Holiday Parenting Tip: “It’s OK NOT to Share”

parenting, sharing, preschoolers

I have been blogging about two years now.  I started because I wanted to share my passion for using picture books to help young children build self-esteem.   I also wanted to spread the word about my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking”, and make it available to parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians and others who work with kids.

It’s been an exciting journey…and a satisfying one.  I’ve connected with the most fantastic people all over the world.  I’ll even be meeting one of them in person next May in Singapore when I participate at the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content.  I’ve also exchanged books with many authors and have enjoyed reading and reviewing their works.

Today I am thrilled to be spotlighting “It’s OK NOT to Share…and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids”, written by Heather Shumaker.

Heather is a journalist…so she knows how to write.  Heather researched dozens of child psychologists, educators and other experts and she is a mom herself…so she knows what she is talking about. 

This book provides a no-nonsense commonsense approach to parents…a definite breath of fresh air.  As you read this book, you will begin to feel the stress of parenting melt away…and the joy returning!

In Section I, she talks about “Reviving Free Play”…do you know that many preschools and kindergartens are curtailing play time so there is more opportunity for sitting the kids down with dittos and computers to learn to read and write?  But taking away free play has the opposite effect and the long-term results show that young children would benefit more from playing with blocks.

The other day, I did a post on the top ten toys for young kids.  Heather encourages parents and teachers to ‘Welcome Free Play’ with this list:

1.     Make literacy joyful: read with them, sing with them, do finger-plays, let kids fall in love with words now…and reading will follow after.

2.     Go outside: walk in the woods or the neighborhood, play with balls, sand and water.

3.     Choose open-ended toys that promote imagination: blocks, play-dough, non-branded stuffed animals and dolls, cardboard boxes, dress-up clothes, bells. (Our lists for this are almost identical!)

4.     Offer space: kids need room to play…move or remove furniture if necessary.

5.     Cut structured activities: kick a ball around with your child, make up your own games…when I visited my grandson, we took a big ball and walked over to the tennis court (which has a high fence all around it and a gate that locks…no worries about balls rolling into traffic) and played kick the ball and run after it for an hour.  When we needed to take a break from running, we walked around the inner perimeter of the court and observed bugs, leaves and puddles…taking time to jump in some of those, just for fun!

6.     Look for a play-based preschool: look for schools where at least ¾ of the time is devoted to free play and play-time in at least one to two hour blocks of time.

7.     Slow down: both you and your child will be happier and less stressed.

free play, outdoor activities for kids

In Section II, Heather explains that “It’s OK Not to Share.”  If you have younger siblings, I’m sure you will remember having to give up a toy to a brother or sister because they clamored for it and your mom told you, “Give it to your sister…she’s just a baby.”  Does that encourage love between siblings?  NO!  Does it help the younger one learn to respect others? NO!  Does it teach patience? NO!

In Section V, the author spotlights “Creativity, Persistence and Empty Praise”.  At workshops and school programs, one of the things I share with parents is that they can encourage their children by allowing them to create art as they see it, not as the parent thinks it should look.  As Heather says, “Art doesn’t have to be pretty.”   According to Heather, “Showering kids with praise is NOT the same as building healthy self-confidence.”  Acknowledging what the child has done, instead of saying things like “Good job or very pretty or that’s nice”, is much better for their inner self-worth.  With so much focus on bullying and how we need to stop it in schools and playgrounds, we must pay attention to this advice…helping children develop a positive self-image and true self-esteem is crucial!

Each of the eight sections of the book is CHOCKFUL of real-life scenarios involving kids and adults.  Perhaps you’ll see yourself in some of the examples…I know I did.  However, the author does not make us feel badly…she provides simple tips, techniques and examples that will help us engage in meaningful interaction with our children, creating balance and harmony for the entire family.

You can find copies of this book for sale on Amazon (what an amazing holiday gift for any parent or teacher), or go to the author’s website where you can find many other purchasing options and learn how to connect with her.  The book was a joy to read and I will be passing my copy along to my daughter who has a four-year old son…I know she will love it.

