Thursday, July 20, 2017

Healthy Habits: Medicine Cabinet Must-Haves

Summer is a time to enjoy the warm weather, flaunt your bod and enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. However, the hot season means natural elements that can hinder anyone’s well-being, making it imperative your medicine cabinet is stocked with the most essential, over-the-counter, at-home first aid products and medications.

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O., a New York City Osteopathic Physician board certified in family and anti-aging medicine has shared seven medicine cabinet must-haves for the summer!

1.    Moisturizing Sunscreen – This goes without saying. A moisturizing sunscreen is an absolute must! Sunscreen acts as a basic sun protector, assists with premature aging, helps with evening skin tones, all while making sure you stay moisturized.

2.    Aloe Vera Gel - With the sun rays in full force, it can be difficult to protect your skin from the heat. Aloe Vera Gel has great preventative properties also working as a skin rejuvenation, healing and soothing product. Aloe Vera Gel is a summer essential tool in skin-health and can used to relieve burned skin, remove sunspots, and moisturize dry skin

3.    Calamine Lotion - The summer brings mosquitos along with other pestering insects, leaving you vulnerable to bug bites and itchy rashes.Calamine Lotion is an oldie but goodie. This soothing cream is great to calm any itching that you may endure.

4.    Neosporin – Most people are more active during the summer season, partaking in outdoor activities like hiking, camping and beaching. Neosporinhelps in treating and preventing infection due to minor cuts, scrapes, and burns you may get from your summer lifestyle.

5.    Band-Aids – Besides the most common use of Band-Aids, such as treating minor cuts and scrapes, Band-Aids can also be a great summer hack and important to prevent blisters, friction and wounds from sandals and other exposed footwear.

6.    Benadryl – Summer allergies are no joke! Pollen and insects can do a lot harm. Benadryl treats sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, hives, skin rash, itching, and other allergy symptoms that summer brings.

7.    Multivitamins – Some people may not know it, but summer is a great time to boost your body’s defense system. Multivitamins are important to provide the nutriment your body will crave in the summer.

About the doctor:
Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed the "The Stem Cell Guru" by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S. His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer's, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson's. He has worked with Mike Tyson, Mickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Gotham's, Donal Logue; and as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers. Connect with him via twitter @drcalapai or at

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Parenting Pointers: Finding Quality Child Care

So many studies have found that early childhood education makes a big difference in the lives of youngsters, we collectively consider it so important. Given that, you might expect that child care providers would be actively looking for teachers who are highly qualified. But new research shows something different.

Child care center directors were middling it with regard to teacher credentials. They tended to stay away from the least-qualified resumes in our pool. They also tended to stay away from the most-qualified resumes in our pool and, instead, went for the sort of middle-of-the-road qualifications.
 Story Link:

I had the chance to interview WindyCityNanny Florence Ann Romano to learn more.

Why do you think so many childcare centers aren't hiring the most qualified candidates?

There is a new word being applied to the process of selecting employees for childcare: "middling." Which means exactly as it sounds - childcare centers aren't looking for the MOST qualified or LEAST qualified - they are aiming for the middle. It's almost a Goldilocks vetting system - trying to find someone "just right."

The truth is, childcare is extremely expensive, and the more qualified the teacher, the more you will have to pay them (IE a bachelor degree versus a masters degree). This is most likely the subtext of these childcare studies.

What implications may this have on the quality of childcare?

Mediocrity is a funny word - in some cases, meeting the standards of a situation is perfectly acceptable; and in others, it's almost obtuse and blasphemous. The "middle" is always going to be different, and middle doesn't necessarily mean bad. It's going to depend on the pool of candidates from which you are selecting. For example, if all candidates are people who have a mix of bachelors degrees, masters degrees, and nanny experience, the middle is going to be defined differently by every evaluator, depending on their taste and budgetary concerns.

I don't believe there are negative implications associated with "middling." The only concern I have is how the employers are defining "middle." If that definition starts to become candidates whom have very little experience with children, then I would be wary of this vetting process for childcare.

What are the most essential qualities for the best possible child care?

The vetting process will always be THE most important step you'll take as a parent regarding whom you hire to care for your children. Whether that's a babysitter, a nanny or a daycare provider. You must ask yourself these questions:

1) What is their level of childcare experience? Beyond that, what level of education do I want them to have?

