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Part 2: Getting Kids Ready in the Morning: One of the Worst Parts of the Day!

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Monday, March 19, 2018

By Laura Myszne,

Certified Adlerian Parenting Education & Classroom Management Mentor,

Owner of Loving Boundaries, a space where you will find immense relief for your parenting and teaching concerns.

February, 2018.

In my previous post, "Getting ready in the morning: one of the most dreaded parts of the day", I addressed the challenge of actually getting our children out of bed. Now, it's time to get them out of the house.

"Eat, please". "Brush your teeth". "Put your shoes on". "Backpack!", "Let's go!!!"

How many times a morning do you say these sentences? Sometimes, innumerable. Mornings, in most households, seem to stretch and streeeeetch and never come up to the point were everybody is actually ready to leave. Parents get upset and so do kids.

It is time for us to stop this.

We all deserve a peaceful morning.

Are you in?

To do so, we need to first acknowledge that most kids (and grown ups) don't like to be in a rush in the morning. We therefore need to organize our morning in such a way that both children and parents have enough time to do what they need to do, without rushing. Once we've secured this, it's time to "get them moving".

Use humor and your best positive attitude.

Getting upset at our kids for not moving fast enough - a very natural reaction most of us have - tends to just make things worse. The whole house atmosphere turns to be unpleasant and in most cases, we gain nothing other than starting the morning in a bad mood. A really bad one.

Using humor and a great attitude as a way to get our children moving, is an effective option to get things going without damaging our relationship with our children or securing a bad mood for the rest of the day. For example, instead of using sentences like "Did you brush your teeth?! Got brush your teeth! How many times do I need to tell you to brush your teeth!?", you might want to try sentences like: "Hmmm! I can tell that your teeth need some extra TLC this morning. Go brush them before all the bacteria eat them up!" (using your best smile and positive attitude), or "C'mon Jonny, go brush your teeth and when you are ready, there's a huge hug here waiting for you", or you could even use your best silly face and say something like "Sarah, your teeth need yet to be brushed. Go for it?"

Children (and adults) tend to resist orders but to cooperate with loving, positive, even funny requests. Try to avoid imparting commands and shift to humor and a great attitude. They work like magic.

Disclosure: Loving, positive, funny requests will do their job once you've established a good relationship with your child. If you find your loving, positive, funny requests not working, this might be a great opportunity to work on your relationship with your children.

Be assertive and keep your word.

Loving, positive, funny requests are awesome but sometimes not enough. That's when assertiveness comes to the game. Let's say we've done our best to guide our child through her morning "duties" and she is still not cooperating. That's when, still with our most loving and calm voice, we become assertive. At this point, a good option is to physically walk with your child to the room where she needs to perform her next task (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen), remind her of it and leave. Hopefully, this will be enough to get her going, but, if after this you see that she is still not cooperating, you can proceed to be even more assertive and explain what the consequences of not doing what she needs to do, will be. For example: "Honey, we need to leave in five minutes. You still have time to eat your breakfast if you want. If you choose not to, you'll have to go to school hungry. Remember that your next meal is only in x hours from now" or "Kiddo, you have one minute to put your shoes on. If by the time that we need to leave they are not on, you'll have to take them with you and put them on in the car/bus", or "Pete, I see that you are still in your pajamas and in three minutes we are leaving. Are you sure you want all of you classmates to see you in your pajamas?"

The tricky part here is now for the adult (aka you and me) not to engage in a negotiation and to keep his word. If I told my child that she only has five minutes to have breakfast and she chooses (yes, she chooses) not to have it, then I need not to pack it for her to go, allow her to take it with her or give her a treat for the ride. Would I choose to do so (again, yes, I choose), I'd be breaking my word, losing trustworthiness (in the eyes of my child if I don't keep my word for this I won't do it also for things that are important to her) and giving my child an excellent reason not to have her breakfast on time tomorrow either. Why would she, right?

Same thing with the shoes or the pajamas. If the child is not ready on time, she should leave the house anyway. Shoes can be taken in her hand (not the parent's) and so do clothes. It is important here not to allow extra time in the car to put shoes or clothes on. If we do, we would be incurring in the same mistake described above, regarding breakfast. Harsh? Well, I don't know what's worse, if to have a yucky morning every day, the two of you, or to teach a lesson once. Believe me, it will be just once. No child likes to walk into school in their pajamas, with their shoes in their hands or be hungry, and if they do, then it's worth checking for the underlying challenge that's behind this.

