Friday, November 30, 2007

Be open to everything and closed to nothing

I made an interesting observation today when I met with my daughter Savannah's singing teacher for the first time. She was a lovely lady and seemed genuinely pleased with how well my daughter was doing with her lessons. She also pointed out to me that Savannah was very talented and could easily become a very good opera singer. To my daughter that was not a compliment and I could see her wrinkle her nose in disgust at the thought. On the other hand I know that opera singers have amazing voices and train like athletes. They can sing without the need of synthesizers or any other kind of gadgets to make them sound like they are really talented. To have her say that my daughter could do well in this genre of music to me was the ultimate compliment. I tried to explain that to my daughter, but being a teenager and very set in her ways and her likes in music, she just didn't get it.

I think it is so important for parents to introduce a wide variety of music and arts to their children. Aquaint your children with Mozart as well as the Beatles, show them all kinds of art from Monet to Picasso, they will learn an appreciation for art for the sake of art and not because it is the in thing at the time.

Happy Parenting,


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Your Baby and Child Care / DayCare

Your Baby and Child Care / DayCare / Babysitters

If you have to go back to work while your baby is small, and he has to go to a child care place, it can be very distressing for you - and it's so important that you send your baby the right reassuring messages to let him know that this is OK!

Some ideas to help you and your baby as you get into your new routine:

1) It's a good idea to have your baby spend a few sessions with the new carer BEFORE you go back to work. That way you can stay with him until she is properly settled, and are on hand to go straight back if anything doesn't go well.

2) If you work close to your babycare center, or if your employer provides a creche at the office, it's lovely to be able to pop in for a quick visit with your baby. However, if your baby gets very distressed when you leave (this is common around 6 months old) then it may be kinder to skip the visit so that you only have one "goodbye" during the day rather than two.

3) Don't prolong goodbyes too much. A big kiss and hug followed by a cheerful bye bye and a firm exit - these are the ingredients for a kind departure! Gradually your baby will learn that you always come back for him! And this will help build his positive feelings of security and his ability to depend on you.

Happy parenting!


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Helping Your Kids Deal With Failure and Disappointment

We as parents and caregivers always want the best for our children. We try to protect them from the hurts of life, both physically as well as emotionally. Unfortunately we can not protect them 24/7 and sooner or later they are going to have to learn how to deal with failure and disappointment. The most important thing that you can do is be honest with your children. It is not a good idea to say they are the best at something if they are not, because sooner or later someone else is going set them straight,and not in a nice way. You may think that you are helping your children to build their self esteem by stretching the truth but it is only going to hurt them in the long run.

A better way is to teach your kids how to handle failure and disappointment. Lead by example, show your children that you have times when you sometimes fail, and you also get discouraged when things do not always work out as you had planned, but you don't make a huge deal about it. It is much better to to say it is too bad that didn't work out but, if I can honestly say I did my best, then that is all I can expect from myself, no more, no less.

Happy Parenting,


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kids and Homework

Kids and Homework

If you ever have issues with your child avoiding doing homework, here are some ideas that might help deal with the situation!

If your child isn't getting his homework done regularly and to schedule, you might be hearing excuses like:

"The teacher never said there was homework!" (Probably the teacher did say, but the child forgot to listen!)

"I can't do the assignment because I forgot the textbook in my desk at school."

"I don't understand the question / assignment!"

This are all symptoms of the child not taking responsibility. Encourage your child to understand that he is responsible for finding out what homework is due when, and ensuring he remembers the material he needs to complete it, and seeks help in a timely way if he is having difficulty.

To help him make this transition of mindset from "casual about homework at best" to "always responsible for own homework achievements", you can

1) Reward your child in an age appropriate way for any actions that indicate an improvement in his attitude to homework. Reward charts are great for the younger children.

2) Link privileges to completion of homework, e.g. TV can only be turned on when homework is complete

3) For real hard cases (in older children only) you could tell your child that he must bring home a signed note from his teacher every Friday that confirms that all his homework is up to date, or lists outstanding assignments. Then ALL homework must be completed before any weekend leisure activities may be commenced!

