Category Archives: Parenting Tips and Secrets
We’ve all been there – our offspring has managed to drive us up the wall. Amazingly this can happen at all ages … and we just feel like lashing out and giving them a good old smack, right? It’s a natural reaction but it’s not that great for our children – there is endless research on the negative effects (short term / long term) of using physical force to discipline children. So what else can you do instead? Here’s a list of alternatives to smacking – just handy to know there ARE alternatives and we don’t have to use the same method of disciplining that perhaps our parents have used on us. (created by Barnardos and published with kind permission here).
1. Take a deep breath and gather your thoughts
2. Show them what they can do instead of what they cant
3. Taking them outside for a run around
4. Saying lots of positive things when they are good
5. Walking away, thinking about what you are going to do, but keeping them in your sight
6. Thinking about whether they are tired and or hungry
7. Keeping your expectations and rules simple
8. Accpeting mistakes and showing them how they can fix them
9. Clapping once to get their attention, then giving them a simple explanation
10. Explaining consequences (ge if they throw a toy it might break)
11. Putting them in a quiet safe place so they can calm down
12. Getting down to their height to avoid being threatening
13. Putting precious things out of reach
14. Singing some loud songs together
15. Ringing a friend or neighbour
16. Sharing stories with other parents
17. Turning tasks into a game
18. Speaking softly
19. Being firm, fair and friendly
20. Ignoring tantrums
21. Acting as you want your child to act.
Mother’s Day tends to sneak up on us every year … if you’re anything like us you probably haven’t got a present yet or thought of what to get for your good lady. Panic not … here’s our last minute list of free presents to help you out:
NB: Some of these you can also use for your own mother … you’ll know which ones
1) Make a Mother’s Day card from anything that your kids have drawn or painted on (check with your day care, pre-school or school in case you can’t find anything suitable in the house). Make sure you get your kids to write their names on it or do it for them if they are too small
2) Give your partner a few hours of extra sleep – a recent survey found that one of the things most mums wanted for Mother’s Day was to simply sleep in or sleep a few hours with no interruption. So take your babies, toddlers or kids away for a few hours and give your partner a nice break.
3) Make a TLC voucher – e.g. for a back rub, or do something for her that you know she really doesn’t like doing
4) Pick some nice family photos from your phone or camera and print out at work and use to make a Mother’s Day “post card” – write a nice message and get your kids to write on it or sign it as well (or do it on their behalf if they are too small). Go down to your post office and get it stamped so it looks like a real post card … then tell her on Sunday morning that there was a special delivery.
5) Record a video of yourself (and the kids) with a special message for her (or sing a song if you dare) and upload to youtube – get your kids to give her a piece of paper (or card) on Sunday with the URL on it
Whatever you do it’s probably a good idea to go the extra mile on Mother’s Day to make sure your partner has a nice day. It also doesn’t hurt to tell her what a wonderful job she does and how cool it is to have her as the mother of your kids. Finally – don’t forgot to do something for your own mother as well!
Have a great Mother’s Day
ps.: Don’t forget to do something special for your pregnant partner this Mother’s Day
It’s been a long, hard day at work. You want to come home and just relax and have fun with your kids. You don’t want to deal with discipline. But Mom has had the children for most of the day and she’s tired of the fighting and bickering. So she starts to discipline and wants you to help. This is not your idea of unwinding.
So what do you do? Support her. Absolutely. Children need a unified front from parents, and when Dad is viewed as the Softie, it makes Mom look like the Bad Guy and makes her job so much more difficult. And marital tension increases dramatically. If you have an issue with the way Mom is disciplining, wait to talk to her about it after the children go to bed. Short term, backing up your wife will be extra work. But long term it will be well worth it as your children will be unable to pit Mom and Dad against each other. The softer you are on discipline now, the harder it will be for your family.
Clearly the early experiences of children have a profound impact on their future learning. Parents and teachers have to walk a very fine line making sure what they place value on is achievable and relevant at that time for the learner. Boys for example, can take longer than girls to get mastery over the early language links and their fine motor coordination which impacts on their presentation skills. However with appropriate support and advice, these skills can be steadily built without shutting down their thinking, risk taking and all round self belief.
