Back to School – Back to Schedules

Summertime – schedules are relaxed, kids can stay up a little later, sleep a little longer, lounge around in their pajamas all morning. But before you know it, the clock will rule the morning again. How do you help kids adjust from the relaxation of summer to the schedules of school?
Start Early
Your kids are not going to be happy if they can stay up to 11:00 one night and have to be in bed by 8:00 the next night. In fact, they probably won’t be able to make such a drastic change so quickly and will make everybody miserable. Begin slowly reintroducing your regular bedtime and wake-up schedules a few weeks before school starts so everyone is used to the change.READ More on Getting Your Family Into That Back To School Routine

Ringing the Liberty BellUnfortunately, many kids today are not aware of the real meaning behind the 4th of July. Many celebrations on July 4th include fireworks, picnics, BBQs, and other celebrations. While celebrating the holiday is wonderful, we cannot allow our children to forget what this day is all about. It's time that kids learn about the history that is behind all the festivities that occur on the 4th of July. If you are not sure where to begin teaching kids the real meaning of this important holiday in the United States, here are some tips that can help.

Tip #1 – Talk to Your Kids About the Meaning of the Day

The first place to start when you want to teach your kids about the 4th of July and its meaning is by talking to them. Talk to kids and find out what they already know about this national holiday. Chances are they have learned some information in school, and you can add to the education that they already have. Spend some time talking about the importance of this holiday, the history behind it, and make them realize it is more than just a day to have a BBQ. Encourage kids to ask questions as well. This is also a great time to talk to kids about how they can celebrate this day in a way that brings across the real meaning of the holiday.

Tip #2 – Find Books About the History

Another great tip to help kids understand the meaning behind July 4th is finding books about the history of our country. While you can purchase books, another option is to visit a library in your area. Check out books that relate to the time of the Revolutionary War and the fight for independence in this country. There are some wonderful books available for children on this topic, such as "The Story of America's Birthday," which is by Patricia A. Pringy.

Tip #3 – Study the Declaration of Independence with Your Child

It's pretty easy to get a copy of the Declaration of Independence. You can get tourist versions or you could simply print it off from the internet. Take time to study the Declaration of Independence with your child. Try to explain what it means in a way that they can understand. Make them realize how important this document was in all the events that led up to what we now know as July 4th, or Independence Day.

Tip #4 – Take Time to Honor Soldiers

Take some time out to honor soldiers while you are teaching your children about the history of the country and Independence Day. Take some flowers or flags to a local cemetery and place them on soldier's graves. As you do this, talk to your kids about the sacrifice that has been made for freedom and how important it is that we never forget about those sacrifices made in the past.

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Fathers Day: Dad and SonFather's Day is a time to celebrate dads, and for fathers, it is a great time to reflect on the relationship you have with your children. Maybe you have a great relationship with your children or maybe you would like to be more involved in your child's life. The role of a father is an important one, and many studies show that having a father that is involved is beneficial to the entire family. Of course, not only will your children benefit from you being involved in their lives, but you'll enjoy great benefits too. This Father's Day, consider the benefits of being an involved dad and consider a few of these tips for bonding and becoming more involved with your children. It will definitely pay off big time.

Being Involved – The Benefits for Your Children

First, let's take a look at some of the benefits your children will enjoy when you are an involved dad. Being involved in your child's life is going to include getting involved in all aspects of their lives. As you do this, here are a few benefits your children will enjoy.

Benefit #1 – Greater Success – Studies have shown that children who have fathers who are involved in their lives enjoy greater success in life. They are more successful in their career pursuits, which leads to financial stability.

Benefit #2 – Fewer Problems – Another benefit of being involved with your children is they usually have fewer problems in life. They are less likely to be delinquent, get involved in violence, or have other behavioral problems.

Benefit #3 – Better Cognitive Abilities – Interestingly enough, spending more time bonding with your kids can increase their cognitive abilities. Regardless of your own education level, being involved with your kids can increase cognitive test scores and the likelihood that they graduate high school and even pursue higher education.

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happy family on mothers dayMother’s Day is a tradition that has been celebrated all throughout history. On this special day, Dads and kids all around the nation gather to show the mother in their life how much they appreciate and cherish them. If you are a dad that is searching out for ideas that you and the kids can use to order to achieve the goal of making mom’s day special, then this can serve as a very powerful tool and resource. Here, you will find many different creative ideas that you can put to good use. In the end, your wife will feel absolutely honored that you have taken the time to devise a way of showing her how much you and the children love and cherish her!

