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It’s Prom & Graduation Season – How to talk to your teen about underage drinking

“I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Anheuser-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking Program. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

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In a little over two weeks two MAJOR events will take place – one right after the other. Our daughter will be attending her senior prom and the very next day she’ll be graduating from high school.

Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday we were putting her on the Kindergarten bus for the very first time, and in just two weeks we’ll be watching her walking across the stage to receive her high school graduation diploma. Sigh…

Heading off to school

Heading off to school

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Getting her senior prom gown altered

I wish she was looking at me, smiling, without the darn cellphone in her hand in the above photo. Oh well. I’ll make up for it on the day of the prom and at graduation the next day.

I have to laugh about prom. She was going to go with one of her friends since they were both single. One thing lead to another and my daughter ended up asking a male friend of her’s to go to promo with her (he graduated last year). It’s strictly a friend going with a friend sort of deal.

As luck would have it our daughter has a boyfriend (or so it would appear that way) who is also going to prom this year with a female friend of his. This should be interesting.

With all this running around looking for prom shoes, making appointments to get her hair, makeup and nails done, as well as looking for jewelry and getting her dress altered it has given me plenty of times to talk to our daughter about what we expect at prom and graduation.

We know what happens after prom is over. Most kids go back to someone’s house to party (or another location) and most likely there will be alcohol involved. I WISH that wasn’t something we had to worry about. I wish teens would know better.

I think the school purposely scheduled graduation the following day to hopefully prevent students from drinking and getting drunk after prom. They also had to sign documentation that in the event a student is caught drinking after prom they will NOT be allowed to graduate with their classmates the following day. Hopefully that is enough to scare most kids.

Teen Driver

My daughter and I have used all the car trips getting her ready for prom as a platform to discuss drinking and how she can avoid getting caught up in peer pressure to drink. When we are driving there are few distractions (except the cellphone which I make put away). I also think it helps her not to have to look me in the eyes and tell me about certain things. I think that puts her more at ease.

When we are driving around in the car she will open up to me about just about anything.

My daughter also feels more comfortable opening up to me about things then my husband. My husband tends to react FIRST then get involved in a conversation. Another words, if he finds out she did something to break the rules he’ll automatically ground her BEFORE discussing it with her. I do things the other way around. I discuss things first and foremost to make sure she fully understands what she did was wrong and why we have these rules in place. Then I ground her accordingly.

Underage drinking is not only something we are totally against, it’s also against the law. If she is found at a party where drinking is taking place – even if she’s not drinking – she can be found guilty by association. I don’t want anything to jeopardize her college life or future career.

As a parent I know how challenging it is to raise teens. Trust me, it’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s a million times more difficult than raising a toddler or child.

New-FT-Logo

If you need help talking to your teenager about underage drinking I have a great resource that could help. It’s called Family Talk About Drinking (FTAD). It’s a website created by Anheuser-Busch to help parents find ways to talk to their children (not just teens) about underage drinking.

The program has actually been around for 20+ years.

The program is broken up into the three main stages of parenting;

  • Being a Teacher (for children ages 1-7)
  • The Facilitator (for children ages 8-13)
  • The Coach (for children ages 14-21)

Yes! Believe it or not it’s never too early to talk to your child about drinking. Even young children can be taught that drinking alcohol is wrong until they are 21 years of age or older.

Growing up my dad used to let me take sips of his Screwdriver mixed drink, as well as Vodka Collins. My uncle used to let us take sips of beer. But times were different back then. Underage drinking wasn’t as prevalent as it is these days.

Family Talk About Drinking has tips and suggestions from a certified educator and parent coach named MJ Corcoran. Ms. Corcoran has some excellent tips that all families can put into place TODAY.

Find Windows of Opportunity to Talk – When you have a teenager, windows of opportunity to talk can open and close fast. Use prom and graduation to continue the conversation around underage drinking. Set clear boundaries and encourage good decision-making this prom and graduation season.

