Category Archives: Parenting Articles

Support A Stuffed Animal That Helps Prevent Bullying and Build Self-Esteem


October is National Bullying Prevention month and we know that bullying is a huge issue for our youth.  Dee Wallace (who you will recognize as the mother from the movie ET) has created a product, BuppaLaPaloo, that aims to prevent bullying and build self-esteem!  There is really nothing more important than self-esteem.  Raising a boy and a girl, I’ve learned – in our case at least – that self-esteem doesn’t come as naturally to girls as it does boys, and a little extra help building self-esteem is absolutely a good thing.   16.9% of high school students report being bullied and 64% of students who are bullied never report it.  What a shame!  Bullying is an epidemic problem in our schools today.

I was bullied in high school and didn’t tell anyone until years after I graduated.   Like most kids who are being bullied, I was caught off guard and I thought I was being bullied because of something I did and that once the current bullying ‘session’ was over, it would be over for good.  What I didn’t realize is that once I was bullied once and didn’t say anything about it to an adult, I was an easy target resulting in a couple more years of bullying.   I had friends. I had a social life.  I was still bullied.  Our children need to learn to tell someone the FIRST time they are bullied, whether physically, verbally, or mentally, so the situation can be nipped in the bud.

Dee has created a Kickstarter campaign for BuppaLaPaloo and only has a few days left to reach her goal! BuppaLaPaloo is a fabulous interactive toy, and a child’s best friend, that will promote self-love and will help nurture children and help them grow.­­­­­­

BuppaLaPaloo is a cuddly, soft teddy bear, a Best Friend for your child. Buppa joyfully speaks powerful statements of self-love in First Person. Your child repeats the First Person statements back to Buppa, learning to claim their self-love and power for themselves.

This soft, little bear unconditionally loves your child. By speaking these strong, affirmative statements, Buppa makes it okay for your child to feel internally strong, powerful and loved. Buppa gives your child permission to love themselves. Knowing how to love themselves, your child will be more able to love others.

A stuffed animal that teaches kids to love themselves!

High self-esteem comes from loving yourself−not for what you do, or how much you accomplish−for JUST BEING YOU. How many of us, as adults, can say we truly love ourselves and can claim our power in this world?

Psychologists agree that a child’s personality and basic life pattern is firmly embedded by the ages of 4-7. Early childhood self-love is vitally important to how children will see, be and interact in their world, creating the world we all live in.

BuppaLaPaloo introduces your child to the joy of loving themselves, encouraging interaction between the bear, the child, and a parent or a caregiver. Buppa is perfect for children ages 3-7, or for anyone who wants to learn how to better value themselves!

Head over to the Kickstarter campaign for BuppaLaPaloo to learn more!

Parenting Advice Please? Does Your Child Have A Bad Habit That *You* Don’t Want To Stop?


Here’s a common scenario at my house and I could use some advice on how to handle it.

It’s 7pm (30 minutes before bedtime) and my daughter is eating a single serving cup of ice cream.  It’s tiny, really.

Having this little cup of ice cream has become such a habit for her that if we run out or I say no, she thinks the world must be coming to an end.  Or that her big brother needs to walk to the store and get some ice cream.

is it a bad habit?
Showing the other snacks so you can visualize the size of the ice cream cup

Ok, she’s not that dramatic but here’s the thing..

My kids eat one of these single serving ice cream cups almost every night after dinner or before bed.  I know it’s not great for them but it’s what they do.  It’s one of those tiny one serving ice cream cups. So yummy!  Anyway, I know they shouldn’t be eating ice cream every day especially before bed.  That’s a bad habit. I know that.

The kids eat very well otherwise.  They love vegetables and fruit and have them with lunch and dinner and generally eat very healthy, mostly organic food.  We don’t eat junk food like cookies or sweets.  We just don’t keep them in the house.

The kids don’t drink juice.  They drink water and milk. That’s a plus, right?

I guess that’s how I’ve convinced myself that eating a BLUE BELL single serving ice cream every night is OK.  But is it really OK.  Maybe it is.  This is me arguing with myself.

The reality of the situation is that..

I don’t want to deal the drama with that comes with breaking their habit.

Then I have to deal with fussing and I don’t want to do that.

Have you had to break your child(ren) of  a bad habit which resulted in you dealing with huge amounts of fussing and stress?
How did you do it?  Bribery, cold turkey and Xanax (for you, not the kids)?

Something that Bothers the Daylights out of me! When is a Child too Sick to go to School?

sick child
Photo source: Stuart Miles

My daughter had a holiday party at school before Christmas break and I couldn’t believe what I saw in her classroom.  Sick kids. Several of them.  Coughing, red-faced, snotty nosed 5 and 6 year olds.  I was beside myself.   Why had these kids parents sent their kids to school sick.  One girl was coughing so much she had to go to the nurse while I was there and several more kids had garbage cans right next to them to throw their snotty tissues in because they were blowing their noses so much.  My daughter had just gotten over a cold and I kept her home for 3 out of 5 days the week prior because I (a) wanted her to recover and (b) didn’t want her to get anyone else sick.  Why don’t all parents have the same consideration?  I guess there can be extenuating circumstances such as not having anyone to care for the child while the parent is at work but still, kids need to stay healthy and not pass these nasty bugs/viruses around so please keep your child home if they are not feeling well.

I understand that when a child is sick, it is sometimes tempting to send them to school anyway.  With many parents working either outside the home or from home,  household chores and other tasks are often accomplished while children are at school.   There are times, however, that a child is considered too sick to attend school, I believe.  There are a number of reasons, both for the child and the other students, why a sick child should stay home.

Here are four reasons why a child not feeling well should stay home from school:

  • Cough – Excessive coughing would not necessarily include the symptoms caused by asthma. Although asthma with excessive symptoms should be checked by a doctor.
  • Fever – A child with low grade fever should be kept home from school as well. Fevers are transmittable whether they are low or high.
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

A few more things to consider before sending a sick child to school:

The child may be contagious.
By sending a child to school if he or she has a cough, fever, or has had diarrhea or has vomited in the last 24 hours, the risk of other children catching the same illness whether it’s a cold, flu, or other illness, is substantially higher than keeping the child home.

It is well known that to get better, lots of rest is needed.
If a child is at school and maintaining a regular schedule of activities, his/her body is not getting the extra rest required to heal. When a person, especially a younger elementary age child, does not feel well, they often times want to spend extra time cuddling with their parent. It is important that parents spend extra time with our kids when they are feeling under the weather.
A common rule that should be followed is that a child should be completely fever free for a full twenty-four hours before they should return to the classroom.
Nobody knows a child better than their parent. It is essential that the parent or guardian take the time to determine if the sickness is bad enough to keep a child home from the classroom. It is in the best interest of both your child and other children to keep your child home from the classroom if they are ill.
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What are your thoughts on keeping kids home when they aren’t feeling well or sending them on to school anyway?  Tell us in the comments below.
Alicia Hagan, Editor

Teaching Children to be Thankful

It is our responsibility as parents to teach our children how to be thankful.

Teaching children to be thankful for what they have will help them become compassionate adults who want to help others.

Teaching Children to be ThankfulHere are some ways to teach children of different ages to be thankful.

Parents should start teaching their children to be thankful when they are toddlers.

  • Ask your toddler what they are thankful for and have them draw pictures of what they appreciate. These can be hung on the refrigerator as a reminder.
  • Parents should spend time talking with their toddlers about how they would feel if they didn’t have those things to be thankful for in their lives. This helps toddlers understand that being thankful feels good, so they recognize thankfulness is a positive emotion.
  • Toddlers should also be taught to be thankful for people and emotions instead of just things.

Teaching an older child to be thankful is different.

It is often easier to teach elementary age children or even teens to be thankful by showing them people who don’t have all the things to be thankful for that they have.

  • Taking children to volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter can open their eyes and help them appreciate what they have.
  • Parents can go with their kids to volunteer for local veterans’ associations or battered women’s shelters.  This may help your child become aware of how difficult life could be and thus make your child more thankful for what he/she has.

Children have a way of learning to be thankful when they understand that other people don’t have all that they do.

Do you have tips on how to teach a child to be thankful? Please share them with our readers in the comments below.

Alicia Hagan, Editor

Choosing and Preparing Healthy After-School Snacks

Here’s a scenario that used to happen every weekday until recently when I changed a few things:

My 12-year-old son gets off the bus, drags himself, his backpack and his trumpet inside, then he practically runs to the kitchen, opens the cabinet door and refrigerator doors almost simultaneously and pulls out the filtered water (I’m lucky he loves water, I know!) and a Kashi cereal bar and grabs a handful of grapes. Then he collapses into a chair and starts eating like he hasn’t eaten in days.  Sounds familiar doesn’t it?  He’s starving by the time he gets home from school!

Healthy After School Snacks Make Healthy Kids

Since many kids are eating their lunch at school quite early, it’s no wonder they come home hungry.  My 5-year-old eats lunch at 10:56 in the morning so I don’t blame her for coming home from school hungry.   But you don’t want them eating too much which may ruin their appetite for dinner, especially if your normal dinner time is within just an hour or so of them coming home from school. Consider your child’s own schedule and adjust accordingly. Remember, just because another parent sets snack time at 3:30 doesn’t mean you have to as well. Talk to your child and watch their behavior to find a time that is right for them.

Have your snacks ready and cut up for your kids to grab when they come in from school.  When my 5-year-old gets home from school and wants a snack, she’s often too tired child to want to cut up or fix her snack- she just wants to grab what she can quickly, have a seat at her little table and chow down.

Tip: Have the snacks visible in the fridge or on the table for easy access. Make sure your child knows what he or she is permitted to eat as a snack, so they don’t try to sneak in something that is bad for them. Offer a few alternatives so they feel they have a say in the matter, as well.

Choose healthy snacks that aren’t too filling, but will stave off the after-school munchies until a proper dinner can be served.  My 5-year-old is pretty good about choosing a healthy snack but my 12-year-old; not so much.  That’s why the first tip is an important for me.

Tip: Cut up carrots, celery, broccoli and cauliflower can be arranged with some low-fat dip. Apples, oranges, bananas and other fresh fruit can be set out, or cut up a fresh bowl of fruit salad for your kids to grab. Trail mix, assorted nuts, whole-grain pretzels and cereals, peanut butter and sugar-free jelly sandwiches, and a variety of crackers and cheeses are also excellent choices. And remember, stick to healthy drink options, such as low-fat milk or water. Kids do not need sugary sodas and juices to drink, especially on a daily basis. For a fun change, offer sparkling flavored water in a variety of flavors that your kids will enjoy.

Finally, talk to your kids about what they enjoy as a snack, and offer them different ideas for snack foods. When kids feel involved in their choices, they are more likely to pick what is best for them. A healthy snack makes for healthy kids, so take the time to find out what they like!


Oh, and one more tip.  Always have your kids wash their hands before eating their afterschool snack!

Here’s to yummy, stress-free, afterschool snacks!

Here are a few great snack ideas that you can prepare while your kids are in school and have ready for them when they get home:



Alicia Hagan, Editor