Saturday, January 31, 2015

More than 100 Valentine's Day Activities


There are so many fun ways to celebrate Valentine's Day!  Which will you choose?  Don't limit yourself to Valentine's Day, though...you can celebrate love all through the year!

You can find all of the above ideas (and more) by going HERE.

Want another fun, heart-based activity that helps kids build compassion?

Sure! Here you go...


Find it here:


Here's hoping you have all the love you can handle in your life!

Related:

Our popular...


Find it all here:




Thursday, January 29, 2015

Social Skills Heart Bundle

Social Skills Heart Bundle - BIG Savings: 
Strategies that Work!

 
The big-daddy of social skills development. Get two units in one, PLUS
our Lunchbox Love Notes freebie, all in one convenient download.

$18.00 if purchased separately.
Just $13.00 for a Limited Time!

Add to Cart

In This Bundle You'll Get:



PLUS...





PLUS...


All in One Convenient Download!
This product will be delivered as one unit, as an instant download. As soon as 
payment is received, you will receive a link with one, quick download containing
all of the products.

Just $13.00 for EVERYTHING!

Add to Cart

Monday, January 26, 2015

Raising Generous Hearted Kids


Kindness and Compassion: Generous-Hearted Kids

Saying that parenting is a tough job is an understatement. We have to provide physically and emotionally for our children, teach them right from wrong, and guide them to be productive citizens. Part of being a productive citizen includes getting along well with others, which includes being kind and generous. Those skills go a long way towards helping your child be successful in other endeavors.

Let’s take a look at some of the BEST ways we know to encourage these behaviors of altruism.

1.  Model it.  The best way to raise kind and generous children is to model selflessness. Be willing to serve others and do so both when and where your children will see you. Shovel snow for an elderly neighbor, serve meals at a homeless shelter, or deliver meals to the elderly or housebound. Encourage your children to join you as you reach out to others.

2.  Make a game of it. Encourage your little ones to take turns by giving them something. When they give it back to you, praise them or clap your hands to display your approval. Say, “That’s so kind of you to share! Thank you!”  This is reinforced by their desire to please you and will prepare them to learn to share.

3.  Feelings matter. Besides teaching your child to share, you also want them to learn to understand another’s feelings. You want your children to pay attention to others when they’re being spoken to, so your best choice is to stop what you’re doing and pay attention to them. Since children are little copycats, they’re likely to duplicate what they’re shown. Remember the poem,“Children Learn What They Live”, modeling how you want your child to act is the best way to teach them empathy.

4.  Generosity is contagious.  Let your children see your generosity. Let them see you write out a check to a local charity. Encourage them to let go of some toys they no longer play with or clothing they no longer wear. This will be easier for them when they get new things. Allow them to take the items they’re giving away to a local women’s shelter or children’s charity.

5.  Encourage gratitude.  Teach your child to acknowledge gifts they receive. Rather than simply telling someone thank you, help them write thank you notes for each gift. This may be difficult for very small children, but it should be easy for older children who can write. Not only will this activity teach your children to be considerate - it can also help their handwriting skills.

6.  Grow kind hearts.  Teaching children (even young children) about kindness is something we can do intentionally and over time.  When we make it fun and activity-based, the learning takes hold even quicker! Incorporate social skill building into your day at home, in the classroom or in your childcare setting! See our Social Skill Heart Bundle (below)  for kindness and compassion for more details.
  

Thinking of ways of teaching kids how to be generous can be a challenge, but one that’s well worth it. The rewarding feeling you get when you see them demonstrate kindness, generosity and altruism.


____________________________________________________

Social Skills Heart Bundle - BIG Savings: 
Strategies that Work!


$18.00 if purchased separately.
Just $13.00 for a Limited Time!

Add to Cart

In This Bundle You'll Get:



PLUS...




PLUS...


All in One Convenient Download!
This product will be delivered as one unit, as an instant download. As soon as 
payment is received, you will receive a link with one, quick download containing
all of the products.

Just $13.00 for EVERYTHING!

Add to Cart

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Clutter Busters for Busy Parents



Clutter Busters for Busy Parents

No, it’s not spring yet, but if you’re like many people, you may have the urge to purge right about now.  When the calendar turns to a new year and the holiday décor is all put away, it’s the perfect time to spruce things up and make space for all the great things about to come into your life in the coming year.

Good News: You Don't Have to Do It All at Once

With a jam-packed schedule, you may find it hard to find the time to get it all done.  Don’t fret, there’s good news.  You don’t have to do it all at once. Break it down into manageable steps and you’ll chip away at it bit by bit until you’re done.

Take Your Time

Home organization is a step-by-step process.  It generally takes more than a day, or even a week, to get everything just the way you want it, but once you do staying organized is an easier task.  If you have a family, enlist their help.  They can pitch in and learn a thing or two about controlling clutter in their life. 

1. Start with the high traffic areas.  The living room and kitchen are usually the two most used rooms in the house.  Everything gets dropped on a counter, chair or table in these two places.  Concentrate on getting everything set up the way that you like it before moving on to another room.

How about this to corral the little whatcha-ma-call-its, like tv remotes that always get misplaced...or even fruit...


Incorporate pleasing-to-the-eye storage solutions for things you know will continue to end up on the counter, such as mail and bills.  Why not keep it all OFF the counter in this storage piece that does triple-duty: letter-holder, message center and key rack, all in one!


Increase your counter space even more, when you find a space on the wall for magazines or files...


2. Use storage containers.  Over the years, the style of storage containers has upgraded to be pretty as well as functional.  Instead of storing containers in stacks in the garage, purchase ones that match your décor in each room and integrate them so that no one would even notice they were being used for storage.

