Teach Your Kids Accountability The Easy Way

It’s not my fault.

XX made me do this.

I’ve done my best. It’s them who screwed things up.

How often do you hear these kinds of defense from your child? Lately, my son’s teachers marked his handbook two times in a row in the same week due to misbehaviour. The first one was because he put pencil crumbs into his teacher’s glass of water, and the second was because he was not paying attention in class. In both incidents, I heard the "you" blame from him rather than the "me" culpability. To be specific, he said that it’s Richard who asked him to put the pencil crumbs into the teacher’s water, and it’s Richard who keeps distracting him in class. I realized that it was time to teach my son the lesson of accountability & responsibility.

Taking responsibility and being accountable are among the most valuable lessons we human beings have to learn in life. If children don’t learn these while they are still young, they’ll have to carry the "blaming" attitude to their adulthood.

Importance of Accountability

Denying one's errors or blaming other people for it is actually an act that diminishes our self respect as well as the respect of other people. It doesn’t only lessen others' trust, it also means you are giving control back to other people.

In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), the concept of taking responsibility is actually a layout in the concept of Cause & Effect.

Example:

- Result: You fail a test.

- If you put yourself at Effect: You think that the exam is too difficult (e.g., I can do nothing about it) --> No further action is taken.

- If you put yourself at Cause (i.e., I’m the reason that led my failing the test): You think of reasons why you failed (e.g., Maybe I haven’t mastered the subject yet? Was I too careless? Perhaps I did not answer quick enough?) —> You take action to improve and do better next time.

So if someone is at Effect, he may blame others for his life in general. He thinks he is the result of something he can’t control, and he deems himself powerless so he has to depend on others. Emotionally he may feel relieved by shifting the responsibility to other people, but realistically, this victim mode is not doing him any good. Believing that someone else is responsible or making them responsible for your life is very limiting and it gives others a mystical power over you.

On the contrary, being at Cause means you are a part of the situation in which you can do something to create a different result. People who are at Cause see the world as a place of opportunity and move toward achieving what they desire. If things are not unfolding as they like, they take action and explore other possibilities. Above all, they know they have a choice in what they do and how they react to people and events.

Teaching Kids Accountability and Responsibility

A lot of people find the concept of accountability and responsibility a little abstract to teach children. It is not, if you use NLP’s Cause & Effect as a framework.

1. Teach them the cause & effect framework with real life scenarios

Take my son as an example: his misbehaviour at school has actually opened up an opportunity for me to teach him the lesson of accountability. When he mentioned to me that "Richard made me do this," I started by showing empathy – how he feels obliged to follow whatever his friend asks him to do. But then, I led to other possibilities and showed him that he has power over the situation like ignoring Richard, suggesting other more constructive acts to do with Richard, and more. He started to understand that he’s not a victim, but he indeed has choices.

The same thing applies to the issue of him not paying attention in class. We discussed this incident and I asked him to suggest ways so he can pay more attention. That’s when he said he can tell his teacher when he’s distracted, or he can even suggest to swap seats with other people.

Using real life examples to open up our children’s minds is one of the best ways to move them from taking the role of a victim to taking back control. There are other areas that parents have to pay special attention to so that their children are wired to take responsibility automatically.

More real life examples:

- Child spills water —> Let them do the clean up themselves.

- Child breaks a glass —> Help them clean up and explain to them the reason you’re helping is because glass can hurt and you’re protecting them while they’re taking responsibility to their act.

- Child misbehaves —> Review what they have done and explore other alternative behaviours together.

2. Let kids do what they’re capable of doing

· Have you ever seen children of 4 or 5 years old who are still sitting on the pram when they have long mastered walking and even running?

· Have you ever seen parents feeding old kids to make sure they finish their meals?

· Have you ever seen parents waking their children up in the morning so that they won't be late for school?

· Has your child ever broken a toy and you immediately come to the rescue and promise to replace it because he’s crying his lungs out?

All these act of caring parents are actually sending out an unconscious message to their children – a message that the kids are not responsible for their walking, eating, waking up on time or taking care of their toys.

Being accountable is an attitude and a habit we have to build in our kids at a young age. It is what we do in our daily life that helps our children build this virtue for a lifetime. So let our children see clearly the consequence of their actions and let them take care of the result.

3. Do not pay your child for chores

Your children are a part of your family and you need to teach them that helping out at home is their responsibility, just as it is mom's and dad's. Also, letting them do housework prepares them for the future when they will have their own apartment or house – do not wait until your son or daughter is already in college before he or she learns how to cook or use a vacuum.

However, do not give your kids money in exchange for doing chores because: one, they will only help out in the house if they will be compensated; two, this is treating your child like hired help; and three, this is unconsciously educating them that service would be the way to make a living when they grow up.

What we need children to understand is their role in the home, and the importance of them, being family members, to be involved in the maintenance of the family home. Other methods like setting yourself as a good model, acknowledging children’s priorities when negotiating your expectations or designing chores in a way that’s fun and light-hearted may take more time & patience than bribe and force, they are a lot more lasting and they will help your children build up strong accountability.

A final reminder: always lead by example. If you are teaching your child accountability but you yourself do not practice personal responsibility (going against the light, talking about people behind their backs, blaming your neighbors, etc.), then you are already sending the wrong signals. Watch yourself and make sure that you lead by example.

