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Signs of Stress in Toddlers (and How to Deal With It)

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As an adult, it can be easy to think that kids are always happy and stress-free. (After all, it’s not like they have bills to pay.) However, this is not the case. Many toddlers and young children around the world face stress every day, and their anxiety sometimes goes unnoticed by the people who care the most. If you feel that your child is not behaving the way he typically would or is acting stressed out regularly, it is important to look for these signs of stress. When detected early, dealing with childhood stress and anxiety by taking advantage of the following tips can be quite simple:

Signs of Stress in Toddlers

1. Nightmares: One of the most prominent signs indicating young children may be dealing with stress is having frequent nightmares. If your child has had a traumatic or stressful experience, experiencing fear during the night is quite common.

2. Wetting the Bed: Like nightmares, children may show signs of stress during the nighttime hours by wetting the bed. If this is not something that your child commonly does, it is important to look into the underlying issues immediately. Typically, children who have a lot on their minds may end up wetting the bed. It’s important not to be angry at your children when this happens. Work to determine the underlying issue.

3. Aggression Toward Family and Friends: When kids deal with stress, they often act more aggressively toward family members and friends. Some children may act out for attention by biting, hitting, kicking and even screaming. Some children may even be considered a danger to others around them.

4. Increase in Fear: If you have noticed that your toddler is acting more fearful or afraid than normal, he could be dealing with a traumatic experience, stress or anxiety. This fear may be anything from not wanting to be left alone to being scared to go to the bathroom, being afraid to go to sleep at night or simply being more clingy to his parents. You may also notice this fearfulness if your toddler happens to be more jumpy or anxious in certain situations that he was never scared of before.

Dealing With Stress in Toddlers

Dealing with the stress that your child is having may either be easy or quite difficult depending on the given situation. One of the best and most effective things that you can do when dealing with stress in your toddler is to simply show your support. Help your young child cope with his situation by always being there for them. Support your toddler by reassuring and comforting him in scary situations, listening when he talks to you, being patient with him rather than getting angry, maintaining consistent routines on a daily basis and talking with him about his feelings. When your child knows that he can come and talk to you about anything, he is less likely to feel stressed out and anxious.

Preventing Childhood Stress

One of the best ways to deal with childhood stress is to help in preventing it completely. Young children need consistent schedules on a daily basis. By changing up his schedule frequently or by moving him from place to place, you could be contributing to his stress levels. You also will want to make sure that you do not speak about fearful or scary incidents in front of your toddler — avoid shocking stories or adult-oriented media — as this can make him scared of certain situations that he doesn’t understand. Most importantly, always be there to listen to your child. When a toddler knows that he has someone in his life that he can talk to, he is less likely to bottle up his feelings, which in turn means he’s less likely to suffer from stress. The more you communicate, the better things will be.

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Ways to Avoid Bathtime Battles

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Many parents agree that bath time is the hardest part of the day. Even the sweetest of kids can turn into a raging screamer after seeing a tub filled with water, and most parents don’t understand why their children feel that way. Kids, however, can despise cleaning up after a long day because of everything from the temperature of the water to the slipperiness of the tub and even the lack of fun they have in the water. Those dealing with troublesome children should identify why the child dislikes bath time and what they can do to fix it.

Shower vs. Bath

When children are younger, parents often wash their kids in the kitchen sink, or place a small tub inside the existing bathtub. This is much different than sitting up in a wide open tub. And since children learn through imitation, some kids refuse to take baths because they see their parents taking showers. Showing a child how to use the shower safely can remove some of the hassles associated with bath time.

Worrying About Safety

Many kids dislike bath time because they don’t feel safe in the tub. It’s not uncommon for parents to assume that because kids are smaller, they can sit up in the bath comfortably. Dr. Tanya Altman recommends placing a nonskid mat in the bottom of the tub. Made from silicone or another flexible material, these mats stick to the bottom of the bathtub and keep the child from sliding around in the water. While the tub might feel stable, it can quickly become slippery with the addition of soap and shampoo. Some kids don’t like the feeling that comes from sliding around the tub, but a simple nonskid mat can make those children feel more comfortable.

