Saturday, December 22, 2012

WAKE UP: Holidays are here, Secure your Prescriptions before Welcoming Guests

Tis the season of giving, but as you invite family and friends into your home for holiday festivities, beware – for some, it is also the season for taking. According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, most teens initially get prescription pills from family and friends, including straight from home medicine cabinets.  And it’s not just teens.  

Prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in the United States. Deaths from prescription drug overdoses have become the second leading cause of accidental deaths nationwide, and the leading cause in as many as 15 states.

“Prescription pill abusers are no different than those that are addicted to illicit drugs like meth or heroin.  They will go to great lengths to get their fix. I can’t stress enough the importance of safeguarding your medications,” says Lora Brown, MD, a Pain Management Physician and Medical Director for WAKE UP!, a community educational campaign created to combat the increase in prescription drug abuse among teenagers.

Brown says that you should always safeguard your medicine, but it’s especially important during the holidays when friends, family, neighbors and sometimes strangers are invited into our homes.  Don’t discuss what medications you are taking with anyone but your medical or mental health team, and keep the medications in a secure place at all times. Often these medications are stolen from medicine cabinets and nightstands. Addicts have been known to break into homes where they suspect they can find meds, as well as assault someone who is in possession of the prescription medication they desire.

About WAKE UP!:

WAKE UP! is a community educational campaign established by The Pain Truth, a Florida 501(c)(3), to combat the increase in prescription drug abuse among teenagers. It is designed to use science, not scare tactics, to educate teenagers of the effects and dangers of prescription drugs. The program uses a school “takeover” approach to reach thousands of students and their families with an extended program designed to teach not preach about the dangers of abusing and misusing prescription drugs. This program is unique in many ways. One of the most important aspects is sustainability through a school-based CORE of students and educators that remain present and active long after the original campaign is complete. 

Follow them on Twitter and use hashtag #WAKEUP

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hating Homework? 10 Ways to Help Make Homework Fun

Do you have a smart child that can pass tests but is failing classes since they don't finish their homework assignments? 

This is very common.

The last thing that kids want to do when they get home from school is homework, and sometimes it can seem near impossible to get them to settle down to study when all they want to do is play and blow off steam. But what if you could make doing homework fun for your kids?

Check out these ways to make the ordeal a little less painful for you and your kids.
  1. Start a homework blog – You might as well take advantage of the power of the Internet. Tell the kids that you will record their feelings and ideas about homework on the blog after they get it done. You can decide whether you want to update the blog daily or weekly with new entries. Allow the kids to get creative about entries, but remember to follow proper Internet etiquette.
  2. Make it practical – In the early grades it’s fairly simple to make things like math pretty practical by showing the kids how the subject is used in everyday life. For many kids, just making the connection between what they are learning in school and how it applies to real life makes them more interested in their subjects.
  3. Teach your kids how to compete internally – The world is full of competition, but not everyone knows how to compete with themselves. If you can teach your child how to compete internally, always trying to do a little better than they did the last time, that self competition can cause your child to want to excel for the sake of excelling. Teaching kids to compete with themselves also helps in warding off peer pressure when they reach their teen years.
  4. Rewards – There are pros and cons about giving rewards, but the right kinds of rewards won’t necessarily cause your child to achieve for the wrong reasons. Sometimes just a hug with a few well chosen words is enough. Avoid rewarding your kids with food, especially sweets, as this will set up an unhealthy association between food and rewards for them and can lead to eating problems down the road.
  5. Use music as a way to help with learning – Some subjects can be pretty boring, but if you add a tune to some of the things they need to learn, kids will learn the material better and have fun doing it. For example, you can use the “Birthday Song” to memorize the multiplication tables.
  6. Turn homework into a game – Create a game to help with homework. Each correct problem is worth a point and the points add up to different levels. Try to get to the highest level to win a token. Tokens can be redeemed for something special. You decide what that is.
  7. Help with homework in a positive, proactive manner – Sit down with your child on occasion and help them with the harder homework. Showing your interested in their work can make it more engaging for them. You may not want to do this every time they sit down to do homework, though, because that will take away the novelty of it.
  8. Get the kids to read – Believe it or not, one way to make homework more fun is to get your kids to read. If you get them interested in reading and seeking knowledge while they’re young, it will instill in them the desire to continue to learn.
  9. Change the location – Just for fun, let the kids do homework in a different place; for example let them do homework outside, if the weather permits, or let them choose a different place to work.
  10. Let your kid be the teacher – Have your kids teach you the things they are learning. Have them show you how to solve the problems and ask them questions as if you are the student. This will help them retain the information and understand it better.
With some creativity you can find many ways to make homework fun for your kids. Taking an interest in what they are doing will help immensely. Your participation can cause your kids to be more engaged and more likely to finish their homework and projects.


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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Teens and Smartphones: Is your teenager ready for a Smartphone?

The holidays are here and many tweens and teens are asking for cell phones and Smartphones.  But are they ready for the responsibility of having one?
  • Do children really need Smartphones?
  • Can Smartphones be beneficial to their learning alongside school?
  • Are Smartphones a fashion statement?
  • Is it fair if all families cannot afford them?  Peer pressure to those that can’t have them?
Pew Internet tells us 77% of US 12-to-17-year-olds now have cellphones and 23% Smartphones, so if your 12-year-old tells you “everybody has a cellphone,” s/he’s less and less far off the mark. But when to get a kid his or her first cellphone is very individual too, based on how s/he handles technology, people, and responsibility!

Cons: Smartphones can be used to bully other children through advanced messaging features which are available on smartphones and also apps which can be downloaded.
Pros:  Parents can track their child to make sure they are safe while they are out playing with friends or going to school.

An excellent article was recently written: Five things to do before giving your teenager a Smartphone – definitely worth the time to read if you are considering purchasing a phone for your child this holiday season.

