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Tips & Helpful Hints for Kids Recipe

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Robin Smith


Infants & Toddlers


* Smells like Home
When planning on being gone overnight with your baby, take along a crib sheet and blanket. Baby will sleep much better when the crib he or she sleeps in smells like home.
* Nighty, Night
When her children were small and stayed overnight with a relative or babysitter, Lee would send along an
audiocassette of her voice to lull them to sleep. She talked to them, sang a favorite song, recited a nursery rhyme or two, and ended with their nightly prayer. Their eyes closed just as if they were at home.
* Bubbly Smiles
When taking the children to a photographer for their annual Christmas pictures, consider taking along a bottle of soap bubbles and a wand. You can blow bubbles while the photographer takes the pictures.
* Bibs in Disguise
Toddlers are generally messy. The only way one mother could keep her toddlers clothes clean was to
keep a bib on him all day. However, bibs are uncomfortable and seem inappropriate in public. She now has a selection of bandannas for him to wear. He looks darling and her laundry is easier to do.

Food Tips for Kids


* Prevent Ice Cream Cone Drips
Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of an ice cream cone to prevent ice cream drips.
* Snack Bins for Kids
When their children were younger, a mom in Colorado was bombarded with requests for snacks. She
solved the problems by buying a colored bin for each child and on grocery day, filling the bin with
appropriate snacks. The children could choose a snack whenever they felt hungry, except when it was
1 hour before mealtime. There was one item for each day plus a couple extras. The children knew when
their basket would be refilled and learned to ration their goodies.

Entertaining Children


* Color-coding Tapes
One young mother in Utah came up with a great way to help her toddler son match his books with the corresponding audiocassette. She would mark each set with different colors and symbols, (stars, circles, etc.). This way he could make his own selections and follow along.
* Playpen Hideout
Do you need to keep your baby away from your older child’s small toys? Put the older child in a mesh playpen with his or her Lego’s, Barbie's, or crayons. That way baby can explore without getting into trouble. And if you add a blanket over the top, it becomes a very special hideout.
* Parents Dance while Children Play
When inviting guests to their wedding, one couple in California realized that several children would be attending their wedding and reception. In hopes of making this a special event for all involved, a child-sized table and chairs were rented. Each place was set with paper plates, cups, napkins and plastic utensils. The table featured a balloon centerpiece accompanied by coloring books, crayons, and reading and activity books. The kids played happily at the table while their parents enjoyed themselves – thanks to the “baby-sitter” table.

Young Children Tips


* Answering Kids’ Queries
One mother in Maine was often bombarded with tough questions from her children that she could not answer. So she bought a small little notepad to keep in her purse where she could jot down a note to herself. On their regular visits to the public library, mother and children would look up the answer together and sometimes check out an appropriate book on the subject.
* 5, 4, 3, 2, . . .
Many parents tell children they have until the count of 10 to do something. As a teacher, one lady found a
method that works better; count backward. This lets the children see an ending point – zero. When you
count up, kids often forget which number you’re counting to.
* Making moving Fun
With children around, packing to move can be difficult. Kids are bored while Mom and Dad pack. Their mood worsens when it’s time to pack the toys. One idea is to give them crayons and ask them to decorate the boxes while the parents worked. Kids will be proud of their efforts and not even mind when the toys are packed.
* Cool Bike Helmet
A 3rd grader in FL felt he was too old to wear a helmet when riding his bike to and from school. To combat this argument, his father brought home neat stickers from several Navy Squadrons. Together they made his helmet into a “Flight” helmet. His friends think it’s cool and now he doesn’t complain about wearing it.
* Toys for Calls
One great idea was passed on to me from a friend in Florida. It never failed that when she would get on the phone, her 2 and 3 year old children would always whine, cry, fight or otherwise get into trouble.
Her solution was brilliant and worked every time. She would have special toys that they could only play with when mom was on the phone. Now, they look forward to the phone ringing and she’s allowed an
uninterrupted telephone conversation.
* Grandma’s Activity Book
When her son was born, on new mom decided to write down recipes for homemade clay, paint, paste, and other items she’d used while teaching kindergarten. She’s also begun to clip ideas from magazines and tape them into the notebook. When her son goes to Grandma’s house, he takes the notebook along so Grandma doesn’t have to rack her brain for activities.
* Wheelchair Games
Although this fun loving lady was confined to a wheelchair, she found ways to entertain her 5 active
grandchildren when they are at her home. They play wheelchair games. Sometimes one will ride on
her lap while another pushes to see who’s the strongest. Other times they run beside the chair as they race to the finish line. Besides having fun, they’re learning that a person who has a handicap can enjoy life and take part in many, many things.
* Play Idea
Need a constructive play for kids? One family collects different sizes of PVC piping and joints, which can
be assembled into tents, playhouses or forts by draping canvas, blankets or rolled paper over the frames.
* Friendly Frames
In Missouri, a concerned mom found her young daughter worried about being teased when she found out she needed glasses for school. To help make the transition easier, they invited the daughter’s friends to an outing for pizza, followed by a stop at the optical shop where they all helped choose the frames she would wear. Because they had all been involved in the selection, her friends were supportive.
* Problem: Toy Glut
Don’t know what to do with all those kids’ meal toys? Instead of letting them accumulate in the toy box,
put them away for later use in birthday party grab bags. Your young party guests will love them. Many times they’ll find the missing piece of a set or trade with other guests for the one they need.
CAUTION: Remember, some toys were originally labeled, “Not safe for children under 3 years of age.”

