Browsing Tag

parenting advice

10 Tips for Parenting Pre-teens

It’s typically between the ages of nine and twelve that our cute, cuddly little children, once so willing to climb into our laps and share their secrets, suddenly want little or nothing to do with us. A child in preadolescence is not the same person he was just a year or two ago. 


4. Don’t be overly judgmental. “At this age your children are watching you very astutely to hear how judgmental you are,” advises Dr. Steiner-Adair. “They are taking their cues on how you talk about other people’s children, especially children that get into trouble — how that girl dresses, or that boy has good manners or bad manners. And they are watching and deciding whether you are harsh or critical or judgmental.”

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7 Parental Burnout Triggers and How to Deal With Them

Has it ever occurred to you that being a parent could be stressful? Of course it has–everyone talks about it! They’ll complain about how difficult it is to take care of their kids, they’ll mention how stressed they are when they try to make their children happy and they’ll tell you about all the cleaning up and washing they have to do. Most people just accept this as part of being a parent, but did you know that it could eventually pile up and cause you to break down?

Parental burnout is a phase that parents reach when they struggle to cope with their children. It could be due to the stress of their professional careers or it could happen when you fail to beat fatigue while raising your child.

The pressure often comes from trying to be a responsible and reliable person for everything. Whether it’s refusing to eat fast food and always cooking healthy meals for your children, or refusing to ask for help because you feel too proud, parents can often feel too responsible for their children.

But what are the triggers of parental burnout? What exactly causes it, and how can we prevent it? There are actually many different ways to beat parental burnout, but it does require you to understand how to avoid it in the first place and what the triggers are. Below, we’ve listed seven of the most common triggers of parental burnout and what you can do to avoid them.

  1. Children Asking the Same Thing Over and Over Again

Have you ever wondered why your children ask the same thing over and over again? It can help you understand why, but it doesn’t really help the fact that they’re frustrating you with their comments. The best way to avoid being burned out by this situation is to just stay calm, relax and answer their questions as best as possible. Don’t let it get to you–it’s a phase that will eventually pass.

  1. Children That Refuse to Listen When You Ask Them for Something

Have you ever asked your children something, only for them to refuse to answer you or do what you said? Rebellious children aren’t new, but it can get incredibly frustrating and you may even snap and shout at them. You never want to raise your voice at your children. Instead, be more patient with them. Try a different tone of voice, be more positive and use body language to communicate.

  1. Children That Force You to Repeat Yourself

This coincides with both of the previous points. If you feel like your child has to be constantly reminded of something, then again, you just need to be patient. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way around this other than to stay positive and be consistent with the way you reply. Eventually, your children will get out of this phase, so do your best not to get frustrated and raise your voice.

  1. Children That Prevent You From Getting Enough Sleep

If your children are constantly waking you up at night or causing you to get less sleep, then you should consult a guide for parents on how to get better quality sleep. Not getting enough sleep will make you grumpy and you could snap at your children.

  1. Children That Make a Mess Wherever They Go

Teach your children better manners and how to act around the house. Don’t use physical contact to discipline your children when they don’t listen or do something against your word. Instead, let them know why their behaviour is unacceptable and use a time-out area.

  1. Children That Clutter the Home

If you find that your children are constantly throwing their toys around and always requesting new toys when they already have lots, then you’ll need to start being more strict about how you spoil them. It’s fine to purchase them a few toys and games here and there, but too much and they’ll eventually get used to it and complain when they don’t get what they want.

  1. Children That Won’t Let You Have Some Peace and Quiet

It’s important that you spent a bit of time away from your kids every now and then. It could be a holiday, a night out or even a just an hour of relaxation in the garden on your own. Make some space for yourself. Give yourself some time to relax away from the stress of your kids each day and you’ll find that it can help melt the stress away.

The 10 Reasons Why It’s Not A Good Idea to ‘Let’ Your Kid Win at Sports


I just came home from my kids’ sports banquet and one thing, I noticed is that there were special awards given to outstanding players and all kids didn’t get a trophy just for participating (they got certificates but not trophies). A big thing about this next generation of children is that they are growing up to expect an award for just showing up. In life, that’s not how it works. Therefore, it’s a great idea to start out showing your children the importance of trying hard.

