Sunbird Quote

What you leave in your children, is more important than what you leave to them.                                                                                                                                          Denis Waitley 

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Sunbird Quote

A father is neither an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us places, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.                                                        Author unknown

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Sunbird Quote

Age considers; youth ventures.     Rabindranath Tagore

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Graduation in Motion 2

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Graduation in Motion

Hi parents, we are publishing the little clips taken on youtube. We will keep  publishing them over the next few days. Enjoyy

P2 and KG dance

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Prime – Time Parenting Part 8

MAKING YOUR FAMILY A WINNING TEAM

A successful family team works together to achieve goals. Every member has a unique role to play. Each contributes his share. Each is essential to the final outcome. But the whole–the concerted team effort–is stronger than the sum of its parts. And as a result, each family member shares in the gratifying joy of meaningful relationships, a growing sense of self-worth, & the satisfaction of fulfilled ambitions.

A good coach is the key to building a winning team. It is your spirit, your drive, your enthusiasm, & your expertise that will ultimately make the difference between success or failure.

A Team Purpose

Every team needs a purpose to keep it going. Every family needs a goal that is worth striving for. One of the Kuzma family goals is excellence; we all strive to reach the highest level that each of us is capable of attaining.

Kim wants to be the best flute player she can become. Knowing this, it is much easier for the rest of us to remain quiet & stay out of her way while she is practicing. At times, Kari has even offered to make Kim’s bed or fix her sack lunch when time is running short & Kim is preparing for a lesson.

In order to have a successful team, children must feel that they are ultimately contributing to family goals. One of our short-term family goals has been to help Mommy finish her book. The children have curtailed boisterous play outside the study door & have taken on a number of Mom’s home responsibilities. Each finished chapter is cause for a family celebration. And now the watchword is “only one chapter to go!” Just this morning as I was taking the children to school, I asked if one of them had a good thought to guide us through the day. Kim quoted something that she was learning at school, “Remember that you will never reach a higher standard than you yourself set. Then set your mark high, & step by step, even though it be by painful effort, by self-denial & sacrifice, ascend the whole length of the ladder of progress.”

The passage continues, “Let nothing hinder you. Fate has not woven its meshes about any human being so firmly that he need remain helpless & in uncertainty. Opposing circumstances should create a firm determination to overcome them. The breaking down of one barrier will give greater ability & courage to go forward. Press with determination in the right direction, & circumstances will be your helpers, not your hindrances.”–A terrific motto for us all!

A common purpose binds the family together in a cooperative working relationship that encourages them to overcome obstacles & progress toward the standard–their team goal.

A Code of Behaviour

Every successful coach establishes behavior standards for team members. A successful family must do the same. Your challenge is to help each member of the team see the relationship between his behavior & the success of the team.

It is important that you, the coach, set an example by meeting your own standards. If you want others to be self-disciplined, loyal, & cooperative, you must be this way first. You must inspire your family with the fact that winning or losing is really dependent upon each one’s willingness to reach for the goals together. Finally, it is your responsibility to discipline those who do not uphold the ideals.

The Game Plan

Planning is an essential part of a winning formula. In addition to a general plan that includes the family purpose & a code of behaviour, the family must have a game plan for each new day. A successful game plan should provide a step-by-step scheme that will help you achieve your goals without being sidetracked. Game plans should consist of bite-sized objectives–what you want to accomplish on a weekly or daily basis–& have a balance in a variety of activities, as well as an appropriate sense of timing. To be a winning team, the family must also consider what problems they are likely to encounter & provide an adequate plan of defense. For example, if Mom is late getting home from work, someone should start dinner. Or if Dad gets out early, he should phone Mom & see if there is anything she needs to have him pick up on his way home.

Communicating the Game Plan

Effective communication is an essential quality for a successful coach. You must know what to say & when to say it. Your goals for the team, your winning strategies, your standards, even your expertise & enthusiasm, won’t make a winning team if you fail to communicate these things.

Coaches plan a variety of team meetings to get their message across to their players & listen to the players’ feedback. They hold weekly rallies to encourage the team, they give pep talks, they ask the players to evaluate the team’s progress & make suggestions, & they develop long-range plans. Then, before the team hits the field, they hold chalk talks to plan strategies for specific games or solve specific problems. Once the play begins, the communication does not cease; rather, it increases in the form of a huddle. Huddles are called whenever necessary in order to make immediate plans or give the necessary encouragement that may ultimately make the difference between winning or losing.

