5 Tips to Help Your Children Stay Safe Online

Online exploitation is nothing new. Cyberbullies are always crafting new ways to launch attacks on unsuspecting victims. That said, we cannot exempt anybody from internet use. 

How then do we protect our children from the dangers thriving in this digital world?

There’s an increase in children’s Internet usage

Kids, just like adults, have been spending long hours on the internet. This, as they are in search of study resources, entertainment, socializing, you name it.

Unfortunately, this expansion translates to wider exposure to inappropriate content and cyber predators.

To help you meet your primary obligation to your children, which is protecting them, we have compiled 5 tips for you to help your children stay safe online.

●       Use parental controls

Enabling this feature allows you to block certain applications or access to certain websites on your child’s device.  Start by blocking or limiting access for applications or software that can be used to access inappropriate content.

You can also set up restrictions on applications designed for children such as YouTube kids.

●       Install a VPN on their devices

Consider downloading a VPN for security on your children’s devices. This is an effective way to keep spies off your child’s internet traffic. This tool is handy for shared networks such as their school or the shopping malls.

A VPN creates a secure tunnel through which all traffic, sent or received through a secured network, is channeled.

●       Help them set stronger passwords

A strong password is hard to crack. Teach your children the essentials of a complex password such as length and character combinations.

Give them examples of easy to guess passwords and why they should never use them on any online platform. 

●       Walk them through social media privacy

Disclosing sensitive information on social media platforms leaves a strong data trail behind. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to give in to the pressure.

Teach your child about restricting the content or information they disclose on these platforms. For instance, they should not engage with strangers or share photos without your approval. 

●       Teach them about protecting online finances

As banking and e-commerce platforms continue to gain popularity, it’s only prudent that you teach your child some essential money habits.

Sooner or later they will be transacting on these platforms. It is important that they understand the basics of securing their accounts with strong passwords, running up-to-date security software and making smart decisions regarding the platforms they sign up to.


Bottom-line: encourage your children to talk to you

Though it is a resourceful tool, the internet is also full of misinformation and inappropriate content. Much as you may want to be there whenever your child is accessing the internet, your work schedule or other responsibilities may not allow it.

Things can be easier if in addition to the tips discussed above you create a cordial relationship with your child and encourage them to talk to you about their online activities.

Gear towards building confidence in them, so that they feel comfortable discussing anything they are not sure about with you. This way, you will be able to keep track of their online progress and make adjustments where necessary.

Top Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

How to Raise Happy Kids Through Every Age

By Leslie Campos

Every parent wants their children to be happy. Giving your kids a happy home life will set them up for a healthy, successful future. But how can you help your child’s happiness flourish as they grow up? As it turns out, raising your children to be successful, confident, and empathetic can help them develop the skills they need to get along with their peers and cope with setbacks as they progress through life. Here are some key tips to help you foster these skills in your own kids.

Practice Self-Care

Raising happy, healthy kids starts with caring for your own mental and physical well-being. Try to carve out time from your busy parenting life to practice self-care. Eat healthy foods, maintain a regular exercise routine, make sure you get enough sleep and spend time doing activities you love. Even shopping can become a healthy self-care practice! Don’t feel guilty about treating yourself to a few things that will make your life easier and a little more comfortable. For example, some supportive maternity clothing can make a huge difference in how you feel during pregnancy and postpartum. Especially if you’re carrying around a baby and chasing after a toddler.

Balance Structured and Unstructured Playtime

It’s no secret that kids love playtime. Whatever the age of your kids, make sure they get a good balance of structured and unstructured playtime. As Verywell Family explains, structured play is play with some kind of purpose or learning objective. Structured play activities can be used to teach everything from fine motor skills to complex mathematical concepts. There are endless ways to encourage structured play at home. Start a new hobby together, break out the board games, or follow an online crafting tutorial. You could even build a playground in your backyard!

Just remember that unstructured play is important too. Unstructured play is described as children-led, improvised play. During unstructured playtime, kids use their imaginations to invent games and create unique activities. Unstructured play is great for keeping your kids entertained during long, rainy weekends when you run out of activity ideas. At the same time, it fosters the development of creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.

Spend Time Outside

Spending time with your kids outside is an excellent chance to instill an appreciation for nature and physical exercise. Unfortunately, kids seem to be spending less and less time outside in recent years. Encourage your kids to get out into the fresh air and explore nature from a young age. And you can even take it farther from home. Whether it’s a bike trail, a walking path, the zoo or even a playground, find ways to help them get outside. If you’re toting a toddler around on your family outings, consider getting a lightweight, affordable umbrella stroller in case they wear out easily.

Teach Interpersonal Skills

Children who are brought up with good interpersonal skills have an easier time making friends, taking on leadership roles, and building professional connections later in life. Teaching interpersonal skills will give your kids the confidence they need to succeed at school and in their future careers!

One great way to support your children’s social skills is by teaching them how to listen to others. Communication games are a fantastic way to practice this. Additionally, try modeling empathy and showing respect when talking to your kids. Setting a good example will help your kids learn how to behave when interacting with others!

Being a parent is a continuous learning process. We’re always looking for new ways to make our children happy and help them grow up into healthy, well-adjusted adults.

