My ex and I don’t split holidays, we share them together so our daughter doesn’t have to miss out on either of us. We buy together and contribute as a whole… not a half. Usually have Sunday dinner together as well so our girl gets at least one full family meal a week. We’ve also gone places together as a family because that’s what we still are. No courts, no payments, just us being parents like we signed up to be. read more →

These funky little relaxation jars are so easy to make and are wonderful visual aid for helping kids calm themselves when they’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

They’re a popular aid for parents but we also encourage teachers to use them in the classroom and have included the instructions in our primary/elementary school curriculum.  read more →

I was at our local IGA supermarket and had just got in my car, went to start it and saw a mum with a maybe 6 month old on one hip, two bags of groceries in one hand, another bag in the other hand and a toddler struggling to let go of that hand in the car park. Cars and stuff about, obvious danger and mum was trying hard to get the toddler to stay with her. read more →

In the span of about 20 minutes I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to see almost every student enter the building. Some are dropped off by their parents. Others ride their bikes to school. But most of our students take the bus to school each morning.

I try to give as many students as possible a high five, a handshake or a hug. It is without a doubt one of the best parts of my school day. And while I look forward to seeing each and every child that enters the building, there are three girls that just always seem to make my day.

Invariably, one of them will see me first. Once she does, she comes to me. Arms wide open. Preparing for the biggest hug. The next girl latches on. Then another. Until some days we have what I like to call a three-person-hug. read more →

I remember walking into my bedroom one day after school to discover a brand new pair of aqua coloured jeans on my bed. I was so excited and grateful for those jeans as I had recently admired them in a shop but would never have asked my mum if I could have them. They were the latest trend and I knew we couldn’t afford them, but here they were, on my bed!

I almost knocked my mother over as I ran into her arms. I knew what sort of sacrifice she would have made to get them for me, so these were a very special gift that left a warm, vivid memory.

This is the sort of gratitude I hope my children feel when they are lucky enough to get something they’ve been wishing for. But it’s not just things I want them to appreciate, but their circumstances, their happiness, their friendships and all the ordinary things that surround them every day.

In a world where most children have all they could ever need, it can be difficult to teach them to be grateful. So how do you go about instilling a value that seems almost lost in our world of plenty?

Why Is Gratitude Important

Christine Carter is a sociologist from Greater Good Science Centre and a huge advocate for teaching gratitude. She shares some wisdom on why gratitude is important and how to help parents and teachers foster an attitude of gratitude.

We Are All Teachers

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You’ve heard the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child”. When it comes to their education, the same principle should be applied in the form of a positive and proactive partnership between teachers, student and parents.

I’m a huge advocate for clear, open communication between all parties to avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary stress. Good relationships between teachers and parents should be a priority to ensure the best outcome for children.

There are a number of simple things that parents and teachers can do to support one another.

Teachers supporting parents:

Keep parents up to date

Parents who confide in a teacher and don’t receive further feedback on an issue affecting their child, can become frustrated and angry. If they’ve made an effort to contact the school, it means they’re genuinely concerned. They need to feel confident their child is being cared for by teachers staying contact and updating them on what’s being done.

Send home a note

Make a special effort to call or send home a note to parents of children who need extra support or are struggling to fit in. A teacher who shares a few kind words about their child’s successes or positive progress will win a parent’s heart in an instant. read more →

When you look back on your childhood, I imagine one thing that comes to mind are particular phrases or saying you heard your parents say on a regular basis. These are most likely the same things they heard from their own parents that have unconsciously become a part of who they are. And chances are, love it or hate it, that you’re also repeating some of the same expressions to your children.

According to Steve Biddulph, the author of “The Secret to Happy Children“, parents may be unknowingly “hypnotizing” their children. He refers to this type of programming as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy because hearing a particular suggestion over and over makes children believe it enough to make it reality.

When parents say negative things about their child’s character like, you’re hopeless, you’re so lazy, you’ll never amount to anything, you can’t do that… they’re diluting their child’s belief in themselves.  These type of putdowns are like tiny seeds that accumulate in the mind and when consistently watered, will eventually bloom into a pessimistic outlook on themselves and life.

Steve explains that “whenever we use certain patterns of speech, we reach into the unconscious minds of our children and program them, even though we have no such intention.”

The belief that to be hypnotized, a person had to be in an altered state of mind or trance, is old hat.

These days it’s understood that the mind can be programmed whilst a person is in a normal waking state without them being aware of it happening. It’s called accidental hypnosis because without even realizing it, parents are implanting messages in their child’s mind that can stay with them for a lifetime.

If you’re sighing right now in frustration or disappointment in yourself, you won’t be alone. Accidental hypnosis is a part of everyday life, and most of us do it! read more →

As a mother of three teenage daughters and an experienced elementary school teacher, I am deeply concerned about our kids. Let me explain. Children today live in a world filled with technology — ipad interaction from birth, social media from pre-teens and access to everything and anything on the Internet from a very young age. Don’t get me wrong, as a teacher I know technology can be an amazing tool for learning. Extraordinary really. What does deeply trouble me, is the negative aspect of child/learner interaction with technology.

