Category Archives: Family relationships

Ages Creative Parenting Creative Teaching Family relationships

What Does Your Discipline Teach Your Kids?

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What does your discipline teach your child?

It’s one of those days again. Your creative preschooler decides the bathroom looks much nicer decorated with toilet paper — the last roll of toilet paper found in the house — and then insists the guilty culprit is her imaginary friend, not her. Your tween age child looks you dead in the eyes and proceeds to inform you of all the things you should be doing (never mind that his chores remain undone yet again). Factor in the cookie crumb trail leading mysteriously to the cookie jar, the sibling bickering, and the uneaten meal (you know, the one you made specifically for the picky eater who never wants to eat what’s served) that still lies waiting for your toddler to eat, and you just know it’s going to be a long day. One glance at the clock tells you it’s only 8:00 a.m., and you wonder why you ever got out of bed. Your reminder comes quickly as your toddler’s now-jellied scrambled eggs fly across the room, smack you in the face and drop onto the front of your freshly pressed blouse.

Oh yeah, that’s why. You’re a parent.

So, how do deal with attitudes, behaviors, and stressful days like this? Well, I wish I had all the answers to that, especially when it comes to effectively disciplining children. I’m still a work-in-progress parent myself. What I have learned is that the punishment needs to fit the crime and discipline needs to be tailored toward the individual child.

Here’s an example:

A few years back, I was having repeated problems with my girls about picking up their toys before bedtime. Nine times out of ten, it turned into an argument over who was doing more and a tattling war of “Mommy, she’s not picking up. I’m doing everything. They’re not even my toys!” Honestly, half the time I got tired of listening to it and ended up doing the majority of the work…and I know they were not my toys.

One night I reached my max. A time limit of 20 minutes was set, and they were warned that anything not put away at the end of the limit was mine for the next few days. The first few minutes were spent with them debating whether mommy would really take the toys away, with the younger child saying I wouldn’t really do it and the older, more experienced daughter insisting that I would. When I returned from the basement with a large cardboard box, the message and intent was clear. You should have seen those kids move! When the time was up, there were still a few toys left behind. Of course, I HAD to follow through with discipline, despite their protests and tears.

I tell this story to emphasize my point. Yelling, using corporal punishment, sending them to their rooms, banning them from the television, etc. wouldn’t have taught the lesson I was trying to instill in my children. Discipline, at least effective positive discipline, should do more than simply make the child aware of the wrong-doing. It should also teach them a valuable lesson.

What was the valuable lesson I wanted my children to learn from this discipline? In life, we’re often given things for which we are responsible. If we don’t cherish them and take care of them properly, we may lose them. If something’s important to you, take good care of it. If you don’t, it may not be around long.

Now think of the last disciplinary act you took with your child. What were you trying to teach your kid? Did it work? Share it with the rest of us in the comments below.

Creative Parenting Creative Teaching Family relationships

Celebrate Diversity with Young Children

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How to celebrate diversity with young kids

Today’s guest post on Creative Kids Ideas comes from Dan Gilbert on behalf of Primrose Schools. So without further ado, here’s Dan!


How to celebrate diversity with young kids (Photo credit:


Limited primarily to their family, neighborhood and school a young child’s view of the world is relatively small. Explaining that the world is a much larger place than that can be difficult. Preschool children can learn to expand their worldview by discovering that the world is made up of many neighborhoods full of diversity and culture.

Explaining the concept of “diversity” to your young child might feel like a complex lesson. However, preschool children can use their imagination and learning to discover a whole knew world that is much larger than they thought. Through music, sports and even wildlife around the world you can make up lessons and games that will be fun for your child while they learn about diversity. You will help spark your child’s understanding of the vast size and rich texture of our global community.

“We live in a diverse world. By teaching children to appreciate other cultures from an early age, you will help them develop compassion and seek out shared values,” said Dr. Mary Zurn, vice president of education for Primrose Schools. Living with diversity is not a choice; it’s a fact. By teaching our children about diversity at a younger age we will be preparing them for preschool and life beyond. Accepting others for who they are comes from appreciating and respecting the culture and lifestyle they come from.


