Are Children Putting a Strain on Your Marriage?

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A recent study of couples found that 90% were less happy with their marriage once they became parents.

90%…THAT IS REALLY SCARY!

Here are some of the possible reasons for the lack of satisfaction in these marriages.

  • Lack of sleep
  • Fragmented attention
  • Strained finances
  • Disagreement over how to raise the children
  • Any or all of the above

What can couples do to reverse this trend?

1.    Spend time together…just the two of you…to keep the romance alive.  It can be a walk in the park, a night out or just a quick lunch while the kids are in school.

2.    Spend time alone…to remember who you are…you are not just a mom or dad or husband or wife.  Go for a solitary walk, take a relaxing bubble bath when no one else is home or sign up for an adult education class that meets once a week.

3.    Spend time touching each other…and I’m not talking about sexual foreplay…as enjoyable as that may be. 🙂  It is so important to reach out and express your love by holding hands, remembering to give a loving caress on head or cheek as you pass by and making eye contact…your eyes are the windows of your soul.

Paying attention to these three things will go a long way towards keeping the flame alive and the relationship fresh.

There will be an added benefit as well…children tend to model themselves after their parents.  Parents who are loving and respectful of each other are great role models for their children. 

Is the question of how to fill all those summer hours of children home and nothing to do also putting a strain on you?  Head over to my website and purchase a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, NOW ON SALE FOR 50% OFF THE COVER PRICE.  Filled with 100’s of simple inexpensive craft projects, cooking activities and picture book story suggestions and summaries, this award-winning book for parents and teachers does all the planning for you and will keep you and your kids busy and happy all summer long and beyond!

Have you been caught reading lately?

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Does your child love books?

How often does your child see the adults in your home reading?

Do you read to your child every day?

Just 15 minutes a day is all it takes to read a picture book story to your child.

IMPORTANT TIP: those might be the most important 15 minutes of your day.

Reading to children accomplishes amazing things:

  • Builds self-esteem!
  • Develops pre-literacy skills!
  • Engages your child in the story between the pages!
  • Encourages your child to relate what happens in the story to his or her own life!
  • Provides an opportunity for you to discuss sensitive topics with your child that may be difficult for you to talk about!
  • Creates a life-long parent-child bond!

Here’s a wonderful story that helps us (and our children) realize that we are all special and have unique qualities and talents to share with others.

ZARA’S HATS written and illustrated by Paul Meisel

            Zara is a young girl who helps her parents decorate hats in the family hat shop.  Disaster strikes when their supply of feathers is depleted and they cannot obtain any more.  Zara’s father goes abroad to buy more feathers and, while he is away, Zara begins to decorate the untrimmed hats with fabric flowers and paper mache animals and fruits.  Her hats are an immediate success!  When her father returns without any feathers, the hat shop continues to feature Zara’s amazing hat creations.

Positive Parental Participation Note:

            What lessons can we learn from this story that can be implemented with our own children to help them develop a positive self-image?  Zara and her parents participated in many activities together.  They allowed her to help in the shop.  In addition, they encouraged her creativity and gave her positive feedback when she tried new ways of decorating the hats.

            Of course, we don’t need to open a hat shop in order to build our children’s self-confidence.  By focusing on their special gifts and talents, we can make our children feel special at home every day!

Do you want to choose the right books to read to your child?  Pick up a copy of Show Me How!  Story summaries of 100 of the best picture books every young child should hear are provided…along with an easy craft activity and a simple recipe for each book.  Go to my websiteto take advantage of the 50% off sale!

 

Summer is coming…don’t get caught with nothing to do with your little ones.  You can check out one of the latest reviews of Show Me How at The Mom Writes.  You’ll see why every family with young children really needs a copy of this great resource.

Don’t have little ones of your own?  Grab a copy for a friend or relative who does…they will be forever grateful.

Two for the Price of One

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Here are two great activities for parents and/or teachers of preschoolers.

I pulled them from my award-winning book that is filled with hundreds of simple craft projects and easy healthful recipes just like these.

COOKING: DREAMY FRUIT SALAD

This makes a wonderful dessert that provides healthful fruits as the main ingredients.

You will need: 1 large package vanilla instant pudding, 1 ½ cups milk, 1 diced apple, 1 peeled navel orange, 2 bananas sliced, ½ cup blueberries, ½ cup sliced strawberries and a large bowl.

  1. 1.    Mix the instant pudding and milk in a large bowl.  Chill for 10 minutes.
  2. 2.    Add diced apple, orange sections, bananas, strawberries and blueberries and mix together gently.
  3. 3.    Makes 4-6 servings.  Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
  4. 4.    Creative tip: use your imagination and substitute different fruits.

 

CRAFTING: HAT-MAKING

Kids love to play dress-up…and role-playing gives parents and teachers a wonderful opportunity for observation and discussion.

You will need: 1 circle of felt material (about 12 inches across), ribbons, buttons, silk flowers and/or other items to adorn the hat, glue and a pair of scissors.

  1. 1.    Cut a hole in the center of the felt circle to fit your child’s head without slipping down over the face.
  2. 2.    Arrange the ribbons, buttons, silk flowers, etc. and glue in place.

 

Tomorrow I’ll review the picture book story that completes this unit of activities: ZARA’S HATS by Paul Meisel.

Right now, I’m off to listen to my interview with Lisa Hein on her show, Everyday Parenting at 10am EST today on www.RadioEarNetwork.com

Top Ten Books You Were Forced to Read in School: Should You Read Them Again Now?

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On Sundays, I usually review and recommend (or not) a movie that I think parents would enjoy.

Today, I was online and happened to see some lists of the top ten in many categories.

I was intrigued by the following list: Top Ten Books You Were Forced To Read in School. Top Ten Books You Were Forced to Read in School

Scrolling through the list, it occurred to me that almost every one of them was a depressing tale of the darkest sides of man’s nature.

I’m not surprised that many high school students don’t want to read!

Here’s the list…what do you think?

1.    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

2.    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

3.    A Separate Peace by John Knowles

4.    The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

5.    Animal Farm by George Orwell

6.    Lord of the Flies by William Golding

7.    The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

8.    A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

9.    The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

10.Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Are these great works of fiction?  Yes, they most certainly are.  But they portray the worst of what we can be and only a few also show the better side of human nature.

It’s been so long since I’ve read these books.  Many, if not all, have been made into movies.  I believe it is time for me to revisit these classics in literature.  I plan to start at the top and work my way down the list.  Most of these books are probably available at the local library and I’m sure the film versions are available there as well.  Perhaps next Sunday, I’ll be able to give you a movie review of To Kill a Mockingbird and I’ll let you know if it was true to the story as written in the book. 

I’m not sure I agree that surrounding our junior high and high school students with depressing reading material is the right path.  I think I’d prefer to see some book choices for them with a more positive slant on life and our journey through it.  What are your thoughts?

If you are looking for positive stories and activities for your preschoolers, please check out Show Me How!, my award-winning book.  You can get a copy for 50% off right now on my website.  Summer is just around the corner and this great resource will provide you with story, craft and cooking activities that are easy, inexpensive and fun!

Also, if you are local to the Colorado Springs area (Monument, Woodland Park, Denver, Pueblo, etc.), please come by on June 11 from 10am to 2pm at the PBS Kids Fun Fest in Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs and say hello to Clifford the Big Red Dog, Curious George and me.  I’ll be doing simple craft projects with children along with many other participants.

And last bur not least, please tune in on Tuesday, May 24 at 10am EST to www.RadioEarNetwork.com.  Lisa Hein, host of Everyday Parenting, will be interviewing me.  We’ll be talking about many topics that are of great interest and importance to all parents.

Dollar Store Madness: Where’s Miss Vivian?

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I took the day off from work today.

I had several vacation days left that needed to be used before May 22.

I thought about turning over and going back to sleep, but then I would feel that I had “wasted” the day.

One of the most important things on my to-do list was to get over to one of our local dollars store to grab some stuff for the upcoming Rocky Mountain PBS Kids Fun Fest on June 11.

The dollar stores are a take-off on the old discount stores like Woolworth’s 5 & 10 and John’s Bargain Stores.  I remember fondly many afternoons spent combing the aisles in John’s Bargain Stores in New York City as a young girl…colorful scarves, pencils with fancy erasers, costume jewelry and more! 