Happy homework!


Monday, November 26, 2007

Kids and Responsibility continued...

My first thought when my daughter was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at the age of thirteen was, that she would be dependent on me to take care of her for the rest of her life. I was scared that if anything happened to me and her Father she would end up in an institution or something worse. How wrong I was! Once I started doing research on Autism Spectrum Disorders I realized that the majority of these children can learn with the proper teaching to be very independent and some even get married and raise families of their own. How wonderful to find out that my daughter's future was not going to be as dismal as I first thought.

I have found that with my daughter she has the ability to learn how to do many things and although some things are more of a struggle than others, she can be taught. She has become quite a little cook and her recipe repertoire is quite extensive. While she still has to be supervised for her own safety, I know that in the very near future she will be very capable of preparing meals all on her own. I noticed straight away that my confidence in her abilities and my encouraging her to try new and challenging things only added to her self esteem and her own realization that she was actually a very capable young lady. By allowing her to make mistakes without too much intervention she was becoming more and more independent and I had to do less and less for her. Had I not allowed her to make mistakes, she never would have realized her potential. Now if I could just get her to keep her room clean. :- ) Oh well I guess we can't have it all.

Happy Parenting,


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Chores and PreTeens

At pre-teen age, chores and other responsibilities can play a powerful role in helping children to develop age-appropriate independence.

Some ideas to encourage the learning of responsibility and independence for 10-14 year olds:

* Have a list of family chores and have each member of the family responsible for certain chores. Rotate them to keep it interesting and to help your child develop new skills.

* Some things that your child should be learning to do for himself during this period: shower and other grooming tasks without being reminded or monitored; sort and choose school clothes; make his own school lunch; get ready for bed at the appropriate time without reminders.

* Encourage your child to be responsible for managing homework assignments and projects without your supervision. It's a good idea for privileges to be linked to responsible self-management of homework.

* Have very clear rules about when your child is expected to be home, and teach him that he is responsible for ensuring that you know where he is at all times.

* Allow your child to manage his own spending - i.e. his allowance, and for older children perhaps some other responsibilities like clothing budget.

Happy parenting,


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Kids and Learning

Isn't it odd how, from the age of 0 through to 5 or 6, we learn such a massive amount about the world around us and how to interact with it - just by doing it and by interacting with others - and then suddenly we are told to sit down and spend the next decade or so learning purely by being taught! LOL!

The truth is that learning in a classroom environment is only a tiny part of learning - throughout our childhoods we learn from all of our experiences both inside and out of school.

Helping your child develop the skill of using his imagination and stimulating his brain by doing visual learning diagrams (sometimes called mindmapping) is a helpful idea and doesn't need to be limited to homework. Why not use this technique to help your child set goals and learn things for his sports and hobbies?

For more information, check out this article: MIND MAPPING (Visual learning diagrams)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Goal setting for kids

Lots of people, myself included, have a very strong nurturing side. We want to take care of others! And caring parents very naturally want to do lots of things for their children - quite rightly.

When our children are very small, we need to do EVERYTHING for them. Babies absolutely need you to take care of their every need in order to grow healthily - both physically and emotionally.

But as our children grow, one of our big responsibilities is to help them to learn to become independent. From tying their own shoelaces as pre-schoolers through to managing their own finances as teenagers, our childhood years are full of learning to do things for ourselves.

Here's a great idea for a goal that will help you have a more relaxed morning on schooldays, teach your child about good nutrition, and help him to be independent.

You can teach your child to make his own lunch ready for school the night before. The goal should be that the lunch is to be healthy and tasty, and should be made by 7pm at night, or whatever time is appropriate in your household such that it will not impact homework, playtime or bedtime.

Make sure the whole experience is fun and enjoyable. Your child will enjoy choosing the items for his lunch, and will be proud of the independence it gives him!

Happy goal setting with your kids,


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Goal Setting with Kids by Example

A great way to encourage very young children with goal setting is to do it WITH them.