Check out 10 reasons to not LET your child win a game.

  1. Win at all costs: Letting your child win once in a while isn’t going to hurt anything, but make sure they don’t know you are letting them win.  That will send the wrong message.  You don’t want your child to think that it’s okay to change the rules just so you can win or that winning is more important than following the rules.
  2. Lose gracefully: A very important lesson to teach your children is how to lose gracefully.  If you let your child know that it’s okay to lose as long as you tried your hardest they will learn how to lose gracefully.  They will lose at things from time to time, but it’s more important to handle defeat well.  Make sure that everyone congratulates the winner at the end of the game.
  3. Start on level ground: If you feel like you need to ‘let’ your child win at a game that means that maybe you weren’t on equal footing from the start.  You know how they give golfers a handicap?  You might want to spot your child a few points or set up the game so that everyone has an equal chance to win while still playing by the rules.
  4. Winning fairly feels great: Children are very smart and will spot that you are letting them win.  If this happens then you will be robbing your child of the thrill of victory.  When your child wins fair and square it will mean a lot more to them then having you let them win.
  5. Learning to compete: When you allow your child to play the game they will learn over time what to do and then they will start playing with strategy.  Strategy can be taught at a very early age and this knowledge will flow over into other aspects of their life.
  6. Entitlement issues: One of the biggest things I’ve seen with this generation is this ‘sense of entitlement’ that kids seem to have these days.  I wonder if it doesn’t stem back to taking away winning and losing at school, birthday parties, rec sports etc.  If you let them win then they will feel like everyone should do that and that they are entitled to win no matter how much effort they put forth.
  7. Improving skills: Losing will motivate your child to try harder next time and encourage them to practice and improve their skills so that next time they have a better chance at winning the game on their own.
  8. Focus on the joy of the game: If you focus on having fun during the game then it won’t matter who wins and who loses, just how much fun you had playing the game.  If you can teach your child to enjoy the ride then it will allow them not to take defeat too hard.
  9. Reality check: Kids will lose occasionally and that is just a fact of life.  Letting your child win does not prepare them for the real world.  I love to win and I’m pretty disappointed when I lose, but from an early age I had a taste of both.  Even at birthday parties, someone won the game of pin the tail on the donkey and we didn’t all go home with a prize.  These are the facts of life and the sooner kids learn that life is not fair the better off they will be.
  10. Play a variety of games:  Instead of rigging the game so that your child wins, why don’t you play different kinds of games?  There are games that stress playing as a team and everyone plays against the board instead of each other.  Or games of chance where rolling the dice or picking a card is just random chance and everyone has the same chance of winning.

Good luck, parents!


