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Talking to kids about important subjects

 

Teenagers

Being a parent is tough. Let’s face it – it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. As your children get older there are more and more issues you need to address.

When I think back on my childhood I think I had it easier than today’s children. Although I experienced peer pressure and bullying as a youth, it’s nothing compared to what today’s children face.

Social media, technology and video games play a big role in children’s live these days. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong were tame compared to Call of Duty, Minecraft and Assassin’s Creed.

Social media, in my eyes, is the worst when it comes to children and teens. It gives people around the globe instant access to a child. That is scary!

As a mom I am always there for my children to help address any questions or concerns they might have. Sometimes it’s not that easy to find the way to talk to them about important issues. Either that or you need to find a way to reinforce what you teach your children.

When my kids were little I would look for books that addressed the same issues we discussed. It wasn’t to use with my children INSTEAD of talking to them about it but rather to reinforce what life lessons I taught them.

You can also find television programs that help teach children about valuable life lessons. In fact, Netflix has plenty of shows you can access right now (if you are a member of course) that address issues and questions that children up to teens face. Here are just a few examples.

For little kids…

The Hive

Sibling Rivalry
Watch Ep. S1E1: Babee’s Room

Buzzbee and Rubee compete over who Babee (their new sibling) gets to room with. Mom and Dad must explain to Buzzbee and Rubee that Babee needs to grow up before she can share a room.

Veggie Tales

Responsibility
Watch Ep. S1E1: Puppies & Guppies/ Sorry We’re Closed Today

Larry and Laura Carrot want to adopt puppies but quickly learn it takes responsibility in order to watch over and care for a pet of their own.

Puffin Rock

Following the Rules
Watch Ep. S1E6: Stormy Weather/ Baba’s Adventure/ Rock Music

Mama tells Oona and Baba to stay close with a storm approaching. After ignoring her advice, Oona and Baba get stuck in a seagull nest during the heavy thunderstorms.

For big kids...

Puss in Boots

Self-Love
Watch Ep. 113: Star

After Dulcinea feels like no one in the group needs her help, she tries to use a newly-discovered wishing star to show her worth — but fails — showing her that presence alone has lit up her friends’ lives all along.

Project Mc2

Teamwork
Watch Ep. 103: Smart is the New Cool

After McKeyla insists she works better alone, she learns that four is better than one when her friends jump in to help her rescue the Prince from a botched space mission.

Fuller House

Peer Pressure
Watch Ep. 106: The Legend of El Explosivo

After getting grounded for sneaking off to Bobby Popko’s house, Jackson realizes he needs to stand up for what he knows is right and not give in to please his friends.

For teens…

Girl Meets World

Social Media FOMO
Watch Ep. 102: Girl Meets Boy

Cory challenges his class to unplug from their phones for a week. When Riley and her crush Lucas sit down to talk face-to-face, personal stories bring them closer.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Self Improvement
Watch Ep. 104: Kimmy Goes to the Doctor!

Kimmy quickly realizes that she can’t fix her problems by simply “Buhbreezing” them away – real change comes from the inside.

Degrassi

Body Image
Watch Ep. 101: #BootyCall

According to the kids of Degrassi Community School, butts are the new boobs. But Shay’s realization that “brains are the new butts” can speak to a number of body image insecurities.

My daughter has said to me numerous times how Degrassi addresses a lot of teen issues. I have noticed that with the show Girl Meets World too. They address a variety of issues such as girls fighting over the same guy (it happens all the time), going to a new school, absentee parents and so much more.

You can even find movies on Netflix that drive home valuable life lessons.

Have you ever used another medium such as a television show, movie or book to help reinforce valuable life lessons? Feel free to share your thought and experiences on this matter. I always love to hear from readers.

FYI… here is what is new on Netflix this month.

New on Netflix

If you would like to learn more about Netlfix simply visit Netflix.com. You can also check them out on social media.

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Kimberly

*I have partnered with Netflix to bring you this information. I have received free service and promotional products in exchange for my participation. There is no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Why strict parenting is bad for your kids?

 

Dicipline

What kind of a parent you are? A soft one? Or hard? Or a mix of both? No matter in which category you belong to, one thing is sure that, being a parent is one of the toughest jobs in the world. It comes with the great responsibility of raising a kid, instilling good virtues and taking care of him or her physical and emotional growth.

