Bathroom Products For Kids

It is important for kids to have products that keep them not only interested in all of the hygiene-related activities that take place in the bathroom, but also safe from harmful ingredients. This round up is full of products that are made especially for your little ones!

little-green-kids-shampooLittle Green Body Wash: I’m not sure what my obsession is with baby/kid body wash and shampoo, but I absolutely love trying it out. I am always looking for brands that are extra safe with natural ingredients for my kids. I have come across more options tailored to babies than than kids, so I was excited to find Little Green Shampoo & Body Wash. It is tear free, with no parabens, allergens or sulfates, and it is gluten free. It has a unique, very pleasant smell and doesn’t dry out skin at all. I love the convenient pump bottle too! $15 for an 8 oz bottle, www.littlegreencares.com

FF_AngryBirdsReadyGoBrushOrangeFF_AB_MouthRinseStellaFirefly Angry Birds Anti-Cavity Mouth Rinse and Ready Go Brush: I never thought about using mouth wash for my four year old, but when I received samples of Firefly’s mouth wash I thought I would give it a try. My daughter was so excited when she saw the Angry Birds bottle and she couldn’t wait to try it. The bottle comes with a built in cup and a pump bottle to keep consumption to a reasonable level. One squirt fills it up the line so kids know they have enough. The sweet, yet sugar-free berry flavor was delightful to my daughter and got her more excited about brushing her teeth than I have ever seen her. In fact, she started asking if she could do it! Firefly also makes fun light up toothbrushes that time how long kids brush their teeth to help make sure they do a good job. My daughter really likes the one that flashes in different colors like a stop light to let her know that she is almost done and when she can stop. Anything that makes brushing teeth fun and something to look forward to gets a thumbs up from me! www.fireflytoothbrush.com

CapriClearCapriClear Spray on Moisturizer: People seem to really love coconut oil for all sorts of uses. CapriClear boasts just one supremely soothing and emollient component:  all natural, 100% fractionated coconut oil.  Also known as caprylic/capric triglyceride, this purest and most stable form of coconut oil offers all of the ingredient’s skincare benefits, without the overwhelming fragrance.  Hypoallergenic CapriClear is not only colorless and odorless, but is also free of preservatives, additives, dyes, fragrances parabens, sulfates, PABA and other potential irritants commonly found in skin care products. It comes in a convenient spray bottle and feels really smooth, but not greasy on your skin. I do not recommend using this on babies, however as it did cause my baby’s skin to flake/peel when I tried it on her. www.Capriclear.com

eyedoll chatterEyeDoll Chatter: This make up definitely surprised me! I wasn’t expecting such a beautiful, high quality product. Even though it is made for younger girls, I loved it for myself! They have shimmery, scented eye shadow and face shimmers, lip gloss and balms, and blush. The colors are soft, subtle, easy to to apply and blend and formulated especially for young girls. Surprisingly they are affordable at $4/.5 ml mini-jars or girls can create their own trio by picking any three items for $9. www.Eyedollchatter.com

allnaturalandorganicplaymakeupsetEcoPrincess: Little girls love makeup and I found the best “real” makeup for them. EcoPrincess, a 100% organic bath products and play makeup line for kids are all-natural, vegan and toxin-free. The next best thing about it is that it is easy to cleanup—all makeup and nail polish can be removed gently with soap and warm water! Each set includes two eye shadows, one blush, pink shimmer lip balm, water-based nail polish, two applicators and it comes in a handmade cloth purse and is priced at $24.99. www.organicbeautynow.com

handle-extender2Aqueduck Handle Extenders: One thing that every child has difficulty with for a period of time is reaching the bathroom faucet. We need them to wash their hands after they go potty (plus many other times) and the earlier they are able to do this task without your help, the better (for you and them!). Aqueduck makes brilliant faucet and handle extenders for your bathroom that make this possible for even very little kids. Attach a handle extender to the faucet handle so they can turn on the water and attach a faucet extender to the end of your faucet so they can reach the water and they are all set! Aqueduck has a brilliant design in the handle extender that prevents children from turning the water too hot or too cold. The wings of the duck keep the handle in the middle range for perfectly warm water. The design is functional and very cute with a friendly yellow duck. Kids will love their newfound independence! www.peachyco.com/handleextender.html#.U5kR16gaCwR

Celebrate Mother’s Day Creatively

mirrorMother’s Day is almost here! It’s dad’s turn to help the kids get creative to make it a special day for mom. Crayola has some fun and easy ideas that kids of any age can participate in:

 

Greet mom in the morning with a special message on the bedroom window or the bathroom mirror Washable Window Markers. [Craft Details]

Jazz up mirrors. Make dazzling picture frames. With colorful Crayola® Washable Window Markers you can change designs whenever you wish.

