Up until around their 5th birthday, kids spend every waking moment with a caregiver nearby, often at home. Their world is small and secure, just as they like it. Then comes school— which is exciting for many kids but may also seem scary. Spending that much time away from their parents and house seems inconceivable.
Here are a few tips on how to prepare for your child’s first day of kindergarten:
Walk Through the School, Meet Their Teacher
One of the scariest parts about school is that it happens in a place other than home. While kids with older siblings may have some exposure to school, only children and first-born kids may each benefit from visiting their school before they begin the year, perhaps during an orientation. Walking the hallways and having their parent nearby to reassure them will help them feel more comfortable with the whole process.
An even better tip is to meet their teacher. These introductions stave off any of your child’s worries that their teacher is some larger-than-life, scary person. Though tours and teacher meetings may not be possible due to the current pandemic, make sure to take full advantage if they are available. If they aren’t available, try to arrange a video meeting instead.
Additional recommended reading: Working Mom Health Tips For 12 Hour Shifts
Talk About What It’ll Be Like
You should also engage in conversations before and after this in-person walkthrough. Kids need to process their emotions, and they need a trusted guardian to help them do so. Be sensitive about questions and prepare to listen to their concerns, even if they seem insignificant. If your child feels in control of the conversation, they’ll likely start to grow more comfortable with the thought of heading off to school.
Given the unique circumstances this year, make sure to leave extra space for conversation about Coronavirus. These conversations allow you to calm your child’s fears a bit while reinforcing the need for them to take preventative measures such as wearing their mask and staying six feet away from other students.
Buy and Organize Their School Supplies Together
Our last piece of advice on preparing for your child’s first day of kindergarten is to buy and assemble their school supplies together. This step also affords your child control over the process. If they get a few school items they enjoy, such as a Star Wars-themed lunch box, they’ll be more likely to look forward to starting school.
As you shop, create a plan for color-coding the folders, art supplies, and other items they’ll use every day. This is wise because color has huge benefits on learning, memory, and organization. The school will seem more fun when they have a colorful system to keep their things in order so they can focus more on learning.
Additional recommended reading: How I Prepare For A 12 Hour Shift (And Stay Healthy)
Nurses are a critical part of the healthcare system during public health emergencies. They are highly trusted, compassionate, and willing to go to great lengths to protect their patients. However, with no clear endpoint, COVID-19 is not a typical public health crisis and has created a range of mental health challenges for nurses.
Today’s nurses are working under a cloud of fear and stress, which can lead to physical and psychological symptoms. However, there are steps that nurses can take to minimize the effects of high-stress levels and keep themselves and their families balanced.
A Two-Pronged Approach to Managing Stress
Stress levels cannot be managed through mental health strategies alone. Making healthy lifestyle choices can directly affect an individual’s outlook on life, energy levels, and mood. These five tactics can create a positive impact on mental health:
- Eat regular meals – focus on whole foods that decrease inflammation and build immunity
- Stay hydrated – choose water instead of caffeinated beverages, which can cause headaches and mood swings
- Exercise regularly – a simple walk with the dog can keep anxiety and depression symptoms at bay
- Limit alcohol consumption and refrain from smoking
- Make sleep a priority and practice good sleep hygiene
When it comes to managing stress levels, a nurse’s mental health is just as important as their physical health. Incorporating these self-love strategies into your daily routine can help:
- Practice meditation and/or mindfulness exercises
- Make time for relaxation
- Take mini-breaks throughout the workday to practice deep breathing
- Keep in touch with friends and family
- Limit exposure to media coverage of the pandemic
- Lower expectations of yourself and others, reminding yourself that “done” is better than “perfect”
- Practice positive self-talk, such as “nurses have a purpose and make a difference”
- Talk it out with colleagues or a supervisor, because nurses don’t have to walk this road alone
- Accept help when offered, and ask for support when needed
Help Children Manage Stress
Nurses with children at home have a responsibility to help them understand and respond to our changing world. Children may pick up on the stress that a parent is feeling and struggle to understand what is wrong. Children need to receive reassurance and guidance that’s centered around safety, consistency, and love.
