Cinderella sketch by Ruth Elliott, 2000

When I was a kid, the story of Cinderella gave me hope. I identified with her. My two older sisters were sometimes mean. They bossed me around and made me work harder than they did. I felt trodden upon. But when I’d remember what Cinderella went through it encouraged me to take heart and not become bitter. Her story gave me hope that persevering in goodness would benefit me in the long run. And it did. 


We are all Children at Heart . . . 

Walt Disney once said: “Everybody in the world was once a child. So in planning a new picture we don’t think of grownups and we don’t think of children, but just of that fine, clean, unspoiled spot down deep in every one of us that maybe the world has made us forget, and that maybe our pictures can help us recall.”

Our brains are better able to understand and recall a concept if it is learned in an emotional setting. A story does this. It creates one. Read more on the impact of stories here.

EDU DESIGNS was founded in 2007 

to create and distribute character building media to children, “While there’s still hope”, as my mother used to say.

But we must hurry! Kids are growing up every day, in need of what we offer. 

Years ago, my young son came home one day and said, “The reason I went to school wasn’t there today!”

“Why? What happened?”, I asked.

“They took art class out of my day.”

To this day, many districts are still sadly lacking in art. They cut back on their budgets, Art and Music are always the first to go. What we offer schools is a free initial presentation valued at $1,200 (in the educational workplace).

It’s exciting to see what happens when the students begin drawing. They start to discover ways to ‘see what they are looking at’ in a new way! (That’s the title of my Art Book for kids! At the bottom of this page is a link to get your own copy to download and share with someone you love.)

Not only does it give them something to want to go to school for, but  it motivates them to love learning and develop good character.

We need your help to continue this vital work!

It’s more important now than ever.

Children are the future.

Can you help?


Thank you,

Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon, Director, EDU DESIGNS

We are an ALL VOLUNTEER Non-Profit. 100% of your donation goes toward sharing our materials, and NOT salaries. You are guaranteed a Tax Deductible Receipt. PLEASE GIVE!



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Say Goodbye to Kids Boredom with These Activities!

Say goodbye to kid’s boredom! (Image via Pixabay)

When it’s getting cold outside and you struggle to answer the question, “What are we going to do today?”, keep reading and say goodbye to boredom with these activities! We offer a few ideas on ways you can utilize technology to tank tedium and give your kids an opportunity to learn something new.


musical notes violin guitar

Your kids should learn to play at least one instrumentWhether they become good at it or not, there are numerous benefits from listening to and playing music. Children involved in music from a young age develop parts of their brain that would otherwise remain undeveloped.  Studies show that music can improve behavior, too. 

If they want to play the trumpet for instance, this 3,000-year-old wind-powered instrument inspires movement along with music to burn more than 100 calories an hour! (If buying your first brass wind, make sure to purchase necessary accessories and compare prices online. Student trumpets are typically less expensive than professional versions and will do the job of allowing your student to learn without a huge investment. Check out this trumpet buying guide from for more information and a description of the most common variations).

YouTube, Udemy, and are great resources for lessons in all instruments and experience levels. 

Physical fitness

baby running

Another thing your kids need is a healthy dose of exercise each and every day. Adults are supposed to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity three to four days each week. The best way to ensure your kids do as well, is to get them in the habit now. A quick Google search will bring up tons of children’s fitness videos that cater to a wide range of interests and abilities. You can all find fun ways to get moving through everything from interpretive dance to more traditional exercises, such as cardiovascular workouts and using resistance bands.

On days when getting off the couch isn’t an option, you can keep mental fitness at the forefront of their growing minds with online activities provided by


girl drawing picture

Get Ruth Elliott’s Art Book Free!

One of the coolest things about art is that it’s not exclusive to a single culture. People in every corner of the globe create art in some shape or form. The ancient Egyptians had their stone statues, the Romans their mosaic tiles, and the cavemen had pigments made of crushed berries and stone wall canvases. Art is a universal expression of emotion and, like music, has a positive effect on developing brains and bodies. Drawing, painting, and even sculpting encourages neural connections and develops fine motor skills in young artists. No matter what your children want to learn, there is a tutorial online that will help them master the medium of their choosing. If you’re not sure where to start, check out free Artyfactory lessons on topics ranging from pencil portraits to African mask making. You may also download Ruth Elliott’s Art Book for free, here.

Art, music, and physical fitness can be combined with other subjects for a double dose of education. The possibilities are endless. For instance, you can incorporate art history with a drawing lesson, discuss the science behind how sound is made, or research ceremonial dances from ancient tribes.

Whether your kids want to channel their inner Beethoven, learn some new dance moves, or paint a Picasso, you’ll find everything you need to say goodbye to boredom on the same device you’re reading now. You and your kids can use the net to become engaged, entertained, educated in the arts and find new and interesting ways to get physically fit.

Contributed by Jenny Wise

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Cycling – One of the Best Exercises for Children!

SAFETY QUIZ: What is the ONE thing this girl still needs to wear to stay safe riding her bike? Read the ANSWER here:

Why Cycling Is One of the Best Exercises for Children

The ultimate wish a parent has for their child is for them to live a long, happy, and healthy life. Teaching children cycling is an invaluable and empowering skill that can help them do just that. Not only is it great for the body, it can also give children an instant mood boost and increased self-esteem.

Cycling improves physical fitness

Cycling is a great cardio-vascular workout that’s also low-impact — meaning it protects children’s developing joints. Most obviously, regular cycling can help control weight and curb childhood obesity, a serious issue on the rise due to sedentary lifestyles.

There are also many other physical benefits children can get from learning to cycle. It increases muscle mass and stamina, as well as ensures a healthy heart and lungs. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine even found that cycling increased the longevity of cyclists in the Tour de France — by a whopping 17 percent!

Cycling is safe

Some parents may be concerned about the risks of cycling, but with the right preparation and precautions, it can be entirely safe. In fact, a study conducted by the British Medical Journal found that the numerous health benefits of cycling vastly outweigh the risks.

Make sure your bike rides are safe and enjoyable by choosing the right bike and wearing weather-appropriate clothing along with a well-fitting helmet. Bring water, snacks, sunglasses, a bike pump, and emergency tool kit, too (you can even teach your child important life skills, such as, how to fix a flat tire or tighten a loose chain, once they’re old enough). The all-round better you make your child’s experience of cycling, the more eager they’ll be to do it again.

Cycling is fun

Cycling is one of those rare physical activities that doesn’t feel like exercise — it’s just fun. Kids love the sense of freedom and independence cycling gives them. They’ll also get hours of enjoyment from being out and about, exploring their local area, and discovering new and interesting sights and locations. Cycling is truly a great way to encourage and foster their adventurous spirit.

Lastly, cycling is the perfect opportunity for the whole family to bond — and much better than simply zonking out in front of the TV. Family bike rides will give you time to talk and laugh together, which elevates everyone’s mood, as well as make positive memories you’ll all treasure for life!

Article contributed by Jenny Wise

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Are you smiling?

I am. Thanks to you, WE DID IT!  

All the votes from supporters, earned EDU DESIGNS the Top Rated Award from Great NonProfits for 2017!

Here’s another way to help:

Do you shop online at Amazon?

