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Parenting

Positive Parenting: The A – Z Guide

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“Eat your food. How many times must I repeat? Eat your food!” Hello, stop yelling! Have you ever heard about positive parenting? Maybe it’s time you change your parenting approach. As a mom, I can attest that babies can drive you nuts. However, let me mention that there are no good or bad kids. How we raise them makes all the difference. The good news is that it’s never too late to change. In this article, I will explain what positive parenting means, how to practice it, and why you should join the positive moms and dads club. Let’s get started.

What Is Positive Parenting?

I would define positive parenting as a style of parenting that focuses more on positive correction methods, rewards, and gentle reminders on our children as opposed to a punitive approach. For example, instead of always saying “no”, “don’t do that”, “stop” etc., I find myself saying “yes you can but not right away”, “do it this way”, “that’s my good boy”. Sounds familiar?

Understanding Your Kid

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I mentioned before that there are no bad or good kids. However, psychology categorizes kids into two groups: The compliant type and the spirited type. Some kids can be an extreme of one type while others lean mildly.

The compliant kid is what most people refer to as “the good kid”. They always know what to do to make mommy happy. They are also the best performers in school because they follow the rules and are afraid to say no. The spirited kid, on the other hand, is not afraid to challenge you. If you try getting on their way, they will stop you. These are the type of kids that most parents have trouble with.

Approaches to Positive Parenting

  1. The Straight Talk

This approach works best with compliant children. All you need to do is to tell them “I don’t like 1, 2, and 3. How about doing 4, 5, and 6?” And they will remember and respect the rules. However, as a parent, I always emphasize being more cautious with the compliant children. Since they are so afraid of offending you as a parent, they will hide things from you even if those things hurt them.

At some point in life, you need to teach the compliant child how to say no. They also need to learn that pleasing everyone is not necessarily OK. And that they should also expect something in return. Consequently, they will grow up knowing the difference between being obedient and being used negatively.

  1. The Choice Technique

The choice approach works best with spirited children. I usually bend low to my kids’ level when issuing instructions and give them a choice. For example, when I need them to exercise the dog, I will tell them; “you can go play outside with the dog, or stay indoors and help me clean up your room.” Isn’t it obvious that they will choose to play with the dog? And I don’t have to shout.

When I need them to eat, I tell them; “If you finish your food before 2 pm, we’ll go to the market together. But if you don’t, I’ll have to leave you at home.” The trick is to work with your children’s weaknesses. If they love the outdoors, or gaming, then use that to your advantage.

  1. The Reward Method

In this approach, I emphasize on rewarding good behavior and having zero tolerance for bad behavior. This is a common approach for many parents I have interacted with. However, most of them make a grave mistake. There is a difference between a reward and a bribe.

I hear parents tell their kids “If you do your homework, I will buy you a new PlayStation tomorrow.” That is bribing. The best approach is to explain to them why doing their homework is good and then let them do it without further pushing. Once they do it as per your instructions, offer them the PlayStation. Now that’s a reward.

Advantages of Positive Parenting

It builds self-esteem and self-discipline:

When I let my children decide, they tend to feel more responsible for their actions. And if they make an independent choice on their own, they gain more confidence.

Positive parenting builds trust:

Father and son blowing bubbles Image

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to build trust with your children. Let them know that in case they get hurt, bullied, or molested they can trust you. This trust will only develop if you stop behaving like you rule their world. Instead, find common ground with your kids and communicate often.

Your children become psychologically aware of negative and positive energy:

I see very often that when a mother shouts or gets angry, their child throws even more tantrums. But when you change your tone and become gentle, the child retaliates. Practice positive parenting from the day your baby is born and you’ll enjoy smooth parenting all the way.

Your spiritual connection intensifies:

Every time you argue or shout at your kid, you become angry, frustrated, and sometimes depressed. This draws you further away from your spiritual realm. Positive parenting, on the other hand, intensifies your spiritual connection; both you and your children.

Parents can appreciate parenting:

I believe that the less a parent shouts, the more their subconscious is at ease. I don’t have to apologize every time I discipline my kids. It also makes me appreciate our moments together. Less arguing and shouting creates a quiet and conducive environment for all of us.

Marriages are restored:

When you co-parent using positive parenting techniques, you’ll get along better. You also reduce anger problems and the blame game. “This child turned out like this because you always defended him, or you always shouted at him” and so on and so forth. And there is nothing as fulfilling as partners who appreciate each other’s input in a marriage.

