Category Archives: Child Care

Is My Child Gifted?

Potential of a child

How do parents know if their children are gifted?

You realize they are very “in tune” with their intellectual ability for their age and are intense regarding almost every issue. Many will know they are different by the time they are four or five — and so will you. Unfortunately, testing is the only acceptable way a school will confirm that your child is indeed gifted and needs extra advantages provided by a special curriculum.

Who are some famous people who were overlooked?

Beethoven’s music teacher never considered his musical talent. Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade and finished last in his class at Harrow. Sir Isaac Newton dropped out of grammar school at 14, was sent back at 19 and achieved the Cambridge courses with an undistinguished record.

More Characteristics of Gifted Children

There is no “normal description” of a gifted child, due to a wide variety of special abilities or specific talents. Social environments contribute a large factor to varying personality patterns as well as achievement patterns. Differences among gifted children will be found even when they are grouped together. Some are very strong in one subject and weak in others. The gifted reader may be an average artist, while the gifted artist may be a poor or average reader.

There are many forms of being gifted including leadership and/or social cognitive and intuition above and beyond normal sensitivity for their age. Most will have many of the characteristics listed below — although no child will possess them all.

Gifted Children…

  • have a heightened self-awareness of being “different”
  • display unrelenting goal-directed/organized behaviour (although many are very unorganized)
  • possess an intensity of emotional depth
  • take less for granted
  • can spot inconsistencies and inaccuracies
  • are unwilling to accept authoritarian lifestyles or guidance without critical examination
  • have a keen sense of humour
  • have a highly sensitivity to moral and ethical issues
  • have unusually high expectations of self and others
  • resent structure and rules
  • have an unusual sensitivity to the feelings and expectations of others
  • have a variety of interests and a discriminating nature of curiosity
  • can construct and handle abstractions than children of same age
  • read intensely and widely
  • have incredible memory
  • learn basic skills faster, quicker and better
  • have a highly intense thought process
  • have a longer attention span
  • possess superior level of verbal ability
  • have the ability to understand diverse relationships
  • have the ability to generate original ideas and solutions that seem mind-boggling to others but will be right on target
  • show extraordinary insight
  • have an eye for little, as well as large details
  • are greatly motivated to learn
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Making bedtime simple, easy and loving

bedtime
This is such a difficult scenario that all parents face at some point, so how can we make it easy, gentle and enjoyable for children and for parents alike? Is bedtime a power struggle, ending with “not another word, or else?”

Let’s look at it from a child’s point of view:

Imagine that you are in the middle of a good book and your spouse says, “It’s time for bed, honey.” In spite of your response, “No, I’m not ready yet,” you are unwillingly taken up the stairs, your clothes are removed, and you are forced into taking a bath. How would you feel? Would you feel disrespected, violated, angry, devaluated, and controlled? You may be thinking, “yes, but a two-year-old doesn’t think that way-It’s not the same, he’s not an adult. Besides, I’m the parent.”

True, your child is not yet an adult. However, he is a person. He has feelings and is at an important growth stage of wanting independence and to have his choices be known and honored. This is the beginning of his being an individual-he is establishing his separateness from his parents and is exploring his competence and capabilities. The command of being told what to do and when to do it brings up a feeling of being controlled and having no choice. The issue becomes one of wanting control over ourselves and what happens to us even if the “command” may have value for us (i.e. Going to bed in a timely manner).

Let’s examine what a child’s wants:

Bedtime can be a special time between parents and children because it is natural for us to desire closeness before going to sleep. When we read a bedtime story, your child’s desire for the potty or a drink is a desire for more closeness. It  is expressed through asking for a drink and “going potty” , one must understand this.  So, consider these questions:  What does your own child want before bedtime?

Children want to:

  • Feel independent
  • Feel close to parents
  • Feel a sense of control over what happens to them
  • Feel respected and listened to.

How can you, as a parent, give your child what he wants and needs and still have him go to bed in a timely manner?