Here are some tips to help children manage stress:
- Maintain a consistent family routine – establish set bedtimes and meal times
- Include children in conversations about the pandemic, but keep their age in mind and help them navigate their feelings
- Set family rules for proper hygiene
- Make routines fun for kids – consider singing during handwashing or developing games for wearing masks
- Remind children that the situation is temporary
- Allow children to help out around the house to give them a way to contribute – young children can carry dishes to the sink and help tidy up, while older children can take on bigger chores such as cleaning and yard work
- Reassure children that the parent is safe in their job
Additional recommending reading:
Symptoms of Excessive Stress
Nurses should self-monitor their mental health status on a regular basis and take action when necessary. Symptoms of depression can include:
- Sleep difficulties
- Persistent crying or sadness
- Feelings of hopelessness
Nurses who are forced to make clinical decisions that conflict with their ethical training may experience signs of moral distress, such as feeling guilty or ashamed. Other symptoms to watch for include:
- Difficulty with decision-making or memory
- Emotional outbursts
- Risky behaviors
- Withdrawal from social interactions
- Unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches, palpitations, and gastrointestinal issues
Nurses experiencing moral distress or consistent symptoms of depression should talk to their supervisor and seek professional help. Early intervention can be critical to working through moral dilemmas and extreme stress. Nurses seeking to connect with a mental health professional can contact their insurance provider for options in their area.
Mental Health Resources
Anyone experiencing suicidal or homicidal thoughts should call 911.
The American Psychiatric Nurses Association lists the following crisis hotlines:
It’s Okay to Take a Break
Nurses who have decided to step away from bedside nursing amid the pandemic should keep in mind that they are not alone. Taking a break and hitting the reset button can be the difference between a nurse developing serious mental health problems and a nurse maintaining their sanity. Some nurses may use this time to further their education from the comfort of their home by enrolling in an online nursing program. An online program can keep the nurse’s knowledge current while potentially offering a pathway to a better position and higher future earnings.
Self-care is vital to a nurse’s health and well-being, especially in the face of a pandemic. Nurses can fill their mental health “bucket” throughout the day using tools of the trade, and perform regular mental health gut checks to ensure that they get the help they need when they need it.
Cindy Blye, RN
Cindy Blye is a nurse-turned-writer with experience in Newborn Intensive Care, Pediatrics, and Case Management. Her works include pediatric nurse certification review materials, policies and procedures, training materials, nursing blog articles, health and wellness articles, and local business reviews. Cindy has three grown children and lives with her husband in North Carolina where she enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, and cooking.
*This Raddish Kids review contains affiliate links
If you want to go right to the Raddish Kids discount code, click here. (There are two discount codes ATHOME gives you $15 off a 6-month subscription and Chef20 gives you $20 off a 12-month subscription).
Raddish Kids Review: A Monthly Kid’s Kitchen Subscription Box
Historically, I have never been that interested in ordering subscription boxes for myself – or my kids. But then the COVID-19 shut down forced me to think differently about everything I do, especially went it involves how I parent.
Suddenly, my children’s preschool was canceled, my husband began working from home, and not only did I not have childcare so that I could work, but overnight I became a homeschooling mom as well￼￼. God, I suck at homeschooling. In many ways, this feels like the most defining moment of my world as a parent. I kind of feel like I suck all the time in the parenthood department. I keep thinking, how do I fix this?
I think many working moms in my position are in the same dilemma. What do we do with our kids now that they are home – all the time? Fortunately, there are resources out there for parents like me. So long as we find them and utilize them. I, for one, have always needed help in the cooking department.
Also, I have a two and 4-year-old, one of which is a particularly picky eater. S eats better when she as at school, and now that she’s at home she is a particularly challenging eater. Until one day, I tried this cool monthly subscription – perfect for homeschool teaching.
What is the Raddish Kids subscription box?
A small box is delivered monthly with all the tools you need to teach your kids to cook.