Winning family teams need this same form of communication. You will be a more successful family leader if you plan (or encourage your family to help plan) a weekly family rally, a daily chalk talk, & family huddles whenever needed.

Here are some ideas for making team meetings more attractive to your family.

  1. Make the meetings so interesting, informative, warm, & enjoyable that everyone will want to join the fun.
  2. Ask each person to put suggestions for a rally or chalk talk in a suggestion box, and use them.
  3. Make sure each person feels that his contributions are important to the family.
  4. Plan something special that everyone enjoys.
  5. Serve a special treat at a family rally.
  6. Vote on decisions.
  7. Make sure that everyone has a chance to express himself.
  8. When the children are old enough, have them take turns leading a session.

Establish and Maintain Team Spirit

Everyone is important, but the team comes first. Superstars seldom make it to the top by themselves. In team sports, the outstanding player owes much of his success to the support of his teammates, just as every individual owes much of his success to his family.

The superstar of a family might be a parent who is a famous scientist, or an outstanding musician, or president of a company. It may be a child who is a born athlete or intellectually gifted. If these individuals overshadow other family members or receive attention & recognition at the others’ expense, there will be a breakdown in family morale. Each superstar must learn to accept recognition & praise graciously, & honestly credit the family when credit is due.

Children who are not superstars sometimes feel neglected, worthless, & unloved because they do not receive the attention that another is receiving. The family cannot always prevent this if the attention comes from outsiders. But within the family they can make sure that all of their children receive recognition for their skills & abilities, even if the outside World has not crowned that child with superstar status. Each team member should be challenged to do his best.

Everyone is needed. It is not much fun to play on a team when you don’t feel needed. Parents sometimes err when they try to be so self-sufficient that their children come to believe that their contributions to the family are really not worth very much. So make sure each of your children feels really needed & useful to the family & to you!

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And the Winners Are….

In Sunbird, everyone’s a winner, because every child has a special characteristic, that is worth noting. All are worth a time of appreciation, and they love it…. So Congratulations to all  our little ones for outstanding performances during their year in Sunbird.

 

 

 

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Annual and Graduation Day

Welcome dear parents to a picture parade of your little ones performing on our Annual Day on the 19th of March 3016. As you may have noticed, none of the children felt, they ‘had to perform’ but were delighted to go on stage and come alive to rhythms, singing songs, playing out a drama, telling stories, piano recitals and their gymnastic routines. Thank you teachers, parents for making this another very memorable event!! See you in the new academic year!!

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Sunbird Quote

Children seldom turn out the way we expect. Then again, we didn’t either.

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MEET THE PROS

So many parents are eager to know very early about their children’s talents and professional inclinations. At Sunbird, all of the students get to try many ‘professions’ via play. We have captured a few ‘at work’ and hope you can come to your own conclusions. Here are a few suggestions:

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Horticulturist

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Master Chefs

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Guitar Player

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Scientist

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Mechanical Engineer

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Professional Plummer

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Builder

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Opera Singer

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Sound Engineer

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Car Designer

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Professional Model

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Architects

 

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Prime – Time Parenting Part 7

PRIME-TIME DISCIPLINE: THE PREVENTIVE APPROACH

The goal of effective prime-time discipline is self-discipline. That’s the preventive approach. Working parents can’t oversee & police all their children’s activities. Therefore, they must teach their children how to make good decisions about their own behaviour. When children are self-controlled rather than parent-controlled, it frees time for more creative, enjoyable, & happy family interactions–more quality time together.

Children’s inappropriate behaviour ranges from childish irresponsibility (such as forgetting to feed the dog & accidentally spilling the milk) to wilful defiance of parental authority. In between these two extremes there is a wide range of “normal” misbehavior by children who persistently challenge the limitations imposed by adults.

In order to avoid unnecessary conflict, a parent must understand the difference between discipline & punishment. Punishment is a penalty imposed upon a child for a wrong-doing. Discipline, on the other hand, is a teaching process. It helps him learn lessons that will make him a better person.

