Wednesday, December 21, 2011


A new year can mean new resolutions for both children and adults alike. Kids are not too young to also participate in setting New Year’s resolutions. In fact, parents and children may have more success if they make New Year’s resolutions as a family, with every family member having a specific part, and all are accountable.

When planning, it is important to set resolutions or goals that are clear, achievable and measurable. Resolutions can be made at any age, but it may be most effective to start with school-aged children. Parents should ask kids, ‘What’s something you want to be better or different this year?’ and help them map out how to get there.

Some helpful reminders for parents helping children with New Year’s Resolutions (and sticking to them):

1. Set goals that are clear, achievable and measurable for the child and his/her abilities - talk about making them specific. If a child wants to do better in school, have him pick a specific subject. Set a goal. “I will do better in school by raising my grade in science from a 3 to a 4” or “I will study two nights before every Spelling test instead of just the night before.”

2. Consider setting goals as a family, with every person doing his/her own part – this is a great lesson for teamwork AND for all working together towards a common goal. Sitting down for dinner, going out once a week as a family, or each sharing a chore at home are great examples that involve everyone.

3. Avoid setting too many goals - A long list of resolutions is simply too overwhelming. Young children should focus on one thing they want to impove and older children should limit it to two or three. Talk with your children about what is most important and focus on those. Then maybe take your own advice and set few for yourself, too.

4. Write Those Resolutions Down - Writing things down makes them more real. Write down the resolutions in either a private journal if your child wants it to be private or on a piece of paper that is posted someplace visible if your child doesn’t mind everyone seeing. Older children could possibly begin a journal to track their resolution journey.

5. Follow up periodically to see how children are doing with their goals; Trouble-shoot challenges together - Ask your children how their resolutions are coming along. Suggest ways that they can stick to their resolutions. If they mess up, encourage them to try again. Let them know that January 1st is not the only day for resolutions. They can start them, or re-start them, whenever they want.

6. Reward children for success along the way - Verbal praise goes a long way! Sticking by our resolutions provides parents with an invaluable opportunity to teach children that rewards not always have to be tangible. Children can learn early on that the reward itself is perseverance, and knowing that something they set their mind to can be done.

7. Be an Example For Your Kids - Do you have your own resolutions? Share one of them with your children. Then do your best to follow through with it. Compare resolution notes with your children from time to time. Encourage each other. Remember, parents are mentors for setting resolutions. Model the type of behavior you want as a family and everyone will be more successful.

Who knows? By helping your children learn to make and keep New Year’s resolutions, you may just break the cycle and start keeping your own!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart. – Hellen Keller

May the lights of Hanukkah usher in a better world for all humankind.–Unknown

It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One! – Charles Dickens

The seven principles of Kwanzaa -- unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith -- teach us that when we come together to strengthen our families and communities and honor the lesson of the past, we can face the future with joy and optimism. -President Bill Clinton

It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you... yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand. – Mother Theresa

My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that? – Bob Hope

Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most. - Ruth Carter Stapleton

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly. – Andy Rooney

Love the giver more than the gift. – Brigham Young

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone. – Charles Schulz

Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.-Hamilton Wright Mabie

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. -Calvin Coolidge

The time is always right to do what is right.-Martin Luther King, Jr.

This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays! -D.M. Dellinger

Friday, December 2, 2011


Tired of the grinches who complain when the holiday season comes around? Want to make a difference and spread a little holiday cheer? You can! Making a difference is easy, fun, and can give you an opportunity to spend valuable time with your family. It can also turn out to be just what you needed to establish your own family tradition! It does not matter what holiday you and your family celebrate (hannukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or others). Here are some ideas:

Bake cookies for friends and neighbors.

Everyone loves cookies! A simple and sweet way to make people smile is tooffer them a tasty treat. Block out an afternoon in your busy holiday schedule to bake cookies for friends, family, and neighbors - and ask your kids and spouse to help! To make
the experience more memorable, invite close friends and family to join in for an all-day baking date.

Smile and wish people "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas."

It may sound simple, but what better way to spread holiday cheer then to show it and say it? While on your way to work, at the grocery store, or out shopping for family and friends this Holiday Season, be sure to smile and wish others "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas." This can only inspire others to follow your lead and spread the holiday peace and happiness. Positve attitude is contagious. Try it and you will see.

Give small gifts to those who provide services.

Giving small gifts from the heart to those who provide services to you is a sure way to spread cheer and make others feel good. It also lets them know that you appreciate what they do for you. Show your mail carrier, garbage man, house cleaner, children’s teacher, secretaries, and other service providers how much you value them.

Organize or contribute in a fundraiser or food drive with friends.

Want to make a real difference this holiday season? With a bit of effort and some reliable friends, you can organize or contribute with a fundraiser or food drive. This is a great way to help the less fortunate in your community, and it will surely make you and others feel good.

Volunteer your time and energy.

For a special gift, give a little of yourself. Helping others is a great way to spread cheer and love. Take time out of your busy holiday schedule to volunteer at a nursing home, orphanage, women's shelter, or homeless shelter. Smiles are contagious - and you can spread them around.

Sing Christmas carols.

If you celebrate Christmas, nothing says "holiday season" like Christmas carols. Spread some cheer this holiday by playing Christmas carols in your home for family and guests. As Christmas Day approaches, take family and friends caroling to help spread the holiday spirit. Don't know the lyrics to your favorite carols? No worries - find your favorite songs here