Baking the cake of confidence
This blog is about teaching our kids’ confidence. “Oh no”, I hear you say, “…I am not sure you can teach a child to be confident – wither she is or is not.” Well, OK then, how about if I said that building confidence in your child is a bit like baking a cake (savoury of course!). Yes, you read correctly. Confidence building and cake baking have a lot in common. Cake baking requires a number of ingredients and they’re not all the same and probably won’t be added simultaneously or in equal quantity. The rising process is going to take a while (could sink a bit in the middle depending on the heat of the life oven) but it will rise again and at the end of the day you will have a prize-winning cake, the sum of all its parts.
Like cake baking, confidence building requires different ingredients (conversations, ways to think, examples and acknowledgement), and they’re all needed to unlock a child’s potential and get them to rise above anything life can deliver…
When parents don’t have a compass, kids are at risk of getting lost
As parents, we need a compass. When we have a compass, we’re able to guide our kids in appropriate behaviour, ethics and standards, and give them markers for respect of authority. Our parenting compass gives directions on how to make friends, be independent, take responsibility and work as a team, as well as mark milestones in our child’s emotional development and maturity. When we adopt a parenting style that is not short on structure, lacking rules or boundaries, or one too haphazard or too laid back, we help our kids steer a path to true north. When we give in to our kids with permissive parenting, we’re not equipping them with the directions they need, and our kids run the risk of getting lost…
When it actually does look like a giraffe
Be honest. I bet we’ve all thought this – I know I have. The latest creation from the art room arrives home. We say, “that’s great…I love the colours you’ve used, especially that big blotch of purple in the top right corner… clearly you’ve enjoyed yourself and you’re very pleased with the result…well done!!”
What we’re careful not to say is, “I actually have no idea what this is supposed to be.”
As parents, we go through the pre- and primary years of our kids’ drawings, cardboard constructions, models of whatever and many multi-coloured cotton balls, pipe cleaners and fifty metres of masking tape and we figure that by the end of their primary schooling, we’ll probably recognise a familiar shape or outline that we can identify with. But what happens when our kids really do have a talent for art, sculpture, music, pottery and drawing, and all they want to do is visit a gallery or a recital or a kids’ writing workshop instead of being glued to a screen every chance they get? If we’ve given birth to an ‘artistic type’ who couldn’t give a toss about the myriad of mindless electronic entertainment or sport of any kind, we may have to get over it and embrace their talent…
What’s the secret for teaching children to behave? The power of positive reinforcement
Imagine this scenario. You’ve landed this great job and you’re looking forward to climbing the corporate ladder. The work is very appropriate for your gender, age and ability. You rock up to this great job and you work your socks off the first week (making a few errors of judgement because it’s a steep learning curve) and then at the end of the week there’s no salary credited to your account. The same thing happens next week, and the week after. Are you going to repeat your efforts and keep going back to work? I suspect not. Let’s face it, one of the main reasons you keep working is the positive reinforcement of a salary. So how do our kids feel when there’s no positive reinforcement for when they really work hard to behave well?
Here’s an important message: Do not take your children’s good behaviour for granted.
How do I talk to my children? Put on your listening ears
Our kids often hear the phrase ‘put on your listening ears’. It’s a reminder to stop talking, pay attention, and (hopefully) absorb what’s being said. But as parents, how often is this said to us? When was the last time you heard ‘mum….dad…put on your listening ears’. How often would our kids like to say to us ‘stop talking, pay attention, and (hopefully) absorb what I’m saying’. By nature of their age and size, kids are used to being spoken at and told what to do. But maybe it’s time we took a leaf out of their book and really listened to what they have to say…
Kid’s are unique, and so are their interests
Spotting your child’s interests makes a big difference in how your child turns out.
When we watch kids in a play situation, it’s intriguing to see the sorts of activities and equipment they naturally gravitate to. Some head straight outside to the swings and slides, yelling and squealing all the way. Others might decide the dress up corner is the place to be because that’s where their friends are, while others will happily sit at a table with craft materials, talking to no-one in particular, but comprehensively engaged in what they’re creating. Every kid is unique and so are their interests…
Homework: getting it right
What research tells us
There is little consensus in the literature as to whether homework raises student achievement. There is stronger evidence that it is helpful at secondary level but there is much less evidence that homework as a routine strategy is of benefit at primary level.
Overall it is the quality of the task that appears to be more important than the quantity of work required from the student.
Research also indicates that feedback, that is information the student can use to improve their performance, has a high impact on achievement. We know that students do better when parents show an interest in their learning and support them in working towards their learning goals.
