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    What It Means to be Family Oriented

    Family first seems to be a motto for many, but do they really mean it? What does it mean to put your family first and be family oriented? We all want more time with our families and we want to be there for the special moments as well as the family night dinners, but work and other life commitments can make that a challenge sometimes. Why is being family oriented important anyway? Here I will answer those questions and address those challenges. I will talk about the meaning of being a family oriented person, why it is important, and how to become more centered around your family.
    What Is Family Oriented?

    What does it mean to be family oriented? Simply put, a person who’s family oriented never loses sight of the importance of their family. Yes, other commitments may take them away at times, but they always focus on maintaining a strong presence in their family.
    What is another way of saying family oriented? Synonyms are family based, family focused, and family centered. By any name, it refers to someone who has their family at the heart of all that they do and all of the decisions that they make. It is someone who considers the well being of the family as a unit and thinks about maintaining that.

    Why Is Being Family Focused Important?
    A family oriented man or woman goes further than just being present for special occasions and important moments, they are mentally and emotionally present as well. It is in this way that we maintain our family bonds that hold us together.
    Making sure you’re home for your child’s birthday party won’t mean anything if you spend the whole party on the phone talking about work. Instead, it means putting the phone away so that you can focus on your child and their happiness during the party.
    Being family centered is important because there are so many distractions in this modern world and if we don’t make a true effort to protect the thing that is most important to us, family, it can be lost. A loving family is not a given. It takes effort to maintain it. Growing anything takes work and consistency, especially children! Love is a verb. We have to make connecting to our spouse and our children a priority.

    This quote illustrates the point that we must actively care for what we love.

    “Love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep on watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
    ― John Lennon

    5 Ways to Be A More Family Oriented Person
    How do you become family oriented? Being a more family oriented person may seem like a challenge in your busy life, but it doesn’t have to be. A few simple choices can bring you and your family closer together.
    1. Be There for The Important Moments
    You may not make every daytime school event or every baseball game, but do your best to schedule the important moments, like the school play or the baseball playoff game. Be there for the ones that really matter. And if you promise to make it to something, keep your promise; it shows your child that you love them and you’re committed to their happiness.
    2. Schedule Family Time
    Plan regular family time every week. Choose a night when everyone’s home and make it game night or pizza night or movie night. Or change your family time theme every week. It doesn’t matter what you do only that you do it together. Turn off the electronic devices and connect with each other face-to-face for some quality time. 
    3. Show Your Love
    Your family doesn’t need you to buy them a lot of gifts or clear an entire day every week for them, they just want to know that they’re loved, appreciated, and important. Leave a note of encouragement for your child on a day when they have a big test. Make hot chocolate and snuggle on the couch when your child has had a bad day. And don’t forget words and actions of love for your spouse.
    4. Be an Active Listener
    You know that feeling when you’re trying to tell someone something important and they’re clearly not listening? Don’t be that listener. Give your family your attention when they talk to you. Put the phone down, turn down the volume on the TV, and give them your full attention. Make eye contact, ask relevant questions, and engage them in conversation. Being a good listener for 5 minutes is more important than being a distracted listener for 30. Let your family be the center of your world for at least a few minutes each day!
    5. Practice Self-Care
    A little time to yourself may seem counteractive to your goal of being family oriented, but it’s not. A little time to yourself to decompress and unwind allows you to be more present for the people you love. Don’t forget to take care of your own needs so that you can take care of the people you love.
    Don’t take family for granted. It is a sure fire way to create distance from those you love. Frederick Douglass once said, “It is easier to easier to build strong children than repair broken men.” I would add to that, it is easier to care for your spouse each day, than repair a broken marriage. So start today and put your family at the center of your heart. Know they are important and they happiness and well-being are tied to your own happiness and well-being.
    Being family oriented doesn’t mean spending every waking moment of every day with your family. All you really need to do is regularly prioritize family time and make the time you spend together matter.
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    The Pros And Cons of Preschool

    Recent reports have emerged that preschool may not be as important to academic achievement as once was thought. These same studies report that the children who benefit from preschool the most are those from affluent families; these being the families that can afford the top, private preschools. Does this mean that generations of children went to school sooner than necessary? Though the answer to that question depends largely on which side of the fence you stand, don’t write off preschool just yet. There is also research that shows life long benefits of attending preschool. Here is a closer look at the pros and cons of preschool.
    What Are The Main Pros And Cons of Preschool?

