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Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Know any kids who have a tendency to say mean or unthoughtful things to their peers on occasion?  Familiar with any siblings who just HAVE to get out that zinger of a stinger, as if putting the other down builds him or her up?  If your frustration is building because of the constant verbal jabs flying around you, then you might be interested in something I stumbled upon; one simple concept (a bucket) that might just be your lifesaver!

The concept comes from the best-selling children’s book, “Have you Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids.”  Don’t let the kid part fool you – they say this book is for ages 4-9, but truly this book is for EVERYBODY.  It’s easy to understand, simple to do, and it really works!  In my current chaotic, busy life, that is music to this Zen Mama Wannabe’s ears.

The premise of the book is that we …

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How the Kids Handled the News (A Year of Change – Part 2)

The tears came much sooner than I had been expecting.  As soon as they heard the opening paragraph of my much-thought-about somewhat-prepared announcement, the question was blurted out: “You mean we’re moving??” I had barely got the “s” of Yes out of my mouth before my Little One burst into sobs.  Hmm – not quite what I had hoped.

My son immediately took over, drilling us with questions, his brow furrowed as he tried to make sense of it.  Working hard at answering what he threw at us distracted me enough that I didn’t notice how his eyes were watering as he struggled to hold it all together – for as long as he could. Was this our rock bottom?  I didn’t have to wonder for long – the answer was pretty clear:  Nope, not yet – as bad as it is, we still have a ways to go.

The conversation has continued, on and off for over a day …

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Shocking News (A Year of Change – Part 1)

With heavy hearts, my husband and I are going to sit down with our kids tonight and tell them what will be very shocking news.  No matter that this is as common as ever in our country, no matter that they personally know at least a handful of kids who have recently experienced this, no matter that we are doing this for all the “right” reasons, they are going to be shocked, heart broken and dismayed (and that’s just for starters). We are going to alter their lives forever, and believe me, we don’t take that lightly. And because of it, my husband and I are scared to death.

My kids are so happy right now.  Their lives are going along great.  Will they have seen this life-changing event coming?  No – I don’t think so.  Oh, maybe they might look back on it and in hindsight pick up a clue.  Perhaps they’ll recall overhearing a conversation or two.  But …

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Should Older Boys Be Allowed in Women’s Restrooms?

What’s HE doing in here??

I cringed as I felt the hostility directed toward my son and me.  As our turn came up and I directed my children into the now vacant stalls, I wondered if I should address the middle-aged sourpuss whose only fault was perhaps saying her thoughts out loud.  It was a split second decision and I chickened out went about our business and left without trying to enlighten her in any way.

I resented that lady’s comment and her tone – and how without thinking she embarrassed my son and irritated me – at the same time, I get her point.  It is a bit unnerving to see older boys (past the age of 5, let’s say) in the women’s restroom.  Little boys seem oblivious to it all, but older ones appear out of place. There is a bit of awkwardness that we all experience and I understand why that woman felt an intruder had entered

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Can Your Kids Pass the Test?

Ready for the latest IQ test for your kids?  It is an easy one; all you need are 10 items, presumably easily obtainable in grocery stores all across the country.  It is a simple quiz of identification: can your child correctly identify each of the 10 items?

* Sweet Potato
* Broccoli
* Eggplant
* Tomato
* Carrots
* Bell Pepper
* Brussels Sprouts
* Asparagus
* Onion
* Spinach

One point for each right answer.  Bonus points if your child can not only identify it, but eats it on even an occasional basis.  What do you feel would be an acceptable score?  Is it fair to say “failing” would be getting less than half right?

Guess what? Our kids are FAILING.  Across the country, they are FAILING.  If this was a math test, adults would be up in arms.  If this was a reading comprehension test, parents would be demanding more time allotted in school to study …

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Your Grandparents Knew it — Why Don’t You?

The report has made headlines this week.  No – not the damage assessment from Haiti.  Not the latest unemployment numbers or the polling numbers from the Massachusetts special election.  No, in the midst of all that, come these findings that are shocking parents across the country (and if they are not, they should!!)

U.S. Kids Using Media Almost 8 Hours a Day

Yep – do the math:  nearly 8 hours a day times 7 days per week equals more time than most adults spend in a full-time job!  Seriously.

As the report’s co-author Victoria Rideout, vp and director of the Program for the Study of Media and Health at the Kaiser Family Foundation says:

Anything that children spend that much time doing is something that needs to be studied.  Media use is neither inherently good or bad, but from a health perspective there are a lot of things to think about.”

The first thing to think about is WHERE ARE …

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The Confidence of Youth

Confidence-PostersDefinition of CONFIDENCE (noun): 1. full trust  2. self-reliance, assurance or boldness

Look at the children around you.  Especially the young ones.  So often they are just bursting with confidence.  You see it in how they swagger, with their heads held up high.  You hear it in their voices, for their words carry little doubt in terms of what they feel they will accomplish.  You feel it in their dreams and plans for the future.  Kids talk of being professional athletes, famous actors, inventors, leaders, etc.  They dream big dreams, with all the belief that if they want it, it will come true. So what happens along the way?

On Friday, my son auditioned for his second musical production at our local theatre.  Two days later, the call back list was posted on their website.  I held my breath as I waited for the page to load.  They are quick to say being asked to the call backs does not …

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Being Smart vs Working Hard

BluesClues

We just figured out Blue’s Clues

We just figured out Blue’s Clues

We just figured out Blue’s Clues

Because we’re really smart!

The dad ran over and shut off the TV when he heard the popular jingle and gave his 3-year old daughter HIS version of the song:

We just figured out Blue’s Clues  —  Because we worked so hard!

“No no, Daddy,” his daughter exclaimed reproachfully.  “That isn’t how it goes!”

Well, it should be, as far as he’s concerned.  Of course, when he recounted the story to us, an auditorium packed full of parents, we all chucked – but his view has stuck with me ever since.

You see, popular wisdom of late has been that you tell kids they are smart.  A Columbia University survey says over 85% of parents feel that way.  After all, we want to build them up, not tear them down.  But this dad’s contention, as well as many other experts in …

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Give a Day, Get a Day

Disney friendsDo you always have your eyes open for volunteer opportunities, so that you can teach your kids (or perhaps remind yourself) the rewards of doing for others?  Do you often wish volunteering could be a bit easier, in terms of finding an organization to help, one that wants and needs your help, that would be feasible to go assist for a day?  Have you heard about Disney’s new Give a Day, Get a Day program?  This might be just the thing for you!

Basically, Disney says, Give a Day (of service), Get a Day (of free admission into Disneyland or Walt Disney World).  Don’t live near one of the parks, or aren’t too interested in visiting the Happiest Place on Earth?  (Shh – don’t tell my kids – they don’t believe people like that exist).  Never fear, it’s even better – you can still sign up and do the day of service, then have your free day donated to one …

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Helping Our Kids Choose

RemoteWhen do you switch over from TELLING kids to do (or not do) something to having them make the decision for themselves?  Obviously it varies based on their ages and the topic at hand, but ultimately, isn’t that what we are going for?  To have our children CHOOSE:  to read a book instead of play a video game, to skip dessert because they are already full, to step in and help someone without being asked, to use their good manners on a daily basis no matter where they are, etc.

A friend was telling me about the new system she has implemented after being inspired by the book Lighting Their Fires. Every day her children are “screen-time” free, they get a star on a chart.  The stars add up and they are able to earn a reward (right now it’s a trip to Michael’s to pick out some sort of art/craft project – a recommendation from the book to …

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