the dinner table, have each family member share an example from the day, where he/she showed kindness to another person. Be sure to discuss how the kindness made a person feel. This type of reflection will bring more meaning to every day actions.
  4. Create a habit of writing notes of kindness to friends and family. Get well cards, a message in dad’s lunch bag, or a sticky note on the bathroom mirror lets others know you are thinking about them.
  5. Create a kindness jar in your home, using coins or special “jewels”. Each time you witness your children use kind words, or show kindness, share how this made you feel, and place a coin or jewel in the jar. When the jar is full, your family can celebrate by doing something special together, like catch a movie together, or go to your favorite ice cream shop.
  6. Start a ‘Kindness Project’ as a family. Together, decide how you want to show kindness to others. Volunteer locally, shovel the drive of an elderly neighbor, or prepare meals for a family in need.

Empathy is “caught” by your daily actions and examples. Remember, no act is too small!



30 Day Challenges for Kids

Setting goals and working on consistency is not only important for adults, but great for young children, too. A 30 day challenge can help foster a new positive habit or just learn something new. Below are 10 challenge suggestions for young kids.

  1. 30 Day Bed Challenge: Make your bed every morning for 30 days. If your child hasn’t been involved in
    making his/her bed, adult help will be needed. This challenge is great for developing independence and a positive start to the day.
  2. 30 Day State Challenge: Learn 2-3 new facts about a state per day. Start with your state and its border states.   Write the facts in a journal for a cool way to document the challenge and remember learned facts.
  3. 30 Day Poetry Challenge: As a family, read 1-2 poems together.  After listening to each poem, take time to discuss your thoughts. Did you like it? How did it make you feel? Did it remind you of anything?
  4. 30 Day Landmark Challenge: Pick one significant landmark per day to learn about. Check out facts and videos about the landmark. You and your child can draw a picture of each landmark for a challenge keepsake.
  5. 30 Day Know Your ‘Digits’ Challenge: Practice memorizing your phone number and address. Repeating these important numbers every day for 30 days is a great method for ensuring your child knows his/her ‘digits’. You can write the focus phone number &/or address on a card to read daily, until your child seems ready to recall the numbers. Put a sticker on the back of the card each day as a method to support the daily challenge.
  6. 30 Day Country Challenge: Learn 2-3 new facts about a different country per day.   Write the facts in a journal as a challenge keepsake.
  7. 30 Day Storytelling Challenge: As a family, work together to make-up a story. Each day, have the characters embark on a new adventure. Then, you or your child can write a sentence or two about the day’s story.
  8. 30 Day Drawing Challenge: Take 10-20 minutes a day to draw or paint with your child.
  9. 30 Day City Challenge: Learn 2-3 new facts about a major city per day. You can choose cities within the U.S.A. or all around the world. Write the facts in a journal as a way to document the challenge and remember facts.
  10. 30 Day Cooking Challenge: Have your child help with preparing a family meal. Working with a parent, share ideas for the family meal, go shopping for ingredients, and work together in preparing the meal.

Comment below on which challenge looks interesting for your family.

Please let us know how your challenge turns out. Sharing our experiences can be a positive motivator for others to start a challenge,too.

Stocking stuffer ideas that encourage outdoor play

Here are a few suggestions to fill your stockings that get your kids outside during the winter break.

*A new pair of warm and fuzzy socks

*Hand and feet warmers for outside play

*A blow up snow tube for sledding

*Ear muffs, scarf, new mittens or hat

*Snow paints or snow markers for colorful fun

*Snow-Lights to decorate a snow fort or igloo

*Tickets to a local snow tubing or tobogganing chute


Holiday Playdate Ideas

Holiday Break Playdate Ideas

Every child looks forward to the holiday break from school and the typical daily routine. It is that magical time to spend with family and friends.  It is the perfect time to set up playdates with friends from school, cousins and/or neighbors.  Here are some ideas for making these playdates fun and memorable.

