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Love, Faith and Understanding – A Baby Boomer’s View of Childhood

Love, Faith and Understanding – A Baby Boomer’s View of Childhood

Do you remember the gentle times of childhood where time had no meaning except that you had to be in the house by the time the streetlights were on?; Where summer meant no shoes, being in the sun all day and family trips to the beach? Do you remember running through the sprinklers with the neighborhood kids and not caring that your hair was a tangled mess?

Or what about the night the Comet flew by and you and your whole family laid on the top of the old Chevy and watched the sky for hours?; Or going to sleep in your PJ’s at the drive-in. These are truly the memories a happy childhood is made from.

This windy, brisk weather brought fond memories today of my Dad, Mom and siblings flying kites in the park, or at the end of our cul-de-sac. Always a diamond shaped kite, and we made the tail really long with old sheets ripped into strips, that Mom kept just for that occasion.

Dad would hold it up and we would run fast with the string holder. Then he would run up and show us how to let out the string, a little at a time, gently so the kite would finally catch the wind and nose its way upwards. Then, oh the joy! to watch its exciting dips and flips in the clouds! It was always sad to see it come down, and crash to the earth; But by then we were on to more kiddie things, like the absolute joy of riding down the big grass hills on a big piece of cardboard. You felt like you were really going fast, until your brother went flying by you. Inevitably, you’d crash at the bottom, and then the big trudge uphill to do it all over again!

But I think swinging on the swing was my most favorite thing. The feeling of weightlessness, of touching the sky with your toes outstretched as you climbed higher and higher into the pure joy of being in flight, the wind breezing through your hair and the sun kissing your arms and face.

There are many memories we hold dear of the innocence of childhood. How lucky are we to be the ones who had parents who understood the importance of child-play and family; of learning life’s lessons in a safe environment, with love, faith and understanding.…

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A Strategy to Transform Your Stepfamily in 30 Days

Blended and step families have more than their share of challenges; to stepparents and stepchildren alike, it seems that conflict and negativity are built in. What if I told you that I have a magic formula guaranteed to transform your family in 30 days to experiencing greater harmony and happiness? Well, I do! It’s called appreciation, and when practiced regularly and properly, it can work miracles.
There is a fairly new branch in the field of psychology called Positive Psychology. After more than a century of focus on the effects of trauma and negative experiences on personality and behavior, Positive Psychology turns it all around and instead focuses on what is right. There have now been scores of studies showing the profound effects of positive interactions on productivity, health and happiness. And on cooperation, I might add – a quality in high demand for stepfamilies!
Dr. Don Clifton, who has been dubbed the “father of Positive Psychology” had an extremely simple and powerful model for working with appreciation and recognition, which is described in his book “How Full is Your Bucket?”. He uses a metaphor that’s easy to visualize: each of us has an invisible bucket inside. When the bucket is full (of positive feelings), we feel great; we’re happy, generous, productive and feel connected. When the bucket is empty, we feel awful – our energy is sapped, productivity is lowered and we feel isolated from others. Each of us also has a dipper – we can use the dipper to dip out from others’ buckets (leaving us both in a more negative state), or to dip into others’ buckets, filling them with more positivity. When we fill others’ buckets, a funny thing happens – it fills our own bucket to overflowing.
This may seem overly simplistic, and it is basic – yet powerful. There are hundreds of turning points in a single day; even in mundane situations there is generally a positive or negative charge. And it’s all cumulative: the more negative interactions we have, the more our happiness is eroded. The more positive interactions, the greater our well-being. All of us need recognition, and we don’t get enough. Dr. Gottman, famous for his ability to predict marital success on the basis of the ratio of positive to negative interactions, has found that the “magic” ratio is 5 to 1. Married couples that have at or near that level of positive to negative interactions are highly likely to succeed – when the ratio goes toward 1 to 1, the chances of divorce skyrocket.
Think about your interactions with your spouse, your children, and stepchildren. We are often so focused on “fixing what’s wrong” that our attention, and conversations, tend to be fixated on the negative (“you’re making us late!”, “you didn’t pick up your towel”, “why weren’t you back home when you said you’d be?”, etc. etc. etc.) The world we live in is already a pretty negative place; each of us, including our children, tend to get “beat up” regularly. So why add to the demoralization, when we have a much better chance of getting our children’s cooperation by letting them know we care about them, and believe in them? Think of how you’d feel if someone were watching over you, waiting for you do do something wrong and then make note of it.
Whatever we focus on grows: when we begin to take notice instead of what’s right (even small, insignificant behaviors – “thanks for helping your sister with her backpack”, “I was happy to see you started your homework without being reminded”, “it makes me happy to see you smiling”, etc.) we start to get more positive behaviors. Both positivity and negativity are very contagious.
Here are a few tips for you to begin a practice of appreciation that will begin to change your family dramatically. I highly suggest keeping track of your efforts for 30 days, the time it takes to develop a new habit – it’s the regularity that produces miraculous results.
You must have a plan to make it a reality!
1. Focus on any positive behavior you see occurring, and express your appreciation in a specific way. Focus on progress, not perfection.
2. Be quick to notice small accomplishments, and focus on effort rather than outcome.
Focus on each child’s strengths and refrain from giving recognition that compares them to one another (the last thing you want to increase in a stepfamily is rivalry!)
3. Notice the first thing that comes out of your mouth: is it positive or negative? Are you providing a welcoming environment for the members of your family?
Prevent “bucket-dipping”. Ask yourself throughout the day: am I adding to or taking from that person’s bucket? Use a PAUSE button when you catch yourself “dipping”- and find something to …

