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Archive for January, 2013

The 9 Most Unusual Parenting Books for Sale

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

For every parenting philosophy, there’s a book out there to support it or to point out its perceived shortcomings. While the majority of parenting books can be read in a manner that allows parents and childcare providers to use the advice that works for their situation and discard the rest, there are some on the market that are strange or downright dangerous. These nine books are among the craziest on the market, with ideas of questionable effectiveness and safety.

  1. Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves – Naomi Aldort – While it may be the handbook for permissive parenting adherents, Naomi Aldort’s assertion that telling a child “no” or allowing any sort of negative natural consequences as a result of poor behavior is tantamount to child abuse virtually eliminates any boundaries or structure from the child’s life.
  2. On Becoming Baby Wise – Gary Ezzo – Touted as a solution for putting infants on a sleep schedule, Gary Ezzo’s book and the advice it contains has actually been specifically named by the American Academy of Pediatrics as dangerous. Linked to failure to thrive and dehydration, the intensely regulated schedule of Ezzo’s parenting method can actively harm a growing infant’s health.
  3. To Train Up a Child – Michael Pearl – While the advice in Michael and Debi Pearl’s book is reportedly based in Christian doctrine, it’s filled with misquotes and text taken out of context from the Bible to support the dangerous method prescribed within. Recommending whippings on bare skin for infants who can’t sleep or for those who are crying or seeking affection, the Pearls also suggest that parents whip a three-year-old until he’s “totally broken.”
  4. The Indigo Children – Lee Carroll – Rather than accepting that some children suffer from attention deficit disorder or have conditions that place them on the autism spectrum, author Lee Carroll insists that these “Indigo Children” are superior beings intended to usher in world peace and global prosperity.
  5. Radical Unschooling – Danya Martin – The concept of “unschooling” is gaining traction amongst homeschooling parents who feel a more natural, organic approach to learning is more effective than a rigid academic environment. When the concept is presented by an author who asserts that it’s better for a twelve-year-old to be illiterate than unhappy, however, it makes the practice seem a bit more questionable.
  6. Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay: And Other Things I Had to Learn as a New Mom - Stefanie Wilder-Taylor – Part memoir and part boozy parenting manifesto, Stefanie Wilder-Taylor’s meandering look at parenting makes raising children seem like something akin to torture. Actively bashing mothers who choose to breastfeed, making frank references to drug use and complaining about every aspect of parenting, Wilder-Taylor attempts to be humorous, but falls somewhere between “depressing” and “outrageous.”
  7. Creative Correction – Lisa Whelchel – There’s a reason why Lisa Whelchel is more famous for her stint on the 80′s sitcom staple The Facts of Life than offering parenting advice. While Creative Corrections does attempt to set boundaries and provide disciplinary alternatives to spanking, it reads as more of a how-to manual on humiliation and manipulation.
  8. Shepherding a Child’s Heart – Dr. Ted Tripp – The fact that this book was ostensibly written by a doctor seems to lend credence to the contents. Dr. Ted Tripp, however, is not a medical professional or a developmental specialist; he has an undergraduate in history and a doctorate from an Episcopal Seminary. Choice quote from the book: “If you are going to rescue your children from death, if you are going to root out the folly that is bound up in their hearts, if you are going to impart wisdom, you must use the rod.”
  9. Child Training Tips – Reb Bradley – Reb Bradley’s philosophy that all children are inherently evil and must be brought “up to maturity by twisting them against their nature” instills the idea into parents and their children that everyone is born bad and must be corrected, even if it means using physical violence.

In the end, the way that you parent is up to you. As long as you’re not actively harming your child or putting him in danger, you have the right so ascribe to any childrearing beliefs you please. While these books aren’t always accepted by parenting experts, developmental specialists or medical professionals as particularly effective, the way that you choose to parent is your prerogative.

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10 Reasons Why Dad’s Should Have Date Night With Their Daughters

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

The first relationship that little girls will form with a member of the opposite sex is the one that they have with their father. This relationship is also one of the most influential and important of a young girl’s life, as it often shapes the ones she builds with other boys and men as she ages. Here are 10 of the reasons why all fathers should have date nights with their daughters, starting when they’re very young and continuing as they get older.