Cellphone Safety Tips from Connect Safely:

Cellphones are increasingly full-blown handheld computers, and everything that can be done on the Web via computer – photo-sharing, Web browsing, game playing, tune-swapping, real-time text chat, and (oh yeah) talking – can be done on a phone. Here are some basic ideas for keeping mobile phone use safe and constructive: 

Smart socializing. Use the same good sense about what you post from your phone as from a computer. Once they’re posted, text, photos, and video are tough to take back, can be copied and pasted elsewhere, and are up there pretty much forever. Think about the people in them (including you!). Reputations are at stake – even more so if racy photos are involved. Just best not to go there.
Phones are personal. Letting other people use your phone when you’re not around is like letting them have the password to your social network profile. They can impersonate you. Which means they can play tricks on you that could really become a problem. It’s a very good idea to lock your phone when you’re not using it.
Bullying by phone. Because people socialize on cellphones as much as online, cyberbullying can be mobile too. Treat people on phones and the Web the way you would in person, and the risk of being bullied goes down. Be aware, too, of people randomly taking pictures at parties, in locker rooms, etc. – you may not want to be tagged in their social-network photo albums!
Sexting: The vast majority of kids – 99% – are smart and don’t take, send, or post or even store nude photos of themselves or peers on their phones. People who do so can be charged with production, distribution, or possession of child pornography, a serious crime. They can also be subjected to jokes, bullying, blackmail, expulsion from school, loss of a job, etc. and the images can circulate forever. Just don’t go there.
The value of “presence.” If you do a lot of texting, consider the impact that being “elsewhere” might be having on the people around you. Your presence during meals, at parties, in the car, etc. is not only polite, it’s a sign of respect and appreciated.
Down time is good. Constant texting and talking can affect sleep, concentration, school, and other things that deserve your thought and focus. You need your sleep and real friends understand there are times you just need to turn off the phone – harassment can happen between midnight and morning too.
Social mapping. Most cellphones now have GPS technology and there are a growing number of services that allow friends to pinpoint each other’s physical location. If you use such a service, do so only with friends you know in person, and get to know the service’s privacy features!
No texting while driving! Research shows that texting while driving can significantly increase the risk of a crash or near-crash situation. Silence your phone in the car, pull over if you need to use it, and of course follow your state’s hands-free laws for mobile phones in cars.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Community Empowerment Series (CES)

Education is knowledge and power that help us to keep our kids safe.

St. Johns County, Duval, Clay, Putnam, Nassau and Flagler all welcome three renown experts to World Golf Village.

Presented by St. Johns County Education Foundation and Communities in Schools, The Community Empowerment Series will cover topics that parents, educators and everyone that are involved in today's youth are concerned about.

  • Sexual predators, and how to talk to your kids about private parts and stranger danger.
  • The social jungle that kids are facing today. From peer pressure to bullying and cyberbullying.
  • Importance of digital safety and the critical topic of teaching our kids and especially teens today about how to protect themselves from identity theft.
For these three topics we have brought in the country's leading experts. You may have seen them on your TV and also read their books!

Session one: Stacey Honowitz, who has served twenty years in the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit of the State Attorney’s Office, will be speaking about sex crimes in Florida and the sentences that they carry. She will also be addressing how to talk to your young kids about private parts.

Session two: Dr. Michele Borba is one of the most popular parenting experts in our country and the bullying prevention expert. She will have a workshop on the Social Jungle our kids are dealing with today, from peer pressure to bullying. Her speaking topics will include friends, cliques, relational aggression, cyberbullies, bullies and peer pressure. Watch the video on the sidebar.

Session three: Theresa Payton will discuss the importance of digital safety, identity theft with kids, and technology in today’s world as it concerns our children. There will also be deep discussion on how to create, maintain and protect a healthy digital identity for all family members, adults and children alike.

All three of these speakers are nationally recognized in their field and have been on many media outlets. We are honored they are coming to our community to help empower us with knowledge to keep our kids safe and our families educated in a society that is ever changing.

Tickets are free and limited to the first 300.
If you are a business or individual that would like to sponsor or be a vendor at these events, please visit our "Getting Involved" page. There are opportunities for everyone!

Don't miss these exciting educational and fun events! 

Visit for more information on the dates, times and all the details!

Pass this on to your friends, family, and neighbors!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It Your Teen Ready to Babysit?

Babysitting is a time-honored tradition among teenagers looking for a way to earn some extra money while selecting their own schedules, rather than being forced to adhere to one made each week by a manager.