Temperature is Key

One reason why some children feel uncomfortable at bath time is because the temperature of the water is too hot or too cold. Many parents simply test the water before placing their children in the tub, assuming that the water feels the same way to their kids. Fiona Baker suggests purchasing a thermometer and testing the water before placing the child inside. A temperature of around 96 degrees Fahrenheit is best for babies and toddlers, while older children might prefer something a little warmer. Parents should also talk to their kids about how comfortable the water temperature feels.

Cutting Back on Daily Baths

Adults often assume that kids need baths every day, but in many countries, people only bathe a few times every week. When kids spend days running around outside, playing in the mud with friends and exposing themselves to germs and bacteria, it’s important to clean them up, but if they’re not really dirty, consider other ways of getting the job done. Using antibacterial soap, washing their hands and faces and changing their clothes is sometimes a better alternative to taking a bath.

Explain the Importance of Cleanliness

Many children don’t understand the importance of cleanliness, which is why they dislike baths. Anna Livingstone suggests sitting down with kids, talking to them about why people bathe and explaining why they should practice proper hygiene. The traits and skills that children learn at a younger age are the same traits and skills that they carry with them through life. Kids need to know that bathing or showering regularly, brushing their teeth and washing their hands keeps their bodies clean and can help them stay healthy. Any child who hates visiting the doctor will embrace techniques that keep the doctor away.

Make Bath Time More Fun

Making bath time fun is one of the best tips that parents can use on a daily basis. Taking a playful child from his or her favorite game to the bathroom will likely lead to frustration or tears, but that child might feel a little better after seeing what bath time actually entails. Parents can now find powders that turn ordinary water into a bright shade, like orange or blue, and can find toys specifically designed for the bath. Kids will quickly learn that they can only play with those toys in the bath, which might make them a little more eager to jump into the water.

Making bath time more fun, talking to kids about the importance of hygiene and helping them feel more comfortable can make bath time a less frustrating experience for parents and kids alike.

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8 Fun and Inexpensive Craft Projects for the Family

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Crafting can be an inexpensive way to enjoy time with the whole family and develop essential skills in children. Some of the best crafts can be done for just a couple dollars simply by recycling things you already own or keeping an eye out at dollar stores, thrift stores and other spots where cheap items can be purchased. Plus, doing things inexpensively is a great way to keep money in your wallet and also teach children how to be smart with their money. In addition to being inexpensive, crafts teach invaluable lessons to children. Crafts that let children practice fine motor skills, such as ones where they manipulate buttons and other small objects, can help them with learning how to open and close objects, zip, unbuckle, button, tie shoes and pinch objects between their fingers. However, the most important thing about participating in crafts with your family is the priceless bonding between family members.

Ribbon Wind Socks
This simple and enjoyable craft project is courtesy of Econobusters, where you can find pictures of the finished product. All you will need is a few cheap embroidery hoops and plenty of different patterns and colors of ribbon. Use scraps of what you may already have, or purchase cheap ribbon from the dollar store or on clearance at hobby stores. Have each family member cut ribbons of their choosing into pieces that are double the length of what they want them to be. (The reason for this is you end up folding the ribbon in half through the hoop and tying each piece.) In the end, you’ll have attractive ribbon wind socks or chandeliers. Simply hang with a piece of ribbon.

Suncatcher Window
For this project, you will need an old window (if you can find one), or you can use an old, large frame. You can pick one of these up at a scrap yard or at a thrift store. Next, you’ll need plenty of clear but colorful glass stones that are available at dollar stores. Have each family member sit around the window or frame and simply glue on the glass pieces and, voila, you will have a beautiful suncatcher that can be propped up or hung inside a window in your home.

