7 Tools Every Parent Must Have

pexels-photo-302482
Picture free from Pexels.com

I’d like to welcome back our favorite School Psychologist, Dr. Valerie Allen. She’s sharing with us today an important topic I call Parenting 101. Here are some great tips to help you be a successful parent in 2017!

Basic Training for Successful Parenting

by

Dr. Valerie Allen

The joy of parenting is often lost in the rush of day to day events. Trying to juggle the demands of work, school, shopping, piano lessons, and visits to Grandma, make parenting hard work, with little time to have fun. Here are some basic tips to keep things running smoothly on the home front while enjoying time with your children.

  1. Rules: there should only be a few rules (God only had 10 Commandments!). Fair rules apply equally to everyone. Firm rules do not allow plea bargaining. Clear rules have specific expectations stated in positive terms (talk quietly vs. don’t yell!)
  2. Consequences: should be brief. (do not threaten to ground a child until he is 30!). Consequences must have consistent follow up every time. It is best to use natural outcomes as often as possible rather than imposing a consequence. It is better to withhold a privilege than to impose punishment.
  3. Transitions: should be smooth. It is best to have a daily agenda listing times and events. Provide advance notice 10 to 15 minutes before changing activities, state your expectations of what is to happen next, and explain any changes in the routine or schedule.
  4. Choices: should be allowed, but limited to one choice within the two or three selections you have offered. (Would you like cereal, eggs, or pancakes?)You need to support your child’s choice without criticism and encourage him or her to be independent.
  5. Respect: should be given to all children unconditionally. You need to separate the “doer” from the “deed” and remember “bad behavior” does not mean “bad child.” Have private conversations with your children about their misbehavior and avoid the embarrassment and shame of an audience.
  6. Attitude: start and end the day with a positive comment, give hugs and kisses often, encourage verbal expression and physical demonstration of affection. Recognize that everyone is entitled to his or her own emotions.
  7. Promises: if you make them, keep them; if you cannot, be sure to explain this to the child.   Negotiate or compromise to make good on the promise for next time.

Your relationship with your youngster lasts a lifetime, so make it as positive as you can. Be sure to tell your child “I love you” every day in every way.

# # #

Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice. She presents seminars for parents and professionals in the field of child development and has published two children’s books, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends.” Oh yes, she has also raised six children! You can learn more about her at www.DrVAllen.com or purchase her books at www.amazon.com/author/valerieallen

10 Days To Celebrate Reading (and their #hashtags) for Book-Lovers, Bloggers, & Bookstagrammers

Featured Image -- 2312

Check out this awesome list and Rebecca ‘ s blog!

Reviews & Revisions

10-days-to-celebrate-reading-and-their-hashtags

I still don’t show pictures of neatly arranged books next to beautiful bud vases and interesting socks on Instagram, but I’m improving. I understand Instagram is a visual medium, and I see how others are adept at using it, but I’m really just in it to share books (@rebeccarvincent) and see what everyone else is reading. 

Nevertheless, I like following others who post about books and searching through common hashtags is a good way to start. Recently I stumbled upon #NationalReadingDay. Except I stumbled upon it a day late and was unprepared. So I figured maybe I could find a few more national/international days related to book reading and be better able to participate and connect. Maybe one or two of them could help you, too?

January 23:National Reading Day (#NationalReadingDay) and January 27 isMulticultural Children’s Book Day (#ReadYourWorld)

February 16:World Read Aloud Day (#wrad17)

View original post 165 more words

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for Lovers

 

heart-cookies-pexels-photo-302462
Photo free from pexels.com

 

Family Valentine’s Day

So, with Valentine’s Day behind us, and hopefully, you celebrated that special love with your spouse or significant other, consider starting a new tradition, I like to call Family Valentine’s Day on February 15th. This day would allow us to share the love with our children. Valentine’s Day reminds us to show everyone in our lives that we love them, why not extend it another day to include our children?

It’s great to take some time away from the kids and have a special Valentine’s Day celebration with our love. We need to do that. But, we could create a Family Valentine’s Day on February 15th. It would involve making Valentine’s Day cards for each family member, sharing a special meal that everyone enjoys, baking heart-shaped cookies and watching a movie with some delicious popcorn, and of course, chocolate!

