Category Archives for Life in General

Teens and Pets: A Perfect Match for Work and Business

​This is the fourth of a 12-week series on kids and earning money, focusing on teens. The tips presented can also be used with younger children if needed.

Teens and pets generally go hand in hand. Most teens like pets of any kind. Some teens, like my eldest nephew, like exotic pets such as snakes and ferrets. However, when a teenager is looking for extra income, a dog is truly a his best friend.

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Encourage Your Budding Entrepreneur

​This is the third of a 12-week series on kids and earning money, focusing on teens. The tips presented can also be used with younger children if needed.

​I remember the first time my older daughter came to me with an idea about making money. She had been learning to crochet and had made a few flowers to give to her friends on the soccer team. A few of them loved them so much they asked if she could make extras for their other friends, or loved ones, and her first business idea was born. She went on to start crocheting purses and hats and I set up a Facebook page for her where we put up pictures of her creations. She still ended up selling more in person, but it was fun to do all of it with her.

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Helping Your Teen Find a Job

This is the second of a 12-week series on kids and earning money, focusing on teens. The tips presented can also be used with younger children if desired.

It is never too early to learn the value of a dollar and never too late to teach your child that value. If your teenager has indicated that he would like to earn some extra income, that's great! If not, maybe now is the time to have an open discussion about finances with him.

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Teaching Your Child to be Tactful

Children can be brutally honest and tactless. Many years ago, I asked my older daughter what she thought of the dinner I had cooked. She thought for a few seconds and then told me, "It's halfway between good and awful." Brutal honesty. These days, she tells me that it's fine. It's her code for "I don't like it, but I won't tell you that because I don't want to hurt your feelings."

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Five Lessons Kids Learn From Earning Their Own Money

This is the first of a 12-week series on kids and earning money, focusing on teens. The tips presented can also be used with younger children if desired.

When I was growing up, my sisters and I had chores. One of mine was dusting my mother’s knick knacks on her whatnot. I really disliked dusting, especially those little pieces of china and crystal. Another of my chores was cleaning the mirrors and glass windows. Our entire living room had glass windows, so it was an all-day chore (or at least it felt like it). To this day I do not enjoy cleaning anything with glass, nor do I enjoy dusting.

Because we were part of a family, and a decent size family (there were six of us including my parents), we did the chores that were assigned to us, as part of the understanding that chores helped us keep up the home we lived in.

We didn’t get paid to do chores, nor did we get an allowance, so when my sisters and I wanted money of our own apart from any birthday or Christmas money we had received, we found jobs. Most of these were working in offices, and one of my earliest memories of “working” was accompanying my sisters to the Jamaica Cancer Society where my mom worked, and helping them to address envelopes for a donations outreach.

Since I was too young to stay home by myself and my sisters were working, I went to the office. Because I was too young to work, I couldn’t be paid. But the satisfaction of helping and being in an office where my efforts were appreciated brought me great pride.

Later on, as I became old enough to have summer jobs, I worked in various offices doing various things. One summer I worked in the accounting department of a development bank. There were other jobs every summer in between that and college. In the summer in between my second and my final year in college, I worked in the marketing department of the largest furniture retailer in Jamaica. That job not only allowed me to pay for all my books in my final year, but the scholarship I earned from that job paid my tuition and gave my family and me some much-appreciated breathing room that last year of school.

Although my husband and I have made sure that our children have what they needed and much of what they wanted, we recognized that at some point they would want to have their own income. We’ve encouraged them to find higher-paying jobs where possible, particularly if those jobs played into their passions and their God-given talents. Our older daughter has had some sort of business since she was 13, and has taken pride in earning her own money since then.

Here are five great lessons kids can learn when they earn their own money:

  1. Independence and self-reliance – there’s a certain pride that comes from being able to provide for yourself, even in a small way, because of income you’ve earned from your own work. Alternatively, it may be a gift that you buy with your own income. Either way, the pride and satisfaction are real, and can be a profound influence on your child.
  2. Value of money and time – when your child can equate an item being purchased to a certain number of hours that he/she had to work, the value of time and money becomes much more profound. This will help your child to decide whether the intended purchase is a good one or one that can be deferred or avoided. It’s the same as when we consider how many minutes on the treadmill we have to work out to burn off a particular food.
  3. Instant gratification vs. delayed gratification - earning an income often helps kids to decide whether they want to spend the money they’ve worked hard to earn, or whether there is something they want more that they may need to save up for. In a world that pushes instant gratification in every way, it’s important for our kids to learn to save, and often, the most effective teacher of that lesson is not the parents, but the wallet or bank account that holds their job earnings.
  4. Cash vs debit card – it’s easy, even for those of us who have had years of life experience, to spend more easily when we are using a debit card. When your child sees the actual cash dwindling with each purchase, it can have a more pronounced effect. In fact, one money writer suggested that we all carry $20 bills around, because most of us don’t want to break a $20 bill, and will do what we can to preserve it, moreso than we would for a lower denomination bill.
  5. True cost of things – one of the lessons my college sophomore daughter told me is that she now realizes how expensive things are, something that she had never had to consider before. Now mind you, we still provide for her, but now that she is working part time and
    does her own shopping for some groceries while she is away at school, she sees the cost of things. She is especially grateful for clothing!

Over to you: Do your kids have businesses or jobs that they do to earn money? Do you give them an allowance? How do YOU handle money with your kids?

​These tips can be used with younger children if desired. To read the next post in the series, click ​​here​.

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Balancing a Part Time Job or Business with Homeschooling

When your children are at home with you all day, every day, regular life – cooking, housework, doctor’s appointments, and errands can become a bit challenging.

When my older daughter was young, I had a part time position as a newspaper reporter. I covered everything in the small town in which we live, except for the police beat, which I told my editor I did not want to cover. Being a reporter meant that occasionally there were meetings that I had to attend with my editor. Most of these meetings were done by phone, but every once in a while I needed to actually go into the newspaper office. Because my daughter was home with me, it meant that she came with me to the office.

When those occasions cropped up, I made sure to take a book and/or some math that my daughter could work on while I met with the editor. She most often sat with the paper’s graphic designer or office manager while she was doing her work. It was a win-win for her and for whomever she was sitting with – Teresa and Cathy provided the oversight, and she was company for them as they worked.

After the editorial meeting was over, we would go back home, and on the way back, we would talk about the book she had read, or any trouble she had had with her math. Once we got back home, it was time to check over the math questions, explain anything she hadn’t understood, and get the rest of school done.

I also had a growing network marketing business that I worked part time. I guess you could say I didn’t like being bored! Now much of this was done by phone – checking in with customers, taking orders and reorders and so on. There was one thing that took me away from the house with this business – delivering product orders. Again, because I had my daughter with me, she came with me on product delivery runs, unless I did them in the evenings or on the day that my husband was off (every other Friday). I followed the same procedure for these deliveries as I did with the editorial meetings, except that the deliveries were faster, and did not require getting out of the van. In these instances, we did car schooling – I would teach from the front seat of my van. Yes, it is possible!

A part time job doesn’t have to interfere with homeschooling if you can do the following few things:

  1. Let go of perfection. Recognize that your home will probably not ever look like a Home and Garden magazine. Frankly, I'm not sure any hous​​​​e with a homeschooling family looks perfect, because you and your children are living in it every day.
  2. Be flexible. One of the beauties of homeschooling is that we can make our schedules work for our families. If you have a part time job that requires you to be out of the house, understand that on those days you may need to juggle the schedule a bit to make both work. Don’t be afraid to do this; the earlier our children can learn to be flexible and to find different ways of making things work, the better off they will be.
  3. Be clear with family and friends about your time limits and schedules. At the outset, because no one in my family understood what I was doing when I said I was homeschooling, I would get calls throughout the day to just talk. Sometimes the neighbors would drop by to visit. It got to the point that I stopped answering the phone and I also would not open the front door unless I was expecting a serviceman or a delivery. 
  4. Be present. One of the things I did well was that when it was time to do school, I was fully engaged. I didn’t take phone calls. I didn’t check email or my texts. School time was sacred and the rest of the things could wait. The only calls I would take were from my husband, because if he called during the school day, it was because it was important.
    Are you a homeschooling mom with a part time job or business? If so, I would love to hear your tips for making the two work for your family. Please leave me a comment, and if you have questions, be sure to ask them in a comment. I love hearing from my readers and I read, and reply to, every comment. If you found this helpful, please like and share this post with your friends!
When my older daughter was young, I had a part time position as a newspaper reporter. I covered everything in the small town in which we live, except for the police beat, which I told my editor I did not want to cover. Being a reporter meant that occasionally there were meetings that I had to attend with my editor. Most of these meetings were done by phone, but every once in a while I needed to actually go into the newspaper office. Because my daughter was home with me, it meant that she came with me to the office.

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Helping Your Child Develop Empathy

Empathy is defined as the ability to identify with, or relate to, the feelings, thoughts, attitudes and experience of others.

With more empathy comes more compassion and respect, lower crime rates, and more harmonious relationships overall. Even when we disagree with others, we can respect each other if we take the time to try to understand where the other person is coming from.

Although empathy comes more naturally to certain people, it is something we should all strive for. There are ways we can help our children to grow in this quality. Here are a few ideas:

Be Empathetic Towards Your Child

Be the example of what you want. If you want your child to become strong in the area of empathy, you need to model this behavior towards him/her. Always be willing to see things from your child’s perspective, and try to identify with his feelings. If your child feels hurt about something you said, see the situation from his perspective. Apologize to him for your harsh or uncaring words, and mirror back in your words what he has told you. Help him understand that you see things from his point of view - this is one of the best ways to show him what true empathy is all about.