1.Could you spruce up a mirror in your house with seasonal or fanciful borders? Or could you transform a plain picture with a decorative edge inside the frame? Check with an adult before you start to make Markered Mirrors.

2.Think up ways to brighten mirrors or picture frames. Some suggestions: Surround a mirror with “Happy Birthday” for a morning surprise. Create holiday decorations such as hearts for Valentine’s Day. Draw a string of colored lights for Christmas. Add an “I love you” border around your picture for a gift. Repeat or embellish designs from nearby wallpaper or clothing in a picture.

3.Use Crayola Washable Window Markers to draw a colorful border around the edge of your mirror or on the glass inside your picture frame.

4.When you are ready for a change of scene, just wipe with a damp paper towel and make a new design.

 

Personalize placemats to decorate the table for a surprise Mother’s Day breakfast/lunch/dinner using Ultra-Clean Washable Markers. [Craft Details]

Place others first and you’ll make someone smile! Show you care by creating a placemat to donate to an agency that provides meals to people who are homeless, elderly, or disabled.

1. There are lots of terrific kids who help others, care for the environment, and make their communities better places to live! What can you do to help others in your community? Here’s a great idea to inspire you: Design a placemat to donate to a service organization, such as one that provides meals for people who may be lonely or unable to leave their homes.

2. With Crayola Scissors, cut cotton or 50/50 cotton/polyester fabric into a placemat. Put on your painting shirt, and cover your work surface with clean paper. Crayola® Fabric Markers stain clothing and surfaces, CLOSE ADULT SUPERVISION IS REQUIRED.

3. Use a ruler and Crayola Fabric Markers to separate sections on the fabric. Each section can be a different size and shape.

4. Create a cheerful design with large and small shapes, colors, or patterns. Add stripes or dots to fill each section with color.

5. Designs must be heat set by an adult so the placemat can be laundered. Set the iron to cotton. Iron on the reverse side using a back and forth motion for 4 minutes. Or put the placemat in the dryer for 30 minutes on the hottest setting.

 

Create a portrait for mom on the sidewalk or in a chalkboard frame using 48 ct. Washable Sidewalk Chalk that provides you with the largest variety of colors.

 

Customize mom’s favorite picture of the family by drawing a picture-frame border with Color Wonder markers that only appear on Color Wonder paper. [Craft Details]

Make memories with this easy-to-make, no-mess frame. Kids can display their own art or photos of themselves, pets, and family members.

1. Decide whether your picture frame will be a gift or for yourself. What picture will you put inside the frame? You could draw one, or ask an adult if it’s OK to frame a photograph.

2. To mark the frame’s four borders, firmly crease its inside edges in a piece of Crayola® Color Wonder™ Paper.

3. With Crayola Color Wonder Markers, draw and color a pattern to make your Bright Borders. What decorations go well with the picture you are framing?

4. Fold the creases in both directions. Carefully tear along the folds to remove the blank center of your frame.

5. Attach your art to the back of the frame with a Crayola Glue Stick. For extra support, glue cardboard on the back.

 

[Dreaded] Time To Find A Swimsuit

Warm weather has finally arrived and it is time for swimsuit (and other things swim/beach) shopping!

For moms…

Swimwear

vintageflowersmulti chevron mint_cream retro dots
It is fun to pick out swimwear for your little ones, but finding a suit for mom tends to be a little more dreaded. Whether it’s extra weight, body changes, stretch marks, scars or loose skin, finding a swimming suit you feel comfortable in can be really challenging.

When you go to the store you might find a few styles that are cute, but as you bring them into the dressing room, your pile of “no” grows. Perhaps you find one top that you like, but you can’t find a bottom in your size, or one that matches. Or maybe you just can’t bring yourself to buy a bathing suit that requires you to wear a size that is 2x bigger than you normally wear. Maybe you are nursing and your chest is extra full and your breasts are exploding out of every option you try. Maybe you just had a baby (2 years ago counts, right?!) and you need something to hold things in until they tighten up. Perhaps you just don’t like showing too much, but the only full coverage suits you find are for a lot older women. For me, it is the new “love handles” that I possess even though I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight, stretch marks on my hips and thigh and small, deflated breasts. I can go on, but you get the point and you know your scenario.