Children need and love boundaries. They need both to survive and succeed.

I hope you've found this article helpful and I look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to email me at

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Jump into Spring is this Sunday!

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Monday, March 19, 2018

It’s time to Jump Into Spring with PAMP! This popular event combines a variety of different bounce houses and indoor activities, including a special puppet show, for those who don’t want to play in the inflatable structures.

PAMP’s Jump Into Spring will be on Sunday, March 25 at the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center, 700 Alma Street in Menlo Park. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and for only $10 per PAMP member family – you can also bring non-PAMP member friends for $25 – kids can jump until their heart’s content outside.

There will be a puppet show provided by Treehouse Learning and it will run from 10 am- 11 am.  Please be aware that the bounce houses will not open until 11 am and will continue until 1 pm. If you are not interested in the puppet show, you are welcome to show up later and just enjoy the bounce houses.

Indoors, our sponsors will have crafts and activities set up.  Sponsors this year will be La Petite Baleen, Little Bytes (pediatric dentistry) and Party 630.

Similar to last year, PAMP will provide light snacks for nibbling, but families are welcome to bring their own food to the event. This event will likely sell out so register now to avoid missing all the fun!

As a PAMP subsidized event, no refunds will be issued and walk-ins are discouraged. Walk-ins will not be eligible for the PAMP discount. The price of $10 if for a family of maximum 4 people.  A charge of $5 per extra family member will be collected at the door.

Hope to see you there on Sunday!

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5 Ways to Encourage Responsibility in Your Kids

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, March 13, 2018

We all know the kids who jump up to help their parents clear the table after dinner or walk an older adult across the street, and we want our kids to be those kids. It is not hard to imagine that their instincts to do well for themselves and others will take them far in life. But how does a child without these instincts gain the same skills? How do we impart the value of responsibility and teach our children to be conscientious, competent, and reliable?

Father and son washing dishes

Most experts agree that children pick up our values from listening to us and watching us every day. Remember the old adage, “Do as I say, not as I do”? Children learn as much from watching what we do and how we do it as they do from what we say to them. Try these strategies to help kids along their path to responsibility and independence:

  1. Model responsibility and accountability 
    Show your children that you take responsibility for getting things done and keeping your word when you have said you will do something. Take out the trash, pick up the cupcakes for the class party, sew the button on your child’s favorite shirt so they can wear it again.
  1. Give kids the experience of participating in group causes 
    Make at least one hour a week, or one day a week, a time when all members of the family work together to clean up the house.
  1. Let your children help you whenever possible 
    Kids love to help adults with tasks. Even if it may take a little longer to have your little one help you make sandwiches for lunch or bake the cake for the scout meeting, let them help. They learn important skills, and it encourages responsibility and accountability.
  1. Provide structure in the form of schedules and routine 
    Get your child into a routine around responsibility as young as possible. It will help tremendously if their responsibilities are built into their day. Have them bring their breakfast dishes to the sink after eating, help wash their dishes if they are old enough, make their bed in the morning, and more.
  1. Encourage your child to think through situations 
    Have a chart of responsibilities for them to refer to each day and let them think through the order of events, let them remember how to complete tasks (with simple reminders if needed), and let them organize themselves to get things done in a timely manner (they may need some extra support around this one).

These techniques should go a long way toward fostering the responsibility and cooperation that children need for later success.

Beth Berkowitz, Psy.D. is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Director of Children’s Clinical Services and Child Training Institute at Parents Place in San Francisco

posted with permission from Parent's Place

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Part 1: Getting Kids Ready in the Morning- The Most Dreaded Part of the Day

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, March 13, 2018

By Laura Myszne,

Certified Adlerian Parenting Education & Classroom Management Mentor,

Owner of Loving Boundaries, a space where you will find immense relief for your parenting and teaching concerns.

Mornings are one of the most dreaded times of the day for parents and caregivers. Getting our children to be ready on time is for most of us no piece of cake, starting with the act itself of waking our children up [deep breath].

"Honey, time to get up!", "Good morning!", "Sun's out, time to get up!"

Nothing. No cooperation. Nada. Either that or a tantrum. Familiar? Why though? What's going on here?

