Five Things All Children Need

Hi everyone,

This week, I’m having our favorite school psychologist share with you some basic “building blocks” to provide a strong foundation for your children in Five Things All Children Need.

Dr. Valerie Allen

Licensed School Psychologist ~ Certified Case Manager

Five Things All Children Need

As children develop, they learn about emotions, attitudes, values, and interpersonal skills. They acquire these attributes when their needs are met by significant people in their lives. Children follow good examples and they learn from bad examples. They begin to understand the part their behavior plays in the things that happen to them – actions and outcomes. To create a good emotional balance, youngsters need to develop these skills:

  1. Survival: These are physiological needs, basic to sustaining life: food, clothing, and shelter. Related needs include: warmth, exercise, rest, and good  health. Typically, these needs are met in day-to-day routines of child rearing. As an infant, you bath and feed your child. You take him or her for medical check ups. As children mature, you help them become independent, teaching them to do things on their own, such as, getting dressed, preparing food, dental hygiene, and so on. You help the infant survive and you teach the growing child self-help skills for his own survival. As a teenage and young adult, he or she will earn money and learn how to use it for basic survival needs.
  2. Safety: Children need to feel safe and secure; they need protection within their environment. Children need to be safe from hazardous conditions and dangerous situations. They need to know those in charge will not harm them and won’t allow them to be harmed by others. They need to know what is expected of them and how to live confidently in society to avoid conflict and encourage harmony. They need to be able to depend on those in charge to have order, routines, and predictability.
  3. Emotional: Children have a need to feel loved and accepted. They need “unconditional regard,” that is, love with no strings attached. They need to have a unique place within the family unit. They also need to “belong” within social groups, such as a class or a team. They need to share membership with a larger group and be able to fit in. This encourages sharing and mutual support and the concept of team spirit, surrendering our own needs to meet the needs of the group or team. This need is met when children participate in sports, music, scouts, church, or hobby groups. They learn how to initiate and maintain friendships on different levels with different people. They need to feel comfortable and accepted when joining and participating in group activities.
  4. Self Esteem: Children need to feel good about themselves. They need to believe they are liked and accepted by others. They need to develop a positive world view with the expectation they will do well and be successful. Children meet this need by their accomplishments and the encouragement of others. They earn respect, gain appreciation, and receive positive attention, when they engage in  appropriate social behaviors. They need to feel confident, with a realistic understanding of their strengths and talents.
  5. Efficacy: Children need to do the best they can, to meet their full potential. They need to be capable and productive, always striving to learn and do new things. This involves curiosity, self-expression, taking risks, and facing failure. Children need to understand that making an effort to do something is worthy, regardless of the outcome. They need to see change as an opportunity for growth.

All children need to acquire, use, and understand these basic skills to develop a feeling of control in their lives and maximize their potential.

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Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She presents seminars for parents and professionals in the field of child development and has published two children’s books,  “Summer School for Smarties”  and  “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends.”  Oh yes, she has also raised six children!


Shadow and Friends Children’s Book is An Ocean of Fun!

Multi-Award Winning Author, Mary Schmidt

Hello, everyone, today I want to introduce you to someone very special. I “met” this author online and then we both wound up at the same awards ceremony in Miami a couple of years ago and actually met in person. I read her heart-wrenching personal story about the loss of her son and she is one amazing person. But, today, I bring you one of her children’s books that I know you’re going to love–Shadow and Friends.

Mary, please tell us about your book…

“Join Shadow and Friends on a wonderful snorkeling, submarine, and pirate adventure just off the coast of Florida, visiting two Florida Keys in the Atlantic Ocean. Pilot Squirrel flies them all to Miami aboard the Rodent Road Adventures Jet, then they take a taxi, driven by a Florida coastal squirrel named Two Cut, to the Florida Keys.

The squirrels and both dogs learn how to snorkel and about lots of sea life including sea creatures such as sea turtles, angelfish, parrotfish, barracuda, and rays! The starfish, beautiful coral, sea grasses, shells and palm trees are amazing.

Uncle Stubby takes a small submarine to find treasure at an old shipwreck site. They dress up in pirate clothing and play as if they were pirates, near a play shipwreck, and discover a treasure chest of walnuts and dog treats!

Add in a sandcastle, mermaids, palm trees, and a lighthouse and a true ocean adventure awaits your child.