2) Are they trained in the skills necessary to care for the specific ages and needs of the child? (IE newborn CPR, toddler CPR, children with allergies, special needs children, etc)

3) What are the values of my family? What are the values of the nanny/babysitter/daycare provider? Do they align?

4) Check them out on social media! Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. See you who they really are when they think you aren't looking.

What do you think is best way is to ensure these qualities and characteristics in our child-care and education system?

I am going to be very blunt and say that parents have gotten a bit lazy when it comes to vetting childcare. I understand that life is busy, and you want everything done yesterday.

However, the process of finding the right care for your child should be done with the same thoughtfulness and evaluation as if you were giving your savings account to a financial advisor to invest for retirement. You want to make sure you are picking the right person for the job; that 
has the right experience; and is properly on-boarded to your family and 
its dynamic.

This is not the time or the place to be frugal or lax. This is the moment to rise to the occasion, and give your most precious possessions another person to love them like their own!

Florence Ann Romano, The Windy City Nanny™(, is a dedicated philanthropist and former nanny who has always had a special place in her heart for children. Romano worked for over 15 years as a nanny, beginning as a 'Mommy's helper' at the age of 11. She shares her experiences in Nanny and Me (Mascot Books, May 2015),her beautifully illustrated debut book for children making the transition from being cared for solely by their parents to having a nanny in their home.
Born and raised just outside Chicago, Romano earned a degree in performance theatre at Bradley University in Peoria, IL. She is the owner of Trinity, LLC - a 100% woman owned and new family company that runs the Original Six Media production company. Romano also serves as President and Founder of a junior board for young professionals that supports Autism awareness for children and adults.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Smart Safety: 5 Ways to Stay Safe While Jogging

by Steve Kardian

In April 2016, two young female joggers were brutally murdered within a week of each other.  Karina Vetrano was killed while on a run near her home in Howard Beach, Queens.  In the small town of Princeton, Massachusetts, Vanessa Marcotte was found strangled less than half a mile from her mother’s home.  Both were assaulted by strangers.  In July of the same year, Ally Bruegel of Michigan was fatally shot while out on a jog.  Below are five tips to keep you safe on your runs.

1) Know Your Route.  Being familiar with your route will help you identify abnormalities or deviations in what should be expected.  Every environment, and every person, has what is known as a baseline of what is normal noise and behavior.  Note any changes, such as a car repeatedly driving by or an unknown person or a hazard along your route.  Stay alert and don’t be taken by surprise when there is a change. 

2) Pay Attention to Your Surroundings.  In order to identify potential danger or a hazard, you need to monitor your surroundings.  It’s another way of saying keep your guard up, but it’s not about being hyper vigilant or paranoid.  Think of it like a low-level hum of mental activity, like when you look both ways before crossing the street.  As you jog, don’t zone out and get lost in thought.  Scan your surroundings, and be aware of who and what is around you, including behind you.

3) Listen to Your Intuition.  Intuition is knowing something without knowing why.  If you get an uneasy feeling about someone or something, heed that internal warning.  80% of your brain is dedicated to the subconscious and you are constantly receiving input that could alert you to a danger.  Do a tactical pause and ask yourself, how does my body feel?  An intuitive feeling could reveal itself by an uneasy sensation in your gut or the hair on the back of your neck standing up or a lump in your throat. 

4) Don’t Give Away Your Auditory Power.  If you wear earbuds, you will not be able to take in sounds that may identify a danger or hazardous situation. The brain processes sound much faster than the eyes, as much as 20 to 100 times faster. Listen for noise behind you, and don’t text or chat on the phone while running. If you must wear earbuds, I suggest that you use only one ear bud to give you a slightly better advantage.

5) Self-defense Device.  I highly recommend the Tigerlight D.A.D.  It has police grade pepper spray, a flashlight and a GPS alert system that activates when you deploy the pepper spray.  It will alert your contact list that you are in danger and give them your GPS location.  Most importantly, it wraps around your hand.  Your body has an autonomic reaction when you are surprised, and your hands will automatically open.  The Tigerlight D.A.D will remain in your hand.  This device is also durable enough to be used as a bludgeon.

