Dads:  4 Tips on Raising Responsible and Confident Children

4 Tips for Dads Graphic

This week’s Family Friday is especially for Dad. These 4 tips will help you raise responsible kids and enjoy fatherhood.

1.  Model Mistakes & Good Problem Solving

As a dad, it is okay for your children to witness small mistakes. This shows them that you are human and also gives you the chance to model good problem-solving skills. For example, on a short hike, you may purposefully leave your own snack at home and say to your kids, “Oops! I forgot to bring my granola bar. I’m hungry. I definitely won’t forget next time!”


2.  Give Your Children the Chance to Make “Affordable” Mistakes

Consequences of mistakes grow costlier the older children get, which is why it is important to allow your children to make plenty of small, or “affordable”, mistakes while they are still young. For example, you may say to your kids, “We are leaving in 30 minutes for a short hike. You get to be in charge of putting together the snacks you would like to take.”


3.  If a Mistake is Made, Show Empathy While Holding Your Child Accountable

The most loved and respected dads are the ones who deliver firm consequences with a strong dose of empathy. If a child forgets to bring his/her own snack on a short hike, saying something like “This is so sad. You forgot your snack, and now you’re hungry. We can’t drive all the way home to get them. Hang in there, I love you.” Using an empathetic delivery allows children to stay accountable for their mistakes, but know that you still love them.


4.  Give your Children the Same Task Again

Later that week, you may say, “We are leaving in 30 minutes for a short hike. You again get to be in charge of putting together the snacks you would like.” When you give your children responsibility for the same task again, without nagging or reminding them of their previous mistakes, this sends a very powerful message: “You are smart enough to learn from your mistakes.”

Learn More

Want to learn more concepts like these? Register for a free Fathering with Love and Logic™ course offered by Healthy Relationships Utah. Fathering with Love and Logic™ is a research-based parenting course geared specifically towards fathers and father figures. Courses are available throughout all of Utah. To learn more or register, visit healthyrelationshipsutah.org.

This article was written by Megan Hargraves, Media Specialist with Healthy Relationships Utah, megan.hargraves@usu.edu.

Love and Logic™ is a registered trademark of the Love and Logic Institute, Inc.

Taking a Minute to Win Your Relationship


With these relationship tips, you and your partner will both come out winners!

Win-Win Situation

Experiences in my life have led me to appreciate the moments I have with those I love. I’m especially grateful for my husband who I had to search long and hard for. I can’t say that I don’t EVER take him for granted, but I know how hard it was for me to find him; and I want to make sure that he’s around for a long time. So, besides encouraging him to replace fast food with veggies and to exercise with me, I also try to keep the love alive by doing little things that are easy and don’t take much time but that let him know how much he means to me. I thought I’d share a few of the ideas I’ve tried (or plan on trying) to help keep the relationship spark.
• Take silly pictures of each other and laugh together.
• When he/she is sharing something with you, give him/her your undivided attention (I admit I need to work on this!).
• Give a silly gift at an unexpected time.
• Flirt with each other.
• Leave a sticky note or note card somewhere that tells about how much you love and appreciate your partner.
• Share one thing you are thankful for about each other before going to bed each night.
• On a trip somewhere in the car, kiss at every red light or stop sign.
• Stop whatever you are doing to enjoy the sunset together.
• Send a text or email just to say hi.
• Surprise him/her with a favorite treat.
What are the small things you do to keep the spark in your relationship? What new idea are you willing to try this week?
Check out some other ideas on how to make every moment you have together count at http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/Marriage&Relationships_2013-01pr.pdf.

This article was written by Naomi Brower, Weber County Director/Extension Associate, Weber County

Upcoming Event: Marriage Survival Course!


Can Your Marriage Survive?

It’s a Jungle Out There!

Married, engaged, and seriously dating couples are invited to participate in a five-week course that will help couples enrich their relationship and build a healthier marriage.

Topics that will be covered in the classes include:
increasing commitment, communication skills, financial harmony, strengthening your relationship, and protecting your marriage.

Come join us for a fun evening while learning about healthy relationships. A light dinner will be served. Class size is limited.

Register here!

Tuesdays, March 1-29
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Wetland Discovery Point, Kaysville
$20 Per Couple for series, includes light Dinner

Tips for Incorporating Family Dinners


Enjoy the benefits of having dinner as a family!

Makin’ it Easy

Family meals benefit children both psychologically and academically.

Studies indicate that teens of all races, ages and ethnic groups who participated in family mealtime were better adjusted emotionally and socially, had better grades and had lower rates of negative behaviors such as alcohol and drug use (Satter, 2005).

