Sunday, March 30, 2008

How to help your child deal with fears

Fear and anxiety is something that everyone experiences at all ages. The feeling is particularly uncomfortable especially amongst children. However some research shows that with children, such feelings are normal and necessary. This is mainly because experiencing and dealing with fears and anxieties can prepare children to handle the challenging situations of life.

As a parent, I have seen that the nature of anxieties and fears change as children grow and develop: As an infant my baby experienced stranger anxiety and clung to me when confronted by people she did not recognize. When she became a toddler, that is around 10 to 18 months, she experienced anxiety, when I would leave the house or her dad would go to office. Today, my four year old daughter feels scared of monsters and ghosts.

Making your child feel safe and secure is extremely important to make them cope with their fears. Children often fear a specific object or situation after having an unpleasant experience. Sleep with them before they go to bed. Tell them stories that do not involve any ghosts or demons. Some signs that a child may be anxious about something may include nervousness, nail biting, nausea, stomach aches etc. The key is to identify the object or the situation they fear and them replacing or removing that object completely. For example, many people fear darkness. Keeping a small night lamp on will surely help.

Talking to your child and knowing about his or her thought process is necessary to identify his fears. Be patient and calm to slowly eradicate all his fears.

Teaching Values and Ethics to Children

It is a great responsibility on parent’s shoulder to teach their kids values and ethics so that they grow up to be responsible moral citizen of the country. Teaching your child about these issues require patience. Kids may be tempted to do something that may be immoral or unethical. The idea is not to punish them but to make them understand how certain behavior is undesirable. As a parent, you should be able to control your temper and understand the mentality of your child.

Giving them love and respect along with teaching them good values can make your child a good individual. However, it is important that this process is started at an early age. Motivate your child to be honest, to respect elders, to be kind, to not steal and lie etc. As a parent you should follow what you preach. Being a good parent comes with certain responsibilities that you ought to follow.

Instilling core values in our children is necessary. Be it school or home, children need to understand good work ethics. Being an overtly strict parent can hamper your child’s growth. At the same time being extremely liberal also does not help. What is necessary is to become their role model. Children emulate to a great extent. So the key lies in being an ideal parent who practices what he/she preaches.

Children are continuously listening and watching what the surrounding offers them. Hence it should be the responsibility of every member in the family to teach good moral lessons to your children. Building strong character and moral values in your child helps to bring about inner security self-confidence in them.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Nail biting habits

Nail biting, hair twirling, nose picking, thumb sucking etc are some of the common habits that are found in children. Most parents constantly complain about these habits that their children have. However, I have realized that it is only a phase for children and that with due time, it fades away when you explain its repercussions to them.

Children are usually unaware of this behavior and that they do not even realize that they are doing something that is not a good habit. Nail biting is one of the most common bad habits that are found in children. These are considered as signs of nervousness. Even nervous adults bite their nails.

There is some research that shows that around more than half percent of children population between the age of five and ten bite their nails. However, most schools are very particular about nail cutting and punish the students if they grow their nails. This is somewhat helpful for children who bite their nails.

As parents one should be patient and calm and make the child realize that it is bad for health when they bite their nails. Praise them or gift them if they do not bite their nails for a specific time frame. Make sure that your child washes his or her hands before meals. Check their nails regularly and make up stories to tell them how nail biting can be dangerous.

There is a study that also shows that even though both boys and girls appear equally prone to this habit, as they get older, boys are more likely to be nail biters. I do not know about the psychology behind this research but the fact lies in being responsible parents who do not encourage these habits and take immediate precautions to curb it.


Bedwetting as most of you know is involuntary passage of urine while asleep. It is a common problem in infants and young children. Usually by the age of two, a child learns to control the passage of urine during the day. Most children, by the age of three, learn to control it during the night as well. However some children face bedwetting problem even after the age of three. Bed-wetting in certain cases may go on until the fourth or fifth year. However there is nothing to worry about. In few cases, bedwetting continues to persist even after the child is in his teens.

Bed wetting is to do with either psychological or emotional disturbances. Fear, anxiety, tension etc all leads to problems like bedwetting. There are also a few cases where children face problems like worm infestations or urinary tract infections. This can also make your child wet the bed.

