Sunday, August 17, 2008

Reading to Kids

Reading to Kids

Reading with your child is one of the best investments of time that you can make as a parent.

No matter how young your baby, having a cuddle and some quality time looking at a book together will help your child to develop a love of books and to become an early reader - not because he or she is pushed into it but because of the pure joy of reading!

Happy parenting,

Cassie

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Goal Setting for the Summer Holidays

A year is a very long time for small children (and even older children), so helping them learn to set goals which can be achieved over the summer is a great way to introduce children to what for them is relatively "long term" goal setting.

You could start by talking round the possibilities - find out what gets your child excited. What goals would motivate and energize him, get him fired up and passionate?

You can encourage your child to think about what he would like to achieve this summer, then teach him some basic, simple goal setting skills to make it happen.

Ask your child to:

1. Think about and then write or draw in detail what his goal will look like when he's achieved it. Or, instead of writing or drawing it, you could give him old magazines that he can search for pictures that relate to his goal, and cut them out.

2. Make sure that your child has whatever represents his goal in a visible place - somewhere he will see it every day, like on a corkboard in his room for instance.

3. Encourage your child to write out the steps - actions - that he will take towards his goal. Suggest that he should do SOMETHING, no matter how small, to help carry him towards his goal each day. It could be something as big as signing up for a club or class, it could be a phone call to ask someone for help, or something as little as choosing a relevant book from the library or simply spending a little time thinking about his goal.

4. Find out how to help your child. A good place to start is by understanding how he feels about his goal and what it is that excites him. Refrain from criticizing. A child's passion, when first ignited, can be a delicate and fragile thing. Be sure to encourage him first, and only point out downsides as things to overcome rather than things that make his idea or goal silly or unachievable.

The process of setting a goal, taking action and then achieving success is critical for the development of a healthy self-esteem in children. It's not the size of the goal that matters, but the realization, developed over time and many repetitions, that "I Can Do This!"

Happy Goal Setting with your kids!

P.S. Check out this free download of a special "Summer Holidays Memory Book"

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Kids Self Esteem and Empathy


How to Build Your Child's Self Esteem Using Empathy
We are often urged to use the basic parenting discipline of re-inforcing "good" behavior with praise, and ignoring "bad" behavior.
The danger with this approach is that it can lead us to ignore one of our childrens' fundamental needs - the need to express all of their emotions and still receive unconditional love from their parents.
It is important that your child is allowed to express his or her anger, frustration and sadness in an accepting environment. OK, you might not like it - wouldn't we all love for our kids to be happy and cheerful 100% of the time? Well humans are not like that, so it's unreasonable to expect our children to be so.
If we force our children, by lack of acceptance or understanding, to suppress so-called "negative" emotions, we only store up emotional trouble for them in the future.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Parenting: Positive Praise vs Empty Praise

Positive Parenting Praise
Praising our kids is an essential part of building their self esteem - so it is worth thinking about in a little more depth.
Children are a lot smarter and more perceptive than we realize, so one important part of praise is that it must be HONEST. If you praise your child for a piece of homework that you don't really feel is very good, he will pick up from your tone of voice or your body language that you don't mean it. Save your praise for when you can give it fully and honestly.

Kids don't have the experience that we have and misunderstandings are easy to create. So praise that is SPECIFIC will help your child more than generalizations. Saying that you appreciated your child's help with the chores will mean more to him if you say exactly which bits of what he did were so helpful.
Children have a different perception of time than do adults. Praise is best served warm! When you see your child doing something great - tell him so as soon as you can, and keep your praise TIMELY. On the flip side, beware of giving constant praise when there is no reason for it. Your child will be more motivated if your praise is associated with genuine effort on his part, rather than appearing at random intervals no matter what he does.
Why not watch yourself as you praise your child today and see if you are managing to make your praise:
  • Honest
  • Specific
  • Timely
For more positive parenting tips come and see us at KidsGoals and sign up for the free newsletter. You don't want to miss the June issue :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Where did the time go?

When I tried growing a garden for the first time I discovered two things about gardening pretty quickly. One, I am not a gardener and two if you let the weeds get out of control they will soon take over your garden. It is pretty easy to use that analogy when it comes to thoughts too. If you keep letting the negative ones in they will choke out the positive ones PDQ. It is not so much that negative thoughts have that much power as they are quite low on the energy scale but enough of them piled up day after day it becomes harder and harder to get through the weeds to the flowers. By flowers I mean the good stuff, the wonderful things about you and your life.

I had to learn that the hard way and try and teach that to my children on a daily basis so that they won't have to wait until they are in their forties to have the same AHA moment.

Apologies on anyone who reads our blogs and has noticed a bit of a lag since the last one. No excuses just life gets the best of you at times and all the good intentions of blogging on a daily basis kind of go to the wayside. Actually for 2007 Cassie and I were pretty good about keeping up on the blogs so I am not going to say too much about this year. We all do what we can and sometimes a break is needed.

Happy Goal Setting,

Monicka

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Support and Friendship

Thank goodness for my dear friend Cassie. She is always there to make me start believing again when I am having doubts and to prop me up when I feel like I can no longer stand on my own two feet without help. Just recently she helped me through a rough patch where I was having a lot of doubts. Our friendship means the world to me and I would be lost without it. She offers me support and guidance and sometimes just lets me vent.

Friendship is also vital to your children. Most children especially teens will not necessarily confide in their parents or other family members if they are having problems, but will usually tell a good friend. Your kids need to know that you are there for them if they are ever in trouble but some kids just keep secrets from their parents and it is not because you are a bad parent. It is just what kids do. That is why it is so imperative for them to have a friend they can lay their troubles on.

If you think that your children may be having problems making friends it is a good idea to ask them if they are happy with the friendships in their lives? If you word it that way they will feel better about telling you if they are having problems rather than asking them if they have any friends, which will make them feel like something is wrong with them if they don't have any friends to speak of. There are many things that you can do as a parent to help in this area, but if nothing seems to work it may be time to talk to your child's teacher or even to seek professional help as it may be a self esteem issue, that needs to be dealt with. Check out this article on How to Help Your Child Make Friends!

Happy Friendships,

Monicka

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Tips to end procrastination

In Monday's blog I wrote about the connection between procrastination and low self esteem and how negative feelings about yourself can affect how your child feels about himself. Today we are going to deal with ways to help you stop putting things off, which will not only benefit you, but also your children so can will become little people that will walk their talk.

If you tend to procrastinate because of fear of failure it is vital that you learn not to let the fear paralyze you; instead feel the fear and do it anyway. Try to concentrate on the outcome you want and picture that exactly how you want it to be. Fear is only false evidence appearing real in your mind, but it can keep you from moving forward because it is not a comfortable feeling by any means. If you can just nudge yourself past it a tiny bit, there are always lots of goodies on the other side.

If you have been avoiding things for quite awhile you may have a backlog of things piled up that are weighing you down and you do not know where to even begin. Take the time to write down each one and once that is done, prioritize them. What is most important to you or what needs to be done first or even what can I do first so that I can get the ball rolling. It doesn't matter how you prioritize your list, what is important is to make it doable for you. Now that you have done that do the first thing on the list. Don't think about it just do it, then move onto the next one on the list. You will find that as you start accomplishing things on your list you will start feeling better about yourself and before you know it the list will be fait accompli.

Finally don't delay. When you delay with your plans, worry and doubt start settling in and that can be detrimental to your self esteem. The best solution is to act on it without thought and just like any muscle you haven't used in awhile, the more you use it the stronger it gets and procrastination will be a thing of the past.

Happy Follow Through,

Monicka

Monday, March 31, 2008

Self Esteem and Procrastination

There is a definite correlation between how you feel about yourself or your self esteem and procrastination. If you avoid the things that you know you should be doing or have promised yourself you are going to do, you may not only be letting others down, but you are also letting yourself down. If you cannot count on yourself to follow through, who the heck can you truly count on?

