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Friday, August 11, 2017

Featured Products: Velcro Mitt and Ball By Trisha Roberts

Velcro ball throw and catch

Teaching children to throw and catch a ball is an important skill.  Young children are able to perform a “forward fling” at 1 year of age and a true overhand throw between 1 ½ year to 2 years old with accuracy and distance increasing with age. (See our 3-Part article on the Development of Ball Skills in Children)

A great activity to improve and augment children’s throwing and catching abilities is a Velcro Mitt and Ball.  

Children can use the velcro ball and mitt to catch and toss indoors or outdoors. It is very portable and can be taken to the backyard, porch, beach, camping trip or park.  The velcro surfaces of the ball and mitt make catching easy for the beginning catcher and still very enjoyable for more advanced ball players.  Practice throwing and catching improves Gross Motor Skills and Eye-Hand Coordination; the resistance of the velcro can strengthen the small muscles in the hand which can lead to better fine motor skills like writing and cutting with scissors. 

Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A Physical Therapist’s Top 3 Baby Safety Tips For New Mothers By Trisha Roberts

The first year of life is so exciting for baby and parents alike! Each day you will watch your baby explore their world--discovering different ways to move, new sights, unique tastes, and exciting textures. As babies start to move they are exposed to more risk of falls and injury.  My three pieces of advice are:

 1.  Keep your infant on the floor!  Put them on their tummy on a blanket or rug from early on.  This not only works on improving the crucial skills learned in Tummy Time (see my blog about the Importance of Tummy Time) but keeps them safe from rolling off beds, chairs, or couches.  You think, “They can’t roll off of this,” but you turn your back and SMACK, they have landed on the floor.

Tummy Time on the floor

Strap babies onto the changing table to avoid falls.

2.  Babies usually start to crawl between 8-10 months of age.  When they crawl they are constantly looking for something with which to pull themselves up to standing.  All bookshelves, entertainment centers or any unstable furniture needs to be secured to the wall.  All dangling cords need to be wrapped and/or tucked out of reach or your baby will pull the cord and the attached lamp, clock, or appliance could fall on their head.  Make sure that dresser drawers can’t be opened and used for climbing, as the weight of your child could topple the entire dresser.

Dangling cords pose a safety risk to young children

Cords on any appliances should be securedKeep kids safe by securing furniture so that it can't tip over

 3.  Gate the top and bottom of your staircases.  Babies learn to crawl up stairs 1-2 months before they learn to turn backward and crawl down the stairs.  Many Emergency Room visits are due to children tumbling down stairs. Make sure to accomany your toddler as they learn to navigate the stairs; don't let them "go solo" until you are sure that they are safe.

Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Allowances By Trisha Roberts

Should you pay your child an allowance?  There are many views on this, but here is my take.

Let me start first with a basic premise:  Children are a part of a family, and a family works together and plays together.  There are tasks that need to be done for the family to function well, and each person should have tasks assigned to them.  No one pays Mom to make supper or do the grocery shopping—it is an act of love that benefits the family.  No one pays Dad to mow the lawn or change the oil in the cars—it is an act of love that is done because he loves his family and cares for the needs of his family.

Doing chores as part of a family

Family fun

When the family goes somewhere, everyone benefits.  Meals are purchased, park entrance fees are covered, hotels are paid for, etc.  No one asks their young child to pay the toll on the Turnpike!  Things are covered because the family is on an outing or going about life in general.  It is understood that the cost is absorbed by the family budget.

My Philosophy:
So….my philosophy is that all children should be given tasks appropriate for their age, just because they are part of the family.  Tasks and chores help develop character and independence. (See my blog on, “How to Develop Independence in Children”.)  As children age, their responsibilities in the home should keep pace. I do not think children should be “paid” for doing what needs to be done to care for their toys, clothes, or other household needs.  These are things that will need to be done all of their life and are building blocks to independent living.

Clean up is a good skill to teach early

Doing laundry is a lifeskill that can be taught early

Children can be given a set amount of money for their own use, an “allowance” if you will, just because they are part of the family, but I don’t think that it should be because they have, “done their chores”. It is because they are part of the family, not tied to completion of tasks.  Giving children an allowance will also give them experience in using money wisely (see below).

