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10 All-Inclusive Family Resorts Even Teenagers Will Love

When my kids were little, I would enviously eye parents traveling with teens. They seemed so self-sufficient, carrying their own suitcases and watching movies or playing video games during long flights, while my needy toddlers were stuck to me like peanut butter to jelly. 

Little did I know that when my kids reached their teens, they’d find spending vacation time with their boring parents anything but cool. Their idea of vacation paradise is splashing around in water parks and hanging out with new friends at the resort’s teen club. They’ll spend time with their parents as long as they’re also allowed a healthy dose of independence, too.

Here are our faves!

Club Med Punta Cana

In the Dominican Republic, Club Med Punta Cana sits alongside a stunning swath of the Caribbean Sea fringed with sugary sand and tall coconut palms. Club Med pioneered the whole concept of all-inclusive resorts, with meals, drinks, activities, kid and teen clubs, and entertainment covered in the pay-one-price deal.  

At Club Med Punta Cana, teens ages 11 to 17 have their own space called Club Med Passworld. Activities include water sports, circus arts such as learning to swing on a flying trapeze, archery, and horseback riding. When the sun goes down, outdoor movies on the beach and dance parties offer the chance to mingle with new friends. 

Grand Residences Riviera Cancun

Nestled in a private enclave on the Riviera Maya just a short drive from Cancun, the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun is a beachfront hideaway located between the world’s second largest barrier reef and a tranquil nature preserve. 

If you’re traveling with active older kids and teens, the resort is the ideal spot for outdoor adventures. In addition to numerous pools and tennis courts, guests can stop by the sports desk and reserve equipment for water sports such as snorkeling and kayaking, or borrow bicycles to pedal around the grounds. The activity centeris open daily and includes the opportunity to try beach volleyball, salsa, and yoga classes.

Carmel Valley Ranch

Carmel Valley Ranch is an upscale resort in Monterey County, California. It’s paradise for active families with teens who crave adventure. There are multiple saltwater swimming pools, including one designated for families that includes a hot tub and squirting water jets. 

Golf, tennis, and hiking should keep many teens entertained, but there are also more unusual opportunities to get acquainted with the natural world. Carmel Valley Ranch is home to its own apiary with thousands of Italian honeybees. Teens may explore beekeeping, from hive science to honey tasting, when they join a 90-minute class and learn about the connection between plants and pollinators. They’ll suit up in protective gear and head to the apiary to watch the bees in action before sampling the luscious honey.

Massanutten Resort

Located in the heart of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, Massanutten Resort is loaded with recreational possibilities to tempt teens.  There are indoor and outdoor options in all seasons, so there’s never a wrong time to visit. And it’s located only a few hours from Washington, D.C., making it a favorite weekend escape for Beltway families.

There’s a huge indoor/outdoor water park, a Family Adventure Park with a zipline, 30 miles of mountain bike and hiking trails, plus basketball and tennis courts. In winter, active families and teens enjoy ice skating, snow tubing, downhill skiing, and snowboarding. Creative teens can try ukulele lessons and tie-dye workshops. In summer and during holidays, there are special teen nights with games and activities. 

Woodloch Pines Resort

Woodloch Pines is a family-owned lakeside resort in the Pocono Mountains. It exudes genuine hospitality and prides itself on personalized service, which helps to explain why so many guests return year after year. 

It’s a slice of teen heaven only two hours from New York City, with paintball, go-carting, archery, and more activities targeted to teenagers and older kids. In winter, snow tubing and ice-skating are fun outdoor options. While there’s no specific teen club at Woodloch, the resort hosts numerous friendly competitions such as Bakery Wars and Olympics, all of which are a great way for teens to make friends. Entertainment each evening includes juggling, magic shows, and comedy acts. 

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5 Common Worries When Your Child Learns and Thinks Differently

All parents worry about their kids. Are they healthy? Will they be happy? Are they fitting in at school? But when your child learns or thinks differently, your worries may be a little more involved. And they can sometimes get the best of you.

You may worry that you’re not doing all you can to help your child. Or you may be anxious about what your child’s learning struggles could mean for the future. It’s not uncommon to have these ongoing thoughts. But learning how to manage your worries about your child—while hard to do—is very important.

15 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Better

A nutritionist (and mom of 7-year-old triplets!) gives tried-and-true tips for getting your kids to eat vegetables, drink milk, try new foods, and more.

