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8 Tips To Raise A Confident Reader

December 19th, 2013 - Category: Kids and Reading


Building a child’s reading confidence can be quite challenging, since they’re more exposed to modern technology. However, reading is an important skill that children should learn and it helps build self-esteem. Now, to help parents develop their kids’ confidence in reading, here are eight tips for them:


1. Use Reading Apps

Books are still the best resource to teach a child how to read, but mobile applications offer interactive benefits to help reinforce healthy reading habits. A PBS 2013 study revealed that apps can help kids learn new vocabulary in just two weeks. Verizon’s Andrea Meyer said that parents can help their children practice reading through reading apps. In a feature she wrote, Meyer recommends Dr. Seuss’ e-books which includes stories like “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham.” Also, familiarizing them with mobile technology will prepare them for the digital future ahead.

2. Always Read Aloud

Readingaloud helps boost a child’s imagination and creativity. This develops their basic language skills, comprehension, and vocabulary. Aside from these, it also teaches them different emotions like joy, anger, fear, and sadness. Since children yearn for attention from their parents, reading aloud makes them feel wanted and safe. Once they’ve memorized those stories by heart, they would eventually become storytellers themselves.

3. Let Them Read to You

Sometimes, children can be overcome with shyness especially when reading in front of the class. To help them overcome their “stage fright,” they should be encouraged to read to their siblings or parents. This develops their confidence to face an audience and read without fear. Since reading is all about practice, parents can also set it as their kid’s personal goal. Using the My Job Chart app will help motivate them to accomplish their reading goal and earn reward points in the end.

4. Build a Library at Home

In an article published on Science Daily, it revealed that by having books can increase a child’s education level. It’s recommended that a common household should have at least 20 books for children to read. They’re also inexpensive investments which will help them better readers and writers. As Neil Gaiman said in his lecture at the Reading Agency: “we need our children to get onto the reading ladder: anything that they enjoy reading will move them up, rung by rung, into literacy.”

5. Books are Good for Bonding

Bonding over books is one of the best ways to build a child’s reading confidence. It would be nice if parents would share their favorite story or fairy tale with their kids. Tell them that these stories were also read to them by their parents or grandparents. They can also encourage them to share their favorite stories and discuss it with them. What lessons can they get from it? Was the villain really that bad?

6. Explore New Words with Them

Sometimes, a new book can intimidate kids especially if it has new words or phrases. They may feel that their parents are pushing them too hard. This shouldn’t be the case and the best way to do it is to explore it with them. Parents should let them feel that they’re there to learn with them. Become a team of word explorers and discover the magic behind them. Just make sure to do it slowly, otherwise it may turn them off.

7. Make Reading a Pleasurable Experience

Instead of letting them watch television or use their mobile devices to surf the Internet, encourage them to read.Readingshould bring them pleasure and excitement. It shouldn’t be a chore or an assignment. Show them that through reading, they can unlock new worlds, discover interesting characters, and learn new words. Make it interesting for them by making voices, acting lines out, and being funny. Once they’ve associated reading as a pleasurable experience, they’ll eventually fall in love with reading.

8. Let Them Choose the Books They Want to Read

Don’t limit their imagination to stories they’ve already read; let them choose their own stories instead. Ask them what interests them when visiting the local bookstore. If they’re interested in reading comic books, let them be. Whatever they want to read—as long as it’s age-appropriate—let them read it. It’s a good sign that they becoming intelligent and confident readers.


A home is the perfect place to help shape children into better people. By introducing books and reading with them, we are helping create innovative and worthwhile citizens.Readingleads to literacy and literacy leads to hope.


About the Author

Zoe Allen is an avid reader and free lance writer. Her favorite books include Neil Gaiman’s “M is for Magic” and Richard Adam’s “Watership Down.” Since Zoe’s also into technology, she often visits Verizon for the latest news. Follow her on Twitter.



Speaking to Read

December 5th, 2013 - Category: Kids and Reading




Reading is an important skill that will help your child succeed in school and throughout life.  But how and when do you start teaching your child to read?

Learning to read starts younger than you think.  Very young in fact, because learning to speak is actually the foundation for learning to read.  Children develop important language skills from birth – and early language abilities are directly related to later reading abilities.  The connections in the brain that develop when a child learns to talk are the same connectors that will help them learn to read. 

Did you know… At 4 -5 months old, a child can start to recognize their name.  At 8 months old a child can start to distinguish word patterns.  At 3 years old a child can start to repeat simple rhymes.  At 5 years old, a child can start to match sounds with letters.

So, to begin with, an easy way to help your child learn to read is to help them develop their language skills. 

Here are a few ideas to help build your child’s language proficiency and boost their reading abilities as well.


1.  Talk with your child.  Encourage them to answer and ask questions.  Instead of listening to the radio on the way to the store, turn it off and talk to them about their day, their favorites, their friends, etc.

