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31 May 2014

Easy-To-Follow Steps for More Effective Parenting

Posted by Taylor Lowe

Any new or repeat parent knows that raising children is one of the most demanding, and yet one of the most fulfilling jobs in the world. First-time parents, especially, know the sinking dread of feeling ill-prepared for the job at hand. Child rearing seems like it should be the easiest thing in the world, but given the complexity and impressionability of the person on the other side of the equation, its easy to start feeling overwhelmed. Below, we’ve outlined some of the universal steps that can be followed to insure that your attempts at parenting are successful:

Learn to Foster Your Child’s Self-Esteem

“Self” is a very complex psychological topic that could take up several books in its own right. Children start developing their sense of self as babies, when they see themselves through the eyes of their parents for the first time. Your body language, your tone of voice, and your expressions are all things that are hungrily soaked up by your child during these initial months. Thus, it’s crucial that you pay heed to how your words and actions are capable of affecting your child’s self-esteem more than anything else.

Learn to praise praiseworthy accomplishments of your children, reinforcing only those actions that will truly make them into better human beings. Avoid making negative offhand comments or statements, and never use words as weapons. Things like telling children off for the seeming “stupidity” of their actions or the “inferiority: of their efforts are surefire recipes for failure that should be avoided at all costs. Above all else, learn to be careful, compassionate, and emphatic. Teach your children that you accept them in spite of their mistakes, and that you are not above mistakes yourself.

Learn to Catch Your Children Off Guard When They’re Being Good

Instead of praising your child whenever they do something praiseworthy in front of you, while they know they’re being supervised, you should strive to praise your children for the good actions that they did behind your back. Cut back on criticism, and maximize compliments that are well deserved. Make a point of finding new and praiseworthy actions that your child did each day, and teach them the value of what they did. The idea is to raise a child that is autonomous, that carries out good deeds for the sake of the inherent goodness of the deeds themselves, instead of a child that only does good to get the appraiser reward that comes along with it.

Be Consistent in the Way You Set Limits and Enforce Them

Fairness and discipline are two often-misunderstood concepts in parenting. While discipline is absolutely necessary in every household, the point of discipline is not to raise you children like a drill sergeant in a boot camp. Instead, children simply need to learn what counts as acceptable behavior, and what doesn’t. They need to be imbued with the means to manage their emotions and control themselves on their own, and not just when there’s somebody watching them. If you can manage these two things, then you’ve succeeded at disciplining your children.

24 May 2014

How You Can Nurture Emotional Intelligence in Your Children

Posted by Taylor Lowe

 Emotional Intelligence is a very new, very progressive subset of human intelligence that is worthy of taking note of when raising a child. There’re entire schools of psychology that have sprung up around this one concept. Basically, emotional intelligence is a broader and more encompassing superset of anger management. Rather than being just about how people handle their negative emotions such as anger, hatred, or envy, it also encompasses positive emotions as well, such as happiness, gratitude, and appreciation. Teaching your child emotional intelligence from an early age is a critical step in raising them to be functional adults that are valuable to society. Below, we’ve outlined the main maxims of emotional intelligence in child-rearing, so that you can take positive, assertive steps towards raising a child who is emotionally intelligent:

1. Realize that your child has their own perspective and empathize with it

One humongous mistake that parents often make when raising their children is they assume that because they’re older than their children and, consequently, more experienced in life that they’ve got their children all figured out, and that they can reason like a book. Oftentimes, an upset, tantrum-throwing child is greeted with harsh reprimand- being told that their actions are “wrong” and that they should get a better grip on their emotions. While this might be a good piece of advice to give to a coworker, it is absolutely horrible advice to give to a toddler. Even when you can’t directly intervene in whatever is causing your child to throw a tantrum, simply emphasizing with them may provide you with the key you need to make things right.

