Effective conversation helps parents create lasting, meaningful relationships with their kids. These 10 powerful statements can get you started on your way.
In the book: “Ten Powerful Things to Say to Your Kids: Creating the Relationship You Want with the Most Important People in Your Life” by Paul Axtell, he pointed that effective conversation—what you say, how you say it, when you say it—is one of the only tools parents have in creating lasting and meaningful relationships with their kids.
Paul also mentioned that: your words and conversations create your reality, your future and your relationships. What you talk about—or don’t talk about—defines your relationship. The primary conversations that surround your children are your conversations. And those are the conversations you have the power to change.
And you can start by using my list of the 10 most powerful things you can say to your kids:
1. I like you.
This is a different statement from “I love you.” This statement says, “I like who you are as a person.” Use them both.
2. You’re a fast learner.
Learning is natural. Young children are amazing at it. Learning is play to them. What you say to them early influences how they relate to learning later in life, when it can be more difficult or frustrating.
3. Thank you.
Simple courtesies are a sign of respect. Social skills are critical in life, and the best training for tact and grace starts early.
4. How about we agree to…
This is about establishing a few basic agreements that set the stage for how you work together within the family. Having agreements in place helps avoid common issues and provides a framework within which to solve problems when they do arise.
5. Tell me more.
This is a request for your children to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas with you. It also involves learning to listen, which is always a gift because it signals that you care.
6. Let’s read.
Reading to your kids brings so many benefits. It helps them build skills they need for success in life. It enriches your relationship and instills a love of learning. And books provide a gateway to the world—people, places and ideas.
7. We all make mistakes. Problems happen. No one is perfect. Dealing with problems and learning from mistakes are vital life skills. When you have a moment in which you don’t live up to your own standards, it’s an opportunity to show your children how to take responsibility for mistakes and move on. Kids can beat themselves up over not meeting your expectations or not being perfect. Giving each other a little room around this is a gift for both of you.
8. I’m sorry.
It’s something you can learn to say. Better yet, learn to catch yourself before saying something that might later require an apology.
9. What do you think?
Asking for input and giving kids a chance to be part of family conversations lets them learn to exercise their decision-making skills and begin to take responsibility for their choices. Expressing what you think and asking for what you want are fundamental skills that will serve your children throughout their lives.
While I do think “no” is still a viable option at times, too often parents are “a ‘no’ waiting to happen.” If you create a pattern of “yes” in your family, you’ll find that “no” doesn’t need to be said as often as you think.
The new school year is here! If you’re having a bit of trouble thinking of baon ideas, here are a few recipes you can steal:
1. Veggie Frittata with Chicken Fingers
Makes 6 servings
Takes 30 minutes
- Sauté 1 diced medium onion, then 3 minced garlic cloves in 2 tablespoon butter until soft but not brown.
- Add 1/2 cup each diced artichoke hearts, sliced mushrooms, and grated zucchini, and 1/4 cup grated carrots.
- Cook until soft but not brown. Beat 6 large eggs well with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Fill silicone baking cups with vegetable mixture about half way up. Top with egg mixture then with 1/2 cup prepared marinara sauce and more Parmesan cheese.
- Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes then lightly scrape the sides to loosen each frittata.
- Pack with chicken fingers.
Baon trick: Make this dish healthier by adding 1 cup cooked quinoa to the veggie mix, and substitute any of the veggies with your child’s faves.
2. Italian Rice Balls Box
Makes 6 servings
Takes 50 minutes
- Sauté 1 chopped medium onion and 3 minced garlic cloves. Add 1/2 kilogram ground beef and 3/4 cup frozen green peas. Add 1 1/4 cup prepared marinara sauce. Set aside.
- Combine 4 cups freshly cooked rice, 1 large egg, and 3/4 cups Parmesan cheese.
- Using a resealable kitchen bag, mold about 1/2 cup of rice around a cube of mozzarella cheese and beef filling into a ball. Tightly compress.
- Roll in seasoned Italian breadcrumbs (breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and dried parsley, oregano, and basil).
- Lightly fry in extra virgin olive oil on medium-high heat. Then bake, 1/2 inch apart, for 20-30 minutes at 350°F until cheese oozes.
- Pack with meatballs, veggie sticks, and marinara sauce.
Baon trick: Make this for dinner, then pack the leftovers for next day’s lunch.