* * * * * *

Above Photo image via Pexels

TIP 312: All about the kids by Traci Sanders

This tip is geared specifically for children’s book writers. In addition to romance and parenting titles, I write children’s books.

One of the biggest misconceptions about children’s books is that they are easy to write. “You just throw a few cute words on the pages and some great illustrations, and voila!”

Not even close.

In my opinion, writing children’s books is even more challenging than adult books for a few reasons:

  1. Kids can be picky, and their parents even pickier.

  2. It takes a great deal of time and money to produce a children’s book—much more than most novels, because of the illustrations and formatting, and especially if you plan to publish in paperback.

  3. Every word counts in a children’s book because a line can be too cumbersome to read if it has too many big words, but a child can lose interest if the words aren’t interesting enough.

  4. Children’s books are hard to sell to make your money back—even if they are traditionally published—because of the printing and packaging costs, and the market being flooded with them. 

So, for those who have considered writing a children’s book, be aware that there is not much money to be made unless you are a marketing genius, or you publish traditionally. I have self-published two children’s books so far, but have six more that haven’t gone to illustration yet simply because of what I went through financially and time-wise for my first two. I am considering getting my next ones traditionally published. 

Also, not everyone can write quality children’s books. With nearly twenty years of combined experience teaching toddlers and preschoolers, along with being a mom of three, I know what type of books, characters, and illustrations children enjoy. I also know how long they will typically sit for a book. I’m aware of how parents feel when reading certain books to their children, and some parents will refuse to buy certain books simply because “they” don’t enjoy reading them. 

With that said, here are a few tips for writing children’s fiction:

  1. Read. Read. Read. Just as with writing novels, reading books in your writing genre is crucial to understanding the word patterns and flow. Consider them study guides.

  2. Remember what it was like to be a child. Get down on a child’s level (mentally) and think about what type of books you enjoyed.

  3. Write a unique character. Bears, rabbits and turtles have been done to death, in my opinion. My daycare children enjoy reading stories about unique animals such as raccoons, elephants, tigers, or even unicorns.

  4. Read to your children, if you have little ones. Picture books are geared toward three to eight or ten years of age. Visit a local library or preschool and read to them. Learn how it takes inflection in your voice and pacing within the lines and pages. Children often ask a lot of questions during the reading. Learn how to write engaging, thought-provoking lines to encourage this.

  5. If you plan to self-publish, you must find a good illustrator—one who will work within your timeline and budget. Expect it to take at least six months to have one book ready to purchase. Illustrations take time. If you plan to query agents, and you are an author/illustrator, you can work up a dummy book for them. But typically, they will use their own illustrators.

  6. Join a children’s critique group or submit your drafts to online mommy groups for approval or suggestions. Remember, children’s books involve parents too. They are the ones purchasing (and typically reading) these books.

  7. If you plan to submit to agents or publishers, be ready for rejections and revisions. Even if they accept your manuscript, chances are, they will use their own editors and illustrators. And many times, much of your work will be cut to fit industry standards.

  8. Above all, remember why you are writing children’s books. If you are a true children’s author, you are not doing it for the money; you are writing to entertain children and encourage a love of the written word at an early age.

Be patient with your children’s books. One title can take a year or more to be released. And even authors who secure agents or publishers for one of their books aren’t guaranteed the same amount of representation for all their titles. It’s not uncommon for publishers to reject other books by that same author. Publishers choose what they know they can sell. And even then, it sometimes falls flat.

Keep reading, writing, and making children smile with your words, and you will succeed!

Here are a few adorable children’s titles by a very talented author and friend, Anita Kovacevic.

Here are the buy links:

Winky’s Colours – available in paperback and Kindle

Mimi Finds Her Magic – Kindle 

The Good Pirate – Kindle

Anita was spotlighted on Lulu! Learn more about her here:

If you’d like to check out my latest children’s picture book The Chocolate Monsters,  it’s available for just 99 cents on Kindle! It’s a rhyming story.

The Chocolate Monsters

I’ve decided to give away two prizes during this tour:

*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Before You Publish– Volume I 

*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Beyond The Book –Volume II 

To enter, all you have to do is email me a proof of purchase of a digital copy of either of these two books during the tour.

I will draw TWO winners total, at the end of the tour.

Please email your proof of purchase (can be a screenshot) to tsanderspublishing@yahoo.com.




**This tip, and many others about marketing, can be found in Beyond The Book: Tips on publishing, marketing, and networking to build your brand, now available in digital and paperback format on Amazon. 


Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies. An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance, and nonfiction guides.

Her ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.








12 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

Reducing holiday stress is key! The holidays are a wonderland of everything that can lead to hyped up, exhausted, cranky, excited, happy kids and adults.



The Silly Season with Kids – How to reduce stress during the holidays. By Karen Young of Hey Sigmund



  1. Let go of the fantasy.

    Don’t buy into the highly-glossed ideas of the way things ‘should’ be. Perfection comes bound together with squabbles and tantrums and hits and misses. It comes in moments. Precious, perfect moments, in between the glorious, ridiculous, chaotic mess that is real life. And those moments happen every day.