Accept responsibility for your actions. Be accountable for your results. Take ownership of your mistakes.

Powerful Coaching Questions to Help Your Children Achieve Anything

I think we have all heard of the saying “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Unfortunately, a lot of times, people fail in achieving what they want because they do not believe in themselves enough or they do not have enough ideas on the how’s. Worst of all, they are too overwhelmed to take action.

In this article, I’m going to show you how you can achieve anything by guiding yourself through four powerful coaching questions. This method is so simple that you can use it to guide not just yourself but also your children so they, too, can achieve what they want. This includes anything from being potty trained to getting better grades in school to learning a new skill or winning in a competition. It will help you and your kids gain more confidence and clarity on how to reach your respective goals.

Now, take a few minutes to complete the set of questions below and see its power. While answering, truly immense yourself in a state wherein you can connect with your inner self.

Power Question 1: Where are you right now?

This is the situation you are currently in.

Power Question 2: Where do you want to be in one year?

This is the goal you want to reach within the next 12 months. One year is the maximum timeframe you should set for yourself in order to make the goal achievable and actionable.

Power Question 3: What resources do you currently have?

These are the things that you have right now that will help you achieve your goal.

Power Question 4: What resources are you missing?

These are the additional resources you need so you can reach your goal.

After you answer these four questions, you should have a clear picture of the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. To close that gap, all you have to do is list down three actions that you intend to take. Doing this will give you an uncomplicated but solid action plan that will propel you forward toward your goal.

To move yourself to the next level, you can go through these Powerful Questions again after you’ve reached your first year goal.

The beauty of this exercise is that it’s so simple and yet so powerful that it can be applied to kids as young as 3 years old. It will help them have a clear view of what actions they need to take to achieve what they want to achieve. This exercise will train them to flex their brains as well as build an action-taking habit for future success.

Action is the foundational key to all success, so take action now and help your children and yourself improve day after day!

Kids Who Have Impressive Achievements: Yours Can Become an Achiever, too!

Many grownups look at kids as "just kids" and so they fail to see how much potential the little ones actually have. I am writing this article to show parents that, contrary to what some think, children can accomplish a lot of things, and if we try to be open to what our own kids are capable of achieving, we can guide and coach them so they can reach their full potential.

How Do We Determine Our Kids' Potential?

Children master different skills at different ages. While they are still young, we monitor their developmental milestones to make sure they are growing healthily. However, as they get older, we tend to focus more on how they are doing at school – we refer to the results and comments on their report cards as though these are the only factors that determine whether or not our kids are on the right track.

Some parents also observe other kids of similar age and use their performance as a benchmark for their own son's or daughter's accomplishments (or seeming lack of achievements). They get worried if the neighbor's kids are getting higher grades or are more active in sports or are winning in competitions.

The thing is, the conventional benchmarks that we often use – the grades they get in school and the performance of the kids around us – do not reflect what our kids are capable of achieving. They do not even come close to representing a particular percentage in research terms for us to judge if we are giving them enough room to reach their full potential. Sometimes, these even create limiting beliefs on us, which confines our view on how much our children can actually do.

When we use a traditional measuring bar to track our kids' development, we sometimes miss out on the opportunity to see their unique capabilities. We fail to see the world as a big place and that people around the world are diversified and unpredictable.

Don't get me wrong – I'm not a tiger mom who pushes children to be successful by attaining high levels of scholastic and academic achievements. On the contrary, I do not believe that academic achievement means success in life nor do I think that we should push children to do things they're not yet ready to do.

I am a firm believer that every child is gifted in different areas – they just unwrap their packages at different times. They have their own talents, strengths, and interests, and it is our duty as parents to help our kids realize what the are capable of achieving.

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Kids With Impressive Achievements

Here, I am going to share with you stories of kids who have impressive achievements that parents may not have imagined any child to be capable of accomplishing. Let me just emphasize – I’m sharing these stories not to say that you should push your kids to do the same. What I’m trying to do here is to make sure we, the parents, have more resourceful beliefs and pass it on to our children so that they are more imaginative and are more open-minded to larger possibilities in the world.

Jake Marchionette

He launched his book at age 13, which became a New York Times best seller.

A typical kid who loves playing and watching sports, hanging out with friends, and wishing for snowy days, Jake Marcionette, at age 12, decided to get an agent because he wanted to become a writer. Jake told us that he started to write in elementary school not because of some burning passion for sharing his thoughts but because his mom forced him to write during the summer holiday.

His love for writing grew after few years of practice, and the idea of publishing his own book was sparked because he was annoyed by the fact that most middle-grade fiction were written for girls. Throughout the process, Jake tried cold-calling agents and, by 2013, he had an agent and a publication deal with Penguin’s Young Readers Group.

Now Jake doesn’t only have one but a series of books written. He’s been interviewed by media and was invited to TV shows, and his life exposure has grown multifold since then.

Suhas Gopinath

He started his company at 14 and became the youngest CEO of a multinational company.

Suhas Gopinath of Bangalore, India, decided to forego school in favor of going to a local Internet café. There, he taught himself how to work the Internet, but since the service was expensive in the country back then, he worked as a clerk at the store for free just to be able to use the Internet.

"I was overwhelmed by the world of Internet," he said. "It became a passion. Though my parents were completely against it, I would spend hours before the computer. My elder brother Shreyas encouraged a lot. I learnt HTML, ASP and every possible software at the cyber cafe."

Suhas started his company at 14 and became the youngest CEO of XXX at age 17. His business ventures started with an idea to build a website. His parents refused to give him the money and so he wrote to Network Solutions, Inc. in the United States for support. On the same year he built the site www.coolhindustani.com, Suhas set up Global, Inc., a web solutions and networking company with a team of four.

Now, he has offices in 11 countries and a turnover of $1 million annually.

Kieron Williamson

He sold his paintings at £900 each when he was 7 years old.

Kieron Williamson, a watercolor artist from England, has been described as a prodigy – he began to paint at the age of five on a family holiday, and by the time he was seven, he was already selling his paintings for at least £900 each. At only 13, his paintings have already made him a millionaire.

What’s worth focusing on in Kieron’s case is not how lucky he is in getting people to appreciate his paintings but rather how his parents view his success.

"He's a very lucky boy, but as parents we just have to say no to a lot of things to give him a normal life," they said. "The most important thing is that he can relate to his peers and not be seen as any different."

Caleb Maddix

He is an extraordinary entrepreneur at 14 years old.

"I am a kid, I know that," said young entrepreneur Caleb Maddix. "I get punished, I learn lessons. I like to play baseball, rollerblade and all that. I’m not trying to grow up too fast; actually as slowly as possible. I want to enjoy everything I do."

Caleb, a normal and yet extraordinary kid, is going to earn his millions 2 years in a row. What fascinates me is not how much he earns but his attitude that has driven him to success. He is an action-taking type of kid who thinks "the gun that kills the most people is the 'gonna'". Unlike most kids (or even adults) who always put off to tomorrow what they want to do, Caleb one day sat down and asked himself, "I wanna write a book, why can’t I do it now? I want to start a business and post stuff on social media, I want to speak. Why can’t I?"

Apart from his action-oriented personality and his mission to make a change in the world, Caleb is getting a lot of support and influence from his dad Matt Maddix, the "older" entrepreneur and motivational speaker.

So, while we can’t determine the strengths and weaknesses of our little ones, we should always set them up with the right attitude for life.

Richard Turere

He figured out a way to keep lions away from their livestock.

Richard Turere, a 13-year-old boy from Kenya, started herding his family’s cattle when he was just nine. He grew up disliking lions when he saw his valuable livestock being raided by the predators that roam the park’s sweet savannah grasses, leaving him to count the losses. So at age 11, he decided it was time to find a way of protecting his family’s possessions from falling prey to hungry lions.

With this mission and a little observation, Richard realized that lions are afraid of moving lights, so he fitted a series of flashing LED bulbs onto poles around the livestock enclosure, facing outward. The lights were designed to flicker on and off, tricking the lions into believing that someone was moving around carrying a flashlight.

His invention earned him the scholarship to enter a top-notch educational institute, and it also gave him the exposure to work with executives from the Kenya Land Conservation Trust and Friends of Nairobi National Park.

Richard is described to be a very good problem solver and if you give him a problem, he will keep working at it until he can fix it.

Tsung Tsung, Joey, Charlotte, Lilian and more...

These kids mastered piano playing at age 5, 4 or even 3 years old.

This last story I’m going to tell is not about one kid but a bunch of kids who were able to master piano playing as early as 3 years old. I’m quoting this example because I know their piano teacher, Mr. Yau, and I know how these kids were trained.

Tsung Tsung, Joey, Charlotte, and Lilian have videos that took YouTube by storm. They have impressed millions of people. One may immediately think of them as geniuses, but in actual fact, they are only normal kids who have the interest in playing the piano, and they put more effort in training than many people are willing to do.

While other kids are playing with their toys and watching TV, these kids practice playing the piano. They learned from Mr. Yau, a man who has an amazing system in teaching young kids. They are mentored and coached to dedicate almost 100 percent of their time in playing this one single instrument.

What is the Key to a Child's Success?

At this point, you might be in utter amazement at what these kids have achieved. The key is, don’t only see what they have accomplished but also look into the whys. Is it because they’re born differently? Is it because they think differently? Or is it only because they put extra effort in what interests them?

The world is changing, and it’s changing at a speed that we can’t imagine. Information is so handy now that one does not have to rely solely on schools to learn something new. If we are interested in an area, we can join some courses, go online, chat with people around us who have knowledge in the topic we are interested in, or go on social media and connect with experts to get ourselves educated about that subject. If there is a will to achieve something, there are certainly many ways to fulfilling it.

I hope I have given you a large variety of cases to show how kids can develop in different ways. If you are still thinking that your kids won’t achieve as much as any of the examples I shared above, I challenge you to take a second look at such limiting belief.

Which do you think would be more beneficial: believing or not believing that your kid can succeed in life? Do you think it helps if you consider your child as "just another kid" or would overcoming that limiting belief drive you into observing and digging deeper on their strengths?

Apart from us believing the potential of our children, it’s also important for us to pass on that belief to them. Tell them stories of these kids, let them explore their own meaning in life and what interests and drives them, and pave the way for them to have a more constructive and meaningful future.