Every single day, I deal with picky eaters both big and small. I’m the mother of 7-year-old triplets, all of whom have very different eating habits; I’m also a dietitian who teaches the professional athletes on the Chicago Bears and Chicago Bulls teams how to improve their diets. Although it’s tough to convince a towering basketball player or a 300-pound linebacker that junk food is bad for him, trying to get my kids to eat well can be even more of a challenge.

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We’ve all seen the scenario now- an important meeting on Zoom interrupted by a screaming toddler, or an interview with kids fighting in the background. We’ve all had to adjust to this new kind of work from home environment and for some, it’s not going away anytime soon.

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A few years ago, I was waiting for my sick toddler to be seen at our pediatrician’s office. After three hours of waiting and attempting to entertain my toddler in every way possible, the doctor family came in. She took one look at my daughter, who was sitting on my lap watching videos on my phone, and snapped, “Don’t you know that’s the worst possible thing for her brain?”

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50 Great Books for Toddlers

Toddlers have an innate sense of the ridiculous, and enjoy repetition, word play, and bold pictures. We’ve rounded up 36 both recent and tried-and-true books that your toddler will adore!

Toddlers are active, curious, busy little people, intensely engaged in learning about the world around them. Books help them make sense of what they see, hear, think, and feel. Still, there’s a vast gap between a one-year-old who’s just started to speak in short sentences, and a three-year-old who can recite the alphabet—possibly backwards. That means that the best books for this diverse group meet them where they are, but also encourage them to stretch their abilities, staying relevant as kids grow.

Here are our faves!

Black Bird Yellow Sun

Deceptively simple, this book of colors will get your tot making up her own stories about what that black bird is up to in the green grass and under the purple grapes.

Baby Goes to Market

Toddlers love stories about infants and relishing their own non-infant-ness, and they’ll delight in counting down the fruit that a hungry baby eats on an action-packed market trip.

Alligators All Around: An Alphabet

Sendak’s family of alligators has been charming kids for generations, and this sturdy new board book edition stands up to tons of joyful, tooth-gnashing ABC practice.

A Good Day for a Hat

The exploits of a cheerful bear as he swaps out his hat to meet the ever-shifting weather are hilarious—but children also get the message about changing gear to suit rain, sun, and snow.


Kid lit’s most adorable snail will have tiny kids laughing, loving gastropods and working up to trying a despised vegetable all at the same time.

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From Fulltime to Work from Home: The Adjustment

Ever heard of the saying, be careful what you wish for because you might just get it! Well, I am a living testimony of this!

Before COVID-19 happened to the world, I would commute for two hours on a good day to my place of employment and always thought to myself, I can do this from home. Many times, I just wanted to have the freedom to choose where I wanted to work from, Java(My favourite Coffee Shop) or the comfort of my home! Then, COVID-19 happened and one Friday, I packed to go home and not to return till today, my favourite coffee shop was now a takeaway joint and the comfort of my home was the only place left to work from!

Working a full-time job from home was now a norm and the realities of being a mother in the 21st century started dawning in! Here I am Monday morning, my son is home from school unsure of when he is going back, and my husband just heard that the airports were closed meaning no business and now we are home as a family.

Yes, we have been home as a family, but it was never like this. We had our lives, my husband in his travel business, my son in school, and I, in the entertainment industry interviewing the who’s who! and in the blink of an eye I am doing the cooking, cleaning and entertaining.

Leaving the house was on schedule and we had to live together, learn who we really are and a big part of me was loving it. I was, for the first time able to be home with my son. Like many, we believed this was going to last for a few months, three months tops and we would be back to normal!

It is Christmas, the reality of our new normal has set in and we were forced to explain to our son why we can’t go to the coast for his seventh birthday or why a big birthday party was out of the question.

We ushered in the new year and after 9 months our son went back to school. Boy! had he grown! We had to get new sets of uniform and even shoes. I was glad that some sense of normalcy had been restored for both my son and husband and now it was time for me to find my new normal.

After a week off work, it was time for me to set up my new workspace, I was in the house all by myself for about 6 hours, the house was as clean as I had left it and there I was, working from home, cooking all the meals, cleaning and basically, I was now a work from home mum.

What are my lessons you may ask?

  1. Having a dedicated workspace is one of the most important things you could do for yourself as a work from home mom.
  2. Finding a work-life balance is the most important thing you could do for your family.
  3. Going out for some sun every day helps your productivity!

