How to Set Age Appropriate Financial Goals For Kids and Teenagers Ranging From 5 - 13 Years Olds

One of the most important aspects of teaching teens the power of money is realization that specific money concepts should be introduced to your kids and teenager as specific ages. Introducing some concepts to your kids to early usually leads to frustration and anger with kids and parents.

Below is an outline of age appropriate strategies and money skills kids should understand.

During the years between 5 - 10, kids are beginning to get a glance about the world around them. Here is a brief overview of some of the experiences many kids should have regarding money between the ages of 5 - 10 years old:

- Indentify money (dime verse nickel verse a quarter)
- Carry money to pay for lunch at school.
- Learn to comparison shop. Purchased books at the school book fair or at a home school event.
- Have an allowance. Learn the habit of working for money.
- Understand it take money to buy things. From the toys at the toy store, the candy at the grocery store or stuff on TV commercials, it takes money to buy things. Nothing is free.

Between the years of 10-13 here are some milestones to guide you to help educate your pre-teenagers about money:

- Open a saving account. Of course, you can open a saving account when they are younger, but if they don't have a saving account, consider opening one for them during these years. You can open a saving account with as little as $20. A savings account will teach them about the banking system.

- Shown them the saving account statement. Most banks send out statements for savings accounts once a year. When this arrives, this is an excellent opportunity for you to remind your child about the money they are saving for the future.

- Increase the amount of the weekly or monthly allowance. An allowance isn't a right of passage many kids think it is. As you increase their allowance make sure to increase the amount of their choirs they do around the house. During this time your kids will begin to understand the value of working and the true meaning of earning money.

- Open up a brokerage account. This will introduce kids to the basics of investing. You can open up a brokerage account online within a few minutes.

- Open a DRIP account. DRIP stands for Dividend ReInvestment Program. This is a great way to buy stock directly from the company at zero or very low cost. In addition, your child will also receive quarterly and annual statements from the company you investment.

Setting age appropriate financial goals for your kids and teenagers will help them to become money smart teens and successful throughout their life.

3 GPS Kid and Teen Tracking Systems

Here are two very good GPS child tracking systems and an additional child monitoring tool to help keep your kids safe. You can think of this as your introduction to tracking kids with GPS and continue to do additional research from here. You should make sure that you know what you need before purchasing any GPS kids tracking system.

T-Trac XS - This GPS device was created specifically with teens in mind. It is geared towards older teens as it is an automobile GPS tracking device. This will help you to know exactly where your teens are when they take the car for the night, or any time for that matter. If there's trouble you'll be able to get there much faster, or see that help can get there, because you'll know where your children are at all times. Besides that it also helps keep track of your teens with a couple other special features.

If you only need tracking during certain times of the day you can set this GPS device to do that and conserve the battery life. Maybe your teen only takes the car for school and you want to make sure they come right home, so you can use this to track only during the school hours and immediately before and after. There's also a geo-fence option on this tracker that lets you specify a certain range for the GPS device. If the car goes outside that range an alert will be sent to you.

Another feature of the T-Trac XS is the ability to set the GPS unit to alert you if the car it's installed in exceeds a certain speed limit. No more need to worry about speeding teens since you'll know if they exceed the speed limit you've set for them.

Whereifone GPS Locator Phone - This is a good alternative for younger teens; a cell phone with GPS built in. It's small, cool and fairly cheap so you won't have to break the bank to get a GPS kids tracking unit. It also comes in a variety of colors so you can get the one that your child likes to help keep them happy. The unit is quite accurate and can locate a person within several yards, even if they are in a highly populated location. As far as cell phone GPS units go this is a great choice.

Cell Phone SIM Card Spy - This is not a GPS unit, but is a complimentary device used to track your child or teens cell phone use. It basically makes available to you all the information stored on the cell phones SIM card including text messages, incoming and outgoing calls. In these dangerous times we sometimes need to keep an eye on the things that our children may not consider as dangerous because they don't have enough experience to know about them. I don't advocate spying on your children, but in some circumstances it may be necessary to keep them safe.

Cell phone monitoring and especially GPS tracking are both great ways to ensure the safety of our children. It can keep them from trouble and harm while giving you the peace of mind to be able to relax when they are out of your sight.

Teasing, Taunting and Texting - Middle School Teens and Tweens

Teasing, taunting and texting! That pretty much describes young teens and tweens. Middle school and Junior High are tough years for most adolescents. Their peers are worse than vultures on the playground. Parents don't understand and teachers have no mercy.

It's a tough life to be 12, 13 or 14. Just ask them.

Characteristics of the early teenage years

Middle school and junior high students are growing more rapidly than they have at any time since infancy. They vary in size tremendously, a fact which directly relates to their feelings about themselves. It should also be noted that this period is a time of great hormonal surges, resulting in unexpected outbursts of giggles, tears or pimples depending on the circumstances.

Self-criticism and uncertainty are reflected in their talk about themselves and others. Anger is common and may grow out of feelings of inadequacy, fatigue, rejection and uncertainty. He may come home after scoring three goals and being the hero of the hour to face the chore chart and the kitchen floor and react with anger, tears and slamming of doors.

Tears of anger, fear or happiness

At this age, adolescents have a tendency to take internal conflicts and externalize them into conflicts between themselves and their parents. We need to teach our children and ourselves to acknowledge feelings and recognize them. It is okay to feel angry about having to scrub the floor, but the commitment to the family must be kept anyway.

If parents become permissive under pressure, it is like issuing a teenager a license to misbehave. When we waiver in our commitment to family rules, it takes away respect from both the parent and the child. Allowing a child to avoid responsibilities encourages them to continue this unacceptable behavior. Further, allowing them to "win" can actually reduce a young person's self-esteem, because it implies that whenever enough of a fuss is made, they can get out of their share of the work.

Be firm and kind with family rules

Teens may feel good temporarily if they are allowed to get away with whatever they choose, but they usually don't feel good about it for very long. If they sense their parents don't respect them, they will find it hard to respect themselves. Thus, permissiveness breeds disrespect and discouragement and invites rebellion and chaos into family life.

Teasing, Taunting and Texting

By giving our teens and tweens some space to grow into the kind of person they are destined to be, it will make for more harmony in the home and on the school ground.  Just pick your battles.

Money Management For Kids (Especially Teens)

When it comes to money management for kids, there's nothing like the children or teens' own miniature businesses to make money and math come alive. One parent was concerned her teenage son was mentally "slow." When she created a math curriculum for him that was a combination of math lesson plans that simultaneously built him his own money-earning business, he not only became better at math, they discovered he was gifted in math - doing complicated math calculations correctly in his head.

The problem with money management for kids being taught via their own home business, or group activity micro business, is that we parents and typical school teachers can be uninformed not only about owning a business itself - but we often don't know what we don't know.

There's a calculated method that starts at the beginning of an idea and moves forward step by step, eventually turning ideas into income and businesses, and many parents and teachers know only how to be employees working for someone else.

And, consider this: Even ADHD kids have been known to be able to focus when paid for doing the work. Understandably, that doesn't sit well with the generations of kids who did and do the work without being paid. But it does point to a promising way to teach all kids, including ADHD ones, with the math curriculums that revolve around money-earning projects either as independent study or as group activities.

Luckily, in this age of entrepreneurship and home offices, this need for curriculum on money management for kids using their own mini-money-earning projects is being recognized. Today, parents and even teachers can learn right along with their students, both learning and teaching money management for kids while discovering themselves how to start up a passionate livelihood.

For lessons on money management for kids today, don't be afraid to seek out the numerous new resources, often at low cost, for math curriculum (some that even earn high school credit) that use the kids' own income producing project as the background if you're not up on it yourself. And if you are savvy at the topic, consider creating your own money management for kids program with their own mini-home businesses or with classroom fundraising as a math group activity. Whether you're a teacher or homeschooling parent, it's a very good choice to consider.

Home Schooling: Educating the Teachers

It's 5:30 a.m. on a summer day. I should be sleeping like the rest of the world, ensconced in a woolly blanket of certitude that there is no work today, only vacation. But I can't really sleep. It's the first day of school, you see.

There is an old theory of learning that says education isn't about teaching students new things but only about reminding them what they already inherently know.

It's a high-minded theory that assumes everyone is what my old college president would have termed "educable," that knowledge, like truth, is not relative, but exists on its own plane running parallel to ours and may be accessed by revelation.

One need only be shown the hidden path to the oracle's chamber, so to speak, and all will be unveiled.

Sometimes, though, it's not the student but the teacher that needs to be shown the way.

Perhaps we are so inured to others' needs, so accustomed to our own convenience, that we modern folk oftentimes don't pay heed to the tragedies occurring before our very eyes. Particularly for parents trying to educate our children, there seems to be a wall in front of our eyes that shields us so often from the truth.

We place our children in schools in the hopes that they will learn what is needed for them to survive in this world: facts, figures, social aptitude, an inquiring mind, an entrepreneurial spirit.

And we will show up and be supportive at school assemblies, classroom field trips, endless fund-raisers, sporting events, etc., ad nauseum.

