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Archive for the ‘Behavior’ Category

4 Ways to Raise Siblings Who Love Each Other

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Siblings who fight a lot gain surprising advantages, from thicker skins to sharper negotiating skills. Plus, “Savvy parents know that a conflict-free relationship between siblings is not the same as a close-knit relationship,” writes Chicago Tribune parenting columnist Heidi Stevens. The goal is to have kids who love as hard as they battle. Here, four tips for raising lifelong best friends who share everything—including you.

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Fight smart in front of them

When parents handle conflict and anger with each other in a healthy, respectful way, they are modeling how their kids should face off. If you slam doors, hurl insults or, um, actual household items, it’s a safe bet they’ll mimic you the next time someone pushes their buttons. Added incentive to hit above the (emotional) belt? Kids cannot keep secrets. Ask anyone who’s died a little inside while her kid told the dentist how Mommy threw her egg sandwich at Daddy.

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When in doubt, let them work it out

Unless your kids’ fights are about to enter the realm of bloodshed or bullying, or they’re stuck in a pattern where an older child seems to always dominate a younger one, give them a minute before you get involved. Per experts, siblings’ fights are valuable opportunities for growth. Hair-trigger intervention only perpetuates their reliance on you as a referee. Also, stepping in may mean taking sides—a surefire way to stir up sibling rivalry. “It can be more difficult to hang back and observe emotional situations than to try to solve problems for your kids on the spot,” writes parenting expert Michelle Woo, citing research on how kids in Germany and Japan become self-reliant by problem-solving amongst themselves. “[What kids] need is consistent guidance, a place to explore their feelings, a model of kindness. What they probably don’t need is a referee monitoring every single play.” As Jeffrey Kluger, author of The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us, told NPR: “One of the most profound effects siblings have on you is that area of conflict resolution skills, that area of relationship formation and maintenance.” 

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Or don’t! Try this instead

A growing number of psychologists and educators swears by a conflict resolution method called Restorative Circles. You step in at the start of a fight and ask your kids to take a deep breath and sit down with you calmly in a circle. (Obviously, for screaming banshee fights, separation and soothing come first.) For just a few minutes, each child gets a chance to speak their grievance (You ask: “What do you want your brother to know?”), and the other child(ren) is asked to interpret what they’ve just heard (“What did you hear your sister saying?”). Then you go back to the first child (“Is that what you meant?”) until a mutual understanding is reached/all kids feel heard. Then everyone brainstorms ideas to find an agreeable solution.

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The family that plays together, stays together

Even—especially—if your kids are like oil and water, or more than a few years apart, it can be tempting to let them lead separate lives. Try not to. Choose toys that appeal to all age groups (Marry us, Bristle Blocks!), group activities on weekends or family vacations, and require them to show up for each other’s games or recitals. No matter how much they fight, research shows reason to be optimistic. “About 10, 15 percent of sibling relationships truly are so toxic that they’re irreparable,” says Kluger. “But 85 percent are anywhere from fixable to terrific.” After all, he notes: “Our parents leave us too soon, our spouses and our kids come along too late…Siblings are the longest relationships we’ll ever have in our lives.”

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

A Trick to Teach Kids Compassion

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It’s easy to conclude that people generally suck. Don’t they, though? There’s the driver who cut you off, the lady who appears out of nowhere to swipe the last Costco sample off the tray when you’ve been waiting patiently in line, the “friend” who’s forgotten your birthday three years in a row. I get why we’d assume others just aren’t trying.

But this, of course, is a damaging outlook to take. It closes us off from connection, and makes us cranky and bitter. As a parent, I want to teach my daughter to view others with compassion over judgment—a tough skill to learn, but one that will serve her every day. Sabina Nawaz, writing for Harvard Business Review, shares an activity that I like a lot. She and her kids play what they call Multiple Meanings, a simple people-watching game that promotes empathy. Here’s how it works:

We take turns creating stories from observations of people and events on trips to and from school. For example, if we see a man walking rapidly on the sidewalk with tattooed arms and a sleeveless vest, we might make up a story that he’s late for work because his car broke down, so he’s walking fast to get help. Maybe he owns a tattoo parlor across the bridge and is a walking advertisement for his business. Or maybe he’s meeting someone in the park and is running late. Our children then use the skill when they’re upset about something at home or at school. This is especially helpful when my sons argue and come to me for mediation. To reduce the heat in the conflict, I ask: “What other meanings can you make about why your brother borrowed your Lego airplane?” The goal is to be able to calm themselves down and be more empathetic, so they approach someone else with curiosity instead of judgment.

