Category: Parenting

Our First School Year Takeaways

Hard to believe that our first school year arrived so quickly and just as quick, it is done. It is hard not to get emotional as we reflect on our daughter’s first school year. I remember dropping her off at the first day of school and her politely asking me to leave while I held onto the lump in my throat. Then releasing all the tears as I entered my car alone and wondered the whole day on how she was doing. To the last day of school where everyone excitedly said good-bye as they get to experience their first official summer holidays.

It has been such a journey and we all grew so much in the time that we call “school year.” There are a few takeaways that I want to share that may help other new parents as they embark on school life for the first time.

High and Low Points

A life lesson that we all know is that there are high and low points in life. This same lesson can be applied to Junior Kindergarten. There will be days that your child will be happy and there will be other days that your child is not happy. This is absolutely normal as the child needs to adjust to school life and some days might be better than others. The most important thing to do with your child is to talk about all the points of the day.

Every day after school, I would ask Nikki how her school day went and I would try to prepare myself in advance of what the responses might be. Some days there were some crying and other days there were smiles. At the end of the day, we both learned together on how to cope with the feelings of the day and how to better express them especially on the bad days.

Germs

They do exist and EVERYWHERE in the classroom! We were told by many other parents that kids get sick often at school, we were just hopeful that it wouldn’t happen to us. Well, that dream bubble broke very quickly in the school year as we battled cold after cold the first four months of the school year. At first we thought there must be something wrong with our child for being sick so often. However, our family doctor reassured us that this is common especially in the first couple of years of school. There are even points throughout the school year that it spikes (After Thanksgiving, Christmas Break and March Break were the most common times). A child’s immune system is being exposed to the world around them and it will take some to adjust.

We felt relieved that it wasn’t just us and we all started to take our vitamins to make sure we all stayed strong while fighting any cold that tried to bring us down. *When your child is sick, many times so do the parents. Don’t forget to take care of yourselves!

Kids Can Be Cruel

We all know that kids are not the nicest of beings and unfortunately we learned that very early on in Nikki’s school life. We had to deal with a child who called our daughter “fat” and it was a shocking experience for us to deal with. We learned a great deal from this experience and we were able to provide tips to help other parents who may encounter themselves in a similar situation.

Kids will be kids is no longer an acceptable term in our home. We feel it is important to stop the cycle instead of encouraging the phrase of “it’s part of being a kid.” Our biggest take away from this experience was to make sure that my child loves herself. If we truly love ourselves, our self-image will always stay true.

Label EVERYTHING

The Lost and Found is a popular area in the school and I understand why. Many kids have the same bags, lunch containers, and even clothes. Therefore, many times the items are taken by accident by another student or the items are lost. This is why we highly recommend to label everything that your child brings to school, including their shoes. We use Mabel’s Labels as they are durable and they have the perfect label for each item you need them for! It was a life saver for us as none of our items were lost or misplaced. That saved us a lot of money by the end of the year. Thank you Mabel’s Labels! 🙂

Be Involved

It is very important to be involved with your child’s educational learning. In Nikki’s class they brought home a communication book every night, this is where we can write notes to the teachers and they would also write notes for us if necessary. We loved this as it got us to be more involved in the classroom by having this form of communication between the teachers.

We do encourage to participate in fundraisers at the school and attend events that are open to parents to join. We did the chocolate fundraiser and it was a great learning experience for our daughter to undertake. It brought out her fundraising skills out and she was one of the top fundraisers in the school (special thank you to our family and friends for buying chocolates in support!). We also attended the Fun Fair that they had at the school which was great to see and interact with our students and parents. It really made us feel like part of the school community.

Any form of involvement that you can do with your child at school will benefit everyone. We know that we truly enjoyed being engaged and involved. I took it one step further and volunteered on their first school field trip and boy was that an experience that I will never forget (article coming soon on this!).

Create A Yearbook

I remember having yearbooks when I was older in school and loved having people sign my yearbooks. I never thought of having my teachers sign it and I wonder what they would have written about me.

This is why when I heard about this idea from my sister’s friend, I just had to incorporate it in our lives. We bought the classic, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss and made it into Nikki’s official yearbook. Every year we will be asking Nikki’s teachers to write in it and this way she can look back and see what her teachers wrote about her. It will be interesting to see what each teacher sees in Nikki and it will be a keepsake for life.

We are truly grateful for the remarkable teachers Nikki had this year as they were very supportive of Nikki and of us as parents. This is why we decided to write a very detailed letter to the principal of the school to show our thanks to each teacher that impacted Nikki’s school year. Written compliments are rare in today’s world as we are all so busy. However, I wanted to make sure that the teachers knew how special they are and how thankful we are that they taught our child this school year. Nikki’s teachers appreciated this gesture by us and one was almost in tears as she was humbly touched by our words.

How Much They Grow

It truly is amazing to see how much your child grows especially in the first year of school. Nikki learned in leaps and we are truly grateful to her teachers who helped her grow as a person and as a student.

On the first day of school, Nikki had the baby face that still made me feel that she was my baby (pictured below).