The Downside

If not used correctly, positive parenting can spoil your children’s behavior. All the praise and rewards can backfire if you’re not careful. I reserve praise and rewards for actual accomplishments. And not every time! The child needs to know that being good is not doing mommy or daddy a favor but rather a way of life.

The Bottom Line

I am a firm believer that positive parenting imparts our children with better morals and skills. However, I can’t help but feel over-protective of my parents when every other article on the internet keeps condemning how they raised us. I mean, we turned out fine. That said, let me remind you that today’s life is nothing compared to our life back in the days. The internet, revised education curriculums, and our children rights activists changed everything. So stop clinging to the unorthodox methods used in the past. Keep up with the generation and embrace positive parenting for a more prosperous future generation.

Rachel is a mom of two boys, a wife, and a part-time chef. By trying and testing new parenting trends she takes her motherhood to the next level! She finds that she processes things better when she writes about them, which has unleashed her passion for sharing her thoughts on life and parenting through her articles for SOLANCHA Magazine.

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Parenting

Why Is Yoga For Kids Becoming So Popular?

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Yoga for kids is recently becoming a norm. We live in a fast-paced world. Every day, we have deadlines to beat, targets to achieve, places to be and so on. These demands can be very stressful. And indeed they are. But did you know that even our children undergo a lot of stress? From the anxiety of upcoming examinations, illness, the death of a family member, change of schools, to the simple gestures we make about the child’s appearance?

All this put excessive pressure on children. Far much more than their physical and mental capability! And when these children can’t handle it anymore, you notice a lack of concentration, throwing tantrums, sleeping problems, eating disorders, headaches, and even drug abuse. In fact, research shows that stress is the leading cause of mental health problems in children and teens. And we the parents can play a crucial role in helping these children cope with stress through yoga.

Why Yoga?

kids yoga classes benefits image

Yoga is based on the principle of prevention rather than treatment. It emphasizes the body’s ability to heal itself. The best part is that it can be customized to fit the specific needs of any child. With activities such as relaxation techniques, the assumption of postures and many more, a good yoga instructor can quickly make these activities fun and effortless for any child.

As a parent, your emphasis at home can supplement the instructor’s efforts. This is because yoga’s benefits build up through regular practice. Soon, your child will be living a stress-free life because he/she has learned alternative ways to cope with stress.

However, the major concerns among most parents I have interacted with remain; what can my child gain from yoga? How can I choose the best instructor for my kid? How can I assist my child at home to practice yoga as a way of coping with stress? I have answered all these concerns and more in this article, let’s get started, shall we?

The Benefits of Kids Yoga Classes

Yoga introduced at an early age builds a child’s self-esteem and physical awareness. In addition, attending kids yoga classes will benefit your child in the following ways:

  • Relaxation

yoga for kids image

Have you ever noticed how children forget about their worries when they do an activity they enjoy? A sweet, captivating story told by a person they trust can do the trick. Yoga has similar activities. In the kids’ yoga classes, they tell stories, play games and music, mimic animal postures and much more. These capture the child’s attention and momentarily let them forget about their anxiety and worries.

  • Weight management

Obesity in children presents a vicious cycle. Obese children tend to have low self-esteem. And in extreme conditions, they suffer from depression and anxiety. These, in turn, push the child to indulge in more poor eating habits that again worsen their obese condition. Kids yoga classes are less strenuous for the overweight child who feels ashamed of exercising with his peers at the sports grounds. They help them distract their mind from unhealthy habits and provide relation techniques, should the need to snack unnecessarily arise.

  • Improves sleep

Every parent can relate to a night when their child had difficulties sleeping. I do. But when this routine happens more often, yoga comes in handy. Yoga Nidra, for example, is a form of yoga technique designed to help with sleep-related anxieties.

  • Increases concentration

yoga kid image

Stress can make a child forget to even brush their teeth! Yoga for kids helps by calming a child’s mind. By taking a child on an imaginative journey where they can imagine riding in a balloon, swimming with the dolphins, etc. they tend to have a calm mind and can concentrate better. A good instructor will go the extra mile to print pictures of the imaginative places they went to visit with the children.

The benefits of yoga for kids go beyond just coping with stress. Yoga enhances physical flexibility, self-discovery, body balance, better breathing among other significant benefits. Work with a reputable kids yoga instructor and do your part at home to make yoga as natural as possible.

How to Choose a Yoga Instructor for Your Child?

Yoga for kids is entirely different from yoga designed for adults. A good yoga instructor should be able to tailor the yoga lessons to suit your little one. Tick the following boxes as you shop around:

Does the teacher understand your child’s way of communicating?

