December 21, 2009


We have been deluged with people who want to follow the blog but have had a hard time signing up.'s what's what.

To become a FOLLOWER, you have to have an account with yahoo, gmail and/or twitter.

If you don't have an account with one of these, why would you possibly want another? You can use a gmail and/or yahoo accounts when you sign up for things online (newsletters, etc.), or have to make a credit card payment with an online company, etc. It's really easy to sign up and harmless, and you don't have to check it often, if at all.

To make a COMMENT, you can post one as Anonymous or with your name using your account from gmail, yahoo or twitter. Sorry, but that's the way it works on this blog site...mostly because it's owned and operated by Google.

Hope you'll create an account so that you can be a FOLLOWER.....and leave us COMMENTS

December 5, 2009


They say that during the winter holidays, children should make a list and check it twice. How about a list for great/grandparents on how to get through the holidays?

While this certainly isn’t the “be all, end all” list, here are 10 ideas to help you keep your sanity:

1. Do as much shopping as you can on the internet, and stay away from the crowds.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help…you deserve it!

3. Everyone says to plan ahead, so if you can do that, do it! If not, try to take things as they come and keep them in perspective,

4. Stay out of family arguments and choose your battles.

5. Be flexible.

6. Take care of yourself physically and mentally: go to a movie, go to a spa, get a massage, go to a yoga or tai chi class, meditate or just sit quietly and read something light.

7. Inventory things that you’re not using anymore, including family relics, and give them to your children, friends or favorite charity. This is terrifically satisfying and cleansing.

8. Traditions are important, but if you or family members want to do some tweaking, let it happen! Don’t be afraid to rethink some of the old ways.

9. Laughter is healing; catch up on those funny emails, call a funny friend, see a funny movie, or look at those photos of when you were young!

10. Realize that travelling will be hectic. Hope that you don’t get stuck in an airport, train or bus station, or get caught in unbearable traffic. If these things occur, breathe, breathe, and breathe again. Then, realize that this too shall pass!


December 1, 2009


How often do you open the paper, turn on the radio or TV and learn about someone “losing it”? Doesn't it seem that as a society we're quick to lose our temper? Joblessness, meeting monthly expenses, houses being repossessed, etc. are enough to make anyone lose their cool! However, the resulting anger can become displaced and erupt in inappropriate ways: Road rage, “going postal” and other acts of over the top frustration. Every day there seems to be a new fury in the news—

If anger is ubiquitous, then you and your great/grandchildren can be caught up in this, consciously or unconsciously. If all this is bewildering and frightening to you, imagine how much it must bother children, because anger and fear sometimes hang out together.

Think about this: You get road rage in some degree when you're driving with your great/grandchildren. While you may not get out of your car to “reprimand” the “bad” driver who just cut you off, you might, with your windows up, start to scream at or berate that person (but of course, NOT swear). While this may do something for your state of mind, it can scare your young passengers.

If you use public transportation, you can lose your temper from being jostling by other passengers. Rudeness on the part of others seems to be pandemic in our society, but, if you can maintain your calm, it can become a teaching moment on the way to act in public.

What does adult anger mean to a child? It's scary. Children don't have enough life experience to judge how far the anger will go. You know that no matter how furious you are at another driver or passenger, you wouldn't do anything to get arrested. But the children don’t know that. For young children, your loss of control can evoke very scary feelings.

An angry person often creates an uncomfortable environment. Be aware that even though your anger may be justified (that driver or passenger really did do something rude or dangerous), you may yell for 30 seconds and forget the incident. But the children may store it and bring it back up the next time you get in the car or on public transportation. Bottom line is that you have the resources to deal with the anger. The effect on the children may not be so fleeting.

Things to Think About
Parents have their own ways of dealing with melt-downs and it may be different from yours. And that’s fine! What’s important is for kids to understand that people handle things in different ways. We’re talking here about how YOU deal with your feelings when you’re with your great/grandchildren.

We all have outbursts, frustrations and melt-downs. Sometimes it’s ok to talk about anger in general with your great/grandchildren: what it is, where it comes from, when it's good and when it's bad. Sometimes you just have to leave it alone!

November 22, 2009


Today, most parents are working, or if not, looking for work. When their kids’ birthdays come around, it’s a time for them to reflect on what they want in a party, what their children want, and how this is all going to get accomplished. The party is just part one of this equation. See our “Gifts, More Gifts and Even More Gifts” article for the second part of the issue.

