Incredible Lessons Imbibed When Teenagers Travel

Incredible Lessons Imbibed When Teenagers Travel

There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” – Virginia Woolf

Teenage children are rebellious, tenacious and passionate. I don’t want them any other way. But as a mother of three teenage kids, I crazily bounce from loving them to pieces to wanting to send them to the moon with smart phone and video games included! 

Raising teenagers is not for the faint of heart and parents must be ready to put on their thinking caps to empower their children while establishing clear rules and boundaries. I try, as a respectful mom, to explain the reasons behind every rule and consequence. I listen to my kids’ points of view and ideas.

However, there are situations in which negotiation isn’t an option and in which I don’t yield to intelligent and persistent youngsters. It will be done as I say: period! 

There are decisions and moments in which learning and being healthy are priorities and in these cases I refuse to negotiate with my teenagers and instead I proceed as a merciless dictator telling everybody what to do and how to do it. 

Traveling is one of them. 

Traveling encourages curiosity. Bali, Indonesia

Why do I strongly encourage my kids to travel?

It may sounds like a cliché but traveling is an eye-opening experience for children and adolescents alike. Represents an opportunity to grow and learn to make decisions on their own;  constitutes a meaningful way of interacting with siblings and parents while developing team-work skills. Traveling represents the chance to learn a new language and culture. 

Although, many times my teenage kiddos don’t see it that way. They don’t want to walk all those kilometers to visit another church (Europe is full of them), or don’t want to explore the rainforest in Indonesia because is unbearably humid and hot. They complain and beg to stay home or at the hotel.

That’s when I start giving orders to every one in sight asking them to carry their own luggage, fill their water bottles, walk, and enjoy because the benefits of traveling are too many to risk missing them for some teenage tantrum. 

Don’t get me wrong! Once we are on the road, ideas about places to visit and explore accordingly to my children’s interests are quickly written at the top of our to-do list. It is not about making their lives miserable. It is about taking control of the many possibilities they have to grow emotionally and physically and that teenage kids sometimes don’t see by themselves because of their short and inexperienced years. 

Discovering Barcelona with our three nomads. Spain

When it comes to learning and raising diversity awareness I feel the need to behave as a parent who guides and encourages. As guidance, many times you will need to establish priorities for your children even though these concerns don’t align with your teenager’s desires. 

How do teenagers benefit from traveling?

To travel with adolescents is an invaluable experience that brings many benefits to our children.  Some of these advantages refer to their core values, some others will enhance their understanding of diversity and cultures. From my family to yours, these are the amazing things I have seen my teenage kids to enjoy and learn during our adventures abroad:

Lessons Learnt When Teenagers Travel

  1. Learn how to save and budget money.

Once my kids are informed about our travel plans for the next weekend or holidays, they begin this unstoppable race to make money so they can buy souvenirs, comics, books, and clothing in our destination. It is so rewarding to see them plan their budgets, brain storming about selling the toys, gadgets and clothes they don’t use anymore, and also helping with extra chores at home… wow! They become so persistent and motivated. Traveling has given them without a doubt some of the tools needed to budget money and the importance of saving. 

http://localhost/raisingworld/2019/04/16/5-awesome-travel-hacks-when-traveling-with-your-teens/

Paris isn’t a cheap destination. Some serious budget planning needs to be done before traveling.

2. Empowerment of navigation skills. 

Teenagers like to be in control, they want their opinions and input to be taken into account and traveling allows that. In our family, we encourage our kiddos to suggest and create an itinerary and also to gather info about the transportation and costs of moving around our destination. Technology makes everything easier, so our children handle maps and coordinates with the apps they find more user friendly on their own cellphones. 

I must confess that at first they were so afraid to make mistakes… Afraid of getting lost! But now they feel more independent and capable of finding their way around without the help of mom and dad. And that my dear readers is priceless. I feel like I’m giving my children wings to fly away and be prepared to be successful abroad. 

travel teenagers

Finding her way around London, United Kingdom

3. Lowers the risk of youth depression. 

Millions of teenagers struggle with depression on a regular basis and it’s not uncommon for doctors to over prescribe medication without treating the reasons behind this behavior.  It is important to acknowledge that there are cases of clinical depression and other mental behaviors that need to be treated by specialists.

Let’s be clear, these facts and statistic are scary. Even more scarier is that many cases of teenage depression aren’t recognized by parents and caregivers.

Being on the road with your kiddos helps promote a deep connection between you and your offsprings and this connection is very important to lay the foundations for an emotionally healthy young adult. Additionally, traveling gives you the time to nurture your parent-child relationship, without distractions from work and school, and this allows you to recognize any signs of melancholy, chronic sadness, worries and problems that your child may suffer. 

Crazy moments but always connected as a family! Road trip to Lake Como, Italy

4. Break stereotypes and experience diversity. 

It is a fact that our children are constantly bombarded by the media with statements and generalizations about other cultures, their religion, traditions, and values. By traveling, you are exposing your young adults to diverse cultures and people so they can come with their own ideas and opinions.

For us it has been an eye-opening experience to hear our kids talk to each other about how they had certain biases against a specific ethnic identity, but after a trip they come back home with a totally different approach. When a teenage child travels overseas, he or she has the opportunity to break the often vicious cycle of prejudice and biases by experiencing diversity first hand. That’s awesome! To me it sounds like a more peaceful future for the world! 

 

http://localhost/raisingworld/2019/09/04/top-10-fun-loving-places-for-kids-in-india/

5. Discovering unknown abilities and personal traits. 

Traveling doesn’t go smoothly all of the time. Many times we need to reschedule train rides, change hotels, plan a new budget or itinerary or simply deal with illness in the middle of nowhere in a language we don’t speak.

However, traveling maximizes our problem solving skills to their maximum! Cool, isn’t it? But the benefits don’t end there. No. Let me tell you that we have discovered so many things about our children while traveling! Skills that our teenagers didn’t suspect they had… passions they didn’t want to pursue at first and now they love! 

During our last trip to France, my son started to compare some words from French to the Spanish language. He was excited to see that his knowledge of Spanish had helped him understand some ads, street signs, restaurant menus and so on in French. Then he surprised us with several translations using his mobile phone, his Spanish understanding and new discovered ability.

Bingo!

Our teenage son has found a new reason to pursue his career as an author and writer, adding some translations certificates along the way while being motivated by linguistics of Romance languages. He has a new passion now. Is it going to last forever? We don’t know. But being able to find and recognize the good inside themselves is for teenagers the key to a healthy self esteem and happy future. 

In conclusion, I invite you to give your teenage child the chance to see the world! Don’t fall for tantrums and NOs! Stay firm. You are giving them the gift of a lifetime. They will come back home to share with family and friends their experiences about people and their cultures. Instill in them the same curiosity about differences and appreciation of similarities that you have. Traveling will help your children to keep an open heart and become global citizens. 

So, where are you going next?

Don’t Forget to Grab Our Book

8 Brain Games for Kids Essential for Concentration

8 Brain Games for Kids Essential for Concentration

Brain games for kids are important for improving focus. Concentration and focus are a vital part of completing any tasks successfully. But, with so many distractions and multi-tasking, concentration levels are gradually sinking.

Building concentration requires discipline, taking an active role, and subjecting yourself to different exercises that build your brain’s core to improve focus. The good thing is that you can check recent answers online for games like crossword and compare with your answers.

For most people, getting that much time to work on concentration is a challenge. But, with a little help from brain games, it’s possible to improve concentration levels while making the process fun and engaging.

 

Here are the top 8 brain games that will give your brain that much needed work out and get your concentration levels up!

  1. Sine Line

This game involves the unending journey of an oscillating particle. Sine Line is unique in various ways. Unlike most brain concentration games, this one is fast-paced and exciting.

The goal of the game is to guide the particle through different obstacles without crashing into them. How the game works is that the longer you survive, the higher your score.

To give the game more spice, there are styles, streaks, and combos you can use to get better scores. The fun and indulging game is the perfect way to work the mental muscles for both kids and adults while kicking out some boredom at the same time.

  1. Brain Dots

Source

Brain Dots is one of the most popular brain games on the market. Given the online reviews and number of downloads, it’s safe to say it’s also one of the most effective games.

The game is simple and straightforward. The clean design takes away most of the distractions and allows you to make the most out of the few minutes you can save for the game.