A plastic tablecloth and items for the bag of craft supplies giveaway were on the top of the list.  After walking up and down the aisles several times and asking one of the women who worked there, I came away with 3 bags of stuff, most of which wasn’t on my list.  Dollar stores are like that.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have a lime green tablecloth, so I settled for red…but now that I think about it, I should have chosen the yellow.  And they didn’t have the glue sticks or safety scissors they had last time.  So I will probably have to go back tomorrow or head over to a different dollar store location to see if their shelves have what I need.

Do you shop at dollar stores?  Are we really getting a bargain or does it just feel that way because everything is a dollar?  I don’t know…maybe the same item is 50 cents at a regular store. 🙂

I wanted to pass along a wonderful post by blogger Kathryn of Kid Culture.  She writes about a topic near and dear to my heart: Self-Esteem and Respecting Others and gives parents some great tips.

We all want our children to grow up with a positive self-image.  There are many things we can do to ensure that…one of the most important is to spend positive time with them.  Open Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking to any page and you will find a summary of a great picture book to read to your preschooler, a gentle parenting tip to help you use the story to build self-esteem, an easy eco-friendly craft and a simple healthful cooking activity.  This great resource can definitely be a life-saver for busy parents.  Grab a copy during our half-price sale and you will be ready for the long hot summer days!

Child Alert: Hot Car Deaths!

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On Thursdays, I usually try to write about something health-related.

Summer is just around the corner…and temperatures will be heating up soon.

Please remember that your car can be an instrument of death even when it is not moving!

Leaving children in a parked car is ALWAYS dangerous…however, in the summer, when the interior of your car can reach 100 degrees plus in a very short period of time, it is even more important to NEVER leave a child in a parked car.

Even with the windows cracked open, the heat inside can severely damage or kill a child (or a pet).

Read this article from Parenting.com for more information on this subject: Tragedy in the backseat: Hot car deaths.

Let’s resolve to have a safe healthy summer with our children!

If you are hoping to cut down on car trips because of the rising cost of gasoline and the need to watch your budget, there is so much to do right at home.  Children don’t need fancy amusement parks or expensive toys.  Your time and attention is really what they want and enjoy most!

Check out Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  As the title states, you will find picture book suggestions to read to your child, easy craft projects and simple cooking activities to keep your little ones happy and busy all summer long.  We’re offering a special reduced price on our website…50% off the cover price!  For just $22.50 per copy, you’ll have 100’s of fun-filled, educational, self-esteem building activities…they will be right there at your fingertips!

Sibling Rivalry Got You Down?

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It’s hard to share!

That goes for toys, treats and parent’s attention!

Here’s a wonderful picture book story that focuses on sibling rivalry.

NOBODY NOTICES MINERVA

Written and illustrated by Wednesday Kirwan

            Poor Minerva!  Her older brother and her baby sister seem to get all the attention, so Minerva decides to do some naughty things like poke her brother with a fork and pick all the leaves off her mother’s plant.  Her father speaks very kindly to her and explains that she is very special to him, but that perhaps she would like to be noticed for other behaviors.  Minerva helps her brother set the table and reads a story to her baby sister and, enjoying the wonderful praise she gets from her parents, Minerva resolves to be noticed for good behavior instead.

            When young children exhibit negative behavior, they are usually sending out a cry for attention and help.  We need to let our children know, on a daily basis, that they are loved and valued.  Try not to wait until your child is misbehaving to notice what he or she is doing.  Why not notice when your children have picked up toys without being asked to do so or have amused themselves for a short period of time while you were busy on the phone?

     It’s not easy to be the one in the middle.  It’s difficult to be the older child who has been “replaced” by a baby brother or sister.  And sometimes it’s hard to be the only child.   Growing up is a challenge, no matter what!  And being a parent is a challenge as well. 🙂  A positive can-do, matter-of-fact attitude on your part helps create balance and harmony for the entire family.


Choosing stories from the overwhelming number at the library or bookstore can be difficult…Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking divides the 100 story titles into six chapters, each focusing on a different component of building self-esteem.  This great resource is filled with simple fun-filled activities that go along with the stories…and you can pick up a copy during the Jump Into Summer Sale…50% off the cover price.