Connect with Your Teen – Two things you can do to connect with your teen: listen and respect their opinion. In turn, they’ll be much more likely to talk with you about the tough issues – like underage drinking.

Ask Open-Ended Questions – During prom and graduation season, be sure to ask open-ended questions to help your teen think through potential scenarios involving alcohol.

Encourage Accountability – In the busy time leading up to prom and graduation, a text is not enough. Encourage accountability and check in with a call.

I like the “Encourage Accountability” tip. I have already told our daughter that we would appreciate updates via text while AT prom, but once she leaves prom we expect phone calls to let us know where she is and who she is with. She’s supposed to go to her friend’s house to sleep over, but you never know. A last minute party invitation might come through. We NEED to know where she is at all times.

The next couple of weeks are going to be stressful and bittersweet at the same time with both prom and graduation happening one day after the other. At least once stress is alleviated and that is that our daughter knows how we feel about drinking before, during or after prom and graduation, and what the repercussions of breaking the rules will be.

If you would like to learn more about how to talk to your child or teen about underage drinking please visit FamilyTalkAboutDrinking.com. In addition you can also check out their Facebook page.

To see what others have to say about talking to children and teens about drinking, check out the hashtag #ABFamilyTalk.

Do you talk to your child or teen about drinking? How do you go about expressing your concerns? Did your parents talk to YOU about drinking? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Teens Drinking

Kimberly

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Talking to your teen about underage drinking (giveaway ends 5/31/15)

 

“I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Anheuser-Busch’s Family Talk About Drinking Program. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

Underage Drinking

Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs in the world. Babies do not come with instruction manuals. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Sure, there are plenty of books about parenting, and you can also seek advice from family and friends, but what it boils down to is you have to be the best parent that you can be. And let me tell you right now there is no such thing as a “perfect parent.”

Being a parent to a teen is a whole lot harder than parenting a child. I have two teens, a son and daughter. One is 18 and the other will be 16 in a few months.

Oh how I miss the child years! Raising teenagers is very stressful. Unlike children, teens are faced with bigger issues such as drugs, alcohol, smoking, dating, sex, graduating high school, college, getting their first job, learning to drive… the list goes on and on.

I have to admit that I was a bit of a “wild child” as a teenager. Nothing too crazy but I did attend keg parties starting when I was 15 years old – way under the drinking age. I thought I was so cool drinking when I was a minor. When I look back on it now I realize how foolish I was.

From a young age my husband and I tried to broach the subject of drinking, smoking and drugs (we save the sex stuff for a later age). My kids participated in the D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education ) program at school. They knew that I drank at a young age. In fact my daughter used that as part of her D.A.R.E essay. She won the essay contest and was asked to read her winning essay in front of the entire school, families and invited guests. That was a proud parent moment.

My daugther (left) after her D.A.R.E graduation.

My daugther (left) after her D.A.R.E graduation.

We have always been honest with our kids about things – like underage drinking – in hopes that they can learn from our mistakes. We also make it very clear what our expectations are from them in regards to things like drinking. They know we are totally against it and if they choose to make the wrong decision and engage in drinking there will be consequences.

These days it’s hard to have a deep, meaningful conversation with teens. There are so many distractions (especially from cellphones). I have found that the best conversations I have with my daughter is in the car. I pick her up from school, as well as take her to/from work and her friend’s houses. Right now she doesn’t have a car.

The trip to/from school is only a five minute drive. There have been days when it takes us an hour to get home because my daughter feels comfortable opening up to me in the car when it’s just the two of us. When she’s telling me about things, or wants to talk to me about something, I’ll just drive around while we chat. I also think she finds it more comfortable because we’re not looking at each other face to face since I’m looking at the road and my surroundings.

The talks we have in the car are by far the best, and deepest, talks we’ve ever had. Sometimes my daughter will even ask me to take her out some place just so we can have those talks.