Let's take a peak.

One of the reasons why children have a hard time getting up in the morning is because they haven't had enough hours of sleep. Therefore, one of the first things you might want to do to make your morning routine easier, is check with your pediatrician or with a trusted source of yours, how many hours should your child be sleeping at her age and make sure that those are available to her. You might also want to check if she's waking up and staying up during the night (some kids do) and if this is the case, take additional steps to provide her with what she needs.  Additionally, you might want to take into consideration that some children need more hours of sleep than others. This is just their nature and it's OK.

Once you know that the necessary amount of sleep hours are covered, then comes what I call our "awakening style", aka the strategy that we actually use to wake the child up. I'd like to suggest that when you wake your child up, you do it in a loving, gentle and firm way. What does this mean? You will be warm and loving and at the same time, you will be very target oriented: it is now time to get up and there are no other options. Children can read our tone of voice and feel our doubts and therefore can tell if we really mean something or we don't, or if there is a chance to override our sayings. It is crucial then to approach the child, keeping this in mind, and with a firm resolution of getting her out of bed.

Another factor affecting our ability to get our child out of bed and going, is her past experiences in the subject. Let me explain: if a child is used to negotiating/extending her getting up, she will keep on doing that. If she's used that normally she ends up getting up when the parent loses his temper, then she will keep doing her part until that happens. Why? Because she'd rather be 10 more minutes in bed (even though the parent ends up getting upset), than get out of bed. Simple. More time in bed is precious and a child (or an adult) will do anything to get that. How can we overcome this? Keeping our objective in mind and not engaging in negotiation are key.

Sometimes children find that this time of the day is the only one that their caregiver really devotes to them and stretching it as much as possible is their way of saying "I love you. Please stay more with me". If this happens to be your case and you have no other available time during the day to engage with your child, then embrace it, stretch it and enjoy it. Wake your child up earlier and make this your special time of the day with her. Formally transform it into something fun that you both enjoy. When you do that, she will be happy to get up. Special time will be awaiting for her.

Last but not least, expectation is key factor when the time to get up comes. Expectation for what the day is going to deliver. If the child is looking forward to her first activity of the day, then, no problem. Getting up is easy. But, when the child is not fond of her first activity of the day though, then we see this reflected in her willingness to get up. Think of you as an adult. This probably happens to you too, doesn't it? So what can be done in this situation? I'd suggest that you allow extra time for your child to get up and that you make of that time something that the child is looking forward to. Shift her thoughts from getting up to engage in an activity that she's not fond of, to getting up to spend some quality time with you. Even if it is 15 minutes. Those are worthy of getting up.

These are some of the most common solutions (not all of them) to help parents with the process of getting their children up in the morning. I hope that you find them useful and I look forward to answering your questions. You can always email me at


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One Final Answer from the "Ask the Nanny Expert" Column

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Thursday, March 8, 2018

In regards to pay - How do you suggest pay be altered for a live in nanny vs. a live out nanny. Also, any suggestions regarding pay for an overnight nanny when one goes out of town for a night or two? I know there have been a lot of questions about payment already but not sure that this one has been covered. Thanks!‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Dear Member,

Thank you for your question! Compensation for a live-in vs. a live-out nanny can be offset based on the value of room and board. Since Stanford Park Nannies focuses solely on live out placements, I don’t think I am necessarily qualified to provide specific ranges, but I have included some information and a link for you to read further from those who specialize in these sorts of situations. Additionally, there are specific laws that govern the way you calculate a live-in nanny’s compensation, so I would recommend first becoming familiar with these laws.

Homework Solutions, a national household payroll service, provides this information:

A domestic service worker who resides with the employer, such as a live-in nanny, must be paid at an agreed hourly rate, and is entitled to overtime calculated at 1.5 times the hourly rate for hours worked over 9 in a single day or more than 45 in a defined 7 day work week. Live-in domestic service workers must have at least 12 consecutive hours free of duty during each 24-hour workday. A live-in domestic service worker in CA who is required or permitted to work during off duty hours must be compensated at 1 1/2 times their regular hourly rate (i.e. overtime rate). Live-in domestic service workers who works more than 5 consecutive days per week has additional overtime and double-time pay protections as defined in Wage Order 15.

