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Archive for June, 2012

10 Ways to Show Your Child Love

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

It seems like these days everyone is always rushing around, working late, and struggling to cross things off a to-do list. Not surprisingly, this go-go-go mindset makes it’s hard for parents to meaningfully connect with their children.  One way parents can nurture this relationship with their children is to express love in tangible ways.  If you’re looking to foster connection and demonstrate love, consider implementing these 10 things into your day.

  1. Give her random hugs.  Showing affection to your child is one way to connect with her on a physical level.  Kids need a soft place to fall, and knowing that that place is with you will go a long way to make your relationship a close one. Dole out hugs often. Doing so can lead to a healthier and more emotionally well balanced child according to Dacher Keltner, a professor of Psychology at Berkley.
  2. Put notes in her lunch.  When she is young, having a smiley face or some other sticker in her lunch is a fun surprise to find.  Once she gets older and is able to read, you can send along notes of encouragement for an upcoming test or audition.  Notes are an easy way to let her know that you are thinking about her.
  3. Surprise her with a small gift.  There’s something about being surprised with a small gift that makes the occasion special.  Gifts on holidays or birthdays might be expected, but a gift just because it’s Tuesday is a fun way to say, “I love you.”
  4. Bring her a balloon, just because.  Balloons are so bright and fun that they always bring a smile to a child’s face.  Little things that you can do to brighten her day will show her that you love her.
  5. Leave her notes on the mirror.  The mirror is a good place to leave notes for a couple of reasons.  The first reason is that everyone starts their day in the bathroom and will likely see the note which will create a good start to their day.  Secondly, as kids get older they stand and look at themselves in the mirror and are often critical.  Leaving notes that tell her how beautiful her eyes are or what shiny long hair she has will remind her of her assets instead of letting her focus on her flaws.  Being told nice things first thing in the morning will definitely let them know they are loved.  This is a good idea for working parents that may not see their child before they are off to school.
  6. Fix her favorite meal. Putting forth the extra effort to make her favorite meal will let her know that you care about her and that she is loved.  Celebrate the little things like a lost tooth or winning student of the month.
  7. Bake her favorite cookies for an after school snack.  Most kids will grab a snack right after school.  Many times it will be something like fruit or some chips, nothing special.  On a day when it’s rainy or when you know she’s been down, it’s a loving gesture to make her favorite cookies for a snack.  Comfort food isn’t called “comfort food” for nothing.
  8. Take her for a special date night.  Create a date night just for the two of you.  Take her to the salon for a pedicure or to see a ballgame.  Spending one-on-one time with her will give her time to share with you and for you to let her know how much you care about her.
  9. Tuck her into bed and sing her a lullaby.  Yelling good night as she heads off to bed by herself isn’t as loving as walking with her to her room and taking the time to tuck her in and sing her a lullaby.  Older kids may think that they want to be grown up, but especially in those tween years when they are caught between wanting to be a teen and wanting to still be your baby, tucking them in will be appreciated.
  10. Cuddle up with her to watch TV. Put in a movie, pop some popcorn and cuddle up on the couch to watch some TV.  Doing so can serve as a time to relax and reconnect with each other.  Special times like this will strengthen your bond and remind her how much she is loved.

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10 Reasons Kids Shouldn’t Have a Cell Phone

Monday, June 25th, 2012

According to a recent survey done by Verizon, the average age that a child receives his first cell phone is 11 ½.  Verizon also surveyed 519 parents and asked them if they established rules for cell phone use or if they let their kids have free reign with their phones.  A staggering 95% of the parents had not set up any rules with their children.  Before buying a cell phone for your child, you might want to consider the following:

  1. Cyber bullying can lead to suicide. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), 4,400 children a year commit suicide and for every child who dies there are 100 suicide attempts.  Cyber bullying has been linked to suicide, whether the child is the bully or the one being bullied.
  2. Sexting happens more than you think. The circulating of nude and explicit photos is a much more regular occurrence then most parents realize.  According to Cosmo Girl, 22% of teenage girls and 20% of teenage boys have sent nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves over the Internet or from their cell phone.  Once that photo is out there it can be posted to a social website or sent to every cell phone in the school.  Sexting can lead to a reputation being ruined forever.
  3. Sexting can lead to sex. A 2009 study done by the National Campaign to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy found that 29% of teens think that if photos of a sexual nature are shared that dating or sex is expected; this perceived expectation can lead to earlier sexual activity. 
  4. Inappropriate use can lead to jail time. Authorities are starting to crack down on sexting and the sending of nude pictures of teenagers.  Sharing nude photos is considered child pornography, even if a child of the same age is sending it.  A recent arrest was made of an underage male that sent a nude picture of himself to his 15 year old girlfriend.  He also received one back from her.  He was found with several nude photos of the underage girl on his phone and was arrested, despite the fact that she was his girlfriend.
  5. Opportunities for earlier exposure to nude images. According to a study reported by CNN.com, 1 in 6 kids ages 12 to 17 have received sexually explicit texts and photos on their cell phone.  If you don’t want your young child exposed to things like this, you should probably hold off on getting him a cell phone or strictly monitor his use.
  6. Phone plans can be expensive. Overages on cell phones for data, be it texting or Internet use, can add up quickly.  The younger the child is, the less likely they are to understand and keep track of how much they are texting or using the Internet.  Before getting your child a cell phone, you’ll want to be sure he clearly understands how the charges work.
  7. Phones can result in sleep deprivation and poor grades: When parents check their teen’s cell phone usage, they often find that their teen is taking calls at all hours of the day and night. Teens like to be in touch with their friends 24/7 and this behavior can leave your child sleep deprived, which can impact their grades in a negative way.  A study done by the National Sleep Foundation found that 1 in 5 teens age 13 to 18 are awakened by a call or text message a few times a week.
  8. Phone use can hamper family interaction: Cell phones can become your child’s world.  The more children text and talk with their friends, the less face-to-face time they spend with their family.  Digital media expert Patricia Greenfield explained in an interview with the New York Times that if you hold off getting your child a cell phone you will maintain better communications between you and your child.
  9. Phones are a pain to replace. Cell phones are expensive and younger children tend to be less responsible than older teenagers.  The loss of a cell phone is a hassle because any personal information that was on the phone might now be in someone else’s hands.  If a phone is lost, you often will need to get a new phone number and shut down the phone service.
  10. There is a possible link to brain cancer. Scientists have been arguing about this since the 1990’s when a businessman brought a lawsuit against his cell phone company because his wife died of brain cancer.  The tumor was said to be on the side of her head close to where she talked on her phone for several hours a day.  Estimations of 400,000-500,000 new cases of brain cancer related to cell phone use in 2010 were made.  The jury is still out on this one, but why put your child at risk?

Currently 20 percent of children ages 6 to 11 have a cell phone.  This number jumps to 75 percent for kids aged 11 to 17, according to a 2010 Pew Internet and Life Project survey.  At some point most kids will have cell phones.  Before purchasing one for your child, be sure to consider the pros and cons of cell phone use for children. 

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10 Ideas to Help Your Child Become More Confident

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

In childhood as well as adulthood, confidence is the key to success. Whether it’s a matter of making friends on the playground or landing that job, a strong sense of self-esteem makes all the difference, so it’s important to instill confidence in your child from an early age. If your child is struggling with his or her confidence level, here are ten tips that might help.

  1. Love Unconditionally – One of the hallmarks of a confident kid is the knowledge that their parents will love them, regardless of whether they succeed or fail. These kids tend to succeed because they believe they can, rather than out of a fear of losing the love of their parents if they don’t.
  2. Notice the Little Things – When you remember the little quirks and habits of your child, it helps them feel that they have worth as a person, rather than simply as your child. As a result, they’ll feel more secure and confident.
  3. Allow a Few (Healthy!) Risks – While allowing a daredevil jump from the roof is a bit ill-advised, allowing your child to take healthy risks helps them to learn new skills on their own and to be proud of their accomplishments.
  4. Don’t Fix Everything For Them –Though swooping in for a quick fix might make you the hero of the hour, it will eventually cause your child to feel that they can’t remedy a bad situation on their own. As a result, their confidence in themselves may suffer.
  5. Celebrate Accomplishments – Lavishing effusive praise on your child in every situation can make them feel as if their larger accomplishments are of no more importance than getting out of bed each morning. It’s best to be supportive at all times, but to save big celebrations for big triumphs.
  6. Listen Carefully – Taking time to really hear your child’s opinions and ideas will do wonders for their self-esteem, just as dismissing them in favor of your own can damage it greatly. Be sure to listen to your child and try to see things from their perspective to boost their sense of self-worth.
  7. Avoid Drawing Comparisons – Statements like, “why can’t you be more like your brother?” only damage your child’s confidence, causing them to feel competitive and hurt rather than secure in their own abilities. It’s best to avoid making these comparisons.
  8. Support Your Child’s Interests – Though you may be more interested in the arts, you should still support your child’s athletic tendencies, and vice versa. Knowing that you respect their interests, even if you don’t share them, helps your child to feel more secure in themselves.
  9. Encourage Independent Behavior – Kids that make decisions for themselves and deal with the repercussions are more confident than those whose parents decide everything for them. It’s possible to encourage independence and offer support when things don’t turn out as planned without being distant, and it’s good for your children if you do so.
  10. Draw Attention to the Positive – Mistakes are a part of childhood, just as they are part of adulthood. Instead of dwelling on negative aspects of your child’s performance, try to emphasize the things that they do well.

It can be difficult to strike a balance between fostering independence and being too hands-off as a parent, but it’s important for your child’s well-being as well as your own sanity. You know your child and what works best for them; tailoring your approach to boosting self-confidence to your child will be much more effective than looking for a one-size-fits-all solution.

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