Archive for the ‘Children and Kids’ Category

Inspirational ‘Love Notes’ For Teens

November 12, 2007

Editors note: I recently moved my blog to a new server. You can find this same post (and all my others) at the new location: BalancingMotherhood.com, where I post daily.

The art of letter writing is dead; you practically have to go on “Survivor” or “Big Brother” to get letters from home. Recently I learned of a teen retreat where the kids would be given letters written by family members, telling him/her how much he/she is loved. They were deemed, “love notes” for the teens.

Read the full post here.

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Reverse Trick-or-Treating

October 31, 2007

Today I went with a few moms and our kids to a local nursing home to visit with the people who live there. We thought it would be nice for them to see the kids all dressed up in their Halloween costumes. Boy, did I underestimate the welcome we would receive.

We planned on handing out some goodie bags to them, kind of like a reverse trick-or-treat. We did not anticipate the kids trick-or-treating around the facility; the employees hadn’t planned for it either — but it’s exactly what we ended up doing. An employee pulled out a big bag of candy (I suspect to be used at the resident Halloween party they had planned for later in the day) — before I knew it, they had distributed the candy to residents so that they could hand our kids the candy.

Up and down the halls we went. There weren’t even that many of us; 4 moms and 6 kids, but it seemed like an army. I could feel the warmth and see the welcome in their smiles. We even made some residents smile, that apparently “never smile.” That’s the power of a toddler for you. It’s the power of giving. Today we gave time.

We were repeatedly thanked by so many people there, but we are the ones to be thankful — for the experience of putting smiles on so many faces today.

Give a Christmas Gift to a Child In Need

October 16, 2007

Editors note: I recently moved my blog to a new server. You can find this same post (and all my others) at the new location: BalancingMotherhood.com, where I post daily. Operation Christmas Child

I believe all children deserve a present at Christmastime so this year I’m going to participate in Operation Christmas Child. Children from around the world are given a shoe box with gifts you’ve purchased for either a boy or a girl.

Former President Bill Clinton mentions Operation Christmas Child in his new book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World. He says that he likes the program because people of all ages and income levels can participate.

A few years after the first shoe boxes were delivered, Clinton went to Bosnia and saw first hand “the happiness and gratitude sparked by these small boxes.”

Clinton also says:

“Countless gift-givers of modest means have made a real difference in the lives of children who otherwise might have been forgotten. Though Samaritan’s Purse is a Christian group, it offers a proven model of caring for children that members of any synagogue, mosque, or temple might want to emulate.”

This is how Samaritan’s Purse summarizes the project (from the Web site):

“Operation Christmas Child brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes and the Good News of God’s love. This program of Samaritan’s Purse provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple, hands—on missions project while focusing on the true meaning of Christmas—Jesus Christ.”

It’s a great way to involve your entire family. Each member can do his/her own shoebox. Each kid can do one for a child like himself and fill it with toys he’d love to receive.

Find a drop off location near you.

operationchristmaschild_400.jpg

Photo courtesy of Samaritan’s Purse.

Nickelodeon Tells Kids to Go Outside and Play

October 3, 2007

Nickelodeon promoted its fourth annual day to get outside and play, called “Worldwide Day of Play.” It promoted activities to get kids off the couch and out of the house. Its taken the event a step further than prompting kids to go outside, the network (and the Web site) were off line for three hours.

Nick’s Web site lists things NOT to do on this day (which was Saturday 29, 2007):

  • Instant message
  • Watch TV
  • Sit on the couch
  • Go to the movies
  • Surf the Web
  • Talk on the phone
  • Sleep during play hours
  • It’s great to see a television network, one who pays their bills by having kids watch its TV shows and buy its related products (i.e. toys) change the game up a bit in order to promote something good for children.

    Also on their “not to do list” is read a book. I never really think that reading a book is bad, but understand the message is to be active and I’m fine with that.

    Although I just learned about this day after the date passed, I think it’s good to do this at home whenever you get the chance. You don’t need a national day proclaimed to establish a day in your own home where you abolish all things sedentary.

    As a general rule, we have limited TV viewing around our son. It’s not easy to enforce, especially because I really like TV myself. We do let our son watch TV on occasion … especially when he is sick, or when he wasn’t sleeping — it helped calm him down. But, for the most part we really limit how much TV he watches. It means that we don’t watch as much TV either. In order to watch as much TV as I used to I would have to stay up later and watch my shows after our son goes to bed. Most nights I choose bed over TV.

    Bravo to Nickelodeon for prompting parents to choose playing as recreation instead of media and electronic devices. Beyond the Day of Play, Nick has joined forces with the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association to promote healthier lifestyles in children. They’ve created a challenge called “Let’s Just Play.” Looks pretty cool. There’s even an e-calendar and online tracker to monitor your child’s successes with their healthy lifestyle. Maybe this will become a good habit for families across America.

    Related articles about Worldwide Day of Play:

    Ideas To Spark Reading in Children

    September 28, 2007

    Editors note: I recently moved my blog to a new server. You can find this same post (and all my others) at the new location: BalancingMotherhood.com, where I post daily.

    Scholastic has a great interactive house graphic which shows all the areas of your home where you can incorporate reading for your kids. Some of its ideas and information include:

    • In the bathroom: reading in the bathtub and using foam letters that stick to the wall in the bathtub
    • In the bedroom: drawing and writing are associated with learning to read
    • In the kitchen: using a cookbook to find recipes that start with the letter “c”
    • In the family room: reading magazine and newspaper articles out loud together

    These seem like simple concepts that we all know, but it’s a great reminder that reading comes in many forms and that we need to encourage it from the start. View all their tips in the graphic here.

    Read my earlier post about American Reading Habits.