It’s just a little thing with big results.

Monday, June 27, 2011

12 Small things that parents can do to promote confidence, independence and responsibility in their children:

Allow your child to make their own breakfast – this is such a simple thing. If you are concerned about the mess, pour some milk for them or transfer a small amount of milk into a suitable jug and the cereal into a suitable small container that they can then use to put into their bowl. My children have been serving themselves cereal from the age of 3 years and it is a special treat when I serve it to them If you serve them toast then allow them to spread the butter.

Allow your child to dress themselves – Most of the time, it’s ok to allow your child to leave the house with mismatched items, they will have a sense of independence. and the other option is to reduce their wardrobe to items you do like them to wear then there may be less chance of a debate.

If you are concerned that your child is wearing too little in winter, take an extra item along for later. Some children don’t like wearing warm clothing, sometimes because it is due to the texture. Some children may wear something if they know you will be wearing the same or the opposite. Perhaps there is someone who they admire or look up to, an auntie or niece who they may want to copy and you could say “they may be wearing such and such would you like to?”

Allow your child to pick a chore – initially choose two chores you would like your child to do around the home. Then give your child the option to choose which one they would like to do, this makes them feel that they are in ‘control’ of the job, they picked it and it will give them a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Allow your child eye contact – not just when you’re angry with them but sometimes when they’re interrupting and rushing to tell you something, look at them in the eye, listen to their story.

Allow your child to think - when appropriate, ask what else could you have done? What will you choose to do next time, what will you do/say next time someone says that to you? How did it feel when?

Allow your child to learn – see thinking above. Also, if your child blames the situation, circumstance or their friend/s when they have got into trouble or done something wrong, don’t get into an argument but try to teach them what to do in similar situations. Encourage responsibility by saying something like “well that wasn’t the best option or choice, what can you do next time (such and such happens or your friends do that)?”

Allow your child to solve simple problems/dilemmas – see allow your child to learn above.

Allow your child to be creative – hear what your child has to say and encourage or prompt further story telling if your child shares something imaginative. Also, listen to what they would do in a situation, praise them for their idea and then you may make a suggestion of your own.

Allow your child to dream – See creative, allow your child to think anything is possible, afterall if that is squashed at a young age what hope is there for any of us.

Allow your child to play – not every activity needs to be a learning activity, on the contrary, most learning happens during free expressive play. Allow them times to play. Watch them, preferably, from a distance and learn more about your child. Listen to the language or words they are using during play.

Allow your child to be – leaving them to play on their own is a good thing. Let them ‘entertain’ themselves or be by themselves for short periods while you do something in another room. Also, if your children constantly argue and look for you to step in to stop this, try to wait it out or ask them what they expect you to do.

Allow your child to perform – it’s okay for our children to want to show us things, if they do this all the time, explain that you’d love to have a show at (time) on (day/night) and they should practice until then. Children always want to show off their skills and it’s okay to let them do it but not always convenient rather than watching half heartedly or with one eye on the tv or the computer, set a showtime or talent time in your home where skills, talents can be displayed, perhaps you as a parent want to join in and tell a joke or two.

If there was a parent's dictionary....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Here is a list of words that if a parent's dictionary ever existed, these words should not appear in it.

Perfect – Does this word need further explanation to a parent?

Right - There is no right way to parent, their is your way, your choice, your ability, your child, your child’s needs, your needs.

Wrong-There is no wrong, there is choice, there is responsibility, there is what’s in the best interest of parent or child.

Clean- Keeping whatever it is clean is almost impossible and chances are once you have cleaned it something will happen to undo that work

Housework/Chore – Most things can wait especially if the babies crying or the children need feeding

Should – as in I should be doing this, I should have done that – this leads to guilt.

Money – we all need it but think about all the parents who would not have to work if they did not need it and who could stay with their children that little bit longer

Sick – as in your child, your partner, your wife, your husband is sick. No parents want to hear that – ever!

Why – don’t ask this question because sometimes we just don’t know why and somethings are a mystery.

