Tips on How to Teach Your Kids to Save Money

saving money tips
A lot of teens nowadays do not understand the value of earning and spending money. They were not oriented that investing is necessary even if they are still students. As parents, you play a crucial role in this area.
You should be able to teach your kids on how to save money. They should be able to understand the concept of money and investment as early as childhood. This will prepare them to learn money management, as they grow old.
Here are some tips on how you can teach your children how to save money:
1. Your children should be educated of the meaning of money. Once your children have learned how to count, that is the perfect time for you teach them the real meaning of money. You should be consistent and explain to them in simple ways and do this frequently so that they may be able to remember what you taught them.
2. Always explain to them the value of saving money. Make them understand its importance and how it will impact their life. It is important that you entertain questions from them about money and you should be able to answer them right away.
3. When giving them their allowances. You need to give them their allowances in denominations. Then you can encourage them that they should keep a certain bill for the future. You can motivate them to do this by telling them that the money can be saved and they can buy new pair of shoes or the toys they want once they are able to save.
4. You can also teach them to work for money. You can start this at your own home. You can pay them fifty cents to one dollar every time they clean their rooms, do the dishes or feed their pets. This concept of earning little money will make them think that money is something they have worked for and should be spent wisely.
5. You can teach them to save money by giving them piggy banks where they can put coins and wait until they get full. You can also open bank accounts for them and let them deposit money from their allowance. You should always show them how much they have earned to keep them motivated.
Money and saving is not something that is learned by children in one sitting. You should be patient in teaching them and relating the value of money in all of their activities. Children will learn this easily if you are patient and consistent in guiding them and encouraging them in this endeavor.

Getting Used to People

A child between the age of zero and five lives in a protective bubble.  And that is a good thing because that little one needs to be surrounded by people that she trusts and that love her and will protect her at all costs.  But even if that child has some siblings, those years are often relatively quiet and ones in which the majority of the people that child knows are primarily dedicated to one thing and that is satisfying all of her wants and needs.
getting used to peopleObviously this is not the kind of world that child will eventually live in.  To say that very young children are spoiled is stating the obvious but that is natural and the way it should be.  It is the task of older childhood and adolescence to begin to reprogram your children to live in a world the rules of social behavior are far more complex.
The first time your child will be exposed to that kind of environment other than an occasional hour in the nursery at church or at day care will happen when your little one begins kindergarten.  There are a lot of surprises waiting for her there.  But one that kindergarten teachers know is going to be a huge challenge is reprogramming those kids to the idea that everyone in that room is not all about them but that they are there to be part of a larger society.
This will be quite confusing for your child and many days when she comes home unhappy or upset about what happened at school, the heart of the problem will be this orientation issue.  So anything you can do before your child goes to kindergarten to help your little one to learn to socialize in a larger circle of people and in a setting that is more normalized than the one at home will serve your kiddo well when those school days get underway.
Preschool is a great way to start that process early in life so much of that socialization is well underway before kindergarten days arrive.  But if that is not an option or there are good reasons not to go the preschool route, you can find situations of socialization in which you can have your child in a group of many other children her age where there are some rules and the children have to learn to get along.seperation anxiety
Even if you do not work, day care has some value in this area.  You may wish to begin leaving your child at day care for an hour every other day starting around the age of 3-4 just to give her some time with others her age to learn how to behave in groups.  This is a good approach because even if there are problems, you are right back and able to take her home and talk through what happened to help her make adjustments.  And if she doesn’t go back until a few days later, she has time to process how to handle conflict and deal with authority differently so she has more success on the next outing.
This little exercise is also a good chance for mom to get used to dropping off her baby and leaving that child in the care of others to come back and pick her up later.  Not all of the adjustments about the start of kindergarten are on the kindergartner because the parents also have some processing to do.  And as you get used to seeing your child go into a social situation and come out better for it, you will be more confident.  And your confidence will be picked up by your child who will grow more socially adept and able to deal with the rules of society long before kindergarten days get underway.