I am still learning how to balance it all, some days are easy and some, no amount of coffee would salvage the day.

 I am still trying to find my new normal. It is not easy, but, I got what I wanted, not how I wanted but what I wanted! I now work from home.


Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 9! Again this year, many of us are rethinking how to give extra recognition to moms, especially if we’re apart. Check out 10 fun ideas for spending time with Mom—from a virtual dinner date to a long-distance movie night to a Zoom talent show!

The past year’s been a challenge. Many of us are rethinking how to give extra recognition to moms. Some of us are apart from our moms when we’d normally be together. 

How Can We Celebrate Differently?

  • Most moms simply wish to connect with their children and spend time with family in any way possible—if not in person, then with a phone call or video chat!
  • If your mom is at home, give her a day off from any family chores, especially during this difficult time. Someone else can take full responsibility for making or serving the food, clearing and cleaning the dishes, and doing the laundry. Volunteer!

This probably covers the big stuff, but here are 10 creative ways to reach out to mom to show her a little extra comfort, love, and recognition. After all, moms are always there for us!

1. Offer yard and garden services.

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Under-the-Radar Ways to Lessen the Chance of Kids Getting Sick – Adults too!

Under the Radar Ways to Supercharge a Kid’s Immune System

Trumbull, Connecticut.  March 16, 2020 – With schools closing “indefinitely” and grocery shelves becoming bare, we all are anxious to see how this plays out and when it will be over. As parents we have a responsibility to keep our kids calm about the situation, keep their immune systems strong, and use preventative ways to kill viruses that our kids come in contact with. Karen Barski, 25 year RN; Reiki Master IIII; Wellness Coach; and Holistic Mom, offers 10 under-the-radar ways to supercharge your kid’s immune system. Best part, adults can use these tips too!

“I’m a mother of five and have kept my kids off antibiotics for 8 years using the below immune-boosting practices that quite frankly are still under the radar and not mainstream – but should be. I even shrunk my own adrenal tumor by half using holistic remedies leaving my doctors in awe. We are true believers and practitioners that the best pharmacy is our very own kitchen…and garden,” says Karen Barski, Founder of Zenergy Center and the Woombie Baby Swaddle.

For Kids (preschool kids and older)

A smoothie a day keeps the doctor away

Move over apples, smoothies are taking your place. “All kids should have a smoothie right when they wake up – this superfood immunity boost goes right into your cells since your stomach is empty. The body has been sleeping all night and is not digesting any food which means it has more time to do what it should – keep your organs clean, healthy, and functioning at its highest level to prevent sickness and disease,” says Barski.

Here’s a go-to recipe your kids will love (enough for 2-3 people):

1 Cup Organic Frozen Mixed Berries

1 Banana for natural sweetness

2-3 Scoops of Vanilla Protein Powder (we choose dairy free, plant-based)

2-3 Tablespoons Chia Seeds or Chia/Flax Blend

2-3 big handfuls of greens like kale or spinach (or we like to use Earthbound Organics “Power Greens” from Costco which has a mix of baby spinach, baby kale, and baby swiss chard – 1.5 lbs for under $7!)

1.5 Cups of Water or Almond/Soy/Nut Milk (avoid dairy)

Here’s another “green” smoothie but looks purple so kids love it (2 serving sizes):

1 Whole Lemon peeled (seeds and all!)

1 Tsp of fresh ginger (1/3 size of your thumb)

1 Cup leafy greens (kale or spinach)

1 Cup Coconut Water

¼ Apple

½ Cucumber

1 Small Celery Stalk

½ Cup Frozen Berries

½ Banana (can be frozen too)

Essential Oils

Used for 6000 years, essential oils are a form of alternative medicine using plant extracts to promote health and well being. They can be applied to the skin or used through aromatherapy. Here are some best essential oil tips for kids:

  • Essential oils should be used on kids 3 years and older topically (in a carrier oil like jojoba). Essential oils can even be diffused in infant nursery from birth and beyond but put it on the other side of the room and dilute it a bit more. 


#3 Prevent Spreading Germs

Talk to your kids about sneezing / coughing etiquette such as coughing into your elbow/arm and never your hands and throwing away used tissues then immediately washing your hands or using sanitizer (hand washing is best).

