Smart Parents, Happy Kids

I found a really good article on Time Magazine online, thought it was a bit inspirational and cute as well. The article is below:

“There is a great moment in the movie Parenthood in which Keanu Reeves’ character says something to the effect of “You need a license to catch a fish, but anyone can become a parent.”

That is absolutely true. In this issue we explore some of the many illnesses and chronic conditions with which children can struggle, along with the progress that’s been made in diagnoses and treatments. Yet while science has made spectacular strides to the benefit of countless children, a definitive manual for a human being’s ultimate responsibility — bearing and rearing our young — remains elusive. Ironically, when we look to the educational, medical and social-work establishments, there is more guidance and reference material about children with challenges and problems than those without. As it pertains to the “average” child, there is less emphasis on how to keep healthy kids well and detect problems as they arise.

My wife Lisa and I have four children. We had our first when we were in our early 20s. Through the challenges of raising them, we’ve learned a lot — mostly from our own parents and children but also by observing the parents of our children’s friends. Never underestimate what you can absorb by watching and conversing. My training as a physician tempted me to look at every situation as a medical riddle. It took my wife’s gentle guidance to show me that children don’t often present those kinds of problems (except when they might need stitches).

Over time we realized that smart parenting is like guiding your child on the boat ride of life down a long, unpredictable river. You help control the canoe’s direction and speed, while your youngsters sit back and take in everything around them so they can learn to steer on their own. Your goal is to teach your passengers enough about the river so that you can eventually pass them the paddle. This includes explaining everything you see and telling them what they need to know about the boat itself — their bodies, their genetics, their family history. You also need to fill them with enough self-esteem and awareness of their strengths and weaknesses so that they will navigate wisely and well.

These insights became the foundation of our new book with Dr. Michael Roizen, You: Raising Your Child. To tackle many of the debates on parenting, we surveyed some top child-development specialists and pediatricians who happen to be parents. Here are some of our practical insights on how to be a smart parent:

You can be the greatest parent in the world by not being the greatest parent in the world. While it’s no surprise that an absentee parent isn’t healthy for kids, the 180-degree turn is also bad. An adult who overparents can actually hinder development. It’s better to be somewhere in the middle, giving children enough attention but also knowing that exploration and independence are crucial to their learning. Let them run the canoe close to the embankment periodically or they won’t learn how to recover from failure.

Pretend you’re a 3-D-movie maker. A child’s brain is like a sponge, so parents need to make the biggest mess they can. Spill everything: words, sounds, tastes, colors, shapes and smells! This will help nudge your child in the directions in which they 1) have the most interest and 2) have the most potential for success.

Kids are copycats. Parents need to be strong role models. Children will treat themselves much the way you treat yourself, and that should give us all pause. If you are overweight, your child has a 40% chance of being obese. If both parents are heavy, the odds rise to 80%. Taking care of yourself helps them learn the same skills.

Playtime teaches life lessons. “Play with your kids” is my favorite bit of advice. In our home, we hold frequent Oz Olympics — a mix of challenging physical and mental games — with all the kids to see how they respond to stress. I also adore telling bedtime stories, because the children are getting tired and so are more willing to listen. Within the stories, I embed allegories of life lessons. Stories and playtime are teachable moments. Never underestimate their value. They are the language our children speak.

For my fellow parents: You are better at this than you think. For future parents: You will be better at it than you expect and enjoy it more than you’d ever guess.”

Read more:,28804,2026672_2026707_2026709,00.html#ixzz131icp4eM


5 ways to get your child to eat Veggies

If your a mommy that has a hard time getting your child to eat veggies then read the article below to gather tips on how to get your child to WANT to eat veggies! The article was found on the San-fransico Chronicle.


“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report last month indicating that American adults were eating fewer vegetables in 2009 than they were in 2000.

The study didn’t specifically look at children but we can only guess that if the parents aren’t eating green stuff then their children aren’t either. And so it seems like an appropriate time to bring in an expert who can offer up some fresh ways for parents to prepare veggies for their kids.

