The chore chart: such a well-intentioned grid. Hanging on the fridge, it tries to keep your kids informed of what chores they must do, it really does. But sometimes your daughter misses Table Setting Tuesday to eat dinner at a friend’s house. Sometimes your son has WAY too much homework to fold laundry. And so the chore chart sits unheeded, like a calendar stuck on last month. A few days pass, then a week, and soon the chart is forgotten. If you’ve made chore charts nobody seems to pay attention to, it’s time for a new approach. Check out these tips to get your kids to do their chores – complaint free!
Start your kids on chores from a very early age. It’s not unreasonable for a 2-year-old to be able to pick up their toys and put dirty clothes in a hamper. And young kids, unlike some older ones, actually like to help out. Harness this eagerness by assigning tasks whenever you can, but be sure to keep your expectations low. The idea with young kids is to get them to enjoy doing chores, not necessarily to complete chores efficiently. Even if you have to completely redo your 4-year-old’s laundry folding attempt, if you let them do it from an early age, they’ll be more likely to think it’s fun and keep doing it once they can do it properly.
Whatever you do, don’t step in and take over completely. You wouldn’t take over your child’s homework assignment if they were doing it wrong, would you? Chores can be an opportunity to teach your child a necessary, if not exactly thrilling, life skill, so you should try to instruct rather than correct. Teaching kids how to do chores is just like teaching anything else: it takes patience, but eventually you’ll be rewarded – in this case, rewarded with not having to do a chore yourself anymore!
Chores are not fun, so how do you inspire kids to do them? The most reasonable and pleasant approach is to let kids choose which chores they want to do from a set list. Start by tallying a huge list of chores – aim for 30 or 40 – and narrow down to find the ones your kids are most capable of doing. Then, write the chores up on note cards. Be specific with the way you write them: “empty desk trash, pick up clothes, and sweep under bed” is a much more actionable item than “clean room.” When you give kids a choice between specific tasks, they’ll have a lot less reason to complain.
Even if they have a choice, chores can be a lonely business: sometimes a trip to rake leaves in the backyard can feel like an exile. So, whenever possible, try to establish times to do chores as a family. This can be an opportunity to show young kids how to do certain chores, but it’s also a chance to demonstrate how much effort everyone – yourself included – must put in to keep things tidy. And everyone can have a lot more fun doing chores together. Pick certain songs to put on, or play a word-game that you can shout above vacuum noise. Chore time will be over in no time!
You’ve been tapping your foot all morning. “We’re going to be late!” you announce, but your daughter keeps primping her hair, your son starts another round of foosball with his little brother, and none of them have brushed their teeth yet. If this sounds like your household in the morning, it’s time to talk to your kids about punctuality. As kids get older, there will be more and more situations where they’ll need to show up at a certain place at a certain time. These tips will make sure they show up on time.
First, make sure you’re on time yourself. If you’re ever late, don’t make excuses. Explain that your lateness was inexcusable, that it showed selfishness and a lack of respect. This kind of profuse apology might seem like overkill, but trust us: your kids will remember every time you were ever late – in vivid detail – if you start nagging them about punctuality.
Nagging is no good. Try buying them a watch instead. Both analog and digital watches have their benefits: digital is easier to read; analog is easier to get a sense of how time passes. The sooner kids can tell time, the sooner you can hold them accountable for being on time.
The next step is to schedule one event at a very specific time every day: dinner, for example. If kids know they absolutely must show up for dinner at 6:00 PM – or no dessert – they’ll learn pretty quickly how to keep track of their time. Try not to call out “Almost dinner time!” at 5:55 either; let kids figure it out independently.
For older kids, more drastic measures may be necessary. If they’re persistently late, and their excuses are getting more and more implausible, it might be a deeper issue. Be sure to talk seriously with your kid about how their lateness makes you feel, and also try to discern whether it’s symptomatic of a deeper lack of respect. Without being confrontational, ask them exactly what they were doing that prevented them from being on time. If they answer honestly, they’ll realize that the things they were doing were probably not worth being late – and disrespecting you – over. If they can admit this, they’ll be less likely to be late again.
Like most things you teach your kids, positive reinforcement is also a good trick to get results. Try adding up the minutes when kids are early, and doling out treats based on these amounts. Or, let’s say your kids want to go to a really hyped-up concert. Show them how you have to be early to get the best tickets: take them with you when you stand on line, and be sure to bring snacks and entertainment for the long wait. When concert time rolls around, and you’re all living it up in the front row, your kids will realize that sometimes punctuality…rocks!
The bond between siblings is one of the most common yet least understood types of relationships. For some, a sister or brother can be a lifelong source of comfort, reassurance, and love. But for just as many others it can be a constant stream of resentment, anger, and rivalry. Differences in temperaments, personalities, interests, and ages can all fuel unrest between siblings, but teaching them how to work through their problems is an excellent way to prepare them for life’s more difficult moments.
One of the simplest ways to prevent rivalry between children is to treat them as individuals. As tempting as it is to want children to be equals, parents sometimes do them a disservice by not nurturing their own unique skills and abilities. If Jack throws a mean curveball but John can barely swing a bat, don’t encourage them both to try out for the Little League team. Instead, praise them for their own special talents. This will boost their self-esteem and help them understand that being different isn’t such a bad thing.
Even if you do encourage siblings to do their own thing, disagreements between them are bound to arise, and the way you intervene in these situations can deeply affect a sibling relationship. Take tattling, for instance. Any sibling rivalry is bound to manifest itself in one child tattling on the other, because, ultimately, they’re both seeking your approval, and sometimes the easiest way to get that approval is to throw a brother or sister under the proverbial bus. When faced with a tattling child, it’s often best to ignore them. This will make it clear that not only is tattling not the way to gain your good graces, but it’s also not an effective way for Sibling A to punish Sibling B.
