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Archive for July, 2011


Posted on: July 25th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

  • Establish ground rules ahead of time.  When children know what is expected and knows what the rules are they are less likely to break them.  Once you’ve established the rules, explain why they exist and what the consequences are if broken.  When a rule is broken then the consequence must occur or they will not learn that there are consequences for their bad behavior.  If children can count on the rules staying the same, they’re more likely to abide by them.  Punishments can vary depending on the age of the child (ie: time out, take away a toy or a particular activity, even a privilege like getting to stay up late).
  • Don’t say “Because I said so”.    Tell your child the reason behind the decisions you make.  Not because you are trying to prove your point or persuade them but so they understand why. In other words, don’t try to persuade your child into thinking your reasons have merit. Some lessons won’t be understood until they are explained or they are older.
  • Allow disagreement.   Listen to their argument and respect what they are saying. When your child disagrees with your reasons, talk it out and explain your reasons.  If you don’t respect what your child has to say, they will not respect or listen to what you have to say.
  • Choose your battles.  Give them two choices and let them choose from what you feel is appropriate.   If kids are constantly being corrected, and told what to do they tend to stop listening.  They must learn some things on their own and once they experience it, they will probably learn the lesson.  But don’t give in to unreasonable behavior.  If a tantrum is being thrown because they want something, the last thing you should do is give them what they wanted.   Reward good behavior not bad.
  • Monkey see, monkey do.  Do not forget that kids learn how to handle disagreements by watching their moms and dads’ example.  Your kids model themselves after you.  If you can control your temper, then you will argue less. So often, kids (and adults) let their tempers take control and something gets said that is hurtful and hard to take back.   Staying calm, assertive and polite makes it easier to resolve conflicts and stay in control.

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Posted on: July 25th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

By Sharon Nolfi, M.A. for Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine,

Your family loves to travel, but the price of vacations seems out of reach. Don’t stay home. Instead, learn the secrets of budget travel and go!  Start by following these tips.

  •  Research And Plan Ahead of Time.  Snag the best bargains either by booking far ahead, or by waiting until the last minute. Use the Internet to book flights and hotels to avoid booking fees. Order free brochures from tourist board and visitor center websites; they often contain coupons offering discounts for local establishments.
  • Involve Children In Budgeting For Trip.   Children are most likely to follow a spending plan that they helped to create. Listen and learn their actual priorities before planning expensive activities.  Decide together what each person will be allowed for souvenirs and extras.
  • Pick The Slow Season.  This is possible even with school age children. Expensive resorts in Florida and Arizona are often 50% cheaper during the summer. Yes, it will be hot, but the elaborate pools and other water features make up for it.
  • Start With A Picnic. The first meal of any family vacation should be one you bring from home. Whether shared on an airplane or a shady spot by the highway, a simple picnic is the first step to a thrifty holiday.
  • Carry Food and Drinks.  Avoid high airport prices and bring food from home. Bring empty water bottles and fill after passing through security. Road trips offer even more opportunity to save on food costs. Carry shelf-stable snacks and drinks. Use an ice chest for perishables, with ice packs you can refreeze in hotel refrigerators. Visit grocery stores instead of restaurants.
  • Rent A Kitchen. Instead of a traditional hotel room, consider a suite that includes a refrigerator and microwave. You can store food and prepare some meals yourself, perhaps eating out only once a day. A condo is the best alternative for longer stays, as you get lots of space along with a full kitchen. Search “vacation rentals” on the Internet.
  • Stay Where Breakfast And Happy Hour Are Free.  Many hotels offer the first meal of the day at no cost, and complimentary drinks and snacks are served in the early evening. Some places even serve a free buffet dinner, usually with kid-pleasing fare like chili or pasta.
  • Dine Where Kids Eat Free or Cheaply.  Look for specials offering free meals to kids accompanied by paying adults. Visit restaurants that have “children’s menus” and have your kids order from it. This strategy saves both money and wasted food. Consider ordering adult appetizers as entrees for children.
  • Try Camping. Lodging is the most expensive portion of many trips, so a family that learns to sleep under the stars can save real money.
  •  Vacation with Another Family. This strategy offers several benefits. You can split costs on a large condo or house, and organize a babysitting exchange so each couple can spend time together without their kids. Cooking chores  can be shared as well.
  •   Reduce or Eliminate “Shopping” as an Activity.  “Browsing” in the quaint and elegant stores found in many vacation spots can blow a travel budget in minutes. Find more interesting things to do where you won’t be tempted to spend money.
  •  Look For Free Activities and Souvenirs.  The great outdoors offer hiking, beach going and sightseeing at little or no cost. In cities, look for “free admission” days at museums and other attractions. Search local newspapers for deals and coupons. Souvenirs can be natural objects like shiny stones or delicate shells (collected where permitted), or freebies such as coloring books given away by park rangers.