We often teach kids to mind their own business. But what if we didn’t? What if we taught them to wonder about people, even those who might hurt them? What if we reminded them that everyone is fighting a hard battle? What if will pushed them to challenge their assumptions and give others the benefit of the doubt—or even better, ask them about their lives? In Brené Brown’s book Rising Strong, she asks her husband if he believes people are doing the best they can. His response was this: “I don’t know. I really don’t. All I know is that my life is better when I assume that people are doing their best. It keeps me out of judgment and lets me focus on what is, and not what should or could be.” That is exactly it.

With your kids, help them use their natural love for stories to come up with their own narratives for the toddler throwing a tantrum in the grocery store, the man who’s getting upset at the bank or the bully in the book their reading. In the end, the story they’re changing will be their own.

 

This article was written by shared by Michelle Woo to Lifehacker and Michelle Woo on Offspring from Lifehacker and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

How I Finally Got My Kids to Eat Their Veggies—and Like It

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I used to stand in front of the blender so they couldn’t see. Sautéed zucchini, red and yellow peppers, spinach—I’d throw it all in there quickly with the tomato sauce and breathe a sigh of relief when the crunching would stop and the swirling would begin. Meanwhile, my boys (4 and 6 at the time) would play with their Legos on the kitchen table none the wiser. Sure, I could openly put some veggies on the table (exactly two: broccoli and carrots), but that never felt like enough.

Then one day, a letter came home from my son’s kindergarten PE teacher announcing a nutrition challenge she called Strive for Five. Based on the National Cancer Institute’s recommendation to eat five servings of fruits or vegetables each day, all kindergarten classes would compete to eat at least three servings (but aim for five) of fruits or vegetables a day to celebrate National Nutrition Month in March. All the parents got a handy calendar so we could keep track. The reward? The kindergarten class with the most servings got to choose an activity for PE.

That night, as my husband and I were munching on potato chips on the couch, I remembered that the letter said that the challenge might help parents eat better, too. That promise that we’d start eating a Mediterranean diet this year hadn’t really been working out.

“What do you think if we all did the challenge?” I said.

After my husband finished his delicate, crispy, so-salty-it-sings potato chip, he wiped his hands and said he was all for it. He reminded me that March is the beginning of Greek lent, when he cuts out meat and dairy for 40 days. If I wanted, I could join him, too. Over breakfast the next day, we told the kids that we’re all going to get in on the competition.

“Even me?” said the four-year-old.

“Yes, even you,” I said.

“But what do we get?” my kindergartner asked. I told the boys that, just like the school reward, we could do an activity of their choice for a day. The outing could be anything they wanted, within reason, like going to the aquarium or the science museum or the arcade (read: family time).

The boys grabbed some magic markers and decorated their calendars with pictures and added their names. I posted them on the fridge at eye level so they could easily mark them up every day. They boys were so excited, they wanted to start that day, but I told them they’d have to wait until March 1.

While the idea seemed perfect for our family, because we’re naturally a little competitive (my husband even told the boys, “I’m going to destroy you!”), I honestly didn’t think my kids would follow through. Take our attempt at chore lists. They got tired of being asked to do a chore and mark up their magnetic chart, and I got tired of asking them. My boys were certainly acting excited about the fruit and veggie challenge, but I thought maybe at the end they’d forgo the veggies and focus only on fruit (they eat fruit like I eat chips). Or they’d give up altogether.

But amazingly, they totally owned it.

“Does this count as a serving?” the boys would ask me, nearly every day. Five broccoli florets, check. Four raw carrots, check. Spinach with garlic, check! Two spoonfuls of sautéed mushrooms, absolutely check! Toward the end, my kindergartner even discovered the joy of salad sprinkled generously with vinegar. The boys totally motivated us, too; my husband and I were finally eating like we were in the Mediterranean. Every time the boys marked up their chart, they grinned, as if they were getting away with something. Little did they know I thought I was getting away with something, too.