2. Allow Your Child to Express their Emotions

Children often have considerable difficulty differentiating between their emotions and their selves. Even some adults have trouble telling the two apart. Instead of trying to deny or minimize the emotions that are being expressed by your child, give them room to express themselves and their emotions in a positive fashion. Telling children off for expressing fear or regret won’t stop them from having these feelings. As any human being knows, simply telling somebody to “stop being angry,” will often have the exact opposite effect. In fact, telling your children off for expressing their emotions can cause them to bottle things up, and make things worse in the end. Before your know it, these repressed feelings can express themselves in the most negative of fashions, such as physical violence, nightmares, or nervous tics.

3. Give your Child Room to be Heard

Taking things a step further than simply giving your child room for expression, you should also listen to your child’s feelings. Children need to be heard when they express their feelings, positive or negative, like anyone else. Your child could be six months old, or they could be 17 years old, it still doesn’t change the fact that they often need someone to listen to their doubts, fears, and insecurities without them judging or reprimanding them for their points of view.

17 May 2014

Why Overt Praise Can Be Just As Bad As Reprimanding Your Children

Posted by Taylor Lowe

One very popular child psychology tidbit that often goes around is that it takes at least “seven positive interactions” for you to maintain a good relationship with your child for every “negative interaction” that you do with them. Given that, many modern parents go out of their way to lavishly shower their children in praise whenever they do something even slightly noteworthy. After all the more of these “positive interactions” that you have with your child, the more likely it is that your relationship will be bursting with mutual love and appreciation, right?

As it turns out, this might not be the case. According to child psychologist Dr. Laura Markham, too much praise (like too much of pretty much any good thing) can actually do more harm than good. There’re certain “rules of engagement” that you need to observe when praising your child lest the praise start becoming flat and insignificant. Being thoughtful in the way that you give praise to your child makes such exchanges more meaningful, making it so that your child is fully aware of the value of said praise. This doesn’t mean that you should be stingy with your praise- far from it, you should always love your child with the whole of your heart. What differs, though, is the way in which you should go about expressing this love.

Take for example parents that promise their children money in return for good grades (which is a big no-no). What often ends up happening is that these children start operating with the single-minded goal of the momentary reward in mind, completely overlooking the joy that comes from a job well done. When this momentary incentive is retracted for whatever reason, often these children’s grades end up crashing and burning. Instead of it being something thoughtless and inconsequential in the way that you should raise your child, you should treat praise as a tangible reward in and of itself, giving it only when your child does something that truly is praiseworthy.

This might seems like a somewhat difficult stance to adapt at first, but with time, you can start giving praise for the things that really matter. Consider how it will make all the difference in the way your child perceives these positive interactions. Below, we’ve outlined some of the changes in ideologies of praise that you might want to consider adapting towards your child to reinforce positive behavior in the best possible way:

  • Praise your children for the knowledge they learn from reading, instead of teaching them that reading is a praiseworthy action regardless of what it is they read.
  • Praise your children for eating healthily, outlining the advantages of doing so, instead of praising them when they eat their vegetables. The former teaches them the value of these dietary habits; the latter just reinforces their preconceptions that vegetables are “yucky”.
  • Praise your children when you find out that they’ve shared things with others behind your back, not to your face. The former teaches children to be altruistic, whereas the latter teaches them to share for the sake of being praised, and nothing else.

10 May 2014

What It Takes to Build a Great Parent-Child Relationship

Posted by Taylor Lowe

Sometimes, the formality of the construct of “parent” and “child” makes us forget that children are people too. Being close to another human being, regardless of how small or inexperienced they may be, demands a lot of work. Most of us know that deep down, and yet in spite of this, one of the biggest lingering regrets that people have on their deathbeds is that they did not connect enough with the important people in their lives, be they parents, children, or other relatives. It’s pretty much universal that parents and children both wish that they had spent more time with one another when the child grows older, and these two blood-bound individuals grow apart.

There’re a host of commonly overlooked elements that are needed in order to create a closer connection with your child. It isn’t enough for you to love your children; un-vocalized, this love is practically worthless. And the notion of “actions speaking louder than words” is only applicable when your child realizes and acknowledges that your actions towards them are truly done for the sake of making them better people- something that most frustrated parents will tell you is almost impossible to get across.