Handmade Cards

I think by having this special day set aside to show your family that you love one another sets a model for your children to demonstrate love to others now and in the future. It doesn’t have to involve presents. In fact, I think it’s better if it doesn’t involve presents. Just love notes, especially the handmade kind. This shows love by spending time thinking about the person and creating something that we feel the other person would like. I always enjoyed creating crafts with my daughter. It’s great to get out the red paper and all kind of knicks knacks and glue and glitter and lace and put it all together to make something that expresses our feelings. For older children, they can write a few words, maybe just “I love you” or for the more creative types, they can try their hand at writing a poem. You could also make tissue paper flowers. You could use different colored tissue paper to create a nice bouquet. Put on some music to play in the background and sing fun songs together while you’re being creative. You could create a playlist with iTunes, Pandora or IHeartRadio. My daughter and I always enjoyed listening to soundtracks from Disney movies.

Kitchen-Time

Then, it’s time to get creative in the kitchen. Let every child have a say in what they’d like for the special meal. It should be a kid-friendly meal like hot dogs or spaghetti or pizza so everyone can participate in the creation of the meal. I think some of our best family memories are made in the kitchen. Food is essential to life. So is family. This simple activity of planning, creating and serving food bonds us together. We enjoy the smells of the food while it’s cooking; the tactile sensations of the food as we prepare it (putting the hot dog buns on the plates, putting the pepperonis on the pizza, etc.); and the visual beauty of it on our plates. And making cookies is a favorite with kids! Rolling out the dough, cutting out the cookies and icing and decorating them! You could do this activity earlier in the day, so they’re ready for later or do them while dinner is cooking. Of course, if everyone wanted to create a cookie for other family members, that’s a fun thing to exchange as well as cards.

Exchanging Cards

After the meal, share your created Valentine’s cards with each other. Everyone hands out their cards to each family member. You could even create little boxes or envelopes for them to be placed in (like we used to in Elementary School, eons ago) and then go around the table allowing each person to open their cards and read them aloud. Everyone has a moment in the “sunshine” basking in the love they feel from each family member. Of course, thank each person specifically after they’ve read their card. This is an important part of life, expressing gratitude and thankfulness.

Movie-Time

Now, on to the movie. Everyone should have a vote in the movie they’d like to watch. It could be a cute Disney Movie like Lady & The Tramp or more romantic like Beauty & the Beast or anything else everyone would enjoy. Love themes are a must but they don’t have to be mushy ones. After you’ve celebrated this once, you could even have a movie that becomes the Family Valentine’s Day movie ritual. Like at Christmas, we always have to watch Planes, Trains, and  Automobiles. Pop some delicious popcorn, maybe simply with salt and butter, but you could create something special with drizzles or additional treats such as M&M’s or nuts. Of course, there has to be chocolate. There are all kinds of chocolates wrapped in red paper and heart shapes especially for Valentine’s. It’s fun to have these as part of your celebration. And enjoy your homemade heart-shaped cookies!

As the evening comes to a close, bask in the love your family has shared and know that you’ve helped paved the path for your children to express love to others in their future. This might even become your favorite holiday.

What do you think? Will you help to start a movement of Family Valentine’s Day for February 15th next year?

What you Don’t Know, Can Hurt You

pexels-photo-206445
picture free from pexels.com

What you Don’t Know (about what your kids are doing online), Can Hurt You (and them)

In today’s post, I’m bringing you a very important and timely article that shares with us why our teens are so anxious and depressed. While we may have marked them up as a fragile generation, we are missing an important overlay to their lives that we never had to deal with. Read on to learn how you can help…

This article Anxiety, Depression and the Modern Adolescent in the NY Times really brings to light the issues teenagers are facing today. While many people think teenagers are “soft,” this article helps to illuminate exactly the burdens they bear.

Think back to our carefree days of youth. We reminisce about how we ran free without parental supervision until the street lights came on. We weren’t worried about what someone was saying about us on social media. We weren’t worried about the competitiveness of getting into college. We weren’t worried about terrorism or school shootings.

Teenagers today have so much more on their plate. It isn’t surprising that anxiety in teens is at an all time high. The article quotes Janis Whitlock from Cornell,

“If you wanted to create an environment to churn out really angsty people, we’ve done it,” says Janis Whitlock, director of the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery. Sure, parental micromanaging can be a factor, as can school stress, but Whitlock doesn’t think those things are the main drivers of this epidemic. “It’s that they’re in a cauldron of stimulus they can’t get away from, or don’t want to get away from, or don’t know how to get away from,” she says.

One girl interviewed for this article, Faith-Ann explains it this way

“We’re the first generation that cannot escape our problems at all,” says Faith-Ann.

The environment our children are growing up in is not something we can relate to at all. Things weren’t like that when we were kids. We have to put ourselves in their shoes and try to help them navigate this brave new world. Often, we are learning to navigate it ourselves.

