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Archive for March, 2010

Parent Communication | How to Effectively Communicate with Your Children

March 30th, 2010 - Category: Communication

Communication is so key in every type of human relationship. It is how we express ourselves and it is how we understand the expressions of others. To communicate is to effectively portray ones feelings to another. We want others to understand the way we feel so we have developed common signals (verbal or non-verbal) amongst ourselves in order to be able to share those feelings. I like this quote from the wikipedia communication page.

“Although there is such a thing as one-way communication, communication can be perceived better as a two-way process in which there is an exchange and progression of thoughts, feelings or ideas (energy) towards a mutually accepted goal or direction (information).”

Our children wish to express their feelings to us as parents. Sometimes, however, we limit ourselves in trying to recognize the types of symbols that our children use which can sometimes be vastly different than how grown ups communicate. Likewise, children are often confused at the way we strive to communicate with them. This is not because they are at a  ”lesser level” than us, but simply that our ways of communication are different from each other.

Communication and Age

It’s important to remember that your 3 year old toddler will require a different type of communication than your teenage boy. A series of future posts will discuss some of the specific ways in which we should communicate with our children at the varying different stages of their lives.

Be aware however, that the same basic principles of communication apply to nearly all age groups. I found this great article that discusses some of the basics of good parent/child communication. It lists some very key things to remember such as: not towering over your child when speaking to him, don’t ask “why” but rather ask “what happened,” turning off the television or putting down the newspaper when your child is speaking, don’t use put-down words like “dumb” or “stupid,” and many others that are essential in effectively communicating with your kids.

Listen and Learn From Your Kids

You would be surprised at some of the things you can learn from your kids, the stories they tell and the things they do and say. Listening is one of the most important components of effective communication. If the person that is sharing their feelings does not feel like the receiver is listening, they may feel like their ideas are not important to that person and they will be less likely to share their feelings with them in the future.

Getting Your Kids to Talk to You

You children need to know that you care. Many parents complain that they cannot get their kids to say a word to them. Though they try and try, the child never seems willing to share their thoughts with them. This is very common and usually stems from previous repeated occurrences of the parent(s) not showing interest in their children.

Please don’t be taken back by this if you are in this type of situation. Most parents REALLY DO want to know what their children are thinking and be involved in their lives, but many times we don’t know how to effectively communicate that to the child. Here are some helpful hints that may help bring out the emotions and feelings your child has to share.

  • ask open ended questions (what did you think about that? How did that make you feel?… avoid using “why?”)
  • Do not be judgmental. Instead, try to put yourself in their shoes and ask them to explain the situation and how they felt when certain things happened.)
  • Re-state what you understand about their story so they know you are listening and to ensure you understand them correctly
  • Learn about the things your child is interested in. This helps you understand them better. By your being interested in the same things, you can become their friend and not just a parent and they will want to share things with you with less hesitation.
  • Be patient. Do not interrupt them and don’t prod them to speak more. Allow them to explain things at their own pace and in their own time.
  • Ask specific questions about specific topics. Instead of asking, “How was school today?’ you might consider asking, “what did you study today in history?”
  • Refrain from giving advice unless your child specifically asks for it.
  • Sympathize with your child. If they say they hate school, remember when you used to hate school too and express your sympathy for them. This will help them open up about more specifics as to why they stated that they hate school in the first place.

These are just a few of the many tips and topics of discussion that we could bring up regarding communication and getting your children to freely speak with you. Look for more posts on communication in the future and please share with us your ideas on parent communication and how to effectively communicate with your children.

Is Spanking Your Children a Good Idea?

March 25th, 2010 - Category: Behavior Advice

There is much debate amongst parents as to the effectiveness and ethical behavior of spanking children for disciplinary purposes. Is spanking a good idea? We do not wish to take a stand either way on this question but rather offer some insights and direction from recent studies and articles on the topic in order to help give us a better idea about some of the information that is out there for us to consider.

The information in this post is in no way associated with the opinions of My Job Chart and it’s team members. Ultimately it is each families decision as to the particular method of discipline they will use.

Spanking Infants and Toddlers

For the most part, we found from our research that it is probably not a good idea to spank infants or young toddlers. The argument is that, at this age, the child has not developed the cognitive understanding of right or wrong or punishment enough to really comprehend why they are being spanked. An article from CNN states that “A new study of more than 2,500 toddlers from low-income families found that spanking may have detrimental effects on behavior and mental development.” Read the rest of this article here.

Possible Drawbacks to Spanking

We found a number of articles indicating the negative effects of spanking children. We will discuss some possible positive effects in the next section.

An article entitled “Why You Shouldn’t Spank You Child” from the Children’s Hospital Blog, says that “children who were spanked as 1-year-olds tended to behave more aggressively at age 2, and didn’t perform as well as other children on a test measuring thinking skills at age 3.”

Other valid implications for spanking children is that it is a form of threatening and cause of fear. Spanking causes fear in the child and may make the child not want to do something because he/she is afraid of being spanked in the future. However, it is suggested that fear is not effective in the long run because the child often only refrains from the ill behavior only when he/she knows they are in danger of receiving the punishment (when the parent is around). Otherwise, they will find other situations in which they can do it without getting caught.