It may have worked because they could take care of their own chart. Or maybe they had the arcade in mind, but I also think they had a chance to outshine their parents every day. When do kids get to do that? When my kindergartner was tallying up his servings for the day, he’d also count up everyone else’s. “Ha! I have… 7 and Daddy has only 5!” Every week or so, he’d add up everyone’s total servings for the month so far, just to see who was pulling ahead (math skills!).

My little one, I must admit, fell off the wagon toward the end. In the last week, he started saying “I don’t care if I win,” with chocolate on his cheek. But my kindergartner cared very much, and during the month he started reading nutrition labels on almost everything we ate (“Mom, this orange juice is good for you. It has no sodium!” he even said to me).

On the last day, my kindergartner and my husband were neck and neck. “You’re totally going down!” my husband said to him at breakfast. After our boy left the room, I whispered to my husband that maybe we could let him win, just this once. “He’s come so far, and he totally deserves it,” I said. He just smiled at me.

At the arcade, our boys shot up dinosaurs as my husband and I sipped on our coffee, thinking we were totally owning this parenting thing. My kindergartner’s class won the competition at school, too. Mostly, my kids’ good eating habits stuck around after March. They do eat more veggies than they did before the challenge, but I’m not above mashing sweet potato into pancake batter.

 

This article was written by Cheryl Pappas from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Summer is Upon Us

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The kids are out of school – now what? Summer camp, summer school, amusement parks, sleep ins, sleep overs, party, pow wows at the park, extended weekends, family reunion, vacation, family time… But what about those chores? The ones that you hardly have time to complete all on your own. The ones that you’ve been hanging onto since the first day of Spring.

Growing up for me, a country girl- Alabama, chores were apart of a daily routine. They didn’t just happen during the 3-month summer vacation from school. They weren’t assigned as a weekend only type deal. There was work to be done, every single day of the week. Our chores may have increased on the weekend and during the summer, but days were never absent or short of the responsibility to complete chores.

From raking the leaves in the front and backyard, to vacuuming the house, polishing silver, Windex the glass, washing dishes, mopping the floor, putting away the dishes, dusting the furniture, cleaning our rooms, doing the laundry and helping in any other way around the house. Sometimes that meant rearranging furniture with my OCD dad.

Doing chores almost super exceeded extra curricular activities outside of the house. The responsibility of doing chores, topped the “most important thing to do in the Kenny household’, list. Nice and tidy. My mother and father ran a tight ship. Dad with his strict set of rules sometimes leaked over into just how perfectly the bed had to be made- a chore in and within itself.

There was never anything in place to make these chores fun. And as a rule of thumb, the values that were impressed upon us came with understanding a chore, as responsibility and no rewards are given or to be expected, for doing what you are supposed to do anyway.

While that idea has stained itself on my way of parenting, I have decided to add some spice to the value; without loosing the flavor. Meaning, I do think it’s ok to reward good behavior … And I do think you can still maintain the value in the lesson of doing what’s required, without expecting rewards. And because I think most people do a better job at anything, when they feel appreciated.

Here are a few things to consider, that I’ve personally improved the chore system, to make it something fun, while rewarding and teaching. Wax on… Wax off…. (Some of you know exactly where that comes from) and that’s why I know now, that doing my chores as a child, was not all for nothing. “First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature rule Daniel son, not mine” Mr Miyagi

Competition — Make it a race. A fun- Family-friendly, race. One that encourages friendly camaraderie.

They have to do the chore anyway- bottom line. So how about a lesson within the responsibility. How about, maximize the learning opportunity by introducing concepts. Concepts of winning, loosing, completion, efficiency, accuracy, effectiveness. Inspections after the chore can determine this and if can be rated on a star scale. If you have more than one child, you can assign responsibilities that are age appropriate and place them in in a track bracket. Who can make it to the 100-yard finish line?

In implementing this competitive route to doing chores, I think it teaches perspective team work, creative ways of doing things, allowing them to maneuver through the task and find what works best. I think it helps them to develop the right attitude and perspective on handling assignments that will be competitive assigned to later; without being sore losers or overly aggressive obnoxious winners.