    Preschool is also sometimes called nursery school, pre-primary school, or play school. It is early childhood education for children before they begin compulsory kindergarten. There are both private and public preschools. It depends on the area where you live whether or not preschool is available as a public option and sometimes it is only available as a public option to those meeting certain conditions. Preschool age is typically considered to be from 2 ½ to 4 ½ years old.
    I went to a private Montessori preschool myself and I loved it. I still cherish the freedom and exploration of my time there.  They encouraged so much creativity with awesome, fun, artistic projects. To me, there was no question that it was enjoyable. However, not all the preschools are the same so let’s take a closer look at the main pros and cons of preschool.
    Is Preschool Beneficial? A Look At The Pros Of Preschool
    1. Preschool Socialization Benefits
    According to Gail Saltz, MD, associate professor of psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell School of Medicine in New York City, preschool can be a place where young children develop strong social skills. Children in preschool learn how to share, how to play nicely with others and how to compromise. These important skills are carried throughout our lifetimes.
    2. Improved Language And Math Skills
    It stands to reason that the more children speak, the stronger their language skills will become. Children aged three and four are developing these important skills at a rapid rate. By surrounding your child with their peers and adults outside of your social circle, his language skills will blossom. Additionally, the more people that your child has contact with during these formative years, the wider his knowledge base becomes.
    As Learning Policy Institute says, “LPI’s researchers found that investments in quality preschool programs bolster student success. Students who attend preschool programs are more prepared for school and are less likely to be identified as having special needs or to be held back in elementary school than children who did not attend preschool. Studies also show clear positive effects on children’s early literacy and mathematics skills.”
    3. Improved Life Long Outcomes
    W. Steven Barnett, Founder and Senior Co-Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University says reasearch shows, “people who attend preschool are more productive in school, work, and society generally—with higher levels of education and earnings, less involvement in delinquency and crime, and fewer chronic health problems.”
    Conclusion on Benefits Of Preschool
    Clearly, the pros of preschool to the child are tremendous. In the short term, kids get a leg up socially and academically. This does not mean that a child who does not attend preschool will unable to catch up, however, it is an advantage of preschool. In the long term, preschool has some serious life advantages such as higher earnings. What this research says to me is that there are many important pros to preschool. If it is available in your area, it is a great option. If it is not available in your area or in your price range, you can still accomplish many of these benefits through homeschool preschool and organized group play and learning sessions. Of course, that option does require more of the parents time.
    In my area, preschool was only available to those with special needs, low income, or in the gifted program. Check with your area and express your concerns, they may be able to work things out for you.

    The Possible Cons of Preschool
    Not every child is ready to leave the nest quite so early, even if it’s only for a few hours. If your child has issues with separation anxiety, sending him to preschool can do more damage than good. Children who are not ready for separation can be highly distressed by the mere thought of being sent to a strange place for the day. If you are unable to leave your child for any length of time without him becoming anxious, do not make the mistake of thinking that exposure to preschool will alleviate the problem.
    If you want to go the preschool option but your child has separation anxiety, you can work with your child to make them more comfortable starting with group play dates where you are still there. You can also speak to a teacher about your concerns and or a qualified health professional for additional suggestions.
    2. Shyness
    Children who are naturally shy tend to have a more difficult time with preschool than those who are outgoing. For some children, preschool is simply too stimulating to be a comfortable environment. If your child is upset by loud noises, is easily frightened or does not enjoy playing in groups, preschool may not be the immediate answer. You can work with your child to address issues of overstimulation.
    Conclusion on Pros Of Preschool
    It seems that there really aren’t very many disadvantages of preschool unless you have concerns that your child is just not ready for separation or stimulation. Under these circumstances, it is a good idea to address the best way to help your child progress past those with a qualified professional.
    The largest disadvantage of preschool that I can see is that it may cost money in area if there is no public program. Be sure to inquire about the options that exist for preschool because even in areas without preschool available for all children, there is often still public preschool for those that meet certain conditions such as income or special need markers.
    If you choose not to do preschool for your child, you can still teach your child the language and math basics at home. You can also work on his or her social skills by taking them to public places where they can interact with other children like parks and public play dates. Story hours at your local library are also a great way to introduce them to a class atmosphere.
    Research Preschools
    If you think that preschool is right for your child, it’s important to understand that not all preschools are created equally. Do your research before selecting a preschool for your child when you have the choice of several. Look for a center that is able to meet your expectations and one that is suitable for the level of your child’s development. Preschool should be an enjoyable place for your child where he learns how to be social and how to learn; preschool should not be a place of stress for either you or your child.
    Saying that preschool is right or wrong for every child is a far-reaching generalization. Whether or not preschool is right or wrong is an individual decision that every parent must make for her child. There are lots of positives of preschool in the right scenario. However, it is possible for there to be disadvantages of preschool so trust your gut and do your research on if it is the right opportunity for your child.
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    Tired of Being the Maid? Try A Family Cleaning Schedule