Wine

One of our “car conversations” lead to my daughter confessing that she tried alcohol (beer) when she was hanging out with some friends in the woods by a stream. Some of the boys brought beer and everyone was grabbing one. So as not to feel awkward my daughter grabbed one too. She was going to pretend to drink some but curiosity got the best of her and she took a few sips just to try it out.

I appreciate that she felt comfortable enough telling me this. She knows how we feel about drinking and she knew she had to own up to what she did. Although she was honest and open about it (which she knows we appreciated), we had to ground her (the worst punishment of all – we took away her cellphone).

Our daughter hangs out with friends a lot and goes to a lot of parties. We know there is alcohol at these get togethers.

Senior prom and graduation are a month from now which means that there will be A LOT of alcohol readily available to these teens. Now it’s even more important than ever to make sure our daughter knows that  underage drinking is not only illegal, it’s also very dangerous. Being intoxicated can lead to other dangerous things (illegal drugs, sex, rape, drunk driving…).

We are confident that she is fully aware of what could happen if she were to get drunk. She also knows that if she goes to an after party where there is drinking involved that she needs to call us to pick her up rather than risk going home with a teen who has been drinking.

We also made it known that she’s “guilty by association.” If she’s putting herself in those kinds of situations and the Police get involved SHE is involved too whether she was drinking or not.

We are not fools. We KNOW most teens are curious about alcohol and will try it. The trick is to make it known that drinking is dangerous, unhealthy and illegal.

New-FT-Logo

Anheuser-Busch has a website to help parents bridge the subject of underage drinking with their teens (as well as younger children). Their Family Talk About Drinking (FTAD) program has been around for 2o+ years. I wish I knew about their site sooner.

Family Talk About Drinking offers parents tips on having an open conversation about drinking and alcohol with children of all ages.

Their program is broken up into the three main stages of parenting;

  • Being a Teacher (for children ages 1-7)
  • The Facilitator (for children ages 8-13)
  • The Coach (for children ages 14-21)

I’m in the “Coach” stage for both my kids.

I wish I had known about this site sooner, but none the less there are plenty of great tips to be found. I especially like the section on how to talk to your college bound student on how to be responsible when they move out. Thankfully our daughter will be going to school locally for a year, so that gives me more time with her to let know how about her responsibilities as an “adult” when she if finally out on her own.

Family Talk About Drinking has tips and suggestions from a certified educator and parent coach named MJ Corcoran. Ms. Corcoran has some excellent tips that all families can put into place TODAY.

Find Windows of Opportunity to Talk – When you have a teenager, windows of opportunity to talk can open and close fast. Use prom and graduation to continue the conversation around underage drinking. Set clear boundaries and encourage good decision-making this prom and graduation season.

Connect with Your Teen – Two things you can do to connect with your teen: listen and respect their opinion. In turn, they’ll be much more likely to talk with you about the tough issues – like underage drinking.

Ask Open-Ended Questions – During prom and graduation season, be sure to ask open-ended questions to help your teen think through potential scenarios involving alcohol.

Encourage Accountability – In the busy time leading up to prom and graduation, a text is not enough. Encourage accountability and check in with a call.

I strongly encourage all parents and guardians to check out the site and get involved in your child’s life. Even if you haven’t discussed drinking yet with your child you can start doing so TODAY.

Please visit FamilyTalkAboutDrinking.com to learn more. In addition you can also check out their Facebook page.

To see what others have to say about talking to children and teens about drinking, check out the hashtag #ABFamilyTalk.

To help you spend some quality time with your child/teen to open up the discussion about drinking and alcohol I have a $25 e-gift card (sent via email) to send to a lucky reader. Use the gift card to take your child out some place special (out for ice cream, dinner at a favorite restaurant…) and take the opportunity to discuss alcohol and drinking.

