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Training My Child to Be Independent

+1 vote
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Photo Source: creativechild.com

As a mom of kids ranging from 2 to 12, I realize how quickly time flies. I love watching them grow, try new things, and discover their passions. As a parent, it can be hard to let them struggle through, or even fail at, experiences outside their comfort zone. However, those experiences develop confidence and independence which is valuable in raising children. I want to raise self-sufficient adults and that means I need to start training them now. Here are some ideas to help kids naturally develop the independence needed to be confident and responsible adults.

by Sarah Lyons 

https://www.creativechild.com/articles/view/training-my-child-to-be-independent

The Preschool Years (ages 2-5)

Create a helper

Toddlers and preschoolers love to follow their parents around the house; so why not have them help with the chores? They can help put clothes in the dryer, match socks, sweep the floor, or assist in any other task. They may not be able to do chores independently or have household responsibilities yet, but taking the extra time now lays the groundwork for the future.

Give opportunities

During the preschool years, kids typically show an interest in trying self-care tasks themselves. It may be easier (and faster) to tie your child’s shoes, zip up their coat, make their lunch, and buckle their seatbelt but allowing your child to try these things on their own helps them become more independent. Consider starting the preparation for your day 15 minutes earlier to allow time for your child to try some things on their own. If frustration arises, remain calm and ask if they would like help. Instead of just completing the task for them, take time to teach them how to do it so they can try again tomorrow.

Problem solve

Problem solving skills begin to develop at a young age. Toddlers and preschoolers will often get frustrated when things don’t go their way and it may result in a temper tantrum. While this is age appropriate, parents can begin to help their children develop problem solving skills by calmly suggesting solutions to what is upsetting them. Have your child come up with ideas to solve the problem and when possible help them work through it on their own.

Bonus tip for preschoolers

Give your child choices whenever possible to help them develop independence and to give them a sense of control.

The elementary school years (ages 6-11)

Create a helper

For elementary age kids, you can advance what was done in the preschool years. I will assign my child a chore like washing windows, vacuuming, or putting away dishes and since they have helped me with these tasks for years they no longer need my assistance. If they are reluctant to do chores, I make a list of things that need to be done and have them choose a few things they would like to do. When they are done they will have free time for electronics, outside play, or something they have been looking forward to. Chores teach kids to be independent and responsible.

Give opportunities

Give your child more opportunities to be independent as they mature. This may look different depending on your child’s age and maturity but some ideas may be ordering and paying for their food at a restaraunt, riding their bike home from school, packing their own lunch, or trying a new extracurricular activity. Each opportunity, even a challenging one, helps your child become self-sufficient and develop more independence.

Problem solve

Elementary school kids will begin to face bigger problems that may include challenging friendships, struggles with schoolwork, or even bullying. Foster good communication with your child and help them come up with solutions they are comfortable with. Cheer them on when they are able to work through obstacles.

Bonus tip for the elementary school years

Do your best not to criticize your child’s efforts but instead praise them for doing their best.

The teen years (ages 12-18)

Create a helper

Tweens and teens should be given even more household responsibilities as they are nearing adulthood. Take note of what skills it takes to run a household and begin to teach them these tasks. Cooking, yard work, babysitting, laundry, car care, and even a part time job fall into this category. The more responsibilities your child is comfortable while in your home will make the transition to living on their own smoother.

Give opportunities

There is a fine line between giving your child independence and keeping them safe in the teen years. As kids start to drive, spend more time with friends, and work outside the home parents have less control over their choices. Continue working on open communication and trust with your teen so that as they venture into the world, you both feel comfortable with the change.

Problem solve

One of the hardest things kids have to experience is the consequences for a poor choice. A parent’s first reaction may be to step in and “save” their child but, in the long run, this does not teach them anything. For example, if you child left their homework at home they will not receive credit for the work. The easy thing to do would be to run the assignment to the school, but chances are your child will forget again and most likely, on a larger assignment. As adults we have to manage our responsibilities and teens must also learn these lessons. If forgotten homework is repeatedly an issue, suggest packing up the night before. Sit down with your child and help them come up with solutions to problems and encourage them to do this without you and present their solution to you.

