Friday, July 2, 2010

Single parents: How to choose a daycare center

Choosing a daycare center for your child is daunting to any parent. It takes research and time to find a daycare that any parent will deem acceptable for your child. Acceptable because there isn’t anyone who can look after your child in the same manner you do. There are a few basic items or warnings you can look out for to help you determine is a daycare is a safe place for your child to spend the day. Even if your child will only be going to daycare after school, you will want to follow a few simple guidelines.

Video Cameras
Unless you are in a personal home, most daycare centers will have video cameras in the rooms for not only the children’s safety but the teachers’ safety also. Having video cameras in the room will not ensure your child’s safety and shouldn’t be an automatic check in the yes column for a day care center. Here are a few questions you need to find out about the video cameras:
1. Is someone monitoring the cameras? If they are stuck in a back room, what is stopping the teachers from abusing the children?
2. Are the video cameras recording the activity in the room? If there is an incident in your child’s classroom, you will want to be able to see what happened for yourself.
3. Can you view the video cameras upon request? If the management of the day care will not let you watch your child then it should raise a red flag.

Whether you are in a personal home or in a day care center, at any time you should be able to visit your child. You should be able to sit in the room and play with them and interact with the other children to see how they respond to adults. This will help you determine if the other children are intimidated by having an adult around or are comfortable. If they are quiet and reserved, then it could just be there nature, but it could also be a sign of abuse. It is recommended that you visit a couple of different times before placing your child at a day care center. You would want to very the different times of day you visit also, to see the interaction between different teachers and children. Once again, if the management or day care provider does not want you to visit, then it should raise a red flag to not place your child there.

A schedule doesn’t have as high of importance as the two subjects previously mentioned, but it is still important. If a child is on a schedule not only will it show how your child spent there day, but it will help you with them when they go home. They will already be used to having things done at a certain time, i.e. naps, eating and playing. If you stick with a schedule at home and continue the same type of schedule on the weekends, it will help you maintain a calmer household. A few things you will want to look at for a schedule, is what they will be doing and when nap and feeding times are at.
1. Make sure they are getting both inside and outside activities. This way they will be getting exercise and the provider isn’t just sitting them in front of a television.
2. If you know what time they generally take a nap, it will be easier to have they take a nap at the same time on the weekends.
3. By watching what time they ate a snack, it will help you better determine what time to have dinner. They will fuss less then and be more likely to enjoy the meal, in which case, so will you.

As a single parent, you will want to look closely at the hours of the day care center to determine if it will match up with your hours. Just because you have a contingency plan doesn’t mean they always work. You will also want to watch the other children for bruising, i.e. around the upper arms. Most children get bruised at one time or another, but there are certain areas to watch for to make sure that it isn’t abuse. Letting someone else watch your child for any length of time is a scary proposition, but unfortunately, it is a needed commodity. As with all commodities, there are way to reduce the risk to your child, not necessarily prevent it, but you can reduce.

As a side note, there is an agency that accredits day care centers. They observe for months at a time to determine if a day care is eligible. They also list day care that they have approved. It is the National Association for the Education of Young Children. There website has a wealth of information that will help you in your search.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

3900 Saturdays

This isn't necessarily about children, but it is a good point for spending time with your children.

3900 Saturdays

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage
with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning
paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning
turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you
from time to time. Let me tell you about it:

I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the
band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday
morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older
sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice.
You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the
broadcasting business. He was telling whom-ever he was
talking with something about "a thousand marbles."
I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say

"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy
with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a
shame you have to be away from home and your family so much.
Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or
seventy hours a week to make ends meet. It's too bad you
missed your daughter's "dance recital" he
continued. ;"Let me tell you something that has helped
me keep my own priorities." And that's when he
began to explain his theory of a "thousand

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little
arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five
years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on
average, folks live about seventy-five years.

"Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up
with 3900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average
person has in their entire lifetime. Now, stick with me,
Tom, I'm getting to the important part.

It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think
about all this in any detail", he went on, "and by
that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred
Saturdays." "I got to thinking that if I lived to
be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to
enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single
marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores
to round up 1000 marbles I took them home and put them
inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the
shack next to my gear."

"Every Saturday since then, I have taken one
marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the
marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important
things in life.