Punishment is arbitrarily imposed; discipline relates directly to a child’s inappropriate behaviour. For example, Tim was late getting home from school & had not notified his mother. If she chose to punish him, she might take his bicycle away for two weeks & spank him for his irresponsibility. If, on the other hand, she chose a disciplinary action, she might not allow Tim to watch his favourite TV show that evening so that he could have the time to finish the homework & chores he’d neglected by arriving home late. She might also set up some careful limitations for future behaviour. “Unless you call home & receive permission for a variance, you must be home thirty minutes after school each day or no TV that night.” When discipline is effective it avoids needless conflict & enhances the possibilities for more quality family time.

Remember to keep the request simple. When you make a request, you must always be aware of your child’s ability to understand & remember that request.

Most parents make far too many requests of their children. “Kevin, brush your teeth & wash your face. Be sure to go to the bathroom before we leave. You forgot to clear your plate from the table. And have Kim run a comb through your hair.” My 7-year-old can’t even follow this string of requests. I know because we have tried it & it has never worked! Very few children will speak up & say, “Hold it. I can’t remember everything you’re telling me to do.” Instead, they signal us silently by failing to follow all our instructions. And we respond by accusing them of disobedience! So, when you are trying to teach your child that you are an authority, remember this little jingle:

Just ask the child one thing to do

And then make sure you follow through.

The Qualities of an Effective Disciplinarian

Keep Open.

Being open means that parents are approachable; that they will listen. It means that they will seriously consider another person’s (even a little person’s) suggestions, criticism, needs, concerns, demands, & wishes before making a decision, rather than jealously guarding this function as their own parental right.

Be consistent.

Let’s pretend that you think it’s very important for your child to make his bed each morning. Your child knows exactly how you feel–it is a rule that he should obey. But you are very busy during those morning hours & often forget to check his room. When you do check & find an unmade bed, you sometimes feel that it’s easier to ignore the infraction than to exert the extra effort needed to get him to make his bed before the school bus arrives. So you decide to wait until after school. Then, by the time you both get home, the bed is forgotten.

Now, you still feel very strongly about the bed, & you have communicated this to your child in no uncertain terms. Shouldn’t this be enough to get the job done? He clearly knows what he should do. Why doesn’t he do it? The reason is that this requirement has not been consistently enforced.

Children will abide by reasonable requirements & limitations, but their tendency is to do as little as possible. Even a two-year-old will try to get away with as much as he can. He’ll quickly learn that even though his parents say “no” frequently, the limits will come tumbling down if he kicks hard enough. When his persistent challenging meets with parental inconsistency, he’ll be encouraged to kick at every limit he would just as soon do without.

Balance tenderness & firmness.

A good disciplinarian constantly walks the tightrope between firmness & tenderness. Sometimes he may tip in one direction but he corrects the error with a little tip in the opposite direction. He is not afraid to be firm, but he is equally unafraid to be tender.

Provide encouragement.

Inspire your child with a sense of hope; assure him of your support & your trust in his capabilities.

Between the plunking of the typewriter keys, I thought I heard a whimper. I left the study to investigate. Kari was sitting on the piano bench, her eyes brimming with tears. “What’s wrong, Kari?” I asked.

“I can’t do it. It’s too hard. I’ll never get a gold star at my next lesson,” she cried.

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” I said. “What is the first note of your piece?” Step by step I began encouraging her to pick her way through the difficult music. I sat beside her as she played it over & over again until it was mastered.

That night Kari hugged & kissed me with extra feeling & bounced off to her bed joyfully. The next day the joy of encouragement buoyed her again when her teacher rewarded her with a gold star.

Encouragement. What a tranquilizer! What a stimulant! What an antidepressant! What a tonic for whatever ails a child! I don’t think there is ever a time when encouragement & hope are inappropriate. A disobedient child is often a discouraged child. He reasons, “When I don’t feel good about myself & nothing I do seems to work out, it really doesn’t matter how I act. Why even try to be good?” Discouragement can lead to despair, moodiness, even apathy. All these emotions severely restrict a child’s ability to cope & to make wise decisions.

Don’t risk discouragement; give your child an injection of “hypodermic affection” every three hours, or as often as needed. This quick injection of love can be a hug, a wink, a smile, or a playful nibble on a baby’s tummy. These little attentions can give a child a new outlook on life.

