Having a family comes with great responsibility. If you want to raise children with a well-rounded upbringing, then you must make time for the family. It’s very good to provide food, shelter, clothing, and transportation. But it requires more than that to make a family a good family. Times are busy. Parents work, kids are often in activities that keeps the schedule crowded, but you should make it a top priority to spend quality time with the family. A great way to do this is to incorporate a family night into your schedule.

How often to schedule family night really depends on the dynamics of your family. Ideally, it would be great to work it in weekly. But depending on what’s going on with the children’s activities, you may need to adjust that. Try for twice a month or even once a month if you must. Here are some awesome ideas for family night fun.

Board Games

Board games offer a time for children to flex the competitive muscles all while spending quality time with you. Depending on the ages of your children, you have a wide range of choices when it comes to board games. Try for the board game classics of Monopoly, Clue, Parcheesi, Aggravation, Trouble, and Scrabble. Newer board games come out all the time. Some board games make take hours to finish, like RISK or the trivia variety. Take the kids shopping and let them choose one game for family night.

Card Games

Cards are an all-time classic. A deck of cards can become so many games from go-fish to crazy 8 to rummy. UNO is a fun deck of cards and it’s good for whatever size of family you are. Give each kid a deck of cards and teach them how to play Solitaire. Play with actual cards because it’s different than playing a video card game. If they learn Solitaire, they will be able to entertain themselves when needed.

Video Games

If you own a game system or computer, you could incorporate a video game playoff. Some game systems allow for up to four players at a time or take turns. This teaches children patience and teaches them how to cheer the others in a friendly game competition.

Charades and Drawing Games

This classic game doesn’t need any special props, just willing and able bodies. It’s fun to act out different movies. Try variations of charades such as drawing. Take a large tablet and start by drawing a shape and the others will guess at what’s on the tablet. See how few drawings (or shapes) it takes for the team to guess at the picture. Tic Tac Toe is a fun game to draw on a marker board, chalk board, or large tablet. Hang man will help teach children spelling skills.

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I am in my 50's, and still in deep debt for going back to college. If it is stressful for me think how stressful it is for those in their 20's and just graduating deep in debt. My story is for another time, this story is about our future and how Debt-Free College is so important, not only for our youth, but for the future of our country.

Lets step back a minute. Late September 2016 brought about an amicable appearance by Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders. The purpose? To demonstrate to the voting public and observers the importance of education from early childhood forward. Sanders, an advocate of affordable, quality education for all ages, had two important messages. The first one was his official endorsement of Ms. Clinton’s plan for debt-free college. The second was to explain why a Clinton presidency will honor that goal, as opposed to the education proposals by Republican candidate Donald Trump.

What are the differences and similarities between education platforms? The one similarity is that both candidates support charter schools. Clinton leans towards approval of Common Core and supports teachers’ unions, Trump is critical of teachers’ unions and has promised to get rid of Common Core. Voters have the challenge of sorting through their own beliefs before November 2016’s election.

Donald Trump wants to take $20 billion from existing federal monies to fund a voucher program allowing school-age children, particularly those living in poverty, to attend their choice of school, whether public or private. He believes that the free market practice will improve school performance and curriculum. Officials and voters in cities and states, as well as designated school districts, would need to support the plan and contribute an additional $110 billion of their educational budget. The result would be a $12,000 school choice voucher to each student from kindergarten through high school who is living in poverty.

Hillary Clinton states the program would devastate the already financially strapped public schools in the nation. Taking approximately 30 percent of federal tax dollars from public schools would result in adversely affecting students from all walks of life. She believes universal preschool and quality childcare will help young children develop learning skills and the education necessary to succeed in college and beyond.

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Praise and Constructive Criticism

by Lori Ramsey – real life parenting with a mom with 6 kids

The children of today experience the world a lot differently than we did as children. The spirit of competition is gone and is replaced by the motto everyone is included, everyone rewarded. Here’s the scenario of today:

Little league sign-up sheets come home in your child’s schoolwork. Baseball, softball, football, soccer, and basketball are a few of the sports offered to children. All a parent has to do is fill out the form, get a physical, and pay the fee and their child is on the team. During the season, the child either plays or they sit the bench, whatever the coach deems necessary. After the season, whether the child played well or not and whether the team won games or not, each child receives a trophy or a medal, for participation. Therefore you all children make it on the team, all children receive an award, regardless of their skills, if they played well, if they won or not.

