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IconSummer Reading for You Your Teens By Patricia Chadwick www.parentsandteens.com patti@parentsandteens.com Though summer can be very hectic and busy with camps, vacations, and a host of other activities, I encourage you to take the time to relax and catch up on your reading - and encourage your teenagers to do the same. When my kids were younger, every summer we had a reading chart. As they would finish the required hours of reading they'd mark it off on the chart and collect their prize from mom. If they finished the entire chart, they got a special "Grand Prize". Even though they are teenagers now, I still use a reading chart to encourage reading in my kids. For every 4 hours of reading I give them a small prize like an ice cream sundae, a ticket to the local minor league baseball game ($2.00), a tube of lipstick or other make up, candy bars, etc. You get the idea. Something that costs a dollar or two. If they finish the entire chart, ( I usually set it around 35 hours of reading) I give them something special. They pick the prize before we start, and it usually costs about $10.00. I encourage you to start your own reading program with your teen. Mine may not work for you. Be creative and come up with something that will work for your family. Set goals for all of you and plan on achieving them this summer! When you get tired of the frantic pace that summer can bring, steal away and curl up with a good book. Patti Chadwick is the creator of Parents Teens found at www.parentsandteens.com . She is also the author of MISSION POSSIBLE: RAISING GREAT TEENS! and LOOK UP! A 30-Day Devotional Journal for Teens. Both books are available on her website in both ebook and print formats. To purchase visit: https://www.pcpublications.org/pt/securebookform.html . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

IconLearning to Read Is Child's Play By Jeanie Eller www.ActionReading.com Find out if your child can read. Sit down with your child. Take something they have not memorized (like a story in today#146;s newspaper or this article) and have your child read it out loud to you. If your child has completed first grade they should be able to fluently, accurately and independently read a story in the newspaper and answer comprehension questions about the story. If they cannot, you need to immediately teach your child to read. The Federal Government spent 2 Billion Dollars of our tax money to find out how children learn to read. They came up with 7 principles of learning to read. The following are ways that you can teach these principles and your child can enjoy learning to read. Phonemic awareness just means the awareness that words are made up of sounds. A person (child or adult) must have this awareness before they can move on to the next step of learning to read. Sing songs; play rhyming games and start making the connection of the beginning sound of the child#146;s name with the symbol (letter) that represents that sound. For example if the child#146;s name is Keelan, every time you see a letter K in a book or on a sign, say, #147;Look, there#146;s your sound kuh. kuh#148;. Do not call it by its letter name Kay. Call it by its sound, kuh. Teach your child letter sounds not letter names. Teach your child the aah, buh, cuhs first, not the ABCs. Letter names do not make words. Sea Aye Tea does not make a word. When your child says the sounds of the letters, Cuh-aah-tuh the word #147;cat#148; will come right out of their mouth. For help with teaching the sounds get the FUNdamentals program. You can also make and play the following games. Have your child make an Aah-Buh-Cuh Book. Take a cheap scrapbook with white or beige pages. At the top of each page write one letter. (Both capitol and lower case). Let your child cut or tear pages out of magazines and paste them on the appropriate pages. I also let my children have any duplicate photos. My son pasted a picture of a friend at a party on the Dd page and said, #147;Dan Doherty dancing. Duh, duh, duh#148;. Aah-Buh-Cuh Bingo. Take a piece of paper and make 5 rows across and 5 rows down to form 25 Bingo squares. Say a word that begins with each sound of the alphabet. You can always leave out one. Have the child write the capital and lower case letter for the sound. Then give the child Cheerios or MMs to use for markers. Say a word that begins with a sound and the child will find that sound and put the marker on it. When they have a straight line across, down or diagonally they say #147;Aah-Buh-Cuh#148; and they get to eat that row. Aah-Buh-Cuh Checkers. Take a cheap checkerboard and write the letters in random order with a black marker. Each time the child moves apiece they say the sound they are moving to. If they forget or say the wrong sound, they lose a turn. Tips on How to Help Your Child with Reading From LEARNING TO READ IS CHILD#146;S PLAY. Jeanie Eller has been a classroom teacher for over 36 years. She trains teachers all over the country. She taught illiterate adults to read in two weeks for the Oprah Winfrey Show. She is the developer of the ACTION READING FUNdamentals learn to read at home program. She can be reached at: 1-800-378-1046 or www.ActionReading.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