We provide classroom supplies, chaperoning, transportation, library staffing, even office support, all in hopes that we are furthering our children's education by setting a good example and freeing up the teachers to do "what they do best."

Too often, though, what parents get out of this bargain isn't what was promised. Instead of bright, energetic, go-getter scholars, what we are handed back is children who are lethargic, beaten down and drained of any creativity they once had. We get kids who are indoctrinated into political correctness -- which is to say the art of arrogant whininess -- but who can barely multiply. We get kids who have been taught in "science" class to recycle to "save" the planet, but who can't explain to you how an airplane stays in the air or how an internal combustion engine works. We get kids who have been forced to memorize Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and participate annually in Cinco de Mayo but who can't explain one contribution of white people to the world other than bringing disease to North America.

In some schools, it's not unusual for as many as half the students to drop out before their senior high school year. Of those who hang in there, many seniors can't even pass an eighth-grade-level exit exam to get their diplomas.

And just to add to parental enjoyment, along the way, the children have almost certainly been exposed to gay sex, oral sex, premarital sex, contraception, abortion, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, nihilism and atheism. All under the auspices of the school, and all before sixth grade -- kindergarten, if some legislators get their way. Recess and that after-school time before parents come home provide ample opportunity for kids to put into practice what they've learned in "skool."

Parents may seek relief in private schools, but often what they encounter is no better, just more expensive. If you are rich enough, it is still possible to buy your children a real education. If you're merely well-off, more likely what will happen is you will pay through the nose, and your children will receive an education that is relatively free from the sex- and drug-teaching curricula of the public schools, as well as the more violent forms of playground bullying. But for the most part, the rest of the teaching agenda is the same, particularly if you live in a state like California, where private schools are so regulated that they often just give up and use the same books, the same curricula, same time tables and same test "preparation" procedures as the public schools. If you're lucky, there might be some time to squeeze in a little religious education.

That was our experience. Not being much of a corporate yes man myself, we've often been on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. Still, we managed to put our son into private schools despite the cost. Sending him to our local public elementary school was out of the question. The first time we went to that school's office, there were three children being treated by the school nurse after getting beaten up in the halls. The second time we went to that office, the police were there having a "chat" with a boy who looked like he was in about fourth grade.

So we got our son into a local private school, with high hopes of better things. Now, when he started kindergarten, he was almost a whole year younger than the rest of his classmates because of the oddity of birthday cutoffs, but he still tested above many of them. That glowing moment didn't last long, however. Soon, we were told that our boy needed a speech therapist because he had trouble pronouncing certain syllables. We took him back to our local public school, which actually had a real speech therapist on staff, and after five minutes she pronounced not only was he normal for his age, but he was exceptionally bright and seemed like he was a few years ahead in his vocabulary, even if he couldn't quite pronounce his "th" sounds yet.

After we got over that hurdle, we learned that he was being picked on at school. Despite the school's supposedly strict "no bullies" policy, our son, who was a year younger than most of his classmates but also taller than almost all of them, was in the same classroom with a boy who was almost two years older than most of the kindergartners. So now I found myself having to explain to my gentle 5-year-old how to handle an 8-year-old developmentally challenged gorilla who liked to express himself with his fists. We finally got the principal to take action after the teacher did nothing, but at the expense of his teacher now viewing us and our son as "the enemy" for getting her in trouble.

And that was just the beginning of our experiences with private schools. At one point, our boy must have seen something on TV at the same time the class was studying Christ's Passion in school, and he made a comment to somebody, somehow, somewhere, "Oh, just kill me." I think it was because he used the wrong color crayon or something. Suddenly, our then first-grader is supposedly likely to kill himself, he could be a danger to others, yada yada. So we take him to his first shrink, who pronounces him normal but unusually imaginative and, surprise, verbally gifted, and says that the boy was just acting out something he heard. We were not really surprised, but we were still relieved that everything was normal.

Let me tell you, though, after something like that gets around, nothing's normal ever again. Suddenly, we were the pariahs who were raising the next Columbine kid. We couldn't buy a play date at that point. And our son was aware of it. He started hanging his head when he walked, playing by himself at recess, and we'd catch him calling himself "stupid" when things went awry. At that point, we had an opportunity to apply to another school. We went through all the hoops and got positive feedback from the interviewing teachers and so forth, but one of the deciding factors turned out to be a letter written to the new school by our son's kindergarten teacher. We weren't allowed to see the letter, but the tone of the interviewers changed drastically after they read it.

Fortunately, we had another opportunity to get into a different school, this one Catholic, which is our denomination. Once again, we had high hopes for better results. Once again, those hopes were dashed. Our son wound up in a classroom with a first-year teacher who right off the bat pegged him as a troublemaker for whatever reason. This teacher, we later learned, had a habit of yelling at the kids, and she took out much of her aggression on our son. He began hating school and not wanting to do the incredible amount of homework they piled on every night. The next teacher was much nicer, but by then the damage was done. Even though our boy was capable of doing his homework perfectly (when he wanted to), he regularly flunked tests because they were time-limited and he would panic because he could hear his past teacher screaming at the kids next door.

Just to add insult to injury, we finally realized that the curriculum at the school was the same state-created curriculum at public schools. They used the same texts and applied the same ridiculous schedule of 8 to 10 subjects per day, which hardly allows any time to absorb the information, much less understand it. The parents whose kids were doing well in class, we later learned, were going to Kumon classes after school. When our son needed extra help with multiplication, we were told he must be tutored. Well, the tutors at the school didn't have time for us. We approached the youth director because her teens need service credits to graduate high school. No one volunteered to tutor our son. We were finally told he MUST have a professional tutor. We were given a name, supposedly of a parishioner, but no contact information. This person was not on record with the parish or the school office. The principal, who had recommended him, never came forth with a number. We contacted the church's nuns. This particular order is charged with teaching children. That's their gig. Within five minutes, the got back to us and said one of the sisters would tutor our son, but they wanted to talk to his teacher before setting up a schedule. They talked to his teacher apparently, then suddenly they weren't available to help out.

So in the final analysis, our own church school, using lay teachers to teach state curriculum out of state textbooks, happily accepts thousands of dollars in tuition but is unable to properly teach the children math, forcing parents to supplement with either a program like Kumon or, in our case, nonexistent tutors.

We spent somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000 on tuition, uniforms and other expenses in the vain hope of giving our child a decent education. All that happened was a gaggle of overpaid strangers slowly strangled his curiosity and crushed his desire to learn, leaving him a bundle of nerves at the age of 8.

Sometimes it's the educator who needs to be reminded of what he already knows. My child is too important to me, and I think someday to the world, to leave in the hands of a capricious public or private education system that, ultimately, is designed to produce conforming drones, not thinkers. We, as his parents, cannot simply stand by and watch the life being squeezed out of him like the juice from a lemon.

The reality is that we, like most parents, have allowed this to happen for far too long because it was convenient to let our son be raised by strangers.

No more.

We had started supplementing his education with materials from a local home schooling program when he began having grade trouble and as a "backup" because of the monkey business school administrators liked to be up to, such as putting new students on "probation" for no reason.

We've decided to take the plunge and just home school. It will be a change, for sure, and a lot of responsibility, but the incredible improvement we've already seen in our boy's attitude and aptitude is making it worthwhile.

I've encountered many parents with stories similar to ours. We apparently are part of a growing movement to take back education from the millers who are running the system.

Having been through the system myself, and having seen what it nearly did to my child, I no longer believe in "reforming" the education system, reducing class sizes or raising teachers' salaries. If the government insists on dabbling in education, then what is needed is a wholesale elimination of what we have now. A replacement system would start with teachers who are trained in a subject other than "education," have an administrator-to-teacher ratio on the order of 1-to-20, eliminate the nonsensical scale of grade levels and let students achieve at their own speed in the needed skills.

How do I know that would work? Because that's essentially what we've created with our own home schooling group, and it is working spectacularly well. There are kids who have gone through the same program and entered college by age 15. Many of the teens in the program or formerly in the program have successful businesses. My son's only 8, so we've got lots of working and growing ahead to do, but for the first time in a long time, both he and his parents are looking forward to it.

Diet and Fitness Tips for Lasting Weight Loss for Kids and Teens

One of the largest challenges that any child can face is being overweight. Not only are overweight children more likely to be heavy adults, but they also face many emotional and physical side effects even as kids because of the extra weight. They may become withdrawn, suffer from low self-esteem, and avoid activities that they enjoy because they feel that they are too overweight to participate.

If your child or teenager is overweight and needs to lose weight, they can follow some of these easy-to-use diet and fitness tips. These will help them change their minds about healthy food and get moving in a fun, yet effective, way.

Diet Tips

No one wants to go on a "diet" and kids most certainly will balk at the idea of diet food. But healthy eating principles are more than just a fad diet or something that will last for a few weeks. Nutritious noshing should be an essential part of any child's everyday life (as well as any adult!) and so kids need to apply principles to their everyday eating that can be turned into long-term habits. Some ways that kids can change how they eat and lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way include:

    • Cut back on junk food, but do not cut it out completely. Many kids struggle with feeling like they cannot eat the things that they really love because they are on a diet. If your teen or kid simply eats what they love in moderation, filling up on the good stuff and then having junk food as an occasional treat, they can lose weight and keep it off. As soon as a kid thinks that they can never have French fries or candy again, they will covet them even more. Moderation is the key with junk food.

