Friday, April 11th, 2014
Have your kids been begging for a dog? I adopted a puppy about a month and a half ago, and I’m here to confirm what you probably already know: it’s a blast but so much work at the same time. One of the trickiest parts has been sorting through all the conflicting training advice. Everybody has a different opinion on what to do, leaving me feeling overwhelmed and concerned that I am somehow setting my little furball up for a lifetime of problems. (Yes, it’s a little like parenthood!)
I spoke to renowned dog behaviorist Cesar Millan, known for his work on the television show Dog Whisperer, and here are his recommendations for families raising a puppy:
- Make an agreement as a group. “Everybody focuses on what kind of breed they want, but first you need to all commit to the work ahead of you,” Millan explains. Often, a dog is brought into the family because the kids push for it, regardless of whether or not they are ready for the responsibility. Everyone needs to be prepared—and Mom and Dad need to make the ultimate decision together.
- Consider fostering a dog before you bring home your own. Everybody benefits this way: The dog gets to experience a house with a loving family, and you can get insight into whether or not your clan is ready for a permanent pet.
- Look for a dog with low or medium energy. “It has nothing to do with breed,” Millan says. “In a family of three kids, one will often be more active than the others even though they have the same parents. It’s the same with dogs.” Puppies with lower energy levels are more likely to be followers and won’t try to become the leader of the “pack.”
- Don’t try to be your dog’s best buddy. “Dog lovers want to be friends with their pet rather than the authority figure,” Millan says. This can cause serious behavior problems from a young age. Millan adds, “Discipline is not punishment. It’s teaching him how to behave. In the long run, giving your dog constant affection and no discipline is far more hurtful to him.”
- Let children help out by walking the dog. “Most kids want to chase dogs, but that’s encouraging a predatory behavior,” Millan explains. “They also like to carry puppies around like a baby. But puppies need to walk to experience their own environment. Otherwise, they’ll never learn the boundaries and rules around the house.”
- Start training young. Sure, he’s just a puppy right now, but if you let him get away with jumping or barking from the get-go, you will have serious trouble setting boundaries later on.
For more expert advice, check out the finale of Cesar 911, which airs tonight on Nat Geo Wild. (But first, watch our video on teaching kids to be responsible pet owners below!)
Photo by Allen Birnbach
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Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
Whether it’s poor manners, slacking on chores, or forgetting to feed the dog, most kids dodge responsibility from time to time. If you can catch your kid in the act on camera, we can help! Share short videos—2 minutes or less in length—of your child’s biggest behavior challenges with Parents, and selected submissions will received personalized expert advice. Send your video to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with your child’s name and age and your daytime phone number, to enter.
Here are some best video practices to get you started:
- It’s fine to film on your phone—in fact, it’s encouraged!
- Set up your shot as if you were taking a photo.
- Make sure there is plenty of light. Turn on several lights, if you are inside.
- If you shoot handheld, use two hands to steady the phone. Or, use a table or a book to prop your phone up, to have a completely steady shot.
- Audio is key. Make sure the phone is close enough to your kid so that you can hear him. And don’t be afraid to have your child repeat something he’s said.
Submission of your material constitutes permission for Meredith Corporation to allow its use in all media.
Image: Mom video taping child via Shutterstock.
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Friday, September 6th, 2013
This Sunday is National Grandparents Day! A day where we can take a second to remember the people who successfully raised one set of children and then went on to help bring up another batch. Although parents teach kids the alphabet, haul them to soccer practice, ballet, and piano lessons while helping them grow into successful adults, there are some life lessons that can only be taught by Grandma and Grandpa.
Maybe it’s because they come from a different era or that they get to return the kids to their parents after they’ve been sugared up and spoiled with hours of TV time, in any case, the knowledge of Grams and Gramps is unique from Mom’s and Dad’s.
Take my Nana for example. This is a woman who volunteers at a nursing home to entertain the “old people” (her words, not mine) at the age of 82; a lady that once broke her back on a roller coaster. Most recently my partner-in-crime and I went skydiving for her 80th birthday and then did it again the following year just for kicks. You get the picture. Though my parents have always had great advice, it’s pretty hard to top a skydiving Nana.
Besides a new appreciation for jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, she has taught me four life skills I use every day.
1. Enjoy the sweet things in life. She swears the key to a long and healthy life is eating a candy bar for breakfast every day. Even though the Snickers diet may not be right for me, she does have a point. If you don’t allow yourself to enjoy the things you love, even if that’s just a candy bar, it makes life a heck of a lot harder.
2. Patience. Have you ever tried explaining Twitter to someone who has never owned a computer?
3. Get out of your comfort zone. Whether it’s encouraging me to move to New York to follow my career dreams or forcing me to take pictures of her posing with a homeless person’s shopping cart while visiting me, she’s taught me that you have to go after what you want and not to worry about what others think.