2.  Point out and identify new objects around them.  Let them feel, taste, and smell the objects when appropriate for multiple sensory identification.   

3.  Sing with your child.  Many times a small child can repeat a long line of words in the form of song before they can speak a full sentence.  Sing them your favorite nursery rhymes or lullabies as they fall asleep.

4.  Make up rhymes with your child.  Be silly while teaching them how to rhyme.  They will love it!

5.  Tell them stories.  Ask them questions or make predictions about how the story will end. 

6.  Read them books.  Have them retell the story to you at another time.  Discuss story elements, cause and effect, orders found in the book, main ideas, characters, and details.

7.  If a child is interested in a certain book, read it over and over to them.  Point out words in the book as you read them.


Speaking and listening are the building blocks of early literacy.  Children whose parents read to them, tell them stories, talk and sing songs with them – develop larger vocabularies, become better readers, and do better in school.  So speak your way to reading with your child today.


7 Habits of Grateful People

November 28th, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice




Research is continually finding that expressing thanks can lead to a healthier, happier, and less-stressful life.  That sounds good to me, so let see what we can do to become more grateful and improve our overall lives.

Here are 7 habits can help cultivate gratitude on a daily basis.


1.  Keep a journal.  It’s no secret that our brain naturally focuses on the negative in life.  Writing in a journal can help reinforce the positive things that happen.  Take a minute everyday to record the things that you are thankful for and how they have affected your life in a positive way.  Chance are, it will be hard at first.  And it may take some time to be able to pick out the good things that happened in your day, but as time goes on, it will become easier and you’ll start to notice the good things more and more throughout the day.


2.  Embrace setbacks.  Grateful people can always look back at the hard times in life and see how they have grown because of them.  Learn  from the bad times and accept them as part of the overall journey.  Instead of getting stuck in a rut because of some hard turns, accept it and figure out how to get to higher ground.


3.  Keep good company.  Spending time with those you love will strengthen those relationships.  And strong relationships can help you deal with stress.  Surround yourself with positive, upbeat people that can encourage you and try to do the same for them.


4.  Use social media positively.  You can criticize social media because it creates a society that is less connected, but if used correctly, it can be a positive boost in your life and the lives of those you love.  Have you ever noticed that positive comments spread faster than negative ones?  Use that theory to someone’s advantage today and post a positive comment.


5.  Stop and smell the roses.  Notice the value of the little things in life.  Little acts of kindness, simple compliments, gifting “just because”, and expressing uncomplicated gratitude can all be monumental to someone who’s day could benefit from just a smile.  Don’t take for granted the little things you do, or the little things others do for you.


6.  Volunteer.  Volunteering can result in lower feelings of depression and increased overall well-being.  Help some out today and lose yourself in their problems.  Suddenly your life won’t look so bad.


7.  Exercise.  You may not think that exercising and gratitude have anything in common, but exercise has been proven to clear the mind and reduce stress, creating a healthier mind and body.  Get moving and become healthier all around.



7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Child’s Grades

November 13th, 2013 - Category: Kids and Reading


Helping you child put their best foot forward at school is a priority of every parent.  Do you know what book your child is reading in class, or when their science project is due?

Here are a couple pointers to help ensure their success at school.

1.  Be involved.  Talk to your child about their assignments, what’s going on in class, and how things are going with their friends.  Communicate with teachers as well to make sure assignments are getting done and behavior in class is appropriate.  Many schools have grades, attendance, and even behavior logs in the internet now.  Good communication is always the first step toward improvement.

2.  Make a homework spot.  Designate a place in the house for each child where they can do their homework.  It should be free of distractions and noise.  But make sure it’s a place close enough to where you will be so they can ask you for assistance if necessary.

3.  Uplift them.  When it comes to a child’s self-esteem, it takes 10 positive comments to make-up for just one negative one.  So instead of adding to the cruel comments that they may hear at school, give them uplifting, positive comments instead.

4.  Eat healthy.  Make sure everyone starts the day off with breakfast.  If possible, opt for something that is high in protein instead of a sugary, carb-loaded cereal or toaster pastry.  It will help satisfy them for longer and eliminate that mid-morning “blah” feeling.  Offer healthy options for lunch and dinner as well, and drink more water!

5.  Get moving.  Being more active will help not only their bodies but also their minds grow and develop.  It will also give them an opportunity to let off some steam and balance their bodies energy.

6.  Get a good nights sleep.  Recent studies show that most kids ages 2 – 18 need 10 hours of sleep a night.  I know what you’re thinking…impossible!  Right?  With busy schedules, getting just 8 hours is hard enough as it is.  Maybe your goal can be to simply increase it, even if just a little.  Turning off electronic devices earlier in the evening can help kids wind down faster.  Try reading a book as an alternative.