Button Shapes
A multitude of fun projects can be done with buttons, and many of them can provide beautiful and personalized art for your home. Purchase a large amount of random buttons and a few canvas boards that are also inexpensive. You will also need some clear craft glue. Then, simply let every family member form a shape with the buttons. They may create words, a heart, a tree or some other shape. This is a great project because it allows the creativity of each family member to come out onto the canvas board and it also provides some sweet art to display in your home.

Scrabble Tile Art
This craft is another one that lets the creativity of each individual shine and also provides art for the home. To see the full tutorial, check out 320 Sycamore, where you will also find pictures of the process and finished product. You will need Scrabble tiles, which are available in bulk online or at craft stores, as well as frames and fabric. Don’t forget to check out thrift stores for both of these items, and dollar stores have plenty of frames. Each family member will put the piece of fabric of their choice behind the glass of the frame and then glue the Scrabble tiles onto the glass. What the letters spell out is up to you!

Poured Paint Planter
You can make beautiful planting pots with this project outlined at Dollarstorecrafts.com. Simply pour paints over upside-down terra cotta pots and watch them drip down to create garden-friendly masterpieces. Easy, family-friendly, and just messy enough to keep kids riveted. Check out the link for the full directions.

Pool Noodle Garland
This great summer craft is brought to us by Dollar Store Mom. You cut up pool noodles and string them together, creating a fabulous pool noodle garland that can be hung on a fence or somewhere else to create a festive feel. It’s a great decoration for an outdoor summer party. The best part is that the whole family has to work as a team to create this long and colorful decoration, so you can work on family bonding and teamwork.

Big Black and White Letter Art
For this craft, the family member should decide on what word they would like to spell out with big letters. (e.g., “Family,” “Love,” your last name, etc.) Purchase the letters at a hobby store, which should have large cardboard letters or wooden letters that would work, although the large cardboard letters would be preferable. Then, acquire black and white items, such as scrapbook papers, buttons, newspaper, paint and fabric. Have each family member decorate a letter or two as they wish and watch the magic that happens as each individual creates a different sort of masterpiece. Then, display the finalized word wherever you like.

Family Tree
For this project, find a spot on a wall where you can fit a “tree” that will be about four feet tall. Use brown bulletin-board paper or construction paper to fashion the trunk and the branches of your tree and tape them directly onto the wall. Then, cut out “leaves” with construction paper and tape them onto your tree’s branches. In some of the leaves, place pictures of family members. It can be an actual family tree in which you do some research and make it very accurate, or it can simply be random pictures of your family, whichever you prefer. This is a great way to personalize bedrooms or communal spaces.

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5 Food Ingredients to Avoid Giving Kids

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Most people don’t think about the finer ingredients of the food they eat, but — surprise, surprise — many of those ingredients can be considered poisonous. Chemicals or extremely treated ingredients added to foods can cause damage to your health and well-being. Food that has been preserved, dried out or has had compounds inserted are considered treated foods. These can be potentially hazardous to anybody, but especially to children, whose bodies are still growing and who rely on good nutrition for proper development. As a nanny, you’ll be tasked with making sure the kids eat right, so here are a few ingredients to minimize or avoid altogether:

Palm Oil
When a standard fat is shot with hydrogen, it becomes firm and turns into a trans-fat. This allows wrapped foodstuffs to advertise it as being at its best. Packaged food can sit on grocery store shelves for an inordinate length of time without spoiling, and eating foods with palm oil increases your cholesterol. These types of fat also upsurge threats of blood masses and heart attacks.

Where you can find palm oil:

• Most butters and margarine
• Most non-dairy creamers
• Most chocolate cookies
• Most chocolate candies
• Most fruit candies

White Processed Foods
When a whole grain is processed, the majority of its nutrients are taken out, which then allows the food to last longer at home or in a grocery store. Bran and germ are eradicated, meaning that beneficial components like fiber, vitamins and minerals are removed. Refined granules are bereft of fiber and additional nutrients. These processed grains are also too simple to break down. They upsurge your blood sugar, eventually leading to a myriad of complications. To offset this, supplant white processed grains with whole grains.

Where you can find white processed grains:

• Flour
• Rice
• Pasta
• Bread
• Crackers
• Cereal
• Everyday sugars, such as table sugar.

High Fructose Corn Syrup

Fortunately, the quantity of refined sugar Americans put away has dropped over the past few decades. That being said, almost 20 times as much high fructose corn syrup is still being ingested. According to recent studies, Americans ingest more calories from high fructose corn syrup than from any other source. It increases hormones that hoard fat and pushes many to eat too much, resulting in weight gain and numerous health problems. The best thing to do regarding high fructose corn syrup is avoid it completely. Because high fructose corn syrup is in a large number of foods, try finding healthier versions of foods the children enjoy. Be sure to scan the ingredients of the foods you buy to ensure you are not purchasing food with high fructose corn syrup.

Where you can find high fructose corn syrup:

• English muffins
• Bread rolls
• White bread
• Pizza sauce
• Spaghetti sauce
• Barbecue sauce
• Soft drinks
• Sweetened breakfast cereals
• Lunch meats
• Sausages
• Macaroni and cheese
• Boxed meals
• Packaged lunch meals
• Salad dressing
• Yogurt
• Liquid cough suppressants, especially children’s medicines

Artificial Sweeteners

Aspartame, saccharin and sucralose might be even harsher on metabolic systems than regular sugar. These sweeteners actually do more damage than many people realize. Analyses have implied that artificial sweeteners mislead the brain into disregarding that saccharinity means additional calories, so people are more willing to eat sweet treats than they were before. Skim through ingredient descriptions and stay away from these allegedly “healthy” sweeteners. If you are in the mood for something sweet, reach for a piece of fresh fruit instead of a dessert containing any artificial sweeteners.

Where you can find artificial sweeteners:

• Soft drinks
• Certain medications
• Certain vitamin supplements
• Any food advertised as containing no sugar

Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Benzoate
These additives are often put in sodas to stop fungus from cultivating, however, benzene is a recognized chemical compound that is correspondingly connected with severe thyroid impairment. Hazardous stages of benzene can accumulate when plastic jugs of soda are laid open to high temperatures or when the additives are intermixed with ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C.

Where you can find sodium benzoate:

• Soft drinks
• Apples (low levels)
• Plums (low levels)
• Berries (low levels)
• Cranberries (low levels)
• Cloves
• Cinnamon

Where you can find potassium benzoate:

• Soft drinks
• Salted margarine
• Olives
• Sauces
• Relishes
• Jams
• Jellies
• Pastry and pie fillings
• Low-fat salad dressings

If the kids are used to eating foods that contain these ingredients, it may be hard for them to stop eating them altogether. Start with little steps, such as replacing a bag of potato chips with baked kale, or switching out ice cream with Greek yogurt and fresh strawberries. In time, children who are given fresh foods rather than processed ingredients will adopt healthy eating habits.

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15 Blogs with the Best Tips for Training Your Teenage Driver

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Thinking about teaching your teen to drive might be giving you anxiety attacks, but with some careful planning and preparation it doesn’t have to. To help make the process a smoother one, it’s a good idea to start talking to your child about driving well before he’s ready to get behind the wheel. Your child is taking cues from you, so you need to model responsible driving skills, too. No matter how experienced of a driver you are, you’ll want to brush up on safe driving rules and laws before you start teaching your teen, as well as prepare some basic lessons for him once it’s time for him to start learning to drive. To learn more tips on how to teach your teen to drive, read these 15 blog articles.

Set a Good Example

Everyone is susceptible to road rage on occasion, and you’ve likely pushed the speed limit once or twice in your life. Think about your driving habits before you start teaching your teen to drive and fix any bad habits now, because your child is watching and learning driving habits years before he gets his learner’s permit. It’s never too early to start talking about defensive driving tips with your teen, and these five blog entries are full of tips to help you exhibit and teach good driving skills for your child.

