Stop Saying These Things to Your Kids!

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-

“Good job!”

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!


The Natural Miracle Cure for Nappy Rashes

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-

Ingredients needed:

  • Egg
  • Corn starch


  •  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.)

5 Ways to Keep Your Children Motivated

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Have a day every week where the child is free to explore and do whatever they want, without any restrictions.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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‘.


Effective Communication With Your Child

Recently we attended a seminar on effective communication with your child and were introduced to the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) Australia website. The brochures on the website are really useful, so I thought that I should share them here.

Here’s a link to the brochures page-

It contains several good articles in pdf format, such as 

(I have provided a link to the same pdf files here, in accordance to the copyright laws)

Do check them out! 

Keep Your Child Away From Those Screens!

Recently I went to a friend’s house for a board game session and I was horrified to see that he left his 22 month son with a mobile device, playing cartoon nursery rhymes, while he hosted the gathering. That being said, I did not immediately berate him, neither did I send periodic dirty, disapproving looks at him. It got me thinking, though.

Last year Fisherprice introduced a baby bouncer with a slot to insert an iPad into. This caused a large uproar, mostly among parents who feel that babies should not be introduced to devices with digital screens too early in life. At the same time, there are millions of parents doing the exact opposite – using digital media to distract their children (during mealtimes, for example), as a way to take attention away from dangerous objects, or simply as a reward for good behaviour.

The current recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is avoid all forms of electronic media for children under the age of 2. But is it really possible, and if so, is it practical?

There is an explosion of digital screens are everwhere – at shopping centres, the doctor’s waiting room, etc. Some men’s toilets even have screens at the urinals!

Assuming I deprive Samantha of all digital media at home, and also manage to screen Samantha from the external exposures, there will still be this kid at the park (or playgroup) playing with his/her iPad. Samantha will inevitably gravitate towards this child, because she will find the iPad a very interesting toy.

Nevertheless, the effects of digital screens on toddlers have been well publicised (see this Huffington Post article, with a hot debate in the comment section), and we should all do our utmost best to stick to the AAP guidelines (I know that we don’t always listen to our doctors advice all the time anyway).

Just remember the last line of the AAP recommendations – ‘A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.’ The next time you think of passing the iPad to your toddler, why not substitute it with some real face time instead?