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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young teenager and first step towards independanceIt can be a bit scary and overwelming when your realize your teen is start to grow up and become independent. While your first urge may be to lock them in the basement until they’re 18, that probably won’t work out well. Since we can’t keep our children by our side all the time, it’s important to take steps to keep them safe when we’re not around. So what should we do?

Communication is key and starting to talk to your teens early can help. Teach them what kind of behavior you expect from them and what you won’t tolerate. Also teach them how to say no when they don’t want to do something, and how to get out of various bad situations. You may even want to go as far as role playing with your child. READ More on Parenting As Your Teen Stretches Their Wings

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happy kids enjoying some mom timeAs parents who love our children, one of our main objectives to raising healthy minded and goal oriented children is to give them a sense of purpose in life. Many people may disagree about whether or not purpose in life can be found through employment or leisure activities, but few will debate the necessity for living life with a feeling of purpose and meaning. Even kids need to feel that they are important and can help accomplish tasks.
 
This sense of purpose and meaning should be established very early in your child's life. This must be constantly reinforced through adulthood. It is a very important part of the work that you can do for your child to be raised as a self confident and peacefully driven adult.READ More on Parenting and Giving Your Kids a Sense of Purpose

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FCareer Woman and Kidsace it, not all parents can afford to stay home with their kids. As a working parent, it very often becomes necessary to enroll your child in a daycare center. While you may be understandably a bit nervous, here are some tips for choosing a daycare provider which will help lessen some of the fears and concerns you may have.

  • What are the cost involved? Are there any hidden costs?
  • Ask where they are located and their hours of operation.
  • Check out the daycare centers in your area, either on line or by calling.
  • Find out if there are any vacant spots so you can enroll your child.
  • Do they supply meals or snacks to the kids?.
  • Ensure the daycare provider is licensed. Many times you can check with the state, and a lot of states have this information on the Internet.
  • Ask how many children are currently enrolled in the center, and their ages.
  • Did you know some states do inspections and post those inspections on the internet? If you have internet access check it out.
  • Ask for references or other parents you can talk to.

After you have asked these quesitons, you are not done. It is very important to visit the daycare center and check on, and ask the following:

READ More on Got to Work? Tips for Finding a Childcare Provider

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mom and daughter in deep conversationHow can you become the best parent to your child? It is a big lesson to learn but will be a benefit to you as long as you are a parent or grandparent. Listen to your children. An important part of parenting is to listen to the big things, listen to the small things, and listen to what may seem unimportant stuff. You will find listening to be a valuable tool while parenting your children. Does it take time? Sure it is time-consuming and sometimes you are busy with other activities but if you begin listening to your children when they are young they will continue to talk to you when they become teenagers.

Learning to be a good listener takes just a little time and patience but can bring massive rewards when your child is older. There are a few quick hints that may help you develop your listening skills. First, if your child has something to say, stop what you are doing. Yes, parents are busy and often feel they do not have time to stop and listen to their child. It’s important to realize the time to listen is when they want to talk. You will never have this time back. So, stop what you are doing. The dishes will wait, you can watch the same news again after they are in bed, and nothing is more important to your child than your attention. READ More on Tips To Help Develop Your Parental Listening Skills

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