Me and my daughter playing...swimsuit on a "normal" person!

swimsuit-divinita-sole2 Me and my daughter playing…swimsuit on a “normal” person!

I have found an incredible swimming suit that I became OBSESSED with the second I tried it on. Diviine Modestee has a swimwear line, Divinita Sole, called the “Perfect Fit Swimwear” that truly is perfection. All of their styles are tankinis, although many of them look like a one piece, and they are very, very cute. They have a solution for all body types (and even a guide to help you find which ones will work best for you). They have plenty of color options AND adorable swimwear skirts to match every. Single. One. I selected my sizes based on the sizing chart and had my fingers crossed that they would fit the way I wanted. You know how swimming suits always fit so small?! Well, the fit was ideal. In every way. The bottoms didn’t create that extra bulge with my love handles the way all the ones do in the stores. They are fuller coverage than I have had in swimming suits before, but with a tankini it is perfect. I felt amazing when I put it on and the skirt made the swimming suit look like a little dress you can wear when walking around in public (and it totally covered up my stretch marks on my thigh). I wore it to my baby’s first mommy-and-me swim class and I wasn’t self-conscious at all. It is comfortable, doesn’t ride up or require any tugging. It is the highest quality bathing suit I have ever worn and I highly recommend it to any woman (or teen!). I doubt anyone would be disappointed with the purchase of a Divinita Sole swimming suit.

So, for all you moms that are dreading the search for a new swimming suit this year, just go straight to this site and pick one out. Search over! Right now a top and bottom combo is $99 and a skirt is $36. It is worth the cost to have a swimming suit you will be confident in and that will last for years. www.divinitasole.com

If you are plus sized and looking for trendy and flattering swimwear, check out www.alwaysforme.com. They are all under $90 and they have tons of styles and colors to choose from.

For the Kids…

Beach Wear

daisy-langKids swimming suits are pretty easy I think. It is easy to find adorable designs and your little ones look cute in everything they put on! But, I came across a couple of beachy items that were too cute not to mention. Daisy Lang has a great “resort wear collection” that includes classic shift dresses, shorts, shirts, and sweaters in fun prints including sailors, mermaids, and sea life. Pulling inspiration from 60’s and 70’s design, Daisy Laing incorporates whimsical embroidery and knits in their collection. I fell in love with the crabs! http://www.daisylaing.com

Flip Flops

blue flik flopKids love light up shoes and we found LED light up flip flops! They add safety at night and they are just fun. Flikflops is a family run business, with a 7 year-old innovator coming up with the idea. They come in blue and pink and cost $16.95 (with free shipping). www.flikflops.com

SPF

aubreyProtecting your children’s skin from harmful UV rays is an important job for a parent. I always rush to bathe my children after they have been wearing sunscreen because I am not sure what ingredients are in it, but I found an all natural SPF that would take away some of my fears! This broad spectrum mineral sunscreen contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to block UVA and UVB rays naturally without parabens or petrochemicals. Organic green tea extract, pomegranate, Baobab Oil, Canadian Willowherb and vitamin E are powerful antioxidants that help neutralize cancer-causing active free radicals. Plus, this sheer formula is moisturizing, non-greasy, protecting kids comfortably all day long! What’s even better is that they have a spray version. $15.95 at www.aubrey-organics.com

hello kittySome kids hate putting sunscreen on, but if it had a favorite character on the bottle and come in fun scents they might be more willing. Australian Gold has launched a new Hello Kitty collection, which got my daughter super excited. They have wet/dry body mists, lotion and face lotion in SPF 30, 45 and 50 and in Summer Berry, Krazy Kiwi and Paradise Pineapple fragrances. $8.99 at all major retail stores.

Get Your Children Outside and Moving

girl-outsideThe headline “43 percent decrease in childhood obesity,” has been all over the news lately. But what they aren’t headlining is that this is only in children ages 2-5 years. According to the newest study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the childhood obesity rate is 17 percent, which has not changed much over the past 10 years.

Sure, cutting down on sugary drinks and snacks may help your child’s health, but the real way to ensure a healthy lifestyle is exercise. Get your child outdoors and moving this spring with this list of activities!

Go Jump

Jumping on a trampoline is an excellent way for you child to have fun while unknowingly burning tons of calories! Jumping for 10 minutes is the cardio-equivalent of running one mile! It may seem like an expensive investment to buy a jump tramp, but the health benefits for your children are vast! We recommend buying a safety net, like these nets by JumpSport, to avoid any injuries while jumping. Is buying a trampoline not quite in your budget? Jumping rope can be just as affective! After 10 minutes of jumping rope, you burn just as many calories as if you jogged for 30 minutes. Check out this list of jump rope rhymes to teach your child to make it fun!

