5 Goodies Kids Should Avoid to Maintain a Healthy Set of Teeth

Written by Role Mommy Contributor, Jessica Donnovan.

tooth hurts
Parents want nothing less than the best for their kids. They do not want their kids to make the same mistakes that they did when they were younger. Parents get monstrous when another kid in school hits their baby. They curse the first boy that broke their little girl’s heart. The list goes on, and that list includes having healthy, if not perfect set of teeth. Hence, parents resort to different tactics for how to make their five-year-olds brush their teeth before bedtime, to avoid eating candies, and to find trips to the dentist enjoyable– the last one being the hardest among kids of all ages or people of all generations. This article will identify five foods kids should avoid eating to have healthy set of teeth. It also aims to suggest some alternative foods to satiate the kids’ cravings for such while not compromising their pearly whites.
1. Hard candies and sweets
Kids love sweets. They would exchange anything between the moon and candies, maybe even you. Hard candies mean sugar, and sugar means bacteria. And as long as the candy stays in the child’s mouth, the happier these bacteria are. Not to mention that when kids get tired of sucking the candy, they would start biting and chopping the hard thing, which can cause some teeth problems.
2. Jelly and some sticky foods
Everybody has his own story getting embarrassed in front of a bunch of kids in school or colleagues at work. You talk and talk as the others hide their giggles and wicked smiles because you got something stuck between your teeth. And you remember that piece of caramel candy you had as a finale to your sumptuous lunch. Then you swore you would never eat caramel bars again. But you still do.
Jellies are to be avoided not only to prevent these awkward things from happening but also to avoid trapping bacteria that goes with these sticky foods. Give them alternative snacks like apples but make it a point not to go overboard in citrusy fruits as they demineralize the teeth enamel.
3. Rice, Pasta, and other foods high in carbohydrates
While you need pasta, bread and rice for energy, keep these food intake limited since they also contain starch that sticks to your teeth, hence, bacteria again. This can lead to further damage like tooth decay and gum problems. Although kids are too young to care for carb diet, you may want to opt for whole grain crackers and brown rice as these are safer options. This may be a double whammy if your kid is suffering from obesity.
4. Soda and carbonated drinks
In the modern age like this where children normally feast on junk foods and fast foods on a regular basis, they too find soda the best partner for steamy hot fries and burger. Carbonated drinks are very acidic that it speeds up the erosion of a tooth’s enamel. Keep these drinks on a minimum and let them drink water instead.
5. Sweet juices and energy drinks
Children love sweets even in beverages as aforementioned. Juices contain a high amount of sugar through artificial sweeteners and food coloring that is also not good for the body. Make fresh juices for them when you can and if it is the healthiest drink available in school, make them drink through a straw so that it will not damage the enamel of their teeth.
teeth brushing
Let them practice the habit of regularly brushing their teeth so that no bacteria will linger too long in their mouth. You can also try giving them alternative foods and drinks that are safer for their mouth and body such as water, whole grain crackers, fresh juices and wheat bread. The most important of all is to reach out to them and explain the importance of taking care of their teeth. Anyway, we know that you cannot watch them 24/7.
Author bio:
Jessica is a freelance writer, she’s an aerobic Instructor and a frequent runner. She loves ice creams and cereals. She’s also into almost all types of music genre and knows how to play the guitar. Follow her adventures on her Twitter.

Ford Cars Amazing Innovations

Connect with Your Teens writer Jennifer Wagner went on assignment for Role Mommy at Ford Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, where she got the inside scoop on all the amazing innovations headed our way from Ford…
ford 081.JPGRecently, I attended a two-day event, hosted by Ford, in which bloggers, journalists and other trend-spotters were brought together with Ford’s designers, scientists and product specialists to discuss trends and issues facing consumers. It was fascinating and enlightening and I walked away with more knowledge of automobiles than I ever thought I would have.

Forward with Ford 2011 was held in Dearborn, Michigan, the home of Ford’s World Headquarters. We had the chance to actually tour several areas, preview designs in the making and test drive cars. However, as fun as all of that was, the most important parts of the conference were the sessions in which we learned what Ford is doing about issues such as safety, the environment, aging,  and emerging technologies.