If your teen has recently approached you with a desire to begin her career as a babysitter, there are some things you’ll need to take into consideration when determining whether she’s mature and responsible enough to be charged with the very important task of caring for dependent children.
Before giving your teen the green light to start searching for babysitting clients, you should consider the following points.
  • How Much Experience Does She Have? – If you have younger children that your teenager has been in charge of caring for, how did she handle that responsibility? In the case of only children, it’s important to consider any prior experience she’s had with children; if her contact with little ones has been limited, it might be wise to help her spend some time in a supervised childcare setting, such as volunteering in the nursery of your place of worship, before allowing her to strike out on her own.
  • Has She Been CPR and First Aid Certified? – Regardless of age and experience level, any childcare provider will need to obtain CPR and first aid certification in order to be as prepared as possible in the event of an emergency. While these certifications aren’t required by law, most parents will not consider your teen mature enough or competent enough to care for their children without them.
  • What are the Laws in Your Area? – State and local laws regarding the age requirements of a babysitter and restrictions on the number of children that a teenager can legally be responsible for can vary significantly from one location to another. Be sure that your teen is old enough to be legally eligible to act as a childcare provider before granting your permission to look for clients.
  • Does She Understand the Dangers of Food Allergies? – Severe food allergies have the very real potential of causing death if a child is exposed to something he’s allergic to, meaning your teen needs to have a clear and realistic understanding of food allergies and sensitivities and how dangerous they can be.
  • Is She Able to Care for a Child with Special Needs? – Before your teen accepts a job caring for a child with special needs, it’s important for you to evaluate her ability to do so competently, and you should discuss the matter with her thoroughly to determine whether or not she’s up to the task of providing top-notch care for a special needs kid.
  • Is She Usually Punctual and Dependable? – A teen that’s dependable and makes an effort to be on time in other areas of her life will likely extend those character traits to her new career as a babysitter, just as those who are less dependable may begin to slack off in time.
  • Does She Have any Marked Behavioral Problems? – Putting a troubled teen in charge of children in a situation with no adult supervision is just asking for trouble, so it’s important that you’re honest with yourself about her behavior before allowing her to do so. Breaking house rules on the job can put your child and her charges in danger, and is a strong possibility if she has a history of behavioral issues or acting out.
  • How Developed are Her Time Management Skills? – Taking on a job, even an irregularly scheduled one, can interfere with your teen’s academic performance and extracurricular activities if she’s still developing her time management skills. Kids that struggle to maintain their current schedules may not be mature enough to add more responsibilities to it.
  • Does She Know Her Way Around the Kitchen? – Part of caring for children is feeding them, something your teen may not be mature or experienced enough to do if she’s not familiar with basic meal preparation. Taking the time to work with your daughter to develop these skills will serve her well in the future, as well as helping her to overcome an obstacle on the path to employment, so consider a brief round of lessons in kitchen basics and safety before sending her on her first babysitting assignment.
  • Trust Your Instincts – In the end, no one knows your child and her abilities as well as you do. Even if she’s dependable, reasonably experienced in the kitchen, and CPR certified, you may still have the nagging feeling that she simply isn’t ready for the huge responsibility of keeping a child safe. In such cases, it’s imperative that you trust your instincts.
Many community centers offer babysitting classes for interested teenagers, which can be an informative and exciting way for your child to hone her skills and obtain the training she needs to be a more prepared, experienced sitter. Consider enrolling her in one of these courses if she’s beginning to express an interest in babysitting in order to make the transition from unemployed teen to seasoned sitter easier for her.

Source: Find a Babysitter

The American Red Cross offers a Babysitting Workshop for Teens. Check the local office for times and locations.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Is Your Child Old Enough To Stay Home Alone?

With more and more households becoming two income households, the number of latchkey kids, or kids who are left home alone for a part of each day, is also steadily growing. According to NBC’s Today Show there are over 3 million children who are latch key kids today.

But before you decide to let your own child be a latch key kid, it’s important to evaluate if your child is ready for that responsibility. How do you know if your kids are old enough or responsible enough to stay home alone?

Here are some rules and guidelines that can help you make your decision:

Surprisingly, there are few laws or regulations on the books regarding what age a child can be legally left alone. Check out to see if the state you live in has any age restrictions in place. According to CARE (Call Reassurance), law makers are considering adding regulations to the law books due to the increase in latchkey kids.

You can also contact CPS (Child Protective Services) in your area to find out what they recommend.

According to Safe Kids USA, children should be developmentally mature enough to stay alone around age 12 or 13. Since children develop at different rates, however, your child may be different. If your child is a dare devil, has impulse control issues, or doesn’t like following the rules, you may want to hold off leaving him alone until he’s older. On the other hand, if your 11 year old is very responsible and follows the rules well, he may be ready and capable of being a latch key kid. As a parent you will need to evaluate your child to determine if he is ready.

Lynn Yaney, a child welfare professional in California, has said that children under the age of 7 do not possess the ability to logically consider cause and effect, so they should not be left alone. Kids ages 7 to 10 are not considered ready to stay alone for an extended period of time because they need supervision to structure their day. However, if there is a structured routine in place, these kids could stay alone for a short time, like after school. Kids 11 and older should be considered on a case by case basis, but should not be left alone overnight, per Yaney.

According to WebMD, tweens ages 11 to 12 may be ready to watch their younger siblings for short periods of time. To determine if your tween is ready consider the following questions:
  • Is your tween scared about staying alone?
  • Do you live in a safe area?
  • Does your home have an alarm system?
  • Would your tween know what to do in case of an emergency?
  • Do you have friends or family close by who could get there quickly?
  • Has your tween shown responsible behavior in the past, such as doing chores without being asked or completing homework assignments on time without being nagged?
After considering the answers to the above questions, you might feel ready to make a trial run on leaving your tween home alone. The next thing you should do is set some ground rules.
  • Are friends allowed to come over? How many?
  • Is it okay to answer the phone?
  • Should he answer the door?
  • What is okay to eat? Can he use the microwave?
  • How long is it okay to watch TV or play on the computer? Guidelines about what can and cannot be watched or played should be covered.
Once you have established some ground rules, make sure that everyone understands what is expected of them. Create a list of phone numbers for your tween just like you would for any babysitter. Here is a suggestion of some numbers to consider:
  • 9-1-1 (he may forget in an emergency)
  • You and your spouses’ cell phone numbers
  • Number for a neighbor or friends
  • Poison control
  • Police department
  • Your family doctor or pediatrician
After you have prepared your tween for what might happen you should do some practicing or role playing. Have a neighbor come over and pretend to be insistent on getting him to open the door. Go over what to do if the fire alarm goes off. Make sure your tween knows where the first aid kit is kept and how to use it. Ask him what he would do if the electricity goes out. You may even wish to enroll your child in a local babysitting course or a course designed for latchkey kids. These courses help develop and hone self-care skills.

