Tag Archive for parenting tips

Help Your Child Earn and Learn This Summer

Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Summer can be a great time to teach kids about the value of a dollar. Math and money skills, creativity, and even marketing can be taught with these kid-friendly summer jobs. Self-esteem and confidence comes from feeling independent and learning the importance of earning and saving can never be taught too early. Each week we will share our #StressLessSummer tips and share other top experts including Dr.Lynne Kenny and Wendy Young, authors of Bloom to make this the happiest and healthiest summer yet!lemonade-stand

Neighborhood Needs

Even at a young age (with some adult supervision) helping out a neighbor who has their hands full or is going on vacation can be a money maker for kids. From watering their plants, mowing lawns, dog walking, pet sitting, or even babysitting, kids can cash in. Help them make posters, depending on their interests and ideas, after they create it, you can help through email or phone calls. Have them do the initial “marketing” and ideas so that they are invested.

Rethink Lemonade

The idea of a simple lemonade stand can be a math and marketing lesson. Kids can research; what’s the best time of day for getting the most customers? Where is best location? What will be refreshing? How much will we need to spend on supplies? Get creative, how can they make their stand unique, instead of classic Kool-Aid, maybe slices of watermelon or Popsicle. The summer options are endless.

Household Help

Not all chores are part of a child’s allowance or family duties. Sometimes the extra work can pay off, literally. Running an errand on their bike, washing the car, ironing shirts, or taking care sibling, can teach responsibility and build self-esteem.

Clear the Closets for Cash

If the idea of a garage sale is maddening, you are not alone, which is why there are so many resale and consignment stores and e-stores for kids these days. Help them go through their old toys and clothes, picking out things they don’t play with or fit into. Kids (and adults) can earn money on the spot.

National Resale Chains for Babies and Kids:

Once upon a Child

Kid to Kid

Children’s Orchard

Pumpkin Patch

For Tweens and Teens:

Plato’s Closet

Buffalo Exchange

Here are some valuable ideas from experts around the world to help you bring the summer fun to your home.

stressless summer contrib.200x430-1

Sue Atkins @sueatkins

Nurture yourself this summer and always LINK

Wendy Young @kidlutions

Smile more stress less LINK

Naomi Richards @thekidscoach

It’s not to late to plan fun activities, rain or shine.  LINK

Vivian Sabel @viviensabel

Fun = Simplicity LINK

Happy Family Superfoods @HAPPYsuperfoods

Summer Fun Printable ~ 50 activities LINK

Lynne Kenney

Your daily health organizer Free Printable LINK

E A Stewart @thespicyrd

Nutritious recipes for family health LINK

Emily Roberts and Neurogistics @EmilyRobertsLPC @neurogistics

Hydrate for Happiness LINK

Eight simple ways to feel stressfree this summer LINK


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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.




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Daily Health Organzier from Dr. Lynne

#StresslessSummer Your Daily Health Organizer Free Printable

Dr. Lynne Kenney does it again!  Here she shares an invaluable tool that all of our families (adults too) can benefit from!  Check out her book Bloom Brain Based Parenting for More Helpful Parenting Tips

Recently, we were on holiday as a family and I found it so easy to exercise and eat well every day. We were on relaxation speed. But when we got home it was back to chasing horses at 7 am, writing til noon, phone calls, radio shows etc. Whoa! Where did all that health fly to? So yesterday I made a little daily health sheet for our fridge to bring fitness front-of-mind. I thought you all might enjoy it as well.  Wendy Young @kidlutions, I and all our colleagues on the #StresslessSummer series ~ @TheSpicyRD, @HAPPYsuperfoods, Sue Atkins @sueatkins, Naomi Richards @thekidscoach, Emily Roberts @EmilyRobertsLPC, Maria Freeman @littlejots, Deb McNelis @braininsights, Victoria @HMMilitary, Jan Katzen @nutritionistjan, Kelly Cairns @kellycairns and more wish you a happy, healthy summer!

Bloom Health Org



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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.




