Are you shopping wisely this holiday season?

Don't believe the hype!  After walking through major department stores this past weekend and surfing sites online (too numerous to count,)  I learned one thing, that what I really wanted was over my budget.  Don't fall for these stupid tricks any longer by retailers, always comparison shop.  If you can get it online (or offline) cheaper without paying shipping, you got yourself a deal!  Anything else, is bogus! 

Must-Haves for Babies

I don't want my readers to miss this, especially if you or someone you know is pregnant.  Visit my Squidoo page on this topic.  When I had my baby, I was so happy to have these goodies for him.  Must-Haves for Babies.

OMG! 35 Plus Having Another Baby? It's Not the End of the World or Is it?

If you haven't noticed by now, this blog is dedicated to those households that have a baby, a toddler, a tween, and a teen all living under one roof!  I have four boys that were at one time in all of these groups (well a few still are.)  Anyway, I am considered old in my "hood" for having such young children.  Most of my friends have teens and adult sons and daughters. 

Now some people will comment when you are an older mom or dad in such a situation as mine, "They could be your grandchildren...I know you were surprised when you found out you were pregnant...I don't know what I would have done...So you started late in life, huh?  I'm glad mine are grown!"  Enough already! I think.  Does this sound like encouraging words to you?

I didn't anticipate being a mom in my twenties or thirties and I share my experiences in my book, When Mothers Cry. 

There are those critics who act as if they are paying for your children when you have more than two.  Don't walk down the street without the children's father pushing a stroller, there goes the looks from folks riding in cars or walking pass you and your family.  Some smile, but some frown especially those who come from cultures that don't permit more than one child per family.

I have learned to recognize "the look" and I don't say anything, I just look straight ahead.  My son noticed "the look" many times and asked me, "Why do people look at us so mean sometimes?"

It hurts when you or your family have done nothing wrong except exist and all a mean-spirited person can do is send out negative vibes!  My oldest son is very perceptive.  I talk to him about such people, and I tell him, "Don't be concerned, these people don't know you.  We are going to have a good day.  Besides, that man or woman is probably having a bad day."  Sure, yeah right, one day we will revisit that topic except the next time we will talk about how some people have problems with one's skin color, but I digress.  I do say to myself while making eye contact with some of these grumpy people, was the eye roll really necessary from a stranger or the mumble under one's breath, "...she got so many kids, all boys whew!?"  The other day, someone asked me were two of my sons mine, then commented how we look alike, go figure!?  Anyway...

So as I approach that age when the start of menopause begins, when the toddler becomes an elementary student, when the elementary student becomes a tween, and when the teen becomes a man, I will reassure myself, that the world isn't looking at me, they are just having a hard day.

Nicholl McGuire is the author of When Mothers Cry, Amazon.com

6 Tips on Being Safe When Walking at Night

If you have older children, you may want to take the time to remind them about the following especially with summer fast-approaching...

Sometimes the dark night quickly falls upon us while visiting relatives or a neighbor. We may have walked over to his or her home and now we are left walking in the night. We have a choice to remain positive and brave or negative and scared while allowing everything we have heard in the media to permeate our ears. With a cautious mindset and positive outlook about walking alone at night, one should be less fearful about a possible attack.

One. Don't ignore your gut feelings.

Every human is built with “that feeling.” You know the one that tends to go in overdrive when you are about to make a decision that you shouldn't. It is an annoying, uncomfortable, and sometimes scary feeling. You ought to listen to it if you experience it before walking alone at night. Stay where you are until the feeling passes, then set out on your trip.

Two. Prepare for your walk.

You can do this by carrying keys in your hand between your fingers, a heavy duty flashlight, pepper spray or anything else that makes you feel somewhat at ease. All of these things can be used to fight off an attacker. If you don't have any of these things, then while walking pick up a stick, large stone or something else that is somewhat heavy and carry it with you.

Three. Watch and listen for any peculiar noises.

