What are we trying to accomplish?

January 31st, 2016

einstein

It happened again. 

The other evening we are at a restaurant.  A family of four enters; the two little boys don’t even glance up from their cell phones as they are being seated. Shortly after orders are placed, the parents join the independent activity on their cell phones.

Yes, times are different but what hasn’t changed is the invaluable connection to the most important people in our lives.  As Einstein fears, are we at the stage where technology is surpassing human interaction?

  • How will our children learn they are part of a family that matters more than anything else?
  • How will they come to know the wonder and craziness of extended family if they don’t listen to the rich family stories?
  • How do parents teach values if children are listening to what is deemed newsworthy by popular culture?

When It Comes to Infant Language Development, Not All Toys Are Created Equal.

Parents – you are the perfect toy!

Of all the changes we would love to make in society but can’t – this one is completely in your control.

Please forgive me if I’m not impressed that your one-year-old knows how to swipe an iPad.  It would be so much better if they know how to turn the page of a book.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

What do you want for Christmas?

December 17th, 2015

everett

Truly wonderful the mind of a child is.

Yoda to Obi-Wan about the purity of innocence and the insights that can be gleamed from listening to fresh ideas. – Episode II: Attack of the Clones

While wrapping my gifts I noticed empty paper cardboard rolls and ribbon spools.  Rather than toss them out, I looked at them differently; almost as if they would be treated as treasures for children with wonderful imaginations.

My thinking was heightened as I had recently spent time with such a little boy.  He seemed to be able to make a game out of any object, and included adults as part of the game.  That gave him time to get to know and appreciate us. When we left his house, he turned and said, “I want to give you one more hug.” I thought how priceless it is for family to hear that from a child.

I suspect that was largely due to the creative freedom he had to make up his own games.  Since he was a four-year-old boy, naturally the games involved a lot of physical movement.  But that might be why he was so happy.  I remember an interview a number of years ago with Dr. Vicki who talked about little boys and anger.  Please listen to her complete broadcast on dealing with anger, but the message is that little children, especially boys, need to move and play.  If they don’t have such opportunities, their pent up energy is displaced as irritability and anger.

When buying your children presents for Christmas, remember that playing with them makes the game so much better and far more memorable.

See how these toys from the past 100 years jar your memory.

During this holiday season, remember it’s more than the gift or the toy.  Be part of the fun and include extended family as well. The time you play with them is what the kids will remember.

Merry Christmas

Happy Hanukkah

Happy Kwanzaa

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

 

The Thanksgiving Table

November 25th, 2015

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.

Henry David Thoreau

This past weekend, Saturday Night Live did a great skit about a family Thanksgiving ‘discussion’ and how the Adele song Hello made people stop and think.

The scene is likely repeated in homes all over the country; it’s a great, simple message.  No need for controversy; we will have differences of opinion, but let’s be thankful for the people around the table, and in our lives.

Peace is harmony, and something we can create for ourselves.

Enjoy spending time with the people that you love, and give thanks you are able to celebrate with them.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

A discussion on integrity

September 27th, 2015

Look for 3 things in a person – intelligence, energy and integrity.  If they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two. – Warren Buffet

Two leaders were in the news this week.  One for giving us hope, and the other despair.

Pope Francis captivated America by his gestures of kindness.

Volkswagen’s CEO Martin Winterkorn led the effort to rig 11 million cars worldwide so that pollution controls would work only when regulators were testing them.  The rest of the time, on the road in regular use, a “defeat device” was engaged, and those same cars emitted up to 40 times as many smog-forming nitrogen oxides.

Talk to your children about:

  • Choices people make as it relates to integrity
  • The cost associated to people believing in you again
  • The value of a reputation
  • Experiences they can relate to, such as test taking, and students demonstrating acts of kindness

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

#parentalwisdom #integrity #valueoftheweek

 

Making a difference – Raising a Child You Want to Meet at Age 25

August 9th, 2015

making a difference

One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.