Common Mistakes of Parents

The following list of common parental mistakes offers some guidelines to help you err less frequently.

  1. Living too close to the problem to view it objectively. One day a frustrated mother lamented to her child’s teacher, “I have no idea what I am going to do with my boy. I can’t cope with his behavior. He is constantly on my nerves & in my hair & under foot. He is always doing things that annoy me.”

“Well,” replied the teacher, “have you ever thought of getting him a bicycle?”

“A bicycle!” the parent exclaimed. “Now, how is that going to change his behaviour?”

“Well, it may not change his behaviour,” replied the teacher, “but it would spread it over a wider area.”

Sometimes problems are magnified because we view them at such close range. Gain a new perspective by stepping away from the situation occasionally. Learn to view your child from the perspective of others. Remember, a child’s behaviour is not nearly so irritating if it is spread over a wider area & viewed from a healthy perspective!

  1. Being too restrictive or too permissive. Parents who feel insecure about their children’s behaviour tend to restrict that behaviour to such an extent that the child has little room to think creatively & misbehave. When a child’s behaviour is severely restricted, he cannot learn to make decisions & experience the consequences of those decisions. Overly restricted children are followers; they are overly compliant, shy, & hesitant to reach out to others. These children can surprise parents by suddenly going to the opposite extreme during the teenage years & rebelling against parental values & standards.

The opposite extreme, being too permissive, is equally detrimental to a child’s development. If you allow your child to do whatever he pleases, you are heading for conflict throughout the child-rearing years. Overpermissiveness may seem like a good way to avoid conflict, but without parental guidance, children tend to pack together & run wild until their aggressive, noncompliant behaviour gets them into trouble.

  1. Expecting misbehavior. When asked the question, “How is your child’s behaviour?” one father quipped, “I don’t know. He has never behaved!” Children tend to fulfil the expectations of others. If you expect them to be bad, they will usually reward you with this very behaviour. In fact, they may even outdo your expectations. On the other hand, if they know that you trust them to make good decisions (unless they are rebelling against you in some way), they will usually do everything in their power to fulfil those expectations.
  2. Being too busy to discipline. The first time a child misbehaves, he must be corrected & taught a more acceptable mode of behavior. If he does it again, he must be corrected again. Surprisingly, however, parents are often too busy to follow through on their instructions to a child. Your arms may be elbow deep in the dishwater; you may be talking on the phone to a business associate; you may be entertaining the boss & his wife. Too often, parents allow the dishes, a caller, or a guest to absorb their full attention, so they ignore misbehavior & neglect to discipline. Disciplining a child after the company has departed is not as effective as immediate disciplinary action. Imagine the impact on your child if you excuse yourself from your company for a few minutes to talk privately with your child about the inappropriateness of his behaviour. Your child will never forget that Mom and Dad will leave whatever they are doing in order to teach their children appropriate behaviour, even though they may be very busy at that time.
  3. Not trusting the child’s capability for self-discipline. If you have established a good rapport with your child during the early years, & have taught him that you are a wise decision-maker, then you can trust him to make more & more of his own decisions as he grows older & more independent.

Individuals who know they are trusted are able to exert a great deal of self-control & willpower. In college, I had a dormitory dean who trusted each one of her girls implicitly. Even though I had many opportunities to break dormitory rules, or sneak in late, I never did because I did not want to lose that trust.

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Exploring the Post Office

Sunbird children have had many opportunities to visit a lot of interesting places over the years. Our last field trip was a first and one of a kind: The friendly postmen and postwomen bowled the kids over with their smiles and warmth and made the trip so interesting. Thanks dear Vivek Nagar post office, thank you teachers and thank you parents Rajini and Abilash for taking the time and offering  to support us with participation and transport!!

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Sunbird Quotes

The best thing parents can spend on their children is not money, but time.

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Harvesting Time and Farewell

Dear parents

Slowly the year is coming to an end. The children have harvested the horseradish they helped to plant some time ago. Most of the older children are finished with their assignments and all are practicing for the upcoming year end celebration. Enjoy the delighted faces with the radishes they took home.

This month, one of our students left for Canada. The children gave him a nice fare well. He got a card and a certificate for all rounder student. We will be looking forward to hearing of his progress there. All the best Advay, we miss you.