    • Focus on eating at the table and not in front of the television. Kids should avoid eating in front of the television or the computer, because this is when they eat when they are not hungry and eat more than they need to. Try encouraging everyone in the family to eat meals and snacks at the kitchen table.

    • Avoid fast foods and make meals and snacks at home. Fast food can be dangerous to any healthy lifestyle. Children who eat meals and snacks at home as opposed to at fast food restaurants tend to be at healthier weights than those who exist solely on drive-through fare.

  • Build meals around fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins and minerals and are the perfect base for any meal or snack. Kids can lose weight simply from swapping French fries and candy for veggies and fruits.

Exercise Tips

No healthy life makeover for kids is complete without exercise. Some top tips for kids to follow to get in shape and stay healthy include:

    • Move for 20-30 minutes a day. Kids can walk their dog around the blog, go for a jog, shoot hoops in the front yard, jump rope or any other physical activity for 20-30 minutes per day. This can help them to get active and burn calories while doing something that is enjoyable.

    • Take up a new sport. Sports are one of the best ways for kids and teens to lose weight because they are fun and they foster a sense of connection with other kids. Look for neighborhood baseball or soccer leagues, sports at school that are "no cut" sports (like track and cross country) or even sports leagues at your local gym or church.

  • Play video games that are active. Many new video games combine video game play with exercise, such as Wii games. Kids can play these for a half an hour or so after school and get the necessary activity they need to be healthy.

Teenagers and children can also find out more healthy eating tips and exercise tactics when they attend fitness camps. These summer weight loss camps can help them to foster healthful eating habits, learn new exercises and make new friends all at the same time. They can help to teach kids methods for weight loss that they can use for the rest of their lives. They may also help kids who were suffering from low self-worth to get out of their shells and meet new people.

Kids and teenagers do not have to spend the rest of their lives overweight, as long as they adopt healthful eating habits and make exercise a part of their daily lives.

5 Ways to Give Your Time-Starved Kids (And You!) a Break

With the end of the school year, many parents already are eagerly signing their kids up for extracurricular activities without stopping to ask if this is best for the health and well being of their children. This year, give your time-starved kids and yourself a break.

If you don't have children at home, then think about this information for yourself - while most organizations are "dark" for the summer. Just because you belonged to the group last year does not mean that you need to belong to the same group this year - just a thought!!

A new poll by the National Association of Health Education Centers and its federal and university partners reports that 77 percent of kids ages 9 to 13 wish they had more free time. The trademarked KidsHealth KidsPoll also reports that having too much to do was leaving a substantial 41 percent of children surveyed feeling stressed "most of the time or always."

Allowing children to skip after-school and weekend activities to spend more time in front of a computer, playing video games or watching TV just for fun isn't the answer, either. These kids were nearly three times more likely to want free time than those who spend less than an hour in front of computers, video games or television sets, according to the poll.

Are your kids pressuring you to sign them up for extracurricular activities because they feel peer pressure? Are you driving your children from one activity to the next because you want to offer all those extras that other parents (your peers) are providing to their children?

Children of every age who are trying to cope with self-imposed or parent-imposed schedules that don't allow them the free time they want can produce chronic fatigue, sour moods and poor eating and sleeping habits that will set them up for high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, obesity and other stress-induced conditions as adults.

5 Ways To Give Your Time-Starved Kids A Break:

One: Give Yourself a Break. Kids learn by example. If you're over-stressed from too much work and too many responsibilities, start by achieving a better balance between your job and home life. Exercise, eat well, get plenty of sleep and allow yourself free time.

Two: Become a De-Stress Role Model. If you are rushing from work to home to drop-off and pick-up duties for your children without quality time for your family, you are a poor role model. If the health and well being of your kids is important to you, prove it by scheduling quality time for your kids each day.

Three: Listen to Your Kids. Forcing children to take extracurricular classes or participate in sports can backfire if they don't want to become involved. If they are complaining about their hectic days and not showing up for activities you scheduled for them, pay attention to these important signs of stress.

Four: Involve Your Children In De-Stress Decisions. Let your kids play an active role in determining how to set priorities for what they want to do, incorporating what they reasonably can accomplish. Sit down together and write "pro" and "con" lists for each activity. Allow yourself to admit that you, too, can fall victim to peer pressure, inspiring them to admit when they are letting their peers push them into activities.

Five: Enforce Stress-Free Time. Unplug yourself and your kids from computers, cell phones, video games and TV for specified times each day to do nothing in particular. Read, walk, write, play. Free time allows you to become more creative, and also to refresh and re-energize your mind and body for the next day.

Marketing Strategist and Productivity Coach, Speaker and Author, Ruth Klein, is the owner of the award-winning boutique firm, The Marketing/Time Source.

Kids and Teens - How Do I Find Out the Decisions My Kids Are Making Daily

Everyday kids are on their own at school. From the time they get on the school bus in the morning until they are delivered home in the afternoon. I have often wondered how many decisions they had to make on their own. The kids have to decide what friends they are going to play with during recess; what to eat in the cafeteria since mom doesn't sit the food in front of them; how much attention they pay to their teacher(s); if they obey the school rules, etc. Our new "branded" generation the "Tweens" (ages 8-12) are making decisions about the "click" of friends they are going to hang around and many other decisions.

It is the responsibility of the parents to discover what decisions their kids are making at school. Don't completely trust your kid at this age. You can trust they are doing the best they know how; but, they still have a lot to learn about making their own decisions.

Make a parent-teacher appointment and ask their teacher for their observations relating to your kid making decisions at school. Don't let the teacher ramble on relating to other behaviors (unless you want them to) stay on your agenda item for this meeting which is what decisions does my kid have to make at school during the day. You'r kid will hate you for doing this. I remember Caroll O'Conner who played Archie Bucker for years said to the media and to parents when he lost his grown-up son to drugs: "Get in the face of your kids and protect them no matter what you have to do".

At this age you may ask can a parent make a change in the decisions their kids are making without them? You won't like the answer to this question--the answer is "maybe yes" and "maybe no". It all depends on the communication you have built with your kid the first ten years of their lives. Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness, parents need to seek professional help in this area if you are concerned about the decisions your kids are making on their own.

Internet Safety For Kids - Guidelines For Parents

It is important that you are aware of what is going on when your child is online on the computer. Internet safety for kids has never been more important, than it is today. Allowing your child to go online without any rules and guidelines is like allowing them to explore a big city by themselves. The Internet, like a big city, offers a range of entertainment and educational resources but a big city also presents risks. Our kids need our help, navigating this world. You as a parent can minimize any potential risks of being online.

So what are the guidelines we as parents can give our children?

Never give out any personal information - your real name, home address, your school name, or telephone number to anybody online in a public message such as chat or bulletin boards. If your child wants to give out their e-mail address to somebody they should consult you first.

Web Camera - Never talk over the web camera with people you do not know who they are. You do not know people you met on the internet through chats! Remember people online may not be who they seem. Somebody that says they are a 13 year old girl, could be a older man.

Do not allow your child to arrange a face-to-face meeting - with anybody they have met online. If they do meet somebody online that you feel comfortable with them meeting and you agree them to seeing each other. Meet in a public place and go with them.

Communication - Have a rule that if they ever feel uncomfortable online they have to talk to you. It could be any information they see or if somebody ask them too personal questions on a chat. And there is no need for you to be upset when they come to you. Make sure you praise them for doing the right thing.

Post rules by the computer - Set reasonable rules and guidelines for your child`s computer use. Make sure your child is aware of them and discuss the rules with them. Post the rules close to the computer. Include the amount of time they can be online and what times during the day they can be online.

Keep the computer in the family room - there is no need for your child to have the computer in their room, they should not have anything to hide. That way you know when they are online and for how long they are online. If you keep the computer in your child`s room they might get on the computer after you all go to bed. There is no need for a child to be on the computer after a certain time.

Spend time with your child online - have your child show you what sites they visit and what type of information the sites offers.

Parental Control Software - This is one of the most important things for internet safety for your kids you can do. Install parental control software! We know that our kids and teens do not always tell us what is going on online, but it is our job to protect them. With a parental control software you can record websites visited, block unwanted websites, record emails & attachments and more.

Homework Tips for Kids & Teens

Homework has been a perennial headache for kids and teens as well as for their parents. Following are some tips to make homework time more effective and enjoyable for all concerned.

1. No TV. As a general rule, kids should not watch TV while doing their homework. It might be a good policy to have the television turned off any time it's time to do homework, depending, of course, where the television is located.

2. The radio is OK. Contrary to what many so-called experts recommend, actual studies have shown that having the radio on a child's or teenager's favorite music station can actually help him learn better.