On the last day of school, she was blooming into a young lady who had a magical first school year (picture below). The change in her appearance, demeanor and knowledge was tremendous that this was the biggest takeaway from the whole year. It is amazing how one school year changes everything.

Now here I am a parent who has fully embarked in school life and it has been a journey. I know there will be other challenges, triumphs and milestones ahead but for now I am going to bask in Junior Kindergarten glory as Nikki passed! There are more smiles, joys and tears to come as I know I have had my fair share of all this first year.

I want to thank my husband, my family and all my friends for all their loving support of Nikki and me as we all go on this crazy journey called parenthood.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

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Mealtimes Without The Mess With Tidy Tot Canada

Mealtimes with little ones can get messy at times (ok I will admit all the time). We have all seen the mess that is left on the table, floor and even on the child themselves. However, what if I told you that it doesn’t need to be like that anymore?!

We at Momma Braga are very excited to introduce you all to Tidy Tot Canada! They have a solution that can help with mealtime mess and that is the coverall bibs.

What is so awesome about this product is that they have coverall bibs for the different stages of your weaning journey. From early weaning to toddler feeding and on-the-go.

Stage One Weaning – Tidy Tot Bib and Tray Kit

This stage is for children up to two years of age. All you need to do is attach the bib to the tray for no more gaps between your baby and highchair and to keep food well within baby’s reach. This is the only kit to be certified 100% food safe.

Benefits
  • Fully waterproof long sleeved bib attaches to tray for no more gaps!
  • Protects baby, floor and highchair from food mess and spills.
  • Tidy Tot Tray is just wider than babies arm span preventing food being dropped to the floor.
  • Easy to clean. Machine washable.
  • Comes in wipe clean travel pouch for easy storage.
  • BPA free, Phthalate free and food safe.
  • Compatible with highchairs and booster seats.

Stage Two Feeding – Tidy Tot Long Length Coverall Bib

When you no longer regularly need the full protection by the Tidy Tot Bib and Tray Kit, the next stage is the Tidy Tot Long Length Coverall. This is ideal for toddlers up to three years old. This bib is one of the longest coverall bibs on the market giving full protection from food and messy play.

Benefits
  • Large crumb catcher pocket to catch dropped food with side fastening poppers to make for easy cleaning – just open the poppers and scoop out the mess.
  • Water-resistant, lightweight and durable.
  • Comes with travel purse.
  • 360-degree protection from mess with long sleeves and full cover fastening at the back.
  • Easy clean, machine washable.
  • Fun unisex print that appeals to inquisitive toddlers.

Tidy Tot Disposable Coverall Bib- On the Go Mealtimes

This is great for families on-the-go and it is great for children up to two years of age.

Benefits
  • Long sleeves and unique patent pending design keeps little ones clean from head to toe when eating out.
  • Essential for travel, holidays and meals out.
  • Resealable strip at the bottom of the bib sticks to table or highchair – no more gaps!
  • Waterproof.
  • Made from recyclable materials.
  • Resealable Twin Pack for easy storage – two bibs per pack.

#MelAndNikkiReview

We at Momma Braga are very lucky as we have amazing testers to try out products that we receive and in this review we got my goddaughter, Adriana who is one years old. We got Adriana to try the Tidy Tot Bib and Tray Kit by Tidy Tot Canada.

Adriana’s mom tried it out and completely fell in love with Tidy Tot. “This is SO amazing! We love it!” stated Adriana’s mom after the first use. Best part is that Adriana didn’t mind it at all and the mess truly stayed contained which made clean up faster and easier.

Adriana’s mom also mentioned to us that the Tidy Tot Bib and Tray Kit is especially great when rice or spaghetti is served for dinner. “It gets REALLY messy! But the Tidy Tot Bib and Tray Kit made it so much better”, she stated. We call this a parent win!

Adriana enjoying the little bit that is left from her rice dinner and look at how clean everything looks!

We love how Tidy Tot is making life easier for parents especially during mealtimes! Now these great coverall bibs are not just great for mealtimes but also great for creative play. The coverall bib fully protects their clothing from paints and spills whilst the tray provides a secure, self-contained (and wipe clean!) surface, and keeping any mess well away from the floor. So time to get creative with your little one! 😉

Therefore, for this #MelAndNikkiReview we give Tidy Tot Canada 10 stars out of 5! We love it and it has received thumbs up from our tester, Adriana which is the highest compliment you could possibly get. 😉 There are so many great benefits for your little one to use Tidy Tots and of course the benefits for parents is the peace of mind of a safe product that makes mealtimes less messier.

If you would like to purchase one of the Tidy Tot Canada products, please click here. You will love it too!

Special thank you to Adriana and her mom for testing out this product for us as we really appreciate their honest feedback.

Until next time…Happy Parenting!

-Momma Braga

*The Tidy Tot Bib & Tray Kit in Dove Grey was provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are our own.

Things Every Child Should Learn

When it comes to teaching our children the skills they need to be the best in life, there are a lot to things to teach and many directions which we can go in this year. If you are looking to teach your child the best skills for their lives this year, here are just some of the ones to consider.