Moving shadows, strange noises behind bushes, dark vehicles and houses, and tall objects should all be noticed when walking. Distance yourself from the area in question if you feel an individual or animal is behaving strangely. Don't go to the noise to investigate. Sometimes criminals use noises and what seems to be harmless things to lure people such as leaving a baby unattended, asking for help to solve a problem, and faking an injury which leads us to the next point.

Four. Don't stop to talk to strangers.

Unless a person is warning you of pending danger, there is no reason why a stranger should come up to you in the dark and converse with you. Immediately you should think, “This person doesn't know me, what does he/she want?” Pick up your pace and carry on any conversation while walking, never bothering to stop. This way the person will more likely leave you alone.

Five. Avoid the temptation to run from four-legged animals.

A human can't out-run a healthy, active four-legged animal; therefore, it is better to stand still if you have nothing to fight off an attack. Allow the animal to sniff you, but avoid making eye contact.

Six. Keep out of alley ways.

Although this is common sense, plenty of people walk in areas out of public view because they are short-cuts that lead to home. They are also a good place for criminals to hang-out for victims passing through with wallets and purses too.

You can stay safe when walking alone at night if you think through your path getting to your destination in advance. Don't set out walking if you have no idea where you are going. Whenever you can, do walk with someone. Try not to walk when you are intoxicated, because this will make you an easy target for a criminal to take advantage of you.

By Nicholl McGuire

10 Things to Teach Children Before Giving an Allowance

They come to you asking for the next new video gaming system. They want the toy they keep seeing on television commercials and all you can say is, “Children, I don't have the money right now maybe next time.” Why not say, “You can buy it. Save your money.” Teaching children about money doesn't have to be difficult.

One. Display all coins and dollar bills so that children can see and touch them.

Sometimes we are spending cash or using debit and credit cards so frequently that the children never see nor feel the money. Without seeing the money or lack thereof, how can they appreciate it? Show them what each coin represents. Let them experience feelings of disappointment when money runs out. Provide them with a history lesson. Share with children the different ways people use money including: collecting, saving, and investing it.

Two. Interview the children to find out what they already know about money.

Do they know how money is made? Where it comes from? What do they like most about money? What do they like least?

Three. Provide them with word problems.

Give out money problems and challenge them to find solutions. For instance, there is a pack of gum at one store for one price and the same pack of gum is on sale at another store, which one will they choose and why? If there's a set amount of money for them to spend on their favorite items, teach them how to budget.

Four. Point out sale signs and show them how to use coupons.

Familiarize children with the savings they can take advantage of when buying simple things like gum, a magazine, toys and other fun things. They will be glad to get change back from those large bills that mom and dad give!


Five. Purchase a fun-looking savings bank and/or cash register with play money.

Toys like these help further educate children on the value of money. Pretend like you are a customer and your child is a cashier. Ask questions about your purchase and explain to them what each dollar and coin represents.

Six. Take them to the bank with you and/or show them what a bank account looks like (preferably one you have set aside for them.)

When you are taking the time to show them where money goes when you receive it and how you allocate your dollars, you are teaching them once again that money is not meant to be wasted and that each dollar has a purpose.

Seven. Teach them how to shop around.


Show them how much money they stand to lose if they were to shop for the same toy elsewhere. Once children understand the concept of money, they will not want to lose money, but gain more of it. When you show them that they can find a favorite item elsewhere for a bargain, not only will they learn a thing or two, but they will remind you to shop around too in the future.

Eight. Play game about managing money.

Children love games; so when you present them with a fun way to manage money, they will be more likely to remember simple concepts and later teach others.

Nine. Borrow money from them.

Periodically ask them for money and watch their response. Offer to pay them extra from the trouble. Teach them the pros and cons of lending someone money.

Ten. Show them why it isn't a good idea to gamble hard-earned money on games you are least likely to win.

Scratch-offs on the ground, old raffle tickets, and other games that consumers rarely win will also be a good teaching tool for your children. Point out that this is all money wasted on the ground. Explain to them that more times people lose than win when gambling money. Provide examples of the many people who are poor as a result of gambling money; rather than saving it. Avoid focusing on those who won by chance.

