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Praising Your Toddler: Do's and Don'ts

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Nothing delights a young child more than praise from his parents. But there can be right and wrong ways of praising toddlers, and sometimes praise can actually do more harm than good. A little praise never hurt anyone, but there are some basic guidelines that will help make the praises you sing to your little one loud and clear.

https://www.education.com/magazine/article/praising-toddler-donts/

“When praising toddlers, make it genuine and specific,” says Maureen Boylan, early childhood specialist and author of Leap into Literacy. “Rather than saying I like your picture, comment on the colors that were used or how hard your child worked on it.” These simple “Do’s” and “Don’ts” will help make your praise more meaningful for your child and more effective at getting the desired responses in the future.

DO

  • Make it Physical. Gently touch your child on the shoulder, or give him a hug, kiss or a high five when you are expressing your approval. A thumbs up or smile across the room can have the same effect. Your positive body language may mean more than the words you say to your young child.
  • Make it Genuine. Well-meaning parents can slip into a mechanical “Good job!” many times a day without even realizing it. Your child can tell if you really mean it! Be specific about what you liked and be sure the tone and inflection of your voice communicate your delight. Look your child in the eyes and smile at him to be sure he can see how pleased you are.
  • Make it Personal. Parents often make comments such as “I think that is just great” which is really all about what the parent thinks rather than the child's accomplishment. Instead, make the praise personal for your child. Try a few of these: “You are doing such a great job cleaning up”, “You are getting to be such a big boy!”, “You worked so hard on your picture!” Make it all about your child and not about your thoughts or feelings.

DON’T

  • Over Praise. Too much praise really can be a bad thing. If you praise your child for everything, he will come to expect it every time he does something. The first few times he hangs his coat up by himself, give him praise, but not every time. “Praise often, but don’t overdo it or it loses its effectiveness,” says Boylan.
  • Make it About His Character. Be sure the praise is about the behavior or the action, and not a comment on the child’s character. When you say “You are good” or “You are bad,” this is a reflection on your child’s character, and he may feel it can’t be changed. Instead say “Your behavior is good” or “Your behavior is bad” and it becomes something the child can choose to change.
  • Make it Critical. Be sure not to intermingle praise with criticism. For example, if your son dresses himself, and you say, “Good job dressing yourself, but those clothes really don’t match,” the praise is lost. Parents think they are helping to teach their children by redoing what a toddler has done incorrectly, but it really does more harm than good and sends a message that the child did not do a good enough job. Who cares if his clothes don’t match? Just walk into school, proudly exclaim to the teacher “Sammy dressed himself today, didn’t he do a great job” and give a wink. Your son will be proud and the kids won’t even notice!

Having an influence on the behaviors and actions of your child using praise can be both effective and rewarding. Aside from the outcome in changing behavior, there is simply no greater reward than watching your child’s face light up when you praise him!

posted May 29, 2017 by Krinz Kiran

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Photo Source: Motherly

By- Christina-Clemer

https://www.mother.ly/child/7-key-phrases-montessori-teachers-use-and-why-we-should-use-them-too-

Montessori can be hard to sum up in just a few words—it is a philosophy on education and child development that runs deep. It’s a way of seeing the world. I think one of the easiest ways to get an idea for what Montessori means is to listen to the language that Montessori teachers use.

Montessori teachers use language that respects the child and provides consistent expectations. Words are chosen carefully to encourage children to be independent, intrinsically motivated critical thinkers.

Here are seven common phrases you’d probably hear in any Montessori classroom, and how to incorporate them into your home life.

1. “I saw you working hard.”

The focus on process over product is a key tenet of Montessori. We avoid telling the children “good work” or “your work is beautiful” and instead comment on how they concentrated for a long time, or how they wrote so carefully and their work could be easily read by anyone.

Praising your child’s hard work, rather than his results, helps instill a growth mindset where he believes he can improve through his own efforts.

Instead of telling your child, “You’re a good boy,” tell him “I noticed you being kind to your little brother yesterday when you shared your truck.” This shows him you see his good behavior, without placing judgments on him. Instead of telling him, “You’re such a good artist,” try, “I noticed you kept working on your picture until you got it just how you wanted it.”

2. “What do you think about your work?”

In Montessori, the child is his own teacher. The teachers are there as guides to give him lessons and help him but he discovers things for himself through the carefully prepared environment and materials.