When your child comes home from school, a playdate, or anywhere public where they touched things (sat in a seat, shopping cart, etc.) do this routine:

  • Shoes off at the door.
  • Clothes off at the door.
  • Wash hands with soap for 20 seconds – sing the ABCs.
  • Avoid sugar and junk for all snacks – soda is liquid poison. Fresh fruit, veggies, and healthy snacks like chickpea puffs, granola, and trailmix.
  • For adults – take off shoes, wash hands, and wipe down your cell phone as well as your car steering wheel next time you drive. 


Antioxidant-rich Elderberry is a shiny purple berry from the European Elderberry tree and has been used for generations to treat a wide variety of ailments. It’s best known here in the States to help strengthen kids’ immune systems and help fight the flu (studies have proven that it shortens the duration of sick time by 2-3 days).

You can give kids a small daily dose of Elderberry during flu season to boost your child’s immune system as a preventative measure or can be given when your child gets sick.

“There are many ways to take Elderberry, but the easiest for littler kids is to get the concentrated dropper and add to water. I add to my kid’s school water bottle and he drinks it during the day without tasting anything but water; however, it does have a good taste since it’s a berry,” adds Barski.

Always ask your doctor before taking Elderberry since kids with autoimmune disorders should not take it.

“Vitamins and probiotics are important to keep your kiddos strong and healthy. We use the Olly + Probiotic Gummy Vitamins. One a day up to age 4 and then it’s two a day.

“We also give our kids extra Vitamin D – the Vitamin D gummies are great and they also have drops which can be added to water without making it taste different.

“Vitamin C is very important – we like the Vitamin C powder packs. At the first sign of getting sick, mix with water and enjoy. They have Vitamin C chewables too. Our bodies can absorb up to 1000 mg of Vitamin C a day so start in small doses multiple times a day – 250 mg doses for kids,” adds Barski

Eat Clean

“We cannot expect our bodies to stay healthy and fight off germs if we are not fueling it properly. It’s like putting diesel gas in a regular car,” adds Barski.

Foods to Build up a Great Immune System:

  • Kiwis are a magical fruit! The golden kiwis have double the vitamin C compared to a green kiwi and are delicious and sweet. One kiwi has almost double the vitamin C as an orange. Eat three golden kiwis and that’s nearly 300 mg of Vitamin C.

  • “Garlic is a superfood! We feed our horses some garlic with their feed and not one bug or fly gets on them. It’s incredible. Garlic contains compounds that help the immune system fight germs. Studies have shown that garlic reduces the risk of becoming sick in the first place if eaten often or daily, as well as how long you stay sick. It can also reduce the severity of symptoms,” adds Barski.

    Make sure to talk to your Vet before giving animals garlic.

  • Sauerkraut and non-dairy Kefir  – “While some families prefer Greek yogurt, to get probiotics we eat sauerkraut and non-dairy kefir (since we are dairy-free). These foods help create a healthy gut. When your gut is healthy, your immune system is stronger,” adds Barski.

  • Spinach – This leafy green is packed with numerous antioxidants and beta carotene, which may increase the infection-fighting ability of our immune systems. It’s the healthiest when cooked as little as possible to retain its nutrients. “Add fresh to salads, healthy superfood bowls, a sandwich or wrap, and add it to pasta dishes and soups at the last moment for a minute so it wilts then serve,” adds Barski.

Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom salt draws out toxins from the body. “Depending on your needs there are several that are recommended including Eucalyptus if you have respiratory cold, but I prefer the original Dr. Teals which is the cheapest at Walmart or Amazon.com. 20 minutes max and drink plenty of water afterwards – this is very important,” says Barski.

You can add essential oils like Lavender or tea bags of Chamomile, Valerian, or Lavender tea to help boost the immune system.

Get Movin’

Every day you should get out and walk and/or run around and play with you kids. A Harvard study showed that walking boosts immune function and helps protect you during cold and flu season. Those who walk have 43% fewer sick days compared to those who exercised once a week or less.  

“Skip the busy gym to practice social distancing and choose the open air instead. Luckily the weather is becoming warmer so families can enjoy the outdoors. Look up local hiking trails. It’s super fun to explore new trails and be with nature. Pack water and for longer hikes bring some healthy snacks. A picnic is also fun to do,” adds Barski.

