Getting Out and Getting Involved

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image via parenting.com

image via parenting.com

What is your current level of involvement with causes or activities? If you spend too much time busy with work or staying in, you can miss out on a lot of great stuff happening around town.

If you live close to a big city, you can find plenty of things to do on weekends or even during the week if you have time after work. You can find anything from open mic nights where comedians practice their sets and you can watch for free, or other performances at museums. You can catch exhibits that are in town and take your kids to see something they wouldn’t have otherwise had a chance to see.

There might be fundraising events that simply need people to be in attendance. If it’s a cause that matters to you, try to buy a ticket to the event or make a small donation. You could also offer to volunteer for event setup, as these events often rely on people’s time and energy to help make them happen.

Getting out of the house at least once a week will be a pretty healthy activity for you and your loved ones. It gives you a chance to cut away from the internet and TV so you can talk and reconnect and find out about things that you don’t get to catch during busy work weeks. Get them involved with activities around town that will allow you to spend time with neighbors or visiting local businesses.

Whatever you choose to do, it’s good for you to get back in touch with the causes that matter to you by participating with their related activities as well.

Learn more from Aaron Parkinson by connecting with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

 

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How To Help Your Kids With Homework This Fall

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Image via school.familyeducation.com

Image via school.familyeducation.com

Summer break is over and if you’ve got kids or younger siblings, they’re back in school and re-establishing the routine of doing homework for a little while after they’ve come home every day.

What can you do to help your kids with their homework? Sometimes it’s beyond what you remember academically, because even if you don’t know how to answer some of their math questions, you can learn how to help them at any step. Here are a few ideas that might help:

  • Establish an after school routine for getting homework done. Let your kids come home and get comfortable for a few minutes. However, perhaps don’t let them access fun toys like video games or tablets until after they’ve finished their homework. And if they must make use of technology, it should only be for research before they turn to games.
  • Provide a time for them to get a healthy after school snack before dinner. They’ve had their lunch some time between 11:30am and 12pm, so by the time they get home at two or three, they’re probably hungry again, but not quite ready for a meal as big as dinner. Serve up some apple slices, cheese, crackers, and water or milk.
  • Have them show you what homework they were assigned. Ask if they also have to finish any classwork that they didn’t complete in class. It’s important to show you want to be aware of their assignments so they can’t get away with the old “I didn’t get any homework” excuse. Most of the time, teachers will give homework unless otherwise indicated.
  • For the most part, schools are giving students free student planners. Teachers like to use these to have students write down their homework assignments for each subject or they write down the agenda for the day so that there’s always a list of what was read or covered in class. Ask to look at this and communicate with the teacher about using it as a “messaging system” so you’re both keeping up with the student’s organizational skills.
  • If your child is covering material that is familiar to you, keep in mind that it is being taught very differently than what you remember. Your child will have a very different way of arriving at an answer than you do. Let them show you have it is that they are arriving at math answers. As they teach it to you, they are given the chance to demonstrate understanding.

Whether you know the material or not, your presence and support is going to help your child with his or her homework habits. Later, if YOU need a little help understanding things, you can reach out to the teacher and learn more about what you can to do help with specific assignments or subjects. Your involvement is very important in creating a positive and successful school year.

Learn more from Aaron Parkinson by connecting with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

 

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This 13-Year-Old Is A Little League Inspiration

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(PHOTO: Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo)

(PHOTO: Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo)

Thirteen year old Mo’Ne Davis from Philadelphia is gathering a lot of positive attention for her amazing baseball skills. But what’s really groundbreaking is that she joined a little league team that normally only enlists boys to play. She is paving the way for a change to tradition by creating a whole new one in the sport and proving to everyone that “throwing like a girl” isn’t a bad thing.

The Taney Dragons are winning their games thanks to Mo’Ne’s skills. She’s striking out the other team’s batters and leading her own to victory. In its 68 year history, she’s only the 18th girl to play in the Little League World Series. This time around, there is also one other girl, Emma March from Canada who is also in the LLWS.

Mo’Ne is throwing a 70mph fastball and disappointing each batter who can’t hit the ball. She’s even gathering the attention of pro athletes who are sending Twitter shout outs regarding her pitching style and good form.

