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For Your Child Starting Off the School Year Struggling to Keep Up, Implement This Method That Worked For My Kid!

Now that we are well into the new school season, some parents may notice that their child may be having a tough time adjusting and may have started the school year on the wrong foot. He or she might have failed a few quizzes, missed a few homework assignments or lost points on careless or silly errors like failing to give you a syllabus to sign and return.

The transition from elementary school to middle and high school for many children can be challenging, especially for boys. Also, a lot of children, especially young men, suffer from Executive Functioning Disorder which is exhibited in kids who have tough times keeping their papers organized, lose homework, cannot keep up in class or with notes and just struggle with the organization aspect of being a student. These children are not necessarily developmentally delayed and many can actually handle the coursework if only they could get their act together.

When my now 16-year old was 12-years old, he had a had a difficult time managing his time, classes, deadlines and as a result, his grades suffered for almost two years. It took me awhile but I finally figured out part of the root causes of his struggles: he didn’t have organizational study skills, and later he was actually diagnosed with Executive Functioning Disorder.

He isn’t alone, I am sure, especially for kids entering middle school or high school or who are going from the easier and less challenging school or program; or years in school, to the more advanced schooling, or coursework that requires more independent thinking.

Children go from having one teacher who guides them for all of their subjects to having to deal with multiple teachers and classes, numerous binders, folders, notebooks, papers and assignment books.

From one year to the next, they have syllabuses from different classes all with various project, quiz, exams and other deadlines. Class lectures also are different. They require focus to retain the information being taught where before the class is broken up by activities, gym class, outdoor play and lunch. It made learning less stressful.

In middle school, teachers expect more active class participation. It’s not enough to coast quietly. Same can be said of high school, or some private, elite or competitive schools.

Many school children in this stage need a method to help them keep track of their work and to prioritize their assignments and due dates. To help my son, I searched the internet for resources, tips and advice and came up with a system and came up with a plan that worked!

He went from Cs and Ds to honor student! He entered the honors program in high school, got on the Dean’s list and today is taking multiple Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors courses at his school

I am sharing it here for any other parent who may be dealing with a transitioning child who is also having a tough time meeting their school obligations!

ONE BINDER METHOD

Throw out the multiple notebook method that the school requires and going to go with a one binder method.  Purchase one mega 3 inch three ring binder and purchase 5 thin one-subject spiral notebooks to go in it.

Purchase matching color-coordinator two-pocked three-hole punched folders to accompany each subject that will be placed behind each notebook.

In the left pocket of each folder, he will insert his class syllabus for the year or semester or term. The right pocket will be used to hold loose-leaf assignment sheets and info sheets distributed during class.

The notebook  should used for note taking on one side of the pages only and dated at the upper right hand corner so he can keep track.

The front first page will be a wipe-able laminated monthly calendar that can be reused each month where your kid will input all quizzes, exams and project deadlines for all classes in one space.

The weekly homework sheets should be hole punched and placed behind the monthly calendar. On that weekly homework sheet,  have her jot down homework and other deadlines for each day of the week.

This one binder system should minimize the problem of when your child leaves his  book or notes at school thus meaning he will not have them to use to study over the weekend.

Also, this one binder system eliminates the problem of a child with executive functioning disorder who has a difficult time keeping track of handouts and due dates.

All of the papers will all be stored in one location for easy reference.

Also,  with this one-binder system, your son or daughter will bring home all the work so  you will be able to follow up and double check he or she is staying on track.

OTHER FAMILY ORGANIZATION MATERIALS: This has got to be an entire family effort. For the entire family, for accountability sake and so everyone is tune in to the duties and obligations, and assignments of everyone in the household, use or repurpose the following: 

A Large Central Family Calendar to hang in the kitchen or family room where everyone can see it.

On this large calendar, put important dates including vacations, birthday parties, doctor’s appointments on it but also test, project due dates and quiz dates.

If you have more than one child, like we do, dedicate a different colored marker color for each child and family member so they can easily see what applies to them with a glance.

This large calendar may help your child or children organize in their mind(s) as well as let you know who has what exam coming up or assignment due and when too.