A few tips:
- Generally boys thrive in an environment with lots of engaging hands-on experiences. They love to create and work across different media moving seamlessly from materials to PC to pen and pencils. So try out different media and formats to stimulate creativity and give them options to get a sense of achievement (rather than sticking to a particular format that they struggle with).
- Boys and girls have marked differences in their learning styles but what all children need is an education that fits their needs underpinned by the philosophy of promoting quiet confidence. Work with your school to understand how they achieve confidence building during the day and see how you can further support this process through specific activities or methods (e.g. De Bono’s thinking hats) at home.
- “Raising Boys” author, Steve Bilddulph recommends that the best way to build confidence is to ensure we provide opportunities for boys to do practical ‘useful things’. We need to give our children lots of chances to experience their capabilities structuring the tasks appropriately so they ‘stretch’ our kids but are achievable.
- Motivation to do anything is a lot higher if kids can see the rationale behind a task. I.e. rather than asking kids to do something “because I said so” – explain rationale and reasoning behind it.
Boys like girls need to feel valued and loved but boys tend to respond better in a learning environment that is clear and explicit in its expectations. Often boys who lack confidence can act tough to cover up their anxiety if this structure is not in place. There is no doubt that raising boys can be a challenge for many parents but with a few tricks based on an understanding of what makes boys tick all parents can raise their boys to become successful and confident men.
I have just watched a must see for all expecting and new fathers.
“Seven Steps to Baby Bliss” from www.dadstheword.com is not only very practical for expectant and new fathers it is also pretty funny too.
I felt it was totally aimed at fathers as the target audience, but I also believe it would have great benefit watching this DVD with your partner.
The role of the dad is highlighted says the back cover, and I completely agree.
In 28 minutes the “Seven Steps to Baby Bliss” DVD shows you how to:
- Settle a crying baby
- Bathing a baby
- Step by step guide and tips on nappy changing for both baby girls and baby boys
- Feeding a baby
- Baby massage
- Dressing your baby
- And SIDS prevention
- Relationship after baby
Description from dadstheword:
In this humorous guide for New Dads and Moms – a male midwife guides a new Dad through the seven steps of caring for his newborn baby – making it fun and easy – so that those first weeks home are as stress free as possible !! “As a Midwife, I have always been passionate about newborn babies, knowing that what happens to them as babies, influences how they turn out later. I dedicated my life to them, hoping to make a difference in their lives, but I could only nurse so many … and mostly, I only had them for such a short time. So … I became passionate about Mothers and babies, because the Mom was going to be the one doing most of the caring, so I needed to help the Mom, so that the baby would have the best possible outcome. And for years, I wanted to make a fun educational video for new parents, so that parents could start out right, and if you get a good start and good foundation, the baby has a better chance. It took me 4 years to make the video, and I decided to focus on the Dad. The research was overwhelming about how the father will affect the long term outcome of his child……so I became passionate about the Dad … and the Mom … and the baby!!”
- Ros Vroom
This DVD really is like having a mid-wife around when you need them most. Thank you to Ros for producing a such a great tool to empower men to become competent fathers.
Here’s another idea for things to do with a young child … check out the “I Spy Challenger”. It’s a book published by Scholastic and basically contains a selection of photographs that have lots of items of all shapes, colours and sizes which you can get your little one to find on the page. For younger children (3-4 years) you can just ask them to find a particular item – like ask them to find a plane, dinosaur, fire engine, etc in one of the photographs. With older children you can just play standard “I spy” using the photos. It’s a really fun activity that helps build patience and develop cognitive skills.
Here’s the best part – you don’t even need the book … just find (or take) photos that have lots and lots of detail. You and the little one can then look at the photos on your computer, laptop, even smartphone or a large print. You can play this game in almost all circumstances and it’s particularly useful when the little ones are beginning to get grumpy or restless. It’s a life saver when travelling!
