Me in a Tree

Archive for July, 2013


Children begin to develop a sense of self starting from infancy, watch yourselfand they see themselves through their parent’s eyes. Your tone of voice, body language, and expressions all contribute to how your child views him or herself as they develop.

Regardless of your child’s behaviour – positive or negative – your reactions will have an influence on how he or she continues to behave, so it becomes very important that you are aware of your responses.

You may find that you become more susceptible to your own reactions if you see the situation from your child’s point of view. This allows you to understand their perspective and adjust your reactions accordingly. For instance, if your child is behaving badly and is really pushing your buttons, do you launch into loud lecture, or step back and ask yourself if your reaction is one that you would be willing to observe in your own child. If you always react in an angry way when your child doesn’t behave like they should, he or she will think that this is a normal reaction and begin to model it back to you or his or her peers.

Remember this one thing: children watch you. They will constantly observe what you say, how you treat people, and how you react in different situations. If you want them to have calm, cool-headed, positive behaviour, you must model that yourself.


Effective parenting requires patience, and patiencePatience and Parenting requires time and persistence.

Every parent loses his or her patience every once in a while, but like any habit, this can be cultivated and mastered, and is especially important when dealing with your children.

Has your child ever spilled something on the carpet or broken something valuable? Did you ever lose your cool? Of course you have! Children are some of the most curious and mischievous people. The way you react to your child’s behaviour is often proportional to how he or she behaves in the future, so it is important to react with patience.

Here are some tips on cultivating patience every day.

• If your child starts to get on your nerves, count to 10. This is a really effective method to cool down before you say anything that you might regret.
Deep breaths. This works very well with the tip above. Count to 10, take a few deep breaths, and repeat if you need to.
Ask yourself, “Does this help?” Often yelling and angry words are not productive ways to get your child’s attention or discipline effectively.
Take a break. Sometimes, the best immediate solution is to physically leave the situation. Go take a walk for 15 minutes to gather your thoughts before you talk to your child.
• Just laugh about it. Like said above, nobody is perfect, and parents need to be reminded of that. Parents should enjoy their children. This doesn’t always work, but it’s good to remind yourself of this.
React with love. Initial reactions tend to be angry, but it is more effective to react with love.


Families who subscribe to cable or satellite television serviceappointment television know that you can look ahead to see what shows are on TV that night, and even in to the next day and week. Many families practice a media theory called “appointment television”, which is just that: you look ahead in the channel menu or TV guide, and determine which shows that you are going to watch. The TV is only on during those specific shows. This practice is good for families, for many reasons.

Being selective in which shows you do or do not watch will cut down on your screen time significantly. Much time spent in front of the television involves flipping through channel after channel, and you become idle. In fact, many pediatricians recommend that children under two should not be watching television at all, and that it is a good idea to limit your children (two and up) to two hours per day of screen time.

Cutting down on your screen time will give your family more freedom to spend time with each other. With the time you spend not watching television, you can fill with a nice walk or bike ride. You can crack open the seals on the board games that slumber in your front closet.

Appointment television also enables you to screen TV content for its palatability for your children, no matter how young.

If you are not convinced, just try practicing appointment television, and you will notice a difference in the closeness and level of communication that you share as a family.


Hula Hooping was popular in the 1950s but can still bring lots of laughs!  Hula HoopingThere are so many games you can play with a hula hoop such as:

  • who can do the maximum rotations
  • who can push their hoop the furthest down the street
  • if you really up for a challenge have the family all join hands while holding the hoop and then try to move the hula hoop from person to person without letting go

Now it’s time to turn off the computer and get outside with your family!


Get the family, friends or neighbors together for an impromptu backyard party smoresat the fire pit. Tell them all they need is their appetite – you’re serving S’mores!

You can use skewers or even metal coat hangers in place of wooden sticks to roast the marshmallows, but keep pot holders handy in case the ends become too hot!

S’mores Recipe

What You Need

1 bag of Marshmallows, toasted
3 Milk Chocolate Candy Bars, each broken into (4-square) pieces
1 box of Graham Wafers

Make It

Roast 1 marshmallow and sandwich it with 1 chocolate piece between each of 2 graham wafers to make each s’more; press together gently to secure.


Parenting is all about communicating with your child, Communicating with Childrenand positive two-way communication is important to achieving a healthy relationship and building your child’s self-esteem. When a child wants to talk, it can be easy for parents to interject and correct when their child uses the wrong word, or disagrees. These “chat killers” are also communication killers, and have negative consequences on their self-esteem and confidence.

It becomes increasingly important as your child grows older to share ideas and listen, instead of insisting on talking or correcting. This way, you ensure that your child understands that you value what he or she is talking about and that you are opening up a communication channel that is a flow of ideas and opinions both ways.