Teach children how to wisely save and use money

Earning Money:
It is important to teach children the value of money—how to earn money, save money, and invest money. The old adage holds true, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”  Money is earned.  If a child holds out their hand and instantly it is covered in a greenback, it teaches children to depend on others and does not teach the correlation between work, income, budget, and spending.
Therefore, I believe that children should have the opportunity to “work” and get paid.  Beyond their regular chores, children should be offered “jobs” around the house that are extra and have a monetary reimbursement attached.  Some things that could be on the list each week:  clean the refrigerator, sweep the garage, clean the oven, wash walls, weed the garden, dust the mini blinds, water the garden, etc.  Children can choose which jobs they want to attack; they are paid when the job is completed and passes adult inspection.

Extra choresExtra chores for additional money

Extra chores should match a child's ability to perform

Teach Children Wise Use of Money:
Children need to learn that every penny that comes into their possession should not be immediately spent on their personal consumption. We follow the 10-10-80 principle.  Ten percent of income (whether allowance or payment) should be donated (to a church, synagogue, or charity), 10 percent saved (in a piggy bank for young children or in a savings account for older children), and 80 percent used for expenses.  If children want a special toy, DVD, article of clothing, or activity, they should be encouraged to save the 80 percent until they have enough to purchase the item.

Kids need to learn early how to manage money

Dont' spend all of your money at once

Additional Tips and Advice:
When on vacation, we always bought one T-shirt for everyone and then gave each child a set amount of “spending” money.  They were free to purchase a souvenir or other items during the vacation.  They could also bring more of their saved money to spend, but there was to be no begging and pleading for other things or more spending money.  This prevented many a headache!

Older children can be allotted a set budget for specific items and then given the freedom to use that money wisely.  For instance, teenagers could be given a set amount of money to spend on clothing or school supplies.  They can buy what they want, but when the budgeted money is gone, additional shopping is at their own expense.

An allowance should be graduated according to a child’s age.  You might want to use a formula of $.50 or $1.00 per year of age so that a 5-year old would get $2.50 (or $5.00) a week and a 10-year old $5.00 (or $10.00) a week.

Personal Anecdote:

Our older children were offered a summer job de-tasseling corn for a large seed company in rural Indiana. It was a hot, scratchy, tiring job.  They earned a considerable amount of money for this “first job” experience, but our son learned a very valuable lesson later that summer that was worth way more than the paycheck!  We were attending a county fair as a family. There was a booth that offered helicopter rides for a fee.  Our son turned to his dad and asked to ride the helicopter.  His dad told him, “You have money now. You can pay for this.”  Our son mulled this over in his mind and declined the opportunity after reasoning and calculating how many hours the 15-minute ride would cost him in terms of the back-breaking labor he experienced earning that money!

MORAL:  When YOU have worked for the money, more time and discretion is used before it is spent!

Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Summer Evenings Around the Campfire

Enjoy a summer campfire with your family and friends

Who doesn't love a campfire?!?  Whether you have the privilege of heading to a State Park or Recreation facility or whether you have a fire ring in your backyard, times around the campfire make great memories. Here are some classic tips for Family Campfire Fun:

Some classic campfire foods

S’Mores, Foil Dinners, Hot Dogs, foil-wrapped baked potatoes, corn-on-the-cob baked in water-soaked husks, or melted campfire sandwiches (prepare ahead and throw in the coals to heat).

S'More make any summer campfire better


Parachute Games (before it gets dark):  see our blog post for Parachute Game Ideas

Story Telling after dark

Start with a sentence, then let each person adds on to the story.  See where it goes!  You might try, “I once knew an old man that lived in the woods.  He had a big dog, a wooden leg, and a beard than was so long it touched the ground!” or, “There was a flea that lived in a tree whose best friend was a bee.”  Or, “
Have each person take turns telling about a favorite memory from the past summer.
Be very quiet and listen to the sounds in the woods.  Let each person name a sound they hear and make up a story about it.  For instance, if you hear a cricket chirping, the story could be about a family of crickets getting ready for bed.  If you hear the wind rustling the leaves on the trees, you might make up a story about the leaves getting preparing for an adventure.

