It Takes a Village and It’s Not Just a Cliché

Raising a child is a monumental task for any parent—whether it’s the year 1, the 1400’s, or 2018. That’s why the concept of “the village” has remained so crucial to child rearing.

The Perks and the Pitfalls

There’s no specific definition of the people in “the village” other than they generally include family, friends, and neighbors, give or take a few. Even before you have children—when you’re pregnant—your people are there to help, give advice, and also, annoy you.

But that’s the beauty of a community-based support system. Everyone needs a hand now and then. And, we also grow and feel a sense of fulfillment when we’re the helper. It’s a give-and-take, information-sharing, and learning/teaching system; Cultivating that philosophy can help you, your children, and your family feel secure—especially in times of parenting dire straits.

How to Build Your Own Village

You may really like your existing biological or married-into family. And they may live nearby. And they may be willing to lend some advice, a hand, some babysitting, and some money. But that’s a lot of some “maybes.”

Most Americans aren’t fortunate enough to check “yes” to all (or even one) of the boxes above. We’re a transient society for the most part, and, face it, family as it was celebrated in the old country, just doesn’t exist here anymore that often. That’s why it’s necessary for young parents to cultivate their own village within their large circle of circumstance.

When They’re Babies…

If mom or dad is fortunate enough not to have to go into the office when a baby is young, it’s an ideal time to make new tribal friends. “Mommy and Me”–type classes are a great way to meet new parents like yourselves. Local parks, zoos, and shopping centers are always full with parents looking for ways to occupy their little ones outside the home. These are ideal environments to meet like-minded peers.

If you’re going to work, many coworkers will share the experience of having their children in daycare, too. It’s a great starting-off conversation point.

Don’t be afraid to chat about your lack of: sleep, healthy meals, sex, or even an adult conversation. Everyone with an infant or toddler is in the same playpen.

When They’re in Primary School…

Volunteering is an awesome way to meet other parents and your kids’ peers. Go to all the meetings, presentations, and shows, if your schedule allows. You’ll find you run into the same adults over and over. Some you will feel an affinity with—others you wished you never met. Either way, they’re part of your extraneous village, and you need to be respectful and grateful to have them aboard.

After-school activities are also another way to collect more members into your kinship. Someone’s always got to divvy up snack-duty, cleanup, or keep score.

By Middle School…

If you haven’t moved locations too often when the kids were really young, by middle school, you should have at least a foot (if not a strong standing) within a workable, helpful village.

By this point, you can trust other parents to drive your kid home from school or a birthday party. You, too, can be expected help other families when their kids need rides or food, or a place to stay until another working parent finally gets home after dark.

By High School…

At this point, it becomes a lot more serious. Sex, alcohol, drugs, impulsivity and other teenage perilous behaviors come into play during this stage of parenting. This is where your village needs to be fortuitous and candid.

If anyone in your village thinks their kid isn’t partaking in (or at least witness to) any of the above, it may be time to offer them a neighborly wake-up call.

No one likes snoops or snitches. But when it comes to your child’s welfare, maybe that’s what a villager’s job is when your kid is a teen. Letting another parent gently know that their child was seen doing  (fill in the blank), can cause embarrassment and defensiveness. But if the information ultimately helps the child, the parent, or the family overall, perhaps your village duty has been accomplished admirably.

Village, People!

However you decide to parent and whatever obstacles have led to hardships in your parenting arena, know that out there, somewhere, there is a village ready to embrace you and yours.

Calm The Mind
Calm The Mind

No Time to Exercise? Here’s A Way To Squeeze It In!

Work, kids, the house, the spouse, the boss, the folks, no sleep—we get it! You want to exercise, and even though you feel like you’ve got no time, we gotcha covered.

Time for Class?

Who doesn’t love an amazing, 90-minute aerial yoga class? Pilates with pizza would be perfect, too. But where does that fit in the schedule? If it can, that’s outstanding. Congratulations. But the likely reality is, the best stretch you’re getting in the morning is reaching to shut off the snooze for the fourth time or grabbing the door jam to keep your balance on the way to the baby’s room for the fifth time.

Home Gyms

If you’re fortunate enough to have a treadmill at home, best odds is that it’s either unplugged or acts as a hanger for flat-dry laundry. Too bad the Stairmaster is in the garage where it’s 109 degrees on a cool day. We joke, but that’s because sometimes you have to if you don’t want to scream—or cry.

Here’s the gold at the end of the rainbow. Your home really can be your gym. You don’t need “special” equipment. Your classes can be as long or short as fitting to your needs. It’s free. You just need imagination, courage, and a passion for an endorphin rush, a visible muscle under your skin, and/or a lower number on the bathroom scale.