Know the Rules

Try to think back to when you took the driver’s test to get your own learner’s permit.  Do you remember the questions on the test?  If it’s been 20 years or so since you took the test, you probably need a refresher. After all, a lot of things can change in 20 years! Check out these five blog posts to learn why knowing the rules is necessary before starting driving lessons with your child.

Plan Out Your Lessons

Before you get into the car with your teen it’s a good idea to plan out what you’re going to teach him. Start slowly by making sure that he knows how to adjust and work everything in the car.  Driving down the road in a sudden rain shower is no place to realize that he doesn’t know how to turn on the windshield wipers. These five blog postings will give you more tips on how you can break up your lessons.

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10 Ways to Prevent Choking in Kids

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Choking can be scary enough when it happens to you, but when it happens to your child, it’s downright terrifying. This is especially concerning because children don’t have the strength or reflexes necessary to “power through” a choking incident the way an adult might; according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “choking is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children,” especially for kids three and under. The best way to prevent this is to stay alert when your child is eating and playing, but what exactly does that mean for you? Here are some steps to take:

Never leave a small child eating unattended

Never ever. It’s far too dangerous to let a young child eat by themselves. The first step in preventing choking incidents is to be on guard, and that starts by being present when your child eats. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to worry at every hiccup or cough. What it does mean is that you’re feeding them or sitting right with them whenever your child is snacking or having a meal.

Set a good example

Many parents underestimate the power of setting a good example for their kids when it comes to the act of eating. Take modest bites, and chew your food carefully. Don’t rush through meals. Pause between bites, and make sure you drink plenty of fluids. You’ll be amazed at the way these lessons will sink in, especially when your child connects the behavior you’re teaching them with the way you actually behave.

Watch your child’s posture as they eat

This is a small but very helpful tip. Basically, make sure your child is sitting up straight and is ready to actually eat, not slouched back or flopped over. Again, adults can pull off the couch potato look; kids, though, need to treat meals as proper activities, and that means being able to sit up and take nourishment.

Cut food properly

This is so important. It might sound too obvious to bear mentioning, but children have much smaller bites than adults, and their ability to chew and tear food isn’t nearly as strong as yours. As a result, it’s imperative that you cut their food into reasonably small chunks that they can handle. Don’t be fooled by softer foods like hot dogs, either. They’re just as liable to cause choking and should be sliced lengthwise, then lengthwise again before slicing into smaller pieces for serving. If you think a bite of food is too big, even just a little, cut it in half.

Don’t eat in the car

A moving car doesn’t offer nearly the same stability and control that a dining table does. For starters, the kids aren’t with you, they’re in separate rows. On top of that, they’re eating while bouncing around and strapped into a car seat. It’s just not a safe environment in which you can expect a child to properly eat and chew food.

Separate snack time from play time

Play time is great: it’s for running around, laughing and having fun. Snack time, though, is for sitting. A reliable way to reduce choking hazards is to teach your children that snack time should be calm, leisurely and free of the roughhousing that defines playtime. The calmer they are, the more they’ll focus on eating correctly.

Avoid mixing activities with things like gum or candy

Giving your child a candy to suck on or a piece of gum to chew and then turning them loose to play is a recipe for disaster. One trip, one gasp, one accidental swallow and the treat you thought was harmless can become lodged in their windpipe. As with the other tips on this list, you need to be present when they eat and they need to eat in a controlled environment.

Don’t give young children foods that can block their throats

A young child’s windpipe is about as big around as a drinking straw. Because of that, smaller foods that might seem fine to you can actually be dangerous for children. If the child is under four, you should avoid the kinds of hard foods that can easily block airways, like popcorn, sunflower seeds, raw apples and raw carrots.

Prompt children to drink as they eat

Your child should be taking plenty of liquids with meals and snacks, but it’s important to make sure they aren’t taking giant swigs of liquid at once, and that they aren’t trying to swallow liquids and solids at the same time. Have them chew a bite and swallow it, then take a sip of their drink, then repeat.

