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Must-Have Self-Help Books for the Busy Mom

mustbookAs a busy mom, it’s no secret that you may need some inspiration, a pick-me up or even some tips and resources on parenting children of any age from time to time.

The self-help book market offers a variety of these tips coupled with a touch of inspiration to get you motivated, moving and encouraged. Whether you read them on a tablet, your phone or from a hardback print edition, check out these suggestions that are specially designed to help busy moms.

Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink

For a real-life account of how a woman with a loving husband, supporting boss and three healthy kids was unable to manage the demands of having a career and a family, pick up Katrina Alcorn’s book Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink.

The book details Alcorn’s journey through depression, anxiety and insomnia, followed by medication, meditation and therapy. After realizing that many women who are struggling to do it all crash and burn, she launched her very own self-help book to offer readers a vision for a healthier and more productive way to live and work as a busy mom.

May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness

If radical change and unlimited happiness is what you seek, then Gabrielle Bernstein’s book May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness can help you achieve that goal.

Offering readers a 40-day transformation plan to gain the confidence and abilities to work miracles, the book offers plans for allowing gratitude and forgiveness into your life while releasing fear and learning to love unconditionally. The end result? A life filled with abundance, acceptance, appreciation and happiness, according to Bernstein.

Lists for Life: The Essential Guide to Getting Organized and Tackling Tough To-dos

When you’re running to and from dance lessons, sporting activities and parent-teacher meetings on a daily basis, it’s likely you need a little help organizing all of these tasks. Author Rory Tahari’s book Lists for Life: The Essential Guide to Getting Organized and Tackling Tough To-dos may be just what you need.

We all cope with the “I’m forgetting something” feeling, so why not be proactive and find out ways to get organized? To prevent readers from becoming overwhelmed by responsibilities and endless to-do lists, Lists for Life breaks down everyday tasks into manageable steps. The book features more than 100 lists for life that will help you successfully manage any aspect of your life, including parenting, financial planning, home improvements, traveling, moving and even funeral planning.

Be That Mom

If inspirational reading with a touch of instruction is what you crave in a self-help book, then Be That Mom: Ignite Your Passion, Organize Your Life and Embrace Your Family by Tina O’Connor is an ideal one to pick up. Designed for moms of any age, O’Connor’s book focuses on how busy moms can relax and enjoy their time more through communication, discipline strategies and learning how to love yourself more.

Be That Mom offers readers tips for getting organized, feeling more relaxed and happy and most of all, adding fun into your family life to counteract the stress of the day-to-day routine.

Stocks, Bonds and Soccer Moms

The juggling act of motherhood is never easy, whether you are a working mother or a stay-at-home mom. Moms want to give their all to everything they do, but it is not always possible to be a superhero, a mother, and a wife, too. For those juggling motherhood, marriage and perhaps a career, Michelle Perry Higgins’ book Stocks, Bonds and Soccer Moms may offer the tips you need to find personal time and reduce stress.

This self-help book allows the reader to look inside to find a sense of balance, contentedness and fulfillment with a seven-step strategy. Learn how to set boundaries, let go of perfectionism and take control of your sleep, finances and parenting.

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Shared Space: How to Make a Shared Bedroom Arrangement Work for your Children

sharedbedroomAlthough it may not be ideal to have children share a bedroom, many times, space demands the need for bunking them together.

It can be tricky when your children crave privacy or bicker back and forth, but with some creative decorating ideas and activities to keep them engaged and invested in the process, a shared space can work well for your little ones.

A Joint Effort

If it’s time to move your children into a room together, it’s important to keep both children engaged and involved in the decorating decisions, says Barbara Green, interior designer with Sensibly Chic Designs for Life. “Let them choose colors, design styles and patterns,” she says. “I prefer to use the technique of ‘color-blocking’ when decorating a shared room, where each child’s wall is a different color. That way, each child gets to incorporate their own selections into the rooms.”

Establish boundaries within the room by personalizing each side of the bedroom with lettering, says Green. “Lettering is very popular now, so I would specify each child’s name on their section of the room,” she says. “I would use the other child’s color as an accent color on his or her sibling’s side and vice versa.”

Your children may also want to choose a theme for the room’s décor. From dinosaurs and cowboys to princesses and sports, the key to a successful shared room environment is to make sure the children come to a consensus on how it will be decorated.

Even though decorating may be a joint effort, to ensure privacy you will need to find ways to allow for privacy. The room can even be divided easily with a track installed in the ceiling so curtains can hang down – similar to those used in hospitals and doctor’s offices. “The curtains can be drawn closed when the children each want their private time or kept open when they are feeling more social,” says Green.

Prompting your children to socialize more with each other in a shared bedroom offers many benefits. “One of the problems in society today is that people are too isolated from each other – we retire to our own bedrooms, with our own TVs or we sit in a room full of people, all fixated on our smart phones, perhaps even with earbuds in,” says Green. “If more kids had to share bedrooms, I think it would begin to increase the re-socialization of the human race and would help to improve interpersonal skills and overall personal life satisfaction. It all begins with baby steps, and children cohabitating could be the first step.”

Space Solutions

Ensuring each child has enough space to play, complete homework and sleep in a shared room can be a challenge. Loft beds come in handy when space is tight, says Green. “Each child has what is basically a top bunk and then a living area below for a dresser, desk, chair or whatever furniture pieces are most important to each child,” she says. “Personalization is key, so you do not want to offer a ‘cookie cutter one-size-fits-all’ solution for both kids simply because they have to share a room. Try and keep each side of the room personalized to each child as best you can.”

Bunk beds also save floor space and can be arranged so children have personal space around them, accenting with children’s nightlights to add a personal touch to each space.

If your children’s closet is overflowing, opt for trundle or bunk beds with built in storage drawers, suggests Interior Designer Paige Hudgins. “Anything from toys to hand-me-down clothes can fit in these huge drawers,” she says.

If space is tight, instead of two desks, Hudgins suggests a long table with two chairs side by side. “Use cubbies above the desk or table for storage and use a file cabinet on wheels under the desk,” she says. “Standard closets can be converted into desk spaces, too.”

In the end, it is important that each child feels the space allows for privacy and socialization as well as a décor that reflects their individual personalities and interests. When decorating a shared room, Deborah Lemery of Interior Edge Designs recommends considering the needs of each child and using complimentary color schemes and space saving techniques to bring the room together as a whole.

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50 Ways You Can Connect with Your Employers as a Nanny

connectOne of the most critical parts of your job as a nanny is finding a way to connect with your employer. That connection lays the foundation of your relationship and is what the trust you need to have in one another is built upon. Creating that connection starts as early as your cover letter, and continues to build as you interview and ultimately land the job and begin to work together. These 50 posts will help you cultivate a connection that allows you to enjoy continued success throughout your position.

Cover Letter

As with any job, the first contact you have with a potential employer is through your cover letter. A nanny’s cover letter, however, is much more personal than the standard business cover letter. Use these 10 articles to craft the perfect nanny cover letter; doing so will help land you your next interview.

  • Explain why you like being a nanny. 4Nannies explains that families want to know how you ended up being a nanny.
  • Use a sample letter as a starting point. Job Searching provides an actual sample cover letter that you can review and use when you create your own letter.
  • Peruse tips on what to include in your letter. Cover Letter and Resume shares tips on what information is appropriate to include in a cover letter for a nanny position.
  • Format your letter correctly. There is certain information that needs to be included in your cover letter, and Georgia’s Dream Nannies has provided a format you can follow.
  • Focus on making a great first impression. Great Au Pair gives tips for how to use your cover letter to make a solid impression with your future employer.
  • Follow step-by-step instructions for writing your letter. eHow explains how to go about writing your letter by outlining simple to follow instructions.
  • Consider writing a “Dear Family” letter. Almondbury lists the information you should include as an au pair if you are creating a letter to accompany your application. Instead of writing to a specific person, be more general with your qualifications and what you hope to gain from the job.
  • Mention if you were referred to the job by someone. Nanny Resume HQ explains that employers may take more notice of your letter if they know the person who referred you.
  • Learn how to market yourself. Quint Careers recommends taking a look at your experience and skills to figure out how you can transfer them into a potential position.
  • Consider how other aspects of your life could help you as a nanny when you have no nanny experience. Cover Letter Sample shares ideas on how to use life experiences in your cover letter to make up for a lack of job experience.

