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Monday, January 16, 2017

Raising a Compassionate Child

The world can be a rough place, and so can the people in it. Parents have a natural tendency to want to shield their children from the things that might hurt them, but it is important that kids are informed and that they are compassionate people as well. You can’t control what happens in the world on a major scale, but as a parent you can help shape an empathetic and caring individual who can help make it a better place. In this day and age, raising a caring child can be difficult. Shielding children can help save them from some things, but it can also lead to ignorance and arrogance.

As a parent, there are some ways in which you can help make sure that your child becomes a caring individual and who truthfully cares about others as well. Children have an inborn capacity for compassion, which is why it is not uncommon for kids to empathize with other children, animals, and even stuffed toys. It’s important that parents encourage this kind of thinking and behavior, especially when the world can be so harsh, and promoting lovingkindness and other nice sentiments can help.

Showing not Telling
When trying to express softness, some kids can be a bit rough without meaning to. If a young toddler is trying to pet an animal or pick up a baby, their motor skills may not allow them to do so carefully. Instead of telling them not to show affection, show them how to do so in a way that is harmless and thoughtful. Simply telling children “no” can teach them to suppress the desire to express these feelings in the future. Instead of simply telling them “no” if you see them approaching a situation clumsily, commend their thoughtful behavior and show them how to act on those thoughts properly and carefully.

Speaking Softly
Sometimes, showing basic manners can go a long way. Speaking softly and showing kindness can help, especially if you act as an example for your children. Whether you’re talking to your kids or others in front of your kids, it is important that you set a good example and show compassion, thoughtfulness and understanding yourself. Kids learn by observing, so setting a precedent can certainly leave a lasting impression.

Encourage Helping
Whether you’re asking your children to help out with chores or pointing out ways in which they can generally be helpful, encouraging kids to get involved can be influential too. If kids are used to pitching in, especially if it is part of their daily routine, offering help to others when they see that they are struggling can come more naturally to them. You can also point situations where people may need help or could use a hand, and ask your kids how they can help and why they should. Inspiring this kind of discourse can help kids think critically and compassionately as they get older and develop thoughts and opinions on their own.

The Power of Stories
Sharing stories can be incredibly influential, and there are plenty of books that kids can pick up about people who have helped others in history. Aside from reading, share stories and anecdotes of your own as well. If you witnessed a kind act, share it with your child. If you notice someone doing something nice for someone else while you’re at the park or out shopping, point it out and ask your child what they think about it.

Helping Out Beyond the House
Volunteering is a great way to introduce kids to a larger world and the things that people can do to help make it a better place. Whether you’re helping collect food, toys for children, or picking up litter, giving kids a physical example of helping others can show them the benefits of kindness, compassion and taking action as well.

For more parenting and reading resources be sure to follow this page at KDNovelties.com/blog.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Why You Should Read Classic Tales to Your Children

There is no shortage of classic tales, and versions of them, to choose from when reading to your child. It may seem like a no-brainer to share classic fairy tales and other stories with your children, especially since many of them have also been made into live-action or animated movies that have become classics. Aside from tradition itself, there are some benefits to sharing these stories with your kids and they can have a lasting impact on their lives as well.

Cultural Importance
One of the most important reasons to read classic tales to children is for the cultural impact. Many different countries and cultures share similar fairy tales, and each one has differences and twists that speak to their unique cultural values and traditions. Sharing specific tales with your kids can help expose them to their own culture, depending on where you and your family are from, and it can also help introduce your kids to the cultural traditions from around the world. This can be an eye-opening experience and help kids learn more about other people and places, while potentially opening the door to an interest in learning about other cultures as well.

Active Imaginations
Speaking of eye-opening, fairy and folk tales can help inspire children to use their imaginations. Having a vivid imagination is linked to creativity but it is also directly linked to abstract thinking, understanding new concepts and learning new things. Kids who have active imaginations are more capable of thinking outside the box and are more likely to be creative when it comes to solving problems or approaching challenges.

Critical Thinking Skills
Many psychologists agree that fairy tales and similar stories can help to improve the critical thinking skills of developing children. By examining the actions and consequences that affect the characters, children can make inferences and learn about cause and effect. They can also develop an understanding of how all decisions and choices have outcomes, and that the nature of these decisions and choices can direct the outcome of a story or a person’s life overall.

