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Tabula rasa defines the idea of having no preconceived ideas or understanding.  At birth, children are said to be blank slates, meaning they are without the advantage of interpreting the world or how they are expected to interact in it.  In order to teach children, adults must guide them in a way that develops their ability to act and behave in preferred ways.  Debate on how best to teach children has and will undoubtedly remain undetermined, thus often confusing the path adults can and/or should take.  As such, this article will look at a range of strategies whilst looking at the benefits and limitations they offer.... 

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Many adults caring for children would fail to disagree that their time is always pressed. Unfortunately matters can and are often made worse when some children behave in a manner that is not conducive to the benefit of all those who live or play with them. When children’s behaviour tests limits, adults can find themselves challenged and feeling at a loss. So what’s the answer to fixing behavioural problems?

 

The sad truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Why? Because some strategies work for some children and not for others. Added to this fact, children’s misbehaviour can be the result of a developmental delay or potentially the result of in-home circumstances such as family breakdown, violence, poverty, or learnt behaviour. The upside in this picture of doom and gloom is that there is an extraordinary snippet of knowledge that can help you to turn children’s behaviour around....

Tantrums are an everyday occurrence for parents around the globe.  Some are carried off with little fuss and are over within the blink of an eye, while others, unfortunately, seem to be vying for a place in the tantrum Olympics.  The type of tantrum that is dealt with at the speed of a sneeze is by no means the type of incident that adults find themselves concerned with.  Instead, it is the lengthier ones that leave them feeling like they have to be scraped off the floor with a spatula that bring the trials of childrearing into sharp focus. 

 

While little can be done to obliterate the existence of tantrums from our lives completely, they can be lessened if the adult dealing with them is savvy to the reasons that make them exist in the first place.  In this article two such reasons will be discussed....

Routines are tricky things to develop.  In theory they should be easy to implement; however, they rarely are.  Problematic to the situation is that children respond differently to routines, resulting in adults scratching their heads as to why a routine might work well for one child and not another.  For some children, routines are a guide by which they find stability.  The familiarity of the routine brings them comfort and security.  Polar opposite to the child that loves routines is the one who does nothing but resist the concept of having a timetable to live by.  Prolonged play and flexibility are this type of child’s preferred life approach.  Naturally, the child who laps up routines will make an adult’s life easier; however, there are other factors aside from a child’s natural proclivity to follow a routine that will influence the success adults experience when implementing routines into children’s lives....

It is of little surprise that most children are not bursting at the seams to do chores.  Life, to them, is about having fun, and very rarely are chores perceived as being fun.  Nevertheless, they are necessary because they help households function.  Getting help from all members of the household ensures that everyone under the same roof has an opportunity to enjoy much needed downtime.  Yet getting everyone in the house to cooperate and help out can be painful and energy draining....

Getting ready on time is perhaps one of the biggest problems parents face pre-9am.  Unfortunately, human beings have decided it necessary to schedule everything around a circular object with twelve numbers on it, thus making us the only living things in this universe that think time a necessity.  This essential object has therefore created hurdles by way of our genetic design.  As adults we can read clocks and feel the pressure of our boss’s stare when we walk through the door after starting time.  Children, however, feel no such pressure.  To them, there is an infinite amount of time to move from a to b and explore c to d.  The consequence of this mismatched perception is stress for the parent....

All children can have their moments when it comes to being picky eaters. One day they may love a certain food only to announce the next that they ‘hate’ it and always have. At the extreme end of the fussy eating scale are children who may eat only a handful of select foods. Encompassed in this behaviour is a tendency to become stressed and anxious around food, which can lead to family meals being one of the least enjoyable times of the day.

Traditionally meal times are a place for family members to come together, to chat, to share stories, to grow and strengthen relationships. Yet when children with atypical eating patterns sit at a table, families can end up avoiding and/or dreading mealtimes.  While there is no such thing as a miracle cure to rectify fussy eaters’ dining habits, there are certain things that can help ease mealtime woes and turn these moments back to enjoyable experiences....

Negotiation is a skill children will need, yet surprisingly it is often one that is rarely taught.  Throughout our lives, negotiation will form a large portion of our experiences, both in childhood and beyond, for example, negotiating a turn of a toy, negotiating control of the television remote, negotiating friendships, negotiating work/project roles and responsibilities, negotiating employment contracts and working hours and negotiating the price of an item for sale.  Because negotiation takes place in dyadic situations, skilful and fair-minded negotiators do more than just find satisfaction in meeting their own needs.  They also achieve outcomes that meet the satisfaction of all involved.  When this occurs, personal satisfaction levels increase exponentially, thus having a positive effect on relationships and self-esteem.  For this reason, it cannot be understated how important it is to teach children to negotiate in ways that are fair, respectful and equitable....