Interview Well

Interviewing well is essential to landing your next nanny position. During your interview, look for commonalities between you and your potential employer and focus on being yourself instead of conforming to the person you think the family wants. Before you go into your next interview, review these 10 articles to help refine your interviewing skills.

  • Be honest and forthcoming. Babyzone urges nannies to ask as many questions as they answer during an interview to help plan for the future. This will also show employers that you take your job seriously and are in it for the long haul.
  • Make a point to talk to the children if they are present during the interview. It’s important to show potential employers that you really do like kids and know how to interact with them. Voices recommends making eye contact with the kids.
  • Bring a list of your questions. Be sure to ask intelligent questions that show you’re interested in long term work, says Wikihow.
  • Dress appropriately for the interview. Morningside Nannies recommends wearing something that is professional but also allows you to get down on the floor and play with the kids.
  • Prepare to answer frequently asked nanny questions. Best Job Interview provides a list of questions that are typically asked so that you can prepare answers ahead of time.
  • Make sure there are no problems with doing a background check. Most employers will run a background check prior to hiring, so make sure you are prepared per What to Expect.
  • Stay focused on a phone interview. USA Today explains that you shouldn’t attempt to multi-task while on a phone interview. Give it your full attention.
  • Try to avoid common interview mistakes. The Under Cover Recruiter lists five common mistakes that people make during an interview. Make sure that you avoid them when trying to connect with your employer.
  • Make a great first impression. Simply Hired urges nannies to be happy during an interview. This will show that you love what you do.
  • Be confident. Tinies notes how important it is to be confident during an interview. You want to be yourself and be sure of your ability to do the job well.

One-on-One Time with the Employer

Most nannies agree that open communication is key to a good nanny/employer relationship. To facilitate this relationship, it’s important to make sure you discuss how things are going with your employer and to avoid just showing up and leaving each day. Peruse these 10 posts for different tips on how you can foster a good relationship with your employer.

  • Meet to discuss job expectations. Park Slope Parents suggests talking about what your job responsibilities are and how your employer expects you to accomplish them to help avoid any confusion.
  • Sit down regularly and talk. Ask Nanny recommends meeting monthly to talk about how things are going and to keep communication lines open.
  • Discuss food preferences. Baby Center points out the importance of talking with your employers about what you eat and if it’s OK for you to make your own meals, especially if you come from different cultural backgrounds.
  • Go out for coffee. Babble suggests employers and nannies go out alone on occasion to talk as adults instead of only talking about the kids.
  • Assure your employer that you are mindful of her privacy. INA explains that because nannies are privy to private information they have a responsibility to keep everything that they see and hear confidential.
  • Define the nanny role. Yahoo Shine points out that having a strong relationship with your nanny can be the difference between keeping her long-term and changing nannies every year.
  • Keep your nanny/employer relationship friendly, but businesslike. Caring Nannies discusses how simple it is to blur the lines between boss and friend when the employee lives with you. When you spend time together, avoid discussing your personal life.
  • Learn and follow the house rules. Superpages explains that knowing and following the house rules shows your employers that you respect them.
  • Follow the expectations set by your employer. Reason for God shares that mutual respect leads to a stronger relationship.
  • Share the exciting moments. NY Nanny urges nannies and employers to exchange information, especially about big moments.

Be Helpful

Going above and beyond in your role shows your employer that you value your job. Putting forth this extra effort can positively impact your employment situation. For ways you can help out, read through these 10 posts.

  • Offer to make a snack or pack some sandwiches. 4 Nanny Taxes suggests offering to pack snacks or sandwiches for everyone on days that you know the family will have practices or events to attend after you leave work.
  • Help out when your employer has guests. It may not be part of your job duties, but helping out when your employer has company is something that they will appreciate, says Nanny Classifieds.
  • Unload the dishwasher without being asked. According to Trusting Connections, little things that you can do to help out will not go unnoticed by your employer.
  • Be willing to stay late without complaint. As long as it doesn’t become a habit, your employer will appreciate your willingness to help out, says DC Urban Moms and Dads.
  • Pick up other areas of the house. To go above and beyond, help out with tasks that are not solely for the kids, recommends Americas Nannies.
  • Bake cookies. Nanny Magazine suggests doing something nice for your employers from time to time, like baking cookies.
  • Start dinner. As a treat for your employer, pick up food from the store and start dinner, like this slow cooker pork recipe from Betty Crocker.
  • Organize the toys. Use the tips on Organized Home to organize toys.
  • Pick up groceries for the family while you’re at the store. If you have a list of items that the family needs, pick up things while you are at the store for the kids. Tips for grocery shopping can be found on Zen Habits.
  • Leave fresh flowers on the table. Having flowers around can be a pick-me-up for your employer. Read about how people respond to receiving flowers on About Flowers.

Give Thoughtful Gifts

Sometimes it’s nice to show your employer you value them as a boss by giving them a small token of appreciation. For thoughtful gift ideas, check out these 10 articles.

  • An iPhone case. This is an inexpensive gift that can show a lot of personality. Check out Business News Daily for some ideas.
  • Buy a tree. Knoji suggests gifting a tree that can be planted on your employer’s birthday.
  • Create a scrapbook of the past year. Making a scrapbook is a thoughtful way to show your employer what the children have been up to over the past year, explains Human Resources.
  • Bake some homemade goodies. Thrifty Fun suggests doing something from the heart.
  • Give them a box of their favorite chocolates. Nannies often know their employers’ likes and dislikes, so use this knowledge to buy them a treat they’ll love. Find suggestions on Fox Business.
  • A personalized name frame collage. Gifts suggest using photos to create a child’s name for a thoughtful, personalized gift.
  • Give your employer something for a hobby. Maybe you know of a hobby that your employer loves, but doesn’t have a lot of time for. Give a gift that will help create some “me” time for your employer by reading through Hub Pages.
  • Make an ornament. I Saw Your Nanny recommends making a present for your employer.
  • Write a nice letter. Answers suggests writing a heartfelt letter explaining how much you appreciate your employer letting you work with their kids.
  • Create an art keepsake. Albelli shows how to take the kids drawings and put them into a book.
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Healthy Snacks in a Flash: Convenient Treats Under 100 Calories

appleWhen you need a little pick me up for yourself or the children you care for, resist the urge to reach for something sugary or full of saturated fat. Even though consuming some sugar may satisfy your sweet tooth and give you a small burst of energy, the results can lead to a spike and then drop in your blood sugar and a lethargic afternoon.

Luckily, there are snack alternatives that can satisfy your cravings and keep you alert and energized. With these suggestions, you can keep your calorie consumption in check and the entire family’s health in great shape.


If you can’t manage an entire apple to snack on for the day, at least one half of a red apple will still keep the doctor away, says Dr. Robert DeMaria, a globally renowned natural health physician.

“Red apples are great for digestion, promoting liver function and an ample source of antioxidants, minerals and fiber,” says DeMaria. “If individuals suffer from high LDL cholesterol, the pectin found in the fruit can decrease the number while reducing the risk of arteries hardening, heart attacks and strokes.”


Try this tasty treat to satisfy your mid-day hunger. “Just one-third cup of beets everyday can lower cholesterol by 40% with calories almost too low to account for,” says DeMaria. A one-half cup of beets only boasts 37 calories.

“Beets are also a great source of Vitamin C, potassium and iron with cancer-fighting antioxidant beta-carotenes and fiber,” says DeMaria.


For a crunchy snack to get you through the day, prepare a plate of chopped carrots for you and the kids. “The excellent source of antioxidant agents will protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease, improve skin and vision while fighting lung and pancreas cancer,” says DeMaria. “Carrots really have benefits too good to pass up, as they also reduce blood cholesterol level, relieve constipation and other colon disorders while boosting immune systems.”

Carrots are also a solid source of eye candy, known for aiding vision.

Cheese and Veggies

What kid doesn’t enjoy peeling apart a strand of string cheese? Instead of playing with their food, your children will likely devour this tasty snack that has less than 100 calories. When a craving kicks in, snack on a smorgasbord of string cheese and cherry tomatoes. According to Allie Tabish, registered dietitian with the Western Dairy Association, one string cheese not only provides a serving of dairy, but also important vitamins and minerals, eight grams of protein and only 40 calories.