Radish Kids is a cooking club for kids – a monthly culinary cooking opportunity delivered to our doorstep. It has nurtured our kid’s confidence (and mine!) in the kitchen. The photo above is the first box we ever received from the subscription. It has helped us have delicious cooking experiences from different cultures that I would never have been able to give my kids on my own. It is designed for kids from ages 4 to 14, but that hasn’t stopped my two-year-old from joining in on the kitchen fun.
This small box is delivered with everything needed to help turn my children into little chefs￼. I talked with them about it a week before it arrived, so they were so excited when it was finally shipped to our doorstep.￼
What comes in the Raddish Kid subscription box?
Here is a photo of everything that came inside the box – all of the recipes, grocery list items, fun games for the kids, and even their own whisk (with instructions for use)!
But the best part is that each box is delivered with a new children’s cooking utensil so they can start building a little kitchen of their own￼. I also love that this delivery subscription comes with unique games that help get my kids excited to cook. My daughter is in the process of learning her letters.
What a better way to fortify her learning than with fun food games! I can teach her about math, with a measuring cup, and teach her about different cultures as well. She is learning (as am I) that the kitchen is a great place to learn from home. But most importantly, she is feeling confident in the kitchen!
Games make learning to cook more fun for kids.
The Raddish Kids subscription comes with fun games.
Benefits of using Raddish Kids monthly subscription:
- It allows us to make new memories and brings our whole family together in the kitchen and at the table.
- It is a cooking class delivered to our doorstep each month.
- It is helping me be a better cook for my kids.
- It gives me a chance to teach math and science, all while helping my kids discover new cultures. They want to learn because they like the food they make.
Each recipe card comes with a grocery list.
I usually set everything out and assign jobs when we cook together.
This is actually from the first night meal we ever prepared together- Pad Thai Noodles! I got it all set up before I brought my kids into the kitchen. I got all of the ingredients set up￼ , so when they came to the kitchen, I could just tell them what their jobs would be.
My kids got to learn about salty and savory foods (Soy sauce), sour foods (lime), sweet foods (brown sugar), and spicy food (chiles). My daughter was able to adjust the Pad Thai to taste by adding drops of soy sauce to a bite and testing it. There were also detailed instructions on how to use a whisk properly. It has been a great cooking skill that my daughter used when we make eggs in the morning.
How to help a picky toddler try new foods:
She was very proud of her new whisk skills.
My daughter is what you would call an extremely picky eater. I have to serve her something several times sometimes before I can get her to try something new. And she is very particular that nothing on her plate is touching anything else. We’ve gotten in the habit of catering to her in that area, which is 100% our fault – because now getting her to try new foods is very hard.￼￼ We are working on that!
The Thai pad dish was a good one to start with￼ because there are several different ingredients mix into a single bowl. My goal with this particular meal was to have her mix everything together, so she would be more open to eating it, especially if she was proud that she prepared the meal herself.
Even my two-year-old has fun with this (but it does get messy!)
Here is my 2-year-old wishing the brown sugar, soy sauce, and lime mix. The instructions were clear for kids to learn how to mix the sauce:
- “Wrap your dominant hand around the handle.
- Point your whisk to the center of your bowl.
- Rotate your wrist to make a circle. Keep your elbow still.”
But my son is two, so I let him do it however he wanted. But my 4 -year-old was able to follow those directions clearly. I was just happy that they w both able to participate. (The instructions have a “skill check” for kids who are old enough: “What is the difference between whisking and stirring? What would happen if you stirred eggs with a spoon instead of a whisk? What great questions for kids who are learning how to whisk eggs for the first time.)
I taught my daughter how to crack an egg.
Here I am teaching my 4-year-old daughter how to crack an egg for the first time. Usually, she would think this kind of task was “gross,” but because it was attached to an outcome, she was more than eager to achieve a positive result! She loved it and was so proud of herself. After each egg, she yelled out to her, Dad, “I just cracked an egg!!”
I love that I can help her build her self esteem and teach her how to prepare foods that she eats every day at home (even if there are a few eggshells I have to dig out!).
Proud to learn how to crack an egg.
