Category: Parenting

Self-Care: How to Combat Parental Burnout

Written by: Claire Adams

Do you ever get tired of parenting? Do you ever feel like you simply can’t take it anymore? Most parents reach that point from time to time, that moment when all you want to do scream and run away somewhere where somebody will pamper you for a change. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. If anything, the fact that you’re trying so hard makes you a good one. However, you should consider your own mental health and how parental burnout can affect you and your family if you don’t do something about it. If your mind is in overload and you don’t know how to get through another day of being an exemplary parent, here is some advice for you.

It takes a village to raise a child

It takes a lot of effort, devotion and patience to raise a child, but nobody can have it all under control all of the time. So, try not to be offended or threatened when another parent steps up and offers their wisdom and experience to help you in some situation you could be handling better. Instead of jumping to the conclusion that they only want to undermine you and show they’re a better parent than you, consider the fact that they might have been in your shoes and in a situation identical to this one in the past. Maybe at that point somebody helped them, or maybe they just wished somebody did. In any case, try becoming friends with other parents. They might offer some good advice on things like helping your kid with school stuff or dealing with them when they act out. Talk to moms and dads at school or at the playground, organize playdates and dinners to create your own village and maybe make parenting a bit easier.

It’s OK to ask for help

When taking care of your children seems too much to handle and you need some time off, remember that you can always ask for help and that it’s not something you should be ashamed of or hide from. There are many people you can turn to. It could be your spouse, your parents, siblings, friends or neighbors or anybody else you trust. When you try doing everything on your own, of course you’ll feel like you’re on the brink of madness. And if you have nobody close to you to jump in, there’s always the option of paying for help. For example, there are some amazing catering companies out there which will impress even the most demanding guests, meaning that you don’t have to make all the food for your kid’s birthday party yourself. Also, if cleaning your home takes too much of your time and energy, find somebody who’ll come once or twice a week and get things sorted out for you. Just don’t shy away from reaching out when the going gets tough.

Lower your expectations

When the bar is raised too high up, you won’t be able to reach it no matter how hard you try, which can leave you feeling inadequate, frustrated and desperate. When you notice that this is happening, remember that you’re the one who decides where the bar is and lower it a bit. Don’t expect perfection from yourself, because there is no perfection when it comes to parenthood. A lot of times it comes down to trial and error, whether we like to admit it or not. What does this mean? Basically, it means it’s not the end of the world if let things go when they get too difficult. Nobody will judge you if your house is messy from time to time, if you let your kids watch Trolls on TV or if they skip their piano lesson or football practice once in a while. Adjust your expectations to something more realistic and you’ll relieve yourself of some stress momentarily.

Be more than just a parent

Once you become a parent, it can become hard to remember that you were ever anything other than that. Well, you were and you are. You’re a person with needs, desires and ambitions that have nothing to do with your children. Send your kids to kindergarten and find a part-time job if you don’t already have one. You can even start working online from home, or at least find a hobby you’ll enjoy. If nothing else, don’t forget to give yourself some time away from your family occasionally, to do things that make you feel happy and help you unwind. Under no circumstances should you think that this is selfish. It’s a way to preserve your mental and physical health, so that you can be a calmer and more supportive parent to your children in the long term.

Parental burnout is a real problem and one you should deal with as soon as you feel the need to. Consider this an important part of your self-care and a way to stay on top of your parental role.

 

Supportive Parenting: Your Child Wants to Take a Year Off College And Go Abroad

Written By: Claire Adams

Before we begin, we need to answer the age-old question – what constitutes a supportive parent?

First of all, a supportive parent is one that encourages their child in their academic pursuits as well as their hobbies. Their other task is to be there, listen without judgement and try to put themselves in their child’s shoes, particularly during those turbulent teenage years. This one is difficult, but vital, as kids tend to drift apart from their parents at this age and you need to show them that you are there unconditionally. Don’t judge their mistakes or write off their goals and dreams as unreachable – acknowledge that you may not have all the answers and don’t underestimate your child’s wisdom. Finally, if you want them to act like adults, you need to treat them as adults.

Why is this all important? Because children who feel support and encouragement tend to make better choices and grow up to be independent, responsible and successful. Now, every parent wants to see their child successful, finishing college, finding a lucrative career – that’s a given. This is exactly why many parents struggle to understand when their kid comes to tell them they want to take a year off from college, whether in the middle of their studies or before going to grad school. That, let’s call it ‘a gap’, isn’t something you’ll be thrilled with, but let’s consider some of the reasons this might actually be great for their personal and professional development.

Photo credit Pexels

Immersion in other cultures

When you go abroad and you mix with locals with a completely different language and a set of religious and every other beliefs, it simply makes you a better person.