Enter Catherine McCord, Los Angeles mother of two whose wildly popular Weelicious website is dedicated to feeding kids healthy, yummy foods. With inventive recipes, fabulous photography, and fun instructional videos, McCord encourages parents to get their kids eating green beans, carrots, corn, salad, even beets, kale, onions, and okra.

McCord says that parents often offer their kids a veggie only once or twice. If the children spit out the food and say they don’t like it, then the parents say, “Well, I guess that my kid is just a picky eater.”

“Studies show that it takes up to 10 tries before a person starts enjoying a certain vegetable,” McCord says. “We also have a habit of not offering our kids foods that we don’t enjoy. I try to offer my kids a variety of foods and let them decide on their own if they enjoy them without saying a word either way. We have a tiny garden, go to the farmers market to try the fruit and vegetable samples and try to include the kids in the cooking process as often as possible. The more you can empower your kids in the kitchen, the more excited they will be about trying new foods.”

We asked McCord to offer up 5 fun ways to prepare vegetables for kids.

1) Sweet Beet Cookies

Catherine McCord

McCord says: “Not only are these cookies gorgeous, perfectly sweet and super crunchy, they’re also packed with folates and vitamin C. They’re the kind of treats that make everyone happy. Beet that!”

Sweet Beet Cookies recipe

2) Kale Chips

McCord says: “When you’re trying to inspire kids to eat healthy, my experience has been if whatever you are making for them is in the form of a chip, muffin, pancake or on-a-stick, it’s usually a hit! We’ve been making these kale chips a lot recently and I can’t tell you how fast they disappear! I truly can’t believe how tasty they are — I know that’s a huge statement, but I think I like them even more then potato chips (and that’s saying a lot)!”

Kale Chips recipe

3) Cheddar Cauliflower

McCord says: “When I was a kid, my mother would take an entire head of cauliflower, bake it, cover it with tons of grated cheddar cheese and then put it back into the oven to continue baking until it looked like a great big orange basketball. I loved the taste, but felt if I recreated it, it may look a bit overwhelming to a little kid. I think smaller pieces of roasted cauliflower with just a light sprinkling of melted cheddar has more eye appeal for little ones.”

Cheddar Cauliflower recipe

4) Baked Zucchini Coins

McCord says: “Zucchini has a very delicate flavor, so I focused on a simple preparation. These zucchini coins are baked, which makes them crunchy on the outside and soft and tender inside — a real textural treat for kids. Add a little tomato sauce on the side and they’re the perfect side dish for your family to enjoy with any meal.”

Baked Zucchini Coins recipe

5) Maple Roast Veggies

McCord says: “This roast veggies dish is a holiday favorite in my house and is great no matter if you are having twenty people over or just two. I first started making this simple dish for Thanksgiving years ago, but it’s so delicious and easy to make that I started making it all the time. Roasting is one of the best techniques for getting the maximum amount of flavor out of vegetables. They become super tender, sweet on the inside and a bit caramelized on the outside. For anyone who has a child who is prone to say, ‘I hate vegetables,’ just try making this dish and tell me if those words ever come out of their sweet little mouths again!”

Maple Roast Veggies recipe
More kid-friendly recipes at

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Raising your Child to be Frugal

From the Wichita Times:

” Anne-Marie Faiola remembers resenting working in her mom’s garden as a teenager while her friends were out having a good time. But if she wanted spending money, she had to work for it. She also recalls grousing about how she had to pick an economical prom dress, while they could get any dress they wanted.

Yet any ill feelings Faiola had about her parents’ lessons in frugality are long gone. These days, when she sees friends burdened with debt and worrying about how to pay their mortgages, Faiola, now 33, is grateful. “It didn’t always feel like that,” said the Bellingham, Wash., website entrepreneur. Yet when the economy went south two years ago and she had money in the bank, Faiola knew whom to thank.