But tattling goes through an important change when a child tells you not what their sibling did (which is probably exaggerated anyway) but how that action made them feel. In such a case, be respectful of a child’s feelings; listen, and show them their emotions are valid. Then, encourage your child to tell their sibling about their feelings. If a child can respectfully confront their sibling about something they did, it’s a big step in the development of their conflict-resolution skills.
Sibling relationships are often the first time children experience how to work out a conflict independently of you. So don’t just encourage good behavior between siblings; encourage siblings to resolve their conflicts together. The sooner they can do this, the better prepared they’ll be to navigate the unpredictable personalities and tough situations they’ll encounter in school, work, and beyond.
“So, how was school today?” If this dinnertime conversation starter is often greeted by a shrug, it’s probably time to try a different question. Getting kids to open up about their lives can be difficult when they reach grade-school, and nearly impossible as high school approaches. But don’t despair. Take some of these tips to regain your child’s confidence and build a sturdier bridge into their lives.
Deep down, your children want to share their everyday tribulations and feelings with you. Often, the trick is asking the right questions of them. Make sure your questions require real, complex answers, not just “yes” or “no.” Avoid general questions; ask specific ones. Who won capture the flag at recess? Was it anyone’s birthday today? What was for lunch in the cafeteria? Did you see any sports cars on the bus ride? The more specific the question, the more it shows you’re interested in the details of their life. And even if they can’t recall seeing any sports cars on the bus ride, it might remind them about that driver that got angry at another driver and made the gesture that they didn’t really understand. As you can see, asking about unimportant details can often lead to more important stuff.
Once you get your child talking, listen. Good listening requires patience, and when kids open up to you, it requires a particular kind of patience. As your child talks, you’ll probably feel a surge of really great advice build up in you. Wait. Save that advice till later. Keep asking questions until your child unspools the entire situation. If you do this, you’ll ultimately gain a wider perspective than you would have if you jumped in at the beginning; your advice will be better informed and more potent. Most importantly, holding all advice until your child has finished talking proves to them that you’re a good listener. They’ll be a lot more likely to tell you things in the future.
Once you’ve gained your child’s trust as a listener, don’t betray their confidence by telling their secrets. If, for whatever reason, you feel a secret must be told, it’s crucial to ask your kid before you go telling someone else. Even if the secret doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, it may be to your kid, so ask. An even trickier situation: tweens and teens may tell you about bad choices their friends are engaging in, but think twice about picking up the phone to call that friend’s parents. Unless the friend’s behavior is truly dangerous, keep it to yourself.
It’s a wonderful feeling to know that you’re the person your child trusts most in the world. But it takes daily determination to prove that you deserve that trust. The only effective way of doing this is to make time to connect with your child, every day. Establish a specific place, a routine, or even a special ritual – anything to get them talking. Work to gain your child’s confidence. It’s worth it.
First it’s a mosquito in your ear…then it’s that obnoxious squeal of air escaping a pinched balloon…and by the time the sound reaches its crescendo, it’s a few decibels away from shattering your glasses. The dreaded whine. Children whine to get your attention and, sadly, it works. But if your child is beginning to believe that whining is the only way to get what they want, it’s time to teach them otherwise.
There are a few measures any parent can take to prevent whining before it begins. When you can’t respond immediately to a child’s request, try to be as pleasant and respectful as possible when asking them to wait. Give an accurate time estimate for when you’ll be with them: “2 minutes” rather than a vague “later.” Also, try to consider factors that may have caused your child to clamor for attention more often. Have you been busier than usual? Taking care of a new baby? In these cases, whining may be a child’s plea to reconnect.
If you think it’s time to bring your child’s whining to their attention, there are some dos and don’ts to remember. The first time you tell them, it might be best to wait until they’re not whining. If you bring the issue up when your child is in a good mood, they’ll be more likely to take heed. Then, the next time they whine, ask them to listen to what they sound like. It may be necessary to cultivate a passable impression of their whine – “This is what you sound like to me…” – but be careful about mocking: the only thing worse than a whiner is a whiner with hurt feelings.
If a whining problem persists, get consistent about how you respond. It’s important to resist caving in to your child’s whined demands; if you do, it lets them know that it works. But telling your child that they’re whining again and again can become tiresome and somewhat antagonistic. For a different approach, tell your child you don’t understand them when they whine. Suggest that maybe it’s a problem of enunciation, and let them know that you’ll only respond to requests you can hear clearly. Also, it might be worth pointing out to your child that most of their idols and heroes, like Batman, iCarly, and Dora, aren’t big whiners…though Justin Bieber’s songs have been known to get a little whiney.
Once you draw a line between whining and not-whining, it’s very important to reward non-whiny requests with your full attention. And when you notice your child has made an effort to decrease their whining, tell them that you’re proud of how maturely they’re acting. Indeed, a child who has moved past whining is beginning to recognize the difference between wants and needs, and so a whining phase, while annoying, is a key step in learning this lesson. It’s a long and whine-ding road, but the destination is worthwhile.
The sun will come out tomorrow…or will it? The short, grey days of winter can seriously dampen moods. As you and your family spend more time indoors, it can seem like boredom and irritability are more prevalent than fun and togetherness. Some people are more affected than others by winter weather, but studies show that children are more prone than adults to the sort of tearfulness and despondence that seems to creep up around mid January. All of us could use a little boost to get back on the sunny side, so take some of these tips to ensure your kids (and you) overcome the winter blues.
