Displaying items by tag: parenting

Fun STEM & STEAM Crafts for Kids - Part 1/15

Forget those problem sets! Get your kids psyched about STEM and STEAM with interactive toys and crafts they can make at home. They'll be amazed to see science, technology, engineering, and math in action in a setting that feels nothing like school. Get templates and instructions at

The Real Joys of Being a Mom

OK, there is the lack of sleep, vacation, and official sick days. But Motherboard Moms agree that this "job" comes with fantastic benefits. Here are some of them.


50 Easy Ways to Be a Fantastic Parent

We've gathered our all-time favourite nuggets of advice from our expert mothers in one outstanding article that will have a profound effect on your whole family.

Set Smart Limits

Take charge. Children crave limits, which help them understand and manage an often confusing world. Show your love by setting boundaries so your kids can explore and discover their passions safely.

Don't clip your child's wings. Your toddler's mission in life is to gain independence. So when she's developmentally capable of putting her toys away, clearing her plate from the table, and dressing herself, let her. Giving a child responsibility is good for her self-esteem (and your sanity!).

Don't try to fix everything. Give young kids a chance to find their own solutions. When you lovingly acknowledge a child's minor frustrations without immediately rushing in to save her, you teach her self-reliance and resilience.

12 Ways to Mess Up Your Kids

Child psychologists, psychiatrists, and other experts tell us the dozen things you should avoid doing to help your child develop into a happy, confident, well-rounded little person.

Parenting is one of the most popular areas of self-help. For many, parenting books are purchased while the child is still in utero. The last few decades have brought a lot of new discoveries about child development, child behaviour, and the nature of the parent-child relationship, some of which have been extremely important. But the volume of information can be overwhelming. So we decided to focus on what parents shouldn't do.

We asked some of the best-known experts in the field what they see as some of the prime ways parents can mess up their kids. From child psychologists to child psychiatrists to child doctors, the experts gave us the low-down on what harms and helps kids. According to them, here are their top 12 things that you should avoid doing to help your child develop into a happy, confident, and well-rounded little person.


We've all been there: It's time to leave the park and your kids just won't go. They run; they hide; they refuse. And you become more and more frustrated and angry. It's tempting to take this tack when your kids just won't get on board with what you're trying to do (especially if they're throwing a full-fledged tantrum), but the threat of abandonment -- it doesn't matter if you would never act on it -- is deeply damaging to children.

A child's feeling of attachment to his parents and caregivers is one of the most important things in a child's development, especially in the early years. Dr. L. Alan Sroufe, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Minnesota's Institute of Child Development, says that threatening your child with abandonment, even in seemingly lighthearted ways, can shake the foundation of security and well-being that you represent. According to Sroufe, when you say things like, "I'm just going to leave you here," it opens up the possibility that you will not be there to protect and care for them. For a child, the thought that you could leave them alone in a strange place is both terribly frightening and can begin to erode their attachment to you as the secure base from which they can encounter the world.

So, next time you're tempted to respond to refusals or tantrums with "I'm leaving," try explaining the situation to your child in simple terms -- or, at least, waiting out the tears with him (they will pass), and then proceeding on. If it's about time to leave the park (and your child is old enough), prepare him for the transition, since transitions are notoriously difficult for kids. Try saying something like, "Oliver, it's getting to be dinner time, so we're going to start packing up in five minutes." Then alert him at the four-, three-, two-, and one-minute marks, so he's aware of what's coming. The same type of negotiating can work if your child is screaming in the grocery cart because he's sick of doing errands: Counting down the number of items you still need before "Mommy time" is over and it's park or play time can be a good way to help your child feel involved and aware of the plan. For younger children, distraction ("Look at that big dog/red truck out there!") is likely your best defense.



A simple but extremely important rule of thumb in child rearing is, "Don't lie to your child." For example, telling your kids that the family pet has gone to a farm upstate when the animal is actually dead is a good example of this common mistake that parents make. When we bend the truth in these ways, it's not, of course, malicious: we are trying to save our kids' feelings. We may be unsure of how to handle these difficult situations, or just hoping to avoid the issue, but making things up or lying to protect your child from pain actually backfires because it distorts reality, which is unnecessary and potentially damaging.

It is important, though, to be sure your explanation is age-appropriate. A very young child does not need a long explanation of death or dying. Telling him or her a person was very old or very sick with a serious illness the doctors couldn't make go away may be all that's needed.

According to Sroufe, this parenting mistake also includes "distorting feelings," which may involve "telling children they feel something that they in fact are not feeling or, more frequently, telling them they are not feeling what they in fact are feeling." In other words, creating a discrepancy between what your child is experiencing and what you're telling them they feel creates unnecessary distress.