Please note: Contest entrants are only eligible to win once per sweepstake, per household as part of a campaign sponsored by Influence Central.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on May 31, 2015. The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and share with me a tip about how you talk about drinking and alcohol with your child or teen?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify (I do check).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

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March is National Reading Month – Get some great tips from Olympic gold skater Kristi Yamaguchi (giveaway ends 3/29/15)

 

Child Reading

Did you know that March is National Reading Month?

Most people know that reading is necessary for a successful future. It’s important to encourage a love of reading, even at a very young age.

I love reading. I read all the time when I was a child and teenager. I loved reading so much that I kept most of my books from my youth. It was my plan to read my beloved books to my own children some day. I am happy to say that I did read my favorite books to my children. I still have them and plan on reading them to my grandchildren some day too.

I also kept my kid’s favorite books. I hope that one day when they are parents they will read their favorite books to their children too.

According to the US Department of Education, only about half of all young children who are three to five-years old are read to on a daily basis by a family member. That’s sad. I know that people lead very busy lives, but surely they can put aside 10-15 minutes once a day to read a story to their child or children.

It makes me sad when I go places, such as a doctor’s office, and see children as young as 3 years old totally immersed in a game on their parent’s cellphone when they should be reading a book.

Reading to a child

It’s up to parents, grandparents and care givers to help nurture a child’s love for reading. If you start when children are young they typically grow up to be active readers as young adults and adults.

I also took cues from my kids. When they showed interest in a book series or subject I would pick up books that would interest them from the library. In fact we used to make weekly trips to our local library. They used to love to pick out their own books to read.

For their birthday, Christmas and Easter they would get books from Santa and the Easter Bunny. Even the Tooth Fairy would bring them book every time they lost a tooth (and a quarter too).

I always made sure there were (and still are) ample books around for my kids. Even though they are teenagers now I still encourage them to read.

Some of my fondest memories with my children are reading them bedtime stories. I miss those days.

LeapFrog and the Always Dream Foundation have teamed up with Olympic gold skater Kristi Yamaguchi to help promote reading for National Reading Month.

Kristi is not only a mother, she is also a published author. She’s published two adorable children’s books – Dream Big, Little Pig! and It’s a Big World Little Pig! – as well as other books.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to ask Kristi a few questions about encouraging reading in children and what parents can do to help children read. Kristi answered my questions in this exclusive video (below). I hope you will take a few moments to check out her replies.

I appreciate that Kristi took the time to answer my questions. I also want to thank LeapFrog and the Always Dream Foundation for making this possible.

To encourage families to read together, LeapFrog and the Always Dream Foundation have a special initiative called the 20/20 Challenge.

During the month of March, parents are encouraged to take the pledge to read to their child/children for at least 20 minutes a day, every day. For every pledge LeapFrog receives they will donate 20 LeapFrog readers to Kristi Yamaguchi’s non-profit Always Dream Foundation. The books will be donated to under-served classrooms. Through this campaign the goal is to donate over 350,000 books to children in need.

Please consider being a part of this wonderful #LeapFrogChallenge. To learn more, or to take the pledge, visit www.LeapFrog.com/Challenge. The challenge ends on March 31, 2015 so I hope you will take the challenge right away.

20/20 Pledge

To help encourage you to take the pledge, I have an AUTOGRAPHED copy of a Kristi Yamaguchi book (at this time the title is not known). It’s an actual autographed copy, not a photocopy of an autograph.

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on March 29, 2015 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me how you help encourage a child to read – OR – what was your favorite book as a child?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries wont’ qualify (I do check). Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I will received an autographed book in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Can a child have too many toys?

Me at Christmas time with some of my new toys.

Me at Christmas time with some of my new toys.

It’s the holiday season. Parents are scrambling to pick up the most sought after toys of the season (no doubt one of the products is related to the movie Frozen). Parents and grandparents will go to great lengths to ensure the child in their life has “the hottest toy.”

I’m a mom. I admit that I always wanted my kids to have great toys for Christmas, but never once did I go out of my way to get the “must have” toy. First and foremost I refuse to stand in long lines or fight people for parking spots at the mall. It’s not worth it. If it’s a toy my child MUST have – eventually – I’ll get it for them when it’s not the holiday season.

