Loading...
Browsing Category

Parenting

How Encouraging Your Child to Be a Storyteller could Cultivate His Empathy

kids playing

kids playing

We live in a world where some may say there is an overemphasis in academia and education public policy on STEM (Science Tech Engineering and Math) and where technology addiction is a thing, and  children are growing up lacking basic social skills. The tech part of children’s brains and lives do not necessarily cultivate or stimulate interpersonal development when it comes to human in-face interaction.

In fact, I know I am not alone among the many parents scrambling these days to figure out how to teach their children empathy.

I know there is not a day that goes by that I am not lecturing my children about the importance of exercising basic social decorum and practices. I want them to always say “excuse me” when they pass in front of someone, and to do  so audibly so the person hears. I want them to run to help when they see an elderly person struggling to open a door or carry a package. I want them to look people in the eyes when they have a conversation with them.  I want them to show interest in other people’s lives and days and their well being, and to do the minimum and ask others how is their day is going.

I know young people are ruled by the ego and that they are generally, self-centered and self-interested. But I know that it is possible for them to also  show interest in others at the same time.

Personally, I am at the point that I am not considering enrolling my three children into social etiquette classes because I figure, they may better respond to an instructor and instructional class setting where they can practice these habits with others in a controlled classroom environment.

I don’t know.

As I am considering this drastic approach, I was skimming through my copy of  The Formula: Unlocking the Secrets to Raising Highly Successful Children and noted one passage in the chapter called “Raising Storytellers: Cultivating The Power of Empathy“, where authors Ronald F. Ferguson and Tatsha Robertson, might have come up with one solution: storytelling.

They write that ” the act of storytelling – of imagining the lives of real people – stretches the brain.”

The two researchers posit that “storytellers have to come up with words their character will use, the ways they’ll move, and even their vocal inflections and emotions. They must imagine how characters will interact with one another and how one doe will affect what the others will do.”

In short, the authors state, “storytelling builds empathy: it teaches the storyteller how to put themselves in other people’s shoes, which in turn increases their ability to ‘read” (and respond to) others’ thoughts and feelings.”

Storytellers, they explain, have a highly developed “theory of the mind” – what scientists call the ability to anticipate how other people think.

So today, after your child comes home from school or wakes from a nap and you read them a story, ask them to tell YOU a story or tell you a story about what happened the other day or imagine what another friend is grappling through.

I will try though I highly doubt my older two will engage me, but I’ll try.

Good luck!

Get this Sports Girl Under Armour Look for Under $100!

My family is an Under Armour family.

My boys attend a college prep school that has a reputation for excelling in academics, music and especially sports. They swim, and compete with the cross country and outdoor track teams and wear Under Armour uniforms.

That’s why I was excited to join as an affiliate partner with the brand and today, I would like to tell you that you US and Canadian customers can get an additional 25% off any order of $100 or more using the code Fit25 at check out.

That means you can cop this entire UA outfit my daughter wor her soccer skills e tocamp this week for $100!  While the exact half zip top UA Tech long sleeve shirt isn’t available, a similar style, in a different design is for just $25.99. 

It comes in grey with an orange sleeve and logo or black with white stripe along the sleeve and logo. Add it to your cart. 

Nab a pair of cold gear black jeggings for winter weather wear, made of dual-layer fabric with material that wicks sweat and dries super fast. There is an anti-odor tech that prevents the growth of odor-causing microbes. These pants have an extra wide waistband, inspired by yoga pants and sits right on her hips

Get a pair for $31.99  It comes in youth sizes 7 to 16 and you can get them in black with pitch grey light heather stripe down the side.

While she isn’t wearing UA sneakers in this photo. (her brothers own them), in order to get the 25% off discount, you need to check out $100 worth of items. Pick up a pair of UA Bandit shoes that usually cost $65 for just $48.99

Add them to your cart to get the discount! Don’t forget to enter the code FIT5 at check out for the discount to apply.