In addition, family meals contribute nutritionally to a child’s development. Children and teens who participated in family dinners consumed less fat, soda and fried foods and more fruits and vegetables and nutrients (Gillman et al., 2000).

Despite the positive results of eating meals together, families often struggle trying to fit them in with sports, afterschool activities, workplace engagements, etc. But, even the busiest families can incorporate family mealtimes with a little planning and consistency.

Tips for Incorporating Family Meals:

• Set a goal:
You may not be able to eat every meal together, so start with twice a week and build from there.

• Keep it simple:
You don’t have to make a four-course meal every night. Making a veggie pizza or heating up leftovers counts. Add a salad or side of fruit for a complete meal.

• Plan ahead:
Keep ingredients for healthy meals on hand, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.

• Make it a family affair:
Get the entire family involved in meal preparation. Young children can stir and set the table and older children can cut vegetables for a salad.

• Use the crock pot:
Put all ingredients together before work in the morning. You’ll come home to a delicious meal that is ready to be served.

• Make it enjoyable:
Family meals are for nourishment, comfort and support. Ask each member to share something special that happened that the day.

• Turn off the TV:
Make sharing the meal the priority. Leave television, phone calls and texting till later.

Families share different activities and schedules, so family mealtimes are unique to each individual family. Even though there may be barriers, it is possible to make successful family meals happen for you and your family.


Gillman, M. W., Rifas-Shiman, S. L., Frazier, Rockett, H. R., Camargo, C. A., Field, A. E., Berkey, C. S., & Colditz, G. A. (2000). Family dinner and diet quality among older children and adolescents. Archives of Family Medicine, 9, 235-240.

Satter, E. (2005). Your child’s weight: Helping without harming. Madison, WI: Kelcy Press.

This article was written by Shannon Cromwell, Extension Assistant Professor

Family Volunteering // Benefits All Around


Find out how helping others can help your family!

Service with a Smile

Volunteering as a family can be fun, but it can also be challenging.

Telling the kids that you are going to go work somewhere as a family may not be received with a “Yippee!” However, knowing the benefits may make the scheduling and needed “family pep talk” worth it.

Families that took a volunteering survey reported the benefits of volunteering as a family.

Benefits reported by parents:
• It bonded them to their children and created a team atmosphere.
• The children got along better and recognized that they need each other.
• The children focused on someone other than themselves.

Benefits reported by children:
• They gained appreciation and respect for their parents for how much they care for the community.
• Siblings were seen as role models.
• It made them feel good.

Other benefits of volunteering as a family include:
• The experience of sharing experiences and values.
• Having fun as a family.
• Individuals and families can learn about new resources (education, social support, family services and financial assistance).
• Children gain real-world experiences and learn about careers
• Parent-child bonding can promote healthy development

In addition to the benefits of volunteering together, a study reported that there are also benefits to the individual family members.

Depending on what the family is volunteering for, opportunities where the baby can tag along can benefit their psychosocial needs. Parents are able to give consistent care and continue building trust.

Who said these little ones couldn’t volunteer? Toddlers can develop sensorimotor skills and language through the different experiences and environments of volunteering.

4-7 Year-olds
Volunteering provides opportunities to look at different choices and develop decision- making skills. Children can help decide where the family will volunteer and/or how to do the project. They can begin learning about responsibility and cause and effect.

8-12 Year-olds
Volunteering as a family provides school-aged children a safe environment for making mistakes, practicing skills and eventually succeeding at different tasks and settings. Children experience encouragement from parents and older siblings. Having flexibility in volunteer activities can be motivating.

It is not a secret that adolescents are working on figuring out their identity, values, beliefs and how to accomplish tasks. Volunteering as a family provides teens with parental examples of values and civic responsibility. They are also exposed to different experiences, learn new skills and gain new perspectives.

Young Adults
Family volunteering for young adults helps to maintain and strengthen family networks. Relationships may even be mended through the experience. Volunteering together helps meet the need to have healthy relationships in their lives through opportunities as simple as talking, learning something new and bonding.

Volunteering with children provides adults with the opportunity to share their culture, beliefs and values. Volunteering for adults promotes a sense of caring, compassion and empathy. They feed their need to give back by sharing experiences, knowledge and other resources.

Elderly Adults
Volunteering brings meaning and purpose to the life of elderly adults. Volunteering with family helps their mental well-being.

