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IconDon't You Dare Waste That Tax Return Mom! By: Carrie Lauth According to a recent survey, most of us will spend our tax refund in less than 30 days. 38 percent of us will use the money within seven days or less and 40 percent of us will pay bills with our tax return. Wait just a second.... Seven days? Pay bills? Mom, can I spend a few minutes convincing you to invest in yourself and your business this year instead of paying a bill that will come again next month anyway? Putting the money towards a purchase that will pay you again and again is a way to gain massive leverage financially. Spending money wisely in your business will cause your income to grow exponentially over time. Then paying the bills won't be such an issue. I'd like to tell you about some of the investments I've made this year and how these have grown my online business. XSitePro XSitePro is a complete website building tool for online marketers. It's an easy "what you se is what you get" website builder, affiliate program manager, website organizer, Search Engine Optimization tool and more all in one. It's now my absolute favorite program for building websites and I use it exclusively for all my new sites. XSitePro saves me time because it keeps my sites and my affiliate programs organized all in one place, makes adding content, Google AdSense ads and affiliate links super quick and easy. XSitePro is easy to learn and a must for anyone wanting to build multiple websites lightning fast. I purchased XSitePro just two months ago and so far it has helped me earn approximately $740 in extra income. For more information visit www.XsiteproSuccess.com Mom Masterminds I joined Mom Masterminds over a year ago and I would not be making money online if it weren't for the coaching, mentoring, exclusive resources and networking available there. The resources alone make it more than worth the monthly membership fee. And the value of having a group of dedicated, brilliant work at home Moms ready to brainstorm, network and partner with you is priceless. Without Mom Masterminds, I would never have had the courage and ability to create my first information product, affiliate program, and Internet radio show. Mom Masterminds is for the beginner who wants to avoid making common mistakes and dramatically shorten her learning curve as well as the more seasoned work at home Mom who wants to hit new income goals. List and Traffic Jimmy D Brown's List and Traffic is a monthly membership site that reveals all the tricks and techniques that successful Internet marketers use to grow their traffic and their subscriber lists to massive proportions. What I love about List and Traffic (other than the ridiculously low price!) is how he explains things in such a simple, step by step fashion, that even this sleep deprived Mom of 4 can "get it" and immediately start applying the gems of wisdom to my own business. What Am I Investing In Next? The Reese Report If you've been in the online business arena for any length of time, no doubt you've heard about John Reese. His Traffic Secrets product made him over a Million bucks in 24 hours- and that was just one of his many success stories! He publishes a monthly newsletter that includes a printable report and video tutorials that show you all the techniques he personally uses to build his online empire. The man is a marketing genius and after reading my very first issue, I was hooked. This isn't for the beginner, but if you're already familiar with marketing online and want to really take things to the next level, this one is for you. One important thing I need to mention about these resources- they all come with an affiliate program, so that if you obtain them and make honest recommendations, you can pay for them out of your affiliate earnings! Think about it Mom- if you spend your tax return on the bills, the money will be gone forever. But if you invest in your knowledge and then apply that information to your business, you will make huge strides in your financial future. Forever. Carrie Lauth is a work at home Mom of 4 who offers a free "No Fluff" ezine for moms new to online business. Get your copy, plus extra subscriber goodies, at www.business-moms-expo.com. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

Icon"10 Time-Crunching Tips for Moms" copy; 2006 Christine Louise Hohlbaum Laundry is plentiful. Time is not. For most moms today, multitasking has become a must just to keep up. In this fast-paced world, saving a few minutes here and there can make all the difference in the world. Make a plan. Instead of swinging by the grocery store multiple times a week, limit it to once or twice. Use a grocery list and stick to it. Avoid food shopping when you are hungry to prevent impulse purchases. Delegate. Children live in the house, too. Institute a few ground rules. "If you break it, fix it. If you make a mess, clean it up. Put things back where you found them." Follow these rules yourself. Encourage your children with praise and gentle reminders if they become wayward and conveniently "forgetful". Your job is not to clean up after them, but to show them how they can do it themselves. Place baskets on the stairs. To reduce the number of times you have to run up and down the stairs, collect things in a basket to carry to the next floor. It will save you time and energy. Limit TV viewing. According to a recent AARP magazine article, the average American spends 11% of his lifetime in front of the tube. If the average lifespan is 75, that's 8.25 years you could save doing something else. Integrate exercise into your lifestyle. Instead of wondering when you can squeeze in an hour at the gym, coordinate a family activity with your