The effectiveness of yoga lessons is enhanced when the instructor understands the gestures and anticipates the needs of your child.

Do they make the lessons lively?

yoga for kids instructor image

A good yoga instructor will make use of the children’s high energy levels instead of suppressing them.

Has the teacher set clear boundaries?

Children tend to respect adults who are clear in their instructions. A good instructor will ensure that they have captured the attention of the child before giving directions.

Do they handle small classes?

A class size of fewer than 30 kids is ideal since the instructor can closely monitor the personal journey of each student.

Finally, attend a trial class with different instructors and compare their styles of teaching yoga. Watch your child’s reactions as you move from one instructor to the next. You will learn a lot.

How Can Parents Complement The Yoga Instructor’s Efforts At Home?

kids yoga image

I normally set healthy patterns for my kids to help them continue with the meditation and other yoga practices every day. I believe that this practice will set them to continue with yoga even into their adulthood. You can make yoga a part of your daily life too.

  • Focus on the fun – Carry out activities that your child enjoys. Don’t dwell on one activity for too long.
  • Provide your child with the equipment they need – This can be as simple as just getting a mat for meditation or a comfortable pair of pajamas if you meditate before bedtime.
  • Be easy and learn to let go – Yes. Children have a hard time learning in a military style class. Guide our kid to achieve their daily goal instead of emphasizing on perfection.
  • Encourage imagination – Parents tend to be rigid and want to be realistic at all times. But when you are conducting yoga classes, you need to make use of your imagination to create a conducive environment for the child to relax.

In conclusion

Don’t wait until your child is overwhelmed with stress for you to take action. Immediately you notice a significant behavioral change, lend them a helping hand. Yoga for kids could be that helping hand. Book a kids yoga classes and be consistent and creative in teaching yoga at home as a coping strategy for your child. You will be amazed at the transformation.

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Meditation

Walking Meditation for Kids: Doing It the Right Way

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“But mum, I’m bored. Can’t I just play on the X-box instead?” Yes, that’s what Jason, my son, always said before we’d go for our daily dose of a walking meditation. Until I realized that I was doing it all wrong. So, how do you introduce walking meditation for kids?

Meditation is a way of achieving mental clarity and emotional calmness through focusing the mind on a particular thought or activity. It dates back to India, as early as 1500BCE among the Buddhists. This tradition has now gained momentum among most cultures as the benefits have proven to be way too many.

Other Common Types of Meditation

Body scan or progressive relaxation

Guided Visualization

Mindfulness meditation

Breath awareness meditation

Kundalini yoga

Zen meditation

Metta meditation

Transcendental meditation

I prefer the walking meditation since it is easy to learn and apply with the little ones. Because the current generation has grown up hooked to gadgets and the Internet which have had adverse effects on them, we need to correct that. The ‘Television Nanny’ for instance has robbed kids of their innocence at such a young age. There is no better way to heal and correct this situation than introducing them to meditation.

walking family image

First and foremost, walking meditation for kids is one of the easiest forms that children can start with. Since walking is the main technique of achieving focus here, it should be easier for kids as young as 2 years to master. My little Jason picked it up after just two weeks of practice.

How to Perform Walking Meditation for Kids

This is best practiced in a quiet place free from any distractions to enhance mental calmness and emotional awareness. We do it in the park when traffic is minimal. It is easier for the kids to achieve calmness and harmony within a short span if well guided. And they also enjoy the cool breeze, vegetation, and everything else that nature has to offer. Encourage them to take off your footwear for optimum experience. Remember that the goal is to achieve calmness and total awareness.

Now take slow relaxed breaths together and help your young one do so. Our usual routine starts by momentarily closing our eyes and enjoying the air as we breathe. I then ask my boy how or what he is feeling at that moment.

meditation for kids image

At the back of your mind try to answer the following question during this meditation period: “Is the child now aware of their immediate surrounding? Do they notice any calming effect?” And you can also ask them directly if they are old enough to understand.

Guide your loved one in making slow informed steps. Do not rush it. Step by step walk with them and teach them to feel the pressure on their feet. Does the child feel it? That is how you can tell for sure if you are in this together.

Moreover, children will live for the simple interesting things. Make the process fun. Jason and I sing Sponge Bob Squarepants’songs while at it. And he loves it. Kids are more likely attracted to fun activities. And if you could integrate a little fun into meditation then you sure will win over your little one.