If you have children, and it doesn’t matter how old they are, then chances are you may have thought this at some point. You’re possibly even thinking it right now, and you probably believe yourself too. Sure, kids can make it a bit more difficult to exercise – less time and less money because of children are very good excuses that we often hear. But they are excuses, not reasons. And once you recognise this, you can plan your attack on exercise.
Children can be a great motivator for doing exercise – you are their role model and they will to look up to you and learn from you. Watching you exercise now not only keeps you fit and healthy (and more likely to live longer) but sets them up for a lifetime of good exercise habits, meaning they are less likely to be overweight and unfit as adults. What you are about to read will help you not only get fit, but have a great relationship with your children.
Trying to find time to exercise and be with your children can be difficult if you think that it has to be one or the other. The reality, and this evades most of us, is that you can have the best of both worlds. With a bit of motivation, you can exercise with your children, or get them to help you exercise. If you think you don’t have the time, then stop and think how you can involve your kids in what you need to do. This can be great fun, so it’s worth a try.
Here are a few ideas to get yourself, and your kids moving:
First you could pack a lunch and take your children to the park on the weekend. This gets you out of the house and to a place with lots of space. Once at the park you can play some games before lunch. Examples of some of the games are tag (aerobic exercise), cricket (aerobic exercise), and races (aerobic exercise). This is a great family outing and the children will not even know that they are exercising. You could also try throwing a Frisbee, throwing and catching a ball, or old favourites such as “What’s the time Mr Wolf?” which can be played with as few or as many people as you wish. If your backyard is large enough, you could also try these games at home. Or set up a swing ball set, or a tennis/badminton net and have a tournament. Bouncing on the trampoline is also great aerobic exercise, so come on mum and dad, get moving!
At home inside you can still interact with your children while you exercise. Older kids can talk to you about their day while you exercise, or babies can have mat time while you do things like push ups (biceps), planks (abs), side planks (abs), and dips (triceps) nearby. Babies will probably love this (ours do!), and you may find cooing and gurgling is a great motivator to keep going! If your children are older than 3, you can get them to exercise with you. If some exercises are too hard for them, come up with variations or other exercises they can do with you. Get them to choose the exercise and complete it together, or get them to decide what exercises they want you to do. This gives them a sense of helping, and can be lots of fun for everyone.
You can also play with your children at home, and get exercise that way. You may not realise it, but giving ‘horsie’ rides on your back, or bouncing them on your knees is actually helping to get you into shape. Not to mention that children can be great weights for lifting!
Always keep in mind that safety comes first. If you think something could be dangerous, then stop and find something else to try. Generally, there is no harm in older children attempting an exercise, but if they find it difficult, don’t force them to do it, and if it hurts anyone, stop straight away. And remember, if your children are joining you with your exercise, then you need to praise them for exercising with you, and keeping you and them fit.
As you can see there is no reason for you to miss out on exercise and your children, or to make a choice. The choice is simple, you can have both.
By Anatomy Fitness
When winter sends icy winds to chill us to the bone, the first thing many people do is turn up the heat in their home. Unfortunately, doing this usually means our energy bill skyrockets. This can wreak havoc with the home budget and is especially concerning during these unstable economic times. Cut your heating bill this winter by following these energy-saving tips.
Add Insulating Features to Your Home
A poorly insulated attic and space around doors and windows rob your home of heat. As cold weather sets in, add insulation to your attic, if applicable, and add weather-stripping around your doors and windows. In addition, consider purchasing thermal curtains or hanging thicker regular curtains to keep cold out and heat in.
Using Fire for Warmth
If you have a fireplace or a wood burning stove, use those for added warmth. Make sure to have it properly cleaned by a chimney sweep first to avoid a dangerous chimney fire. If you are spending time relaxing or doing tasks in the room, you may wish to close doors leading to other rooms in order to contain the warmth.
Use Space Heaters
Use space heaters to warm small areas for short periods. An example of this is the bathroom. No one wants to step out of the shower into a chilly room. Stick a new space heater in the room to warm it up beforehand. Make sure the space heater is one with safety features, such as an automatic turn-off feature that activates if it falls over or if it overheats. Unplug the space heater before turning on the water in the shower, bath or sink.