You and your family can enjoy great travel experiences for a lot less money than you might imagine. The keys are advance planning, the right lodging choices, and using available discounts. You don’t have to stay home

Budget Travel Resources

  1. Type “tourist board” along with your destination in any search engine to find websites offering free information and local discounts.
  2. Check the website of any museum that interests you; most offer free admission on at least some days. Plan accordingly.
  3. For large cities, visit several attractions at nearly half the price you’d pay for individual admissions to each one. Buy ahead or at first attraction you visit.
  4. Available for over 120 cities in North America. Coupons offer discounts, 2 for 1 deals and freebies for food, entertainment, shopping and transportation.
  5. The Hilton brand includes Embassy Suites that offer free full breakfast and happy hour and Hilton Garden Inns offering all that, plus a simple dinner.



Posted on: July 15th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

The killing of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky in New York City is a stark reminder of how important it is to talk with our children about staying safe when we’re not around.

While we may want to watch over our children 24/7, it’s just not realistic or healthy. Children need the freedom to grow and handle more responsibility, but you must be sure they are ready and the appropriate age. A staggering 98 percent of children are abducted by someone they know.  So it’s not about not talking to strangers; it’s about teaching kids the truth and the realities of the world.

Here are questions you should ask yourself to determine whether your child is ready to walk home alone.


  • Do you have open, honest communication with your child? Have you taught her about the realities of life — the good, the bad and the ugly?
  • Does your child know how to stand up for himself, especially in stressful situations? Is he confident and aware?
  • Does your child know that just because someone is an adult it doesn’t mean they can tell her to do things she knows is wrong? While children should respect adults, you should also teach them that doing what is right is more important
  • Does your child know how and who to ask for help, such as a police officer
  • Does your child understand how to pay attention to trust his instincts?
  • Does your child know that it’s okay to fight back to get away or out of a dangerous situation?
  • Does your child know what to do if something does happen?  What to scream?  What to do? Where to go?
  • Does your child know that she should never get into a car or go anywhere with someone she doesn’t know
  • Does he know your neighborhood inside out and have a good sense of direction
  • Does she know how to operate a cell phone to contact 911 or you?


For help on how to talk to your kids about strangers and other important topics, visit

Shocking Child Abduction Statistics

Learn what to do yourself teach your child and trust your instincts.  Only you will know when they are ready. The horrific tragedy that struck a small community in New York earlier this week should be a reminder to all parents that open dialogue and communication with your children is key to their success and their safety.

How to Prevent Abductions


Posted on: July 12th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Car crashes kill more young people than any other cause, accounting for nearly half of all teen deaths in America each year.  The time will come when the teenager will ask for the keys to the car. You want to know that you have provided all the tools you can for keeping your teenage driver safe. Start early in preparing for that driving day.

Create a dialogue about driving. Use current news stories, events on the road and even questions to talk about driving situations and how to handle them. If something makes you angry while driving and the kids in the car, tell them what happened so that they learn to be defensive drivers.  Give your teenager a chance to share ideas, stories and thoughts without interruption. Work together to expand the ideas into actions that would work in real life situations.

Staying cool as a copilot.  Put in the practice before taking the solo wheel. Pilots are required to do a certain number of hours before they get their first chance at a solo flight. Put that same requirement before you teenager and then be willing to let them get behind the wheel in order to fulfill that number. Start in an empty parking lot, or with pulling in and out of the driveway.  Choose times when traffic is not as hectic – which may require going for a drive even when you have no place in particular to go.

