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    Thanksgiving Cooking Activities For Kids

    As you prepare Thanksgiving dinner, make brunch for camped out family, serve snacks for watching the football game, or bake holiday cookies, no matter the age, the kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews can—and should—help in the kitchen too!  The benefits and memories of getting hands on experience making a family meal like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Hanukkah are extraordinary.  Here are several Thanksgiving cooking activities for kids as well as other fun Thanksgiving activities for them to try.

    Age Specific Thanksgiving Cooking Activities For Kids
    Katie Workman, of theMom100 blog and cookbook, shares a few holiday meal tips on how kids can help with the Thanksgiving meal. I love her age specific Thanksgiving cooking activities for kids and I hope you and your family enjoy preparing your Thanksgiving feast together.
    Age specific Thanksgiving activities for kids get them helping in the kitchen, learning and having fun!                               
    Ideas For Kids 3-5 To Be Able To Help With Thanksgiving Cooking:
    Pour, dump, stir and sprinkle ingredients and spices you have gathered together.
    Whisk the eggs for breakfast.
    Sprinkle the spices.
    Wash the potatoes with a scrub brush or scrub gloves for little fingers.
    Take out the pots, pans, measuring cups, and bowls you need.
    Tear up the bread for the stuffing.

    Thanksgiving Cooking Activities For Kids 5-7:
    Cut soft vegetables with kid-safe knives like ones from Zyliss or Curious Chef.
    Knead bread or roll the dough for pie crust
    Cut out cookies
    Cooking Activities For Kids 7-9:
    Assemble the ingredients for a recipe
    Measure the ingredients for a recipe
    Start working lessons on math and chemistry at this point.  And if you don’t know the answer to some questions – get them on the computer looking it up!  What does baking soda do to a recipe?  What is the difference between unsweetened and semi-sweet chocolate?  Why does flour thicken the gravy?
    I hope you kids enjoy These thanksgiving cooking activities for kids. They will be learning and feel important and involved as part of the family making things happen.
    If you want more ideas for fun Thanksgiving activities for kids, there are lots of other ways for kids to get involved and help. Here are some ideas.

    More Fun Thanksgiving Activities For Kids:
    Make Thanksgiving crafts to decorate your home
    Make a menu on an easel
    Take guests coats
    Make place settings
    Make a cornucopia for the table centerpiece
    Pass out appetizers on a tray
    Take drink orders (they love this!)
    Take photos – imagine the narrative your photos will tell when taken from their perspective!  It will be the best holiday recap you’ve had.
    And help with CLEAN UP!
    Still want more fun activities for kids? Check out The Highlights Book of Things to Do. It was recently featured among TODAY’s best gifts for 7-year-olds. The book features over 530 activities developed to encourage children to explore, play, discover and keep them active!
    The book shares fun Thanksgiving activities for kids like clean up games, leftover pie ideas, and instructions for folding napkins into creative shapes. Whether you’re planning on having a large, small or virtual gathering this Thanksgiving, fancy napkin shapes are sure to impress your kids and guest. Like this fun tutorial for how to fold cloth napkins into silverware pockets.

    From Page 87 of The Highlights Book of Things to Do
    Happy Holidays!  I hope you and your family have a great time cooking together, working together and celebrating together!  You may want to pin these Thanksgiving cooking activities for kids so you can find them easily on the big day!
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    5 Fun Ways To Teach Children To Save

    Nothing eases a parent’s mind more than knowing that their child is aware of the value of money, as well as the importance of saving it. Knowing how to save – and spend – wisely is hands-down one of the most useful traits a child can be raised with. In some households, where financial conscientiousness is habitual, this may be a natural product of childhood. However, it is a great idea to take a more hands-on approach to teaching your kids about smart spending and saving. Here are five ways to teach children to save that show them the both the value of everyday saving and of saving to reach goals.

    How To Teach Children To Save 
    1. Goal Savings Charts
    Sticker charts can be used in a variety of ways when it comes to saving. You can use one to encourage your child to set weekly savings goals. For example, your child can earn a sticker for each week they save $2 and get a whole page of stickers when they save up a total of $10.
    Or you can encourage your child save up to reach big rewards of desired items. This doesn’t just encourage saving – if your kids are buying toys with their own money, you can bet they’ll treat those things a lot more carefully than if said things are just handed to them. Plus, you don’t even have to shell out for the rewards, because the end goal is the reward itself! For example if they want to save up for a $50 video game, you can help them determine how much money they can save each week and how long it will take to reach their goal. Giving them a visual of this savings process is a great way to encourage them and make it fun. With that in mind, here is a PDF of a free printable savings goal chart your kids can use!

    2. Compartmentalized Piggy Banks Or Envelopes
    Nothing’s more exciting than using something you’ve made yourself, so a great way to start kids off on the road to money-saving is to let them make their own piggy banks. There are a fair few methods of crafting and decorating piggy banks online, but the easiest method is still to clean out a jar, cut a hole in the lid, and – boom, piggy bank!
    The piggy bank is another great way for younger kids to actually see their savings and watch them grow.

