Negative People – 7 Ways to Cope

7 Effective Strategies for Dealing with Negative People

This is a guest post by Lori Radun.

Have you ever been around a chronically negative person? How does he or she affect your mood in that moment? More than likely you will feel drained of energy or you’ll find yourself carrying around your own negative energy. Negative people make us feel angry and challenge our ability to stay positive. Whether your child or spouse has an occasional negative day or you deal with a family member, friend or co-worker that is chronically negative, there are things you can do to remain positive in the face of negativity.

Opposition is Rarely the Answer
The worst thing you can do is argue with a negative person. This only adds fuel to the fire. A negative person will use the opportunity to argue to reinforce his mood or attitude. I have noticed when my children are in an irritable mood, it is best to avoid trying to convince them to have a positive attitude. As soon as I take the approach of being in opposition with them, they pounce on the opportunity to prove me wrong. Their negativity escalates and the situation gets worse before it gets better. Know when to remain silent and let the negativity pass.

Smother Negative People with Love
Strange as it may seem, a negative person often needs love and attention. Unfortunately, it is not easy to love a negative person. It is our challenge to rise above the off-putting behavior and love the hurt and scared person that is deep inside. By truly listening to what she is trying to tell you, you are showing love. Acknowledge the feelings she has by saying something like, “It sounds like your daughter really makes you angry”. Even if you don’t quite understand the person’s feelings, know that your reality is rarely the same as someone else’s. Ask if there is any way you can help. This shows you care about her well being. Offer a hug even if you get rejected. Remember not to take a rejection of your love personally. A negative person often has difficulty receiving love from others.

There is Always Something Good
There is always something good to be found in any negative situation. Search for anything positive that you can draw attention to. Even a negative person has positive character traits. When a person is drowning in negativity, it can be difficult to see the light. Whenever my clients begin highlighting their shortcomings, I always remind them of all the positive things they are forgetting. I admit that sometimes a negative person doesn’t want to see the positive. This might require her to shift her perspective. Negativity can become a person’s best friend and no one wants to willingly give up their best friend. Be patient and gently remind your ill-tempered friend or family member to be grateful for all her blessings. Hopefully, in her down time, she will begin to reflect on what you have said.

Turn Generalizations Into Specifics
If you pay close attention, you’ll notice negative people often speak in generalizations. You may hear them say things like: “Lawyers are shady.” “It’s stupid to be an entrepreneur.” “My kids are driving me crazy.” These kinds of statements are referred to as cognitive distortions. To help a person sort through her distorted thinking, ask for more specifics. Questions like “Which lawyers are shady?” or “What specifically are your kids doing that is making you feel crazy?” forces a person to evaluate what he or she is really trying to say. A negative person will either get to the bottom of the issue or drop the subject because they are being challenged to elaborate.

Practice Detached Involvement
Sometimes the best thing you can do is emotionally detach from trying to change the negative person. No one likes it when someone is trying to change them, and their tendency will be to fight harder to remain negative. You can even try a little reverse psychology and agree with everything she says. I once read a great article about a mother who was exasperated with her son’s negative mood. Everything she tried to soothe him and make him feel better backfired. She finally gave up and started agreeing with everything he said. When her son told her his teacher hated him, she agreed with him. When he complained that playing with his friends was boring, she couldn’t agree more. After several minutes of this conversation with her son, his mood suddenly shifted. He declared that he was sleepy and he went to bed happy.

Remove Negative People or Seek Professional Help
Chronically negative people can critically affect your physical and emotional well being. Sometimes you have no other choice but to avoid these people or completely remove them from your life. It is possible to find a new job if your boss or other co-workers are negative. You can replace a friendship that is bringing you down. Other people, such as children and spouses, may require professional intervention if their negativity is affecting your life. By setting very strong boundaries with chronically negative people, you protect yourself and send a message to them that you care enough about yourself to avoid negativity.

