Don’t let your little one fall behind, ensure a top college by teaching them young

Academia may seem like a fancy word reserved for educators, but it doesn’t have to be daunting or mysterious. For parents interested in learning more about the college selection process, there are plenty of programs willing to helping. The problem is, many of these programs can cost you thousands of dollars.

If breaking the piggy bank does not interest you, here are some practical suggestions.

Read to Your Children

Educators and child psychologists agree that reading to children is one of the best things you can do for developing brains. When children are presented with words and stories from an early age, it has a way of stimulating neurological functions and developing connections. Our brains are incredibly malleable from the get go. This is why learning more than one language is easiest from birth.

Broaden Their Horizons

Children who grow up participating in a variety of activities, visiting new places, and experiencing a diverse series of relationships gain invaluable life lessons.

And, despite what you may think, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Paris does not have the market cornered on cultural enrichment. Everyone has places within driving distance that can be discovered for the fist time.

Activities don’t have to come in the form of hundreds of dollars in registration fees. Take advantage of your local library’s programming, see what your parks and recreation department has to offer, and try out something new like flying a kite, putting together a puzzle, or Geocaching.

Emphasize Education from an Early Age

Now, to be clear, emphasizing education does not mean you must hound, nag, demand, or browbeat. These methods have been tried, and have a poor track record. Placing a healthy emphasis on education means your child knows you care and expect them to put forth their best effort in their studies.

This is a character trait best developed from an early age. Maintaining a balance that allows students to foster of sense of independence and ownership of their studies with appropriate levels of parental accountability is crucial.

When Grades (Really) Matter

Let’s be honest, a report card with straight ‘A’s’ makes everyone’s heart warm. It’s important to remember that, through middle school, students are learning how to learn, creating good habits, developing study skills, and understanding what teachers expect. When students enter high school, the stakes change. Colleges evaluate student transcripts beginning in 9th grade, which is when GPA’s (grade point averages) are calculated.

Parents do well by grooming students along the way, rather than placing unrealistic expectations upon the shoulders of their child on day one of high school. If children are first asked to perform academically in 9th grade, the opportunity to learn lessons without fear of repercussion is gone.

From an academic perspective, colleges evaluate a student’s grades and college placement exams for the purposes of admission decisions. If your student aims to attend a top tier school, they should demonstrate a strong GPA along with supporting ACT/SAT test score. Consistency between GPA and ACT/SAT scores demonstrates a student’s work ethic and natural aptitude – something colleges like to see.

Additionally, admission counselors also evaluate what a student does outside of the classroom. While many choose to try to do “a little bit of everything,” it is suggested that students demonstrate ongoing levels of growth and increasing levels of improvement with more of a singular focus.

Trying to do everything well is an unrealistic challenge for most students. For a student interested in veterinary science, working several years for a local veterinarian and showing increasing levels of responsibility tell a powerful story. A strong recommendation is very helpful as well.

Parents should remember that schools like Princeton, Harvard, and Yale turn down many valedictorians every year. There are plenty of wonderful, rigorous college environments out there. Students should do their research and select a handful to visit in person. Comfort level and fit are incredibly important factors when selecting a college.

And remember, a wise college counselor once said – College is not a race to be won, but a match to be made.

CanaGel Melts

Caring For A Parent With Dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of people affected by dementia in the USA is on the rise, with over 6 million suffering with some form of the disease.  Dementia is a deterioration in mental capability, with 60-80 percent of these cases being Alzheimer’s and the second most common being vascular dementia, which can appear after a stroke.  Damage to the brain cells, which often happens with age, disrupts the cells interacting with each other and causes many debilitating symptoms.  What happens when a parent starts to show these signs and what can their child actively do to help them?



  • Forgetfulness and memory issues can happen to all of us and may be due to many reasons. Vitamin deficiency, depression, stress or thyroid.  When a parent forgets recently learned information, important dates or repeats a question a few times, this maybe a sign of dementia.
  • Lack of concentration. An inability to complete a simple task due to a wandering mind.
  • Logic and decision. An incoherency in logical thought pattern and the lack of decisive decisions.
  • Confusion with time and place. Trouble understanding the present and the future.
  • Fear and suspicion.
  • Repeating and sometimes forgetting words to use.
  • Changes in mood and personality. People with Alzheimer’s can become easily confused, anxious, depressed and even aggressive.
  • Not wanting to socialize. The early onset of dementia can be recognized by the sufferer, causing them to retract from social interaction or hobbies.


Caring For A Parent With Dementia


Once recognizing the signs, make sure the parent sees a doctor as soon as possible, in order to try and minimize the brain cell damage and provide drugs or therapy to help with memory loss and symptoms of confusion.  The  Alzheimer’s Association is in the process of researching and diagnozing symptoms before they fully develop, in the hope they may stop the disease before brain damage and mental capacity declines.