Guilt- A feeling most parents feel when they think they should be doing something more with their child

Phrases that parents should not have to hear:

Sleeping through or Sleeping through yet? – don’t ask.
What’s he/she eating?
Oh really? - like you never thought, said or did that before?

What else would you like to see deleted in a parent's dictionary.

That's not me

Monday, June 20, 2011

You see that mother taking her children to the park? That’s not me
You see that mother holding their child’s hand as they walk? That’s not me
You see that mother smiling at her baby in the stroller? That’s not me
You see that mother conscientiously watching as her child walks into the school gate? That’s not me

You see that mother?
I see her too but I’m me and this is what I do....

I’m the mother who watches her child play a sport they enjoy,
I’m the mother running after her son, calling out “stop”, “come back”,
I’m the mother waiting in the specialist’s waiting room, holding, cuddling her child when he is sick,
I’m the mother reading a story to her child – no one sees that,
I’m the mother trying to make ends meet or sticking tightly to a budget – no one would know that,
I’m the mother trying to make sense of it all,
I’m the mother trying to find the reason behind it all,
I’m A mother and this is what I do ......

What do you do that defies belief, seems insignificant, takes time, takes patience, understanding, but You Do it?

PS: Any father's want to write one? or would love to hear father's experiences so I can write a father's one -  please email your dad contributions to email:

RESPECT and Relationships

Monday, June 13, 2011

Without it relationships may cease to exist. Respect is a necessity if any relationship is to succeed or better yet - be a great relationship.

Respect in marriage
I have a theory that marriages work if they are based on respect. You can have a marriage based on love? or respect? Or both? But if respect is gone, love will battle to stand that test. Respect to me is an action word, you have to show or/and earn respect. Love is a feeling, respect is a doing. You can stop doing something or start doing something to show respect for someone else. If you respect someone most likely you would want to please them, you consider them and their opinions, you care about what they think. I think if you are married to someone you don’t respect, don’t esteem, don’t admire or have regard for, the relationship may struggle.

Most of us are taught to love, how many times do we tell our children, “don’t hit your brother/sister love them”, “don’t say that to him/her, tell him/her you love them”. But I think you cannot love someone you don’t respect, if there is some respect love can grow. It is easy to say you love someone and do something caring. Respect is doing it because you mean it, because they are worthy of it, because you prize them or look up to them.

Imagine you marry someone and after a while they treat you badly, do something you don’t like or start annoying habits that you just cannot understand. Respect starts to lessen, that person who you once held in esteem, regarded and admired is slowly becoming the ratbag, idiot or dummy. Each time respect is lost it is harder to get back until eventually there is no respect and little or nothing to love about that person.

There may be many marriages where people who have once been in love and once respected one another, have lost that feeling due to circumstances, truths, values, behaviours.

What other things may cause you to lose respect for someone?

Respect and Children

Children learn respect from us. Respect can be seen in the way you talk about someone or the way you speak to someone. Respect is to treat someone kindly, courteously or to show consideration for, to have an attitude of esteem towards. We can disrespect our own children by belittling, namecalling, despising or teasing. We can show respect to our children by listening, by understanding when or why they dislike something and be attentive to their needs, emotionally and physically. Do you have time for them, do you speak to them, do you value their opinions?

How else can you display respect to/for your child?

If your child is disrespectful, explain what the outcome is you would like to see. “It really isn’t nice to speak to me like that?” Our children learn respect from us, who else can show them what it is to prize someone, to look up to someone, to speak well of someone in the hope that others will treat us with respect too. Expect respect and show respect to those who you regard highly or prize.

“I am so sick of my kids”. What the?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I opened up twitter this morning. I don’t go into it much and was horrified to see a post entitled “I am so sick of my kids”. It grabbed my attention and I had to read further about what would cause a parent to write such a comment.

I don’t judge this mum for feeling this way but I cannot believe that someone would put up a post with this title. I get that sometimes parents don’t enjoy time with their children, sometimes we’d rather be doing something for ourselves, sometimes our children aren’t fun to talk to or have around but this is sad that it comes down to one line.