Does the scenario really seem fair? On the surface it seems fair. Everyone has a chance, no one left out. But dig deeper. What does this tell our children? It tells them when they reach adulthood that in all fairness they should have opportunity to do whatever they want, regardless of their skills and talents. Scenarios like this makes them entitlement minded, feeling they deserve a reward even if they didn’t earn the entitlement or deserve it.

Years ago, before the massive technology boom, when children wanted to play a sport they had to try out for the team. They were chosen for the team if they showed the talent and skills for the sport, or if they showed good potential. Some children were not chosen, and while that may have hurt at the time, they were taught they had to earn their positions. Only children who played well, and teams who actually won the games received trophies and medals. Children did not receive an award for simply participating.

While that may sound so unfair, proving skills and talents taught generations of children they had to work hard to receive their positions on sports teams and later in life for their jobs. It taught children that rewards are earned from merit, not because mom and dad dug deep in their pockets and paid a fee.

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Hillary Clinton: An Advocate for Quality Child Care, Employment, and Education

I was a Bernie Sanders supporter. Now I am rallying all my energy around Hillary Clinton. The stakes are way too high and the alternative of a Trump Presidency is unacceptable, not only for a small business owner as myself, but as a parent concerned about our children's future! Campaigning for the 2016 Presidential election continues to heat up. America’s middle class realizes how important it is to vote for a candidate who understands their concerns and is prepared to fix problems. Some of the rhetoric seems to sound the same, particularly when it focuses on child care. In fact, Donald Trump believes he and Hillary Clinton are on the same wavelength with child care. That’s why it’s important to stay up to date as proposals are updated or changed.

Clinton emphasized in July 2016 that her plan would limit a family’s cost of child care to 10 percent of the family’s income. A concrete plan to achieve that goal. Hillary’s proposals to support the goal include the expansion of the child care tax credit. Concerned about the possibility of daycare centers raising rates if there are higher child care subsidies, she and her advisors are studying an equitable way to make employment affordable for parents.

Trump proposes an option for families to deduct the cost of child care from their taxes. It provides middle class workers a tax deduction to recoup the expense. Annual daycare costs for an infant in California range in the neighborhood of $12,000 and up. Preschoolers average $9,000 or more each year! A family of three living in Sacramento, CA with a pre-tax/deductions annual income of $70,000 is recognized as middle class. Employees know the costs of working before a paycheck is issued. A tax deduction or credit is not a guaranteed way to recover what’s been spent. Donald is out of touch with the middle class.

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Monitoring and Keeping Our Children Safe on Social Media Sites

Recently, a comprehensive study was performed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on the impacts of social media on children and teens. It was concluded that individuals under the age of 18 benefit in numerous ways by utilizing social media website. Younger generations have the ability to increase their communication skills, have access to a multitude of facts and other types of information, and experience an increase in self-awareness; however, despite these benefits, it was determined that the interactions, activities, and information shared on social media platforms may also be detrimental to a child’s physiological, psychological, and emotional growth. Furthermore, social media platforms may result in dangers that negatively impact the safety of children and teenagers. As parents, it is our number 1 priority and responsibility to protect our kids; however, our power to do so should not be abused. In this comprehensive guide, you will be introduced to various tips that will aid in monitoring social media accounts, internet safety, and taking a productive, proactive role in protecting your children.

Social Networking – At a Glance

Before delving into the tips that will help you to successfully monitor your kids’ social media accounts, we feel it is important to share some basic information about social networking. These types of networks are those that provide a virtual-based community for people that have an interest in a particular activity, subject, or simply want to gather with one another in an online environment. Essentially, these networks are online clubhouses. You establish membership, create a profile, and engage in various types of activities and transactions. Social networking allows you to connect to relatives, friends, neighbors, classmates, and others through activities like games, chat, pictures, and email. All social networking websites include the ability to provide updates via status posts and typically host events. Examples of popular social networking websites for kids include Facebook, Twitter, Club Penguin, Webkinz, WhatsApp, Instagram, Pinterest, Burn Note, and Snapchat.

Why Do Kids Gravitate Towards Social Media?

There are several unique reasons why kids gravitate towards social media sites. First and foremost, these websites allow them to communicate with those that they care about in real life – even if those people are far away. If a kid has lost touch with a friend, they have the ability to relocate and reconnect with them. They may share messages with others, share various types of content (videos, memes, and informational text), and they may share pictures. They have the ability to participate in groups and causes that they are passionate about. They may also play games – solo, with their friends, or with people that they meet online. In today’s world, social media is a part of life – especially for kids. As parents, we must accept that this is a way of life for today’s children. Now, it is time to expound on how we may successfully monitor our kids’ social media accounts.

