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Is my kid alright?

Written by Laurie Lafortune

When your child participates in a group setting for the first time, be it child care, preschool or kindergarten, that’s often when you notice other children’s skills and abilities and can’t help but think about how your own child compares. In kindergarten, you may notice that some children have very large vocabularies, while others seem less developed in their speech. Some children can talk clearly, while other kids’ words are very hard to understand. Some children will be printing letters and drawing and colouring detailed pictures, while others are holding a pencil in a fist-like grip and do not attempt to draw or print. Some children will seem physically talented, and can throw and kick a ball, balance well and climb on playground equipment with ease. Others seem less coordinated in their movements. Some will be able to put on their own jackets and boots, while others struggle. Continue reading

Helping Your Teens to be Realistic about Money

Written by Laurie Lafortune

Only a small percentage of people are wealthy, and every adult except the very rich has to make choices about spending and saving that involve doing without some things we want.  What adults earn  frames our choices around what home to live in, what car we drive, what vacations we take, what clothes we buy, how much we can support a charity…and on and on. Living within your means is an essential concept and one that parents need to help their children to understand. This can be one of the most difficult things to realize for teenagers, especially if you, as a parent, have tried to provide everything they want. At the heart of living within your means is an understanding of needs and wants.

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Kids and Allowances

Written by Laurie Lafortune

Most of us got an allowance when we were younger. I can remember comparing what I got with what friends received and some of them got a lot more than I did! (I have to admit that some kids got less and some didn’t get an allowance at all). Each week, my father gave us kids some cash.  If we ran out of spending money, we had to wait for the next week. It seemed pretty straightforward, but from a parent’s perspective, figuring out allowances for kids is a bit more complicated than it seems at first. Here are some things to think about… Continue reading

Helping Young Children When Natural Disasters Strike

Written by Laurie Lafortune

When a terrible event such as a tornado, wildfire, flood, or other natural disaster happens, it’s extremely traumatic for everyone affected. For children, such events can be especially difficult to cope with. Even after the event is over, and they are physically safe, children may have difficulties, (although each child is different and there is no one typical way of responding). Children may be more irritable, less cooperative, have tantrums, or regress from milestones such as being potty trained or sleeping alone.  There might be bed wetting, They might become very demanding and seem angry all the time. They might cling to you and be unable to let you out of their sight. Frequent crying, unable to sleep, and general loss of interest in activities or play can also occur.

What can parents do to help children through these times?

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What is School Success to You?

written by Laurie Lafortune

We all want our teens to succeed at school but let’s consider what we mean by success. Do we want our teen to be a straight A student, star athlete, respected and liked by teachers? Do we hope our teen will be popular, or a leader in student council and on committees? Or do we hope that our teen will be kind, helpful and supportive to others.

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Helping Your Teens to be Realistic about Money

Written by Laurie Lafortune

Only a small percentage of people are wealthy, and every adult except the very rich has to make choices about spending and saving that involve doing without some things we want.  What adults earn frames our choices around what home to live in, what car we drive, what vacations we take, what clothes we buy, how much we can support a charity…and on and on. Living within your means is an essential concept and one that parents need to help their children to understand. This can be one of the most difficult things to realize for teenagers, especially if you, as a parent, have tried to provide everything they want. At the heart of living within your means is an understanding of needs and wants.

Continue reading

Understanding Your Child’s Temperament

written by Laurie Lafortune

I remember a friend telling me that if her third baby had been her first, she might not have had more than one child. That rueful statement was related to temperament of her third child, which was much more challenging than the calm, easy-going temperaments of the first two.  It can be a surprise to parents how different siblings can be in temperament.

For parents who are trying to use active parenting strategies to be the best parents they can, it’s crucial to understand your child’s temperament.  Temperament describes a child’s typical way of responding to the world. It appears that temperament is genetically based, but of course is then modified by the environment including the type of parenting.