In the days of yore, when moms were at home, birthday parties often took place in the home, with a limited number of people, including children …usually some family and some friends. Nowadays, parties seem to be more “entertainment” and “show”. Depending on the parent’s financial situation, sometimes aided by the great/grandparents, sometimes not, the party invitees include most of the family, many co-workers and their children, “school” friends (usually with their parents) and others. It really becomes a much larger party with parents having to supply lots of food, cake, party gifts, balloons, some sort of entertainment (a children’s performer, etc.), and more. Those who can’t afford all of this, as well as many who can, may go to public parks or a family member’s large back yard. But the emphasis seems to be on having a BIG PARTY!!!

Regardless of where these parties are held, the number of adults and children has grown tremendously, from those “days of yore”. This isn’t bad; it’s just the way it is now! The real question for everyone involved, is “who is the party for…the kids or the adults”? Just food for thought!!!

So as great/grandparents, how do we get involved or not, in this festive time? Many of us are invitees. Some contribute financially to the party. Many send gifts because they don’t live close by. Ours seems to be a position of watching and helping when needed. Again, this isn’t bad, this is our role…come to the party. And, if we’re invited, we gladly show up, cameras in hand, ready to be introduced to the multitudes. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

November 21, 2009


Gift giving happens several times a year. This can be a bit tricky, whether or not you have limited or unlimited financial resources. Birthdays and other family holidays are the perfect time to talk to the parents and openly discuss EVERYONE’S needs. Why everyone? Because everyone in the family has feelings and issues about gifts!

In our family, when our great/grandchildren were born, we talked with the parents and agreed that having the parent’s pre-approve gifts, was a way for EVERYONE to get what they wanted out of the process. So now, we ask the parents what they would like us to get the great/grandchildren, and we are careful NOT to buy any major things without first checking with them. We also are free to say that certain items are outside of our financial comfort zone, which again, makes the experience fulfilling to everyone. We often make suggestions, but have learned to listen to the parent’s explanations and needs, which usually take into account what the great/grandchildren want and what the parents feel is appropriate.

Sometimes we pool resources with other grandparents or relatives, so that the kids aren’t overwhelmed with too many things. Aside from the economic advantage of sharing the expense, it’s a wonderful example for the children to see that family members can “team together”, especially in blended families. It’s also a way for great/grandparents NOT to compete with each other, as to who buys the best and biggest gift.

This year, for our great/grandchildren, the parents, in their own separate and wonderful ways, came up with two distinctly different ways to help us all join in, whether we are local or live far away.

All the great/grandchildren go through their toys, books and music, and “gift” some of their things either to younger relatives or organizations who provide for less fortunate families.

For a birthday party, one set of parents asked people to make a donation, in the child’s name, to a charity the parents support. Donations are made in all denominations of money; from $1 on up...the amount doesn’t matter. EVERYONE can participate at any level they want!

The other parents, for the holidays, decided to talk with the children about things they like in catalogs that were collected. They asked the kids to mark those things that they really wanted as gifts, telling them that they will get some and others not. These choices are then shared with the family, and each of us knows what we are giving. They’ve chosen a variety of price points and encourage us to buy things that both kids would enjoy.

Man, this is so much easier than going to a store and walking around, in crowds, forever, looking at all the junk on the shelves! We certainly are happy campers, and so is everyone else. HAPPY WHATEVER!


You can’t get through the day without reading or hearing something about the H1N1 flu. There’s so much discussion, information and misinformation about the current and seasonal flu, that it can be overwhelming.

Your children may ask your opinion about whether or not to vaccinate. Regardless of your opinion, ultimately, it’s their decision. However, we, as grandparents and great-grandparents need to be aware of OUR OWN health during this pandemic. Our own physical health is critically important, especially if we’re in contact with or caring for our grandchildren. Although all the data shows that children are most at risk, this is a time for us to be conscious of our health, our day-to-day energy, and how we can help prevent the spread of any nasty flu that’s out there.

Without sounding like a nagging parent, here are some tried and true basics, as stated by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention):
1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. (Or, as we tell the kids, sneeze or cough into your elbow).
2. Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
4. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
5. If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).
6. While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

NOW we’d like to add these few things that really are JUST FOR YOU:
**Drink plenty of water.
**Eat healthy foods to maintain your well being.
**Get the much needed rest you need.
**Don’t be afraid to beg off of grandparenting duty if you’re feeling under the weather…the goal is to keep the kids free of illness.

So, the bottom line is, do everything you can to “flee the flu” (say this three times really fast). Remember that you’re part of the solution when you take care of yourself!