IconCrabby Kid Day Shelly Burke www.homeiswherethemomis.com Just like mom and dad, kids have bad days. Their trauma of missing Barbie dolls, or dropping a pass during the recess football game may not be as dramatic as a big people crisis, but they're still real to the kids. Sometimes you can tell your child is going to have a bad day from the moment he wakes up, grumpy. Or, you can tell by the way your daughter walks into the house after school that she had a bad day. Try to find out the cause of the bad mood. Bad moods may be a result of changes in the child's life, like starting school, a new sibling, potty training, or vacation. It might be the first warning of an illness, or there might be no discernable cause. Tips for Helping Kids get Through a Bad Day Talk about it Even young children can answer your question, what's making you unhappy? You might have to ask more direct questions of older kids, like, what's bothering you? or, did something in school happen to upset you? Sympathize with what happened, talk about it (if your child wants to), dry tears, and give hugs. If your child doesn't want to talk about it, reassure her that, when you want to tell me about it, let me know and we can talk. Time alone Ask your child if he wants to be alone, and respect his wishes to play, pout, read, rest, cry, watch a video, or just relax. Check in on him periodically to see if he's ready to talk. Stay close Even if your child doesn't want to talk, she might want to be close to you. Talk about your day, take a walk, tell a joke, tickle her, wrestle, read a book, bake cookies together, or let her just sit on your lap and be close. Eat! Even if it's not nutritious, a snack will increase his blood sugar and may improve his mood. Take charge If grumpiness or a bad mood is out of proportion to what caused it, or affecting the whole family, it's time to be firm. Say, enough talking about it for now. It's time to think about something else. Let's do something fun! The tactics you use depend on your child and the particular situation. Try as many different things as you need to. With a little help from you, your children can get through bad days. Shelly Burke is the author of Home is Where the Mom Is. For more information, to read another excerpt, or to order, go to www.homeiswherethemomis.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconThe Mother of All Battles - Redux By Judy Gruen copy;2003 (For permission to reprint, either online or in print, please send me an email at judy@judygruen.com . Forwarding is most welcome. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com) I breezed through the kitchen as the kids were in their usual seated positions, wolfing down breakfast and snatching at the berries from other people's bowls. Canvassing the riot of cereal boxes, milk cartons, and lunch fixings mussing up my kitchen, I decided this was as good a time as any to introduce my brand new parenting technique. I cleared my throat and addressed the masses. "Good morning. Beginning today, I will conduct a daily briefing with all of you at 0700 hours to assess the status of Operation House Clean-Up. First, everybody needs to participate in mop-up operations after breakfast. I will also assign you each a reconnaissance mission throughout other areas of the house that are not yet secured from mayhem, dirty school pants, and puzzles half-completed and then abandoned. When these goals are achieved, we will reconnoiter at the van at 0745 to leave for school, most likely joining a long convoy of other vans, so make sure to use the latrine before we exit." "Why are you talking like Donald Rumsfeld?" asked an older child. "What do you have against Rummy?" I asked, feeling defensive. It has given me no end of pleasure in recent weeks to watch this man stare down journalists asking "Are we there yet?" questions about the war. How could anyone fail to admire a guy who wasn't afraid to let journalists know when they were asking stupid or repetitive questions, which was often? I proceeded. "Furthermore, it has come to my attention that episodes of looting have taken place in one of the boys' rooms. Be forewarned that this type of activity will not be tolerated. Perpetrators will be captured and will feel the consequences." "I thought this war was supposed to be about freedom from tyranny," moped another kid who, I had just decided, had been reading