The Essential Tips For Raising Healthy, Happy Children

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Every parent has the priority of raising healthy, happy children. However, there are a few things that can easily be overlooked. Raising them the way we were raised may work, but now there are far more effective ways of making sure your kids are happy and healthy. Here are the essential tips for raising happy, healthy children:

Choose Your Words Carefully

Choosing your words carefully in front of your children is a must. You don’t realize it, but your kids pick up on words and emotions from a young age. Before they can even talk, they are listening to you and soaking everything up like a sponge. If you speak negatively all the time while they are babies, they may very well develop a pessimistic attitude as they grow up. They learn more from you than you realize. In fact, many of their beliefs, including their limiting beliefs are picked up from you when they are young. These beliefs can be difficult to get rid of, and can stop them from living a full and happy life. Don’t beat yourself up about it, but definitely choose your words carefully around them.

Know How To Praise And Reward Them

Knowing how to praise and reward your children is crucial. Giving them a present every time they clean their room isn’t going to do much good. They will grow up to expect bribes for virtually everything they do, and may even develop a sense of entitlement in different situations. You can praise and reward your kids every so often by setting up a consistent system, for example, a sticker chart. Make sure you use the right words to praise and reward them too. Instead of telling them they are naturally talented, tell them you are happy with the effort they put into something. Don’t forget to ask them how they feel about it too. This is beneficial for so many reasons. For a start, if you tell a child they are naturally talented, they can put too much pressure on themselves to be perfect later on. Putting an emphasis on the effort, and even including your own feelings in the praise statement is the best way to go about it. Better yet, asking them how they feel about it encourages them to stay in touch with their own emotions and do things because it felt good. Not just to be a parent/people pleaser!

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Do Your Research Before Buying Anything

Before you buy anything, make sure you do your research. This is especially important with things that can be recalled and deemed faulty, such as car seats. You can look at Baby Seats Reviews to help you. Make sure you do lots of research and compare different items so you know you’re keeping your children as healthy and safe as possible.

Teach Them Moderation When It Comes To Food

When it comes to food, teaching your kids moderation is important. Some people tend to think that one bad meal ruins their whole week, so they go and stuff their faces with more unhealthy food. Some people won’t let a bit of bad food touch their lips, in a ‘moment on the lips lifetime on the hips’ kind of way. Both of these approaches are awful. Your kids need to be taught moderation, and there’s no better way to teach them moderation than to practice it yourself. If you’re always on a diet, eating junk, or living off shakes, they’re going to think this is normal and copy you. It isn’t just about the words you use, but the things you do too. Don’t ever call yourself ‘fat’ in front of a child. Don’t comment on their appearance either, especially not their weight! If you do want to say something, you can say they look healthy and happy. It’s a good idea to let them listen to their natural hunger cues too. They should eat when they’re hungry and stop when they’re full. This is why forcing their dinner down them or even making a big deal about it is a bad idea. If you make them eat when they’re not hungry, this can cause problems later on. If you make a big deal about them and call them a ‘picky eater’, they’ll likely carry this label with them and use it as an excuse to get attention later on.

Get Into Good Routines

Getting into good routines when it comes to food, bedtimes and the time they get up in the morning will help to no end. Kids need at least a rough routine to be happy. Not only can routines help you to make the most of your time together, it can get them into healthy habits, like brushing their teeth. It can also teach them a little about time management!

Let Them Make Choices

Letting your kids make choices can help them to feel happier, as well as trust themselves more. You could let them choose what they want for lunch, within reason. You could give them the choice of two outfits at the start of the day. There are a few different ways you can implement this with success!

Don’t Try To ‘Fix’ Your Child’s Feelings

You must realize that trying to ‘fix’ your child’s feelings is a losing game. If they’re sad, buying them a toy won’t make them feel better really, and it can actually encourage them not to deal with their emotions properly. Imagine how this will impact them when they get older! Instead, encouraging them to talk about their feelings and process them is the best thing to do. Of course you want to help your child feel as good as possible, but it really all boils down to them.