  1. To Get to Know Them – Children change and evolve quickly; their interests and favorite things can differ wildly from one day to the next. Keeping up with these rapid shifts can be difficult for fathers who aren’t actively participating in their daughters’ lives with regular one-on-one time.
  2. To Keep Up With Events and Developments – While the latest playground news or mall gossip might not be the most interesting thing for a father to listen to, it’s a great way to keep up with the things that matter in his daughter’s life. By listening to the little events and exciting moments, dads can help their daughters understand how valued they are.
  3. Because They Have Siblings – When little girls are forced to share their parents’ attention with their siblings, feelings of jealousy and rumblings of rivalry can begin. By making the effort to spend time with each child individually, dads can make their daughters feel as if they are the center of the universe for a little while, which is something that every child needs from time to time.
  4. Because They’re Only Children – Little girls without siblings may not ever fully understand the jealousy that comes with being forced to share Daddy’s attention, but they still need some just-the-two-of-us time away from the distractions of everyday life.
  5. To Form Positive Ideas About Men and Relationships – The relationship a girl has with her father will lay the groundwork for every relationship she has with men for the rest of her life. By taking the time to ensure that there’s a strong foundation, fathers can also ensure that their daughters never feel as if they need to seek validation from men that they feel they missed from their father as they move into adulthood.
  6. To Give Mom a Break – When it comes to parenting girls, mothers often bear the brunt of training a little girl to be a strong woman, while fathers are free to dote on them a bit more. By taking girls on outings, dads can give Mom a much-needed break while also boosting his daughter’s self-esteem
  7. Starting a Tradition – By beginning a tradition of spending time together and talking openly during a girl’s formative years, dads are actually investing in the future. Establishing a line of communication during childhood can help teenage girls feel comfortable talking about the pressures and challenges they face as they grow older; building this relationship after a certain age is significantly more difficult than it is when girls are small.
  8. Because Dad Works Outside the Home – Fathers who work long hours outside the home may not return until late in the evening on work nights, leaving little time for bonding during the week. By setting aside a block of time specifically to be spent with their daughters on days off, dads can maintain an active presence in their lives.
  9. Because Dads Need Love, Too – As much as little girls need to feel loved and valued by their fathers, dads crave affection and camaraderie with their daughters too. Though date night is a strong investment in a girl’s future, it offers immediate rewards for dads who need to know that they’re still the most important man in their daughter’s life.
  10. To Bond Over a Shared Interest – During the course of their outings, dads and daughters are likely to discover that they have at least one common interest. By spending time pursuing these hobbies together, fathers and daughters are also creating a bond that will last a lifetime.

Structuring one-on-one time doesn’t have to be modeled after a parenting textbook; instead, find a system that works for your family and establish your own traditions.

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35 Valentine’s Day Inspired Party Ideas for Kids

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Valentine’s Day is a day to tell those who you love or like how you feel about them.  When it comes to kids, it’s a day to pass out candy to friends at school and have an excuse to have a party!  Why not get the kids together for a Valentine’s Day party and let them have some fun?  Find ideas for every aspect of your party from these 35 blog posts.  If you’re trying to find an idea for making your own invitations, you’ll find it on this list.  You’ll also find everything from how to decorate for a party to how to make homemade valentines.  Take a look and see if you can get inspired.


You can buy store bought invitations for a few dollars or you can get your kids to help you make your own invitations.  Prepare your invitations and mail them at least two weeks before the party.  Here are five blog entries to help you create the best invitation for your party.


Creating a celebratory atmosphere for your party can be done pretty simply by adding some balloons and streamers.  How far you go with your decorations is entirely up to you.  Making it look festive will start the party off on the right foot.  Check out these five blog articles for some fun ideas.


