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Friday, September 28, 2007

Poem for Moms

Here are some beautiful and meaningful poems for and about moms. Enjoy Reading!

Mother
by Roger J. Robicheau


A Mother’s love, is sure to find
A way to comfort, ease your mind

She knows just how, to build you up
When you’re so down, and can’t look up

You love the way, she makes you feel
Like you’re so special, her ideal

Her thought must start, with God above
To bring such caring, with such love

And as it flows, like gentle rain
It surely helps, when troubles pain

The love from mine, is oh so clear
I only wish, she was still here

Her warming glow, is missed each day
Even though, I seldom say

But she did leave, her gift behind
To help me through, when I may pine

And that’s the feel, known deep inside
Her faith and love, I still confide


Jamie's Puzzle
by Frances E. W. Harper


There was grief within our household
Because of a vacant chair.
Our mother, so loved and precious,
No longer was sitting there.

Our hearts grew heavy with sorrow,
Our eyes with tears were blind,
And little Jamie was wondering,
Why we were left behind.

We had told our little darling,
Of the land of love and light,
Of the saints all crowned with glory,
And enrobed in spotless white.

We said that our precious mother,
Had gone to that land so fair,
To dwell with beautiful angels,
And to be forever there.

But the child was sorely puzzled,
Why dear grandmamma should go
To dwell in a stranger city,
When her children loved her so.

But again the mystic angel
Came with swift and silent tread,
And our sister, Jamie's mother,
Was enrolled among the dead.

To us the mystery deepened,
To Jamie it seemed more clear;

Grandma, he said, must be lonesome,
And mamma has gone to her.

But the question lies unanswered
In our little Jamie's mind,
Why she should go to our mother,
And leave her children behind.

To dwell in that lovely city,
From all that was dear to part,
From children who loved to nestle
So closely around her heart.

Dear child, like you, we are puzzled,
With problems that still remain;
But think in the great hereafter
Their meaning will all be plain.


One and One
by Mary Mapes Dodge


Two little girls are better than one,
Two little boys can double the fun,
Two little birds can build a fine nest,
Two little arms can love mother best.
Two little ponies must go to a span;
Two little pockets has my little man;
Two little eyes to open and close,
Two little ears and one little nose,
Two little elbows, dimpled and sweet,
Two little shoes on two little feet,
Two little lips and one little chin,
Two little cheeks with a rose shut in;
Two little shoulders, chubby and strong,
Two little legs running all day long.
Two little prayers does my darling say,
Twice does he kneel by my side each day,
Two little folded hands, soft and brown,
Two little eyelids cast meekly down,
And two little angels guard him in bed,
"One at the foot, and one at the head."


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Monday, September 24, 2007

Cultivating good reading habits in our children


The key to lifelong learning is reading and writing. When reading and wiring are a regular part of your family's life, you send your child the message that they are enjoyable, valuable and great ways to learn. Here are some ways you can start helping your child:

1.Keep many age appropriate books and other reading materials in your house. If you have the time, schedule weekly or biweekly trips to the library with your child. Take out books for yourself too. Show your child that you value reading and that it is important to you.

2.Start reading to your child at an early stage.
Make reading daily to your infant or toddler part of your daily routine. It doesn't have to be for more than 20 minutes a day. Do it at the same time each day, if you can, so that you both become accustomed to it. Have fun reading to your baby. Choose books with vivid colors and point out images and shapes to your baby. Be animated with your voice and facial expressions.

3.When your child becomes a preschooler, you can start reading for a longer period of time. To help develop your child's critical thinking skills, encourage your child to ask questions or to predict what will happen next in the story. Be enthusiastic about reading. Read the story with expression. Make it more interesting by talking as the characters would talk, making sound effects and using facial expressions and gestures. Encourage your child to do the same.

4.As your child's ability to read develops, let your child pick out a favorite book to read alone. Make time to read the books together. Take turns, with you reading one page or paragraph and your child reading the next. You might also read the parts of different characters in a story. If your child is unsure of the meaning of a word, have your child use the surrounding words or sentences to figure it out. If this doesn't help, just tell your child what the word means and keep reading. Buy a children's dictionary-if possible, one that has pictures next to the words. Help your child get into the habit of looking up unfamiliar or difficult words. The American Heritage Picture Dictionary is great for preschool and early elementary school students.

StarFall.com is a great website for learning to read for pre-kindergarten to second grade. All the learning materials are free. http://www.starfall.com/

If you notice that your child is having some difficulties with reading, get some help for your child. The problem can be related to poor vision or your child might help extra help. Find tutoring services in your neighborhood or online to help your child. Identify if your child is having problems with vocabulary or reading comprehension.