I have come back to teaching after four years away. What I found on my return, was many children (dare I say the boys) had a much lower attention span than I had previously experienced in my teaching practice. Where once I had five- and six-year-olds listening and focused for 15 minutes, they were now only engaged for around five minutes. After that period of time, eyes started to roam, feet began to fidget and turning around seem a more entertaining thing to do!

In a time of technology overload, and on-line and off-line societal pressures, I have come to the conclusion that we need to formally teach our children the following:

  1. To be mindful of others and of themselves. That is, to show respect and empathy towards others and to show respect and empathy towards themselves.
  1. To be resilient. That is, we need children to feel confident about themselves and to be able to accept disappointment and even rejection without losing a sense of self. The teaching of resilience goes hand in hand with children learning to be assertive — both about their bodies and their mindset.
  1. To be focused learners. That is, I believe we formally need to teach children in a school environment to focus on a task and to slow their mind down, allowing them to sustain longer concentration.

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My message to kids who bully other kids is:
You know it’s wrong! What’s really going on? Try not to make somebody else’s life miserable because you are.

– Joe Nichols

Let me begin by saying that I detest the ‘Bully,’ label. Bully is a loaded word. It provokes an emotional reaction of some kind to any person that you mention it to. From outrage to fear, everyone has an opinion. Bully Vs Victim, simple right? I disagree.

For me, this is not simple. Varying levels of light and shade must be considered if we are going to be successful in helping to reduce incidents of nastiness in schools. For a child to carry the label of bully is akin to a prison sentence that will haunt them for his or her school career with little chance of parole. To have the bully label surgically thrust upon you implies that it is a fundamental part of the person that you are, it’s who people are therefore expecting you to be. What a burden for a child to carry. To say that a child is displaying bullying behaviour is so much more positive because behaviours can easily be changed and disposed of so it gives everyone involved hope for change.

I am one of these really irritating people who holds the belief that there is good in 99% of the population and often in places that we are not expecting. My mission in life has always been to try and identify with people and find common-ground. I love words and believe that good quality communication, partnered with love and an attempt at understanding, can help to ease any situation. As a parent to four beautiful babies, I have found this to be extremely challenging at times, as I will explain. read more →

The best time to pause and take a moment to
breathe is when life is most frantic!

– Lisa Currie

It began as any other ordinary day, but in the end I would never view M&Ms the same way again.

We had finished our hustle and bustle through the Saturday mall traffic and I was bagged. Two kiddies under 6 in toe always make for an eventful shopping adventure. I vaguely recall the days when I could whip into a store and purchase a dozen items in less than 10 minutes. Now getting a pack of gum takes a monumental amount of time, with all the bathroom stops, people gazing, and general ‘squirrel’ attention-span dilemmas.

Busting, or rather grunting, our way through the ever-shockingly heavy glass doors, I catch a glimpse of the car in the distance and a sense of freedom finds me. “If I can just get there and sit for a moment, I’ll be fine,” crosses my mind. I can tell Liam of 6 and Nathaniel of 4 are feelin’ it too, because the whining is just beginning to peak.

We make it, barely it seems, and the boys scramble up and in. I strap littlest man into the 5-point space seat and make my way to home plate behind the wheel. “Safe!” read more →

What is the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

Have you ever been asked to do a task – maybe you were starting a new job – and you believed before you started that you wouldn’t be good at it? Maybe you thought to yourself, ‘I am not going to be able to do this,’ only to try it out and realize that your fears were correct? This is known as a self-fulfilling prophecy. A sociologist named Robert K. Merton created this term in 1948 to describe ‘a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the originally false conception come true.’ In other words, the prediction we make at the start of something affects our behavior in such a way that we make that prediction happen.

Since studying it for my BA, The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy (SFP) has become a concept that frames my entire life. It is the way that I understand the world. It feeds in to the way that I react with myself and others. It’s the important concept that changed my thinking forever. It is the premise that the way that we think of ourselves, and the way that others think of us moulds us. It is vitally important because it can directly affect the way that we experience the world.

If I believe that I can, then I can. If I believe that you can, it helps you to believe it too. read more →

Children are the most important work

The best things in life are free!

Memorable days with your child needn’t cost the earth and often hold a lot more value when you use a little imagination and are prepared to step out of your comfort zone.

Here are 7 ways you can connect with your child, honor their unique self-expression and strengthen the parent-child bond without spending any money.

1. Let them dress you up and style your hair.

And if that’s not your thing, then they there’s always a massage, giving dad a shave or painting mom’s nails!

This exercise offers both parent and child the opportunity to tap into each other’s experience. Parents are reminded how it feels to have their hair yanked while being brushed or told what is and isn’t acceptable to wear. Children discover that taking care of others requires patience and kindness.

This activity allows us to reconnect with empathy and invites us to slow down and be fully present.

2. Play restaurant and make a menu or write a recipe book.

This is a wonderful opportunity to develop natural reading and math skills. Perhaps you have some special family recipes you can make together or pop in a home made recipe book. Use the internet to search for new healthy, yummy recipes to cook for your loved ones. Who knows, they may even become the new family favorites! read more →