Children learn how to snorkel, and about marine life and their imaginations will take over during the pirate play. Your child’s imagination will bloom as they read this book or as they listen while it is read to them, and it’s perfect for story time.

See your child’s eyes light up at the photography, digital artworks and squirrel antics.”

Available on Amazon

Reader’s Favorite Review:

“Shadow and Friends Ocean Adventure: Shadow and Friends, Book 8 is an animal adventure storybook for children written by Mary L Schmidt, S. Jackson, and A. Raymond. Uncle Stubby had exciting news for his wife and son about their friend Zippy’s adventures in Florida. Zippy and his girlfriend, Patches, had gone snorkeling and had a grand time. Soon, every squirrel around knew about Zippy’s adventure, and so did Shadow and Max, their two dog friends. The rodent friends and their canine companions decided to go on their own snorkeling adventure, and they took Pilot Squirrel’s Rodent Road Adventures Jet to Miami, Florida. From there, it was a short trip to the Florida Keys where they lounged on the beach, snorkeled, and Uncle Stubby even traveled on a small submarine. They visited Key West and Key Largo and were amazed at the colorful and unique underwater creatures they saw. The friends also played pirate and they found a treasure chest filled with delectable treats for squirrels and dogs. This had to be one of their best adventures yet.

Shadow and Friends Ocean Adventure brings readers right onto the beach and into the tropical waters off the Florida Keys as Shadow and friends have a grand new adventure. The authors’ story is fun, and kids learn about ecology and snorkeling along the way. As I read this, I wished that I too had access to Pilot Squirrel’s Rodent Road Adventures Jet and was even now winging my way towards the tropical waters of Florida Keys. The illustrations are wonderful, especially those showcasing the marine life to be found when snorkeling, and the characters are convincing and fun. Shadow and Friends Ocean Adventure is most highly recommended.”

More about Mary…

M. Schmidt is a retired registered nurse who won many awards in her career; a member of the Catholic Church and has taught kindergarten Catechism. She has worked in various capacities for The American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Cub and Boy Scouts, (son, Gene, is an Eagle Scout), and sponsored trips for high school children’s music. She loves all forms of art but mostly focuses on the visual arts; amateur photography, traditional, and graphic art as her disabilities allow. More recently, she loves to devote precious time with her grandchildren, and husband Michael.

You can follow her on these social media sites…


 Her Blog


Art Gallery

Thank you for stopping in today! Please leave a comment and share on your social media sites for others to discover this fun and educational children’s book.

Petrina Pan in Everland as an Audiobook

Hi everyone,

I’m bringing to you today a book called Petrina Pan in Everland that I listened to on Audible, Amazon’s Audiobook service.

I have to admit that I have never listened to a book before on Audible (even though I have several books published in the Audible format). I prefer to read, after all!

But, I discovered a Facebook group called Free Audiobook Codes for Honest Reviews that connects would-be listeners with free Audiobooks. That sounds like a deal, right?!

I downloaded the Audible app on my phone, and through a link provided, I put in the code (copied and pasted actually), and wah-lah, within seconds I was listening to my first book.

I found myself putting my phone down and then I was able to start making dinner–that’s when I discovered the wonders of listening to a book–multi-tasking!

Because there’s nothing to look at, no words, no pictures, you might as well not keep staring at your phone or other device. Now, you could also just lay back and close your eyes and listen to the book being read to you which takes me back to 3rd grade when my teacher read to us. Wasn’t that a pleasant time?!

Or, like me, you multi-task. I know my sister has listened to books for years and she does it while driving–that’s a great way to “read” a lot of books.

Anyway, did you know that an author gets 25 codes they can give away to listeners?

They typically get 25 codes to use in the US AND 25 codes to use in the UK. That’s a lot of codes! But, oddly enough, it’s difficult to find that many listeners.

That’s why this Facebook group is genius!

Now, on to the book, Petrina Pan in Everland by Rich Linville and narrated by Holly Holt.

“What an adorable story! This is my first audible book that I have ever listened to. I definitely enjoyed the experience. Holly Holt’s voice is soothing and smooth. The story line was fun and positive. I won’t give away the ending but I’m glad everything ended happy.”

I gave this book 5 stars!

If you’re interested in this book or any other audible book, hop on over to the Facebook group and find your next favorite book (or contact me because I still have codes to give away for FREE on my books as well)!

Dolphin Girl, A YA Mystery with Christian Element

Hi everyone,

I found this book through a group I belong to and loved it immediately because I absolutely LOVE dolphins and mysteries and plus I live in Florida!!