3. Set fixed hours. There should be a set schedule for homework. This way, the youngsters can arrange their schedules and make sure they get their homework done every day. It's also a great way for answering those comments. "I'll do it later, after I've finished whatever," which is a standard line among kids when asked if they've finished their homework. You may want to set a standard time for supper and family discussions, followed by study time. If the student doesn't have other commitments and gets home reasonably early from school, some homework can be done before supper.

4. Set telephone rules. As a general rule, kids should not be allowed to use the telephone during those hours when they are supposed to be doing their homework. However, sometimes it becomes necessary to use the phone, say, for confirming homework and the like. In these cases, the parents should set a fixed number of minutes for discussing school-related matters so the kids can get back to their homework right away.

5. Create a good study area. First, designate an area where it would be ideal for your children to do their homework, usually in their rooms. Set up this area to make it conducive for studying by putting proper lighting, an area for studying supplies such as pencils, pens, paper, books, and other essentials and make the area free from distractions. It might be a good idea to set up a bulletin board there as well.

Is Your Child Depressed? 6 Ways to Help Them Cope - Kids and Depression Part II

In Part II of our series on episodic childhood depression, we'll discuss concrete ways you can teach your child coping skills. If your child seems distressed, despondent or sad for a prolonged period of time, have them seen by someone with diagnostic skills. Be sure to have a pediatrician rule out any underlying issues that might be causing depression.

I can't say it enough: teach kids problem-solving skills from a very early age. If your child has developed problem solving skills but lost access to them because they are depressed periodically, you have to help them regain access to those skills. So how do you do this? Here are some suggestions for ways to help you coach your child through it:

  • Help Kids Identify Coping Skills: When you ask a teen or pre-teen, "What are your coping skills," if he can say, "Oh, I go to my room. I listen to some music, I count to ten," that's good because he understands that coping is a skill, not an art or magic. And once you teach kids that behavior is a skill, the next step is to get them to identify problems and develop the behavioral tools to deal with them. And so it becomes, "You're feeling sad, you're feeling depressed, what can we do about that problem? What would you find helpful?" It gives you a place to stand where you can both begin talking about how to solve the problem of feeling sad.

  • Keep Them Busy: When people are depressed, kids as well as adults, they still have to meet their responsibilities. Again, I'm not talking about kids who are so clinically depressed they're immobilized. For everyone else, one of the most important treatments for depression is to get the person up off their butt to do the dishes, make the bed, take a shower. It doesn't have to be done in a harsh manner, but you should be firm. If your child can't handle a complex task, give them simple ones, but keep them busy. Depressed people should not be allowed to lie in bed under the covers, because it just makes the situation worse.

  • Responsibilities: As far as responsibilities go, I don't think a lot of special consideration should be given to kids who are episodically depressed. Rather, maintain the same expectations. They will probably need more support to perform at the same level. Know that you have to give them more opportunities to regroup. Be more available to them when they start feeling overwhelmed, but don't let them avoid their responsibilities. You can say, "We understand you're down, but you still have to do your homework."You may want to ease them into tasks by having them do the dishes with you in the kitchen, do their homework while you work nearby, or go to the store with you. Again, get them out and moving about. Remember, a good parenting style for kids who are depressed is like a coaching style. Coach your child to learn new skills. During a time of episodic depression in your child's life, I would recommend that you use more coaching and less limit setting.

  • Why a Quiet Room is Important: Children who are depressed often exhibit distractibility and impaired concentration, so it's important to get them in a soothing environment. Don't try to have a talk with them about their behavior or about their coping skills when a lot of other distractions are present. In a school setting, if you're in a special education class where there's a lot of noise in the classroom, an upset child will not be able to engage in a conversation in a way that's helpful. That's why many schools have a "quiet room" where kids can go to calm down. Once that happens, the adult in charge can talk with them about whether or not they're angry, whether or not they're depressed, what the problem is and how they can solve it. The same goes for kids at home. If possible, take your child into a room where there are no distractions and let them calm down before opening a conversation about why they're upset. And let your child know that you're willing to listen to them and talk with them about what's making them sad. You can say, "We won't force you to talk if you don't want to, but we're here."

  • Recognize That Moodiness is Part of Growing Up: We all go through moods, adolescents especially, and parents have to be understanding of that. The idea here is, "Yes, we tolerate moods, but you still have to do your homework." You can say, "All right, so you can be moody, you can feel irritable, you can be down, you can be sad. We'll talk with you about it if you want to, but you've got to get your homework done either way." You can also do a bit more coaching with kids around this. Try saying, "Hey, you seemed okay yesterday, what happened? Did something happen in school?" You can probe it a little bit more, but don't let your child avoid responsibilities through these mood states.

  • "Everyone Gets Sad Sometimes." Let your child know that we all have periods of feeling down, that problems can seem overwhelming to everyone at times. Feelings of sadness are a part of depression, but they're also very human. Even intense feelings of sadness can be experienced without it being considered unhealthy or abnormal. And for most kids, the depression they go through is a period of sadness, a period of being down, a time when something's going wrong and they don't know what to do about it. Parents can talk that through with their kids. And they can use the teaching style and a coaching style to help them manage those feelings and learn more skills./li>

What kids need to know is that no matter what, the rules still apply to them. A generation of kids is being raised to think that because they're depressed, they don't have to follow the rules. They believe if they say they're depressed, if they act out, somebody will give them a pill or give them easier homework or tell them, "you don't have to do your homework, you're depressed."By the time they're in adolescence, there are a lot of kids who are pretty comfortable using clinical and diagnostic excuses to avoid responsibilities: That has become their chief coping skill.

They don't learn how to solve problems and figure out how to manage tasks, because they're mainly concerned with convincing you that they can't do it. The sad thing is that they wind up in adulthood with absolutely no skills. What they don't realize is that nobody's going to be there to take care of them and make the world an easier place for them to navigate.

When your child is sad or depressed, it's not good-many parents would do anything in the world to take that feeling away so their child does not have to experience it. But look at it this way: hard as it is, going through an episode of depression is yet another opportunity for your child to learn how to cope with problems. And the more we can teach them to solve problems as they grow, the better they'll be able to function successfully and manage life's twists and turns when they become adults.

For three decades, behavioral therapist James Lehman, MSW, has worked with troubled teens and children with behavior problems. He has developed a practical, real-life approach to managing children and adolescents that teaches them how to solve social problems without hiding behind a facade of defiant, disrespectful, or obnoxious behavior. He has taught his approach to parents, teachers, state agencies and treatment centers in private practice and now through The Total Transformation® Program.

Sex and Teens

I want to share brief excerpts of the story of the 13 year old boy and the 15 year old girl.

Chantelle (the mother) told how she discovered she was expecting after going to the hospital with "really bad" stomach pains. She said: "Me and Alfie (the father) went. The doctor asked me whether we had sex. I said yes and he said I should do a pregnancy test. He did the test and said I was pregnant. I started crying and didn't know what to do. The doctor said I should tell my mum but I was too scared. We didn't think we would need help from our parents. You don't really think about that when you find out you are pregnant. You just think your parents will kill you.

Maisie (the child) was conceived after Chantelle and Alfie - just 12 at the time - had a single night of unprotected sex. They found out about the baby when Chantelle was 12 weeks pregnant. But they kept it a secret until six weeks later when Chantelle's mum Penny, 38, became suspicious about her weight gain and confronted her. Penny figured out what was going on after buying Chantelle a T-shirt which revealed her swelling tummy.

Alfie's dad, Dennis, told how the lad does not really understand the enormity of his situation - but seemed desperate to be a devoted and responsible father. Alfie, who is just 4ft tall, added: "When my mum found out, I thought I was going to get in trouble. We wanted to have the baby but were worried how people would react. "I didn't know what it would be like to be a dad. I will be good, though, and care for it." He told how he and Chantelle, 15, decided against an abortion after discovering she was pregnant. After that Alfie's family told only those closest to them for fear he would be "demonised" at school. Chantelle gave birth to Maisie after a five-hour labour at Eastbourne Hospital, East Sussex.

Chantelle admitted she and Alfie - who are both being supported by their parents - would be accused of being grossly irresponsible. She said: "We know we made a mistake but I wouldn't change it now. We will be good loving parents. Chantelle has started a church course and she is going to do work experience helping other young mums. "I'll be a great mum and Alfie will be a great dad."

Alfie's dad, who is separated from Nicola, believes the lad is scared deep down. He said: "Everyone is telling him things and it's going round in his head. It hasn't really dawned on him. He hasn't got a clue of what the baby means and can't explain how he feels. All he knows is mum and dad will help. "When you mention money his eyes look away. And she is reliant on her mum and dad. It's crazy. They have no idea what lies ahead." Dennis, who works for a vehicle recovery firm, described Alfie as "a typical 13-year-old boy". He said: "He loves computer games, boxing and Manchester United." Dennis, who has fathered nine kids, told how he was "gobsmacked" when he discovered Alfie was to be a dad, too. He said: "When I spoke to him he started crying. He said it was the first time he'd had sex, that he didn't know what he was doing and of the complications that could come. "I will talk to him again and it will be the birds and the bees talk. Some may say it's too late but he needs to understand so there is not another baby."