These few tips from Dr. Zurn can help you begin to explore the diversity of others with your child:


Read a Book. Although it may seem to simple, reading to a child is one of the best ways to introduce them to different types of families, children and people from all over the world. Culture can come to life through different stories, characters and themes. Try to find books that will be easy for your child to relate to. Pictures are a great starting point for discussions about diversity. Some suggestions for books are:
•    It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr
•    Children from Australia to Zimbabwe: A Photographic Journey Around the World by Maya Ajmera and Anna Rhesa Versola
•    The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane Derolf

Share Your Family History. Understanding others begins with an understanding of oneself. It also builds a child’s awareness of their family history and their own culture. Use old photos and any memorabilia you may have from your childhood. Family air looms are also a great addition when telling stories about past family members. Children love hearing stories, so the more visual you make it the easier it will be for them to understand and remember. They will probably ask for more stories and for stories to be told over and over!

Listen to Music. Share your family’s cultural heritage through music. Play music from your family’s country of origin, your region of the United States, or favorite songs you sang as a child. Then play music from other cultures or parts of the country. Ask your child to identify the similarities and differences.

Think Outside the Box. There are many opportunities out there for you and your child to experience different cultures, it just depends on if you recognize them and celebrate them. Simple things like going to an ethnic restaurant, visiting museums and going to festivals are all fun ways to explore different cultures. Be sure talk about your experience though, your child may not understand or recognize the cultural differences if you don’t have a discussion about it. Becoming friends with families that are different from your own will increase your family’s appreciation of cultural differences.

The more you express your interest in learning about cultural differences the more interested your child will be. Dr. Zurn said, “Encourage a celebration of cultures near and far, including your own, to help your child grow to be an accepting, compassionate adult, who values the differences in others.”

Submitted by Dan Gilbert on behalf of Primrose Schools. For over 25 years, they have helped individuals achieve higher levels of success by providing them with an AdvancED® accredited, early child care services and education.  Through an accelerated Balanced Learning® curriculum, Primrose Schools students are exposed to a widely diverse range of subject matter giving them a much greater opportunity to develop mentally, physically and socially. Dan has written a number of articles on topics varying from bilingual learning to teaching the importance of volunteering.

Creative Parenting Family relationships

It’s All About Attitude! How’s Yours?

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Kids are constantly being nagged by their parents, teachers, and other adults to watch their attitudes. Please don’t get me wrong. Children and teens should learn the importance of portraying positive outlooks and behaviors. But, if we’re honest with ourselves, sometimes the attitude adjustments need to come from us parents.

While eating dinner with my family at a local restaurant last week, we had the pleasure to meet an employee named Tammie who had the most amazing attitude I’d seen in a long time. I mean, this woman loved her job and her enthusiasm was contagious. She could have simply went through the motions with a frown on her face or grumbled about how many times she’d cleaned up after whiny, messy families that day, and no one would have blamed her. Instead, every customer she came into contact with left with smile – including my daughter who had entered the restaurant cranky! The encounter got me thinking about how important attitude is when dealing with people — regardless of their age. That, of course, made me evaluate what kind of attitudes I portray to my kids and about my role as a parent. It was time for a parenting attitude check!

Read more…

(1-2 years) Toddlers (3-4 years) Preschoolers (5-8 years) Kindergarten - 3rd Graders (9-12 years) Tweens Activities Creative Parenting Creative Play Family relationships Teenagers

Date Night… with Your Kids

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Date night... not just for parents anymore! Make it a family affair.

Date night... not just for parents anymore! Make it a family affair.

Date night... not just for adults anymore. Make it a family affair!

Relationships that matter are worth the effort they require. That doesn’t only apply to grown-up relationships, but also to the ones with our kids. When we became parents, my husband and I learned it was important to make time for each other in order to keep our marriage fresh and stay connected to each other. Time alone is often spent at home after the kids go to bed, but the preparations happen while they’re still awake. Our girls latched on to the excitement surrounding date night and soon starting asking to be a part of it. That inspired a family tradition that includes one night a week set aside for mommy and daddy time and another one for special family time. That’s how family date night started in our home. Read five creative ways…

Creative Parenting Family relationships Holidays

Family Goals for the New Year

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Family Goals for the New Year

First of all, I apologize for slacking on my blogging duties lately. Preparing for the holidays, trying to meet book deadlines, having the kids off from school, and fighting off the dreaded colds and stomach viruses that hit our family in December, all have kept me running like a crazy woman! (Okay, crazier woman.) Anyhow, enough with the excuses. I’m back and ready to kick off 2011 the right way – with family goals for the New Year.

I have a confession. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t even like to think about them. Why? Let’s face it. Come mid-February, too many of those resolutions have already fizzled out and are forgotten – at least mine do. Unfulfilled resolutions don’t lead to real changes.

