Wednesday, March 27, 2013

BTR's Featured World of Ink Network show: Families Matter on Student/School Safety

Join BTR's World of Ink Network Featured Families Matter show March 27, 2013 at 6pm EDT - 5pm CDT - 4pm MDT - 3pm PDT as the hosts Kecia Burcham, Irene Roth and Virginia S Grenier discuss the recent issues all families are talking about...student and school safety.

NASRO President Kevin Quinn will be joining the show to talk about the importance of having the presence of school resource officers in schools, their duty to protect children on campus and the prevention of school violence.They will be addressing the issues of guns in schools, bullying and what parents and schools can do to help keep this crisis from growing.

The National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) is dedicated to providing the highest quality of training to school-based law enforcement officers in order to promote safer schools and safer kids. NASRO, the world’s leader in school-based policing, is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1991 with a solid commitment to our nation’s youth. NASRO is an organization for school-based law enforcement officers, school administrators and school security/safety professionals working as partners to protect students, school faculty and staff, and the schools they attend.
To learn more about NASRO visit

The Families Matter show can be listened to every 4th Wed. here on the World of Ink Network.

About the Hosts:
Kecia Burcham works as a middle school counselor and holds a Masters Degree in education/school counseling as well as being a certified trainer in the "7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" curriculum. She is also a certified NLB life coach, business coach, master weight loss coach and social/emotional intelligence coach. She has worked in the field of education/psychology for 20 years.
Irene Roth is a freelance writer for teens, tweens and kids. She has published over 150 Ezine articles on different topics that are relevant to self-esteem and self-confidence for girls. She is in the middle of writing three E-books for teens and tweens.
Virginia S Grenier is a partner of the World of Ink Network with Marsha Casper Cook. She is a Mom's Choice Honoree, an award-winning author and editor, and also speaks at writing conferences, book festivals and schools. She has appeared on other radio networks to share her expertise and guest blogs monthly.

To find out more about theWorld of Ink Network Hosts and what we do, visit

Tune into the show at

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: Isosceles

Written by: Scott R. Caseley
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
eBook ISBN: 978-1-77127-239-1
Price: $5.95 (eBook)
Ages: 16 and up (based on content)
Genre of Book: Young Adult- Coming Of Age, Mystery/Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Review by: Renee Bennett

The novel takes the reader on a journey through the thirteen-year friendship between Sean McIntyre and Trey Goodsby and up to the tragic end of Trey's life, then goes into what effect his death has on Sean and those closest to the two boys.

About the Book:
When he finds his best friend Trey Goodsby dead and almost completely submerged in a bathtub filled with bloody water, Sean McIntyre is determined to find out if it was an accident or suicide. Did his death accidental or intentional have anything to do with Madeline Edwards, the woman who came between them constantly through their thirteen-year friendship? The tale begins with the death of Trey Goodsby, and explores his relationships with family, friends, his romances, and which of the circumstances he found himself in that led to the tragic event, and the repercussions for those he left behind.

Overall Thoughts:
Warning: Before getting into the review, we need to first point out as much as we liked the book and the thought provoking storyline, there is foul language and minor sexual scenes. We highly recommend parents to read the book first if they do not like their kid reading books with such content.

Author Scott R. Caseley does a wonderful job of hooking the reader and taking them on a journey through the lives of three friends, along with showing how, even though they each have something in common with another, the choices they make define their lives in different ways.

The book starts with Trey’s death and even though it is the main focus of the storyline, we felt it was much more. Readers will also experience the road to self-discovery just as Sean does as he shares his childhood experiences with his best friend Trey and love interest Madeline as he reflects back after finding Trey lifeless.

Isosceles hits a lot of difficult issues many teens face, bullying, social awkwardness, divorce, death of loved ones, drinking, stealing and sexual involvement. Each topic is handled in a way that is appropriate and doesn’t go into unnecessary detail for drama or mass effect. Kudos to the author! The foul language is used in dialogue just as a teen (when no parent or adult is in ear shot) would use it. The voice of each character is authentic and each scene is something many of us as adults have been in ourselves. A truly well done coming of age story with a bit of mystery and romance to top it all off.

