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Parent Tips

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Is Your Teen Addicted to Dieting? Try a Social Media Fast

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/one-more-bite/201708/is-your-teen-addicted-dieting-try-social-media-fast

Is your teen constantly scrolling through Instagram and Snap chatting with friends?  Does social media create a lot of drama in your house?  Do you find your child trolling various social media platforms for fits pro and obsessively following diet obsessed social media figures?
If so, it might be time for a social media fast.  Yes, I said it!! Consider taking your child off of all social media that can be triggering.
To be sure, social media has tremendous advantages.  It can help us stay in touch with friends and relatives across countries and time zones.  Social media can also help us connect to others with similar interests and hobbies.
That said, when it comes to eating disorders, social media can have a very dark side.  Time and again, I come across clients (adults and teens) whose use of social media either triggered or encouraged the progress of their eating disorder.  What might have started out as an attempt to find inspiration for healthy habits can quickly turn into something completely different.
Constantly scrolling through social media images of fitness influencers with their seemingly “perfect” bodies and highly curated self representations can quickly lead to one of my least favorite syndromes:  Compare and despair
Social media inevitably leads its users to compare their own lives to others’.  Individuals with eating disorders are typically highly attuned to others’ appearances and habits and extremely self critical and demanding of themselves.  With this as a backdrop, social media quickly becomes a tool to fuel unhealthy behaviors.
If you notice a pattern of compare and despair with your teen–or in yourself–I highly recommend a complete social media fast.  Getting off of social media and into life can be tremendously liberating for an individual with an eating disorder.  It can free up space for physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.  Like any addiction, the social media addiction is a tough one to fight, but it offers tremendous freedom on the other side.

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How To Ground Your Child – 20 Tips for Parents:

Source: http://www.onlineparentingcoach.com/2011/05/how-to-ground-your-child.html

1. Age appropriate groundings are a vital consideration. Little kids who are put in ‘time out’ are in effect being grounded. At this age, time outs and groundings need to be timed in minutes. The rule of thumb for time outs, groundings or withholding of privileges should be commensurate with age, but only up to a certain point. Kids under about six years of age should be given incremental time outs in minutes. Time outs should last no more than about one to two minutes per year. Between the ages of six to ten, you can start to ground kids to the yard or house for a few hours to a day at a time.

2. Be prepared to alter your routine in order to enforce the grounding. This may mean making small sacrifices and inconveniencing one or more members of your family. Making small sacrifices now will reap benefits in the future for you and your youngster. So, if grounding your daughter means that one parent stays home with her and misses the family’s Saturday pizza night, so be it.

3. Be ready to take extra steps to enforce the grounding if need be. If your child leaves the house and goes to the party anyway, go and get him. This action lets him know that you mean business. Don’t worry about embarrassing your child, since his friends probably already know that he’s supposed to be grounded anyway.

4. Consider reprieves, but only for good behavior, and often only if the grounding was initially too ‘over-the-top’. Prepare to apologize as well, and be sincere, because in a fit of anger, parents often make the punishments too harsh, then cool down and realize they made a mistake.

5. Good things to ground children from are: sugary snacks or candy, television, computer, video games, IPod, cell phone, special events (e.g., going to a friend’s house, after school party, trip to McDonald’s or some other junk food venue, etc.).

6. Grounding for a week or longer is difficult to follow through with. Within a week’s time, many activities take place. Mothers/fathers must constantly decide whether each activity is included in the grounding. It’s also difficult to simply follow through at all on a long grounding. Parents who take away the driver’s license for a month often shoot themselves in the foot. For one thing, this means that the parents need to provide transportation to work, school and other events that are not included in the grounding.

7. Grounding must be done in small increments of time (i.e., minutes, hours, or days). Then, if kids defy the grounding, it is increased in small amounts as well. If the original amount of grounding time is large (e.g., 2 weeks), moms and dads risk escalating their youngster’s defiance rather quickly. CASE EXAMPLE: Talking on the phone instead of doing homework. Normal Consequence: Cell phone taken away for one day and evening. First Escalation: Cell taken away for one additional day/night. Second Escalation: Three days. Third Escalation: Four days.

8. If your child retaliates by destroying your stuff or making a mess, then it is appropriate to add to the grounding. However, it should be O.K. for a youngster to discharge his anger through screaming and yelling, but it is never acceptable for him to take his anger out on someone else or his property.

9. Try to give a definite date for the end of the grounding. Prisoners almost always know when their sentences will end, when they have committed far worse crimes. Knowing when the grounding will end will be reassuring to the youngster, while still being effective.

10. Be calm whenever you impose any kind of punishment and avoid any form of aggression. Keep in mind that grounding should be a removal of privilege not an administering of harm.

11. Kids should not be grounded from school field trips or special interest group activities, sports practices, Boy Scout camping trips, youth group functions, band concerts, choir presentations, sports events in which they participate.

12. Never withhold meals or other necessities from a youngster during grounding.

13. Kids should not be grounded from visiting relatives. For example, they should be permitted to go on outings with grandparents (otherwise, you are punishing the grandparents, too). Find something else to withhold.

14. Lift the grounding when your youngster must go to someone’s home (e.g., to be watched while you are at work). Continuing the grounding is difficult for the ‘caretaking adult’ to follow through with. It may cause some tensions that will only have an adverse affect on the desired outcome of the punishment.

15. Make sure that you know whether or not the child’s disobedience was deliberate. Believe it or not, often what seems to be a knowing disobedience is actually something a youngster thought was O.K., and being punished for that could take him by surprise and teach him that you are just waiting to take away his things. Sometimes, kids even forget things, and the proper way to deal with forgetting a chore is to have the youngster do an extra chore for payment.

16. Make sure the punishment fits the crime. Example: If a youngster keeps on imitating fights seen on TV and uses knives, forks, or anything else that is dangerous, then TV restriction is a good course of action.

17. Make sure the situation the youngster is being grounded from is something she really sees as punishment. If she doesn’t seem to care whether or not she goes to her grandfather’s birthday party, ground her on another day when she’ll miss going out with her friends. If your youngster enjoys spending time alone in her room, restricting her to her room will serve to reward her instead of punishing her. Try taking a privilege away instead, or require her to spend some time outside her room.

18. Once you have grounded the youngster, prepare for him to protest, scream, and throw a fit. If that happens, ignore him, and he will soon realize you will not listen to his whining.

19. Only on the rarest occasions should your child be grounded from playing with other kids. If they get into trouble together, or if the youngster is a threat or danger to your youngster, then it would be acceptable to ground your child from seeing the other child.

20. There is a point at which the grounding has the opposite effect from the desired correction (i.e., the point of saturation). For the first few days of grounding, the youngster often feels a certain remorse for the behavior. Whether they admit it or not, most kids understand why they were grounded, if it was an appropriate grounding. After a few days to a week, children begin to get bored and restless. Resentment begins to set in and what was initially effective, corrective discipline backfires.

MODIFIED GROUNDING—

Many moms and dads use grounding as a discipline technique with their teenagers. However, when parents ground their teenagers for long periods (e.g., several weeks or more) it often loses its effectiveness because there is typically little incentive for teenagers to behave well during the grounding. Also, when parents ground teenagers for a long period of time, they often give in and reduce the length of grounding because of the restraints it places on the whole family. When this happens, teenagers learn their mother/fathers won’t follow through with the grounding they impose.

The modified grounding procedure described below involves brief and intense grounding, but the teen is allowed the opportunity to earn his way off grounding by completing a job assignment. This technique is most appropriate for older kids (e.g., 12-17 year olds).

Points to consider when using modified grounding:

1. After your teen has completed the assigned job(s), he should come to you so that his performance can be checked. If the job has been done well, it is important to briefly praise your teen for the job performance and inform him that the grounding is over. If the job has not been completed satisfactorily, briefly provide feedback to your teen on the aspects of the job that have been done well and those that need additional work. Be specific in what additional work needs to be done. Try to handle corrective feedback in a matter-of-fact manner without nagging, lecturing, or becoming upset.

2. Grounding is severe and means staying in one’s own room (or an assigned room) except for attending school, eating meals, or performing chores. During grounding there should be no television, no video games, no radio or tape players, no other games/toys, no visitors, no telephone calls, no snacks, no reading materials except school books, and no outside social activities. If a family outing is scheduled, a sitter should be used so that the grounded teen remains at home while the moms and dads and other family members can still go on the family outing.

3. Sit down with your teen and develop a list of 10-15 jobs that often need to be done around the home. Do not sit down with your teen to start this procedure at a time when your teen is about to be punished. Choose a time when your teen is behaving well to discuss the technique and to create a list of jobs. These jobs should not be chores that the teen is expected to do on a regular basis. These jobs should take a significant amount of time to complete (e.g., at least 1-2 hours). The jobs should also be things that your teen is capable of doing. Examples of such jobs include washing the windows in the house, cleaning out the garage, and cleaning the bathroom.

4. After a list of jobs has been created, your teen should be told that when he misbehaves to the degree that grounding is necessary, this new discipline technique will be used. Immediately after the misbehavior has occurred, the teen will be told he is grounded and an index card will be picked at random. The teen will be completely grounded until that job has been completed to the parent’s satisfaction. For particularly significant misbehavior, more than one card can be drawn.

5. It is critical that you not nag your teen about the jobs to be done. The rules of grounding should only be explained to your teen once.

6. Write each individual job on a separate index card. This description should include a very detailed description of exactly what is required to do the job satisfactorily. For example, cleaning the garage would involve removing all objects from the garage, removing cobwebs on the ceilings, sweeping the floor, hosing/scrubbing the floor, and replacing objects in an organized and neat fashion. If some jobs are relatively brief, it is possible to combine jobs together so that all cards have a job assignment that will take approximately the same total time to complete.

7. Remember to frequently praise and give teenagers positive feedback when they are behaving well. As with any punishment technique, grounding will only be optimally effective when there is a positive and loving relationship between mothers/fathers and their teenagers.

Using the modified grounding procedure, your teen earns his way off grounding. Therefore, your teen basically determines how long the grounding will last. Grounding may last anywhere from just a few hours to several days. If the grounding lasts more than several days, it is important to check to make sure your teen is being appropriately grounded (e.g., they’re not sneaking television/radio).

 

 

 

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25 Ways to Ask Your Kids ‘So How Was School Today?’ Without Asking Them ‘So How Was School Today?’

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/liz-evans/25-ways-to-ask-your-kids-so-how-was-school-today-without-asking-them-so-how-was-school-today_b_5738338.html

1. What was the best thing that happened at school today? (What was the worst thing that happened at school today?)
2. Tell me something that made you laugh today.
3. If you could choose, who would you like to sit by in class? (Who would you NOT want to sit by in class? Why?)
4. Where is the coolest place at the school?
5. Tell me a weird word that you heard today. (Or something weird that someone said.)
6. If I called your teacher tonight, what would she tell me about you?
7. How did you help somebody today?
8. How did somebody help you today?
9. Tell me one thing that you learned today.
10. When were you the happiest today?
11. When were you bored today?
12. If an alien spaceship came to your class and beamed someone up, who would you want them to take?
13. Who would you like to play with at recess that you’ve never played with before?
14. Tell me something good that happened today.
15. What word did your teacher say most today?
16. What do you think you should do/learn more of at school?
17. What do you think you should do/learn less of at school?
18. Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to?
19. Where do you play the most at recess?
20. Who is the funniest person in your class? Why is he/she so funny?
21. What was your favorite part of lunch?
22. If you got to be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do?
23. Is there anyone in your class who needs a time-out?
24. If you could switch seats with anyone in the class, who would you trade with? Why?
25. Tell me about three different times you used your pencil today at school.

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10 fun ways to keep your child learning this summer
Backyard gardens, puppet theaters, scrapbooks and crafts are some of the ways to keep your children active and their minds working all summer long.

Summer vacation can be either a learning wasteland or a learning paradise. The temptations are great for children to spend hours watching television or playing video games, but with a little ingenuity and planning, the summer can be transformed into a time to stretch the mind, explore new hobbies, learn about responsibility and build on skills learned during the school year.

Keep the Learning Going
Teachers spend an average of four to eight weeks every fall reviewing and reteaching material that students have forgotten during the long summer break. Many students lose the equivalent of one to two months of reading and math skills during the summer and do not score as well on standardized tests as students who continue to learn during the summer. The effect is cumulative: Each summer a student isn’t learning adds up and can have a long-term impact on overall performance in school.

That doesn’t mean that children should be doing math worksheets and studying vocabulary lists to preserve the skills they have learned during the school year. Summer is the perfect time for children to discover that learning is fun and can happen anywhere. “You don’t want your kids to think that learning is only something that happens in places called schools,” says Susan K. Perry, author of Playing Smart: The Family Guide to Enriching Offbeat Learning Activities for Ages 4-14. “Rather, you want them to grasp that learning is fun and can go on all the time, anytime, anywhere, with handy materials, not only based on the instruction of an actual schoolteacher. The summer is a great unstructured mass of time to try out new things and explore interests that don’t necessarily fit into the school curriculum.”

Learning can take place whether you are taking a trip to a far-off place or spending the summer in your own neighborhood. But be careful not to over-plan. “To avoid boredom, a child has to learn to be motivated on his or her own, to a certain extent, and that is an acquired skill,” says Perry. “If every time your child says, ‘I’m bored,’ you step in with a quick solution, they’ll never learn to develop their own resources. But do provide some options. Just don’t try to instill learning. That’s not how it works.”

10 Fun Summer Learning Activities
Here are some activities to get your child started on a summer of learning fun:

Grow the biggest zucchini in your neighborhood
What better way to learn the basics of science and how things grow than to plant your own garden? You can start with seeds or small plants. Talk about what plants need to be hardy: air, water, sunlight and nutrients. Vegetables are especially fun and educational to plant because your child will learn where food comes from and will also get to eat the end product.

Clip, paste and write about your family adventures
A family vacation is a perfect opportunity to create a trip scrapbook that will be a lasting souvenir of family adventures. Collect postcards, brochures and menus from restaurants and tourist attractions. Encourage your child to write descriptions of the places you visited and tell stories about your family’s escapades. Or suggest a scrapbook on your child’s favorite sports team or a chronicle of his year in school. The scrapbook might contain photos with captions, newspaper clippings or school mementos.
Many photo-sharing Web sites, such as Shutterfly or KodakGallery, will help you (for a fee) create professional quality photo books, where you arrange the photos and write captions.

Get theatrical
Young children can make their own puppet theater. Begin by cutting off the finger-ends of old gloves. Draw faces on these fingers with felt tip markers and glue on yarn for hair. Or glue on felt strips to create cat, dog or other animal faces. Then your child can create a story that the finger puppets can act out. For older children, find books containing play scripts for young people (see “Helpful Books” sidebar)and encourage your child and friends to create their own neighborhood theater. They can plan a performance, make a simple stage at the park or on the steps of someone’s home, create playbills and sell tickets.

Make chocolate mousse or build a bird feeder
Toy stores and craft shops are full of kits for making things, from bird feeders to model airplanes to mosaic tableaux. These projects teach children to read and follow directions, and offer the added benefit of creating a finished product. Science experiment books encourage children to observe and ask questions while providing hours of hands-on fun using scientific concepts.
What child wouldn’t be inspired to bake cookies or make chocolate mousse? A cookbook geared for children is a good place to start. Ethnic cookbooks provide an excellent way to explore the food of other cultures, and open up conversations about how people do things differently in other parts of the world. Children are much more likely to eat something strange if they make it themselves.
Paint the picket fence, baby-sit or volunteer at a soup kitchen
Even young children can learn to be responsible by helping to set the table, take care of a pet, clean out a closet, wash the car or paint the picket fence. Ask your child to be your energy consultant and help find ways to conserve energy in your house. Outside summer jobs and community service help children learn to be punctual, follow directions and serve others.

Become the family’s junior travel agent
Half the fun of a trip starts before you get there. Involve your child in the planning by practicing how to use a map to find cities and tourist attractions, and how to estimate distances. If you are driving, work with your child to figure out how many gallons of gas it will take to get there and estimate the cost. If you are flying or traveling by train, check travel schedules and costs.

Research your destination in books and on the Internet. If you are going to a different state, look up information about the state, such as the state flower, state bird and interesting attractions. Have your child write to the state tourism bureau to ask for information.
Visit a jelly bean factory or a glassblowing studio
Whether you are going on a trip far away or staying close to home, seek out places where children can learn how things are made. In San Francisco, you can visit a teddy bear factory; in Arkansas, a glass blowing studio; and in Hawaii, a macadamia nut factory. To learn about some of these options, see our “Helpful Books” tips on this page.

Turn a museum trip into a treasure hunt
Get your children excited about visiting a museum by exploring the museum’s Web site and taking a virtual tour. When you go to a museum, take into account short attention spans and don’t try to cover a whole museum in one day. To make them less intimidating, start in the gift shop and let your child pick out some postcards of paintings or objects on display. Turn your museum trip into a treasure hunt by trying to find those paintings or objects in the museum. Look for interactive exhibits and for periods of history that your child has studied in school.

Get stickers, tattoos and comics for free
Composing a letter helps build writing skills and can be especially rewarding when your child gets a reply in the form of a cool free item. The book, Free Things for Kids, suggests more than 300 places you can write to get such items as stickers, temporary tattoos, comic books, magazines and sports memorabilia. Some of the items cost a dollar or less, but the majority are free. The author has been writing about “free stuff” for years and is considered an expert in the field. The book, updated annually, also includes Web sites to check out for free downloadable software, magazines or other items to send for by mail.

You can help your older child build citizenship skills as well as practice his writing by encouraging him to write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper or a local government official about an issue he is concerned about, such as building a bike path or renovating a local playground.
Become an investment guru or a math wizard
Summer is the perfect time for older children and teens to learn about the stock market and the value of investing. A good way to get started is to investigate publicly held companies that teens are familiar with, such as Apple Computer, eBay, Nike or Tootsie Roll. The Motley Fool “Teens and Money” Web site is devoted to helping teens learn about saving and investing. Your older child might also want to join a Junior Investor program to learn more about the stock market. It is also possible to help your teen get a head start on high school math by doing math puzzles.

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Happy is the man who has acquired the love of walking for its own sake!  W.J. Holland

Hiking with kids

Want to go for a hike?
Going on a hike can be a fun part of field trips, summer camps and family vacations—but there are special considerations to take into account when hiking with children or dogs.Parents, if your child is going on a group hike, be sure to read about hiking with a group.Whether you’re going on a family hike or your child will be part of a group hike, go over A Child’s Guide to Hiking with your child. Be sure your child understands the importance of staying with the group, as well as what to do if lost.

When you head out for a hike, you should always carry your own backpack. Don’t make someone else carry it!

Your pack doesn’t have to be heavy, but it should have everything you’ll need. For a day trip that means:
Whistle
Garbage bag – make a hole at the top, slip the bag over your head and you’ll stay warm and dry!
Water
Trail food – enough for the hike and an extra meal
Warm clothing such as a fleece jacket or vest
Flashlight

Good hiking shoes are important. Don’t try to hike in sandals or flip-flops.

Other things you could add to your pack:
Lightweight, weatherproof jacket
Extra socks
Hat
Insect repellant
Sunscreen and sunglasses
First aid kit
Compass and map if you know how to use them
Emergency blanket
Camera
Field guide
Free information guides available from the White Mountain National Forest Ranger Stations or area Visitor Centers
Crayons and paper for a journal

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Things Parents do to Impact their teens

Source: http://www.catalystcollective.community/parenting-tips?gclid=CMTF8_GKgtQCFRVrfgod8DsNRg

I wrote my son a letter when he was 15. Told him how proud I was about the man he was becoming.  Told him my hopes for his future and gave him some direction on how to achieve his goals. Told him of my failures and things that I regretted.  I just thought if my dad had done that for me, I would still refer to that letter today.

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Get Your Children Under Control In Public

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/peaceful-parenting/201106/get-your-children-under-control-in-public

One of my favorite personal grooming chores is going to the hairdresser. I usually enter the salon with my mind racing in all directions of tasks yet undone. But after the pampering, focus, and single beauty nurturing of my hairdresser, I leave feeling lovely and ready to face the world with renewed light and cheer not only from my new do, but from my very soul.
My last visit was a dramatic departure! As my hairdresser was washing my head I could feel an immediate tension in her hands. “Oh no,” she said quietly under her breath. “Be prepared,” she warned me. A young mother had entered the shop with her four children, ranging in ages from six to two. Their first stop, guided by their mother, was to the water bubbler, where each child got his or her own paper cup, pushed the button filling the cup with water. What’s the big deal? I’m thinking to myself. But by the time Tammy finished washing my hair and had me wrapped in a towel the chaos had begun. Sitting back in the chair at Tammy’s station I was amazed at what I observed. The mother was now sitting in her hairdresser’s chair and talking with her loudly and nonstop! Her children had scattered in four different directions in the shop. The eldest, a boy, had pumped an empty hairdresser’s chair to its highest position, was sitting and spinning rapidly. The next oldest, a girl, was attempting to follow her brother’s lead, except she was having trouble using the foot pump to elevate the chair. The third in line, a girl, was now back at the water bubbler, having attempted to fill more than a few paper cups, sometimes succeeded in getting water in the cup but just as often pouring water on the floor. And the baby was wandering through the waiting area, screaming something to her mother I could not understand. Mom did not seem to be the least bit interested or even conscious of any of her children.
“She comes in every other week and it’s always the same,” Tammy confided in me. “One time she had stopped at the donut shop first, so each child was eating sticky, gooey donuts, leaving a trail of sticky, gooey sprinkles in their wake. If I don’t have a customer at that moment I usually try to entertain or manage the two eldest.”

Amazed, aghast, appalled and disturbed just begins to describe what I was feeling. How could this mother set her children up into such a failing proposition? And how could this shop handle this situation with any kind of a respectful or reasonable solution? What could her hairdresser possibly say that wouldn’t totally insult this mother and then lose her business? Personally, I was thinking how much of a loss would it be? But not only does the mom get her hair done every other week, the four children have their hair cut there as well as the dad.
I bet at this point each of you dear readers has a few solutions you could offer. “Get a baby sitter and leave the children home where they belong,” or “Have fewer children if you can’t take care of the ones you have,” or “Bring a mother’s helper with you and pay someone to provide the service you are demanding this shop offer, even though that isn’t their business,” and I bet you can think of many more.

I want to share with all of you the top 7 success strategies parents can use when taking their children out in public with the hope that his mother might possibly read this blog and get a clue! If you see her in your travels, you might share it with her.
1. Establish rules that everyone is expected to follow when you are out in public together. Generally, all rules should include respecting self, respecting others and respecting property. Depending on your child’s age, you will explain and get more specific. But certainly no child should be allowed to pump up the seat of a professional hairdresser’s chair. This is not respecting property. Depending on your own experience with your child, you can add other specific rules as well. For instance, I had a rule that the boys were not allowed to play hide and seek up under clothes racks.
2. Before you enter the public place, make a plan with your child for how your time together will transpire. What do you want? How do you see your child managing this event? What does your child want? How does your child see himself and you managing the event? You can talk about this plan well before your scheduled appointment, like the evening before, or that morning while you are eating breakfast, or in the car just before you enter the building. But talk about what a successful public outing will be like for you both. Plan for it!
3. Be sure to build into the plan something enjoyable for your child to do while you are busy occupied elsewhere. So if you are sitting in the hairdresser’s chair, have a book or etch-a-sketch or Crayola magic paints to occupy your child’s interest. Remember children have a huge need for fun and will figure out how to follow this urge in responsible and appropriate ways if you plan for it. If not they will figure out other ways, like playing with hair dye or scissors – yikes!
4. Just before you enter the building, review your established rules. I would usually do this once we had parked the car at our designated destination, but before we exited. Once you have done this process enough, all you will have to do is ask your children, “What are the rules?” and they will tell you.

