How to explore gratitude with your child

Exploring gratitude with your child

Gratitude is a key way for your child to learn about kindness, respect and support of others around them.

In this guide from an independent school in Oxfordshire, we take a look at the ways you can explore gratitude with your child and how it will help them grow.

 

Saying your pleases and thank yous

This is one of the first parts of gratitude that should be explored with your child. Saying please after each request and thanking them for any gifts, favours and requests done will give your child the first steps towards being grateful and respectful towards others.

Even these small remarks will teach children to be thankful for a lot of things in their life and building positive relationships with friends, teachers and family members.

 

Ask your child what they’re thankful for

You should ask your child once a day what they are grateful for. Whether it’s something they learnt about at school or something their friend did for them that day, it’s something your child should learn to be grateful for.

These small things will make your child feel a lot more positive about their outlook on life and how people should express gratitude wherever they can.

 

Express gratitude in front of your child

Your child will learn from you a lot of the time, so be sure to use your own learnt manners in front of your child as well. They will often see a lot of mannerisms you’ll use and pick them up from you over time. They will see you as a role model, and follow your lead in a number of ways, so it’s imperative that you express those when in front of your children.

Often an essential way of showing how your child should treat others throughout their life, it’s a really important life skill to teach your children. There are many ways you can express gratitude, in small ways and in bigger ways too.

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

How to help raise an optimistic child

How to raise an optimistic child

Optimism is a key part of a child’s development. They will grow with the right advice and support that will show your child the best ways to be optimistic.

This also helps with your child’s development in school – they’re more likely to be confident, engaging and eager to learn within the classroom.

Bringing positivity into the home should be a natural process, but if you’re struggling for ways to bring it back into your child’s life, there are ways to help them along.

Read this guide from one of the top Fulham schools to show how you can raise an optimistic child.

Be open with your child

Children are more likely to open up to you when you’re being open, welcoming and (above all) honest. Encourage open conversations often with your child to assess how they’re feeling and if there’s any way you could help them.

Being open with your child increases the likelihood that they’ll want to turn to you for future advice and support when they can. It also shows that you’re supporting them with their school work and learning more about the life they want to lead.

 

Show you’re a role model

Positive thoughts and optimistic actions will really impact your child.

Use positive affirmations and strong encouragement as they go about their days to see if they follow your lead.

You will be one of your child’s biggest influences, so it’s important that you speak to your child by using happy phrases and words of encouragement. They often go through a lot of stress during their school years so you should aim to lift their spirits up when they’re feeling down. They’ll be more likely to turn to you in the future if you do.

 

Children will always look to you for support, especially when they’re younger. Ensure you’re motivating your child continuously in a beneficial way to help them along their journey.

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

trick to teach child new skills

Try this little trick to teach your child new skills

One of the things I don’t think I really thought much about before I had my children, is quite how much you end up teaching them over the years.

It starts with trying to teach them the difference between day and night, in the hope that they might start sleeping for more than an hour at a time when it’s dark out.

And I don’t think it ever really stops.  I mean, I’m nearly 40 and I still ask my parents all sorts of questions about all sorts of things.

A lot of the skills we teach our children come quite naturally, but with others it can feel like an endless challenge to get them to get it.  This little trick though can help with pretty much any skill or task you need to teach your child about.

 

It’s called the “see one, do one, teach one” approach.

This method of teaching is generally used in training new doctors and surgeons.  When they need to learn a new skill they’ll watch it being done, then have a go at doing it themselves (while being closely supervised), and then solidify their knowledge by teaching the skill to someone else.

It’s this final step of teaching the new skill that really makes sure that they’re confident in what they’re doing and that they really understand the process.

The beauty of this approach is that you can apply it to teaching pretty much any new skill and it works really well with children who love showing off their new abilities!

 

So, lets say you’re trying to teach your child how to tie their shoelaces.

Here are the three steps you would take:

1. Show them how to do it.

Sit down with them and show them the different steps needed to tie their shoes.  If they’re completely new to shoe-tying then just teach the first step to start with and then build on it from there.

 

2. Get them to have a go.

With you sitting next to them, let them have a try at doing the first step themselves.

 

3. Ask them to teach the skill to someone else.

Once they seem to have got the hang of it, help them solidify the knowledge by teaching it to someone else.  Now, that someone else could be you if there’s no one else available.  Or they could teach it to a sibling or relative.  You could even let them make a little video explaining how to do it, if they love watching things like that on YouTube!

 

It will still take a lot of time and patience for them to learn a new skill like this, but breaking the process down into these stages will really help make sure the new knowledge sticks in their heads.