Places where available for sale:,, Bookstrand, Omnilit, Kobo, Smashwords and B&N

About the Author: 
While this is his first novel, he wrote and directed a dramatic feature, co-wrote and directed a documentary and wrote for an online magazine. He’s also a trained voice, stage, and screen actor. In addition to his creative pursuits, he is passionate about healthy living. He follows a mostly self-directed fitness quest consisting of weight training, walking, swimming, yoga, and hula hooping. When not working out, he also enjoys cooking healthy gourmet meals as well as playing board games with family and friends with plenty of coffee brewing to keep the fun going until the wee hours of the morning.

You can find out more about Scott R. Caseley, his novel and World of Ink Author/Book Tour at

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Book Review: Sackets Harbor Powder Monkey: The War of 1812

Sackets Harbor Powder Monkey: The War of 1812
By: Hope Irvin Marston with Burt Phillips
Published by:  CreateSpace; Date: 2012
ISBN: 978-0984993512
Price: $7.95
Ages: 10 and up
Rating:  4 stars
Reviewed by: Wayne S. Walker

Synopsis:  Do you know what a “powder monkey” is?  Could it be a simian that helps your mother to put on her makeup?  No, Rankin McMullin is a powder monkey, a boy who carries gunpowder from the hold to the guns on deck.  It is the fall of 1810, and ten-year-old Rankin, soon to be eleven, lives in Sackets Harbor, NY, at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, with his Pa, a farmer, Ma, and older brother Will.  Hearing rumors of a coming war with England, Rankin desperately wants to join the crew of the U. S. Brig Oneida which has been sent to protect Sackets Harbor from an invasion by the British.  His wish is to help fight the British and end the unjust laws which force New York farmers to smuggle their potash across the lake in order to survive, as his father used to do.  Will signs up as an armourer, and Captain Woolsey agrees to take on Rankin as a powder monkey.  The new crew spends a year training and learning the ropes before war is declared against England.  When that finally occurs, will the British attack Sackets Harbor?  If they do, what will happen?  Who will win the battle? 
Overall thoughts: In contrast to the American Revolution, the Civil War, and even World War II, there is very little good children’s literature about the War of 1812.  Although Sackets Harbor Powder Monkey: The War of 1812 is a work of fiction with invented dialogue added to dramatize the action, the historical events portrayed and the persons named are real.  The book is made more realistic by the inclusion of obscure, early nineteenth century nautical terms like "binnacle" and "carronade."   A glossary of definitions in the back, an Afterword containing further explanation about the battle, and a time line of historical events, all will increase the educational value of this exciting story.  The First Battle of Sackets Harbor occurred on July 19, 1812.  Youngsters will learn a lot about the background of reasons and events leading up to the war.  Aside from a few common euphemisms and references to rum, I am sorry to report that Will uses some bad language, namely forms of the “d” word a couple of times.  However, if you are looking for a tale of adventure which will bring the War of 1812 to life for middle grade readers through the eyes of a young boy eager to help in the fight, you’ll find it here.

Links: (author)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pets Not to Get When You Have Kids