While most adults agree that teens are not ready for sex, the truth is, they are having it. Whether we want them to or not, it is a decision that you just cannot make for them. You can give them the tools to make the correct decision, but in the end, the decision really is theirs. No matter how closely you watch them, if they really want to find a way, they will. They are teens after all. So what responsibilities does that leave parents with? How can they help their kids to make the right decision? What tools can they give them to make a more informed and educated decision?

It all starts at home. You can't expect your kids to make a good decision if you haven't talked to them about it. And I don't mean the "I-really-don't-want-to-be-talking-about-this" "I'm-so-embarrassed-I'm-red-in-the-face" conversation. I mean straight talk about the responsibilities of sex. If they don't hear it from you, where do you think they are going to get their information from? I'll tell you, TV, friends, movies, friends, magazines, books, adverts... and did I mention friends?

Talk to your kids. Plan out the conversation. Take notes if you have to. But talk to them. Even if they are the ones that end up red in the face, they WILL hear you. Even, if they pretended not to. Don't give them the choice to dodge out of the conversation. It's too important.

I know there are those of you who just cannot bring yourselves to talk to your kids about this. If that is the case, find another way to get them the information they need. One great way is a DVD called "Sex still has a price tag" featuring Pam Stenzel. There is a Christian version as well as a Public School Version. You can also get them Christian books that teach about sex. Allow them to go for Christian seminars or teachings about sex. They will come to you with questions, and then you can explain to them. Don't be shy to do this. The teen you don't teach the truth about sex will end up causing a big problem about sex for you. I guarantee your teen will read anything with the word "sex" in it. You know, the word sex attracts. Just leave it on their bed while they're at school.

If a DVD would be more effective, I believe you can get a copy at Pam Stenzel's web site. Either way you do it, PLEASE! Talk to your kids about sex. They will get the information one way or the other. Wouldn't it be better if the information came from you?

I see a more moral nation filled with moral teens that have a good perspective about sex. Remember, teens today are the adults tomorrow that will become fathers and mothers in the future. What you sow in them today will go a long way to affect generations positively. Be the change.

Brain Health And Teen Drug Addiction - Why One Drug Leads To Another

What chance does a teenager have to avoid the "drug tentacles" reaching into every crack and crevasse of American society? Drug addiction and drug abuse are not simply about "street drugs" sold by nefarious persons to innocent victims. Both illegal and legally prescribed drugs mimic each other in the many in which they exploit the structure or neurobiology of the user's brain. The bad news is that teenagers have free-and-easy access to any number of mind-bending mood altering substances.

The money culture of America has created an "open hunting season" for access and "market share" of Americans' consciousness by alcohol, tobacco and drug marketers of all ilk and stripe.

Beer and spirits ads promote brand use, yet finish with "drink responsibly" throwaway lines, as though the millions of kids and adults might "just have one".

Smoking and cancer are proven bed-fellows, yet brand sellers "pitch" their products, while placing label warnings and even advertising their "stop smoking" web sites.

Last but certainly not least are the research and pharmaceutical firms, embracing FDA approvals for distributing all manner of body and mood-altering drugs.

The intersection between government and money interests simply rubber stamps the "she'll be right, Mate" attitude towards creeping drug addiction. Everyone has seen the somber and chilling TV ads about "Just Say No To Drugs" government campaigns to build awareness of teenage drug addiction, as well as law enforcement muscle applied to illegal drugs trafficking. To what impact? Precious little, as drug addiction and drug abuse proliferate across all age groups and economic classes.

Sign Of Drug Addiction - What To Look For

At its core, teen drug addiction describes an inner drive, and an inner void, towards self-medicating. Why? Alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin and crack swamp the teen's mind, diffusing anxiety while creating a distanced abstracted "dream like" safety space from the press of reality.

* Physical Signs

Your teen shifts towards an out-of-phase approach towards eating and sleep. Food tastes change, cravings pointing towards intense high caloric sweets and fats. Sleep disorders prevail, with late nights and impossible mornings the new order. Weight gains are interchangeable with weight loss as eating disorders slowly surface. Concentration lapses, missing school work and poor grades. Beginning with headaches and dizziness, physical sign of drug addiction can suddenly "blow up" into a full scale anxiety panic attack.

* Anti Social Behavior

For allegedly "normal" teens, all parents are "pathetic and lame". Add drug use and hostility and suspicion towards parents becomes legion. Teen drug addiction amplifies the normal tendency towards intense secretiveness. Many parents, and even brothers and sisters, are the last to know that a teen "in the next room" has created a life threatening drug addiction. To be a teen is to be a master of the "cover up".

Cause Of Drug Addiction - Contributing Factors

Peer pressure, stress, struggling self-esteem and identity issues, feeling of worthlessness, inability to manage the whipsaw of daily emotions, body changes and pressure to look a certain way, sex, parental pressures, parental neglect. Any one, or combination of factors, can become a cause of drug addiction once use begins and overwhelms a teenager.

Neither a teen nor her parents will typically "catch" the early signs in time before the snowballing effect of daily drug use radiates into a major drug abuse life crisis requiring aggressive professional intervention for drug addiction treatment of the mind and body. For parents, Hell's door has just opened as they struggle to learn new attitudes towards their child, and to admit that they "no longer know" their child.

Knowledge Of Brain Changes Key To Drug Addiction Recovery

Consider the staggering complexity of our brains, with over 10 billion individual brain cells each with over 20,000 separate and unique synapse-links to other cells and a neural "roadway" of 4 million miles of nerve fibers.

* Drugs Create Unique Homes In The Brain

All substances, drugs included, travel along unique neurological "pathways". So-called receptor sites become temporarily "occupied" by drug compounds, creating a short-lived "feel good" mood altering impact. Responding to external pressures, the teen "self medicates" in order to re-create that safety zone. The Catch 22 for all drug users is that they lack the ability to self-analyze and resolve psychological issues, and their self-medication only buries them deeper inside the very problems they're trying to resolve. This is the inevitability, steep slope and snowballing reality of teenage drug addiction.

* Brain Adapts - Drug Use Increases In Search Of The "High"

Brain receptor sites adapt over time. Result? Starter drugs no longer create the "same high". Teen response? Experiment and find another, more powerful drug. The cycle of brain adaptation and intensifying drug usage creates a downward spiral of increasing drug addiction, where withdrawal stresses produce a bio-chemical flow of demand for more drugs and shorter intervals.

Explore additional drug addiction therapies, as well as natural options for managing brain health and moods while promoting natural rest and life cycles.

Keeping Kids Out of Trouble

Kid and teens. They always seem to get into to things right? Well, not always. There are a small truckload of ideas and creative ideas that will keep kids and teens out of trouble and happy. One of these is to teach them magic tricks.

Now, I am not saying this is the only way to go but the thing is, I have found that a lot of kids and teens love magic and music. when I say music, that taste me differ from one to the next but magic seems to transcend all boundaries.

There are many sources for wonderful magic tricks, there are videos and books and commercial tricks you can buy at magic shops. All of these are great. What I suggest is that you find a book or video on magic that you can make. You might find a book in the craft shop or library on make at home magic.

Make at home magic is great for two reasons. Number one, it teaches kids to use their skills and number two, it is fun and easy to do and instills a level of pride upon it's completion.

Many teachers are using this in the class room now, homework that involved stuff to make using easy to find objects. These skill sets are important for everyday life once school is over. Magic is no different and it does create a sense of pride.

Unlike something kids and teens make and hang up in their room or throw on the shelf or later on the floor, creating a magic trick and using it to amaze your family and friends is a whole new world.

There are several professional magicians who use magic tricks objects in their shows that are made from construction paper, toilet paper holders and the like. Kids can relate to these things. You see, creating these things does not have to be hard. It will however keep teens and children of all ages happily occupied.

It is true not all kids and teens will take to magic. Not all children will learn every trick and that is okay. The whole idea is allow the kids to find their happiness when learning and creating the tricks they like. This freedom allows them to express who they are and create fun stuff they can be proud of.

Imagine the feeling of showing off that new trick to your friends and family...knowing that you made it and can take pride in it. Get started today.

Hot Blog Topics for Kids and Teens

Many bloggers today write about grown-up and serious topics. Politics, law, the stock exchange, cars-these are popular blog topics nowadays. Instead of going with these topics, though, why don't we tackle issues that younger generations can relate to? Let's go down, or maybe climb up, to their level. Believe me, there is market in this kind of writing.

Reviews of popular books and movies
Remember how Twilight and Harry Potter captured the attention of teenagers all over the world? An article about the upcoming movie adaptations of these book series' final installments would make an interesting blog post. Also, encourage young people to write their own reviews on movies and books. Allow them to express their thoughts, ideas, and emotions in writing.

Relationship and social issues
These are popular among the youth. Many adolescents who can't share problems with their parents resort to blogging. These kids need someone (a mentor or another blog) to look up to. You can be a direct online counselor by writing helpful articles about relationships and other social issues they might encounter. Start a discussion and talk about the common causes of teen problems, such as love, family, crushes, and peer pressure. Write about the things teenagers don't normally see on other blogs.