(Keep the discussion of wins, loose or draw, nearby. So that your child doesn’t feel like they are a looser and so that they won’t misunderstand the benefit of the lessons). “It’s ok to lose to opponent. It’s never okay to lose to fear” Mr Miyagi

One mom said, “there are no losers” and while I agree when it comes to children, we can’t extract that from the fact that there are times in life where they will not finish first. There are times where it’s going to be very clear that the best is who will be chosen. We cannot ignore that, out of the fear that we are teaching our children to compete. Stay with me on this.

Goal markers (100 yard line markers) (3 point basketball shots) (point system) how many points do they need for 10$ to go to the movies on Friday (teenager) how many points to go to get ice cream on Saturday (toddler) you’re taking them for ice cream anyway and you are also giving your teenager money for movies anyway… Why not make them earn it?

Make it a board game like monopoly – replacing the monopoly spaces with places your child of teenager wants to go, or with things they want or with things that you want your child to do. Don’t sleep on books. Books are rewards too. Dinner certificates, Gift certificates, amazon gift certificates for teenager or even smaller children, mani pedi for girls, spa day, golf lessons, track sessions, gift bags, swag bags, gift sets with educational material. The list goes on.

I’ve placed things like (get out of jail free) if you make it there from performing chores, then you may have an extra hour on curfew or an extra $10 to go out Friday or a ticket to a ball game etc. big and small items can go on the board and it can be customized to your pocketbook. Creative things that cost nothing can be placed on the board. Prizes -small and creative. Allowance- incentive -Rewards- (movie, outdoor activity of child’s choice, healthy cupcake etc. Praise – make sure to congratulate and uplift them, by telling how important it was. Assigning chores, gives responsibility and the act of successfully completing it makes them feel great!

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

 

This article was written by Niedria D. Kenny from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Picky Eaters

When children start learning to feed themselves, they can become picky about the foods they will try out. Here are a few ways to encourage picky eaters to try new foods.

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  1. Have your children assist with cooking easy dishes; they will be more likely to eat it if they helped create it.
  2. Keep meal and snack times consistent. If your children eat a snack at the same time every day, they will get used to being hungry for dinner around the same time every day.
  3. Cook a variety of foods regularly. This way your children become accustomed to seeing new foods and trying them out will become a routine.
  4. Finally, be a role model. Your children will be more enticed to try new foods if they see you doing it.

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What are some ways you encourage your little ones to try new foods?

Five Ways to Discourage Children from Lying

Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of child psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine and member of The Goddard School Educational Advisory Board, offers five ways to discourage children from lying.

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  1. Keep your cool when your child lies. Try to say ‘Oh,’ or ‘Okay,’ to give yourself some time to think about what to say next. Something like ‘I wonder what happened to the flowers’ works better than ‘Whoever did this had better tell the truth (‘or else!’ is implied).’ This strategy makes it easier for children to be truthful and improves your chances of hearing the truth later as they will feel less intimidated.
  2. Calmly, try to help your child understand why he lied and what he can do next time to avoid lying.
  3. Explain to your child that it’s okay to make a mistake and that she doesn’t have to lie about it. Also remember to praise your child for admitting that she made a mistake. Lying lessens when it’s safe to tell the truth.
  4. When you are on the fence about whether or not to believe your preschooler, err on the side of believing that your child is telling the truth. Or his version of it. After all, imagination is a powerful and creative force that might cause a child to tell a lie that he thinks is true. For example, a child might claim that there is a monster in the closet when that obviously isn’t true.
  5. Be aware that you are under constant scrutiny and that the ‘innocent’ white lie that you can’t make a donation to a charitable organization because you don’t have any cash, for instance, will be noticed by your child. Set a good example and remember that the truth starts at home.

Creating Confidence in Children

Instilling confidence in young children helps them develop their social skills and a sense of self-worth.  When we feel good about ourselves it shows; situations seem easier to handle and we communicate in a more upbeat and positive manner. That positivity can spread to others. Smiles are contagious!

Children need to feel validated and loved. Their parents’ positive reinforcement and encouragement helps them gain confidence, and once they are in school, educators and peers also influence their self-worth.  How children feel affects how children act.