 

20 Things to Do for Valentine’s Day with Your Littles

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and it’s not just a time for lovers but also for loved ones so, if you are scrambling for ideas to celebrated this holiday of Love with your offspring(s), here are 20  last-minute ideas of things you guys can do
There are some great at-home activities in here you can do nonetheless, with a few resources scrubbed off the internet!
1. Have an Indoor Picnic in the Living Room
2. Have a Movie Night. Rent movies you both like, pop some popcorn and snuggle under the covers.
3. Make Pizza. Be your own Italian Chef.
4. Go for a Drive to the Country a little way from home and back. Use the time to talk and catch up.
5. Go out for Dinner. Get dressed up and go to a fancy restaurant.
6. Go Roller Skating. Have some physical fitness and fun while skating to the hits and oldies at your local rink.
7. Make Soup for the Week. If you live in a climate experiencing winter, whip up several batches of different soups to eat and save for later. You can pick different recipes from online resources or your crock pot cook book
8. Go Bowling. You can never go wrong having a Bowling night.
9. Make Desserts. Cakes, Brownies, Cookies and Decorating fun designs is guaranteed fun.
10. Paint. Roll up the Sleeves, Get out some paper or a canvase and some paint and get creative. Frame your masterpieces and hang them up in your home.
11. Craft. There are loads of crafting projects online. Taking the time to create some crafts is fun and functional if you make some thing that you can use later like an oven mit or a frame.
12. Write Short Stories. Get your creative juices flowing. Get out some paper and pen and write up some fun stories to share or use to enter into writing contests.
13. Have a Game Night. Haul out the Connect Four, Checkers and Monopoly board games and have fun.
14. Head to the Beach. If you live near a beach and in a climate that works, pack a picnic and head down to the beach.
15. Have a Dance Party. Put on the Music Video Channel or Crank up the Stereo and Dance in the Basement or in the living room.
16. Have a Karaoke Night. Find Videos with Lyrics on YouTube and set it up so you can have a performance.
17. Do Puzzles. Get out different puzzles, get on the floor and put together some pieces.
18. Tell Scary Stories. If you’re caught in the storm and without power still, it sucks but you can use that time under the dim lights to tell spooky ghost stories to pass time until the light comes back.
19. Go to Dave & Busters or Chuck E. Cheese. Fun Activity Centers always are good for a fun time.
20. Go to the Movies. Whether a matinee or to the theater that plays dated movies, get up and get out and head to the Cinema.

Good Luck and have fun!

Becoming a Parent via Adoption: Everything You Need to Know

adoption

adoption

Becoming a parent is an exciting, transformative time in one’s life, and that is true whether you’re carrying your own baby, working with a surrogate, or adopting a child into your home. For would-be parents looking at the wide range of options out there for expanding their families, adopting a baby or a child can be a controversial decision because of widespread social attitudes about biological heredity.

The fact is, adoption represents a way to put children with loving families and to make lives better for the biological parents, the adoptive family, and the kids themselves. If you are ready to move forward with the process, there are a few things you should know before you get started.

Understanding the difference between adoption systems, as well as the fact that they vary from state to state in their requirements, is vital to making sure you know how to navigate this process before you plunge in.

Voluntary vs. State-Sponsored Processes

In most states, there are separate resources for would-be parents who are looking to adopt an infant through a voluntary process and those who are looking to adopt through the foster care system after parental rights are terminated, because generally speaking the state’s child welfare resources do not concern themselves with voluntary adoptions. Instead, the transfer of legal parenthood happens through a court petition.

While adopting a baby from a voluntary biological parent is generally a smooth process because both parties are seeking the arrangement, there are details to negotiate that can represent some sticking points. By contrast, when seeking an adoption through state placement, the process involves weighing the best placement choice for the child. In the U.S., 59% of all placements are through the child welfare system.

