5 Of the Best Tips for Kids Modeling

Kid models are the most adorable bunch but they are easily the toughest models for photographers and agencies to handle. Modeling definitely takes a toll on the kids themselves as well. To ease that process, we have compiled the top five tips on kids modeling that we believe should be strongly adhered to.

1. Choose the right agency

Choosing the right agency takes the number one priority on the journey to becoming a kid model. The right agency is not one that is just registered but is reputable and credible. Parents/ guardians should be clear on how their child will be treated and what the future growth of their kid will look like. Any credible modeling agency would set up a good website and be very active both on online and offline platforms to market their models. As such, you will be able to see the photo shoots and past projects done by kids, and make a well-informed decision on whether to join the agency.

Most importantly, never fall prey to scams. Setting your kid up with the wrong agency can pose many risks and also destroy your kid’s genuine passion for modeling. Some important signs that will point it out are being located in suspicious areas, calling you for an appointment on irregular hours, poor online presence, requesting for sexually explicit poses and asking kids to come alone to the agency without their parents. Of course, use your wisest judgment in all cases, but parents should always follow their kid to a modeling agency and for all jobs.

2. Wear appropriately to the audition.

Not only should a kid wear simply, he or she should wear age appropriately. Suits or fancy dresses are definitely unnecessary. Solid-colored clothes are enough. Preferably stick to bright color that resemble the vibrancy and energy of a kid and it’s better to wear plain than risk rejection.

3. Set realistic schedules

If your kid looks good and is performing well as a model, there will be many opportunities coming their way. Never forego the most important priorities such as school and family time. You also never want to overstrain your kid at a young age else the result may back fire and they may lose interest in kids modeling due to fatigue or stress caused by a hectic schedule. Modeling should be a fun and unique experience for kids; else it’s not a wise pursuit.

4. Don’t spend too much on photos or clothes

It is likely that parents wishing the best for their kids end up spending a bomb on clothes and expensive photography of their kids to submit to the agency. On the contrary it isn’t necessary to send studio-quality or professional photos to a studio. Ordinary snapshots that are well taken would suffice for the application to an agency. Any good agency will be identifying the talent with ordinary photos and they will anyway take better photographs suited to the style they want to mould your kid into. Hence, save your money and your time.

5. Make sure your kid loves modeling.

Money and fame are the usual reasons why models sign up. However, it is hard to make good money or substantial fame until a model becomes successful and starts doing major projects; this is even more so for a kid. Moreover, at the onset of modeling, there will be sacrifices to make in terms of traveling to different areas of the country for photo shoots, giving up a bit of social life to accommodate modeling and so on. Hence it’s absolutely vital that a kid truly loves modeling in order to excel in it.

How a Toy Can Change Your Kid’s Life

Introduction

Kids toys are not only designed and meant for play pleasure, relaxation, games and fun -they are also essential as great tools in health, mental and academic development of kids.

How can a toy change your kid’s life? You may ask. When a child involves in processes by playing, they tend to become creative and develop abilities that would go on to build their academic prowess.

Toys are undoubtedly beneficial to kids and can help to change their lives in no small way. A toy can change your kids’ life in different ways. Toys serve as the building blocks for the future of your kids.

Toys educate your kids about themselves and the world. One way a toy can change your kid’s life is by sending messages and communicating values generally, some of the ways a toy can change your kid’s life are in the development of

A). Social & Emotional Abilities:

Dolls and stuffed animals are best for representing human beings through make-believe roles. Children develop security, happiness, sharing and cooperation via play.

Stuffed toys, musical mobiles can give soothing remedy and luxury to a child in trauma. While other toys for make-believe like get dressed-up clothes, toy automobiles, vans, video games, musical units, and books assist children in constructing self-expression and confidence.

B). Physical Abilities:

Playing on swings, monkey bars, skipping, assist in building physical dexterity, strength and balance in kids. Other toys which include toy vehicles, wagons, motorcycles, brooms, and shovels also broaden their physical or muscle improvement.

C). Creativity:

Great motor abilities required for writing and creative artistic development may be developed in kids through drawing, painting and art sports. Toys for creative and highbrow development include clay, crayons, paints, books, paper, and scissors.

D). Language Development:

Reading and playing with image books help increase listening and communication capabilities in kids

E). Cognitive and Problem Solving Capabilities:

Playing with nature based activities like sand toys and play dough; water toys assist youngsters with turning them to be good at investigating and experimenting because their sense of interest, curiosity, and discovery is ignited.

Playing with boxes, puzzles, and blocks, also teach them the way to group, manage and categorize objects.

Some toys fit into more than one category, and kids need to enjoy playing with the toys from different categories for total development.

F). Logical Reasoning:

Exposing your kids through toys to logical reasoning at an early age, enables the kid develop his/her mind and create an essential basis for their ability to examine and make connections in data reasoning in the future.

Distinctive studying tools like puzzles and building blocks assist in beefing up a baby’s potential to sequence, conceptualize, and sooner or later troubleshoot problems.

G). Mathematical Skills:

it’s never too early too early to construct a “can-do” mindset towards math in your kids’ lives!

Toys that encourage counting, simple operations and figuring out shapes are right tools to begin getting to know about math. Despite the fact that this is frequently the challenge in which kids lack self-assurance, here’s your chance to get your kids to feel he can be a hit at it in an enjoyable and less stressful manner!

Now you know how a toy can change your kid’s life!

Conclusion

Toys can change kids live positively in no small measure.
Toys are great in building the mental capacity of your kids.
Never deny your kids access to great toys.

Is Your Kid Being Bullied? Arm Him With These 5 Techniques

Is your child being bullied at school? As a parent, it can be really hard to know what to tell your child to do about that. Teachers and administrators will do what they can, but most bullies are sneaky, so at the end of the day, it is your kid alone against the bully. The biggest difference you can make is in teaching your child concrete skills for how to respond when bullied.

For conflicts at school, I find using children’s picture books a great place for ideas. One of my favorites is Simon’s Hook; A Story About Teases and Put-downs by Karen Gedig Burnett, illustrated by Laurie Barrows. In Simon’s Hook, Simon’s grandmother tells him a tale about a bunch of fish who learn to “Swim Free” rather than “taking the bait,” ie the insults, being thrown at them. Armed with his new skills, Simon is able to rejoin the kids at the playground who have been making fun of his bad haircut.