Be mindful of your body language, too. Remember that the way you carry and position yourself can have a significant impact on the quality of communication. Make eye contact with your children when they are talking to show that you are listening. Try not to stand above them, but squat down so you are at the same height. Keep in mind the little body language cues such as toe tapping, finger drumming, eye rolling, or sighing, as these can show dissonance and cause children to back away from the conversation.

Finally, remember that communication means paying attention, and paying attention means listening. The next time your child wants to have a chat with you, resist all temptation to interject disagreements, corrections, or other “chat killers”, and focus on listening and sharing ideas.


Learning social communication skills Social Skillsare a huge part of a child’s development, and these communication skills largely follows a process:

1. Social intake: noticing the social behaviours of those around you
2. Internal process: interpreting these behaviours and managing your own emotions and behaviours
3. Social output: communicating your emotions, thoughts, and feelings

Research has shown that children with disabilities have difficulty grasping social skills in a natural way that most other children do. In social situations, children with disabilities tend to be less able and quick to solve social problems such as sharing toys with other children; accomplish more complex social skills such as persuasion, negotiation, resistance to peer pressure; or adapt to new situations.

Many social “mis-cues” are a result of an improper or misinterpretation of another child’s behaviour. To help your child recognize the differences in emotions, play a game of “emotion charades”. Write emotions on slips of paper and take turns acting on or drawing pictures of the emotions.

A key resource to teach your child proper social skills is you. In general, children are imitators. They say what you say and do what you do. Teach this skill by modelling it in your own life first. It may be hard, but with persistence and patience, you can teach your child the value and tactics of proper social behaviour.


The ability to solve problems is one of the most essential skills problem solvingthat humans develop throughout their lifetime. It is critical for nearly every aspect of life: jobs, relationships, children, etcetera. Because having problem solving skills is so important, it is a good idea to start teaching them to your children when they are young.

One of the strongest and fastest ways to teach problems solving skills is through play. Scheduled opportunities – play date, playschool, or a trip to the park – allow your children to experience social problem solving. For instance, if your child wants to play with a certain toy, but another child is already playing with it, what would you do? Support your child’s resolution of the problem by gently guiding him or her to an appropriate response. For example, say to your child, “Do you want that toy? You should ask that boy if you can take a turn with the toy”. By modeling and matching your words and guidance to your child’s level of language and development, you increase your child’s success in problem solving in social situations.

This type of problem solving is not, however, specific to social circumstances. Working with your child to find solutions is a great way to:

1.  demonstrate the skill in your own life

2.  give your child the space to develop the skill on his or her own

Finally, encourage self-expression, which can lead to a generation of many possible solutions. Urge your child to evaluate each alternative and choose the best option. Follow up with talking about why your child chose the solution that he or she did. Before long, your child will become a problem solving whiz.


Getting your youngsters to bed can seem like a full-time job, Me in a Treeand they often prevail as the boss. With electronic babysitters (i.e. television, iPods, video games, etc.), it is hard to transition from an active, engaged child to a sleepy, slumbering bundle of joy. Luckily for you, here are five tips on making bedtime much easier.

1. Set up a routine. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, and follow this pattern – even on the weekends. Building this habit will make electronics before bedtime less of a distraction.
2. Set a time limit on television. Too much TV can have negative consequences for bedtime routines. Giving your children a warning such as “it’s almost time for bed” will ease some frustration around that transition.
3. Make getting ready for bed fun. Tell your children that if they get dressed and washed for bed in a certain amount of time, there might be an extra bedtime story.
4. Give some sugar. Not actual sugar – that would be a disaster. Give your children hugs and kisses to soothe them to sleep
5. Tell your child that when she is in bed, she has to stay in bed. If she gets up, don’t react, but take her hand and lead her back to bed.

Children are excellent negotiators when it comes to bedtime. They will often make reasonable requests just to stay up a bit longer; however, being firm about the rules around bedtime will help to establish a routine and ensure that your child is getting as much sleep as she needs.


Parents, it’s not a talk that you ever look forward to, butMe in a Tree talking about sex with your children early on can be beneficial to their development. Opening up the conversation allows your child to ask questions and alleviate any awkwardness that naturally arises from the subject. Having micro-conversations and talking about sex many times throughout your child’s development, starting once your child can use language, eliminates the need for the long “birds and the bees” talk.

A key thing to remember is to keep your answers and explanations age-appropriate. As your child develops and starts to process more information, you can provide more detail in conversations.

Never avoid a teachable moment, even if they are at the most unexpected times – at the supermarket, for example. Dive in and offer accurate information whenever your child sashays anywhere near the topic of sex. If you are in a public place, you can simply tell your child that you will talk about either in the car or at home. It is important, however, to return to the subject. Don’t let it fall by wayside.

This is not an easy topic to talk about, but there are plenty of resources to help you out:

  • Find a support group of parents who are in the same situation. Talking with other parents may give you some tips for your conversations with your child.
  • Go to a library or even search on online (be careful about the credibility of websites!) to find age-appropriate resources to kick start your discussions about sex with your children.