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Archive for May, 2010

10 Things You Never Liked Until You Became a Parent

May 31st, 2010 - Category: General Parenting

Parents, this one’s just for fun. I thought it would be fun to come up with a list of things that parents really like now that maybe would have not been so appealing 10 or 15 years ago in our teenage years or even later. Of course this list is not ALL INCLUSIVE so let’s hear some of your ideas :). Don’t forget to forward this on to your friends who are parents.

And now… the TOP TEN things you never liked until you became a parent.

1. Going to Bed at 8:30PM

If there’s one thing that kids hate it’s having a curfew. Going to bed early just isn’t cool when you’re 16 I don’t care who you are. However, things change a little when you’re grown and living under the same roof as your spouse with children that wear you out all day. Early bedtime is something all parents long for.

2. Reading Parenting Tip Blogs :)

I mean really, did you even think there was such a thing before you became a parent? Most things come as a product of necessity and likewise, you wouldn’t go looking for tips on parenting if you weren’t a parent.

3. Following Mommy Bloggers

Along with parenting tips blogs, the market of mommy bloggers is increasing dramatically everyday as new mothers and fathers look to promote their ideas to other parents via the internet. The name “mommy blogger” just straight up sounds silly to anyone who has never heard of the term before. It’s just something you don’t really understand until you get into it and this usually isn’t until you’re a stay at home mom with a little more time on your hands while the kids are at school.

4. Being a Kid

We usually want what we don’t have. When we’re kids we want to be grown up and do grown up things because we can’t do them yet. When we’re grown up and can’t do things like we could when we were kids it is just as frustrating.

5. Asking Mom for Advice

Mom never knew what she was talking about back then. Now she’s the number one “go to” person for advice on everything and anything.

6. Having a Routine

When I was young I didn’t want to do things in any particular order. I hated people telling me what to do and when to do it. Having a routine was boring and not cool. Now, without a routine, I’m lost!

7. Baby Wipes (You can use them for anything!)

This little moist towelettes were “icky” when I saw my mom use them on my little sister. Now I find they are useful for just about anything. I could make a list a mile long of all the things you can clean with these babies.

8. Mini-Vans (Can’t Beat Chrystler’s “stow-n-go” Feature on the 2010 Model)

As a kid, the mini-van was as embarrassing as all get up. We’d pull up to school and the kids would all pile out. You knew everyone in the whole school was watching and laughing. Oh the pain. Oh the agony and shame.

Muumuu9. Naps

We all wish we could have one right now… enough said.

and finally…
10. Muumuus!!

From wikipedia, “Muumuu are also popular as maternity gowns… because they do not restrict the waist.” Once you have your baby you just never want to let the muumuu go. Soooo comfy!

Teenagers and Drug Addictions | How to Confront Your Child

May 27th, 2010 - Category: Drugs

The persistent problem of drug addiction amongst teenagers is one of great concern and, in many cases, is on the forefront of parent’s minds as their children begin to reach the age where drug abuse is prominent. Drugs are addicting, disempowering, and, perhaps most importantly, they limit a person’s potential. Teenagers often use drugs to feel a part of the in crowd. Approval from peers is important in the mind of a 16 year old. This is true no matter how well the child has been taught at home. And oftentimes, when exposed to the wrong types of peers, a child will do something that compromises what he has been taught and what he believes in order to please a friend.

If, through great misfortune, drug addiction has crept into the life of your teenager, please know that there is help. It is not the end of the world and there are ways of dealing with the situation without making it worse. We need to know how to confront a child about drug abuse without them feeling like we are condemning or preachings to them. This will only make the situation worse and it can lead to other undesirable outcomes. Here are a few suggestions on how to confront your child about drug abuse or drug addiction.

Stay Calm When You Find Out About Your Child’s Drug Abuse

Unless there is serious danger associated with your child’s drug abuse/addiction, do not rush into things. If you were to confront your child the moment you found out about his/her problem, you would be reacting instinctively and this could cause potential problems. Usually, when you first find out about the problem you are mad, frustrated, in despair, concerned, or despondent.

There are any number of emotions that will flood through you, but either way you are not in your right frame of mind. Take a few to unwind and make sure you are in the right mind set before you approach your child. Make a plan to confront them. Decide the time, place and setting that would be most conducive to both you and your child responding positively.

Make Sure Your Child is Not Intoxicated

Not only should you be in the right frame of mind when approaching your child regarding drug abuse, your child should also be free from any drug influence. He/she should be calm and comfortable in an environment that is conducive to communication with you.