Frugality has taken on a certain cachet in the struggling economy, but for some, watching pennies is more than the latest fad. There’s always been a segment of the population that by conviction, or necessity, saved money by eating at home, shopping at discount stores and choosing practical cars. Those lessons were not lost on the children who grew up in these homes. As adults, even those who have developed some extravagant habits say they have a strong awareness of the value of a dollar, the importance of saving, and the dangers of debt.

“I did have my time of going wild, but I always paid it off,” said Priti Mehta, 28, who works for a nonprofit in Albuquerque.

Financial-literacy experts insist children absorb the spending habits of their parents. Yet there’s little research examining whether the children of frugal parents are more or less likely to be careful with money, said Tim Kasser, the chairman of the psychology department at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., and an expert on materialism.

Kasser said he could see both possibilities. “On the one hand, children learn their values around anything, including money, from their parents.” Yet it’s also clear that children rebel, he said, especially when they don’t have a say in what affects them. Whether individuals grow up to be thrifty is probably going to be influenced by whether they had a thrifty parent. If parents make saving money fun, give children choices and explain why careful spending is a good way to live, the children will probably get the message, he said.

That’s what Trent Hamm is counting on. The creator of grew up in a poor household where any money available was quickly spent. As a young adult, he ran up nearly $50,000 in debt before transforming his ways and becoming an advocate for living a frugal lifestyle.

Today, when he blogs about the financial lessons he’s teaching his three children, particularly his 4-year-old son, some readers question whether he’s putting too much emphasis on cost at an early age.

“A lot of their habits are being defined now,” Hamm, 31, said in his defense. “You’re setting a model as an adult that they can follow.”

Hamm said he explains his choices to his son. They play at the park rather than visit an amusement center that charges admission, and the money saved goes toward vacation.

“I don’t mind if he thinks I’m an idiot from age 15 to age 25,” he said. “As long as he comes out OK on the other end, that’s great.”

Grandparents Raising Grandkids

Article taken from the Associated Press:

“The number of U.S. children being raised by their grandparents rose sharply as the recession began, according to a new analysis of census data. The reasons, while somber, were not all economic.

These grandparents often give themselves high marks as caregivers, but many face distinctive stresses as they confront unanticipated financial burdens and culture shock that come with the responsibilities of child-raising.

In all, roughly 7 million U.S. children live in households that include at least one grandparent, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the most recent Census Bureau data, from 2008. Of that number, 2.9 million were being raised primarily by their grandparents — up 16 percent from 2000, with a 6 percent surge just from 2007 to 2008.

“Clearly something was going on” in those years, said Pew senior researcher Gretchen Livingston, a co-author of Thursday’s analysis. “We don’t have the data to explicitly state that this is related to recession, but it’s a very educated guess.”

Reasons for grandparents taking over child-rearing duties are manifold — often involving a single parent who becomes overwhelmed with financial problems, is incarcerated, succumbs to illness or substance abuse, or dies. High rates of divorce and teen pregnancies fuel the phenomenon, as do long overseas deployments confronting some parents in the military.

“It’s almost inevitable that there is some stress around the reason these grandparents and grandchildren come together,” said Donna Butts, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Generations United.

“You’re talking about older adults who have agreed to make some sacrifice in their life, and they need to have some support and respect,” Butts said. “There are a lot of emotions that the children and the grandparents experience — an anger, a loss of their traditional role.”

Read the rest here.

What do you believe is the culprit in the significant increase of grandparents raising grandkids? How does it effect biological parents? How does it effect the children being raised? Most of all how is this effecting our society?

No Screaming Kids Allowed

Restaurant to parents: No screaming kids allowed
The owner of the Olde Salty restaurant in Carolina Beach, N.C., has posted signs that say: “Screaming children will NOT be tolerated!” She says business has improved, but some parents – including the mother of an autistic child – think the policy is unfair.

Read the story here.

Do you agree with this restaurant? Is it fair to have this type of policy?

How you and your children can stay active together

If you’re a full-time working mom your probably so busy that you aren’t able to work out in the manner that you’d like. Or if you do work out, it may feel rushed or not as intense or for as long as you’d like.  I know for a lot of women, getting off work often means picking children up from daycare or school, having to cook or throw something together, cleaning up, playing with the children, putting them to bed, and then at that point you’re so exhausted that you just don’t have the energy or stamina to work out. Some women are able to get up at 5 AM and do a short run or short work out before waking their children up, but some days even getting up that early is difficult.  Not to mention that if we work a full-time schedule, that means we aren’t able to spend as much time with our children as we may like. For many of us, especially moms, that means that we’d prefer to spend any extra time with our children or with our husband/wife. For that reason I’m a huge proponent of figuring out how to incorporate an active lifestyle into your normal routine, and also how you can maintain activity while spending time with your children.

*I don’t know about you, but I can’t wake up early for anything. I’m not a morning person, and certainly can’t fathom the idea of getting up to run a mile.  So I recommend bringing your gym shoes and i-pod and during lunch breaks either heading over to the gym or walking around outside for at least 30 minutes 5 times a week.

*I’m a huge proponent of family boot camp.  This means after dinner, you, your “so”, and your children all working out together to burn those dinner calories. This could be you guys all exercising to Taebo(if your children are over the age of 9). If you have daughters, this could mean dancing to dance music together. Or if you have younger children this could mean going out in the backyard and running up and down the lawn, racing, etc. Allow your kids to motivate you.

*Sign the whole family up for Karate. Every Saturday morning you guys can all get up and go to the class at the Karate center or your choice. Kids love karate and it’s a great way for you to learn self-defense, burn calories, and have fun with the family!

*Do a family walk. It could be every Saturday and Sunday. You guys go to an area of town that is walker friendly, or go on a trail, or even walk around the neighborhood for about an hour. During that time you fast walk, but catch up on life. If you have bicycles, you guys can bicycle together instead.

*Have contests. Every night hold a different exercise contest(i.e. pushups night, or jump jacks night). Who ever can do the most of the selected exercise doesn’t have to clean up the kitchen the next night.

*Wii. Enough said. Kids love it. You’ll love it. You work out together and everyone is willing to get involved.

*Have a family weigh in at the end of each week.  This motivates everyone to want to get in shape, maintain weight, and continue on with the family work outs, or personal work-outs.

U.S. Pediatricians Decry The Media’s messages to our kids

Taken from the LA Times:

Parents, lawmakers and media executives are given plenty to think about in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ policy statement published Sunday. Kids today are bombarded with inappropriate sexual messages and images, the AAP committee said; everything from graphic sexual lyrics in songs to ubiquitous erectile dysfunction drug advertisements that air all hours of the day and night.

“Television, film, music, and the Internet are all becoming increasingly sexually explicit, yet information on abstinence, sexual responsibility, and birth control remains rare,” they write.
Among the points the panel makes:

– Only three reality dating shows were on the air in 1997 compared with more than 30 today, including “Temptation Island,” which “bring participants together for the sole purpose of seeing who ‘hooks up,’ ” the authors said.
– In a national survey of 1,500 10- to 17-year-olds, nearly half of the Internet users had been exposed to online pornography in the previous year.
– A national survey of 1,300 teenagers and young adults found nearly 20% had sent or posted nude pictures of videos of themselves.
– Advertisements featuring women are as likely to show them in suggestive or revealing clothing or nude as fully clothed.

Meanwhile, the paper notes, television resists running advertisements about birth control — including emergency contraceptives — but erectile dysfunction ads appear during family TV hours. The ads, the doctors say, can be confusing to younger children and should appear only after 10 p.m. Others have complained about the number of ED ads on TV. Rep. Jim Moran, a Virginia Democrat, sent letters last year to the heads of three major pharmaceutical companies calling on them to moderate advertising for ED drugs.

Kids get a lot of their knowledge about sex through the media, the authors write. Perhaps we should take a good look at what we’re telling them.