Category : Miscellaneous


Inspirational Video: FREE HUGS

Maybe you've seen this before, maybe not. If you have, did you stop to think: is there nothing I can do to make the world a bit of a better place?

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Miscellaneous Writing

Hands-on Learning Games: 6 Activities to Help Your Child Learn to Spell (and Understand) Words

Practicing spelling is probably one of the more irksome activities children face in school. I remember every day pulling out our gold colored spelling workbook, and tackling that day’s list of spelling words. The rest of the week consisted of various reading and writing activities designed to bang the spelling of those pesky words into our not-so-interested heads.

Today some schools are more enlightened, and now there are all sorts of interesting ways teachers teach spelling, ranging from word walls, to make the magic word.

However, if you’re a parent at home with a child who has to memorize 10 new spelling words by the day after tomorrow, you might be kind of stuck. If jumping out of the window of a small plane seems preferable to another night of drilling spelling words, then these 6 activities might cheer you up:

1. Riddles

The 7-10 year old age group especially enjoy this ancient pastime. Using a spelling word as the answer, you or your child try and think of a riddle that goes with it. There are the obvious (“What lives in a cave and hangs upside down? A b-a-t), or you can get really creative and think of some real knee slappers.

If you want to go really wild your child can make their own joke booklet: your child can illustrate it and print out, allowing them to review the words on their own next time.

2. Missing Words

This is a fill-in the blank game. You start off by writing a few of the spelling words at the top of a paper. Underneath, you write sentences that can be filled in the blank using the words. Once your child understands the words, you can leave out writing the spelling words on the top of the paper; then the sentence itself is the clue, and the child has to guess the word and fill it in the blank.

3. Crossword Puzzles

Although there are software programs that do this, it’s a lot more fun to do it on your own. Between making the clues and making the boxes for each word (you have to spell the words in order to get the right number of boxes!), your child will have plenty of practice with their spelling words.

4. Classification

In this game, you dictate groups of words. Your child has to cross out the word that doesn’t belong, and explain why it doesn’t fit in that category.

5. Creative Writing

Choose a picture from a magazine or a book. Have your child write a sentence or two about it using one of spelling words. Older children might choose to skip the picture; you can then have them write a story using the spelling words. You write once sentence, and they have to write the next one using a spelling word. Afterwards you read the whole story together.

6. Word jeopardy

T his is a game of quick thinking. You say one word, and your child has to answer with a spelling word that’s related to the word you said. An easy example would be Thanksgiving: your child answers “t-u-r-k-e-y.”  You can have your child give a synonym or an antonym, depending on the types of words they need to study.

This also works with more technical words, such as those you might have in science or history. For example, if you say “plant,” your child would answer s-y-n-t-h-e-s-i-s.

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Parenting Children: What If Your Child Could Fly?

It's really easy to tell yourself about all the things you can't do. Same goes with your child-how easy is to think of all the things she can't do yet? She can't read yet, he can't get along with friends, they're not independent enough...

I want you to stop for a minute and think of all the things your child can do. Now tell yourself, and your child

I can do this.

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Hands-On Learning Games: Help Your Child Learn About Feelings

Being unable to describe what’s bothering you can be really frustrating for young children.  Being able to identify and name the feeling you are feeling allows your child a safe way to release that feeling, as well as gain sympathy, comfort, and acceptance.

It also paves the way for problem-solving, since once you can explain how you feel, you have a better chance of working together with another person to help you overcome whatever issue is at hand.

This is why it’s common for younger children or children who have language delays to hit, tantrum, or withdraw more than other children.

Most experts recommend talking with your child about feelings, using pictures as children expressing certain emotions. The problem with this, however, is that young children often don’t understand or have patience to hear lengthy explanations.

This hands-on learning game is different, in that it uses only pictures to demonstrate the meanings of various feelings. It also allows your child more freedom in choosing which emotions match which event; for example, not all children might be happy to see a dog. Some might feel scared. If your child chooses to put the scared face underneath the dog, you’ll have a chance to talk with her about why she feels that way.


-Pictures of children expressing the following emotions: happy, sad, angry, disappointed, disgusted, scared, worried, excited, and frustrated. You can either take pictures of a cooperative older child, or find pictures online.

-Pictures of common, everyday events: toy breaking, receiving a present, falling down, a lost child, child trying to tie shoes but not succeeding (or other event that you know is frustrating for your child), child waiting by window while parent goes away, child eating food they don’t like, child going on trip to fun place, picture of bug or worm.

-A picture of your child, or a favorite doll or stuffed toy

-You can print out the pictures on sturdy paper, or glue each one on poster board. Laminate for durability (you can also use clear contact paper of tape if you’re short on funds).