At some point over the course of your kids’ childhood years, they will inevitably begin actively campaigning for the addition of a pet to the household. While most will choose more traditional animals like cats or dogs, there’s a chance that their tastes will run a bit more towards the exotic. In some cases, some smaller pets may even seem like a better choice to parents who aren’t aware of the drawbacks that some common choices bring to the table. These 10 pets are among those that you won’t want to adopt if you’re planning to have children in the near future, or if you already have little ones in the house.
  1. Primates – Fictional characters may have their beloved primate sidekicks, but that doesn’t mean that monkeys are a great choice for real-life families. In addition to being temperamental enough to cause very serious injury if provoked, keeping certain primates is illegal in some states. There are also ethical issues to consider, as many primates that end up on the pet market were taken from their natural habitat as babies specifically for sale as pets. Furthermore, certain types of primates can harbor herpes B, a disease that’s potentially fatal to humans, and one that doesn’t reliably show up during veterinary testing.
  2. Turtles – The hard shell of a turtle seems to indicate sturdiness and their slow pace can easily be mistaken for patience. In fact, some varieties of turtle can be very temperamental. Turtles commonly carry salmonella bacteria as well, which may make them unsafe for children that aren’t vigilant about washing their hands properly after handling them.
  3. Hedgehogs – Cartoon characters like Sonic make hedgehogs seem like ideal pets, but this isn’t always the case. Hedgehogs are considered exotic pets and do require very specific environmental conditions to thrive. Not to mention the fact that their quills are sharp!
  4. Ferrets – Small and fun to watch, ferrets can seem like the ideal choice for kids. They’re actually quite prone to anxiety, however, and can lash out when they’re threatened, making them dangerous for small children to hold. They also produce a musky smell that’s difficult to mask, which could be a deal-breaker for adults in the house.
  5. Hamsters – When most parents think of small, furry animals that would make a great starter pet, hamsters are at the top of the list. What you may not realize, however, is that they may be quite disappointing for the kids they’re meant to entertain. Hamsters are naturally nocturnal, meaning that they will be sleeping while kids want to interact with them. Keeping a hamster in your child’s room is also likely to affect his sleep schedule, as a hamster becomes active enough at night to make noises that could wake your child.
  6. Snakes – It’s not difficult to convince most parents that snakes are a less than ideal choice for a family pet, but there are those that allow themselves to be swayed. Their feeding habits can be traumatic to small children, as they typically consume rats and other small rodents whole, and they can become much larger than anticipated. In such cases, families are left with a snake they cannot properly care for and may have difficulty finding a serpent-friendly family to take over responsibility for it.
  7. Big Cats – Most parents wouldn’t dream of introducing a tiger, leopard or panther to their household, but keeping big cats as pets isn’t unheard of. In fact, there are more tigers in private ownership now than thriving in the wild. Even if they’re raised from tiny cubs, big cats are still essentially wild animals and will behave as such, which can have deadly consequences.
  8. Kinkajous – These members of the raccoon family gained a small measure of popularity as an exotic pet when celebrity heiress Paris Hilton began appearing on the red carpet with one of her very own. They can be dangerous, biting and scratching when they’re stressed, and can also carry Kingella potus bacteria, which can cause high fevers, severe headaches and stomach pains in humans.
  9. Iguanas – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that as many as 93,000 people contract salmonella each year through exposure to reptiles, which up to 90% of iguanas have. Their claws are extremely sharp, and adults can weigh as much as 30 pounds. Bites from iguanas are fairly common, and can be very serious. They absolutely should not be kept in a house with small children.
  10. Hermit Crabs – Many pet stores and even novelty beach-side gift shops sell hermit crabs in brightly colored shells that can be tempting to small children. While they’re small, their pincers can be quite painful if they latch on properly. Furthermore, they cannot be handled or moved during their molting period, which lasts for roughly one week and can happen as often as once each month. Moving a molting crab will almost invariably kill it, giving small kids an early lesson about the life cycle.
While these pets are not likely to be the best choices for households with small children, it’s important to keep in mind that even trusted furry friends can be questionable. Though the environment in which your dog or cat is raised will have a huge bearing on how it behaves later, you should keep in mind that some breeds have a genetic predisposition to be better suited to life with children than others. Be sure you do your homework on any animal before you introduce your children to it and bring it into your home as a new member of the family.

First published on

Monday, March 18, 2013

How to Disinfect Tub Toys

When getting kids to take a bath is a battle, a few fun toys can make the experience a bit more enjoyable for everyone involved. While your child is getting clean and having a ball, however, her toys can collect mold, bacterial growth or hard water deposits if they’re not draining properly and aren’t periodically cleaned. Rather than tossing the entire lot and replacing them, which can be bad for the environment as well as hard on your pocketbook, you can take advantage of a few tips that will allow you to clean them thoroughly.

Be Careful With Bleach
Household bleach is an effective cleaner, but it’s also a harsh chemical that can be dangerous for children. Your first instinct may be to clean your child’s bath toys with a solution of diluted bleach, but it’s important to note that the concentration of chemicals in commercial bleach products changed in December of 2012. Before the change, most brands contained a 5.25% – 6% solution of sodium hypochlorite. Now, bleach sold under both national brand names and as generic products may contain up to 8.25% sodium hypochlorite. New recommendations for using bleach on children’s toys include choosing only Environmental Protection Agency registered products, carefully following the manufacturer’s dilution instructions, and modifying contact times accordingly.

