How to Raise Happy, Self-Confident Children

The world can be a stressful place, but it doesn’t have to affect you and your family. Here are some of the best ways to raise happy children who will be ready to take on the world with a smile on their face If you want to be a successful parent, you need to take time to fully understand what your children need in order to be self-confident, happy, and healthy. Here some tips that can help you be that successful parent ~

Make Your Child a Priority

Some parents show their children how much they love and value them by working hard and providing for their families. This is a wonderful thing to do, but children don’t always realize that it is for them. The most precious item that you can ever give your kids is your time. That includes reading books aloud with them, or in the case of younger children, having them read their favorite stories to you. It also includes sharing your stories and adventures with them. You can talk to them about what mommy and daddy were like when you first met, or what you did when when you were a child. Stepping away from work every night and having dinner with your family shows how much you value them. Simply showing up for a school play, every once in a while, is also great. When your child gets older, they will value the experiences they had with you more than the memory of the latest and greatest toy they had. Be physical with your children. Hold your children, touch them, kiss them. When your children know that they are loved by you, then they will learn to love themselves. That includes learning to feel good about themselves, to feel attractive, and to lived confident happy lives.

Empower Your Child

Allow your child some freedom; let them try things on their own. For instance, small children may love sorting socks, children in elementary school may like picking out new fruits and vegetables at the store, and older children may want to try their hand at cooking. Keep your child safe, but also allow them to try new things with your support. It will help them enhance their self-esteem, feel a little freedom, and learn how to take care of their own problems. This will help both you and your child in the future.

Help Your Child Learn

Children spend a large amount of time at school, and doing homework. If they are fall behind, it means that time spent in the classroom will likely be stressful. Help them out by sitting with them as they do their homework, and answering questions. If they are behind, try not to make them more stressed about the situation. Since many subjects build on previous knowledge, they may just need a refresher on a previously covered topic. They can easily bounce back with your help.  Your kids learn by example, so if you want your children to be healthy, fit, attractive, and kind – then you need to live that way yourself. You want to show your kids that the two most important people in their lives, mommy and daddy, share a happy and healthy life, eat well, and loving communication. Children want to feel proud of their parents – and it’s part of your job to make them feel proud.

Teach Your Child Balance

Get involved in activities that your kids are interested in. Whatever age your children are, start to enthusiastically play with them during these activities. Whether it’s spending a few moments hand-painting with them, or throwing around the ball each afternoon. If you have teenagers then spend time talking about their interests. It’s easy to keep putting this off – so don’t procrastinate, start today! If your child shows interest in an activity, help them pursue this activity. Karate lessons, playing the piano, soccer games, they are a great way to get your child involved in a new activity. It also lets them meet other children, and follow their passion. But be careful not to let your child (or yourself) get overwhelmed. Following passions is great, but your child will also need to relax once in a while. Teaching your child how to unwind can be just as valuable as driving them to yet another lesson. Planning a family movie night or a fun outing can show your child that they can work hard, and then play hard too.

Limit How Often Your Child Sits in Front of the TV…Or Computer

Children cannot always process the graphic images they see on TV or the computer. They may be watching a perfectly innocent show, but the commercials in between may contain graphic images. You may be watching the weather when the next story is about a murder. These images are difficult to avoid completely. However by limiting your child’s exposure, you can limit what they see. Try spending more time interacting with your child. As a bonus, interacting with your child is a lot better for their development than any educational game, video, or device. In a simple conversation over dinner, your child picks up new vocabulary, learns how to form sentences, and absorbs more about life (and their parents) in general.

Set a Good Example

If you have a case of road rage in the car while on the way to school, the other drivers will likely not hear what you say, but your child in the backseat is definitely listening. Having an overall positive attitude will set a good example for your child. Children often emulate their parents when they grow up and start their own families. If you want your child to have successful relationships, show them how to do so by treating your husband or wife with love and respect. Also, bring them along as you gather coats for the homeless, or simply let them see you dance around the living room. Being a day-to-day role model for your children will help them lead a happy life. It’s critically important to be honest with your kids, at all times. When you show them that you have integrity and are respectful with honesty, they will want to emulate that aspect of you. Start listening more attentively to your children. You want them to have absolutely no doubt that you are genuinely interested in them, their feelings, and their lives.

Be open and friendly to your child’s friends, and encourage them to hang out at your house. Many parents are uptight, and have too many rules that will make your child’s friends feel unwelcome, and in turn will damage your own child’s self-esteem. But, if you show your child that their friends are welcome and that you accept their choice of friends in the home, then that sends a message of acceptance and trust of about their decisions. When you believe in your children then they will learn to believe in themselves.

