Friday, August 19, 2016

10 Tips to Build an Effective Staffing Website

As you probably know, there is a great divide among staffing firms, the haves who have great job recruitment websites and the have-nots who maintain a simple online presence. As the job placement market becomes more crowded and job seekers’ expectations grow online, how can you make your staffing website more effective? Here are the top 10 tips to build an effective staffing website.

Provide Job Tools and Job Resources for Candidates

Job hunters often require guidance and assistance in defining their work experience and marketing themselves adequately. Staffing firms typically prepare and guide candidates to potential employers in person or with welcome packets. By automating the frequently asked question process online, staffing firms can help reduce repetitive requests and quickly help candidates. Effective job resource sections should offer clear and concise guides to style, job etiquette and interview questions. A large percentage of job candidates also find job search firms simply by searching for resume templates. Having useful downloads and online application tools can help your website retain and attract additional visitors and, ultimately, attractive job candidates.

Automate your Staffing Social Media Presence

If you’re already creating compelling content, one of the most challenging aspects of maintaining a corporate website is updating and distributing content. Modern websites benefit from content management systems ‘” , software infrastructures that include tools to effectively automate how content is distributed. Updating a job in the job section can instantly post to blog or social media websites (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), alert visitors by email, or send a text message directly to a mobile device. What required multiple staff members and tens of man hours now can be completed by a staff member in a fraction of the original time. A social media content distribution strategy will also improve readerships and free services such as Technorati (blog aggregators), actually do all the work for you.

Reduce Candidate On-Boarding Time through Form Automation

A typical temporary staffing candidate must complete an application and waiver process that usually requires a large amount of paperwork. A completed on-boarding file may take days to finish and often has forms that are missing, inconsistent or outdated. While some companies scan an application to a PDF, that information is typically un-editable once it’s reentered. To resolve this human resources nightmare, staffing firms are turning to powerful application automation systems that allow candidates to access and complete all their on-boarding requirements. A full automation-compliant website may offer the ability to authenticate candidates, watch important videos, complete disclaimers, provide approved electronic signatures for forms and alert supervisors of the application process. On-boarding automation systems ultimately allow staffing firms to control verifiable digital records and remain compliant to all new laws and regulations.

Integrate On-Demand Recruiting Software to your Website

A staffing-compatible, customer relationship management system can effectively update and manage new staffing positions and vacancies by automatically posting updates directly to your website. Instead of relying on manual or batch updates that are cumbersome and prone to data irregularities, integrating an automatic system can give your website more visibility and relevancy. On-demand recruiting software such as Bullhorn integration can offer real time updates that allows firms to respond to your changing business environment. Systems like Bullhorn generate, source and fill job orders, and provide seamless and secure website integrations. Ultimately, posting job orders online will help increase search engine rank and boost job wanted ads.

Use Superhero Strategies to make your Staffing Website Stand Out

In today’s media and service-soaked environment, standing out is even more vital in capturing the interest of qualified candidates and companies in need of staffing services . Staffing brands need to take center stage just like our favorite superheroes. By branding an identifiable persona along with a user experience that is consistent in every client touchpoint (email, newsletter, website, brochures), it is possible to enhance your brand’s presence and offers a superhero to rally behind. Personalizing the brand experience with a reinforceable icon or character will catapult awareness and ultimately boost your staffing website’s online and offline brand recognition.

Use job search websites to build effective mailing lists

Maximizing website traffic is essential in building an effective and robust online marking strategy. Job recruitment websites such as Monster, CareerBuilder and LinkedIn can be a tremendous source of traffic. More importantly, recruitment websites can be a tremendous source of highly targeted web traffic, given the professional nature of the networks. A while back we posted an article about how LinkedIn can be one of your most valuable traffic sources. Leverage their traffic by placing backlinks to your company’s online job board. A single national job ad on Washington Post can bring in excess of 5,000 visitors. By implementing a call to action next to every job post, giving visitors a reason to leave their email or cell phone number, you can effectively build a large mailing list. If only 10% were willing to opt in, you would have a list at the end of the year with over 6,000 new newsletter contacts. Maximizing recruitment website traffic is essential in building an effective and robust online marking strategy.

Use Geolocation to Target to New Applicants

How does a staffing firm serving multiple counties, states or countries help candidates identify the jobs they are geographically qualified for? One answer is geolocation services ‘” the ability to recognize a visitor’s digital point-of-origin and offer them geographic targeted jobs positions. One client in the Washington, DC metro area was deficient in the number of applicants from the state of Virginia even though the number of available jobs in Virginia exceeded Washington, DC And Maryland combined. A closer look identified the problem that job candidates simply were not using standard search tools. A switch to a geolocation service within two weeks netted a 240% gain in Virginia job applications.

Simplify Resume Uploading for New Applicants

A recent staffing survey indicated that 67% of all job candidates find completing a staffing firms online application to be the number one reason they didn’t upload a resume. Instead of making job candidates complete extensive forms, try on-demand recruitment services , such as Bullhorn’s website integration, that offer staffing companies resume-only uploads. That’s right, a candidate can simply upload their resume to Bullhorn’s application parsing system, which automatically categorizes and organizes your candidate’s work history and relevant job experience. There are many on-demand services , so make sure you find the one that offers the greatest amount of workflow flexibility and online integration.

