by Stephanie Partridge

1. Concerts

Older kids love concerts. Before you choose a concert and purchase tickets, though, check out the band and fond out about as much of the show as possible to make sure that is appropriate for your child. For younger teens, you can go with them to the show. Older teens can usually do OK attending independently with a couple of friends. If you want to give them something to remember the event, purchase a souvenir t-shirt or some other item that they can keep and be reminded of their special day.

2. Play

A stage play is an excellent gift for the thespian in your family. If you are in an area that has local playhouses, you can easily find plays there just about any time. If plays tour to your city, you can find a good one that will be near you and take your child. Keep a program from the event and the ticket stub if you can. That way, they can have a keepsake from the event. The key with experience gifts is to get a keepsake to commemorate the event.

3. Touring Show

A touring show such as The Wiggles, Icecapades or a wrestling event can also be a great experience gift. Watch your newspapers and sign up for sites like Eventful and Ticketmaster to keep up with what shows are coming to your area.READ More on Giving More Experiences Instead of Toys

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Why YOU are Never Too Young to Make a Difference!

The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes

The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes

Whether you are 10, 12, 15, 17, or any other age, you probably don't think adults are going to listen to you. Maybe you have a cause you are passionate about, but you don't think anyone will listen to what a kid or teen will have to say. You're wrong! You may be young, you may not have all the answers, but you are truly never to young to make a difference in this world. Take for instance a young girl, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, who was able to speak to the entire United Nations Assembly when it met in Brazil several years ago. At that point in time, she was only twelve years old, and what she would say there in front of leaders from all over the world would silence the entire world and make them think.

At the age of twelve, Severn had raised the money needed to travel to Brazil to attend the UN Assembly. From Canada, this was about 5,000 miles from home for her – a long way for a 12 year old to travel and it was a lot of money for a 12 year old to raise, but she did it. She was convinced that she had something worth saying that the leaders of the United Nations needed to hear, and she was determined to use her words in a powerful way.READ More on Kids CAN Make A Difference: The Girl Who Silenced the World

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Even in the 21st century, kids grow up with a lot of prejudice and misinformation about other cultures and races around the world. Often these prejudices come out in their relationships with people at school, and even in relationships that they have later in life. For this reason, it's very important that as parents we work to raise globally aware kids.

The world is a much smaller place than ever before, and teaching kids to be globally aware is an important part of their education. While many parents think they can't expose their children to the world because of travel costs, raising kids that are globally aware doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, there are many things you can do that don't require traveling abroad or even spending a lot of money. If you are concerned about raising your children to be globally aware, here are some easy parenting tips that can help you achieve this.

 Tip #1 – Purchase a Nice Globe

One great thing you can do to work on raising globally aware kids is to simply purchase a nice globe for your home. Of course, make sure that it is up to date, so you can use it for a reference in your home. A globe isn't that expensive, so for a few bucks you can make your kids more globally aware.

Tip #2 – Sample Cuisine from Other Countries

Perhaps the best way to get to know a culture is to start out by sampling their food. You may want to take a night a week, or even just one night a month to sample cuisine from other countries. Often you can purchase takeout with different culture flavors, but you may have more fun if you prepare the dishes on your own. Perhaps get some recipes, buy the ingredients, and then get the kids involved. You'll all enjoy cooking these interesting dishes together, and once they are done, you can sample them and have a great time together as a family enjoying the tastes of various cultures.

Tip #3 – Consider Learning a Language as a Family

Learning a language on your own or at school can be hard. However, consider learning a language as a family if you want to increase global awareness for your kids. You could take classes locally or get a good home program. Many kids find a new language exciting, but don't make it feel like work or like school to them. Make it fun and enjoy speaking to each other with the new phrases that you learn.READ More on Parenting Tips for Raising Globally Aware Kids

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by Dr. Michele Borba

"Why don't you listen?" "That's the fourth time I told you!" "Didn't you hear anything I just said?"

If you're frustrated in trying to get your kid to listen, take heart: you're not alone. Parents magazine polled moms and dads about their toughest discipline challenge, and the hands-down winner was "My kid doesn't listen to me."

The fact is, learning to give directions so kids will listen takes practice. But improving your kid's listening skills will benefit every arena of his life-from improving his school performance, relations with friends, job performance, as well as family harmony.