Get Pedaling

Riding a bike is great exercise for kids of all ages. This under-rated cardio workout strengthens the arms, legs and back while giving your heart a workout too. Research shows a 135-pound woman pedaling 12-14 miles per hour burns 488 calories in just one hour—so accompanying your child on bike rides will provide you with a nice workout as well! While bicycling is a great form of exercise, doing so on the streets can be dangerous. Make sure your child stays safe on the roads by always wearing a helmet and equipping their bike with lights, such as Coghlan’s Adhesive Signal Light. Don’t know how to get your child started with biking? Watch this video on children’s biking progression.

Head to the Park

Give your children some outdoor playtime at the park this spring, and exercise will come with it! Thank of all the workouts your child gets: swinging, climbing the monkey bars and ladders, running, even on the teeter-totter! Playgrounds are full of opportunities for your child to burn calories. It can be hard to find time to exercise as an adult. Take advantage of your child’s play time and fit in a workout yourself by following these park exercises!

Start Hooping

Hula Hooping is a great way to get your children exercising without them even knowing it! Hooping for only 30 minutes can burn up to 300 calories! This easy-to-do activity strengthens over 30 core muscles while working on flexibility and balance. Check out hooping.org to see how hula hooping has changed the lives of children and find out more about hooping classes and camps!

Skate Away

Rollerblading/skating is the perfect way to get your kids outside and moving! Just 30 minutes at a steady pace can burn up to 285 calories. Rollerblading improves strength and endurance as well as flexibility and balance. Similar to biking, rollerblading requires safety gear such as helmets, wrist guards and kneepads to keep your child safe! Not sure how to get your child started? Livestrong provides a great how-to teach your child to rollerblade on its blog! If your child is very young and steadily growing, try Fisher-Price’s Grow With Me Inline Skates until he or she has a more stable shoe size. Rollerblade USA’s kids’ skates, such as the Spitfire XT, are made to adjust up to four sizes and features a tutorial on the website on how to adjust them.

Sign Them Up

Whether its swim, dance, basketball, soccer or martial arts—sign your children up! Getting them involved in athletic and aerobic activities from an early age will set the precedent for the rest of your child’s life. Start your child’s active and healthy lifestyles today!

Introducing your child to any of the above activities is great, but make sure you set a good example as well! Stay active yourself and encourage family exercise. According to a study done at the University of Michigan, overweight or obese children have an 80% chance of being overweight or obese as an adult. You can change the outcome of your child’s life right now!

How To Cope With Bullying

by Gail Peterson

Too-Many-Rocks-in-your-Pocket-BullyingThe rise of social media and smartphones has made the impact of school bullying more apparent. A 2012 report from the US Department of Health & Human Services stated that 37% of students reported being bullied in school, and 52% report being cyber bullied.

These statistics are alarming to many, especially parents. As mentors and guardians to our children, we are all looking for tools to make our kids more aware of bullying and better able to handle conflicts with their friends and peers.

The negative feelings associated with being bullied lead to fear and anxiety, as well as a build up of stress. When combined the stress associated with bullying with other stressors (tests, homework, competitive sports, etc.), it becomes difficult for some kids to separate out the causes and find reasonable solutions.

After years of working with stressed and overworked clients and seeing my kids struggle, I came up with a new solution to help kids identify stresses in their life called Too Many Rocks in Your Pocket.

There is a pouch of hand-polished rocks painted with different common stress words that kids experience, such as bully, fear, fitting in, grades, etc.. How it works is by following the instructions to take out the appropriate rock from the bag that best fits the emotion or stress they feel at the time and put that rock in your pocket. Carry that rock around in your pocket for the day. In the case of a younger child, when the parent and kid get home, take the rocks out that have been put in the pocket for the day and open a discussion as to what caused that stress. When as parents we know what causes our kids stress or hurt we are much better equipped to help our kids understand helpful and creative ways to deal with it. What we have found is that children often have a hard time defining emotions such as pressure, fear, fitting-in, etc on their own. The rocks can be a tool to open up a discussion and help find a solution.

Tom Krause, a thirty-year classroom teacher and national motivational speaker in education, said of the rocks, “A wonderful resource for teens to deal with stress is Too Many Rocks in Your Pocket. They are a brilliantly simple and effective tool to help teenagers confront and deal with stress on a daily basis.”