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Set A Good Example For Them

If you haven’t realized it yet, you must set a good example for your kids. Your actions say everything to them. This means making sure you nurture your own happiness in front of them, and even your relationships. They look up to you, so make sure you’re doing the right thing!

Give Them Real Responsibilities

Giving kids responsibilities can help them to feel needed, and teach them responsibility for later on in life too. Maybe you could make it their job to top up the dog’s water bowl, or to put the knives and forks out at dinner time. These responsibilities may only be small, but it’ll help them in so many ways. You could even set up a family rota so your kids always know what they should be doing. You can even start them off while they’re young. For example, letting them help you to sweep up. It might take a little longer, and it might not look as good, but you’re showing them that they can do things. It’ll also make them want to help you more later on!

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Make Sure You Eat Dinner Together

Eating dinner together has so many benefits, and many studies even back this up. For example, it gives your family a chance to spend quality time together. This is so beneficial if you don’t have a lot of time to spend together during the day. You can catch up, share stories, and things like that. Studies show that kids who eat dinner as a family are better behaved and happier too. They may even do better in school! What more reason do you need to eat dinner together?

Encourage Them To Get Active Regularly

Encouraging your kids to get active will get them into the exercise habit while they are young. How about suggesting things to them and letting them try out anything that appeals? This could be dancing, playing a sport, or anything like that. Letting them try things until they find something they really like is a great way to keep them active. They’ll likely be healthier later on in life then, too. Just bear in mind that you shouldn’t get attached to them doing one particular thing. It’s natural for them to want to branch out and try different things. It’s healthy for them, in fact! Remember, there’s no better way to encourage them to get active than to get active yourself. You could even do classes together. Many gyms and places offer yoga and similar classes for kids and parents. Don’t let your kids sit for too long in front of the computer, tablet, or phone. Make sure they get out there and actually move!

These are all essential tips to raising healthy, happy children. You want your children to be healthy and happy in all areas of life. This means physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy. Make sure you work on yourself as you encourage them. After all, they will look up to you and take the lead from you. They won’t pay any attention if you are telling them one thing and doing another! Do you have anything that you’d like to add to this post? Leave your thoughts and comments below. Thanks for reading!

 

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Finding Your Family’s Normal: Dealing With Special Needs In Your Family

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These days, more and more children are getting diagnosed with special needs. In many ways, this is great, because kids are getting the help they need to be able to tackle the world around them. It isn’t so much that more kids have special needs – more that now they’re being identified and treated as well as possible. But that doesn’t stop special needs like autism and ADHD from presenting their own challenges within your family unit. Here are some tips to help…

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Do Your Research

Make sure you know as much as you can about the additional needs that your child has. That doesn’t mean that you should distrust your doctor and focus on the information on internet forums instead. On the contrary – make sure that you understand everything that your doctor or pediatrician is telling you, and do your own research to expand on those facts when you get home.

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Take What You’re Entitled To

If you’re entitled to money from the government and social security because of the needs that your child has, make sure that you take what you’re entitled to. There’s no point in being too proud – the money is there to help you and your family, and it will help enable your child to live as full a life as they can. If you aren’t getting what you should be and you’re having some problems, talk to a lawyer like David Chermol who specializes in cases like that.

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Educate Other People

Admittedly, explaining your child’s needs to other people might get old very quickly, but nonetheless it can be an important thing to do. If you have an autistic kid who’s having a meltdown in public, explaining quickly that they have autism so they find some parts of ‘normal’ social situations difficult might mean that in the future other parents with kids with special needs might not be judged harshly on first sight. If you can, you could consider working with a charity that helps out other kids with special needs who are in tougher situations than you. Your specialist knowledge will make you an invaluable volunteer.

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Get Tougher

Unfortunately it’s important that you really have it together so that you can best care for your child. People might offer you irritating unsolicited advice and insinuate that you’re not doing everything in your power to help your child, but ultimately you have to remember to stand your ground and stick up for yourself and your family. You may have to push doctors for more suggestions and information, you may have to push the government for more help so you can adapt your home for your kids the best that you can. Now isn’t the time to be softly spoken – fight on behalf of your child. Now isn’t the time to be a mother hen – it’s the time to be a lioness.