Instead of focusing on telling your children that you love them, or doing something for them to express this love, your primary focus should be on the connection between parent and child itself. Love in action is the name of the game here; you should be thoughtful in the attention that you give to your child, and to the dynamic that goes on between you. Remember that your child is a person too, and that “underdeveloped” or “childish” though it may seem, they have their own thoughts and points of view on their relationship with you.

Realize that maintaining a healthy relationship with your child is anything but easy- as is the case with any human being. Parents of other children that are telling you that they maintain an “effortless” relationship with their kid, where the two of them consider each other “best friends” are usually caught unawares at some point or another in something that they failed to overlook given the superficiality of their relationship. As is the case with any other human being, maintaining a solid bond with your child requires effort and attention. Giving birth to your child does not magically make you attuned to their every mood and whim. To put things bluntly, you need to stop thinking that you’ve got your child “all figured out” and that you “can read them like an open book,” if you’re to have any chance of forging a strong relationship with them.

Rather than focusing on the actions of parenting like keeping your children fed and clothed, you should focus on giving your children the right sort of attention. Like practically anything in life, be it a marriage, friendship, a car, or even a job, parenting correctly for an optimal bond with your child means treating them the way you’d want to be treated yourself in their position, however outlandish that may initially seem.

20 Feb 2014

Sensitizing Your Kids About Environment: 8 Practical Tips

Posted by Patrice Lowe

Many habits we learn as children stay with us our whole lives, so sensitizing kids to environmental concerns now will help them be a little more conscious and conservative in their adult life.

Here are some excellent tips to show children a good example for ecological stewardship:

  1. You weren’t born in a barn! Help children get in the habit of closing the front door upon entering or leaving the home. This will help keep the warm air in and the cold air out or vice versa and also keep out any unwanted pests. This same rule goes for your refrigerator as well, get what you need and close the fridge.
  2. Reusable containers. Pack snacks and lunches in washable, reusable containers or at least recyclable ones. Start a conversation about it so that they are aware of why reusing things is best.
  3. Ditch the car. Just headed down the street? Take a family walk to run nearby errands. You can also explain the value of combining your errands to reduce driving time and how that means less fossil fuel being burned.
  4. Start composting. Kids find composting really interesting and it’s a great way to learn a little science while recycling. You can find small compost bins fit for residential kitchens.
  5. Turn off the tap. Explain to kids that it takes energy and effort to make water clean. Tell kids to shut off the water while brushing their teeth and set an example while washing dishes.
  6. Use natural light. Open up the blinds or curtains and use natural light whenever possible and make sure to turn off lights whenever leaving a room. This can make for an expensive habit if they forget to turn off lights as they get older.
  7. Find new uses for things. Show kids how to clean out jars and tins for re-use and make fun craft activities out of repurposing old items. Turn cardboard into art materials or make a birdhouse out of bits of wood and metal.
  8. Plant a tree. Teach kids about how plants clean the air while also enjoying the opportunity to talk about basic science lessons and beautify your yard while you’re at it.

About the Author

Patrice Lowe is the owner and designer of Child To Cherish, a company that specializes in creating the finest children's gifts and keepsakes in the industry. Taylor's company puts their heart and soul into each unique baby gift and has won many awards for doing so. Taylor spends a lot of time volunteering through Child to Cherish, focusing on child safety and age appropriateness.

14 Feb 2014

Make This Valentine a Family Affair: Celebrate With Your Kids!

Posted by Patrice Lowe

Whether you are in a relationship with someone or single, Valentine’s Day is a day of love. Even if you have no one to spend it with, you could always consider spending it with your sweet kids. If you are interested in doing this, but aren’t really sure about ideas, here are a few to help you out along the way.

Dinner: Valentines Dinner for people in a relationship is a special dinner. Instead of having the same old dinner with your kids, why not create something really memorable that they will always remember. One idea is to make homemade pizza in the shape of a heart and let your kids help customize the pizzas with whatever toppings they want. You can even set up placemats and placards of family and children's names letting your children create them using construction paper, streamers, crayons, sparkles and more.

