by Stacey Schifferdecker
Beating the morning rush
Are you a supermom? Tips on beating the morning rushWhen I was a kid, I always wondered why my mother was such a GROUCH in the morning. “Never,” I swore, “will I get mad at MY kids in the morning! They’ll never get on the school bus crying!” Well, I’ve managed not to put them on the school bus crying, but some mornings there is definite grouchiness in the air. What is the key to pleasant mornings that start the day off on a good note and still get us all to school and work on time? Here are some tips to help us all have better mornings:READ More on Super Mommy – Tips on Beating the Morning Rush

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toy safety and recalls 2009Kids love playing with toys, but what if they're playing with something dangerous? As a parent you want to make sure that you only allow your children to have toys that are safe. For this reason it is important that you keep up with the recent toy recalls, and already in 2009 there have been quite a few. Here we are going to update you with some of the newest toy recalls for 2009 and also provide you with some safety tips for toys that will help you choose only the safest toys for your children.

Tupperware Toy Maracas
Just a couple of weeks ago Tupperware did a voluntary recall on their toy maracas. There are small parts inside of the maracas and if the toy breaks, it poses a choking hazard to smaller children. The handle also may possibly be a hazard that may cause suffocation in small children as well. Both the blue and the red maracas that have yellow handles have been recalled. The company will provide you a gift certificate or refund if you simply return them to the company.

Good Neigh Bears
State Farm had some cute Good Neigh Bears that they were giving out through their State Farm agents. However, they have recently done a voluntary recall on these bears. There have been problems with the eyes coming off the bears, which can be a chocking hazard. If you received one of these bears, you'll want to get rid of them if you have smaller children. You can get more info by visiting State Farms website:

Infantino Toys Recalled
Several toys from Infantino have been recalled on a voluntary basis. The Infantino Lil' Chef Set, the Infantino Tag Along Chime Trio, and the Activity Stacker have all been recalled. They have metallic fabric on them which has been reported to come off posing a threat to children. These toys have been sold at Wal-Mart, Babies "R" Us, Meijer, Target, and similar stores. If you have these toys, they should be taken away from your kids. You can call Infantino and they'll give you a replacement product from the company.

READ More on Toy Recalls 2009 – Important Toy Recalls You Need to Know About

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parenting setting some rulesYes, this is a fun topic. Trust me when I tell you that it is never too late to set limits, however the sooner you set them the better off you and your children will be. If it is possible to start training children in the womb I recommend starting there, but definitely as soon as they come out.

Now, I have friends that believe in letting children be children, that only through trying different things can they grow as people. I have other friends that have such strict limits on their children that I have yet to figure out how those kids breathe on their own. Then there are my other friends that fall in-between. My husband and I fall into that category most of the time. We believe that kids will be kids, but kids will never grow up to become responsible adults if they don’t have some guidance, but at the same time they have to be able to make decisions on their own and suffer the consequences in order to be responsible adults. So this week is geared towards that happy medium, to help you set limits so that your child/children will grow up to be responsible self reliant adults.

Establish a Set of Family Rules

You want to set rules for the entire family. Make sure that these rules are simple, and that there are not to many of them. For example, our family rules are simple: 1) Be respectful of others, 2) Be respectful of yourself, 3)Never lie, 4) Always eat dinner together, 5) Think before acting.

As our children have and are growing the details of each rule is expanded. But we have laid a nice foundation.

Talk to Your Children about the Rules

You can’t punish them for not following the rules if they do not know what they are or understand them. Have a family meeting, sit down and talk to your children about the limits you have set, why you have set the limits and what each limit means. Yes, we all grew up with parents or friends who had parents whose philosophy was “Because I said so.” Most of us turned out okay… but we all know that the first thing a child says is “Why?” I recommend having an answer for them other then because you said so. If they understand why they have to follow a limit they are more likely to stick to that limit.READ More on Parenting and How to Set Appropriate Limits

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Sesame Street LiveSesame Street Live Is Coming To Town!
At very special discounted prices!
There is one thing both my boys love, and that is Sesame Street. There is nothing like a live performance. The connection is amazing. I remember taking my youngest to the Backyardigans. At his age I was sure he would get boared, and want to run around. To our amazement he sat there glued to my lap, watching in wonderment. There is nothing more special and magical for kids than live entertainment, and we try to exposure our children to that as much as possible.
There is also not a better cause that PBS.  PBS provides unbiased news, entertaining stories and inspiring music, and educational TV shows you can't get anywhere else. More4kids is very happy to support them, and what better way to support KCET than taking your kids to see Elmo and friends coming May 31st, 2009 to the Nokia Theater in L.A. California.
For all our internet parents who live in the L.A. area here are the details and how you can save by getting your tickets today:READ More on Elmo and Sesame Street is coming to Los Angeles

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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.

READ More on Parenting Tips of the Week: Accepting Your Child for Who They Are

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