exercise regime. Take a family hike or bike ride. You will teach your children the value of movement while getting enough yourself. Use a timer. Distraction is a big time-waster. Give yourself a set amount of time to fulfill a task. If you need to clean out the kitchen drawers, allow yourself just enough time to complete the job before moving on. It will raise your awareness of the task at hand. Say "NO!" Practice it in front of the mirror. Society does not encourage mothers to use the term very often. If your children's school or social group wants your help, agree to it only if you truly have the time. Extracurricular commitments can be all-consuming. Be aware of what is involved before saying "Yes." Coordinate schedules. Instead of racing to the dentist for three different appointments, try to go to your 6-month dental check-up when your children do. Take a break. The benefits of napping have been vastly documented. A 15-30 minute power snooze leave you refreshed and more productive than those who go full out all day. You don't need to be in the rat race to lead a productive, fulfilling life. So snatch a few minutes, shift down a gear or two, and take a load off. You, and ultimately your family, will be happy that you did. Christine Louise Hohlbaum, stay-at-home mom expert and author of Diary of a Mother and SAHM I Am: Tales of a Stay-at-Home Mom in Europe, lives near Munich, Germany, with her husband and two children. To subscribe to her weekly parenting ezine for helpful tips and tricks: www.diaryofamother.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconLittle Ones and Bedtime Woes! by Jodie Lynn www.ParentToParent.com Younger children have so much life in them. Each day is an incredible learning experience. In fact, they are so pumped up about everyday events, that they hate the words, "time to do go bed." Many now know that after they go to bed, things are still going on and usually loudly protest and wildly resist having their engaging activities interrupted. Other things that come into play is the fact that they are now beginning to conjure up monsters and bad things that go bump in the night. Another scary feeling is separation anxiety. Here are some tips that should help with those bedtime woes: Eight Ways to Nip Bedtime Woes: Create a routine. It is necessary to have bedtime routines. Some of these can include bathing, changing into pajamas, brushing teeth, listening to music, reading a favorite story, story-telling, cuddling, and listening to music. Tell them what is happening. After each step in the routine, tell them after we listen to music, it will be time for you to shut your eyes to go to sleep. If they know what is coming, it will help them to learn a consistent pattern and series of events that leads to the part where the parent leaves their room. Make sure your child isn't over stimulated up to three hours before bedtime. There are many parents who will run their kid ragged with activities like allowing them to run around outside, jump on a favorite chair, watch a favorite movie, etc. before bedtime thinking it will help them to sleep better. However, most of the time, it does just the opposite. Young children, as well as all of us, can actually become too tired to settle down and sleep. Cut out horseplay two hours before bedtime. Be sure that your child does not horse play with you or anyone else right before bedtime. They get so excited during the day, that it takes them longer to finally give in to go to sleep. Watch what they eat right before bedtime. It's best to not feed children up to the age of five chocolate at least three hours prior to bedtime. Drinking caffeine is just a big of a no-no as chocolate. Monitor what they watch before bedtime. Even if we think a movie is not scary, it might be to them. Their imaginations are running wild and many times, they really do not grasp the concept of pretend and real. If you are watching a movie with your child, watch the child for puzzling looks and gasping sounds. While it may be cute and funny to us, it could lead to nightmares. Getting up out of bed. Set limits to how many times, if any, you are going to allow your child to get up out of the bed. They all want one last trip to the potty, one last drink of water, one last hug and so on. If you make this a part of your plan, then it will not upset you. For example, if you have accepted the fact that he will be calling you for various reasons, tell him you can only check on him three times. After the third time, let him know that you will not be coming in and he should try singing until he gets sleepy. You will have to stick to your guns on this. Stay calm. Bedtime is one of the most stressful times of the day for many parents. Needless to say, it is just as stressful for your child. As children reach the age of three, they will have a tendency to test your rules a little. By staying calm, but firm, he will eventually learn when to calm down. If you scream, holler, yell, and spank, it will only add fuel to the fire. Everyone will become so upset that the whole endeavor will become exhausting. A power struggle will soon develop and while you may end up winning for the night, it is a very short-lived victory. He will learn to retaliate during the day and may not even know why as he will not be able to pinpoint his anger or even relate it to the previous night. As your child gets older, getting them to bed becomes easier; life becomes easier and unbelievably, you will forget this frustrating experience just as he will -- you can bet on it. copy; 2006 Jodie Lynn Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/healthcolumnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent ( www.ParentToParent.com ) has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including eDiets.com, KeepKidsHealthy.com, ClubMom.com, BabyUniverse.com and MommiesMagazine.com. Lynn has written three books and contributed to two others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest book is - Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You! . Her best-selling parenting/family paperback is Mommy-CEO: 5 Golden Rules . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconThe Many Faces of Love:Staying Tuned to Your Child's Needs as They Grow By Anne Leedom www.parentingbookmark.com I am going to admit something that is not something I am terribly proud of. I get my feelings hurt quite a lot lately. My oldest daughter is 10 years old (almost 10 and frac12; as she would say) and she just isn't too thrilled with Mommy's never ending hugs and kisses. Oh, I think she still likes it when I make a fuss over her and all, but there is a major shift occurring in how she wants me to relate to her.I am suddenly hit smack in the face with the one thing about love that truly defines love....giving love to someone in the way THEY want to receive it, not the way YOU want to give it. When my two girls were young I knew exactly what they needed to feel loved. They needed my endless patience, time and attention. They needed to be fed, bathed and rocked to sleep. They needed to be held. It was exhausting, but it was very straight forward in terms of how to make my children feel loved. I may not have always been able to provide it 24/7, but I knew what I had to do without question. As they got a little older, it was still tiring...answering three thousand questions a day, listening to yet another version of who did what to whom or what the latest and greatest episode of Zack and Cody was all about. We played games, helped them with their homework and marveled at the amazing people they were becoming. The rules were still very clearly spelled out...spend time with your kids and they will generally feel loved and supported. Ah.....but now the pre-teen years are lurking in the distance and the rules are changing faster than I can even begin to process them. They still need to be fed and clothed, but I have a lot less say and a lot less input into making that happen everyday. They are making good choices and it is time to give them some space to learn to take care of themselves. They still love to play games and go on outings, but that will also become less of a factor as they continue to forge friendships that will soon rule their life. Thankfully, there is no end in sight to the countless songs and stories they want to hear at bedtime. Some shred of Mommy-hood remains. However, I am left with a haunting, almost terrifying thought...when all of my tasks and the majority of my time are no longer focused on these wonderful and predictable ways to love my kids, how will they know everyday how much I treasure them and cherish them and worry about them? The teenage years are clearly going to be about something very different than the childhood years. They are about standing back, a little more each day, more and more as the years go by. We want to raise independent, confident and happy kids and they need space and a certain amount of freedom to internalize how they want the world to be with the reality of how it works for them. As our kids enter the pre-teen and teenage years, they will need strong boundaries so that when they push, someone is there to help them know when they are falling off a cliff and not just going for a walk in the woods. Somehow, having a 15 year old tell me she hates me will be harder to cope with then having a three year old say it. We have to be strong for them, not worry about being 'best friends' with our kids and remain consistent with what they need. We, as parents, have a vision of the world they don't yet possess. There were many times growing up when I didn't feel terribly loved. My parents gave me way too much freedom, and while thankfully I didn't get into too much trouble, I did feel that my friends with strict parents were very fortunate...their parents cared about them. I will be learning more about myself and my kids as the coming months and years unravel before me, however, I do have a great formula for moving into this frightening menagerie of the unknown. It all comes down to this...giving my kids the proper combination of space and boundaries along with my continued attention and support. How will I know if I am going about it the right way? I will do what I have always done...the one thing that truly makes my kids feel loved. I will take my clues from them. In listening to my kids, watching their behavior and attitudes I have the greatest indicator at my disposal that I am making the difference in their lives that I want to make. When they know that I hear them and trust them, that they have earned that trust and that I am responding to their internal compass and reinforcing their strengths, they will feel loved...even when they are living far from home....someday. Anne Leedom is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of www.parentingbookmark.com . She has been quoted in national print including Parents, Redbook and Nick Jr. Magazines and NPR. She contributes regularly to online publications and lives in Northern California with her husband and two daughters. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconThe Balanced Mom - Fact or Fiction? by Lesley Spencer, MSc. - Founder President HomeBasedWorkingMoms.com It's a pretty well known fact: Moms are pulled in many directions and their to-do list almost never gets completely crossed off. There's the kids, the husband, the house, the chores, the errands, the laundry, the meals, the appointments, the kid's activities, the birthday parties and on and on. It's an intensive job that requires some great time management and organization to ensure that everything gets done (or almost everything), and there's still enough time to spend relaxing and enjoying your family. Here are some tips to you find some balance: Use a calendar to stay organized. Keep track of home, school and work activities and appointments on your calendar. It may work best to use a desk calendar that you can take with you as well as set calendar reminders in a program such as Outlook to remind you of certain repeating activities, practices, birthdays, bills to pay, etc. Be a team. Ask for help when needed and offer help where needed. Perhaps one week you can be in charge of homework or baths and the next week your spouse can. Come up with mutually beneficial plans to help your family function and have lots of time for family fun! Let go of guilt and know that you cannot possibly do everything. Whether you need to hire a housekeeper, order take out or say no to a volunteer request, know that you are doing what's best for you and your family but not overextending yourself and putting unnecessary burdens and expectations on yourself. Schedule a weekly date with your spouse as well as individual time with your kids. Also make time for yourself. Do not let one area of your life dominate the rest. Use your evening time wisely. Instead of plopping down in front of the TV, go on a long walk with your spouse and/or your kids. Have a picnic dinner in the backyard. Play a game or do something that enables you to really connect with your family. Be a smart shopper and meal planner. Buy cookbooks with quick, healthy meals or meals that you can double and freeze for another night. No need to do it all every night. Know that you can always adjust and change your options. If the choices that were right for you last year are not as good this year, reconsider and re-evaluate all of your options. Talk it over with your spouse and close friends. Then decide what is best for you and your family today. Take life by the horns! Stay flexible. Just as your children grow and your marriage matures, your individual, career, family and marriage needs will also grow, change and develop. Stay open to changes and realize that growing with each of these areas will be fresh, exciting, challenging and probably at times, frustrating and tiring. If you work, remember in the end it is not going to matter how much you dazzled your clients or employer with long hours if you miss out on treasured moments with your children and your spouse. Remind yourself to check in occasionally on where you are spending your time.... and where you are not. Do what's best for you and your family. Don't allow others to dictate what the best option is for you and your family. With these tips and your own tried-and-true ones, you will find that being a balanced mom is not fiction. It truly can be fact. It just takes planning, delegating, flexibility, a positive attitude and some great organization. As a mom, I can proudly say and I'm sure you would agree: There's no better or more rewarding job in the world! Copyright HBWM.com, Inc. 2006 Lesley Spencer is the founder and president of the national association of Home-Based Working Moms ( www.HBWM.com ), the HBWM.com, Inc. Network of Websites and author of the Work-at-Home Workbook. She has a Master's Degree in Public Relations and has been featured in numerous media outlets including CBS News, Forbes, Business Week, Parents, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. She has been working from home for over 11 years and has two children whom she absolutely adores! Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

IconDealing with "Monsters" and Nighttime Fears By Stacy DeBroff www.momcentral.com It can be difficult to think straight when your crying child shakes you awake in the middle of the night frightened and tearful by a nightmare or the monster she knows for sure has taken up residence in her closet or under her bed. Or a terrible dream that leaves her feeling shaken. Groggily, I would find myself talking half-asleep to my 4-year-old daughter, "Honey, I know that the monster moved out last week. He doesn't even like it here. He's completely afraid of you." But, to no avail. Up we went to scope out the situation and reassuringly find her room clean of all mysterious creatures. As I went to tuck Kyle in, she looked up with me with sudden realization and declared, "Mommy. I just realized that the monster only comes out in the dark." Apparently her night-light and door opened a crack to the hallway light simply didn't count when it came to monster chasing. Up went the dream-catcher (doing double duty now as a monster catcher as well) that my friend Judy had given me, and out came the "monster spray." Change-up Bedtime Rituals Read stories, or make up your own stories, about children bravely, or humorously, conquering the fear of the dark, shadows, monsters - whatever fear your child faces. Tuck your child's sheets around her snugly. Give her something warm to drink to calm and soothe her before bed. Draw pictures of things your child loves, or cut them from magazines, to fill a box. Have her select a picture from the box to think about while falling asleep. Provide soft lighting in her room. Move or remove a light that your child thinks throws frightening shadows on the walls. Fill a spray bottle with water and label it "monster spray" and have your child spritz the room before bed. Shake a little talc mixed with sparkles or just an empty bottle with the words "magic dust" around the room. Help her make a sign for the door, such as "No monsters allowed!" Buy new pajamas or a pillowcase and declare them