    You can take things a step further by creating several piggy banks (or by compartmentalizing a single one), each to be used for something different – one for saving, one for spending, or if you’d prefer, one for investing and one for donating. It’s up to you!
    Older children may benefit from learning about the envelop saving system. Carrie Lee offers some great printable envelopes for this.
    Teaching Kids About Everyday Saving Opportunities
    These next 3 teach children to save activities, all fall into the category of learning to save in everyday situations. This type of savings really adds up and helps stretch a budget further. If you child is old enough, this is a good time to introduce budgeting for kids.
    3. Learn To Save By Finding Sales
    If you don’t mind a little field trip, take your kids out with you the next time you go shopping. Show them the difference between full retail prices and the kind of deals you get in second-hand stores or during sales periods. This is a great way to show your kids how to assess items for quality versus price.
    As they get older you can also teach them to avoid false economies and show that sometimes spending more to begin with can lead to savings in the long run.
    4. Learn To Save At The Supermarket
    Food is a crucial part of any household budget, and knowing how to spend wisely on food is a great skill that will serve your kids well when they eventually live on their own. If you can spare the time, take your kids to the grocery store with you and show them how to differentiate between price, quantity, and quality for the best possible deals. This can also be a great way for them to put their maths skills in action!
    You can even use the opportunity to cultivate healthier eating habits by taking them to farmer’s markets and picking out fruit and vegetables for them to try.
    5. Learn To Save With Online Comparison Shopping
    While your children are young it’s encouraged to let them see and handle cash as much as possible so they don’t think of ‘money’ as an abstract concept, but as they grow older it’s a good idea to get them acquainted debit cards and the idea of online spending
    Things like clothes shopping may not work out cheaper online, but books and DVDs can often be much cheaper if you purchase them over the Internet, with options for buying them new or used. Why not challenge your kids to shop around and find the best price for various items?
    Furthermore, there are lots of crowdsourcing sites that offer exclusive deals on events and trips that you could teach your children to use (albeit when they’re older). Whether it’s a subscription to a popular family magazine or great offers for family days out. By taking advantage of sites like these, you’ll be cultivating saving habits for the Internet era – especially useful in this day and age where it’s tempting to make online purchases for the sheer ease of it.
    I hope you find these activities to teach children to save helpful. What ways do you use to encourage your kids to save? Share them in the comments!
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    How To Prevent Cyberbullying For Kids

    Sticks and stones may break bones, but words can definitely hurt just as bad, if not worse than some physical altercations. Computers provide us with access to the greatest bank of information ever compiled. However, we also live in an era where we can say whatever we want to whoever we want under the thick veil of anonymity.  This illusion of safety behind the screen can lead to bullying in whole new and even more embarrassing ways. That is why these tips for how to prevent cyberbullying for kids are so important. We need to help our kids understand the ways that tech can be used inappropriately, how to avoid cyberbullies, and how to stop cyberbullying if it should happen to them or their friends.

    How To Prevent Cyberbullying
    It is so important to talk to our kids about cyberbullying before it happens.  The best cyberbullying prevention involves making sure children understand what cyberbullying is and that they know they can get help handling the cyberbully. 
    Cyberbullying is the use of the internet or mobile technology to bully others. Cyberbullying can take many forms. Examples are posting inappropriate photos on social media, spreading lies and mean rumors, or sending harassing messages. You should make sure your child understands that you know cyberbullying can happen, that it is not OK, and that they can get help. Cyberbullying statistics may help you start the conversation around how to prevent cyberbullying.
    Cyberbullying Statistics
    Children being cyberbullied is much more common than you may think! Computers, tablets and predominately cell phones have become the medium by which kids are targeted and are targeting in a multitude of disturbing ways.
    In fact, according to Dosomething.org, 41 percent of children have been bullied online, and an alarming number have had it happen more than once. Even more startling is the fact that 80 percent of children have been witness to cyberbullying. This leaves parents and leaders responsible to step up and stop this devastating trend. It’s time to teach our kids how to navigate the perils of the online world and how to prevent cyberbullying.
    Today’s kids are more connected than ever. Cyberbullying isn’t something we had to deal with, but it’s a harsh reality for our children.  The Cyberbullying Research Center reviewed 234 cyberbullying articles published in peer-reviewed academic journals. They concluded that, “about one out of every four teens has experienced cyberbullying, and about one out of every six teens has done it to others”.
    Is Cyberbullying A Crime?
    Montana is the only state in the union that doesn’t have anti-bullying laws on the books. New Jersey has the toughest laws on this in the country. New Jersey enacted the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights in 2011, following a number of cyberbullying-related suicides that happened across the country.
    FindLaw.com says that, “Cyberbullying may often be treated as a civil, rather than a criminal matter.” However, they also share that serious criminal charges have been brought in cases where the offense has resulted in suicide or other tragic consequences.
    The bottom line is cyberbully may or may not be illegal (depending on where you live and the severity) but either way, it is wrong. We have to tell our kids it is unacceptable to do to other kids. They also need to know that is OK to get help if it happens to them.