In order for us as parents to effectively use tools such as stress rocks, we must first understand where bullying comes from. I believe, it is safe to say that to some degree our children are products of their environment. a child’s behavior is influenced through family life, school life, social and peer interactions. As a starting point we must first evaluate the home life. Of course the vast majority of us don’t think of ourselves as bullies or abusers, but we must be cautious of the interactions we expose our children to. Do you ever speak disparagingly of a co-worker or relative? Make a joke at someone’s expense? These are the subtle, often innocent behaviors that our children can pick up on and use as a justification to bully someone at school. As far as school and social relationships we as parents have a duty to be involved in our child’s life. Make an effort to talk with teachers in regards to not only grades but classroom interactions. Look for signs of aggressive behavior towards others. Know your child’s friends! Who do they hang out with? Are they positive or negative relationships. Simply put, be involved and know what’s going on when your child is away from home.

As adults it can be easy to blow off the seriousness of bullying. We may think back to when we were kids and say, yeah, I was bullied by a classmate, no big deal it made me build character and I got over it! That was then; the reality today is sadly that teen suicides and school shootings are on the rise, in large part to kids who feel bullied, alienated, stressed, and depressed. As I mentioned earlier, with the much wider availability of electronic communications and social sites it is easier than ever for a child to get ganged up on. Rumors spread in the speed of a click or text to a whole class or school. The days of one on one are gone; imagine being bullied by your whole class! Tom Krause, teacher and motivational speaker say, “Society, in general, has made teenage years more stressful today than it was thirty years ago. Increasing drug usage, suicide attempts, and dropout rates attest to the difficulty many children and teens face.”

I urge all parents to realize the seriousness of bullying and the importance of opening up discussions with their kids, parents of their child’s friends, and teachers. I also urge you to familiarize yourself with your state’s anti-bullying laws. 49 of 50 states have such a law, and there are also federal laws to be aware of. Consider using tools such as Too Many Rocks in Your Pocket to help your kids cope with the stresses of modern life and to help facilitate communication with your child. According to Elizabeth Washburn, a Social Worker and Development Disability Professional, “Tools such as “Too Many Rocks” can assist communication and coping skills because it allows them a verbal prompt that shows the emotion that they are attempting to express. In play therapy, psychologists use similar tools in allowing children to express and identify the target of their pain.” Bullying will never go away, but with consistent and comprehensive involvement by parents, teachers, and others professionals we can help our children develop the skills necessary to appropriately deal with bullying.

Training and Exercise for your Brain
Too Many Rocks In Your Pocket (Kids Series) is designed to help children cope with stress and to open up communication with parents on topics relating to stress and bullying.

How it works: Through research we have found that identifying target words help children open up with adults regarding important issues that may otherwise go unchecked. Through their teenage years – and sometimes beyond – many children lack a firm grasp of the concept of stress and how it affects their lives. When adults use the trigger words on our rocks and ask their children what those words mean to them, it becomes easier for children to recall significant conversations and situations in their lives.

Once you have had a discussion with your child, you are better equipped to help them deal with those stresses. This concept works by allowing children to confront their stresses visually and physically instead of suppressing them or not dealing with them appropriately. It is a tool designed as a step towards identifying stress – not as a solution in and of itself. The concept represents a simple, yet effective approach that practically anyone can learn to use.

Teaching Kids About Money

kid moneyHere are 10 some smart things to know when teaching your kids about money.

  1. Start early in life and modify to be age appropriate. Get young children (ages 3-6) involved in the grocery shopping and have them choose which items to buy based on a pre-set amount.  As they get older (ages 7-13), concepts such as comparison shopping, growing your money through saving and investing, and borrowing money become important.

  1. Walk your Talk.  Impulsive buying and racking up credit card debt are behaviors that don’t go unnoticed by your children.  Don’t shy away from explaining to your kids where all that money in a paycheck goes. It’s invaluable for them to learn that just because something looks good, it doesn’t mean you buy it.

  1. Don’t underestimate the allowance.  Once your child starts school, introducing an allowance is a good idea.  Treat their allowance as if it were their own paycheck and set aside 20-30% to savings.   As they get older, you can start to allocate a portion of their allowance to pay for something that they really enjoy. They’ll learn about budgeting, savings and also comparison-shopping to find the best deal.

  1. Give them the power of earning money on their own.  In addition to an allowance, encourage your child to earn money through projects or help them to brainstorm ways to make money. Once they start to earn money through their own hard work and effort, their interest in learning about money management also increases.

