Monday, 24 December 2018

How to Raise Resilient and Independent Kids

Here's my take on overprotective parents. This was written by myself and

Originally published at

When we were young, my uncle defended his kids even when they were in the wrong and let the headmaster know about it in no uncertain fashion. We looked on in disbelief as our parents had completely different ideas and they would never have done that. We had to stand on our own two feet and they very rarely intervened. When we were mocked in the street, my mother’s response was :-

Helicopter parents are really ruining kids’ sense of autonomy and resilience in the long term. This quote says it all:-
“Helicopter parents. Before I started at Pirriwee Public, I thought it was an exaggeration, this thing about parents being overly involved with their kids. I mean, my mum and dad loved me, they were, like, interested in me when I was growing up in the nineties, but they weren’t, like, obsessed with me.” -Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies
You can watch the video here of Lenore Skenazy who has a great site called Free Range Kids and she defends her position very well in this video and I completely agree with her. She says that society has become obsessed with child protection and some parents are even charged with negligence when their kids are playing unattended in their own backyard!

And what about parents who are just not even bothering to supervise their kids on the Internet?
It needs to be monitored (without hovering around them all the time!) because there may be a need to restrict media activity. Again, parents setting the example can be a great help. They can be much more active in restricting use of devices at mealtimes, family get togethers and even on outings. 

In a way, overprotective parents are having a knee jerk reaction to hysteria about child safety and protection and that is understandable but this is not the answer to raising resilient and independent kids.

Originally published at

Friday, 21 December 2018

Upgrade Your Parenting in 2019 – Spend More Time With Your Kids

Upgrade, you say? You must be joking and as for time, forget it. I am exhausted at the end of the day and never get through all the things on my to-do list.

Well, here are my 5 top ways to actually make more time so that we give our kids more quality time.

  1. My top one is dinner time together. Maximize the time you spend together. That means no TV (why on earth would you invite a loud-mouthed commercial gadget to sit with you at dinner?).  All smartphones are switched off. Now, there is a time saver. No interruptions on our own phone so we can actually TALK and Listen to our kids.
  2.  Listening to my kids. So, a recent trick is that as soon as I get through the door, I switch off my phone so that I can actually listen to what my kids are telling me. They might want to tell what happened at school. Again, I have carved out more time for them. The experts reckon that we do not listen enough. Nothing worse than greeting your kids with your face buried in your iPhone.
  3. So, my kids are playing their own video games and I am on the computer answering emails. Do we even know what these games are like and do we know how to play them?  A great way is to carve out a few minutes fun to play with them.
  4. Who is doing the chores? Me, of course!  Well, there are ways that we can get kids involved and ask them to do simple things and which they will get into the habit of doing. Prizes for the fastest and most efficient.  Even very small kids can learn to put toys away. We save time all round and that means we might have more time at the end of the day, to spend winding down and getting ready for bed.
  5. Reading. Good old fashioned reading bedtime stories!  All the experts tell us that all the light from screens is going to keep us awake that much longer and also interfere with our own wake-sleep patterns. Switching off all media one hour before bedtime is the best way of doing that.

There are lots of other ways of saving time so that we can become more efficient and spend that time with our kids. Getting informed about delivery services, sharing collecting kids from sports and dance lessons, meal prep and planning ahead so that the morning rush is less hectic.

Now, does upgrading our parenting for 2019 seem such a difficult challenge? Try these tips and see how you get on.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Top 100 Toys For Christmas 2018 - 5 Tips To Avoid The Worst Toys

You know the scene. Loving aunts, uncles, in-laws and grandparents come laden with new toys for the kids. You are not sure where, how and why they have selected their top toys for Christmas 2018 from! 

You think that this is going to be another toy tsunami with undesirable toys being washed up all over the house.  So how do you avoid the toy situation getting out of control? Here are my top 5 tips. 

1.      There are some very stupid and insulting toys on the market.  We have all sorts of toys such as babies that actually pee and some very gender oriented toys such as the Lego kits for girls which build a beauty salon.  It might be no harm to let the relatives know that such toys are not a good idea and that your kids have a wish list. Tell them about it. That can avoid many an embarrassing situation when presents are opened.

2.      Maybe you cannot stand noisy toys like me. So that goes on to the list too and then there are the toys that should be banned which are downright dangerous, scary, sticky or run on batteries. The latter tend to be consumed in a ridiculously short space of time and are basically non  environmental friendly.

3.      Set the rules for a limit on the number of screen devices so that your kids are not overwhelmed. Try telling all the loving relatives and friends that no cell phones no new WII, computers or play stations are needed. As parents, we can decide what toys are needed. We want to reduce time on screen devices and help our kids get out in the open air and do healthy things like sports. If not they will risk end up being zombies.

4.      Art supplies and craft kits should be high on the list and drop hints about these, when you can. This encourages creativity and finished products can be given to loving grandparents on birthdays and so on. It helps to keep the toy tsunami at bay. Which reminds me that all our old and unused toys are given to charity and room is made for new ones. Learning to code  is a fabulous new skill to learn. The Botley Toy is one of my favorites 

5.      Kids love books and if they have ereaders such as Kindle, then this is a great way to encourage them to read. Telling relatives what types of books (traditional ones or ebooks) is a great way to encourage the best gift of all which is a book. Any sort will do! Click on the banner here for the Holiday Toy List Top 100. 

How to Tactfully Tell the Grandparents What NOT to Give  #1: Set the Rules — Give yourself permission to ban certain types of toys altogether. Let me suggest a category or two: toys that 1) make excessive noise, 2) require a ridiculous amount of battery power, 3) are gooey or sticky, and 4) are just plain annoying. Remind the grandparents that those are the types of toys that like to visit THEIR house permanently.
#2: Start the ‘Toy In, Toy Out’ Tradition — Set a maximum safe toy capacity limit. For example, the stuffy collection must fit into this designated toy box. If the stuffy collection has reached maximum capacity, tell both the children and grandparents that for every stuffy that comes into the house, an equal (or greater) amount must leave (hopefully that will break them of the habit of attaching a decorative stuffy to every gift).
#3: Suggest Collections or Sets — Start collections or toy sets that grandparents can add to so at least the new additions can live with their fellow toy mates (and most sets tend to have small pieces of varying price ranges). Keep an updated list of the missing pieces that your kids would love to add to their collection to share with grandparents who may be nervous about buying duplicates.
#4: Ask for Consumables — Tell the grandparents how much Little Suzy loves to make beautiful pieces of art to give to the grandparents. Suggest buying art supplies (paper, stickers, glitter glue, Popsicle sticks, etc.) and maybe even an how-to book or craft kit. It’s a win-win-win because the kids get something they will enjoy, the grandparents get beautiful works of art and you get toys that magically disappear.
#5: Be Honest About What Matters the Most — Remind the grandparents that no matter how anticipated, all toys are quickly forgotten and what the kids value the most is time spent with them. If they are far away, suggest a gift of a visit or a meet-you-in-the-middle arrangement and if they are nearby, suggest a special grandpa