    Talk About The Dangers of Strangers & CyberBullies
    According to Lifelock, it isn’t just cyberbullies targeting our children. Youth is the fastest growing demographic for identity theft and other online crimes as well. The Internet can be nearly impossible to patrol, and the more unsafe-surfing is done, the more vulnerable children end up being. That doesn’t mean you should stand over your kid’s shoulder the entire time they’re surfing online. It just means that creating a dialog about the dangers of the Internet needs to be on the forefront of your parenting roster when they reach browsing age. A survey by Knowledge Masters found that less than half of parents monitor the sites their children look up. Kids tend to know this and end up treating the Internet like a limitless playground.
    Lead By Example
    Parents can play the role of the enforcer all they want, but leading by example is just as important. If you find yourself tempted to leave a mean anonymous comment on a blog, or shoot down a stranger for saying something you disagree with online think to yourself whether you would say that to the person in real life. If the answer is no, then don’t. The nature of online communication causes what John Suler, author of The Psychology of Cyberspace, calls disassociative anonymity. This means that you can say whatever you want online without repercussions you can get the same power high many achieve by putting others down, but without having to deal with the nitty-gritty of the effect it has on the other human.
    Teach Kids To Avoid Being A Cyberbully
    Teaching kids and teens to deflect attacks with humor or strength of character is an important tactic. Parents should also talk to their kids about the importance of character and choosing not to be a bully. Teach kids to match their actions to who they want to be. The most important things to for your kids to remember while using the Internet are:
    Be respectful: Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want said to you
    Don’t victimize or generally be mean (if they don’t know what being mean means, you’ve got a whole different book of problems to deal with)
    If you see something, say something
    Stand up for yourself without being a jerk
    Never reveal any personal information online: Assume that the whole school is watching you online that’s a good rule of thumb for monitoring behavior
    Using the Internet is a privilege; it isn’t a birthright, so don’t treat it as such!
    Teach them to know what cyberbullying is and talk to you about it if it happens.
    What Cyberbullying For Kids Looks Like:
    Fox News reports that 88 percent of teenagers have encountered cyberbullying in their lives, whether it’s been directed at them or someone close to them. Cyberbullying can take many form. Sometimes the bully posts embarrassing photos on social media. Other times the bully makes abusive comments the person’s own social posts. Some cyberbullies make malicious comments and manipulate the targets friends by using a fake profile on a social network.
    No matter what form cyberbullying takes, it can lead to self-esteem issues, behavioral problems and depression.

    Effects of Cyberbullying
    The first thing to watch for is drastic changes in behavior. While this can be hard to monitor at times—given how many emotional changes children and teens go through—some things to look for include:
        Aversion to social networking and texting
        Eating more or less
        Marked differences in sleeping schedule
        Inability to concentrate
        Acting out in school
    How To Stop Cyberbullying- What To Do If Your Child Is Cyberbullied
    Talk to your children. Ask what’s bothering them and be proactive about protecting them. Monitor their social network profiles and block people who harass them. Your child should also know it is safe for them to come to you with questions or concerns at any time.  It may be appropriate to reach out to school officials if cyberbullying is coming from a known source at your child’s school. If your child is being bullied, get help at stopbullying.org
    I hope you find these tips helpful for how to prevent cyberbullying. It starts with being aware of the cyberbullying problem. This will give you the opportunity to talk about it with your kids. Hopefully you can avoid problems or deal with things as they come up. It can tough protecting your children. However, when there are open lines of communication, it makes it harder for the cyberbullies to win.
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    Coping Skills For Stressed Parents

    Parenting can be rewarding yet riddled with anxiety and stress. From the moment your child enters the world, nothing will ever be the same again, and neither will you. It is an emotional rollercoaster with all of the ups, downs and loop-the-loops you can think of. But unlike a rollercoaster where you can see the track clearly in front of you, life as a parent is simply not something that can be predicted or anticipated.  Parenting is a wonderful blessing but it comes with stress. That is why I am happy to share some coping skills for stressed parents. Stress management techniques are essential for parents to keep a healthy state of mind and function at their best.
    What Is Parenting Stress?

    Part of being a parent is being able to juggle a million demanding and important things all at the same time. This pressure can start to become stressful after a while, especially if it is not managed effectively. Parents are just human after all, and when it feels like all you do is run around and put out a number of ‘’fires’’ all day, it’s time to reassess your stress levels as a parent.
    If you are feeling tired, overwhelmed, mentally, physically and physiologically exhausted and the thought of cutting yet another piece of toast into a cheesy triangle makes you want to lie in a dark room and listen to the tap drip – then you will be delighted to know two things: One, you are not alone and two, it is possible to alter the amount of parental stress you are experiencing every day.
    Why Does Stress From Parenting Happen?
    There are many different causes of stress, and in most cases, there is not one clearly identifiable cause, but a mixture of subtle factors working in unison. Listed below are some examples of why parenting can be so stressful:
    1. A newborn: For new parents – especially during the first 6-12 weeks with a newborn baby – the exhaustion, frustration, inexperience and momentous changes all contribute towards massive parenting stress. Sleep deprivation is often the biggest culprit in the scenario, but after the first few months, new parents get into the swing of things and life as a parent becomes more manageable.
    2. Single Parenting: Single parents are constantly under pressure and huge parental stress all the time.  And depending on the resources and help they have available to them, it may be difficult to manage the huge amount of stress they have. But people love to be needed, in fact they have an inherent need to be needed, and the biggest lesson a single parent needs to learn, to help them manage their stress, is to be able to ask for help.
    3. Busy lives: A hectic schedule and no time to relax is one of the most common precursors to parenting stress. As is the case for most parents, they might have all the love in the world for their child, but fall victim to the intensive daily routine, the lack of sleep and the isolation.
    4. Insecurity: Very much a modern cause of parenting stress is a parent’s insecurity over their own suitability as a parent, and the significance of their own actions in regards to the child’s future. With exposure to aspirational parent lifestyles in the media and societal pressure, parents often obsess over every tiny detail and let almost anything run them into the ground.

    Stress Management Techniques For Parents
    Stress is a very real and debilitating part of every parent’s life and if left unchecked, it can start to unravel to the point where the parent suffer from a lower emotional well being. Stress management is something that takes self-discipline and assistance, and parents need to understand that asking for help shows signs of maturity and strength. Being proactive enough to say “I can’t do this on my own” and getting the help and support you need, is not a sign of weakness.
    Recognizing that parental stress is problem and searching for stress management techniques is the first step.
    Set Boundaries And Get Help
    Routine, clear family boundaries, help from other family members and quality family time, will keep your family team strong and healthy, and will reduce the stress levels significantly. If one parent or both parents feel like they are slaves to a demanding family who never help – and even 3 year olds can pick up after themselves – the stress levels are going to be high. Ask for help if you need it (in an assertive way, not an aggressive way). Or hire help if you can.
    Open Communication
    Sometimes it is just a matter of feeling seen and heard. Talking about how you feel stressed with your partner may be a great way to vent some steam and even come up with constructive ideas together for how to reduce trigger points.
    It is a good idea for parents to take time to sit down together and work out a game plan for where they feel the big stress areas are and how they can work together to manage them. In this way they are able to implement change using a process that involves the whole family.
    Take Quiet Time And Plan Ahead
    Part of effective parental stress management techniques for parents is planning ahead and being organized. Staying up an extra half an hour to pack school lunches or iron shirts, will greatly enable parents to feel less chaotic, rushed and frantic when schedules are tight and everyone is always feeling like they are running late.

    Coping Skills For Stressed Parents
    There are many different coping skills for stressed parents to help reduce stress and feel better.  Some parents turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism and that merely masks the stress and often makes the problem worse. Finding healthy coping methods is key!
    Be Grateful
    Check your mindset. Does it need an adjustment? You are blessed to be a parent and lucky to have someone you have to make dinner for. I am not saying to ignore your stress, I am just saying to remember what is important to you and that it may take some work to provide for your family. It is natural and normal. Sometime adjusting your expectations and being grateful for what you have is the first coping skill you need to employ from your tool kit.
    Take Some Time Out
    Parenting is often an unbalanced affair, with the parent giving so much of themselves to the child. Parents need attention too. Some parents can recharge their batteries better through time alone to pamper and think. Others need social time to with other adults to feel more connected. To address this, the parents should set aside time where they can reward themselves in a way that works for them.
    This could simply be an hour of relaxation, a dinner out, a massage or a movie. Listen to some music and dance or meditate. Try different things and see what you need. You can’t pour from an empty pitcher. Self care is not optional.
    Find Your Tribe
    A parent should never feel isolated. Indeed, isolation can cause stress in itself. Local community events that give parents the opportunity to communicate with others are important so they can see others are going through a similar stage. You are not alone and you will get past this stage. It is good to talk with family and friends, but speaking with other parents who can directly relate to your problems can be even better.
    Exercise
    Getting exercise is shown to reduce anxiety significantly. If you have pent up stress or anxiety, go for a walk or a run. How does it work? According to the ADAA.org, “Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, even breathing deeply can cause your body to produce endorphins.”
    A Counselor
    A qualified counselor can help you address trigger points and solve patterns that are creating stress. A few sessions could help put you back on track handling things in a more productive, happier way.
    This Too Shall Pass
    Remember when raising kids, that it is all moving and changing as you pass through the different ages. The first two years are a tremendous time suck but they are also so special and wonderful. Each age will have its demands and rewards.
    As your children get older, relationship building becomes important for strong ties and emotional connections, which in turn helps to promote a healthy family environment and eliminate the build up of stress and associated family problems. The more effort that is put into the family relationship, the better the chance is for a happy and loving future.
    Conclusion
    Suffering from parenting stress is completely normal. However, working to develop stress management techniques for parents is also completely normal and a great way to deal with things before they get out of hand. I hope you find these coping skills for stressed parents useful. Enjoy these special years as they pass quicker than you think!
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    Importance Of Writing Skills For Your Child

    Along with the math problems and biology lessons, it is vital for each young child to master his or her own mother tongue and ability to communicate clearly. Even if the child is born and grows up in an environment where their particular language is the official one, children will still need a lot of practice to improve their writing skill abilities. Especially when it comes to developing good writing skills.  The importance of writing skills should not be overlooked because they are the key to clear communication. Good writing skills will help a child do well in school and likely in their chosen career as well.
    Whereas talking comes naturally and reading is somehow easier, acquiring writing skills requires a lot of practice as well as the proper instruction. As a caring and loving parent you can contribute to your child’s quest in becoming a good writer. It is helpful to remind your child of the importance of writing skills and encourage them to practice though creative writing prompts. If you enjoy their written work, show them and they will naturally put more effort into their writing skills.
    The Importance Of Writing Skills

    Good handwriting skills, both in print and in cursive, are just the beginning or developing good writing skills. Handwriting is important is conveying your meaning and also to show effort put into a document. If an adult handed you a document with the handwriting shown above you may wonder about the acuity of what you were about to read.
    The importance of developing good writing skills goes far beyond just handwriting. It is about being able to present ones ideas, whether it is a story or an argument, with a clarity of vision and purpose. The importance of developing good writing skills can’t be underestimated. From writing one’s college entry essay, to writing a letter to a loved one, to writing up a business proposal, there are so many uses of writing throughout life and so many reasons to want your writing skills to be strong.
    As the National Writing Project puts it, “writing is a complex activity; more than just a skill or talent, it is a means of inquiry and expression for learning in all grades and disciplines.”
    As Stanford’s President, John Hennessy (a computer scientist and electrical engineer) once said, “[In college] we had a notion that engineers had to know how to use slide rules or calculators or computers but not how to write. And that is the biggest falsehood you could possibly perpetrate on young people. I think writing and rhetoric — public speaking — are the two most valuable skills across any discipline in any field.” Whether you are a secretary, or a doctor, a retail manager, or a field biologist, writing matters. The importance of developing good writing skills is one that will pay off both in school and in the real world as you must be able to express yourself.

    How To Improve Writing Skills With Creative Writing For Kids
    There are certain things you can do at home, which will definitely help your children to improve writing skills.
    Place Value On Writing
    Ask your child to contribute with making up shopping lists, birthday and holiday cards, notes to friends, taking telephone messages, preparing invitations, making a dream board, etc. Writing for real purposes makes the child feel important and relied on. This will help him/her see that there really is an importance of developing good writing skills.
    Age Appropriate Writing Activities
    Start with the age appropriate writing activities from an early age and move into creative writing kids will enjoy as they get older. Let them write their own storybook. The importance of developing good writing skills is certainly a priority in your child’s education and you can help them learn to enjoy writing.  You may also want to reward their efforts to show them it matters.
    Expand Vocabulary
    Talk about new things that have been encountered during the day. Discuss what was smelled, heard, tasted, etc. Help your child expand his/her vocabulary. Expanding their vocabulary and ability to describe details is like giving them a wider arsenal of words to use in their writing.
    Provide An Example
    Let your child follow your example. Be both a teacher and a role model in creative writing kids will enjoy. Try to be seen writing more often. Provided that you are never seen writing, your kid might assume that writing is a tedious activity that only happens at school. Write memos, letters or even fridge notes. Read aloud and make corrections. This is in support of the necessity for revision. Try some creative writing prompts and develop stories that your kids will enjoy listening to you read and be impressed that you wrote.
    Aid Kids With Creative Writing Ideas And Process
    Offer and provide as much help as possible. Discuss the creative writing ideas they have and give them useful hints. Guide them through the process by pointing out both the dos and don’ts. Assist them in completing their school writing tasks. Discuss what ideas they have and with just a little help you will discover what your child wants to say (write) but and help them find the right words. Additional help must be provided especially when it comes to punctuation and correct spelling. Be more of a helper than a critic. After all, your aim is to help, not to discourage and a child could be easily discouraged if criticized too much.
    Provide Writing Space
    Provide your kid with a personal writing space, something like a study of his/her own. Even a small table in a quiet place of your home, preferably next to a window, so that s/he could daydream and think of nice creative writing ideas.
    Writing Tools
    Encourage your son/daughter to write, by giving them fine presents, associated with writing. Here are some examples of presents that will encourage writing: pens and pencils of different colors, a desk lamp, paper for writing (again, choose ones with different colors), booklet for a daily journal, a certain dictionary (or a thesaurus for older children when they are seeking for the right word).
    Creative Writing Prompts
    Do not demand, but rather encourage frequent writing. There are times when the child might have an inspiration, and others when there is no inspiration at all. Be understanding. Try providing fun journal prompts and creative writing questions that will encourage their imagination.
    Praise Helps Improve Writing Skills
    Focus and emphasize on the writing successes, not the flaws. Praise your child’s good work and refrain from being harsh on him/her because of the errors. However, do comment on and correct the errors.  Make writing interesting. If you have more time to spend with your child, assign him/her certain topics to write about, but stick to things that are of his/her interest, something s/he is interested in and fond of.

    Ernest Hemingway once said, “It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.” The more you write, the easier it gets and the better you become! When you child understand the importance of writing skills, they will naturally want to become a good writer. There are many ways inspire children in writing and I hope you enjoyed these ideas.  Which ways for how to improve writing skills, do you think your child will take to the most?
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    Read This When Times Get Tough

    When times get tough, it can be hard to keep going. Here are some motivational tips to help you get through the tough times and help you keep on going till you thrive again.  I will also share my favorite inspirational quotes for tough times. Breathe, read this, and take things one day at a time.
    When Times Get Tough
    When you’re up against what feels like insurmountable circumstances it can be tempting to toss your sneakers in your gym bag and walk off the field.
    Giving up is easy. Life isn’t.
    But you’re smart. You’re hard working. Your friends, spouse and kids respect you. And everything you have, you achieved because you’re a determined, bright and confident person.
    You knew that, though, and it’s still not any easier to cope with what you’re up against. Maybe you lost your job, someone close to you fell ill, or it’s just one of those weeks—or months—when the little things keep piling up until the proverbial camel’s back is dangerously close to snapping.
    If telling yourself that this, too, shall pass isn’t enough to shake the negativity, you need to take some action. Here’s how.
    5 Motivational Tips For Going Through Tough Times

    Take care of yourself
    Not even Michael Phelps can tread water forever, and trying to keep your head above the surface while life keeps tossing waves at you can get you feeling like a pretty terrible swimmer.
    In fact, it can convince you you’re just a downright terrible person.
    When things get hard, you get depressed. That’s natural. And when you’re depressed, it’s a lot more difficult to find the motivation to do even the simplest things like cook a healthy meal, style your hair, or change into something that can’t double as pajamas.
    But do them anyway- walk, run, exercise, go for a bike ride, lose weight if you need to, get out there and experience life. Nutritional expert Isabel De Los Rios has countless stories of mothers who felt like the world was crashing down on them, only to turn it all around through putting themselves (and their health) first.
    Eat. Get some sleep. Take pride in your appearance. Maybe it sounds like added stress, but it’s the physical and emotional boost you need to stay afloat through this. So first and foremost, take care of yourself!

    Count your blessings
    Literally. Gratitude is powerful. Make a list of everything good in your life—the big stuff, the little stuff, the silly stuff. If it makes you happy, put it on your list. Your kids, spouse and home are probably no-brainers. Your dog? Cat? Iguana? Throw him on there, too.
    And don’t forget your grandma’s amazing lemon icebox recipe; your wedding photos; the way your daughter’s head smelled when she was six months old.
    Anything that has brought you joy, anything that you’re grateful for, put it down on paper. Don’t be afraid to get crafty and glue some photos or trinkets on there, too. Then, hang it somewhere—like the fridge, or your office—so you can glance at it now and then and remind yourself that life is wonderful no matter how awful it may be right now. 
    There is always something to be grateful for and sometimes it is easiest to focus on the small details.  The cool pattern the walls of the tent make, the way the sun pokes around the clouds, the pretty color green of new buds.  Those type of details sometimes pull me into the present moment when I am getting lost in the past.
    Gratitude can also help place things into perspective. Whatever is tough for you right now may be small in comparison to all the good you have in your life or how much it will really matter in a year’s time.
    Relax. Now!
    The worst thing to do to yourself when you’re overwhelmed is add weight to an already unbearable pile. Most of us think that staying busy is the best way to distract from whatever obstacle we’re up against, but knowing when to hang up your cape and let someone else fight the battles is a really crucial skill to overcoming adversity.
    If you don’t power yourself back up with ten minutes of deep breathing a day, you’ll lose your mind. No matter what you’re facing, there’s always time to give your mind and body a few minutes of peace. So take a walk, a bath soak, a nap or meditate. 
    I particularly find the below Wayne Dyer meditation music helpful for relaxing. It helps me recenter.
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    Take out the trash
    On the opposite side of that same coin, find a constructive way to handle all your negative energy. Maybe your finances are a puzzle you can’t seem to solve, or your marriage is in a rut. Or maybe your son just brought home a bad report card. Whatever’s filling you with angst, find a useful way to drain it.
    My suggestion? Declutter your room. Or your garage. Your basement, storage shed, or under the guest room bed. Wherever unwanted crap piles up in your home, attack it.
    This constructive use of excess energy will keep your mind off whatever issue happens to be monopolizing your mental energy, allowing you to revisit it later on with a fresh set of eyes.
    Plus, getting rid of some of the crap in your life is always uplifting.
    Practice some altruism
    Whether you offer to babysit the neighbor’s kids while they’re at a movie, or offer up your time at a soup kitchen, find a way to help other people out with absolutely no gain for yourself.
    Look, when things feel too big to manage, a new perspective can shrink them back down to size. If you feel like you can’t fix whatever’s beating you down, fix something else. Reminding yourself that you’re a competent, compassionate person might be the jumpstart you need to get out of whatever rut you’re broken down in.
    One bonus tip?
    Look in the mirror and smile. Smiling can actually trick your brain into happiness!  Besides, you don’t want to forget how to smile.
    I am also going to share a few of my favorite when times are tough quotes to help inspire you to to, “just keep swimming.”
    Inspirational Quotes For Tough Times

    “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” -Mary Anne Radmacher
    “Believe in yourself, trust your gut, surround yourself with resilient people who inspire you to be better and work hard.” -Monique Hicks
    “Conflict is growth trying to happen.” -Harville Hendrix
    “When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” -Alexander Graham Bell
    “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” -Robert Schuller
    “You need to spend time crawling alone through shadows to truly appreciate what it is to stand in the sun.” -Shaun Hick
    Conclusion
    I hope you found these motivational tips helpful for getting through hard times.  They come to us all and you just have to keep going. I sometimes picture Atreyu struggling to get through the Swamp of Sadness in the Never Ending Story. It feels like that sometimes but you don’t want to let yourself be swallowed up like Artax. You have to keep going.  You’ll get through it and you’ll be stronger.  Of my favorite when times are tough quotes that I shared above, my absolute favorite is the one from Mary Anne Radmacher. Tomorrow is a whole new day! 
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    Making Career Exploration For Elementary Students Fun

    Planning a career isn’t high on most children’s priority list. Still, most children dream of an exciting future. As parents we get the chance to plant and nurture the seeds of ambition that can help big childhood dreams blossom into lifelong passions. Career exploration for elementary students shouldn’t be a chore. Use these simple tactics for harnessing the power of a child’s imagination and making career exploration activities fun. This should be about kids being exposed to lots of good career options so that they can naturally be drawn to the one that is right for them. Here are five fun ideas for career exploration for elementary students.
    It is important to recognize that it is ok for children to change their minds frequently about what they want to be when they grow up. My daughter wanted to be an artist, a fire fighter, a paleontologist, a rocket scientist, a statistician, and now she wants to be an engineer. My son wanted to be a trash man, a football player, and now he wants to be a video game designer.
    Inspire Your Child Through Career Exploration For Elementary Students

    1. Career Exploration Games For Elementary Students
    Play Games That Role Play Careers. Young kids love role play games like doctor or veterinarian or cops or restaurant or court of law. These games are fun for kids and these role play games show that they are starting to thinking about what various jobs do.
    Try Video Games. It’s no secret that casual video gaming can become addictive – so why not let kids learn while they play? Whether a child dreams of becoming a pilot, a fashion designer or a world-class chef, there’s a game that’ll teach the basics. And thanks to the widespread success of the “freemium” business model, most of these games are free to try – making it easy for young dabblers to explore all sorts of topics to their hearts’ content. In fact, even a passion for video games themselves can lead to a well-paying career.
    Board Games. There are so many board games and they can provide exposure to all sorts of careers. CLUE may give your child an idea of what a detective does. Madame President may help your child understand what a politician does. Monopoly helps kids see what a real estate baron does. There is even a board game called Careers.
    Games can serve as excellent indicators of where a kid’s heart is.
    2. Provide Real Heroes
    Comic-book superheroes are more popular than ever before, but the pages of science and art books are filled with their own inspiring tales of real-life crusaders. Helping a child relate his or her personal quirks to, say, young Picasso’s struggles against the artistic establishment, or to Bill Gates’ high-school obsession with computer tinkering, doesn’t only set the bar high; it serves as a reminder that it’s OK to stand out from the crowd. Real life role models or heroes show that hard work and persistence can turn even the wildest dreams into realistic plans of action.
    One way to provide real heroes like these is to discuss the ones you hear about in the news. Another is to read biographies about famous people written for children. Kids love reading together and it will be fun to see what parts interest them the most.

    I think this was when my daughter first decided she wanted to be a fire fighter when she grew up!
    3. Encourage Career Investigation
    At some point, every parent gets tired of answering that endless barrage of “what?” “how?” and “why?”. That’s why it’s crucial to give kids the tools they’ll need to investigate their questions on their own – from basic search-engine savvy to critical and lateral thinking skills. Not only will these problem-solving tactics prove useful for school research projects; they’ll foster an inquisitive mindset that’ll naturally draw kids toward fields that interest them. What’s more, a nose for investigation comes in handy in any career, from corporate accounting to nuclear physics.
    4. Join a Group
    No matter what a child’s passion is, there’s bound to be a group of other kids interested in the same topic. Beyond school clubs, organizations like the National Association for Gifted Children and Boys and Girls Clubs of America offer seminars and field trips for curious youngsters. And there’s nothing stopping high-schoolers from signing up for local meetups of creative writers or computer programmers or trail hikers. Don’t worry too much if a group isn’t explicitly career-oriented – hanging out with like-minded hobbyists will still help boost a kid’s confidence and skill. Besides, a little networking practice never hurts! Skill focused summer camps are also a great idea.

    5. Integrate Work and Play
    As the old saying goes, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” In other words, work feels like play when it’s fueled by a genuine desire – to achieve a milestone, to express an idea, or to understand the world more fully. World-class athletes, artists and scientists succeed because their work is an integral part of their day-to-day life; left to their own devices, they’d still be doing what they do best. Bring this attitude into a child’s life, and all the other pieces will fall into place naturally. Help kids to see what careers match their natural talents and interests.
    If they like dinosaurs talk them about what a paleontologist does. If they like animals, talk to them about what a vet does. Read books together about the things that interest them.
    Conclusion
    Career exploration for elementary students is just about showing them different career options. You are showing them that there are lots of doors available so that they can open one of those doors someday. As a child, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as an engineer so I didn’t even know that was a career choice. This phase of career exploration is just about opening their mind to possibilities. As your child begins to chose a career that interest them, don’t forget to encourage your child to dream big and work to reach their goals!
    What are some of your favorite career exploration tips for kids?
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    Sports For Kids And How To Encourage Your Young Athlete

    Sports for kids are an important part of growing up.  Young athletes are learning more than just good exercise behaviors.  Here’s why sports are good for kids and how to encourage sports in youth. Don’t worry, there are lots of sports for kids to get involved in so there is a sport for every child.

