Introduction of the Websites for Kids

Internet is often considered as the most valuable contribution of technology to mankind; its use is increasing rapidly all over the world. Human beings have been served by internet in several ways; it has helped us in the fields of education, business, communication and several others. The latest help that internet has provided is the education and entertainment of the kids, which was not provided previously. Most kids are yet acquainted with the use and importance of internet and websites; they depend on books and other medium for these.

However, most kids try to stay away from books and want to play and enjoy all the time. The websites for kids are designed in such a way that the kids can learn several things in the form of entertainment. This step taken by the websites for kids have proved to be very effective and have already helped several kids all over the world. Nowadays, most parents have to work all day long, due to which the kids have to stay alone at home all day long. When the parents are not at home, the kids do not study a bit, they play around with the babysitter all the time, which is harmful for their academic life. In such situations, the Website For Kids comes to be very helpful. The main purpose of these websites is to provide education in the form of entertainment and they do that perfectly.

The website designed for kids are pretty attractive; they have various features which attract the kids. Because of this, the kids love to surf these websites. Some of these websites also have free online games for the kids. Parents have a wrong idea that the games provided by the websites are harmful for the kids; but this is a complete wrong idea. The games that these websites provide are meant for educational purpose. They help the kids to a large extent. This strategy of providing education in the form of entertainment have helped the kids very much; a kid who used to stay away from books and studies previously, have started spending most of the time on these websites. Moreover, these websites designed for kids do not only provide education; they have several other features which help the kids in their personality development, boosting their inner strength and for increasing their mental sharpness.

Some of these websites have also got personal bands, which composes songs for the kids. One such well-known website for the kids is the Kidzter; this website has become quite popular all over the world. It has got its personal music band, the rockabyes, which composes special songs for the kids. Choosing the right website for a kid is very important; there are different types of websites designed according to the different age group of the kids. Some websites are made for the kids of age group 1 to 3 years, some sites for the elder ones and so on. If your kid stays alone at home all day long, then you should find such websites and provide them for your kid.

When Kids Make "Bad" Friends

One of the major worries parents have as their kids get older is whether or not their kids will make good friends. From their own experience, parents recognize that friends can have such a powerful influence over their kids - for good or for bad. Because of that influence, some parents enter into the trap of trying to control who their kids can have as friends. Once parents enter into a control battle over who they will allow their kids to be friends with, the parents have waged an unwinnable war that usually creates casualties on both sides and leaves the parent-child relationship strained if not broken.

Many of us know parents who have waged this war only to find that it fuels their kids' desire to spend time with the kids who worry the parents the most. These parents say to their kids, "I don't want you to hang out with that kid. I don't think he is a good influence on you," or, "why don't you make better friends; those kids will only get you into trouble."

When parents question or criticize their kids' ability to choose good friends, the message they send their kids is, "You have poor judgment and faulty thinking if you choose those kids as your friends" or, "you can't make good decisions on your own so you will probably just follow what everyone else is doing and get into trouble."

Why do good, healthy kids from stable homes make friends with wild kids? Kids sometimes choose to make friends with those who walk on the wild side because they want adventure and excitement and wild kids create adventure and excitement. Just because our kids make friends with kids who walk the wild side, it doesn't necessarily mean they will become like them; especially if we have given them opportunities to make plenty of mistakes and, with sadness and empathy, allowed them to feel the consequences for those mistakes.

Even though parents may feel a lot of anxiety over the choice of friends their children make, parents can do a lot to help their kids learn to make good decisions regarding friends and what they will do with those friends. As parents use opportunities to teach their kids, rather than restrain them, their children will be better prepared for when they push off and sail into the real world.

Here are some tips that parents can consider if they feel their kids are starting to make "the wrong kind of friends":

- Parents can refrain from calling their kids' friends "bad." Since most people are not all bad, parents tend to lose credibility with their kids by calling their child's friend "bad," especially if that friend has ever done anything good for their kid.

- Parents can ask their kids what they like about that specific friend. Not only will this show their child that they are interested in him or her and in their friends, but it will also give the parent information about what need the relationship with that friend is fulfilling for their child. Then parents might do things in order to help see that need gets met in positive ways. Open, and non-judgmental, communication with kids about their friends can strengthen parent-child relationships and provide support for their kids as their kids learn to take responsibility for their own choices.

- Parents can send messages to their kids that show confidence and leadership by saying things like, "That kid looks like he could use some good friends. I hope a lot of you rubs off on him. He is lucky to have a friend like you. I think it would be helpful if I got to know him; why don't you bring him around the house more."

- Finally, parents can wrap their arms around the concerning kid and help that kid feel included and a sense of belonging. Many of the kids who concern parents may not come from stable homes or feel a sense of belonging or connectedness. Healthy adults have a great opportunity to reach out to these kids and help them feel that they do matter and they do belong. They can do so by inviting these kids to participate in family events or by simply inviting them to eat with the family. Good food can have a powerful and comforting effect on kids who lack stability.

In summary, even though parents may not effectively be able to control who their kids choose as friends, parents do have a lot of influence over building good relationships with their children's friends (even the scary ones). As parents show confidence in their children's ability to make good choices in friends, and then bring their friends within the arms of the family, parents can have a great deal of influence over the relationships and situations in which their kids get involved.

Thanks for reading.

Shiloh Lundahl, LCSW

How To Select the Right Toys for Your Kids and How They Can Benefit Your Kid

Dear Friend,

Selecting the right toys for your kids can be easy at the same time challenging. It's all about knowing what your kid likes, don't like, and what they want for their enjoyment.

Toys for kids are what keep them focused, motivated, and developing their brainpower. The things kids learn from the toys you give them has a lot to do with how they develop they're character.

Toys today are much different from the toys made twenty years ago. Lego puts out more sophisticated building toys where your kid is nearly forced to be introduced to the concepts of an engineer, just at the level of a child. It's good to have your kid play with the right toys that make them think and become smarter.

Your children will usually know what they want. The indicator for this is when they're in a toy store and they point to the toy they want for whatever reason it is they become attracted to that toy. Most kids will point to everything due to the overwhelming excitement they get from the many options they have in front of them.

When you're selecting the right toys for your kids, be on the lookout for what really perks your child's interest. Your child will tell you by the cartoons you allow them to watch, the toys they play with their friends, or the toys they play with of their own.

If you have a young girl between the ages of 3 and 5, possibly she will be attracted to Dora the Explorer or maybe she will have an interest in Barbie dolls. You will know based on the amount of time she spends with her toys and what is popularized in the youthful world of innocence.

If you have a boy that is between the ages 4 and 8 maybe he will be interested in transformers toys, Star Wars Lego sets, or Pokemon. Your son will let you know his favorite kind of toys by either telling you, jumping up and down pointing to the toys of his choice, or seeing what his friends are playing with and wants to have it too.

Kids usually want what they don't have or what they see advertised on television. Asking your friends or neighbors what toys their kids play with and what they like can also help you decide on what to get for your child.

You can also search online to see what the most popular toys for kids are and how they benefit kids. You have more than one option when it comes to selecting the right toys for your children.

Toys that educate your kids using numbers and letters are good starter toys for young babies and toddlers. Musical toys that get your kids attention to be energized also help influence the mind of your kid and help the brainwaves to produce certain levels of calmness.

For instance, Glow Worm plays musicals for when you put your baby to sleep and helps meditate the mind of the infant. Selecting the right toys for your kids will determine the influence and the thought process that becomes extracted from the toys your kids play with.

Be selective and make sure you choose the best toys for your kid. It is the influence and habits that program your kid to be who he or she will become as the years go by. Your kids will love you more than anything simply by getting them toys they like and toys that are educational.

You kids will benefit from the right toys of choice by getting trained and educated a young age giving them a head start in life, your kid will be able to communicate more effectively during the stages of their childhood, your kid will increase his or her level of creativity, and your kid will become his or her own genius at such a young age.

How to Help Kids Manage Their Anxiety

When people are anxious or afraid, they act in ways that are unpredictable. Kids, more than anyone, tend to act out their fears. Here's one way of looking at it: you can tell what's going on in a movie by how the actors play their roles. Kids act out feelings in the same way- but they act them out through behavior, because they can't hold their emotions in. Some kids act out with hostility or aggression, because they can't handle the often severe agitation that anxiety triggers. Some kids become more depressed and others exhibit more attention-getting behavior. Parents often learn to read their child's behavior, looking for clues of what the problem might be so they can give them a solution.

Let me be clear: children will have to be taught the skills to identify, articulate and manage personal and social situations which make them anxious or afraid. If your child demonstrates behaviors that you think are triggered by anxiety, you must try to teach him the skills he needs to manage it in a healthy way instead of acting it out behaviorally, hiding out, or submerging emotionally.

So how do you help your child overcome anxiety? There are seven key things I believe parents should try to do to help their children:

7 Ways to Help Your Child Manage Their Anxiety

  • Role play with younger kids: Look at pictures or magazines together and make up stories. Try asking questions like, "Look at this child. She's smiling. What do you think she's smiling about? Do you think she's going to have an ice cream cone? Or do you think she knows her mommy's proud of her? If you could ask her a question, what would you say to her?" Then switch to another photo and say, "Now look at this child. He's frowning. Do you think maybe he's afraid of something? Or maybe he didn't do his homework. What would you tell him to help her solve the problem of not doing it?" And then reason it through with them. Kids are not abstract thinkers, so you have to make things real concrete for them. One of the ways to make it real is by using pictures. You can teach kids how to talk to themselves in a positive way through this method as well. For instance, you can show your son or daughter a picture of another child who looks very confused or frightened, and say, "What do you think that child is saying to herself?" Often, your child won't be able to respond to this type of question because it's too abstract; kids are more black and white. So if they can't think of anything, you can say something like, "To me, he looks afraid because he doesn't know what's going on." Or, "I think she's sad because they forgot her birthday." Ask your child which of those two emotions the girl might be feeling. If your child says, "I don't know," say, "Take a guess. I think she's either feeling happy or frightened. Which one do you think she might be feeling? You're a great guesser. Take a guess." And after they try, you can say, "That's great. If I was her, and I was feeling sad or afraid, I would say things to myself like, 'I can handle this, I just have to take it easy and I'll figure it out. I'll talk to mom or dad about it.'" Understand that rehearsal and repetition are the major contributors to the effectiveness of this strategy. Kids need to rehearse things all the time. Often when you see kids talking to themselves (or with younger kids, to an imaginary friend), they're rehearsing or rehashing a previous experience. Repetition and rehearsal are really helpful tools for kids who are learning to become independent. And remember, independence is the best remedy for not acting out anxiety and fear. People who think and act independently also feel like they can make good choices about whether or not to take flight, sit tight, or get ready for a fight.
  • Train children and adolescents in positive self-talk:  Parents have to learn how to teach their kids how to talk to themselves positively. Parents often put a lot of effort into teaching kids how to talk to other people, while putting very little thought into teaching their children how to talk to themselves. It just never occurs to them to do so. But just as kids have to learn how to speak to others, they learn to talk to themselves in either a positive or a negative way. Often kids will overhear adults saying something out of context, like, "They said he's doing poorly in math," and what the child says to himself is, "I'm doing poorly, they're angry at me, there's something wrong with me." When a kid is involved in negative self-talk, these sentences are repeated over and over in their heads. On the other hand, when kids develop the skill of positive self-talk-sometimes independently, sometimes taught by their parents through role play and pictures-they learn to talk to themselves more positively. They are able to say, "It's OK. It'll be all right, I can handle it." They can say this because they've learned how to say "It's OK and I'm OK" when they're feeling insecure or uncertain about themselves. "I can handle it," is probably one of the most powerful thoughts a human being can have, but few people realize it. And "I can handle it" is the key to positive thinking and positive self-talk.
  • Teach kids how to come up with phrases to articulate their anxiety. As they mature, train kids what to say to identify and articulate what makes them nervous. Ask them, "Do you ever get jumpy or afraid?" Use real or made-up social situations to share some of your thoughts and feelings. Say, "You know, I think our neighbor Mr. Smith doesn't like me because he thinks I'm stupid. But I'm really smart, and I know it. So when I see him, I say to myself, 'I'm really smart. Maybe Mr. Smith can't see it, but I'm really smart.'" And then say, 'If I have to, I say, 'I'm really smart' over and over again until the 'stupid' feeling goes away. And then you ask your child, "Does anyone think badly of you?" Your child may say "No, that's never happened." You might continue, "If anything ever happens like that to you, what could you say to yourself? You could say, "I'm a good kid, I'm OK." And repeat it over and over to yourself.'" You can also ask them, "Are there people you think don't like you or don't want to be your friend?" When you talk to kids about these situations, don't use logic to probe their answer or analyze the situation. Be much more concrete. Logic will often confuse kids and make them feel like they're stupid.  Instead, during casual conversations, comment about other adults that don't like you. It's OK to say, "Mrs. Smith doesn't like me because she thinks we have a better house. And when I see her, I just tell myself, 'I can't change what she thinks.'" Then I say, "Hi, Mrs. Smith, how are you doing?" I can't change what she thinks, and I usually say that to myself as I'm walking away." This is one way of helping your child see what pushes their anxiety buttons, and also teaches them a way of releasing it by saying, "I can't change the way someone else thinks."
  • Process it with them. Start asking "What" "When" "Where" "Are" and "Is"  questions. "Is there anything wrong with the school bus? What is it?" Don't ask them, "Why don't you want to ride on the school bus?" Say, "Are there other kids bothering you? Are you sure? Is there something they're saying or doing? Because if there is, we can help make that better. Kids don't have the right to bother other kids." You can also say, "If you don't have to ride the bus, what's going to be different, what's going to help you?" Work through it with your child. Reassurance is key. Remember to say, "If there's something going on, let me know, we can face anything together." The next time that you see they're upset, try saying, "Are you OK? How can I help? Can I help you with this problem?" Don't ask them why. Often when kids are asked why, they automatically sense they've done something wrong. Remember, they're rarely asked why when they've done something good. Kids are not asked, "Why did you clean your room?" In most cases, kids don't know how they feel, and I'm not sure it would help them if they did. In my experience, knowledge of how someone feels rarely changes behavior.
  • Get as Much Information as Possible. Talk to your child's teachers about what they see regarding your child's level of anxiety. Ask questions like, "Have you noticed if my son has any problems with other kids? Does he appear to be nervous? He seems very worried about grades and if the other kids like him. Do you see any of that getting in his way at school? What do you see?" All kids have anxious thoughts, but some kids learn to manage them better than others at an earlier age. Get some objective feedback. Watch your child play with other kids. How does he or she handle things? Look for his or her ability to interact freely and deal with other kids with various behaviors. Is your child able to resolve problems with other kids successfully, and is he or she able to act independently as well as within the group?
  • Reward kids when they learn to do things that are hard for them.  Remember, self esteem comes from doing things that are hard for you. Self-respect comes from doing things that you can respect. Reward your child and be sure to label what they did right in order to earn that reward. Don't assume kids can associate the reward with the task, even if the task occurred a couple minutes ago. Also, it's important not to always reward with things. Time spent with you reading a book or playing games or going to the playground can be tremendously rewarding.
  • Honor Your Child's Choices When They're Not Ready or Capable. Maintain a realistic view of your child to continually determine whether what is being asked of him or her is in their developmental range and possible for them to do at all. Often, if kids don't want to get involved in something, such as team sports, the parents should talk about it with them and process it with them, but ultimately respect their child's decision. Parents must learn to come up with compromises or give their child a choice of at least two things. A compromise is saying, "Well, let's try it for a month." Or "let's try it three times, and then you can decide." Or you can say, "You can do A, or you can do B, but you must do one of them." Kids should not be forced to do the things that they don't have the internal skills to manage. Think of it this way: It's not good parenting to throw kids into the water before they can swim, even though many people swear by that. He may very well swim to the side and save himself. But remember this, he hasn't learned to swim by that, he's learned not to trust you and that you can't hear him. Parents do it because they're impatient, annoyed, or embarrassed by their kids. In the same way, don't force them to do things they're not ready to do.

Will My Child Ever Be Able to Manage his Anxiety Effectively?

In my experience, all children can learn to manage anxiety, if their parents possess or can learn to develop the skills necessary to teach them. Remember, it's very difficult for children to mature emotionally in areas where their parents are still immature. There are several ways that kids can learn how to deal with it independently. The first is that they grow up and become more mature, and frankly, immune to many of the things that used to hurt them. When rubbed enough, what once was a blister becomes a callous.

That being said, when kids experience moderate to severe anxiety, it does take training to help them learn how to manage it. Some kids only need these tools during a transition period, such as when they move to a new school or are in the midst of grieving a lost relative. Many of them will be able to learn ways of coping with it and move on with their lives. But in some kids, anxiety can become very powerful and sometimes blossom into something incomprehensible and crippling. Remember, many adults who are identified as having anxiety or panic disorders began the thinking and behavior that led to that early in childhood.

We are lucky that in this day and age there are many tools parents can learn how to use and give to their kids that can help their anxiety; these tools need to be applied thoroughly and consistently. That's why it's very important to begin getting help very early with your child if their anxiety appears to be getting more severe. It will enable them to learn to apply the tools and techniques they'll need to manage this level of anxiety into their adolescence and adult life, if necessary.

Remember, anxiety becomes a problem when it causes problems. Many, many kids say they don't want to go to school or ride the school bus, and it doesn't trigger inappropriate behavior. And they may tell you what's going on, or they may not. Either is normal and natural. Certainly, all kids will feel anxious, and this feeling may be something so intense that it interferes with your child's functioning. It may happen periodically as they grow, when they're going through a developmental change or a new experience or situation, like going to a new school, moving to a new town, or dealing with the birth of a sibling. Although these kids may need some help during the specific episodes, they generally can learn how to manage the situation. On the other hand, if the level of anxiety is so strong that it interferes with your child's abilities to function in a social or classroom situation at an age-appropriate level for an extended period of time, then I think you have to take it very seriously indeed.

Be sure to have your pediatrician rule out any medical issues that might cause anxiety to make sure it's not a problem with physical origins.

Anxiety is a very real, normal and natural part of child and adolescent experience and development. The best way for you to deal with this anxiety is not through probing for emotions or logic, but by learning concrete solutions to the problem of managing anxiety so it doesn't interfere with your child's functioning. Parents can acquire this knowledge through their own family situations, their life experiences, their education, or specific parenting training. In any case, it's critical for parents to understand the roots of anxiety and learn how they can help their children manage it.

Pets For Kids

Here are 10 Essential Reality Checks for YOU to consider when 'others' are considering the addition of a new pet to your family or household.

So you want a pet or at least your kids want a pet, well there is nothing unnatural about that, the whole idea will sound great...but wait a minute, stop and think.... there are some great positives about this idea....there are also some essential reality checks that need thinking about....a quick read through my checklists below will help you make a more realistic decision.
Remember the old saying "A pet is not just for Christmas". Someone will have to clear the 'pooh' up at the end of it .... all.

Essential Reality Check No. 1 -
The Type of Pet

The type of pets for kids you can take into your household will depend on a whole host of things such as follows:

The ages of your kids - a two year old child will probably not be able to handle a pet gently and certainly won't be able to care for the pet.....

How much will the pet costs be - not just to buy - but to care for on a daily basis?

What size of pet does your child want? - What space will be needed? A hamster does not take up much space but guinea pigs, ferrets and rats need much larger cages.

How much time do your kids and you as a family have to give to the pet?

Will your family be safe with the pet? Will the pet be safe with your family?

If you have a larger pet such as a dog, cat, or goat what effects will it have on your family, friends and neighbours?

How will your pet be cared for during your holidays.

Will your family be able to cope with the eventual death of a pet?

Some pets will sleep most of the day and be awake at night. Hamsters can be very noisy at night!

If your child wants a dog you will need to look into the breed, size and exercise needs of the dog.

Do you already have another pet, what effect will it have on that pet. For instance will your dog be OK with a cat or rabbit or bird?

Essential Reality Check No. 2 -
Ages of your Kids

You will need to decide on a pet that is suitable for the age of your kids.

For instance in most cases it would not be wise to buy a hamster for a two year old child who is still adapting to the world around them and may not know or be able to handle the hamster gently.

Do you want to give your kids some responsibility in caring for an animal. Some kids are very responsible and will be able to manage this. Other kids, well the sight of a baby animal is just too appealing, after all who can resist a cute puppy or kitten or baby hamster?

At first you may need to help your kids, as caring for a pet is a very responsible job. As a parent or carer you will always need to oversee a pet's care.

As the parent or carer you will need to decide if your child is old enough to handle and care for a pet. How often have parents heard the cry "oh but we promise we'll take it for walks everyday"
Or "we'll clean it out mum, we promise". How will you feel in a years time when you find yourself caring for the pets because the kids are busy with friends or away on a school trip or inundated with homework or just plain bored with the poor thing.

Essential Reality Check No. 3 -
True Costs of Pets for Kids

Some pets are very cheap to buy for instance hamsters, guinea pigs, goldfish. gerbils, fancy rats, fancy mice and rabbits and even ferrets.

You will still need to consider:
The cage set up (this can be very expensive when looking at the cage sizes that most pets need) in fact they need the largest cage you can manage

Food costs per week
Vets bills if your pets become ill.
e.g. Ferrets need a yearly injection against canine distemper.
Holiday care - you will need to pay for this of course if you cannot rely on friends and family.

Bigger pets for kids such as goats, and dogs and pedigree cats are far more expensive to buy initially, some costing hundreds of pounds.
You will need to consider:
Bedding and a cage (if buying one for your dog or cat)
Leads and collars for dogs.
Food bills
Vets bills (dogs should have yearly check ups with a vets)
Holiday care (kennels can be very expensive)
Flea treatment
Ongoing veterinary costs if your pets becomes chronically ill.

Essential Reality Check No. 4 -
The Space Required

Even small pets for kids such as guinea pigs, fancy rats and ferrets need a lot of cage space for a happy life. They will need the biggest cages you can find space for. These pets also need space to exercise out of the cage.

Cats take up very little space, as do small breeds of dogs.
Dogs will need a decent sized garden as well as walks to keep them well exercised.

Essential Reality Check No. 5 -
Time for your Pets

Do you and the family have time for a pet.

For smaller pets you will need to have them out of the cage and being handled daily for at least 2 hours a day.

Do you have time to clean out your pet at least once or twice a week, or even daily?

Some pets will certainly need the toilet corner of their cage cleaned more often to avoid a foul smelling cage and pet.

Water bottles and food bowls will need cleaning and refilling every day.

Will you be able to walk your dog at least once a day? - dependent on the breed some need more!

Are you willing to look after your pets for kids for the many years some can live?
(From 18 months to 2 years for a mouse up to 15 years for a dog)

If you are out at work all day and the kids are at school all day your pets will need and will demand attention when you return home

Essential Reality Check No. 6 -
Your Pet and Family Safety

You will always need to ensure your kids safety when they are spending time with any pets.
Even little pets can bite and leave a wound.

Dogs should not be left unattended with your kids as they are unpredictable. Even a faithful dog will bite and even attack a child if they are in pain or afraid. It happens rarely - but it does happen.

You will also need to ensure your pets safety:Is your child able to handle a pet safely without hurting it.

Is your pet safe with any other pets in the home? - if you have young children and a dog .... you will need to make sure the dog cannot escape because a door is accidentally left open.

If you have a dog you need to ensure visitors safety as you can be sued if your dog bites someone on your property (or even off your property)

Make sure that when pets for kids are having free time out of cages that:
Other pets cannot hurt them
They cannot chew electrical leads
They cannot fall into toilets or baths of water.
They cannot escape through gaps in walls or floors
They cannot get outside without supervision

Essential Reality Check No. 7 -
Effects on Family and Neighbours

The whole family needs to be in agreement if you are getting pets. Pets can be noisy and messy having an effect on family living.

What effect will a pet such as a dog have on Granny who suffers with an allergy - will that mean she cannot come to visit anymore?

If you get a dog will it bark and howl when you leave them for any length of time and will this annoy your neighbours.
Will the dog bark when your neighbours are in their own garden.
How will your neighbours take to having your pet cat mess in their garden?

You will need to keep your yard free of dog mess to ensure it does not smell -particularly in summer months.

Essential Reality Check No. 8 -

Holidays and Care for Pets for kids

If you have pets for kids what will happen to them during your holiday times.

Do you have family or friends who can care for your pets while you are away.

If not you will have to pay for your pets care.

This will be expensive for dogs, cats and larger animals.

Even for little pets, holiday care can be expensive.

Essential Reality Check No. 9 -
Loss of a Pet and Grief

Some children are really sensitive and will be distraught when their beloved pet eventually passes away, or is lost in some way.

This is especially distressing if the pet has died as a result of an accident or illness.

How will you manage this?

The kids will need to grieve, grieving is a healthy part of a loss reaction. We can suffer losses every day in a small way such as not getting something we want, this causes a loss reaction and part of the healing for this is grief. If your child or other family member struggles with the grieving then look at the following and see if it applies. The grieving process has seven stepping stones through which people move. Your family member may not go through them in order or spend long on any one.

The stepping stones are:
Shock, Denial, Guilt, Anger, Depression Bargaining, Acceptance
Your child may want another pet this is called bargaining and is one of the stepping stones through the grief process.
If your child cannot have another pet, break down the hidden losses that the death of their pet has caused.
Could there be a loss of your child's self worth or self esteem.
Have they lost their only companion.
Has your child lost the only one who listened to them.
By chatting try to find out how your child is feeling and help them to work out their losses and then work through to acceptance by doing some healthy bargaining.
Would your child be able to regain their sense of worth or self esteem another way? Perhaps helping out with a friends pet for instance.

For some children it may be helpful to have a burial service, so they can say goodbye properly.

(My son kept some hair from his beloved dog)

Our kids have managed the deaths of their pets really well and have gone on to have other pets, for other kids though it has more of an effect so you will need to decide when or if to replace your child's pet.

Essential Reality Check No. 10 -
Pets for Kids are GREAT!

For the most part pets for kids are good fun. They are often good company for your kids especially if the kids are lonely.

Our autistic daughter has changed a lot since we got her guinea pigs to look after. She has gained some imaginative play, we think this is because she talks to her guinea pigs.
We do have to oversee her with them though.

Kids can learn a lot from caring for pets for kids and by having pets even when they are lost naturally.

Dogs can encourage the family out to get exercise as they walk the dog.

All our kids love their pets.

Simple Basketball Drills for the Kids

Kids who had fun playing a team game called basketball spice up the enjoyment that the parents have who watched the game. A kid who enjoys playing basketball learns many things from the game. A person who teaches kids the correct way to play basketball can have a difficult time especially when it comes to children. Kids can be really hard to teach since they sometimes don't listen to the coach or the one who teaches them. To teach kids how to play basket ball correctly, the coach or the person who teaches them should make a step by step drills that can be considered as fun for kids who plays basketball. Fun drills will help the kid learn the correct way of playing basketball; kids would be able to do the drills when they start playing. Kids learn from fun and making fun drills for them will enhance their thinking skills. Here are the lists of drills that a coach could use when they want to teach kids about the correct way of playing basketball.

• Competition is the key in gaining the kids team to work together. Most will do anything to win. So, make a drill, divide the kids into two teams and let them play basketball. The team who wins will get something special from the coach and the team that loses should be taught to practice more for any next game. By doing this, kids will plan what to do in the next game in order to win. When a coach the kids try this drill, the kids competitiveness will be enhanced and they will try to win the next game when they learn how to work together properly.

• In this next fun drill for kids, their listening skills, reflexes, speed and dribbling would be enhanced. The drill is called red light-green light. In order to play the drill, kids must be in a straight line facing you. Don't align the kids closely to each other. let the kids do a sideward raise and double the space between each kid to keep them from bumping into each other. When this is done, give each kid a ball to dribble, back a little farther than the kid's line. Give instruction on how to play the drill. When you say green light, the kids should dribble forward. When you say blue light, the kids should dribble to the left. When you say yellow light, kids should dribble to the right. When you say red light, they should stop dribbling and stay on their spot. When the coach is ready, he or she can start the drill. This is an enjoyable drill that the kids can enjoy.

• Another wonderful drill that the coach can try is a clap pass. Clap pass can help the kid to be active. Let the kids form a circle with you on the middle. Give instructions on how to play the drill. The coach has to have a ball on his or her hand then he or she should pass the ball to a kid. The kid should clap before the ball reaches his or her hand. Kids who didn't clap before the ball reaches their hands or doesn't catch the ball and claps when you fake pass the ball to the kid lose. The last one standing would be the winner.

These are some fun drills that you could try for children when you teach them how to play basketball. The drills enhance the children's body and mind. The kids will learn fast if the drills are fun. When the kids have learned the lessons on the drills that you have given, they can start playing basketball properly.

Internet Rules For Kids

Age-appropriate article

Raising a child in a digital world can be a daunting task. The Internet is ubiquitous in children's lives and as a parent, you need to set limits and guidelines on what your kids are doing online. Different age groups require different rules. As your child grows older he or she will require more personal freedom online, and it is important that they are prepared for this from responsibility and confidence that has been instilled in them from a young age. Here is a general age-appropriate guideline that you can follow to teach Internet responsibility to your kids.


In this age category kids are usually not familiar with or using instant messaging, social networking, or participating in chat rooms. However, they are still probably online at times, therefore safety measures still must be taken. As a parent, talk to fellow parents and teachers to see what kind of safe-sites there are for kids. As well, make use of directories for kids. Use kid search engines such as 'yahoo kids' or 'ask for kids.' Here are some examples of relevant sites: - Internet safety and help group

Awesome Library - 14,000 carefully reviewed resources

Berit's Best Sites - Directory of kids' web sites maintained by Berit Erickson

Britannica - Websites, magazines, books and the Encyclopedia Britannica

Dibdabdoo - Metasearch DMOZ - Yahooligans - Kids Click

INFOMINE - Scholarly Internet resources in K-12

KidsWeb - Mid-Continent Public Library kid's directory

SuperKids SuperSearch - Kid friendly search site - Kid friendly search engine

It is also advised to invest in a parental control blocker. This takes the worry out of not knowing whether or not your kids are visiting unpleasant websites, and reduces the risk of them stumbling onto bad sites.

When your kids are at this age it is appropriate for you to know all of their usernames and passwords. Make sure that your children know this, and discuss what sites they like to go to. Do not allow your kids to post any profiles or personal information at this age, and limit their online activity to around an hour per day.


As kids reach this stage in life, cell phones and instant messaging are starting to enter the picture, so the proper precautions must be taken. Kids also may start lying about their age in order to gain access to certain sites and social networks, such as,, etc.

This is also the age where bullying can become prevalent in forums and chat rooms. However, kids may be reluctant to tell their parents because they are not supposed to be on these sites anyways.

Peer-To-Peer (P2P) file-sharing can become a problem at this age when kids start playing games and sharing music online. This can lead to a computer being inundated with spyware and adware.

What should parents do?

First of all if you are not using a parental control filtering device you should get one, and strengthen the filter to your liking. You should also be pre-approving your kids' IM contact list to make sure there aren't any unfamiliar names on it. Make sure you are using anti-spyware, antivirus and pop-up blockers to combat any unwanted, annoyances that may try to attach to your hard drive. You should still be trying to keep your kids on child-safe search engines at this point. Teach them not to respond to strangers online and to notify you immediately if they encounter any. Stick to limiting online activity to about an hour or so a day for this age group.


At this stage, interactive technologies such as instant messaging, email and cell phones are very much a part of most kids' life. Kids are growing socially and are looking to expand their personal network through programs such as Myspace and Facebook.

Parents should further tighten the parental controls filter for this age. Keep an open-dialogue with your kids and make sure that you are still educating them on Internet safety. As well, parents should be looking for signs of cyber-bullying at this age.

Be sure to carefully observe any profiles, screen names and websites that your kids are posting online. Make sure they are aware that they are not allowed to share photos, blogs or webcams without your permission.

It is still a good idea to try to learn your kids' passwords at this age. However, they will begin to resist at this age, so it will most likely end up being quite the communications challenge. However, you should definitely still be pre-approving your kids' contact lists at this point.

Search your computer regularly for any taboo images, pirated music or media files. You can also use Google Alerts to automatically notify you in any online activity attached to your child's screen name turns up in a Google search. This can be very effective.

Limit your kids' time to 1.5-2 hours online.


Kids are at the highest risk of online and offline encounters with strangers at this age. They are becoming very social and curious and are trying new things online. This is also the age where cyber-bullying and sexual harassment are at their peak. Kids are often talking in forums and social networks and are subject to abuse from other people online. From fear of peer-pressure and social ostracization, many kids are unlikely to tell adults if they are being bullied or sexually harassed online.

Parents should still be pre-approving social networking and dating sites at this time. Try to keep your kids off of P2P or pirated software sites. Instead, offer them services such as iTunes or other legitimate media sites.

It is important to teach your kids to guard their passwords and not divulge any personal information that can come back to haunt them. Make sure that your computer is in a central location in order to monitor your kids' online activity. Limit your kids' time online to 2 hours at this age.

16 and up:

This is the age when kids begin to leave the cyber-nest. They will do what they want at this age so it is important that you have already prepared and educated them for anything that they may encounter online. It is time to trust them to do the right thing.

However, you can still give friendly reminders about being responsible online. Enforce conversation about the risks of sharing personal information online and teach them to Google themselves regularly to monitor anything that might be said about them. Make sure they are using antivirus and security firewalls. As well, advise them to check regularly for adware and spyware on their PCs. Also, strongly suggest that your kids refrain from using a webcam. Remind them that once something has been posted online, it is for good, and they will have no control over what will happen to it.

It is important for your kids to know that even though they are now independent, they should still feel comfortable coming to you if anything goes wrong while they are surfing the net.

Best Cruises for Kids: A Smart, Small List

When it comes to the best cruises for kids, few cruise lines can match the level of excellence provided by Princess, Norwegian, Disney or Royal Caribbean. This article will briefly explore innovative perks and novel features of some of the best cruise lines for kids, and look at how each cruise line makes cruising with kids such a pleasure.

So without further ado, let's get right to our short, sweet list of the best cruises for kids.

Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises may be the most ideal option for trips involving children of different age groups, or multi-generational families. Few cruise lines are as versatile as Princess-you can seek out any experience you want aboard a Princess cruise, and be assured that the kids are having just as good a time as you are.

Princess has several bustling kids' clubs that are sure to keep the youngsters engaged in exciting activities. The line's Crown series of ships, along with the recently upgraded Grand Princess, are among the best cruise ships for kids. The line offers a diverse range of age-based activities and its ships are loaded with innovative perks.

Princess is one of the best cruises for kids, and perhaps even more so if you add toddlers, teenagers and grandparents in to the mix. The cruises have to offer something for everyone, and this is what makes this line such a huge hit for multigenerational families. You get to sample the traditional along with the modern, and experience the best of both worlds.

To give an example of the diverse nature of onboard and shore activities, you can attend a formal art auction, play bingo, indulge in high-tech spa treatments and even go to an authentic wine tasting. Vacationers traveling in large parties may consider Princess the best cruise line for kids and adults alike, and with good reason.

Norwegian Cruise Lines

Norwegian Cruise Lines may offer what is arguably one of the best cruises for kids, particularly for the hard-to-please teen demographic. The Norwegian Epic is considered one of the best cruise ships for kids, and is chockfull of great features to keep kids 13 and over engaged for the entire trip.

Apart from the great cabins and plush decorations, teens will love the rock climbing walls and one of the most intense water slides on any cruise ship. Another teen-friendly feature is Entourage-a teen only (13 to 17) enclave that lets teens do what they do best. It's a great place to hang out, with large flatscreen TVs, plush couches, contemporary furniture, and teen-friendly games and entertainment such as foosball and air hockey. And it all adds up to one of the best cruises for kids.

Onboard dining options are another plus. The ship has an excellent buffet laid out by the Garden Cafe, and the best part is that it's open most of the time. The free O'Sheehans Pub (we're not sure if that's a wordplay on 'ocean') and round-the-clock pizza delivery are also great for nighttime cravings. A trip where the adults enjoy themselves as much as the children? That's the hallmark of some of the best cruises for kids.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney has successfully taken the concept of family cruising, splashed it with the typical (read whimsical) Disney charm, and taken it to the next level.

Disney's most beautiful and elegant ships include the Disney Magic, the Disney Wonder and the newly-added Disney Dream. The line has some of the best cruise ships for kids, and delivers an enchanting onboard experience your kids will remember for a long, long time.

There are so many things that make Disney one of the best cruise lines for kids. The ships' cabins are well-furnished, and clearly designed with the needs of kids in mind. The line sports a unique split-bath layout that's perfect for families with children-one bathroom features a sink and tub-shower and the other has a sink and a toilet. In addition, families can dine at different themed restaurants in a rotational dining system, and the theatrical performances on evenings are as close to Broadway as any cruise line. It's not hard to see why Disney cruises are considered one of the best cruises for kids.

And just because it's a Disney trip does not mean parents are not looked after. If anything, parents may have even more fun than the kids. There are beautiful and well-equipped adults' pools, boutique eateries and other upmarket dining options, and beautiful spas to keep the adults happily engaged. The line also offers several uber-sophisticated shore excursions for adults; on a Mediterranean cruise, adults can rent classic cars from the 60s in the sublimely beautiful Villafranche, or take daylong cooking classes and have an authentic Tuscan wine-tasting experience.

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean's cruises are among the most fun-filled for kids and families. The line's Voyager, Oasis and Freedom series have some of the best cruise ships for kids, and offer loads of exciting activities for young and old alike.

Royal Caribbean consistently ranks as one of the best kids' cruises, mainly due to the diverse onboard experiences available. Children are grouped according to age and encouraged to partake in age-appropriate activities. Whereas many other cruise lines group children in larger age brackets, Royal's groups are smaller, meaning that kids get to hang out with other similar-aged kids and take part in activities that are tailored specifically to their age group.

Royal Caribbean's onboard features are completely attuned to family needs, and this is what allows the line to offer one of the best cruises for kids. The line's suites are family-friendly, and with connecting rooms, offer a great accommodation option for families with kids. You don't have to cramp your style in a small cabin with drop-down beds. And for dining, you can either go with the pre-set dining system as with many other cruise lines, or opt for the more flexible restaurant-style dining.

The Age When Kids Should Start Playing Sports

Playing games with your child is entirely different from playing sports with him or her. When in a right age, a kid could play the sport you want him to play. Games are different than sports because games are an amusement or a past time for children while a sport is an athletic activity that will teach your child to acquire skills and physical prowess; sports are used in a competitive nature. That is the difference between games and sports. Sports will enhance the child psychologically and physically. A child is ready if he or she is in the right age to be taught, otherwise you might wait another year to teach your kid the way of a sport.

There are many sports to choose from so it is best to let your kid choose his or her favorite one. When your child chooses what he or she likes, your kid can enjoy his or her chosen sport the best. It would matter that you support with information the sport your kid would choose. But it is essential to let your kid play the sport at the right age. You will know if your kid is ready to play the sport if your child's age between 6-7 years. When the age is right you can freely teach your kid the joy of athletics and recreation.

You, the parent, could also choose the right sport for your kid. Selecting the right sport for your kid is a decision that a parent should take seriously. The sport that you chose for your kid has to be interesting and exciting for your kid. Your child will definitely participate in the given sport but if your kid doesn't like the sport you have given him or her, don't force him or her to play but instead, chose another sport that suits him or her.

Another way to be sure that your kid is ready for sports is if your kid is already going to school. Schools have sports that are essential for the growth of your kid. The athletics that the schools gives are usually team sports like basketball, soccer, or football. Coaches at the kid's school will be able to teach the kids the value of sports. The teachers of your child will be able to add passion to their hearts and provide them with other athletics information to feed the mind of your kid. Your child will be fond of the sport when all of his teachers, coaches and parents cheer him on in doing the sport even through the times of difficulty.

If a parent could think that their kid is ready, the parent can teach their kid other sports that their school does not offer. The parents have their own experiences from athletics that they have participated when they were young. It is a historical memory that the parents pass down to their kid. The parents would want their kids to experience what they have experienced when they where young. So have time with your kid and teach him or her the ways of the athletics.

Goal Setting for Kids - The Intricate Process of Setting Goals

To achieve something worthwhile and tangible in life, goals are extremely important and critical to every one of us, including our kids. Achieving goals means reaching important milestones in life that are otherwise highly impossible to achieve in absence of goal setting. Reaching an important and highly critical goalpost is an art and a precise science, while setting meaningful goals is versatile tool that helps you to travel towards the goalpost. Learning to set goals and pursuing them to their logical end should a priority in everyone's life. Teaching how to set goals and achieve those goals, to your kids is a phenomenal task that needs Herculean efforts from you as a responsible parent.

Goal setting for kids is an intricate process that is very difficult to comprehend and formulate. To make them learn and understand what goal setting really is, is an important task and mandatory duty for every parent. Here are some important suggestions and practical tips for you to understand, how you can teach your kids to learn about goal setting and later achieve them:

Learn goal setting by yourself before setting them with your kids: How efficient and knowledgeable are you about goal setting? Do you know how to set goals and work for them? If not, it is the right time to learn how to set goals. Once you learn how to set goals, you can easily incorporate those ideas in your kid's life. Some of the simple goals that you can set and learn are:

  • "I will tidy up and clean my kid's room before he comes back from the class"
  • "I will assist my kid to complete all his pending homework by this weekend"
  • "My weekly goal is to teach my kid the basics of grammar from chapters 1 to 3"

These are some self taught goals that will teach you how to set goals for your kids. You will need to make yourself an expert in setting goals and achieving them so that you can apply their principles in real life. If you show your kids that you can really set goals and later achieve them, they will start believing in your abilities as a responsible parent. Goals are different for every parent and you may need to choose your own goal and go about achieving them as soon as possible.

Learn to set goals with and for your kids: Kids are not too dedicated towards setting goals and achieve them by applying their mind and body. A number of kids simply fail because they see no real value in working towards a set of goals. In many cases, they also feel that the task of achieving goals is too overwhelming and difficult. Children need considerable support both at home and in their school. You may need to support your kid until such a time when he or she feels extra confident that achieving goals is an easy task. Supporting your kid means assisting or cooperating with your child so that he or she can reach the goalpost very quickly. To support you kid during the process, you may need to:

  • Encourage him or her by saying very common and encouraging words like "You can do it".
  • Urge or cajole your kid to proceed with the set goal like "Come on, I am with you", "I am here, Let us do it together" or "Do you need any help from me?"

Check out progress: Your kid needs your personal time and attention, while he or she is achieving the set goal. You may need to make it a necessary duty to monitor the actual progress of your kid towards achieving the goal. Monitoring your child's progress could be a very simple process like:

  • Dropping into see what your child is up to and suggest simple ways of tackling the goal.
  • Sit down with him or her and ask for a status report.
  • Check the report and suggest ways to correct if there is anything wrong.

You can monitor the progress of goal setting by using one of the following two effective ways: Setting up a progress meeting with your kid/s over the dining table or in an ice-cream parlor, or maintaining a proper progress report book containing a number of checklists and To-Do lists. Checklists are extremely effective and you can easily monitor the progress of child's goal setting activities.

Recognition and rewards: Achieving goals should be a big event of the family. It is an important occasion when you and your kids should participate in the celebration. Reward your kids with gifts as soon as they reach the set goals, Congratulate and encourage them with kind and good words. It should be your duty to compliment your kids that they have achieved something tangible and worthwhile. One of the best ways to honor your kid's attitude and performance is to let him or her know that they are capable of setting bigger goals and achieving them in the shortest possible time.

Once you teach your children how to set goals and work towards them, they will slowly develop a habit of setting goals for themselves and later start working towards them with attention and dedication. Reaching goalposts on their own will make kids extremely happy, encouraged and bold enough to set goals that are more challenging in the future. Small goals may give way for bigger and more important goals as well. Small children need immense confidence in themselves before setting out to work for their goals. Parents should be their mentors and guides, while the kids are working hard towards reaching their preferred goalposts. Teaching your kids more about the real essence of goal setting will help them in their adulthood to taste considerable success, both in the professional and personal endeavors.

Kids - Are They "Builders" Or "Destroyers"

In the movie South Pacific there is a song titled "You've Got To Be Taught". Kids are taught, or not taught, to be a builder or a destroyer.  I do not mean that we adults set out to teach our kids the "builder/destroyer" concept.  It happens when their normal behavior methods of getting angry, yelling, being a bully, saying cruel things to each other and their parents.  We adults say "Oh, it is their age - they will outgrow it."

Most of the kids do outgrow it; however, only after it has been pointed out to them that this is unacceptable behavior.  If it is not corrected when they start performing these normal behavior patterns, chances are they will never outgrow them and could grow up to be a destroyer instead of a builder.  Kids are too unpredictable and can figure out on their own, after a while, what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

I believe a prime illustration comes from my case files when a mom, from Ohio, called me to say the teacher of her son had e-mailed her stating that he was being teased and not socializing with the other kids in his class.  She hired me, as a coach, to talk with her son to discover IF there was a problem.  After collecting some background information on the kid from his parents, an interview was set up for the purpose of discussing any problems.  At the time of the interview, he was 8 years old.  His mom just took him to the doctor for his physical and the doctor reported that her son had the body of a 11-year old in height and weight.  As we talked, I asked him if he experienced other kids teasing him in anyway.  He quickly said "yes".  I asked him "if he would talk to me about it."  He said, "Sure".  Here is how the conversation went (been cut-down to highlight my point of how some kids figure out things on their own).

ME:    You have experienced other kids teasing you?

KID:    Yes

ME:    Tell me what it sounds like when other kids tease you.

KID:  "Hey Dumbo" - "Hey Shorty" and things like that.

ME:   How does that make you feel?

KID:   It hurts my feelings

ME:   I bet it does.  What do you do with those feelings?

KID:  I give the kid his first warning.  I go to the kid and say "When you say things like that, it   hurts my feelings and I want you to stop."

ME:  You give them a warning.  That sounds fair.  Does that work?

KID:  Most of the time "no"

ME:  Then what do you do?

KID:  When it happens again.  I report it to teacher because she is the boss at school.

ME:  Does that work?

KID: Sometimes

ME:  If it does not work, what do you do then?

KID:  I fire them.

ME:  WOW.  You fire them - How Do You Fire A Kid?

KID:  I stop playing with them.

ME: It sounds like "3 strikes and you are out".

KID: Yes

ME:  Does that make you lonely?

KID:  No - I have other friends that do not tease me.

ME:  Can parents help in anyway?

KID:  They can have a teacher/parent conference and fix the problem.

ME:  What if that does not work? 

KID:  Then they need to have a parent/parent/teacher conference.

ME:  What is that?

KID:  The parent of the kid being teased and the parent of the kid doing the teasing and the teacher should have a conference together and fix the problem.

ME: Do you have anything else you want to say about this?

KID: No.

It appears this kid has figure out that he would do 3 things:  1) Tell the other kid his feelings are hurt and ask the kid to stop the teasing 2) Tell someone in authority (the teacher) and 3) Fire the kid and walk away from the problem.

I am almost certain that somewhere along his life an adult (probably one of his parents) took the time to teach him how to sum up a problem; develop a plan to handle the problem; stick with it (no matter what others might say) and take action to solve the problem.

This kid could possibly be one of our future "builders".  And, the kid who ignored his warning, ignore the counsel of the and got left behind on the playground could grow up to be a "destroyer" if he has not yet figured out. on his own, that his behavior is unacceptable and disrespectful.

Kids and Parents - Subtle Listing Clue #6 and Questions

Writing on this subject is the most difficult. You will find that most "serious" communication between parent and kids start with sudden, strong or contradictory emotions and end with sudden, strong or contradictory emotions. Both parents and kids contribute to the situation by shouting, saying hurtful words, throwing objects across the room, crying, sulking and so forth. If there are major problems and the majority of your conversations begin and end with these behaviors and emotions, you may find that professional help needs to be employed. A woman told me that her husband and her son have the same personalities. They argue/fight most of the time seeing who is going to win. Usually one of the "boys" yells, slams a door and leaves the house....thus, the end of the conversation. She analyzed it that both dad & son are behaving like "kids" - throw a temper tamper - and runs away from home. The mom is now running around trying to get the dad and son together again. Sound familiar?

Here is the important thing: adults need to be adults when communicating with their kids. As a parent, you can not get down to the level of the kids by yelling back at them; throwing things across the room; crying, sulking, spanking, sending them to their room out of anger. You are demonstrating all of those undeveloped actions that a kid have in their communication style is approved. As we know, this is what the majority of parents do. Kids are depending upon you to put some sense into their growing lives. You are the teacher and your kids are listening and watching you even if you do not think they are. So what do you do in this situation?

First of all

* Recognize everyone is rolling on emotions and going no where.

Second of all

* Call a halt to the emotional outburst

Third of all

* Call "quiet time" for everyone, including parents. Just announce we are taking a 1-2 minute break. Everyone stays in the room and sits quietly.

Fourth of all

* Kids love "timers". Get a timer and explain the kid will have one minute to say whatever they want to say about the issue. When the timer rings, it is mommy or daddy's time to say whatever they want to say about the issue within one minute. After everyone has a turn, then the parent repeat what the kid has said and ask if the kid wants to change anything. If necessary, let the kid repeat what the parents said. It is important not to give the kid as much power as the parent has in solving the problem. So, keep control of the communication.

Fifth of all

* Once you start this procedure, do not turn loose of it even if you have to stop and start all over again.

By the way, parents always win in a conflict situation with kids because you are the parent. I have seen parents show "bully" behavior in disciplining their kids even in restaurants and other public places. There is nothing that disturbs me more than eating out in a restaurant, even if it is McDonald's, and I do not notice when kids misbehave; however I do notice when parents start yelling at the kid in anger, jerks the kid around while still yelling and sometimes a spank on the "behind" or a slap across the back of the head.

We parents have to teach our kids how to behave. Do the kids really learn when they have a out-of-control parent yelling at them and hurting them? We teach our kids "do not hit" other people; however, when they misbehave sometimes one of the first thing we do is "hit" the kid through spanking. Does that make sense? Kids throw temper tampers and when the parents are having temper tampers as well it is a lose-lose situation for everyone.

As an illustration: I was visiting the home of a stay-at-home mom who had a 3 year old and a 6 month old. The mom was having a "bad-hair" day and the baby started crying. The 3 year old went to her mom who was in the kitchen trying to fix dinner and said, "Mommy, the baby is crying you've got to come." The mom said loudly "I know, I can hear and I'm busy." The 3 year old said, "Mom, be patient". Don't underestimate what your kids are learning from you. I heard throughout the day the mom saying to the 3 year old, "You have to be patient; I'm taking care of the baby." It was natural for the 3 year old to repeat to the mom what had been said to her throughout the day. This "Subtle Listening Clue" is a little strange when adapting it to communicating with your kids. You don't have to listen for this particular clue; it is there and it is loud. What is needed is for you to keep your cool and figure out what questions may be appropriate.

* "When you finish yelling, screaming and crying you are to sit down quietly so we can talk, will you do this for mommy (or daddy)?" If they say "no", tell them they have to do it anyway; but ask them first if they are willing to sit quietly and talk. This will give you a clue on your next action.

* "Why were you screaming and yelling?" We would always ask my grandson when he was about 3-4 years old why he was screaming and yelling. His answer was always "I don't know; my brain told me too; I didn't want to!" That has to be my all-time favorite quote from a kid in a response to "why did you do that". He used that quote for so many situations he got himself into and a lot of times, it worked. I asked him one time, "How can we teach your brain not to do that"? He said, "Good luck, grandma, my brain has a mind of its own". True story. This is why I love communicating with kids because I think it is fun to carefully listen to what they are saying and he said it all, didn't he?

* "Do you think it helps when you scream and yell?" Watch it when you ask this question because kids may say something like "I see you scream and yell and it works". Ugh, that's not what you want to hear, is it?

* "How can we learn when to yell and scream and when not to yell and scream?" Remember it is important that you want to teach the kids to yell and scream if a stranger bothers them or tries to takes them. Make the distinction with the kids of when it is appropriate to yell and scream and when it is not appropriate.

6 Secrets to Throwing A Successful Kids Cooking Party

One of our favorite activities is to invite the kids friends over for a kids cooking party!!! Whether it's an Italian theme, a finger food theme, or even a party centered around a color, such as green, our cooking parties are always a lot of fun! To make sure it's a fun experience for the kids cooking, we'll let you in on six secrets that we use. Ready? Read on!

Secret #1. Pick a theme.

It's important to start out with a kids cooking party theme. Hmmm....if it's summer time, maybe your them is water fun or the sun. In the fall, you might think about leaves, pumpkins or scarecrows. You can choose most any theme! Make sure your invitations, decorations, food, party favors and games all center around your cool theme.

Secret #2. Invite a few kids.

It's tempting to invite lots of kids, especially if you have more than one child who wants to invite friends over. However, to have a successful party, limit the number of kids. How many kids can comfortably cook in your kitchen without bumping elbows or sharing bowls and spoons? With fewer kids, everyone can be given a task--measure, stir, chop, etc. Besides, keeping your number low makes it more manageable for mom and dad.

Secret #3. Make it hands-on cooking.

We LOVE to cook and find that most kids enjoy cooking as well. The key is to be organized ahead of time. Some ingredients you'll want to measure in advance.,or least put into smaller bowls so there's less of a chance for major spills. Have all your bowls, pans, mixing spoons, etc. ready as well. Be enthusiastic about assigning "jobs." Older kids will enjoy measuring, using the mixer and doing some of the stove/oven work, while younger kids will have fun stirring or pouring.

Looking for some recipe ideas? There are lots of great ideas around the web (including our website). When picking a recipe, remember that kids love getting their hands dirty! Making meatballs? Let them use their hands (washed with water and soap first of course) to mix up the meatballs. Using coconut? Let them sprinkle it with their fingers. It's fun!!!

Secret #4. Offer variety.

Even though we like trying new foods and using the herbs from our garden, we know some kids are picky. Food allergies are also common these days, so be sure to check with your guest's moms in advance as to what they can or can't eat. Provide some back-up food as well, a.k.a. 'normal' kids party food (i.e. chicken tenders, chips, fish sticks, corn) just in case a child doesn't want to eat what he/she helped fixed.

Secret #5. Plan alternative activities.

I know it's surprising, but not every child will want to get his hands messy, roll out dough, or decorate cookies--and that's okay--but as the host, you should have a plan ready. Maybe the guest would enjoy setting the table or folding fancy napkins? Plus, while your creations are cooking, the kids will need something to keep them occupied. Board games, crafts or even something like a word search are all great options.

Secret #6. Give goody bags.

Every party should include kids party favors, and the options are endless! When possible, make goody bags that go with your theme. For example, if the theme is summer fun, you might want to use a large plastic glass that has a summer theme on it and fill it with: funky sunglasses, individual packets of lemonade, a crazy straw, stickers with beach items on them, chocolate shells, and a flip-flop keychain. If possible, take pictures while the kids are cooking and slip the picture into a card stock frame that you make in advance. Oh, and of course, each kid needs to take home some of the goodies that he/she helped make!

So there you have it! Our six secrets in making sure that your kids cooking party is a great success!!! Now, we actually have two other little secrets...

1.) Mom's secret: Make cleaning up the kitchen fun! Split the kids into two teams and give each team a list with two or three tasks on it. (Shhhhh!)

2.) Alex and Soph's secret: Begin thinking of other friends who would love to come over and cook. While mom is happy with how well this party went, suggest another party!

Happy kids cooking everyone!!!

Overweight Kids

Childhood obesity is making the papers. The numbers are up. Is it any wonder?

By: Nan Andrews Amish

Phys ed classes are not funded in many public schools, they are ineffective in many others. Fat is the last legal bias. Kids make fun of anyone different, and the fat kid is fair game. Heaven help the fat kid in a shorts, where the fat can hang out for all to see. Bullies will take aim and not let up.
Kids spend hours in front of computers, and their neighborhoods are unsafe.

Here are some strategies for growing strong, healthy, mentally and emotionally stable kids.


1. Acknowledge that you know that it hurts when kids make fun of them because of how they look. Help them build emotional intelligence by acknowledging how they do feel, and help them build empathy for others who are different and also made fun of.

2. Acknowledge that you know that there are kids who eat worse than they do, and who do not have the struggle they have with weight. The message is that you appreciate it may not be fair and that getting healthy is not easy, and it is not necessarily their fault, but that they still are responsible for doing what they can to manage it. Watching a skinny minny eat cookies and milk shakes and sandwiches and french fries and never gain a pound is discouraging as you eat your lettuce, carrots and lean chicken or tuna.

Food and Diet
3. If the kid is eating a lot of junk food, see if you can modify these habits. Junk food stacks the deck against kids, because the processed white sugar, the processed white flour and the food additives are DESIGNED to be addictive and DESIGNED to increase appetite. Deprivation is not the key, but choosing treat foods wisely helps. Give them messages like their body is their temple, they need to treat it well. Offer metaphors like would they put lard in a sports car. No, they would put the best fuel in it they could afford. Bodies are like that.

4. Invite overweight kids to shop with you, and teach them to read labels. Have them become the experts, so they have the tools to choose wisely and or splurge, but understand the meaning of the splurge.

5. Invite (as opposed to force or punish) overweight kids to try various foods that might help them eat less junk. For example, fresh fruits. A burrito with filling protein like beans, as opposed to totally empty calories. Nuts as opposed to chips. Baby carrots, even.

6. For most overweight kids the best way to assist them is to crank up their metabolism. Exercise is the best way to do this. Fit kids get bullied less. Fit, strong kids rarely get bullied. Fit, self confident, strong kids with an exceptional physical skill never get bullied. If the kid has rhythm, get them into dance, t'ai chi, akido. If they have two left feet, have them try kick boxing or wrestling. If they like team stuff, soccer is great and there are teams available for all skills and all genders. If they are particularly "round" and have lots of soft baby fat, try swimming, they will float better than any of their thinner buddies. Weight lifting for boys can be a win.

7. Martial arts is always a win. It builds discipline, muscle, aerobic capacity and confidence. Choose according the child's capabilities, or try what their friends or geographic locality has available. Kids who know martial arts know how to breath, they know how to focus, they have strength both internal and external. They do not get bullied.

8. Health is the best revenge. So use every opportunity to be active with your child. Walk to the video store. Walk with them to talk about what is up at school. Put music on and dance. Have exercise options in the house, like rebounders, trampolines, swings for the younger ones, jungle gyms, etc.
Special Programs

9. If your child is significantly heavy, consider summer camps designed to do all of the above with lots of other kids struggling with the same. Not all camps are the same, so check them out. But an 8 year old who spend 4 weeks being healthy and active during the summer, loses as little as 10 pounds, grows 2 inches has a great way to start back to school in the fall. They are stronger, leaner, more confident, tan and met tons of new friends.

10. If your child is significantly heavy, consider working with a naturopath, homeopath or holistic nutrition person. Why holistic? Often, children who struggle more than a few pounds, have other things going on, that if they are not addressed, will make this an uphill battle. They may be deficient in a nutrient. Vitamin C is a common deficiency with kids who crave sugar for example, potassium is often lacking in kids who like salt. Kids who have had lots of antibiotics may not have good intestinal flora and need acidophilous, bifidus. Kids who seem to be eating all the time and are always hungry, may have something more severe going on. Sugar addictions, wheat allergies, pre-diabetes, or even a parasite.

11. If you have an overweight child and have other children who are not in the same space, having a family meeting where the entire family decides how they will help each other address EACH of family members issues helps. Calling out the fat child's issues is humiliating, but if the family helps one child with spelling mastery and another child with food, it all evens out and engenders family (team) spirit. If the family decides that to help the child struggling with food that there will be no Oreos in the house, the support is strong.
Give them an edge

12. Go for the organic. Skip the Costco and Wallmart specials. Kids who are overweight are sensitive to stuff other kids are not. Organic foods will have less additives, less hormones (designed to help cattle and chicken GAIN weight), less genetically modified foods to be allergic too, less chemicals to create immune responses to. Organic produce tastes better too, and it might be less of struggle to get a child to snack on cherry tomatoes that melt in your mouth than on tomatoes that taste like cardboard.

13. Grow other kid strengths. If they are great at spelling, encourage them to compete in the spelling bee. If they are musically inclined, find them places to sing, play. If computers or video games are their thing, help them get very good at these skills, so they will have confidence from these other perspectives.

14. Be empathetic about their looks. Appreciate that a plea from an overweight child to "blend in" or "fit in" is more charged than a plea from a child who is more mainstream looking. Help them choose clothes that are flattering and really fit them well. Make sure that they have clothes they can move in which are not uncomfortable. (I knew one teen who hated to walk until she got some shorts and slacks that did not chafe, for example. Then she walked everywhere, because the pants were not rubbing a hole in her thigh!) Make sure they find clothes which are age appropriate, and have enough style that they are not the butt of more bullying because of their clothes. This will cost more than you would prefer, since most larger sizes cost extra, and alterations are always on top. Know a good place to get stuff altered too, so if you have to buy a larger size to accommodate a larger tummy the rest of the garment is not so big there is room for Aunt Matilda in there too. Here is where you can REALLY help your child fit it. By buying slightly better quality, fabrics that do not show fat bulges for example, or a garment that is made really well and hangs great, will make your child look smaller than they are. Good undergarments count too, especially for girls. Find a way to make them feel special with accessories for example, or shoes.

15. Back to basics, they are not alone. Let them know, that they are beautiful inside. Appreciate all the unique and special things that they are. Give messages of beauty often. Compliment best features, extra efforts, exercise and food victories. Take them to movies like Shrek, Harry Potter and others where there are heroes who are not all stick thin. Show them art depicting ancient cultures when thin was not so in. (Botticelli, Rubens, african tribes for example). Give them unconditional love and acceptance regardless of their success or failure in any of these areas.

16. Be spiritual.

Kids Gifts For Your Favorite Kids

Watching the smile on kids' face when they receive a gift is one of the joy of gifting. There are so many occasions we send gifts to kids. We send them gifts for their birthday and the holidays. We send them gifts to cheer them up when they are sick, and to reward them for doing well in school. In selecting gifts for kids, several criteria have to be considered. The gift should fit the age of the kid and is safe. It should also be fun and educational. This article provides some ideas on kids gifts.

1. Plush Animals:
For young kids a few months old and up, plush stuffed animals are most appropriate. These include our favorite teddy bear, duckling, lion, dog. You can find stuff animals that are not only soft and cuddly, but also can sing a tune. For example, you can find a plush duckling that sings "You are my Sunshine". It is a great gift to let your kid know how much you love him/her.

2. Special Occasions Plush Animals:
These special themed plush animals are appropriate for older kids. For example, you can send a singing birthday bear that sings "Happy Birthday to You" to just about anyone, including adults. Other special occasions plush animals include the Feel Better Bear and Feel Better Frog. The plush bear arrives in a crutch, with bandage on his forehead. It wobbles as it walks and sings "I'm felling good". They are most appropriate for kids recovering from a broken arm or leg, perhaps from a ball game. The kids will most certainly have a speedier recovery with the singing bear or frog tell them to do so.

3. Kids Gift Basket:
Kids love to have fun activities. For kids of nursery school age, you can send them a gift basket filled with a Crayola coloring and activity book, crayons, bubbles, an adorable teddy bear; and their favorite snacks. The basket should provide many hours of fun. For a more elaborate kids gift basket, you can send one that contains not only Crayola coloring book, Crayola crayons, and Crayola water colors paint set, but also contains game set, hand held travel game, jumbo porcupine ball, silly putty, and a plush white teddy bear. This fun filled gift basket is sure to brighten any kid's day and keep him/her busy for a long time. In addition, the basket is filled with tasty snacks such as Cracker Jacks, chocolate chip cookies, jelly beans, and kids fortune cookies. The snacks will provide plenty of good munching.

4. Kids Care Package:
For kids over 6 years old, you can send them a kids activity care package. This gift box is filled with puzzle book, kids riddle and puzzle activity book, glow sticks, kids card game (go fish, crazy 8), squishy putty, squishy smiley face stress ball. To fill their tummy during the games, the care package contains plenty of American's favorite snacks, including Pringles chips, Ritz bits cheese filled crackers, Cracker Jacks, Nestle crunch chocolate bar, Reese's peanut butter cups. The care package can be sent for birthdays, or to brighten their days when you are away.

5. Kids Cake:
If you want To spend more quality time with your kids, you can send them a gift that allows you to bake a cake with them. Kids like to make their own snacks. You can send Froggy bake a cake gift. It enables you to spend quality time baking a cake together. "Froggy Bakes a Cake" is a classic children's story about a curious little frog and his hilarious baking adventure. With this gift and your help, the kid in your life can experience the adventure with Froggy. The gift includes chocolate fudge cake mix, whipped vanilla icing, decorating icing, the "Froggy Bakes a Cake" book, and the cuddly Froggy himself. All these ingredients come in a high quality white ceramic mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. Children will learn about baking, creating something that they have never made before, and having fun at the same time.

6. Candy Gift:
Kids love candy. A jelly bean machine will make a lovely gift for your favorite kid. Crafted from cast iron and glass, this jelly bean machine comes with an 8 oz. bag of assorted flavor jelly beans, and holds over 3 pounds of jelly beans. It is a nostalgic trip to a simpler place and time, when jelly beans were a kids favorite treat.

7. Movie Gift Basket:
Kids love to watch movies. The Movie Night gift basket will treat the family to all the snacks they can eat during the movie. This gift pail is packed with Cracker Jacks, cookies, M & M's, Twizzlers red licorice, rice crispies treat, microwave popcorn, and complemented by Old Time Classic Coke. It is available with or without $10 or $15 Blockbuster gift cards,

8. Personalized Kids Gifts:
For special occasions, it may be better to send personalized gifts engraved with the recipient's initial and a brief message. kids will love the opportunity to make their own kind of music on this standard 10-hole (diatonic) harmonica, fashioned from high-polished stainless steel. They will learn to play the blues or even a little rock-n-roll on this personalized genuine Hohner harmonics.

9. Personalized Train Bank:
This imaginative, old fashioned keepsake train bank can be personalized with the child's name. This gift can help young children start the habit of saving money and building money management skill early in life.

In summary, an appropriate gift can brighen any kid's day. it is quite easy to select a gift that is fun, safe, and educational for the kids in your life.