Saturday, March 21, 2015


With Spring in the air and the snow beginning to melt, I'm looking forward to spending the afternoon outside.

So lets look at what your teenager might be trying to tell you.  Often those who are parents of teenagers will find that their young adults will come home from school and act one of two ways.  Not talk to you because you just don't understand / or they may be filled with information about the day.  So when the information or topic is about a negative situation at school or with friends,  what do you do as a parent? 
1.  Keep cool, This will teach your teenager to think and problem solve vs react out of haste. (besides
     if they are asking you must be doing something right)
2.  Prior to offering your opinion try to figure out if they are seeking your input or only venting.
3.  If they are looking for help, try to problem solve.  Don't give answers on what you would do,  
     however ask your child in return open ended questions to help keep the conversation going.
     Note:  The more you allow your child to talk and discuss the issue the more they will likely be
     able to make a decision on how to proceed.  You can also use door openers if you feel your   
    child would like to share something but is holding back, Door openers sound like this:
     "I'd like to hear more",  "Tell me more", "Go on" .

4.  Once your child has developed a plan or an awareness of the situation, complement them on being
     able to work it through.

Keep in mind that as a parent you would like your children to learn the necessary skills to one day be on their own and come to a decision on their own in similar situations.  Helping to problem solve will only ensure that they will be able to succeed.

Enjoy your weekend.

If you haven't already click below to sign up for my next parenting workshop.  Hurry because space is limited and it is filling up fast.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Academic Effort Rating Guide

Recently, I was struggling trying to explain the difference between time and work effort.  I found myself repeating the same thing with little results.  Trying to explain that looking at your notes for 10 minutes is not studying.  After finding little on the web about academic effort I decided to create my own rating sheet to help children and adults realize how much effort they may or may not be putting in.  Since creating this Academic sheet, I have noticed a positive change in numerous students.  Please feel free to share this.  It can also easily be modified to discuss efforts within sports as well as employment standards.

Academic Effort Rating Guide:

This rating is based on a scale from 0-10.  0 being no effort and 10 is going above and beyond what is expected.

Sample ranges of scores and what the score looks like.

0-3    Somebody who does little to no work.  Only a little bit of effort is put into an assignment, test or project.   For example, if an assignment should take an hour to complete. This student would finish in about 20 minutes, with only a portion completed.  (Out of the 20 minutes of work 10 is spent setting up, goofing off or trying to find the assignment) Typical grade achieved would be failure.

3-5    In this range a little bit more effort is put into the work. There is about 40 to 50 percent effort.  On an hour assignment there is about 30 minutes of work completed.  Students will sit down and begin to focus a little quicker.   Typical grade is a D to C-

6-7    This is where you begin to see some interest and effort put into an assignment.  A student would spend up to 50 minutes on an hour project.  The focus and attention on their assignments is greater and typically there is an investment in not only completing an assignment but a willingness to learn the material and lesson as well.  There is a lot less procrastination in starting the assignment and less fidgeting throughout.  (time wasters).  Typical grade range for this effort would be B- to C. 

8-9. My hope is that this is the minimum stage all children strive to meet. The effort put into an assignment is much greater and is on par with the teachers expectations of the assignment.  There is some pride in their sense of accomplishment.  On an hour assignment there is a full hour of effort put into the work.  The work is neat and organized.  This student is usually prepared with all the proper material needed to complete the assignment and is typically  There is no to very little loss of focus throughout the assignment.  The effort on this assignment matches the outcome.  Typical grade range for this effort is A to B quality work.  This Student is usually self motivated and driven

10.     Here is your over achiever.   Not only are they focused and into the assignment, but they go above and beyond what is expected.  The work is neat, organized and presented in a timely manner.  Work is usually double checked for accuracy.  Assignments with this effort are usually in a grade range of A to A. 

Special Note:  It is important to recognize that time and effort go hand in hand.   Just because you spend an hour of time does not mean that your grade will be good.  The effort you put into the time being spent is more important than time being spent.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What do say!!!

After being in a lock down situation for over 36 hours why they look for a killer at large.   Finding his car less than 3 miles from our house, the question is what do we tell our children on what is going on?   Our approach,  honesty in the the rigtht tone of voice seems to be the best approach.  Are you being honest with your child as times get tough.   Remember, you may have the first 18 to 25 years, however are you preparing your child for life in the long haul or just for the now???  
Remember sometimes, Think long term not the immediate now.

For more on what to do when creating routine purcahase my book on three step parenting.  Purchase at  

Ps.  Enjoy your weekend more with your children when they are behaving.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tips from Todd
I recently introduced a 6 six old boy into a residential program.  After getting to know him for three days, it was apparent that he had very little structure or routine in his life.  It also appeared that every time he was asked to perform a task that he was not interested in he would scream and shout at the top of his lungs.  This is the advice that I gave the adults in lives and within a day their was improvement.  Within two days the struggles had gone from 20-30 minutes to less than 2.  By the third day he had gone from about 6 or 7 protest a day down to 1 or 2.   The results have been great.  Please use any or all of these tips to help you raise great, independent children.

