How to guide

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Think you can't start your own group? It's easy! First, assemble a core group of members and a regular meeting time. Second, set some ground rules and goals, like what kinds of literature the group will cover. Next, spread the word to others who may be interested in the topics. Once your meetings get rolling, keep looking for new members and be open to the idea of having multiple groups if the original group gets too big.


Over the past few years, more and more people are turning to blogs to say what's on their minds. Whether you want to catalog your child's firsts, or express your thoughts on recent political news, blogging is a simple and effective way to speak your mind.

Here are a few steps you can follow to set up your new blog.

  1. Decide what you want to blog about - Your life, politics, sports or any other interests.
  2. Find a free blog service - There are dozens to choose from, including LiveJournal, Tumblr and Wordpress.
  3. Set up an account - Choose a domain name, set up the page settings.
  4. Begin blogging - Write what's on your mind. Also post links, photos and videos which will make your blog even more interesting for readers.
  5. Update regularly - It will help to maintain a steady stream of viewers.
  1. Check the diaper!
  2. Try swinging the baby in your arms.
  3. Play music if it's too quiet, or turn down the music or TV volume if one or the other is too loud.
  4. Hold and massage the baby.
  5. Feed the baby.
  6. Try a warm bath - for the baby. Yours can come later.
  1. Peacefully protest. Gather a group of people with similar feelings on an issue and set up a march or sit-in in a very visible public place. But above all else, make sure everything stays calm.
  2. Write a letter, make a phone call or send an e-mail. It's important for city council members, senators, state representatives, and even the president to hear from constituents.
  3. Post a blog. Discuss your feelings on an issue at hand. Also, make comments on message boards, articles or the blogs of those who are like-minded.
  4. Call a radio show that's discussing the topic.
  5. Vote! This is the best way to have your voice heard.

"You can be the driver, passenger or both," said Janet Beraty, senior outreach coordinator of Ride Solutions. Once you know who to contact to get started and understand some basic rules, you'll probably find it's well worth the effort. After all, you are making Columbus a healthier place to live. "Carpooling reduces the number of single occupant vehicles on the road to lessen road congestion and air pollution. It's good for the environment," Beraty said.

Organizing your carpool is easy when you turn to Ride Solutions, (888)-742-RIDE. "We send a list to the person's home that is customized totally to his or her commute by where they live, where they work and what their work hours are," Beraty said. Accommodations are no big deal. "We talk together and make an arrangement that works for both of us."

Many children become fans of carpooling. "It is good because it has kids learn to go with the flow and have new challenges," said psychologist Dr. Kathryn Leugers. "The opportunity to carpool gives children the chance to spend time with kids they are already friends with, or new kids, in a structured environment," she said. "It is a way for him to build his self-esteem and to learn to relate to other kids and adults, which is good for his development," Leugers said.

Carpooling may require adjustments for some kids. "If you have a child that is easily over-stimulated, struggles with attention issues, hyperactivity, autism or developmental issues, getting in a car with a lot of other children may be overwhelming and set him up for distress," Leugers said. It does not mean they can't do it. "Parents need a little bit of extra time to set their child up for success in that environment. The first time they carpool, they may only want to have one other child with them, or maybe the parent would be present," she said.

Carpooling is a great way to learn new things about others. "I have gotten a social benefit out of it and became friends with the others over time, shared things we might not have shared otherwise and helped each other out in the process," said Susan Westberg. Now an avid carpooler of 13 years with the same group of people, Westberg was originally hesitant. "The two people I carpool with have been doing it for 15 years and were trying to convince me to join since we all lived in the same neighborhood. It took about a year because I had to change my whole schedule, but we have been carpooling ever since," Westberg said.

Remember to put safety first. "It is always important for children to have seatbelts on and for them not to be in the front seat if they are below the certain age and weight requirement," Leugers said.

Parents should not rule out carpooling because their children are in daycare. It really can be flexible. "You can carpool from your daycare and we have a free program called Guaranteed Ride Home. If you have an emergency, like the school calls or you are not feeling well and need to leave, you will be reimbursed for 90 percent of the taxi cost," Beraty said.

Once you begin to carpool, you may wonder why you didn't start sooner. "I am shocked at how easy it is and how well it has worked. I wish I would have done it years ago," said Angela Hazlett-Krile. "It is so much more relaxing to be the one riding in the car than being the one driving."

The next time you contemplate the demands and stresses of the day, you just may want to consider dividing the ride.

Jamie Lober, author of Pink Power, has a passion for health promotion and disease prevention. She can be reached at

  1. Believe that you can achieve financial success and make a commitment to yourself to attain it. It is within your grasp if you really want it.
  2. Ask yourself this: Where do you want to be in 2, 5 and 10 years' time? Set goals that excite you.
  3. Establish your current financial position. What is your cash inflow and outflow?
  4. Develop your plans. Decide what action you are going to take that will move you closer to the achievement of your goals. All goals should be specific and have timelines.
  5. Closely monitor the performance of your investments and your rate of savings.
  6. Try to put extra savings into investments (it could be your own business).
  7. Review and reward yourself annually if your targets are met.
  8. Pursue your personal goals and business ideas with all you've got. If you really believe in them, they are far more likely to be achieved.
  9. Try to live a balanced life - or as balanced as you can make it. Money doesn't buy happiness; so take some time to unwind.
  10. The highest cost of all is the cost of waiting to change your current circumstances in life.


Think you can't start your own group? It's easy! First, assemble a core group of members and a regular meeting time. Second, set some ground rules and goals, like what kinds of literature the group will cover. Next, spread the word to others who may be interested in the topics. Once your meetings get rolling, keep looking for new members and be open to the idea of having multiple groups if the original group gets too big.

Whether it's dolls or cars, soldiers or trading cards, starting and maintaining a collection can be a fun, lifelong hobby. And starting a collection with your children can be a bonding experience they will cherish for a long time.

By following a few steps, you can ensure your child will enjoy the collecting process as much as you will.

First, allow your child to play with what he or she is collecting. If he is collecting toys, he'll have much more fun playing with the items than just looking at them in the package. If he eventually becomes serious about collecting these goods for investment purposes, he can find others still in the packaging at an auction website like

Next, work with your child to see how she wishes to display the collection. Help her build a shelf or display case. Talk to other collectors to see what they are doing as far as collecting and displaying their goods.

Have fun looking for the items you and your child are collecting. Have an adventure with your kid - search through flea markets, antique shows and garage sales to find rare items.

When talking to other collectors, or collection clubs and associations, be sure your child understands the importance of taking care of her collection. While she can still have fun, show her the value of well maintained collections.

Here are a few free (or almost free) items you and your kids can collect together.

  1. State quarters
  2. Postcards
  3. Seashells or rocks
  4. Kids' meal toys


Jay Sowers interned with Columbus Parent Magazine in summer, 2009 and graduated from Ball State University.

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