Simon learns five “Rules for Being a FREE Fish” from his grandmother’s story.

Rule 1: DO little or nothing! Don’t react!

Interestingly, when I have taught these rules in class, this is the one the kids choose the most. We practice having kids give a blank stare back. Practice this one with your kids over and over. Start by having them insult you and you showing them no reaction. With little kids, you are likely to hear something like, “You’re a poopy face!” Don’t laugh at them. Just look at them as if you didn’t even hear them. Then ask permission to tease them. Ask them for examples of what kinds of hurtful things they have heard and then repeat those things in an exaggeratedly bratty voice, coaching them to do little or nothing. Praise them for how neutral they can keep their face. Have them practice in front of the mirror. You pretend to insult them; they practice staring right through you.

Rule 2: Agree with the hook!

What? Agree with what a bully says? Yes! This one actually works surprisingly well as it completely disarms the kid who is being mean or insensitive. Let’s look at some examples:

Juan: You can’t be my friend!

Rogelio: Okay! I’ll go play with someone else then.

Do you see how Juan was gearing up for a fight and Rogelio just took the wind right out of his sails? If Rogelio really does want to be friends with Juan, he might add, “Maybe we can be friends tomorrow.” Often-even though they don’t say it out loud-younger kids don’t mean, “You can’t be my friend EVER.” They just don’t know how to say that they are mad or that they want to play with someone else that day. Help your kids understand that sometimes other kids don’t mean to be hurtful. They just don’t know how to express their emotions and their needs.

Here’s another example of agreeing with the hook:

Britta: You’re shoes are ugly!

Michelle: I know! I told my mom they are so ugly they should win an ugly prize.

How can you argue with someone who is cheerfully agreeing with you? Note how reference to a disagreement with Mom subtly puts Britta and Michelle on the same team of Kids Whose Moms Just Don’t Get It. Very disarming indeed! Invite your kids to use you as an excuse.

Rule 3: Distract or Change the Subject.

What’s funny about this technique is that it is often kids who might otherwise be socially challenged who are the best at it. Distraction works by just pointing out something that is going on in the environment like, “Hey, wasn’t that the bell?” or “Isn’t that Mr. Jones in the Giant’s hat over there? I wonder if the Giants won their game last night.”

Changing the subject works like this:

Rakesh: Your writing is terrible!

Hiren: Did you know that the heaviest dinosaur was the Brachiosaurus? It weighted around 80 tons. That’s like 17 Elephants. And it was as tall as an 8-story building! That’s way higher than my apartment. My building is only five floors high. I live on the third floor, though. Did you know that…

You can see how by the time Hiren runs out of steam, Rakesh is going to wish he had never said anything!

Kids like the idea of this technique but I have found they actually need to brainstorm a list of possible topics for what to talk about. Here are some ideas a recent class came up with. Help your own kids add to this list:

• the weather

• what happened on a favorite t.v. show this week

• a book they have read recently

• anything that involves a list (kinds of cars, kinds of cereal, what they ate for breakfast this morning, the state capitals, etc.)

• a question (Do you think Mr. Jones is going to give us a pop quiz today?)

• what they did over break or on their last vacation

• anything they happen be obsessed with at the time

The trick to Changing the Subject is to add enough detail that the kid doing the insulting totally forgets what he said in the first place.

Rule 4: Laugh at the hook or make a joke!

Most kids can just laugh. Again, practice it with your kid. First demonstrate: Have them insult you and then just laugh at what they have said. I had one kid who was really good at laughing and then following up with a blank stare. It left the other kids completely nonplussed. They really had no idea how to proceed from there.

Making a joke can be hard because it requires kids to think on their feet, but if you have a very verbal or punny kid, it could be just the tool:

Maria: You’re not a good dancer!

Mira: How did you know Ms. Kltuz was my middle name?

Or

Kevin: You can’t play with us. Go away.

Howard: I can’t? Really? Oh, that’s right! I put on two left feet this morning. That’s okay. Just put me on the left side of the field and I’ll be fine.

This works because kids don’t know how to deal with this kind of answer, and they will let the joker play rather than try to outwit him.

Rule 5: Stay away! Swim in another part of the sea!

Stay away or swim away works well in two circumstances.

One, the kid being mean is truly physical or out of control. Some kids are just not safe. They arrive at school with behavior challenges that are too big for our kids to deal with (chances are the school is struggling, too, to find enough manpower to help that kid). It may mean not getting to do what you want that day, but recess is too short to try to argue with that kind of kid. Help your children to brainstorm a variety of fun things to do so that they have some choices away from the bully. If the bully has picked them as a target, help your kid find some space away-maybe the library or a lunchtime club or helping a teacher out in her classroom.

Yes, I recognize that this is not fair. Your child should be able to play whatever he wants at recess. I am sorry to say, though, that teachers’ eyes cannot be everywhere and yard duty help is usually spread way too thin. Usually the out of sight, out of mind principle comes into play, here: Disappear for a few days, and the bully will direct his attention elsewhere.

Two, sometimes kids just need a break from each other! Help your child understand that we all go through rhythms of how much closeness and how much distance we need at any given time. Often the person being insulting is really just looking for some space. So give it to them! They’ll come around another day. If you have the kind of child who forms very intense, deep attachments to one person, spend some time explaining that that is not everyone’s friendship style. Some people like being friends with a lot of different people. One day they will want to play with you, and another day, they will want to play with someone else. This is not personal: It is just a different personality. Reassure your child that if they can just walk away today, chances are the other child will seek them out again soon.

Kids like these techniques. Having tools in their tool belt, empowers them and allows them to deal with situations quickly and to move on. Furthermore, it very often allows the kid being mean to move on, too, so the whole day gets better for everyone.

Just learning about the skills will not be enough. You will need to provide lots of support and suggestions. You can practice them after the fact, helping your child to imagine the conversation he might have had. If he climbs into the car complaining that So and So did something mean today, ask him if he took the bait. If he did, help him figure out how he might have used each of these techniques to redirect the bully or defuse the situation.

It might feel unfair that your child has to “not take the bait.” No one should be baiting him in the first place, right? But you know and I know the world does not work that way. Surely, you have listened to a friend tell a story about someone being annoying or mean and have counseled, “That’s the kind of person you just have to ignore” or “Why do you let him rile you so?” What you are saying is Why take the bait? Children will feel more in control if they know it is in their power to not take the bait.

If your child is worried about going to school, ask what he thinks might happen and practice over and over lots of different ways he might handle it. Emphasize that deflecting conflict is a skill. He will get better and better and it and it will be easier and easier to know what to do in the moment.

Kid Internet Safety – Understanding When To Attach A GPS Location Tracking Device To Your Kids Ankle

Ever had to deal with a situation where your ‘kid has gone missing for a couple of hours?’ As a parent, this is a very scary situation indeed! It has happened to me on a few occasions — one minute you’ve got your kid by the hand in a busy shopping mall, and the next moment they are gone! Vanished! You look around in a panic, you think about their safety, and you scan the horizon 360 degrees. You feel your pulse racing, the sweat starts to drip from your forehead, and this is when I wished I had some form of kid safety monitoring technology, similar to what is strapped to a convicts ankle, and who is monitored 24 hours a day by a Jail Warden. With this being said, maybe it is time to come up with a new kid safety formula. Part of my equation, is to combine GPS location tracking technology, your kids trust, and an Internet connected cell phone — a fresh approach to kid Internet safety.

If my kid wore one of those GPS location tracking bracelets and I was able to monitor his whereabouts, I guarantee my pulse rate would never race & I would be a more relaxed person. However, it’s probably not appropriate nor feasible to place one of those hi-tech ankle bracelets on your kid — they are not criminals.

I’m sure you’ve experienced the ‘kid has gone missing for a couple of hours situation.’ Well, in the name of kid safety, modern day technology is available to you in order for you to keep an eye on the whereabouts of your children at all times. As a parent it is exceptionally important to make sure your kids are safe, and that means making sure you know where and who they are with at all times (well most of the time). Keep in mind, that tracking and monitoring smaller kids, say 12 years old and younger, is relatively straight forward, but as they approach their teens it becomes more and more challenging.

Consider arming your kids with a cell phone, especially as they approach their teen years. Your kids will love you for this. Trust me. From a kids perspective, they feel a cell phone is the best thing to stay in touch with their peer groups; And because their friends have cell phones they will belong to the group too — they do not want to feel left behind and left out by any peer group.

Now combine the Internet connected cell phone with the latest GPS location tracking technology and it is 100% possible to keep track of the whereabouts of your teenagers. We are not talking about strapping an ankle bracelet to them like they do with convicts. Instead, this technology is similar to that of a car GPS system, except smaller, less obtrusive, and if used correctly, is safe and secure. From your (the parents) perspective, this combined technology will help you keep in constant contact with your kids — speaking, voice mail, texting, and location tracking. Mission accomplished!

As embarrassing as it is, let me give you a real life example how this technology works. Recently, I went on a road trip with my family. My mother wanted to know when I reached my destination. Can you believe it? I am a grown man, a husband, a father, and help parents protect their kids on the Internet, but my mother wanted to know when I reached my holiday destination. Talk about an over protective mother, but that’s another story.

So, I decided to make it really easy (for my mother, me and the rest of my family), and installed a GPS location tracking software on my Blackberry cell phone. The software was free and took less that 5 minutes to install. When everything was complete, not only did my mother know when I reached my destination, but she was able to monitor my exact location at any time, just by logging into the software system on the Internet. As long as I kept the software ‘active’ on my cell phone she knew my location — right down to a 10 foot radius.

The technology is actually fantastic! It can help protect your kids, especially those that are approaching their teen years. Wouldn’t you sleep easier if you knew that your kid was safe and exactly were they said they would be? On the other hand wouldn’t you be concerned if you saw an Internet-based tracking icon of your kid at an undesirable location — say for example a crime riddled part of the city? Wouldn’t you feel relief if you are able to track your kid easily in either an emergency situation or after they had possibly gone missing?

This is kid Internet safety at its best. This GPS location tracking technology is not for everyone, and not for all situations too. However, I feel it definitely deserves at least 15 minutes of your undivided attention. You should assess it, and understand if it will work for you and your family.

Keep in mind that this technology is available for most mobile phones, irrespective of country. So your kid can be traveling through Europe or the jungles of Indonesia (with their iPhone of course), while you monitor their location from your Playbook or iPad at your home in Florida — really anywhere, but I think you get the picture.

Blackberry’s, iPhones, and other cell phone ‘clones’, if I can call them that, have many GPS location tracking options available. Some of the options are free — no charge; While others options are subscription or one time payment based. Regardless of phone type or location tracking features you have a variety of options available to you that may just keep your kid safe, or at least under the watchful eyes of their parents.

Let me get a little serious now and talk about a very important aspect of this GPS location tracking software. You are able to track your kids location, and their ultimate safety; Then others also have the potential to track the location of your kid, which can potentially put them in danger. This is why it is exceptionally important for you as a parent to firstly, have an open and trusted relationship with your kid, and secondly guide them on how to configure and use the software features correctly. You definitely want to show them how to invite TRUSTED friends (only) into their GPS tracking circle. They need to know that they should not thoughtlessly invite anyone and everyone to have access to their location information. Once again, only trusted family and friends should be invited to the GPS tracking circle.

It’s a great technology for kids to locate one another, but you should have a discussion with your kid about the serious nature and the intent of the software. It is meant for their safety & nothing more. Just to illustrate this further, here’s another danger scenario — your kid needs to understand that if they turn the software off or even uninstall the GPS location software without your knowledge, it is sufficient reason to be concerned about their safety.

Now on the lighter side, when it comes to letting your teens know that you are using a GPS tracking program on their mobile phone (albeit for their safety), there is a high probability that they will be unhappy with you, knowing that you are literally aware of every move they make. Therefore, you need to have a one-on-one with them, and explain why GPS location tracking software is important for their safety.

Since teens are almost adults, you may want to allow for some privacy. Instead of monitoring your kids location all the time, it is best to let them develop into responsible adults on their own, and let them come up with the monitoring criteria. It may mean that you and your teenage kid have to work through some form of compromise. As an example, if your teenage kid is planning on coming home late, then you and the kid may have an agreement that location tracking starts 30 minutes after curfew time.

It is best that everyone is on the same page about this, and especially that your teenage kid understands that using the kid Internet safety features of the mobile phone is to make sure that they are safe. Also, because their cell phone is Internet connected you may also want to remind them that it is extremely important to make sure certain details remain private — don’t share phone numbers, names, addresses with people they do not know. They probably know this already, but it does not hurt to repeat the information for reinforcement. Bottom line – the intent is keep your kid safe on or off the Internet.

Contact your mobile service provider to help you find the perfect tracking tools and to help you operate them properly. But, make sure that your kids are OK with the ‘kid Internet safety’ software in order to avoid conflicts and disappointments.

Approach GPS technology with an open mind. It can get your kid into trouble, but it can also keep them safe, and kid Internet safety is one of your top priorities. GPS location tracking technology does not have to be like a bracelet on your kids ankle — an open and trusted relationship will keep the kid and the parent out of prison (figuratively speaking), and may even be saddled with moments of fun.

How To Find the Best Kids Bedding Online

Shopping for kids bedding can be lots of fun for you and your children. Yet all the fun can turn into disappointment is you are not happy with your purchase once you begin using it. It gets even more disappointing when your kids love the bedding but it shrinks or tears, fades, stains easily or simply does not hold up to the wear and tear kids give their bedding. How can you avoid this disappointment? The best way is to become an informed, cautious shopper when choosing bedding for kids.

You’ll want to create a sleep environment that’s fun and makes the bedroom a cozy, comfortable place for your child to fall asleep easily. Comfortable sheets and blankets are a must. Hard, scratchy bedding can result in your kids having difficulty falling asleep.

You’ll also want the child’s personality to be reflected in the bedding you get. Sometimes your kids will want bedding that isn’t what you would select for them as far as patterns or colors. But it is the kids who have to sleep there. As long as the bedding your kids want is not objectionable for some reason and is well-made, why not allow them to have bedding themes that interest them?

By selecting several bedding themes for kids that you have determined to be of good quality construction and materials, you can allow the kids to choose the bedding they like best from this selection.

You want everything well made so that they will hold up through long, hard use. Most bedding for children is made of cotton or polyester cotton blend fabric. As an adult, you may be very concerned with bedding that has a high thread count but kids very don’t really care about such things. They want bedding that looks interesting, is brightly colored and is smooth and soft. While high thread count sheets are soft, just about any bedding made from percale, which has a thread count of 180 or more, will be soft and smooth. Even sheets with thread counts of 120 are readily accepted by most kids. Kids care more about the patterns and designs on their bedding.

The material quality used to create bedding for kids depends on the quality of the raw materials used, the density of the fabric weave, the finishing processes involved and much more. The quality of the final kids product depends on how the bedding is sewn, hemmed or, in the case of comforters, how and what is used for fill material.

While there is no need to purchase extremely expensive bedding for kids, many of the cheaper choices are made using shortcuts. If you buy fitted sheets that are not sewn securely at the corners and don’t have quality elastic that extends far enough, the fitted sheet will quickly come off the mattress as your kid moves about on the bed.

If comforters are made with fabrics where the weave is not dense, the filling can begin to work through the outside fabric. Buy purchasing well-respected kids brands of bedding, you can avoid these problems.

It is important to obtain bedding in the correct size. Trying to keep a standard fitted sheet on a thick mattress is nearly impossible. Select deep pocket fitted sheets for thicker mattresses such as pillow-top and those that have egg-crate padding added to the top.

Kids sometimes have allergy problems which must be considered. If your kid is allergic to dust mites or has asthma, you’ll want to select bedding that is mite-proof and anti-allergy. Top quality mattress covers and pillow covers can be a great help in controlling allergies. While this certainly won’t solve all the allergy problems, it will make a big difference in allergic reactions. Some kids are also allergic to the latex used in some bedding. Most bedding does not include latex in their fabric, however those rare selections containing Lycra do. Also, the elastic used to hold fitted sheets onto the mattress has latex. Consider allergic reactions when choosing bedding for your kids.

The next issue to consider when choosing bedding for your kids bedroom is cleaning. Children often spill things on their bedding, no matter how careful they try to be. Stains can result from kids becoming ill or having an ‘accident’. Choosing kids bed sheets that are machine washable and states that clearly on the label will ensure that the inevitable spill or accident will not ruin the bedding your kids love.

Always read the cleaning directions on the label so that you wash the bedding properly. Using hot water on bright colors can result in fading even the most fade-resistant dyes. If the label directions state that no bleach should be used, it is very important to follow that direction. Beautiful, brightly colored bedding that your kids love can be ruined very quickly if laundered improperly.

Kids often remove tags or repeated launderings may result in missing laundry instructions. One way to prevent this is to note the bedding description and laundry instructions on a note card that you keep on file or tape to the wall inside the linen closet. This will remove any possible guess work should a label be lost.

There are so many great designs in bedding for kids. Olive Kids, Dan River, California Kids, Kids Line and dozens other fine bedding companies create beautiful bedding ensembles for kids.

You can find Bed-in-a-Bag bedding selections that feature your kid’s favorite action hero or other themes or you can select the bedding for your kids’ ala carte. Design names like Men at Work, Garden Bouquet, Farm Friends, Hats and Purses, Moon Gaze, Watercolor Hearts give you an idea of the whimsical, colorful designs you’ll see in the broad selection of bedding for your kids.

Kids at Sea

Water slides, magic shows, pizza parties, scavenger hunts, karaoke, kids-only shore excursions, and disco parties. Who said parents get to have all the fun on a cruise? Well-trained staff, extensive facilities, and coordinated activities, mean cruising with kids can be smooth sailing for the whole family.

Most cruise lines offer private and group babysitting options from around 9am until the wee hours of the morning. They also provide age-specific, organized programs run by trained professionals. Although there are slight variations by cruise line, age categories for organized programs are generally geared to 3-6, 7-9, 10-12, and 13-17 year olds.

100,000 kids were kept entertained last year on Carnival Cruise Lines with 114-foot water slides, video tournaments, talent and puppet shows, ping-pong, and scavenger hunts.

Celebrity Cruises features a full children’s program during the summer and on holidays. All other times of the year, they offer a reduced program.