Bonus tip for the teen years

Set specific household rules so that your child has the opportunity to be independent but not out of your comfort zone as a parent.

As our children grow, so must their responsibilities. As always, you will be there to guide and train them but giving your child tools throughout their childhood will help them grow into a confident and independent adult.

 

References

Tips to make your child independent
posted Aug 21 by Gowri Vimalan

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+2 votes

 

                                                       

Photo Source:  kidsactivitiesblog.com

The other day, a reader wrote this: “My child is lying to get out of trouble.  My daughter is in the habit of lying in order to get out of trouble. How do I encourage her to tell the truth, even when it may mean consequences?

by Becky Mansfield
http://kidsactivitiesblog.com/97855/child-lying-get-trouble

 

So, we asked other parents to chime in and give us their best advice.  It was great, of course.  Here is what you said you do to encourage your kids to stop lying, even if it means that they might get into trouble.

  1. A fun way to work on this is to play a game together. Talk about the rules before you play.  Ask your kids what they would think if someone cheated, just to win.
  2. We always say that we would rather our kids be honest up front.  We talk to them about it (not while it is happening, but all of the time).  We want them to know that lying now is not a good idea, and the truth will always come out… even if it is much later.
  3. I check my emotions. It is easy to overreact in the moment which then can cause kids to lie because they fear your overreaction.  Take a minute and count to 20 before reacting to any situation.
  4. Share about your mistakes openly with your kids. Kids can struggle with honesty because they fear disappointing their parents. Make it a habit to talk about what you failed at so they know you are not perfect.
  5. Hold a family meeting and go over consequences. Sometimes just having open plans about things can help clear the air.  What do they do if they have done something wrong.  What should they do if they have lied?
  6. Remind your child that as they show they are honest, you will be more apt to give more freedom. My mom always said she would trust us, but when the trust gets broken, it has to be rebuilt.
  7. Be an example of what you want to see. Are you telling little white lies and your child is watching?  Try to stop yourself from doing this and just be honest with your kids (as much as you can with little children, of course.)
  8. The next time they lie, talk calmly about what happened. Why did they lie? What happened as a result? Building a strong communication line with your kids is key to building honesty.
  9. When you are working on this issue, make sure and forgive and forget. Give your child the hope that you believe they can be honest- do not label them a liar. Instead, label the action and encourage them to turn from it.  Children live up to what we expect of them.   Our words become their inner voices.
  10. Don’t give up on your child! It can take a lot of repetition, but it is always worth it. Keep on teaching, training, and modeling what you want your child to do.
+1 vote

       

Photo Source:  The Gottman Institute

By: Angela Pruess

https://www.gottman.com/blog/10-insights-of-remarkable-parents-from-a-family-therapist/

At any given time, you’ll find four or more parenting books on my Amazon wish list, a few by my nightstand, and an email inbox chock full of insightful parenting theories and approaches.

Granted, child development is my career, but I speak with plenty of parents in my practice who find themselves in similar circumstances. With information around every corner and our culture projecting constant messages (many times contradictory) regarding how we should raise our kids, feeling like a confident and intentional parent can seem out of reach many days.

In my 12 years as a family therapist, I’ve seen many well-intentioned parents mistakenly employing strategies that aren’t meeting the emotional or developmental needs of their children or families. I’ve also observed an increasing number of parents who are successfully mapping out new and healthier ways of raising children.

These insights, collected over time and gleaned from experience, parallel what we know from current brain and behavioral research about what kind of parenting is most likely to contribute to the healthy development of children.

1. Know that kids will act like kids.

Often parents forget that children learn by screwing up. Making mistakes. Behaving immaturely. The “magic” happens when a supportive caregiver steps in to steer them in the right direction. Parents get frustrated and impatient, becoming annoyed with whininess and “back talk” when really this is how kids are wired.

The part of the brain responsible for reason, logic, and impulse control is not fully developed until a person reaches their early 20’s.

Immature behavior is normal for immature human beings with immature brains.

This is a scientific reality that helps us to be patient and supportive in order to guide our children when they struggle.

2. Set limits with respect, not criticism.

Due to the fact that our kids need to learn literally everything about the world from us, they will require many limits throughout their day. Without proper limits in their environment, kids will feel anxious and out of control.