Maintain Your Own Positive Attitude
If you do nothing else but focus on managing your own negative thoughts and behavior, you will come a long way towards remaining positive. A negative attitude is like a bad virus, but a positive attitude is contagious as well. Surround yourself with positive people that encourage you to be your best self. Use positive affirmations to conquer your own negative self-talk. Keep a gratitude journal to remind yourself of all your blessings. Take the time everyday to stop and smell the roses, watch children laugh and play, and listen to the birds chirp in the morning. Read inspirational material and listen to joyful music. Connect with your spiritual self. Do whatever you have to do to remain positive and joyful despite the negativity you face. The world will be a better place because of you and your attitude. And you never know, you just might help a negative person make the transition to a better way of living.

© Lori Radun
All rights reserved.

Lori Radun, CEC is a certified life coach and professional speaker specializing in helping moms be effective leaders of their home and work lives. For more FREE personal development tips and the FREE special report “52 Positive Affirmations for Moms”, visit her website at www.momnificent.com.

Salt Dough Recipe

Salt dough is an easy craft medium to work with and is kid-friendly (though they’ll need an adult for the final cooking stage.)

Here’s a simple recipe for salt dough:

* 1 cup of fine salt (or, for a more ‘rustic’ feel to the dough, use a coarse salt.)

* 2 cups of flour

* 3/4 to 1 cup of lukewarm water (more or less water may be needed depending upon the humidity)

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the water, a little at a time, and stir until a large ball has formed. Take the ball out of the bowl and knead it on a lightly floured surface. Continue to knead the mixture until you are satisfied with the texture.

If the dough is too tacky, add more flour/salt in the same proportions. Dry dough may require a little more water.

This recipe will create white dough that will keep for several days in a tightly closed plastic bag. You can color the dough by adding instant coffee, cocoa, or curry powder. Adding a drop of vanilla extract will produce a wonderful smell as well as act as a mold inhibitor.

Shaping your Salt Dough

Use cookie cutters, pizza cutters, rolling pins, or garlic presses to create the different shapes, patterns and design elements of your creations.  You can also make freehand designs by making the dough into ropes that can then be shaped into wreaths or braids. Roll the dough into balls of various sizes to create little animals, people, or abstract designs. The only limit you have is your artistic ability and your imagination.

You can even use salt dough to create wonderful, artsy jewelry if you want to. Be sure to place a hair pin or ornament hanger on any ornaments you intend to be displayed. If you’re making jewelry, poke a hole in the ornament before you bake it so you can put a piece of ribbon through it.

Cook it!

After you’ve modeled the dough into the shape you want, place each item on a lined baking sheet and bake it at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 1/2 hour. Allow to dry for two days on a baking rack. Or you can  place them on a microwave safe plate and microwave them in one to two minute increments on high or until they appear dry.

More ideas:

Salt Dough Fun (More ideas for kids.)
Dough Folk Art: How to Make Beautiful and Lasting Objects from Flour, Salt, and Water – Beautiful ideas.

Top 10 reasons kids have trouble with homework – and how to help (without helping too much)

Halting Homework Hassles

By Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW, CFLE

Homework is a child’s responsibility, so we need to be careful how much we help. We want to be aware of what our children are doing and be involved in helpful ways, but not help too much. We can start by avoiding the word “we” when referring to homework; it implies that homework is our responsibility. Instead, say, “When are you going to do your homework?” If they are having problems, figure out why.

Here are the Top Ten reasons:

1. If children have a time management problem, teach them how to schedule their time, instead of taking over and reminding them. Ask questions like, “How much time do you need for homework? Would you like to do homework right after school or right after dinner? How can you remember when it is time to do your homework?”

2. If children don’t understand homework, ask questions that help them figure out the answer. “What are you supposed to do here? Where in the book does it talk about this?” If children don’t understand the information, we can try explaining it. We do not have to understand what children are learning to be helpful. We just need to know the skills for helping our children find their own answers. If children need daily help, they may benefit from a tutor more than our taking responsibility for helping them. It’s a delicate balance to be helpful, without fostering dependency, rescuing, or helping too much.