Here’s what you should know about the two systems:

  • State welfare agencies seek to act as quickly as possible after parental rights are terminated, provided placement can be found and proven to be in the best interests of the child
  • Some states include placement subsidies to help cover the costs of children adopted through the system, especially older children
  • Most state placements will not be infants, although many are very young children
  • Placement takes longer when you have more specific requirements, whether those are related to age, genetic background, or other factors, and regardless of the type
  • Voluntary adoptions can be open or closed, with several degrees of compromise, if parties want the biological parent to be involved

If you do choose to use the voluntary system, then you need to know how to navigate it, because there is not a centralized system for administering placements when you are adopting a child who is voluntarily placed with a family. Luckily, there are information networks to avail yourself of if you’re looking.

You might need to put more time and effort into the search, taking on a few processes for yourself that state placements handle for you. On the other hand, you have additional options, including international adoptions, which can increase your chances of finding the perfect fit for your new family much more quickly.

Networks for Parents Adopting Privately

Private placement agencies are operating around the country to identify and facilitate these processes, and some lawyers even specialize in this niche as part of a family law practice. They tend to have resources for finding available parents looking to place children soon after birth, so they can help. Lawyers do have costs, though, as do agencies that do the legwork to bring people together.

Private religious institutions are also known for both placing children through voluntary processes and also for maintaining larger networks with other organizations looking to place kids.

Catholic organizations are especially good at this, in part due to the church’s international efforts toward child welfare and in part because of its traditional investment in institutions like hospitals. If you are seeking a private process and you’re intent on adopting an infant, these networks can be a huge help. Luckily, for those who are considering adoption as a biological parent, the demand is high enough that working with a good agency that has an established reputation should be all you need to find a range of possible placements for your child.

Tionne ‘TBoz’ Watkins Despises the term “Adopted”

tionne watkins

tionne watkins

Tionne “TBoz” Watkins, is one third of the iconic 90s pop group TLC, a brain tumor survivor, and mom to two kids, 18-year old daughter Chase and 4-year old son Chance who she adopted from a woman she knew from her hometown of Des Moines, Iowa.

But she despises the term “adopted” and let Dr. Sean, host of Soul Fox, know it during a sit down interview last November.

“And I hate now, on social media people be like, ‘That’s her adopted son,'” the chronic Sickle Cell Anemia disease sufferer laments of the child who she emotionally welcomed into her family in 2016, though she personally shielded the decision from the press until 2017.

In a 2017 book she released, “A Sick Life (written with Emily Zemler), Watkins detailed more about the heartbreak she experienced during the adoption process.

Chance’s birth mom had previously promised to carry a child for Watkins but reneged shortly after the baby was born.

Watkins didn’t give up hope.

And in 2015, when that same birth mother in Des Moines became pregnant again, she promised Watkins the baby was hers.

In May 2016, Watkins brought home her son Chance, nine months after he was born.

“We all just bust out crying,” Watkins says of the moment the judge finalized the adoption. “I’m not even a happy crier, ever, but I was bawling! I was so relieved because you love this person with all your heart — and to know that someone can still take him from you? I couldn’t imagine. I was so relieved once that part was over.”

She also wrote in A Sick Life.“Chance has brought new life and fulfillment in our house and made us feel even more complete, and I can’t thank his birth mother enough for that.”

She also told Dr Sean, “He’s been a blessing…That’s why his name is Chance. Because he gave me a chance—all the stuff I was going through in life, he gave me a second chance too.”

Her son doesn’t know he is adopted and Watkins is anxious that someone will step in and steal that moment from her. She has a challenge to all those who use the term “adopted” when referring to a child not birthed by the mom.

“Do you say that’s my c-section daughter? Do you say, that’s my vaginal canal son? No, you don’t. That’s my damn son,” Watkins told Dr. Sean.

“I’m so nervous for when he is old enough. I’m not nervous in my household because he knows how much I love him. But it’s the world who talks. That part is irrelevant. I understand it was a story at first or if I’m sitting here. But to say that, like—cuz you don’t know who knows what or how—like, you can’t ruin people’s lives like that.”