Every time you do, Amazon will donate a portion to EDU DESIGNS…

All you need to do is go to, and choose Edu Designs as the Non Profit you wish to support 🙂

Then, bookmark the link, so each time you shop, you’ll start shopping from this link:

The Amazon site, with the word “smile with a dot after it (.) added in front of the web address “” tells you Amazon will donate to our Non Profit!
It’s a simple way to help us bring the arts and character to kids, without it costing you a penny!

It will put a smile on your face, too!

I appreciate your support. 

Warmest Wishes,

By the way – 

Want your kids to learn to say, “THANK YOU”, too?

Check out these tips, HERE!


EDU DESIGNS and GoMommyGO® exist to help create and distribute media for children’s character development. 





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Parents are Not Helpless to Ease the Middle-School Blues, Here’s Why

middle school girl

(Photo via Pixabay)

by Joyce Wilson

Middle school, which is typically comprised of grades six, seven, and eight, is a time of great change for students, most of whom are beginning to form their identity. While some students’ middle school experience can be made even more stressful by moving towns or cities, the struggles which face middle school-aged children tend to be universal. Parents should be prepared for the often perplexing changes their child will exhibit, equipping themselves with the tools to understand and facilitate their child’s physical and mental transition.

A New Age, a New Set of Challenges

Typically, middle schoolers in the United States are aged between 11 and 14. This is a time when a young person is experiencing biological processes which result in behavioral changes often beyond their control, many of which are not considered positive.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, children at this age face challenges which are physical, emotional/psychological, intellectual, social, and moral/ethical. Parents must understand what changes typically are taking place in middle schoolers to help their child overcome these confusing challenges.

Physically, puberty leads to changes in appearance and stature which can result in lowered self-confidence, which exacerbates emotions that make them self-conscious and sensitive to criticism. While they tend to be intellectually hungry, this typically manifests in the form of real-world experience: developing friendships and other relationships. Contrarily, middle schoolers tend to be less receptive to academic information. Often, grades will slip due to preoccupation with forming relationships and establishing their modes of interaction with peers.

A middle schooler’s natural drive toward individuality and independence can lead to rebellion and distancing from one’s parents. They also tend to begin forming a personal sense of morality that can lead to dissenting thought within the home or toward authority in general, instead turning to friend groups as their closest confidants.

Allowing a child to establish their own identity is crucial, but permitting a middle schooler to form their own set of rules and attitudes is not the answer, either.

Finding the Line Between Guidance and Independence

Children spend about 50 percent less time with their parents in middle school than in their elementary years. While granting space is a necessary aspect of identity formation, parents should not take a hands-off approach.

Parents should continue to promote family activities, though not as a substitute for a child’s activities with peers who constitute a positive influence. Setting clear, fair rules is the first step in allowing your child to pursue independence on responsible terms.

It is also important to ensure that a child does not indulge the temptation to neglect their studies, as this can form negative habits that persist into high school. There are a number of ways that parents can keep their child motivated to excel in their schoolwork, and utilizing tips which foster long-term organizational skills is one of the greatest benefits a parent can impart on their child in terms of educational and professional success.

Be vigilant toward whom your child is surrounding himself with, as peer influences are one of the greatest indicators of whether a young person will have positive or negative self-esteem. Surrounding oneself with well-adjusted peers who exhibit prosocial traits promotes a strong moral compass that serves as a universal guiding light when it comes to decision making and reacting to peer pressure.

The social and behavioral changes that come with middle school are perhaps most important when employing strategic parental guidance, but preparing a child for the more micro details of enrolling in a new school must not be ignored.

A New School, a New Routine

Most children must feel comfortable in their surroundings to fully thrive and exercise good habits and decision making. Getting your child acclimated to their new school begins with familiarizing them with the building before the first day of the school year.

Whether it means taking occasional walks around the school’s neighborhood or participating in a tour of the school, familiarity breeds comfort. Comfort is difficult to find for a middle schooler, so make sure that you impart organizational skills that they will be less-than-eager to adopt.

Preparing your child with the skills and items – folders, binders, pencils, etc. – which are required can give them a boost toward establishing a good rapport with their teachers, who in turn can serve as a network of mentors during such a trying time.


Changing schools, usually an unavoidable aspect of starting middle school, is never easy. The biological changes that drive attitude and identity formation make the transition even more confusing and anxiety-inducing for a young person.

For parents, understanding is the first step toward helping. Once they understand the changes the child is experiencing – changes every parent went through themselves – they can begin to effectively assist their child without infringing on their budding sense of individuality and self-identity.

Posted in behavior, Character Development, Child Development | Comments Off on Parents are Not Helpless to Ease the Middle-School Blues, Here’s Why



Monkey See, Monkey DO!

I was 6 years old when my family got our first TV. Mom would only let us watch The Mickey Mouse Club. I remember the excitement at 5 o’clock when the show would begin – and then the feeling of letdown when it was over. Then Mom would say, “GO OUT AND PLAY!” 

She limited us to a half hour a day, sensing that too much could become addicting, something that scientific research has clearly shown.

Why is ‘TV’ so much fun?  When exposed to electronic media, our brains are flooded by a rush of dopamine, whether cartoons, video games or other forms of passive entertainment. 

Dopamine is the reward neurochemical that elevates our mood, allows us to feel joy, become motivated, and gives us the readiness to act.  Unfortunately, when the excitement is not ‘burned off’ through physical activity, frustration and anxiety can follow. An endless bombardment to media exposure can cause diminishing returns. Our Dopamine receptors become blocked, gradually allowing less and less in, making us need stronger ‘doses’ to get the same thrill we got originally. 

Symptoms of Dopamine Deficiency are: lack of motivation,  fatigue,  apathy,  procrastination,  inability to feel pleasure,  low libido,  inability to connect with others,  sleep problems,  mood swings,  hopelessness,  memory loss,  inability to concentrate,  inability to complete tasks,  engaging in self-destructive behaviors, especially addictions (from:

The same mechanism happens with overeating, which can lead to Type II diabetes. When we eat, Insulin is released, telling a cell to open to receive the ‘food’ (glucose). After exposure to too much sugar,  insulin receptors will stop responding, and though our blood may be overloaded with glucose, the cells will not open to utilize it and turn it into energy. This causes a feeling of continual hunger and fatigue, as well as other problems as the excess sugar that’s floating through our clogs our organs. 

Whether food or media, there’s only so much we can handle, before our body says, ‘NO.”  


It’s no wonder so many children are beset by ADHD, obesity and other problems these days. Though it seems obvious that too much media, junk food and lack of exercise could be hurting them (and us) we are loathe to admit it, because we are enjoying the convenience of just sitting the kids in front of the TV.

Luckily, there are ways to get around the dopamine-blocking effects of too much media.

Not surprising, according to studies, the answer is: Exercise, Good Diet, Meditation and controlling our exposure to addictive substances. This can restore our dopamine receptors to their healthy state, allowing us start enjoying our lives again.

I am not one of those that say ‘NO’ to all electronic media. To me, MODERATION is the answer.  Unfortunately, until a child is old enough to develop SELF Control, it’s up to the parent to train a child in good habits of media use. But that’s hard. There’s no easy way. The jailer is a prisoner, too.

Long before EDU DESIGNS was founded in 2007, I had a dream: To help children gain wisdom for living.