The concept is simple. Do whatever it takes to get the two dots on your screen to meet and touch! You can draw different structures, shapes, or even lines.

At first, the levels look easy, but you quickly realize that looks can be deceptive. The levels are harder than they seem.

As a reward for going through the different levels, you get pens that have different shapes, colors, and sizes.

  1. Opus: The Day We Found Earth

Improving your concentration doesn’t have to take all your free time. With short brain games like Opus, you can make the most out of your short break to give your brain a quick workout.

The game not only works your mind but tugs at your emotional strings as well. The relaxing stargazing game revolves around finding different planets around the universe that resemble earth and naming them what you like. The main character is a smudgy robot full of ideas and is the invention of one Dr. Lisa.

You have to remember the planets you’ve discovered by analyzing the details and differences. Discovering new planets opens up new areas of the shop, which gives the game some rhythm. The best thing about Opus is that it’s engaging. It’s only ranked lower because it takes up more space than the other brain games listed here.

  1. One-Touch Drawing

One-touch drawing is a leading brain game. It’s revered for its unique simplicity but imposing challenges.

All you need to do is draw different shapes in the game without your finger leaving the screen. To build confidence, the game starts simple and gets harder as you go up the levels.

If you prefer taking your time to understand the game and not having to rush through, this is the perfect game for you.

Take all the time you need. Analyze the different shapes and figure out a strategy. Just remember, once you touch the screen, you have to draw out the shape without your finger leaving the screen.

The best part is, you don’t have to pay a cent for this brain game. The addictive puzzle game is free and perfect for building and improving concentration.

  1. Piano Tiles

Source

Piano Tiles is one of the oldest games on the list. The popular brain game leverages on the love for music to help players improve their concentration and coordination.

The idea behind the game is simple. You have some music playing in the background. You also have black Piano keys flying across the screen. The goal is to press the keys that are in sync with the music playing in the background to score points.

The coupling of songs and taps practices your listening skills and concentration to help you master which keys to press at what time.

  1. Flow Free

The vibrant colors of Flow Free are perfect when you want to engage your child in some concentration boosting games. But, even adults will find the game useful.

Like the other games featured on this list, this one also has a simple idea placing most of the focus on concentration.

The game has two dots of different colors in different squares in a grid. Your goal is to connect the two dots of the same color in the grid. But, the ‘Pipes’ connecting the two dots cannot intersect with pipes of a different color.

As you advance, the size of the grid increases, and so does the level of difficulty. Flow Free is perfect for players that can only spare a few minutes at a time.

  1. 2 Cars

If you’re taking improving your concentration a little seriously, this game will be the next level for you once you master the others.

In 2 cars, you have two cars and four lanes. Two lanes for each car. The two cars speed up along their strips of road, and ahead, you will find heaps of circles and squares blocking the road. You have to collect the circles and avoid the squares blocking the lanes of each car.

It’s the ultimate concentration brain game that will test your ability to multi-task and control different events at the same time.

  1. Dancing Line

To close down the list of the best eight brain games essential for concentration, let’s dial down a notch and help your mental muscles cool down after a vigorous workout.

Dancing Line is a straightforward puzzle game that both adults and kids will love. The game is diverse to make it a little more interesting, but the concept remains simple.

Guide the red line through different obstacles without crashing into them. The line starts slowly to help you warm up, and the speed of the line, and obstacles gradually increases. You have to keep a close eye on the screen and have quick reflexes to avoid the challenges that keep popping up.

 8 Brain Games for Kids Essential for Concentration Levels

Conclusion

Building concentration and focus in both children and adults is essential. The numerous brain games and exercises available are a testament to how important it is. If you’ve not considered it in the past, it’s not too late to start, and these eight games are everything you need to start boosting and improving your concentration.

Author Bio:

Rebecca Siggers is a Teacher and passionate writer. She enjoys writing about the Kids learning activities, Parenting tips, effects of Puzzles and Crosswords all around the globe. She has been workingas a freelance writer for quite some time now. Through her writing, she hopes to influence as many people as possible to help kids grow their mental skills.

Help Your Child Become Confident with a Global Mindset

An Easy Read for Parents

 

Teaching Kids the Art of Time Management

Teaching Kids the Art of Time Management

I don’t need to tell anyone the importance of time management. The world is full of appointments and deadlines to make it clear about why every child needs to learn the art of time management. Yet, many of us find themselves constantly running in the IST time zone. It’s a well known running joke within the Indian community where IST is Indian Standard Time where they are consistently 30 mins more more late for everything and unrepentant for the circumstances are never in their hands.

Now of course everyone understands being late once in a while. But being consistently lagging causes a number of issues for those waiting and is just disrespectful of the time of others.

I grew up in a house where my father pushed us to be on time for everything. Being on time is a trait he drilled into us. In my all my years of life, I have rarely been late. And all the credit goes to parents who ensured that we respected the time of others and ourselves. They could never bear to be late. In spite of many times suffering for holding this respected trait. There have been times when a party was supposed to start at a given time and my family has been there only to realize that the even hosts have yet to arrive.

Would I say now being on time is overrated? No!

For being on time is a huge sign of respect. It shows respect for the person who is waiting for you and respect for your own self, for we all are running a hamster wheel that needs us to stick to schedule.

When you are an entrepreneur, managing home, multitasking constantly, wishing the day had 48 hours instead of 24,  you begin valuing your own time like the precious commodity it is. In my case, more so. You manage your time with finesse.

Since I started working for myself, it simply offends me that people today have no respect for the time of another. And believe saying Sorry is all it takes to pacify the troubles and sacrifices I made to manage the same.

The truth is All it takes is valuing your time as well as another.

Teach your children early the art of time management. It is an imperative quality one needs to be on time as well as manage projects and goals that you set for yourself.

http://localhost/raisingworld/2018/01/05/7-easy-steps-teach-kids-goal-setting-perseverance/

Set An Example

Here I am, in all my years as a parent never found my children to be a hindrance in me being on time and yet I hear many parents saying, “Oh! You need to add a 30 mins of being behind to every child you give birth to. ” I am sure the children too consequently begin to feel that it is not a huge concern to be on time either. In a world which is full of people that are never on time, what hope do we have for children who follow such footsteps ?

10 Practical Ways to Teach Kids the Aet of Time Management

Counter Distractions

I see it all the time. You tell children to wear their shoes. They go off doing something else. It happens with us too. We are doing one thing, and yet we find ourselves distracted by a phone call, television or these days, social media. Children need to understand how important it is to work while you work and do the job at hand with a single mind.

Talk to them often that when you tell them to do something, you expect them to first do that. Explain to them that there are distractions all around them.

Do the Math

It is interesting to me, when people feel the circumstances around them are constantly working against them. It is in fact, just a matter of doing the math. If you are going to take x amount of time prepping for an occasion, y amount of time wearing your clothes etc, z amount of time to travel to the location, you need to give yourself x+y+z + a standard buffer amount of time to ACTUALLY get ready so you can BE ON TIME. The buffer can be any thing from 10-20 mins depending on your observation of how often you derail from your planned time.

Explain to your child as the get begin to learn time, why you ask them to get ready at a certain time.

Create a Work List

Every morning wake up to a list of things you need to have done this day. This increases your productivity 25-50%. Organizing your tasks with a list can make everything much more manageable and create a clear path for your day. Seeing a clear outline of your completed and uncompleted tasks will help you feel organized and stay mentally focused.

Kids having a journal is a great way to do this.


Set Priorities

Once your list is made, make sure to KNOW what is essential to do and what is okay to let go of. Follow the ABCDE rule after making your list.

A – Must Do
B – Not Urgent (Great to do but not urgently, can be moved to another day.)
C – Add Ons (Bonus if you get done)
D – Can be Delegated (You can assign to someone else)
E – Eliminate (Often we add things to our list that can actually be cancelled all together)

Of course for a child, A and B are enough. But as we grow and expand our lists we need to remember to assign the above to every item on our list consistently so we can learn how to be effective in working on our list.

Overcome Procrastination

Don’t wait for the last moment to start doing something. Whenever my son gets a project from school, we start prepping for it earlier than later. He always responds with, “But it’s not due TILL … ” and I come back with, ” If you are done with this early, you are free to do other things at the last minute. ” After the first two projects, when he witnessed his friends in class submitting projects early too, he realized how wonderful it is to be done with submissions. So, now he starts planning earlier himself.