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Balance Work and Family Tips

Finding Your Niche in Life – How to Be a Better You

The concept of finding our niche in life is not a new one. As a child we start to think about what we want to be when we grow up. Some of us actually grow up and become what we dreamed about. This group is the lucky one. Unfortunately, too many people go through life with their activities governed not by their abilities, but by their circumstances. They take the first job offered and that becomes their career. If it turns out to be the wrong decision, it becomes an albatross hanging around their neck and weighs them down emotionally and financially. They do not decide what they want and go after it, but live “under” their circumstances.
When twenty percent of the individuals in a group provides 80% of the value or does 80% of the work, it is obvious that only a small percentage of individuals truly find their niche in life. How do we go about becoming one of those producers? There are a few points that can help us all determine what we should be doing. Whether we are talking about being part of a functional, happy family; being the top producer in our company; or being highly proficient in a sport; finding what our gifts and abilities are is the first step toward achievement.
The process of finding and utilizing our talents requires: (1) believing we have talents; (2) finding out what those talents are; and (3) selecting those talents that we enjoy using the most to use and improve upon. After that, the rest is easy. We do what we enjoy the most and have the talent for. As Mark Twain once said and I paraphrase; “A man who does what he enjoys never has to work”. So, lets take the process of finding our niche one step at a time.
We have to believe we have gifts, talents, & abilities. It has been said by some psychologists that each of us has thousands of abilities. Admittedly, some of these abilities may be small ones and may seem insignificant to a lot of people, but they are talents and abilities nevertheless. Some abilities are obvious to us. Some are only obvious to others. We can make use of our abilities the best when we are aware of what they are. Unless we realize that we have abilities that can be significant in life, our successes and failures for the most part will be accidental occurrences.
What are we good at doing? Sometimes we are blinded to our own abilities. Most of us do not give ourselves proper credit. We cannot see the value of our abilities in the same way an outsider does. Making a list of what we think are our abilities is a good start. A better way is to ask those who know us the best what they think we are good at. We may be surprised at the answers. Add both lists together. Once we have the combined list, the next step is easy.
We do what we enjoy. It we like to travel and write, we become a travel writer. If we are highly proficient in a sport, we may become a professional at it or become a teacher of others who are interested in the sport. If we like nothing better than making a presentation before a large crowd, we may become a professional speaker or trainer. The key is doing what we like within the parameters of our individual talents. There is nothing worse than spending our lives doing activities that we hate.
If we really want to find our niche in life, we can’t depend on other to decide what our niche is. We must actively search out our talents and abilities, decide which ones we enjoy the most, and build our family life, our careers, and our recreation around those abilities. When we find our true niche, we become a better person, and one that others want to be around.…