The important influences on children have long been: Family, School, and Friends. But when Television came on the scene, it became both a new friend and also an enemy, opening Pandora’s box to a world of things you can’t ‘un-see’ once you’ve seen them. People you would never let into your house enter through that window if you allow them. 

As a parent of 7 children, I saw what the wrong kinds of TV shows could do to my children’s behavior from fine to frenetic in a matter of minutes. I needed to watch with them, to see it from their eyes. If a program’s ‘excitement’ caused emotional distress we would have to discuss it so they could process their feelings before they could be calm again. Many times I would wonder why I ever let them watch the program in the first place. And choose something else the next time.

My aim is to use media’s powerful instructional ability to teach valuable lessons while protecting a child’s vulnerable heart and mind from harm.

Do you agree this is important? Please give us a 5-star rating on Great Non Profits to share your thoughts on what we are doing.

I am grateful for everyone who has already given us a review. Your thoughtfulness will help us reach more children, parents and teachers who need it.  

Thank you for reading.




Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon, Founder and Director of EDU DESIGNS



PS – Read what other folks say about us here…














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Are You A ‘DOORMAT’ Mom?

a doormat mom

A doormat has one purpose: To wipe your feet on.

Being thoughtful, caring and sensitive to others is a good thing. Right?

Sure. But if you are an empathetic person who hasn’t learned to care for yourself, too, you can easily fall into the trap of being used, but not respected. A Doormat. 

Feeling Stepped On?

With my first child, I unconsciously feared that if I said ‘no’ to any request, it would cause her emotional damage. By the time she had turned three, I realized I knew NOTHING about handling a toddler-terrorist who had come to expect to get her own way.

Luckily I was thrown a life preserver, a book called, ‘Dare To Discipline’, by Dr. James Dobson. It kept me from drowning and gave me the tools I needed. I learned to say, “No”, to deal with temper tantrums, and to stand my ground. Later on I realized:


Through the years I would make new mistakes, but I continued to seek out parenting wisdom from many sources: Chris Thompson, the Toddler-Whisperer; Charlotte Mason, a respected Homeschool expert; and Darlene Lancer, an expert on conquering codependency. All of them helped me examine myself, to uncover the causes of my own tendency to bend over backwards trying to please people, not just my toddler.

All Experts Agree that Kids Should Be Disciplined, but HOW? 

Though most parents have admitted to spanking their kids at times, psychologists agree that: 

Spanking is hitting, and hitting is harmful. 

One behavioral therapist with 25 years experience said,

There is NEVER a reason to inflict pain on a child. If that is the only way a parent thinks they can gain compliance, they are sadly mistaken. Cultivating mutual respect, consistent limit setting…removes the need to ever have to spank a child. You can’t teach a child to not hit when you are hitting them…  I teach positive parenting and collaborative problem solving…so much better than spanking.”

Dr. Dobson, agrees.

To shape the will without breaking the spirit is the challenge.

To prevent child abuse and practice positive parenting, check out these resources.

“Becoming more self-aware is the key to effective parenting.” ~Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon

The more you can analyze your own feelings and understand what’s really going on inside of YOU, the more you will become aware of what triggers your own anger, and can help you to see what your children are experiencing, too.


There are many non-violent ways to motivate your younger kids to cooperate, so they will WANT to do the right thing, and not because you force them

The first thing, after loving them, is to communicate clearly what you expect of them.

That is one reason I created my “Thank, Don’t Spank” behavior charts.

Get organized and plan ahead for good relations with your kids and family. Take advantage of this page for getting a plan, before you need it.

Don’t allow your children to walk all over you, but teach them firmly, without resorting to physical violence. There is a lot more to explore on this topic, so check out these other age-specific tips on discipline, here!

Warm Wishes,




Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon, Founder and Director of EDU DESIGNS

PS –  Can you help? If you appreciate me, please donate.


If you can, please take 2 minutes to give us a 5-star rating on Great Non Profits and share your thoughts on the importance of what we are doing.

Read what other folks say about us here…




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Carl Rogers coined the phrase, “UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD” which has become synonymous with what children need in order to grow to their full potential as healthy human beings. 

It includes:

An environment that genuinely and openly:

SEES the good in them,

LISTENS to them with empathy and

ACCEPTS them unconditionally. 

We all need that.

But especially in infancy, when one is helplessly dependent on parents or caregivers, a child will cling to them for safety and security, and adjust his behavior to assure he doesn’t lose them.

However if it feels unsafe to be who he really is, an infant may unconsciously want to ‘stuff’ that part of himself in order to get along. This can cause all kinds of emotional disconnects later in life, from angry outbursts, panic, fear, self loathing, addictions, an inability to feel one’s own needs or intuition, and more. 

This is why I said in one of my previous articles, “You Can’t Spoil A Baby”.

Unconditional love does NOT mean you love everything they DO however, and as kids grow past infancy, they also need discipline and guidance to prepare them for life’s challenges. 

“Though we do have freedom of choice, we do NOT have freedom from the CONSEQUENCES of our choice.” ~Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon 

Children who are not disciplined do not feel loved. So… 

LOVE your child as though you won’t have him tomorrow. . .

And TEACH your child as though he won’t have YOU tomorrow.

When you tie a growing plant to a stake to protect it from outside forces that would topple it over, you are not being cruel. Discipline is that stake. 

For tips on Discipline, read the next article, here. 

As much as your kids are worth loving, YOU are TOO. We will all make mistakes along the way, but if you are doing your best, that’s all you can do. 


Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon, Founder, EDU DESIGNS

Each year we reach thousands of kids and teachers with our art lessons and media for good character.

We are grateful for everyone who gives, helping to support our work.


PS – Give us a 5 star rating on Great Non Profits to share your thoughts on the importance of character in media!

Read what other folks say about us, here…





Posted in Character Development, Child Development, family, moms and babies | Comments Off on What is UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD?


Annie Elliott at Comic-Con San Diego, 2017

Annie Elliott, San Diego Comic-Con, 2017

Though her CD was titled, ‘Awkward Annie’, this talented artist, singer, copywriter, and volunteer for non profit causes, proves you always get more by giving.

Annie Elliott was recognized as a powerhouse by the organization She Runs It, who flew her to NY to receive an award for NEXT GENERATION FEMALE LEADER at Forbes, on Sept. 13, 2017. 

Associate Creative Director for RPA Advertising, Annie has been a contributor to EDU DESIGNS media since 2014.  

We deeply appreciate the wealth of knowledge and expertise Annie brings with her about the creative arts, media, and its’ influence on society. 

One of Annie’s previous articles from 2014 highlights a ‘female leader’ from a previous generation: June Foray, who was the Queen of Voiceovers.

Though she passed on at the age of 99, EDU DESIGNS was blessed to have June contribute her voice to our animated short, Somebody Needs You, which premiered at San Diego Comic-Con in 2016. Read more about how June’s contributions are helping kids learn empathy, here. 

At EDU DESIGNS, our team of volunteers researches media and networks with others who care about children’s character so we can bring you the best. 

Annie Elliott, D R Elliott, Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon and Lisa Elliott attended San Diego Comic-Con, 2017

EDU DESIGNS volunteers at San Diego Comic-Con, 2017. (L-R: Annie Elliott, D R Elliott, Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon and Lisa Elliott)

Each year we reach thousands of kids and teachers with our art lessons and media for good character.