Possible Positive Effects of Spanking

Nancy Shute from U.S. News Health (Family Health) states in her article “A Good Parent’s Dilemma: Is Spanking Bad?” that “half of parents, and according to some surveys as many as 94 percent, consider a swat on the bottom to be an appropriate form of discipline.”

In the same article, Psychologist James Dobson likens squeezing a child’s shoulder or spanking his behind to discomfort that “works to shape behavior in the physical world.” He writes in The New Dare to Discipline: “The minor pain that is associated with this deliberate misbehavior tends to inhibit it…. A boy or girl who knows love abounds at home will not resent a well-deserved spanking.”

What Should Your Method Be?

Again, we stress that it is ultimately each parent’s decision as to whether they feel it is worth it to spank their children for disciplinary purposes. What works for one family may or may not work for another. We hope you gained some new insights on the pros and cons of spanking from this article and encourage your feedback.

Have a great day and happy parenting!

Making the Most of My Job Chart

March 23rd, 2010 - Category: My Job Chart

So, you heard about this really cool online chore chart system from your friend or perhaps a blogger you follow mentioned it and you decided to give it a try. You have a username and password and you’ve added all your kids and set them up with usernames and passwords as well. You even had fun picking out pictures from your computer for each of your family members and used them for their thumbnails. You’re all set up and maybe you’ve even set up a few chores for “Lucy” to do the next day. Now what?

Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself, is this really going to work? Are my kids going to catch on? Will they really want to do their chores now. What makes this different than any other chore chart we’ve used in the past? Finally, How can I make the most of My Job Chart? Here are a few tips to get you started. We want everyone to take full advantage of the capabilities offered by There are a few key things to keep in mind when using the system and we’re confident it will be worth your time and help in teaching your children to work with a smile.

1. Keep it Simple.

Start off with just a few of the most important chores first. This will build confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Top assign a chore:

  • after logging in to your family profile, click on the button, “assign jobs”
  • check the family member who you want to assign the job to
  • select the job or create your own by typing it in the field entitled, “Create your own job here:”
  • select whether the job is for one day, everyday, weekly on a specific day, and AM or PM. (you can even add an image from your computer as the icon for the job. see #6)
  • if you’re finished, click “I’m all done.”

2. Set a Point Benchmark.

Maybe a good starting point is a penny (1 cent) a point. If a reward that your child wants costs $5.00 then that would be 500 points. It’s easy, and you will be surprised how quickly your kid(s) will learn the value of a dollar.

To assign point values for any job, simply enter in the number of points the job is worth into the appropriate field on the assign jobs page.

3. Use the Sticky Note!

Kids love to be praised.  Send them a love note everyday and see them flourish! To send a sticky note:

  • From the “my family” page, click on the family member’s name that you want to send a sticky to.
  • Type your note in the box located in the upper left corner.
  • When finished, click “I’m All Done” and your note will appear in the bottom right hand corner of their profile page. Awesome!

4. Emails and Texts Keep You in the Loop.

When all morning jobs are done and “I’m Done” is clicked, Mom or Dad get an email or text that lets them know they are completed!  Same thing with evening jobs! You also get an email or text when a reward is earned and “I’m Done” is clicked.

5. Parental Point Adjuster.

This lets you “bonus” points or take them away if you need to. To adjust points for a member of the family:

  • click on the family member that you want to adjust points for from the “my family” page.
  • under “total points” there are two buttons, one with a “+” sign and another with a “-” sign. Click these to either add or subtract one point from the child’s total
  • you can also highlight the total point number and retype the number of points you want the child to have
  • after adjusting the points, click “update” to save.

My Job Chart

6. Custom Icons for Jobs and Rewards.

To add a custom icon/image for any job:

  • click “Jobs Summary”
  • select the job you wish to customize and click “Edit Selected”
  • at the lower-right of the screen, click the red text “ADD YOUR OWN JOB ICON!”
  • A pop-up box with your computer’s files appears. Select the image you wish to use for the icon
  • click “open” and your file is uploaded to myjobchart for that chore
  • save the job by clicking, “I’m All done.”

7. Let Your Kids Decide What They Want to Work For

Nothing helps encourage kids better than something they REALLY want. Allow them to decide what they are doing chores for and set up a reasonable point system with them in order for them to attain their reward.

8. Follow Through

When you get that email or text letting you know they have earned a reward make a big deal out of it and follow through right away!! Throw a party!!

We hope this list helps give you some ideas about how to make the most of My Job Chart. Of course, it was designed to be dynamic and customizable in order to conform to all family types and needs.

Maybe you have some unique ways in which you are using My Job Chart. Maybe you would like to see something that we haven’t thought of yet. Leave your comments below or fill out the the form on the “feedback” tab on the left of the site. We appreciate your input and support.

Behavior Advice | How to Manage Tantrums and Fits

March 18th, 2010 - Category: Behavior Advice

One of the most difficult decisions parents must make together is how to handle tantrums and fits from their children. I say together because that is exactly what should occur, both husband and wife should determine together, before tantrums ever even happen, exactly what they will do when their child begins to throw fits (and they WILL throw fits).

