Me in a Tree

Posts Tagged ‘children’


The old adage goes: “treat others the way you want to be treated”.  The same is true for parenting.  The Golden RuleYou should not do anything to your child that you wouldn’t want your child to do to you.  For instance, if you want your child to listen to you, listen to them.  If you don’t attentively listen to what your child has to say, they will imitate your behaviour and refuse to listen to you.

Parents can get caught up in the busyness of life that they inadvertently teach their children bad habits.  If you address the cashier at the grocery store in a rude manner, the likelihood that your child will respond to you in the same manner is fairly good.  By not correcting your own behaviour, you are teaching your child that rudeness and disrespect are okay.

If you want your child to respect you, first respect him or her.  Let your child initiate and facilitate a conversation, and then listen to them.  It is important to hold yourself accountable for your actions, correct yourself when you are wrong, and create every mistake into an opportunity to teach your child fundamental life skills such as respect.

It really is as simple as treating your child the way you would want to be treated.


You know how it goes: seemingly overnight your chatterbox child has nothing to say. Me in a TreeSo, how do you keep those brains churning and mouths moving with conversation?

Conversations between you and your child should not feel like an interrogation, but like a conversation. When children are pelted with questions of what they did, who they saw, if everyone got along, or if they went to the bathroom or ate their lunch, they are sure to shut down. Don’t provide a quiz; instead, offer a pressure free opportunity for your child to open up on their own terms.

A great way to get your child to start talking is to share about your own childhood. Kids can relate to you when they are aware of how you lived as a child. This might trigger some conversation topics in their heads.

Even just being together as a family can stimulate conversation. A play date in the park, or a family swim can create moments to set the stage for great conversation later.

And finally, listen to your child. You need to hear what your child is saying to have the most appropriate response, which will keep the conversation flowing.

Keep your questions open-ended, be patient, and listen. These are simple ways to keep your conversations from ending in a simple “fine”.

Childcare Talk to Kids
The Parent Link


Confidence can often be associated with accomplishment, and is integral to development. Confident ChildrenNo matter what stage of development that your child is in, there are always skills to learn. These skills will not only build up your child’s confidence, but also increase their independence and responsibility.

To teach your child a new skill, you will want to start from where you are, not where you want to be. This may be intimidating and counter-intuitive. Identify what skills your child already has and what they can already do, and decide where to go from there. There may be many areas that you want to focus on, but just narrow in on one at a time. This will ensure that your child is not overwhelmed and increases their chances of success.

You should also consider breaking large tasks down and setting deadlines for when a certain task should be completed. With the development of new skills, you are reaching a goal, and deadlines will help your child stay on track and keep progressing.

It is also very important that you keep track of progress and praise your child when they accomplish even a small goal. This positive affirmation will give them the confidence boost to keep going.

It is important to realize that you are your child’s first teacher. You are teaching them to learn and grow with each new skill. It may take time to learn, but patience is necessary. You want to build their confidence and maintain a love for learning.

ConnectABILITY: Identify Skills to Teach
For the First Timer: 5 Tips on Teaching Your Child A New Skill


Part of healthy development is learning to be your own person, to have control over your own actions. Me in a TreeIt may not seem wise, but children need to be in control over certain areas in their lives. For instance, if your daughter is developing some self-expression, then let her pick out her own outfit. It may not match, but it will give her confidence. She has the opportunity to be a “big girl” and show mom and dad that she can pick out her own clothes.

As your child ages and develops, the more independence they will need. Once your child becomes self-aware and can distinguish between right and wrong, allowing them to make larger decisions will give them the confidence they will need to continue to develop.

Of course, it may be your “mother bear” instinct to control many of the areas of your child’s life, but this can stifle their growth and set them back for the future. Being overly controlling can attribute to a child’s low self-esteem, which can have damaging effects such as deviance, irrational behaviour, and possibly depression.

Note that your child does not need to control every aspect of his or her life, but only an area at a time. As they grow and develop, they learn many new things, and gain the confidence to make decisions in their life. If you want to try adding in chores as a way for them to grow this independence, try out the Me In A Tree Responsibility Chart.

Kids Health: Developing Your Child’s Self-Esteem


Family…Working & Playing Together

For many of us, the New Year means setting some personal resolution to better ourselves in some way or another. When we think resolutions, we often think along the lines of losing weight, exercising more or getting out of debt, but have you ever considered making a resolution to improve the lives of your whole family?

Making a family resolution means you can focus on “what really matters”. Not only will you improve your family, but your children will learn a lot about self discipline and the value of setting a goal.

Here are some tips on how to help your kids benefit from making resolutions:

1. In order for you and your family to set goals it might be a good idea to review what your family does well together and what you struggle with. By sitting down and identifying your strengths and weaknesses it will become easier to establish where you want to go. has a 5 t0 10 minute assessment that will do this for you.


The other day, I was lying on the couch in my living room reading. In the apartment above me I heard the characteristic thumping and chatter of children.


“Cool,” I thought. “Kids in the building. Maybe I can play with them.”


Let me qualify that statement by first saying that I am not really a lover of children. I am not really……… maternal. I like my own siblings – I am mildly obsessed with my baby brother, even though he hates me – and sometimes the children of close friends grab my heart strings a little.


But I am not one of those women who looks at a child and gets a throb in the general direction of her womb and goes “OHMYGOSH………..I WANT THAT TINY HUMAN.”


NO Mostly, I think of how terrified I am of night feedings and explosive diapers and the boundless energy that little people seem to have.

Kids in Motion

Thumpers and Squealers


Over the thirty years I worked with families, the number one challenge in helping parents with their children’s behavior was asking the parents to change the way they did things.  Oh, they were usually very willing to give the suggestions a try, yet even when the results worked great, very few parents stuck with them. Gradually, like a slow growing mold, their old ways of dealing with the children seeped in and everything went right back to the way they were. This pattern was repeated so often that I did not close the case until I was sure they were not going to revert to their old ways.

Families have their own particular way of being with one another that can almost resemble a dance. Some dances are like a slow quiet foxtrot or waltz while others more closely resemble a tango or rock and roll dance. And families with many crises in their lives may start with one set of steps and abruptly change to a salsa. Then, when things calm down they return to their original dance, but only for a short time as the cycle is repeated.


By Judy Arnall

Attitude is sarcastic anger. Sometimes, it’s a snarky I – statement or You – statement. If you look underneath, often, it’s a sign that your child is ready for more independence and feels thwarted in some way. Does she have reasonable choices? Can you give her more ability to make decisions? Or does she feel that she never has control over anything? Children want their needs and wants taken care of, just like adults do.


During the month of April, our focus is on the importance of family. One historical event I found to be interesting was the marriage of Brigham Young to his 27th and final wife on this day in 1868.  There seems to be some controversy as to how many wives and children Brigham actually had. There are reports of up to 56 wives and 57 biological children and by the way, he was the ninth of eleven children. THIS man knew family!

Brigham Young c. 1870

It’s not my job or my nature (hopefully) to sit in judgment, but how on earth does one person have a solid relationship with that many people? Did he have date night with every wife? Were family dinners the norm? How often did he see each of his wives and children?

Having five children of my own the question is often thrown at me “how do you do it?”. I respond by shrugging my shoulders and throwing the question back at the questioner (because most of the time I don’t really know). What I do know is some things are very important to us, to the solidity of our family and we make sure they happen. For instance, most nights we sit down together to eat dinner – not in front of the TV.  Sometimes, okay, often times, it’s not until 8:00pm (a little hard on the digestive system I agree), but important to us never-the-less. It’s the time we get to reconnect and have a decent meal. Everyone has a night to clean up and as of next week everyone will have a night to cook dinner AND clean up (conveniently adding up to seven nights). I enjoy and value this time immensely as I get to watch them interact. We laugh and sometimes cry and mostly enjoy each others company…… least that’s MY take on it (I hope my children feel the same) but mostly we just “be a family”.  It’s all good!


Can you believe it’s April already!?! Where does the time go? Like many of you, we too are happy to see the signs of spring. A time of renewal. The sprouting plants, regrowth of trees, grass turning green and the birth of animals all around. We are taking this time of renewal throughout the month of April to focus on the family. The importance of family, what family is about and what it means to have a family.

April is full of important dates that focus on family from ‘Find A Rainbow Day’ on Sunday, April 3 to ‘National Siblings Day’ on Sunday, April 10 and we won’t be forgetting Easter, which is always a time to spend with family. This month we will endeavour to discuss family in relation to these special events and provide you with an inspirational morning read to enjoy with a cup of coffee and to give you something to think about throughout your day.


Let’s start with today. April 1, 2011, otherwise known as April Fool’s Day. April Fools’ Day is celebrated all around the world. It is not a legal holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day that tolerates practical jokes and general foolishness.

It is believed that this day originates from a mistake made in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales (1392) announcing the anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia. The passage read ‘Syn March bigan thritty dayes and two‘. Chaucer probably meant 32 days after March, i.e. May 2, however, readers apparently misunderstood this line to mean “32nd of March,” i.e. 1st April.

Moving on, the importance of this day to family would be to teach your children how to play a practical joke with a good heart. Practical jokes should not be cruel or result in anyone being hurt physically or emotionally. A good practical joke can be funny to all concerned and lighten up everyone’s day.

Here are some harmless ideas!

Put a couple of drops of food colouring in your milk carton.

Wet your hand with water, pretend to sneeze, and sprinkle the water on someone.

Create a sponge cake from a real sponge. Colour it with markers and offer it to your friends.

The list goes on!

And finally we wanted to make you aware of some news we heard today. Facebook has been shut down and will no  longer be in operation as of April 6, 2011.