Here’s the author, Tracey V. Williams, to tell us more about it…


Chloe Martin loves dolphins and her dog, Gabe. She’s a Senior Trainer at Dolphin Connection, a Southern Florida marine mammal facility. But when she discovers the dead body of the facility’s lead researcher in the women’s restroom, her past as an amateur sleuth all at once becomes very much her present. Her deep faith will be tested, as well, as the handsome detective assigned to the case becomes a special part of her fairytale story. Chloe turns to her trusted friend Grace to help carry her through… 🌟💖🐬 Add Dolphin Girl to your summer reading list by clicking on the link to Amazon below.

#dolphins #dolphingirl #traceyvwilliams #twins #freeonkindle

Now Available on Amazon

Thank you, everyone, for stopping by my blog today. Hope you pick up a copy for the youth in your life (or yourself)!

Practice at Home to Prepare for School

2 young children huddled over a desk. One is writing and the other is looking on.

Hi everyone,

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but here in Florida, School is starting today!

I know, it feels early to me too!

So, to help you get this year off to a good start, here’s our favorite School Psychologist with some tips for parents on how you can support your child at home.

Dr. Valerie Allen

Practice at Home to Prepare for School

There are four basic areas of development for the young child which can be fostered at home. These skills lead to success at school and set the pace for a positive educational experiences. Here are some home activities parents can support and encourage.

Intellectual:  Kids who read succeed. Take your youngster to the public library for his or her own library card. Allow your child to check out books from the library and spend time together reading them to each other. Play board games, cards, crossword puzzles, word searches which are challenging and appropriate for your child’s age. Help your youngster to explore, question, and discover new things.

Social:  Children need to engage in positive relationships with their peers as well as with adults. Encourage new friendships at school, in the neighborhood, and youth groups. Hobbies, team activities, and community organizations can offer new skills and nurture responsibility. Demonstrate a positive attitude toward rules and authority figures to develop respect and cooperation.

Emotional:  Children need to feel loved and accepted without demanding perfection. Openly show affection. Listen to your youngster and help him or her explore alternatives to find solutions to problems. Praise their efforts even if it doesn’t lead to success the first time.

Physical:  A child’s height and weight should be commensurate with his or her age. A good mantra for healthy children is “Eat less, move more.” Routines for adequate sleep, eating healthy foods, and personal hygiene support physical conditioning and offers preventative care. The best strategy to prevent disease and illness is hand washing!

Children will thrive in all areas of development when parents are actively involved in these simple day-to-day actions with and for their youngsters.

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Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist, speaker, and author. She  has published two books for  children in grades 3 to 6 , ‘Summer School for Smarties‘ and ‘Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends.‘ Oh yes, she has also raised six children!

On the Loss of the Love of my Life

I’m writing a blog posts today to share a little about my personal life. Those of you that have been following me for awhile have seen a few posts about what has been happening. Unfortunately, back in October, my husband was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

We were understandably devastated but we had no idea what lay ahead for us. We cried together and held each other during our sleepless nights. We had many conversations in the beginning about our love and commitment for each other. As time went by, those conversations got fewer and fewer.

Then, my husband got to work taking care of things–we found a lawyer and drew up paperwork so I would be able to make decisions for him if he became unable to; we contacted family and let them know; and some general things about running the house that he always had taken care of.

We drove into Orlando for his brain surgery. He was worried he might not know who everyone was afterwards, but he did. In fact, he was cracking jokes and making us all laugh.

But, that positivity didn’t last. He had a brain bleed and fell into a deep sleep. Not a coma, but close. I was beyond worried and stressed. He recovered and was released to rehab which he hated but overtime he wound up really liking his physical therapist and his speech therapist. Those people called to that line of work are worth their weight in gold.

He developed an infection at the wound site and had to go in for a second surgery to remove that piece of scalp. He would now have a soft spot. He had to go on 6 weeks of intravenous antibiotics. His radiation treatment, of which he had 6 days of, was put on hold. Then, it took 3 weeks after he was cleared of the infection to get started again on radiation. He finished the full treatment without any sickness or hair loss. We were thrilled! He rang the bell at the office!

Again, that positivity did not last. 8-10 days later, he developed late onset reaction to chemotherapy and radiation. He began declining but I couldn’t see it. I thought he was just tired from chemo/radiation and we were taking him off his steroid that he had started in October which could make one very tired.