These wooden storage crates can round up a mess of clutter for you...use them in different rooms...


If you don't mind the contents showing, you might like wire baskets...




3. Divide items into categories.  You can use heavy duty trash bags for this part, or reusable cotton canvas laundry bags.

Everything that you find can go into a pile:

KEEP, THROW AWAY, DONATE, and RELOCATE. 

Items that will stay in that room are to keep.  Things that you don’t need or are broken can be thrown away.  Clothes or furniture still in great condition can be donated and scheduled for pickup by the Veteran’s association or Goodwill.  Anything that definitely belongs in another room can be labeled for relocation when you get to that room.



4. Remove everything from drawers, counters and cabinets.  This is a time-consuming process but it is easier to start with an empty space and fill it instead of simply pushing things around.  You can involve the kids in sorting and organizing here!

Ready to put it all back together?

Invest in a lovely drawer organizer. This one is expandable.


And pretty things up just a bit with self-adhesive shelf paper. Get your happy on, every time you open a drawer!



5. Make use of all of your available space.  In the kitchen, for example, appliances or extra containers can be stored on top of the cabinets provided they don’t extend all the way to the ceiling.  That’s extra storage space without benefit of a storage container.  Also use the top of the refrigerator for cereal boxes and breakfast food like boxes of instant oatmeal.  In the bedroom, shoes and
winter clothes can go into flat storage bins that slide easily under the bed or the dresser.

Keep like-items together on top of the fridge with big baskets (it helps hide the contents, plus...just one grab and you have all of the items together for breakfast or what have you)...



6. Label your containers.  Use tape and a permanent marker to identify the contents of your storage containers.  Avoid writing on the actual container in case they are reused and the contents are changed.  Get creative with your labeling!

Give these rustic mini-chalkboards a whirl. They'd be so cute hanging on a basket...




Organizing your entire house takes time.  But, once it is done, returning everything you use to its proper place will maintain that same level of organization. That means more time for family and fun. Who doesn't want that?

What's your favorite way to organize?


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Communicate: 7 Ways to Do It Better in Your Family


Communicate Better with Your Family: 7 Tips

You know that feeling of "flow" you get when things are in harmony and everything just seems to click? It's a feeling we get when we understand each other, which in its purest form, means we are effectively communicating.

And when we're off, we're off.  Sometimes we seem to misunderstand and miscommunicate on multiple levels.  At such times, we seem light years away from those we love the most.

Want to stay in "flow" more often than not? Follow these seven tips to keep yourself feeling close to those you love.
The good news? Even when those you love have a hard time keeping these rules, you can still do it. It will make a difference. Try it and see.

Tips to strengthen your communication skills:

1.      Be a good listener. Learning how to listen effectively is the first line of defense in good communication. You can be great at speaking, but if you don't understand others, the skill may be useless. Plus...being able to really listen to others helps them trust you and feel that you truly "get them.  

You can strengthen your listening skills by just paying closer attention when others are speaking. Allow them to finish their thoughts before you speak again.

You can further strengthen your listening skills by checking for understanding.  Do this by paraphrasing what the other person just said, and ask them if you hear correctly.  Then, respond with your thoughts on the matter.

2.      Be flexible and open. Even if it's not the most convenient time for you, strive to be there for your loved ones when they want to talk. It's important for them to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with you. This is especially important with our kids and teens.  When they are ready to talk, we need to be prepared to listen.  Those moments may be fleeting, and we'll want to capture them when we can.

3.      When it's possible, prepare what you're going to say. Sometimes communication issues happen just because you don't say what you mean. This happens more often than you think! Thinking it through before you speak ensures that you send the message you intend.
  • Even in the middle of a conversation, take a moment to plan what you're going to say next before you say it. Don't be afraid to say, "Let me try to put this in a way that makes sense."  "I'm thinking of a way to put it the best way I can." Don't feel you have to have an immediate response.  Allow yourself time to think of your response.
4.      Avoid jumping to conclusions. Jumping to conclusions serves no one. You might be assuming something that isn't even true. It's important to find out your loved ones' true thoughts and feelings and clarify yours as well. Knowing the whole story can save people from getting hurt by incorrect assumptions, yourself included. Again, check for understanding, "Let me make sure I hear you right." "You are thinking that...", "You wish that...", "You want to..."  Checking for understanding can clear up a variety of ills.

5.      Strive for understanding. Sometimes you'll hold yourself and your loved ones to higher standards than you expect from others.  Remember: no one is perfect, including you. If someone makes a mistake, explain to them that it's okay.

·        Avoid holding a grudge because it will only cloud your communication efforts with negativity and tension.

6.      Compromise. Don't always try to be right. The best solutions allow everyone to walk away from the situation satisfied with the outcome.

7.      Practice makes perfect. Good communication is a skill that you can always strengthen. Relationships between people are ever changing and there's always something new that you can learn.
  • Be willing to continue learning how to better communicate with your loved ones. This exploration may enable your relationships to go that much deeper because you care enough to keep trying.
Remember that you should never be afraid to speak up when you're talking with your loved ones. They're not mind readers, and they deserve to know how you're feeling! Conversely, it's also important to be understanding and receptive to their feelings. Good communication goes both ways and can strengthen your bonds for a lifetime.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Everybody Calm Down: A Dozen Stress Management Ideas for Kids and Families


Everybody Calm Down

Looking for some great ideas to temper down anxieties and worries for your entire household? We've curated a group of some of our most popular posts on the topic and have pulled them all together in one place!

Just click through to find the solutions that most appeal to you and your family:

More Than a Dozen Ideas 

Start your journey below!


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