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What Must You Do With Your Kids Under 6 Years Old Everyday?

Each year presents a fresh experience for both parents and children, but the years before our kids reach their 6th birthday are among the most exciting, refreshing, and challenging of all. It is the stage in their lives when they need us the most, so we should make it a point to spend time with them.

Why should we spend time with our kids?

Before our children turn 6 years old, they rely on us for most things. This is because they are not yet capable of fending for themselves, their bodies and minds are not yet that well-developed so as to do things carefully and precisely, and they do not yet exercise that great impulse or need to be independent in the way that bigger kids and teenagers do. Also, they are learning. This is the time of their lives when they reach many milestones in their development.

For example, toddlers usually start talking and drawing, and they also try to feed themselves. Preschoolers, on the other hand, experience a boost in their imaginations and they may enjoy playing pretend. They also learn new words at a dramatic pace, manipulate objects like simple puzzles, and start making friends. As time goes by, they learn to express their feelings, and might even learn to hide the truth. When they turn 5, they may talk a lot and also become more physically active as they are able to use their bodies more – they are better coordinated and can use a skipping rope, play ball, ride a trike, etc.

The most heartwarming part of having a toddler or preschooler, though, is that they enjoy spending time with us. Our presence not only provides them with security and confidence, it also provides us with the innocent and unconditional love that only children can give.

During this period of drastic physical, mental, emotional, and social development, our kids rely on us to guide them. But while it can be difficult for us grownups to think of things to do with our kids, it’s important to remember that spending time with them is vital for their development.

So, in what ways can we spend time with our kids?

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​ Activities You Should Do With Your Children Below 6 Years Old Everyday

There are many activities that you and your young one can enjoy doing together, but here are three essential ones that you must take the time to do with them each day:

1. Read with your kids

Developing a love for books from a young age is something that your kids would benefit from for the rest of their lives. Not only does reading provide wholesome entertainment, there are also numerous benefits they can gain from it, such as:

· Your children can absorb fresh knowledge in an enjoyable way. Picture books, for instance, provide a wealth of information, like how a spider look like up close, what kinds of creatures live deep in the sea, and what Jupiter or a virus looks like. By reading the captions and descriptions to them and then having a candid discussion after, those pictures can give them knowledge and also encourage them to ask questions.

· Books help develop language mastery and increase vocabulary. Your kids get to learn new words, which helps with their speech and communication.

· Reading, likewise, helps improve imagination. Story books allow them to “see” things in their minds. The descriptions and actions in good stories let them visualize what is only written in text.

· Moreover, reading helps develop discipline and concentration and improves their attention span.

· Depending on what you read to them, stories can also help them learn to distinguish socially acceptable behavior without having to tell them “don’t do this” and “don’t do that” directly.

· Reading to them encourages them to read on their own. They can start recognizing that letters put together in a certain way become a representation of things. This would make it relatively easier to understand what letters mean when they start learning to write.

Children’s books are crafted to provide our little ones with information in a way that they would understand and enjoy. Toddlers who are exposed to reading early on eventually learn to view books and reading as an indulgence, something that they can take pleasure in doing, rather than a chore that they would want to avoid. Moreover, as they grow older, they are more likely to read than watch TV or play video games.

What’s more, reading together is a time for bonding, which would strengthen your relationship with your child.

2. Listen to music and sing songs with them

It is always a good idea for us to listen to music with our kids. It is enjoyable, after all, and is something that just about everyone can understand and take pleasure in. Also, like reading, it has numerous benefits. The long and short of it, music helps in every aspect of child development, including physical, mental, emotional, and social development, their cognition, language, logic, creativity, and their musical ability.

With music, your child’s mind and body work together. They learn sounds and words, they are prompted to use their bodies when they dance and also interpret the lyrics when they do actions. Not only that: it has been proven that music has the ability to stimulate parts of the brain that are related to reading and math. It can also help improve a child’s memory and learning ability. A lot of studies show a correlation between higher academic achievement with children who are exposed to music.

Depending on what kind of music you play and sing, you can either have a relaxing time together or it can prompt dancing or physical movement. When selecting music, though, don’t just base your choice on the melody. Eric Rasmussen, chair of early childhood music at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore, says that there is no bad music but advises parents to choose those with age appropriate lyrical content and high musical quality.

3. Do housework together

There are many household activities that you can do with your child. Toddlers and preschoolers simply love to help grownups and this desire should be encouraged, not discouraged. They should also be shown that housework is not a chore (in the negative sense).

Let your kids get involved when you do housework and assign them things that they can handle. This not only improves their ability to listen, understand, and follow instructions, it also trains their other skills. For example, you can let them take out the clothes from the washing machine and place them in the basket, or you can ask them to sort clothes according to their owner. These help improve their gross motor and sorting skills.

You can also give them the responsibility of feeding the cat, for instance, or setting the place mats and napkins on the table during meals. You can also assign them a patch in the vegetable garden that they should water – this way, they will have a sense of achievement when you harvest, prepare, and eat the crops. You can also provide your kids with a small broom and dustpan, a small rake, perhaps some non-breakable dishes, and other safe items so they can do things with you rather than just watch you do them.

