Parental Guide

Communication Skills

 

Illustrate with personal examples

People think in pictures, not words. Using personal examples helps people to relate quickly to your message without spending too much time mentally translating your message into a picture.

  • Help people to relate to you by sharing personal experiences.
  • Build a source of personal examples by keeping a journal.
  • Use stories from your past to illustrate your point or the message you want to leave with your listeners.

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Learn to say ‘No’!

 

Many people struggle with saying, "No." If someone asks you for a favour or a commitment, you may feel obligated to say "Yes." Remember, just because you can do something does not mean it is required. Work on considering the best ways to say "No." Think about things like your personal boundaries and the situation at hand. When saying "No," do so in a polite manner that makes your boundaries clear. Work on avoiding guilt after saying "No." Understand you always have a right to turn down an invitation or refuse a favour. It's okay to make yourself and your mental health a priority.

Top tips for saying ‘No’

Keep your response simple. If you want to say no, be firm and direct. Use phrases such as “Thanks for coming to me but I’m afraid it’s not convenient right now” or “I’m sorry but I can’t help this evening.” Try to be strong in your body language and don’t over-apologise. Remember, you’re not asking permission to say no.

Buy yourself some time. Interrupt the ‘yes’ cycle, using phrases like “I’ll get back to you,” then consider your options. Having thought it through at your leisure, you’ll be able to say no with greater confidence.

Consider a compromise. Only do so if you want to agree with the request, but have limited time or ability to do so. Suggest ways forward to suit both of you. Avoid compromising if you really want or need to say no.

Separate refusal from rejection. Remember you’re turning down a request, not a person. People usually will understand that it is your right to say no, just as it is their right to ask the favour.

What will you do under these circumstances? Tick your options.

Your peer asks you to bunk class and go for a movie.

  1. Agree and go
  2. Say no, and stay back in class

Your peer plans to play prank on your teacher.

  1. Refuse the idea and say no
  2. Agree and strategise to work the plan

Your peer asks you to lend some money.

  1. Give the money
  2. Say no and tell the reason

Your peer has not prepared for the forthcoming exam. Needs your help.

  1. Say no and continue with your own preparation
  2. Help with the preparation of your peer

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Parenting Tips

 

We've gathered our all-time favourite nuggets of advice from our board of advisors in one outstanding article that will have a profound effect on your whole family. The goal of parenting is to teach kids to develop self-discipline. Many parents feel spanking is necessary for effective discipline. When parents learn the effective using the parenting techniques on this page and others, they find that yelling, screaming and spanking disappear and a positive relationship is established.

Set Smart Limits

Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

Don't clip your child's wings. Your toddler's mission in life is to gain independence. So, when she's developmentally capable of putting her toys away, clearing her plate from the table, and dressing herself, let her. Giving a child responsibility is good for her self-esteem (and your sanity).

Don't try to fix everything. Give young kids a chance to find their own solutions. When you lovingly acknowledge a child's minor frustrations without immediately rushing in to save her, you teach her self-reliance and resilience.

Remember that discipline is not punishment. Enforcing limits is really about teaching kids how to behave in the world and helping them to become competent, caring, and in control.

Pick your battles. Kids can't absorb too many rules without turning off completely. Forget arguing about little stuff like fashion choices and occasional potty language. Focus on the things that really matter -- that means no hitting, rude talk, or lying.

Create Your Own Quality Time

Play with your children. Let them choose the activity, and don't worry about rules. Just go with the flow and have fun. That's the name of the game.

Read books together every day. Get started when he's a newborn; babies love listening to the sound of their parents' voices. Cuddling up with your child and a book is a great bonding experience that will set him up for a lifetime of reading.

Schedule daily special time. Let your child choose an activity where you hang out together for 10 or 15 minutes with no interruptions. There's no better way for you to show your love.

Encourage daddy time. The greatest untapped resource available for improving the lives of our children is time with Dad -- early and often. Kids with engaged fathers do better in school, problem-solve more successfully, and generally cope better with whatever life throws at them.

Make warm memories. Your children will probably not remember anything that you say to them, but they will recall the family rituals -- like bedtimes and game night -- that you do together.

Be a Good Role Model

Be the role model your children deserve. Kids learn by watching their parents. Modelling appropriate, respectful, good behaviour works much better than telling them what to do.