After you are comfortable that your tween is ready to be left alone it’s time to try it out. For the first outing, plan to be home about 30 minutes after your tween gets home from school. When you return, find out how it went. Next time you go out, increase the duration to 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure you can be reached on your mobile phone. Keep increasing the time until you have exceeded the amount of time the kids will be left alone on an average day. Create some way for your child to check in with you when he arrives home after school.

Allowing your tween to stay home alone or to watch a younger sibling is scary, but it’s also a part of growing up. Your tween will be learning responsibility and maturity. If all goes well, you might even be able to go out alone with your spouse for dinner.

Source: Aupair Jobs

Friday, October 19, 2012

Community Empowerment Series!

St. Johns County Florida is getting ready for 2013 in a big way!

Starting February 2, 2013 will be a lecture series that will be like no other.

Celebrity speakers on parenting topics that can't be missed.  Limited free tickets.  This event will be held at The World Golf Village Hall of Fame IMAX Theater.

Starting immediately we are accepting sponsors.  You won't want to miss this opportunity!

The levels for individuals start at $100.00 and go as high as $10,000.00 for corporate sponsors.

Please check our site for the benefits of sponsorship levels.

I am personally proud to be part of St. Johns Education Foundation and Communities in Schools for St. Johns County.  Both are excellent organizations that are always putting our kids first.

Click here to visit Community Empowerment Series and visit our renown speakers!

February 2, 2013: Stacey Honowitz
March 9, 2013: Michele Borba
April 27, 2013: Theresa Payton

Friday, October 12, 2012

Does Your Teen Residential Therapy?

You have finally reached your wit's end.  It has come to a point where you have exhausted all your local resources.  The one on one therapy is no longer working, if it ever did.  The fact is, it is a fight to even get your teen to attend a session.  If you do get them to attend - how many times to they actually manipulate the therapist to actually believe there isn't an issue at all...... in some instances the blame can come right back to the parent!

Yes, manipulation of a teen is priceless.  They are the best at what they do.  However now is the time for the parent to be the best at what they are - a parent.

You decided it is time for residential therapy and you jump on the Internet and you start with Google by typing in key words.  Teen help, struggling teens, defiant teens, teen help programs, military schools, reform schools, troubled teens, rebellious teens, etc.

What you will find is a list of marketing arms that are very quick to "sell you a group of programs" rather than discuss what is best for your individual teenager.  I always caution parents to beware of these toll free numbers and marketing arms that you have no clue where you are calling and who is connected to what.

I once was at my wit's end - my story is what prompted me to created an organization to help educate parents about the big business of "teen help".  Take a few minutes to read - "A Parent's True Story" and you will realize that although you absolutely need to get your son or daughter help, you also need to take the time to do your research.

I have listed some "Do's and Don'ts" when searching -  these are some great helpful hints for parents.  This is such a major emotional and financial decision that I encourage to read through my website and learn as much as you can before making a decision.  I firmly believe in residential programs - I just also believe you need to select the right one for your child's needs.

Visit for more information.

Friday, October 5, 2012

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child Parenting Conference

Coming to South Florida!

When:  October 20th, 2013
When: 10:00am - 3:00pm
Where:  Miramar City Commission Chambers, 2300 Civic Center Place, Miramar, FL

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child Parenting Conference is a one-of-a-kind educational event which began four years ago in San Diego.  Susie Walton, founder and president of Indigo Village Educational Foundation, had a favorite quote, “It takes a village to raise a child.”  Susie created the Foundation – a non-profit, community-based initiative - to provide cutting-edge programs in parenting and life skills.  It serves as a vehicle to move these programs and services into the community for families regardless of their economic means.  Susie then held the first It Takes a Village to Raise a Child Parenting Conference to fund the Foundation’s vital work.

Learn more at and you can also purchase your tickets early. 

You can also contact Maggie Macaulay at 954-483-8021 for more information or email her at

 Be a proactive parent, grandparent and community - we will have safer kids and teens!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

BLUE SHIRT DAY is October 1st! World Day of Bullying Prevention

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and to signify its importance, STOMP Out Bullying™ created BLUE SHIRT DAY™ WORLD DAY OF BULLYING PREVENTION.


Join them in this fourth annual grassroots effort
. Someone you know could be bullied. Someone you know might be a bully. Join them in solidarity on Monday, October1st! Make a statement against bullying and cyberbullying and STOMP Out Bullying™! Specifically the first Monday of every October -- this year on Monday 10-1-12  we’re asking kids, teens and adults to participate in BLUE SHIRT DAY™ WORLD DAY OF BULLYING PREVENTION by wearing a BLUE SHIRT in solidarity to STOMP Out Bullying™.

Our new "limited edition" 2012 Blue Shirt are on sale NOW!! Whether you order a "Limited Edition" Blue Shirt™ from STOMP Out Bullying™ or wear your own blue shirt, you’ll be sending a message to everyone to end bullying and cyberbullying.

Ask your school to participate on 10-1-12 by having the entire school -- students and faculty -- GO BLUE and wear a Blue Shirt! Thousands of schools across the country are participating. We want to see every school in a SEA OF BLUE across the country and throughout the world!  

If your school wants to participate all you need to do is COMPLETE THIS FORM giving us the name of your school, it’s city and state and we'll add your school's name to our BLUE SHIRT DAY™ WORLD DAY OF BULLYING PREVENTION supporter list on our website.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Developing Good Study Habits for Your Kids

Teaching a child good study habits will not only make homework time easier, it will also help him earn better grades. Study skills are a foundational skill for school success, and what they learn in lower grades will serve them well for years to come.

Before diving into homework, work with your child to figure out what works best for him. Instead of trying to dictate what time your child should do his homework or what environment he works best in, work as a team to figure it out. When a child is part of developing a plan or coming up with a solution to a problem, he’s much more likely to follow through. Also, every person, whether it’s adult or child, has different needs. What works great for you may not work at all for your child. By letting him take the lead in creating good study habits, you’ll make sure they fit his needs.