Watch out for small objects

Perform regular checks in your house for little things that might have fallen to the floor and that could find their way into your curious child’s mouth. Coins, paper clips, pins, batteries; literally anything you find is something they’ll probably try to eat. You should also carefully monitor what toys they play with and make sure they’re age-appropriate to prevent choking hazards.

Ultimately, the name of the game is smart prevention. Whether you’re prepping for playtime or a refreshing meal, stop to examine the situation for potential choking problems. A little prevention goes a long way.

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7 iPad Apps to Help Kids Learn Math and Science

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One of the best things about iPads (and all tablets, really) is the way you can use them as educational tools. With the right tweaks to parental controls, they become safe and sturdy resources for children to develop their young minds. As a nanny, you can use these applications to reinforce math and science concepts or help to teach new ones. The right app can help the child or children in your care boost their brainpower and make learning fun. Here are some of the best (prices will vary).

Star Walk: This app lets kids explore more than 20,000 objects in the sky, zooming in and around constellations, planets and entire galaxies as they discover space. It features “augmented reality,” meaning you can point your iPad or iPhone’s camera at a spot in the sky and read what’s at that location, and you can use it like a regular interactive atlas, too. Best of all, it doesn’t require an Internet connection to use.

Math Evolve: Designed for ages 6 and up, Math Evolve is a fun and engaging way to instill the basics — addition, subtraction, multiplication and division — without getting bogged down. There’s a practice mode that’s perfect for drills or brushing up, and there’s a story mode that lets kids take their character across multiple environments (like the ocean and outer space) while using math skills to solve levels.

Monster Physics: Monster Physics looks goofy to adults, which is kind of the point: It’s a brightly colored, cartoony app that’s meant to appeal to the game-loving side of kids. It’s not shallow, though. Winner of a 2012 Editor’s Choice Award from Children’s Technology Review, the app uses rockets, race cars and monster-controlled magnets to teach kids the elemental properties of physics, like mass, velocity and more.

The Ultimate Dinopedia: This app is just what it sounds like: the ultimate guide to dinosaurs. Produced by National Geographic, the app has been nationally ranked for its educational qualities by outlets like Time magazine and The New York Times. It features info on more than 700 dinosaurs, including stats, pictures, fun facts and charts that show how each dinosaur is related to others. You’ll probably find yourself using it as much as the kids do.

Mathemagics: This is a fantastic app for students of all ages, geared toward teaching you how to accomplish basic math functions as quickly as possible. Problems are broken into broad areas like “Quickly multiply by 9” or “Quickly divide by 5,” among dozens of others, so you can work on certain areas depending on your needs. It’s a great way to learn basics and then level up.

Bugs and Numbers: This app offers 18 separate games designed to enhance crucial math skills. Kids learn things like number sequencing, measurements, patterns and even currency. It’s a great one to have on hand to keep younger learners entertained and instill good math habits from an early age.

Science360: Published by the National Science Foundation, this app is a gorgeous, entertaining way for kids to learn more about the world around them. There are hundreds of pictures and videos, with new content added all the time. From ocean life to the physics of sports, there’s something for just about every taste and passion.

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28 Blogs Looking at How You Can Build Smart Money Habits Early

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According to the 2012 NFCC (National Foundation for Credit Counseling) Consumer Literacy Survey, only 56% of American adults have a budget. However, having a budget in place can help you delegate money for savings, bills, purchases and charitable giving. It also serves as a good way to teach your children the benefits of budgeting and proper money handling. In these 28 blog entries you will find tips and tools to help you teach your children smart money habits while they are young.

Saving Habits

How much you can save each month is dependent on how much you earn, which is an important lesson to teach your kids.  One way you can help them understand this is through giving them an allowance or by paying them for odd jobs around the house. When they want to purchase something, you can explain the difference between saving up for big purchases and giving in to instant gratification. These seven blog articles explain how you can help your child learn about saving their money.

Money Management

When your kids receive money, you should have a method in place to help them separate money into different categories, such as saving, giving and spending. This will help your kids understand that money has value and is not just a toy, and will help them begin to understand the basics of money management. Take a look at these seven blog posts for money management tips.

