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Category Archives: Family

Hiring Teen Babysitter

Look for Proper Training

You can ensure your children are in the safest possible hands when you’re not there by choosing a babysitter with certain qualifications. A teenager with formal training in first aid, CPR and various other emergency procedures may have vital life-saving skills. And any teenager who has taken the time to acquire such qualifications is probably trustworthy, conscientious and intelligent.

Introduce Your Sitter to Your Home

Take your prospective sitter on a tour of your home. This will give you a chance to show him or her where essential supplies, equipment and appliances are. This is also a great opportunity to talk about the rules of your home – for both the children and the babysitter. During the tour, draw the attention of your sitter to emergency procedures such as contact lists and meeting points.

Introduce Your Sitter to Your Kids

Before you entrust your children to the care of a sitter, you should observe some interactions between them. After an initial visit for a tour, invite your sitter back at a time when the children are around – just after school is perfect. Observe how the babysitter communicates with your kids, and look for evidence of natural supervisory skills. Everyone will need to get on with one another if the arrangement is going to work, so you should be looking for evidence of both fun and discipline.

Define Responsibilities and Expectations

It is important to agree on a specific set of responsibilities and expectations from the outset of the arrangement. You should be detailed in your approach to this process, and everything should be written down and kept safe for future reference. This list of rules and responsibilities should relate to your children and your sitter. You can include rules regarding bedtimes, smoking, eating, alcohol, visitors and absolutely anything that concerns you.

Discuss Discipline

Parents have their own way of disciplining their children and managing bad behavior – and so do babysitters. Talk at length with your sitter about how you approach discipline. Be very specific about how you want your babysitter to manage bad behavior. Consider introducing some simple disciplinary tools such as the “naughty step” or early bedtimes. Restricting access to toys and games is also a relatively simple and harmless way a sitter can discipline your children in your absence.

Talk about Electronics

There should be clear ground rules on the use of tablets, phones, and computer in your home. The internet is home to a wealth of inappropriate material, and just a moment of unsupervised access gives a child an opportunity to access some of it. The best course of action is to ban the use of all Internet-connected devices while you’re not around.

You may also want to create some rules about your sitter texting and where their cell phone is kept. Your sitter should never post photos of your children or any details about your babysitting arrangement on social media sites – so ban this behavior from the outset.

Explain Medicines and Allergies

You will need to decide whether or not you are going to trust your sitter with basic medications for your children. If you are, you should explain which medications are available, what they can be used for and where they can be found. If your child has an ongoing medical condition or allergies, you will need to explain these in great detail to your sitter before leaving them in charge. And make sure you explain what symptoms to watch for – and the procedures in place for dealing with them.

Vet Activities

While your sitter might have some fun and educational activities planned, you may not find them appropriate. Discuss the planned activities, and let your sitter know which of them are acceptable and which of them are not allowed.

Survive Market Day With Kids

Let them “drive” the grocery cart

Install your little one in the seat in front of the grocery cart and make sure to strap them in securely. This way, they can see you and all the grocery items lined up in the aisles, but can’t run around grabbing things and knocking over them. While pushing the cart, say things to your child like “Can you take us to the cereal aisle?” and let their imagination work as they pretend to be controlling your supermarket route.

Give them little tasks

It will make them feel important and instil in them a sense of responsibility. Small things like comparing sell-by dates, picking out the reddest apples, and locating the checkout counter with the shortest queue will let kids know that they also have a role in running the house. Don’t forget to thank them afterwards!

Play a grocery game together

Give your kids a piece of paper and a crayon each. Ask them to list down all the grocery items they will see that:

start with the letter ‘C’
are blue
are round

Mobile Apps for Parents

What to Expect – Pregnancy and Baby: I used this app while I was carrying my youngest daughter (she is now a year old). For those who are expecting, this app has an excellent day-by-day and week-by-week guide complete with photos and you will receive personalized updates based on your due date. I absolutely love that feature! It also gives you the opportunity to connect with other Moms which is nice.

Parenting Reminder a Day, A Tip: this app sends a parenting tip to your phone as a calendar reminder every day- you don’t even have to open the app. I am always seeking out more knowledge on parenting, so this was great for me.

Baby Tracker & Digital Scrapbook – Kidfolio Pro: this app is truly one of my faves. It allows you to track your baby’s health and development from growth and immunizations to feedings, diaper changings, pumping sessions, etc. This app really helps to keep everything you need to remember about your child organized. As an added bonus, you’ll also receive information on developmental milestones. You can also capture certain milestones on camera and organize them into a scrapbook! This is just a great app for advice and recommendations and socializing with other parents. I love it.

Yuggler-fun activities for kids and family – This is a really cool app to find kid-friendly activities near you. This is great for active families and with the recent update, they now have User-Constructed Top Charts for Kids Activities. It’s super convenient.

Animal and Tool Picture Flashcards for Babies and Toddlers by Open Solutions – This app does an excellent job of keeping my 1 year old entertained and it isn’t at all difficult to navigate. This is also a great app to encourage speech in your young child while also helping them pair an image with the actual word. Your child can learn what sound an animal makes, the correct way to pronounce its name (in various languages) and even how to write it!

Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Games by Kevin Bradford LLC – My 4 year old really enjoys using this app- it keeps her busy during car rides and is very educational. These games focus on things such as Counting, Alphabet, Addition, Subtraction, Spelling, etc.

Baby Monitor Lite by Bipfun – This is a really cool baby monitor that can be downloaded for free. You can see AND talk to your baby via this app. It also offers different animal nightlights on the screen to comfort your little one.

Business Management Mirrors Parenthood

1: Lead by example. My work ethic, time spent and treatment of others would shine above all. If I failed, I had myself to blame.

2: Be a good listener. Everyone there knew more than I about the particular industry. It would be wise to ask good questions and make note of the responses.

3: Be firm, when necessary. Regardless of age, experience or the skills of the staff, I would make it clear that I was the final word, even though the process would include discussion and valued opinions.

4: Reward or discipline, according to performance and behavior.. and be consistent.

It took months before I felt that I had molded a great staff, some by heart-to-heart talks, some by re-training and some by replacement. The personality skills that I was able to hone along the way, however, were immeasurable and highly transferable to being a parent. It is a human being’s basic nature to look out for #1, first, and be part of a team, second. We are wired this way. This notion gave me a solid head start and plan going into parenthood, with the goal of molding my own children into the best human beings that they could be.

Rather than be a “dictator”, I would take great pains along the way to explain the rewards for positive behavior and the consequences for bad. And follow up. And follow up. Though it was difficult to see at the very early stages, I knew that this would be the best approach for the future, when my kids would someday be out on their own.

I learned from my dealings with my new staff, particularly, those many years my senior, that this would be the best approach. That experience was a free glimpse into the future, if you like. There was no way, for example, that I was going to allow my children to become the “Stomp and you’ll get your way” type, or of the “Everyone feel sorry for me, a bad break came my way” variety. Instead, I would attempt to mold the best characteristics of the staff into my own household. Team players, aiming for the common good, stating differences respectfully would be the way to go. But I (and my wife) would be in charge, lest there be any doubt.

Protect Kids in Digital Era

Taking-Over Human Nature

If you look at it from a broader perspective you will come to understand that increased technology can become suffocating. Take for example the use of mobile phones.

They’ve completely altered the way we function as humans. Allowing connectivity all across the world and bringing the phenomenon of globalization to a completely new level.

We see individuals in touch with their old school friends via Twitter and Facebook but they all lack normal interaction with their present family and friends. The essence and comfort of personal interactions is being lost with time and is that something we really aspire to achieve?

So many things to do!

And then there’s the overall increased use of digital media – video games, online streaming movies, TV shows, Netflix, social media and what not. Basically, we now have the convenience of watching anything, anywhere via our phones and laptops. And while this may seem to be greatly convenient, it’s high-time that we realize how these will affect our body, and the illnesses this lifestyle may lead us too.

The Common Problems

• Increased gazing at computer screens, tablets, phones and TV screens can severely damage your eyesight.

• Sitting in a single position for long hours can put stress on many parts of your body like the spine, neck, knees, and can causes muscle spasms as well. The prolonged application of this stress will damage the function of these body parts over time.

• Many of the common devices we use emit harmful radiations. That can trigger the emergence of severe illnesses like cancers, genetic mutations and tumours.