For example, if your child says she is scared to go to school for the first time, rather than telling her she's not scared or that she's being silly, acknowledge your child's feelings and then work from there. Say something along the lines of, "I know you're scared, but I'm going to come with you. We'll meet your new teachers and your classmates together, and I'll stay with you until you're not scared anymore. Sometimes excitement feels a lot like being scared. Do you think you are also excited?" The next time you're tempted to tell a little lie or otherwise bend the truth, consider another way: it is an opportunity to grow. Embrace the truth and help your child work through the confusing feelings. It will be much better for her health over the long term.



Parents may live by the old mantra, "Do as I say, not as I do," but there's a lot of good research to show why this does not work for a number of reasons. Kids learn by example, plain and simple. Children absorb everything around them, and they are exceptionally sponge-like in their capacity to learn and mirror both good and bad behaviours from the time they are very young.

For this reason, as child development expert Dr. David Elkind, professor emeritus of child development at Tufts University and well-known child development author, tells TheDoctor, modeling the behavior we want is one of the best things we as parents can do. What you do matters a lot more than what you say your child should do.

For example, the children of smokers are twice as likely to smoke as the kids of non-smoking parents, and overweight parents are significantly more likely to have overweight children than normal-weight parents. Even slightly more enigmatic behaviors, like how you treat family members and interact with strangers, animals, and the environment, are absorbed and repeated by your children. The best way to get your kids to eat their broccoli? Eat it enthusiastically yourself and make it delicious (with a little grated cheese perhaps) for your kids. Children detect falseness a mile away, so believing in what you're doing is an integral part of leading by example.

So, if you want your child to be respectful and kind, be sure you exhibit those behaviors yourself, even when you are angry or in a disagreement. You, the parent, are the number one role model in your child's life. Showing -- rather than telling -- them how to behave and navigate the world around them is the most effective method.



One of the biggest problems with parenting advice is that one size does not fit all. As Elkind points out, "the same boiling water that hardens the egg softens the carrot.... The same parental behavior can have different effects depending on the personality of the child."

If you have more than one child, you have probably noticed that not only do their personalities vary greatly, but other variables like sleep habits, attention spans, learning styles, and responses to discipline can also be extraordinarily different between children. Your first child may look to you constantly for comfort or encouragement, while your second may need nothing of the sort, preferring to forge ahead on his own. Some children respond better to firm boundaries while others need less definition. Therefore, it is important to remember that what worked for one does not necessarily work for the other.

The same is true when it comes to what you needed as a child vs. what your own child needs. You might have been a child who was constantly on the go and required a lot of active play, but your child might prefer quiet, mellow play. Keeping these differences in mind as you raise your own kids is key -- it's not easy, since it requires you to keep learning and reevaluating, rather than relying on your own experiences and memories. But parenting with the needs of each child at the forefront will go a long way for your and your children's development.



Most parents have a general idea of the things that are OK and aren't OK in their households, but what you do when rules are broken can really make a difference between teaching your child a lesson and simply making them angry and resentful. When something unexpected pops up, some people take it in stride while others don't take it so well. But according to Dr. W. George Scarlett, deputy chair at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University, one way to "mess up" your kid is to lose track of the larger context and all the other variables that are part of the environment in which you raise your child and in which your child exists.

For example, if your child sneaks a violent video game or R-rated movie, it isn't the end of the world, assuming you're basically providing a positive, supportive surrounding to raise your child. Scarlett says that "parents letting kids play video games with violent content and parents spanking provide examples of what I mean. If you just look at the correlations, you might conclude these two are bad ideas, but look closer, and it seems these two are fine for most when embedded in good contexts and caring parenting." Therefore, a "bad" activity every now and again won't be too detrimental to your child's development if the other 99 percent of his activities are more in line with your own beliefs.

Scarlett adds that "the overall message might well be this: that particular methods, habits, and behaviors aren't as important as parental attitudes and abilities to take child's point of view as well as that of an adult." If a child is raised in a loving, nurturing environment in which he is respected and his feelings taken into account (more on this later), then activities to which we might otherwise say "no way" won't have so large or negative an impact on your child's development.



Despite old-school wisdom, it is virtually impossible to spoil your baby by being attentive to their needs or holding them in your arms for much of the day. Dr. Tovah Klein, director of the Barnard Toddler Center at Columbia University, underlines that "you can't spoil a baby by holding them or responding to them too much. Research shows just the opposite. Babies who receive more sensitive and responsive care (so their needs are responded to) become the more competent and independent toddlers."