Megan Moreno, head of social media and adolescent health research at Seattle Children’s Hospital says,

“Parents are also mimicking teen behavior. “Not in all cases, obviously, but in many cases the adults are learning to use their phones in the way that the teens do,” says Moreno. “They’re zoning out. They’re ignoring people. They’re answering calls during dinner rather than saying, ‘O.K., we have this technology. Here are the rules about when we use it.'”

We have to get out in front of this, for our kids’ sake. We often say, “my kid can show me how to work the (put your favorite electronic device here).” We leave it to the younger generation to figure it out and teach us. We can’t do that. We have to learn about it and then decide on the best way to use these tools and then create reasonable rules to help our kids survive the onslaught of “being on” all the time.

If you find out your child has been self-harming to relieve stress or is involved in online apps that you find disturbing, try not to react with overwhelming negativity, try instead to be supportive. Ask how you can help? Seek help for them. Join a group of parents who are learning how to help their children cope. You might think you are involved in your child’s life by going to ball games and helping with homework but this is from our era. Now, to be involved in your child’s life, means learning about all the different media outlets and providing rules and support to help your child navigate these. It’s time to step up parents. We can’t just relegate electronic devices to our kids and wait for them to teach us. They need us. They need us to research, ask, find out all we can and “be there” with your kids in this brave new and often cruel world.

To read the full article, go here http://time.com/magazine/us/4547305/november-7th-2016-vol-188-no-19-u-s/

 

Have You Set Your Parenting Goals yet?

baby-caucasian-child-daughter-53571
photo free from pexels.com

 

As January comes to a close and February is in full swing, it’s a good time to reflect on the parenting goals you set for yourself in 2017. Maybe you’d like to play more with your children, or be more consistent in your discipline, or set up a chore calendar that everyone can live with.

If you haven’t set any parenting goals, take a moment to stop and think about what you’d like to improve. Parenting moves at a fast and furious pace. It’s easy to get swept up in what ‘has’ to be done and forget that you have a precious life looking up to you and needing you. That can feel like an awesome responsibility and it is, but if you take a moment, take a deep breath and ask yourself about what kind of parent do I want to be? What does my child ‘really’ need?

I promise, if you stop and tune in, you will be a great parent!

My mantra when my child was growing up was, “I only get to do this once, I might as well do it well.” I read books and conversed with other parent friends. But, mostly, I tuned into my child. I tried to listen with an open heart and open mind. I tried not to press my agenda but rather help her find her own passions and interests. I tried to love at every turn.

I wasn’t perfect and I’m still not, but if we stop and breathe, we can get ourselves on the path we really want to take rather than letting the pressures of our day push us through it.

I challenge you to reflect on your original goal and if you’ve forgotten about it or gotten off track, take a moment, and think about what you can do right now to get back on track. If you haven’t set a goal, take a moment to set one. It’s only February. You have a whole year ahead of you.

Let’s do it well!

The One Parenting Style You Must Adopt This Year

As we begin the new year, I invited our favorite School Psychologist, Dr. Valerie Allen, to share some important information about parenting style.

Dr. Valerie Allen

Licensed School Psychologist ~ Rehabilitation Counselor

New and Improved Parenting for the New Year

 

The New Year brings added attention to the fact that children are in a constant state of growth and development. One day your daughter is interested in dolls and tea parties and the next she is experimenting with make-up and high heels. What happened to that lovable little boy who played so nicely with the puppy? This is the same boy who now thinks you are his private taxi service. In a matter of weeks or months, children’s needs and behaviors change and so must our style of parenting. What worked at three will not work as well at 13.

 

The goal of parenting is to raise children who are independent of us. The job of a parent is to instill values and morals, so the child understands right from wrong and makes appropriate choices when on his own. When we are not there with reminders about being on time, keeping safe, and hand washing, will our child be in a position to know what to do, how to do it, and motivated to do it well?

What can parents do to help raise positive children, who enjoy life and are pleasant to be with? Impossible you say! All is not lost. Research has identified four basic parenting styles: Authoritative, Authoritarian, Permissive and Uninvolved. One has proved to have a more successful outcome when raising children.

 

  1. The Authoritative Parent: provides a loving, supportive, home environment. These parents hold high expectations and standards for their children’s behavior. They enforce household rules consistently and explain why some behaviors are acceptable and others are not. Children are included in family decision making.

 

  1. The Authoritarian Parent: holds high expectations and standards for their children’s behavior, however, they convey less emotional warmth directly toward their children. They establish rules of behavior, but they may not take the child’s needs into account. They tend to expect immediate obedience, without question by the children. Parents make “family decisions” without input from the children.

 

  1. The Permissive Parent: may provide a loving, supportive, home environment, however,  hold few expectations or standards for their children’s behavior. They rarely discipline the child for inappropriate behavior and tend to make excuses for their child’s offenses. Children are allowed to make their own decisions about their lifestyle without guidance or standards set by the parents.

 

  1. The Uninvolved Parent: provides little, if any, emotional support; even when they are home, they tend to be uninvolved with the children and family activities. They hold few expectations or standards for their children’s behavior. They have little interest in their children’s lives and seem overwhelmed or over involved in their own work or problems.

 

The Authoritative parenting proved to be the most effective style to develop positive social skills in children. Authoritative parents tend to raise children who are happy, self-confident, independent, and respectful of others.

 

Resolve this new year to tell your child every day “I love you” with your words and by your actions. Take time to be involved in your child’s life at home, at school, and with friends. Your efforts will help create open communication, mutual respect, and a loving relationship with your child throughout the year ahead.

 

# # #

 

Dr. Valerie Allen is a child psychologist in private practice n Melbourne, FL. She is the author of two children’s books, “Summer School for Smarties” and “Bad Hair, Good Hat, New Friends.” Oh yes, she has also raised six children! Contact Dr. Allen at DrValerieAlen@cs.com. Learn more about her at www.DrVAllen.com. Purchase her books at www.amazon.com/author/valerieallen

Reader’s Favorite 5 Star Picture Book Giveaway

1482346080931-the-universal-journey-of-longing-to-grow-up
Graphics provided by Quotesrain

Today, January 25th, 2017 through Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

I am running a Book Giveaway on Goodreads

Enter to win one of three picture books of Little Birdie Grows Up

712guvxeqbl-_ac_ul320_sr202320_

(just click on this Goodreads link or to the right of this column on my website)

5 Star Review from Reader’s Favorite

“It is an excellent story”

4.8 Averaged Star Reviews on Amazon

“…it (Little Birdie Grows Up) is one of mine and my little one’s favorite bedtime story”

“Great little book for young children”

“Highly recommend this book”

“This is a wonderful little book”

” it’s truly magical”

” This is such a sweet story”

“Delightful rhyming”

“Simply charming”

“Wonderfully and whimsically written”

4.64 Averaged Star Reviews on Goodreads

“An adorable book for children”

“The rhyming is perfect and something that children will be mesmerized by”

“an adorable rhyming picture book”

“It is really cute story”

“This delightful children’s tale is…heart-warming”

“It is great story to send your little ones off to dreamland!!”

“Highly recommend this book for children ages one to five”

Book Description

Little Birdie Grows Up is a delightful rhyming picture book with charming illustrations about a little blue bird who pecks his way out of his shell and into the hearts of parents and children.

He meets his Mama and yearns to fly up in the sky. His Mama reassures him that one day he will be able to fly. His first attempt is half-flying, half-falling out of the nest. But, when he finally does learn how to fly, well, it’s time to say good-bye.
Come along on the journey of Little Birdie Grows Up.

Share this link with everyone you know,

so they have an opportunity to enter to win!!

Fairytales, Dragons, and Princesses

I’m super excited about an upcoming event this

Thursday, January 26th, 2017 from 5:30PM-8:00PM!

Fairytales, Dragons, and Princesses

img_1124.jpg

I have been invited to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in Melbourne, Florida to read a portion of my children’s book, The Lilac Princess, to celebrate Literacy Week.

I am bringing my inflatable dragon, Liam, that I took to the Book Fair in November (pictured above). He’s huge and his wings move! Children can have their picture taken with him.

I will have a fun and free book-themed craft for the kids to create after the reading.

And, there are real live Princesses coming to the event!

I think this is going to be a great event that children will really enjoy and will encourage reading (my favorite topic!).

I hope to see everyone there!

If you know of anyone that might be interested in attending, please let them know about it.

As always my children’s books are entertaining while also bringing a positive message about good character and they are available on Amazon and B&N.com or from me directly (use the Contact Link on this website to reach me).

Inspiring Poem for the New Year

pexels-photo-126360

 

Happy New Year, 2017

A fresh start, a slate clean

The past is gone, the page has turned

Forget regrets, the pain adjourned

The year is waiting, the time is now

Set your goal, make a vow

Anything is possible, the mind creates

Take control, destiny awaits

Plot the path, take the first step

Claim the prize, let nothing intercept

Embrace the day, be all you can be

Live life full, love all you see

And when 2017 is history

You will have the victory!