• Obesity, sleep deprivation, fatigue are all problems that are associated with the increased use of these devices.

Lookout for your Kids!

But these are all problems that we are all usually familiar with, and already know about. The major point of concern is that we still fail to take them seriously!

Since most parents already know that there is a very likely chance of their kids suffering from these problems. It only makes sense, if they make use of this information to prevent their child from encountering them.

Connect With Your Child Today

1. Give her a hug or cuddle first thing in the morning and allow her enough time to wake up gently.

2. Talk to your child during breakfast and ask him what his day has in store for him.

3. In the evening, spend some time reading together, even if she is reading on her own. Older children still enjoy being read to and also like to discuss their books with Mom and Dad. Listen carefully to her thoughts and findings, and share some of your own.

4. Get involved in something he is passionate about or teach him something that you love to do. Sharing an interest is a great feeling and an excellent way to bond.

5. Make sure to empathize with your child, even if you don’t agree with what she is feeling. When you acknowledge her point of view, you strengthen your connection and build emotional intelligence.

6. Listen kindly to his lengthy story about issues with his friends at recess. Don’t jump to conclusions and try to fix everything. Just listen and be there for him.

7. Have alone time with your child, without your spouse or siblings, even if it’s just 15 minutes of playing a game or doing a hobby together. She will appreciate your undivided attention.

When Child Feels Lonely

Being lonely isn’t healthy for anybody. But, it can sometimes be more detrimental to a child. Why? The answer is a simple one. Loneliness has a serious impact on a child’s success in school, which can take years of recovery to correct.

In addition, many children don’t understand why they are lonely. Young children may go so far as to think something is wrong with them. Unfortunately, this can lead to even more complex issues, which are even more difficult to get under control.

Here are a few things you can do when children feel lonely. Depending on the severity of their loneliness, it may be easier to cheer them up than you think.

Keep Them Busy

Keep your child busy with a hobby or their favorite activity. This generally combats loneliness, at least for as long as they remain occupied. If hobbies are not an option, consider taking them to the park or local activity center. Participating in sports or joining a club at school are two more options. Who knows? They may even end up making new friends in the process.

Encourage Children to Open Up

It can be difficult for kids who are shy to make friends. This can ultimately leave them with few people to talk to. Encourage your child to meet new people and to be open about themselves to their friends… just not too open (to be safe, be sure to set limits). This is the first step toward kids feeling more confident and outgoing in the future.

Spend Quality Time Together

Not being able to spend enough time with parents is a major cause of loneliness in children. If your schedule is keeping you from interacting with your child, make sure you set aside at least 60 minutes a day to talk to them about the things going on in their lives. Please note, this amount of time is the bare minimum. Spending time together goes a long way toward making kids feel less isolated.

Living With Creative Child

When my child is amusing us with these little mental challenges I am in awe of her mind – she sees the world from a very different viewpoint than the rest of us; and she keeps us on our toes. But there is a but… She rarely sleeps before 10.00 pm despite being under 9 years old. She never stops. There is always something she is working on or trying to create, drawing and sketching, writing novels (yes) and poetry, baking and painting, then she might pick some flowers to put in a display, ask how to make a fabric collage… and I don’t joke when I say this might all have taken place before 8.30 on a Saturday morning.

My child has an insatiable need to create. She has a desire to be in the PROCESS at all times and in more than one PROJECT. At the moment there is the photographic project – we go on walks in the local countryside and photograph the changing season – currently the beautiful change from Summer to Autumn. The walk then takes on a new life of PROJECT; she becomes frustrated that she cannot get the right picture and her ‘creative temprament’ takes over. We have swings of self-loathing, glory, depression, enjoyment and then others. The other ‘one the go’ project at the moment is a series of books that she is writing, she illustrates them and gets them ‘published’ by her grandmother with proper binding and front pieces. She is very proud of this work and often gives herself a critique on the pointers for improvement.

These things are projects that she tends to work on a complete. But her spirit is Creative – and that is where she becomes a bit of a challenge to parent effectively. She needs ‘ponder’ time – and this is a time of complete inactivity where she will simply stare into space or watch a TV screen (or other screen) for quite a while, sometimes a couple of hours, before springing up and spreading herself around the house with paint, or chalk, paper and a camera – or whatever the project requires.