Every Child Will Eventually Throw a Tantrum/Fit

It is inevitable, but everyone eventually gets disappointed to the point where it throws them a little off their rocker. It is a normal tendency, especially of toddlers, to begin acting up and throwing fits to see if they can change a situation in their favor. Do not take offense and don’t be disheartened when this happens. Tantrums can be embarrassing (especially if they are in public) and they can be very frustrating for parents. This is why it is important to keep your cool. Your frustration will only add to the child’s flame and then two or three people are frustrated instead of only one. Here are some helpful hints to help manage temper tantrums and fits when they occur.

Be Patient

It is vital that you do not raise your voice or let the tantrum throw YOU into a tantrum. Be patient and calm when the child begins to act up. This will show them that their actions are not changing anything and they will begin to realize that alternate means of communication might be more effective.

This is easier said than done, especially in a public setting. However, it is even more vital that you do not react any differently in public than you would at home. Do not, under any circumstances, offer them incentives, bribe, threaten, or punish them. Simply encourage them to be quiet and wait it out. If it is necessary, quietly scoop them up and take them outside until they are ready to calm down.

Time Out

At home, it may sometimes be necessary to put a child in “time-out.” This could be a corner or a room in the house where they are isolated and have time to release energy and get it all out until they are ready to calm down and be reasonable.

This specified area should be a consistant location. You should not change where time-out is ever. Also, it is important that this location not be the child’s room or play area but rather a designated area known by both you and the child. Remember that yelling or threatening is still not evident here. If the child gets out of hand, calmly ask them to go to time-out until they are ready to discuss the matter in a reasonable fashion.

Express Love

It is more important than ever, under a tantrum type of circumstance, to show your love for the child that is throwing the fit. As a parent, it is very easy to lose our cool in these instances and say/do things that we don’t mean. Remember to stay calm and tell them that you love them.

I remember as a child when I use to blow up when I didn’t get something that I wanted or something didn’t go my way. I would storm to my room and scream uncontrollably until I lacked the energy to scream anymore. Precisely at that moment, when the screaming had stopped, I would hear my father’s footsteps coming down the hall. He wouldn’t come in as I wasn’t ready for that yet, he would simply stand outside the door, say that he was sorry (even though it was never his fault) and tell me that he loved me no matter what. I will always respect my father for those simple acts of kindness and love that he showed towards me in those times of difficulty.

Discuss the Problem After the Fit (Reconcile)

Finally, it is vital that you do not let the matter go after the child has calmed down. If the problem is not addressed then it will likely evolve to become a problem again in the future and the cycle will keep revolving. Instead, after the tantrum has subsided, approach the child, or have him/her come to you and discuss what went wrong. Try to reconcile the situation so that both you and the child are at a mutual understanding of why things are the way they are. Listen to their side. REALLY listen to what they have to say and don’t get mad or offended. Let them know that you really do care what they have to say and then calmly explain your side of the story. This will limit the potential for the tantrums to reoccur and increase the likelihood of you and your child growing closer as a result.

What are some ideas that you have regarding how to handle tantrums? What has or hasn’t worked for you and why? Please share with us and the community your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Blessings of Parenthood

March 14th, 2010 - Category: General Parenting

Kids screaming, the house is in shambles, you haven’t had a night out with the spouse in a month, and you couldn’t be happier. Right?!

Sometimes it is easy to overlook the joy, love, and hundreds of other blessings that come from being a parent. With so much going on, it is easy to get stressed and overwhelmed with the tasks of day to day parenting. Take heart, today we want to remind ourselves of all the GOOD things that come from being a parent. Remembering some of these key reasons to be happy as a parent may help to lift our spirits and get us through another day of laundry overload and money “underload.”

  • the first time you held her in your arms
  • the first time you saw him smile
  • she said “momma” before “dadda”
  • when she had a rough first day of school, you were the person she came to for comfort
  • you have lower blood pressure (if you don’t believe me, read the article)
  • you live for someone other than yourself
  • you cried when she told you that you were her best friend
  • you get to cheer louder than anyone else in the stands at his football games
  • you’re not alone on “take your daughter to work” day
  • next month, your taxable income is reduced by $3,650 per child (kind of a joke… kind of not)

and finally… you love them :)

Of course we could extend this list forever if we really were to sit down and think of all the good things that come from having kids. It is a good idea to do this every once in a while, especially if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed with the struggles that also come from being a parent. So let us take the next few minutes and think about our own blessings of parenthood. Please share them with us in the comments section below.

How to Create a Good Behavior Chart

March 11th, 2010 - Category: Charts

A good behavior chart can sometimes make all the difference in helping your child develop good habits and encouraging them to continue doing so. Of course it is not the end all be all and other methods of positive reinforcement can also be effective. However, if done correctly, it can be very effective and fun for the whole family, especially for the parent that begins to see the positive improvement in his/her child’s behavior. Here are some steps to take in developing a good behavior chart for your family.

1. Create a Plan for Your Behavior Chart

You should first think about the types of behaviors that you would consider good and the ones that you would consider bad. Outline the good behaviors that you want your children to implement. It’s also important to outline the bad behaviors that you would like to see changed in your child.