Model Confidence

Our children are in tune with our actions, so what we feel and perceive can influence our The Goddard Schoolchildren. A positive self-image provides a strong example to children and helps them feel good about the world. Since children can mirror our behavior, we need to lead by example and model confidence. Bad days happen, and sometimes we feel overwhelmed or down for no reason. When we feel unhappy, it is a good idea to remind children that challenges are a part of life, and we feel happy and fulfilled on most days. If we aren’t happy, we owe it to ourselves and our children to seek out ways to feel fulfilled and joyful, which may include reading, meditating, exercising or listening to music.

Instill a Positive Self-Image

Parents influence their children’s sense of self-worth. Our children should like who they are and feel comfortable in their own skins.  Children should feel as though their voices will be heard and as though they can make a difference in the world.  We help them develop a healthy sense of self-worth by acknowledging their strengths and the qualities that make them unique. Everyone seeks praise and responds positively to compliments. Children develop a positive self-image when their parents acknowledge their strengths, trust in their abilities and see mistakes as opportunities for learning and growth.

Know Your Child’s Friends and Their Parents

The people around us can affect how we act.  Our values may differ from other parents’ and children’s values.  Part of our job as parents is to get to know our children’s friends and their parents, and observe any behavioral changes in our children, positive or negative.  We can’t always choose who our children befriend, but we can encourage them to play with children who will make them happy.  Make time to talk to other parents at your school’s drop-off or pick-up times. Talk to your children about their play dates, and pay attention to their attitudes afterward. Are they smiling and excited about the fun they had, or are they withdrawn?

Express, Don’t Suppress, Feelings

Children need to be able to express how they feel, but also able to control their tempers. Suppressing feelings does not help children deal with the issue and keeps them from learning how to communicate effectively with others.  Finding the right balance is difficult, but if we model healthy ways to talk about our feelings, children will learn how to express how they feel in a mature, controlled and age-appropriate manner.

Build Confidence with The Goddard School

At The Goddard School, our talented teachers collaborate with parents to nurture children into respectful, confident and joyful learners.  We are committed to teaching children about compassion, cooperation and the significance of giving back to their community. We pride ourselves in collaborating with the best educational and child development organizations to provide children with the skills they need for long-term success in school and life.

Taming the Tantrums

One of the truly gnarly limit-pushers is the temper tantrum.  These are the hallmark of the self-control wars in the early years.  They are distinct from the gut-wringing cries of the sick, wet, desperately hungry, or physically hurt infant or pre-toddler.  But they can look similar, and you can feel even more helpless.

Family - Teacher with Parent & ChildTantrums start to occur in that period of development when the “me do” surge for autonomy becomes increasingly frustrated by the parent who knows the toddler’s abilities are still so limited that trouble lurks behind most corners.  So when the child’s limited ability frustrates a particular goal, or a parent intervenes to rein her in, the internal frustrations can erupt into a screaming, kicking, crying rage.

Every time you help you child recover from such a debacle without humiliation or irrational punishment, she learns that her impulses cannot destroy her world and that you can help her learn how to manage this tiger, the way you did the other tigers of her early years – being left alone, being helplessly hungry, etc.

Finally, two pieces of advice about limit setting and self-control that are hard for many parents to remember.  When setting limits:

  • The fewer words the better.
  • Actions speak louder than words.

The Basics of Setting Limits

One of the strongest elements in maintaining limits is to reward good behavior.  Your approval and support mean the world to a toddler looking to you for a smile.  The more time your child spends seeking – and getting – your approval for the right things, the less time he will spend on the wrong things.

Family - Father DaughterHowever, the wrong things will happen.  It’s an inevitable part of how children learn.  No doubt you already have been amazed at what a master your little one can be.  It often seems that children can home in on a hot button or weak moment with laser-like precision.  To them, this all seems like fun.  And it is.  Learning how “buttons” on people work is just as fascinating a discovery – and just as important – as learning how buttons on a toy work.  For us, however, it’s another matter.

Understanding motivation or intent when your toddler/preschooler does something unacceptable can help relieve your anger and frustration and open the door to a more constructive reaction.  The best response in this case would be teaching, not punishment.