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Thanksgiving is a time for family togetherness. Of course, sometimes too much togetherness breeds tension, stress, arguments, and the occasional blowup. Whether you’re hosting the dinner or just visiting, remember these tips for staying calm and sane:


  • Plan early. Start thinking about Thanksgiving well before the big day so you don’t have to rush to get everything done at the last minute. Check in with guests, or your host, a few days ahead of time to confirm everyone’s plans.


  • Get people involved. Don’t try to do all the work yourself. Invite guests to bring dishes (if you’re a guest, volunteer). Recruit your kids to set the table and clear away the dishes. A team effort will make the day more fun for everyone.


  • Mix up the guest list. Most families behave a little better if outsiders are present. Include a few neighbors or friends; ask if you can bring a co-worker. A “buffer” will encourage people to be on their best behavior.


  • Get out of the house. No rule says you have to hold Thanksgiving at someone’s house. A public setting like a restaurant or hotel can defuse tensions and take the load off. If you are at home, encourage guests to take walks or play outside while waiting for dinner to start.


  • Take time to relax. Don’t overschedule yourself. Build some extra time into your day so you can talk to family and friends, enjoy your meal, and genuinely give thanks for being together.

The typical family today puts in a lot more hours a year at work than ever before—frequently by working at two or more jobs. So finding a balance between work and life can be complicated. But balance is essential to our well-being. Here are some ways to get on the right track:


  • Simplify. Need help with housecleaning? Consider hiring a cleaning person once a month. Feel like you don’t have enough time? Say “no” to things you don’t want to do or don’t have time to do. Don’t make commitments unless they’re important to you.


  • Be grateful. Even in the midst of the most hectic and stressful times of life, there are things for which we can be thankful. Reflecting on the good things in our lives helps keep an all-important balance in our outlook.


  • Play with your kids. Get down in the dirt and help the kids make mud pies, watch a movie with them, have a long chat over coffee with your teen, and so forth. Give your family more one-on-one time.


  • Pay attention to your health. Maintain a sensible diet and a consistent exercise schedule. If you don’t stay healthy, you’ll be less able to handle the stress of work and home.


  • Stop procrastinating. You’ll frequently spend more energy fretting over not doing a project than actually doing it. So eliminate the worry and just get started. Find the right balance in your hectic life

Some say that creativity can’t be taught or learned, but experts maintain that certain kinds of practices and behaviors can turn your brain into an engine for ideas. Focus on mastering these basics:


  • Connect. Look for associations and links between ideas, questions, problems, and solutions, whether they’re related or not.


  • Question. Ask questions that challenge conventional ways of thinking. The best usually start with “why?” or “why not?”


  • Observe. Pay close attention to everyday details. Look for the unusual in the commonplace. Find out what other people are doing to solve their own problems.


  • Network. Don’t surround yourself with the same group of people all the time. Make friends with experts in all different fields, and tap their brains for their unique expertise.


  • Experiment. Try new things. Take a risk. Don’t be afraid to fail, as long as you learn something useful from the experience.

Making mistakes is inevitable in young students during the learning process, but what matters is that those mistakes are picked up on.

It is not enough to point out the mistake but to also understand the reason they were made in the first place.

When a child undergoes a standardized test it is crucial to sit with them and go through their incorrect answers. It is also a good idea to get them to re-work problems that are missed on science and math tests and to get them to rewrite short answer questions and essays based on the feedback they receive from their teachers.

If they are reading, either for school or for pleasure, get them to tell you about the book. Find out if they really understand what they are reading. You might also want to encourage them to look up and find out the meaning of words that they may not have previously been familiar with that they encounter during their read.


studyAlthough some children appear to be born with a natural inclination for routine and order, others are free spirits and need some assistance in order to discover ways to make their life run more smoothly. Teaching children organizational skills can make family life run a lot more efficiently and cut down friction when children have to keep their rooms clean and do homework and there are some good tips that can help with this learning process.

One smart idea is to track all of the family activities on a calendar that is accessible to everyone. Every night get together and discuss the activities that are scheduled for the following day and encourage kids to check the calendar before adding any other activity.