  • Free Play

Free play is a great way to start any playdate. Children need and enjoy free imaginative playtime.  It fosters creativity, negotiation skills and independence.  Free play can often take up half of a playdate.

  • Painting

Set up a special project for the playdate that each child can keep, such as painting projects from your local craft store.  Sticker scenes are another K-3 Climbers favorite for children.

$3 for six door hangers
Use markers or paint to decorate

Great for an keepsake gift!



  • Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!

Making cookies together is a fun activity on a playdate as well. I suspect you may even have a few offers to taste test the final product. In the winter, consider making hot chocolate, too.

  • Movie and Popcorn

Hanging out with a friend and sharing a movie is not just for adults. Kids love it too. Although it is important to limit the amount of screen time, sharing a movie is a great bonding experience.

  • Lego Extravaganza

Bust out a big bed sheet and let the Lego building begin. The sheet helps to keep the Lego pieces in a set space and making them easier to find. Put several Legos out for the playdate buddies to go to town in developing a city, a space adventure, or whatever.

  • Indoor Camping

Pitch a tent inside with sleeping bags and flashlights, and watch the excitement appear.

  • Drama/Dress Up

Display some dress up clothes or costumes for the kids to use in putting on a play or just dancing around.

Feel free to share your favorite playdate ideas in our comments. Don’t forget to enjoy some hot chocolate and cookies,too. You’ve earned it!

5 Tips for Creating Holiday Traditions

Here are 5 simple tips for creating meaningful traditions with your family.

  1. Write an annual letter to your children and loved ones. Highlight observations from the year, as well as things you are grateful for, or love about them, and place the letters in the stockings. For example: “I love how you wake up each morning with a smile, and the determination to tackle the day.
  2. Select a special ornament that signifies an important event in your child’s life that year. Maybe a bicycle to represent learning to ride a bike that year, or a nutcracker to remind your child of seeing his/her first performance.”
  3. Shop together for a Secret Santa gift for a charity, or volunteer locally to serve others.
  4. Start a Gratitude Jar for your family. Throughout the month of December, have family members record what each person is grateful for on strips of paper. Beginning on New Years day, pull 2-3 strips to share aloud at dinner.
  5. Purchase new Pajamas to be opened on Christmas Eve, and watch a favorite family movie together. Top off the night with reading a favorite Holiday classic!

Holiday Jokes for Kids

Happy Holidays from K-3 Climbers,

Below you will find a few of Timber’s favorite holiday jokes. Please enjoy sharing them with your little ones.  Jokes are a great way to promote reading fluency, reading aloud with emotion and memory skills. Just print out the cards, cut them out and you are all ready for spreading some holiday cheer. Share one in the morning together and/or tuck one in his/her lunch for your child to share. Work on memory skills by sharing jokes without a card, such as in the car sometime.  Encourage your child to hide a joke for a parent to find during his/her day at work.
***Please comment about which joke was a family favorite or share a new joke to add to the list.


Just clink on the joke sheet for a link to a printable PDF version. 

 Like and Share on Facebook to spread a little cheer.

Pin on Pinterest


10 Nutrition Tips for Moms of Preschoolers

Educating young children about nutrition is important because healthy habits carry into adulthood. Teach your children certain foods are reserved for special occasions or events. Children can choose what they eat, but adults ensure healthy options.

  1. Stick to a routine. Serve meals and snacks around the same time every day. This will help your child feel more in tune with his/her body.
  2. Eat meals together as a family as often as you can.
  3. Set a good example by eating healthfully yourself.
  4. Start routines when your children are young. Food preferences are developed early in life, so offer a variety of foods regularly.
  5. Involve your children. Ask for help in selecting fresh fruits and veggies when shopping, rinse foods while preparing, or mix ingredients for a meal etc.
  6. Keep healthy foods in the house.
  7. Choice is important. Offer a variety of healthy foods and allow your child to choose.
  8. Be patient when serving new foods. Children need repeated exposure to foods. Try to serve new foods, alongside your child’s favorites.
  9. Keep portions small. Your child can always have more.
  10. Lastly, children know when they are full. Encourage your child to eat slowly and don’t force feed him/her. Nutritional needs vary.