I’m guilty of over indulging my kids on toys. More so my daughter (my oldest) then my son. I think it’s a common first time parent “mistake”.

For our daughter’s first Christmas – and even for her first birthday – we gave her A LOT of toys. We wanted to give her everything she’d want or need. But she was one. One year olds don’t need a room full of toys. Not only that they won’t have any recollection of those toys when they are older. It’s kind of sad when you think about it. The only memories your child will have of things like their First Christmas and First Birthday is what they see in photographs.

My son playing with some toy and puzzles at Christmas time.

My son playing with some toy and puzzles at Christmas time.

I was reading an article on Yahoo! Parenting about children and toys. The article is called  Does Your Child Have Too Many Toys? and it’s by Melissa Walker.

In the article the author talks about a play date she went on with her child where the other child had two toys – some blocks and a doll. That might be taking it to the extreme (my diaper bag had more toys in it then that) but having a room full of toys that rival a toy store is also too much. There is a happy medium and it depends on the child.

Growing up my kids were totally different than one another. They still are in a way. My daughter would go from one toy to the next and get easily bored with things. Our son on the other hand had a great assortment of toys but always played with the same few toys. He would literally play with Matchbox/Hot Wheels type cars for HOURS and do nothing more than drive them back and forth on the carpet and park them in different ways.

My son's FAVORITE toy growing up. He took his plush cat "Bear" everywhere we went.

My son’s FAVORITE toy growing up. He took his plush cat “Bear” everywhere we went.

I agree with the article that you need to observe your child and see how they play to adjust accordingly.

I work with little children in a room full of toys. It always amazes me how some children can come in – even when it’s their first time there – and make a bee line to specific toy and play with it the entire time they are with us. Other children go from toy to toy to toy, dumping things out, taking things apart, and then moving on to another toy but not actually playing with them. I’m not sure if they are just overwhelmed or this is how they are at home. They don’t actually play – they just like to create chaos. I’m leaning more towards we have too many toys and they don’t know where to start.

The article also mentions how you should keep play areas simple. It also mentions that you should rotate toys. We used to do that with our kids. We would keep some of their toys and books in the closet and let them play with and read the rest for a few weeks then we’d gradually rotate things around. We would never do all toys and books at once but rather rotate out the toys and books they use the least with different ones. We do the same thing at my job – we rotate toys around whenever possible.

My son could play for HOURS with just a few cars/trucks.

My son could play for HOURS with just a few cars/trucks.

I’m “on the fence” when it comes to the “bells and whistles” toys that the article mentions. While I do see the entertainment and educational value of these toys, I tend to go “old school”. I prefer toys that engage a child’s imagination. I’m not saying that I don’t like educational toys. I do! And my kids had plenty. I’m just saying when it comes to play time I like my kids to have imaginative fun too.

I didn’t have educational toys when I was a little girl, and I certainly didn’t have toys with bells and whistles. I grew up with dolls, plush toys, blocks, cars/trucks and my all time favorite toys – my Fisher Price Little People (the wooden ones!). I also made forts out of blankets and pillows, explored the woods behind my home and spent many hours doing fun things with my cousins like swimming, biking, sledding and plenty of games of “hide and seek”.

Even though I didn’t have educational toys growing up I turned out perfectly OK. In fact I’m very smart. You should see me answer the questions on Jeopardy. :-)

What are YOUR thoughts about toys? Are you a minimalist who feels that children just need a few toys or are you someone who feels that the more toys the better when it comes to your child? Or are you like me and fall some where in between?

There are plenty of great parenting articles found at Yahoo! Parenting.

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Kimberly

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Heading off to college

 

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Our oldest child is a senior in high school this year. In just a few short months she’ll officially be a high school graduate. How did that happen? It seems like yesterday she was performing in her 3rd grade class holiday concert and bringing home the artwork she made in class. Instead of helping her with her ABC’s my husband and are helping her to prepare for the next step – college!