Charitable Giving

One way you can teach children to learn the value of a dollar is to show them the importance of charitable giving. If you belong to a church, you may want to suggest that your child tithe some of her money each Sunday. Another way you can show her how beneficial it is to help those who are less fortunate is to let her pick a charity that means something to her, like the ASPCA if she loves animals, and have her donate to it.  These seven blog articles explain more about the importance of teaching your kids about charitable giving.

Shift Money Attitude

Toy companies know that kids are easily influenced by advertisements, and they readily capitalize on this by flooding them with colorful, beautiful ads that appeal to them. For this reason, it’s important to explain to kids the difference between need versus want. Check out these seven blog entries to learn how to shift your child’s money attitude for the better.

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5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe at Amusement Parks

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There’s just something about the amusement park that sends kids into paroxysms of joy at the mere mention of a visit. For youngsters, a trip to the amusement park is a day filled with fun, food of questionable nutrition and a whirl or two on the many rides. For parents, however, they can be a veritable minefield of potentially dangerous and harmful situations. Before canceling your trip to the nearest theme park or spending the day wracked with fear as your youngsters race from one harrowing adventure to the next, consider putting these five safety rules into play, along with a few customized rules that you’ve set yourself to fit the temperament and habits of your own unique brood.

Slather on the Sunscreen

Shoddy maintenance and kids’ own clumsy natures aren’t the only threats to your children’s safety at the amusement park. The sun, even on a cloudy or overcast day, can wreak havoc on your little ones’ skin. To be sure that you’re protecting them from environmental hazards as well as those specific to the amusement park, take the time to thoroughly apply sunscreen to each and every bit of exposed skin. Keep in mind, too, that sunscreen does wear off over time, and that even brands marketed as “waterproof” are really only water-resistant, so they will need to be reapplied after a dunk from a water slide, profuse sweating or a sudden summer shower.

Keep Little Ones Hydrated

Dehydration can be very dangerous for kids and adults alike. While you may find it acceptable to allow one sugary, overpriced concession-stand drink, you’ll need to make sure that there’s plenty of water available to your kids in order to help stave off dehydration. Kids at an amusement park will be running, playing hard and sweating, which means that they’ll be losing fluid at an alarming rate. Be sure that you encourage them to replenish those lost fluids with water. Sports drinks do contain electrolytes to replace those lost through sweat, but they also contain loads of sweeteners and chemical flavorings or coloring agents that you may be more inclined to skip.

Don’t Try to “Cheat” Restrictions

When your child is in tears because he’s a quarter of an inch too short to ride the big roller coaster, it can be tempting to look for ways around those restrictions. Keep in mind, though, that those restrictions are put in place expressly to maintain the safety and security of all the riders. Just because you can find a way around them doesn’t mean that it’s in your best interest. In the end, it’s far better to endure the disappointment and attendant crankiness that comes with accompanying a child who’s been denied a turn on a particularly exciting ride than to successfully circumvent them and end up with a gravely injured one.

Set a Good Safety Example

“Do as I say, not as I do” never helped anyone make a point, and that rule holds true in amusement parks, too. You can instruct your kids not to take risks with their safety or gamble with their well-being, but they’re not likely to take those instructions under serious consideration if they’re watching you flout the rules. Remember that your kids will take cues about how they should act in a given situation from the behavior they observe in you, and make a conscious effort to follow the same rules that you set forth for them.

Help Staff Members Spot Problems

Whether it’s borne of a blind faith that someone in a position of authority will spot problems on their own or a fear of imposition, some parents will see a safety hazard and refuse to approach staff members with their concerns. Remember that you, as a customer, are on the front lines in a way that amusement park managers and employees can’t be, and that it’s imperative that you report any dangerous problems you see along the way. Don’t just move to the next seat over because the lap-belt is broken or compromised; call a staff member’s attention to the issue so that you can help to keep other kids as safe as you’re keeping your own.