Procrastinating has a domino effect on your self esteem. By not doing things you say you are going to do, you start to feel powerless and that nothing is ever going to get better. Your self confidence suffers and you feel like you cannot move forward in your life.

People tend to procrastinate for a myriad of reasons, some of which are fear of failure, and avoiding an uncomfortable situation. If your children see you constantly putting things off that you say you are going to do they are going to quickly start mirroring your behavior, so it is very important that you figure out what is holding you back.

The next blog will deal with how to do just that but for now, don't beat yourself up, instead do a bit of soul searching and see what is causing you to procrastinate and nine times out of ten it is not laziness.

Happy Following Through,

Monicka

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Take the time for your child

I sure that all of us are guilty of this scenario from time to time? We are home after a long day at work, trying to figure out something for dinner and your son comes to you for advice or for help on his homework. If you are like the majority of parents you are stressed to the max and do not take the time to stop and actually acknowledge your child and take the time to answer his question or at the very least look him in the eye and tell him you have lots on the go right now, but as soon as you have a free moment you will help him and follow through with your promise.

Most kids are so used to being disappointed time and time again when they want you to spend time for them that they will just shrug their shoulders and walk away. You are sending a message loud and clear to your child that he is not important enough and not a big enough priority for you to spend your valuable time. Dinner can always wait, but when your child needs you make it your first priority to be there for him and this will have a positive impact on how he feels about himself.

Happy, Positive Parenting,

Monicka

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hugs not only nice but beneficial to our well being.

It is amazing how wonderful a hug can make you feel. There is even scientific evidence that proves that we as humans need a certain quota of hugs a day to be emotionally healthy. According to Virginia Satir,noted author and psychotherapist, we need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance, and 12 hugs a day for growth.

Is your child getting his daily hug quota!!! Are you???

Happy, Hugging,

Monicka

Friday, March 28, 2008

Positive Talk and THINK before you speak!

As parents we need to understand that how we communicate with our children can have a huge impact on their self esteem. Kids seem to really pick up on any negative comments and take them to heart. We may just be stressed and say something that we do not really mean, but your children do not know this. Try to think about what you are saying and take the time to evalutate the impact this will have on your child.

Never tell your child he is bad, it is the behavior that is not pleasing at the time and you are not happy with the behavior, but you still love your child and he needs to know this. If you blurt out something that you really did not mean to say when you are feeling out of sorts, don't just blow it off, take the time to sit down with your child and tell him that what you said was not appropriate, and you did not mean it and you still love him. Do not let any negative comments that may slip out fester in your child, he needs to know that you are always in his corner and will love him no matter what.

Happy Positive Talk,

Monicka

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

More on Believing is Seeing

The last few years of my life have been nothing short of amazing. In less than three short years I have been to the UK twice and have been to Paris,and now just recently I have been to Bahrain in the Middle East. If anyone would have told me this was going to happen five years ago I would have told them they were nuts. It was not in my realm of thinking and I just stayed in my own safe little box never even dreaming this could be possible. Once I decided that I wanted more, everything started to unfold right before my eyes.

I am proof that believing is seeing and by teaching this concept to your children you will be giving them the tools to realize their goals no matter how big they are. It is also important to dream big because as these quotes state so succinctly,

"All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible" - Orison Swett Marden

"Big goals get big results. No goals get no results or somebody else's results" - Mark Victor Hansen


Please keep in mind that it is OK to start your kids off with smaller goals, because the more they start to realize the smaller goals, they will start to truly believe that the loftier goals can also be brought to fruition.

Happy Goal setting,

Monicka

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Keeping Momentum

A friend of mine has decided that she wants to get to a healthier weight through better food choices and regular exercise. She has finally realized that diets do not work because they are not sustainable as a life long plan. She has lost weight on fad diets before but always found that it came back with a vengeance when she stopped following the rigid plan. Now she is ready to listen to me and follow a much more doable plan that she will follow for life. Of course at first she was all fired up and thanked me for inspiring her, but now it is two weeks and she is feeling a bit overwhelmed because she is not seeing results fast enough. This is the part that gets hard and I told her just because you are not seeing results within the first few weeks that does not mean that you should give up.

Most people will discover that one of the hardest things about goal-setting and realizing your goals is to keep the momentum going. Most people find that at first they are all fired up and raring to go, but after a few weeks it becomes harder and harder to stay on track. While this is a bit of deterrence, it does not have to stop you in your tracks.

You need to really have a picture of the outcome you wish to bring about. Whether it is something you are saving for such as a trip, or for your kids it is the newest video game that they just have to have, or like with my friend to get to a healthy weight for her size - it MUSTt be something that you can truly see yourself having. Put up pictures of your goal where you can easily see them and everytime you see them say to yourself that is for me. If you keep in mind that believing is seeing you cannot go wrong. I will have even more hints in future blogs on how to stay focussed with your goals.

Happy goal setting,
Monicka

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spelling and Goal Setting


Spelling improvement is a great goal to work on with your kids. With some of the fantastic software for spelling that is available these days, learning to be a great speller no longer needs to be boring or tedious - in fact it can be great fun!

If your child loves to use the computer then he is sure to enjoy this kids spelling software which has many brilliant features specially designed to engross young learners and make learning fun, fast and effective.

You and your child will be able to easily see how fast his spelling is improving with the clear, easy to understand graphs. And just as importantly, your child will be experiencing firsthand how goal setting combined with action can result in measurable success.

Happy spelling with your kids!

Cassie

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spelling Games for Kids

Making spelling fun for your children is essential if they are to enjoy the process of becoming great spellers. Here are some ideas for games you can play with your child to help make spelling fun!

* Find fun places to practice spelling - in wet sand, on a blackboard, even on each other with finger paints just before bath time!

* Play at "air spelling" where you take turns "writing" a word in the air while spelling it out to each other.

* Learn fun spelling tricks like how to quickly and easily spell a word backwards, and have fun showing off these tricks.

Happy spelling with your kids!

Cassie

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Importance of Good Spelling for Children

Your child may not thing that learning to be a good speller sounds like a whole lot of fun, but like most skills it can be MADE fun, with a little imagination and effort.

And the rewards are far-reaching! A child who learns to spell well will possess this skill for life, and it will help him to succeed in many areas, not just in school but in further education, job searching and in his career.

In these days of fast and easy communication, sloppy spelling cannot be hidden for long - and the flip side is also true - a good speller can gain fast respect in the workplace!

Happy spelling with your kids,

Cassie

Friday, March 21, 2008

Skills that can help your child set and achieve goals

There are certain fundamental skills that will contribute towards success in many and varied pursuits. You may wish to review this list of key skills and ideas and see which ones you think will be of benefit to your child in his endevors.

* Vocabulary improvement
* Good spelling
* Good listening skills
* Social skills
* Reading, or speed reading for older children
* Fluency in arithmetic
* A second language

When we encourage our children to build key skills such as those listed above, they gain an edge which can help them to achieve many of their goals in the future!

Happy parenting,

Cassie

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Goal setting for kids - learning to prioritize

When we get pumped up and excited about our goals, sometimes we find that we are taking on too much - thinking that we can do everything.

While you encourage and empower your child to believe in himself and his abilities, you can also teach him how to prioritize and decide what are the most important tasks he should concentrate on in order to achieve his goals. There are only 24 hours in a day and prioritizing is a vital skill that we all need to learn if we are to reach our goals as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Don't be tempted to let your child cut back on sleep or other important activities in order to work on his goals. Instead help him to realize that there are other ways that he can rearrange his schedule - television is an obvious culprit when it comes to time-wasting, for example!

Happy goal setting with your kids,

Cassie

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sometimes We Need to Put Ourselves First!!!

It may sound selfish and for that reason you may not feel like doing it, but putting yourself first as a Mother is one of the most selfless things you can do for your children and family in general. When a Mother gives everything to her family she is slowly but surely depleting her stores of all the things she needs to provide the best for her children. Sooner or later the cup runneth dry and a Mother may find that she doesn't have the energy or the inclination to much of anything for her family. Soon she is feel unappreciated and taken for granted and even depression can set in quickly after that.