Well Begun is Half Done

Speaking of planning, this is so important to do early. Whenever we start a project, we plan the materials we will need, time needed, and ideas early. This helps us a lot in prepping for everything. Be it cooking to party planning to school projects to work related organization.

Let Go of Perfection

This is something I see many adults struggle with. The desire for perfection leads to procrastination and delay in completion of any project. One needs to understand that we need to be okay with something as is. To just start with the project without a desire of perfection or guaranteed rewards. Time management needs us to give grace to ourselves to fail.

Review Your Day

Before sleep every night, we have to make sure we take a few moments to go over all that you did through your day. What held you back, what went wrong in your planning, what worked best towards helping your achieve your goals. This simple habit reinforces your strengths.

Talk to your kids about their day and all they achieved in it. These days many schools help kids set goals and achieve them. Do the same with your child.

Discipline

Time management is a culmination of all the above. It is so important to be relentless in practicing all the above through out your day, with your child. What works best with any child is consistency and conversations. Talk to them about how discipline is not just one trait that we have. It is a combination of a number of things.

Yes, showing grace to those who are struggling is important. But it is also important to show grace to yourself by being mindful of the one thing that you have NO control over. Time!

What would you add to this list?

To read more such ways to create confidence with a global mindset in your child, read my book. Strong Roots Have No Fear

http://localhost/raisingworld/2019/01/18/strong-roots-have-no-fear/

Protect Earth: Talking to Children about Plastic Pollution

Protect Earth: Talking to Children about Plastic Pollution

Talking to children about plastic pollution is paramount. This below statement just about sums up the plight of our planet.

“For small and immediate gains never loose the wisdom to foresee future loses.”

The news channels have been bringing gruesome images to our drawing rooms. Birds , fishes and all kinds of other creatures dying due to plastic pollution.

What is interesting, these living beings are suffering due to our callous attitude.

The bane of our existence “Plastic”.

Plastic was invented and it revolutionized the human world. It won’t break like glass. Lasts longer than paper. Cheaper than metal, so on and so forth.

Here is where we got dealt a bad hand, for the present profits we jeopardized our whole future.

Like most of the human inventions this one is also backfiring and in a major way.

We are getting choked to the brim in plastic and now reeling in the after effects.This thing that takes at least 400 years to decompose is everywhere.

Even in the remotest of places where you might not find a human being some form of plastic can be found flapping in the wind.

Before we place all the blame on plastic let me tell you it is not the plastic that is the culprit, it’s us. Human beings.

Let’s introspect, we invented this thing put it to some really good uses while at the same time for small profits, let it get out of hand and turn into an uncontrollable situation.

Talking to Children about Plastic Pollution

What we can do:

The time to act on this is now. The onus lies with each and every one of us. Along with raising kids to understand the world we have to teach them to understand the environment too.

Talking to children about plastic pollution starts here.

Learn the value of “Planet First”.

The earth is the most important thing they will inherit, rest all is replaceable. While teaching them we have to incorporate it in our lives too, make it second nature to think about our planet first.

There is so much that needs to be rectified environmentally but we can start at the basics. While plastic has all encompassed our lives not all of it is bad. What is slowly choking the planet to death is the waste that is being generated by us through single use plastic.

Talking to Children about Plastic Pollution

At the basic level what should be done? Here are some small steps that we can even make our kids a part of.

Stop buying :

The first thing on this list is plastic straws and cups followed by any other form of single use plastic. Look around us even single pieces of fruit are wrapped in plastic. These bits of plastic get thrown away and more often then not end up in landfills. The trick is just don’t buy the items that come in these pretty packagings. Not only is it economical it also helps curb plastic waste generation. Buy sustainable and reusable straws and cups. Carry own water bottles. Sometimes if it is inevitable to use plastic items then recycle.

No wastage:

Again the same solution that is purse friendly too, don’t buy. We need to curb the mindless consumerism. Our kids don’t use half of what we buy them. Look around at the toys that are forgotten the minute they are unpacked, mostly plastic. Stationery that is filled up in boxes waiting to be acknowledged, again mostly plastic. These things get thrown out once they have completed their duration of being useless. New things are bought and it is an endless cycle. Break it. Go through what the kids have, rediscover and use it. Educate them about the significance of buying less for a healthier planet.

Share:

Whatever is surplus share it. Donate toys, stationery, books.

One persons waste might be another’s treasure. Use things well, most things have a life and when put to optimum use save some money too.

Still whatever you might not need and are sure you will only end up hoarding donate it. It can be difficult to let go of things after paying money for but if you don’t use it for a few months chances are you will not use it. Think of it as a service to your planet.

Recycle:

The most important thing that we need to incorporate in our lives. Recycle everything that can be recycled. Don’t throw plastic waste mindlessly anywhere. Talking to children about plastic pollution starts with talking about recycling.

Upgrading phones or computers recycle the old ones. All the electronic stores provide the option to recycle.

It might be a bit of a stretch to locate that recycling bin for recycling of everyday use plastic, but it is pertinent that we do that.

According to stats only a very small percentage of plastic is recycled leading to disastrous consequences. Talk to children about how every piece of plastic is harming the planet and what needs to be done. Educate them and help them identify the areas in life where plastic waste can be reduced. Every small effort counts.

The crucial time to act was yesterday and there is so much that can be done, these are just some baby steps. We as a planet are already walking thin ice and heading towards imminent ruin.

Us adults need to wake up to the damage that has been done all the while instilling in the next generation an appreciation of a sustainable lifestyle. Our planet deserves better than being choked to death with plastic.

Learn more ways to protect earth by helping kids nurture their little gardens.

Books for Travel - Summer Series Multicultural Kids Blogs

Elementary Aged Kids Can Travel the World with These Books

I recently read, traveling the world is a huge part of multicultural families. These books allow elementary aged kids to travel the world. We travel to meet our families and learn about the world. We hope that our children explore cities, new cultures and understand their own better.

Food, festivals, customs and little things that make us all different and yet similar at the same time. Below and a list of books, my children and I have read and enjoyed. They act as little passports to the world around us.

Since, it is impossible for everyone to see everything, it is so much more important now than ever for us learn from each other and share stories of how our worlds truly are.

(Aff Links)

Elementary Aged Kids Travel the World with Books

Maya and Neel Series

Originating from Indian authors, this series is an authentic look at Mumbai and Delhi. The authors plan to add more books to these series and talk about lot of Indian festivals. Great for younger kids, learning about India and Hindi too.

Goodnight Series

A fun read for little kids who would love to see India. An easy read.

Travel Guide Series

These are kids who love a lot of non fiction. Gives a great look at different countries around the world with facts and  celebrations.

Goodnight Series

Nick and Aya Series

A great book for parent bonding. Father and daughter take trips to different cities/countries around the world.

National Geographic Series

Who doesn’t know Nat Geo and their bid to empower the world with a real life look within countries. They have a lot of books about countries around the world.

Seymour and Hau Series

Books about Italy, Morocco and more, Seyomour and Hau is a great book for advanced elementary readers. Chapter books with images to boot! These make a wonderful gift too.

50 States Guide & Activity Book

You can learn all about America by buying this guide and their activity book combined. It is a great resource for social studies.

Flat Stanley Series

Another chapter book with images, these make a great read. Kids who like Judy Mody or Stink, would love Flat Stanley and all his adventures around the world.

Real Kids, Real Stories Series

Sometimes, learning about the world is not just about the cities, countries. It is about the people who are making courageous choices and  bringing real change around the world.

 

Hello World Series

Perfect for little kids, these books give them a view of what different cities around the world look like.

You can find more book lists here about raising children with a confident mindset or to help deal with bullying.

 

Elementary Aged Kids Can Travel the World with These Books

Learn more about how to travel the world with kids easily here.

Traveling is the Biggest Learning Experience You Can Give Little Kids

Traveling is the Biggest Learning Experience You Can Give Little Kids

Dealing with all of the end of the school year craziness have had me wanting to escape to a remote island, just my husband and I, far away from the chaos of last minute meetings with teachers, exams and next school year’s supply shopping. I’m exhausted. And I want a break from my children.

Well, I wanted to have a brake from them, until I realized how many summers I have left with them. Then it hit me. There is not so much time left, not so many holidays to be enjoyed all together, new places to explore and new cultures to learn. 

I felt sad. Somehow empty. 

Could it be possible to feel the emptiness of our nest with the kids still in there?