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Prime -Time Parenting Part 6

HOW TO TUCK LOVE INTO EVERY POCKET OF TIME

When you think of filling your child’s life with love, it seems like an enormous task. You hardly know where to begin. But you can start by viewing time in little pockets–five minutes here, ten minutes there–that can be filled to the brim right now–not tomorrow or next month or next year. Your constant thought should not be, “When will I ever find the time?” Rather it should be, “I have a five-minute pocket of time; what can I do right now that will get the `I love you’ message across to my child?”

How Do You Say, “I Love You”?

Most parents are willing to give everything they have to their children. They will sacrifice their own needs & work long hours to provide their children with the necessities, as well as the luxuries of life. But if a parent neglects to give a child love, nothing else can substitute for that gap. The child will suffer. Parental love is of primary importance.

You can’t say “I love you” with things. Love can be expressed by words & actions, but in order for either of these methods to be effective, a parent must spend time with a child. Love is communicated by the time spent individually with your child, & by the time spent in pleasant family activities. It is your “presence,” not your “presents,” that really expresses your love.

This does not mean that you must spend every minute with your child. However, when your absence is necessary, you must continue to communicate love messages, & convince your child that your absence does not mean other people are more important to you than he is.

What if a child does not want to spend time with you? Parents of teenagers told me that they would gladly spend time with their children if the children wanted them to. Now they have the time. Their children are old enough to converse & enjoy some of the same activities their parents enjoy. But their teenagers often want nothing to do with them. “Dad never had time for me when I wanted him to take me hiking & fishing; why should I include him in my activities now?”

Make yourself & your love readily accessible. Be fun to be with. Create an atmosphere of warm acceptance & most children, including rebellious teens, will be drawn to you.

Making Presence Qualitatively Meaningful

Let’s go through the day & see how you can get the most out of your time with your children.

  1. Morning: Instead of yelling, “Time to get up,” walk to the children’s bedroom, whisper in their ear that it’s time to get up, & then stroke their foreheads as they open their sleepy eyes.
  2. Goodbye time: Instead of running out the door, say “Goodbye.” Wink at the children as you turn to leave & then blow them a kiss from the car.
  3. Midday: Instead of working straight through the day, take a break & think of a way you can communicate your love to your child. Call him at school, bring him something from the office, remember to tell him the joke you just heard.
  4. Evening: Instead of letting everyone go about their different tasks, do a few things together. Talk, smile, laugh, & give your child a pat on the back when a task is finished.

The Importance of an Unconditional Loving Relationship

The important key to helping our children develop desirable characteristics is love–unconditional love. No matter what mistakes a parent may make, if a child knows that he is loved, he can overlook many of these mistakes. And, with the sense of worth that love brings, he can grow into an emotionally healthy adult.

When parents begin tucking love into every pocket of a child’s life, they must not base this shower of affection & acceptance on the child’s behaviour. The kind of love that must be tucked into pockets of time is the kind of love that is unconditionally given, no matter what the child does.

Enjoy Your Child

It’s always sad to hear parents say, “I can hardly wait for my child to get through the diaper stage.” If you are really interested in filling every pocket of time with as much love as you can pack into it, you must enjoy being with your children. You have to enjoy them just the way they are, at whatever stage they may be. Here are some suggestions to help you create that sense of enjoyment.

Be prepared. Husbands, how do you feel when your wife & children have truly prepared for your homecoming in the evening; when dinner is ready & the mail is lying in a place where you can find it? When someone has made an extra effort on your behalf, you know that person has been thinking about you. You feel loved. Children feel the same way. If you prepare for their birth & their various developmental stages, the time you spend with them will more likely be quality time.

Keep a diary, scrapbook, or picture album. Collecting the children’s cute sayings, anecdotes, photographs, drawings, & other interesting miscellany helps build memories for future enjoyment. Collecting & recording can add to your enjoyment right now, if you keep the task easy.

Play games with your child. Playing games with children means getting involved with them at their level; being responsive to their behaviour. Start at birth. Play the “I’ll touch-your-nose, & tickle-your-tummy, & pedal-your-feet & stretch-your-arms-up-so-high” games. Toddlers love the chase-me-but-don’t-catch-me game & peek-a-boo. Preschoolers enjoy pretend games like let’s-play-house. School-age children enjoy organised games like basketball, baseball & Ping-Pong–if you are skillful enough to allow them to win without letting them know what you are doing.