I got the noodles ready ahead of time so the kids could focus on preparing and cutting the vegetables for our Pad Thai dinner. All while Oliver continued to whisk the sauce – for about 10 minutes. This was also an excellent opportunity to teach our kids about handwashing when they prepared food. One of the best ways for us to make this habit stick is to have step stools in the kitchen. Otherwise, it makes it almost impossible for us to expect them to get in the habit of washing their hands independently.
We have two stepstools in the kitchen (for each kid to help us with cooking), and at least one in each bathroom, so they can wash their hands on their own. They know to wash their hands for 20 seconds every time they use the bathroom, and every time they prepare food.
Here his how the Raddish Kids monthly subscription works:
Per the company website:
is a cooking club, culinary lesson, and mealtime solution all-in-one. We make cooking and sharing a meal fun for the whole family! Young children work alongside an adult, while older kids and teens indulge their culinary curiosity! And it’s perfect for picky eaters — kids who cook, eat! A new kit is delivered to your doorstep every month.
Each kit features a unique culinary theme! We also email you a shopping list prior to delivery. “
And then you start cooking!
There is no doubt that the kitchen is the tastiest place to learn. My kids have been able to develop new cooking skills and confidence in the kitchen while our family builds memories together. There is no better way to teach kids at home than that.
Here is how to order your Raddish Kids subscription box:
If you are interested in trying out Raddish Kids, here is a code for you! Remember that there are two discount codes: ATHOME gives you $15 off a 6-month subscription and Chef20 gives you $20 off a 12-month subscription). Additional recommended reading:
What are the best nurse jobs for moms?
Having a baby changes everything. New mothers may want to think about alternative nurse careers that provide more flexibility for their growing family.
Fortunately, there are so many flexible nurse careers out there for nurses who are ready for a change or just want to step away from the bedside.
Becoming a mother is a full-time job in itself. Depending on your work-life situation, you might want to consider working in a nursing field that is more flexible and offers you the balance that you need. Childcare can be a challenge for nurses, especially for moms who work 12-hour shifts.
In no particular order, here are 5 of the best nurse jobs for moms:
#1. Per diem nurse
#1. Best nurse jobs for moms: per diem nursing
To work “per diem” means to work “by the day.” Per diem nurses are essential to every hospital organization because they allow the administration to fill in gaps where they don’t have enough nurses scheduled to work. It also will enable nurses who don’t have a very flexible schedule, like new moms, to pick the exact hours and days that they can work.
Per diem nurses are often required to work a specific amount of shifts each month. As a per diem nurse myself, I am required to work a minimum of four shifts in a thirty day period. However, I can ask to work as many shifts as I want. It puts me in an excellent position to earn money- I work on all of the days that I have childcare scheduled, and I don’t have to worry about being scheduled on the days I don’t.
Also, per diem nurses are usually able to call off within a specific time frame before a shift starts. For example, if my child becomes sick 12 hours before the start of a nursing shift, and I know I will be unable to work the next day, then I can cancel myself. It leaves a lot of wiggle room for me to schedule or unschedule myself when I need to be at home with my children. Most working moms don’t have that kind of flexibility, and it helps relieve a lot of stress.
The one drawback to per diem nursing is that you are only paid on the days that you work – you don’t have an allotment of sick days. Also, if the facility does not need any additional staffing, then you might get canceled. Which might not be OK if you were depending on the money you were going to earn that day.
Why being a per diem nurse is one of the best nursing jobs for moms:
- Total flexibility over work schedules
- Ability to call-off at the last minute
- Higher per hour pay then career nursing
#2. School Nurse
#2. Best nurse jobs for moms: school nurse
School nurses work in educational facilities, including public and private schools (K through 12). They support students and staff who become ill at work or need other kinds of medical attention.
Also, many school nurses are educators and teach various health topics to kids, such as healthy eating and the importance of physical exercise. School nurses address the physical and mental needs of students, which helps them succeed in school and sets them up for success in the future.
