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Why we’re asking for experiences, not toys

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Photo Source: Motherly

I know you love our kids and miss them and want nothing more than to see their eyes light up with love for you.

I know you want to do something that enriches their lives and shows them the simple pleasures of childhood.

So please, dear family + friends, know that this message comes from a place of love: No. More. Toys.

by Elizabeth Tenety

https://www.mother.ly/child/please-no-more-toysbut-if-you-want-to-give-a-gift-try-this#close

 

Our kids don’t actually need much of any “things”—they just need our presence, consistent love and guidance.

But maybe your family has gotten here, too. Heres how it happened it ours—

Growing up, my father regaled our family with tales of his humble childhood—he only had a ball and a stick to his name and walked uphill to school both ways and wore the same outfits several times a week. He ate ham sandwiches (every day!) for school lunch and spent his afternoons playing games in his friends’ backyards. It was a simple childhood.

But now, this loving grandfather started showing up to visits with armfuls of toys for our kids. He was a one-man Christmas morning, every time he visited.

It sounds like a four-year-old’s dream come true—but when it comes to kids and toys, there truly can be too much of a good thing.

When grandpa would come bearing gifts, my kids would quickly open up one box— not even taking the time to enjoy or appreciate it!—before they’d spy the next out of the corner of their eye and aim to rip it open, too. It was like they had an endless appetite for MORE.

Meanwhile, grandpa was perhaps just living *his* childhood dreams—through our kids. He meant well, but he wasn’t the only one dropping endless toys in our laps.

Add in excessively indulgent Christmases (they were the only grandkids on both sides.)

Drop in some birthdays.

Add a dash of family friends who can’t help but send goodies along to the kids every time we see them.

Add in Happy Meal trinkets, birthday goodie bags, the occasional impulse buy at the checkout line.

Add in ‘artwork’ that seems to come from everywhere.

Add in stick collections and penny collections and rock collections. “But mom, it’s my favorite orange rock!” (You can have a favorite orange rock?)

Our house was TEEMING with toys and stuff. There were half-finished puzzles (the pieces were always missing), books with pages torn out, block sets with essential pieces gone MIA and tent structures with nowhere to stand.

It was all of the work of having toys, but not enough space for the fun.

Most ironic of all? Our playroom was often unusable because—you guessed it!—the toys were E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E and all over the floor, all the time. (No room to play.)

So when we packed up our home earlier this year to settle our family a few states away, we spent weeks doing what we knew we needed to do: We got rid of 75% of the toys we owned.

We brought—honestly—probably 50+ bags/ boxes of “stuff” (toys included) to Goodwill.

(We also got rid of 50% of our own personal possessions—clothes, books, cosmetics—and that felt awesome, too).

It felt amazing to ditch years of junk that had been holding us back.

It felt great to donate hardly-used toys to families that could use them.

And it has been absolutely incredible to see the impact of living with radically less—on me, our home, and especially our kids.

My four-year-old’s reading skills have absolutely taken off.

My incredibly rambunctious three-year-old will sit on a couch and stare off into space, quietly contemplating the ending of Paw Patrol, or perhaps Particle Physics, or where do strawberries come from and why do they taste so good? (I consider this emerging introspection in him a major win.)

My one-year-old can be left in our new baby-proofed playroom with little fear that she’ll discover some danger amid what used-to-be hundreds of toys. (There is one shelf of toys now, and they’re all safe for her.)

I feel good about raising my children in a home that is orderly and purposeful.

I have more energy for work and myself because I don’t have to spend all my free time dealing with a house jammed full of stuff.

And thankfully, my family is totally onboard. (It might be because I sent them photos of the dozens of bags and piles of giveaway toys—and they saw their hard-earned money in the ‘donate’ bin.)

So please, no more random toys for the kids, please. If you really really really want to get something for my kids, I have made a short list.

Here’s what my kids really need—

 

New sneakers

Swimming lessons

An adult to look them in the eyes and talk about anything their little hearts desire (probably ‘poop’-related jokes, if I’m honest—they’re obsessed)

A weekend at grandpa’s

Art supplies

Someone to bring them to the library to return their borrowed books—and get new ones

A trip to the playground

A movie night

Grocery store gift cards. (Real talk: these little kids eat more than I ever imagined possible.)

Someone to build blanket forts

Ice cream. (Seriously.) It might be messy and sugary but at our house—it doesn’t last. Plus, ice cream leaves nothing but sticky fingers, brain freeze and innocent childhood memories—the best gift of all.