We are grateful for everyone who gives to support our work.

There are LOTS of ways you can give, too. See here.


Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon, Founder, EDU DESIGNS

PS –  Give us a 5 star rating on Great Non Profits to share your thoughts on the importance of character in media!

Read what other folks say here…

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When Hope Seems Lost | Emergency Suicide Help Resources

When feelings of depression make it feel as though you have nowhere to turn, take one more step and you will find a network of support. You can’t do this alone.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800.273.8255)


The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a nationwide network of professional services that offer no-cost emotional support to people in crisis 24 hours a day. The lifeline has been in existence since January 1, 2005 and is independently evaluated by a team at the Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene at Columbia University. Lifeline organizations receive ongoing guidance and consultation from suicide prevention experts across the globe.

The Badge of Life Police Suicide Prevention Program

Law enforcement officers are in a unique position of helping people every day. However, even the most seasoned officers can bend under the stress. If you are a current or former LEO visit for more information on resources you can use today to take a step on the path toward recovery.

Ask your Teachers

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in students from late elementary through college age. Teachers, guidance counselors, and school administrative staff are trained to offer compassion and seek help for people considering suicide. These are trusted professionals who understand the pressures of societal expectations and increasing academic pressure.

Veteran Crisis Line (800.273.8255 Press 1)

Former active-duty military men and women may utilize the Veterans Crisis Line, part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This confidential helpline is available around-the-clock 365 days a year. Veterans may also chat online for support by visiting any time. The site also provides special support and consideration for active duty personnel, homeless veterans, and friends and family of current and former military men and women.


Hospitals are a safe place where those in the throes of depression can receive emotional and physical support in times of extreme duress. Most medical complexes offer emergency care for individuals with suicidal thoughts. Emergency rooms are open 24/7 and provide a nonjudgmental environment to receive help and guidance.


Police/Fire stations

If you’re away from home with suicidal thoughts and feel you have nowhere to turn, your local police or fire station can help. Policeman, fireman, EMTs, and paramedics are trained to handle these situations.



Even when you may not believe it is a true emergency, suicidal thoughts should be treated as such. Any time there is the potential for loss of life, 911 is an option. Dispatchers will ask you some questions and send someone to help. Most likely, this will be the police and local paramedics who will transport you discreetly to the nearest local hospital. Rest assured, you will not be forcibly restrained (unless you pose an immediate threat to yourself or others) or treated like a criminal. Local law enforcement’s job is not to put you in handcuffs and lock you away; they are there to save your life and to save your loved ones the pain of your loss.

Safe Place

Safe Place is a youth outreach program that works to provide immediate emergency resources for young people. They are most often found in metropolitan areas at businesses, libraries, bus stations, and youth-oriented sports complexes such as the YMCA. Safe Place’s mission is to ensure an effective response system for in-crisis teens from age 12 through 17. Though often associated with runaway services, designated Safe Place locations offer supportive resources for young people dealing with a variety of issues including abuse, drug overdose, and those with suicidal thoughts.

If you feel as though all hope is lost, any of the above resources can point you in the right direction and assist you with getting the help you need. You are not alone. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week; all you have to do is ask.

Thank you, Jennifer Scott, for the informative article!


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June Foray's Last Show- the film, Somebody Needs You

Dani Bowman, June Foray and Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon, 2016

When June Foray was ushered into eternity July 26, 2017 at the age of 99, Somebody NEEDS You became the last animated film she worked on. However, her voice lives on in the video, along with it’s message.

Somebody NEEDS You is a story that teaches empathy, about a girl who is not quite ‘tuned in’ to her surroundings, walking past opportunities to lend a hand, until she gets the insight that turns her around. After watching it, one mom wrote:

“…I love the beautiful, simple message… Regardless of your age or ability, there is always something you can do to help. This is something I try to instill in my children…I can share this video with them to show them how opportunities can present themselves by just opening their minds and hearts.”

The legendary queen of voiceovers, June Foray (best known as the voice of Rocky and Natasha from the TV show, Rocky and Bullwinkle) volunteered her voices on all four of the characters in the video which premiered at Comic-Con in 2016.

When Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon first told June about needing voices for the story she had written, June was happy to lend hers. “I’ll help!”, she said. “Anything for the kids.”  We are so grateful for her generous and loving participation.


June and Ruth January, 2017 (6 months before she passed on).

June with her beloved caregiver, Judy, 2017


June’s dog, Ginger


Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon remarked about the last time she visited June in January, 2017,  

“I enjoyed petting her lovely dog, Ginger. Then I was struck by how similar she looked to the dog in Somebody NEEDS YouAnd we didn’t even plan it that way!”

How accidentally perfect. 

And June’s voice is still reaching kids all over. The BOOK version is helping kids to learn to read.

Every child who sees the video, or reads the book, wants more – so we had no choice but to work on a second episode!

The adventure continues in the sequel, SOMEBODY NEEDS HONESTY. Our creative story and animation team are pitching in their talents: Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon, Dani Bowman, Matt Miller, Jas Hilsdon, Annie Elliott, D.R. Elliott and Lisa Elliott.

Somebody Needs HONESTY tells what happens as the lead character in the story is faced with the question of what she should do after her ‘good deed’ has gone awry. A new lesson is learned, that life can be good after a mistake.

We are excited to bring this story to life, and invite your support.

We need your help, too. Can you lend a hand?

Here are lots of ways to give…

One is money.




Purchase the book version of Somebody NEEDS You from Amazon Smile.(The words inside the book are identical to the video, and help teach kids to read!) June Foray's voices teach empathy in the Video version, too


Did you know that Amazon Smile will give a donation to our non profit every time you shop for anything you buy on Amazon Smile? Just select EDU DESIGNS as your non profit of choice from this link, FIRST, and then do your shopping!

Here’s how:

Please give us a 5 star rating on Great Non Profits to share your thoughts on the importance of what we are doing! Read what other folks say about us here…

I appreciate you! 

Warmest Wishes,




Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon, Founder and Director of EDU DESIGNS

PS – None of us gets a salary from our work here. 100% of your donations go to where it’s meant to go: To help the kids! 

Posted in behavior, Character Development, Child Development, Children | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on JUNE FORAY’S LAST FILM TEACHES EMPATHY




Click to DOWNLOAD The PRINTABLE Version. 




Kids and Parents need all the help they can get.

EDU DESIGNS and GoMommyGO® are there to help.

Please donate!

Posted in Character Development | Comments Off on 7 SUPER STRATEGIES to SUCCEED IN SCHOOL!


Joke by Lisa Elliott

Being a parent is humbling. Anything you thought you knew about parenting before you had kids, soon vanishes as you find out how little you really knew.  It’s a miracle any of us survive!

Making mistakes is inevitable. Luckily, you can learn from them. However, the best way is to learn from someone else’s mistakes! That way, you don’t have to make them all yourself! 

Here are 5 to avoid:

Mistake # 1 – Not Paying Enough Attention: 

When you drive, you pay attention to the road, correct? But at home, you may want more time to yourself, and rely on TV and video games to ‘babysit’ them. When you fail to pay proper attention to your children you not only endanger them, you are saying, without words, that they are not worth paying attention to. 