too many war articles in the newspaper. "You're taking away our civil liberties! It's our right as kids to make messes and then just get up and leave them." "Look," I explained, "how many resolutions need to be made and then broken before you people know I'm serious? Look at this place! Backpacks all over the floor, homework lying around on the dining room table, empty Corn Pops boxes on the counter. Why, last night I personally witnessed at least a dozen sock-flying sorties in the no-fly zone in the living room. I'm looking for a coalition of the willing to introduce some order here." Then another kid piped up. "What happens if we don't want to join? Do you really intend to go it alone, and force your will on us unilaterally?" "What will happen is that those individuals who fail to join our coalition might find their faces on a pack of playing cards with WANTED notices written under their names, their last known whereabouts, and a reward fortheir capture." "If we agree to join your coalition of the willing, does that mean we can also go without showers for a month, like the Marines in Iraq?" The boy who asked this looked hopeful. "I'll have to refer that question to Central Command, which happens to be me. The answer is No." At this point the kids became quiet, except for the one busily blowing bubbles into his sugary cereal milk with a straw. This seemed to settle the matter for a few days, though I encountered pockets of resistance throughout the house. Some of my recruits had trouble prioritizing. For example, my daughter found it more important to gently wave her hands around outside as her nails dried than to set the table for dinner. And the boys still found playing computer war games more gripping than sorting laundry. Go figure. However, I remain undeterred in my mission. My only fear is that if I get too tough, I might find the kids slapping my photo with their shoes. On the other hand, at least I will have found a way to make them pick up their shoes from the floor in the first place. Judy Gruen is the author of "Till We Eat Again: Confessions of a DietDropout" and " Carpool Tunnel Syndrome: Motherhood as Shuttle Diplomacy "(both from Champion Press). Subscribe to Judy's email humor column at www.judygruen.com . Enter your email on the Newsletter page or write to her at judy@judygruen.com . More >>

IconRemembering to Nurture The Nurturer Homebodies By Cheryl Gochnauer Cheryl@homebodies.org It's a good thing Carrie was born on a Sunday, or her daddy might havemissed the whole thing. The year Carrie arrived, Terry was workingfull-time, plus starting his own business on the side. He allowedhimself one day off a week. That's it. The other six days, he workedevery waking hour, and many of the ones when he should have beensleeping. Was he a workaholic because he was supporting his stay-at-home wife? Nope. I was working full-time, too. And because he was sleeping when Iwas working, we never saw each other. Literally. I take that back. We had a standing date for lunch on Wednesdays. Wemet at a little cafeacute; near my office, 1-2 p.m. Then he had to run. Two years of this ridiculous lifestyle brought us nothing but a failedbusiness and an almost failed marriage. Absence does not make the heartgrow fonder. Absence makes the heart grow resentful. Many couples who have had to deal with love on tight schedules know whatI'm talking about. A great relief settled on the Gochnauer householdonce Terry dropped the second job. And when I came home two yearslater, our marriage really started to grow. That's because we were finally able to spend lots of time together. Itdidn#146;t matter what shift Terry worked, because when he was off, I wasoff. We hear a lot about how having a stay-at-home mom benefits kids. I'mhere to tell you - having a stay-at-home wife benefits a husband, too. But what if we're working opposite shifts so our children are never indaycare? Be careful. Sometimes we get in trouble by focusing too much on thekids and not enough on Mom and Dad. It's crucial that we cultivate therelationship that's holding this family together, treating it with asmuch respect as the mother and child bond. Whatever schedule you and your husband are on, build in lots of qualityAND quantity time for the two of you alone. A peck on the cheek as thebaby is passed from one parent to the other isn't going to cut it. Each husband and wife needs to feel as loved as the children they'renurturing. Try to find the balance that will allow all members of yourfamily to blossom, as everyone receives the affection and attention theyneed. You might want to check out Cheryl#146;s latest book, #147;Stay-at-HomeHandbook: Advice on Parenting, Finances, Career, Surviving Each Day More#148; (InterVarsity Press, 2002) from your local library. If you#146;drather have your own copy, visit www.homebodies.org/bookstore/orderSAHH.htm or write Cheryl@homebodies.org . You can also read her column on the Web by clicking here . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconA Process To Deal With War/Terrorism Jitters How We and Our Nation Can Learn To Cope with the Worries Over The War With Iraq By Dr. J. Mitchell Perry, Business Psychologist and Human Performance Expert We are being bombarded daily with war news in Iraq.The news is unsettling and unnerving and is taking a toll with the serenity ofAmericans at home. We are becoming more worried than usual, and some of us are having trouble coping with the stress.How can we cope with this threat to our well-being and life- as- we-know it?Here are five tips: Accept the Reality That War/Terrorism Happens Recognize that war is a constant and that war will always be with us. About a dozen wars are ongoing in the world at any given time. Understand that terrorism and war rocks our perception of stability, but, in essence, stability is merely a perception. Remember that you will always feel better when you accept circumstances as they are rather than agonizing about how things should be. Control Over- Compensating Behavior By overeating, over-drinking, gambling, incurring credit card debt, chronic lying, overworking, etc., we are living our lives out of control. Start by identifying the out of balance indicators. Next start to solve aberrant behaviors to get our life back in order. Take some proactive steps toward more control and responsibility over what you can control. Lose the weight, exercise, get your financial house in order, increase your effort to live up to your basic governing standards, manage your time better....in short take more command over your life. When you do, you will find the severity of concerns/worries about the war with Iraq will lessen once you have better control over your own personal and business life. Look At the Threat Realistically By accepting the reality of war, we can focus on a solution on how to deal with it. When we focus on a solution, we will go beyond merely describing the problem and provide ourselves with mental and emotional tools. Problem describing can be a chronic habit and lead to more worries, increased perception of helplessness and powerlessness. So spend more of your time focusing on problem solution. Your power will increase and so will your ability to cope with the reality of war. Keep the "Worry" In Context with the Rest of Our Lives Change your behavior to protect against the perception of disaster. Preparefor and be ready to accept a new reality. Since September 11, the world has changed and so have our ways of dealing with national security. We now face the task of coming to terms with the daily threat of terrorism. Remember that other countries have been dealing with this for years (like Israel and South Africa). When you catastrophize, you get weaker. When you concentrate on what you can do, you get stronger. Focus On Connection With Others Around You Spend more time making contact with people your care about. Strengthen those relationships that need time and attention. Do the maintenance on yourself and those important people in your lives. Make your relationships closer and you will feel stronger and less alone. Get out of worrying alone and spend more time with others. In that way you will feel less hostage to the latest news release promoting fear. The reality is that we have more control than we think over what develops in our lives. Sometimes events outside our control can be a threat to our perception of control. However, our journey can be smoother once we strengthen our lives with more balance. Our goal is to increase our personal power and decrease being hostage to fear. The above ideas can aid significantly in that goal. Dr. J. Mitchell Perry is a business psychologist, author and human performance expert. He is based in Ventura, California and his website is www.jmperry.com . Email: drjmperry@jmperry.com Phone: 800 JMPERRY. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconJust Say No....and Challenge Yourself By Carrie Myers Smith Saying no is tough! But it's a necessity if you're to become a woman inwellness. Recently, a friend and I were talking. Her son was playingbasketball (among other activities, including karate and snowboarding),our boys were not. She wanted to know how we did it. "How do you do it? How do you say no?" "Simple," I replied. "I open my mouth." Okay, so it's not really thatsimple. In a nutshell, you first need to desire a certain outcome. Inthis case, we didn't want to confine our entire winter-weekends and week to basketball. Secondly, you need to make a choice-either go withwhat you desire, or choose what you know in the end will not make youhappy. We chose to not do basketball. Our boys do soccer and baseball,and we thought