Be sure to consider the age of the child when coming up with this behavior outline. A younger child needs more positive reinforcement than anything so it might be appropriate to pick just a few good behaviors that you can reward them for. Older children like teenagers might have both good and bad behaviors outlined.

2. Determine the Rewards for Good Behavior

Once you’ve established the behaviors that you want to see and don’t want to see, come up with a points system or rewards system where the child will be rewarded for good behaviors. Again, for the older children, you might establish a point “withdrawal” system for bad behavior. This will give incentive for the child to engage in the good behaviors and refrain from the bad.

This is a main focus of With our online chore chart, you can assign points for each chore. After the child accomplishes the task, they check it off and the points for that chore are added to their total. Then they can redeem rewards from the points they earn. This is the idea of rewarding children for good behavior. Whether it’s for accomplishing chores or displaying good behavior (which sometimes can be one in the same), rewarding children for doing good is always pertinent.

3. Create the Behavior Chart

You need to decide how you are going to keep track of your child’s good behavior. Whether it is a printable chart, a whiteboard in the hallway, or an online system like, it’s important to choose a system that will be easy for you and is most effective for you and your families needs. If you are looking for some good ideas on different types of chore/behavior charts, this is a very useful post from

4. Discuss the Behavior Chart With Your Child

It is essential that both you and your child know the stipulations of the plan. The child needs to know the rewards  and the punishments for doing good and bad things. Make the discussion a pleasant one. Maybe take your child to eat at his/her favorite restaurant and bring the chart with you to explain to him there (if you’re using myjobchart, bring the laptop. :)

Most children, when confronted with an opportunity to get a reward, are eager to try it out. They are excited to start accumulating points so they can redeem them for things they really like. Take advantage of this initial eagerness by showing your excitement as well and making it a fun time for the whole family. Give them a challenge such as, the first to get to 30 points get’s to take a friend and go with Mom to get ice cream.

5. Be Consistent

Finally, don’t allow the new system to be a “one and done” deal. Many parents find that the initial eagerness of kids to do chores or change behavior is short lived. When the going gets tough, it’s easy to slack off and ignore the chart. Make sure that it becomes a part of your daily routine. Missing even one day can be detrimental because after one day, the next day is easier to miss and the next is even easier until it is not being used at all.

This is all on you as the parent to make sure that the chart is successful. If you get bored with it you can rest assured that your child will discard it even faster. Stay enthused, keep encouraging, and keep rewarding. By following these simple steps, you should be able to create a successful behavior modification chart that works for your family. Try it out and let us know what happens. Leave your feedback with the community and gain additional ideas from their responses.

Happy Parenting!

What Video Games are Good for My Kids?

March 9th, 2010 - Category: Video Games

We’ve talked in a previous post about some of the detrimental impacts that video games can have on children. Their addictive nature and the fact that they are a time muncher are just a couple of the side effects that can come from video games. However, we also mentioned some of the positive effects that video games can have on children such as higher level thinking skills, processing, and learning to be resourceful.

Because video games, when played in moderation, can have a positive influence on children, it’s important that we as parents are aware of what is out there. When your child wants to purchase a game, how do you know if it is appropriate for their age or, even more importantly, your families standards. Here, we will discuss some of the things to look for in a game to determine if it is a good fit for your child and also list a few games that are on the “good” list for children.

Video Game Ratings

You are at Wal-Mart and your son comes to you with a green plastic “DVD” case and says he “HAS” to have this game. Some of you will recognize from the color and graphics on the case that the game is for X-Box. Some X-Box game covers are actually silver and white, the platinum edition games, but this not important to the point we’re trying to make.

In this pivotal moment, you have to make a decision. Do you disregard your son’s request and simply say, “we can’t afford it?” Perhaps he has been very good and has done his chores faithfully for a long period of time and you feel like he needs to be rewarded. You want to buy him the game but you are not sure it has violent or graphic content.

There is a quick remedy to this situation. In the bottom left corner of each game, there is a box image that contains the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating for the game. The front of the game will contain one of 7 different ratings. These ratings are explained below.

ESRB Early Childhood EARLY CHILDHOODTitles rated EC (Early Childhood) have content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.
EVERYONETitles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
EVERYONE 10+Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
TEENTitles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.
MATURETitles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
ADULTS ONLYTitles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.
RATING PENDINGTitles listed as RP (Rating Pending) have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game’s release.)

Games Making the MJC “Good” List

Though these ratings from the ESRB can be helpful in making a decision on a particular game that you don’t know anything about, there may still be times where you personally feel that something is not appropriate for your child even though it lines up with his age group on the box rating. So, we’ve compiled a list of fun games that are definitely family approved. Most of these are geared towards multi-player games that the whole family can enjoy (the list is not all inclusive and discretion should still be taken by the parent to determine whether the game fits your families standards).