More on the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights for California employers here:

Regarding a live-out nanny who works overnight, there are a few factors to consider while calculating pay. Consider the following:

  • Your child(ren) sleep through the night

  • The nanny’s usual hourly rate

  • The nanny is your regular employee, vs. someone you are hiring for this occasion

We consider these factors when we place overnight temporary nannies. For further information about how to calculate compensation, see link below…

Come and go or live-out domestic service workers are entitled to overtime pay for hours over 8 in a workday or hours over 40 in a defined 7 day workweek, and double time (2x the hourly rate of pay) for hours over 12 in a workday. Additional overtime and double time pay protections are provided to domestic service workers who work 7 days per week.

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Best of the Forums: Sleep Potty Training

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Monday, February 26, 2018

There are so many great conversations going on in our PAMP Facebook group.  Here is one of the most popular threads of the past month. Check out what other PAMP moms are discussing.

I still have my 2.5 yr old in diapers for nap and overnight. Any thoughts on transitioning to being sleep potty trained? Any thoughts about switching to pull ups?

  • It totally depends on the kids when to go dry for night. My oldest potty trained at 2.9 but wore a diaper or pull up until well past 4 - he just was a night time pee kid. Our peds said it's developmental and you can't rush it (we tried the taking him to the potty at 11pm or every 3 hours overnight - he would still be wet). Then my second kid potty trained at 2.9 (again) and was dry that night forward. Don't rush it, you'll only end up in a battle. Diapers vs pull ups was a size question for us - my first was a big kid and pull ups run larger.

  • We had the same experience as the other person who commented. We just waited until our daughter was dry through the night for 5 days in a row, then moved to pull ups and when she was confident and ready, to underwear overnight. She would have taken bedwetting really hard, so we just waited until she was ready.

  • We told my son that when he was dry for a week in a row he could switch to underwear.

  • We were on a trip and noticed that she was falling asleep with all her clothes on (no pull up) and not having any issues - so we got rid of the pull ups when we came back. this was around 2y 9m.

  • We ditched diapers cold turkey for naps, just explaining that she needs to save her pee for when she wakes up. She peed on herself the first diaperless nap (she was commando, which I think helps her feel the lack of a diaper) and has been 100% dry since. Night time is a different beast though. I'm using diapers/pullups (they're the same thing, really) until she is out of a crib and can get up to pee on her own at night. Night time sleep is more important to me than staying dry through the night. She not even two, and I'm not worried about it yet.

  • Are you limiting fluid intake? I haven’t crossed this bridge yet but did read something suggesting that could help.

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2018 Rummage Sale is Coming Soon!

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Monday, February 26, 2018

Each year PAMP hosts a Rummage Sale to help buyers and sellers connect and find new homes for gently used clothes, toys and household items. Join us on this fun day to gather with friends, meet other PAMP members, and recycle treasures.

This year’s Rummage Sale will be held, Sunday, March 18 starting at 8:30 am with the doors opening to the public at 9:30 am!  PAMP members have exclusive access for the first hour, ensuring that they can snag the best deals.

You can get in even earlier if you sign up to volunteer.  Volunteers get access 20 minutes early at 8:10 am.  You can sign up to volunteer by emailing

What You Need to Know:

  • There are still tables left if you would like to be a seller.  Have a lot of children and household items that need a new home? Not interested in hosting your own garage sell?  Then purchasing a table at the Rummage Sale is the perfect solution for you.  Information here:   But hurry, space is limited so register today.

  • The Rummage Sale is held at the Cubberly Community Center at 4000 Middlefield Rd in Palo Alto.  Parking can be confusing, but we will have signs out to help point the way to where you should park and enter the building.

  • There are no ATMs on site or food available in the building. Make sure to bring cash to pay for your items and if you feel like you may get a bit famished while shopping, please bring a snack because there is no snack bar or restaurant in the building.

  • The Rummage Sale is open to non PAMP members too! Bring your friends and share this great opportunity with all! We want this event to be as successful as possible so please spread the word.

Here’s to another great Rummage Sale. Hope to see you there!

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How to Get Your Yard Ready for Spring in 9 Simple Ways

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, February 20, 2018

After the harsh winter season, everybody looks forward to the moderate temperatures, sunshine and the usual spring showers in spring. I normally look forward to this time of the year, particularly after spending the whole winter hibernating indoors.