7.  Read a book.  Reading is the key to all learning.  Read to your children often and have them read to you.  Encourage them to always have a book that they are reading on the side.  Take them to the library and attend reading hours or book tours if possible.  You can even swap books with friends.  Use the books that you are reading to come up with places to visit or things to see or learn more about.  Make books fun.




9 Ideas for a Stress Free Outlook

October 22nd, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice

Although stress is a fact of life for most us, here are a few things you can do to live a longer, happier, healthier, and less stressful life. 

1.  Make time for yourself.  Do more of the things that you enjoy and less of the things that drain your energy.  Read a book or exercise.  Take a stress management class or practice some relaxation techniques.  Take time to take care for yourself and your health.  Make it a priority to relax or even take a nap.

2.  Find some support.  Confide in your spouse or a good friend.  Find a good listener and ask them for help getting through tough times.

3.  Know your limits.  Learn to say no.  Don’t stress yourself out by trying to do more than you can.  Do fewer things and do them better.

4.  Plan ahead.  Plan your day, week, and month ahead of time and be sure to include breaks.  Especially during or after stressful times or events.

5.  Make goals.  Have something that you can work toward.  Make goals that are challenging but realistic.   

6.  Avoid stressful situations.  If you know that a certain situation always gets your blood boiling, try to avoid it.  And if you can’t, decide ahead of time how you are going to handle it.

7.  Express your feelings.  It’s ok to cry when you are sad or upset.  We all have bad days.  But try to laugh a little every day.  If you have a hard time expressing your feelings verbally, try writing them in a journal.

8.  Be positive.  Have you ever heard the quote, “Fake it till you make it!”?  Try it with your outlook on life.  Smile more often.  Laugh and spend time with upbeat people.  Adjust your view of the stress in your life.  Try to see the good in all things.

9.  Be grateful.  Instead of complaining about things that you have no control over, count the many blessing that you do have…and tell them you love them right now.

Does Personality Determine Success?

July 16th, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice


Chances are, every person in your family has a different temperament and personality.  Is achievement linked to personality?  And can negative personality traits automatically set your children up for failure? 

First lets look at several different characteristics of personalities.  Steven Pinker, who writes about mental capacity and personalities, says that personalities differ in at least five major ways:


1.  Sociable (extroverted) or Retiring (introverted)

2.  Constantly Worried (neurotic) or Calm and Self-satisfied (stable)

3.  Courteous and Trusting (agreeable) or Rude and Suspicious (antagonistic)

4.  Careful (conscientious) or Carless (undirected)

5.  Daring (open) or Conforming (non-open)


You can probably look at the above personalities and claim several of them for yourself and pin several more on your children.  

Moderation may be the key when it comes to having a “likeable” personality.   I can think of several people that I’ve known over the years that have extreme mannerisms and it always seems harder to get along with them.

Maybe it’s not so much about which personality your child has that makes them hard to get along with, as it is more about if they are willing or able to conform and be flexible when necessary.

Stephen Pinker, believes that achievement is not dependent upon personality.  He believes that it is possible for your children to change or moderate the tendencies that they were born with and adapt them to achieve success.  As parent’s, it’s our job to help them with this obstacle.

To do this you must concentrate on what they can do instead of their limitations.  I once read this statement by a wise person:  “Remember, your only handicap is your opinion of yourself.  If you think you are weak or stupid or maimed or downtrodden, you are.” 

If you want your children to exceed your expectations, then encourage them to do their best no matter what personality they have.  They may just surprise you and become the best.



Show the Love to Stop Sibling Rivalry

July 2nd, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice

Sibling rivalry is normal in families with multiple children.  But are you tired of being the referee for all of their fights?

Children compete with each other for multiple things, and a parents attention and approval is no different.  In fact, this is totally normal.  Even as adults this can still happen.

Your job as a parent is to model good behavior and give each child positive attention.

Here are some ways you can cut down on the sibling rivalry in your home.

1.  Encourage better problem solving skills.  Instead of deciding who is right and who is wrong, when a conflict comes up, concentrate on getting along.  If someone tattles, encourage them to go back and solve the problem.  Help them develop skills of compromise, fairness, and taking turns.  Maybe you can institute house rules for what to do in certain situations.  For example, a timer can be set when the need arises to take turns.


2.  Don’t label your kids.  Beware of labeling your kids “good kid” or “bad kid”.  No child is all good or all bad.  This will lead to attacks out of jealousy.  It is likely that when a conflict occurs, everyone involved shares some responsibility.  A danger in labeling a child as the “bad kid” is that they will give up trying to do anything right because they always get in trouble anyway.


3.  Make everyone accountable for their own actions.  Sometimes you may wonder if the “bad child” is teaching a younger sibling how to misbehave.  You may blame and even discipline the “bad kid” for the behavior of a younger sibling.  Teach everyone that they are all responsible for their own actions.