Advertisements

7 Child And Eco Friendly Activities To Honor The Earth

Reblogged from: http://www.hybridrastamama.com/2012/04/7-child-and-eco-friendly-activities-to.html

Our generation is in danger, due to the many environmental problems we face today. Getting our children involved in Eco-friendly activities around the house can help ensure our environment is safe for another generation. Eco-friendly activities can also be quite fun, and provide your children with something to do!
1. Start a Compost Garden!

Trash accumulates very easily and can often account for one of the main ways our oceans and forests become polluted. Taking some of your biodegradable trash and starting a garden with it provides the environment with effective fertilizer, promoting future growth for plants! This can also teach your children how to care for plants, which can lead to bigger lessons about responsibility.

2. Recycle!

Our world comes with limited resources, and it is very important that we conserve them. Teaching your children to recycle their empty plastic bottles and used or unwanted paper can benefit the environment in a number of ways. Recycling your plastic bottles means they can be re-used, and they won’t pile up on beaches and landfills. Plastics cause a huge problem on beaches, as turtles often mistake plastic bags as jellyfish, and end up sick.

3. Teach your Kids

One of the best ways to get your children involved in Eco-friendly activities is by teaching them about it and spending time with them. It is a lot easier to learn about things such as this with a guide, and what better person to do it than their parent? This will also encourage children to share the green activity, and soon, many children will be sharing good environmental habits.

4. Turn off Lights

One of the best ways to conserve energy is to shut off lights that are not in use, one of the biggest energy-wasters in houses. Teaching your children this good habit when they are young will encourage them to continue it for a lifetime, saving both of you money.

5. CFLs

Energy-efficient light bulbs cost less over time, and they can help save large amounts of energy. It can also help save money on bills too! One of the main reasons electricity consumption is on the rise is due to the fact that homeowners have not switched to energy-efficient light bulbs. Teaching children to replace light bulbs can be a helpful way to get them involved in Eco-friendly activities AND learn how to handle a basic household chore!

6. Clean up Trash

Often, people are careless and will not bother to put their trash in the appropriate bins. This can cause much harm to the environment, because trash can be swept away by wind or the waves and be carried out into the environment, where it can cause a large amount of damage to wildlife and forests. Teaching your children to pick up trash when they see it can be an effective way to assist the environment, and get them involved in Eco-friendly activities.

7. Turn Off Faucets

Faucets and kitchen sinks are often left on longer than they need to be, and as a result, this wastes a large amount of water. Water is Earth’s most precious resource, and it helps sustain life as we know it. Helping to conserve water can ensure that there is enough water for both humans and wildlife to survive. It will also ensure that our planet is safe and cared for when further generations come!

20 Ways to “Reset” When the Kids Are Having a Hard Day

by LISA on FEBRUARY 22, 2012
Deep Breath
I call out, “Deep breath!” Then everyone stands up and we all take long, slow breaths while we raise our hands over our heads. Then we let the air out slowly while we lower our arms. The whole movement is very slow and purposeful. We might do that a few times, then go back to our regular day.

Jumping Jacks
We all stop what we are doing and do 20 jumping jacks. This is especially good when they seem to have extra energy and need to use it. It’s hilarious to see the littler ones trying to coordinate their arms and legs

The Color Game
If its not raining I take a stack of construction paper (each piece a different color), some tape and some tacks (I used to leave these in a drawer by the front door) and take it all outside. I tack or tape a whole piece of the paper to trees, the car, a bush, the front door….making sure they are spread out but I can see all of the colors from my chair (that I have set in the middle of it all). Then I sit in the chair and gather all of the kids around me and I say, “Ready……RED!” Then they have to find the red paper and run to it. Once they are all there I call out another color and we keep doing it until they are exhausted. Sometimes I modify the game by calling a kid’s name with a color. You can let the older ones go faster with this version.

Play Stations in the Kitchen
Fill the sink half full with water & utensils, fill a 9×13 pan with rice, another with straws, a plastic bowl with beans. Set it all on the kitchen counter (table, whatever) and set the timer for 5 minutes. They play at each station for only 5 minutes then they switch. You stay in the kitchen
with them the whole time giving attention to their made up games. In 20 minutes it’s over.

Emergency Toys
I keep toys tucked high up in a closet for just such an occasion. Pull them out of the closet and set the timer for 30 minutes. Once the timer goes off….the toys get put away for at least a month. That’s the only way they will work the next time.