3. If children forget a book, lunch, or homework, teach organizational skills and use problem solving to have children chose self-reminders. Avoid being their reminder or rescuer. Agree to deliver forgotten items no more than three times per year. After that, the child will need to experience the natural consequence of not having the item.

4. Children are distracted.
The solution here is obvious. Remove the distractions or the child from the distractions, such as no homework with the TV on. Due to learning and brain styles, music can distract or help children focus, as can studying outside or in their room. Try different options to see what works best. The goal is to create an environment that will help that child focus.

5. If children don’t see the value of homework
, avoid lectures. Instead, ask questions such as, “Why do you think the teacher wants you to do homework? How does homework help you? What will happen if you don’t do it?” Offer one brief value statement like, “School is your job and teachers are your boss. You need to follow the schools rules, even if you don’t agree with or like them. As long as teachers aren’t asking you to do something hurtful or wrong, you need to do what they ask you to do.”

When children don’t do homework on purpose
, it could be one of four reasons:

6. Children might “act stupid” so teachers (or parents) will pay attention and spend time helping them. If the parent/teacher involves the child in meaningful activities or spends other special time with the child, it can prevent or stop this behavior.

7. Children might want to prove that they have power, by refusing to cooperate. “You can’t make me.” They also might see if they can get others to take over and do the work for them. After all, if others will take responsibility why not let them?

8. Children might not do homework to “punish” a disliked teacher. If good grades are important to parents and children want to hurt them, getting poor grades can be revenge. Help children find more appropriate ways to resolve the problem with the parent/teacher.

9. Children may not do their homework because they are so discouraged they have given up. Give encouragement, not pressure, and help them break down assignments into smaller tasks.

10. Children who have given up on school
are experiencing a deeper problem. Listen closely to identify the real issue. This is what needs to be resolved. Have children brainstorm possible solutions. You may enlist professional guidance, if indicated.

    The two key points to remember about halting homework hassles are (a) you need to identify and resolve the “real issue” that’s causing the problem and (b) do this in a way that teaches children how to solve their own problems.

    Get more information from Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW, CFLE, second-generation parent educator, president of Parent’s Toolshop® Consulting, parenting expert to the media worldwide, and author of 100+ practical parenting resources, including the award-winning book, The Parent’s Toolshop at: http://www.parentstoolshop.com/

    6 Creative Easter Egg Hunt Ideas

    Kids love those Easter egg hunts. Here are a few creative ideas to help you get inspired this year:

    * Have a Scavenger Easter Egg Hunt. Instead of simply hiding the eggs and having the kids rip through the yard to find them, hide them in specific places throughout the house. Plant the first clue in an Easter basket to get them started on their egg-hunting journey. Each plastic egg they find holds another clue.

    If you have more than one child, you may want to designate a specific color egg for each child. For their final clue, have them find a small but special gift.

    This is especially fun if you have older kids, and, if you’re short on time, you can ask the older kids to create the scavenger hunts for their siblings.

    * Give coupons rather than candy. This is particularly good for teenagers. Instead of sugar-laden snacks, give a coupon for a movie rental, special privileges, a date with Mom or Dad, or a new CD from their favorite artist. Hide the coupons in the eggs and they may actually choose to go searching.

    * Put money in a couple of the eggs. You can use loose change, but put a few dollars into the mix for even more fun.

    * Include Prize eggs. This idea is best when planning an Easter egg hunt for children other than your own family. This might be a neighborhood activity or one for a civic or religious organization. Along with candy, you may want to place coupons to redeem for prizes.  Hide mainly plastic eggs filled with candy and little toys, stickers, or temporary tattoos. Then hide two or three other real eggs which have a number painted on them. When someone finds the real egg, they can exchange it for a prize which corresponds to that number.