Limits can be delivered in the form of criticism and shaming, or they can be communicated in a firm but respectful way. Think about how you appreciate being spoken to at work and go from there.

3. Be aware of developmental stages.

Have you ever questioned where your easy-going toddler disappeared to as they were suddenly screaming bloody murder while getting dropped off at daycare? Hello separation anxiety!

There are literally hundreds of very normal, very healthy transitions kids go through to become adults. Being aware of these puts their puzzling behaviors into context, and increases the odds of reacting to them accurately and supportively.

4. Know your child’s temperament and personality.

It seems pretty obvious, but if we are in tune with the characteristics that make our child unique, we will have a better understanding of when they may need additional support, and when and where they will thrive.

Once you know the basics of what makes your child tick, many important areas become much easier to navigate, such as pinpointing the best environment for homework, or understanding why your daughter needs to come home from overnight summer camp.

5. Give your child plenty of unstructured play time.

Unless you studied play therapy in school, most adults will never fully understand and appreciate the power of play.

Play is how kids learn all the things and develop all the stuff. This means leaving time each day for straight-up unstructured, kid-controlled, exploration of the world kind of play.

6. Know when to talk and when to listen.

Kids learn to be pretty good problem solvers if we let them. Because we love the life out of them and want them to succeed, it’s hard not to jump in and solve problems for them by virtue of lecture or criticism.

If parents more often held their tongues and waited it out, they’d be shocked at how often their children can successfully reach their own conclusions. Being heard is powerfully therapeutic, and it allows us to think things through and reach a solution.

Kids want and need to be heard, and feel understood. Just like the rest of us.

7. Have an identity outside of your child.

Many of us often claim that our children are our world, and this is certainly true in our hearts. In terms of daily life however, parents need to have more. We need to nurture the friendships, passions and hobbies that make us who we are as individuals.

Doing this can feel like a battle, as our protective anxieties try to convince us our children can’t be without us, and also that we can’t be without them. But we can be, and need to be, in order to stay sane, and avoid saddling our kids with the task of meeting all of our emotional needs.

8. Understand that actions speak louder than words.

The way you interact with your child and live your life will be your child’s greatest teacher. Kids are incredibly observant and way more intuitive than we give them credit for. They are always watching.

This can be slightly inconvenient for parents, but if we’re able to keep it in mind, knowing our children are watching our actions will not only teach them how to behave, but it will make us better people.

9. Recognize that connection, fun, and creativity are the best ways to promote positive behaviors and a cooperative attitude.

Fear and control aren’t effective long-term teachers for our kids. While those dynamics may appear effective in the short-term, they won’t equip our kids with a strong moral compass, or effective problem-solving skills.
If our child feels valued as a person based on our interactions with them, they will naturallylearn to value others and have the confidence to make good choices.

10. Set the overall goal to shape a child’s heart and not just their behavior.

We often get the impression from the world around us that the goal of parenting is to produce a compliant, well-behaved child. While these are certainly desirable qualities for most parents, they are not core qualities that contribute to a happy and healthy human.

Helping our children understand the importance of their thoughts and emotions gives them coping and relationship skills. Skills that will protect and guide them throughout their lives.

Changing our parenting habits and styles is never easy, but if it’s truly in the best interest of our children, it’ll always be worth it.

+1 vote

                                            

Photo Source: parents.com

By Michelle Crouch 

http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/10-life-skills-to-teach-your-child-by-age-10/

With so much for our children to learn in today’s high-tech world, it’s all too easy for them to miss out on practical life skills, whether it’s running a load of wash, reading a map, or handwriting a letter. A recent study by the online security company AVG Technologies found that while 58 percent of 3- to 5-year-olds in the U.S. can navigate a smartphone, fewer than one out of six (15 percent) could make their own breakfast. “I see many parents doing everything for their kids instead of letting them figure out how to fend for themselves,” says Tim Elmore, founder of Growing Leaders, a nonprofit in Norcross, Georgia, that works with schools and civic groups to promote leadership qualities in children. Start teaching these life skills now, and put your kid on the path toward independence.