Don’t forget that Wednesday is the Halloweensie Contest on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog…I’ll be posting my Halloween Picture Book story…in 100 words or less…I’ll include the link to the page where you will be able to read all of the other entries.  There are so many amazingly talented writers and illustrators out there…it will be great fun!

How to recognize if your child is being bullied…9News Report

I just got back from the 9NEWS TV studio in Denver and wanted to share with you the piece we did on bullying.

Here’s the link to the video clip of the show…it’s only 3 minutes long…but packed with critical info on bullying:

With the new school year just getting underway, kids need to be prepared with more than just a new outfit and a shiny backpack!  Parents also need to be aware of the subtle signs of bullying and what they should do if they suspect a bullying problem.

Bullying is a problem that has been around forever…but the effects on our children seem to have intensified, especially with texting and social media available to the bullies.

How to recognize if your child is being bullied

 Written by

Physical bullying at school, as depicted in th...

Physical bullying at school, as depicted in the film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

–>KUSA – Denver Public Schools started back on Monday. Even though many kids are excited to see friends who were gone over the summer, some children are dreading returning to school due to bullying.

So, how do you know if your child is being bullied if they won’t tell you? Vivian Kirkfield joined 9NEWS at 8 a.m. on Monday to discuss some warning signs that your child may be a victim of a bully.

“There are a couple of subtle signs, and some not-so-subtle,” Kirkfield said. “One of them would be a child coming home scratched or bruised. Another might be a child coming home with belongings missing, like their new bookbag is gone, a jacket or some of their books perhaps.”

Kirkfield says another sign may be your child not wanting to take the bus to school or are walking a different route to school. But the signs may not just be from your child returning or going to school. The issues may permeate into family relations also.

“Maybe they always gotten along with siblings and now, all of the sudden, they are fighting with brothers and sisters,” Kirkfield said. “Maybe they are having trouble sleeping … or bad dreams.”

Kirkfield says sudden complaints of health conditions like a headache or a stomach ache may be a sign too.

“Although all of those symptoms could be caused by other problems, a parent really needs to be sensitive to it and act upon it,” Kirkfield said.

A lot of times, a school will notice a problem on a playground and give parents a heads up. However, if that’s not the case, how does a parent confront their kid about possible bullying?

“Most of the time, children do not want to talk about the bullying because either they’re embarrassed or they’re afraid,” Kirkfield said. “Maybe they’ve been told ‘I’m really going to beat you up,’ or ‘kill your brother.’ Parents can speak with their child and ask direct questions such as ‘Is somebody bothering you at school?’ And ask indirect questions such as ‘Is there anybody at school you don’t like?'”

Kirkfield says a child might be much more willing to talk about something like that than to come straight out and admit they are being bullied.

“Even after your child doesn’t come out and say it … definitely talk to the school staff,” Kirkfield said. “Talk with your child’s teacher, with the child’s principal, guidance counselor, because they are there. Police really need to form that connection with the school early on, even if there isn’t a problem with bullying.”

Kirkfield says parents need to stay involved in their child’s school.

Sunday Post: From a Distance…Parenting Solutions

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is FROM A DISTANCE.

Are you wondering how I will connect this theme to an aspect of parenting?

Family dynamics are constantly in a state of change.

We shouldn’t expect everyone to get along all of the time.

Siblings do fight…and parents do disagree.


Hopefully, harmony prevails in your home most of the time.

If it doesn’t, perhaps you want to change that.

Do you feel like you are constantly yelling at your kids?

Are you dealing with a family issue that seems to be getting out of hand?

Sometimes it ‘s helpful to take a step back.

FROM A DISTANCE, we can view the situation from a different perspective.

When we are in the middle of the problem, it is hard to think clearly.

Here’s a thought:

  • Take a time out…tell your child or significant other that you need a few minutes.
  • Go for a walk…family walks are a wonderful bonding activity…but walking alone allows you to think without distractions.
  • Consult a professional…an objective observer can guide the conversation or help with alternate responses.

To strengthen family bonds, why not plan activities that the family can do together. 

We had an evening reading time when our children were small.  Books are enjoyed by children of all ages and the older ones still love being read to.  They also like to read to younger brothers and sisters.

Here’s a plan:

  • Set aside some time after dinner for family reading.
  • Children need to see their parents reading for pleasure.
  • Choose a picture book and read it with your young child.  If you have older kids, they can take turns being the reader.

If you need help picking great picture books: Show Me How!

Or visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book page.


Schools are opening all over the country and we’d like to give a free copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cookingto your favorite school or classroom.  Nominate your child’s school or other childcare facility in the Show Me How School Initiative by leaving a comment and telling us why you’d like them to have this book.  If you don’t have young children, but know people who do, please tell them about the free book their child’s school can receive!

Have you checked out the new book by children’s author Marty Banks?  The Adventures of Tempest & Serenais a wonderful chapter book for readers ages 7 and up.  I reviewed it the other day and want to remind you about the free download…Sunday is the last day for that!

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post? 

Sunday Post: Shelter

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is SHELTER.

I always try to tie in the theme with something related to parenting.

The dictionary defines “shelter” as a something that covers or protects.


“Oh wert thou in the cauld blast, On yonder lea, on yonder lea; My plaidie to the angryairt, I’d shelter thee, I’d shelter thee.”

             –  Robert Burns

Yes…parents need to be a shelter for their children.  Sad to say, all too often, here in the United States and in many places around the world, parents are not.  Sometimes it is because they don’t know any better or because the parenting they received was lacking in love and nurturing.  In many instances, though, it is because of conditions beyond their control…war, famine and drought. 

Is there anything we can do to help?

One mother and her son have found a way.

Did you know that in many parts of the world, children walk several hours a day to collect the water needed by their family for drinking, washing and cooking?  And the water they finally get is often contaminated…but they must use it anyway, because there is no clean water available to them.

Angela, over at A Child’s Heart of Faith, and her six-year old son, Jackson, are doing something to help!

Instead of getting a bunch of gifts from his friends for his birthday, Jackson asked them to donate $6 to his Water Wishes Project…when the goal of $5000 is reached, they will be able to provide a well for one of the many communities around the world where children are giving up their childhood because of the lack of clean water.  Please visit Jackson’s Birthday-Earth Day Water Wishes page…your children are invited to draw a picture for the project…and your donation will move them closer to their goal of providing clean water for an entire community.

Just as houses are shelters to protect our bodies and parents are shelters to protect their children, libraries are shelters that protect the books that serve as windows on the world to many.

“To a historian libraries are food, shelter, and even muse.”  – Barbara Wertheim Tuchman

There is only ONE MORE DAY LEFT in the The SMH Library Project.


And, if you haven’t done it already, please nominate your favorite library in the comment section!  Twenty-five libraries will receive a free copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  NOMINATIONS CLOSE April 30!  Don’t let your library lose out on the chance of getting this award-winning resource for parents and teachers and your entire community.


Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post? 

And here are some other bloggers who are doing Jake’s Sunday Post:

Project 365 Challenge: Day 17…Awards and Attitudes

Academy Award

Image via Wikipedia

It’s still January 17th here in Colorado, so even though WordPress considers it the 18th, I’m posting this at 10:20pm on Tuesday night.

I’m really trying to do the “one post every day” that is part of the challenge…but believe me, it is not easy.

However, since I’m encouraging parents to read EVERY DAY with their kids, I can do no less than try to write EVERY DAY and post some type of tip, tactic or tool to help with the difficult job of parenting.

I got a lovely surprise today…Sharon from DoinTheGratefulDance received the Versatile Blogger Award and she passed it on to me.  Thank you, Sharon!  One of my presentations to moms and dads is called: WE ALL NEED A CHEERING COMMITTEE AND PARENTS ARE A CHILD’S MOST IMPORTANT FANS!

In the same way, bloggers need a cheering committee, and receiving the Versatile Blogger Award lets us know that others appreciate our efforts.