“Top two or three low-sodium crackers with cheese and cherry tomatoes for a healthy snack that includes three food groups,” says Tabish.

Fun Veggie Dips

Not all dips are no-nos when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. According to Tabish, a cucumber veggie dip that combines diced cucumbers, low fat plain yogurt, mint and a pinch of salt and pepper only has 100 calories.

“Dip fiber and vitamin rich vegetables, sliced bell peppers, broccoli, carrots or a few crackers into this cucumber dip for a healthy snack,” she says. “Low fat plain yogurt is a perfect base, providing essential nutrients including calcium needed for strong bones and teeth for all ages.”

Fruit Smoothies

Want to satisfy your sweet tooth in a flash? Break out the blender and whip up a fruit smoothie for a snack. Simply blend fruit, low-fat yogurt and ice for an afternoon delight.

“Blending one cup of fresh or frozen fruit to a half cup yogurt provides natural energy for less than 100 calories,” says Tabish. “Try a berry smoothie for added antioxidants.”

Muffin Bites

Reducing your serving size of your favorite dishes can help put healthy snacks in your mouth without increasing your daily calorie intake. “Preparing mini-meals in muffin tins is an easy way to plan for snacking all week,” says Tabish. “Make a batch of Greek pizza muffins or mini-quiches with white Swiss cheese.”

Including multiple food groups, such as grain, fruit, vegetable, protein and dairy in each recipe helps to include more nutrients in a snack that fills you up and is easy to pack, says Tabish.

Yogurt Mini-Bowls

For a sweet treat with less than 100 calories, combine one-third cup blueberries with one-fourth cup plain Greek yogurt. “Blueberries are high in antioxidants called anthocyanins, and low on the glycemic index scale, which means they don’t mess with your blood sugar regulation,” says Danielle Hart, holistic nutrition consultant and the editor in chief of ENJI Daily, a wellness magazine.

“Greek yogurt offers protein and, assuming you choose one with live cultures, a little bit of probiotics,” says Hart.

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Date Night on a Dime

datenightAfter a full day of caring for children as a nanny or working in the corporate world and tending to your kids’ needs when you return home, a night out with your significant other may be just what you need.

Date night doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor, though. There are many options to rekindle your passion, re-connect with your loved one and spend some quality time together without breaking the bank.

The Importance of Date Nights

Whether you are a busy working parent who is also juggling household responsibilities and children or a nanny working with little ones by day and attending classes or studying by night, it is easy to lose sight of the connection you have with your significant other when you are overwhelmed with responsibilities.

Not only do you deserve a break, but the two of you need a chance to connect and enjoy each other’s company – away from the pressures and demands of everyday life.

According to Dr. John Grohl, psychotherapist and founder of PsychCentral, many couples fall into what is known as the “relationship routine” when responsibilities and obligations take priority. “Once a relationship has been established and you’re past the ‘falling in love’ stage, most people move fairly quickly into the routine stage,” he says. “Before you know it, one year turns to four, and you’ve spent a good part of your life with someone without ever really considering many core issues, such as compatibility, personality match, temperament, family background, sense of humor, income (or income potential), life goals, etc.”

One surefire way to kick the routine and get to know the core issues you both care about is to get creative with regular date nights, or – even better – date nights on a dime.

Date Night Ideas

It may seem like a stretch to splurge on date nights with your loved one when you’re keeping an eye on your wallet; however, dating each other again does not have to create a financial hardship.

Just as you may clip coupons or sign up for online discounts, scout the web for date night freebies. From movie theater tickets to buy one get one free dinner entrees at your favorite restaurants, you can save money while enjoying some quality time with your honey.

Try surprising your significant other with romantic and fun journeys, such as:

  • Learning to Dance: You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for private dance lessons. Just jump in, literally, and hit the latest club to show off your dance moves. If your partner doesn’t know how to dance, utilize the dance floor to learn from others. The best part is that you will be learning together.
  • Getting Pumped Up: If you and your spouse or partner have trouble finding time to squeeze in workouts and time together, why not combine the two? Plan a date night at the gym and spot each other while lifting weights, run alongside one another on the treadmills and catch up on each other’s week while cycling side by side on stationary bikes.
  • Taking in a Show: A night at the theatre doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out your community centers and local high schools and colleges for upcoming plays and musicals. These venues are often free or much more affordable compared to the Opera House.
  • Going to the Fair: There is nothing more romantic than a kiss at the top of the Ferris Wheel. Recreate tender moments by taking in a city or county fair. Without the kids in tow, you won’t have to fork over your wallet for an unending amount of tickets and rides. You and your loved one can simply wander around, take in the scenery, grab a bite to eat and splurge on a ride of your choice together.
  • Making a Meal Together: Spruce up a perfect date night at home by combining your culinary talents and whipping up a meal together. Working side by side will give you the opportunity to engage with one another, feed each other samples as you cook and even wash the dishes together – a true partnership at work.
  • Taking a Road Trip: You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to find something interesting to do together. Take a mini road trip to the next city or a scenic spot in your area. The drive alone will give the two of you a chance to hold hands and converse. Or, if you’re inspired by music, turn on your favorite tunes for an impromptu sing along.

Regardless of the destination, just remember that a date night doesn’t have to break the bank or cause unnecessary stress for the two of you. Keep it simple and enjoy the savings and the company of your significant other.

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How Nannies Can Teach Children About Feelings

feelingsnannyIt is likely your child may act out or have an emotional outburst at some point, maybe even on a regular basis. However, many times, children do not even understand why they’re feeling or reacting the way they are because they do not know the basics about feelings.

As a parent or nanny, it’s important to educate your children about how feelings operate and how we can control our actions. Allowing your child to express himself and learn that feelings are a natural part of life can ultimately help minimize the emotional outbursts or tantrums that occur.

Feelings: A Learned Skill Over Time

Even though your child will not remember his younger years, his emotional regulation actually began as an infant when he began discovering nurturing relationships. “Through repeated interactions with caregivers, babies learn that their distress can be tolerated and contained,” says Jeanette Sawyer Cohen, a licensed clinical psychologist and child development counselor in New York City.

“Babies internalize the quality of their earliest relationships and, over time, learn to self-soothe as a way to manage their own distress,” says Sawyer Cohen. “Emotion regulation is an aspect of healthy social-emotional development.”

Babies learn about feelings and emotions when primary caregivers provide emotional stability. This stability is achieved by attuning to the child’s cues and responding to an infant’s cries.

Once a child enters the toddler and preschool years, his life is surrounded by socialization. He then learns how to channel his feelings in socially appropriate ways, says Sawyer Cohen. “Children at this age need parents, teachers and other involved adults to give them words for their big feelings,” she says. “As children develop expressive language skills, they are better able to tell us what they feel rather than show us with their behavior.”

Limit setting and redirecting, when needed, can go hand-in-hand with labeling feelings, says Sawyer Cohen. Provide your child with the phrases he or she needs to express those feelings. For example, you can say, “I can see you’re angry, but it’s not OK to push.” Or, as a child begins to pull toys off a shelf, parents or nannies can say, “I can see you want to be really messy right now. Let’s build a big block tower and crash it down.”

These phrases give the child the consistent message that the feeling itself is OK while the behavior may or not be, says Sawyer Cohen.

Beyond frustrations and emotions tied to play, children often experience strong feelings when faced with separation. “Separation is often on the minds of young children,” says Sawyer Cohen. “Help them cope by giving voice to their experience.”

Carefully worded phrases to validate feelings and redirect a child’s energy can help him or her cope, such as “I can see you’re really missing daddy right now. Did you know he’s thinking about you, too? Let’s draw a picture to show him when he gets home.”

Games and picture books also help children understand and recognize how feelings work. In the early years, you can teach children about feelings with simple picture books. “Young children begin to ask ‘what’ questions before ‘how’ or ‘why,’” says Sawyer Cohen. “School-age children can be taught to identify not only facial expressions (the ‘what’) but also how it feels to be sad or mad in the body.”