  1. Get your kids involved in budgeting.  It’s helpful to include your children in planning for large family expenditures such as vacations and summer camps. How you came up with the budget number is just as important as what it is – especially if it was derived from a monthly savings that you’ve set aside each month.

  1. Encourage them to participate in saving or investing their money.  It’s never too early to open a savings account so they can learn the concept of compound interest. Use allowance and earned money as a way to show how their income can be allocated to different buckets: short term spending (candy at the movie), long term savings (new mountain bike), and investment for their future.

  1. Set financial goals to teach savings and borrowing.   Rather than buying the latest product automatically, show your child how to save for these items. Lend them money at a simple interest rate so they learn the concept of time value of money.

  1. Make it a game.  Every kid, no matter the age, likes the challenge of a game.  Make it a family game night and bring out the Monopoly or Life board games.  There are computer games that teach kids the basics of running a business such as Zoo Tycoon and Sim Coaster.

  1. Start using online financial tools now.  If your child uses a checking or credit card account, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t also track their spending and savings using the latest tools. New services like MoneyStream uses a simple calendar based system to show where money is going and analyzes past spending to predict future inflows and outflows.  If your child is in college you can easily monitor the checking balance and know when to make a transfer (or give them a refresher course on managing their money).

  1. Check out more resources for teaching kids.  There are many resources that provide guidance for teaching kids good money management skills.  Moneyasyougrow.org, Warren Buffet’s SMsCKids.com (Secret Millionaire’s Club) and, Independent Means (www.independentmeans.com) are just a few to check out.

Christy Ross, the Chief Marketing Officer of MoneyStream and a mother of 3 boys, has built a long career in the financial industry. When she’s not balancing the demands of 3 busy boys (ages 6, 10, and 13), she’s helping financial technology start-ups grow. While sometimes missing the mark on walking the talk (don’t we all), she strives to help her kids become good stewards of their money and ultimately their life.

Gardening with Kids

By Christy Wilhelmi, www.gardenerd.com

little-gardenerSpring is when nature appears to come back to life. Flowers push up from the soil, and with it comes the curiosity of children. It’s the perfect opportunity to plant a spring garden. Encourage your little ones to dream big; read together about children’s gardening, and spend time plotting out veggies that will become mid-day snacks this summer. Watch the excitement build as you start seeds, whether indoors or outside. Here are a few quick veggies that provide nearly instant gratification and are kid-friendly crops to plant:

Radishes – the ultimate instant-gratification vegetable.  They sprout in days and can be harvested in a very short time.  Perfect for impatient little ones!

Lettuces – not only will you see sprouts emerge quickly (10 days or so) but you’ll be able to harvest the outside leaves in a little over a month from the time they sprout.  You’ll have salads through spring and into summer.

Beets – okay, kids might not like beets, but they are really easy to grow, have virtually no pests or diseases, and bring a lot of color to the garden.  Their red-veined leaves and stems might actually convince kids that beets are tasty, too.

Arugula – this green is a little more sophisticated in flavor, but much like radishes, it sprouts in days.  Your kids may not like it but you will, so tell them that kids can grow grown-up vegetables to share.

Peas – nature’s snack food rarely makes it in from the garden.  Peas take longer to germinate, but given a place to climb, they will thrive.  Kids will enjoy watching peas reach for the sky, flower and form tiny pea pods.  Practice patience by waiting for the peas to plump up and then pick and eat them right in the garden.  These are the things that make lasting memories.

Christy Wilhelmi is founder of Gardenerd.com and author of Gardening for Geeks. She offers classes, consulting and food garden design in the Los Angeles are, and grows 70% of her family’s produce in under 200 square feet. For more information on growing your own food, visit Gardenerd.com.

The Best Places to Sell Kids Stuff Online

By Kathy Schultz

baby-stuffEvery parent remembers the excitement of expecting their first child and the literally carloads of items needed to prepare for the big day. Cribs, baby monitors, changing tables, car seats, high chairs, clothes, linens, toys, nursery décor, swings and a host of other necessities filled the home and made baby’s first year or more much easier. But all too soon they’re outgrown or no longer needed, and often while they’re still in excellent shape.

Many families are able to hand down items or donate them to a charity. However, a lot of families really need to get a return on their investment to help afford the necessities needed in the next stage of childhood.

While consignment shops and garage sales are one way to earn back some of the money we’ve spent, in most cases these methods only get us a minimal return on our investment. For items that have barely been used and are still in great condition, why settle for pennies on the dollar? Savvy parents have learned one of the best ways make the most money on kids’ items is to sell them online.

