May 272015

Have you made your summer plans yet?  Whether you are fortunate enough to be planning a family trip or trying to put together a decent child care plan, the school year is coming to an end and ‘what to do about summer’ has probably been part of your recent thinking.

Go paperlessWhile babysitting, dog walking and gardening are still options for a lot of kids, technology has certainly opened up some additional possibilities.

Seriously… so many of us joke about how much more intuitively middle and high school students are able to organize our laptops or set up a quick website.   Why not let them?

Let them help you make a list of some of those aggravating “to dos” that are cluttering up your office or your hard drive….  whether it’s labeling and uploading digital photos you’d like to share, scanning documents,  re-tagging blog posts for better SEO or setting up a FaceBook page for your business, the best person for the job may be closer than you think.

What other digital chores would you like to get some help with?  Recording podcasts? Adding media to your website’s library? Playlists and albums? Cloud back-up? Setting up meet-ups or a virtual book club?

What do your kids have to offer?  You may even want to help them share those skills with family and friends.  What do you think? What online chores would you like to offload?

 May 27, 2015  Posted by  Four Foundations, Parenting Tagged with: , , , ,  2 Responses »
May 202015

cool babyMemorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start of summer is around the corner.  While some are scouring local papers for fun and interesting stay-cation options, others are planning to hit the road…or even “the friendly skies.”

Even though we don’t like to think about it, it can be pretty stressful when things go wrong when we are far from home; a little pre-planning can sometimes help parents find just the right balance between “adventure” and “safety.”

“Here, courtesy of my friends at Educator Labs are some travel safety tips and reminders.

Parents Central | From Car Seats to Car Keys: Keeping Kids Safe

American Association of Pediatrics – Travel Safety

29 Tips and Tricks for Traveling the World with Kids

Parents’ Guide to First Aid

Summer Weather Safety & Survival Asleep in a carseat.

Do you have some favorite summer travel tips or memories?  How about some summer safety tips?  Please click on the comment link and add them to the conversation.


Did you know that we have curated articles on a wide variety of topics for parents? Check the Resources for Parents section of this site.

 May 20, 2015  Posted by  E, Parenting 4 Responses »
May 122015

When you were a kid did you ever order sea monkeys from an ad in the back of a comic book? Advertised as a “bowl full of happiness” and “instant life” I was intrigued. Maybe obsessed. I must have managed to talk a parent into ordering them because I have this vague and disappointing memory of tiny brine shrimp in a bowl.

Not only did they not look anything like the little cartoon characters in the ads, they weren’t very interesting and they didn’t live long. And, much like the poor goldfish from the circus, they were flush…. oops… given our family’s version of a burial at sea.

Brine shrimp (Artemia monica) from Mono Lake, ...

Brine shrimp. Photo credit: Wikipedia

That was the end of the story… until my nine-year-old eyes locked on to a supermarket tabloid headline about some alligator or snake or something crawling out of a sewer in an exotic urban East coast locale. What do you think this did for a kid with a slightly over active imagination?

My young Lizard Brain was instantly convinced that the sea monkeys would come to life and crawl back home — by way of the shower drain, the bathroom faucet… or maybe the toilet.

An Inner Critic can be a lot like sea monkeys in the sewer. I actually imagined them swimming through the pipes, grazing on people’s crap… And, like all crap-feeders, getting bigger and stronger as they made the trek… Wait… What about the alligator in Newark? What if  our flushed monkeys weren’t really sea monkeys but alligator eggs? What would happen if they grew to be giants? And took a wrong turn and came back through the toilet? While Grandma was on it?

Well, that’s how an inner critic behaves: improperly disposed of, it trolls around looking for a giant shit sandwich on which to feed and then… zingo… it’s growing faster than an imaginary alligator!

How do you get rid of an imaginary alligator?

A baby alligator swimming.

A baby gator. Photo credit: Wikipedia

You call imaginary animal control. Uncle Stumpy’s Gator Gone truck. Google ‘alligator removal’ if you don’t believe me.

They’re expensive, but who cares? You’re finally going to get rid of the alligator, the sea monkeys, the giant snake or whatever other fears and phobias you’ve been dragging around behind you.

The gator guys arrive in a truck that looks like it should have been sent for parts  —  you’re not convinced. They don’t look too sharp and the only tools they seem to have brought are a stick, a rope and some duct tape.

And just when you’re about to send them on their way, the smaller one lets out a yelp and starts to run. There’s nobody standing around the truck — they’ve gone after your gator!

There’s splashin’ and thumpin’ and somebody yellin’ – and suddenly they’re back with your gator dangling on a long pole between them, duct tape securing it’s powerful jaws. Duly chastened, it can no longer do any damage to you, your cat or any butt that chooses to perch on the throne in your powder room….That super-sized, crap-swilling gator is now just an ugly little dinosaur wearing a muzzle.

And the Gator Guys look a lot more like George Clooney.

p.s. Laughter is one of my favorite ways to muzzle that Inner Critic.

 May 12, 2015  Posted by  Fun & Inspiration, Inner Critic 12 Responses »
May 072015

many tiny flowersIt has been several years since we published What Kids Need to Succeed: Four Foundations of Adult Achievement and I still love it.  Easy to read, short chapters — just the kind of parenting book I wish I’d had when I was a young mother. And now it’s a free book.

Here’s the thing: although my work as a family advocate sometimes put me in the role of a parent-coach, I’ve never considered myself a “parenting expert.”  My favorite thing about this book is that it’s about thinking differently: the short-term “feel good” can sometimes set the stage for longterm difficulties.  And nobody wants that.

So, with Mothers’ Day around the corner, here’s a chance to give an e-copy to any Mom you care about.  Click here to go to Smashwords where you can find out how to give it as a gift.  When you get to the checkout enter the code BJ66T to get it for free.

That’s it. No list sign-up. No request for reviews.  Just a chance to share. Happy Mothers’ Day.




 May 7, 2015  Posted by  Special Topics Tagged with:  No Responses »