On the other hand if a Mother finds time to do the things she appreciates,even if it is just a daily meditation session, or a work out at the gym she is doing things to make herself feel good and refuel herself. Try and make special time for yourself to do the things that make you happy. There is no hard and fast rule that comes with this as every Mother is different. For some just a nice bubble bath when they are feeling stressed or time to read a book they have been wanting to read is enough for others they may need a little more. The important thing is to make it regular and a priority. Your family will benefit and your children will see that sometimes we need to put ourselves first which is a big part of self esteem and learning to love yourself.

Happy Parenting,

Monicka

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Boost Your Energy With Exercise

Parenting is not an easy task at the best of times and sometimes we may not have the energy we need to do it properly. Mother's especially have this problem because they give so much to keep the dynamic of the family going that they may not have much for themselves at the end of the day.

One of the best ways I find to increase my energy is exercise. It is amazing how bad I can feel and it is usually the last thing I want to do, but once I force myself to get on the treadmill or go for a walk it never fails to give me a boost. After a good thirty minute workout I am once again raring to go and the big bonus is I also have a much better sleep at night so feel well rested in the morning.

Happy Exercising,

Monicka

Monday, March 17, 2008

What our children should know and not know.

We have to understand that as parents it is imperative to keep some things from our children, for one thing it is not necessary to tell them about any financial difficulties as this will weigh heavy on their mind. There are ways to explain to a child that now is not the best time to purchase something that they may desire because the money needs to be used for something that is of a higher priority. By doing this you are still explaining to your child that the funds are a little low without using negative words like we are too poor or cannot afford this. This sends a very profound message to your children and may cause them to worry when it is not necessary.

I was brought up to believe that how you say something is much more important than what you say and sometimes it is best to say nothing at all if it will cause sleepless nights for your child.

Happy Parenting

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Teaching Children to do for Themselves

Having been raised by a Mother who thought it was too much work to allow me to cook or learn other skills because she never had the time. I found that when I finally married at the tender age of twenty that I did not even know how to boil an egg, let alone raise a family. Because of my upbringing I vowed not to follow my Mother's example and while I did let my children cook with me there were still a myriad of things I did not take the time to teach them so they could be more independent, which in turn would help build self-esteem. As I look back on my own childhood I received the message loud and clear that I was not capable enough to learn the things I wanted my Mother to teach me. It took a long time after that to build the confidence needed in order to feel like I was a capable wife and Mother.

After years of trial and error I can now do these things with my eyes closed, but still find myself repeating the same parenting pattern my Mother did from time to time with my own children. I guess what we experience as little children is so engrained in us it is a hard habit to break, but one we must, if we want our kids to become self-reliant and capable human beings.


I have been away from my family for just short of two weeks and I miss them dearly. The time we have been apart has given me a new appreciation for them, and I am sure that my husband is finding that having to take on the role that I am for the time being on hiatus from, is probably a bit of a rude awakening for him as well as the children. I do know that doing too much for my children has been their detriment as before I left for my journey I realized how little they really know how to do on their own. Something I vow to change on my return.

Happy Parenting,

Monicka

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Importance of Diversity

Having just returned from a short visit to Bahrain on the Arabian Gulf I have come to believe even more strongly in teaching our children about as many different cultures as we can. While I do not agree with some of the things that the Bahranians do as far as there children go, I also saw that most parents only want the best for their children, so in that way we are alike.

What a boring world this would be if we were all the same, from the way we dress to what we eat or even how we speak. Life is much more exciting and interesting when we can appreciate all the different dimensions of the human race. It is important to teach our chldren to appreciate these diversities and learn to understand and accept them for who they are.

Happy Parenting,

Monicka

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ideas to help your child focus on positive role models.

positive role models for children
Children - teenagers as well as youngsters - naturally look for role models to shape their attitudes and behaviors. As parents, it is important for us to make sure that they have plenty of POSITIVE role models.

There are enough negative role models surrounding our children - and much of the adult world, if not negative, is at best apathetic and mediocre. If we don't actively focus on positive role models, then these other ones can dampen our children's natural enthusiasm and optimism.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sibling Rivalry

sibling rivalry
Although a new baby can bring a lot of joy into a family it can sometimes take awhile for your other children to appreciate that little bundle. In this parenting newsletter issue you will find tips on how to prepare your child for the new arrival and also how to deal with a jealous sibling. You may even find you will have to discipline your child if they show aggression towards the new baby; the next article will show you how to discipline your child in a loving and constructive way.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Childhood Shyness

shy child
One of the things that we are both passionate about is helping children grow emotionally. And a very important part of their emotional strength is our children’s relationships with others. So through the newsletter and the KidsGoals website we are going to be providing more and more resources to help you help your children develop their social skills. One important topic is shyness. if your child is shy you may be wondering whether it is “just a phase” or something to be concerned about. What can you do for your child if he or she is showing signs of shyness? Hopefully our article will help!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Goal Setting For Kids - Responsibility :))

family pet
One of the best ways for a child to learn responsibility is to let them care for a pet. By showing your children what it takes to be responsible for a living creature’s survival they are actually learning important social skills. A child who learns to care for a pet and treat it kindly and with patience will learn to treat people the same way.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Respect goes both ways...

Following on from yesterday's blog on children and respect, there is another point to make and that is that babies and children brought up with respect from an early age will realize - not when they are very young but in due course as they grow older - that respect goes both ways.

We cannot expect respect and consideration unless we are also willing to extend the same to others. This isn't something that a toddler will be ready to comprehend, but gradually as he becomes less self-centered and develops the social skills of empathy and awareness of his own impact upon those around him, your child will learn this lesson from you naturally!

Happy parenting
,

Cassie

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Children and Respect

Children and Respect

I was struck by a comment from a new mother who bemoaned the fact that so many people were "rude" to her small baby. She complained that her baby would be gazing at some object with interest and people would get in his line of vision and try to force his attention onto something that was of interest to THEM. I thought this an insightful perspective - after all, a baby is a human being just like an adult and deserves to be treated respectfully and politely just like the rest of us.

I also suspect that the more we earn our children's respect, the more likely we are to later on be blessed with teenagers who themselves will treat us and others with respect and consideration!

Happy parenting,

Cassie

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Oops!

child pram
OH NO! NOT DOUBLE YELLOW LINES AGAIN!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Teens and Sleep

Teen Sleep
Most teens don't get enough sleep! Sam, our 18 year old, is working full time and has to be up before 8am on weekdays and most Saturdays. She is very good about being up in plenty of time and making sure she is well-groomed for her work as an Optical Advisor, no matter how tired she feels.

But there is such a temptation to burn the candle at both ends by staying out late with her friends - especially on a Friday night when they are all off the following day but Sam usually has to work!

Sam's Dad has to discuss this with her fairly regularly, as she will agree to be home at a sensible time, and stick to it for a while before slipping up and yielding to the temptation to stay out until the early hours.

I guess sometimes we need to let our children learn from the natural consequences of their own actions. It's probably a much more effective lesson for Sam to learn to regulate her own sleep by experiencing the exhaustion of getting up early after a late night, than just by her Dad and I "telling" her that she needs more sleep!

Most teens need at least 9 hours sleep a night ... the trick is encouraging them to realize this...!

Happy sleep for your teens!

Cassie

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Kids and Responsibility

kids and responsibility
Kids and Responsibility
Well Monicka landed safely here in the UK today and I am thrilled to be with her again - it has been 11 months since we were last together, although we speak on the phone or computer nearly every day.
When she called her children back home to say goodnight I was delighted to hear that her 11 year old son had made his own lunch ready for school the next morning!
As Monicka admitted, she does too much for him (not to mention the rest of the family) and being away for a while hopefully will help her realize that her children are very capable of rising to the responsibility of taking care of themselves to some extent. We all need a parent to fall back on, but learning that we can also stand on our own two feet is what growing up is all about...!