Self-analysis is a big part of that discovery.

When your child asks you, “Do you like my picture?” try asking her about it instead of just saying you love it. Ask her what she thinks about it, how she decided what colors to use, and what her favorite part is. Help her start to evaluate her work for herself, rather than looking for your approval.

3. “Where could you look for that?”

Independence is another key value in any Montessori classroom or home. Our goal as teachers is to help the children do things for themselves. So while it’s sometimes easier to simply answer a child’s question about where something is or how to do something, we often answer questions with another question such as, “Where could you look for that?” or “Which friend could you ask for help?”

If your son loses his shoe and you see it peeking out from under the bed, try asking leading questions, rather than just handing it to him.

“Where were you when you took your shoes off? Have you checked your room?” This may take a little more time, but it will be worth it when he starts taking more initiative and coming to you less.

4. “Which part would you like my help with?”

In a Montessori classroom, children are responsible for many things, including taking care of their environment. Children often take great pride in this responsibility, spending time arranging flowers to put on tables, watering the garden, and happily washing the windows and tables.

Sometimes though, a job is just too big and overwhelming. In these cases, we ask the child how we can help. We don’t want to swoop in and “save the day,” sending the message that the child is not capable, but we also don’t want to leave the child overwhelmed.

For example: If your child is tired, but needs to put her Legos away before bed, all of those pieces can be overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing though. Try “which color would you like me to put away” or “I’ll put away the yellow pieces and you put away the blue” to show that you’re in it together.

5. “In our class, we ….” (Or at home— “In our home, we…”)

This little phrase is used to remind the children of any number of classroom rules and desired behaviors. Phrasing reminders as objective statements about how the community works, rather than barking commands, is much more likely to elicit cooperation from a child.

“In our class, we sit while we eat” is less likely to incite a power struggle than “Sit down.”

Like all of us, children want to be a part of the community, and we simply remind them of how the community works.

If you have a rule about walking in the house, instead of “stop running,” try saying “we walk inside our house” and see if you get fewer arguments.

6. “Don’t disturb him, he’s concentrating.”

Protecting children’s concentration is a fundamental part of the Montessori philosophy. Montessori classes give children big blocks of uninterrupted work time, usually three hours. This allows children to develop deep concentration, without being disturbed because the schedule says it’s time to move on to learning something else.

It can be tempting to compliment a child who is working beautifully, but sometimes even making eye contact is enough to break their concentration.

Next time you walk by your child while he’s focused on drawing a picture or building a tower, try just walking by instead of telling him how great it is. You can make a mental note and tell him later that you noticed him concentrating so hard on his creation.

7. “Follow the Child.”

This last one is an important one. It’s something Montessori teachers say to each other and to parents—not to the child. We often remind each other to “follow the child,” to trust that each child is on his or her own internal developmental timeline, that he is doing something for a reason.

This reminds us to search for the reason behind the behavior. It reminds us that not all children will be walking by one or reading by four—they haven’t read the books and couldn’t care less about the milestones they are “supposed to” reach.

Following the child means remembering that each child is unique and has his own individual needs, passions, and gifts, and he should be taught and guided accordingly.

If you can’t get your child interested in reading, try watching what he does love—if he loves being silly, it may be that a joke book is what piques his interest, not the children’s classic you had in mind. Remembering to “follow your child” can help you see him in a different way and work with him instead of against him.

One of beautiful things about Montessori is that it is so much more than a type of education—it is a way of seeing and being with children. Even if your child does not go to Montessori school, you can easily bring the ideas into your home and watch your child’s independence and concentration grow.

+1 vote

        

Photo Source: PQ

By Peace Quarters

https://www.peacequarters.com/harvard-psychologists-say-parents-raise-good-kids-5-things/

5 CRITICAL STEPS FOR PARENTS TO TAKE

SPEND QUALITY TIME

Be there. Not just physically, but also emotionally. Listening to your child and making conversations helps you to bond with each other. Also, turn off all the electronics and give them your time without any disturbance. Doing things together will teach your child to be a more caring and considerate person.

Practical things you can do:

  • Play their favorite game together
  • Read them a book
  • Ask them questions about their day

BECOME A ROLE MODEL

Children learn from things they see and experience. Many parents may not notice how much of their behavior young kids see and understand. This is why you should think about your words and actions. When you make mistakes, admit them and apologize. Be the example you want your child to become.