Here are a few solutions adapted from my new book, The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries to help improve your child's listening skills:

• Attention first, then talk. If your kid is not listening, first get her attention and make sure she's looking at you before you speak. "Please, look at me and listen to what I have to say." Give your request when you're eyeball to eyeball. You're more likely to have your child's full attention.READ More on Parenting Solutions That Get Kids to Listen

Take a moment and think back to when you were a child.

  • What kind of music did you listen to?
  • Who were your favorite artists?
  • How did their music shape you into the person you are today?

If you're like me, music plays a vital role in your life on a daily bases. We subconsciously allow the lyrics and melodies to our favorite tunes to root themselves in the back of our minds and shape the way we view the world around us.

Now think about your children and the music they listen to on a daily basis. If they attend school, think about the music they listen to when you are not there to supervise what gets played. Today's mainstream artists subject children to topics that may or may not be quite appropriate for them at a tender age; an age in which the choices they make will impact the kind of person they grow up to become. Our children will choose someone to follow and the demand for wholesome, uplifting music has never been greater.

The music I create is focused on accomplishing two things:

  1. Retelling my story and sharing with other people principles and lessons I've learned along the way.
  2. Impacting young ears in a positive way and teaching them that's it's cool to grow up to be strong men and women who live purpose driven lives – all the while showing kindness to others and making choices that will bring fulfillment and peace to their future.

I'm really excited about this new song we have released here at Mars Music entitled, "I Believe in You". I invite you to check it out and share it with anyone and everyone you know with children. Let's work together to help shape this next generation into powerful young men and women whose hearts are open to doing what's right and whose choices will lead them into greater success than we have seen in our own lives.

– Mars

Mars from Mars Music - Just launched their new video "I Believe in You"

Mars from Mars Music - Just launched their new video "I Believe in You"

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Homeless Child in need

Homeless Child in need

America is the greatest country in the world. I was born here, live here, and love it dearly. Our Statue of Liberty tells the world to ""Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"  Yet, there are people and children, right here in our country that are struggling… homeless… helpless… and in need. The economy over the last year has made things even worse, and even more desperate for some. And it is children who are homeless that need a voice, and need our help.

There is not a child in this world that asked to be born, yet there are 1.4 million of these blessings (visit are walking the streets… sleeping in cardboard boxes and going without food. Hunger and poverty exists around the world. As Americans we have a big heart and try to help out wherever there is need. We have such a big heart sometimes we forget about some of our neighbors that may be suffering too. My heart breaks everytime I see or hear of a homeless family, and even though our family is struggling in this economy, I know there are people and children a lot worse off.

It is easy  (as a society) to look at an adult that is down on their luck, possibly losing everything here in America and say that it is their own fault for where they are at. It happens every day, the person on the side of the street that is holding up a sign asking for food or money that you drive by with your windows rolled up looking the other way pretending not to see them. What do you say to the child that has nothing? I am not talking about not having an XBOX, but the essentials… clean clothes, warm food, a roof over their head.

Each and every year 1 out of every 50 kids will become homeless here in our wonderful country of America. That is on an average year; now add into that the very tough economic times our country is going through. Consider the number of parents that have or are losing their jobs… their homes…  It can happen to any of us at any time. We can no longer just look at our own children and be thankful that it "isn't us," we need to do something now to help these kids.READ More on Homeless in America – Children in Need

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Mom writing a letter to her child

Mom writing a letter to her child

by Stephanie Partridge

It started out as a simple project, write letters to the people I love. It ended up becoming a cherished heirloom for my children. I had a writing project and, after writing the article explaining the process, I wrote a few letters to include as examples. It was supposed to be very cut and dry, get in and get out then move on to the next project. But I could not move on. The words kept swirling in my head, tugging at me heart. I have lived with this need to write. It isn't as if I have a choice, there is something deep inside me that drives me. I have to write.

But something was moving inside me this time, something different. I sat down, pen in hand (yes, I still use a pen and paper for recording many of my thoughts) and began to write. At first they were thoughts, impressions. Soon, however, they became letters. They became letters to my children.

When I started, it was a rather generic letter that I could send to all three of my children. But as I wrote, the letters became unique for each child. It was as if they had taken on a life of their own. I first wrote to my daughter, Micah, a sweet, loving girl. She would do anything for you, never complaining. She is always smiling and likes to make others smile as well. She loves animals and is in a special program at school for animal sciences. She wants to be a veterinarian.READ More on Letters to your Child: A Gift of Love from the Heart

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