Things To Do Tips

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Are there ways to show love rather than just saying it?

Love a Hundred Different Ways

You can show love for your children in a number of ways. Sometimes it may be verbally saying “I love you a whole bunch” and other times it may be doing something for them such as making their favorite supper or dessert. What says love better than homemade chocolate chip cookies? Or you can show love by taking time out from your busy schedule to attend that softball game or birthday party. Don't try to buy your child's love with expensive gifts you can't afford. The gift of YOU is what they will remember years from now, not the costly gifts.

How can I build self-esteem in my child?

Praise Builds Self-Esteem

Be honest and sincere in your praise. Focus on things your child has done well and provide encouragement in areas that could use some improvement. Affirm that you know they have the capability to do something, but it is like learning to ride a bicycle or learning to play a musical instrument, some things just take practice. Find something noteworthy to praise, just don't praise everything. Praise them for doing a good job in making their bed, cleaning their room, or emptying all the trash as instructed. Praise a good grade or improved performance on a test, or homework. Notice the little things, such as the good choice he/she made in coordinating that day's outfit, or opening the door for you. Both of you will feel better and it will encourage similar choices in the future. Don't however constantly tell them how cute or handsome they are (especially if they really are) or they will become overly concerned about their appearance and conceited. Focus on their character, not their beauty.

How can I help build my child´s self-esteem?

Love, Love, Love

Everyone needs love, especially children, if they are going to grow up to be happy, well-adjusted adults. Quite often a child of a single parent may feel that there is something wrong with them or the other parent would not have abandoned them. Reassure your child that they indeed are loved very much and how important they are to you. Everyone needs acceptance, and your child needs to know they are accepted by you, regardless of the circumstances. Affirm your love every chance you get.

How can I build my own self-esteem and that of my children?

Be Thankful for Everyday Pleasures

Even if your standard of living is not where it was before becoming a single parent and the bills are piling up, you can still find a lot of be thankful for. Shelter, clothing, health, friendship, a sunny day, and of course, your children. The best things in life are really free and should not be taken for granted because it costs us nothing.

Will it help to develop a routine for my children?

Establish Schedules and Predictable Routines

Tip from Shellee Darnell in article entitled Single Parents Raise Good Kids Too! “Part of creating stability and security in the home involves establishing predictable schedules and routines for your children. Of course, we must not be rigid and inflexible, because children need to learn that life is not always predictable. Find a healthy balance.”

My child has big dreams, is that normal or okay?

Raise a Dreamer

Let your child dream those dreams of greatness even if you don't feel they will ever attain them. It may surprise you what they can do if we support their endeavors. They may never achieve their goal, but they will certainly be a lot further than they would have been if they hadn't dared to dream. Don't squelch those dreams. Provide encouragement and guidance when possible to encourage your child to be all they can be. With the right amount of determination, anything is possible.

How can I find out about my children´s friends?

Get Involved in Your Child's Activities

If your child is in scouting, volunteer to be a troop leader or helper. If your child participates in sports, volunteer to help in concession stands or carpooling kids to and from practice. Attend the sporting events and cheer your child's team on to victory. Let your child know his/her activities are important. This way you will get to meet many of their friends and can provide a positive role model. Don't wait until your kids are teenagers to be concerned about who their friends are. Taking an active interest in your child's activities and meeting their friends will go a long way in helping them form good friendships.

What´s the difference between religion and spirituality?

Spirituality, not Religion, Is Important

Information taken from above named article at
The findings of a recent study at Columbia University “show that a personal sense of spirituality helps adolescents avoid alcohol and drug use and abuse. Unlike adults in Alcoholics Anonymous, adolescents in this study were shown not to be helped by a rigid or forced adherence to religion. In other words, religion forced upon adolescents by their parents or others has little effect, but if teens have made a personal choice to pursue a spiritual life, they are much less likely to drink and do drugs.” The study was published in the September issues of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. The key is to find a church to attend WITH your child that teaches about having an “active personal relationship” with God. Caution: Spiritual food is needed on a daily basis, it is not a one-time thing. Just as we feed our bodies daily to keep from being malnourished, our spiritual body needs daily food to keep it healthy.

Any night time safety tips?

Avoid Being a Victim

The following advice comes from an article on Physical Safety found at
There are three reasons women are easy targets for random acts of violence: (1) Lack of awareness. You MUST be aware of where you are and what is going on around you. (2) Body Language. Keep your head up, swing your arms, and stand straight. (3) Wrong place, wrong time. Do not walk alone in an alley or drive in bad neighborhoods at night. If you are alone at night, be cautious of where you are going and getting in and out of the car.

How can I encourage my child´s spiritual growth?