Happy parenting,

Cassie

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Children and Language

Small children are naturally wired to learn language. Our complex language is a fundamental part of being human, and mastering language, both understanding and talking, is one of the most important things that we learn in the journey from newborn to toddlerhood and beyond.

Even our hearing is particularly sensitive when we are very young. Nuances of pronunciation which are lost on adult ears are clearly detectable by small children. This is one reason why if you started to learn, for example, Chinese at age 30, you would probably never be able to develop a native-sounding accent however much you tried. Your ears and brain would simply not detect tiny differences in sound because as your brain developed and only learned, say, European languages while you were growing up, the nuances of sound unique to your own familiar languages would be prominent and those important for languages that are very different would gradually become "invisible" to your ears.

Given all that, as well as the personal experience of going to school in Israel at age 7 when I could barely speak Hebrew, and becoming fluid in a matter of weeks, I was amazed to hear that some schools here in the UK teach classes in several different languages simultaneously to accommodate the diverse linguistic backgrounds of their pupils. A math teacher might have a number of different translators in the classroom to ensure that each pupil has the lesson translated into his or her native language.

While the importance of encouraging and championing all the cultures and backgrounds of the different students is vital, I suspect that the emphasis on language is unnecessary. If small children are immersed in a language which is new to them, rather than having it translated, they will pick it up extremely quickly.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Compromises in Friendship

Tuesday is usually Cassie's day to blog but I am hoping that she will cover for me on Wednesday as I will be leaving for the UK and may not have time to write one. That is what is so great about our friendship, it is very balanced where one person is not always doing the giving. That is something that children also need to learn about friendship and sometimes it may take a little reminder from you.

My daughter has learned the hard way that sometimes you need to bend a bit when it comes to her friends. She now knows that she may have to go along with what they want to do sometimes, even if it is not always her cup of tea. For instance when her friend invited her to go to a movie and they were trying to figure out which one to go to,she started to get upset when her friend wanted to see something she was not interested in. I had to stop her and take her aside and explain to her that friendship is about sometimes doing things with our friends that we may not really like. By agreeing to go to the movie that your friend wants to go to this time you can make a compromise and next time you can choose the movie. She agreed to go along with my suggestion and had a nice time and the next time she was able to choose the movie that they went to.

For more ideas on How to Help Your Child Make Friends

Monicka

Monday, March 03, 2008

Raising Teenagers


I have noticed the last little while that my fifteen year old son has not had a lot of time for me. I seem to push his buttons without even realizing and he has been very vocal about it. For you parents who are starting to feel like you cannot seem to do anything right in your child's eyes, join the club. You would think that after raising three kids to adulthood I would remember that I went through this before. More so with my daughter who is now 28, than my eldest son, but I did go through this experience before and should remember that this too shall pass.

Teenagers seem to need their space from their parents and it is the first sign of independence and is actually not a bad thing as long as it does not get out of hand. Your child needs to feel like he has choices and needs to feel that his privacy is respected. I have tried to make it a habit to always knock on my son's door after being reprimanded a few times about respect and privacy. Thinking back I most likely had the same feelings toward my parents but dared not voice it. Back then most children were not able to speak their mind without a major whooping, but now luckily our kids can feel safe enough to tell us how they are feeling.

So remember times have changed when it comes to parenting, but teenagers have not. Of course if your teen is blatantly abusive and a little too vocal you may want to discuss it with a professional as sometimes anger is a sign of depression and you should never take that lightly especially if it seems out of character.




Sunday, March 02, 2008

Kids and Friendships continued

I have written many times about how some kids really have difficulty when it comes to making friends. Not all children are able to grasp the social skills needed so may look to their parents for tips on how to make friends. If your  child is a little shy there are simple things that you can suggest that he try to help with his social skills.

Smiling at people can be the start to making a new friend. A smile tells people that you are interested in them and it is a sure fire way to open the door to friendship. If your child is shy he may feel like lowering his head and not looking in people's eyes. Help your child to practice his smiling and eye contact with the rest of the family and if anyone notices that your child is not looking them in the eye, you can gently lift his head up and tell him to look at you with his beautiful peepers. After awhile this should become a habit.

If on the other hand that you are concerned that your child is taking too long to grasp social skills and is really having a lot of problems maintaining eye contact it may be a good idea to discuss it with your Doctor who should be able to refer you to the proper professional to help your child. Children on the Autism Spectrum in particular have problems with social skills and so more help may be needed.

For more ideas on How to Help Your Child Make Friends!


Happy Parenting

Monicka

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Goal Setting for Kids - An Outcome IS A Success

outcome success baby
When a baby tries to impact the world around him, this is the earliest form of goal oriented behavior. And his experiences will start to shape his self-belief - whether he believes his actions will produce results or not.
This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to "spoil" your baby and give in to his every demand. (I could (and often do!) argue that it's not possible to "spoil" a baby anyway).
For example, suppose your 6 month old is crying in his crib at nap time and demanding to be picked up. How you react is very important. If you completely ignore him, this experience indicates to him that he is helpless and cannot change the world around him, or your reaction, by his own actions. But if you were to walk into the nursery and speak to him, lay him down and stroke his head, then his action (crying) has produced an outcome and therefore has been successful. He may not have achieved his ultimate goal of you picking him up, but he has created a result and can learn from that.
Similarly, goal achievement for older children does not have to be all about getting the ultimate result that they want straight away from the first action they take. Teach your child that when he takes an action and gets a result, even if it is not quite the result he wanted, he can learn from that outcome and then take more action. This is how to empower your child for goal setting and achievement.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Giving Children the Confidence to Achieve their Goals

kids confidence achieve goals
We may not realize it, but a child starts developing the confidence he will need to achieve his goals at a very, very young age.
How you react to a tiny baby will have a powerful impact on his belief, as he grows, as to whether he can successfully manipulate the world around him.
If a baby is ignored when he cries, for example, this can have a hugely disempowering influence on his personality - he may learn at this very early age a deep-seated belief that says (although he has no words yet) "It doesn't matter what I do, I can't change what happens to me."
On the other hand, every time that you react to an infant, or show a tiny child that he is capable and can do something for himself, you are nurturing the basic belief that he can take action and be successful.
After all, isn't that what goal achievement is all about?
Happy parenting,
Cassie

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Goalsetting and How to Eat an Elephant

Goal setting and goal achievement is much like eating elephants, your child might be entertained to discover :) ... goals and elephants should be done one bite at a time!

Being confronted with a big task can be overwhelming for any of us. And it takes real skill to step back and break that task down into manageable chunks.

If you practice this skill over and over with your child, he will be much better equipped to effectively achieve his goals and also to handle big challenges that other people will throw at him from time to time in the future!

Happy goalsetting with your kids,

Cassie

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Importance of Setting Goals in Life

goal setting children
Children who learn the importance of setting goals in life will have a huge advantage over their peers in all aspects of life - both throughout their schooldays and later on when they leave school in their careers and other endevors.

Like a number of other basic skills, like having a good vocabulary and knowing how to get on well with one's peers, goal setting is a key success factor for your child.

To find out more about helping your child succeed, check out the e-book "The No Limits Child".

Happy goal setting with your kids,

Cassie

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Goal Setting for Kids - Little and Often

When you teach your child to set goals, you are really aiming to make goal setting a habit that will stay with and benefit your child for life. And, as with brushing our teeth or combing our hair, the most ingrained habits are things that we do every day.

A powerful way to engrain the goal setting and goal achievement habit with your child is to encourage him to review his goal list each morning. This alone is a potent thing to do. To get even better results, encourage him to find at least ONE action to take for each of his current goals, TODAY, to move him a little closer to each of them.

Each action that your child takes towards achieving his goals may be small in itself, but with the habit of doing SOMETHING, however small, each day, he will become a master success at goal achievement!