Take brushing teeth for example. What if you set a goal with your toddler to brush your teeth every night?

You could each have a little chart or calendar in the bathroom, one with "Mom" or "Dad" on it and one with your child's name.

Each evening, show your little one how you brush your teeth and then you get a star sticker to put on your chart. Show your child some excitment. And he too will look forward to brushing his teeth and completing his chart with a star!

Happy parenting,


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Goal Setting with your Kids

December is fast approaching, and soon the children will be unavoidably thinking about and looking forward to the Christmas holidays, with all the Christmas lights and Christmas shopping promotions and advertising that is inevitable at the end of the year.

Why not use the opportunity to teach your child some goal setting skills? Here are some ideas you could use:

* Set a goal to make hand made personalized Christmas cards for all your friends rather than just buying them.

* Set a goal to teach your child some age-appropriate cooking skills so he can help in the kitchen on Christmas day.

* Set a goal (for an older child) to learn some financial skills by having a Christmas shopping budget and shopping around in order to stick to the budget.

I'm sure you have plenty of great ideas for goal setting with your kids this Christmas!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A laptop for Christmas?

If you're thinking of buying a laptop for the child in your life, you might be interested in this special "give one get one" promotion from the "One Laptop Per Child" charity project.

This project donates specially-designed laptops to children in developing countries. But it is NOT a computer project, it is an EDUCATIONAL project.

Check out the link for more information!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Parenting and Teaching

I read a fascinating article today about a man who took his 10 year old daughter out of school to homeschool her for a few years.

While I'm instinctively against that kind of thing, because I didn't get sent to school myself and know the downsides intimately, this father was clearly very different to my family and was acting with his child's best interests at heart.

He was fortunate enough to be able to afford to take some time out from working and concentrate full time on giving his daughter some wonderful educational experiences. He talks about taking her on trips to France and other countries for language, history and culture lessons, and clearly has provided great enrichment for her from that point of view.

The child's view? "I like being homeschooled, but I miss my friends." ... we must never lose sight of the importance of social interaction for our children. I agree that schools sometimes fall short of the mark, but they do provide kids the opportunity to interact with a society of people of their own age.

And, there's no reason we can't enrich our child's education at the weekends, is there?

Happy parenting,


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Kids Crafts, Creativity and the Finished Artwork!

When you do crafts with your kids, remember that it is the artistic process, not the finished "product" that is the main goal of the exercise.

Let your kids' imagination run wild. When making something specific, it's a good idea to NOT show them an example or picture of what the item "SHOULD" look like when it's finished.

Kids crafts and imagination go hand in hand so giving them as much scope as possible to express their own creativity through art is a good thing!

Happy parenting,


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Kids Crafts and Creativity

Making simple kids crafts is a wonderful experience for children to develop their creativity.

You can encourage your child and enrich the experience for him by talking with him about his creations. As a bonus, this will also expand his language skills and his confidence in expressing himself.

Rather than simply reacting with an automatic "That's very good," when your child shows you a drawing or a piece or art, try to engage your child in more meaningful conversation. Artist expression is a form of EMOTIONAL expression, and your child may want to talk about how he feels about his creation. Sometimes art can be an expression of frustration or anger, and this is a good and appropriate way to express difficult emotions, so if you give your child the opportunity to talk about his feelings in relation to his art, you will be cementing his confidence and your own relationship with him.

Happy parenting,


Friday, November 16, 2007

Kids Crafts and Self Esteem

Kids Crafts and Self Esteem

Craft activities can be a great way to entertain your kids - cheaply and easily! Even the youngest child can enjoy art and craft activities, and the satisfaction of creating something unique is great for your kids' self-esteem.

When your child shows you something he has made or drawn, resist the temptation to ask "what is it?" - try instead "Tell me about this" - it will enable your child to talk very freely about his creation rather than just giving you a closed answer, and will also remove the pressure of feeling like he "must create something recognizable" - which isn't necessarily the point of art, as many grown up abstract artists will confirm!