Of course, it’s understandable that you sometimes want to have more private time for yourself. This may prompt you to give a gadget for your kids for them to indulge in or let them watch TV for hours. I have to confess that I did that before as well. Still, I never forget to do the three essential things mentioned above, which have a more positive impact on my kids’ future.

So from now on, no matter how tired you are, always put these three tasks in your and your kids’ schedule!

How Kids Learn and Develop Through Play

“Play is the work of the child.”  - Maria Montessori

Some parents have the notion that the traditional way of learning – that is, sitting still and listening to lectures, reading textbooks, and answering workbooks – is the best way for their kids to learn and develop skills. At home, they feel better when they see their children poring over a math problem or memorizing a list of vocabulary words than when they see them playing. After all, it is kind of difficult to imagine that the young ones are actually learning anything from tinkering with toys on the floor or from playing tag with their friends outdoors.

What some grownups don’t realize is that, while regular classes and other structured training are certainly useful, academic knowledge is only a small part in the kids’ growth and in the development of their attitude. Experience and learning through play has a bigger role when it comes to their holistic development.

The Montessori education is one good example of teaching through play. It gives kids the freedom to work with materials, handle and manipulate them, and gain experience though different activities. They learn math, vocabulary, and other concepts by means of tools rather than through lectures and textbooks. In other words, it allows the kids to discover and understand concepts through interaction rather than through direct instruction.

Why Learning Through Play

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​ A 2007 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics says that play is an essential part of a child’s progress as they grow. The organization is referring to active play, which means providing our kids with toys like dolls or action figures, building blocks, and similar playthings. This is so they can use their imagination to the fullest, rather than engaging in passive entertainment like computer games or television.

Contrary to what some might think, unstructured play is not only about letting our kids have fun. Yes, it is enjoyable (thus they don’t feel “bored”) but, without them knowing it, they are also developing various facets of their lives, like their physical bodies, their emotional well-being, and their social skills.

Allowing time for child-directed activities has many other benefits, too, such as:

Play helps develop their creativity and imagination

When kids are left alone to their own devices (without us, grownups, telling them what to do), they are more inclined to use their imagination. They may make up their own scenarios and even come up with the rules in their world. They can make the couch into a ship and the teddy bears, into special creatures that can beat the wild and dangerous sea monster. They can imagine being a gracious hostess, talking to their favorite characters over tea. Their play world may not be realistic and may defy science – and some parents may find it tempting to correct them – but this is what makes playtime fun.

Children are also more likely to exercise their creativity during these times of free play. They may use normal, day-to-day things as props, like a blanket for a ship’s sail or a big appliance box as a toy house.

Play helps develop their physical bodies

Active play lets kids move around. Running with their friends and engaging in other outdoor activities give them exercise, of course, and it helps improve their agility, stamina, speed, strength, and balance, but even indoor play have their benefits.

Using blocks to build towers, painting or coloring, or even putting Mr. Potato Head’s eyes and arms can help a kid’s dexterity, eye-hand coordination, and fine motor skills.

Play helps develop their social skills

Play is an opportunity for kids to interact with others, and this means having to face different opinions and ideas. These instances allow our kids to learn to resolve disagreements on their own and even negotiate to reach a common ground. They learn the value of sharing and being part of a group. Often enough, when kids disagree and part ways upset, they end up being friends again the next time.

Play helps develop their emotions

Play allows our kids to experience a wide range of emotions, from disappointment at not winning a game to appreciation for the help of their friend. On their own, they can feel joy at being able to draw their mom or dad, or perhaps a sense of triumph at making an impressive tower of blocks. These experiences expose them to their feelings and allow them to learn to cope.

Play helps develop cognitive abilities and decision-making skills

When kids are allowed to touch and feel, see, hear, and experience things first-hand, they acquire knowledge and develop better understanding. After all, how would they know how rough a tree bark feels if they only see it in books?

Also, with experience comes the skill of making better decisions. Without grownups dictating what they should do next, they can make their choices – should the small block go below or on top of the big one? – and learn from them.

Play helps develop resilience and self-confidence

How would our kids develop the confidence to do things if we don’t let them? Play allows our kids to try out new things and then develop the conviction that they can do them – better and better as they try. Of course, they would not be able to cut straight the first few times or ride a bike immediately, but these unsuccessful attempts help develop their resilience to face “the real world.”

Moreover, play can improve a child’s learning behavior and readiness. For instance, the educators at Eagle Mountain Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas decided to give their kindergarten pupils two 15-minute breaks in the morning and two in the afternoon. They found that the kids have become more independent, better at following directions, and more attentive in class.

What Kind of Play is Recommended?

Here are some suggestions on what activities your child can have fun doing, alone or with friends:

Building

Constructing pretend structures encourages creativity and innovation. Moreover, using small toys like blocks and Lego sets help develop their fine motor skills.

Of course, you can go beyond one set of toys. Let them mix and match, like using plastic blocks and Knex together along with their character figures. You can also let them exercise their creativity further by making use of what’s at hand instead of buying new toys. For instance, you can allow them to use pillows and blankets to make caves or tents.

Role-playing

When kids play pretend, like being treasure-hunting pirates or restaurant owners and customers, they are discovering their own interests and also expressing what they feel and think. They also assert some independence as well develop some of their physical and social skills.