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Eight Simple Ways To Feel StressFree This Summer: Part of the #StressLessSummer Series

Friends, we are so excited to be apart of Dr.Lynne Kenney and Wendy Young’s #StressLessSummer series  and their new book Bloom! We will be posting their beyond as part of our international #StresslessSummer series with these awesome resources @happysuperfoods, @kellycairns, @sueatkins, @kidlutions, @nutritionistjan, @littlejots, @positivfamilies, @braininsights, @thespicyrd, @mommyperks and more…Each week look for new posts and follow them on Twitter, Facebook, and Pintrest!stressless summer contrib 200x430-1 (5)

Here are Dr. Lynne’s tips:

1. Create a carefree free attitude. I mean really, why are we still rushing? Take the time to slow down, talk more slowly, walk more slowly and just be plain silly this summer. Summer is made for fun and exploration. So ditch the treadmill and feel carefree:).

2. Stay on a bit of schedule. It will help you get back to school with greater ease. Your home does not have to be totally schedule-free. You can still say up and at-em before noon. If you have teens let em sleep in a touch then make breakfast with them when they get up and going.

3. Find the time to exercise. We added morning family bike rides to our schedule and it helped us to bond, exercise and get those happy hormones going.

4. Eat all the fresh food you can. Berries, greens and local produce will add a spring to your step.

5. Get your sleep. Get to bed at a reasonable hour most evenings. Sleep matters tons in reducing stress.

6. Take a nap. Naps are really great for brain calming, so climb under those covers guilt-free.

7. Play outside. Rain or shine, getting out of doors is a sure way to enjoy the summer hours.

8. Delegate. There is no reason for you to have to wash every dish and do every single load of laundry. Summer is a great time to teach the kids new skills!

Bloom: Helping Children Blossom is the newest book written by Wendy Young and Lynne Kenney, for more visit www.kidlutions.com and www.lynnekenney.com. Together, we can help children blossom.


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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.




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Tuesday’s Tips: Commuication Enhancers for Parents

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Have you ever been talking to a friend about something important, and you are really spilling your guts, while she appears to be half-heartedly listening?  Maybe she is checking her email, responding to a text, or folding the kids laundry; she may really hear you, but her body language tells a different story.  Does yours?

With good communication, family bonds grow stronger, your children open up more, family members hear one another, and trust is maintained.  Many children I speak to have confessed that they believe that their parents “don’t hear them”.  Interestingly enough, parents are telling me the same thing.  So what’s the problem?  Often times the way we listen that can be the problem.  We also teach our children to model our listening behaviors, if you give off the impression that you are somewhat listening, this closes the door for future communication with them.  Kids are smart, and they remember when they have been shut down, even if it just feels that way.

As a therapist, I have been trained to learn to listen.  There are techniques that I was taught to make sure that I convey a listening ear, they have worked wonders across the couch and even within my outside relationships. Here are a few tips to show your kids (and others in your life) that you are actually hearing what they say.

Eye Contact & Body Language

Do:  Look at them when they are talking to you. Make sure it is natural, not in a creepy bug-eyed, like you are trying too hard kind of way. Naturally looking at them, getting on their level physically and seeing their face conveys that you are hearing them, and you likely are as distractions dimish when you focus on their face.  Also nod.  Nodding is a subtle cue that you are following the story; think about when someone is listening to you, how do you know from their body language that they are paying attention? Do this.

Do: If it’s a bad time, stop what your doing for just a minute, get down on their level and look them in the eye, ask if its an emergency and if not then ask them if they would mind waiting ___amount of time.  Say “It will make me a better listener”.  Make sure to stick to the allocated time.  Respect them just like you would a good friend.

 Don’t: Look at your phone, the computer, TV, or even the chore you are in the middle of completing. Your child, not to mention anyone you are speaking with, gets the impression that you really aren’t fully here due to your body language.  You likely are not looking at them or facing them, which makes it harder to listen fully and hear what they are saying; plus, you are missing out on body language cues.

Take a Technology Break

Do: Put the phone down.  I have talked with hundreds of elementary and adolescent aged children. One of the biggest  complaints I hear is “When my mom/dad picks me up from school (dance, soccer, ect) and they are on the phone it puts me in a bad mood, I don’t want to talk to them afterwards.”  First of all, it’s illegal in most states to talk on the phone in a school zone, so hang up for that reason.  Secondly, it makes kids feel unimportant; as though they are a chore or burden (I had a third grade girl use the word burden in this situation). Use your car travel time as an opportunity to have uninterrupted time with your kids. Catch up on the day, play a game, talk about the music on the radio, stay connected.  

