child development, family time, momblog, Relationships

Actively Listening to your Child

via Actively Listening to your Child

Communicating with our children can be a difficult task at times.  We feel like they’re not listening to us; they feel like we’re not listening to them.  Good listening and communications skills are essential to successful parenting.  Your child’s feelings, views and opinions have worth, and you should make sure you take the time to sit down and listen openly and discuss them honestly.

It seems to be a natural tendency to react rather than to respond.  We pass judgment based on our own feelings and experiences.  However, responding means being receptive to our child’s feelings and emotions and allowing them to express themselves openly and honestly without fear of repercussion from us.  By reacting, we send our child the message that their feelings and opinions are invalid.  But by responding and asking questions about why the child feels that way, it opens a dialog that allows them to discuss their feelings further, and allows you a better understanding of where they’re coming from.  Responding also gives you an opportunity to work out a solution or a plan of action with your child that perhaps they would not have come up with on their own.  Your child will also appreciate the fact that maybe you do indeed understand how they feel.

It’s crucial in these situations to give your child your full and undivided attention.  Put down your newspaper, stop doing dishes, or turn off the television so you can hear the full situation and make eye contact with your child.   Keep calm, be inquisitive, and afterwards offer potential solutions to the problem.


Don’t discourage your child from feeling upset, angry, or frustrated.  Our initial instinct may be to say or do something to steer our child away from it, but this can be a detrimental tactic.  Again, listen to your child, ask questions to find out why they are feeling that way, and then offer potential solutions to alleviate the bad feeling.

Just as we do, our children have feelings and experience difficult situations.  By actively listening and participating with our child as they talk about it, it demonstrates to them that we do care, we want to help and we have similar experiences of our own that they can draw from.  Remember, respond – don’t react.

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child development, child safety, family conflict, Relationships

The Importance of Crystal-Clear Rules for your Child

Toddler girl looking through magnifier

The world is a far more scary and complicated place than it was when you were a child.  As a result, it’s imperative that you set adequate yet fair boundaries with your child.  It’s a very important role in your parenting responsibilities. Children must make difficult decisions each day, and if they don’t have clear, firm boundaries set, they may not always make the wisest choice. Limits teach children proper restraint in social and individual activities and provide children with necessary structure and security to assist in healthy development. Setting limits also provide children with guidance before they have an opportunity to get into trouble, thus making them more successful with everyday life.

A child’s age and developmental level needs to be considered when setting limits. All children have a need for independence and individualization; however, they also need structure, security and parental involvement.

It goes without saying that the needs of a 2-year old vary greatly than those of a teenager. A toddler has a strong desire to explore and investigate, but parameters need to be set to ensure their safety while doing so. Teenagers need to be able to be an individual and be independent, but with strong parental guidance and influence, are more likely to make smart choices in difficult situations.

Limits should be discussed and set prior to the situation. Though situations arise that weren’t planned on, daily situations should have set limits and expectations. A teenager who breaks curfew may have the privilege of going out with friends revoked until they learn respect for the rules.  A child who misbehaves while playing with a friend may need to be separated from the fun until they can learn to properly behave.

Children respond in a positive manner in an environment in which they know what to expect and what is excepted of them. A child will be more respectful towards rules and more willing to abide by them if the rules are clear and consistent. 

Additionally, it’s crucial that once a limit is set that they caregiver stick to it.  A child is less likely to try and manipulate a caregiver into changing the limits when their experience has been that there’s no bending on the limits.   And remember, you are the one who sets the limits and lays down the law.  There’s no need to argue with your child.  Be firm and consistent and they are less likely to challenge the rules and will accept the consequences.

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child development, healthy food

Weaning Your Baby: Is it Time to Stop Breastfeeding?

Do you feel that you have been breastfeeding your baby for so long to the point that you are now being restricted to do other important things in life? Would you like to know when is the right time to wean your baby?

What is weaning?

Weaning your child basically means that you allow her to get nutrients no longer from your breastmilk but from other sources of nutrition. It is when your little one stops nursing from your breast and starts to feed solely on real food such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and more. Weaning is not necessarily moving away from the usual mother-and-child bond but it is only a step further for your child to grow physically and emotionally.

When is the right time to stop breastfeeding?

Every mother has her own right to determine the length by which she will continue to breastfeed her little one. It is totally the discretion of the mother to stop at six months, to continue until a year, or go further until two years old. Most health institutions would agree that babies shall be exclusively breastfed until six months and the optimal length for their breastfeeding is until one year.

Here are the things to consider when you shall start weaning your child:

  • Baby-Led Weaning


Most babies would wean by themselves. As you start introducing solid food by the time that they are six months, then you will gradually notice that they would lose interest in nursing from your breast. They may choose instead to munch on mashed potatoes or nibble some peas rather than latch on your nipple. That’s the best time to slowly move away from giving your breast every time she feels hungry.

  • Age-Based Weaning

Some people feel awkward when they see a three-year-old still feeding on her mom’s breasts. But then, other people have no business with your breastfeeding journey. It is only you who shall decide when to stop breastfeeding. However, most mothers would choose to stop breastfeeding after a year. That’s when their babies are already capable of feeding on healthy adult food or fresh milk. Another sign that your baby is ready for weaning is when you notice that she becomes fussy, disinterested, and impatient when breastfeeding.

  • Mom-Led Weaning


If the optimal length for breastfeeding is a year, then moms could definitely start to choose to stop at this stage. Since babies of this age have already grown a couple of teeth, some mothers may experience pain from sudden nipple bites. If you are constantly having problems with wounded nipples, then you can decide to start weaning your child.

We also have to acknowledge the fact that breastfeeding is truly a sacrifice on the part of the mother. There are so many things that she has to let go just to be able to feed her child. If the breastfeeding journey is already taking a toll on the mother’s emotional and mental health, then she could choose to wean her little one. Weaning is also best done when the mom chooses to go back to work and continue growing her career.

Weaning your child is a family decision that other people shall not dictate upon. No matter what your mother-in-law, your relatives, or the society tells you, know that only you could decide when to start weaning your baby. Every mom is different. Every baby is unique.

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child development, Relationships

Successful Two-Way Communications with your Child


One of the most frustrating challenges we face as parents is communicating effectively with our child. Though we strive to open an honest two-way line of communication with our child, we become frustrated when it appears their attention isn’t solely on us or the conversation at hand.  Yet we seem to find it’s perfectly acceptable to discuss things with them while reading the paper, folding clothes, or working on the computer and then are often left wondering when the lines of communication broke.

Children are by nature easily distracted and not always responsive to their environment. It is the responsibility of the parent to emphasize positive patterns of communication and ensure the child learns that ignoring communication is not acceptable. Early prevention, in the form of educating your child about the proper forms of communication, is the key to ensuring that the non-verbal agreement does not take hold.  Teach your child by example.  Remain completely and totally focused on them and the conversation at hand.  Turn off the television; allow calls to go to the voicemail, or go in a room where there are no distractions.

Talk to your child, and explain to them in age-appropriate terms how they are communicating and why their method doesn’t work.  Show your child how to communicate effectively, even when the questions are hard.

Make yourself an active listener.  Let them voice their opinion or side of the story and ask questions to ensure you understand their viewpoint.

Be constant in the manner in which you communicate with you child. Send the same message with each and every interaction. Allow your child to see that you will call their attention to those times that the unwanted behavior rears its ugly head.

Kids will be kids and they will sometimes be distractive and non-communicative. You are the expert in knowing your child’s behavior and can best judge the improvement in their communications. The best way to ensure healthy communication patterns is to model positive communication skills.