You can:

  • Respect your own needs
  • Set your child’s bedtime at an hour that allows you some solitude or “couple time” with your partner after your child goes to bed
  • Whenever possible have both parents be part of the bedtime ritual
  • start your own bedtime ritual 45 minutes to one hour before your child’s actual bedtime to avoid the unnecessary pressure that create stress and struggle
  • Respect his sense of time by telling him that bedtime is in 15 minutes, allowing him to complete a particular activity before his actual bedtime hours
  • Offer choices instead of orders, your child will have a feeling of control over what happens to him when he is given choices. (For example: “Do you want to wear your blue pajamas or the red ones?”
  • Create a bedtime ritual with your child’s help and advice; for example, read a story, snuggle, give three stuffed animals to be kissed, give a him a hug and two kisses and leave the room singing a song (routine is particularly important).

Creating closeness is also important. Here are some ideas:

  • Talk about “remember when….,” such as, “Remember when we went camping and that raccoon got into our food stash?”
  • Listen to your child’s feeling about his day.
  • Say three things that you love about each other.
  • Ask open-ended questions that allow your child to share more about himself, such as, “What was the best thing that happened to you today?”
  • Some children may talk more freely with the lights out. Try to discover what is most encouraging to your child that will enhance your communication time.

When you start this new bedtime routine, explain once to your child, “If you come out of your room for any reason other than an emergency, I ill lovingly guide or carry you back to your room. I will not talk to you after I say good night and close your bedroom door.” After you have completed your bedroom routine, leave your child’s room as you explained.

It is essential that you do not talk to your child after the bedtime routine is established. Your child will pay much more attention to your actions than to your words. You may have to guide him back to his room several times, particularly at the beginning, because children will sometimes test their parents on new experiences.

You can make bedtime be a time of nurturing, closeness, shared communication and fun. By involving your children in the decision making process and spending this special time with them, they will feel valued and respected, which builds their self-esteem.

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No More War Toys in Todays World

Dont teach war

When you do your holiday shopping
And you’re picking out the toys

Please remember that your choices
Will be building girls and boys.

Tools and science sets and paints
And books of other lands

Should now replace the things of war
In all our children’s hands.

Give them blocks for building peace;
Our youth can make it true.

And toys that make a game of war
Should never come from you!

War’s too grim a thing for fun
And much too sad for play.

So give our youth constructive toys
As a promise of a better day.

Author unknown, written circa 1932

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Child Protection – Teaching your child the right way

Child Protection

 

It is necessary to prepare the child for the possibility that they may be approached by strangers, friends or family:  men or women, as adults as well as younger people, that the approach may be completely innocent but may also hold danger for them. In general we can say that there is a fine line to be dealt with if we speak about protecting children from unsafe touches.

It can be dis-advantageous to over-protect children, because they will not get a chance to explore their environment and develop confidence in their own abilities.  An example of that is never let a child visit friends. On the other hand, giving a child too little protection will expose him to the danger of being molested, a risk that is quite high in the society in which we live.An example of this is letting your child visit a friend without checking.

PROTECTION

Here are some main guidelines in protection against unsafe touches.

Positive self-image

Create an environment in which the child is encouraged and in which an emphasis is put on positive behaviour and achievements of the child.  Thereby we create a positive self-image in the child.A child that feels worthy knows that he has the right to exist and say NO.  A child that feels worthy feels that nobody has the right to hurt him.

Children’s rights

Discuss the rights of the children with him/her.  Start with the basic rights (food, sleep, love, safety).  Teach the child how to cope with a right, but also what it means if it is taken away.  When they understand “safety”, let them mention when they feel safe.  Tell them they have the right to say NO when their safety is endangered.Tell the child to tell somebody with whom she feels safe if she is in danger.The child must know that she has the right to determine what happens to her body and it must be respected.

Children’s needs

For their development children need people who help them to become orientated in the world.In order to achieve that they need:

  • Love and security
  • New experiences
  • Praise and recognition
  • Responsibility in order to gain independence
  • Respect for rights
  • The presence of other
  • To be seen and heard
  • To trust someone
  • To feel useful and welcome
  • Tolerance for others feelings

 

PREVENTION

Here are some guidelines in preventing children from molestation:

Safe touches and unsafe touches:

Start off by talking about how they show their love to an animal or someone they love.  How do they liked to be hugged, kissed, tickled.  Sometimes these touches can be scary (hugging too tight). You have the right to say NO.  Say it loud and clearly, or shout when someone touches you and you feel uncomfortable. Teach children to protest whenever somebody hugs or kisses them toward whom they feel that NO feeling.  Do not force a child to hug or kiss someone when they greet a friend or family member. Hugs and kisses are accepted by many cultures.  Teach children to rely on their own feelings, “how do you feel – happy, sad, scared?” and what can you do when you feel like that? Role-play this.

