Family Corner What Matters Most At GDS Express, we never underestimate the most important network our drivers have – family. We know trucking isn't an easy lifestyle, and having a spouse or parent away from home for periods of time can be challenging for the entire family. Here are some ideas and tips to support the driver in your family, as well as those who are at home managing the household. Helping out at Home There are many simple things kids can do to help while Mom or Dad is away: With a little effort, children and teens can make a big difference at home. Remember, being a leader and a helper is the goal. Behave – respect rules and other family members. Don’t pick on your brother or sister, making it harder for one parent to deal with discipline. Do your homework without being asked or arguing. Education is the key to success. Make good decisions – at school, at home and choosing friends. What you do and how you do it affects everyone in your family. Keep your room clean. Make your bed. Yes, you are just going to sleep in it again. But your mom and dad will be proud. Help prepare or cook a meal. That’s the fun part. Help clean up and do the dishes, too. Learn how to do laundry. It’s easy. The machine does all the work. Do yard work. Keep your place looking good. Download new pictures or music on Mom or Dad's laptops, tablets or phones. Add some personal touches or decorate their cab/sleeper. Summer Activities for Kids Baby Everything is new to babies, so they don’t need expensive vacations or structured camps to make important discoveries about the world. Paper Shred Babies are thrilled to start developing control over their surroundings and their limbs. Tearing paper appeals to little ones, because it allows them to use their new-found skills to change the way an object looks. It also makes a really cool sound. So gather newspapers, junk mail, magazines or recycled paper and let ‘em rip! Dine al Fresco Drag the high chair into the yard or pack the booster for a trip to the park and bon appétit, now you may eat. You’ll both enjoy the change of scenery, and the squirrels will enjoy the fallen cheerios your darling leaves on the ground. Beach Baby Even if you can’t make it to the park, you can set up a beach party in your own backyard or on your kitchen floor. Lay a piece of newspaper or a tablecloth on the floor and fill a dishpan or other shallow container with sand or corn meal. Give your baby a cup, spoon, shovel or sifter and let him dig. He’ll develop his fine motor skills and imagination as a bonus. Toddler Once toddlers have mastered walking and running, there’s no slowing them down. Join in the action this summer by planning activities that will keep them on the move and make them tired enough to settle down for an afternoon nap! Water Play No need to join the pool or rent a beach house to let your children indulge in one of summer’s greatest pleasures: playing in the water. Set up a sprinkler or a small wading pool in the backyard and let them splash. Provide cups or buckets to let them enjoy the satisfaction of pouring water into and out of a container (when neither one of you needs to worry about spills). Throw in toys or household objects, from metal spoons to plastic balls, to experiment with objects that sink and float. Dance Party Music appreciation classes for toddlers have become extremely popular. While they are fun and educational, they can also be expensive. Save big by cranking up the Ipod or CD player at home and wiggling away the afternoon with your child. Give her some simple instruments (like a shaker made from beans in an empty plastic jar) so she can get the beat. Toddlers like repetition, so don’t be afraid to play the same songs day after day. Bubble Wrap Stomp Don’t throw away the packing materials from your last mail order shipment! Spread out leftover bubble wrap on a hard surface like a wooden floor or driveway and let the dancing begin. Several kids stomping together can sound like firecrackers exploding, so it makes a great Fourth of July celebration. Preschooler Treasure your preschooler’s enthusiasm. The day will come when she’s too cool to get excited about trips to the playground or grocery store adventures, so make the most of low-key summer fun while you can! Pudding Paint Most kids like to play with their food, and this is the season to let them. Tape paper to the sidewalk or a picnic table. Prepare instant pudding and add food coloring in your kids’ favorite shades. Take off their shirts or put on old smocks and let them finger paint with a delicious treat. They can lick their hands clean before you hose them off! Take Off! When it comes to vacations, many preschoolers get as excited about the transportation as they do about the destination. If your budget doesn’t allow for a plane trip this summer, you can still take kids to your local airport and watch the jets take off. Take a Hike Kids don’t need expensive equipment or the Appalachian Trail to experience the joys of hiking. Just slip on sturdy sneakers and pack water bottles to hit the trail. Whether you live in the city or the suburbs, there are probably interesting walks in your own hometown. Make the adventure even more engaging by putting together a page of pictures for a kid-friendly scavenger hunt with common items — from clovers and honeysuckle to trash receptacles and benches, depending on your destination. School-Age Kids Older children are ready to start planning their own summer adventures, but may need a few ideas to get them started. Flashlight Tag There’s something magic about being allowed to play outside at dusk on a lazy summer evening. Make it even more memorable with a game of flashlight tag. Played at dark, this classic game combines tag with hide-and-seek. The person who is “it” counts to ten (or higher) while others hide. The person who is “it” must find the other players and call their name while shining a light on them to tag them. Backyard Camping There’s no need to send youngsters to sleep away camps to get a taste of the great outdoors. Set up a tent (borrowed from a neighbor if necessary) in your own backyard, roll out the sleeping bags and melt marshmallows in the microwave for S’mores. The best part? If storm clouds or frightened children threaten the success of your campout, you can run inside to your own beds. Scavenger Hunt Set up your own amazing race by sending your child or a group of children hunting for simple treasures in your house, yard or neighborhood. Because it takes a little effort to come up with the clues, enlist an older sibling or neighbor to help out. Small Business There has never been a better time to teach your children the value of a dollar, so let kids put the “small” back in small business. The old-fashioned lemonade stand or family yard sale remain good choices. But let your children’s interests and abilities guide them toward a fund-raiser that makes sense: a dog wash, a car wash, bake sale or lawn mowing service. Help a cause you believe in (and the community you live in!) by volunteering Whatever you choose…Just DO it! Contact us for more ideas on how you can support your driver.