1. Doing the Laundry

Too many teens head to college with no clue how to clean their clothes. Don’t let your kid become one of them. You can begin teaching your child when she is around 6. If you have a top-loading washer, keep a step stool nearby. Walk her through the process—how to measure and add the detergent, choose the settings, and start the machine. Amy Mascott, who blogs at TeachMama.com, taught her three kids (now 9, 10, and 12). She chose cute names for jobs: Wash Warrior, Super-Fly Dry Guy, Put ’Em Away Triple Play. Mascott says there have been snafus, like the time a whole load was folded and put away damp. “But I’m not aiming for perfection. I’m aiming for them to get the job done,” she says.

 

2. Planting a Seedling

Lots of preschoolers learn to plant seeds in class but not how to transfer sprouts into a garden. Whitney Cohen, coauthor of The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids, shares the basics.

  •  Ask your child to dig a hole that’s slightly larger than the container the plant is in.
  • Once you remove the plant from the pot and place it in the hole, have her delicately push soil around it and pat it down.
  • Let your child water it with a gentle stream from a watering can with a perforated nozzle.
  • By age 6 or 7, your child can remove a seedling himself. Have him split two fingers apart so the stem of the plant goes between them, then squeeze the outside of the container until the plant comes out. If the roots are wound tightly, he should loosen them a few at a time before planting.

3. Wrapping a Gift

Your child already loves giving presents, and wrapping them makes it even more satisfying. Preschoolers can help cut the paper and stick on the tape, while kindergardners can complete additional steps with your help, like removing the price tag, finding the right size box, and wrapping paper all the way around the gift to make sure it fits before cutting it.

4. Hammering a Nail

  • Give your child a 7- or 9-ounce hammer. Home-improvement stores sell kids’ models as light as 4 ounces, but with those it’s harder to pound a nail.
  • Use a piece of soft wood (such as pine, poplar, or cedar). You can hold it in place with clamps or a vise, or simply place it on the ground.
  • Pick nails with a wide head. At first you’ll have to “start” each one for him.
  • When your child is ready to do it himself, you can push a nail through a small piece of cardboard so it’s held in place as he hammers it into the wood. Make sure your child holds the edge of the cardboard instead of the nail (to protect his fingers).
  • Once he’s mastered that method, have him try holding the nail. Be prepared for a sore thumb or two, but before long he’ll get the hang of it.

5. Writing a Letter

Toddlers can dictate a letter to a family member (enhanced with drawings), attach the stamp, and drop it into a mailbox. Teach an older child how to address an envelope and the five parts of a letter: date, greeting (“Dear…”), body, closing (“Sincerely”), and signature. You can also have them help with holiday cards, find a pen pal (sites such as Amazing Kids and International Pen Friends can help), or correspond with POTUS by having them address a letter to The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20500.

6. Preparing a Simple Meal

Invite your child to help make meals, assign him jobs to do, and stay calm when the flour spills and the eggshells fly, says Christina Dymock, a mom of four and author of Young Chefs. Yogurt with fruit is a good first DIY breakfast. Preschoolers can spoon yogurt into a bowl and add prewashed cut-up fruit. Work with kids 5 and older on making sandwiches and smoothies (monitor the blender closely). Around age 7 or 8, your kid can try toaster-oven faves like English-muffin pizza, or make a simple salad by ripping lettuce, dumping in croutons, and cutting up tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots. By age 10, kids can use the stovetop with supervision for a grilled-cheese sandwich. Focus on safety and practice, and you might just have a Master Chef Junior on your hands. 

7. Navigating

If you’ve ever gotten lost following a GPS’s turn-by-turn voice directions, you know why being able to read a map is essential (even if it’s one on your phone). These activities will build your child’s navigational skills.

  • Hunt for treasure. Maps seem boring…until you use them to look for booty. Hide toys in your yard and then draw a simple sketch to mark their location. Show your 3- or 4-year-old how objects on the map correspond to those in front of her.
  • Have her lead the way. Zoos, museums, and theme parks have colourful, easy-to-read maps. Ask your preschooler to track her path, and challenge an older kid to get you from point A to point B.
  • Take up geocaching. Kids ages 5 and up love this outdoor treasure hunt game, which uses GPS tracking to find containers filled with trinkets. Learn more at geocaching.com.