Homemade Valentine’s Day Cards: Get the whole family together with a few craft supplies like tissue paper, construction paper, markers and crayons, streamers and buttons, and have each member of the family make a card for another member. If you want to play it safe and fair, you can also put everyone’s names into a hat and let each person pick a name out. Whichever name they pick is who they have to make the card for.

Treats: If your kids are allowed to have candy, you can let them pick out a few candies and place them inside candy bags and attach those to the cards. On the other hand, if you want to get a little more creative, you can create little dessert items such as mini cupcakes in pink or heart cupcake tins, pink, red and white cupcake candy hearts or sprinkles, and icing to top it all off.


About the Author

Patrice Lowe is the owner and designer of Child To Cherish, a company that specializes in creating the finest children's gifts and personalized keepsake gifts in the industry. Taylor's company has a reputation for originality and uniqueness and continues to build timeless treasures, having won many accolades in doing so. Taylor puts a lot of energy into Child to Cherish and does a lot of volunteering through the company as well, being an ardent advocate for child safety.

11 Feb 2014

4 Fitness Games You Can Play With Your Kids

Posted by Patrice Lowe

As staying indoors becomes more appealing and convenient than outdoor play, not only are our children’s fitness levels dwindling but they are also losing degrees of spatial awareness and physical literacy. With the emphasis increasingly on scholastic achievement, physical prowess has become sidelined. It is making them clumsy and awkward. However, simple fitness games can engage both the child’s body and brain and put the fun back into exercise.

Here are 4 fitness games you can play with your kids and develop their physical literacy:

  1. Seed to Flower
    A game which incorporates both science and drama skills alongside physical co-ordination development. Encourage your child to curl up in a tiny ball and slowly uncurl, stand up, and stretch. Expand the game with different types of plant and have different stretch directions for trees, climbing plants and flowers.

  2. The Right Side of the Line
    You can name the opposite sides of the dividing line however you wish, indoors and outdoors or if you have a child who needs help differentiating left from right, it can be useful to assist in building confidence. Have your child jump with their feet together or vary the game with specific commands for hopping over the line.

  3. Copying Animals
    This game is a useful add-on to combine knowledge of the natural world with physical ability. Copying animals will inspire younger children to run, hop, climb and even find sleeping poses outside of their usual comfort zone.

  4. Follow my Leader
    Quite often the old ones are the best. Designate one child as leader and encourage them to set a hard path under tables, over chairs, through indoor and outdoor terrain that requires their followers to copy not just where they lead but how they do it.

About The Author

Patrice Lowe is the owner of Child To Cherish, a company that specializes in creating the finest children's gifts and keepsakes in the industry. Taylor's company puts their heart and soul into each unique baby gift and has won many awards for doing so. Taylor spends a lot of time volunteering through Child to Cherish, focusing on child safety and age appropriateness.

07 Feb 2014

Kid's Winter Fun Activity: Set Hot Chocolate Shop and Play

Posted by Patrice Lowe

Hot chocolate is a common drink choice during the cold weather. Many people love to curl up with a steaming mug on a chilly winter day and sip until they are warm and fuzzy inside. However, have you considered using hot chocolate for sensory play? Sensory play allows young children to develop their linguistic, cognitive, emotional, social and physical skills. They learn how to question and interact with their world as they engage with both new and familiar objects.

Teachers and parents alike enjoy mixing up sensory stations with seasonal items. One popular method for using hot chocolate in a sensory bin is to make hot chocolate rice. The only ingredients that you need for it are white rice, a Ziplock bag, chocolate extract and brown food coloring. Add the rice and a couple drops of chocolate extract in the bag. Add a few drops of water to help the extract color and saturate the rice. Seal the bag and shake it gently until the rice is fully saturated. Spread the rice out on a cookie sheet or similar object to dry.

