Five Ways to Show Your Love to Your Kids

It takes a conscious effort, day in and day out, to make sure that your little ones know just how much you love them. It’s not easy work, but it’s oh, so rewarding. I’m already imagining our future; a future where all our kids and grandkids come for dinner every Sunday night, roadtrip caravans to the beach and summer barbecues, filled with laughter and love. Here are five ways you can show your kids how you REALLY love them.

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1. Tell them you love them and praise them often. This sounds obvious. But you can never tell someone you love them too often. All people love to hear that they are important, and that they are doing things that make you happy. Think about the last time you praised your child for doing something right instead of scolded him for doing something wrong. That praise reinforces to your child that they are loved.

2. Really listen to your children. When you’re having a conversation, make eye contact and listen to what your child is telling you. You will make her feel important and loved by focusing on her completely while she is telling you a story or asking for advice.

3. Be physically and mentally there for your kids as much as possible. When you’re watching your son play soccer, watch the game and cheer him on. When you’re playing Go Fish with your daughter, put your cell phone away and just focus on the game. Kids intuitively know when your attention is elsewhere and that makes them feel less important to you. Put the focus on your kids and watch them soak it up!

4. Create habits and traditions that encourage family togetherness. We’re getting busier and busier, which translates into less and less family time. Even with less time to spend together, you can still create a strong family bond that will extend through childhood into your kids’ adult years. Establish routines that will make up the culture of your family. Some of ours include our nightly snuggle chats—exactly what it sounds it like: a little bit of snuggling and a little bit of chatting—and our family dance parties in the kitchen. Family traditions are also great for strengthening the bond. We take our kids apple-picking every fall, we have a huge Halloween party, and we make a summer bucket list. All of these things help create memorable family experiences. And any time your kids are remembering a fun time you had together, it reinforces the idea that you love and adore them.

5. Encourage their dreams. It’s really easy to get caught up in our own ideas of how our kids should live their lives. I know because I’m guilty of it. Instead of pushing your kids to do things you want them to do, give them the space and the encouragement to pursue their own passions and dreams. Talk to them about things they are interested in, and find ways to help them learn more about whatever makes their hearts sing. You’ll instill self-confidence as well as an overwhelming feeling of love.

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Five Ways to Be a Better Parent This Year

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about being a parent it’s that there’s always room for improvement. Here are some ideas of 5 things you could add to your parenting approach for the benefit of your whole family.

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Eat Together As A Family – My family always ate dinner on trays in front of the television. As a kid I loved it, but I vowed not to do it as a parent. We started family meals when my eldest daughter turned two. It has helped make all of us much more mindful eaters, and it’s a time when she cracks out some very funny stories! Busy schedules often mean that families aren’t able to sit down at the same time, but resolve to share a nutritious meal at home together at least once a week. Your kids will acquire better eating habits and you’ll have the chance to have new conversations as a family. You could even use this time to talk about family goals, like what you want to do on the weekend or what would make your child’s next birthday most special.

Talk Less, Listen More – Of course you’ve got lots of life lessons to teach your kids. But don’t make the mistake of shutting them down while you’re doing so. Kids need to feel heard if you want them to share more with you. And when they’re young, they need to be able to express their emotions in order to learn how to regulate them. Be a calm parent and actively listen to what they’re trying to tell you, without putting words in their mouth, and see how it impacts your relationship.

Catch Your Kids Being Good – It’s so easy to call out your kid on something you want them to stop. But how often to do you praise them for doing something good? You don’t have to make a big deal out of it, but letting them know that you’re watching and are proud of them will want them to repeat that act. Pay particular attention to the virtue they’re expressing, like “I saw how determined you were to finish that puzzle by yourself – that’s awesome.”

Be Positive – I dare you to try to go 24 hours without complaining. I did it earlier this week and I promise you, it’s hard! Being positive means that you’ll look for the positive things in people, circumstances, and all things. If negative words come out of your mouth, try to stop mid-sentence and turn it into a positive one. Being positive means that negative thoughts and words will begin to fall away. You’ll start to feel happier and happier each day.

Correct Correctly – Here’s a bit of neuroscience fact for you: our brains visualise everything but can’t process negatives, which is why we’re more likely to do something we hear. “Don’t throw that” means your child will just visualise themselves throwing it. Try to be positive in your behaviour corrections and make statements that reflect what you want to see happening. Instead of “Don’t hit your sister”, try, “That didn’t look gentle to me. How could you be gentle with your sister instead?” Then give the child the immediate opportunity to action it out / show you what they mean.

Why Kids Need Friends or Frienships

kidsBelieve it or not, kids needs friends not only for fun or play. They need friends in order to grow up as well-rounded individuals. In fact, many studies in the field of child psychology have proven this. Here are some truths which have been derived from these studies.

1) Creating friendships develops life skills that will increase your child’s wisdom, confidence and self-esteem.

2) Children will learn the meaning of true friendship. They will learn that a good friend will have their best interests at heart and have their back. Someone who is not your friend will not have these qualities.

3) They will learn how to deal with conflict and adversity. Conflict does arise among friends and as parents you will find perfect opportunities to teach your children how to navigate through conflict.

4) They will have peers to communicate their concerns, dreams and fears which will make them feel less alone and isolated.

5) When they become older, they will have childhood memories to fall back on- remembering how joyful it was like to hang out with friends.

6) If you as parents sharply curtail your children’s use of video games, texting and other electronics; children playing together will learn to create interesting, collaborative activities.

7) The children will get a sense of building their own community when they establish new friendships.

8) The opportunity to develop leadership skills increases as children play with other children.

9) The ability to make decisions is increased when children play with peers without micromanaging from adults.

