Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How to Motivate your child

How To motivate your child?

When your children are young they are loaded with motivation. As they grow and receive feedback from parents, teachers and classmates that motivation is altered. Whether it is in spelling, math, music, athletics, the key is to protect that motivation. To stay motivated, your child needs small successes along the way.

First, protect your child by setting your own standards of success
Second, set achievable goals.
Third, make sure your child gets positive feedback

To understand, here's an example of how a parent can protect their child by setting achievable goals:
In grade school it is common practice for children to be given a weekly spelling list of about twenty words. Some children in the classroom will be able to spell all twenty words with ease, while others will struggle with five. If you are the child who studies the spelling words all week and then blows the test week after week, year after year...are you going to be motivated? No. At some point you give up and quit trying.
To find a solution, set achievable goals. Work with your child to figure out how many words he can realistically learn in a week. Five? Then do only five. Explain to the teacher that your child is struggling and needs some success to stay motivated. Work out an agreement with your child's teacher so your child is only required to be tested on five words. Once your child tastes that success, he will confidently ask for additional words as his abilities improve.
We did not all learn to walk at the same age or the same speed, but we all eventually mastered it. There is no decree declaring the day, hour or minute that we must know how to read, write or spell. Children learn at their own pace and on their own time. If you push them too hard, they will become discouraged or fail.

The goal is to give them just enough to succeed, then introduce more as they are ready.
Protect your children so they can progress through life as they are ready.
Protect your child's motivation!

For more help, read ParentFix

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Important Things For Parents To Remember When Dealing With Kids and Technology

1. Technology is important in today's world. It is an incredible learning tool for our children.
2. You cannot protect your child 24/7 from technology.
3. Build your children from within so they can withstand.

1. Keep all forms of technology (Internet, Television) in the center of the traffic in your home. Not in bedrooms, dens, theatre rooms,etc.
2. Join your child in using technology. Connect on Facebook or Twitter. Show interest in the websites they visit. Introduce them to websites you have found. Learn how to text.
3. Discuss the negatives involved with technology on a continual basis.
4. Make sure your child is involved in additional activities away from technology.
5. Have fun with your child. Interact in face to face conversations away from a screen.
6. Be involved with your child.

1. Do not be frightened of technology.
2. Do not set strict limits or become the ENFORCER.
3. Do not leave your children at home alone for long periods of time with nothing to do.

Let me explain the above suggestions. You cannot set strict rules about using the internet, texting or other social media. Why? How do you do it? The problem with making this a hard fast rule is that if you enforce hours of use, you will become the ENFORCER in your child's life. When you set rules that required enforcement (another term for nagging) you set yourself up for failure and destroy the relationship you are trying to build with your kids. Thats not a role any parent should want to fill.

Technology is here to stay. In fact 3 of my 4 boys (adults now) have jobs that require the skills they learned from video games, computers, television and texting. What they were doing with their free time was actually quite valuable. These technology skills they were not learning at school. I couldn’t teach them. They taught themselves some skills they needed to be proficient at in today’s world.

In addition to all the social internet, computer, and television time, we went skiing every Saturday, played football as a family, roller bladed, ice skated, camped, hiked, went to the beach. The kids were signed up for sports programs, music lessons, dance, karate, and many other things they showed interest in. If you want your kids to put down their cell phones and shut off the computers or get off with them. Go have fun with them. In other words, give them a reason to take a break from technology. Ideas for parents would include: Install a basketball hoop and go out and shoot baskets with your kids. Trampolines are sometimes considered a no/no, but we had hours of fun jumping with the kids and sleeping outside overnight. Use facebook together as a family. It is fun to send messages and keep in touch on their wall.

Setting rules and hours for tech use and demanding they follow them is a very lazy way of parenting. (My opinion) I recently spoke with a couple of men, husbands and fathers, who still get in trouble with their wives for playing video games on a regular basis. You know what I found out? Those boys had strict rules placed on them as teenagers and were limited to the time they could spend playing video games. It didn't stop them. They would sneak around to friend's houses just to play. It looks like they are still trying to do the same thing as adults.

One caution. Porn is a problem for our youth. Computers should be out in the open. The ills of technology should be discussed as a regular topic between parent and child. With the parent explaining why porn or gambling can and will do damage. After raising 4 boys I know that I cannot be so naive to believe I can protect them from seeing porn. But if you prepare them for it and make sure they understand the sadness it will bring into their lives, they will shut it off themselves.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Teaching Children

There is a never ending list of things we should be teaching our children. As parents we begin with the best intentions, but failure can seem amazingly imminent when our children react negatively to our methods. The problem is not in our desire. The problem lies in our technique. I love the following story:

A mother scolded her child after he stepped past the corner. She had repeatedly told him not to go beyond the street corner. With a tear streaked face the child looked up and asked, "Mommy what is a corner?"

So often our children have no idea what we are saying or what our reasoning is. It is so important to make sure we talk to our children and help them understand what we are teaching and why. This usually takes a bit longer and requires patience. It is beneficial to us as parents to explain our reasoning to our children. Through it, we realize the importance of what we are teaching. Saying, "Because I said so..." is not an explanation and should make us question the validity of what we are teaching. Remember, example is always the best teacher!

Read more about teaching your child reading the book ParentFix.