    Ever feel more like a maid than a parent? To change your family’s attitude toward cleaning and give yourself a break, try implementing a family cleaning schedule. It is time to get everyone to do their fair share. Additionally, I share 6 useful tips for raising a tidy family. 
    You go from room to room, cleaning up after your kids and making the house look nice, and by the time you’re done they’ve messed it up again. Many parents make the mistake of doing all the household chores themselves, either because they want them done a certain way or because they are tired of battles with the kids. However, this can leave you feeling worn out and unappreciated. What’s worse? It can leave your children with a sense of entitlement. That is why you will love using a handy dandy family cleaning schedule so everyone is on board helping out.
    Family Cleaning Schedule

    A family cleaning schedule is just what you need to make sure everyone pitches in to get the job done. It is a good idea to customize the family cleaning schedule to suit your family. You may be a super tidy mom and feel it is important to do daily cleaning tasks. Or you may be more like me. Everyone pick up after yourself as you go, this includes a daily clean in the kitchen, and everything else can wait till the weekend!
    How To Make A Family Cleaning Schedule
    First, make a list of the cleaning tasks.
    Which cleaning tasks do you consider essential on a daily basis and on a weekly basis? Write them all down.
    Second, assign tasks.
    Then you can assign tasks to suit the age of the family members or you can allow each family member to pick tasks. You set the rules such as each family member will do 5 tasks each week (for example). Have them place their initials by the task when it is complete. First come, first serve for tasks or as assigned.
    Third, set the deadline.
    You set the timeline. Decide whether cleaning items can be done any time throughout the week or if they need to all be done a group clean up time.
    To make things as easy as possible for you, I have included my family cleaning schedule template for you. Here is the weekly cleaning schedule printable pdf.

    You can try out our free printable family cleaning schedule template and make adjustments as needed. Having a checklist cleaning schedule helps make expectations clear as well as providing accountability. I suggest having each family member use their initials by the check mark space so that you can see if anyone is having to carry too much of the cleaning load.
    Tips For Raising A Tidy Family

    Don’t worry about being a perfectionist. Trying to keep things pristine will just stress you out and cause your kids to dread cleanup time. At some point, good enough is good enough. Focus more on establishing habits and positive feelings toward cleaning than on making everything look perfect.
    Make Cleaning Fun
    A huge part of the success of chore time is the attitude you take. First, find a different name for it. “Chore Time” sounds boring and hard; use a more neutral word (like “Cleanup Time”) or create a fun, unique name.  When you break out the family cleaning schedule, play music and stay positive.
    To raise a tidy family, associate cleanup time with cleaning games, music, and fun. Turn on some upbeat music and dance while you put clothes and books away. Strap Swiffer pads onto your children’s feet and let them “skate” around the kitchen to clean the floor. Tell kids that the toys are snakes or sharks and they have to wrestle them back to their spots. The more fun children have, the less whining you’ll hear and the happier everyone will be.
    Use Positive Reinforcement
    No, I am not talking about rewards. I am talking about positive framing and kind words. To ease the transition from nagging your kids to watching them clean on their own, help them recognize the positive feelings associated with cleaning. When you all finish cleaning up, point out how much better the house feels. If you ingrain a sense of happiness associated with a clean space, kids will start to notice and dislike untidiness. Good feelings are a powerful motivator, and eventually most kids will tidy up without being asked.  Notice their tidy habits and praise them for being responsible.
    Keep Chores Short
    Dragging out cleaning time is a sure way to make kids grumpy and resistant. To keep young children happy and get the job done fast, turn cleaning into a competition. Set a timer and see who can pick up the most in 5 minutes. Or challenge younger kids to see who can pick up the most blue items, the most red, the biggest ones, etc. in a certain amount of time. When kids see that they can have fun and quickly move to the next activity, they’ll put up less of a fight.
    Allow older kids to do some cleaning now and some later if they find that helps them to work better. Stress that they can do their items off the family cleaning schedule when they please, as long as they get them done by the deadline you set.
    Work As A Team
    Kids should definitely learn to clean up their own messes and not treat mom or dad as a maid service. But kids aren’t born knowing how to clean! Cheerfully pitch in and clean together as you teach your children how to do things properly. Not only will your kids be learning how to clean better, it will be more fun for them as they get used to the cleaning process. Raising a tidy family is doesn’t happen without you you sometimes showing them how as you clean together.
    Organize And Declutter
    This is one of the most important tips for raising a tidy family: organize and de-clutter!  The fewer items you have to put away, the easier the family cleaning schedule will be to complete. Go through your child’s room with him and get rid of any toys and clothes he hasn’t used in the last 6 months. Establish a habit of going through your kids’ stuff every few months. Make sure everything you keep has a place.
    Teach your kids the “one-in-one-out” rule: every time a toy comes in the house, one goes out. This will keep clutter to a minimum and make the next organizing session much smoother. Plus, kids might think twice about asking for a new toy if they know they’ll have to get rid of one.
    Lead By Example
    Kids learn as much or more by your example than from the things you say. So do your best to be an example of tidiness. Keep your space neat, avoid complaining about cleaning, and pick up after yourself before moving on to the next activity.
    Attempting all of these strategies at once may be intimidating and frustrating. Instead, incorporate these cleaning tips into your family routine one at a time, and soon cleaning time won’t be such a chore and you will find raising a tidy family very rewarding. Be sure to introduce the family cleaning schedule and customize it to fit your family.  Feel free to share your tips for raising a tidy family in the comments!
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    How To Encourage Responsibility For Kids