Exercise and outdoor exposure are essential to maintaining a good mood in winter. True, it’s probably cold outside, but the more time you and your kids spend in direct sunlight, the better you’re likely to feel. Even more important is physical activity. Just a little bit of exercise per day can raise your serotonin level, which helps ward off depression like a big bite of chocolate (in fact, chocolate boosts serotonin too, though you might not want to tell your kids).
If it’s too cold to play outside, devise a plan for physical activities inside. Young kids will love having a dance party every night, and older kids may enjoy trips to a skating rink or indoor swimming pool. If your children are into fall and spring sports, try to get them interested in winter sports, because any scheduled physical activity is a great remedy to winter blues.
If your area happens to be snowbound, there are lots of fun activities for kids to enjoy. Skiing, sledding, and pond hockey are all time-tested standbys. If you have a lot of snow on your hands, the construction of forts, igloos, and snow sculptures can provide an excellent diversion for the whole family (check out these snow sculptures for inspiration). On the other hand, avoid snowball fights – what begins as friendly can turn downright warlike. And whatever your outdoor plans may be, make sure your child is well-equipped for the weather, because a cold kid can turn mighty fussy. Check out our selection of winter gear!
When the blizzard’s roaring outside, it’s helpful to have a list of low-key indoor activities prepared. Board games? Should be a big checkmark next to that one. Calming music and reading are also good ideas. If your reading voice is getting kind of scratchy, try getting a recording of a favorite story, dimming the lights for mood, and inviting your family to relax and imagine.
Most importantly, be aware that people are a little more likely to lose their cool during the winter months. Kids may be more prone to tantrums and mood swings, so do your best to be supportive. If your little one grows abnormally depressed, it could be a sign of Seasonal Affective Disorder, and you might consult your pediatrician. But for everyday winter blues, a little understanding and a lot of active fun go a long way.
These days, it seems like all roads lead to the campaign trail. The 2012 presidential election is going to be a big one, and people are going to be talking about it all year long. In a democracy such as ours, ongoing political discussion is essential, and even children should participate. But the election cycle can also bring out some less than exemplary behavior from those involved: scandal mongering, mudslinging, and even name calling unfortunately seem like par for the course. As your children become aware of the political process, try these tips to keep kids well-informed and keep discussion fruitful and positive.
If you vote, consider taking your child along to the polls. The value, history, and mechanics of voting are things they’ll presumably learn in school, but it’s always best to see the process in action, especially for young kids.
If you keep up on politics yourself, you’ll have lots to share with your kids this election cycle. But unless you’re dead-set on molding your child’s political views, it might be best to leave your own views or party affiliation out of the discussion, at least at first. Ask your child which issues they’re interested in – the economy? health care? social issues? – then explain how various candidates feel about these things. Often, kids will want to pick a candidate right away, but ask them to wait about a month, and give them news coverage that’s related to their interests, from fairly unbiased sources if possible (Kidstalkpolitics.com is a good resource for young kids who want to hear what their peers have to say on these issues).
When it comes time to ask kids who they would vote for, ask them why. If their choice is different than the candidate you plan to vote for, tell your child why you disagree with them, but never disparage their choice. Instead, debate with them in a respectful, age-appropriate way. If you want your child to develop a well-rounded, well-informed political viewpoint, it’s your duty to encourage a positive form of debate (which may be drastically different than the sort of debating politicians so often demonstrate).
Depending on their school and grade-level, kids may be exposed to debate teams and current events curriculum, but it’s a good idea to watch some of the TV election coverage with your kids, and point out the differences between constructive debate and meaningless finger-pointing. The next time a roundtable of pundits is debating on TV, keep score with your kids: tally “Good Points” vs. “Rude Interruptions” and hold your own post-debate wrap up.
It can be illuminating for kids to learn how much of TV election coverage is negative, focused on “horse race” poll numbers, or just plain slanderous. Through all this, try and keep your children focused on the issues they care about. If they can look beyond the negativity and still hold true to their own values, then they’ve taken a very important step as a citizen. When it’s time for them to vote for real, they’ll be ready.
These days, it seems like one of the more prevalent concerns among parents and educators is that children just aren’t reading anymore. Then again, in an age of pulse-quickening video games, endless cable channels, attention-sucking mobile phone apps, and unlimited internet access, the idea of picking up a book can seem downright quaint. Thankfully, due to a handful of popular authors and their captivating characters, reading hasn’t totally fallen out of favor. However, getting kids to read books that don’t feature boy wizards and sparkling vampires may still prove to be a difficult task. Luckily, we’ve got some ideas on how to encourage your kids to read more, and more variedly.
With a little effort you can help your kids find the right books to match their interests. Do they like dinosaurs? Fairies and magic? Mythological Greek gods settling their conflicts with a not-so-friendly game of football? There are books out there that tackle these subjects and many more obscure ones. You can find recommendations at sites like The Young Adult Library Services Association, Oprah’s Kids’ Reading List, and Drop Everything and Read. These are great sources for narrowing down the vast field of children’s and young adult books to find one your kid will love.
If they need a little push, offer kids rewards and incentives for reading. Maybe let them stay up past their bedtime if the time is spent reading. Or perhaps exchange a minute of television or video game time for every minute of reading. Perhaps you’ll find that your children will want to polish off another chapter instead of blowing up aliens on their PlayStation.
The recent explosion of tablets and e-readers makes having access to books easier than ever before. These devices can hold hundreds, even thousands, of e-books, meaning your children can have a virtual library at their fingertips anytime. And you needn’t worry about spending a fortune to fill your child’s e-reader to capacity. Countless websites are devoted to the electronic distribution of literature; for example, Project Gutenberg offers the web’s largest single collection of free e-books.