The Princess kids’ program on Princess Cruises offers young cruisers their own deck space complete with the whale tail splash pool. Teens get their very own jacuzzi and sunning area. There’s also the video arcade, computer games, and other activities such as bingo, name that Disney tune, ring toss, and mini-Olympics.

Club HAL on the Holland America Line provides fun and games for cruisers ages 5-17 and serves up movies, putt-putt golf, late-night pizza, and disco parties.

Royal Caribbean’s Adventure Youth program offers its unique brand of Edu-tainment where participants enjoy educational and culture-based activities blended with the daily itineraries, ports of call, games, and team sports.

With Norwegian Cruise Lines, your kids can be circus trained and present a show for the proud parents. Other activities range from magic shows and poolside, root beer float parties to wacky cooking classes, pajama parties, line dancing, and volleyball.

Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, and Holland America Line also offer supervised shore excursions ranging from an afternoon on the beach to gold panning to canoe trips in Alaska.

Whether you are cruising with your toddler, tween, or teens, your Cruise Consultant can help you select the perfect family vacation. Best of all, you’ll never hear the phrase “I’m bored” while you’re away!

Carnival

Carnival Cruise Lines’ award-winning children’s program is called Camp Carnival. Available year-round, the program provides elaborate facilities, age-specific programs/activities, youth playrooms with computers, children’s water slides and wading pools, as well as special dining menus. The counselor-guided programs are divided into four categories, Toddlers (2-5), Juniors (6-8), Intermediate (9-11), and Teens (12-15). There is also a playroom for children under three.

The Carnival Elation and Carnival Paradise house is a 2,500 square-foot children’s world giving them the largest children’s facilities in the Carnival fleet. Divided into three sections, the facilities offer educational computer labs and computer games, an arts and crafts section, and an indoor play area complete with a climbing maze and video wall where kids can watch movies, music videos, and cartoons. An outdoor play area has a schooner-shaped playhouse and wading pool for toddlers. The Carnival Spirit, Pride, Legend, and Miracle also offer Real Virtuality – a high-tech, game room housing video and arcade games.

Age-Specific Programs

Toddlers (2-5)

Fun Ship Bingo

Sega and Nintendo

Cartoon Time

Sponge Painting

Sing-Alongs

Face Painting

Arts and Crafts

Drawing Contests

Juniors (6-8)

Puppet Shows

Cookie Decorating

Beach Party

Disney Trivia

T-Shirt Painting

Sega and Nintendo

Outdoor Games

Sea Animals

Intermediate (9-11)

Ping-Pong, Foosball, Basketball, Air Hockey

Dance Class

Jewelry Making

Scavenger Hunts

Backstage Tours

Photography Workshops

Talent Shows Teens (12-15)

Pool Parties

Volleyball

Pizza Pig-Out

Hairdressing

Talent Shows

Slide and Sun

Ping-Pong Tournaments, Ping-Pong, Foosball, Basketball, Air Hockey

Photography Workshops

Babysitting

Babysitting is also available on Carnival’s ships for children of any age for around $6/hour for the first child and $4/hour for each additional child.

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises features a full children’s program during the summer and on holidays. All other times of the year they offer a reduced program. The full program is offered for four age-specific groups: Ship Mates (3-6), Cadets (7-9), Ensigns (10-12), and Admiral Ts (13 – 15 and 16-17). Children under three years of age are not allowed in counselor-guided programs. They are, however, welcome in the playroom if accompanied and supervised by a parent at all times. All of the program’s counselors are specially-trained in fields of child psychology, child development, education, or recreation.

Programs are offered 9am-noon, 2-5pm, and 7-10pm. There is also an optional slumber party from 10pm-1am. On port days, there is an afternoon party from 12-2pm. On formal evenings, the program offers a complimentary slumber party and counselors take the children to a pizza party for dinner.

Age-Specific Activities

Ship Mates and Cadets

Painting

Drawing

Songs

Dances

Movies

Other Age-Appropriate Activities.

Ensigns and Admiral Ts

Theatrical Shows with Dances and Costumes (during the summer season)

Water Volleyball

Basketball

Golf Putting

Ping-Pong

All children have an opportunity to meet the captain and learn how to navigate a ship by the stars. At meals, kids can get together for the Celebrity Breakfast club, or eat dinner with the family and order off a special kids menu. Finally, all kids can participate in a masquerade parade.

Babysitting

In-stateroom babysitting is available on all Celebrity ships on a request basis. Requests must be made at least 24 hours in advance and the charge is $8/hour for two children. Children must be at least six months old.

Disney

Disney Cruise Line has some of the most extensive children’s facilities sea. Both Disney Magic and Disney Wonder offer an elaborate Walt Disney Theater that resembles a plush, Broadway house. Buena Vista Cinema features Disney flicks. Studio Sea is styled like a television sound stage and offers a forum for G-rated floor shows. These ships also offer a children’s program called Oceaneer Adventure for children aged 3-17 and a nursery facility, Flounder’s Reef, for children age three and under. All onboard programs are organized and run by caring youth counselors and have both scheduled and surprise visits by Disney characters every day.

Age-Specific Programs

Oceaneer Adventure is divided into three age-specific categories: Oceaneer Club (3-7), Lab (8-12), and Teen (13-17). The Club program is further divided into ages 3-4 and 5-7, while the Lab program is divided into 8-10 and 11-12. Oceaneer Club facilities resemble Captain Hook’s pirate ship with plenty of places for activity. Oceaneer Lab allows participants to experience high-tech interactive programs, hands-on science experiments, and ship-wide treasure hunts. Kids 11-12 can compete in a marine biology, knowledge-quest game show and send digital post cards to friends. Teens (13-17) have their own private club, occupying a large portion of deck nine, called Common Grounds – a New York-style coffee house complete with game arcade and Internet Cafe.

In Port Activities

Every cruise with Disney stops at the 1,000-acre private island, Castaway Cay. Here, parents can relax under a palm tree on a white sand beach while their children play in a supervised area or wade in a protected lagoon. The adventuresome can go snorkeling on a course littered with tropical fish, treasure chests and faux shipwrecks (one with Mickey Mouse riding on the bow). Children are automatically enrolled in the island’s activities of volleyball, biking, nature hikes, etc. once signed in on the ship.