Use commonsense and be aware of your surroundings when you run, especially if in isolated areas.  Don’t let yourself be surprised by blasting music in your earbuds and missing cues from your environment.  If you do notice something unexpected, stay alert and monitor whatever caught your eye.  Trust your intuition and if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.  Consider running with the Tigerlight D.A.D. so you are never completely isolated and your contact list will be aware if something happens to you.  Practice safe habits for healthy and secure runs.    

Steve Kardian has spent more than thirty years as a career law enforcement officer. He is a certified New York State/FBI defensive tactics instructor and an expert on the criminal mind. Kardian is the author of The New Superpower for Women and founder of Defend University, where he trains thousands of people each year on safety and self-defense, as well as strategies and tactics uniquely tailored to women's safety.

Fun Freetime: Home Depot Kids Workshop

Home Depot Kids Workshop - build a Penske truck 8/5 from 9-12

Fun Freetime: Uptv

UP TV, the entertainment destination that showcases stories about modern American families and the relationships that define them, announced today that this Labor Day Weekend, the network is delivering a mother of a marathon celebrating all the heart and humor that comes with the lead-up and arrival of every little bundle of joy. The Labor Day Weekend Event will be filled with kid and baby-themed America’s Funniest Videos marathons, a Bringing Up Bates Baby Special and special airings of beloved movies Look Who’s Talking and Look Who’s Talking Too, leading into a new unscripted special Expecting (working title).

“I’m pregnant!”: Words that are often met with immense joy, but also are a complete game-changer. It’s a moment in time that more and more people are capturing on film. Expectant parents often go online to post, view and share every pregnancy milestone from positive test results, to the frantic drive to the hospital, to the main event itself. Expecting is the first show that asks couples to turn the lens on themselves, to give the audience a peek into one of life’s most exciting and personal journeys. No producers. No camera crews. With unprecedented intimacy, viewers witness the highs and lows culminating in one of life’s biggest moments. UP will premiere Expecting on Labor Day, Monday, September 4 at 9 p.m. ET.

“In Expecting, UP viewers will have a front row seat on the rollercoaster ride that is expecting a little one,” said Timothy Kuryak, senior vice president of production and development. “Whether you’re married or single, have kids or not, Expecting has many relatable moments about love, family and relationships. The dynamic between each couple is raw, unfiltered and truly authentic.”

In the special, viewers will follow the journeys of Kelsey and Corbin Scott of Portland, Oregon; Tia and Tre Patterson of Atlanta, Georgia; and Ashley and Thomas Hughes of Pleasant View, Utah.

Expecting is produced in partnership with Entertainment One (eOne). Executive Producers for eOne are Aynsley Vogel, Cal Shumiatcher and Jessica Mathies.
Labor Day Weekend Programming (all times ET):
Saturday, September 2
9 a.m. - 11 p.m.  Kid/Baby-Themed America’s Funniest Videos
Sunday, September 3
11 a.m. - 7 p.m.  Kid/Baby-Themed America’s Funniest Videos
7 p.m. Look Who’s TalkingAfter a single, career-minded woman is left on her own to give birth to the child of a married man, she finds a new romantic chance in a cab driver. Meanwhile, the point-of-view of the newborn boy is narrated through voice-over. 
Stars: John Travolta, Kirstie Alley
9 p.m. Look Who’s Talking TooThis time, a new baby is on the way, and it’s a girl. Wrapped together with the standard conflict between mother and father, Mikey engages in a bit of sibling rivalry with his new sister. 
Stars: John Travolta, Kirstie Alley
Monday, September 4
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.  Kid/Baby-Themed America’s Funniest Videos
5 p.m. Look Who’s Talking 
7 p.m. Look Who’s Talking Too
9 p.m. ExpectingEXPECTING gives audiences a peek into one of life’s rawest and most exciting journeys in a never-before-seen television event. With unprecedented intimacy, we witness the highs and lows as different couples, along with their families and friends, experience the journey to parenthood with no camera crews and no producers.
9:30 p.m. Bates Baby Special (working title): In this special episode, we relive the births of all six Bates grandchildren and the emotional journeys that went along with each of them.
About UP
At UP, We Get Family. UP is one of television’s most trusted entertainment brands with content that leaves viewers feeling UP. UP tells the stories of families of all shapes, sizes and complexities through authentic, unique and relevant storytelling. UP offers hundreds of hours of original scripted and reality series, specials and movies as well as fan-favorite series on multiple platforms. In addition, UP’s pro-social initiative, “Uplift Someone,” inspires people to do simple, everyday acts of kindness. UP is widely available on cable systems and satellite providers across the United States. Furthermore, UP’s subscription-on-demand offering, UP Faith & Family, features the best content in family and faith-affirming entertainment. Based in Atlanta, UP is a division of UP Entertainment, LLC and partners with the ASPiRE network on sales, marketing and other operational services.    
Follow UPtv on the Web at on Facebook at, Twitter on @Uptv and Instagram at UP_TV. 
About Entertainment One
Entertainment One Ltd. (LSE:ETO) is a global independent studio that specializes in the development, acquisition, production, financing, distribution and sales of entertainment content. The Company’s diversified expertise spans across film, television and music production and sales, family programming, merchandising and licensing, and digital content. Through its global reach and expansive scale, powered by deep local market knowledge, the Company delivers the best content to the world.
eOne’s robust network includes film and television studio The Mark Gordon Company; content creation venture Amblin Partners with Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, and Reliance Entertainment; newly-launched MAKEREADY with Brad Weston; leading feature film production and global sales company Sierra Pictures; unscripted television production company Renegade 83; world-class music labels Dualtone Music Group and Last Gang; and award-winning digital agency Secret Location.
The Company’s rights library is exploited across all media formats and includes more than 100,000 hours of film and television content and approximately 40,000 music tracks.
[eOne’s exciting unscripted television lineup includes Growing Up Hip Hop, Mary Mary and the Emmy-nominated L.A. Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later.]