Play a Game
We’ll all sit and play something unbelievably dull, like Go Fish or a simple board game. Sometimes all they need is for you to stop and give them your full attention for 15 minutes.

Music
Music is a-MAZing for this kind of problem. If I don’t have the time to play games or make pans of rice in the kitchen, I will turn on some fun kid music and we’ll all dance around to one song. Mommy dances too (and Daddy if he’s home). One song can reset everyone’s attitude.

Tear Paper
Sometimes we all just need to do something wild and completely unexpected. So I will give each child 3 pieces of construction paper and we’ll stand in a circle and when I say, “GO!” we all start tearing up our paper and throwing it on the floor. We jump around and scream and laugh and giggle and fall down and throw the paper around for about 5 minutes. Then I say, “STOP!” and we have to clean it up as quickly and silly as we can.

Lie on the Grass
Often, when it’s not too wet, cold, hot….we go outside and lie on the grass. Everyone takes turns telling what they see in the clouds or, if there’s no cloud, I will ask them a question and we take turns answering. Sometimes we will do it on the trampoline instead of the grass.

Baths
These are not get-clean baths. These are play-baths. 15 minutes in the tub with a few toys and no washing hair. Just time to stop everything and play in the water.

Read a Book
If everyone is tired I will grab a book and read it aloud in an unusual way…with an accent, like a monster, while acting it out, hanging upside down off of the couch….something that makes it different.

Hold Hands
Sometimes everyone just needs Mom for a few minutes. So we’ll hold hands and walk around, outside if possible but inside works too. I’ll say something like, “Tell me what you liked about today,” and we’ll walk and talk and touch for a few minutes.

Quizzes
I’ll line them up in front of me and zing them with questions. They have to answer really quickly and if they take too long I say, “Zing!” and they have to fall down and get back up again. (If you’re not feeling creative, just think of a favorite book or movie and ask them questions about
that, “What’s the name of the character that_____,” “Who had the last line in the movie?” “What color was ____ wearing when she was running?”, etc.) This is especially good for nursing moms that need to sit for a few minutes and the older kids are needing attention.

Color Their Name
I write their name in really big, puffy letters and they get 3 Crayons to color it in. No sharing, no trading…just 3 colors…GO! If they like to write, they can draw your name and you color it.

Have a Snack

You sit with them and talk for just a few minutes. Don’t set them down and walk off. Just sit there for a few minutes and toast your glasses together and say, “To a better day!” and eat a little something.

The Whisper Game
I say, “Let’s plat the Whisper Game!” and set the timer for 5-10 minutes. That whole time you sit and talk but everyone has to whisper. Do what you can to make it silly and animated, like lean to their ears or tiptoe around the room while you’re whispering.

Animals
I sit on the couch and and gather them around, with an arm length between them. Then I call out animals and they have to act like that animal until I change the animal. I might switch it up by calling out a specific child’s name with an animal.

Slow Down
This one is good to do after any of the other activities. We all move and talk in slow motion. I will walk around and they follow me and do what I do….all in slow motion. Then I give them turns being the leader. This is fun, but it takes the energy back down and you’re ready to go back to normal

Drink Something Green
I put green food coloring in either lemonade or water. I gather everyone in the kitchen and give everyone a glass of “Green Goop” and we all drink it at the same time. We drink it as fast as we can and be silly. If it’s been a really rough day, burping is a must.

Crawling
I have everyone put shoes on their hands and crawl around until I say stop. Then they have to freeze like a statue until I say go. Sometimes I’ll call out pieces of furniture for them to crawl to. We’ll do this for about 15 minutes then stop and put the shoes away.

The Mystery Game
Fill a few “lidded” cups with 10 mystery items each (I use leftover yogurt containers). In the first cup put 10 beans, in another 10 toothpicks, in the third put 10 cotton balls, and so on. Cheerios, rocks, paper clips, macaroni, marshmallows, Cheetos, safety pins, etc. In a separate bowl put one of each item (a bean, a toothpick, a Cheerio, etc. all in the same bowl). Put lids on the cups and line them on the counter. The child has to figure out what is in the cup by shaking it and taking the matching item out of the bowl and setting it on the cup lid. Once they have figured it all out they can eat the little snacks in the cups. If you have more than one child doing it, they can take turns or you can make a set for each child.