What to Add To Your First Baby Registry

It has been a long while since I have highlighted what’s popular and most wanted on Baby Registries these days so I searched  the web sphere and revisited my past posts then cross referenced to determine a List.

Now this is not necessarily the essentials.

Below are some of the top items and I urge Moms-to-be to still consider my list of things you do not need no matter how many books or ads tell you that you do

Diapering

Burt’s Bees Baby 100% Natural Ointment ($8.45; amazon.com)

Hiccapop Wipe Warmer and Dispenser ($34.92; amazon.com)

Sophie The Giraffe Teething Toy ($23.75)

Infant Quickchange Portable Changing Pad ($7.99; amazon.com)

 

Out & About

Ergobaby Carrier Omni 360 ($171.49; amazon.com)

Britax Back Seat Mirror ($34.99; amazon.com)

No Cow Protein Bar(box of 12) ($27.99; amazon.com)

Sustainable On-The-Go Essentials

Reusable Food Storage Bags ($10.99; amazon.com)

Welly Traveler Stainless Steel Bamboo Water Bottle ($33; amazon.com)

Rosti Mepal Ellipse Reusable Lunch Pot ($16.95; amazon.com)

Nursery

LectroFan High Fidhttps://amzn.to/2Mkc9PQelity White Noise Machine ($49.99; amazon.com)

Google Nest Cam (169.89, originally $199; amazon.com)

aden + anais Silky Soft Bamboo Swaddle Blanket ($42.75; amazon.com)

Sandra Boyton Board Books Library (54.95)

Feeding

Boon Bundle Feeding Set ($29.87; amazon.com)

BEABA Babycook 4 in 1 Steam Cooker ($149.95; amazon.com)

 

Medela Pump In Style ($196.97)
Inglesina Fast Table Chair ($69; amazon.com)

For Mom

Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk Tea ($23.33; amazon.com)

My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow ($42.99; amazon.com)

Milkmakers Lactation Cookie Bites ($27.99; amazon.com)

Bath Time

Skip Hop Moby Bath Spout Cover ($9.95, originally $13; amazon.com)

 

hop skip jump

Baby Nasal Aspirator ($17.63, originally $20; amazon.com)

nose frida

The Honest Company Shampoo + Body Wash ($8.99, originally $9.99; amazon.com)

honest

Happy registry making!

MLK Day: It’s Not Too Late to Do a Service Activity Tomorrow

mlk day

Tomorrow is the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, MLK Day of Service.

All around the nation, schools, philanthropic organizations and civic groups have planned service events in honor of the memory of the civil rights icon who gave his life for others.

It’s actually NOT too late to find a service activities organized around the nation to participate in tomorrow or in an ongoing basis, and there is still time for you and the children to do something kind on their own for their neighbors or fellow man.
 
Here are a 6 other  suggestions besides watching a speech and reflecting on its meaning:
  1. Take garbage bags down to the town creek or some other littered area near your home and clean it up.
  2. Make sandwiches and pack fruit and a snack into about a few dozen brown bags and pass them to homeless people in the closest town or city to you.
  3. Gather old toys and bag them up to donate to Goodwill or a local family shelter.
  4. Call a local home for the elderly and ask if you can come by and play cards and/or board games with the residents.
  5. Make Homemade colorful Get Well Greetings cards to send to a local children’s hospital/
  6. Make Festive Thank You Cards to send to the local USO to ship off to military serving abroad.
Good luck and Happy MLK Day of Service!

4 New Years Resolutions Everyone in the Family Can Stick To

With the New Year just arriving, you may still be thinking about your resolutions or setting new goals for your personal or family life. Setting goals and making new commitments can benefit both you and your family.

As you think through the changes you’d like to see in your personal and family life, consider these ways you can start the New Year off right.

