by Stacey Schifferdecker

Teaching good TV habits

brother and sister glued to the TVSometimes when my children gleefully settle down to watch an episode of SpongeBob they have seen 27 times before, I entertain a fantasy of becoming one of those TV-free families I both admire and don’t understand. (Actually, I’ve never met a TV-free family. Do they really exist outside the pages of parenting magazines?) Anyway, I think I’ll just shuffle the TV off to the garage and we’ll spend our evenings playing Scrabble instead. Realistically, though, I know that’s not going to happen. I don’t want to give up “Monk” anymore than the kids want to give up SpongeBob. Ah, for a little balance when it comes to the television…READ More on How Much TV IS Too Much?

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a parenting nightmare - waiting in line with a small childAs a parent of two young boys there have been many times when parenting has become very challenging. How I wish I could have pulled a rabit out of my hat!. Perhaps you are waiting in a long line at a restaurant, a long car or plane ride, or maybe an extra long wait at the doctor’s office. For me it is now easy to recognize the signs of an impending tantrum and when I d it is time to dig into a supply of items and ideas to keep the kids busy, entertained, and reduce the chances of a blow out. I know people with children of special needs, and this idea can be especially helpful. You will want to have items on hand that you can use to distract your child or take their mind off the immediate problem. A special needs child is normally less able to amuse themselves during a long wait and a parent needs to be quick and creative in finding something that will distract and amuse their child. A little planning will help you when that time comes. Here are some ideas that may help get you through these situations and keep everyone calm and happy: READ More on Parenting Tips With A Touch Of Magic

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by Foster Cline, MD and Lisa Greene
Mom and Daughter"How's your diabetes doing, Mel?" And we remember her laughing reply, "Don't worry about it, Dad. It's all under control."
Then came the phone call. "Melinda was found dead in her apartment this morning."
Parents with healthy kids certainly have their work cut out for them, but the challenges they face might seem easy compared to parents who have to raise one or more children with special health problems. 
Often times, the most difficult challenges are all about communicating in trying circumstances where a frazzled parent might feel inclined to yell at a child. Parents can learn simple tools which will help them remain calm, cool and collected. Peace- producing tactics include:READ More on Special Parenting Skills Are Needed For Raising Children With Health Issues

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peaceful bedtimeBedtime used to be the worst time of the day for us. Its not all idyllic like the picture is on the right. It can really test your parenting skills! For many parents it can be the most frustrating and exasperating part of your day. If you are like me, you are tired, your children are tired, and all you want is for a little time to relax before you go to bed. The problem is, your children are not ready to go to bed! They find other activities to do, they won’t stay in bed, they need a drink, or need to go to the bathroom one more time. They whine, you react, and bedtime turns into a nightmare. Does that sound familiar? Here are five tips that may help make the bedtime routine go a lot smoother and more peachful:

READ More on Do You Dread Bedtime? Five Tips For A More Peaceful Routine

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serious little girl on her first day of schoolFor children who have attended preschool, starting school for the first time will involve less of a transition than for those who have not. However, in either case, school is typically quite different from preschool. Added to that is the unfortunate fact that many public schools are often – whether through lack of funding, bureaucratic bungling, bad philosophy or factors outside their control – far less than ideal places to educate children. However, there are many great public schools too, but we don't often have the choice due to the fact of where we live.

But whether parents are enrolling the child in a good public school or private school, there are many similar new factors parents will do well to prepare for. Here are some ideas that may help make the transition a little easier. READ More on Beginning School – The First Year

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mommy and daughter enjoying a picnic togetherHey Moms and Dads, kids love to play, and playtime is a great way to bond and have silly fun with our kids. We need our kids as much as they need us, and the great things about having kids is they can escape from the pressures of daily life. Here are some fun activities that don't have to cost an arm and a leg we can enjoy with our children:

Fun Kids Activities

  • How about having a picnic? Requires food out of the fridge and stuff from around the house, use paper plates for easy clean up, spread a blanket out right outside your house and have a picnic. Raining, snowing, or just too darn hot outside? No problem, move the furniture out of the way and have a picnic on the living room floor.
  • Go buy a puzzle and make it together. This is a great learning activity. Check out Ann Bowers article on "Teaching with Puzzles". Ann has been an educator for over 20 years and provides great insight on the effectiveness of puzzles in teaching children skills and concepts.
  • Go to the local park, playground, garden path, or whatever you have for gathering of children in your area with no admission fees! Even if you go to the local school during “off time” usually weekends and after 6:00 pm on weekdays get some play time in and have a ride on the swings
  • Take pictures ~ what better way to see the world through your child’s eyes than to hand the camera and let them snap a few shots. If your kids are like mine, they love it when the camera comes out.
  • Play a board game, but be creative and create new rules!!
  • Go to the movies. At home! Make a big bowl of popcorn and snuggle up to watch a favorite movie together, remember to turn out the lights for super theater effect.
  • You know that video game they like to play? Play it with them, trust me there will be laughing, a lot of it.
  • Play hide and seek. Classic, and still fun. READ More on Fun Activities Mom or Dad Can Do With Kids

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family enjoying the outdoorsIntroduction by Kevin
What does it mean to cherish our kids? Many parents, including dads like myself sometimes tend to get so wrapped up with work and careers, that we sometimes forget how much our kids need us. Perhaps one of the greatest days in my life was when my son was born. I was so happy and overwelmed my hands shook a little and my voice quivered a bit as I held him for the first time. For me, when I get busy, or frustrated, I think of this. What it does for me is to put everything back in prospective. It helps me find the time, or become less frustrated around my kids. Jobs and problems will come and go, but family is forever, and that is what is most important. Pam Leo in this article helps remind us how much our kids need us, and how important it is to let them know how much they are truely loved.

"Shower the people you love with love."
– James Taylor

Cherishing Our Children by Pam Leo

What does it mean to cherish our children? I don't think I've even heard the word cherish used since the days when it was the title of a popular song. The admonition not to spoil children has been part of our parenting culture for so long that most parents are reluctant to shower love abundantly on their children for fear of spoiling them. Cherishing our children does not mean buying them everything, giving them anything they want, letting them do anything they want or not teaching them acceptable behavior. That would be spoiling them. The word, cherish, as defined in my dictionary means: to hold dear; feel or show love for; to take good care of; protect. Tender, loving care is the foundation of cherishing children. READ More on Cherishing Our Children

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