that was plenty. Since we live in the Northeast, they didoutdoor activities instead-and didn't suffer because of missing out onbasketball. Finally, you need to act on your decision. That's whereactually saying no comes in. If you live in a small town, you understand the pressure for your kidsto be involved in everything. And because everyone knows everyone, smalltown people really have a knack for slathering on the guilt when youdecline. But you need to decide what is best for you and your family,not what's in the town's best interest. In our case, it definitely paidoff. The parents whose kids played basketball complained all season longbecause of the crazy schedule. Weeknights and every weekend wereengulfed in basketball. Some games were more than two hours away. Andsome days, they had a game somewhere in the morning and another gamesomewhere else in the afternoon. Did I mention these werenine-year-olds? Learning to say no is one of the first steps in becoming a woman inwellness and building the healthy life you and your family deserve. Now,go to a mirror and practice saying it: no, no, no. You can do it! Challenge Yourself Have you come to a point in your life where you feel good rather thanguilt for saying no? Obviously, there are times we have to say no tosomething we really wish we could say yes to. But so much of our livesis filled with fulfilling other people's expectations of us. How manyhours a week are you spending on fulfilling other people's expectations?How many hours a week are you at your home? How much time does yourfamily spend as down time-together? I want you to do a littleexperiment. Keep a log for a week of your schedule. I don't just mean acalendar. I mean, really keep track of what everyone is doing. Tally upthe time each day that everyone is together. If you're single, keeptrack of how much time you're at home or doing something you reallyenjoy-work doesn't count! At the end of the week, figure out how muchtime you actually spent with someone else in your family. How much timeis everyone in the house at the same time? Sleeping doesn't count! Nowsit down with your family and show them the results. Discuss whatactivities each person could consider cutting down on. I'm notadvocating quitting half-way through a sports season or otherresponsibility. But begin today to practice saying no. Stop and think ofthe implications it will have on yourself and your family if you take on"just one more thing." One other thing I encourage you to do is considereach of your children's true gifts and talents. Are they being nurtured?In our Super Woman ways, we try desperately to create Super Offspring,often at the expense of nurturing their true gifts. There is so muchcompetition in today's world to have well-rounded kids. They know alittle bit about a lot of things, but each child has a special talent. Ichallenge you to sit down with each child and discuss this with him orher. Kids get stressed out, too, and they may be relieved to have yourblessing to cut down on some of their activities. Carrie Myers Smith is a Wellness Coach, contributing editor for Energymagazine and founder and president of www.womeninwellness.com . Click here for a free 30 day trial toCarrie's Women in Wellness Life Coaching Program. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconThe "Marriage Advantage" Married Men Earn More Joanne Watson Studies show married men earn an average of 10-40% more money than thosewho have never married, yet have similar education and work experience. And in the current economy, being part of a team, is one way to giveyourself a real advantage. If you are a stay-at-home mom (or want to beone) you can contribute to the family income by helping your husbandmake more money, while being home with your kids. Here are some tips for couples who want to work together to boost theirincome. Build your husband's confidence. Confidence will open a lot of doors.Get him to tell you about the five accomplishments he is most proud of,and write them down. Then add his best qualities to the list. Is heeasy-going? Dependable? Persistent and methodical? Creative? Once herealizes how valuable he is to an employer, it will be much easier to goafter a raise or a higher-paying job and get it. Husband and Wife networking. Think about who you know that could giveyour husband an introduction to a great, higher-paying opportunity. Itcould be someone you meet on the job, at the PTA, a volunteer activityor any number of places. If you are the social type, you may also wantto have parties or host charity functions to give your husband a chanceto connect with his business contacts on a social level. Help "Market" your husband. He may be great at his profession, butthat doesn't mean he is great at marketing himself. Help him get aterrific resume done, send a mailing to employers, and