Monday, April 28, 2008

Tips for Mothers with children of all ages

I was reading an article titled "Sharing" in Scholostic Parent & Child today and thought I would share some of the tips from the article with you since I enjoyed it so much!! It starts with the infants. Cuddling with your baby lays the fondation for a child who is ready to share. Babies thrive in a climate of acknowledgement and appreciation. As your child gets older, sharing spontaneously is a sign that your child is learning how to cooperate. When your child shows signs she's ready to begin sharing, it's a good idea to encourage her to do so without putting too much pressure on her. Children begin to discover that it feels good to think of others. This is the stage (ages 5 to 6) when your child starts to understand what sharing and cooperation really mean and how these concepts affect her and the people with whom she interacts.. Your child is learning empathy, sharing, and cooperation- three imporant life skills that we fine-tune well into our adult years. As they reach their tween years, girls and boys face heavy pressure from friends and advertisements to look a certain way by wearing particular fashions or owning status accessories like cell phones, or even school bags. How you can help: Always focus on the person inside, avoid the word "pretty" (instead say those clothes look great on you!), stay affectionate and physical, counter negative self-talk, keep personal diet issues clear of the family table, look in a mirror with your tween and ask what she sees, respond to any worrying weight gain wtih new routines for extra exercise, not diets. Check out all the tips below for more info on your children at each of the given stages:


Ages 0-2 years:

  • Hug and kiss your baby often, and tell her how much you love her when you do so. As she gets older, ask her for a hug and watch as she happily opens her arms to you.
  • High-Five your little one and thank him when he does as he's told. The more positive reinforcement you give him, the more likely he'll be to repeat his good behavior.
  • Plan a special treat or outing once in a while, like a favorite dessert or trip to the zoo, to reward and celebrate your child for being so helpful. The whole family will enjoy it!

Ages 3 to 4 years:

  • Be respectful of your child's feelings. He may not be developmentally ready to share. Try not to pressure him.
  • Suggest pair activities. Encourage your child to play turn-taking games with a friend. Board games or video games where kids can alternate use of a game controller are good for this.
  • Be a model. Elaborate on sharing when you do it yourself: "Look, if I give you a spoon, you can stir the pudding, too." Also talk about cooperative actions, "We're moving this table together."

Ages 5 to 6 years:

  • Choose family activities that require cooperation and sharing, such as simple board games or group art collage. The more participants, the merrier.
  • Play family games for at least two people. Games played with a ball, like catch, are good because they need at least one other person to work.
  • Creat a household job chart for the family to follow. It's a wonderful visual reminder of how family members share in taking care of the home by cooperating with each other.

Tween Age:

5 warning signs: These behaviors may indicate that your tween is struggling with body image issues:

  • Reluctant to look at herself in the mirror
  • Spending more time alone in her room
  • Having diordered eating habits: refusing indulgent foods, becoming very picky, or binge or secretive eating
  • Putting herself down in a range of ways, especially about how she looks
  • Preferring to wear loose clothes, to hide either a full or a fragile figure.

Recipe:

15-minute Veggie Mac 'n' Cheese

Ingredients:

1/4 pound whole-wheat pasta

2-3 cups fresh or frozen peas, green beans, broccoli, or other favorite vegetables

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pinch of fresh peper

1 1/4 cups 2% milk (or soymilk)

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Halfway through, add veggies to pasta. Cook until veggies are tender and pasta is al dente.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, and stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Slowly add milk.

3. Stir constantly until bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese.

4. Drain pasta and veggies, add to cheese sauce and stir to coat.

Makes 4 servings.

Did you know? macaroni and cheese is on the Top 10 list of children's all time favorite foods, and parents have been serving it up since the late 1700's. It's also the number one recipe that involves cheese in the United States. (source: gone-to-pott.com)

Article Source: Scholastic Parent & Child : The joy of family living and learning TM April 2008

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