SOLUTION: Engage with your kids more to increase attachment and connectedness. Think, E.T.C. for 3 keys to good communication: 
YE Contact,
ouch, and
ommunication (which includes Talking and Listening).   Remember to enjoy your kids. This period of their lives, and yours, will never come again.
Read more here… 

Mistake # 2 – Being too strict, or too lenient:

Either extreme is bad. Being too harsh can break your child’s spirit.

Being too ‘nice’ is not really being nice, and in the long run, teaches kids to be lazy and selfish.

Letting kids have too much time in front of electronic devices to keep them quiet will backfire afterwards.

SOLUTION: Like Dog Training, ‘Child training’, is a learned skill. We need to balance Love and Limits, and set boundaries.  You must be a Leader and take control. Learn how to discipline, limit electronic time, and KEEP THEM BUSY with other activities. Read more…

Mistake # 3- Undermining your spouse’s authority in front of the children.

Having disagreements over how to raise the kids is inevitable now and then, but take care not to belittle or override your spouse in front of the children. Trying to be ‘RIGHT’ all the time can be wrong.

SOLUTION: Politely interject, “May I talk with you in the other room for a minute?”  Take your spouse aside quietly and share your ideas away from the kids. When you’ve come to an agreement, you can announce with a united front, “We have decided… etc”.

Mistake # 4 – Doing too much.

I was really good at that! One day my son yelled out, “DAD! MOM HAD A NERVOUS WRECK!”

We get caught up trying to get everything done, and end up ignoring our most important relationships. Our patience evaporates, and then our rapport with others, too. 

SOLUTION: SLOW DOWN – and QUICKLY! Face the fact that you will never get it all done. Two weeks after you are gone from this world, your house will need cleaning again, so RELAX. Allow yourself to be ‘interrupt-able’. Kids need YOU.

Mistake # 5 – Not planning ahead.

Are you working too hard? Are the kids letting you?  They will, if you LET them!

SOLUTION: ORGANIZE. Have regular family meetings where you discuss family goals and desires. There is less chaos when there is order in the home. Share the problems you have getting everything accomplished. Divide the chores among everyone according to their abilities and create more peace at home. Read more…

There’s lots more!

Make sure you take advantage of all the free resources on GoMommyGO®:

2 – FREE Illustrated Behavior charts on GoMommyGO (the 8 1/2 X 11 charts you download, customize and print up yourself)

2 – When you click on any image on THIS PAGE it takes you to what the image means.


4 – What to do when you need to give CONSEQUENSES for bad behavior.


My Illustrated, Customizable Behavior CHARTS are FREE! As an animation artist, I first created them for my own kids. They worked so well, that I thought, “Why isn’t someone doing this for the moms and dads who don’t know how to draw?”
In 2003 I put them online, and GoMommyGO quickly became a resource for Autism Speaks, Headstart groups, many pre-schools, parents and teachers and a contributor to EDU DESIGNS.

It’s been a labor of love for over 14 years.
Will you help support my work? I have a special gift for you when you do.

You’ll get an instant download of my 100 BEHAVIOR CARDS that help you get organized!  A $9.99 value to use and share! 

The 3.5″ x 2″ images (business-card size) are perfect for planning ahead. Here’s a sample of what they look like:

Download ALL Cards with ANY donation!

When you click on the image above, it will take you to Paypal. Give what you can, then keep the page open and you will be redirected to your activity cards.  For full instructions and how to print, refer to this page.

EDU DESIGNS and GoMommyGO® are helping thousands of children and parents every day, providing materials for creativity and character development.

Thank you for helping the adults of tomorrow, today!


Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon

Posted in Character Development | Comments Off on 5 SERIOUS MISTAKES PARENTS MAKE


I loved the taste of most non dairy creamers, like Coffee mate, but the corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) they contain promote inflammation, the precursor to most diseases, like arthritis and cancer.

Honey (or real maple syrup) is better for you than corn syrup or refined sugars. Both Coconut oil and Turmeric contain anti-inflammatory, anti-alzheimer’s properties, too!

I was determined to find a way to make my own coffee creamer without bad ingredients and avoid the guilt as well as the inflammation. 

And I FOUND it – in my OWN KITCHEN!

Here’s my recipe: (Download it here)

Ingredients (If you are allergic to any of these ingredients, omit them):


Coconut oil

Honey (or real Maple Syrup)

Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, or Soy milk



Spices as desired (I add Turmeric, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Cloves and a pinch of black pepper. All are beneficial for you! When I add them all it tastes like a pumpkin spice Latte!)


Add in blender:

1 Cup very hot Water (If the coconut oil is solid, use boiling water)

1/2 Cup Coconut oil (if the coconut oil is solid, just look at the side of the blender to watch the water level rise to a cup and a half)

3 Tablespoons of real Vanilla

1 heaping Tablespoon of Lecithin*

Honey, Maple Syrup or Stevia to taste 

(Note: I add 3/4 Cup of honey. However, you can use less or more.  Avoid artificial sweeteners, like Splenda, Sweet n Low, etc. which contain Aspartame, a known nerve toxin)

OPTIONAL: 2 TBLSP Turmeric powder, plus a TBLSP of Cinnamon, a tsp of Ginger, 1/2 tsp each of Nutmeg, Cardamom, Cloves, and a pinch of black pepper, which increases the absorption of CoQ10).

Blend at low speed until mixed

(30 seconds or so)

With blender still running,

slowly add 3 cups of almond, coconut or soy milk for another 15 seconds or until thoroughly mixed:


Shake before using.

It will get thicker as it cools.

Have fun experimenting, and adjust to YOUR taste!

* Lecithin is good for you. It is a natural emulsifier, which blends oil and water, and contains many brain boosters, like Phosphatidyl Choline & Other Phosphatides. Sunflower Lecithin is a bit more expensive, but for those avoiding Soy, it’s better.

I get my powdered Turmeric at, as well.

By the way – there is a discount promo code for first time customers when you search from this link!



PS – and remember to download the recipe here!

Ruth Elliott-Hildson, Director, EDU DESIGNS

We are an ALL VOLUNTEER Non-Profit. 100% of your donation goes toward sharing our materials, and NOT salaries. You are guaranteed a Tax Deductible Receipt. PLEASE GIVE!



Posted in Character Development | Comments Off on MAKE YOUR OWN HEALTHY NON-DAIRY CREAMER


Are you SEEING What You’re Looking At?



Before you know it, the teachable moments will be gone. 


Change the life of a child you know – before it’s too late.

Do you let your kids watch TV or play video games for hours and hours on end? Of COURSE NOT! I know you’re not the type who wants that for your child! We’ve all been there once or twice, then after an occasional slip of too much TV we face the consequences – the bleary eyes, irritability, not being able to pay attention to any worthwhile activity (including parents), the lethargy, bad dreams at night, etc.

Not worth it. And then the effort of trying to get back on track again with new rules: “This is IT, kids: ONLY ONE HOUR A DAY – and only AFTER homework and chores!”

Then the whining, moaning and crying that you are being mean and cruel, etc.

You know how it goes…

But there’s something ELSE you can do now…

Get them Ruth Elliott’s Art book to keep them busy, INSTEAD! 


The First Art Book to reference Math standards for Grades K-8!

Emmy Award winning author and illustrator Ruth Elliott has packed over 30 years of experience in drawing into one amazing book. What makes this art textbook unique? She has distilled what she knows into simple language that anyone can understand. In step by step lessons that build on each previous one, discover a new skill: ‘Seeing’ what you’re looking at! Including tips on everything from how to hold your pencil to animating, plus a bonus section with art games.