In between all this, a parent has to discipline the kid and make him/her understand the virtues of good behavior. After all, every parent wants a well-behaved and obedient kid. In a sense, you do all this by adopting a parenting style – some take to soft parenting while some resort to strict parenting and harsh discipline. So, is strict parenting justified or beneficial?

No, this may make the kid polite and obedient but only temporarily. This kind of parenting style gives advantages but only of instant type. There are many theories that caution parents against authoritative parenting as it does some serious harms to the psyche of the kids. In a way, strict parenting is something you must not resort for many reasons.

Let’s look why strict parenting is not justified:

  • Kids raised through strict parenting develop low self-esteem and inferiority complex. Such kids live with a conception that their opinion does not matter at all.
  • Such kids develop low self-worth as their entire purpose remain focused around showing good behavior only as this is the only route for them to be feel accepted.
  • Kids raise through authoritative parenting styles often lack trust in people and for them, affections shown by others never appear anything more than a hidden motive.
  • Such kids gradually lose the will to go with gut feeling or intuition as they have been controlled to become passive.
  • Such kids have fear of new experimentation or lack enthusiasm for trying out something new, as from the childhood, they have been told to not go out of the box of always live within a box.
  • Such kids come with a preconceived notions of the world around and have biased about the ways of the world, which somewhat limits their thought process.
  • They grow up suppressing feelings, which over time, give them an emotionally detached façade.
  • Their experience makes them averse to positive feelings or affections and they never take such emotions seriously.
  • For having gone through punishment strategy, they develop shame and self-guilt and view people from the lens of good or bad only.
  • Such kids develop an attraction towards power and in this, they get the recipe or develop the habit of lording over others.
  • Kids who are raised this way are more likely to bully others into submission than the rest.
  • Strict parenting leaves behind a hierarchical behavior pattern where kids deem it necessary to present oneself as inferior to authorities.

In a nutshell, we can see how adopting strict parenting is a sure-shot recipe of disaster. It may bring some short-term rewards but its impact lasts long and in some cases, can haunt one to the grave. So, it’s important to understand your kid and their requirements and handle them with great care.

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About the author:

Ian Alam is a blogger & writer from UK who specializes in writing about health & Fitness topics. He works with Jump In, which is counted among one of the Best  Trampoline Park London, UK. 

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The 6 Dangers Teens Face on the MeetMe App

 

Skype

TeenSafe, one of the most popular parental monitoring technology service, is developing a guide on everything parents need to know about MeetMe, one of the hundreds of apps teens use for socializing that have the potential to become dangerous.

In fact, in 2014 the San Francisco city attorney sued MeetMe  after three separate sex-crime cases that stemmed from conversations started on the app occurred in California.

MeetMe differentiates itself from other social networks because it introduces people to new friends instead of connecting them to existing ones.

Below are some quick facts about MeetMe and the dangers teens may face by simply logging on.

What are the dangers of MeetMe?

  • Members can be introduced to other users located nearby — You will be able to see profile pictures, basic information and choose to message MeetMe. Users can also browse through the newsfeed of people nearby.
  • Widely considered to be a dating app to find people nearby —There are games available for users to play that feed into the dating app reputation, including the Blind Date game, where users are asked to answer questions to be introduced to a match.
  • “Ask Me” feature — Anonymous questions can be sent to users, which are not monitored or censored, so the content can sometimes turn explicit.
  • No profile information is verified — Predators can easily pose as teens to befriend and lure other teens to meet in person. The fact that MeetMe matches users based on location elevates the possible danger.
  • Automatic public privacy settings – Unless teens log in to their accounts and manually change their privacy settings, the app will automatically have everything set up to be public, meaning any MeetMe user in the area will be able to view your photos and information.
  • Private messaging and photo exchange – These features introduce the possibility that your teen could be cyberbullied based on his or her looks, values, or comments made on the app, leading to low self-esteem and emotional stress.

 The Numbers Behind MeetMe

  • There are more than one million daily active users on MeetMe.
  • In 2012, MeetMe was named one of the 25 most trafficked websites.
  • There is a minimum age limit of 13 on MeetMe, however since this is nearly impossible for the app to verify, it does not stop younger users from joining.
  • There are over 100 million MeetMe users.
  • About 25% of these users are between the ages of 13 and 17.
  • MeetMe was named as one of the 6 adult dating apps that teens are using too much by The Huffington Post.