Our daughter wants to go away to college – as in far away. It has nothing to do with us. She would like to spread her “wings and fly”.

We live in a tiny condo. We also do EVERYTHING together as a family – even if it’s not exactly what the kids want to do. I can totally understand why she wants to go away – so she can find herself and become her own person. We also cannot afford to travel. Our vacations are mostly day trips where we are back home by the end of the day. Our daughter is a lot like me – she wants to see the world and travel. Life is an adventure and she wants to relish every moment of it.

When I went to college I was supposed to go away too. No too far – just 3+ hours from home. My parents had other plans. They wanted to see how well I did in college before spending a small fortune to send me away. They told me to attend our local community college for a year. If I did well I could go to any college I wanted to. That sounded like a great deal to me.

I hate to admit it but my parents were right now to send me away.

My first semester I did “ok”. The second semester I pretty much failed every class. I enjoyed my new freedom a little TOO MUCH and barely attended class. I would rather hang out in the lounge or go to lunch with friends.

After that fiasco I quit college and got a full time job. It wasn’t for many years later when I matured enough to return to college and ended up graduating with honors and moving on to an accelerated Bachelor’s degree program. I was simply not ready to go to college when I first graduated. It happens. Sometimes students just need to take a year or two off before going to college.

Our daughter wants to go away to college, but we are making her go to a community college first. It has nothing to do with her not being ready – she IS ready for college. It’s simply a money issue and the fact that she has no clue what she wants to go to college for.

Where did the time go? They grow up TOO quickly!

Where did the time go? They grow up TOO quickly!

If our daughter had her own way she’d go to a college in California when she graduates in June (we live in New York). That is fine and dandy but the problem is she has no clue what she wants to go to college for. She keeps bouncing around ideas…

  • Lawyer
  • Paralegal
  • Forensic Psychology
  • Criminal Investigator
  • Teacher
  • Fashion Merchandising

She simply cannot narrow it down. There is a huge difference between a lawyer and a fashion merchandiser and a Forensic Psychologist and teacher.

Our daughter is currently taking all college classes in her senior year of high school. That means when she graduates she’ll already have college credits and probably one semester of college already done. Therefore she’d only need to attend three more semesters to graduate with an Associates Degree.

Our “game plan” is for her to either go to our local community college for three semesters and then she can transfer anywhere she wants – or – attend the community college where her grandparents live and live with them. That way she’d be away from home but still with people who can help care for her. The only problem is my father has no clue what he and my stepmother are going to do next year. They might move, downsize or ???

Sadly our daughter might not have a choice. She might have to go to our local community college.

college

Money is a factor too. Our kids have a trust fund from their grandfather and currently our daughter has about $15,000 in her accounts. That is not a lot when it comes to college. Many colleges are double that amount – per semester! And that doesn’t include books or the dorms.

Until she figures out what she wants to go to college for we feel that it’s better if she goes to a community college which is cheaper (about $1,500 per semester) the go away to college and have her get into debt with student loans and have to pay $10,000++ for her to living in a dorm – money we don’t have. If she goes to community college it will give her time to figure it out while she gets the basic classes done and out of the way. She hates that idea but we don’t see any other way around it aside from her taking a year or two off to work and figure out what she wants to do with her life.

If you and your child are having a hard time figuring out going to college check out this FREE download helpful – 2014-2015 KapMap College Planner.

To find out other ways Kaplan can help your college bound student visit www.Kaptest.com/College-Prep. They can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Is your child heading off to college soon? Do they know what they want to major in? Do you know what college/colleges they are looking to get accepted into?

If you have a child currently in college, or recently graduated from college, feel free to share tips, suggestions and advice. It will not only help me but others who have children heading off to college.

You can also check out the hastag #JourneytoCollege to see what others are saying.