Make a Plan

It’s vital that you go into the conversation with a game plan. Have specific examples as to why you suspect that he/she is using drugs. Make sure you clearly state your concerns. Re-assure them that you love them and that you only want what’s best for them. Clearly lay out the dangers and the logistics of their behavior and why it can be harmful not only to themselves but others including their friends and you (their parents).

How to Act During the Conversation

Listed below are some things that you should and shouldn’t do/be while discussing the matter of drug addiction or drug abuse with your child.

Do be:

  • Understanding (“I realize a lot of kids take drugs.”)
  • Firm (“As your parent, I cannot allow you to engage in harmful activities.”)
  • Supportive (“We love you and sense something is troubling you, in which case we want to help.”)

Don’t be:

  • Sarcastic (“Don’t think you’re fooling me!”)
  • Accusatory (“You’re a liar.”)
  • Hostile (“How could you be so stupid?”)
  • Self-pitying (“How could you do this to our family?”)
  • Self-blaming (“What did I do wrong?”)

Always remember that if your child is having problems with drug abuse, he/she really needs your help. Whether they know it or not, they are crying out to you or anyone to help them. They need attention and they need someone to understand them. Do everything in your power to not criticize or demean your child during this important juncture in his/her life. You have a great opportunity to make a positive influence in their life.

Teaching Kids About Money and How Money Works

May 17th, 2010 - Category: Money

My senior year of college I took a finance class where I learned about money and how it works. It wasn’t until after this class that I realized how much I wish I had been able to take a class like this in High School. Teaching kids about money and how money works is so important.

Knowing the value of a dollar can empower kids to do great things and helps them appreciate what they have now and prepare for what they must do in order to have it still in the future when Mom and Dad are not around to provide for them anymore. So what is the best way to teach kids about money? How do we help them understand that money does not grow on trees and that all they enjoy now is a result of hard work and smart financing?

What is a Bank Account?

One of the first things children should know is how a bank account works. It’s easy to think that a plastic card is a ticket to ice cream and toys, but it’s important to properly educate your children on how a debit card works. They need to know that it is linked to an actual bank account that gets depleted and has to be continually added to through working and receiving pay. They also need to clearly understand the difference between a credit card and a debit card.

There are some good bank account board games out there to help teach children how bank accounts work.

Another good way to help children understand this is to set up a mock bank account for them where they keep track of incoming and outgoing money. You can use your chore chart to assign a weekly/monthly allowance. They get a “check” to deposit into “your” bank account and they receive a statement. When they want to purchase something, they can write a check to you for money or for a trip to the store. This way, they learn to balance a checkbook and they also learn the process of working for what they desire.

The Importance of Saving

After you have set up a virtual bank account for your kids, stress to them the importance of saving. One of the biggest problems in society is that we do not save money for a rainy day. When hard times come (and they always do) it’s important to have some sort of nest tucked away in order to maintain the essentials like food, clothing and any permanent bills you may have.

A good rule of thumb is to save 10% of all you earn. Teach children that as they save a small portion of each pay check (allowance) it will continue to grow and grow. Consider offering them a percentage increase on saved funds. Make it a sizable percent to re-enforce that saving money actually makes your money grow exponentially.

The Power of Investing

Once they’ve caught the vision of saving and letting their money work FOR them, introduce to them the concept of investing money in things that can help their money grow even faster. You should make the decision on what age to introduce your child to the stock market and the idea of investing as each child’s understanding is different. However, the sooner they understand this the better.

There are a ton of online “mock” stock markets where you can invest funds in certain stocks and see how well you do with investing in certain companies. You could encourage your children to try these out. Also, talk to them about investing in material assets and businesses.

If they love reading comics, encourage them to invest in buying books in bulk so they can rent them out to their friends. They’re friends can rent them from you for a cheaper price than buying them new and once you’ve read it once you don’t need it anymore anyway so they wont have a problem returning it so that you can rent it to the next person. teach them that investing in a business can help them earn recurring revenue.

Being a Parent | What It Takes and Why It’s Worth It

May 12th, 2010 - Category: General Parenting

What does it take to be a parent? A lot of young people do not fully realize the great responsibility of being a parent. It’s easy to say to kids that they, “just don’t understand” or, “when you grow up you’ll finally realize what I had to go  through for you.” It’s true that children may not at first appreciate all that goes into raising a family.