Another feature of this creative spirit is that she can be on a totally different thought thread to all of us – she gets frustrated that we don’t know what she needs or what she is talking about. Her thought processes have been buzzing away for hours and she needs some answers immediately – and when we are scrabbling around our imaginations and brains to find a response, she becomes very upset and angry with us.

When she was tiny I realised that this was a very different spirit – my other two children were equally artistic and enjoyed all the same things – but the little one went further. She NEEDED so much physical stimulation as a toddler that bed time was more like an hour in a playbarn to calm her down. I attended classes at JABADEO and with the INPP to learn about Developmental Movement Play – and applied it to her. She loved it and I learned how much to help her explore her natural state through tumbling, rolling and bouncing – I watched until she simply became satiated then she could settle.

Similarly she now needs so much input in order to keep her on track. She has such varied methods to express this need that we keep her plied with paper and notebooks, pens and paints, a permanent art station in the garage and a white bedroom wall which is her ‘canvas’ – she is allowed to do whatever she likes on that wall either posters or doodles or stickers. With the confines of the one white wall, she can go to explore in her own space and slightly contain her exuberance for art in the home!

Legitimization of Bullying

At the time, I didn’t consider the fact that she encouraged the kids in the class to laugh at the many mistakes I made while reading in front of them as bullying. Nor did I consider her a bully after I stopped reading and began to cry helplessly at the front of the classroom and she still didn’t stop the student’s laughter.

In fact, she continued to encourage it.

I didn’t blame her when those same kids openly mocked me while chasing me all the way home after school day after day.

Now, I feel differently. I believe she played a significant role in legitimizing bullying behavior in her students. She led the way, and her students followed suit; her behavior gave them permission to act in a similarly cruel and unfeeling way – the way bullies act.

To the extent that bullying behavior continued in those same children when they grew up. I’ll never know. But what is clear to me now is the crucial role that adults play in teaching kids appropriate ways to behave – and not by saying so, but by doing so.

This is my story of a year of bulling, and not a terrible one relative to what we’ve heard about the many children who’ve suffered bullying for years. And now, too often, publicly on the Internet.

Far too many of these young victims decide to escape their torture by killing themselves (both figuratively by isolating themselves, and literally by taking their own lives). Bullying – at any level and toward any person – needs to stop, and we must come to see that we all need to play a vital role in making it end.

The purpose of this article is to highlight what years of researchers have come to understand: that a large percentage of kids who engage in bullying behavior have learned how to act in this way – either directly or indirectly – by the adults who have had the greatest influence on them such as parents, older siblings, relatives, teachers, media personalities, and so on.

In other words, the bullying behavior has been legitimized by adults, and more often than not, the recipients of bullying often results in these same kids going out into the world with the motive to ‘rewrite’ the story of their own powerlessness through a continuous string of ‘zero sum games’.

That is, where they must gain at the expense of someone else’s loss – and the loss of ‘the other’ more often than not includes perpetrating the same bullying behavior they themselves were victim to during an earlier stage of their own lives.

From my experience over the years as a psychotherapist, I see two types of individuals arise out of childhood bullying:

Those who make a silent promise that they’ll never, EVER, let anyone dominate them again and, thus, they become bullies themselves; and,
Those who’ve become hyper-vigilant to the pain of others because they’ve experienced a great deal of pain themselves as children and can, therefore, relate.

Typically, these are empathetic individuals but ones who suffer from their own wounds, for example, being overly-sensitive to the reactions of others.

Yet, for all its pluses and minuses, I thankfully became the latter type of person, as the choice of my profession reflects.

Regardless, research results indicate that we are indelibly formed by what we experience as children, and if you’ve ever been the target of bulling, you know exactly what I mean.

No bullies in the White House

So why am I writing about this now? Well, I’ve been glued to CNN over the past several weeks watching the level of discourse between two U.S. presidential candidates drop to an all-time low – a low that I’ve never witnessed during any previous presidential campaigns during my lifetime.

I suppose I should say that both of these candidates are equally bad but, in my opinion, they aren’t. And, although my political leanings might be reflected in what I’m about to write, I really don’t care.