Another popular method is adding hot chocolate instant packets or other hot chocolate flavoring to PlayDough, cloud or snow dough and similar sensory materials. There are free dough recipes readily available online. Please keep in mind that unless otherwise stated, these doughs are not edible.

Pour the dried or the prepared dough into a large tub or bin that can serve as the base for sensory play. Add additional hot chocolate items such as cups, spoons, marshmallows and a pot for cooking. Kids can spend hours on end mixing and concocting hot chocolate drinks. If they grow tired of the setup, add a cash register so that they can take turns playing customer and ordering their drinks.

27 Jan 2014

10 Creative and Lovely Piggy Banks for Your Kids

Posted by Patrice Lowe

Piggy banks are a great way to start your child’s education fund or save money for a rainy day, but if you think you only have the choice of the traditional “piggy” banks , think again! You have quite a few options to pick from.

  1. Owl Bank: This bank comes in the traditional shape of a pig, but drawn on it carefully are 2 colorful and owls on a branch.

  2. Ladybug Bank: If you have a girl that loves ladybugs, she will surely love this hand painted red and black ladybug bank!

  3. Astro Bank: If you have a boy that loves astronauts and space shuttles, he will love the Astro bank! The Astro Bank comes standard in a blue with yellow stars and has a space shuttle drawn on the sides.

  4. Flower Bank: All the brightly colored flowers make this the perfect piggy bank for any little girl’s room.

  5. Jungle Jack Bank: The Jungle Jack is a white ceramic piggy bank with a cute momma and baby giraffe hand painted on the bank. This is great for both girls and boys!

  6. Circus Bank: If your child loves clowns and circus animals, the Circus piggy bank is the way to go.

  7. Monster Babies Bank: If you want something really unique and cute, the Monster Babies’ bank has cute hand painted monster babies painted on the white piggy bank.

  8. Sports Bank: Great for the sports fanatic in the house, this bank is a white piggy with a variety of sports balls including baseballs, footballs, basketballs and soccer balls!

  9. Miss Madeleine: The Miss Madeline is a cute pink piggy bank for girls that is adorned with French accents like The Eiffel Tower and a French girl walking around with a poodle.

  10. Stitched Elephant Bank: Great for a boy or a girl, these banks come in various colors such as blue, green and pink. Rather than the traditional Piggy shape, it’s a cute white stitched elephant.

22 Jan 2014

6 Toys to Help Kids Stick to Their New Year’s Resolution

Posted by Patrice Lowe

Adults find it difficult to keep their New Year’s resolution, so you can only imagine how tough it will be for kids. The good news is that you can help your kids stick to their resolutions by gifting them toys.

Here are 6 toys that you can use to help your kids fulfill their New Year resolution:

  1. Piggy Bank.If your kid’s New Year’s resolution is to save money to buy other toys and comic books, gift them a personalized piggy bank . This will help your child stick to his or her New Year’s resolution and also inculcate a habit of saving money.
  2. Bicycling Helmet. Kids often try dangerous stunts with their friends. So if your child’s resolution this year is to ride his bicycle safely, a helmet will be a perfect gift for him! Your gift will keep his noggin safe and help your little one in keeping track of his 2014 New Year’s Resolution.
  3. Craft Set. If your child has made a resolution to watch less TV, help him or her by giving them a craft kit. Not only will this be interesting for your child but will also inspire your child’s creativity and imagination.
  4. ABC Blocks. Present your child with ABC-blocks to make learning fun and interactive. ABC blocks will help your little one learn to spell words and this is also a perfect gift for young kids who are learning a new language, words and spellings at school.
  5. Beanbag Storage Chair. Every parent knows how messy kids are with their toys and how often they are left out in a mess on the floor. Try and get your kid to make a resolution to keep his or her room clean this New Year. Help them by gifting them with a beanbag that has storage space. Your kid will love the beanbag chair and also find it pretty functional as a good-storage-space for his or her toys and other knick-knacks.
  6. Kids Desk Organizer. This is perfect for the child who loves to draw and color. A desk will also help you by making sure their work area stays nice and neat.