References

Disadvantages of having too many toys.
posted Aug 18 by Gowri Vimalan

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Photo Source: mycity4kids

By Niharika Ghosh

https://www.mycity4kids.com/parenting/article/6-little-behavior-problems-you-shouldnt-ignore

One of the biggest challenges parents face is managing difficult or defiant behaviour on the part of children. Whether they’re refusing to put on their shoes, or throwing full-blown tantrums, you can find yourself at a loss for an effective way to respond. Overall, parents have a lot on their plates, and sometimes that can lead to them making some important oversights. Obviously, moms and dads aren’t expected to study or analyse every little thing their children do, but there a quite a number of little conduct problems that should never go unnoticed, as they can be troublesome in the long run.

Today, we’ll be taking a look at 6 of these minor problems that parents can’t afford to ignore, and how to address them properly:

1. Not Seeking Permission

It doesn’t take long for children to start preparing snacks on their own, rather than asking for help getting them. However, giving them control of when they can eat or perform certain activities does not help teach them to follow the rules. It is best to have an established set of rules for the household, instead of letting your child behave as he pleases. This gives him a constant set of rules to follow and adjust to, as opposed to teaching him to make the rules for himself.

2. Stretching the Truth

If your child over-exaggerates or lies about something that does not matter, it may not seem like a big deal. But, lying easily becomes a habit that kids often turn to in order to get out of chores or trouble. If your child lies about something, make sure you let him know that it is important to tell the truth.

To fix this behaviour, try to set the record with your kids whenever applicable. Sit them down, and tell them that you know the truth, and that they should just admit the truth. Be sure to teach lessons like short stories or fables in order to let them know that if they develop a tendency to lie, people won’t believe them. Kids will likely slow down on exaggerating if they realize that it is not as harmless as it seems.

3. Showing some attitude

When children show their parents a little bit of attitude or arrogance, they’re basically displaying a small lack of authority towards you and possibly other authority figures. You may think your child is mimicking you, rolling their eyes, or answering back at you is simply a phase, but if you don’t address it as soon as possible, this attitude could soon develop into a long-term trait. Some parents ignore it because they think it’s a passing phase, but if you don’t confront it, you may find yourself with a disrespectful teenager who has a hard time making and keeping friends and getting along with teachers and other adults.

A great way to counteract this behaviour is to deny your children a reaction from such behaviour. If they, for example, try to copy you when you tell them to do something, you can walk away. Or, you can tell them something along the lines of, “I can’t hear you when you talk that way. Why don’t you say something more constructive if you want a response?”

4. Interrupting you when you’re talking

Even if your child is just ignoring you because they’re excited to tell others something, parents should ignore it when their children interrupt them. By allowing your child to develop the habit of interrupting you, you’re nurturing a habit that teaches them it’s okay to be inconsiderate of others. Later on it may be possible that your child thinks that he is entitled to other people’s attention and won’t be able to tolerate frustration.

If you find your child interrupting you at any point and time, be sure to let them know that they must wait their turn to speak. Tell them that you were not done speaking and that it’s rude to not let you finish. Be sure to let them know that interrupting you won’t get them anywhere and that you will not accept such behaviour.

5. Playing Rough

Children are bound to play slightly aggressively or get a little out of hand at times. However, there is still a limit with how rough parents should let them play. Furthermore, if their children are playing too roughly, they should step in and not ignore such behaviour. It can lead to bad habits, and to more aggressive behaviour. If intervention is not done, then it may become a full fledged habit by the age of 8 or 9 years. Also, it sends a message that hurting people is acceptable.

Whenever you see your children displaying aggressive, rough behaviour, you should aim to stop them immediately. Tell them the importance of treating others the way you’d want to be treated. Also, make sure they know that playing roughly is not acceptable and it can lead to them hurting others.

6. Ignoring what you say

If you find yourself repeating yourself as a result of your child pretending that he can’t hear you, don’t let them get away with ignoring you. In the long run, what you’re supporting is the idea that it’s okay to disregard your commands or wishes. Ignoring you may be a game of power but if you allow the behaviour to continue, he is likely to become more defiant and dominating.

If your child is ignoring you as you give them a command from a slight distance, try walking to them and directly confront them. Also, demand more eye contact when you’re talking to them in order to ensure that what you say is being heard and understood. If they still refuse to listen, offer a consequence for their misbehaviour.

+1 vote

      

Have you noticed how parenting has changed since we were kids ourselves? But no matter what modern methods are, every parent wants their children to become happy and successful adults.

https://brightside.me/inspiration-family-and-kids/11-secrets-from-parents-who-raised-happy-children-361160/

       

Modern parents have very busy schedules. When they feel tired, the easiest way to keep their children busy is to turn on the TV. But there are activities that both you and your child will find equally interesting. Children will forget what you buy for them, but they’ll neverforget how you spent time together.

For example, it’s proven that a warm relationship with the father affects the ability to build intimate and happy relationships in adulthood.