So here are seven things about me that you might not know:

1.      I used to stay up till 2 or 3am, reading romance novels.

2.      I exercise to a Kathy Smith DVD every morning before I go to work.

3.      I used to smoke 😦  but gave it up over 35 years ago when I was pregnant.

4.      I signed up for Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge and will be trying to write a picture book draft every month this year.

5.      I used to be so shy that I was afraid to speak up…I’m still shy, but I’ve learned to say what needs to be said.

6.      I went parasailing with my husband and skydiving with my son, even though I am afraid of heights.

7.      I used to bake bread with my children several times a week when they were young.

And now…the envelope please!  I’m supposed to pass the Versatile Blogger Award on to up to fifteen other bloggers.  I’ve connected many new blogs in the last few months and I’ll also have the opportunity to recognize some blogs that I’ve been following and enjoying this past year.  The wealth of talent and effort is unbelievable.  I’m sure some of these bloggers have received many awards, but, just like the Oscars, there’s always room for one more on the mantle.

Barbara at Spanish4Kiddos

Elyse at Fifty-four and a half

Aimee at Classified Mom

Julie Hedlund at Write Up My Life

Susannah Leonard Hill

Anita Silvey at The Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac

Ella at My Memorable Children’s Books

I know there are many others I should have included in this list.  If I missed you this time and last time, it’s just that my eyes are closing. 🙂

Goodnight!  I’ll be back tomorrow with some sweet photos of happy children involved in great activities.

Click to enter and comment: 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge

Project 365 Challenge: Clearing up Some Confusion

Woman and Child looking at a Picture Book
Image via Wikipedia

Project 365 Challenge

The 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Comment Challenge

I’ve had a few questions about the challenge I issued to parents and other child caregivers the other day.  It’s no wonder some people are confused.  Perhaps I just have too many challenges going on at the same time!  So here is the background of each “challenge” and what it means to me and how it affects you.

Project 365 Challenge: This is a challenge by Word Press and individual bloggers to encourage blogging every day.  Some bloggers are doing photography challenges and are posting a new photo each day.  Other bloggers might be offering a different recipe every day.  Some follow the prompts given by Word Press and others will have posts about random subjects. 

What Project 365 Challenge means to me: I hope to offer a helpful positive parenting tip, tool or tactic each day that will make the difficult job of parenting a little easier…a picture book review, a simple child-friendly recipe, an easy craft project, a new resource for parents such as another blog that gives great parenting advice, information about a library or school program I’ve done or just a little humor to lighten your day.

How Project 365 Challenge affects you: All you have to do is read my posts.  If there is something you find valuable…I’ll be thrilled.  If you have the time and want to comment, I love to hear your thoughts and will always comment back.

Click to enter and comment: 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge

 The 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge:  This is my challenge to parents and anyone involved in the care and education of young children to read with their children every day and also to spend time positively doing crafts or cooking or playing puzzles or taking a walk with their children.  There will be a prize of a picture book at the end of each month and anyone who participates is entitled to a special $5 discount off the price of my book on my website.

What the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge means to me:  I’m excited about this challenge and hope to encourage everyone to read to their children on a daily basis.  The impact on a young child of being read to every day is enormous and life-changing.  When adults spend quality positive time participating with children, it builds self-esteem, develops literacy skills and strengthens the parent-child connection.  We all want that, don’t we?  I’ll try to make it simple, giving you quick and easy activities and book suggestions during the week.

How the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge affects you: All you have to do is read a picture book to your children every day…and do some other positive activities like drawing a picture or letting your children help in the kitchen.  Even having your little ones help sort the wash and fold the towels will count.  Every day…or as often as you can, just post a comment on the official comment page (click this link or click the top button on my right sidebar), sharing with us the book that you read and/or the activity that you and your child participated in.  If you write your comment on a different page, no worries…all comments count.  One of the most helpful things about blogging is how we can become a community…a village.  Let’s become a Positive Parental Participation Community and share our stories with each other and help each other.  At the end of each month, we will randomly pick one comment and that person will receive a picture book.  If you take part in the challenge and post even one comment in the month, you are entered to win the picture book AND you are eligible to get a $5 discount off the price of my book, Show Me How!  This great resource will give you hundreds of picture book summaries, quick crafts and easy cooking activities.  I met a preschool teacher yesterday who recognized me and told me how much she is enjoying my book that was given to her as a Christmas present by one of her students.  “I don’t have to make lesson plans anymore.  I just open up your book and I have the story recommendation, craft project and cooking activity all right in front of me…with a tip on how to use that particular story to build self-esteem and also some room on the page to write notes.”

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Picture book author, Susannah Hill, has a special page on her blog where she recommends picture books and provides summaries and other important information about them.  She also invites other bloggers to contribute their favorite picture book stories for her list.

What Perfect Picture Book Friday means to me:  I will be participating in Susannah’s list.  Every Friday I post a review and summary of a picture book that I feel every young child should hear.

How Perfect Picture Book Friday affects you: Read my post every Friday and you will have a great book recommendation for your child.  Visit Susannah’s blog (her button is on my right sidebar…you can just click it and it will take you there) and you will have lots of picture book suggestions for the other days of the week.  Your local library is a super resource for picture books and the children’s librarian will be thrilled to help you pick out great stories for your child.

Comment Challenge:  The Comment Challenge has been issued to encourage bloggers to comment on each other’s blogs.  The goal is to comment on five blogs each day.  Writing frequent posts is a lot of work…and takes a lot of effort.  It is nice to have someone comment and this can motivate people to keep on, even when it is difficult or they don’t have much time.

What Comment Challenge means to me: I love reading other blogs…I learn so much!  And I love to respond to what others are saying…so I enjoy commenting on their posts.  I will try to do at least five comments each day.

How Comment Challenge affects you: It doesn’t…unless you are also blogging and taking part in it.  But I hope you will comment on my posts as part of the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge, as you share with us the books you are reading with your children and the activities you are doing

Jennifer, a super mom blogger at The Toy Box Years, is taking part in the Positive Parental Participation Challenge and she just posted a great review of my book.  Take a look…she tells why she loves using it.

I hope this explanation of all of the challenges was helpful…and I look forward to reading your comments and sharing great parenting tips with you in the coming year.

Come back tomorrow for Perfect Picture Book Friday and a review of must-read book for your child.

Project 365 Challenge: Official Comment Page for January


Are you taking part in the 2012 Positive Parental Participation Challenge?

I got a great suggestion from Jennifer, one of the parents reading to her child every day.  She thought it would help if we set aside a page each month for parents to bookmark and return to as they read picture books and do other activities with their kids.  That would make it easier for me to keep track of the comments when it comes time to award the picture book prize at the end of each month. 

So this will be the post/page reserved for January comments.  Don’t worry if you comment on a different page though…I will definitely count all of the comments that pertain to the picture books and activities.  Jennifer, I really appreciate the feedback and will send a picture book out to you for your help!

I was visiting several new blogs recently, as part of Susannah Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday and the Comment Challenge from MotherReader and Lee Wind.  The problem with visiting and commenting on so many blogs is that you forget where you were.  Anyway, on one of these fantastic blogs, I saw a quote that I’ve always loved.  If you recognize it as one that is posted on your blog, please let me know so I can thank you.

“We beg,

We pray,

Go throw your TV set away,

And in its place you can install,

A lovely bookcase on the wall.”

Roald Dahl, prolific author of children’s books, is best known for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach.  If you want to find out more about him or his books, you can visit his amazing website.

Does your family watch a lot of TV?  I’m not saying that all TV is bad…there are definitely some worthwhile educational shows for kids…PBS has some wonderful offerings…not just kid’s programming…the music specials are fantastic! 

But what else could you all be doing if you turned it off?  Join the Challenge…and if you don’t have young children, please pass along this link to others that do.  I will thank you now in advance…their children will thank you years from now when they are doing well in school and loving reading!

No Rules…Just Read!