Happy Craft making with your kids,


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Confident Parenting, and Kids Emotions

Confident Parenting, and Kids Emotions

How do you feel if your child gets angry with you? That can be a tough one! A whole range of emotions might come to a parent naturally - You might feel angry in turn - feeling your child has no right to be angry with you. You might feel guilty, or confused, or even unloved.

Parenting is a tough job, and it's important to remember that you are doing your best and also that your child is his own person, and that he needs to be encouraged to learn that all emotions are OK.

Maybe he is in the wrong about whatever issue it is that he is angry about, but the key thing for YOU, as the parent, to remember, is that THE EMOTION IS NOT "WRONG" - the emotion is just WHAT HE'S FEELING.

Your child needs to learn that it is OK to feel whatever emotion he is feeling. That doesn't mean that it is OK to lash out and hit someone, but it is OK to acknowledge his feelings and talk about them, and he should be able to do that without fear of punishment.

Happy parenting,


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Goal Setting for Kids - Step by Step Goals

If your child sets a GREAT BIG HUGE GOAL, and you are worried that it is too ambitious, there is no need to rubbish his idea or "bring him back to earth" by telling him some home truths.

Instead, why not say, "That's GREAT - now let's think about what steps to take to achieve that goal."

Simply helping your child break a big huge goal down into little steps will give him manageable mini-goals to focus on, that will be more achievable and won't overwhelm him or put him off goal setting because it seems "too hard".

Happy goal setting with your kids,


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Goal Setting for Kids - Powerful Visualization

Goal Setting for Kids - Powerful Visualization

A crucial skill that you can encourage in your child is to use his imagination to visualize his goals.

Remind him to do this as often as possible, and encourage him, most importantly of all, to ENJOY it.

Powerful visualization is not about going through the motions, dutifully, of bringing a picture of each of your goals to mind, one by one. Powerful visualization is living and breathing your goal inside your mind, so realistically that you can almost reach out and touch it. This can seem impossible to adults if they have had their imagination stifled for years, but for children it comes naturally, so try to encourage that natural talent and teach your child how important it is for goal setting!


Monday, November 12, 2007

Goal Setting for Kids - Practice makes perfect

Goal Setting for Kids - Practice makes perfect

If your child has a sports-related or skill-related goal, a great lesson is to teach him the value of disciplined practice.

If he has set goals that he is truly passionate about, then he will enjoy the practicing part! He won't mind getting up before dawn to go on a sports fishing practice trip, or practising his soccer skills even when it's cold and rainy.

If your child has set a sports or skill goal and then seems reluctant to put in the necessary time and effort to get good at it, maybe you should consider encouraging him to set some new goals - perhaps ones that can really bring out his passion.

Happy goal setting with your kids,


Goal Setting for Kids - Believing in your child

What should you do if you are encouraging your child to set goals and he comes back to you excitedly with something like "My goal is to be the best basketball player in the world!"

You and I both know that the chances of your child achieving this goal are slim. But you don't want to dash his hopes, and damage his self-esteem, by telling him "You'll never do that!"

No, your job is to believe in him. If you can't believe he'll achieve his goal, at least believe that he will...

1. Do his best!
2. Learn the value of practice and discipline.
3. Learn the value of working towards a goal.
4. Achieve something worthwhile.

... and eventually most of our kids will figure out for themselves that they aren't destined to be the top world champion in their sport - and they'll realize that their real goal is something else. In the meantime, give your kid the support and belief in himself that he is looking up at you for!

Happy goal setting with your kids,


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Raising Resilient Children

Raising Resilient Children

Resilience comes in many forms. As a child, I was emotionally traumatised, bereaved at a young age when my father died, and from age 7 lived rough on the streets on and off for years, often with nowhere to stay and only eating thanks to the generosity of strangers.

Those experiences taught me to be very resilient in some ways, BUT that obviously is a bad way to learn resilience.

How can we, in a safe, loving and nurturing environment, gently teach children to be resilient? Research into optimism indicates that having an optimistic outlook on life tends to protect children from depression both during the critical and difficult teenage years and later in life - not to mention during childhood - childhood depression is becoming alarmingly common.

