Tag Archives: Take a Break Time


Take a break from spending on you and yours.  Involve your kids in using part of your break time money to give to those in greater need, here is one idea. hurricane-sandy-haiti

IMAGE FROM IBTIMES’  story about food shortages in Haiti after hurricane Sandy.

Kara Lightburn, the daughter of a dear friend of mine  has devoted her life to working in Haiti.  She is the founder of The Haiti initiative. Today on her face book page, she posted this:

“After spending the past 4 hours at two hospitals in Cayes Jacmel and Jacmel for our friend and new operational manager Papouj whose been terribly sick for the past 4 days – I can report Cholera is on the rise – 10 cases came in the door within the first hour only to be sent to another hospital – obviously lacking the resources to handle the rise in cholera cases- anxious to get out of the hospital.
The above was an  event at Fordham University in NY City.  Volunteers arealways needed.  Click here to request a   Volunteer Application Form.

The above was an event at Fordham University in NY City. Volunteers are always needed. Click here to request a Volunteer Application Form.

Kara is a lovely young woman, privileged to be raised in the USA, by loving parents and aware of her privilege.  Anyone would be proud to claim her as theirs.  She does more than most to repay all she has been given.  With the help of her parents, she started The Haiti Initiative.  THI has finally received not for profit status so gifts can be deducted.  Also think about volunteering as a family to help this or another worthy cause.

Have a kid in college or graduating from high school? Think about having him or her volunteer somewhere. THI with Kara  might be a good place to explore as a possibility.


Tip one: Many of our youth are like Kara, few go as far as she does in her efforts to help.  Partly that has been because her family give much.  So modeling caring and sharing is the place to start.

Tip two:  Let your kids see you giving money. Give to the beggars on the street, at your religious organization.  Give to those no one else  gives to. Give to those everyone gives to, but give money.

Tip three: Have you kids start giving money as soon as they are old enough to put a coin in the slot of donation boxes scattered here or there.

Tip four: Recycle and have your kids part of deciding what toy or clothes to give away and which need trashing.  Have the kids go with you to the donation center.

Tip five: Volunteer your family for hands on giving.  Do so formally and informally.  Have your kids with you when you do some hands on giving.  Shopping for an invalid, visiting a lonely neighbor, mowing the lawn of a shut in. For on-going giving think of Food Kitchens and if your kids are old enough think of Habitat for Humanity

Tip six:  Buy from organizations that sell goods from third world companies, but make sure the money goes mostly to the  people who make the goods.

Tip seven: Have your children take part in giving  loans to Kiva or gifts to Heifer.  These two empower families.

Tip eight – Tithe from your kids allowance. Give the tithed amount to the charity of your child’s choice at the end of the year. Don’t give an allowance – very important to start doing so. Teaches many important life skills.

Once you start giving an allowance, in addition to tithing,  save 10% of the allowance to teach saving. The savings will grow and make the point that small steps produce large results.  Give the saving account money a graduation gift.  Tithe it too.

Tip nine: Teach your kid about various programs that you can click and give to when on the computer.  A great one for kids is the Rice Game.  Improves vocabulary while feeding the hungry. 

Tip ten: Teach your kids not to worry if your giving seems unappreciated.  Remind that they give to do the right thing and to feel good about who they are.  Point out that at some level the other person has been helped even if shame and false pride make it hard for some to be gracious when accepting help.


Parenting is hard work,  For many today’s difficult economic times have made it even harder.  Turn today’s more difficult money struggles into teachable lessons.  As the Irish say, “Enough is a feast” and that is a good thing for your child to learn.  Giving to those in greater need re-enforces what we have and helps us be grateful.


First, here is my thank you gift if you have just started following me.   It is a free guide to the Daily Twelve Emotional Fitness Exercises. These are easy to learn, easy to practice and helpful to anyone dealing with life’s stresses and every day problems.

You might find my Emotional Fitness Training®’s Pinterest site useful . Both of my blog posts are pinned there, but I also share lots of other information about staying strong both as a parent and as an individual. Take a peek by clicking here.

Thank you for following me and for your support. As I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, give lots of love, be grateful, practice kindness, live now, give and seek forgiveness, and always hope  the blessing of the forces beyond our control are with you and those you love.


DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA.  If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. Dysgraphia is a not well-known learning disability and means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are.  If this troubles you, feel free to read elsewhere.  If you persevere, you are practicing kindness by lifting my spirits for that means you find what I say helpful and that is one of my missions. Kindness always repays those who spread it.


Taking a break from almost any activity is useful.  Well, maybe not washing dishes or your body.  Taking one from the TV, however,  can open new vistas.

a reblog of “Bye bye, TV”

This reblog is from a blogging friend who writes from India.  He says of himself:

My name is Pranav. I grew up in Ahmedabad and currently stay in Hyderabad, India. I have studied engineering and management and have worked in the manufacturing and the information technology sectors.

I write on my passions – reading, travel, charity, and fitness.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this post are personal.

Television was an integral part of my life. I can actually link various phases in life with the programs I saw on TV.

Our dear old Doordarshan (DD) ruled for a long time. The earliest memories were of Ramayana and Mahabharata on Sunday mornings. The whole family used to sit around the TV and watch. Which was the case with entire India.

1991 ushered in liberalization. My parents reluctantly agreed to get cable TV installed in 1997. And then came the explosion of entertainment and information. Zee TV and Star TV. Foreign channels – Cartoon Network, HBO, Star Movies, AXN and Discovery. I Dream of Jeanie, Lonely Planet, Small Wonder, Friends and Fortune Hunter (my favorites in those days). MTV and VTV. 24X7 news channels.

It was all so exciting! So much to see and learn!

But slowly, the overload began. I would come home and watch TV to relax. Over the weekends, I would try to catch some good movies. But neither could I relax much nor could I get the high, the entertainment threshold was being pushed further and further. And creativity seemed to be reducing as time went on. In short, TV had stopped adding value.

5 months ago, as the south-westerly winds brought rains to the parched lands of India,our TV stopped functioning. Probably the moisture inside the set did it in. We tried to get it repaired, but to no avail. I breathed a sigh of relief. God had taken the decision for me. :)

Initially, emptiness and boredom reigned. But over the last few months, it hasn’t been all that difficult. I have been able to spend more time on reading, exercising and writing. Which doesn’t seem to be a bad compromise.

Dear TV, we had some good times together. But I guess, the days of you being a central character in my life are now over.

Thank you Pranav. Do follow his blog, Peaceful Restlessness. He say to do so,  “…if it adds value to your life.”

It has  added to mine so I follow him.

parent advice ABOUT TV WATCHING

The idea of not being able to plop the kids in front of the TV probably sends an arrow of fear into many parental hearts.  Saturday and Sunday morning cartoons mean a bit more sleep for hard working parents.

When I was raising my children, many of my neighbors refused to  have a TV in their house, let alone allow their kids to watch.  Created some useless guilt in me — useless because it didn’t result in changed behavior. As foster parents, we had TVs in each of the teenager’s bedrooms as well as in our bedroom. I know we survived the rough spots of those years by unwinding each day with Johnny Carson’s monologues.

I also know the TVs helped our foster kids through the tough times they were enduring. Many had trouble sleeping.  Our night time rule was in your room and quiet by ten o’clock on school nights; eleven on weekends.  You could watch TV until you fell asleep but if you had trouble getting up and off to school, the TV would vanish.   What works works and TV in the teen’s rooms worked for us.

What amuses me about the two friends who banned TV is that each of their kids is in one way or another now part of the TV or entertainment industry.   What is forbidden often becomes more attractive.

Tip one: Regulating is better than banning.

Tip two: The right choices reinforce parental values.

Tip three: Watch with.  The younger the child, the more important parents need to monitor and be with as the child watches.

Tip four: Think DVDs.  Both my grands watch the same Sign Language Tapes whilr eating lunch. Both are learning to sign and so am I.  Of course, this is related to my growing deafness, but we also have other educational DVD’s.  The younger the child, the more they love repetition.  How many times have you read Good Night Moon?

Tip five: Do declare “No TV times” We do not watch on Shabbat, if the grands are with us, that means they do not watch either. And yes, that means we spend more time playing or reading to them; but that is a good thing and a good use of take a break time.

If you are used to having the TV on all the time, it is particularly important to turn it off for specified times.


Parenting is hard work and  there are times being able to plop  kids in front of the TV definitely helps reduce family stress.  Still, keeping a balance keeps all strong.

So as I always suggest before the week end plan Me-time, Family and Friend Time, and Quiet Time.  You will be surprised at how the quality of your life and your children’s life will improve.

As always thank you for following me. If you know someone else who will benefit from my thoughts, forward this to them. Liking, commenting, and sharing are other ways you can help me stay strong and spread some ideas others might find helpful. My Pinterest Board Family Fun and Fun for One is full of tips for Family Time and Me-time ideas.

As I tell myself a thousand times a day, stay strong, give lots of love, be grateful, live now, have lots of luck.


My workshops are becoming  E-books.  One might interest you.  Here is my author’s page. Katherine Gordy Levine

DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIA. If you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and for reading my work.


Be Grateful is one of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Training Exercises. As you move into the weekend and break time, remember to thank all  given you.

Gratitude means being grateful for all that happens. All that happens includes rude people and bad things.   Set a goal of saying “Thank you” at least a 100 times during this week’s break.


Tip one:  Make it a family challenge to see who can find the most things and people to say thank you to during at least one of the days during this weekend.

Tip two: Devote a  family meeting to writing thank you notes.

Tip three: Saying thank you to rude people, including your children when they forget their manners without a touch of sarcasm is not easy.  However,  even when said with a bit of sarcasm,  it is reminder that manners matter.

Tip four: Work toward not saying it sarcastically  however.   With children, reminding yourself a child is a child because they are still learning manners helps.  With adults, reminding  yourself, not everyone was lucky enough to have parents who cared enough to teach how to get along with others. You were.

Tip five: Saying “Thank you” to some bad things can be harder than saying it to people.

Many people say thank you for the lesson, believing all that happens is a lesson.

Not sure I agree with that, but I do look for lessons and if one is found I can more easily express my gratitude.  If I cannot find a lesson, I can at least say thank you for leaving me able to go on.  If you are reading this you have gone on and that means you have survived the bad thing.

Tip six: Thanking bad things can be done silently. At the same time saying the words aloud can model acceptance, which is an important skill for your children to learn.

Tip seven: Teach your child how to say thank you in a number of languages, including sign language. Doing so provides them with a skill those from different cultures will respect.

IMAGE BY One in a Billion Consulting


Parenting is difficult and often a struggle as you must know by now.  You should also know this you are almost certainly a good enough parent. If you’re having a hard time, my advice is not to ignore that, but also to make sure you take care of yourself. When you stay in charge of your negative feelings, your child/ren will benefit too. I urge you to develop Emotional Fitness Training™ skills and share your success with others.

You can also practice kindness by liking, commenting, or sharing my posts. I promise kindness is always rewarded in one way or another.

As always, thank you for your support, it means a great deal to me.


DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIAIf you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.


All my books are available on Amazon, and readable on any tablet, laptop, Mac, PC, e-reader or Kindle device.

When Good Kids Do Bad Things. A Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers

Parents Are People Too. An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents

Tame the Test Anxiety Monster

Coming soon from MetaPlume: How to Hold a Successful Family Meeting



WHY THIS BIT OF PARENTING ADVICE?  We all need breaks, but children in particular need breaks. Make one day each weekend a free  playday  for the kids. Moreover make it active play, turn off the electronic stuff.  Even the music. Do the same at least one hour every school day.

When looking for today’s picture, I found it on the unschool web page.  This blogger offers heaps of information about how children learn and why home-schooling or un-schooling should be somehing at least some parents should think about.   Will talk more about her ideas in a blog next week.  Today’s topic is about letting your children play.

Confession: Hubbie and I were almost referred to Child Welfare for what is called Educational Neglect.  Meaning I was rejecting the schools insistence I let my kid go to their after school math tutoring class. He was nine years old and struggling with learning math facts.

I threatened to get a lawyer when I was threatened; that  ended talk about educational neglect.  I was seen as a Cranky Parent thereafter.  Moving  through my life has meant being called A Cranky Baby, A Cranky Kid, A Cranky Young Woman, A Cranky Wife, A Cranky Mother and now,  a Cranky Old Lady.  Whatever. My crankiness usually means I am standing strong for myself, mine, and my beliefs. That was the case in the above incident.