For children with language skills, it is important to speak their language. “They might not relate to adult terms like ‘loss’ or ‘anxiety,’ but may talk instead of ‘the missing feeling’ or a ‘nervous tummy,’” says Sawyer Cohen.

Even many kindergartners are able to describe the physiological aspects of emotions, such as changes in heart rate and breathing. Therefore, children can be taught to notice the intensity of their feelings on a scale of 1 to 10 or by coloring a feelings thermometer, says Sawyer Cohen. It is also helpful for them to know that they can feel more than one feeling at a time.

Regardless of how you choose to teach your child about feelings – through books, games or discussions, for example – the key is to make sure that you give them the opportunity to experience their feelings naturally and resist the urge to scold them for expressing how they feel. “Learning to identify and express emotions is a key aspect of social-emotional development, which paves the way for successful relationships and academic learning,” says Sawyer Cohen.

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100 Life Lessons to Teach Kids

lifelessonsBefore you send your kids off into the world on their own, there’s a lot you probably want to teach them. In an effort to help you identify the important things your kids should learn, we’ve compiled a list of 100 life lessons to teach them, from learning to show others respect to being able to communicate effectively and everything in between.

Be Respectful

While showing others respect may not seem to be a lesson that many kids learn these days, there’s still time to teach the younger generations how to be courteous and polite. However, we, as parents, have to take the first step toward making this a reality by teaching kids how to act appropriately. To make being respectful commonplace again, check out these 10 life lessons to teach your children.

  • Avoid cursing and screaming. Dr. Robyn Silverman explains that parents need to treat kids with respect and model respectful behavior to teach kids to act the same.
  • Use proper manners. Parents agree that modeling respectful behavior is important, as is expecting that same respect and good manners from your kids.
  • Be on time. Today’s Parent suggests showing kids how to use calendars and planners to keep track of homework and other obligations so they can be on time. Being on time shows others you respect their time.
  • Show courtesy to others. Inspire Conversation recommends starting to show your child how to be courteous to others as early as possible.
  • Use a person’s title and last name when addressing him. Kids often learn this at an early age when addressing their teachers, but some teachers allow their students to call them by their first name, which can be confusing. Better Parenting Institute explains that when meeting people it’s only acceptable to use a first name if you are invited to by the person.
  • Dress modestly and respect yourself. Power to Change explains that dressing modestly shows respect for yourself and your family.
  • Show gratitude. Your Tango writes that you can start teaching gratitude at an early age by explaining why you are grateful for something, which helps to reinforce the concept.
  • Help others and be charitable. Encourage your child to help an elderly neighbor rake leaves or carry their groceries and stress the importance of helping others, says Voices.
  • Greet people when they enter a room. Palo Alto Medical Foundation urges kids to stand up when greeting other people, even if it’s not the first time they’ve met.
  • Treat others as you want to be treated. Good Character points out how simple it is to be respectful to others; simply treat them the way you would like to be treated.

How to Cook

When your child goes off to college he may be in a dorm where food is provided, or he may have an apartment where he will need to know how to cook. While eating out for every meal is certainly an option, it’s also one that quickly gets expensive. Help your child learn to thrive on his own by teaching him these 10 cooking related life lessons.

  • Teaching proper knife skills. Eat Your Beets explains how to hold a knife properly and details various techniques for chopping food.
  • Learn to read a recipe. Kids who can read and have the dexterity to control a knife should be able to read and follow a recipe, but there are measurements that can be tricky. Learner explores different ratios and how to follow a recipe.
  • Know how to make coffee. Lifehacker goes through the steps required to make the perfect cup of coffee.
  • Learn how to scramble eggs. The Guardian explains various ways to make scrambled eggs.
  • Follow the steps to make a pasta dish. Parade shares a recipe for I Love You So Tortelloni-O’s that you can show your kids how to make.
  • Know how to work the oven. Teach your child how to use a conventional oven by reading this story on eHow.
  • Learn the health benefits of cooking from scratch. Bizymoms share how teaching kids to cook allows them to make healthier eating choices.
  • Learn how to brown meat. Lynn’s Cooking Adventures explains the benefits of cooking with ground beef.
  • Know how to use a slow cooker. Kids can cook many things in a slow cooker, which is a safer method for young children because there is no active heat for many recipes. Kids Cooking Activities explains various ways to use a slow cooker.
  • Learn how to cook pancakes. Food Editorials explains how to make pancakes with your kids.

Laundry Tips and Tricks

Unfortunately, doing laundry is a fact of life for most people. For this reason, it’s important to teach your kids how to wash and dry their own clothes. Kids as young as two can put dirty clothes in the hamper, preschool aged kids can sort their clothes by color and older elementary school kids can start doing laundry. While there will be failures from time to time as they learn their way around the laundry room, failing is just a step in the learning process. Here are 10 life lessons related to laundry.

  • Know how to sort your clothes by color. Revelle College put together an article explaining how to do laundry and sort clothes.
  • Learn to read the labels. Jennifer Maddrell explains how to read the care label on your clothes and shows an example of one in this post.
  • Understand why different types of clothes need to be washed at different temperatures. Ladies Home Journal explains the different temperatures you should wash different types of clothes in.
  • Know that you start the washer before you put in the clothes. Lucy Dakota points out that once you’ve sorted your clothes and are ready to wash them you need to start the washer, add the detergent and then put in the clothes.
  • Discover how to hand wash your clothes. Family Share goes over the steps necessary to hand wash your clothes.
  • Check pockets before washing. The last thing you want to do is wash your homework, a check or a tissue because you didn’t check the pockets first. Denise Handlon explains the steps for washing clothes.
  • Learn how to treat stains on clothes. It’s important to check each clothing item for stains and treat them before they go into the wash, recommends Houzz.
  • Tips for how to fold clothes. Mama’s Laundry Talk has a paragraph for each clothing type, as well as how to fold them.
  • Know how to line dry your clothes. The Old School explains how to hang clothes on a line so that they dry quicker and end up less wrinkled.
  • Learn tips for ironing. Some occasions will require an ironed shirt, and if you don’t have the money to take it to the cleaners you may needs the tips found on Chicago Tribune.

Housekeeping Skills

Mom isn’t going to be around to pick up after the kids forever, so it’s important that kids learn different housekeeping skills. All of these skills can be taught while the child is still at home by having him help you out around the house.

  • How to clean the floors. Tenant explains step-by-step how to go about mopping the floor.
  • Learn how to vacuum efficiently. For Dummies suggests vacuuming the floors last because dirt can fall on it while cleaning other areas.
  • Discover the tips and tricks of dusting. The Nest goes over how to dust as well as how to prevent some dirt from coming into your space.
  • How to load a dishwasher. Review the tips offered by GE Appliances on how to properly load a dishwasher.
  • Learn how to wash dishes by hand. If there isn’t a dishwasher or if there are just a few dishes that need to be washed, there are a bunch of pictures on Instructables showing how to wash dishes by hand.
  • Find out how to properly clean a toilet. Apartment Therapy explains how to clean the toilet inside and out and details the supplies you will need.
  • Learn how to clean a messy stove. Everyone can benefit from the tips The Kitchn gives on cleaning a messy stove.
  • Speed-clean your refrigerator. Real Simple has step-by-step instructions on how to thoroughly clean your refrigerator inside and out.
  • Figure out how to clean windows using vinegar and newspapers. Go green and cheap by cleaning your windows with these common household items, as explained by Good Housekeeping.
  • Use a pillow case to clean a ceiling fan. One Good Thing by Jillee shows how quick and simple it is to clean your ceiling fan by catching the dust in a pillow case.

Money Matters

Knowing how to handle money can make a huge difference in how comfortable your child’s life is. If your child never learns to save, he may end up struggling with debt his whole life. There are money managing tips that you can teach very young children, but if you’ve missed that window it’s never too late to start. Take a look at these 10 money-related life lessons.

