Friday, 23 August 2019

How to Raise a Child With High Self-Esteem? Helene Goldnadel Explains

Parents' words and behaviour have an enormous impact on child's self-esteem (SE) and self-confidence (SC). Carefully chose your words and watch what your behaviour communicates to your child. Kids require a healthy SE in order to have high SC. Only when kids think positively of themselves can they accept their achievements for what they are.

So what can you do to start raising your child's SE right away? It's simple!

Here are a few ideas by Helene Goldnadel to get you started. Grab a pen and paper and think about how you typically relate to your child as you read each point. Draw a line down the middle of the paper. On one side write down the typical wording you use (call it typical column) and on the other write down better, more encouraging words you can use instead (call it positive column) when communicating with your child. Write them down and study them!!! This way you will be able to recall the right words when you need them (even when you are tired, running on a short fuse, or caught off guard).

1) Encouraging comments:
Even if your child didn't succeed, always provide encouraging comments first (e.g., "That was a really good try, I liked your initiative and novel approach."). It can be difficult to provide positive feedback, however when she obviously didn't put in the effort required but regular comments like "You could have done better," "That wasn't done that well" can and will lead to feelings of 'nothing I do is ever good enough.' This belief (and others like it) is conditioned once she continues to receive these types of feedback. Start off on a positive note and relate the good stuff first.

2) Connect the dots:
Discuss the reasons for failure. If your child didn't put enough effort into the activity in question, it is important she understands failure was due to lack of preparation or not enough practice. This is different from believing it is her personal inability to be awesome. As such, your child is more likely to conclude "If I practice hard enough, I will be able to succeed," instead of "Doesn't matter how hard I try, I don't have the ability to learn." Let her know that not doing well was due to a poor choice and choices can always be changed. Comments like "You've got some natural talent. With extra practice you'll 'ace it' or "Some things really do require more effort to be done well, what can you do differently next time?" connect the dots for your kids. What is obvious to you may not be obvious to them.

3) Encourage independence:
Independence produces feelings of mastery which increases SE. It is important, however to recognize when a task is too hard for your child. Not all activities are age appropriate. By providing a mix of independence and a helping hand you teach her to stretch her abilities but to also know when to get help. It also sends a message that it is OK to get help. Comments such as "Look how far you have gotten on your own. What did you learn? How did you ever think of that!?!? That is awesome! You know I have some ideas too. Can I share?" If your child asks to be left to it alone, let her continue on her own. Pushing unwanted help onto your child can lead her to conclude that you don't have faith in her abilities. Over time this can translate into feelings of inferiority. Leaving your kids to complete a task means you trust them enough to work it out on their own. Let them know you have fresh ideas when they are ready for them.

4) False beliefs:
False beliefs are highly responsible for low SE and SC. Watch your kid's verbal and behavioural patterns (they are a clue to what is going on in the mind) and ask questions. Get to the bottom of things so you can understand your child's insecurity. Let's say you notice your child speak badly about herself when she receives a low grade, your conversation with her can go something like this: "Why do you speak so meanly to yourself when you get a low grade? What does this grade mean about you? Are grades the only way of measuring how smart you are (or good enough)? Is it fair for you to be mean to yourself based on your performance on this test? Why is it so important that I am happy with your grade? Would I love you more if you got a better grade? What makes you think that? Did I ever imply by accident that I would love you less if your grades were lower? Tell me so I don't make the mistake again.). The more you understand the root cause of the belief, the more you can help her.

5) Famous people and role models:
Role models are always great inspiration. Having a role model (AKA hero) works even better when the person is from the same field as the child's interests (e.g., musician, visual artist, scientist, etc.,). If your child gives up before giving things a fair chance or tends to avoid things she thinks she can't do, provide examples of the struggles her hero went through and how she had to try many times before the hero achieved her goal (e.g., Thomas Edison tried 10 000 times before he got the electric lamp to work; Einstein was considered to have a learning disability (some even speculate autism) and was told he would never amount to much). The great thing about all these wonderful people is they all faced adversity but believed in themselves the entire way. This belief lead them to success.