Helping your children develop healthy eating habits early in life will help them maintain a healthy lifestyle when they are adults. As parents, your lifestyle and food choices set a powerful example that can last a lifetime.

Setting up a Learning Station for Preschoolers

Creating a space to play learning games, read together, or do “homework” is essential in developing early habits. Young children need routine and consistency, as it helps them to know what to expect.

  1. Have your child help pick a place in your home where you can comfortably work together. Pick an area with a small table or desk that is comfy and free of distractions, so your child can enjoy a book, draw, or work on “homework”. Giving your child the opportunity to help with this decision, will help your child take ownership.
  2. Select a basket or container that can house all materials you may need to carry out activities. Markers, crayons, scissors, pencils, extra paper, sticky notes, glue sticks, art supplies, etc. should be right at hand.
  3. Create an area to display completed activities. A simple way is to take a piece of twine and drape it from one end to the other near your special space. Colorful clothespins can be used to hang completed “homework” for all to see.
    work-station-spider                                    work-station
  4. Set aside a time daily to play a learning game, or engage in an activity together. Make sure there is enough time to complete the activity, so your child does not feel rushed. This is key in developing a consistent routine.
  5. Be flexible. Sometimes young children need to move around, or need to stretch out on the floor. Take cues and support your child’s work style that day.


By creating a comfortable and inviting space, you can help your child establish important habits. As with any good habit, start when your children are young, and be consistent. These habits will stay with them as they grow into adulthood.



5 Steps to Plan a Fun Adventure Day

Looking at the school calendar, I noticed few days off coming up and started thinking about pulling together an adventure day with my daughter, sister and niece. For several years, I have enjoyed a variety of adventure days. (quest hikes, museums, train rides, caving, etc.) The common theme for all of the adventures is to take time to actively be together for a special day out and about. In the end, we built lasting memories, explored and felt energized.

Below are 5 of the steps I consider in picking an adventure:

  1. Time: How far away can we travel? How much time can we spend on our adventure? ½ day, full day or more.
  2. Cost: Free is always great, such as hiking or biking to cool areas (waterfalls, rivers, mountain peaks). Some adventures can be low cost (canoeing, museums, city walk) and sometimes you feel the need to splurge (hot air balloon rides, amusement parks).
  3. Thrill Factor: What are you willing to take on for the day? How adventurous do you feel? Is it educational?
  4. Food: The best situation is a great restaurant close or I pack a lunch for our day trips and buy a special treat/dessert.
  5. Weather: If planning a few weeks ahead of time, it is a good idea to have an outdoor and indoor adventure option.

For an added touch of adventure, make the destination a surprise or invite others to join in the adventure.



Traveling with K-3 Climbers in London

choose a toolkit

About a month into using k-3 climbers with my 5 year old (and a partially participating 3 year old), we took a month long trip to the UK and decided that we would take a monthly kit with us and try to continue our daily routine of performing a couple of activities a day.

To maximize efficiency, we decided to go through the trail map for the month and take out the items we would need from the toolkit as we were conscious of our luggage traveling internationally. We decided to skip taking the larger items (such as boxes of unfix cubes and k-3 climbers plastic sorting boxes) and we highlighted any activities we were not able to do. So far so good, we found it easy to pick up the monthly kit and extract what we thought we would need by a quick review of activity sheets. It took a bit of time to do this but we found it worked for us.

Once we settled into our routine in the UK, we picked up doing the activities during the part of the day that most suited our schedule (breakfast time) and for the most part we had success! We picked up items such as scissors, coloring pens, glue sticks etc over there. Hana (5) really enjoyed this structured part of the day especially as she was out of pre school for the month. Even Eva (3), would run to the table to participate especially if there was glue and coloring involved! As mentioned above, some activities we saved for our return as we did not have all of the tools we needed and we have successfully managed to complete those now we are back. Once we were done with activities we just discarded what we didn’t need in terms of instruction sheets (again I was conscious of carrying everything back to the US).

k-3 climbers is definitely rewarding experience for my children and for both myself and my husband. It gives us time to sit with our children and focus on something that does not involve a computer screen and it motivates us to get organized too. When traveling I found that it was much easier for me to lay out the upcoming days activities with all of the items required to complete the activity and ‘grab and go’. Keeping the attention span of the children can also be challenging when the adult has to take breaks to go and retrieve items, so this approach worked for me.