I am the mother of three intelligent and overachiever teenagers. They keep me on my toes. They keep me crazy “running around with mismatched socks” busy with all the activities, outings and adolescence related questions they ask. We have a very strong relationship and I feel very proud of it. Thinking about all this makes me crave more time with them. And I’m talking about quality AND quantity time. Those moments when we are so closed to each other that I can hug and kiss them within milliseconds with no adverse reaction coming from them. My “hen” mom instincts kicking in. 

Due to all these feelings I decided to share with you my reasons why you should travel with your children NOW! Not later, not when they are older, but now!

Odense, Denmark

Every single trip made with your offsprings is a wonderful opportunity to create memories. You will be laying your family’s emotional foundations. Every minute spent far away from home would be a reminder of how being together is the most important thing well above familiar objects, rooms, and other material gadgets. 

Is it expensive? Yes, it is. 

Is it time consuming? Yes, it is. 

Is it a roller coaster of emotions? Yes, it is. 

Is it worth the try? YES, IT IS! 

So let’s get ready for this emotional ride, because I am here to inspire you! You will feel confused, you will believe some of my reason for traveling with kiddos, you won’t accept some of them. That’s just fine. My goal is to wake your curiosity up and encourage you to give traveling with children a try. 

Why should I travel with my kids when they are still little?

Learning at its best

Children learn by observing, hearing and doing. Traveling is a great opportunity to expose your children to interesting places, cultures, and languages. Also, traveling can be an effective tool to show your kids survival and organizational skills and develop self-care awareness. The best part? You don’t need to engage in a cross Atlantic trip to teach your kids about the beauty of this world. Outings near home are an exciting way to get to know our own traditions too, thus developing a more clear identity sense of themselves and their culture. 

travel really worth

Paris, France

Safe space to acquire different values and recognize rough spots that may need to be a little bit “polished”.

When traveling many of the familiar things we have at home aren’t there. We find ourselves surrounded by unknown situations that will activate our self preservation instinct. Our usual selves with our ever present values will be changed.

In our search for familiarity we will approach the differences with personal traits we didn’t know we had. As a family we will develop skill sets triggered by our trips and that will stay with our children forever. Traveling prepares them for unknown situations, challenging scenarios and distinct people. 

Additionally, traveling with kids will show a side of us and them we didn’t think possible or existent. Our children are going to discover many things about themselves, they will experience irritability and tiredness, and they will learn to go on even when their energy level is very low. Traveling makes people resilient and children aren’t the exception. 

Morrocoy, Venezuela

Team building for the future

One thing that we have learned during our years traveling the world is that it takes a whole crew to make a trip happen. Since the planning and booking, family members are committed to collaborate with each other to create the most amazing itinerary.

Our kids sell some of their toys and clothing at the local flea market to have some extra cash to spend during the trip. They learn about budgeting and calculating costs. We purposely involve them in every step of the adventure. 

While traveling we also work as a team to stay safe and healthy. We look after each other’s belongings and are always willing to provide a comfy shoulder for sleepy heads on the train or plane. Together we take pictures, gather info and learn about the culture. Back home we put all of our photographs together (taken with our mobile phones) and create beautiful albums and videos to always remember our adventures.

This is an amazing chance to praise the strengths of your little ones as well. Highlight those personal traits that make them unique and valuable. 

Appreciating positive outcomes and learning from negative situations 

Not every hotel is clean. Not every museum is interesting and not every beach is as blue as the ones we see online. Disastrous trips are a reality. By traveling with our children, we teach them to be grateful for trips where everything works just fine, from the beauty of the surrounding nature to the smooth service of a under developed country’s transportation system.

But what happens when the ideal vacation turns into a nightmare? 

Three years ago we went to Brussels for a long weekend. We arrived to enjoy the most delicious chocolate in the world and the most crispy french fries ever! After spending the whole day exploring we decided to go to our hotel to get a good night sleep.

Our nightmare started. The charming hotel we booked based on the pictures and reviews from a well known travel website, turned out to be a whole on the wall located in a very shady neighborhood where the words prostitution and drug dealing weren’t that foreign. 

Immediately we went from “singing in the car” happy tourists to scared American family in dangerous territory. Don’t laugh! Don’t roll your eyes either. It was scary! But once the shock of the moment was gone, a very united and synchronized family started looking for solutions. After phoning and browsing online, we ended up sleeping in a beautiful hotel close to the border in the German side. It wasn’t cheap, but it was worthy.

This experience helped our children to realized that sometimes things don’t go our way. And that’s fine! We just need to clean the scratch on the knee and keep going. Better times will come for sure. 

You complaint about the challenges of being a parent. Aren’t you willing to enjoy the bright side? What makes travel really worth it all?

Parenting is similar to Jedi training and life. It presents us with both a bright side and a dark (sometimes very obscure) side. Usually we hear and read about the many difficulties to be a parent. We complaint loudly about it. I assure you that traveling, even with the challenging moments, is a great time to see and experience the sublimely thing that are our children.

Seeing them swimming, running, exploring, growing is so rewarding. All of the sudden everything makes sense, including those sleepless nights, hours of lessons and values we impart. Being away from home gives families the opportunity to better appreciate each other in a more relaxing setting.

To us, my husband and I, has been the best way to get to know our offsprings and see the results of our dedication and their personalities. We wouldn’t change traveling with our kids for anything in the world. 

In conclusion, my tears due to a feeling of soon-to-be empty nest have disappeared. It took me a while but soon enough I was already checking online the prices of plane tickets to travel with my pack. I am willing to enjoy every minute with my kids, spending time to hug them overseas and show them the world that surrounds us. 

Are you willing to give yourselves that opportunity?

You won’t regret it! 

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Traveling is the Biggest Learning Experience You Can Give Little Kids

Being Different - Empower Your Child to Overcome Self Doubt

Being Different – Empower Your Child to Overcome Self Doubt

Have you thought about how your child sees themselves? We see our children as perfect angels for their beauty lies in our eyes since moment they are born but these little humans will eventually grow to look at the world and start comparing themselves. Wonder how they overcome self doubt? Seeing themselves as inferior versions of themselves that can possibly cripple a child and how to overcome self doubt. It has happened to the best of us and will happen till time immortal.

My daughter is quite small for her age. It has been weighing heavy on us seeing other kids much younger to her, stand taller. Specially when we all hear comments like, “Oh, is she really 5?” or “I can put her in my pocket.” Off hand comments made with no thought, but a reminder of her being small.

As much as I worry about it and think about ways that we can help her grow, I have always worried more about the day that she starts seeing herself as different than others. And it happened on her fifth birthday!

She woke up early morning and questioned why she didn’t “look like she was 5”? Putting it down to a child’s question we went on with our day where she kept repeating and getting more disappointed to the point of crying hysterically after her birthday dinner.

When I went down to her level and talked about it, she was hurt that she hadn’t grown taller overnight. “Why am I not like 5 like other kids? They look so different.” It broke my heart. To witness my daughter seeing herself unlike other kids. I let the moment passed and comforted her. And later told her a story about a princess who was small but with a BIG heart and intelligent and helped others with her actions. She loved, loved, loved the new tilt to her perspective and slept with a smile on her face.

And as luck would have it, the next morning we got a book from the author of the book “Being Small Isn’t Bad At All”. Seeing her disadvantage as an advantage worked wonders for her self esteem. Just goes to show what the right books can do for a person’s perspective on life and themselves. If you happen to have a child facing our particular challenge, I can guarantee, this book will change your child’s perspective towards betterment.


This of course is not just restricted to being small. It applies to all those little or big things that make our children ever so slightly different than others. I have always tried my best to empower my kids in the many ways developing a confident mindset to overcome the daily overwhelm that comes with self doubt.

Overcome Self Doubt - Being Different

Get Down to Their Level

Not just literally (though that helps), but don’t just brush off what they are feeling. Help them address their concerns with empathy towards their view point. A hug often helps.

Some Time Off

A big hug, a walk, some time away from what they are feeling later with ice cream, helps them get out of their funk. At least it helps them get out of the hole for a while. Be a friend, by BEING with them, without forcing the issue.

Share Your Own Stories

I never try to hide my own insecurities from my children. I have often told them about times when I have been disappointed or failed or seen myself differently. AND I have talked to them about what I have done over time to overcome the same.