Malala Yousafzai to the UN Youth Assembly 2012.

According to the 2015 Child Stats government data, there are presently 49.7 million children ages 6 to 17 living in the U.S.

What would happen if all those children began to recognize problems and offer solutions? They would be successful because children don’t stop to think of all the reasons why something might not work!

Instead of making excuses, they would take action, which usually starts in their own community.  By experiencing success, they gain courage, confidence and know how needed to build a network. These children aren’t special; in fact they are regular kids with one thing that gives them (dare I say it) a superpower. It’s conviction.

As you read stories about these children, you will be inspired. When your own child comes to you with the desire to tackle a problem, don’t dismiss them; encourage them.  After all, where do you think the next generation of leaders will come from?

Here is one simple idea to get started…most families are getting ready for back to school which means a shiny new book bag filled with new school supplies. There are nearly half a million children in Foster Care that don’t experience that annual family tradition and very likely aren’t prepared on the first day of school

With your child search online for local organizations that welcome donations and give a foster child a reason to smile on the first day of school.

Here are more inspiring stories:

8 Amazing Kids Who Make a Difference

10 Kids Who Changed the World

What can you do today?

Begin a discussion with your child about concerns:

In the community

  • Land use
  • Vacant lots, abandoned buildings
  • Beautification projects
  • Animals and wildlife
  • Libraries
  • Literacy
  • A community garden
  • Parks and recreation
  • Sports and athletics

Social Concerns

  • Families
  • Child care
  • The Elderly
  • Homelessness
  • Nutrition and health
  • Poverty
  • Diversity

The Environment

  • Pollution
  • Garbage and recycling

Public Safety

  • Disaster preparedness
  • Crime
  • Safety and accidents

All this week, please look for resources and ideas on Parental Wisdom’s Facebook page, Twitter Feed and Instagram for resource links and inspiration.

It is more important that your children are kind rather than happy.

See you next week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

#parentalwisdom #makingAdifference #valueoftheweek

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Self-Reliance – Raising a Child You Want to Meet at Age 25

August 2nd, 2015

Oz-end

Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn’t you tell her before?
Glinda: Because she wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.

In order to survive and thrive, babies have complete reliance on their parents. As they grow and learn, we need to help them build self-reliance.

What is self-reliance?

A person who is self-reliant is self-sufficient, able to think and function independently, is not risk-averse and solves problems rather than worries about them. Such a person would trust his own judgment, rarely needing to consult others for advice or guidance. A self-reliant person has better control of his life and can handle any curveball that life may throw his way.  This is exactly what we want to build in our adult children.

Here are strategies that can be used as a starting point, and consider age appropriateness.

  • Give kids responsibility – and hold them accountable for completing tasks.
    • Don’t do things for your children they can do for themselves. Three-year-olds can make their beds. An easy way to do that is to take three pictures as an example and hang the pictures by the bed.
  • Let them problem solve – be your child’s coach rather than sage.
    • For a middle school aged child with a problem with friends…Ask them, “What’s bothering you?” Let them explain and then assure them… “I know you can figure this out.” Give them time and ask, “How do you think you can fix this problem?”
  • Make room for mistakes – nothing is perfect, especially not at first.
    • They are learning self-reliance so they aren’t going to get it right all the time, whether it is how to make the bed, take the garbage out, set the table for dinner, or put windshield washer fluid in the car. Don’t jump in to ‘rescue’ them or hover over them. We learn by our mistakes.
  • Other ideas:
    • Begin with small tasks. Don’t say, “Clean up this room.” But instead, “Put the Legos in the bin.”
    • Encourage ‘free-play” throughout the day. Children need time to make their own rules, pretend and establish boundaries.
    • Schedule daily chores – children should learn early they are part of a family and that means helping with chores. Create a chore chart, with pictures for younger children.
    • Provide options when possible. Choice should be limited for younger children, and can increase as children mature. This helps them become independent thinking. This often begins with choices in what they are going to wear.
    • Give them stretch goals – ask them to do a little more than might be expected. That can be great for their self-esteem. You may even want to plan what new things they can try for the week. As an example, think of household skills, cooking skills, financial skills, or life skills.
    • Recognize them for things they’ve done well, but don’t recognize them for things they haven’t; the praise will be meaningless. Say, “Great job on putting all the Legos away!” or “Thank you for bringing the dinner dishes over.”