Teaching Moments & Problem Solving


* Selfishness Leads to Loneliness
When your child won’t share with other children and fights for a certain toy, allow him or her to have the toy but with the stipulation it must be taken to the child’s room to be played with alone. The child generally discovers the toy isn’t worth it and that playing alone isn’t as much fun.
* Belt Captain
One ingenious mom in Ohio had a problem with her 5- year-old son never wanting to put on his seat belt. To avoid the inevitable fight when getting in the car, she made him the seat belt captain. She is not allowed to start the car until the seatbelt captain tells her that all vehicle occupants have latched their belts. This child loves it so much that he never has to be told to buckle up and the fighting has been avoided.
* Pillow Prizes for Bed
Making Some kids just don’t like to make their beds and liked being reminded to do it even less. Not wanting this to become a daily annoyance and argument, one inspired mom in Missouri began buying chocolate mints – the kind hotels place on guest’s beds. If the children’s beds were made in the morning,
she would place a mint on the pillow in acknowledgement. End of problem.
* Educational Commute
One inspired mother in Arkansas mixes fun and education to keep her 3 children occupied on their
25-mile trip to school each morning. They discuss a word such as “horizontal” and then they try to spot as
many horizontal items as possible. This game has made her children more observant and has enriched their vocabularies.
* Cyber-Healing for a Young Animal Lover
After an animal loving 4 year old had surgery, he was restricted from playing with other children for 6 weeks. To entertain him, his mother sent a message to a computer bulletin board asking people about the
animals living near their homes. The response was overwhelming. Not only did he learn about animals, but they were also able to chart on a map where all his messages came from around the United States and the world.
* Steering Child’s Spending Habits
To encourage children to spend their allowance wisely, try offering to pay half the cost of what he/she spends on educational items (books, toys, equipment, or software.) The child will be happy to be able to buy more things, and you’ll be comfortable knowing they’re learning how to budget more wisely.
* Mom’s Store
Years ago, as a single parent of schoolchildren, money was tight for this MN mom. Instead of taking the kids to the store for their supplies and being bombarded with requests for the latest in folder, lunch boxes and backpacks, she came up with the idea of “Mom’s Store.” As stores held school supply sales, she took the kids’ lists and bought what they needed plus some extras. A few days before classes started, she would
lay everything out and handed the boys their lists to “shop.” The extra folder, notebooks, and pens were put away for later use.
* Travel Scouting
One family thought to bring their son’s Boy Scout manual on trips to visit relatives. During the trip, they usually found requirements he could work on. Most tasks are family oriented, so he would spend quality time with family members while receiving help completing his achievements.
* Whisper for Results
A wise grandmother once told me that whispering works wonders when a child is angry. Simply whisper gentle words into his or her ear. The youngster will stop crying to hear what you’re
saying. It beats having a shouting match.
* The Sound of Silence
During winter months, the noise level created by children playing indoors always increases. One mom
in Colorado described her homes noise level as “sounding like a battle zone” before she purchased a book on sign language for children. She also rented a video featuring children’s stories in sign language. Now they have entire mornings of silence as the children perfect their new silent “secret language.” Other bonuses: She can speechlessly remind her 5 year old to say “Thank you,” and she can sign “I love you” across the school parking lot without embarrassing her independent 10 year old.
* Table Setting Puzzle
To help her 3 year old learn how to set the table, on mom used a permanent marker to outline a place setting on inexpensive place mats. It’s like a puzzle. Now all of her children love to set the table and they no longer have places set with 4 forks.
* Sticker Writing
Some children need motivation to begin writing a story. To spark their interest, try giving them colorful stickers to arrange on paper to create a story. Then work together writing descriptive words about the stickers to give the story color and imagination.