Monday, 20 May 2019

When Your Child Needs You, Stand Up and Be Counted?

Many of us know that children whose parents are actively involved in their school and other activities tend to more well-adjusted, happy and healthy than those whose parents are not. They also tend to excel in school, in play and other extracurricular activities.

Helene Goldnadel believes that parents who get themselves involved motivate their children to do well in school. Such involvement enhances the child's cognitive development. It also fortifies the bond between parents and child. Parents in turn feel fulfilled from their parenting chores. The enhanced personal and academic progress of the child raises the parents' self-worth. The whole process is therefore mutually beneficial for both parent and child.

So it comes to a point where parents need to ask how they may be able to productively help and get involved in their children's activities. Parents are hard pressed finding time for activities away from domestic chores, school, and work. Making quality time for extra involvement in children's activities is therefore a challenge. You need commitment and careful planning to be able to provide your child with whatever amount of support--given your availability--you can give him.

There are lots of entry points where you can be of help to your child. Begin by knowing what interests him. You might, for example, think of joining a fundraising drive at your child's school, only to find out later that your child is more passionate about his scouting activities. When this happens, try to relate to and network with other Boy Scout parents for scouting-related activities.

You may also think of skills, abilities and talents which you can contribute to the parent-child partnership. Do not force yourself to volunteer for an environmental advocacy campaign in your child's school for the sake of getting involved if this is not your cup of tea. You will not be happy with this work and your child will notice it. He will not be happy with it either. Instead ask around where your abilities might be of help to the school. The point is to make your involvement a truly positive experience for you and your child.

Your getting involved can go a long way for your child. It gives him self-confidence, keeps him away from misbehaving or running into problems. The wonder of it is you also derive satisfaction and other emotional benefits from seeing your child in great shape.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Make Your Child More Creative By Boosting His Visual Development

Psychologist as well as a coveted philosopher William James said that the world of vision for infants is a big confusion. In fact as soon as the baby takes birth their vision undergoes rapid developments till the first year. Gray, hazy images and images which are not in focus during the initial weeks start to become defined and perceive color in the following months. The journey of creativity and development of vision starts when these blurred images start becoming clear to the child.

Visual sense plays an important function for growth of the brain during the child's first year. Baby's sense of vision is very important for the development of creativity. It is due to creativity that the newly born baby distinguishes and identifies anything he/she sees. Almost 90 % of the information that enters the brain of humans is visual in nature. To provide adequate visual stimulation is something very significant for the baby's complete mental and physical development in future.

Just born babies may not have coordinated eye movement and therefore may look cross eyed during the beginning months of their birth. However, babies can see closer range that is between 9 inches to 12 inches, in other words the distance between the face of the mother and the new born baby in arms.

Experts believe the new born babies can see and track the object during initial few weeks itself. At the age of 6 months, the vision and creativity system is nearly like an adult in operation. In fact, newborns are able to see about 20/400 subsequently after birth, then 20/40 by the age one. There is improvement in focusing during 2-3 years that eventually reaches 20/20 vision that is considered normal. The most spectacular changes happen in the first 8 months.

New born babies can see dark and light shades but are unable to see all the colors. Differentiating colors are not tuned finely till the age of 3 months. That's why toys for infant stimulation have distinguishable black and white patterns. Such toys have patterns that demonstrate highest contrast that is 100% for the eyes and that's why babies are attracted to them.

Development of vision, creativity and also physical development like jiggling, arms waving, kicking is encouraged by high contrast images. Babies can also identify the shades of gray which is shown by recent studies. At the age of two months, babies can see almost all the faint and difficult to analyze shades which have made our visual world rich and textured.

There is an area in the human brain which is concerned with the recognition of faces, this could be the reason for newborn babies being attracted to human faces. This very act of recognizing which is also specific indicates creative development in the child. This act forms a strong bond between the baby and the mother especially during breast feeding.

When two months old, baby can recognize features of the face like eyes and mouth. When the child is 4 months old, he or she can recognize mother's face from others.