Work on spending time together – Families tend to spend a lot of time around each other during the holidays, but as soon as they end the hustle and bustle of everyday life takes over and families often find themselves with little time to connect.  The New Year is a great time to set a goal to spend at least one night a week together as a family.  Create a game night or movie night once a week.  Maybe even mix it up and do something different each week.  Have everyone in the family come up with five family activities they want to do, then put them in a bowl and pick them out one by one, scheduling them a week or two in advance.  This way everyone in the family gets to do something they picked to do pretty frequently.

Limit screen time – Parents often complain that all their children want to do is watch TV, play video games or text and talk on their phones.  The amount of time children spend engaged in these activities is disturbing and can be frustrating to parents.  However, parents are often distracted with these devices as well.  How much time do you spend on your smart phone, tablet or laptop at home around meal time and in the evenings?  Challenge yourself to limit the time you spend on these devices when you could be spending time with your children.  Set a new rule that there are no phones at the meal table, parents included.  Spend that 30 minutes engaging in conversation with your children instead.  Your older children may resist at first, but as they see you put away your phone and really connect in conversation with them, they will become less opposed to the idea.

Help others – Building a sense of generosity in your children can be difficult.  Working on projects to help others as a family can be a very memorable experience for them that they cherish for a lifetime.  Serving at a soup kitchen, volunteering to be a part of a city wide clean-up day and signing up to do a charity walk are just a few examples of activities you can participate in with your children that benefit others.  There are also a lot of smaller jobs that you can do together too.  Making a meal for a sick neighbor, raking the leaves for the elderly couple down the street and taking care of a friend’s child for the day so she can rest are simple actions that make a big impact on the outlook your child has toward others.

Take time for yourself – Yes, parents need time on their own.  Everyone knows that.  Making it happen can be challenging, but don’t forget that your child needs some time to himself too.  Whether it is taking a long bath or going for an extended run, be sure to carve out time in the week to spend caring for you. You should also help your child find time for himself as well.  He may have a mound of homework to finish, but he is going to be better equipped to work efficiently if he has a little down time in his day too.

By setting a few goals for the New Year you and your family can build a connection and get off to a great start.

Amazon Baby Registry Start Up Guide

As any brand new expecting couple understands, the process of starting a family is daunting, from conception, to appointments, to dietary restrictions, to the unsolicited advice to the actually prep for getting ready to add a brand new member of the family.

It’s a good thing that there is a lot more technology these days that is taking the headache out of some of the items on the long to-do-list.

In my day, over a decade and more ago, if you wanted to create a baby registry for your family and friends who wanted to help you out with your initial childcare expenses, you had to load yourself and your growing girth in the car, stand in line for a clerk who’d give you a scanning gun and then, you’d have to waddle all over a big box store like Target or Walmart scanning items to add to your list. After that, you had to go back in line and have another clerk upload the list. Phew!

These days, there is Amazon Baby Registry

Here is how it works:

Got to the Amazon Baby Registry landing page and click the “Create a new Baby Registry” button.  You’ll be directed to a page with questions you need to answer, enter the address to have gifts sent to and then create the registry.

After that, you can start adding gifts you want. As you probably already know, Amazon has the Earth’s Biggest Selection of products to fill your house with all the right baby things.

Now, here is a bonus that you get with Amazon that you won’t get with other one off stores, if there is a product that isn’t carried or available on Amazon, you can add it using the University Registry option. It’s a browser plug in and you can add items from any site to your registry.

Mobile On the Go

If you are not at your desktop and you think of something to add, you can do it via the Amazon app on your phone. It allows you to access and update your registry whenever you want, from wherever you are.

Instant Organization

Once you’re done with your registry, Amazon works its magic and organizes it by categories to make it easy for your family and friends to search and decide what they want to buy.

Publish It

Once  you’re done, you can decide if you want to make your registry public so anyone can find it by  searching your name.

You can also limit your registry so that only people with the link can access it. Or you can make it totally private to yourself only as you build it out and before it’s ready for public consumption.

Gifts for Parents Just for Creating the Registry

When you sign up, Amazon sets you up with a welcome box with up to $35 worth of baby products. Yay!