Dovetail your interests. Young children are interested in collecting earthworms & catching ladybugs, digging in the dirt pile or jumping in the pile of leaves. Forget yourself & enjoy your child’s interests. Pull weeds while you’re collecting earthworms, or finish your crossword puzzle by the pile of leaves. The important thing is that you are enjoying the activity that your child is interested in.

Do what you enjoy (or what you have to do) & take the children along. Why not take the children along on a business trip if you think you might have a few pockets of time when you could enjoy each other? A colleague who works long hours & takes frequent business trips to Washington, D.C. takes each of his teenagers with him once a year. While Dad attends meetings, the teenager fills his mind with thousands of interesting facts & sights at the Smithsonian Institute. Each evening they do something special together.

If photography is your thing, introduce your child to the darkroom. Choose an activity that you really enjoy & include your child, but remember his developmental capabilities. He may not be able to sit through a long meeting, hike ten miles a day, or fish on a quiet lake without rocking the boat, but with a little modification you may be able to take your child along & create a memorable occasion for both of you.

Take time to enjoy each child individually. Ideally each parent should try to spend some daily individual time with each child. Finding this time is more difficult when families are large. With each new birth parents have less time to give the other children alone.

One very busy travelling evangelist, who was also the father of six, solved this problem by making bedtime his time with the children. Every night when he was home, he scheduled their bedtime at half hour intervals. This gave him time to talk over the events of the day, read to the children, & listen to each child’s prayers individually.

Do the Unexpected

I once read an unforgettable account about a father & his 7-year-old son. On an August night, the father bundled up the sleeping child & carried him into the darkness. As the boy’s sleep-filled eyes began to focus on his surroundings, the father shouted, “Look!” And there in the sky the little boy saw a star leap from its place & fall toward the ground. Then incredibly, another star fell, & another & another. That was all. But the boy never forgot that night when his father did the unexpected.

How often do we miss the beauty & richness of life because we are locked into routines & schedules, & we are afraid to take advantage of the unknown, the unplanned, & the unexpected? Keep a “Why-not” list. This is a list of way-out, interesting, crazy things to do with or for your children. When the opportunity is right & the children are least expecting it, surprise them with the announcement, “Why not…?”

At the top of a Why-not list I suggest a love note. Why not write a love note when it is least expected? For years mothers have been tucking little notes into children’s lunch pails, but have you thought about taping a note to his toothbrush, or on the ceiling of his bedroom so he will see it as soon as he wakes up, or putting it under his napkin at the dinner table?

Here are some other “Why-not” ideas. Why not take the child to some unexpected place or do something out of the ordinary? Why not milk a cow? Why not visit the local radio station? Why not paddle down the river or float on inner tubes (if you’ve got a river close by)? Why not sit on the roof & watch the full moon come up? Why not catch butterflies, or fly a kite, or have a three-legged race? Why not camp out in your backyard with sleeping bags & a campfire? Why not just stop in the middle of your ironing or dusting to read your child a story?

Open Doors for Your Child

One of a parent’s greatest privileges is to open new & wonderful doors of possibility to a child. One day, after winning a tennis tournament, the young teenage winner was asked when she first became interested in tennis. She thought for a moment & replied, “it was the day my father gave it to me.” The reporters, not understanding her reply, try to clarify, “You mean, when your father bought you a racket & ball?” “No,” she replied, “it was the day Dad took off from work & played with me. That was the day he gave me tennis.”

Open the door to good cooking by sharing kitchen responsibilities with your child. Let her read your cookbook or take her out to eat at a gourmet restaurant & then encourage her to experiment on her own. Open the door to the artistic world by frequenting art museums & galleries. Plan to open a door for your child today.