There are many sites on the Internet that help you to sell gently used items. A little research will uncover where you can maximize your return on your dollar. Here are a few I recommend:

CraigsList

Selling on CraigsList is a great way to avoid shipping costs and seller fees on larger, high ticket items or very common items that fill consignment shops. With a presence in over 700 “cities” in 70 countries, it’s likely this site will help you connect with a buyer in your hometown. Criagslist makes it easy to upload items yourself, and users say that depending on the product, they can get as much as 50% of the item’s original retail price. On big ticket items like furniture and electronics, that can make a big difference. Be sure to include photos and use those keywords to maximize your chances of a sale. www.craigslist.org

Lolly Daisy

So what about those cute items that are personalized or monogrammed that, while still in excellent shape, are outgrown physically or emotionally? This is where LollyDaisy.com shines. New to the scene this year, Lolly Daisy connects you with buyers of new and gently used personalized items (clothing, backpacks, step stools, bedding, dishware, accessories, furniture, toys, art, etc.). On LollyDaisy.com, buyers can search by name or initials to find a match and even sign up to receive email alerts when you place a new listing on the site that matches the name and initials they seek. This means if someone is waiting to buy something with your child’s name or initials, they’ll know the moment you list. www.lollydaisy.com

Just Between Friends

If you are looking to sell off items like toys and baby care items in bulk, check out Just Between Friends. This company hosts large consignment sales events all over the country on specific dates throughout the year. Sellers sign up online, find the location and date of the event in their town, use online information to prepare and price items, then drop off items at the sale. A couple weeks after the event, your check shows up in the mail for the items that were sold, and they’ll even take unsold items to charity for you. This site is great for folks with little time to do the selling. www.jbfsale.com

ThredUP

ThredUP focuses on helping you sell kids and women’s clothing. A great alternative if you don’t have much time, this company will send you a self-addressed pre-paid bag for you to fill with the gently used clothes your kids have outgrown. Just drop off the bag off at your nearest UPS or FedEx location. You can choose to have them sell the items outright, or consign them. ThredUp will then upload and sell your items online for you. Once an item sells the company will pay you up to 40 percent (upfront payment) or 80 percent (consignment payment) of the sale price. www.thredup.com

Time is precious when raising children. Why waste it while trying to find the right buyers for kids’ items? Let these companies do the work for you and maximize the return on your investment. This will give you the time and money to get the next round of necessities for your kids. And maybe even a new pair of shoes for you.

How Do You Know When You Are Done Parenting?

5 Categories to Assess Your Child’s Wellbeing

By Erick Lauber, Ph.D.

the-family-unitFor many parents, when their children enter the teen years, things get more confusing. When the kids were younger it was kind of easy, or at least simpler. Keep them safe. Make sure they eat healthy.  Let them know they are loved, etc…

But when the kids are teens, “good parenting” gets harder and harder to define.  Are you supposed to step in and fight their battles for them, or hang back and let them figure it out on their own? Can you prevent heartbreaks or must you only provide counseling afterwards?  And does anyone know exactly what do to about sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll?  When are you done parenting?

If you survey your friends about this question you might get responses like, “when your children are independent,” or “when they can take care of themselves.”  But how shall we define “independent?”  When are our kids grown up? Does it magically happen one day, perhaps, the day they graduate high school or move out?  Those seem like arbitrary dates and not all kids mature at the same rate, right?

If we focus on what really worries parents, that their children will not grow up happy, healthy and wise, we are lead in a different direction. For example, most – if not all – parents have been focused on taking care of their child’s “future self,” not just the present one.  Responsible parents have been denying their children candy in the grocery aisle, getting them up for school every day, and making a thousand other decisions knowing that these choices will be best for their child in the long run.

So, one answer to our question is “when the young adult starts making decisions that are in the best interests of their future selves, not just meeting their current wishes or needs.”

So what does that look like?  How shall we define a “happy, healthy and wise person” and how will we know when our children are headed in the right direction?

Wellbeing

Fortunately, these questions are somewhat answerable. The Gallup organization has been studying life satisfaction and individual happiness for many, many years.  Their concept of the good life is informed by millions of survey responses and top notch social scientists.  Their results support our intuitive notion that we all want basically the same things.  Gallup has combined these few universals into a concept called “wellbeing.”  When we are doing well in each of these categories, we give ourselves very high scores on wellbeing.

For our purposes, these five categories allow us to break down the question “is our child headed in the right direction?” into five more specific questions.  Our child will do well in life and have high wellbeing down the road if they are taking care of themselves in the areas of career, social, physical, financial and community wellbeing.

