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.

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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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Alyssa Milano in KosovoMost people have heard of Alyssa Milano, a household name for years. Starting out as a child actor, she has become well known as an incredible adult actress today, staring in a variety of television shows along the way. Although many people may be aware of her celebrity life, many are unaware of the other side to Alyssa Milano. You may be surprised to find out what an incredible ambassador for good this woman has been and is today! Using her fame to make a difference, she is involved in many foundations and charities, always working to help those less fortunate than herself. Here is a closer look at a side of this actress you may have never seen before.

Alyssa Milano – The Actress

First, let’s take a look at Alyssa Milano the actress. She started acting when she was a child, and has gone on to be on some very popular series’ on television. Most people know her for her performance as Phoebe Halliwell on the “Charmed” show, aired on the WB. This show has been popular around the world. Other shows that she has starred in include “My Name is Earl,” “Who’s the Boss,” and “Melrose Place.” She has also recently started a new role on television in “Romantically Challenged,” on ABC.

Beyond Acting – Milano the Philanthropist Although doing an incredible job as an actress, there is much more to Alyssa Milano than the glitz and glam that comes along with Hollywood. Beyond the acting that she does, she has become an avid advocate for those in need, a philanthropist, and a humanitarian in every sense of the word. To show you the other side of this actress, here is a closer look at some of the many things she has been involved in within the past few years.

Alyssa Milano – National Ambassador for UNICEF

Back in 2003, UNICEF invited Alyssa to become a National Ambassador for them. This was a result of all the charitable work she had already done for children. Since she became the National Goodwill Ambassador for this country, she has traveled to work in a variety of other countries, including Kosovo, Angola, India, and more. Alyssa has also been working on the “Trick or Treat” campaign to help raise money for children in other countries and has been a spokesperson for that cause, which is a UNICEF project. According to Milano, she plans to continue working on projects with UNICEF in the future as well. Please visit Unicef and learn more of the great work they do helping children and families: http://www.unicefusa.org/

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Parenting: No Spankingby Jennifer Shakeel

A recent study was published in the May issue of Pediatrics, that showed children who are spanked when they are 3 (or older) are more likely to be more aggressive in kindergarten and throughout life than those children who are not spanked. While many of us that are currently parents grew up getting spanked and turned out okay, a poll done on how parents feel about spanking showed that more ten 80% feel it is appropriate, the National Pediatric Association disagrees.

Personally, I think that there is a time for a child to be spanked, though it is only ever a last resort and it is in response to a child putting themselves or someone else in harm’s way. I also believe that there are better options that we as parents have to not only discipline our children but teach them as to why what they did was wrong.

Parenting Tip One: Remain Calm

If you are angry it is going to be difficult for you to remain calm to explain to your child what it is they did wrong and why they are in trouble. Believe it or not, children don’t always know or understand why they are in trouble. So you need to be calm enough to explain it to them.

Tip Two: Make Sure You Have “Me Time”

As silly as this sound, parents who don’t have the opportunity to take time for themselves tend to be quick to react to a tense situation by spanking your child. I know as a mother of 3 (ages 15 to 16 months, wife, and home based business owner) that life can sometimes get in the way of us taking time for ourselves. You don’t need a day… or even hours… one hour or 15 minutes where all you do are focus on you. Listen to music… drink a cup of coffee really slowly… take a hot shower. It will help you put things in perspective.

Tip Three: Kind… but Firm

Parents also tend to spank when their child hasn’t listened to them after repeatedly telling their child not to do a particular thing. Next time you are in this situation consider getting down to your child’s eye level, put your hand gently on his or her shoulder and tell him or her what it is you want them to do in a kind but firm tone. Look sometimes it isn’t that they aren’t listening to you, they don’t know what else to do. Dr. Michele Borba recommends teaching your child an alternative to the behavior you want them to stop.

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Quick but Delicious Recipes for Busy Moms

It's a real privilege to share my Recipes for Busy Moms here at More4Kids. My auntie taught me to cook when I was five years old. My uncle built a little red step-stool for me to stand on so I could watch her chop, stir and knead.

Auntie was an inspirational cook she'd add a pinch of this, a dab of that and for good measure, a cup of sugar. All southern recipes called for lard or sugar and often both. Now we know lard and sugar are deadly, so I've tweaked them out of our recipes.

