Gunning Daily News

Children and Chores: 6 Keys to Getting Help around the House

May 7, 2012 5:22 pm

Frustrated by lack of help around the house? Your kids might actually think chores aren’t important to you. Why is that?

First, kids don’t see the need. Kids cruise along in their own little world and only notice a problem when it crashes into their happy mindset.

Second, we don’t teach how to help. Becoming aware of others’ needs doesn’t just happen. Children need to be taught.

And, third, we let kids off the hook. We sometimes think it’s unfair to ask for help. But your child wants to be helpful. By assigning chores, you let your child feel competent, capable and valued for her contribution.

Competence. That’s the “I did it myself” feeling. To feel this way, a child needs to know a task exists, what it takes to do it and how to tell when it’s done. The task has to have a recognizable beginning and end.

Capability. This is the feeling “I have valuable skills.” To feel capable, a task can’t be too easy. But this is where parents get tripped up. Instead of assigning a simple task, appeal to your child’s desire to do important things by giving her difficult tasks.

Contribution. “Does anyone care?” This is why cleaning the garage is more fun than cleaning one’s own room. A clean garage matters to other people. Cleaning one’s own room, not so much.

So… your plan of action looks something like this:

1. Think about your child. What does he like to do and what task would he think is difficult and grown up? The task will obviously change with the age of the child. 

2. Choose one task to start. The task should be something that can be repeated at regular intervals. It should be something that provides obvious clues that it’s “time” to perform the task. It should have obvious indicators that the task has been completed and completed well. For example, a five-year-old might be assigned the task of keeping the dog’s water bowl filled. A ten-year-old might have the job of collecting trash and setting it out for pick-up on “trash day.” And a teen might be asked to plan and prepare the family dinner every Wednesday night. 

3. Tell your child what you want her to do.
Your child is not a mind-reader. Talk with her about your need for help. Be sweet, be pleasant but be clear that doing the task is not optional. 

Tell her what – Tell her when or by when – Tell her how to tell when it’s done.
The ten-year-old might need to know which wastebaskets need emptying and how to get the trash bins safely to the curb. She will need to know when the trash trucks come by and if she is also responsible for retrieving the bins from the street or putting fresh liners in the wastebaskets. Help her know what goes into her job and how you want the finished task to look. 

4. Let your child decide how he’ll do the task. Ask your child how and when he thinks he will do it. If the task will be messy or if there are tricky parts, suggest ways to avoid these issues. Help him visualize doing the task and anticipate problems. 

The five-year-old who is filling the dog’s water bowl will need to know how frequently the bowl needs filling, what to do about cleaning the bowl, and how spills should be handled. But how he actually decides to do it – by carrying the bowl to the faucet or by carrying a pitcher of water to the bowl – is up to him. 

5. Step back and shut up. Will your child do the task the way you would do it? No. Will she make mistakes the first time? Yes. But you must let her own the task and find out for herself how to do it and how to do it better. 

Your teen may not fix dinner just the way you expect it. But hovering in the kitchen, giving advice, is not the way to go. And eat the meal that gets prepared with good grace. 

6. Thank, inquire and reassign. When the task is done, thank your child, no matter how poorly the result is. Then ask your child how the task went. Let the child say the job was not done very well if it wasn’t. Let her own the task and own the outcome. If you feel the need, suggest one improvement for next time. No matter how well or poorly the task was completed, reassign it for tomorrow or whenever the next reasonable time to do the task is. End on a happy note.

You might be thinking right now that this sounds like more bother than it’s worth. You’d rather do the jobs yourself….

And that’s been the problem all along. Because you haven’t taught your children how to do jobs, they haven’t learned to do them. They may even think you don’t really want them to do chores or don’t believe they can.

The main reason kids should do chores is not to get stuff done, though that’s nice. The main reason is to teach children responsibility and initiative. That’s why letting children decide when and how to do a task is important. That’s why letting kids evaluate their own work makes sense. And that’s why making children feel responsible for their tasks is so key.

What you’re doing here is developing attitudes and character. Do that and doing chores will come naturally. 


Where Do Our Products Come From? It's a Small World, After All

May 7, 2012 5:22 pm

These days, a trip to the supermarket or drugstore is like a trip around the world. 

Many of the products you and your family buy, the medicines you use, and the foods you eat are from other countries. Did you know, for example, that 80 percent of our seafood and 80 percent of the active ingredients in medications consumed in the United States come from abroad? 

“Global Engagement”, a new, in-depth report from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), tells how the agency works to ensure that the imported foods, medical products, and other goods it regulates meet the same high standards for safety and quality set for products manufactured domestically. 

The report was compiled to provide a face and voice to FDA’s global work, which includes overseas inspections and collaborations with governments in other countries, says FDA’s Mary Lou Valdez, associate commissioner for international programs. 

Rather than focusing on the efforts of one FDA office or center, the report describes for the first time—through data, charts, vignettes, quotes, and narratives—the global engagement efforts taking place across the agency. The report also explains some of the challenges that FDA faces in fulfilling its mission. 

“It truly is a different world for all of us working to ensure product safety,” says Valdez. “We had to recognize the complexity of the world in which we’re regulating.” 

From Farm to Fork 

Take food. FDA regulates most food products in the United States, from the lettuce you put in your family’s dinner salad, to the eggs and juice you serve for breakfast. As of 2011, roughly one in six FDA-regulated food products consumed in the United States comes from abroad. And the percentage is much higher in foods like fruits (about 50 percent) and vegetables (about 20 percent). 

So the agency—empowered by the Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law in 2011—is focusing its efforts on making sure that foods from other countries meet U.S. safety standards before they reach the United States, and your family’s dinner plates. Investigators with FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs travel the globe to inspect facilities that produce food bound for the United States. Additionally, FDA’s Office of International Programs has stationed investigators in multiple overseas posts to complement these inspection efforts. 

“Consumers around the world, not just in the United States, expect and demand safe food, no matter its source,” says Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods. 

The Global Drugstore
These strategies also apply to medical products, which include prescription and over-the-counter drugs, biologics (like vaccines and tissue), and devices that range from tongue depressors to complex diagnostic tools. 

Forty percent of drugs—generic and prescription—consumed in the United States are now manufactured in other countries. 

Globalization of the medical product industry presents regulatory challenges from product development to final use by the consumer:
• The clinical trials of all medical products required for FDA approval are increasingly conducted abroad, adding the complexity of the review process.
• Many U.S. consumers can purchase medicines via the Internet directly from foreign sources, increasing their potential exposure to unsafe or ineffective medical products.
• Many medical devices are sold in nearly identical forms around the world but are known by different trade names, making it difficult to warn medical professionals and consumers about potential dangers. 

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TOP 5 RC - Word of the Day

May 7, 2012 5:22 pm

Escheat. Reversion of property to the state when the owner dies without leaving a will and has no heirs to whom the property may pass.

Question of the Day

May 7, 2012 5:22 pm

Q: Are there routine steps I can take now to avoid major home improvements later?
A: Get in the habit of taking an annual inventory of every single space in your home to check for potential problems. Examine the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical wiring – basically everything. Try to fix trouble spots as soon as you uncover them. This proactive approach will help you avoid major repairs to your home later.

School Lunches Get a Makeover

May 4, 2012 4:42 pm

Schools across the nation are revamping lunch menus, trying to incorporate more healthful ingredients that align with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) new school lunch guidelines. 

Dr. Keith Ayoob, RD, a child nutrition expert, highlights the biggest changes under the new guidelines:
More colorful fruits and vegetables. Both fruits and vegetables must be served every day of the week, and there is now a weekly requirement for specific colors of vegetables. Previously schools only had to offer either fruits or vegetables. 

Whole grains will be required. While encouraged in the past, schools now must offer whole-grain rich foods. Schools are really looking at how to ensure foods are nutritious, but also appealing to kids. It's a challenge, but one that schools across the nation are focused on. 

Schools are paying attention to portions. Calorie limits will be enforced based on the age of children being served to ensure proper portion size. New menus will be increasingly focused on reducing saturated fat, trans fats and sodium. 

While the school lunch menu has only recently changed, school chocolate milk has been undergoing changes for the past five years. The nation's milk processors have been hard at work to lower the calories and sugar in school flavored milk, while continuing to deliver a nutritious and delicious drink kids love. School flavored milk now has 38 percent less added sugar than just five years ago and on average. 

Dr. Ayoob has some tips to help parents and kids make the most of school lunches:
• It's equally important that school meals are appealing, as they are nutritious. Along with good nutrition, food choices need to be practical, so they don't end up in the trash. Many children are overfed but undernourished, so focusing on our kids' nutrient intake is essential now more than ever.
• Help kids learn healthy choices. Research has found that if you offer kids carrots and celery, they'll eat more carrots than if you just provide carrots alone. Offering nutritious choices in schools helps kids learn food and nutrition lessons and research suggests the ability to choose between two or more options helps boost kids' overall intake of nutritious foods. 


Easy Tips to Create a Relaxing Experience at Home

May 4, 2012 4:42 pm

(ARA) - In our fast-paced and chaotic lives, we're always seeking ways to relax and de-stress from the day. For some, that means watching a favorite TV show, having a glass of wine, or even a massage at the spa, but we often forget about our homes and the impact of its design on relaxation.

Kelly Edwards, designer and lifestyle expert and Waterpik suggest the following tips for creating relaxation -inspired home decor:

The kitchen is often called the heart of the home, so it's wise to invest in kitchen materials that are better for you and your family. Caesarstone and Silestone countertops are hypo allergenic, non-porous, resistant to stains, ultra strong, and will always look elegant and amazing.

Consider using streamlined high gloss laminate fronts on cabinets for a sleek and clean look and use pull-out drawers behind each cabinet for more storage space. Remember, being organized can make anyone feel less stressed.

The bathroom is the start and end to your day. By simply changing your shower head, you can turn a regular shower into a true relaxing, spa-like experience. The stylish Waterpik EasySelect shower head, for example, has a spray selector located right on the handle, so you can change the spray settings from circular massage to full body coverage without having to reach through the water stream.

Use monochromatic colors to sooth you from the moment you walk in and opt for striking marble or glass tiles. By installing a glass shower enclosure, you'll be able to show off the gorgeous tiles, update the look of your bathroom and make the room look larger.

Living Room
A natural material like grass cloth wallpaper is a great way to add color and texture to your walls in your living room, it has a very relaxed and sophisticated appeal to it. Paint the walls a color that conveys the feeling of relaxation like light shades of cream, white, green or greige (a combination of gray and beige).

Mix in a few natural elements like wood chairs and tables, cozy blankets, and fresh flowers, and you'll have a place that will feel comfortable to come home to every day.

Pick colors that are easy on the eye, like the blues and green, to evoke a sense of "rest." Change harsh overhead lighting for architecturally interesting lighting elements such as library sconces; place one on each side of the bed for the perfect reading lights.

Trade out your old worn-out shades for some natural wood blinds or bamboo shades and follow the look up by adding soft curtains to block out the light for a restful night's sleep.

For any space, a non-cluttered area will help you achieve a relaxed state of mind at home. Keep in mind that being comfortable doesn't mean being trendy; simply create your own style and just do what makes you feel your best.

Word of the Day

May 4, 2012 4:42 pm

Equity build-up. Term used to refer to the increase of one’s equity in a property due to mortgage balance reduction and price appreciation.