Get on a schedule. Some kids do better when they have a short break between getting home from school and doing their homework. Other kids do better when they tackle homework after dinner. And others work best in cycles of 30 minutes of homework followed by 30 minutes of play time. The set-up doesn’t matter nearly as much as having a consistent schedule that fits your child’s temperament and attention span. Try different approaches and see which ones fits his needs best. Give each approach at least one full week before deciding to move onto something different. Your child’s homework schedule will probably change according to his after school activities, but you can incorporate what you know into the updated schedule (e.g. he works best after a snack, he has a hard time with TV transitions so it’s best to do homework before TV time, etc.). As your child gets older, he’ll know what time management approach works best for him and he’ll understand the importance of carving out time to focus on homework, studying, and projects.
Create a learning environment. Teaching your child how to create an environment that supports him in doing homework and studying is a key study skill. Although some kids are unbothered by a cluttered area, most children and adults do their best work when their work space is clean and organized. For children with ADD or ADHD, having an organized work area is essential. Noise is also an important part of a learning environment. Having the TV on is never a good idea. Some kids need absolute silence and others work well with music in the background. Before even sitting down, make sure to have all the necessary supplies on hand so your child doesn’t have to stop what he’s doing to go find an eraser or grab more paper. Phones and social media sites should be off limits during homework time. Texts, IMs, Tweets, and other updates create a constant flow of distractions and can derail even the best student. Teaching your child what type of environment works best for him will allow him to recreate that environment wherever he goes. As he gets older and his schedule gets more demanding, he’ll be able to effectively study at a friend’s house, at the school library, or any other place he’s at between activities.
Set up an organizational system. Being organized and having a study plan and a time table are essential in developing good study habits. Most schools require or suggest a spiral daily calendar so your child can write down his homework assignments each day. Make sure this calendar is handy when he sits down to do his homework so he can see each assignment, item by item.
Projects due at a later date usually require additional time and effort so sit down with your child and develop a plan to get it done. Help your child break the project into smaller, more manageable steps and create a timeline to get everything done. Have a larger calendar where you can record each step along with final project due dates, test dates, and other activities related to the child’s schedule. That way you’ll know if a softball game conflicts with a weekend writing session.
Find a convenient place to keep all handouts. Sheets listing weekly spelling words, study guides for upcoming tests, project outlines, and other important paperwork can go on a bulletin board or inside a binder or a file folder. The system that works best for you and your child depends on your home’s space, how much paperwork you have, and your personal preferences. Make sure that as your child gets older, he takes on more and more responsibility for emptying his backpack and putting papers in the agreed upon area.

Homework and study time don’t have to be a nightly battle. With some creative planning, you and your child can work together to create a schedule, space, and system that works for you both.
Source: Become a Nanny

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Coping with Back to School Stress and Anxiety

For most kids, going back to school is an exciting and fun time, but for some, it is nothing but dreadful. Even if a child isn’t experiencing bullying or academic trouble, the social factor of public education can be downright daunting for students who have social anxiety. This is especially true for high school students.

Teens with social anxiety are usually very reluctant to go to school in the morning and are always looking for ways to avoid both small and large group social situations. Common physical symptoms of anxiety include a fast heart rate, excessive sweating, hyperventilation, dizziness, stomach pain and crying. Most kids with social anxiety also suffer from low self-esteem and have an irrational fear of being watched and judged by others.

If you believe your child is experiencing back-to-school anxiety, you should ask them to open up about their feelings and fears. Anxiety comes in many forms and shouldn’t be ignored. Some children may just need a quick pep talk before school while others may need to seek professional counseling for their fears.
Although social anxiety is a phobia that takes time to conquer, parents can help their children cope with their fears by using the following four tips.
  1. Teach relaxation techniques: Techniques include deep breathing, positive visualization and meditation. In addition to these proximate techniques that can be used at the onset of anxious feelings, encourage your child to also do some form of exercise every day. Exercise is great for your overall health, but it is especially good for reducing anxiety and stress.
  2. Help them hone a talent: To help with self-esteem, encourage your teenager to focus on their strengths. Whether it is a subject in school, an artistic or athletic ability or something else, children understand their individual value better when they realize and perfect their unique talents.
  3. Be their support, not their crutch: Kids with social anxiety often turn to their parents for comfort and reassurance. Many children with social phobia spend most of their time at home after school, because being at home with mom and dad provides a blanket of comfort for them. While this may seem like easy parenting (a child at home is a child protected from trouble), it is not healthy behavior, especially for a teenager. Encourage your teenager to tackle their phobias by spending more time with their friends or participating in an after school activity. If they showcase any concerns, tell them that you know they will enjoy doing something different.
  4. Encourage part-time work: If your teenager is old enough to work, encourage them to go get an after school, part-time job. A job will teach them how to meet new people and how to work in a team. They will also learn about responsibility, business and customer service and become exposed to real-world situations that may help them realize the irrationality of their fears.
As stated before, social anxiety is not a phobia that can be fixed overnight. For some people, it can take years to overcome their fears. However, parents can guide their teens down the path to an anxiety-free life by recognizing the problem and implementing techniques that dissolve their phobias.

Contributor: Melissa Miller spent many years working odd jobs before finally admitting it was time to get her Now, she has sworn her life to helping others do the same by explaining the often tricky world of online education. She welcomes your questions and comments at

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

8 Tips to Relieve Homework Stress

After a long and relaxing summer getting back into schedule can sometimes be difficult. Adding homework to that equation can be a bit stressful.