Becoming a school nurse is an excellent job for nurses who are mothers because you would work during regular school hours -the same hours that your children would be at school. It also means that you wouldn’t have to work weekends, night shifts, or holidays.
Many school nurses find the career rewarding because you are able to help start kids out on the right health track from their early years. Many studies show that long term health has a greater success rate when children are taught healthy habits from an early age. School-age kids are impressionable, and nurses can make a significant impact on how they take care of their health as they grow up.
Why being a school nurse is one of the best nursing jobs for moms:
- Only work during regular school hours (no weekends, nights, or holidays)
- A rewarding career helping children develop healthy habits from a young age
Additional recommended reading:
#3. Case manager
#3. Best nurse jobs for moms: case management
Case management is another great opportunity for working moms because you can help patients through planning, care coordination, facilitation, and advocacy of patient’s medical needs. Case managers collaborate with all outside aspects of patient care to make sure the patient stays safe and gets the care they need.
According to the Case Management Society of America, “Case Management is a collaborative process of assessment, planning, facilitation, care coordination, evaluation, and advocacy for options and services to meet an individual’s and family’s comprehensive health needs through communication and available resources to promote patient safety, quality of care, and cost-effective outcomes.”
Additional recommended reading: 8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became A Nurse
#4. Telehealth nurse
#4. Best nurse jobs for moms: teleheath nurse
Telehealth nursing is when nurses can give nursing care, information, or advice to patients over the phone. It also helps to improve efficiency in the healthcare system and help to treat patients in remote areas who otherwise would not be able to receive care.
Telehealth nurses work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and for corporations. It is becoming more widely used in recent years due to improvements in technology and an ncreasing need to help patients remotely.
Why telehealth is one of the best nursing jobs for moms:
- Ability to work remotely from home
- Able to help patients without having to work strenuous shifts in the hospital
#5. Advice Nurse
#5. Best jobs for nurses: advice nurse
When patients are not feeling well at home or have a question about a medical issue, advice nurses are used to help field questions via phone. One of the most significant benefits to patients is that it helps them determine what kind of medical care they need before they come into the hospital.
Why advice nursing is one of the best nursing jobs for moms:
- Flexible hours
- Sometimes a work from home position
- Less strenuous then 12-hour work shifts at the hospital
- Ability to help patients remotely
There are so many alternative nurse careers for nurses who are moms. In fact, that is one of the best reasons to become a nurse – the nursing profession offers so many unique career opportunities that other professions simply do not.
Take care of your family first, and fit your nursing career in a way that serves your family best. Good luck!
Additional recommended reading:
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Here are a few helpful mom self-care tips to keep yourself happy, healthy, and sane.
Easy, achievable mom self-care tips:
Go to sleep earlier
Sleep is essential for life. That extra episode of television is not worth the agony of next day exhaustion. Browsing through a cell phone before bed will make it harder to fall asleep and may even disrupt the quality of your sleep.
Insufficient sleep hurts mental health. There is a reason sleep deprivation has been used in history as a torture method.
Find a way to relax that works for you
For me, taking a bath is like flipping an internal switch from action mom to zen mom. No matter how crazy the day is, I can turn it off with a bath. I add a few essentials oils and bath salts and voila! It’s a makeshift spa session.
Eat more plants
A plant-based diet
Eat whole, organic foods, including many plants. There is no secret diet menu, no matter what the billion-dollar diet industry is telling you.
Instead of continually focusing on what you are eating, try the 90-10 rule. If you eat healthy nourishing food 90% of the time (plant-based, organic, whole foods), then you can relax and not worry about it the other 10% of the time (have some wine, yummy dessert, chill). On special occasions, it may be closer to an 80-20 rule (because mom needs to have a little fun sometimes too!).
The point is that the occasional indulgence is a beautiful thing so long as you treat your body well regularly.
Besides, we can’t expect our kids to eat well if we don’t. We are responsible for teaching our children healthy habits from a young age so that they grow up with the nourishment they need to grow, learn, and be amazing humans.
Limit your social media
By limiting your social media exposure, you unconsciously stop comparing your life to others, and in turn, decrease your stress levels. Also, reducing your use of social media will leave you less distracted and be more present in more critical daily activities.