Daily checklists are also a good idea to help keep track of homework, instrument practice or household chores. This also teaches children how to prioritize. Teach children to prepare their clothes for the following day the night before and have everything laid out for the morning, including making lunches and packing their backpack.

Another way to teach children organization is to encourage them to have some kind of collection that can be classified, sorted and organized.


2012_05_timeWork hours have begun steadily creeping into our home lives with more and more people taking care of job issues on weekends and during the evening. The result is an environment in which it is even more difficult than ever to balance our personal life and careers.

Achieving a happy work/life balance becomes much more difficult without the setting of clear boundaries. Fortunately there are things you can do to ease the situation. One good tip is to set priorities. If you have twenty five things that need to be done on a certain day, narrow that list down to the ones that are absolutely essential. Not only will you be less stressed from not trying to do everything at once but the quality of your work on the ones you do take on will also be demonstrably superior.

It is also a good idea to choose the tasks that need your personal attention. Any tasks that can be done by anyone should be delegated wherever possible. Nobody can do everything; we can only do our best.


social mediaSocial media seems to have made all aspects of our personal lives into a matter of public concern, including our relationships. Some people however might not want to go public and there are many good reasons to avoid sharing your private life with strangers online.

One way to keep your relationship low profile is to avoid tagging your significant other. It is even possible to appear in photographs with someone with whom you are in a relationship holding hands, but if you do not tag your other half, Facebook and Twitter will not even notice. Ask your friends to avoid doing the same.

The most obvious method is to simply avoid posting private photos of you as a couple on social media sites at all if you want your private life to remain private. Be careful to avoid sharing too much information in a tweet and turn off your location. If you and your partner like to tweet about activities you do, negotiate so that only of you can tweet about doing something at the same time.


Car Travel SafetyIn all of the packing and preparation that a family vacation can necessitate, one thing that can sometimes be overlooked is the safety and readiness of your motor vehicle on long journeys. Being stranded in the middle of nowhere because of a flat tire or overheating will put a dampener on anyone’s vacation.

In order to make sure this does not take place you should check the tire pressure and the tread. Non-existent or low tread makes traction very difficult and can indicate that the tire is worn out. Make sure you check the tire and consult the owner’s manual to find out how much air is needed as this can vary between vehicles. Front tires also sometimes need a different amount from rear tires.

You should also check brake fluid, oil and anti-freeze before setting out on any long trips. Have jumper cables in the car just in case of battery failure as well as a spare tire and a jack. You should also rotate your tires every five thousand miles that you travel.



dad-son-readingIt can be both easy and fun to teach children about finances. Learning about money helps children to also learn how to be generous, responsible and aware of their spending decisions. It is never too early to start teaching your kids about finances in your family. Children who understand what is required to be able to run a household are able to learn the value of money at a very young age.

One way to introduce children to the concept of money and balancing a budget is to give them chores for which they are paid an allowance. It is also a good idea to teach them to save around ten percent of that allowance in a savings account. You should not allow them to borrow against future allowances for a larger purchase, but to save for any items outside of their current budget, thus setting a healthy precedent and attitude to money for their adult life.

Giving children an allowance that they can spend largely as they wish establishes a foundation for dealing with money and being mindful about things that they really want to buy and things that need to be saved up for in order to acquire. Working for chores also teaches them the importance of the concept of work for pay.


2014_05_heartA scientific review has found that childhood vaccines are safe and do not cause autism. Vaccines can cause some side effects but cancer, food allergies and autism are not among them, despite the allegations of a growing anti-vaccine movement.

The authors of the study found that while there have been a rarity of serious adverse reactions to vaccines, such isolated incidents pale beside the real protection that vaccines offer to children. Worried parents have been avoiding allowing their children to be vaccinated, resulting in disease. Canadian researchers have suggested that some vaccines such as measles, mumps and rubella can cause fever and seizures in rare instances – between one to five children in a hundred thousand – but despite the campaigners the new research found strong evidence to show there is no link between vaccines and autism and none of the adverse reactions found in the studies resulted in death.

Doctors continue to insist that parents need to vaccinate their children against disease for the sake of their and the community’s health.