The Secrets are Revealed

Here’s an exercise plan that won’t cost you anything but your commitment. Please don’t mock the suggestions if you feel they’re old school. No one’s laughing at classics like Mustangs, strobe lights, or Bob Dylan, right? Some things maintain their value… Here’s the obligatory checklist to start:

  • The key is to keep your heart rate up.
  • If you can integrate aerobic and anaerobic, you’ll be the master.
  • If you can combine aerobic, anaerobic, and strength training, we bow to you.

Your Options

This is the “secret.” We’re going to list all the (high impact) great aerobic exercises you can do at home, no problem, and hopefully with sweat. Mix and match and create your own circuit.

All you need is a) good training shoes; b) space so you don’t trip or fall; and c) add other stuff (like weights, balancing, or stretching) during the exercises or later when you get a chance. Also, on any positions that include a plank, you may opt to use that moment to do a pushup if you feel up to it.

1) Burpees. You’re going to have a love/hate relationship with these! Squat to the floor. Jump your feet to a plank position. Jump back in and stand up. That’s it. You burn 100 calories in 10 minutes. (So in 5 minutes, you’ll burn 50 calories!)

2) Mountain climbers. These are obnoxious too, but they work! Begin in a straight-arm plank position and then run (not jump, run) your knees in and out, in and out. This is a great calorie burner and core and shoulder strengthener.

3) Bear crawl. Think “traveling plank.” Begin in a squatting position, walk your hands out to a plank, then walk them back in and stand straight up. Repeat. You can growl during this exercise.

4) Squat jumps. Begin from a squat, as the name implies. Keep shoulder-width space between legs and your feet pointing forward. Now jump (as high as you can) and land (as gently as you can) back into a squatting position. These burn calories, raise your heart rate, and build leg strength.

5) Jumping Jacks. These need no explanation—just like buckling a seat belt. Just raise your arms high with each jump to increase heart rate and make them worthwhile. Some moms can’t do these for certain reasons. Don’t worry, just jog in place instead and raise your arms.

Showing up is everything. Give any exercise your best effort and whatever time you can. And while you’re doing it, let the rest of your world’s worries fall away. Enjoy!

For other tips on exercise, clean living, and family check out


How to Keep Kids Safe in the Kitchen

Whether you’re teaching your kids how to cook or they’re just running around, there are ways to prevent accidents in the kitchen.

Safety First

Kitchen mishaps occur frequently and are actually quite common in U.S. households. Sometimes dangerous equipment is used by children who are unsupervised. Plugs, cords, and outlets can get in the way and cause an accident. Teapots, pans, and pots near the edge of the stove can be pulled down and create grave injury.

Each year over 100,000 children in America are rushed to the hospital with burns. The majority of those injuries are from cooking or food-related accidents. And, sadly, over 1,000 children die each year from burn injuries.

The more positive news is that many of these accidents can be avoided or prevented. Here are some safety suggestions:

1) Cords from electric flying pans, rice cookers, crock-pots, etc. should be far from reach of little hands. Make sure no wires are dangling off the edge of a counter—this includes those from coffee makers, electric kettles, and toasters.

2) Use the back burner on the stove whenever possible. If you use pans in the front, make sure to turn handles away from the front edge. Also, burner-covers are a smart safety tool for once you’ve removed your pan but the stovetop is still hot.

3) Don’t leave food that’s cooking unattended.

4) Keep young children away from sharp knives and equipment with moving blades.

5) Create a no-kid zone in the kitchen when you’re cooking or baking. For babies and toddlers use a gate. For older kids, let them know the boundaries and why.

If Something Happens…

Tend to the wound immediately. If it’s a burn, wash with cool water. DO NOT USE ICE. Also, Do NOT put butter or powder on a burn. (Those are wives-tale remedies that create a worse scenario.) Cool water will sooth, decrease inflammation, and help to clean out any bacteria that may later cause infection. Depending on the injury you will want to either contact your physician or go to the E.R. The sooner you treat a burn or a bad cut, the better the outcome.

A Positive Project

Cooking and baking with your kids is great for their self-esteem. It empowers them—allowing them to be creative and learn self-sufficiency.

Cooking is an excellent one-on-one opportunity to teach and have a memorable time. Guiding our kids towards healthy food choices can (and should) begin at a very young age. Perhaps start with allowing them to add their own choice of toppings to homemade pizzas. Baking teaches them about measurement and timing. With supervision, you can help them manage a hot stove and/or oven.