The final stage of teaching it to someone else in particular helps make sure they really understand what they’ve learnt.

 

What I really love about this “see one, do one, teach one” method is that you can use it with children of all ages and for all sorts of different skills.

It would work for:

  • alphabet puzzles while learning letters
  • maths problems for all ages
  • learning to cross the road safely
  • cooking skills
  • first aid skills
  • sorting and doing the laundry
  • telling the time
  • car maintenance – like checking the oil and filling up with petrol
  • sewing skills

And so, so many other things.

 

What skill have you found hardest to try and teach your child?  Do you think this see one, do one, teach one method would help them to learn?

Tips for helping your child with maths

Top tips for helping your child with maths

For some people, maths can be your least favourite subject, but it’s an integral part of school curriculums in order to be able to do the most simple sums and up to the most difficult equations.

It also goes hand-in-hand with science-related subjects, especially for those looking to pursue science-related subjects in university.

For those that have struggling children, here are some ways you can help your child, courtesy of this junior school in London.

Break down complicated questions into chunks

Oftentimes, math questions appear complicated because of the way they’re worded. In these cases you should try and break down the question for them. Look at what the question is asking and go through it step by step with your child.

 

Sit with them as they go through their maths homework

Learning for yourself is often a good way you both learn together. See how your child does their homework and how they complete each section.

You can see what areas they struggle with and which ones they can get through without so much help and they have the chance to show you what kind of assignments they do in school.

 

Provide extra learning materials for them

If your child is in need of extra support, then you could look to buy some additional material for them to help them along the way.

Whether it’s additional workbooks, tuition or an extra few hours a week of dedicated revision, it can boost your child’s confidence in the subject and give them a clearer head when looking at maths work.

 

With these methods you can help guide your child through their studies without stress and too many obstacles in the way for your child to manage.

They’ll also thank you for it later on down the line – you’d be surprised to hear what your child will remember you for!

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

Get in more photos for your family

5 ways to make sure you get in more photos

As a parent I bet you have thousands of photos of your children.  But how many photos of you will they have when they’re older?

If you’re always the one behind the camera, taking the photos, capturing the memories, then you need to make a real effort to get in front of the camera and make sure you’re in more of your family’s photos.

You want your children to look back at pictures of their childhoods and see you there with them.

It can be easier said than done though, to get in the habit of actually being in more photos.  So here are my ideas for 5 things you can try to start getting in front of the camera more and existing in photos for your children.

 

1. Commit to a family photo project

One of the best things I ever did to make sure I get in more photos with my family was to start joining in with the me and mine project.

All you have to do is take a family photo each month.  If you have a blog you can share your photos there, or pop them up on Instagram.  Or you can keep it as a personal project and print your photos to display at home.

The point is just to make a commitment to doing it every month.

 

2. Set reminders to take more photos

When you’re not used to getting in front of the camera it can be far too easy to fall back into old habits of just taking pictures of your children.

So set up reminders as prompts to get in some photos with them.

You can keep it really simple, with an alarm set on your phone each week to remind you to grab your phone and take a group selfie with your family.

Or you can go all out and schedule a family photo session in your calendar.  Plan a day and time that you’ll head out together with the camera and a remote trigger and take some photos all together.

happy family photo on a beach

3. Join in with online communities

Get inspired to get in more photos by scrolling through different hashtags on Instagram, and then commit to taking and posting your own snaps too.

Here are some ideas for hashtags to try:

#MeAndMineProject

#ShowYouWereThere

#ParentsInThePicture

#BeInThePicture

#ExistInPhotographs

 

4. Let go of perfection

Stop overthinking everything when it comes to having your photo taken and remember the real reason you’re doing it.

You’re doing it for your family.  So that in the future they’ll have photos of you to look back on.  So that they’ll have that proof that you were there, enjoying their childhood with them.

And your family do not care if your hair is a bit greasy.  Or if there’s a stain on your top from breakfast.  Or if there’s a load of mess in the background of the photo.

So stop making excuses and waiting for things to be perfect before you get in front of the camera.

Grab your phone.  Grab your children.  Snap a selfie.

Dig out your camera.  Set the timer.  Capture some real, perfectly imperfect memories with your family.

5. Make a deal with a friend to take photos for each other

One of the big obstacles to overcome to get in more photos is having someone to actually take the photos for you.

If you don’t want all your pictures to be selfies but find that setting up a camera and a timer feels like too much work to do regularly, then make a deal with a friend or family member to take photographs for each other.

Whenever you meet your friend and their children at the park, make a point of taking a photo of them with their family and let them do the same for you.