Make your Website Build Marketing Lists

Out of the thousands of applicants visiting staffing websites only a fraction will ever submit a resume or connect directly. While many job seekers will return, thousands will look elsewhere for job listings and be unaware of potential matches. Every staffing website needs at least two homepage call-to-actions to inspire visitors to learn more with the ultimate goal of leaving contact information and permission to be contacted in the future. Examples of this may include:

A. A simple promotional give-away along with an easy email signup form.
B. Integrating social media tools to allow visitors to automatically connect on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, allowing you to populate future prospects with job updates.
C. Utilizing text messaging to alert job candidates of job openings within a particular geographical area.

A well crafted marketing strategy will ultimately allow you to convert visitors to future clients and create a valuable company asset.

Build a Mobile Staffing Website

Linkup, a job search engine, reported that 21% of job seekers use mobile devices to search job boards. The trend is representative of a larger shift towards mobile devices such as smartphones and mobile tablets like the iPad. Washington, D.C. showed the largest percentage of mobile users, boasting 56% of all job seekers searching from a mobile device. A mobile recruitment job website also indicates to your prospective candidate how serious your company is about showcasing job openings ‘” especially if those are IT or technically related. If your company’s budget doesn’t include a line item for a mobile website, then consider a content management system that can be easily viewed on a smartphone such as Drupal. Drupal offers a number of unique web development features including a highly scalable infrastructure with built in mobile support.

At Alliance Interactive, we advise our clients on the best ways to market their staffing and recruitment activities through social media, websites and with mobile applications. For additional information, please contact us at 888-222-9056

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10 Tips on How to Create a Great Business Card

It is quite simple to create a great business card. There a variety of different computer programs available that allow people to make business cards. Here are ten tips on how to create a great business card.

1. Use a catchy sentence that people will remember. You want your business name and what you do to remembered. You want people to remember your business card so make sure it has a catchy sentence.

2. Use a picture that matches what your company is about. You want a picture on your business card that people will remember. You can make something that is easy to remember. For example, someone who has a teddy bear gift basket business can use a picture of a teddy bear in order to have people remember the company.

3. Make sure the text is large enough to read. You want the text and pictures be large enough to see. You want the text to be easy to read. Don’t use fancy text on the business card. Keep the text style simple so that people can clearly read the text without trouble.

4. If you are printing the business cards on a regular print instead of being professionally printed then make sure to get some business card paper. You can get luxury business card paper at any office supply store. They have a variety of luxury paper designed for business cards.

5. Make sure to include all of your contact information on the business card such as your telephone number and mailing address. If your company has a website then make sure to remember to put the website address on the business card. If you have a e-mail address then make sure to list the e-mail address on the business too.

6. Put your job title on the business card too. Make sure to let people know by your business card what it is that you do and how to get in contact with you. Business cards are a great for advertising.

7. Double check your business card for any spelling errors along with any other errors. This is important so that your business card will look professional. Have a friend look at the business card before you have it printed. Other people can point out mistakes that we often don’t catch.

8. Don’t clutter your business card. You don’t want your business card to be overloaded with information. You want to keep your business card simple and straight to the point about what services or products that your company can provide. You can have a list of what services or product that your company can do, but just keep it simple.

9. Make sure that your business isn’t boring. People enjoy business cards that are interesting and memorable. You want your future clients to be impressed with your business card enough to want your service or product in the future.

10. Make sure that your business is full color. You want your business card to catch attention and color catches attention. Make sure that your business card has light toned colors so it isn’t overwhelming to the reader.

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10 Tips for Buying Baby Shower Gifts

Baby showers and baby gifts can bring alot of joy to everyone. It is so much fun to shop for baby gifts, and the new mother will be delighted to have cute baby items to fill up the nursery. But of course, sometimes gifts might never be used. Although the parents appreciate your thoughtfulness, the gift might just not be what they needed. Here are ten tips for shopping for baby shower gifts.

NOTE: This article is geared towards baby showers where you know there will be lots of guests there. If the mom-to-be is having a very small baby shower, and has just a small circle of friends (which is okay) some of these might not apply.

Baby Gift Tip #1 : Never buy Newborn or 0-3 Size Outfits

As a general rule of thumb, avoid purchasing newborn or 0-3 size baby gifts. The reason is that the new parents will probably get a plethora of them at the shower, and/or she might have already purchased some. Since babies outgrow the newborn and 0-3 size very quickly, there is no need to have that many.

I have known of several moms who had numerous cute newborn and 0-3 outfits that the baby never had time to wear. They usually ended up re-gifting them, or gave them away, new tags and all. Some babies are born weighing 9 pounds or more and won’t even fit into the newborn size! Unless the mother is having a shower with 10 guests or less, avoid getting these sizes. Also refrain from buying newborn sized diapers. Size 1 and above are perfect for diaper gifts.

Baby Gift Tip #2: For Baby Girls, Avoid Pink (It applies to boys too!)

On this tip, you just need to use your best judgement. Pink is definitely the color for baby girls, but it doesn’t have to be the ONLY color. I have been to many baby showers where the mom-to-be received all pink clothing. While of course, its cute for girls to wear pink, it is nice to have some different colors. Therefore, I recommend buying adorable outfits in lavender, yellow, red, spring green, white, brown or even blue. It will be nice for the mom to get a little bit of variety! Sure, the baby won’t care but it’s great to have a good selection.