  • Determine a need versus a want. PBS Kids illustrates the difference between a need and a want in a kid-friendly way.
  • Comparison shop. Money Management suggests that kids learn to comparison shop in a grocery store to learn how to determine which deals are the best.
  • Give an allowance. Once you start giving your child an allowance you need to discuss how the money will be spent, explains Oprah.
  • Teach kids to save once they start earning money. Money CNN explains that if your child has trouble saving you may want to give them an incentive to do so, like matching the money they put into savings.
  • Understand real world expenses. Kiplinger discusses a math project with 8th graders that has the students theoretically get a job, pay bills and get a house. If they were late paying their bills, their teacher would penalize them $35.
  • Teach kids to give some of their money away. Kids can choose to give money to their church, a charity or some other cause, but they need to get used to charitable giving, says Forever Family.
  • Know how to make and follow a budget. Parent Further explains the importance of teaching kids how to make and implement a budget.
  • Money has to be earned. Money US News says that playing games with money will help familiarize kids with the concept of earning money for completing various tasks.
  • Everything you see advertised on TV is not true. Life Family Education wants kids to understand that products sold on TV may not live up to the hype and could be a waste of money.
  • Know how credit works. Make Use Of has a list of 10 sites that have various online games that deal with making financial decisions.

How to Self-Regulate Emotions

Most self-regulation of emotions happens in early childhood. Kids and teens can sometimes get overwhelmed with emotion and not know how to cope with it, resorting to anger to express how they’re feeling. These 10 life lessons regarding handling your emotions can be vital to the happiness of your child.

  • Know how to name the emotions you are feeling. Children don’t always know the words to express what they are feeling or how to constructively deal with these emotions, states Michigan State University.
  • Develop empathy. Penn State Extension explains that young children are selfish by nature and need to learn to think of others’ feelings. Empathy comes into play every day.
  • Know that bad feelings are temporary. Huffington Post details how kids can regulate their emotions. It’s important that kids understand that bad feelings don’t last forever.
  • Assert yourself respectfully. Parents Place talks about being a life coach for your child and giving him the tools he needs to effectively get through life and manage his emotions.
  • Learn how to express emotions properly. Simple Kids goes over the PIE concept, which stands for Process, Identify and Express.
  • Take note from others who regulate their emotions well. Move with Me suggests that adults model the skill of regulating emotions to their kids.
  • Learn from your failures. Parenting Science notes that kids can learn from their mistakes, and it’s important for parents to encourage this learning.
  • Find healthy ways to regulate your emotions. Rushing to Yoga gives an example where being aware of certain feelings in your body can give you an opportunity to breathe through the feeling and respond to it versus simply reacting to it.
  • Be open to help from others. Seen Magazine explains the steps to help a child identify triggers and learn what they need to do to move from emotional overload to emotional regulation.
  • Be mindful. Mind Shift talks about how kids are technology junkies and need time to un-plug their brain and just be mindful. Learning to be mindful in silence will help them be mindful during conflict.

Handling Stress

Stress is an unavoidable part of life and something that every person experiences. The key is to figure out how to cope with that stress. Do you let it take over your life and become more and more agitated?  Or do you have a way to cope with stress that allows you to use it for motivation? These 10 life lessons will help kids learn to deal with stress in a healthy way.

  • Know when to ask for help with stress. Psychology Today explains that kids will find comfort in unhealthy foods when they are stressed if they aren’t taught constructive ways to cope.
  • Reach out to those closest to you for support. Link to Yourself explains that when things get really stressful it’s important to reach out to those that love you for help.
  • Get excess stress out physically. Pain Action describes how to identify stressors and then advises you to do something physical to reduce the stress.
  • Learn your stressors. Lesson on Stress lists what might be stressing teens out and how they can cope.
  • Try to focus on one thing at a time. Oftentimes people multi-task because they think they are being productive, but this can just lead to stress. Try to do one thing at a time instead, suggests Zen Habits.
  • Determine what you can control and what you can’t. By realizing there are things in your life that are out of your control you can reduce your stress, advises Better Life Lessons.
  • Have a hobby that you can do during times of stress. Taking some time away from what is stressing you out and doing something enjoyable can be a smart way to reduce stress, suggests Brian Smith. Just make sure you don’t use it to avoid things.
  • Remove stressors in your life if you can. If there is a person that causes your child stress, suggest that he stop hanging around him, recommends Good Life Tips.
  • Minimize the importance of the stressor. Tiny Buddha explains how to pretend to be filming yourself in a moment of stress and then pull the camera back so that you get smaller and smaller.
  • Just laugh. Mayo Clinic points out that laughter can relieve stress in the short term and improve your mood in the long term.

Interpersonal Communication

Learning to communicate well with others, both in work and in play, is a crucial life skill. There are different ways to communicate, and you can get ahead of the game by understanding how to communicate with different people. For example, at work you may find that some people like to communicate through e-mail and just want an outline or the results of a project, while others may want to meet face-to-face and hear about all the details. The sooner you can learn how people prefer to communicate the better off you’ll be. Interpersonal conversation involves every part of you, from the way you are standing to the expression on your face to the tone of your voice. Apply these 10 life lessons to master the art of communication.

  • Build contacts and relationships. According to Skills You Need, interpersonal communication tools are important for giving and receiving information and making contacts with people.
  • Constantly try to improve your communication skills. Udemy suggests that your child can improve his interpersonal communications by watching how he communicates on a video.
  • Develop empathy for others. Reserve judgment and try to figure out what the other person is feeling, even if it means asking some polite questions, posts Slideshare.
  • Interpersonal communication helps you convey more than just the facts. Small Business Chron explains that communicating is different than interpersonal communication.
  • Learn to block out the noise that prevents understanding. ASTD points out that if someone has a different communication style than a co-worker, he needs to look at the conversation from a different view point.
  • Be aware and interpret context in a conversation. When someone says something pay attention to the tone to their voice, look on their face, posture and more, explains PSTCC.
  • Don’t interrupt others when they are speaking. Listen to your child when they are talking without interrupting so they can learn to do the same, says Wikihow.
  • Use your interpersonal skills to facilitate others. MIT Human Resources shares that the more your child knows about how other people communicate the better he will be able to work with groups.
  • Don’t make personal attacks. Communication and Conflict explains that you can disagree with the point a person is making without making that disagreement personal.
  • Speak in a way you can be understood. Teach your child to communicate in a way that is appropriate for the audience, recommends Springer Link.

The Value of Hard Work

Teaching your child the value of hard work can be difficult. Many people start when the child is young by making him responsible for doing chores. But even if your child is a teenager, there are still ways to instill a good work ethic. Take a look at these 10 life lessons and see if you can teach some of them to your child.

  • Know how to be a contributing member of the family. She Knows explains that giving your child jobs to complete around the house helps develop a work ethic.
  • Challenge yourself to do difficult things. Tall Trees Grow Deep suggests that putting kids in a tough situation and encouraging them will help them learn to rise to the occasion.
  • Set goals and expectations for yourself. Boystown recommends that you set a goal for your child and then give him the tools to reach that goal. As a child gets older he can start setting his own goals.
  • Anything worth doing takes work. When you are praising your child make sure that you praise the effort and not the end result to emphasize the work that went into it, illustrates School Family.
  • Never be afraid to try, even if you sometimes fail. Money Crashers points out that sometimes kids won’t do the best job cleaning, but if you assign them the job they will improve over time and develop a good work ethic.
  • Always be open to learning from others. Whether you are working in the garden or knitting a sweater, your child needs to see you working hard to master something, urges Craig Playstead.
  • Work hard for the things you want. Aha Parenting points out that kids take better care of things they have to work hard for versus things that are just handed to them.
  • Take pride in a job well done. By having your children work alongside you as you clean you will teach them that cleaning is a part of life and hard work is rewarded by a job well done, says Examiner.
  • You won’t get everything you want in life. Kids need to learn that they have to work for things in life and that they won’t be given everything they want, explains The Juppy.
  • Practice perseverance. Roots of Action states that kids who’ve had to work for things have a higher self-esteem than those who didn’t.

Smart Habits to Have

Habits take time to develop, and the sooner you can help your kids develop smart habits the better off they will be. Some habits are part of general hygiene, like brushing teeth, while others are health related, like eating right and exercising. Some habits will just make life more enjoyable, like time management and keeping a clean house. Use these 10 life lessons to help your child develop smart habits.