  2. Decide what’s important – and let the rest go.

    When it all starts to feel too important, too necessary and too ‘un-let-go-able’, be guided by the bigger truth, which is that more than anything, kids will remember how they felt – as in how happy they were, how loved they were, how noticed they were. They won’t care about the instagram-worthy meals on the table, the cleanliness of the floors, how many relatives they visited, or how impressed other grown-ups were with their clean faces and darling smiles. It’s easy to forget sometimes, that what matters most at Christmas isn’t the tasks, but the people – the ones who would give up pretty much anything just to have the day with you.

  3. There are 365 days in the year. Not everything has to happen over Christmas.

    There are plenty of days in the year for visits, parties, and making a good impression. Decide what’s important for you and your family and let that guide you. If it’s going to stretch the emotional or time resources of your family, rethink it. Not everything has to happen over Christmas. You can love your important people just as hard in the weeks before and after Christmas. Or in January. There’s always January.

  4. When you’re writing your to-do list …

    Don’t forget about you. Once you’re depleted, everything will become harder. But you already knew that. When you have small humans around you, taking time out to replenish can have the difficulty level of climbing Mt Everest, in heels, but a bit harder because Everest doesn’t scream and throw itself at your feet in public places if it misses bedtime. If you can, find ways to nurture your mental health together. Try exercising together (as in walking the dog type of exercise, not ‘let’s run until I can’t breathe’ type of exercise), practicing mindfulness together (taking a mindful walk, coloring in), or meeting up with a friend at the park while your kids play together. These are all ways to take pockets of time during the day to nurture your own mental health when there’s aren’t too many opportunities to take time out just for you.

  5. Let some things drop off the list.

    Give yourself permission to let some of the usual things drop off the list. Does it matter if the house isn’t as tidy as usual? And having ‘bought sushi’ for dinner two nights in a row won’t hurt them a bit. Nor will popping them in front of a movie some afternoons while you take some time out to recharge (and cleaning out the pantry is NOT time out). Whatever it takes. There’s nothing wrong with going into survival mode for a few weeks. And then a few more after that.

  6. Keep it real.

    We’ve all been there. That thing when one stupid little reindeer-shaped cookie turns into six. Or nine. But it always starts with one. And then the rest just kind of happen. It happens to all of us at least once during Christmas. Or on weekdays – sometimes it happens on weekdays. It’s very likely that over the Christmas holidays, you’ll see plenty of instances where your small humans show a breathtaking lack of self-control. If they ‘locust’ the party food, squabble with siblings or other kids, or have early evening meltdowns that have the consistency and stamina of an elite athlete, don’t take it as a reflection of your parenting. It’s not. It’s a reflection that there are some wonderfully exciting things happening that can get the better of all of us from time to time. There are plenty of opportunities for them to learn self-control. Christmas doesn’t have to be one of them. Build them up when you can (a decent breakfast, chats about the rules or good behavior) and let it go when you can’t (as in when they are at a party with party food, because it’s a law of the universe (or if it’s not it should be) that the only ‘power greens’ that should ever be at a child’s party are jellies in the shape of teenage mutant ninja turtles. Anything else is a party food pretender.) When tantrums, squabbles, mishaps or mess-ups feel as though they are punctuating the holidays like commas, breathe, and know that these will be story gold one day.

  7. They don’t have to get it right all the time. And neither do you.

    Every moment that feels like a struggle is an opportunity to teach them something. Whether it’s how to get along with other people, how to cope with the plans changing, how to be patient, or how different they can be when they’re tired or when they’ve had a belly full of sugar. These are all life lessons that will take a while to learn, but they can come supercharged in the holidays. It’s all part of the things they have to experience on their way to being happy, healthy adults one day. Of course, it would be easier if these learning opportunities didn’t come so thick and heavy over Christmas, but sometimes you just have to go with these things. They don’t ruin the Christmas adventure, they’re part of it.

  8. Encourage them to be grateful.

    It’s really normal for kids to have trouble seeing outside of themselves. Empathy and the move away from seeing themselves as the center of the universe takes a while to develop. In the meantime, children’s expectations at Christmas can run high – the food, the presents, the fun, the treats. By encouraging a regular gratitude practice, kids will start to learn to focus on what they have, rather than on what they don’t have. Slowly, they’ll learn to think less about themselves as the center of everything, and more about themselves in the context of others. Encouraging them to give a gift to a charity that is collecting for less fortunate kids than them is one way to nurture this along. Another way is by helping them make a gratitude jar. Each night, ask they name or draw three things they are grateful for. They might need a little hand because at first, they might only think in material terms. (‘Well I’ll be grateful for a FurReal Bootsie cat when I get one but we might need two so it doesn’t get lonely.’) They might be grateful they have a snuggily bed to sleep in, they might be grateful they have people in their lives who love them and miss them when they aren’t around, they might be grateful for their pet … you see how it works. The jar is a reminder of how much they already have. The idea is that it’s harder to be self-absorbed or demanding when your focus is on what you have, rather than on what you want. Be patient though. Building beautiful humans is a process, and it all takes time.