To kick-off Recipes for Busy Moms, we're doing spaghetti! Spaghetti is messy and slurp-worthy; two main kid criteria. I prefer whole grain spaghetti, but the nutritional difference is not worth the battle if your kids don't like it.

Texas Slow-Fast Spaghetti

Crock pot cooking may be slow, but they help busy moms get dinner on the table fast.

Ingredients:

29oz can tomato sauce

28oz can diced tomatoes – drained

28oz can crushed tomatoes with basil and oregano

¼ cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup finely chopped bell pepper

3 cloves garlic – smashed

1 T Italian seasoning

Salt and pepper as preferred

14.5oz can chickpeas – drained

1T fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1 ½ lb ground round or turkey

Preparation:

Place all ingredients excepting chickpeas, parmesan cheese and meat in your crock pot. Cover and cook on High.

After about an hour, cook meat in skillet until done. Drain. Pour meat and chickpeas into sauce mixture. Stir. Cook about 4-5 hours. About ½ hour before serving, stir in Parmesan cheese.

Serve with your choice of spaghetti.

The beauty of this recipe is you can prep it the night before and let the sauce simmer while you're crazy-busy the next day. Since the meat is cooked before adding to sauce, it's fine to put it in the crock pot an hour or so before serving.

Spotlighting: This week we're spotlighting chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. Chickpeas provide: iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus and folate. In addition, they are power-packed with protein. Sprinkle them in salad, add to soups or stews or just serve chickpeas as a side dish.

Now, let's create fried spaghetti salad. This may just solve challenges of persuading kids to "eat your salad". My son enjoys it so much he calls the dish "Seconds Please Spaghetti".

The behind-the-scenes story is that I don't advocate the Clean Plate Club. We're raising a nation of obese kids, who will become obese adults. It's better to get some smaller plates and serve littler portions. If they love it, your kids will ask for seconds please too!

Seconds Please Spaghetti Salad

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How to  Take Advantage of the Teaching
Moments Sports Can Offer

Young Soccer PlayerWhile getting your children involved in sports is definitely a great move for them physically, there's a lot more that you and your child can get out of their involvement in sports. Sports involvement is definitely a great way to combat the rise of obesity in America today, but even more important are some of the incredible life lessons that sports and positive parenting can bring home to your child. Allowing your child to get involved in a sport opens the door for them to learn some important lessons. Of course, it's up to you as a parent to help kids apply the lessons they learn playing sports to other areas of life. Don't let these teaching moments slip by you. Here are just a few of the lessons that you can bring home to your child through their involvement in sports.

Lesson #1 – The Strength of Working as a Team

One of the most important lessons that kids can learn when involved in sports is the strength of working as a team. Playing a sport allows kids to learn about setting team goals, team cooperation to achieve goals, how to take turns, and more. This helps kids develop socially and emotionally, and can help them prepare for times later in life where working as a team will be important. This type of development is important to how your child ends up working with others in their life, such as teachers, friends, family, and even classmates. Don't let this opportunity get by you. Find ways at home that you can continue to encourage teamwork. You can bring this home by getting kids involved in tasks at home, explaining how every person in the family is part of a team playing towards the goal of a clean home.

Lesson #2 – Everyone Brings Something to the Game

Another important lesson you can teach your child through sports is that everyone brings something to the game. Not every child performs each task well within a team. One may be great at running the bases, another great at catching, while another is excellent at strategy. Kids need to learn that while others may be better at one task than they are, everyone has something unique that they bring to the game. This is a lesson that can help your child develop more confidence and self esteem. Don't allow your child to focus on the weaknesses of others, but help them look at the strengths of others. This will help them to realize that while they have shortcomings of their own, they also have skills that come naturally and areas where they excel. As they grow older, it will be important that they are able to be confident in what they bring to the table, whether it's at school or later on the job.

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I just read an article on developing helpful children. This is a very good article to read. As parents of young children we often wonder how our children are going to be in the teen years where parenting can be much more of a challenge. Some tips recommended in the article is to start children out young with chores and priase them. Also it is not recommended to tie chores to money as it is not a good idea to associate withholding of money to punishment.
As a parent of a 4 year old this article provided some great ideas.
For teens it is recommended to increase the amount of work around the house in order to provide the skills and self-sufficiancy they will need when they move out. READ More on Developing Helpful Kids

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