    Teaching kids to be responsible is an important life skill. By introducing the idea that taking responsibility is rewarding, you can reinforce positive behavior and develop a desire to be responsible.  Responsibility for kids is an important thing to tailor to the age of the child.  Responsibilities should be slowly granted so that it does not overwhelm but rather encourages kids to want more.

    Responsibility For Kids
    Encouraging responsibility for kids starts with discussing the concept of responsibility. What does it mean to them? What do they think are some example of responsibility for themselves and for you? It also involves coming up responsibilities that are age appropriate for your children and letting them take ownership of a few tasks.  They should understand that having responsibility is a privilege, not a chore.
    First, what is a good responsibility definition for kids?
    When talking to your kids about responsibility, you should be empowering them to take ownership.  It is the idea that responsibility for something means we are in charge of that.  We have to live up our responsibility by doing what we should do- by doing what is right and needs to be done. Being responsible means that people know they can count on you.
    Give Rewards
    A lot of parents feel that rewarding responsible behavior reinforces the wrong ideas, but the reward is what most of us are after. When we work, we are going after the paycheck. When we cook, we want a good tasting and healthful meal. Our children are no different. So when they do something awesome, acknowledge it and reward it, even if it’s just with frugal rewards such as a hug or a used book.  The idea of rewarding your child when they make responsible decisions, is to teach kids that responsibility is desirable.
    4 Activities That Offer Responsibility For Kids

    Caring for a Pet
    Caring for the family pet can be a great way to teach responsibility. Explain that your pet depends on your child in much the same way that your child depends on you. Not only will your child feel important and grown up, but she or he will also develop a close bond with your family’s pet which is only achieved by caring for that animal.
    Open a Bank Account
    Teaching children how to handle, balance, and save money is one of the best things you can do to teach your child how to be a productive and responsible member of society. Most banks are open to working with parents who would like to open a checking account for a minor, most often as a joint account. Opening a bank account is a great way to teach your child to budget.  Your child will feel in control and will be given the opportunity to learn how to balance and budget.
    Make a Job Board
    Designate an area where you can post extra jobs that need to be done around the house along with the price you are willing to pay for those jobs. Payment for the jobs can be in the form of cash, time spent with your child, giving them their choice for dinner, or any other reward you can think of. Using cash will give your child the opportunity to learn about spending. Using other rewards, such as playing a game at the table after taking the dishes to the kitchen, teaches your child a more immediate lesson about cause and effect.
    Responsibility Chart For Kids
    You may which to make a simple weekly responsibility chart, where they can earn stickers for age appropriate responsibilities.
    Examples include:
    washing their hands before meals
    doing homework
    making their bed
    putting their dishes in the dishwasher
    washing their clothing (or putting it in the hamper)
    walking the dog
    feeding the goldfish
    watering houseplants