4.  Role model good problem solving.  As parents, be an example of how to resolve problems and disagreements in respectful and non-aggressive ways.  In your dealings with other adults and in your dealings with your kids always find a way to solve the problem peaceably.


5.  Give each child positive attention.  Treat each child as a wonderful individual.  Reduce the competition between siblings by treating each of them as a unique individual and giving each of them positive attention and affection.  Maybe a monthly “date” between each child and each parent would be a good time to accomplish this.


Remember, the best way to combat sibling rivalry is to tell each of your children that you love and value them.  Tell them that they are special to you and be specific about what qualities you love about them.


Read this related article.  Tips on Teaching Your Kids to Be Nice




Stop the Tattling

April 2nd, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice



How many times have you heard the words “They did it, not me!” as your child points toward their sibling?  If you have a 5-10 year old, probably often.

Most parents don’t like it when their kids are constantly telling on each other.  Instead, we would prefer them to learn problem solving skills when it comes to sibling rivalry.  We also want them to take responsibility for their own actions and deal with the consequences.

Tattling and finger pointing waste time.  It hurts the whole family and causes an atmosphere of defensiveness.  And in the end, it makes the problem that much more difficult to solve.

Understanding why children tattle, can help us diffuse the situation better next time.  Maria Montessori found that children tattle because they are trying to figure out the difference between right and wrong.  The result is, they have to question everything.

Between first and second grade is a prime time for this stage of development.

When children tattle, they are looking for a confirmation that the thing they are tattling about is wrong.  They don’t need to see a punishment imposed on the offender, they just need to know if their anger toward the other person for the wrongdoing is justified.

Helping our children understand the differences between “Tattling” and “Reporting” can help them in the thought process of whether or not they should come to you to tell.

You can use the following lists when discussing this with your child.



It’s purpose is to keep people safe

They need help from an adult to solve the problem

It is about something important

It could be a harmful, dangerous, or threatening situation

The bad behavior is purposeful



It’s purpose is to try to get someone in trouble

They usually can handle the situation by themselves

It’s not really important

It is a harmless situation

The behavior is accidental


If we can understand why our kids are tattling and help them understand when the situation deserves your attention, hopefully, we’ll have less tattling and more time to give them the good attention they deserve.

My Gifted Child is a Challenge

March 26th, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice


Many characteristics of your gifted child may be causing difficulty at home and at school.  Do any of these instances sound familiar?


They are bored with routine tasks, and refuse to do their homework because it’s boring.

They have difficulty moving into another topic because they get so involved in what they are doing.

They are self-critical and are impatient with their failures.

They are also critical of others, even you, their parent, and their teachers.

They often disagree vocally with others including adults.

They make jokes at inappropriate times.

They show intense emotional sensitivity.

They may overreact, get angry easily, or be quick to cry if things go wrong.

They may seem not to be interested in the little details of things.

They don’t like to get their hands messy.

They refuse to accept authority, are nonconforming and stubborn.

They tend to dominate others.


As you can see, sometimes a gifted child is thinking so far above and beyond the mundane that they miss the mark when it comes to common courtesy.  Many times they suffer from plain old boredom.  Your bright child may be exhibiting these traits if they are bored.


They may have a poor attention span.

They may daydream frequently.

They may have a tendency to begin many activities but the inability to follow them through to completion.

Their judgmental development may lag behind their intellectual growth level.

They have an intensity that may lead to power struggles with authorities.

They have a high activity level; they may seem to need less sleep.

They have difficulty restraining their desire to talk and they may be disruptive.

They seem to question rules, customs, routines, and traditions.

They lose their work or forget to do their work because of disorganization.

They may seem to be careless.

They have a high sensitivity to criticism.


Keeping your gifted child “entertained” with appropriate activities will help them focus and use their abilities for good rather than disruptive or difficult attitudes or behaviors.

Service is a great way to encourage your gifted child to “look outside the box” and help someone besides themselves.

Having them help you out with chores and jobs around the house will also give them a purpose and a sense of accomplishment.  Be sure to make sure that the chores don’t become “boring” by switching them up often, or adding something a little different.

Click here to read a related article:  Your Children Crave Responsibility – Give It to Them

Gifted children can bring challenges into your life, but if you look for the good and steer them in the right direction, you’ll find that the rewards far outweigh the tough times.

Tips On Teaching Your Kids to Be Nice

February 5th, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice


If you could have one wish what would it be?  Toward the top of the list I’m sure we could find world peace.  A grand idea, but it all has to start somewhere.  How about in our homes?

Sometimes we may think that our efforts of teaching our children to be nice are futile, but the other day my daughter’s teacher pulled me aside and told me a story that brought me hope.