Faith - Set an Example

Don't send your children to church, take them. Children learn by example, so make sure you set the right example for them. If you find church boring and you aren't able to see any value in it, perhaps you are not attending the right church. Start visiting other churches to find one that will feed your spirit. Ask friends, neighbors, or co-workers for recommendations. You may want to consider a church that has a Singles ministry. Get involved in your church and encourage your children to get involved. You'll all be a lot happier when that emptiness inside in your spirit is properly nourished.

How can I get involved with others?

Get Involved with School

Get involved in your child's school. Attend parent-teacher association meetings at school, teacher conferences, back-to-school night, school carnivals. Volunteer to be a home room parent and help plan your child's parties for her class at school. Don't leave their education completely up to the teachers. Get acquainted with the teacher and find out how you can help your child get a good education. If you take an active interest in your child's education, your child will realize it is important and something to be taken seriously.

What´s a quiet activity my kids can do?

Scrapbook Fun

Let your child create a scrapbook detailing each year of his/her life. Provide your child with copies of family photos showing your child at various ages of life. Let them create a page or more for each year beginning with snapshots of their arrival on this earth, the trip home from the hospital, first bath, first Christmas, or whatever photos you have. They can make a collage, cut photos into artistic shapes, add newspaper headlines, etc. that they want to capture each year of their life. Add favorite mementos such as movie and concert tickets, amusement park admissions, even special printed beverage napkins that escaped being used. This is a good activity to do each year around their birthday. Many craft stores have scrapbook supplies available with precut designs, page backgrounds, etc. that can be used in designing pages. This is a good rainy day activity.

Any tips on making car trips with kids?

Make Frequent Pit Stops

While adults can travel 4-5 hours without having a need to stop, children often find this too restricting. Plan to make a stop every 2-3 hours to give everyone a chance to stretch their legs, refuel their bodies, and answer mother nature's call. On long trips, state parks make good rest stops. Take a half-hour or so and take a short walk around the area or check out a hiking trail. You will get an opportunity to explore the area and the physical activity will be good for you. And the kids may tire out and be ready to settle down for the remainder of the trip.

How can I build my own self-esteem and that of my children?

Help Others

Even low-income families can give to others. "Gifts" do not have to be of money. You and your children can donate your time to help a neighbor or volunteer at a local shelter. Together you can rake leaves, mow lawns, shovel the walkway after it snows, or even chauffeur them to run errands. Look for ways to help others. This not only gives you and your children a sense of accomplishment but it can also provide you with a support network if needed.

How can I avoid guilt feelings because I work outside the home?

Quality Not Quantity Is What's Important

You can make up for your absence by spending quality time with your children when you can. It is not the amount of time you spend with your children as it is the quality. Spending hours at home with your children watching TV nonstop is not quality time. Taking the time to sit down with each of them and talking about the day or their problems says to your child that you care about them. Children have a need to feel loved that is just as important as feeling secure about their safety. Give your children the love they need, teach them how to accept responsibility, and if everybody works together as a team, there should be nothing you can not handle.

How important is spirituality in a child´s life?

Keep the Faith

Not only do we need strong healthy bodies and minds, we need strong spiritual bodies. Don't' neglect feeding your child's spirit. Raise your children in church and keep them there. Attending church services should not be an option. You don't let them choose whether or not they attend school, so why should they have a choice on attending church. If they don't enjoy going to church, then help them find a church they can enjoy attending. Helping a child develop spiritually will reap tremendous rewards and help them avoid a lot of pitfalls.

What’s a good way to get my kids to bed on time?

Goodnight Moon

Make bedtime a special time. With younger children, read them a story from their favorite book. With older children you may want to talk about tomorrow's plans and any arrangements that need to be made. Some families like to have a family devotion and prayer before retiring. Do what works best for you, just make it special and enjoyable. A hug, goodnight kiss or smile will provide more pleasant dreams than arguments. For fun, sometimes my children and I would call out “goodnight” to each other from our bedrooms, and then someone would say “goodnight John-Boy” just as they did at the end of the TV show, The Waltons. That was the signal for everyone to be quiet and go to sleep.

What can I do to help others?

Random Acts of Kindness

How do you feel when you stop and do a good deed for someone, such as letting a car pull into the lane ahead of you, or when you pick up your neighbor's trash can out of the street and place it on the curb? It should make you feel good that you have done something for someone else, which should make you feel better about yourself. Take time to do some random acts of kindness every day. You will not only help other people, but you will also help yourself. Give yourself credit for doing good things for others without expecting a reward. It doesn't count if you are doing it to manipulate or make someone feel guilty into paying you back. Do it anonymously for even greater satisfaction. And the better you feel about yourself, the better you will treat others.

Any suggestions for being safe while driving?

