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10 ways to understanding Children’s Emotions and The Learning Power of Play

Play and EmotionsPlay is an outlet for children to make sense of what they see, think and feel. It allows them the opportunity to express themselves, which is a vital part of their physical, intellectual and emotional development. Children can often struggle with their feelings and this frustration can lead to difficult behaviour, such as tantrums. It is important that parents take an active role in their child’s emotional development and to lead by example when it comes to expressing anger, sadness and frustration in a healthy way.

  1. The importance of play in a child’s life cannot be underestimated. Play is a child’s work and is ‘serious stuff’.
  2. Play helps children develop self-esteem and good social skills. It is also an important element in improving your child’s motor skills, problem-solving abilities and aids physical and intellectual development.
  3. Can you, as a parent, spend 20 minutes a day playing, listening and talking to your child?
  4. Our ability to feel and express our emotions helps us to stay connected with the world around us and to work through our feelings in healthy way.
  5. Children will express their sadness and grief quite naturally given the right amount of support. Children and young people learn how to express and deal with emotion from their parents and family members.
  6. We need fear to keep us safe. However, if children are too full of fear they will not be able to stand up for themselves or to express themselves. It is important to show children that feeling fear is normal. Tell them some of your fears and how you cope, in doing this, you enable your child to develop these skills too.
  7. Children need boundaries around the good stuff just like they need boundaries around fear and anger.
  8. Children’s natural impulse is to hit out when they feel angry. Adults need to be able to help children to manage and  express their anger in a healthy way.
  9.  A child who displays too little anger may be open to bullying and may be seen as a bit of a ‘wimp’ and a pushover.
  10. A child who expresses too much anger may become a bully and have difficulty in managing emotions without becoming aggressive or even violent. This can make it difficult for the child to have healthy social relationships.

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly. Coming up next week; 10 Ways to Talk to Your Child about Your Family Situation. 

LIVE Facebook Q&A on this topic with Geraldine, 2 March from 11am-12pm on One Family’s Facebook pageJoin in and post your questions.

Next you might like to read, 10 Ways to Support a Child Who is Being Bullied or 10 Ways to Support a Child Who is Bullying

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email support@onefamily.ie.

Difficult Behaviour

10 Ways to Handle Difficult Behaviour – Part One

Difficult BehaviourDifficult behaviour can be tough to deal with, especially when you are already under stress. Children act out for many reasons and tantrums are often the result of frustration and misunderstanding. Here are a few tips on how to handle this difficult behaviour and to teach your children the power of positive choices.

  1. Positive parenting requires parents to teach their children how to make good choices and to provide them with the tools to do so.
  2. Using discipline as a tool for teaching promotes self-esteem, responsibility and good choices.
  3. A child who learns that there are consequences for their choices will be in a much better position to negotiate the challenges of adult life than a child who does not know their limits.
  4. It is a common misconception that in order to behave in a loving way a parent must meet a child’s every whim and allow them to express their impulses and desires without limits.
  5.  Strong, but not rigid, boundaries help children to feel safe and secure.
  6. Tantrums are often a sign of the child becoming frustrated with the world, especially if they can’t get a parent to do something that they want.
  7.  Handled well, tantrums should decrease as the child learns to negotiate their environment more effectively.
  8.  A parent’s role is to attempt to manage and organise a child’s environment so as to minimize the causes of tantrums.
  9. When dealing with a tantrum; speak at your child’s level, establish and maintain eye contact and give clear commands.
  10. Tell your children what you would like them to do and why. Be Clear. Be Consistent.

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly. Coming up next week; 10 Ways to Handle Difficult Behaviour – Part Two.

LIVE Facebook Q&A on this topic with Geraldine, 16 February from 11am-12pm on One Family’s Facebook pageJoin in and post your questions.

Next you might like to read,  10 Ways to make Positive Parenting Changes.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email support@onefamily.ie.

 

10 Ways to Feel Pride in Your Family

Family PrideIt is important for you and your children to have a sense of pride about your family. No matter what form your family takes, what wealth you may or may not have, or what activities you may or may not do, being secure in one’s family and self – which will nurture family pride – is achieved through building strong supportive relationships. It is the quality of these relationships at home that has most importance for a child’s outcomes. When every member of the family feels cherished and valued, they experience higher self-esteem which contributes to family self-esteem. To build strong relationships, establish pride and a sense of innate family self-esteem, we must encourage positive emotional growth in our children and in ourselves. In this week’s instalment of our ’10 Ways to’ parenting tips series, we looks at some ways to nurture positive growth and your family’s sense of pride.