Food experts suggest that you let the child “make a mess.” By that, they do not mean destroy your kitchen. Rather, let them experiment and continue without cleaning every two seconds. And don’t follow them with a sponge every step of the way as it may hinder their process. Once more, this is about teaching, letting go, and being a safety for our kids. Bon Appetit!

For more articles on family safety, healthy choices, and healthy foods, check out

Calm The Mind
Calm The Mind

Is Teenage Substance Abuse Prevention Realistic?

In today’s world, substance abuse is rampant, especially amongst teens. Anyone can access drugs. It’s almost impossible to avoid them. However, experts believe that parents have a great role in the path of their teen’s habits. So, yes, it is realistic to believe that teenage substance abuse prevention practices may be effective.

Where Do We Start for Teenage Substance Abuse Prevention? 

Research has shown that prevention may start with parents who stay involved. They often incorporate positive parenting tips.

During adolescent and teen years, parents are encouraged to keep open communication with their children. In this manner, adults are more likely to help prevent their kids from falling prey to substance addiction.

With that said, there are other vital tips. Some parents may find them useful during these unsure times.

1.    Set Proper Guidelines

As a parent, you have many responsibilities. One to is to set clear and firm guidelines. These will help your teen identify the best direction. Let your child know your expectations . This will aid them to stay focused. And, hopefully avoid peer pressure.

2.    Remain Involved

It’s brutally common how parents neglect their kids unwittingly. This can be due to outside work or other family commitments. This could be very dangerous for kid who has just entered his teens.

A lack of direction and attention can lead a youngster astray. Teenage substance abuse prevention begins with listening and giving attention.

 Therefore, it is recommended that parents monitor their teens’ activities and behaviors.

Keep the lines of communication open. Nurture trust so that they may share their concerns with you. Also, it is important to make sure that you are aware of where your teen is at all times.

3.    Use Positivity

The world our kids live in is different from what experienced. It’s tough, but we have to wrap our brains around that.

Instead of comparing your teen’s performance to others, try this instead. Use positivity whenever possible to motivate. Remind them of the fine choices they make. Then, use positive reinforcements. Help your child gravitate towards “good” company and healthy activities.

4.    Talk About it

At the same time, it’s also important to make sure your teen is aware of all the consequences associated with substance abuse. 

Unfortunately, many adolescents are blind to the dangers of addiction. Sometimes they don’t even know they’re adopting bad habits.

Additionally, adolescents often feel immune to poor results. Consequently, they don’t realize until after addiction has set in. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to inform your child about all the imminent harms of drug use.

5.    Keep the Environment Healthy

Oftentimes, children whose parents suffer from addiction are more likely to become addicts. Moreover, it’s no surprise that if the environment at home is stressful, the teenager will be more stressed. He/she may be more inclined towards adopting negative “coping” habits.

Thus, as a parent, try to keep the home environment welcoming. Reduce as much stress as possible. The child will be more apt to feel satisfied. Hopefully, this will help avoid looking for self-destructive solutions.

In conclusion…

The role of the parent is significant when it comes to teenage substance abuse prevention. Positive parenting includes: listening to your child, keeping open communication, and staying involved. These may help deter your teen from gravitating towards drug use.

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Who’s Got Head Head Lice Now?

Every school year, without fail, someone’s kid comes home with head lice. What will you do when it’s your child who gets the creepy crawlies in her head? Watch out, because they’re coming after you, too.

No Fly Guy

There are several misnomers about lice. Yes, they are lousy, not because they’re dangerous, but because they’re obnoxious. They make your head itch, and it’s a pain to get rid of them. They will not, however, make you sick. They don’t bite, sting, or carry any diseases.

People can get different types of lice. There are the ones that stick to the hair on your head, the ones that travel in pubic hair, and another kind found on the body. Only body lice spread disease. But don’t worry too much about your child bringing home pubic or body lice.

No type of lice flies. They also don’t hop or jump. All they do is crawl. That’s why your scalp itches. Humans are the only host to head lice. Your dog can’t get them or transfer them, and if they’re off a human head, they die in about seven days.

Super Lice

Super lice aren’t any bigger than their lice ancestors. They’ve been given this name recently because they are becoming resistant to over-the-counter poison treatment. Generally, a shampoo that contains permethrin and pyrethrin will kill the buggers.

Lately, however, families are having difficulty ridding their household heads of lice using traditional formulas. Implementing non-chemicals remedies are being used, and many of them are working.

Mayonnaise may do the job. It’s safe, and you probably don’t have to go out and buy any. Experienced users suggest you massage it into your hair and cover with a shower cap. Leave it in overnight. Shower in the morning and comb out the dead eggs. recommends using olive oil. They explain that the louse suffocates from the thickness of the oil. They also claim that the oil helps loosen the nits (eggs) from the hair shaft.

