Cats And Babies: 5 Things Every Expectant Parent Should Know

Cats And Babies: 5 Things Every Expectant Parent Should Know

If you’re expecting a baby, congratulations are in order! As you already know, it’s an exciting time in your life, and there’s so much to prepare for and think about before that memorable day (or night) when your offspring decides to make an appearance into the world!

One thing that some parents-to-be think about is the dynamic of their homes if they have a pet cat. As with most animals, cats can get confused if big changes are being made in their homes and they suddenly see a new human that spends most of their time in the same abode as them!

Cats And Babies: 5 Things Every Expectant Parent Should Know

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Unfortunately, some parents worry too much about what might happen, and so they decide to put their feline friends up for adoption before the arrival of their newborn babies. While that’s something you could do, it’s an extreme reaction! The good news is that cats and kids DO get along okay – as long as you do some preparation work beforehand. Here are some things all soon-to-be parents should know about babies and cats:

  1. Your home should be clean at all times

The last thing you want to do is introduce germs and bacteria to your newborn baby and make them ill at such a vulnerable time in their lives. As much as we don’t like to admit it, cats can make our homes dirty – especially when they bring fleas back home with them!

Luckily you can reduce the risk of that happening by keeping your home clean, including the area where your cat sleeps at night. And if your feline friend does have fleas, use some flea and tick drops on them to sort the problem out.

  1. You must get your cat used to the idea of a new human

One of the things on your to-do list will be to prepare a nursery room for your new offspring. Even though you may wish to get the work done as quickly as possible, it’s important to do it gradually from your cat’s point of view.

Taking such an approach will ease your cat into the idea that changes are afoot at home, and they can familiarize themselves with the new baby equipment such as cots and changing stations.

Cats And Babies: 5 Things Every Expectant Parent Should Know

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  1. Give your cat some space

Once the new arrival comes home, your cat will most likely want to mark out his or her territory in your home.

What you can do is create an area of your home where your feline friend can spend their time alone without getting disturbed by the baby or anyone else for that matter.

Give your cat some toys to play with in “their” room or area, and include things like scratching posts and perches.

  1. Ban your cat from the nursery

It’s critical that you prevent your cat from entering the room where your baby will be sleeping. First of all, it ensures you maintain a clean environment for your newborn. And, secondly, the cat won’t try to sleep next to your baby.

  1. Supervise your cat and baby when they are together

One final thing to bear in mind is that babies should NEVER be left alone with cats under any circumstances! Whenever your cat wanders into the same room as your baby, be sure to keep a close eye on things.

Cats And Babies: 5 Things Every Expectant Parent Should Know

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Talent Ahoy! Investing In Your Child’s Passions

Talent Ahoy! Investing In Your Child’s Passions

When it comes to parenting, there are many things that you have to do, such as making sure they’re well educated, well fed, and can navigate the trials and tribulations of life. These are the bare requirements of your role as a parent, but it doesn’t end there. You’ll also need to be on hand to encourage your child’s passions and push them toward finding what they love doing in life.

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Helping them Find Their Passion

That being said, pushing them to do what they love is usually harder than it sounds. Finding what one loves to do in life is no easy task, and it might mean a few wrong turns before your child really finds what it is they love. Generally, though, they’ll be giving the telltale signs that they love an activity when they’re doing it – and you should be on hand to steer them towards doing that activity more and more.

The First Investment

Sometimes, it’s not finding the passion that the child has a problem with – it’s that they don’t have the tools to actually do their own passion. Whatever it is, they’ll need your assistance to enable them to do it. For example, if they’re passionate about sport then they’ll need you to drive them to their practices and games. If they find their passion in plucking guitar strings, you’ll need to find them a guitar that’ll enable them to pluck, pluck, pluck away.

Encouraging their Growth

Sometimes, a child has an initial burst of enthusiasm and then quickly loses interest – not because they’ve lost the passion, but because there are so many other things going on in their life. Their guitar might be just one of many items they have in their cupboard, for example. While you don’t want to become a pushy parent, you can push a little bit to ensure they stay on top of their passion. If your child really doesn’t want to do it, don’t worry – they’ll tell you. But it might just be that all they needed was a little nudge in the right direction to get back on track.

Stepping Up

Until your child is an adult and has their own job and money, it’ll continue to be your job to support their passion by investing in the hardware they need to be able to do it to a good standard. It’s about getting more refined, going beyond the entry level tools and becoming a little more specialized. It’s all about finding the right tool for them. For example, if they’re a guitarist, take a look at Epiphone Les Paul Standard review: to buy or not to buy? If you’ve got a little writer on your hands, take a look at the best affordable typewriters to buy. With the right tools, they’ll be able to get better and better.

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Keeping Distractions at Bay

There comes an age in every child’s life when, no matter how passionate or natural talent they may have, they simply won’t have the same enthusiasm for their hobbies. We’re talking, of course, about those troublesome teenage years when hormones and everything else are flying around their bodies and social lives. It’s at this stage when most people give up on their hobbies. While you can’t expect them to show the same level of dedication (there’s much more going on in their lives now), you should endeavor to at least make sure they keep up with their hobbies. If they don’t, they’ll regret it later in life.

Knowing When To Quit

That being said, sometimes it does happen that a hobby can run its course. Just because a person did something in their youth, it doesn’t mean they should be bound to it for the rest of their days. It’s just important that the decision isn’t taken lightly. This is less important if they’re just putting their hobby in the cupboard for a while, but important if they’re actively giving up on something – say, a band or sporting team. If they’re genuinely not enjoying it anymore, however, then moving on to the next passion will be the most sensible solution.

Paying Back

In the end, you’re going to have to show a lot of selfless dedication when it comes to nurturing your child’s hobby. But hey – ‘selfless dedication’ is essentially your job description as a parent anyway! Keep them on the right path, push them when it’s necessary, and enjoy watching the journey they’re on. They might not make it to the very top, but they might – whatever happens, they’ll have you to think for getting them started.

Sports That Build Bonds Between Dads And Their Kids

Sports That Build Bonds Between Dads And Their Kids

Sports That Build Bonds Between Dads And Their Kids

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The world is changing and equality is near leveling out, and with that has come a bigger role for dad’s to play in their kid’s lives. But evenings and weekends don’t constitute enough quality time, not when you fall into a routine of playing video games with your kids, or just watching TV.

No, the best way to bond with them is to get out there and do something together, some sort of active sport that brings you and them into the great outdoors. These are the things they will remember and the memories you will cherish. It is a chance to enjoy that all-important one-on-one time with them, to laugh with them, to huff and puff next to them, and to support them in their growth.