Gadgets and technology
Gadgets such as iPads and laptops are the current craze among kids these days. Kids love to jailbreak their PSPs and Wii consoles, so it might be useful to give them tips on how to do this in the comfort of their homes. Technology-related articles may help your site gain more readers among that demographic, and this might give you the opportunity to convert visitor traffic to sales and profit.

Young people love the idea of travel, too. Putting up a travel blog that encourages kids to explore the country, or even the world, is a good idea. This kind of writing may seem to be for the well-off, but you can still orient young folks about unknown places on this planet.

Internet and social media
I wish Facebook and Twitter existed when I was in high school. Those were the days of costly snail mail and direct calls. Tackling topics concerning social media is a surefire way to gain more readers. Social networking ethics and blogging techniques and tips are great topics to write about. These are useful topics not only for the youth but for adults as well.

Fun and Inexpensive Christmas and Birthday Party Game Ideas for Kids and Adults

For entertaining adult friends and family, young children through teens, whether at home or in classrooms, and to liven up Christmas day or birthday parties or make hunting down and opening presents on Christmas Eve even more enjoyable, even on a shoestring in a tough economy, try an exciting and interactive:



- OLD FASHIONED "BIBLE BASEBALL" GAME perfect for Christian Youth.

Don't forget to have your camera or video recorder ready to capture all the action!

1. CLUE-SOLVING TREASURE HUNTS. Treasure hunt party games, which kids of all ages LOVE, have been around for some time, but most commercially available ones don't have very fun or imaginative clues, and often only contain very simple statements that require little creativity regarding where to look for hidden objects more akin to a basic scavenger hunt.

You can make your own Christmas-themed treasure hunt clue game for any age (or for any birthday or other holiday event) by creating riddles or rhymes yourself as we explain below, or save time and effort by purchasing a pre-made inexpensive "print n play" treasure hunt game online for less than $10 that comes with custom clues already prepared, a hiding guide and instructions on how to play individually or as teams, and party ideas all ready to download, print, and play instantly at Treasure-Adventure dotcom.

But if you're crafty, have a little time, and want to save even more money, you can do it entirely yourself (DIY) and make your own simple treasure hunt game by creating 10 clues suitable for the age of the players on pieces of stiff paper that each lead to a specific location where the next clue is hidden. For example, a children's Christmas clue where the answer is "stocking" might read:

"You're getting warm, No time to spare, Look for what's been stuffed and hung with care"

Therefore, the next clue would be found in the stocking. Keep the first clue out that you will read aloud when you start the game, and hide the rest so that each clue when solved leads to the next one until the final clue is solved and the "treasure" is located which might consist of seasonal candy or cookies, gift certificates, toy gadgets, school supplies, or any number of fun prizes.

Optionally, the host might also want to place small themed gift items at each individual clue location, with the last hiding place containing the ultimate prize, or in lieu of small prizes if they're difficult to hide at each clue location, use numbered hand-made tickets to accompany the clues that each correspond to a wrapped numbered present that can be claimed when the hunt is over.

Before the guests arrive, do a test run without the players present to make sure the clues and prizes are all hidden well where they won't be disturbed and in the right order because this can be a little confusing if you're new to treasure hunting, but becomes much easier once you've already completed your first treasure hunt successfully.

Just remember clues are not allowed to be solved out of order, all must be solved to win, and if not working as a team but competing, players will need to keep track of the clues they solved on a piece of paper and not remove the hidden clues after they find them so others can still play (it is recommended that young children play as one grouped team that is not competing).

Also, if you want to ensure everyone gets something, especially in the case of children, have the entire group either get participation gifts or share the final "pot" at the end by making it something that can be split up or enjoyed by all. This can vary, from cupcakes to noisemakers, snow globes, to other small toys - the sky's the limit!

At the start of the treasure hunt explain the rules of how to play the game, what area the search is limited to (such as downstairs only), and read the first clue to start the hunt. Young children may need some guidance, or their clues can be pictures rather than words. That's basically all there is to it!

Besides Christmas, you can also make treasure hunts of varying levels of difficulty themed for any occasion or situation from princess parties to pirate parties, for fundraisers, outdoors or in the classroom, and can be for any age from teens to college students to seniors at class and family reunions.

Again, if you want to learn more or save yourself the hassle by purchasing ready-to-play printable treasure hunt games online at a low cost, visit Treasure-Adventure online.

"Now its time to play, with a little wit, your treasure hunt adventure will surely be a hit!"

2. BINGO GIFT EXCHANGE. There's a new holiday spin on the traditional game of Bingo, and for kids this can additionally be an opportunity to participate in a fun personalized Christmas art activity.

In "Santa Bingo," cards with graphical Christmas themed pictures or words can each be drawn by hand or generated and printed on stiff paper for free online at web sites such as dltk-cards (which also offers the printable callout cards and markers used to play Bingo).

Bingo cards vary in size, but typically are either 3 x 3 with 9 squares for younger children, or 5 x 5 with 25 squares for older kids and adults, where the center square is automatically filled in as a free space (with Santa's face in "Santa Bingo"). The game is not limited to Christmas, but can be modified to be themed for any holiday or birthday.

Each child should be encouraged to color in or decorate their card (and optionally have it laminated) before starting or after finishing the game, and can take it home as a keepsake or memento to remember their special day. Christmas picture ideas might include a Reindeer, snowman, stocking, elf, candy cane, milk and cookies, a star, a Christmas tree, a wreath, holly, a candle, an angel, bells, bulbs, gifts, a sleigh, a manger, the North Pole, a gingerbread man, and others.

Keeping in mind a Christmas theme, a good choice of Bingo markers might be peppermint candies, NECCO wafers, or thin mints that can be eaten and enjoyed when the game is over (for other occasions such as Valentine's Day, for example, large heart candies might be used as markers).

Each playing card should have randomly arranged themed pictures or words that do not repeat taken from the callout card which includes ALL the graphics to be used in the game - the online generator can do this for you as well for free or you can draw or paste the graphics yourself. You will need to print two identical callout card sheets & cut one of them up into individual pieces to place in a hat or bag for the host to randomly pick from during game play. These also can be colored in with bright crayons or markers or printed with a color printer.

Players should either be asked in advance to bring a wrapped gift to exchange that cost under a specified value (suitable for their own gender if all presents are not gender-neutral), labeled with their name to ensure they don't get their own gift and to identify the type of gift, or the host can use "Bingo" as a fun way to distribute to guests small wrapped presents or prizes they have purchased; again wrapped gifts should indicate male or female prizes if not gender-neutral or if it might be a factor.

When you're ready to start the game, the players should be arranged in a circle with the gifts all placed in the middle, cards and markers should be handed out, and the host with the callout card should explain how to play, including the requirement that the entire card (except the center) be filled in before the player yells out "Santa!" (or any other word designated depending on the occasion, which you also might want to have printed at the top of each playing card).

The host should draw, announce, and show to players one game piece at a time and then place it on the callout card. Those who have the graphic or word called should place a marker in the matching spot on their Bingo game card. When the first player fills his or her card and yells "Santa!," and the host confirms they have correctly filled their entire card, that player may then select an appropriate gift of their choice and immediately leave the game.

It is up to the host to set the rules as to whether a player may open their gift immediately or if they must wait until the game is over and then all players open them at the same time - this allows players the opportunity to "trade" prior to opening if desired, and its also a good time for picture taking and videotaping opportunities!

If two players have Bingo at the same time, then after the host confirms they have both entirely completed their cards, the one who declared Bingo first selects an appropriate gift, and then the second player also gets to choose one, and they both leave the game. This continues until all presents are distributed and every player has equally received one gift.

3. BIBLE BASEBALL. Christian themed party games are making a popular comeback these days, especially in the Bible Belt and among members of many religious groups who participate in Christian youth activities including church Sunday schools, so for these wholesome party-goers, Bible Baseball is the perfect way to have fun and enjoy each other's company while testing scriptural knowledge.

And what better time of the year to play a Bible activity than at a Christmas get-together, even though this type of virtual baseball game can also be played at any number of different types of events such as Easter and on Family Night, and the questions need not be Bible based as variations of this game can be developed for almost any occasion.

This two-team very entertaining activity takes 9 theoretical complete "innings" to finish just like real baseball, so can last quite a while depending on the ability of those "going to bat," and it can be a fun challenge dependent on the difficulty of trivia or riddles which should be adjusted to take into account the age and skill of the players.

Each team ideally should have at least 9 players (two team captains may take turns choosing their team members who play in the order picked), and bases are drawn or placed, as is a pitcher's mound and home plate, indoors or outdoors, configured just like a real baseball diamond but on a much smaller scale.

Each team alternates who will be the "pitcher" asking the questions of the other team for one entire inning and the host serves as the "umpire" to keep a running score visible to both competing teams and to rule on whether answers are acceptable and correct or not - whether players are "safe" or "out."