Vinegar is Your Friend
The same stuff that makes a great salad dressing and has a host of culinary uses is also an effective alternative to harsh chemical cleaners, killing mold and inhibiting bacterial growth. Soaking bath tub toys in a basin containing a solution of two parts hot water to one part white vinegar for 10 to 15 minutes at least once a week, then letting them air dry in the sun or on clean, folded towels near an open window can help them to dry quickly without forming dangerous mold or bacterial growth. As an added bonus, vinegar will not irritate your child’s sensitive skin or expose him to dangerous chemicals.

The Dishwasher: Not Just for Dishes
Tub toys that are made of rubber or plastic can be run through the dishwasher, where high water temperatures and detergents can kill any existing mold or bacteria. If you opt to keep your child’s bath tub toys clean by regularly washing them in the dishwasher, it’s important to keep in mind that proper drainage and thorough drying is still very important. When water collects in hard-to-reach places, bacteria and mold can still flourish.

Keep Bath Tub Toys Out of the Bathroom
It may seem like an unnecessary complication to store your child’s bath tub toys somewhere other than the bathroom, but it can actually help to keep them clean and disinfected. Steam from baths, showers and hot water running in the sink makes the bathroom air moist most of the time, which can promote bacterial growth and mold formation on your child’s newly-cleaned toys. When they’re stored elsewhere and brought in for bath time, they’re not cluttering your bathroom or subjected to constant moisture in the air.

Scrub, Scrub, Scrub
Using an old but clean toothbrush or other small scrub brushes to clean cracks and crevices with antibacterial dish soap allows you to see any mold that has formed and attack it directly. If toys are particularly gunky, it may be best to start cleaning with this method and then follow up with a soak in vinegar solutions or a trip through the dishwasher cycle. Adding a small amount of tea tree oil to your scrubbing solution can also help, as it’s a natural substance with strong antiseptic qualities. Be sure to thoroughly rinse any toys that you’ve cleaned with a tea tree oil solution, however, as it is not considered safe for ingestion and bath tub toys seem to always end up in kids’ mouths.

Check for Cleaning Products Targeted to Kids
There are some commercially-available products on the market that are designed to clean kids’ toys safely and effectively. If you do choose to go this route, however, be sure that you check the label to ensure that there are no warnings or overly harsh chemicals. Despite “green” names and deceptive packaging, some specialty products are just re-packaged versions of their full-strength, chemical-laden brethren.

First published on

Sunday, March 17, 2013

10 Ways to Teach Your Toddler Manners

Trying to explain the concept of good manners and instill them in a toddler isn’t always easy. Because little ones are still developing and learning about the world around them through exploration and experimentation, they don’t always take well to boundaries and guidelines. These 10 tips can help you work with your toddler to encourage good manners and lay the foundation for future lessons in etiquette as they get older.
  1. Model Good Manners – When you’re attempting to teach your toddler the basics of politeness and good manners, you must keep in mind that much of toddlers’ learned behavior is modeled after what they observe the loved and admired adults in their lives exhibiting. One of the best and most effective ways to help her learn good manners is to make sure that you always say things like “please” and “thank you” yourself.
  2. Start Small – The world of manners and etiquette is vast and can be complicated for some adults to navigate properly. The key to helping your child learn the more subtle points of mannerly behavior as she gets older is to keep your lessons age appropriate, starting with simple concepts during the toddler years. Sharing, asking nicely, and showing gratitude are great places to start.
  3. Make Play Dates Learning Experiences – Your child is learning about the world and her surroundings through exploration and play, which is why play dates can be such valuable teaching tools. If you’re focusing on sharing, make sure that she’s being reminded politely that she should always share her toys. If the goal is mastering “please” and “thank you,” point out the times when those phrases are appropriate.
  4. Be Consistent – It can be frustrating to attempt to instill civility and manners into a toddler that seems to show no interest in accepting those skills, but it’s important that you don’t give up out of frustration. Consistency, repetition and structure are key components to teaching young children new skills.
  5. Use Positive Reinforcement – If your parenting style allows for tangible rewards for good behavior, make sure that you’re rewarding any exhibitions of good manners. If not, it’s important to praise her accomplishments and let her know that she’s done the right thing by choosing to be polite in any given situation.
  6. Make Mealtimes Work for You – Sitting still and focusing aren’t key strengths typically exhibited by toddlers, which is why you may find that you have more luck working with your little one during meal times. Coaching on “please” and “thank you” during meals, along with asking nicely for things and behaving as well as possible, can help to build a strong foundation for future lessons.
  7. Keep Your Expectations Realistic – Expecting a toddler to master the more subtle nuances of polite social interaction simply isn’t realistic, and will only lead to both of you feeling disappointed and frustrated. Focus on the things that your toddler is able to learn, and save the lessons on dessert forks until she’s a bit older.
  8. Think About Your Disciplinary Tactics – Look at how you’re disciplining your child, and determine whether or not it’s conducive to helping her learn good manners. If you resort to shouting and angry words when she’s not doing what you expect, it’ll be difficult to instill the concept of inside voices and calm requests.
  9. Take a Trip to the Local Bookstore – Many of the major milestones in early childhood are discussed in children’s books tailored specifically to the attention span and developmental needs of little ones. Switching out a favorite bedtime story for a new book about manners can be a great way of helping her to apply the concept in a way that she understands.
  10. Explain Why Manners Matter – For older toddlers, it may be necessary to explain why learning good manners are important, especially if they’re naturally exuberant. Taking the time to calmly and firmly explain about hurting the feelings of those around them and being nice to the people they know can make a noticeable difference.
Working with your children to build the groundwork for good manners and behavior is a task that doesn’t always go as planned. Try to keep in mind that every child develops at her own pace, and she may take longer to grasp the concepts of sharing, gratitude and politeness than her siblings or peers. Continuing to work with her on these concepts while maintaining as much patience as possible is the best way to reinforce good manners.

First published on

Saturday, March 16, 2013

How to Plan Weekly Family Dinners

Dedicating one night of the week to a shared family meal around the dinner table is a great way to reconnect, share the events of your week and spend time together after a hectic week of rushing from one activity to the next. In fact, it can even be good for everyone’s health! The University of Florida has published research indicating that family dinners are linked to a lower risk of substance abuse, increased chances of finishing high school, a diminished risk of obesity and better eating habits. Planning your family dinner and making attendance compulsory may not always be popular in the beginning, especially if you have older children. Eventually, even reluctant tweens and teens will begin participating actively in conversations and family rituals.

Choose Your Day
Families today are busy. Even young children have ballet and soccer, Tae Kwon Do and T-Ball to attend. Finding one day of the week when everyone’s schedules are open may initially be a challenge, and may even require some adjustments. However, finding that one day to dedicate to family dinner and establishing it as a non-negotiable event will ensure that future schedules are created with Family Dinner Night in mind. Keep in mind, too, that you’re not limited to one dinner together each week. Eating together whenever possible never hurt anyone! Just make sure that your weekly night maintains its special designation.

Make Dinner Together
Getting everyone involved in dinner preparation helps to foster a sense of ownership over the night, with everyone feeling that they’ve contributed. This is also a great opportunity to pass along important skills; younger kids can learn how to properly set the table, while older ones can begin to hone their cooking and kitchen skills. When everyone has a say in the meal selection and the dishes prepared, you’ll also be able to cut down on howling protests about vegetables or unfamiliar foods.

Focus on Conversation and Sharing
Making an effort to include everyone in the conversation, from the youngest and most eager to the most aloof teenager isn’t always easy. It is, however, essential to the success of family dinner. Making sure to include everyone, and to steer conversations in a direction suitable for the entire family will help to prevent any feelings of exclusion or frustration, forming the foundation for your weekly night together.

Ban Electronics
Prying cell phones, MP3 players and mobile gaming devices out of your kids’ hands may be a battle of epic proportions, but it’s also worth it. Instituting a rule that forbids these devices at the table will not be popular at first, but it will eventually become commonplace. Allowing kids to keep their phones and other electronics may seem easier, but they’ll only present a distraction and keep everyone from really connecting, which is the point of spending the evening together in the first place.