Update it weekly with field trips, school activities, out-of-school sports and activities, dance and music rehearsals etc.

A Storage Bin: Get a bin with multiple compartments that can store paper, notebooks, blank flash cards, pencils, pens, markers, crayons, staples, glue, scissors, compasses, protractors, rulers and all the materials that may be needed for homework or a short project. It takes away the time wasted looking for a sharp pencil that children use as an excuse to procrastinate from starting. Have this storage bin be located in the designated study area or nook in your home.

A Weekly Calendar: Like the monthly calendar, the weekly calendar should be updated each Sunday before the new week with tests, quizzed and other due dates. . Have your kid or kids review your class notes from the previous week to see if you need to add any school activities.

Timer: Use a timer on your smart phone and set it for 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted study, then allow for 5-10 minutes of break to help a child who has a tough time concentrating and working non-stop. You can also purchase a timer just for this purpose.

It’s also great for kids who have or are borderline ADD/ADHD and/or have executive functioning disorder.

Daily To-Do List: Some children need daily reminders of what to do each day and even though you tell them, they forget.

Having a fixed daily schedule up on or near the fridge in the kitchen or other heavily traveled area is a good idea.

Ours include minutiae: Bathe, brush teeth, put on deodorant, dress, brush hair, eat breakfast; and after school and after library: undress, hang up uniforms, dinner, get forms signed, pack backpacks and knapsacks for the next day and leave by door, unpack lunchboxes and dump uneaten stuff and trash, warm milk, reading or practice instrument, quick study, bedtime.

PLAN FOR CREATING BETTER STUDENTS

Now with all the tools in place, here is the plan for creating a better studier and test taker:

Traveling to School

For those who drive their kids to school daily, you can start out with the morning news or music program on as the kids fuss and fight in the back, but getting closer to school, cut it all out and give your kids a pep talk and say a prayer, meditate or a few affirmative words so they are prepared for the day. (depending on your beliefs).

A pep talk I gave recently did the trick to empower my son to be more independent and seek assistance from his teacher on a certain missed task on his own. Score one for mom!

For non-drivers, try to carve out a few moments before the school bus arrives or heading out on your public transportation commute to do the same.

 Encouraging Classroom Focus and Participation Skills

Talk to your child about the importance of being cognitively ready to listen during class. If they have all their assigned work and readings completed before each class, they will be better equipped to participate and pay attention.

I instructed my son to spend the first few moments before class begins to review his notes from the previous day for a refresher and to prepare for what’s next.

Having that information fresh in his head hopefully will encourage him to raise his hand when questions are asked and to participate during oral call and response time.

Take Notes. It is important to take good notes in class.

Taking written notes almost forces a child to concentrate on what the teacher is saying. Notes, of course, also help them prepare for tests and provide clues as to what their teacher thinks is most important for your child to know.

Further, notes will contain information that may not be in  the textbooks.

Here are some notetaking tips to pass on:

Write the date at the top of each page of your notes and number the pages. This will help you to keep your notes in the proper sequence.

  • Keep your notes for each class separate from your notes for other classes. You can use different color tabs to help you do this.
  • Be selective in what you write. On average, the speaking speed of teachers is five to six times faster than is the writing speed of students. Quite simply, do not try to write everything your teacher says.
  • Use abbreviations and symbols to increase your notetaking speed.
  • Don’t be too concerned with spelling and grammar. These notes are for your use and will not be graded.
  • Ask your teacher to repeat something you think you may have missed.
  • As you write points made by your teacher, translate these points into your own words. Doing this will increase your understanding of your notes and your ability to remember the information they contain.
  • If your teacher provides a definition for a word, write that definition in your notes word for word!!!!
  • Write legibly. You will have to read your notes later on.
  • Include in your notes information your teacher writes on the board.
  • Stay especially alert during the last few minutes of the class. Teachers sometime use the last few minutes of a class session to cram in everything they wanted to cover but didn’t.
  • Use Abbreviations

AFTER SCHOOL: HOMEWORK & STUDY

The most important part of getting good grades is completing homework assignments and studying for quizzes and tests.