It may take time and encouragement to instill a love of reading in your child, but once you do it’s as if you’ve pulled back a curtain and showed them a new dimension to their young lives. Books are ultimately transporting; they let you slip through time, travel to the far reaches of the galaxy, and even live another person’s life. Once your children discover the extraordinary power of books, they’ll almost never want to put them down.
Whether religious or secular, your family’s traditions are what make you unique – and they’re what your kids will remember most. But if you tried to sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” with the kids last year, and they lost interest around “three French hens,” it might be time to consider some new traditions. Don’t be afraid to break with the old – traditions you create yourself can be even stronger than traditional…traditions.
First, try getting rid of traditions that either aren’t fun or don’t make sense for your family. Write up a list of current holiday activities and ask all family members which activities should stay and which get the ax. Don’t forget to take your children’s opinions into consideration; they’ll be home on school vacation, and likely to overindulge on TV and cookies if they don’t have lots of fun activities to divert them. So give them diversions galore. The best are fun, inexpensive activities that involve the whole family. They can be as simple as a family board game – if it’s fun enough, the family will want to do it next year, too. Here are a few more ideas:
Ride around together on a neighborhood tour of lights and decorations – go by bike if the weather’s mild, by car if not. If your family likes to judge, make up some signs, 1-10 or A-F, to evaluate your neighbors’ festive displays. Will the Joneses beat the Smiths this year?
If your family is not particularly religious, but looking for a way to celebrate the holiday season, the winter solstice – December 22, the longest night of the year – is an opportunity for festivities. Cultures around the globe observe the solstice in different ways, but many celebrations involve giving thanks for light. Why not celebrate with a family game of flashlight tag?
Or, if you want to show some generosity as a family, give a present to someone who won’t be expecting one. Who should it be? The mail carrier? Arnie down at the town dump? That old woman with the cats? Whoever it is, make the gift meaningful. The same goes for your holiday traditions: only your family can decide what traditions are meaningful to them. And if you’re looking for meaningful gifts for the kids in your life, look no further than CookiesKids.com!
It’s the holiday season, a time when most people are in the giving spirit. Your children certainly feel the generosity, but it’s likely they’re on the receiving, rather than the giving, end. Isn’t it time they experienced the joy of giving, too?
Because there’s so much giving going on, the holiday season is the perfect time to teach kids virtues such as charity, generosity, and selflessness. As usual, the first step is setting a positive example yourself. Experts, like parenting specialist and psychotherapist Alyson Schafer, believe that parents who make charity a priority will have children who grow up with a similar attitude. Children will be even more likely to adopt a charitable attitude if you involve them in the process of giving, and allow them to choose charitable acts that mean something to them. Looking for some ideas?
Deliver some of your child’s used toys and clothes to a charitable organization like the Salvation Army or Goodwill – and make sure to take your child along on the trip. Explain to your child that while these items may be outmoded to them, they could be extremely valuable to those less fortunate.
Another idea is to visit hospitals, nursing homes, and even pet shelters. The holidays can be a lonely time for those who may not have family and friends that can visit. Spending time with the elderly and infirm, and even bringing gifts and treats along, will provide a much needed boost of holiday cheer.
If you feel you can afford it, providing a complete holiday dinner for a needy family can be a very meaningful act. Ask your children to help you come up with a shopping list, then seek a religious or community outreach organization to deliver the meal to a family in need. Non-profit organizations such as Feeding America and Ample Harvest aid hunger relief efforts through nationwide networks of food banks.
Finally, don’t forget to count the things for which you and your kids are thankful. Place emphasis on things other than material items, like family and friends. Not only will this activity give your child a sense of humility, it will reaffirm the generosity you’ve been teaching them, and inspire them to continue their charitable endeavors. In the words of author and motivational speaker Pervis Taylor III, “Giving is not a season or a moment, it is a lifestyle.”
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Whether it’s a much-anticipated beach vacation or a somewhat less-anticipated trip to Great Aunt Thelma’s house, the holidays are a time when travel is more or less inevitable. If you’ve taken trips with the little ones before, it should come as no surprise that travel is fraught with pitfalls, many of the tantrum-inducing variety. So if you want to make your next trip with the kids fuss-free, here are some tips to help.
At-home preparation can make or break your trip. Intelligent packing is key. When you help pack your kids’ suitcases, try and choose outfits that could pull double- or triple-duty. Explain that it’s OK to wear the same pants a few days in a row when you’re on the road – truckers do it all the time! Besides clothes, you know better than anyone what items your little one needs to have around to feel comfortable, but one thing you should always remember is a kit of essential medicines. If your daughter gets a sore throat in Peru, it’s unlikely the local farmacia will have her preferred flavor of cough syrup (and last time we checked there’s little in the way of conventional medicine up on Machu Picchu).
Another thing to bring is toys, preferably new ones your kids haven’t played with before. For a delightful surprise, bring out a bag of new toys during the first few minutes of any car or plane ride. Voila! Several hours of distracting fun. Packs of cards and travel-sized boardgames are great too, because they can involve everyone. Car rides have their own set of multi-player games: I-spy, the license plate game, every family has their staples. These kinds of games can be great, for a while, but don’t be offended if your kid wants to tune out for a while and listen to their headphones. Maybe they’ve just counted enough blue cars for one day.
If a family plane ride is in your future, providing lasting distractions will be particularly important – books are a great idea. To kids who have never been on an airplane before, explain what they can expect in grueling detail. Make sure to talk them through airport security, as that can potentially be a scary situation for young children. Also, it’s best to lay down your own personal rules for plane etiquette: rules like no sound on gaming devices and no blanket forts in the aisles are perennial favorites. Lastly, remember that airlines have severely cut down on the services they provide, so if you’re expecting to be able to board before everyone else or get an extra bottle of warm milk on the plane, it’s best to check your airline’s policy first.