Strategies to keep in mind when interacting with difficult behavior:

1.     Remember that he is six and you are the adult.  Despite his yelling no!!  He needs to know that you are in charge and in control.

2.     I like to greet him with a smile and high five or fist bump each and every time I see him.  I find this helps in establishing trust

3.     Always stick with giving him two choices and then waiting for him to make a decision.  If he tries to derail from the two choices, refocus him and remind him of the choices until he makes a decision.  When he makes a decision praise him and quickly move on.  Don’t over exaggerate the praise.

4.     Less is best.  Once you give him choices don’t try to rationalize with him or engage in at length dialogue.  This will only confuse him and reinforce negative behavior.

5.     Routine is key.  Even with prompting you may still need to show him the way.

6.     Use TCI for yourself and Yohannes.  Especially the Behavior Support Techniques.  Which includes from least invasive to most invasive.

a.     Managing the environment, prompting, caring gesture, hurdle help, redirection and distractions, proximity, directive statements and time away.

7.     If you find yourself overly frustrated walk away.
PS:   Please share with all your friends.   As parents, we can always use reminders.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Red Cross Certified Baby Sitters Course

Great News!!!

It's Here!!!!   If you have a child between 11 and 15 who is either a big brother or sister or interested in making some mula baby sitting this summer, then this is a must take course.  During the short 7 hour course over two weekends participants can expect to learn how to care for children to infants, perform basic child-care skills, handle bedtime and discipline issues, care for common injuries and emergencies such as choking, burns, cuts and bee stings as well as communicate effectively with parents. 

Don't delay, click on the link below now for more info and to sign up.  Class space is limited!!!!

PS:   If you are on the fence here is another reason to sign up now.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Baby Sittting Classes

Calling all locals to Garrison!!!
My colleague and I will be running a Red Cross Babysitting certification class late in June right here in Garrison NY.  As of now it looks like June 22nd.   If you or somebody you know is interested please pass on.  I will be posting more information on this soon.  The class is not only great and necessary to those who are interested in babysitting, but offers an abundance of information for those older siblings who may be expecting a new brother or sister or those responsible for siblings while parents enjoy some much needed alone time.

Look for more information soon.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Summer Camp

With a much needed rainy  then sunny day here in Garrison, Its that time of year to start thinking about summer camps and if your child is lucky enough to go to a sleep away camp see below for some great ideas on packing.

5 Ways to Save Space and Money Packing for Summer Camp

Summer camp can already be very expensive, so finding ways to reduce packing costs is important to many parents.  Fortunately there are many techniques that can make packing easier on your mind and wallet.  These tips may help you save space, money and time, while still allowing your kid to bring everything they need to have an amazing time at summer camp.

1.        Kids Robes

Towels are often one of the bulkiest things that kids need to bring to camp.  Kids robes can be a great alternative to towels.  Not only can they be used to dry your child off, but they also will cover them up on trips back from the shower.  Another benefit of robes is that if your child needs to make a late night trip to the bathroom, they can just throw on the robe.  This way they won’t be fumbling around looking for clothes and waking up their cabin mates.  On nights where the temperature drops, the robes can also double as a blanket. To save even more space when packing, use the soft robe to wrap and protect any delicate objects you are bringing along. 

2.       Consider shipping their luggage

If your child is flying to summer camp or if you are driving them and running out of space in your car, shipping their luggage can give you more room and help you save money.  Bulk shipping rates may be more than the baggage fees at airlines, however shipping has many advantages.  For example, you have someone else lugging and tugging everything around for you with door to door delivery, and your baggage is less likely to get lost.

3.        Shop online

Shopping for summer camp supplies online can make comparing prices and getting the best deals easier, while also saving you the gas and time it would take to go to stores.  Since anything you buy online will need to be shipped, you may as well send it straight to camp.  This way you can save space in their duffel bags to pack more things they may need.  This works great for bulky items, like bedding sets, or things that are awkward to pack, like a fishing rod.

4.       Zip-off shorts

These may be some of the best summer camp clothes that exist.  Not only does each pair of zip-offs give your child two outfits, it also saves you from buying and packing an extra pair of shorts.  If your kid is going on a backpacking or camping trip where they cannot carry much, zip off shorts are a great way for them to keep comfortable without weighing themselves down.

5.       Consider upgrading to first class

If your child is flying to summer camp, chances are they will need to pay baggage fees.  If they have two or more bags, these fees can add up to huge amounts.  If your child is going to bring multiple bags, carefully check the airlines bag policies.  On many airlines, you can bring two bags for free by flying first class.  While buying a first class ticket may be expensive, upgrading from coach is sometimes very reasonably priced.  If the baggage fees are more than the upgrade, you may even be able to save money by having your child fly in style.

Summer camp is a great opportunity for kids to get out and enjoy nature while making new friends.  Parents often enjoy it too because they get a little more freedom in their day and a chance to catch up on their work or personal lives.  Tips like these can help your kid gets what they need for camp, without breaking the bank.
Hope this offers a great start to preparing for camp.