In this same light, it stands to reason that parents need to really know what it takes to be a parent. Whether you are preparing to be the guardian of your first born or you are a mother of 7, it’s important to review some of the key traits of good parents. I’ve asked our facebook and twitter fans what they feel it takes to be a parent and have received some great responses. I’ve summarized all of them into just three categories Love, Encouragement, and Patience.

What it takes to be a parentLove

It’s easy to love your kids when they are young, cute, and innocent. What about when they don’t always do what you would like them to do? What if they consistently rebel and don’t want anything to do with the advice you offer?

Unconditional love means you love your kids regardless of what they do. It’s important to keep this in mind when times are hard to help you see the big picture. Remembering past experiences and times when your child made you happy/proud can really help you love them during times when you are not so pleased with them.

Encouragement

I think sometimes we mistake encouragement for telling or trying to force kids to do certain things. This is not the type of encouragement I’m talking about. The type of encouragement that it takes to be a parent is the type that empowers and instills self-assurance in kids.

Kids need to be told they are good in order to develop self-worth. You really need to find something to praise your kids for everyday. It needs to be done individually and sincerely. “Kelly, way to go on your grades girl!” “Mike, your such a good son. I love you. Thanks for taking out the trash today.” Just some ideas ;)

Patience

After the 1 millionth diaper change you might start to get a glimpse of what being patient really means. Patience really is a virtue and it takes patience to be a parent regardless of how obedient/disobedient your children are.

Being a parent means being patient with the growing/learning process of you kids. You can’t expect them to read at age 2 just like you can’t expect your secretary to be able to change the exhaust manifold on your car. It’s not yet in their repertoire. Usain Bolt didn’t step onto the track for the first time and run a 9.58 second 100 meter dash. These things take time and patience.

Being patient with your children will help you love and praise them easier and they will, in turn, develop faster (ironic?).

Why It’s Worth It To Be A Parent

1.Rediscovering the world through your child’s eyes.

2. The feeling of your little child falling asleep in your arms at night.

3. You get to watch a life grow and blossom

4. The sense of accomplishment when you see your child succeed at something he/she loves

5. You hear the words, “I love you mom.”

6. Your kids make you feel like a kid again

7. They eventually go to sleep at night

8. _____________ (left blank intentionally… feel in your favorite reason and tell your son/daughter that you love them)

My Job Chart is a FREE online chore chart that teaches kids to work in a fun and productive way. Try My Job Chart Today and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for more parenting articles.

How to Share Parenting Responsibilities

May 7th, 2010 - Category: Communication

How do you decide who changes the next poopy diaper? How about who gets to wake up in the middle of the night and hold the baby or who gets to pick up the kids from school on Wednesday. I’m sure we can all remember times when these conversations have come up. Am I right?

So I guess the real question is, how do you share parenting responsibilities so that things are fair and that both you and your spouse equally participate in the rearing of your children? Here we discuss some of the keys to ensuring that the weight of parenting is shared equally by both Mother and Father.

Mothers Feeling Neglected

It’s easy to share the laughs, smiles and successes of your children. It’s a lot of fun to watch them grow and develop new skills together. But, what about when it comes to the harder stuff. It’s really easy, especially for new mothers, to feel like there is an unequal distribution of responsibility between you and your spouse. Mothers most often are home with the kids dealing with all that goes on throughout the day while the husband is out to work dealing with adults, and other “grown-up” decisions.

Because usually there is one parent who doesn’t spend as much time at home, it’s important for the one who does to not feel like they are getting the raw end of the deal. A better way to go about it is to determine what responsibilities are split during the time when you are BOTH at home.

Make Sure Everyone is in the Know

Communicate freely with your spouse about what specific jobs or responsibilities each of you will take on during those few short moments in the morning before work and the 4 or 5 hours after work before everyone is in bed. When each is in agreement, then  there is nothing left on the table and no one is left wondering or complaining about what is to be done.

Can My Job Chart Help Parents Share the Load?

It may even be appropriate to a chore chart for each other using My Job Chart. A few of our users have already done  this. You could set up a separate account where you can manage your own chores for each other. When you check off your chores you could  give each other points and reward yourselves by hiring a baby sitter and having a nice night on the town. The possibilities are endless.

However you decide to share the load, be sure that both you and your spouse are completely in agreement with what each of your responsibilities are before just “expecting” each other to do something. There will be times of frustration but by being in complete awareness of the specific tasks that each of you have you can work through the hard times with greater ease.