Baby Gift Tip #3: Avoid Buying Baby Blankets

Most moms end up with too many baby blankets. Although it’s a good idea to have several, a dozen or more is a little overboard. Therefore, try to avoid buying baby blankets, as the baby will probably get several at the shower. The exception to this is if you want to make a handmade baby quilt or personalized baby blanket, then it would be great for a baby gift.

Baby Gift Tip #4: Be Creative

Be the talk of the shower and get a creative gift! Read 10 Creative and Unique Baby Gifts and 10 MORE Creative Baby Gifts. Also, for some really funny gifts, read 5 Silly and Unique Baby Gifts.

Baby Gift Tip #5: Buy Disposable Diapers Only if You know She’s Going to Use Them

A large number of moms today have decided to “go green” and use cloth diapers. Therefore, there is a chance that she might not want disposable diapers. (Although I’m sure she might use them for travelling and outings, possibly.) If you aren’t sure, just ask the mom or a baby shower hostess.

Baby Gift Tip #6: Include Batteries (With Gifts that Require them)

This is not a necessity, but it does provide a nice, thoughtful, touch. If you purchase a gift that requires batteries, it is an excellent idea to include batteries for the gift. The parents-to-be will really appreciate your kindness.

Baby Gift Tip #7: Cute Outfits are Always Great

I know this may seem like common sense, but don’t buy something you wouldn’t want your child wearing it. For example, if you would never dress your little boy in a shirt that says “Little Devil” or “Here Comes Trouble”, then why buy it for a friend? Don’t purchase an outfit that says “Spoiled Brat” for a little girl if you wouldn’t like your tot wearing it! You can never go wrong with a nice, adorable outfit.

If the parents go to church, and are having a boy, its definitely nice to buy the baby a decent church outfit – chances are, you’ll be the only one to give them this as a gift. As a reminder, try to get sizes that are at least for 3-6 months. 6-9 and 9-12 are perfect, because more than likely the baby won’t receive many at the shower. It’s not outrageous to give a 12 months size outfit as well – even 18 months if it is super cute.

There is nothing wrong with re-gifting a baby gift. However, make sure it is something of good quality and in style. Don’t re-gift a gift you hated.

Baby Gift Tip #8: Make Sure It is Season-Appropriate

This is another suggestion that is probably obvious, but the article wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include it. I have known of moms that got gifts that weren’t season-appropriate. For example, don’t buy a cute summer dress size 9 months if the child is due in May. Sweaters are great gifts, but make sure the size matches with the season.

One idea is to purchase gifts in advance, if you know that someone is pregnant and will have a baby shower in several months. It is rare to be able to buy winter gifts in the summer.

Baby Gift Tip #9: Gift Certificates Are Always Great

If worse comes to worse, you can never go wrong with a gift card! Gift certificates to stores such as Target, Wal-Mart, Babies ‘R Us, and others will be sincerely appreciated. Of course, money is perfect as well!

Baby Gift Tip #10: Avoid Sleepers

If possible, try to avoid giving sleepers. Though it is a practical gift, but more than likely the baby will recieve plenty. Spend your money on a nice outfit or diapers instead. It is better for the mom to receive too many outfits than too many sleepers.

These are just a few tips for baby shower gifts. Have Fun at the Baby Shower! Happy Shopping!

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10 Tips to Curtail Excessive Interruptions in the Workplace

Are excessive interruptions at work frustrating and distracting you enough that your productivity is suffering? If you are one of these people, so was I when I worked. Is there a solution to the problem? The answer is yes, if you can change your way of thinking a bit. Had I known what I have learned since retirement early in my career, I could have avoided much stress. I have accepted that probably half of those interruptions were my fault by allowing them to happen. I worked in an atmosphere where I believed I had to accommodate any and everybody that stopped by, and in the end, I had no control over my workday at all, and it became very distressing and it seemed a hopeless situation.

Since I have retired, I have thought about and read about solutions to this problem, interruptions that disrupt. Following are ten tips to help you either remedy or prevent the problem.

10 Tips to Curtail Interruptions at work

  • · Are you an enabler? If so, realize that either you are allowing many of the interruptions to occur, out fear of getting in trouble, or you have not learned to say no to people.
  • · Take 20 percent of your workday and spend it working without interruption on your important rather than urgent activities.
  • · Stand up and go around your desk when visitors drop in.
  • · Everyone in the office or department would benefit by utilizing a quiet time where everyone works at their desks alone, taking no calls. Let the receptionists handle the calls during this time.
  • · Meet with people in their office, not yours.
  • · Use your telephone answering machine or voice mail.
  • · Close your door but beware this won’t work in every environment.
  • · Identify who is constantly interrupting you. What are their habits? When do they come to see you? What do they specifically want?
  • · Make it clear that you meet people through appointments, not at their leisure.
  • · When you have a deadline and won’t meet it with interruptions happening, let your voice mail answer the calls for an hour and alert the colleagues in your office, that you need an hour alone to meet your deadline. People who do not respect your request are not respecting you or your effort to do a good job.

I hope these tips will help you if you are experiencing excessive interruptions in the workplace. I believe in being a good worker, respectable and conscientious, but I also believe in retrospect, that taking care of your physical and mental health is more important. If you are not able to manage interruptions using these tips or through your own capability, it may be time to schedule a talk with your supervisor.

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10 Tips for Catching Big Bass

Implement these 10 tips for catching big bass on your next trip to the water. These bass fishing tips are easy to use and should help to get bigger bass onto your hook. Don’t be afraid to experiment and adjust these or other tips for bass fishing to see what works best for you in the waters that you fish.