What kind of yummy food are you going to serve at your party?  Will the kids be hungry when they get there?  Maybe you need to have some appetizers to get the party going.  Dessert tables are a fun trend right now and allow guests to sample several different bite-sized sweet treats.  These five blogs will give you some ideas for your menu.


What do you do with the kids once they’re all over at your house? Play games, of course!  Many traditional games can be made into Valentine’s Day games by switching a few things around.  For more details, check out these five blog posts.

Craft Projects

You can break up the games with a craft project that the kids will get to take home at the end of the party.  Keep in mind the age of the children who will be at the party and try to make the craft age appropriate.  There are tons of ideas, but these five bloggers have detailed a few for you.


What would a Valentine’s Day Party be without Valentines?  You can encourage the parents to send along Valentines for their child to share with their friends or you can help the kids create some at the party.  These ideas might also be good to take to school.

Party Favors

Once the party is over and the kids are getting ready to leave it’s nice to have a little party favor to send them on their way.  It doesn’t have to be anything that is expensive or time consuming, just a little something to thank them for coming.  Find some clever favor ideas on these five blogs.

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20 Old-Fashioned Names That Are Now Popular

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

Just as fashion seems to be cyclical, so are trends in baby names. Today’s parents are beginning to eschew designer spellings and outlandish names in favor of more solid, traditional names that have classic, cultured connotations. The Social Security Administration’s names data shows that vintage names are making a comeback in major way. The Hundred-Year Rule, a theory that states most names require a full century before coming back into fashion, seems to be holding true. These twenty names were among the most popular between 1910-1920, and are making a comeback today.

Girls’ Names

  1. Anna – “Anna” is one of the girls’ names that never seems to go completely out of style. Originating from the Greek or Latin version of the Hebrew name “Hannah,” Anna means “grace” and came in at number thirty-eight on the list of most popular girls’ names in 2011.
  2. Charlotte – The French feminine diminutive of “Charles,” Charlotte’s meaning, “free man,” has masculine connotations. Still, Charlotte was the twenty-seventh most popular name in 2011 and is the name of Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze, Jr.’s daughter.
  3. Ella – At number twelve on the list of most popular girls’ names for 2011 is “Ella,” which is of Germanic origination and means “all, completely; fairy maiden.” Mark Wahlberg, Ben Stiller, Eric Clapton and John Travolta all have daughters with this old-fashioned moniker.
  4. Eva – The Latin form of the Hebrew name “Eve,” meaning “life,” Eva is eighty-third on the list of most popular girls’ names for 2011. Derivations Ava and Eve are also very popular.
  5. Grace – A virtue name meaning exactly what it says, “Grace” is number sixteen on the list of most popular girls’ names for 2011 with notable choices by celebrity parents Lance Armstrong and Christy Turlington.
  6. Julia – Derived from Latin and meaning “youthful,” Julia was the fifty-seventh most popular name for baby girls in 2011.
  7. Lucy – The English feminine variation of “Lucius,” Lucy was the seventy-second most popular name for girls born in 2011. While it may be most memorably connected to a certain flame-haired comedienne, “Lucy” was also chosen by country crooner Zac Brown for his daughter.
  8. Rose – Latin for “rose, a flower,” Rose is an old-fashioned name that has enjoyed something of a revival. At number two-hundred and ninety-one in 2011, “Rose” was the final selection of Jennifer Garner & Ben Affleck, Jon Stewart and Ewan McGregor. The presence of the boys’ name “Jack” also calls into question the influence of the re-release a certain epic film about a doomed romance on new parents.
  9. Stella – From the Latin for “star,” Stella is the seventy-third most popular name on the 2011 list. Chosen by both Paul McCartney and, more recently, Matt Damon, Tori Spelling and Dave Matthews, Stella’s popularity is still rising.
  10. Violet – Latin for the color and the flower, Violet comes in at number one-hundred and one for 2011 and was also chosen by Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck for their eldest daughter.