Dementia can be challenging, not only for the sufferer, but their family too. If possible, relatives should discuss living options with the patient, before the disease progresses to the stage where they don’t understand what is being said to them.  Many dementia suffers stay at home for the first years of the disease, but it is essential that the following care is considered, depending on finances and development stage:

  • Home care. There are many options for home care from domestic work, nursing healthcare, and agencies that specialize in dementia care.
  • Respite care. If relatives are taking care of the family relation, it is important that they have periodic relief from being the sole care giver.  Most care agencies offer a respite service.
  • Assisted Living. Ideal for patients who require help preparing meals, bathing and dressing but do not need any special medical needs.  They live in their own apartment or share a residence, which gives a feeling of independence.
  • Dementia special care. Special dementia care units are often found in residential care homes.  With staff who are especially trained for the requirements of a dementia or Alzheimer’s sufferer.




Staying at home maybe a feasible option for the first stage of dementia, but it is crucial to have certain safety measures in place, so the family member is protected and the caregiver has piece of mind.

Particular attention should be spent of securing certain areas of the home:

  • Consider taking knobs off the stove.  Appliances should have an automatic switch off feature and be away from any water sources.  Remove sharp knives.
  • Remove any hazardous chemicals and keep tools locked away.
  • Make sure chemicals are locked away.  Have safety bars installed so that the parent can lift themselves with ease.
  • Fire alarm/carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure all safety devices are inspected on a regular basis.
  • Keep the home well lit. Use natural light were possible avoiding florescent light which may aggravate dementia sufferers.




When a parent is in the early stages of dementia they are likely to feel scared, stressed and worried. Creating a regular routine will help them feel more secure in their home.  Encourage them and try not to be critical or frustrated with their behavior.  This is difficult at times, when the caregiver maybe tired and anxious too.  Giving small responsibilities in the early stages, for example polishing the furniture or laying the dinner table, will create self worth.  There are a number of devices to help a parent, especially in the onset of dementia.

  • Memory aids. Pictures used around the house to identify where things are kept.  An example of this would be a picture of mugs on a kitchen cupboard.
  • Hobbies. Going for small regular walks, food shopping, having family and friends visit are a few suggestions to keep active and engaged.
  • Diet and exercise is very important for dementia sufferers. The longer they have mobility and nutrition the better quality of life they will have.  A recent study from the AHA Stroke Journals states chances of suffering a stroke or getting dementia increases three times if an individual drinks soda everyday.
  • Schedule regular medical visits.
  • Join a support group.  It is important for the caregiver to have support too.  Depression in caregivers who look after dementia sufferers is very common so this is imperative.
  • Plan for the future. Know your options of living arrangements for when the disease progresses.
  • Simplify directions by sticking to one instruction, allowing time for response.
  • Avoid confrontation or disagreement. Dementia affects rationality and logic.
  • Paper work. Sorting parent’s financial affairs is important.  If possible, arrange power of attorney before the dementia has progressed.  Each state is different in terms of laws. Contact the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys for further information.




Louis Theroux Extreme Love Dementia

AHA Stroke Journal

 CBS News Lowering risk of dementia


Teenage Substance Abuse Prevention

In today’s world, substance abuse is a common problem prevalent amongst teens. This can be explained by understanding how easy it is to access illegal drugs today. However, experts believe that parents have a great role in determining the fate of their teen’s life. Parents that remain involved and incorporate positive parenting tips during this phase are more likely to prevent their kids from falling prey to substance addiction. In this article, we will be discussing some vital tips that parents can use when they find their children reaching adolescence and being exposed to uncertain environments.

1.     Set Proper Guidelines

As a parent, it is your responsibility to set clear and firm guidelines that will help your teen identify the right direction. Make sure that you let your child know what expectations you hold. This will help them stay focused and avoid peer pressure.

2.     Remain Involved

There is no question that it has become brutally common how one or both of the parent conveniently neglect their kids because of work or other professional commitments and whatnot. And this could be very dangerous for kid who just entered his teens. A lack of direction can eventually lead to a substance abuse problem.

It is therefore strongly recommended that parents keep monitoring their teen’s activities and behaviors. Keep the lines of communication open and act like a friend to them so that they can 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

Too many parents have the habit of comparing their children’s performance with that of their own. It is essential to understand that the world that they live in is different from what it was earlier.

Hence, instead of comparing your teen’s performance to others, it is effective to use positivity whenever you can to motivate them. The use of positive reinforcements will make your child more likely to gravitate towards good company and activities.