Have Food Adventures
Setting dinner themes like Mexican Night or Italian Night can gradually expand kids’ horizons, starting with cuisine that’s familiar and gradually becoming more adventurous. This is a great way to encourage kids to be adventurous eaters, especially if the cuisine is tied to a theme that they can have fun with. Have chop sticks on hand for Chinese night, or berets if you’re exploring French cuisine. In the end, it won’t matter if you let your kids wear sombreros to dinner, what will matter is that they have the great memory. A bit of silliness and lighthearted fun can turn an awkward, silent meal into one that’s punctuated by peals of laughter and plenty of happiness. Togetherness is the name of the game, not impressing the neighbors with your kids’ impeccable clothing.

Avoid Incendiary Topics
It can be very tempting to take advantage of the one night you’re sure to have everyone’s attention to issue edicts about new rules, complain about the state of bedrooms or tackle behavioral issues, but it will only serve to alienate everyone and make them dread family dinner altogether. Declaring your weekly meal a judgment-free zone will eliminate one more reason why kids are reluctant to participate, and will help to foster the sense of happiness and camaraderie that you’re looking for. Save the big talks about grades, laundry and problem behavior for one-on-one time.

If family dinner night proves to be a success, it may be easier to work two or even three nights a week into the mix. It’s best to focus on wholesome, healthy but quick meals for any additional nights, because preparing themed feasts can easily become too time consuming to pull off more than once each week. Rather than sacrificing the practice of adventurous meals altogether, let those meals stand as their own occasion and just enjoy simple, healthy meals together whenever you can.

First published on

Friday, March 15, 2013

Kids Should Get Involved With Volunteer Work

Volunteering as a family, whether on a local or even an international level, has many benefits for both you and your children. There is an astonishing array of programs out there designed specifically to help kids get involved along with their parents, fostering positive self-growth and other valuable attributes that your children will carry with them throughout their adult lives. Here are ten of the reasons why you might want to consider volunteering programs with your children, and the positive impact that such activities will have on their development.
  1. Instilling a Sense of Compassion – Teaching the concept of compassion can be quite challenging, especially when children are young and have a limited perspective of the world. By volunteering to help people and animals in need, your kids can learn what compassion is and also how to show their own compassion in ways that help those around them.
  2. Learning to Appreciate Their Good Fortune – Some children may not realize how privileged and fortunate they are to have a safe home, warm clothing and plenty of food to eat. By working with people that aren’t so lucky, your kids can gain a new appreciation for the things that they have, and an understanding of how valuable those things really are.
  3. Acquiring New Skills – Working in a volunteer capacity will help your children gain new skills by putting them in a position that will require them to gain and utilize the things they’ve learned. Whether it’s proper care of animals or helping to build a Habitat for Humanity home, every volunteer act will help your youngsters learn new skills and valuable lessons.
  4. Learning About Responsibility – When the care of an animal, the happiness of an elderly person or the full belly of a homeless person is something your child is tasked with, they’ll have a better understanding of what true responsibility is and learn how to apply it in their daily lives.
  5. Exploring New Interests – Young children may not always realize where they’re interests lie, due simply to the fact that they haven’t been exposed to them yet. Budding veterinarians may feel that spark as a result of volunteering at the local animal shelter, while future geriatric specialists learn of their affinity for helping the elderly after working with them at a senior center.
  6. Building New Relationships – Working with other children and their families through a volunteer program will expand your child’s social circle beyond their peers at school and play date buddies. Learning the art of making new friends and forging new bonds is only one of the benefits of youth volunteer work.
  7. Boosting Self-Esteem – Being able to look at a positive difference in the community and take ownership for part of it is a great self-esteem booster, especially for children that struggle in that area. Knowing that they’ve helped someone in need and made that person or animal’s life better through their own efforts is a powerful confidence booster.
  8. Fostering a Sense of Civic Responsibility – Helping to improve their community through hard work and dedication not only instills a sense of compassion and responsibility in kids, but also helps them understand the concept of civic responsibility.
  9. Encouraging Physical Activity – So many favorite activities of today’s kids require nothing more than an electronic device and a comfortable place to sit. Getting your kids involved in community volunteer programs has physical benefits in addition to the many psychological and emotional ones, as it gets them off the couch and involved in physically active work.
  10. Making a Difference in the Community – While most parents do want to get their children involved in community volunteer programs in order to help them reap the benefits of socially-conscious work, the positive impact on the community itself can’t be ignored. When you and your children volunteer together, you’re strengthening the community as well as your own personal bond.
While there are community-based programs that will allow children to volunteer as part of an organization with direct supervision from program directors and leaders, it’s best to look for programs that will allow your family to get involved as a unit, rather than simply dropping the kids off and pursuing your own interests during the rare and valuable downtime. Remember that children learn many of their habits and ideas from observing the adults that they love and admire; one of the best ways to reinforce the things that they’re learning and encourage further development of their new skills is to model desirable behavior alongside them.