Travel can put you and your family in close quarters with lots of coughing strangers and bad smells and general stressed-out-ness. But becoming a Holiday Travel Casualty – one of those desperate dads stroller-sprinting to make a gate check-in, for instance – is avoidable. All it takes is a little planning and a LOT of understanding. Understanding your family’s travel needs, before and during the trip, isn’t hard: just look, listen, and care. It’s the best way to keep “getting there” from getting ugly.
Surely you recall your first bout with love. The butterflies in your stomach when passing your crush in school hallways. The way you tried to act cool whenever they stepped in the room. How you’d written your betrothed’s name all over your Trapper Keeper. One day your child will experience the same wonderful, horrible feelings you once did. The signs will be easy enough to recognize: one day they’ll see a romantic scene in a movie and instead of saying “Eww, that’s gross,” they’ll say, “Aww, that’s cute!”
In general, these feelings emerge around the time kids enter kindergarten or first grade because, as they spend more time in school and in activities outside the family, they’ll begin to feel affection for their classmates. Crushes are perfectly healthy, even at an early age; in fact, they’re a major part of your child’s emotional and social development. But as with all love, there always remains the risk of heartbreak and emotional pain, experiences that are hard for anyone to deal with, let alone children. Here are a few tips on what you can do upon discovering your little one has an objet d’amour.
Please, no teasing, especially in front of family. Yes, you may view your child’s first crush as something that’s cheek-pinchingly cute, but bear in mind that the more you might tease, the more shame and uncertainty your child is likely to feel. It might even make them deny their feelings or be more guarded about them next time. So respect the real and intense feelings your child may be experiencing. Validate their feelings by making positive statements. Be inquisitive but not intrusive. Ask your child what they like about their crush and if they think their feelings are being reciprocated. Listen to what they have to say and show genuine interest. It may be appropriate to share stories of your first crush. It’s also important to encourage staying friends with a crush even “if” (after) the romance fades. After all, it’s likely your child will be classmates and friends with the ex-crush for years to come.
Crushes are a child’s first forays into the world of relationships. It’s a world fraught with complications and issues of vulnerability, desire, embarrassment, rejection, sadness, disappointment, and power. Besides being a good listener, perhaps the most important thing you can do about your child’s first crush is to set a good example through your own relationships. Your kids watch your every move – how you interact with family, friends, everyone. By setting good examples and being your child’s confidant, you’re helping prepare them for the emotional wonders and heartaches that growing up will inevitably bring.
How long have you known your best friend? A few years? A decade? Or since you both could barely walk? As your own kids make friends, it’s important to teach them what goes into a healthy friendship. Once they know how to be a good friend, they’ll have the blocks to build lifelong friendships.
There are lots of things that make a friendship work: caring, dependability, and trustworthiness are just a few. But most of these qualities fall under the banner of empathy. Empathy is the cornerstone of any effective friendship – without it, there can only be selfishness. But young children need help developing their sense of empathy if they’re going to have healthy friendships in the future. Kids learn empathy from parents and siblings, so while your child is at the toddler stage it’s a good idea to talk frequently about feelings. If your child does something that disregards someone else’s feelings, try saying something like, “How do you think it made your brother feel when you pushed him in the sandbox?” The more your child thinks about others’ feelings, the likelier they are to develop a finely honed sense of empathy.
Another way to help your child develop empathy is to exaggerate your expressions. It may sound strange to behave this way, but young children are always watching for clues on how to react, so if you’re blank-faced when they come to you with a great tragedy – say, a skinned knee – your child won’t know what to think.
Once your child has developed a sense of empathy, they’re well-prepared for friendship. But to understand the emotions of someone else is not necessarily to befriend them. It takes an attitude of acceptance and generosity to truly be a friend.
Ever notice how good friends are forgiving? This is a behavior you can teach your child too. It begins at home: if you demand things of your child and criticize their mistakes, your child will be demanding and critical of their peers. Teach your child to accept their own mistakes, and work with them to find solutions for next time, and they’ll learn behavior that will serve them well in future friendships.
Generosity is something you’ve already taught your kids, because you’ve probably been more generous with them than with anyone else. But it’s wise to explain to kids that sharing doesn’t always refer to snacks and toys; generous friends share their feelings too.
Ah, technology. Children and teens are using it more than ever. And thanks to mobile broadband and high speed internet access, they’re able to engage with the social playground known as cyberspace. But what if that playground isn’t as safe you thought?
Just as real-life playgrounds have bullies, the online world has cyberbullying, defined by the Cyberbullying Research Center as the “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.” It can happen on social media sites and message boards, in chats and instant messages, and through email. The National Crime Prevention Council states that almost half of all American kids have been bullied online, and almost a quarter have experienced it more than once. The effect this abuse has on its victims can be devastating, resulting in low self-esteem, poor academic performance, and depression. This is similar to what occurs with real-life bullying except cyberbullying allows no respite. The school day will eventually end at some point; the internet is available 24 hours a day.
Often, children won’t tell their parents they are being harassed online. So what can you do to prevent your kids from getting caught up in cyberbullying? Be aware of the sites your child visits. Tell them not to forward any mean emails or messages, and to report any bullying to a trusted adult. If your child is being bullied online, discourage them from responding to the bully. Explain that getting revenge against a cyberbully – or anyone – can only lead to more anger and pain without resolution. If cyberbullying incidents start to add up, encourage your child to keep track of them. This will prove helpful should teachers or other authority figures need to be involved. Finally, assure your child it is not their fault they’ve been targeted by bullies.