Boys’ Names

  1. Andrew – Meaning “strong and manly,” the name “Andrew” is of Greek derivation and enjoys a perennial popularity. At number sixteen on the list of most popular names for baby boys in 2011, one Harvard study claims that it is the most popular name for boys born to highly educated parents.
  2. Benjamin – From Hebrew meaning “son of the right hand,” Benjamin was the nineteenth most popular name for baby boys in 2011. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen and her quarterback husband Tom Brady chose “Benjamin” for their son, as did John Travolta and Kelly Preston.
  3. Charles – French from German, “Charles” means “free man” and was the sixty-second most popular name for boys in 2011. Celebrities Jodie Foster and Russell Crowe both named their sons Charles, with the shortened “Charlie” also quite popular.
  4. Harry – A diminutive of Henry meaning “estate ruler,” Harry is becoming more popular than ever due to the choices of Princess Diana, David Letterman and Billy Bob Thornton as a name for their sons, along with the immense popularity of the Harry Potter series.
  5. Henry – Enjoying it’s highest spot on the list of popular boys’ names since 1956, “Henry,” also meaning “estate ruler” came in at number fifty-seven in 2011. Julia Roberts, Minnie Driver, Heidi Klum and Colin Farrell all have sons named Henry.
  6. Jack – A diminutive of “John” meaning “God is gracious,” Jack was the forty-fifth most popular name for boys born in 2011. Matt Lauer, Luke Perry and Meg Ryan are just a few of the celebrities who chose this name for their sons.
  7. Leo – From Latin for “lion,” Leo came in at number one-hundred and sixty-seven in 2011 for popular boy’s names, and was chosen by NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon as a name for his son.
  8. Jacob – From Hebrew meaning “He grasps the heel. Supplanter,” “Jacob” was the most popular name for little boys born in 2011. Bob Dylan named his son Jakob, with Stephenie Meyer dubbing her leading werewolf “Jacob” in her phenomenally popular Twilight books.
  9. Eli – Moving from number two-hundred and thirty-five in 2000 to number sixty-five in 2010, Eli is a Hebrew name meaning “uplifted.”
  10. William – The third most popular name for boys in 2011, William is of English from German derivation and means “resolute protection.” With the marriage of Britain’s Prince William, the name has become even more high-profile.

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How to Help Kids Stop Stuttering

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

There are a variety of speech difficulties that are common in children, especially between the ages of two and five. A stutter is one of these more common conditions, and causes children to repeat fragments of words every few words, sometimes several times before they’re able to say the word fully. For young children, the frustration of having difficulty communicating with others can be the primary complaint, but older children often become quite self-conscious if the stuttering continues. Children who stutter may avoid speaking as much as possible in an attempt to mask the issue, rush sentences, blurt out statements, and even speak in a voice that’s abnormally loud. The potential damage to kids’ self-esteem and the frustration that can accompany difficulty in communication can be detrimental to their emotional health, which is why it’s important for a stuttering child to receive treatment and attention at a relatively early age.

Will He Outgrow His Stutter?

Some children simply grow out of their stutter with a bit of speech therapy or special attention. Others, however, may continue to struggle with their stutter throughout adulthood. According to research published by the University of Iowa, girls are more likely to outgrow stuttering than their male counterparts. As a result, the ratio of males that chronically stutter to females is approximately three to one as children get older.

While there is evidence to support the idea that your child could outgrow her stutter without intervention, taking action to help her overcome her speech difficulties can boost those chances even further.

Stuttering Support at Home

Kids need to know that their home is their safe haven, especially if they’re regularly teased or bullied by classmates. Making sure that your child feels loved and valued can not only help to counteract some of his shame regarding his speech inarticulateness, but also create an environment conducive to supporting outside speech therapy and promote results from within the home.