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*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the benefit of my site readers. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do no necessarily reflect my own. 

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National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week – January 25 – 31, 2016

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of National Institute on Drug Abuse for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Did you know that it’s National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week?. It’s an annual, week long (January 25 – 31, 2016) observance that unites teenagers and scientific experts to help SHATTER THE MYTHS about substance abuse and addiction. The event is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), both part of the National Institutes of Health.

I was unaware that National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM (NDAFW) has been going on annually since 2010.

Since National Drug and Alcohol Facts WeekSM (NDAFW) began in 2010, its community based programs and events have increased dramatically with more than 1,500+ events held last January (2015) across the country. The events help to bring together teenagers and scientists to discuss the myths about drug and alcohol that teenagers hear about from their friends, social media, movie, television and music. These events are a safe place for teens to ask questions about drug and alcohol use, without judgment or lectures.

As a parent to two teenagers, I know first hand what types of thing they are hearing about drugs and alcohol from their friends, classmates and the worse culprit – social media. My daughter and I have conversations all the time about marijuana (specifically) and alcohol. Sadly she has friends who use (and abuse) marijuana and alcohol on a regular basis. She seems to feel that marijuana is perfectly harmless, and that it only gives you a feeling of euphoria for a little while, then it goes away. While that may be true in some cases, there ARE negative side effects to using pot. She’s only going by what she’s heard and what her pot smoking friends tell her.

This is a perfect example of one of the myths that need to be shattered. Alcohol is another “issue” we discuss on a regular basis. Most of my daughter’s friends drink when they go to parties, which is why we DON’T let her go to them. I don’t want her put in that kind of a situation. She knows about peer pressure, and she’s not as “strong” as she thinks and we (my husband and I) worry that in the wrong situation she will cave in and drink, even though she knows she’s not allowed to.

It scares me when I think about all the myths about drug and alcohol use that teenagers are bombarded with on a daily basis. They THINK they know the truth – but they don’t.

Take the IQ Challenge!
NIDA created the “National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge” for both teens and adults to test their knowledge about drugs. It’s a quick quiz with only 12 questions. Parents can also use the IQ Challenge to segue into a conversation with their teen about drugs and alcohol.
I would like to think that I am knowledgeable about drugs and alcohol, so I was surprised by how many answers on the IQ Challenge that I got wrong. I had my teenage daughter take the quiz too and she got more wrong answers than I did. There are also a few that she felt were inaccurate but I told her these answers are based on facts, so that really surprised her. Hopefully it’s an “eye opener” for her.
From one parent to another, I urge you to take the quiz for yourself and have your ‘tween and teen take it as well, then discuss the answers. There is no wrong time to discuss drug and alcohol with your children – except AFTER they are caught doing something they shouldn’t be doing.
You can also use the “Family Checkup” resource to help you with the skills you need to keep your children drug-free.
If you know a teen who is abusing drugs and need help please visit this resource – What to do if your teen has a problem with drugs.
Are you the parent of a teen or soon to be teen? Have you had talks with your child about drug and alcohol?
Kimberly

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Just 5 more minutes Mom…

 

Alarm Clock

Stall tactics… we’re all guilty of it. I know I certainly am – especially when it comes to cleaning. I love a clean house but hate to clean. I’m always finding other things to do instead of tackling the tasks I need to do.

Kids are the masters of stall tactics. Whether it’s doing chores, homework or going to bed… they are full of excuses which delay the inevitable.

Take my teenage daughter for example. She goes to college full time and works part time. She hangs out with friends on occasion and sees her boyfriend on Thursday afternoons and all day Saturday (when she’s not working). She uses these things as excuses as to why she can’t keep her room clean. She has laundry piled up on top of her dresser and clothes all over the floor and I have no idea what could be lurking under her bed. Whenever we ask her to clean the room she always finds some way to stall. Her usual reasons are she has homework or she’s too tired. Really? Right now, as I write this, she’s lying in her bed texting. She’s been up since 9:30 AM (EST) and she doesn’t leave for school today until 1:00 PM. Now is a perfect time to clean the room but I know if I insist she does she’ll say she has to take a shower, go to the gym, study, finish up homework or any other excuse she can come up with to stall having to clean the room. Ugh!