As such, we’ve come up with a quick list of the best bonding sports you can play with your kids. Enjoy.

Cycling

It is a rite of passage this one. There are so many things where the mummy takes the lead in their upbringing, but cycling is not one of them. That is a dad lesson, and the moment your kid starts peddling away from you all on their own is a real proud dad moment. But this should just be the beginning because nothing brings dad and child closer together than a long, muddy bike ride. Is your chance to get away from the humdrum of it all and enjoy some quality family time.

Golf

As one of the least strenuous and most all-day sports going, this provides you ample time to bond with your kid. Stood side by side at the tee, encouraging each other and helping them perfect their swing. Then there are the long walks down the fairway to talk the day away. But that isn’t all because let’s be honest, there is the chance to be a little mischievous as well, you know, on the golf carts. As such, it is well worth checking out some golf cart reviews to see which are the fastest and steadiest, because nothing is going to make you both laugh as much as doing donuts on a golf cart, let’s be honest.

Tennis

Kids seem to adore tennis from such an early day now, which probably has something to do with how light the racquets are nowadays. As such, why not get involved with their obsession. Don’t let them just hit a ball against a wall for hours; be that wall instead. Take them to the nearest courts, teach them a backhand, laugh with them, be proud of them and get fit at the same time. What more could you want from a bonding session?

Kayaking

Or canoeing, they are basically the same thing. What we are getting at here, though, is that messing around on the water is really fun, and one of the best catalysts of a long-term memory. It’s your chance to hop into a double kayak and wade through waters, chatting away as you paddle, learning something about each other in an entirely new environment. And it is bound to end in some laughs because there is a chance to splash each other.

Little Tricks To Camping With Your Teenagers

Little Tricks To Camping With Your Teenagers

Little Tricks To Camping With Your Teenagers

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When it comes to making memories as a family that will last a lifetime, there is nothing better than a camping holiday. It is something so far removed from your family’s everyday existence, that your brains just can’t forget it as an experience. There are no creature comforts, not easy to access luxuries, no radiators or bedrooms to escape to. It is the unpredictable great outdoors.

The other things that make it so unforgettable, though, is the fact you get to bond as a familiar but in a completely different environment. That means you will get to know one another a little better, spend some quality time together, laugh and joke and explore the gift that is nature. No televisions, no phones, just you and your family.

But if you want this to become an annual tradition, well, you’re really going to want to get it right first time.

Pick A Good Destination

If your kids are interested in something, then that is going to be a pretty good base to start from. Seriously. If you can land somewhere that will automatically peak the interest of your teenage kids then boom, you’re onto a winner. If you have a got a teenage girl that is into all things adventurous and loves the idea of living off the land for a weekend, like they do in her history books, then run with that. Look for campsites that have lakes and rivers, go and buy some inflatable kayaks and a bunch of fishing rods and enjoy the adventure. If you’ve got a teenage boy who likes the idea of getting a tan and chatting up girls, then why not enjoy a beach break. Perhaps you are a cycling family. No problem. There are plenty of trails out there that you can head to. But getting this part right will be a big factor to the longevity of your camping trips.

Fill Your Car With Everything

Okay, there is a simple equation you can follow on this one; if there is some space left over in your vehicle, then find something to go in it. Seriously, the more balls you throw at the coconut shy the better your chance of hitting one. It could be that you pack a spare tent to be used as a communal space, or a storage spot. Why not pack a hammock or two? It could be the very thing that your little girl loves. It could be the very thing that gets your little boy into reading or astrology, as he looks up at the stars. If a footwell is free then fill it with balls; footballs, beach balls, volleyballs, cricket balls, tennis balls. The more choice they have the better. Or perhaps you have space for some fairy lights, that little something to make your campsite more magical and memorable.

Make The Food Seriously Special

Camping is all about getting into the spirit of the outdoors, and that means it is your chance to get creative with the food. It could be that you brought a 6ft barbecue grill with you, or it could be that you decided on exploring one-pot meals for three days; it doesn’t matter. Just get creative and get everyone involved. Try wrapping bananas in foil and grilling them, or making cheese toasties with odd fillings, or even going traditional with smores. Of course, a great camping trip should never neglect the classics, but the most memorable stories will come from statements like, “do you remember that time dad tried to make cookies on an open fire.”

What You Need To Know Before Your Child Starts Driving

Every parent knows that each stage of raising your child brings with it its own unique worries and concerns. In the first few years, you worry about practically everything. Do they have a temperature? Should they be walking or talking by now? How well will they learn to share and play with others? Are they happy? Are they hungry? The questions go on and on and never seem to end. As they grow up, you worry whether they are making friends at school, and of course that they are studying enough. But as they approach their teenage years, a new, particularly terrifying possibility occurs to you: they will be driving soon. Your first thought might be about the safety of your child and of the other drivers. But the very next thing that you think of will probably be buying them a car. Should you get them something big and sturdy, or should they start out with something small without much power? If you are worried about the prospect of setting your teenager free on the open road, here are a few things to put your mind at rest:

First, the way cars are built now makes them much safer than ever before. Besides seatbelts, airbags and crumple zones, a great deal of progress has been made in just the last few years. For instance, the strength of steel used to make cars is three times as strong as it was at the turn of the century. Not only that, the design of the frames in cars is slowly being perfected. New cars are being designed so that if they do feature in an accident, the frame itself will redistribute the force in a way that causes as little possible danger to passengers. Besides, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that between 2006 and 2015, the percentage of high severity-crashes fell 16.8%. While the roads are still a dangerous place, there are indications that they are becoming less dangerous.

What You Need To Know Before Your Child Starts Driving

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Your next concern might be how much a car will cost. They can be quite expensive, and the insurance that is required for new, inexperienced drivers is often exorbitant. As for purchasing the car itself, there are many options available. https://www.approvenow.com/ offer loans which can be paid every month. You could even have your child get a job and help you with the payments. Once they learn to drive, the car may well be theirs.

It might seem rather ironic, but if the trend of technology in cars continues as it’s been going, your child may not need to learn to drive after all. Self-driving cars are no longer part of science fiction but will soon be in reality. A few different models are being tested now, and while they are not completely autonomous yet, they do make driving a safer experience, especially when it comes to things that are difficult for humans to do quickly enough, like an emergency break.

Letting your child get behind the wheel of a car is still a difficult thing to do, but it is probably the best time ever for them to be doing it and it is only going to get safer.