Thanks for reading. We appreciate everyone’s support of My Job Chart and we hope you’re all enjoying this great online  tool. We hope you’re enjoying the blog posts so far. Please let us know if there is anything you’d like to see. Also, let us know when you think we’re wrong. We know that it is YOU who are the real parents with real situations so keep us on our toes when something we say doesn’t line up with how you see it in real life :)

Happy parenting!

10 Ideas for Spending Quality Family Time

May 4th, 2010 - Category: Family Time

Quality family time seems hard to come by when we’re driving in the fast lane in a world with fast cars, fast food, and the hope for fast fortunes. Quality time seems to be easily replaced with time spent working, cleaning the house, washing the car, rushing the kids to school, paying bills, and cooking dinner. The fact is, life can be super stressful and it is really hard to break out of the funk if we don’t MAKE time for our families.

I’ve asked some of our fans on facebook and our twitter followers for some suggestions on how they spend quality time with their families. I’ve also listed some of my own ideas in hopes to spark your mind or at least remind you of all of the fun things you can do with your family and that will allow you to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and just hang out with the fam.

1. Search Your Local Information Website for Upcoming Events

This first idea comes from Julie in Arizona. She says, “We like to go to azcentral.com and see what’s happening that weekend in the kids and family section. They always have fun, free events and activities for young families to take advantage of: plays, puppet shows, museum tickets, kid fitness events. There is always something. You just have to want to find it!”

This idea is GREAT for families living in more urban areas that have a lot of events, but even in smaller communities you can check for upcoming events in the closest city to you and take the family on a day trip.

2. Take the Family On a Fishing Trip

Since the last one was more for the city folk, here’s one to bring out the “outdoorsman” in everyone. Grab a couple fishing rods, some powerbait, hooks, and sinkers, and load the family up on the SUV bound for the nearest fishing hole or stream. Sometimes it’s great to find a place where you have to hike a little ways to get to the fishing hole. This gives you more time to walk and talk as a family.

3. Sing Together

This is a great idea from Amandia in Washington DC. Amandia’s family likes to gather around the piano and warm up their vocal cords for a fun singing session. Some of the kids will bring their favorite instrument and they’ll all have a sort of “jam” session together. “It is such fun to see all the kids using and developing their talents,” says Amandia.

4. Attend a Sibling’s Sporting Event

There is some sort of power in supporting others. It not only helps them feel appreciated but it also helps you appreciate the accomplishments and talents of others more. As you take the other kids to watch a sibling play sports or participate in an activity or play, it really builds comradery and brings the family together.

5. Watch a TV Series Together

Find something that the whole family likes to watch. A lot of times reality and similar type shows are a favorite (Survivor, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Biggest Loser…etc).

6. Do a Service Project for a Neighbor or Close Friend

Find someone in the community that could use some help. Whether it be yard work, fixing up the house, or even just someone to come and keep them company, take the family and spend some time serving.

7. Go to the Movies

This seems a little overplayed but it can still be a good time. Especially if your family is not one to go out much, it can be a treat to take the whole family to the theater and watch a wholesome movie together. Talk about the movie afterwords, what each family member’s favorite part was, worst part, who was the best actor… etc.

8. Game Night

Board games and card games are a fan favorite for many families. Sometime it’s cool to break away from the norm though and try something different. Sherry from Wichita shares a cool story about one of her families successes with a new angle on game night. Sherry says, “One time we had a game night of clue and each person had to dress up as their character. We had a mystery dinner to go with it, too.” Awesome idea Sherry! Super innovative!

9. Pick the Meal Wheel

Make a spin wheel with the names of each family member. Spin the wheel and whoever the pin lands on that’s who gets to pick where you go for dinner that night AND what you eat (buckle your seat belt as you may be in for some exotic dishes). The next time you do it be sure to take the last person who won off the wheel to make sure everyone gets a chance.

10. Read Together

Find a good book that the family can enjoy. Pick a time each morning or evening when the family can get together for 15 minutes or so and site down to read together. You can talk about what you’ve ready during and after reading to get discussion from everyone.

11. Go For a Sunday Stroll

Chrysula from New York says, “One of our favorite family quality times is just going for a walk on Sunday afternoon. The kids get their bikes, which is a novelty after 9 years in Manhattan, and we stroll around the neighborhood.”

These are 11 great ideas for spending quality family time. I know there are a million more out there so I hope you’ll share some of yours with us. Feel free to comment below and let others know what your family does for fun. Don’t forget to sign up for the blog if you haven’t and assign your chores on your children’s online chart today.

Special thanks to our Facebook fans who helped contribute to the ideas for this post. You guys are awesome!!