A large number of interesting and educational questions with basic straightforward answers are prepared ahead of time by the host (50-100 may be needed to complete the game), written on small pieces of paper without the answers, folded, and placed in a deep bag, bowl, or hat to later be selected by the "pitcher" and kept at the "mound." The umpire keeps the primary list of questions and answers. Below are a few examples of relatively easy Bible-related questions that might be used that were taken from the Old and New Testament to help get you started:

• "Who sold his birthright?" (Esau)

• "What was the name of the river that flowed between Canaan and the wilderness?" (Jordan)

• "How many people were in the ark?" (8)

• "Who was the first King of Israel?" (Saul)

• "How many books are there in the Old Testament?" (39)

When you're ready to begin the game, the first player of the batting team goes to the plate, and the pitcher and rest of the opposing team "take the field" where they can "steal" points away if the players at bat miss any questions and strike out. The "pitcher" selects randomly out of the draw bag and asks the question of the first "batter," other team players cannot help the person at bat while they are contemplating their response, and if he or she answers it correctly within the allotted time (about 15 seconds) they move to first base, but if they miss it the batting team has one strike against them - an "out" - and the pitching team can "steal" and earn one point if they have the correct answer, although they must quickly agree on only one guess as a group and provide it within a short timespan designated by the host, often only about 5-10 seconds for easier questions. If the pitching team misses the question they are not penalized, and questions already asked should be discarded.

If a player is on first base and the next player batting gets their question correct also, they too advance to first base, and the player on first base moves to second. In this manner players can be "pushed" around the bases and arrive "home" to score and earn a point if enough questions are answered correctly before three missed questions, or "outs," occur. Then the teams switch places until both teams have had 9 turns at bat and the team with the highest total point score is the WINNER!

If prizes are to be given, some suggestions for Christian gifts might include motivational bookmarks or a special baked treat for all participants, a new Bible, inspirational music, religious jewelry that features the cross, Christmas ornaments such as angels, or stockings full of chocolates and small trinkets decorated with Christian designs.

Top Career Web Sites for Children and Teens

Career assessments and tests help you explore who you. Career books and web sites give you a glimpse of the world of work. Free career information is available on web sites. Some writers have written facts for children and teens. We would like to share some information with you. These web sites use graphics, multimedia presentation, activities, and other techniques to expand our knowledge of careers. We have written information on seventeen (17) web sites. Here are the four different types of exploring careers web sites:


General Career Information

Science Career Clusters

Specific Science Careers

Curriculum Web Sites

Curriculum web sites provide activities, tests, guidelines, as well as career information.

Resource One: Career Cruiser

Source: Florida Department of Education

The Career Cruiser is a career exploration guidebook for middle school students. The Career Cruiser has self assessment activities to match personal interests to careers. The Career Cruiser has information on Holland Codes. Careers are grouped into 16 career clusters. The Career Cruiser has information on occupational descriptions, average earnings, and minimum educational level required for the job.

Teacher's Guide is also available.

Resource Two: Elementary Core Career Connection

Source: Utah State Office of Education

The Core Career Connections is a collection of instructional activities, K to 6, and 7 to 8, designed by teachers, counselors, and parents. Each grade level has instructional activities that align directly with the Utah State Core. This instructional resource provides a framework for teachers, counselors, and parents to integrate career awareness with the elementary and middle level grade students.

Career Information Web Sites

Some web sites provide excellent career information. Some web sites list facts about job tasks, wages, career outlook, interests, education, and more.

Resource Three: Career Voyages

Source: U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Education

The Career Voyages web site is a Career Exploration web site for Elementary School students. The Career Voyages web site has information about the following industries:

Advanced Manufacturing




Financial Services

Health Care


Information Technology



Aerospace and the "BioGeoNano" Technologies

Resource Four: Career Ship

Source: New York State Department of Labor

Career Ship is a free online career exploration tool for middle and high school students.
Career Ship uses Holland Codes and the O*NET Career Exploration Tools. For each career, Career Ship provides the following information:



Career outlook





Similar careers

Career Ship is a product of Mapping Your Future, a public service web site providing career, college, financial aid, and financial literacy information and services.


Source: New York State Department of Labor

Career Zone is a career exploration and planning system. Career Zone has an assessment activity that identifies Holland Codes. Career Zone provides information on 900 careers from the new O*NET Database, the latest labor market information from the NYS Department of Labor and interactive career portfolios for middle and high school students that connect to the NYS Education Department Career Plan initiative. Career Zone has links to college exploration and planning resources, 300 career videos, resume builder, reference list maker, and cover letter application.

Resource Six: Destination 2020

Source: Canada Career Consortium

Destination 2020 helps youth discover how everyday tasks can help them build skills they will need to face the many challenges of the workforce.

Skills are linked to:

School Subjects

Other School Activities

Play Activities At Home

Work at Home

Through quizzes, activities and articles, they might actually find some answers or, at least, a direction about their future. There are more than 200 profiles of real people who are describing what a day at work is like for them.

Resource Seven: What Do You Like

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Do You Like is the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Career web site for kids. The web site provides career information for students in Grades 4 to 8. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most of the material on the site has been adapted from the Bureau's Occupational Outlook Handbook,a career guidance publication for adults and upper level high school students that describes the job duties, working conditions, training requirements, earnings levels, and employment prospects of hundreds of occupations. Careers are matched to interests and hobbies. In the Teacher's Guide, there are twelve categories and their corresponding occupations.

Science Career Clusters

Some organizations have created web sites that feature science careers.

Resource Eight: EEK! Get a Job Environmental Education for Kids

Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Eek! Get a Job Environmental Education for Kids is an electronic magazine for kids in grades 4 to 8. Eek! Get a Job provides information about:





Park Ranger

Wildlife Biologist

Park Naturalist

There is a job description for each career, a list of job activities, suggested activities to begin exploring careers, and needed job skills.

Resource Nine: GetTech

Source: National Association of Manufacturers, Center for Workforce Success, U.S. Department of Commerce, and U.S Department of Labor

Get Tech is a educational web site that provides CAREER EXPLORATION information.
Get Tech has information about the following industries:

New Manufacturing

Information Technology

Engineering and Industrial Technology

Biotechnology and Chemistry

Health and Medicine

Arts & Design

Within each area, there are examples of careers.

Each career profile gives:

General description


Number of people employed to job

Number of jobs available in the future

Place of work

Level of education required

Location of training programs: University Pharmacy Programs.

Courses needed

There is a Get Tech Teacher's Guide.

Resource Ten: LifeWorks

Source: National Institutes of Health, Office of Science Education

LifeWorks is a career exploration web site for middle and high school students. LifeWorks has information on more than 100 medical science and health careers. For each career, LifeWorks has the following information:


Education required

Interest area

Median salary

True stories of people who do the different jobs

LifeWorks has a Career Finder that allows you to search by Name of Job, Interest Area, Education Required, or Salary.

Resource Eleven: San Diego Zoo Job Profiles for Kids

Source: San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo Job Profiles discussed jobs for people who:

Work with animals

Work with plants

Work with science and conservation

Work with people

Work that helps run the Zoo and Park

There are activities listed under each area, for example:

What we do

What is cool about this job

Job challenges

How this job helps animals

How to get a job like this

Practice Being a ...

How to Become a ...

Resource Twelve: Scientists in Action!

Source: U.S. Department of the Interior

Scientists in Action features summaries of the lives of people involved in careers in the natural sciences:

Mapping the planets

Sampling the ocean floor

Protecting wildlife

Forecasting volcanic eruptions

Resource Twelve: Want To Be a Scientist?

Source: Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of the Agriculture

Want To Be a Scientist is a career exploration web site for kids about 8 to 13 years old. Want To Be a Scientist has a series of job descriptions, stories, and other resources about what scientists do here at the ARS.

These stories include information about:

Plant Pathologist


Soil Scientist


Animal Scientist


Plant Physiologist

Specific Science Careers

The last group of web sites is dedicated to providing information on specific science careers, for example veterinarians,

Resource Thirteen: About Veterinarians

Source: American Veterinary Medical Association

About Veterinarians has facts about:

What is a Veterinarian?

Becoming a Veterinarian

Making a Career Decision

What Personal Abilities Does a Veterinarian Need?

What Are the Pluses and Minuses of a Veterinary Career?

Veterinary Education

General Information

After Graduation From Veterinary School

General Information

School Statistics

Preparation Advice

Preveterinary Coursework

Where Most Schools Are Located

About School Accreditation

The Phases of Professional Study

The Clinical Curriculum

The Academic Experience

Roles of Veterinarians

Private Practice

Teaching and Research

Regulatory Medicine

Public Health

Uniformed Services

Private Industry

Employment Outlook

Employment Forecast

The Advantage of Specializing


Greatest Potential Growth Areas

Other Professional Directions

AVMA Veterinary Career Center

Becoming a Veterinary Technician

Your Career in Veterinary Technology

Duties and Responsibilities

Career Opportunities

Education Required

Distance Learning


Professional Regulations


Further Information

Resource Fourteen: Aquarium Careers

Source: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Aquarium Careers features careers information. For each Staff Profiles, there is Educational Background and Skills Needed. The Staff Profiles include:


Education Specialist

Exhibits Coordinator

Exhibit Designer

Research Biologist

Science Writer

The Aquarium Careers web site answers the following questions:

What should I do now to prepare for a career in marine biology?