On the other hand, I am one who constantly seeks ways to improve and the beginning of a new year is an excellent time to initiate those improvements. Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I choose to use the start of the New Year as an opportunity to reevaluate my life, determine areas I can make better, and build new goals to achieve in the upcoming year. Not resolutions but life changes. Usually I focus on personal or career related goals. For 2011, however, I am adjusting my focus to create goals for the benefit of my whole family in the New Year. I encourage you to do the same.

Read on to learn why making family goals for the New Year is beneficial for your family and to find out what mine are…

What goals have you set for your family? I’d love to hear what your plans are and how they’re working!

(3-4 years) Preschoolers (5-8 years) Kindergarten - 3rd Graders (9-12 years) Tweens Family relationships Teenagers

Talking to Kids About Bullying

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Talking to Kids About Bullying

Talking to Kids About Bullying

There has been an increase in media attention on bullying and kids recently, but the reality is problems with bullying have been around for as long as kids have been and will likely continue as long as people exist. As adults, we must be aware of this serious issue and learn to talk openly and honestly with kids about bullying. To get you started, here are five tips for talking to kids about bullying.

Five Tips for Talking to Kids About Bullying

Creative Parenting Family relationships

Save This Date — October 1st!

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Will Blog for Kids -- October 1st

Will Blog for Kids -- October 1st

It’s time to whip out your organizer and add this date and time — October 1, 2010 at 11 AM CST/Noon EST. Did you do it? Good. Now I’ll tell you why. :)

On October 1st, Will Blog for Kids returns on Blog Talk Radio with their second segment. The show is going to be phenomenal! Here is what’s going on:

Jo (from Creative Kids Ideas) — that’s me! — will chat with Taryn Grimes-Herbert, and Michelle (from SomeGirlsWebsite) — she’s my awesome co-host — will interview Betsy Henry. If you haven’t come across these ladies and their blogs before, go check them out. You won’t regret it! Now it’s time for you to learn a little about these two great women.

(Confession: I’m cheating a little and copying this section from my previous blog post over at Will Blog for Kids. Hey, I covered it so well the first time. Why rewrite it, right?)

Taryn Grimes-Herbert began her theater career at the age of nine. By the age of eighteen, Ms. Grimes-Herbert had landed a lead role off-Broadway, opposite Robert Downey, Jr. Since then she has performed on Broadway, film, television and radio. She has also written five children’s books and has written and produced projects for film and television. Taryn blogs at the I’ve Got Books blog, where she writes to “help kids finds answers and deal with social issues.” She is currently a columnist for (covering New Rochelle, NY) and tours school systems, with her interactive books, presenting creative workshops to help prevent bullying behavior.

Taryn Grimes-Herbert currently has five children’s books: I’ve Got a Choice, I’ve Got a Home, I’ve Got Plans, I’ve Got Friends, and I’ve Got Feelings. The books can be purchased here on her site, I’ve Got Books.

Betsy Henry is a wonderful blogger, author, mom and teacher. She grew up in Chicago, but now resides in lovely Littleton, Colorado with her husband and three boys. She has always enjoyed writing and teaching… and now the two have come together. Betsy writes at The Zen Mama’s Blog where she teaches parents “how to stop worrying, let go and get closer to your kids.” She’s also the author of the parenting book, How to Be a Zen Mama. She writes in the hope that other mothers will be able to let go and live happier lives.

Betsy Henry’s book, How to Be a Zen Mama, and other fun Zen Mama products can be purchased here on her site, The Zen Mama’s Blog.

Come listen in as Jo Brielyn and Michelle Debenport chat with these great guests about parenting and childhood issues, and learn the who, what, why, when, and how behind their popular sites and their other great projects.

Here are the details:

Link to the show:–will-blog-for-kids

Date: Friday, October 1, 2010

Time: 11:00 AM Central/Noon Eastern

Show length: 1 to 1-1/2 hours

Call-in number: (646) 595-4478

*Online chat is also available during the show, so be sure to log into Blog Talk Radio before the show begins.

Note from Jo: I’m looking forward to chatting with these two ladies and learning more about their books, blogs, and what’s going on with them. It should be a great show packed with excellent conversation, helpful tips, and laughter. Come join us. I hope to see you in the chat room this Friday! Like the Will Blog for Kids Facebook page or visit the website for updates on this and other episodes of Will Blog for Kids.

If you are a writer, parent, or educator who blogs for or about children, we’d love to interview you on Will Blog for Kids. Contact Jo and Michelle at Willblogforkids[at]gmail[dot]com and tell us a little about yourself!