A Gentle Reminder

With kids, you need to constantly check that the little one is alert and present in the moment. Take a ‘royal stroll’ with more slow steps and feel the inner you. What is the child feeling? Ask them. Can he/she feel as they lift their leg off the earth?

mother and daughter walk

Their attention naturally might wander off at times. But hey, do not scorn them. They are just kids. Monitor them and help them back to the present moment whether they have been away for ten minutes or just a second. Just like training a puppy. Well, except this puppy is your adorable sweet little angel. Do this for thirty to forty minutes. But after some time you can integrate this meditation into simple activities such as errands or your usual walk to the mall. If you make it fun the kid should find it easy doing it on their own.

Simple Meditation Techniques for Kids

So how then do you get your child to take onto meditation? It is not an easy task at first but once they pick it up then it should be a ride in the park. The following strategies did the trick for me:

  1. Keep it Simple. Philosophy is not a field any kid will venture into. At their age, they do not need to understand the complexities and modus operandi of meditation. I noticed that relating the walk with the simple surrounding improved focus.
  2. Curiosity. Kids are by far the most curious creatures. Frequently asking my son how he feels strengthens our bond and he is less bored.
  3. Do not compel them into it. Yes, let them be. My son was not into meditation initially but I realized that forcing him was not the best option but rather working together as a team. I stepped down to his level, just a little bit, and that worked for me.
  4. Make it a norm. We have made it a habit to meditate every Friday and Saturday evening. I was surprised that he still meditates even when I’m not around.
  5. Nature Watch. This is the beauty of it all. Ask them what they see. Visualize the experience. Not a minute passes without my boy asking me to name a certain bird or just random objects. “Mom look, that parrot is pecking at us.”
  6. Chant and sing. Recite mantras and sing their favorite play songs. This takes the monotony out of the whole walking meditation for kids.

Benefits of Walking Meditation for Kids

  1. Meditation helps reduce anxiety and hyperactivity among children. They are better equipped at dealing with stress and handling other situations in life. Studies have shown that children exposed to meditation at a prime age grow into healthier adults.
  2. Brain development. Meditation helps kids mature mentally and even their concentration span is increased. My son’s performance in class has steadily shot up and I have meditation to thank.
  3. Self-control. Meditation has an effect of turning kids into fully grown rational individuals. Chances of them making asinine decisions or actions for that matter are almost impossible.
  4. Self-esteem. Children attach a greater sense of self-worth and even associate more openly with their parents. We relate more closely with my son than we did before.
  5. Reduced panic disorder. Children who meditate are better equipped at handling whatever difficult situations they may face in life.
  6. Children who meditate handle pain better and also mentally strong thus decision making is no tall order for them.

In Conclusion

I started meditation with my boy when he was 6years and seeing the many perks I only wish I’d have started earlier. However, kids will not always respond positively to meditation at first but be sure to take them at a friendly pace and soon enough they will pick up. Walking meditation for kids is one of the simplest forms of meditation and if done properly the outcome won’t disappoint you.

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Awareness

New To Breast Milk Jewelry? Welcome Aboard!

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Breast milk jewelry is a keepsake that impersonates motherliness. Motherhood is a journey; a narrative that can only be experienced but not taught. If l were to explain it, l would be lost for words. Others describe it as a sort of wilderness where each mother struggles to find her way. All in all, we hack it through either as heroines or mere survivors.

As a mom to two boys, I have had my share of ups and downs. The hardest part was waking up to fully engorged breasts and then halfway through the day, not even a single drop of breast milk. It happens to other moms too and mine was the inspiration I needed to venture into breast milk jewelry. I decided to use my fear to commemorate every single moment I shared with my kids.

So What Is Breast Milk Jewelry?

In a nutshell, these are ornaments made from a mother’s breast milk. They are mostly pendants which can be integrated seamlessly with any form of jewelry like chains, bracelets, earrings, or even rings. The ornaments feature a variety of custom background colors. They can be filled directly or made from resin.

Commercially Produced Breast Milk Jewelry

For those moms who haven’t discovered a hidden talent in DIY yet, you can find a blacksmith to make yours. All you need is to ship about two tablespoons of breast milk to them and your preferred design. These guys will then work their magic and apply showy finish before sending it back to you.

You can order tailor-made jewelry with your kid’s initials or whichever design you like. But if you think this is an order that gets fulfilled in a couple of days, think again. Some artists have requests of up to two years. Sounds like a very lucrative craft, doesn’t it?