Make Up Stories

You will not believe the smile she had and the encouragement she felt when I told her about the princess who was small (with qualities of things that she liked) and then how it was not her shortcomings (no  pun intended) but her OTHER qualities that helped the kingdom out of the situation. A story tailor made for your child told in a different setting helps them be the 3rd person and see the situation different,

Empower Them with Empathy

Read to them. Talk to them. Not just about their particular self doubts but also, about the MANY different children there are. Teach them about children with different abilities and situations. When they learn how to be kind hearted and SEE other’s situations in a positive light, they grow to shine with their own light as well.

Wait for It

As parents, we all worry but with all the above, a day comes when all those moments come together towards a view point that makes you proud. Like your child standing up for themselves, or ever better, others!

Early, on recent morning, as we got ready for school I told my son to clean his glasses before wearing them and the conversation about glasses led to him mentioning that none of his friends at school wear glasses. He went on to tell me to my surprise that there was a time when he was embarrassed by them, but he got over it by thinking, “Being different doesn’t mean that I have to feel bad about it. I just have to be okay with it. It’s a part of me. “

And then, I knew my kids were okay. For they will grow to know, “Being different is not bad at all.”

 


If you enjoyed this and want more practical tips for imbibing your children with strong values for a confident mindset in the world that constantly evolves.

 

We Need to Be Mindful About Our Impatience with Children

We Need to Be Mindful About Our Impatience with Children

Do you notice yourself getting more and more impatient with your children?

Human nature is such that we are always craving for more. In our teen years, we are constantly craving for freedom. In the 20’s, we look forward to having fun, getting a good job, buying the newest gadget and more. When we reach our 30’s, we think of traveling, marriage and buying a house.

So this vicious circle of always wanting more never stops. Growing older doesn’t necessary help this process BUT growing wiser definitely helps put things into perspective.

Accept it or deny it but one of the most important reasons we get married is to procreate. A few honeymoons later, everyone begins to think of having children. One of the biggest mistakes most adults make today is listing ‘Having Children’ in their checklist of duties to do. Oh and believe it or not, some of us can’t wait to put a ‘tick’ on that box.

Children are truly a blessing of God and as their parents it is our duty to nurture them with love and care. During pregnancy, we tend to be very cautious and take care of every little detail of our daily routine. We do everything that would NOT harm the baby. And when the baby enters this world, we become even more careful and protective and do everything to care for this little being, who is totally dependent on us.

But as parenthood progresses, we tend to take our blessings for granted. We are overcome with impatience and feel pressured by our changing lifestyle. The journey of a happy couple to new parents and then to being responsible and hands-on parents can be a bumpy one sometimes. In the quest to be perfect parents, we often want to be in control of everything and that is when things seem to fall apart.

Real Reasons Behind the Growing Impatience with Our Kids

We lose patience easily and become extremely intolerant towards our kids. We begin to expect them to behave like adults, forgetting that they are still children because they are not so little anymore.

 

Some reasons why parents tend to be overly intolerant or impatient towards their children are:-

Multitasking

We often want to have control of everything happening around us and prefer to multitask than to delegate. Women especially are known to be great at multitasking but how good are we at managing the stress that comes with it. In the quest of controlling everything, we tend to be intolerant and neglectful towards our children and tend to respond to them only after our work is completed.

Marital Issues

We Need to Be Mindful About Our Impatience with Children. Reduce impatience with Children

In most marital problems and arguments, it is an innocent child who bears the brunt. We need to vent out our frustration somewhere, and children can be those soft targets. The age and maturity of a child doesn’t matter. Whether it is a small child or a teenager, the effect of our anger and anguish is always negative.

During a heated argument, we don’t raise our hands on our spouse because that would be physical abuse and no one wants to be accounted for domestic violence. Instead, we lose our cool on the kids and raise our hands on them (because no one looks at this as child abuse).

Financial Stress

The slowing economy, job cuts and inflation can put pressure on any household. This in turn leads to making us impatient and agitated, and we tend to lose our mind at the kids more often, when things get out of control at home. If you sit back and think about it, children are not affected by these socio-economic factors because they don’t have an understanding of it, and at the end of the day they are only being what they are…children!

Work-Home Balance

Trying to maintain a work-home balance can be very taxing, when there are children and/or other family members involved. Finding a good helper, a caring nanny or the right daycare can be very challenging for most parents.

Long working hours and work-related stress takes a toll on most individuals. Worked-up individuals then carry forward their frustrations and agitations to their family. Parents either tend to snap at their children or ignore them completely, while trying to deal with their daily problems.

Competitive Nature

Parents these days are very competitive and want their children to excel in all aspects of life (which is not ideally possible!) We tend to overlook one very important thing – whether our child is enjoying the learning process or not.

Structured learning post-school hours can in fact bore a child and make him less interested in learning newer things because anything monotonous is never appealing. We need to start letting our kids plan their learning and play time according to how or what they feel that day.

Of course that doesn’t mean we let them play with gadgets all day. We can help them with their choices and steer them in the right direction, which will empower them to make correct decisions as adults.


Phone Anxiety/Gadget Addiction

We have gotten so used to sliding, swiping and switching from one page to another that we think we can use this flipping technique to shoo away our kids too. Children need care, attention and time and we cannot just slide them off like a notification on the phone. As parents, we need to pull the plug on gadget addiction and re-focus on our children.

Selfishness

Some parents refuse to let go off their pre-parenthood lifestyle for their own selfish reasons. They arrange for play dates to get their children off their back, enroll them in back-to-back classes to have less of them to deal with, spend the weekend shopping or dining with friends (while the kids are back home).

The fear of losing out on fun with friends often makes parents neglect their kids over the weekend, which in reality is a time for family-bonding. Striking a good balance between having a social life and spending time with family is important. Choosing the former over the latter can have devastating effects on our children.

We must remember that our negative behavior towards children can have very damaging effects on them. It can result in:

Childhood/teenage depression and anxiety (which usually carries forward in to adulthood)
• Susceptible to bullying
• Lack of motivation and goals
• Low self-esteem and self-confidence
• Become social misfits or introverts
• Addiction to drugs, alcohol, gadgets and material pleasures

Let’s hope to make a few changes in our lifestyle and re-think our priorities. In a few years, when our children have gone away to acquire an education or for better work prospects, we will be left longing for them.

Let’s not make them long for our genuine love and affection as children. NOW is the time to spend their best years being there for them, so that when they go away, they have a reason to come back. NOW is the time to listen to them, so that when they grow up and need advice, they know where to look for it.

The best use we can make of our love and time is to INVEST it in our CHILDREN!

Empower Your Mom Friends One-Click at a Time!

Empower Your Mom Friends One-Click at a Time!

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Abraham Lincoln

Raising global children has become a mission many mothers have dared to take over in order to empower their kids with the knowledge and tools needed to succeed in a globalized world. It is such a sweet and time consuming endeavor, but worthy without a doubt.

I am one of those “mamás” working on preparing her children for a more peaceful and diversity aware future. And I’m loving it! 

But lately there is a question “living” inside my head that it refuses to move away. 

Who empowers those relentlessly active moms? 

How do we make sure that moms around the world receive enough support to continue the beautiful path of raising global children? 

Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, says in his book The Little Book of Lykke that “there is a four-point happiness gap between the happiest and unhappiest countries, and three points of these four are explained by six factors: togetherness or sense of community, money, health, freedom, trust and kindness.” How do we work together as women for women to procure these six relevant factors? 

Women empowered by social media. Photo credits for Pexels.com

After many thoughts and relentless nights, I have come to the conclusion that at this moment my most powerful “weapon” to promote happy moms is the Internet and social media contacts. If you are an “online active” mom that is registered in different social media outlets, then you are armed with this effective tool as well! 

Social Media Networking 

You only have to look at the rise of female influencers to see women calling the shots, changing the global conversation, and creating new careers and job opportunities from behind the screen of their computers, tablets or mobile devices.

Whether via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instragram, social media provides ready communities for women around the world. These outlets represent a great opportunity to “meet” other people with the same professional goals and to promote our ideas, products, and services in a fast and very low-cost way. 

Social Media Networking provides togetherness for women who have previously felt marginalized and powerless, being this the case of many moms in different countries. Let’s not forget that due to cultural or religious beliefs, expat assignments, trailing spouses, and motherhood, many moms find themselves isolated raising their children with no support of family and friends. 