Fess up when you blow it. This is the best way to show your child how and when she should apologize.

Live a little greener. Show your kids how easy it is to care for the environment. Waste less, recycle, reuse, and conserve each day. Spend an afternoon picking up trash around the neighbourhood.

Always tell the truth. It's how you want your child to behave, right?

Kiss and hug your spouse in front of the kids. Your marriage is the only example your child has of what an intimate relationship looks, feels, and sounds like. So it's your job to set a great standard.

Respect parenting differences. Support your spouse's basic approach to raising kids -- unless it's way out of line. Criticizing or arguing with your partner will do more harm to your marriage and your child's sense of security than if you accept standards that are different from your own.


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Parenting tips for preteens and tweens

It’s typically between the ages of nine and twelve that our cute, cuddly little children, once so willing to climb into our laps and share their secrets, suddenly want little or nothing to do with us. A child in preadolescence is not the same person he was just a year or two ago. He has changed—physically, cognitively, emotionally, and socially. He’s developing new independence and may even want to see how far he can push limits set by parents.

What he may not know is that he needs you as much as ever, because a strong parent-child relationship now can set the stage for a much less turbulent adolescence. But it won’t be easy, because you as a parent need to respect your child’s need for greater autonomy in order to forge a successful relationship with this updated version of your kid.

We asked some experts for parenting tips to help you keep the channels of communication open between you and your pre-teen—and have a smoother transition into the teen years.

Don’t feel rejected by their newfound independence. It’s appropriate for kids this age to start turning away from their parents and relying more and more on friends, but parents can take their pre-teen’s withdrawal as rejection. All too often parents personalize some of the distance that occurs and misinterpret it as a wilful refusal or maybe oppositional behaviour.

Beware of trying to force information out of a resistant tween. This is a time when children really start to have secrets from us and parents who have a low tolerance for that transition — they want to know everything — can alienate their children by being too inquisitive.

Set aside special time with your child. It’s often tough to get pre-teens to open up and talk. Establishing a special period of one-on-one time once or twice a week that you spend with your tween, where you’re providing undivided attention, and you’re not working or texting at the same time. In doing this you’re not only improving your relationship, you’re also teaching interpersonal skills that are going to be crucial in the future.

Try the indirect approach. When they were younger you could ask direct questions. How was school? How did you do on the test? Now, the direct approach — carpet-bombing them with questions about school and their day — doesn’t work. Suddenly that feels overwhelming and intrusive. And it’s going to backfire.

If anything, you have to take the opposite approach and position yourself as mostly just a listener: If you actually just sit down, without questions, and just listen, you’re more likely to get the information about your child’s life that you’re wanting. This approach gives kids the message that “this is a place where they can come and talk, and they have permission to say anything that they’re thinking or feeling.” Sometimes you’ll be able to help and give advice—but don’t try to step in and solve all their problems. Other times you’ll just be there to empathize with how hard it is to deal with whatever they’re going through.

Don’t be overly judgmental. At this age your children are watching you very astutely to hear how judgmental you are. They are taking their cues on how you talk about other people’s children, especially children that get into trouble — how that girl dresses, or that boy has good manners or bad manners. And they are watching and deciding whether you are harsh or critical or judgmental.

She gives the example of the parent who says, ‘I can’t believe she posted this picture on Facebook! If we were her parents we’d be mortified.’ Or ‘I can’t believe he sent that YouTube video around!’ They are commenting on behaviors that need commenting on, but the intensity and the rigidity of their judgment is what backfires.

Watch what they watch with them. Beginning in middle school, watching the stuff that your child wants to watch with him and being able to laugh at it and talk about it is an important way to connect and to be able to discuss subjects that would otherwise be taboo. Don’t get too intense in how you critique the values.

Don’t overreact. We warn against being the mom or dad who, in a bad situation, makes things worse. Example: “Your daughter comes in crying; she wasn’t invited to a sleepover. She sees a photo of it on Instagram or Snapchat. The parent says, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe you weren’t invited! That’s horrible! I’m going to call the mother.'” The crazy parent amplifies the drama, throwing fuel on the pre-adolescent’s already hyper-reactive flame. They make their kids more upset.