Happy goal setting with your kids,

Cassie

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday morning chatter and UK update

Well, it is Monday and time for another UK ticker update. But first a bit about the importance of friendship and children. Since I have a sixteen year old daughter who is Aspergian I know first hand how difficult making friends can be for some children. Social skills do not come naturally to her and so she has trouble making friends. My eleven year old son on the other hand seems to have no trouble making friends and so this is sometimes very difficult for my daughter. My son will be invited to sleep overs and birthday parties, while she spends a lot of her time alone. I know she has acquaintances at school and with a little push from her they could probably develop into friendships, but because of her inability to know how to befriend someone this does not happen. I know she is very likeable and she has a good heart and anytime we are in town and someone recognizes her they always say hi to her and ask her how she is doing.

This got me thinking about the fact that if I could sit in her pocket and observe her for the day, I would probably see signs from other people that they are willing to be her friend and spend time with her, but she either does not pick up on the subtle cues or if she feels a bit anxious may do something to give the impression that she is not interested when that could be the furthest thing from the truth.

My daughter has worked very hard with a speech language pathologist since she was quite young to learn social skills and how to make friends, but because of her Asperger's she still struggles in that department.

If you notice that your child seems to be a loner and has trouble making friends it may be a good idea to talk to a professional about what you can do as a parent to help him in that area. Not all kids are born with these skills and sometimes a little help may be needed.

Now for the weekly up date.

Well I tried to update my ticker but the website is down for a bit but according to my calculations I will be leaving for the UK in get this 9 Days woo hoo!!!
For ideas on How to Help Your Child Make Friends!


Happy Friendships,

Monicka

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Conversation and Friendship

By the time your child starts school he will most likely start to pick up on how to start conversations and make friends,thus building his social skills. Some children are better at it than others and find making friends easy. But for children on the autism spectrum making friends and having meaningful conversations can be very difficult.

Developing social skills will help your child to build his self esteem and these skills are imperative when he becomes an adult. You will be doing your child a great service by helping him while he is young to be a better conversationalist. Simple things such as teaching your child to use eye contact when speaking to someone and smiling can be a great start, so try and suggest this to your child if he is not doing it naturally.

If you have any concerns that your child's social skills are severely lacking and he is having problems making friendships with his peers, it may a good idea to seek professional help. Social skills do not come easily to some children and more guidance may be needed.

Happy Social Skills,

Monicka

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Goal Setting for Kids - Concentrate on What You Already Have

goal setting kids

The danger with some goals, particularly large or difficult ones, is that your child can become overwhelmed and start to think too much in terms of what he doesn't have.

"Focus on your goal" and "focus on what you already have" do not have to be contradictory, although it can seem so at first glance.

When you encourage your child to set goals, a powerful technique you can teach him is to make a list of all the things, resources, skills and friends or contacts that he ALREADY HAS that can help him achieve his goal.

Happy goal setting with your kids,

Cassie

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nurturing Your Child's Passion

After watching the movie "Miss Potter" it got me thinking about how unlikely it would have been for her to continue with her wonderful stories and illustrations had she not at least had the support of one parent. Her Mother never accepted that her daughter was truly talented, but her Father encouraged her every step of the way and delighted in her amazing imagination.


It is very important that we as parents and caregivers help our children discover their talents. Watch your children when they are at play and pay attention to what excites them. Every child is born with something that they excel at. It may be an artistic ability or perfect pitch or even the gift of the gab. Whatever it is, it imperative that you support your child and guide him so he can realize it's and his full potential.

Happy Parenting,

Monicka

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Goal Setting - Writing it Down

goal setting writing child
When teaching your child to set goals, a key skill or habit to focus on is writing the goal down.

Although your child might think he is very clear on his goal inside his head, the very act of writing the goal down helps our brain to commit to taking action.
If your child is very young, drawing a picture of the goal can work just as well!

Happy goal setting with your child,

Cassie

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Self Esteem and Goal Setting

self esteem kids goal setting
When you boost your child's self esteem you are giving her a powerful foundation for goal setting and achievement.
For ideas on building your child's self esteem, you might be interested in this parenting article:
Give Your Child the Gift of Self Esteem

Happy parenting,


Monday, February 18, 2008

Goal Setting for Kids - Planning to Succeed

goal setting kids
Goal setting for kids should be FUN and not a chore. Making a plan and taking action are integral parts of goal setting and goal achievement. It's important to teach your child that sometimes the first (or second, or third...) plan that he makes will need to change - and that is OK, not a "failure" but simply a learning step.

For instance, I made a plan for some creative writing that I'm working on. I felt it was a good plan and was looking forward to working it. However, during the first week I found that the time of day that I had planned to write was not working for me. Rather than continue to try to FORCE myself to write at an unsuitable time of day because that was what my plan said, I went back and started with a new plan!

Encourage your child to see this kind of experience as an integral part of the goal achievement process, not as a set back. Only by taking action and learning can we refine our plans and lay out a path to successful, FUN goal achievement!

Happy goal setting with your kids,


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fake laughter is good medicine too.


I had mentioned a few posts back about my experience with the self development workshop that I went to. I learned so much about myself and was also taught many tools to use in the everyday world to keep myself on track. One of my favourite was a laughing exercise that you can use when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and works great for your kids too when they wake up with the grumpies.

The instructor said to make a habit when you get up in the morning of looking in the mirror and then making yourself laugh for three full minutes using a time of some kind. The term "fake it till you make it" works really well here because there is scientific evidence that your brain does not know the difference between a fake laugh and a real laugh. The same feel good endorphins are released and the same muscles are exercised and the even if the laughter is not genuine your brain and your body still gets the positive benefits.

Try this with your kids and it will not take long for you both to get into a happier mood. Laughter is not only good medicine, it is also contagious and just watching someone else have a good belly laugh can get you laughing and joining in on the fun.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The secrets our teens keep.


I was shocked when a friend of mine told me that a co/worker friend of his, just found out that his nephew committed suicide. The boy was only nineteen and no one had a clue that he was troubled and so all the adults are blaming themselves for not recognizing that the boy was suffering from depression.

When I think of my own sixteen year old daughter, I always clue in pretty quick when depression rears it's ugly head because she spends too much time in her room and doesn't seem to want to eat much. I could not understand how no one had a clue what was going on in this kids life? For one thing the toxicology report found that he was high on drugs and his family did not know he took drugs. They did know that he drank, but to the best of their knowledge, not to an excess. He seemed like a good kid, hard worker at his job, and no one was the wiser as to the inner torment this kid was actually going through.

Parents seem to be the last people to know what is going on in the lives of their teens. The signals are not always there and sometimes they may be so subtle that a busy parent may totally miss the signs of depression. Depression is insidious and can sneak up on a teen before they even know what is happening.

The signs of depression are there if you look carefully for them. It could be as simple as a teen sleeping more than usual or having trouble sleeping. His appetite may change where he seems to be eating more and gaining weight or not eating and losing weight. This is not a cookie cutter disease and just because one teen experiences depression one way, another teen may have totally different symptoms. The bottom line is depression is a disease and not something to take lightly. If you have a suspicion that your teen may be suffering with depression, get some help. If you can't get your teen to talk, talk to your family Dr. and get some advice before it gets out of hand.

Monicka

Friday, February 15, 2008

Goal Setting and Passion

goal setting with kids
When we talk about goal setting, both for adults and children, we often talk about "finding our passion" and discovering goals that really motivate, inspire and excite us.

This is indeed one of the great aspects of goal setting, that it can empower us to pursue dreams and ambitions that can otherwise seem out of reach.

There are lots of ways to use goal setting in our lives and our children's lives, and following passions is one. Another is to use goals to direct our activities in areas and endeavors that bring calm and serenity to our lives.

It's important to find a balance between the pursuit of ambitious goals, where we go outside of our comfort zone, and goals that are more aimed at helping us maintain a sense of satisfaction with our current situation - with finding happiness in what we already have around us.

Happy goal setting with your kids

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Goal Setting and Patience


I few days back I posted about my goal to tame my new pet, a wild Field Mouse called HazelMouse.