The basic way to help kids to be optimistic and resilient:

* Encourage children to appreciate and value their talents, abilities and achievements. Rather than putting good things that happen down to just "luck", emphasize how your child's efforts contribute to a successful outcome, whether at school or in a hobby or sport.

* When your child experiences a setback, encourage him to see this as temporary and NOT reflecting a lack of ability in himself. In other words, the child should be learning to take credit for his successes but NOT to blame himself for setbacks or "bad" things.

This attitude to life may sound a little pollyanna or unrealistic, but research does show that this is the belief system of people who successfully bounce back from life's problems.

Happy parenting


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Some days you just can't win!!!

I am sure anyone who is blessed with a teenager knows exactly what I am talking about. It is not an easy time for them and they also can make our life a little challenging at times, but I am here to tell you that if you can just get through the next few years without losing your mind, your teen will transform like a butterfly and you will fall in love with them all over again.

I have a sixteen-year-old daughter who has really put me through the ringer lately. She will lose her cool at the drop of a hat and seems to get angry at me at the least little thing. Case in point, I was studying and had on my headphones because I like to listen to my favourite music while I work on my course. I was totally immersed in text book,trying to prepare for a test, when all of a sudden my daughter started screaming. That got my attention big time. I turned to look at her and she was fuming. I took off my headset and asked her what the problem was, and she said, "I never listen to her"! Funny, how many times have I asked her to do something and she will nod and say she will, but it never gets done. I have asked her to clean her room umpteen dozen times and nada!!!

I asked her how it felt not to be heard and she just turned and stomped her feet, went into her bedroom and rudely slammed the door. I could have reacted and made a big fuss, but I figured what would that really accomplish? They scream, we scream and nothing gets solved. It is a catch 22 because you don't want them to think that they can treat you like dirt and get away with it but by the same token what do you gain by getting angry??

My take on this is that teens need to go through the nasty years and drive us round the bend or we would never let them leave. Can you imagine how hard it would be if they stayed the same sweet angels until adulthood, you would never let them go. So think about this as if it were a transitional period to prepare Moms and Dads for the empty nest. It is nature's way, just like the Mother bird who tries to get her babies to leave the safety of the nest and go off on their own. After she shows them what to and they don't follow, she will just get fed up and push them out.

Once your child goes through the nasty years and becomes a human again, I am here to tell you that you will have a much better relationship with them and heck they don't even care and will be proud to be seen with you. Unlike the teen who stays five feet behind you in the mall for fear that someone will actually think that you are her Mother.

Happy Parenting


Friday, November 09, 2007

Kids, Goalsetting and Motivation

Kids,Goalsetting and Motivation

I was tickled to learn what motivates a friend's 18 month old baby. Everyone was sitting round the table after dinner and someone asked the adults at the table, "Who would like some icecream?" Little Rianna's eyes lit up and she shouted "ME!" with great enthusiasm. :)

When helping your kids learn to set goals, find out what motivates them and teach them how goal setting, effort and achievement all deserve good rewards!

For more ideas on goalsetting with kids, check out Monicka's article "Goal Setting 101 for Kids".

Happy goal setting with your kids!


Thursday, November 08, 2007

Exercise for kids

Exercise for kids

The issue of ensuring our children get sufficient exercise is becoming more and more important.

I was shocked to learn that, for the first time in U.S. history, children's life expectancy is lower than that of the previous generation. Worse, many of today’s kids are not expected to outlive their parents - mainly because of childhood obesity. (Source: Prentice A, Jebb S.,2006)

Kids should be getting a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise per day. Some at least should be aerobic enough to get them out of breath.

Click here for suggestions to get your kids exercising.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Exercise for Kids

Do kids exercise enough in this day and age? Whenever I'm in town I see dozens of children with trainers that have wheels in them. (I'm sure they have a special name, but I'm guessing you know what I'm talking about?!) These devices look like great fun, but it makes me wonder when these kids are getting the recommended 60 minutes of exercise a day if even an outing to town involves considerably less walking than ever before...