5. This next step is probably the most important of the whole process. Ask your children, “Do you have it in you today to follow the rules?” I mean this sincerely. If your child tells you that she cannot follow the rules today, she is not able to be respectful of herself, other people or property believe her and go home! If you follow this process regularly I promise your child will rarely say he cannot follow the rules. If you have more than one child, ask each one. If only one says he cannot follow the rules, believe him and go home. Although you may be skeptical, if you believe your child and avoid the area where your child is telling you she cannot operate within the given rules you will only need to do this once! If you work with your children to make the outing a fun event, they will want to follow the rules and go with you.
6. If your child begins to slip into irresponsible misbehavior, immediately and calmly (and if possible privately) ask your child “Remember our plan? Remember you said you could follow the rules? Do you need my help in doing that now or can you make a better choice by playing with your game?” And follow this process every time. There is no need to yell, yank, or threaten your child. Simply and calmly remind your child that you are in this together.
7. Once you are back in the car, everyone is given an opportunity to self-evaluate his or her ability to follow the plan. Please remember that this is a self-evaluation. You are not evaluating your child’s success or failure. You are evaluating yourself. Here is the question everyone is answering: How did you do in following our plan? After everyone has answered that question then everyone answers: Is there anything we should do differently for the next time? Even if your child did what you consider an awful job and the child says she did great, stay focused on what you did in following the plan and your own self-evaluation. Please remember that no one will evaluate honestly if they feel they have something to lose, including your love and respect when you correct their self-evaluation. The more you ask your child to self-evaluate without negative consequences the more honest and accurate this self-evaluation will become. Stay focused on asking yourself about how you did staying calm and cool when your child was misbehaving? Were you able to simply ask your child about his commitment to the plan rather than begin yelling or ignoring, hoping for the best.
That’s it, my 7 simple steps to a successful and harmonious family outing. The more you practice this with your family, the better you will all be in working the plan out together.
And the more you are able to create happy, fun filled family outings, the greater the chance I have for enjoying my personal ritual of peace and serenity at the hairdresser.

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Tips for Kids to Remember to Turn in Their Homework

Source: https://mom.me/kids/5940-tips-kids-remember-turn-their-homework/

If your child isn’t completing homework on time consistently, there are a number of possible reasons. Perhaps the homework load is too heavy. Another common reason kids don’t turn in homework is because it lacks meaning. A child who’s passionate about dinosaurs, for example, probably won’t forget a special project on that topic; static worksheets, on the other hand, may have little appeal. Talk with your child’s teacher about the problem. Perhaps you can collaborate to reduce the homework load or make the content more interesting. A few organizational tricks can help, as well.
Encourage Accountability
As a parent, it’s natural to want your child to succeed. But one of the best gifts you can give your child is the gift of self-sufficiency. You should ask one simple question: “Do you have everything you need to be successful tomorrow?” suggests Julia Simens, author of Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child. Instead of nagging, ask this question every afternoon before your child goes out to play. Children learn the skills of planning and problem-solving, which will serve them well not only now, but in the future.
“Imagine the problem,” says Simens, “when a parent has to remind the child about everything she needs to do: ‘Do you have your math homework? Did you pack your PE gear? Do you have the reading book?’ This approach is labor-intensive and places accountability on the parent’s shoulders, rather than the child’s.
Get Organized
Kids bring home a lot of paperwork, and the problem only gets worse as they get older. Teach kids from an early age to keep homework organized, advises Rhonda Franz, managing editor of Parenting Squad, a website for parents. Set up a to-go box by the back door. Keep all school-related papers in this box and check the box daily. No more scrambling for papers and books on the way to the school bus or wailing over lost homework assignments.
MORE: Make Homework Fun for Your Kids With These Tips
Help kids organize this space, but encourage them to use it independently. “It’s important that kids do this themselves,” says Franz. “Don’t grab the stuff for them, or put it away for them. Have them do it, so it’s their habit, not Mom’s or Dad’s habit. This encourages self-sufficiency, responsibility, and ownership of their homework.”
Break Down Tasks
Some kids have difficulty breaking homework into manageable chunks. Instead, they see only an overwhelming, insurmountable project. To help with this, show your child how to write down each assignment in a notebook or planner. Under each assignment, write the steps needed to complete it. Then note when the assignment is due, and think about how long the assignment will probably take. Map out a list of tasks to complete each night. For example, read the chapter on Monday, write a brief report on Tuesday, and so forth. Breaking assignments into small parts helps reduce anxiety.
While you’re at it, teach your child to write a short checklist each day. “Even adults need those,” says Franz. “Before walking out the door, your child should read through the list and make sure he has everything he needs. For very young children, use pictures along with the words.”
Consistent Routine
The period after school is the witching time for most families. Kids (and parents) are hungry and tired. You’re running a million different directions and trying to get everything done. In the rush, kids often forget to do their homework. Or, if they complete it, they may rush through it or forget to put it in their backpack.
Try to schedule a consistent time everyday to do homework, advises New York City elementary school teacher and adjunct professor in the graduate school of education at New York University, Otis Kriegel. Cut back on activities if necessary so kids have time to focus on studies. “If you set aside a sacred time to do homework, it won’t be forgotten,” says Kriegel.
Natural Consequences
Nobody’s perfect, and even the most conscientious students sometimes forget to complete or turn in their homework. In these situations, avoid nagging and let natural and logical consequences play out. For example, if your child leaves his homework on the kitchen table, resist the urge to make a special trip to school to deliver it. If your child has to miss recess at school, express your sympathy, but encourage him to remember next time. For most kids, a slightly unpleasant consequence after the first infraction is usually enough to encourage responsibility in the future.

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Teach Your Child About the World

Source: http://www.mamasmiles.com/teach-your-child-about-the-world/

My son Johnny needed to bring a collection of 100 items, so we printed out a large world map here along with 100 flags from here (I shrank them down so they would fit on the map) for my son’s 100th day of school kindergarten assignment to bring in 100 things. The flag printable isn’t perfect – Great Britain, for example, is listed as a country, and it – by necessity – does not include nearly half of the countries in the world. We also had some trouble putting the map together, although I think that has more to do with sloppy cutting on my part than with a problem with the printable. I printed this same map out for Emma, and she is working on placing 100 animals on it.

I love teaching my kids about the world we live in! I dream of taking my kids on an around-the-world trip someday, but in the meantime there is plenty of learning we can do here at home! Here are some ideas to get you started:
Close your eyes and spin the globe, with one finger lightly touching the globe. Look up the country your finger lands on when it stops spinning.
Look for something new in your neighborhood or yard – something neither one of you noticed before.
Sit outside together for a full minute with your eyes closed, just listening.
Cook a food you have never tried before.
Learn to say hello in another language.
Listen to a country’s national anthem – one you are not familiar with.
Make a list of all the countries you can think of. Place them on a map, looking up locations if you need to.
Make a family tree. Where did your child’s grandparents and great-grandparents grow up? How was life the same or different from how it is today?
Learn about a job you’ve never thought much about before. How do you get the job? What training does it require?
Pick a new spice from the store, and learn how to use it. Bake something with it.
Read a post (or two or three) from my world culture for kids series.
Learn a new language. Duolingo is an excellent free language learning app, and it’s available for Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese, and Italian.
Try a new fruit or vegetable from the store.
Learn about schools around the world through this post from The Educators’ Spin On It
Print out a world map and flags and post the flags around the world.
Interview someone you know who is from a different country, or who lived in a different country. What did they love about that country? What do they miss?
Play a game from a different country. Blog Me Mom lists several games from around the world that may be new to you, and I have a post on this blog about playing marbles in France.
Learn about a new-to-you religion.
Find out how another country celebrates a life milestone – such as the first foods for baby celebration from West Bengal, India.
Learn a few letters or symbols from a language that does not use the Latin alphabet.
Place pictures of animals on a world map based on where they live.
Look up the national birds of different countries and place images of them on a map. Do the same with trees.
Learn about the different currencies of the world.
Learn about popular ways of getting around in different countries. In the United States, most families have cars, but that isn’t true across the world!
Pick an item from around your house, find out where it was made, and learn more about that country.
Find out which countries the names of members of your family are originally from.
Read a legend. Greek and Roman legends tend to be the best well-known to Americans, but there are fascinating legends from all over the world.
Learn a lullabye from another country.
Learn a craft from another country.
Learn about variations in crafts from around the world. For example, cloth can be woven on large wooden looms, but it can also be made using a backstrap loom.
Pick an invention that you would like to learn more about. Where was it invented? Where was the inventor from?
Pick a favorite food that your family loves. Is it originally from your country? Is it grown there today?
How do different countries get their energy? How do they recycle?
Pick a part of the world where there isn’t very much water. How do people live there?
Pick an ordinary object and learn how it has evolved. For example, how did we move from writing to sticks to writing with feathers, then fountain pens, felt pens, ball point pens, and gel pens?
Learn about different measuring systems. Metric if you are in the United States; US Standard if you live anywhere else.
Write about daily life today. How is it the same or different from life ten years ago? How do you think it will change in the next ten years?
Look at images of planet earth taken from space.
“Fly” around the world using Google Earth.
Use a microscope to look at life up close.
Read about a famous historical figure.
Pick a well-known athlete, actor, or singer, and learn about their hometown.
Explore textures.
Explore sounds.
Explore different scents.
Learn about animal habitats.
Look at housing designs from around the world. Why and how are houses designed differently for different climates?
Chart the weather around the world
Be a tourist in your own town or another one.
Try learning enough words to have a meal speaking only another language (polite and food words are what we are aiming for currently). Bonus if your meal includes only foods eaten in a culture associated with that language.

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Source: http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/20-tips-for-parents-from-preschool-teachers/
Tip:  Here’s how you can encourage them:
Expect more. …
Resist doing for her what she can do herself. …
Don’t redo what they’ve done. …
Let them solve simple problems. …
Assign a chore. …
Praise is key, especially if your child is not in a cooperative phase. …
Develop predictable routines. …
Lighten up.

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Why shouldn’t say “I can’t afford it” to your children.

Source: http://www.kars4kids.org/blog/why-you-should-never-say-i-cant-afford-it-to-your-kids/

“Can’t Afford” Conveys Negativity
Also, taking the easy way out and saying, “I can’t afford it,” tends to convey to your child that you’re bitter about your financial situation. It says you’re not happy with what you have. It implies you have emotional issues with money. Even if that’s not what you mean, it’s what that phrase says to your child.
“Can’t Afford” Conveys Passivity
In admitting you can’t afford something, you have put yourself in a passive position. You have no control over your own destiny. Things are beyond your control.
Making the choice not to purchase this or that item changes things and put you back in the driver’s seat, as an active participant in how you live your own life. The amount of money in your wallet doesn’t rule you, rather you rule by taking responsibility for how you spend what you have. If you choose to spend your money on rent rather than on that iPad your child so desires, you will feel empowered rather than victimized by your finances.
“Can’t Afford” Invites Advice
The next time someone says to you, “I can’t afford it,” note your response. If you’re anything like me, you’ll try to come up with helpful advice. You may even find yourself judging that person. Maybe if you’d lay off the potato chips, you might think or even say out loud, you’d be able to afford the lean protein you need to lose weight, or, maybe if you’d get up off the couch and mow lawns in the neighborhood, you’d save enough money to pay for that trip to India.
If, on the other hand, your friend says to you, “I’d rather have potato chips once a day than rare steak once a week,” you don’t have a need to say anything. Your friend is an adult. S/he has made a choice. It’s his/her responsibility. End of story.
By making a choice on how to spend your money, you keep others from analyzing your budget and telling you how you might better prioritize your spending. That would include your kids (important point here: kids should not be giving parents advice on their finances–that’s impudent). You’ve made a choice. There’s no problem for anyone to solve.
What You Should Say
So you don’t want to say, “I can’t afford it.” What do you want to say? Let’s look at a few examples:
There’s a dress sale at a store you really love. You take an active role in your finances by announcing your choice: “I don’t want to spend money on dresses right now,” as opposed to, “I can’t afford a new dress right now, even on sale.”
You can say, “A new dress is not a financial priority at this point,” or, “New clothing hasn’t been budgeted this quarter.”
Or you might even describe the alternatives you discarded in making your choice: “It would have been nice to tour New England, but I’d rather put that money toward your college fund.”
How does this work age wise? Here is where it gets a bit tricky.
With a toddler, for instance, you don’t want to talk about finances and choices. Rather, you want to offer firm limits. “Just say no” would apply here very nicely, said in a matter of fact tone. Don’t explain. Don’t apologize. Don’t use a harsh tone. There’s no need for any of that. Just lay down the law. You are teaching your toddler that sometimes the answer is no.
A child between the ages of 3-8 years is old enough to ask why, which can be a trap. You don’t want to go into a longwinded explanation that gives the child an opportunity to argue (or advise, see above). It’s enough to say, “This isn’t a priority item,” or, “That’s not in this week’s budget,” and then HOLD YOUR GROUND.
Older children or teens have reached the point where they can understand financial planning and responsibility. This is the ideal time to flesh out the explanations so they begin to see the way smart people manage their purchasing power. Let’s say your child asks for something beyond your means. Instead of saying, “I can’t afford that,” you might say, “That’s more than I’m willing to spend,” or even, “If you can find it at a better price, I might be willing to buy this for you.”
The other day, for instance, one of my teenagers begged to go to a certain Jewish summer camp. I explained that while the camp grounds were gorgeous and the activities offered sounded amazing, his father and I had not budgeted for camp this summer. Then I suggested he look into camp scholarships. It was something he hadn’t thought about. He actually thanked me!
When you listen and consider and issue your decisions you’re teaching your child to do the same: to consider how much money he has in relation to wants and needs. This is an important part of your child’s education. You’re teaching your child not to buy on impulse, but to weigh all choices and stay focused on the goal and staying within one’s means.
Healthy Personal Choices
You’re demonstrating for your children what it means to have a healthy respect for money and that discipline and limits can be healthy personal choices. It’s okay to have chicken instead of steak. It’s okay to wait to buy that dress until the summer, when you don’t have to pay school tuition.
Nothing dire is going to happen as a result of any of these choices. You’re not suffering. You have everything you need. Planning and budgeting?
These are things that normal people do.
And you?
You’re normal.
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Helping Your Toddler Learn to Put Himself to Sleep
Source: http://Helping Your Toddler Learn to Sleepahaparenting.com
Aha Parenting
1. Start the wind-down process early in the evening.
Toddlers who’ve been racing around the apartment can’t simply switch gears and decompress when you decide it’s bedtime. The last few hours before bed should be calm and quiet.
2. Follow the same evening routine every night, if possible.
Your goal is a sense of calm, safe, inevitability. Dinner, then a bath, then stories, then kissing and tucking in all the stuffed animals who share the toddler’s bed, then prayers or blessings, then lights out while you sing to your little one, is an example of a common and effective routine. Beware of too elaborate a routine, because they have a way of expanding to take more time. But don’t think of bedtime as a chore that’s taking too much time. Think of it as the best part of the day, when you get premium quality time with your little one.
Toddlers who are showing oppositional behavior may resist moving along with the bedtime routine. The best way to sidestep this is to have the clock, rather than you, be the bad guy. Create a chart with photos of your child doing all the steps of the bedtime routine, with a clock time next to the photo. Then point to the photos as you go through the routine every night. Over time your kid will begin to move herself through the routine.
Even better, with a routine your child sees you as her advocate.
To read more go to link above.
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Life Skills to Have Before Starting Kindergarten
– With emphasis on life skills vs. work skills –

Millennial parents believe in beginning early to raise their children well so they don’t get left on the sidelines while other kids are involved in playing the game. They also believe that life skills are what helps their kids stay in the game, whether they’re learning, playing or choosing friends. So what are life skills? Life skills are ways we learn, through experience and teaching, to manage our behavior in and outside of our families. Bottom line: life skills develop socio-emotional competence.
This kind of competence, however, doesn’t come naturally to kids. It gets learned and absorbed over time as children watch those around them live according to the societal and community norms that are valued by their families. It isn’t second nature because it involves facing hundreds of choices a day regarding what to do about what your body, mind, peers, family and teachers all expect of you, all by the time you are in kindergarten. They start learning their life skills way before school, through everyday moments with you. As you take preschoolers food shopping, they watch you make choices (healthy or not), look at prices, compare items, talk about why this brand and not that brand, how you treat the staff at the store, handle their demands for yet more cookies, greet a friend, use your cell phone and so on, making the outing a veritable classroom of socio-emotional competence, or not. Here are the skills that children usually develop before they begin kindergarten.
Body management – Dressing and undressing by themselves (while beginning to choose appropriately for weather and expected activities), using the toilet, hand washing, using simple utensils with meals, scissors and pencils for crafts and drawing activities and developing rudimentary keyboard skills.
Social interaction management – Play is the training for social-emotional competence, and the ability to play with children like and unlike oneself is a vital skill (allowing for usual preference for same-sex peers). Language fluency (correct pronouns, verb tenses) helps play achieve its goal of expressing, enjoying and understanding the imaginary and pretend scenarios that five-year-olds use to figure out how the world works. The abilities to wait their turn, to think before acting and know how to talk to adults are expected (and incredibly useful) skills by kindergarten.
Information management – Kindergarteners need to be able to follow their teacher’s instructions in order to acquire knowledge through actively listening. Concentrating on a single task (more successful if it’s of the child’s choosing) for longer periods of time (usually twice as long) than a preschooler can make the task more rewarding and informative. The longer the interruption is forestalled, the stronger the coping mechanism becomes. Print awareness, hunger for new words, sight and sound knowledge of the alphabet are expected early literacy skills.
Emotion management – Once the “preschool storm” has passed through, many kids are usually more even-keeled kids by the time they turn five. That doesn’t mean they don’t modify or eliminate the truth occasionally to avoid feeling guilty or being disciplined. They can sometimes identify in words what they, or their peers, are feeling, but when they are upset, they usually require some support and clarification from adults.
Remember, the separation of these traits into categories is for clarity only as they are by no means distinct in the growing child. Also, giving children appropriate choices helps them become better decision makers and more socially-emotionally competent.

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Parents: Your job isn’t to make things perfect.

“I am trying hard to escape the parenting rat race by reminding myself that we are not here to protect them from reality but to support them as they actually face it. Life is not perfect. Children are not perfect. Parents are not perfect. It’s okay if our family doesn’t look perfect, because it isn’t. But maybe, just maybe, allowing our kids to face the ugly realities of life will yield some beautiful results.”

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Connecting with Teen

Source: http://www.mommymoment.ca/2017/02/parent-child-relationship-tips.html

Parent Child Relationship Tips For Connecting With Your Teen
ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR FEELINGS
No matter how trivial your teens feelings seem, they are important. If you want to connect with your teen, acknowledge their feelings and validate them.
BE CAREFUL WITH CONSEQUENCES
Though your teen may need a consequence for going to a party without permission, it is important to communicate that they will be in less trouble if they call you instead of driving home. Too many teens are afraid to call their parents which can have devastating consequences.
LEAVE THE DOOR OF COMMUNICATION OPEN
A teen isn’t going to just come up to you to talk about sex, alcohol, or relationships. It is kind of a taboo subject between parent and child. However, you can leave the door of communication open by telling them your own teen stories, or offering that communication if they ever want to talk. Another tip for parent child relationship connection is to start a journal with them like a mother / daughter (or son) journal.
OPEN UP YOUR HOME
You may not want a million teenagers at your house every day of the week, but parents who open their home to their teens friends, will connect more with their teen. When other teens respect you as a parent, your teen respects you as well. Invite all the teens to your house instead of letting another parent take that task. If you want real parent child connection, this is a great place to begin.
SHARE IN THEIR INTERESTS
You may not like their music, their piercings, or their way of thinking, but it is important to share enthusiasm in what they like. Try to listen to the music, talk about piercings you would have gotten as a teen, or have a conversation about what they like.
Getting to know your teen as a person and not a child is the best way to connect with them.  Building that parent child relationship starts with communication and connection. These tips  are a perfect place to begin.
If you like the journal idea, purchase a new, fun journal that lets your teen know they are special.  Or purchase one of these books on parenting teens to get more indepth ways to connect with your child.

 

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When Parents Have Different Styles: Does It Spell Disaster?
Many couples differ on the best way to raise children.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-gender-ourselves/201209/when-parents-have-different-styles-does-it-spell-disaster

As a couple, Gina and Jeff weren’t exactly opposites, but they were different. Where she was more reactive, he was patient. While she was diligent, he was more forgetful. She always paid bills on time; he paid them when he thought of it. She was more critical of herself and others; he reminded her to relax a bit, and focus on people’s strengths. Each balanced out the other.
When it came to having kids, however, their differences became less complementary. As a first-time mom, Gina’s instinct was to establish firm, consistent rules—for the kids as well as for how she and Jeff parented them—from which no one should ever deviate. Jeff was more spontaneous, and more inclined to react to a specific situation at hand. As a result, Gina was often the stricter parent, while Jeff was the “nice guy,” which Gina began to resent. Jeff, in turn, began to resent what he saw as Gina’s constant harping, which he felt often created a tense household. He felt nothing he did was ever right—and, pressed, Gina might agree with that sentiment. “If Jeff promised to take away video games, for example, because of our son’s bad behavior, he wouldn’t always follow through on that if, say, the kids made amends somehow,” says Gina. “That would drive me crazy. He is reluctant to be the enforcer, which means I’m left to do it.” Jeff, meanwhile, says that sometimes Gina “scares the kids—and me, too.”
When your parenting style differs from that of your partner, it can be frustrating at best and destructive at worst, creating dissonance and distance between partners and confusion among the kids. At the same time, it’s extremely commonplace: Many couples differ on the best way to raise children. This is true for male and female partners, but shows up among same sex couples as well. That’s because many of the personality traits and personal beliefs that parenting calls on lie dormant until there’s an actual child to parent—and the qualities that lead us to fall in love with each other as people don’t always lead us to fall in love with each other as parents.
Though many would-be parents study up on parenting before they have children, our styles are largely instinctual and unconscious, and based on how we were raised, what we observed in our own and in other families, and what we’ve been taught. Some parents, like Gina, are more authoritarian, where “parent knows best” and obedience is paramount. Others, like Jeff, are more permissive, afraid to upset the kids or reluctant to ruin the good time. Most of us are some combination. When practiced in conflict, differing parenting approaches can send mixed messages to the kids and ultimately undermine any form of parenting whatsoever. Conflicting styles can confuse kids as they wonder “whose side to take,” and what the real rules are. Kids can learn to manipulate situations for their benefit, which can foster similarly manipulative or dishonest qualities in them as adults. And in extreme cases, children can end up anxious or depressed. The parents, meanwhile, argue more—not only about parenting but also about other areas of their shared lives.
And yet different parenting styles needn’t spell disaster. In many ways, divergent styles can help prepare kids for a world of negotiating various types of people. They learn how dissimilarities can be complementary, and that those dissimilarities needn’t mean strife. What’s more, kids don’t have to have the same relationship with each parent, and it’s important to remember that “different” needn’t mean better or worse. And for parents, it’s once again a chance to achieve balance through difference. We’re individuals; we have individual ways of handling situations. That’s okay. What’s key is that each parent needs to be okay with the role they’re taking on—that is, if Gina is the primary disciplinarian, she needs to be okay with that. And that each parent supports the other in his or her approach, as well as offer counterpoints when they disagree—but best not in front of the kids. Agree to disagree later, after the kids are in bed or otherwise out of earshot. The most important function of co-parenting is forming a united front, and reinforcing to kids that even if two partners might react to a situation differently, they have each other’s backs. The message to the kids: Your parents are two distinct people, but as your parents we’re a single unit.
Achieving a conscious, helpful individual parenting style involves ongoing effort—we are who we are, but we can, and should, evolve, too. Parenting requires constant assessment and adjustment based on the individual child’s development and temperament. The same goes with parenting together, as a unit. Compromise is good, and necessary, and the best interests of the child should always receive top billing. Discuss your goals for raising your children, and how each of you would come to those goals. Then work to achieve those goals separately and together through structure, limits, compromise, understanding, adaptability, and, above all, unity.