“Social media outlets help mothers find a tribe and amplify their voice”. – Flor García

Empowering one click at a time 

Empowerment is a construct that links individual strengths, competencies, natural helping systems and proactive behaviors to social change. When we share with our Instagram audience the profile of other moms and their entrepreneurial skills, small businesses, ideas, and services we are becoming the voice and marketing solution for those whose experience could improve the life of many. Employers, recruiters and other entrepreneurs could benefit greatly from any of the talents offered by many moms online. 

How much does it cost to you to share somebody else’s business on Instagram? Think about it! And the pros for that mom with a new idea could be endless. Imagine how amazing to be an agent of change!

Promoting online can make the difference between a desperate mom and an emotionally healthy one. Which one do you think will have more energy to focus on raising world children? Money isn’t happiness, but it helps big time to focus our attention on what really matters. 

Therefore, an empowered mom producing income would be a great addition to the cultural awareness equation we want to promote at home. Also, it isn’t all about money, remember that empowerment suggest that individuals work with others (sense of community) to achieve goals (trust), efforts to gain access to resources (health and education) and some critical understanding of the socio-political environment of the place where we live (integration). 

Workshops, Webinars and Learning 

Many studies show that social media is contributing to women empowerment but there is still virtual gender gap due to lack of literacy, cybercrime and cyber bullying so many women are not able to fully utilize the new space and explore the many benefits of the World Wide Web. 

Here is when our expertise and academic knowledge play a relevant role in the fight for women literacy and independence. Have you thought about how much a mom can benefit from the knowledge and experience of other women? If you are an expert on areas such as entrepreneurship, cultural integration, diverse communications, arts, languages and web resources, the amazing power you have to enhance the lives of many moms is indescribable! 


Dare to offer online seminars or workshops, do it for a low-cost or free. Count it as your good deed for the month… or year. Jump into the wagon of helping other women. Become that mom willing to be an activist from the comfort of your own home. Generate awareness for social transformation favorable to empowerment of women, specially moms around the world. 

In conclusion, I leave these lines feeling a little bit better. I know that many of the women reading this article will find their way to support other women using social media and other online hubs as their tool for change. Please, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions. Empowering women online has been proved to be a powerful vehicle for raising women’s rights awareness and income equality for many moms around the world. 

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi
The Paradox of Racing Time in Parenting

The Paradox of Racing Time in Parenting

To say that I’m time-obsessed would be an understatement. But it is also true that I was not like this all my life. I have always been the laid-back kid who never feels the urge to rush. I took my own sweet time to get around to doing anything.

I took time to warm up to people. I took time to understand a new concept being taught. But something about having my own kids changed my entire perspective.

The clock-obsessed lady was hiding under the surface of that calm, slow little girl. Now everything that I do revolves around the clock. I have to finish cooking by 10, sit with my son to do his homework from 4:30 to 5:30, take my daughter to a class at 6, pick up my son from his class at 4:30 and so on so forth. The time obsession has moved on to such level that I get impatient if I feel any member of my family seems to be relaxed, a little too relaxed in my opinion, especially if we are all getting ready for some event.

And of all the events, doctor’s appointments are the worst! The fact that you have to be somewhere at a fixed time can get your blood pressure raising very high. And if you add traffic in to this mix, it can really cause you to hyperventilate.

So you’re sitting there, not moving an inch, in the midst of the worst traffic of your life (to be honest, they all seem like that), one eye on the road hoping the car ahead of you will move and another eye on the ticking clock, your pulse raising with every increase of the minute hand.

You sit there wishing that you had started earlier than you did from home. You sit there trying to resist the urge to say some mean things to the guy who cut in front of you, after-all the whole point of this whole circus, the apple of your eye, your little son is sitting right behind you. You wonder why did everyone have to step out of their house exactly on the same day and at the same time when you were running late just a few minutes,  only to find that now you’re running a lot more than a few minutes late. And as you have nothing else to do, you drum on the steering wheel, make loud sighing noises and the merciless clock just keeps ticking and ticking and ticking.

For a second, you wonder if all the clocks in the world should be trashed in some dumpster for mocking your helplessness and then let out another huge sigh and drum some more on the steering wheel. Finally, after what seems like zillion minutes, the traffic lets out, and you feel like you’re flying through the streets.

Your turn to mock the clock. And so the dance continues, you win some you lose some.

 

Neha Narayan is a 9th grader in high school. She likes biking, drawing, and, well, watching YouTube. She hopes to be successful in whatever she decides to do.

Sangeetha Narayan likes to do everything. From writing, reviewing books, and being a great mother (even if she does say so herself) she keeps herself busy. She hopes to continue writing and reviewing and become successful.

 

 

Grab Your Copy of Strong Roots Have No Fear – The book for children to thrive with strong values in a multicultural world!

I Want to Raise Happy Kids : Not Just Miserable Overachievers

I Want to Raise Happy Kids : Not Just Miserable Overachievers

I see it everywhere. Parents cheering their kids on as they get trophies for participating and winning competitions that the parents have clearly done the work in. Kids exhausted and cranky from being over scheduled for classes in the name of all rounded development, exposure OR figuring out their talent.

We all agree we shouldn’t push kids for academics, but pushing them towards constant excellence in EVERY other field bears some thought too. 

Kids do not know what to do with themselves during free time. They can’t process failure, full of their own self importance. We unwittingly cheer for mediocrity while pushing our children to discover their hidden talents.

When I see dance/cooking competitions on Television with kids as young as 5/6 and parents of 6-10 year olds celebrating their kids’ accomplishment of being authors of stories they made up at bedtime. Kids gaining false confidence of talent when winning competitions that are rigged. Let’s face it, the pressure of the first is certainly not good for that young a mind and the second is a child’s ramblings put into a book with the parent having done ALL the work. Who truly benefits from this?

Constantly Reaching for the Next High of Success

I have been guilty of it too. We see our kids excelling at something and rush to show it off, challenge them more,  hoping they are the master in that field.

I see others like me taking something their kids enjoy doing, like building with Legos, or drawing or be good at engineering and start entering them into competitions or leagues. Thus taking away the doing just for “joy” and adding stress to it since of course now it has to be perfect before submission added to that the fact that one needs to work with team of different people, where they lose their own creativity and have to submit to the idea that’s best for the submission.

Why can’t we let kids be creative JUST for the sake of exploring? Free play has so much more to provide.

(I don’t know. If you do let me know in the comments below. I’m always open to seeing the other side of the coin.)

There is a fine line between providing your children opportunities and overwhelming them by teaching them that you need to get a medal in order derive joy from DOING. 

On the other hand, we have preschool teachers and parents who encourage others to hold their child back a year before starting kindergarten so that they get a leg up on the other kids who will certainly be younger since they would be MORE mature.

Where does that common sense of KNOWING that children are not mature enough to handle stress of a certain kind go away when you are pushing your child to get into gifted programs or competitions which add so much more pressure on the child?

As as Indian, I faced it quite early and consistently. My mom pushing me to get that one extra mark for a 100 score. Studying for hours at end. But then that’s all I had to do. I wonder how miserable I would be if I was in today’s world where I see kids doing 7+ extracurricular classes each week (more than there are number of days in the week), after a full day at school.

Both my children are quite perceptive and intelligent for their ages. I would imagine they both represent the average child and I see both being overwhelmed with the extra curricular classes or over activity. My daughter is too young to articulate the overwhelm. But my son says it time an again, ” I don’t get any time to just BE and PLAY!”


It disturbs me when all around me I see parents pushing children to go through TONNES of classes so they can explore their inner self OR stay away from gadgets. While I’m the first person to celebrate a child’s drawing or out of box thinking or grade or admission into gifted program (when achieved without hacking the system), I truly wonder how healthy it is for children that we as a generation are pushing our children to grow beyond their years.

And then we wonder why the younger generations are getting more and more miserable?!

People have forgotten how to JUST BE. How to be content with what they have in their hands. How to look at another and NOT wonder how I too can get that. How to be happy for anther’s naturally achieved success. It is a wonder why children today don’t know how to just play by themselves.

I won’t lie. I would LOVE for my children to be the next Einstein but only if they get to it on their own. I truly believe the talent within grows with time on it’s own, but happiness and how to enjoy life is something we need to teach by example. I imagine I would love my children to be amazing at everything they do. BUT I know as strongly as I know that I am breathing now, that a child that is PUSHED towards success can only learn to be on the GO, constantly wanting the next HIGH of getting that next medal or achievement. They will never learn how to be happy in the moment.

