Posted in parenting tips

Are you worried your child is too good? Yes, seriously!

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 15 January 2018

Children who get too much validation for being good find it very difficult to handle the tiniest mistake without feeling they are failures. These children, if they do make a mistake, are apt to lie, or worse, avoid activities that they are not sure they will succeed at to cover the fact they are not perfect.

Is your child being good to win approval? Or are you blessed with a sensible little person who always seems to get it right?

Things to do and say to ensure your child doesn't become an approval seeker:

1. Don't compare. Don't say, 'Look at your sister, she is sitting up well.' Or, 'Why can't you be good like your brother/cousin?' It makes the 'bad' child feel bad and therefore act 'bad' and it puts pressure on the 'good' child to please you.

2. Use encouragement. Notice progress and effort rather than results. Say, 'You are working hard at keeping your room tidy' instead of 'good boy'. Separate the behaviour from the person. That is, keep what people do, separate from who they are, so that a bad behaviour does not make the person bad, nor a good behaviour make a person good. This is very important for self- esteem.

3. Say 'Try again!' to let your children know that it is ok to make a mistake and that they are wonderful opportunities to learn. Create a ritual during car trips/ dinner of having everyone take turns sharing a mistake and what they learned from it.

4. Make sure your children get the message that ANYONE can fall down, but it takes courage to get up and try again.

5. Don't let your children get away with avoiding new activities. Let them know they can decide to stop an activity after at least three or four activities. This will help to reduce the likelihood of your child not taking risks in case they are not the 'best'.

                                                  Teach that a mistake is just that, a mis/take. It is impossible to grow and learn without making them..... and that is what being a kid is all about isn't it?


Posted in:parenting tipsanxietychild not risk takingworried childrenmaking mistakesstressed children  

10 easy ways to calm yourself or your children down

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 17 April 2017

These easy calming methods have been taken from Lauren Brukner's book, The Kids' Guide to Staying Awesome and in Control. Brukner is an occupational therapist who helps kids who have sensory integration issues be able to keep it together in school. However, her calming techniques are brilliant for any kids and adults too.



1. Hand Massage

What's great about this is it can be done at any time. No one will notice. Simply use the thumb of one hand and press around the palm of the other hand. It's very soothing.

2. Palm Push

By pushing your palms together and holding for five to ten seconds, you give your body "proprioceptive input," according to Brukner, which "lets your body know where it is in space."

3. Close Your Eyes

It is said that 80 percent of sensory stimulation comes in through the eyes, so shutting them every now and then gives your brain a much-needed break.  Highly sensitive people can benefit from staying in bed with their eyes closed. They don't have to be sleeping. Having the eyes closed allows for some chill time and a break from being bombarded with stimulation.

4. Mindful Sighing

To do this you breathe in to a count of five through your mouth and then you let out a very loud sigh.

5. Mindful Monkey Stretch

Bring your hands, arms extended, in front of you, then bring the arms down. Next bring your arms (still extended) to your sides and then down. Next bring your arms all the way past your head and then swoop down allowing your head to dangle between your knees and hung there for a second. This exercise is extremely effective at releasing the tension we hold in different parts of our body.

6. Hug Yourself

Did you know that a ten-second hug a day can change biochemical and physiological forces in your body that can lower risk of heart disease, combat stress, fight fatigue, boost your immune system, and ease depression? You can begin by giving yourself a hug. By squeezing your belly and back at the same time, you are again giving yourself proprioceptive input (letting your body know where you are in space), which can help stabilize you.

7. Wall Push

Another great exercise to ground kids (and adults) with sensory integration issues, according to Brukner, is the wall push, where you simply push against the wall with flat palms and feet planted on the floor for five to ten seconds. Placing the weight of our body against a solid, immobile surface and feeling the pull of gravity is stabilizing, even on a subconscious level.

8. Superman Pose

If you do yoga, the superman pose is basically the airplane position, except the arms and the hands are stretched out in front of you, not to the sides. Lie on your tummy on the floor. Extend your arms in front of you, and hold them straight out. Extend your legs behind you and hold them straight out. Hold that pose for ten seconds. It's a great exercise if your child is sleepy, overexcited, distracted, or antsy.