Tips for Catching Big Bass #1

Learn to fish a variety of lures. At times catching bass will require fishing deep, fishing shallow, fishing quickly, and fishing slowly. Sometimes bass will strike only certain lures in certain patterns. Being ready to present the type of lure how the bass wants it is very important.

Tips for Catching Big Bass #2

When fishing in a boat, have multiple poles with different lures rigged and ready to go. Being able to switch between lure patterns and styles quickly will help you to present what the bass want.

Tips for Catching Big Bass #3

Locating deep water structure can be a key to landing big bass, especially in the summer heat when bass will be deep. Depth finders and maps are great for locating submerged structure.

Tips for Catching Big Bass #4

Be patient. It may take a few casts to the same spot to get a big bass to strike. If an area looks fantastic but doesn’t result in a strike, move on then come back later with a different lure.

Tips for Catching Big Bass #5

Keep your tackle box organized. Being able to find what you want and get it tied on quickly can be important. Always hit the water ready to fish with a well organized tackle box.

Tips for Catching Big Bass #6

Keep your hooks sharp! Dull hooks result in missed fish. Hooks can either be sharpened or replaced, but they need to be sharp.

Tips for Catching Big Bass #7

Look for overlooked areas of strong producing lakes and rivers. Some bodies of water simply produce bigger bass than others but they attract a lot of attention. Fish these waters, but look for areas that other anglers overlook. A good start is to get well away from the boat docks before beginning to fish. Leaving the bass boat at home and using a canoe or other small boat to go up creek mouths and coves to fish is a good idea as well.

Tips for Catching Big Bass #8

Stay out late for big bass. When the sun goes down and the other anglers and boaters go home, stay on the lake and fish. Casting weightless artificial worms near structure in the dark and slowly retrieving with a few twitches has produced some of my largest bass.

Tips for Catching Big Bass #9

Use bigger lures and baits. I’ve caught surprisingly large bass on small lures, but larger lures will help to keep bluegills and other small fish from getting hooked. By avoiding the smaller fish an angler can spend more time concentrating on hooking big bass and not reeling in small ones.

Tips for Catching Big Bass #10

Go bass fishing now. One of the best ways to catch big bass is to simply go fishing more often. The more you fish the more likely your chances of hooking into a big one.

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10 Tips for Catching a Loose Horse

Horses love liberty. Equines at play in a pasture run and romp and buck and raise all sorts of happy havoc. What happens, however, when humans try to catch loose horses for safety, training or other purposes?

What if a trail horse suddenly runs off in a forest preserve or on a bridle path? How about the horse that breaks from a trailer tie on the horse show grounds and runs off?

How can an equestrian safely and effectively round up and catch an escaped or otherwise untethered horse? Try these 10 tips for catching a loose horse.

Close the property gate, if a horse becomes loose.

This step is the most important. Most horse farms (and many riding facilities) have perimeter fence lines. When a horse escapes from the barn, arena or pasture, all outer gates are immediately closed. This ensures that the errant equine cannot leave the property.

On open lands, of course, this step is not an option.

Remain calm, and don’t chase a loose horse.

Attitude is essential. Horses are empathetic creatures, and they can sense panic from a distance. A calm demeanor can go a long way towards facilitating the process of apprehending an errant equine.

Although many horse owners (and even equestrian trainers) practice chasing horses at liberty in equestrian arenas, this can be counterproductive, when it comes to wrangling a horse running free. Chasing a horse is absolutely the wrong approach, and this will usually only cause the equine to run faster and farther away.

Have a lead line or rope in hand to catch a loose horse.

A smart horseman or horsewoman will always carry a lead line, a rope or some other means of tethering an equine, once caught.

In a bind, certain horse owners or handlers have been known to whip off our own leather belts for this purpose. (This is one reason why seasoned equestrians, both English and Western, always wear sturdy belts to the stables and on the trail.)

Approach a loose horse from one side.

Horses have bilateral vision, which means they can see quite clearly on both sides, but have blind spots directly in front and behind. To catch a free horse, the human must walk slowly towards the horse’s side, in full view of one of the horse’s eyes. This tactic prevents startling the horse, which might incite the equine to bolt.

Say, “Whoa,” to stop a loose horse.

An astonishing number of trained horses will actually stop quickly, if a human utters a confident and audible “Whoa.”

Enlist others to help with catching a loose horse.

Some horses are simply more challenging, when it comes to grabbing them at liberty. Often, reinforcements are needed. A group of capable horse handlers can be helpful. Multiple helpers can fan out to guide a horse into a pasture corner, a gated chute or another sort of containment structure, so that the horse may be caught more easily.

Lead a calmer horse away to attract a loose horse.

In the pasture, an obstinate equine may be tempted to approach, if he or she sees a human (particularly his or her owner or regular handler) leading another horse away. For this reason, a horseman or horsewoman might approach one of the calmer members of the herd first.

Lure a loose horse with a bucket of feed.

Many horses respond readily to treats, feed and other goodies. If a human rattles a few bits of grain in a bucket (or even a few small stones in an equestrian safety helmet), the horse may come running. Of course, this means of luring horses can prove dangerous in a large herd, where multiple equines may approach quickly at the sound of a potential feeding.

Still, on the trail or in another wide-open location, the feed temptation is a solid strategy for catching an errant equine.

Walk a loose horse into a confined space.

