Top 11 Cheap Things to do with Kids this Summer

Aug 14

Top 11 Cheap Things to do with Kids this Summer

Parents spend a lot of money keeping their kids entertained over summer break. Day camp, pool memberships, zoo and park entries, new toys and gadgets – you name it, parents are spending money on it so they won’t hear the dreaded “I’m bo-ored” from the lips of their little ones. But you don’t have to shell out the big bucks to make your children happy. There are plenty of cheap things to do with kids this summer. Here are just a few summer fun ideas to get you started:

1. Make a countdown calendar.
Make it very big, on a poster board or several sheets of paper taped together. Make boxes and fill in the dates, days of the week, and the number of days left until school starts. Make sure…

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Teaching Social Skills to Children (What you should be doing this summer vacation)

Jul 02

Teaching Social Skills to Children (What you should be doing this summer vacation)

Think about it: did the smartest kid in your class end up the most successful in life? It’s possible, but unlikely. The people who are most likely to succeed are not necessarily the ones who are most intelligent or get the best grades. The most practical life skills for children are their social aptitude – knowing how to get along with others and function in society, knowing how to be good friends and good all-around people.

How do you know whether you’ve been successful in teaching social skills to children and whether your child has learned the lessons he needs to succeed in life? Don’t watch him on a good day when he’s getting along with his siblings and friends. Life skills for children manifest when something out of the ordinary or unfair happens. Pay attention when something unexpected or…

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Crybaby No More – Empower Children by Teaching Confidence

Jun 20

Crybaby No More – Empower Children by Teaching Confidence

Last night my daughter, Emily, who is almost 6, said that a girl in her class called her a crybaby.  ”Well, are you?” I asked.

 

That might not have been the most sensitive response. I probably should have expressed empathy first and asked her how being called a crybaby made her feel. But instead of just coddling Emily and saying “that wasn’t a nice thing for your classmate to say,” I decided to be proactive and teach her some positive, useful techniques she can use the next time she finds herself in a situation where she feels like crying. Practical coping skills for kids will help them learn how to stand up for themselves and empower children, giving them more self-esteem and teaching confidence that they have control over the situation.

 

The first thing I ask Emily when she starts crying…

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How to Help Shy Children: Don’t!

Jun 05

How to Help Shy Children: Don’t!

My daughter, Emily, is a shy child. Often she is more what I’d call “slow to warm up.” She is very very friendly and loving, but not always immediately. She needs some time to get to know a person and to find her place and her comfort zone in a situation.

 

When Emily was three, my husband and I were so excited to go to her preschool graduation. They marched onto the stage in the special crowns they had made and lined up in a row. One child burst into tears and ran to her mother. My husband looked at me. He was so glad that wasn’t our daughter. The music teacher began to play on the keyboard and the children began to sing. Or some of them did. Emily froze. She didn’t open her mouth. She looked terrified. But…

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Primary Infertility vs. Secondary Infertility: Dreams Unfulfilled

May 22

Primary Infertility vs. Secondary Infertility: Dreams Unfulfilled

I feel guilty. I have two healthy, wonderful children. Who am I to want more? What right do I have to want a third when some people don’t have any?

 

I suffered through primary infertility. I would have done anything to have a baby. Painful procedures, drugs that messed me up physically and emotionally, the waiting, the wondering – will I ever be a mother? – and worst of all, the disappointment, month after month, when nothing worked.

 

But for some reason, after two failed pregnancies, one finally stuck and I was blessed with a baby girl. And two years later a baby boy.

 

It’s kind of like survivor’s guilt. Why me? Why did I get everything I wanted when others are hoping, dreaming, praying… and some will never be as lucky as I am?

 

I learned something important in therapy many years…

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Does Extended Breastfeeding Make you “Mom Enough?”

May 16

Does Extended Breastfeeding Make you “Mom Enough?”

A lot of people – men and women – were turned off by Time Magazine’s May 21, 2012 cover photo, which has come to be known as the Time Magazine breastfeeding cover, depicting a woman breastfeeding her nearly-four-year-old son. Not just nursing him but standing beside him, tank top pulled down, as he stood on a chair so he could reach her exposed breast.

 

The cover story that accompanies the photo is about attachment parenting, a parenting method that includes co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, and baby-wearing. The article is entitled “Are you mom enough? Why attachment parenting drives some mothers to extremes — and how Dr. Bill Sears became their guru.”

I’m not here to ague whether attachment parenting is the best way to parent. I think different methods are right for different families. There is no one “right” way to parent….

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Celebrating Mother’s Day Your Way

May 08

Celebrating Mother’s Day Your Way

The way I see it, there are two ways to celebrate Mother’s Day: with your family or without them.

Some moms want Mother’s Day to be their day. A day for Mom to do all the things she doesn’t get to do the other 364 days a year because she’s so busy  raising her family, taking care of the house, and a little thing I like to call “working.” Celebrating Mother’s Day for these moms might entail sleeping in, a day at the spa with girlfriends, and – dare I say it? – a nighttime date with Dad.

 

Other Moms want to celebrate Mother’s Day by celebrating being a mom. Their ideal Mother’s Day could include all the kids pilling into bed together in the morning followed by a fun family activity like mini golf or a picnic, a family dinner…

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Car Seat and Booster Seat Safety Guidelines – Essential for Keeping your Kids Safe

May 02

Car Seat and Booster Seat Safety Guidelines – Essential for Keeping your Kids Safe

One day last week, my daughter Emily’s kindergarten let out early. Her friend’s mom offered to pick up both girls and take them to play at her house until I came home from work. I asked her whether she had an extra booster seat that Emily could sit in, and when she said no I told her I’d leave work early and pick the girls up myself.

