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Raising a confident kid - All about Parenting Toddlers , Issue #012
June 05, 2003

Shaping the life of your precious ones

All about Parenting Toddlers
Issue #012
5th June 2003

In This Issue:

1. Raising a confident kid
2. Blocks of fun
3. Sun Safety Tips for Healthy Skin


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Raising a confident kid

NURTURING your child’s confidence may seem like a heavy responsibility, yet it is crucial to his development. Children need confidence so that they can function well in society. They need to be able to stand up for themselves, speak up and be assertive, and be able to ask for help when they need it. Here are some tips on how you can boost your child’s confidence:

Assure him of your unconditional love
A child’s confidence flourishes with the kind of no-strings-attached devotion that says: “I love you no matter who you are or what you do.” Your child benefits the most when you accept him for who he is. So be generous with your hugs, cuddles, pats, kisses and love. When you correct your child, remember to make it clear that he is not the culprit. Instead, it’s his habit or behaviour that needs changing. For instance, instead of saying: “I am so angry with you! You are a bad boy!” say, “Please stop throwing the football in the house. A football is an outdoor toy. Let’s try rolling this rubber ball”.

Spend time with him
Try to set aside time each day where you can give your child undivided attention. During those periods, share an activity which he enjoys. When your child comes up to you, remember to make direct eye contact so it’s obvious that you are listening attentively.

Be reliable and consistent
Children, no matter how old they are, need to know that they can depend on their parents or guardians to be consistent. If you have set rules for a specific activity, be consistent. You may want to try “time out” which is a cooling-off period for preschoolers. When a child is misbehaving or out of control, he or she needs to be removed or isolated for a few minutes. Time-out can be used with children aged three to 12 years. For young children, however, time-out should not exceed five minutes or they might forget the reason for it.

Be generous with your praises
Try to find simple reasons to praise your children every day. It could be for a job well done, or a situation you observe them handling appropriately. Let them know that you approve, and why. When your child colours a nice picture and is eager to show it to you, be sure to praise him. Do pick out a singular aspect of the picture to comment on. Instead of the usual “nice picture”, say something like “I like how you chose this light blue for the sky.” Praises should also be realistic and go beyond your acknowledgement of the piece of art. Let the child know that you have paid attention to the details in the picture as well.

Trust, as we all know, is “earned”. Parents should start building trust with their children as early as toddlerhood. Nothing builds confidence in humans like trust. Be sure to remain consistent when you allow your children to venture out into new areas. It is not always easy for a parent to feel sure of their children’s abilities, but you can start with small and realistic steps that are agreed upon.

Be attentive when he speaks
This may have been mentioned a thousand times but it still holds true – listen to your child. If your child needs to talk, stop and listen to what he has to say. He needs to know that his thoughts, feelings, desires, and opinions matter. You can show him that you approve of his feelings by saying something like: “I know you must be feeling sad because you broke your favourite toy.” By accepting his emotions without judgment, you validate his feelings and show that you value what he has to say. If you share your own feelings (“I’m worried about Grandma; she is very sick”), he’ll gain confidence in expressing his own.

This article is contributed by Asian-Family Living, a non-profit organisation which produces and netcasts community radio talk-shows on the Internet.

Teach Me, I'm YoursTeach Me, I'm Yours - by Joan Bramsch
If You Want Your Child To Be Smart, You Be The First Teacher. An outstanding resource for parents of children aged 2.5 - 7 years. Endorsed by educators and tested in "real life", for increased skill levels, concentration ability, attention span, and self-confidence. It can even raise a child's IQ!

Blocks of fun

Blocks are traditional open-ended toys that helps children to learn. Through block play, children learn basic skills and develop creativity.

Today, there are many types of blocks, made of plastic or wood, in different shapes and sizes. As children grow, their block play develops in many stages. This is one toy which will yield satisfying experiences for you and your child.

Infants love to hold the blocks, mouth them and throw them on the floor. When they become toddlers, they explore the properties of blocks by moving, touching, holding and feeling them instead of building with the blocks. They will load them on a wagon and pull them around or pack them up in boxes. Around the age of three, children like to stack the blocks in rows, either vertically or horizontally, repeating the same pattern over and over.

When they reach four years, children start building structures, especially bridges. Initially, the child will use two blocks and place them slightly apart. He will put one block between the two blocks. As he works on the concept of a bridge, his building structures will become more elaborate.

This is also the stage for the child to develop problem-solving skills by following certain building patterns or experimenting with various structures. Adult involvement can help the child to plan carefully and decide how he can build both horizontal and vertical enclosed structures.