The Best Sporting Events for Parent-Child Bonding

Sports arouse feelings of joy, sadness, excitement, disappointment, anger and even sympathy within us, and these aren’t feelings that we should experience on our own: we should share them with our children! If you feel that your child needs a proactive and engaging hobby, or if you simply want to spend more time with them, then sports could be the answer. There are a whole host of sporting events that you could take your child to witness first hand in the hope that it will inspire them to find enjoyment and stimulation — a few of them can be found below.

If you want to immerse your child in the atmosphere of a big sporting event then ‘The I-70 Bowl’, the rivalry between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs, is one to consider. These two NFL teams, when they come together and play, create an atmosphere in whichever stadium is playing host on that day that is unmatched in most other stadiums and arenas around the U.S. The atmosphere for the match up is heightened even a week before game day, so whenever it rolls around it really does a produce a ‘big match atmosphere’. Although there is yet to be a scheduled matchup between the two for the coming season, you can keep a track of the schedule and find Bronco tickets online. And then, once your week of sampling the atmosphere in Denver is done why not take an All-American road trip and make the journey to another great U.S. rivalry that can’t be missed: The New York Yankees vs the Boston Red Sox. Although these two MLB teams aren’t based in the same area, it certainly doesn’t mean that the rivalry is any less intense. Taking your child to a big sporting event like this is one that is likely to stick in their memory for years to come, so make sure to pick one that they look back on fondly.

The Best Sporting Events for Parent-Child Bonding

Why not go to a Yankees vs. Red Sox match?

But it doesn’t necessarily have to be actual sporting events that you attend with your child — you could see sports entertainment in the form of professional wrestling. If you just can’t seem to find a sport that interests your child, then attending a live WWE event could be for them — and no, it’s not just for kids, so you’ll enjoy yourself too! The best part of all: the WWE moves across the country every week to perform in arenas around the U.S. and even around the world, so you can always wait until it comes into your town. If you’re really lucky, you may even be able to grab a ticket for the grandest show of them all: Wrestlemania!

The Best Sporting Events for Parent-Child Bonding

Go to a WWE Live event

Sports offer up the perfect opportunity for you to bond with your child and really allow for them to find something that they can enjoy in their life both now and in the future. There are even online resources that offer you the opportunity to include a sporting event in a travel and accommodation bundle so that the perfect sporting trip can be sorted with little to no effort on your part, leaving you more time to enjoy the sporting history taking place before you eyes, and the company of your child.

Promote Gender Equality Everyday

Promote Gender Equality Everyday

As a parent, you have a lot of responsibilities to look after, starting with making sure that your children have all they need, to helping them to build their own life. But the most important responsibility of all, your biggest task as a parent, is to equip your child with the mental weapons they need to remain strong in the face of social pressure. You don’t want your child to be someone who will, as an adult, suffer from anxiety and depression because peer pressure stood in the way of their happiness. The most common type of social pressure relates to gender clichés and can touch your children, but you and your partner too. It’s brutal, it’s unfair, and it’s unjustified. But more importantly, gender clichés can limit someone’s potential and dreams. So, as a parent, your role is to promote gender equality without cliché and without fail every single day.

Promote It Through Joined Decisions

A family is about parents and their children. This is as simple as it gets, and your role to promote gender equality begins with your partner. For a start, it’s important to discuss career aspirations as you prepare to have children, or even if you have children. To take a common example, your housewife may want to go back to her professional career, even if you have children together. So it’s important to be able to talk openly together and to take the best decision for the well-being of the family and your couple without making any assumption about your other half’s aspirations. Another common mishap in communication happens when one of the parents decides which school the child should attend without discussing it first.

Don’t Be Afraid To Be A Stay-At-Home Dad

It may be difficult to imagine, but the best promotion that you could make for gender equality is to become a stay-at-home dad. Taking what is considered to be a woman’s place is the easiest way to break clichés, and reject them. Thankfully, for baby gear, function is genderless, so you can happily look for the best baby slings and wraps, for example, and enjoy the same carrying experience than a woman has. If you are comfortable with wraps, they allow you to develop a closer bond with your baby, which is important for dads.

Promote Gender Equality Everyday

A dad wearing a baby wrap

Don’t Impose Genderist Views On Children

People tend to confuse the terms sex and gender. Most parents assume then that a child’s gender is based on his or her genitals. In truth, gender is the combination of three factors, being a person’s experience of their own body, a person’s identity or sense of self, and how a person chooses to express their gender. However, society presents a gender-binary view: On the one side, blue for boys, and on the other pink for girls. But this cultural binarity is at the core of gender discrimination critics. Women belong in the kitchen. Boys don’t cry. You know the words. It must end. Your child doesn’t deserve a genderist view of the world.

Offer Exciting Bedroom Décor

Maybe, the best way to bring the idea of freedom to your child is to stick away from the gender clichés when you are decorating their bedroom. It’s time to walk away from the traditional pink and blue bedrooms to embrace a gender-neutral approach. Start by creating a theme, whether it is an animal, a day on a boat, or even a garden. This will help you to bring new colors to the bedroom palette.

Let Them Pick The Toys They Like

If you have been in a toys shop recently, you have probably noticed the difference between the aisles for girls and the aisles for boys. In reality, toys should remain toys and not come with a gender label. Many groups, such as Let Toys Be Toys for instance, are trying to raise awareness among parents that little boys playing with dolls are by no mean abnormal. Indeed, the gender gap forces boy-specific toys to encourage aggression and competition, while girl-specific ones focus on communication and nurturing. So let your child develop at the same time a sense of competition and communication. What’s wrong with it?

Promote Gender Equality Everyday

A little girl plays with a car

Don’t Use Gender-Biased Language

We are all guilty of using discriminatory language without even knowing it. Whether you are simply saying that pink is for girls – and if you do, please stop. Men have been wearing pink shirts for years now – or talking about mankind instead of humanity, gender-biased language exists. It’s important to recognize it so that you can avoid it. Your child doesn’t need to grow up thinking that male nurses and female firefighters are fictional characters.

Build A Bond Without Genderist Limitations

Take example on this dad who lets his daughter paint his toenails in pink. His point is simple: He sees it as a way of bonding with his daughter. While she feels respected and valued for who she is, he establishes a trust relationship with her. So when she’s a teen and needs to discuss more private issues, she will feel like she can trust her father with her most intimate thoughts and worries. As a parent, it’s important to remember that the best way to help your child is to learn to enjoy spending time together without letting a genderist perception of the world come between you. In short, don’t tell your daughter you can’t play with her because it’s a girl’s game. You can play with her. You just don’t want to.