9. Shake

Did you know that animals relieve their stress by shaking? Lots of animals shake off their fear after being frozen in panic to escape a predator. So give it a go, get your children to get their shake on!

10. Bubble Breath

The Bubble Breath is very simple and calming.
Breathe in for five seconds, out for five seconds.
Imagine you have a wand of bubbles. When you breathe out, be careful not to pop it.
Place one flat palm on your heart, one flat palm on your belly.
Breathe in through your nose and hold your breath for five seconds.
Breathe out a large "bubble" though pursed lips, blow out for five seconds.

Posted in:Back to schoolparenting tipsanxietydealing with disappointmentsworried childrenstressed childrengrumpy childrensymptoms  

Some tips to help your family use technology in a positive way

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 1 March 2016

Following are some more suggestions to help take the ;scary' out of technology use:

1. Require access to all email and social media accounts and know your children's passwords:
Let them know UP FRONT that you'll check text messages, emails and social media accounts.  It's not spying on them you are giving them fair warning that you'll be checking to help keep them safe.

2. Implement a technology curfew:
Phones, computers and gaming devices must be turned off during meals and by an agreed upon time each night. " Technology blackout" times encourage families to do things together and forces children to get creative with their free time. It also means that they are more likely to sleep at night instead of staying up using their devices. Once you have spoken about this with your children, you can use parental control apps to schedule locks on all devices if you think that is necessary. Remember though, that the goal is to help your children learn self- restraint.

3. You can make bedrooms off-limits for technology:
Require that computers and smartphones be used in public spaces and charged in a central area like the kitchen.

4. Consequences:
Be very clear about the positive and negative consequences. If your child follows your house's standards be sure to find a way to recognize their efforts, verbal encouragement is ok but spending time together doing something your child enjoys is great. If your child won't comply with your technology standards, the devices  go away for a break, again for a previously agreed on time. This means they might have to use the computers at school for homework and go back to the most basic mobile phone without texting capability and internet access.

5. Set an example as good digital citizens:
Forty-six percent of kids have seen Mum or Dad use the phone during dinner, and 49 percent don't see anything wrong with it. If the kids witness you doing it, they will assume its approved behavior. That means no texting while driving (not even at red lights!), or it's safe to assume your kids will follow suit when it's their turn behind the wheel.

6. Find apps that encourage impulse control and creativity:
Remember that  technology can have a positive effect on children and their families.
This can occur when it is used for a balance of learning, communication and entertainment, when parents are very clear about what they are comfortable with in terms of technology use and when they stick to the boundaries they set .. without succumbing to peer pressure.

Remember that learning using technology is more rewarding and engaging than traditional learning and can be very helpful if your child needs repetition to learn. It can promote social engagement during games if children are playing together or by talking about the games they play. Some apps are being developed now that are designed to increase attention and improve impulse control, thus counteracting the main detrimental effects to development that technology can cause.

Posted in:Saying no to childrenparenting tipskids gadget usetechnology and kids  

What to do when you hear "I'm bored!"

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 13 January 2015
It is very easy to fall into the trap of feeling as though you need to try to think of solutions or become 'the entertainment' for your children when you inadvertently hear the dreaded phrase, 'I'm bored' or worse, experience what they actually start getting up to when boredom sets in, the fights, the mess, the frustration. Following are some ideas to help you with your bored children that are designed to stop you getting sucked into coming up with endless ideas, or spending buckets of cash keeping them entertained.

Some ideas to help:

1. Computers, video games and T.V are great, they can be educational and can teach hand-eye co-ordination, but there is a down side. They are actually passive activities that limit creativity. Have you noticed your children will misbehave straight after they finish watching TV or playing on the computer? This is often because their brains are having trouble transitioning from passive to active. They might not be bored; their brain just needs a re-boot. Get your children into the routine of jumping on the trampoline, running around the yard, doing star jumps etc for a few minutes after a passive activity. They will be more likely to be able to think of something to do themselves then.

2. In the mornings or at the beginning of each week, brainstorm activities together that they can do when they are bored. Get them to write a list or draw pictures illustrating the ideas. When they come to you to say they are bored, get them to check the list and choose something from there.

