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The COVID-19 pandemic has upturned family life around the world. The fact that schools and businesses were forced to shut down to flatten the curve of the virus spread has forced parents who also have to work remotely for this same reason to be locked down with their kids who would otherwise be in school at this time.  This sudden disruption to our daily routine is a lot to navigate for anyone, but especially for parents who now have to work from home with the distractions engendered from having the kids around while trying to get serious work done.

Business and Academic experts from around the world, have said that by 2030, 85 per cent of the jobs that will exist have not even been invented yet.  As such, the minds of our children should be unlocked to possibilities and not limited to the jobs and occupations of the present day.

 According to Dr.Rumeet Billian, President and CEO of Viewpoint Leadership, when we were younger we could not say, “when I am older I want to become a social media expert or a YouTube personality” because that did not exist. And that trend is likely to continue. Meanwhile, by 2030, 85% of jobs that will exist have not been invented so how do we prepare our kids for these anonymous jobs?

When you ask a child who they want to be when they grow up, we help them tilt their minds and focus to who they are and what they can do, which is very critical to this changing and innovative world.  According to organizational psychologist and Wharton management professor Adam Grant, we really shouldn’t be asking kids what they want to be when they grow up at all. Grant suggests the mere question is problematic in at least three ways. First, he notes ‘’it forces kids to define themselves in terms of work’’. The second problem with asking kids what they want to be when they grow up , according to grant, is that it reifies the idea that we all should have one true passion in life, as there are plenty of people who aren’t particularly drawn to one career, but wind up leading perfectly happy (and varied)lives anyway. And lastly, as Grant notes, ‘’careers rarely live up to your childhood dreams.’’ There is no point in urging kids to focus their energy on how amazing and fulfilling it would be to become a veterinarian or a pediatrician, only to have them encounter crushing disappointment when it turns out they feel faint around the sight of blood.  

Kids should be able to say they want to save lives when they grow up and not that they want to be doctors. When they can think that way, they can be able to express their reasons and see the real underlying emotions that are attached to such ambiguous decision. 

When you ask a child why she wants to become a police officer when she grows up and she says “because she wants to save lives” listening to that statement and focusing on “save lives” we open the door of possibilities. Because in saving lives, you can do that by being a doctor, a nurse, a social worker, a counselor and in many other ways. But when we focus on the ‘what’ we limit our children and the extent to which they can project their future.

In a world where systems are changing and landmarks are going extinct, preparing our children for the jobs of the future is a sure way to secure a good life at adulthood for them. With this in mind experts and scholars have written on various ways and methods that can help guide parents on how to do this right without frustrating their children. Below are five right tips to help prepare your child for future jobs proffered by Dr. Jaunine Fouché, Milton Hershey School STEAM and Agricultural and Environmental Education Director.

  • Do not praise intelligence, praise work ethic.

Research has proven that praising children for their intelligence will often make them less likely to challenge themselves. As a parent, we should focus on praising their work ethic–attacking a challenging problem and sticking with it shows their persistence, and next time they encounter an issue, they will approach it with more confidence.

Careers are more innovation-focused and that means we need to prepare our children for the rapid pace at which our world changes. We should be asking them how fast can you take advantage of the changes that will keep you relevant?

  • Recognize, celebrate, and reinforce the “four C’s.”

We should make it a priority to call attention to these foundational skills: critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity. These four C’s are often referred to as soft skills. In a globally collective culture where innovation is the norm, these are essential skills. These process skills are just as important, if not more important, than the end product.

Recognizing and celebrating the 4 C’s means parents need to take time to have conversations about the steps their child took toward a decision. For example, if you watch teams work together, effective teams work the 4 C’s successfully, and that leads to a good end product. The end product often falls apart or falls short of the mark with teams who cannot effectively work together.

  • Provide and allow latitude for choice and voice from young ages.

