Making mistakes

“We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes, understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” (Arianna Huffington)

Great quote!  I think that mothers, as a whole, are very hard on ourselves, and are too quick to label ourselves ‘failures’.  Unfortunately, this attitude about making mistakes can get passed on to our children and cause them to shy away from even trying, for fear of failing.

The reality is that mistakes are the only way to learn, so they should, in fact, be applauded.  We should let our children make mistakes and applaud their effort, even if the result was not what they intended.  We do our children a grave disservice if we chastise them for making a mistake…pretty soon, they will choose to do nothing, rather than take a chance.

One of my favorite examples of persistence is Thomas Edison, who tried 1000 times before successfully inventing the light bulb (or so the urban legend goes).  When asked by reporters, “Mr. Edison, how does it feel to fail 999 times?” he replied, “My young man, I have not failed 999 times.  I have just found 999 ways how not to create a light bulb.”  Just think, had he been afraid to make mistakes, we might all still be in the dark!

 

10 Inspiring Quotes From Kick-Ass Women: Do you have that entrepreneurial spirit and dream of being your own boss someday?

Halloween safety

I can’t believe that it is Halloween already (where has the year gone?).  My daughter is quite excited about it and is counting down to “the big day”.  My husband and I, on the other hand, are just praying that it is not wet and windy again this year (the last two years were horrible weather, with freezing temperatures, gale winds and pouring rain).  Despite our prayers, the forecast does not look too promising, so I suspect we’ll be hauling out the rubber boots and raingear!

With all the excitement that surrounds Halloween, it’s easy for kids to forget what they should do to stay safe.   Halloween safety starts with the costume itself.  Have your kids choose costumes without masks or oversized skirts and capes that they can trip on.  If their costume includes any accessories, such as swords and knives, make sure they are short, soft and flexible.  Increase your child’s visibility by attaching reflective tape to their bag and costume and/or having them carry a flashlight.

My daughter is still too young to go out trick-or-treating on her own, so my husband and I accompany her and a friend (neither one of us wants to miss out, so we put some candy in a bowl on the porch and trust that there will be enough for everyone until we get home).  However, since it would be ‘mortifying’ for Mom and Dad to actually be seen, we stand at the end of each driveway while she and her friend go up to the door.

It is a child’s tendency to want to criss-cross down the street, hitting houses on either side of the road, but this is a dangerous practice.  They should go down one side and then back the other, walking on sidewalks if available or, if not, on the grass or edge of the road, facing traffic.  It is especially important that children be careful when the weather is bad, as it is even harder for drivers to see them when it is dark and rainy.

Despite their desire to start enjoying their goodies immediately, ask that your children do NOT eat any of their candy until they get home and it can be checked for tampering.  I hate to think that people would do such a thing, but better safe than sorry.

For other things to keep in mind prior to heading out on Halloween night, check out this website.

halloween_safety

Click here to read the full article.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our children’s excitement, that we forget the things we should do as homeowners, to keep trick-or-treaters safe.  Be sure to remove any obstacles from the lawn, path and porch in front of your house, so that children don’t hurt themselves.  It is also preferable to illuminate pumpkins with something other than a candle (e.g. battery-powered candle), to minimize the risk of injury from fire.

If you’re interested in keeping your children safe, you may also wish to read my posts on “Bike Safety” and “Sun Safety“.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Change

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”  (Marilyn Monroe)

As I look outside at the changing leaves, it makes me a little sad.  The summer is over and soon it will be winter.  Having said that, rather than mourn the loss of the lazy days of summer, I can choose instead to rejoice in the beauty of the fall…the crisp autumn air, the brilliant red and yellow leaves and the chirping of the birds before they head south for the winter.  Every season brings a change, but it’s our attitude about that change that makes all the difference.

The same can be said about life.  Do we spend all of our time mourning what once was, or do we choose to accept change as a part of life, and look for the good in what is yet to come?  Can we teach our children the peace that comes from accepting what is and letting go of what they can’t control?

 

Not my words but well said! "I believe everything happens for a reason. People change so you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you can appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so that you will eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together"<3 #Pinspiration #Words #Quotes

If you’re interested in teaching your children to have a strong character, you may also wish to read my posts on Patience and Doing your best.

Patience

“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”  Joyce Meyer

Teaching kids patience is tough, but teaching them to have a good attitude while waiting is even tougher.  Let’s face it, adults often have a tough time with this one too, especially in today’s manic world.  Think about how you react when you get caught in traffic or in a line-up at the gas station or the grocery store.  These hold-ups can be frustrating, but remember that your kids are watching you and YOUR reaction will set the standard for THEIR behavior when they find themselves in a similar situation.

