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Bad Parenting Adages: Forget These Sayings

May 25, 2017
Bad Parenting Adages: Forget These Sayings

When you were a kid, you probably swore to yourself that you would never, ever repeat certain adages and proverbs that your own parents told you. But, now that you’ve got children of your own, you probably find yourself making the mistake of repeating mantras you grew up hearing.

Childish rebellion isn’t the only thing that points out the fault in adages like “Say you’re sorry” and “If you can’t say anything nice…” Logical, responsible parenting can also reject the use of some negative and hurtful sayings.

Bad Parenting Adages: “Because I said so!”

Children ask “why” because that’s the only way they know how to learn. When a child wants to know why you’re leaving the playground, why he can’t play with matches, or why he can’t spend the night at a friend’s house, it’s not because he’s challenging your authority: it’s because this is the only way he can understand the adult world.

To tell a child that “because I said so” is a legitimate answer, is to tell him that explanations don’t matter and that he should blindly follow any and all authority figures without learning how any of it works– a sure method to render him unable to make his own decisions. It is never wise to deny your child education about the functions of a society.

Bad Parenting Adages: “Say you’re sorry.”

When we insist that children apologize because we think they should, we are essentially telling them to lie. The child may grunt “I’m sorry” under his breath to a sibling or playmate he just hit, but unless he actually feels remorseful about his action, this will just built resentment. Instead of forcing children to apologize when they don’t mean it, we should work toward getting them to understand what they should feel sorry in the first place.

If we instill our children with a sense of empathy by pointing out how their actions affect others, they will naturally apologize without force or resentment. Instead of “You’ve been bad! Say you’re sorry!” something like “Look how you made your sister feel when you hit her! How would you have felt?” can work to create true sympathy, rather than fake apologies.

Bad Parenting Adages: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Like adults, children need to feel heard in order to feel secure, and no one’s opinions include only nice things. Imagine what our world would look like if adults only said nice things about politicians, consumer products, and world history! We may not have nice things to say about the holocaust, ecological destruction, or social injustice, but we say what we think anyway. Dissent is what keeps the world spinning round.

Children must be taught that it is okay for them to have a negative opinion of someone or something: be it the kid across the street who stomps bugs for fun or the taste of last night’s dinner. Rather than teaching them to avoid expressing their opinions, parents should focus on teaching them polite and productive ways to go about creating change.

Bad Parenting Adages: “You’re a bad girl/boy!”

If you tell a child that he is bad, he just might believe you. And if he believes you, he is likely to follow with behavior patterns that fit this assumption. Children will eagerly follow nearly any label that we apply to them. If we call them “spoiled”, that is what they become. If we call them “hateful”, they to the best they can to live up to our expectations.

No child is perfect, but the best way to insure a child’s imperfections is to communicate that his identity and his behavior are one and the same. There is no harm in telling a child that something he does is hurtful, silly, or mean, but there is a great deal of harm in tellling him that his own identity is based in these labels.

As parents, we owe it to our children to put thought into our roles as parents. Beyond repeating the mantras that we grew up hearing, we must teach them with dignity, thought, and respect.

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Traveling with Kids? Suggestions to Make it Easy

May 22, 2017
Traveling with Kids Suggestions to Make it Easy

Almost everyone at sometime or another ends up taking a trip in a car somewhere with kids along. That is part of the American image after all. However, that image usually does not include the kids in the backseat chanting over and over “are we there yet?” Car trips with kids can either be great, or a total nightmare depending upon how well prepared you are.

Remember kids really do not care how long it takes to drive a mile or that once they are at their destination they can finally get out and stretch. They are not typically capable of long car rides with no breaks along the way. To help make the trip as peaceful as possible be sure to schedule breaks along the way to stopping for bathroom breaks, food and the occasional chance to just stretch the legs and awaken the brain.