Do:  Talk about talking on the phone: Have you ever been stuck in the car with someone on the phone?  It’s annoying.  If you have to make a call, make it brief and let your child know in advance, as well as the party you are calling “Honey, I have to make a call to let Dad know we are running a few minutes late. Can you do me a favor and be quite for just two minutes?”  Also let the receiving end know you are in the car with the kids “I only have a second I’m in the car…” Keep it short.  If you want them to respect you when they get a phone, you have to do the technology teaching now.

Don’t: Text/email/Google and drive, even at a stop light.  Your kids will be drivers eventually and you are the role models for their driving behavior.  I had a young woman who told me her mother made her take the wheel while she was finishing an email, the girl was 14.  Needless to say, not the best role model, not to mention this particular client’s mother was always texting, emailing, or on the phone in front of her, she told me often she felt like work was more important than spending time with her. Sad.

Summarize and stick to the point

 Do:  Listen and summarize. A teenager will come into my office venting about her “horrible day”.  After her rant I may say “Wow, it sounds like you had a rough day!” or “Sorry to hear about that situation in the lunch room, that must have been really hard.  Is there anything I can do to help?” 

Do: Empathize and ask relevant questions. I suggest parents to listen and respond with empathy and feeling words “that must have been hard”, “Wow, tell me more.”  “It sounds like your handling this well, even with the rough day.”  “Really…What did he/she/your teacher say?” Too many questions may annoy them, so stick to relevant questions about the situation at hand. If they say they don’t feel like talking about it, let them know that you are here to listen when they are, don’t push them to talk- huge roadblock in communication.  Questions show others that you are following their story; AKA listening.

Don’t:  Change the topic or make it about you.  There is nothing more frustrating then when someone does this.  One of the biggest complaints I get from kids is when parents will immediately try and give them advice or use this time as an opportunity to recollect on their own childhood. Of course you are doing this as a learning tool, but most kids see it as taking away from their thunder, thus shutting them down, and the shutting the door to communication.  Use your stories about similar situations after they are done venting, and ask them if they want to hear how you handled a similar situation, don’t demand that they hear it.  They will stop listening, I promise.

Bottom line, notice when you don’t feel entirely heard; whether it by friends, spouse, or your children, and ask yourself  “Am I doing this to them?”  You may not be, but it’s always worth an introspective look, your children model much of your behavior.  Teach them to be good listeners, and better communication patterns will be developed. Also keep your word, if you say you will be off in two minutes get off in two minutes!  Kids use your word to gauge respect, and it feels disrespectful when one does not stick to their end of the bargain.



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Start The New Year Off Right: Academically

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

We generally take the last few weeks of August to help our kids get prepared to go back to school, why not now?  January is the start of a new year, and it can be for your child too. Before the fall semester we buy them supplies, help them organize, and change the topic of conversation from summer fun, to school expectations.  Now is the time to re-evaluate our expectations, implement new routines, and help our students have a successful second semester.  Here are some helpful suggestions:

1.  Discuss your expectations.   The saying “just do your best” is no longer an acceptable way to tell your child what you require from them academically.   This statement sends mixed messages, making your child unsure what it will take to make you proud.  The reality is that children do not want to disappoint their parents, even if they sometimes act as if they do.  Help your child create his own reasonable expectations for himself, ask him what his goals are for each class.  After you have listened and thought about what his expectations are, come up with your expectations and see if they coincide.   When it is the child’s plan rather than your demands, they become much more invested, and real changes will occur.

2.)  Be realistic in your expectations.  If your daughter is a genus in math, but has consistently struggled in Language Arts, it may not be realistic to expect all A’s.  As parents, we want our children to be the best and brightest, but it is critical to evaluate how realistic our expectations are.  Recent studies show that setting the bar too high often leads to low self-esteem, depression, and other mental disorders.  When expectations are set at a level where the child feels they can be successful, they are motivated to work towards it, achieve it, and often surpass that goal.  When they feel that it is impossible to meet your expectations, the fear of failure often inhibits their effort. We often hear, “Well I knew I wasn’t going to make an A so I just gave up.”  This is due to the despair created by setting the bar too high.