Effective After School Activities

When there are so many activities on offer, and each one looks as good as the next, how do you gauge the worth and effectiveness of these activities? Sure, you want an activity that junior enjoys. But, we really cannot afford to waste time on pleasure for pleasure’s sake, do we? There needs to be a grain of gold somewhere in there. Given below is a list of characteristics that any good after school activity must possess.
Clarity in objectives and goals is the first important thing. What does the course offer? How does it propose to achieve the results? How many kids make up a batch? Ask questions. After all, when you are dishing out the dough, you really need to understand what you are getting in return.
karate kidsA good after school activity will provide lots of opportunities for the young to increase their level of understanding of complex concepts. This is true of recreational activities too. Learning to pitch a ball, or dance to a tune – regardless of the activity involved, the child should be encouraged to grapple with and conquer new concepts. This not only keeps boredom at bay by challenging the child, but also builds up his self-confidence. Development of academic, personal and social skills is one of the prime aims of an after school activity. As the skills develop, the child’s self-esteem also increases.
After school activities are all about boosting a child’s sense of competence. Good and effective after school activities promotes the resilience of youth and encourages them to grow stronger, be it mentally, emotionally or physically.
Safety is one of the first requirements of an after school activity. The staff should be qualified, adequate and alert. Never put your child in a program where safety is a matter of accident instead of a matter of priority. The staff should be friendly and should have a positive with the child. Therefore, the program should have professional and trained staff that loves to interact with children. The program should maintain a cooperative and supportive attitude and a structured environment. Participation and collaboration as opposed to competition and antagonism must be encouraged.
Some programs involve the children in planning activities and making decisions. Adults often forget to get the opinion of their children. By giving the children an opportunity to voice their opinion, programs become fun activities that children are motivated to participate in. Young people thrive when they are listened to, respected and allowed to contribute their mite.
Routine evaluations are an important part of after school programs. If the child does not benefit from a class, don’t waste time being
over-optimistic. Try something new. You are now ready to look for the perfect after school activity for your child. But don’t let us forget that having fun is also an important part of growing up. The child deserves a few hours of pure delight. Remember,
all work and no play…

Ready for the Worst- First Day of Kindergarten


If you are the kind of parent that plans ahead, then the first day of kindergarten will not take you by surprise.  When the big day arrives, the clothes are all bought, the list the school gave you is complete, teachers conferences are done and you may have even used the last few months before school to help your little one bone up on the alphabet, on her numbers, shapes and colors so that step into a formal educational setting will not be such a shock.

It’s like an invasion in a way.  You are the General and you are preparing your troops to invade a foreign land to achieve an objective.  The difference is the foreign land is not necessarily hostile, it’s a kindergarten room.  And the teacher, administration and even other students there on that first day not only don’t want you to fail, they want to be your team to help your little one do great. The other difference is your invasion force is not a seasoned team of soldiers, it is that sweet little five year old boy or girl with a slightly terrified look in his or her eye.

But like any good General, you do have to be prepared for the unthinkable.  You may make a lot of good speeches about how” failure is not an option”.  But any parent who does not think about what can go wrong and how you will prepare for it and respond is setting themselves up for a catastrophe in the event something doesn’t go perfectly.  But if you are ready for the worst, then your child can still have a great first day at school and get around the problem that otherwise might have ended badly.

The first thing that springs to mind when it comes to accidents or something that might go wrong is with the wardrobe.  In all the excitement and nervousness, if your child spills either on the way to school or during school and soils her garment to where it is not suitable for using the rest of the day, you might get that phone call to come and get your child.

You don’t want to have to take your child out of the classroom until it is absolutely necessary.  You put so much time and effort into building up this big day that to your little boy or girl, if they have to leave the school during the day, it will seem like a tragedy even if it’s only for the day.  The solution for the wardrobe problem is one you may have already thought of which is to send a change of clothes.  By keeping emergency clothing at the school in your child’s locker at all time, it is always there for her to change into and not see a major disruption to her school day.

Another crisis that can come up at the last minute is the sudden emotional meltdown of your child.  If she becomes hysterical with worry or overwhelmed by the newness of it all, it can be a serious issue if you in the drop off line and you need her to go on in to school.  This is not at all unlikely even if you feel your child is not the kind of kid who melts down that easy. The build up to the day and all the new cloths and the excitement can suddenly change course and create an emotional train wreck as your child looks out of the car door at the school door she must go through to start her new life.

But by having a plan, you can even deal with this.  Often such melt downs are temporary.  You can pull out of the drop off line and park the car and comfort the child.  Above all don’t make her feel badly.  Then if she knows its ok, she might recover and go on in.  Worst case – you walk her in.  That is not a catastrophe at all.

