Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Teach your children to be safe at any age

Parents worry about their children; it’s a fact of life. Teaching them to be safe as they grow and explore is one of your most important jobs. But with so many potential threats to worry about, the task can seem overwhelming.

Here are a few basics to concentrate on:

• Discuss safety calmly. You want your children to be careful, not terrified. When you talk about safety matters, emphasize that your main concern is their welfare. Listen to their concerns, and answer their questions as clearly and honestly as you can.

• Highlight important information. Be sure your younger children know their home phone number and address, as well as contact information for another relative or trusted adult.

• Don’t just talk about strangers. Attacks or abductions by total strangers are (thankfully) very rare. Let children know they should tell you anytime they’re made uncomfortable by someone’s behavior, even if they know the person well.

• Play “what if?” Rules and advice can be too abstract for young minds to understand. Make it real by asking children what they would do in certain situations: If a stranger tried to get them into a car, for example, or if they got lost in a shopping mall.

• Discuss body issues. Let your children know that no one should be allowed to touch them in personal areas. Teach them what areas you’re talking about, with the proper names, so they can tell you accurately if something happens. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Commit to making time for family and friends

If you value your relationships with family and friends outside of work, you probably should put some work into maintaining them. That means evaluating your priorities and scheduling your activities the same as you do on the job. Follow these tips for sustaining healthy relations with the people who are most important to you:

• Have a mission statement. You have career goals and aspirations, don’t you? It’s just as important to establish what kind of relationship you want with your family and friends. A clear mission statement can help keep you focused on your personal life goals, especially when your schedule gets demanding.

• Use a time management system. Keep all your commitments with family and friends on one calendar, planner, or smartphone so nothing falls through the cracks. Keep your time-management tool with you for ready access to addresses, phone numbers, etc.

• Spend some time planning your personal time. Take 20 minutes a week to write down your most important activities and goals before the week begins. Share those plans with your friends and family so they can help you, give feedback, and adjust their own schedules.

• Stick to your plans. When you must choose between events with friends or family, ask which is more in line with your mission, values, and goals. Then decide.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Not-So-Obvious Family Fun!

Most people don’t realize just how many inexpensive family entertainment ideas there are. Sure – you can have family movie or game night and those are great. But what happens when you can’t agree on which movie to watch or which game to play? That’s when it’s time to start getting creative and here are a few ideas to help get the creative juices flowing.

·         Try building a rock garden: True, this isn’t a spontaneous activity, you’ll need to do a little previous planning and then do the groundwork: mark the area in your yard, clear away weeds and debris and place black plastic down to help prevent the re-growth of weeds. Once you have all the prep work done, get a bucket or wheelbarrow and go get your rocks. Creeks and streams are a great place to start and remember to put the pretty rocks on top.

·         Switch places: This is a fun one to do – especially if you have teenagers. Take a Saturday morning and have a role reversal – you be the teen, let your teen be the parent. Yes, the kids get to give the orders – at least for a little while!

·         Become a fan of local sports: This is another one that works with kids of any age: if you have teens, go watch the little ones play, if you have little ones go watch the local high school teams. And if you happen to live in or near a city with some kind of a minor league team, it’s a great cheap afternoon.
·         Hit the flea markets, yard sales or craft shows. These types of events are carried on all year around and there’s usually at least one of them happening every weekend or so. This can even work with younger children, just give them a little change to keep in their pocket and they can buy their own stuff.

·         Try putting on a play. It doesn’t have to be Broadway-worthy. No one has to memorize their lines and you can use old clothes for costumes.

Not everybody is going to like to do the same things but if you all put your heads together you can come up with some good, old-fashioned, inexpensive family fun!