Overall, with some forward thinking and planning we were able to execute k-3 climbers successfully on our extended vacation. I felt better knowing that my children would have some learning built into their day; though some activities are more like fun play than learning anyway!

The Impact of Parent Involvement

Photo By Spirit-Fire

Photo By Spirit-Fire

Would you do anything you could to give your child an educational advantage? What if it was as

simple as sitting down with them a few minutes a day to learn?

Studies have proven that parents’ involvement in their child’s education is actually the largest

predictor of academic success. When parents are able to create an environment where learning

is integrated into the daily routine, children are more motivated to learn.

Kids who have a parent who is engaged in their learning experience have better attendance in

school, complete more homework assignments, and achieve better grades. They also have

higher self-esteem and self-motivation. When kids talk to and learn from their parents, they are

less timid about setting high goals for themselves.

With K-3 Climbers, it is easy to facilitate such interaction with your child. Each monthly package

is curated with themed activities by two passionate teachers with 40 years of combined

experience. Just 10 to 20 minutes a day with your child can encourage an open conversation

about their goals and achievements and keep them on track for academic success.

Is Technology Affecting Your Child’s Memory?

Technology is an ever-increasing presence in our lives and continues to influence how we learn.

From playing mobile phone games, to researching on the web, to simply googling, we and our

children are constantly using electronic devices.

Though there are so many advantages to technology, there is good reason to encourage

learning without devices. Studies have shown that electronic devices can impair working

memory. Working memory is the “scratch pad” of our minds, allowing us to keep hold of

information long enough to organize and analyze it, making sense for our long-term memories.

But because technology allows us to access information in a matter of milliseconds, “use it or

lose it” comes into play, and our memories aren’t absorbed as they would be if we couldn’t rely

on a computer.

So why do children need working memory to succeed in school? When a child is given a math

problem, or posed a question about the reading, they need to be able to keep that information in

their head long enough to make sense of it and propose an answer. The part of the brain

responsible for working memory is also responsible for concentration. Working memory not only

holds information in a child’s head, but reminds them the steps they need to take to use this

information. Kids with poor working memory have trouble staying on task.

However, there are ways to help keep children’s working memory strong. Engaging them in

tasks without the use of electronic devices gives them the chance to exercise their memory. K-3

Climbers provides a perfect opportunity. Fun and educational activities are provided in each

monthly package, available in our store, which will send you and your child on your way to

building working memory every day!


photo by  Brad Flickinger

K-3 Climbers has officially launched


We are excited to announce K-3 Climbers has officially launched! The Taste of Hudson provided us with an avenue to introduce our product to the public, and reinforced our belief we have a wonderful educational solution to assist parents in enhancing their child’s educational experiences.

The idea for our company came from our classroom, where we were faced with a frequent, but common question, “What additional activities can I do with my child to enhance school concepts at home?” After careful planning and research, we are finally able to fully answer that question and support parents. As busy parents ourselves, we know how time-consuming it can be to find meaningful activities to engage with our children at home. We too, as parents, searched for  meaningful learning activities, but  life distractions and time challenges  made it difficult to engage on a regular basis, even with the best of intentions. We wished we had something more consistent and systematic to follow. K-3 Climbers allows parents to keep a pulse on their child’s learning and development.We know parents want to be proactive, instead of reactive, when it comes to their child’s education.

Jimmy Johnson said it best…”The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”

K-3 Climbers is ready to provide that little extra for you!

We look forward to watching K-3 Climbers impact families and their little climbers!

Katie and Anne