Don’t be “clueless” either. At the other extreme, don’t be a parent who “just ignores stuff. You risk seeming oblivious or unconcerned to kids.

When a teenager is caught hosting a party with alcohol, the clueless parent might say, “‘Oh, that’s just kids getting drunk at a 10th grade party.’ So kids watch their older siblings getting away with everything without consequences and they think, ‘Great, why would I tell them anything? Why would I turn to them?'”

Encourage sports for girls. Girls’ self-esteem peaks at the tender age of 9 and then drops off from there, but research shows girls who play on teams have higher self-esteem. Girls on sports teams also tend to do better academically and have fewer body image issues.

Nurture your boy’s emotional side. One of the really hard things for boys at this age is that the messages from the culture about their capacity for real friendships, and relationships are so harmful to them.

At the very least parents should do everything they can to encourage boys to be sensitive and vulnerable at home, while at the same time acknowledging the reality that those traits might not go over well at school.

Finding just the right balance with your tween probably won’t be the easiest parenting job you’ve ever had. It will take some trial and error, but keeping the channels of communication open during these years is well worth the work you’ll have to put in.

If you develop trust with pre-teens you can offer them a safe place to come back to no matter what happens in the new world they’re inhabiting, and in doing that you’ll also be setting the stage for a smoother adolescence.


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Conversation Skills

Parents often assume that children develop conversation skills on their own as they mature. This doesn't always happen.
Although your teens are very comfortable around friends, such comfort doesn't develop easily when speaking with strangers. It always seems far too easy to run out of conversation, and often we too as adults find ourselves in situations where we are at a loss as to what to say next. It does sometimes seem to be a struggle to keep the conversation going. It is also not unusual to find people actively trying to improve their conversational skills by reading up on this subject or even joining classes. 

While we learn how to converse with our friends naturally, we do need a certain degree of training to help us converse with strangers or in more formal situations. Here's how you can help your teen learn some basic conversation skills, so he leaves a good impression behind.


Eye Contact

Teach your teen to make eye contact when he is speaking with another person. If your eyes keep wandering when someone is speaking with you, it indicates a lack of interest. If you deliberately keep trying to avoid eye contact, it could show that you are feeling very self-conscious and lack confidence. Although you don't have to stare directly into the eyes of a person when you are speaking with them, you should in generally look at their face, and keep making eye contact regularly.


Handshake 
When your teen is introduced to someone, he should either fold his hands into a 'namaste' greeting, or he should hold out his hand and give the other person a firm handshake. The handshake should not be too limp or too strong. Help your teen perfect his handshake by practicing it with him.


Current Affairs

Encourage your child to read the newspaper every day from an early age itself, and to keep himself abreast of current affairs. When he matures into a teenager and finds himself in an increasing number of social situations, his knowledge of current affairs will enable him to converse on a number of topics.


Books 
Encourage your child to read books and novels. They don't have to be non-fiction. Even fictional books give your child an insight into various settings, cultures and countries. His vocabulary will improve, and this will make him a more confident conversationalist.


Questions 
When someone asks a question, teach him to avoid single word answers like 'yes, no, okay…' This effectively shortens the conversation, and gives the other person nothing to base the next line of conversation on. Here is an example: 

Maya: When did you return from Delhi?

Your teen: Yesterday.

Maya: Did you have a good holiday?

Your teen: Yes

Maya: It wasn't too cold, was it?

Your teen: No
Needless to say, this conversation is going nowhere. Pretty soon Maya will tire of trying to speak with your teen, and will soon find someone more interesting to speaking the evening with.


Here's another alternative:
Maya: When did you return from Delhi?

Your teen: I just got back last evening. I had an early morning flight, but it was delayed by more than 8 hours! The fog situation is really getting out of hand in Delhi… 


The discussion can then very easily carry on to lax airport authorities, delays, fog technology that is available in many modernized nations but not in Delhi… and so on. Your child's knowledge of current affairs will come in use here.


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Criticizing Others

It is never good to insult people, but if you have to do it, do so with grace and style. Let your criticism be in private, and not before a crowd which the person concerned might find humiliating. Be very specific in your comments.