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Do What’s Best For Your Family

Remember that ultimately nothing matter except what’s best for you, your child, and the rest of your family. Don’t second guess yourself or listen to people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Trust your instincts and you’ll do the best thing for you.

 

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Practical Things You Can Do In The Home To Support Your Child’s Educational Achievement

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As a parent, we can spend a lot of time instilling in our children how important their education is. We remind them to try their best at school even if they don’t like a subject, and ask the teachers for help when they are unsure of something. But not all of a child’s educational achievement is based on what they do at school. Some things at home can also play a part too. That is why it is vital that as parents we get the home part right, so they have a better chance getting the school part right, on a day to day basis.

Diet

What our kids eat, affects how well they concentrate. That means it is the duty of a parent to ensure that they are supplying them with access to regular healthy meals. Yes, it can be a battle making sure that they have breakfast before they leave the house. But it is such a fantastic way of helping them to maintain their concentration through the day.

Of course, it doesn’t matter that the odd treat or junk food meal should happen from time to time. Remember kids are much more likely to rebel against the rules, if there is no built-in safety valve for the odd misstep here and there.

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Sleep

One of the most vital things you can do at home as a parent, is to make sure that you kids get a good night’s sleep regularly. Both school and being a child is pretty draining, so they need more sleep than adults anyway.

You can improve their sleep time and quality by making their bedrooms pleasant. Paint them in relaxing color of the child’s choice. Get them a good quality bed and check out sites like Best Of Mattress to get some information before you buy. Being comfortable in their bedroom will help them to wake refreshed and full of energy for each day of school.

Rest And Fun Time

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Remember too that ‘all work and no play makes Jonny a dull boy.’ If you are so focused on grades and achievements that all of your child’s time is full up with a study, it can be very damaging.

Firstly no one can study all the time, as eventually, the information will just stop sticking. Everyone needs a rest! Secondly, it will put you child under so much pressure that they will come to resent the studying take up all of their time. Which cause them to be anxious or to lose motivation.

Extra Curricular Activities

Any parent knows that colleges aren’t just looking for children with educational achievements. But they also want to see that they have the necessary character to succeed in a college environment.

This mean that they look on kids that have a job, or that help out in the community favorable. It’s because it shows that they are capable of committing to something and seeing it through. It also indicates that they are varied and balanced individuals who will be able to adapt themselves to the college environment.

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So it can be a good idea to encourage your child to get a job outside of school. Or you could even use your home as a base in which they can help others in the community like feeding programs or clothing drives.

 

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Digital Media Academy Camp Registration Now Open! Save Up to $250

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It seems like summer was just yesterday but the truth is, it’s almost November and next summer will be here before you know it. It’s never to soon to start planning for next summer. Digital Media Academy is celebrating their shiny new website and an exciting new summer camp lineup with deep discounts on all of our course offerings now through November 4th!

Save up to $250 during the Launch Sale and discover exciting new summer camps and courses for your kid or teen ages 6-17. Since 2002, Digital Media Academy has set out to be the thought-leader in tech education for kids, teens and adults at prestigious universities across the U.S. and Canada.

In addition to summer camp programs, DMA offers year-round learning via DMA Online and powers tech ed programs through its curriculum licensing program around the globe. DMA instructors and curriculum developers include industry professionals and outstanding technology educators, with a driving passion for inspiring, teaching, and mentoring.

What will you create this summer? Don’t wait – the Launch Sale ends November 4, 2016!

Balanced Experience

DMA camps offer more than sitting in front of a screen all day. The DMA learning experience strikes a balance between tech time and social time; sending our campers home with new tech skills and confidence and new friends.

Top-Notch Staff

The DMA staff is an impressive group of industry professionals and tech educators who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and experience. Small staff to student ratios keep learning personalized and ensures that no one gets left behind.

Project-Based

Students learn by getting hands on and collaborative in search of solutions to relative, real world problems. Infused with design-thinking methodology, our courses teach students to lead with empathy, test and retest through prototyping, and work as a team to get results.