4. How to fold a fitted sheet.
We asked the Parents staff to sound off on their favorite advice from their grandparents. Here’s what they said:
“My grandma grew up very poor in rural Kentucky and had to drop out of school early. She has taught me to appreciate my education and the advantages it’s given me.” – Hannah Werthan, Editorial Assistant
“My grandfather David, who died July 8, taught me that being silly is not just for kids and finding the laughter in almost any situation is essential. He also taught me that one should love to dance, but alas, that’s one lesson I have not taken to heart.”-Michael Kress, Executive Editor
“Orange juice pulp is healthy for you – so don’t remove it from the glass when it’s poured for you. Also, if it’s winter time and the refrigerator is full, the fire escape is an acceptable alternative for dairy products.”-Cathy Simpson, Accounting
“My grandfather told me I should only buy Chevy’s because they’re the only cars ‘made correctly.’ My grandmother said you should only be sad about something for up to 2 weeks. After that, it’s old news and you’re ‘not allowed to cry about it anymore. Time to get it together!’ ” – Sarah Aires, E-Commerce Intern
“My grandfather always told me, ‘The best cure for a cold is ice cream!’ “ –France Salvosa, Art Editor
“I used to love watching my grandmother brush her false teeth at night. So, I guess I learned the importance of good oral hygiene!” – Jenna Helwig, Food Editor
“My paternal grandmother instilled a DIY spirit in me: Don’t like store-bought soy sauce? Make your own! Tore a hole in your jeans? Patch it up with ribbon! Even though I have yet to make my own soy sauce or repair torn jeans, being resourceful is a quality that has been ingrained in me.” – Sherry Huang, Features Editor
“You’re most full when your refrigerator is empty.”-Amanda Nesbot, Editorial Assistant
“My Grandpa Lester taught me how interesting people are if you only ask. He was friends with the cashier at our local grocery store, the teller of our bank, and the butcher at our deli all because he took the time to ask them about themselves. He took the time to care and to listen.” –Ruthie Fierberg, Editorial Assistant
What’s the best piece of advice your grandparents have given you or your kids? What life lessons do you hope your kids learn from their grandparents?
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Thursday, September 6th, 2012
This post was written by our friends at Celebrity Baby Scoop.
For many families, the back-to-school rush can be overwhelming and chaotic. Some of our favorite celebrity moms are helping to alleviate some of that stress and anxiety by sharing their best advice. From Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s G-Free snacks, to Bethenny Frankel’s best bargains, to Brooke Burke-Charvet’s must-haves, read some great back-to-school tips from Hollywood’s moms.
Dancing With the Stars host Brooke Burke-Charvet and husband David Charvet are parents to four kids: Neriah, 12, Sierra, 10, Rain, 5, and Shaya, 4. The mom-of-four wrote on her blog about preparing for the new school year:
“Back to school starts now in my house even though all four of my kids are returning at different times. This year will be my most challenging school year yet. Four kids in three different schools with four different drop-off and pick-up times.
Thankfully my youngest, Shaya, will still enjoy our beloved homeschool for two days a week. We decided to put him in a “regular” program three days a week so he’ll be with more kids as his sister is moving up to kindergarten.
I hate online paperwork and envy the parents with only one child. I literally have folders, separate file cabinets for each kid, their rosters, forms, sports and miscellaneous important documents. It’s a LOT to organize. Does anyone else feel that there are way too many orientations, meet-and-greets, pot lucks and social activities this month? Multiply it by four and you can imagine my schedule. Plus during BTS nights, I am divided in numerous classrooms and for SURE missing something.
I spent the day labeling backpacks, lunch boxes, water bottles and clothes.
Here are some of my BTS MUST-HAVES. My kids love them all and it truly helps to have some go-to items to help you keep it together.”
Continue reading at Burke-Charvet’s blog ModernMom.
Days of our Lives star Alison Sweeney is mom to son Ben, 7, and daughter Megan, 3. The Biggest Loser host is also a blogger and shared some of her best back-to-school fashion tips for the “stylin’ mom” on AlisonSweeney.com:
“School is starting again, and that means meeting lots of new people, for your kids and you. I love attending back-to-school nights and open houses and other evening events at Ben’s school and Megan’s preschool because it’s a chance to learn more about their teachers and interact with their classmates’ parents.
When I get ready for something like that, I keep my outfit simple and comfortable, but I definitely get more dressed up than I would for school pickup or running around at the playground.”
Continue reading Alison Sweeney’s back-to-school fashion tips at AlisonSweeney.com.
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Thursday, October 14th, 2010
Back-to-school and bullying seem to go hand-in-hand now that summer is over and children are grouped together at big schools. These days, bullying—especially cyberbullying—is on everyone’s mind, especially with the string of national tragedies (college freshman Tyler Clementi and high school freshman Phoebe Prince come to mind) that have made the news as a result of mean kid tactics.
Bullying can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any age, but most bullying starts—and is experienced—at a young age in the hallways, on the playground, on the bus, and wherever kids are more susceptible to misbehave and to be mistreated when there is no closely monitored adult supervision.
If your child is being bullied or you suspect bullying may be happening to your child, we hope the Parents.com resources below will help your family understand, cope with, and end the cycle of bullying.
Don’t forget to report all bullying to school authorities (such as teachers, principals, and administrators) and even to law enforcement if bullying escalates into extreme violence.
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