You may have taught your child to be tolerant, understanding and free of any form of prejudice and stereotypes, but there is absolutely no better way to raise a great person, a worldly one if you want, unless you let them spread their wings and explore everything the world has to offer. Each culture can teach you a different thing, instil a different great quality in you, and give you life lessons that will last forever. By letting your kid fly, you are giving them the chance to be better in every sense of the word.

Photo credit Pexels

It teaches them independence

Let’s admit it. While in college, your kid isn’t truly independent. They can always count on you to send a care package, a little extra money, and they live comfortably, whether in a dorm or private housing. Yes, being a little far away from you gives them a taste of independence, but going abroad will teach them so much more. They will have to work for a living, find their own apartment, pay their bills – simply put, pay their dues. That makes a person resilient and more capable.

As a result, when they come back, they will be this whole new amazing and improved person you will be even more proud of. And worry not, there are tons of ways for them to make a living and perhaps even develop new skills. For instance, if they decide to go to China, they can always make a living by putting their native English skills to use and become a teacher at such amazing schools as Monkey Tree ESL. The one thing a native English speaker can always rely on is a teaching job abroad, so don’t you worry about them making it on their own.

Photo credit Pexels

They will learn the value of money

They say you don’t know the value of money until you begin to make your own. Having to pay bills, take care of food, or buy clothes will be an amazing lesson on how to save, to be economical and frugal. They will even become more grateful for all the years and money you’ve invested in their education, and perhaps even continue to work part-time when they come back home, as a way of taking a part of the burden off of you, and to also retain that newfound sense of independence.

 

You may not believe that a year off is a great idea, and that’s your natural, parenting instinct speaking. You want your child to be safe, not to go without, and most importantly, to go back and finish college or get their Master’s degree. However, you have to believe that you have raised a great and responsible person, and that this year off will only fortify these qualities and make them an even better, more competent and more qualified person. A person with a new sense of direction. A real goal-getter. There will always be concerns, but if you’ve done your job right, you will have very little to worry about.

 

About the Author

Claire Adams is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. She enjoys life to the fullest in the healthiest way possible and loves to share her insights into parenting, education, and entrepreneurship. Feel free to reach her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

7 Great Ways to Raise and Empower Your Daughter

Having a daughter is a great gift, but also a great responsibility. We live in a world that is changing, hopefully for the best, especially when it comes to the position of women in the society, their empowerment and their voice. So it is, now more important than ever that we raise generation upon generation of young women who will know there is no limit what they can do in life and who will feel empowered from day one. But it all depends on the parents and what we install in their minds from the very beginning. So here are some great tips on raising a little powerhouse of a lady.

Let her be heard

It is important that you always ask her about her opinion on the matter at hand. Just telling someone what to do over and over again creates a pattern that is hard to break later on. So, by letting her know you are interested in what she has to say you are teaching her that her opinion and ideas matter and thus encouraging her to put them forward. This will have a great impact on the way she interacts with others as she will be able to form her own opinions and won’t be afraid to share them with the world.

Photo by Michael Morse from Pexels.

Encourage her to learn

Education is a huge part of female empowerment. Being able to attend the schools she wants or to choose her own profession it is something truly amazing. And to think it was not an option just a few years ago, and is still not in some countries in the world. Luckily there are a lot of organizations working on changing this, and there are more and more girl’s scholarships available to help set this change in motion. So help your daughter understand, however cliché it might sound, knowledge is power, and education is an integral part of that.

Expose her to the right role models

Having someone to look up to is important as we grow up. And for a young girl having strong female role models can be life changing. It is important that they exist both in the family and outside of it. Of course, you are the biggest one she has, so it is important to not only teach your daughter certain principles but for you as a parent to live them as well. Next come the role models from the world of literature, politics and, yes, pop culture. There are some great women throughout history that can serve as fantastic role models, from Jane Goodall to Lisa Randall and Aung San Suu Kyi, all of whom show how strong and powerful women can be and how they can influence the changes in the world we live in.

Photo by Albert Rafael from Pexels.

Help her withstand the pressures of our society

Even the best upbringing cannot help your daughter and save her from the cruel reality that comes from entering the society. From kindergarten to university she will have to hold her own. We all know how cruel kids can be and how at times it is difficult to stand up to peer pressure. It is up to us, as parents, to help our child cope, and not let them suffer in silence. Because not everyone will accept an empowered female, and there will be times that she will have to stand for what she believes in, even when it seems impossible. That is the lesson we are supposed to be teaching them.

Take the time to discuss different notions

Be there to answer her questions, from the very start. Whether they are about life, the world we live in or people who surround us. It is important that she gets that information from you as much as possible. That way you know what she hears is the truth. Letting her google it or hear it from the wrong people could have a negative effect on her point of view, and even her self- esteem. You can take a few minutes out of each day and simply tell her to ask you whatever she wants. It can be a great learning and bonding experience at the same time.