Savings on The Launch Project

The Launch Project creates an intimate space for active learning where participants are expected to engage their hearts and minds, be challenged by presenters and colleagues, and feel inspired to follow Jesus's call anew.

This year, The Launch Project will explore working at the margins of believing and belonging around issues of mental health, race, authentically open communities, and spiritual practice. Believers and questioners alike will benefit from the deep conversations and exploration encouraged by our gifted presenters. This Launch series will inspire us and provide tools to truly expand boundaries. 
$199 for the Series
$149 for Two Sessions
$99 for One Session
Use code EARLYLP2017 for 10% discount through July 31

Time Tidbits: Back-to-School Busy Schedules Call for Simple Family Meals

The Nutrition Journal reports that Americans have shifted toward eating out more and cooking at home less. With busy work and back-to-school schedules, many parents find it difficult to find the time to make home-cooked meals. Yet the American Journal of Preventative Medicine reports that the amount of time spent on food preparation and cooking may have implications for ones overall diet quality and health, and that a greater amount of time spent on home food preparation is associated with a higher diet quality. The good news is that parents who are juggling back-to-school hours and work can fit in healthy home-cooked meals that are quick to prepare, nutritious, and delicious.
“Parents love to be able to feed their kids good, nutritious foods. That’s why we have created free tools and recipes to make cooking fast, easy and delicious,” says Dr. Nimali Fernando, a Fredericksburg, Virginia-based pediatrician who founded The Doctor Yum Project. “Not only cooking at home better for a family’s health, but it also saves them money, because eating at home is usually much more affordable than dining out.”
While the benefits of eating home-cooked meals are well documented, many parents are still unsure how to make it fit into their busy schedule. Here are 5 back-to-school busy schedule tips to help get healthy meals on the table quickly:
  • Plan ahead. On the weekend, sit down and make a list of what your family will eat for dinner all week long. Then head to the grocery store or farmers market to get the items you need for those dishes. Knowing what to make is often half the battle, so you can just look at your list on the refrigerator and get started making the meal.
  • Use what’s on hand. Pantries often have lots of food, yet people don’t know what to do to put it all together and make a meal. The Doctor Yum Project has taken on solving this problem by offering a free online tool, the Meal Maker Machine, that will help people create a recipe using the ingredients they have on hand. Simply input the items you have on hand and the system will create a convenient recipe for you.
  • Get everyone involved. Help spread the cooking tasks among the family. Get other family members involved in meal prep by assigning tasks to each person. Even younger children can help with age-appropriate tasks to help with getting the family meal ready.
  • Do prep work ahead. When you do have time on the weekend, take half an hour to wash, chop, and get your vegetables ready that will be used in recipes throughout the week. This way, you can reach into the refrigerator and pull out the chopped and prepared items that you need for your recipe. Another option that can help is to do batch cooking on the weekend, where you make up a few meals that can be frozen or put into the refrigerator. Those meals can then be pulled out and heated up during the week as needed.
  • Give pressure cooking a try. Pressure cookers like the popular Instant Pot are all the rage because they are a great way to help get healthy meals on the table quickly. This new generation of pressure cookers makes cooking healthy food so easy with other features like saute, slow cook, and yogurt making.  Drop in ingredients like dried beans or tough cuts of meat, set the time and walk away while your dinner cooks up fast. This style of cooking lets you be free to focus on other after school activities like sports, homework, and more. Check out for pressure cooker ideas that will be sure to please.
“Work and school schedules can certainly make people feel pressed for time when it comes to getting meals on the dinner table,” added Heidi DiEugenio, director of the Doctor Yum Project. “Yet, when you do you will feel better knowing that your family is eating healthier, and you will have likely saved some money. Start the school year off cooking at home and it will soon become a habit, getting easier as the year goes on.”

Quick, healthy recipe from the Doctor Yum Project website:

Healthy Pesto
Prep time: 8 minutes

What you need:
2 cups basil (fresh, loosely packed)
⅓ cup parmesan cheese (grated)
¼ cup broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 tablespoons walnuts (or pinenuts)
1 clove garlic (use two cloves for more intense taste)
2 tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoons salt
black pepper (to taste)
Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until everything is well-mixed. Serve over pasta or however you enjoy pesto! Works great on sandwiches, drizzled over grilled meats or veggies.
Dr. Fernando created The Doctor Yum Project, an organization with the mission of transforming the lives of families and communities by providing an understanding of the connection between food and overall health, as well as empowering them with the tools to live a healthy life. The project offers healthy cooking classes, child nutrition classes, cooking camps for kids, hands-on cooking instruction for families, first foods classes, a teaching garden, and online tools to help families make healthier meals. They also offer a preschool nutrition program, with 40 classrooms and almost 600 participating preschoolers.
Dr. Fernando, otherwise known as Dr. Yum, is a board-certified pediatrician. She is also the co-author of the book “Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater: A Parent’s Handbook” (The Experiment, October 2015). To learn more, visit the site at:
About The Doctor Yum Project
Founded by Dr. Nimali Fernando, The Doctor Yum Project is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to transforming the lives of families and communities by providing an understanding of the connection between food and overall health, as well as empowering them with the tools to live a healthy life. They offer a variety of community programs to help with those efforts. They are located in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and feature an instructional kitchen and teaching garden for holding classes. To learn more, visit the site at:

# # #

American Journal of Preventative Medicine. Time spent on home food preparation and indicators of healthy eating

Nutrition Journal. Trends in US home food preparation and consumption.

Parenting Pointers: 3 Ways Parents Can Protect Their Children During A Divorce

It is no secret divorces can get downright contentious – often because the stakes are so high financially and emotionally.
But those already high stakes are raised dramatically when children are involved and one or both parents try to use them as pawns in their never-ending battle with each other.
That is a recipe for disaster, says Jacqueline Newman, a divorce lawyer and author of Soon to Be Ex: A Guide to Your Perfect Divorce & Relaunch(
“You really should try your best to keep your kids out of your divorce,” she says. “You need to sacrifice your personal feelings of wanting to tell them everything so they can put on their ‘Team Mom’ or ‘Team Dad’ T-shirt and get on your side. Instead, take the high road and keep quiet.”
Newman says if you can keep your child’s true best interests as your focus during your divorce, the odds will increase that your children will turn out fine.
She knows that is not easy, though, and offers parents a few tips for protecting their children during what can be a traumatic time for them:
·        Assure the children they have your unconditional love. “If your child is secure and confident in the understanding they are loved by you, and know that no matter what they do that your love is unwavering, then they will be able to get through your divorce, as well as every other stage in life,” Newman says. Children who are dealing with divorcing parents need to know that, if they enjoy time with the other parent, both parents will still love them and will not hold it against them.
·        Do Not make children choose between parents. Newman says sometimes a client will talk about letting a child decide which parent to spend a holiday with. She says that is a terrible idea. For one thing, giving children such power allows them to be manipulative. They can imply, or say, that if their demands are not met they will spend the holidays with the other parent. “It can also cause great anxiety in children,” Newman says. “In essence, you are asking them who they would rather be with.” Parents need to be the parents and decide who the children will spend the holidays with.
·        Do Not treat your child as your friend. No matter how old your child is, this is not the person you should be confiding in, complaining to or offering insight into your divorce proceedings. “Your child shouldn’t know the name of your lawyer or the judge, and should not be privy to the child support you are receiving or paying,” Newman says.

“The best way you can protect your children during a divorce is to keep them out of your divorce,” Newman says. “Do all in your power to create a united front with your ex and show your children that even though you are no longer spouses, you are still and will always be their loving parents.”
 About Jacqueline Newman
Jacqueline Newman, author of Soon to Be Ex: A Guide to Your Perfect Divorce & Relaunch (, is the managing partner of Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd, LLP, a New York divorce law firm. She has appeared as an expert commentator on various television and radio shows and has been quoted in numerous publications, including Crain’s New York Business, U.S. News and World Report, Business Insider,, USA Today, Yahoo Parenting, Woman’s Day, Glamour Magazine, the New York Post,, and The Huffington Post.

Enriching Education: How to Handle a Bullying Teacher

“You are such a disappointment and embarrassment.”

That phrase, believe it or not, was uttered to my son by his teacher at a science competition for selected fifth and sixth grade students when he failed to place. That sentence took only a minute to speak that day, but those words will have a lasting impact on him forever. 

We were livid.

We knew this particular teacher was hard to work with. We had heard the whispers from upset parents and stories from other students. However, we assumed like most educators, she would approach teaching with a certain amount of professionalism and compassion. After all, our schools have a zero tolerance for bullying and the staff should model what they teach. 

Unfortunately, we learned the hard way even teachers can be bullies. And we are not alone. The more we talked to other parents, the more evident the problem of bullying teachers became. Friends switched schools, started homeschooling, and even moved to avoid bully teachers. However, they only bypassed the real issue, never addressing the bullying directly. 

Teacher bullying often goes unreported for many reasons. Teachers hold a lot of power in a child’s life, dictating whether they can go to recess, get a drink, use the restroom, and even what grades they receive. Often, our sons and daughters are afraid to speak up in fear there will be retaliation, punishment, or no one will believe them. If they do tell us, we are faced with a lot of scrutiny from the administration, school personnel, and even other parents. 

9 Essential Strategies for Handling A Bully Teacher

It can be difficult to handle a bully teacher, because it is easier to put our heads down and hope the school year goes by quickly. Thankfully, we aren’t helpless. We have compiled the following tips for handling a bullying teacher:

Schedule a conference. Open dialogue with our son’s or daughter’s teacher is key. Occasionally, communication lines get crossed and a child or teacher gets misunderstood. Most educators want to address concerns quickly, before a problem escalates.  

Follow the chain of command. If the bullying isn’t improving and you have already contacted the teacher, move up the ladder and talk to his or her superiors. For most schools, this will be the principal. Principals typically will work with you, but occasionally there is no follow through. If that fails, approach the superintendent and finally address the school board. Most school systems want to see that you have went through the hierarchy of officials, so save all emails, call logs, or dates and times you met. .

Document the bullying. The problem with teacher bullying is it leads to a “he said, she said” situation. The student is immediately at a disadvantage, because a teacher is already in a position of power. True bullying is defined by intentional and repeated behaviors, so have a child tell you when a situation happens, write it down or call into the school to create a record of the incident.

Be seen. The last thing most of us want to do is have more contact with that teacher, but we need to make an effort to be visible. Volunteer to read with students, drop in to eat lunch with your child, help at class parties, and attend classroom events. Our presence in the school may encourage open communication and reduce the bullying. If that fails, we can always be on the lookout for evidence of bullying.

Teach children how to be respond to teacher bullying. This is crucial, because the wrong word or defiant attitude quickly escalates situations. Children need to understand they should always be respectful and well behaved, even if they don’t agree with the teacher. A child will only be targeted more if they react to the bully’s behaviors. 