How to Throw a Halloween Party on a Budget

There’s no need to break the bank when it comes to throwing your next kids’ Halloween party.  By using items you already have around the house you can throw a killer party without spending a ton of money, and making your own snacks and beverages can also help you cut back on the expenses.  The kids will have a blast and you will be a Halloween hero, without going broke.
Theme Deciding on a theme can help you tie all of the party details together. Here are a few kid friendly themes worth considering.
  • Ghouls and Goblins: Place tombstones in the yard for decorations, wrap hotdogs in dough and bake them to look like mummies and serve punch out of a caldron.
  • Witches and Fairies: Sprinkle glitter on table cloths and serve witch fingers and witch’s brew.
  • Nutty Professor: Put out assorted jars filled with food coloring in water, make invitations in the shape of a beaker and serve drinks in test tubes.
  • Hogwarts: Line the table with white owls and fake snow and make pretzel stick wands that can be decorated and then eaten.
Invitations Tie the invitations into the theme to help set the mood for the party and let the parents know what type of costumes the kids should wear.  By making your own invitations you can have something that is both unique and inexpensive. Here are some ideas for simple invitations you can make at home.
  • Tombstone Invitations: Using some gray cardstock, cut out the shape of a tombstone.  Using a black ink pad rub the edges of the tombstone to create an aged, dirty look.  Put a big RIP on the front and the rest of the party information inside.
  • Fairy wing invitations: Cut out the shape of a pair of wings.  Write the details of the party on the wings.  Take some vellum and cut out the same wing shape and attach it to the top with a brad.  Use plenty of glitter for the fairies.
  • Witch’s broom invitations: Cut out the shape of the bristle part of a broom in a yellow or mustard color and print the details to the party on it.  Attach a craft stick or a cut down skewer to the back of the bristle portion.  Tie a black bow around the broom handle and you’re done.
Decorations Use things you have around the house that go with your theme.  Drape the furniture with white sheets for a spooky, abandoned look.  Fill recycled jars with water and food coloring; float various things in them like a plastic frog or plastic eye balls and cover dessert tables with black plastic table cloths from the dollar store.
Games – Play games that kids love, but add a Halloween twist to them.  Almost any game can be made into a Halloween game.
  • Monster Mash: Play fun Halloween inspired music and have the kids play freeze dancing.  Whenever the music stops they have to freeze in their spot.  If they move they have to sit out until the next song.
  • Flashlight tag: Supply everyone with inexpensive flashlights and let them chase each other around the back yard.  A variation could be to hide glow in the dark items and have everyone hunt for them.
  • Bobbing for apples: Float apples in water and have players try to grab an apple out of the water using nothing but their mouths.
  • Spooky Bingo: Set up the normal bingo cards, but use miniature bat cut-outs to cover the spaces, or go online and print out Halloween inspired game cards.  Light some battery operated candles and play by candlelight.  Turn on some spooky music and call out the numbers using a creepy voice.
Food Choose food that the kids already like and dress it up for Halloween.  For example, you could take PB&J sandwiches and cut them out with a pumpkin cookie cutter, and then use a food safe black marker to draw jack-o-lantern face on it.  Serve bat or witch hat shaped cookies or brownies.  Give items on the party menu a creepy name by putting place cards in front of all of the food.  A bowl of grapes could be called, “Green Eyeballs,” for example and a bowl of candy corn could be called, “Witches teeth”.  Freeze some water or fruit juice in a plastic glove and then float it in green punch for some eerie fun.  Sprinkle in some creepy crawly decorations in and around the food trays.
Favors Wrap candy bars with strips of medical tape to look like mummies.  Leave an opening to put in a couple of big googly eyes. Kids will have fun no matter what they are doing so don’t stress out too much over party details.  Create some suspense with the invitations, set the mood with the decorations and music, and feed them fun, creepy food and you will have happy kids.  Use your imagination and ask your kids what they want to do.  You might be surprised to learn what kind of fun ideas they have.
reprint compliments of FullTimeNanny

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10 Ways to Encourage Early Reading in Your Child

child become a reader bellyitchblog.com

It’s back to school time but independent reading continues to be something all children should be doing on a daily basis. Reading is a fundamental skill that all children master eventually. Each child learns at their own pace and parents need to be patient, however, there are things that you can do to foster and nurture healthy reading habits in your child. 4Nannies.com shared these 10 with us for you to consider:

1. Visit the library – The library is a magical place for children! Help your child register for her own library card so that she can check out books independently. This independence will allow her to choose the books she’d like to read and help her become responsible for taking care of those treasures. Encourage her to look for books she is interested in, show her where to ask for help if she can’t find something and allow her to make her own choices.

2. Read to and with your child daily – About 30 minutes of reading per day is what is recommended to encourage healthy reading habits in your child. Start at a young age by reading to your child and then gradually transition to him reading out loud to you. The reading doesn’t have to be done all at once, but can be broken up into smaller, more manageable slices of time.

3. Role model at home – Children who see the adults around them engaging in reading are more likely to follow your example.

4. Write short notes to your child – Put them in lunch boxes, backpacks or leave them on the counter for your child to read. You can write about anything; tell her that you love her, leave her a small fact to read or even write down her chores for her!

5. Ask open-ended questions about the story that you are reading – Asking your child open-ended questions will encourage him to think about what is going to happen next in the story and to put together what has already happened. Ask him how he’d have the story end or to predict what he thinks will happen next in the story. Once you read more of the story, look back on your discussion and compare his thoughts to the actual story line.

6.  context to check vocabulary words – Throughout your life you use context to check the meaning of words you don’t know, so encourage your child to do the same. It’s an essential life skill.

7. Practice writing skills – Reading and writing go hand in hand because you learn one while you are learning the other! Have your child practice sounding out words while she is writing, encourage her to create her own story with illustrations and have her write letters to people in your family (and have others write back to her!).

8. Let them pick the books that they read – Giving your child ownership of the books he chooses will mean that he is more involved in the reading process from the beginning. Encourage him to read the classics as well, but let him pick out what he is interested in reading.

9. Make reading fun – While you are reading together have her act out stories, recreate them or illustrate them how she thinks it should be done!

10. Play reading related games – Choose games that require reading to play together. Games that involve word play (Scrabble or Boggle), games with cards that you read (Fluxx or Pictionary) or games that require you to read spaces (Life or Monopoly) all encourage children to read independently while playing.

It’s important to remain patient and calm during the learning to read process with a young child, help him when he needs help, but stand back and allow him to navigate the words on his own as much as possible. Eventually the day will come that you are sitting side by side on the sofa, each reading your own books, and all that effort and hard work will pay off.

7 Ways to Parent a ‘Bossy’ Child



Children have specific personality traits. Some are shy by nature and others are outgoing. There are children who possess natural leadership abilities and those who find more joy in going along with the crowd. 

 Some children can’t seem to be able to sit still or be quiet for longer than 10 seconds at a time, if that, while others could play silently with toys for hours without any trouble. 

With each of these traits there are both benefits and challenges for parents to overcome.  

Few of the challenges are more frustrating than working with a child who is “bossy,” however there are positive ways to redirect challenging behavior.

1. Get rid of the negative assumptions about bossy children. A child who is bossy most likely has strong leadership qualities and is very bright. When a child is bossy it usually means that she has great ideas and wants others to experience these ideas with her. 

 For these reasons it is important to change the negative stigma associated with a bossy child and recognize that in time and if encouraged, a “bossy” child can become a great leader. This is especially true when tempered with compassion and empathy.

2. Model directives that are kind. Demonstrating positive behavior for any child is important, but even more so with a child who has bossy tendencies. A child with these kinds of leadership skills will soak up every word and behavior pattern she is exposed to. 

Parents with a child of this temperament will need to be extra careful with how they request things from her and how they respond to her demands.

3. Choose when you ask vs. when you request wisely. There is a very subtle difference between asking a child to do something and requesting or requiring it. 

Because you want to model kind directives, if at all possible you should politely ask the child to do things like pick up her shoes or put on her coat. Give her plenty of time to get the job you are asking her to do done because children who have “bossy” tendencies need to be self-motivated to do just about anything. 

If the request is not optional or needs to be done in a hurry, make that clear from the beginning by looking her in the eye and calmly stating, “I need you do to _________ and 

I need you to do it quickly.” You can even give the reason why you need it done so quickly. It may seem like stopping to make sure your child clearly understands your needs will take too long, but in reality it will save time in the end. In this circumstance, using “I” statements instead of “you” statements is very important. For instance, you should say “I need you to put the toys away” instead of “you need to put the toys away.”

4. Do not always let the child get her way. A child with “bossy” tendencies will expect to always get her own way. Often times these children are first born or only children and are used to getting to set the schedules and decide what to play with. It is very important that she does not get her way all the time.

It can be challenging for parents to continually say no to her because she is so persistent and can easily wear adults out. It may seem easier to just give in and let her have her way rather than fight with her to do something different. 

However, it is even more important for the “bossy” child to have to learn that she will not always get her way in life.

5. Avoid making older siblings your “eyes” for their younger siblings. Older siblings can be very helpful to their parents in many ways, but this can easily turn into a problem with a child who tends to be “bossy.” 

 What was once a helpful set of eyes when you could not be in the room with a baby or toddler can quickly turn into a tattle tale and a child who thinks she is in charge of her younger siblings.

6. Ignore tattling
. It is important to teach your child that if her sibling or someone else in the house is in real danger, you should be notified. However, it should also be clear that tattling because she does not like the way someone is doing something is not allowed or encouraged. 

 She should try to work out the disagreement with her sibling without your interference and with kind and calm words, not by yelling or physically hurting the other child. By encouraging her to work it out by herself and asking her to listen to the other child’s point of view, you will be teaching her empathy and compassion.

7. Give her more control over herself. All children need some control over their lives. Often, a child who is bossy to other children and even adults is in need of extra control over her life. Because she is unable to control certain life events she is reaching to regain control of other areas and people in her life. It is not always possible to give her control over where she lives, where she goes each day, what other siblings or adults are in the house or how long she can play.

In order to counteract the loss of control in these areas, try giving her greater control in other areas. Give her more choices about what and when she eats, where and when she sleeps, what clothes she wears, what she plays with and even who she plays with.


Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Passions through New Experiences

Portrait of a child at a concert

As a parent, you want to encourage your children’s interests as much as possible. When your 3-year-old kicks a ball across the backyard, you consider signing him up for a preschool soccer team, and when your 9-year-old brings home an A in reading, you take her to the library to check out a stack of books.

To cultivate your kids’ budding passions, think outside of the box a bit and find alternatives or add-ons to typical activities. The following experiences can help your kids explore their interests even more:

For the bookworm, go beyond the books

If your daughter adores reading, take her to the local library or bookstore for book readings. She will enjoy hearing an adult other than you or her teacher reading a new-to-them story. And it’s fun to interact with the other kids and parents who attend. You also can offer your little bookworm plenty of reading material in other mediums, such as comic books and magazines. Another idea is to turn on the closed captioning option during your child’s favorite TV show and turn the volume off; this way she can read the dialogue instead of hear it.

For the movie fan, go to a play

Most kids have at least one favorite movie — and you have probably seen it about a thousand times. If your kids love going to the movies and acting out the various scenes at home, give them a new experience by taking them to see a live theater performance. Plays, musicals and local theater productions are perfect ways to expand your child’s horizons and show them another side of entertainment. A lot of cities have children’s theater companies, which are a terrific way to introduce kids to the live theater experience. If you live close to New York City or are planning a trip there soon, take your kids to a Broadway production.

For the artist, head to a museum

Museums and art exhibits are a great way to encourage artistic growth in young children. If your son is always doodling, drawing, painting and playing with clay, take him on a field trip to a local museum. While children’s museums often have hands-on learning opportunities, you can also take your kiddo to a “real” museum filled with classic pieces of artwork by the masters. Even young children can be taught to be quiet and respectful in an art museum, and some have galleries with art geared toward kids and teens.

For the sports fan, go to some games

Kids who shoot hoops all day in the driveway or swim countless laps in the backyard pool will love going to a basketball game or swim meet. You don’t have to spend big bucks to expose your kids to older athletes doing the sports they love. If you have a college in your hometown, take your kiddo to a few games. Or, see if the local YMCA is hosting a swim meet that is open to the public.

Eco-Friday REVIEW: Aetrex sandals offer style and comfort for moms-to-be



It’s been awhile since we’ve had an Eco-Friday post sharing our latest finds, news and information about living an eco-friendly, holistic and natural lifestyle.

Today, I would like to share my experience testing out one of Aetrex‘s family of comfy, orthopedic friendly yet stylish athletic shoes,  sandals, thongs, slippers and other feet support products for men, women, children and families.

Moms-to-be get swollen feet,  and often times, they go up a shoe size. Another side-effect of pregnancy for many women is achy joints and muscles having to balance their new re-distribution of weight so they are grounded and balanced.

Having comfortable shoes are a MUST! This brand’s shoes indeed could help out in that department.

The pair I checked out, The Emily Rose Flip Flop (complimentary) retails for $99.95 and felt like butter on my feet.

I got them in the mail after a couple of marathon days at the gym, running on the treadmill. My heels needed a break! So these puppies were perfect. They are light and offer plenty of give. I literally felt like I was walking on air wearing them.

Since 1946, the company has specialized in comfort and wellness footwear. The makers seemingly have perfected the art and skill of manufacturing a quality comfort shoe.

The Emily thong sandal is a classic warm weather shoe and it is fully adjustable for the ultimate fit.

Highly recommend and the brand sells a variety of styles as well for different tastes and style palates. Check them out and find a store near you that sells them HERE!

4 Things Modern Parents should Stop Doing Now

parents ignoring kid

A little while ago, I bumped into a LifeHack column discussing 15 things or so that children wish their parents would do more of.  I’ve searched online but can’t seem to find that post anywhere so I’ve put together my own version based on some of the few items on the list that I remember  and that stuck out in my head and resonated with me as a modern, tech-savvy and addicted parent.

Here, remixed, are Four things that modern parents need to stop doing now in order to show their children complete love and attention:

Stay glued to your smartphone – We adults (this one included) cannot stay off of our smartphones and tablets. We stay glued to them even while picking up the kids from school, greeting them at the bus stop, making them dinner  and pretty much engaging in any aspect of life.  A recent University of Washington  study published this year found that 44% of parents struggle to turn off their phone at the playground.  Make a pledge to yourself now if you are one of those iPhone or Droid phone addicts.  Put away the phone at least for the first 30 minutes to hour when the children get home from school. Even if someone calls (even the office) let it go to voicemail. Better yet turn off the ringer also so you don’t even get tempted. Heck, the notifications alone can get us all excited so just go ahead and turn it all the way off. Cut off all temptations.

Use your Smartphone or Watch TV during mealtimes. 

During mealtimes is when parents should be engaging their children and asking about their day, but many struggle. I know I do as well. A Boston University study observing 55 different groups of parents and young children eating at fast food restaurants uncovered that 45 of the parents used a mobile device during the meal, and many were more absorbed in the device than in the kids. Most of the caregivers pulled out a mobile device right away, the chief researcher noted, adding “they looked at it, scrolled on it and typed for most of the meal, only putting it down intermittently.” Dinner and other mealtimes should be used to share each other’s company (and this goes for spouses, friends or whomever else you’re having a meal with).  A smartphone free meal allows the parent can make sure her kid isn’t eating too quickly and over stuffing himself.  Also, for older kids, mealtimes are when parents can find out about what they’re doing in school or looking forward to in the week or weekend. It’s hard enough getting a teen to open up so while forced to eat dinner together, take the opportunity to get all up in their business. It’s your job. Try this trick to make it work: have everyone put the phones in the middle of the table face down during dinner as a reminder that they are off limits.

Not Listen to their kids’ stories. I am quite guilty of just nodding along and saying ‘mmmhmmm’ in response to an ongoing tale one of my kids is telling me. I get so engrossed in my phone or whatever I am working on at the time that I can barely take even a slight breather to listen to a story. That’s no bueno. They will remember these moments as they grow up and even in adulthood. We have to show attentiveness and this goes for when our child wants to show us some artwork they did at school or at camp, read something interesting she found in a nature book or just share something that happened at school. Try to be mindful and conscious of the next time you find yourself ignoring your kid while she is talking to you. Then stop. Pause and try to listen.

Don’t spend quality downtime with their child. It’s easy to shoo a child who proclaims he is bored away and direct them to read a book, go outside or go play with a sibling.  A different approach that would nurture your parent child bond would be to actually play with them. My family has a stack of board games and medium sized puzzles. It could take up to an hour or more of time, but honestly, we spend more time than that watching a Game of Thrones marathon or the last few Housewives show we’ve missed. The kid we brought into the world should be able to compete with strangers on the TV. Right? Overscheduled children also complain about having downtime to just chill and hang with their parents.  Your together time shouldn’t be limited to you chauffeuring your children from activity to activity and sport-to-sport. Get in the water with them while at the pool in the Summer. Play some hoops at the court. Laugh, Live, Connect.

There we have our challenge. Let’s try to make some small changes so we don’t contribute to our children’s future therapy session bills. (smile)


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