    * Wait until dark to have your egg hunt! This is particularly fun for older children who can wait awhile. Hand everyone who is searching a flashlight so they can go hunting. You may also be able to find glow-in-the-dark eggs or paint the plastic eggs with glow-in-the-dark paint.

    * Have a reverse egg hunt. Instead of the children doing the hunting, have each child hide up to four of their eggs in the house. After they’re hidden, the adults in the family get to see how many of the eggs they can find.

    You might also enjoy:

    Kids’ Easter Activities

    Available for Immediate Download
    Printable Kids Easter activities for children at home or school. Includes word puzzles, mazes, Easter games, math worksheets, coloring pages, Easter cards and more.

    Fun Kids Crafts
    Available for Immediate Download
    This collection includes more than 700 Crafts with illustrations, printable templates & step-by-step instructions.

    Encouraging Your Children to Appreciate Their Taste Buds

    so easy baby food book

    By Cheryl Tallman

    www.FreshBaby.com

    Encouraging healthy eating is about balance – even when it comes to taste. Here are a few tips that can help you expand or improve the balance in your child’s taste buds.

    Experiment with Tastes: Allow your child to experience and identify the four unique tastes that make up flavor – sweet, salty, sour, bitter. Taste small amounts of different ingredients to identify which taste category they belong to. This can be a fun kitchen activity when preparing dinner!

    Stay Balanced: Good taste is a balancing act. Include a variety of tastes in your meals and encourage your child to try all foods. Experiencing the same tastes all the time is not a path to healthy eating.

    Ask Them and Talk About It: When you hear “that’s yummy!” or “Yuck – that’s terrible!” – ask which flavor is best or bothering. The more you understand your child’s taste preferences the easier to guide (and expand) their food choices.

    Sweet Tendency: Both breast milk and formula are sweet. It is the first taste we develop and as a result we’re already “off balance” when we begin eating foods. It is believed the earlier you introduce your child to other tastes, the better chance you have of keeping a “sweet tooth” from overpowering the taste buds.

    About the author: Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of the award-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the So Easy Baby Food Basics: Homemade Baby Food in Less Than 30 Minutes Per Week and So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips and Simple Recipes for the Toddler Years. Visit Cheryl online at www.FreshBaby.com for more delicious tips.

    5 Steps to a Calm Evening

    Erin_0468

    By Erin Kurt, B.Ed,
    www.erinparenting.com

    Whether you work outside the house or stay at home full-time, the toughest part of the day is the same: those frantic early evening hours when there are mouths to feed, homework to do, and cranky kids to handle. The trick is to streamline your to-do’s so you can feel calmer and focus on what counts – spending time with your family. Here’s how.

    1. Ease into the Evening

    Instead of walking in the door after work or errands and immediately launching into another chore, allow time and space to downshift into evening mode. It’s basically about transitioning. In other words, giving yourself and your family that unwind time.

    Creating a calming ambiance, by turning off the TV and playing soothing classical, jazz, or instrumental music, can instantly reset the emotional tone of the house. Another idea is to dim the lights and light a few candles – it makes for a warm, cozy atmosphere that will relax the family.

    Another transition idea is to create a ritual. Set vegetables and dip or cheese and bread on the counter and serve juice or water in fancy wine goblets. This will not only take the ravenous edge off so you avoid meltdowns before dinner, but it will feel special and establish the transition time.

    2. Create a Dinner System

    Rushing to get dinner on the table is a major source of evening mayhem, but a little bit of preplanning can help you power through with a minimum of stress. Use weekends to chart out your nightly dinners, grocery shop, and even preassemble parts of a meal when possible. Consider writing a weekly plan and checking the calendar to see which nights are going to be particularly busy – so you know when frozen pizzas or easy-prep meals are a must.

    3. Keep the Kids Busy

    All the shortcuts in the world won’t help if you’re constantly being interrupted, so a little creativity may be needed to get the kids out from underfoot.