Safety Matters

Your child’s safety is DMA’s top priority. All DMA staff are trained and certified in CPR and First Aid. Our security procedures ensure that our students are safe on campus, in the classroom, and online so that you don’t ever have to worry.

Learn more here:


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The Changing Face Of Family Entertainment

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Let’s take a little exercise in time travel.

20 Years Ago: When you want to watch a TV show, you first have to find out when it’s on. You go to your local listings, or you grab the sheet of paper you scribbled the time and date down on during an ad for the show. You write to remember it on a to-do list, or jot down the details in your planner.

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Soon, it’s the right time and the right date. You sit down to watch the show, irritated but accustomed to the advert breaks that crop up every so often. If you need to go to the bathroom during the broadcast, you have to miss a little and then hurriedly ask your companions what you missed.

If you can’t be there for the set broadcast time, you can program a recording – but it’s an arduous task that frequently fails. If that doesn’t work, then you’re going to have to wait for a rerun. You could be waiting for a long time.

Today: If you don’t know when a TV show is next on, you run an internet search. You have your answer in something ridiculous like 8.6 seconds. You can set a recording right then and there using a PVR like TiVo, and not have to think about it again. It’s going to record whether you remember it or not, and it can even record future episodes too.

You can watch it at your leisure. You can pause it if you need to do something, or watch it six months after broadcast.

If you somehow forget to set a recording, then that’s no problem. You have a huge selection of streaming options, meaning you can be watching it in a few clicks of your mouse. You don’t miss TV shows unless you intend to do so; all you need to do is find the time. The rest of it has been taken care of.

It’s somehow difficult to believe that the two above examples are separated by only two decades. The entertainment industry has been revolutionized, and those growing up now will have no idea what it was like beforehand.

We’re often told that TV is a bad thing, but this is a very modern notion. Back in the 18th century when novels for pleasure first became popular, there was uproar about them. They would distract people from their work and their religion, naysayers insisted. They would promote idleness! They were damaging people’s intellect!

If those arguments sound familiar, it’s because they’re identical to what people now say about television. Fast forward 200 years and all of a sudden books are promoted as the preference and TV is demonized. It’s hard not to wonder what will replace TV in years to come. “If only they were watching more episodes of Dora the Explorer…”

So long as the rest of your life is balanced – you spend time outside, you have hobbies and your kids have varied interests – then TV is fine. It’s a viable way of consuming an art form. For some reason, we’re comfortable describing movies and theater as art, but their small screen cousin gets a rougher ride.

People have always wanted escapism, from the early dialogue plays in Ancient Greece to the Globe Theatre in Shakespeare’s day. We can’t be serious all the time. It’s not going to inherently damage you or your children just because you watch TV.

With an eased conscience and the desire to get the most from your viewing, it can be tricky to keep up with the technological changes. There’s now so many different services, and it’s almost impossible to tell what’s offering the best deal. But never fear – there is a way through it, a guide that even busy parents can use to bring their viewing habits right up-to-date.

Tip 1: You’re going to need a good internet connection.

While this isn’t necessary for TiVo and similar systems, it is beneficial. It’s also a problem. Broadband – never mind fiber – coverage in the US is not the greatest compared to other countries. When you do have it, it’s also more expensive. A study found that for comparable speeds, USA customers could pay up to three times more than their British and French counterparts. Ouch!

The problem is scale. America is such a vast country, and it’s taking awhile to catch up to modern usage. Cities have generally good coverage, but the further out into the sticks you get, the worse things are. And if you want to get your TV pleasures, then that’s a problem.

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One of the most affordable ways of getting good coverage is to combine a package that covers your home communication needs. This means bringing your TV, broadband and home phone all under the same roof. There are a variety of different companies who offer this, and there are discounts to be had if you’re prepared to haggle and switch around.

Don’t think you have to go with the same old companies either. There are even ways you can get extras like home monitoring included if you go with the kind of company that can combine it all. The more that’s brought together, the higher the chance of a good deal. So keep an open mind, make sure you do your research; for example, view Suddenlink.com for more information.

