Teaching Tolerance and Compassion

The “Year of the Trump” is overdue for its end. The Republican Presidential candidate has gone out of his way to add profane expletives to campaign rhetoric. As a Dad, even in a 'locker room' I have never ever used that type of talk! He’s proudly displayed his lack of respect for individuals, groups, and beliefs, unless they happen to agree with his idea of right and privilege. Notable party members who censored his statements and actions hastily got back on board when it appeared that they were harming their own political careers, not Donald Trump’s.

A major issue of concern for parents, teachers, and leaders is the lack of tolerance in the actions and written and verbal tirades of the would-be President of the United States. Decades of careful paving over the highway of compassion has been blasted apart in the last 15 months. It seems that nothing is too sacred for the man to attack and condemn.

Demeanor During the Primaries

Compare the positive types of behavior you learned while growing up to that of Trump. Somehow he missed lessons about humility, compassion, and kindness. Amazingly, he appears to have excelled in honor classes stressing selfishness, judgmental discourse, and a condescending attitude. The wonder is that any person who believes in fairness, good manners, and truthfulness can stand to see the trail of trash he’s deposited on the campaign trail.

Educated leaders rarely include profanity in their speeches and debates to emphasize their statements and positions. There are enough socially acceptable words to get the message across without being vulgar. The presidential debates once were an excellent way for children to learn more about the political process. Now Trump has made it an example of the ugliness of hatred and intolerance of ethnic, racial, and social differences. The hostility and lack of compassion created among school-age children by this example has been named the “Trump Effect”.

Attacks on U.S. Veterans, Senator John McCain, and Others

Senator John McCain has been taunted by Trump. The Donald stated McCain, who spent more than five years as a POW in Viet Nam, is no war hero because he was captured. Trump later emphasized he “liked people that weren’t captured.” The attack on the senator, in addition to other American POWs from different wars, is an extreme insult coming from a man who requested student deferments and eventually was marked as 4-F.

What does Trump know about military service and the oath to serve this great nation? His choices eliminated the opportunity to understand bravery and patriotism. Members of the Republican Party have criticized Trump’s attacks on McCain as well as his intolerant statements about Mexican immigrants. He’s threatened and bullied people who don’t support him.

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Kids poetry

by Bonnie Doss-Knight 

Kids write the darnedest poetry. A child sees the world through their eye of imagination. They see ordinary things as the wonders they really are. He or she thinks in possibilities.

Introducing poetry to preschoolers' will encourage and nurture creative expression, while their unfettered imagination permits them to "be" their surroundings. Soon enough, some well-meaning person will enlighten your kid he can't be a mountain or purple.

Poetry is a process. You can't teach a child to write a poem in the same manner as teaching 2×2=4. Begin by reading children's poetry to them. Strangely, little kids prefer funny, rhyming poems.

We suggest:

  • Anything by Shel Silverstein, such as – "Falling Up", "Where the Sidewalk Ends"
  • Kenn Nesbitt – "Revenge of the Lunch Ladies", "My Hippo Has the Hiccups".
  • Marilyn Singer – "Nine O'clock Lullaby", "A Stick is an Excellent Thing".

And, the must-have, beloved – "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown!

Take a Poetry Field Trip in Nature

Once children can recognize poetry, it's time to take them to its source. The natural world is an ideal place for kids to catch poems. It is where she might find a flower and sit with it, talk to it, be the flower.

He may observe water – a river, ocean or lake. His river contains bubbles to ride into outer space. It talks in short splatters.

Kids do not need (or understand) elaborate rules about meter, syllables or rhyming schemes. The purpose of poetry field trips is to allow. Allow your child to unlock his creative potential; develop awareness through observation; enjoy big FUN. Kids cannot achieve greatness when confined by boundaries.

Allow them to write Free Verse. Give really simple instructions such as: today we are taking a field trip to explore the natural world. Find something interesting – a wildflower, a tree, an unusual stone.

What color is it? How does it feel to touch? What does it smell like? What do you think it would taste like? Collect words as they come to you.

Remind your child that poetry does not have to rhyme. Trying to find rhyming words can wreck the creative process. When they read their efforts to you, be prepared to be surprised.

Like did you ever realize a wild rose is velvety, like a chocolate cupcake? Or, that its thorns are like tiny stair steps fairies climb to their bed?

Take Note: It is easy and rewarding for homeschooling moms to add poetry field trips to their curriculum. However, working parents must find innovative ways/times to introduce kids to the art of poetry. Think Sunday afternoon, family night or following family dinner (which is regaining popularity).

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Dad and Daughters

10 Tips for Coping When Kids Favorite a Parent

Parenting is a challenging, but, highly rewarding endeavor. Most kids love their parents equally; however, there are situations in which a child will favor one parent over the other. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide 10 tips for coping when kids favorite a parent. Before delving into the content, though, we feel it is important – right up front – to inform you that love and the concept of favoritism are two very distinct things. If you find that your child favors either you more or they favor the other parent more than they do you, there is no need to worry. This is a very natural occurrence that has happened all throughout history and will continue to occur in generations to come. Now that you understand this very important point, it is time to learn how to cope with offspring favoritism.