This is the book that finally reveals the secrets of how children (and adults) can learn to draw!  

(Click here for a sneak peek at a few samples from the book)

Why is it some people can actually CREATE a picture that LOOKS REAL? Simple hand coordination is not enough. You need to learn the secrets of ‘SEEING’ what you are looking at! The secret of drawing is in your perception: When you are able to figure out what you are SEEING – then you will be able to DRAW what you see. 

booknews wkbkcover_tiny-shad

The expanded and updated FOURTH EDITION includes BONUS CONTENT from our Drawing WORKBOOK (a $9.99 value)incorporated into the new edition – PLUS additional information on Writing and Storyboarding your own stories!

Like getting 2 books for the price of one!

It’s a 39.95 value (but wait till you see the price below).

Ruth takes you step by step through each phase, so there’s no guesswork. When you follow the steps in each chapter exactly as she says in the book you are assured to expand your ability to see what you’re looking at.
In fact, that’s the name of the book – 


The mother of seven children, Ruth Elliott’s dream has always been to help kids.  She was sad to see children denied the guidance and education that could increase their learning ability and lead to greater success in life. This increased her determination to provide TOOLS they NEED TO SUCCEED.

That’s what this book is all about! You can LEARN how to SEE! You can learn how to THINK about WHAT you are LOOKING AT!

You can learn to “SEE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING AT!”

I’m sure you don’t want your kids to be abandoned to the TV, right?

What can you do?



And Drawing.

And CARING about the world around them.

It has been proven that the arts improve brain development!

When she heard that children involved in the arts improved their math scores by up to 15%, Ruth worked relentlessly, taking years perfecting the system that could lift awareness and improve manual dexterity – teaching the brain and hand to work together.

At the same time the essential character values of compassion and persistence are imparted throughout the book, in anecdotes from the true story of Roscoe the squirrel she rescued as a baby.


Never miss an opportunity to do a good deed!

Unfortunately THE PRINTED BOOK is now SOLD OUT – 

But for a LIMITED TIME ONLY, until our next printing, you can still get a free download of Ruth’s Art Book with a donation of any amount.

Press the button below to donate and get your copy:

After payment you will be automatically redirected to download the file you may view and print as many times as you need (for personal and educational purposes only, of course!)

(A $9.99 Value)


And donate what you can. If a small donation of a dollar or two is too much, then please click here to find out how to get one for free. 

Every little bit helps.

Thank you.

Posted in Character Development | Comments Off on SEE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING AT!


Being connected made the difference.

holdHands_rectangle-lo-resWhen I was a child my mom and I would walk a long way to the grocery store. It was hard to keep up unless she would hold my hand. When she did hold my hand, somehow her energy would be transmitted to me, and it was easier to go the distance.

Connectedness is needed by adults as well as children. In Claudia Gold’s excellent post, she reveals how

 “Connectedness . . . protects us against the harmful effects of stress.” 

When I had kids of my own, there were days when the thought of cleaning the house weighed on me like a sack of bricks. But if I knew that someone I liked was coming over, the work breezed by. It was the anticipation of a supportive friend that made the work easier to accomplish – even fun. 

Just the IDEA of being connected to someone can make a positive difference!

The burden we bear alone is twice as hard to carry.

And we don’t have to carry it alone.

If you’re someone who has failed at connecting with others, here are some things you can do. Develop the capacity for empathy, become a flexible thinker, learn to regulate your emotions and practice resilience.

To learn this you will need to find someone who will listen and respond. Some things are more ‘caught than taught’.

A good relationship requires Connectedness.

You throw the ball to me. I throw it back.

Simple, right?

And yet in communication, sometimes we forget to ‘catch the ball’, much less ‘throw it back’!

To have real communication, or ‘connectedness’ with our friends, children, or spouse, we need to establish a good rapport.

That happens by SEEING, LISTENING, and RESPONDING with them.

We express connectedness through EYE CONTACT, BODY LANGUAGE and KIND WORDS…

To truly understand what we hear another say, we need to THINK, FEEL, and SENSE what our instincts are saying at the same time! 


brain_blue-RT-facingYour brain hears the words, then PROCESSES the information using our thinking, feeling and instinctive centers to understand it.




For a good relationship to grow, think before you speak:

Is it loving? Is it kind? Is it helpful?

hand-sm-blueWhen you communicate, make an effort to combine your MIND, HEART and INSTINCTS to really connect with others. It’s a great ‘people skill’ that gets better with practice!


Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon

Kids and Parents need all the help they can get.

EDU DESIGNS and GoMommyGO® are there to help.


Please donate!

Posted in Character Development | Comments Off on CONNECTEDNESS

Your Family Constitution

What will YOUR kids stand for?

“If you don’t STAND for SOMEthing, you’ll fall for anything!”

When my kids were little, I was losing ground. My utopian dream of bringing loving, creative people into the world was turning into a nightmare.  Just being a ‘good example’ wasn’t working. The ‘nicer’ I became, the more they took advantage and were becoming people I disliked: Greedy, selfish, mean, petty and squabbling. I had to put my foot down. 

Time For A Family Meeting

“All right, guys. There’s been too much fighting going on. We need to work things out. FAMILY MEETING TIME!”

We usually had a Family Meeting once a week, but when something extreme came up, we would have them at any time. We sat in a circle in the living room and I reminded them of the rules of the meeting: 

1- Sit quietly,

2- Listen carefully,

3- If you have something to say, raise your hand and wait your turn.

Make A Family Constitution

I challenged the kids to think:

“Who ARE we, anyway? What do we STAND for? What VALUES do we hold dear? We need to decide what kind of people we want to be. We need to create a ‘Family Constitution’.”

Taking notes, each child contributed what they thought were important rules for good behavior – points to add to our Family’s ‘Constitution’. Soon we had a list of ‘DO’s and DON’TS’ we all agreed on, and taped the list to the kitchen wall.

Things like:

DO: Be kind, helpful, do chores, feed the animals, do homework, etc…

DON’T: Fight, stick out your tongue, cuss, hit, yell or throw things, etc.”

Whenever anyone did something wrong (or right), we would add that infraction or good character trait to the list, and soon we needed to add more pages and the list was as long as my arm!

At our next meeting We looked at our list again. 

Then it came to us. All the items on the list boiled down to one rule that applied: That if we could treat one another the way we wanted to be treated, it would solve most of our problems.

The Golden Rule, by Ruth Elliott, 1987

THAT said it ALL!

“Treat others the way YOU want to be treated” became our new “Family Constitution”. When a conflict came up, the way to resolve it became simpler. 

The good thing about going through the exercise of listing all the do’s and don’ts was that it forced us to examine ourselves, to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes, and observe how our actions and attitudes affect others. It increased our empathy for one another, and showed us that everything we do is creating the kind of person we are becoming.

John Jolliffe once said:


What kind of person do YOU love?

Are you becoming that person?

Love and Warm Wishes,

Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon 
Founder & Director: EDU DESIGNS, a public-benefit nonprofit charity.
Creator: GoMommyGO®, the Registered Trademark of EDU DESIGNS
Posted in Character Development | Comments Off on Your Family Constitution

HOW I GOT MY OWN WAY by NOT getting my own way!