The simplest means of subduing a runaway horse is to guide him or her into an enclosed area. There, the equine may stand more readily, so his or her handler can halter and tether him for safe leading. Pasture corners, chutes and run-in shelters may offer such enclosure.

Use another horse to round up a loose horse.

Certain horse, particularly young, wild or untrained equines, simply will not be caught. In such cases, a horseman or horsewoman may decide to saddle up a well-trained horse and ride out to apprehend the loose one. Cattle roping skills can be particularly handy here.

Not infrequently, a group of confident and capable equestrians may mount up together to herd a loose equine for a ground handler to catch or for a rider to rope and pony along.


Advice from various equestrian trainers

Personal experience

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10 Tips for Disciplining Your Preschool-Aged Child

Discipline is a touchy subject with many parents. No one wants to be told how to discipline his or her own children. However, as parents most of us realize that we don’t know it all. Discipline is one of the most difficult aspects of parenting so who couldn’t use a few tricks and tips? As an educator and the parent of a preschooler and an infant, I’ve disciplined children from two different perspectives, and the following tips for disciplining preschoolers have kept me sane through it all.

Individualize. If you have more than one child you are well aware that two children coming from the same parents can easily be polar opposites. Keep this in mind when disciplining your preschool-aged children. When I was a child my parents often sent me to my room as a punishment or consequence for ill behavior. Isolation was pure torture for this social butterfly. My sister, who found no greater pleasure than reading, loved spending hours alone in her room. So, my sister was not sent to her room as a punishment. Discipline has to fit the child so tip number one for disciplining your children is to ditch the “one size fits all mentality” and individualize discipline to each child. And don’t let your kids run in with a “that’s not fair!” mantra. You are the parent; you choose the method of discipline.

Sacrifice. Sure, we love to scoff at the old saying “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you,” but in reality sometimes proper discipline really is harder on the parents than the child. For example, say you have promised your four year old dinner at McDonald’s if he takes a quiet nap. He misbehaves during his naptime. You have to take that dinner at McDonald’s away which means Mom and Dad now have to come up with alternate dinner plans. My husband promised to take my four year old to a comic book convention one weekend if my son got a good report at preschool all week. He didn’t. My husband was crushed because he was so looking forward to sharing this special event with his son. But sometimes, good discipline takes sacrifice on the parents’ part (and sometimes you learn not to promise something as a reward that you yourself really want to do!).

Act Immediately. Preschoolers have short attention spans so discipline needs to be immediate. If your son picks up a toy in the store and throws in down the aisle, you have to come up with an immediate way to discipline. Perhaps you leave the store right away (was he shopping for a toy?) or maybe you make him ride in the cart when he had asked to walk (taking away independence). Whatever the offense, make sure your discipline is immediate whenever possible.

Model. Every book, article, etc on discipline will warn parents that they must “practice what they preach.” You cannot tell children to “do as I say, not as I do.” Preschoolers in particular want to act like Mom and Dad. If you don’t want your children using profanity, you can’t use profanity. If you constantly ask your children to stop name-calling, screaming “moron!” at the truck driver that just cut you off isn’t a good idea. I’ve never used profanity in my daily life, but I have a bad habit of scoffing at celebrities on TV with rather colorful vocals. I quickly realized that my son was picking up my behavior, but not with television personalities, but rather with real life friends and relatives. Show your preschooler how he should act, and he will not only get a lesson in appropriate behavior, but he will also develop a strong bond and trust with his parents (and you might learn a thing or two about your own behavior while you’re at it!).

Dictate. I know you don’t want to be a called a dictator, but when it comes to disciplining your children, you need to be one. What dictators say, goes. Period. Discipline is not up for negotiation. Don’t let your children think they can alter punishments based on their ability to argue. For instance imagine that your son just bopped his little sister on the head with his favorite action figure. You decide to discipline him by taking away the action figure and putting it in “time out” for 24 hours. At this point, your son may begin his negotiations. “If I am good at the store this afternoon, can I have my transformer back?” or “If I eat all my vegetables at dinner can I have my transformer back?” Kids are natural negotiators but you are a dictator and dictators are not swayed by the people! Stand your ground, and don’t be swayed by your little guy’s arguments. What you say, goes. Period.

Reward. Rewards are just as important as consequences when it comes to disciplining your children. Is your preschooler having trouble putting his dirty clothes in the hamper? Set up a chore chart for him and you’ll be surprised how quickly the good behavior becomes habit. Preschoolers are very goal oriented so set up some behavior goals and watch the good behavior evolve.

Praise. Praise is a fundamental part of any good discipline plan, but it is especially important for preschoolers. Be sure to praise your child when he is doing what he is supposed to do. For example, my son used to constantly jump on the couch, a big no-no in our house. When I see him sitting on the couch I try to offer praise, “You are doing a great job using the couch how it is supposed to be used!,” or “You are doing an excellent job remembering that couches are for bottoms, not feet.” Praise your preschooler when he isn’t misbehaving and the misbehavior will start to diminish.

Follow Through. Preschoolers have amazing memories (Mommy: “The dentist is fun!” Preschooler: “But Mommy, I heard you tell Daddy you hated going to the dentist.” Oops). Because of this great memory, you must follow through with your disciplinary action. If you tell your daughter that the next time she sticks her tongue out you are going to take away her favorite doll for a week, make sure it happens.