So, instead of getting worked up when you have to wait, take a deep breath and relax, accepting it and making the best of it.  If you’re in the car, you could listen to some music, chat with your kids or simply enjoy the sensation of slowing down.  If you’re going someplace where there may be a wait, teach your children to bring along a book, pad of paper, or something else to entertain themselves.  My Mom always taught me to have a book on hand, just in case (Reader’s Digest is wonderful because it’s small enough to fit into my purse, so I can always have it on hand if I need it).

Life will always present them with opportunities to practice patience so, do your children a favor and teach them acceptance and a ‘make the best of it’ attitude.

 

Famous Quotes About Patience | http://my-famous-quote-collections.13faqs.com

If you’re interested in teaching your children strong values, you may also wish to read my posts on “Saying thank-you” and “Doing your best“.

Hand hygiene

It’s coming up to flu season again, so I thought I’d take a look at the #1 thing that you should teach your children to do to stay healthy.  Very little else has the same effect on staying healthy as hand hygiene.  Although it is impossible to keep your hands totally germ-free, washing your hands frequently throughout the day, especially after being in contact with people who are sick and/or surfaces that are frequently touched by others (e.g. handrails, doorknobs, computer keyboards, phones, etc.), is a good start.

Soap and water is preferable, especially if hands have dirt on them, but alcohol-based (at least 60%) sanitizer can be used when soap and water are not readily available.   Many classrooms and public venues now seem to have sanitizer available, but I always carry a little one around with me, just in case.  Teach your children to keep their hands away from her face (in particular, their eyes, nose and mouth), as that’s the primary way that germs enter the body.  Also, get them into the habit of washing their hands as soon as they get home from anywhere, and before they handle food or surfaces where food is prepared or eaten (e.g. countertops, dishes, etc.).  I am also particularly diligent about making sure my daughter washes her hands any time she touches money (that stuff is filthy!).

Everybody thinks that they know how to wash their hands, and kids are no exception.  However, I imagine that we’d find that the majority of us are not doing a very good job.  Teach kids to wash for the time it takes them to sing the Happy Birthday song twice, and make sure they wash all their hand surfaces, including under their nails and in-between their fingers (this was something that I rarely thought of doing, prior to looking into this topic).

For all the do’s and don’ts of hand-washing, check out this article by the Mayo Clinic.

hand-washing-Mayo

Click here to read the full article.

Teach your children to practice good hand hygiene and, chances are, your whole family will be healthier!

Studying spelling words

For the past three or so years, my daughter has brought home a list of spelling words to learn every week (quiz on Fridays).  English is a very difficult language to learn, due to all the ‘exceptions’ and silent letters, so there are many times when you can’t sound out the word, but must simply memorize the spelling (I didn’t realize how tricky English was until I had to help my daughter learn it).  Kids don’t tend to have much tolerance for repetition, but the reality is that this is what helps our brains store information in long-term memory so that we are able to retrieve it when needed.  So, how can we help our children learn techniques for studying spelling words more effectively?

It has been proven that memory is enhanced by the use of multiple senses, so have your child read the words, spell them out loud and write them out five times each (however, have them check the spelling of the word after they write it once, so they are not practicing the wrong spelling).  When my daughter comes home with the spelling words written in her planner, I have her copy them into a binder that I keep by the kitchen table, so that I can quiz her whenever I get a minute.  She tends to get rather irritated when I quiz her on the easier words so, once she proves to me that she can spell these words, I only quiz her on the more difficult ones.

Memory enhancement techniques can also come in handy.  Sometimes, we sing the letters in a rhythm or to a familiar tune, or use some other cue to help her remember (e.g. to remember the difference between ‘there’ and ‘their’, notice that the word ‘there’ contains the word ‘here’ which suggests location versus possession).  For ongoing spelling practice that’s also fun, try playing spelling games such as Scrabble or Bananagrams with your child.

This article provides some great tips to help your children study their spelling words.

spelling

Click here for the full article.

Sometimes it seems as though good spelling and grammar are becoming obsolete (what with spell check and the various acronyms that have become a standard part of our vocabulary), but I think they are still valuable skills to have and will be valued in the workplace for many years to come.   In addition, any strategies that help our kids remember information, can be invaluable in virtually every facet of life.

If you’re interested in helping your children learn effective study habits, you may also wish to read my posts on ‘Mnemonic Study Strategies’, ‘Memory Techniques’ and ‘How to study effectively’.

 

 

 

Doing your best

“Never stop doing your best just because no one gives you credit.”  This is a great thing to teach our children.  They should do their best because they want to be proud of the job that they did, not because they are expecting a pat on the back from others.  We all know that many times we end up doing things without praise or gratitude, but that doesn’t mean that we start doing a mediocre or sloppy job.  At the end of the day, we need to respect the person we see in the mirror and know that we did the best that we could, regardless of what anyone else says, or doesn’t say.

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