Your child must learn to cope with crisis.  It is as much part of learning as books and assignments.  And if she takes her cues from you that there is no crisis that cannot be adjusted to and no issue that cannot be solved, that will be a source of comfort and strength on that first day of school and for every day thereafter.

Connect with Your Child but Don’t Overdo it

connect with your child
We all want to connect and be involved with our child.  Children of involved parents generally feel more confident, assured and have a higher level of self esteem.  They excel in school and do well in extracurricular activities and with their hobbies. But is there such a thing as too much involvement? It’s imperative when you’re becoming involved with your school-aged child’s activities and academics that you recognize the line of what being too involved can be.
Remember, you’re becoming involved in your child’s life.  It’s important that you don’t intrude too much upon it.  Children need their space and privacy and they need to be able to develop their own skills, talents and abilities.  In our eagerness to help our child succeed, it’s tempting to want to step in and start doing things for them because you feel they are doing it incorrectly or inadequately.  But remember, you had to learn too, and this is their chance to learn on their own.
Be there to encourage and support your child, and offer praise at a job well done.  But also remember to step back and allow your child to learn from their own mistakes, and to develop their own way of doing things. We all know from our own life experiences that there’s always more than just one way to do something, and just because your child is doing it differently than you would doesn’t make it wrong.  Who knows, it could present a terrific opportunity for you to learn from your child as well.
In addition, try not to become too overbearing or nosy when it comes to their social life. Be available for them should they need to talk and encourage them to share their troubles with you so you can help them sort through a problem.  But if they say they don’t want to talk about it or they just need some time to figure things out for themselves, respect that need by letting them know you’re available whenever they need you.  This is an important part of growing up and allowing a child to figure his own way through things is an integral part of that process.

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Training the Fussy Eater

fussy eater 2Toddlers can be fussy eaters who refuse to try  new food atleast half of the time. Approximately half of all toddlers fit this description, so it is no wonder that food issues are a source of stress for parents.Establishing a healthy eating pattern is important to avoid problems such as obesity and eating disorders later in life. Various strategies can help your child accept a wider range of foods. It may be necessary to offer a food to your child as many as ten different times before they choose to eat it. The problem is, many parents get frustrated and give up before the fourth or fifth try.

Try to make foods fun. Colorful foods like carrot sticks, raisins, apples, grapes, cheese sticks and crackers can all be fun and healthy choices for your growing toddler. Explain to them that eating good food is important so they’ll grow big and strong, and how it will help them run faster and play longer.

Children learn behaviors from their parents. If you restrict yourself to a narrow range of foods, your child will take notice and mimic your caution. Don’t limit your child’s food variety to only those foods you prefer. It may be that your child’s tastes are different to yours, and perhaps you are simply serving them foods they don’t happen to like. Try to set a good example and try a variety of foods in front of your child. It could motivate them to do the same.

eatingIf your child seems healthy and energetic, then they are eating enough. If you are still concerned, keep an eye on how much food they actually eat over the day. Children tend to graze constantly, rather than restrict their eating to three meals per day like adults. You may be surprised how those little handfuls and snacks add up. For further reassurance, check your child’s growth and weight charts, or check with your child’s paediatrician.Try not to worry, and remember, that unless a child is ill, they will eat. Children are very good at judging their hunger and fullness signals. Try to stay relaxed about mealtime and offer your child a wide variety of foods, and most importantly, remember to set a good example by trying a wide variety of foods yourself. You may discover you and your toddler share a new found favorite food!

Keeping your kids safe online

Keeping your kids safe online

Recently, my son’s school had to deal with an episode of cyber-bullying.  A list of photos was being circulated via Instagram, asking readers to vote for the ‘school’s ugliest among the list.’  Luckily, it reached the school authorities, who took swift action, not only contacting the police and Instagram to get details about the perpetrators, but also launching into a series of school-wide initiatives to talking to students about the consequences of cyber-bullying, and setting up ways in which a student could report any such activity. The school also had a meeting with parents, where we learnt how to recognize the signs of a child being bullied, and how to encourage our children to report to authorities if either they or their friends were being bullied.