3.)  Use genuine compliments. When reflecting on the past  semester and current academics, make sure to focus on the positive, without too much emphasis on the negative. It isn’t enough to tell your child “good job”.  While this is meant as a compliment, students often tell us that it is “generic” or what parents “are supposed to say.”  Instead, focus on praising their effort, creativity, or something that was previously challenging.  Praise the process (paying attention more in school) rather than the product (the B+). Telling them “I’m so impressed with the hard work you put into that project, you are so creative.”  is far more meaningful because you are explaining why you are proud of them.  This type of praise sticks with your child, unlike generic complements.

4.)  Use this semester to get to know your child better. Initiate conversations with your child to learn more about them.  Ask about their goals for the year, for the next five years, or even their lifetime aspirations. Ask them about new interests, current trends, or something you saw on T.V., things they may know more about than you (this lets them feel in control and will often get them to open up). Keep these conversations to an age appropriate level. A good place to try this out is in the car. Use a song on the radio or a recent news story to ask their opinion, and then LISTEN; try hard not to judge them on what their saying.  More often than not, you will find this technique will lead to deeper, more meaningful conversations.

5.) Avoid “Yes, but….” phrases.Comments like: “Good job in English, but I bet if you would have studied more you would have made an A.” or “If you just had the study habits of your brother, then you would get better grades,” send the wrong message. While your intention may be to motivate your child to work harder and aspire toward greater achievement, comparisons rarely have this desired effect.  Children will often withdraw and feel as though they are not good enough to make you proud until they can be like others, which may never happen. When their self-esteem is compromised by feeling inadequate, their grades will often suffer and their effort and focus generally decreases.  Make the basis of the conversation about what they need to improve on, rather that alluding to the success of someone else or what your child hasn’t achieved.  When having this conversation, make sure to point out what makes them unique in your eyes. 

Implementing all of these strategies at once can be a bit overwhelming.  Focus on the dialogue that you feel will be most beneficial for your child first, then once you are comfortable, continue to integrate new strategies.  When children of any age feel that they have a voice and are being listened to, they generally are happier and more communicative with their parents.  This leads to a lifetime of better conversations and a better relationship with your child.

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Candy Coma: How to Avoid the Sugar Overload this Halloween

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Halloween night is fast approaching, are you prepared?   Your child has had their costume since July, candy has been bought for the trick-or-treaters,  and you have jack-o-lanterns on your doorstep, but are you ready for the havoc that often comes with the POUNDS of candy and excitement that your child brings home after trick or treating?  Here are some helpful ideas to avoid meltdowns and insure a happy Halloween for you and your little pumpkin.

  1. Candy Exchange: Dentists in our area advertise buying back Halloween candy from kids, what a great idea!  They donate it to local shelters in exchange for buying your child’s candy by the pound.  If no one in your area is doing this, you can buy it back from them, and have them earn money or turn it in for a prize.
  2. Trading Candy: If your child has an allergy or simply cannot handle sugar (most kids cannot), then trading their candy for a prize can be more exciting than eating mounds of Snickers.  Parents I work with use a counting system 50 pieces = movie night 100= new video game, get creative here and have your kids come up with rewards too.  They will be more invested if they are part of the process.  Another idea, trade it for healthier treats that they like: fruit leather, chips, or salty snacks.
  3. Gluten Free and Healthy Candy: Yes its true, there are sweet snacks that wont cause your child to feel like they have “ODed” on M&Ms.   Allow them to trade in their gluten filled candy for gluten free. Here is a great blog post about having a “Gluten Free Halloween”  and a list of Gluten Free Candies is available here
  4. Sort and Store it:  One of the most exciting times of the year for kids is coming home, emptying your Halloween pail and sorting throw the goods.  Allow your child to do this, parent supervision is often required to check for safety, then let them chose one treat a day, whether its with their after school snack or after dinner.  If they can tolerate sugar this is a great way to teach them healthy moderation.  Store it somewhere out of eye sight and let them know its available once a day.
  5. Protein: Before heading out to trick or treat, or that Halloween party filled with junk food, candied apples, and kids keyed up on a sugar high, consider giving your child a protein filled meal or snack.  This will allow their brain to be less hyper-focused on candy, they will be less likely to have sugar cravings, and it keep their blood sugar from spiking.  Get creative and make themed snacks, nachos with cheddar cheese and top with olives (hide beans under the chips for added protein), deviled eggs that look like eye balls, or hot dog mummies.

Don’t forget to send your kids out with supervision, a flash light, and a fully tummy.  Happy Halloween Everyone!

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