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General Article

Teach Your Child About Good Eating Habits to Fight Obesity

Teach Your Child About Good Eating Habits to Fight Obesity

Nowadays, many children are overweight and reaching the brink of obesity. The rapid increases in the rates of obesity are at a disturbing pace which makes it a worldwide issue that should concern each and every parent. It has been said that kids are naturally attracted to junk food and sugary treats and tend to push away all that’s good for them. Hence, it is up to you parents to monitor your child’s food intake and make sure they do not consume too much calories.

Studies show that between the age of 1 till 5, kids tend to be picky eaters and only eat certain things and at certain times. Often enough, this could be difficult as your child would create a big fuss. To avoid your child from growing up overweight, there are a few ways to teach them good eating habits.

First, children are more likely to eat their vegetable if it is cooked rather than raw. Also, give them small portions of a variety of vegetables so that they see different colors and get different taste. It would be best to stick to small portions at each meal so that they don’t see too much of it. Also, put nutritious food in front of your child. Don’t worry on how much he is eating. It is the quality of the food that is important, not the quantity.

Furthermore, satisfy your child’s sweet tooth by serving nutritious fruit based desserts. You can occasionally add the delight of ice cream but not too often. Aside from that, try serving food in attractive ways like cutting vegetables in odd shapes, decorating with ketchup or herbs. Presentation matters to kids, the more attractive it is; the more likely they are to try it.

In conclusion, keep your child happy by serving foods in ways they would happily eat. During those frustrating moments at the dinner table, handle those situations with patience, a positive attitude and firmness. Don’t be aggressive or emotional.…

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Mom and Baby Yoga

Save the Sweetest Kiss – Learn How to Save a Marriage

Can you remember the days when you and your partner are having that firing emotions of love and happiness deep in your hearts as you would deal with each other? Or can you still remember the exciting feeling whenever you would hold each other’s arms? Or do you still remember the sweet smell of the day’s perfume as you exchange vows until death do you part in the holy matrimony? I believe you have that sweetest feeling as happiness and thrills would manifest inside you that time. Who could blame both you for that?
Taking the first step for you and your true love to live a life together for a lifetime would really give you that unexplained feeling, yet best of what you had. So what’s up with your decision of considering divorce? Naturally, you would encounter different problems and circumstances along the way with your partner, but that shouldn’t affect the promises you’ve made with each other. Marriage is supposed to be a lifetime commitment and is obviously not one of those jokes which you could play around. In here, you and your spouse’s feelings are involved making everything complicated and, worse, difficult to work on. But though that would be the case, there would still be ways on how to save a marriage. So better don’t give up too easily, grab each other’s hands and try not to let go of it, as you do everything for your relationship to work still.
Here are some of the tips which both of you could take the opportunity of trying. Working on how to save a marriage is better than doing nothing at all. Just make sure to give your best forward for it or else you might find yourself losing the things you could do for a second chance.
o Try to think of some moment which you can spend time together. Give you focus on it and let go of the things that could possibly hinder you of doing it. Turn of your televisions, cell phones, or even your instant messenger, as you sit and spend time together. Listening to each other’s feelings is great, because in that way, you could understand each other and through that you’re relationship would become mature.
o Put your feelings through letters. Though there would be other ways on how to express your feelings, I still consider writing letters as one of the sweetest. Because of the fact that it is really one of the classical ways of expression of love, not a single thing could erase that address to it. So why not try the manner and see for yourself how effective it is.
o Don’t forget to have at least one date per week. Usually, couples would be very comfortable with each other that they tend not to dress up beautifully for their partners. With this date on scheduled, it would be like a glitter on top of your partnership life. Without any choice, both of you should dress up properly for this event and with that, sparks of love for each other will surely illuminate.
Though it is often said that doing ways on how to save a marriage would really take a lot of time, effort and money, once you’ve become successful on it, everything is assured to be worth it as you and your spouse would be sharing the sweetest of your kisses once again.…