As a culture, it is hugely important that we gravitate toward things that interest us. We are wired to ask questions and poke our world to see how it responds. The old saying, “Because I said so,” does not go as far anymore with our youth. So if all we are asking of our children is compliance, we are not building the mindset that allows for independent reasoning.

For example, take your child to a grocery store and allow them to pick three different cereals to put in the cart. Explain that you are going to have your child put two of the boxes of cereal back, keeping only one. Then ask them to explain why they are not picking the other two. Your child is practicing choice and voice skills when they are being asked to reflect and evaluate their purchase through reasoning.

  • Model and practice metacognitive reflection when exercising choice and voice.

Metacognition–thinking about your thinking–will help your child to practice their voice and choice. Work with your child to reflect after finding a solution by asking, “Did I collaborate well? What stopped my creativity?” It may not occur to you to ask your child how they may have used their supplies or resources differently, but it is an important question for them to think about. Children do not do this automatically so, as parents, we too should model thinking and reasoning out loud in front of our children so they can start to cultivate those skills and build a mindset that allows them to improve their process for the next time.

  • Support and celebrate failure that leads to progress.

Failing forward gets us somewhere. It is not easy, but if your child fails and learned something from it, then the failure actually was a success. It is learning from the experiences that really allows your child to take two steps forward. Celebrating failures that move your child forward will help them tackle the next problem or job that comes along. You are also giving them the green light to push into areas that we would not have in the past for fear of them looking unintelligent. However, preparing our children for jobs that do not yet exist means this is a skill that will be deeply valued as the world of work continues to change.

Our 21st century learners are our newest innovators. To innovate we have to be intentional by providing opportunities and making these essential skills part of our children’s daily routines. When our children become comfortable with productive failure and motivated to tackle self-identified challenges, they become top-notch problem-solvers and open-minded thinkers. With these abilities and skillsets along with an innovative mindset, our children will be able to tackle any job that comes their way in the future.

By Dr. Jaunine Fouché

Milton Hershey School STEAM and Agricultural and Environmental Education Director

Parenting tops the list of jobs that never goes on holidays. Regardless of however ready for parenting an individual might assume to be, the concept of being absolutely ready for parenting prepared to raise a child especially in this 21st century, is as unrealistic as it is far-fetched.

In parenting having a strong-willed daughter who at an early stage already knows whatever she desires and will not take “no” for an answer whenever her demands are not met; can be very Tedious for most parents. Nevertheless, the journey of raising a strong-willed daughter can possibly turn out superb depending on how knowledgeable the parents are.

An article on parenting.com actually described parents with strong-willed children as lucky, adding that while raising strong willed children can be a challenge when they’re young, if sensitively parented, they can become terrific teens and young adults.

What exactly describes a strong-willed child?

Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University carefully explains the benefits of having strong-willed children. He describes strong -willed children as spirited, headstrong, rambunctious and even courageous. According to him, they are usually self-motivated and inner-directed, they often grow into leaders as adults.  

It is quite hilarious how the qualities that make a strong-willed child is largely condemned at the child’s young age and later demanded at the child’s older days as one of the most important qualities for a successful life. A parent’s ability to properly mentor and manage her strong-willed child, will turn out with the big grin of beholding a self-motivated and self -driven teen/adult in the nearest future. 

Without ‘’Love’’, the tale of a mother and child will remain incomplete. There is little wonder then on why most parents desire to push their children towards paths they feel will benefit them best in future. This task is always daunting when the child/children involved are strong willed as they can be hardly swayed when they have their mind set on something. Their experimental personality constantly ignites them to seek after learning things based on their own experiences rather than what someone else narrates to them, so they are always fond of testing the limits over and over.

In a world where tagging along with the multitude has become the norm, smartly raising a strong -willed child is one of the surest means to ensure you have kids who stand for what they know is right and not just what is acceptable to the majority population. Strong -willed children do not take actions or make decisions or engage in activities to get attention and approval of their peers. 