Some of the efforts Ford is initiating in the safety area:
ford 074.JPGIndustry first technologies available in the Ford Explorer 2011 (will be added to others soon)
Rear inflatable seat belts (combines seat belt and air bag) – additional protection for rear seat passengers who are often children and older passengers who can be more vulnerable to injury
Curve Control – designed to help drivers maintain control when they take on a curve too quickly
MyKey for Teens – Parents can program the car with top speed and music volume limits. The car can also be programmed not to drive if the seat belts aren’t buckled.
Car Seat Safety – Ford has made major efforts to teach parents to properly install car seats.
Ford has recently introduced a new warning system to help drivers avoid rear-end accidents. The technology uses radar to detect moving vehicles ahead and warns the driver of danger with an alarm and warning light. The system also automatically pre-charges brakes and engages an electronic brake assist system to help drivers stop more quickly.
The Environment
KGT_8500e.jpgEd Begley Jr., actor and green advocate, was brought in to discuss eco-friendly lifestyles. Ford has made great strides is this area. The environmentally friendly Ford Focus Electric is green in ways beyond zero-emissions. All the materials that go into the car are eco-friendly as well.

New Technologies
Americans want access to their smartphones all the time. Ford is constantly working on ways to give provide consumers with access to a wireless world, but in a smarter safer way. With SYNC you can control your music, phone calls, texts, GPS and more through voice commands. You do not have to take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road. SYNC AppLink allows you to control your favorite smartphone apps with voice commands. In fact, Pandora, my favorite Internet radio, will work by voice commands through SYNC AppLink, even though it can’t be controlled by voice anywhere else. Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora, and speaker at Forward with Ford 2011, was amazed at this concept.

Aging Population

Ford has been working on many technologies to help seniors and aging baby boomers including multi-contour seats and bolder fonts on the dashboard. A big help to engineers designing improvements is the third-age suit. This suit allows younger engineers wearing it to feel like an elderly person. (There is also an empathy belly for working on designs for pregnant women). Ford is also working on various Health and Wellness apps that can be added to SYNC and remind drivers to take their medicine and more. Some will have medical devices connected via Bluetooth and can actually monitor your health.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the genius of the amazing keynote speaker, Malcolm Gladwell, the great time at the Fillmore Detroit with a concert by a new band from Seattle, The Head and the Heart and the friendliness and generosity from everyone at Ford. Thank you Ford, I was very impressed by what you are doing with safety and technology and with you.
Disclosure: Ford Motor Company covered all travel expenses (airfare and hotel accommodations) in conjunction with the conference.

Is Your Daughter Ready for Summer?

authorShot2.jpegGuest contributor and Bonding over Beauty Author Erika Katz shares tips all moms should know to prepare their tween daughters for summer…
With the summer months approaching us, it is time to clean the closets and pull out those great summer dresses, shorts, and swimsuits. But, with all those cute outfits come new beauty issues for you and your tween to tackle. This could be her first year with unwanted hair around the bikini line, on the legs, and the underarms. If she has just recently gotten her period, she might not know then to use pads and when to use tampons. Perspiration is now an issue. And the list goes on. So how do you get her ready for summer so she feels self confident and secure? Here are a few suggestions:
Hair Removal
If your daughter is showing signs of puberty, you might have to talk to her about being bathing suit ready. Her legs and underarms should be smooth, if she has any hair sticking out from her underwear, now is the time to address it, and if her forearms are excessively hairy it is no longer taboo to remove it. Her options are shave, depilatory, or wax. Laser is an option but only after the onset of menstruation. So here is a good summer guide to hair removal.
The night before a trip to the beach, spread a thick layer of shaving cream on the underarms, legs, forearms and any hair that falls outside of her underwear. Carefully shave the area for her or show her how to do it using a razor with a pivoting head such as the Gillette Venus. Be sure to rinse the blade after each stroke.
Depilatory is a great option if your daughter’s skin is not too sensitive. Find a depilatory specifically designed for the area she is depilating. Spread the cream on the unwanted hair and leave it on for 8 minutes or as directed. Then remove with a wet washcloth.
I suggest taking her to a good salon to wax unwanted hair. If you want to do it at home, I like the Completely Bare line of products available at www.completelybare.com. It is the identical wax used in the salon so you are not getting a watered down version of anything.
If your daughter has started menstruation, you can consider laser if she is light skinned with dark hair. It is costly but the results are great. However, laser needs to be done at least 2 weeks before she goes in the sun. When she arrives, the technician shaves the hair she would like removed. Then, she will go over the shaved area with cooling gel and then the laser. The hair will fall out in 2 weeks.
Tampon or Pads?
It is so important to teach your daughter to use both pads and tampons. Girls tend to have a heavy flow on the second and third day even if they are using tampons. I suggest she use a pantyliner like Kotex Tween to catch any leaks. It might take her a few periods to figure out what absorbency to use when. I also like Kotex Overnight with Wings for the night especially if she tends to sleep more than 8 hours. For daytime, especially during the summer months, I encourage you to teach your daughter to use a tampon if you have not already done so. This way she can participate in all summer sports every day. All girls can use a tampon as soon as they get their first period.
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Denise Jonas Chats with Role Mommy