Make sure that everyone in the household knows and abides by a “no interrupting” rule. When a stuttering child feels that he’ll have to rush his statements in order to be heard without interruption, the pressure and stress can exacerbate his speech difficulties. It can be very tempting to finish your child’s sentences for him or to respond to him before he’s completed a sentence in order to spare him the effort of struggling with his speech difficulties, but this can also be damaging to his self-esteem and impede his speech-therapy progress. It’s also important to strictly enforce rules regarding teasing in your home; if your child is frequently bullied by his peers and classmates due to his stutter and comes home to the same jokes and laughter at his expense from siblings or even parents, it only damages his self-esteem further. When your child is speaking, be conscious of your own reactions to him. Listen to what he’s saying and make an effort to understand him without showing signs of frustration or sadness. Furthermore, avoid calling attention to your child’s speech difficulties with phrases like “slow down,” or “speak clearly.” In addition to noticeably slowing his speech, this behavior also can make him even more self-conscious about the issue. Try to listen closely and be patient with your little one as he stutters.

When to Enlist the Help of a Professional

A child that still stutters at the age of five should have the assistance of medical professionals in order to help her overcome the situation, if possible. Also, a child that regularly repeats entire words and phrases, rather than single syllables, may require the assistance of a pediatrician or speech-language therapist. If a child’s stutter worsens, the muscles of his face and neck visibly tense when he speaks, he’s avoiding situations in which he may be required to speak, or stuttering is accompanied by facial tics or body movements, it may be time to enlist the help of a professional.

When your child is under the care of a speech-language therapist, make sure that you establish a dialogue with her in order to ensure that you’re working together to get your child all of the help he needs along the way. Remember that you are a team, and that helping your child overcome his stutter will be a team effort. Take the advice and suggestions of your child’s speech-language therapist to heart, and make an effort to ask what you can do at home to reinforce the help he’s receiving. Remember that the longer you wait after your child begins exhibiting stuttering symptoms before consulting a medical professional or speech-language therapist, the less likely he is to recover fully.

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10 Ways to Be a Better Parent in the New Year

Monday, January 14th, 2013

If one of your resolutions this year is to be a better parent, here are 10 things that will put you on that path. Following these tips can help lead you to happier, healthier and less stressful parenting.

  1. Embrace being a “good enough” parent. It’s the natural curse of being a parent, wanting to be a perfect parent and role model for your children. You want to do the best by your child. The good news is your child doesn’t need a perfect parent to grow and thrive. She just needs a good enough parent. So while striving to be better is a wonderful thing, embrace your shortcomings and use them as opportunities to teach the lessons of imperfection. Believe it or not, your child isn’t perfect either.
  2. Spend more one on one time with your child. Step out of the hustle and bustle of today’s world and spend one on one time with your child. You don’t have to plan an elaborate or expensive activity. Take a walk, watch a movie, or go out for pizza. The idea is to spend time together without the normal day to day distractions and focus on connecting with each other. This special time together will stay with your child for a lifetime.
  3. Turn off the electronics. When was the last time you spent the afternoon unplugged from your cell phone, tablet, laptop and TV? It’s hard for your child to feel he has your undivided attention when your time together is interrupted with calls from work, texts from friends, or the game. When you unplug and focus fully on your role as a parent, both you and your child will enjoy your time together much more.
  4. Get outside and play. What do kids love to do more than play? They love to share their favorite play spaces and games with Mom or Dad. Take your child to his favorite playground for the morning and let him show you how to climb to the top of the tower. Take him on a bike ride for the afternoon and enjoy nature and great company at the same time. Head to the backyard and show her how to shoot a basket or swing for the bleachers. Playing together is the perfect way to stay in shape and have fun.
  5. Live by routines. Children do best when they know what comes next. While it’s easier for older kids to successfully handle change and transition, children of every age like the stability and security of routines. By working with your child to establish regular routines, your family will more easily move through the day. Trouble spots like getting ready for school, homework time or bedtime can often be smoothed out by a well thought out routine.
  6. See things through your child’s eyes. Adults often get wrapped up in the details of daily life and forget how to enjoy the simple things in life. Slow down and see things the way your child sees them. Marvel with him at the ant farm he discovered in the backyard. Laugh at the silliness of the cat trying to get out of a cardboard box. Take the time to let him share his world with you.
  7. Learn a new parenting skill. Good parenting is part instinct and part skill. Invest in learning a new way to do something that currently challenges you. Tap into the ideas of experienced parents and professionals to help you handle things in a more effective way.
  8. Stop comparing yourself to other parents. You’ll always find parents that seem to do things better and more easily than you do. These comparisons don’t make you a better parent, they only make you question yourself and stress you out. Of course, that stress and indecision directly affects your child, so remember that you don’t know the behind the scenes facts of other families and accept that you’re doing a good enough job. You and your child will be happier.
  9. Accept your child will struggle with some things other kids find easy. Every child is challenged by a behavior or skill that other children find easy. If you can accept and work with that fact rather than fight against it, you’ll be able to help your child through the challenge more effectively.
  10. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Consistency is the foundation of effective parenting. When you set clear expectations and boundaries and stick to them, your child knows what he can expect from you. He’s able to rely on your words and actions. That security is the key to his healthy emotional and social development.