Tip 2: Figure out what you need.

Most of the time, a combination TV deal is going to be the best option. It’s also one of the easiest, with just one company to deal with rather than juggling several. You’re also more likely to be rewarded for being a loyal customer, and if you have problems, there’s one central place to fix it all.

If for some reason that’s not an option, however, you can turn your mind to subscription streaming channels.

Think of three of the most popular TV shows of recent years: Breaking Bad, Mad Men and Game of Thrones. While you can combine these in a television package that provides them all, it’s going to be expensive.

One of most cost-effective methods is to use streaming services, once you’ve got your broadband sorted. These have the upside of being commitment-free, so if you’re a bit short one month, you can cancel and save the cash. But they also have the same problem: different channel providers for different shows. To watch the three mentioned above, it may be three separate streaming subscription services.

If you can afford that, go for it. But sometimes it’s wise to exercise a little caution. Sit down with your family, and equip everyone with a notepad and pen. Everyone should write down three TV shows they can’t live without then three they would love to have but aren’t essential. Then it’s time to compare and contrast, and see how many of the “must” shows you can get ticked off with one package.

There’ll be debating and arguments, but if you can find a package that brings two out of three essential for each family member, you’re on to a winner. Remember, going without doesn’t mean those shows will never be seen, as we explain…

Tip 3: Remember your options; tech isn’t always better!

So let’s say for the shows above, you’ve got two of your essentials, but you’re missing one. That doesn’t mean you never get to see it; it just means you have to be prepared to wait a little while.

You can still purchase a boxset on DVD or BluRay when it comes out. That might seem strange as it’s an additional expense, so why not pay a subscription cost?

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Break it down and the answer is clear. A standard season of a TV show is usually 22 episodes, which is usually spread over around 30 weeks, with breaks for holidays. So if you’re paying $10 a month for your subscription service, it’s going to cost $70 and change. A DVD box set on the other hand is around $40, so it’s a massive saving, and you get to keep the physical copies.

Tip 4: Parental Lock

When you open up your viewing habits, the chance for kids seeing something you’d rather they didn’t opens up too.

Most PVR devices will allow you to configure a parental lock, meaning a PIN code has to be entered before viewing. Activate this, and change the code regularly – if your kid figures it out, they’re not likely to tell you! Switching it up means the protection stays in place. Do the same with your Wifi password if you’re concerned about them streaming, so you’ll always have an idea of what’s happening.

You’re not being a bad, helicopter parent if you do this – you’re taking sensible precautions. It’s always better to go too far than risk your child being exposed to something you’d rather they weren’t.

So with a few phone calls and a bit of research, you can drag your viewing habits right up-to-date. It’s been said we’re living in a golden age of TV, so go ahead and make the most of it.

 

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The Safe & Easy Way To Prepare For Your Child’s Birthday Party

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Throwing a birthday party for your children is one of the great joys of being an adult. This is the one kind of occasion where you get to genuinely go all out and just do what you can to make them happy. However, that is not to say that it is always a walk in the park. Let’s be honest: parties of this kind are almost always at least a little stressful. There is always more to prepare than you initially thought, and you end up getting bogged down in it all. But that doesn’t mean it has to be that way every time. In fact, you can find ways to easily prepare for your children’s birthday party without getting stressed. In this post, we will share some top pieces of advice for doing just that. Let’s take a look, now, at what those might be.

Keep Decorations Simple

Sure, it goes without saying that you want the party to be well-decorated. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to go over the top. Especially if you have particularly young children, over-decorating might be a little pointless. Instead, work hard to keep the decorations nice and simple. That way, you can make sure that you definitely have enough time to get them all up in time. And you are much less likely to get stressed about the whole day if the decorations only take you half an hour. This is also the kind of activity where you can get the kids involved. They will enjoy it, and you will have a little more time spare to prepare everything else.