NYC Single Mom Linda Grant and her daughter get to meet pop superstar Nick Jonas and his amazing mom Denise…
115611805LM020_The_Quaker_C (1).JPGEver wonder what it’s like to be the mom of one the most famous groups in the world? Well, I got the chance to find out when I interviewed Denise Jonas, the mom of Nick, Joe and Kevin Jonas, aka the Jonas Brothers and let’s not forget the youngest Jonas brother Frankie.
From the moment she walked into the room, I could tell she was like every other mom I know but just happened to have talented and famous children, supportive, involved and happy that the fans love her sons as much as she and her husband do. As I was interviewing her, I envisioned that her house was always filled with friends and family, the house everyone wants to be invited to and hang out.
Denise was attending an event with her son Nick, who is teaming up with Quaker Chewy Granola Bars to launch a new singing competition for kids. The contest, known as the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search, was created to give parents of kids ages 8 – 14, a platform to showcase their kid’s vocal talents. The Grand Prize winner will get to record a song produced by Nick Jonas, an online music video, a contract with Jonas Group Management and $5,000 in cash. For more information on the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search. Visit www.ChewySuperstar.com for exact locations, dates and times.
Thanks to Beth, good friend and blogging mentor, I was invited along with fellow bloggers Amy Oztan from Selfishmom.com and Katja Presnal from skimbacolifestyle.com to see Nick Jonas perform and interview Denise. And for the record, my eight-year-old daughter asked if she could read two of the questions and Denise graciously said, yes. Sweet, right! A thoroughly memorable experience for both mother and daughter.
Our Q & A with Denise Jonas:
Question: How have you managed to keep your sons grounded despite their
meteoric rise to fame?
Denise: I don’t know that I am responsible. I think that I have done the best I could as far as being a parent with my husband and I collectively trying to parent them. Keeping them focused on not necessarily on fame or what they are doing but focused on being a good person. That’s we have always stressed and I think that’s what’s helped them to always think about others not themselves.
Question: What is your advice to parents who have kids who dream of pursuing
a career in music?
Denise: I would say, that it’s really important to listen to your kids, and pay attention to what their ideas are, never discourage them from their goals, even if you might think are unattainable. Nick said I was singer but he was really being kind because I am not really a good singer. His dad is really the musical one. I try to encourage all of them in their gifts. My youngest son, Frankie has different gifts, so I am trying to encourage him in new ways.
Question: Now that your sons are getting older, are you finding more time?
for yourself to do the things you’ve always loved to do?
Denise: I like this question because it’s a natural question for women especially those who are stay at home but as I said, before about embracing life and living in the moment. This has been a pretty fast experience and I think that I have tried to live and experience every moment. I always felt that this is what I loved to do. I am still missing cooking for them which is satisfying. Just as Nick likes fans to sing with him, I like when they are eating my food. I am having a little more time for myself which is kind of hard, I don’t know what to do with it. But I have always just felt like that life was not about me and I think you have more reward when you take the focus of yourself especially as a mom. I think it’s rewarding when my kids are blessed.
Question: What would you cook for you them?
Denise: My family is of Italian background. My grandmother was of French descent but they love everything Italian that I cook. They love my chicken enchiladas that my mom passed down. We were always about eating healthy. We were always very careful about eating together.
Question: Did you go on the road when they were younger?
Denise: As Nick mentioned, he was auditioning a lot in New York but he did not go on the road until he was twelve. I would travel when he was in the tri-state area as much as I could. My husband was also working another job so he could not travel. My brother, who had just graduated it was the perfect fit, went with them on the road. There were not gone for extensive periods of time. After the first year, I was able to go with them.
Question: What is your favorite place since you have been all over the place?
Denise: I love Europe and New York and miss being on the East coast a lot. That’s the best part, is that we have travelled and seen the world together. I love that Frankie can say that at ten years old, his favorite city is Rome. Who can say that? It’s been a blessing.
My interview with Denise Jonas had to be one of the most relaxing, and laid-back interviews I have ever had and it’s thanks to her, engaging and warm personality. With an incredibly positive outlook on life, Denise is a true Role Mommy who encouraged her children to accomplish their dreams and as a result, they’re all living happily ever after.

