Archive for May, 2008

My Daughter’s Garden

As spring was approaching, my daughter started asking if we could plant a garden this year.  The word garden is a very frightening word for me.  Not only have I never attempted to plant a garden, but I have never really been able to grow much of anything.  Needless to say my lack of a “green thumb” has always stopped me from gardening, despite my love for fresh from the garden veggies.

I thought about it and realized that a garden would be a great way for my daughter to learn a skill that I have always wished I had, and would be a self-esteem builder should anything actually grow.

Together, we read up on gardening and decided that a raised bed garden would be our best bet.  She helped me get everything ready, and carefully chose what she wanted to grow.  Pumpkins, carrots, peas, and of course corn.  I explained that in order to have a garden, we could not have any weeds.  She happily went around the yard and pulled out all of our weeds.  Already having a garden was working to my advantage.

We prepared our soil, carefully planted each seed, and she began to water her garden and check daily for any signs of life.  Already she is telling everyone about her very own garden, and cannot wait to show her friends what she has done.

We are anxiously awaiting the first vegetable that she can pick from the garden she prepared for, took care of, and made her own.  While we still have a few months to wait, this experience has taught both of us a valuable lesson.  She has learned that with hard work and patience you can accomplish your goals, and as her Mother, I have learned that trying new things can be very rewarding and a great way to teach our children.

Get ready for your children’s safe summer swimming at Child N Patrent

By: Vanessa Lee

Add comment May 24th, 2008

Tips for Good Family Mealtime Conversation

“What did you do at school today?’’ is the usual question on my lips at the dinner table. “Nothing or I don’t know” is usually the standard reply from my preteens all the way down to my five-year-old. Picking my children’s brains about the happenings of their day is important to me. Where did they go? What did they learn? Also, who are they associating with and what values are they learning from them? These are all parental concerns that I have learned to address with good family mealtime conversations.

Sometimes as a parent, it is best to not be so direct. Some children tend to hold their fears, concerns and joys inside. A back door carefully opened in the spring will usually lead to a lot of fresh air. The same is true with family meal time conversation. Having a back door of traditional conversation during mealtime can bring forth some fresh news of about your child’s daily experiences. Here are some tips to help you create your own rewarding family mealtime conversations.

1. Talking competitively all at once just creates a loud noise. Have a standard rule that each child will be given a chance to share something about their day. Remind your children that it is good manners to not speak with their mouth full or to interrupt someone else.

2. During dinner, have a specific question which will invite each child to share more about the experiences of their day. For example; invite each child to share something that they did not enjoy about their day. This will often encourage them to share information about any worries or problems that may be on their mind.

Adults sometimes have a tendency to minimize a child’s problems. Instead, make a mental note about anything that your child is struggling with or seems to be sad about. Be sure to have a private talk with them later, away from other family members about actions they can take to resolve the problem. This type of parental guidance will help your child to learn step by step problem solving skills.

Also, sharing information about your own problem and the actions you took to resolve it will help them reflect on your standards and ideals. It will also help them realize that gown-ups have problems too!

3. Once you’ve shed some light on their worries and problems, let the fresh air in by sharing some fun experiences and laughter. For example; invite each child to share something wonderful that happened to them during the day and any funny jokes or experiences. You might share your own joke or funny childhood experience that will clue them in on the mysterious fact that you were once a child too. Laughter around the dinner table at the end of a long day is the ideal recipe for a fun family mealtime experience.

Find more Parenting Tips at

By: Debby Hoffer

Add comment May 19th, 2008

Mom Time

We know that spending quality time with our kids is really important and is the perfect way to bond with our children. However, what some of us Mothers often forget is the importance of spending quality time alone, away from the kids, Mom Time, so that we do not forget who we are and what we love to do.

While playing with Barbie’s is very exciting, it is nice to take time away from wishing you had Barbie’s life, to actually having it for a night. Going out with some girlfriends and shopping, getting your hair and nails done, or going to a movie can be just the break necessary to help clear your mind and have some adult conversation.

While taking your child out to dinner may work most of the time, imagine you and your husband, out for the night without having to feed someone else, worry about all of the spilt food on the floor, or rush outside when your baby is crying and coming back to cold food.

I have seen first hand that sanity goes hand in hand with Mom Time. I feel the difference when it has been a while since I have been “alone” or done something just for me. Once I get out for a few hours I come back refreshed and realize that I actually do like my kids. After all, how can you miss them when they are always with you? You can’t!

In the rare case that it has been so long since you had a moment to yourself, you may be wondering what you would do if you were kid free for a few hours. Here are a few ideas. I already mentioned shopping, getting your hair or nails done, and a movie with friends. There is always date night with your significant other, including dinner, where you will actually be able to carry on a conversation. Have you thought about taking a walk or a drive? What about a trip to the grocery store or to your favorite craft store?

Whatever you do, remember to spend the time doing grown up things, and as tempting as it may be to talk about or think about your kids the whole time, don’t! This is your time to get away.

And, of course, use the advice at Child N Parent on Parenting Tips to help keep your sanity.

By: Vanessa Lee

1 comment May 12th, 2008


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