Option for Group Gifters

When your co-workers, or college friends want to go in on one large expensive gift like a stroller, glider or car seat on the list, they can utilize the Amazon group gifting option.

Friends and family or coworkers and associates can pitch in towards the purchase of one costly item.

The average annual cost of diapers for the first year of life for an infant is $550.

Another option for friends who want to help offset the expense of a new baby is for them to contribute to Diaper Fund. Friends and family can contribute any amount of money, up to $550 total, toward diapers.

You’ll get this money in the form of an electronic Amazon gift card, which can be used toward diapers and a variety of other eligible baby products as well.

For Gift Givers

All you have to do is go to the Baby Registry search page and look for the name of the mom-to-be, pick gifts, then check out. You can opt to pitch in towards a large group gift or contribute to the Diaper Fund.

If you don’t have Amazon Prime, you’ll have to spend at least $25 to be eligible for free shipping. If you have Prime, you’ll get the regular, two-day free shipping rates you’ve come to know and love.

What happens if you don’t get all the items on your list

Once you’re registry is closed, or after baby is born, you can go back and order items unpurchased for 10% off or 15% off if you are an  Amazon Prime member.

Returns are Generous and Easy

If you have to return an item, don’t worry about rushing because Amazon gives you an entire year to return items from your list! That’s the best part if you ask me!

And you have no store to drive to, just print out the return label and drop it off at an Amazon location or ship it back through regular carriers like USPS.

Start your Amazon baby registry today

6 Ways to Get the Must Out Your Home for the New Year

clean bedroom and bed

Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay

It’s all too common to come home in the winter to find that far from being fresh and inviting, your home smells and feels dusty, musty, and damp. The air might feel stale, and perhaps even humid or very dry. This is usually the result of a lack of fresh air, as we’ve all had our windows closed for months, a lack of natural light, the dampness that comes with having to have washing dry indoors, and the fact that we’re all spending much more time wrapped up in close quarters at home. 

This mustiness can be annoying, but it can also be a health risk. When the air is stale, there are increased allergens. You might find that colds and other bugs spread more quickly, that you don’t sleep as well, and that you get more coughs or that you have trouble recovering from illnesses. Keeping your home fresh can boost your health, and your mood, as well as making your home more inviting.

1. Open Your Windows for a Little Every Day

When it’s cold outside, we want to keep our windows closed all of the time. But, opening the windows, at least in the rooms that you use the most, for just a few minutes every day could let in some fresh air, and move the stale air out. If it’s more comfortable, do this for a few minutes before you leave the house, so you don’t have to worry about bringing the temperature back up. 

2. Wash Bedding and Towels

clean bedroom

Pixabay – CC0 Licence

If we’re honest, most of us don’t wash our towels and bedding often enough. Try to wash them once a week, it’s more hygienic, and your house will smell and feel much fresher. When it’s not raining, drying washing outside can also help. 

3. Get A/C and Filters Checked

Whether you are using it at the moment or not, this is the perfect time to look at getting your AC unit serviced, and the filters changed. If you need to get emergency ac repair and start running your unit a little every day to keep air moving and fresh. 

4. Add an Air Freshener

An air freshener does precisely what it says on the tin. Sort of. It won’t actually freshen the air. But, it will help it to smell nicer and fresher. If your house feels stale, try to avoid scents that are overpowering or heavy. Light florals, linen, and sweet vanilla can all be effective. 

5. Open Internal Doors

If your home is musty, you want to move the air as much as possible. Keeping internal doors closed can help you to keep warm, but opening them sometimes will help keep air circulating. 

6. Air Soft Furnishings Out

Soft furnishings such as bedding, throws, rugs, sofa covers, curtains, and other heavy fabrics hold on to scents, as well as dust. On a dry, bright day, take these outside and let them hang. Beat the dust off, and let them get some fresh air. They’ll bring it back into the home with them, and the atmosphere will be much lighter. 

It’s a New Year! Let’s start out Must Free, shall we!? (SMILE)