Checking for Better Rates
Check online for energy companies that offer better rates. In many states, you now have more than one choice available. If you are a resident of New York, for example, you can check http://www.energyratesnewyork.com/ for more information. There is no sense in remaining with a company that charges you more than another.
If you need more incentive for conserving heat this winter, just think of what the saved money can buy. You will have more money for fun and gifts during the holidays, for one – or perhaps you would rather put the money aside for a summer vacation that you have been wanting for a long time. No matter what you do with the saved money, you end up ahead.
By Alex Summers
Wooden jigsaw puzzles or shape puzzles are great of kids and their development. Hands-eye co-ordination, fine motor skills, recognition of shapes / colours etc. So as an alternative to buying them consider making them yourself. It’s very easy.
Here’s the DIYFather 5-step guide:
1. Choose the picture (or shapes) you want to display on the puzzle and print out on standard paper
2. Select a backing for the puzzle (typically either cardboard, foam or wood). If you choose wood the backing it’s best to go with a thin piece of plywood.
3. Mount the print out onto the backing. Use a dry mounting spray for best results (white glue or all-purpose glue tends to be messy and takes too long to set). Make sure you don’t get any air bubbles between the print out and the backing.
5. Cut the puzzle. If you have used a picture / photo cut out iregularly-shaped pieces. Check out the free jigsaw puzzle pattern at Ponoko.com (it’s great you can scale this to whatever size you want – make the pieces BIG for children under 2). Mount the pattern on the other side of the backing and cut out the pieces. Depending on the type of backing you will need to use a knife (e.g. utility knife) or a scroll saw with a very fine blade.
If you have used shapes – simply cut around the shapes (losely). Again depending on your backing you will need to use a knife or scroll saw. When you are done you can now mount the original (with the pieces cut out) onto another piece of backing. That way you can actually “insert” the pieces into the puzzle.
6. Use some sandpaper to round edges etc and try it out (make sure the pieces fit easily and don’t have any sharp corners).
One of the scariest things about hiring a nanny is the thought that your child will not like them and will be miserable while you’re away. This is even more difficult to assess when you need to get a nanny at a stage when your little one hasn’t grasped the necessary language skills yet. So what do you do? Here’s a few tips:
- Behavioral Cues – observe how your child behaves when the nanny arrives or leaves. The first few seconds when your little one sees the nanny provides a crucial tell for your little one’s feelings about the situation. Refusing to engage with the nanny when she arrives, fleeing or crying are some obvious cues but there may be more sublte signals as well like showing little interest playing with the nanny or showing no interest when the nanny leaves. If your child is particularly prone to separation anxiety (i.e. when you leave the room and your little one can’t see you) you may need to spend more time on looking for subtle cues (e.g. a hidden observation of your little one with the nanny)
- Interaction with the nanny – You need to make time in the early days (after just hiring a nanny) so you can observe how your nanny interacts with your child. This is a crucial period and you need to allow time for things to get settled. So allow for a certain “overlap” period where you gradually remove yourself from the situation. It’s natural for your child to be more interested in your presence than that of a new nanny, but if your little one continues to behave standoffish or hesitant to engage with the nanny, it could be an indicator that their relationship isn’t developing well.
- Ask verbal toddlers – Even if your toddlers’s language skills aren’t super advanced you can still get a general idea of how they are feeling by asking a few pointed questions. Questions like: did you have fun with
, did you enjoy playing with , do you want to come back tomorrow? Etc. Bear in mind, that toddlers can’t always distinguish between fantasy and reality so just keep asking and keep observing.
The good news is that you know your child better than anyone else and by being observant and making time specifically for this task you will be able to tell whether your little one is enjoying the nanny’s company (and how capable the nanny is). We’d discourage the use of hidden nanny-cams as this sets you up for a dishonest relationship from the start.
Written by DIYFather, inspired by gonannies.com