Break The Psychological Clichés

Last, but not least, there is a common belief that says that real men don’t show their emotions. This is a psychological burden for more and more men who feel unable to express their feelings. to put the idea into perspective, 76% of suicides are male suicides. The link between not showing or talking about your feelings and this dramatical conclusion is obvious. But people, whether they are men or women, go through hard times in life. No more of this boys don’t cry nonsense. Boys and girls cry when they feel sad. The strength of a human being is not measured in their tears but in their decisions.

How to Decorate a Shared Bedroom for Opposite Sex Siblings

How to Decorate a Shared Bedroom for Opposite Sex Siblings

There is nothing more enjoyable than decorating a room for your own child. However, when your children are opposite sex siblings, this activity usually turns into quite a challenging one. However, there’s no reason to be worried since we’ve prepared a list of some very useful advice on how to decorate their room so that they both love it.

Go for gender-neutral colors

The best way to start this endeavor is by choosing the right color for your children’s room. Since you cannot go for traditional boy’s or girl’s colors, we advise you to opt for a gender-neutral color palette which includes grey, yellow, black and white. This way, both your son and your daughter will be content and happy to spend time in their shared room. Furthermore, you can opt for a combination of colors such as orange and blue, so that each of them gets the color they like. Although, neutral colors can be a bit dull, don’t worry, you can always make the space brighter with colorful furniture and other accessories.

Same beds, but different colors

Siblings usually like having the same things; so, in order to avoid quarrels over whose bed is nicer, buy them the same one. However, let them choose their own pillows and sheets. This way, you’ll include them in the process of decoration and allow them to have their personal space which best suits their preferences and allows them to express their own personality. And, since children usually choose colorful ones, these sheets will serve as a great accessory and add some life to the neutrally colored walls.

Buy them some shared furniture as well

Aside from buying them the same beds, desks and wardrobes, go for some shared furniture as well. This way, you’ll teach them to share their possessions instead of selfishly keeping them only for themselves. For example, you can opt for something interesting like a teepee by Cattywampus. We guarantee that they will both love it, since this piece of furniture will truly stir their imagination and they’ll be eager to spend time playing together.

Personal corners

Teaching your children to share what they have with others is very important as we have already mentioned, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t allow them to personalize their own corners in the room. So, even though the whole room cannot be decorated according to their likings, their corners can, and this is why they shouldn’t be forgotten when planning how to decorate your children’s room. For example, you can have two different kids rugs in their favorite colors which will mark the borders of their personal spaces. Each of these corners can be decorated the way they like it and equipped with their favorite toys.

Choose the right accessory

Children adore colorful accessories and according to them any amount of it is never too much. So, not only will you make their room look more interesting, but they will be absolutely thrilled by it as well. First of all, you should consider buying colorful drapes which will add some drama to the entire decor. Just make sure that they’re thick enough, so that you can simulate the night time, when you want them have an afternoon nap. Furthermore, you can bring in floor mats in the shape of their favorite cartoon and video games characters in bright colors. Finally, let your children hang posters and their drawings on a bulletin board which is specifically dedicated to this purpose. It will truly personalize the whole room.

As you can see, decorating a shared room for opposite sex siblings is not that hard after all. You just need to ensure that everybody gets something they like and teach them how to share what they have.

Lending A Helping Hand With Your Kid’s First Car

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As a new drive, it can be very hard to find the best car for your new driving career. This puts a lot of young people in a bad position. And, this will usually lead to silly decisions being made. As a parent, you have the chance to help you kid in this pursuit. Your advice and support could be invaluable during this time. But, how exactly do you support someone through this decision? This post will be going through some of the ways that you can ensure that your kids have the best chance of getting the best car.

When you first start your search, you should talk to your kid. It’s important that they have a good amount of say in the car that they get. Of course, when you’re buying on a budget; you will have limited options. But, they will have some room to be picky. These decisions should be discussed. This will give you a chance to make sure that they’re not ignoring a good option that might suit their needs. You should make sure that they aren’t choosing their car just for the way it looks. It’s easy to fall into this trap. And, it can cause loads of problems in the future. Your first concern will probably be safety. And, this area is very important. Check out websites like NCAP to find information about the safety of individual cars.

Once you have a few options on the table, you need to go an see them with your child. It’s important to make sure that the car is in good working order at this stage. So, if you’re serious about an option; it could be worth bringing someone with some mechanical skills to check the car. Both you and your kid should test drive the car. You need to do this to make sure nothing feels wrong, that your kid might not notice. And, your child needs to try it to make sure that they will get on with it. It’s very important that a first car is a good fit. And, it’s also important that it lasts as long as possible.

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When it comes to buying the car, a lot of parents will buy it for their child. This isn’t always the best way to go about things, though. They will never feel as though the car is their own. And, even if they don’t realize; they will benefit greatly from paying something like this themselves. You can help them to find the best car finance deals so that they don’t have to save too much. And, then, you can help to cover their insurance and tax on the car. This means that you’ll still be helping them; but, they will be paying for the car.

Hopefully, this will give you the helping hand that you need to make sure that your kid gets the best car for their money. It can be hard to shop for a first car. And, it can be stressful as a parent. But, you have to remember; this will be their first step to the freedom of adulthood. So, it’s very important that it’s done right.

Quality Time Is The Best Time With Your Children

Kids grow up too fast, we all know that. It only seems like yesterday that they entered the world and you were carrying them around in your arms, and now they are running around, developing into adults and even teaching you a thing or two! When we look back on our children’s more younger, formative years we can tend to get a bit emotional and also feel a sense of pride in knowing that our children have been brought up to be the best little people that they could possibly be, and we may feel like we need to spend more time with them so that we do not miss out on any further aspects of them growing up. With us leading busy lives, it can sometimes be hard to spend as much time with our children as we would like. We work full time jobs, and leave early in the morning and come home late at night when they are tired or already in bed. The only time that we realistically have with our children now is at the weekends, and we should do all we can to spend quality time with them and reconnect with them.

Quality Time Is The Best Time With Your Children

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A day out with the children is always a good idea. It gets you, your partner, and – of course – your children out of the house, and you all get to experience something new and have a lot of fun together. This does not have to be expensive, though, or even grand. It could be something like visiting a local park together and taking a picnic, or even visiting the beach. Depending on the personalities of your children, you will need to think about what activities they would like to do: would they like to go to Nitro Swimming or would they prefer to chill out with all the family while you all take a long walk together? Would they really enjoy being taken out for a treat such a meal? You will need to put thought into all of these aspects and ensure that your children will be happy and that they will enjoy spending time with you, in different places.