(0-12 months) Babies Creative Parenting Family relationships Safety

Preparing for a New Baby

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Baby checklist for home, family, and hospital

Most expectant mothers to go into labor somewhere between the 37th and 42nd weeks of their pregnancy. Since the actual date is a mystery, it’s wise to prepare for the hospital trip by the 37th week.

But, preparing your home and family for a new baby is not something done at the last minute. Those preparations should be an ongoing process, best started months in advance. There is so much more to getting ready for a new baby than simply buying adorable outfits, furnishing the home with baby paraphernalia and decorating the nursery. While they’re fun, in the beginning, most of those accessories and gadgets are more for the parents than the infant. Your time and money will be better spent on taking basic steps to prepare the home for a newborn baby. Also, if there’s an older child in the home, he or she will no doubt be excited, and a little nervous, about the prospect of a new baby joining the family. Following simple steps to prepare older siblings for a new baby will help ease the transition for both the child and parents.

Here is a practical baby checklist of things expectant parents need to do ahead of time when preparing for a new baby. It is a list of helpful baby preparation tips for the home, family, and hospital. Read the baby checklist…

Note from Jo: This baby checklist is by no means all the things parents must do to prepare for bringing a new baby home. They are, however, the ones I found most helpful in preparing for a new baby when I was a new mother. I believe planning ahead is a key step in preparing your home and family for a new baby. It will help make the hospital trip and homecoming process a less stressful experience and allow you to focus on the joy of bringing home your new precious baby. I hope the tips help. Enjoy the new addition to your family!

Creative Parenting Family relationships

Cheap Date Ideas for Parents

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You spend most of your waking moments (and many of your should-be sleeping ones) nurturing and caring for your kids. In the process of providing for and raising your family, it’s often easy to let your relationship as adults slide.  Whether you are a new parents, a single parent in a relationship, or a seasoned married couple with children, spending quality time alone is vital to your relationship as a couple and as a family unit. And don’t forget about your sanity!

Raising a family often means extra spending cash is scarce or that extra money needs to be spent to meet the needs of your children.  Little or no money often leads to no more date nights. It doesn’t have to. Planning a date doesn’t have to break your budget.

My husband and I discovered a few years ago how little time we were devoting to each other in the midst of raising our girls. We started a practice that has now become a regular occurrence in our home – date night for Mommy and Daddy. Once in a while, my husband splurges to send flowers to me or to buy a special gift for the occasion, just as a special way to say “I was thinking of you today”. Other times, we plan ahead to hire a babysitter and go out on the town for an evening. More often, though, we prepare while the kids are awake, tuck in them into bed, pray they stay in bed, and enjoy the evening together at home. Sometimes it’s as simple as eating dinner together in a candlelit room and relishing the silence. Other time we spend more time planning, come up with a theme night, and dress the part. Date night has become such a tradition in our home, now the kids beg to have date nights too. <—- Also a fun activity, but I’ll save it for another blog post! (Here’s the post on having date night with your kids.)

The main thing is to find ways to enjoy time together and focus on your relationship. Tap into your creativity, add a little preparation, and plan a memorable get-together with your sweetheart. Here are a few creative ideas for cheap, fun date ideas to get you started:

  • Cheap Date Ideas for Couples – Thrift Store Fun

Visit the local thrift store. Decide on a budget and split up to shop. Buy something for each other. Take your time and put some thought into the purchase. It can be a sentimental or humorous gift. You might be surprised at the gifts you’ll find in a thrift store!

  • Cheap Date Ideas for Couples- Play Dress Up

A fun twist on the thrift store idea is to use the money to buy an outfit for your date. Take the items home and wash them ahead of time. Plan an inexpensive outing or a date at home on which you both must come wearing the chosen outfits. Be sure to bring your sense of humor with you on the date.

  • Cheap Date Ideas for Couples- Go Picking

Spend a sunny day with your date at a local berry patch, fruit stand, or open-air market. Pick a few baskets and take them back home to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Relaxing with a cup of coffee and a fresh-fruit desert is a nice, inexpensive way to spend special time together.

  • Cheap Date Ideas for Couples -  Flip a Coin

Begin this spontaneous date where there are plenty of historical sites or other places to see. Start walking and flip a coin to see where it leads you at each intersection. Designate directions for both sides of the coin, such as ‘heads’ means left and ‘tails’ means right.

Limited finances don’t mean less romantic dates. In fact, cheap date ideas such as these require more creativity. Imagination leads to great fun and romance.