Being a parent means you’re always learning. Just when you think you’ve mastered one stage, your child moves into another one. Letting go and enjoying the learning curve will make for a happy parent and child.

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How to Organize Your Child’s Closet

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

From the moment of your first baby shower until the day your child officially grows up and moves away, it can seem as if managing her clothing is a full-time job. Organizing the no-man’s-land that is a child’s closet can seem overwhelming, even when you’re a parent who has an enthusiastic affinity for putting everything in its proper place and a knack for carving those spaces out. If mountains of clothing fall out of your child’s closet any time the doors are opened, these tips can help you take control of the chaos and get the closet back under control.

Cull Outgrown Clothing Regularly

Whether you’re sentimental and loath to part with the clothing that documents each of your child’s developmental stages or simply haven’t had the time to tackle the mounds of outgrown clothing your child owns, the first step to creating an organized, clutter-free closet for your youngster is to cull everything that no longer fits or is damaged, and to repeat the process periodically to keep old-clothes collections from getting out of hand again. Donating serviceable items to local charities, selling them to a consignment store, or even passing them along to friends and relatives as hand-me-downs will keep perfectly good items from going to waste and also get them out of your house once and for all. If you’re collecting clothing for sentimental reasons, the process can be a bit more complicated. Paring down the collection of clothes that you’re saving to only those with real milestones attached can help; the outfit she came home from the hospital in, the dress from her first birthday party, or what she wore on her first day of school are great keepsakes. All of the outgrown scraps of play clothes and novelty t-shirts, however, will only serve to clutter some area of your home. Getting rid of things that have no specific sentimental value can help you make room for new things, make it easier to organize her current wardrobe, and give the gift of much-needed clothing to less fortunate children.

Rotate Seasonal Items

If you know that your child won’t be wearing shorts in January, make a habit of switching out his wardrobe seasonally. Unless you live in an extremely temperate, mild climate, short sleeves and sandals probably won’t see much use during the winter months, so make room for the heavy jackets and sweaters of winter by moving summer clothing into storage. When it’s time to pull clothing out of storage and rotate back to the warm-weather items, make sure you take the opportunity to cull anything he’s outgrown over the winter. When the things in his closet are things he uses, rather than things that lurk at the back and unnecessarily take up space, it’s easier to maintain an organizational system.

Invest in an Organizational System

While handy parents can build shelving systems that are customized to the specific dimensions of their child’s closet, those that are a bit less talented in the construction arts may want to consider investing in a ready-made system to make the job of organizing a bit easier. In most cases, these systems can be adjusted and modified as your child grows and his needs change, making them worth the money and easy to maintain over the years. Bins, shelves and adjustable rods make it easier to compartmentalize your child’s clothing and shoes in a way that works for your family.

Space-Saving Solutions

Opting for space-saving choices like hanging complete outfits on one hanger not only makes more room in your child’s closet, it can also save a significant amount of time during his morning routine by eliminating the need to locate coordinating items. Cascading hangers that hold several articles of clothing, hanging organizers that add quick shelving to a closet that has only a rod, and bins for storing shoes and other items are all great and cost-effective space-saving solutions that can make your organizational project run more smoothly.