8. Treating a Wound

Teach your child from a young age not to freak out when he sees blood (and don’t overreact yourself). Giving him a game plan will distract him from the pain and come in handy when you’re not around to kiss his boo-boos: Apply pressure until the bleeding stops, rise the cut with water, dab on some antibiotic ointment, then apply a bandage.

9. Cleaning the Bathroom

Keep rags or a sponge handy for wiping toothpaste blobs off the sink. Toilet duties require greater skill. School-age kids can clean the lid, seat, and base with a disinfecting wipe. Make sure they wash their hands thoroughly afterward. Big kids can scrub the bowl with a nontoxic cleaner: Sprinkle the sides with baking soda, let it sit for a few minutes, pour in some vinegar, then scrub with a toilet brush.

10. Comparison Shopping

Teaching kids to be smart consumers takes practice. This three-step approach worked for our family:

  • Explain as you go. Mention prices out loud and talk about your choices: “I’m getting gas at the other station because it costs 10 cents less per gallon.” I tell my kids about some things I’d like to have (Lululemon yoga pants, anyone?) but don’t buy because they’re not in our budget. 
  • Let your kid pay sometimes. Give him an allowance, and then designate items he is responsible for purchasing. My husband and I don’t buy any sweets. That’s forced our kids to become savvy shoppers. When the ice pops at our local pool began putting a dent in their cash flow, they pooled their money and bought a box of 12 to keep in the freezer.
  • Play the grocery game. At the supermarket, challenge your kid to find the least expensive brand of paper towels or tomato sauce.
+3 votes

One of the challenges for parents with a gifted child is to encourage them to develop a range of interest outside the academic sphere that not only rounds them out but stops them from being isolated from their peers.                    Gifted children are a diverse group of kids who are talented in specific areas such as mathematics, language, sport or music. Some gifted kids are multi-talented excelling in a variety of areas.

http://www.lovingyourchild.com/2010/08/raising-gifted-child-balance/

Gifted children tend to be passionate and single-minded about their interests focusing their energy on the topics that absorb them, often to the exclusion of other activities.                                                                                      Just as all children need to have a balanced diet to remain in good health they need a balance between work and play to make sure they develop good social networks and maintain emotional health. That means that parents need to guide these children towards leisure-time options that they wouldn’t normally consider.

Work From Strengths

One way to encourage a gifted child to be more well-rounded is to get them to lead with their strengths. In other words, it maybe that a computer whiz meets up with other like-minded souls but extend the meetings to activities away from the computer. Or an artistic child can be encouraged to develop her literacy skills by adding simple stories to their illustrations.

The Courage To Be Imperfect

Gifted children are often low risk-takers in areas or endeavors that are not their passions or strengths. Used to automatically excelling they fear doing things poorly, so exceptionally capable children can be reluctant to attempt unknown or different tasks.

Parents Can Push Too Hard

Some gifted young children slow down their learning when they start school as they focus their time and energy on making friends. In terms of fitting in to social settings this is essential however parents who are proud of their child’s achievements can become quite anxious at this apparent shift in interest away from learning.

Making Friends

One of the most difficult tasks for a parent is to engineer circumstances so that children can make friends. Some children make friends naturally while others can be slow to warm up around their peers.

Being Part Of The Family

Family life can be a great leveler for gifted children. A sibling can bring a talented child back to earth, letting them know that they may be a star at school or in sport but their talent pulls no rank at home. Jobs need to be done, games can played and big heads can be easily deflated.

A Well-Rounded Young Person

Talented kids can become self-absorbed in their interests and passions to the detriment of developing broader interests and in some cases social interactions. With a little coaching and prompting parents can help children achieve balance in their lives so that they don’t become isolated and rely on a narrow set of interests for their identity and self esteem.

+3 votes

Prime Ministor Narendra Modi said that National Girl Child Day is a day to celebrate the exceptional achievements of the girl child, whose "excellence in many fields makes us proud". He also wants to ensure eual opportunities for the girl child and reject gender discrimination.

''Let us reaffirm our commitment to challenging stereotypes based on gender & promote gender sensitisation as well as gender equality'', Modi tweeted.

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