Bedtime Stories - dad reading a bedtime story to his daughterAs a parent you probably read your kids bedtime stories like I do. What you may not realize is how important bedtime stories can be. Reading together is an important element to your child’s success in reading and creativity, but this is also a time in which you and your child can spend enjoying each other’s company, and sharing your love for one another. It is a process in which many special memories are created that involve you and your child, as well as a time when children can pay special attention to the story, the characters, the plot, and the lessons that can be learned from the story that they are listening to. Here are some information on the importance of bedtime stories.

Bedtime Stories – Make them a Daily Routine

One of the reasons that the importance of bedtime stories is often highlighted by professionals who work with children is that it offers an opportunity to establish a daily routine. Parents and children often live extremely busy lives. There are many responsibilities that must be attended to throughout the day, such as work, school, chores, errands, extracurricular activities, homework, cooking, and similar types of events. Once the day has calmed and is approaching the end, children and parents alike can be comforted by the fact that they get to spend a little quality time together. In addition to this, children need to have some sort of daily routine in their lives. Why not making it reading an intriguing bedtime story? READ More on Bedtime Stories – Why they are important

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by Joy Burgess

happy family at a park enjoying some quality timeJumping right in as a step parent can often be a shock to the system, especially for step parents who have never have children of their own. While step parenting is different for each person, no doubt as a step parent you are going to find that there are ups and downs that occur along the way. Sometimes it's even probably going to feel like there are more downs than there are ups. Here's a look at a few of the ups and downs of step parenting that you may experience along the way.

Being Reminded You're Not the Parent

Often when you become a step parent, a lot is asked of you. It often feels that you are instantly being put into a job of a parent; however, there are those are constantly remind you that you are not their "real" parent, which can be frustrating. Many people are less than feeling when they speak to step parents and spout off the line, "well, it's different when the kids are really yours." This is the last thing that any step mother or father wants to hear. It is especially frustrating to those who have no biological kids of their own. As you go through life as a step parent, be prepared for onlookers or even your step children reminding you that you're not the parent. It's difficult to deal with, but keep going on showing love to your step children – it will get better.

Unrealistic Expectations from Yourself and Others

Another of the downs of step parenting lies around unrealistic expectations, both from yourself and others. When you become a step parent, you're often expected to just love the kids as your own. You may expect this of yourself and others may expect this from you too. While there are some step parents that go into the relationship with a deep love for their kids, often this is a relationship and love is a feeling that takes time to be built up. Don't put unrealistic expectations on yourself or allow others to do the same. Step parenting is difficult and it's different for everyone. Forget your expectations and go with the flow. READ More on Ups and Downs of Step Parenting

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by Jennifer Shakeel

let kids be kids - group of happy childrenOne day, many years ago my sister, brother and I were sitting with my parents and we were having this conversation about who we wanted to be when we grew up. While it would take me a long time and a lot of space to explain the dynamics of my family as a child, suffice it to say that I wanted to stay in the good graces of my parents. My response was that I wanted to be like my mother (I wanted her to be happy) and my little brother said that he wanted to be like my father (he still wishes that he was, though he is nothing like my father) and my sister, the middle child said, "I want to be me when I grow up." My father's response was, "That is the best answer so far."
You would laugh if you were to know us all now, to see how we actually turned out. Let's just say that our answers as children are not representative of whom we are today. The point of this week's tips is to help you accept your child for who they are. Not necessarily who you want them to be, but who they are. It isn't easy, especially if you have a child that is not living up to their potential, but it is important if you want to have a relationship with your child, and if you really want to see them grow and blossom into awesome adults.

Understand up front, I am not saying do not discipline (discipline is essential). I also am not saying that you should not state and reinforce what your expectations of your child/children are. They need to understand what is expected of them, and they need to know that it is important to you that they excel in life. What I am saying is that it is possible for you to accept them and still instill in them morals, values, ambition and drive.

Tip 1: Get to Know Your Child
We all like to think that we know our children. After all we played a pretty important role in getting them into this world and making sure that they out grew being an infant. After that, what happened? I can tell you what happened, life. As the need our child had for our help declines, it seems that our interaction with them declines as well. Take time to get to know who your child is today. Talk to them. Spend time with them, doing what it is they enjoy. When you are with them pay attention to them, don't multi-task.