For suggestions on getting your kids exercising:

Kids Exercise Article

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Cooking with your child

The benefits of cooking with your child include:

Provides quality bonding time with our children
Builds positive self image
Encourages self-discipline
Rewards hard work and diligence
Promotes eye-hand coordination
Cultivates a love of learning
Fosters cooperation with others
Encourages their imagination

Check out KidsGoals' Cooking with your Child page for easy recipes to cook with your child!

Parent Newsletters

Sometimes we all need a little inspiration. Parenting is a tough, many faceted job - and the most IMPORTANT job in the world! What could be more important than nurturing, raising and educating the next generation?

The KidsGoals Parent Newsletters are a great way to get regular parenting ideas for activities, recipes and more. Why not give it a try?

Just visit

Happy Parenting,


Monday, November 05, 2007

Children and optimism

Children are naturally optimistic, which is a great protection mechanism against depression and other mental disorders. Sadly, our children's natural optimism tends to get dented or sometimes smashed by the nasty outside world!

What can we do to help preserve our children's optimism, while equipping them with the tools and skills that they will need to deal with the inevitable setbacks and calamities that life throws at everyone?

* Encourage children to take credit for their successes, building their self esteem with a genuine appreciation of their skills and attributes.

* When setbacks occur, suggest to your child that their next effort might be rewarded with success. In other words, encourage them to see setbacks as temporary.

These are two simple lessons that you can instill in your child over and over again just as you go about your daily activities.

Happy Parenting


Sunday, November 04, 2007

Child self esteem and courage - the teenage years

Building your child's self esteem by teaching him courage: As a Teenager

Sometimes, the bravest thing a teenager can do is ASK FOR HELP. At this stage of development, your child is learning to be self-reliant... and this can be overwhelming at times.

As with the earlier years, teach your child that there are no bad emotions, that it is OK to express his emotions openly in the safety of his relationship with his parents, and that you are there to support and encourage him, and believe in him, as he takes his first tentative steps into the adult world.

Build your teenager's self esteem and confidence by encouraging him to talk to you about his problems and concerns, and then reacting in a calm and reassuring way.

Happy parenting with your teenager!


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Child self esteem and courage - preteens

Building your child's self esteem by teaching him courage: The Pre-Teen Years

As your child approaches the teenage years, it is important for him to learn that courage sometimes means asking for help.

Help your child to understand that difficult conversations can be important. React calmly to any "bad" things your child admits. It is important to keep the lines of communication open during this crucial time. The trust you build here will pay dividends when you ... soon ... have a teenager on your hands!!!

Happy parenting,


Friday, November 02, 2007

Child self esteem and courage - at school

Building your child's self esteem by teaching him courage: At School

When your child is at school, he will encounter many opportunities to practice courage.

* Standing up to read in front of the class
* Taking part in a school play
* Having to admit to a mistake, and apologise to another pupil
* Going on a school trip

... any of these experiences have the potential to be frightening, and you can help your child to be courageous, and build his self esteem, by:

* Always show your child by your words and action that you have lots of confidence that he will do well
* Encourage your child to talk about his emotions, including fear
* Allow your child to cry when he needs to, and provide calm reassurance
* Help your child to find ways to make frightening things seem more manageable

Happy parenting!


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Child self esteem and courage - at preschool

Building your child's self esteem by teaching him courage: At Preschool

When your child is old enough to enjoy fairy stories, he will encounter the virtue of courage in stories for the first time.

This is a good opportunity to talk about what being brave means. That being brave can mean doing the right thing even though it's hard. That it is OK to be scared, and a courageous person can take action when they are scared - being brave doesn't mean they don't feel scared!

Encourage your child to be free to express all of his emotions, including fear and anxiety, in the safe environment of your presence. Your reaction to mishaps, and to his fears as well as your own, will teach him a lot about courage and will affect his self esteem for the rest of his life.

Happy parenting,