Moral Tales of Caution
Many classic tales also have rather clear-cut concepts of right and wrong. Many of these stories have been used as tales of caution for children specifically through the years, and much of the moral take-away remain in many of these stories. Things like talking to strangers, trusting others, asking questions and other good things to keep in mind are also stressed in these tales often, and can help act as an example when trying to teach kids valuable lessons and develop key skills that will help keep them safe and smart.

Pure Fun
Most importantly of all, classic tales are enjoyable. There is a reason they have remained a part of our oral and written culture for so long, and all over the world. There will always be new interpretations and new spins on old stories, so having some familiarity with the classics can be good fun but can also help open kids up to a whole world of imagination and entertainment.

Be sure to follow us here on the KD Novelties blog for more inspiration, reading and parenting tips. Check out our website for classic tales such as our Mother Goose book all personalized for your child.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

How and Why You Should Say NO to Your Kids

“No” may be a difficult thing for a parent to tell their child. Sometimes, it is out of frustration and exhaustion of saying “no” so many times to no avail. But other times, it can be difficult for other reasons too. Saying “no” is important though, especially since parents need to set clear boundaries for children so that they need to learn how to deal with frustration, how to cope with boundaries and expectations, and other aspects of life and behavior that will affect them as adults later on.

The Consequences

Children are constantly learning, asking questions, and pushing their boundaries. This is how they learn how to behave and when, so not setting clear boundaries can be detrimental. Saying “no” or setting limits later on may not take, and children may not have a firm grasp on concepts that should dictate their behavior, whether it is how to act in society or how to behave around others.

This may be difficult for parents with busy schedules. If you’ve exhausted your no’s, you may feel tempted to give in “just this once,” so you can relax and get on with your day. This line of thinking is understandable: not only are you tired, but you don’t want what little time you have with your children to be defined by bickering, arguing, and disappointment. However, giving in to a child’s every wish or demand can have consequences further down the road, and it can play a huge and difficult reverse effect on their sense of entitlement as well as how they interact with others.

Children who tend to get everything that they want also tend to be children who have a hard time interacting with or playing well with others. There is a certain “give and take” that they may not understand. Additionally, without any sense of delayed gratification, children may continue to have difficulties dealing with real-world problems because they are so used to getting what they want exactly when they want it.

But sometimes, simply saying “no” isn’t enough. Saying “no” and being clear about it is one thing, but it is also important for parents to understand where clarification may be necessary.

Saying “No” Without Actually Saying “No”

Sometimes, simply stating that a child cannot have or do something is enough, but many parents also understand that it can also lead to a tantrum or a constant barrage of questions. There are other ways to say “no” to something without actually saying the word, and it can help your child deal with things like waiting, delayed gratification, and simply being self-sufficient as well.

Finding an appropriate redirect is a great tactic. If a child asks for (or asks to do) one thing, you can turn them down by suggesting that they do something else instead. Choosing empowers children and makes them feel that their opinions are worth something. They will not feel ignored if they get to decide. Occupying their minds with something else is often a great distraction and can help you avoid a tantrum.

Even the use of other phrases can help, too. If you can say “maybe some other time,” or “maybe tomorrow/later,” or even simply “not today,” children may get the clarification they need to understand the “no” implied, but remain satisfied with knowing that what they want can be had or done at another time instead.

Do Not Give False Hopes

If phrases such as "not now," "later," etc. are used, be sure to keep your word because then it shows to your children you can't be trusted, which can impact your relationship, and they could develop trust issues. Give a concrete period that your child can expect to have their wish granted. For example: “Not now, darling. We will buy that for your birthday.”

Respect Their Privacy

Do not embarrass your child in front of other people. Get their attention, go to a private place and clearly communicate your reasons for saying “no.” Disrespecting them in public can make your child resent you, especially if other people make fun of them. Remember, if you embarrass your child in public, they will learn to do the same to you!

Be On the Same Page

Sometimes one parent will say “no”, only to see the child go to the other parent for a “yes.” This can cause conflict between parents and create a manipulative habit in your child. Be sure to communicate with one another before answering your child.

KDNovelties.com provides parenting resources and reading tips for parents of kids of all ages. Be sure to subscribe to the KD Novelties blog and share.


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