Playing dress-up or donning costumes makes it more fun, of course, but you don’t necessarily have to buy these. Kids without store-bought get-ups usually come up with their own ingenious costumes – a towel for a cape, for instance, or Wonder Woman bracelets made of paper or foil.

Drawing

Drawing and coloring are not just fun for kids, these activities also help them develop their fine-motor skills. Also, it’s a way for them to express themselves and how they interpret the world around them. You can provide them with paper and pencils, crayons, coloring books, and other materials.

Play is one of the main ways in which children learn. Because it’s fun, children often become very absorbed in what they are doing, and in turn, this helps them develop the ability to concentrate. There are plenty of other activities that your kids can do – or that you can do with your children – during these child-directed play times, namely singing songs and telling stories, playing memory games or other board games, and letting them explore the environment. After your kids finished playing, you could ask them to tell you about their adventures. Parents showing interest is actually sending the message that their independence is valued.

Resilience training to kids: Top 3 activities to train kids to be resilient

“Highly resilient people are flexible, adapt to new circumstances quickly, and thrive in constant change.”

— Lawrence Albert Siebert

Do you want that when your kids are knocked down by life, they can come back stronger than ever? Do you want your kids to have the ability to acknowledge a negative situation, learn from it and then move forward? The level of a person’s resilience will determine not only his level of success, but also his physical health. A long-term study of 99 Harvard men showed that the way people view negative life events predicted their physical health 35 years later.

Though we can only observe resilience in our kids (or the lack of it) when they’re faced with obstacles, stress, or other environmental threats, we parents can always start to train them to be optimistic and to have the ability to regulate emotions when they’re still young.

Resilience can be learned

Resilience training are now widely adopted by army, businesses and schools. Neuroscientist Kevin Ochsner has shown in a research at Columbia that you can actually teach people with negative initial response to an incidents to think differently by reframing the incident in positive terms. Or to train people to better regulate their emotions to handle set-backs better.

Strategy resilient people adopt

    • Resilient people are adept at seeing things from another person’s point of view. They know that tragedies don’t only happen to them but also others. When we empathise with others, we feel less alone and less entrenched in pain. As a result, we recover faster.
    • Resilient people tend to find some silver lining in even the worst of circumstances. While they certainly see and acknowledge the bad, they will find a way to also see the good. They view difficulties as challenges and challenges as opportunities to grow and evolve.
    • Resilient people are able to see an incident as temporary rather than permanent. They believe that the situation can be changed and they have a positive image of the future.
    • Resilient people believe that life is meaningful. Frank in his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ realised that if he’s to survive the concentration camp, he had to find some purposes. By setting concrete goals for himself, he succeeded in rising above the sufferings of the moment.
    • Resilient people take care of themselves with a regular routine of healthy habits, the foundation to both mental and emotional resilience. They sleep and eat well, they spend enough time outdoor in nice weather and they have strong social connections with others.

Top 3 Activities To Train Your Kids To Be Resilient

1.  Sharing with your kids real life stories of successful people and what they came across before becoming successful.

There are tons of real life stories of people who bounce back from tough times, from Thomas Edison who invented lightbulbs after over 10,000 fail attempts, to Qian Hongyan who became gold medal winner in different Paralympics competitions after losing both legs in an accident at 4 years old. Telling your kids these stories will help them understand that life doesn’t always happen as planned, but we always have the ability to change our mindset and to think of how we can deal with set-backs. 

List of real life heroes and what happened to them before they were successful:

​2. Start a gratitude journal

Our emotion typically respond to dramatic changes, but a lot of good things that are stable e.g. having lovely kids, good relationship with spouse or a stable job fade into the background. So what you can do is deliberately draw your attention to them.

When adversity strikes, gratitude for the things that are going right in your life helps put tragedy in perspective. What you can do is to help your kids draw attention to the positive things in their life that they may have taking for granted.

Get your kids to choose a notebook they love to start a gratitude journal. Ask them to name or write down few things they’re grateful for in the day before bedtime and review the journal with every month.

3.  Train the brain to ask 'Learners Questions'

The idea behind this game is we tend to ask 'emotional questions' like 'Why it happens to me?' or 'Who's to blame?' when negative incidents strike us.  These kinds of questions don't help a lot nor do they make us feel better.   So the main objective of this game is to train your kids to shift from 'Why' to 'How', from simply expressing negative emotions to thinking of solutions and next steps that move one forward. 

What you need:
- A list of incidents that may happen to your kids, from failing in an important exam to being bullied at school or to have to cancel a long awaited trip because someone in the family got sick. These are just examples and we suggest you to think of something that your kids can relate to.

- Learner questions on colorful papers , one question per sheet.  I use colorful paper to set anchor so that kids can retrieve these positive thinking approach more easily.  We have clear elaboration on what are anchors and how to use them to help us retrieve successful experience and feelings in our 'User Manual For The Brain' Program.

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15 Children Books That Teach Valuable Life Lessons

"In a good book the best is between the lines."

I love to use stories to pass through important life lessons as they turn boring messages into interesting ones and they are subliminal. Here I have selected my favourite ones that I recommend parents to buy for kids or to read to them.

