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We all want our children to be liked and accepted by others. We want them to develop lasting friendships with their peers. In order to help children develop and maintain positive relationships it is important that we as parents demonstrate positive examples. This is a challenging time for families. The economy seems to be crumbling before our eyes along with our financial security. We work harder to keep the things we have and because of this we are bringing increased stresses into our homes. This impacts our children in ways that are not always clearly seen. So how does all of this impact the behavior of our children? They may act out inappropriately to get our attention.

As families we need to get back to simple. What are the little things you do with your child/children that brings you together as a family?

My younger child loves to spend time doing anything with myself, my husband and his teenage sister. Sometimes we watch a TV show or movie together. That may only be one time a week but it is nice to sit together and enjoy the show. Sometimes he bakes brownies with his sister.

It would be helpful to all of us if you would take the time to share your thoughts and feelings so that we may learn from your actions and experiences. Maybe you need a safe place to vent and take comfort.

To quote the African Proverb, “It takes a whole village to raise a child”. Let’s make this a communal effort and be there to help each other.

Now that school is back in session our days are often filled with responsibilities. The lazy days of summer are gone and our children need to do things on a schedule. To cut down on the arguing that so often occurs I often use an oven timer for starting and finishing different activities. My son will argue about starting homework, getting a bath, and going to bed. I usually say, “I have set the timer for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off you need to come to the table and start your homework”. It does not always go smoothly but it does help to cut down on the back and forth discussion. I have found that using a timer keeps arguments and whining to a minimum. The timer has the final say. Any other ideas or suggestions?

Have you heard the news about Sponge Bob Square Pants? According to a study, young children who watch the show for more than 9 minutes a day have difficulty focusing and thinking critically. Do you agree? There will always be a TV debate. How much is too much? I remember as a child getting up early on Saturday morning to watch cartoons. Today cartoons are on 24/7. We cannot get away from them. Cartoons back then were pretty standard and lacked the violence and topics of those seen on TV now. When my daughter was between the ages of 2-5 she loved to watch Sprout. I loved that channel because the shows were geared for young children and there were no advertisements. My son is eight years younger than my daughter and it seems that he grew up quicker. He lost interest in Sprout quickly. He loves Cartoon Network, but I think most of it is not appropriate for him. I have to continually monitor the shows he watches because despite the fact that they are cartoons they are not always appropriate. It is a battle. We are all busy working parents. By the time we get home we need to cook dinner, take care of bath-time and then get ready to do it all again tomorrow. While my son is busy with extracurricular activities and homework he loves TV and could watch it all day. There are times that I feel guilty about the amount of TV watching in my house. I need some house TV rules right!? One group suggests that television be only for the weekends. I don’t think I could model that one. What do you think?

I have been extra busy this past year and because of that dinner has become somewhat of a disaster. I have found dinner planning to be exhausting because of the picky eaters that I have in my house. I like everything. I like veggies, meats, sauces; you name it I pretty much like it. That is not true for the rest of my family. My youngest is my pickiest eater and I am finding it harder and harder to get him to enjoy the things I cook for dinner. I often find myself cooking frozen things like chicken nuggets. I need to get things back on track. I saw this great idea online and I am going to give it a try. One mom experiencing my same situation got Rachel Ray’s “Cooking Rocks!” cookbook. It features recipes that can be made in 30 or so minutes – by kids. The most important point there is BY KIDS. My plan is to share it with my two children and have them pick out 3 recipes that they would like to “make” for dinner. I have seen her show and her meals appear simple and healthy. I plan to give this a try. I will let you know how it goes. How is dinner at your house?