  • Save part of every paycheck. Info Please talks about delayed gratification and how much more satisfying it is to get something you’ve had to wait for.
  • Eat a rainbow every day. Kids who eat a colorful diet of fruits and vegetables will be healthier, says Tesco Living.
  • Make exercise a habit. Cardiosmart explains that active kids will grow into healthy and active adults if they can make exercise a habit now. 
  • Use a calendar to stay organized. World of Psychology encourages kids to learn to use a calendar to track homework and other activities.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day and floss. Developing these habits at a young age will almost always guarantee that those teeth will last a lifetime, advises James Poyak, DDS.
  • Do work before you play. Good homework habits will continue to help your child all the way through school, explains Pop Sugar.
  • Focus on your food when you eat. Web MD encourages kids to make a habit of consciously eating instead of just grabbing a bite.
  • Clean up daily. The Bump suggests asking your child to clean up his room daily; after a couple months it will become a habit and you won’t need to remind him.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough. Live Strong points out the importance of covering your mouth when you cough so that you don’t spread germs.
  • Make a habit of washing your hands often. Germs can spread easily, so if you get your kids in the habit of washing their hands they will limit the spread of germs, says WSIL TV.
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100 Places to Take the Kids in Texas

texasPlanning a trip to the great state of Texas? Make sure you plan to stay a while, because everything is bigger in Texas – including the list of family attractions! Check out this list of 100 sites to see in Texas, broken down by 10 cities throughout the state. Whether you are heading to North, South, East or West Texas, this list should have you covered. From museums and gardens to indoor skydiving and zip lining, you can enjoy a variety of attractions on your next trip to the Lone Star State; take a look at these sites and get ready to plan your next vacation.


There’s plenty to do and see when you visit Dallas, from cultural experiences like the Perot Museum to the food and events of the State Fair at Fair Park. For experiences that satisfy kids and adults alike, try shopping and playing at the Galleria Mall or grabbing a cupcake at Sprinkles. Check out these 10 blogs for more sights to see when you visit Dallas, Texas.

  • The Dallas Arboretum. Floral displays change with the seasons at the Dallas Arboretum and the venue always features different areas for the kids to play in, whether it’s the playhouses or the covered wagon.
  • Jump Street. Here you’ll find a trampoline park filled with ways to burn off energy for your kids and comfortable seating for parents to relax in.
  • The Dallas Zoo. Bring the kids to the zoo any time of year to check out the animals and magical shows.
  • Sprinkles Cupcakes. If you’re looking to treat your kids and yourself, try one of the many decadent cupcakes offered at Sprinkles.
  • Galleria Mall. This mall not only has top notch shopping, but you’ll also find an indoor skating rink, an American Girl Store, a candy store and a kids play area that the kids will love.
  • Dallas World Aquarium. Not only aquatics are at the Dallas Aquarium; you can also meet wildlife from the rain forest and even a jaguar. Don’t miss walking through the tunnel that goes right through the shark tank.
  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Hands-on exhibits allow kids to learn while playing with various displays at this venue.
  • Top Golf. Bring the whole family to this unique golfing experience where you shoot golf balls from an elevated platform and aim at various bulls-eyes to score points.
  • iFly Dallas. No need to jump out of a plane to get the rush of skydiving; instead, bring the family to iFly Dallas for a one-of-a-kind experience.
  • State Fair of Texas. One of the largest state fairs in the country, this fair is one not to be missed. The fair is held in October.


Austin is both the state capital of Texas and home to the University of Texas. The locals live by the mantra ‘Keep Austin Weird,’ so you will notice a lot of unique art pieces around town. To experience one of Austin’s favorite events, head to the Congress Street Bridge at dusk, where you can watch the bats fly out each evening in their hunt for dinner. You can stay cool by checking out some of the many caverns in the Austin area or by taking a ride on a duck, which is a vehicle that used to be used by the military and is meant to go on both land and water. Take a look at these 10 places that you can visit in Austin.

  • The Thinkery. This children’s museum has a new name and new things to see and do, and the kids get to learn through hands-on experiences at The Thinkery.
  • Deep Eddy. Join the Splash Party on Friday nights and watch a movie from the pool starting at dusk. This pool is one of the only spring fed pools and does not use chlorine.
  • Lake Travis Ziplining. Don’t just enjoy beautiful Lake Travis from the ground; check it out from the zipline overhead, too!
  • Zilker Hillside Theater. Enjoy one of the many outdoor performances held in this theater.
  • Sweet Berry Farm. Bring the kids out to Sweet Berry Farm to pick their own strawberries during March and April and blackberries in June.
  • Inner Space Cavern. Go spelunking with the kids and investigate original cave drawings at the Inner Space Cavern.
  • Sculpture Falls. This hike is about 3 miles, so it might be best for older kids.  Hike into a beautiful set of falls or stop at Twin Falls and go swimming.
  • Austin Duck Adventures. A duck is an amphibious vehicle that goes on land and in the water. You can take a 75 minute tour of the Austin area and enjoy Lake Austin.
  • Congress Street Bats. A favorite event to check out in downtown Austin is the bats that live under the Congress Street Bridge. Thousands of bats come out at dusk and it’s quite a sight to behold.
  • Austin Steam Train. Step back in history by taking a ride on an actual passenger train and enjoy a presentation by the Gunfighters Association.

San Antonio

Toward the middle of the state you will come to San Antonio, a city with a variety of attractions. You’ll have no problem finding things to do here, and can easily spend a week or longer visiting this historical city. San Antonio is known for the River Walk, which is continually growing. If you don’t want to walk, catch a ride on one of the many boats that ride up and down the River Walk all day. Tickets for the boat ride are inexpensive and the perfect way to see the River Walk from the river side. You can also head to Sea World to meet the famous whale Shamu and all of his friends. Check out these 10 attractions and see where else you may want to visit.

  • Sea World. Meet Shamu and enjoy the show. Be careful where you sit, though, because Shamu and his friends like to make a splash and you just may end up soaked.
  • River Walk. Take a boat ride up and down the river walk to learn about the history of the area and to get a better look at all of the shops along the river.
  • Schlitterbahn. Enjoy a refreshing run down a water slide or relax in the lazy river with the kids at this famous waterpark.
  • The Alamo. Tour the site where the historic battle took place between Texas and Mexico in 1836. The Texans lasted 13 days against a much larger army and were willing to fight to the death to protect their freedom.
  • The Witte Museum. This museum has been recognized as being a great place to bring young children and take part in various exhibits.
  • Morgan’s Wonderland. Bring the kids to the Sensory Village, Butterfly Playground, Wonderland Train, Carousel and much more.
  • The Magik Theater. Celebrating 20 years in San Antonio, this theater features fairy tale performances that are perfect for the kids.
  • Fiesta Texas. Take the kids to Fiesta Texas to ride the Ferris wheel and roller coasters.
  • Splashtown. Need to cool off? Then it’s time for a visit to Splashtown, a water park filled with water slides, wave pools and other water attractions.
  • Classic Miniature Golf. Play 18 holes of miniature golf with the family on a course that will challenge both young and old alike.


If you are heading south, be sure to take in all of the sights that Houston has to offer. Houston is a sprawling city, so allow enough time to reach your destination – it will most likely take you longer to get where you are going than you might think. Be sure to visit NASA Space Center, where you can look at the perfectly preserved historic mission control. You can even sit in the very seats that foreign dignitaries sat in during the moon landing. Plan to spend the day, because there is a lot to see and do. Check out these 10 attractions on your next visit to the city.

  • 7 Acre Wood. A unique entertainment experience for the entire family, you’ll find a petting zoo, pony rides, rock wall, paint ball and zipline here.
  • Oil Ranch. Texas is known for its oil, so this 50-acre ranch seems appropriately named. However, instead of oil wells the ranch includes a petting zoo, hay ride, miniature golf course and other fun events for the family.
  • The Crocodile Experience. It’s not everywhere that you can go and check out live crocodiles and learn about reptiles, but you can in Houston.
  • Upstage Theater. Bring the kids and enjoy the Young Audience series of shows at the theater. Check the site for current plays.
  • Kemah Boardwalk. Enjoy a stroll down the boardwalk or let the kids ride some of the many rides available at Kemah. If you are brave, you may even want to try the new zipline!
  • Downtown Aquarium. Take in the spectacular sites of Downtown Houston by riding on the huge Ferris wheel or take a train ride through a tunnel of water to inspect the shark tank.
  • Space Center Houston. If your kids dream about visiting outer space, this is the place to go.
  • Cockrell Butterfly Center. The kids will love walking through the live butterfly enclosure and discovering the many different species of butterflies.
  • Armand Bayou Nature Center. Enjoy an electric pontoon ride or guided canoe tour of the wetlands.
  • Discovery Green. There’s something to enjoy no matter what time of year you come to Discovery Green. This 12-acre park in downtown Houston boasts a large play structure for the kids and many different events throughout the year.