         

Scientists have concluded that regular family meals are directly connected with lower rates of depression and suicidal thoughts among teens.

Children who enjoy frequent family meals also have a more positive outlook on life compared to their peers who don’t eat dinner with their families. Sharing a meal is a great opportunity to become closer with children. Just don’t forget to turn off the TV.

Read More

 

+1 vote

It's undeniable that maths skills are useful in adult life ­­ whether you need to calculate a percentage increase or simply need to pass a numeracy test to get a job. Unfortunately , however, many children fall out of love with maths and science from a young age as some of us are simply more drawn to creative subjects.

http://epaperbeta.timesofindia.com/Article.aspx?eid=31806&articlexml=Why-you-shouldnt-diss-maths-in-front-of-31052017017033

And if you never liked scientific subjects as a student, it can be hard to inspire enthusiasm for them in your children. However, teacher, author and education consultant Maya Thiagarajan has now revealed how parents can raise their children to love maths even if they themselves don't: “First, I think that parents should refrain from making statements like `I never liked maths', or `I'm not good at maths', in front of their kids,“ she told `Smart Parenting'.

“The important thing is to integrate maths into everyday conversations and activities.“ She cites Singapore as an example, where many mothers talk to their children about numbers, shapes and patterns from a young age, thus integrating maths into daily life and creating a mathematically rich home.

“They play maths games in the car or at the dinner table,“ Thiagarajan says, and gives examples such as “guess the number, solve the mathematical riddle, add up the numbers on license plates as quickly as possible, calculate distance traveled.“ According to Thiagarajan, these successful parents also encourage their children to play maths-related games. “They teach their kids chess. They spend money and time on Lego sets, building blocks, tangrams, jigsaw puzzles, and board games,“ she says. “When they take their kids to the grocery store, they talk maths. If one apple costs $0.80, how much will six apples cost?“ They're simple changes that could make a huge difference to your child's life.

Rachel Hosie

THE INDEPENDENT

 

 

 

 

 

 

+1 vote

       

Middle-class parents are damaging their children by not being able to say “no”, a top child psychologist has claimed.

For many teachers, bad behaviour in the classroom does not stem from the pupils themselves but the parents, according to Dr Amanda Gummer, a research psychologist specialising in child development.

By- Rachael Pells

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/middle-class-parents-children-not-say-no-spoilt-dr-amanda-gummer-child-psychology-a7886441.html

“Wild, unruly children are increasingly likely to be the progeny of so-called ‘helicopter’ parents,” said Dr Gummer writing for the Daily Mail, “those who give intensive, one-on-one attention to their child and pander to their every whim, fuelling a ‘little emperor’ syndrome.”

From her experiences of working with primary school teachers, she said, the attitude and behaviour of middle class parents in particular was far more shocking than that of their children.

“They are ruthlessly ambitious for their child’s future — failing to realise how badly their mollycoddling is preparing them for the compromises of real life,” she said.

“While we’ve long known this hovering parenting style can create children unable to make decisions or exhibit independence, what’s less often discussed is how aggressive and difficult the children of helicopter parents — often middle-class, professional and, to their minds, devoted to their darlings — can be at school.

“These children struggle in the classroom because they cannot cope with not being number one,” she added. “So they play up to try to get the attention they have been raised to believe ought to be all theirs”.

Teachers were being “frustrated to tears” as a result of these attitudes, she said.

Recent Department for Education figures revealed as many as 35 children a day were being permanently excluded from school for bad behaviour in England alone.

Just under a fifth of those expelled were at primary school, including some children as young as four – a figure that has more than doubled over the past four years.

Dr Gummer suggested the perceived increase in expulsions can be linked to the combination of poor behaviour and lack of personal skills as a result of bad parenting.

“Imagine: little ones so helpless they need assistance to go to the loo and put on their shoes, yet who are utterly unafraid to biff their teacher on the nose,” she wrote.

“Too many of these children have never heard the word ‘no’ levelled at them at home.”

Previous studies have suggested parents who exert too much control over their children could be causing them psychological damage later on in life.

A 2015 study by University College London tracking more than 5,000 people since birth, found people whose parents had intruded on their privacy in some way, or encouraged dependence were much more likely to be unhappy in their teens, 30s, 40s and later on in life.

“Children need rules, boundaries and opportunities to feel the cold, go hungry and fall down and hurt themselves, so they can learn from their mistakes,” concluded Dr Gummer. 

“If they are deprived of those basic life experiences at home, it makes educating them a far greater challenge for their teachers than it ever need be."