Involve Others. You aren’t the only person in your child’s life. Others such as caregivers, grandparents, and friends may also be in a situation where your child needs to be disciplined. Preschoolers thrive on consistency so make sure that the other adults that your child spends a lot of time with understand your methods of discipline, and use them when necessary. You can also involve others when praising and rewarding your child. For example, my son loves nothing more than calling Grandma and Grandpa when he gets a compliment or earns a prize at school. Involving others in your child’s life in the discipline process is a must.

Flex. Last week your preschooler responded really well to having toys taken away when he misbehaved. This week removing his toys doesn’t seem to faze him. Of course last week pizza was his favorite food and this week he hates it too. Preschoolers are changing so rapidly that what works one week may not work the next. You have to be flexible as a parent and be willing to try new tactics as your child grows and changes. Being flexible, and not continuing to beat a dead horse (i.e. using the same methods over and over if they aren’t working) is very important when disciplining a preschooler.

Preschoolers are a unique set in the world of discipline. No one ever said it was going to be easy and indeed disciplining your preschooler may be the challenge of your life. Keep the above tips in mind, give yourself a break when you make mistakes, and remember that one day your little guy or girl may be calling you asking for discipline advice for his or her preschooler.

Related Resources:

Alternate Quiet Time Activity for Preschoolers who Refuse to Nap

How to Start Assigning Chores for your Preschooler

The Chore Jar: A Great Way to Motivate Kids to do their Chores

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10 Tips for the First Week Back at School

Today’s the first day of the new school year here in WA. Kids are excited and a little bit nervous.
What will their new teacher be like? Will they be able to do the work? Will their friends be in the same class? Will the other kids like them? Will they ‘fit in’ at playtime?

Here are 10 tips to help a child feel confident during this sometimes unnerving first week.

1 Make sure they have breakfast and get a big hug before heading off to school
2 Be there when they come home during the first week
3 Make time for a debrief over a healthy snack
4 Be gentle… ask questions but don’t interrogate
5 Really listen to the answers you get and comfort any woes
6 Tell them you love them whether it’s a good day or a bad one
7 Encourage them to go and do some physical exercise for a while
8 If there’s home reading or homework to be done read my advice on the best ways to help with this at
9 Cut down on sugar intake at dinner-time to help them sleep well
10 Get them to bed at a reasonable time for their age

Kids really need to know that you are their anchor, and that you won’t go ballistic if they tell you something.
If any problems emerge you need to follow up on them with the teacher. However it’s sensible to wait till the second
(when everyone has settled in) before making an appointment to talk with the teacher about your child’s learning.

Teachers have a crazy first week. They are getting to know the children… their personalities, their level of understanding in each area. They are sorting and resorting grouping for various learning areas, sorting out behaviour issues, comforting the forlorn, making sure everybody has what they need in terms of equipment. Meanwhile more kids keep arriving in the door.

So spare a thought for the teacher…and smile. It means a lot!

Tags:10 Tips for the First Week Back at School

10 Tips for Drying Fresh Herbs

Drying herbs is a great way of making your summer herb garden last all year long. Drying herbs is not only fun, but it is also economic. Here are some tips on drying fresh herbs in your home. The first part of drying herbs in your home is harvesting the herbs you would like to dry.

1. Remember to use a strong pair of scissors or a sharp knife. A razor blade is also a good alternative when harvesting herbs. Perennials can be cut down very far because they will grow back next year. Annual herb plants can be cut all the way down or even pulled out of the ground.

2. Lavender flowers should be cut when the flowers are half open.

3. Another important thing when harvesting your herbs is to remove the dirt. A good method I have found to clean fresh herbs that doesn’t bruise the leaves is to spray the plant and shake off the excess water. When drying lemon balm it is important not to bruise the leaves because this will decrease the flavor.

4. After the leaves are cleaned cut or pull a few off the bottom of the stems so that an inch at least is bare, and tie a string lightly around the bottom. Remember that you don’t want too many pieces of herb in a bundle, and I like to group 6 to 12 pieces depending on how big the leaves on each stalk are.

5. Now find a dry, well ventilated area that is secluded to hang your herbs. It is also important to make sure the area you hang your herbs is also dark.

6. A good tip for drying herbs is putting your herbs in a brown paper bag that has a few holes punched in it; mint is especially good if dried in a brown paper bag because it helps keep the flavor.

7. Herbs should take about 1 week to a month to dry, and they can be checked by seeing if the stems snap. When the leaves are thoroughly dried they will be crumbly to the touch. Pull off the leaves and put them in air tight bottles. Remember to label these jars.

8. There are a few important tips to remember when drying herbs. It is essential to not get the herbs too wet. If you get the herbs too wet they might mildew, and your herbs will be ruined.

9. Another thing to keep in mind is that the herbs will have as much potency as possible if they are picked in the morning.

10. Drying herbs is good for herbs that have high moisture content such as oregano, dill, and bay, but low moisture herbs such as basil and chives should be frozen to maximize flavor.

Now you know the basics for drying fresh herbs in your home so have fun and enjoy the flavor of your favorite herbs all year long!

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10 Tips for Fishing in Muddy Water

Here are 10 tips for fishing in muddy water. These tips will hopefully help you to catch more fish on your next trip even if the weather does not cooperate.

Fish very close to structure when fishing in muddy water. Fish that will come out of cover for a few feet on a normal day probably won’t be able to see your lure in muddy water, so get it close to them.

Look for fish to be in shallow water at unusual times. The muddy water provides protection from the hot sunlight and gives fish an extra layer of security from predators.

Muddy water often accompanies high water and swift current, if either of these is present look for areas where the current is slower and focus your efforts fishing there.

The choice of color for fishing in muddy water is an often discussed and argued point. Most anglers are divided into bright colors or dark colors camps. I generally go with dark colors but try bright ones as well.

Move lures more slowly in muddy water to give fish more time to find and strike the lure. Lures that require fast movement to operate can be retrieved in a start and stop fashion.

Larger and noisier lures are easier for fish to find in muddy water, so give them a try. Use scents on your lures as well even if you usually don’t to add some attraction.

Perhaps the best tip for fishing in muddy water is to simply use bait. Large and relatively slow baits such as crawfish and nightcrawlers are my favorite. Pieces of worms and other bait can also be added to many lures.

Look for clear water when fishing in muddy water. This tip might seem obvious, but fishermen and fisherwomen will do well to look for clearer water near tributaries, springs, or even by fishing deeper or shallower.

Stay on the move in shallow water until you catch fish. Muddy water will most often keep others home instead of fishing and you can generally move from preferred area to preferred area without seeing other fishing.

Try new things when fishing in muddy water. Even if you are not catching any fish, you might as well learn to use that new lure or sharpen your other fishing skills to make the most of your time.

Use these tips the next time the water is muddy and you want to go fishing.

Tags:10 Tips for Fishing in Muddy Water

10 Tips to the Easiest Breastfeeding Experience of Your Life!

Breastfeeding is one of the best things you can give yourself and your newborn. Before the baby is even born, you can prepare for breastfeeding. If this is your first time, the first step is realizing that you are going to breastfeed. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking isn’t it? Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it.

Here are few tips to help you as you prepare and begin breastfeeding. If you have a game plan before you begin, this can help you as you try to breastfeed. Remember, after you’ve had a baby, you want that little one to latch on as quickly as possible.

• Every nurse has their own method of how to breastfeed. They often will come in and help you if you need the assistance. If you don’t need help, feel free to tell them you are doing ok on your own.

• After your baby is born, begin trying to breastfeed as soon as possible. Your newborn probably won’t latch on right away, but the more times you try, the quicker he/she will learn how to latch on to your nipple.

• Circle your hands around your nipple and maneuver so your baby’s mouth can latch on to the nipple. This may take some practice, but trust your instincts and keep trying.

• Stay hydrated. Make sure you drink lots of fluids as soon as the baby is born. This applies to your entire breastfeeding journey. Drinking water is important to your breastfeeding experience.

• After the baby is born, limit how many people you allow to visit you. This will allow more opportunities to breastfeed. Let’s face it. When you are first attempting to breastfeed, you don’t want a slew of visitors arriving. Prepare ahead of time by limiting the visitors who will visit.

• Make time to bond with the baby. Sometimes, we have so many people who want to see the baby; it is hard to really have mother and father bonding time. The first hour after the baby is born, don’t allow any visitors at all. Use this time to bond with the baby. Take pictures. Talk to the baby. Whatever you did is up to you. The important thing is just bonding with that newborn.

• Babies want to eat. They naturally know that they are hungry. This is wonderful because now you can learn about your baby at the same time he/she learns about you.

• Learn a sleeping rhythm with your baby. As your baby sleeps, use this time to sleep as well. Giving birth to a baby is exhausting so utilize sleep whenever you can get it.

• If possible, sleep right beside your baby. This allows you to learn the baby’s movements and really get into tune with him/her. Also, this allows you to sleep and breastfeed without moving from the bed.

• When first breastfeeding, allow the baby to breastfeed whenever he/she wants. Don’t put restrictions as you might when he/she is older. Let the baby learn to breastfeed and enjoy the comforts as needed. There will be time for restricting later on. For now, just allow them to get used to breastfeeding. Position a pillow underneath your elbow to give you extra support. It can become tiresome holding the baby. Find a pillow that can become your breastfeeding pillow.

Tags:10 Tips to the Easiest Breastfeeding Experience of Your Life!

10 Tips for Easy Soldering of Copper Pipes

Soldering copper pipes is a basic plumbing job that is easy enough for almost anyone to do as a DIY project. Soldering the pipes reduces leaks, bad fits, and the overall look of the piping system. However, if the soldering of the copper pipes is not done right you will have a bigger problem than previously. This article will provide 10 tips for successfully soldering copper pipe.

1. Gather supplies first

Supplies such as a pipe cutter, wire brush, rag, pipefitting, solder, and blowtorch are needed to successfully solder the copper pipe. Having your supplies handy will save time and frustration over the course of the project.

2. Take your time cutting the pipe

Before soldering the pipe, you must cut the pieces of pipe apart from the system that you wish to solder. Cutting the pipe with pipe cutters is very easy, but make sure you get a nice even and rounded cut.

3. Thoroughly dry the pipe before soldering

Never try to solder copper pipe when left over water residue is present, this is a common error for first timers.

4. Clean the outside of the straight piece of pipe

Before soldering the pipe, it must be thoroughly cleaned and free of oil, dirt, and any other residue. Use a rag to clean and “polish” the end of the pipe that is about to be soldered, it should be completely free of debris.

5. Clean the inside of the straight piece of pipe

The interior of the pipe must be cleaned before you can attempt to solder it. A wire pipe brush is used to clear any debris and residue left behind in the copper pipe; this part is essential before attempting to solder.

6. Picking a solder

Most solder that is sold in hardware stores or home improvement stores are lead free, but make sure to check, because lead solder is dangerous to use around water that is used for consumption.

7. Use a new joint or fitting

Although acceptable to reuse the straight end of the pipe, the joint or fitting should be new, rather than reused. Pipe joints are rather inexpensive and are almost impossible to clean, which is why purchasing a new fitting is always a good idea.

8. Evenly heat the top of the joint before applying solder

When you are ready to apply the solder the best method is to evenly heat the outside of the joint (with both pieces attached). Heat the unit for about 10-15 seconds and proceed to apply solder.

9. Apply solder towards the top of the joint

Once the unit is evenly heated you can then proceed to apply the solder to the top of the joint (where both pieces connect).

10. Wipe the excess solder

If you want a professional looking solder job then I recommend using a spare rag to wipe off the excess solder; this will give you a clean and professional looking solder job.


Personal experience

Tags:10 Tips for Easy Soldering of Copper Pipes

10 Tips for Ending Bedtime Battles

Bedtime is one of the hardest moments for parents each day. For many children bedtime is a daily struggle, pitting their need for sleep against their desire to stay up and continue having fun. Helping children create a peaceful bedtime routine each day will help your children get the rest they need and save you from the daily fight. Here are ten tips to help you end bedtime battles and get your children into bed.

Give opportunities for play during the day. Children have more energy than adults do and need to burn it all off before they can relax and go to sleep. Give your child many opportunities to play, especially outside play, so that they will not be too full of energy to sleep. If bedtime is consistently a battle to keep your children in their beds evaluate whether or not they are getting enough time during the day to use their energy stores.

Change nap schedules. Young children that are still taking naps during the day may have a harder time sleeping at night. Consider reducing or cutting out their naps during the day to make bedtime easier. However, this is not without it’s own risks. You may find your child becoming more irritable in the evenings and may have to reset bedtime to an earlier time at night. Try this new schedule for at least a week to see if this helps reduce the bedtime fighting.

Keep a routine. Too often parents change the bedtime routine if it is not working immediately, in hopes that the next will have better results. However children thrive best on routine, on being able to predict what will happen next. Create a routine that will work for you and your family and stick with it. It may take days or weeks for your children to adapt to the schedule, but once they have bedtime will be much smoother for it.

Turn off the television. In most homes relaxing in front of the television is a common sight. However, rather than relaxing children it can often make it harder for them to sleep at night. Even if your children seem to be calm and relaxed while watching a cartoon, it can lead to being restless when it is time to sleep. Turn off the television at least one hour before bedtime and instead fill that time with more soothing activities.

Make bedtime relaxing. Make bedtime a time when your children can relax and unwind from the day. Warm baths, reading stories, and even just cuddling together talking can all help your child feel calmer. Little things such as calming scents, soft music, and dim lighting can all help bring more relaxation to bedtime. For very young children massaging on a scented lotion after a warm bath will be the perfect way to feel relaxed and ready to sleep.

Gradually transition into bedtime.
Suddenly announcing that it is bedtime can shake a previously relaxed child back into tension. Instead of making it a sudden shift at the end of the day create a gentle transition that will ease your child into bedtime. Part of this is having a soothing routine that your child can use to move into night. You can also accomplish this by letting your children know well ahead of bedtime what is to happen next. Gentle reminders that they will be beginning their bedtime routine soon will help children transition into it.

Keep bedtime snacks light. For some children a small snack before bed can help them fall asleep. However, a snack that is too heavy or rich may not sit right in their stomachs and make it harder for them to fall asleep and stay asleep. Stick with light, easily digestible snacks such as crackers, popcorn, and . Avoid snacks that are heavily spiced or contain too much sugar, and for some children avoid dairy treats such as cheese or creams.

Make bedtime a special time. Children can often fight sleep to keep their parents coming back to them frequently. You can avoid this by making sure that each child gets special attention before going to sleep. For families with many children this can be difficult to do, but taking an extra five minutes to let each child have a quiet moment to share with you. Take that time to read a short story or just talk about your child’s day. Doing this can eliminate the need for frequent visits to your child’s bed.

Create a feeling of security. For very young children or children going through a rough time bedtime can bring out feelings of insecurity. Doing what you can to make your child feel safe both in their home and in the fact that you will still be there can ease much of their bedtime stress. How you do this differs for each child. For some children you may need to be prepared to stay with them in their rooms until their insecurity passes, or you may try co-sleeping and allow your child to sleep in your bed. Whatever you choose be supportive and understanding, do not trivialize their fears, and be consistent in making them feel secure.

Allow quiet bedtime activities. If you have tried everything and your children are still not willing or able to sleep each night you may have to consider changing your definition of bedtime. Rather than requiring that your children sleep as soon as the lights go out allow your children to do small, quiet activities in their beds until they are ready to sleep. Quietly reading books is one relaxing activity that can help restless children drift into sleep on their own. Drawing pictures, listening to music, and doing small crafts such as knitting and hand sewing are all quiet activities that may help your child relax for bed. Set rules that whatever they choose it must be quiet and they must stay in bed, then allow your child time to fall asleep naturally. Doing this helps your child create his own bedtime routine that help him transition past the typical bedtime battles.

Though bedtime can be frustrating for both parents and children, using these simple steps to make bedtime calmer and more relaxing will help ease much of that frustration. When the bedtime battles have ended it will be a more restful time for everyone in the house.

Tags:10 Tips for Ending Bedtime Battles

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