monster-proof. Make a thorough search of the room part of your bedtime ritual. Make a ritual of shouting, sweeping, or throwing out any lurking monsters before bed. Close doors to scary closets. Go on a monster hunt to reassure your child that the coast is clear. Tell your child that the monsters are more scared of her, and she has the power to frighten them away. Give your child a flashlight to keep next to her bed, or next to her pillow, to use if she wakes up afraid in the middle of the night. Hang a dream catcher in a corner of her room, and explain how it will help catch any nightmares. On a warm night, lie out on a blanket under the stars to make warm, comforting associations with nighttime and the dark. Middle of the Night Wake-ups If your child wakes from a nightmare, talk a little about it with her.Sharing will help her feel reassured. Rewrite a happy ending for her, where she vanquishes whatever scary thing she faced in the dream. Let her know that dreams are magical things over which she the dreamer has control. If your child is spooked by night sounds, keep a tape player by her bed with a soothing tape she enjoys to lull her to sleep. If she wakes in the night, she can play it for herself. Make your child protector of her stuffed animals. Have her comfort a favorite one who might be a little scared as well, and reassure her that her stuffed animals will watch over her. During the Day If your child becomes afraid of shadows in her room at night, use daytime to teach her about shadows, make shadow puppets, and play tag with her own shadow. If your child is afraid of thunderstorms, make a game out of thunder and lightening, counting as high as you can between the bolt and the clap, and seeing if you can clap or roar louder than the thunder. Ask your child to draw you a picture of what frightens her, so you can talk about it and make it seem less powerful. Don't trivialize your child's fears. Acknowledge them and explain some of your own childhood fears and how you got past them. Confiding your own fears as a child will normalize your child's fears and help her feel more in control of her emotions and hopeful about conquering her fears. Eliminate violent or frightening books, movies, and cartoons. Stacy DeBroff is a dynamic national speaker, consultant, corporate spokesperson, and writer. Stacy is President and founder of Mom Central, Inc . Stacy has also written several best-selling books on household and family organization including The Mom Book Goes to School, The Mom Book: 4,278 Tips for Moms, Sign Me Up! The Parent's Complete Guide to Sports, Activities, and Extracurriculars , and Mom Central: The Ultimate Family Organizer . Stacy has appeared on network television including NBC's Today Show and the CBS Early Show . Stacy holds a B.A. in Psychology and Comparative Literature from Brown University, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa; and a J.D. from Georgetown University, magna cum laude . Prior to launching Mom Central, Inc., Stacy founded Harvard Law School's Office of Public Interest Advising, which still serves as a model for law schools across the nation. Stacy lives with her husband, Ron, and their two children, 12-year-old Kyle and 11-year-old Brooks, outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Visit Stacy at www.momcentral.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconDream the Dream and Step into It Teaching Children to Think Positively www.pattiteel.com By Patti Teel While we'd like to believe that our children live carefree lives devoid of concerns and worries, many children become anxious and self-critical at an early age. However, parents can help their children to develop positive thinking, a discipline that can be developed through practice. Children can learn to replace worries with desire and faith, and to think and speak more positively. (In child-like lingo, this would amount to imagining that things will happen the way we want them to, and always saying good things about ourselves.) Replace worries with desire and faith Many children are born optimists. They have a wonderful feeling of self-assurance and absolute faith that their wishes and desires will come true. However, other children seem to be born worriers. They may worry about speaking in front of their class, that they are stupid, that no one likes them, etc. etc. Their list of worries can go on and on. Worrying is one of the most disregarded forms of stress. Instead of focusing on what we desire or want, worry focuses on what will happen when things go wrong. vvvvWe attract what we pay attention to, but oftentimes children (and adults) don't realize that they are focusing on what they don't want, rather than what they do want. For instance, if you and your child have been sick, you're probably both clear that this is not what you want. However, if you're thinking and worrying about being sick, it's an entirely different perspective than focusing on being well. When your child expresses a worry by telling you what she doesn't want to have happen, help her to identify and then start focusing on what she truly wants to have happen instead. For instance, if your daughter says, "I don't want to go to the party because no one will play with me," help her to identify what she wants by asking, "What would you like to have happen at the party?" And then, "What if you have fun at the party?" Children who worry a lot are great candidates for visualization and imagery. The truth is, worry is negative visualization and it takes a vivid imagination to imagine such horrible scenarios! Gradually, teach your children to focus on their wants and desires, rather than their fears and worries. Tell stories in which your child faces and overcomes a fear