3. Listen, and acknowledge that you have heard what they are saying, without trying to fix it for them. Say, 'I'm sorry that you are bored. Let me know what you come up with to do.' Or ' I understand that, I feel bored sometimes myself.

4. Give them choices, such as, 'You can continue to be bored or find something to do.'

5. Say that you would be very happy to show them how to vacuum, clean the car, wipe the ledges etc. Maybe they will want to, or maybe they will get as far away as possible and find something much more attractive to do.

6. Be realistic, nobody is suggesting that children should be left to their own devices the entire holidays, have a routine, one that balances:

Time for household jobs
Time for spending with you when you need to get things done, such as grocery shopping
Time for playing together (spending quality time)
Time for organized activities/ time with friends that they can become engaged in
Time to be independent (but not Bored!).

Posted in:Saying no to childrenChildren not listening to instructionsparenting tipsdealing with disappointmentsactivities for kidswhat to do with bored childrengrumpy childrengetting along  

Some ideas in case you have run out of things to do with the kids this holidays.....

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 6 January 2015

Every-one looks forward to the holidays but the idea of keeping the kids busy and out of trouble can be extremely daunting, and stressful on the purse strings! Following, is an idea to help you maintain some structure, which most kids need, as well as some activity ideas and sites to help you enjoy your time at home with the kids without having to strain your brain every day.

Daily planner idea

Each day at breakfast (or the night before, whatever suits your family) take the time to plan your day. It might take a while the first day, but once you get into the habit, it shouldn't take long at all.

1. Write a list of all the things you need to do each day, such as eating times, jobs, visits to the shops/ family/friends houses, baths, feeding the dog. Remember to include the things you need to do as well.

2. Organise the day into parts. Include the things you do each day, time for active activities, time for passive, or quiet activities, and time for activities that you do together. Try to have a  quiet activity follow  active or physical activities so that your children do not get over stimulated (and vice versa).

3.  Discuss, or write down the activities that you could do in each part of the day. This way, you won't feel pressure to try and think up something amazing that is the answer to everybody's dreams on the spot, when they ask 'what can I do now?' You might want to cut up your list, throw it in a jar and get the kids to pick out an activity each.

Some notes about different activity types during the day.

Unstructured and quite time encourage boredom inspired resourcefulness.
While many parents are quite fearful of child directed play these days, because they worry it equals children getting up to mischief, it is extremely important for learning how to apply rules, learn  what is 'fair' and discover how others might see things differently. Those loud arguments about whether an out of bounds ball was actually out of bounds actually serve a purpose.

Children also need time to stop and stare. The ability to take pleasure and interest in their own ideas and imagination requires practice. Looking out the window has its benefits in developing creativity and resourcefulness. For example, A.A. Milne wrote a poem, "Waiting at the Window,"  in which the narrator names two drops of rain, then creates a pretend drama as they make their way to the bottom. Such suspense!

If you let your children  know that a part of the day is going to be set aside for independent play and quiet time then you are setting up the expectation that they can do it with-out getting themselves into trouble, or coming to you whinging about being bored. Allotting the time, and letting them know what it is for, does two things.
1. It stops children from thinking this is a 'nothing to do' time and that just because nothing has been organised for them, they must be bored.
2. It puts some responsibility back on to them to entertain themselves. Children actually thrive on a bit of responsibility. You never know, you might be pleasantly surprised.
This is the time where they can organise their own activities, invent games, play in the sandpit / toy room, draw pictures, play with the dog, read, think and dream.

Time spent together

When you make your plan, it becomes obvious to everyone how much time you spend together, involved in activities. It is really good for children to be able to see this, as they often take for granted the times that you are spending with them, but they sure notice if you are doing your own thing and they can certainly let you know that this is not to their liking! This is not because children are selfish, they just need things pointed out to them sometimes because they just don't know any better. Don't let them 'guilt' you into giving up all your time to play with them. Using your daily plan, you can now say to them, 'When you have finished your play time, then it is time for us to play a game/ do some cooking'. Remember, if they pester you, the 'together time' can always be reduced. Alternatively, if you can see they are making a big effort to 'stick to the plan' the together time can be made to seem more exciting and special.