 

A lot of people would think I was crazy, taking off a half day of work because I wouldn’t let my daughter ride for two minutes without a car seat. But the distance you’re driving isn’t relevant. In fact, over 50% of car accidents occur within 5 miles of home. And it doesn’t matter how much I trust the driver or how slowly she’s driving – there’s no telling who is going to…

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Time-Outs and Taming Tantrums

Apr 24

Time-Outs and Taming Tantrums

We spent a lot of time with other families over spring break, and subsequently we saw a lot of kids having a lot of meltdowns. I’m always interested in how other parents deal with tantrums when their children get over-excited, over-tired or just plain upset.

 

1. Remove child from the situation.
What I’ve found works best is removing the child from the situation. In the best-case scenario, you’ll catch them while they’re still in the process of getting worked up and haven’t quite crossed over yet into tantrum mode. In other words, try to nip the tantrum in the bud – stop it before it even happens.

 

Call your child by name and have him follow you out of the room. If he refuses to listen, move him to another room, up the stairs or out the door – if possible, to…

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How I Decided To Limit Screentime and Get My Kids Outdoors

Apr 15

How I Decided To Limit Screentime and Get My Kids Outdoors

My kids are on spring break. My husband and I are not. This means that, unfortunately for all of us, TV and computer screentime is becoming our fall-back babysitter – something that makes me feel guilty and that is definitely not good for my kids.
 
Something clicked in me this week, though, and I decided it was really important that I spend time outside with my kids. Not only is fresh air and exercise good for kids physically, but kids who get regular exercise also do better in school, have better problem-solving and decision-making skills and are more creative. Getting your kids outdoors can also help combat depression and childhood obesity.
 
My husband and I are taking turns working and hanging out with the kids over their school vacation. While there is inevitably some screentime happening sometime during the day, we’re…

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Other People’s Children

Apr 08

Other People’s Children

Disciplining kids is difficult enough, but what do we do when other people’s kids enter the picture? When you’re in a restaurant and the kids at the next table are running around and making a racket, a friend’s child who is over for a play date is misbehaving, a child in your carpool is hitting his seat-mate, or the kid in front of you at the supermarket is teasing your child, how do you react? Do you talk to the child or to the parent, or try to ignore the situation entirely? It’s difficult to know. Here are my thoughts on dealing with other people’s children.
 
I think the reason we are so scared to intervene when it comes to other people’s kids is because it may feel like we’re criticizing the parents. No one wants to be criticized on…

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Ideas for School Lunches They’ll Actually Eat

Mar 27

Ideas for School Lunches They’ll Actually Eat

Every night I have the same problem. I’m about to turn out the lights and head to bed when I realize that I still haven’t done my least favorite daily chore: making lunches for my kids.

Ideas for school lunches is a topic often re-visted by my friends. It seems our children are getting bored and we’re running out of ideas for how to make healthy kids lunches that they will actually eat!

My rule of thumb is that when making lunches, every kid gets a carbohydrate (the fuel little bodies need for physical activity), a protein (which builds up and maintains muscle and bodily tissue), a fruit and a vegetable. Usually, but not always, the carbohydrate and the protein are combined in a sandwich, which takes one step out of making healthy kids lunches. They each have a water bottle,…

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Teaching Children about Special Needs

Mar 04

Teaching Children about Special Needs

When I was a teenager, I volunteered helping a family with an autistic child. I babysat for their three kids once a week so they could get a break. Now those kids are in their 20s and, when I brought my own children to visit my hometown this week, I wanted them to meet each other.
 
My kids don’t have a lot of experience around people with special needs. Teaching kids about disabilities is tricky. When someone uses a wheelchair or wears a hearing aid, teaching children about special needs is easier because there is a visible physical disability. But what about explaining something like autism or Down syndrome? And how do we teach empathy to our children? How do we get them to understand how to behave around people who are different from them and what to say and…

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Top Ten Tips for Flying with Children

Feb 26

Top Ten Tips for Flying with Children

I just got off a 16-hour flight with my kids. It was supposed to be 11 but we were stuck on the tarmac for five hours before takeoff. It was a night flight, but of course they only slept for a total of four hours. Air travel with children can be stressful, but if you are prepared, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. In fact, if you are prepared with the right equipment and travel activities for kids, flying with your little ones can even be fun!
 
Here are my top ten tips for flying with children:
 
1. Make air travel with children as painless as possible by planning as much as you can in advance. Order a bulkhead seat for extra leg-room, especially if you have a baby. Make sure the seat is equipped for a bassinet attachment. (You…

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Extreme Parenting – Teaching Lessons, Shooting Laptops

Feb 19

Extreme Parenting – Teaching Lessons, Shooting Laptops

Last week, North Carolina dad Tommy Jordan’s video response to his daughter, Hannah’s, Facebook status went viral.
 
Hannah Jordan had written a long status message, chock full of curse words, complaining about the expectations her parents have of her (to do a couple of chores around the house) and what a difficult life she has. She even said that when her parents get older, she’s not going to be there to take care of them.
 
Hannah Jordan’s words were rude. They showed a lack of respect and a lack of appreciation. She was acting like a rebellious teenager. But her behavior, while disrespectful, was frankly appropriate for her age and not unexpected.
 
Her father, Tommy Jordan’s, response was an example of something that has come to be known as “extreme parenting,” and it …

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