He slept A LOT! And then, he began to not be hungry. He complained his stomach hurt and would often rub it. Sometimes he would say his stomach felt sour like he had eaten bad cheese. The doctors confirmed that the antibiotic he was on (he had developed a second infection) could make his stomach sour. So, I thought that’s why he wasn’t hungry.

But, no, it was the beginning of the end. Towards the end, he would have weird delusions. He told me that someone had dropped him out of the attic. There was an attic in the house he grew up in. I had no idea if he was reliving a memory or having a bad dream or if his head hurt and his body was trying to “create” a reason why.

His antibiotic ended and he asked for a cheesesteak (his favorite) and he ate a little bit. I was encouraged! The doctors and nurses shook their heads, though, and said it wasn’t enough to sustain life. But, if you haven’t eaten in 6 weeks, you’re not going to eat a big meal. I still couldn’t see it.

A nurse a month prior mentioned maybe he was giving up. I asked him and he said no vehemently. His primary doctor had told me to call hospice and put them on hold. That’s a weird way to put it, but I think she was trying to be delicate. The rehab doctor said we would have to call hospice if he wouldn’t take a feeding tube. That was the first inkling that something was wrong. Then, his radiation doctor said his will wasn’t giving up, it was his body. It was tired. He had many different things go wrong throughout this time while fighting brain cancer, his body just couldn’t recover. That made more sense than him actually giving up and explained his vehement response to my question previously.

But, it took a kind doctor actually pulling up a chair and sitting down with me and gently explaining that we shouldn’t pursue aggressive treatment. I wholeheartedly agreed that we should not continue with the monthly chemotherapy but didn’t realize she meant any treatment at all. It took several more conversations with her and a couple conversations with the hospice doctor before I started to see what they were really saying.

It took having a conversation with my husband, though, that actually made it real. He told me he was tired of all of this and didn’t want to do it anymore. He said he knew he wasn’t going to be here much longer. He said he wasn’t afraid to die and that he knew where he was going and was ready to meet his God. I have never wept so hard in all my life.

You see, I knew I had to have a conversation with him about his life coming to an end but I didn’t know how. I had prayed that day for the Lord to help me have that conversation. When I arrived at the hospital, he was not in the room. He was away having a procedure. When he came back in, that’s when he told me he was tired of all of it. He opened the door to be able to have the most difficult conversation you could ever have with a loved one in your life. I knew this opening, this opportunity was a gift from God to allow us to have this beautiful, albeit, heart-wrenching conversation.

We spoke again of our love and the wonderful memories we shared and the beautiful family we had. I told him that when he gets up there, if he’s able, to take care of me. He said, of course he would. I told him that when it was my turn, I would come running into his arms. I wept and stroked his arm and hand.

He was completely aware of what we were talking about and it felt like my old Joe, the one before he got sick and his mind quit working as good as it had. But, then, he started saying things that didn’t make sense and in a flash, the moment of pure, blissful love flowing between us had ended. We were back in the dark hospital room struggling with the reality of our relationship coming to an end, at least an end here on earth.

I called for hospice on a Thursday about a week and a half after that conversation. It took a few days for the hospice doctor to sign off and the hospice nurse to come. They moved him to Hospice House on a Monday and he died that Friday peacefully and with family surrounding him. That was May 31st. Only 7 months after his diagnosis.

I have been reeling at losing the love of my life, my soul mate, my best friend–the best thing that has ever happened to me. He brought such healing to my life. So, I have been attracted to books that either talk about grief, or are of a spiritual, uplifting nature, or talk about someone else’s experience.

That’s when I came across Abbie Johnson Taylor’s book called My Ideal Partner, How I Met, Married and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds. You see, Abbie and her husband were both blind AND he had a massive stroke that paralyzed his left side.

I started reading it and only put it down once and that was because I had to make dinner.

Here’s my review on Amazon


5.0 out of 5 stars

Caregiving, Love, and Loss

July 14, 2019Format: Kindle Edition

Verified Purchase

After having just lost my husband 6 weeks ago to brain cancer and being his caregiver, I found myself in this book. Similar thoughts and feelings. I never knew before I was one how difficult it was to be a caregiver. Watching your big strong husband decline and doing everything in your power to try and ease their suffering is beyond difficult. This was a very good book and well-written. What a beautiful love they shared. Anyone who’s gone through a similar situation will relate and those that haven’t will gain some insight into our world.