3. Sweet Potato Pancakes with Fish Fingers
Makes 6 servings
Takes 30 minutes
- Coarsely peel then grate 1/2 kg. Taiwan kamote. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in 3 finely chopped scallions, greens only, 2 large eggs, and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Drop rounded tablespoons of the chunky batter into a frying pan on medium-low heat and flatten to form a pancake. Fry on each side about 4-5 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
- Meanwhile, season 2 cream dory fish fillets with extra virgin olive oil, capers, and calamansi. Slice fish fillets into fingers. Grill on an oiled grill pan until opaque.
- Pack pancakes with sour cream and fish fingers.
Baon trick: Mix carrots into the kamote mixture, too.
4. Baked Veggie Macaroni
Makes 6 servings
Takes 30 minutes
- Sauté 1 chopped medium onion in extra virgin olive oil. Add 4 minced garlic cloves; do not brown.
- Add veggies: 1 chopped small head of broccoli, 1 chopped large zucchini, 8 chopped tomatoes, 1 chopped unskinned eggplant, 1 chopped large green bell pepper, 1 coarsely grated large carrot, and a handful of freshly chopped basil leaves. Sauté until softened; cool for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to boil and cook 1 400-gram pack of macaroni shells. Blend sautéed vegetables in blender or food processor until puréed. Drain pasta.
- Mix sauce with cooked shells. Top with mozzarella cheese and basil; bake.
- Pack with garlic bread and fruits.
Baon trick: Salt and pepper each additional vegetable that’s added to the mix.
5. Three-Bean White Chicken Chili
Makes 6 servings
Takes 20 minutes
- Sauté 1 chopped medium onion and 3 minced garlic cloves. Add 300 grams chopped boneless chicken breast, and cook all the way through.
- Add 1 400-gram can each cannellini beans, pink beans, and baked beans or in equal parts, if not using the entire can.
- Season with a dash each of ground cumin, ground sage, salt and pepper to taste.
- Finish with 1 227-gram can drained pineapple tidbits.
- Pack with steamed rice, steamed broccoli florets, and homemade chocolate chip cookies as a snack.
Baon trick: Use your choice of canned beans and lean meat like ground turkey, or swap white rice with brown for a healthier option.
This article was originally published in the June 2015 issue of Good Housekeeping Philippines magazine.
No doubt, it can be tough parenting a preschooler. It’s at this age that your child has developed significantly in many areas including physically, socially, emotionally and in his use of language. He’s starting to outgrow being a baby! As he starts to explore and test his independence, your parenting approach may need to adjust as well. If you catch yourself doing the following, take a deep breath and pay heed to the following tips.
1. You are unclear how you want your child to behave.
Your preschooler is still navigating the world and learning all its complicated rules. Your job is to guide him towards the right direction. If he’s “matigas ang ulo” or you want him to stop doing something, like play with his food, what do you say? Instinctively, you might say, “no,” “stop,” “don’t” or simply blurt out our child’s name (“Lucy!”).
What to do: Better directions will tell your child what behavior is expected of him and prevent misbehavior in the future. Try to say “Eat your food” or “Keep your bowl on the table please.” Establishing rules beforehand makes it clear to your child how you expect him to behave. Just make sure the consequences are specific and logical.
“If you play with the basketball in the house, we’ll have to keep it outside.” Avoid starting with “If you don’t…” said Madelyn Swift, author of Discipline for Life: Getting It Right With Children.
Instead, go for “When you’ve finished homework then you may play with the tablet.”
2. You don’t read to your preschooler anymore.
Your child is at an age where reading books continues to be an essential bedtime routine. Even if she already knows how to read on her own, reading together is still a must, according to speech language therapist Anthony D. Koutsoftas, PhD., who has over 12 years of clinical experience that includes child language and literacy. Books develop your child’s reading and language abilities.
What to do: Make a habit of reading aloud together. Plus, now that your child is more talkative, be okay with letting him interrupt the story to ask and answer questions. Koutsoftas told Smart Parenting, “I think it’s important to let kids have a dialogue with you even if it doesn’t seem to be about the book. When the kid points to a book and says, ‘Oh, that red balloon looks like my red truck,’ they are connecting it to what they know. They are learning how to be inquisitive when they ask questions.”
3. You don’t engage with your preschooler when he’s being “madaldal.”
It can sometimes be too easy to ignore what your preschooler is telling you when your mind is preoccupied with work or errands. Also, let’s face it — children interrupt us all the time. Ignoring your child altogether or giving him a quick shush is a missed opportunity to teach him about respect, empathy, and caring behavior, said psychologist Dr. Melanie Greenberg.