Sleeping Child

My kids are teenagers now so they know the consequences of not getting a good night’s sleep. We used to insist on a 10:00 PM bedtime (ideally 9:00 but once they hit high school that didn’t work anymore). I tell them at 10:00 I’d like the TV off, phones put away, music turned off and lights out. Usually this all happens (finally) around 11:00 PM. They employ the usual stall tactics… they are thirsty, they need to finish up homework, there is something good on TV they can’t miss, they are not tired, or the use this time to tell us about something that happened when they were at school/college and/or work – stuff that could have been told to us at the dinner table. Oh yeah! I forgot about the infamous “I need something signed for school” tactic where they take a half hour to find it. Ugh!

They have been fighting their bedtime since they were little. I even used a system my mom set in place for me which didn’t work.

My mom had a rule that for every minute past my bedtime that I was not in bed with the lights out I would have to go to bed 5 minutes earlier the following day. That meant if I was in bed 5 minutes after my bedtime I’d have to go to bed 25 minutes earlier the following night. I learned my lesson real quick when I ended up having to go to bed about 40 minutes earlier because I stalled the night before. Oddly enough, this method didn’t work with my kids. They would continue to stall even when they were forced to go to bed earlier.

One idea I recently learned of is letting you kids do something for 5 minutes and then after that it’s lights out no matter what. This could be reading a book or maybe even watching a few minutes of television. I know what you are thinking – how can you stop a child watching TV after five minutes. That’s easy – let them watch a 5 minute show. There are some to be found on Netflix.

Netflix and DreamWorks Animation launched Dinotrux 5 Minute Favorites, new episodes of the latest hit, all in a nice little 5-minute package.

5 More MInutes

I like the idea of 5 minutes of a fun television show then it’s lights out. Netflix has many other popular children’s shows and movies this could work with. Simply set up a timer and allow your child to watch only 5 minutes then the TV is turned off and it’s lights out. You can even sit and watch with your child to make sure the follow the rules.

I kind of like this idea because if it’s a show/movie your child really likes they will be anxious to get to bed just so they can watch five minutes of it. If I was a child and my mom did something like this with me I would look forward to bedtime just so I can watch a little bit of my favorite show/movie. This is an ingenious idea.

Netflix has so many great options like Disney favorites (the Disney Short Films Collection would be a great choice), Clone Wars, Penguins of Madagascar, Girl Meets World, King Julien, Popples, Callious, Super Why and Goosebumps – just to name a few.

Some new movies and shows are coming to Netflix which would make great options too.

New on Netflix

For more information about Netflix, or to check out what films and shows they have to offer, visit Netflix.com. You can also check them out on social media.

What tactics do you use to prevent your kids from stalling when it comes to going to bed at night? Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section of this post with what worked, or didn’t work, for you.

How do you feel about letting a child watch 5 minutes of their favorite show/movie every night in order to encourage them to get to bed at a specific time? Would you try that with your child/grandchild? What movie/show do you think they would be excited to watch?

To see what ideas others have check out the hashtag #5MoreMinutes on social media.

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Kimberly

*I was not compensated for this post. I receive a free membership and goodies in exchange for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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New School, New Nap Routine – Help everyone sleep well during the first few weeks back at school

 

Back to School

It’s hard to believe that some children have already started back to school. My youngest starts back the beginning of September. Any day now we’re going to have to insist that he start to go to bed earlier and earlier. Even though he’s a teen I still feel that it’s important that he gets enough sleep. His bus comes at 6:40 AM, so he has to get up early.

When it comes to gearing up to back to school time one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do is help our kids get their “biological clocks” back on track with their school schedules. When they were younger we simply had them go to bed the same time year round. As they got older it became harder to do that. Eventually we made it so two weeks before school starts the kids had to go to bed a 1/2 hour earlier each night until their desired bedtime was reached.

As you know, getting adequate sleep is vital to doing well in school. When you are tired it’s harder to focus and concentrate. You also don’t want your child dozing off at class.

KinderCare has some fantastic tips for helping your child get back on track with their sleeping schedule, including naptime.

I like the tips. I think they can be applied to both young children and even ‘tweens and teens.

New School, New Nap Routine – Help everyone sleep well during the first few weeks back at school

Is your child starting school at KinderCare or attending other childcare?