With sensationalist news reports and urban-legend horror stories abounding, it’s easy to see an amusement park visit as a direct ticket to the emergency room. It’s important to remember that, provided you’re behaving well and not taking unnecessary risks, you’re more than likely to experience a pleasant, if exhausting day at the park.

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10 Silly Sayings Parents Teach Their Kids

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When you’re a child, you promise never to use the silly and embarrassing clichés that seem to come so freely from the mouths of adults. As you get older and start your own family, however, you realize that there’s a reason why these old-hat expressions never seem to die: parents teach them to their children, who will eventually break down and use them in a fit of desperation in the face of their own kids’ baffling behavior. These are 10 of the most venerable and well-worn silly sayings passed down from generation to generation, despite kids’ vows never to pick them up when they get older.

  • “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!” – Kids have a way of wanting every product they see advertised and insisting that they’ll never have another friend again if they’re not wearing the newest and most expensive designer labels when they turn up to school. While you may have sworn that you’d have calm, rational discussions about budgeting with your own kids when the time came, there’s a good chance that you’ve let this gem fly a time or two.
  • “You Weren’t Raised in a Barn!” – Whether it’s leaving the door open to run outside or making rude noises at the dinner table, kids have a knack for being thoughtless and, in the eyes of adults, horribly impolite from time to time. That’s usually when an admonishment about a barnyard background will come into play, even if the speaker has always held that the phrase is one they’ll never use.
  • “Because I Said So!” – Kids love to use the word “why.” If an adult says it, there will be a child nearby that wants to know why that statement is applicable, why it was used, why his parent feels that way and why he has to listen to it. Though it’s one of the most infuriating phrases a parent can use, there’s still a fine line that, once crossed, will leave a parent explaining that the whole reason boils down to “because I said so.”
  • “If Your Friends All Jumped Off of a Bridge, Would You Do It?” – Of course a child isn’t going to jump off of a bridge, even if all of his friends are doing it! When your own parents asked you, with a straight face, if you were planning to take a header off of a bridge at the request of a friend, you probably rolled your eyes and made a mental note never to ask your own kids that same question. In the end, though, you will almost certainly pose it to your kids when they’ve followed the crowd into some particularly ill-advised antics.
  • “Your Face is Going to Freeze Like That.” – Kids love making funny faces, and parents love poking fun at them for doing so. Every child has, at some point in his life, also had the passing fear that if he crossed his eyes just one more time, he would never be able to uncross them, thanks to this favorite comment of parents.
  • “Hold Your Horses!” – While a pack of excited kids may sound like a herd of wild horses running through your house, there probably aren’t any mustangs in sight. That’s what makes it so silly to tell a rushed child to “hold his horses,” but parents still continue to use and pass the phrase along as their own kids get older.
  • “I Can’t Wait Until You Have Children.” – Most parents aren’t in an rush for their progeny to start having babies, but that doesn’t stop them from wielding the phrase, “I can’t wait until you have children that act just like you act!” Kids tend to disregard the statement out of hand, but they’ll also say it in a fit of frustration when their own start acting like little hooligans.
  • “Hay is for Horses.” – No parent wants to hear their child shouting, “hey!” all the time, which is why this gentle admonishment about proper language use is still surviving. That, and the fact that it seems to be absorbed by kids to be spat out when they’re parents themselves.
  • “Can’t Never Did Do Anything.” – Encouraging your child to be enthusiastic and fostering a sense of determination is the goal of most parents. After all, you want them to believe that they really can do anything they set their mind to. Instead of summing that sentiment up in a germane manner, however, most will just toss this favorite of motivational posters out there, waiting for their kids to parrot them back at their own little ones later.
  • “Eat Your Carrots So You Can See in the Dark.” – While carrots are part of a nutritious diet and good for macular health, they don’t give kids infrared night-vision. That doesn’t stop parents who are desperate to get a vegetable down their child’s gullet from saying it, though, nor does it stop those adult kids from taking the same tack when faced with their own finicky little ones.
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