For Adults

Follow the same tips as above plus add in:

1. Intermittent Fasting

The last time you eat should be 7PM at night and then the next morning when you wake have two glasses of water (16 ounces to jump start your body – just think, you just went 8 hours with not one sip of water!) and you can have a cup of coffee (almond milk but no sugar), then an hour later have your Super Greens Protein Smoothie just like the kids have. No solid food until noon time so that means you just fasted from solid food for 17 hours giving your body a chance to clean those organs, detox, and get your body working at its optimal state.

10 Tips to Reduce Stress

If you’re a parent and are feeling more stressed than usual, you are certainly not alone. With many kids sitting at home for the summer with not much to do, no place to visit and many parents still working from home, stress is at an all-time high. So, how can mom and dad keep their sanity in these crazy times and reduce all that stress?

Dr. Alok Trivedi is a health and human behavior expert, author of the book ‘Chasing Success’ and founder of the Aligned Performance Institute.

His 10 tips to reduce stress right now:

–        Make time for yourself: Being a parent isn’t easy and is filled with stressful moments. No matter how busy you are between work and family, always make time for yourself. Even just 15 to 20 minutes a day to get quiet and relax can do wonders for your stress level, mental and physical health. Not only will you feel better, you’ll also be better at the things you take on and more aligned in your relationships.

–        Focus on overall wellness: The importance of exercise, eating right and taking care of yourself can’t be said enough, especially for parents who lead busy lives. All of these things have a direct impact on your stress. If you eat right, get plenty of physical activity and just take better care of yourself, your mind and body will thank you. Best of all, you can instill these important values in your kids as they grow up.

–        Don’t let things fester: When problems arise, and they will, take them on quickly and effectively. The problem when we procrastinate and put things off is small issues turn into big issues and this drives our stress levels off the charts. Even if you don’t feel like dealing with something, it’s always better to face it and get it over with rather than keep putting it off and allowing it to bother you and raise your stress. For parents, that might mean planning out specific tasks that have to get done each day. Monday might be laundry day. Tuesday could be food prep day. Wednesday cleaning day. And so on.

–        Focus on proper breathing: The problem with incorrect breathing is it can make you feel even more stressed and worried than you already are. Improper breathing raises CO2 in the body while reducing oxygen consumption which makes us tired, dizzy and anxious. The correct way to breathe is slowly in through the stomach area, hold for a few seconds, and then slowly exhale through the lips. It might take some practice to get used to, but this is definitely something that will significantly reduce your stress.

–        Get out of the house: Right now, many parents are feeling stressed out and overwhelmed during the COVID pandemic because they can’t leave the house. It’s still important to get out each and every day. You can go for a walk, drive around with no destination in mind while you crank up the tunes, visit a friend or family member while practicing social distancing. A change of environment is important to reduce stress.

–        Get the kids involved: Many parents are stressed out right now with kids home for summer with nothing to do. Keep your kids busy with educational activities like reading, give them an allowance for taking on chores around the house, and make sure they have enough time play time each day outdoors. Happy and healthy kids will make your life much easier and reduce your levels of stress.

–        Have something to look forward to: Having something in the future to move toward and look forward to is important to all of us, especially parents who find themselves stressed. Maybe it’s a vacation or road trip six months from now. You can even have something small to look forward to each day like a television show or family dinner. This puts us in a better frame of mind, reduces stress and keeps the “feel-good” chemicals pumping in the brain.

–        Get involved in activities that are inspiring to you. It doesn’t matter what it is, just get involved in any activity that inspires you. When you are feeling inspired and into what you are doing, it’s hard to feel stress. Not only that, but when you are doing something you truly enjoy, your mind is occupied and won’t have time to entertain worry, anxiety and stress.

–        Focus on the outcomes, not the struggles. In almost everything we setout to accomplish, there is stress along the way. This is true even of positive forces in our lives. Instead of becoming stressed by the struggles, stay focused on the outcome. For instance, it’s easy to get flustered when trying to explain a math assignment to your kids. But remember how great it feels when it finally clicks for them and the sense of achievement it gives both you and them.

–        Recognize when you need help: Every parent deals with a certain amount of stress and that is perfectly normal. But sometimes our stress becomes something bigger indicative of an anxiety disorder or something else. When you’ve tried to face things on your own and you aren’t feeling better, it’s time to get professional help. Parents with an insurmountable of stress are doing themselves and their families a favor by getting help.

Would you be interested in speaking to Dr. Trivedi? If so, I’m happy to set it up. Or, feel free to use any of his advice above with attribution.

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