I caught this mouse at work - she had come in from the nearby fields as it was so cold outdoors. Unlike house mice, which tend to live in human buildings all year round, field mice usually only come into our houses during the winter. In any case, this little mouse came into our office and found some chocolate on the desk and nibbled at it! So I baited a (mouse-friendly) trap with chocolate and caught her.

She has a special home in my drawer at work and a special mouse-house at home, and I take her to and from the office with me and spend time playing with her each day. She is healthy and active and enjoys her food.

The great thing about this goal is that it truly meant a lot to me. Unlike a lot of goals such as work or career or financial goals, that often mean a lot to our logical selves, taming my lovely mouse was a goal that meant a lot to my HEART. It makes me FEEL GREAT when I see my mouse happily playing, eating and grooming, and when she comes up to sniff at my fingers rather than running away, it really makes me happy.

Encourage your kids to set goals that really make them feel passionate, or happy, or some other positive emotion when they are pursuing the goal. Herein lies the path to HAPPY goal setting rather than just ambitious goal setting. Both are good, but helping our children to find happiness during the pursuit of their goals will empower them more than most things in life!

Already, HazelMouse will sit tamely and calmly on my hand and have a wash. True evidence of the power of happy goal setting along with a bit of patience!

Happy goal setting with your kids!

Cassie

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

UK update a bit about Valentine's Day and Kids.

Well it is about that time again, time to post an update on my ticker for my trip to the UK, but I will leave that until the end.

Wow can you believe it is Valentine's Day tomorrow. That special day when love is in the air if you are a couple and if you are not well maybe not so much. Don't let that keep you from celebrating the day because you are not with that special someone. When I was a single parent I still enjoyed Valentine's Day because I would celebrate it with my children. We would order in or we would work together to cook something really special for dinner and we would always have an ooey gooey chocolate cake for dessert. After that we would cuddle on the couch together and watch a movie. I have many fond memories of the time we spent together and even now my hubby and I may go out to dinner but we always bring home a cake to share with the kids later, it is tradition.

All children need to feel that they are special and you really want to spend time with them. In our hurried lives we often make everything else a priority and now is the time to change that. Make Valentine's Day for the kids you will be making some wonderful memories and also helping to build your child's self esteem, how awesome is that!!!

Happy almost Valentine's Day

Now for the ticker update







Monicka

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Internet Safety for Kids

internet safety for kids
Internet Safety for Kids

I was shocked to hear on the radio this morning that a UK study has shown that 1 in 4 children between the ages of 11 and 16 have actually arranged to physically meet someone that they met online.

It seems that children are still unaware of the dangers of internet predators, and we need to be vigilant and aware of our kids’ online activities in order to ensure they are safe.

For more information, check out Kids Goals Internet Safety Guide for Parents, and read about our shocking online kids chatroom experiment showing just how easy it is for a child to be targeted by an unscrupulous adult online within minutes of surfing to a chatroom.

Safe internet browsing with your kids!

Cassie

Monday, February 11, 2008

Goal Setting for Kids – You Are Not Alone

goal setting for kids with friends
Goal Setting for Kids – You Are Not Alone

Goal setting can be quite a lonely process if your child thinks he has to do everything himself without help or support from others.

When our children set goals, sometimes they are competitive and this can enhance the feeling of “I’m alone on this one” – but goal setting never has to isolate our children from the outside world and the support of his family, friends, teachers or peers.

When your child sets a new goal, encourage him to think specifically about who could help or support him as he takes action towards his desired accomplishment.

• Is there a friend of the family who has useful experience, contacts or resources?
• Is there a friend at school who might enjoy working on a similar goal so that your child can pool his efforts and resources with a partner?
• Can he ask for advice or resources from a teacher, a local club or society, or at his local library?

Humans are social creatures and we achieve our greatest potential when we work in tandem with our fellow man. Goal setting does not need to be lonely!

Happy goal setting with your kids,

Cassie

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Goal Setting and Set Backs ... continued

goal setting kids set backs
When guiding your child through the goal setting process, a useful thing to do is to help him think about what obstacles he might encounter.

Positive thinking is a key part of goal setting, and it is crucial that your child learns positivity and self-confidence by setting and achieving goals (of any size) over and over during his formative years. Thinking about what obstacles may arise is not about being "negative" - it's simply a way of acknowledging when you set the goal that all will not necessarily be smooth sailing and that is OK.

As we mentioned in yesterday's post, set backs are normal and if you help your child to realise that, you will take some of the pressure off him.

Your child can anticipate some things that might interfere with him getting his goal, and you can help him brainstorm ways to deal with them. For example, if your child has a goal involving PE at school, he could realise in advance that forgetting his PE kit could interfere with his goal - and you could help him set up a way to minimize this - putting up a hook near the door to hang his PE bag on for example, so that it is easy to remember when he leaves the house.

Your child can enjoy the creativity involved in overcoming obstacles on the route to his goal, rather than pressure himself for being human and therefore imperfect!

Happy goal setting with your kids,

Cassie

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Goal Setting and Set Backs


Goal Setting and Set Backs

One thing that is important to teach children when goal setting is that it is normal and OK to have set backs as we work towards our goals.

Just like wobbles and even falls are part of learning to ride your bike, set backs and slip ups are all part of learning and of moving towards your goal, so teach your child to take them in his stride and get back to his plan when he experiences one, rather than giving up on his goal.

Goal setting and achievement is not about perfection or unbroken discipline. Help your child focus on the goal and not being perfect on the way to achieving it!

Happy goal setting with your kids,

Cassie

Friday, February 08, 2008

The Screen of the Mind..

I mentioned a few blogs back about an amazing experience that I had with a self-discovery workshop that I had taken in January. The workshop was specifically designed to teach each student how to get to the Alpha brain wave state using a special guided imagery technique. After the Alpha state is achieved the student is then asked by the instructor to imagine a white screen, just like a regular theater screen. The purpose of the screen is to run a movie in your mind about how you desire your life to be. I found this exercise to be very profound for me because I had many amazing insights. Some of the things that I thought I desired did not appear on the screen. The reason I am talking about this technique is I was thinking it could be an excellent tool to use with your children to help them realize their goals.

Explain to your child that the mind is very powerful and can help us to realize our goals. Most people only use a small percentage of their minds and this is a way to use more of our mind. By getting very relaxed, perhaps by listening to soothing music or a even a short-guided mediation CD, we are able to use parts of our mind that will help us to realize the goals that we set for ourselves. When your child looks very relaxed ask him to pretend he is in a movie theater all alone and he is looking up at a big white screen. He is going to be the one who runs the movie and it will be all about the goal he has set for himself .He can imagine what it would look like when he has the goal he desires. Ask him to imagine how it feels, what it looks like, but to not say a word just imagine the movie on the screen is all about his own personal goal and how wonderful it would feel to have it. Instruct him to imagine what he would be feeling like when he realizes his goal and to keep seeing that vision on the screen.

Once your child is ready he can slowly get up and leave the theater and instruct him to count backwards in his head from 20-1 and when he reaches one he is to open his eyes.

Now the fun begins. Ask your child to describe in as much detail as possible what he saw on the screen and what kind of emotions he experienced. You may be surprised at how clearly your child can describe the experience and how excited he will be while he is telling you all about it. Young children are very good at visualizing as they still believe in magic and miracles and as we get older this seems to get more difficult. The beauty is though, as with most things, practice does make perfect.

This technique works best for children who are about eight to twelve as once they hit the teens many kids will not be open to trying it, but of course with all things there is always the exception to the rule.

I tried this with my son a few times and he really enjoyed it and said he would like to learn more about meditation.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Learning Styles

Learning Styles


Kids are like learning machines - their brains are developing and expanding at an incredible rate. However, each child still has a preference as to HOW to learn, and it is always valuable to spend the time to get an insight into your own children's preferred learning styles.

