The ABCs of Raising a Healthy Kid-Part4

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Today we continue in our 5 day series – The ABCs of Raising a Healthy Kid.  This series is great for giving parents important pointers in how to raise kids.  Today I am sharing P-T.

If you missed any of the series click on the button above to see all the posts in the series!
P is for Praise! Kids need to hear you praise them both for effort and for achievement! Now I’m not advocating praise just to praise. Too much praise can backfire, by making it seem insincere or having kids afraid to take risks for fear of not being ‘the best’ all the time.  But genuine praise will go a long way in building up your kids self confidence and bond with you!
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  1. Praise Specifically – Avoid generic phrases like Good Job. Try to give them specific praises like Wow you really ran hard today. Or I noticed how loving and kind you were being with your sister this morning and I was so proud of you.
  2. Praise in Private – Sure there is a time for group praise, but mostly that just makes others feel left out. By pulling your child aside they know you are taking the time to talk just with them.
  3. Praise Sincerely – Don’t say things that aren’t true! It will mean more and have a deeper impact if you child knows that if you say it you really mean it! If your child has been trying really hard, but is just not good at a certain thing. Remember, you can still praise effort, good attitude, team work, etc. which are incredibly value assets in life!
  4. Praise Character – As much as our society values achievement, not everyone is going to be the best at everything. And by only praising achievement, you are going to set your child up for a lifetime of disappointment or anxiety over achievement. Instead focus on their character – what we really want to see in our children- kind, patient, hard working, cooperative, respectful, kids.
  5. Praise without Comparing – Don’t compare your child to others by saying You got so many home runs, way more than Billy ever does. You are praising and evaluating your child based on their own achievement. You don’t want your kids to feel like they have to constantly measure up to others. You child is a special, unique individual – try not to compare!

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Q is for Quality time! If your kids are misbehaving it may be time to take a step back and look at the big picture. One of the things to look for is are you spending quality time playing and interacting with your children.
Why is quality time so important? It gives them a sense of being loved, valued, importance, and bonding with you. People naturally want to please people they feel close to! The other biggie of quality time is that if you aren’t spending time with them how are you able to influence their actions & character by your positive example and proactively responding as situations arise.
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Speaking from personal experience, my children are happier, feel more connected, and behave better when I am giving each of them quality time each and every day!
So I encourage you to let the phone ring, turn off your computer, and sit down and play with your kids. Make it your goal that every night before you go to bed you can think back to some intentional, quality time with each of your children (and spouse!)  Remember quality means you are giving them your undivided attention and you are 100% there – not thinking about or doing anything else! It can be 15 minutes (although ideally it would be 30 minutes)…. but start somewhere with some QUALITY time!
Without quality time will miss the important relationship piece and be simply be putting out behavioral fires as they come up!

Additional Resources:

R is for respect. Teach your kids to respect you and other authority figures.   We need to teach our children to should courtesy to the President and their teacher even if they don’t agree with them or their methods.

Respect means proper acceptance and courtesy. It does NOT mean you agree with someone 100%.

How to Teach Your Child to be Respectfully

  • Respect your child – They are an individual too! Listen to them, acknowledge their feelings, and if possible give them a choice/say in matters too.
  • Model Respect – When you are speaking of your spouse, your child’s teacher, the president, etc. make sure you are speaking respectfully about them. You can disagree with policy without being disrespectfully or disparaging of a person.
  • Demand Disrespect – If your child is disrespectfully, don’t ignore it. Make sure you talk about why what they said or did was disrespectful and what they could have done differently. If it happens again follow it up with a consequence.
  • Praise Respect – Make sure to praise your children when they are showing respect – be specific about what they did that is meriting your praise!
  • Keep Grown-up Talk for Grown-Up Ears – If you hare having a heated political debate of have serious concerns about your child’s teacher have those discussions out of you children’s ear shot. They are still young and unable to discern how passion and concern can sometimes be portrayed as something else. Plus this will affect how your children view that person too and children have a harder time separating feelings from appropriate responses.

Remember how you treat those in authority over your will model for them how they should act too!
S – is for safety. This is a tough one. It is so crucial, but such a large topic for the space I can dedicate to it.  You don’t want to scare kids, but you need to be proactively teaching them about safety on an ongoing basis, including reviewing. Use situations to spark conversations and teachable moments, but try to keep it age/child appropriate.  
Safety Tips

  • It is not okay for anyone to see or touch you in your private spots except for a doctor during an exam or Mom & Dad while cleaning you. Use doctor visits or bath as a time to just mention this fact. Don’t get into all the terrible reasons why, just state the fact.
  • Don’t answer the door. Remind kids when the doorbell rings that only a grown-up should answer the door.
  • Don’t get in a car with a stranger. When dropping off/picking up remind kids that they should NEVER get into a car of anyone but Mom & Dad or someone Mom & Dad tells them is picking them up.  If you might need others to pick up your kids establish a secret family code. Make sure that kids ask for the code before being picked up and that your friend/neighbor knows the code to tell your kids. Codes can be silly like we like chocolate pizza.
  • Never accept treats or gifts from anyone without asking Mom & Dad first
  • Teach 9-1-1 and that we ONLY call in an emergency. Use a pretend phone and practice emergencies and have them dial it on their pretend phone.
  • Teach fire safety by having fire drills several times a year. Teach stop – drop-roll and to touch handle with back of hand to tell if it is hot.
  • Teach hazard weather bell means go in the basement, inside room, and to go immediately without grabbing anything. When the alarm sounds the winds are strong enough it could happen ANY time! I had a friend who heard the alarm and went to grab their boys out of their bed – as he entered the room the roof was being ripped off by the tornado – teach kids to MOVE!
  • Listen to your Gut! If something doesn’t sound right or feel okay – listen to your inner gut!
  • Teach kids about crossing the street safely and when they are allowed to cross. Do this by talking through the process several times when they are out & about with you. Then have them tell you as they lead the crossing. Observe the crossing, making sure they are checking carefully.
  • Teach kids to never run with scissors
  • Never be in water without a supervising adult
  • Never push or shove on the stairs
  • Never touch the stove or oven – they are hot.

These are just a few ones that came to mind. This topic is immense and overwhelming! After all, we all want our kids to be safe! Use teachable moments. When you are crossing a parking lot at Wal-Mart talk to the kids about what to look for – if you don’t tell them, they won’t know!
T is for teachable moments.  – take advantage of precious teachable moments! These sneak up when you are least expecting, but are the best way to teach things – when your kids have an interest!
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Kids learn best when they have an interest. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you can tailor your curriculum. If your child has an interest in horses, take the opportunity to study horses! They are far more likely to remember something they had an interest in than something in your lesson plan.
If your child has questions throughout the day, try to address them right away. Teach them how you look things up or take the time to explain things to them. Not only will this avoid forgetting them, but it will encourage your child’s creativity and interests.

Safety Teachable Moments
The best way to teach about safety is using teachable moments! If you are crossing a parking lot take that opportunity to point out that cars sometime dart out without looking or that there is a slick spot which is why we don’t run in parking lots. 
The key is to keep a running dialogue with your kids so that you can impart wisdom & knowledge to them. You cant’ be around to shelter/protect them indefinitely. Help them gain the skills to take care of themselves (at least to a point)

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Faith Teachable Moments
My son always seems to ask the deepest, most thought provoking questions in the car. I don’t know if it is just because he has time, is bored, or what – but that’s just the way he is. And many times his questions are faith based. He actually started asking so many good questions one day (when he was 4.5 years old) that I pulled over and went back to chat. He asked Jesus to be his Savior in the car!
So as much as you want to tune out or just jam to your favorite tunes – remember some wonderful teaching and conversational opportunities take place where you least expect it! Trust me, I know first hand!
Other great places for faith teachable moments are when my kids see others that are not behaving as the Bible tells them to, learn something in church and tell us after Sunday School, in the grocery store, at the park – seriously! Use that time to listen, share, and fill up their little hearts with God’s love, commandments, and scripture!

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Use day-to-day interactions to teach kids about how to treat others and respond to situations. Teach them about safety, weather, cooking, etiquette, etc.  We’ve been able to use local kiddie track meets to teach our kids not everyone wins, being a good sport, trying your best, determination, hard work, and exercise!
Some subjects are hard to bring up naturally, but sometimes that moment comes to you! We’ve had those moments come to us at the grocery store driving in the car, and interacting with other parents at Soccer games. Don’t let a teachable moment pass you by. You have precious moments with your kids – plant those seeds, water them, and watch your child grow into the young man/woman that you hope they do.
Additional Resources:

Stay tuned tomorrow as we continue our 5 day series – The ABCs of Raising a Healthy Kid.

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About the author

Beth Gorden

Beth Gorden is the creative multi-tasking creator of 123 Homeschool 4 Me. As a busy homeschooling mother of six, she strives to create hands-on learning activities and worksheets that kids will love to make learning FUN! She has created over 1 million pages of printables to help teach kids ABCs, science, English grammar, history, math, and so much more! Beth is also the creator of 2 additional sites with even more educational activities and FREE printables - www.kindergartenworksheetsandgames.com and www.preschoolplayandlearn.com

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