10) The opportunity of playing freely with other children helps them develop their imagination which is important for a child’s development.

11) Playing with a several children will allow them to know how other families operate and they won’t feel shocked when faced with a family situation that is somewhat different from their own.

How to be a Great Mom

A great mom loves her kids unconditionally. She takes care of the family’s needs – physical, emotional and spiritual – without forgetting to spend time with them. She performs a lot of self-sacrificing duties just to prove her love and loyalty to her family.

But, are these the only ways by which you can be a great mom? I don’t think so. Here’s a short list of other things you can do to become a great mom.

Have some me time. Leave your children with their fathers to enjoy some adult interaction with your friends or to relax in the spa. Doing everything to the point of exhaustion will do you and your family no good.

Never aim to be perfect. Striving for perfection will kill you.  Life’s full of surprises and we weren’t created to be perfect no matter how hard we try. Just do your best in everything you do and you will soon receive rewards for your best efforts.

Be Patient. Raising kids is hard work. You will lose your patience once in a while. That’s a given. But you must try to be patient for the benefit of your family. Choose your battles so that you don’t have to have your patience tested most of the time.

Listen to your children. Never assume that we know more than our kids do. Sometimes, it’s the other way around so we must truly listen to what our kids want to share. Also, listening actively to your children makes them feel valued.

Be their mom and not a friend to your kids. It’s good to have an open relationship with your children but be keen to set limits. Listen to your children and respect their opinion but reinstate the fact that you’re their mother – their parent  and so you deserve their loyalty and disobedience. om

Things to Remember about Kids with Anxiety

Loving and raising a child with anxiety could be very challenging but it is not impossible. You simply need to understand their traits and the way they think.  Read the following ideas if you still don’t know what makes your child tick or how to deal with her or him.

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Kids with anxiety need your full support. It may seem that your child doesn’t pay attention to the support you provide but you can be assured that your support doesn’t go unmissed. Kids with anxiety over think a lot. They over think about so many things and these include the support that they get from the people they love.

Kids with anxiety communicate their feelings clearly. They like to talk and speak for themselves. If your child is quiet and doesn’t tell you how she feels, it’s because she chooses not to and this is isn’t caused by her anxiety.

Kids with anxiety get tired easily. Anxiety could be exhausting and not many people can understand that. Be reminded that your kid’s mind is always alert. She’d be ready to fight or fly with lots of thoughts floating in her head. So, be on guard about your reactions and responses to her.

Kids with anxiety get overwhelmed easily. Your kid might not find it enjoyable to try new things or go to different places every week. Kids with anxiety want to be fully aware of what will happen around them. If you don’t want your kid to settle for the same thing or situation, encourage her to relax and let her defenses down a bit so she can enjoy a wonderful time with you.

Earn Your Kids’ Trust by Observing These Steps

trustTrust is a big word that takes to build yet it can be broken in a second. A relationship based on trust is important for parents and children. Children who trust their parents every step of the way grow to be responsible and productive members of the society. Here are the 5 most effective ways for parents to earn a children’s trust:

1. Keep your promises. As a parent, your words are as good as gold to your children. They will believe instantly that you will do whatever it is that you promised to
do. And so, don’t break that unconditional trust they have on you. Keep all your promises no matter how small they seem to be. When kids know that they can trust your
word, they will always turn to you for everything they need.

2. Be honest. Never lie to your kids about things that truly matter to them and to your family. However, you must pick the right words or right ways of expressing
certain truths that can harm your children emotionally and psychologically. By showing your kids your honesty, they will be honest in return. In fact, telling the
truth wouldn’t be hard for them even though they become adults because you modeled honesty perfectly.

3. Be approachable. Exude the impression that your kids can tell you about everything – including sensitive issues. How do you do that? By keeping your cool. Refrain
from being immediately angry when your kids commit mistakes. Practice not yelling too no matter how angry you are. When you look approachable, your kids will believe
that your always on their side.

4. Be supportive no matter what. Kids feel confident when they know that their parents are always there to back them up. Be careful not to pamper or spoil them though.
Even if you need to reprimand your kids for their wrong deeds, never make them feel that they’re alone. Kids find life becomes easier and happier to live when they
have loving and supportive parents.

5. Be a role model. Never let your kid catch you cheating, lying, stealing, violating laws or abusing other people. Values are caught not taught. Kids will pick up all
these negative behaviours even though you teach them not to. If act like a good parent, your kids will be proud of you especially when other parents notice your good
deeds.

How to Deal with Your Children’s Mistakes

Children make mistakes and parents are often unaware that they contribute to the mistakes their children make. How is that? Parents usually insist on perfection. Children commit more blunders than expected because they are pushed to achieve more than what their skills can bear.

Parents who grew in families where broken porcelain plates are more important than broken children usually require perfection once they have children of their own. Do you see yourself like that? If you do, you can break free from that cycle by acknowledging first that such thinking is wrong. Then, make your children understand that they – or people for that matter – are more important than porcelain plates.

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Relax and let go of your desire for perfection. Allow some room for mistakes and correction. This will keep children from having resentment towards you and towards themselves. You can ask yourself the following questions to check your parenting style.

  • Do I set up reasonable rules for my children?
  • When I want my child to obey, do I speak in a calm but firm voice?
  • Do I tell my children the truth?
  • Do I ration my “no’s’ and allow reasonable behavior as often as I can?
  • Do my husband and I have similar set of rules?
  • Am I consistent in punishment for repeated identical infractions?
  • Do I set realistic goals?
  • Do I set good examples myself?

When the standards that you have set are characterized by fairness and respect, the children see their value and that they themselves can contribute to their family’s success. Moreover, they will learn how to discipline themselves whether someone is or not looking over their shoulders.