Babysitting

Children’s facilities are open from 9am to 1am. Flounder’s Reef nursery has afternoon and nightly hours available on a first-come, first-served basis according to babysitter availability. Rates are $6/hour for the first child and $5/hour for additional children.

Holland America

Holland America offers families a year-round program called Club HAL with counselors and age-specific activities for three age groups (5-8, 9-12, 13-17). Holland America also administers Just for Kids adventure and learning shore excursions while in port. While the largest facilities can be found on Maasdam, Zuiderdam, Oosterdam, and Westerdam, kids will be fully-entertained on all ships in Holland America’s fleet.

Age-Specific Programs

All children are treated to pizza and cocktail parties, ship tours, special menus, activities rooms with video games, and wading pools. Children aged 5-8 years can participate in storytelling, candy bar bingo games, arts and crafts, charades, and ice cream parties. The 9-12 year age group is entertained with golf putting lessons, dance lessons, deck sports, scavenger hunts, ping-pong, and karaoke. Teenagers have a teen disco, dance lessons, arcade games, sports, card games, and trivia contests.

In Port Activities

Just For Kids offers supervised shore excursions for kids while in port. While in port on Holland America’s private island Half Moon Cay, kids can join a real island treasure hunt while teens participate in their own beach party and volleyball game.

Babysitting

In-stateroom babysitting is available on a request basis. Requests must be made 24 hours in advance and the charge is $7/hour for the first child and $5/hour for additional children from the same family.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Along with providing an unlimited Kids Soda Package and various activity rooms for children, Norwegian Cruise Lines offers a program called Kid’s Crew that is divided into four, age-specific categories: Junior Sailors (2-5), First Mates (6-8), Navigators (9-12), and Teens (13-17). The programs and facilities vary from ship to ship, with the broadest programs found on the Star, Sun, and Dawn. Every cruise treats children to a Coke-tail party with the Captain. Norwegian also publishes Kids’ Cruise News and Teen Cruise News daily, outlining the activities available to them on the ship. All of NCL’s kid counselors attend a training course prior to coming on board that features team and confidence building, safety, communication skills, and working with children who have special needs.

Internet Rules For Kids

Age-appropriate article

Raising a child in a digital world can be a daunting task. The Internet is ubiquitous in children’s lives and as a parent, you need to set limits and guidelines on what your kids are doing online. Different age groups require different rules. As your child grows older he or she will require more personal freedom online, and it is important that they are prepared for this from responsibility and confidence that has been instilled in them from a young age. Here is a general age-appropriate guideline that you can follow to teach Internet responsibility to your kids.

0-7:

In this age category kids are usually not familiar with or using instant messaging, social networking, or participating in chat rooms. However, they are still probably online at times, therefore safety measures still must be taken. As a parent, talk to fellow parents and teachers to see what kind of safe-sites there are for kids. As well, make use of directories for kids. Use kid search engines such as ‘yahoo kids’ or ‘ask for kids.’ Here are some examples of relevant sites:

http://www.wiredsafety.org – Internet safety and help group

Awesome Library – 14,000 carefully reviewed resources

Berit’s Best Sites – Directory of kids’ web sites maintained by Berit Erickson

Britannica – Websites, magazines, books and the Encyclopedia Britannica

Dibdabdoo – Metasearch DMOZ – Yahooligans – Kids Click

INFOMINE – Scholarly Internet resources in K-12

KidsWeb – Mid-Continent Public Library kid’s directory

SuperKids SuperSearch – Kid friendly search site

http://www.kidsclick.org – Kid friendly search engine

It is also advised to invest in a parental control blocker. This takes the worry out of not knowing whether or not your kids are visiting unpleasant websites, and reduces the risk of them stumbling onto bad sites.

When your kids are at this age it is appropriate for you to know all of their usernames and passwords. Make sure that your children know this, and discuss what sites they like to go to. Do not allow your kids to post any profiles or personal information at this age, and limit their online activity to around an hour per day.

8-10:

As kids reach this stage in life, cell phones and instant messaging are starting to enter the picture, so the proper precautions must be taken. Kids also may start lying about their age in order to gain access to certain sites and social networks, such as MySpace.com, Facebook.com, etc.

This is also the age where bullying can become prevalent in forums and chat rooms. However, kids may be reluctant to tell their parents because they are not supposed to be on these sites anyways.

Peer-To-Peer (P2P) file-sharing can become a problem at this age when kids start playing games and sharing music online. This can lead to a computer being inundated with spyware and adware.

What should parents do?

First of all if you are not using a parental control filtering device you should get one, and strengthen the filter to your liking. You should also be pre-approving your kids’ IM contact list to make sure there aren’t any unfamiliar names on it. Make sure you are using anti-spyware, antivirus and pop-up blockers to combat any unwanted, annoyances that may try to attach to your hard drive. You should still be trying to keep your kids on child-safe search engines at this point. Teach them not to respond to strangers online and to notify you immediately if they encounter any. Stick to limiting online activity to about an hour or so a day for this age group.

10-12:

At this stage, interactive technologies such as instant messaging, email and cell phones are very much a part of most kids’ life. Kids are growing socially and are looking to expand their personal network through programs such as Myspace and Facebook.

Parents should further tighten the parental controls filter for this age. Keep an open-dialogue with your kids and make sure that you are still educating them on Internet safety. As well, parents should be looking for signs of cyber-bullying at this age.

Be sure to carefully observe any profiles, screen names and websites that your kids are posting online. Make sure they are aware that they are not allowed to share photos, blogs or webcams without your permission.

It is still a good idea to try to learn your kids’ passwords at this age. However, they will begin to resist at this age, so it will most likely end up being quite the communications challenge. However, you should definitely still be pre-approving your kids’ contact lists at this point.

Search your computer regularly for any taboo images, pirated music or media files. You can also use Google Alerts to automatically notify you in any online activity attached to your child’s screen name turns up in a Google search. This can be very effective.

Limit your kids’ time to 1.5-2 hours online.

13-15:

Kids are at the highest risk of online and offline encounters with strangers at this age. They are becoming very social and curious and are trying new things online. This is also the age where cyber-bullying and sexual harassment are at their peak. Kids are often talking in forums and social networks and are subject to abuse from other people online. From fear of peer-pressure and social ostracization, many kids are unlikely to tell adults if they are being bullied or sexually harassed online.