The main points

1. Plan your days, it helps you stay on track with the things you have to do as well.
2. Don't fall into the trap of thinking you have to entertain your children all day, especially with expensive trips, encourage resourcefulness.
3. Do try to allow time for physical activity each day. Taming children with excess stored energy can be stressful!
4. Break up quiet activities and active activities so that your children do not get over or under stimulated.
5. Don't feel as though you have to stick to the structure and the allotted times rigidly, think of the plan as something that is there as support, if you need it.

Useful Websites - an American site, but it has a pretty good list of activity ideas Kids Pack packs that arrive on your doorstep already packed full of activities kids can do while travelling - TODDLER TRICKS gives the parents of toddlers a whole box of on-line tricks that they can use to have happy, healthy fun-times with their toddler every day. They all cost nothing, or next to nothing and have been tried and tested on real live toddlers!  Toddler Tricks is delivered by a weekly blog which you can subscribe to through Facebook, by email or Twitter.  If you know the parent of a toddler, or are one yourself, then you are going to love Toddler Tricks. COME CHECK OUR TRICKS OUT!

Activity ideas

(If you have any other favourites, please let me know and I'll add them to the list)
1. Make play dough.
2. Learn magic tricks together and put on a show.
3. Create awards at
4. Make bubbles.
5. Have a photo taking contest. Share cameras.
6. Sign up for a walk or run for a cause.
7. Write letters to soldiers.
8. Go to the library and take out books, rent books on tape and movies.
9. Have colouring contests.
10. Plan a picnic indoors.
11. Have breakfast food for dinner.
12. Hold cooking classes in your own kitchen, invite friends.
13. Share favourite birthday and holiday stories.
14. Rent dance videos and hold a dance contest.
15. Create books using pictures from magazines.
16. Visit nursing homes, bring musical instruments and put on a show.
17. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
18. Make cupcakes and have a decorating party.
19. Download free e-books.
20. Hold a family game night.
21. Visit the zoo.
22. Design a family website.
23. Fill with family pictures and stories.
24. Go rollerblading.
25. Attend free festivals.
26. Attend free concerts.
27. Press flowers and make cards.
28. Decorate thank-you notes, write messages inside, put stamps on envelopes
they will be ready to go as needed.
29. Decorate placemats on construction paper and cover with contact paper.
30. Play charades.
31. Decorate small notebooks and begin a daily journal.
32. Organize dresser drawers.
33. Clean bedrooms.
34. Draw pictures and mail to other family members.
35. Finger paint with shaving foam.
36. Collect rocks and paint them.
37. Tie dye T-shirts and matching socks
38. Share daydreams.
39. Rent a yoga video for kids.
40. Rent dance videos and have a contest after practicing.
41. Make a bird feeder.
42. Wash the family cars together.
43. Make macaroni jewellery and art.
44. Visit playgrounds and local parks.
45. Visit a working farm.
46. Take nature walks.
47. Go fishing.
48. Arrange photo albums.
49. Play torch tag.
50. Practice musical instruments.
51. Do brain teasers.
52. Trace cookie cutters, decorate and cut out.
53. Write stories about past family events you have in photo albums.
54. Play card games.
55. Decorate clay pots.
56. Plant flowers in the decorated pots.
57. Do jigsaw puzzles.
58. Sleep outside under the stars.
59. Research a new hobby at the library.
60. Play a family memory game. ie What are the name of your great-grandparents?
61. Make a collage of what you are thankful for.
62. Make paper bag puppets.
63. Write love and appreciation letters to each other.
64. Cut out coupons together.
65. Read to each other from joke books.
66. Make friendship pins.
67. Make potato stamp art.
68. Play scrabble.
69. Do science experiments.
70. Create a secret family code.
71. Plan next summer's holiday
72. Play indoor golf.
73. Play broom ball.
74. Practice and become good at hackey sack.
75. Each child collects things they don't use anymore. Play bingo and choose things for prizes.
76. Have a fashion show.
77. Study a topic and hold a debate.
78.  Visit a farmer's market.
79. Visit a flea market.
80. Visit an auction.
81. Watch a sporting event you've never seen before.
82. Learn how to use a compass and practice your skills.
83. Try to break a world record.
84. Play Frisbee
85. Go on a scavenger hunt.

Posted in:parenting tipsactivities for kidsgetting along  
< Previous | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Next >