Car Safety Tips

The following advice comes from an article on Physical Safety found at
Avoid car trouble by always keeping your car in good working condition. If your car does break down, be sure to have a cell phone to call for help and lock your doors. Always keep a blanket, a pair of warm clothes, boots or walking shoes, and a flashlight in your car for emergencies. Put on your hazard lights and wait for help to arrive. If you do not have a cell phone, consider getting one. If you use it only for emergencies, the cost can be minimal and could well save your life.

What are some safety tips regarding using cell phones?

Cell Phone Safety

Almost everyone has a cell phone these days. It is important though to use it responsibly and if you are driving, for emergency use only. Almost half of all accidents are attributed to drivers being distracted by cell phones, smoking, or other individuals in the car. Some safety tips for using cell phones in the car: Use phone in the car only for emergencies. Don't answer a ringing phone while you are driving, let voice mail pick up any messages. Wait until you can pull safely off the road, then stop and check for messages or make that important phone call you just remembered.

What are some appropriate gifts for hosts?

Never Visit Empty-Handed

When planning overnight or extended visits with family or friends in their home, it is always appropriate to bring a gift with you. If fresh fruit is in season, you may want to consider bringing some peaches, apples, oranges, etc. when traveling to a region that does not produce these crops. If your area is known for its barbecue sauce, marinades, special seasonings, etc., you may want to consider these items. Or you may want to visit specialty shops where you can pick up soaps, candles, or unique craft items to bring. Remember you are saving money on hotel accommodations by visiting family and friends, so be sure to show your appreciation to your hosts for their hospitality, even if it is your parents. Be careful not to take advantage of their hospitality or be burdensome to them. You just might be welcomed back.

How can I help build my child´s self-esteem?

Great Expectations

Provide encouragement and NEVER let the words “drop-out” or “juvenile delinquent” enter your mind or vocabulary. Children try to measure up to our expectations. Expect the BEST and you won't be disappointed. Never plant negative thoughts in your child's head or they will grow. Plant POSITIVE seeds if you want a good harvest. Encourage you child to be the best he/she can be and let them know that is what you expect. It doesn't have to be perfect, or the best there every was, just their best. Always giving their best will help ensure their success.

What type of charitable contributions can we make as a family?

Give a Little Back

A wonderful way to spend some family time together can be by working together to help others. Here are a few of the possible ideas to try as a family: visit a nursing home, do a walkathon, make baskets for needy families, or bake a cake for a sick friend or neighbor. You and your kids will be better because of it.

How can I make moving easier on my children?

Let the Children Help When Moving

If you are preparing to move, let your child help with some of the moving arrangements. Things are not as scary if you have some control over them. Kids need to feel they have some control over changes being made in their lives. For instance, they have help decide where to put furniture in their room, and even help in packing, especially their personal belongs such as toys, books, etc.

Any safety tips for getting into a car?

Safety Tips on Getting into Your Car

The following advice comes from an article on Physical Safety found at
Always be aware of your surroundings. Look around you, look into your car, check the passenger side floor and the back seat. Check under the car as you approach it to be sure no one is under it. If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars. Observe the car parked on the driver's side of your vehicle and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard or policeman to walk back out with you.

Is it okay to just sit in my car?

Avoid Sitting in Your Car

The following advice comes from a Physical Safety article found at
Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, etc. and just sit while they figure their checkbook, make a list, etc. This can be very dangerous. A predator could be watching you and this provides a perfect opportunity for him to get in the car on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and force you to drive off. As soon as you get into your car, lock the doors, start your car, and then leave. Figure your checkbook at home. It is not necessary to repair your makeup then. Wait until you arrive at your destination and slip into the ladies' room.

Should I be concerned about getting on elevators with strangers?

Elevator Safety Tips

The following advice comes from an article on Physical Safety found at When alone, always take the elevator instead of the stairs. Stairwells are horrible places to be alone. If there is a weirdo already on the elevator, pretend you forgot something and wait for the next one. Of course, bad men don't always look bad or weird. Once on the elevator, stand near the front by the doors, and stay away from the corners. If the elevator stops and someone strange gets on, you need to get off when he gets on. Never get trapped alone with a weirdo or someone acting strangely in an elevator. Remember, there is safety in numbers.

What should I do when visiting family for an extended period of time?

Visiting Family

Traveling cross-country to visit family can save money on motel and hotel accommodations. Be careful not to be a freeloader though. You and your kids should try to help out with household chores as much as possible and offer to help buy groceries in appreciation for staying in their home. If those offers are refused, you may want to consider treating the host family to dinner out some evening.

How do I cope with all the luggage and stuff on trips?

Travel Light

If traveling with young children, remember that you are the one who will have to maneuver all the luggage, so pack as light as possible. If you are staying in a cabin or condo with kitchen facilities, you may want to wait until you arrive to purchase groceries and other supplies. If you have older children, you can enlist their help in getting everything carried inside. Make the trip as enjoyable as you can without overburdening anybody, including yourself.

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