    Make the time you cook be about you and let your older kids, who should be doing homework, know that you are there only to be asked a very important question. Other than that, you are off limits. For younger children, it might be necessary to involve them in the meal preparation or to put on an appropriate DVD. When my son was younger I used to put him in his highchair and talk in an animated way – sort of my own version of a cooking show. Now that he’s older, he helps put ingredients in bowls and pots and stirs just about everything!

    4. Plan Homework Time

    To avoid last-minute cries of “Mom, I haven’t done my homework yet,” having a homework routine is a must.

    After the kids have had a healthy snack and 30 minutes downtime after school, they should begin their homework so that it is completed before dinner.

    5. Share the Work… and a Break

    Dividing tasks between you and your partner can make family time more serene for both of you. It might be that when your husband walks in the door, it’s his turn to take the baby for 30 minutes so you can get dinner started. Then, after 30 minutes, you take the baby back and your partner has 30 minutes to change and unwind. This way you’ll both be refreshed enough to start your evening together.

    Be flexible with this. If your partner is stressed when walking in the house, offer a later-in-the-evening task, such as washing dishes or packing lunches for the next day.

    All in all, evenings can be calm if routines and decisions are made ahead of time. Decide what you and your partner truly value and then set up some systems to make it work.

    About the Author:
    Erin Kurt, B.Ed, spent 16 years as a teacher and nanny around the world. Now, she applies her expertise as a parenting expert and author of Juggling Family Life. You can learn more about Erin and her simple, loving parenting method, and subscribe to her weekly parenting tips e-zine at ErinParenting.com.

    Best Breakfasts for Kids

    Healthy Children for Life – Breakfast: Setting Your Child Up for Success

    By Linda Miner RNC, CHN, CMTA

    www.MyHealthyBalance.com

    Imagine building a house without a foundation.  It may stay standing for awhile, but eventually it will start to shift and crack and eventually collapse. Starting the day with a healthy breakfast should be considered as important to your body as a solid foundation is to a house.

    The word breakfast literally means “breaking the fast”.  After you stop eating in the evening, there is usually about 12 hours until you rise and eat again.  Although it is important for your body to rest during the night, it is extremely important to begin nourishing your body once you awaken.

    As soon as you eat, your metabolism revs up. The internal organs, including the brain, can perform their respective functions and you have energy to begin your day.  If you don’t eat, your metabolism is not activated and the body starts to go into starvation mode.

    The human body has a natural instinct to preserve itself and basic functions begin to slow down as the body responds to a lack of nutrients.  By not consuming breakfast, you stress your internal organs, you have trouble concentrating because there is no energy for your brain, and you create a body that is destined to be obese as it learns to hold onto fat due to this perceived famine.  Therefore, eating a healthy breakfast is an extremely important habit to teach your children.  So what are the best choices for breakfast?

    Start with Fruit: A great habit to instill in your children is to have fresh, whole fruit to start the day.  Fruit gives you tons of energy, it’s full of nutrients and enzymes for digestion and most varieties have a good amount of fibre.

    High Quality Carbohydrates: It is very important at every meal to have carbohydrates and protein.  Let’s start with the carbs.  When it comes to bread, insist on multigrain.  White bread should be considered a “treat” just like candy. My youngest daughter likes when I make “M&Ms”.  No, not the chocolate kind.  I toast up some sprouted multigrain bread.  Then after buttering it, I sprinkle a little cinnamon and evaporated cane juice (i.e. real sugar) on top.  Cinnamon is a great blood sugar stabilizer and powerful antioxidant.  Then I cut the bread into the letter “M”, the first letter of her name.  Somehow this makes it taste much more delicious.

    Be Cautious with Cereals: Many people ask me about breakfast cereals and instant oatmeal.  I am not a fan because most are loaded with sugar, are low in protein and fibre and spike blood sugar levels.  Check the glycemic index (GI) and you will see that many cereals have a higher GI and spike blood sugar more than white sugar (http://www.glycemicindex.ca/glycemicindexfoods.pdf ).  You generally want to eat foods with a glycemic index rating of less than 55.  Do not be fooled by advertising that says “whole grain”.  That still usually just means one grain – NOT multigrain.

    You want to purchase cereals that have more than one grain.  Nature’s Path (http://www.naturespath.com ) and Kashi (http://www.kashi.com) brands have some excellent cereals, but make sure you check the nutrition label.  Look for at least 4g of protein and 3g of fibre.

    High Quality Protein: Next, I would recommend a good source of protein.  Plain, low fat yogurt is great because it is loaded with protein, is an excellent source of calcium, has lots of good bacteria for the intestines and is easy to add flavor to.  Stir in the aforementioned fruit, some honey or maple syrup, some chopped up nuts and a high quality granola and you have a very satisfying breakfast.

    Or make a smoothie with the fruit and yogurt.  In my experience, if you give them straws, kids are more likely to drink it.  It’s all about making it fun.  Stay away from presweetened yogurts that are loaded with sugar.

    One of my daughters’ favorite breakfasts is what we call “string cheese egg”.  I pour egg whites into a fry pan and the girls “string” the part-skimmed mozzarella cheese over the top.  I serve it rolled up and they love it.  What a great blast of protein

    By starting the day right, your kids will be ready to perform their best in school, in sports and in life.

    Linda Miner is a Registered Nutritionist specializing in Metabolic Typing. Linda works with clients online to help them restore their health by re-establishing balance in the body. Through one-on-one coaching and an individualized food plan based on your unique characteristics, Linda can help you achieve Optimal Health. Learn more at www.iChange.com and www.MyHealthyBalance.com.

    Sibling Rivalry Help

    parents-toolshop

    Solving Sibling Strife

    By Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW, CFLE

    Some parents “let kids work it out” by doing nothing, but if the children use insults, humiliation, or physically duke it out, then it will only make matters worse!

    Some parents will dive into the action and solve problems for their children. While this may bring peace and order quickly, it robs children of an opportunity to learn and practice resolving conflicts.

    The healthiest approach is to teach children how to work out conflicts with each other, then allow them time to use the skills. If they don’t, then you intervene in a way that helps them solve the problem themselves, but with your guidance.

    Here are some more practical tools to use:

    A Helpful Way to Look at Sibling Relationships

    Any two people in a relationship will likely experience conflict at some point.

    How children handle these conflicts and relationships determines whether they will lead to sibling rivalry, which is when the sibling relationship becomes competitive and their treatment of teach other becomes destructive.

    Our goal is not to insist that our children love or even like each other, but that they treat each other with respect, even when working out their conflicts.

    Six Strategies for Preventing Rivalry

    Many sibling conflicts are preventable if parents can address the causes of sibling rivalry. In my Solving Sibling Strife teleseminar, I offer the following:

    1. When a new child joins the family, involve the older child from pregnancy and thereafter, instead of pushing away the child out of fear he or she might hurt the baby. Too often, this reject only fuels the child’s resentment and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy!

    2. Avoid the Fair & Equal Trap. Instead, give according to individual needs. For example,

    • Instead of “I love you both the same,” describe why you love that child specially.
    • Instead of buying “equal” gifts, give according to need/desire
    • Instead of spending “equal” time, give according to needs and make it quality time.

    3. Avoid Comparisons. Instead, simply say what you need to say to one child without any reference to the other.

    4.  Avoid putting children in roles and using labels — even good ones. They foster resentment and jealousy.

    5. Avoid Unhealthy Competition. In unhealthy competition, the pressure to win is more important than the fun of playing or the value of the skills we learn in the process. When parents encourage their children to race, to motivate them into action, there will always be a loser — usually the youngest or weakest child. Losing only discourages children more — and the more discouraged the child becomes the more likely the child will resent the winner and retaliate later. Instead, make an activity fun by singing a song or setting a timer to see how quickly the task can be done, with no winners or losers.