During spring, it is not only we humans who thrive under the warmth and little bit of sunshine. This weather always perks life back into my yard that had been dormant under inches of snow. Grass starts to grow at an alarming rate which I normally have to deal with.

Then there are also marks left behind by the winter weather which I have to deal with. I believe I am not always alone in this as you may also be going through the same ordeal every year. This is why you need to know how to get your yard ready for spring, and as a bonus, it will become the envy of your neighbors.

  1. Do Some Raking

During winter, leaves and garden debris might accumulate all over your lawn. These leaves and garden debris will make for a not so great lawn look. You, therefore, need to clear all these before doing anything else. After winter, the first thing I do is rake the whole of my yard. I do this to rake up those matted areas that were under the snow.

Raking your backyard has other benefits too. In a way, the yard is aerated after months of being pinned down by snow. Aeration helps in keeping the grass nourished. The rake also removes the layers of thatch that blocks sunlight and water from reaching the grassroots.

  1. Prepare your tools

Over the years, I have realized that the grass, vegetables, and flowers in my yard grow at an alarming rate in spring. Once in a while, I have been caught unawares in my attempts to control the yard weed since my two line trimmers had all broken down without me realizing.

To prevent such mishaps, do a check of all your yard tools to see which ones need to be repaired, replaced or cleaned. And if you have an irrigation system, check to ensure that it is in a perfect working condition. This is because the snow might have damaged it, and your plants and grass will not get all the water they need to grow.

  1. Prune the Trees and Shrubs

Winter provides the best time for pruning your shrubs and trees. At this time, the new growths have not started sprouting out, hence the spread of diseases is controlled at this time. The pruning has to be done very carefully to prevent stressing the shrubs.

Pruning of fruit trees should be done before their buds start blooming to prevent stressing them. Otherwise, you could end up with a tiny crop. If your yard has any dead or ailing branches, then it is better to prune them at this time so that they do not fall off in Spring.

  1. Fertilize the Lawn and The Plants in Your Yard

To ensure that the plants in my backyard will be well nourished and green in Spring, I normally use a combination of organic and chemical fertilizers. By composting the mulch from my mowing activities, the leaves and the scraps from my kitchen, I always have a supercharger for my plants.

In spring, the fertilizer application has to be light and the heavier one to be done in fall. If you overdo it, you might attract a weed problem or even diseases. Or it could be that you had applied fertilizer during fall: The plants are still making do with that and only needs a little.

  1. You Have to Apply a Pre-emergent Herbicide

The application of a pre-emergent always goes hand in hand with the application of fertilizer. This is more so when you have an annual weed problem, such as crabgrass. A Pre-emergent is a type of herbicide that controls weeds by killing their seedlings before they emerge.

The pre-emergent herbicide does this by forming a sort of shield around weed seeds that in turn prevents them from germinating. It is not only crabgrass that you will be fighting, as there are also dandelion weeds. Although their yellow flowers look kind of beautiful to me, I don’t allow them to grow in my yard.

  1. Core aerate your lawn

This is another preparation activity that I never miss while preparing for the spring sunshine. I find core aeration beneficial to the yard as it allows air and water to reach the plant roots at a much faster rate.

In return, root development will increase, and the plants will grow to be firmer onto the ground. But before you do this, you should ensure that the soil temperature is between 55-60 degrees. Beyond this temperature, the voids created as result of aeration only attracts weeds.

  1. Re-Seed Damaged Parts of The Lawn

Winter snow can deliver unimaginable damage to your lawn and the entire yard at large. The moment the snow subsides and the warm sunshine shows, I always assess the extent of damage caused by the snow plows and salt.

Before you reseed any damaged portions, ensure you have not applied the pre-emergent to the soil. This herbicide is non-selective when it is preventing seeds from germinating. All your work will, therefore, be in vain. If the weather permits it, you can hold off the use of the pre-emergent until the grass has germinated, then apply it.

  1. Perform Tests on the Soil to Determine the pH

If you have a soil test kit, you can do this on your own, or you can seek for the services of your county extension for the same. Knowing the soil pH helps you in determining what plants to grow in your yard as they all prefer different pH levels.

Most plants and grass as well will grow well in pH values of around 6.0 – 7.0. Then there are those that grow in acidic conditions of between 4.5 to 6.5 pH levels. These plants include azalea, hydrangea, heather, etc.