Considering as scholars have advocated for strong-willed children, this does not in any way excuse raising disobedient and ill-mannered kids. Rather raising strong – willed kids involves giving a child the liberty to think ‘outside the box’ and not just to play by the limiting rules of life. 

Seeing as life rarely gives you what you deserve, but what you demand for, your strong-willed child cannot be adequately prepared for life challenges if she is continually been shut out from voicing her opinions in family concerns, especially on matters that concern her life.

If you are currently raising a strong-willed child/child, you have to realize that they will seek a lot validation. Rather than yelling out for every single act of misbehavior, you have to make an effort to listen to their side of the story. Ensure to add empathy and validation to conversations, especially when attempting to make them do what you want.  An article by the Independent Magazine on the importance of raising strong-willed children advised that for the little things, the everyday, non-life-threatening issues, parents should let up a bit on these kids. Obedience as a result of trust, not of broken will, must be placed as premium when relating to individuals especially growing kids. 

Since we have recognized that raising a child comes with so much responsibilities, parents therefore ought to be mentally, emotionally, financially and physically ready before taking this unique life’s responsibility; and part of their readiness must include preparing to raise strong -willed children.

Eloke-Young Splendor

Most parents raise their kids like robots, giving their kids commands with a high expectation of immediate positive feedbacks. This attitude has in recent times created little or no distinction between a home and an army parade ground. This sort of parenting is ‘’Authoritarian’’. 

Authoritative parenting unlike Authoritarian kind involves a large focus on balance. This style of parenting involves parents having expectations for kids, but at the same time, they provide resources and emotional support which enable kids to succeed. 

Authoritative parenting to a large extent creates a win-win environment for both parents and the kids.  Considering that children are supposed to be related with according to their individual temperament and psychological make up, this form of parenting has been found to benefit children of different temperaments.

The adoption of authoritative form of parenting leaves both the mother and her kids happy as well as satisfied. The conventional idea of just slapping rules at children is yet to produce the desired results all parents seek in parenting, hence the need for authoritative parenting.  Authoritative parents do not put up a legislative (law-making) attitude when relating with their kids rather, they put a lot of effort into creating and maintaining a positive relationship with their children. This is achieved by explaining the reasons behind the rules. In these situations you enforce rules and give consequences, but you also take your child’s feelings into consideration.   

Child development experts recognise authoritative parenting as the best parenting style among the four Baumrind parenting styles.

Authoritative parents are attuned, nurturing, sensitive and supportive of their children’s emotional and developmental needs. The supportive attributes displayed by these parents can be seen in their relentless efforts to be more involved in a child’s schooling by volunteering or monitoring homework.       

Most people, who do not apply authoritative style of parenting, fear that authoritative parenting goes a long way to lower their standards for child upbringing, but this is definitely untrue. Authoritative parents still have high standards but they do not require complete compliance or blind obedience from their children. These parents are intelligent enough to use reasoning and allow give-and-take discussions instead of creating a highway of instructions and laid-down rules for kids to act out. This form of parenting is rather characterized by a great deal of parental involvement where parents walk their children through the path of adhering to these rule, thereby; making it less burdensome.

It has been observed that a large number of parents these days find it a bit difficult to achieve a balance in parenting kids. They are either between too much psychological control which signifies being an authoritarian or they are achieving too little behavioral control, thereby becoming permissive in their parenting style.  However, the concept of authoritative parenting goes a long way to balance these two extremes in parenting style.     

It might seem unbelievable to say that clashes experienced by parents and their children during parenting are highly avoidable, but this is true no matter how unbelievable it may sound. Parents-kids clashes can be totally avoided when using the authoritative parenting style as it requires parents to take a different, more moderate approach that emphasizes, showing respect for children as independent, rational beings.

Authoritative parenting does not only improve the life of a child but also goes a long way to regulate her experiences and behaviors at adulthood.  Since authoritative parents give kids respect and listen, it becomes easier for these parents to raise kids who are independent thinkers.