Keep Clothes in Kids’ Reach

When your child is learning to dress himself and is exploring his burgeoning independence, you’ll want to make sure that he can reach all of his clothing to foster that independence and ability to manage simple tasks on his own. As you’re conceptualizing your organizational system for his closet, building it around the idea of keeping the things he needs most within his reach can create a clean, clutter-free space that he’s able to use without adult assistance.

Get Kids in on the Excitement

Investing his own time and energy into helping you build and create an organizational system can foster a sense of pride and ownership in your child, giving him not only a sense of accomplishment but also motivation to maintain the work that’s been done. Remember that even the best systems will fail if they’re not maintained, and that the help of your child to do just that will prove invaluable.

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30 Blogs on Kindergarten Readiness

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Your baby is growing up and getting ready to start kindergarten. Before he heads out the door, you will want to make sure that he is ready to begin his formal education.  Being ready requires more than knowing the alphabet and showing up for school.  Having solid social skills will make for an easier transition.


Here are five blog posts listing various types of readiness checklists that you can use with your child to make sure that he is ready for school.  Don’t worry if he doesn’t do everything perfectly.  Look at these checklists early so that you can work on the skills during the summer months.

Social Skills

While a child may be old enough to attend school he might not be socially ready.  If your child clings to your leg when faced with a stranger or refuses to be left with a sitter, resolving these issues before he starts school is important.  These five blog entries will explain way.


Does your child know his numbers?  If he can count items in a bowl or on the table and if he has the ability to pick up small items and move them around he’s probably ready for kindergarten math.  These five blog posts will provide more math readiness tips.


Children should be able to communicate with the teacher and others as well as understand what is being taught or explained to them.  Language skills can include knowing the alphabet and recognizing letters on the page, but they are not limited to just that.


Here are some activities that these five bloggers have put together to help your child get ready for kindergarten.  Kids will most likely enjoy these activities and not even realize they are getting ready to go to school.  Encourage your child to use their creativity as you do these activities together.

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Am I Too Old to Babysit?

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Though babysitting jobs were positions held almost exclusively by young teenage girls when the profession first became common early in the 20th century, the days of rigid age and gender requirements for babysitters are quickly coming to an end. The recent rise in “mannies,” or male nannies, has helped to remove some of the stigma attached to men working in the childcare profession; similarly, the simultaneous rise in two-working-parent households and heavily-scheduled teenagers has created a need for childcare that often can’t be filled by the traditional teenage-girl model. Extracurricular activities and classes keep teenagers out of the home until well into the evening in some cases, leaving just enough time for dinner and homework before bed. In the babysitting vacuum left by these busy teens, the face of the modern babysitter is rapidly changing.

Maturity is a Plus

Babysitters today come from all walks of life, and can be any gender or age. In fact, an older babysitter is typically perceived by parents to be more experienced and more capable of handling any emergency situations that arise than their youthful counterparts. Sitters who are parents or grandparents themselves are less likely to encounter a situation that they’re ill-equipped to handle, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that a sitter is experienced and mature enough to ensure the safety and well-being of their charges is priceless. Additionally, the common concerns about unauthorized guests and inattentiveness that accompany the use of an adolescent caregiver are reduced, and maybe even completely eliminated, in the case of an adult babysitter.

Can Your Body Meet the Demands?

Determining whether you are too old to properly care for a child does require a complete and brutally honest inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Suffering from an illness or physical infirmity that affects your ability to keep up with an active toddler or being sensitive to loud noises should both be considered red flags, as should being unable to lift or carry a small child. Provided that a caregiver has no mobility issues or health problems that would make it difficult for them to prevent a potentially dangerous situation or reach an injured child, there is absolutely no reason why advanced age should be an automatic concern.


The only hard and fast rules that determine the suitability of a babysitter are a genuine love of children, the ability to manage an emergency effectively, and a basic knowledge of CPR and first aid techniques. Advanced age and greater levels of maturity are selling points for a sitter, assuming that the caregiver in question is still physically active and mentally stable. Caring for children on a part-time basis is also a great way for retirees to supplement their income and keep things interesting; there’s certainly no shortage of excitement to be found when there are children involved!