Unlocking the puzzle to the underachieving child
As parents, we want our kids to be successful at school. Feelings of achievement and the experience of success, help to set our kids up for life. But when it’s clear our kids are not achieving as well as they can it can be frustrating, not to mention downright painful, to discover that despite their ability, our kids are simply not getting good enough results. When the reasons for this are not clear, how can we parent help to unlock the puzzle and turn the pattern around? The good news is that there are immediate, practical steps we can take as parents to change the course of our child’s efforts and achievements in school. The first steps start with us…
Managing homework: the structured approach
Most kids need to be motivated to complete homework. Rare is the child who will leap at the opportunity to forego social media or the latest app to complete a maths assignment.
Unfortunately, when our kids avoid homework, learning is compromised and in many cases reduced, their future opportunities appear threatened and we as parents are required to take a stand in one form or another.
Are your kids procrastinating?
Let’s be honest – we all do it. We’ve all delayed doing things even when we see there are disadvantages in the delay. But what is it about procrastination that stops us from learning the price of procrastination? Why are we so often repeat offenders? Is it a lack of confidence in our ability to do the task; is it fear of not doing the task exactly right; is it laziness, frustration, boredom, attitude or just the state of being human? Sometimes we can behave like Peter Pan – pursuing fun at the expense of priorities.
We know there’ll be a price to pay if your kids are procrastinating about homework, there are strategies that you, the parent, can put into play to help them put off putting off homework…
Tutoring : a one-on-one boost to achievement
It starts at preschool where learning is mostly play-based, then it becomes structured in the primary years and often stressful by secondary. Many kids take to every stage of learning like a duck to water. But there are lots of kids who don’t, and this can be for a variety of legitimate reasons, including learning styles that play a significant part in how kids take in information. It might simply be a case of linguistic, logical and sequential learning style vs global, intuitive and hands on. Whatever the reason, kids can quickly get left behind. And when they do, it doesn’t take long before they begin to believe they just can’t learn. As parents, it’s worth talking about tutoring well before ‘I can’t do it’ becomes a belief.
Teaching the other 3Rs: responsibility, relationships and resilience
In days gone by, if you wanted your kids to learn the 3Rs (reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic) you sent them to school. Teaching the 3Rs was the teacher’s responsibility. End of story.
But today, things have changed. Sure our education system continues to teach the 3Rs, but schools today are also embracing an alternate set of 3Rs (responsibility, relationships and resilience). We could still leave this learning to the teacher, but by far the first and best school for social and emotional learning (SEL) is home and family life. Our kids are constantly learning from what we adults say and do and how we treat each other. It’s the sort of learning that as parents, we are best placed to role model and teach our kids…and the earlier the better.
When dads get involved, the sky’s the limit for kids
In past generations, it was accepted that dad was the breadwinner. Dad worked 24/7, saw his kids only before bedtime or at weekends, and wasn’t in the position, nor was he expected to be, to take a big role in his kids’ education. But things have changed. Dads in this generation are more likely to be beating themselves up over what they can’t do for their kids, than what they can…especially when it comes to their child’s school achievement..
Imagine this scenario. Your child has been invited to a friend’s for a play day. The friend ‘s mother has suggested your child bring her bike, as her child will have hers and together the girls can ride in the park opposite the house. You know that helmets are mandatory, so you pack it and drive child, bike, helmet and a healthy afternoon tea to the friend’s home. When you arrive, your child’s friend is already on her bike ready to go across the road to the park. She is not wearing a helmet. You ask the friend’s parent why and her response is “I can’t always get her to put one on….it always ends in her throwing a hissy fit…”
School-home partners in social emotional learning
When it comes to education, a partnership with our kids’ teacher can make all the difference in the learning journey. From preschool up, parent-teacher partnerships ensure we support education and the school’s values, and the school in turn supports our kids and our family values.
Schools today are incorporating social-emotional learning (SEL) into the curriculum, but as with most learning, reinforcement on the home front makes for a strong, effective partnership, and caring, competent kids. A purely academic curriculum addresses intellect; a purely SEL curriculum addresses emotions; but the combination of both addresses the healthy development of the whole child.
New baby, new parents, new fears
The longed for baby is here and now the caring and child rearing begins. You’re deeply in love with your bundle of joy, but suddenly, you seem consumed with the ‘what ifs’. You’re suddenly fearful that you may not be the perfect parent who gets it right. It’s not that you haven’t thought this parenting thing through, it’s just that from now on you’ll most probably sweat the small stuff all the way from diet and sleep to education and social media. Maybe now is the time for a few tips on how to manage those niggling fears…
Teaching kids to have confidence in themselves
We’ve all been there. Lost opportunities, last minute rethinks, lack of belief in our abilities and skills…and all because we lacked the confidence to take a risk, or be assertive, or tackle something new. In social-emotional development, self-confidence is a “biggy”. A healthy self-confidence
means we’ll give something a try, believe we can give it our best shot, and come out the other end still feeling good about ourselves, despite any setbacks along the way. So how can we teach our kids to have confidence in themselves?