  9. Those little things they love – turn them into rituals.

    We often put so much pressure on ourselves to make Christmas magical. Rituals can make this easier. They get the special memories, you get to make the ‘magic’ without having to come up with something new and different each year. It’s very likely that there will already be Christmas rituals happening in your family, even if you don’t realize it. Ask them what they remember most, or what they loved most about last Christmas – aside from the presents. They might surprise you with things you’d completely forgotten about, or which at the time didn’t seem to be any big deal. It can be the simplest things. Maybe they loved the way they were allowed to have ice-cream with their pancakes at breakfast last Christmas morning. If it’s what they remember, and if it lights them up, let it become a ‘thing’. Maybe they loved the magic ‘never-ending carrot’ sprinkles you put on the one scrawny carrot you found in the vege drawer (because you’d forgotten to buy more for the reindeer). You’d be surprised what they remember, and what they find special. It doesn’t have to be big to feel magical.

  10. And about getting along with other kids …

    Sibling squabbles are one thing, but fights can be so much harder to deal with when they involve other kids. It’s important to remember that just because kids are related, it doesn’t mean they’ll get along. If there are cousins for example who get into a scrap every time they’re together, don’t expect that Christmas day will be the day it all sorts itself out. There are plenty of other days for that. Maybe it will sort itself out and maybe it won’t. Maybe everyone will have become a bit easier to get along with since last time they were together, but let them discover that themselves, not because it’s been forced onto them. Of course, it’s important to let them know that they have to share, be kind, not call names, and that sometimes they’re going to have to deal with people they find difficult to get on with, but let it be okay for your child to do their own thing if they want to. Don’t force them to play with the kids they struggle to get along with. It’s their special day too. None of us will get along with everyone. There will be plenty of opportunities for them to learn how to deal with difficult relationships. Christmas time doesn’t have to be one of them.

  11. And when there’s family conflict.

    If you know there are certain topics that will send adult conversation (or the entire the day) into a tailspin, try to agree that these will be no-fly zones on Christmas day. This might be politics, religion, whether football or ballet requires more skill, Kanye’s presidential potential, why your newly vegetarian daughter doesn’t have enough meat on her plate, or any other commentary on your parenting, your partner, or your children. If there is ongoing tension in your family, don’t put pressure on yourself to heal things Christmas day. Try to call a truce for the day, but don’t set your expectations too high with visions of group hugs and long overdue apologies. You can’t always see trouble coming, but when you get a hint that it’s brewing, try to shut it down as quickly as you can. Christmas is not the day to change people’s minds. Especially if they are minds that haven’t been open to changing on anything since 1967.

  12. Manage your child’s expectations. Be clear about what’s expected, and be okay if it doesn’t quite work out that way.

    When you can, start talking to your children about what to expect. ‘So we’ll open our presents, then we’ll have breakfast, then … and in the afternoon, there’s going to be a little bit of quiet time to get your energy back up for when Auntie Louise and Uncle Karl and the kids come for dinner.’ Similarly, if you’re going to somebody’s house and there are different rules, explain the rules as clearly as you can to them. ‘So remember at Grandma’s house, your feet stay on the floor and not on the couch. It’s okay to put your feet on the couch in our home, but in other people’s homes, remind your feet that they need to stay on the floor.’ This is all part of them learning that there are different rules for different environments. Their awareness of this will already be growing. For example, they would probably know it’s okay to wear their togs at the beach, but maybe not to the dentist. Similarly, they’d probably know that it’s okay to yell outside while they’re playing, but that it’s not such a great idea to yell in class.

  13. And finally …

    The holidays are a wonderland of everything that can lead to hyped up, exhausted, cranky, excited, happy kids. Sometimes they’ll cycle through all of these within ten minutes. Sugar will constantly pry their little mouths wide open and jump inside, routines will laugh at you from a distance, there will be gatherings and parties, and everything will feel a little bit different to usual. And a bit like magic.

    Know that whatever happens, it’s all part of what family Christmas’s are meant to look like. They aren’t meant to be pristine and orderly and exactly as planned. They were never meant to be that. Christmas is about people, your favorite ones, not tasks. If focusing on the people means some of the tasks fall down, let that be okay, because that’s what Christmas is. It’s where your favorite small humans see magic happen. It’s not about proving your parenting stamina, or that you’ve raised perfectly well-behaved humans, or that your family can polish up like the catalog ones any day of the week, or that you can create restaurant quality meals and decorate the table like you were born doing it. Christmas is messy and ridiculous and exhausting and there will be plenty of frayed edges. And plenty of magic. The magic will happen the way it always happens. Not with the decorations or the trimmings or the food or the polish, but by being with the ones you love, and the ones who love you right back.

    See http://www.heysigmund.com/ for more of Karen Young’s work.



Tips To Beat Back To School Stress

How to beat back the Back To School Stress Monster


Going back to school can be a hard transition for many kids and their parents. The shift from later bedtimes and relaxed days to early mornings and homework can cause stress and even anxiety in some kids. But with a little preparation and a plan, you can help ease your family back into school worry-free.


Warm up for the first week of school by having a dry run a few days before. Have backpacks ready at the door, clothes laid out and breakfast prepared. Then set their alarms and let them “practice” getting ready for the first day of school. After you’re done, do something fun as a family.