Cleanup Helps


* Cleanup Incentive
It always happens; a child has a friend over and there is always at least 1 room that gets cluttered. One frustrated mother came up with a great clean up idea for when her children had friends over. Her solution was to fill a jar with stickers, sugarless gum and candy. Before the friends went home, she would tell everyone that if they straightened up the room, they could choose something from her “surprise jar.”
* Bathroom Bibs Eliminate
Messes Even though her 4 year old triplets no longer needed bibs at mealtime, a mom in MA still kept a few over-the head bibs in the bathroom. The bibs protected the children’s clothing while the brush their teeth and wash their faces. Now the children no longer leave the house with dribbles, toothpaste spots or wet shirts.
* A Tube for Each
For one New Jersey household, buying a separate tube of toothpaste for each member of the family, to
accommodate individual taste preferences, has turned out to be a very effective way to help prevent the
spread of colds. For those who choose identical brands, this mom just marks each tube with a waterproof
marker color-coded to their toothbrushes.

Teenager Tips


* Creative Discipline for Young Teens
When disciplining their 15 year old daughter, a couple in PA learned that taking away television and
telephone privileges didn’t seem to work very well. They decided to delay the time when she could apply
for her driver’s license. They take off a week or more with each misbehavior incident, depending on the severity. The closer to 16 she gets, the more carefully she considers her actions.
* Teen Party
When their daughter turned 14, a set of parents in SC offered to take her and a friend to dinner. They
secretly contacted her friend and arranged to have several other girlfriends meet them at the restaurant. They gave her friend enough money to pay for the meal and left them alone to dine with their friends. The daughter was surprised and pleased by the grown-up party with her friends.
* Driving Lessons
When their son got his driver’s permit, a set of parents in NY purchased scorecards and together established a list of good driving skills. When he drove, they rated his performance on each skill, using points from 1 to 5. This is a good alternative to nagging and his road skills improved rapidly.
* Language of Friendship
When his son took Italian as a foreign language in high school, this father suggested he get a pen pal from Italy to improve his skills. His son wrote letters in English and asked his pen pal to translate his Italian into English on the reverse side of the letter. By the end of the year, his son’s Italian was very polished. But the best part was making a new friend.