Establish a Good Study Environment: First, establish a good place for homework and studying: Find a place in the home, a desk in your kid’s room or your room even, in the kitchen or basement that is free from interruptions and distractions.

Get a desk or table big enough for your child to spread out their books, notebooks, pens, crayons and other materials. Have a storage unit for keeping crayons, extra pens, pencils and paper. A good chunk of study time is lost in my home by kids going on searches for a sharpened pencil. It’s part of the distraction that keeps them away from their homework. I am going to update my home office so that each child has his own table and space. It will be a distraction free venue and space for them.

Make sure their chair is comfortable, there is plenty light and the room is not too warm so your child doesn’t get sleepy and not too cold that they are distracted by shivering.

Go to the library if you don’t have such a place.

Make a routine out of it. My kids and I go after school each day. If your child is in an after-school program, usually, they have time for uninterrupted homework doing. That works too. Make sure there is no TV or music or video games being played by other children during study time at home.

If possible, and I encourage this, have a no TV or video games policy during the school week to discourage distraction or them rushing to complete homework just so they can play before bedtime. The quality of their work will show.

Encourage Frequent Breaks – A lot of children find it difficult to focus or study for extended periods of time without doodling, goofing off, picking up a comic book or doing something else instead of their homework. No problem. Breaks are great to reduce stress, allow time for the brain to process learning, and good for transition. Work them into the schedule. Set a timer for 15 -20 minutes of uninterrupted work, then 5 minutes of break time.

During the break, the student can get up, stretch, grab an apple or snack, flip through a fun book, go for a walk around the library, check out their social media accounts, then when the timer is up, get back to work for another 15-20 minutes.

To Study for Tests: Rewrite your class notes:

The best way to be certain that your class notes are complete and accurate is to review them in the evening while the information that was covered in class is still fresh in the mind.

During down times, after homework is complete, middle school and high school kids should rewrite their notes, correcting any errors, filling in any gaps, and adding additional information as appropriate.

Rewriting class notes also provide an opportunity to improve their organization and to make them neater, thereby making their notes easier to study from. Further, rewriting  class notes reinforces the information so that they will remember it better.

Here are more tips for rewriting class notes

Use Flash Card: Flash cards are a powerful tool that can help your child remember information such as the meanings of vocabulary words, mathematical formulas, history facts, and the correct spelling of words.

Tips for Remembering can also come from mnemonics, Acronymic sentences, Loci strategies,  and Pegwords.

Make an outline from notes of just the main ideas.

Make a timeline of important dates or the order of event.

Test Taking Tips: And here are some test taking tips to pass along

  1. Read the instructions carefully. Never assume you will know what they will say! Ask the teacher if you are unsure about anything.
  2. Read the entire test through before starting. Notice the point value of each section. This will help you to pace yourself.
  3. Answer the easiest questions first, then the ones with the highest point value. You don’t want to spend 20 minutes trying to figure out a two-point problem!
  4. Keep busy! If you get stuck on a question, come back to it later. The answer might come to you while you are working on another part of the test.
  5. If you aren’t sure how to answer a question fully, try to answer at least part of it. You might get partial credit.
  6. Need to guess on a multiple-choice test? First, eliminate the answers that you know are wrong. Then take a guess. Because your first guess is most likely to be correct, you shouldn’t go back and change an answer later unless you are certain you were wrong.
  7. On an essay test, take a moment to plan your writing. First, jot down the important points you want to make. Then number these points in the order you will cover them.
  8. Keep it neat! If your teacher can’t read your writing, you might lose points.
  9. Don’t waste time doing things for which you will not receive credit, such as rewriting test questions, though I suggest including some elements of the question in your answer for organization and to show the teacher you are responding to the actual question. Also, doing this will guide your answer. Be thorough and add the word “because” or “therefore” after each answer to force you to elaborate and expand so your answer is comprehensive.
  10. Leave time at the end to look over your work. Did you answer every question? Did you proofread for errors? It is easy to make careless mistakes while taking a test.

Encourage Task Lists – I am a compulsive list-maker and they keep me sane and my brain organized. Consider getting into the habit yourself or encouraging your kids to as well.

After creating this blog post, I sat down with my son and went over it and had  him help me prepare the organization sections and review the links herein. I hope it is helpful for you too!

Good luck!  And come back here and comment to let me know if you used this how it worked out for you!

Sources: http://www.how-to-study.com/Infoplease; and Learning Commons

10 Ways to Be a Better Parent Today

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

1. Embrace being a “good enough” parent. It’s the natural curse of being a parent, wanting to be a perfect parent and role model for your children. You want to do the best by your child. The good news is your child doesn’t need a perfect parent to grow and thrive. She just needs a good enough parent. So while striving to be better is a wonderful thing, embrace your shortcomings and use them as opportunities to teach the lessons of imperfection. Believe it or not, your child isn’t perfect either.

2. Spend more one on one time with your child. Step out of the hustle and bustle of today’s world and spend one on one time with your child. You don’t have to plan an elaborate or expensive activity. Take a walk, watch a movie, or go out for pizza. The idea is to spend time together without the normal day to day distractions and focus on connecting with each other. This special time together will stay with your child for a lifetime.

3. Turn off the electronics. When was the last time you spent the afternoon unplugged from your cell phone, tablet, laptop and TV? It’s hard for your child to feel he has your undivided attention when your time together is interrupted with calls from work, texts from friends, or the game. When you unplug and focus fully on your role as a parent, both you and your child will enjoy your time together much more.

4. Get outside and play. What do kids love to do more than play? They love to share their favorite play spaces and games with Mom or Dad. Take your child to his favorite playground for the morning and let him show you how to climb to the top of the tower. Take him on a bike ride for the afternoon and enjoy nature and great company at the same time. Head to the backyard and show her how to shoot a basket or swing for the bleachers. Playing together is the perfect way to stay in shape and have fun.

5. Live by routines. Children do best when they know what comes next. While it’s easier for older kids to successfully handle change and transition, children of every age like the stability and security of routines. By working with your child to establish regular routines, your family will more easily move through the day. Trouble spots like getting ready for school, homework time or bedtime can often be smoothed out by a well thought out routine.

6. See things through your child’s eyes. Adults often get wrapped up in the details of daily life and forget how to enjoy the simple things in life. Slow down and see things the way your child sees them. Marvel with him at the ant farm he discovered in the backyard. Laugh at the silliness of the cat trying to get out of a cardboard box. Take the time to let him share his world with you.

7. Learn a new parenting skill. Good parenting is part instinct and part skill. Invest in learning a new way to do something that currently challenges you. Tap into the ideas of experienced parents and professionals to help you handle things in a more effective way.

8. Stop comparing yourself to other parents. You’ll always find parents that seem to do things better and more easily than you do. These comparisons don’t make you a better parent, they only make you question yourself and stress you out. Of course, that stress and indecision directly affects your child, so remember that you don’t know the behind the scenes facts of other families and accept that you’re doing a good enough job. You and your child will be happier.

9.  Accept your child will struggle with some things other kids find easy. Every child is challenged by a behavior or skill that other children find easy. If you can accept and work with that fact rather than fight against it, you’ll be able to help your child through the challenge more effectively.

10.  Say what you mean and mean what you say. Consistency is the foundation of effective parenting. When you set clear expectations and boundaries and stick to them, your child knows what he can expect from you. He’s able to rely on your words and actions. That security is the key to his healthy emotional and social development.

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

9 Things Parents Think are Harmless That could Land Them in Jail

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Parenting is a tough job under the best of circumstances, but there are things that can get mothers into legal trouble today that wouldn’t have been frowned upon at all in previous generations.

While some of the transgressions on this list are far more serious than others, all of them can lead to trouble with the law if you’re discovered behaving in such a manner.

1. Leave Kids in the Car Unattended – This may seem like something a good parent would never do, but it’s actually far more common than you might realize. News reports tell of kids who were left in the car and died due to heat stroke or freezing on a regular basis, many of which never make it past the local level of news outlets. You probably think that you would never do such a thing to your child, but then may make exceptions when situations seem to call for them. Even attentive, dedicated parents will leave their kids unattended for “just a second” to run into the store or drop something off, never realizing the danger. Leaving your child in the car unattended for any reason is not acceptable, and can lead to very serious legal trouble if you’re discovered.

2. Fail to Use Proper Vehicle Restraints – Some police officers get very riled up when they see parents driving with kids unbuckled or not in the proper car seat for their weight and height. Most parents have encountered times when the kid just didn’t want to stay in the car seat, and may even consider letting them briefly take the belt off. It can be very stressful, but it is much better to stop and handle the situation rather than let your child remove the seatbelt.

3. Spank Them – “Spare the rod and spoil the child” is an axiom that older generations grew up with. Now, in many states, spanking is banned. Some parents have had to deal with Child Protective Services as a result of physically hitting their child in public. Whether or not you believe spanking is acceptable, knowing the laws in your state is still a wise move.

4. Leave Children Home Alone – Getting the mail or going down the hall of your apartment building to do the laundry may not seem like such a big deal, but in many states leaving young children alone for any length of time is a problem. In reality, it doesn’t take long at all for a tragedy to occur with unsupervised little ones. Even though it may be inconvenient, it’s best to either take the child with you or wait until someone else is in the home and can watch him.

5. Use an Underage Babysitter – Some states have laws regarding the appropriate age for babysitters. Years ago, preteens could make pocket money by sitting for younger kids. That’s not the case anymore. There are guidelines and rules for sitters that are established on the state level. For example, if you live in Illinois, leaving your 14-year-old alone for an “unreasonable period of time” will put you on the wrong side of the law. A few states away in Maryland, however, 13-year-olds are able to babysit infants. Check your local laws to find out what’s acceptable in your state.

6. Breastfeed in Public –There is much being done in support of breastfeeding, but in many areas it is still against the law for a mom to nurse her child in a public place. It does sound ludicrous that a parent can get in trouble for feeding her child in public, but it’s better to know and abide by the rules and work to change them then to get in trouble for bucking the system.

7. Allow Kids to Drink – While some families allow their children to have a taste of wine at special meals, it is illegal for minors to drink in every state. There are some parents who believe that they are heading off trouble by allowing their kids to drink at home, but they could actually be courting trouble of the legal variety. Some parents feel that teens are going to drink regardless of permission, and that teenagers under the influence are safer at home than sneaking around. It’s still against the law and parents can get in big trouble by condoning underage drinking.

8. Inappropriately Defend a Child – Occasionally, the news media will do a story about a Mom being hauled off by the officers for getting out of control. Unfortunately, it’s not so unusual for some parents to get overly involved in the outcome of their child’s sporting event or group outing, causing embarrassment to the child and disrupting event. When this behavior gets out of hand to a worrisome degree, law enforcement often becomes involved. It’s better to keep a level head at the little league game, even when the ump makes a bad call.

9. Permit Truancy – Whether it’s through fault of the child or the parent, failure to force compliance with school attendance guidelines is a serious legal issue for parents. Some kids will manipulate their parents into letting them stay home, or they may just skip school on their own. There are also over-protective moms who keep their children home at the first sign of any cough or cold. Too much missed school can lead to truancy charges, and that can lead to a visit with legal officials. If a child has valid reasons for missing a lot of school, arrangements need to be made so that authorities are aware of the circumstances.



You may not even be aware of the fact that you are breaking the law in some cases, as you feel that you’re making appropriate choices for your child and household.

It’s best to check the laws in your state to make sure you are in compliance, especially in the realm of leaving the kids home alone and using disciplinary tactics.

The Life Lessons Reasons Father-Son Fishing is Essential

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The iconic image of a father and son fishing trip is one that’s ingrained into the collective cultural consciousness. Even the classic sitcom images of Andy and Opie sharing a heart-to-heart over a fishing creel cements the American idea of fishing as a male-bonding activity. As a father, spending time with your son is an important part of his emotional development, as well as a contributing factor to your filial bond. Here are ten of the reasons why you should take your son fishing, and understand that you’re actually doing something far more important.

The Opportunity for Quality Father-Son Time – In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s not easy to set aside a significant amount of time to spend one-on-one with your son. Taking a fishing trip, whether it’s an extensive one that will require an overnight stay or just an afternoon affair, allows you to focus all of your energy and attention on your son.

Fostering Conversations You Wouldn’t Have at Home – The quiet stillness of a lake and the relaxing nature of waiting for fish to bite fosters plenty of conversation, some of which would be awkward to broach over the dinner table. The natural evolution of your talks can lead to more than one subject you probably wouldn’t discuss under other circumstances.

Passing Along a New Skill Set – In a world where youngsters teach their parents the intricacies of new technology, it can feel like there isn’t much left in terms of skills that fathers pass on to their sons. The age-old art of baiting a hook to catch fish is a real skill, and it’s one that your child can’t fully learn from a YouTube video.

Making Memories You’ll Cherish Forever – As your son gets older and becomes less inclined to spend time with his parents, you’ll have the memories of your shared fishing trips. When he becomes an adult himself, those memories will become fodder for pleasant reminiscence.

Encouraging Independence Under a Watchful Eye – You can encourage your son to bait his own hook and cast his own line while you’re there to watch, allowing him to explore some independence as you look on to ensure his safety.

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Instilling a Love of Outdoor Activity – For outdoorsy fathers, the opportunity to share a love of nature with a son is a valuable one. Instilling a love of the outdoors and an appreciation for fresh air, sunshine and screen-free entertainment is a great way to combat the effects of technologically-advanced, indoor-based living.

Temporarily Cutting the Electronic Cord – There are no video games, televisions or computers on the lake, which means that for at least one afternoon your son will be enjoying a completely low-tech good time. What better way to limit your son’s screen time than to take him somewhere that screens aren’t welcome, but fun is still on the menu?

Investing in Your Collective Emotional Future – In order to have a strong father-son relationship, you have to forge a strong emotional bond with your son while he’s still young. Fishing together allows the two of you to get to know one another as individuals, to talk openly and enjoy one another’s company.

Teaching Environmental Stewardship – When you’re on the lake enjoying an outdoor activity, you’re perfectly positioned to pass along the basic tenets of environmental stewardship without seeming like you’re lecturing or preaching. In fact, you can guide your son in the right direction simply by modeling earth-friendly habits.

Establishing a Shared Hobby – A shared hobby allows you and your son a bit of common ground, something that will become even more important as he gets older and looks for ways to assert his independence. The love of fishing that the two of you share during his formative years may be one of the few ways you’re able to effectively communicate during the turbulent times of adolescence.

No matter how many lessons and exciting experiences you share with your son on a fishing trip, it’s important to remember that young children have a finite supply of patience with any activity that requires them to be relatively still. You might be thrilled to stay on the lake from dawn till dusk, but your little man will probably only be able to handle one or two hour sessions scattered throughout the day. Remember to take plenty of breaks, and to be patient when your own fishing time is interrupted by an active little boy’s need to explore.

Kennedy Myers is an expert in the Child and Senior Care industries with an emphasis on online safety. Reposted with permission from BackupCare.org

Say What? Studies Say We’ve Been Doing Parenting Wrong All These Years?

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You think you should be helping your child with his homework or making your daughter finish her meal, right? How about washing your baby every day or talking baby talk to her  because you think it will help her with her future vocal skills?

Yeah, those are the things all the books and parenting theories tell us.

Well, like with a lot of social science studies that give us conflicting data year after year, what if these theories are false?

Cracked.com hypothesizes that as the new millennia tries to figure out how to raise children to be conscientious and not little monsters, it turns out that our “well-meaning habits are in fact making things worse.”

Think not-so-smart parents steering their kids wrong. Think scrubbing away good bacteria. Think contributing to negative emotions to food. sigh  Yeah.

Interesting. Curious? Read the post HERE!

Moms, Do you Do any of these Top 10 Distracting Things While Driving ?

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Most moms know how important it is to multitask, but multitasking while you’re driving is something that should certainly be off limits, no matter how long your to-do list is. While we all know distracted driving is a faux pas, here are the top 12 dangerous things moms have been seen doing while driving.



Distraction #1: Drinking Hot Liquids
Sipping a latte while driving may seem like second nature to you, but it’s really not. With one hand off the wheel you have less control of the vehicle. You also risk spilling hot liquid on yourself, which could cause you to lose control of the vehicle, depending on how you react.



Distraction #2: Eating
Driving takes two hands and when you’re eating, only one is available. In addition to the risk of spilling crumbs on yourself, fiddling with the packaging or wrapping can also be distracting.

Distraction #3: Applying Make-up

It can be tempting to pretty yourself up while you’re driving, but you shouldn’t. Doing so is a huge distraction. Looking in the mirror with one hand on the wheel is a recipe for disaster.

Distraction #4: Grooming

In the same sentiment, tweezing your brows and fixing your hair should also be off limits when driving. Your eyes need to be on the road, not in the mirror.

Distraction #5: Tending to the Kids

Reaching behind the driver’s seat to fish for a dropped teddy bear or a sippy cup is an act that requires strength, endurance and concentration. Pull over if you need to tend to the kids while on the road.

Distraction #6: Texting

Although many states now have no texting laws on the books, people continue to text and drive, which can set the stage for trouble.



Distraction #7: Talking on the Phone

Chatting while driving may seem like a great way to pass the time, but engaging in conversations when driving can be distracting, especially when discussing emotional topics.

Distraction #8: Playing with Electronics

Whether it’s adjusting the volume on the radio or popping a new DVD into the onboard DVD player, the second or two it takes to make the adjustment is enough of a distraction to put you and the children in danger.

Distraction #9: Driving while Drowsy

Being a mom is tiring, no doubt, but dosing off for just a second can put you and your children in a life or death situation. Well-rested drivers are typically better drivers and have better response times when facing obstacles in their paths.



Distraction #10: Zoning Out

Being on autopilot won’t cut it when it comes to driving, especially with the kids. While you may naturally tend to zone out when driving the same route day after day, it’s important to stay focused while on the road.

Distraction #11 Pumping

While it could be argued that as long as you hook up and unhook yourself while the vehicle is at a complete stop, pumping isn’t a distraction, the opposite could also be argued. Having to fiddle with the controls or deal with spilled milk could certainly be a distraction.

Distraction #12 Breast Feeding

Children are supposed to be in car seats for a reason, to protect them. Never mind how distracting it may be trying to manage the wheel and the child, taking a child out of his seat while the vehicle is in motion to nurse him puts you both at risk should an accident occur.  Should the airbag ever deploy, it could be fatal to the child.

 Watch yourself moms.

Childfree v Childless: Actresses Kim Cattrall & Gabrielle Union reignite old debate



Two Hollywood actresses who do not have children have raised again in the press the age-old debate regarding childlessness and Child-freeness, and the controversy involving both.

Sex and the City alum Kim Cattrall told BBC radio recently that she has issues with the term “childless”.

It is a sensitive topic that seems to irk the vet stage actress.

“Child-less. It sounds like you’re less, because you haven’t had a child,” she said. “I think for a lot of women from my generation it wasn’t actually a conscious choice. It was a feeling of, ‘I’m on this road and things are going really well, and I’m very happy, and I’ll do it next year. I’ll do it in two years. I’ll do it in five years.'”

Cattrall added that though she is not a “biological” parent, she does consider herself a parent, nonetheless because of mothering she has done to young relatives.

“The thing that I find questionable about being childless or childfree is, are you really?” she asked. “There is a way to become a mother, in this day and age, that doesn’t include your name on the child’s birth certificate.”

Meanwhile Being Mary Jane star has been trying to get pregnant with husband NBA star Dwayne Wade but has been struggling and judged all the while by others for putting her career ahead of starting a family.

Union said being an older married woman without child is like having a “Scarlett letter” on your chest.

“There’s a certain amount of shame that is placed on women who have perhaps chosen a career over starting a family younger,” the Bring It On star told Redbook mag. “The penance for being a career woman is barrenness.”

Both recent comments speak towards societal expectations of women of child-bearing age and

Many people assume that they have the right to walk up to a woman and ask about her fertility, her family plans and many, casually, make assumptions about a very sensitive topic.

Often times, well-meaning adults will ask a couple in child-bearing age or who are newly weds when they will have a child. Many times, that couple may very well may be trying but have been unsuccessful and the incessant query from family and friends can serve to make a stressful situation even more difficult.

Other times, they may be among the hundreds and thousands of couples and women who have decided purposefully to not have children.

They could be treated as alien or as foreign beings for their personal choice.

It’s best to stay mum.

I had an awkward situation recently when I asked a mom at my kids school about her baby not knowing she lost the baby due to developmental and birth complications.

Although it was an innocent mistake, I would have preferred to avoid the awkwardness of the situation.

Instead, I joined the dozens of folks who she had to tell that she lost her baby. She will have to relive the loss over and over again with each unknowing person.

That is the additional thing with miscarriage, neonatal loss and infertility and why it’s best to tread carefully and minimize questioning women about their fertility and parenting choices.

‘Cause Parenting isn’t easy, These 21 Hacks for Parents Rock

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Parenting is really hard but it doesn’t always have to be. We got your back! Whenever we at Bellyitch bump into another blog or site offering handy dandy shortcuts, tips and tools to make the job easier, you know we’re gonna let you know.

For example, the Awesome Daily put together an awesome list of “21 Parenting Hacks” for the modern, busy, multitasking mom and dad. And these tips are great for baby sitters, grandma and other folks who may have to watch your kid.

These are our faves, including the strategically placed mirror that lets you spy on the rugrats causing ruckus below while you’re upstairs folding laundry. A couple others:

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For that lazy parent who doesn’t want to stand in the sun, bored and pushing a kid on a swing, this set up saves the day!

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No junior doesn’t have to jack up your walls when you have a handy dandy leftover box just for letting him let out his creative juices!

Head over to The Awesome Daily and peep the rest:

Full House is Coming Back! Which cast member are you? (QUIZ)

Hey 90s babies, if you haven’t already heard, Full House is coming back. Actor James Stamos broke the news Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! that Netflix is reviving the old hit comedy series to center around a grown up DJ Tanner and her life as a widow, raising a family of three boys. It will start as an hour spin-off reunion show and then spin off into a 13-episode series, Stamos revealed.

In light of the exciting news for us that Full House is coming back, take this quiz and find out which member of the cast are you?

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Baby wrapped in American flag photo sparks controversy

Professional photographer Vanessa Hicks has been the subject of controversy this week over newborn photography images she took and shared on her Facebook page and online professional photography community.  Some are calling the photos of a baby laying nude on an American flag and swaddled in a flag shaped like a tiny hammock unpatriotic and a desecration of the flag. 
The baby in the photo belong to her client, a military veteran, Samantha Clevenger and the man in uniform holding ends of the hammock is her husband Rodney Clevenger a current active duty Navy seaman.  U
Hicks and the Clevengers have been all over TV and radio defending the image which went viral and drew the ire of many reservionists, active duty and vets, but also much support from military families and others as well. 
Hicks addressed the controversy on her Facebook page:

Yesterday, I woke up to see this photo was shared on a group site that is meant to bash other photographers. It was in their opinion I had disrespected our nations flag. I had disrespected our country by taking this picture. Several of these people not only bashed the picture, but me, saying I should be ashamed of myself, my husband should be ashamed, etc and I received several private messages to my business page. They even took it a step farther and bashed the service member in the picture, hoping he gets in trouble for participating in desecration of the flag. 

I am very well aware of our U.S Flag code. I also know exactly what desecration of a flag is. It’s when you pull into ports and you see protestors with our flag and have spray painted horrible things on it. It’s when you watch the news and you see other countries burning our flags, and you are a young Quartermaster scared because you know you are just a few nautical miles from that exact country.

“The inspiration behind this photo is that we wanted to capture everything about this family in one shot,” Hicks told BuzzFeed News. “The father, who is in uniform, is currently serving. The mother is a veteran. This baby is being wrapped in the flag.”
She has since offered the couple free photography for life. 
Perhaps, as we’ve covered in Bellyitch in the past, wearing the American flag violates protocol as well but it is a recycled fashion trend adopted internationally. 
What are your thoughts on the matter?

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