Some people are only GOOD for being a BAD EXAMPLE!

My PBJ (Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich) never made it to lunch in good shape…

Every day in Elementary school I ate the same thing for lunch: an apple and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which of course would get squashed by the apple before I could get to it.

At lunch I sat next to a chubby little red haired girl who, along with her frown, always had a gourmet meat sandwich she would nonchalantly pull out of her fancy designer lunch pail with a huge dessert of 2 hostess cupcakes, Twinkies or Ding-dongs. 

I drooled.

At home we would have to share if we had dessert.  So, seeing that she always seemed to have extra and wasn’t getting any skinnier, one day I mustered up the courage to ask her,

“Since you have two cupcakes, would you share one with me?” 

But she recoiled in horror, saying,

“NO! There’s only enough for me!”

No matter how politely I would change my phrasing, each time she would consistently reply in the same manner.  Day after day this hurt me terribly, as I pondered her insensitivity and the cruel injustice of the world.

But it did teach me two things:

1- There are mean people in the world.

2- Your job is not to become one of them

And when the light bulb went off in my head, I knew what I had to do:


SIT somewhere ELSE. 

I found some nice kids to sit with.  They didn’t share their lunch either because they only had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches too!  But we all smiled, and shared laughs instead.

Hoping to get that other girl’s goodies had been a trap for me that ruined my happiness for as long as I hung out with her. You don’t have to HATE your enemies, but you shouldn’t have to hang out with them either!

So – What did I learn from my new friends?


2- Choose nice PEOPLE to hang out with instead. 

They may be hard to find, but not impossible! 

BEING one of the nice people?  Well, that’s harder.

However, being RIGHT all the time is even HARDER!

Yeah…like that’ll work!

If you’ve already chosen PEOPLE over GOODIES – the Next CHALLENGE is:  

How do you spot REAL love from others when you see it? 

1- Real love is a ONE WAY street – which means it goes in ONE direction – from the inside of a person –>  OUT, expecting nothing in return.

2- Real Love is KINDFORGIVING and PATIENT with our shortcomings.

3- Real Love looks out for OUR best interests.

4- Real Love never gives up on us, even when we make mistakes (and we will)

5- Real Love tells us the truth.

LOOK for THOSE LOVING individuals to hang out with.

Learn to recognize them, hidden in the crowd of ‘me-first’ types.

WHAT TO DO with the SELFISH ones? 

Ignore them.

They are probably already ignoring YOU

Giving more won’t help.

They paid attention to what you could give them, not what they could give you.


Ouch. It Hurts.

I read somewhere that people who are truly loving or very funny have usually been hurt deeply in their lives. It seems so unfair. 

But think again: 

We’ve ALL been hurt at one time or another!

  So why isn’t EVERYONE very funny or truly loving? 

BECAUSE WE All make CHOICES in how we react!

How DO YOU React When YOU Are Hurt (and don’t get your own way)?

Here are a few reactions to choose from (See if you can guess which DON’T work!):

Unforgiveness is like taking poison and hoping the other guy dies.

1- Become angry and mean yourself. (My daughter once said: “Unforgiveness is like taking poison and hoping the other guy dies.”)

2- Conclude that ‘love isn’t worth it’ – and build a wall to sheild yourself from your need to be connected with others. Call it ‘strength’.

3- Become a doormat. Go along to get along, hoping the mean ones will stop hurting you if you are ‘nice’ to them.

4- Retreat into a fantasy world where you imagine if only you were perfect, or other people were, then you would have your needs met. Strive for that unattainable utopia.

5- Immerse yourself in work, activities, food or substances to try and numb the pain.

As you probably concluded, none of these work! Wasting our energy trying to protect ourselves from the pain actually ‘protects’ us from finding the nice people in the world who DO exist and who would love us, warts and all! 

Though PAIN is unavoidable, there IS an AUTHENTIC secret to HAPPINESS you can take hold of NOW (even if you don’t get the Ding Dong or Twinkie for lunch)…

Pay attention, parents, so you can spring this on your children the next time you’re in the toy aisle at your favorite store):


It’s been Scientifically verified that GRATITUDE makes you HAPPIER, and here is MY analysis of the 2 step process, (proven by years of not getting my own way)! 

Step ONE:

(for what you don’t get) After which you arrive at:

Step TWO: 
The Crucial Point of CHOICE:  “How should I REACT?”

You will choose EITHER ‘A’: To DWELL on your LOSS,

which leads to: UNHAPPINESS, Bitterness and Poor Health

   OR – ‘B’ 

B- Acknowledge the loss and DECIDE to be GRATEFUL forwhat you DO have…

LET it GO if it’s not meant to be – while looking for constructive options to get what you want other ways without resorting to tactics of manipulation and bad behavior .

Choosing ‘B’ will TRULY:

  • Make you Happier
  1. Improve your appearance(a smile increases your face value!
  2. & Lead to better Health


Well?   Now YOU have a CHOICE to make!
I love what Tim Hansel once said:  

 “Pain is inevitable, but Misery is Optional”

Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon, Founder of Edu Designs and GoMommyGO®

Posted in Character Development | Comments Off on HOW I GOT MY OWN WAY by NOT getting my own way!



Potty Training can be a JOY, and NOT a CHORE

This worked for my 7 kids: Make a ladder like the one here, (from adding machine paper, etc., or print this out), and tape it on the wall right near the potty. Choose an inexpensive prize to buy that you know your child will enjoy (a small toy, a lollipop, a candy, etc.) plus a pack of small stickers in advance (and HIDE IT!). Draw or paste a picture of the prize in the square above the ladder. Each time your child goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE (on the pot) they will get a sticker, starting at the bottom of the ladder. Praise him enthusiastically, and mention how each time he does, he will get a sticker, and when he gets to the top, he will win the prize! (If the prize is candy – DO NOT give him ANY Candy AT ANY OTHER TIMES UNTIL HE HAS EARNED IT by doing his ‘JOB’! Many kids enjoy placing their earned sticker on their chart by themselves – and show them where it goes. That in itself will be a temporary satisfaction for their good behavior until they have earned their ‘big’ prize on top.

If he has an accident outside the bathroom, instead of scolding, just say, “I’m sorry, I can’t give you a sticker this time. But next time, when you do it on the potty, I can give you a sticker!” Make another chart after they complete the chart and win the prize, and before long it will be a habit, even without the prize!

You get a PRIZE, too:

a potty-trained child!

Question: What if they pee on the pot but poo in their pants and then hide it?
Be calm, don’t mind the mess, and never shame your child for natural functions. Someone along the line has made them feel bad about pooping.
You don’t want your child to hold it in and get constipated, so l
et your little one to know it’s quite natural to poo – and you can’t wait till you see them pooing on the pot! If you stay with your child and sit and talk, it will be fun and not something to be ashamed of. Let them know how proud you are when they do it in the right place. Usually after a meal people have the urge to go – especially if they get enough liquids. Give ’em more liquids and watch ’em go! But above all, Don’t shame them for ‘accidents’. I LOVE the approach of a wonderful mom named Tara. Check out her blog on potty training here. What she is doing is really the thing that makes any ‘technique’ work- the love and cooperative spirit that you show in being there for your kids. You are on their side, and they can feel it, see it and know it for the great support that it is. How could they NOT want to cooperate with someone like that?