1. Learn What Love Is as It Pertains to a Child’s Love for Their Parent

The first step to coping with a child that favors a parent is to learn what love is as it pertains to a child’s love for their parent. Love is the tender feelings associated with affection. When a child loves a parent, it indicates that they are loyal and devoted to that person.

2. Learn What Favoritism Is as It Pertains to Children and Parents

The next step to coping with a child’s favoritism towards a parent is to understand what that truly means. Essentially, it simply implies that a kid has a more intense pull towards one parent, rather than the other. While kids may recognize this, they are not usually very comfortable in acknowledging and/or expressing their feelings of favoritism. In most instances, a child may feel guilty for how they feel. In other instances, they may attempt to make others feel guilty.

3. Avoid Becoming Subjected to Manipulation as a Result of a Child’s Favoritism

We all want to be the “favorite” parent. Oftentimes, kids know and understand this fact. As a result, they may attempt to subject one parent or another to manipulation. The parent that is favored may have a desire to give into the child to keep them liking them the best. The same holds true for the parent that is not favored as much. They may give into their child more in order to earn that child’s favoritism. To effectively cope with favoritism, you should never allow it to manipulate you – whether through feelings, guilt, or through your child.

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Halloween ghost

Creating a memorable Halloween bash for children can be rather difficult. It is challenging due to the fact that there are a lot of Halloween party ideas out there, but very few that are considered to be “unique”. You have your standard Halloween party, with bobbing for apples and spooky music. Then, you have your average “haunted house”, or “haunted hayride”, “Spook walk” and more. The issue is not a lack of ideas for Halloween; it is a lack of “unique” ideas for this festive holiday. Here, I will provide some “not so common” ideas on how you can go about creating a memorable Halloween bash for children.

Halloween Idol

Halloween Idol is a relatively “new” concept when it comes to creating a “memorable” bash this holiday. This concept is based on the ever-popular “American Idol” that many of us, and our children, enjoy watching each year. Basically, this works by establishing three judges who either dress like, or act like, the famous “Paula, Randy, and Simon”. You must also have a person who represents “Ryan”. The children will take a number, and then sit in the “Audience”. Each child will be permitted a “turn” to either display their costume, play a small skit in their costume, or display whatever other talent that they choose to display.


The “judges” should act much like the ones on the show as far as choosing the best, and doing eliminations. However, they should not be as “harsh” as the real judges generally are. Eventually, the participants should be broken down to five, and they should then be “voted off” until there is a winner. All the children should get small prizes for their participation, and then there should be a larger prize for the main winner. Several individuals have put the idea of “Halloween Idol” into place and have found it to be highly entertaining and successful overall. If you are looking to create a “memorable” Halloween bash, this is a great idea to put into place!

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kids and politics

As we approach the 2016 presidential election, the question on everyone’s mind is who the next president will be. Your child may already have comments about some of the people they’ve seen on their television and are asking questions. It’s never too early to get your child invested in politics and to understand what is going on in the world.

Along the way, you’ll be asked some common questions about the campaign. It is best to be honest and open with your children about the process. The most common will be what is voting. You can explain to older children that voting is a process where people cast a ballot to decide the next president. With younger children, you can introduce them to voting by having the family sit down and make a decision together with everyone having a say.

When children ask if they can vote for the president, you can explain to them that the Constitution and the four amendments that deal with it, declare that U.S. Citizens who are 18 years or older are the only ones allowed to vote. While that means they cannot vote in the election for president, they still can have open discussion about politics.

As you talk to your children about voting, make sure they understand the importance of being heard. That when they turn 18, their vote and voice counts. After all, it was largely young voters who decided who won the 2004 presidential election. When the results become neck and neck on items, it could be their vote that ultimately helps to determine a position on a proposition or who holds a particular office.

You’ll also need to explain political parties to them. While it sounds exciting, it isn’t the same as a birthday party. Instead, this is a group of people who share interests that are banding together to help make decisions in the world. While there are similarities to their own parties like balloons and dancing, the focus is on making decisions. There are Democrats, Republicans, Progressives, Green Party, Libertarians, and others.

As your child learns more about being president, the next logical leap is wanting to be president. You’ll need to teach them what the constitution says about being president. The only way they can run for this office is:

  • Being a citizen who was born in the United States.
  • Have lived for the past fourteen years in the United States.
  • Be age 35 or older.

With this in mind, we need to look at the reasons why children should be involved. The first is the most obvious, freedom depends on everyone being part of the political process. When you don’t voice your opinion and allow others to make the decisions that direct your life and your rights, you give up something precious. Many laws are difficult to fight when they are put in place.