Make lists

Another great way to make the morning run smoother is to print and laminate checklists for each of your kids. You can hang them in a place they will see each morning and include things like:

  • Get dressed
  • Make bed
  • Brush teeth
  • Feed dog
  • Grab backpack

This also helps kids feel more in charge of themselves and that’s never a bad thing.

Start a tradition

What about starting a tradition — a back to school tradition? It’s an exciting way to help ease any anxiety your kids might be feeling. Maybe it is chocolate chip pancakes on the first day of school or a backpack filled with new school supplies. Or maybe you watch a family movie the night before, but have everyone in bed early for a fresh start. Whatever it is, find a tradition that works for you.

Show excitement

Show your kids that you are just as excited as they are. Talk it up! Tell them how great the school year will be, how much fun they are going to have, and explain some of the new things they are going to learn. Our kids feed off of our emotions and if we remain enthusiastic, so will they and their separation anxiety will be lessened.

Build in downtime

Lastly, remember to let them come home and decompress. The first week of school is especially exhausting, so your kids might need to head to bed earlier on those nights. But even in the afternoons, allow them time to unwind and relax with a snack or a favorite hobby before beginning homework.

Also, don’t feel the need to overwhelm them with questions. I’m guilty of this and I start drilling my kids. “How was it? What was your favorite part? How were your teachers?” Kids may need a week to take it all in before they spill the beans, and that’s OK. Because when they do, it will be worth it, and your preparation in making the transition back to school less stressful will have helped pave the way.

The above information is from Banner Health and was written by Nicole Cotrell of the Go Mom! blog. http://healtheconnect.bannerhealth.com/go-mom/

I typically use my own work for my blog but this informative blog post is beautifully done, as is.




Developing Speech – To use baby talk or not

What happens when you don’t use baby talk and communicate with adult speech instead?

I recently saw a question come through on Quora regarding the use of baby talk, which reminded me of when my children were very young and learning how to communicate verbally.

baby listening to mom

Almost instinctively, most people speak to very young children and infants using something called Motherese or Parentese, which is defined as child-directed speech rather than baby talk. Parentese uses fewer words per sentence, many repetitions, clear articulation and simple sentence structure, with a higher than normal pitch. Even preschool-aged and older children will use a higher pitch and shorter sentences when talking to a baby or younger child.


The important thing is to be positive when interacting in all ways with children, including speech. Baby talk does not use standard language, Parentese does. If you want a child to speak well, use standard language.

On a personal note, I made a request that no one speak to my children using baby talk. All complied. My oldest child spoke early. My youngest waited a bit longer than her sister, but since we didn’t stress out over it, neither did she.

If you have a chance to use baby sign  language with your children, you’ll find that they communicate much earlier using sign language than they would without baby sign and are less cranky (less crying) since they are able to communicate their needs. When my children were young I was not aware of this. If I were to do it all over again, I’d use baby sign language along with Parentese.





7 Tips for Helping your Child with Homework


Homework is frequently an activity of dread for

parents and children.

A common question and complaint is: What does homework have to do with real life?  Homework can teach study skills, time management, and foster the growth of responsibility—important skills for future success in all areas of life.


Try these tips to help navigate the choppy waters of homework and avoid tears.


1. Snacks to feed the brain.

A hungry person does not think clearly. Small amounts high-protein, lower-sugar snacks like nut butter on apple slices, cheese sticks, Greek yogurt, trail mix, whole-grain toast with butter and cinnamon, and hummus on whole-grain crackers help keep the body energized, mind clear and ready to work. Don’t worry too much about the fat in cheese, yogurt, or nuts. Sugar is a much bigger culprit.

2. Location.

Find a space in the home that is quiet and as distraction free as possible. There should be enough room to spread out homework materials.


3. Materials.

Homework cannot be completed unless all the materials are available. Keep school books, pencils, pens, crayons, rulers, paper, and any school related electronic devices in the chosen study location. Having all materials in one location helps avoid the need to wander the house and avoid homework.


4. Organizing.

Many schools supply students with calendars to write assignments due for class. Check the backpack for the calendar. (Sometimes a plethora of papers lay hiding scrunched up at the bottom of the backpack.) If your child is having difficulty getting all the information from the board to the calendar, speak with the teacher. It may be possible that there is a vision, distraction, or eye-hand coordination issue. The teacher may provide a homework list, pre-printed that may be attached to the calendar.


5. Movement.

Children need to move around and if hyperactive, actually think better when moving. Staying seated for extended times is not a good idea for any child. Short breaks should be encouraged about every half hour. Getting the “wiggles” out periodically will allow for greater concentration.


6. Mood.

Frustration due to length of time to complete an assignment is a huge problem. If this happens regularly children may become anxiety ridden over homework. If frustration is rearing its ugly head, draw a horizontal line on the paper, sign it and give the length of time it took to get that far. The teacher may have assigned too much work and not realized that, or may decide that half the amount of problems to solve or questions to answer is enough.


7. Ownership.

Homework takes less time if parents do it, however children need responsibility and homework is part of their job. Be supportive, the homework belongs to the kids.



Raising Resilient Children

Raising Resilient Children

Resilient children are able to adapt successfully after exposure to risk or stressful events. They bounce back from adversity.