Holding your baby in your arms or in a sling, responding to cries, and comforting them when they're frustrated can only help. After all, babies cry for a reason: it's a signal that something is amiss and they need mom's or dad's help to fix it. Knowing that mom or dad is there to make right the things that go wrong creates a sense of security that stays with them as they grow.

For older kids, there's a balance between being responsive and being over-responsive to their mishaps. For example, when children fall down, they often look to the parents to see how they should respond. When parents overreact to a skinned knee, the child will, too. But when parents respond in a laid-back way (perhaps saying, "Oops, you fell. Looks like you're OK, right?"), the child will likely respond in kind, and perhaps skip the tears altogether. But for young babies, it's almost impossible to over-parent. So, if you're inclined to keep your baby on your chest rather than in a carrier, go ahead. It will build a bond and sense of security between you and your baby for a long time to come.

A related point is that each child develops at his or her own speed, so pushing your child to do new things before he or she is ready can actually be harmful. "Pushing for independence too early can backfire," according to Klein. "For example, parents can be quick to move a child out of a crib -- like when they turn two. This takes away a known comfort from them (cribs are small and enclosed and help children feel safe). This can lead to sleep battles -- child not wanting to stay in bed, waking more at night, etc." So make sure that your child is ready for new activities and transitions. His or her response will let you know if they are. Be prepared to back off and wait a bit longer before trying again.



Expressing his or her anger by hitting or throwing things is a perfectly natural behavior for a child. It's a way for kids with their limited language and immature cognitive (mental) abilities to express emotion. Punishing the child for these behaviours, though it may be tempting, is not the way to go, since it gives the impression that having the emotions in the first place is a bad thing.

Klein suggest that rather than scolding a child for acting out, "Helping a child understand their negative emotion (anger, sadness) and in time learn to understand why they feel as they do will help them develop competence socially and emotionally. So,  empathising with a child, rather than scolding them, while setting a limit (i.e., "I understand you are angry, but I can't let you hit.") bears better outcomes later than scolding and punishing the young child."

Rather than "shutting down" a child's emotions, help your child see that you understand his frustration and it's OK to feel that way -- but that there's a better way to express it.



This is a common mistake that parents make, particularly as their kids get older. All parents want to be liked and loved by their kids, and to be thought of as cool is especially desirable to some parents -- so it can be easy to slip into the friend role, rather than the parent role.

Dr. Sue Hubbard, paediatrician and host of The Kid's Doctor radio show, says that it's critical to remain a parent, especially when it comes to setting boundaries about experimenting with substances. The rate of alcohol and drug use in teens is climbing, and Hubbard feels that "part of that may be due to the fact that parents want to be their child's friend rather than parent. It is often easier to say yes than no, and parents seem to turn a blind eye at times to the use of alcohol and drugs (especially weed) in their own homes. The scary part of this: alcohol is the leading cause of death among teenagers."

While some parents may feel that the safest place to experiment with substances is in the home, being too permissive about alcohol or drug use can backfire, giving kids the idea that underage drinking is OK as long as it's at home. "You must set an example for responsible alcohol use," says Hubbard, "and enforce the laws regarding underage drinking. Children watch their parents from very young ages, and they know what coming home drunk looks like."

Overly permissive parenting can be a concern in other areas, not just the drug and alcohol realm. Finding your way between being an authority figure and being confident can be tricky, but it's an important balance to strike. Being authoritative -- using your years and accumulated knowledge to explain to your children -- is different from being authoritarian, or someone who says "my way or the highway." It's not hard to guess which has the more lasting beneficial effect on a teenager or young child.



With our incredibly busy lives today, family mealtimes can become a casualty. When the kids are young, it's natural to have an early meal for them, and one later for grown-ups. And with teens who tend to snack a lot and have after-school activities, it's easy for the evening meal to become an "every man for himself" event.

More and more research shows that families who eat together are healthier, both physically and mentally. As Hubbard says, "family meal time has somehow become an enigma rather than the norm. How this has evolved is not clear, but numerous studies have shown that children who eat family meals have more academic success in school, have less attention and behavior problems, have less drug and alcohol use and definitely have better table manners."

Families who eat together are also thinner and have reduced risk for eating disorders. So as much as is possible, try to have sit-down meals together, talking about the good and bad points in your day, and just being together. "Don't stress over family meals!" says Hubbard. "You can buy pre-made food, add a few of your family's favorite ingredients and enjoy it around the table."

Paediatrician Jim Sears, co-host of the television show The Doctors, calls stocking the cabinets with junk food one of the most common mistakes we make. Depriving kids of nutritious food and making them overweight is a sure way to mess up kids. "It all comes down to shopping habits, and turning these around can make a big difference when it comes to our kids' health." According to Sears, "if you look at most pantries, you'll find cookies, chips, and soda, even though the people that stock those pantries will say they're trying to avoid junk. If it's sitting in the fridge ... you will see it and you will eat it. Even worse: your kids will see it and grow up thinking that you are supposed to have junk food in stock all the time."

"I always encourage my families to change their thinking on how they shop. Having junk food around the house should be the exception, not the rule," Sears says.  If you want to replace the junk food with healthier options, try doing it gradually (your kids might rebel if you do it all at once).



Though it's tempting to hop in the car to make a quick run to the grocery story, Sears' second piece of advice to families is to opt for activity whenever you can. "By this," he says, "I don't mean going to the gym five days a week.... What I mean is that your family chooses being active whenever possible. You ride bikes or walk to school. You walk to the park, post office, coffee shop.... You can walk a few blocks from your office to grab lunch, and take the stairs." You might even think about getting a dog.

"People talk about a genetic component to being overweight, but if a person is active, then they can overcome any genetic pre-disposition they may have," Sears says. "I think this shows that humans were designed to be moving most of the time, instead of sitting in a classroom or behind a desk. Sure, sitting may be a part of your job, but if you look for any excuse to move, and to get your family moving, you will all be much healthier and have better job or school performance. Let your kids think that being active is normal." 

Your kids may moan and groan now when you tell them the movie is out, but a day hike with picnic is in, but these habits will stay with them in the years to come. Not only will they make your kids healthier as they age, (research keeps coming in that suggests the more active we stay, the more we reduce our risk for obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cognitive decline, and even early death), but presumably they'll pass this healthy lifestyle down onto their own children as well.



We're all aware of the impact that our parenting has on our children. But sometimes it's easy to push that idea to the extreme, and feel that everything you do will have a make-or-break impact on your child's success.

If you can't get him into the best elementary school, what will become of his academic aspirations? If you don't find the perfect balance between discipline and easygoingness how will this affect his development? Is the fact that he pushed a kid on the playground today because you let him see a violent cartoon? If your child has a great day in Little League, don't assume your coaching was the reason.

Becoming a guilt-ridden and intense parent is one sure way to mess up your kids. Dr. Hans Steiner, professor emeritus of child psychiatry at Stanford University, cautions parents not to assume sole responsibility for their child's issues. There are many other factors in his life besides you, which will affect his personality and development: genes, other family members, school, friends, and so on. So when things go wrong, don't beat yourself up, since it is very likely not you and you alone that led to the problem.

On the flip side, says Steiner, don't assume that you have no role in your child's development. Some people may operate from the assumption that a child's successes and problems are mainly due to genes, or the teachers at school, rather than you. Both extremes are just that: extremes. Like so many aspects of parenting, there is a balance. You are important in your child's life, but you're not the only factor.



You're reading this to learn some parenting disasters and tips. But as stated earlier, one-size-fits-all parenting is unrealistic, since children's personalities vary so greatly. Steiner advises parents to be aware of the "goodness-of-fit" between themselves and their children when it comes to personality and natural temperament. Psychologists have outlined nine different temperament traits (some of which include attention span, mood, and activity level), which all combine to form three basic temperament types: Easy/flexible, difficult/feisty, and cautious/slow to warm up. 

Needless to say, your child's temperament interacts with yours. Some parents and kids temperaments work well together, but others are more of a work in progress. Your children's temperaments may be very different from your own -- and you can't change either one. Just think about the fastidious mom with a sloppy kid, or the hard-driving dad with a laidback child. It's up to you to be mindful of these differences and work around them. 

Once you're aware of the phenomenon, you can figure out new ways to interact with and respond to your child to minimize friction. One recent University of Washington study found that when parenting styles were more closely tailored to their children's needs, kids had significantly less depression and anxiety than kids whose parents were less tuned in to their children's personalities. You will also be able to construct schedules and activities that will be a better fit with his or her temperament.

Being aware of the natural temperament and needs of your child is one of the necessary (and wonderful) parts of being a parent. There's a lot you can't change, so delight in the distinct little personality that he or she is -- and will grow into, in the years to come.

Best Parenting Books – 12 Great Books stars

Looking for the best parenting books you can find?