Children’s rights advocate Marian Wright Edelman once said, “Being considerate of others will take you and your children further in life than any college degree.” It’s vital to instill compassion and tolerance in children, and to teach them that their actions, whether online or off, do indeed have consequences. By speaking openly about cyberbullying, you can lessen its impact and help keep your child safe in cyberspace.
Ever fake sick when you were younger? 10% of kids today try to fake it at some point during their scholastic careers. It’s easy: pressing that thermometer to a warm lamp gives any little trickster a convincing “sick temperature” (anything over 101.4 is the standard) – and let’s not even get started on the various sources for fake vomit. But cunning as your kid may be, it’s important for you to know the difference between faking sick and genuine illness, because both can be cause for concern.
If your child says they don’t feel well, begin by asking them what hurts. Then ask how badly it hurts, when it started hurting, and whether it’s gotten better or worse since they first noticed it. Be persistent. Don’t interrogate, but if vagaries and inconsistencies arise, ask your child to account for them. For instance, if the pain your child claims to feel seems to migrate at will – “My throat hurts…now it’s my stomach!” – it might be a sign that the ailment will migrate entirely away once you declare a sick day.
If your child acts “all better” once they’re told they can stay home, it’s time for serious suspicion. Note their progress. Drowsiness is a common symptom of colds and the flu, so if your child is watching TV bright-eyed and focused, they may be faking. But by then it’s too late: you’ve already called your boss and started making chicken soup. So the next time your kid seems really avid to stay home, try telling them you only have split pea soup and that – oh! – the cable just went out. A day at school doesn’t look so bad anymore.
Kids pretend to be sick for various reasons. Sometimes it’s just for the thrill of deception. But if you find out your kid has faked sick on several occasions, it may be the sign of an underlying problem. They might be avoiding something at school, like a bully or a geometry test. In these cases, where there is a definite motivation for faking sick, it’s important to figure it out, talk it over with your child, and find a solution. In other cases, deep anxiety can actually manifest itself in physical discomfort, so a kid really does feel sick even though they might not have a cold. This is more common in younger children, who haven’t learned to verbalize their emotions. Luckily, your doctor can help you get to the bottom of these issues before more serious problems arise.
Whether you’re trying to make a home diagnosis, or create a comfy environment for your genuinely cold-y kid, CookiesKids.com has lots of ways to help – check out our selection!
Did you have a blankie as a child? C’mon, you can tell us. Most small children form attachments to blankets, pacifiers, plush toys, and other comfort objects at an early age. These items give kids a sense of security and help them cope with many everyday experiences and feelings. But it can be pretty mystifying to see the lengths a toddler will go to for their favorite blankie – as anyone who’s ever lost their kid’s blankie already knows. If you’re trying to make sense of the blankie phenomenon, we can help.
The term “security blanket” (coined by Charles Schultz in the comic strip Peanuts) is an accurate one; blankets and other objects help kids feel more secure. Many doctors and researchers agree that these items often remind children of their parents and, in the absence of parents, provide support and reassurance that’s portable and always available. These cherished possessions also have a soothing effect when a child feels sleepy, sick, or anxious.
As your child’s comfort object allows them to rely on you less, it becomes easier for them to separate from you. No, this doesn’t mean they’re going to disregard you altogether, but it does help your child take those first necessary steps toward independence. Studies have shown that comfort objects actually promote play, exploration, and overall happiness in children when parents are not around.
Most children begin to disassociate from their comfort objects on their own as they transition from toddlerhood to pre-adolescence. But if your child’s devotion to a comfort object becomes excessive, it may be time to talk. Some children become so preoccupied with their comfort object they exclude other activities. In this case, it might be wise to take steps to wean them from this object. First, bring it to your child’s attention that they seem to be spending an awful lot of time with their comfort object. Then, try setting limits. The next time you’re going on a trip, ask your little one whether they would be willing to leave their comfort object at home. Then, start taking the comfort object out only at designated times, like bedtime. Before you know it, they’ll forget all about that ratty old blanket.
On the other hand, if they’re not quite at that stage yet, and you’re thinking of throwing out that threadbare blankie or that one-eyed teddy, browse CookiesKids.com for a replacement. But make sure to call your toddler over to have a look at the options – toddlers can be very choosy!
Don’t you remember yours? The punchbowl with its wilting lemon slices? The tottering, arms-length slow dances? That one girl who borrowed a little too much of Mom’s makeup? It’s easy to see school dances as hokey or downright lame in retrospect, but for your middle schooler the approach of their first school dance may stir up some pretty strong anticipatory feelings. It may inspire fits of joy. On the other hand, it could inspire terror. No matter how your pre-teen feels about it, we have tips to help.
Middle school ages represent a wide variety of maturity levels, so it’s important to prepare your dance-goer (and yourself, should you care to witness the spectacle) for a range of behaviors. There will be kids who don’t want to dance. There will be kids whose dance moves are provocative enough to require the intervention of chaperones. Figure out what level your kid seems to be on. If they seem indifferent to the dance, and you don’t think they know the first thing about dancing, show them a step or two, or share a story. If your pre-teen has been imitating their favorite music videos around the house for years, perhaps warn them that those kinds of moves may not be well received by all their fellow students and teachers.
School dances are indeed a “public sphere” for kids, an environment less inhibited than those most kids inhabit on a daily basis. Thus, it gives kids a chance to see their peers in a whole new light – namely the light from a mirror ball. The thought of all that dancing in the dark can make a shy kid very nervous, and surely some kids will not want to attend. But it’s important to explain that sometimes it’s worthwhile to see how one’s peers get down. It may be funny. It may be pretty strange. But it will certainly be a night to remember.