  1. When children feel a sense of belonging and sense of pride in their families, they can be emotionally strong. Developing family rituals and traditions can bolster this.
  2. Giving children messages of encouragement enables them to develop a positive sense of who they are.
  3. Remember that for your child you are the expert – you are the all important ‘big’ person. How you behave impacts most strongly on your child. Develop pride in yourself as a parent and show pride in your family unit.
  4. When you get it wrong say, ‘I am sorry, I made a mistake’. Saying sorry does not weaken your role as a parent and models positive behaviour for your child.
  5. Keep organised. Simple tools such as a hand-drawn weekly planner on the ‘fridge can help with organising activities, menus, homework time etc. Knowing what is happening helps children to feel secure. Don’t be stressed if you do not have an always perfectly clean and tidy home. It’s difficult to achieve with children! What is important is that your home provide a safe, secure and comfortable environment for your child. Every member of the family should treasure their home and feel pride in their space.
  6. Spend some time thinking about how you can best meet your child’s needs and if there are changes you can make.
  7. Examine your needs as a parent. How can you meet these needs? Remember that the key to positive and successful parenting is to parent yourself first. You must meet your own needs so that you can best meet the needs of your child.
  8. Show affection towards each other. Expressing that you care both strengthens and celebrates your bond as a family unit.
  9. Think about respect within your family. Do you respect your children as you do other adults in your life? Do your children respect you? If not, think about why this is and what changes could be made.
  10. Aim to be a ‘good enough’ parent; no one is perfect and we do not want our children to feel they have to be perfect.

This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly. Coming up Next Week: 10 Ways to Understand Why Children Misbehave and the Power of Positive Parenting.

Next you might like to read: 10 ways to Parent Self Care or 10 ways to Improve your Child’s Self Esteem

LIVE Facebook Q&A on this topic with Geraldine, 26 January from 11am-12pm on One Family’s Facebook pageJoin in and post your questions.

Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and information on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email support@onefamily.ie.

Happy child

10 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Self Esteem

Children are a wonderful gift, but they are very delicate and it is often easy for them to feel unappreciated or ignored. As parents, it is very important to make sure our children are growing up happy and confident, and to do that we must make sure they feel special, appreciated, and loved. By recognising their accomplishments and encouraging them to be proud of themselves, we can help them to develop confidence and a sense of achievement that will last them the rest of their lives. In this week’s edition of parenting tips, we highlight 10 ways to improve your child’s self esteem.

1. Children who have lots of positive experiences and positive things said to them will have healthy levels of self esteem, as opposed to children who have many negative experiences growing up.

2. Children need to be recognised and admired. They are important to us and important in the world. Tell them this!

3. Praise children for the efforts they make. The focus should not be on the end result. Children remember praise and it has long-lasting effects.

4. Compliment children on their appearance, how they are doing at school, with friends and with hobbies. Every child is special and should know this.

5. Notice your children’s strengths and tell them what they are. Help them understand how to use those strengths well.

6. Show your child you are so proud of them and the effort they make – to play, to share, to eat dinner etc.

7. Have special time with your child each day and let them know they are top of your list. The feeling of self worth will be enormous.

8. Encourage children to be proud of their own achievements.

9. Encourage children to be open about what strengths they have and also that we all can’t be good at everything. Help them accept they are human, and it is normal to have strengths and weaknesses.

10. Be respectful of children. Talk with them, not at them. Listen to them and hear what they are trying to say. Understand their behaviours and why they exist rather than trying to just fix them. Admire their qualities, even those which are challenging can be used in positive ways throughout life. Accept your child for who they are and tell them everyday how much you love and admire them.

This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Support Your Child’s Sex Education; 10 Ways to Survive Sleepless Nights; 10 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email support@onefamily.ie.

Image credit: Pixabay

Group of people

10 Ways to Respect Differences

Everyone is different, and it is important to be sensitive to that fact. Children look up to their parents and will imitate their behaviour, so the way you act towards others who are different can have a profound impact on them. By making sure you are respectful to everyone, you can ensure your children will do the same. In this week of our parenting tips series, we have 10 ways to respect the differences between yourself and others.

1. Be courteous and friendly to others.  You can help your child respect others by the way you greet people, talk with them, and talk about them afterwards. Children learn from our example.

2. Make a family book about similarities and differences:  You and your child could work together to make a book about the people in your family.

3. Value difference. Arrange a small get-together with one or two families. Each could make a snack that may be different or new to the others, possibly an ethnic food or one that is special in other ways for their family.

4. Meet new friends.  You may want to tell your child about a time when you met someone who seemed different at first but as you got to know the person, you came to appreciate him or her.

5. Use empathy: Can your child remember coming into a group and feeling ignored or left out? Talking about your child’s feelings can help your child develop empathy and begin to see things from another person’s point of view.

6. We believe that we are all special people.

7. Treat others kindly even if they are different.

8. We show we are listening by what we say.

9. We are concerned about each other’s feelings.

10. Use books, the internet and society to introduce your child to difference and in particular all types of families and how they are all unique and special – just like ours.

