6 Benefits of Reading Bedtime Stories

Posted by Pam Young

Jul 24, 2014 6:30:00 AM

Have you heard people say, “The kids today have short attention spans. Because of quick-paced television, they’re used to watching three to four-second bites and become restless when the action is diminished.”? HOG WASH! As I sit in an Amtrak station waiting for a train that’s now 38 minutes late, I’ve been watching a grandmother read Curious George to her five-year-old grandson.

From my vantage point, she appeared to be a rather listless reader, void of expression, sound effects and lifted eyebrows accompanying some of Hans and Margaret’s incredible thoughts, yet the child was glued to his grandma’s side listening to the story.

When the book was finished, he pulled another from his backpack and she proceeded to read it. The train turned out to be an hour late and the child remained interested in books the entire time. So much for the short attention span.

So here are what I believe are 6 benefits of reading bedtime stories to your children.

1. Cultivates Imagination

Now that visual stimulation is served up via television, IPads, IPhones, Xbox etc., children rarely get to tap into their imaginations unless we read to them, or until they can read. As a child, I loved radio (it was before we had television) because my imagination provided the visuals. Because we don’t have kid radio, unless we read to our kids, their ability to use their precious imaginations and be able to visualize will weaken.

I remember one Christmas, my daughter Peggy bought a bunch of children’s books at a neighborhood garage sale and recorded reading them on a cassette tape recorder for her non-reading cousins as gifts for Christmas. As adults, those cousins still speak of how they loved her gifts of being read to.

My husband Terry and I recorded books on CDs, the same way Peggy did with a cassette recorder. This way our grandchildren could listen to us read the books we gave
them as gifts.

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Topics: Raising Children, Tools for Moms, Being a Mom

10 Boredom-busters for Kids

Posted by Pam Young

Jul 23, 2014 6:30:00 AM

God knows we humans get bored and I think that’s why He made seasons for us. But when it comes to kids, sometimes the seasons are just too long! By now, I’m sure you’ve heard those dreaded two words: “I’m bored.” And you know telling your kids to go outside and play just doesn’t work.

I scoured the Net for new ideas to help bored kids and I got bored with the same old stuff I’d read in magazines when my kids were young; like read a book, watch TV. I did find a few out of the hundreds I read, which I share in this blog, but I’m also going to tell you about some things I did with my kids when they got bored, that still work with my grandkids today.

Blame it on routine

We can blame boredom on routine and that’s probably why we love to go on vacation to break away from the everyday grind of routine. As a reformed slob I know that when I was in a pigpen, it was my disorganization and lack of a routine that put me there. But I must say I was never bored in those pigpen days!

I escaped the pen by creating a routine that had my kids and me up, dressed and fed by 7:00 and in bed with a clean and tidy home by 8:00. I love what Flylady says, “Routines and habits are the backbone of a peaceful life.” Routines and habits breed success, but they are also the perpetrators of boredom. When boredom creeps in, it’s time to shake things up.

A Lesson from the bears

There’s a place in West Yellowstone, Montana called Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center. The Center offers every visitor to Yellowstone a chance to uniquely experience the world of grizzly bears and gray wolves. All the animals at the Center are unable to survive in the wild and serve as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. Terry, my husband, took this photo at the Center.(I promise this has something to do with boredom.) If you plan to go to Yellowstone don’t miss this place. But what does it have to do with boredom? Hold your pants on, it’s next.

Animal behaviorists have discovered that bears in captivity get bored. Have you ever seen a bear pace back and forth at the zoo? (There’s a polar bear at the San Diego Zoo that does it and it’s heartbreaking.) A pacing bear is a bored bear. There are no pacing bears at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, because they experience change every day. When you think about it, Nature is always in flux. That’s why it’s so good to get out in Nature as much as we can.

At the Center, visiting children are each given a bucket of food for the bears and they’re allowed into the bear’s cage to hide the food (the bears are put in a holding cage while the children are hiding the food or else the children would be the food).So your first boredom-buster is:

1. Hide breakfast

Let the kids sleep in while you prepare breakfast. Whatever you fix, put it in a cooler along with utensils and hide it where you want everyone to eat. You could eat in the bathtub, the family room, under the dining room table with a blanket thrown over to make a tent, your bedroom or in the garage (don’t eat in the car, you do that enough already).