Resilience involves several factors. The main factor is to have caring and helpful relationships in the family and its environs. Relationships that provide an atmosphere of love and trust, model good examples, and offer support, help boost resilience in a person. Other factors include the ability to make practical plans and take action to execute them; positive self-outlook and confidence in one’s strength and ability; aptitude in problem solving and communications skills; capability to handle strong feelings and impulses.

Ten risks, or hazards, may contribute to children’s difficulty in becoming resilient, psychologically well-balanced people:

  1. Poor mental health of parents
  2. Poverty
  3. Maltreatment
  4. Exposure to violence
  5. Natural disasters
  6. War
  7. Famine
  8. Divorce
  9. Physical disability or illness
  10. Low birth weight

Multiple risks make children more vulnerable to collapsing from the weight of stress, but they may still become resilient—especially if they have a loving environment.

momAnd GirlHug

Daily stresses, which have a lower degree of trauma than a major life event, may play a larger role in a child’s development. For example, daily doses of the neighborhood bully on the way home from school may have a stronger lifelong impact than the death of a friend.

Another risk factor is family who overprotects, or over-schedules their children. Exposure to some risk will give children a chance to become resilient, which is necessary for a psychologically healthy adulthood. If we are overprotective, our children won’t learn how to deal with adversity.

If children are always sheltered from life’s hazards how can they learn to adapt to life stressors when outside of the family nest?


How can children learn to fly if they never have the opportunity to use their wings?

Daydreaming and alone time are non-existant if children’s free time is over-scheduled. When adults make too many decisions, children will have difficulty thinking for themselves. Children need unscheduled time to be creative and develop rules for their own games. This is how leadership skills are developed.

Let your child make her own decisions. As a part of making these decisions let her experience the consequences of her decisions and actions. Help your child feel that he belongs to a family and that his presence is greatly appreciated. Give him the opportunity to care for a family pet, care for a younger sibling or assign him chores that will fit his abilities.


Resilient children learn how to be:

  1. Self-starters
  2. Leaders
  3. Adventurous
  4. Problem-solvers
  5. Comfort-seekers and givers of comfort
  6. Optimistic
  7. Hopeful
  8. Creative
  9. Autonomous




LeBuffe, Paul. An Introduction to Resilience Theory.

Young Children’s Views on Sharing

Sharing is not easy.


 Young children may share toys. Sharing should be encouraged, but not forced. Forcing children to share their toys is like forcing adults to hand over their keys to people with whom they are barely familiar, not knowing when or if they’ll ever see their vehicle again.



Before age five, it is difficult for children to share. Children’s belongings are like extensions of their body. Handing over toys is similar to giving up a part of themselves.

Sharing teaches children to compromise. If Susan wants to play with Eric’s toy and is not having any luck, suggest she try giving Eric a different toy in trade. Be sure to let her know that Eric might not be ready to share and that is okay.

Setting time limits can work, especially with a large group. Young children have a strong sense of fairness. If there is a fifteen minute limit to use the classroom iPads, it is a rule that must be followed by everyone. If using a physical timer instead of a clock on a wall, beware the very bright child who will turn the timer knob for more time when no one is looking.

Play is the easiest and best way to learn anything.

Being around other little ones and interacting during play can be a lesson in sharing. Be sure your child is used to being around other children his age as early as possible. According to Renee Mosiman, a family therapist and co-author of The Smarter Preschooler: Unlocking Your Child’s Intellectual Potential, “Having a regular set of playmates over the years encourages trust among friends. As your child develops that sense of trust, he will be more likely to share with others.”

Young Children on Sharing     (anonymous source)

  • If I like it, it’s mine.
  • If it’s in my mouth, it’s mine.
  • If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.babiesNot Sharing
  • If I can take it away from you, it’s mine.
  • If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
  • If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
  • If I’m doing or building something, all of the pieces are mine.
  • If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.
  • If I saw it first, it’s mine.
  • If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
  • If it’s broken, it’s yours.





Buikema, E.L. Parenting . . . A Work in Progress. 2014

Traveling with Children by Plane


toddler on plane

The following suggestions for traveling with children are from flight attendants:

  1. Fly Early
    This is your best chance to avoid delays. Early in the day the children are sleepy and more interested in staying put in one place.
  2.  Use Layers
    It can get cold in the plane. Comfortable layers that are easy to get on and off are a real plus, especially if a bathroom trip is needed.
  3.  Switch Strollers
    Instead of a regular-size stroller, use an umbrella stroller. If you’ve got more than one child with you, consider a child harness (leash). The airport is a very busy place and children are easily distracted and may get lost. Better to keep everyone safe and minimize travel stress.
  4. Seat children Away From the Aisle
    Grabbing a snack from the food and beverage cart is tempting. No one wants those little hands burned from hot coffee or water.
  5. Use Pull-Ups
    Even if your child has outgrown diapers of any kind, the use of pull-ups is less stressful than attempting to race to the bathroom or deal with an in-seat accident.
  6. Germs
    “The floor is a Petri dish,” a flight attendant confides. “You’re in the air, things jostle. That’s not just water on the bathroom floor.”
  7. Keep Calm
    Life is not lived in a vacuum. People will be cranky from the car ride to the airport or some other life event and blame their frustrations on others. Worry about your child and do not engage with a passenger who complains the moment your child laughs. Remember, most passengers are on your side.
  8. Pack Snacks
    Juice and water are available on the plane but often healthy snacks aren’t. Consider bringing some low-sugar snacks to munch, like toasted oat cereal, string cheese, or pretzels.
  9. Prepare for Changes in Air Pressure
    Drink some water right after takeoff and again during the last 30 to 45 minutes before landing. The swallowing helps with the pressure and gives the added hydrating benefit.
  10. A Little Appreciation Goes a Long Way
    Be kind to your flight attendants, especially during the holidays. They have families too, and may be missing them.