Quality Time Is The Best Time With Your Children

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If your children really enjoy sport, then you could book some tickets to go and see a game. If your children have not seen a sports game live before then there is a good chance that they will absolutely love going to see their favorite stars do their thing live, rather than on the TV. If your children really enjoy playing video games, then you could take the time to scope out games conventions and travel with them to go and experience something like that.

Make sure that the time you spend with your children is a positive time and that nothing is forced upon them, that they may not feel comfortable doing or enjoy doing. Allow them to have a say in what they would like to do, and even if you do not like the idea take the time to experience their enjoyment while you can.

Teach Your Kids to Eat Healthy and Keep Your Sanity

Teach Your Kids to Eat Healthy and Keep Your Sanity

There are so many things to take care of when your children are at stake – how they behave, how they eat, how they sleep and everything in between constantly asks for your attention. Every aspect of raising children requires a lot of energy and patience and seeing that you’re shaping a human being, the pressure is on too.

However, you shouldn’t stress over the future, but focus on the present moment and how you can help your kids develop in a healthy environment. Nurturing good eating habits isn’t that difficult if you start from an early age, and we’ll give you some guidelines how you can inspire your little ones to eat well without pressuring them to do so.

What Kind of an Example Do You Set?

Teach Your Kids to Eat Healthy and Keep Your Sanity

It’s grand to talk about how you want your kids to know and understand the importance of eating healthy, but you need to put your money where your mouth is. Even if you’re not used to eating super healthy, now that you want to set an example, you will have to start with yourself. You know very well that kids always strive to be like their parents, and when they see you truly taking care of what you’re consuming on a regular basis, it will come natural to them to do the same. This is probably the most important piece of advice anyone can give you – if you’re prone to emotional eating, are constantly trying to keep a diet or snack on sweets, you can’t really expect your little ones to do better. This is why it’s important to teach yourself to eat and live healthy too, and that genuine view on life will then naturally transfer to your kids as well.

Innovate in the Kitchen

Teach Your Kids to Eat Healthy and Keep Your Sanity

If you constantly bring out the same old dishes, you can be sure that kids won’t be thrilled, no matter how much they love your cooking. That is why we invite you to spice things a bit, include new products into your cooking, explore different cuisines and experiment with new, interesting ways of serving meals. Sometimes all you need is good presentation of kale to make eating it much more bearable, especially when the kids are young. Even when you’ve got a lazy family night and you order food in, choose good delivery services that will provide you with high-quality meals that match home cooked ones. You can splurge on a pizza every once in a while, just don’t let it turn into a routine.

Healthy Food Everywhere

When you’ve got sweets and sodas lying around all over the house, but you don’t allow your kids to have them, they won’t see it as a temptation to resist, they will see it as a challenge to rise to. That is why it’s vital to clean your house from all processed and sugary food that in no way benefits healthy development of your little ones. Instead, make sure that there’s always fruit in the house, as well as healthy and nutritional snacks that will replace the much desired junk food. Surrounding your kids with healthy food leaves them no choice but to give it a try, and sooner or later, they will find things they like. Don’t let them choose between a chocolate bar and an orange, they will always go for the chocolate. Ask them if they want an apple or an orange, that way whatever they choose will be good for them.

Mind Your Tongue

Teach Your Kids to Eat Healthy and Keep Your Sanity

Do not, and we repeat, do not pressure your kids into eating all the veggies on the plate or else… This kind of pressure and negative food talk will lead nowhere and children will only be more resistant to the whole idea of eating healthy. Mind your tongue and constantly serve hearty and healthy recipes, your kids will eventually accept it and your actions will have much more success than your words.

Keeping your kids healthy is a 24/7 hard work, but implementing good habits will make your life easier later on. Try out these tips and you’ll definitely see some positive results. – Theresa Brawner

 

Theresa Brawner is a 28-year-old fitness instructor from Boston, MA, who writes articles for www.diet.st. in her free time. When she isn’t helping new moms get back in shape, you can find her in the kitchen, working on new recipes.

 

 

Teaching Children About Their Finances

Teaching Children About Their Finances

There may be a million and one things on your mind if you are a busy parent with a growing family.  Worrying about their health, nutrition and schooling to name just a few. However as your children take their first steps into the teenage years, we should be gearing them up to understand about finances.  Learning how to save, understanding the value of money and the true cost of living, what their credit score is and how to build up a strong relationship with the bank.  These are all vital parts of adult life and now is the time to install some great habits into their growing minds.

It sounds silly that you may need to teach someone how to save.  It’s just popping money into a piggy bank and not spending it, right? Ok so the black and white of it is really simple, however applying it to everyday life is a little harder.

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Most children will have a piggy bank in their bedroom from a very young age, so will see how a few small cents and grow into a few bigger dollars.  Of course when they are five or six they aren’t really going to understand the importance of what they are doing.  However, by ensuring your child regularly pops money into their piggy bank means you are helping them to form a habit.  As with healthy eating and exercise, good habits stick with you as much as the bad ones.

You’ll probably start with popping birthday money or Christmas cash into their savings tin.  However when they get a little older, you can start the basics of teaching them the value of money and how hard you need to work in order to earn it.  Instead of giving your children pocket money or an allowance, set them tasks so they can earn money.  Dependent on their age there are a variety of things they can do.  For younger children it could be something as simple as helping mum or dad lay the table, or getting themselves off to bed in the evening.  For older kids you can include house chores away from their own bedroom, such as hoovering, walking the dog, taking the trash out and washing up.  Bear in mind that your kids can probably use an iPad or mobile phone better than you, so assuming they can learn how to operate the washing machine isn’t expecting too much!

Don’t just tell them their chores and then pay them on completion.  Instead give each chore a value.  For example pushing the vacuum around the whole home could take a while, so you could place the value of $3 for doing a good job.  Washing up is a pretty quick job, especially as most households have a dishwasher, so for that you could apply a $1 payment.  Make a list on a family pinboard and then explain they need to choose a set amount of jobs a week.  You could suggest a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6 jobs.  That all depends on you.  By attaching a price to the work you are showing your children that they have to work pretty hard to earn a little bit of money.  By giving them the option to choose a min or max amount, you are helping them to see that you can earn more by working a little harder.  This will show them that nothing comes for free and that certain work will return you a better pay as it requires a little more skill.  You are also giving them the freedom to make their own choices whilst highlighting there is always a set of rules you need to sit within.

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Now, to take this a step further when they hit their teenage years, you could ask your children to keep a note of the work they have done in their diary and then tell them when they have given you a record, you will pay them.  Look at this as a kind of invoice system.  They now need to keep on top of what they have done and have the responsibility of producing a record.  Until they produce the record, they don’t get paid.  It may sound like a bit of a chore but you could even give them a $1 bonus when they produce the invoice.  This is teaching them to be accountable, to take their own notes of how much work they are doing and to ensure they are being paid the correct way.  Instead of just trusting the person in charge to pay the correct money.  It is never too early to teach your children these lessons.  It will also help them to improve their maths, handwriting and awareness.