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The Building Blocks of Reading-How Parents Can Help Build Literacy Skills

written by Laurie Lafortune

 

Studies have shown that children who are behind in reading in school by Grade 3 continue to fall behind and are four times less likely to graduate high school than other children.  The first three grades of school are very important in learning to read, but the foundation for reading is laid at home, long before formal schooling begins.  Successful parents play a key role in helping their children be successful in school before school begins, not by teaching them to read, but by supporting the development of literacy. Parents should start as early and as frequently as possible with simple communication activities.

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Shopping and Financial Literacy for Kids

written by Laurie Lafortune

Financial literacy refers to the skills and knowledge that allows a person to make informed decisions about money and other financial resources. Financial literacy for kids? That sounds kind of complex, and over their heads.  But your children will have money at their disposal from quite a young age. Birthday presents of cash, gifts of money or store cards from grandparents will start coming their way. Kids as young as 3 can understand buying and spending, and saving.

We don’t want our kids to reach adulthood and suddenly be thrown into the real world of budgeting. We all can tell stories about many young adults (and older adults) who struggle with financial decisions and are unable to manage their income and expenses. Money worries are one of the biggest causes of family breakdown. And a lot of the money worries come from spending beyond income.

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Should Parents make their Kids Say “I’m Sorry”?

written by: Laurie Lafortune

Let’s look at the goals behind having your child say “I’m sorry”. An apology is not meant to be an excuse, or to get someone off the hook. The goal behind an apology is to repair relationships, accept responsibility and make a commitment to not do that again. Without that understanding, the word sorry has little meaning.  It’s not the saying of the words that matter, but the meaning behind them.

Most parents can get their child to obey the command to “Say You’re Sorry!” through removal of privileges, or other consequences, but there no meaning  in those words being spoken if the child is only saying it so the parent will stop nagging, or to avoid unpleasant consequences.  Forcing children to make an apology might make a child more angry and resentful.  Some children say the words, because of fear of punishment and might not even realize that they did something wrong.

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Understanding Your Child’s Temperament

written by Laurie Lafortune

I remember a friend telling me that if her third baby had been her first, she might not have had more than one child. That rueful statement was related to temperament of her third child, which was much more challenging than the calm, easy-going temperaments of the first two.  It can be a surprise to parents how different siblings can be in temperament.

For parents who are trying to use active parenting strategies to be the best parents they can, it’s crucial to understand your child’s temperament.  Temperament describes a child’s typical way of responding to the world. It appears that temperament is genetically based, but of course is then modified by the environment including the type of parenting.

Some kids are just naturally quiet, calm and more reserved while others are outgoing, talkative and loud. Some are generally easy-going, “go with the flow” types, while others of are strong-willed and resistant to change.  Children with temperaments that parents find challenging are often called “spirited” children. Children fall somewhere along a continuum with their individual traits. Taking some time to think about and understand the facets of a child’s temperament can be really helpful for parents. It will help a parent to anticipate reactions, avoid conflicts, and help a child with his own self-control. There is no temperament that is better than another; what really matters is being aware of how your child’s temperament fits your home environment and how it matches up with your own temperament as an adult.  If you and your child have very different temperaments, it can be challenging to keep things on an even keel. You might not realize how difficult certain situations can be for your child.

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Can an Active Parenting Program help Prevent Child Abuse?

Written by Laurie Lafortune

Child abuse sadly is not uncommon in our country. A 2014 study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that 32% of Canadians had experienced physical abuse, sexual abuse, exposure to violence in the home, spanking with an object, or slapping.

These types of experiences were found to have a strong correlation with mental disorders, including suicidal thought and suicidal attempts.

Improved parenting skills as found in parenting books and resources such as Active Parenting can help prevent child abuse. The principles and strategies in the Active Parenting program address the common risk factors that have been found in studies of abusive parents.

One risk factor for child abuse is found in parents who have a strong belief in corporal punishment. These parents believe that corporal punishment will shape their child’s behaviour. But if parents are under stress due to employment or family factors, they are at risk of going too far with their children. They may become enraged and out of control, inflicting physical injury or even death on their children. Tragically, even infants have been victims of out of control parents.

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