Fun Games to Keep Your Kids Occupied on Rainy Days

iStock_000016016075XSmall.jpgConnect with Your Teens editor Jennifer Wagner offers some great options for your kids when rainy summer days keep them inside…
Ages 5-7 and up
Zhu Zhu Princess: Carriages and Castles
– A new game in the Zhu Zhu line in which players help Princess Snowcup find Prince Dashington’s castle. All the other hamster friends, such as Patches and NumNums, are along for the ride.
Mario Kart, Wii – Great racing fun for the entire family, up to 12 players can play together online. Now here’s the best part if you haven’t yet invested in a Wii…buy a Wii gaming system for $149 and it comes complete with this game and a Wii steering wheel!
Strange and Wonderful World of Ants, iPad app – Quirky science app with an adjustable reading level making it usable to a wide range of kids. Great illustrations.
Math Bingo, iPhone and iPad app – Ranked as one of the top educational apps for elementary school age kids.
Ages 8 and up
Plants Vs. Zombies
– Windows, Mac, Xbox, PlayStation, DS, iPhone, iPad, Android, Web – Fun comic graphics in which players protect their homes from zombies using various types of plants. Winner of numerous awards. Loved by all ages.
Cut the Rope, iPhone and iPad app – 8 Fun strategy game from the makers of Angry Birds. This game also involves physics.
Pokemon Black Version and Pokemon White Version, DS and DSi – Interesting plot involving animal liberation, fun and easy to play, online component.
Donkey Kong Country Returns
 – Fast paced adventure game with classic Nintendo characters. Two players can enjoy it together in cooperative mode. Great family game.

Related links:
Wii Summer Games Review

Summer Safety for Kids

Screen shot 2011-06-06 at 11.28.21 AM.pngRoss Ellis, founder of Love Our Children USA shares important tips for keeping your kids safe this summer…
Summer is a time for school classrooms and hallways to empty and the awaited anticipation of our children’s fun and play time.
Yet, emergency rooms across the country call summertime ‘the trauma season for kids.’ From the heat to pools to bike riding, parents need to be on alert.
Childhood memories are filled with summertime fun which means trips to the beach, ice cream, and rides at the amusement park. While your family enjoys the summer, emergency room doctors don’t enjoy what they refer to as the trauma season.
This summer children ages 14 and under will be rushed to emergency rooms nearly 3 million times for serious injuries resulting from motor vehicle crashes, drownings, bike crashes, pedestrian incidents, falls and other hazards. More than 2,500 children will die.
Tragedies rise and nearly half (40 percent) of all unintentional injury-related deaths occur during the summer months (May to August) because children are supervised less, have more free time and are involved in more outdoor activities. While you relax this summer, summer is not the time to relax about safety. Close supervision, proper protective gear, and other simple prevention steps will help keep your child safe.
Trauma is preventable. Keeping your children out of the emergency room takes thought and preparation.
First and foremost … please remember to drive safely and use proper child seating and safety belts. It could save your child’s life, yours and protect your family. Please read more about car safety below.
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Mothers Day: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

iStock_000015524780XSmall.jpgGuest contributor and author Libby Gill shares the Gifts she Cherishes Most from her Children
With Mother’s Day upon us, I can’t help but reflect on the handprint paintings and paper towel roses I’ve received over the years. Though I’m a diehard de-clutterer, I’ve still got every single one.
My “babies” (now 16 and 20) can barely believe how different the world it is than when I was a kid. We played outside until the streetlights came on, which was also the signal for dinnertime. We rode bikes without wearing helmets. We broke a bone or two and nobody thought it was a big deal unless we missed a swimming party.
Our parents more or less left us alone to deal with life as it came. But we can’t do that with our kids (assuming we’d want to), precisely because it’s a different world. Besides being born with an uncanny ability to operate technology, our children have grown up with terrorism, predators and an emphasis on sexuality far more disturbing than anything we faced.
Add to that our instant media culture, and dangers loom larger. In spite of those dangers, or because of them, our primary role as parents is to guide our children to become self-sufficient adults, just as it was in our parents’ day. Given the nature of our world, how do parents let go and let children grow up?
For some parents, the answer is: They don’t. Family size has diminished and parental involvement has grown. The 76,957,164 boomer parents born between 1946 and 1964 are widely considered the wealthiest and best-educated in history. Although many belong to two-career families, they still believe that kids are the center of their universe. The result? A generation of micromanagers whose endless hovering has earned them the title “helicopter parents.”
And age doesn’t seem to make it easier for parents to back off. According to a UCLA survey, 26 percent of college freshmen speak to their parents every day. A Middlebury College study found that parents phone, e-mail or text their freshmen 10 times per week. So how do we make our hovering helpful instead of harmful?
Understand why it’s hard to let go. The dangers are real, and wanting to protect your kids is a natural parental instinct.
Resist the urge to rescue. Instead, encourage discussion; let your kids know they’re heard and respected. Give advice, but let them handle problems on their own.
If you’re always hovering, you send children the message that they’re fragile and unequipped to deal with the world.
Recognize that kids often are as unsure of their abilities as you are. Find safe, supervised places like summer camp, team sports and after-school programs where kids can build skills and self-confidence without your help. As you see them become more competent, you’ll feel better about giving them more challenging opportunities.
The question is: Are you ready for the challenge?
Gill Headshot.jpegLibby Gill is a business coach, brand strategist and bestselling author of You Unstuck: Mastering the New Rules of Risk-taking in Work and life. Learn more at www.LibbyGill.com.