  • Mario Kart Wii (fun racing game that can accommodate up to 4 players. Gather shells, bananas, lightning, and other ammo to throw at your competitors and impair their racing to move ahead.)
  • MLB 09: The Show (baseball simulation in which the player controls one or all of the players on a Major League Baseball team or some select Minor League Baseball teams)
  • Cars for X-Box 360 (Help Lightning McQueen win the Piston Cup Championship and cross the finish line first in this family classic.)
  • FIFA Soccer 10 (Choose your favorite teams, club or country, and learn to shoot like Rooney. This is a fun technical game with many updated features from the 09 edition.)
  • Wii Sports (Wii Sports seems to be everyone’s favorite Wii game. Encompassing baseball, bowling, boxing, golf and tennis, the games are simple but addictive. Best of all, it comes free with the console and up to four players can compete at once.)
  • Wii Fit (an exercise game consisting of activities using the Wii Balance Board peripheral. Wii Fit is currently the second best selling video game in history and is fun for the whole family. This game offers a fun and easy way to exercise.)

We hope you enjoyed this list and find benefit in the information regarding game ratings. What are some other video games that you and your family enjoy playing together?

Stop Playing Video Games! Parenting Advice for Children Addicted to Video Games

March 8th, 2010 - Category: Video Games

It is predicted by researchers that 8.5% of youth ages 8 to 18 who play video games show collective signs of addiction that psychologists know exist in pathological gamblers. This according to Douglas Gentile, PhD, an assistant professor at Iowa State University.

The negative effects of video games on children are evident all around. Not only can they eat up a large portion of a child’s time each day, leaving less time for more constructive activities like sports, homework, and chores, but they also can be very harmful psychologically and be detrimental to a child’s social interactions.

We’re not trying to be the big bad wolf on video games so don’t think that a few minutes of video games a day by your child is worth getting up-in-arms about. Video games can actually be a very good way to help children develop high-level thinking skills and other attributes such as resource management, multitasking, and on-the-spot thinking. However, too much of anything can become a hindrance and video games are especially harmful because of their addictive nature.

This in mind, let us discuss some helpful hints for parents who may have children that either are addicted or may be in danger of becoming addicted to video games.

1. Talk With Your Child About the Behavior

Have a seat with your child and talk about some of your concerns with his/her spending too much time playing video games. Discuss why you are worried and be genuine. Try not to be at all confrontational or upset. Do not accuse them of doing anything wrong. As far as they know they haven’t done anything wrong. Try to come up with a plan to reduce the amount of time spent on video games and increase time spent performing other labors.

2. Set-up a Time Period Each Day for Video Games

If your children are  only allowed to play video games during a given 30 mins in a day, they will be forced to engage in other activities during their free time. This will increase their ability to be creative. Also, you will free up some time for them to do homework, play outdoors with friends, and help out with chores around the house

3. Use MyJobChart to Help Children Work for Gaming Time

MyJobChart’s ingenious chore chart system allows parents to set up chores for children online. Each child has an account where they log in and see the chores assigned them each day. When the child finishes a chore, he/she gets points and these points can accumulate and be cashed in for rewards. As a parent, you could specify the amount of points that would equal 1 hr of video games for you children. In this way you teach your children that work comes first and then they are able to enjoy the fruits of their labors. It is also fun for them because it is online. They may even feel like they are playing a video game already just by getting to log in, check off chores, and browse rewards.

4. Provide Alternate Forms of Entertainment

Sometimes kids play video games because they feel like they just don’t have anything else to do. If the bike tire is flat, the skateboard is broken, or their is nobody to play basketball with, it is going to be very easy for the child to go to the TV and fire up the X-Box or Play Station. Make sure your children have different options for what they do with their free time and when they do have free time, suggest they do one of these other activities as opposed to playing video games. This may even require that you take time out of your day to drive them to the skate park, soccer field, or a friend’s house.

5. Help Them Make Friends

It is sad, but oftentimes children begin playing video games alone for extended periods of time each day simply because they lack the ability to make real friends at school or in social settings. As parents, think of ways that you can help your child make friends with similar interests. If some of your friends have children, invite your child to come with you when you do things at a friends house. Your children will be in a situation where they can interact and spend more time with each other which can lead to developing deep and lasting friendships. You can also help them by signing them up for extra-curricular activities such as basketball, dance classes, gymnastics, or drawing clubs.

Perhaps you have some ideas on how else you might be able to help children stop spending as much time playing video games. Please share with us what has worked for you or ask any questions or specific problems you may be facing. We would love to hear your feedback.

Ten Useful Supernanny Tips for Parents

March 4th, 2010 - Category: General Parenting

Being a  parent is becoming harder and harder in a world that is constantly changing and where morals and high standards continue to diminish. As a parent, you want the best for your children. You want them to succeed in an increasingly competitive world and you want them to make good decisions. The most important factor in determining the success of children in the real world is how they are brought up in the home.

We all want to be the best parent we possibly can be. We want to teach our kids the necessary skills they will need in times of trial and big decisions. With this in mind, as well as the previous statement that everything starts in the home, we’re offering some useful supernanny tips for parents in establishing a productive household with obedient and happy children. The list is not meant to be in order of priority and it is not meant to be an “all inclusive” sure fire method to success. However, taking ideas from this list and implementing them in your own creative way can ensure that you are taking steps in the right direction for your family. The first three come from the supernanny herself, Jo Frost.