Since I opened with a classic movie line that helps reinforce the concept of self-reliance, I would like to close with one as well.

From Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade

Professor Henry Jones to Indiana Jones:

Did I ever tell you to eat up, go to bed, wash your ears, do your homework? No, I respected your privacy and I taught you self reliance.

Follow us all week for additional tips follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  As always, please share your thoughts because we are all in this together!

See you next week.

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

#parentalwisdom #self-reliance #valueoftheweek

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Friendship – How to Raise a Child You Want to Meet at Age 25

July 26th, 2015

street games 5

 

There is only one way to have a friend, and that is to be a friend. Ralph Waldo Emerson

If necessity is the mother of invention, then our children had to find ways to make friends online because we make it difficult to make friends the old fashioned way; on the playground.

We were told we were bad mothers if our children played outside.   The alternative was to keep them inside where they found entertainment watching TV and playing electronic games.

From the time they are babies, we organize play dates, and as young as toddlers, we put them in organized sports. The problem is they have no idea how to organize a pick up game of baseball. They may not even know what a pick up game is.

When their friends do come over, they sit side by side playing electronic games with no face time (I mean that literally).

Left on their own, children invent games on the fly, natural leaders rise to the occasion, and friendships are formed; all with no adult intervention.

Let’s give our children the opportunity to learn how to be a good friend, which includes:

  • Giving them free time – don’t over schedule
  • Making friends a priority
  • Be there for good times and bad times
  • Be honest and kind
  • Be loyal
  • Knowing what to say and when to say it
  • That in time of crisis – drop everything
  • Be happy for them when good things happen to them
  • A smile and positive outlook go a long way!

All week, please look out for ideas to help you and your child discuss friendship on Parental Wisdom’s Facebook page, Twitter Feed and Instagram.

Friends are people you can count on, but don’t need to count on Facebook. This blog post is dedicated to people I am privileged to call my friends.

See you next week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

#parentalwisdom #friendship #friends #valueoftheweek

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Parents Ask, Experts Answer:Nurturing Happy, Healthy Children

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Happiness – How to Raise a Child You Want to Meet at Age 25

July 19th, 2015

mt-and-noelle-smiling.jpg

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be. Abraham Lincoln

Please watch this week’s video on Happiness. I encourage you to ask your children what makes them happy and post their video in response.

Happiness is such a basic and important quality; but how do we get there?  Our children are always watching the behavior we model and do what we do.  But in the case of happiness, look to your children to teach you about happiness.

Children are naturally:

  • Fearless
  • Carefree
  • Find joy and ease in expressing themselves
  • Love unconditionally
  • Give with an open heart
  • Forgive easily
  • Tell the truth
  • Dream Big
  • See everyone as special, and treasure the differences in people
  • They don’t worry, they are just happy…

What could we possibly teach them about happiness? All this week on Parental Wisdom’s Facebook page, and Twitter Feed, enjoy!

  • Sunday, July 19th – Ice Cream makes everyone happy! Today is National Ice Cream Day.
  • Monday, July 20th – Monday and each day this week, look for songs that make you happy. Dance with your kids.
  • Tuesday, July 21st – 18things kids can teach us about happiness
  • Wednesday, July 22nd – A very happy baby sees her parents for the first time
  • Thursday, July 23rd – How to be happier at work (then you come home happier!)
  • Friday, July 24th – Scientifically proven ways to be happy (they really work!)

As always, we can learn from each other.  Please respond to the video and share your great ideas to encourage happiness.