“The Monster at the End of This Book” by Jon Stone

Lesson: This book teaches young kids to never fear the unknown. As scary as uncertainty is in life, sometimes not knowing what’s in store for in the future can be a very rewarding and exciting experience.

This book is inspired by the famous children’s TV show “Sesame Street.” The story centres around one of its characters, Grover. We love the hilarious storyline and beautiful illustration, on top of it suggesting a very good attitude to deal with uncertainty.

“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst

Lesson: This book reminds readers that for every one bad day comes a series of better and happier days. No matter how difficult and challenging life may be, there’s always a rainbow at the end of the tunnel.

This book is an all time favourite and kids just love them. We like this book because it tackles real-life situations and feelings that can be experienced and felt by both children and adults. It’s a book that’s worth to keep and that your kids can read whenever they come across a bad day.

“The Way I Act” by Steve Metzger

Lesson: This book teaches readers the importance of knowing how children should act in certain situations. It also serves as a reminder that the ways we act affect those around us. Therefore, it is a must to act as a responsible and compassionate individual.

“The Way I Act” has sold millions of copies worldwide. It reinforces the importance of acting in a certain way. We love all the action examples connected with life traits such as friendly, brave, considerate, curious, etc.

“Harriet the Spy” by Louise Fitzhugh

Lesson: “Harriet the Spy” is one of the children’s stories that can instantly serve as a reminder for children to embrace whatever it is that makes them different. In a world where everyone seems to be trying so hard to fit in, this book challenges young readers to stick to who they really are.

“Harriet the Spy” has been dubbed as a children’s classic and a “milestone in children’s literature.” It is perfect for kids who have felt like an outcast at least once in their lives.

“Pippi Longstocking” by Astrid Lindgren

Lesson: Lindgren’s book “Pippi Longstocking” teaches readers the value of believing in their talents, as well as the other things that they can do. As long as you are using your skills correctly, you can help change the world.

“Pippi Longstocking” is one of the most popular children’s stories of all times since its conception in 1945. These quotes from Pippi will surely show you how much she’s believing in herself!

  • “Don’t you worry about me. I’ll always come out on top.”
  • ‘He’s the strongest man in the world.’  "Man, yes,' said Pippi, 'but I am the strongest girl in the world, remember that.'
  • 'I don't think you have a very nice way with ladies,’ said Pippi. And she lifted him in her strong arms — high in the air — and carried him to a birch tree and hung him over a branch. Then she took the next boy and hung him over another branch.

“Oh, The Places You Will Go!” by Dr. Seuss

Lesson: Dr. Seuss’ book teaches children the importance of being in charge of their future. “Oh, The Places You Will Go” posits that every person has the capability to control his or her own destiny.

This book was the last book that was published by Dr. Seuss shortly before his death. What makes this book interesting to read is the fact that it has several positive themes like controlling one’s life, taking responsibility for one’s actions and always keep moving forward no matter what.

“Amelia Bedelia” by Peggy Parish

Lesson: This book teaches readers that not everything in life needs to be taken literally. After all, every person has a different way of communicating his or her thoughts. Therefore, understanding should always be applied to all sorts of interaction with other people.

Amelia Bedelia is the protagonist in Peggy Parish’s series of books. It offers hilarious storylines centered on the main character. It is also very well-written as it combines a mixture of dialogues, action and illustration.

“Madeline” by Ludwig Bemelmans

Lesson: This book teaches readers to never be fearful of anything. Even though Madeline is the smallest girl among the 11 other girls at the convent school, she didn’t get scared easily. The book also teaches the importance of valuing education and respecting the elderly.

“Madeline” was first published in 1939 and is well-loved by many. It has been included in some school curriculums across the globe. Bemelmans’ illustration in “Madeline” is very detailed which makes it even more attractive to readers.

“Corduroy” by Don Freeman

Lesson: The book “Corduroy” teaches readers the importance of always being assertive. When something doesn’t go as planned, one should always find ways to make things right again. Additionally, this book also serves as a reminder to everyone that friends shouldn’t be selected based on looks, but on personality.

“Corduroy” follows the life of an adorable bear by the same name. A girl named Lisa wanted to buy him, but he wasn’t in tip-top shape. This book is very relatable since most children have at least one stuffed bear that they love dearly.

“The Story of Ferdinand” by Munro Leaf

Lesson: The book “The Story of Ferdinand” teaches readers the importance of understanding that being different from the majority isn’t always a bad thing. When faced with specific types of trying situations, staying true to oneself is the key to solving problems and staying genuinely happy.

“The Story of Ferdinand” has been sold at various bookstores for more than 70 years now and for good reason. We like this children’s book because the tone and the story is very spot on. Not to mention, Ferdinand is very lovable character because of his unique attributes and personality.

“The Sweetest Fig” by Chris Van Allsburg

Lesson: This book teaches readers the importance of being kind to people and animals – most especially those who can’t give us anything in return. It also serves as a reminder to always be careful what one wishes for.

“The Sweetest Fig” is a hilarious book that stars Monsieur Bibot. He’s arrogant, annoying and cruel to both human being and animals. We like this book because it is relatable yet unpredictable. The book’s illustrations also stand out because they are unique and colorful.

“Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld

Lesson: “Uglies” serves as a reminder that not everything in this world should be defined by one’s beauty. Since nobody can be regarded as perfect, imperfections should be embraced and celebrated.

This New York Times best seller book wouldn’t be included in the list if it isn’t well-written, relatable and memorable. Just that the first few chapters may seem quite repetitive (the last few pages are where all of the actions and lessons can be found) and it’s more suitable for older kids of 7th grade or above.

“The Baby-Sitters Club” by Ann M. Martin

Lesson: This book teaches readers that anything is possible as long as you set your mind into achieving it. Regardless of age, there really are no limits to a person’s dreams. In fact, the more you think it, the more you can be it.

“The Baby-Sitters Club” is a series of books written by Ann M. Martin. It follows the lives of Kristin Thomas and her friends who formed a baby-sitter’s club where they took care of young children. Each of the books in the series is considered to be exciting because they tackle new issues and are also set in different locations.

“The Giver” by Lois Lowry

Lesson: The book “The Giver” teaches readers the importance of not changing one’s self just to fit in. The book also serves as a reminder to appreciate the world we live in by using all of our senses properly.

This book is a young-adult dystopian novel that was first released in 1993. A year later, the book won the prestigious Newbery Medal. It focuses on the inevitabilities of growing up, as well as the importance of trusting oneself and others, a perfect relatable read to help the growth of young people into adult.

“The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Lesson: “The Secret Garden” teaches readers to never be confined by ones limitations. It also reminds readers that even the meanest of individuals have a soft spot and it’s only a matter of time for it to be unleashed.

Burnett’s book is a popular children’s classic that has been read by millions of people across the world over the course of time. We like this book because it is written in a very straightforward manner. However, Burnett didn’t write the protagonist Mary as a bad person even though she had tons of bad qualities.

How mastering mind-body interaction can help doubled kids’ performance

“The mind and body are not separate.  What affects one, affects the other.”

Traditionally, kids’ development are categorized into 5 main areas and experts measure whether a child is developing healthily via these 5 parameters:

Cognitive development

Social and emotional development

Speech and language development

Fine motor skill development

Gross motor skill development

While this system helps to set up clear developmental milestones and guidelines for parents and developmental paediatrician to follow, it talks about these 5 areas as if they operate independently of each other.  Indeed, they do not.

Our mind and body actually affect each other inevitably and inescapably.  Proper brain function is dependent upon early motor development (Gabbard 1998).  The period from two to six years old appears to be particularly critical to a child’s motor development which will ultimately impact cognition. 

Boring facts and technical terms aside, the mind-body interaction are actually happening every day to everyone.  Here are few examples to illustrate this:

1. Recall the very last time your kid throw a tantrum.  What was his / her facial expression?  What about the body posture?  How he / she spoke? What state was he / she in – happy & excited, or sad & angry?

A crying face

A crying face

A closed body posture

A closed body posture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Another fun example to demonstrate how our body and mind are interconnected is from this ‘Angry Birds Movie’ making of.  Pay attention to the facial expression and body language of the voice over talents to see how they are using the body to tune themselves into the states of those little cute birds.

3.  Try it yourself – find an uncomfortable chair and sit on it.  Close your arms and body, make a frown and think of a happy moment you have had with your kid.

Then, find a comfortable chair or sofa.  Sit with an open posture – arms apart, body relaxed, and make a happy face as if you’ve just heard of a funny joke.  Now think of a happy moment you have had with your kid.

Do you find it easier to recall the happy memory while you’ve having a closed (negative) body or an open (positive) one?

How to apply it to our kids?

Now we know that mind and body functions as a cybernetic whole, it’s time to talk about the application on our kids. 

1. Change negative states into positive ones

The use of our mind & body posture in an intended way can change our state instantly.   

Try this:

Stand up straight, puff out your chest and look a little up and to the side.

Imagine you’re like a superman / superwoman.

Imagine you’re three inches taller.

Do you feel the power?

Do you feel more confident?

This method works really well when you kid needs an immediate confidence boost. 

Or when he / she doesn’t feel like studying. 

Or when your kid is a little down or upset.

Don't only imagine you're superhero. Do the superhero pose too!

Don’t only imagine you’re a superhero. Do the superhero pose too!

Now you don’t have to limit to only telling a story or a joke to cheer your kid up.  You can actually suggest some activities that he / she has to change the body posture to an open one, activities like ‘pretend play’ (let’s pretend we are superheroes!), stretching, outdoor play…anything you can think of, to change the state of your kid instantly.

2. Boosting of learning ability

Traditional learning methods like reading mainly use the brain.  It works well on kids who are strong in visualisation, but not on those who are more kinesthetics.  For better learning result, always top up the ‘brain learning’ with ‘body learning’.

Examples:

3. Keep well-being of kids

Our health is not only a result of how well we eat and rest, it also reflects how happy we are.  Our body responds to the way we think & feel. Negative feelings can upset the body’s hormone balance and can damage the immune system, making us more likely to get colds and other infections. 

To help our kids stay positive, it’s important that we help them express their feelings in appropriate ways.  We should encourage our kids to share anything they’re unhappy about and to reinforce the fact that we are always by their side.  We can also introduce different relaxing methods such as meditations, listening to calming music or even self-hypnosis.  Check out kids appropriate relaxing methods here: