Tactics for Tackling a Toddler’s Temper Tantrum

temper 1Even the best behaved toddler has an occasional temper tantrum. A tantrum can range from whining and crying to screaming, kicking, hitting, and breath holding. They’re equally common in boys and girls and usually occur from age 1 to age 3. Some children may experience regular tantrums, whereas for other children, tantrums may be rare. Some kids are more prone to throwing a temper tantrum than others.
Toddlers are trying to master the world and when they aren’t able to accomplish a task, they often use one of the only tools at their disposal for venting frustration – a tantrum. There are several basic causes of tantrums that are familiar to parents everywhere: The child is seeking attention or is tired, hungry, or uncomfortable. In addition, tantrums are often the result of children’s frustration with the world.Frustration is an unavoidable part of kids’ lives as they learn how people, objects, and their own bodies work

tempur 2Tantrums are common during the second year of life, a time when children are acquiring language. Toddlers generally understand more than they can express. As language skills improve, tantrums tend to decrease. Keep off-limits objects out of sight and out of reach, which will make struggles less likely to develop over them. Distract your child. Take advantage of your little one’s short attention span by offering a replacement for the coveted object or beginning a new activity to replace the frustrating or forbidden one. And choose your battles: consider the request carefully when your child wants something. Is it outrageous? Maybe it isn’t. Accommodate when possible to avoid an outburst. Make sure your child isn’t acting up simply because he or she isn’t getting enough attention. To a child, negative attention (a parent’s response to a tantrum) is better than no attention at all. Try to establish a habit of catching your child being good (“time in”), which means rewarding your little one with attention and praise for positive behavior. This will teach them that acting appropriately makes mommy and daddy happy and proud, and they’ll be anxious to do it again and again

 

The Basic Skills of Kindergarten

kinderChildren love to learn. In the first years of life, there really is no distinction between learning and play to a child and they get as much fun and joy from learning new things as they do from any game they play. So the years before kindergarten are a perfect time to use play time with you to begin their path toward conquering some basic principles that will be very helpful to them when they reach kindergarten.

Many children’s games and books focus on helping your little one learn colors, shapes and other basics that will be good to have a firm grasp of before they reach kindergarten.You can make a game of knowing the color names and you will be surprised how quick witted your child is and able to pick up not just the basic 5-10 colors but many nuances of color as well. The same is true of shapes. While a child may have trouble saying “octagon”, don’t underestimate their ability to learn the names of the various shapes of their toys and blocks.

You can use play and reading time to also help your preschool child get a good grasp of the alphabet, how the letters look and numbers and counting. These will all be excellent basic skills of kindergarten that will make the step into formal school easy and smooth for your child.In fact, it isn’t out line to expect that your preschooler could learn to sign her name and do some basic letter shaping exercises before she starts kindergarten. How great would it be for her not only to have these core skills and areas of knowledge well in hand before school starts but to be able to start with that much confidence that she is smart and ready for school? That kind of confidence translates into big time success for any student starting on a big new adventure.

Along with using play time in such a productive way, there are many studies that have shown without a doubt that reading to your child every day is one of the finest ways to get them ready for school. If you read stories to your little one and allow them to look over your shoulder, you will be surprised how many words they will learn to recognize just from that casual time of loving relaxation with mommy or daddy.

kinder 2But reading is also one of the best ways to improve your child’s vocabulary and ability to speak clearly and expressively.Don’t be surprised if you find your child with books open early and often because you took the time to read to her even before she starts at kindergarten. And that love of learning is something that will stay with that child for the rest of her life. What a wonderful gift.

If your child loves to run and play as is very common in young children, you can use that to help them develop strong motor skills which will help in dozens of ways in school. Hand eye coordination not only will help your child do well in gym and playing sports, it will help in learning to write and many other related physical dexterity challenges that she will face in school. By looking at many of life’s simple pleasures that you enjoy in raising a preschooler as also opportunities to develop your child intellectually, physically and even socially in preparation for kindergarten, you are giving your baby wonderful skills, knowledge and abilities that will pay off big when kindergarten starts officially when she is five. And you will be thrilled to see her naturally step into the formal school world so well and begin to succeed because you took the time to get her ready well ahead of time.

The Truth about Lying

Honesty and dishonesty are learned in the home. Parents are often concerned when their child or adolescent lies. Young children often make up storieslying and tell tall tales. This is normal activity because they enjoy hearing stories and making up stories for fun. These young children may blur the distinction between reality and fantasy. This is probably more a result of an active imagination than an attempt to deliberately lie about something. An older child or adolescent may tell a lie to be self-serving, such as denying responsibility or to try and get out of a chore or task. Parents should respond to isolated instances of lying by talking with the youngster about the importance of truthfulness, honesty and trust.

Some adolescents discover that lying may be considered acceptable in certain situations such as not telling a boyfriend or girlfriend the real reasons for breaking up because they don’t want to hurt their feelings. Other adolescents may lie to protect their privacy or to help them feel psychologically separate and independent from their parents. Parents are the most important role models for their children. When a child or adolescent lies, parents should take some time to have a serious talk and discuss the difference between make believe and reality, and lying and telling the truth. They should open an honest line of communication to find out exactly why the child chose to tell a lie, and to discuss alternatives to lying. A parent should lead by example and never lie, and when they are caught in a lie, express remorse and regret for making a conscious decision to tell a lie. Clear, understandable consequences for lying should be discussed with the child early on. However, some forms of lying are cause for concern, and might indicate an underlying emotional problem. Some children, who know the difference between truthfulness and lying, tell elaborate stories which appear believable. Children or adolescents usually relate these stories with enthusiasm because they receive a lot of attention as they tell the lie.

lying 2Other children or adolescents, who otherwise seem responsible, fall into a pattern of repetitive lying. They often feel that lying is the easiest way to deal with the demands of parents, teachers and friends. These children are usually not trying to be bad or malicious but the repetitive pattern of lying becomes a bad habit. A serious repetitive pattern of lying should be cause for concern. Consult a professional adolescent or child psychologist to find out whether help is needed.

Our Ever-Changing Role as a Parent

father and childWe watch our children grow right before our very eyes. It seems like yesterday they were a baby learning to crawl, walk, and feed themselves, and now they’re in school, involved in activities, making friends, and learning to be more and more independent. Parents before us have said that from the time they’re born, we are constantly learning to let go. As a result, our parenting strategies have to change. As our child grows, develops, learns, and matures, so does our parenting role.

As your child has grown, you undoubtedly have discovered they have their own unique personality and temperament. You’ve probably unconsciously redeveloped your parenting skills around the individual needs of your child. And no two children are exactly alike, and therefore, neither should your parenting style. Some children may need more guidance and feel more unsure of themselves, so we’ve become used to having to guide, lead, show and encourage that child consistently through their childhood while still trying to encourage independence and give praise in order to build their self esteem and confidence level. Yet another child may be very intrinsically motivated and very willful and not need a great deal of guidance or leadership from you. While you encourage their independence, it’s also important that you also encourage their ability to ask for help when needed and continue to praise good deeds, actions, and traits.

The most important tools we have in order to successfully adjust our parenting skills are our eyes and our ears. We have to see what’s going on with our child and we have to hear what they are telling us. It’s important that we encourage our child to be their own individual while still being available to them at whatever level or degree they need us to be. Sometimes it’s situation-specific as well. A child may not need us to be as directly involved with their schooling to ensure their overall academic success, but they may need us to be more involved in their social life as they may be feeling a bit shaky or scared when it comes to making new friends or meeting new people.

So the bottom line is this: as your child grows and changes, so should your parenting skills. Keep your eyes and ears open and communicate honestly and openly with your child, and you’ll both mature gracefully.

Actively Listening to your Child

listening

Communicating with our children can be a difficult task at times. We feel like they’re not listening to us; they feel like we’re not listening to them. Good listening and communications skills are essential to successful parenting. Your child’s feelings, views and opinions have worth, and you should make sure you take the time to sit down and listen openly and discuss them honestly.

It seems to be a natural tendency to react rather than to respond. We pass judgment based on our own feelings and experiences. However, responding means being receptive to our child’s feelings and emotions and allowing them to express themselves openly and honestly without fear of repercussion from us. By reacting, we send our child the message that their feelings and opinions are invalid. But by responding and asking questions about why the child feels that way, it opens a dialog that allows them to discuss their feelings further, and allows you a better understanding of where they’re coming from. Responding also gives you an opportunity to work out a solution or a plan of action with your child that perhaps they would not have come up with on their own. Your child will also appreciate the fact that maybe you do indeed understand how they feel.

activly 1It’s crucial in these situations to give your child your full and undivided attention. Put down your newspaper, stop doing dishes, or turn off the television so you can hear the full situation and make eye contact with your child. Keep calm, be inquisitive, and afterwards offer potential solutions to the problem.

Don’t discourage your child from feeling upset, angry, or frustrated. Our initial instinct may be to say or do something to steer our child away from it, but this can be a detrimental tactic. Again, listen to your child, ask questions to find out why they are feeling that way, and then offer potential solutions to alleviate the bad feeling.

Just as we do, our children have feelings and experience difficult situations. By actively listening and participating with our child as they talk about it, it demonstrates to them that we do care, we want to help and we have similar experiences of our own that they can draw from. Remember, respond – don’t react

Make Quality Time with your Child Count

Juggling Career/familyIn today’s busy world, work, household chores and social activities all put a strain on your time with your child. But as you well know, it’s imperative that you spend quality time together. It helps strengthen the bond between parent and child, and lets your child know you can be trusted and counted on. Children who spend quality time with their parents often do better in school, and excel in extracurricular activities, hobbies or sports. And though it can be ‘scheduled’ to a degree, it’s something that happens when you least expect it. Therefore it’s important that you do spend as much time as possible with your child in a relaxed atmosphere and do things together that you both enjoy.

But you’re asking yourself, “Where am I going to find the time? My schedule’s crazy enough as it is!” Well, for something as important as your child, you need to start digging around in that crazy schedule and find the time. Prioritizing is the key.

Here’s some helpful suggestions on how to make the most of your time and find quality time where you least expect it.

choresLook at your household chore list and decide which ones can be left undone or be done imperfectly in order to make more family time. You might also want to consider leaving certain things until after your child has gone to bed to make the most of your time together.

Turn some of your everyday routines together count. Sing some favorite silly songs on the way to daycare, or make that drive to and from school a great opportunity to discuss what’s happening in your child’s life.

If you have more than one child, realize that each of them needs your individual attention. You may really have to juggle things around to make this happen, but try to be flexible and creative when spending time with each of your kids. And no matter what, don’t skip those individual times with each child. By doing so you show them they’re lower down on the priority list than the dry cleaning or the grocery shopping.pic 3 kids

Children thrive on stability and routines, so plan your quality times so that they can takeplace regularly. Maybe you can walk the dog together on weekend morning, take a shopping excursion together, have a scheduled night each week for a sit-down dinner together, or make a trip to the park.

Can creativity and discipline live in the same house?

What comes to your mind when I utter the word “Creativity”?

Creavitivy1

 

Let us check what happens with discipline.

Discipline1

 

The two seem like irreconcilable opposites.

Scene 1

Now I imagined a world with creativity but no discipline – how life would be.

I would have a lot of freedom. Lots of fun. Do what I like, when I like. No one can order me around. It feels great when I enjoy  all these.

But then every one around me too will enjoy these same benefits of creativity without discipline.

How will that affect me? Will I like that?

I go to a restaurant. There is no one to take my order.  So I go to the kitchen. The chef is busy practising on his guitar. His assistant is in deep meditation. The two waiters are playing chess.

I ask the chef about the menu and he says, “I have not made up my mind. I want to do something different.”

“When will I get something to eat?”

“It all depends…. on when I decide. After that, we will buy the necessary things..”

“Will it take a couple of hours?”

“Maybe more..”

“Should I go somewhere else..?”

“It is your choice, sir.”

“Thank you.”

“Have a nice day. Hope you get something to eat fast.”

 

Scene 2

Let’s stick with the food analogy and consider a world with only discipline and no creativity.

I come home. My mother is waiting for me. I tell her I am hungry. She is ready to serve me lunch. I sit at the dining table. There is dal, rice, some bhindi and some roti.

“Mom, again the same thing?”

“Bhindi is good for you.”

“I don’t want bhindi every day.”

“This week is bhindi week.”

“What about the dal?”

“I have made it for the whole week. I save a lot of time this way. For the next week, I will make what you want.”

“It will be the same for the whole week?”

“Yes. That is the most efficient way.”

“But it is the most boring thing to do.”

Luckily, life is a happy mix of both. There is space for creativity and there is space for discipline.

Consider, as an example, the film production business. The time to be creative is when we are thinking of a movie plot. It is has to be fresh, different, surprising and appealing. Tried and tested won’t do. Once the plot, screen play and dialogues are finalised, we need the discipline to follow the shooting schedule, minimise retakes, control costs and finish production on time and on budget. If we don’t do this, we will go broke.

Interestingly, if we are disciplined but are not creative in the initial stage, then too we will go broke.

In my view there is no room for debate on creativity vs discipline. Especially while bringing up kids. I would err on the side of more creativity and less discipline. I would like my child to be able to imagine possibilities. Have an open mind to explore many options. Have the freedom to use her gut feel. When it comes to doing things I would like my child to be smart (combining creativity and discipline) and be able to think of doing the right thing at the right time. It requires imagination to think of different options, it requires rigour to choose a smart solution, and it requires discipline to execute the solution well.

It is some what like a diagnosis and treatment. One might do all the various tests and logically arrive at what is the problem then prescribe medicines. However, experienced doctors might creatively connect the dots and quickly diagnose the situation and start treatment. It saves a lot of time and agony. And, it requires discipline on the part of the patient to follow the prescribed course of treatment.

Verdict: Creativity and discipline, not creativity versus discipline. You can’t do without either.

Re-published with permission from the blog of ParentEdge, a bi-monthly parenting magazine that aims to expose parents to global trends in learning and partner with them in the intellectual enrichment of their children.