Another important thing is respect, which can only be earned. So always be honest, show that you are a human too and people make mistakes. Also, try to see everything as a lesson and a chance to grow and become a better person. Teach this to your child as well.

Practical things you can do:

  • Always admit your mistakes and apologize for them
  • Talk about problems and finding solutions
  • Find time to take care of yourself, only then you can take care of others

TEACH THEM VALUES

It is important that your child communicates with others and learns to share in the young age. Taking other peoples’ feelings in consideration and being selfless is an essential feature and can become beneficial in the future.

The Harvard study found that caring about others is as important as one’s happiness. This is something that parents need to teach their children consistently because sometimes the message is not received quickly.

As a parent, you must always be an example. This means taking responsibility and doing the right thing (even when it is not the most convenient thing to do). Be a role model and confirm your words with your actions. Remind them, that others are counting on them and it is not nice to let people down.

Practical things you can do:

  • Teach them every day to be kind
  • Make them take responsibility for their actions and stick to their commitments. Do not just let them quit a sport or end a friendship. It is always easier to just give up, but it is not always the right thing to do.

     

TEACH THEM GRATITUDE

Teach them to appreciate people and things in their life. Tell them about the history and trying times, so they would understand how lucky they are to live in this time with plenty of opportunities. Teach them not to take their life and possibilities for granted.

The study has shown, that people, who practice gratitude in their everyday lives, are more helpful, generous, compassionate and forgiving. What is most important – they are more happy and healthy. So it is a key feature in a real person.

Practical things you can do:

  • Remind your child to be grateful in everyday life
  • Teach them to show respect and appreciation for people (family members, teachers, neighbors) in their lives
  • Be the role model and do not take individuals and things in your life for granted

SHOW THEM THE BIGGER PICTURE

It is a commonly known fact that children care about a small circle of family and friends. This is normal, but the difficult challenge is to teach them to empathize with people outside their circle.

Children need to learn that it all starts with people and that they can make a big difference in someone’s life. So it is important to show kindness towards people you do not know so well (new kid in class, the shopkeeper, the cleaning lady).

The Harvard study suggested that children should learn to zoom in and listen carefully to those, who are part of their inner circle but also to zoom out and take in consideration the bigger range of people they interact with on a daily basis.

Practical things you can do:

  • Teach your child empathy – teach them to comfort a crying kid and reach out to a new classmate
  • Have conversations about different people and their lives. Talk about people with different religions, beliefs, communities, and countries
  • Teach them not to have prejudices and to show kindness to people around them
+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.

+2 votes

                                                

Photo Source: Psychology Today

By- Victoria L. Dunckley M.D.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201706/hey-parents-put-down-those-devices

Being strict about your own screen-time greatly improves the odds that you’ll be able to manage your children’s screen time in a mindful manner. Further, if you’re considering doing a 4-week electronic fast first to help reset your child’s nervous system (which I recommend), it’ll help you implement the fast successfully, plus give you a leg up on healthy screen management afterwards. Why? Because in addition to setting a good example, you will feel better, function better, and sleep better.  

Parenting Stress and Electronic Media Use

Child rearing is harder and more complex than ever these days, and parenting a child who’s experiencing mental health, learning or behavior issues can produce stress that’s “off the charts.” Ask yourself if you have a tendency to use a mobile device throughout the day or while in bed at night as a means to escape from that stress. The activities may seem innocent enough, like reading on a Kindle, sharing funny family pictures on Facebook, or reading blog posts about parenting. But, as with children, interactive screen-time affects an adult’s frontal lobe, too, so even moderate but daily use can cause a parent to become disorganized, exhibit poor impulse control, lack self-discipline, and have trouble following through on goals—including establishing healthy screen limits. Screen-time also affects an adult’s body clock, melatonin levels, and physical health. And just as with children, these effects are more likely to occur if a parent is stressed, not sleepingwell, or has difficulty in those areas to begin with.

Thus, there are numerous reasons to cut back. In fact, doing the electronic fast or committing to limits with your child can be a powerful healing experience for the entire family.

Seven reasons why it’s worthwhile for parents themselves to put down those devices:

1You’ll model good screen habits. Parents’ own screen habits closely correlate to their children’s, and joining in on a fast or new limits with your child helps build mutual respect. This also reinforces the message that a screen fast or limits are not a punishment, but something the whole family is working on to be happier and healthier.

2. You’ll be more aware. Screen-time is distracting, and it diminishes how in touch we are with our environment. If doing the fast, you’ll be more aware of how your children are doing during the fast and more vigilant about any attempts they make to skirt the ban. If simply cutting back, you’re more likely to notice patterns of behavior that occur with and without the presence of screens.

3. Your executive functioning will be enhanced. Everyone’s frontal lobe functions better with less screen-time, so planning and problem-solving will come more easily. You’ll also be more creative, which makes family activities and one-on-one time more enjoyable — for you and your child.

4. You’ll be much more likely to follow through on what you said you would do. Whether that means actually finishing the fast or eliminating screens during the school week, improved frontal lobe function helps us sustain efforts and be self-disciplined.  It builds “grit.”

5. You’ll be more present and emotionally attuned. Your in-the-moment awareness and sense of emotional connection will be enhanced — and your child will notice.  Kids and teens often complain that they feel ignored by device-using parents even when they’re in the same room. Indeed, studies show spending time together and healthy attachment to parents helps protect children against technology overuse and addiction.  

6. You’ll be more rested. Reducing your own levels of hyper arousal will help you sleep more deeply, improve your ability to tolerate frustration, and give you more energy. You’ll also be less likely to give in when your child attempts to wear you down or argue about screen limits.

7. You may see fewer tantrums in general.  While screen time itself can precipitate tantrums and meltdowns (due to creating a hyperaroused and overstimulated nervous system), a recent study found that high parental device use was associated with more behaviour issues in children. This finding is in line with what we already know about development: that emotional resonance, eye contact, and face-to-face interaction with a parent helps regulate a child’s nervous system and eventually helps teach the child how to self-soothe.  This benefit seems to be separate from and in addition to all the physiological changes that result in improved behaviour from removal of all that stimulation.

Guidelines for Mindful Screen Limits for Parents

Read More

+2 votes

When a 15-day-old baby, who had a bout of mild diarrhoea and vomiting became severely dehydrated, the parents, though worried, did not sense something could be seriously wrong. However, they were shocked when their doctor diagnosed the baby with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH).

CAH is an inherited disorder that affects the adrenal glands where the glands cannot produce cortisol and aldosterone, and instead produce an unwanted excess amount of androgens.

A child with CAH lacks enzymes the adrenal glands use to produce hormones that help regulate metabolism, the immune system, blood pressure, and other essential functions. Parents with children suffering from it often have great difficulty in the upbringing of the child, including treatment, getting school admission and other support issues.

For the first time, Shyam Nair and Deepa Kannan, parents of a CAH child, have started a support group called ‘CAH Support India’ ( www.cahindia,org ) involving a community of parents, grandparents and caregivers of CAH children. The International Coalition for Endocrine Patient Support Organisations worldwide has listed this support group as the first such group for endocrine disorders in India.

The couple has also created a closed Facebook group for parents and endocrinologists https://www.facebook.com/groups/433557750183212/ and a Facebook page called Omkar’s journey with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia to chronicle all possible events in the life of a child with CAH . The link is https://m.facebook.com/Omkars-journey-with-Congenital-Adrenal-Hyperplasia-872407369539040/

Shaila S. Bhattacharyya, paediatric endocrinologist at Manipal Hospitals, who is also part of the support group, said: “A CAH child gets severely dehydrated even with a mild episode of diarrhoea and needs hospitalisation, which is stressful both for the child and the caregivers.”

Although about one in 10,000 children are born with CAH, awareness about the condition is low. It is either not detected early or is misdiagnosed and turns fatal in most children within months of their birth. A neonatal hormone test 17-OHP should be done to screen for CAH in children before symptoms appear. “However, not all hospitals do this test,” the doctor added.

Ms. Deepa Kannan, a yoga teacher, said she and her husband are trying to spread awareness about the condition, which is not known even in educated circles. “Having experienced the challenges in bringing up our child, who is seven years old now, our aim is to support parents and help them in bringing up their children,” she told The Hindu.

Narrating how difficult it is for CAH children to get admission in regular schools as the child needs continuous monitoring, she said the aim of the support group is to change this mindset of schools. “Such discrimination towards children for no fault of theirs is unfair,” she said.

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