Teach your child to say NO

Children tend to listen to adults.Teach and give your child the right to say NO when he is feeling threatened.  The child must be sensitive to and aware of feeling comfortable (yes-feeling) and uncomfortable (no-feeling).  Role-play but avoid creating fear.

Discuss his/her body

Respect for own and another body must be taught.Nobody has the right to look at or touch your body.  Play  – my body is mine – yours is yours – I control my body – not yours.  If you are ill the doctor can touch your body in the presence of your mother.  Teach children the correct words for body parts.  Parts covered by the swimming costume are special.  Teach a child that he can talk about all body parts including genitals.It’s not a part of the body that is not supposed to be there.

It is the genitals that are involved in sexual abuse.If a child cannot discuss these normally they will not be able to tell if somebody is doing something to these parts.Discussing the child’s body must be part of education since birth.  Do not overwhelm the child with too much information.

Secrets

Teach children to like surprises but not secrets.Surprises make you happy when you tell. Secrets are never told. Touching of the body must never be a secret.  Let the child tell of surprises that came into the open and how they enjoyed it. Give examples of wrong secrets.  Why are they not allowed to discuss it?  Is it right or wrong?  Nobody has the right to ask you to keep a secret.The child must have a person he trusts with whom he can discuss these secrets.

Trustworthy person

Let the child make a list of persons they can talk to.  A mother, father, aunt, teacher.  Can I get to them if I want them?  Tell the child he has a right to tell, and a right to seek help. Nobody will blame the child.

Presents versus bribes

Giving presents does not mean asking for a favour. Presents are unconditional, and you don’t have to do anything to obtain them.

Tricks

Teach children certain rules when they are to be fetched from school, parties, sports etc.By someone else other than the caretaker.  There must be a code word.  Stick to the rule. If someone asks them to go somewhere, they have to say, “I am going to ask my parents, and I will be back soon”.

GET AWAY, TELL SOMEONE, BE SAFE.

Warnings

NEVER go with strangers.
NEVER open doors to strangers.
NEVER say that you are at home alone.
NEVER say how late your parents will be.
NEVER to chase after an attacker.

ALWAYS stay two arm lengths from a stranger or a car.

Children must know

Their full name, address and telephone number.
How to make an emergency call.
Know emergency telephone numbers
How to answer the telephone when alone at home:
“My mother is in the bath”, “Is there a message?” “Leave your number”.
Surprise an attacker by running, shouting, kicking the attacker on the knee, stamping hard on the attackers foot.

Some general comments

Do not frighten and confuse the child with too much information. Prevention against abuse should be part of an upbringing and should be mentioned in a playful manner.  Create an atmosphere of trust so that the child can share his concerns.

  • Evaluate children’s regular walking routes and playing places.
  • Explore suspicious comments children may make about an adult, other children, babysitter, etc.
  • Be observant.  See when they shy away from somebody and do not want to go somewhere alone.
  • Do not put names on the outside of children’s clothes, books, and bags. Teach children to answer the phone but not repeat their names/Tel. Number.

Parents must know at all times where their children are.

 

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Discipline a dirty word – How to get children on your side

parenting and discipline

 

There are as many philosophies about how to discipline a child as there are parents. However, it is always important to match the disciplinary approach to the child’s age. Children will respond to certain methods more readily at certain developmental stages than at others. Here are a potpourri of ideas to get children of all ages on your side.

  • Spend time chatting with the Child after class
  • Ask the Child about life outside school.
  • Eat snack with your Child occasionally.
  • Invite the Child to share a snack with you.
  • Attend school event.
  • Get involved in a community project with your the Child.
  • Schedule individual conferences to let the Child know about their progress.
  • Chaperone school events.
  • Send cards, messages, and homework to absent the Child.
  • Express real interest in the Child’ work or hobbies.
  • Share your interests with your Child.

 

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