The possibilities are really endless, and you can not only choose pictures that are specific to your child and family situation, but you can also add new pictures every so often. Just make sure you have at least 2 pictures for each feeling.


Make this game self-correcting: Draw a colored frame around the feeling picture and the matching situation pictures. For example, put a yellow border on a “sad” feeling picture and its’ match, a broken toy. You don’t have to do this with all of the pictures, if you want to leave some pictures open-ended.

Click Here! for 100 activities that foster higher order and creative thinking skills in 3 to 7 year olds.

How to Play the Game:

1. Place all of the pictures depicting feelings in a horizontal row. If your child is young or has learning differences, you might choose to start with just 4 or 5 pictures.

2. Place the events in a pile between you and your child.

3. Place the picture of your child, or the stuffed toy, above the feeling picture cards.

3. Let your child choose one picture. Name the picture for your child, “That’s a broken car.”

4. Say to your child, “Oh, the toy broke!” Now point to the picture of your child, or the stuffed animal, and say,” That makes (insert name of child or stuffed animal) feel…”

5. Look at the pictures, and choose a picture that is definitely not the answer. “Does it make (name of child or stuffed animal) feel happy?” If your child still doesn’t understand, place the correct picture under the feeling card, pointing to the matching colored border around each.

6. Continue with each picture until you finish the game.

Extension: You can download this song about feelings for free here: . You can sing along with your child, making a face for the feeling you hear.

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Parenting Children: 7 Ways to Fail At Parenting

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Parenting! What better way to perpetuate our finer qualities than to produce little people with our genes written all over them?

Get it halfway right and you could have dozens of little namesakes wandering around, making the world safe for democracy. Fame, glory, and your surname engraved on a star in Hollywood can all be yours if you dare to go that extra step.

Sounds fantastic right?

It is actually.

But what about those of us who would rather go quietly, quietly into the night? How can we make sure we will never be accused of raising children who think of others before themselves - yes, those nerdy little types that actually open the door for the person behind them on their way into their local Woolworth?

Well folks, I have just the thing for you. Because parenting is such a weighty responsibility, you'll have lots of opportunities to ensure that the arrival of your children at any public or private venue sends whole crowds of startled citizens rushing out the door.

So get a pen and paper, and get ready to take notes: follow this method properly and you'll be almost guaranteed a book gone viral and an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

1. Be as timid as humanly possible

Why make waves with the little people when you can make friends and influence people with the dishrag approach to life? Save yourself valuable time and energy by giving in right away, especially when you have the convoluted notion that you are correct.

Next time your seven year old complains about his penmanship homework, send a note to the teacher stating that in the interest of promoting healthful development in your child, you have now banned all writing instruments from your household.

2. Don't teach your children any values

We all know that values -even universal ones- are the last remaining vestiges of a primitive race. Step boldly into the future by declaring all values relative. After all, if the Greeks and the Romans could do it, why can't you?

3. Never give into individualism. Shamelessly copy the latest fads and fashions featured in this bright new world of ours

Things like standing up for what you believe in and a strong work ethic should have really been banned long ago. It is so much easier to go with the flow and just do what the Jones von Heusen nee Albertson-Smith Chaney's are doing.

In fact, experts in a highly secret think tank are already working hard on this exciting new frontier. The next time your pre-teen goes shopping , she'll be able to skip right up to the salesperson and ask sweetly, "I'll have a Miley Cyrus size 3 please."

4. Always put your children's interests before others-even your partner

Children are the next generation, and as such you must always sacrifice your needs before theirs. So what if studies show that high-priced day care programs have little effect on the IQ of children of college-educated parents? Those studies were obviously funded by conspiracy theorists who don't want your child to be the next Mark Zuckerberg.

So if you need to take an extra job just to cover the cost of that Harvard nursery school, then go right ahead and do it. Those new video phones are great for nights out with your hubby, and you can always find a babysitter to watch the kids after school.

Just make sure she's over the age of 25, has a dual degree in child psychology and development, and lives at home with her parents. You can't be too sure nowadays, what with the high crime rate and all.

5.  Never Set a Good Example

If you've carefully followed these instructions until now, you should be the proud parents (maybe even grandparents!) of a tribe of really obnoxious kids. Fortunately for you, there are still a few tweaks you can make that will produce children truly unique in their absolute disregard for others.

Never setting a good example is a little-known twist on that popular slogan "always keep them guessing." Make sure your children never know exactly what is important to you - especially where it really counts.

Doing this properly requires talent, finesse, and a true gift for mediocrity.