Here are 8 tips to consider before school starts to help your school year go smoothly:

1. Offer encouragement. Give your child praise for efforts and for completing assignments.
2. Be available. Encourage your child to do the work independently, but be available for assistance.
3. Maintain a schedule. Establish a set time to do homework each day. You may want to use a calendar to keep track of assignments and due dates.
4. Designate space. Provide a space for homework, stocked with necessary supplies, such as pencils, pens, paper, dictionaries, a computer, and other reference materials.
5. Provide discipline. Help your child focus on homework by removing distractions, such as television, radio, telephone, and interruptions from siblings and friends.
6. Be a role model. Consider doing some of your work, such as paying bills or writing letters, during your child's homework time.
7. Be supportive. Talk to your child about difficulties with homework. Be willing to talk to your child's teacher to resolve problems in a positive manner.
8. Involvement. Familiarize yourself with the teacher's homework policy. Make sure that you and your child understand the teacher's expectations. At the beginning of the year, you may want to ask your child's teacher these questions: What kinds of assignments will you give? How often do you give homework? How much time are the students expected to spend on them? What type of involvement do you expect from parents?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Back to School: School Struggles

By Richard Selznick, PhD

From the author of The Shut-Down Learner, here is aid and comfort for parents of children having difficulty with school. Dr. Selznick offers perspective and understanding developed over his 25 years of working with thousands of academically struggling kids and their families.

Tackling topics like excessive use of technology, parental indulgence of children, students who have trouble getting organized, and the importance of patience, this book will be a godsend for families struggling with school and behavioral issues.

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Order School Struggles today on Amazon.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Papersalt Books and Products: Inspiring Kids, Teens and Families

What a great resource of books and journals as well as other resources for families!

Papersalt has something for everyone and every age range.

Who are they?

We are a division of Revolution, a Seattle marketing and printing company founded in 2003.
We specialize in employee training and recognition, building content to inspire and influence people.
We are parents. We have spent years building content around families.
At our best as parents and family members, we still always need help. That’s why we started Papersalt.
Building and nurturing your family is the hardest thing you’ll do. With so much media in front of us, we realize that simple, memorable, engaging content is extremely effective.
Content for all books, games and artwork is researched and written by us and our families. And we produce all of the items in our Seattle facility.

Follow them on Twitter and join them on Facebook.

Check out their teens site!  Click here.

Seattle, WA- Seattle’s Revolution, Inc. recently launched their new product line Papersalt. Papersalt creates simple, effective, to-the-point books for kids and parents, giving families an effective set of tools that can be used in all stages of learning. 

All products can be viewed at

Saturday, July 7, 2012

5 Basic Things To Teach Your Teen Before They Leave for College

Your teen is approaching the end of their high school career and they are heading off to college.

It is a fun and exciting time for the whole family, especially for your doe –eyed teen. Sometimes as parents we forget that sometimes our teens don’t know the basics once they flee the nest.

Here are five basic things you should educate your teen on before they go:

1. Budget money: Probably one of the biggest and most important things you can teach your teen before they head off to college. Teaching your teen the basics of money and the concept of budgeting will carry them into adulthood. Give your teen a good grasp on costs and expenses and how they are to spend and budget. Most college freshman are targeted by credit card companies once they get on campus, teach them the trials and tribulations of a credit card.
2. Basic safety: You aren’t able to keep track of your teen once they are off to college. Teach them the different dangers that they can experience as college students. Things like drinking and driving, drugs and date rape. Teach them to keep their personal information offline and that no matter where or what they are doing someone needs to know where they are, even if it’s just their roommate.
3. How to cook: Teaching them easy and healthy meals will keep your teen from spending too much money on those late night drive thrus. Be sure to send them off to college with basic cooking supplies like pots and pans and cooking utensils. Consider stocking their pantry and fridge with the basics, this will encourage them to cook at home more.
4. How to do laundry: Believe it or not, lots of teens do not know how to do their own laundry. Be sure they know how to operate the machine as well as what settings are needed on different loads. Don’t forget to show them how to clean the dryer vent.
5. Car maintenance: If your teen is going to college with a car, be sure that you educate them on what to do when it comes to renewing stickers, getting oil changes and checking tire pressure. It is wise that you tell them to contact you first if there is a car problem, some mechanics and tow truck people can target your teen and rip them off.

Prepare for phone calls and texts with questions and sometimes mishaps. It is also a sign if you do not hear from your teen about these things; make sure they are practicing what you have taught them. Be understanding and helpful; remember you were once that age too. Good luck Mom and Dad!
This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of nanny babysitter. She welcomes your comments at her email at

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Saturday, June 30, 2012

'I choose' Anti-Bullying Campaign

'I choose' Anti-Bullying Campaign....

The 'I choose' campaign is about recognizing bullying for what it is: a choice.

We are definitely not a stranger to bullying and cyberbullying, and this has to change.

No one is ever forced to be a bully; just as easily as someone can choose to be a bully, they can choose to be kind, respectful, and compassionate, instead.

With the 'I choose' Anti-Bullying Campaign, the are challenging people everywhere to make a better choice and help end bullying.

The 'I choose' campaign aims to stop bullying of all kinds with a simple, positive approach, challenging youth to embrace the concept that bullying is a choice and the power to choose is theirs.

Visit and share your story.

Must watch the 1-minute video.

Be sure to follow them on Twitter and join them on Facebook.

The ‘I choose’ Anti-Bullying Campaign is powered by, a social network uniquely created by kids and teens, for kids and teens. The Yoursphere community is one of respect and positive online interaction. This campaign is a reflection of the choices that our members feel have the power to make people stop, think and remember that bullying is a choice.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Great Debate: Do Kids Need Cell Phones?

A debate that can depend on the child?
A debate that can depend on the age of the child?
A debate that can depend on the maturity of the child?
A debate that can depend on the family and their beliefs?

The debate regarding the necessity of mobile phones for children continues to rage on as kids demand cell phones at younger and younger ages. Many parents, however, believe that cell phones are a non-essential luxury that can be reserved until a certain age; others feel that in this day and age, mobiles are an important asset for everyone, children included.