Campfire songs with the Family and Friends

Campfire Songs:
If you don’t remember some from your youth, here are a few to get you started! Everyone will have suggestions once you start!

I’ve Got Something in my Pocket
Five Little Speckled Frogs
This Land is Your Land
Father Abraham Had Many Sons
Found a Peanut
The Ants Go Marching
This Old Man
Hokey Pokey
This is a Song that Never Ends

Music around the Summer Campfire

 Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Tips for Hiking Families by Trisha Roberts

Hiking is fun for the whole family!

Hiking is a great outdoor activity for any season, but especially in the summer and fall months. Whether you choose to travel on a paved path in the local park or trek through thickets and trees in the timberlands, preparing in advance can make for a safer, more enjoyable experience.

Be Prepared:

I have a backpack that is stocked and ready for any expedition. It includes:
  •          Sunscreen
  •          Insect Repellent
  •          Binoculars                    
Binoculars are Great to take on a Hike!

  •          Bandages
  •          Small Water Bottle
  •          Whistle                                                              
    Take a whistle for each person when you hike
    Whistles for Safety

  •          Inexpensive rain poncho
  •          Snack Bars or Trail Mix
  •          Hand Sanitizer
  •         Tissues or a small roll of toilet paper
  •          A plastic bag for trash

Children should carry a backpack that weighs not more than 10-15% of their body weight.  For example, an average 7 year old weighs 50-60 pounds; their pack should not weigh more than 5-9 pounds.

Heavy backpacks can spoil a great hike
Don't overload your child's backpack!

What to Wear and Take:
  • Long, loose sleeved shirts allow air flow but protect against sunburn, discourage ticks and mosquitos, and help prevent scratches.
  • Hiking boots that fit well with absorbent cotton socks.  Try to “break-in” the boots slowly by taking short hikes or wearing them around the house before tackling a longer hike. A sturdy pair of tennis shoes also works well.
  • Consider a wide-brimmed hat that can be great protection from the sun.
  • Each person should wear or carry a whistle for emergencies.
  • Spray bug repellent around the cuffs of sleeves and neckline of shirts and at the ankles.
  • Apply sunscreen to exposed skin.
  • Take at least 1 8-ounce bottle of water or Gatorade.
  • If available, take a map of the park or area you plan to hike.  (This can be a great teaching tool.  Consider taking a compass and/or GPS tracker, too!)
  • A walking stick can be helpful for longer hikes or paths traversing hills and mountains.
Hiking sticks help make the adventure more fun

Teach children safety:

  • Teach the “Buddy System”—each person should be paired with a family member or friend.  It is each person’s responsibility to know where their partner is at all times. Make sure that everyone understands the importance of staying together--no one should wander off alone. 

  • If someone should become separated from the group, they should blow their whistle (ideally the “SOS” pattern of 3 long blasts, 3 short blasts, and 3 long blasts).

Whistles on hikes
Instruct Children to Blow their Whistle if the are Lost

  • Instruct children to identify and avoid contact with poisonous plants like poison ivy and poison oak.

Poisonous plants you might encounter on a hike

Poison Oak
Poison Oak
Poison Ivy should be avoided on a hike!
Poison Ivy

Additional Options:

  • Have someone bring a bird identification book.
  • Download an app to a smart phone that can help identify leaves and trees.
  • Study in advance the insects or small animals you might see on your excursion.

Remember to Enjoy Every Moment! Give Thanks for the Beauty around Us!

Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, July 7, 2017

20 Things Parents Teach that Can Have Positive Outcomes in their Children’s Lives By Trisha Roberts

Every parent would say that they want their children to succeed in life.  Being intentional in teaching children a variety of virtues can help children grow into adults that are well-respected, well-rounded and fulfilled.