As soon as they are old enough to have a bank account and payment card, get them one.  Make sure you keep a close eye on it with them but insure you do it together.  You can have payment cards which you set a spending limit on, meaning you don’t have to worry about them nipping into town after school and spending all their savings on a new bike.  However it allows them a little freedom to buy some low value items.

When you open the bank account set up a standing order from that account direct into their savings account.  The ideal balance is to allow children to spend a little of what they save, but teach them to invest the rest for a rainy day.  Of course you will need to discuss what a rainy day really is.  Talking about the future, a new car and their first home, is a good way to highlight why savings are so important, however you also want to allow them to make a few mistakes when spending.  The mistakes they make at this age will have a far smaller effect than the mistakes they make as adults.  So if they are desperate to buy the next fad purchase, allow them.  Then when it is discarded and ignored after a couple of weeks, talk to them about it.  Try to show them that some purchases are more important than others.

By the time you get to this stage you will probably have pretty grown up teenage children, this is when you need to really nail home all the habits you have got them into.  Encouraging children into some weekend work is a great first step.  This allows them to understand the basics you taught them, in the real world.  Moaning about chores in the house for 3 hours and then taking them on, will result in them getting paid but take them longer to earn.  If they spend 3 hours moaning about work set by an employee then they might not get paid or, worse, they will lose their job.  Let them learn this but gently guide and support them through the process.

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When they get to driving age you can really start to show them about finance.  It is a great opportunity to discuss their credit score, what it means, why it is important and how to take care of it.  A healthy credit score is something adults rarely teach their children about, yet the ability to obtain credit opens so many more doors when it comes to purchasing a home, financing a car or getting them out of sticky situations.

You also need to teach them how to find the best deals for services they need.  Using resources such as Money Expert’s car insurance service will show them how to use the internet to compare quotes and will help them see that going with the first offer could be costing them a fortune, or going with the cheapest might mean they don’t have all the cover they need.  A good lesson that we should be looking for value for money over the cheapest services.

Supporting your children and buying them treats or helping them purchase a new car are all fantastic things that you can still do.  It’s great, if you are in the position, to take a little pressure of the kids and is really nice to spend your money on items you know they will treasure, however if you constantly manage all your children’s spending and don’t allow them to master the basics, of saving and making purchases, at a young age then you could be helping them form bad habits and a negative relationship with money.

Be sensible, every child is different and they all learn in various ways.  So take our advice as a guideline in helping you form a positive financial future for all of your children.

Of course, they very best way to teach them, is to lead by example.  Keep your finances in control and make time to check you are paying enough money into your savings.  Don’t keep everything hidden away from the children.  Share it with them a little along the way.  They don’t need to be exposed to your money worries, but you should involve them in the positive aspects of managing your own financial lifestyle.

 

First Cell Phone? Tips for Monitoring Your Kids

First Cell Phone? Tips for Monitoring Your Kids

It’s that magical moment that every parent is waiting for. Well, maybe not every parent. But, your child has certainly been anticipating it. Finally that day has arrived – your child is getting that very first cell phone. And boy are they beyond excited. Hold on. Before handing it over, we’ve got some tips for you when it comes to how to start out with cell phone use and what you need to know about monitoring it.

Rules for Cell Phone Use

Cell phones open up an entirely new world for your child. Now they have the opportunity to talk and text with their friends, use all sorts of social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and all of those social texting apps), and browse the Internet at will. And here you thought monitoring the family’s laptop use was a challenge.

As you hand over the phone, make it clear that the cell comes with a full set of rules. Keep in mind, there really is no “standard” set of rules. Yes, you’ll find general guidelines, such as don’t give out your private information or no talking to friends after a specific time. But, your rules are governed by your own beliefs and values. For example, some parents are perfectly fine with their kids texting friends until bedtime, while others have set hours for cell phone use.

Mention Monitoring

Here’s where it gets tricky. You have rules that you expect your child to follow. But, you aren’t entirely sure that they’ll actually follow the rules. That means you need to monitor your child’s cell phone use. Again, the amount of monitoring you do depends on your family’s views.

Before you begin monitoring anything, you need to tell your child that you will check up on them. Don’t worry about feeling like you’re 1984-ing your child – you are the parent and it’s completely your job to protect them. Even so, this shouldn’t include sneaky or secretive types of monitoring.

Stop the Secrets

Be upfront and tell your child how, when and why you’re doing the monitoring. If your child has passwords that are protecting the phone, email accounts or social media accounts, discuss whether or not your kiddo hands over the codes.

If the idea of giving you full password access doesn’t sit well with your idea of privacy policies, talk to your child about showing you what they’re doing on the phone whenever you ask. Instead of sneaking a look at your tween’s texts after they go to sleep, all you need to do is say, “I’d like to check and see who you’re talking to.”

You can also tell your child that you’re installing monitoring apps on their phone or use software that sends their texts or emails to you. If you don’t like the idea of being sneaky, let your kiddo know that you’re using these as monitoring tools. They might not like it, but it’s for their own good.

Not only does letting your child know that you can and will monitor their cell phone use make it clear that following the rules is an absolute must-do, but it also may keep them on their toes. Why? If your child knows that Dad can check in on their cell phone use at any time, it’s more likely that they won’t use their phone for anything you wouldn’t approve of as there’s a risk of getting caught.

Consequences in Action

What happens when your child breaks the rules? This is where monitoring comes into play. Your daughter wasn’t supposed to text boys she doesn’t know, but she did. Your son isn’t allowed to use Kik, but there’s the app – right on his phone.

If you’re going to monitor your child’s cell phone use (which you should), you also need to have consequences for breaking the rules. This might mean that they lose their phone privileges for a set period of time or that you really lock down and amp up the monitoring.

Even More Monitoring

When kids don’t follow the rules, things have to change. Repeatedly breaking your cell phone rules requires stricter monitoring. You tried respecting their privacy. Now you’re disappointed that they broke your trust and broke your rules. This never feels good. Not to the parents, and not to the children.

You can continue checking in on your child’s phone and hoping that they’ll turn their behavior around. Or, you can start some more serious monitoring. Tracking your child’s phone with apps or software may seem extreme, but it can help to keep your child safe. And, isn’t that why you’re monitoring your child’s cell in the first place? If they aren’t being honest, are hiding or deleting texts and other content or are breaking rules that you’ve set, things need to change. Before taking the phone away, let your child know that you will be monitoring their phone frequently – at least for now.