Or you could eat outside someplace. Put a note at the table where you always eat that says: “Find breakfast.” (You could give some hints.) When they wake 

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Topics: Family Games

10 Fun Musts for Kids to Do this Summer

Posted by Pam Young

Jul 21, 2014 10:00:00 AM

One thing I always tried to do as a parent when my kids were young was to create a sense of wonder and magic in their lives. I really believe that summer is the perfect season to make memories. My mom was a master at creating memories for my sister and me. Thinking about why my summers as a kid were so special, I have renewed admiration for what my mother put into planning our summers.

She was a BOP (Born Organized Person). She always had a daily agenda for the summer months and it included household chores first and then fun. Attention moms, use fun activities you plan as a reward for getting the mundane household responsibilities accomplished every day.

We lived in the country on a 20-acre farm, surrounded by other farms which are now lovely subdivisions with fancy-names like Salmon Creek Estates, Crest Ridge Acres and We Are Rich Now Village.

Our farm was a ghost farm, because there were no pigs in the pigsty, no chickens in the coop, no cows or horses in the barn but we had all the buildings to play in. Because I was the oldest (my sister is five years younger) Mom was thrilled that I was so creative. If you want to know how creative, you’ve got to read The Sidetracked Sisters’ Happiness File.

Once our chores were done and that was usually by 10:00 in the morning, my sister and I spent the rest of the summer outdoors, interrupted only by the horn of our 1955 Ford. The beep either meant lunch, or time for the day’s planned activity which is the source of my blog today.

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Topics: Family Games, Playing with Kids

Fun House Fairy Song

Posted by Pam Young

Jul 11, 2014 7:30:00 AM

Are you ready for your next adventure?

I wrote this song, Goin’ to Grandma’s for your kids to sing along with. It’s filled with that little kid giddy-ness that comes when you get to do something really fun, around people who make you feel special and loved. Enjoy the song and remember how fun it was to go to Grandma’s when you were young. 

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Topics: House Fairy Videos

Attention Moms! 5 Tips for Relieving Stress (Part Two)

Posted by Pam Young

Jul 10, 2014 6:30:00 AM

If you missed 5 Tips for Relieving Stress (Part One), be sure to read it.

The 5 tips in Part One were: 1. Exercise. 2. Be Organized. 3. Just say “NO.” 4. Keep Your Perspective. 5. Be Selfish. The tips in Part Two) are:

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Topics: Being a Mom

Attention Moms! 5 Tips for Relieving Stress (Part One)

Posted by Pam Young

Jul 9, 2014 7:00:00 AM

Moms may seem to have an easy job, but in reality, although it's a wonderful profession, it includes quite a lot of stress. Many people (including women before they have kids) may think of the life of a mom as days on end of freedom from time clocks, bosses, commutes and difficult co-workers and or customers. I remember when I was young, I loved playing house, dressing my dolls and pretending they were real babies. I honestly thought it was going to be just like that when I brought my first baby home. I had worked in a bank before I had kids and when I found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t wait to quit and really play house.

When I said, “I do,” I had no idea how much had to be done! As a young mom, I was shocked at the scope of my responsibilities. I was also stunned at how little sleep I got. I’d never known sleep deprivation like I experienced as a young mom. In fact I coined a word for how I felt. “Panicky tired.” In that state of fatigue, I lacked any plan. I slept when I nursed the baby and when he was awake; I stared at him a lot and relished the miracle of this human being that came out of me! The house suffered, the daddy suffered and I ultimately suffered from the stress that goes along with running a household and having a family.

One of my daughters, said to me once while we were watching her two-year-old manage a small step up onto the patio, “It’s really like taking care of a small drunk.”

So now that you’re in the middle of caring for small drunks, I have learned some ways to relieve stress that just might help you.

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Topics: Being a Mom