 

 

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Parent Tip
 
 
Know Your Own Needs and Limitations as a Parent
Face it — you are an imperfect parent. You have strengths and weaknesses as a family leader. Recognize your abilities — “I am loving and dedicated.” Vow to work on your weaknesses — “I need to be more consistent with discipline.” Try to have realistic expectations for yourself, your spouse, and your kids. You don’t have to have all the answers — be forgiving of yourself.
And try to make parenting a manageable job. Focus on the areas that need the most attention rather than trying to address everything all at once. Admit it when you’re burned out. Take time out from parenting to do things that will make you happy as a person (or as a couple).
Focusing on your needs does not make you selfish. It simply means you care about your own well-being, which is another important value to model for your children.
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Discouraging Unkindness in Our Children

Source: http://www.parentingpress.com/tip.html

If your child is not strong in the area of kindness, it may be that she hasn’t been taught well enough yet, or it may be that her temperament does not dispose her toward considering others. The good news is that all children can be taught kindness and all children can be discouraged from being unkind. Here are a few ideas for eliminating unkindness.
Recognize consequences. Educational pyschologist Michele Borba says it’s critical that parents and teachers help children recognize that unkind actions do have consequences. She recommends being very clear about what the unkind behavior was you object to and why you disapprove. For example, “Telling Arianna she can’t come to your birthday party was mean. Making someone feel left out hurts her feelings. That’s not allowed in our family.”
Encourage empathy. You can do this by requiring your child to think about how the victim feels. Say things like, “Look, she’s crying. How do you think she feels?” “Can you see how upset he is? How did your comment make him feel?” “How would you feel if someone did that to you?” Sometimes children will deny that what they said or did was really so bad—“Geez, he can’t even take a joke. I don’t get mad when someone says that to me.” You can make the point that the person receiving the comment is the one who gets to decide how it feels, similar to how a person being touched, shoved, or hit is the one who gets to decide if it hurts.
Make amends. Give your child a chance to make amends to the person she’s hurt. She might apologize, do something kind for that person, or make some other nice gesture. Ask your child, “What can you do to make her feel better?”
What to do instead. Not only do children need to be stopped in unkindness, they also need to know what to do or say instead. For example, in the situation where the little girl was being excluded from the birthday party, the parent could offer her daughter the following options:

Refrain from talking about birthday parties at school; if you don’t bring up the subject, Arianna is unlikely to ask about it.
If Arianna asks you if she can come to your party, say, “My mom is in charge of the guest list.”
If Arianna is being unkind first and you are tempted to be unkind in return, just shrug your shoulders and say, “Whatever.” Then walk away.
Change the subject. Suggest that everyone play a game and immediately start playing.

 

 

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Important School Tips for Parents from a Principal

Source: http://teaching.about.com/od/ParentalInvolvement/a/Tips-For-Parents.htm

For teachers, parents can be your worst enemy or your best friend.  Over the course of the last decade, I have worked with a handful of the most difficult parents, as well as many of the best parents. I believe that the majority of parents do a terrific job and genuinely try their best. The truth is that being a parent is not easy. We make mistakes, and there is no way we can be good at everything. Sometimes as a parent it is critical to rely on and seek advice from experts in certain areas. As a principal, I would like to offer a few school tips for parents that I believe every educator would want them to know, and that will also benefit their children.

Tip #1 – Be Supportive
Any teacher will tell you that if a child’s parent is supportive that they will gladly work through any issues that might arise over the course of the school year. Teachers are human, and there is a chance they will make a mistake. However, despite perception most teachers are dedicated professionals who do a terrific job day in and day out.

Tip #2 – Be Involved and Stay Involved
One of the most frustrating trends in schools is how the level of parental involvement decreases as a child’s age increases. It is an extremely discouraging fact because children of all ages would benefit if their parents would stay involved. While it is certain that the first few years of school are arguably the most important, the other years are important as well.
Children are smart and intuitive. When they see their parents taking a step back in their involvement, it sends the wrong message. Most children will start to slack off too. It is a sad reality that many middle school and high school parent/teacher conferences have an exceedingly small turnout. The ones who do show up are the ones that teachers often say don’t need to, but the correlation to their child’s success and their continued involvement in their child’s education is no mistake.
Every parent should know what is going on in their child’s daily school life. A parent should do the following things every day:
Ask your child how their school day went. Engage in conversation about what they learned, whom their friends are, what they had for lunch, etc.
Make sure your child has time set aside to complete homework. Be there to answer any questions or assist when needed.
Read all notes/memos sent home from the school and/or teacher. Notes are the primary form of communications between a teacher and parents. Look for them and read them to stay up-to-date on events.
Contact your child’s teacher immediately if you have any concerns.
Value your child’s education and express the importance of it every single day. This is arguably the single most valuable thing a parent can do when it comes to their child’s education. Those that value education often thrives and those that don’t often fail.

Do Not Bad-Mouth the Teacher in Front of Your Child
Nothing undermines the authority of a teacher any faster than when a parent continuously bashes them or talks bad about them in front of their child. There are times when you are going to be upset with a teacher, but your child should never know exactly how you feel. It will interfere with their education. If you vocally and adamantly disrespect the teacher, then your child will likely mirror you. Keep your personal feelings about the teacher between yourself, the school administration, and the teacher.
Tip #4 – Follow Through
As an administrator, I cannot tell you how many times I have dealt with a student discipline issue where the parent will come in tremendously supportive and apologetic about their child’s behavior. They often tell you that they are going to ground their child and discipline them at home on top of the school’s punishment. However, when you inquire with the student the next day, they tell you that nothing was done.
Children need structure and discipline and most crave it on some level. If your child makes a mistake, then there should be consequences at school and home. This will show the child that both the parent and school are on the same page and that they are not going to be allowed to get away with that behavior. However, if you do not have any intent on following through on your end, then do not promise to take care of it at home. When you practice this behavior, it sends an underlying message that the child can make a mistake, but in the end, there is not going to be a punishment. Follow through with your threats.
Tip #5 – Do Not Take Your Child’s Word for the Truth
If your child came home from school and told you that their teacher threw a box of Kleenexes at them, how would you handle it?
Would you instantly assume that they are telling the truth?
Would you call or meet the principal and demand that the teacher be removed?
Would you aggressively approach the teacher and make accusations?
Would you call and request a meeting with the teacher to ask them calmly if they could explain what happened?
If you are a parent who chooses anything other than 4, then your choice is the worst kind of slap in the face to an educator. Parents who take their child’s word over an adult before consulting with the adult challenge their authority. While it is entirely possible that the child is telling the truth, the teacher should be given the right to explain their side without being viciously attacked first.
Too many times, children leave out crucial facts, when explaining situations like this to their parent. Children are often devious by nature, and if there is a chance they can get their teacher in trouble, then they will go for it. Parents and teachers who stay on the same page and work together alleviate this opportunity for assumptions and misconceptions because the child knows they won’t get away with it.
Tip #6 – Do Not Make Excuses for Your Child
Help us hold your child accountable. If your child makes a mistake, don’t bail them out by constantly making excuses for them. From time to time, there are legitimate excuses, but if you are constantly making excuses for your child, then you are not doing them any favors. You won’t be able to make excuses for them their whole life, so don’t let them get into that habit.
If they didn’t do their homework, don’t call the teacher and say it was your fault because you took them to a ball game. If they get in trouble for hitting another student, don’t make the excuse that they learned that behavior from an older sibling. Stand firm with the school and teach them a life lesson that could prevent them from making bigger mistakes later on.

 

 

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Effective After School Routine Tips

Routines can make a home with children so much less chaotic. Last week I shared some simple tips for a morning routine – getting the kids out the door in the morning can be somewhat chaotic if you are not working together with a plan.

I have found that the arrival of everyone back into the house after school can be just as stressful for moms.  Kids come home hungry and toss their backpack on the kitchen floor, which can make any mom a little cranky!

Routines are great and can keep everyone on task and create a great rhythm to your afternoon.  The trick is to play into each of your child’s own rhythm.  Take some time to observe each of your children.  Some children need to come home and relax or do some physical activity, while others do better starting right in on homework assignments.  All of your children may fall into the same category, but most often you will have those that fall into both.
If you have children that fall into both you can set up a different routine for each of them, but typically the same type of tasks need to be completed immediately upon walking in the door.
Hang up Coat
Pull out school papers
Put backpack away
Snack
I love the free printable simple routine chart Amy over at Living Locurto made up for her son:
1. Hang up his backpack and coat.
2. Wash his hands.
3. Get out his school work to show me.
You can make a small list/chart like this one to include the tasks that each of your children need to do.
Often moms have trouble getting their child to put away their items.  I suggest that snack time is not started until things are put away.  If your child chooses to not put their items away, then there is no snack.  I can almost guarantee that if they baulk at this initially, it will not last long, especially if there are other children in your home sitting down and having a snack with mom!
I find that children need some ‘connecting’ time after a long day at school.  Instead of sitting them down to have snack on their own, join them!  Take the time to sit and ask about their day – their favorite part, their not so favorite part or maybe even read a book together at the table.
Whatever you choose, really concentrate on giving your child your full attention, especially eye contact.  You may be surprised how this time spent connecting will improve their attitude and cooperation as the evening goes on.
After snack you can determine what your child needs – do they need to burn more energy or are they ready to get to work?
Our after school routine includes a few daily chores and they are done immediately following snack – taking out the garbage, putting laundry away or playing outside with the dog.  This helps them get into a regular routine and chores get done instead of the usual nagging that can become habit.
Obviously homework needs to be done at sometime.  At different developmental stages we have found that homework being done is best immediately after dinner, but at other times, before dinner was a better time.  If you are unsure, try it one way for a week and then change it up to see how your child responds.  They may need to have some downtime before jumping into doing homework – if so, then after dinner may be the best solution.
The main areas to include in your after school routine are:
Putting items away – coat, backpack
Emptying any school papers
Snack
Homework time
Chores, if they are part of your family responsibilities
It is worth the time and energy to work out an after school routine. Once it is in place, life will run a lot smoother in your household and you will actually look forward to your kids walking through the door instead of dreading the trail of backpacks and coats that end up littering your entryway.

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Advice for Parents: Positive Parenting

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Morning Madness Tips for Getting Kids Up and Ready

Source: https://www.verywell.com/morning-madness-tips-for-getting-kids-up-and-ready-616604

Getting kids up and ready for the day…whether it be for school, daycare, or even a sport or enrichment activity is a sure-fire stress builder and typical cause of morning madness. What can parents do to start each day in a positive fashion? Here are seven ideas.

1 Getting Kids Up: Morning Routine Must Become Way of Life Parents unwittingly cause morning madness by not instilling that the routine is a family requirement and not an option. A non-negotiable routine must be established, and consequence discussed and determined. (i.e. If you don’t get up on the first call, your bedtime is 15 minutes earlier tonight). It’s the “wiggle room” that causes meltdowns and tantrums on the very morning parents have a “must make” meeting.

2 Stagger Wake-Up Times
If you’ve got more than one kid in the house, and especially if you have a large family, consider staggering wake-up times for greater efficiency. Start with kids who need assistance first, or the ones who are real sleepyheads who move at a snail’s pace come mornings.

3 Getting Kids Up: Clothing Wars Can Be Conquered With Proper Planning
Clothing, down to clean socks, underwear and shoes, and even matching hair accessories should be laid out each night before bed. Youngsters can play a role in choosing the outfit, but no changes are allowed once their head hits the pillow. And, then stick with it! The only exceptions should be an unknown tear or stain, or surprise change in the weather. This avoids missing socks, unmatched shirt, and shoes, and keeps getting dressed a simple step in beginning the day vs. a looming battle.
4 Getting Kids Up: Breakfast Choices Should Be Determined In Advance
One mom swears by weekly breakfast menus; another adheres to cereal and fruit. Yet another has her kids eat the $1 breakfast at school each morning. Some daycares offer breakfast for kids; others allow parents to bring in a morning meal. Breakfast is important–some experts argue that it is the most important meal of the day, so your kids need a nutritious start each a.m. However, that start shouldn’t put parents in a work bind or make kids late for school.
5 Only Do What’s Really Important
Some parents unwittingly set their kids up to fail with their morning routines by taking on unexpected chores and duties, which causes whining and a mad rush to end up on time. Consider creating a checklist of what absolutely must be done each morning, then forget the rest. If you want your child to make his bed every morning, then make that a requirement. However, cleaning the cat box can surely wait until a child gets home.
6 Getting Kids Up: Snatch and Go Theory Really Does Work
It’s just not enough to get dressed and eat. How many times have kids missed the bus because they couldn’t find their homework sheet or didn’t have their backpack put together? If you drive your kids, then put their organized backpacks in the car the night before. Lunches should also be prepared just before bed and easily grabbed from the fridge ready-to-go. Jackets should be in a central location. The “snatch and go” theory really does work in the mornings.
7 Getting Kids Up: Exception Mornings Should Be Planned As Well
One way to make it easier for kids to get up in the mornings is to create the occasional “Kids get up…NOT!” day as a reward. If it’s a school holiday, lazy weekend opportunity, or just about any reason at all, parents can make a special celebration out of the exception. The “not” day also serves to reinforce the lesson that normal mornings have a schedule and expectation, and that occasionally everyone gets a break from the routine.
8 Getting Kids Up: Instill Self Responsibility
Why does a parent have to wake kids up anyway? Except for youngsters, kids can learn to use an alarm clock and get themselves up without mom or dad hovering and yelling, “Are you up yet?” Let them decide what is the best time for the alarm to go off and get ready on time. If this means Erica doesn’t get her hair braided or Sam doesn’t get second helpings on cereal, encourage them to set their alarm 15 minutes earlier tomorrow. Cause and effect…it’s a good lesson to learn!
9 Getting Kids Up: Model Morning Behavior
And, finally, parents really can help to determine whether their kids become morning risers or morning whiners. If parents moan and groan, are always frantic, grumpy, and running late themselves, then how can they really expect anything more of their own kids? Good advice is to get up earlier yourself, start that coffee or do 10 minutes of exercise, and then show that Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) and really mean it when you greet your kids with “Good Morning!”
10 Designate an Essentials Area
Designate an area for all essentials that can eliminate the crazed morning syndrome when you’re trying to leave. Shoes, backpacks, car keys, cell phones, purses, etc., should be placed in this area every day, always, so they are always in place and ready for action. Keep a cell phone charger in this area so your phone is charged for the day. Not having to hunt down keys or other last-minute essentials is a time and blood pressure saver, for sure!

 

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When Parents Play Favorites
Preferring one child over another.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-narcissus-in-all-us/200901/when-parents-play-favorites

A large proportion of parents display consistent favoritism toward one child over another. This favoritism can manifest in different ways: more time spent with one child, more affection given, more privileges, less discipline, or less abuse. Research by sociologist Jill Suitor examines some of the causes and consequences of parental favoritism, which occurs in 1/3 to 2/3 of American families.
Despite its taboo in our society, we consider some cases of parental favoritism to be fair and even necessary. For example, parents give more attention to newborns than they do to their older children. The same goes for children who are sick or disabled. In these situations, parents often discuss the unequal treatment with the disfavored children in order to assure them that it’s nothing personal.
Other reasons for parental favoritism most of us would judge as unfair, yet they don’t surprise us much. Parents might spend more time with and feel closer to same-gender children than to opposite-gender children. In mixed families, parents favor their biological children over step-children. In patriarchal cultures, parents simply favor boys over girls.
There are several additional factors that predict favoritism, one of which is birth order: parents favor first- and last-born children over middle children. This occurs in part because middle children will never be the only child living at home – at some point first-borns and last-borns will have their parents all to themselves. Overall, first-borns get the most privileges and last-born receive the most parental affection.
A child’s personality and behavior can also affect how parents treat them. Parents behave more affectionately toward children who are pleasant and affectionate, and they direct more discipline toward children who act out or engage in deviant behavior. Because girls tend to be warmer and less aggressive than boys, parents generally favor daughters over sons (but only in non-patriarchal cultures).
Favoritism is also more likely when parents are under a great deal of stress (e.g., marital problems, financial worries). In these cases, parents may be unable to inhibit their true feelings or monitor how fair they’re behaving. Evolutionary theorists argue that when emotional or material resources are limited, parents will favor children who have the most potential to thrive and reproduce.
Unfortunately, the consequences of parental favoritism are what you might expect – they’re mostly bad. Disfavored children experience worse outcomes across the board: more depression, greater aggressiveness, lower self-esteem, and poorer academic performance. These repercussions are far more extreme than any benefits the favored children get out of it (negative things just have a stronger impact on people than positive things). And it’s not all rosy for the favored children either – their siblings often come to resent them, poisoning those relationships.
Many of these consequences persist long after children have grown up and moved out of the house. People don’t soon forget that they were disfavored by their parents, and many people report that being disfavored as a child continues to affect their self-esteem and their relationships in adulthood.
To make matters worse, parents are even more likely to play favorites once their children are grown up, sustaining the toxic family dynamics (e.g., bad feelings, sibling resentment). The causes of the favoritism, however, are a bit different once the children become adults. Parents still favor daughters and less deviant children, but they also give preference to children who live closer, share the parents’ values, and, not surprisingly, have provided the parents with emotional or financial support.
It’s important to keep in mind that parental favoritism is only problematic when there are consistent and arbitrary differences in treatment. In cases where favoritism is unavoidable (e.g., with newborns, needier children), parents who explain its necessity to the other children can usually offset any negative consequences.
Interestingly, children’s well-being is highest when parents exhibit no favoritism toward anyone, even higher than the well-being of children who are favored by their parents. This disparity may occur because favored children have to contend with sibling hostility, or perhaps because families that practice favoritism tend to be dysfunctional in other ways.
Nearly all parents worry about whether they play favorites. But even when parents vow to treat their children equally, they soon find that this is just not possible. Every child is different and parents must respond to their unique characteristics appropriately. You shouldn’t react to a 3-year-old’s tantrums in the same way as you would to a 13-year-old’s. You can’t deal with aggressive children in the same way as passive children. Even identical twins can’t be treated identically. When it comes down to it, every child wants to feel like they’re different, not clones of their siblings. The best parents can do is stay aware of any differential treatment they give and try to be as fair as possible.

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How to Communicate When a Husband Is Inconsiderate

Source: http://oureverydaylife.com/communicate-husband-inconsiderate-18519.html

Whether your husband has thrown his towel on the bedroom floor or not given a second thought to your busy day before announcing that he’ll be taking the car in for a tune-up, communicating with him effectively is critical. Choose the wrong approach, and soon you’ll be having a conversation about your demeanor and words instead of his inconsiderate behavior.

Words
Address the inconsiderate behavior directly rather than indirectly. Slamming the doors of the kitchen cabinets after he’s come home later for dinner once again will not facilitate problem-solving. Instead, approach him and say something like, “I was worried about you when you didn’t call to say you’d be home late. I’d have so much more peace of mind if you’d give me a call whenever you know you’ll be more than half an hour late.”
Discuss his behavior, not his personality. If you say, “You’re always so inconsiderate,” he’ll immediately be on the defensive. On the other hand, if you say, “When you drink the last of the orange juice, please throw the empty container in the trash so I’ll know to buy some more. When you put it back in the refrigerator, I think we still have some.”

Use calm and respectful voice tones. Yelling will only serve to put the focus on your emotions rather than on what you actually wish to communicate, notes counselor Erika Krull in an article on PsychCentral.com. Although it may be tempting to let out your frustration about his seeming inability to see that the kitchen trash is overflowing even though he’s walked past it several times, keep your cool. If you find that you are geared up to unleash a torrent of angry words, take a few deep breaths before approaching your spouse.
Listen to what your husband says with not only your ears, but your heart, avoiding judgement. For example, when he says that he simply doesn’t notice the dishes in the sink, consider that this may very well be true. He could be preoccupied with work or a personal problem that hinders his ability to see what needs to be done in the present moment. After hearing what he has to say, discuss the situation further if you feel there’s more than meets the eye.
Actions
Bring your husband a cup of coffee in bed or otherwise be very considerate. Your actions might cause him to take a step back and realize that he has been lacking when it comes to considering your needs. Feelings follow actions, notes Krull, who warns falling into the “what’s in it for me” trap. Don’t worry if your husband doesn’t respond immediately. Your example will set a new tone for the relationship and will communicate that consideration is of great value to you.
Seek connection and you’ll enhance your communication, says Steven Stosny, Ph.D., founder of CompassionPower. All the communication techniques in the world aren’t likely to be effective if the two of you aren’t connected. Show interest, compassion and love, and not only will your husband become more connected — and possibly more considerate — but you’ll place less importance on the times when he is inconsiderate.
Use open body language when discussing your husband’s tendency to leave his dirty clothes laying around instead of putting them in the hamper. Instead of crossing your arms and wrinkling your brow, stand with your arms at your side in a more open posture, keeping your facial expressions friendly or neutral. This way, you’ll avoid sending out signals that might put your husband on the defensive.

 

 

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Why Kids Tell Lies And What To Do About It
By James Lehman, MSW

Source: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/why-kids-tell-lies-and-what-to-do-about-it/#

Q: When your child lies to you, it hurts. As parents, it makes us angry and we take it personally. We feel like we can never trust our child again. Why does lying cause such anger, pain and worry for parents?
James: Parents are understandably very afraid of their children getting hurt and getting into trouble, but they have very little protection against these things as they send their kids out into the world. Kids learn from other kids and from the media, and it makes parents feel unsafe because they can’t control the information and ideas that are being presented to their children.
Let’s face it. Information isn’t just available to our kids; it’s injected into them. Bad ideas are pushed down our kid’s throats by their peers, by some adults, by the media. It’s hard for a parent to keep control of their kids when this is happening, and protect them from their own harmful impulses and dangerous outside influences.

Your kid’s honesty becomes the connector between what’s happening to him on the outside world and what happens at home. You need him to tell you honestly what happened today, so that you can honestly decide if that’s best for him.