Empower Kids with the Contentment of Just Being

Life is stressful enough as we grow.

That first F. That first failure. That first heartbreak and many more. That job rejection. Those times when one feels looked down upon by the Success Gods. There’s enough of that without us setting them up for failure in the long run by handing them embellished achievements when they are young.

What we need to do, is teach them how to handle all those times when you feel the world is falling in within you and your heart is shattering into a million pieces.

I cry as I write this while coz I hope every single day that my child does not face any of the heart aches that I did KNOWING full well that they WILL, some day. And I pray that I give them the strength to handle them all. To know to be strong for themselves and those around them. Standing up when they don’t have the strength to.

Recently, a mother celebrated her child’s 60s while others were rejoicing their child’s 90s at school. Many questioned about my she needed to put it out there at all. I on the other hand wonder why so many of us don’t celebrate our child’s mediocrity enough? For every child has struggles they personally go through and achieve. I’m not talking about making it out of preschool. But that child who is struggling with anxiety issues or is shy. The child who got that C after getting tonnes of Ds or Fs. Not a celebration with a party or trophy but maybe just a sweet treat and a recognition of their hard work with a hug and a trip to their favorite place.

That’s how we show our children to process failures. That’s how we raise children to KNOW that they are enough within and they don’t need to constantly keep proving to those around them that they are worthy and talented.

My heart glows with warmth when I see a my son know how to respond to weird questions, bullying or teasing by friends. How deal with personal embarrassments and frequent embarrassments. It makes me smile inside when I am working and they play/read by my side, without any prompts or nudging. I feel pride when parents wonder how polite they are and thoughtful. Yes, we are still working on a number of issues but I know we are on the right path a lifetime of success, measured by laughter and strength.

With all that’s been happening lately, it is so much more important now than ever that we focus on raising a generation that knows how to just be happy and kind to each other. 

 

 

For step by step practical tips on raising your child to have balanced outlook on life, grab my book at 30% discount now !!

Parenting Tips for Parents with Large Age Gaps Between Kids

Parenting Tips for Parents with Large Age Gaps Between Kids

When I thought about how I wanted my family to be, when I was younger, I never thought I’d have a 15-year gap between my oldest and second children. My children are 20, 5, 3, and 2. While I love how things shaped up (it took me a while to meet someone I wanted to settle down with and have more kids with), having a large gap between kids has presented a bit of a challenge. My big kid has a completely different set of needs than my younger kids do, and because the younger kids need a lot more hands-on from mom, as much as I hate to admit it, my older kid can get lost in the shuffle of everyday life.

While my 20 year old is crushing it at college now, there’s still a good bit of balancing that goes on to keep family life running smoothly – and to make sure no one is left out. Without further ado, here are things I found that work well for parenting when there’s a large age gap.

Set aside time to focus on the older child(ren).

I can’t stress enough how much I cherished the time last summer with my oldest. We went on a daily walk/run for all of July and August. That provided my son with an opportunity to have his mom all to himself for the duration of the outing, without interruptions from younger siblings. This meant he could talk about all the things that were bothering him, important to him, etc. It was great.

We also take him out to dinner – just him – at least a few times while he’s home in the fall and winter. It’s not really possible to do that during the summer due, but we do that whenever we can – and it’s really nice to have that time.

Don’t make your older child your designated babysitter.

I know. I’m guilty of this from time to time, but last summer we compensated him for the time he spent watching his siblings. It’s really easy to get caught up in the convenience of having a child old enough to babysit at home. Be sure that you’re not relegating your child to this role.

parenting tips for parents with large age gaps between kids

Be aware that even with big gaps between kids, sibling rivalries can exist.

Growing up, there were 14 years between my older brother and myself. He grew up in a different household, so he always felt like my younger brother and I were the “real family” and he was an outsider. It’s so important, especially if there is a new relationship involved, to protect your child from feeling “cast aside” in favor of younger siblings. I was actually pretty shocked when my big kid was picking on his younger sister and taking her toys – who knew you had to worry about a teenager snagging a toddler’s toys?

Let your older child be a big sibling and mentor to your younger child.

In fact, encourage a mentor ship role. Life is hard, and your older child has navigated a big part of it. Let him or her give your younger child tips – whether it’s on avoiding getting in trouble with mom & dad or it’s sharing the best ways to learn to ride a bike. The magic of this is that it will foster closeness between siblings – even when one sibling is out of the house already.

Maintain a sense of flexibility.

Kids, particularly the 5 and under crowd, bring a certain amount of chaos into the picture. Have a backup plan for family activities, and try to plan them when best for the energy levels, hunger levels, and moods of the younger child(ren). You won’t regret it.

Support your older child’s activities and interests.

This may mean hiring a sitter for the evening. Show up to games, meets, plays, recitals, etc. It’s worth it. Again, the last thing that as a parent I ever wanted to do was to have my oldest feel he’d been replaced by his younger siblings. It isn’t always possible for us to get up to his college to see him perform, but in high school, we made sure to go to every home game or meet and every play he was involved in.

Do you have children with a large age gap? Share your experiences in the comments. Read more about raising children here.

 

Recognizing & Helping Your Boys Through Eating Disorders

Recognizing & Helping Your Boys Through Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders usually are only ever  discussed or thought of in terms of adolescent girls. Boys were certain not discussed as having eating disorders at school, or even thereafter! Actually, come to think of it, anything to do with mental illness is not openly discussed anywhere!

Imagine the surprise when the doctor says “Does he have a cognitive condition relating to this? (“This” being a continuous battle to not be underweight – which we are not mentioning with the child in the room.)

So – let’s see some statistics… The first thing Google shows is the “Australian Butterfly Foundation – support for eating disorders & body image issues.

The statistics shown as follows:

• 1 in 24 Australians has an eating disorder (that is approximately 1 million people).

Then, the more surprising statistic…

• 30% of Australians with an eating disorder are male!

What? Boys have eating issues too?
Yes, that’s what it means! Boys have eating issues too!

Ok, as the dust settles on that slightly perturbing fact… slowly sense and reality are sinking in!

Hindsight is an interesting thing! Especially when anxiety related complaints are concerned. Living in the moment it is sometimes difficult to make the connection. No one wants to mention it!

Recognizing & Helping Your Boys Through Eating Disorders
Now for the tricky part:

The signs of anxiety fueled food issues are obvious if you know what to look for.

As a Toddler – A referral to the Occupational Therapist for food aversion and Food Jags! After the allergist has given you a list of foods to avoid.  Now you know what to avoid but a small boy just wants no food! Several months of supervision from pediatrician, nurse and OT and perhaps now the end is nigh!

As a preschooler – Mum returned to study/work and a small boy enjoys his day at preschool painting, coloring, playing in the sand pit. Oh, no! Someone forgot you must wear your shoes in the sand pit as you don’t like the feel on your feet. Anxiety up! Pumpkin soup for lunch and you just want a cheese sandwich which no one will make for you. No eaten lunch and it fails to be documented. No eaten lunch any day you attend and No one thinks to tell dad and he does not know to ask.  He just assumes you have eaten and gives you afternoon tea (cheese sandwiches). You just want to be home! Weight loss begins to appear. It is put down to a growth spurt. Dietitian advice very active child needs more dinner and breakfast.

Kindergarten – new people, new routine, and new baby brother. Anxiety increases and eating issues recommence. Kindergarten teacher makes a rule one sandwich eaten before going outside for lunch play. Hot chocolate and protein powder added to breakfast. Again doctor discusses appropriate eating and healthily growth rates.

Grade 2 – enter a dyslexia, dysgraphia and formal anxiety diagnosis.  Finally, seven years later a plan covering understanding allergies, asthma and how they affect eating habits, also how they are treated, in child friendly language. Anxiety reduces to normal. Weight and height meet acceptable growth rates, or just!

Now – a plan is in place to meet all future contingencies… except the wicked vomiting bug that, 3 years later has the child off the weight chart again. Leaving on the bus in the morning happy and well, and returning as white as a sheet with his dad carrying him. He collapsed vomiting at school. They said he needs to see a doctor. His dad says “Do they think i dont feed him, or something?” New school, new language, anxiety high and again he is struggling to eat. The difference is this time he knows that he must eat!

