Category — Upcoming Events

Are you thinking of buying a Nintendo DS for kids this christmas?

By Ann Magalhaes

 By last Autumn almost (or so it seemed!) all the children in my daughter’s class had their own Nintendo DS game.  I had managed to get through the term without buying one, but by the time the holidays started, she was asking for one.  At the same time, at school, she was really struggling with Maths and was really starting to lose her confidence.

 The Head Teacher at her school awards a special sticker for good work and extra effort, and my daughter was convinced that she would never receive one for her Maths work.  One day, we had a lovely conversation about belief, and if she didn’t believe she could receive one of these stickers, then she probably wouldn’t.  Then we talked about what would happen if she did believe she could earn one.  We talked about how believing something wasn’t going to be enough to make it happen.  She knew that belief would need to be combined with some extra work if she were to stand a chance of earning the sticker.  Now, before you think that I’m a pushy Mom, I have to say that I’m not!  My daughter really wanted to earn the sticker, and I decided that as it was Christmas, I would present the extra incentive and get her to earn the DS!

 Over the Christmas holidays, she worked every day on Maths – never more than 20 minutes a day – and I could see her ability increasing with each question she worked through.  Sometimes she played math games on the computer, sometimes we made up times tables games using marbles, and we made up fun shopping games to learn more about money.  She knew that if she received the sticker, she would earn the DS.  This was motivating for her! 

 The second day back at school, I was waiting for her at the school gates.  A little boy in her class bounded down the stairs and shouted, “S gets a DS now!”  And then, I saw my daughter bounding down the same steps with such a proud smile with a gleaming golden sticker stuck onto her cardigan!!  She had done it!! 

 Now it was my turn to fulfill my end of the deal and buy the DS! It arrived in the post by the end of the week, and together we sat down to establish some ground rules for playing with it.  I’m not a huge proponent of excess screen time, so I wanted to make sure she had a clear set of rules, that would be created by her.  We did this by having a conversation about how and when she would use the DS.  She wrote a list of 10 rules, that I then posted in the living room for her to refer to if need be.  Her rules included things like “I will only play with my Nintendo after homework; I will …

 We were able to sit down and have a great conversation that left her knowing what was expected of her.  Her list wasn’t a list of DON’Ts.  Her list gave her the knowledge of what she was supposed to do in order to keep playing with her DSi.  The amazing thing is that in the more than one year since buying the DSi, I have never (I’m serious!) NEVER had to take away her DS privileges.  The rules tell her what to do!  The rules are the ‘tough guy’!  She can’t get upset with me because she made up the rules, and she is very aware that the reward for following them is DS time, and the consequence for not following them … you guessed it … missing out on DS time!

 A year on, the DS doesn’t come out of the case very often now.  The newest gadget in our home is the iPad … and for kids (of all ages!) … it IS incredible.  We read the latest National Geographic magazines, watch movies, create art, email said art to Grandparents, play maths and spelling games.  I love it just as much as she does. 

 I have been most blown away, though, by my daughter’s ability to transfer the rules that she established for the DS onto the iPad.  We never even had a conversation about it.  She just knows that she can’t use it until homework is finished, and that she can use it for 20 minutes during the week, and for as long as she likes on those long airplane rides! 

 Clear, positive rules with related rewards and consequences work, and my new discovery was that they are very easily transferrable! Great rules are NOT designed to tell your children what NOT to do.  Rather, they are about empowering your children so THEY KNOW WHAT TO DO, so that ultimately they develop effective habits.  

 Want to learn more? Come to our latest wokshop on Children’s use of TV;electronic games and internet:keeping them safe and healthy

http://www.theparentpractice.com/parenting-workshops/58.html#internet

31/10/2010   1 Comment

Have you ever considered doing a Positive Parenting course

“Why on earth are you doing a parenting course? Your children are ok. You don’t have any major difficulties, do you?”

Sound familiar?…….this is indeed a very typical response that many of our clients report back to us when they tell family and friends they have signed up for a 10 week parenting course.

Positive parenting means using warmth, love, respect, consistency, good communication and empathy in the way you behave with your child.  Often our natural reaction isn’t thought through, we are caught unprepared and have a short fuse, shout, blame, criticise and punish.

 Skills such as reflective listening and descriptive praise can be taught and learned. These can change your view of parenting and help you understand why children behave as they do at each stage – helping you to remain calm and in control, and react in positive and constructive ways.  Using the skills and strategies helps to motivate your children to behave positively – a win win situation for both parent and child.

Why not give it a go…a 10 week course is a small price to pay for a lifetime of skills and who doesn’t want to get it right for their kids and do the best job they can possible do?

Read a client’s article about her experiences on the course

http://www.theparentpractice.com/we-recommend/147.html

Courses start w/c 13th Sept – book here http://www.theparentpractice.com/book-a-course-now.html

 

27/08/2010   No Comments

Toxic Childhood – are your children affected?

Anyone read Sue Palmer’s book “Toxic Childhood” and started panicking that all the modern technology is having a hugely harmful effect on our children, not to mention ourselves?  I have only just started tweeting; blogging and facebooking and find myself fascinated about this social networking world and realise perhaps how easy it is to become addicted! As adults we hope we are able to exercise some form of self control, but how easy is that for our kids?

Is it little wonder therefore that Sue writes about  how the modern world is affecting how our children are growing up? 

 A general deterioration in children’s learning and behaviour is being reported throughout the world, and Sue Palmer, a leading authority on literacy, looks through all the different reasons for this and shows how they are connected, rather than focussing on or blaming any one particular issue. She suggests there is a fundamental clash between “our technology driven culture and our biological heritage” because children still develop and mature at “human speed” whereas the world around them moves at “electric speed”.

 What does this mean for us as parents? It means we need to be really clear about our values and the importance of good nutrition, adequate sleep, plenty of opportunities to play, quality childcare and ensuring good forms of communication. We need a good toolkit of skills to achieve all this!

Can you detoxify your life? Look out for The Parent Practice course on Children’s use of TV, internet and electronic games  – Keeping Children Safe and Healthy – click here for more details.

24/07/2010   No Comments