You need to hear that information in order to decide if that’s going to help him meet his responsibilities now –and in the future. When parents don’t get the right information, they’re afraid they’ll make the wrong choices for their kids.
When your kid lies, you start to see him as “sneaky,” especially if he continues to lie to you. You feel that he’s going behind your back, that he’s undermining you. We begin to think that our kids are “bad.” We make the connection that if lying is bad, liars are bad. It’s just that simple.
Related: Does your child yell, call you names or swear at you?
Parents should hold their kids responsible for lying. But the mistake parents make is when they start to blame the kid for lying. It’s considered immoral to lie. But when you look at your kid like he’s a sneak and an operator who’s undermining your authority, it’s a slippery slope that starts with “You lie” and ends up at “You’re a bad person.” I think that perception of your kid promotes more lying. If your child thinks you think he’s “bad,” he’s going to hide the truth from you even more, because he doesn’t want to be bad. Even though they are lying, kids don’t want to disappoint their parents.
Q: Let’s look at it from the child’s perspective. What’s going in on a child’s mind when they lie to their parents?
James: Say you’re driving on the interstate and the speed limit is 65 mph. You know that if you drive 65 mph on the interstate, that’s the slowest anyone drives, and people fly by you, honk at you and call you names. So you go 75 miles an hour…and a policeman stops you. He says, “Ms. Jones, how fast were you driving?” And most people say, “Sixty five.” Or, “I thought I was doing sixty five, officer, or maybe a little over sixty five.” Why are people dishonest like that? Because they understand that driving fast is forbidden. But they don’t understand that it’s hurtful. We understand that it’s wrong to drive that fast and there are consequences. But we don’t understand that it really hurts anybody and that it puts people at risk.
It’s the same with kids. They know lying is forbidden. But they don’t see it as hurtful. Not the way that parents see it as hurtful. So a kid will say, “I know it’s wrong that I ate a sugar snack when I’m not supposed to. But who does it hurt?” “I know it’s wrong that I traded my dried fruit for a Twinkie. But it doesn’t really hurt anybody. I can handle it. What’s the big deal?” That’s what the kid sees.
When they don’t see it as hurtful, there are two different value systems operating: the family’s value system that says this is forbidden and the kid’s value system that says if it’s not hurting anybody, what do you care? The kid rationalizes his actions and justifies his behavior with the idea that it doesn’t hurt anybody. The outcome is a dishonest situation. A lie.
When you get to adolescence, of course, the stakes get much higher. But the thinking remains the same. Kids smoke pot and drink and say, “Well it doesn’t hurt anybody. My friends smoke pot and it doesn’t hurt them. I know drinking’s wrong, but my parents drink and it doesn’t hurt them. I can handle it. I’m older than my parents think I am.” They know it’s forbidden. They either don’t see it as hurtful, or they rationalize the hurt away.
Q: So what’s the best way for parents to deal with lying, so that they don’t feel hurt and resentful about it and so that the child learns not to lie?
James: The first thing you have to do is be careful of is giving lies too much power. If you have a kid who’s angry at you or who feels frustrated and powerless, and if he thinks he can get power over you by telling you a lie, he’ll use dishonesty to get that power. He’ll withhold information and lie by omission when you’re trying to get the truth. He’ll give you little pieces of information, and that makes him feel powerful. It’s a trap for parents. Honesty is important, but if you communicate that too strongly to your children, they will use that to have power over you. You have to keep these things a certain size so that they’re not used against you.
Related: Learn how to manage your lying child.
The second thing to remember is that you have to understand the power of the culture that kids go into. It’s a very powerful culture that exerts a lot of pressure to “fit in.” They may feel guilty if they lie to their parents. But, again, they’re thinking, “This isn’t that hurtful, and my parents just don’t understand.” Of course, parents do understand. They’re frightened, and they should be.
So I think that parents have to assume that kids are going to tell them lies, because they’re immature and they don’t understand how hurtful these things are. They’re also drawn towards excitement, and their parents aren’t. It’s not like the good kids aren’t drawn to excitement and risk, and the bad kids are. It’s not that the good kids don’t lie and the bad kids do lie. They’re all drawn to excitement, and they’ll all have a tendency to distort the truth because they’re kids.
I think parents have to deal with lying the way a cop deals with speeding. If you’re going too fast, he gives you a ticket. He’s not interested in a lot of explanations from you. He’s just going to give you a consequence. Look at it the same way with your child. He didn’t tell the truth, whether the truth was distorted, omitted or withheld. There should simply be consequences for that. The first time you lie, you go to bed an hour early. The second time, you lose your phone. It should be something that the kid feels. You lose your phone for twenty four hours. You lose your phone for two days. You lose computer time or TV time.
The consequences have to make the child uncomfortable or they don’t change anything. The idea is that the next time he’s faced with telling you the truth or lying, he’ll recall how uncomfortable he was when he did the consequence for lying, and he’ll tell you the truth instead.
The consequence should be about the lying. If there’s a separate consequence for the incident, that should come down separately. If you come home later than your curfew and you tell me the truth, you may still lose going out Friday night, but you won’t lose your phone. If you lie to me, you lose both.
Parents should not get into the morality of it. Just be clear. Lying is wrong, it’s hurtful and, in our home, we tell the truth. But don’t make it a moral issue. Make it a technical issue. You broke the law. You broke the rules. These are your consequences.
When a cop writes me a ticket, he doesn’t follow me home or argue with me. He hands me my ticket and he drives away. Approach the consequences for lying the same way. Don’t argue about it or get into a big discussion. Discuss it in a structured way: “What were you trying to accomplish by doing that?” Not “Why did you lie? You know how much lying hurts me.” Just ask what he was trying to accomplish, then point out that lying is not the way to solve his problem. Compliance is the way to solve it. Talk about it after things have cooled down, not in the heat of the moment. Explain what will happen if he lies again. “If you lie to me about the dance, you’re not going to the next dance and I’m taking your phone for twenty four hours.” Just keep it really simple.

 

 

 

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Ten Basic Rules for Dealing with In-Laws

Source: https://www.familyeducation.com/life/dealing-laws/ten-basic-rules-dealing-laws
Follow the 10 basic rules for dealing with your in-laws, and you’ll maintain peaceful family relations.

Your in-laws are a crucial part of your spouse’s life. This makes them a crucial part of your life as well. No one ever said it was easy to balance your needs with the needs of others — especially the needs of an entire new family. But creating family harmony is possible — and it’s very much worth the effort.
You realize it won’t be easy to build bridges — and rebuild some that have been burnt — but you also realize that it’s a valuable way to spend your time. The return you get on your investment will last the rest of your married life. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Work with your spouse. This is the key rule, numero uno, the whole enchilada. As my wonderful husband reminded me last night, dealing effectively with in-laws all starts with first working conflicts through with your spouse. Remember, you’re in this together.
Never put your spouse in a situation where he or she has to choose between you and a relative. If you do so, you’re putting your spouse in a nearly impossible bind. Instead, try to understand the bond your spouse has with his or her grandparents, parents, and siblings. If possible, try to support that relationship. Even if your spouse has parents from hell, they are his or her parents.
Family Matters
A happy marriage is not like football; there are no successful end-runs in this game. Never go behind your spouse’s back when you deal with in-laws. And don’t tolerate it if your spouse does.

Don’t Go There
Don’t confuse listening and responding. You’re not obligated to do something just because your in-laws want you to, but you should acknowledge their input. People get pushy when they feel you’re turning them down without really listening, so they tend to scream louder. Maybe then you’ll hear them!

Set boundaries and limits. No candy before mealtime for the kids? No loans for in-laws? With your spouse, decide what’s important and what’s not. For example, we let our kids eat anything they want anytime. Want ice cream ten minutes before dinner? Fine by me…as long as you eat a reasonable dinner. But we’re really, really picky about school work. I don’t think it has dawned on my kids yet that there is a grade below “A.” Working as a team, set your family values. Then communicate your values to your in-laws. All of your values and all of your in-laws.

Speaking of boundaries, don’t make promises that you can’t keep. Remember Neville Chamberlain, Hitler, and Poland? In an attempt to achieve “peace in our time,” British politico Neville Chamberlain gave Poland to Hitler as part of the British appeasement policy. Remember how well that worked? Hitler just kept right on seizing chunks of Europe. Placating people to keep the peace rarely solves the problem — especially if your in-laws are tyrants.

Enforce the boundaries and limits. Without being as inflexible as a teenager, stick to your guns. For example, if you don’t want drop-in company, tell your in-laws that you’d prefer that they call before they show up at your doorstep. If they ignore you, don’t answer the door the next time they just happen to drop-by. Even if they do have a lemon meringue pie.

Family Matters
Think of your in-laws as a potential resource to expand your support network. You can accomplish this by approaching your in-laws the same way you would any potential friend. Respect them, be interested in them, and listen to them.

Family Matters
When the going gets tough, the tough often stay neutral. Even if the situation has gone Bosnian, try to be civil if you can’t be silent. Switzerland has the right idea; patient restraint. No one held a caucus and made you the family spokesperson.

Communicate directly. Whenever possible, avoid communicating through a third party. Don’t ask your spouse to talk to his sister about something she did that hurt your feelings. Talk to your sister-in-law directly.

If something bothers you, address it as soon as possible. Sometimes it’s a genuine problem; other times, it might be a misunderstanding. Tori married into a family whose members had been born in Germany. Every time a family member went into the kitchen, he or she shut the door — often leaving Tori out. For years, she stewed over the situation. Finally, she got up the courage to ask her mother-in-law why she closed the kitchen door. “Why, to keep in the heat,” she answered. “We always did that in Germany.” Closing the kitchen door had nothing to do with Tori. A cultural misunderstanding had caused years of distress for her — which neither her in-laws nor she ever realized.

Know yourself. Shakespeare said it a zillion years ago, and the advice still holds today: Don’t try to remake yourself into the person your in-laws want. For example, what if they’re looking for little Susie Homemaker and you’re a high-powered corporate attorney? You’re under no obligation on your day off to bake Swedish rye bread and churn your own butter. Get a manicure and call for some take-out instead.

Get with the program. Not every father-in-law lives to snake out your kitchen sink; not every mother-in-law dreams of baking cookies with her grandchildren. Put away the stereotypes and adjust your thinking to the reality of the situation. Don’t expect what people can’t deliver.

Learn to cool off. I tend to jump in where angels fear to tread. It’s always headfirst, too. Fortunately, my husband is far more levelheaded. Many times, the best thing to do is nothing. Time heals many wounds — and wounds many heels.

While we’re at it, play nice. Spare your in-laws the insults and character attacks. For example, Jack’s father-in-law once called his son a knee-jerk liberal. “I had it on the tip of my tongue to call him a “bloody fascist,” Jack said. “Fortunately, I bit my tongue-even though he really is a fascist.”

Be mature. Your parents have to love you; it’s in the contract. But your in-laws don’t. Accept the fact that your in-laws aren’t your parents and won’t follow the same rules. Try to think “different” — not “better” or “worse.” To make this work, give in on small points and negotiate the key issues.

Learn to see the situation from your in-law’s point of view. And even if you don’t agree, act like a big person. For example, I hate pork. I never eat it; I rarely cook it. Nonetheless, for years my mother-in-law would make a pork roast when we came to her house for dinner. After wallowing in more pork than Congress produces, I came to see that she was trying to please her poor pork-deprived son. Big deal: I learned to have a salad before we ate at her house. My husband porked up in peace and the only one to suffer was Babe, the poor porker.

Be kind. Even if you have to grit your teeth, try to say something nice. And if you really can’t say anything nice, shut up and smile.
Family Matters
You and your spouse are more powerful than you think. You’re adults; you’re a family unit. You can control visits, holiday celebrations, and access to grandchildren. Don’t assume that you’re powerless. No one can push you around if you don’t let them.

Keep your sense of humor. A very dear friend tells this story: “When I was pregnant with my first child, my father-in-law bought me a special gift: My very own funeral plot. ‘Why a funeral plot?’ I asked him. ‘Well,’ he replied, ‘you might not make it through the birth and I thought you should be prepared.'” I probably would have slugged the codger upside his head; my friend, in contrast, laughed and thanked him for his gift. P.S. She and all her children are fine.

 

 

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Parenting: Disappointment Is Good

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/201106/parenting-disappointment-is-good

The spring is a bittersweet time for young people. For high school seniors, their secondary education is coming to an end and they are either experiencing the highs of acceptance into or the lows of rejection from their first choice of college. For winter and spring sport athletes, their seasons have come to a conclusion. Many will look back on the year with pride and look forward to the next chapter in their lives with anticipation and excitement. Others will be forced to reflect on the year with disappointment and may approach their futures with doubt and worry. For this group the operative emotion is disappointment.
As parents, you hate to see your children disappointed. They are sad, downtrodden, and seem to have the weight of the world on their shoulders. Your heart aches for their pain and you want to do everything you can to relieve them of that disappointment. But that would be a mistake!
Certainly, disappointment is not a pleasant emotion; it feels really bad, in fact. But that doesn’t mean it is a bad emotion to be avoided at all costs. To the contrary, disappointment is actually a healthy and positive emotion that plays an essential role in children’s emotional, intellectual, and social development. But only if-and it’s a big if-you and your children understand the real value of in helping them to achieve their goals.
What Is Disappointment?
Disappointment is perhaps the most immediate emotion children experience after a perceived failure. Disappointment involves the feelings of thwarted desire, loss, and discouragement when children fail to fulfill their hopes and expectations-or those of others. Children are going to feel disappointment when they don’t achieve their goals or believe they have let you down.
Disappointment is a natural response to failure, but some children react to their disappointment in ways that increase the likelihood of more failure and disappointment. These children who are faced with disappointment reduce their effort, give up easily, or quit all together. This reaction to disappointment can cause them to feel incompetent and inadequate, which, if persistent, will lower their self-esteem and will definitely prevent them from achieving their future goals. Though some disappointment following failure is normal, children who are hit hard by disappointment mope around the house, look demoralized, and feel sorry for themselves for far longer than they should.
“Protecting” Your Children From Disappointment
Your natural tendency when you see your children feeling badly is to try to make them feel better. Mollifying your children with excessive expressions of affection or by buying them gifts, though it may bring them some immediate relief and make you feel better, does far more harm than good. Writes the author Allison Armstrong: “Many parents today try too hard to smooth away life’s rough edges in the hopes of keeping disappointment at bay …Children with no experience solving life’s little setbacks have a much harder time when they’re faced with the big ones.” Placating your children doesn’t allow them to understand what caused the disappointment and figure out how to not feel disappointed in the future. Your children need to be able to just sit with their disappointment and ask “Why do I feel so bad?” and “What can I do to get over feeling this way?” Pacifying your children may also communicate to them that you don’t think they are capable of handling and overcoming the setback. Your reaction will only interfere with your children’s ability to surmount future obstacles and it will make disappointment more painful in the future.
The Right Attitude Toward Disappointment
Disappointment is a normal, though difficult, part of growing up. Your children will inevitably experience disappointment in school, sports, the arts, and in their social lives. How your children learn to respond to disappointment will determine its impact on their future achievement and happiness.
You can teach your children to see stumbling blocks as opportunities to improve and grow. Offering your children a different perspective on their disappointment-“I know it feels bad right now, but what can you learn from it?”-gives them tools they can use to avoid or minimize their disappointment in the future, and to turn the obstacles to their advantage by increasing resilience, motivation, and confidence.
After “falling off the horse,” your children will naturally feel a brief period of letdown, but then you must encourage them to pick themselves up and get back on the horse, that is, get back to pursuing their goals. By staying positive and enthusiastic, you can show your children a better way of feeling in response to failure and guide them in finding a way to overcome their setbacks and return to their path of achievement.
Rather than the disappointment disheartening your children and causing them to feel bad about themselves, you can help your children use the experience to affirm their capabilities by showing them that they can conquer their past failures. For example, if your child is struggling in their sport, you can tell her how common it is for young athletes to reach plateaus and how these “flat spots” in their progress are necessary and usually a prelude to another period of improvement. You can also encourage her to keep working hard and express your confidence that her progress will continue.

How You Respond to Your Children’s Disappointment
Your attitude toward your children’s inevitable disappointments will influence how they responds to life’s obstacles. If you also react with disappointment, you placing on their shoulders the burden of double disappointment: theirs and the realization that they have let you down.
You should view your children’s disappointments as positive experiences that prepare them for adulthood. “Childhood disappointment is actually a practice lap on the course to adulthood. If you run interference whenever disappointment threatens, you’re setting kids up to run a marathon without ever letting them train for it,” adds Allison Armstrong. You must convey to your children that failure and disappointment are a part of life and what matters is how they react to it. You can also give your children a boost by showing them that you believe in them, that they should have faith in themselves, and that if they keep trying, they will probably reach their goals: “Life is full of setbacks and disappointment, dear, but if you keep working hard, I know you can overcome them.”
Here are some suggestions on how to respond to your children’s disappointments:
Allow your children to feel disappointment about the setback;
Don’t “spin” the situation to make your children feel better;
Offer a healthy perspective on disappointment;
Support your children, but don’t give them a consolation prize;
Help your children find ways to surmount the causes of their disappointment;
Tell your children that they will survive these disappointments and will achieve their goals if they keep trying hard;
Finally, make sure they know you love them regardless of their successes or failures.

 

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How Do You Motivate a Teen? Yes, It Is Possible!

Source: https://www.positivediscipline.com/articles/how-do-you-motivate-teen-yes-it-possible

When parents ask, “How do I motivate my teen?” they usually mean, “How do I get my teen to do what I want? How do I get her to have some balance in her life? How do I get him off the computer, get outside, or do just about anything except sitting around doing nothing?”
Encouragement is the key to motivation. Every parenting tool we are sharing in this Positive Discipline for Teenagers book is designed to encourage and motivate teens. In this article we’ll cover Six surefire Teen Motivators: compliments, humor, let’s make a deal/collateral, motivation through involvement, joint problem-solving and follow-through.
Compliments
People do better when they feel better. There’s nothing like getting a compliment for something you feel good about or being affirmed for who you are to improve motivation. This is true for everyone, but especially for teens, who often hear endless criticism, nagging, and complaining about their poor performance. If you’re used to using praise as a motivator, you may have a tough time finding something praiseworthy with your teen. That’s why we suggest encouragement because it works even when your kids are in the dumps and making mistakes.
One place to make sure everyone gets a compliment or appreciation is the family meeting. If you have weekly meetings and start each meeting with something positive, your teens might want to be at the meeting for that alone. A fifteen-year-old boy said his favorite time of the week was the appreciation/compliments he got at the family meeting.
During the week, look for ways to let your kids know how unique they are, what you appreciate about them, how adorable they were as little kids. Tell them stories about what they used to do when they were younger. Ask them if there’s something they wish people would say about them or like about them or notice about them, and then make sure you tell them exactly what they want to hear. They will like hearing it, even if they told you what they wanted.
Humor
Teenagers enjoy a sense of humor and respond to it much better than to lectures and nagging. The following situations illustrate how parents use humor to invite cooperation and to lighten things up.
When a teenage girl forgot to set the table, her mother served the dinner directly onto the table. Everyone laughed at the absurdity of the situation. The table was set on time from then on.
Peter was a father of three teens who used betting and guessing games to motivate the children and add humor to a situation. When Peter noticed the chores weren’t getting done as agreed, he’d say, “Someone forgot to do something they agreed to. I’ll give a dollar to the first person who guesses what it is.” The teens ran around the house trying to find out who the culprit was so they could win a dollar.

Another time Peter said, “I’ll bet two dollars you can’t finish your yard work before the football game starts.” He was effective using bets and games because they were infrequent and unexpected. Had Peter tried using bets as rewards and bribes, his children would have felt less respected because he would have inferred the only reason his teens helped the family was for the money.
Let’s Make A Deal and Using Collateral
“I’ll make you a deal. If you walk the dog for me on weekdays, I’ll do a special favor for you on weekends.”
“I’ll make you a deal. I’ll pick you and your friends up from the movie if you can find another parent to take you there.”
“I’ll make you a deal. I’ll match whatever you save for that new sweater (guitar, game, etc.)”
Collateral works really well with teens. If they want to borrow something of yours, they need to give you collateral which you will return when they return the item. Good collateral might be a favorite piece of clothing, an iPod, an iPad, a cell phone, etc. It needs to be an item that has value to your teen.
Motivation Through Involvement
Dana shared the following at a parenting class: “My daughter, Sage, is doing exceptionally well in school. She is getting the highest score on most tests, and she is not feeling challenged. At the last Parent Teacher Conference she asked for more challenging work from her teacher. Other members of the group wanted to know what Dana did to motivate Sage to do so well.”
Dana then shared the following: “I have learned that what works well with Sage is explaining to her the benefit of doing well. I use every opportunity I can to point them out to her. When she learns something new, I take it to the next level with more information and then point out to her that is what is so cool about learning, that you learn one new thing and it opens up a whole new world.”
Joint Problem Solving Works with Teens
Four Steps for Joint Problem Solving
Teen shares his or her issues and goals.
Parent shares his or her issues and goals.
If goals of teen and parent are far apart, brainstorm to find options.
Teen and parent pick an option they can both live with and try it out for a short time.
Follow-Through
The teen motivators we have discussed so far, are fairly quick and easy. Follow-through is more complicated and requires more guidance on your part, but it is worth the effort because it is a surefire method that really helps teens keep their agreements. Follow-through is an excellent alternative to authoritarian methods or permissiveness. With follow-through, you can meet the needs of the situation while maintaining dignity and respect for all concerned. Follow-through is also a way to help teens learn the life skills they need in order to feel good about themselves while learning to be contributing members of society.
Follow-through is a respectful, four-step approach to parenting teens that teaches cooperation, life skills, and responsibility in spite of resistance. It works whether you are trying to move your teen away from the computer, join the family, or keep up responsibilities to themselves and the family. The key is that follow-through involves you, because you are the only one who does the follow-through. The result is that your teen also follows through, but rarely without your participation. Think of this as one of your main co-pilot duties.
The Four Steps for Effective Follow-Through
Have a friendly discussion with your teen to gather information about what is happening regarding the problem. (Listen first and then share your thoughts.)
Brainstorm solutions with your teen. (Use your humor and throw in some exaggerations.) Choose one that both you and your teen can agree to. Finding a solution you both like may take some negotiating, because your favorite solution may be different from your teen’s favorite.
Agree on a date and time deadline.
Understand teens well enough to know that the deadline probably won’t be met and simply follow through on the agreement by kindly and firmly holding your teen accountable.
Before we provide examples of effective follow-through, it is important to understand the traps that defeat follow-through.
Four Traps That Defeat Follow-Through
Believing that teens think the way you think and have the same priorities you have.
Getting into judgments and criticism instead of sticking to the issue.
Not getting agreements in advance that include a specific time deadline.
Not maintaining dignity and respect for yourself and your teen
In our workshops, to help parents learn the art of follow-through and to show them that it really does work, we often ask for a volunteer to role-play a teen who has not kept an agreement to do a task, such as mowing the lawn. We then point to the Four Steps for Effective Follow-Through and ask the volunteer to pretend we have already gone through them as a parent and a teen. To set up the role-play, we ask the teen to sit in a chair and pretend he or she is playing a video game. The deadline has arrived, but the task is not done. We then role-play the adult who follows-through by using the following Four Hints for Effective Follow-Through.
Four Hints for Effective Follow-Through
Keep comments simple, concise, and friendly. (“I notice you didn’t do your task. Would you please do that now?”)
In response to objections, ask, “What was our agreement?”
In response to further objections, shut your mouth and use nonverbal communication. (Point to your watch after every argument. Smile knowingly. Give a hug and point to your watch again.) It helps to understand the concept of “less is more.” The less you say the more effective you will be. The more you say, the more ammunition you give your kids for an argument—which they will win every time.
When your teen concedes (sometimes with great annoyance), say, “Thank you for keeping our agreement.”
One thing we ask of the volunteer role-playing the teen is to be in the present moment. By this we mean the volunteer should respond to what is being done now rather than responding in ways that a teen would react to disrespectful methods. When the volunteer does this, it is amazing how quickly the “teen” comes to agreement (after a little resistance).
Kind and Firm Parenting Skills To Remember
You can motivate your teens with encouragement which is very different from trying to get your teens to do what you want.
Humor, collateral, let’s make a deal, and involvement are positive motivation tools.
There is one surefire way to get your kids to keep their agreements, and it’s called follow-through. It may be a lot of work for you in the beginning, but it will be worth every minute of the time you spend to train both you and your teen to use better habits.
Read the four steps, the four traps, and the four hints for successful follow- through again and again, because they are very different from how you would normally respond as a parent—and as a human.
You must be there at the first deadline to set up the follow-through. It won’t work in the long run without you there in the beginning.
If you whine or complain that using follow-through is too much work, track how much time you spend reminding and nagging your teen instead. Notice the effect that nagging has on you and on your teen. Keep a checklist of how often the task you are nagging about actually gets done. We call this a reality check.
Follow-through will help you use fewer words and your kids will hear you better.
Don’t hesitate to prepare in advance and maybe even practice with a friend. You can always listen to the Empowering Teenagers and Yourself in the Process CD for a live demonstration. It helps!
We do not recommend making contracts with your teens. If you need to write information down as a reminder for both of you, that is respectful and effective. Setting up a contract means you are treating your teenager like a client or an adversary. If you do sign a contract, don’t be surprised by your teen’s attitudes.

 

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Tough Love Can Help That Grown Child Get A Job

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/18926704/ns/business-careers/t/tough-love-can-help-grown-child-get-job/#.WGR0IoWcHcs

Is there a twentysomething unemployed kid lying on your couch?
If so, you’re not alone. Quite a few parents write me about their struggling adult children, many who are fresh out of college, who just can’t get on the right career path, or any path at all.
Many found the professions they had hoped to break into weren’t easy to break into. Others haven’t quite figured out what it is they want to do, biding their time in the rooms they grew up in waiting for the career fairy to show them a sign.

Nicholas Aretakis, author of “No More Ramen: The 20-Something’s Real World Survival Guide,” notes that 14 percent of all U.S. families had at least one adult child in their household in 2005, a big increase from 3 percent in 1970. And last year the jobless rate among 20- to 24-year-olds was 8.2 percent, more than double what the rate was among the 25-plus crowd, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Hands on” parents who are more likely to say they are “good friends” with their sons and daughters, Aretakis says, are willing to help with the job search and give their older children room and board in hopes of providing them with all of life’s advantages.
Unfortunately, sometimes moms and dads enable Junior’s lack of success.
“As long as parents are supporting these kids there will be no real drive to get out of the house,” says Mindy Bingham, author of “Career Choices and Changes.”

The key, she says, is an “expectation of self-sufficiency.” Parents should be having that conversation with kids starting at age 13 and 14, that they will be expected to take care of themselves and hold down a job when they become adults. But for older children now is a time for remediation, she advises. Give them an adult reality check — the gravy train is coming to an end.
Bingham suggests having adult kids contribute to the home by paying rent and covering all their own bills. That, she says, often puts the fire under young adults to find a career and move on.
Another parent faux pas — becoming a career buttinsky.
“I’ve heard of instances where parents were calling employers on their child’s behalf and asking why they didn’t get the job or where they’ve called to negotiate salaries,” says Stephen Seaward, director of career development at Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Conn. “Meanwhile, the employer is thinking, ‘Can this student handle himself if they have to have someone do this for them? How will I ever be able to use this person to interact with customers?’”
So the bottom line is, you have to strike a balance when helping your children find their career bliss. Advice, guidance, a shoulder to cry on. These are all acceptable. But this is their cross to bear, and if they don’t take on the career burden they may end up on your couch at age 30.
Here are some of your letters:
I’m a very frustrated mother. My son graduated last May with his master’s in microbiology from a Tennessee state college. He worked for the school two years while working on his masters. He did a semester internship while getting his B.S. in biology and graduated with an overall GPA of 3.7. He has sent out many resumes on the Internet and has only had one interview in the state of Iowa.
Many of the businesses want experience, yet no one is willing to give him a job. What do I do to help him? As a parent that has always taken care of her children, and tried to guide them in the right direction, things just don’t seem to be going so well. All he wants is a job, to use the degrees that he has earned after going to school. What can I do to help him? Who can I contact to help him? Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated.
— A Very Concerned Mom from Tennessee
A lot of the questions you’re asking include the word “I”. Unfortunately, you can’t get your son a job. It’s all up to him from now on; and you’re not a failure as a mom because he doesn’t have a gig yet.
Obviously, parents who have friends or relatives in the industry their children want to break into can open the door to those resources, but even in this case, the child has to be the one that calls these contacts and makes the connection.
I have often stated in my column that the key to finding a job is networking, not sending out resumes into the abyss that can often be web-based job boards.
Your son should go back to the college where he got his degree, and exhaust all the resources the career office there can offer. Also, he should start calling alumni from the school that have gone into his chosen career, says career counselor Anna Ivey. There is nothing wrong with making cold calls or sending e-mails to these individuals and find out if they know of jobs available or can hook them up with others in the industry.
And what about the organization where he did his internship? Are there jobs available there, or can they connect him with other firms who are looking to hire?
Thinking small can also help. If he wants a job in microbiology he should apply to smaller firms, possibly start ups that might give him an opportunity to learn. The pay may not be as good but it will get him the valuable experience he needs.

 

 

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How to Ruin Your Kid for Life
Ten ways to ensure that your child will not succeed.

1. Give your kid everything he wants. Don’t deny what will truly make him happy. Overvalue money and things in his eyes.
2. Dress your child in designer clothes, no matter the cost. Show her that her outward appearance matters most of all.
3. Place your child’s needs over those of your spouse. If she cries, run to her immediately. If she interrupts, give her your full attention.
4. Entertain your child throughout the day. If she wants to play tea, put your plans aside. If she wants to watch her favorite movie for the hundredth time, forget your idea of going for a walk and getting some sunshine.
5. Plan your menu around your child’s desires. No child should have to eat something he doesn’t like. If, by chance, you want to make something other than macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly, feel free to cook your own meal, just as long as you have time to fix what your child likes.
6. Sign your child up for as many extracurricular activities as she desires, even if it means giving up your evening plans on a regular basis. Don’t worry about trying to gather around the dinner table either. He can only be in the junior soccer league for so long, and you don’t want him to miss out.
7. Don’t discipline your child when she acts up. Everyone should learn to express herself in her own way. If she demands something, then applaud her efforts. At least you know that she will not be a pushover or a doormat in this world.
8. Don’t worry when your child fights with neighbor kids or even when he is a bully. Life is not fair, and someone always has to be the underdog. At least your child is learning to elbow his way to the top at a young age.
9. When your child has a disagreement with her teacher, always choose your child’s side. Don’t show up when the teacher wants to discuss your child’s problems. The teacher will want to take a course of disciplinary action and that’ll hurt your child’s feelings.
10. Don’t share your faith with your child. After all, you don’t want to offend. Let your child decide if she wants to hear Bible stories. And don’t pressure her to memorize Scripture verses. She might get disheartened if she doesn’t get it right the first time and you’ll ruin her self-esteem. More than that, you don’t want her to know there’s a God who runs the universe, makes the rules, and determines eternity. The thought is too hard, and your child might not understand. More than that, she won’t be self-dependent and strive to be a good person.

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Aging Parents

Source: http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Resources/Factsheets/Face_the_Facts.aspx

Face the Facts
Financial, legal, health care, and long-term care issues affect families, not just individuals. Aging parents may not understand how estate planning can affect their own financial status as well as that of their children.
The Eldercare Locator produced this guide to help families “face the facts” about important topics to discuss with aging parents. It addresses key areas of concern, suggested questions to ask, and ways in which families might initiate conversations.
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Key Considerations
Determine what benefits are provided by Social Security and any pensions. Then, determine whether your parents are eligible for other financial programs.
Ensure that each family member has a living will. Make sure you know the location of all insurance policies, wills, trust documents, investment and banking records, and tax returns.
Investigate what type of long-term care insurance coverage might be best for your parents. Note that premiums are usually lower when policies are purchased at younger ages.
Identify community services that can help your parents maintain independence for as long as possible. Learn what housing options are available to meet their changing needs.
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Financial Organization
Your parent may already be receiving or eligible for a variety of financial resources. Social Security is the federal program that provides retirees a regular income based on work history as well as benefits to workers with disabilities. Long-time workers usually have pensions that are retirement compensation plans either fully managed by the employer, or involve employee contributions, such as a Tax-Deferred Annuity (TDA) or Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Some people have “lost” a pension they earned, while others forget about a retirement account set up many years prior. Low-income individuals with disabilities or age 65 and older may also be eligible for monthly cash benefits through Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Ask…
What type of retirement income do they receive?
Are pension savings from all jobs being collected?
Is there a need to apply for SSI benefits?
Who can access important financial information in case of emergency?
Where do your parents keep these important documents?
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Legal Preparation
Wills and power of attorney may not be topics your relatives want to discuss; however, these issues need to be addressed to make sure that assets are properly taken care of and that medical treatment preferences are known. A will directs how a person wants property to be distributed after death and appoints a trusted person to be the executor. A durable power of attorney provides written authorization for a person you name to act on your behalf for whatever financial or health care purpose you spell out. An advance directive is a legal document that provides directions for your health care if you are unable to speak for yourself.
Ask…
Do your parents have a will?
Are their important legal documents up to date?
What other legal matters are you concerned about?
Have your parents executed a durable power of attorney or considered whom they want to make financial or health decisions if they are unable to do so?
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Health Insurance
Health care is a high-cost necessity, so it is crucial to know what is available and what your parents are eligible to receive. Most adults over age 65 are covered by Medicare, the federal health insurance program that helps pay medical expenses for older Americans and younger people with disabilities. However, Medicare does not cover all needs, such as long-term care, including nursing homes. Medicare Supplement Insurance (also called Medigap) might be necessary to cover additional health costs.
Medicaid, on the other hand, is the federal and state insurance program that helps pay the health care costs of low-income individuals of any age. Long-term care insurance is available through the private market to assist individuals to cover the cost of long-term care services such as home health and nursing home care.
Ask…
As health statuses change, are your parents prepared to meet their long-term care needs?
Do they have proper health insurance coverage (not too much or too little)?
Are they comfortably able to pay for prescription drugs and other out-of pocket health costs?
Who are their doctors and how can they be contacted, if necessary?
Where are their insurance cards, Medicare information, and other important health documents?
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Community Services
One of the most useful things that adult children can do for their parents is to provide information about resources that help maintain and enhance independence. Services like home modification are available to help reduce the risk of accidents and make daily activities more comfortable to perform.
There are many community resources that provide related information or services. Find out about support available through Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and local providers by contacting the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 or http://www.eldercare.gov.
Ask…
Are there home repairs or modifications, such as bathtub railings or an emergency response system, that could help your parents?
Do they need assistance with housekeeping, shopping, or personal care?
If they become homebound, would they need home-delivered meals?
Do they need transportation? If so, what services are available?
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Conversation Approaches
Prepare to be open, honest, and non-argumentative when discussing these topics with your loved ones. Consider preparing by doing research about the topics you want to review. Below are some approaches you can take, depending on the personality of the care recipient.
Direct: If the care recipient is a ‘no-nonsense’ personality, openly express your concerns and ask for information you need to address specific situations that might arise.
Educational: For the relative who needs a delicate push, you might begin by sharing the experience of another caregiver and how it made you realize the need to discuss issues that could help your whole family in the future.
Expert: For the relative who refuses to talk about personal issues or tends to accuse others of taking control, seek to make them the expert by asking for their advice about a particular issue. “What type of long-term care plan should I look into?” “Can you recommend someone to help me prepare my will?” This strategy is non-threatening and could lead them to share personal details or let you know where they stand on a subject.

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College freshman first-term grades: Should parents flip out or chill out

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com
Is your college freshman heading home for the holidays? Beyond the duffel bag bulging with dirty laundry and hair that’s overdue for a trim, he may be bringing you an unexpected surprise — his first-term grade report. While you’ve been listening to his tales of new friends and fun adventures, there might be a part of his new life he isn’t being totally honest about.
What should you do if your college freshman comes home with a less-than-stellar grade report?
For many college freshmen, moving away from home means freedom — probably more freedom than they’ve had ever. Even the most confident and mature teen can still find herself a little off-course when she’s adjusting to living on her own. With no curfew, no set family mealtimes and unlimited freedom, it’s not surprising that fall term grades might suffer. Many parents are shocked when their first-time freshman who earned high scores in high school comes home with less than refrigerator-worthy marks — but it’s more common than you might think.
“I’ve been doing this long enough to have seen it all,” shares Shereem Herndon-Brown, former admissions officer at Georgetown University, now founder and director of Strategic Admissions Advice LLC. “Struggling grades, unfortunate eating disorders, roommates from hell and, too often, binge drinking. All part of the freshman fall.”
This taste of freedom might take parents by surprise during those first few months away. “Although parents have been thinking, planning and saving for college for years, the real blow comes when they can’t reach their child at 3:00 a.m. on a Saturday night — probably out partying — or sometimes worse, actually reach them at 11:00 a.m. on a Tuesday when they should be in class,” he adds.
It isn’t just the social life that’s interfering with academics. For many freshmen, this is the first time in quite a few years they have really had any free time. College-bound high school students are not only cramming for AP exams and taking difficult courses, they also play on the volleyball team, in the marching band, sit on the student council, volunteer at the animal shelter and tutor chemistry on the side. Suddenly faced with a semester of only four classes, they have more time on their hands than they know how to manage.
Stephanie Kinkaid, assistant director of the Wackerle Career and Leadership Program at Monmouth College, says this is an area where students can use some guidance. “Parents can work with students by sharing time management skills. They can discuss using calendars and planners to keep track of appointments and deadlines.” For students who have always been booked solid with activities, learning to manage their time on their own may take some effort.
Meanwhile, parents who are used to closely monitoring their high school students’ grades may be surprised to learn that they aren’t automatically granted an all-access pass to view college grades. Kate Schurick is the dean of first year students at Union College. “Parents are in for a tough transition when it comes to college grades,” she shares. “For many, up-to-the-minute grades were available to parents throughout elementary, middle and high school.”
Many of us are used to logging on and keeping tabs on test grades and homework credit. But college grades are a whole new ball game for parents. “Grades are issued at the end of the semester or term. If a student is failing at midterms, students will be notified — but that is it,” Schurick adds. “Parents have to trust their [children] to discuss their grades with their parents and be honest about how they are doing.”
In an interesting twist on first-term grades, Wellesley College implemented its new Shadow Grading policy this fall. For their first term, freshman students take courses on a pass/fail basis. Professors still issue a letter grade equivalent to what they would have earned — the “shadow grade” — but the grade on record is a pass or fail. Lee Cuba is a professor of sociology and former dean of the college whose research led to the implementation of this policy. “Reactions to the new shadow grading program from a variety of constituencies — students, parents, and faculty — have been quite positive,” he shares. “Some students have reported that they chose different courses because of the policy, such as studying a different language than the one they had taken in high school or exploring a new subject … that wasn’t offered at their high school. Others have said they appreciated the opportunity to focus on how to read, write and speak in their classes, rather than worrying about each piece of graded work they get in every class,” he adds.
But Wellesley isn’t letting students off the hook completely. “We believe it is important for students to receive graded work in their first semester, as these grades convey important information about the standards and expectations of Wellesley faculty,” says Cuba. Students are encouraged to meet with faculty during office hours to discuss not only their grades, but other issues related to their academic progress. “Grades will also be shared with faculty who advise first year students,” he adds.

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Parenting Quote of The Day!

Send your little child to bed happy. Whatever cares press, give it a warm good-night kiss as it goes to its pillow. The memory of this in the stormy years which fate may have in store for the little one will be like Bethlehem’s star to the bewildered shepherds. — “My father — my mother loved me!” Fate cannot take away that blessed heart-balm. Lips parched with the world’s fever will become dewy again at this thrill of youthful memories. Kiss your little child before it goes to sleep. ~Charles Bullock, 1861

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What It’s Really Like To Grow Up As A Twin
“When we were in elementary school, we switched language classes. My twin sister, Shari, went to my Spanish class and I went to her French class. The only problem is that I didn’t know French at all and the teacher gave a pop quiz the day I was in Shari’s class! We also played tricks on boyfriends. I had a boyfriend who insisted he could easily tell us apart, so one day I had Shari go out with him as me. He kept telling her that she ‘looked better than ever,’ and at the end of the date, I appeared. He was so upset that he cried. We felt bad and decided we shouldn’t do that again.” — Judi Z., adult identical twin
Usually, they really, really like being twins
“I like to dress alike because then people say we look like twins. I like being a twin because we can play together, and there’s nothing I hate about being a twin. Sometimes we think alike, but we keep it a secret.” — Kadin, seven-year-old fraternal twin
Some similarities may be more because of nature than nurture
“Growing up, my sister and I were inseparable with a lot of very similar qualities, likes and dislikes.  Then we went to different colleges and came back two very different people. I am really laid-back and confident, and my sister is shyer and a bit insecure.” — Kristin, adult identical twin
Comparisons can be hurtful
“One of the worst things about being a twin is that we’re constantly being compared. No one wants to be the ‘fatter’ twin or the ‘weaker’ twin.”
may want to try giving them different gifts
“Growing up as a twin, most people assume you’re exactly alike, and it feels like people view you as one person. Being treated like you are a pair can make it hard to be an individual. When I started spending more time apart from my twin, I was able to figure out who I was besides being a twin. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a twin, but it’s hard to see yourself as an individual growing up. Our parents have always given us the same gifts for Christmas and our birthday, and this still continues today — I think it’s because they want to be fair. I wonder if all twins’ parents do that.” — Wendy, adult identical twin
It’s normal not to understand the things they say to each other
“We had a twin language when we were babies. My mom said it was like living with people who spoke Spanish or something — she could never figure out what we were up to. Now, we finish each other’s sentences all the time.” — Jamie, adult identical twin
They’ll find strategies to deal with twin-specific issues
“We did have a crush on the same guy when we were 13, and it wasn’t fun. We decided after that we would have a ‘whoever saw him first’ rule, and that has always worked for us.” — Judi Z.
Physical distance may never break their bond
“We’re not sure if it is the ‘twin sense,’ but we have countless examples of ‘feeling’ what the other one is.  Even just recently, my sister got extra nervous right around the time I was about to speak at a conference in another state.  Sure enough, she looked at the clock and it was the time I was getting on stage!” —
They can be very poetic about being a twin
“We are twins, and from birth — if not before — we were together on this journey. We were each other’s best friend and never needed others to keep us busy. Our interests are exactly alike. Even our other siblings could never have that same connection.” —_ Allen, adult identical twin_
People will say ridiculous things to them, but they’ll get used to it
“Never fails. People always ask, ‘Are you identical?’ when they see and know we’re boy/girl twins. Now c’mon!” — Katie, adult fraternal twin
“Someone once asked us if we could tell each other apart. Of course we know which one we are!” —_ Judi Z._
“We’re often asked, ‘So, does that mean you have the same birthday?’” — Amber
“I’m curvier than my twin, so there have always been comments about me stealing or absorbing body parts of hers in the womb.” — Grace, adult fraternal twin
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Teaching Etiquette Scenarios, Manners & Mistakes for Families

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Advantage of Family Time

Parents and children both benefit from spending quality family time together. Children feel special when their parents take the time to do fun activities with them, as even simple everyday errands can make for a great bonding experience.
Nourish Interactive says there are countless benefits of doing family activities together, including:

Creating a stronger emotional bond between parents and children.
Allowing for better communication between family members.
Superior performances in school, as children who spend time communicating with their parents tend to get better grades.
Less likely to exhibit behavioral problems, since kids with parents who spend quality family time together typically have fewer problem behaviors.

Working parents combined with kids involved in extracurricular activities can make for busy schedules without a lot of extra room for family activities. If this sounds familiar, that’s okay. Simple things like having dinner together each night can create the meaningful family time that your children really need.

Fun Activities to Do With Your Family
Spending quality family time together doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. In fact, some of the most fun activities are little-to-no cost adventures. Try these family activities from Parents Magazine to make lasting memories with your children:

Volunteer: Instill a sense of empathy in your children by volunteering together as a family at a local soup kitchen, nursing home, hospital, or other local organization that needs your help. This is a very positive way to give back to your community while spending quality family time together.

Cooking: Kids love to feel like they’re helping their parents with adult tasks, so spend a rainy afternoon baking cookies together or let them help you make dinner. Not only will this give your children a sense of pride and accomplishment, it also helps to set the foundation for teaching them how to cook.

Visit a Fire Station or Police Station: Schedule a tour with your local fire department or at the police station in your town. Your kids will have a great time meeting the firemen or police officers and getting a behind-the-scenes tour of where they work.

Check Out a Minor League Game: Have a fun night out at the ballpark cheering on your local minor league team. It’s typically easy to get tickets to a minor league game and a much more affordable option for families on a budget.

Sample Exotic Cuisine: Choose a type of food that your children have yet to sample and find a restaurant that serves it. Have fun taste testing different dishes with them to see if they like it.

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Get More Out of Family Meals

Source: http://www.betterparenting.com/get-more-out-of-family-meals/

You’ve probably heard a zillion times that eating together as a family is good for you. Studies show doing this a few times a week help kids to do better in school, take fewer risks, and learn to communicate better? But how are you supposed to get them there when everyone’s lives are hectic, filled, and overscheduled? Use the following ideas and printables to help you tame the hungry beasts and get more out of every meal.
Keep ‘Em Busy Before Dinner
Part of what makes family meals so rushed is just the getting there. Yes – it would be amazing if I could wave my wand and produce a healthy, balanced, attractive meal that my family wants to gather around in less than 15 minutes. But between the dog waiting between my feet for a stray crumb to fall, teenagers hovering and asking How much longer? with the impatience of a toddler on a car drive, and the younger kids turning the kitchen rug into a magic carpet, I am lucky to set the table in 15 minutes. This is when I need a plan – and I need to keep them busy – just long enough to prepare the meal.

Place settings – Encourage the kids to set the table – without just tossing a handful of random forks in a pile.
Use this cheat sheet for your kids and let them set the table – It will pass the time and help keep them busy.

Check out some of these napkin folding ideas – elementary and older kids can have fun trying to create the perfect swan or come up with their own creation. I use cloth napkins just made from cotton squares of fabric that I zig-zagged along the edges.
Placemats – Give Younger kids these printable placemats – there are 10 different borders and each child can have a unique placemat or you can print enough of the same kind for each family member. Kids can decorate the center of the placemat with self-portraits, pictures of their favorite foods, and words or pictures that describe what your child did that day (a great conversation starter for the meal, too!).

Make Some Menus – You can just have the kids use a chalkboard or dry erase board and let them write down a café-style menu, or use paper and crayons to make a menu to hang on the wall. You can also print these and let the kids complete the rest.
Pillowcase Chair Covers – These easy projects can add a special touch to any meal – no sewing needed! You can even use pillowcases you find at thrift stores, and supplies around the house. Just make sure that the case is wide enough for your chairs. There are many ways the kids can decorate their chair covers:
Lay the pillowcase flat on the table and have the kids stamp their handprints on the fabric.

Give the kids stampers or fabric paint to decorate their chair covers.
Use chains of old jewelry, beads, or even belts to secure the chair covers.

Simply tie with a bow – add a decoration if wanted.
Let the kids get creative – and they will stay busy, too!
Try some of these easy recipes and get your kids in the kitchen – family meals are about more than filling bellies – they are about filling hearts and minds.

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NIPPS – National Program for Playground Safety

Source: http://www.playgroundsafety.org/about

Play is an important part of childhood. Despite the improvements in playground equipment and surfacing and messages about the importance of supervision on playgrounds, 235,000 children are seen in U.S. hospital emergency rooms with injuries associated with playground equipment each year. Most injuries occur when a child falls from the equipment onto the ground.

Our Mission
The future for us is simple:
Every child will have access to play in a safe environment.
Communities will be educated on quality outdoor play areas.
Local, state, and national leaders will support children’s outdoor play.
Since 1995, the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) has been the leader in research, training, and development of S.A.F.E. play areas in the nation! The National Program for Playground Safety seeks to empower communities to create safe, inclusive, and high quality play areas for children. We do this through research-based advocacy and training.

Our goals:
To raise community awareness of children’s outdoor play areas.
To advocate at the local, state, and national level for safe, inclusive, high quality play areas for children.
To educate professionals who are involved with children’s play areas.

 

 

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How to get along with younger sibling.

 

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I saw this article and even though school has already started for many of you it is a great article on juggling school and new baby in the house.

Juggling a Sibling’s School Schedule and Baby’s Sleeping Schedule
What to do when school’s about to start and the baby’s still asleep

Source: https://www.parentmap.com/article/parenting-baby-with-a-school-aged-sibling

Before my second child was born, another parent in our co-op preschool said that when one has a second child, nap schedules go out the window. But does it have to be that way? I wondered. Everyone knows it: Sleep is essential for health — and learning. But when there’s a baby or toddler in the house in addition to a preschool- or school-age child, can you balance the school schedule and nap needs of everyone in the family? I set out to find out.
When I asked a round of experts whether the nap schedule has to go out the window when a second child is in the picture, the answer was pretty much unanimous: No!

Before we get into the practical tips, we need to emphasize why it’s so important to put in the hard but worthy work of strategic scheduling.

“Sleep is essential for the well-being of children,” says Dr. Elizabeth Meade, a pediatric hospitalist at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. “There are direct correlations between inadequate sleep and problems with behavior, obesity, general health, development and neurocognition. Practicing good sleep hygiene with your kids from an early age will cement healthy habits and give them a huge advantage through adulthood.”