Make All The Food In Advance

Of course, the food is always a huge part of any party. This is often especially true of parties for little children. As such, the last thing you want is to get it wrong. You need to ensure that you are successfully catering to both children and adults alike. That is no small feat, but it can be done. The main thing to bear in mind here is that you should make all of the food well in advance. That way, if anything goes particularly badly, you have time to rectify it. You should at least make the birthday cake well in advance, as that is arguably the most important part. Take a look here for some recipe ideas to help speed things along: cakejournal.com.

Send Out Invitations As Early As Possible

There is nothing worse than the nightmare of nobody arriving to your party. Of course, it is unlikely that this will happen. But it is much more likely to happen if you send out the invitations too late. No matter how many or how few you are inviting, be sure to do so nice and early. This gives people a chance to get themselves ready, and makes it more likely that they will actually turn up. What’s more, getting the invite out of the way clears some space in your mind. Then, you can focus more on getting the party ready. For more on getting a party organised, see http://www.netmums.com.

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The Right Way To Show Your Kids The Great Outdoors

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Now that we’re getting into August, a lot of parents are scrambling to make the most of the remaining summer. If your kids are part of that generation who are determined to experience the world through a screen, then you may want to show them what the great outdoors is all about. Your first camping trip with your kids can be wonderful, but you need to put some time into planning. Here are some important tips to take with you.

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First of all, try to keep it simple. When you were young, you may have gone camping and fishing all the time, and still retain everything you know about it. However, your kids are likely a different story. To make it as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved, I recommend that you don’t do anything too ambitious. Choose a camp ground which isn’t too far from home, with all the nearby facilities you could need if things go wrong. If you really wanted to guarantee their comfort on the trip, then you may even want to buy a motorhome from a lot like RV Center. You may have a vision of getting into some real wilderness miles from any civilization. While this could also be a great trip, it’s better to build your kids up to it in baby steps!

When you make it out to your spot, be sure to get your kids involved. If you’re a parent, then you’re certain to be familiar with that tired, drawn-out whinge of “I’m bored!”. Without the constant stimulus from their smartphones and tablets, it’s fairly likely that you’re going to hear this at some point during the trip. The idea is to spark a life-long love of camping and the outdoors in your children, right? I know it may feel slightly nerve-wracking, but getting your kids involved in everything is the best way to do this. Show them how to pitch a tent, find the best firewood, and generally get their bearings at a new campsite. If your kids are old enough, you may even want to get them in on building a great fire and cooking over it.

Finally, plan some activities. Again, most kids aren’t happy with simply sitting around a campfire, soaking in nature and getting away from it all. However, you can still make the great outdoors exciting for them by planning some fun activities throughout your trip. If your kids are particularly crafty or creative, then bring some yarn down, find some good sticks, and make a Mexican god’s eye. Tell some campfire stories, just make sure you don’t give them any nightmares! During the day, do some of the traditional outdoors things like fishing or swimming. If you’re not camping on too tight of a budget, you might want to hire a canoe or some kayaks from places like Up a Creek. Even if all you do is capsize, you’re sure to have some fun!

Tech can do some amazing things, but it’s still possible to show your kids how beautiful the great outdoors is!

 

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Stop The Arguing! The Art of Persuading Your Child To Brush Their Teeth

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Every parent goes through the same arguments with their child every night. Yes, you do have to have a bedtime. Yes, you do have to have a bath and brush your hair. And then the big one that everyone dreads: yes, you have to brush your teeth. And while we’re at it, no, running a bit of cold water over your gums doesn’t constitute a proper tooth brushing.

Every parent knows that this is a behavior you have to install early. Habits are learned, and the sooner you begin them, the easier they are to continue. You want to get your child associating with fresh teeth with cleanliness and good oral health as quickly as possible. This isn’t just about teeth looking good; there can be severe health ramifications to poor oral care. Unfortunately, those arguments don’t tend to fly with a child.

If you’re tired of the daily battle, then there are a few tricks you can use to make the process simpler. First and foremost, however, investigate if there could be a legitimate reason your child doesn’t want to brush their teeth.

Are You Using Appropriate Tools?