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Stop Bullying

Six Steps to Curtail the Trump Effect Before It Harms Our Children Further

We’ve worked so hard to emphasize kindness and understanding while pointing out the dangers of bullying and a feeling of superiority. It’s hard to understand why any American would act out those vicious feelings in public with no feeling of remorse. If you’ve watched even a couple of seconds of Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential campaign, there’s no need to say more. His actions are far beyond acceptable and fail to support the environment we want our children to hope for, work towards, and believe in. Now that he is the President-Elect things may only get worse. I have heard many reports of people who are becoming more embolden in their bigotry and hate.

School-aged children are picking up on the aggressive, threatening language that is so much a part of Trump’s litany. Parents, teachers, and religious leaders emphasize the importance of staying within prescribed boundaries that demonstrate a welcome feeling and encourage the desire to get along. The nonprofit organization Southern Poverty Law Center recently asked educators to respond to survey questions about The Donald’s impact on teaching tolerance.

The Republican presidential candidate isn’t encouraging people to get along and work towards a common goal of success and respect. Instead, his disrespectful way of mocking people gives the impression it’s okay to exude hostility to the point of ripping asunder the progress made in America’s melting pot of citizens. It’s far different from the positive examples given by the Democrat presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Six specific steps will help teachers, parents, and other Americans stop the reaction to the flood of hatred and threats Donald Trump is using to scare kids and adults.

Defuse the Power Trip

The best way to help students recognize Trump as a bully is to go over the telltale signs of an aggressive bully, such as:

  • Make negative statements about others.
  • Impulsive and belligerent.
  • Gets angry quickly.
  • Doesn’t care about hurting others, whether it’s physically, emotionally, or both.
  • Has trouble following rules.
  • Strong desire to dominate.

Aggressive bullies are motivated by power. Defuse the Trump Effect by encouraging kids to decide which actions deserve respect and which do not fall in the description of leadership.

Ask Kids About Their Goals

Just several months of campaigning has reminded many adults of how quickly rights and respect can be destroyed. Knowing that actions like being fired or persecuted without recourse are possible and fully within Trump’s platform is scary. We’ve seen it or perhaps experienced during our lifetime. Talk over things besides Trump’s threats about deportation and using weapons of mass destruction. Instead of letting fear and uncertainty dash kids’ confidence, focus on goals and dreams. Similarities in expectations about ability and hopes help boys and girls recognize that the influential adults in their lives haven’t given up yet.

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Littlebits Premium Kit

With Christmas coming quickly, it’s already time to start thinking about great gifts for the kids. Kids love getting great toys for Christmas, and tech toys have become a big hit with kids of all ages. With customizable robots, smart toys, and iPhone controlled options, there’s so much to choose from as you begin your search for the perfect gift.

You might want to consider some tech toys for the kids that actually teach them important lessons, whether they’re life lessons or essential skills. The best tech toys offer plenty of entertainment while helping kids learn, making it fun for them to develop important skills.

Instead of scouring through all the latest tech toys to find the ones that will improve your child’s education, we’ve done the work for you. Here’s a look at five of the best tech toys that will offer a fun, exciting learning experience for your child too.

1 – LittleBits

Electronics are a huge part of our world today, and now kids can experience creating things with electronics just by snapping together a few blocks. LittleBits are building blocks that are actually circuit components color coded so you can attach them to one another. In fact, you can create many cool things with them without needing to know anything about electronics.

Not only can you put LittleBits building blocks together, they can also be combined with ordinary objects to create some exciting things. For example, add them to a bow tie and you could make it jiggle when it hears your voice. Kids get the chance to become inventors while learning electronics basics. Add these bits to objects to create buzzing and blinking creations.

The LittleBits Base Kit is $99 and comes with a helpful step-by-step guide to help kids learn to make their own inventions, as well as 10 Bits. They can also find more ideas online so they can really explore all that the LittleBits have to offer. For $149 you can get the LittleBits Electronics Premium Kit, which comes with Bits not included in the basic kit, and it works with the Base Kit as well.  Anf for $199 you can get their best kit, LittleBits Gizmos & Gadgets Kit


2 – LeapFrog LeapReader Letter Writing Pack

leapfrog-leapreaderIf you have a younger child learning to read and write, the LeapFrog LeapReader Letter Writing Pack is the perfect tech gift this year. The complete system is over $100, but it has a lot to offer. Kids can use the pack with the LeapReader Pen to build literacy skills and to learn how to write. The pack includes the LeapReader Pen, special paper that works with the pen, a Learn to Write Letters Writing Workbook, downloadable music album and audio book bundle, and Activity Book.

With the included LeapReader Pen, kids can trace out the letters that are in the workbook, and the pen has a built-in speaker that gives them instructions along the way. It also has flashing lights, encouraging words, and cool sounds to keep kids motivated. For the reading features, kids simply touch the pen to words in special picture books and the pen will speak them out loud.

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