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General Article

Early Childhood Education Training – Connecting With the Newest Generations

Early Childhood Education Training – Connecting With the Newest Generations

Early childhood education (ECE) has now become a mainstay in the New Zealand culture, with the widely held community beliefs of the benefit of early childhood education and the success of future generations. Being such a topic of interest for parents, families and governments, much research has been conducted into the benefits of ECE and training for our children. Providing a “jump-start” to their educational journeys, research has shown that children enrolled in early childhood courses outperform those who do not in both mathematical and reading skills, as well as increased cognitive processing. Furthermore, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have found in their recent research program into the multiplier effect of early childhood education, that those attending such courses develop a better educational platform from which to further their education in subsequent learning institutions throughout their life, as well as benefiting from better work opportunities in the long term. This piece of research went further to state that those attending such facilities are better able to socialise and relate to others; and this correlates to more socially competent individuals, both in their childhood and adulthood.

In contrast to the benefits of ECE is the current shortage in New Zealand of suitably qualified personnel to fill the required positions. According to research by Le Quesne, there has been a 32% increase in the numbers of children enrolled in licensed early childhood centres over the past decade. With this increasing demand is a correlating demand for qualified teachers to support the increasing numbers. In reaction to this widening gap of demand and supply, the government is proactively encouraging the increased uptake of ECE training and it’s career path.

Early childhood education training prepares and equips students with all the necessary skills and knowledge to educate the next generation of New Zealanders. On completion, graduates will possess a comprehensive range of abilities across key elements of ECE providing them with long-term career prospects in a rewarding sector. The course provides a comprehensive overview of the early childhood education curriculum, the interpersonal skills required interacting and communicating with children and their families, understanding the basic psychology of childhood growth and development, developing skills and attitudes required of an effective communicator and teacher, along with the regulatory requirements that impact upon the ECE sector. Be a fundamental part in the development of tomorrow’s movers, shakers and leaders and enrol in a course of early childhood education today.…

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How to Make the Most of Your Family Vacations

Most of the time when you plan a family vacation, you are looking for a way for your family to get together and just enjoy themselves without the worries of every day life. Take the time to learn some of the various different ways that you can go about planning a family vacation that is going to make the most of your time together as a family. There are so many different things pulling families in every direction that it is often difficult to plan a vacation that will satisfy the whole family. Taking a few different steps will help you to make the most of it, for everyone involved.
While families can consist of young children, parents, teenagers, young married adults, grandchildren – the list goes on- you will see that it is important to find a way to bring them all together comfortably. This can reduce stress for everyone in the family. Take the time to find a time for your family vacation that will be good for everyone who plans to attend. There are a lot of different things that go on, between other vacations, school, sports, work, and holidays that pull families apart. Make sure that you talk to people in your family to find a time that will be just as convenient for one person as it is for another. Making sure that everyone is happy with the time that is set is the first way to make sure that you have a happy family vacation.
Plan to do some fun things while you are on vacation. There are definitely some things that cater to children more than adults, but the adults can often have just as much fun as the kids when they visit these places. Remember everyone when you are planning the places that you will visit on your trip. You should take the time to plan a few different things so that everyone is sure to do something that they will enjoy while on vacation. A vacation should be enjoyed by everyone involved.
Another way to ensure that you are able to make the most of your family vacation is by ensuring that you do not spend a ton of money on your trip. Financial hardships can often cause a lot of stress. If you take the time to find some of the best vacations at the most affordable rates, everyone will remain happy and stress free because they do not have to worry about the money that is being spent. There are many ways to find vacation deals that will meet the needs of any budget, be sure to find the one that is best for you and your family.
When you are planning the next family vacation, remember to take these things into consideration. If you do this, then you are sure to have the happiest and most productive family vacation you have ever had before. This will make sure that everyone enjoys the time that is spent together as a family.…