Lastly, after you have showed your children the value of money, create an allowance system. Start off with simple tasks and small payments for tasks completed. Then gradually increase pay as tasks become more challenging for them. Post a sign somewhere within your home for all to see displaying what the tasks are and how much they will be paid when they perform them. Make them responsible for keeping track of the chores they have completed. The sign could look similar to a time sheet—a great way to prepare them for a job one day where they will have to keep track of their own work hours and breaks.

When you take the time to teach children the basics about spending and saving money, you will help them grow up to be responsible with their money.

By Nicholl McGuire

Make Your Child's Dream a Reality: Here's How

So your child wants to be the next president, entertainer, lawyer, doctor, firefighter or some other professional? What are you doing now to ensure that his or her dream is fulfilled? Oftentimes children will change their dreams, but there are always a few in the bunch that know what they want. How might you keep their dreams alive?

Ask questions and listen.
 
Children who really want something will nag you about it until they get it. Do you have a child that is annoying you about visiting a certain establishment or meeting someone who works in a specific industry? If so, you may want to follow up with a question like, "Why do you want to see him or her so bad? Do you really want to visit that building?" Keep a journal of the things your child says, so when he or she becomes older, you can remind him or her about his or her dreams. Ask specific questions to find out more about your son or daughter's dream. Find out if your child enjoys working with his or her hands, voice, feet, etc. Once you know what he or she likes to do, it will help you find out more about related professions based on your son or daughter's interests. If your child is old enough, have him or her take a questionnaire to determine exactly what is it that he or she likes to do if there is some uncertainty or if he or she seems to like to do too many things.
 
Collect information about your child's desired profession.
 
Purchase videos and instructional materials about topics related to your child's interest. From magazines to videos, take the information and make a game out of it. Question answer games will reinforce learning about the profession. Allow your child to also play a game of Show and Tell with what he or she has learned. Reward your child for his or her presentation.
 
Plan a trip to meet someone in the industry.
 
Maybe there is a relative or friend who wouldn't mind taking you and your child on a tour of their workplace. Call him or her and share your child's interest.
 
Seek classes in your local area.
 
Oftentimes there are special summer programs for children to help them become professionals one day. From acting classes to softball camps, find out what kind of classes are being offered in your area via the newspaper, Internet, local yellow pages, coffee shop, city office, school, and church bulletins. There are also many classes that are not advertised. So do ask others about children's programs as well.
 
Save money.
 
In order to make your child's dream become a reality, it will take money. So be sure you establish a savings plan that will go toward your child's future dream. Encourage other relatives to give to your child's fund; rather than buy them toys.
 
Mention what your child's desires are to the teacher at your next parent teacher conference or meeting with the school's counselor. Sometimes by getting a teacher or counselor involved in your child's future, you are reinforcing what it is that he or she wants to do. This person may know of some resources that can further help your child.
 
Share your child's dream only with relatives and friends that can help in some way.
Unfortunately, there are some relatives and friends that are negative and unsupportive about most things including parenting. Despite your child's enthusiasm about the family member who gave them their favorite toy, this person may not be so helpful about investing in your child's future. So be very selective who you talk to about your child's dreams and always address anything negative that they may say to your child.
 
Once you have started the task of building your child's dream, don't stop, even if he or she is becoming a bit tired of it. Rather, find other ways to keep your child interested. Your son or daughter may be more excited about his or her dream if he or she can see the dream carried out in a variety of ways. For instance, instead of becoming a veterinarian maybe they really want to work with animals in a circus, on a farm or somewhere else. It's still the same dream: to work with animals just in a way that might be less boring.
 
Sometimes parents can turn children away from dreams simply by becoming too involved. When you notice your child is beginning to act out or quite boldly says, "Mom this isn't about you!" Listen and back off. If your son or daughter needs anything, he or she knows how to find mom and dad.
A child will only give as much energy toward a dream as you allow. So if you choose to approach your child's dream half-heartedly with little or no support, your child may look to something else, then another thing, and still another thing until he or she wins your approval. Children do many things for attention sake, so give them the attention that they seek--be supportive.
 
