You, Your Kids and Halloween – Its it the same in recent years?

Sugar rush season is upon us and somehow, some way we always tend to divulge into the treats and the activities of Halloween.

Parents who partake in the festivities often find themselves trying to figure out a last minute costume and grabbing a bag of “they get what they get” candy in hopes that Halloween night goes off without a hitch. With the rising costs of candy, the treats giveaways are measlier in comparison to recent years. Over the past few years, parents have been saying that there has been a decline in trick or treaters due to past weather conditions, safety concerns or just lack of time in this day and age. Parents of toddlers find themselves enrolling their kids into safety trick or treat programs at libraries, trick or treating at the mall or at business establishments a opposed to people’s homes.

Some parents I have spoken to have said that this year, they will not be participating in overseeing their little ones participate in trick or treating and will instead – go out for dinner, have a Halloween themed home cooked dinner or just leave the house so they do not have to hear their door bell ring sporadically. Other parents said they have given their older children responsibility over the younger ones to go on out to a couple of doors and get as many treats as they can before dark.

Halloween as we know it has changed over the years with more concern over safety. What are your Halloween plans for you children this year?

-LaToya

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What Are Your (Latchkey) Kids Are Doing After School? (submission)

Every year, millions of children head home after school to an empty house because school clubs/sport programs have been cut, after-school supervision is expensive, or the children are at an age where parents feel they are capable of being home alone for a few hours. If you have a “Latchkey” kid, you’re certainly not alone.

After-school care is a multi-billion-dollar industry, however more than a quarter of America’s school children (15.1 million) are on their own after the school day ends. Despite growing awareness that children are at particular risk during these afternoon hours, the number and percentage of children left on their own in the afternoons has actually increased in the last five years.

If after-school care is not an option for your family, or you feel your child is old enough and responsible enough to be home alone, rather than allowing your child to set his or her own after-school schedule you should take advantage of the opportunity to create a teachable moment.

Parents can easily build their own after-school programs for their children by following the guidelines below. Besides children benefiting from the “teachable moments”, the experience will also start them down the path of developing into a responsible young adult. Here are some suggestions on how to start your program:

1. Set Expectations with Goals, Rewards & Penalties … No matter the age of your children or what you are trying to teach them, it’s important to set real goals, rewards for a job well done, and penalties if something goes wrong. By having clear goals, rewards and penalties, children of all ages can understand the benefits of following directions and weigh the consequences of any bad decisions.

2. Determine the “Trust Factor” … On a scale of 1-5, how much do you trust your child to be home unattended? If the number is 1, you will need to keep your child busy, and possibly, set some high penalties if something goes wrong. If the number is 5, give your child enough tasks to remain productive or possibly in charge of others.  

3. Communication Is Key … Make sure your children understand that there is no such thing as over-communication throughout any time home alone and that you actually demand regular updates. Set times to get short updates and then have full “downloads” when you get home. Use dinner or breakfast as the time to catch up or discuss what’s coming up.

4. Fill Time By Doing Projects … Set a schedule for your children so that each day there are different chores to do and that the chores fit the proper ages. Make sure the chores fill enough time and can be finished by the time you get home. Also, build in some short breaks so your children have time to unwind from a tough day at school. Again, depending on the age and “trust factor”, the amount of time that needs to be filled can vary.

5.  Follow Through … No matter whether your children do a great job or a poor one, you need to follow through with the rewards and penalties. Kids are smart enough to know whether parents will stand by their word or not and whether there is any bite behind that bark. While this is about keeping your kids safe and active, it’s also about teaching them work ethic, responsibility and accountability. So, praise and reward them for a job well done and remain strongly committed to the penalty you set for failing to meet expectations. 

- Gregg Murset, CEO and Co-Founder of BusyKid.

BusyKid uses modern technology to help children develop into adults with a strong work ethic and sense of what it means to be responsible and financially smart. Get the app today.

aMommyCast thanks Mr. Murset for being a guest blogger. If you would like to be a guest contributor please email your pitches to aMommyCast@gmail.com

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Yes, Mommy Bullying Is a Thing

Society is putting pressure on bullies at school, but where is the campaign to stop bullying by other moms?

Its no coincidence millennial moms are facing bullying when we are the product of mean girls. Even though some of these girls are now mothers, they still haven’t grown up. Now they are just mean moms.

These moms may be lurking on your favorite social media site or you might bump into them during drop off or pickup. There are many signs of mom bullying to be on the look for:

The “I would never” mom is the judgy-mom who might give you the side eye and say I would never let my child do [XYZ].  This mom may not be super aggressive, but still think they can do you your job better. Her bark tends to be bigger than her bark. This mom should be ignored.