This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Preschool; 10 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Self Esteem; 10 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating.

For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or emailsupport@onefamily.ie.

 

Image Credit: Pixabay

Family on Swing

10 Ways to Be More Socially Engaged

It’s not always easy for parents, especially those parenting alone and/or with little expendable income, to feel they can establish or maintain a level of social engagement but as parents who are socially engaged generally have higher levels of self esteem, it is crucial to maintain a high level of self esteem and feel comfortable in social situations. This enables parents to support this development in their children. Read on for some of our tips.

10 Ways to Be More Socially Engaged

  1. Visit the play park regularly and talk to other parents
  2. Make play dates with your friends and their children
  3. Make play dates with friends of your children and their parents
  4. Join a club, hobby group or walking group
  5. Join a playgroup
  6. Volunteer in your community or local school etc. (if you are interested, One Family often has volunteer roles available)
  7. Join professional groups: for example, One Family organises a monthly social group outing for lone parents and their children. Call 01 662 9212 or follow our Facebook page for details of the next outing
  8. Engage in community activities and events: free events regularly take place in most communities
  9. Spend time with family when possible
  10. Use social media, wisely, to keep connected. As well as your own social media profiles, there are many online communities established for parents, and you might also like to connect with One Family on Facebook and Twitter

Our next event is our annual Family Day Festival on Sunday 18 May in the Iveagh Gardens, off Harcourt Street, Dublin 2 from 11am to 5pm. It is free and packed full of great activities, entertainment and workshops. Everyone is welcome to attend.

This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ is adapted by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, from our Family Communications training programme.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Positively Maintaining Contact, 10 Ways to Effective Toilet Training and 10 Ways to Understand How Your Child May Feel.

One Family offers a suite of training opportunities for parents and for professionals on an on-going basis. To find out more, click here or call 01 662 9212.

 

(Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net/photostock)

 

Nesting Dolls

10 Ways to Run A Family Meeting

When there is an issue for any family member, holding a family meeting is a good way to resolve it as a family, and regular meetings can promote harmony between all family members.

Read on for our 10 Ways to Run A Family Meeting

  1. Don’t force anyone into doing it. Try saying  ‘  I would like to give this a try – would you?’
  2. Meetings should happen regularly on a certain day and time, even if there are no specific issues.
  3. All family members need to attend, even the youngest.
  4. Set ground rules for the meetings, including how to deal with someone who does not keep their agreements.
  5. Decisions need to be made by consensus.
  6. Make some time in the meeting for each person to say how they appreciate everyone or something someone did that they liked that week.
  7. Nice snacks are important – you can rotate who chooses and prepares the treats. Children will find it fun to be given the responsibility for this task.
  8. As a parent, try not to talk too much – family meetings are about sharing power.
  9. Agree a way forward, write it down and try it.
  10. Review the plan, if it works, great! If not make a new plan.

This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ is adapted by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, from our Family Communications training programme.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Positively Maintaining Contact, 10 Ways to Effective Toilet Training and 10 Ways to Increase Social Engagement.

One Family offers a suite of training opportunities for parents and for professionals on an on-going basis. To find out more, click here or call 01 662 9212.

 

(Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Teerapun)

Siblings

10 Ways to Parent Siblings

Siblings can play wonderful roles throughout each other’s lives though there can be challenges along the way. Here are some of our tips to help nurture those important relationships.

10 Ways to Parent Siblings

  1. Prepare early: talk to older children and prepare them early on about the importance and role of an older sibling as a source of guidance and care. Do be careful that you do not give an older child too much responsibility for a younger one.
  2. Let children express how they feel: if a child is experiencing negative emotions about their brother or sister, allow the child to talk about it. Often a child just needs to be listened to.
  3. Don’t play favourite: never show a special preference for one of your children.
  4. Never compare your children: they are their own individual persons, so celebrate their differences and let them know they are special for who they are.
  5. Respect personal space: make sure each child has enough time and space of their own. Children need opportunities to do their own thing, and to play with their own friends without their sibling.
  6. Positive Communication: teach your children how to positively get attention from each other rather than picking a fight.
  7. Foster co-operation rather than competition: set tasks up that require co-operation among your children, such as having them race the clock to pick up toys instead of racing each other.
  8. Develop ground rules together: have family discussions about what rules to establish and receive feedback from your children. Listening to what they need from you and each other may reduce future conflicts.
  9. Do not shout or lecture: it does not help the situation if you get frustrated too. Your children will learn and imitate the way you handle resolving problems.
  10. Hold children equally responsible: keep in mind that when rules are broken or conflicts arise, it does not matter who started it because it always takes more than one person to cause an argument or fight.

This week’s ’10 Ways to …’ is adapted by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, from our Family Communications training programme.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Positively Maintaining Contact, 10 Ways to Effective Toilet Training and 10 Ways to Run Family Meetings.