  • When criticizing, talk about behaviour, and not individuals. Never say, ‘Your act was wrong or stupid. Instead you may say, ‘What you did was not right.’
  • Even when you are criticizing a person for some known error or blunder, for better effect, you should soften the attack by being circumspect and tactful. Thus never say, ‘You are wrong. How did you dispatch the container?’ Instead, you could say, ‘I have got a different feed-back. Shall we check it together?’ Else, you could begin with a compliment. You may say, ‘I consider you a gentle person; that is why it surprised me when you raised your voice’.
  • In general be diplomatic and suggestive. Avoid using certain words like ‘but’ which usually puts a person on the defensive reaction. Thus instead of saying ‘Your handling of the group was very well, but……’Instead, say something like, ‘Your handling of the group was very well and is appreciated. Next time I suggest you also include…..’
  • Avoid criticizing in harsh language. In any case avoid shouting, gesturing or pointing fingers at others.
  • At times you may criticize in the form of an advice. Thus instead of saying, You will never learn how to deal with people’ you could say, ‘First listen to the people’s problem and then tell firmly that it has to be done this way’.

Accepting Criticism

When someone criticizes you, it is a natural tendency to become either offensive or defensive. Do not do so. Instead respond with calmness and composure.

  • If the criticism is unjustified, do not flare-off immediately. Try to put off the issue by suggesting, ‘Can we sort it out later?’ However, when you are unsure of the validity of the criticism, you can stall it by saying something like, ‘I need to re-think about it, and will get back to you later’.
  • If someone is very critical of you in the presence of others and you do not like it, just look into his/her eyes for a moment and say something like, ‘Please tell me your views in private’.
  • If there is any justification in a criticism, accept it gracefully, and make it clear that you will settle the problem.
  • If you have really erred or goofed, it is best to accept it and offer regret and apologies.
  • In no case start arguing because it is not going to yield any positive results. Just stay cool and calm.

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Improve children’s handwriting

Handwriting is an essential skill for children and also for adults. Even in the age of technology, handwriting remains the primary tool of communication and knowledge assessment for students in the classroom. The demands for handwriting are great, whether in the classroom or beyond.
Handwriting will always be one of the most basic tools in the learning toolkit. Handwriting instruction must adhere to developmental principles to ensure success for all children
 
How to improve it?
Before suggesting, our first recommendation for you is to think about “Why your child handwriting is so lousy or bad”? Has your child always had a poor pencil grip and weak fine motor skills? Or is handwriting poor because your child rushes through it?
If your child always rushes, then motivation may be more of an issue than fine motor delays. If your child is always rushing writing tasks, what is the reason behind it? A general dislike of schoolwork, boredom with that particular topic or a need to finish quickly moving on to the next activity? If your child can write neatly on occasion, what is it that motivates them? Answering these questions honestly will help you unlock some keys to help your older child improve handwriting.
Some Tips:
Develop fine motor skills: There is a reason why so many preschool projects involve rice, beads, beans, and shells. Working with these tiny objects builds your child's fine motor skills and develops hand muscles necessary in handwriting. Set aside 2-3 minutes to do one of the Fine Motor Skills Activities for Older Kids before each writing task, and use them as a break when your child starts to lose focus.
 
Identify the problem: Where is your child having the most difficulty? Forming letters, sizing letters, lining words on the page, or spacing between words? All are tasks that have remedies unique to each other. If your daughter or son has trouble forming letters, tracing paper will be her best friend. A child who sizes letters incorrectly will benefit from using lined paper.
Try a pencil grip:The first step toward legible handwriting is holding the writing tool correctly. Little kids naturally grab crayons and markers with a closed fist.
Let your child try different writing implements and/or pencil grips (pencil grippers) to see if any of those help reduce fatigue. Using a good grip can really reduce fatigue and prevent muscle cramps.
 
Encourage your child to write slowly:Kids are busy creatures; they have got places to go and often quickly scribble their way through an assignment. Encourage your child to take their time writing the letters. If you have the time, grab a pencil and piece of paper and sit down to write a letter. 
 
Shoulder girdle exercises: Encourage your child to do shoulder exercisesbefore every handwriting task. These will help strengthen and stabilize the shoulder muscles to free up the hand muscles for handwriting. If your child gets tense and tired easily during handwriting, then try these exercises as a break
 
Frequent breaks:Give frequent breaks if your child tires easily or becomes distracted. If the fine motor and shoulder exercises suggested above are implemented, your child may soon need less frequent breaks.
 
