Posts Tagged ‘tips’
It’s so easy to get caught up in a glut of activities and scheduled appointments these days. Trying to make everyone in the family happy and engaged can lead to over-scheduling and the potential for burnout. This article puts it all into perspective.
Back to school time is upon us again and I’ve been thinking about how hectic life becomes every fall. Not like it isn’t always hectic, but this time of year seems to double-down on the crazy. If your household is as busy as is common these days I have a helpful approach to alleviate the morning madness that sets in as everyone is trying to get out the door on time and with all the accompanying gear and supplies needed for their day.
I call it the Staging Area.
It’s only natural that we, as parents, try to give our children all the skills and opportunities to help them reach their goals in life. We all go about this task differently. As you will read in the article below, some of us go a little too far. The end result is the possibility that all we have indeed accomplished is to drive our kids to the point of burn-out and stress. This article is food for thought. If you recognize yourself in this article perhaps you will take the message to heart and redirect your attention.
By Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo Shine/Team Mom
No matter your socioeconomic status, as parents you want your kids to have a better life than you do. But instead of launching a generation of happy young adults who feel driven to succeed, parents who are hyper-focused on doing everything “right” have created a country full of kids who are stressed-out, burned-out, and depressed. According to psychologist and author Madeline Levine, “Our current version of success is a failure.”
In her new book, “Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success,” Levine says that parents are preoccupied with “a narrow and shortsighted vision of success,” and that we rely on our kids to “provide status and meaning in our own lives.” It’s a harmful combination, weighing kids down with serious issues — “stress, exhaustion, depression, anxiety, poor coping skills, and unhealthy reliance on others for support and direction, and a weak sense of self,” Levine says — when we should be trying to teach them to be resilient and independent if we really want them to succeed in life. Read the rest of this entry »
Travel with kids can be both exciting and exasperating – sometimes all at the same time. Anything that helps make your trip more relaxing and less disruptive for your kids is a plus. I came across this article with some great tips. Happy to share them with you. Bon voyage… and have fun!
via babycenter / by Kristen Chase, Cool Mom Picks
My heart broke when I read Moosh in Indy’s recent post about traveling with her little one. I those of us who have flown in a plane with kids can relate to how frustrating and difficult it can be, no matter how prepared you might think you are.
As a pilot’s wife, my four kids and I fly quite often. In fact, I flew alone with all four of them a few weeks ago. And while I can happily say I don’t want to do that again any time soon, I do have a few tricks for flying with kids up my sleeve, other than the obvious iPad and Nintendo DS, that might help you make it through your next trip.
1. Match your kids’ age with time of flight
I’m actually a huge fan of flying with babies because they’re super portable. It’s when they hit the moving around stage through when they can be happily entertained with technology that I find to be the hardest.
If you’re really concerned about your kids’ behavior, I think it’s smart to do your best to match the flight time to when your child is generally less active, especially if your kids are like mine and don’t just fall asleep when the engines start (seriously, who are those kids?). The super early morning flights are key for us because there’s a good chance that my youngest (the most difficult) will fall asleep again. I have no desire to be on a plane, especially for a long period of time, during the mid-morning hours when they’re used to playing. And I have been known to use a little bit of Zarbee’s Nighttime cough medication (with Melatonin) to help.
2. Pack snacks, treats, and drinks. Then pack more.
Nothing seems to occupy my kids better than food, and given the limitations of what you can get on a plane ($4 Pringles, anyone?), I try to pack as much as I can. This is when I’ll splurge for the small individually packed items that I don’t usually buy because it’s easy to distribute amongst the kids. And while some airlines do sell healthy snack boxes, I like to bring my own, like the new GoPicnic lunch boxes that I picked up at my local Super Target.
I also make sure to pack treats, particularly for when we’re boarding, taxiing, and landing, the three times that I find my kids to be the rammiest. I love the Yummy Earth jelly beans and gummies because they’re not as guilt-inducing as the other stuff. Also, bubble gum is a big deal for my kids, so I always have some with me as a last resort. Plus it helps with the ears on the way down.
And I always make sure to pack empty sippy cups (though you can pack full bottles for your baby) so that I can fill their cups on the plane with juice, water, or milk. We pop Mabel’s Labels on them and end up using them for our entire trip. Trust me, I learned my lesson after having way too many spills with the plastic airplane cups. They make better toys than drinking vessels.
3. Great creative with your idea of “toys”
My youngest (almost 2) could care less about actual toys because she’s not yet at the stage where she actually plays with things. So I pack fun things that will keep her busy. She loves
things like masking tape, which I’ll rip and let her stick all over are seating area (and then clean up when she’s done), and baby wipes or my pack antibacterial wipes, that she uses to clean our seat, table, even the window. And I love the idea of packing some tin foil that kids can use to make animals and shapes without having to worry about massive clean-up.
Coloring and drawing are always a favorite activity, but they can involve lots of paper and crayons, so we bring along something like The Boogie Board writing tablet that won’t require you reaching down every few seconds to pick up crayons off the floor.
4. Not all books are created equal
Because I’m handling kids with a wide age range, I can’t just plop them in my lap and read a book. So I like to bring books that require a bit of activity and/or competition (for my older ones). The Where’s Waldo type books (love One Million Giraffes) are always a big hit, and I even give out prizes for who can find the character first.
I’ve even done magazine scavenger hunts with the catalogs in your seat pocket. Put together a list of 10 things they need to find (a dog, a cat, a kid, etc.) and when they hit 10, they get a prize. You can even do this with Richard Scarry books as well.
For littler ones, get books like Goodnight Moon or even The Pioneer Woman’s Charlie the Ranch Dog because they have the same character (mouse and chipmunk, respectively) on each page. Then you can give them the book and let them “read” it.
5. Who cares what other people think?
Remember that there’s a good chance you won’t see these people again. As hard as it is, at least for me, anyway, try not to care if they think your kid is a terrible flier or you’re somehow an awful parent. You’re doing your best to make the experience pleasant for everyone and in my opinion, that’s all that matters. So pop this hilarious shirt on your kids and enjoy your trip!
If you have any secrets that you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment.
How Much Sugar Are You Consuming? (a visual aid)
I just came across this great graphic that shows you just how much sugar is in everyday items we eat. You might be surprised about some of them. The visual sure drives it home how much sugar can be consumed without our noticing it.
Bullying has been around since man started forming relationships. It is inevitable. Unfortunately, in today’s society there seems to be so many more avenues for a bully to utilize to attack their prey. With all of the pressures our kids face day to day, it becomes difficult sometimes to recognize the warning signals of a bullie’s attack. This article is very helpful in making parents aware of some subtle signs to look for. I wish with all my heart that none of your children every suffer from the callousness of a bully. In the meantime, it’s a parent’s duty to be armed with all of the information they can to protect their child.
via Woman’s Day / Team Mom – Yahoo! Shine
by Dawn Papandrea
Your child would tell you if he’s being bullied, right? Maybe not. “It’s painful to say, ‘I’m being targeted,’” says Cynthia Lowen, producer and writer of the documentary film, Bully, and co-author of the forthcoming book The Essential Guide to Bullying. While there’s more bullying awareness than ever (who hasn’t heard about the bullied bus matron?), children still fear their parents’ response to the harassment can make the situation worse, says Lowen. Another reason kids may keep this info to themselves: “They may worry that admitting they’re victims will disappoint their parents,” says Jerry Weichman, PhD, a licensed psychologist specializing in teens and tweens at California’s Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Newport Beach, CA, and author of How to Deal. That’s why it’s important to know how to spot the signs of bullying, which aren’t as obvious as you’d think. Here are some surprising red flags to look for.
1. Sharing bullying euphemisms
When you ask your child about his day, and he says there’s “drama” at school or kids were “messing around,” it could be code for “I’m being bullied,” explains Cindy Miller, a New Jersey-based licensed school social worker, psychotherapist and Lowen’s co-author on The Essential Guide to Bullying. If you hear that language often, ask for specifics, she suggests. For instance: “When you say ‘messing around,’ did anyone get physical with you? Did someone spread a rumor about you or call you a name? How did you feel when the ‘drama’ occurred?”
If your child still doesn’t open up, tell him the difference between reporting and tattling. “Reporting is stating that someone’s hurting you and you’re trying to get help. Tattling is trying to get someone in trouble,” says Miller. This way, he knows there’s nothing wrong about giving facts.
2. Coming home hungry
Before you assume your little luncher is simply sick of PB&J, consider what else might be going on in the cafeteria. Perhaps another student is taking his food. Or maybe your child is giving away items voluntarily to become better-liked-or avoiding eating because he fears being ridiculed about his weight or what he’s eating, says Miller. Again, asking direct questions in a non-threatening way here is key, says Lowen. Try: “Who did you sit with at lunch today? Did you like your food? What did you and your friends talk about?”
3. Coming home from school late
You may think he’s hanging out with friends, but he may be taking a longer route home or skipping the bus to avoid bullies, says Miller. A change in after-school routine is how Tara Kennedy Kline of Shoemakersville, PA, realized something wasn’t right. “He started calling me from the bus and asking me if his older buddies could come to our house after school,” she says. Normally, her son was only allowed to have friends over after homework was done, and not at all if his parents weren’t home. “Blatantly disregarding our rule was a red flag for us,” she says. Soon after, she learned about a bullying incident that happened on the bus. So trust your instincts and dig deeper if your child does something out of character.
4. Frequently losing or damaging his things
Sure, kids can be careless and clumsy, but missing or torn/broken belongings can be signs of bullying. “Bookbags getting ripped. Someone takes something. Shoes thrown out of the window of the bus. These are all things bullied kids have told me happened to them,” says Lowen. What’s worse is that children are afraid to tell their parents about things like broken glasses in tough economic times, she says. Lowen also points out that some children give possessions away to win favor with the popular kids. “Parents should keep an account of what’s missing and follow up on their child’s excuse with other parents, teachers or school administrators,” suggests Dr. Weichman. If there’s a discrepancy between your child’s excuse and the explanation an adult gives, your child may be covering for someone’s bad behavior.
5. Becoming upset after getting a text or going online
In the age of cyber-bullying, the end of a school day doesn’t always offer taunted kids a reprieve. “If a parent suspects that cyber-bullying may be going on, she should first confront her child with her concerns, but also verify with monitoring software,” advises Dr. Weichman. Beyond using parental spyware, it’s important to keep computers in common areas at home, such as in the kitchen or family room, says Lowen. “If your child is in his bedroom for two hours and a situation is getting larger than life, he can feel like the entire world is turning on him,” she warns. And it’s hard to prevent your child from responding negatively if you can’t see the situation unfolding.
6. Wearing long sleeves all the time or covering up when it doesn’t seem warranted
Don’t shrug off your child’s desire to keep covered as shyness or a fashion statement. There might be visible signs of physical bullying he’s trying to conceal. And here’s why: “One reaction that parents often have is, ‘you have to stand up for yourself’ or ‘hit him back,’” says Lowen. But a child may not be capable of or willing to follow that advice, so he hides bruises and cuts rather than face his parents’ judgment. If you suspect your child is hiding injuries, don’t react in a shocked or confrontational manner. Phrases such as “Tell me who did this to you right now!” should be avoided, says Dr. Weichman. Instead, put on your poker face and ask what’s going on that might have contributed to the injuries.
7. Disappearing friends
Most parents know who their children pal around with: who calls every night, who they join forces with for school projects, who’s sleeping over. If the usual suspects are MIA, it might be more than the clique simply growing apart. “If your child’s circle suddenly isn’t around, ask, ‘Where are your friends? What are they doing?’” suggests Lowen. When the Mishra family moved back to their old neighborhood in North Carolina, their teen daughter was excited to reconnect with her grammar-school friends. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way. “One former friend decided she didn’t like my daughter anymore and told the host of an upcoming party that my? child shouldn’t be invited,” says Mishra. “That was when I realized that this was not harmless ?jealousy but outright bullying.” Mishra’s daughter is now considering moving in with ?her grandparents in Michigan for her senior year.
8. Claiming that after-school activities were cancelled or practice ended early
Cancellations happen, but if they’re happening a lot, your child may be hiding that he’s dropped out of an activity because of bullying. Changes in routine and a loss of interest in favorite hobbies are usually good indicators that something’s amiss. “Kids send out distress signals when they’re in trouble,” says Miller. It’s up to you to stay attuned, and get your child to open up. And when he clues you in, keep two things in mind. “You have to believe him, and it’s probably worse than he’s letting on,” says Lowen.
Whether or not you spot these signs in your child, start an open dialogue about bullying so he knows you can be counted on, says Dr. Weichman. “Kids need to be reassured that sharing what’s going on with their parents is both safe and non-judgmental.”
Photo credit: Thinkstock
In light of recent events in Aurora, CO I came across this article via a Twitter post. While the information here couldn’t have influenced the events of that night, I am posting it as a reference should parents need it. I grew up in a house with guns. My father was/is an avid hunter. Guns are a part of my own household as my husband is also an avid hunter. In both circumstances the children in the house grew up with a VERY healthy respect for the power of guns. It was always a black and white issue – DO NOT TOUCH!!! On top of that it was ingrained in our minds that the guns were not ours. They belonged to my father or my husband and you do not touch something that does not belong to you.
Even if you think you will never ever possess a gun in your own home, I think it would be beneficial to read this article. You child may not be around guns in your surroundings but encounter their existence in the homes of friends or your acquaintances. They should know what to do and what NOT to do.
Guns are in more than one third of all U.S. households, so they’re a very real danger to children, whether you own one or not. That’s why it’s important to talk to kids about the potential dangers of guns, and what to do if they find one.
If you do keep a gun in the house, it’s vital to keep it out of sight and out of reach of kids. The gun should be kept locked and unloaded, and the ammunition should be stored separately.
Guns and Pretend Play
Allowing kids to play with toy guns is a personal decision, as is how to respond to a child’s pretend shooting action during the course of play. Remember that even if you don’t allow your kids to have a toy gun, their friends may have them. So explain to your kids that real guns — unlike toy guns or those shown on TV, in movies, or in video games — can seriously injure or even kill a person.
Talking to Kids About Gun Safety
Teach kids to follow these rules from the National Rifle Association (NRA) if they come into contact with a gun:
- don’t touch
- remove yourself from the area
- tell an adult
It’s particularly important that children leave the area where the gun is located to avoid being harmed by someone who doesn’t know not to touch it. A child as young as 3 has the finger strength to pull a trigger.
It’s also important for kids to tell an adult about a gun that’s been found.
If You Have a Gun in Your Home
Many kids are raised with guns in the home, particularly if hunting is a part of family recreation. If you keep a gun in the home, it’s important to teach your kids to act in a safe and responsible way around it.
To ensure the safest environment for your family:
- Take the ammunition out of the gun.
- Lock the gun and keep it out of reach of kids. Hiding the gun is not enough.
- Lock the ammunition and store it apart from the gun.
- Store the keys for the gun and the ammunition in a different area from where you store household keys. Keep the keys out of reach of children.
- Lock up gun-cleaning supplies, which are often poisonous.
- When handling or cleaning a gun, adults should never leave the gun unattended.
If you own a gun or have found one in your home and want to dispose of it, call your local police station. Do not dial 911 or an emergency line. Laws differ between states, but generally, the firearm will be checked to ensure it was not part of a criminal investigation and then it will be destroyed.
Community “buy-back” or “amnesty” days are another disposal option. These programs allow people to bring unwanted guns to a designated place where they will be made unusable. To find out if your community hosts such a program, contact your local police department — but don’t wait until such a program becomes available to dispose of an unwanted firearm.
Gun Safety Outside Your Home
Gun safety does not end when your child leaves your home. Kids can still come in contact with a gun at a neighbor’s house, when playing with friends, or under other circumstances away from home.
Make sure you talk to your kids about gun safety outside your home. They might even know which friends have guns in the home and where they are stored — ask them.
Also discuss gun safety with the parents of friends if your child spends time in their homes. It may feel like an awkward conversation, but the person you ask will likely understand that you only have your child’s safety in mind. It is OK to speak up and ask! If there is a gun in the friend’s home, you need to decide if it poses a safety risk to your child. If you’re uncomfortable having your child play there, consider offering to host at your house instead.
A Word About BB and Non-powder Guns
Non-powder guns, such as ball-bearing (BB) guns, pellet guns, and paintball guns, are not regulated by the government but can cause serious injury and death.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that kids under age 16 not use high-velocity BB guns or pellet guns. And these guns should only be used under the supervision of an adult. Kids who have a BB gun, or are likely to come into contact with one, must know to never point it at anyone, including themselves.
Paintball guns are known to cause traumatic eye injuries, so kids need to wear protective eye gear. Kids should not put caps for toy guns in their pockets because these can ignite due to friction and cause burns and loud noises that can damage hearing.
Reviewed by: Yamini Durani, MD
Date reviewed: July 2011
Have you ever gone into the kitchen to cook a meal – take something out of the refrigerator or cabinet and just stand there… wondering… “What does this expiration date mean?” “It’s been in the fridge for a week. I wonder if it’s still good?” I came across this Fact Sheet from the USDA (via ConsumerBell) and thought it might be a great resource of information about food product dating. Ever wonder what the difference is between “Best if used by,” “Use by,” and “Sell by”? How much to do you know about dates on egg cartons, UPC or bar codes, storage times? This fact sheet has all the info you need.
via USDA Fact Sheet
“Sell by Feb 14″ is a type of information you might find on a meat or poultry product. Are dates required on food products? Does it mean the product will be unsafe to use after that date? Here is some background information which answers these and other questions about product dating. Read the rest of this entry »