In this article, we’ll look at 10 reasons why your kid can do without a mobile:

1.  Children shouldn’t be any place where there isn’t responsible adult supervision – Any time children aren’t within the care of their parents there should always be someone old enough to watch the kids with them. There is no need for them to carry their own personal phones when they and their parents adhere to this simple common sense policy, which has worked for centuries.
2.  What children actually use phones for varies greatly from why the phone was initially bought – Children are using these phones for everything but the emergencies that parents use as a rationale for equipping them with mobiles in the first place. Facebook won’t help in an emergency, and neither will Angry Birds. And who texts an emergency message anyway?
3. The phones being purchased for emergency situations are coming equipped with the latest technology – Most parents who argue that the phone is a safety measure for their child wind up spending a bundle on web access and texting service for their kids’ phones, both of which are totally unnecessary for their supposed purpose.
4.  Cell phones are becoming less a help and more a hindrance – Kids spend time on their mobile phones that could and should be spent more productively. Given the state of education in this country, the time is past due to eliminate distractions rather than hand them out to our kids.
5. Cell phones open gateways to trouble – Most of the dangers to their kids that parents are dealing with are related to the fact that their kids are in constant contact via cell phones. Cyber-bullying, sexting and other such issues are far more likely to put your child at risk than not having a cell phone.
6.  Having the world at your fingertips can be a dangerous distraction – Cell phone use could in fact put your child at risk to the sort of perils that parents envision when they buy the kids phones to begin with. Think about it: your child is too busy texting, surfing, or playing games that she becomes otherwise oblivious to her surroundings.
7.  They cause a dependence on constant connection – It isn’t healthy for kids to remain so dependent on constant connectivity in order to function. Kids need to develop independence and the capacity for responsible decision-making without supervision.
8.  They have a negative influence on productivity and learning – Kids are frequently using their cell phones, to their own detriment as well as others, at times and in places at which there is no need for them to have one, such as in school. Some schools, for this reason, have taken steps to ban them.
9.  Cell phones encourage superficial relationships – Cell phone use inhibits social development. Kids become more reliant on their devices to communicate and spend less face time with friends and family as a result.
10.  They make kids grow up too fast – Kids should be allowed to be kids. There will be plenty of years ahead when they will have jobs and responsibilities that might necessitate their having these electronic leashes. We should let them enjoy this time in their lives while they still can.

 Source: Land Line Phone Service

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Parenting Today's Kids

Recently I discovered a great new educational sites with articles and information that can benefit parents of kids, tweens and teens today!

Parenting Today's Kids

Fact.  Parents Need Help at the Intersection of Technology and Kids

At, we recognize that technology impacts how kids are growing up.  It can play a very influential role in the choice they make and the people they become.

We Are Parents Too

We are parents.  We get it.  If parents can understand technology today and learn how kids embrace consume and social using it, we increase our chances of protecting our kids and positively influencing them.

Our Goal

We spend so much time protecting and guiding our kids in the “real world”, but most of us can do a better job parenting in the virtual world and protecting our kids online.

Our goal at is to educate parents and to help them close the technology gap that exists between parents and kids in order to better protect them.

That’s why we’ve put together an expert panel focused on raising kids today, ranging from an attorney to a holistic parenting life coach.    Check out the Author’s section today to see the great experts who are here to help you better understand your kids and how they are using technology.

Join them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Teens and Summer Jobs: 8 Quick Tips

It's the second most wonderful time of the year. Summer is here and school is out. But it can't be all vacations and barbecues. It's time to get to work!

If you've got kids in high school, or even home from college, you may be thinking: how do I make my son or daughter get off the couch and go get a summer job?

Summer employment, besides subsidizing your child's own expenses, can teach him or her about work ethic, social skills, discipline, financial management, and generally help prepare the way for a long and happy career in "the real world."

Below are some pointers to help you get the ball rolling:

1. Set the expectations. The first thing you need to consider is the rationale. Is it generically good for your teen to have a job? Why, yes. But it's important to establish your priorities for why this is important. Make sure your teen understands that this is not optional, or they may be inclined to put off the job-seeking until it's too late. Set specific targets (3 applications a day, or a hard deadline after which you can go with a sure thing, even if it's not the first choice).
2. Start the search early. It's already June, so it's time to move. Chances are with your teen's school schedule, starting now will leave only 2-2½ months to work, which is about as short a span as anyone wants to hire for.
3. Apply gentle pressure. If there's any foot-dragging going on, some of it may be genuine nervousness; this stuff is still new and unfamiliar, after all. Talk about it on a daily basis, but try not to nag.
4. Help put together a resume. In all likelihood your teen's resume is thin. Think outside the box and include academic achievements, community service, and extracurricular activities. Show them how best to emphasize the desired aspects of each activity.
5. Use your own network. Don't feel bad about asking around with your own contacts. Part of what you aim to achieve may be some self-sufficiency on your youngster's part, but it may be more important just to get something started, and as you've surely learned as an adult, who you know counts as much as anything. Nepotism is underrated: being on familiar terms with your child's boss can be reassuring, and it may actually make your child a better worker if they know your reputation's tied up in it a little.
6. Look online. and Craigslist are two of the most popular job-search sites for adults, but you'll have to filter results (and be particularly cautious with the latter) to make sure the environment is suitable for a minor to work in.  Never give your personal information such as your social security number online to people on Craigslists especially.  You need to be very careful there.  Be sure they are legitimate.
7. Meet the employer. If your child's working for a stranger, don't let it stay that way. Make sure that some time (preferably before the start date, but certainly during the first week), you find an excuse to stop by and shake hands with the boss.
8. Consider volunteering. If money is not the primary goal for you or your teen, volunteer work can be a great way to keep busy, build a resume, and help the world. It's a tough job market out there, too, and it may be a good year not to sweat the whole summer-job thing too much. Plus, community service opportunities are naturally more likely to be flexible with granting time off for summer trips!