    Kids naturally want to be responsible as they see it can mean new freedoms. Sometimes they are less eager as they find out it can mean more work or being held accountable. The main thing is to encourage them. Let them know that they won’t always be perfect but trying their best to be responsible is something you admire.
    Try to keep your child’s interests in mind when planning activities or rewards to teach kids responsibility. Make the tasks as fun as possible. Make the rewards something your child will strive for, and your child will do the rest.  What are some of your tips and tricks to teach kids responsibility?
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    Healthy Families Do These 5 Things

    “I have a family now. There’s no time to exercise and eat right!” Sound familiar? Unfortunately, I bet it does because it is a very common excuse. However, it’s worrisome.  Sure, kids change your life but you mold theirs! Bringing kids up in a house where exercise and good nutrition take a back-burner to videogames and T.V. dinners will create unhealthy habits that’ll stick with your kids for the rest of their lives.  Healthy habits ultimately offer the foundation for happiness so that you can enjoy each day without worrying about your health and you are free to pursuing your dreams. With that in mind, here 5 habits of healthy families that we can all adopt for the best version of ourselves.

    5 Habits of Healthy Families:
    Healthy habits are important to keeping our bodies healthy. Childhood obesity is no joke. Kids with poor nutrition are more likely to:
    – Do badly in school– Develop diabetes, asthma, high-blood pressure and a slew of other health problems– Have low self-esteem and, worst of all– Die at a much earlier age than their health-conscious peers
    Getting your family on the right diet and exercise track is the one of the most important things you can do as a parent. A family who’s healthy together, stays together. What steps can you take to kick your family out of an unhealthy routine? Here are five habits healthy families got into.
    Rise and Shine
    Sunday, Tuesday, Friday, Christmas Day—wake up at the same time and wake up together. Whether your kids are five or fifteen, getting into a habit of rising and shining synchronously will get your internal clocks ticking at a healthy rhythm. Getting your body on a set sleep schedule seven days a week, 365 days a year, will give you more energy, mental stamina and lead to a longer life. Lead by example and get your kids on an eight-hour-a-night sleep pattern, rewarding them with a healthy, delicious family breakfast every morning.
    Take Turns Choosing Meals
    The kids want McDonalds, you’re dying for a burrito and your spouse is ready to settle for whatever leftovers are in the fridge. Families rarely agree on what’s for dinner, so stop trying to please everyone and start delegating. Make some ground rules— no fast food, each meal has to have veggies, protein and grains, and eating out can only happen, say, once a week—and then draft up a “Meal Wheel” with everyone’s name on it.
    Tuesday, little Johnny picks dinner. Wednesday, it’s your turn. Tomorrow your spouse is in charge and on Friday, Susie gets to map it out.
    Getting the entire family involved in the decision-making process will make dinner more fun while putting health at the forefront.  Be sure to try cooking homemade meals and limit processed foods.
    Work Out Together
    Whether you plan to go hiking once a week or take a karate class as a family, you need to make exercise a group activity. A great way to build this habit is by getting the whole family up—like I suggested above—and going for a run (or walk) together every morning. Exercising in the morning is proven to reduce stress and increase energy, and it’ll start you off with a great feeling of togetherness every day.

    Plan “Off” Days
    Just because you’re getting your family’s health together doesn’t mean you have to be mean about it. Plan a night once a week when everyone gets to indulge. Maybe “Sundae Saturdays,” when you watch a movie as a family and prepare a healthy family movie night snack; or “Whatever Wednesdays,” when two hours of T.V. and a healthy (but indulgent) comfort food is acceptable.
    Emotional well-being is an often ignored, yet crucially important, part of overall health. Getting your family in the routine of spending a little designated kick-back time together will bring you closer and make staying healthy that much more rewarding.
    Walk And Talk
    Open lines of communication between you, your spouse and your kids are the foundation of a healthy family dynamic. Having weekly, or even daily, catch-up sessions—where everyone gets to share their worries, gripes, accomplishments and silly jokes—is an excellent habit for any family. Why not turn it into an excellently healthy habit, and take a stroll while you and your loved ones bare your souls?
    Give one of these ideas for healthy families a whirl. Not thrilled with anything on the list above? Then let my suggestions inspire you to draft up your own healthy habit for you family. Whatever you do, just make sure you do it. You owe your family a healthy you, and your kids deserve a great health role model.
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