Question: What about while they are learning? Should I use ‘pullups’ or regular underwear?

HEIDI (a fantastic mother of FIVE) made this wise observation ABOUT ‘pull-ups’:
“Pullups = a diaper ; a DIAPER = go ahead and pee.”

I agree! SMART MAMA, HEIDI! THANKS for your contribution to the mom’s and kids of the world! I could never afford pullups anyway and thought they were probably invented to get more of my hard-earned money! Some ‘experts’ believe that children actually learn faster when they can feel their ‘mistake’ running down their legs, but you do have to be able to
 afford the time and handling more mess to allow it! But what about kids DOESN’T involve mess? There’s no avoiding it – JUMP RIGHT IN FOLKS! Join the FUN!

Question: What  about CONSTIPATION?

In Constipation, the one thing that always seems to be the problem is a need for more fiber, probiotics, plus more water in the diet, (grape juice works wonders too!). To show the kids how drinking more water helps them go to the bathroom easier, you can demonstrate the mechanics this way: Stuff a wad of toilet paper into an empty toilet paper tube, hold it over the sink and try to shake the paper out the bottom of the tube. Then tell them, “This won’t come out, because it’s dry. BUT – if I pour water into the tube, it will come right out the bottom!”

Brenda Watson tells all about FIBER and it’s benefits: She calls it the HOPE method to improve health – Have you heard about her on PBS? Hope stands for:
H= High Fiber
O= Omega three oils
P= Probiotics
E= Enzymes’s-News/HOPE/
I’ve learned a lot from watching her, and now I’ve lost 10 lbs without trying, plus never have constipation if I follow the diet that way. I heard someone say long ago:
“CONSTIPATION IS THE THIEF OF HEALTH” and it seems to be true!
Though it is a rather ‘crappy’ topic to discuss, it is important. Learn what you can, do your best and don’t worry – everything will come out all right in the end!

What about teaching them to WIPE? 

Here are some great links to help kids learn to wipe:


—From this site I read a cute ‘game’ you can make of wiping skills:
“We make a game of how many wipes it will take, so I will say, ‘I think it is a 3 wipe poo’ and he will say, ‘nope it is 5’, and promptly wipe and check, wipe and check and see who had the best guess before his bottom is clean!”

Posted in Character Development | Comments Off on POTTY TRAINING THAT WORKS!


Mighty Oaks from little acorns grow!


At seven years old, I wanted to help people.

I imagined that “helping people” meant becoming a doctor.

Then one day, I heard some kids swearing and yelling at each other on the street.  I asked my mom, “Why do they act that way?” 

Children model the behavior they see around them.

She said, “It’s probably because that’s what they hear at home.  

As she shared how the experiences we have as children shape our character, I realized many people walking around need more than just physical help. They need work on their emotional health, too.

I considered maybe I should become a Psychologist, instead of a doctor.

Then I got the idea: They wouldn’t need to fix up all the broken people, if they would just start them out right in the FIRST place!

To my young mind, being a good mother became the best way to change the world for the better.

My mom had always said things like, As a twig is bent, so grows the TREE! and,The hand that Rocks the cradle, RULES THE WORLD!” I was lucky she was a patient and loving model to follow.

At seven years old, dolls were not enough. I wanted a REAL baby to care for. But how was I to get one?  I was too little to have one myself.

Gazing up at the sky that night, a shooting star raced across the sky. This was my big chance! I closed my eyes and wished for a baby brother.

A few months later, I noticed my mother’s tummy looking a little bigger, so I asked her, “Mom, are you getting fat?”

And she said, sadly, “No – I’m afraid I might be pregnant”.

“YAY!” I shouted, “A baby!”

But she didn’t smile, and added, “Well… Your father isn’t very happy about it. He wants me to get an abortion.”

“What’s that?” I asked. 

“That’s where they take the baby out.”  

Horrified, I cried, “NO, Momma, NO! Don’t DO that! I’ll help you take care of the baby! I’ll change diapers – I’ll wake up in the middle of the night –  ANYTHING – Just don’t take the baby away!

After a few minutes of me pleading, she finally assured me that she wouldn’t get rid of the baby. She told me that though she wanted to please my Poppa, it was illegal, [back in 1956] and she didn’t want to do anything against the law.

Then, on the verge of tears, she blurted out, that my father hadn’t wanted me, or my sister, EITHER – because  the hospital bill would be $350 – and that was a lot of money back then.

Wait a minute…


Those words fell like a knife deep into my heart. It was a terrible thing to tell a child, but my mom must have been in great distress to say it. 

I couldn’t understand why he didn’t want me. But when I first came into the world, all I had to offer, was love.

My father never actually acted as though he’d wished we hadn’t been born – but the thought of it sent my world reeling. 

I adored my father – and when he’d hug me, it felt like heaven in his arms.

But from that moment on, I resolved to never need anything from him, or to be a burden to anyone. After all, I reasoned… people could kill you if they didn’t want you around, so I’d better be useful.  I became the ‘always ready to help’, kind of kid, figuring if I was indispensable, they wouldn’t want to get rid of me.

And even after I grew up, if Poppa would ask if I needed anything, I would thank him – but politely refuse, because deep down inside, I still felt I would be a burden if I accepted. 

My twig had been bent.

When my little brother was born, I kept my promise and did all I could to help my mother – by feeding, cleaning and watching him – even when I was tired, or wanted to do something else.

I’d tell myself, “Real mothers have to do this kind of stuff, so I’d better get used to it.” 

I determined to make it my job to teach him everything I knew, though I was only 8 years old. And that little boy soaked it up!  He became SUPER SMART! He was always inventing things and grew up to become an engineer – like my dad.

PLUS – my brother became closer to my father than ANY of the other kids in the family. My dad grew up, too, and finally realized his kids were some of the best things that ever happened to him.

And ME? I went on to be an artist, like my mom. And a mother – of seven children. After all, I’d had lots of practice already!

It was a long road to where I could finally ask for help from others, though.

It was when my kids came along that I learned how precious I was as a baby – and worth all the work.

Seeing how much I loved them made me realize I was worth loving.

I learned that there is always help available if you need it.

All you have to do is SEEK, ASK, and KNOCK

The answers are there when you need them.

The present is the only way to the future.

And what a GIFT it IS.

Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon

By the way. . .

Make sure you take advantage of all the free resources I have available on GoMommyGO®:

2 – FREE Illustrated Behavior charts on GoMommyGO (the 8 1/2 X 11 charts you download, customize and print up yourself)

2 – When you click on any image on THIS PAGE it takes you to what the images mean.


4 – What to do when you need to give CONSEQUENSES for bad behavior.

The charts above are FREE, but if you’d like to support my work please feel free to make a donation. If you do, you can download 100 BEHAVIOR CARDS that help you get Organized!  I wish I’d had these cards when MY kids were little! I didn’t have a printer back then, and had to draw each one by hand.

EDU DESIGNS and GoMommyGO® are there to help, providing materials for parents and teachers who can’t afford them.

Please donate!

Posted in behavior, Character Development, Child Development, Children, Ethics and Character, moms and babies, parenting, Psychology | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on CAN A KID CHANGE THE WORLD? You BETCHA!