Every Child Needs an Advocate – The Advocating for Children Series

Advocate- What does it mean?

I first want to take a look at advocate as a noun, pronounced ad-vo-ket. According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, an advocate is a person who actively supports or favors a cause.

My favorite synonyms for advocate are:  backer, friend, promoter, proponent, protagonist, supporter, true believer, cheerleader, encourager, fellow traveler

Used in a sentence:  Since I am an advocate for children’s books, my family reads every day.

Next, let’s look at advocate as a verb, pronounced ad-voe-kAte.  According to Merriam Webster is to promote the interests or cause of

My favorite synonyms for advocate are:  support, back, champion, endorse, assist, help, preach, talk, rescue, save 

Used in a sentence:  I advocate that my children develop a passion for reading because I believe it is the second most important thing I can teach them.

Be a Child Advocate

Parents as Advocates

In most situations, there is no better person to advocate on behalf of a child than their parent or guardian.

  • More than likely, no one cares about your child as much as you do
  • You know your child the best
  • You are responsible for your child
  • If you don’t speak up for your child, who else will?


When is it Necessary to Advocate for our Children?

It is the parent’s responsibility to make sure our child’s physical, social/emotional, and academic needs are being met. If these three areas are effectively covered, we are setting our Read the rest

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These Little Lights of Mine, I’m Going to Let Them Shine! How’s Your Lighting?

At the parent orientation for Jock’s school, the director mentioned research on overhead lighting and how it could be a problem for some children.  She went on to say that the lighting used in the school classrooms was mainly natural.  She didn’t say much else on the topic.
A light went off for me!  No pun intended. I learned about that during my first few years of teaching.  Why had I let that slip my mind? Oh, maybe because it’s been 18 years! YIKES!
So, one night when I couldn’t sleep, I researched overhead lighting to refresh my memory and find out about the new research.  There is plenty, and it is still developing.

Types of Overhead Lighting and the Effects

Lighting can affect a person’s emotional and physical well-being.  In a study done by Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology they found:
1.  The lower the lighting (warm/yellowish) supports relaxing environments.
2.  Standard lighting (neutral) supports reading type activities.
3.  6000+K dynamic lighting (mimics natural daylight) supports academic.
Overhead Lighting
Explanation of Correlated Color Temperature (Click the pic to read the article.)
I’m thinking – SCORE! By luck that is!  I rarely turn on the lights during the day just to save on electricity, so the kids are used to spending their day using the light that comes through the blinds.  I’m glad this is a positive in more ways than just saving money!
Several studies Read the rest
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Family Traditions: They’re Well Worth the Effort – What Are Yours?

Think back to some of your favorite childhood memories.  What do they involve? You got it. Traditions!

Even Hank Williams Jr. felt the need to write a song about them: 
Country music singers have always been a real close family
But lately, some of my kinfolks have disowned a few others and me
I guess it’s because I kind of changed my direction
Lord, I guess I went and broke their family tradition

Why Family Traditions
Psychologists are saying that study after study is proving that what we remember and enjoy the most about our time in our parents’ home are the traditions. It’s the activities that bring our families together and give us the feeling that everything is right with the world and with our families that shine in our hearts the longest. 

Just think about the stories you hear people tell from childhood, “Every Christmas we would, my cousins and I would always, my dad used to always take us camping to…”  This will be our children someday.  What stories do we want to give them to tell?

After reading these statistics, I made conversation with Chris about it.  We concluded that we didn’t have as many as we would have liked, and we weren’t being consistent on some of the ones we originally planned. 

They need to be your own and feel natural to the family! Children can research and suggest traditions, Read the rest

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Babysitter Dilemmas and the Guide I Created to Solve My Problem

Before we moved to our current location, our nearest family members lived about 2 hours away, so we did not have a babysitter that we were kin to.  After Jock turned a year old and I had been with him every single day, I decided that I needed a few days where I took some time to get some things done around the house and outdoors. I started searching for a babysitter that would come over and play with him while I got some work done.

I started asking some of the people from church and my neighborhood if they had any recommendations for babysitters.  Over the two years that I tried to use babysitters, I had three good experiences, but predominantly I had really negative experiences.  I probably tried 6 to 8 girls.  Sometimes, I would give them chances.  Sometimes it wasn’t until the third babysit or so that I realized the girl was unfit.

I want to note that most of the girls who babysat for me worked in church nurseries, one was the daughter of a pastor, one drove her mom’s minivan, and a lot of them were majoring in education at our local university.  These were the characteristics that made myself and the recommenders even more confident in the babysitters from the beginning, but I soon learned not to form an opinion until after I had them babysit.

Usually, I did chores Read the rest

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Laughter is the Best Medicine- Make Your Kids Laugh!

When was the last time you and your family did something fun? How many times a day do ya’ll laugh? How about a throw your head back, deep belly laugh? 

Why Is Laughter Important

Just to name a few reasons why laughter should be a priority:  Laughter can do great things for the family.  It can heal, build resilience, help family members forgive, stop children from having meltdowns and fits, and there are a number of health benefits. 

I was researching an issue Jock was having a couple of years ago, and one of the suggestions was to make sure that children are laughing many times daily.  I remember the article saying something to the effect of crying and laughing release anxiety. Laughing can have the same effect emotionally and psychologically for a  person as crying.  A no-brainer- I wanted to choose laughter!

Our children carry around emotional backpacks that they will eventually unload.  If we are making sure that our children are laughing regularly, then there will almost definitely be less crying and whining.  That really got my attention because crying and whining give me anxiety!

Oh, but there were a couple of “aw shucks”. For one, tickling doesn’t count.  It has to be laughter by choice. The other was sometimes the kid has so much emotional baggage that the laughter feels good, and then a big meltdown comes afterward.  These are called scheduled meltdowns.  Read the rest

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Did the Way These 4 Men Were Parented Help Lead to Their Success?

One day I was thinking about men who have been or are mind-blowingly successful in their careers.  Not only are they very successful, but they are exceptionally happy with their job positions. Men who go for their dreams and do what no one else attempts, and it leads to great success.  It made me wonder if their accomplishments had anything to do with the way they were parented. 

What if anything did their parents do to make them people who take risks? What kind of schooling did these men have?  I decided to do some research and find out.  I wanted to see if there was anything I thought was worth emulating. I really want my kids to love their occupations as much as I did!

Here are the facts that I found that I took into consideration:

Steve Jobs, Founder of the Apple Inc.:

  • Steve did not care much about elementary school and rarely participated mainly because he was bored and not challenged. He finally had a teacher who challenged him in 4th grade, and he then skipped the next grade and went on to junior high.
  • Steve’s parents moved him to another school because he was bullied.

  • His father (He was adopted if you didn’t know.) spent a lot of time with him, and they would shop for computer parts on the weekends. Steve would then use these experiences to learn from and
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