So when school resumes in the fall, how will you juggle the kids’ schedules while respecting the baby’s need for sleep as much as possible? You’re going to have to be flexible, but remember:
“Respect the naps,” says Dr. Maida Lynn Chen, director of the Pediatric Sleep Disorders Center at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “This means creating a defined opportunity for the baby to nap, and not just keeping your fingers crossed that 1) he/she falls asleep, and 2)  it’s somewhere and sometime that you don’t need to wake them.” This might be in the crib, or it might be on the go (never let baby nap alone in a car).

Create a semblance of routine — from trying to set a couple of naps a day that are predictable and similar to consistency around the activities going on around babies during awake times.
All for one, one for all

Routine plays into a baby’s sleep in a big way. Chen encourages parents to create a semblance of routine — from trying to set a couple of naps a day that are predictable and similar to consistency around the activities going on around babies during awake times.
“Involve the baby in the school routine,” Chen says. “Get them dressed and ready to ‘go to school,’ then home for a nap after drop-off, another nap prior to pickup, then ready for afternoon activities, too,” just like your older child does, she says. “Don’t plan on having them nap through those activities. If you need to bring the baby, involve them! This gives them the cues to stay awake, and it helps to enforce that daily schedule.”

Remember that saying “It takes a village”? Consider asking someone to watch the sleeping baby at home — maybe while you’re picking up their child in addition to your older child, Chen suggests. And if you’re going to alter your baby’s nap, try an earlier nap rather than a later one, she recommends, as delaying it can make the baby overtired and therefore make it difficult to get baby to fall sleep.
Make up for lost time

Sometimes, you have to wake up the baby or skip nap. In those cases, think about the total amount of sleep, not just the particular windows of sleep; give the baby extra sleep at night, Chen says. “It might seem like a ridiculously early bedtime. But if sleep doesn’t happen during the day, then it needs to be extra prioritized and protected at nighttime.”

Finally, go into the school year with realistic expectations. “From a parent’s perspective, and perhaps with your pediatrician’s guidance, every parent needs to define how they view napping success or failure,” Chen says. Consider whether you need every nap to be at the same time and place, or whether you’re OK with being more flexible. Also think about the help you have available and your other concrete obligations during the day, she says.
Keep perspective

All this hard work balancing sleep will benefit your baby, sure. But it can also be a sweet time with the older child.
“You might plan special one-on-one time with an older sibling while baby is napping — time for crafts, reading, playing together at home,” says Dr. Rachael Schuessler, a family medicine physician at The Polyclinic Northgate. “The older child might even enjoy helping mom or dad with chores. You could also encourage an older brother or sister to have an hour of ‘quiet time.’”

Finally, with all this talk about naps, nighttime sleep is important, too. Make sure you’re practicing good sleep hygiene at night, and that each kid is ultimately getting the sleep they need. Finally, be realistic about what to expect.

“Some days will be better and easier than others,” says Dr. Liana McCabe, a pediatrician at Virginia Mason University Village Medical Center in Seattle. “You may have a day when your kids sleep at the same time, and the next day your baby will be woken up by your school-age child’s tantrum. Some days you’ll get everything done on your to-do list, and other days you’ll get nothing done. As long as you have been a loving parent, you have succeeded!”

 

 

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How to keep a house tidy with small kids

Source: http://amotherfarfromhome.com/how-to-keep-a-house-tidy-with-small-kids/

First of all, I don’t think it’s imperative that the house be tidy all the time. As a general rule. However, for some reason, an untidy and messy house really drives me nuts. I find it difficult to relax or work in a chaotic environment and pretty much would lose sleep over the fact that the house was a wreck. If it was a constant wreck, that is.
Each of us grew up in houses that had a certain level of clutter, mess and organization. We got used to that. More than likely, that is the standard to which we’d like our homes to be kept now. If your mother was very clean and tidy (as mine is) then a mess may be very noticeable to you. If you grew up in a home where clutter, toys, or messes were common and not a big deal, then perhaps you don’t stress about the state of the house. Whatever works for your family and you, keep at it.

How to keep a tidy house with small kids
If you are like me (God help you) then having children only means that keeping the house clean will be more challenging. It doesn’t mean it can be forgotten for a few years. Here are some tips for those of us who won’t let the idea that we can still keep a tidy house die. Perseverance and endurance to us all!

(1) Revisit your definition of tidy.
First and foremost, we mothers need to revisit what it means to be tidy. Tidy used to mean everything where we put it since the last time we moved it. It used to mean that surfaces were clear, things were in proper boxes and the house was almost always ready for visitors. Tidy now will mean something different. It may mean there are a few baskets filled with visible toys. The toys are in the baskets, but still. You can see the baskets. Here are some super cute baskets for kids rooms.
It may mean that throughout the day there will be times when the house is in full play mode which means, obviously, that the house isn’t always “company ready.” Of course, most company we keep wouldn’t even notice anyway. Tidy will still look as though the house is in order and picked up. But it will be a different picked up order than before.
(2) Work with your children not against them.
After my first child started crawling and pulling things around I was personally offended. Does she not know that I want the house to look neat? Is she doing this to pop my forehead vein?!?  After a while I realized that was not the case, and that I needed to figure out some good systems that let the kids be kids and let the house be neat and orderly, but still be home.
I let them throw around their toys, games and blocks while they are playing. When they are finished we all pick them up together. Of course, some days this is me standing over them handing them a block telling them to put it in the basket. Some days they do it happily, some days they run away. That’s life. However, if I let them run wild with things then I make them put it back later.

(3) Downsize the knickknacks.
One way that I’ve managed to keep the house from looking like an indoor yard sale is to minimize the sit-about, tchotchkes, and Knick knacks. If I want to put sentimental and decorative items on display I do so where they are above arms reach. Not because I don’t want to teach my children to avoid certain things, but simply because the little ones only have so much willpower and 4,356 picture frames, candles and coasters are too much for them to resist day in and day out.
Plus, we can’t very well have them touch nothing in the house. On lower surfaces I keep the bare minimum to be pleasing to my eye and it means there are less things strewn about the house. Is it just me or can a child somehow manage to dislocate about 35 things in one trip to the bathroom?
(4) Make daily sweeps.
We clean up after playtime and I do a major sweep after the children are in bed. That’s it. Those two things means that almost every evening (unless it is a particularly busy evening) the house looks neat and tidy before bed. And it really only takes around 10 minutes max each time to do it. I put things back where they came from and that’s it. Two or three days of messes make cleaning and tidying longer so I try to do it every single day so that it doesn’t build up. Remember, it’s much easier to maintain.

(5) Organize well.
If things don’t have a place they end up on the kitchen counter. Or so it is at our house. And if toys don’t have a place they end up hiding where my foot finds them in the dark tempting me to yell bad words that I would forbid my children to say. I have baskets and places for everything. I’m not saying they’re beautiful. I’m not saying everything is labeled – although I love my label maker – but simply everything has a place. This makes tidying easy because each evening as you do a sweep (or as you have your children clean up after themselves with you) you can put up a pile of things quickly when you know where each belong.
Sometimes the house looks fabulous. Sometimes the house looks awful. Sometimes I see spider webs I ignore. Sometimes I have all the kids wiping down surfaces with me. It comes and goes. I don’t feel like a failure if it looks “lived in” but I do think that teaching our children to clean after themselves and tidy isn’t some form of child abuse. It won’t kill them to clean up. It won’t kill me to clean up. While a perfectly tidy house won’t make all our dreams come true, I think it will help us not get too down in the dumps when we are nursing the “I’m-so-frumpy-all-I-do-is-the-dishes” syndrome.

To read more go to link above.

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Shared Kids’ Rooms
Check out our tips for creating fabulous shared spaces for siblings who bunk together.

Source: http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/bedroom/nursery-transition/shared-kids-rooms/

When my husband and I began searching for a larger home — a third child and a big dog had turned our previous one from cozy to crowded — one of our goals was to have a bedroom for each of our three kids. Our two daughters had been sharing a room for nearly three years, and despite the fact that they got along well, our 10-year-old, Nicole, had been asking for her own room.

So last August we moved to a bigger house. And for the first three months, Nicole and Emily, 8, hardly spent a night apart. When they tried, one would often awaken during the night and hop into bed with the other. Nine months later, they have finally settled into their own rooms. But on a regular basis, one sister still meanders across the hall for a sleepover.

“When children are young, they gain a feeling of security from another’s presence, and a sibling can be a real comfort at bedtime,” says Patricia Dalton, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and family therapist in Washington, DC. Rather than feeling guilty or regretful if their children don’t have their own rooms, parents should recognize the benefits of the situation. “Children who share a room learn a lot about give-and-take and tend to work things out on their own when given the chance,” Dr. Dalton says.

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Pregnancy-New Baby At Home

Source: http://womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/childbirth-beyond/recovering-from-birth.html

Right now, you are focused on caring for your new baby. But new mothers must take special care of their bodies after giving birth and while breastfeeding, too. Doing so will help you to regain your energy and strength. When you take care of yourself, you are able to best care for and enjoy your baby.

Getting rest

The first few days at home after having your baby are a time for rest and recovery — physically and emotionally. You need to focus your energy on yourself and on getting to know your new baby. Even though you may be very excited and have requests for lots of visits from family and friends, try to limit visitors and get as much rest as possible. Don’t expect to keep your house perfect. You may find that all you can do is eat, sleep, and care for your baby. And that is perfectly okay. Learn to pace yourself from the first day that you arrive back home. Try to lie down or nap while the baby naps. Don’t try to do too much around the house. Allow others to help you and don’t be afraid to ask for help with cleaning, laundry, meals, or with caring for the baby.

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Physical changes

After the birth of your baby, your doctor will talk with you about things you will experience as your body starts to recover.

  • You will have vaginal discharge called lochia (LOH-kee-uh). It is the tissue and blood that lined your uterus during pregnancy. It is heavy and bright red at first, becoming lighter in flow and color until it goes aware after a few weeks.
  • You might also have swelling in your legs and feet. You can reduce swelling by keeping your feet elevated when possible.
  • You might feel constipated. Try to drink plenty of water and eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Menstrual-like cramping is common, especially if you are breastfeeding. Your breast milk will come in within three to six days after your delivery. Even if you are not breastfeeding, you can have milk leaking from your nipples, and your breasts might feel full, tender, or uncomfortable.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions on how much activity, like climbing stairs or walking, you can do for the next few weeks.

Your doctor will check your recovery at your postpartum visit, about six weeks after birth. Ask about resuming normal activities, as well as eating and fitness plans to help you return to a healthy weight. Also ask our doctor about having sex and birth control. Your period could return in six to eight weeks, or sooner if you do not breastfeed. If you breastfeed, your period might not resume for many months. Still, using reliable birth control is the best way to prevent pregnancy until you want to have another baby.

Related information

Some women develop thyroid problems in the first year after giving birth. This is called postpartum thyroiditis (theye-royd-EYET-uhss). It often begins with overactive thyroid, which lasts two to four months. Most women then develop symptoms of an underactive thyroid, which can last up to a year. Thyroid problems are easy to overlook as many symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep problems, low energy, and changes in weight, are common after having a baby. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms that do not go away. An underactive thyroid needs to be treated. In most cases, thyroid function returns to normal as the thyroid heals. But some women develop permanent underactive thyroid disease, called Hashimoto’s disease, and need lifelong treatment.

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Regaining a healthy weight and shape

Both pregnancy and labor can affect a woman’s body. After giving birth you will lose about 10 pounds right away and a little more as body fluid levels decrease. Don’t expect or try to lose additional pregnancy weight right away. Gradual weight loss over several months is the safest way, especially if you are breastfeeding. Nursing mothers can safely lose a moderate amount of weight without affecting their milk supply or their babies’ growth.

A healthy eating plan along with regular physical fitness might be all you need to return to a healthy weight. If you are not losing weight or losing weight too slowly, cut back on foods with added sugars and fats, like soft drinks, desserts, fried foods, fatty meats, and alcohol. Keep in mind, nursing mothers should avoid alcohol. By cutting back on “extras,” you can focus on healthy, well-balanced food choices that will keep your energy level up and help you get the nutrients you and your baby need for good health. Make sure to talk to your doctor before you start any type of diet or exercise plan.

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Feeling blue

After childbirth you may feel sad, weepy, and overwhelmed for a few days. Many new mothers have the “baby blues” after giving birth. Changing hormones, anxiety about caring for the baby, and lack of sleep all affect your emotions.

Be patient with yourself. These feelings are normal and usually go away quickly. But if sadness lasts more than two weeks, go see your doctor. Don’t wait until you postpartum visit to do so. You might have a serious but treatable condition called postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can happen any time within the first year after birth.

Don’t wait!

Call 911 or your doctor if you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.

Signs of postpartum depression include:

  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Feeling sad, depressed, or crying a lot
  • Having no energy
  • Having headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations (the heart being fast and feeling like it is skipping beats), numbness, or hyperventilation (fast and shallow breathing)
  • Not being able to sleep, being very tired, or both
  • Not being able to eat and weight loss
  • Overeating and weight gain
  • Trouble focusing, remembering, or making decisions
  • Being overly worried about the baby
  • Not having any interest in the baby
  • Feeling worthless and guilty
  • Having no interest or getting no pleasure from activities like sex and socializing
  • Thoughts of harming your baby or yourself

Some women don’t tell anyone about their symptoms because they feel embarrassed or guilty about having these feelings at a time when they think they should be happy. Don’t let this happen to you! Postpartum depression can make it hard to take care of your baby. Infants with mothers with postpartum depression can have delays in learning how to talk. They can have problems with emotional bonding. Your doctor can help you feel better and get back to enjoying your new baby. Therapy and/or medicine can treat postpartum depression. Get more details on postpartum depression in our Depression during and after pregnancy fact sheet.

Emerging research suggests that 1 in 10 new fathers may experience depression during or after pregnancy. Although more research is needed, having depression may make it harder to be a good father and perhaps affect the baby’s development. Having depression may also be related to a mother’s depression. Expecting or new fathers with emotional problems or symptoms of depression should talk to their doctors. Depression is a treatable illness.

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More information on Recovering from birth

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Right now, you are focused on caring for your new baby. But new mothers must take special care of their bodies after giving birth and while breastfeeding, too. Doing so will help you to regain your energy and strength. When you take care of yourself, you are able to best care for and enjoy your baby.

Getting rest

The first few days at home after having your baby are a time for rest and recovery — physically and emotionally. You need to focus your energy on yourself and on getting to know your new baby. Even though you may be very excited and have requests for lots of visits from family and friends, try to limit visitors and get as much rest as possible. Don’t expect to keep your house perfect. You may find that all you can do is eat, sleep, and care for your baby. And that is perfectly okay. Learn to pace yourself from the first day that you arrive back home. Try to lie down or nap while the baby naps. Don’t try to do too much around the house. Allow others to help you and don’t be afraid to ask for help with cleaning, laundry, meals, or with caring for the baby.

Physical changes

After the birth of your baby, your doctor will talk with you about things you will experience as your body starts to recover.

  • You will have vaginal discharge called lochia (LOH-kee-uh). It is the tissue and blood that lined your uterus during pregnancy. It is heavy and bright red at first, becoming lighter in flow and color until it goes aware after a few weeks.
  • You might also have swelling in your legs and feet. You can reduce swelling by keeping your feet elevated when possible.
  • You might feel constipated. Try to drink plenty of water and eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Menstrual-like cramping is common, especially if you are breastfeeding. Your breast milk will come in within three to six days after your delivery. Even if you are not breastfeeding, you can have milk leaking from your nipples, and your breasts might feel full, tender, or uncomfortable.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions on how much activity, like climbing stairs or walking, you can do for the next few weeks.

Your doctor will check your recovery at your postpartum visit, about six weeks after birth. Ask about resuming normal activities, as well as eating and fitness plans to help you return to a healthy weight. Also ask our doctor about having sex and birth control. Your period could return in six to eight weeks, or sooner if you do not breastfeed. If you breastfeed, your period might not resume for many months. Still, using reliable birth control is the best way to prevent pregnancy until you want to have another baby.

Related information

Some women develop thyroid problems in the first year after giving birth. This is called postpartum thyroiditis (theye-royd-EYET-uhss). It often begins with overactive thyroid, which lasts two to four months. Most women then develop symptoms of an underactive thyroid, which can last up to a year. Thyroid problems are easy to overlook as many symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep problems, low energy, and changes in weight, are common after having a baby. Talk to your doctor if you have symptoms that do not go away. An underactive thyroid needs to be treated. In most cases, thyroid function returns to normal as the thyroid heals. But some women develop permanent underactive thyroid disease, called Hashimoto’s disease, and need lifelong treatment.

Regaining a healthy weight and shape

Both pregnancy and labor can affect a woman’s body. After giving birth you will lose about 10 pounds right away and a little more as body fluid levels decrease. Don’t expect or try to lose additional pregnancy weight right away. Gradual weight loss over several months is the safest way, especially if you are breastfeeding. Nursing mothers can safely lose a moderate amount of weight without affecting their milk supply or their babies’ growth.

A healthy eating plan along with regular physical fitness might be all you need to return to a healthy weight. If you are not losing weight or losing weight too slowly, cut back on foods with added sugars and fats, like soft drinks, desserts, fried foods, fatty meats, and alcohol. Keep in mind, nursing mothers should avoid alcohol. By cutting back on “extras,” you can focus on healthy, well-balanced food choices that will keep your energy level up and help you get the nutrients you and your baby need for good health. Make sure to talk to your doctor before you start any type of diet or exercise plan.

Feeling blue

After childbirth you may feel sad, weepy, and overwhelmed for a few days. Many new mothers have the “baby blues” after giving birth. Changing hormones, anxiety about caring for the baby, and lack of sleep all affect your emotions.

Be patient with yourself. These feelings are normal and usually go away quickly. But if sadness lasts more than two weeks, go see your doctor. Don’t wait until you postpartum visit to do so. You might have a serious but treatable condition called postpartum depression. Postpartum depression can happen any time within the first year after birth.

Don’t wait!

Call 911 or your doctor if you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.

Signs of postpartum depression include:

  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Feeling sad, depressed, or crying a lot
  • Having no energy
  • Having headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations (the heart being fast and feeling like it is skipping beats), numbness, or hyperventilation (fast and shallow breathing)
  • Not being able to sleep, being very tired, or both
  • Not being able to eat and weight loss
  • Overeating and weight gain
  • Trouble focusing, remembering, or making decisions
  • Being overly worried about the baby
  • Not having any interest in the baby
  • Feeling worthless and guilty
  • Having no interest or getting no pleasure from activities like sex and socializing
  • Thoughts of harming your baby or yourself

Some women don’t tell anyone about their symptoms because they feel embarrassed or guilty about having these feelings at a time when they think they should be happy. Don’t let this happen to you! Postpartum depression can make it hard to take care of your baby. Infants with mothers with postpartum depression can have delays in learning how to talk. They can have problems with emotional bonding. Your doctor can help you feel better and get back to enjoying your new baby. Therapy and/or medicine can treat postpartum depression. Get more details on postpartum depression in our Depression during and after pregnancy fact sheet.

Emerging research suggests that 1 in 10 new fathers may experience depression during or after pregnancy. Although more research is needed, having depression may make it harder to be a good father and perhaps affect the baby’s development. Having depression may also be related to a mother’s depression. Expecting or new fathers with emotional problems or symptoms of depression should talk to their doctors. Depression is a treatable illness.

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More information on Recovering from birth

Explore other publications and websites

 

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How long should children be allowed to play video games?

Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160909112006.htm

A new study indicates that playing video games for a limited amount of time each week may provide benefits to children, but too much can be detrimental. The findings are published in the Annals of Neurology.

There’s much debate over the potential benefits and risks of video gaming in children and teens. To provide some clarity, Jesus Pujol, MD, of the Hospital del Mar in Spain, and his colleagues investigated the relationship between weekly video game use and certain cognitive abilities and conduct-related problems.

In their study of 2442 children aged 7 to 11 years, the researchers found that playing video games for one hour per week was associated with better motor skills and higher school achievement scores, but no further benefits were observed in children playing more than two hours each week.

The team also found that weekly time spent gaming was steadily linked with conduct problems, peer conflicts, and reduced social abilities, with such negative effects being especially prominent in children who played nine or more hours of video games each week.

“Video gaming per se is neither good nor bad, but its level of use makes it so,” said Dr. Pujol.

When the investigators looked at magnetic resonance imaging scans of the brains of a subgroup of children in the study, they noted that gaming was linked with changes in basal ganglia white matter and functional connectivity. “Gaming use was associated with better function in brain circuits critical for learning based on the acquisition of new skills through practice,” Dr. Pujol explained. “Children traditionally acquire motor skills through action, for instance in relation to sports and outdoor games. Neuroimaging research now suggests that training with desktop virtual environments is also capable of modulating brain systems that support motor skill learning.” Source: reprinted from materials provide by Wiley.

 

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How to get kids to listen

Source: http://www.kidspot.com.au/parenting/parenthood/parenting-style/how-to-get-kids-to-listen

The frustration on this parent’s face was clear. We were part-way through a recent parenting workshop I was running when the issue arose.

As the group discussed the challenge this parent was facing I asked, “When your children want your attention, what do you normally say or do?”

There was silence, then the lightbulb moment occurred. Eyes were wide, mouths dropped open…

“I say I’ll be there in a minute, or hang on just a sec,” said one parent.

“I usually just tell them to be patient,” volunteered another.

“I get annoyed at them for interrupting and being inconvenient,” was another response.

Heads were nodding around the room as mums and dads realized that when they wanted their child’s attention, their kids were reacting exactly the way they had been taught to by them.

While the parents were making demands for action ‘NOW!’, their children were responding in the same way they had observed whenever they requested something of their parents.

Lead by example

Actions really do speak louder than words when it comes to parenting. Our children look at what we do, and they do it. For example:

“NO SHOUTING IN THIS HOUSE” will not teach our children to use quiet voices.

“Stop hitting your sister when you’re angry” is not a command that will be followed by our children if it is accompanied by a parent slapping a child for hitting (or biting, or anything else physical).

Beyond example, are there any other ways that we can encourage our children to listen?

5 tips for getting kids to listen

  • 1. Be reasonable in requests. Is what you are asking really necessary? Does it really have to be done right now in the way you want it done? Is there room for flexibility?
  • 2. Try not to interrupt your children too much. They may be only “playing”, but play is some of the most important work they can do. They may be in the middle of their favourite tv show. Wait until the ads. Show the same respect you expect of them toward you.
  • 3. Don’t demand everything NOW! Instead, get their attention, explain what you are after, and set a mutually agreeable time table. It might be today, it might be within an hour, or it might be in the next five minutes. But don’t demand it now unless it needs to be done now.
  • 4. Use gentle reminders. Instead of being upset, making a commotion, and inviting resistance, simply say your child’s name and one or two words about what is required. For example, “Josh, please pack your lunchbox.”
  • 5. Get your child’s attention, and speak softer and softer. The irony is that when we shout, people switch off. It’s offensive. But when we speak softly they strain to take in every word we say. Your message will get across with focused soft speaking.

 

 

 

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Manage Your Household Like a CEO With These 9 Tips

Source; https://www.learnvest.com/2012/03/manage-your-household-like-a-ceo-with-these-9-tips/

1. Be Solutions-Oriented

Instead of just refusing your kids’ request or disapproving of their behavior, be clear about what they should be doing. “Don’t just say no, or accept no,” says Deborah Michael, founder of North Shore Pediatric Therapy. She points out that blaming and screaming won’t get an executive, or a mom, very far. (Work-wise, employees respond better to “Do this instead” than to “That’s terrible. You shouldn’t have done that.”) We went more in-depth about her preferred method of managing underlings, which involves the ABCs of behavioral training.

2. Always Have a Backup

Always have a Plan —or Person—B.  Margelit Hoffman of Hoffman Productions keeps her ear to the ground, always looking for new talent. In the workplace, it means keeping an eye out for promising new hires, and at home it means staying on alert for great babysitters, lest her go-to sitter fall through. “Always be looking. I’m learning the hard way to use this idea when it comes to babysitters. There always comes a time when you need backup.”