The Real Cost of College: Interpreting Financial Aid Award Letters

iStock_000016212476XSmall.jpgIntroducing a new contributor to Role Mommy, certified education consultant and college admissions guru, Carolyn Cohen, Esq
Along with the coming of spring, every year from mid-March through mid-April, high school seniors from New York to California anxiously await their college acceptances. Of equal concern, are the financial aid award letters that may arrive with those acceptances. Students and their families have a relatively brief period of time, until May 1st, to evaluate the various financial aid awards, as well as the many other facts and figures about the involved colleges, before they are obligated to declare which college their child will attend. A deposit payment must then be sent to hold their child’s place for the following fall. If your child is lucky enough to receive a financial aid award, it is critical that you promptly and accurately evaluate the colleges’ financial aid packages and compare them to each other. Only then will you be in a position to make an informed decision that can significantly impact your lifestyle as well as long range financial planning. Don’t assume that the school with the lowest tuition or the one offering the most grant money is the most affordable. The real measure of an aid package is how much you end up paying in the end.
First determine what the major costs (called the Cost of Attendance or “COA”) are to attend each school. It is imperative that you include all directly (tuition, fees, and room and board) and indirectly billed expenses (travel, books, etc.) regardless of whether or not they are reflected in the letter. There is no standard format and some colleges don’t include a COA in the award letter, while others include tuition and fees, but omit room and board. Still others omit indirect costs.
Once you determine the costs, group the major aid components together and compare them. Aid comes in three forms, loans which have to be repaid with or without interest, gift aid which consists of grants and merit aid, neither of which have to be repaid and work-study where a student is paid to work part time either on or off-campus. In the latter case, the award letter doesn’t typically indicate what the work will be. Comparing the components is sometimes easier said than done. Descriptions of aid in financial aid award letters lack a standard format. Schools can have cryptic acronyms to identify components without indicating which are grants and which are loans or work study.
Once you know what your costs are and how much, and what form of aid your child will be receiving, you can determine what your out-of-pocket costs will be. The difference between the cost of attendance and the amount of grant money and work study that you are offered is ultimately what you will owe. Loans offered in the package may cover part of that amount. They may defer some of the cost initially, but eventually will have to be repaid with interest.
Once you’ve completed the foregoing analysis, you should then compare the award packages from each school. There are websites, some of which are more reliable than others, to assist families in comparing award packages. However, use of them often requires a certain level of understanding about the financial aid process. The school’s financial aid office is always a resource to be called upon to clarify and explain inconsistencies or ambiguities in award letters. Be aware that aid packages aren’t necessarily automatically renewable from year to year. Also, some colleges will offer more grants than loans to entice incoming freshman, with the balance shifting to more loans in subsequent years. Educate yourself early about the process so you will be in a position to decode and evaluate financial aid letters leaving you one step closer to making an informed decision that is ultimately in the best interests of your child.
Picture 18.pngCarolyn Cohen, Esq. is a Certified Educational Consultant and founder of College Pathways located in Chappaqua, New York. For more information, contact Carolyn at collpathways@gmail.com or 914 260-2754.