    6. When disagreements escalate into fights, it is a symptom of the

    feelings the children have but have difficulty expressing.  So allow children to have and express negative feelings about their siblings — as long as they express them respectfully.

    Two Quick Responses that Can Stop Conflicts or Fights

    1. Problem-Solving “On The Run”:

    Sentence 1: acknowledge feelings and what the problem seems to be. Sentence 2: Ask what the child(ren) can do to solve the problem.

    2. Tell them they need to solve the problem on their own, respectfully. If they can’t/won’t, tell them if you need to solve it for them, they might not like your solution AND they will have to do problem solving with you later to come up with a longer-term solution.

    If they can’t work it out on their own

    Use a 3-step process from The Parent’s Toolshop book that I call F-A-X Listening:

    1. F-ocus on Feelings

    Call a meeting and explain the purpose

    Explain the ground rules

    Write down each child’s feelings and concerns.  Read them aloud.

    Allow each child time for rebuttal

    2. A-sk helpful questions

    See if you can help them identify what the real issue is. For example, if they are arguing over the remote but when you listen to their feelings you hear the issue is really personal space, that’s the problem you want them to solve.

    3. X-amine possible solutions

    Invite everyone to suggest as many solutions as possible.

    Write down all the ideas.

    Have them decide on the solutions they can both/all agree to.

    Follow-up to see how things are working.

    All it takes is doing this F-A-X problem-solving process a few times with verbal children and they will start using the process when you tell them to “work things out respectfully.”

    Get more information from Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW, CFLE, second-generation parent educator, president of Parent’s Toolshop® Consulting, parenting expert to the media worldwide, and author of 100+ practical parenting resources, including the award-winning book, The Parent’s Toolshop at: http://www.parentstoolshop.com/

    Online Ancestry Search: Where to Start

    Finding Information on Your Family Ancestors Online

    There’s only so much you can do to find information about your ancestors from using old family records, newspapers, and such. Sometimes you have to search elsewhere, particularly if you’ve run into a road block. Finding information on your family ancestors online is one way to get past those road blocks and get back on track.

    Obviously you’ll need to have a starting place when you’re searching for your family online. You may have a list of names, birth and death dates, and places of birth or death. These are a great place to begin, no matter how you go about finding your ancestors.

    Obituaries are printed for everyone who passes away. If your loved one passed away after 1962, you can search the Social Security Death Index to determine exact date of death. The index will provide the person’s birth date, death date, and the place they last resided.  You may also want to try Genealogy Bank which has obituaries from over 1100 newspapers dating as far back at 1977.

    If you already have some information about family members from the past, you may want to search for them on other online websites. Some genealogy websites are free to access and those might be the best place to start looking if you’re new to genealogy. After you’ve learned more about your family you may want to sign up for a subscription on the membership-based genealogy sites.

    Free genealogy websites you may want to check out when finding information on your family ancestors include:
    * Rootsweb.com
    * MyHeritage.com
    * FamilySearch.org
    * EllisIsland.org
    * CyndisList.com
    * USGenWeb.com

    Each of these websites will provide you with search functions as well as give you information on the best methods to search for your family online. Many genealogy websites also have forums where people can ask for information from people around the world.

    The better-known genealogy websites require paid membership. These include Ancestry.com, Genealogy.com, WorldVitalRecords.com, and OneGreatFamily.com. These paid websites can be as little as $3.33 per month or as much as $24.95 per month depending upon if you choose to access to files in the United States or worldwide. Normally you will be billed annually for your membership.

    If you’re not sure a paid membership site is right for you, most of them have trial memberships between one and two weeks. That will give you ample time to do some searching, find information that will be helpful in locating your family members, and let you know if there is a need to sign up.

    As with any attempt at finding information on your family ancestors online, be sure to spell their name correctly. If you’re having problems finding them, you may want to consider that the surname (last name) may have changed over time. Try variations of spellings to ensure you find the people you’re looking for.

