Before you get going, remember that Wednesday is National Hot Cocoa Day!
Whip some up and drink up!!
The 3-Gift Plan
- This plan was created by Lauren Greutman who's a personal finance expert and blogger (www.laurengreutman.com) who recommends 3, possibly 4 gifts for Christmas.
- Her take is that kids get something they need, something they wear (not necessarily clothing, maybe hiking boots, skis, a watch or necklace or whatever), and something they want. A 4th gift might be for Christmas Eve. It "should" be something they read. Just a thought!
- I know from research on these gift-giving events (Christmas and birthday) that giving fewer gifts is a more meaningful approach. After opening the third gift, kids become more excited about the physical opening of the gift and the surprise than by the gift itself. Then, you'll set yourself up for the following three things you DON'T want to happen...
- If you overload them by giving them their entire wish list, they'll remember less than half of what they received.
- They're less grateful.
- You'll set yourself up to top this year's gift giving next year.
The little ones under age three are not likely to appreciate a "ton of gifts", so ask some relatives to get them gifts that are for kids who are 3, 6, and 9 months older, so you can have a variety of new toys to offer them when you see their skills emerging.
Kids who are "pre-Santa" and "post-Santa" need to be treated differently, obviously. With older kids, you can negotiate for the one gift that's pricier instead of multiple, smaller gifts. If the gift they want is over the budget, they may have to do extra chores or whatever, to make up the difference. Hold them to the contract (put it in writing). I know it's Christmas and Hanukkah and all, but stick to it. Teach them responsibility and to keep their agreements.
Resources I offered included:
- The Santa's Bag app where you can set a "per-person budget" and you can manage your gift lists. The good news here is you can take all of this information along when you're shopping.
- Check out Shop Savvy and Buy Via apps.
- Try freeshippingday.com starting on December 15 when retailers begin offering free shipping.
...will you know what to ask if your son or daughter wants to join a fraternity or sorority? No, you won't because your state attorney general's office is not gathering statistics. After 4 deaths already this year at universities, not to mention serious and possibly life-altering injuries, it's time for you to stand up for your kids as well as for other kids.
Just put in a call to or email your state attorney general's office and strongly recommend that they begin collecting data regarding injury and deaths from hazing of any kind. It's going to take a while for them to collect the data, so if you have an elementary school student, now is the time to start advocating for their safety while they're in college.
Remember, your kid may not be the victim, they may be one of the group charged with murder or whatever. Either way, you don't want this to be your kid.
If you need the information sooner rather than later, check the local newspapers online to learn of incidents. You may want to actually call the newspaper directly and talk with the crime reporter. If they're parents themselves, they'll be more willing to give you a bit more information.
Talk with the local hospital emergency room department and ask them what they might know. Call the cops. Get a watch commander or someone in authority who knows the stakes and who has "permission", experience and judgment to help you. They may "blow: you off. What have you got to lose?
Oh, and beware of those fraternities and sororities who are off campus. There's a reason they're off campus. Find out "why"...
Yes, everyday or nearly daily, there's another salacious story about a teacher and an underage student having sex. However, I recently read about an elementary school counselor in Texas who was arrested for having an "improper relationship with a student"...an elementary student!!
Determine if you need to speak with your kids about these teachers. Keep an eye on their email and pay attention to the concerns of other parents about these teachers. You can't live with the consequences.
Kids from 0-8 (yes, that's what the research says!) now spend nearly an hour on mobile devices whereas in 2013, it was only 15 minutes. That's not good.
You don't need to compete with a cell phone for your kid's attention, so, just like with their exposure to marijuana, delay it as long as possible by whatever means are reasonable and healthy.
A basic cellphone (no internet connection) for 6th grade, especially if they're involved in after-school activities is reasonable. Once they come home, the phone is put in the Yondr pouch. Write out the agreement. You don't want to have 25 skirmishes with them begging for the phone.
For 7th grade, the rules are the same except they can have it for 30 minutes before homework starts. You don't want them rushing through homework to get the phone.
In 8th grade, the rules are the same except they can have any combination of digital access for a total of an hour. Let them decide the details.
Smart phones are linked to severe anxiety and depression in both kids and teens. Teen who've had at least one major depressive episode shot up by 60% between 2010 and 2016 and the more time they spent on the phones, the more severe the depression.
Give them a phone with a data plan in high school. Block all unsafe sites, unless you're comfortable with your kids having access to pornography. The average age a child gets their first smartphone is 10 and the average age of exposure to porn is 11.
Men and women come down with infections at about the same rate, but we women suffer worse symptoms for longer periods of time.
Men and women are equally ill for days 1 and 2, but on day 3, women feel worse likely due to hormonal differences which may impact our immune system's ability to react to infection.
But, the situational factors are at issue, as well.
Women can't stop. Everything has a big old #1 next to every chore and responsibility. Momma's gotta keep going. The groceries, the meals, the laundry, the kids, the job, it all has to get done!
We also need more sleep because our brains are wired in a more complex way than men's. We also use our brain more than men. The more you use your brain, the more sleep you need.
The prefrontal cortex regions of our brains are larger than men's. This is the region behind your forehead. This is the area responsible for executive functioning which includes planning, organizing, sequencing, time management, starting and finishing tasks and monitoring your thoughts and behaviors. See what I mean? Have you ever, ever, ever left work without thinking about whether or not the bread was stale, or you actually defrosted the ground beef for the meatloaf or whatever?
Even when men have complex jobs that require intense decision-making, they still don't need as much sleep as women do. We need at least 20 minutes more sleep than men every day.
Not only do children and work responsibilities stress women, but so do husbands. A research study involving 7000 mothers indicated that their stress levels were 8.5 out of 10 and most of those women said that their husbands stress them more than their kids! This is because we end up parenting our partners and doing most of the parenting of the kids.
I blame us for this situation because we trained our husbands to be reliant on us. We're "Wonder Women" and that makes it difficult for anyone to meet our standards. Ugh. We have to accept that "good enough is"...retrain yourself and reboot your relationship. Small changes create the most meaningful change, but start somewhere.
Do your best not to get "bugs" by washing your hands and you don't need hot water. Cold water does the trick, too. And, by the way, the current flu vaccine is thought to be only 10% effective because they "missed the target" in identifying the virus that was going to hit us this year. Oh goody...
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