To help children expand on their block play, parents can offer props that go with the topic of the block structure to facilitate imaginative play. All kinds of accessories such as hats, clothes, measuring tools, task cards, plastic animals, toy vehicles, traffic signs and flags, add to the fun of pretending.

Here are some suggestions to make the best of block play for your child at home:

Create space for block play
Store the blocks in open storage bins on a low shelf. Children need to be able to see the blocks that they want to play with. When they can reach for the blocks independently, the play opportunities will be frequent. Try to find an area in your home where your child can spread out – at least for a while. Children may want to leave their building structures and not take them down immediately when they stop playing. Be prepared for this to happen.

Follow your child’s lead
Try to imagine yourself as an assistant to your child. You must allow him to create a scenario If your child asks for your help, go along with him and give him assistance.

Talk about his block play
Get your child to tell you what he has built. Children between four and five years can verbalise what is happening and elaborate on what is being made. Notice how your child creates a pattern like using one-to-one correspondence, matching one triangular block with a square block. You can encourage him by describing what you see. “I notice that you use many small blocks in this corner to build another structure next to this one made of big blocks.”

Children do not always have a plan in mind. By asking open-ended questions or encouraging your child to talk about his structures, you are helping him plan out what he intends to build.

Help your child develop problem-solving skills
Frequently, parents jump in to help fix a problem with-out realising that this may not be the best idea for the child. When you spot that the building has no rooftop, do not make one for your child. Let your child figure it out independently.

You can help your child brainstorm some solutions. This is where you can offer an idea or two. Experiment with your child using the new ideas until one works. Remember to praise him when he succeeds. Tell him: “You have found one idea that works!”

It will help your child if you ask him to describe his problem. Let him identify what is challenging for him. Children need to be listened to so that they can talk about their thoughts and feelings. Practise active listening with your child. He will learn how to use certain words to describe his problems.

Document his play
You can make block play more meaningful for your child by documenting his work. If your child is into drawing his block structures, ask him to make a copy for record-keeping. Photographs are great for capturing the many interesting building structures your child makes. A digital camera is very useful in showing the step-by-step procedures in the block play.

Take notes of your child ’s emerging skills and mastered skills on paper. You can keep a diary of his block play. Before he can write, your child can dictate the stories that he made up during block play. When he can write the stories himself, let him record them in the diary. Just don ’t forget to write down the dates!


Confessions of a Crafty Mother of Three Young Children.
Discover how one mom keeps her kids happy and teaches them too -- All while keeping her own sanity!
Kid Tested Crafts That Parents Love Too!


Sun Safety Tips for Healthy Skin

(ARA) - Though many Americans take precautions to protect their skin from damaging ultra violet rays during the warmer months of the year, many may not realize that the sun can be damaging year round.

“Americans young and old spend countless hours in the sun year round and may not realize the importance of wearing a good sunscreen daily,” says Julie McKenzie, Wal-Mart’s buyer of skincare products. “Whether playing with the kids in the backyard, walking the dog, or taking an extended car trip, protecting your skin from damaging rays year round is critical.”

As the prevalence of skin cancer is on the rise in the United States, McKenzie offers the following tips to ensure Americans are educated when it comes to skincare safety:

*Use sunscreen every day and reapply often, especially after perspiring, swimming, or drying off with a towel. Many people forget to reapply sunscreen as necessary.

*Always apply lotion prior to heading outdoors, even during the cooler months of the year.

*For adequate sun protection, the American Academy of Dermatology and the Sun Safety Alliance recommend using a broad spectrum sunscreen year round with an SPF of at least 14. They also recommend an SPF of 30 for children.

*Follow the directions on the bottle and apply liberally and evenly over all areas of the body, while taking care not to miss the neck, ears, and lips.

*Look for newer products like Coppertone SPECTRA 3 sunscreen to add to the skincare arsenal. This lotion deflects UVA/UVB rays, scatters UV rays to enhance sunscreen’s efficiency, and absorbs UV rays before they reach the skin.

*To fully protect against harmful rays, always wear sunscreen, UV blocking sunglasses, tightly woven clothing like long-sleeved shirts and pants, and wide-brimmed hats.

*If possible, avoid the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.

*Look for products that measure UVB radiation like SunSpots. These stickers are worn on skin exposed to sunlight and turn from yellow to orange when exposed to dangerous levels of UVB radiation. This will alert the user to reapply sunscreen, seek shade, or put on protective clothing.

*If being tan is an absolute must, consider using a sunless tanner like Coppertone Endless Summer Faces with Pro-Retinol.

Local discount retailers, like Wal-Mart, sell sunscreens, products that measure UVB radiation, and protective clothing, which includes long-sleeved t-shirts, wide-brimmed straw hats, and inexpensive UV-blocking sunglasses, year round.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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All the best,

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