The way we parent our children has such a massive impact on the person they become. The way they experience the world in their earlier years will form and shape their beliefs about how life is, what to expect and how to behave. If you’re interested in learning some really interesting and helpful parenting concepts based on research and studies on other cultures, you’ll love this list of must read, best parenting books. They all have something wonderful to offer. I believe the best way to form our own style is to read and learn different ideas and approaches, then picking the bits that work the best for our family. What works and feels right for one family, wont necessarily for the other. All that matters is everyone is happy. 12 Best Parenting Books Without any further delay, here are some of the very best parenting books available for parents: #1: What Every Parent Needs To Know by Margot Sunderland This fabulous, practical parenting book will give you the facts, not fiction on the best way to bring up your child. It is an essential for any parent and is based on over 700 scientific studies into children’s development. Award-winning author and child psychotherapist Dr. Margot Sunderland explains how to develop your child’s potential to the full. This book will give you the know-how to understand and influence your child’s development whilst providing practical solutions to everyday challenges. Backed by solid evidence from the latest studies into the impact of parenting on children’s brain development, and the experiences of real families, Margot Sunderland explains the science without losing sight of the day-to-day realities all parents and children face. If you are tired of parenting gurus telling you what to do without telling you why, this book is the answer. #2: The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff The Continuum Concept introduces the idea that in order to achieve optimal physical, mental and emotional development, human beings – especially babies – require the kind of instinctive nurturing as practiced by our ancient relatives. It is a true ‘back to basics’ approach to parenting. Author, Jean Liedloff, spent two and-a-half years in the jungle deep in the heart of South America living with indigenous tribes and was astounded at how differently children are raised outside the Western world. She came to the realisation that essential child-rearing techniques such as touch, trust and community have been undermined in modern times, and in this book suggests practical ways to regain our natural well-being, for our children and ourselves. #3: Toddler Tactics by Pinky McKay Do you automatically cut toast into fingers? Appreciate finger painting as much as fine art? Hear ‘no’ a million times a day? If the answer is yes, then Toddler Tactics is for you. Being the parent of a toddler can be exciting, inspiring and exhausting – all at once! Your adorable little baby has now become a moving, grooving tot with attitude, and it will take all your patience and skill to deal with these changes. Parenting expert Pinky McKay explains what to do at each stage of development and offers fuss-free advice on: Communicating with your toddler Discipline and good manners Good eating habits Routines for play and sleep Toilet training and more! Toddler Tactics is bursting with practical strategies for making the toddler years the exhilarating experience they should be. #4: Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph A friendly and practical guide to the stages and issues in boys development from birth to manhood. From award-winning psychologist Steve Biddulph comes an expanded and updated edition of Raising Boys, his international best seller published in 14 countries. His complete guide for parents, educators, and relatives includes chapters on testosterone, sports, and how boys’ and girls’ brains differ. With gentle humour and proven wisdom, Raising Boys focuses on boys’ unique developmental needs to help them be happy and healthy at every stage of life. Steve Biddulph is also the author of Manhood, which I highly recommend women and their partner’s both read. I saw Steve Biddulph talk on this topic some years ago, and it profoundly moved me in a way in which I felt so much more understanding of what it is like to be a man, a father and provider. It speaks of how the role of man has evolved, from before the industrial age to today. #5: Raising Girls by Steve Biddulph Steve Biddulph’s Raising Boys was a global phenomenon. The first book in a generation to look at boys’ specific needs, parents loved its clarity and warm insights into their sons’ inner world. But today, things have changed. It’s girls that are in trouble. There has been a sudden and universal deterioration in girls’ mental health, starting in primary school and devastating the teen years. Steve Biddulph’s Raising Girls is both a guidebook and a call-to-arms for parents. The five key stages of girlhood are laid out so that you know exactly what matters at which age, and how to build strength and connectedness into your daughter from infancy onwards. Raising Girls is both fierce and tender in its mission to help girls more at every age. It’s a book for parents who love their daughters deeply, whether they are newborns, teenagers, young women – or anywhere in between. Feeling secure, becoming an explorer, getting along with others, finding her soul, and becoming a woman – at last, there is a clear map of girls’ minds that accepts no limitations, narrow roles or selling-out of your daughter’s potential or uniqueness. All the hazards are signposted – bullying, eating disorders, body image and depression, social media harms and helps – as are concrete and simple measures for both mums and dads to help prevent their daughters from becoming victims. Parenthood is restored to an exciting journey, not one worry after another, as it’s so often portrayed. Steve talks to the world’s leading voices on girls’ needs and makes their ideas clear and simple, adding his own humour and experience through stories that you will never forget. Along with his fellow psychologists worldwide, Steve is angry at the exploitation and harm being done to girls today. With Raising Girls he strives to spark a movement to end the trashing of girlhood; equipping parents to deal with the modern world, and getting the media off the backs of our daughters. Raising Girls is powerful, practical and positive. Your heart, head and hands will be strengthened by its message. #6: Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) by Thomas Gordon Having attended a P.E.T. workshop years ago, I can thoroughly recommend the Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) book. At a time when I felt at a loss and in desperate need of tools while going through the really tough post-divorce stages with my children, it was PET that gave me confidence and a life line to help deal with my children’s strong and difficult emotions and behaviours. P.E.T., or Parent Effectiveness Training, began almost forty years ago as the first national parent-training program to teach parents how to communicate more effectively with kids and offer step-by-step advice to resolving family conflicts so everybody wins. This beloved classic is the most studied, highly praised, and proven parenting program in the world – and it will work for you. Now revised for the first time since its initial publication, this groundbreaking guide will show you: How to avoid being a permissive parent How to listen so kids will talk to you and talk so kids will listen to you How to teach your children to own their problems and to solve them How to use the No-Lose method to resolve conflicts Using the timeless methods of P.E.T. will have immediate results: less fighting, fewer tantrums and lies, no need for punishment. Whether you have a toddler striking out for independence or a teenager who has already started rebelling, you’ll find P.E.T. a compassionate, effective way to instill responsibility and create a nurturing family environment in which your child will thrive. #7: The Complete Secrets of Happy Children by Steve Biddulph From the author of the worldwide bestseller Raising Boys, this book is a bind-up of the parenting classics The Secret of Happy Children and More Secrets of Happy Children. Parenting expert and child psychologist Steve Biddulph, tells parents everything they need to know about raising happy, healthy, confident children from babyhood to teens. It brings all of Steve’s parenting tips and secrets together for the first time. This book shows parents how to be true to themselves while also bringing up secure children who feel loved and respected, with self esteem and responsibility. The book is aimed at a wide age group “ from babies and toddlers to older children and teenagers. Authoritative yet accessible, the book is full of case histories and familiar conversations and scenarios, as well as cartoons, that help parents relate to Steve’s message. The book covers all the key issues in parenting, including: How and why negative language affects children Stopping tantrums before they start Curing shyness ‘Soft love’ “ why touch, praise and time are vital ‘Firm love’ “ disciplining through teaching and being involved, rather than punishment Childcare issues- finding a balance between work and your children’s needs Raising sons and raising daughters- their different needs #8: Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn From a nationally respected educator, the author of Punished By Rewards and The Homework Myth comes a provocative challenge to the conventional wisdom about raising children. Most parenting guides begin with the question How can we get kids to do what they’re told? and then proceed to offer various techniques for controlling them. In this truly groundbreaking book, nationally respected educator Alfie Kohn begins instead by asking, What do kids need – and how can we meet those needs? What follows from that question are ideas for working with children rather than doing things to them. One basic need all children have, Kohn argues, is to be loved unconditionally, to know that they will be accepted even if they screw up or fall short. Yet conventional approaches to parenting such as punishments (including time-outs), rewards (including positive reinforcement), and other forms of control teach children that they are loved only when they please us or impress us. Kohn cites a body of powerful, and largely unknown, research detailing the damage caused by leading children to believe they must earn our approval. That’s precisely the message children derive from common discipline techniques, even though it’s not the message most parents intend to send. More than just another book about discipline, though, Unconditional Parenting addresses the ways parents think about, feel about, and act with their children. It invites them to question their most basic assumptions about raising kids while offering a wealth of practical strategies for shifting from doing to to working with parenting – including how to replace praise with the unconditional support that children need to grow into healthy, caring, responsible people. This is an eye-opening, paradigm-shattering book that will reconnect readers to their own best instincts and inspire them to become better parents. #9: Raising Drug Free Kids – 100 Tips For Parents by Aletha Solter In this book, a developmental psychologist gives parents tips for keeping children of all ages away from drugs and alcohol. In a country where an estimated 25 percent of teenagers use illegal substances on a monthly basis, parents are right to be concerned about setting their children on a drug-free course. While much advice handed out these days focuses on teen behaviour and what to do once drugs have become a problem in the home, Raising Drug Free Kids takes an innovative approach and focuses instead on preventative measures that can be developed early on in a child’s life. Developmental psychologist and parent educator Aletha Solter provides parents with simple, easy-to-use tools to build a solid foundation for children to say no to drugs. Organised by age group, from preschool through young adulthood, the 100 handy tips will show parents how to help their children to: feel good about themselves without an artificial high; cope with stress so they won’t turn to drugs to relax; respect their bodies so they will reject harmful substances; have close family connections so they won’t feel desperate to belong to a group; and, take healthy risks (like outdoor adventures) so they won’t need to take dangerous ones. Aletha Solter is also the author of The Aware Baby, Tears and Tantrums and Helping Young Children Flourish. #10: The Attachment Parenting Book by Dr William & Martha Sears If you’ve not heard of attachment parenting before or not sure if it’s for you, then this is a great book to read to help you make an educated and informed decision on attachment parenting. Attachment parenting is a highly intuitive, high-touch style of parenting that encourages a strong early attachment, and advocates consistent parental responsiveness to babies’ dependency needs. Rather than give parents a strict set of rules about when to breastfeed or when to respond to a cry, The Sears’ approach encourages parents to learn and work with their baby’s particular cues. In The Attachment Parenting Book the Sears’ focus on the benefits of attachment parenting for both parent and child, and explains how attachment parenting improves development, makes discipline easier, and even promotes independence. There is further information on attachment parenting for working parents and on weaning your child from attachment parenting, as well as scientific research that explains why attachment parenting works. #11: Heart To Heart Parenting by Robin Grille An essential book for parents, Heart To Heart Parenting is more than just a how-to book about raising happy and resilient children. Its focus is to create a joyous connection with your baby and toddler. Using techniques that are based on bonding rather than shaming, manipulation or punishment, Robin Grille introduces you to insightful and practical ways to benefit your child’s emotional wellbeing and social development, including how to: Build a quality relationship with your child Trust your in-built parenting wisdom to understand your child’s emotional needs Look beneath the surface to support your child as they explore their world from conception to school age Help them develop self esteem, their sense of autonomy or independence Encourage them to take risks Learn the benefits of meaningful attachment to parents and the social impact of wounds Robin Grille is also the author of Parenting For A Peaceful World. #12: Siblings Without Rivalry by by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish Already best-selling authors with How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish turned their minds to the battle of the siblings. Parents themselves, they were determined to figure out how to help their children get along. The result was Siblings Without Rivalry. This wise, groundbreaking book gives parents the practical tools they need to cope with conflict, encourage cooperation, reduce competition, and make it possible for children to experience the joys of their special relationship. With humour and understanding much gained from raising their own children Faber and Mazlish explain how and when to intervene in fights, provide suggestions on how to help children channel their hostility into creative outlets, and demonstrate how to treat children unequally and still be fair. Updated to incorporate fresh thoughts after years of conducting workshops for parents and professionals, this edition also includes a new afterword. Where To Buy These Great Parenting Books? Check out The Book Depository which offers free shipping worldwide and awesome prices. In the US, check out Amazon. -