Photo by Lgh_9 from Pexels.

Teach her to be critical about the media

What media places out there can have a strong effect on young girls, and they can be quite taken with it. Thinking that they need to look, act or think in a certain way. This can have a negative effect on the way they perceive the world and what is expected of them to be. So it is important to start having this conversation as early as possible and to keep having it until they grow up. Teach them about the distorted images that the media can sometimes show, pointed towards the right media outlets, and help them see themselves as individuals and not part of the collective thought that is being pushed at them.

Don’t limit their imagination

This might be the most important piece of advice. Your daughter needs to have a vivid imagination because that is where all great ideas come from. So if she wants to be a truck driver at three years of age support it as much as you would support her wanting to be a doctor at eighteen. Don’t limit her choices and ideas; let her express herself that way she can show you and the world who she really is without the fear of not being accepted.

So now you have your guidelines, and don’t forget you might be raising the future president or astronaut.

About the Author

Claire Adams is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. She enjoys life to the fullest in the healthiest way possible and loves to share her insights into parenting, education, and entrepreneurship. Feel free to reach her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Building Swimming Confidence And So Much More | Aqua-Tots Fast Track Program

We adore swimming in our household and it is something that our daughter, Nikki, has enjoyed even more since taking classes at Aqua-Tots Swim School. We always felt that swimming was an important life skill to learn and we found it necessary for our daughter to learn them in a comfortable and safe setting.

We recently participated in Aqua-Tots Fast Track Program and we were astonished to see the leaps she took in her swimming skills. The Fast Track Program is a program that consists of four consecutive lessons over the course of four days with the same instructor. With the flexibility of my work schedule we were able to participate in the early morning class at 8:45 AM.

Now at first, I wasn’t sure how we were going to do early morning classes as Nikki isn’t a morning person but the simple thought of swimming had her up and ready to take on the world. With each class, I saw that she was getting better and much faster. Her confidence tripled as the days went by and it was simply amazing to see. I have to mention that Nikki’s biggest struggle with swimming has been going on her back. Nikki was so afraid to do back floats and by Wednesday she was doing them on her own which had me in tears. I was extremely proud that she conquered her fears and did it with such confidence. This all on its own was the breakthrough that we have been waiting for and it has finally arrived. That day I started telling anyone who wanted to hear that my daughter did the backstroke and back float. The best part was how proud Nikki was and every day that week, she would ask me, “Did I do good today?” Every day I told her that she did amazing and that I was so proud of her. Seeing her smile and how proud she was of herself, was all that I ever wanted and needed. That one week in the Fast Track Program did all that for us and we are truly thankful for it!

The Fast Track Program is designed to build on each child’s skills on what they are already learning and helps them propel their skills forward. It is also designed to build children’s confidence and aids with quicker retention of skills.

We saw these benefits right away from Day one and by Day four the transformation was remarkable. They do say practice makes perfect and that is exactly what the Fast Track Program does. By going to class every day for four days straight really gave my daughter the opportunity to hone in on the skills that she has already learned and advance in new skills too. Her muscles were grasping the concepts and motions making each day a little easier to learn. Building those muscle memories takes a lot of repetition and practice before it can become second nature and the Fast Track Program is a great example of this. It allows a child’s body to memorize what they need to do and then allows them to focus on adding new techniques and speed to their swimming. I know that Nikki was swimming a lot quicker than she was the week before!

The benefits are endless in our opinion as it really does wonders for a child’s learning on such an important life skill. But it is so much more than just swimming as it builds confidence and I need to mention that Nikki was at her happiest during the Fast Track Program. Her smile was permanent that week as she was so proud of what she accomplished in just four days. Now that in itself made it all worth it to us.

We captured Nikki on the last day of class to see what she thought of the Fast Track Program and even though she was quick with her message it was sweet nonetheless.

To learn more about the Fast Track Program, please contact Aqua-Tots Swim Schools. They do have the best swimming curriculum that truly benefits each child as it is based around your child’s learning.

Special thank you to Aqua-Tots Swim School for giving us a confident little swimmer.

Like Dory says, “Just Keep Swimming.”

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

 

 

 

 

 

This article is brought to you in partnership with Aqua-Tots Swim School.

How Parents Can Support Their Teens Through Last Year of High School

Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

Written By: Claire Adams

The end of high school usually comes faster than anybody’s expected, and that last year can be extremely stressful for students, but also for their parents. However, no matter how much stress you think you feel as a parent, know that your child is feeling it even more. They’re young, their hormones are probably running wild and they have to balance between the studying, falling in love and being good friends. And since being a teenager definitely isn’t easy, you need to be there to support them as they take on their exams. Here are a few tips on how to do it.

