Many SSBE readers will (thankfully) never face true hardship at its grittiest. The kind that leaves you walking miles or taking three buses just to purchase your groceries. Health diagnoses that leave you weeks or months to live. And most of us don’t worry about diseases we drink from our water nor do we live in a one-room makeshift home where owning a tin roof over yours is a sign of wealth.

Teach Your Kids to Be Grateful for What They Have

Sadly, sometimes we lack the empathy for these issues. We’re buffered by our many comforts and the regular hum of our day-to-day life. Our young kids especially don’t know much about these travesties (as they shouldn’t).

So what do you do if your life is generally comfortable? Can you still teach your kids to be grateful for what they have and all the blessings they might take for granted? Below are 7 Do’s and Don’t’s for teaching your kids to be grateful for what they have:

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Your kids have ripped their presents opened, tussled through gift bags, and played with their toys. You’ve stored the clothes in the closet and tucked gift money into their savings. And after the hum of the season or birthday has passed, you realize now is an appropriate time to write thank you cards. But before you scribble off your stack of cards, consider having your kids write them instead. The benefits are plenty enough:

Why Your Kids Should Write Thank You Cards

Read the rest at Queenie’s Cards…

I’m excited for the opportunity to write thank you cards with my kids during the upcoming holidays. Do your kids regularly write thank you cards for their gifts? What are some other fun ways for kids to write their thank you cards? Let us know in the comments! (I’m closing comments here so we can keep the conversation in one place at Queenie’s Blog. See you there!)

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Why I Don't Feel Bad for Not Taking Many Photos of My Kids

I don’t post pictures of my kids on this blogcertainly not naked ones. But how’s this for a (not-so) surprise: I don’t take many photos of my kids in general.

Of course in these modern times, this is a stretch. My computer houses thousands of pictures of my kids, from the everyday to special outings. Compared to my one childhood album with maybe 20 pictures, any number of photos we take now is plenty enough.

Still, I realize I miss out on many photo opportunities—no cute “first day of school” milestone photos (just a regular one taken on an iPhone with no chalkboard sign). We have yet to take professional photos of any of the kids, and—get this—we haven’t taken any family photos since the twins were born.

A huge reason is the practicality of taking photos. It’s hard taking photos of kids, with kids, and certainly as a family. Kids squirm and protest. I also haven’t had an inclination to pay for professional photography to handle all this for me.

With enough of this thinking, the guilt starts creeping in. Am I missing out on memories? Do I need to take more photos? Should I schedule a family photo before the kids grow too old?

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We’ve all been there: The defiance, the crying-so-hard-they-can’t-breathe, the flailing of the arms and legs. These outbursts happen over the simplest reasons, too—never the life-threatening or important reasons you swear they should be. And whether they’re in the privacy of your home or under the glaring eyes of others in public, dealing with your child’s tantrums challenges even the calmest of moms.

How to Handle Your Child's Tantrums, Meltdowns and Outbursts (When You've Just About Had It)

And while tantrums are inevitable—some to a greater or lesser degree than others—there are ways to cope when one smacks you in the face.

Sure, there’s temperament. Even among my own kids, I can see differences in how each one reacts, what ticks them off, and the best ways to help them through their frustrations.

But we can handle the situation better using other means. To lessen their frequency and their intensity. To prevent them from happening in the first place:

So, how do you handle your child’s tantrums, meltdowns and outbursts?

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If your kid is like mine and you ask him, “How was school?” his response—every day—would be “Good.” Not a single change from one day to the next. One time I even asked, “What’d you do at school today?” and he still said, “Good.”

Clearly we were having communication issues here.

I didn’t mean to pry—if anything I just wanted my kid to talk about school and gauge what he likes and doesn’t, where he struggles, and the general flow of his day.

I needed questions to get him talking without asking the typical (and much expected) question of how his day at school went.

So I started asking different questions to prod the stories out. I collected sneaky ways to ask my kid how his day at school was, without asking, “How was school?”

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