College Graduation

Kimberly

*This is a compensated post from She Speaks and Kaplan Test Prep however the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Teaching life lessons to children

 

Teaching

In the next few weeks many children across the country will be returning to school. They will trade lazy days by the pool with ABC’s and 123’s. Such is the “circle of life”. LOL!

Academic learning is very important as we all know. It’s difficult to get through life without knowing the basics. Not only that you need a good education if you want to make something with your life. As much as children whine and complain about tests and homework in the end they will realize that it was all worth it.

In addition to a good education children should also be taught some important “life lessons” too. Things like showing others respect, accepting people for who they are including all their quirks, and be kind to one another.

I am a firm believer, and practitioner, of Random Acts of Kindness. I try and do at least one random act of kindness daily. I have encouraged my children to do that same.

It’s important for me that my children accept people in all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, abilities and differences. Just because someone looks or acts differently doesn’t make them any less of a person. I also ask my children to think about the other person and try to imagine being in their shoes. No matter our differences are we are all people who live, breath, laugh and love.

Netflix has an original series called Derek. It’s from the creative mind of Ricky Gervais. This mockumentary-style comedy-drama is all about acceptance, no matter age, abilities or quirks. Ricky plays the role of Derek, a nursing home employee who is able to see the good in everyone. He’s almost too kind. Derek himself is socially awkward. One might think that there may be something “wrong” with him but the reality is that he’s just a gentle soul who cares about the people he cares for in the nursing home and his fellow employees.

Derekmidres.jpg

I’ve watched a few episodes. It’s funny but at the same time kind of sad. It’s more along the lines of  “dramedy” (drama/comedy).

So far my favorite episode is episode 3 from season one when a teenager comes to fulfill some community service at the nursing home. My favorite line from that episode is when she’s asked “Do you read?” to which she replied “Yes”. She was then asked “What do you read?” and the teen replied “Twitter”. LOL! That sounds like a teenager.

In that episode the teen girl was initially put off by the elderly people at the nursing home. She seemed disgusted by them (such as changing their bed sheets). You could tell she did not want to be there. Then one day one of the elderly residents complimented her on her nails. That made the young girl warm up a bit and soon she found herself enjoying her time with the elderly people. She found them fun and interesting where as originally she saw them as gross and pathetic. She learned to open her eyes (and her heart) and accept the residents for who they really are and not what she assumed they were.

I don’t think this show is for young children. There are a few crude parts that I’ve seen thus far (rarely but there are parts not suitable for  young children).

Netflix has plenty of great films that help teach children about acceptance and empathy. Here are a few examples you might want to consider watching with your child. I think these films are a great way to get a conversation going about accepting, kindness and empathy towards others.

Big Kids

Films/Shows for older children.

1. Rudy – Great movie!
2. Mulan
3. A Mile in His Shoes
4. Radio – Love this movie!
5. Good Luck Charlie: Down a Tree
6. Glee

Little Kids

Films/shows for younger children.

1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Vol. 1 Ep. 6: Friends Help Each Other
2. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Season 3, Ep. 4: One Bad Apple
3. Arthur, Season 15, Ep. 8: Muffy’s Classic Classy Club / Best Enemies
4. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
5. Super Why, Season 1, Ep. 61: The Ugly Duckling: Becoming a Swan
6. The Fox and the Hound

Why not pick a few of these shows or movies and have a family movie night?

No family movie night would be complete without a yummy snack. Try something different. Instead of popcorn why not bake Salted Caramel Monkey Bread. Mmmm! This looks so good!

Monkey Bread

It’s always fun to do a family activity together. Check out this Kindness Punch Box. This is a fun way to introduce acts of kindness to your children. Plus doing a craft together is a great bonding experience.

Punch Box

 

To learn more about Netflix and their programming visit www.Netflix.com. You can also find the brand on social media.

How do you teach kindness, empathy and acceptance to you children? Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences.

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Kimberly

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

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