1Littlepage, L., Obergfell, E., & Zanin, G. (2003). Family Volunteering: An exploratory study of the impact on families. Center for Urban Policy and the Environment. Retrieved from: http://policyinstitute.iu.edu/Uploads/ProjectFiles/31_03-C05_Family_Volunteering.pdf

2Lewton, A. R., Nievar, M. A. (2012). Strengthening Families Through Volunteerism: Integrating family volunteerism and family life education. Marriage & Family Review, 48, 7, 689-710. DOI: 10.1080/01494929.2012.700909

This article was written by Zuri Garcia, Extension Assistant Professor, Davis County Extension

8 Top Tips for Strong Family Relationships


Follow these tips to help strengthen your family.

Strength Training

Today’s families face greater challenges than families of years ago. Family time can build strong family values, healthy relationships, and resilient family members.

Families that work together, eat together, talk together, and play together can better weather the storms that families will face.

Here are a few tips to help encourage quality family time:

1. Quality family time together in doing great activities such as games, hiking, reading, playing outdoors and visiting family and friends.
2. Meal time is family time. Families who eat 3-5 meals together a week have stronger relationships, kids who do better in school, and avoid risky behaviors. Plan simple meals where family members can assist with cooking and meal planning.

3. Take time for weekly family meetings where family members can communicate about emotions, family issues, family finance, family plans, and upcoming events. Make sure all family members have a chance to communicate and share.

4. Build a family crest that illustrates your family values. When children understand what is important to the family, they can incorporate these values into their lives.

5. Encourage a routine that schedules homework and reading time, limiting TV, video games, and computer time.

6. Share household responsibilities. Encourage all family members to have some responsibilities that help family members. Teamwork builds pride in each family member doing their part.

7. Show love and caring to all members. Share the great things family members do. Have a bulletin board, give “love notes”, and always praise the good things you want your children to do.

8. Keep spousal relationships strong. Parents need to keep their relationship strong and be sturdy role models to their children. Weekly date nights help parents focus on and enjoy one another.

This article was written by Carolyn Washburn, Extension Professor, Washington County

10 Things You Should Do Before Saying “I Do”

I Do 2

Consider these tips to help you have a successful relationship and marriage!

Creating a Happily Ever After

Being in love is exciting and wonderful, and for some people it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of romance. Many people spend more time planning for a wedding than they spend planning for a marriage. Before deciding to tie the knot, consider these tips to help create a more happily ever after.

1. Ask: Am I ready? The happiest relationships are built on a foundation of two happy and healthy people who are ready to take on the challenges of a new life together. Those who are ready to be in a long-term relationship have dealt with their own personal challenges and issues and are not looking for someone to make them happy or to “fix” them in some way (or vice versa).

2. Take time. In order to really get to know someone, it takes talking (mutual self-disclosure) + being together (in a variety of situations) + time (at least 90 days) (Van Epp, 2007). Because we are usually on our best behavior when we first meet and it takes time for patterns of behavior to emerge, this is a process that can’t be rushed, even if you spend a lot of time together.

3. Be extra cautious in long-distance relationships. While online dating is a common way to meet people, steer clear of commitment without spending a lot of time in person in many different situations. It is easier to show only our best selves in long-distance relationships.

4. Play detective. Ask deep and meaningful questions that will help you know if you are compatible with the person you are dating. For example, check out these 10 Questions to Ask Before Saying I Do. To make sure we aren’t biased about how we are viewing the person we are dating, it may also be helpful to think about how others might view him or her, or even ask others about their opinions and listen for warning signs you may have missed.

5. Start to become part of the family. Much of who we are was learned from growing up in our family, so we can learn a lot about what someone will be like as a partner and parent from observing, asking questions and spending time with their family. If there are concerns about a partner’s family or negative traits that a partner has learned from his or her family, you may want to think twice before getting too serious. While change is possible, it takes time and effort, and it is much easier to change before getting into a serious relationship.

6. Watch for personality compatibility. While we probably won’t have everything in common with our partner, happy relationships often have many of these traits in common: emotional temperament, sense of humor, intelligence, energy levels, similar recreation interests and how affection is expressed.

7. Be aware of each other’s values. Some of the biggest arguments in relationships relate to those things we value most because we have strong feelings and opinions about them. Having similarities in how religious/spiritual you are, having common financial views and goals and having similar views about family life are all major factors in lasting relationship satisfaction.

8. Watch for daily life compatibility. While it may not be romantic, the truth is that most of the time we spend with someone in a long-term relationship will be in the everyday routine of life. Consider such things as: Who will earn and manage the money? How will household responsibilities be divided? How will free time be spent? The answers to these questions can be crucial to the happiness of relationships.

9. Learn conflict resolution skills. Because we are all different, conflict is inevitable in even the happiest of relationships. When handled in a positive manner, overcoming conflict can strengthen relationships. Having a conflict plan in place can be helpful. Begin by setting the ground rules, such as choosing when and where to deal with conflict and remember to practice good listening and communication skills.

10. Plan now to keep your relationship strong. Just like cars, relationships need regular preventative maintenance in order to run smoothly and prevent problems. Research suggests that relationship education (such as attending a class or reading a relationship book together, etc.) can help relationships stay strong. Consider what you will do as a couple to keep your relationship strong.

For more information and class schedules on relationships, visit HealthyRelationshipsUtah.org.

This article was written by Naomi Brower, USU Extension associate professor

Date Your Mate // Will You Take The Challenge?

Date Your Mate

When life gets busy, it’s easy to get into the routine of dinner and a movie. Here’s a reminder that it’s fun and easy to add something new and different to your dating scene!

No More Popcorn!

Author – Naomi Brower

Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to pick one fun date night and make it happen this month.Think outside of the movie theater and add some excitement to your dating life! Here are a few ideas for date nights that I think are pretty fun and inexpensive to get your creativity going:

• Have a romantic picnic. Give your taste buds a new experience as your try new varieties of cheese (yum!) paired with sparkling cider and fresh fruit. For extra fun, add a blindfold and try to guess the type of cheese your sweetheart is feeding you.

• Go on a “vacation” for the night. Pick a destination and then eat food and do activities that would be similar to what you’d do if you were there. Or, attend a travel expo and dream about places you want to go. For extra credit, make a collage of pictures from all of the travel books you pick up and put it somewhere in your house. (Yes, I really have this hanging in my house.)

• Play glow in the dark tennis, volleyball, Frisbee, or golf. You can buy many of these items at local stores for $20 or less.

• Cultivate your green thumb. Attend a class together at one of the local USU Extension offices or botanical gardens. Put your new knowledge to work in your yard.

• Look for “the best______” (fill in the blank) in the area. For example, spend time comparing places for creating “the best” echo or places that sell “the best” frozen yogurt (my favorite!).

• Take a hike. Explore a new hiking trail in your area and then enjoy snacks as you take in the view at your final destination.

• Have a fondue party. Melt chocolate or cheese and dip veggies, meat, bread and treats. (Fondue pots are helpful but small crock pots also work well.)

• Go window shopping. Check out the latest electronic gadgets. Get ideas for decorating your home. Try on a new clothing look. Take some goofy photos together. (This is the perfect opportunity to get gift ideas for your sweetheart for future occasions!)

• Have a progressive dinner for two. Go to several different restaurants, enjoying a yummy appetizer at one, your favorite main course at another and the dessert you’ve been craving at the last.

• Take a trip down memory lane. Watch your wedding video or look at your old photo album of when you first met. You might notice something that you missed the first time.

• Attend the Utah State University planned county date nights designed to provide inexpensive and fun dates for couples, while learning relationship tips that will keep your relationship strong.

Not only is playing with your sweetheart fun, but spending time playing as a couple can increase feelings of closeness, improve communication and help couples to unite, which can help them when overcoming differences and challenges.

For additional inexpensive date night tips, as well as tips, classes and resources on building healthy relationships, see www.strongermarriage.org.

What are your favorite fun and inexpensive date night ideas?

This article was written by Naomi Brower

brower, naomi

Naomi Brower is an Extension Associate Professor for Utah State University. She has a Masters of Family and Human Development from Utah State University. Often called the relationship guru by friends, Naomi is passionate about helping others improve the quality of their lives through creating and strengthening their relationships with others.



How to Find a Work-Life Balance This Summer

Work-Life Balance

While summer is a time of relaxation for some, it is also a time of stress and chaos for others. There are so many activities in the summer it’s hard to balance everything. It’s even harder to balance these activities on top of work. Follow these tips to help you stay connected with your life and caught up at your job.

Finding Balance

In a growing number of families, all adults in the household are employed outside the home. Balancing demands of work, family and the rest of life can be a challenge and create stress. This can be especially true when trying to take advantage of summer activities. Additionally, too little sleep, lack of exercise and infrequent personal time can add to stress.

When stress is not managed well, individuals can become overwhelmed and experience emotional exhaustion, burnout or other negative feelings. Fortunately, there are ways to cope with work-life stress and aim toward a more healthy balance. Consider the following tips to find balance and enjoy the summer months:

1. Discover values and current priorities. Oprah Winfrey once said, “You CAN have it all. Just not all at once.” While most people generally know what they value, depending on the current situation, priorities may change. For example, for some people finding balance might mean dividing time equally between paid work, family, school and volunteer opportunities. Others might choose to devote their non-work time to one specific area such as school or family. There is no “right way” to prioritize, but rather each individual and family must determine a balance that is comfortable for them.

2. Set realistic goals and expectations. Many individuals have high expectations for themselves to perform all their roles well, be everything to everyone or be perfect. These unrealistic expectations can create conflict and stress. It is possible to change attitudes and expectations that no longer support current priorities. For example, this may mean that the kids get to school on time, but the dishes don’t get done in the morning. Set goals based on current priorities and focus on outcomes in these areas. If married or in a relationship, be sure to include your partner in this process and discuss the roles each will take. Revise plans and goals that don’t work—achieving balance is an ongoing process.

3. Manage time well. Setting priorities and goals will help in deciding how to best spend time each day. Keep a weekly or monthly planner, and schedule the most important things that reflect priorities first, such as birthdays, a family vacation or a date with a significant other before scheduling other events. Be sure to also include at least a small amount of personal time to recharge. Discuss goals and schedules with family members and significant others often so everyone is invested.

4. Let go of control and share the load. Many individuals try to reduce stress by maintaining control and doing everything themselves; however, this can sometimes keep them from reaching their most important goals. Besides, it is impossible to control everything! Remember, delegating is a sign of strength, not weakness. Hold a family meeting and discuss what each individual is willing to do to help. If appropriate, ask co-workers to help with projects or ask other people to help in other aspects of your life.

5. Take care of yourself. While it can be challenging to eat healthily, find time for exercise, get adequate sleep or squeeze in a few minutes of down time to enjoy a hobby. A small investment in these areas can yield big dividends. For example, just a few minutes of exercise can increase alertness and provide a boost of energy to accomplish other goals. Even on a hectic day, most people can find 10-15 minutes to read a book, take a brisk walk around the building or look at Pinterest to “recharge their batteries.”

6. Keep a sense of humor. Humor can help to manage stress when things don’t work out as planned. Consider, “How will I think about this situation a year from now?” And as William Arthur Ward once said, “A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.”

While there are many approaches to creating balance, what works for one individual may not work for another, and life challenges and possible solutions may change with time. Creating and maintaining a balance in life is an ongoing process; if the current approach isn’t working, try something else. The balance may not always be perfect, but small efforts toward balance can still have a tremendous impact on life satisfaction.

This article was written by Naomi Brower.

brower, naomi

Naomi Brower is an Extension Associate Professor for Utah State University. She has a Masters of Family and Human Development from Utah State University. Often called the relationship guru by friends, Naomi is passionate about helping others improve the quality of their lives through creating and strengthening their relationships with others.


Balancing Work & Family:

Family & Work a Delicate Balance: http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/19533/ec1454-e.pdf

5 Steps to Happiness

5 Steps to Happiness

Good things are all around us, but we sometimes need to make an effort to find them. Try these simple steps to find more joy and happiness in life!

5 Simple Things

1. Pay attention to things you like or enjoy.

Whether it is the color of spring’s green grass, the taste of your favorite food or the smell of cookies baking, say in your mind or even out loud something that reflects what you are enjoying.

2. Feel gratitude for the things you appreciate.

Whether you are grateful that you have a job, thankful that you have working indoor plumbing or glad that you have a computer or printer, say something positive about what you are thankful for, i.e., “I’m so happy that I have a car that works!”

3. Find the good in situations that are less than favorable.

When something goes contrary to what you were hoping, find the good in the situation. When you have to go to the dentist you can say “I’m so glad I live in a time when dentists can fix teeth rather than having to pull them without painkillers!”

4. When somethings goes bad, remember how it was when it was good.

When you’re sick, say “I’m so thankful for my health!” When your car (or appliance) breaks down, you could say “I’m so grateful my refrigerator usually works,” or when you have to go to the dentist you can say “I’ll be so glad when my teeth are fixed!”

5. Imagine how it would be if it was the way you wanted it.

You can say things like, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could go on a cruise to the Bahamas?”, “What if we could afford to buy a new car?” Or, “Imagine if you had your dream home!”

What we focus on tends to expand. By appreciating the simple things in life, the bigger things can seem a lot less stressful!

This article was written by SuzAnne Jorgensen from Utah State University Extension in Garfield County. This article was edited by Leah Calder, Extension Marketing Assistant.