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sad boy afraid of failure at an upcoming gameI am a firm believer in the fact that there is no such thing as failure, only an opportunity to do better next time. This is something that I have done everything possible to instill in my children since they were in the womb. Even with my best efforts we have still run into times when our children have had a fear of failure. I know this is something that most children experience, and it is our job as parents to help them overcome this fear.

Many times that is easier said than done. Let's face it, there isn't a person in the world that sets out to accomplish something and throws a party when things don't goes as they wanted or planned. For children though, the very thought of not being able to succeed is enough to stop them from trying at all. So how then, as a parent, do you help them break free of their fear and take a risk to see what they can achieve?

Society is not easy on kids today. While they may not have had to grow up without video games and cable like we did, they do have a lot of peer pressure and societal pressure placed on them. If you don't believe me walk through your child's school, flip through a few magazines or watch your child's favorite show with them. The fear of not measuring up can cause your child to simply not try. After all, you can't fail if you don't try.

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kids choice awards 2009 Nickelodeon

Dad spent his evening with his kids watching the Nick Kids Choice awards. It was a fun evening with some surprises. Below are the Winners and nominees for each category. I put the winners in red.

Favorite Movie Actor

  • Will Smith in Hancock
  • Adam Sandler in Bedtime Stories
  • George Lopez in Beverly Hills Chihuahua
  • Jim Carrey in Yes Man

Favorite Female Movie Star

  • Vanessa Hudgens in High School Musical 3: Senior Year
  • Jennifer Aniston in Marley & Me
  • Anne Hathaway in Get Smart
  • Reese Witherspoon in Four Christmases

Favorite Movie

  • High School Musical 3: Senior Year
  • Bedtime Stories
  • The Dark KnightIron Man
  • High School Musical was a little too old for my kids. Our favorite was definitely Bedtime Stories

Favorite Animated Movie

  • Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
  • Bolt
  • Wall-e
  • Kung Fu Panda

Escape 2 Africa was a great movie, but in my sons words Bolt was “awesome”. He loved the 3d affect, and so did I.READ More on 2009 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards Winners

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young girl talking back to her parentsWhen kids talk back to their parents, grandparents, and other adults that they interact with such as coaches and teachers, it is a very challenging issue. In many cases, the adults who are on the receiving end of this behavior do not understand why this has occurred, or even how to respond to it. This can just make the situation worse. Many mental health specialists and those that specialize in child care will attest to the fact that this type of behavior is considered to be “learned”. This is, in many cases, an outright disrespect for authority and should be dealt with accordingly. Here, I will try to provide some helpful information and insight on this topic, as well as some basic techniques to cope when kids talk back.

Problems in Stopping the Back Talk

Every single day, there are adults everywhere who are at their ends wit when it comes to trying to stop kids from talking back. If you face this challenge, it is essential to know and understand that it is not appropriate to give into this type of behavior. It is considered to be highly disrespectful and disrespect should not be tolerated in children. If it is tolerated, the child will grow to develop many different types of emotional and behavioral problems. If you are having problem in stopping the back talk, it is important to evaluate your response to this behavior, as well as the responses of others. It is then that you can develop a plan to put a stop to this type of verbal disrespect. READ More on Parenting Tips When Kids Talk Back

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mom and dad fighting over the remote controlBecoming a great parent takes a lot of work. Some of the main skills that are used include both understanding and communication. Guess what? These are also two of the main skills that are needed to have a great marriage relationship as well. Believe it or not, some of those parenting techniques that you have been working so hard to learn have another use – they can be used on your spouse. Of course using those time outs probably are not going to work on your spouse…or will they? You may come to find out that using parenting techniques within our marriage can make it strong and can enhance your relationship. Here's a look at some of the parenting techniques out there that you can take and apply to your marriage relationship as well.

Parenting Technique #1 – Choose Your Battles

One common parenting technique that you have probably learned to use on your children is picking your battles. After all, not everything really is worth having a fight over. There are some things that are worth the battle, and some things that are not. The same is going to be true within your marriage. It's important to choose your battles with your spouse. Unless it is worth the battle, then let it go. Sometimes couples end up fighting all the time because they choose the wrong battles to fight. Learn a bit from your parenting skills and start choosing the battles you have with your spouse. You'll find it makes your relationship a whole lot better.READ More on Parenting Tips for a Better and Stronger Marriage

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