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How to make your child feel powerful and heard

Our kids don't really need just one more of this or that. What they do need is their sense of power and attention.

How to make your child feel powerful and heard

As parents, we often find ourselves on a merry-go-round ride with our kids. We jump from one thing to the next hoping we can solve at least one problem before the next one presents itself.

As we circle on this merry-go-round, getting dizzier and dizzier, trying to win these battles ourselves, more often than not we hear these three words… "just one more!." Just one more minute to play at the park. Just one more drink of water. Just one more kiss and hug before bed. Just one more cookie. The just one more never seems to end. The trouble is there are so many of them it's impossible to keep up.

In actuality, our kids don't really need all of these just one more's. What they do need is their sense of power and attention.

Kids often feel a lack of power and attention due to certain parenting styles. Think of your kids' power and attention as two large cups of water. If these cups start to lose water and empty, your kids' attention and power will feel empty. When this happens the negative behaviors, tantrums, back talking and more will come at you full throttle. When parents fill up their kid's attention and power cups, their kids will feel at ease.

So, how do I fill up my kid's cups and keep them full? Here are simple, easy to implement solutions so that you can start today.

Keep in mind that simple and easy doesn't mean a quick fix. Once you consistently begin implementing these new steps into your daily routine, within one week, you will begin to see positive changes appear right before your eyes.

How to make your child feel powerful

1. Try not to do anything for them they can almost do themselves.

When we do things for our kids that they are capable of doing on their own, we are telling them that we don't feel they are capable just yet. In turn, this decreases their self-worth and confidence and leads them to lash out and search for more power. Our actions speak louder than words.

2. Establish daily routines and charts that your kids can follow and complete independently.

Work together with your kids to create morning and bedtime charts that they can follow on their own. When you do this, the chart becomes the boss and leaves you free of reminding. They'll feel powerful knowing that they completed tasks on the chart on their own.

3. Give them room and space to succeed and fail.

If you are constantly reminding your kids to complete their charts, pack their homework and brush their teeth, how will they ever learn to remember on their own? Kids who forget often have parents who always remind. Try encouraging them to learn on their own. For example, if they forget their lunch or homework one day, don't drive it to school if they could get by without it. If you do step in often, it can show them that you will always be there as back up—and that's okay! But, letting them forget and learn from natural consequences will help them to be more apt to remember the next time. This is where the true learning and responsibility begins to grow. These are life lessons we need our kids to learn.

4. Offer opportunities to do more chores and help out around the house.

Working together to complete household duties gives our kids a sense of power, as it makes them feel needed. Kids as young as 2 years old can have age-appropriate tasks. Start small.

Have your kids put all their clothes in the hamper and participate in rounding up toys. As they grow, so will the list of duties. Soon you will have kids as young as 4 or 5-years-old vacuuming, folding laundry and taking out the garbage. The best part is they will be happy helping out. It won't be a battle and you will have all hands on deck! Chores make you kids feel needed and a part of the family, which directly gives them power.

5. Create golden time.

This is the secret sauce to parenting. It is the simplest way to keep your kid's attention cups full and will result in happy kids and happy parents. Follow the specific formula below and within one week you will see results.

Golden Time Formula:

  1. Two times per day for 10 minutes (morning and evening)
  2. One–on–one
  3. Uninterrupted (no cell phones)
  4. Doing something your child wants to do
  5. Label it (let them know you are wanting Golden Time with them)

I dare you to commit one week to consistent Golden Time and your life as a parent will change, I have no doubt!

You now have the inside scoop to put a stop to all the battles and the "just one mores." It's time to hop off that crazy merry-go-round and start enjoying parenting while helping your kiddos feel like they're heard and seen.

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This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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