With the excitement of the festive season behind us, attention now turns to the events a New Year brings.  For some children the excitement of going up to a new room or year level is welcomed, an adventure they cannot wait to sink their teeth into.  The flip side for children less enthused about new room adventures is the worry which accompanies the unknown of a new teacher/educator, other staff, and the increased expectations to learn.... 

The idea of transitioning to school fills children and parents with a range of emotions.  Some experience excitement as children enter their next stage of their lives while others fear or become overwhelmed by the unknown.  The safe harbour of child care environments is stripped away to enter the world of academia, a transition that some children have been champing at the bit to do for months, while others aren’t quite ready to dip more than their toes into.  For a parent, the idea of being able to best support children is always at the forefront of their mind.  What can I say to my child to make the transition easier? What can I do to help them settle in? ....

Some children are naturally competitive.  These are the children that constantly want to be first, to be the fastest, to win games and take losing to heart.  Competitiveness is by no means a negative attribute.  In fact, it is a trait that will probably serve children well when they become adults because they will always strive to reach the goals they set.  Unfortunately, the time resting between childhood and adulthood is long, meaning adults interacting with these types of children are left to guide and curve their behaviours....

When parents separate it can be difficult for everyone involved.  The nature of separation often means that parents do not leave their relationship amiably without emotions making an already testing situation more difficult.  With children in tow, separation is not as simple as resolving the loss of hopes and dreams regarding the fallen relationship.  Instead it becomes an ever-increasing challenge to balance the children’s needs and the demands brought about by the sudden emergence of the new co-parenting relationship. With these thoughts in mind, this article will address the child’s needs during separation as well as explore the initial causes of co-parenting successes and/or lack thereof....

Play is a difficult word to define as there is no universal consensus regarding what it is. For some, play is best described as a recreational activity, something that is sought out for enjoyment or relaxation.  For others, play describes activities that encourage children to engage in high levels of learning, despite the fact it often looks like nothing more than fun. For the purpose of this article the focus will be on the latter definition....

Grief can be a difficult for time, especially when adults are trying to juggle their own emotions and support children through grief and loss simultaneously. Making matters worse, grief is not a process that can be rushed or swept under the carpet. It is an event which can and often does trigger strong emotional reactions, ones which can disrupt family life. Being able to understand the grieving process for children can help make rough waters feel smoother and allow adults to feel as though they can be as supportive as possible. Therefore, the purpose of this article is two-fold.  Firstly to provide insight into what the grieving process might look like for children and secondly to provide some strategies to support children in these times....

It is not hard to guess why concentration skills play an important role in an individual’s life.  Without a good attention span, undertaking daily tasks, both as children and as adults, becomes increasingly difficult.  For this reason, credence is being paid to research which suggests that the average attention span is reducing at an alarming rate.  Without the prospect of its citizens having a good attention span, society may be forced to face a hidden dilemma, one which may have significant impacts on future generations.  If, as literature states, the average human attention span continues to decline at such a significant rate, concerns give life to questions that wonder what type of hardships our children will face if they are not equipped with the skills to maintain concentration throughout their schooling, work and social lives?  While articles posted here are never of an academic nature, this topic has inspired the idea of how to enhance children’s attention spans while hinting at how one’s attention span and life success are interconnected....

Biting and hitting are commonplace behaviours in children, despite the fact they are not favourable or encouraged.  Each behaviour has a purpose in a child’s life, serving them in some way, despite the fact it can be difficult to identify what the child gets out of it, especially when the consequence of their actions get them into trouble.  Getting children to stop biting and hitting can be quite a challenge and one fraught with ups and downs.  As such, this article will explore the idea of biting and hitting and highlighting strategies to support children to stop....

At times, being a step-parent brings with it more challenges than can be anticipated.  Despite a step-parent’s financial contributions and emotionally supportive actions the appreciation expressed by the step-child can be sporadic and underwhelming.  Making the step-relationship work involves an intricate balance of knowing where everyone in the household stands, including the maternal or paternal parent’s expectations.   This article hopes to highlight some of the ways to avoid step-parenting minefields and give readers ideas of how to shift the dynamics within a step-parenting household....

While raising children has never been an easy task, today’s parents are being struck by the reality that modern-day parenting is depleting their energy stores quicker than ever before.  For many, feeling tired would be a welcome respite from feeling the way they do – that being completely exhausted and wondering if parenting is supposed to be as hard and laborious as it is.  It is not to say that these parents do not love their children or their parenting role.  Instead their internal struggles stem from the constant strain parenting responsibilities and tasks put on their capacity to put one foot in front of the other.  This article will therefore look at the signs of parental exhaustion, address some common reasons for its prevalence, as well as identify ways to nurture oneself to avoid parental burnout....