Keep your eyes on this girl because she’s an inspiration to all young girls who might believe that there are certain things they can’t do just because their gender limits them. We’re living in a world where things are changing every day, and girls like Mo’Ne Davis are helping pave the way for other aspiring female athletes.

Learn more from Aaron Parkinson by connecting with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

 

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Three Ways To Keep Your Teens Safer As They Use Technology

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Image via sheknows.com

Image via sheknows.com

Kids today have access to a variety of information on the internet, and a lot of it isn’t necessarily appropriate for them. Even worse, teens who have their own cell phones are able to immediately transfer information to their friends and some of what they send could lead to trouble.

Facebook accounts, text messaging, and other technology-related forms of access that kids and teens use must be heavily monitored by their parents. Here are three ways to keep your teens safe as they use technology, and why you want them to know that you’re watching them:

  1. Apply All The Age Restrictions You Can – Cell phones allow you to block age-related content on data plans for each phone. You can log onto your wireless account and add restrictions onto whichever phones lines you’d like to limit. This means that your teens will only be able to view certain internet pages when they use their cell phones.
  2. Monitor Facebook Activity – This is a very important topic. You should be aware that Facebook allows you to filter certain people out of your updates if you choose to. Your kids might have added you on as a friend, but that doesn’t mean you can see everything they post. While you want to be respectful of your child’s privacy, you still have the right to read their Facebook posts and monitor their communication with others as much as possible. You’d be surprised how often bullying and sexual harassment falls through the cracks because we’re afraid of betraying their trust. It’s better that you establish your rules and keep to them so they understand it’s for their own good. Many schools now have blocked access to social media from school internet, but if necessary, administrators can gain access to these sites if they ever need to investigate any issues between students. Kids tend to be very public with their feelings on social media, so make sure your kids only write positively or they may get in trouble for instigating incidents that are brought to the attention of the principal and other parents.
  3. Read Their Texts – Look around for apps you can install on the smartphones you plan to give to your children. You can maybe use an SMS Backup tool that allows their text messages to be backed up daily to an email account. This will allow you to keep a record of the texts they send and receive. While this may seem very intrusive, you still would want to know if your daughter was dealing with sexual harassment from a young man that she likes. Teens are afraid that their peers won’t like them, especially if romantic feelings are involved. If your son or daughter doesn’t know how to say no to another person who may be asking for inappropriate pictures, it’s your responsibility to let your child know that you’re there to protect them, and that they should be able to stand up for themselves and say no in a kind manner. Most importantly, they have to understand that if the other kid’s parent were to read the messages, the situation would definitely escalate and the other child would understand how wrong it is to speak that way to a peer.

It’s tough out there with how quickly communication causes children to grow, but as a parent, you still play a very important part in maintaining your child’s safety. Don’t be afraid to step in, even if you feel like the “bad guy.” Better to be safe than to have your child face a preventable situation later.

Learn more from Aaron Parkinson by connecting with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

 

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Remembering Robin Williams

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Image via thedrum.com

Image via thedrum.com

They say that comedy is a way of dealing with pain, so it comes as no surprise that Robin Williams made people laugh for so many years at the same time that he fought his own personal battles with alcoholism and depression.

The sad news reached everyone this afternoon that Robin Williams passed away in his home, possibly due to asphyxiation, though the matter is still being investigated. If he did, in fact, take his own life, the incident has raised much awareness about depression and suicide. People have been tweeting out phone numbers where people who are considering suicide can call for help. People are also reminding each other that we should be there for our loved ones who may be suffering quietly.

Robin Williams made incredible movies that have stayed in our hearts, such as “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Hook,” and “Jumanji,” just to name a few. Others know him best from “Dead Poets Society” and “Good Morning, Vietnam.” In all of his roles, he has affected people in profound ways. He was a unique individual who could see life for what it was and give you reason to laugh at it. In his stand-up, he poked fun at the idiosyncrasies of Californians and politicians.

If you can, this is a good time for queuing up some of his best movies and enjoying a few good laughs in his honor.

Learn more from Aaron Parkinson by connecting with him on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

 

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