By Nicholl McGuire

How to Know a Person Can’t Handle Watching Children

A relative, friend, acquaintance, or stranger, may have all told you, “When you need me, just call.” Moments might have come and gone when you may have wished you took them up on their offers, but your gut feeling just wouldn’t let you. What is it about certain people when it comes to your children, you just don’t feel comfortable visiting or leaving your children in their care? They may have children of their own, they may be grandparents, or maybe even your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, but the feeling in the pit of your belly just won’t go away when you have left your children with him or her, maybe it’s time you listen.
 
You have read or heard the reports of men and women who “snap out” on children. The story usually starts out that a trusted relative or partner was left to care for the newborn, toddler, or elementary-aged child and when the mother returned found that her child was murdered. The angry boyfriend or post partum mother couldn’t stand to hear the child’s cries, so he or she chokes the child, breaks some bones, or throws him or her against a wall. Family members and strangers are mortified, “how could someone do such a thing?” They ask. Well, how could they not? You see, there are people in this world that can’t tolerate certain sounds and are mentally incapable of caring for themselves in some aspects of their lives let alone having to care for a child. If you mix an undiagnosed depression, add it with some alcohol, and drugs what do you get?
 
What about a post-partum mother who can barely stand her own children, mixed with caring for someone else’s children, with little money, living in a crowded apartment, what do you get? Some people will scream, “No excuses.” Of course, there are no excuses in situations of murder, there are only facts. The fact is not everyone can handle a screaming child who wants nothing more than a nap, bottle or some attention, but a person not use to answering the calls of a child doesn’t seem to get it.
 
He or she is already overloaded with other issues going on in his or her mind and it just so happens that on one particular day he or she snaps and unfortunately the child was in the line of fire. If these parents had some idea what the caretaker’s mental state was before leaving the child with him or her, they would have never did it, so how does the parent step outside of his or her own immediate needs and look for signs that say, “Don’t leave your child with him or her, they may be prone to harming them?” The following tips will help you reach your own conclusion on whether you should be reconsidering who is currently watching your child, how to avoid a potential disastrous situation, and cancel your plans on that particular day or night and watch your own child.
 
One. Don’t ignore your innate God-given ability to foresee danger. Some people have this kind of intuition better than others. Sometimes those around us will speak to us about matters we can’t feel or see. When you know that your own mother couldn’t handle you when you were a child and her mother was worse, what is the likelihood that grandmother, your sister or brother from the same family just might not be able to deal with the pressure? Children are not going to sit still long enough for anyone to get too much done, and when they do consider it a blessing, so if you know that this person has a pattern of being impatient with children, do yourself and him or her a favor and don’t allow your child to visit unless you can stay with him or her no matter how much they say, “I can watch my niece…I’m good with boys.”
 
Two. Someone makes the statement, “You trust him with your child?” This really means, “I wouldn’t let him watch my child with a ten foot pole.” Evidently this person sees something about this person that you don’t see. Take their advice seriously and don’t take any chances.
 
Three. Impatience is a great sign to look for when trying to determine whether you want someone to watch your child. If you were to give your child a math book or activity book to take with him or her during a visit with a relative or friend, offering to watch him or her, how would he or she react when trying to teach the child how to solve a problem?
 
Four. The caretaker you have in mind has a history of losing his or her temper with children so you have heard. You have seen them in action or heard about their emotional outbursts and mood swings when it comes to children. They become increasingly angry when a child sits on their furniture, touch their treasured keepsakes, turns on their television, or runs through their home. 
 
Five. Dear old great grandmother or grandfather has been accident prone in recent years. Now if he or she can’t seem to keep something in his or her hands without dropping it to the floor, then why would you even think twice about him or her being responsible for lifting your child?
 
Six. Your relative or friend has older children in the home. Now as much as we would like to think that most older children will not do anything to harm a child or influence them in any way to do bad things, the reality is there are many who get a bit of enjoyment telling a child to do some things that would make any mother put her hands over her mouth in shock. If you know that this older child will be spending a great deal of time at the caretaker’s home unsupervised in the house with the little children, consider what your child will be exposed to: music videos, explicit music lyrics, overhearing telephone conversations containing bad language, seeing inappropriate content via the Internet, underage drinking, sex, drugs, etc.
 
Seven. A person who works from home is often preoccupied, a sports fan is spending a great deal of time in front of the television, and a hobbyist may be more concerned about his or her crafts then what is going on around him or her, if these people aren’t use to children and have been known to complain about how others deal with their children, what makes you think your children are any exception to the rule? You know how your children can be at home, you can discipline them in whatever way you want, and move things out of their way, but what precautions will this potential caretaker make and what does he or she have in their home that can keep your children busy? Most importantly, will they be able to sacrifice their time doing other than things to keep their eyes on your children?
 
Eight. Avoid allowing your toddler to be watched by a person who lives in an environment that is cluttered with fragile items, antiques, or other items that they treasure. Some collectors will lose their mind over the slightest dent, scratch, bump, or nick on any item. Although, he or she may really want to help you out, they may not be so understanding if your child breaks one of their priceless possessions. 
  
The best people that are more than capable of watching children are people who have experience babysitting children. They know how to answer the many calls of a crying child. They aren’t easily frustrated when the child doesn’t become still right away. They have their own set of outlets that keep their lives balanced between working with children and doing other things that provide them with a sense of peace. They usually have a belief system or religious faith. However, some caretakers may have experience working with children but don’t have personal issues under control. The obvious characteristics of a person with a personality disorder include: being easily angered, irritated, extremely quiet, impatient, visibly nervous, unbelievably bubbly to the point that they can’t seem to focus on a task and complete it, lies often, very forgetful, cries a lot or moody, as well as other related issues.
 
The key to look for in one who has a mental condition are patterns of some if not all behaviors. Some people who have been prescribed medications also tend to experience side effects that they haven’t got use to, so consider their reaction to the medication as well and how that might affect your children’s safety. There is usually someone around them who knows them well and will advise you that maybe it would be best you don’t leave your children alone with him or her. There are plenty of people with undiagnosed conditions that affect them both mentally and physically like women with severe PMS disorders or menopausal symptoms. There are also men who have their issues of andropause and work related stress that may involve heavy lifting which may contribute to pains that can often leave them moody. There are elderly people who face health ailments like arthritis and dementia. A person who is in pain and often shifting from one mood to the next is just not the best candidate to watch children alone.
 
Consider all of these tips in this article and don’t ignore the quiet voice within, the comments people have said to or around you, your gut feeling or someone else’s or complaints from your child regarding this person or people.

How to Run Your Children Away From Home

You may have remembered how it felt growing up in your household as a child. If you came from a supportive, loving environment and never had any problems with your parents and other relatives, then you are most likely doing a great job raising your children. However, if you came from a household completely the opposite of what was just described, and then there is always that chance that you may recreate the good, the bad, and the ugly experiences from your parents. 
 
So what are some things that you, as a parent, could be doing right now that may be causing your children to think about running away from home? Well, if you have a good memory of your own experiences or those of your friends, have studied some of the issues that children are dealing with nowadays, and talked with young people in your own family, then you should have a good idea what challenges may be creating an anger, sadness, and a heartfelt desire for some to want to get as far away from their parents as they can (including your own.) However, if you don’t have a clue what you could be doing now that may negatively impacting your child enough to want to get away from you, then you will want to read the following signs.
 
My parents are too strict!
 
Do you run a tight ship? The kind of household where your child is simply not allowed to participate in any social events, extracurricular activities, fundraisers, dances, shopping with friends, etc. No exceptions. When they come to you with a request, you immediately tell them, “No.” You don’t bother to offer to drive them anywhere, pick them up, their friends aren’t allowed to come to your house when you are home, and you aren’t interested in meeting their friends’ parents, and then expect your child to rebel. At some point in their lives, they will make up for lost time and the things that you fear the most will show up in full force. It is better that they learn responsibility while they are young then when they are older when mistakes have more damaging effects.
 
A few things parents can do is teach them responsibility by allowing them to do some things on their own, such as going to the store, riding a bus, making phone calls, and dropping them off and picking them up at a store or friend’s house.
 
My parents don’t care what I do!
 
When your child comes to you with some things he or she wants you to participate in and you always manage to get out of helping, showing up, or doing anything that may slightly inconvenience you, most likely there is a resentment building that you don’t know about. How many times do you think your child is going to accept your excuses of “I’m busy…I can’t…I rather…I don’t like?” Find the time and money and show that you are actually interested in the things that bring them joy.
 
My parents are disrespectful of me!
 
Do you find yourself responding to your child in ways that you know that if your child would talk to you in the same tone, you would be offended? Being a parent, doesn’t excuse the fact that one should be answering their child with curse words, yelling, or other ways that belittle them. Usually some parents behave this way, because they may have asked their child repeatedly to do something and it still hasn’t got done. Could it be that the child has no respect for your wishes, because you have no respect for his or hers? If a child always acts like this and hasn’t just started, then there may be some underlying issues that you will need to figure out, but if he or she use to be cooperative and now isn’t, could it be that they are getting weary of your approach? He or she may be waiting for the time when they are older and bigger than you to pay you back for the disrespectful behaviors, while others simply would move as far away as they can, hoping to see you once in awhile if not at all. 
 
In order to gain the respect of one’s child, the parent will have to change his or her tone when asking the child to do a task. For some parents, this is hard advice to swallow since they may come from a background where children were seen but not heard. However, if you want your child to learn to respect others you will have to show them what respect looks like and it doesn’t come from a one way street. One thing you can do is at least act happy to see your child before making a request, rather than look as if he or she is an unexpected burden to your life.
 
Our family never goes anywhere!
 
Does your child ever see you sitting down with the family having a meal, going places as a group, traveling somewhere together, if not, why? Children become adults who reflect back on the past and use that past to shape their future with their own children. Wouldn’t you like to give your child great memories that can be treasured for a lifetime? Try surprising him or her with a movie outing, a mall trip, a treat to McDonalds or a ride for ice cream. Plan a bigger trip by disciplining yourself to put $10-$15 aside as often as you can until you can afford to take them elsewhere. Research the Internet for family entertainment in your local area and plan to attend a fun event.
 
My mom (and dad) is so embarrassing!
 
Drinking, drugs, smoking, having sex in front of children, dressing provocatively are just a few bad examples of parents who have gone wild! Children pay attention to what you do more so than what you say. If they see you doing everything you tell them not to do, more than likely they will want to do it. If any of your habits are negative, they may be severely affected by them and want you to get some help, if you don’t, then why be surprised when they decide to pack an overnight bag and never come back? If you must do things that you wouldn’t want your neighbors to know about, then at least make a rule, “Not in front of the children.”
 
My parents treat my brothers and sisters better than me!
 
Parents need to be mindful of which child they may be treating as the black sheep of the family. Name calling, being overly critical, telling them that they remind them of their father (mother), and saying things that make them feel unloved, will make any child run away or run into the arms of someone who can hurt them. Simply being careful of what you say about them, their father (mother), or someone else they care about, will help them feel safe and know that they are loved.
 
My parents hurt one another and us!
 
No one likes to be around people who yell, cuss, scream, name call, and do things that children have no business witnessing. Even children know the difference between love and hate and happiness and sadness. If you are acting in ways that make them feel uncomfortable, then of course, they will want to leave you. Find out what it is that you are doing that is doing more harm than good. When you see that your children are failing in school, constantly in trouble, and doing other things that are making the hair on your neck raise up, it’s time to evaluate your own behavior, what you are saying and not saying to your children, promises you may have broken, whether you took the time to hear how they feel about a recent tragedy, and other things that may have disrupted them emotionally and physically. Most of all be willing to change for the sake of your children. Too often hard-headed parents make hard-headed children because they don’t want to accept the fact that their way isn’t working.
 
Children don’t just suddenly plan to run away; thoughts usually have been building up for some time. They are angry for past events, feel misplaced due to a relocation, upset because parents don’t act like they care, resentful because their maybe some favoritism going on in the household, and frustrated because no one will listen. These are just a few reasons why children get the bright idea to either run away now or in the future. Keep your eyes open to how long they spend on the Internet, texting or talking on their cell phone, the new or older friends they recently acquired who live independently or have their own car or truck, the friend’s house they are always “hanging out” over, dark poetry, music, and artwork, their friend’s parents who they may brag about, liquor, cigarettes, or drugs they may start using and other similar behaviors they use as their ways of escape from you.
 
By Nicholl McGuire, Find more parenting tips on YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/nmenterprise7

Believe it or Not, Doctors Don't Always Know Best

If I hear one more time a new mother say, "But the doctor said..." I will scream! They aren't gods especially those who have never had their own children. Sometimes the more education you get, the more common sense goes out the window. You see, it is easy to read out of a book "What to do when..." but whether the solution really solves your problem with your child is a whole 'nother problem!

When wise grandma tells you about a home remedy that worked for her eight plus children, new mothers should at least make a consideration. When dad says he knows a few tricks to get a colicky baby to go to sleep (outside the use of Tylenol every other day,) a new father should say, "I'm listening."

These defensive new parents who think they know-it-all because they read something somewhere, the doctor told them or they saw something on TV, should be quiet long enough to say, "Hmm I never tried that."

It isn't any wonder that some babies have diaper rash that never seems to go away, obesity issues, constant health problems and the like, the parents keep going to the same sources for information and coming up with nothing.

I made up in my mind a long time ago (back when I was in my terrible twenties) to at least hear the old folks out. I thought of a time when I tried a stinky herbal remedy for my fussy baby at my grandmother and mother's request. Then my mother-in-law at the time, who hadn't heard about it, had something to say negative, because she hadn't thought of it (but I digress lol.)

I recall when there was an old lady who made a comment about covering my baby's head when she noticed it was getting cooler out. I learned the hard way that evening when my firstborn son cried so much after having a little too much night air exposure on an uncovered head. There were moments when I was warned about candy, cookies and drinks prior to nap and bedtimes, I learned the hard way once again when I couldn't get two of my sons to settle down.

So I leave you with this new parents, value wisdom, it is far more valuable then anything you think you might know.

Nicholl McGuire

Household Chores You Can Teach Children

There are adults who don’t use common sense when it comes to operating certain equipment; could it be that these irresponsible, accident prone adults were never shown how to do anything by their parents? Well you don’t have to be that way; here are some great teaching tools to help your child help you get some household chores done. If you have noticed your child can’t carry a cup across the floor without spilling it, then he may be too young to take on these responsibilities. Teach him or her how to master the spills first, before beginning these tasks.

The ideas following will not mention using the stove simply because it can be a bit intimidating for a small child. So I am sticking with the fun items they usually see on those infomercials on the weekends.
 
Handheld and Regular Vacuum
 
Now I must admit I have had my children using these since they were two. I think it makes them responsible for their messes. Why should I have to vacuum the crumbs out the chairs with the handheld vacuum? Then moments later I have to vacuum more crumbs that have fallen to the floor. One time I counted almost five times in one day cleaning behind my four little boys who rushed to eat at the dining room table back in the summer and then rushed off. Instead of making it an occasional chore, it was one of the main chores on the 7 and 8 year olds list. Now the two year old is using the As Seen on TV Cordless Sweeper to clean up his mess.
  
Steam mop
 
Now I can tell you that this is an absolute blessing! I am not dumping buckets of water in the toilet. Nor, am I wringing out a dirty mop. So I thought if it is this easy for me, surely we can let the kids in on it. They were happy to use it since they saw it on TV. They just press a button to let out some water, let off it when you have your desired amount and let the steam work its magic. They were glad to see the steam mop because they knew that would be more money for them.
 