On days out with your partner make sure you hand them the camera or your phone a few times and ask them to take photos with you in too.

Talk to the people in your life about how important it is to you that you exist in more photos.  Ask as many of them as you can to let you take pictures of them, and for them to take photos of you.

 

Hopefully at least one of these ideas will have inspired you to pick up your camera… and then hand it over to someone else so you can get in some more photos!

Helping your child with social skills

Helping your child with their social skills

When you socialise, you can make so many friends and contacts from so many places. For some people it doesn’t come as naturally as others, but it is a solid way of forming bonds with your parents, building relationships and learning about others.

For children it’s also a great way of building their vocabulary and strengthening their speaking skills.

So how can you help your child with their social skills? Read on with this guide from this junior school in Surrey to help your child with their social skills.

 

Get them to join a club

Clubs, extracurricular activities and sports societies are regularly hosted by schools in order for children to progress and use their skills taught during school time in other activities.

A key part of these clubs and societies is to encourage children to speak to each other and make new friends, improving their communication skills.

 

Outdoor play opportunities

Play time with kids is a great way of giving your child the chance to have some fun that doesn’t revolve around learning.

These can be held with other children they know as well – a popular reason why break times at schools are always employed. Playing with toys and other tools boosts your child’s creativity and inquisitiveness.

 

Parent and child activities

In a child’s primary school years there tends to be a stronger focus on involving parents in regular activities or bringing parents into the school at the start and end of a school day. Children gain confidence from their parents a lot of the time and they can use that chance to be happier and friendlier towards other children and friends.

Parents are also invited to a lot of activities that happen in the school as well, like sports days, games days and summer “Olympic” events.

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

How you can make a new habit stick

How can you make a new habit stick? Try this little trick.

If you’ve ever tried to build a new habit into your life you’ll know how hard it can be to make it stick.

Even when it’s something you really want to do, or something you know will make you feel so much better, it can be really hard to actually commit to it long enough for it to really become a habit.

There is a trick you can try though to really boost your chances of getting any new habit to stick.

 

It’s all about habit stacking.

This is basically where you stack the new habit you want to build into your life on top of one you already do almost automatically.

Think about the things you do as part of your normal routine.  Things like:

  • Get out of bed
  • Boil the kettle and make coffee
  • Have a shower
  • Brush your teeth
  • Take the kids to school
  • Put the baby down for a nap
  • Have lunch
  • Pick the children up from school
  • Make dinner
  • Put the children through the bath
  • Put the children to bed
  • Lock up the house
  • Turn off the lights
  • Go to bed

All of these things are habits that are so ingrained in your life that you don’t really think about them.  They’re things that you just do.

Psychologically speaking, they’re things you’ve done over and over again enough times that the neural pathways for them are incredibly strong and the actions are almost automatic.

One of the reasons we find it so hard to stick with new habits is that it takes time for new neural pathways to form in our brains and, as our brains are generally quite lazy, we fall back on old habits that are already nicely ingrained.

So we stop going for a jog after the school run and go back to sitting down with a coffee instead, because that habit has already been well-established in our lives and our brains.

 

By tying a new habit in with one of these established actions you basically cheat the system. 

Instead of your brain having to work to form new neural pathways for these new habits, you sneak them in to existing ones.

So if you want to get in the habit of drinking more water then you would build this in on top of one of your existing habits.

It might be that you decide that before you brush your teeth in the morning and the evening you’ll have a glass of water.  You’re already in the habit of brushing your teeth twice a day, and this action then becomes the trigger for your new habit of drinking a glass of water.

Instead of just promising yourself you’ll ‘drink more water’, which is really quite vague, you start to tie that new action in with something you already do at a pretty set time each day.

It’s all about finding an existing habit that you can ‘stack’ your new one on top of, in a way that works for you and your life.

You could try things like:

  • When you turn the shower on in the morning you do 10 sit ups before you get in.

The action of turning on the shower, which is something you do without really thinking about it, becomes the trigger for the new habit of doing 10 sit ups.

 

  • After you turn the tv off before bed you do a quick clean of the flat surfaces in the living room.

The action of switching off the tv becomes the trigger for the new habit of clearing away clutter.

 

  • After you take your shoes off when you get home from the school run you change into your workout clothes and do an at-home exercise class.

The action of removing your shoes becomes the trigger to get changed and get active.

 

You can use this habit stacking method with any new habit you want to build into your life.

Just look at the things you do every day, almost on auto-pilot, and find something you can stack your new habit on to.  Doing this will help you stick with it long enough for the neural pathways to form in your brain and the new habit become automatic in it’s own right.

What new habit do you want to start?  Leave me a comment and let me know!