Ft. Worth

When you think of Texas, your thoughts may turn to cattle, cowboys and rodeos. If you’d like to experience those things, you may want to visit Ft. Worth. The Ft. Worth stock yards host a rodeo every weekend and move cattle twice a day. After you visit the stock yards, head over to the Ft. Worth Zoo, which boasts a national ranking among zoos. And if you just want to check out somewhere really cool, go to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, one of only two places in the country that prints money. For more attractions in Ft. Worth, read through these 10 blog entries.

  • Zero Gravity. Are your kids at least 10 years old and thrill seekers? If so, take them on some rides that they will never forget, like bungee jumping, free falling and more.
  • Medieval Times. Let the kids eat with their hands while watching a live jousting match when you step back in time at this restaurant.
  • Fort Worth Stockyards. Texas is known for cattle, and you can learn all about the history of the stockyards and take in a roping show while you’re visiting Ft. Worth. Attractions change throughout the year, but you can enjoy the rodeo every Friday and Saturday night.
  • Log Cabin Village. Take the kids back in time to see what life was like in a log cabin before there were such things as refrigerators and electricity.
  • Ft. Worth Zoo. This nationally ranked zoo is home to almost 7,000 native and non-native animal species.
  • Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Come see how money is printed and how it’s changed throughout the years at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
  • Texas Motor Speedway. NASCAR fans may want to take in a race at this track.
  • Coyote Drive-In. Come to one of Texas’ only drive-in theaters to watch first run movies from the comfort of your own car.
  • Casa Manana. This theater in the round is notably one of the best theaters in Texas, and performances include everything from children’s theater to Broadway musicals.
  • The Noble Planetarium. Star gaze at this state-of-the-art venue, which includes an all dome video with dual-hemisphere star projector that allows visitors to see over 7,000 stars. Up to the minute information from the Hubble Telescope can be seen as well.


Looking for a beach holiday? Texas has that too! Galveston Island is located on the Gulf of Mexico and is home to many beaches. Take a horseback ride on the beach or teach the kids how to fish. Walk around the area and check out the historic buildings and tree sculptures. Want to take a break from the salt water? Head to the Schlitterbahn Indoor Water Park and stay out of the sun for a while. For more places to visit when you come to Galveston, read these 10 blogs.

  • S-n-G Horseback Riding. Bring the whole family for a ride on the beach. No age limits for riding.
  • Tree Sculpture Tour. This self-guided tour is free and can include up to 36 different sculptures around the city.
  • 61st Street Fishing Pier. A family oriented pier rents rods and bait so that you and your family can experience fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Schlitterbahn Indoor Water Park. Rain or shine, cold or hot, you and your family can enjoy this water park.
  • Galveston Railroad Museum. If you have train lovers in your family, this museum is a must see. It features actual restored cars and model trains inside.
  • Stewart Beach. Considered to be a premier family beach, this is the perfect place to take the kids to play in the waves and catch some rays.
  • Moody Gardens. Explore the exhibits and see wildlife, check out a movie in the 4D Theater and end your visit by taking a paddlewheel boat cruise.
  • Lone Star Flight Museum. Discover the ins and outs of different airplanes and how they have changed over the years. For an extra special treat, take a ride in an actual war bird.
  • 1877 Tall Ship Elissa. Tour this huge ship built in 1877 and get an idea of how it might have been to sail thousands of miles on her.
  • Magic Carpet Golf. Try one or both of the 18-hole miniature golf courses with your family.

Corpus Christi

Another popular beach vacation spot, Corpus Christi and Padre Island offer a completely different feel from Galveston. You’ll find many different water sports, like surfing, wind sailing, kite surfing, kayaking, sail boating and more, when you visit Corpus. Enjoy calm waters in the bay on one side of the city or surf on the other side. Don’t feel like you have to spend your whole trip at the beach, though; there are many other things to do and see in Corpus Christi, and you can find some of them in this list of 10 attractions.


This west Texas city has a population of almost 300,000 people. Lubbock is known for cotton growing and is home to both Texas Tech University and Lubbock Christian University. You’ll also find a lot of farmland in this northwestern part of the state. With several universities calling Lubbock home, there are plenty of things to see and do in town. Take a look at this list of 10 attractions.

  • Joyland Amusement Park. Perfect for family entertainment, this park has bumper cars, a skyride and a carousel, just to name a few.
  • Lubbock Railway. Take the kids on a Polar Express train ride during the holidays, complete with hot chocolate, cookies, and Santa.
  • Stars and Stripes Drive-In. Enjoy taking in a double feature of first run movies at the Lubbock drive-in.  Bring the kids in their PJ’s and let them fall asleep in the backseat.
  • Science Spectrum Museum. Bring the kids for hands-on science activities, movies in the Omni Theater, and other exhibits.
  • Jump n’ Jungle. Bring young children to this inflatable play area to burn off some energy and have some fun.
  • Cactus Theater. Enjoy a theater production with the whole family.  Shows change throughout the year, so call for tickets before you go.
  • Adrenaline City. This is an area that combines a ropes course, trampoline park, laser tag, and Time Freak game.
  • Whitewood Lanes Bowling Alley. Get the family together and bowl a few frames while you challenge each other for the high score.
  • Safety City. Take the kids through this kid-sized town to learn how to be safe during a fire emergency.
  • Moonlight Musicals. You can see performances at both the amphitheater and the dinner theater depending on the time of year.

San Angelo

This central Texas town is full of small town appeal. The city is on the edge of the Chihuahuan Desert, but there are also three lakes in the area. One of the lakes is the Nasworthy, where the drag boat races take place. San Angelo is also home to a non-profit ballet company that gives performances throughout the year. Take a look at these 10 attractions that can be enjoyed in San Angelo.

  • ASU Planetarium. Come enjoy this newly renovated planetarium and take in a breathtaking sight of the heavens above.
  • Historic Murals of San Angelo. Each mural depicts life in historic San Angelo and can shed some light on how people lived back in 1908.
  • The International Water Lily Garden. Water lilies are in bloom from April through October every year at the International Water Lily Garden.
  • Fort Concho. Tour this historic landmark and watch re-enactments of how life was back in the late 1800’s at the fort.
  • Preston’s Play Yard. Play a round of miniature golf and some video games at this two for one play area that’s perfect for kids.
  • Angelo Skate and Fun Center. Show the kids your moves on the roller skating rink and rock out under the lights.
  • San Angelo Civic Ballet. Take in a performance of the ballet at this venue; whether it’s professional dancers or students, you are sure to have an enjoyable time.
  • Brentwood Park. Spend some time outside trying your hand at a round of disc golf at one of the city’s disc golf courses.
  • Angelo Paintball. Getting on each other’s nerves? How about a rousing game of capture the flag at the Angelo Paintball field?
  • Drag Boat Races. You’ve heard of drag racing with cars, but have you watched drag racing with boats? Head to Lake Nasworthy in June to catch one of these events.


Home to the newly built Cowboy stadium, Arlington has many sites to see. The Ranger Ballpark is in Arlington as well, so if you visit during baseball season you can see the Rangers play and take a tour of the Cowboy stadium. If amusement parks are a family favorite, there are several to visit in Arlington. These 10 entertainment destinations should keep you busy during your visit.