Ride a bike

When we look at some of the most iconic skills to teach to kids, we can’t not mention riding a bike. Riding a bike might just be the most obvious of all of the things to teach our kids and it is a huge challenge every step of the way. When you start off teaching your child to ride a bike you will want to think about using stabilisers and as time goes on you will be able to teach them to balance on just two. It could take a long time to teach this to your child but once they have learnt this skill it will stay with them for life!

Swim

Teaching a child how to swim is so important for you to do, and the earlier you can teach them the better. Choose a good swim school and take your child once or twice a week and let them learn how to keep themselves afloat above the water. Children are very adventurous and curious and they are prone to drowning because of this fact. If you can teach your child this essential skill you can let them into the pool and the sea without too much worry.

Throw a ball

Playing sports and games is one of those things which is great for the development of a child and it can be a wonderful skill for them to learn. Being able to accurately throw a ball and join in with games and open them up to a whole world of different sports and this could even become a hobby or career for them later on in life. It might take them a while to learn but it is the ideal excuse for some garden play dates on sunny days!

Look after animals

Looking after and being responsible for another living thing has to be the best way to prepare a child for their future. If you want to make sure that your child is able to live a great life and look after themselves, teaching them how to look after a pet can be a wonderful thing. You can get a pet hamster, fish or rabbit and let your child be the one responsible for looking after the animal. You can show them the importance of caring for another living thing and this will help them become more independent as they grow older.

Be kind

A smile, a hello, a please and thank you… to teach your child to be kind and respectful to other people is a skill in itself and one which you should definitely consider trying out this year!

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.

To Pierce or Not To Pierce: The Pressure

A hot topic for many when you have a baby girl is whether to pierce or not to pierce her ears. There have been many opinions on this topic in the news and magazines and everyone has their own view. Many pros and cons have been listed in the media on piercing that can make the decision conflicting.

We personally felt the pressure and were very conflicted on what we were going to do. However, we finally came to a decision that we based on what was best for our daughter. I hope from reading this blog that you too as a parent decide based on what you think is best for your child.

Before Baby

Before having a baby, I always thought I would be piercing the ears of a baby girl if I had one. Since this was the culture and norm for baby girls to have their ears pierced in my family. However, my view changed as my baby girl, Nikki, was born and growing. Nikki now 10 months old has her ears perfectly small and hole less,  just like the day she was born.

The Pressure

At 3 months which is the time that some mother’s take their babies to get their ears pierced (after the first vaccinations). We started to have mixed feelings about piercing her ears. We felt tremendous pressure to get Nikki’s ears pierced but we just didn’t want to put her through that pain. After Nikki’s baptism (at 4 months old), my husband and I discussed ear piercing again since we were always being asked. We took some time and thought long and hard about it and decided that ear piercing wasn’t on our to do list for Nikki. Even though we made this decision when Nikki was 4 months old, we still feel the pressure to this day.

Our reasons are personal, specifically to our daughter, Nikki. We decided to let her make the decision as she gets older. We decided as her parents that this wasn’t the best time for her, considering that we know our daughter best. We did not allow the pressure control what we decided to do with our daughter and made the best decision for all of us.

Our Personal Reasons

Nikki tends to be a bed tosser, she flips her head back and forth so much that we didn’t want her to hurt herself with earrings in her ears. She is also very active and always had a fascination in touching her ears. The thought of her hurting herself this way or getting an ear infection just didn’t seem worth it for us. In addition, Nikki loved to pull my earrings and happened to pull them right out of my ears a few times (yes it is painful and I’m an adult). So we could only imagine how she would be with her own. These components were key factors for us not to pierce her ears but most importantly, we want to give her that decision. If and when she decides she wants earrings, we will make it a very special event for her. I’m sure she will enjoy that, as I did when I got my second piercing done. It gave me some independence to decide on my own and it felt great for my self esteem.

Pressure Outcome

This decision has been hard for many people to comprehend since it has been instilled in families and society that girls should have their ears pierced at a young age. It has been difficult to explain our reasons and honestly I don’t believe it really is necessary that we need to explain ourselves. I am hoping with time people will accept our decision and learn that tradition can change and its ok.

We should never pressure anyone to do anything that they don’t want to do or are comfortable doing. Pressure is never a welcoming feeling for any new parent. My advice is to let parents be parents and let them decide on their own. Respect the decision and stop the pressure. No parent should feel guilty for piercing or not piercing their baby’s ears.

To Pierce

Don’t get me wrong as I have no issue with parents who decide to pierce their baby’s ears as it is their choice. I had my ears pierced as a baby and I don’t hate my parents for making that decision. I don’t judge them, just like I don’t want to be judged for not piercing my baby’s ears. We know our child the best and we should make the best decision for our child(ren). I know many parents who have pierced their baby girl’s ears and I know they made the best decision for their child and I support that.

Wishful Hope

My hope is to have everyone support one another and love who we are. Let us support parents and not judge them. In regards to pierce or not to pierce, my advice is to do what you feel comfortable in doing. If you want to pierce, then do so. If you don’t want to pierce, then don’t do it. Either way works as long as it’s what’s best for your child and remember YOU know them best!

– Momma Braga