Visiting the doctor my husband is worried. I am not worried about the doctor we just need help to get this bug gone so.we can establish his health. I know what I need from this new country and new doctor. Thankfully the doctor understands me when I say “This is not our first rodeo! We have done this at 3, 4.5, and 7 years old too. He cannot shake the tummy bug. 4 days and he is still unwell. Then we have a fairly extensive plan for healthy weight gains.


The doctor orders the right test and guesses the medicine needed from our previous experiences. He correctly identified the bug and medication required so we don’t need to change it.  Ordering a stronger dose of vitamins to help him on his way to being healthy again.

So, now we know! Boys have eating issues too! 💕

In Australia, if you or some you know has an issue with eating please contact your doctor or call the helpline.

Australian Butterfly Foundation – support for eating disorders & body image issues , https://www.thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/our-services/helpline/
Australia 1800 334 673

Lifeline available 24/7,Telephone 13 11 14
https://www.lifeline.org.au/about-lifeline/contact-us

You can read more about how to help your child with a confident body image here.

Books About Bullying for Elementary Age Kids

Books About Bullying for Elementary Age Kids

Bullying can be tricky. There is just a fine line between one off meanness and consistent bullying. In my book, Strong Roots Have No Fear, I have spoken in length about step by step actionable steps you can provide your child. One of the most important ones is to give them scenarios and how to handle them. What better way than books to show them stories of every day children facing the same in a real or magical world.

The Shrimp and the Bully

I picked up this book on a whim and what a wonderful resource this is for kids who are small in height or feel they are different.

Bucket Dippers and Lids

This is a wonderful book for 6-8 year olds, to teach them the difference between someone who fills another’s bucket with kindness or reduces another’s happiness.

Berenstain Brothers – Stand Up to Bullying

If your kids like Berestain Brothers like mine do, you will love this look through their eyes. My boy used to love the read.

Why Bully Me

This is to show all friends come in different sizes and we need to empathize with everyone.


Juice Box Bully

One of the best things kids can do to combat bullying is to stand up for one another, which is exactly what The Juice Box Bully is about. Students will learn how to have each other’s backs instead of doing nothing when they witness bully confrontation.

Hundred Dresses

Style is a BIG issue for multicultural kids. It addresses a classmate who is ridiculed by bullies for wearing the same dress to school every day, while other students stand by and do nothing to help.

Bully

It is a perfect read for our increasingly digitally-savvy students. You want your kids to know how to handle cliques and digital pushing around.

Wonder

I cannot recommend this book enough for little kids aged 6-8. It is so important to see the strength of every kid. August was born with a facial deformity so he’ll have to convince his classmates that he is normal, just like them, despite his appearances.

I Am Enough

Before anything, we need our kids to know that they are enough. How they are, in every way they are.

Llamma Llamma – The Goat Bully

Such a great book for tiny little ones, to show they what to do when bullies trouble them.

Stand in My Shoes

This book by the author of The Juice Box Bully helps children learn the meaning of empathy. Emily’s big sister explains that empathy is the ability to notice what other people feel. Emily wonders if having empathy really makes a difference, and puts it to the test! She suddenly has a whole new perspective on people.

Just Kidding

This is a problem even adults face. D.J.’s friend Vince has a habit of teasing heavily and then trying to brush it off with a “Just kidding!” D.J. worries that protesting will make it appear like he can’t take a joke. This book helps with a positive solution.

Bully Busters and Beyond

This book is a wonderful resource for 9 things you can empower your child with towards self-confidence, self-esteem, and strength of character.

Seeds and Trees

This is a sweet little book to talk to kid about the importance of words and the effect they have.

Toot Toot !

I read this book to my both my kids and we were so lucky to find it. It is a great way to show kids that EVERY single child has the power within to make a difference. My daughter still loves it.

Tales from the Bully Box

Real life stories that can make an impact as well. The book is really a collection of short stories about bullying from students of all walks of life. The subject matter is diverse and the book also includes discussion questions.

Strictly No Elephants

When a boy’s pet elephant is explicitly excluded from joining the local Pet Club, the boy sets out to show the other animals the error in their ways. A beautiful way to show kids the importance of inclusion.

A Glass Full of Rumors

We have all faced it. Which is why it is so important to share with kids early the importance of defining and stopping a rumor in it’s tracks.

My Princess Boy

It is a story of compassion, acceptance, unconditional parental love and friendship. We like it because rather than avoid a tricky subject.

There’s Roti in my Lunch Box

An important book for children living in a multicultural world, where other’s have different customs. Talk to your children about this .

For scenarios that you may come across in daily life and real world practical tips for dealing with bullying, what to do in case that happens and ensuring your child does NOT become a bully themselves, you can buy use the below book for your family.

If you found this resource useful, make sure to check out our post for books that help in empowering children early with a confident mindset.

Another great resource is https://www.drugrehab.com/guides/bullying/

Books to Raise Awareness About Bullying in Elementary Age Kids

Accepting the Collective Historical Baggage of Our Cultures

Accepting the Collective Historical Baggage of Our Cultures

Meet Johanna C Castillo-Rodrigez, a lover of nature, culture, and languages, backyard gardener, raising multicultural and multilingual children. Supporting families in South Florida to have families that are conscious, multicultural and green!! Proud Latina Mom!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

My name is Johana. I am Mama Tortuga. I was born and raised in Colombia. My mother had to immigrate after my father died. After that, I stayed with my grandparents for 6 years until when she was able to bring me to the United States. Here I met my partner for life, Francisco from Honduras. We decided after having a relationship for 5 years, we got married!!

Now, we are raising two children in a completely different culture and style of life from the one both of us were raised in. We love nature and simple living. We believe in living a life where we can be respectful with everyone and protect nature. We also believe in the power of community and the power of being ourselves!

  1.   Which cities have your lived in/ visited in your lifetime? Which is your favorite?

I really like where we live right now, which is South Florida, US. When I was a child I lived in a place called Aguazul which is in the East part of Colombia, a zone called “Los Llanos”. But I love mountains. I grew up surrounded by mountains in a city called Bogota.

  1.   What do brought you to what you do?

Definitely, being a mother. When I became a mother, that made me think about the kind of world I wanted to have for them and the community I wanted to have. Also, raising them to be multilingual citizens of the world!

  1.   What is one aspect in raising multicultural children do we need to be MOST aware of .

At this time, we need to grasp the historical baggage of our cultures, countries of origin and the dangerous trend of being oblivious to it. I believe that in not acknowledging our problems we are bind to repeat toxic patterns. Raising multicultural children in an increasing global society makes many people that haven’t heal and grasp those historical fears and pains, very afraid of others. Sadly, the white supremacists agenda masked by nationalistic points of view is really putting all of us in danger. It is a worldwide spread disease that we need to address.

Accepting the Historical Baggage of Our Cultures

  1.   What is one personal challenge you have overcome growing up?

Fear. I grew up in a very violent time and my family was constantly full of fear. I am choosing to live a life free of fear to make my own decisions and also allow my children to do the same regardless the circumstances.

  1.   Share with us two parenting hacks that have made life easy.

A relationship with your child is the most important ever. We can’t have a healthy relationship with our children if we don’t heal ourselves. That is one thing we need to work on every day. Think about it as a garden. You need to water it every day.

  1.  What projects are you working on next?

I am continually working on many local projects of activism and support to parents and families in my community. Right now, I am supporting different initiatives to support immigrants and refugees in Palm Beach County and also, supporting multilingualism in my community. Also, raising the consciousness around human and nature rights.

Also, right now, I am having a series of IG Lives, presenting community friends from around the world that are making a positive change in the world! #mamatortugacommunityfriends

  1.  What is one thing piece of advice you would give to children?

Be yourself and nature is your best friend. Learn from nature and play!

  1.  Tell us three things that are on your bucket list?

Visit Japan and get into an onsen. Watch the Aurora Borealis. See a world of World Peace.

  1.  What 3 books/movies  would you say changed your life?

This is a hard one!! But 3 of my favorite all time books:

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Pax by Sara Pennypacker and The Book of Forgiving by Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Mpho Tutu.

Movies: On the Way to School, The Embrace of the Snake, Ready Player One, 50 First Dates.

  1. Do you have any freebies for our readers?

Yes!! I have a series of Latinamerican Women that Transcended, study guide in English and Spanish https://www.mamatortuga.org/latinamerican-women-series

You can follow Johanna here —