Be an Effective Communicator

Studies on teenage runaways suggest that the most important way a parent can help a troubled adolescent is to listen. Running away is a desperate attempt to communicate what parents were not willing to listen to before. Being a good listener is a simple way to show you understand & care. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Show interest in your child’s conversation. Look up. Make appropriate comments. Stop what you are doing.
  2. Don’t correct his speech while he is talking to you.
  3. Focus on the hidden message–if you think there might be one.
  4. Don’t contradict his story or the points he is making until he has finished & wants your opinions.
  5. Don’t squelch a child when he voices offbeat values or comes to an impossible conclusion. Don’t laugh, make fun of, belittle, tear down, or in any other way make it more difficult for a child to open up his heart & ideas to you in the future.
  6. Be an active listener. Active listening means active involvement with the person who is communicating. To show that you are actively listening, make little expressions of understanding, such as, “Yes, ah ha, I see,” etc.
  7. Encourage your child to talk, to express himself, & to share his values & goals. One way to encourage the child to share his world with you is to have a talk-about-it bowl or basket that sits on the kitchen table. During the day, the children can put objects, notes, newspaper clippings, or articles into the bowl that they would like to talk about during dinner.

Write a variety of questions on paper placemats. Cover them with clear contact paper so they will last. Choose questions that will stimulate a good conversation. When the dinner conversation seems to drag, read off a question, like, “What would you do if you just inherited a million Dollars?” Or, “If you knew you were going to die in one month, how would you spend your time?”

  1. Children should be encouraged to communicate on the feeling level.

If children are going to learn to communicate their feelings, then you must encourage them to do so. Does your child know that it is safe to say, “Mommy, I feel sad. Hold me a little bit.” “Mom, I feel discouraged. Do you have a minute to talk?” “Dad, I got angry when you spoke to me like that. Can we discuss it?”

What kind of communicator are you? For one hour while your whole family is together, tape-record your conversation. Then analyse your interactions.

Prepare for Separation

It is often easier for children to accept their parents’ vacations or business trips if they know that they will be invited along some other time. Children suffer most when they don’t know when or why their parents are leaving, and when they feel that they will never be able to join their parents.

When young children are separated from their parents, the most difficult part of the day is often bedtime. One parent solved this problem by reading stories to her child over a cassette tape recorder. Her daughter was reminded of Mom’s love at the end of every day when she heard her mother’s words, “I love you & miss you. So snuggle up in your warm, cozy bed. I’m going to blow you a kiss. Did you catch it? Now there’s a special story for my special little girl.”

Take Advantage of the Prime-Prime-Times

There are extra-special times when your presence or absence will have a tremendous impact on the child. I consider 1) arrival & departure times, 2) performance time, and 3) bedtime as prime-prime-times.

  1. Arrival & departure times. Arrivals & departures should be family celebration times. No matter how insignificant these times may seem, make some preparations & take some time off from your busy schedule to affirm your love for the arriving or departing member of the family.

Departure times can be more meaningful if they are not rushed. In most homes, including ours, the average after-breakfast departure time is a disaster. “Grab your lunch pail.” “Kevin, get your shoes.” “You forgot to wash your face.” “No, I don’t know where your note that I was supposed to sign is.” Finally, when they are gone you collapse in the midst of dirty dishes, thankful that you have once again lived through the departure hurricane that has just swept through your house.

Again, preparation is the key. Our most pleasant mornings begin the night before: The children have prepared their box lunches, set the table, organised their clothes, & put everything they have to take to school by the back door. It also helps when they get up early enough to get themselves ready & still have time to help Jan & me with breakfast. Then we have time to enjoy each other.

  1. Performance time. A child’s performance time is a prime time for parents to show love & support. It doesn’t matter how small a part your child has in a performance, your presence is meaningful. At such times, parents should support their children because they are trying, & pat them on the back even if they strike out or fumble the ball.
  2. Bedtime. Bedtime is by far the nicest, coziest, & most enjoyable part of the day. If I could choose only 15 minutes a day to spend with my children, it would be the 15 minutes before bedtime.

Bedtime can be a hassle if it’s not well planned–if the kids are dead tired, haven’t done their homework, and are bickering about who should pick up the dirty clothes left in the bathroom. To set the stage properly, there has to be adequate preparation & planning. Bedtime is most enjoyable when the children are not exhausted or rushed.

This is the time when I listen to my children’s prayers, tuck them in with a hug & a kiss, & then linger around after the lights are off to chat, rub backs, & snuggle–if they feel like a snuggle.

Categories: positive parenting | Leave a comment

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