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Friday, July 27, 2007

Goal Setting for Children

We all know that without goals one can't achieve anything.
Whenever you see anything worthwhile being done anywhere, it's because someone is behind it with a passion, a belief and a goal!

Its common for every parent to dream and have high expectation on their child's performance which can be for academic, sports, dance, or the arts etc. (Many of us hope that "My son will be a doctor, my daughter will be a lawyer" etc) However, unless you teach your child how to set goals and then help her to accomplish it, your child will be among the mediocre. Remember not to force your own dreams and expectation as a child onto her, but let her have her own dreams but help her to achieve it!

STEP 1. Help your child develop a DESIRE to achieve the goal. The desire must be intense. How do you intensify the desire? Let her sit down and write out all the benefits and advantages of achieving her goal. Once the list goes between 50 and 100 her goal becomes unstoppable.

STEP 2. WRITE the goal down. Once it goes into writing it becomes substantial and starts etching itself into her subconscious. Place copies of your child's goal at strategic places in the house. For eg, on the wall next to your child's bed. Having to see it often will give emphasis for her to achieve it.

STEP 3. IDENTIFY 1) the obstacles she will need to overcome, 2) the help she will need to acquire, e.g. knowledge, people, organizations. In each case write them out in a clear list and analyze them.

STEP 4. Every goal must have a definite DEADLINE. Help her analyze where she are now in relation to the goal and then measure how long she will reasonably need to complete the goal. Then set the latest outside date. "Instead of I'll become a millionaire, think "I'll be a millionaire before I reach 21".

STEP 5. Take all the details of steps 3 and 4 and make a PLAN. List all the activities and prioritize them. Rewrite the list, optimize it, perfect it.

STEP 6. Get a clear MENTAL PICTURE of the goal already accomplished. Make the mental image crystal clear, vivid in the mind's eye. Play that picture over and over in your mind. For example, my daughter wants to be the among top 3 students in her class. From the start of the year, I asked her to chart her targeted progress and the actual marks achieved and to increase her marks obtained by at least 5% for each term.

STEP 7. Help your child to be PERSISTENT. Never, never, never give up even when she hits setbacks.

Follow those steps religiously and you can help your child to be successful at goal setting.

Last but not the least - Take these 7 steps and rewrite them on a card or in a notebook for frequent reference. Keep them on your computer in a note on your desktop.

Keep checking your child's goal against the 7 steps frequently to measure her progress and help keep her on track.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Practical Parenting - Communicating with your teenage child

My son turned 13 this year. So far (touch wood) he has not shown any signs of rebellion, moodiness or giving me the silent treatment.However, being a parent of 4, I've read up on and learned from the experiences of my friends and relatives who have teenage children on how to communicate and deal with teenagers . Here's a list on how to "Talk" and how to "listen" to our children. Hope you find them useful!

 Be careful with your tone of voice and choice of words as
these may distort the message.
 Encourage your child to talk by asking “open ended”
 Bring up topics in conversation that your child knows more
about than you do. This will not only encourage
conversation, but also boost his confidence. ( Try to watch
a couple of TV shows that are popular with your children
or read up some of their favourite books so that you have
topic to talk about. I like to watch Pokemon, Powerpuff
Girls and other cartoons with them.)
 When discussing issues on which you and your child may
disagree, use “I- words” rather than you-words.”
 Pick the best time to have your conversations, depending on
the importance of what you want to communicate to your
child and your child’s frame of mind. Begin the
conversation in a causal, non – confrontational way.
 Try to have at least one meal together as a family (and
switch off the TV) so that every member of the family can
communicate about their daily happenings.
 Try to spend individual time with each of your child so
that he/she can tell you things that he/she find too
personal to share with others.
 If possible, join the PTA program offered in your child’s
school so that you can keep track of the events that affect
him at school. (Recently I got to go along with my eldest
son’s class to attend a play, not only did I get free
entertainment, more importantly, I met his friends and form
teachers and learned how he generally relates to his