Petroleum jelly is another suggestion. It works the same as mayonnaise, but it’s tough to wash out of your hair the next day.

Watch out!

Being the helpful parent may get you more than you bargained for. While shaving your kids’ head or shampooing, you can get lice, too. In fact, 65% of moms get head lice from their innocent child. Siblings have it worse—they have an 85% chance of catching them!

This is the one occasion where nit-picking matters and is a good thing. You want to make sure to use a fine comb and get those buggers and eggs off the hair shaft and scalp. After the first treatment with an OTC potion or your homemade one, continue to comb daily. After a week, treat your scalp one more time. And make sure you’ve cleaned all bedding and towels thoroughly.

Teach your kids not to share hats, brushes, big headphones, or stick heads together with other children. Some recommend using tea tree or peppermint oil as a preventative way to repel lice. For more healthy tips for your family, check out

Useful Parenting Tips for Raising Teenagers

Having a positive and healthy relationship with your teenaged kid may seem like an impossible task for many parents, but it is actually not. There are many ways you can influence the adolescent’s life by implementing positive parenting. Many parents make the mistake of thinking that they will have no effect on a teenager’s behavior no matter what they do. When in reality, it is essential that the parents play an active role during this time of their child’s life. It is during this time that the teenagers are experimenting by making various and sometimes careless decisions. If parents do not have a close relationship with their children, they are at a risk of losing an emotional bond with them forever.

1.     Understand

The first step to establish a positive relationship with your child is to understand why they act unpredictably. By studying researches and understanding the changes taking place in the body of your adolescent child, you will be able to better understand what they are going through.

2.     Establish your Role

It is not enough that you act as a parent at all time and it is not recommended to act like a friend always either. This is why you need to make sure you have established your role as both a parent and a friend. There should be no confusion about the role, and you should be able to shift between the two roles at just the right time.

3.     Schedule Time Together

It is extremely important that you spend a significant amount of time with your teenage child. As a parent, you cannot afford to create any distance since it can have damaging effects on your child’s personality. Thus, it is important that you schedule a time during the day where you can have a heart to heart with your kids.  Make sure you always have meals together and discuss their day with them.

4.     Communicate

Your child should never feel as if you are interrogating or investigating them or else they will stop all communication with you. Thus, at all times make sure that the lines of communication are open and the way you communicate with them reflects a lack of judgmental behavior. Ideally, your teenage child should be able to share everything about their life with you without having a second thought.

5.     Have Expectations

Being a parent of a teenager does not mean that you quit setting expectations from them. While you may feel that your child does not look favorably upon what you expect of them, they are actually in need of a direction from their parents and setting expectations helps them get it. Keep informing them of the damages that certain behaviors and actions have on their lifestyle. These expectations will make the teen feel that there is someone looking out for them. They will also feel good about meeting those expectations.

Bottom Line

Creating an environment that makes the teenage child feels welcomed and secure is an essential part of bringing up a positive teen. Thus, as parents, it is our role to make sure that we do everything that we can in order to create a better future for our adolescents.

For more articles about raising kids, parenting and family fun, check out

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Bad Moms, Average Moms, Best Moms?

In the best of all worlds, mothers should be honored on a daily basis, not just one day a year. And within that honor, should include an understanding of a basic human reality—no one is perfect. With that, lives the contradiction that no mom is perfect, yet each mom is perfect. The mom we get and the moms we become are perfect for our individual lives. How we were raised and how we are raising children, shapes who we are and all that we can become.

In today’s media-driven society, everyone clamors to post their best photo or most impressive description of their mom. One husband may post that he is grateful for his wife who cleans, gourmet-feeds, brand-name dresses, gently disciplines, and mini-van chauffeurs the kids. How wonderful for him and their children. But is mom getting enough rest or any of her other needs met? Hopefully so. And for that family, that may work out wonderfully.

Yet, what about the mom who gets up and has to hop in the shower so she herself can be clean for work? She doesn’t have time to make pancakes, eggs, and bacon for the kids. But she yells to them from the bathroom, as she dries her hair, to grab a banana, a granola bar, and put a frozen waffle in the toaster. She reminds them to be polite to others on the bus and not to talk to strangers. Is she a less superior mom?

There’s a comedy film soon to be released titled, Bad Moms. Whether the movie turns out to be funny is irrelevant right now—the point is that every woman who’s seen the trailer or heard of the title laughs aloud and is intrigued by the concept.