3. Limit Your To-Do List

Chandra Clarke, co-founder of Scribendi.com, recommends keeping ‘to-do’ lists short. “If you set yourself (or someone else) a task list that has ten items, and eight items get crossed off, that is actually an 80% success rate, but it still somehow feels like a failure,” she says. “We keep it to a ‘top three,’ which is updated daily. If you get your top three done, then you feel great, and anything else you get done feels like a bonus. Restricting it to three items really forces you to prioritize.”

4. Go High-Tech
In her office, >Fashion Forward Maternity CEO Erin Lewis uses Google Calendar to sort out competing schedules, travel and appointments. Now she’s instituted it at home as well. “My husband and I both travel for work, and I’m currently finishing my MBA,” she says. “We have two children, two part-time nannies and a daycare schedule to follow, so we give everyone access to Google Calendar. That way we can plan ahead and  look back and make sure we’re planning enough fun family time.”

5. Be a Winning Team

Nellie Akalp, the CEO and co-founder of CorpNet.com, finds that operating as a team provides the most success, especially in her family of six. “At the office we work as a team. Then, when things go right, we all get to share in the company’s success. It’s the same at home–every member of the family fulfills his or her responsibilities (like setting the dinner table, cleaning the house, making beds, taking out trash, cleaning up after the dog), and we all get to share a comfortable home.” To encourage the teamwork mentality, she rewards good behavior by allowing the family to choose a fun activity they would like to do as a group instead of rewarding individual members.

6. Get the Information Upfront

Ask for all of the information before making a decision. At work, Sandi Webster, a Principal at Consultants 2 Go and former Director at American Express, needs all of the information and total cost upfront to see if there’s room in the budget for what her employee wants, and when raising her niece, she asks for the same. She started asking why her niece needed the requested treat/toy/outing at age three. “By the time they’re teenagers, they’re used to you explaining when, where, how (How do they expect to get there? How much will it cost?) and who (Who is going to chaperone? Who is going to be there?).”

7. Stick to the Schedule

Petplan co-founder and co-CEO Natasha Ashton finds that her employees work best when they know exactly where they stand and what to expect. She structures the office to disrupt her employees’ schedule as little as possible, and applies the same diligence to her son’s schedule: When he was only six weeks old, she created a spreadsheet detailing his routine, and has been similarly conscientious for  years. “Children hate nothing more than uncertainty,” she explains. “Even when we’re traveling for work, we make sure his routine isn’t disrupted. He always has the same mealtimes, bath time, story time and bedtime. Relying on his schedule gives him the reassurance he needs to thrive.”

8. Treat Personal Finances Like a Departmental Budget

Linda Drumright, CEO of Decision View, treated her children’s spending like a company budget when she sent them off to college. “Before they left, we sat down and listed every single expense we could think of in an Excel spreadsheet, estimated the monthly cost, and I gave them the appropriate amount of money. They were able to take ownership over the funds and choose how the money was allotted. We re-evaluated the expenses every summer and, surprisingly, it was easy for them to stick to the budget.”

9. You Have to Be Trusted to Be Trustworthy

Don’t be afraid to trust your kids with challenges. Raising four teenagers, Drumright found that she had to take the leap and trust them when it came to curfews and driving, even when she was nervous. In the workplace, that means trusting an employee to take on a challenge so she can grow professionally; at home, it means trusting your children to take on increased responsibility and prove that you were correct to trust them in the first place. “If you’ve done your job as a parent, you should be able to trust your children. The only way to find out is to try,” she says.

 

 

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Get Ready Baby’s On Way

Source: http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/get-ready-babys-on-way#2

Baby’s on the way and you’re seeing the doctor, taking your prenatal vitamins, and getting the nursery ready. Fine, so far. But don’t overlook the fact that having a baby — whether it’s your first, your second, or even your fifth — is going to have a profound effect on your life and the lives of those around you.

“It’s a huge change,” says Claire Lerner, LCSW, child development specialist at ZERO TO THREE, a national nonprofit organization devoted to promoting healthy development in a child’s early years.

“Having a baby is life-altering,” Lerner continues, adding that it’s important for parents (especially first-timers) to know this ahead of time. Otherwise, she says, they can be thrown for a loop when they’re confronted with feelings of insecurity, jealousy, being left out, or misunderstood.

“Anticipate the feelings that most new parents experience,” says Lerner. Moms, for example, are frequently exhausted and overwhelmed, and can feel that “nobody does it better,” so they have to do everything themselves. Dads might feel that they can’t do anything right, and have no place in the newborn‘s life. This may be especially true if the mother is breastfeeding, says Lerner, who suggests that mom use a breast pump so that dad can feed the baby, or have dad sit with mom and baby during feeding times, perhaps even singing or reading to the infant.

Brainstorm before the child is born, says Lerner, to come up with ways of coping with the situations that are bound to arise once the baby has arrived. “If you see this as an opportunity to become closer, and not an obstacle that is going to drive you apart, you’ll be able to minimize the sense of aloneness that many new parents feel,” says Lerner. “Try to feel what the other parent may be feeling, and then figure out ways together to deal with those feelings.”

No matter how much a couple wishes for a baby and feels that their life is in order, the reality is always a major challenge, adds Mary Margaret Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, president of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.  Read more at WebMD – link above

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Parent Tips – Raising Happy & Healthy Kids

Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

Don’t clip your child’s wings. Your toddler’s mission in life is to gain independence. So when she’s developmentally capable of putting her toys away, clearing her plate from the table, and dressing herself, let her. Giving a child responsibility is good for her self-esteem (and your sanity!).

Don’t try to fix everything. Give young kids a chance to find their own solutions. When you lovingly acknowledge a child’s minor frustrations without immediately rushing in to save her, you teach her self-reliance and resilience.

Remember that discipline is not punishment. Enforcing limits is really about teaching kids how to behave in the world and helping them to become competent, caring, and in control.

Pick your battles. Kids can’t absorb too many rules without turning off completely. Forget arguing about little stuff like fashion choices and occasional potty language. Focus on the things that really matter — that means no hitting, rude talk, or lying.

 

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Teach Your Child About Nature

Source: http://www.teachkidshow.com/teach-your-child-about-nature/

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Teaching your child about nature can ignite a life long love for the natural world. Children seem to have an inborn affinity for the growing things and creatures of the world. Teaching them how to carefully observe and care for the things found in nature will help them grow up respecting and valuing the world around them.

Bringing the wonders of nature into a child’s realm is easy. Even the busiest city has creeping, crawling creatures and things that bloom and bud. Venturing out to take a thoughtful look at the richness around us is part of our heritage as guardians of the natural world.

Preschool

Very young children do not have to be told how wonder-filled nature is. Their eyes follow the course of a butterfly with fascination. Watching a baby’s first encounter with a flower or a furry pet shows their great excitement!

Making sure your younger child takes frequent trips into the open air is important. Opportunities to touch green grass, watch a bird take off in flight and see how the wind carries leaves this way and that will activate your youngster’s natural curiosity.

Starting seeds in a pot or small garden and tending them can be a satisfying shared activity. Growing and then eating a few kinds of vegetables can be the beginning of understanding life cycles and the food chain that we are part of. Planting a tree together once a year is also fun and could become a family tradition.

Main points to address:

  • Take time often to be out-of-doors and to experience the natural world.
  • Start a small garden you can plant and tend together. Plant a tree.
  • Teach your child to observe and handle creatures carefully.

Grades K-3rd

Young school children need time in natural surroundings too. Watching your child run barefoot in the green grass or across a sandy beach will show you just how much pleasure they experience.

This age child loves being in the woods. Short hiking trips into the wild will produce life long memories of the sights, sounds, smells and sensations found there. Teaching children to carry out any containers or wrappers when they leave will set the stage for respecting natural habitats.

Kids this age are weather watchers. Keeping a weather and temperature chart and recording observations can help your child understand the rhythm of the seasons. Noticing what types of clouds precede certain weather events can be exciting.

Expanding your windowsill or backyard garden will give your child a chance to see that each plant has its own characteristics and that each grows at its own rate. Starting a compost heap to produce rich fertilizer can show the relatedness of all things and the positive impact humans can have on nature.

Main points to address:

  • Hands-on experience is the best way to connect with nature.
  • Make short hiking, fishing and swimming trips regular activities.
  • Learn how to start a compost heap and make a small flower or vegetable garden a fun family project.
  • Create a weather chart together and record daily conditions.

Grades 4-6th

Older children are ready for more extended times in nature. Camping out-of-doors or joining a scouting or nature club can help build a child’s appreciation for nature and the environment.

During outings, kids this age love to record what they see, hear and feel in nature. Providing a journal or notebook for notes and drawings will encourage your child’s bond with nature. Buying field guides of birds, reptiles and amphibians, insects, wildflowers and trees will make venturing out even more interesting as they are able to identify what they have observed in the wild.

This is an age when children become very conscious of our responsibility to the Earth. Involving kids in recycling, neighborhood cleanups or animal rescue shelters will foster a lifelong caring for nature and for the environment.

Main points to address:

  • Camping trips and involvement in scouting or similar clubs maintains a link with nature.
  • Provide a journal or notebook to record observations. Make field guides available (check out the library).
  • Involve the family in recycling, cleanups or animal rescue work.

 

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Parents Tip

Ask for your child’s opinion. Kids develop opinions very early; ask them what they are, ask them why, listen to their responses. It doesn’t mean you have to give in to those opinions, just that you should respect them.

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Parenting Forgetful Behavior

Positive Parenting

Source: http://positiveparenting.com/parenting-forgetful-behavior/

By Deborah Godfrey

“Dad, where’s my backpack?” 

 “Mom!  I forgot my lunch! You have to bring it now!”

“Where’d you put my sweatshirt?”

Do any of these statements sound vaguely familiar?  At Positive Parenting, we have a saying:

“A child who always forgets has a parent who always remembers!”

Many of the complaints I hear from parents have to do with children’s irresponsible and forgetful behavior.  It usually begins early, around 4 or 5 years old, and peaks when a child hits junior high.  What happened between us happily picking up our screaming toddler’s bottle that rolled under the couch and giving it to her and the preteen screaming at us that she can’t find her favorite jeans and us snapping at her that if she didn’t keep her room such a mess, then maybe she could find the clothes she wants?

First, parents often don’t realize how much young children can do.  Many toddlers are very capable of understanding our words and body language, even when they cannot communicate that verbally.  So in the example above, when a child is distressed, we often “rescue” the child. This is a natural, normal response!  The “saving” of a small child from their distresses is the way in which bonding occurs between parents and children.  When a child cries because he is hungry, we “save” him by feeding him.  When a child cries because she is wet, we “save” her when we change her diaper.  This mechanism occurs instinctively under normal circumstances, and bonding between parent and child is established.  The problem occurs when we “save” a child from an activity that she is capable of completing herself.  So when her bottle rolls under the couch, you do not need to “save” her from starving right now.  Now is the time to help her problem solve.  You could play a game, “Where do you think your bottle went?”  And start looking under things and behind things and help her to find the bottle.  This way, she begins to learn self-sufficiency with your loving guidance.

Think of something that you are doing for your child that she could be doing for herself. Give this to your child as a new responsibility.  In this way, you build her self-esteem and are teaching self-reliance.

The next complication occurs around the time that children start school.  They forget their lunch, homework, sweaters, backpacks, library books…and on and on!  They forget, and we nag, yell, complain, threaten and punish.  Nothing seems to work!  Here are 3 rules to teach children responsibility:

  • Stop remembering for them
  • Don’t say “I told you so!”
  • Don’t tell them what will happen, let the consequences do the talking for you

So the first thing parents need to do is stop reminding!  When parents remind children, they rely on the reminders and become incapable of remembering for themselves.  We parents cannot understand why they don’t remember since we tell them over and over!  But it’s the telling them over and over that creates the irresponsibility!  The second thing we need to do is STOP saying “I told you so!” or “See what happens when you forget?”  In this case the child is focused on how mean we are or how stupid they are, and not on learning to be responsible.  And finally, stop telling them how the world works, let the world and the natural consequences in it teach your child.  When you tell them, then they will focus on you as the teacher and not learn from the way the world works.  What I love most about this parental response is that I can make myself be the safe haven when that big bad world is teaching my children.  For example, when Michael, my son, would forget his lunch, I would have a sandwich and food ready when he got home.  “Wow, you must be starving!  Here, have a sandwich!”  If he tried to blame me, saying “Why didn’t you bring me my lunch!” I would just say, “You must have been really hungry from forgetting your lunch, you need another snack?” And he would see it was his responsibility and not mine, and I was actually soothing him.

Finally, over time you can help your children be more responsible by teaching them how to think.  When you tell them what to do, they don’t learn.  When you ask questions, in a loving way, they learn to use their brains.

When you find yourself telling your child to do something, phrase it in a question instead.

For example, instead of saying, “It’s time for school”, say “What time do you need to leave in order to be on time?”

Instead of saying, “Remember to turn in your library book” say “How are you going to remind yourself to turn your library book in on time?”

Instead of saying, “Do your homework” say “How much time to you need to do homework this evening?”

More than anything else, this style of communicating will create kids that learn to remember, be responsible and accountable for their actions. You have so much to do with how your children learn to think, how they react and how they communicate.  By asking questions, you become a master teacher of the very communication you want your children to learn to be successful in school and their lives.

Thank you, Kathy, for sharing this great photo of Aly with me!

Deborah has been teaching parenting classes for over 20 years.  Her kids are 28, 23 & 22 and wonderfully self-sufficient!

 

 

 

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How Parents of High School Students Can Prevent Senioritis

Source: https://www.verywell.com/parents-help-prevent-senioritis-2610108

Senioritis has been known to infect even the best of teens. If you have a teen who is a senior this school year, you can prevent the worse of this ‘illness’ by using the following parenting tips:

Talk to your teen about your expectations for their senior year in school. Clearly explain what grades you would like to see and what their rules are for the school year regarding grades and attending classes.

While you should listen your teen’s input as to what they feel their rules should be their senior year in high school, you have the responsibility of setting and enforcing them. When you give too much at this point in your teen’s life, they tend to believe life is full of privileges and no responsibilities. If your teen really wants an extra privilege, send the right message to them by asking them to do an extra responsibility as well.

Help them think about the future. Ask them what benefits they want to get out of their last year in high school and how it fits in with their future plans. Scholarships, admissions and more are often based on what is done in the last half of a teen’s high school year. Colleges do rescind admissions when student’s grades drop their last semester.

Keep their future in the forefront of their mind by giving them the work they need to do to get there. This will keep your teen from feeling like they are done and can blow off the rest of the school year.

 

 

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Source: https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/how-to-be-a-parent/parenting/

Guidelines For Parent Child Relationships

  • Try to set a side time on a regular basis to do something fun with your child.
  • Never disagree about discipline in front of the children.
  • Never give an order, request, or command without being able to enforce it at the time.
  • Be consistent, that is, reward or punish the same behavior in the same manner as much as possible.
  • Agree on what behavior is desirable and not desirable.
  • Agree on how to respond to undesirable behavior.
  • Make it as clear as possible what the child is to expect if he or she performs the undesirable behavior.
  • Make it very clear what the undesirable behavior is. It is not enough to say, “Your room is messy.” Messy should be specified in terms of exactly what is meant: “You’ve left dirty clothes on the floor, dirty plates on your desk, and your bed is not made.”
  • Once you have stated your position and the child attacks that position, do not keep defending yourself. Just restate the position once more and then stop responding to the attacks.
  • Look for gradual changes in behavior. Don’t expect too much. Praise behavior that is coming closer to the desired goal.
  • Remember that your behavior serves as a model for your children’s behavior.
  • If one of you is disciplining a child and the other enters the room, that other person should not step in on the argument in progress.
  • Reward desirable behavior as much as possible by verbal praise, touch or something tangible such as a toy, food or money.
  • Both of you should have an equal share in the responsibility of discipline as much as possible

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The Benefits of Older Parents – Source: http://www.parenting.com/article/older-parents

The only thing lower than our 401(k)s in 2010 was our baby-making production. The U.S. birth rate hit its lowest level in decades. However, the only age group that showed an increase in birth rate was women 40 to 44, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The late-30s category also outpaced teenagers.

In an age of fertility treatments, adoption, and stepfamilies (13 percent of all adults have at least one stepchild), more parents are finding themselves in the “midlife” camp, raising children in their late 30s and 40s. Even Hollywood’s A-list has gotten into the act.

Robin Gorman Newman of Great Neck, NY, became a mom through adoption at 42. “Older parents are some of the most grateful people I know,” says the founder of motherhoodlater.com, a community for midlife moms. “From fertility issues to health risks, chances are their road to parenthood wasn’t easy.”

For Dawn Weinberger, a mom in Hillsboro, OR, who turned 39 just a couple of weeks after her daughter was born, midlife mommyhood has plenty of advantages. “We’ve been watching our friends raise children for fifteen years now, and having the opportunity to observe others in action and learn from them has been really helpful,” says Weinberger.

“Age brings with it emotional stability, psychological strength, and financial security,” says Pasquale Patrizio, M.D., a professor with the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine and director of the Yale Fertility Center. But he adds that age brings with it a host of medical concerns. “Pregnancy-induced hypertension, preterm delivery, and gestational diabetes all increase as women deliver children at over 45 years of age.”

Wendy Williams and her husband were 44 and 41, respectively, when they had their daughter Kate, now 3. (She was all-natural—no test tubes or background checks required!) Unlike younger parents, who tend to obsess over their kids, Williams’s approach is more laid-back. “I believe that as ‘old’ parents, we have brought her into our life, rather than make her the focus of ours.” She adds that a great perk of having kids at this age is “people assume we’re younger than we are.” That’s something no amount of anti-wrinkle cream can do.

 

 

 

 

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Kids Health
New Baby at Home

If you’re going to have a new brother or sister, you’ll want to know some baby facts. Answer this question — A new baby is:

  1. smelly
  2. funny
  3. annoying
  4. great
  5. all of the above

The answer is #5, of course!

Babies are wonderful, but they can also wake you up at night. They dribble, spit, and make lots and lots of dirty diapers. They can’t talk, walk, or go to the bathroom like you do! Because they need so much care, your mom and dad will be busy making sure the baby gets the rest, food, clean diapers, and love he or she needs. But just because your parents are busy with the baby doesn’t mean they love you any less It can be a lot of fun to have a new baby in the house, but it can be tiring, too. You might love the baby right from the start. But it’s also OK if you miss the way things were before the baby came. If you feel left out or need some attention, tell your mom or dad. Also be sure to tell a parent if you’re having trouble getting your homework done or you’re not getting enough sleep.— they just love the baby too!  Read more at: http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/new-baby.html

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Source: http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/parents/LearnPtnrs/ready.html

Get Ready for School!

The road to success in school begins early. Good health, loving relationships, parental guidance and praise, and many opportunities to learn, all help children do well later in life. As a parent, you are the most important person in your child’s life. Throughout the early learning years, you can do many simple things to help your children grow, develop, and have fun learning.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Encourage your child to want to learn and go to school.
  • Read aloud to your child daily. This gives your child a chance to learn about language, enjoy the sound of your voice, and be close to you.
  • Set high standards for your children and encourage them to try new things.
  • Listen to your child. This is the best way to learn what’s on his mind, what he knows and doesn’t know, and how he thinks and learns.
  • Provide nutritious foods, safe places to play, regular medical care, and a regular sleep schedule for your child.
  • Teach your child to get along with others, to share, and to take turns.
  • Set a good example for your children. They will imitate what you do.
  • Teach your child to feel good about herself and that she can succeed.
  • Set limits for your child. This is a sign of love which your child appreciates, even if he or she may argue against them.
  • Be generous with your praise. Always compliment your children for their efforts.

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The 8 Best After-School Routines

By The Confident Mom

Source: http://www.theconfidentmom.com/09/family-manager/effective-after-school-routine-tips/

Routines can make a home with children so much less chaotic. Last week I shared some simple tips for a morning routine – getting the kids out the door in the morning can be somewhat chaotic if you are not working together with a plan.

I have found that the arrival of everyone back into the house after school can be just as stressful for moms.  Kids come home hungry and toss their backpack on the kitchen floor, which can make any mom a little cranky!

Routines are great and can keep everyone on task and create a great rhythm to your afternoon.  The trick is to play into each of your child’s own rhythm.  Take some time to observe each of your children.  Some children need to come home and relax or do some physical activity, while others do better starting right in on homework assignments.  All of your children may fall into the same category, but most often you will have those that fall into both.

If you have children that fall into both you can set up a different routine for each of them, but typically the same type of tasks need to be completed immediately upon walking in the door.

Hang up Coat

Pull out school papers

Put backpack away

Snack

1. Hang up his backpack and coat.
2. Wash his hands.
3. Get out his school work to show me.

You can make a small list/chart like this one to include the tasks that each of your children need to do.

Often moms have trouble getting their child to put away their items.  I suggest that snack time is not started until things are put away.  If your child chooses to not put their items away, then there is no snack.  I can almost guarantee that if they baulk at this initially, it will not last long, especially if there are other children in your home sitting down and having a snack with mom!

I find that children need some ‘connecting’ time after a long day at school.  Instead of sitting them down to have snack on their own, join them!  Take the time to sit and ask about their day – their favorite part, their not so favorite part or maybe even read a book together at the table.

Whatever you choose, really concentrate on giving your child your full attention, especially eye contact.  You may be surprised how this time spent connecting will improve their attitude and cooperation as the evening goes on.

After snack you can determine what your child needs – do they need to burn more energy or are they ready to get to work?

Our after school routine includes a few daily chores and they are done immediately following snack – taking out the garbage, putting laundry away or playing outside with the dog.  This helps them get into a regular routine and chores get done instead of the usual nagging that can become habit.

Obviously homework needs to be done at sometime.  At different developmental stages we have found that homework being done is best immediately after dinner, but at other times, before dinner was a better time.  If you are unsure, try it one way for a week and then change it up to see how your child responds.  They may need to have some downtime before jumping into doing homework – if so, then after dinner may be the best solution.

The main areas to include in your after school routine are:

Putting items away – coat, backpack

Emptying any school papers

Snack

Homework time

Chores, if they are part of your family responsibilities

It is worth the time and energy to work out an after school routine. Once it is in place, life will run a lot smoother in your household and you will actually look forward to your kids walking through the door instead of dreading the trail of backpacks and coats that end up littering your entryway.

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How to Handle Parents Who Brag About Their Kids

Their children are math geniuses, gymnastic stars — and they started reading at 3. How to respond to parents who brag too much.
http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/how-to-handle-parents-who-brag-about-their-kids

By
WebMD Magazine – Feature

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD

“My kid must be some sort of math genius!” a mother of a preschooler said to Hilarie Atkisson as she watched her 4-year-old twin daughters and 2-year-old son on the playground after school. Another mom queried Atkisson about her twins’ progress in reading: “Are your girls reading yet? Mine are already reading full sentences!”

All this child-centered bragging, despite its patent violation of the social ideals of modesty and respect for others, may be, says University of Pennsylvania sociologist Annette Lareau, PhD, an outgrowth of the hothouse style of parenting that pervades our culture. Lareau, who has studied the habits and behaviors of contemporary families, calls this approach “concerted cultivation.” She says it’s a way middle-class parents tend to see “parenting as a project,” something to be managed and organized and programmed.

“There’s a way in which an activity is more intense for the mother than it is even for the child,” says Lareau. “And the competitive nature of activities is woven into the heart of the process.”

Focus on Child, Not Accomplishments

That’s why, says psychiatrist Alvin Rosenfeld, MD, co-author of The Over-Scheduled Child: Avoiding the Hyper-Parenting Trap, it’s important to concentrate on the whole child. “Many focus on their children’s achievements, rather than getting to know their kids as individuals,” says Rosenfeld. “The dilemma is when kids become valued only for their accomplishments — or when they live up to your fantasies of what they ought to accomplish — not for who they are as people.”