4.     Talk About it

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

There are many adolescents that are unaware of the dangerous results of adopting these habits and get to know them only after they have become addicted to them. As a parent, it is your responsibility to inform your child about all the harms and trust that they will make the right decision.

5.     Keeping the Environment Healthy

It has been seen that children whose parents suffer from addiction themselves are more likely to adopt such habits.

Moreover, it is no surprise to know that if the environment at home is stressing the teen out they will be more inclined towards adopting such habits. Thus, as a parent, make sure that you keep the home environment as welcoming and less stressful as possible. Having such an environment will reduce the dissatisfaction that your child feels in life and will eliminate any need to look for other solutions.

Bottom Line

The role of the parents is significant when it comes to preventing substance abuse in teens. This is why parents should always make sure that they are aware of what is going on in their child’s life and practice positive parenting.

To learn more about teens, substance abuse and addiction, check out

Issues You Must Discuss with Your (Aging) Parents

If your parents are like most, they probably haven’t broached the topic of their inevitable decline as self-caretakers. It’s important to try and put aside all the fear, sadness, anxiety, etc.  Consequently, it’s necessary that you (as the remaining child or children) know how to help your folks keep safe, healthy, and financially stable.

Living Alone

If your parent is living alone, you might consider “technological” care. This would include light sensors (inside and out), video cameras, and learning how to dial 911 on a cell phone. Also, many caretakers and children of elderly folks work with the local pharmacist. Therefore, learn your parent’s prescriptions and keep them up-to-date on refilling.

Assisted Living

A transfer from independent housing to assisted living can vary. It also can mean an increase greatly in expense. Many feel it’s worthwhile to explore beforehand how this will be covered financially. Will selling a car be necessary? Probably. Checking online on “Area Agency on Aging”, “”, keeping legal documents updated, and keeping your loved ones active and involved—these are all essentials.

For more articles on aging, Alzheimer’s, dementia, health and nutrition, check out Get Thrive



Cyberbullying is a Worry for Moms and Dads Too

We read all the time about the unfortunate act of cyberbullying amongst teens and its detrimental effects. Kids these days are subjected to a more dangerous type of shaming and teasing than we’ve ever experienced in past generations. Rightly so, parents are greatly concerned about cyberbullying and its potential negative mental health threat to their children.

Online Bully, Bully

Cyberbullying is a very real and seriously, damaging activity. Some Internet users, both young and old, derive a sense of power from admonishing others online. Often times, they shame, threaten, or humiliate. Sometimes, it’s done anonymously. The bottom line is that those actions may have repercussions that can affect the victim’s mental health in a significantly negative fashion.

For teens, especially, bullying peers online is a perilous practice. Victims can feel harassed, intimidated, and even tormented. This can create severe anxiety, depression, and, at worst, suicide. Experts in the field, as well as parents, understand that cyberbullying can be the source of major mental health problems for youngsters.

Parents Voice Concerns

Recent research out of the University of Michigan revealed informative data regarding the issue of teen Internet-intimidation. A poll was taken from over 1,500 parent participants who had kids 18 and under. As it turned out, cyberbullying was one of the moms’ and dads’ biggest worries. In fact, one-third of the participants were concerned about their children’s mental health in regards to online bullying.

The other greatest concern for the polled parents was overall Internet safety. Their unease ranged from online predators to pornography to their children providing too much personal information to the wrong sources. These apprehensions are well founded considering the vast, virtual world in which we live today.

Internet Safety Tips for Teens (and Others)

There are a lot of sites that offer proactive strategies for safe Internet use as well as how to talk to your kids about healthy online habits. Some experts recommend calling it something other than “Internet Safety.” They claim that youngsters either rebel or shut down from the lecturing, or become fearful from the term.

We want our youngsters to gain all the advantages the World Wide Web has to offer. Immediate access to all types of information can be incredibly beneficial on many levels. But obviously, safety is a key concern. Sameer Hinduja, Ph.D. and Justin W. Patchin, Ph.D. have some helpful advice for parents:

  • Talk to other parents and your kids about what they are reading and seeing. Educate each other and look for ways to avoid placing yourself in a cyberbully situation.
  • Protect your password from EVERYONE! Remind your children that, unfortunately, friends come and go at this age. Even the best of friends should not have your passwords.
  • Don’t post any photo you would not want your grandparents to see. Use that as a barometer for sensible photo updates. This way, no bully can post a photo of you that can be misconstrued as sexual or as something you don’t want to represent.
  • Never open emails or files from people you don’t know. Just delete them. You don’t need a virus or a bully hacking into your account.
  • If you log on to any of your accounts away from your own computer, DON’T FORGET TO LOG OUT. If you’re at the library checking emails or whatever, if you don’t log out, the next person that uses that public computer has access to your stuff—all your stuff.
  • Think before you post. You never know whom you may offend. Triple check your photo or writing before it goes out into the online world, never to be taken back…
  • “’Google” yourself. Regularly search your name in every major search engine. If any personal information or photo comes up which may be used by cyberbullies to target you, take action to have it removed before it becomes a problem.”