Be Empathetic Towards Others

If someone has done something that made you feel upset, stop and think instead of lashing out. Let your child see you showing empathy in action. Think about the other person and what may have caused their reaction, words or attitude towards you. Verbalize it with your child so they can see the thought process behind being intentionally empathetic. This will teach them the process so that they too can begin to use it in their own thinking.

Teach Your Child to Care About the Plight of Others

Talk to your children about the struggles that others go through. Show your concern, and ask your child if they have any ideas about how you could care for and help those individuals. Stop any statements and feelings that show a judgemental attitude towards those in need, whether those needs are financial, physical, emotional or anything else.

Explain how people can end up in various situations through factors that are beyond their control. This helps your child to see their own privilege, and to understand that we should all show compassion towards every person we meet, no matter what situation they are in at the moment.

Find Ways to Give as a Family

A great way to show empathy in action is to volunteer. Join forces with the rest of your family and put your energy to use by volunteering your time to those who need it the most. Serve meals together at a shelter, or put together care kits for the less fortunate. My father was great at this - for many, many years he volunteered at a soup kitchen. One of my most enduring memories was of me going with him to help at that soup kitchen. If you can become friends with those you serve, or at least get to know them, it will be easier for you and your children to see them as fellow humans with whom you have much in common, instead of seeing them as charity cases.

Having empathy towards others is an important characteristic for our children who will someday run society. It is one of the greatest lessons anyone can learn. The more we can develop this characteristic in our children is the more likely we can help create a future that is better for us all.

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Teaching Your Child About Losing Gracefully

One of the hardest and most important lessons in life is learning how to lose gracefully. Just as we will have times when we succeed in life, we'll also have many times that we fail. Teaching our children to lose with dignity is a lesson that will last them a lifetime, as it is something they will need to draw on over and over.

As my husband and I parented our older daughter, we had many opportunities to teach her how to be a gracious winner and loser. Whether it was soccer or a card game, it was important to us that she learned how to be grateful when she (or her team) won, and to be able to authentically congratulate the opponent after a loss.

Here are some of my thoughts on how we can teach our children to lose gracefully.

  • Considering The Winner

Teach your child to consider others when they are in the middle of strong emotions. Although he may want to lash out angrily and be alone when he has lost a competition or something else that was important to him, what will this make others feel like? If your child loses and begins to throw a fit and act unkindly to others, how will this change the atmosphere for everyone?

Remind your child that when he wins, it is much more enjoyable when someone else’s anger isn’t stealing the spotlight. He needs to give this consideration to the winner as well.

  • Considering the Others Who Did Not Win

When your child loses an opportunity, teach her to remember all the others who also did not win. Everyone might be feeling down in the dumps, but all it takes is one child with a healthy perspective to change the way everyone feels. If your child’s sports team has lost yet another game, your child could be the voice of encouragement that reminds the others to keep trying, and lets them know that there are other accomplishments they can focus on.

  • Learning What You Can

Whenever there is a failure, there is a lesson that can be learned. If your child is disappointed by a big loss, help him to put things in perspective with your encouragement.

Perhaps your child can learn the importance of extra studying if he didn’t put in quite enough study time. Maybe he is learning a tough lesson about the character of a friend who dragged them down with their lack of effort on the project. Perhaps your child usually wins, and simply needs to learn the lesson of humility. For children who are good in many areas, losing can be difficult simply because it happens so infrequently. Whatever the situation might be, there is always something that can be learned, and valuable knowledge that can be gained.

  • Knowing Who You Are (And Owning It)

The most important aspect of losing is to remember who you truly are. This is a concept that even some of us adults haven’t grasped, but it is crucial to being able to both win and lose with dignity and grace. Build within your child a strong sense of self-esteem.

Teach her that her value does not come from what she can do, but who she is as an individual. From the time she is born, remind her that she is a special, unique person with a specific purpose on earth that no one else will fulfill in quite the same way as she will. This will build in her a foundation that will help her recover from the disappointment of losses, both large and small.

It's fun to win, and it is important to know how to lose as well. Learning this lesson when young will give your child the opportunity to gain experience to do both the right way.

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4 Things I Learned From Coloring With My Daughter

Life lessons from mommy-daughter time? Yes indeed! Read on to see what I’ve been learning…


1. Coloring can be lots of fun!

Lately I’ve been enjoying coloring with my younger daughter. Hubby bought her an adult coloring book for Christmas (even though she is only 6), and we tend to color at night right before bed. It’s been a great winding down and bonding time for us, and I have to admit that I really do enjoy coloring. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it because my older daughter did not enjoy coloring. It’s nice to be doing it again!

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