    Get Back to Family Dinner

    lynne-kenney

    Engage with your kids each night with help from Dr. Lynne Kenney. Includes creative “theme ideas” for every day of the week.

    Lynne KenneyGet Back to Family Dinner

    By Dr. Lynne Kenney
    www.lynnekenney.com

    Families today are busy. With after school sports and other activities driving our lives, a sit down dinner often falls off the “to-do list.” But a family dinner is more than just eating vegetables: research shows that sitting down to dinner is an important protective factor in maintaining the health and well-being of your children.

    Dinnertime is the perfect opportunity to relax, connect and talk about your day. It’s a non-threatening environment that can really help your kids open up to you and tell you what’s going on in their lives. It’s your chance to get to know one another, learn about your likes and dislikes and create memories. Make it relaxed, have fun and enjoy.

    Not sure where to start, here are two steps to getting back to family dinner:

    1. Establish a set dinnertime: By making it part of your routine, it becomes a comforting norm. Dinner is anticipated and expected. You don’t really have to be at the dinner table in your home. Make dinner wherever you are. Family dinner can take place anywhere, by the soccer field, in the driveway or while waiting for your daughter to get out of gymnastics. The key is to be present with your children, engage with them, take the time to get to know who they are as they change and grow.

    2. Engage your children in activities that extend beyond the dinner hour: Help your kids do their homework after dinner.  Play card games, make-up math fact fun, or paint, draw and write songs. Any activity that brings you together makes mealtime meaningful. Take your time, talk, laugh and talk for minutes or hours.

    On the nights when you eat at the table, you can even establish a specific theme for each night of the week:

    Monday Night is Discovery Night
    Bring the “Discovery Box” to the dinner table. Place unique, familiar or fascinating objects in a box and allow each child to pull an object and talk about it. After dinner go on-line or take a trip to your local library to learn more about topics related to the things in your discovery box.

    Tuesday Night is Reading Night
    Prepare early readers by bringing everyday objects to the table that have words or print on them, such as cereal boxes and other items in your cupboard. Play reading and guessing games using the printed materials. Play games with the words, making silly sentences, tongue twisters and fun stories.

    Wednesday Night “You are a STAR”

    Play find your “Star Word.” Assign one word to each child. That is the word that makes them A STAR at this meal. Frequently occurring words such as “The, and, it, him, her, she, he” are good beginning words. Then have each child bring a book to the table, choose a page, and name how many times their STAR word appears. That number becomes the child’s “Magic Number” for the night and every time he encounters that number for the rest of the evening he gets to make a wish or discuss his current life dreams and aspirations.

    Thursday Night is Show and Tell

    Play show and tell at your family table. Have your children bring an object, a piece of art, a song or something to share. Shine the “spot-light” on one child at a time and allow only him or her to share.

    Friday Night is Family History Night
    Bring family photos, heirlooms or pieces of family history to the table and talk about your family ancestry and historical family members’ life experiences.

    Saturday Night is Game Night

    Play board games, cards, chess or checkers at the table after dinner to enhance your family experience.

    Sunday Night You’re on Broadway!

    Put on a show, dance, sing, do a skit. Laugh and “lift each other up” with genuine compliments, enthusiasm and joy.

    Dinnertime is your time to connect so whether stationary or on the run, you enhance family relationships and help your children develop trust when you extend your family dinner with family fun!

    About the Author:
    Dr. Kenney is an avid writer, blogger and media producer. She co-produced six videos with BabyFirst TV, and appears as a resident expert on Sonoran Living ABC 15. Lynne hosts The Family Coach Solution Studio on BlogTalk Radio. Her Better Living Content has appeared on ABC, the Montel Williams Show, and various child/family websites (including Ladies Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens). Dr. Kenney is a consultant to The International Nanny Association and The National Head Start Association, for whom she was National Ambassador, 2007. Find more at www.lynnekenney.com.