It Is The Dads Job To Inspire Self-Esteem

It Is The Dads Job To Inspire Self-Esteem

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Any parent will know that their kid isn’t stupid. From the age of about 1, you start realizing your kid is super-duper smart. Sure, there will be times when they undermine this belief by eating their Lego Boba Fett or licking a cat, but that is just them being kids and exploring the world with their mouth, as all kids do.

What we’re trying to say is, kids are perceptive, and so it is crucial that you instill a positive sense of self-worth from the earliest age possible. This is because it has proved to produce positive, happy, competent, well-loved and productive people.

But how can you boost your child’s sense of self-worth?

It Is The Dads Job To Inspire Self-Esteem

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Give Them The Choice

We don’t mean just hand them all the choice in the world all the time. That would be a disaster. And possibly expensive. No. We mean offer them the choice of pre-selected options. This will give that important feeling of being empowered. It’s amazing how something as small as asking them whether they would like toast or cereal for breakfast can massively improve their self-esteem levels, while also helping them learn the valuable life skill of making choices and sticking with them. That’s good preparation.

Don’t Give into Every Demand

There is a time in every child’s life where they absolutely abhor the word, ‘no’. However, it is important that you teach them they can’t have everything they demand, especially when they scream, shout and have a tantrum about it. It could be that you walk into a shop and they see some seriously pretty clothes on the rail and, through weird noises and squeals, demand to be a Dolce and Gabbana baby. Well, your role is to teach them there is a polite way of asking, and to give them a self-worth that is established through manners and not shouts. This will set them up for later life where the smallest please or thank you can go a long way, while also telling them they can’t have everything they want.

Don’t Do Everything For Them

Patience is a virtue and the biggest requirement of any parent. But it isn’t just you that will thrive from self-restraint because your kid will too. Seriously. You have to let your kid work things out for his or herself. Otherwise they will never learn. Kids become fiercely independent from a young age and, as infuriating that can get, it is also critical to development and self-esteem. Yes, it may be quicker if you get them dressed, but by letting them do it you are helping them to develop a new skill. You won’t always be there and so they need to learn how to handle – and master – new challenges themselves.

Explain There Is No Such thing As A Stupid Question

No one is perfect and no one knows everything. Even genius’ like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs had to ask for help and had to ask questions. It is quite simply how we grow as people and as a society. So if your kid has a question, answer it, no matter how silly it may seem. Of course, this won’t always be the case, not at school anyway. Kids ask a silly question and other kids laugh, which puts them off asking questions for life. So always be a safe haven for them to ask you anything, and teach them that being laughed at for a minute is far better than not knowing something for a lifetime.

Guest Post: Beyond the Tiger Mom

Guest Post: Beyond the Tiger Mom

Happy Friday, everyone!  Today’s guest post is about a wonderful book, Beyond the Tiger Mom, by author Maya Thiagarajan.  I’m very pleased to provide a brief overview of the book, an excerpt from the book, and an interview with Maya about her top three parenting hacks.  This is a great read so I hope everyone enjoys!


Guest Post: Beyond the Tiger Mom

In Beyond the Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age, Maya Thiagarajan looks at the differences between Western and Asian approaches to parenting and education.

How do Asian parents prime their children for success from a young age? Why do Asian kids do so well in math and science? What is the difference between an Asian upbringing and a Western one? Why do some Asian mothers see themselves as “tiger moms” while others shun the label? How do Asian parents deal with their children’s failures? Is it sometimes good for children to fail? These are just a few of the compelling questions posed and answered in this fascinating new parenting book.

In Beyond the Tiger Mom, Thiagarajan examines the stereotypes and goes beneath the surface to explore what really happens in Asian households. How do Asian parents think about childhood, family and education—and what can Western parents learn from them?

Through interviews with hundreds of Asian parents and children, Thiagarajan offers a detailed look at their values, hopes, fears and parenting styles. Woven into this narrative are her own reflections on teaching and parenting in Asia and the West. Thiagarajan synthesizes an extensive body of research to provide accessible and practical guidelines for parents. Each chapter ends with a “How To” section of specific tips for Asian and Western parents to aid their child’s educational development both inside and outside the classroom.

In Beyond the Tiger Mom, you will learn how to:

– Help your child achieve maximum academic potential

– Train your child to expand his or her attention span

– Find the right balance between work and play

– Help your child see failure as a learning experience

– Learn how to raise tech-healthy kids

Praise

“In this exquisite book, Maya Thiagarajan distills her observations about parenting as a global citizen who has lived, studied and taught in India, the United States and Singapore. Drawing on a refreshing mix of comparative observations, Maya writes a compelling book to explain to parents how they can best support the development of their children, drawing on some of the best practices from Eastern and Western cultural traditions.

An accomplished teacher and skilled writer, a reflective parent, and above all a global citizen, Maya has produced a unique book that every parent trying to make sense of how best to help our children grow into global citizens should read.”Fernando M. Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of Practice in International Education, Harvard University

“Beyond the Tiger Mom is a brilliant book. Hard-hitting and brutally honest but also balanced, insightful, and funny. It avoids clichés and draws on years of research and personal multicultural teaching experience.”Amy Chua, Yale Law Professor and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and The Triple Package: What Really Determines Success

“Maya Thiagarajan brings a unique East-and-West perspective, and a refreshing balanced discussion, to hot-button issues in child rearing. Her interviews and ethnographic analyses deliver a wealth of insights into Asian vs. Western parenting decisions on topics ranging from math drills to self-esteem.”Katharine Beals, Author of Raising a Left Brained Child in a Right Brained World

Excerpt from Beyond the Tiger Mom

INTRODUCTION

Homecoming

In early 2010, my husband, children, and I packed up all our stuff, waved goodbye to our cramped apartment in Manhattan, and flew across the world to Singapore. This wasn’t my first cross-continental move: I was born and raised in India, but as a teenager, I moved to the US for college, and then stayed on there for graduate school and work. After fifteen years in the US, I found myself hungering for “home.” I was yearning for tropical sun and heat, for the sounds of Tamil and Hindi, for idli-dosa breakfasts, and for the color and chaos of India.

Since home—India—wasn’t really an option for my husband in terms of his career, we settled on Singapore, a tropical island and a global city that’s just a short flight from India. Sight unseen, my husband and I, along with our two young children, arrived in Singapore right before Chinese New Year. Amidst deafening drumbeats and colorful red and yellow lion dances, we ushered in the Year of the Tiger and began a new phase in our lives.

