I went for a early childhood conference recently and was introduced to this article written by Shelly Phillips a little more than a year ago – ’10 Things to Stop Saying to Your Kids (and What to Say Instead)’. While I acknowledge that every child is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ parenting style or technique of handling difficult situations, her suggestions are really very sound.
Here’s a short snippet of her post-
The biggest problem with this statement is that it’s often said repeatedly and for things a child hasn’t really put any effort into. This teaches children that anything is a “good job” when mom and dad say so (and only when mom and dad say so).
Instead try, “You really tried hard on that!” By focusing on a child’s effort, we’re teaching her that the effort is more important than the results. This teaches children to be more persistent when they’re attempting a difficult task and to see failure as just another step toward success.
For the other 9 things to stop saying to your child, check out the link above.
It’s really hard to remember and stop saying all 10 things at once. A good suggestion will be to write yourself a reminder card for every one of these 10 Things to Stop Saying, and carry one different card with you every week to serve as a reminder. This way, after 10 weeks, you should have internalised all 10 things!
Samantha had a 2-week episode of diarrhoea recently and she developed a sore rash around the anus due to excessive watery bowel movement. We tried heaps of different sorts of diaper rash cream but they all didn’t seem to help at all!
So we consulted one of our friends who works as a paediatrician and we were told that in a local children’s intensive care unit, there is a ‘special concoction’ that is used for children who had very bad nappy rashes. We tried it and her rash disappeared overnight! (and no more pain!)
Only 2 ingredients are needed for this fantastic recipe and best of all, it is completely natural! Here’s the recipe for everyone-
- break the egg and separate the white from the yolk. Discard the yolk (or use it to make egg tarts, if you wish).
- mix a tablespoon of cornstarch into the egg white.
- smear the egg white corn starch mixture onto the rash and let it air dry.
**Caution – DO NOT use this if your child has an egg allergy or has not eaten eggs before! The consequence of an allergic reaction can be severe and life threatening!!
(Yes, I was a bit doubtful before trying this strange concoction. However, a quick Google search for ‘egg white corn starch nappy rash’, resulted in a surprising number of websites with people claiming its efficacy, plus we was getting desperate, so we gave it a shot.)
In his book ‘drive’, Daniel Pink divides motivators into 2 categories, ‘extrinsic’, such as money and other tangible forms of rewards, and ‘intrinsic’, where one does things based on their own, internal ‘drive’. He is of the opinion that while extrinsic motivators are great for linear, simple tasks, over reliance on this will eventually backfire, causing one to become unmotivated.
Although the book is largely a self-help book, part of his book also talks about parenting. He has also put up a list of ‘to dos’ in his book, to help parents nurture intrinsic motivation in their children. Here are 5 of his suggestions:
- Make your children see homework in a different light:
– offer them autonomy over when and how to the work,
– only do work that promotes mastery,
– and make sure your child understands the purpose behind doing the work.
- Have a day every week where the child is free to explore and do whatever they want, without any restrictions.
- Make DIY report cards. School report cards are usually result-oriented, which cause the children to focus on getting results rather than the learning process. Make your own report cards based on the learning goals instead.
- Don’t bribe your child to do tasks. You can give your kids an allowance and also some chores, but don’t combine them. Your child will keep asking for rewards if you constantly associate tasks with rewards.
- Praise strategies:
– Praise your child for the effort and strategy used to solve problems, not intelligence.
– Only praise when there is a good reason for it.
– Make sure your praises specific, a simple ‘good job’ is insufficient.
– Praise should be given in private, not publicly.
For more about this, check out his book ‘Drive‘.
In this final article about Foreign Bodies in Children, we discuss what you can do when your child has a foreign body stuck in one of his/her orifices.
What to do when your child may have swallowed an foreign body or placed a foreign body in their mouth:
- Stay calm. Do not shout or move the child suddenly as they may accidentally swallow it.
- Ask the child to remove the foreign body from their mouth (if possible). Do not forcefully pry their mouth open as you may end up pushing it further in.
- If the foreign body is nowhere to be found, bring the child to see a doctor. Do not fish around. Often an X-ray is necessary to locate it.
- If the child appears breathless, bring him/her to the Children’s Emergency straightaway.
- If the child has swallowed a button battery, bring him/her to the Children’s Emergency straightaway.
What do do if you child has swallowed a (fish) bone:
- Remain calm.
- Do not eat rice/banana/drink vinegar because this may make the bone migrate further.
- Seek medical attention immediately – if the family doctor sees the bone in the tonsils, they can remove it. However if the bone is not there, they usually refer the patient to the Children’s Emergency.
- If your child is unable to swallow anything further, is drooling, or if they can swallow but food keeps regurgitating upwards, these are signs that there is something blocking the food pipe, and urgent medical attention is required.
- If your child has chest pain or fever, these are warning signs that there is surrounding infection. This is a potential emergency, therefore proceed to the Children’s Emergency as soon as possible.
What to do if your child has a foreign body in the ear or nose:
- Do not try to take it out unless you are certain you can reach it. Otherwise you push it further in.
- If its an organic material foreign body (e.g. corn seed), do not use water to flush it out as it may expand and cause more pain.
- Bring the child to see a doctor – to confirm location of the foreign body. The doctor may attempt removal then.
- Sometimes, removal under sedation or general anesthesia is necessary.
(This article is Part 4 of a 4-part series about foreign bodies, contributed by my wife who sees people with Ear, Nose and Throat issues.
Part 1 – Foreign Bodies in Children: Why They Can Be Lethal
Part 2 – Foreign Bodies in Children: The Most Common Culprits and Why Button Batteries Are The Child’s Worst Enemy
Part 3 – Foreign Bodies in Children: Warning Signs)
In the ideal world all children are supervised when they play and all small objects are kept out of their reach at home, at childcare and everywhere the child chooses to explore. However, in the real world, that is very difficult, if not impossible to enforce.
Every parent should know these warning signs that tell you that your child has a foreign body and seek medical attention immediately:
- Persistent one sided nose discharge – this is usually slightly bloody and yellow or green
- A bad smell coming from the nose
- Nasal pain
- One sided ear discharge
- Ear pain and swelling of the ear canal
- Food refusal
- Difficulty swallowing their usual diet – sometimes they are still able to drink fluids but cannot eat
- Regurgitation of food
Windpipe (This is usually more dramatic than at other sites, as you can imagine)
- Sudden difficulty breathing
- Child turns blue
- While taking breaths in and out, the child makes a sound
Unless you are familiar with the object, part of it is sticking out and you can get a good grip on the object (that is rarely the case given the tiny nature of the most common foreign bodies), never try to remove the object. You may dislodge the foreign body deeper into the body, or cause damage to your child’s tissue as you are pulling the item out. Seek medical attention immediately.
(This article is Part 3 of a 4-part series about foreign bodies, contributed by my wife who sees people with Ear, Nose and Throat issues.
Part 1 – Foreign Bodies in Children: Why They Can Be Lethal
Part 2 – Foreign Bodies in Children: The Most Common Culprits and Why Button Batteries Are The Child’s Worst Enemy)