You can get a free reading aptitude test for grades 2-10 at Mind Play.com-http://www.test4free.com/assess.asp

The good news is that no matter how long it takes; most children can learn to read. By working together with your child's teacher and other educational professionals, you can determine if your child has a learning disability or other problem.

As your child gets into middle school and high school, your child will have other distractions and interests. You can continue to help your child by buying books that would be of interest to them.

Other tips on reading well

1. Active reading takes effort. Parents can help their children to cultivate good reading habit by having strict rules that they should never do serious reading while doing other activities such as watching TV or playing with their toys.

2. As much as possible, provide them a conducive reading and learning environment where there are minimum distraction. For example, switch off the TV at home or get other kids to play outside the house when your children are doing serious reading.

3. Do a preview of the book together with your child before he starts the actual reading. These often help him pay better attention and get more out of the textbook reading time. A preview usually takes between 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the volume of information.


To do a preview you:

- scan through the title of each chapter in the content page.
- look at all the headings, subheadings and marked, italic or dark print.
- look at any pictures or illustrations, charts or graphs.
- quickly skim over the passage, reading the first and last paragraph and glancing at the first sentence of every other paragraph.
- close the book and ask your child: what is the main idea and what is the author's purpose.

By doing the preview, your child will get a good general ideas of the materials. If he has a general idea of what the passage is about before he really read it, he will be able to understand and remember the passage better.

For older children, parents should teach them the technique of doing preview so that they can do it by themselves at any time without the help from their parents.








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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Parenting Tip from Finding Nemo - Help your child learn independence

We generally watch lots of cartoons and children movies with our kids and do not realise that some of them have a very meaningful lesson to be learned from them. The message that comes across in Finding Nemo is Help your Child to learn to be Independent.

I believe that this article by Michelle Shelton is very insightful and will be beneficial to us parents. Hope you benefit from reading it.

Did You Get the Hidden Parenting Message in Finding Nemo?

In the movie, Finding Nemo, Nemo's father, Marlyn asks the sea turtle, "Dude, how do you know when they are ready?"

This is an interesting question that many parents would like to know. How DO you know when your children are ready to take on tasks for themselves? The only way to know if your children are ready for something is to test them. In the movie you may remember Nemo being in the fish tank and becoming stuck in the air tube, all of the other fish wanted to rescue Nemo from a certain death. All except Gil. Gil could see that Nemo was perfectly capable of getting out of the tube for himself. Nemo on the other hand was told his entire life by his father that he couldn't swim well because he had a bad fin. Nemo promptly relayed this message to Gil. Yet Gil didn't buy it. He could see that Nemo could indeed save himself and he told him so. So what could Nemo do? Nothing. Nothing that is except perform. He had to save himself because he had no other choice. He had to get out of the air tube himself or he would die. When put to the test by Gil, Nemo passed with flying colors. He got himself out of the air tube and quickly realized that he COULD do it himself. Gil instantly gave Nemo the gift of self-accomplishment and confidence that his father had unintentionally robbed Nemo of his entire life.
Children often tell their parents that they can't perform certain tasks because children know that their parents will bail them out. Someone is always selling and someone is always buying. When your children are selling you on what they can't do, are you buying? Or do you sell them on what they CAN do?

As parents we must realize that our children need to be tested in order to grow. We must allow them to fail on the little things and be there to pick them up when they fall. This is how they learn. This is how they grow.

Nemo's Father Taught us Failure is Necessary for Success!

I think the way you know they are ready is to train them to do a task and then teach them why it is important to be able to do it themselves and then turn them lose and allow them some room to fail. That's right, I said fail. My father once told me that failure was necessary for success. "Don't worry about failure," he said, "just make sure you fail forward." In order for children to develop properly we must allow them room to grow and not do everything for them. Anything you do for your children that they can do for themselves will cripple them. I find it interesting that Nemo had a crippled fin and wonder if he was crippled because his father never allowed him to swim very far from home because of the dangers of the ocean. Nemo's father was so overprotective of him that he didn't give him the skills necessary to develop confidence and the life skills he needed to deal with the dangers of the ocean.

This is the type of parenting that creates children that never learn to get themselves out of a jam. These children become very dependent on others to bail them out of every situation. These children grow into dependent adults. Not only do they become extremely dependent on others, they have very little confidence in themselves and their own abilities and often lead a chaotic life.

It is difficult to know when we are being too protective of our children and to know when we must step in and rescue them. I suggest that parents not only train their children how to do something but also give them the "why" behind the training so they instill it in their mind. We must train AND teach them about the world so they can learn to make good decisions when we are not there to bail them out.