 In the case of disciplining a child; authoritative parents discipline kids by trying to guide and teach their kids, and modify what they expect from kids depending on the situation and a child’s individual needs.

Children who showcase empathy, and have secure attachment with their parents as well as the society are direct products of authoritative parenting. Although, according to parenting experts, authoritative parenting has been heralded as the best parenting style; it is still advisable that parents adopt parenting styles that suite their child’s temperament.

As the summer breaks rushes in, there is the tendency for mothers to have butterflies in their stomach. This is true considering how much summer provide the kids and their mom with a break from the school routine of homework, class projects, fund raisers and school lunches. Nevertheless, this does not remove the summer stress that also tags along.

No matter how annoying and boring routines might be to humans, routines still stands out as the king who helps us organize and co-ordinate the human life, hereby preventing many individuals from engaging in useless activities that put their life in Chaos.

With kids having to spend 2 months off from school, parents often find themselves combating with the unimaginable kids’ commotion that sets in all too quickly. Commotion such as sibling spats can lead to tension and bickering which snatches away the peace of the entire household. 

 Houses often seem as though a tornado has hit and the door seems to constantly be swinging  as kids run in and out grabbing another cookie, juice box, toy or visiting the potty once again. Taking care of kids during summer can become a horrible nightmare for most mothers especially when proper plans for summer are not drafted out.  Notwithstanding the holiday should not be short-lived or even totally wiped away in the bid to keep the children, organized, calm and ultimately useful for the little that is needed to be done.  

Proactive mums have found out as well as adopted a few smart plans that could provide a memorable and enjoyable summer experience for both mom and her kids. In the bid for mothers to reduce the stress they might experience during summer, there is no need to send off the children to an insecure environment in the name of summer camp or sleep overs, just to create a serene atmosphere for yourself and your highly time-demanding job. 

Below are 5 smart plans that can create a balanced, memorable and enjoyable summer experience for both mothers and kids:

  1. Alone Time’ Should Never Be Found Missing on the Daily Schedule: The stress that come with summer cannot be totally eradicated but it can be reduced to the barest minimum, especially when you begin to make the best use of alone times. Since arguments and fighting will not cease amongst children especially in situations where siblings are together, scheduling an alone time of probably about 15minutes every day will definitely provide mothers as well as the whole family a quiet time to engage in productive activities without any disturbance. Alone time can be achieved by allowing each child engage in various activity alone. It could also be tagged as allowing the children enjoy their own company.
  2. Reduce Your Commitments to Suit Your Available Time:  During summer holidays, kids    will demand for a whole lot of things that if not properly examined with the lens of necessity, these demands might create a great source of stress for their mothers.  Your thirteen-year-old might want her friends come home for a sleep over, your nine-year-old son might want you to throw him a birthday party, while your Four-year-old daughter could request for a visit to cinema to watch her favorite movie. With these entire request screaming at your face, you must bear in mind that the more you take on, the more stressful your summer becomes. When it comes to summertime commitments, you should keep them to a minimum. To enjoy a balanced summer, your commitments should suit your available time. Don’t promise your kids more than you can take on, because trust me; they can never forget those commitments you made.
  1. Create the Location for the Family Vacation:  Family vacation mean a whole lot to children during summer and where to spend a family vacation can pose as a huge source of stress to mothers during summer. Rather than get worked up about where to spend the family vacation, you could decide to build your own location at home. Mothers and their kids can still have fun during summer by building a mini vacation that takes place at home. This makes the summer break less expensive, without the financial burden of traveling and staying in hotels. With less money, you and the rest of the family can have enough fun to share.
  2. Never Underrate the need to plan meals:  Handling family meals during summer may not be as easy as it was prior to summer period. In order to effectively manage the stress that comes with preparing the family meals, you need to plan the meals while putting vital nutrients into consideration. Too much sugar and other unhealthy foods makes kids more hyper-active, which also make moms a little crazy too, therefore having a meal plan should never be left out during summer.
  3. Get the Kids Engaged: House chores getting tripled during summer is not a new experience, it happens every now and then. During summer, it is expected that you will have more dirty laundry, more used dishes, and more eaten food since the kids are hanging around the house. Regardless of this, one of the best ways to keep your house in order and your stress way down is to designate age-appropriate chores for your kids to perform every day. This will keep them much more engaged as well as help you reduce your stress. Also spice up the chores with fun, you could introduce a song or match steps to be performed while working.