The teacher had brought signs for the kids to hold that were attached to popsicle sticks.  Problem was, she happened to be 1 short, so everyone was able to hold one, except for the last little girl.  The teacher told this girl that she would be able to help by holding up a different picture, but this little girl was upset that she didn’t get one with a popsicle stick.  The teacher had greatly underestimated the worth of that popsicle stick to a 5 year old girl.  The girl started crying as the teacher tried to calm her.  Then my daughter stepped forward and offered the girl her sign on a stick. How pleased I was that she would do such a nice thing.

Now don’t get me wrong.  That same evening she was antagonizing her little sister by taking her favorite bear away from her.  But having her teacher comment on the difference my daughter had made to her day seemed to dampen my reaction to the later offense.

Teaching our children to be nice is something that takes time and patience.  The biggest thing for them to realize is that kindness has value.  It’s easy to think that the world isn’t fair, or they are being cheated out of something better by being nice, but in reality, everyone benefits when someone is nice.  Here are some ideas to help your children be nicer.


Be nice to your kids.

Treat your children with respect and encourage them to do the same.  There should still be discipline, but use words instead of force.


Pay attention to your kids.

Spend quality time with them.  Let them know that you love them.  A person is more likely to be nice if they feel good about themselves.


Model good behavior.

Let your children see you being nice.  Volunteer, help your neighbors, and treat others with dignity and respect.


Use kind language.

Don’t treat someone nicely and then come home and talk bad behind their back.  Everyone has a different idea of “good” words and “bad” words.  I would suggest that any words that are not nice, are also “bad” words.


Reinforce good behavior.

When you see your child being nice, make a big deal out of it.  Sometimes you may have to look long and hard to find something, but when you do, praise them heavily for it, multiple times.


Give your children chores.

There was a study from the University of Minnesota that showed children that did housework had better feelings of responsibility and self worth in their later years.  Who would have guessed that chores could make your children nicer? couldn’t prove it till now, but we’ve known it all along.


Read about being kind.

We all know the importance of reading to our children.  Add some books about kindness to your reading schedule and then discuss them.


Encourage them to make friends.

When you have a friend you tend to do things for them out of kindness.  You also tend to sacrifice more for them than a stranger.


Get a pet.

A pet can make everyone happy. Except for maybe cleaning up after it, and then it will reinforce how to care for something that doesn’t always reciprocate it.


The Benefits of Consistency

November 6th, 2012 - Category: Behavior Advice

Consistency is one of the most important factors in successful parenting.  Being consistent teaches children what to expect.  When they know what to expect they can predict what the consequences of their actions or behaviors will be.  When they understand the consequences they tend to think more about their actions or behaviors and make better choices.  And kids making better choices is fundamental in them developing into a responsible and mature adult.

Being consistent is just as important when you are reinforcing good behavior as when you are punishing bad behavior.  When you consistently reinforce good behavior and make a point to notice when your children are cooperating or being nice, then the behavior will happen more often.  Your child should definitely feel that your love is consistent and unconditional.  And when you always follow through with a certain punishment for a negative behavior, then they can count on the consequence, and the behavior will stop.

Inconsistency makes children unsure of themselves and their surroundings.  It makes them confused.  When children are insecure or confused they tend to manipulate the situation or tease others or take advantage of the unclear situation.

It’s about the inevitability of the consequence, not the severity.  Don’t think that the punishment needs to be severe for them to learn a lesson.  If the punishment fits the offense, the most important thing to stop the bad behavior is to be consistent with the punishment.  Being consistent will help them form patterns for them to grow from.

Now, being consistent doesn’t mean that you have to rule with an iron fist and be totally inflexible.  But the key is to make flexibility the exception rather than the rule.

At we can help you be more consistent on chores with reminders sent to your email or phone.  Lets face it, being consistent can be hard so every reminder helps.

Boosting Your Child’s Self-Esteem

October 9th, 2012 - Category: Behavior Advice

Self-esteem is how you value yourself.  It can change from day to day, or year to year.

It is an evaluation of your own self worth.  It is tied to your beliefs and your emotions.  It is not based on fact, rather what you believe and how you feel about yourself.  Having a positive self-esteem is important because it can influence the outcome of relevant situations.

Positive Self-Esteem

Having a positive self-esteem comes from two ideas, feeling capable and feeling loved.  Feeling good about yourself can be like wearing armor.  When a difficult situation arises or negative pressures present themselves, that armor can protect you and make it easier to handle the conflicts.  When you feel good about yourself you tend to smile more and enjoy life.  You tend to be more realistic and optimistic.  You are more likely to take responsibility for yourself and your actions.  If you have more self-worth, you have firm beliefs in certain values and principles and you are secure in supporting them.  You look to the future, learn from the past, and live in the present.  You trust yourself and are able to resist manipulation.  We all want our children to have a positive self-esteem.