Some kids learn easily in the traditional school formats of linear note taking, while for other more creative personalities it is essential that their imagination is stimulated for them to learn effectively. Some kids love to learn on the computer, and if yours do then that can be very effective. (But please be aware of the issues of internet safety!)

Happy Parenting,

Cassie

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Goal Setting for Kids


Goal Setting for Kids
Teaching your kids how to set goals and encouraging them in their efforts is a life-long gift that should be started as early as possible.

The more times that a child sets and achieves a goal - however small - the more she is likely to believe in herself and develop a confident personality!

Happy Goal Setting with your kids,

Cassie

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Goal Setting, Patience, Kids and Mice


Goal Setting, Patience, Kids and Mice
This is my adorable field mouse. Her name is HazelMouse. My goal is to tame her so that she will come to me and sit in my hand. Unlike domestic mice which are bred to be easier to tame, field mice are much more skittish. I'm lucky to have caught HazelMouse while she is quite young. Already she will come up and sniff my fingers before dashing away and having a wash while she thinks about it! It's tempting to grab her but that would destroy all the good work I've done sitting still and being patient with her.

Kids too need to learn patience when it comes to setting and achieving goals. Good things are worth waiting for! But as parents it is vitally important that we remember that time is very different for a child than it is for us grown-ups.

Do you remember how the 6 week summer holiday felt like it went on forever? Similarly, it is really important for kids to have short term goals so that they feel they are achieving things and not just waiting for the good stuff for what seems like years.

Luckily for me, time is different yet again for mice. My HazelMouse probably feels like she has been getting to know me for years, whereas in fact it has only been a couple of weeks!!

Happy goal setting with your kids,

Cassie

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cooking with your child

Cooking with your child - WACKY CAKE

Well the dog lovers among you will be pleased to hear that the whippet we rescued on Friday has been reunited with his delighted owners. It turns out the poor dog was attacked by a German Shepherd dog and ran off and got lost. He was very happy to go home!

I was happy that he was safely back with his family, but sad to say goodbye, so to cheer us up we made...

Monicka's "Wacky Cake" recipe:

(not quite sure where the name came from, maybe because it is so, so simple to make) ages 10 and up

1 1/2 cup cake or pastry flour
1 C. sugar
3 T. cocoa (unsweetened like Hershey's)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
6 T. applesauce
1 T. white vinegar
1 t. vanilla
1 C. cold water


If you aren't fussy, you can make this as a "snack cake", mixing, baking and serving from the same pan. No need to oil the pan.

Sift dry ingredients into pan. Add liquids, covering with water. Mix thoroughly.

Bake at 350 degrees (moderate oven) for 25 to 30 minutes.

Makes one very moist chocolate cake. Frost as desired or dust on confectioner's sugar.

Cooking with your child is a great bonding activity and very satisfying - especially when you tuck into your creation at the end!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Kids and Pets - Family Pets

Kids and Pets

Do you have a pet in your family? We have a dog and a mouse. And yesterday we seemed to have acquired a second dog! A stray whippet with a collar but no tag followed my husband home last night. He's a very timid creature, very like a fawn with huge brown eyes, delicate legs and a slightly nervous disposition. He does love cuddling on the couch though, where he snuggles up as if he's lived with us forever.

Of course we will report the dog found and if his owners are searching for him we hope to reunite them. In the meantime we are enjoying having an extra pet in the family!

A dog is a big responsibility, and if your child wants one of his very own to look after it's important that he knows what is involved. One way you might approach this dilemma is to visit a local animal sanctuary and offer to foster a dog for a period of a few weeks. If your child rises to the challenge and enjoys every aspect of looking after the visitor, then the arrangement could become permanent, or another dog could join your family for good! If on the other hand your child finds that he can't cope with all the extra chores that owning a dog entails, then you have all had a valuable experience and the sanctuary has had the benefit of a temporary foster home!

Article on kids and pets: The Family Pet

Friday, February 01, 2008

Forigiveness cont....

On Wednesday's blog I wrote a bit about the importance of teaching your children forgiveness, and how crucial it is to put past hurts aside so they can move forward. Forgiveness is powerful stuff and the discovery workshop I took last weekend emphasized just how important it was to forgive others who have let you down and hurt you, but in actuality the most important person to forgive is yourself. How many times have you let yourself or others down and then felt guilty about it. Teach your children that guilt is a very toxic emotion and one we need to rid ourselves because it keeps us from truly loving others and ourselves.

Kids can be so hard on themselves and tend to blame themselves when things are not right in the family and this chips away at their self esteem. It is imperative to sit down with your children and teach them how to set the guilt free and forgive and love themselves. I learned a very powerful exercise in the workshop I took, but teaching your children to drop the guilt and forgive themselves can be as simple as substituting guilt with motivation by emphasizing and calling attention to what your children are doing right, not what they are doing wrong. Praise them every chance you get and also make sure to give them lots of hugs!!!

Happy Parenting,

Monicka

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Update for UK Bahrain Trip

While I was away at the workshop, my dear, sweetheart of a friend Cassie covered my blogging duties, what a great person she is and she means the world to me. So for anyone interested I am going to post an update on my ticker because I didn't do it on Monday and give Cassie a break on her blogging for Thursday.

I am so happy that I get to see my dear friend and spend some quality time together. Unfortunately we do not get to see each other as much as we would like but our friendship is as strong as ever. Friendship is a give and take kind of relationship and it takes work just like a marriage, but it is so worth it because a good friend will love you unconditionally and other than your children who else can you say that about. I love my Cassie and my life has become soooooo much richer since I met her almost three years ago. That reminds me we have an anniversary to celebrate on February 18th woohooo!!!!

Friendship is also very important for children and if you are having concerns that your child is having problems in that area, now is the time to do something about it. It is OK to ask your children if they are happy with the friends that they have so they don't think that you are feeling sorry for them. More than likely they will come out and tell you if there are any concerns. Check out the article at http://www.kidsgoals.com/child-friends.shtml on helping your child to make friends.

Happy Friendship



Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Teaching your Children Forgiveness

I decided to take a self discovery workshop last weekend. I came out of it with a whole new perspective on life. I also realized that the demons from my past that I thought I had exorcised, were still hanging around and dragging me down. I learned how to really forgive and felt such an amazing feeling of freedom when I truly put all past hurts behind me.

Forgiveness is something that we need to teach our children too. Explain to them that forgiveness is not something you do for the other person, because the only one who truly benefits from forgiveness is the one who forgives. By holding onto past hurts we are only preventing our growth and success. The only way to remedy this is to truly let the person or situation that caused you hurt go, and be grateful for them and the experience and genuinely wish them well. When you can do this sincerely and from the heart, all the anger and resentment you have been carrying will magically leave you and you will be free to live your life to its fullest!

Happy Forgiveness

Monicka

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Fish Oils for Children


This article examines the link between fish oils and children's brain development, and answers some of the key questions you may have, like:

* What are the benefits of fish oil?

* Should my child be getting a fish oil supplement?

* Are there any dangers I should know about?


continue reading

Monday, January 28, 2008

Pets and Children


We have all heard of the health benefits that come from having a pet for the elderly, including preventing heart disease, lowering high blood pressure and combating depression. Caring for a beloved pet can also prevent isolation and loneliness for elderly people. Children also get great benefits from owning a pet. Studies suggest that children who have pets have stronger immune systems and are less likely to miss school because of sickness. In this article you will find information on the benefits of owning a pet as well as tips on how to choose the appropriate pet for your child.

Click here to read the article about Pets and Children

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Positive Body Image

As children reach adolescence they are very aware of the changes that are happening to their bodies. Girls especially are cognizant of how they look. Parents should realize that some of these feelings are natural and some attention to body size and shape is part of the normal growing process. But when a girl doesn't want to take physical education in school because of how she looks in shorts, this may be a warning sign of a poor body image.