Though clearly we’re a self-interested party on this issue, clothes are very important. They can be a big confidence booster and the difference between your kid having an “okay” time and the time of their life. Special occasions such as homecoming notwithstanding, most school dances are informal gatherings, yet kids will want to be a bit more dressed up than usual. At the same time, if your pre-teen wants to bust a move on the dance floor, they’ll want clothes that are comfy. Casual tops, T-shirts, blouses, skirts, and jeans are all acceptable wardrobe choices. Of course they’ll also want to wear comfortable kicks! The key is to give your young party animal a look their peers have never seen before. CookiesKids.com has a vast selection of stylish fashions that will make your pre-teen feel like the belle or beau of the ball.
Homework: scale-tipping backpacks, towering stacks of literary classics, mathematical symbols that seem to swirl on the page after a while. These memories are alive and well for today’s youth, whose take-home assignments aren’t all that different than the ones you did as a kid. After all, homework has been an educational staple since the dawn of formal schooling, and it’s endured because of its positive effects on children’s attitudes toward learning. But let’s examine the issue a little deeper – because not everyone loves homework!
Many parents and educators believe at-home assignments help students develop independence, responsibility, and time management skills. Furthermore, homework makes students realize that learning can take place anywhere, not solely in the classroom. And homework can benefit parents as well, giving them a window into the classroom.
But some parents (and MANY students) scoff at the notion that homework has any tangible benefits. Homework’s opponents say the extra work puts unnecessary pressure on students, “robs children of childhood”, and may even cause self-esteem issues. The most fervid detractors contend that homework turns learning into a mind-numbing exercise, based solely on rote memorization and repetition of material, as opposed to an exciting learning adventure.
What can you do to make sure homework doesn’t overwhelm, frustrate, or bore your child? Be positive – your attitude about homework is the one your student will base theirs upon. If they’re struggling with a subject, have them work on that subject first so they’ll be most alert. When they ask for help, provide guidance, not answers. And when it comes to tasks that seem like pure, boring memorization, try and show your student other alternatives: vocabulary words, for example, are a lot easier to recall if you can come up with a sentence that uses them in a funny and memorable way. Finally, don’t forget to reward your child’s progress. Set goals with incentives, even if those incentives are just a parent’s praise. (And, though we’d never recommend “bribery”, there are a lot of fine toys on our site to reward the most exceptional homework-improvers!)
I want to order something with a credit card do I need to send any additional info
Actually, the only option on Cookieskids.com is checkout by credit card. You will be prompted to enter your billing address, and that is the name and address where your credit card bill is sent. We will also only ship to the billing address in most cases.
Ah, naptime. Doesn’t your toddler look peaceful when they’re asleep? And a little tranquility for you couldn’t hurt either! But what if your toddler decides prematurely that they’ve gotten over napping? Or what if, on the other hand, they seem like they’re napping too much?
Every child has their own unique sleep patterns – circadian rhythms, tied to cycles of light and darkness and a body’s “quota” for sleep. This means that children have individual needs when it comes to napping, needs you should do your best to observe and recognize. Another factor that determines when and why kids nap is cultural; if they attend daycare or you’ve established a strict napping schedule at home, a toddler is liable to follow that schedule.
But sooner or later, most kids are going to say they don’t need to nap anymore. When this happens, you should watch for signs that your toddler might be skipping their nap prematurely: yawning, droopy eyes, crankiness, all at around the time when they used to nap. If your child gives up their nap before 4 years old, and they still exhibit these symptoms, try offering them some quiet time in their room around their former naptime. Dim the lights and leave them alone. Even if they don’t fall asleep, it can still be a recharging break. Providing a restful environment at the right times can help kids keep a healthy sleep schedule – even if they think they know better. (And this doesn’t just apply to nap-shy toddlers: teenagers who stay up to chat with their friends could also probably use a reminder that lights out means lights out.)
But what about children who don’t want to give up their naps? 20-30% of five-year-olds still need a nap in the afternoon. Kindergartens and daycare programs often have an optional nap, but if you know your kid needs one at a certain time, a quick chat with your kindergarten teacher or daycare professional might be a good idea. If drowsiness persists when your child starts grade school, it might be wise to ask your pediatrician about it.
The most important responsibility you have when it comes to your child’s sleep is being observant and supportive; know the signs of drowsiness so you can provide encouragement to sleep. And any kid who needs a reminder that naptime is pretty fun should get a look at our sleepwear and cuddle pillows – browse CookiesKids.com for a superior selection!
Hi my Name is Desiree and I would like to tell you about one of cookies employee who works downtown brooklyn. Her name is Jasmine she works in the children department. When I visit cookies on Saturday September the 3rd 2011 Jasmine was nice and very helpful to me. Every thing that I needed for my daughter for school Jasmine was there to assist me. I just want you to know that Jasmine is really outstanding and Cookies best employee. Thank you for hiring Jasmine. Thank you Jasmine for everything and my God bless you.
How long is this skirt? LST01481 or # BJS01256 ? It looks like they could be below the knee? My daughter's school does not allow skirts above the knee. If the hem is big enough, I can take it down. My daughter is quite tall however. Please make some of your skirts a bit longer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Both of the skirts fall just to the knee. See my earlier comment about skirts that fall below.
Hi, My daughter goes to a private school where they have to wear navy and white uniforms. The girls navy skirts must fall below the knee. This, I have found, is very difficult to find. My daughter is 13, and is 5'5'. It would be SO NICE if we were given the option: "short version or below the knee version." Most of the skirt are too short, or if they are long, they are just plain long, pleated skirts that look like a "grandma skirt". Please, companies, make some of your cute skirt styles longer
We know it can be challenging to find a skirt that is the right length for your daughter. We have had this complaint in the past and have come up with two solutions:
In today’s economic climate, everyone is trying to save money. This is a sentiment that hits especially close to home for parents sending children to private schools, which account for nearly a quarter of all schools in the United States and admit over five million students annually. As tuition rates are on the rise at many community yeshivahs, parents and school administrators are looking for ways to ease the financial strain of educational costs.