  • Six Flags. Get your thrills and chills riding some of the death defying rides at Six Flags, then check out some of the on-site performances.
  • Dallas Cowboy Stadium. Attend a NFL game featuring the famous Dallas Cowboys in their new stadium.
  • Rangers Ballpark. Enjoy a major league baseball game featuring the Texas Rangers baseball club.
  • Alley Cats. This entertainment center contains bowling, laser tag, a rock wall, Atomic Rush, billiards and much more and will provide hours of fun for the whole family.
  • Hurricane Harbor. Just across the street from Six Flags Amusement Park is Hurricane Harbor, which is the perfect way to spend a hot Texas day.
  • College Park Center. If you visit during basketball season, check out UT Arlington’s basketball team.
  • International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame. Look back at the sport of bowling and see some of the best players honored in the hall of fame.
  • Ripley’s Believe it or Not. Over 10,000 square feet of the weird and unusual things that can only be collected by Ripley can be viewed here.
  • Levitt Pavilion. Catch one of the pavilion’s 50+ free concerts a year on your visit to the city.
  • Summit Rock Climbing Gym. If your family likes to climb, this is the place to try. Kids as young as seven can climb and there are climbing courses available for all skill levels.
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What to Do if You Think Your Child Has ADHD

adhdYour child is constantly moving, fidgeting, chatting your ear off for hours on end and having trouble focusing on tasks: What do you do? Is it possible he or she has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD often begins between the ages of 3- and 6-years old. Unfortunately, though, many cases are often misdiagnosed, resulting in improper or a lack of treatment.

In order to provide your child with the best care, it’s important to know the ins and outs of ADHD, including the symptoms, diagnosis and treatments available. This will allow you and a professional counselor or physician to determine the best course of action if your child does, in fact, have ADHD.

Three Types of ADHD

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, research suggests that the number of children diagnosed with ADHD is increasing each year. In addition, boys are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than girls.

If you think your child may have ADHD, it’s important to understand the symptoms associated with each type. ADHD affects children in many different ways. In fact, the three types of the disorder determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recognize the differences that exist in children with ADHD.

  • Inattentive: In this case, children often have trouble focusing, following instructions and finishing tasks.
  • Hyperactive-Impulsive: Children with hyperactive-impulsive ADHD are constantly on the go and in motion while talking excessively and interrupting others.
  • Combined: Children with combined ADHD exhibit symptoms of both inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive.

According to Dr. Mark Ritter, child psychiatrist and ADHD specialist at the FDA, parents are not always aware of their child’s ADHD until a person outside of the family or a teacher brings it to their attention. “An educator may see that a child is fidgety, has problems focusing, blurts out answers and they have to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to keep the child still and focus the child’s attention,” says Ritter.

The Diagnosis

According to Ritter, a test to determine if a child has ADHD does not exist. A diagnosis is determined after a health care professional compares a child’s pattern of behavior, established by the American Psychiatric Association, with input from the child, the parents, the nanny and educators who have observed the child.

The criteria as established by the American Psychiatric Association are as follows:

Inattentive: The child 16 and under must exhibit six or more symptoms of inattention for at least six months while also showing an inappropriate developmental level.

  • Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, at work, or with other activities.
  • Often has trouble holding attention on tasks or play activities.
  • Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly.
  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (e.g., loses focus, side-tracked).
  • Often has trouble organizing tasks and activities.
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to do tasks that require mental effort over a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).
  • Often loses things necessary for tasks and activities (e.g. school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).
  • Is often easily distracted
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities.

Hyperactive-Impulsive: The child 16 and under must exhibit six or more symptoms of inattention for at least six months while also showing an inappropriate developmental level.

  • Often fidgets with or taps hands or feet, or squirms in seat.
  • Often leaves seat in situations when remaining seated is expected.
  • Often runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate (adolescents or adults may be limited to feeling restless).
  • Often is unable to play or take part in leisure activities quietly.
  • Often is “on the go” acting as if “driven by a motor”.
  • Often talks excessively.
  • Often blurts out an answer before a question has been completed.
  • Often has trouble waiting his/her turn.
  • Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g., butts into conversations or games)

In addition, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the following conditions must be met

  • Several inattentive or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms were present before age 12 years.
  • Several symptoms are present in two or more settings, (e.g., at home, school or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities).
  • There is clear evidence that the symptoms interfere with or reduce the quality of social, school, or work functioning.
  • The symptoms do not happen only during the course of schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder. The symptoms are not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g. Mood Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Dissociative Disorder, or a Personality Disorder).

If you suspect that your child may be suffering from ADHD, Ritter recommends making an appointment with your pediatrician for an overall check of your child’s health to rule out any other contributors to inattention.

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Resources at Houston Libraries for Parents and Nannies

libraryThere’s no need to succumb to high priced activity centers when you need to entertain the kids. Instead, bring them to one of Houston’s Public Libraries to expand their love of reading (and expand your bag of tricks for what to do on an inclement day!). Far more than just a few shelves of books to borrow, today’s libraries offer interactive programs, tech-fun for little ones and opportunities to connect with other parents and caregivers.

Here are a few can’t miss ideas of how to borrow a little free entertainment at the library:

Tumble Book Library

Tumble Book Library is the Houston Public Library’s eBook resource. Their home page leads kids with reading devices or who want to read online to their favorite books based on book type, videos, language lessons, puzzles and games.

Stretch Your Imagination

You might not think ‘library’ when you think Yoga, but your local branch could be a great place to get your ohm on. Some locations offer Baby, Toddler and Family yoga classes that caregivers can attend with their charges.

Get Your Gamer

The library can be a haven for kids who have slipped out of their ‘reading’ phase. Afterschool and weekend game sessions  offer kids a chance to play both board games and video games, Lego “Block Parties”, Wii, PlayStation and X-Box. Kids of all ages are encouraged to attend. This can be a great way to motivate older siblings to head to the library while you pick up a few things or bring the little one to story time.

Unique Presentations and Performances

Offering more than just circle story time, the Houston Public Library System also brings in outside performance groups and entertainers to delight young visitors. Visits with Santa and His Reindeer, Short Plays and Musicals, Multicultural Story Times (with games, arts and crafts themed to foreign countries), Bring Your Teddy &PJs Bedtime Story Time and more can be found on the Events Calendar.

A Fine Exhibit of Childhood Development Resources

Located within the Children’s Museum of Houston, the Parent Resource Library is the first of its kind in the country. They have resources on everything from discipline to ADHD, learning disabilities to asthma, all on waist-high shelves and up. The lower shelves house kids educational toys, books and imagination starters. This center welcomes kids to lounge and play while their caregivers get the lowdown on how best to address their developing needs. Materials are available in both English and Spanish and the resources are available for check out to all Power Card holders (Houston Public Library’s new library card) from Harris County or any of the five contiguous counties.  The library is even open late on Thursdays for those taking advantage of the museum’s 5-8pm Thursday Free Family Night.

Interactive Literacy Programs

Many of Houston’s Public Libraries are home to educational, fun and affordable (oftentimes even free!) child-centered programming. While each branch has its own events calendar, here are some of the offerings you’ll find at branches around the city:

6 months to Four Years

Baby Time: An interactive story time featuring books, songs and fingerplays with playtime afterward. Depending on the branch, there are sessions for babies from six to 18 months and sessions for infants to 12 months who are not yet walking.

Preschooler Story Time: This features stories and songs for children ages 3-5 years old and their caregivers. Parents or caregivers must accompany the child.

Tune Time: Listen to music and sing songs with other kids at the library during Tune Time. You can choose from the toddler session for children ages 18 months-3 years, or preschool sessions for children ages 3-5 years.

Five and Up

Tune Time: Listen to music and sing songs with other kids at the library who are in the 5-8 age range.

Story Time: Bring kids to listen to a story, with reading advice for children and parents. There are sessions for kids ages 5-8 and 8-12.

Family Story Time: This session offers stories, songs, fingerplays, and activities for Moms, Dads, caregivers and children of all ages. Caregivers are encouraged to fully participate with their charges for the optimum benefit.

Bilingual Programs for Kids

Bilingual Playgroup: A multi-sensory approach to early literacy using stories, songs and activities for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and their caretakers.

HOLA: Interactive story time for toddlers ages 3-5 and their parents.

Para los Niños: Parents are provided with books and activities to increase their ability to help their children learn. The program emphasizes the development of motor skills and early literacy through story time, games and activities for young children. This group caters to kids ages 4-8.

Big fun doesn’t always require a big budget. Be a frequent visitor at your local Houston library for fun-filled edutainment! Just be sure to check out the website for local library hours and event times.

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