There's nothing like watching your time here on
this earth run outto help get your priorities

"Now let me tell you one last thing before I
sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast.
This morning, I took the very last marble out of the
container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday
then I have been given a little extra time. And the one
thing we can all use is a little more time."

"It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend
more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again
here on the band. This is a 75 Year old Man, K9NZQ, clear
and going QRT, good morning!"

You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this
fellow signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think
about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning,
and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on
the next club newsletter.

Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a
kiss. "C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids
to breakfast." "What brought this on?" she
asked with a smile. "Oh, nothing special, it's just
been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the
kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're
out? I need to buy some marbles.

How many Saturdays do you have left?

I have about 1,872. I am going to enjoy the ones I have with my family. If you figure it, if our children move out at 18, then I have less than 100 with my daughter and am on borrowed marbles with my son.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


I never realized how hard it would be when my son graduated. He is graduating in a few weeks and it feels like every day he is moving farther away and I guess he is. He is becoming his own person. I am proud of him and at the same time I wish that I had my little boy back. I look at this young man and realize that someday I might see my little boy in him, but for the most part he is gone. This young man will continue on in life and because a wonderful person, not that he isn't already, but he will become more so as he matures.

For all parents out there, good luck in this turmoil filled time and if you have any hints for me to help get through this, I would greatly appreciate them.

Take Care

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

School Days

Well School is starting back up and for many people this is a stressful time of the year. Your children need new supplies and clothes and as a parent you want to do the best you can to help them to fit in and not look like a misfit, but you also don't want to break the bank. Here are some ideas to help you get through the school shopping days.

I know these have a major stigma attached to them, but if you are select in what you purchase then it won't be obvious that you bought stuff from a yard sale. Normally blue jeans don't change much from year to year so if you buy your blue jeans from a yard sale you can save anywhere from $20 to $30 a pair of pants. Make sure they are in good shape without rips or tears. You will also want to check for parts that are wearing thin. If you child wants the extra decorations that are on quite a few of the jeans today, then go to your local craft store and buy a set and you can attach them to the jeans. You daughter will have a nice pair of jeans and they will be unique and she will be able to show off her own style.

You can find some wonderful deals on clearance racks, but be warned it is difficult especially for girls to wear last years fashions. Look over this years fashion and normally you can find some items that are similar to last years and add accessories to bring them up to the current style. The accessories is normally the key to creating unique and stylish outfits that your girls will love. Boys are much easier and are normally happy with t-shirts that you can pick up on any clearance rack, but take them with you because they can be picky on what type of t-shirt it is.

This can be a lot of fun, because you can normally find clothes from different eras that you girls especially will love to try out. This is when they will be more likely to try something different and maybe work on creating their own style. Have fun with them and don't discourage their creativity unless it starts looking indecent. But most of all have fun.

Some cheaper ideas that will help the school year start out right. A nice haircut will go a long ways to helping your child's self esteem stay high and help to prepare them for the new school year. Sometimes buying new accessories will make outfits from last year seem completely new. And finally a new pair of shoes can go a long way to helping the school year start out right, and payless normally has the buy one get one half off sale going on this time of year.

You can help your child have new clothes and a good school year with these few simple tricks and not have to feel like you need to take out a loan to have them start school.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Becoming a Better Parent

Before you become a parent you believe you are going to handle situations different than everyone else. Your child isn’t going to throw a temper tantrum in a store or your child is going to be better behaved in public. There are many different scenarios that you believe you will handle differently than the people you see around you. Parenting is just like any other job, it is a skill you have to learn with great patience involved. It isn’t something you just know how to do, you have to work at it and find the way that works for both you and your child. Listed below are a few concepts that might help you become a better parent, but remember just because something works with one child doesn’t mean it will work with all children.

Spending time with your children is essential to their growth and well-being. The more constructive time you spend with them the better they will be able to understand their boundaries and what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t allowed. By creating boundaries for children they are generally happier and better adjusted to their environment. They will be less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol because they know the results of these items in their lives. The time you devote to your children will be rewarded by children who are more comfortable with themselves and don’t feel they need to act out to get attention.