Do make sure that car doors are locked and kids know not to play with the handles, make sure kids are aware that they are not supposed to even have any part of their body hanging out of the car, this includes arms, hands, and feet and legs. Make sure everyone in the vehicle wears their seat belt, adults included to set a good example. Kids who are to be in car seats should still be in their car seat for the entire trip. Do not ever walk away from the vehicle with kids or pets alone in the car; it only takes a moment for a disaster to strike.

Kids love to ride in the front seat of the car, but car trips are especially important to make sure kids are in the backseat. Many states have now made it a law that kids ride in the backseat only. It is always a good idea to take a small cooler along for the ride so that a cold drink is never far away. Keep juice and water for the kids, especially since soda tends to make kids hyperactive and hyperactive kids and a long drive do not mix well.

Keep a close eye on the little passengers in the car, hot temperatures, and curvy roads can allow carsickness to set in quickly. Small kids who are sick can quickly and easily become dehydrated if they are not closely watched. Make sure to pack a fresh pack of baby wipes they are great for a large number of uses while on the road.

I always allow my children to pack a small rolling suitcase for trips that will fit in the backseat between their car seats. They themselves pack the bag that way the toys in the bag are what they themselves have picked out. I however always check the bag to make sure it does not have every loud toy in the house packed in it.

Remember that while stopping for food is always good, a snack every so often is also necessary. Packing snacks where the kids can reach is always good to help curb the afternoon munchies so they are not starving the whole way. Another good idea is to pack where they can reach a car pillow and small blanket. This way they can get comfortable and take a nap when they become tired without getting neck pains from uncomfortable sleeping positions.

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How to Use the Metro

May 11, 2017
How to Use the Metro

Transportation in and around Washington, DC must be among the best in the world. You can get just about anywhere with a combination of the Metrorail, which is the subway system, and the Metrobus, which is the bus system. Together those two make living life in the DC Metro region a joy. Since I want others to enjoy the same luxury of traveling the area that I have had, I’m going to tell you the basics of how to use the metro. Hopefully after this article, you’ll feel confident enough to hitch a ride on the green line.
The prices are very reasonable. For the buses, a normal trip is $1.25. Express price is $3.00. The cool part about the whole set up is something called a transfer. When you get on the bus, you’ll be handed a little slip of paper. Hold on to it. Present it to the bus driver when you get on the bus the next time and you’ll get on the bus for free. I was amazed that I could ride round-trip for only a buck 25. Just be sure to look out for the time that the slip of paper says. Usually you’ll have 2 hours or so to use the transfer. You can’t use it after the time is up so plan your trip accordingly.

Metrorail is also very well priced. For barely four bucks you can ride from Maryland to Virginia. That’s why most people that work in DC opt to take the Metro to work every day. The thing to keep in mind with the subway is that the price is different depending on the time of day. Regular fare is during weekdays from 6am to 9:30 am, 3-7 pm, and 2 am to closing. This is peak traveling time for the train, so it makes sense to charge a little more since the trains run more frequently. All other times are reduced fair.

Also, if plan you get off the subway and use a bus, be sure to get a transfer for the station. It should be somewhere near the gate when you are about to board the train. If you present this to the driver of the bus after you get off the train, you’ll only have to pay 35 cents to ride the bus. Just be sure to get the transfer from the station you are boarding, not at the one you are arriving.

Now, I must highly recommend getting a Smartcard if you intend on frequently using the Metro system of transportation. It’s a little card that you can purchase at any station for $5.00. You can place money on this card and use it to pay for your rides on the bus and the subway. I guess they call it a Smartcard because it eliminates the need for paper transfers. The card automatically gives you whatever discounts are coming to you based on your usage of it. It’s so much better than keeping track of papers and whatnot. You can also register your Smartcard so that if it gets lost your balance will be safe.

In the next part of this series, I’m going to teach you how to navigate around the metro stations.

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How to Fight Flight Boredom with Audio Books and Short Novels

May 6, 2017
How to Fight Flight Boredom with Audio Books and Short Novels

So it’s going to be a long flight home. As you find out your flight is delayed another three hours from the snowstorm, you anticipate a long, long day of traveling ahead. Traveling on a flight that doesn’t offer in-flight movies, extras, or entertainment options can make the whole trip seem like a lifetime. If you’re traveling alone, it’s times like these that a great music collection, novel, or stack of magazines can offer some great company.

Some new options await this year, that may just boost your spirits and help you spend your time well. It’s easy to pick up a pre-recorded book complete with headphones and batteries to accompany your carry on baggage. Or, take along a short book that already has an anticipated reading time printed on the back; your choice of 1-3 hours, depending on the length of your travels (or lack of).

Audio fiction and nonfiction titles, in short bites, are a great option for frequent travelers who are looking for minimal fuss. Pick up the Play Away Digital audio books for the latest titles, new releases, or your favorite classics. These pint-sized books include their own set of headphones. Each feature is a full narration of your book in an easy-to-carry miniature box. The box itself looks like a miniature size version of the hardcover title. The company has recently launched a custom library too, allowing downloads and streaming music in addition to your recent read.

OnFlightFiction.com offers a time scale of fiction novels for your selection Ranging from 1-3 hours, the book list currently highlights westerns and a few thrillers. The company plans to expand the titles list to include nonfiction, business books, and even self-help topics as the company grows. Still, this is a great way to find a quick time-filling activity if the reading rack at the airport disappoints. Amazon.com is the place to pick up your favorite, and the OnFlightFiction.com website features summaries and upcoming releases when needed.

For crossword and game lovers, there’s still plenty to choose from at the airport’s convenience store or kiosks. Track down some crossword puzzles or cryptograms to decipher; or, catch the Sudoku craze and stock up on the foldover tablet books that fit neatly into any backpack or purse. For the digitally inclined, keep your mind sharp with the touch screen handheld console loaded with the New York Time crossword puzzle. The device looks like a PDA, and offers some of today’s most challenging puzzles that can keep you busy for hours.

Delayed flights, inconsistent flight schedules, or just having to kill time at the airport can add to the stressors in traveling. When you’re stuck for entertainment options, or just need to occupy your mind with something creative, pick up a few interesting reads and activities in today’s most convenient formats. Your travel time will zip by faster than ever!

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We Made Family T-Shirts With Our Heat Press

April 15, 2017
We Made Family T-Shirts With Our Heat Press

We had the 2017 family reunion a few days ago. It was an absolutely amazing time! We had over 50 of our immediate family and cousins there! This is by far the biggest showing that we ever had. To commemorate the occasion, we created T-Shirts for our family using our brand new heat press machine!

We chose to make our own using a heat press rather than buy them because we are such a creative family! Buying them from your usual shirt manufacturer would have been more cost effective, but would not have been nearly as much fun.

We spent about 30 hours making all 50 shirts. I’m sure that we could have done it faster, but spending quality time with our family was much more important than being very efficient.

We used a PowerPress heat press machine with Siser glitter vinyl; simply because we wanted our shirts to be fabulous! The shirts took about 20 minutes each to make.

Typically the Ciao Mom family will do some sort of family unity craft. In the past we have crafted ribbons to coordinate with what branch of the family tree we are on.

We did have an assembly line crafting the t-shirts comprised of several generations of our family. The grandparents were in charge of actually using the heat press. The moms and dads were in charge of making sure all of the transfer vinyl was properly lined up on the shirts. Of course, the kids had the most fun out of anyone since they were the ones designing the shirts.

While we liked to think that they would follow the crafting guidelines that us adults had set forth, they surely did not. However, the end result was amazing!

What resulted was the finest family made shirts that I have ever seen. Okay, maybe I am a bit biased since they were made by my family; but I couldn’t have been prouder of how everything came out! Coming together as a family to make something so wonderful and seeing everyone get all crafty with a heat press and vinyl was really a joy in my life. I’ll cherish these memories forever!