Parents should still be pre-approving social networking and dating sites at this time. Try to keep your kids off of P2P or pirated software sites. Instead, offer them services such as iTunes or other legitimate media sites.

It is important to teach your kids to guard their passwords and not divulge any personal information that can come back to haunt them. Make sure that your computer is in a central location in order to monitor your kids’ online activity. Limit your kids’ time online to 2 hours at this age.

16 and up:

This is the age when kids begin to leave the cyber-nest. They will do what they want at this age so it is important that you have already prepared and educated them for anything that they may encounter online. It is time to trust them to do the right thing.

However, you can still give friendly reminders about being responsible online. Enforce conversation about the risks of sharing personal information online and teach them to Google themselves regularly to monitor anything that might be said about them. Make sure they are using antivirus and security firewalls. As well, advise them to check regularly for adware and spyware on their PCs. Also, strongly suggest that your kids refrain from using a webcam. Remind them that once something has been posted online, it is for good, and they will have no control over what will happen to it.

A Birthday Is More Than Balloons – Involving the Kids to Be a Part of the Birthday Decor Prep

Planning the birthday party of the kid? Must be thinking about giving your child a surprise! No doubt, surprises are always special; but what if you involve the kid in planning the party especially the decoration?

Let’s see how this can be done.

Let the birthday boy/girl decide the theme

Nowadays parties are arranged based on a theme. Let your kid decide the theme of his/her choice. It can be based on kid’s favourite cartoon series or his/ her favourite sports or anything else of kid’s choice. The cake will be also according to the theme decided and will be of kid’s choice. By this way you can show your kid that his / her decision is valuable for you which will help to boost the kid’s confidence.

Allow the kid to list out decoration material and involve him/ her in shopping

Give the food for your kid’s brain and ask him/ her to list the decoration material required for the decided theme. Guide him / her by providing your ideas. After the list is finalized, take the kid along with you for shopping. Also take the kid to cake shop and allow him or her to instruct the baker for making the cake of his/ her choice. This will allow the kid to survey the market also he / she will know about the prices of the material. The kid will be happy to get everything of his /her choice.

Don’t make the kid only a balloon blower

As I have said in the title, that birthday is not about balloons only. Similarly, I would like to say, the role of the kid must not be of the balloon blower only. Give your kid more creative work to do which will help to enhance his / her skills.

Evoke the kid’s creativity

The theme may require some crafts to be made, some pictures to be painted and many more creative things. We, as parents try to do all these things on our own and never involve the kid in it. Reasons are many and more important among them is the kid’s safety. You are right at your place, but I would suggest you to be bold. Let the kid make some crafts. Evoke his/ her creativity. Let the small hands make the magic. Of course, under your strict observation so that his/ her safety is not compromised. Let the kid make the paintings. They may not be perfect according to your scale, but just imagine the happiness your kid will get if any guest praises them. Will you not feel proud?

Also, when decorations will be completed, let the kid have the final say whether it’s done accordingly or not.

So, these are the few things which I feel can be done to involve a kid in planning his or her birthday party. Try them out. Your kid will definitely be more happy on this birthday and you will also get the proud feeling that your little bundle of joy has learned planning the things and implementing them. So, just go ahead. Be the proud parent.

12 Reasons Exercise for Kids Is Beneficial for Growth and Development

If someone had told me, when I was a kid, to stare at a screen for 4 hours instead of play outside, I would have told them to stick it where the sun don’t shine!

I ran a lot as a kid, as did all my friends. We were in constant motion running through the fields, to the woods, over the creek, onto the tennis court, through the pond, under the bridge… It was not the norm to watch TV all day; it was just not done in our household. Being outside was our playground, and we wanted to be moving.

I imagine you have heard grandparent and parent stories of themselves walking or riding their bike long distances to school every day, cutting wood, carrying food, washing the garments, transporting water, planting the garden, playing sports and walking home afterward, and walking to the movie theater.

Nowadays we have cars or buses, washing machines, and very few wood stoves. Not many people garden and adults usually drive children where they want to go. However, your body is designed for physical activity, and without enough exercise, it begins to slow down, choke up and become unfit.

Most children take pleasure in being physically active, and the exercise they obtain while they play is a factor in the development of strong bones and muscles. Unfortunately, there are an increasing number of barriers to exercise for kids in today’s modern world. Video games and television, parents who have to work long hours, cuts to the school physical education programs and recess and unsafe neighborhoods can make it hard for kids to get even the minimum amount of exercise they require to be healthy.

When adults create environments that stop kids from being lively, we are not only undermining their health, but we are also making it harder for children to succeed in school.

Kids exercise all the time without even thinking of it. When you sprint around outside or play tag at school, it is a kind of exercise. What else is exercise? Activities such as playing sports, pushups, dancing, and touching the ground all qualify.

Among the many benefits of physical fitness are increased confidence and stronger self-esteem, more energy, better memory, and a better feeling about themselves; low hanging fruit and easy to attain!

According to the American Heart Association, most children should get a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise every day. These periods of activity can be broken into multiple sessions as long as they add up to around an hour of exercise. Kids do not need to adhere to regimented training programs created to achieve specific results that adults usually adhere to in their routines. Merely moving around, jumping, running, and climbing is adequate to meet their needs.

Happy Heart = Exercise
Your heart is a muscle. It works hard because it pumps blood every day of your life. You can help this important muscle get stronger by doing aerobic exercise.

Aerobic means “with air,” so this is an activity that requires oxygen. You take in oxygen when you breathe; if you are performing aerobic exercise, you may notice you’re breathing faster than sitting on the couch. Aerobic activity can get your heart pumping, makes breathing harder and begins the sweating process.

When you provide your heart this kind of training on a regular schedule, your heart will get better at its primary job which is delivering oxygen to the body.

Strengthening Muscles = Exercise
Did you ever throw a ball or swing across the bars in the gym or at the park? These are exercises that can build strength. Children using muscles for powerful things can build strength.

For kids, exercise means being physically active and playing. Kids exercise at school when they have gym class, during recess, at sports practices, while riding skateboards, or when playing kickball. When most adults consider exercise, they imagine working out in the gym, running on a treadmill, or lifting weights.