Here's my list of qualities and attributes that I think every parent, grandparent, teacher and care provider should help develop in the kids they influence:

  • Show and communicate Love
  • Teach Kindness
Children who are given love and share love are better prepared adults

  • The worth of friendship—making good friends and being a good friend
Parents that teach their children to develop good friendships help their kids grow

  • Teach them the value of work hard
  • The balance of play and work
  • The value of family
A family is valuable and should be treasured

  • Forgiveness
  • Willingness to accept blame, and acknowledge fault
  • Compassion
  • To have a curiosity about life—to love learning
  • Let them fail and learn from their failures
  • Instill moral values
  • To make wise choices and to understand consequences
  • Teach Spiritual Truth--Help them see that they were created for a purpose and to know The Creator.
  • Teach Manners
Parents should teach kids good manners

  • Teach them gratitude/thankfulness/appreciation
  • Teach them humility
  • Respect
  •  Honesty
  •  How to manage money wisely

Model, not just mouth.  Teaching involves more than just talking.  Teach truth by example.  If you say you value kindness, show kindness.  If you want to instill manners in your children, consistently demonstrate good manners. Pattern a lifestyle of the values you would love to see in your adult children.

Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.

Friday, June 30, 2017

How to Develop Independence in Children By Trisha Roberts

Most parents would say that they want their children to grow up and be “independent”.  But what exactly does that look like and how do we develop that? Independence is learning to do things for one’s self and becoming less dependent on others.

When children leave home to live on their own after high school or college, they should have the life skills necessary to be independent.  They should be able to clean their room and home, launder their clothes, organize their belongings, change sheets on a bed, plan healthy meals, grocery shop, cook/bake, hang pictures securely on a wall, manage a savings and checking account, perform basic mechanics on their car (change a tire, fill the wiper fluid, and maybe change the oil), recycle, formulate a budget, and pay bills in a timely fashion, to name a few.

Learning to change a tire is an important life skill

Teach kids how to balance the checkbook

These skills are learned--they do not simply appear or emerge.  An infant is totally dependent on its parents and care providers for the
provision of food, positional changes, bathing, diapering, etc.  As a toddler grows and a child matures they can take on more responsibility for their own care and help with the needs of the family unit, thus learning the skills they will need to live independently. Chores are an essential part of life as we age; let’s teach children to enjoy work and the sense of accomplishment a job well done brings to a person.  Life is much more pleasant when we learn to find satisfaction in the simple, day-to-day tasks.

Many things are learned by trial and error, but parents can facilitate the development of independence by introducing age-appropriate chores as their children grow and mature.  Numerous skills are initially taught by observation with a gradual assumption of responsibility for the entire task.

Example 1:  Allowing a young child to watch as you wash, dry, and fold clothes is a start toward laundry competence.  Encouraging children to separate the dark clothes from the lighter colored clothes teaches colors, sorting, and counting and is also one of the necessary skills for washing.  Letting kids put clothes in or take them out of the dryer practices the concept of in and out and is good physical exercise (squat-to-stand--strengthening and bending—flexibility).  Teaching children to fold shirts, match socks, and put clothing in closets and drawers can be good educational opportunities as well as the beginning of life skills needed for self-sufficient living.

Folding Clothes is a good beginning chore

Example 2:   Even very young children are fascinated by the process of washing dishes. Let them stand on a chair (make sure that they have the balance to do so!  Or have a look at a great Kitchen Helper that allows kids to work alongside adults in the kitchen safely!) Let them use the faucet hose to rinse off dishes.  Let them place the silverware in the dishwasher basket.  They can learn great skills by stacking and counting small plates.

Children by age five should have specific chores that are their day responsibility.  As they grow, the number of chores or complexity of the chores may increase.  Some chores that could be assumed by children include:

  • Make their own bed
  • Put folded clothes away
  • Feed or water Pets
  • Put toys on shelves or in bins (see our article, “Organize the Playroom”)
  • Set the table
  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Dust the house
  • Empty the trash baskets in each room
Watering and feeding pets are good early chores
Making a bed is an early life skill

Other life skills, such as balancing a checkbook, changing a tire, or formulating a weekly meal plan, are activities that should be taught as a teenager. Make a list of the skills you want your teenager to master and then schedule times to work on those activities.

Make sure that your children are as prepared for life on their own as you can.  Have high expectations—have the confidence in your kids that they can do a successful job.  Encourage them and gently guide and correct errors as needed.  Independence is a valuable virtue—make a conscious effort to instill it in your children!

Blog Administrator:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2017 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.