We all know that social media is not a real representation of what is going on in people’s lives. It is a magnification of what people want you to see: slivers of primarily positive information that appears flawless, effortless, and often like never-ending, spontaneous fun (don’t we all want to project the best parts of ourselves).
Take the time that social media is stealing from you and read a book, go for a walk, or meet a friend for coffee.
Say no more often
Permit yourself to prioritize the things that are most important to you. Mom’s needs come before getting every little chore completed. The laundry can wait until tomorrow if needed. The toys aren’t doing any permanent damage by lying on the floor a little longer.
Sometimes when I put my daughter down for a nap, I have the intention of getting several chores out of the way. But I end up taking a nap myself instead. And I feel so much better as a result.
It’s impossible to do every little thing. At some point, we have to say no. No apologies, just no.
What are you going to do to take better care of yourself this year?
Additional recommended reading:
We must teach our kids a foundation for healthy eating habits. Unfourtuanelty, this can be challenging for busy nurse moms, who often struggle to eat properly, exercise regularly, or get enough sleep as it is due to our crazy working-mom lifestyles.
So, how do we help our families adopt healthier eating choices when it seems like life is always getting in the way? Here are a few fun suggestions that have worked for my own family. I hope they help you too!
Involve children in the meal planning process
Teach your kids healthy eating habits by involving them in the meal-planing process.
Kids love to feel like they are a part of things, and they are more likely to want to eat healthy foods if they are included in the food preparation experience. Grant your children some say in which foods you bring into the house.
For example, if I plan to purchase grapes at the store, I will ask my son which color he wants. When we go to the grocery store together, I let him help me select the produce items that he thinks are the most appealing. Search recipes together for inspiration, so you all can be excited about the meals you will have that week.
I personally love Pinterest and use it as my primary means of saving and organizing recipes. Each child can be allowed to make one or two “special requests” for either a specific food they would like to have or a particular meal they want to eat.
Sometimes it is not realistic to prepare a family meal every single night. Here is a solution for that: make double batches when you cook to ensure that you have extra nutritious food that can easily be reheated as leftovers later in the week. When I worked 12-hour day shifts, I would often make a tray of lasagna, enchiladas, or casserole on my days off. That way, my husband could easily prepare healthy dinners for the family in my absence.
By preparing meals ahead of time, we eliminated the temptation to pick up fast food on the way home when we were exhausted and starving.
Encourage children to help out in the kitchen
Teaching kids healthy eating habits by involving them in the kitchen.
Even young children can make handy kitchen porters. They can help mix, measure, and stir years before they are old enough to be trusted near a hot stove or sharp instruments.
My son picked out a set of miniature set of kitchen tools (a small spatula, whisk, and tongs) for himself, and it makes him feel extra special when he assists me in the kitchen. You may have to do a little extra clean up at the end, but be patient and praise your culinary apprentices for helping! Fond memories and a love of cooking will be ingrained for life.
Additional recommended reading:
Forget the “clean plate club”
Teach kids healthy eating habits – don’t encourage them to clean their plates if they are full.
Children are very good at self-regulating their food intake. Telling kids they must finish their food, even if they insist that they are not hungry, can cause them to tune out their innate cues of fullness and may set them up to become chronic overeaters later in life.
Lead by example
Kids are always observing, and you need to practice what you preach. The nutrition standards you set for them as a parent will go further than anything you say. However, don’t always expect perfection of yourself. Parenting is hard, and some days just getting the kids fed is an accomplishment.
Holiday get-togethers, family dinners, and parties with cake and candy are perfectly fine in moderation. The point is that if you eat a variety of wholesome foods each day, your children will develop an appreciation for fresh, healthy eating as well.
Additional Information to help teach children healthy eating habits
The American Academy at Pediatrics has an archive of articles with evidence-based advice on healthy eating for children that you can find here. Consult with your children’s pediatrician or primary care provider if you have questions regarding your children’s specific dietary needs.
Additional recommended reading: