Teaching Children Responsibility

tips to teach children responsibility

 

Teaching children responsibility starts at an early age and it starts at home.  A child learning to be responsible will will increase their chances of being successful.  Learning responsibility started at an early age in my house.  We had conversations on why it was important and demonstrated negative results when being responsible wasn’t taken seriously.  Here are 5 ways that I used to install responsibility:

Assigning Chores This includes putting toys away, helping with dishes, cleaning their room and eventually getting a job around the age of 16 for the summer.  Yep my daughter had a job. Did she need to work, no.  I could financially support us, but it was a great way for her to learn about what it takes to hold down a job and build confidence. Getting to bed timely, getting up timely and reporting on time is a life long lesson.  Additionally, these skills need to be learned and embraced. Doing chores also included going to school and doing home work. In my home you  either go to school or get a job.

Playing Team Sports/Activities I put my daughter in organized activities at the age of 3. It was a little majorette group with drummers, so cute. At the age of 5, we switched to ballet. Ballet dancing requires discipline, and so does being successful in life. Organized sports or activities can include football, soccer, basketball, cheerleading, volleyball, whatever your child likes.  If your child is not into sports, try a painting or karate class. The important thing is that they learn about discipline and being a team player.

Volunteer Work – Doing volunteer work is a good way to learn about responsibility. Feeding the homeless, working at a food bank, reading to seniors at a nursing home is a good start. If they like farming, horses or gardening, have them volunteer on a farm or equestrian center.

Serving As A Role ModelBeing a role model can be rewarding. Children learn about leadership, and the importance of setting an example so others will want to follow their lead. Being a tutor, mentor, active in the church etc. makes a great community role model.

Having A Role ModelBeing your child’s role model is just as important as teaching them to be a role model. Children look at everything we do. We just think they aren’t listening.  Furthermore, it’s important that your child see you doing the things that you wan them to do.  For example, reading, taking courses on-line or at your local university, cleaning, cooking, handling money wisely, and most importantly spending time with them. It’s important that boys have a positive male as a role model and girls have a positive female as a role model.

Finally, how do you teach your children responsibility?  Do you use the same techniques for your sons and daughters?  We would love to add your tips to our list.  As we know, what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other. 

 chore charts for girls football-chore-chart-1 super-heroes-chore-chart-1

Finally, motivate your child with our chore charts.  We have ballerina, football, basketball, a princess, princess castle and superman.  You can download the charts here.  Print them and lets start getting those room cleans, toys put away and everything else on their lists.  Check back, I will be adding other charts.

 

5 Safety Tips For Latch Key Children

 

 

Did you give birth to a Latch Key Child?  Schools are back in session and some parents will be leaving their children alone for several hours after school for many reasons. Some parents are single mothers who can’t afford the expense of child care, many families have both parents working outside the home, others because their children are old enough to take care of themselves for several hours and than we have those who can’t find after school care.  What ever the reason, there are approximately 15 million Latch Key Children in the U.S. so don’t feel that you’re a bad parent or that you’re alone in your decision.   

My daughter was around 10 when she became a latch key child.  I’ve always hated that term, but it is what it is.  I was a single mother at the time and I was trying to purchase a home. I was saving every penny that I could, so I asked my daughter if she thought she could stay alone for several hours to cut out child care expense and she jumped at the opportunity. The bus stop was 500 yards from my front door and I had neighbors that would step in if there was an emergency. I felt guilty initially, but I realized that I wasn’t the only parent who had a latch key child. I soon released the guilt and became comfortable with my decision.  

Many parents question the appropriate age for leaving children unattended. The ages vary from state to state, so if you’re considering leaving your child alone be sure to check out the legal ramifications. You will also have to assess your child’s maturity level and their ability to follow directions as well as the safety of your neighborhood.  Think about the time frame that your child will be alone.  If it’s more than a few hours, you may want to find another option in my opinion. My daughter was home for 2 hours before I arrived. That was the longest 2 hours of my life.  

We decided to do a trial run and if we were comfortable we would implement the plan.  Here are the safety tips that worked for us:   

1.  Rules Must Be Established – No friends over, do not answer the phone or door unless it’s for people who are checking on them, do not leave the home to play in the neighborhood etc. It’s also important that your child understand that they can’t tell people that they’re home alone and why. It’s imperative that your child understand the rules.    
 
2.  Establish a Routine – You must give your child a routine. In my home it was to come straight home, let me know that she was home and that start on her To Do List. Today there are nanny cams and home monitoring devices that allow you to see what’s happening in the home while you’re at the office. There are also devices that allow you to turn off the alarm system remotely and reset it once your child gets inside the home. Skyping is a great idea too if it’s allowed in your office. 

3.  Create a To Do List –  Keeping your child occupied is important, they won’t have time to think too much about being alone.  I created a list of things for my daughter to do once she arrived. She could get a snack, no cooking allowed, and turn on the television, radio etc.  Yes, sound is nice here. Homework had to be completed and her room orderly before I got home. If homework was completed, she could watch her favorite movies or television show. 

4.  Establish Emergency Procedures – .Make sure your child knows to call 911 if an emergency arrives and has a list of phone numbers for neighbors or relatives who are close by. My neighbor agreed to check on my daughter as well and my daughter knew that she could go next door if needed.  

5.  Give Lots of Hugs and Praise – Let your child know that they’re doing a great job following the rules and how much you appreciate the fact that they’re growing up and helping to contribute to the household by being responsible. Children love praise and they deserve it. 

The experience actually build confidence in my daughter. It also made her understand responsibility and the importance of following directions. Did you raise a latch key child or do you currently have one?  What were some of the rules that you implemented?  They could be of benefit to other parents. 

Breakfast Ideas That Will Make Kids Smile

kids breakfast ideas, fun kid's food

 

Do you have a picky eater?  We’re going to give you a few ideas today that are sure to bring a smile to your kids face. We all know that getting kids to eat can be a struggle. We also know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so we need to make sure that it’s hardy and nutritious.  The one thing that we don’t think about when it comes to making meals for your children is fun. I found a way to make my grandchildren’s breakfast fun and exciting.   

Wondering what I’ve come up with?  I’ve stocked up on pancake and waffle molds. It’s the perfect solution and fun way to start the day. When my grandchildren are visiting or I’m visiting them, they wake up every morning looking forward to helping me make their favorite pancakes or waffles or they’re waiting in anticipation while they watch their favorite Saturday morning shows. My stash includes: barnyard and zoo animals, dinosaurs, an airplane and a train. The barnyard and zoo animals are their favorites. 

 

 


My grandchildren love them so much on mornings when I just don’t feel like making pancakes or waffles, and I try to bribe them with yogurt or some other quick meal, the majority of the time they don’t take the bribe.  They enjoy helping me mix the batter and watching me pour them into the molds.  I must admit enjoy eating a cow or pig pancake and elephants and lion waffles too. Seriously, they gobble them up and ask for seconds. When you clean your plate in my house, we call it a happy plate. They are proud to show me their happy plates.

I found these molds on e-bay.  They’re easy to use as long as you spray the molds well with PAM as well as the griddle.  I allow the molds to heat up before I pour the batter into them.  This ensures they lift from the batter easily I’ve found that a measuring cup or batter bottle works well in controlling the batter when pouring it into the molds.

 

Make these fun pancakes with your children and they too will disappear. Add a few fresh strawberries or apple slices with the pancakes, and you’re guaranteed a happy plate too. Bon Appetit’!

 

These Dinosaurs Are Larger Than Life

dinosaurs, T-Rex, prehistoric dinosaurs

                                                                          Dinosaur Land

Looking for inexpensive places to visit before the kids return to school? If you’re planning a trip to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia take time to check out Dinosaur Land. It’s an inexpensive roadside attraction that has been around since 1962, and is a great place for photo ops with the little dinosaur lover. 

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6 Tips For Purchasing School Supplies

school shopping, back to school shopping, back to tips, how to shop for school supplies

 

Summer is just about over and the kids will soon be returning to school. Where did the time go? Backpacks, school supplies, and clothing will be needed for the upcoming school year. Parents will be heading out to stock up on school supplies.  Here are a few tips on how you can stock up and shop wisely:

1.  Make a list of the needed supplies –   Check your child’s school site for a list of needed supplies for the upcoming year.  Many schools provide a list of the school supplies needed for the upcoming year as well to your local Kmart, Wal-Mart, Office Max etc.  Be sure to add extra items for homework and additional week-end/tutoring sessions. You can save money by not guessing about what is needed or having to make an additional trip to the store because you omitted items.

2.  Take inventory of supplies from last year purchases – Check your supplies from last year so you won’t buy duplicate or unnecessary items when you head to the store.  You can spend that money on other items.

3.  Do your homework – Check ads for the best deals. Head to your local Dollar Store first and eliminate as many items as possible.  You can purchase quality crayons, pencils, pencil cases, sharpeners and inexpensive notebooks for practicing math problems etc. here.

4. Purchase quality items –  Purchase quality book bags and electronics. Trust me, you will end up spending the money again if you don’t purchase quality items. Check online stores like Best Buy, Amazon, Dell, HP etc. for great deals on electronics and look for free shipping sites.  I purchased a Michael Jordan book bag for my grandson last year. He will carry it for years before I have to purchase another.

5.  Take the student with you – Getting the children involved helps eliminate items that they may be unhappy with and it also gets them involved in the back to school process.  If the student doesn’t want to go along, ask them for any specific items they may want.

6.  BOGO is your friend – You will use the item later in the year I guarantee it, so go ahead and indulge. The item may not be BOGO later in the year.

You may want to purchase a storage bin to house school supplies for the upcoming year. Items will be easy to track and access when needed too. What tips can you add to the list?


You may also like:  Back To School Shopping Tips

9 Tried and True Beach Foods

It’s beach season. Do you have plans to head to the beach within the next month to soak up a little sun and have a little fun? When I head to the beach I stay for most of the day. That means I pack plenty of food, drinks and a good book. Over the years, I’ve had food fails and successes when packing our lunch/snack bag.

I’ve learned to invest in a good insulated food bag to ensure the ice doesn’t melt and having it on wheels doesn’t hurt either. My cooler has 4 plates, which is great for the kids. I pack it with plenty of ice so everything stays cool. Baggies are my best friend on the beach. I double bag everything to ensure the food stays dry and to help keep the sand away.  Sand somehow seems to land on everything, and we all know that it sticks.  I actually have a cooler for the food that needs to stay cool and tote for the dry goods like chips, crackers, cookies/brownies, wipes, small cups, forks, plastic grocery bags etc.

I’ve also learned to pack foods that can be handled by both children and adults. Finger foods are great beach foods. I can have the children sit and relax in their beach chairs and they can handle the finger foods on their own or with a napkin. Finger foods are also easy to obtain from a container or baggies.

Our favorite foods to take to the beach are:

1.  Lettuce Wraps – Lettuce wraps eliminates the need for bread and is a much healthier alternative. The wraps go over much better with adults. Anything green is still an enemy for the kids. Another reason we love wraps is because they are so versatile. You can wrap chicken or tuna salad, spicy shredded beef etc., and control the size of the wraps. If you pack anything with mayo make sure is housed on ice. I use plastic containers to house the wraps because they are water proof and I can cover the container well with the ice.

2. Pepperoni Slices – These are great for both the kids and adults.  You can pack low fat or turkey pepperoni.  Pack plenty, these are a favorite.

3. Fresh Fruits – I love freezing seedless grapes. They are so refreshing after being out in the sun. I also slice a seedless watermelon and cut each slice into 4-6 pieces. I place the slices into gallon zip lock baggies. The children can handle eating it, and the adults devour their share too. Chopped cantaloupe, honeydew or strawberries will work too. Just chop it and place in a gallon baggie. Use a plastic cup to hold the chopped fruit when you’re ready to eat it.

4. Mason Jar Salads – These are great for adults.  I would recommend chopping your ingredients into bit size pieces before you place them in a pint size jar. You can add your favorite dressing before leaving the house. A plastic fork is the only utensil you will need.

5. Fried or Baked Chicken Wing Pieces – These are a huge hit with the kids. They are easy to handle and eat without a plate. I double bag these in gallon baggies and just let the kids grab a few. Place the bones in a plastic bag and just throw them in the trash.

6. Cheese Cubes/Slices and Crackers – The kids love cheese cubes. I buy a bag of the cubed cheese and transfer it to a zip lock baggie. It’s easier to access them from the baggie than the package from the store. I also pack sliced cheese to place between crackers for the kids. They love it.

7.  Brownies – My family loves brownies. I cut them into small squares and place them into baggies. Nice sweet treat without the mess.

8.  Rolled Deli Turkey or Ham – I take deli ham or turkey and roll it. I take a long toothpick and place it through a few olives before placing it through the rolled meat. Both the kids and adults like this. You can also add a slice of cheese to the top of the meat before you roll it.

9.  Chips –  Not healthy, but always great at the beach.  You can purchase low fat or baked. My family doesn’t care. If the bag says chips, it’s on.

Be sure to pack plenty of water, Gatorade, or flavor infused water. It’s better than sugary fruit drinks. I also take a container of wipes that I purchase from the dollar store to whip hands before and after handling the food. What’s your favorite foods to take to the beach?  Please add them to our list, we may want to pack them to.

10 Beach Safety Tips

beach safety, children's beach safety tips



Kids often get excited and need reminders on beach safety.  Being safe in and around the water is a must. Although my granddaughter doesn’t like the ocean, she heads toward the water to fill her bucket for sand castles.  As a result, we need to have somebody watching the water and somebody watching her on the beach.  My grandson on the other hand will stay in the water until he shrivels up. We need someone to stay in the water with him until it’s time to take a break.

I’ve put together a few rules that we use for beach safety. Our beach safety tips will help keep your child out of harm’s way in and out of the water.  As parents it is our responsibility to keep our children safe:

  • Never enter the water alone  –  Make sure children understand that they should only enter the water with an adult or older child.
  • Set limits – Provide an area that they are not to wade past while in the ocean.
  • Observe your surroundings  – Teach them to look for family or landmarks when they want to come out of the water.
  • Train your children to listen – Teach them to listen for the lifeguard’s whistle when they’re in the water and to follow instructions from the lifeguard and family.
  • Stay Hydrated  – They should understand the importance of taking a break from the water to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Offer water, fruit flavored waters or Gatorade instead of soda or sugary fruit drinks.
  • Apply Sunscreen – Make sure everyone is adequately covered in sunscreen. My dermatologist recommended Neutrogena. A beach hat is a good idea too.
  • Explain Signs – Make sure kids understand safety signs posted around the beach.
  • Provide Adult Supervision –  Make sure an adult is always present to oversee the children in the water and on the beach.
  • Re-enforce Stranger Danger  – The beach is full of people, so go over the rules of interacting with strangers, especially adults.
  • Provide a Shaded Area – Set up an umbrella so everyone can rest in the shade and allow the body to cool down and refuel.

What rules do you have for the beach?  We would love to add them to our list.  You may also like:  15 Summer Activities For Kids

7 Ways To Shopping For Kid’s Clothing

Image-Shopping-Kid's-Clothing

It’s amazing how much children grow in a year. Have you noticed that problem with your children? They grow out of pants, shirts, shoes and it happens quickly. At least 2 – 3 times a year I find myself going through my grandchildren’s clothing or asking their mother what kind of clothing they need to get through the summer, winter and the school year. Unfortunately there’s nobody to pass hand me downs too in the house for either, so I look for ways to shop wisely and within my budget.

I’ve found ways to cut down on clothing expense and the children look fabulous.  Just walking into a store at any given time and just purchasing clothing is not an option for me. I shop on a budget and I want quality. Here’s 7 ways while shopping for kid’s clothing that have helped me cut down on expenses:

  1. Purchase clearance items  – I purchase coats, tees, jeans, shorts, sundresses etc. in a bigger size for the next season.
  2. Shop sales – You can score some great buys during the holidays too. Check on-line and your local advertisements for sale items.
  3. Look for free shipping and discounts – When you’re shopping on line – Not paying shipping costs or getting a discount on your order can help cut down on expenses.
  4. Shop thrift and consignment shops – I send tons of clothing to thrift shops that are in excellent shape. Others do the same.  So check them out.
  5. Don’t purchase designer items unless you’re getting a huge discount – Kids outgrow them too quickly, and you will rarely get your money’s worth.
  6. Check out neighborhood yard sales – You can find bargains on jeans for boys to play in and adorable dresses for girls.  If you have a newborn, I’ve seen tons of baby clothing that look brand new.
  7. Check out on-line yard sales – I’ve seen great deals on local Facebook sites too.
I don’t recommend purchasing used shoes for children nor do I think everything has to have a designer label. I would rather save my money for week-end activities and educational items for my grandchildren instead of having them dressed in designer cloths and too broke enjoy life.  We hope you enjoyed our tips on shopping for kid’s clothing.
 
What savvy tips do you have that will help with shopping for kid’s clothing.  We all want to save money.  You may also like: 8 Back to School Shopping Tips

15 Summer Activities For Kids

summer activities for kids

 

School’s out!  This time of year can be stressful for parents.  However, it is a joyful time for the kids. They can sleep in, they will be home all day, and they will need to be occupied in a fun and healthy way.  So, I have a list of summer activities for kids that won’t break the bank.

Furthermore, checking the local newspaper, subscribing to local sites like the zoo, the aquarium, family fun centers, can help you come up with activities.  Getting off the electronics and outside getting fresh air and enjoying the sunshine should be at the top of your list.

Here’s a few activities on my list:

1.  Crafts and Coloring – I’ll occupy the 5  year old with crayons and printables that I collect all year. My grandson loves to do crafts too.  He’s very artistic, so he enjoys drawing and painting.  Set-up a table outside in a shady spot and let them paint and color until their heart is content.

2. Matinee Movies – Matinees are a great summer activity with the kids. They’re much cheaper than evening shows.  Also, theatres in my area offer free movies once a week until the end of the summer.  Check out your local theatre for freebies.

3. Family Fun Center – Next, add a water park to your list of summer activities for kids. You can also include arcade centers, paint ball fun and more.

4. We’ll spend a day at Shenandoah Caverns in Virginia – They have beautiful caverns, an area that houses props from Presidential Inaugurations, floats from Macy’s and the Rose Bowl parades, and an original 1957 Cafe that serves old time shakes, burgers and fries.  Check out your area for unique places to visit.

5. Day At The Park – I will be planning an old fashioned picnic.  Something most parents have lost sight off these days. I will be packing a picnic basket with sandwiches, drinks etc. and find a spot where we can just enjoy nature. The park also has swings, ducks, and paddle boats  Adding in a walk will be the perfect way to get exercise with the kids too. No grilling on this day.

6.  Story Hour At the Library – I’m still partial to actual books and I’ve started a library for both of my grandchildren. I think it’s important that the kids be exposed to books and family friendly stories.  Our local library also offers other activities, so I’ll have to see what’s on the calendar during their stay.

7.  Baking Day – We’ll make funnel cake and bake cupcakes.  The kids love to cook.  I found a kit that has flower pots that we can bake the cupcakes in.  Delicious Blooming Cupcakes baked in a flower pot makes a yummy day.

8.  Berry Picking Day – We’ll spend a few hours at a local farm picking berries to make homemade jam.  They love it on toast and biscuits.

9.  Home Movie Day – We’ll spend the day watching movies from the home DVD collection and eating popcorn. I also have Infinity on Demand. I can found shows or movies that we didn’t see at the theater.

10. Sprinkler Day & Sleep Over – I’ll invite a few of their cousins over to spend the day running through the sprinklers and a sleep over.  I have issues with public pools and the things that happen in them.  They can’t add enough chlorine for me! I’m debating on whether or not I want to put a pool in my backyard.  Once I retire, we’ll be able to enjoy it during the summer.

11. Fishing  – We’ll spend the day fishing and throwing back the fish at one of the stocked ponds in the area.  Life jackets for this one.

12. Summer Reading List –  We’re all avid readers in my family, and this summer I will be adding to my grandson’s summer reading list.  I will be downloading a few books on his Kindle, but I also want him to enjoy handling a good old fashion book.

13. Nature Hike – Summer activities for kids should include a day with nature. Set up a day to go on a small nature hike.  Give each kid a backpack with water, snacks, a magnifying glass, and disposal camera. You can look for bugs, birds, and flowers.

14. Bird Watching – Add birding to your summer activities for kids. Buy inexpensive binoculars for the kids and find them a shady spot in the backyard where they can watch the birds from a feeding station. Let them fill up the feeders, and than wait for the birds to retrieve the treats.

15. Sea Shell Hunt – If you live close to the beach, set up a day to go on a sea shell hunt. You can use the shells to make crafts.

Finally, we hope that you find a few of our summer activities for kids inspirational.  Implement one or two, and get your kids off to a great summer. What activities do your children like to do or participate in during the summer?

 

17 Tips To Help Your Child Make Friends




Just like adults, every child has a desire to make friends. They want to be invited to parties, sleep-overs, and have playmates on the playground. It’s a natural instinct, but they may need a little help in reaching out to another child. Children develop friendships differently from adults, they must first learn social skills. These skills include learning how to communicate, solve problems, cooperate, and negotiate (share). Here are a few tips to help your child make friends:

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