Help your kids develop their internal locus of control
As adults, we’ve learned that to get the job done, we need to be self motivated and put the effort in. Hopefully, we’ve learned by now that there’s little point in relying on luck, or the help of others, or waiting until the planets are aligned. Our kids are dependent on us as parents for much that happens in their life. But it’s important they learn to develop an early awareness that the ‘place’ where learning originates and is controlled is inside them. It’s called ‘internal locus of control’…..a big term for little kids….and us as parents…
Parenting to the beat of our own drum
Why is it that some rellies and friends just can’t help giving us advice on how to raise our kids? It’s not as though we’ve asked for input, or sought their opinion, or wanted their top ten tips. But it seems there’s no stopping the helpful hints brigade. Just because they’d like us to take note and adjust our parenting style to suit what they think works (or in the case of older family members, worked in their day) doesn’t mean we’re obliged to take them or their advice on board. The reality is we do have permission to politely ignore their opinion, however well-meant…
When our child is the bully
Did u know yr child is bullying? The text no parent wants to receive. They’ve got the wrong kid…our child would never do that…she didn’t learn that behaviour at home…clearly he was provoked??? Until we have all the facts, it’s difficult to know how to tackle bullying, especially when it’s our child that is the bully. Bullying is ugly and disrespectful, it hurts other kids, it’s aggressive and controlling. However, before we can confront the issue, we need to understand bullying dynamics – why they’re doing it, to whom, and for how long. But first, take a deep breath and allow yourself time to process the confronting text. Then talk through strategies, beginning with how to conduct the conversation you know you have to have with your child……
Potato kids – getting them off the couch
A major concern used to be that our kids were spending too much time slumped on a couch watching television. TV still rates a mention, but these days so do other screens: smart phones, tablets, laptops and video consoles. What hasn’t changed is the fact that many kids are still couch potatoes…
Raising kids with gratitude
As parents, we model the behaviour we hope our kids will adopt as their own. Research tells us that gratitude is a learned behaviour, not an inherently natural one. So for our kids to look outside their world and be grateful for small things, it’s up to us to role model some thankfulness. Learning an attitude of gratitude can help to give our kids a very positive outlook, and if we’re not role modelling gratitude as parents, what does it mean to our kids when they’re expected to be thankful? Please and thank you is a good start, but understanding the concept of gratitude as a way of viewing the world, will take practise on our part, and theirs…
Balancing work and family
Balancing work and family takes persistence, determination and constant training. Working parents quickly learn how to juggle to keep all the balls in the air. They also know how to walk a tightrope, make small children laugh, ensure the animals are fed and jump through flaming hoops for their boss. That’s because they’re working hard to keep the show on the road. But at what cost? What happens when the balancing act takes a turn, or a tumble, and there’s no safety net in place?
Raising independent kids
As parents, we’re keen to encourage our babies and toddlers to discover their world. We supervise and watch over them…in the safety of home or a day care setting. But our toddlers soon grow into kids wanting independence and chances to free range with other kids. All of a sudden we’re faced with making judgement calls on whether our kids are old enough or mature enough to do things outside our watch –like bake a cake on their own. How do we know they’re ready? How do we know we’re ready to let them spread their wings?
Resisting peer pressure : teaching kids how
Peer pressure can begin early, take many forms and impact kids negatively. Standing up to peer pressure is often one of the greatest challenges any kid can face. As kids become more independent, they connect with others with similar interests and experiences. No child wants to feel excluded and no child wants to feel ‘different’. Most children will at some time feel uncomfortable about either saying yes to something that doesn’t feel right, or no to their friends. Knowing how to recognise peer pressure and ways to resist it, is essential learning for all school-aged kids…
Establishing rules, exercising discipline, enhancing positive child behaviour
If we think our kids haven’t worked us out by the time they get to school age, we need to think again. If we think our kids don’t know where they stand when it comes to home rules, we also need to think again. Seriously. Permissive, indulgent parenting isn’t about to do our kids any favours –it can also leave us powerless, as in the cartoon above.
To achieve at any level, kids need structure and follow-through from us as parents. This means effective parenting that sets rules and consequences, and monitors and communicates with authority. Endlessly boring for our kids?-certainly; essential to their achievement?-definitely…
Why it pays to teach social and emotional skills to our kids
As parents, we really want our kids to get the most out of learning and life in general. Learning can be so much fun, especially when kids are encouraged and challenged, both at home and at school. But even the brightest kids can fall behind in their learning if they can’t get along with others, manage their time, make decisions or work as a team. Academic achievement is all well and good, but if our kids can’t relate or haven’t learnt how to manage and express their feelings, learning can become anything but fun…
What’s the magic to reduce stress in mums and dads that leads to increased self-esteem in their children?
What’s the magic to reduce stress in mums and dads that leads to increased self-esteem in their children – it’s positive parent education! Here’s some vital news for parents who are stressed…