Article for information and ideas to help your child to foster a healthy body image

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Manners and Social Skills for Children


 Good Morning all:)

I have only been tweeting for a short time now and I am slowly learning the lingo and the protocol, when it comes to tweets and shout outs and RT's etc. such as, it is just a common courtesy to say thank you when someone RTs' one of your tweets, or another tweeter mentions you. So just like anywhere else, having good manners and being polite to your fellow tweeters, goes a long way in the Twitter world :)


Many people agree that a lack of manners is a growing problem in our society, so helping your kids learn to be respectful is important, and in fact can give them a real head start over many of their peers when they graduate from school, college or university. Many young people these days have appalling manners and a very disrespectful attitude and tone of voice, which will NOT endear them to future colleagues at work!

At KidsGoals we believe that proper manners should be very important part of your child's education . When you teach your kids polite manners, you are teaching them good social skills that will take them far in life. We also believe that kids learn best when you make learning fun so check out our article on Manners for Kids

Just so you know KidsGoals is gearing up for the June newsletter and it's going to be great, so make sure to stop by and sign up for our free newsletter :)

KidsGoals would also like to wish a Safe and Happy Memorial Day to all of our friends in the US :)
Have an awesome Day!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Childhood Shyness


One of the things that we are both passionate about is helping children grow emotionally. And a very important part of their emotional strength is our children’s relationships with others. So we are going to be providing more and more resources to help you help your children develop their social skills.

In this article  Childhood Shyness we address the very important topic of shyness. If your child is shy, you may be wondering whether it is “just a phase” or something to be concerned about. What can you do for your child if he or she is showing signs of shyness? Hopefully our article will help!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Empathy and Self Esteem for Children

We all know what empathy is, but did you realize that there are some really easy, simple ways you can incorporate using it in your day-to-day interactions with your child, to powerfully build their self-esteem?
Check out this article for ideas and real-life examples:
Empathy and Self Esteem for Children

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Accountability and Goal Setting

One of the best ways for you and your child to reach your goals, is something called "Accountability". What this means is that you are taking responsibility for bringing your goal to fruition, and you cannot blame anyone else if your goal is not realized.

Once your child has a defined goal in mind and is committed to making it a reality, get him to start talking about it. It can be the subject of conversation at the dinner table or better yet, get him to talk about his goal and how it is progressing first thing in the morning over breakfast. Make sure that your child has plenty of time to get his things in order first or he may feel rushed and not be able to devote enough time to talking about his goal. This is a great time to share how things are going with your own goals and to gauge your progress. By talking about it with your family,you are asking for support from the people that care about your welfare and are going to support you in your quest. Do not talk about your goal with people that are not your family or a close friend because they may ridicule you and try and sabotage your efforts.

Happy Goal Setting,

Monicka

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Childhood Shyness

childhood shyness
Shyness can manifest itself for a myriad of reasons. Children are constantly being exposed to new experiences. Some children have trouble coping with anything new and tend to withdraw...

Check out our article Shyness in Children

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Child Eating Disorders


Child eating disorders are becoming increasing common. I've been particularly pleased to see that my step daughter, Sam, has started eating breakfast lately. As she only moved in with us aged 17, I didn't feel it was appropriate for me to try and force the issue, as her mother clearly had not minded whether she ate breakfast or not, but I always talked about breakfast positively and tried to set a positive example.

The clincher, I think, was when I said that it's a well known fact that people who eat breakfast are thinner than people who skip breakfast. I've noticed she's been eating cereal each morning ever since!

Might be worth mentioning to YOUR teen, if you're having problems in this area!

Happy parenting,

Cassie

Child Eating Disorders Article

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Exercise for kids


Exercise for kids should be a high priority for parents these days. There are huge health benefits to getting a habit of regular exercise from an early age - not just for overweight children but for ALL children.

The generation of kids growing up today has, for the first time in many generations, a shorter life-expectancy than their parents. That fact alone should shock us into taking action and ensuring our kids get an appropriate amount of exercise!

Happy exercise with your kids!

Cassie

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sometimes it is best to say nothing.

In Thursday's blog I wrote about my frustration with my sixteen-year-old daughter, who did not want to continue working for the company that hired her after her work experience training program was finished. My husband and I both thought this was a really good opportunity for her to not only get some work experience, but also would be good in a social aspect as my daughter is Aspergian and has problems in that area. We finally gave up trying to convince her and dropped the subject, but she still continued to give us the cold shoulder.

Today was her last training day and I was expecting her to come home in a bad mood and was totally gobsmacked when she came in and told me she had decided to continue with the job but it was no thanks to my husband and I.

I guess when it comes to teens sometimes it is best to let them figure some things out for themselves. No matter how hard you try to convince them that something is a good idea and will benefit them, just because you want them to, may be all they need to reject the idea altogether.

I am over the moon that my daughter wants to continue with her job and will support her if and when she wants to try something else after she gets a bit more experience. I have learned the hard way that sometimes it is just better to say nothing and let your teen figure things out on their own.

Happy Parenting,

Monicka

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's a frustrating job,but someone has to do it.

The person that came up with the quote "Raising a teenager is like nailing jello to the wall," was right on the money! Case in point; My daughter Savannah, who is in grade 11 started a work experience program yesterday. Because she has Asperger's her teachers were trying to find something that she would be able to do without having to have too much social contact with the public at the start, but could eventually work her way up to it, if she so desired. We were lucky to find just that kind of position and she was offered a spot a local Tim Horton's to do prep work and a bit of cleaning. It is kind of a coffee/donut/soup and sandwiches kind of place but extremely popular here in Canada. Yesterday was her first official training day and I could not wait until she came home to find out how she did and if she liked the job. I was thrilled when she walked through the door with a huge smile on her beautiful face saying she really liked the people and the day went really well. I was so proud of her and gushed about her to my Mother and my eldest daughter Kayla.

Something must have happened between yesterday and this morning, because my daughter woke up this morning and she was not a happy camper. I tried to cheer her up and commented on how cute her outfit looked on her and no sooner did I get the words out of my mouth she told me in no uncertain terms that it was just a three day work experience and she didn't want to work there. When I tried to question her as to why she changed her mind seemingly overnight, she clammed up and left for her job without saying a word to anyone in the family.

I know my daughter and try and give her as much support as possible because of her difficulty with social aspects, which is very common with kids on the Autism spectrum. The frustrating part of this is that she basically has been given a chance to work in a place where they are willing to be patient with her training as the owner's nephew also has an Autism Spectrum disorder. They are open to hiring special needs teenagers in order to give them a chance to get some real experience in the work force. My question is how to explain to my daughter what a great opportunity this is without making it sound like they feel sorry for her. She had this silly idea in her head just before the New Year, that the only reason anyone would want to talk to her was because they pitied her because of her Asperger's. Working with her speech therapist we were finally able to convince her that if someone spoke to her it was because they wanted to, not because they felt sorry for her. She seemed to finally get the message loud and clear and was starting to acknowledge her peers if they said hi to her, whereas before she would simply ignore tham, which was not gaining her any favor in their eyes. Teaching my daughter social skills has been a very long process and I was hoping that she could use this opportunity to meet new people and even make a few friends. Now this is not too be. I know my daughter and she can be extremely stubborn once she makes a decision about anything.

My daughter can be very frustrating at times like all teenagers, but I have to give her a little more slack than with my other children because of her struggles. With my daughter you cannot get upset with her because she will go from 0 to 100 in one second flat and lose her cool with anyone who tries to tell her she is not making a sound decision. She will then shut off sometimes for days and go into her own little world and refuse to speak to anyone. What is a parent to do? Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. I can hope she will come to the realization all on her own that she has been given an awesome opportunity and will want to continue working for this business on a long term basis, but I know my daughter and I will not hold my breath. All I can do is support whatever decision she makes whether I agree with it or not. It is not easy being the parent of a teenager at the best of times, but raising a teenager who has Asperger's can be twice as frustrating, take my word for it. Don't get me wrong I love my daughter with all my heart and would not want to change her for the world because she is my greatest teacher and my angel on earth and well worth any extra effort it may take to parent her.

Have you hugged your teen today???

Happy Parenting,

Monicka

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