By Julie Baumgardner, MS, CFLE

the family that plays together stays togetherIn a recent discussion with a group of parents about parent involvement, one of the group members said, “Define parent involvement.” As different parents gave their definition, it was clear that parental involvement means different things to different people.
“Being a homeroom mother.” “Helping children with their homework.” “Being home when they arrive home from school.” “Helping coach their sports team.”
Thinking back to your own childhood, what were the most meaningful ways your parents connected with you?
What does it mean to be an involved parent?
In a recent survey of more than 1,000 Hamilton County residents, conducted by Barna Research group, for First Things First, respondents were asked to define what they believe it means to be an involved parent and what it looks like. Those surveyed defined parent involvement as:
  • involvement – generally being involved in their lives, volunteering at school, coaching and asking children to participate in chores;
  • spend time together – specifically doing activities the child enjoys, attending their activities, listening to and talking with their child, reading together, having meals together, going on vacation together, and being there when they need you;
  • teach them/guide them – helping them with their homework and education, helping children discern right from wrong, guiding children through important decisions, teaching citizenship and life skills and developing the child’s unique talents and abilities;
  • know them – what is going on in their lives, paying close attention to where they spend their time and with whom, and knowing their interests and passions;
  • have the right mindset – being interested in the child’s activities, and loving them unconditionally; and
  • provide for them – food, clothing, shelter, give them a wide range of experiences. READ More on Parenting and Parental Involvement
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mother and ten year old daughterChildren go through various stages and each presents its own set of challenges. Tweeners, though, are a stage that will cause many parents, teachers and adults in general, no matter how streetwise or tough, to flinch. That stage between the ages of about 10 and 14 (middle school age) can cause parents to question their sanity at times. Many a parent of tweeners knows well the mantra, "13 only lasts a year." But in the next breath the child that was pushing all their parent's buttons turns into a sweet, loving angel. Parenting is stressful, regardless of the child's age, but once you understand your tweener you may find that parenting your tweener is easier and can even be fun. READ More on Parenting a Tweener: A Survival Guide

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Father and his sonDo you feel your preteen or tween needs much supervision? As surprising at it may sound, the majority of pre-teens and early adolescents behave in a responsible manner. They want to show you that they have an understanding of the rules and the common knowledge of right and wrong. On the other hand, we all know that they can also act irresponsibly. And for that reason they do need constant supervision still.

When your children are away from the home they are most often supervised. Most of the day they are at school where they are obviously watched by teachers and staff. If there are camps or afternoon organizations that they belong too then there is always adult supervision as well. Then the times when they are not supervised and out with friends are when they are most prone to getting into trouble. READ More on Parenting your Pre-Teen

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Happy Moms Day!

Mothers Day is a special day to really let our Moms know how much we love them. Here are a few quotes I found that help express our love for their dedication and influence throughout our lives. After all, what would we be without our Moms?

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs… since the payment is pure love. (Mildred B. Vermont)

Your arms were always open when I needed a hug. Your heart understood when I needed a friend. Your gentle eyes were stern when I needed a lesson. Your strength and love has guided me and gave me wings to fly. (Sarah Malin)

Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. (Oprah)

Best advice my mom gave me is "Don't let other people make the choices for you and don't let no one push you around." (Gabriela, 11, Canada)


"M" is for the million things she gave me,

"O" means only that she's growing old,

"T" is for the tears she shed to save me,

"H" is for her heart of purest gold;

"E" is for her eyes, with love-light shining,

"R" means right, and right she'll always be,

Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER,"

A word that means the world to me.

– Howard Johnson.

Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love. (Stevie Wonder)

Mother – that was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries. (T. DeWitt Talmage)READ More on Mother's Day Quotes

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mothers-day-breakfest-in-bed.jpgEvery day should be Mothers Day. Lets make sure we tell our moms and the mothers of our children how special they are to us. If you are a dad, it is our job to lead by example and show them how important Mother's Day is. Start from the very moment she wakes up to the the good night kiss. This year for example, I had my 6 year old help make breakfast and serve my wife in bed. The look on her face was amazing! And I have more surprises to come as the day goes on.

What I wanted to do today is take a look at Mother's Day. Ask anyone what the most important day of the year is to them and you will get answers ranging from their birthday to Christmas to Election Day. How many will say Mother’s Day? Unfortunately, I would guess very few. For some reason Mother’s Day gets overlooked or down played a bit. Yes, there are commercials all over reminding you to send flowers or buy mom candy… but where is the real sentiment? It is so much more than a gift, or saying Happy Mother's day, it is about truly letting our moms and wives know how much they are appreciated and cared for.

Perhaps one of the problems is that society has tried to make Mother’s Day a tribute to women in general. This is one of our greatest errors. We don’t make Father’s Day a tribute to men everywhere, no it is a day for dad. Though I will admit it doesn’t get the acknowledgment it should get either. But today is about Mother’s Day… and our moms… not just the mothers that gave birth to us, but the mothers of our children as well. Let's make sure we not only do something special for her but tell her how deeply she is cared for and appreciated this Mother's Day.READ More on The Importance of Mother's Day – Every Day

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girl giving flowers to mom on Mother's dayRemember dads, Mothers day is just a few weeks away, and if you have young toddlers they will need your help in making Moms day extra special. On Mother's Day its the thought that counts and actions can express love much more than expensive gifts. For younger kids its a great lesson to teach kids that money and expensive gifts don't buy love, and that love comes from the heart or buying something that has meaning and feeling behind it. Unless your kids have been saving their allowance religiously, they may not be able to afford to buy an expensive gift for Mother’s Day. However, here are some ideas for inexpensive Mother’s Day gifts.

READ More on Inexpensive Mothers Day Gift Ideas

Random Act of Kindness: Young Teen Surprising and Spending time with her Grandma

Random Act of Kindness: Young Teen Surprising and Spending time with her Grandma

The other day I was sitting in traffic, a drizzling, chilly morning in rush hour traffic. Everyone with their own agenda, their own problems; but as I sat there, a truck pulled up beside another pickup that was laden with furniture. A guy got out of the passenger side, walked around to the back of the loaded pickup and grabbed a part of the plastic that was covering the load but had blown loose. He quickly tucked the plastic back over the load and re-secured it. Then he ran and jumped back into the truck, waved to the startled driver of the pickup and drove off. I sat there for a moment, smiling.

We've all heard the buzzword, "random acts of kindness," and we may even try to show kindness to others. But how do we as parents instill those values in our children? It is a self centered, materialistic world that we live in and teaching our children to step beyond that is not small task. However, it is possible to teach our kids these good values and it starts with giving them a role model. Children learn what they live, so if they live with you doing random acts of kindness, they are fairly certain to follow.

A random act of kindness does not have to be a major production. Kindness comes in many different shapes and sizes – and it is free. Teach your kids by doing, but also plan some actions with your child. Talk about nice things that you can do for others. Try some of these "random acts of kindness" with your teen.READ More on Random Acts of Kindness: Teaching Children to Pay it Forward

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