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How to Keep Your Kids Germ Free Without Being Germ-Phobic

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

It’s no secret that germs are the culprit behind illnesses big and small, but avoiding them can seem like a full-time job for parents. While it’s certainly important to maintain a level of cleanliness and good hygiene to prevent sicknesses that seem to spread like wildfire through groups of children, finding the balance between keeping things clean and striving to maintain hospital levels of sterilization in your home is important for the health of your children and the good of your own sanity.

Stress Good Hand Washing Habits

No matter how clean your home is, your children will be exposed to plenty of germs and potentially harmful bacteria when they’re on the bus, at school or in daycare. The first and most effective line of defense against most of these microscopic invaders is simply good hygiene. Explain the importance of frequent and thorough hand washing to your youngsters, encouraging them to lather up often to avoid germs.

Promote a Healthy Diet and Good Sleep Habits

While a good night’s sleep and a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables may not actively keep germs away, it can help to stave of the illnesses they can cause when children do come into contact with them. Aside from encouraging and instilling the good eating and sleeping habits that kids will need as they get older, strong diets and plenty of rest will prevent many common illnesses in the short term.

Encourage Physically Active Hobbies

The sedentary lifestyle that many of today’s children have become accustomed to doesn’t do their health any favors, from creating an environment that breeds obesity and the health complications associated with it to negatively impacting their immune system. When kids are active and in shape, they’re less likely to be waylaid by a severe cold making the rounds of their classroom.

Provide Hand Sanitizer

Kids may not have access to a sink and soap every time they come into contact with surfaces and objects that are particularly dirty, which is why it’s a good idea to provide them with waterless hand sanitizer. Keep in mind, however, that some schools do prohibit kids from carrying these items, and double-check school policy to ensure that you’re not inadvertently breaking any rules by packing the gel in your kids’ backpacks.

Talk About Appropriate Sharing and Inappropriate Sharing

Because so much of a child’s formative years are spend emphasizing the importance of sharing, it’s not always easy for them to understand the difference between things they should share and things that they should not. Explaining that sharing toys, crayons and pencils is the right thing to do, but that sharing lip balm, hats and hairbrushes can bring on a host of germs and illnesses can help them to better differentiate. 

Give Toys a Good Cleaning

It’s wise to sanitize toys with a diluted bleach mixture, or to clean plush toys in an appropriate manner on a semi-regular basis. It’s more important, however, to make sure that they get a thorough once-over after a visit from kids that you know have been sick or after your own little ones recover from an illness. If you don’t sanitize toys at any other time, you should make it a point to do so after colds and flus sweep your home.

Keep Sick Kids at Home

Keeping other parents’ children germ-free is also your responsibility, in a manner of speaking. Rather than sending a child to school, daycare or activities when you know they aren’t feeling well to avoid making alternate childcare arrangements not only leaves them feeling worse, but also exposes all of their peers to the same germs he has. Keeping your ailing child at home, even when it poses an inconvenience, is the responsible thing to do.

Spend Time Outdoors

While old wives’ tales state that spending time outside during the winter months will bring on colds and flus, the opposite actually holds true. During winter, indoor areas become a breeding ground for germs and illnesses. Many airborne bacteria and viruses are passed around in enclosed areas, which makes it a good idea to bundle your kids up and send them out to play if the weather isn’t completely inhospitable. In addition to keeping kids active and engaged throughout the winter, it could also help them avoid many cold and flu-causing germs.

Understand That Not All Germs Can Be Avoided

The key to managing germs without crossing into germ-phobic territory is to understand that while making your best effort to keep things clean and instill good habits in kids will help them stay healthy, not all germs can be avoided. Regardless of how clean and sterile an environment you create within your home, your children will inevitably be exposed to viruses and bacteria in their daily lives. Try to take a more relaxed approach, encouraging good habits and maintaining a reasonable level of cleanliness without aiming to eliminate every germ your child could potentially come into contact with.

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