Emotional regulation describes the ability to control one’s emotions, to resist the urge to act impulsively or behave in ways that social conventions deem atypical.  When born, infants have no control over their emotions, but it is for two good reasons.  The first is simple and boils down to the fact that the brain has not developed the necessary neural pathways to resist the urge to let everyone know (by screaming at the top of their lungs) the instant they are hungry, tired or wet.  The second reason links back to the first.  The only way an infant will survive is by letting those who it is dependent upon know that it is hungry, tired or wet.  Never in the history of man has more efficient programming existed to motivate adults into action.  Needless to say infants’ demanding natures outlive their welcome, meaning that adults, sooner or later, end up teaching children how to regulate themselves and find alternative ways to inform others of their needs and wants....

A crisis is generally identified as a major incident which impacts everyday life and jeopardises a sense of safety.   The aftermath of a crisis frequently leaves individuals and families displaced and alters the way they would normally function.  Additional impacts can include sudden financial instability, the need to seek alternative accommodation, and ongoing uncertain feelings towards future stability.  Generally speaking, these types of factors tend to impact individuals’ mental as well as physical wellbeing.  Knowing how to support others going through or dealing with the after-effects of a crisis can increase overall wellbeing and lead to increased ability to help them regain good mental health....

In recent years, the rise in mental health incidents has become a cause for alarm.  Worldwide trends are emerging where more people are being treated and diagnosed with mental health disorders than ever before.  While debates rage around what influences technology, social media, parenting styles and economic status (to name a few on a very large list) have on people’s mental health, parents are often left wondering what action should or could they take now to prevent their children from becoming one of the statistics.  Sitting about and waiting for someone to find the answer is probably not the best course of action. Research rarely produces quick answers, and nor should it.  However, the problem with sitting idle while waiting for answers means that more and more children (and adults) are at risk of being affected by poor mental health.  As such, this article aims to explore one possible course of action parents could consider taking in the interim....

A common comment often heard from parents is that they frequently feel like they do nothing but focus on the negative.  Their reasoning for travelling to the negative is typically a justified one – that being they are trying to get children to behave.  Without a parenting approach that seeks to instill more desirable behaviours in children, households can quickly become disruptive and chaotic.  Nevertheless parents, as a result of their efforts to guide children’s behaviour, are left feeling like they are playing the bad cop more often than the good one.  Not surprisingly, most parents would prefer to be the good cop.  To help them achieve such an outcome, this article aims to help discover ways to put the bad cop to bed and bring forth the good cop....

Being cooped up is no fun for anyone – especially children.  The desire to get out and explore, learn and socialise is innate for them, thus meaning that boredom is the ultimate enemy.  While being able to get out, go to the park/beach/friend’s house may be the ultimate goal, there are times when home play is essential, thus putting the brakes on outdoor fun and pre-ordered entertainment (such as outings, technology, play dates and parties).  Eliminating outings and social events from the child’s fun diet can leave both children and adults at their wits’ end – often for different reasons.

Knowing ways to bypass the boredom train can help keep everyone sane as well burn the energy stores children manufacture every day.  Therefore this article aims to provide a few simple ideas that can help to keep the fun times rolling despite being indoors....

Boredom is something that we inevitably face over and over in life.  When boredom strikes it is often thought we need to distract children from its clutches, however, boredom plays a significant role in supporting the development of specific life-skills.  While boredom seems less like something parents would wish to expose children to and more like something they might hope to avoid, this article hopes to highlight the reasons why boredom should not be treated like the enemy but rather a friendship that should be encouraged and promoted....

Boredom is something that we inevitably face over and over in life.  When boredom strikes it is often thought we need to distract children from its clutches, however, boredom plays a significant role in supporting the development of specific life-skills.  While boredom seems less like something parents would wish to expose children to and more like something they might hope to avoid, this article hopes to highlight the reasons why boredom should not be treated like the enemy but rather a friendship that should be encouraged and promoted....

Some parents are lucky.  They have children who are natural born sleepers.  Unfortunately, not all parents are this fortunate.  Instead, some children seem to have a hypothetical allergy towards sleep, meaning that their sleep patterns leave parents on tenterhooks each time bed time approaches.  When patterns for poor sleeping habits develop, it can be very tricky for children and parents to learn how to settle into a more pleasurable bedtime routine.  For this reason, this article hopes to address some points that help parents identify how things may be done differently to help them create more amiable sleep time habits....

When children separate from their parents it can be a tearful and challenging time for all involved.  From the child’s perspective, it is little surprise that they prefer the parent to stick around.  They are, after all, the people who children rely on and enjoy the company of most.  When children tear up it is not necessarily indicative that they are sad or worried about being left in another’s company.  Rather, they are expressing their preference of wanting to stay with their favourite people.  Unlike adults, children do not make the connection that their emotions are a gateway to understanding their desires, wants and needs.  Sad feelings are not interpreted as being left out and anxiety is not interpretable as being (possible) feelings of discomfort rising from things not going the way they would prefer.  As such, adults must help children decipher what is happening to them and utilise different ideas to approach and overcome separation....