Smile and have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

#valueoftheweek #happiness #parentalwisdom #kids

Resilience – How to Raise a Child You Want to Meet at Age 25

July 12th, 2015

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Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again. Nelson Mandela

Please watch this week’s video on Resilience.

It’s easy to parent little children with so much in our control. We oversee what they eat, when they sleep, what they wear, who they play with, what they watch and hear. A fall on the playground means a Band-Aid, a kiss, and it’s better.

But as our children grow, outside influences come into play. Life isn’t perfect, so it is important that we teach our children how to bounce back from adversity; how to be resilient.

When our children are faced with disappointments, how do you handle them?

  • Your 15-year old daughter doesn’t make the cheerleading squad?
  • Your 11-year old loses the spelling bee
  • Your 9-year old didn’t make Little League All Stars?

Here are some conversation thought starters:

  • Actively listen, and acknowledge your child’s feelings. Even if your child did something wrong, let them know everybody makes mistakes.
  • Use the mistake as an opportunity to learn. Word of caution – they don’t like hearing ‘life lessons’ but they will someday appreciate the lesson.
  • Let your child know you believe in them. This is different from acknowledging that they deserved to be selected in (fill in the blanks).
  • Engage them in conversation about how they should handle this particular disappointment, and recommend ways they can handle it. Example, could you practice more?
  • Explain the concept of the right skills and right fit. Example, you may have done your very best when trying out for choir, but if they need a soprano and you are an alto, you won’t get selected.
  • Time heals all wounds, and as hard as it is for them to hear, it will be better tomorrow.
  • When your child is better, remind them how good it feels to have handled the situation with grace, tact, dignity and the euphoric feeling of accomplishment.

For more information on this topic, please visit Parental Wisdom’s Facebook page and Twitter feed and you will find:

  1. Monday, July 13th Famous Failures video and a great journal from Parental Wisdom!
  2. Tuesday, July 14th Sesame Street & Bruno Mars video “Don’t give up”
  3. Wednesday, July 15th from Creative with Kids, 25 Ways to teach your children resilience
  4. Thursday, July 16th from PBS Kids, Encouraging Nature Play and a very interesting idea called ‘hummingbird’ parenting as compared to helicopter parenting.
  5. Friday, July 17th Making Bouncing Bubbles to teach kids how to bounce back!
  6. Saturday, July 18th 18 movies that build resilience in children
  7. And more…

And the best advice of all

Two simple words when things don’t go well… 

Do Over

As always, please add your own great ideas, because after all, we are all in this together.

Enjoy and have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

#valueoftheweek

#resilience

 

Family – How to Raise a Child You Want to Meet in 25 Years

July 5th, 2015

Family is the most important thing in the world.

Princess Diana

As made famous in the Monty Python catchphrase…’now for something completely different’ I’m sharing a video rather than simply a blog post on this week’s topic – Family.

Presenting in a video format feels a little more personal, though I’ll continue to provide helpful information to support the topic throughout the week on Facebook and Twitter.

When asked, “What is the most important thing in your life,” people will respond without a moment’s hesitation – my family, though our actions may not be as obvious as our intentions.

Here are some thought starters on demonstrating the importance of family:

  • When you were growing up, you had a sense of different kinds of families you visited
  • Now that you are the head of your household, what do you want your children to remember about growing up in their home?
    • Ask them what kind of a family they want to be
    • They can even create a family crest
    • By defining your family, you stand together

This week, please look for Parental Wisdom’s Facebook post and Twitter feed on the kinds of things families can do together.

  1. Monday, July 6th – Coolest Roadside attractions in every state
  2. Tuesday, July 7th – Top 10 Sports Halls of Fame in U.S
  3. Wednesday, July 8th – Fun Activities that create memories
  4. Thursday, July 9th – Cooking with kids
  5. Friday, July 10th – Fun ways to read with your child

As always, feel free to add your own great ideas, because after all, we are all in this together.

Enjoy and have a great week!

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

#valueoftheweek