Memory Movie

One of the first and most impressive strategies that you can use to ensure that you are successful in making Mom’s day special is to create a memory movie. This is not a difficult task, but there are many different supplies that must be obtained in order to complete this Mother’s Day gift. These items are as follows:

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Easter candy is almost a tradition in most households. little girl eating a chocolate Easter bunnyEvery year moms try to decide what to give their kids for Easter. No doubt the kids would prefer candy and chocolate. However, it is a good idea to include some healhier alternatives. There are many healthy replacements for Easter candy baskets you can try. Here are a few tips and ideas.

Instead of chocolate or marshmallow candy, try filling or including with:

* Fruits and cookies. You can bake natural cookies at home that taste yummy.
* Mini boxes of raisins and low fat candies.
* Stuffed bunny rabbits and jelly beans, which are low in calories.
* A basket of brightly colored plastic eggs; with coins inside each egg.
* Coloring books and crayons.
* Small toys for either girls or boys.
* Peanut butter cookies and mini bran muffins.
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In an age in which the notion of conventional religion is being called to question at rapidly increasing rates, finding ways to ensure the installation of a moral compass within our children is much easier said than done. Moreover, this task is further complicated when you do not subscribe to any particular religious ideology and do not have one set leader or deity to look to during times of turmoil and trouble. Nevertheless, making sure our children have a firm foundation despite the lack of dependence on religion is vital for raising children who become healthy, well-adjusted adults. That is to say, in order for our children to become happy and successful, we must give the tools to thrive in the face of adversity. That said, the following is a short guide to helping your children overcome issues with peer pressure and conformity as an agnostic mother.

First thing’s first, for the sake of clarification, let’s discuss the notion of “agnosticism”. While this is largely considered to be a bit of a dirty word among religious circles of all kinds, I like to believe it is just a misunderstood concept. Above all, being agnostic rests on the belief that there is no way to know who or what “God” or a “God-like” being consists of in this lifetime. It is neither the denial or outright belief in any given deity or religion. To make the distinction between agnostics and atheists, while atheists are strong in their belief that God does not exist, agnostics believe that there is no way to know if god exists or not. From a personal standpoint, while I do believe in a higher power of some sort, I also believe that any such power would be too complex and grandiose to be understood by the human mind. I believe that it is a very human inclination to try to explain away the unexplainable and since “God” or the ”Gods” don’t seem to be taking any Q&A sessions, all the pondering and figuring of the universe is left up to those of us who are simply a product of it. Therefore, as much as it pains people to consider, it is just as likely that man made God in his image as it is that the opposite is true.

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by Stacey Schifferdecker
Beyond Santa Claus – Teaching children the true meaning of Christmas
All I want for Christmas is… a dancing Elmo and a Kidzoom camera and a Littlest Pet Shop Pet Town and…
It is all too easy during the Christmas season to lose focus on Jesus and concentrate only on gifts, parties, decorations, and fun. If even adults have trouble keeping Christmas as a celebration of Jesus’ birth, how much more difficult it is for children entangled by the excitement and mystery of Santa Claus. But you can help your young children learn the true meaning of Christmas. Incorporate some of these ideas into your Christmas festivities this year–
Have a Nightly Christmas Story Time
Libraries and bookstores are full of Christmas books – you can easily find enough to read one book every night of December. Choose books that tell the story of Jesus’ birth rather than a Santa, Rudolph, or Frosty story. Some good choices for young children include
  • B is for Bethlehem
  • God Gave us Christmas
  • Room for a Little One
  • Who is Coming to Our House
  • One Baby Jesus
Make this a special time each night, perhaps snuggling up in front of the Christmas tree and reading by candlelight or flashlight with a cup of hot cocoa at hand. On Christmas Eve, read the story of Jesus’ birth straight from the Bible in the book of Luke.
Give to Others
Opportunities abound to give to others at Christmas time. Perhaps your church has an “Angel Tree” where you can choose a person to buy gifts for. If not, most malls have a tree or you can contact a social services agency in your town. Children especially enjoy choosing gifts for another child their own age. As you shop together, talk about how happy the recipient of the gift will be. Talk about how Jesus is a gift for us and how we can share his love with others.

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