A note about flying and driving:

When flying, then driving, rent a car seat from the car rental company. Many major rental car agencies rent children’s car seats with the rental cars. Advance reservations are necessary. Or better yet, according to Consumer Reports, bring your own. Prices average, as of this writing, $10 per day per car seat and the child safety seats vary in age and quality. The seats may or may not have installation books.

Another option is to order a seat before the trip and have it sent to a friend or relative who can bring it to the airport for you to use in a rental car, or have it installed in their vehicle, then pick you and your child up from the airport.





6 Tips and 7 Games for Travel with Children

When traveling with children:

  1. Plan to add one third extra time to get to your destination to avoid the extra stress of arriving late.
  2. Stop for gasoline when the tank is half-full to allow for scheduled potty stops.
  3. Drive at night or early in the morning if the trip is a long one so the kids can sleep for at least part of the drive.
  4. Avoid driving in rush hour like the plague.
  5. End the travel day early so the kids can adjust to their new surroundings. Playtime at the pool or a walk around the motel/hotel/resort stretches the muscles and allows for getting-out-the-wiggles time before dinner.
  6. If the children need to be “dressed” for an occasion, stop before you get to the destination.


Safety Belt Song (sung to the tune of “Jingle Bells”)

Safety Belts, Safety Belts, Wear them all the way.

Every time you’re in your car, Any night or day, oh

Safety Belts, Safety Belts, Put them ’round your lap,

Then before you start to ride, Everybody—SNAP (National Safety Council)


Travel games that require no equipment:

  1. Twenty Questions—Write down the name of a person, place, or thing. Using 20 questions total, everyone asks yes or no questions to guess the written name.
  2. “I’m going on a trip and I’m bringing . . .”—This is a memory game. Each person repeats the original sentence, including what everyone else is bringing, then adds their own. Keep going until someone forgets an item.
  3. Alphabet game—A competition to find all the letters of the alphabet, in sequence, from license plates, signs, billboards, and restaurant menus.
  4. Reverse—Spell words backwards so others may guess the word.
  5. “I spy with my little eye something . . .”—Use color, shape, size, or rhymes-with for others to guess what has been seen.
  6. Storytelling—A story in the round game where one person starts a story, stops in mid-sentence so the next person may continue the story.
  7. License Plate Lunacy—make up wacky phrases using the letters of license plates. For instance, “IDB” can be “I Despise Broccoli.”

Research from:

Tsai Podlaha, M. (12/2013). The reality of child seats and rental cars. Consumer Reports. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/12/the-reality-of-child-seats-and-rental-cars/index.htm

Lansky, V. (2004). Trouble-Free Travel with Children (pp.). Minnetonka, MN: Book Peddlers


Breastfeeding: 1800s to the present



From the end of the 1700s through the middle 1800s, wet nursing—lactating woman nursing another’s child, was common—until doctors realized that wet nurses might be passing on infections such as syphilis, cholera and TB. At that point, doctors recommended that mothers breastfeed their own children.

The Industrial Revolution caused entire families to move from rural areas to cities. The cost of living in urban areas was much higher than expected. Low wages forced many women to look for employment and contribute financially to their family, making it impossible for these women to breastfeed their children. Many of the children were farmed out to poor peasant women. By law, peasant wet nurses were required to obtain a license from local authorities and to report the death of any baby in their care. The laws were ignored and created little change in the high infant mortality.

Although wet nursing continued to exist at the end of the 18th century, the biological mother was still preferred for breastfeeding and raising her children. In 1779, William Buchan, a Scottish physician, published Domestic Medicine, which showed an open distrust of wet nurses and their use of home remedies—such as opiates. Wet nurses referred to opiates as “Quietness.” Buchan wrote that the use of opiates as a sleep aid for infants was a great fault among wet nurses.

In the 19th century, artificial feeding became a passable substitute for wet nursing. Advancement in the feeding bottle and the availability of animal’s milk began to affect the use of wet nurses. By the 1900s, the wet-nursing profession had ended.

Ideas change with the times.

Wet nursing was added to the job roster of the Beverly Hills agency, Certified Household Staffing, in the early 21st century. There are an increasing number of wealthy Californian mothers, many of whom have had breast enhancements, who want wet nurses for their babies.

There is a great need for breastmilk. The number of milk-sharing networks has soared, connecting mothers who are unable to produce enough milk with those who produce an abundance of milk.

According to the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the best alternative to a mother’s milk, particularly for a fragile baby, is banked donor human milk. The milk banks collect, pool, pasteurize, and package human milk.

