8 things to love (and sometimes hate) about parenting 4/5-Year-Olds 0 12

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I have been away from blogging and social media (mostly) for about a month now. And with good reason. We have a new addition to my brother’s family in the form of a baby girl. And I have been super-excited these past few weeks to write anything despite having a truckload of topics at hand (which is quite unlikely for my usual writer’s block suffering self!).

Anyway, as I watch my brother and sister-in-law fumble through the grueling course of child-rearing, I can’t help but notice how far I and my husband have come as “Baby School Graduates” and wonder at the amazing ways a new baby changes you. This has also given me ample time to compare and contrast my 4.5-year-old with the newborn and marvel at the steep learning curve kids go through from age 0 to age 5. There are many amazing milestones on the way but if you look at an almost 5-year-old, I bet there are quite a few things you love (and hate at the same time) about parenting your child. Here are a few things in your 4- or 5-year-old for you to laugh and cry about:

1. They Are Debate Club Veterans

No, you cannot win an argument with your almost 5-year-old. They will argue and counter-argue a point with you over and over again, adding new information along the way, till you are eventually exhausted and forfeit. As much as you absolutely love and admire their quick wit, you’ll hate losing for obvious reasons.

Don’t believe me? Here’s our latest ongoing debate: Of late, Sonny has decided that he is “Scooby Doo” because we (still) don’t have a dog and he needs to protect his “baby sister”. So far so good and “aww” worthy. But enter bedtime and his reasoning for skipping it are:  since he is a dog and dogs don’t sleep at night, so from now on, he will only sleep at mornings when the sun is up and not before that!

If I counter-argue “Okay, then let’s go, get a dog instead.”

His quick reply is: “But I AM A DOG now, and dogs can’t have pet dogs!”. Stalemate!

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How To Nurture Your Young Child’s Writing Skills Early 0 2

child handwriting
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When teaching children how to write, it is important to focus on portraying the enjoyment of writing. Making writing a fun activity will encourage young children to want to learn this skill as a new venue of communication. When children are first learning how to pick up a pencil and put it to paper, parents and teachers should remember not to force penmanship too early. If the children are too focused on proper formation and staying between the lines, they become easily frustrated and view writing as a laborious task rather than an enjoyable activity.

Parents who want to teach their kids how to write early should make paper and writing instruments readily available to the children at all times. If the kids have paper and crayons next to their toy box, they will be more likely to want to express their creativity and learn how to write. Children learn by mimicking the activities that they see their parents or siblings do, so writing in front of the kids will encourage them to want practice what they see. Young kids are eager to ask questions, and parents can take this opportunity to educate their children on writing skills while explaining how fun the activity can be.

Another tip for helping kids want to write is by exposing them to books and magazines on a regular basis. If the child sees words written on a page, he or she will begin to recognize different letters and associate them with communication. Some parents and teachers have found success in allow children access to computers and writing software. Even if the child does not know how to type, he or she can play around with the keyboard to form different combinations with the letters. Using a keyboard may also be helpful to kids who have not yet developed the fine motor skills required to handle a pencil and form letters gracefully.

Children are curious by nature and have a strong desire to please their parents and teachers. Exposing them to various forms of writing will motivate them in pursuing these skills to impress others. The best methods parents and teachers use involve making writing materials available to children and encouraging them when they demonstrate a desire to learn.

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More on Positive Parenting Ages 1-4 0 3

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You’re hired! Your start date was the day your first child was born. Your boss is a person a fraction of your size with dubious communication skills. Your job: the Most Important Job in the World – parenting. You accepted the position with anticipation, joy, excitement and a little bit of trepidation. It’s the Most Important Job in the World, so how will you know you’ve succeeded?

By now you have the tactical aspects of this job nailed down (feed, change, dress, love, feed again, change again, love, stimulate brain activity, change again, and so on). Your current activity hinges on how quickly or how well you react to the immediate situation: “You must be hungry, let’s get you a snack.” “We need to change that dirty diaper.” “Please don’t push your friends.” You’re flying along in operational mode.

But wait – you are also the CEP (Chief Executive Parent) in this organization, and Chief Executives set the strategic, long-term vision. With such an important job to do, having a vision for the success of your family clarifies your objectives and helps you focus your actions, just as they would in the corporate world.

How would your outlook on parenting change if you had a clearly defined vision for what “success” as a parent would look like to you? Would you feel more empowered if you had specific, daily tools to proactively foster the positive values and behaviors you hope to nurture in your child?

Here are a few tips to define success, integrate your parenting goals into your daily activities, and shift your thought process to be more proactive and less reactive:

1. Appreciate your child’s unique personality and talents. Children come into the world with their own personality. While we can guide, support, and influence some aspects of their behavior, who they are at the core is pretty well established in utero! That’s part of what makes them unique and precious, and they should be celebrated.

2. Decide what parenting success means to you. Imagine a point in your child’s future (college graduation, wedding, etc.) when you will reflect on the adult your child has become. Set the platform to be proud of the wonderful person they have become, respecting their inherent traits as well as the values they hold and how they treat others and make decisions.

3. Set an intention to succeed. Set the image of parenting success clearly in your head and act as if it were a fait accompli. Make a commitment to make your success image come true.

4. Make a plan and make it easy. For each of the most important success factors, identify ways you can model to your children that value or behavior while you go about your everyday life. Get your children involved in the process. This is your opportunity to be proactive and reinforce positive actions each day.

5. Review at different stages in your child’s life. Find a way to remind yourself of your intention and your action plan. Review it periodically to make sure it is still relevant to you and appropriate to your children’s’ ages and interests. One of the best ways to ensure that you stay on track with any goal is to find an accountability partner – your spouse, a friend, a coach.

When you consciously and intentionally model the traits and behaviors you wish for your child, your opportunities to foster those values grow exponentially. You may never get a formal performance appraisal for your job as a parent, but it’s nice to know that you’ve done everything you can to help your child be the best person they can be. Now that’s a job well done!

Encouragement.

There are 4 steps.

1. Notice something you like that your child is doing. Ignore the
negative unless it will hurt themselves or others.
2. Notice how you feel when they are doing something that you like.
3. Say it! (“I feel…..that you….”)
4. Notice how your child responds.

Can Do.

1. Notice what you don’t want your child to do.
2. Think of something that your child can do instead.
3. Tell your child what they can do.
4. Help your child if necessary.

So it goes like this. You notice that your child is heading out to the road. You don’t want them to do that so you think of something else they can do like look at a pretty flower you see by your house. So you ask them to come over to look at the flower and go over and guide them to the flower if they still head over to the road. That’s overly simplified but it’s basically positive redirection.

They said that it’s important not to say “don’t”. So instead of saying “Don’t go into the road.” you are giving them positive options that they can do.

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