  1. Mow the lawn frequently

One of the mistakes most people make is mowing their lawns less frequently and at an inappropriate height. Letting the grass grow too high and then cutting it stunts the roots and makes them reproduce less effectively.

What you can do is mowing the lawn after five days for about six weeks if the weather allows it. A mowing height of about 2 ½ to 3 ½ inches should be decent enough. The cutting blades should be in their sharpest states so as not to toughen the grass.

Wrapping up

Everybody would want their lawn to shine again and be attractive to the eyes after the winter season is over. To realize this, you must know some of the tips to apply in getting your yard ready for spring. The tips discussed above in this article will come in handy in preparing your yard for spring. You will just be required to put them into practice and wait to be amazed by the results.

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Bullying in Preschool?

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The preschool years are foundational for children’s social and emotional development—a time when children’s social interactions increase dramatically as they move from parallel to more collaborative play with peers. Not surprisingly, this means more social and communication missteps as children learn how to interact and connect to each other while their social, communication, and emotion-management skills are still in the very early stages of development.

What all of this means is that most of the problems you are seeing between and among preschoolers, particularly those under 4, are often signs of poor impulse control and limited language skills, not indications that children are engaged in bullying. Bullying is a conscious act involving the systematic targeting of a weaker or more vulnerable child. Bullying behavior is purposely mean and hurtful. Young preschool-aged children are doing very little purposely or consciously. Instead, their actions and behavior are often the result of their impulses, emotional reactions, and inability to verbalize their needs and feelings. They may push another child because they don’t have the language skills or impulse control to ask that child politely to move out of the way. They may exclude another child from play to test their growing power and control, or to express their anger and frustration about having to share.

Because this is also age when children are learning how to be in relationship with peers, it is an ideal time to begin teaching the social and emotional skills that they need to form healthy relationships. In other words, it is the optimal time to teach bullying prevention skills.

Here are the skills young children need to prevent their involvement in bullying and to nurture their social and emotional development:

  1. Emotion management skills: the ability to identify, manage, and appropriately express strong feelings.
    The first step in developing emotion management skills is teaching children that there is a range of feelings. Use Kimochis dolls ( or feeling charts to begin teaching an emotional vocabulary to children. Once children can understand and recognize strong feelings—such as anger, frustration, and sadness—they can begin learning how to calm and express those feelings appropriately.

Teach your child how to calm herself using a set of simple steps: (1)Put your hand on your tummy, (2)Say, “Calm down,-*” to yourself, and (3)Take some deep breaths with your belly.

As children’s verbal skills develop, they can learn how to use words to express their feelings and needs using “I” communication. If children can recognize and understand their own emotions, they can better understand others’. The ability to experience and show empathy is at the heart of bullying prevention and of healthy social connection.

  • Friendship skills
    Friendship is a new concept to preschoolers. Friendship skills include learning how to join a group, take turns, share, and be a good friend through kindness and caring. Because this is an age at which children first start experimenting with exclusive play, it is the time to talk about the importance of allowing others to play and to introduce the idea that excluding others is hurtful. Try to be as specific as possible. Instead of assuming that a 3-year-old knows what “being kind” or “being a good friend” means, spell it out: “You shared your trucks, and that was very kind” or “You gave your bear to Emma when she was sad. You care about your friend.” This is also a great time to start reading books about friendship to your child.
  • Conflict resolution and problem-solving 
    Yes, conflict resolution and problem-solving are sophisticated skills that many adults haven’t yet mastered. And, yes, you can begin teaching these abilities to your preschooler through role-modeling. Start by narrating problem-solving and conflict-resolution when problems arise between your preschooler and his peers. For example, in response to a tug of war over a toy between your 3-year-old and his friend, you might say, “There seems to be a problem here. It seems that you both want to play with the truck. We could take turns playing with the truck, or we could find a new toy that you can both play with, like these blocks. Let’s try playing with the blocks together for a while.” When your child is about 4, you can prompt him to participate in this process with you: “There seems to be a problem here. What is it, and what should we do about it?” or “The problem seems to be A, is that right? We could do X or Y about this problem. Which do you want to try?” As your child becomes more verbal, you can introduce the concept of “compromise” and seek opportunities to use it to resolve everyday conflicts.

Posted with permission from Parent's Place.

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6 Easy to Execute Tips Parents Can Use to Teach Kids About Money!

Posted By Melissa McKenzie, Monday, February 12, 2018


by: Sam X Renick, Award Winning Author, Financial Educator, and Creator of Sammy Rabbit


Can babies really learn in utero? It is a fair question and a fascinating article to read. Parents, this may not surprise you, a variety of sources agree learning begins while babies are in the bun so to speak. Penn State assistant professor of psychology, Dr. Rick Gilmore responds to the question in the above article with an emphatic – absolutely!

In turns out, youngsters are astonishingly adept at acquiring knowledge. Time chronicled this fact in its column – Infants understand more than you think, study shows.

This research may be music to mommy and daddy’s ears, except, well when it comes to one of life’s vital topics: money.


Parents, this may surprise you, did you know research from Cambridge University found adult money habits are formed by age seven? This coincides with the studies cited above, indeed, little kids are excellent learners. So, what’s the issue? The issue is we do not want kids learning everything, especially behaviors we may not be good at, like managing money. Unfortunately, that is not one of kids’ criteria for learning. They just soak it all in. They absorb everything. That would include all sorts of information, knowledge, attitudes, feelings and beliefs on personal finance, many parents are not even aware they are teaching their children. Uh – oh!

You might be naively thinking that your child’s okay because you don’t talk about money at your house. You may want to think again. Parents talk to and teach kids about money all the time. It is unavoidable. True, it is easy to miss. Why? Because the communications do not need to mention the word money. Typically, the communications are disguised. They are expressed as hopes, dreams, adventures, attitudes and feelings on things like becoming princes or princesses, taking trips to Disneyland, celebrating first birthdays, living in homes with white picket fences, and on and on.

What further exacerbates the problem, is it turns out lots of parents do not either like to consciously talk to kids about money and/or find it difficult to do. This reality seems to translate into a whole host of problems that sabotage kids and their futures, like bad debt for example.


Do nothing or do something. If you choose not to take conscious control of your kids financial education during this crucial timeframe while their money mindsets and habits are being shaped, understand this, someone else gladly will. Advertisers to name one.

On the other hand, if you want to do something, here are six strategies to consider.


  1. Get up to speed yourself. Plenty of resources on personal finance are available, whether it is in books, magazines, or videos online. The basics are easy to master.

  2. Get on the same page with your partner. If you can communicate the same money philosophies to your kids, naturally, you will be more effective.

  3. Write down your financial values on paper. Reduce your thinking to short and simple phrases that are easy to share and easy for your kids to remember and repeat. Some of Sammy Rabbit and my favorite slogans are: “Saving is a great habit.” “Earning money is fun to do.” “You can have everything you want if you are willing to work for it.”

  4. Do your best to talk your talk and walk your talk. In other words, speak and live your message. Kids love to imitate their parents. It is one of the primary ways they learn.

  5. Read kids storybooks, have them listen to music and do activities that share your financial values. Be sure to check out Sammy Rabbit. Sammy and I thrive on making easy and fun to learn about finance.

  6. Have your kids play and act out scenarios that involve money. Two obvious scenarios to play and perfect are saving and store. I would prioritize saving. Learning to save money is one of the most underrated skills a child can learn. It teaches a child to be prepared, delay gratification, be disciplined, set goals, plan and prioritize. Those skills are transferrable and can be leveraged to have success in all aspects of life. Playing store, if done properly, can teach a child to be a savvy consumer. That is also an invaluable skill, particularly in an environment that is consumption crazy!  


Do everything you are able to in order to make the process fun and joy-filled. Encourage and educate your children to have a positive relationship with money – one of life’s most frequently used and mismanaged tools.


Download Sammy Rabbit activities and music for FREE at the Dream Big Club.

Visit Sammy Rabbit to check out the storybook Sammy’s Big Dream which was just chronicled in Financial Advisors Magazine: Children Form Financial Behaviors by 7


Sam X Renick is the creator and driving force behind Sammy Rabbit and the Dream Big Club. Sam and Sammy are dedicated to empowering kids’ dreams and improving their financial literacy through the development of great habits and strategic life skills. Sam has read and sung off key with over a quarter million children around the world, encouraging them to get in the habits of saving money and reading! He has won numerous honors throughout his career including the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education's Lifetime Achievement Award!


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