If your grandchildren do get sick, here are some favorite quiet things to do for:

Quiet activities for preschool age and under:
**Listen to recorded stories and music.
**Read age appropriate books.
**Use colorful straws to encourage drinking of liquids.
**Using a large cardboard box or a kid sized tent, create a special “resting area” with favorite pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals.
**Make frozen popsicles using juice.
**Provide a new set of stickers, a box of crayons and paper that can be used on a bed table.
**Put stickers each day on a calendar to record the number of sick days.
**Have some age appropriate toys that can be used in or around the resting and sleeping area (small cars, trucks & trains, dolls, stuffed animals, etc.).

Quiet activities for school age children:
**Read age appropriate books.
**Listen to recorded stories and music.
**Help with homework that is outstanding.
**Create a “sick diary” using stickers, markers, a journal, etc.
**Create a “Today I Feel Like” journal, where the child can make faces showing how they feel on that day.
**Have some age appropriate jigsaw puzzles (even simple crossword puzzles are fun).
**Create collages made from cut up magazines.
**Allow the child to sleep in a homemade or store bought tent and provide a flashlight.
**Make frozen popsicles using juice.

Last, but not least, below is some critical information about when to take a sick child to the emergency room, as reported in the L.A. Times, on 11-21-09:

"So when should you take your child to the emergency room? Doctors say parents and guardians should assess how sick a child is in part based on experience.'Is there something really different about your child that's different from the seven or eight viral infections your kid gets every year? Those are the changes to look out for,' said Dr. Mark Morocco, associate residency director for emergency medicine at UCLA.

Warning signs include:
**significant difficulty breathing,

**change in the color of the mouth or lips,

**inability to drink fluids or urinate for more than six hours,

**or unusual behavioral changes, such as a crying child who cannot be consoled, or a child who doesn’t wake up or walk or talk normally.

If any of those symptoms show up in children, parents should take them to the emergency room, Morocco said, noting that "respiratory infections are often things that are the most life-threatening in children."

November 20, 2009


JUNE SOLNIT SALE,MSW, is the mother of three, grandmother of two and great-grandmother of four. She is an active child care advocate, author and consultant, with a special interest in public policy issues concerning children and their families.

In addition to having been the Chair of the California Child Development Programs Advisory Committee, the Los Angeles Mayor's Advisory Committee on Child Care, she has served on many national, state and local committees and panels. June’s professional career includes: Educational Coordinator for the first Los Angeles County Head Start Program; Director of the Pacific Oaks Community Family Day Care Project; Executive Director of UCLA Child Care Services; and Interim Director of Child Development Services for the Santa Monica/Malibu Unified School District.

June has written extensively on child and family issues, including: Executive Editor of the UCLA Working Parents Newsletter; Co-author of the Working Parents Handbook (Simon and Schuster, 1996); FamilyEdge Expert and editor of the “Working Parents” section of and Knowledge Kids Network and more.

Currently, June is on the Advisory and Governing boards (past Chair of Advisory Board, and member of Governing Board) of LA’s BEST an afterschool program serving 30,000 children in Los Angeles Unified School District ; CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer in the family court program for children ; Advisory board of Stone Soup, a California based after-school program; Advisory panel of Caring for Our Children (CFOC): National Health & Safety Performance Standards – Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care Programs and the Advisory board, Samuel Goldwin Children’s Center, a program of The Motion Picture & Television Fund.

LAURIE SALE is the mother of two, grandmother of five, and a recognized leader and innovator in creating community and out-reach resources for parents, grandparents, kids and teachers. She has worked extensively with professionals involved in children’s advocacy, education and media, and has successfully developed, sold, and marketed quality children’s media products. She is bilingual Spanish/English.

Laurie’s professional career includes: V.P. for Artistic Development at Arcoiris Records, Inc. working with José-Luis Orozco, the preeminent bilingual educator, author and recording artist; Special Projects Deputy for Councilman Bill Rosendahl, Council District 11 in Los Angeles: Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of Knowledge Kids Network, where she was responsible for managing the editorial and developmental content for, an award-winning educational website for families of pre-school and school-age children, publishing 85 unique, weekly articles for parents, teachers and grandparents.: Vice President of Development for the Home and Family Entertainment division of Philips Electronics, responsible for securing licenses, developing and executive producing award-winning educational children’s software titles; President and Owner of Children’s Book & Music Center, the first and largest successful independent children’s book and music store in the country where she produced children’s concerts and events, as well as workshops for parents and teachers.

Laurie is also a published author of several children’s and parenting books and articles. She has written extensively for magazines and newsletters. As an expert in quality children’s products, she has also served as a literary agent specializing in children’s book and audio packages and as a consultant to children’s music performers, specialty book publishers, and on-line media companies. Laurie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish Literature and Education from the University of the Americas in Mexico City, Mexico, as well as an early childhood teaching credential from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California.