Nemo continued...Are You too Protective? If so, what can you do?

When you watch the movie, Finding Nemo, you will notice that Nemo's father protected him from anything that might be potentially dangerous. In doing so, he never taught little Nemo how to deal with the dangers he might face in the world. This would be like never allowing our children to cross the street unless we were with them because a car may hit them. At some point we must train them how to do it and then teach them why it is important to follow this training. Then we simply must trust them enough to allow them to try it on their own.

Perhaps you have been overprotecting your children. How can you change? First ask yourself. Can he do this himself? Is he at the point he can be trained how to do this? Why should he do this himself? This is the only hope of giving your children confidence in their own abilities and making them independent of you. After all, your job as a parent is to teach your children to be independent of you, not dependent on you!

Michelle Shelton and her husband Paul live in Gilbert, Arizona with their five children. Michelle is a full time Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Realty Southeast Valley and focuses on Arizona Horse Property. You can visit her site at http://www.askmichelleshelton.com or email her at michelleshelton@yahoo.com










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Friday, September 14, 2007

Money management for children - Giving children allowance


Do you want your child to be financially savvy, then teach him the value of money and grant him allowances. Encourage your child to do extra chores to earn more!. My youngest son generally messages his father to earn a dollar While my daughter always checks out a few stores to compare prices before buying her stationery.

Here are some very valid reasons to Pay your Kid an Allowance by Cindy S. Morus .


1. They can make mistakes under your guidance
2. They will learn how to save for the future
3. They will learn that money doesn't "grow on trees"
4. They will appreciate what they have
5. They will learn to make choices and set priorities
6. They may stop nagging you for money
7. There will be less friction in your household
8. They will learn healthy financial behaviors
9. They will learn your values
10. You can teach them that it isn't all "about the money"
11. They will learn how to spend wisely
12. They will be prepared to enter the grown-up world.
13. Allowances will teach your children to be resourceful, independent and unique.
14. An allowance is a "tool to empower your children to avoid commercialism's clutches."
15. You can teach them to avoid the pitfalls of debt
16. You can help them improve their communication skills around money.
17. An allowance now could help them avoid future "marital money chaos"
18. They'll learn the difference between quantity and quality.
19. They'll learn how it feels to make a poor choice and have to live with it.
20. They'll learn how to resist impulses (sometimes, maybe!)
21. They'll learn to appreciate and take care of their things.

Cindy S. Morus (www.phelps-creek.com) is a Certified Financial Recovery Counselor specializing in showing women and their families how to achieve financial well-being and peace of mind.








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Monday, September 10, 2007

Let's beat childhood obesity.


No one likes to be called fat or made fun of because of their "big" size. This is especially true for our children who are very sensitive and are affected by peer pressure. Both my sons are big framed but my younger one looks plumb and has puffy cheeks while my elder son is more muscular. Many a time, my relatives have pinched his cheeks and his cousin even calls him "Chocolate boy".

As kids these days would rather spend time on the computer than go outside and kick a ball around or ride their bikes, its easy to understand why many of them are plumb. And with all the junk food advertisements aimed at children by the media, us parents definitely have our jobs cut out for us to reduce obesity.

The bottom line is our lifestyles have changed. We don't walk as much as we used to. We eat pre-packaged or fast foods instead of home cooked meals. And what exercise can compete with video games?
Times have definitely changed but that doesn't mean we have to completely give up. It's just a matter of putting some simple measures into place.

Here are some easy tips to ensure your kids develop a life-long healthy lifestyle.

Limited time for non active games and activities.
1. Limit your kids television, computer and video games time. This may not be easy at first, but be persistent. Suggest an activity they can do, or better yet go outside with them and join in. Children learn through example, so if you're all set to go for a bike ride they may just want to join you. Recently we bought a scooter each for my younger daughter and son. So now, they are more excited to race each other rather than fight over who can use the computer!

Family involved food shopping
2. Get your kids involved in the family food shopping. Make a list of healthy foods everyone agrees on and point out the health benefits to your kids. You'll be surprised at how open to eating healthy your kids can be. You don't have to drastically cut out the cakes and cookies altogether, but instead let each child choose one item they can enjoy as a special treat. This teaches kids to learn about moderation and that , yes, they can have cookies or chocolates as treats not as regular food staples. Check out some healthy snacks that fun yet healthy in my other blog: Healthy Yet Yummy Food


Don't super size your kids.
3.Be careful to serve kid appropriate food portions. Remember, if they're not fully satisfied they can simply go back for seconds. Also, teach them to eat slowly and take breaks between mouthfuls to allow the brain to register when it's full.