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Toothpaste that is overly-minted can be deeply uncomfortable for adults, never mind children. If your child associates brushing their teeth with a burning tongue, it’s only natural they’re going to want to avoid it. The same goes for toothbrushes. Most adults use a medium or hard brush, but this might be too much for a child to handle. Soft bristles are generally more friendly, and studies have shown they are just as effective.

Child toothpaste does exist, in more attractive-sounding flavors like strawberry. Unfortunately, they’re also packed with sugar- the exact thing you want to keep away from teeth! Look for options that use Xylitol as a sweetener- not only does it have a good taste, but it’s also good for oral health in its own right.

Are Your Child’s Teeth In A Good State To Begin With?

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As soon as milk teeth are appearing, it’s a good idea to take your child to a dentist for an examination. Regular check-ups help prevent problems before they happen, though this can be a strain on the family budget. Nevertheless, the importance can’t be underestimated. You can look to come to an agreement with your dentist or investigate insurance plans like Guardian Dental to help meet the costs. Then you can just focus on getting what’s needed, rather than going with what you can afford. You need to give a good basis to go from with at-home care.

With the above taken care of, it’s time to put on your most persuasive hat and get down to it.

Stick Over Carrot

Perhaps this more suits your parenting style, or you just generally don’t like to beat around the bush. Working this way means your child is brushing their teeth, and their thoughts on it don’t matter. You give strict instructions and supervise the process.

The upside to this is that teeth get brushed. The downside is that forcing something onto a child rarely makes them want to repeat it. There is a chance your child responds well to no-nonsense discipline like this, in which case, don’t break it if it’s not broken.

Simple Rewards For Simple Tasks

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Think of a food your child loves but that you would rather they didn’t have too often. It doesn’t need to be something sweet, and try to keep it low calorie and as healthy as possible – but it’s got to be appetizing. You’re going to teach your child how to “earn” it. Pick up some star stickers from a stationery store and create a weekly chart on some paper. After every successful tooth brushing, you give a star. At the end of the week, they’re rewarded with the Forbidden Food – and of course, have to brush right after it! Knowing their efforts are moving towards something can help.

Make It A Family Thing

Many toothpaste ads show the entire family in front of the sink brushing their teeth, but how many of us actually do that? If you make it a family, group activity, then it appeals to your child’s natural instinct for inclusion. You can even give them special tasks, like setting the two-minute timer and keeping an eye on it. That way they feel useful, and you can supervise – without it being obvious you’re doing so – from up close.

Compliment Their Teeth and Smile

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If your child is going to spend time doing this activity, they need to know it’s worth it. Every few days, take a moment to tell them how good their smile looks. “Your teeth are sparkling,” you comment, with admiration. They immediately connect the activity with the self-esteem boost. We’re all programmed to do things that earn us compliments and praise, and we’ll keep repeating them for the same excitement. By reinforcing well outside of the actual event of toothbrushing, you bring the consequences into reality. Talk to friends and family and ask them to do the same.

Get Out Of Jail Free Card

Incentives work for some children, such as the above sticker method resulting in a favorite food. For others, they’ll do anything to get out of certain tasks. If there is a household chore, you know your child hates, switch out the reward and instead make it a pass from doing that chore. One full week of stickers means they get to sit out the task the next time it needs doing. They’ll quickly learn to associate clean teeth with avoiding things they don’t want. Yes, it gives you an extra chore to pick up, but it’s worth it for a lifetime of good oral hygiene.

Finally, if you are still struggling for months on end, do see a dentist for help. There might be physical or psychological issues your child is struggling, so get them ironed out at a young age. Happy brushing!

 

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FREE PRINTABLE SUMMER ELECTRONICS RULES

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FREE PRINTABLE SUMMER ELECTRONICS RULESThe first week of summer vacation started just as I thought it would with my kids being lumps playing on their phones, watching tv, and playing on the computer. I let them have some down time for the first week without pestering them about chores, early bedtimes, or anything else they have to deal with during the school year. THAT was week one. They had their break from all responsibilities. I figure everyone deserves a break from responsibilities, right?
summer rules sheetI don’t want them to get out of the habit of doing chores and using their brains so enter my SUMMER ELECTRONICS RULES. There are a variety of tasks/chores my girls can do to earn electronics time. Each chore is worth 15 minutes of electronics time and they can save up and carry over electronics time if they want. Once they earn electronics time there are several things they need to do before they can cash in electronics time such as reading for 30 minutes, doing a physical activity for at least 15 minutes, etc.

