mother and sonIt’s summer time and the kids are out of school. They are thrilled & you are worried! What will they do? Who will watch them? As a parent so many things come to mind when you have children. Let us help you with some at home summer safety tips.

Some of these tips will seem like common sense to us, but sometimes the kids need a gentle reminder.

  1. Does your child know their name? Can they spell it & communicate it correctly with others?
  2. Do they know their home address with the city, state & zip code? Ask them once in awhile so you feel comfortable.
  3. Do you have a home phone number? Do the kids know what it is including the area code? They should also know your cell phone number & a back up number (maybe work).
  4. If you have caller ID at home instruct them to look at it before they answer the phone & only answer if it’s on the “allowed” list.
  5. Have a conversation & set rules about who can be at the house when you are not home.
  6. Make sure they understand how the different door locks work if you have a deadbolt or chain lock etc…
  7. Do the kids know how to call 911? Do they know when to use it?
  8. Are you in an area that gets severe weather? Have you gone over your personal safety plan with them? Maybe you have a safe room?
  9. When is it okay to answer the door? It’s better for the kids to ignore the doorbell if they are home alone.
  10. What do your kids think a “bad guy” looks like? What would you tell them? “Bad guys” can even be someone they know. A bad guy can be anyone, even a woman.
  11. Do you have a new sitter watching the kids? Listen to what they are saying and follow up on any negative comments.
  12. Have a safe & wonderful summer!

Written by: Tracy Vega, Co-Founder of Simple Self Defense for Women®


About the Author

Tracy Vega is a mom, wife, visionary, community leader and entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of Simple Self Defense for Women®, an award winning company that promotes the personal safety of women and children with a focus on how to prevent, avoid and ESCAPE a potential attack, threat or abduction. NBC affiliate WESH News calls her a guru of women’s self defense.

Tracy is the Simple Self Defense for Women® TV shows star, co-host and featured speaker to many businesses, companies, organizations and associations. Tracy’s professionalism has awarded her the support of many major corporations who are investing in the personal safety of women as clients and corporate sponsors. For more information about Simple Self Defense for Women® and their workshops, key note speaking and DVD’s please visit

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Successful Kids Must Be Happy

1_KidWhen it comes to raising kids, parents want success for their little ones. We want them to do well in school. We want them to excel on the court. We want them to choose terrific friends. In essence we want our kids to be successful, in the future as well as today.

But, why? What is it that makes us desire success for our children? Why do we want them to go to college? Why do we want them to win the championships? Why do we want their friends to be loving and caring? Because we want them to be happy. We assume that if our children are successful, that they will automatically be happy.

The truth is, that’s not the case. There are many adults as well as young people who have attained “success,” but aren’t happy. They may be famous, have achieved goals, own huge houses, have loads of money, but if they are unhappy, can we really call that “success?”

We parents need to be careful when we try to help our children reach “success,” because if we do it in a way that doesn’t allow for them to be happy, then is it really success? Not by my definition.

Here are three quick and easy ways to raise happy, successful children:

1. Help Them Discover Their Passions

Passions are what our kids love, what they get out of bed for, but with so many distractions like NetFlix, iPhones, and 300 cable channels, many kids are too distracted to look within to discover what drives them. So, help them find it. Ask questions, “What do yo think about photography?” and make suggestions, “Have you ever considered playing water polo?” Search until you find a ringer.

2. Give Them Opportunities

Once you have found your child’s passion, give her opportunities to build it into a strength. Check out books. Watch videos and movies on the subject. Have her join a team or club. Go to the store together to gather supplies. Find an app that will let her explore it.

3. Do It Together

A family that plays together, stays together. So, learn more about your child’s passion along with him. Have him teach you about it. Try it yourself. He likes magic? Have him do a show for you and ask if he wants to teach you how to do a trick. He’s planning on joining the basketball team? See if he can show you how to make a free throw, or maybe watch the play-offs together.

When your child finds their passion, strengthens it and shares it with you, success comes, and with that success they will also find confidence. With confidence a child can’t help but to hold his head a little higher and walk a little straighter. That’s a happy child. And, what does that do for you? Well, that’s a proud parent!

Written by: Leon Scott Baxter, Founder of


About the Author

Leon Scott Baxter is the founder of and the author of four books, the latest titled “Secrets of Safety-Net Parenting.” He is an elementary school teacher, the father of two girls (11 and 15) and has been married to his college sweetheart since 1992.

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3 Tips to Reduce Stress as a Family

Cute siblings with their mother making biscuitsMany years as an elementary school counselor led me to the following observation: families are going in too many directions, are over scheduled, and engage in little to no family bonding. It was always a little sad for me to hear an eight year old child say, “I wish that I could just stay home tonight.”

Typically, this same child was in soccer one night, PSR (religious class for Catholic children) another night, and piano practice a third night. These activities happened before returning home, having dinner, and then, there was “homework!” Little to no time existed for the family to simply share their day with each other, laugh, enjoy being a family.

Here are my suggestions to families who find themselves constantly running in all different directions:

  1. Let your child choose one sport vs. several.
  2. Pick 30-45 minutes in the day – either breakfast, after dinner or before bed time to be a family: share the day’s events or talk about future activities.
  3. Have a weekly family meeting. Let each child and parent pick the activity of the night: a game, movie, outside sport. Everyone participates.

Decide that your family is going to take time to smell the roses vs. the gasoline fumes created from all the running from one activity to another.

Written by: Patricia Bubash, Author & Professional Counselor


About the Author: Patricia Bubash is the author of Successful Second Marriages, is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Stephen Minister and holds a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Missouri-St.Louis. For over thirty years she worked in the educational setting as a teacher and a counselor.

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Raising Happy, Healthy Kids

Indian girl holding an green apple outdoorWhy do parents want their children to be healthy? Is it because they want them to feel energized? To be able to think clearly? To avoid illness? To live long? Yes, it’s all of the above, but why? We want our children to be healthy, because we want them to be happy.

That’s our job as parents, to raise happy children. So, we want them to do well in school, to get good jobs, to marry the right person, to avoid drugs and follow the law. We want them to choose loyal friends, buy a home, and yes, be healthy, because we believe these things will help them attain happiness.

So where does a parent start when it comes to the health of her children? Nutrition? Screen time? Exercise? Education? Yes, all of the above, but I don’t believe that there is one prescribed “right” way to raise healthy children. I mean, three big meals a day or six small meals? Vegetarian, vegan, lactose free, free range chickens? Snacks on the weekend only? Dessert? No sweets? Play outside or join a soccer team? No TV during the week? Computer an hour a day, an hour a week? Do all the homework first thing when they get home? Free time during the week and study hard on the weekend? C average and above? A’s only?

We can debate the above, but what it comes down to is what your family believes is important. You know a bag of Doritos before bedtime isn’t healthy. But are you allowing it? If so, why? If it’s because you as a parent are doing the same, then that’s where change needs to begin.

To raise happy, healthy children, parents need to model the kind of behavior we hope to see in them. If we want our children to read everyday, they need to see us with a book in our hands. If we want them to eat more veggies, we need to buy them and put them on our plates. If we want them to exercise more, they need to see us up and moving. If we expect them to put down the Smart Phone, we need to put ours down first.

To raise happy, healthy children, we need to model healthy behaviors which will bring us to our place of happiness. When our children see that this is a way of life in our homes, they too will claim those same behaviors as their own, and become the happy, healthy children we desire.

Written by: Leon Scott Baxter, Relationship Guru

About the Author

Leon Scott Baxter, America’s Relationship Guru, is the author of three books on relationships. His latest book, due out in 2015, is about raising happy, successful children. Baxter has used his seventeen years in the classroom as an elementary school teacher, interviews with happy, successful children and their parents, as well as his own experience as a father of two to formulate his newest book. Health is a huge component of life in the Baxter home with P90X, Insanity, a home gym, a nutrition app in the works, regular basketball, skim boarding, cheerleading, national gymnastics competitions, and limited sweets.

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