One Family offers a suite of training opportunities for parents and for professionals on an on-going basis. To find out more, click here or call 01 662 9212.

(Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net/imagerymajestic)

10 Ways to Build and Maintain a Close Relationship with your Teenager

As part of our ’10 Ways to …’ series which offers tips for parents on a variety of topics, here are our ‘10 Ways to Build and Maintain a Close Relationship with your Teenager‘.

  1. Talk with them: Talking to your teenager, not at them, is the key to good communication.
  2. Listen: Listen to what they have to say and ask questions to help you understand their thinking. Sometimes you need to just accept that they see things differently to you.
  3. Empower them: Help your teen find their own solutions to their issues. Don’t give so much advice – let them think it out.
  4. Let them make mistakes: We all learn from making mistakes. Stop trying to make the world perfect for your teen, they need space to learn. You can be there to support them when times are hard.
  5. Share with them: You may hate watching the Kardashians or football on TV but if your teenager loves them then make the effort to sit and watch it with them. This can be a bonding experience and you will get great insight into how their mind works by doing this.
  6. Make dates: Life is busy as a teen. Make a date with your teenager to do something together and don’t break it – keep it a regular thing.
  7. Forget about their bedroom: Most teens can cause havoc in homes over untidy bedrooms. Try setting some rules that washing must be placed in the wash basket and dishes and food all brought to the kitchen. After that forget it. Public spaces within the home must be respected by all but allow them keep their room as they like it.
  8. Like their friends: and boyfriends/girlfriends. You may not particularly like another teen but try to get to know them and be respectful of them. It’s better to have your teenager hanging out in your home than their friends as then you can know more about what’s going on.
  9. Taxi time: It’s horrid but has to be done. It’s only for a few years but it’s necessary. At least if you bring your teen somewhere and collect them you may have more peace of mind than worrying who they are getting lifts with.
  10. They are teens not babies: Teens from 12 years old onwards want to be treated as young adults – with the exception of when they are sick or tired and want to be babied again. Give them responsibilities, trust them and expect them to follow rules. Don’t judge them too quickly as they are only learning.

The ’10 Ways to …’ series is compiled by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Enjoy School Breaks and 10 Ways to Improve Listening in the Home.

The One Family parenting courses Positive Parenting and Family Communications are enrolling now for March. Click here for information.

10 Ways to Healthier Eating

As part of our ’10 Ways to …’ series which offers tips for parents on a variety of topics, here are our ‘10 Ways to Healthier Eating‘.

  1. Menu: Plan the menu for the week ahead and make a list of the ingredients you will need. When you make a trip to the supermarket, stick to the menu created.
  2. Bring children shopping: Include children by bringing them to the supermarket with you. Tell them you have a list of what to get and that you are only buying things that are on the list. Show them all of the interesting fruit and vegetables on display. Try to buy a new vegetable or fruit each week.
  3. Get children an apron: Involve children in cooking – children from 2 years upwards can help with family cooking. The more children are involved in preparing healthy meals the more eager they will be to eat or at least taste what has been prepared.
  4. Visit a vegetable farm: Let children see how things grow and maybe plant some vegetables at home. Go fruit picking and try making some homemade jams.
  5. Educate children. Talk to children about their bodies and about all the things that our bodies need to stay healthy. Introduce food as one concept. Talk about the different types of food and what they can do for our health. Try Google for lots of ideas or look to the 1000 Days Campaign for inspiration which explores the profound impact the right nutrition has on a child’s ability to grow and learn.
  6. Role model: Be a role model for your child. You must do as you say and eat your own veggies. Find ways to make them taste nicer by looking up some new recipe ideas. Try to get over your own childhood horrors of eating vegetables.
  7. Days out: Get into the habit of bringing healthy snacks as treats. Grapes, melon, dried fruit, wholemeal crackers, yogurts etc are all nutritious and delicious.
  8. 3 meals: Encourage children to have 3 healthy meals each day and if possible sit at the table together to eat them. Don’t make meal times and eating a big issue however. Children need to get positive attention for good behaviours. Forcing children to eat and making them sit at the table for long periods will cause poor eating habits and lead to poor health.
  9. Involve children: Ask children what they like to eat and involve them in making lunches and planning the menu.
  10. Reward: Reward children for trying new foods. They don’t have to like the food but trying it is what you want to see. Never only offer a new food to a child once. From weaning onwards, offer a new food at least 20 times over a period of weeks before you resolve to the fact that your child really does not like it.

The ’10 Ways to …’ series is compiled by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly.

Coming soon: 10 Ways to Enjoy School Breaks, 10 Ways to Improve Listening in the Home and 10 Ways to Build and Maintain a Close Relationship with your Teenager.

The One Family parenting courses Positive Parenting and Family Communications are enrolling now for March. Click here for information.