The first milk bank in the United States was established in 1910 in Boston, MA. Milk banking continues to grow. For a list of active milk banks see: https://www.hmbana.org/locations

Research provided by:

A History of Infant Feeding, Emily E Stevens, the Journal of Perinatal Education http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684040/

The return of the wet-nurse, Diana Appleyard, The Daily Mail.com http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-480407/The-return-wet-nurse.html

The Return of Wet Nursing, Claire Gordon, AOL Jobs.com http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2012/01/20/the-return-of-wet-nursing/

Breastfeeding: Ancient Times through the 17th Century

As long as there have been babies, there have been breastfeeding mothers. When a mother died in childbirth or was unable to breastfeed, infants throughout earlier times have been fed by wet nurses. Others relied on feeding a baby without the breast. Breastfeeding was, and is not always an option.

Ancient remedy

Lactation failure is mentioned in the earliest medical encyclopedia, The Papyrus Ebers, from Egypt (1550 BC), which contains the following remedy:

To get a supply of milk in a woman’s breast for suckling a child: Warm the bones of a sword fish in oil and rub her back with it. Or: Let the woman sit cross-legged and eat fragrant bread of soused durra, while rubbing the parts with the poppy plant.

Alternatives to breast-milk

Infants in ancient Greece were fed wine and honey, while Indian children in the second Century AD were given “diluted wine, soups and eggs” at six months of age.

Another alternative to breast-milk was the practice of suckling an animal. Mentioned in the book Milk: A Local and Global History, 15th-Century French women used goats to feed their infants when wet nurses were cast out of favor following an outbreak of syphilis.

Ancient tools to feed the baby

In ancient history, infants were fed using terracotta pots with long spouts, which were sometimes included in infant graves. Europeans around the time of the Renaissance outfitted cows’ horns with leather nipples.

Babies that were hand-fed rarely survived. The tools used to feed babies were not sterilized as no one knew anything about germs.

History of wet nursing

Wet nursing began as early as 2000 BC and extended until the 20th century. During this span of time, wet nursing changed from need (2000 BC) to an alternative choice (950 BC to 1800 AD).

In Greece around 950 BC, women of high social status often insisted upon wet nurses. Eventually, the wet nurses acquired a greater position and were given authority over slaves.

At the height of the Roman Empire, between 300 BC and 400 AD, written contracts were formed with wet nurses to feed abandoned infants, usually unwanted females thrown onto the trash. The wealthy purchased infants as inexpensive future slaves. The wet nurses—slaves themselves—fed the infants for up to 3 years.

During the 5th to the 15th century, society considered childhood a time of vulnerability. Breast-milk was thought to possess magical qualities. It was believed that breast-milk could transmit both the physical and psychological characteristics of the wet nurse to the infant. This belief resulted in protests against the hiring of wet nurses.

Regardless of the recommendations that the natural mother should nurse her child, wet nursing remained a popular, well paid, and highly organized profession during the 14th to the 17th century. The occupation became a prime choice for many poor women.

During this Renaissance period, societal class frequently dictated breastfeeding practices. It was unusual for high-born women to breastfeed because the practice was considered unfashionable and the women worried it would ruin their figures. Breastfeeding prevented many women from wearing the socially acceptable clothing of the time and it interfered with social activities. The wives of merchants, lawyers, and doctors also did not breastfeed because it was cheaper to hire a wet nurse than it was to employ anyone to run their husband’s business or take care of the household in their place.

Research provided by:



Prologue to Blog on Breastfeeding

Not long ago I was involved in a spirited Facebook conversation on the topic of breastfeeding.

An interesting article was posted August 10, 2015 on kidspot.com/au. The title, Formula is worse for babies than alcohol-tinged breastmilk, understandably did not set well with everyone.

After reading other people’s emotional responses, I read the article, responded on Facebook with some positives for both mothers and babies, also stating that there is no reason for people to be bullied into nursing their children. Not everyone is capable due to medical or financial constraints, and some have no desire.

While writing, Parenting . . . A Work in Progress, I did not spend much time on this particular topic as it is primarily a child growth and development book, covering infancy through adolescence—an enormous span. Because of this exchange I’ve decided to research further and bring what I find to the public through the blog as objectively as possible.

As of this writing, I plan to cover how thoughts on breastfeeding have changed over history, reasons for and against breastfeeding, how the foods mom eats effect baby—yes, cabbage can do interesting things, the views of parents, and the views of the medical community.

If there is anything else you would like to see in the blogs, please send me a message so I can include it.




Picking Your Battles


Children feel the need to have some control in a world where they have very little say. Battles happen when there is a conflict of interest. Not everything needs to be a fight. It is helpful for parent –child relationships to have some give and take. As parent, you are the boss—leader of the household. However, the best leaders know how to back off on the little things.

My youngest had a very interesting sense of fashion—wild and clashing. Fortunately she attended a school which required uniforms. At home, she could wear what she wished so long as it was weather appropriate. I have to say, sometimes those outfits hurt my eyes.

When a nice outfit was required, for a visit to grandparents or other outings like church, she was given a choice of two outfits. Having the choice made all the difference.