Teach moderation
4. Try to avoid branding any foods as "bad for you". Instead focus on teaching your kids everything can be enjoyed in moderation. This takes the pressure off them and gets rid of the diet mentality which can set them up for a life of yo-yo dieting.

Have an active lifestyle.
5. Be more active! Simply stated, kids need more activity in their lives. The same goes for all of us, if we eat more calories than we're using up we will gain weight. It's as simple as that. So get out there and make it fun. Try not to use the word "exercise". You want this to be a lifestyle habit not something that has to be done.

Be a positive role model
6. Rather than focusing on changes for your child only, change as a family. Have a family meeting and talk about healthy eating and good nutrition. Explain all the benefits of exercise and let your kids suggest some simple activities you can do together. Start slowly and build up. If you set a good example your kids will eventually follow.

Just remember any change can be difficult at first and you may initially have to put with tears or even temper tantrums, but be persistent. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle will far outweigh any difficulties you may face in getting there. Your kids will thank you for it in the long run....





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Thursday, September 6, 2007

How to manage Sibling Rivalry


It is human nature to feel competitive and envious toward others. A moderate spirit of competition is a positive and productive attribute in school and in business. Sibling rivalry is a normal part of growing up in families. The competition between siblings starts when the second child is born. Unfortunately, many parents ignore it and some even make the situation worse.

When occasional fighting becomes a constant series of arguments and fights, it must be dealt with to avoid years of discord and even potential danger. Here are some tips that will help you lessen your frustration over argumentative brothers and sisters and help them learn to get along better.

Equal Amounts of praise for each child
Do your best to offer each of your children equal amounts of praise and attention. This is true if they are competing for your attention or if they are participating in a school or sports activity.

Don't force participation
Encourage your children to participate in activities that they truly enjoy. Don't expect them to always join activities that they must do together or where they will be competing against each other.

Don't show favouritism
Children sometimes perceive that their parents favor one child over the others. While some parents do prefer one child to the others, it is usually not a conscious choice. If your child tells you that you favor his or her sibling, pay attention to your behavior; maybe there is some truth to it. However, if you know you are being fair or if there is a valid reason for treating one child differently, stand firm. Sometimes children use the "favorite child" complaint as a way to make you feel guilty and give them what they want.

Avoid comparison of behavior between siblings
Sometimes one child is more cooperative or better behaved than another. It's normal to compare siblings, (especially when one child performs better in school or games) but it's generally better not to talk about it. Comparing two kids doesn't help improve their behavior; instead, it intensifies the sense of envy and jealousy. A more constructive strategy is to limit your comments to the problem behavior. Always avoid telling one child that his or her sibling does something better.

Family member involvement
Make it a rule that family members may become involved in incidents between siblings only if they actually saw what happened. This keeps people from being manipulated.

Realize that younger children can be the aggressors. Don't automatically rush to their defense.

Remove the toy the siblings are fighting over
If two kids are fighting over a toy, take it away. This discourages them from arguing over who can play with what.

Look at each other in a mirror
When two kids are fighting, make them share a chair and look at each other in a mirror. With all the goofy faces they make in the mirror the disagreement is soon forgotten and they are laughing like best friends.

Assign chores
If the kids continue the fight after a few minutes in the chair, assign them a chore to do. The excess energy they are directing toward each other is soon put to better use setting the table or picking up the toys.

Active Listening technique
Use the Active Listening technique to allow siblings to express their feelings. When kids fight, parents often try to talk children out of their feelings by saying things like "Stop arguing with Tony, Sarah. You know you love your brother." Instead, you could acknowledge the child's feelings by saying, "Sounds like you're pretty upset with Tony." You might be surprised to see that this defuses the emotion and enables Sarah to move on to something else.

Give gifts based on individual needs
When you give things to children, base your choices on their individual needs and interests. If you try to avoid arguments by giving equal gifts to each child, they will inevitably find something about them that is unfair.

Avoid taking sides
When your children are in an argument, avoid taking sides. If you can, encourage them to work out their differences. It is almost impossible to try to determine who started a fight. Even if you know who started the argument, taking sides only makes things worse. If your children learn that you will not enter their minor disagreements, they will have to learn to settle things between themselves.

Time and persistence
You may think that rivalry will stop magically if only you learn to do the right thing. However, learning new behaviors takes a lot of time and persistence.

Address early
It is important to address the issues of sibling rivalry when children are young, because it can intensify and persist as children become adults. It is important not to give up when you feel frustrated. Things may even seem like they are worse before they start to improve. Because of your efforts and persistence, your children will learn how to get along better. That will prepare them to have productive relationships in the future.





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