Yarn Obstacle Course
Place several chairs together in a random pattern around the room. Using a ball of yarn, wind the yarn from chair to chair. The children must stand in one corner of the room and get to the opposite corner, touching every chair but not touching the yarn. Once everyone has made it all the way across, you cut all of the yarn into little pieces and they have to throw the pieces away as quickly as possible only carrying one piece of yarn at a time.

http://www.thepenningtonpoint.com
©2012 The Anchor Group

Why Does My Child Not Listen to Me?

“Why does my child listen to you and not to me,” I was recently asked. Lack of consistency immediately comes to mind. A parent absolutely must stick by what they say…EVERY TIME. Yes, I now it’s a pain in the ass. Yes, I know it gets tiring being the “bad guy” all of the time. But if you want a child to behave you simply must stick to your guns.

CONSISTENT PARENTING 

There are few principles of parenting more important than consistency. Living in a predictable environment is comforting to children. It makes them feel secure. This is achieved when parents conform to a regular pattern of rules and routines. When children live in an inconsistent environment, where rules are enforced one day but not the next, and when bedtime is at 8:00p.m. one night and 10:00p.m. the next night, they become confused. They also act out more and are more difficult to discipline.

ARE YOU AN INCONSISTENT PARENT?
It may be something that you never thought about. Do you make rules, but after an infraction you let the kids slide by without consequences? Do you say “no” to a request, but then back down and relent to a “yes” if your children persist and whine? Do you and your spouse disagree on the rules for the children? Does one spouse say “yes” and the other say “no” to the same request from your children? Do you make threats to your children, but you never really intend to follow through? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, there’s probably room for improvement in the consistency department. With a firm tweak here and there in your parenting practices, you’ll notice a positive change in the behavior of your children. However, if you have been inconsistent in many ways for a long time, it will take patience and time as your children test your newly defined boundaries. Hang in there!

TYPES OF CONSISTENT PARENTING 
–Consistency of Rules
Explain your rules carefully and clearly to your children. Make sure they understand. Then explain the consequences for each rule. Most importantly, enforce the rules and consequences CONSISTENLY. Yes, that means each time!
–Consistency between Parents
Present a united front to your children. Spouses need to communicate with each other about rules and consequences for the children. Children always look for a kink in the armor between the parents, so make sure you agree on the rules. Children learn how to play one parent against the other, so parents should confer and agree on rules, requests, and discipline before sharing their decision with the children.
–Consistent Routines
Many family events require routines: bedtime, chores, meals, bath time, and school mornings. Children love routines (predictable events). For example, a child’s bedtime may involve getting into pajamas, brushing teeth, using the toilet, story time, prayers and a bedtime song. Bedtime should be at the same time each evening. When routines are consistent, children respond better.
–Divorced or Separated Parents
Continuity is important to children, especially during and after a divorce. When children alternate between two residences after a divorce or separation, the transition is made easier when similar routines are maintained. It’s extremely important for divorced parents to agree on a child’s bedtime, rules and discipline, nutrition and family routines (as mentioned above). The more things that are consistent in the two homes, the better for the child. No matter how contentious the relationship of the ex-spouses, the focus and needs of the children need to receive top priority.

DISCIPLINE IN 3 EASY STEPS (an excerpt from KID TIPS, by Tom McMahon)
1. EXPLAIN YOUR RULES CLEARLY
Children need firm limits; they actually find security in having boundaries. Explain your rules clearly and in a way the child can understand. For instance, to avoid misunderstanding, I often ask my six-year old to repeat what I have explained. Of course, don’t expect too much from your toddler; she cannot comprehend the meaning of rules and limits.
Children will respond better to rules if you explain the importance and reason for the rule. Try to remember how you felt when your parent gave you the old “Because I told you so” explanation.

2. EXPLAIN THE CONSEQUENCES
If your child balks at one of your rules or requests, explain what the consequence will be for not obeying. This offers your child a choice and, at least in our house, limits the verbal arguments. For example, my wife recently asked my daughter to pick up her toys by noon the next day. If she didn’t, my wife explained, “I’ll pick them up, but you won’t see them for three days.” This gave my daughter a choice: either pick up the toys or face the consequence.

3. BE CONSISTENT
My daughter decided to test my wife by not complying with her request to pick up the toys. As promised, promptly at noon the next day, my wife boxed up the toys. My daughter, wide-eyed in disbelief, watched silently as her mother disappeared with the toys. Since then, my daughter has picked up her toys when faced with a similar decision.

This example illustrates a key concept about discipline which babies have learned by their first birthday: A rule is not a rule unless it is enforced consistently. They quickly and skillfully learn how to test their parents and how to determine which rules they must take seriously.