Since you'll need to maintain this facade every day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, we recommend that you send your parenting partner, your child's teacher, and all child-raising staff to a special holiday in Barbados, where they'll be able to pick up the finer details of this process free from distraction.

6. Treat your kids with kid gloves

After all the effort you've invested in raising your little proteges, you should be extra careful not to expose them to any pernicious influences. Never let them out of your sight, even when they're asleep. You may, however, feel free to occasionally close the shower curtain while you use the facilities.

7. Run like mad and don't ever look back

If after all this, by some horrible stroke of luck your children actually turn out as decent, respectable citizens, you should run as far and fast as you can, denying all responsibility for this gruesome outcome.

With all of the careful thought and effort you've invested, you certainly can't be accused of having anything to do with this unfortunate turn of events.

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Parenting Children: 5 Tips on Helping Deescalate Autistic Children

Parenting children with special needs often feels like a roller coaster ride: there are the slow climbs and the times when you look around at the top, admiring the world around you. Then there are those moments where you hang on by your canines, gripping the sides of the car with ferocious intensity.

It’s frustrating to work with your child for hours and days and weeks, finally see progress, only to watch your child seemingly slip back to the same spot where they began. Here are some tips you can keep handy that will help you get through it the next time around:

1) Try and remember that all children’s development consists of highs and lows.

Placid and peaceful one year olds turn into driven and conflicted two year olds. The calm, reflective six- year old rushes headlong into the moody, withdrawn seven -year old. And the cheerful, happy go lucky ten -year old transforms herself into a conflicted, on-the-verge-of-puberty eleven year old.

Remember to pay less attention to your child’s physical age than their developmental age. This can be tricky because a 10 year old that acts like the wild, independent four year old is often hard for parents to accept emotionally even though intellectually they know it to be true.

2) Pay attention to the warning signs.

While it’s natural for children to experience ups and downs, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep an eye on your child’s behavior. While it may seem pessimistic, it is in fact realistic to prepare yourself for a down turn.

Examine the last few times your child’s behavior escalated. How did they react to regular stressors? Were they more cranky? Did their sleep patterns become suddenly more erratic? Were they upset about things that usually don’t bother them?

3) Avoid the "ostrich" syndrome.

Often it’s hard for parents to accept emotionally that their child is about to lose it. It feels easier to ignore things: even though you know the problem won’t go away, at least you’ll have some time until you have to deal with what will undoubtedly be a less than fulfilling experience.

Instead, reframe the experience. Instead of assuming that you can do nothing to help the situation (other than damage control), take a proactive stance. Don’t assume your child’s behavior is the same as it always is a these times, because it isn’t. If you examine the situation carefully, you will undoubtedly see several critical differences.

Use this information to reexamine the world from your child’s point of view. What is the purpose of this behavior? What are they trying – albeit ineffectively- to achieve? Independence? Some children suddenly get frustrated with their capabilities and go haywire. Peace and quiet? Maybe their environment is too stressful.

Always consider what your child gains from their maladaptive behavior, and try and find a way to teach them or give them what they need.

4) Consider alternative medicine.

There are numerous treatments you can provide for your child that will help her get over this hump. Herbal remedies (check with your doctor or complementary medicine practitioner first) can often make a surprising difference. For example, passiflora with a bit of lobelia are wonderful for helping kids calm down, and lavender underneath a pillow or in a satchet near the bed helps induce restful sleep.

Other options such as massage or acupuncture, can also provide relief. These are things that can be done as you need them; you don’t need to commit to regular treatments in order to see good results.

5) Take time out for yourself.

After all is said and done, your home and your family will only function as well as you do. In fact, studies show that a mother’s emotional and physical health are the critical factors in whether or not a family under stress survives.

Whether it’s a night away with your husband at a luxurious hotel, or a luscious Swiss chocolate candy bar enjoyed from the confines of your closet, give yourself permission to jump out of the driver’s seat every once in a while.

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If a 71 Year Old Granny Can Do It- What’s Your Excuse?

I caught this video today while out and about: a 71 year old elderly lady catches thieves in the act of robbing a jewelry store and attacks them with her handbag.

I expected that the robbers would turn around and cause some serious bodily damage with the hammers they were holding.

But  believe it or not, they didn't. They actually ran away!

Next time you say, " I can't do it," or "it's too  hard," I want you to think about a little old granny who didn't think, but DID.

Don't let those same old self-defeating thoughts tell you how to run your life -get out there and just DO IT.

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Don’t Quit Now

A little inspiration for Friday...