Joe Levy, Director of School Sales at CookiesKids.com, has the inside scoop on which and why yeshivahs are making the switch to school uniforms. He first noticed an increase in school uniform policy enforcement when one of Brooklyn’s largest schools, Magen David Yeshivah, decided to institute such a policy for the upcoming school year. Soon after, other schools in the community began inquiring about uniforms, considering the prospect of adopting a similar policy in the fall.
"With tuition rates rising in the community, shopping for fashion clothing as school wear just adds to the cost of education," Levy said. "When schools switch to uniforms, it ensures parents will save money."
Levy heads up the uniform sales department at CookiesKids.com which caters to over 2,000 schools, a number that shows no signs of shrinking. Because the company has a nearly endless inventory of tailor-made school uniform styles, price points and sizes available, Levy has been able to provide for a variety of school uniform policies, no matter how specific.
Without question, the social impact of school uniforms can have a profoundly positive effect on children. “They have so many pressures right now, and one less thing they have to worry about with school uniform policies is what to wear,” said Levy. “It keeps kids on a more even playing field.”
Jack Shammah, the Director of Marketing and Operations at CookiesKids.com, agrees. He’s received similar feedback from parents and children about the benefits of uniforms. “It provides a sense of confidence in children when they see their peers in the same clothes. They can excel at other things without being conscious of their clothing,” Jack said.
In addition to easing peer pressure and self-confidence issues in children and saving parents money on trendy, designer clothing purchases, advocates of school uniforms cite a number of other reasons why they are a positive influence on the educational process. Uniforms make it easier for students to get dressed for schools in the morning, reduce discipline problems in the academic environment, and help set an atmosphere of modesty and professionalism.
They also help instill and promote school spirit and pride, facilitate a sense of unity among students, and, perhaps, most importantly, increase students’ self respect. Students’ behavior and attitudes toward academics improve because their own expectations of themselves become higher. There’s a certain level of reverence that must be observed and maintained when wearing your school’s uniform.
According to Levy, shirts and sweaters with embroidered school logos and gym clothes with screen printed mascots - all in the school’s colors - go a long way toward building that sense of belonging. When kids have a uniform on, they’re recognized as a proud student of their school.
While some may argue that school uniforms suppress individuality, the prevailing thought is that pupils are still very much capable of self-expression when dressed in uniform. Students can make their uniforms fashionable thanks to unique choices in hairstyles, shoes, socks, ties, and accessories. It’s in minor details such as these that students possess the freedom to differentiate and distinguish themselves. Rather than seeing uniforms as an attempt at mass conformity, students recognize the potential to be even more creative and expressive. The thing that must always be remembered is that attitude is very important; if students feel good about themselves, they will act accordingly.
Lower financial burden, the lack of distraction and competition, the development of one’s self-respect, and the fostering of community spirit are just some of the many positive reasons why the idea of uniforms is attractive to schools like Magen David Yeshivah. Their decision to mandate school uniforms for the upcoming school year indicates a strong dedication to getting their students back to the business of learning. Perhaps it is a decision that more schools will adopt in the near future.
For more information on school uniform options, visit www.CookiesKids.com or call (877) 94-Cookies.
O2 Media Announces CookiesKids.com to Appear on ‘The Balancing Act’ on Lifetime Television
“CookiesKids.com is extremely excited about appearing on ‘The Balancing Act’ on Lifetime. The partnership is perfect! We’re always looking to introduce our school uniforms and huge assortment of children’s apparel to a new audience.”
Parents know what’s just around the corner—it’s back to school time! These days, for a growing number of kids, that includes school uniforms. ‘The Balancing Act’ welcomes special guest Al Falack, the Senior Director of E-commerce for CookiesKids.com. Falack explains to viewers how kid’s school uniforms have definitely changed throughout the years. They are no longer boring, and thanks to CookiesKids.com you can easily get an amazing number of styles without breaking your back-to-school budget!
Make sure to watch the show to find out how you can successfully dress your child in uniform for the entire school year — for less than $100 bucks!
“CookiesKids.com is extremely excited about appearing on ‘The Balancing Act’ on Lifetime. The partnership is perfect! We are always looking to introduce our school uniforms and huge assortment of children’s apparel to a new audience — and the Lifetime demographic is our exact target market,” says Falack.
CookiesKids.com makes the buying experience for back to school easy with the largest selection of school uniforms on the web. They also offer a price-match guarantee, and back it up by having the cheapest prices on the internet.
The Balancing Act TV show is produced by O2 Media, Inc. and airs on Lifetime Television at 7:00am (ET/PT). The Balancing Act is America’s premier morning show that’s about women, for women, and trusted by women. For information or to view a show, visit http://www.TheBalancingAct.com.
About O2 Media
Based in Pompano Beach, Fla., O2 Media is a national television production company and pioneer in the branded entertainment industry. Since its inception O2 Media has engaged, entertained and educated viewers with such reputable shows as The Balancing Act, www.thebalancingact.com and Designing Spaces, www.designingspaces.tv on Lifetime Television. The company has earned hundreds of industry awards for revolutionizing the way brands engage with consumers on television. O2 Media provides unmatched marketing value to its clients while producing quality content for its growing national viewership through Brandutainment™. Household brands and blue chip companies alike continue to depend on O2 Media to effectively communicate their message to consumers.
If you’re looking for shorts, I’d recommend checking out our Universal Boys Flat Front Shorts (available in sizes 10H to 20H) - perfect if you’re looking for a classic scholastic look for less than $15!