As for Atkisson, she has developed a strategy when other parents talk up their own children: “All I say is, ‘Wow, that’s great!'” That way she avoids comparing her kids, and she demonstrates the behavior she hopes her children will develop. She also keeps her mind on the big picture. “I know everyone who’s educated ends up knowing how to read. It doesn’t matter if it happens when they’re four years and nine months or five and a half.”

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Dealing with “Gratitude Resistors”  – Some people think gratitude is hokey or pointless. Here’s how to help them think differently.

By  The Science for Meaningful Life

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu

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When Homework Stresses Parents as  Well as Students

Source: Parenting (Check out other articles on this topic by parenting on the link below)

http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/09/10/when-homework-stresses-parents-as-well-as-students/?_r=0

Educators and parents have long been concerned about students stressed by homework loads, but a small research study asked questions recently about homework and anxiety of a different group: parents. The results were unsurprising. While we may have already learned long division and let the Magna Carta fade into memory, parents report that their children’s homework causes family stress and tension — particularly when additional factors surrounding the homework come into play.

The researchers, from Brown University, found that stress and tension for families (as reported by the parents) increased most when parents perceived themselves as unable to help with the homework, when the child disliked doing the homework and when the homework caused arguments, either between the child and adults or among the adults in the household.

The number of parents involved in the research (1,173 parents, both English and Spanish-speaking, who visited one of 27 pediatric practices in the greater Providence area of Rhode Island) makes it more of a guide for further study than a basis for conclusions, but the idea that homework can cause significant family stress is hard to seriously debate. Families across income and education levels may struggle with homework for different reasons and in different ways, but “it’s an equal opportunity problem,” says Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman, a contributing editor to the research study and co-author of “The Learning Habit.”

“Parents may find it hard to evaluate the homework,” she says. “They think, if this is coming home, my child should be able to do it. If the child can’t, and especially if they feel like they can’t help, they may get angry with the child, and the child feels stupid.” That’s a scenario that is likely to lead to more arguments, and an increased dislike of the work on the part of the child.

The researchers also found that parents of students in kindergarten and first grade reported that the children spent significantly more time on homework than recommended. Many schools and organizations, including the National Education Association and the Great Schools blog, will suggest following the “10-minute rule” for how long children should spend on school work outside of school hours: 10 minutes per grade starting in first grade, and most likely more in high school. Instead, parents described their first graders and kindergartners working, on average, for 25 to 30 minutes a night. That is consistent with other research, which has shown an increase in the amount of time spent on homework in lower grades from 1981 to 2003.

“This study highlights the real discrepancy between intent and what’s actually happening,” Ms. Donaldson-Pressman said, speaking of both the time spent and the family tensions parents describe. “When people talk about the homework, they’re too often talking about the work itself. They should be talking about the load — how long it takes. You can have three problems on one page that look easy, but aren’t.”

The homework a child is struggling with may not be developmentally appropriate for every child in a grade, she suggests, noting that academic expectations for young children have increased in recent years. Less-educated or Spanish-speaking parents may find it harder to evaluate or challenge the homework itself, or to say they think it is simply too much. “When the load is too much, it has a tremendous impact on family stress and the general tenor of the evening. It ruins your family time and kids view homework as a punishment,” she said.

At our house, homework has just begun; we are in the opposite of the honeymoon period, when both skills and tolerance are rusty and complaints and stress are high. If the two hours my fifth-grade math student spent on homework last night turn out the be the norm once he is used to the work and the teacher has had a chance to hear from the students, we’ll speak up.

We should, Ms. Donaldson-Pressman says. “Middle-class parents can solve the problem for their own kids,” she says. “They can make sure their child is going to all the right tutors, or get help, but most people can’t.” Instead of accepting that at home we become teachers and homework monitors (or even taking classes in how to help your child with his math), parents should let the school know that they’re unhappy with the situation, both to encourage others to speak up and to speak on behalf of parents who don’t feel comfortable complaining.

“Home should be a safe place for students,” she says. “A child goes to school all day and they’re under stress. If they come home and it’s more of the same, that’s not good for anyone.”

Read more about homework on Motherlode: Homework and Consequences; The Mechanics of Homework; That’s Your Child’s Homework Project, Not Yours and Homework’s Emotional Toll on Students and Families.

 

 

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New Siblings – Helping Your Older Child (or Children) Adjust

Ran across this article from M Health Systems                                                University of Michigan

Source: http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/newbaby.htm

What do I need to know about adding a new baby into our family?
Sibling rivalry usually starts right after, (or even before) the arrival of the second child. The older child often becomes aggressive, “acts out” or even regresses.  Regression means acting more like a baby—for example, by wanting a bottle, or peeing in their pants.  It’s important to prepare your older child when you know you are expecting a new baby.  Kids need to know what to expect, and they need time to adjust.  After your baby arrives, there are many things you can do to make the adjustment easier.

Having a new baby in the family may be one of the tougher things your older child has to deal with.  However, it may eventually be one of the greatest gifts you can give them.

How can I prepare my child ahead of time for their new baby sibling?
Here are some things you should do to help prepare your older child:

  • Tell your child about your pregnancy when you tell your friends.  Your child needs to hear about it from you, not from someone else.
  • If you plan to move your child to a new bed and/or bedroom, do so well before the baby arrives, so your older child doesn’t feel displaced by the baby.  This also goes for any other major changes, like weaning, toilet training, and starting preschool or child care.
  • Check with your hospital about sibling preparation classes and hospital tours.
  • Bring your child to prenatal visits so they can meet your birth attendant.
  • Give them a realistic idea of what to expect when the baby first arrives.  You will be tired, and the baby will take lots of your time.  The baby will not be able to do much at first, except eat, sleep, poop, pee and cry. The baby will not be a playmate.
  • Visit friends with a new baby, if possible.
  • Read books about pregnancy, birth, newborns, and baby siblings with your child (see below for some suggestions).  Give them a chance to ask questions, voice concerns, and vent feelings inspired by the books.
  • Look at pictures/video of your older child’s birth and babyhood.  Tell them about their birth and what they were like as a baby.  Tell them how excited you were when they were born, and how everyone wanted to see them and hold them.
  • Have your child practice holding a doll and supporting the head.  Teach them how to touch and hold a baby very gently.
  • Let them participate in preparations in any way possible.  Give them choices, such as choosing the baby’s coming home outfit from two acceptable options.
  • Should your child be present for the baby’s birth?  Many families have found this to be a very positive experience, but it is not necessarily right for every family. If you do decide to have your child at the birth, make sure you have an adult caregiver whose only job is to be there for the child. Prepare your child thoroughly, by watching videos of births with them, bringing them to midwife or OB appointments, and talking with them about what it may be like. It may be nice to give them a special, age-appropriate job, such as cutting the umbilical cord or putting on the hat.

Why is it hard for an older child to adjust to a new baby?
There are many things that can contribute to a difficult adjustment:

  • Research indicates that a child’s personality has the most effect on how they react to a new baby.
  • Children with the closest relationships with their mothers show the most upset after the baby is born.
  • Children with a close relationship with their father seem to adjust better.
  • Your child’s developmental stage may affect how well they can share your attention.  Often two-year-olds have lots of trouble getting used to a new baby, because their needs for time and closeness from their parents are still great.
  • Stress on the family can make your older child’s adjustment harder.
  • See Sibling Rivalry on YourChild for more on causes.

To get a sense of how your older child might feel about the addition of the new baby, imagine this: 
Imagine that your partner puts an arm around you and says, “Honey, I love you so much, and you’re so wonderful that I’ve decided to have another wife (or husband or partner) just like you.”  When the new wife (or husband or partner) finally arrives, you see that (s)he’s very young and kind of cute. When the three of you are out together, people say hello to you politely, but exclaim ecstatically over the newcomer. “Isn’t (s)he adorable! Hello sweetheart… You are precious!” Then they turn to you and ask, “How do you like the new wife (or husband or partner)?” 

How can I help my child adjust to the new baby once it’s here?

  • Set aside special time for your older child.  Each parent should spend some one-on-one with the older child every day.  It’s amazing how much even just 10 minutes of uninterrupted one-on-one time can mean to your child (and help their behavior!).  Let your child choose the activity, and you follow their lead.
  • Listen—really listen—to how your child feels about the baby and the changes in your family.  If they express negative feelings, acknowledge them.  Help your child put their feelings into words.  Never deny or discount your child’s feelings.
  • Make sure it is very clear that absolutely no hurting is allowed.  Give your child other ways to express bad or angry feelings they may have toward the baby.  For example, they could draw an angry picture of the baby, or act out their wishes with dolls, or roar like a lion.
  • “Baby” your child, if that’s what they seem to crave.  This may help stave off regression in areas that are less acceptable to you.  There is a tendency to suddenly expect your child to become more independent when you have a new baby.  If you expect less independence, you are more likely to get more!
  • Have the new baby and older child exchange gifts.
  • Have some special “big brother” or “big sister” gifts to give your child as friends and relatives start showing up with baby gifts, so your older child won’t feel left out.
  • Remind visitors to pay attention to your older child, and not just the baby.
  • Make sure the older child has some special, private space, and things of their own that they don’t have to share with the baby.
  • Give them special jobs that they can do to help the family and help with the baby’s care (but don’t overdo it—take your cue from your child on this).
  • Let them participate in the baby’s care—baths, dressing, pushing the stroller, etc.
  • Point out the benefits of being an older child, like choosing what to eat, being able to go the park and play, and having friends.

What other resources (including Spanish Information) are there?

Are there any good books for parents on adding a new sibling into the family?
Either of these books would be helpful to read while you are expecting your second (or third) child.  Both address many issues, including parents’ feelings about a second pregnancy; helping your firstborn adjust; understanding rivalry issues; the father’s role; setting up a family birth plan; and managing two or more kids while sustaining your marriage.

  • From One Child to Two:  What to Expect, How to Cope, and How to Enjoy Your Growing Family, by Judy Dunn.
  • And Baby Makes Four : Welcoming a Second Child into the Family, by Hilory Wagner

What books can I read to my child to help with adjusting to the new baby?
There are lots of great children’s books about pregnancy, birth, adoption, and new baby siblings.  Reading books with your child will help them prepare for and understand what is happening in your family.  Books about feelings will help your child know that all their mixed-up feelings are normal and okay.  Books can spark conversations between you and your child about their worries, questions, and feelings about the new baby.

Toddlers:

  • We Have a Baby, by Cathryn Falwel.
    Simple text and illustrations.  What can you do with a new baby?
  • The New Baby by Fred Rogers.
    For toddlers and preschoolers.  Nice photos of families working together and sharing.
  • Our New Baby, by Wendy Cheyette Lewison.
    Great photos and simple text for very young children.
  • How A Baby Grows, by Nola Buck.
  • My Baby Brother Has Ten Tiny Toes, by Laura Leuck.
  • 101 Things to do with a Baby, by Jan Ormerod.
  • Spot’s Baby Sister, by Eric Hill.
  • Sisters, by Debbie Bailey & Susan Huszar.
  • Baby Born, by Anastasia Suen.

Preschoolers:

  • Julius, the Baby of the World, by Kevin Henkes.
    Lilly thinks all the attention given to her baby brother Julius is “disgusting!”  but then she finds inside herself a fierce love and protectiveness.
  • A Baby for Max, by Kathryn Lasky and Maxwell Knight.
    A small boy’s view of his new baby sister–as told in his own words, with black and white photos.
  • Will there be a lap for me?  by Dorothy Corey.
    When a boy’s mother is pregnant, her lap gets smaller and smaller.  After the baby is born, she is very busy, but she makes some special time for her older son.
  • When the New Baby Comes, I’m Moving Out, and Nobody Asked Me if I Wanted a Baby Sister, by Martha Alexander
    Oliver expresses his feelings about having a baby sister.
  • Alligator Baby, by Robert Munsch.
    A silly spoof, where the older sister is the hero!
  • Aren’t You Lucky! by Catherine & Laurence Anholt.
    The big sister doesn’t feel very lucky to have this new baby around.
  • Big Brother, Little Brother, by Penny Dale.
    Brothers can make each other feel better.
  • A New Baby at Koko Bear’s House, by Vicky Lansky.
    Includes tips for parents at the bottom of each page.
  • Oonga Boonga, by Carol Thompson.
    The big brother is the only one who can calm the baby.
  • A Place for Ben, by Jeanne Titherington.
    Ben’s baby brother moves into his room.
  • Waiting for Baby and Talk, Baby! by Harriet Ziefert.
    Fun books—kids like them.
  • How You Were Born,I’m a Big Brother and I’m a Big Sister, by Joanna Cole
  • Arthur’s Baby, by Marc Brown.
    Lift-the-flap boardbook.
  • The New Baby, by Mercer Mayer

Preschool though school-age:

  • Being Born, by Sheila Kitzinger and Lennart Nilsson
    Simple text and color photos explain conception through birth.
  • Before You Were Born:  the Inside Story and Baby Science, by Ann Douglas.
    Fun science books about pregnancy and what babies are like to help prepare the big sibling.
  • Mommy’s in the Hospital Having a Baby, by Maxine Rosenberg.
    From the child’s point of view, tells what to expect when mom goes into the hospital to give birth to a new baby sibling.
  • Darcy and Gran Don’t Like Babies, by Jane Cutler.
    Darcy’s grandma helps her with her complex feelings toward the new baby.
  • A Baby Sister for Frances, by Russell & Lillian Hoban.
  • Welcoming Babies, by Margy Burns Knight.
    Describes different cultures’ welcoming traditions.
  • The New Baby at Your House, by Joanna Cole.
    Ages 3-6.  Great photos and simple discussion of what it’s like to have a new baby, and older children’s feelings about the baby.
  • Hello Baby!  by Lizzy Rockwell.
    Ages 4-8.  An older brother explains the baby’s prenatal development and birth in simple, straightforward terms.
  • My New Baby and Me: A First Year Record Book for Big Brothers and Sisters, by Dian Smith.
  • Arthur’s Baby, by Marc Brown.
  • Pinky and Rex and the New Baby, by James Howe.
    For older school-aged kids.  Rex’s family adopts a new baby, and she tries to be a perfect big sister, while worrying that her parents will forget about her.

Are there any videos for kids that deal with new baby siblings?

  • Arthur’s Baby
  • Sesame Street:  A New Baby in my House

What are some related topics on YourChild?

Written and compiled by Kyla Boyse, R.N.  Reviewed by faculty and staff at the University of Michigan

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Parents Magazine Discuss “Toddlerpocalypse

Parenting Advice & Tips

Even the seasoned parent needs a little help dealing with common parenting issues. We’ve got a great go-to guide full of tips and advice for all those challenging situations.

http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/

19 Ways to Prepare for the #Toddlerpocalypse

It’s coming. Here are 19 ways to get ready for your child’s pending toddlerhood.

1. Stock up on yoga pants and running shoes. You’ll need to dress like an athlete to keep up with your half-naked 25-pound track star.

2. Purge anything smaller than a Ping-Pong ball. To a toddler, her mouth is like a pocket for her face.

3. Keep 14 snacks in your purse to streamline the bribing process when you’re in line at Target.

4. Buy 40 birthday presents. This will last you through one year of preschool birthday parties.

5. Buy four large plastic storage bins to hold the 10,000 toys your child will own by age 3.

6. Start collecting coupons for stain-removal pens.

7. On a map, locate the three nearest Starbucks. Let them know you’ll be the slightly incoherent one in the drive-through line with the sound of screaming in the background.

8. Make sure your freezer is full of ice packs for any accidental injuries you sustain from your mini mixed-martial-arts champion.

9. Make triplicates of all your keys. Don’t ask why—just do it.

10. Buy stock in bleach. You’re going to wipe down more surfaces than a Denny’s waitress at lunchtime.

11. Rent a rodeo bull. Put a diaper on it. Keep trying. This is good practice.

12. Memorize the opening song to your kid’s favorite Disney Junior and Nick Jr. television shows. Misspoken lines will earn you wrath and scorn. Don’t mess up.

13. Get rid of all your nice clothes. To your toddler, your shirt is basically a giant paper towel.

14. Delete your contacts from your phone, but not before letting them know you’ll be connecting with them on Facebook and serving up 600 daily photos of your child.

15. Locate and discard every permanent marker in your home.

16. Invest in the smartphone case preferred by Navy SEALs. You’ll need one that can withstand a 40-mph stream of urine and being thrown from a moving vehicle.

17. Pre-address thank-you cards to Mr. Clean for his Magic Eraser.

18. Hoard boxes of Band-Aids for all of the fake boo-boos you’ll be treating.

19. Wine. All of the wine.

 

 

___________________________________________________________________________

American Academy of Pediatrics

Back to School Tips

Source:  https://www.aap.org

The following health and safety tips are from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Feel free to excerpt these tips or use them in their entirety in any print or broadcast story, with acknowledgment of source.

MAKING THE FIRST DAY EASIER

  • Remind your child that there are probably a lot of students who are uneasy about the first day of school. This may be at any age. Teachers know that students are nervous and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
  • Point out the positive aspects of starting school. She’ll see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh her positive memories about previous years, when she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because she had a good time.
  • Find another child in the neighborhood with whom your student can walk to school or ride on the bus.
  • If it is a new school for your child, attend any available orientations and take an opportunity to tour the school before the first day.
  • If you feel it is needed, drive your child (or walk with her) to school and pick her up on the first day.

BACKPACK SAFETY

  • Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
  • Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
  • Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
  • If your school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, they may be difficult to roll in snow, and they may not fit in some lockers.

TRAVELING TO AND FROM SCHOOL

Review the basic rules with your student:

School Bus

  • Children should always board and exit the bus at locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building.
  • Remind your child to wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.
  • Make sure your child walks where she can see the bus driver (which means the driver will be able to see her, too).
  • Remind your student to look both ways to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street, just in case traffic does not stop as required.
  • Your child should not move around on the bus.
  • If your child’s school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus. (If your child’s school bus does not have lap/shoulder belts, encourage the school system to buy or lease buses with lap/shoulder belts.}

Car

  • All passengers should wear a seat belt or use an age- and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat.
  • Your child should ride in a car safety seat with a harness as long as possible and then ride in a belt-positioning booster seat. Your child is ready for a booster seat when she has reached the top weight or height allowed for her seat, her shoulders are above the top harness slots, or her ears have reached the top of the seat.
  • Your child should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly (usually when the child reaches about 4′ 9″ in height and is between 8 to 12 years of age). This means that the child is tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with her legs bent at the knees and feet hanging down and the shoulder belt lies across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat; the lap belt is low and snug across the thighs, not the stomach.
  • All children younger than 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles. If you must drive more children than can fit in the rear seat (when carpooling, for example), move the front-seat passenger’s seat as far back as possible and have the child ride in a booster seat if the seat belts do not fit properly without it.
  • Remember that many crashes occur while novice teen drivers are going to and from school. You should require seat belt use, limit the number of teen passengers, and do not allow eating, drinking, cell phone conversations,  texting or other mobile device use to prevent driver distraction. Limit nighttime driving and driving in inclement weather. Familiarize yourself with your state’s graduated driver’s license law and consider the use of a parent-teen driver agreement to facilitate the early driving learning process. For a sample parent-teen driver agreement, see http://www.healthychildren.org/teendriver

Bike

  • Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.
  • Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic.
  • Use appropriate hand signals.
  • Respect traffic lights and stop signs.
  • Wear bright-colored clothing to increase visibility. White or light-colored clothing and reflective gear is especially important after dark.
  • Know the “rules of the road.”

Walking to School

  • Make sure your child’s walk to school is a safe route with well-trained adult crossing guards at every intersection.
  • Identify other children in the neighborhood with whom your child can walk to school.  In neighborhoods with higher levels of traffic, consider organizing a “walking school bus,” in which an adult accompanies a group of neighborhood children walking to school.
  • Be realistic about your child’s pedestrian skills. Because small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic, carefully consider whether or not your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.
  • If your children are young or are walking to a new school, walk with them the first week or until you are sure they know the route and can do it safely.
  • Bright-colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.

EATING DURING THE SCHOOL DAY

  • Studies show that children who eat a nutritious breakfast function better. They do better in school, and have better concentration and more energy.
  • Most schools regularly send schedules of cafeteria menus home and/or have them posted on the school’s website. With this advance information, you can plan on packing lunch on the days when the main course is one your child prefers not to eat.
  • Look into what is offered in school vending machines. Vending machines should stock healthy choices such as fresh fruit, low-fat dairy products, water and 100 percent fruit juice.  Learn about your child’s school wellness policy and get involved in school groups to put it into effect.
  • Each 12-ounce soft drink contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. Drinking just one can of soda a day increases a child’s risk of obesity by 60%. Choose healthier options to send in your child’s lunch.

BULLYING

Bullying or cyberbullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It can happen at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, over the Internet, or through mobile devices like cell phones.

When Your Child Is Bullied

  • Help your child learn how to respond by teaching your child how to:
    1. Look the bully in the eye.
    2. Stand tall and stay calm in a difficult situation.
    3. Walk away.
  • Teach your child how to say in a firm voice.
    1. “I don’t like what you are doing.”
    2. “Please do NOT talk to me like that.”
    3. “Why would you say that?”
  • Teach your child when and how to ask a trusted adult for help.
  • Encourage your child to make friends with other children.
  • Support activities that interest your child.
  • Alert school officials to the problems and work with them on solutions.
  • Make sure an adult who knows about the bullying can watch out for your child’s safety and well-being when you cannot be there.
  • Monitor your child’s social media or texting interactions so you can identify problems before they get out of hand.

When Your Child Is the Bully

  • Be sure your child knows that bullying is never OK.
  • Set firm and consistent limits on your child’s aggressive behavior.
  • Be a positive role mode. Show children they can get what they want without teasing, threatening or hurting someone.
  • Use effective, non-physical discipline, such as loss of privileges.
  • Develop practical solutions with the school principal, teachers, counselors, and parents of the children your child has bullied.

When Your Child Is a Bystander

  • Encourage your child to join with others in telling bullies to stop.
  • Encourage your child to tell a trusted adult about the bullying.
  • Help your child support other children who may be bullied. Encourage your child to include these children in activities.

BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL CHILD CARE

  • During early and middle childhood, youngsters need supervision. A responsible adult should be available to get them ready and off to school in the morning and supervise them after school until you return home from work.
  • If a family member will care for your child, communicate the need to follow consistent rules set by the parent regarding discipline and homework.
  • Children approaching adolescence (11- and 12-year-olds) should not come home to an empty house in the afternoon unless they show unusual maturity for their age.
  • If alternate adult supervision is not available, parents should make special efforts to supervise their children from a distance. Children should have a set time when they are expected to arrive at home and should check in with a neighbor or with a parent by telephone.
  • If you choose a commercial after-school program, inquire about the training of the staff. There should be a high staff-to-child ratio, and the rooms and the playground should be safe.

DEVELOPING GOOD HOMEWORK AND STUDY HABITS

  • Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework. Children need a consistent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that is quiet, without distractions, and promotes study.
  • Schedule ample time for homework.
  • Establish a household rule that the TV and other electronic distractions stay off during homework time.
  • Supervise computer and Internet use.
  • Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do a child’s homework for her.
  • Take steps to help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue while studying. It may be helpful to close the books for a few minutes, stretch, and take a break periodically when it will not be too disruptive.
  • If your child is struggling with a particular subject, and you aren’t able to help her yourself, a tutor can be a good solution. Talk it over with your child’s teacher first.
  • Some children need help organizing their homework. Checklists, timers, and parental supervision can help overcome homework problems.
  • If your child is having difficulty focusing on or completing homework, discuss this with your child’s teacher, school counselor, or health care provider.
  • Establish a good sleep routine. Insufficient sleep is associated with lower academic achievement in middle school, high school and college, as well as higher rates of absenteeism and tardiness. The optimal amount of sleep for most adolescents is in the range of 8.5 to 9.5 hours per night.

 ________________________________________________________

 

 

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