  1. Career

The Gallup organization has discovered that the single most important element of one’s wellbeing is a person’s self-evaluation of their career wellbeing.  This question is not about how much money you make, but instead about how much you enjoy what you do on a daily basis. Part of our job as parents is to help our children select and get in to a career they will enjoy.  This doesn’t mean we have to find the right job for them, or even select their college major. It means we have to help our children understand enjoying your work is very, very important.  As they understand themselves better and better, they have to be responsible for making their careers, and thus their lives, enjoyable.

  1. Social

Similarly, we cannot make relationship decisions for our children, but we can pull back on parenting when we can see they are taking care of themselves and their future selves in this arena.  Are they forming strong bonds with people at work or school? Does it look like these relationships will last for years?  Are they able to navigate brief disruptions in those relationships?  Are they forward-looking in their choice of a spouse?

  1. Physical

We as parents have been taking care of our children’s physical health for quite some time. How are they doing in that department? Are they doing the day to day things that will lead to a long term healthy life style? Are they avoiding major risk factors that could create catastrophic results for their health and wellbeing? We might disagree as parents in the specifics, but if we step back and assess the overall pattern, is our child on their way to being a healthy, productive adult?

  1. Financial

Can our child manage money?  Many parents will “test drive” their teenagers’ financial decisions by either giving them their own money, maybe as an allowance, or encouraging them to get a part-time job.  Though we won’t agree with every buying decision, we want to know is our child learning about the importance of money, and whether or not they can save for big things instead of spending it all right now.

  1. Community

Finally, the Gallup organization has found a significant correlation in an individual’s self-reported wellbeing  and  their involvement in their community. Volunteering is a significant contributor to our happiness and can inoculate us from stress and other negative emotions.  Does our child show any tendency toward this kind of sacrifice and involvement? Do they belong to clubs or service organizations? Do they understand the importance of volunteering?

To answer the question “when are we done parenting?” we must have a goal in mind. Wellbeing is at least one way of answering and describing what we want our children to achieve throughout their lives. As we begin to think about when our jobs as parents might be winding down, we can use the five categories of the Gallup organization’s wellbeing index as a way to ask more specific questions about whether our child is not just taking care of their present needs and wants, but also their future selves.  Though all of us know our roles are parents will never really be over, it is completely acceptable to say the job can evolve.  The kind of parent we want to be is someone who can celebrate, from the sidelines, our child’s happiness and wellbeing.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erick Lauber, Ph.D. is an applied psychologist and faculty at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He speaks and consults on personal growth and development, life balance and change. He has won 19 educational TV/film awards and is published in numerous journals and psychology conferences. For more information, please visit www.ErickLauber.com or call 724-464-7460.

Kidpreneurs

kidpreneurs-parent-teacher-guideKidpreneurs and its accompanied Parent/Teacher Guide are unlike any books I have ever seen for kids (targeted for children age 6 to 12). They embrace and teach kids about entrepreneurial principles and creative approaches that drive modern business, but in a kid-friendly way. Written by brothers Matthew Toren and Adam Toren, Kidpreneurs teaches young ones about proven business tactics while the Parent/Teacher Guide helps parents and educators use it to lead their budding business experts into even more success.

The “Kidpreneurs Parent/Teacher Guide” is packed with more than 100 pages of fun activities, reproducible worksheets, and complete instructions to help teachers and parents guide kids in their entrepreneurial journey. It is so amazing that it is already being integrated into curriculum at elementary schools across the country.

“All children share the inalienable right to become financially independent, whether rich or poor, city or suburb,” Matthew Toren says. “By utilizing the Parent/Teacher Guide and the Kidpreneurs book, adults will help sharpen kids’ entrepreneurial know-how and will equip them with the skills necessary to tackle a limitless future.”

I have a great appreciation for entrepreneurship and the work ethic and pride that goes along with it. It is truly something that all children should be exposed to, but many are not, as entreprenuers are not in the majority of families. But, entrepreneurs will continue to build our economy throughout time and we need kids thinking in that direction!

The books do an exceptional job keeping the topics interesting and relevant for kids and they are extremely hands on. It is presented in a way that kids will actually enjoy learning about business, either in a home or school setting. The graphics and layout of the books enhance the experience.

I truly believe that reading these books with your children will make them think about business, making money and making a difference in a whole new way. I highly recommend this book to any parent who wants to see their kids be successful and help plant the seeds for entrepreneurship at a young age!