Because son and I share math blindness; dyscalculia is the formal name, I knew tutoring would make no difference.  We both have two problems with math.  The numbers reverse and jump around.  So 59 looks like 95.  Or when adding a column of numbers, numbers can actually jump off the page.  I might see a 9 plus 95 when the problem was 59 plus 95. Moreover, I have never learned any math facts above the five times table.  Many years have been spent trying to learn my SS# and I still only get it right  half the time. My dyscalculia meant I spent  a number of recesses at my desk trying to get the right answers. eventually most teachers gave up, but because I tried hard I would be passed with the lowest possible passing grade.  Also meant, I felt stupid. Now I know I was math blind, but the shame does hang on.

All this to say I knew my kid would not benefit from tutoring.  But more importantly, he needed a break from school, not an hour more of trying the impossible each day and summer school come summer.  During school days, depression sat heavily on his being.  Think of us, if you kid hates math or doesn’t seem to get it.  Get tested for dyscalculia.


Even if your children love school, are A+ students, make at least one day a week, active play.  Turn off the electronics, turn them loose in the woods, let them do crafts, plant flowers, dig holes, or pursue a hobby.  Also, let them laze a bit,  Moreover, you must do the same.

The son who couldn’t do math worked in our garden on his play time.  He loved doing that.  He loved going to various botanical gardens.  There is a happy ending.  Success in school came in time. He was a high school dropout with our permission, providing he enrolled in a GED program, he did and when as his friends graduating and, after much struggling, he did get his GED.  He then was able to go to open admission college.  He headed west to Colorado at the same time his friends from high school were also heading off to college.

He hated college and six weeks dropped out, but said he was staying in Colorado. He did also sorts of grunt jobs to support himself.  He came home on school holidays.  In time he  got a grunt job for a landscaper.  Met his then girl friend now wife who was a college drop out.  In time, both decided to get a certificate course  in landscaping, that lead to enolled in community college, and finally both graduated with honors from Calpoly’s Aggie school.

Couldn’t help a bit of a brag there.  But the message remains the same. Breaks matter and often help passions develop and talents grow.

So if you have not already gotten into the take a break from work and school habit. for your family, start this week-end.

Parent tip one: If this is a new concept for you, start small and build up to a full day.

Parent tip two:  Many advise keeping up with studies during vacations and weekends.  Personally, I think there should be a no homework rule on Fridays in place in all schools. Would reduce many family conflicts.

I could not control what schools made my kids do on weekends, but I could and did  hold to keeping some time no learning time. I do not object to reading a book or doing puzzles if a kid elected to do so for fun.

Parent tip three: Quiet time should be part of every day, but age and stage need to determine how it is spent.  Our family rule: in your room, no electronic devises.  You can be your bed, quietly at a desk or chair or  playing quietly on the floor. Can read, write, do puzzles, crafts. No talking so best if no one is around you.  If your kids share a room, have designated other quiet spots.

We also made after eleven quiet time when we were foster parents. Some of our foster kids had trouble falling asleep so radios could be on and reading was allowed. I only need five or six hours of sleep and spent many days as a child reading in bed with a flash light when forced to bed earlier than the sandman was ready to visit me. I understood just lying in bed could be extremely difficult.

Parent tip four:  Your kids’ quiet time should not be your get busy time.  You need a break too.


Be kind to me,  like this post or share it.  You will be helping me stay strong and maybe some others as well.  You will also be practicing one of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises.  Click here to view all Daily Emotional Fitness  Exercises.If  regular practice of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises does not improve the quality of your life, more might be needed.  That is the time to think about therapy.

Good luck, life is a struggle, caring for children harder than you expect AND despite the struggle, life as a parent can be wonderful and the best part of life as a grown up.



First:  All advice should be thought of as suggestion, particularly parent advice.  Take it all with a grain of salt, mine included.

Second: Sometimes my posts are a bit peppered with mis-spellings, oddly used words, weird puncutation.  These stem from a lesser known learning disablity called dysgraphia, but also from rushing.  My apologies. Don’t read or check back in a day or so, as I usually catch most of the errors when I re-read.  Also practice forgiveness is a useful Emotional Fitness Exercise.