Where can I find a good college for marine biology?

What should be my college major?

How do I pick a graduate school?

I'm not sure of my area of interest. What should I do?

Marine Science Career Resources include information on:

Marine Advanced Technology Education

Marine Mammal Center, California

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California

Scripps Library

Sea Grant

Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station

State University of New York at Stony Brook

Resource Fifteen: Engineering The Stealth Profession

Source: Discover Engineering

Engineering The Stealth Profession has a lot of information about engineers:

Types of Engineers

Aerospace Engineering

Ceramic/Materials Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Civil Engineering

Electrical/Computer Engineering

Environmental Engineering

Industrial Engineering

Manufacturing Engineering

Mechanical Engineering

Other Engineers

True Stories


Education Required

Work Schedules

Equipment Used

Resource Sixteen: Sea Grant Marine Careers

Source: Marine Careers

Sea Grant Marine Careers gives you facts about marine career fields and to people working in those fields. Sea Grant Marine Careers outlines information on:

Marine Biology


Ocean Engineering

Related Fields

In each area, there is a detailed description of the type of the work that the scientists do. There are feature stories for different scientists in the career field.

The career profiles include information on:

What is your current job and what does it entail?

What was the key factor in your career decision?

What do you like most about your career?

What do you like least about your career?

What do you do to relax?

Who are your heroes/heroines?

What advice would you give a high school student who expressed an interest in pursuing a career in your field?

Are career opportunities in your field increasing or decreasing and why?

What will you be doing 10 years from today?

What is the salary range?

Resource Seventeen: Do You Want to Become a Volcanologist?

Source: Volcano World

Do You Want to Become a Volcanologist? provides the following descriptions:

The Word Volcanologist

Daily work

Traits for success



Career web sites help you build awareness of the different aspects of careers: the tasks, wages, career outlook, interests, education, knowledge, and skills. We know that you will be fun exploring careers.

Parental Survival Skills: Getting Your Children and Teens to Listen and Obey

There are no easy answers when it comes to deciding how to communicate or deal with with your children in a manner that will get them to change problem behavior. The best way is to start with a simple goal like getting them to listen to you and respond in a positive way. Easier said than done? Maybe, but let me show you some proven and effective ways to get your point across and change your children's bad behavior patterns without having to bang your head against the wall.

Plan to succeed by deciding what it is you want to communicate to your children, what discipline methods will work best with them and how you can help them to avoid problem behavior in the first place. Start by keeping your communications with them simple. Don't lecture or tell them what happened when you were a kid. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Keep your sentences short, speak clearly and always remain calm.

Children learn from their parents. If you yell and fly off the handle, so will they. If you hit and beat them (which you should never do), they will learn that violence is a way to try and get people to do what you want them to do. If you warn them not to do something and offer a punishment if they do not obey, make sure that you follow through. Otherwise, your kids will learn that all your threats are empty ones and just keep doing what you do not want them to do.

Do you constantly criticize and never praise your children? Criticism has its place as long as it is carefully worded and constructive. Let's use a messy room situation as an example. If you tell your child, "You are the biggest slob I have ever met," what is that telling them? The answer is: nothing. No only have you insulted your kid, but they still have not actually received any instructions from you. Try this instead: "Clean up your room today. If you do, you will have more room to play and space for your friends when they come over."

That tells a child that's there is something in it for them to clean up. When your child cleans things up or does a chore on time, offer some unexpected praise by thanking them for doing so. If they do not follow your directions to clean the room after at least two warnings, lower the boom with a reasonable punishment. Ground them, give them time-out, refuse to allow their friends to play with them or do all three until their room is cleaned up to your satisfaction.

If you have house rules, make sure your child understands them. Too many parents continually shout out all kinds of demands at their children without telling them exactly what they would like their kids to do. If a child stays outside too long after dark would it be better to say, "Do you think you can stay out all night?" or "You know the rules: Be in before dark." The answer is obvious. Rules remove excuses and replace vague criticisms and insults.

One way to take the sting out of rules is by offering your child some choices. There are kids that would rather sweep the porch than do the dishes or clean the garage instead of taking out the garbage. By offering choices and letting your child decide, you remove yet another reason for them not to do their chores. If they fail to do them, take immediate action. Never put punishments or the assignment of punishment off for more than a short time. If you do, the child will probably not even recall what they did wrong by the time they are punished and will not learn from the punishment.

Children are not perfect and deserve a chance. The last thing you want is to be perceived as an unfair dictator. Most experts recommend that you give kids three chances to complete a task, do a chore or instantly change a negative behavior. If you want a child to stop banging a toy against the wall, ask them to stop. If they do not, tell them to stop. If that fails, take the toy away and give them a suitable punishment like time out or extra chores.

If you want your kids to listen to you, you have to listen to them. If your child wants to talk with you, give them the attention that they deserve. Turn off the TV, move away from the computer and stop text messaging. Listen to them and respond to what they say in an honest and concerned manner. Offer sound advice and do not placate kids by saying that they will feel better in the morning or tell them to get their minds off their troubles. If you do not help your kids with their problems, they will look elsewhere for answers and you do not want them doing that. Try to get to the heart of their problem and help them solve it.

Never use name-calling or labeling in your communications with your kids, Do not tell them they are stupid, dumb, lazy, crazy, act like a baby or make statements like, "You are just like your no-good Uncle Henry." You also do not want to go too far in the other direction by using politically correct psycho-babble responses like, "I see... That makes sense... I understand... Really... How about that...I feel your pain" and so on. Be kind, be fair, be honest and be yourself.

Children like reinforcement. Sometimes that want to talk to you about a very simply problem to see if you are willing to invest the time and effort required to help them solve it. For example: Your child says, "All my friends are away for the weekend and I have nothing to do." Ask them if they would like to do something with you. Perhaps you both could go to the park, visit the local library, see a movie, throw a baseball around or do something else you often do together. You can also suggest they go out and try to make some new friends in the neighborhood or visit a neighbor's child that they have not spoken to in a while.

You should never play Let's Make A Deal with your kids. If you do it once, they will expect it again. Do not compromise your authority or their safety. There are going to be plenty of times when you will have to stand your ground, especially with teens. Things like dating, wearing make-up, inappropriate physical relationships, staying out late at night, failing courses at school or driving a friends car without your permission (or perhaps even a driver's license) are good examples.

Teens have reached a stage of development that is preparing them for life on their own. This makes is difficult to keep them in line with house rules designed to rein in their desire to be completely independent before they are ready and to protect them from harm. Teens believe they will live forever and many think they know everything, so any arguments deigned to appeal to common sense or warn against the possible dire consequences of their actions will likely fail.

Teens want respect and freedom, but those things have to be earned. Let them no that. Make a short but comprehensive list of rules you need for them to follow. Each time they break a rule, there must be an instant consequence. Teens love to communicate, so taking away phone or computer privileges for a reasonable period of time is a good start. If they stay out late, ground them. If they still try and go out or habitually break the rule about staying out late, take away their I.D. and place a pad lock on their closet so that they do not have instant access to clothes except for sweats or pajamas to wear around the house.

You have to protect your kids because they probably will place what they believe is having fun above protecting themselves. If you feel your kids might be experimenting with drugs, have them drug-tested during a scheduled doctor's office appointment. If they are using drugs, take immediate steps to stop that behavior. Keep them away from the drugs and the drugs away from them. This could mean no longer allowing them out of the house on their own. It might also mean placing them in a stricter educational environment (by changing schools or home schooling). Regular and unexpected drug tests should also be performed to be sure they are following the rules.

Inappropriate physical relationships are a huge problem among teens and always have been. Teens do not understand the long range and very serious consequences that can arise from what they consider to be just "fooling around." There are no easy ways to deal with these except to limit the times that teens have alone with their peers. Grounding and isolation from other kids has to be handled delicately to avoid making your teen a social outcast. This should be a last resort, not a first response if you suspect your teen is having that type of a physical relationship.

The most important consideration in any step you take must always be the health and safety of your child. Before you lower the boom with a complete grounding and total isolation, try to give your teen some wiggle room by allowing them out within strictly set parameters. Make it a rule that at no time are they to be alone with a known or perceived girl or boy friend. This rule should extend to the point that your teen is not allowed to be anywhere that might offer them the opportunity to be completely unsupervised by responsible adults.

Check up on your teen and make sure they check in with you on an hourly basis when they are out on their own. Make this a hard and fast rule that has instant consequences if broken. If you allow them to take charge of and run their own life, they will probably run it right into the ground. Remember, it's not only in your child's best interests to keep them out of trouble, it is in yours as well. There are many jurisdictions where parents are now held equally responsible for the actions of their children. Parents are being fined or even jailed when their adolescent or teen children get out of control and habitually break the law.

There are no shortcuts to good parenting. You have to be positive, decisive, proactive and responsible when it comes to your children. You must be a good listener, constant companion, fair judge and always follow through with any reasonable punishment when children and teens refuse to behave, break the house rules or decide to test the limits of how often you will exert your authority.