1. Determine Your Family Values (What Type of Parent do You Want to Be?)

When you were in grade school your teacher would ask you, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” At first it may have seemed like a silly questions seeing that it felt like forever until “growing up” would actually occur. Looking back now, it didn’t take long to figure out that time flies. Having an idea of what you wanted to be when you grew up gave you focus and direction. The same holds true for parenting. It is important to decide now, whether you’re a first year mother of 1 or an experienced father/mother of 10 wonderful children, what type of parent you want to be.

Determining what type of parent you want to be requires formulating the values you want to uphold in your family. By teaching your kids these values when they are young, you start to develop strong bonds with them as the family unit will have a clear direction and purpose. “As a potter molds clay to form a beautiful creation, so does the strong bond of family and good values.” The article this quote was taken from is worth a read.

2. Lead by Example

Once you have established these core principles and values in your home, make sure that you are really trying your best to follow them. It is absurd to expect your child who is younger and less experienced than you to live up to standards that you yourself aren’t even staying true to. Children learn by imitating their parents. If you want your children to not tell you lies, prove to them that you never lie to them and be sincere in all of your efforts.

3. Spend Time With Your Children

It is a well known fact that spending quality time with your children is immensely important. In fact, it may be THE most important thing in regards to a child’s self-esteem and overall success in life.

Not only does spending time with your child help him/her feel loved and cared for, studies also show that it can help them become more intelligent. Children who spend large amounts of  time with their fathers are said to have higher IQs and are more prone to experiencing better future career prospects.

So, whether it’s nightly story-time with your daughter, a daily game of catch with your son, or simply a nightly meal with the entire family, quality time is essential in establishing a good family environment.

4. Choose the Right Rules for YOUR Family

Each families situation is different. Depending on where you live, how you were raised in your own family, and what goals you want to accomplish with your kids, the rules you set for your children will most likely differ from other families experiencing different circumstances.

Regardless of the rules you set for your family, it is important to remain consistent. Make sure that when a rule is set, a predetermined punishment is fixed, and that you stick to those guidelines. This way, a child is completely aware of the consequences of breaking the rule and knows that he/she will not be able to persuade you out of punishment or compensation, which brings us to our next point.

5. Reward Children for Good Behavior and Work

There is nothing that can replace the value of teaching your children the importance of hard work. Learning to work helps kids know the value of a dollar and teaches them that they can accomplish great things through effort and determination.

Equally important is the importance of rewarding your children for good work. When a child finishes a chore that you set up, he/she should be rewarded for accomplishing the task. This can be easily managed by setting up a free, customizable chore chart through You can set up rewards for your children when they finish chores and earn points towards those rewards. When a child knows he/she will be compensated for working, it is easier for them to justify spending the time to do it. You wouldn’t go to work everyday if you didn’t know at the end of the week you would be getting a pay check. Children are no different. They should be rewarded for good behavior and for hard work.

6. Control Video and Computer Game Time

Today, many children are glued to the TV or computer screen as online games and video games continue to increase in popularity. It is easy for these activities to become habit forming and addicting if proper action and rules are not put in place from the beginning. Thus, it is important to, if possible, address the problem before it becomes a problem.

Allocating a maximum “per day” usage of the internet and gaming consoles will go a long way in ensuring that your child’s time is not eaten up by gaming or surfing the net.

7. Keep a Clean Home

A cluttered house promotes stress and irritation. If you’re implementing all the above steps, you may be finding that it is hard to find the time to keep the house as clean as you would want. Though it is time intensive, having a clean house is worth the work and will make your home a pleasant place to be both for you, your kids, their friends, and your friends. Their friends will want to come over and spend time at your house. This makes it easier for you to keep track of their activities and you are more able to be involved in their life.

Here’s some quick hints on keeping a tidy house when time is hard to come by.

  • Hire a maid
  • Do a little at a  time (don’t overload by thinking you have to clean the whole house in one shot)
  • set apart a half hour each day to clean house
  • don’t stress over small messes (keep things in perspective)

8. Determine and Keep a Family Routine

A daily routine keeps kids from getting into trouble. The less leisure time they have, the less time they have to try and come up with things to do. It is when kids have nothing to do that they start to get into mischief. They are trying to satisfy a void.

Encouraging children to participate in extra-curricular sports and activities will help fill this void and fill up their day with constructive activities. They will increase their abilities and will increase their confidence. Your kids having a routine will help mold your own daily routine as you will have to plan your day around their activities as well (taking and picking up from school, practice, club meetings…etc). This helps everyone in the family feel accomplished and offers more opportunities for you to praise and show love to your children.

9. Share Your Love

Knowing that they are loved does more than anything to boost the confidence and success of a child. When they know that you are proud of them they want to do more to make you proud. They desire that you are pleased with them and the accomplishments they make.

We all know that this is important but sometimes as parents, it is difficult to know in which ways we can show our love for our children. Here are some suggestions on how you can truly show your child that you care.