And finally, don’t BE the cyberbully. The ramifications of your actions can be dire. Kindness and empathy are essential when commenting online. And as most moms used to say, “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.”

Teach by example. If you don’t want your kid bullied or to be a bully, model him/her a positive way.




How to Feed Your Kids Nutritiously

In America today, most parents will say they want to feed their family nutritiously. According to surveys, however, there is an on going struggle with giving our kids healthy foods—for various reasons. Other adults admit they’re not sure what foods are good or bad. Here, we’ll try to clarify some confusion and offer some suggestions.

What The Parents Are Saying

A national poll on children’s health out of the University of Michigan’s Children’s Hospital showed that most parents think their children should be fed nutritiously. However, only one-third of the parents who participated in the poll felt they were doing a good job in that arena.

Of the 1,700 adult participants, only about 280 believe their kids eat mostly healthy. About 800 of the parents claimed their kids’ diets were somewhat nutritious. And approximately 340 adults didn’t think fast food or junk food was a problem.

The Challenges

Simply wanting to feed healthy food to your children and actually having that as a result comes with many obstacles. Some of them are:

  • Hectic work schedule
  • Kids’ after-school activities
  • Shopping inconvenience
  • Kids don’t like the way it looks or tastes
  • Lack of information on nutrition

Finding Some Solutions

Following through on your goal to feed your family nutritious foods will be an effort. But meeting any goal requires motivation and effort. Ask yourself how important it is for you to teach your children about health and good habits.

Fast foods are high in calories, sugar, and bad fats. We’ve watched how incidences of obesity and type-2 diabetes have risen astronomically in this country over the past couple of decades. When convenience food becomes the norm for kids, it’s much more difficult to create healthier habits later on.


Shopping may be one of the most important aspects to maintaining a healthy-food home. If you make a list in advance, it shouldn’t take as long as you think. Also, don’t fret that you’ll then have to spend hours cooking. There are many nutritious foods and meals that are a snap to prepare.


-whole foods, fruits, and vegetables; nuts and seeds; unprocessed lean meats and fish


-high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, fructose, sugar as the first or second ingredient, isolated soy protein, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sucralose, aspartame, among other sugar-free or low-fat chemical substitutes

The less you can by from a package or a can, the better. They are infused with unhealthy preservatives to give the product a long shelf life. Aim to buy items that fly off the shelf quickly.

Breakfasts and Snacks

Protein smoothies are a quick, great way to get nourishment into your kid’s body. There are reasonably priced protein powders on the market, just check on the sugar content. Pea-protein is great, especially if anyone is dairy or gluten sensitive.

Hard-boiled eggs can be made in bulk in advance. Grabbing one from the fridge for lunch or a snack is easy and healthy.

Hiding a handful of fresh spinach (or a slice of avocado) in a smoothie containing berries, almond or coconut milk, and a spoonful of peanut or almond butter isn’t a problem. Tossing in one small scoop of chocolate-chip mint ice cream, if you must, will help explain the weird greenish-color.

Greek yogurt is a good source of protein and offers more probiotics and much less sugar than standard yogurts. You can add nuts and seeds and it’s a nutritious quick snack. Yogurts in the tube are not a healthy food source.

Fresh fruit can travel. Fruit leather, gummy fruits, even dried fruits are incredibly high in sugar and don’t offer the fiber that a whole food does. The same applies to veggies. You can send carrots, celery, jicama, are other stick-shaped vegetables with a package of nut butter.

Kids love chips and buying the right ones will be key. Stay away from hydrogenated oils. Potato chips made with sunflower or avocado oil are good; sweet potato chips are better. They make bean chips, too. They’re high in protein and offer variety. Hummus makes a nutritious dip!


If the focus of the meal is concentrated on a protein, produce, good fats, and whole grains, you can’t lose. This means that you can put a chicken in a crockpot with fresh vegetables and some spices and there’s most of your dinner. Add to that some quinoa or brown rice, for example, and you’ve got a nutritious, complete meal—with maybe even leftovers.

There’s a wealth of recipes online for quick, healthy meals. Vegan recipes tend to use healthier ingredients overall. You can always use those as a base, and add in your own meat or fish. Poultry is also a better choice than pork or red meat.

GetThrive has other articles on healthy eating, including ideas for kids’ lunches, and ways to “trick” them into eating healthy. Peruse and enjoy. We hope you’ve found our content helpful.