Newsletter: Parents and Kids Connecting

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Part Three: Consider these ideas for a Newsletter! …Or for yourself


The following is rather long to be put in a newsletter at one time. Consider including one “TIP” each month  It would give you 7 Tips for 7 newsletters—

We must communicate to our children every day that they are loved, says Sandra Magsamen, an expert on living your life with heart. But, sometimes words alone are not enough to express what we most want to say. Here are some ways Sandra says you can make lasting bonds with your children that will last a lifetime.

Hug! Never stop hugging your child. A hug connects physically and emotionally like nothing else. You should also read lots of books to your children. Put time aside each day to look at, read and share stories. You can read the same ones over and over again.

2. DANCE, sway and move as you hold your child and provide the comfort and connection that gentle rocking and movement brings. Get down on the floor and play, make puzzles, finger paint, roll around and laugh together. And tell them you love them, that they are special, that they are unique and that they are a gift

Find your song and sing it. Don’t worry if you don’t have the pipes of Aretha, just sing and I promise your child will love it. Find “your song,” the song you love to sing to your child. It will soothe them “and you”on those days where everything seems to be going wrong.

4. WRITE YOUR CHILD A LETTER soon after they are born. (Or start it now!) Fill it with your thoughts, hopes, dreams and the experience of bringing a new life into the world. Place your note in an envelope and inscribe, “On the day you were born” on it, and tuck it in a journaling-type book.

5. EACH YEAR on your child’s birthday

write another letter to him/her–fill it with the memories, milestones, dreams, events, ideas and the life that you and your family have created throughout the year. When your child grows up and has a place of his or her own, present the book and continue to send the letters on your child’s birthday. You will have written a book and told the story of two very special people: you and your child.

6. IN SOAP OR LIPSTICK, write, “You’re the best!” or “Have a great day!” on the bathroom mirror where your child will see it when brushing his or her teeth. And at breakfast, try spelling out, “I love you” with individual letters from alphabet cereal. Of course, you will have to pick through the box to find eight letters, but the message will then have your personal touch. Surprise your son with his favorite cookies in his lunch box-the sugary ones that he regularly begs for in the grocery aisle, but rarely receives.

Or reach for a banana, like my friend did to keep connected to her boys. “During elementary school, I’d pack their lunches every day and I’d always put a banana in each bag. One day I started writing little notes-jokes and riddles on the banana peel with a permanent pen. The boys loved it and looked forward to their lunchtime surprise. I loved it, too, knowing that as I was thinking about them at lunchtime, they would be thinking of me. Of course, by middle school, they asked me to stop sending notes on their bananas. They were ‘too old.’ The boys really did get a kick out of it!”

If bananas aren’t your thing, simply write a note, a riddle or cut a comic that your child loves from the newspaper. Your child will enjoy getting that extra-special something from you and all his or her classmates will be waiting each day to see what’s next.

Make Friday nights game night-relax together with pizza, some healthy snacks and competition. Invite your children’s best friends to join you

  • Make a family history book using favorite words, photos and souvenirs.
  • I love a good game of black out: Turn off every light in the house (including night-lights and VCR lights) and play hide-and-seek. Prepare to have a blast tripping all over each other and even getting spooked a time or two.
  • Plant a garden with butterfly bushes and enjoy the visits of hundreds of butterflies.
  • Create a revolving art gallery of your kid’s work in your home. Show them you think their art is a masterpiece. String wire between two hooks and hang the art with clothespins
  • Turn off the TV and put on your own plays and musicals, and share stories.
  • Turn on the soothing sounds of jazz and watch your family relax. Make a CD of your family’s favorite tunes to be played on long car rides or rainy Sunday afternoons.
  • Create new everyday rituals: warm vanilla milk, a story or a kiss on the forehead before bedtime-special touches that will help your child drift off to a peaceful sleep.
  • Plant a garden together, and then watch as the seeds grow.
  • Make a video of your grandparents. Interview them about their lives and ask the funny questions that will brighten their faces and make them laugh. This project will become a cherished family heirloom. To read the other ideas visit


Ways to Stay Connected with Older Kids…

  • Visit a make-your-own-pottery place and create a plate for each person in your family, or several pieces to celebrate a special event.

  • Bake together. Make ice cream. Create an Italian feast of fresh pasta, bread and tiramisu, with a famous aria playing in the background.

  • Bring armloads of comforters, pillows and blankets in front of the largest TV in the house and have movie night, all cozy together.

  • Pick your own strawberries and make jam. Enjoy life. It’s delicious.

  • Build a campfire in the backyard (in a grill or fire pit), and roast hot dogs on sticks and make s’mores with chocolate bars, marshmallows and graham crackers. Sit around, tell stories and enjoy the night air and the flames as they warm your fingers and toes.

  • Go miniature golfing together. Set up teams and prepare to laugh as children and adults alike compete for the lowest score. Give prizes to the winners, both old and young.

  • Get tickets for your local professional, minor league or college baseball game. Spend an afternoon in the sun eating chocolate malts, peanuts and singing during the seventh-inning stretch. (If you get there early, you may be able to catch fly balls from batting practice.) Consider tailgating, and create and serve a feast from the trunk of your car.

  • Go ice skating or to a roller rink and dance to the music booming over the loudspeakers.

  • Check out the local public gardens in your area, perhaps one that serves Chinese tea or has acres of roses.

  • Journey down to your local theater and support your neighborhood thespians as they perform in A Midsummer Night’s Dream or Annie Get Your Gun.

  • Has the fair come to town? Carnivals and fairgrounds are a good way to change your routine and celebrate your country roots.

  • Bust out all of the board games you can find. Enjoy some healthy competition as you play. Fill bowls with popcorn, chips, nuts and chocolates for the competitors.

  • Sing at home in Karaoke style. Crank up the tunes and laugh as everyone takes a turn singing their favorite song.

A Nice Piece to Have Available as a Hand-out…
STAMP OUT SIBLING RIVALRY (Yes, it’s possible!) 
By Lisa Lombardi

You find your kids practically coming to blows over who got more cream cheese on their bagel, and you can’t help but think: There is just no way to avoid sibling rivalry. Well, if the goal is to avoid it entirely, then you might be right, says John Rosemond, author of The New! Six-Point Plan for Raising Happy, Healthy Children (Andrews McMeel Publishing).

Want to (almost) keep the peace? Put these strategies to work in your house.

1. Resist the urge to rush in, because “when you intervene, you’re likely to identify one child as the villain and one as the victim.” The obvious problem: It takes two to squabble, and you may be unfairly maligning one kid. The not-so-obvious problem: You’re creating a dynamic that will quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy. “If that victim gets attention for being a victim, he’s going to continue to elicit that villain behavior from his brother or sister,” Rosemond says. Instead, let them work out squabbles themselves. The only caveat? If your younger child is 3 years old or under, or you sense either child is in physical danger, by all means play ref.

2. Don’t compare siblings to one another… You probably know not to say, “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” But it’s a common mistake to compare kids in even more subtle ways (e.g. “Julie, look at how nicely your brother is playing with those puzzles”). It’s fine to praise one child’s unique skills, says Rosemond. Just make sure you don’t have a hidden agenda — like getting Julie to stop hurling puzzle pieces across the room.

3. Be a super model… You and your spouse provide a powerful example of how two family members should speak to each other. “If the kids see you arguing and calling each other names, it’s hard to get across the message: We don’t do that in this family,” points out Rosemond. So play nice with your sweetie, and who knows? You just might hear less bickering from the playroom.

4. Give each kid space… You know the famous line by Robert Frost about how fences make good neighbors? Well, imaginary lines (in the car, in a shared bedroom, and so on) make good siblings. To avoid turf wars, “the ideal situation is for each child to have his own clearly-defined space,” stresses Rosemond. If you can’t spare a bedroom, give each child his own desk or toy chest in their communal space. Rosemond says that doing this will give each child “a sense that this territory is mine.”

5. Don’t insist on shared play dates… Sure, it would be easy if your 7-year-old could take your 4-year-old under her wing whenever she has a pal over. But asking older kids to always include younger ones on play dates and fun outings creates serious resentment on the part of the older child ( and risks embarrassment in front of friends). Plus, there’s another reason to steer clear of making the older child the de facto babysitter: Having private friend time means the older child is more likely to play nicely with the younger one when no peers are around. And to keep the left-out child content, plan a fun alternate activity, or give the greatest treat of all: one-on-one time with you.  Adapted from Real Families 


The successful parent employs a variety of strategies to encourage a child to read, and to keep reading.
Here are proven techniques you can use to teach your child that reading is valuable and enjoyable:

  • Set a good example as a reader – let kids see you reading every day.
  • Get a subscription in his or her name to an age-appropriate magazine for your child. When relatives and others ask for gift ideas, suggest magazine subscriptions, books, or a book store gift certificate.
  • Make reading fun – a time that you and your children look forward to spending together.
    Check out The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease (New York: Penguin Books, 1995). It’s loaded with fun tips and reading recommendations.
  • Keep lots of books, magazines, and newspapers around the house. Visit the library often and shop for books at garage and yard sales, swap meets, and used bookstores.
  • Don’t fret if “Captain Underpants” has captivated your child rather than Robinson Crusoe. The important thing: he’s reading! Encourage it and he’s likely to move on to more sophisticated titles as he gets older. Tips from:

Your child has started school, but he still needs you to read to him at home. Your child will do better in school, and you’ll enjoy the time spent together. Here are helpful tips for reading to and with young children in school, kindergarten through third grade:

  • Keep reading to your child even when he can read. Read books that are too difficult or long for him to read alone.

  • Try reading books with chapters and talk about what is happening in the story. Encourage your child to make predictions about what will happen next, and connect characters or events to those in other books and stories.

  • Talk with your child about reading preferences that are beginning to develop. Ask whether she likes adventure stories, mysteries, science fiction, animal stories, or stories about other children. Encourage her to explain the reasons for preferences.

  • Talk with your child about favorite authors and help him find additional books by those authors.

  • Take turns reading a story with your child. Don’t interrupt to correct mistakes that do not change the meaning.

  • Talk about the meaning of new words and ideas introduced in books. Help your child think of examples of new concepts.

  • Talk with your child about stories using the notions of the beginning, middle, and end of the story to organize thinking and discussion.

  • Ask your child to tell why a character might have taken a specific action. Ask for information from the story to support her answer.

  • Enjoy yourself and have fun. The most important thing you can do to help your child become a successful reader is communicate that reading is valuable and enjoyable.

It is critical that your child keeps reading and being read to at this age. Young readers need to become practiced at reading, and the only way to get good at it — is to practice!

Helpful tips for reading to and with children in grades four through six:

  • Take turns reading a book with your child.
  • Ask your child to compare a book to another familiar book. How are the characters alike or different? Do the stories take place in similar settings? How are the illustrations the same or different?
  • ASK:
    Ask what part of the story or book your child liked best and why.
    Ask if your child liked the ending of the story. Why or why not?
    Ask your child what type of mood the story or chapter in a book creates.
    Ask how the author creates the mood. For example, does she use certain words, events, or settings that create a particular feeling? If your child has read more than one book by the same author, ask how the books are similar or different.


You are your children’s biggestand most important cheerleader. Whether they’re competing in a sport or performing in a theater production or music group, your presence is a key way to support your children. But the way you are present also makes a difference in the way your children feel about you, themselves, and the activities they are in. Consider these ideas:

  • Attend as many of your children’s games and performances as you can. Kids notice when you’re there and when you’re not.
  • Focus on supporting your child and the other kids there. If you’re overly competitive, ask yourself why winning is more important to you than supporting the kids who are involved. I
  • Point out what you liked about your child’s performance. The more specific you can be, the better. For example, say, “I enjoyed hearing your trumpet parts in the band, or “I am so proud of you for blocking that kick.”
  • Invite other significant adults in your child’s life to games and performances. Consider occasionally inviting grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and other important adults.
  • When you take photos or record your child’s game or performance, also remember to put down the camera and cheer! It’s important to be fully present in the moment, and one way to do that is to set technology aside so that you can witness firsthand your child’s achievements.
  • Ask your kids periodically what they like about their sport (or-activity). Ask what they have fun doing or learning-and if there is anything they’d like to change if they could.


Involved Parents Are the Real Heroes:
All parents want to be “Most Valuable Parents” who help their children and teens make smart choices and avoid pitfalls of growing up. Unlike advice sites, is a trusted, research-based resource with tips, ideas, and strategies for raising smart, strong, responsible kids.

Parents can get positive, proactive, and down-to-earth guidance on how to respond to the changes and challenges of parenting in positive, healthy ways. Topics include underage drinking, family volunteering, curfews, school success, juggling work and family, and much more. A good website!!!

TIP: Visit the Child Development Category  and Thought of the Month …they may also contain articicles you could include in your newletters or post at your Information Center.

The sections of ‘Newsletter Category’ are:

The sections of ‘Newsletter Category’ are:

Click for the  Entire Newsletter Category

Part 1. What to Put in Newsletters

Part 2. Prose, Poems and Cute items for Newsletters

Part 3. Timely Newsletter Topics to Connect Kids and Parents

Part 4. Newsletter Topics of Health and Food

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