Books for Brand New Readers

Finding books with engaging content for brand new readers is tough.  If you regularly read high-quality picture books aloud to your child, she can easily become frustrated with the simple storylines in easy readers that she reads herself.  

10 Radical Ideas for Getting Kids to Read

Our children don’t like to read, and their abysmal reading scores reflect this disdain. While they are proficient at haiku length, phonics-based texting and Tweeting, their eyes glaze over when they have to read a book.

These 10 Outdoorsy Organizations Make It Easy to Raise a Nature-Lover

There are more opportunities than ever for kids to commune with nature. Our list of national organizations proves that planning an outdoor family adventure doesn't have to be stressful or epic—or even cost a dime.

We know from recent studies about "nature deficit disorder" that the benefits of exposing young kids to the natural world are abundant and indisputable—from sparking more imaginative play to simply being healthier and less stressed. While mounting evidence doesn't mean we suddenly have more time and energy to make romping in the woods a consistent priority, here's a scary statistic from Raising a Wild Child, a new short film from the widely lauded Born Wild Project: The average American kid spends seven hours in front of a screen and just five minutes outside each day.

The good news is the following 10 nationwide organizations make it fun and totally feasible to plan an outdoor escape in your backyard and beyond.

Sierra Club

The brainchild of legendary conservationist John Muir, the Sierra Club is the largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. Now more than two million supporters strong, the 124-year-old nonprofit provides a free community outreach program called Sierra Club Inspiring Connections Outdoors. ICO grants inner-city youth the otherwise rare opportunity to engage with the natural world through a variety of guided excursions geared towards elementary school students and older, from skiing day trips near Denver to three-day getaways to Yosemite National Park.{amazonWS:itemId=1578052114,1578052122,1578050669,1578052114,1578052122,1578050669;}