or attains his goal. Eventually, he will be able to visualize these positive scenarios on his own. Think and speak positively Challenge your child to direct all statements that start with "I am," towards positive statements and goals. Negative affirmations such as, "I'm just stupid," or "I'm always sick," are very harmful because they can penetrate a child's subconscious, which accepts them-hook, line, and sinker. Our minds and bodies are not separate entities-they are connected. When a child creates positive pictures and self-suggestion, it can have a beneficial effect on both his physical and emotional health. It sounds simplistic; however, children who picture themselves as happy and healthy will be taking an important step towards becoming happy and healthy throughout their entire lives. Happiness and improved health are gifts that each child can give himself through the power of his own thoughts and imagination. As parents, we always need to keep in mind that we are our children's heroes and role models. If we are continuously worried and self-critical, our children are likely to be the same. Worrying projects negative energy and it doesn't do you or your children a bit of good. In fact, when children are aware that their parents are worried about them it projects a lack of faith and they tend to feel more anxious. Admittedly, there are times when our worries are well founded. Even then, instead of worrying and imagining the worst possible scenario, try to focus on the positive outcome that you desire and on actions that can help to bring it about. About the author: Dubbed "The Dream Maker" by People magazine, Patti Teel is a former teacher and the author of The Floppy Sleep Game Book , which gives parents techniques to help their children relax or fall asleep. She is holding Dream Academy workshops at schools, hospitals, and libraries across the country where parents and children learn the playful relaxation techniques from her book and widely acclaimed children's audio series. Children at the Dream Academy workshops practice the three R's by resting their bodies, relaxing their minds, and refreshing their spirits. Visit her online at www.pattiteel.com . Permission granted for use on drlaura.com. More >>

IconButton Down Healthy Sleep Habits for Special Needs Kids (excerpt from The Floppy Sleep Game Book, by Patti Teel) www.pattiteel.com More children than ever before are being diagnosed with special needs "neurobiological disorders" such as ADHD, clinical depression, sensory integration dysfunction, autism and Asperger's syndrome. Children with these disorders are very likely to have sleep difficulties. In addition, the problems that characterize the disorders will be greatly exacerbated by a lack of sleep. I cannot stress enough the importance of good sleep hygiene and relaxation skills. Children with neurobiological disorders are often stressed-as they struggle to control their behavior, "fit in," and try to keep up with their schoolwork. They may also suffer from sleep-related side effects of medications that they are taking. Medications to treat mood disorders, stimulant medications used to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and some of the medications used to treat tics in Tourette's syndrome can all contribute to sleep problems. If sleep problems continue to plague your child, work with your physician. Consider alternative therapies such as nutritional and dietary supplements, biofeedback and Chinese medicine. This is likely to be an adjunct to the care provided by your child's primary-care physician. To ensure maximum benefits and avoid any negative interactions between traditional medication and alternative remedies, be sure that all of your child's health-care providers work together. When you find the right healing modality for your child, you are likely to see a big improvement. All children do best with healthy sleep habits. However, everything needs to be "buttoned down" if your child has special needs. For instance, while many children would have some difficulty settling down after a stimulating evening, it might cause a child with a neurobiological disorder to be up half the night. And while a consistent bedtime is always recommended, a child with autism is likely to feel very unsafe and unsettled if his bedtime routine is disrupted. For many children, it's as if their reactions have been cranked up to full throttle. Of course, each child is different and you will know best what sets off a problem in your own child. However, in general, the same rules apply-only more so. Tips for a Good Night's Sleep Avoid late afternoon or evening caffeine and sugar consumption. (Sodas are usually a huge source of both sugar and caffeine.) Avoid eating dinner later than three hours before bed if it seems to energize your child. (Eating too late at night raises the metabolic rate and energizes some children.) If your child has a bedtime snack, have it half an hour to an hour before bed. Limit over stimulation. Limit television and video-game playing as well as reading an especially exciting book before bed. Play beautiful, soothing music of your choice to help calm and relax your household. Have a quiet period just before bed. An easing-off period is important because most children have trouble going from full throttle to sleeping peacefully. Have an evening bedtime snack that contains tryptophan. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the brain converts into melatonin, which assists in sleep. Many children find a glass of warm milk calming and it is a good source of tryptophan. Other sources of tryptophan include cottage cheese, yogurt, pineapples, plums, bananas, eggs, turkey, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews and peanuts. It's best to combine these tryptophan rich foods with complex carbohydrates like whole-grain cereals, bread or potatoes; it helps the brain to absorb the tryptophan. Bedtime snack suggestions: whole-grain cereal with milk, oatmeal with milk, peanut butter sandwich with ground sesame seeds, oatmeal cookies with milk. Give your child a ten minute warning before it's time to get ready for bed to help him make the transition and finish up what he is doing. Have a consistent bedtime and a consistent bedtime routine. A warm bath is particularly soothing for most children because it relaxes the muscles and gets their bodies ready for rest. If your child is overly sensitive to light or sound, keep the lights dim and speak quietly throughout the bedtime routine. Teach your child relaxation techniques such as those described in The Floppy Sleep Game Book . About the author: Dubbed "The Dream Maker" by People magazine, Patti Teel is a former teacher and the author of The Floppy Sleep Game Book , which gives parents techniques to help their children relax or fall asleep. She holds Dream Academy workshops at schools, hospitals and libraries across the country where parents and children learn the playful relaxation techniques from her book and widely acclaimed children's audio series. Children at the Dream Academy workshops practice the three R's by resting their bodies, relaxing their minds, and refreshing their spirits. Visit her online at www.pattiteel.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

IconA Celebration of Family By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller www.chickmoorman.com International Parenting Commitment Day, March 20th is fast approaching. What do you have planned to celebrate this special day? Are you ready to commit or recommit to the sacred and important role of parenting so you can uplift, encourage, and inspire your children to become responsible, caring, confident people? Please consider joining with millions of parents around the world who are making a commitment to parent with purpose. To celebrate International Parenting Commitment Day with your family consider implementing one of the following celebrations/rituals. Commitment Celebrations Pledge Night Convene a family meeting. Propose that the family design a pledge that reflects your belief that feelings of oneness and a sense of belonging are important in your family. Include the importance of placing family first, honoring each other's uniqueness, and the security of family structure somewhere in your pledge.Allow all family members to have input by inviting suggestions and reaching a mutual consensus on the pledge. Display your pledge prominently in your home. Principles of Work Create a poster to display at you work site. Include beliefs you have about how you want to "BE" during your work time. Include items such as treat others with respect, listen to other's ideas, encourage others, and keep confidences private. Put at least 10 items on your Principles of Work. At the top add, SUCCEED AT HOME FIRST. Share your work principles with your family. Goal Setting Evening After your children are in bed for the evening, set some family goals with you spouse. Pick two or three to focus on for the upcoming year. With each goal you choose, list activities you can do that will help you move in the direction of accomplishing it. Example: Goal: Use self-responsible language with our children. Activities: Eliminate the words "Makes me" from our language patterns. Change "You make me mad," to "I am feeling angry about this." Use the words "choose/decide/pick" over and over with our children. We will say, "I see you chose to help your brother," and "If you choose to throw the toy you will be choosing to give it a rest on the shelf for awhile." We will stop "shoulding" on our children. We intend to replace our "shoulds" with "coulds." Balloon Release Buy two helium filled balloons. Write several parenting concerns on file cards that have troubled you recently. Also fill file cards with parenting stressors, situations that you create stress around with your children (loud radios, poor table manners, etc). Attach the cards to the balloon strings. Go outside, say a prayer asking God to take your stress and concerns and handle it in a way that achieves the greatest good for all concerned. Communicate your desire to be free of stress. Take a few deep breaths. Release the balloon, you concerns, and your stress into the air. Watch as the balloons carry your problems away. Feel lighter after having let go of all that stress. Warm-Fuzzy Clothesline A warm-fuzzy is a compliment (written or verbal) that is given to another person. Why not begin a warm-fuzzy clothesline in you home? Have each family member decorate clothes pins in their own image and write their names on them. Hang them on a clothesline that you place in a prominent spot in your home (kitchen or den wall). Use the clothespins as mini-mailboxes to share notes of encouragement, affirmation and praise with one another. Model this technique by sending at least one a day yourself. Use this special day, March 20, to re-connect with your children by celebrating your mutual caring using one of the rituals above. When you do you will be demonstrating the importance you place on the sacred role of parenting. Enjoy. Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose . They are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free monthly e-zine for parents. To sign up for it or obtain more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their websites today: www.chickmoorman.com or www.thomashaller.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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