What to do: Be a role model of how your preschooler should treat other people. Instead of giving him the cold shoulder, say something like, “It’s hard for me to listen to you right now because I’m busy cooking.” Then, you can tell your child you’ll get back to her right after you’re done.
4. You let your child have unlimited screen-time.
Gadgets and screens are being placed in the hands of younger and younger kids, and it’s having a strong effect on their behavior, according to Michelle Lichauco-Tambunting, co-founder and directress of Young Creative Minds Preschool. “One of the first things I tell our teachers to ask during parent-teacher meetings is ‘How much screen-time or TV-time is your child getting?’ If they’ve already had so much screen-time that’s going to be the child that hardly sits down, who cannot finish a puzzle, who will not finish coloring, who will not share because they cannot wait for their turn.”
What to do: “You can’t kick the Internet and the digital age out the door. You have to learn to live with it,” said Michelle. Set up parameters and rules for gadget use instead. Put a time limit on your preschooler’s screen-time and monitor what apps he uses. Plus, “let gadgets and screens be your last defense,” said Michelle. “Have these gadgets with you by all means. [But] teach kids that there are other things they can play with,” says Michelle.
5. You don’t assign your preschooler household chores.
The earlier your child starts doing chores, the better, said Elizabeth Anne King-Santos, professor in Early Childhood Education in Kalayaan College and Roosevelt College. Chores at a young age help children build good habits, a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility, and self-reliance. Household chores are one of the most helpful tools to raise a child who isn’t spoiled, can express empathy, and understands the meaning of gratitude.
What to do: Elizabeth shared that at 4-year-old son Inigo already knew it was his job to fix his bed in the morning, water the plants, and help his mom set the table. Find a list of age-appropriate chores for your preschooler here.
6. You are quick to dismiss his behavior as “acting.”
Preschoolers can sometimes be drama kings and queens. It’s easy to lose your patience and dismiss your child’s “antics” and “pag-iinarte” with an irritated reprimand. But again, by doing so you miss the opportunity to be a role model for empathy and caring behavior.
What to do: When your child is showing you he’s frustrated or mad, understand that there is a reason for it. A simple phrase like, “I understand how you’re feeling. I would be sad about it too” along with a hug is sometimes all your child needs to feel better.
And, when it comes to your child’s opinions, don’t be so hasty to prove him wrong or say no. “Like grown-ups, children want to feel that their opinions matter — and often get mad when they are told they are wrong,” says Dr. Thompson. For example, when your child says, “I don’t want to go to school!” instead of saying “You have to”, try “What don’t you like about school?”
7. You don’t have conversations with your preschooler.
We talk a lot to our kids, but a lot of it is telling them to hurry up getting dressed in the morning or to remind them to bring their baon. However, real conversations are important in nurturing a parent-child relationship.
What to do: Make it a point to really talk to your child. “Pick the time when you know [your] child is most willing to talk,” said Julie Lythcott-Haims in her bestselling book How to Raise an Adult. It could be at bedtime, during bath time or the car ride home from school. Initiate the conversation. “Show an interest in what they’ve been doing or what matters to them,” says Lythcott-Haims.
I’ll never shy away from saying that moms are among the busiest people on the planet. They have so much going on in their busy schedules that it’s hard to overlook them. When a mom is pregnant (first time or otherwise), however, that busy schedule often has to be put on hold.
When pregnant, many moms are forced to slow down and take it easy. This is something that the “busy bee” mindset of a mom isn’t ready to adjust to. As a result, the overactive minds of these expecting moms suffer from the tragic condition known as pregnancy boredom (gasp).
Luckily for moms who face this affliction, we’ve stumbled across a helpful list designed to fight the boredom associated with pregnancy. Check out this resourceful list and find out some helpful ways to make pregnancy a little more fun:
1. Fill up your schedule
The best way to fight boredom, even when there’s no “bread in the oven”, is to avoid downtime. The most effective way to do this is to fill up your schedule and to always stay preoccupied. Now expecting mothers can’t be too overactive and overexert themselves. So, perhaps instead of big, intrepid activities, pregnant mommies can keep busy in other ways. For example, try organizing some things around the house you’ve been putting off, get a manicure or pedicure regularly, or plan dinner dates with your close friends! Anything to keep your mind busy will keep you from feeling bored while pregnant!
