All posts in Parenting

therapy dog training

Training Our Dog to Be a Therapy Dog

PickyKidPix came up with the idea to turn our Golden Retriever into a therapy dog. Her initial reason was sneaky. She wanted to bring him into grocery stores and on airplanes. A therapy dog certification is not enough for this, so she decided that this would be one way that she would do service work. I thought it was a great idea. I told her that I would drive her, but she would have to figure it all out herself.

Training Our Dog to Be A Therapy Dog

She researched and found a place in the Berkshires, two and a half hours from us where we could bring him to be certified. I thought that they would just check to make sure he was a friendly dog but, boy, was I wrong.

Training Our Dog to Be A Therapy Dog Read more…

KylaBorg on Flickr, under Creative Commons

It’s Not Easy Being a Girl

Grasshopper and Sensei‘s good friend, Sarah Groustra, also a 10th grader, just got published in Women’s eNews. Her piece, It’s Not Easy Being a Girl, really nails what life is like for a teen girl these days. I wanted to share it with you:

KylaBorg on Flickr, under Creative Commons

Image, KylaBorg on Flickr, under Creative Commons

It’s Not Easy Being a Girl

You are female.

You wake up in the morning and get ready to go to school. Picking out clothes can sometimes be a little emotional for you. Like 91 percent of other girls, you are unhappy with the way you look. Doing your makeup isn’t easy either. The day that you ran out of time to put any on, someone called your skin gross. A few days later, your friend tells you you’d be prettier if you just didn’t wear so much makeup. You glance at the fashion magazines on your nightstand, where Kerry Washington or Emma Watson or it doesn’t really matter who is laughing at you with a frozen, glossy smile. They never had to worry about this, did they?

You arrive at school. Your first class is calculus. The class has more girls than boys, so you have some close friends in the class who have been helping you with your homework the past few days. This unit has been particularly challenging. At the end of class, you walk over to the teacher’s desk to grab some extra review sheets. A male classmate of yours is trying to argue his way into a C- on a recent test; he is doing far worse than you are. Before you make it to the door the teacher catches you and says, “I see you’ve been having some trouble lately. Are you sure this class is the right place for you? You may want to think about switching down a level.” You politely assure him you’ll stay where you are. Read more…

Personal Finance: Summer Learning Fun for Kids

Personal Finance: Summer Learning Fun for Kids

This post is sponsored by T. Rowe Price and Scholastic. The ideas and opinions are my own.

I am so happy to be joining Scholastic and T. Rowe Price to help parents teach their kids personal finance. I noticed from my kids that each came forth into the world with an innate sense of money.

My oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, is an artist, and I’ve worked with her on how to earn money using her talent. She sells hand painted greeting cards, and is thinking about expanding her business by printing T-shirts. Her inclination towards money is:

  • Spend it if you have it (thus she needs reinforcement to save).
  • Art supplies are more important than food (thus she needs to work on her choices).

Grasshopper and Sensei hand painted greeting card business Read more…

Six Ways to Cultivate a Charitable Spirit in Kids

Six Ways to Cultivate a Charitable Spirit in Kids

Dr. Michele Borba has a new book out tomorrow and I’m thrilled she’s here today with ideas of how to get your spread kindness. I have some ideas for Random Acts of Kindness and a DIY Random Acts of Kindness Advent Calendar as well.

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Kaila is not yet four, but the San Diego preschooler already has the makings of an empathetic children. When I banged my toe at a party, the three- year-old was the first to my side. I watched her size things up, look carefully at my “injury,” and then empathize. Her face switched from inquisitiveness to concern, and then she looked up with the biggest eyes, and said, “I sorry ’bout your toe. You need Band-Aid for your owie? I help you.”

Kaila may have missed a few words, but her message displayed a charitable spirit even at a young age. And it was because her parents were raising her to care. Research contends that though our kids are hard-wired to empathize and care about others, the traits of humanness must be nurtured. And the best ways to do so are always spontaneous and don’t cost a dime. Here are six science-backed tips to cultivate children’s hearts from my latest book, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed In Our All-About-Me World.

Read more…

MY CAR DOES WHAT for New Drivers #DashboardBlitz

MY CAR DOES WHAT for New Drivers #DashboardBlitz

Grasshopper and Sensei is now old enough to drive but it scares her. She sometimes gets the gas pedal confused with the brake. That’s scary for both of us!

learning to drive

Her younger sister, PickyPidPix, is always trying to get us to let her drive the car. She’s only 14 years old though and likes to practice by driving a golf cart.

MY CAR DOES WHAT for New Drivers #DashboardBlitzRead more…

These Girls Can Climb: Rock Climbing Prodigies

These Girls Can Climb: Rock Climbing Prodigies

PickyKidPix is fascinated by child prodigies. Apparently there are a lot of YouTube videos on them. By making me watch them, she illuminated several misconceptions I had about prodigies.

rock climbing girls

  1. Prodigies are not just in music and math. I didn’t realize there were rock climbing prodigies.
  2. Is it nurture or nature? I would have thought the kid, Brooke Raboutou, with rock climbing world champion parents would be the best climber in the world. Not so, PickyKidPix told me. The girl, Ashima Shiraishi,  without these champion genes is actually the better climber (as of this moment).

rock climbing prodigies

PickyKidPix taught herself to rock climb last year. She went to Central Rock Gym nearby on a Friday night or a weekend with a friend and she’d climb for hours. I had dreams that this is how she’d spend her teenage weekends … in this safe tree-hugging environment rather than at parties out late at night. Not so, alas. After an intense winter of climbing last year, she has not been back. Read more…

povi

Teach Kids Social-Emotional Skills with Povi

A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that early social competence was a consistent, significant predictor of outcomes in education, employment, criminal justice, substance use, and mental health. In fact, for every one-point increase in a child’s social competence score, he or she was:

  • Twice as likely to attain a college degree
  • 54 percent more likely to earn a high school diploma
  • 46 percent more likely to have a full-time job in early adulthood

While we might agree that social-emotional skills are THE key predictor for future success for kids, we parents might scratch our heads and ask how do we make sure our kids are learning these key skills? A new Kickstarter campaign for Povi might help. Read more…

Miracle-Gro Gro-Ables for Keeping Kids Outdoors!

Miracle-Gro Gro-Ables for Keeping Kids Outdoors!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro Gro-ables for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

My 5th grade son and his two buddies are inordinately fond of video gaming. My son can be on two screens simultaneously; playing a game while watching a YouTuber play a different game. That drives me nuts.

We, the moms, took action. We got them programming in Scratch and Java, put them in computer camp to learn Java through Minecraft, and set up a boys book club.

Read more…

My Teen Driver & Global Youth Safety Month

My Teen Driver & Global Youth Safety Month

Grasshopper and Sensei turned 16 years old recently and had to be persuaded to learn to drive. She has no interest. Why would she? Her dad and I are her personal car service. She’s terrified being behind the wheel of a vehicle that can do serious damage. And she’s right.

teen driving

A few weeks ago, a car crashed into the front of our neighborhood pizza place, killing two people and critically injuring five others. It wasn’t a teen driver, but did you know these stats:

  • Car crashes are the #1 killer of teens
  • Teens crash most often because they are inexperienced – not because they take more risks behind the wheel.
  • Other teen passengers are one of the biggest distractions for teen drivers. Just one teen passenger raises a teen driver’s fatal crash risk 44 percent. Two passengers doubles fatal crash risk. Three or more quadruples crash risk.
  • Most fatal nighttime crashes involving teen drivers happen between 9 p.m. and midnight
  • More than half of teens killed in car crashes were not restrained by a seatbelt.

Read more…