National Parks Service

The free Scout Ranger program inspires kids to visit and preserve National Parks—especially those overlooked ones close to home—with thrilling outdoor trips and cool badges that Girl and Boy Scouts can earn after a minimum of 10 hours of National Park service. Projects range from wildlife restoration to night sky exploration and even identifying fossils with a park geologist. {amazonWS:itemId=B01L31OQEU,B01L31OW3U,0996777717,B01L31OQEU,B01L31OW3U,0996777717;}


The next time you're browsing REI for camping gear, take a look at the store's events calendar. Each of the 77 locations across the country offers a wide range of classes and local outings, be it a free Hiking with Kids Basics course in Tucson or a Learn to Rock Climb class in Seattle for kids ages 5-7. Since the first REI opened in 1944, the company has gone well beyond just a retail operation, designing easily accessible trips and educational seminars for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels. REI's Family Adventures includes tours like a weekend of hiking in Zion National Park and kayaking in Washington's San Juan Islands.{amazonWS:itemId=0762783524,0762783524;}

U.S. Forest Service

The Junior Forest Ranger program teaches 7- to 13-year-olds vital outdoor skills for staying safe in the woods. To become a certified Junior Forest Ranger, participants must complete the JFR Adventure Guide, which involves checking off activities like measuring distances on a map and practicing proper outdoor ethics such as Leave No Trace. Plus, you'll win major #coolparent points when your little warden of the wilderness receives an official JFR pin and membership card that gives access to the digital JFR Clubhouse. {amazonWS:itemId=B005OQKZOG,B01MXLA7QK,B005OQKZOG,B01MXLA7QK;}

Hike it Baby

In 2013, Portland, Oregon mom Shanti Hodges found that reconnecting with nature and making friends on the trail could alleviate her postpartum depression—and provide an enlightening environment for her son. Since Hodges launched Hike it Baby, its volunteer-based community has grown to more than 300 branches in 45 states, offering more than 4,000 monthly guided hikes throughout small towns and big cities. With its motto "Raising kids to love the outdoors," HiB is ushering in a new era of adventurous families who value active offline experiences, be it an urban park stroll, a forest frolic, or a beach walk. Membership is $10 per year.{amazonWS:itemId=B018ZONTOQ,B00083HOXA,B018ZONTOQ,B00083HOXA;}

Audubon Society

The world will seem like one giant aviary to your kids after you introduce them to the Audubon Society's engaging guides for budding birders. The site offers fun and functional activity ideas, including how to make bird feeders out of recycled materials, build an insect hotel, and design a feather-friendly yard. Spark your fledgling ornithologist's interest with this guide to the best birding trails across the country in every season.{amazonWS:itemId=0394507606,0761190058,0394507606,0761190058;}

National Wildlife Federation

Since 1967, NWF's Ranger Rick program has compelled millions of 7- to 12-year-olds to discover and protect the great outdoors through activity challenges, educational periodicals, and nature quizzes. The raccoon mascot, Ranger Rick, provides the tools, like printable nature notebooks and animal surveys, for kids to document and revel in every experience in the wild, whether they're spying on a deer through binoculars or tasting marshmallows around the campfire.{amazonWS:itemId=1402738757,1402738757;}

PBS Kids

Want to get the kids playing outside and off Pokémon Go? Play PBS Kids games like Biodiversity Bingo, which challenges families or a group of friends to find and document diverse plant and animal life in their backyard or neighborhood. The scavenger hunt activities encourage children to identify local species—be it an oak, salamander, or blue jay—and enjoy a spirited discussion about each discovery.{amazonWS:itemId=B01BT7MRIK,B01BT7MRIK;}

National Wildlife Refuge System

National Wildlife Refuges comprise the world's largest network of conservation lands. Most of the 565 refuges offer free admission year-round, like Florida's birder paradise Pelican Island, which President Theodore Roosevelt designated as the first refuge in 1903. Families are inspired to visit refuges with NWF's wide range of online-accessible activities—from kid-friendly photography tips to a Neighborhood Explorers club to car bingo. You can even take a virtual walk (or swim!) in places like Crystal River, home to the largest assembly of manatees in a natural environment.{amazonWS:itemId=1570983798,1588341178,1570983798,1588341178;}

Discover the Forest

Your little ones will be eager to hug trees instead of screens once you introduce them to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's forest database. The Discover the Forest site is not only an untapped wellspring of local and national outdoor activities, it's also filled with intriguing facts about the benefits of trees and the forest ecosystem that will get kids excited about delving into the woods near home—parents may even be surprised by how many natural playgrounds exist close by. Discover the Forest equips kids with skills like how to use a compass and recognize certain animal tracks; print out The Book of Stuff to Do Outside to turn the tasks into an educational game.{amazonWS:itemId=1600583806,1600583806;}


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