Negative Self-Esteem

The opposite would be negative self-esteem.  If you don’t feel good about yourself you tend to face challenges with anxiety and frustration you don’t have good self-worth.  You are passive and withdrawn and depressed.  You tend to speak negative about yourself and give up easily.  Your attitude is overly critical and pessimistic and you are generally disappointed in yourself.  If your child displays negative self-esteem as any of these qualities, don’t give up, you can help.

How Parents Can Help

Is there anything parents can do to help their children have a more positive self-esteem?

Be Careful What You Say – Reward their effort and completion, not just the outcome.  Encourage them by showing support.

Be a Positive Role Model – They will mirror what they see, so if you are constantly saying “I can’t” so will they.

Be Affectionate – Provide a safe and loving home environment where they can try new things, possibly fail, and not be criticized for it.

Encourage them to Better Themselves – By dressing nicely, having good hygiene, practicing good posture, working out regularly, and even walking faster, a persons personal outlook can improve.

Help Them Stand Out – When you compliment others, sit in the front row, or speak up, others notice you in positive ways and that will increase self-esteem.

Give Them Opportunities to Help Others -Encourage them to become a mentor, to volunteer and contribute to your community or your family in some way.  This will help them be more sensitive to others and make good choices, not just choices that everyone else would make.

Our online job chart at is one of the ways you can give them an opportunity to help out with the family.  By giving them responsibility and having them help with chores they can feel a sense of accomplishment and worth.

If you have examples of how you have encouraged your child to have a more positive self-esteem of themselves we’d love to hear about it.  Please be sure to leave a comment.

Encouraging Your Child to Read

August 28th, 2012 - Category: Kids and Reading

Do you ever feel like you have to drag your child away from the video games to grudgingly get your kids to read? Reading may seem like a past time in your home, but with the benefits it can bring to your life, and your child’s life, it shouldn’t be.

The more you read the more you know.  Encourage your child to always have a book they are reading, whether for class or outside of class.

Find times that would otherwise be wasted and offer them a book to read instead of being bored.  Keep a couple of books in the car for drive time.  Stash one in your purse to pull out while waiting for appointments.  Everyone’s ready to go but mom?  Instead of turning on the TV for five minutes, have some books left out on the end table, ready for kids to read.

Reading can be more fun if your child chooses the book they want to read.  Encourage them to stay within their reading level, and you can offer suggestions based on their interests or needs at the time, but ultimately, they are more likely to read if it is something that they choose.  The more your child reads the better their vocabulary, the higher their test scores, and the better they will be able to think themselves through classes and situations.

Reading will enrich your child’s life, strengthen their mind, and help them better understand themselves and others.  Reading is the price for success in school, work, and life.  Kids and reading should go together more often.  It always helps when they get rewarded for reading.  Consider using and reward their reading in any amount.

Enjoy a book yourself.  If your child sees you reading it will rate higher on their priorities as well.  It’s never too late to learn something new.  You’ll probably enjoy it more than you thought.

Reading a book together will also strengthen your relationship with your child.  It will give you opportunities outside of the normal parent/child scope of conversation, where you can relate to, and question their thoughts and reactions to the book.  A struggling relationship can be nurtured by talking about items that aren’t among the things you usually fight about.

The two words, kids and reading, may not be in your families vocabulary, but investing some time in encouraging them to read may reward you, and them, with a brighter future.  If you don’t believe me, read a book, and see for yourself!



A Hole in the Door

June 14th, 2012 - Category: Behavior Advice

If you have kids you have probably had an experience like this.  Someone gets mad and the next thing you know, there is a hole in the door!

Not only is this something that needs to be repaired but this is a great “teaching moment” for that child.  We had an experience like this just the other day with one of our sons.  He is 7 and is just a sweet kid.  This is one of the rare times that he let his temper get the best of him.

His Mom experienced it all first hand and called me on the phone to let me know about it and to ask if I wouldn’t mind fixing the door.  I told her that I would work on the door and also talk to him when I got home.  She preempted my “talk” by telling me that he had already punished himself enough and was tormented by his actions.  He was REALLY sorry.  So I decided I would just give him a hug and tell him that these things happen and we can learn from the experience and determine never to do it again.

Today I got a message from him using the message board system.  It simply said, “Dad, sorry I broke the door”.

Yes, it melted my heart.

Check out this feature and maybe you can have a similar experience (hopefully, without the broken door … maybe just the nice note!)

Login as a parent- go to manage rewards- and watch the video tutorial entitled message board.


Can You Teach Your Children Gratitude?

November 16th, 2011 - Category: Behavior Advice

Every parent wants their children to be grateful. After all, grateful children are a lot easier to please, tend to be more helpful, and are more pleasant to be around. But how do you teach children gratitude? Or is it something they just have to learn for themselves?