We’re compelled by this notion because being a “bad mom” swirls in our heads daily. It’s either something we identify with, something we experienced, or something we are deathly afraid of becoming. Whichever of these fit our description, we still deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day—without judgment.

Moms need to be celebrated for bringing us into the world. By their divine grace and through our own years of experience, we learn tolerance and forgiveness.

Your mom was perfect for you. She may have brilliantly nurtured you or, in other ways, caused emotional damage; either scenario, it has supplied an experience into your life that has helped inform who you have become.

As we age, we realize we must take responsibility for our choices and behavior, just as that is the same information we must impart to our children, regardless of the wonderful things we’ve done for them—or the mistakes we’ve made.

Hope your Mother’s day was perfect for the perfectly imperfect mother you are and for the mother that you have (or had.) All we can do is our best, and that is worth celebrating.



Are You Raising an Entitled Child Without Knowing It?

Doesn’t everyone want well-behaved children? Are we doing our best to prepare our children for the world? Surely, as our children get older, we have less ability to inform their behavior and their decisions.

While they are still impressionable, it’s imperative that as adults, we educate ourselves on best-practice techniques for socialization. When it comes down to it, our aim is to help teach our children how to get along with others.

Oh, Behave

Most behavior is learned. A five-year old wants another stuffed character from the movie Frozen. Mom says, “No, you have enough.” The child will try throwing-a-fit for size. She screams, falls to the ground, and refuses to get up until she gets another Elsa doll.

A scene in the store ensues. The parent is embarrassed and feels helpless. The parent concedes and buys the girl what she demands in order for the chaos to cease. The child just learned that her behavior was reinforced. Hence, “If I tantrum, I get my way.”

Historically, there have been several various styles touted as “the way” to approach parenting. Some had validity and continue to be effective, just as others were an experimental exercise in failure.

From a socio-psychological standpoint, a variation of operant conditioning seems to be a successful basis for bringing forth desired behavior and reducing unwanted behaviors or responses. It can be one technique in your bag of tricks that may prove to be effective.

On That Condition…

In layman’s terms, operant conditioning is basically teaching behavior through reward or punishment. Establish the reward or consequences beforehand. For example, tell your son if he doesn’t study and gets a D on his next math test, you will take his computer/gaming privileges away for a week.

He gets a D, you take it; he doesn’t like this. Next test, he studies and gets a B because he doesn’t want to lose his computer. He’s now learned how to avoid punishment through adapted (improved/desired) behavior. However, negative reinforcement can also breed unwanted results.

OK, so your son got a B. But did he do it because he understands the importance of best effort? Not really. It may not even boost his confidence as a student or give him a sense of pride for doing a job well done. In fact, once that “consequence” is removed, will that “good” behavior remain? (When he goes to college and you can’t take away his computer, will he have learned to study or even care?)

There’s something about reward that tends to be a better overall motivator. When your boss gives you a raise, you feel more apt to continue to apply yourself at work. And, you feel acknowledged and appreciated. Our kids need that too.

Don’t Go Overboard

Beware, however, of over-rewarding or rewarding for a job half-assed. Our youngsters need to learn a sense of earning, but also disappointment. Not every effort in life is going to get a prize. Helping your child find coping skills for disappointment is just as valuable as teaching them a sense of gratitude for accomplishment and reward.

Here’s a brief list of effective tips for raising a well-behaved person:

1. Set boundaries and enforce them: Make them realistic and manageable.

2. Reward desired behavior: (Note: Let’s say your kid screams “No!” and then crawls into bed every time you ask him to do homework. If you teach him to use words like, “I’m tired right now” and ask him not to scream at you, and soon, instead, he stops screaming, but still crawls under the covers—reward the good behavior of NOT screaming. Then work on the next part. Maybe offer 15 minutes of video time after 15 minutes of homework.)

3. Be a good role model by behavior: Let your kids see you treat others with respect. Treat your children with respect as well.

4. Keep your cool: Try not to be “reactionary.” You’re the adult. Ignore bad behavior—it will eventually decrease if no one’s responding to it.

5. Change takes time and effort: You have to be willing to attend to each situation. Be patient and you will see positive results.

6. Don’t be afraid to apologize when you’ve done something wrong or mistakenly

7. Don’t be afraid to be the bad guy: Your kids will love you and respect you when you take charge and implement rules. They may not like it at the time, but ultimately they understand you are there to protect and keep them safe. You can even explain that.

8. Teach and practice gratitude: Remind your kids how lucky you feel to have them in your life. Let them know you are thankful for all that surrounds you. Ask them occasionally what they love in their lives. Practicing gratitude allows us the freedom to care for others in hopes that they can have the best in life like we do.