Chores Can Help your Child Learn about Teamwork and a Strong Work Ethic

Chores can help develop a sense of responsibility and self worth in your child.  It should be understood by all family members they are expected and necessary to a household running successfully and efficiently.  They can help create a sense of unity and family and is a great place for your child to learn about teamwork.  Parents should take special care to handle the delegation of chores to children so they don’t become a source of frustration or create arguments.
Allow your child to have an active say in the delegation of chores.  Give them choices.  We all have household chores that we don’t like to do, but if it’s a chore the child enjoys doing then there’s less likelihood it will create a battle in the end.  The child will most likely appreciate having the chance to be heard and having a choice. child-chore
It’s imperative that you set parameters early on for the successful completion of a chore.  They may not perform up to snuff when they first start performing the chore, but show them where improvement is needed and praise them for a strong effort.  Also make sure the child understands there will be repercussions if they only put forth a minimal effort.

Ensure the child understands the need for the chore’s effective and efficient completion. Set consequences for substandard completion as a team.  Make sure they see that if they don’t perform their chores, it affects the other members of the team. Spouses must work together and be a strong example for their children by completing their own chores each day.  And don’t allow a child to undermine your authority by battling with you over a designated chore.

Stand your ground and don’t give in, and emphasize the consequence and negative effect an uncompleted chore has on the family.
And keep an open mind when a child wants to discuss their thoughts or express their opinions about chores.  Make sure the conversation stays positive and on target.

The Process of Negotiating the Rules with your Child

We all know as parents that discussing and negotiating the rules with our children is never easy.  Children are all very different, and what might need to be a rule for one, may not even be an issue for another.  That being said, there are many parameters that we set as parents that are the hard and fast rules – those with no ‘wiggle room.’ Those are the rules set forth to protect our child’s health, safety and well-being.  These rules and their consequences should be very clearly defined and it should be understood by all involved that they are there for a very important reason and that they are ‘all or nothing.’
Scolded
Rules that keep our children safe are of the utmost importance.  These could include everything from teaching youngsters not to touch the hot stove to teaching your school aged child the importance of obeying the laws while riding their bicycle.  Children need to understand these rules are to be followed to the letter and there is no room for negotiation here.

For adolescents and teenagers, such rules should include expectations about drinking, the use of illegal drugs, or safe defensive driving.  These rules are also imperative to a child’s health, well-being and safety.  There should be no room for experimentation or relaxing the rules in specific social situations.

There are rules that can be fairly and equitably negotiated with your children as well.  Rules regarding how many hours per week can be spent on video game playing, what time a child is expected home for dinner, what time each night homework is to be completed, or how late a teenager is allowed to stay out on weekend nights are all rules that can be discussed openly and honestly between you and your child. These should also be consistent, however.  Don’t’ allow 11 p.m. one weekend night and then tell your teenager 9:30 the following weekend night when going out with the same group of friends.  If your teenager broke the 11 p.m. curfew the weekend before, the consequence of losing the privilege of going out that weekend should be strictly enforced.  Don’t bend the rule just because your teenager seems genuinely sorry and promises never to do it again.  Consequences should be consistent, fair, and always followed through.

Get Involved in your Child’s Activities, Hobbies and School

It’s probably no secret that children who have involved parents are more happy, healthy, and well-adjusted and excel at their educational and extracurricular pursuits.  It can increase their cognitive development, keeps them motivated, strengthens the parent-child relationship, and has a direct positive influence on their overall academic achievement.  In turn, it can also help parents achieve a positive outlook on their parenting, increase their own self confidence and self esteem, and will most likely feel more satisfied with their child’s educational experience at school.

But where do you get involved?   With today’s busy schedules between home, work, and school, it may feel that the average family has very little quality time to offer.  However, different options and levels of commitment are available to fit every parent’s availability, and with some careful planning and dedication, you can make ifile9141338162937t a positive experience for both yourself and your child.

First of all, discover what your child is most passionate about.  Maybe you’ve thought about volunteering for the school bake sale to raise money, but your child is actually more actively involved in her local Girl Scouts troop.   If that’s the case, then get together with the other Girl Scout parents and see what you can contribute to help the troop.  Maybe you could organize a bake sale to benefit their next summer outing.

It’s also important to consider what skills, talents and abilities you can bring to the table.  Maybe your child’s school is in desperate need of your help organizing a fundraiser, but your skills in sewing and designing might better serve the school if you were to help in making the costumes for the school play.  Remember, you want this to be a positive experience for both of you, and if your child senses that you’re not happy with what you’ve chosen to become involved in, then they likely will not be happy as well.

But the bottom line is get involved and stay involved.  Children of involved parents are less likely to get into mischief, have emotional problems, or have problems in school.  You benefit by connecting with and staying connected to your child.  It’s a win-win situation for you both.