Pick your battles: Decide together which subjects/occasions can get away with poor handwriting and which ones absolutely have to be good. It is tiring to write neatly, but if it is not required at every lesson of the day and on every occasion, then it is easier to write neatly when it does matter.
 
What motivates your child:One motivator is to use your child’s dream vocation to inspire and encourage tell your child that if he wants to be an airplane pilot, he has to make sure his numbers are legible, otherwise he will end up at the wrong coordinate on the map, explain your child that if he has to sit an exam for an external examiner who does not know him and does not make exceptions for him, he may score lower than if his handwriting is legible.
 
Lower your standards: Give lots of positive reinforcement for good writing, and accept that legible can be good enough! Where possible, allow your child to type assignments and written tasks. On tasks where creative input is being rated, your child may be able to write more freely and easily if freed from the effort of writing neatly. A neat final draft may be required, but being allowed to type or scrawl at first may get the creative juices flowing.
 

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Raising a vacation reader

As the school year comes to a close and children are celebrating the start of their vacation, a daily reading routine can help prevent the ' academic slide' and help children be ready for school in the fall.
In the lazy days of vacation your child's schedule is packed with swimming, camping, and family vacations, it can be a challenge to find time for reading. Research clearly shows that children who read over the vacations months are more likely to retain the knowledge they learned during the school year and perform better in the fall. 
 
Following tips to encourage children to continue a daily reading routine: 
•    Young children take comfort in routine and repetition. Try to find a consistent time and/or place to share books.
•    Your child may want to “read” with you, let them read or tell the story to encourage participation
•    Let your child choose reading material about subjects that interest them. This way, they will be more likely to connect reading with pleasure
Vacation is an ideal time to take advantage of the wealth of resources available to you and your family at your local library. In addition to an abundance of fun vacation reading, libraries also offer other resources, such as story time, parenting classes, and other educational workshops. 
 

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Create a reader friendly environment at home

In this competitive era, the student needs to put an extra to remain in the race and excel. Academics play a vital role in pushing the students forward. Parents can and should contribute in encouraging their growth in reading skills.
 
Fill your house with books, magazines and newspaper: - There is a positive correlation between the amount of print in the home and a child’s interest in reading. According to a survey, children with a high interest in books have, on average, 80% books in the home while children with a low interest in reading have only 30% books. 
In the case of books, quality is important but so is quantity. Children need opportunities to find books that suit their ability and their mood on any given day. 
 
Give all children books to call their own: All children deserve to have books to call their own. Children should have the power of choice for selecting their books or newspaper, children choose new books and participate in reading activities with their friends, classmate, teachers, and parents. Those activities or events educate, build community, and inspire children to make greater choices for them to choose learning, and to choose success in school and life.
 
Read in front of your children: Role model. If they don't see you read why should they? Most parents know that children do what we do and not what we say. Read in front of your children. Show children that you will often choose to read instead of doing other fun things. Discuss what you're all reading at the dinner table. Institutionalize family reading time, when a parent reads to the whole family. Show children that you will often choose to read instead of doing other fun things. Turn off the television and open up a magazine. 
A home that supports reading is one in which children see the adults in their lives reading regularly and supporting the reading process.
 
Celebrate all types of reading:Give readers a reason to keep improving their skills. Remind children that you are reading when you record television shows for them to watch, when you follow the recipe to make their favorite cookies and when you order dinner from a menu. All types of reading are important and valued. If your child prefers to read magazines or newspapers encourage them to do so.
 
Reward children with reading: if your goal is to encourage your child to read more, reading must be genuinely enjoyable to them. Why not have kids earn TV or game console time by reading? Every time kids read and log it onto Reading Rewards, we will tally things up for them if they are earning 1 minute TV time for every 2 minutes of reading time. You can set up any reward program that works for you and your family and gets kids reading. 
If a day out with mom is the ultimate reward, or a movie with a friend, set that up. It must be pleasurable and something special. 
 
Give books as gifts: Books plays a vital role in reader’s life. Books are our friends in a real sense. They demand nothing from us. They give us plenty of joy.
 
Books encourage us when we are defeated. It develops a healthy habit of reading books.
You can give new book or a kid’s magazine or may be a new comic as a gift to your wards.
 

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