Applying this five smart plans this summer will definitely relief you of the usual fears and stress that accompany the summer periods. The kids can keep enjoying themselves while you rest and smile. 

This summer can be a summer for all and not just for the kids.  

Eloke-Young Splendor

If you want to change the future, you must change what you’re doing in the present.

The truth smeared all over this wise saying by Mark Twain should not easily be overlooked. Most mothers however tend to ignore this simple truth as they assume the responsibility of raising their daughters.  It is the duty of wise mothers whose desire is to raise girls with a confident future to help them cultivate the right attitude early enough. Enlightened mothers who are aligned with the single vision to break through the current patriarchal system of the world will always ensure that their words and actions towards their daughters, never ceases to ignite the passion in them to become great career women in all fields.

It is clearly impossible for a 10years old girl to grow into a responsible and highly admired mother in the future if she has not been tutored, mentored and trained to become that. The old cliché that says; practice makes perfect have long been abandoned in certain areas of human life especially with regards to child upbringing.  There are certain habits which if consistently practiced by the child at a very early stage, will help her become a great mother and a role model to her children. Your daughter will be forever grateful to you only if you patiently take the pain of Instilling in her the vital attitudes which will contribute to having a smooth ride when the responsibility of parenting comes knocking on the door.

No doubt, decision making is one of the unavoidable task and highly crucial responsibility faced by mothers during parenting. Therefore, as children grow older, mothers should learn to give them an opportunity to harness great and prompt decision making skills.

To harness the future mum in your little girl, you must learn to let her have a voice in making decisions. Whenever possible, let her make constructive choices about her life and also about minor things in the family.  You can do this by letting her choose her own clothes within appropriate limits, allowing her choose which mall will be suitable for the weekend shopping, you could as well give her a chance to decide the location of the family vacation, or even explore seeking their opinion on which particular gadget to purchase for the kitchen.

Involving the child in little yet vital decisions that matter to the family will simultaneously equip him with the needed skills to make future difficult decisions when she is older.

As you journey through the process of assisting your little girl to discover and embrace the future mother within her, you must also bear in mind that risk-taking is an unavoidable factor in the life of great achievers.

Dear mums, this means you have to encourage your little girl to take physical risks.

JoAnn Deak, Ph.D, author of Girls Will Be Girls says that “Girls who avoid risks have poorer self-esteem than girls who can and do face challenges”.  Urge your daughter to go beyond her comfort zone – For example, encourage a girl who loves to read only comic and adventurous novels to study biographies of great people who have succeeded in her aspiring career.

You can also encourage a girl who’s scared to ride her bike downhill to find just a small hill to conquer first.” Catherine Steiner-Adair, Ed.D., co-author of Full of Ourselves: A Wellness Program to Advance Girl Power, Health and Leadership, agrees. “It’s important to help even non-athletic girls develop some physical competence and confidence when they’re young. Whether it’s through team or individual sports, girls need to form a physical relationship with their body that builds confidence.”

In your few days, months or years of being a mum, you will admit that consistent openness to learning has remained one of the helpful skills that have made parenting easier, also this trait will be needed to give your daughter a successful ride in her future journey through motherhood.  Providing answers to the endless questions thrown at you by your little girl will teach her to give an open mind to learning in whatever condition she finds herself.

In conclusion, mothers must acknowledge that being a successful mum is never complete until you have replicated such success in a daughter who is fully armed with the prerequisite attributes to help her raise a generation of responsible leaders.