  • Give them your attention (When they ask you to look at something… LOOK!)
  • Listen to them (Try to refrain from always talking and telling. Instead, listen and learn)
  • Encourage them (When they do something new, tell them how cool they are. Let them know that no matter what, you still think they are the best in the world.)
  • Share With Them (Don’t just share your money and house with them, share with them your thoughts, emotions, ideas, and activities. Make them feel like they are a part of your life)

10. Recognize Your Limitations and Start Fresh

Finally, you are never going to be a perfect parent. The sooner you realize this the better. By understanding that you are not the perfect parent, you open yourself up to new ideas and learning. It is important to be able to adjust to different circumstances and change. Not everything that worked with your first child will work for your second or third child. Each person is different and we all react differently to different ways of being taught. Be willing to learn and grow and change as you start finding out things that work and don’t work for you.

We all have grown up under unique individual circumstances and a lot of the ideas we have about parenting we developed from our parents and how they reared us. If you were raised in an overly strict family, perhaps you want to be on the opposite end and have a very “un-strict” way of parenting. Regardless of this, figure out what your motives are and pinpoint your style. Then, accept that certain things have influenced the way you parent and the reason you do what you do. Finally, understand that you are NOT your parents and you can choose to learn from what they did and not be chained down by it.

Take the good that you’ve learned from them or any other parental figure in your life and utilize those techniques. Discover the bad ones that you may have been exposed to and come up with a reasonable way of changing it.

Are there any other tips that you have on parenting? Please feel free to comment on these and share some of your own.

Five Ways to Improve Family Mealtime

March 3rd, 2010 - Category: Family Time

With the hustle and bustle of our daily activities, many parents feel like they are always running behind. It is easy to catch yourself saying things like, “there just isn’t enough time in a day,” or, “Can’t I get just five minutes to myself?” It’s easy to stress about life when we are so busy and are running a thousand miles per hour.

Not only is it hard on us as parents, it’s also tough on children when we are so busy that we sometimes neglect finding time to spend with them. Family mealtime is not only a great way to wind down after a long hard day, it is also a very effective and meaningful way to spend quality time with your children and spouse.

An article on writes that, “Studies show that the more often families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide, and the more likely they are to do well in school, delay having sex, eat their vegetables, learn big words and know which fork to use.” This in mind, even when we take the time out of our day to have family mealtime, it often doesn’t go as planned and can seem like even more of a hassle adding more stress to our day. Here are some tips help smooth out family mealtime and make it as effective as possible.

1. Don’t Stress About the Meal Itself

Sometimes mothers can over-obsess about cooking an elaborate meal every single night. This is simply not necessary. What’s more important is the consistency of eating together. Less important is what you actually eat. Keep it simple to reduce stress and save the time consuming gourmet meals for special occasions. Though not recommended, if time doesn’t permit making a meal, even ordering a delivery meal and eating in with the family is better than no mealtime at all.

2. Be Consistent

Make sure your kids and spouse know that every night at a specified time, they are to be home for family dinner. Pick a time that will work for everyone’s schedule. Even if some members of the family can only be there for 30 mins, make sure that all members can be HOME for family dinner at a specific time each day.

3. Good, Bad, and Funny

Especially if you are new to family mealtime, it may seem awkward at first for everyone to be together at once and eating around the table. Break the tension and get everyone comfortable by having each person tell about their day. Go around the table and have each person relate something good, bad and funny about their day. You may get some “less than involved” responses at first but eventually, as it becomes routine, family members will begin to open up more and the time will become something to look forward to rather than dread.

4. Plan Out the Next Day

Because life IS busy and individual schedules are always changing, take this time together to figure out the next day’s schedule for each person. Find out whether anyone’s plans need to be altered in order to fit a change in someone else’s schedule. By doing this, everyone can be on the same page and you can avoid being overwhelmed by sudden shifts in your assumed schedule.

5. Relate Good Achievements of Family Members

If you’re a parent, hopefully you are recognizing some of the good things that your children are doing. It is good that you are doing this, but it is also important that you relate your acknowledgment of their achievements, not only to them, but to the other family members as well. Use family mealtime to talk about each family member and their achievements. Kind words like, “You guys should have seen Brett in his game today, he was the best one on the court,” or, “Tracy sure impressed Miss Webb today with her answers in history class,” can really help to bring a good mood into family mealtime.

What are some other ways that you and your family have used to help family mealtime be more enjoyable and less stressful? We’d love to hear your ideas.

Advice for Parents Struggling to Get Children to Work

March 2nd, 2010 - Category: Teaching Kids to Work

It is a popular complaint from parents today that they don’t feel like their children are engaged in as many work related activities as they were at the same age. Parents feel like they were put to work at younger ages and had much more responsibility than their kids do. A 2001 Time/CNN poll stated that 75 percent of American adults believe children today do fewer chores than did the children of 10 or 15 years earlier. Many parents struggle with the fact that their kids are “spoiled” or feel like they are given everything on a silver platter. In fact, from the same Time article, 68 percent of parents think their own children are either “somewhat” or “very” spoiled.

Why is it Important to Teach Our Kids to Work?

Though it is easy to think that we as parents somehow had it “harder” than our children do today, these types of numbers do indicate that children today are experiencing less responsibility or are required to do less than children from generations before. When children have little responsibility they have more leisure time. This leaves more room for them to develop other, less productive, activities to engage in and also promotes laziness. All of these things can lead to huge detriments for children and their likelihood of succeeding in the future.

