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Keep Family Trip and Still Make the Grade

By Jodie Lynn


We have eight-year-old twins. One is doing well in second grade while the other is really struggling. We were hoping to plan a small, fun getaway for the family and just relax. However, it's important to spend extra time catching up and reviewing with one of the kids. How is the best way to do this and not make her feel picked on and perhaps guilty for ruining our free time? Should we just cancel the trip?


Our ten-year-old daughter went through this, especially in math. We took her to a tutoring facility and things only got worse. She was very reserved at the time and it was just not a good scenario for her. We ended up contacting a lady from an ad in our community paper. Though we were put on a waiting list, she was the best thing that ever happened to us. My daughter blossomed in less than seven weeks and still goes back occasionally for an upcoming new math prep lesson. - Ann K. M. in Memphis, TN


If you cancel the trip altogether, your daughter will likely feel guilty about it. The family won't feel great about it either. If you are pressed for time, check out available tutoring facilities to perhaps get her back up to speed or maybe even ahead of the game before the trip. Ask her teacher(s) for specific tips and areas in which your daughter needs improvement. You may even get a recommendation as to which tutor or tutoring facility to contact. In fact, there could be someone within the school or district that tutors one-on-one. This works well for kids who may be a little intimidated at a tutoring facility with lots of people they are not familiar with. There are many retired teachers who also tutor for reasonable fees because they simply love teaching. Additionally, you could spend a little time each day of the trip doing something educational. Go to fun museums, science centers, aquariums, zoos, botanical gardens, nature hikes, monument and historical site tours... anything that stimulates the brain and gets your daughter thinking. Very subtly encourage her with casual questions. Don't worry about choosing exactly the right words or you'll end up trying too hard and she'll catch on. It's not about what you ask, it's about why you would ask it. Ask her about what she's seeing, hearing and experiencing. How does it make her feel? What does it make her think of? Again, go overboard and she'll see right through you. Just explore the various avenues of conversation she'll lead you down if she has something to say. Your job is to encourage, not push. Keeping those things in mind, your vacation can be a giant, exciting tutoring session for the whole family if you let it!

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My sister's husband just got a new job after being laid off for almost three years. She is opening credit cards behind his back and charging things she feels she has had to do without, which I feel is quite selfish. I love my sister but to be fair to her husband, should I tell him what's going on or just keep my mouth shut?

To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email direct2contact, or go to which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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