Television isn’t a babysitter for children. Putting on the popular television shows for children isn’t the way to teach them how to read, talk to behave, unless you want a child who has a hard time reading, enjoys backtalking and misbehaves because they think it is funny. Many programs today are geared toward a child’s entertainment not necessarily the way you want them to behave.

We monitor the television shows our children watch and are thankful we do. Our children were watching a show as we walked through the room, the show stated that it was okay to lie as long as it was a small one. We immediately had the children turn the show off and banned the show from our house. The children have learned when there is a banned show that there is a reason behind it and besides asking for the reason of the banning, will generally follow our rules. Our daughter has even gone on to leave a house that was watching a show that she was banned from watching. We, as parents, have to be mindful of what our children have access to, whether it is television or the Internet. Most parents will monitor what their children does on the Internet, but don’t think twice about letting them watch anything on television. Some of the programs out there today aren’t appropriate for adults let alone children.
Banning books can be a dangerous subject, but it is our job as parents to monitor what media our children are exposed to which includes books. We have banned certain books from being read by our children and explained to them the reasons why. There are some things we don’t want them exposed to which include witchcraft and spells, because of this we have stopped them from reading certain books and they are in agreement with our choices. Not everyone will choose to ban certain books, but you need to watch what your children read because it could be too graphic for them whether in violence or in sexual exploits.

My son had a hard time when we informed him of certain musicians we wouldn’t allow him to listen to. We sat him down and reviewed the lyrics with him and explained the problem we had with some of them. Once he understood that some of the lyrics were inappropriate, i.e. suicidal, degrading, sexually explicit and too violent, he was able to agree with our choices. He is now at a point where he will come to us and ask us to review a band or singer to find out if they are appropriate to listen to, and has even rule out some bands because he didn’t agree with their lyrics.

As with anything with children, explaining why you are doing something is much easier than just saying absolutely not. If they understand why you are doing something they will be more inclined to agree and not go do it behind your back. By spending time with them, you get to know them as a person and know what they are capable of doing and you also get to know their friends, which will help you understand the outside influences in their lives. When we have children we are taking on the responsibility for life not just until they turn 18. They will move us to great acts of frustration and anger, but also greater feelings of love and happiness. Enjoy each moment you have with them because you will only have that moment once.

Friday, June 15, 2007

How to get your picky child to eat

My son was the pickiest eater I had ever run across. He would only eat bread, cereal, chicken nuggets and other bland foods that were similar. He refused to eat vegetables and fruits. At first we thought it was a phase he was going through and he would grow out of it, instead it steadily got worse. He wouldn’t try new foods and wanted certain foods every day.

Finally we had enough and refused to offer him his favorite foods. He was offered the same foods that we had for dinner. If he didn’t eat then it was on him because the food was offered. Now, I am not saying this was an easy decision to make, but it was one that had to be made for his health. If we had continued to allow him to eat only certain foods then he wouldn’t receive the vitamins and minerals he needed to grow into a healthy adult.

It took about 2 months to get him to a point where he would sit down and eat the same foods we ate. He would fight us over eating his vegetables and try to eat as small of a helping as possible, but every time the fight got less until the time when we could sit down to dinner together and enjoy our meal. There wasn’t the fighting to get him to eat, or his arguing that he didn’t want to eat. If you have children, you first concern has to be for their health not for how good of a friend you will be to them. Even if they don’t want to do something you still have to force them to do some things and eventually it will get to a point where they will make the choices that will benefit not only their health but their lives.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Help Your Child Ace Multiplication Homework

My daughter hated math. If she could find a way to get out of working on it she would. Once we talked to her and figured out the problem was that she couldn’t understand multiplication tables, she felt better. So then we had to figure out what we needed to do to help her overcome the difficulties of multiplication and how to help her understand it.

We created her a multiplication table for her to work on and study and then we would quiz her anytime during the day. She never knew when she would get asked, just that is she got it write she got a gold star. Now you may wonder what good a gold star is for someone learning multiplication, but every time she got 20 stars she was able to have something she wanted. It could be she got to choose dinner or everyone had to play a game with her, something like that.

After 2 weeks of solid studying and testing she was able to go to school and aced the test that she got. Even today you can ask her a multiplication problem and she can figure it out in seconds. Repetition is key to helping children learn certain things, like how to pronounce letters and letter combinations. This is just another example of teaching by repetition and it is something that she will keep forever.