 Pay full attention when your child talks to you; don't try
to read the paper or do your housework. When you listen to
him, listen to the nonverbal cues as well as to grasp the
message completely.
 Ask appropriate questions and repeat what you think is your
child is saying to be sure that you are getting the message
 Give appropriate verbal encouragement as your child talks,
and end your conversation only when your child is ready to
end it, not when you are.
 Take your child's concerns seriously and show respect
through your language and demeanour.
 Keep an open mind. Recognise that you and your child will
not agree on everything.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Personality Traits of a Leo Baby

Do children born in a specific star behave in a particular manner and have specific temperment? I find that both my husband and daughter, who are Taurus, are careful with money and are generally stubborn.

Well, for those of you who have kids born during July 23 to August 22 (LEO), check out the following article. Feel free to give me your feedback on how much truth is in this article.

The Personality Traits of a Leo Baby by Tony Luck

Your Leo Baby..

July 23 - August 22

Leo children are sunny, friendly personalities who love to be the centre of attention. They love parties and seem to have endless energy. Your young Leo will be more often on the move than still and will love playing games and joining in physical activities. A Leo child will be adventurous and can sometimes be reckless. Leos love parties and will be generous with possessions.

You will soon notice that your Leo baby will like to be waited on and Leo children dislike doing menial tasks. Leo girls may go through a tom-boy phase as they are happiest when doing something physical.

Leos need freedom in which to grow and experiment. Emotionally they can be turbulent and dramatic. A Leo child is trusting and needs plenty of love. Lies can be hurtful, even if they are flattering ones. There is a danger that Leos may become boastful and parents will need to watch for this from an early age. Young Leos should be encouraged to help around the home from an early age to ensure that they do not grow into little tyrants.

Leo children have a friendly nature that will endear them to everyone. Their warm-heartedness and generosity mean that you will need to teach your child how to handle money carefully.

The typical Leo child is healthy but prone to high fevers and accidents. A Leo will enjoy being fussed over in bed but this will soon wear off and she will be up again and on the go very quickly.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Word Games

If you like to spend quality time with your kids without distractions from the TV or computer games, where you don't even have to buy any Board game to have hours of fun, Just try some of these Word Games.

1. Choose a long word such as Breakthrough. Ask the kids to make words using the alphabets in the word. Limit the time to 5 mins, ask the youngest child to read out her list of words. If there are similar words with the other participants then cancel those words from each child's list. Continue until each child's list has been read out. The child with the most uncancelled words is the winner.
Younger children get to learn new words from the older ones.

2. On a paper draw 6 columns. On the top of each column write the following as header: Name, Country, Animals, Fruits, Things and Marks. Repeat for each child who will be playing. (Having at least 4 participant will make the game more interesting.) Ask the youngest to choose an alphabet. Then each participant has to write words beginning with that alphabet. For eg, lets say that the alphabet chosen was B, then each would write a Name: Benny, Country: Brazil, Animal: Bear, Fruit: Banana & Things: Ball etc. Ask a child to read out her list. If they are the same as another persons' than 5 marks will be given for that category. If no one else has chosen that word than 10 points will be given. Continue until all the alphabets are used up. Highest mark at the end wins.

3. Make your own boggle game using Scrabble tiles ( or create some tiles using paper or cardboard). Arrange the tiles in a Square of 5X5 (or bigger if you want it to be easier.) Flip over to show the alphabets then start forming words and writing them down on paper. Set a time limit to make it more difficult. The only rule is that the alphabets must be adjacent to each other.

4. Choose a category, for eg, Film titles, (let take Star Wars for eg). Draw 4 dashes then a space then 4 more dashes to indicate the alphabets in the title. Let your child choose an alphabet. If it is in the title then fill it up on the correct space of the dashes ( lets say "T" was chosen then the 2nd dash would be filled with "T". Otherwise start drawing a stick man starting with the head. For every wrong alphabet continue to draw the body, hands and legs. ( If you want to give more chances then draw eyes, nose and mouth.)