Toaster
 
Now the toaster is absolutely my very best friend on those days with the children want to get up before the birds chirp. I tell them, “Grab a piece of fruit out of the fridge and drop some toast in the toaster!” They have been dropping toast in the toaster since 5 years along with making their own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
 
Bathroom Wipes
 
Now these are a godsend! You strap those little hands with some gloves give them some wipes and tell them, “Just like I use to wipe your butt when you had poop on it, I want you to wipe the toilet seat first, then throw it away, get a fresh wipe and clean the sink, another for the counter top, and another for all the knobs in the bathroom.” You see that is a start, then when their arms get a little longer or you can do like I did since I couldn’t wait for their arms to get any longer, I bought a squeegee, you know that handy tool that you use to clean your windows at the gas station, and I showed them how to clean the tiled walls, the glass door, and tubs with it. It’s fun for them and another great time saver for me.
 
Now I have no problem giving money to my children for household chores that are outside of their room. However, chores within their rooms are not up for pay. It is automatically expected that at least once a week, they should be checking their room for anything that needs to be thrown out, vacuumed, donated, dusted, and more. 
 
Dusting
 
The children do help with the dusting. They will come and tell me sometimes when they see dust and ask me, “Can I get an old rag and wipe that off?” They don’t have to ask me twice, “Sure and here’s a dollar or two because I didn’t have to ask you.”
 
Laundry, Fold Clothes and Put Them Away
 
I personally knew how to wash clothes at a very young age and I will tell you I remember it was scary in the basement, but it was a comfort to put those clothes in the machine and turn it on. There was something about turning on the machine that killed that eerie silence in the basement. But I digress, so what have I been doing lately to get them ready for this chore is what I call “The Monkey See, Monkey Do” principal. It pretty much goes like this, “Watch what I use, how I measure, and where I place things.” They no to check every pocket before they put something in the laundry and then recheck before the clothes go in the machine. Now the dryer is a little bit tricky because they have to remember to clean the lint tray before (in case someone forgot) and then after. They also have to learn how to feel around to be sure all clothes are dry. That’s it. So sooner or later I will be able to trust them to do it all by themselves.
 
Now other things I plan to show them in the future is Dishwasher Loading and Hand Washing Dishes 101, Stovetop Cooking 102 (the oldest knows how to scramble eggs), and I’m sure if they spend any length of time with other members of the family they will be learning, Gardening 101, Cutting Grass 101, and “Could you help me pick up my tools?” 501, oh that’s me. I grew up with the landscaping classes and I hate them.
 
You see when you have a house with more than one child, you need to start putting the children who are old enough to turn on the television, pick up the remote and select their favorite show, to work. Too many mothers are absolutely burnt out because their man isn’t cleaning, the children aren’t cleaning, and anyone who doesn’t live there isn’t offering to help. She has to be the one to put the dishes away, tend to the little ones, cook, do laundry, and so on and so forth while everyone else is usually seated in front of the idiot box watching the game. I think not! Everyone has a weekly chore or two or three to do in my house. 
 
So how do you get these folks to participate? You manage to get the older children to do things by reminding them about what is in your wallet. If you have taught them well about the power of money, then they will be more than happy to help out. You get the preschoolers to work by reminding them of that toy they saw on TV, the favorite snack they want, or some other thing they absolutely love. As for the husband, well you know if you come to bed exhausted enough, then he will see a pattern and start pitching in or making them help (if you have a lazy child or two) because he is missing out on the things he wants too! Know what I mean!? It takes some training, but once the children see you aren’t a wishy-washy parent --you mean what you say, and your spouse sees that you can really use the help; they will all respect you and do their chores. Otherwise, you can always go on a long vacation.

ABC Reading: Placing Education Before Everything Else

ABC Reading: Placing Education Before Everything Else
Great Learning Toys for Babies and Toddlers, Click Image and Start Shopping Today!

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