This guest post comes courtesy of Susan Wells. Susan is a freelance blogger who enjoys writing about automotive and health news, technology, lifestyle and personal finance. She often researches and writes about automobile, property and health insurance, providing consumers with access to a trustworthy insurance quote guide and unbiased advice on purchasing. Susan welcomes comments.

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

5 Talking Tips To Help Teens with Deciding What College Classes to Take

What classes should your college student take?

It’s always great to hear college students regarding advice about the college process.
Today’s guest post is from Katheryn Rivas, who is an English major.

One of the first decisions that your college-bound child will be faced with upon matriculation is creating a class schedule. In my own experience, the process becomes less complicated as semesters progress, but this, I think, is largely because of trial-and-error, learning from mistakes that I made in previous academic years.

Here are a few tips that I would give to first year students who are selecting classes for the first time.

1. Understand that a huge percentage of undergraduates change their majors at some point, so make your class selection diverse.
Many bright-eyed entering freshmen think that they know precisely what they want to major in and what their career trajectory will be like from the first day of class onwards. However, reality works a little differently than do our plans for the future. If you are pretty sure what you want to major in before you enter college, that’s great! However, leave open the possibility of changing your major by not taking too many classes in your prospective discipline when you first start out. Of course, do take some, but keep things balanced and diverse to get a taste for what different fields of study are like.
2.  Figure out what your peak periods of productivity are when choosing class times.
Dates and times should also play an important part in your course scheduling. Are you the type who would rather have a ton of classes on two or three days and have absolutely no classes on some days? Or would you rather have a reasonable amount of classes spread out throughout the week? Personally, I preferred exhausting myself on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that I could have leisurely class days on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This schedule enabled me to wake up late and hit the books hard preparing for tests on the days that weren’t so packed. However, this setup doesn’t work for everyone, so figure out how you study and work to determine your schedule.
3.  Place a heavier emphasis on general degree requirements your first year.
Many first-year students will make the mistake of taking only those classes which interest them. They figure that they can complete general requirements later in the college career. But what will end up happening is you may put off these requirements for so long that you will suddenly realize, sometimes as late as senior year, that you have a bunch of general courses left to graduate. Don’t end up in this position (like I did) in which you run the risk of taking an extra semester to graduate just because you put of something silly like a phys ed course.
4. Do your course research online to gauge what professors are like in class.
One of the most important factors in doing well in any given class is having a professor that is engaging and accessible. One of the best ways to get classes with the best professors is to visit sites like RateYourProfessor.Com to see which instructors are the best teachers. Reviews will also help you steer clear of professors who are too immersed in their research to care about their class. At the same time however, do take some student reviews with a grain of salt. Some students are simply incensed that they got poor grades, and may take it out on the professor. I’d say believe the reviews that are consistently complaining about the same thing. Don’t base your conclusions on just one or two comments.
5. Take advantage of the “course shopping” period.
Although many universities are different, most institutions encourage “course shopping” during the first two weeks of classes. That is to say, students are free to attend several classes that they aren’t officially signed up for, or drop classes they don’t particularly like, to sign up for others. If your institution does have this flexibility, be sure to take advantage of it. Don’t get stuck in a class that you already know from the beginning you are going to hate.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when creating your course schedule. Be sure to talk to other students who have taken classes you are interested in, and also consult with academic advisors so that you are on track to graduate within a certain period of time. Above all, enjoy the flexibility in the decision-making process of picking your own classes for the first time!

This guest contribution was submitted by Katheryn Rivas who particularly enjoys writing about online universities.  Questions and comments can be sent to:

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Friday, May 25, 2012

World No Tobacco Day 2012

On 31st May each year World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates World No Tobacco Day, highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce consumption.

World No Tobacco Day 2012 will educate policy-makers and the general public about the tobacco industry's nefarious and harmful tactics.

Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death.  As a parent you can be a role model and an example to others.

Does your teen smoke?

No one needs a reminder that smoking is bad for you, but here are some key facts about tobacco:
  • Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
  • Tobacco kills nearly six million people each year, of whom more than 5 million are users and ex users and more than 600 000 are nonsmokers exposed to second-hand smoke. Unless urgent action is taken, the annual death toll could rise to more than eight million by 2030.
  • Nearly 80% of the world's one billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Consumption of tobacco products is increasing globally, though it is decreasing in some high-income and upper middle-income countries.
Many kids or teens start smoking due to peer pressure.  It is important that parents talk to their kids early about the risks of smoking and all substance use.

Communication is key to prevention.  

Tobacco Free Florida Quitline is a tremendous resource and hotline for both parents and teens to help you and your child kick this habit.

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Learn more about WHO and TFI click here.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Stop Medicine Abuse: Starting The Conversation

Teen Drug Use: A parent's fear is when their teen or tween starts using drugs and it doesn't have to be marijuana or even street drugs - cough medicine and other household items are being used by teens to get high.

Stop Medicine Abuse is proactive in helping parents become educated and giving tips and resources to talk to your kids about the risks and dangers of substance abuse.

Here are some conversation starters:

Figuring out what to say to your teen on some of life’s tougher issues, like medicine abuse, can be challenging. During adolescence these conversations can sometimes result in verbal bouts, rather than calm, informative discussions. Fear not! There are ways to broach these topics with your teenager – the trick is to know the right questions to ask!

Cut out and use these conversation starters for opening the dialog with your teenager about serious teen issues, such as drug use or bullying. Remember to ask questions in an open-ended manner to avoid “yes” or “no” answers!

Click here for full details.

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