The Sedentary Dilemma
Being obese or overweight in childhood has become a severe problem. Many things add to this epidemic, but a big part of it is that kids are becoming more sedentary. To be blunt, they’re sitting a lot more than they used to.

Kids and teens now spend hours every day in front of a screen looking at a variety of media. Not enough physical activity and too much screen time add to the problem of obesity in kids.

One of the best ways to get children to be more active is to regulate the amount of time spent in sitting activities, especially playing video games or watching other media devices.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advocates parents:

– Add limits on the time spent using media and video games. These mediums should not take the place of being active and obtaining the right amount of sleep.
– Limit screen time to one hour a day or less for children two to five years old.
– Restrain from any screen time, except video-chatting, for kids younger than eighteen months.
– Keep media devices out of kid’s bedrooms and turn off screens while eating.
– Decide on high-quality programming and watch it with your children to help them understand what they are observing.

In the recent past, parents were concerned more about their children being home by the time the sun went down than whether or not they got the required amount of activity every day.

In this day and age, adults are advised to monitor their kid’s body mass index (height-to-weight ratio) as the obesity problem among children ages six to nineteen has reached above fifteen percent, four times what it was in the 1960s. Physical activity will not only help children today from being obese, but it will also show them healthy habits that can last throughout their life.

12 Reasons Exercise That Is Beneficial To Kids Health And Development:

1. Kids are less likely to become overweight and will have better control of their body fat. Obese children can reduce their body weight and fat because of the physiological effect of burning it while exercising.
2. Studies report that exercise improves mood and outlook in children, lowers anxiety, and decreases depression. Also, their quality of sleep is enhanced.
3. Exercise strengthens heart and lungs and the entire cardiovascular system. The heart develops a higher “pump-activity” while the child’s heart and lungs are strengthened, supporting the prevention of heart disease. Participating in regular physical activity prevents or impedes the development of many chronic diseases (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and hypertension) and encourages health.
4. Exercise helps in the development of critical communication skills including participation in team sports.
5. Exercise helps develop motor coordination and enhances many motor performance skills.
6. Exercise boosts the brain’s metabolism. Studies show that exercise promotes improved school attendance and improves academic performance. Active children have the ability to concentrate a lot better, even at the end of a long school session. Research shows that active children have improved memory as a result of more efficient brain function.
7. The body’s ability to fight disease is helped with exercise. Kids are less prone to colds, allergies, and diseases.
8. Fun and moderate exercise burns off excess harmful hormones and increases the release of positive ones.
9. Children who keep fit are more energized because of their body’s ability to detoxify. Active kids breathe better and sweat more which are tremendous ways to detoxify the body and help it keep itself “clean.”
10. Children who are active improve their own body’s ability to absorb oxygen through aerobic exercise; more oxygen equals more energy. This increase in blood flow promotes the body’s movement of the byproducts of metabolism and toxins back from the cells for recycling, elimination, or to use in other parts of the body.
11. Regular physical activity helps maintain and build healthy muscles, joints and bones.
12. Kids who play and exercise are more probable to keep working out as an adult.

Tips to Choose Baby & Kids Furniture

Who doesn’t love a baby’s smile? Spending some time with little ones can make anyone forgot their worries and sorrows. Embellish the baby’s room with adorable furniture pieces that can retain the happiness of the baby.

While choosing the baby furniture, parents and caretakers spend more time on the composition & configuration. Cradles/Bassinets, Cribs, Changing Tables, Rugs, and Crib bedding forms the baby furniture.

Cradles/Bassinets- It is difficult to imagine the baby’s room without a cradle. They occupy an important place in the baby’s life. The cradle is the first place where the baby spends most of her/his time in the early babyhood. So, it has to be the best time. The cradle/bassinet should soothe the baby. Select a cradle with a limited swing to avoid accidents.

Cribs- After enjoying his/her time in the cradle for a few months, the baby will be shifted to the crib. It is the place where the baby will undergo a transition. It is also the place where the baby starts sleeping independently. The crib should be guarded with safety railings.

Crib Bedding- In the early childhood, the baby’s skin is very sensitive and prone to infections. So, choose the bedding material which is hypoallergenic. The crib mattress should have a high conformity index. Otherwise, it may lead to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The crib mattress should perfectly fit into the crib without leaving gaps as they may injure the baby.

Changing tables- Many caretakers and parents find it difficult to handle the baby while changing clothes. To deal with such situations, changing tables are designed. They come with pull out drawers to accommodate napkins, Sanitary wipes, and apparel.

After passing the early childhood stage, they will be moving to one of the memorable stages of their life. They are no longer called as babies. Now they have their own mind which is immature. Though they act on their own instincts, but one has to take care of them. Generally, parents allocate separate rooms for their young ones. Kids love to live in an environment which is colorful and playful. So, beautify the kid’s room with different furniture.

Bunk beds- To create a playful environment in the kid’s room, bring home a Bunk bed. They are similar to normal beds except for a two stage construction. Kids can easily climb to the upper part using the ladder fixed to the side of the bed. But make sure that the Bunk bed is provided with a safety rail. To avoid head injuries, consider the height of the ceiling. The mattress should go hand in hand with the bed frame.

Many kids develop a good relation with their bunk beds and want to retain them for their long time. So, manufacturers are coming with adjustable bunk beds that can be used even in teens.

Kids Recliners- Why should parents have all the fun? Kids recliners came from such questions. They are usually placed in the living room alongside normal recliners. Personalized Kids Recliners are the order of the day. Kids recliners with cup holders are versatile in terms of utility.

Rocking chairs- This type of chair is an energy element in the kid’s room. Their rocking mechanism enables the kid to enjoy his/her time. Look for a Kids rocking chair which has a controlled rocking mechanism to avoid accidents.

Toy Organizers – The kid’s room should not be filthy as it may lead to unwanted health problems. Toy organizers can accommodate all toys in a beautiful way.

Playhouses- This furniture piece has a vital role in the holistic development of the kid. They help the kid to socialize faster. They are generally placed in the lawn area.

As this stage is critical to the kid, prepare them to face the world. They will be joining the school in the near future, so prepare them mentally and physically.

Décor- Hang attractive and informative wall charts in the kid’s room. Theme based wall hangings convey the feelings of the kid to the rest of the world. Number charts are widely used by many parents across the world.