If you made it this far, I was to thank you for stopping by my blog today. I know it’s different from my usual posts about children and children’s books and those will return again next week, but I thought you might want to hear a little bit about what has been going on in my life and to read a great book that helps give you insight into what it is to be a caregiver and then lose your partner.

In the future, I may have a book of my own to share our story. We’ll see. Right now, I’m grieving.

Peanut Butter in the Middle, A New Release Children’s Book

Hi everyone,

I’ve got a new release for you called Peanut Butter in the Middle about, well, being in the middle, literally. A great children’s book for all children but especially a middle-born child.

Stuck in the Middle

NEW YORK, NY – Children’s author, Stephanie Lombardi bursts into the literary scene with her charming book, Peanut Butter in the Middle.

The story follows a young boy who is the middle child with a baby brother and an older sister. The young boy often feels left out as it seems like his siblings receive more attention than him.

His mindset completely changes one day while spending one on one time with his mom when she shows him the crucial role he holds in his family.

The young boy’s discovery emphasizes the main message that prompted Lombardi to write the book.

“The strongest message of my book is how each sibling even the middle sibling has an important role to play in their family,” she reflects.

Filled with gorgeous illustrations and a heart-warming message, Peanut Butter in the Middle is a story that will resonate with parents and children alike.

Peanut Butter in the Middle, published by Austin Macauley, was released on June 28th 2019.

Price: $12.95 ISBN: 9781641825306. It is available in Amazon, Barnes & Noble as well as other bookstores around the country. Review copies are available upon request.

For more information, please visit:

About Stephanie Lombardi: Stephanie Lombardi-Terranova is a graduate of Rutgers University where she majored in Psychology. She went on to earn her Juris Doctor at Seton Hall University School of Law. She practiced as a family law attorney prior to having her three children: Madison, Peter, and Richard. She currently resides in Colts Neck, New Jersey, with her loving husband, Matthew, their children, and their cat, Rugby. She lives just minutes away from the home where she grew up. She loves spending time with her family at the beach, in Disney World, or really anywhere they are. She sees her mother every day.

Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing your book with us today! I encourage my readers to please purchase a copy of her book for the favorite child in your life and/or share with others so they can discover this wonderful book with an even better message!

The Legend of the Lighthouse

Hi everyone,

I’m super excited to bring you this children’s book by J. A. Jones. I read it and absolutely love the inspirational message contained inside. Here’s the Press Release to tell you more about it….

A Lighthouse Magically Comes to Life

NEW YORK, NY – Imagine this: if a lighthouse magically came to life, how would it react? Legend of the Lighthouse by J.A. Jones explores this question in his inspirational story about a magical lighthouse that shows us we are all special in our own way.

The story begins with a swift fight between a Pirate King and a sea serpent; following the Pirate King’s battle victory, his luck continues, and he finds glorious treasure. The Pirate King buries the treasure on the Island of Forever which appears every twenty years.

As time passes, the Pirate King grows old in age and forgets where he hid his treasure. One afternoon, a soaring seagull discovers the misplaced treasure and magically transforms the Lighthouse into a living being. When the lighthouse comes to life he is afraid and confused, but with the guidance of the seagull he learns that we are all uniquely special in this world.

The lighthouse’s ability to come to terms with his new identity aligns with Jones’s beliefs about self-acceptance: “I believe how we deal with extreme situations can show us who we truly are, and we are only limited by our imagination,” he reflects.

Full of adventure, pirate kings, sea creature, treasure and a powerful inspirational message, Legend of the Lighthouse is a timeless read that will allow readers to teleport to a magical world whenever they wish.

Legend of the Lighthouse, published by Austin Macauley, was released on May 31st 2019.

Price: $9.95 ISBN:9781641825634. It is available in Amazon, Barnes & Noble as well as other bookstores around the country. Review copies are available upon request. For more information, please visit:

About J.A. Jones: At an adolescent age, J. A. Jones began writing short scripts to entertain his family. He realized he had a gift for storytelling. Soon after the tragic loss of his mother at an early age, he isolated himself from friends and family for long periods. He escaped into the worlds of Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, evolving a love for fantasy which in turn helped him develop his unique imagination. After jobs such as high-rise window washer, hotel manager, and bodyguard, J. A. Jones decided to pursue a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and fulfill a dream of becoming a published author.