May 172013

The idea of dressage to modern music made me smile… I wonder if this was the original background music or something created for YouTube.  Either way, enjoy.  And have a great weekend.  Any special plans?


Apr 232013
Uniformed Letter Carrier with Child in Mailbag

Letter Carrier with Child in Mailbag (Photo credit: Smithsonian Institution)


Are you a good parent?

It’s the question on all of our minds… and we really want to say ‘yes.’  But has it ever occurred to you that the answer to that question depends, in large part, on who you ask.  Think about it…

The “smalls” often give an A+ grade to any parent who:

  • serves ice cream for breakfast,
  • doesn’t care about bedtime, and
  • provides continuous access to cartoons.

Elementary school kids might award highest honors to parents who:

  • believes them when they report they  “don’t have any homework”
  • run interference with any teacher who dares to disagree
  • and are certain the soccer coach plays “favorites”

By middle school the stakes are higher; the “three c’s” come to mind:

  • cell phones
  • credit cards and
  • curfews (the later the better, right?)

Silly?  Not really.  Far too many of us allow our definition of “good parenting” to come from the kids.

Unfortunately, they’re not yet equipped to make that judgement.


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Feb 012013
High quality ostrich feather duster

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you want your children to think of themselves as guests in your home or as vital family members who contribute to its daily operation?  If you answered “family members making a vital contribution” then you might be ready to look at household chores with a new eye.

Chores are an important part of a child’s sense of independence, and help to teach that duties and responsibilities don’t have to be onerous and tedious. Kids who are assigned a regular slate of chores to complete will often find creative ways to get them done, and may even find newer, better ways to achieve desired results.

The simple act of completing chores on schedule can contribute to developing both discipline and a strong work ethic.  Independence, responsibility, creativity and innovation are all traits that can enhance it.

Make Chores Fun

If you’re concerned about getting that roll-the-eyes, “you’ve got to be kidding” stare from your kids when you tell them they’re now responsible for taking out the trash every Wednesday, you’re not alone. But instead of threatening or grounding them for six months, try this: re-frame the chore to make it fun. A little motivation never hurts and helps drive home the idea that work is worth doing well.

If, for example, if one of the weekend mornings is devoted to weekly housecleaning, you could:

· Have a race – “Can you finish cleaning the bathroom before I’m done in the kitchen?”

· Play a game – Set a number of points per project… Add for ‘extra good work’ and/or ‘no reminders needed.’ Subtract for sub-par work.  (Give a prize if you want e.g an extra bedtime story or 15 minutes later to bed for example.)

· Add music – “The first person to start Saturday morning chores gets to choose the music that we all listen to while we’re working.” (This is also a good way to check in on your kiddos’ taste in music from time to time.)

· Make a date to do something fun when everything’s done. (Give yourself “bonus points” if it’s fun and FREE like taking a walk, or playing catch in the backyard!)

Keep in mind that the important thing is that the child learns to do the task, rather than worrying about getting it perfect. Every successful adult interviewed for What Kids Need to Succeed shared responsibilities at home, and many had jobs outside the family to earn money.