Speaking up against the kind of bullying that I’ve witnessed on the part of Donald Trump is more important to me than remaining politically anonymous.

During the course of his campaign, I’ve watched in utter disbelief as he’s ridiculed and belittled any number of people, including those with disabilities, members of particular races and faiths, and 50% (or more) of the population: women.

And does he care? No, clearly not.

That’s just the way he is – or, at least the way he was raised.

Apparently, his father was a bully, and when we listen to Trump’s sons, they, too, appear to lean toward the same direction as both their father and grandfather.

Thus, my earlier point: we either become a bully after being raised by one, or we don’t.

Without doubt, the part that troubles me the most about this election season is the impact Trump is having on the behavior of his so-called ‘followers’. Never has there been a level of anger, racism, disrespect, and hatred in the U.S. since before the 60s Civil Rights movement. And it’s rising to this level because Trump, who’s attempting to gain access to the highest office in the U.S., is literally legitimizing the act of bullying.

As we know, those who follow behind and support bullies – directly or indirectly – are usually those who often feel powerless themselves, and, therefore, they enjoy the vicarious pleasure of watching someone who, unlike them, is not afraid to act ‘powerfully’, albeit in this case nastily, against others.

It’s as if Trump has given rise to all those in the U.S. who’ve felt, in large part, marginalized or even forgotten by those who hold office in Washington, and now they believe (misguidedly) that feel they should elect someone who will bully ‘the system’ in order to stand up for their individual rights. (Unfortunately, Trump is a narcissist and, consequently, all he cares about is winning; he cares little about the needs of his followers which, sadly, they’ll soon discover.)

Legitimizing the kind of behavior that acts to dominate and ridicule others for the singular purpose of aggrandizing one’s own sense of power over them is becoming the over-arching echo of this presidential election. And it concerns me greatly that Trump, with his disrespectful treatment of others, is becoming a hero of sorts to the so-called disenfranchised.

“If a presidential candidate can get away with it, then why can’t ‘I’?” could possibly be the refrain of bullies of all ages, and in countries all around the world. Everyone is watching this election play out, and each and every one of the viewers is either going to respect the bully, or reject him.

In either case, that it’s happening at this level of engagement, already legitimizes bullying because the majority of those who are members of his party have not stood apart from him. Why? Well, because they don’t want to risk losing their own limited power with the community of people who originally elected them.

Thus, the power of the bully continues to echo in the behavior of those who choose to stay silent, passive, and in fear of rejecting unacceptable behavior because they’re afraid of what might happen to them if they do.

Consequently, what’s playing out in the race for the highest office of the United States of America is really not very different than the one that continues to play out in far too many homes, on our school grounds, in board rooms, and on the Internet.

Too many people remain silent and afraid of the bully (or their followers) in fear of being targeted themselves. And so bullying continues to thrive.

Fit To Be A Parent

It could show up in any number of ways such as:
– Anger
– Hatred
– Lack of trust
– Fear
– Self Pity
– Victim-hood
To name a few

I had some of these behaviours and after doing self-help for years, I finally found and understood why I did what I did and why it was so hard to just stop the behaviour.

To start with, I had some very debilitating beliefs, stored memories and a victim mentality. Although I never sought out for pity, I continually made excuses and reinforced to myself what was drilled into my head from infant hood. I was good for nothing, a waste of skin, and because of that, will amount to nothing in my lifetime.

That is the same language I ended up saying to myself.

I never questioned my own words, because lets face it, what you have been told with intense emotion, repeatedly, you believe. I heard it over and over with absolute certainty while growing up.

How could I not believe it and to top it off, my life was showing me exactly that, making it my reality. You can’t fight what is right in front of you right?

On the flip side, I had/have big dreams. Although I had a victim mentality it did not stop me from getting on with life. We all have the choice to choose the outcome of our lives, even after enduring horrific, emotional torture. It just takes a lot longer, especially of you go it alone.

Luckily, I found a better way and was given the opportunity to go back and right my wrongs.

And let me tell you, that was as emotionally torturous as enduring it in the first place.

My business life now, is the sole reflection of my deepest past struggles. Because of those struggles, I work with others so they don’t have to endure what I did.