 

+1 vote

 

Photo Credit: huffingtonpost
Laura Markovitz

Certified parent coach                                 

We shouldn't be bubble wrapping our kids nor sending them to the wolves. Meeting that sweet spot on the protection spectrum can be rather challenging.

As I go longer and deeper into motherhood and through the clients I see, I become increasingly aware of the protection spectrum we must navigate as parents. We should protect our kids (I mean that would be up there near the top of the parenting manual if they were giving those out) but then we shouldn't go too far and overprotect them.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.za/laura-markovitz/parenting-to-bubble-wrap-the-kids-or-not_a_23008779/

When they are tiny babies, dependent on us for every need, that protection brief is a lot clearer than when they are 6-year-olds skateboarding down the steep hill, 12-year-olds not being picked for something or 16-year-olds, well just being 16-year-olds! We shouldn't be bubble wrapping our kids nor sending them to the wolves. Meeting that sweet spot on the protection spectrum can be rather challenging.

Running interference

As parents, we generally want to control for pain. We don't want our kids getting physically or emotionally hurt. So, we can and we should run some protection interference to lower the probability of fallout. Potential risks are inherent in pretty much everything we do, things, like wearing a helmet, putting on a seatbelt, wearing sunblock, are non-negotiables. Finding creative ways to manage their safety is a good thing; like making sure they contact us when they have arrived somewhere, having a code word for when they need help or simply putting cushions in place when they are jumping off stuff because they do jump off stuff.

We need to teach them from early on to trust themselves so that their gut can help guide them in making good decisions and at least help them recognise when their choices have not been ideal. Whether they are driving a motorbike, their tricycle or nursing a wounded ego, we need to parent with a balance of support and boundaries. I like the analogy that Gavin Keller uses of parents needing to be like a rock climbing belayer (note he doesn't say we actually have to rock climb, thankfully). A belayer is a person who controls the safety rope for the climber.

We need to be our children's steady base while letting them have the rope to explore. We need to be interfering with enough input that holds both them and us in mind but not too much that it suffocates, stifles and stops them from exploring their world.

In the name of love

Let's not kid, our focus on protecting our kids comes from a good place. However, when we are erring on the side of constant-watchful-eye-at-the-ready-for-potential-danger-ninja-style, it can be helpful to think about the roots of this behaviour. For some parents, they hold a very real fear of perceived dire consequences from what they perceive to be failures. "What will happen if she doesn't win the race?"/ "His future will be totally ruined if he doesn't get an A on the test."/ "She will be an outcast if she doesn't get invited to that sleepover"/ "He could break his leg if I let him climb that tree." These parents jump to extreme conclusions that anticipate negative and damaging consequences.

For some parents, they are overcompensating for how they were parented as children either by uninvolved or over-involved parents. Consequently, they either try to replicate or distance themselves from their parents' style. For some parents, just like their offspring, they are susceptible to peer pressure. When these parents know that someone else's father went to speak to the coach or the teacher, they too feel they need to get involved without considering if this is really the best way to support their own child. Whilst all these parents hold their children so close in their hearts, often fear is an unrecognised driver on their parenting journey and fear that is ignored tends to grow.

Why do we need to step back?

If we don't step back, our children don't get to fall or fail and they don't get to learn. Some of the most successful people in the world are the people who have also failed the most. If we continually manipulate and control our children's world, how do they get to gain a sense of self-efficacy and mastery in their lives? If we are constantly trying to keep them in a happy bubble, how hard will it be when they are faced with disappointments? And when we hold anxieties of our own we tend to unintentionally project these onto our children. As Brene Brown says, "We live in a vulnerable world." Accidents happen, unforeseen consequences occur and hearts do get broken. We cannot control our children's world. At best, we can help them manage it in a resilient way.

What do we do when they do fall?

They will fall and they will fail and it will suck both for them and for us. Sometimes we will need to pause, to breathe, to hold our own hearts in knowing that this is hard for us. We will need to think about what this triggers in us before we go and project our stuff onto them. Then we can start by acknowledging their pain and allow the space for them to express what they feel. We can help them know that we see their experience of what has happened, even when we don't necessarily agree with it or understand it entirely, we can still reflect it as their experience. We will have to stop ourselves from our often-instinctive move to try and fix and distract from the pain because that's what our heart often guides us to do.

We want to excavate the bad feelings and dump them in a galaxy far far away. We can help put things in perspective and talk through their fears and their worst-case scenarios. We can help them to problem solve about the best way forward so that they have some control, with our guidance about possibilities. And when they inevitably fall again, we can remind them of a time before that was hard and how they got through it without being crushed.

I think our role, albeit a tricky one without the benefit of a manual, is to help our kids navigate the risks whilst trying to ensure they don't take the biggest risk of all, in missing out on the endlessly rich experiences and opportunities out there.

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