Teaching Kids to WorkIt is vital to give children responsibility and it needs to start at a young age. You may think that a 4 year old is not old enough to be required to do chores. However, it is very common and highly suggested that even younger children have daily tasks that are required of them. Brushing your teeth, showering, picking up toys after being used, putting your own dishes in the sink after dinner, and eating vegetables are good ideas of simple tasks for those not yet old enough to engage in other, more difficult chores.

Breaking the Laziness Cycle

If you have started late in teaching your children to work, it may be a bit more of a struggle to break the habit of laziness. Many parents are scraping and clawing trying to come up with ideas of how to help their children get off the couch and stop playing video games. If you are having difficulty motivating your child to do simple chores or take on other responsibilities around the house or, with teenagers, trying to get them to find a job, here are a few bits of advice that you may want to consider.

1. Don’t Give Them Everything They Want

It’s easy to fall into a habit of providing things for our kids when they are in need. “Dad, my friends and I are going to go to the movies tonight, can I have $20?” “I need new shoes for basketball.” These are very common questions and statements from children and there are millions of others that are geared for the same end result, you giving them what they want. It is a good idea if you are struggling to get your kids to work, to cut them off from this to some degree and require that they start earning some of the things they enjoy having.

My Job Chart offers a free online chore chart where you can customize rewards for your children. When they earn enough points, they can cash them in for prizes, money, or any other reward that you set up with them. You decide the chore and the points, and they can decide how to use their points. This is a great tool for teaching kids to work

2. Reward Your Kids

Piggy-backing off the previous statement, it is very important to offer incentives for your children to do work. It goes hand in hand with not providing everything for them for free. Once you cut them off from the source of the things they need, they are required to work for it. It is important to reward them for their work. No one wants to do work for free. Incentives are a necessary part of motivation.

3. Show Them How to Work

It is important that you do not just simply “tell” your children what they “have” to do. This is often met with a negative response and it is less likely that they will do what they have been told. If they do end up conceding, they will not enjoy the work and they will more than likely give a half hearted effort and not take away the value of the job that they could have otherwise.

Teach your children “how” to work. Work alongside them on outdoor projects. Build a play house “with” them. Teach them how to use different tools. Let them hold the flashlight for you while you change the oil on your car or change the tire. Teaching your children simple life skills will be a benefit to them and will help them understand the value of being able to accomplish tasks by themselves.

4. Let Your Kids Know They are Needed

Everyone wants to feel like they are part of something. Kids want to feel useful to their parents. We need to let them know that we really NEED their help (even if we really don’t). It may be WAY easier for you to stir the hamburger helper by yourself or to just take over and set the table. It may be more hassle than it’s worth to try and force your 13 year old son to unload the laundry and fold the clothes. However, it is essential that you take a back seat at times and have your children help. Work alongside them but let them work. Let them help and teach them that they really are helping.

Any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Let us know your success stories or your struggles through the comment section below. We can all learn from each other when we work together.

Welcome to the Parenting Tips Blog!

March 1st, 2010 - Category: My Job Chart

The time has finally come and we are ready to kick off the new “Parenting Tips Blog” at The Parenting Tips Blog was developed in order to give parents a trusted source to go to in search of useful parenting ideas and information.

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Being a parent today is harder than ever. It is easy to get frustrated and impatient when things don’t go exactly as we planned or had hoped they would in regards to how we rear and teach our children. We all have our own ideas and methods that we use to help our children grow and progress in a safe environment and have the opportunities they need to develop all of their given talents.

Parenting is one of the most difficult jobs in the world but it can also be one of the most rewarding endeavors that life has to offer. The Parenting Tips Blog wishes to aid parents in their pursuit of making parenting a rewarding endeavor.

About the Blog

The Parenting Tips Blog will offer frequent posts on different areas of parenting. Some of the posts will come from trained professionals and child psychologists, while others will be written by the greatest professionals of all – real parents.

The blog will include posts on topics such as:

  • advice on helping your children understand the need for developing good work habits
  • making family mealtime more effective
  • keeping your children off the x-box 360 and other gaming devices
  • how to manage tantrums and fits
  • keeping children safe at home
  • how to effectively use to teach children to work
  • …and much more

the Parenting Tips Blog will cover all aspects of parenting and how to be more successful and effective as a parent.

Share Your Ideas With Us

The blog has been developed to not only be a source of information, but we hope it will provide a hub for parents to participate and share ideas with each other about parenting. Each blog post will end with an invitation for readers to share their thoughts on the ideas offered in the post and to provide additional tips on things that your family does that works. These will be valuable for other readers who can take the ideas they feel will work in their own family and implement them.

We also encourage everyone to share your success stories with the community. Maybe you tried something that another reader suggested and found that it worked great in your own family. Tell us about it so that we can all share in the success and joy of being parents.

Join the Parenting Tips Blog Community

We  would invite all to subscribe to the blog either via RSS or to receive email updates so that you are notified every time a new “tips” post has been published. With your participation, we can all grow and be  edified from each other and enjoy the journey of becoming a better parent. Please notify us of any questions you have either by commenting in the section below or contacting us directly. We are always seeking to improve the site and we hope you enjoy