Question of the Day

May 4, 2012 4:42 pm

Q: How do I get help for remodeling following a natural disaster?
The Small Business Administration (SBA) not only assists businesses after a natural disaster, civil disturbance, fires and other catastrophes, it also provides disaster loans to individuals – including homeowners and renters. The loans, which cover uninsured or underinsured losses – are issued after the President or SBA Administrator signs a disaster declaration. Homeowners can then apply for loans up to $200,000 to assist with the repair or replacement of their primary residences and receive loans up to $40,000 for personal property losses. The low-interest loans have terms up to 30 years. To begin the process, applicants must register first with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to obtain a FEMA Registration ID number.

Great Ideas for Creating Happy Family Memories

May 4, 2012 4:42 pm

Creating close family memories does more than enhance the good times families share, according to educational consultant Dr. Michelle Borba. It actually increases our kids’ social skills and development and is a good first step toward helping our children grow into creating happy families of their own.

Borba, a former teacher who serves on the advisory committee of Parents Magazine, suggests six no-cost and surefire ways to create happy family customs our kids will remember into adulthood:

• Nighttime rituals – Read a bedtime story to the younger kids. As kids get older, convene in the kitchen for a bedtime snack about 9 p.m. and be sure everyone gets a good night hug and kiss before heading off for bed or finishing homework.
• Special greetings – Develop a few special family rituals for saying, “I love you” without words; perhaps rubbing noses like Eskimo kisses, or creating a unique family hug.
• Birthday memories – each family member gets to create his/her favorite birthday dinner menu, cake, or outing, and it then becomes a ritual to enjoy together.
• Celebrate successes – Create special ways to commemorate each family member’s special accomplishments; perhaps a fancy plate at the dinner table or a special flag posted at the front door.
• Family game night – Dust off the Chutes and Ladders or Monopoly games and designate a couple of hours one night each week for sharing old and newly learned family games. Or make it a Family Movie Night and watch one together, complete with popcorn.
• Annual traditions – Designate every Father’s Day as a fishing or picnic day. Go berry-picking every spring. Volunteer together every first fall Saturday at a local food bank or shelter – or make a commitment to participate as a family once or twice a year in whatever activity is a family favorite.

Learn Your Laminate

May 4, 2012 4:42 pm

I just ran across some informative input about the appeal of certain types of flooring to potential Real Estate buyers. Sarah Snodgrass ( a full-time, full-service, real estate agent living and working in Kansas City, recently told her clients what she really feels about laminate flooring.
While wood laminate flooring manufactured by Pergo, Dupont, Mannington, Armstrong and other companies is less expensive and easier to install than real wood flooring, Snodgrass pointed to her own experiences when noting the drawbacks of wood laminate flooring. 

She also recommended that homeowners planning a floor improvement project stick with the timeless design and high quality craftsmanship of real wood floors. Snodgrass said there are a number of reasons why paying a bit more now can reap attractive returns when it's time to sell a home. 

According to Snodgrass, the Top 5 reasons to say NO to laminate flooring are:
1. It will disappointment buyers. "Everyone is going to be momentarily fooled, then ultimately disappointed to learn that what they are seeing is not real wood. This is especially true in older areas of town where hardwood floors are common and expected."
2. It is ugly. "I realize this is a bold statement, but really – can you honestly tell me that you like this better than real hardwoods?"
3. Buyers will think that you are cheap. "It is obvious that you thought wood floors would look good, but took the cheaper route. This will lead buyers to wonder where else you cut corners. Buyers are fearful of buying homes they think might have hidden or latent problems from poor craftsmanship, inferior materials, or cheap, inexperienced installation."
4. It is loud. "Unless you are in rubber soled shoes, your shoes will sound noisier than on real wood."
5. It looks dirty and dents easier. "Wood laminate shows and reflects dirt, and almost always looks dirty. Even when it is freshly mopped, you can sometimes see your cleaning streaks in the sunlight. I have also seen high heels and dogs’ nails create dents in wood laminate."