Rule out any medical causes that might be causing problems. Sometimes kids do misbehave or have problems in school, so make it a priority to ask your child what might be causing them to not pay attention, fidget, or yell out answers. It could be that your child’s vision is changing making it so they can’t see the board, they are experiencing ADHD, they have a reading disability like dyslexia, or they can’t hear the teacher very well. It’s possible that there might be a biological explanation to the behaviors that bothers the teacher.    

Build your child up. Find activities or hobbies that a child can focus on instead of worrying about bullying. Try to be positive and help kids see all of the good things to be happy about. Over time, this will build resilience and coping skills needed in life. 

Reassure your child that things will get better. Help our sons and daughters know that this will eventually pass. If needed, seek professional counseling services to help make sense of the bullying.

If all else fails, seek legal counsel. If the bullying doesn’t improve after meeting with teachers and administration it might be time to look for new school options and seek legal intervention. We can’t simply hope the situation will resolve itself over time, because bullying can have very serious and long lasting consequences if not addressed.  

Have you dealt with a bullying teacher? How did you handle the situation?

Parenting Pointers: Age-based Summer Household Chores Keep Kids Active and Learning

You might assume that summer break from school means kids are outside playing and being active, but not only do parents have to worry about summer “brain drain” they have to worry how the time off from school could be harming their kid’s health too. During the summer kids are more likely to be inactive and engage in obesity-related behaviors like watching more TV, eating more sugar and fewer vegetables according to a study from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health.

Parenting expert and founder of Gregg Murset has created guidelines parents can use to give their kids age-appropriate chores at home or around the neighborhood to keep them active and learning life skills like responsibility and money management this summer. Just find your child’s age, browse the chore ideas and then decide what tasks and schedule will work best for your family. Finally, put your plan into action!

For kids under 5 – chore assignments should be based on your child’s size and motor skills. Because the little ones won’t be able to tackle a lot of tasks solo, think of ways they can contribute by helping with a chore you are doing or keep their solo tasks basic. Solo chores could be picking up toys with a fast-paced dance song on the radio that gets everyone up and dancing while they clean. When you are doing household tasks ask the little ones to help by doing things like checking if every trash can in the house is full or not, pointing out where the weeds are in the yard for you. Get those little legs moving and time how long it takes your kids to race from one room or weed to the other!

6-7 – Start asking more of your kids like when you fold the laundry they are in charge of bringing it to each family member’s bedroom. Turn this task into an active by game having kids hop or crab walk back to you instead of just walking! Give weekly or daily assignments that require movement like picking up bedrooms, filling the pet’s water bowls or dusting baseboards.  

8-9 – Bigger kids are taller and stronger and can safely reach more surfaces, operate more household equipment and understand when they need to ask for help. You can rely on them to put away their laundry, clean their room, make their bed, clear the dinner table, wipe off lower cabinets and appliance surfaces. 

9-10 – Kids in this age group are ready for a little more responsibility and can be put in charge of tasks like feeding the fish, watering indoor plants, setting the table for meals, collecting trash and recycling from around the house so it is ready to take outside.

11-12 – In middle school kids will be fighting for more freedom, so make sure they learn that more freedom means more responsibility. Have them make lunch for the family instead of eating out or pack a lunch for the car if you will be out running errands or spending the day at the pool. They can also dust, vacuum, pick up dog poop or clean the litter box. Non-household tasks can also be assigned as chores like practicing a sport or music outside of normal practice/lessons. 

13-14 – By now, kids know they need to contribute to the household and they can tackle more labor intensive work like mowing the lawn, washing windows, cleaning the garage, washing floors, loading the dishwasher. Instead of putting these tasks on your to-do list and never getting to them, assign them to the kids and set expectations on how you expect the jobs to be completed.

15+ - Your kids are rapidly approaching independence so chores should now focus on life skills. Laundry, cooking meals, taking out trash and recycling, household cleaning and other chores that soon will be on their shoulders at college or their first apartment can be taught through practice at home first. Also consider financial chores like assigning a weekly budget for groceries and putting your teen in charge of making purchasing decisions for the family. Earning rights to the family car can also mean washing, vacuuming and waxing. 

All Ages – Reward your kid’s efforts with cash. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money and you could even end up saving a few pennies if you give your kids chores that allow you to cancel lawn care or household cleaning services. Help your kids learn how to count what they have earned, budget it for items they want to purchase, or teach them about saving and investing with it by using an app like BusyKid.