help make him theemployee they just have to have. Practice with him. Asking for a raise or interviewing for a job can beawkward. If you practice over and over, your husband will be preparedfor the possible questions and responses and will be ready with his"come-backs". By practicing with him, he will be cool, calm andcollected and you will increase his chances of success. Share his dreams. Having someone who believes in your dreams andgoals, and talking about them can help them materialize. Every greatcompany was once just an idea, and most top executives started outsomewhere less prestigious, but they had a goal and they accomplishedit. Listen to his dreams and offer support and encouragement, and youmay help him accomplish his goals as well. There are many ways you can help boost your husband's earnings. Byforming a team, couples can make the "marriage advantage" work for them,and help make at-home parenting affordable. Joanne Watson is the author of How to Help Your Husband Make More Money,So You Can Be a Stay-at-Home Mom (Warner Books Jan. 2003). Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconFour Ways To Take Back Your Family's Time Together by Leslie Godwin, MFCC, Career Life-Transition Coach Year-round school makes scheduling family vacations next to impossible. Sports practices often take precedence over family dinners. Pagers, cell phones, and laptop computers keep us tethered to work no matter where we are. Many families are bossed around by schedules on steroids and are starting to fight to get their lives back. You may not be ready to declare war on school officials, team coaches or your boss, but you can improve the quantity AND quality of time together by putting these ideas to work: HOLD FAMILY MEETINGS: A weekly family meeting provides the time and place to discuss family priorities and goals, as well as major and minor disputes (everything from "Kelly went in my room again and borrowed my clothes!!" to "I want to sleep over at Stephanie's house this weekend. I can get my chores done Thursday.") BASE OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES ON FAMILY PRIORITIES: Your family meetings will give you a chance to create family guidelines or rules. Base family and outside activity levels on those agreed-upon priorities and values. This has the wonderful side-effect of teaching your kids how to plan the details of life based on the Big Picture. ENSURE UNSTRUCTURED FAMILY TIME: Kids and adults need unstructured time to read, play, and just hang out together. Too much structured time doesn't allow spontaneity and doesn't teach your children that grown-ups can play and have fun without needing fancy vacations, trips to amusement parks, or other pre-packaged ways to enjoy themselves. (Don't you wish your parents taught you this lesson when it would have been easy to learn?) Enjoying time together is easier when you have a playful attitude. What if you acted playfully and relaxed in these everyday situations: bathtime, when preparing dinner or when helping your child get dressed. (Within reason, of course. I understand that as soon as parents step inside a supermarket, children become inhabited by aliens.) TEACH YOURSELF, SO YOU CAN TEACH YOUR KIDS, HOW TO VALUE BEING IN THE MOMENT: Many young children know this but forget it when social and family pressures to "do" and "accomplish" start to crowd out the more subtle appreciation of being in the moment. This is best taught non-verbally by your example. So here are some ways to teach YOURSELF how to be more present in the moment: Meditate a few minutes every day to quiet your mind and feel centered. Be aware of when you are getting caught up in an emotion like fear or excitement about something that MIGHT happen and calmly ground yourself in the present moment as much as possible. Don't schedule activities too closely together. When you're rushing, you aren't in the moment. Instead, make an effort to do your chores, work, and other activities on your body's natural schedule so you can relax and enjoy (most of) them. You'll probably save time because you won't make as many mistakes as you would if you were in a hurry. Life isn't going to slow down so we can catch up. So the next time you find yourself saying, "Let's go, we're running late!" take a deep breath, remind yourself that you're getting off track, and refuse to be bossed around by your schedule. Leslie Godwin, MFCC, is a Career Life-Transition Coach specializing in helping people put their families, faith, and principles first when making career and life choices. She publishes a free email newsletter on career and life transition. To subscribe, email godwinpss@aol.com and mention that you'd like to be on the email newsletter list. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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