I showed my 9yo this title and this was his response to the mum who wrote this:

“that makes me feel horrible because you said that to kids so young.” We then read the post together (after I had read it first to ensure it’s suitability).  His response then was, “You (writer) also have a good point if they (your children) are acting like that.” Even my 9yo can understand that feelings can be justified and that parents should be respected.  Although respect is two fold and it has to be given and modelled and then can be received (will do a post on this sometime).

Holidays can be long, holidays can be hard work and as this mum pointed out there are many things going on in her life right now that may be contributing to her response to her children.

If you feel this way - do as this mother did and try to identify the underlying cause, it’s not always just the kids and quite the contrary sometimes the kids pick up on our feelings or emotional state and act accordingly. For example, have you ever been angry at your spouse and that day the children are fighting all day, it’s the ‘vibe’.

Secondly, no matter how bad your children are don’t let them know how you really feel unless you can put it in a “sandwich”, ie. One bad point and two good points. Even better would be to say specifically what you don’t like about their behaviour - yes even with a five year old. They will get the message. It doesn’t need to be a lecture but identify and point out what you don’t like and if possible what you would like to see instead.

I’m no supermum but I do respect my children and would not want to ruin? or sum up my relationship with them in one line.

Fortunately, many parents have commented on the above post that they actually like spending time with their children.  I am still trying to figure out if this is a post written in jest or desperation either way it's got a reaction but hopefully bloggers will take note that titles mean something.  Afterall, would it make a difference to your blogging or posting if you first asked yourself, "what if my child saw this? What would my child think if he/she saw this?"

My 9yo has been off school and sick for a week now and I haven’t felt like I would not want him around. He is sensible afterall (if his comments are anything to go by, lol) and respectful at least 90% of the time. There are so many things we can do with our children that will promote having an enjoyable time and not an enduring time.

Somethings just need time

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I remember the day my son’s daycare teacher approached me because my then 2,5yo son wasn’t talking as well as some of the other children in his agegroup. Actually, he spoke very little full stop.
I could have rushed him off somewhere for tests and without a doubt someone would have found something to start “working” on. However, I stood my ground and calmly said I would worry if it hasn’t improved by age 4. I also had to take my own advice, having given a mum this recommendation when her 3yo wasn’t talking. It turned out he spoke non stop when he turned 4,5yrs old. So with that in mind I let my son develop and he has, sure he struggles pronouncing some words beginning with sounds like "sh" or "j" but if we correct him he copies how we say it and slowly he is making fine progress.  We also make it fun for him and he loves trying. He is talking more and more and becoming easier to understand so I am glad I waited.

Is there pressure for you to push your child to do something that perhaps just needs time?

What have you done today?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Somethings come around so quickly, like 2.30pm school pick up time, wrapper free Wednesday (that needs another post) and hand in homework day Thursday

Laundry day, and spend time with family day, sports day Saturday, birthdays and grocery day. They all come around so quickly.  While somedays can’t come quickly enough, like pay day, thanksgiving day and "me" day and the heyday - well that one’s truly gone.
There is facebook, twitter and 2 magazines, but reading’s not coming that easy.... with “tv”, “speak to me” and “what shall we”.... distractions coming up all the time.

That nagging feeling - that I haven't done enough or could've done more. Where has the time gone?

Three hours and nothing to show for it. Or no. Now I remember, one load in the washer, one hour at the grocer, unload a trolley and unpack the groceries, one load of dishes packed, make a sandwich, pay a bill and make a cup of tea. Check facebook and email. Hang out the load of washing, make another cup of coffee, turn to add milk and realise I haven’t drunk the previous cup of tea– no wonder I’m thirsty – Gosh thirty minutes before school pick up, brush hair, put on some lippy , slip on some shoes.  Quick find the car keys, I put them somewhere – no not on the keyrack - on the counter - of course! Off I go, pick up time.

Back home for homework time.  Time to cook the dinner and squeeze in a phonecall to make sure hubby's on his way home and will be on time. Dinner time, bath time and eventually bed time with some books squeezed in for good measure.

If you have a child under 4, add two hours to this itinerary. This is to account for the time spent on dealing with a tantrum, crying and incessant explanations of why that need to be squeezed in, during or inbetween each task.

All in a day - what a day!

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