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Book and Product Reviews Miscellaneous

Book Review: The Mislabeled Child: Looking Behind Behavior to Look For the True Sources and Solutions for Children’s Learning Challenges

One of the most difficult things about having a child who learns or behaves differently is trying to get a straight answer about what to do with them. First you need to deal with finding out what is exactly wrong, which is a maze in and of itself.

Who do you go to? How do you avoid the bias that some professionals seem to have towards certain diagnoses?

Once you’ve got the right diagnosis you can’t always rely on the person who gave you the diagnosis to explain what it means, and how it affects your child on a day-to-day basis at home and at school. If your child has ADD, what does his behavior look like at bedtime? At school during those hectic transitions between recess and class?

Even more importantly, you need to know now what to do in order to help your child be successful. What skills does your child need? What tools can he be taught to help him overcome his difficulties?

The Mislabeled Child: Looking Behind Behavior to Look For the True Sources and Solutions for Children’s Learning Challenges, by Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide, does all of the above.

In clear, easy to understand language, explain disorders such as autism, CAPD, ADD, dyslexia, and numerous others. Even more importantly, Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide focus is not on labels, but on understanding why your child might be acting the way she does, and what you can do about it.

This is critical. It means that instead of saying, “your child has ADD because he can’t sit still,” the Eides say, “Your child has trouble sitting during class. Let’s look at all the possibilities for why that could be: is he suffering from a sensory processing disorder? Does she maybe have a receptive language issue and so can’t sit still because she doesn’t understand what the teacher is saying?”

This is game-changing. It’s the difference between saying your child has a stomach ache, and saying your child has appendicitis - and then heading towards the surgery suite.

The Eides speak from decades of experience working with children, teaching them how to use their strengths in order to succeed. Together, they run the Eide Neurolearning Clinic outside Seattle.

They also publish and present at conferences around the country and this year presented at the President's Council on Bioethics on The Fundamental Needs of Children. They are also board members of SENG (Supporting the Emotional Needs of the Gifted).

The only negative about this book is that it is so chock full of information, you might feel overwhelmed initially- so much to do and so little time to do it in! - but it’s 100% full of content you can use.

This is a book that every parent, teacher, or professional should have.  You’re going to want to buy a copy not only for yourself, but for everyone who works with your child.

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6 Tips on How to Avoid Being a Helicopter Parent


Lighten up.

By spending so much time worrying, we are causing our children to be anxious, unadventurous, and afraid in a world that is safer in a lot of ways than ever before. Death by injury has dropped more than 50% since 1980, yet parents insist on removing jungle gyms from playgrounds.

There are warning labels on everything from clothing to tables (“standing on this table may cause injury to children”) to cribs (“do not leave your child unattended”).

There are two types of risks: probable and possible. Anything is possible, but few of those are   probable.

Don’t let your emotions rule the roost.

Don’t let your actions be dictated by fear. Many parents spend their days operating in the “danger” mode. From child leashes to GPS systems that will automatically notify you if your child is out of range, parents invest heavily in insuring their children’s safety.

The fact is that it’s more likely for your child to be injured in your car (more than 430,000 children were injured in car accidents last year) than abducted by a stranger (1 in 1.5 million) or even molested (80% of children are molested by friends or relatives). This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared, but do so in a way that allows your child to learn to be independent.

Let the consequences do the talking.

Parents are going to extreme lengths to make sure their children succeed: everything from bringing forgotten notebooks to school, to requesting “parent packs” from college recruitment officers.

Kids learn by doing. Sometimes, doing means failing. By depriving your child of the chance to do things on their own, whether it’s a walk down the block to a friend, a school report, or choosing what classes to take their freshman year, you deprive them of the chance to grow.

Failure alone is not the problem, it is the failure to learn from our mistakes that is ultimately the most dangerous enemy our children face.

Let the play begin.

Children these days are overscheduled, micro-managed, and pushed to be better, smarter, stronger, and more talented –right from birth. The smart baby market is one of the most lucrative, matched only by the load of products geared towards their older siblings.

However, research shows that having free time just to play is critical to a child’s development in many areas. Cut down on the amount of scheduled extracurricular activities by at least 25%. Instead of dreading unstructured time, think of it as giving your child time to be themselves.

Go green.

We live nowadays with a ton of unnecessary “stuff.” Instead of buying the latest gadget for your child, take a walk on the wild side and throw out the clothing your child never  wears, the toys he never plays with or that do the playing for him.

Give them away to charity, and let your child take advantage of the free time in his schedule to do what he does best.

Eat some humble pie.

Look in the mirror while brushing your teeth and repeat this mantra daily, “Give me the strength to … And then go face the day with a smile.

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