    Sports For Kids
    Fall Sports include: Football, Golf, Cross Country, Rifle, Cheer, Crew
    Winter Sports include: Basketball, Swimming & Diving, Wrestling, Hockey, Skiing, Ice Skating, and Bowling
    Spring Sports include: Crew, Lacrosse, Baseball, Soccer, Track & Field, Tennis, Shotgun 
    Summer Sports include: Beach Volleyball, Frisbee Golf, Surfing, Skateboarding, and Biking
    And you can probably still think of more sports for kids which are hard to break down by season such as gymnastics and dance. The point is there are so many ways to get your child active and involved in a team.  See what they gravitate towards. They might need to try several option before they find where their natural talent and interests lie.

    Kids First Sports
    Some of the most popular options for kids first sports are tee ball, flag football, soccer, and basketball.  My son and daughter both started with tee ball and soccer.  Then my son progressed to flag football, basketball, cross country, and track.
    Why Sports Are Good For Kids:
    Sports are a great way to get physical exercise for children and according to Kids Health that is so important to building strong bones and muscles. Because sports are fun, they make exercise fun and ensure that it happens. Besides building strength, endurance, and flexibility, kids will be getting aerobic activity which is great for their heart and lungs.
    Sports for kids offer so much more than just physical fitness benefits though. Kids will also be working in groups, developing social skills and a concept of being part of a team. They will be learning how to be lead and what makes good role models. Sports for kids help them build self-confidence and find a tribe where they belong. They will learn what defeat feels like and what winning feels like. Kids will learn that winning takes effort and practice. That is just a few of the reasons why sports should be encouraged. There are so many benefits of team sports!
    How To Encourage Sports In Youth:
    Even with all these reasons why sports are good for kids, you may still have a child who can’t seem to find their niche or just doesn’t feel athletic. Here is how to encourage a child in sports.
    As a parent, sometimes we want our kids to be the best and well, he just isn’t. That is OK. They don’t need to be the most athletic child on the team to still be benefiting from the sport. Your child needs your support and encouragement to succeed.
    That kids who seems like a natural probably has had a lot of encouragement for a long time. I mean both in terms of the parent actively practicing with the child and showing approval and pride in their efforts. Here’s how you can do that too.
    Do you understand how your young athlete receives love and encouragement? In 2007, Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book called The Five Love Languages.  His premise is that every person has one love language that speaks more loudly and deeply to him or her.  The love languages are: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, giving and receiving gifts, and acts of service. To your child, one of those speaks of your love more clearly than the others. Determining which love language, will help you communicate encouragement to your child in a way he truly hears. It will allow you to effectively communicate your support for your young athlete in a way that will make him feel proud and inspire him to keep improving.

    PHYSICAL TOUCH
    Some athletes respond to a hug of excitement after a good game or a hug of consolation after a bad one. Do you know if your child is one of those?  Mine weren’t. Hugging was the last thing they wanted from me after a game. My job was not to take that personally and to find out what they did want from me.  If your child is a hugger, then by all means, hug them before, after games, and often in between.
    WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
    Maybe your athlete only needs to hear he did a good job. He worked hard. He is improving. He’s a leader on the field. If words of affirmation are his love language, then be frequent with your encouragement, avoiding fluffy flattery and focusing on words that are sincere and heartfelt.
    QUALITY TIME
    Some kids just want your undivided attention. They want you to play catch with them, shoot baskets with them, take them to the batting cages, and of course, come to their games. Spending quality time with them is enough to fill their love tanks.
    GIVING & RECEIVING GIFTS
    Parents are tempted to speak this language almost exclusively because it’s easy. But the fact is, some kids do not feel loved by the gifts showered on them. Although gift giving is not the love language of all kids, for some it speaks loudly of love.  A new bat, sports bag, glove, basketball. A volleyball net in the back yard. Or think outside the norm and hide small gifts in their lunch or sports bag. When a youth athlete knows his needs are met above and beyond, he feels loved.
    ACT OF SERVICE
    As our kids grow, we strive to teach them independence. They learn to wash their own clothes, help with chores, make their own lunches, clean out the car.  This is as it should be.  When we know that our child’s love language is acts of service, we should’t feel we are robbing them of their chance to learn independence when we serve them. When we do acts of service as an expression of love with a caring attitude, rather than a duty, we are communicating love.  Go ahead, wash her uniform for her while she does her homework. Clean her room while she’s away on a team trip. Make her lunch when she’s had a rough night of practice. Not all the time of course.  Acts of service are gifts and we don’t have to give gifts all the time.
    Our young athletes need to receive love in all five languages, but focusing on the primary love language of your child will fill his love tank much quicker and more effectively. This means your encouragement will really sink in.
    Conclusion
    There are so many sports for kids to become involved in. Try a few different ones to help your child find one they enjoy. There are so many reasons why sports are good for kids and it worth the effort to get them involved. Make sure to practice with your child when possible. Encourage youth in sports to help them reach their potential.
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