2. Treat yourself
Don’t cut yourself short of fun activities! If you’re going to abide by method #1, you should make sure you’re filling up your schedule with enjoyable activities. Treat yourself to things that are engaging or delightful. Try getting a massage, buy some quality beauty products, or splurge on that night out with your friends. Obviously, money can’t buy happiness but you deserve to treat yourself from time to time. Also, it’ll help make pregnancy a little more fun.
3. Don’t focus on things like due dates
Remember when you were in school and staring at the clock during last period? Time would seemingly stand still as you waited for the bell to ring and you could finally go home! The reason why time would move so slow is because knowing the exact time and date of something builds the anticipation and makes you impatient.
If you don’t focus on things like a due date, you’ll start to fixate on that exact time and date and time will move incredibly slow! Your baby will come whenever he/she is ready, and there’s not much you can do to change that. Eliminate the impatience and let go of worrying about due dates!
4. Feather the nest
One additional way to fill your schedule is to feather your nest, so to say. In other words, get ready for your expected baby by fixing up their nursery or tidying up the home. No need to condense this entry into one day, you’ve got tons of time to spend getting ready!
5. Go on a date
Nothing beats a good date night with your significant other, and that certainly doesn’t change when you’re expecting. Try implementing a night out on the town with your partner every now and then. It’s yet another way to fill your schedule, and treat yourself!
6. Spend some quality “me time”
It may seem strange that on a list covering ways to not be bored we’d suggest spending time alone. However, for those who understand the beauty and importance of me time, this entry speaks for itself. You won’t really get a lot of me time when your baby arrives so it’s always wise to try to knock out some of those personal goals while you have more time available.
If you have a long list of books you’ve been meaning to read, movies/TV shows to watch, or other therapeutic me time activities, take the time to handle them while time is abundant. They’ll keep you busy, you’ll be entertained, and you’ll feel accomplished. That’s a win-win-win, moms!
Did you know that there are over 3 million visits to the emergency room each year from children under the age one?
Pretty disconcerting, right? As if being a parent weren’t nerve-wracking enough as it is.
There’s no doubt you’re already a cautious parent, but what if I told you there were 5 ways to keep your baby safe from some of the most common yearly injuries?
In a video post from eHow, experts explained how to keep your babies as safe as possible in the home! Avoid these common at-home chances of injury by being prepared. Check out the list of ways to keep your baby safer than ever at home.
1. High chair safety
According to eHow, one baby visits the ER from falling out of a high chair…EVERY HOUR! Don’t assume that your baby is safe and sound in their high chair. Parents who wish to avoid any high chair injuries should be vigilant and mindful of their babies when they’re in their high chair. Also, it’s wise to take advantage of the built-in safety restraints found on most models of high chairs. If your child’s high chair doesn’t have safety restraints, consider investing in one that does!
2. Pacifier/Sippy cup safety
Img Source: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/verArFqktsI/maxresdefault.jpg
Approximately 2,300 kids per year are injured as a result of falling down with a pacifier or sippy cup in their mouth! Typically, this occurs in children who are learning to walk. When your kids start to learn to walk, make sure that they aren’t on the move with something in their mouth! Then, once they’ve come to a stationary position allow them to use the pacifier or sippy cup.
3. Button battery awareness
Button batteries are pretty common in household appliances and gadgets; heck, even some toys are powered by button batteries. The danger with these items, is that they look pretty similar to candies or sweets, and are very small and easy for a baby to swallow. In fact, 3,000 kids a year are sent to the ER as a result of swallowing a button battery. Always make sure that any battery powered products accessible to your baby are free of compartments with these tiny batteries.
4. Electrical cord safety
Each year, a handful of babies are maimed or killed as a result of getting entangled by an electric cord! Sometimes, the cords that are trapping the babies are from their baby monitors. Experts say to avoid baby monitors that use cords. If that’s unavoidable, they recommend that the cord be at least 3-feet away from the crib–well out of reach!
5. Bedtime safety
Bedtime can actually be pretty dangerous for a baby if you aren’t aware of the dangers, and worst-case scenarios. For example, babies who sleep on their stomachs are far more likely to from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Always rest a baby on their backs–not their tummies. Also, suffocation is another looming threat if you’re unaware of the possibility. Pillows, and blankets should be placed outside of the crib to ensure your baby is as safe as can be when sleeping. And, as an added tip, be sure to use tight-fitting sheets for your babies crib to make sure no loose folds of the sheet cause any harm to your sleeping baby.