The other day we overheard a conversation between a mother and daughter. The daughter asked her mom for a new toy. When the mom said no, the daughter started making a fuss. Expected, right? Most kids make a fuss. But it was the mother’s reaction that surprised us. She smacked her daughter on the hand and said, “Be grateful for what you’ve got.”

Now, we may not be the experts, but we hardly think telling a child to be grateful – at a moment they are feeling disappointed – is the best way to handle the situation.

Here are some ideas we’ve come up with for teaching children to be more grateful:

1) Make them work for what they want. We can all accept the idea that if we’re given everything, we’ll never learn to appreciate it. Doing chores and taking part in family responsibilities goes a long way in helping children realize that not everything in life comes easily. And if you have your children earn their own money, toys, or other rewards through helping with chores, they’ll learn to appreciate both the chance to the work and the things they buy.

2) Show them how lucky they are. If you’ve ever gone to a homeless shelter, hospital, or government-sponsored after school program, then you’ve seen people who are in some pretty tough circumstances. Now, unless you’re totally heartless, you wanted to help. Why not have your children round up some old toys or clothes and then go with you to donate them? The gratitude of the receivers should help your children feel more grateful for their own circumstances.

3) Encourage/insist they donate. If you’ve been using, then you know children can donate some of their earnings to worthy causes (like Operation Smile). You could set up charity as a requirement and then encourage your child to research what charity they might like to donate to. Or, give them the option of donating their time at special events or service projects.

4) Reinforce the feeling once they experience it. Let’s say your child is saving their allowance to buy a basketball. But then, on their birthday, grandma brings a basketball as a present. As soon as your child realizes he no longer has to use his chore money to buy a basketball, talk to him about it. Say things like, “Isn’t that great that you can have a basketball and still keep your own money?”

5) Tell them how grateful you are. Even if you have assigned your children chores, thank them frequently for getting the chores done. Mention your appreciation when a neighbor or friend does something nice for you. If you’re a person of faith, let your children see you pray and express gratitude. Children learn by example.

Gratitude is not a trait you can force on someone. And unlike learning how to cook or clean or become financially responsible, gratitude isn’t something you can just learn one day. As a parent, it is your responsibility to encourage your children to learn positive traits. We think the five listed above will help. In what other ways can you help your children develop gratitude? Feel free to comment below.

How to Keep Your Kids Reading

August 16th, 2011 - Category: Kids and Reading

We’ve already written a few articles about the benefits of kids reading. And in those articles we gave you all kinds of facts about how kids that read perform better in school. So we’re not going to rehash that information. Today, we want to focus on how difficult it is to get kids to read.

Sure, you may have a child or two or even three who read voraciously – perhaps to the point that you wish they’d get outside and do something else. But not all of us are that lucky. For many parents, just putting kids and reading in the same sentence sounds like wishful thinking.

So what makes the difference between the two? What would cause one kid to want to read and another to do everything they can do avoid it?

Here are some thoughts:

Your attitude toward reading is going to affect how your children feel about it. If they see you pick up a book once in a while, they may engage in the same behaviors. However, if you’re like most parents, you come home from a long day of work and just want to vegetate. So you flip on the t.v. instead. That’s understandable behavior. But if that’s what you’re determined to do day in and day out, then expect the same attitude from your children.

Also, many children seem to have preconceived notions that reading is boring, or tough, or a waste of time. It’s important for parents to make a positive correlation between reading and their kids. One way to accomplish that goal is to give them something enjoyable to read. If they’re not into the classics, don’t hand them Robinson Crusoe.

Getting kids to read is as simple as buying them a monthly magazine subscription. “Highlights” has some great stories for younger children. And once your kids hit those teenage years, feel free to give them “Seventeen” magazine or something similar. No, fun magazines may not stimulate your child’s intelligence. But any kind of reading is going to be beneficial to your children.

You may also want to try playing some games. Scrabble and other word games may encourage your child to read a little more often and pick up a larger vocabulary. Seeing their parents take an interest in them can really do a lot to help encourage kids. You may ask them to help you complete a word puzzle or crossword. Play spelling games in the car and try to just have fun with words.

If nothing else works, then add reading to your child’s chore chart. When reading becomes a chore and they refuse to do it, go ahead and make it a chore. Whether they enjoy it or not, at least your children will be getting the full benefits of reading.

If you have not settled on a chore chart yet, then please consider It gives you a lot more flexibility with your children and what they are capable of accomplishing.

Don’t make the assumption that just because your kids are in school they are learning everything they need to know. Get your kids reading more now. And if you have to make reading a part of the chores, then by all means try it.

Should Reading be a Chore?

February 8th, 2011 - Category: Kids and Reading

It’s every parent’s dream – to have a child that loves to read. But for most parents, that isn’t the case. Many kids would rather do just about anything else than read a book. But as a parent, can you ignore the benefits of getting your kids to read?