Ideas on How to Monitor our Kids Social Media Activities

  1. The first step to monitoring kids’ social media accounts and internet safety is to obtain information about the age restrictions on the various platforms. For example, if your child wants a Facebook account, the website requires them to be – at least – thirteen years of age. Naturally, you could change your child’s birth year in order to allow them access sooner than the designated minimum age; however, this is not advisable. If a social media website has an age restriction in place, you should respect that and encourage your children to wait until that age in order to create a member profile. If – when your child reaches the minimum age requirement – you feel as if they lack the maturity to interact on the social media site, you may have them wait for access.
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Parenting Secrets of a Happy Family

One of the best gifts you can give your children is a happy family. When your children grow up and look back on the family time that you spent together, you want them to have fond memories of the good times that they had growing up. Although every family has their occasional problems and difficulties, there are some tips that you can use to insure that your family will experience a lot of happiness together.

1) Enjoy Laughter Together

Laughter is one of the things that helps draw families closer together. Sharing funny stories or watching humorous movies or television shows together is a wonderful way to create a connection with your children. You will find that plenty of laughter will make almost any situation that can occur in your family much easier to handle.

2) Concentrate on What You Have to Be Thankful For

So many times it seems that people focus more on the problems that they have in life, instead of truly enjoying the many blessings that they already have. One of the best ways to not only create more happiness in your family, but also teach your children the fine art of seeing the good side of things, is to focus more of your attention on the positive, instead of dwelling on the negative.

3) Share Your Happiness as a Couple with Your Children

One of the best gifts you can give a child is the knowledge that their parents truly love each other. Not only does this give them a strong sense of security, but it also provides them with a positive role modeling experience that they can look back on and emulate when they grow up.READ More on Top Ten Secrets to a Happy Family

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More4kids Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

Cultural diversity is a very important topic surrounding the National Hispanic Heritage Month 2016. Culture has a direct impact on our identity and heavily influences our behaviors. It is, essentially, what shapes us as individuals and as a whole. Starting on September 15th and continuing on until October 15th, the United States recognizes the presence and contributions made by those that are classified as Hispanic and Latino Americans. The nation celebrates this culture and their rich heritage. It is essential that we, as parents and caregivers, place an emphasis on the various cultures in the United States and how they have shaped and continue to influence us, as a whole. We should ensure that our children embrace these cultures and the wide range of diversity in our nation. One of the most positive and productive ways to accomplish this task is by placing a special emphasis on National Hispanic Heritage Month 2016.

What is Cultural Diversity?

Before expounding on the facts pertaining to National Hispanic Heritage Month, we feel it is first important to outline the definition of cultural diversity. Not only will this help our children to appreciate diversity, but, it will increase our own level of appreciation when it comes to diversity. In essence, cultural diversity is a system of various beliefs and behaviors that not only recognizes the actual presence of different groups in a society, but, also respects those groups. It involves acknowledging and valuing the socio-cultural-based differences and encourages that group to continue to contribute in their own way in order to empower our society, as a whole. Therefore, in National Hispanic Heritage Month, we are teaching our children the importance of valuing the Hispanic people in our country, their contributions to our country, and we encourage them to continue to contribute to our nation so that we may become empowered, as an entire nation.

National Hispanic Heritage Month – The Basics

Throughout history, Hispanics have always held a very strong commitment to their family, their faith, their service to their communities, and hard work. Their historical traditions and the customs of their culture have not only enhanced our nation, but, have aided in shaping our national character. The celebration of this special month initiated back in the year of 1968 on September 15th. This is the day when five different Latin American countries acquired their independence. These include Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Since that time, other countries have established this time period as the one to celebrate their independence. The additional countries include Belize, Mexico, and Chile.

Hispanics and Latinos

It is important to understand that the classifications of “Hispanic” and “Latino” refers to those that originate from South or Central America, Puerto Rico, or another Spanish-based culture or people, without regard to a specific race. The Census forms allow Hispanic and/or Latino people to identify themselves in numerous ways. These include “Mexican”, “Mexican American”, “Spanish”, “Chicano”, “Cuban”, and/or “Puerto Rican”. According to statistics obtained by the Census Bureau, over 50 million people in the United States are Hispanic and/or Latino. This cultural group accounts for 16% of the entire population of the nation. Diversity abounds immensely among the Hispanics and the Latinos. As parents and caregivers, it is our responsibility to share stories about this level of diversity with our children so that they will understand the importance of celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Day.

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