I have seen parents punishing their child for his behavior. Punishment, in no way, is going to help. In fact this will instill fear in him and your child will only suffer more from the problem. What is important here is make sure that there is a happy and a healthy environment at home. Your child should feel pleasant. Talk to him regarding his fears and anxieties. Make him or her feel absolutely comfortable with you. Ensure that your child has a sound sleep for atleast eight to ten hours.

What can perhaps help is reducing the amount of water or fluid that your child takes before going to bed. Also, ensure that your child visits the loo before he goes to bed. Be sure to reward him in an appropriate manner when he succeeds in keeping dry at night. Do not punish him when he fails. Tackling problems like bedwetting require time and patience.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Eating Out With Kids

I have seen a lot of young parents avoid going to restaurants and hotels because they have to ‘manage’ their kids. However, on the contrary, it is very essential that you take your kids out to restaurants to teach them good table manners and etiquettes

As a parent you do not want to get embarrassed and hence most parents do not wish to go out with their kids. What can perhaps be done is to involve your kid into some activity while you have your dinner or lunch. Carry some toys along with you. Especially those that your kids love to play with. They will sure get engrossed in playing with them while you can easily dine in your favorite restaurant.

It is also essential that you choose an appropriate restaurant. There are some restaurants that allot special place to you in case you come with your kids. You can also go to casual restaurants that can take in the noise that your child is likely to make. Keep in mind that a reservation will always help and that you do not have to wait for long.

Another option to try for is going to places where buffet lunch or dinner is offered. Buffet with children can be quite fun. In case you have a full time maid for your kid, then going to restaurants that have games and rides for children is the best way to keep them engaged. The maid can take care of your children while you relish your food.

If you reinforce your child with gifts and toys for good table manners, then be sure that he or she is going to repeat this behavior. Positive reinforcement is the best way to teach your child good manners.

If you are ok with finishing your dinner a little early by seven or eight, then one should visit the restaurant during those times. Managing your child while there is less crowd is indeed beneficial!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Holiday Bonding With Children

Kids love the thrill in holidays and look forward to action packed fun, drama and yummy treats. There is only one side-effect of such pleasure trips and that is emotional bonding with your child. One is much at peace during holidays as the chores are not routine and there is time to unwind. Enhance the enjoyment by partaking in activities as suggested by your child. Hectic lives and standardized everyday patterns seldom let us look for the special things in our own lives. Unknowingly we also ignore our children’s ex-pressions. It is certainly a prudent idea to make some savings particularly for holiday trips. All holiday plans need not necessarily be exotic locales. There should be an element of relaxation and participation.

Visits to historic sites may excite you and it is necessary for the child to know about art and culture. If this constitutes your itinerary then include adventure trips to add zing to the trip. At all times, children look for support from parents. A slight encouragement to learn rock climbing or boating will only kick start pure mischief and appreciation. Bond further with long walks on sunny sands and making a castle. Sand sculpturing is loved by all and it is normal that you seem to be more excited than your kid. When your toddler sees that you are equally excited then he joins the fun. Capture each moment in pictures. Holidays are not apprehension times and go easy on meal and sleep times. Over indulgence is not a virtue but being overtly strict is a mood spoiler.Little planning is necessary to avoid travails of travel. Make necessary arrangements by carrying the right clothing and spare garments. Firstly on identifying the luxury home, make enough enquiry on the exact facilities offered by them and the fares. Please indicate clearly if the kids are allergic to certain items. Carry adequate seasonal items like raincoat, woolens and beach wears. Weekend trips to nearby islands and places of tourist interest is an excellent idea offering an alternative to long vacation plans. This sure breaks the monotony. Plan a visit to the botanical garden, water park or nearby beach.

Participate well as this is important. Plan group picnics with lot of munchies, trinkets as hampers and interactive family games. Inculcate sharing and organizing skills in children as they naturally will emulate your virtues. In case the children go overboard which they naturally will, state the limits in private.Teenage is full of mixed emotions. State your holiday dates and you will be surprised at their skill in managing events. Let them free and they will respect you. Include your parents and in laws for a super family entertainment bonanza. More the merrier surely works!