My First Encounter

breast feeding image

Like every tech-savvy mother, l was doing rounds on the internet searching for motherhood stuff. Then a particular article by Daily Mail caught my attention. I almost dropped my glass of water. It highlighted how a particular lady was making a killing customizing breast milk jewelry. She was retailing them at $100 to $900.

At first, l was confused. But then bit by bit, reality kicked in. I wanted to contact her immediately to place my order, but when I remembered the price tag, I calmed down. And that’s how I started researching on the hands-on approach.

DIY Breast Milk Jewelry

Every DIY artist has a distinct trade process. Some incorporate chemicals to aid in breast milk preservation while others use dehydration techniques. Some will mix the milk with other solvents and others will freeze-dry. I guarantee you this is no science class and you can do it on your own at home. Let’s get started.

The Long Method

This is my favorite method because you only need to express enough milk once and use it to make lots of jewelry. The procedure calls for two parts; preservation of the breast milk and crafting the jewelry.

1. Breast Milk Preservation

You require the following:

  • 20-50ml of breast milk.
  • Appropriate preservative. You can purchase this from art shops dealing in breast milk jewelry and online retailers like Amazon.
  • A medium sized baking paper.
  • And two saucepans of different sizes.

Procedure

Fill the bigger saucepan halfway with water and insert the smaller one containing the breast milk. Heat the bigger saucepan until the water starts to boil. Add the preservative to the now heated breast milk and stir it till some bits begin to stick to your stirring rod. Spread it on the baking paper and place it in a cool and dry place. Leave it for 48hrs to dry. Then using a teaspoon or your mini blender, grind it to a fine powder. Store this powder in a cool and dry place for use anytime you need to make jewelry.

2. Crafting the Jewelry

You can use the dried breast milk directly on a pendant and cure it with UV light. But for a more customized approach, read on.

What you require:

  • Resin (you can buy them together with the preservative).
  • Jewelry molds.
  • Shimmer tint (optional).

Procedure

Create a clean crafting area free from obstacles. Pour about 4mls of the resin into a cup then 2mls of the hardener and stir for 3minutes. Add a pinch of the powdered breast milk to the mix above and stir well. At this point, I usually add some shimmer tint, plus my baby’s signature item such as hair, eyebrows, or nails to the mixture while stirring. Let it rest for 2 minutes. The additions are optional.

Now pour the concoction into your mold and leave it to set for about 12hours. It sets quicker because the breast milk used was already dry. Polish it if you need to and attach to any form of jewelry using the appropriate glue.

The Cheats Way

The Easier way out is to purchase a breast milk jewelry kit. These come with all the tools you require and detailed instructions. They usually retail for less than $30 depending on the designs.

The essential items in a simple kit are the solvents (usually 2), the pendant, and the stirring rod. Other kits come with more complex instructions so be sure to follow them to the latter for best results. Mix the two solvents with your breast milk as instructed (normally ¼ to ½ teaspoon of milk). Stir for 5-10 minutes and once the mixture turns white, pour it into the pendant mold. You can also add glitters, baby hair, baby nails, or anything you think of at this point.

The mixture hardens as you continue pouring, so this is your chance to get creative. You can swirl it towards the top to get a wavy effect or pour it in a dome-shaped manner. When you finish, leave the pendant in the same spot to dry for at least 1 to 3 days. If you move it around, you could mess with your design. After 3 days, your pendant will have solidified. And you can now attach it to a necklace or any form of chain-linked jewelry.

Why I Love My Breast Milk Jewelry

Motherhood image

  1. Longer-Than-Life Memory: Instead of wearing ornaments for beauty purposes, how about having an art piece that also represents an incredible adventure. Yes, it’s a dwarf in size but a giant in the memories it holds in itself.
  2. Stronger Mother to Child Bond: If there is one blessing that will beat any other, that should be motherhood. Why? Because it’s held by selflessness and unconditional love!
  3. A Potential Hand-Me-Down: Imagine gifting your offspring some of your breast milk jewelry when they get their first child. It will fill their heart with so much joy, courage, and inspiration. I’m not sure if I’ll do that personally, because I’m too attached to my jewelry. They rekindle fond memories and remind me of how blessed I am.

The Bottom Line

I strongly believe in creating items that leave long-lasting memories. My first breast milk jewelry has my baby’s hair intertwined in the pendant. It reminds me of when I first shaved him. The second one has a grain of rice in it. That’s the time I first weaned him. The third one is in the shape of a tiny baby foot. It reminds me of when he took his first step. And so on and so forth. Do the same with your jewelry and you’ll have powerful memories of your kids to last you centuries (or maybe forever). These babies grow up very fast.

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