First published on

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Teaching Children Financial Responsibility

There are few lessons that we need to pass onto our children that are more valuable and more essential than teaching them the necessity of managing money properly and spending wisely; here are 10 tips to help kids learn those skills.
  1. Establish the Difference Between “Need” and “Want” – Modern marketing directed at kids vigorously blurs the line between needs and wants, making it difficult for children to understand the concept. One of the first steps to successfully teaching children how to be financially responsible is to help them understand that difference, and to see through the marketing ploys that are directed at them.
  2. Give Older Kids a Debit Card, But Monitor Their Use – Opening a bank account for your child with a debit card for personal use can help them learn to spend wisely and keep track of his account’s balance, especially if you sign up for text and email alerts to keep you informed of his available funds.
  3. Institute a Chore-Based Allowance, With Extra Earning Opportunities – Rather than giving children a weekly allowance with absolutely no ties to work or earning, let them know that their allowance, like a paycheck, is contingent upon them completing the tasks that are assigned to them. In addition to a regular set of chores, provide opportunities for kids to earn extra money by performing additional chores, like washing your car.
  4. Create a Savings Plan – Allow kids to choose one extravagant or expensive item that they want, and help them start saving their own money for it. In addition to helping them appreciate the item more than they would if it were simply given to them, the process of saving also helps them learn to budget for things that they want but can’t afford outright.
  5. Start Building Credit History Early – Using a secured credit card can help teens establish a credit history. Helping teenagers understand what a credit rating is and how it affects their lives is one of the most effective ways of preventing a credit-card spending spree in college.
  6. Let Kids Help Plan a Budgeted Activity – Elementary-aged kids can benefit from being allowed to help with the planning of a budgeted activity. Presenting them with the amount of available money, the potential expenses and any other factors while allowing them to make decisions about how every dollar should be spent is a valuable lesson learned in a controlled environment, and one that is much better than learning about budgeting by going bankrupt after college!
  7. Institute a Policy of Fines – When kids are expected to pay a fine for misbehavior or rule-breaking, they’re absorbing the concept of paying for mistakes. Fine-based disciplinary policies help kids connect willful disobedience with financial loss, just as adults pay fines for breaking the law or lose money through making poor choices.
  8. Talk About Finances – Too many parents treat the family finances like a closely-guarded secret, keeping kids in the dark. However, when talks about money are as uncomfortable as those about the birds and bees, kids are missing opportunities to learn the basic tenets of financial responsibility.
  9. Let Them Make Mistakes – One of the most powerful teaching tools in a parent’s financial-responsibility arsenal is the willingness to let children make financial mistakes while they’re still young and those mistakes are on a smaller, more manageable scale. After kids absorb the full impact of their poor choices, parents can swoop in and offer assistance, along with a frank discussion about how and where they went wrong.
  10. Lead By Example – “Do as I say, not as I do” isn’t a valid parenting tactic in any situation, but it’s especially counterproductive when you’re trying to teach kids about money and financial accountability. Making large, extravagant purchases without giving them the proper consideration and spending indiscriminately sends kids the message that they can do the same thing, regardless of what you’re trying to teach them through elaborate lessons.
By working with your children from a young age and helping them to learn about money management and wise spending, you’re helping to create a financially independent adult who will be able to live on their own and manage their own finances without requiring major bailouts from you. The best gift you can give your children is the ability to spend wisely; it will serve them, and you, very well as they become adults.

First published on


*Stories for Children Publishing, LLC. (SFC) and its divisions do not receive any compensation for product reviews beyond a sample and/or limited access to a paid website. SFC donates all books sent for review to a charitable organization. SFC may do a contest or giveaway of samples we receive.