Listen to them

One way for your child to relieve some stress is by talking about what worries them, their fears and problems, or simply telling you about their progress. When they do, avoid imposing your own opinion on them. It may not be what they want or need to hear right now. Instead, listen actively to what they’re telling you and respond with questions or even simple nods to keep them talking and to let them know they’ve got your attention. When your child knows their opinion is valued and their feelings validated, and when they see that you really want to hear how they want to solve their problem, they will be more likely to come to you with any of their issues later on. Offer encouragement and praise for all the things they’re doing well and avoid criticizing them when they make mistakes and they will know they can turn to you with anything that’s bothering them.

Photo by David Kennedy on Unsplash

Make studying easier for them

Another way to support your child through this stressful period is to enable them to study without interruptions and in a good environment. Make sure they have a nice study space, with a lot of natural light and that they have all they need to work right there, on their desk. Try giving them more time by assigning them fewer chores and letting them skip some of their usual extracurricular activities. If they’re panicking over the immensity of their tasks, talk to them and help them break those tasks into smaller ones and set themselves more achievable, short-term goals. If their textbook is huge, tell them to focus on chapter 2 today, and move on when they’re done with that. If you notice that their notes are chaotic, don’t make them feel additionally bad about that, but rather help them organize them, or suggest that they use the effective and thorough WACE notes for anything they missed in class or didn’t manage to take down. Plus, remind them to take breaks from time to time, so that they remain fresh and focused for longer.

Tend to their basic needs

This doesn’t mean that you should treat them like babies, but it is important to prepare nutritious meals for them daily so that they have the energy required for what’s ahead of them that day. Don’t allow them to turn to junk or comfort foods, which wouldn’t be surprising, due to the stress of the upcoming exams. Make sure they get all the necessary nutrients to remain healthy, energized and sharp. Encourage them to go outside and engage in some sort of physical activity at least once every day, and talk to them about staying up too late, since losing sleep can interfere with their mental performance and attention, slowing them down when they can’t afford it. It’s also essential that they finish studying at least an hour before bedtime so that they can unravel and relax and fall asleep more easily. Finally, be familiar with their schedule and make certain that they’re awake and ready for their day before you go on with yours.

Photo by Soroush Karimi on Unsplash

Being a parent means being there for your child whenever they need it, and especially when the going gets tough. Knowing that they have somebody to trust and lean on when they’re under pressure will take some tension off of them and allow them to do the best they can in every aspect of their life, including their education.

About the Author

Claire is a personal and professional development expert who believes that a positive attitude is one of the keys to success. She enjoys life to the fullest in the healthiest way possible and loves to share her insights into parenting, education, and entrepreneurship. Feel free to reach her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

How to Raise an Intelligent Child

When we think about smart kids, it shouldn’t be all bookworms and A grades. Clever children come in all different forms and to nurture true wisdom in your child, it is essential to look at the bigger picture. Whilst classroom intelligence is one thing, emotional intelligence and social ability are another. To ensure that your child gains the best start in life, you must nurture their strengths and try to release their creativity. Here, we will take a look at some of the best ways in which to raise smart children.

Make Learning Fun

When all kids see is the classroom, it’s no wonder they tend to become unenamoured with education. For this reason, it is important to show your children that learning does not need to be restricted to these prescriptive spaces. Every day presents new opportunities for learning, but how you go about nurturing your child’s intelligence should be a personal process. Many children learn best by doing, so why not take them outside and learn in nature. Research shows that learning in a green environment can help greatly in the development of children and also teaches essential respect for the environment. If they are fascinated by science, why not take a trip to the science museum, or try out some experiments in your back yard? If they show an interest in art, buy them some paint and let them explore their talent. Whatever you do, make it fun!

Pick the Right School

Selecting the right school for your child is also an essential factor. Many government-funded schools do not have the money to build top facilities or employ the best teachers, which can leave children uninspired by their environment. Whilst learning at home can make up for this in part, private international schools often provide far better opportunities for learning. When looking for international schools in Thailand or in your local area, parents have an excellent outlook as there are world-class facilities on offer, such as this school in Chiang Mai that takes a holistic approach to education. Not only will learning in an international environment enhance your child’s language skills from an early age, the right school may be able to teach them life skills as well as social skills too.

Additional Learning

Another way to enhance your child’s intelligence is to encourage additional learning through classes outside of school. These should focus on something your child enjoys and could range from language or music classes to sports, dance or art classes. 

Venture Beyond the Curriculum

As we’ve already touched upon, learning should not be restricted to books and the school curriculum. There are many other life skills that you can teach your child in order to ensure they have an active mind, such as gardening, social responsibility, and healthy eating. When they grow up and venture out into the real world, these skills will be invaluable in helping them to adjust and reach success.

Every parent wants to give their child the best start in life – by taking a holistic approach to learning and focussing on the quality of their early education, you can do just this.