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Friday, December 23, 2011

Hanging With Your Children... It Can be Fun (Can't it?)


Children seem to have an endless supply of engergy. No matter how they use, they seem to recuperate fast. There are times that we cannot or don't want to catch up as other things in life get in the way. Be glad that your kids have activities and a social life because having a life in front of the computer, tv or hand held device does not serve them well during the early informative years (later on ok, but not so much as toddlers). Supporting their activities plays an important part in the overall development of your child mentally, physically, socially and emotionally.
It does not mean that you have to follow your kid’s every move because that's a bit much, but the thought that you support them is enough to keep them going.Yes we should leave our kids alone sometimes, especially if they are determined to do the activities they want but as a parent, we them to be safe right? We should suggest different activities that are safe. The good news is that there are many activities worth trying. If you have time, it will be memorable for your kids if you can join them. Making time for your child is important if you want to stay close to them.
Activities that will strengthen your bond are the best. In line with this, you can consider the following fun activities:
1. If your kid is a music enthusiast, you should send him/her to music classes or encourage them to join the school chorus. If they have live performances, attend and give her flowers or give him a cool rock t shirt. Music schools can be pricey, but learning an instrument or being able to carry a tune is well worth the cost.
2. If your kid loves dancing, you should send him/her to dance classes. When they have performances, get grammy and gramps to attend. Boys will try to avoid this but it'll pay off during middle and high school.  
3. If your child likes to go out for outland adventure, hiking, walks on the beach (if you're close) or riding around the nearest park is great exercise and fun.
4. If your kid likes to explore the world, a subway, bus or train ride is a great start. Old subway stations have mostly been fixed up as more people use mass transit but most designers have kept some of the original buildings to remember the past. Take pictures and video... digital cameras are one of the best investments and storing these memories is free.
5. If your kids just want to stay in the house, cook together play board games. These are family bonding experiences that strengthen your clan. Have a movie night and let kids pick the show half the time. Make sure you choose some of the awesome nature shows that have been produced like The Earth by the BBC.
Kids should know that you support them no matter what activities they choose. If it is dangerous, talk them through and tell them you don’t want to see them in pain. If you feel that what they are doing is safe, provide whatever they need.  
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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Why I Discourage My Kids From Buying Gift Cards

It's quite possible I'm hardcore about gifts and gifting, but as a Dad, I think it's really important to share my values with my children, and one of them is the importance of a gift being a demonstration of your love and awareness of the recipient.

It's rather a game I play, actually: when someone I know has a birthday or Hanukah / Christmas is coming up, or, in the case of a partner, Valentine's Day, the challenge of figuring out the perfect present begins.

You pay close attention to them, listen to what they talk about wanting, take note of the things they gravitate towards in stores, at the Mall, or even in product catalogs or newspaper fliers. You obliquely ask them about specific kinds of products. You see what they are coveting of yours (or a friend), and you keep track.

When it's time to purchase the gift, a bit of research on a site like Amazon.com, with its extraordinary database of product reviews and comments, can quickly reveal the best in class or the limitations and problems associated with a given potential gift. 

In the end, a perfect gift is a terrific gesture of love, an obvious sign that your affection for them isn't just associated with a cash value but that you pay attention to them. That you see them, hear them, and think about them.

How can a gift card compare to that?

Dave Taylor writes a parenting blog at GoFatherhood.com and is a single dad to three children, 15, 11, and 8.