I purposely included educational websites as one of the tasks my girls have to do before they can cash in electronics time because playing on the computer doing educational games helps take away their urges for playing on electronics so much but they are still learning. So far both my girls have responded well to my “RULES”. The each did a few chores already and are working towards being able to cash in their electronics time. My older daughter has been drawing in her sketchbook for over an hour, hasn’t bothered her sister, and is entertaining herself without electronics. WIN! My younger daughter read for 30 minutes, played on the computer on a math website for well over 30 minutes, vacuumed the floor, brushed the dog, and is about to go outside for some exercise and fresh air. Once they get their tasks done they will be able to cash in their electronics time or they can save it up for another day.

They must do the tasks (reading, physical activity, etc.) BEFORE they can cash in electronics time. TASKS cannot be carried over to other days and must be done on the day they want to cash in the electronics time. I’m keeping track of their electronics time on a Google Spreadsheet because I can access it from my computer or my phone. I was going to give them popsicle sticks for every 15 minutes of electronics time but my girls are older, didn’t really need the tangible stick as a reminder, and they both told me not to waste the sticks.

Grab your own printable copy of my

SUMMER ELECTRONICS RULES!

Print them as is or since they are a Google Document you can copy and paste it into Word and edit it to meet your needs. 🙂

Make sure to check out my list of 10 Ways to Keep ‘Em Learning All Summer Long!

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Making Happy Teenagers

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If you have children between 13 and 18, chances are they are experiencing some of the many issues the average teenager comes across. However, no matter where they are in this 5-year process (although it may be longer or shorter), there are ways to help them through. Here are a handful of suggestions. Pick one or try them all; the choice is yours. But whatever you choose, remember that the benefit is for more than just them. Happier teenagers make for a happier home, and any improvements in mood will positively impact you and others in the house as well.

Give Them Time Off

They get up early every weekday to go to school and then spend all day learning. They’re learning to cope with lots of different pressures, from dating to exams. The teenage life is rarely an easy one, and in fact, can be very exhausting. This is why your teenager needs a bit of time off every now again. This could be excusing them from washing up one night a week, or arranging for them to go on a day-trip with their friends. Just as adults need to recharge our batteries, so do our teens. A bit of time off will revitalize them for the next day. Their energy levels will raise and their moods will improve.

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Arrange Creative Therapy

From arts and crafts to outdoor pursuits and theater, the creative arts can be highly impactful on teenagers. This is no matter their attitude or nature. Take Wilderness Therapy For Troubled Youth, for example. These programs are all about empowerment, improving the choices the kids make and teaching them ways to cope and break bad habits.

Meanwhile, joining a local amateur dramatics society can help boost the self-esteem of a particularly shy teen. Or, if you’re kid struggles to make friends as they have less mainstream interests, get them involved in a group that nurtures this. If they prefer gardening to football, for example, cater to this.

Organize Counselling If They Need It

As has already been discussed, the teenage years can be highly challenging. It may be beneficial for your teen to have someone to talk to who is removed from your family. They will likely be able to be more open and honest about any issues they are having. This is especially true if they are awkward or uncomfortable situations to discuss with parents. The might be topics like safe sex and STD worries, for example. You’ll also be empowering them to be independent, and showing that you trust them. Help your teen find someone they feel comfortable with, and then leave them to it. Despite the confidentiality agreement, the counselor can tell you if anything very serious has been discussed.

Watch Their Diet

The older our kids get, the less control we have over what they eat. If you suspect your teen is eating lots of bad food when not in your care, make up for it when they are. Home-cooked meals are generally far healthier than anything pre-packaged or ready-made. You are in control of the ingredients, and can tweak as necessary. For example, if a teen is anemic, you can increase the amount of red meat they’re eating with their evening meals.

 

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