Visual stimulation starts creative development. Therefore, every parent and care giver should show all sorts of colors and different images at early age itself so that child is fully equipped with required skills during the actual stage of creative development which happens between the ages 2-3 years. Creativity is acknowledgment of existing colors and images which is succeeded by improvement in ability to build.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Hints by Helene Goldnadel for Talking with Your Child

There are some specific things we can do to help us communicate with our young children. The next series of articles will cover some of these ideas.

The idea we will discuss today is called "Joining children at their level of conversation." Young children have varying abilities in conversing and we should be aware of these and respond in kind. Consider the following points made by Helene Goldnadel:

Is your child is speaking in full sentences, phrases or single words? If your child uses phrases, you will want to respond in kind...using phrases similar to hers. If your child is speaking in full sentences you will want to respond in sentences of similar length.

For example if your child says "I carry baby bottle." Your response should not be a two paragraph discourse on baby bottles or a long explanation about babies. Instead, a simple "And I'll carry the baby" would be appropriate.

To encourage development of her language to the next level, make your response just a little more complex than hers. For example, if she is speaking in phrases you may want to respond with a simple sentence. If your child says "put baby sleepy" you might respond by saying "You want to put your baby to sleep ". This will encourage the next stage of her language development into simple sentences.

Listen for the speed of her language. Children who speak fluidly can also speak rapidly. Those children who are still developing primary language skills will speak more slowly, needing time to think as they create images and find the words to describe them. If your child is speaking slowly you will want to slow down your speech also.

Some children speak a lot-others speak less frequently. With a child who speaks less, we speak less. With a child who speaks a lot, we speak may speak more. Generally speaking you want to speak the same amount or less than your child. She needs the practice. You already know how to talk!

Think of taking conversational turns in a 50-50 turn taking manner. In other words: your child speaks and you listen. Then you speak and your child listens. Then your child speaks again as you listen. This provides the time your child needs to interact with language. In this process we become partners in language with our children.

. Be sure to give your child time to speak. Frequently we are so rushed and focused on our day to day business that we talk "at" or "to" our children without giving them the time to respond. Giving them time to respond and taking the time to listen is what allows for the give and take that establishes good communication. Sometimes it helps to count to ten after asking a question. Otherwise it's all too easy to answer it ourselves before our child has had the chance to process our question and formulate an answer.

When you are sensitive to your childs' level of conversation and support that level with your responsive language, your child will feel comfortable about talking with you and will develop her language skills to the maximum of her ability. She will also find it easier to communicate - to listen, to understand and to respond. All of this will build her language on a day to day basis while establishing a positive and nurturing relationship.

Also read: Developing a Hobby - A Creative Investment For Your Child's Future

Monday, 6 May 2019

Give Your Child The Gift of Good Eating Habits

Creating good eating habits for your child is one of the most important jobs you have as a parent. Like most things that children learn they are going to accept and learn what you demonstrate to them far more than they will what you tell them. And eating habits, like most good habits must be formed early in order to have the most impact.

Here are just a few things by Helene Goldnadel that every parent ought to know to help their child cultivate good eating habits to prevent a lifetime of frustration and discouragement that comes with becoming overweight.
  • As soon as your child starts eating solid food keep them away from sweets. A child who grows up without candy, soda pop and dessert will never miss it as they grow older. Most people who have a sweet tooth developed it very young.
  • When you serve your child food, don't serve them more food than about the size of their fist. This will usually fill them up. If they are hungry and ask for more, make it a smaller portion.
  • Never force a child to finish what is on their plate and if you're trying them on a new food start out with very small portions and allow them to decide if they like it or not.
  • Never use food as a reward for good behavior and never withhold food for discipline. Take food out of the equation as a bargaining chip with your child.
  • Encourage your child to eat foods that you know are healthier and less fattening. Talk up how good salads, vegetables and lean meats are and have them experiment tasting these foods with you.
  • Don't force your child to eat on a rigid schedule. They know if they are hungry or not and forcing them to eat when they're not disables their ability to eat when they need to, not when they think they should.
  • Have your child eat at the kitchen table, not in front of the TV where he will develop mindless eating habits.
  • Discourage snacking between meals and never use food as a pacifier for your child in the car or at home.
  • Finally, encourage your child to develop good eating habits by following those habits yourself. Kids never buy into the "do as I say, not as I do argument."