Our kids are definitely deeply into technology, as compared to our generation.  In fact, I would even say they most of their socializing is online than face-to-face!  In my son’s school, homework is given and handed back electronically, teachers assign projects via their webpage, and all announcements, right down to bad-weather days off, are announced on the school’s FaceBook page. And since we as parents are not, on the whole, as socially connected as our teenagers are, we should be alive to the dangers that lurk online, especially for our children.

So here is a list of Dos and Dont’s for parents of young children and teenagers, that I got off one of the school’s handouts:

  • Tell your children never to give out their address, telephone number, password, school name or any other personal information.
  • Make sure your children know to never agree to meet face-to-face with someone they’ve met online without discussing it with you. Only if you decide that it’s okay to meet their “cyber-friend” should they arrange to meet this person, and then the meeting should be in a familiar public place in the presence of a trusted adult.
  • Tell your children never to respond to messages that have bad words, are scary, or just seem weird.
  • Tell your children that if an ‘online’  friend asks them to keep the relationship a secret from you, they should inform you at once, or it could lead to something very dangerous.
  • Tell your children never to enter an area that charges for services without asking you first.
  • Tell children never send a picture of themselves to anyone without your permission.
  • Make sure that access to the Internet at your children’s school is monitored by adults.
  • Remember that all that ‘said’ on the internet is permanent.
  • Educate yourself about the sites that your children use.
  • Get your own Facebook account and become ‘friends’ with your child. Ensure that your child’s Facebook account is visible only to friends and not to the public.

Are there any tips I have missed? Do write in and let me know!

And in honour of  Safe Internet Day, let us try to keep the internet a safe place for our kids.

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.


Top 10 Tips for Hong Kong Disneyland


1) Do try to arrive right at the opening, and go deep into the park immediately to take a couple of the rides you’re really looking forward to. This is standard advice for amusement parks, but it really paid off for us, as a couple of the Fantasyland rides we walked right onto first thing in the morning had hour-long queues just a little later.

2) Don’t waste time taking photos with the characters that greet you at the gate as the park opens (see point 1!), unless getting such photos is one of your top priorities. If so, you’re not reading the right set of tips. Okay, okay, I aim to please: if you’re committed to posing with Mickey, have at it right away, although you’ll have lots of company. You might also consider heading straight for the ‘Fantasy Gardens’ section of ‘Fantasyland’ when you arrive, where you can pose to your heart’s content.

3) Don’t bother trying to ‘stick to a plan’ for working your way through the park. It’s so small you can change your mind anytime you want, and walk right across the place in five or ten minutes. This is actually a blessing if you’ve got small children in tow, and when you’re off to get ‘fastpasses’, which we’ll discuss next.

4) Do make use of the ‘fastpass’ system. A fastpass is a pre-booking you can make on any of five popular attractions. You put your park admission ticket into a machine, and are issued another ticket with a time range on it. During that period, you can turn up at the attraction and get right on it, ahead of the normal queue. You can only hold one fastpass at a time, and it has to have expired before you can get another one.

5) Don’t bother tying up a fastpass on the Lion King stage show, though. Although those with fastpasses were indeed cordoned off into a ‘special’ waiting area when we visited, they were admitted into the show right along with us ordinary-queue proletarians in a single stampede.

6) Do take advantage of the ‘Single riders’ option at Space Mountain if you are a couple with small kids, or if you and your companions don’t mind riding alone. Using this ‘queue’, Mrs Tall and I rode twice each and waited a total of about three minutes.

7) Do use sunscreen and wear hats if it’s sunny. Sounds obvious, but although most waiting areas were at least partially shaded, on the day we visited there were still hundreds of painfully red faces and shoulders around, proving that some of us need little reminders.

8) Do buy orange juice. There are plastic bottles of fresh orange juice on sale all over the place for HKD15. That’s not bad, given the general range of prices around the park, and it’s delicious.

9) Don’t expect to ride all the way around the park on the little train if the park’s busy. The train has two stops: at the entrance, and at the opposite side of the park in Fantasyland. We found out that when the park gets crowded, you can only go from one stop to the next one, where you then have to get off.

10) Don’t go crazy trying to get a good spot to see the fireworks. We saw people staking out positions to watch them almost an hour and a half in advance. This is surely not worth it. We waited till the last minute, and still were able to squeeze into the main plaza in front of the castle where the show is centered. We had a tree branch obscuring a bit of our view, but it was still fine.

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