Six Tips for Forgiving Yourself

Role Mommy guest contributor and motivational coach Libby Gill reveals that sometimes, the hardest person to forgive is ourselves.
iStock_000006568309XSmall.jpgHave you ever noticed that while you’re perfectly willing to forgive other people for their shortcomings, giving yourself the same consideration is nearly impossible? But research has shown that forgiveness, including self-forgiveness, is a benefit to psychological, relationship and physical health. By reducing hurt and helplessness and letting go of anger, you experience greater self-confidence, hope and optimism. So why not cut yourself some slack?
Here are six ways you can do just that:
1. Acknowledge the mistake. If you’ve unintentionally hurt another person, apologize for your mistake, let the other person know that you didn’t mean to hurt them and that you’d like their forgiveness. Then, stop beating yourself up. After all, if they can forgive you, why can’t you forgive you? And if they can’t, what does that tell you about your relationship?
2. Absorb the lesson. Give yourself a debriefing period after every major project or effort you undertake. If you didn’t make any mistakes, you may not be setting the bar high enough. And if you did make mistakes, learn to appreciate them as fabulous teaching tools.
3. Stop the constant judging. If you’re continually looking for approval at the office, or stepping on the bathroom scale, you’re trying too hard. Set your goal, stick to your plan and stop being so judgmental.
4. Be specific about what you’re forgiving. If you have a generalized sense of your flaws, faults and shortcomings, it’s nearly impossible to put that to rest. Drill down, figure out specifically what requires your self-forgiveness, then do that.
5. Change your internal tape. Let go of the mind chatter about how you screwed things up, resist the urge to repeat the story endlessly to your friends or co-workers, and change the tape in your head from negative screw-up to positive opportunity for change.
6. Establish a self-forgiveness ritual. When I had a big project and a broken relationship come crashing down on me simultaneously, I decided to hold a personal forgiveness ritual. I found a letter and a photo that were symbolic of those dashed dreams, put on some somber music, lit a candle, said a prayer and burned the symbols. My life didn’t change overnight, but I was able to regroup, regain my self-compassion and start over.
libby_gill.jpgLibby Gill is a business coach, brand strategist and bestselling author. Her new book, You Unstuck: Mastering the New Rules of Risk-Taking at Work and in Life, is now available on Amazon.com.

How to Draw a Comic Strip

“Oh Brother!” Comic strip illustrator and writer Bob Weber, Jr. offers kids and parents step by step instructions on cartooning
25 OB Sunday (1).jpg
Bob Weber, Jr. draws pictures for a living. He draws the children’s comic, “Slylock Fox and Comics For Kids,” and he also writes the jokes for the daily strip, “Oh, Brother!”
Role Mommy asked Bob Weber, Jr. to share his advice and best practices with any budding cartoonists out there, and this is what he had to say:
“If you like to draw and aspire to be a professional cartoonist, all you need to get started is a pencil, paper, and the determined desire to draw every single day. The more you practice drawing, the better your cartoons will be. Many aspiring cartoonists spend a lot of time drawing faces. That’s fun, but you’ll need the ability to draw a wide range of things in order to effectively illustrate your jokes or stories in an interesting and convincing manner. Go to the library or bookstore to find cartooning lesson books. These books can be valuable resources for learning to draw faces, hands, motion, backgrounds and perspective. You might also want to consider taking a cartoon class in your area. 

Another terrific way to greatly improve your drawing skills is by studying the work of cartoonists that you admire. Allow yourself to be influenced by the styles and techniques of successful cartoonists. In most cases, the cartoonists you admire were themselves influenced by cartoonists that came before them. Don’t worry about your art looking too much like those you admire. Over time, as you continue to practice, your own unique drawing style will develop.

Finally, a cartoonist needs an idea before he or she draws. Being a good artist isn’t enough. You need to be somewhat smart, clever and witty. The more you know about the world around you, the more brain food you have to feed your imagination, and the more interesting your cartoons will be. Read as much as you can. Pay attention to the people and world around you. By observing the everyday activities that take place around you, you will soon find that you have plenty of ideas to draw from.
Now go find a pencil and draw, draw, draw!”
Screen shot 2011-03-08 at 7.21.37 AM.png
For more great advice on cartooning, visit the “How to Draw” section on the “Oh Brother!” website. And don’t forget to enter your child into the “Oh Brother!” Is Your Kid a Character contest where one lucky child will get the chance to be featured in a nationally syndicated comic strip! All you need to do is fill out the form provided on this post, tell us a brief funny story about your child and he or she will be entered to win. A panel of humor and lifestyle bloggers will select the winners. Results will be revealed the week of March 21.
*This post is sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.