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Toddlers love to play!

How to keep your toddler occupied (so that he is not demolishing your rooms) and enjoy quality time with him/her?

Here are some ideas

  • Scribble Away - Toddlers love to scribble on paper or on any other materials at hand ( Like the walls, floor, on their sibling's school books and reports or on the leather sofa etc.) with crayons, pencils and paints. Isolate a room or area to do this activity so as to reduce mess. Extra attention is needed as your child might put the pens and paints into her mouth!
  • Dressing Up is fun - Collect clothes inexpensively through yard sales, Dollar Stores, Halloween clearances and Good Will. Pick up things such as jewelry, hats, sun glasses, badges, fancy dresses, costumes and other articles of interest. Let your child use her imagination and creativity for endless fun. (A great hit with my daughter especially when her friends are invited to our house.)
  • Time to take out the water guns - Toddlers love to play with water. They like to empty and fill containers and playing with ducky and other water toys during bath time. Fill up the garden pool and let the toddlers waddle and play in the water while older siblings can play using water guns. (As drowning is a major risk for toddlers pay extra attention at all time while they handle water!)
  • Time for a song - Singing with toddlers and playing games using the words or action from the song will be both fun and will help expand your toddlers knowledge of words and help her to learn to talk. Some songs that you can sing along with your child 1) Old MacDonald 2)This is the way I brush my teeth etc.
  • Books galore - Reading aloud to toddlers, like singing is very stimulating for them.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Most working mothers don't feel comfortable to breastfeed, especially for 1 to 2 years - which is the norm in other societies as well as the recommended length of time for breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding has been made easier due to the various pumps and milk storage equipments widely available nowadays. Most medium to large firms would have a pantry with a fridge for mothers to store their milk during working hours. Moreover, most shopping centres and hospitals also provide a room for the convenience of the mother who wishes to breastfeed.

Now lets look at the advantages and importance of breastmilk

  • Breastmilk is the perfect food for babies

  • It protects against infection and some chronic diseases

  • It makes the bond between the baby and the mother stronger by providing security and comfort to the baby

  • It's free and comes at no cost to the environment.

  • It is convenient as there is no need for sterilization of bottles, scrubbing teats, lugging bottle and sterile water around, mixing formula, keeping formula chilled, warming formula for feeds....

How long to breastfeed?

It is recommended for mothers to breastfeed their babies exculively until the baby is 6 months old. After you have introduced solids, you should continue to breastfeed at least until she turns one. World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends breastfeeding until your child turns 2.

Problems involved in breastfeeding

Engorgement - Most common 3 or 4 days after
birth. Your breasts overfill with milk, making them feel heavy and hard. Your milk production will probably settle down after a few days; try expressing a little milk before feeds.

Blocked duct - maybe caused by engorgement; try offering the affected breast first when baby's sucking is strongest - this may clear the blockage. Keep your nipples clean and wear a well-fitting bra.

Sore nipple - Can be caused by baby incorrectly latching on. Try rubbing milk on the nipple after a feed.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

A Toast to Parenthood!

Hi everyone,

My name is Sue and I'm a mother of four. My youngest daughter just turned 1 while my elderest son is 13. Everyone knows that being a parent has its ups and downs. Its a wonder and joy to look at your child's first smile, hear her bable"MaMa", take her first wobbly step independently etc. On the other hand, listening to screams of "He pushed me!, She took my stuff!" etc, and other forms of sibling rivalry can cause alot of stress and headace.

I like to share my joys and headaches with you all and hope to get feedback from all of you. I'd like to share with you what I have experienced first hand, what I have heard from friends and relatives as well as snippets that I have read up on and feel that will be useful to other parents.

Thats all for now, Bye!

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