If you are able to instill good eating habits in a child early, you will have given them a gift that is priceless. They won't have to fight the diet demon and they will have a far better chance of getting the gift of good health.

If you don't change your habits, your habits will ensure that you never change.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Building a Secure Attachment With Your Child

Building a secure attachment with your child in my view is paramount to healthy parenting. Having a secure attachment means that you have an emotional relationship with your child. This means the individual child feels safe and secure that you as their parent will protect them, love them, nurture them and take care of their basic physical needs. Physical needs include things like clothes that are appropriate for the weather, nutritious food and water and shelter.

Meeting the emotional needs of your child is not easy because we as parents are human beings. We have had our own life experiences and we respond to life's difficulties, challenges and grief according to these experiences. We get stressed, over loaded and at times we want to bury our head and make it all go away. However, as parents our emotional well-being directly affects our child's emotional well-being.

For me, building a secure attachment with your child is the platform in which your child learns about life. Most of all they learn about trust. They also learn to be confident in their choices, develop the self-esteem in knowing that they are worthy of love and to be in relationship with others. Your child's attachment to you as a parent will define the person they will become.

Trust is probably the most important facet of developing a secure attachment. This means that your child trusts that you as their parent will provide for their needs. Helene Goldnadel gives you an example of how the trust cycle evolves.
  • The child has a need (eg hungry, fallen over and hurt themselves)
  • The child has an emotional response (eg they are fussing or crying)
  • They need a sense of gratification (eg the parent provides food or comfort)
  • They develop trust (eg the child learns that their parent will help during a time of need)

So as parents to build a secure attachment you need to learn your child's emotional and physical cues and respond appropriately. if your child cries, comfort him or her. If your child is angry, find out why, validate their emotion and talk about healthy ways of expressing anger. If your child is happy, join in on the fun. When your child is playing, play with them and enter their imaginary world. This will in turn affect how well your child can trust others in the world to meet these needs.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Well Child Checkups: A Crucial Aspect of A Child's Overall Health Care

Most parents will hardly give a thought to taking their child to a doctor when they are not ill. After all, if your child is well, where's the need to go to the doctor, right? The truth is, regular well child checkups are a vital part of your child's overall health care. They allow your pediatrician to do a regular assessment of your child's development, especially in those first crucial years.

What Happens in a Well Child Checkup?

Well child checkups are basically check ups that you take your child to even though he or she is the picture of good health. These checkups are done at regular scheduled appointments from the time the baby is born till they are 3 years of age.

During your well child visits, your pediatrician will conduct a few medical tests and administer certain medical services depending upon your child's age and health.

At every doctor check up, your child's height and weight will be measured in order to track regular growth and development. In addition, the pediatrician will check your child's temperature and heartbeat and do hearing and vision tests. If your child is under 3 years of age, the doctor may also decide to do a lead screening.

Immunizations are also an important part of these well child visits.

Why Well Child Checkups are So Important

When you take a sick child to the doctor, everybody's immediate concern is to get the child well and healthy again and that becomes the focus of the visit. When you take a child who is not ill to the doctor, it allows the doctor to do a proper assessment of the child's physical health.

These healthy check ups also act as an effective preventive measure. Because the visits are scheduled regularly and recorded, the doctor will immediately notice when something is wrong. This allows the doctor to identify problems in the early stages and recommend a course of action accordingly or refer you to a specialist if need be.

Preparing Yourself for a Doctor Visit

For parents, these visits are the ideal time to get all your questions answered and all doubts clarified. As parents, we worry about our children all the time. Are we doing the right thing? Is my child growing as he or she should? Should I worry because my child has not yet started walking or talking? We have a hundred questions going through our minds. While asking other parents can be helpful, sometimes it can only deepen our fears as every parent has a different experience. When it comes to your child's health, it is best to get professional advice from your doctor. Make a list of questions and doubts as and when they crop up and take that list with you on your next visit so you can get all your doubts clarified. Use this time to get all your issues addressed whether they are on health and safety; growth and development; nutrition and diet or sleep habits.