Studies have shown that children who read more have better language skills. They tend to do better in math, history, and other school subjects. They learn concentration skills. And children who read are more likely to achieve greater success in life.

So now we get to the heart of the matter. You want your child to experience the benefits of reading. They may have other plans. So should you make reading a chore? And go so far as to include it on their chore chart?

Well, if they’re not going to read on their own, then absolutely. Make it a chore. Like cleaning their room or taking out the trash, kids will learn valuable skills from completing their chores that will help them later in life. But here are some ideas for helping your child achieve success with their reading chores:

Set specific goals. Unlike doing the dishes or vacuuming the house, there is no natural stopping place for reading. For reading to work as a chore, you must clearly identify how long the child should read, what they should read, and have some plan in place to test their comprehension. (Having a book open for 20 minutes doesn’t mean your child is actually reading it.)

Let your child choose what they read. You don’t want to be a dictator, and it would be really great if your child learned to love reading on their own. The best way to foster that possibility is to let your child choose something of interest to them. Of course, after the tenth comic book, you may need to step in and give them something else to try for a few days.

Logically reward your child for reading. Although most the jobs on your chore chart may be rewarded with an allowance, reading is different. Sure, it can be lumped into the allowance category, but you may want to consider additional rewards. For example, after reading Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia, you may have a family movie night. Let your child tell you how things were different in the book than in the movie. Extra rewards tied to reading will show your child how much you value the time they spend in front of a book.

Always have new things to read. Theoretically, chores should make life for the parents easier. But when it comes to reading, you may need to do a little leg work. Frequently take your child to the library. Let them see the choices they have and allow the librarian to get them excited about a story or new book. Giving your child the freedom to explore and choose books on their own will encourage their efforts.

Several articles we’ve read say that forcing a child to read doesn’t work. They should be guided toward choosing books over video games or television. But how many children are strong enough to withstand the appeal of Mario Cart or Wii Tennis?

It may turn out that your children love to read…they just love their Playstation more. If you make reading a chore, you get your children in the habit of building life-long skills. If they never learn to like reading, what can you do? You tried. But at least they’ll still receive the benefits of having read during that assigned time.

At least, that’s our belief. But we want to know your opinion. Do you think reading is an acceptable chore?

Teaching Good Behavior Without Harsh Discipline

April 22nd, 2010 - Category: Behavior Advice

Have you ever felt sometimes like you just want to give up on being patient with your kids? Believe me you’re not alone. It can be very frustrating when the little guys mess up and don’t do exactly what you would like them to do. Of course it is for their own benefit, you feel, that they DO do what you want them to do. You want them to be happy by making good choices.

Oftentimes, as a parent, you feel like you can see the consequences of certain actions a little better than your children because of your age and experience. Though it can be difficult, the truth is that harsh discipline only seems to make things worse. I have had the chance to see both sides of the spectrum as I’m sure most of you have. They are vastly different and I really do feel like one is better than the other.
Teach Good Behavior Without Harsh Discipline

Effects of Harsh Discipline

Consistent harsh discipline seems to bring out the worst in children. If they hear “you’re stupid,” “you little brat,” or “you’re gonna get it” too often they eventually will begin to believe what they hear and it can completely ruin their confidence and/or self-esteem.

In a research article by Dr. Bahr Weiss (Vanderbilt University) and colleagues, Dr. Weiss states that, “Structural equation modeling indicated a consistent relation between harsh discipline and aggression in 2 separate cohorts of children.” Further, Dr. Weiss suggests  that, “our analyses suggested that the effect of harsh discipline on child aggression may be mediated at least in part by maladaptive social information processing patterns that develop in response to the harsh discipline.”

So harsh discipline doesn’t seem to be a positive method of teaching the kids to behave. But, what do we do when they really push it too far? How do you control your urge to get mad, yell and criticize when things get out of control? We’ve listed some things below that may be able to help. You can read more into these suggestions by visiting

Some Alternatives

1. Plan ahead (Pick 3 things that tip you off and set goals to do better when those events happen)

2. Write in a journal (keep it handy so you can jot down behaviors that make you upset when they occur. It gives you time to think and not react suddenly/harshly)

3. Express yourself (Instead of going off, tell them exactly how you feel when they do something.)

4. Mommy timeout (…sometimes even grownups need to take a few and relax to think about what’s going on and how to make it better)

5. Use 1 word (This is for repetitive misbehavior. Pick a word that the child will recognize is associated with the incidence. Instead of going off when they forget to make their bed just say, “BED!”)

6. Laugh (find a way to make the situation funny)

7. Learn what to expect from your children (different age levels bring different behaviors and it is unrealistic to expect too difficult of behaviors from children at certain ages.)

Hope you enjoyed this post and got some ideas. Please feel free to share you thoughts and ideas with us and the community. Happy parenting… and don’t forget to assign those chores!

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!

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.