The “pushy” mom is always extending her reach. She gives unsolicited advice like maybe you should do it like this while actually taking to the task on herself. She means well but doesn't know how her suggestions really make you feel less than capable. If you encounter a pushy mom, you might want to pull this mom aside and tell her how you feel.

The “trendy” mom is super annoying. She believes in whatever the new parenting trend is. She feels its not only something not only you should be doing, but everyone. She constantly feeds you made up statistics on the benefits that do not exist. When responding to a trendy mom, shake your head and nod as it will calm her down.

The “Aggressive” mom is the one to watch. She constantly tries to put down your parenting skills. She believes it is her duty for calling you out on being a working mom and definitely hates the store bought snacks you bring for the class. She attempts to tell you what to do and not at every chance she gets. Feel free to call out the aggressive mom to her face, but remember to keep it classy as the children are watching how we respond to these bullies.

Though all of these moms think they know best, remember no mom is perfect and we should all be supportive of one another.

By Chanel Rae of aMommyCast

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GUEST MOMMY BlOGGER: Raising an Only Child When More Were in Your Plan

From the heart of the Mommy of an Only Child..

Being the parent of an only child...this was never my plan! Growing up with a brother who was only one year younger than me, I always had a fierce protector, confidant and yes as anyone who has a younger sibling knows, someone who sometimes annoyed the heck out of me! I say all this in love because my bond with my little brother was then an forever will be unbreakable with an adoration for each other that is unmeasurable.

Because I had my little brother aka my room-mate, I grew up dreaming that when it was my time I would have at least two children and in my mind ideally 3....2 girls and a boy...I had a plan.

Well as my mother would say, “man plans and God laughs” because after two heart breaking miscarriages I had my daughter at the tender age of 22 and she would end up being my only child.

You might ask, how do you go from having a lifelong dream of having three children to only having one? You had her so young, why did you stop?

Here’s the thing: I did have my daughter at a very young age but from the moment I first held her in my arms I felt a love I had never known and could not even explain. I wanted to be and do everything for her. My primary purpose in life became discovering all that I could about this little human that I had been entrusted to steward over. For me this was the greatest responsibility I had ever been given and I did not take it lightly. I studied her, nurtured her gifts, encouraged her to strengthen her strengths and manage her weaknesses. I spent countless hours at theatre, art and dance classes. Sought to get her a great education and traveled around the world with her to cultivate and express her talents. As the years went by I realized that I was learning about myself as I poured into her...we grew up together.

In my youth I thought that being a parent meant to be a steward and it does but I have come to learn that in my stewardship there were aspects of my being that were unveiled and blossomed in my role as Mommy.

Now do I think that myself and my daughter may have been different people had I had more children? I do think that the dynamics of our relationship would have been different because I would have had to share my time and energies with her sibling(s) but ultimately I think we would have grown into who we are today...same destination different journey.

Some think that it’s a disadvantage for one to grow up as an only child because that only child can be showered with so much attention from their parents that they may become selfish and socially inept.

I must admit that there were often times when my daughter was growing up that when were in the presence of other children and attention was being given to them, my daughter would be come upset and give the standard pouty face and arms crossed over her chest. I would tell her, “ it’s not your moment,” and she would most often shake it off and join in with what was happening or go off and do her own thing. Only children are good at doing their “own thing.” I’m not sure if this behavior was because of the “only child syndrome” or because my daughter was an entertainer from birth and always wanted to delight people with her talents. Either way, there were times when I had to tell her NO and as a Mommy I could not be afraid to do so because in this world she will not always get a YES, them what?!

Two life principles that I have learned are critical when it comes to raising only children, they are “balance is the key to life” and “relationships are the network for life.” Though my daughter did not have a sibling in the home that she had to share Mommy’s attention with, I always made it clear to her that it’s not always going to be her “moment.” I taught her that she needed to be mindful of the needs of others because we all have an innate desire to feel loved and wanted and when that need is not met that it when abnormality expresses itself in ways that can be harmful not only to the individual but to the society at large.

We grow in community and not isolation so I always made sure to bring my daughter around our extended family, scheduled play dates with friend and kept her engaged in social activities that developed her socialization and communication skills outside of her parents. You can not develop a muscle unless you exercise it.

I would tell anyone who has more than one child as difficult as it may be to share your time talent and treasury equally with each child, do your best to see them as individuals, uniquely and wonderfully made and designed for a specific purpose. Take the time to study their unique traits, characteristics and abilities, help your children to discover them then put in the work to nurture them.

I believe God in His infinite wisdom knew WHO my daughter was and what she would require from me and that’s why she is an only child. I don’t have any regrets because my daughter brings me so much joy and I see her as the best of me...my one and only!

- Heather Hughes

Would you like to be a guest blogger of aMommyCast.com? Send your entries to aMommyCast@gmail.com

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