As he adjusts to a new naptime environment and new naptime routine, you are likely to see some changes to his sleep patterns. That can be an adjustment for parents as well as children.

During those first few weeks, he may stay awake later in the evening, or conk out on the car ride home! Here are a few tips to help you handle his sleep transitions. 

Give it a week or two.

  • In her 21 years with KinderCare, Millie Boychuk has helped a lot of children get a good sleep at school, and helped many parents adjust their sleep patterns at home, too. Boychuk says that for most children, getting the hang of napping at school takes one to two weeks.  So the first rule of transitions is to have patience!

Take note of her tired cues at home

  • During those early weeks at a new school, it’s especially important to watch for your child’s individual indications of tiredness, rather than relying solely on the clock. She may be tired earlier (or later) than her usual bedtime—if she rubs her eyes, leans against your legs, or succumbs to a fit of over-tired giggles—follow her cues to bedtime.
  • She should be back to a more typical napping and sleeping pattern within a few weeks.

Talk to teachers about the sleep routine

  • In our infant rooms, naps are not scheduled: Each child naps according to her individual cues and need for rest. Talk to your child’s classroom teachers about what her sleep schedule looks like at school and how she likes to be soothed at rest time.
  • Sharing what works at home, and learning what works at school, can help your baby find a good sleep rhythm in both places more quickly.

Adopt the class schedule

  • In our toddler, preschool, and prekindergarten classrooms, nap or rest time typically begins around noon. At least initially, it might be helpful to stick to that same rest schedule when your child is at home.

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Don’t have a napper?  Try resting quietly

  • If your child does not take naps, but is in a classroom with children who do, try taking 30-45 minutes midday to rest quietly. You could lie down together and talk calmly, read a book, cuddle, color, or do another relaxing activity.

Stock up on special blankies

  • You are always welcome to bring your child’s special bunny to school, but Boychuk recommends helping her to learn to sleep without it, in case bunny is forgotten one busy morning (it happens).
  • If your child sleeps with one careworn blanket or beloved stuffed animal, consider expanding her range. At home, try introducing other blankets or lovies at bedtime or naptime.  You might also consider buying a second (or third) of her loved object that can live in her classroom cubby.

Slowly change bed time

  • After a few weeks at school, if you might find that your child comes home consistently tuckered out, she might need an earlier bedtime. Children who are sensitive to changes in their sleep schedule or who are accustomed to rigorous routines will likely benefit from a gradual adjustment.  How do you do it?  Shift your child’s bedtime 10 to 15 minutes earlier and adjust her waking schedule accordingly.

…Or a little more quickly

  • For older children or kids without a strict bedtime, you can employ quicker time frame. Adjust bedtime by 20 to 30 minutes each night—or every few nights—until you’ve found a bedtime that leaves him better rested throughout the day.

Consider blackout curtains

  • If you don’t sew, you may not know there is actually fabric made specifically to block light. Adjusting to a new bedtime can be more difficult for children who are attuned to the sun in the sky.  Blackout curtains can help by blocking those streaks of light from sneaking through little gaps in the mini-blinds, making it easier for her to fall asleep and (maybe) stay asleep later.

Sleep and school transitions can be tiring for the whole family. 

  • Consider putting yourself to bed early, too.  Pick a favorite book and tuck yourself in.  No playing Candy Crush until midnight!

These are some fantastic tips.

I completely forgot about the black out curtains. We used to have them but replaced them when we had our home on the market. I think it might be time to invest in new curtains to not only help our kids get a better nights sleep, but also my husband and I. We live in a condo complex and there are street lights in the parking lot so it’s never truly dark in our home. Maybe the blackout curtains will help us all to get more rest.

If you would like to learn more, or explore other great tips and resource, visit adventureahead.kindercare.com. I work with little children and I found a lot of fabulous ideas (games, crafts, adventures…) on the site. This is a great resource for parents, grandparents, childcare providers and teachers.

You can also check out KinderCare on social media. All of their links are found at the bottom of their website. They can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine and so forth.

Do you have any special routines or tips to help get your child back on a regular sleeping routine?

Do you think your child is getting enough sleep (or not enough)?

Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

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Kimberly

*I have partnered with KinderCare to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are entirely my own and not influenced in a any way. 

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