Keeping Communications Open


* Keep Parent up to Date
To help non-custodial parents who wanted to keep track of their child’s school activities, a wise teacher in Wisconsin developed a program in her classroom to help remedy this issue. If that parent would give 30 self-addressed, stamped envelopes to the teacher at the beginning of the school year, the teacher could send a copy of all notes going home with the child each week. Field trips, school programs, and picture dates are just a few examples of information that can be
* Supportive Siblings
One mother in Wisconsin had 3 elementary-school aged children who were very competitive, especially with each other. She found a system to encourage them to support one another. She posts two lists: one shows a goal for each child, the other lists each child’s favorite treat. When any one of the 3 accomplishes a goal, all of the children collect their special treats.
* Custody Transitions
A loving aunt transports her 2-year old nephew to his father’s home for weekend custody visits. At his young age, ice-breakers were needed so he could adjust comfortably to his new environment. To help with
this, she would bring photographs of him – laughing with his dad, being hugged by his grandma and sitting with his grandpa on his truck. They play “Where’s Daddy?” and “Where’s Grandma & Grandpa?” By the time they reach her brother’s home, he recognizes everyone immediately.
* Going-Away Gift
When friends were relocating from one state to another, one mom wanted to give the family a going away
gift that would help them become acquainted with their new surroundings. They gave them a book listing attractions in their new city and a family membership to the city zoo. This was a good way for their friends to explore their new home town.
* Lunch Box Phantom
One couple moved when their son was in 4th grade, and he was slow making new friends. Since he wasn’t
part of any particular lunch group, one day the mother decided to make him feel better by putting a silly note in his lunch box; she signed it “Phantom of the Lunch Box.” He liked it so much that she continued it
throughout the year with ongoing adventures of the Phantom.
* Mail for Learning
Learning new words was a dreaded experience for a young boy in TN. His mother devised a plan to mail him a letter each month containing new words for his vocabulary. Now he anxiously awaits his special letter and willingly studies his words.
* Mom or Dad on Tape
Non-custodial parents wishing to give more attention to their children might consider using a camcorder to create video stories. Simply tape yourself reading age-appropriate books. Remember to read with expression and show the pictures as you read. Then give the videotape and books to your child, so he or
she can follow along.
* Baby-sitter Network
One neighborhood in Washington had a lack of reliable babysitters, so they formed a network. They matched individuals interested in babysitting with adult sponsors who could be available to help. They wrote an agreement that was signed by both the teens and the adults. The baby-sitters agreed not to have friends over, and the grown-ups promised to be home during specified times to check on them and handle situations that might arise.
* Record Kids’ Comments
One mom in Washington keeps a blank book specifically for jotting down the funny or entertaining comments her children utter. This way, she never forgets those precious words. The
kids love browsing through the book periodically and it’s a wonderful keepsake.
* Journal Sharing
One woman in NC has a deaf niece that came up with a brilliant idea for communication. Obviously, they are unable to talk on the phone. Two years ago, they decided to share a journal. They each keep a journal for about a month before sending it to the other. It’s a treat to look back and see what was important to her a year ago. Letters often get thrown out but their journals are a lasting treasure.
* Computer Inspiration
When his parents are at work, a school-aged boy does his homework on the family computer. He gets a kick out of the screen-saver messages his parents create and change for him on occasion. When he has a test coming up, he’ll often find new inspirational messages such as “To begin is to be half done!”
* Summer Camp Surprise
When children go to summer camp, one mother always wraps little presents, goodies and love notes for
them to open each day they’re away from home.
* Late Night One-on-One
Time With 3 young daughters, one couple found it difficult finding time alone with each child. They were always vying for their parents’ attention and seemed to crave that one-on-one time. To counteract this, they decided to allow each girl to stay up 1 hour past her bedtime one night a week. The child remaining up that night had the undivided attention of her parents during that hour. If the other two girls didn’t remain in bed or interrupted her sisters’ special time, they would lose their late night that week.
* Confidence Call
To give your child a confidence booster, get on the phone and brag about him or her to a friend or
grandma while your child is within earshot. These “brag calls” do wonders for a youngster.

Adult & Young Adult Tip


* Adult One-on-One with Parents
5 years ago, one thoughtful adult began taking vacation days from work on his retired parents’ birthdays.
He’d visit with them all day – just him and his parents. It became more special than any gift. He found they socialized and reminisced in a more personal way than when other members of his family were there. Although his father has passed on now, this gentle man continues the ritual with his mother.
* Safety-Privacy Issue
We all worry about our 20+ year old children that live at home but are out at night. Not wanting to invade the privacy of their children, one couple in Illinois came up with a great security idea. They would ask their children to write down their plans for the evening, place the papers in sealed envelopes, and leave the
envelopes in their bedrooms. As parents, they would promise not to open the envelopes unless they do not come home by morning. This plan gave the parents some comfort, because if anything would happen to them they could tell the police what their plans had been.
* Silly Break for College
Kids When their children were preparing for college finals, a fun-loving set of parents mailed them a childlike gift; bubble blowers, Silly Putty, modeling clay, etc. They wanted to give them a “Silly Break” and remind them that there’s a kid in all of us. It also was a way of saying, “We love you, we care, and no matter what, you are our child.”
* Passport to Adulthood
When her son turned 18, one mother in WA put together a package to help him with the transition to adulthood. In the package were his Social Security card, a certified copy of his birth certificate, his immunization record and a record of illnesses.
* College of Medicine
When her son went to college, one mother packed a medicine bag for him with a thermometer, aspirin,
antacids, etc. He was grateful to have everything he needed when he needed it.




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