BY: Splendor Eloke-Young

By Eloke-Young Splendor

“If you are nervous about school starting, then your child is certainly going to be nervous about school starting,” Edward Christopherson, a Kansas City-based child psychologist said this concerning back to school moms.  When summer breeze says goodbye and school resumption knocks the door it is normal for anxiety to arise both for mothers and their children too but never mind, take a chill pill and seek ways to fix it. A lot of things can present themselves as sources of worry during the back to school transition period. It is important mothers realize what to expect during this period of transition from summer to school and these expectations can apply to different situations such as, handling the fears of moving to a new school, handling the feeling of being in a new grade or class, handling the scolding from last grade failure, handling a child who had a fun filled holiday and handling the fear of a first time in school. Below are ways to tackle these circumstances, thereby creating an unimaginable back to school fever pitch.       

1. Handling the fears of moving to a new school : Jane might be excited about getting a new school Uniform, being in a new school environment and going home in a new and different school bus but be very sure that underneath this excitement is a loud ranting fear ready for expression in the next few weeks. Now that she is moving to a new school mom should always be willing to answer her questions about her new school and incite her with interesting facts about her school such as the library features, playground facilities, cafeteria facilities, school bus comfort and even extracurricular activities listed in the school calendar for the academic year. She should also make conscious efforts to visit the new school with her daughter, several times before resumption. This can easily translate the fears to absolute confidence as well as create a positive enthusiasm.

2. Handling the Feeling of Being in a new grade or class: A new grade implies more responsibilities, assignments and higher expectations which kids often find stressful during the first few weeks of resumption. When mothers learn to recognize this, the ability to eliminate stress is quite predictable. A great way to tackle the overwhelming feeling of uncertainty which may be associated with this period is engaging your kids in summer coaching classes. This gives her the privilege of being tutored on a personal level which is more interactive and less competitive. Summer coaching classes will help the child familiarize with the upcoming lessons as well as create the right zeal needed for the new school session.

3. Handling the scolding from last grade failure: You might think that visiting the cinema and other kiddies fun places during summer will make your little 10 year old loose memory of the distention she had to undergo for flopping her arithmetic exams last academic session, but that’s a big lie.  Transition from summer to school might be the child’s worst nightmare if she has not dealt properly with the failures of the previous session. Learn to spend time discussing the achievements and failures of the previous session; allow her express her fears or even make efforts to spot out the fears from her body language and words. Then help her build confidence for the new session. Every kid likes to know that mum believes in them so let her know you believe she is going to bring in the distinctions this term. Give her the good luck charm which is your approval of success as this can ignite the back to school fever pitch.

4. Handling a child who had a fun filled summer:   Even after the summer your child might still be basking in the euphoria of the fun filled moments experienced during summer, and this might hinder the zeal and productivity required for forthcoming academic session. Helping your child get back to her daily routine is a great way to whine down the fun filled summer. You can begin this by discussing with your child the new routines for the upcoming session at least two weeks to supposed resumption date. You could also go back to the usual early wake up timing (may be 5am) for school session.

5. Handling the fear of a first time in school: The deafening sound of tears and screams emerging from school buses and school environment at the beginning of a New Year and session can be so deafening. Since it’s a new session and so many kids will find themselves within the four walls of a learning institution for the first time it’s not absurd for children to raise sounds of displeasure on their first day of school.  Visiting the school with your kid before resumption can help her get familiar with school environment. Kindergarten’s first drop off in school can be very tough for both the kid and her mom as well but she has to find smart ways to deal with it. Be strong enough to say goodbye without looking back as well as avoid long goodbye routines. Trusting your kids’ teacher will be very helpful in handling this fear.   

 

Of course here’s a new school year and you are about to begin another journey of nurturing your child’s learning experience, giving her an extraordinary back to school experience will create the big path of success needed for the year. For children, learning becomes more impactful when it is spiced up with fun not fears.  Finding creative measures to ignite the back to school fever pitch in your child will make learning easier and more fun for them, as well as help you ensure you are familiar with her school life.