Sign up for a class. All parents are not made to teach their own children. It may be a good idea to consider investing in driving classes that will give your teenager the skills needed to be confident and safe behind the wheel of a car. An added bonus to taking these classes is that most insurance companies will offer a deduction for passing driving classes (a tremendous help considering premiums on teenagers can be so expensive).

Practice what you preach. Preparing teenagers to drive requires driving in a way that you want your teenager to emulate. When you’re teaching your teen how to drive, they presume you know what you’re talking about. Be their example of excellent driving. Do you adhere to the rules even when no one is looking? Do you go ballistic when someone cuts you off? Do you keep your calm when faced with a road accident? Teens see your driving behavior and they remember. Be the better driver, and they will too.

Go beyond the manual. The internet provides a new avenue for finding information. Give your teenager a task for finding out ways to prevent accidents in different situations. Ask them to research the most dangerous issues facing teenage drivers. Talk to them in detail about what they find and how that information can be put into practice when driving.

It costs money.  Showing your teens the money spent on gas, car maintenance and insurance will teach them that driving costs money. Teaching them financial responsibility is a lesson in itself, but allowing them to see the everyday expenses reinforces the importance of being a safe driver, and caring for their cars.

Set up your own rules. Part of teaching your teen how to drive is implanting responsibility and discipline. If they get bad grades in school, or if they take the car without asking permission, suspend their driving privileges. Get your teenager engaged in the process so the teenage driver has an investment in the process.  Create a contract with your teenager so they know ahead of time what the consequences are beforehand.  Sample Driving Contract
Helpful Links:

Cut insurance costs


Posted on: July 8th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Turning 18 is a huge milestone filled with celebration and anticipation. You can smoke, vote, stay out late, go to most clubs, and join the military without parental consent.  As a parent it can be an emotional time as you watch your child become an adult.  Whether they are ready or not you must move from being a parent 24 hours a day to more of an advisor.  Sit down with your teenager and discuss their new legal status with them so that they understand what is different.

The Law
• Any teenage legal misadventures may now lead to being charged and jailed as an adult.
• They are now eligible for Jury Duty.
• They must now file taxes.  See IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction and Filing Information. You can order IRS forms and publications by calling 800.829.3676 or visit
• Statutory rape laws are strange things. What’s permissible in some states means jail time in others. Enforcement is unpredictable. And the age of consent varies considerably from state to state. This is most important to address if your 18 year old is dating someone younger.

Selective Service
Young men must register with the National Selective Service. Fail to register and your teen faces a $250,000 fine and/or five years in jail plus the loss of student loans and any federal or state employment.

Driving Without Restriction
Some 47 states have graduated driving laws that restrict the hours and terms under which new, young drivers can get behind the wheel, but all driving restrictions are lifted at age 18. Adults may chat on a hands-free cell phone, drive in the middle of the night and carry passengers.


Medical Issues, Insurance, Financial privacy, report cards are no longer accessible to parents.
For more information, please visit


Posted on: July 8th, 2011 by Angela Ardolino No Comments

Taking the time to connect and bond with your children is not only something children crave, but it makes the awkward tween/teen years much easier.  When you take the time to listen,  share and just be with them, they will be happier, more secure, and willing to talk to you about their problems and take your advice.

Read with Them
o Introduce the classics and a love for reading.
o Creating a bed time rountine that ends each night with a reading a book is a wonderful way to bond and create calm before they go to sleep.

Start conversations in the car
o Be sure to learn something about your child’s day.  Like what they are looking forward to or what they’re not.  Ask questions and don’t allow them to answer with an “I don’t know” or “nothing”.

Eat meals together
o Ask questions and add a little fun to your next family meal.
o Share your day with them and ask them to do the same.
o Tell stories from your childhood.

Play with them
o Playing with your children teaches them how to work together as a team, think on their feet and create great ways to be active together.
o Some oldies but goodies;  Hide and go seek, monopoly, Rock Band, card games, tag.

Work on a project together
o Working on a project together is a wonderful opportunity to teach your child a skill while offering a platform to show appreciation and praise towards your child.
o Fun projects to do together; Build a dog/bird house, plant a vegetable and herb garden,  cook a fancy meal, volunteer on a community project together.

One on One Time
o Create a date night alone with each child
o Go one a bike ride or walk.
o Learn something together like dance, yoga, fencing.

For more information, please visit