As an Indian in Singapore, I felt at home. It was as comfortable as a soft couch, and like the smell of jasmine flowers and garam masala, everything on the island felt familiar. Besides having the tropical heat and color in common, Singaporean and Indian cultures, too, are very much alike. Family and filial piety are of supreme importance; kids are expected to obey and respect their elders; every older person is an “auntie” or an “uncle”; and exams dominate the lives of young children and their families.

Six months after I arrived in Singapore, I began teaching high-school English at an elite international school on the island. My students came from a wide range of backgrounds: a third of them were East Asian, another third were South Asian (mostly Indian), and the rest were Western (European, Australian, and American). At my first set of student-teacher conferences, I was taken aback when an Indian mother turned to me and said, “Please be stricter with my son. He needs a firm hand, and he needs to take his studies much more seriously.” I had thought her son was doing just fine, but she clearly thought he could do much better. Later, at another parent conference that same evening, a Chinese mother whose English was not very good bowed low and said politely, “You must be thirsty from talking to so many parents.” I nodded, and she immediately ordered her ninth-grade son, who was attending the conference so that he could translate if necessary, to run and get me some water. She proceeded to thank me profusely for teaching her son. I was struck by how different these conversations were from the parent conferences that I had experienced in the US. As I began to spend more time interacting with East Asian and South Asian students and parents, and increasingly with local Singaporean families, I found myself reflecting on the way that these families viewed childhood, parenting, education, and the very purpose of life itself. I became increasingly interested in the Asian reverence for education, the nature of parent-child relationships, the number of hours that children spent on academic work, and the importance given to both mathematics and memorization. What values did these Asian families—both Asian expats and local Singaporeans—hold; where did they originate; and how did they shape and dictate the decisions that parents and students made? Is there anything that Western parents struggling to discipline or motivate their children can learn from Eastern parenting and education? And if so, what is it? These are some of the questions that this book seeks to address.

As a parent, I began to question my own paradigms of parenting and child development. When we moved to Singapore, my son was nearly five and my daughter was eighteen months old. We’ve been living in this little island nation for five years now; my son is almost ten, and my daughter is six. Both my kids think of Singapore as home and feel a deep attachment to the island. When we first arrived, I enrolled my son in the private international school where I teach, and placed my daughter in a local bilingual (Chinese-English) preschool. Once my daughter turned four, she, too, joined the international school where I teach. Though the curriculum and faculty at this school are distinctly Western, the student body is largely Asian, creating a multiplicity of cultural influences (as well as some cultural confusion) in my children’s lives. Growing up in Singapore, attending an international school that offers them both Western and Eastern influences, and engaging with East Asian and South Asian friends and family on a daily basis, my children are exposed to both the East and the West. As a parent, I have found myself carefully considering the strengths and weaknesses of East and West, Asia and America, and I find myself often caught in the middle, wondering what script to adopt, what decision to make, and what kind of a parent I want to be. Throughout this book, I trace my own journey as a parent and an educator, raising questions and reflecting upon the ways in which the cultures I have inhabited have shaped my parenting attitudes and decisions. This book’s thesis is that Western and Eastern parenting philosophies have vastly different strengths and weaknesses; therefore, parents on either side of the world can learn from each other—and in order to truly raise successful children in a global world, perhaps they need to learn from each other and blend the best of both worlds together. This book offers research-backed suggestions on how to combine the best aspects of Asian and American parenting and education philosophies. I hope you will find my ideas practical, useful, and inspiring, no matter where you are in the world.

Tell us your top three parenting hacks.

I’m not sure if the points below count as “hacks,” but hopefully they’ll be useful to parents who want to foster a learning culture in their homes. I talk about these points (and much more) in detail in my book, “Beyond The Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age.”

#1:  Think like a teacher and seize teaching moments whenever you can:

As a teacher, I’m very aware of all the ways in which learning can happen, and I think that it’s important to recognize and capitalize on “teaching moments.”

When a child fails at something, for example they don’t get chosen for a team or a play, a parent’s tendency is to react emotionally. In contrast, most teachers will see these moments as “teaching moments.” So, my advice to parents is to think like a teacher! Instead of reacting emotionally, step back and help your child think through what they could do better next time. Help your child develop resilience by helping them think about mistakes and failures in a constructive way. A lot parents want to protect their children from failure, but as an educator, I think that some low-stakes failure in school can actually be healthy as it helps kids learn.

Similarly, when your child behaves badly or does something wrong, instead of getting angry, stay calm and think about the learning that can occur – we learn most from our mistakes and failures, but for that learning to occur, we need to think critically and constructively about what happened and what can be done differently next time.

#2: Use books for…everything!

When you read with your kids, think about all that you can do with the book. You can use books to teach empathy and kindness, you can use books to discuss big issues like bullying or racism, you can use books to help kids learn about the wider world.

Talk to kids about what they’re reading and engage in conversations about books. It will bring you closer to your children and help you teach them values. It will also signal to them that you value reading. One great “mummy hack” I use are informal book conversations at meals. We’ll go around the table, and each of us will talk about a book we read over the week and what we thought about it. Another thing I like to do is carve out an hour on Sunday afternoons for “family reading time.” We all grab our books and read together in the living room.

#3: There’s math all around us … use it to build a math culture.

One thing that really surprised me when I first arrived in Singapore was the tremendous attention that parents gave to math. One mother told me that she used the elevator in her apartment building to engage her child in math conversations. She mentioned that riding on an elevator is like “riding on a number line,” so it’s a great way to get kids to think about numbers, addition, and subtraction. Another mother talked about getting her kids to identify and recognize shapes in the playground.  There’s so much math around us – find it and use it to fuel an early awareness and love of math in your kids.

About the Author

Guest Post: Beyond the Tiger Mom

A global citizen, Maya Thiagarajan has lived and worked in India, Singapore, and the US. She earned a BA in English from Middlebury College and a Masters in Education Policy from Harvard University.

Maya began her teaching career with Teach For America, where she taught at a public school in Baltimore City for two years. She went on to teach high school English at some of America’s most prestigious independent schools. After a decade of teaching in the US, Maya moved to Singapore and began teaching at The United World College of South East Asia (UWC).

Struck by the different approaches to education and parenting that she encountered in Singapore, Maya began to interview Chinese and Indian parents living in Singapore. Using her own experiences as well as the stories of parents whom she interviewed, Maya wrote a book titled Beyond the Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age.

In addition to teaching and writing, Maya also conducts workshops for parents and teachers on a range of education related topics

Readers can connect with Maya on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

To learn more, go to http://www.mayathiagarajan.info/