Galway Advertiser 2007/2007_03_15/GA_1503_E1_020.pdf
March 15 2007
H E A LT H
If you could wave a magic wand and give your children 10 gifts to best equip them to meet the challenges that lie ahead, what would these be? Would qualities such as a strong sense of self-belief, happiness, an ability to empathise with others or make friends easily rate highly on your list? And if so, how would you implant these seeds of success in young, impressionable minds? Marie Barrett, education correspondent with RollerCoaster.ieIreland's website for parents and the director of the Loughrea based career and education company Marie Barrett Career Services, says begin by praising your child. "Praise your child joyfully, particularly should you hold no memories of being praised as a child yourself. Praise his/her joy of living laugh at their antics, roll in the grass Marie Barrett. with them, hold their hands and let them show you their world - and listen are the key not only to children's academic success but to their happiness and respond. "Take your child in your arms and at school. "A child who is succeeding in school is hug them and tell them they are wonderful - and mean it. Hold them more likely to study, to learn, to stay in tightly and `hug yourself'. Tell yourself school, to want to and have the `you are wonderful' and `that you too confidence and ability to succeed, both in the early years, but also throughout deserve a hug'." She recommends spending time and their life. Remember, you are the key to doing things together, too. These need your child's success." "Developing a positive attitude to not be expensive pursuits, just simple, fun events that will bring laughter to learning in your child's life will their eyes and help them build a happy encourage them to believe they can do things well and they will not be afraid to memory bank for the future. "Take a day off work or from the attempt new challenges. "Be patient with them learning to home and spend it with your child. Spend a day away together and come walk, learning to feed themselves, to back feeling good - both of you, knowing this special day will be locked into your hearts and heads - not just for today, but for later days and months and years, when you both may need the memory and the warmth of such moments."
talking, to coming off the bottle, to being toilet trained, to dressing themselves. Avoid competing with 'more competent mothers or fathers' and give your child the space to be themselves. Encourage and facilitate independence but at your child's own pace."
Help your child be a success
Attend school events
In the case of older children she recommends being proud of their achievements, talking through disappointing exam results (" disappointing for your child that is") with them and understanding where any gaps may lie and then deal with these. "Attend parent-teacher meetings positively. Make time in your diary for them and do not present them as a chore to your child. Look forward to discovering more about your child in school - remember they are spending a great deal of time away from you. Let them see your interest and support. "Attend other school events also, concerts, nativity plays, team games, bring and buys. Your attendance at these, particularly when your own child is involved, is a loud message of your interest in them as a person and in their school days, achievements and years. By valuing such events you are silently letting them know that you also value them." Friends play an important part in children's long-term success so facilitate any opportunity to help your child develop good social skills. Pre-school is a great start as indeed is school itself, according to Marie Barrett. She recommends encouraging your child to invite friends home and stresses you do not have to arrange `big treats' or visits out. "Playing with play dough, colouring pencils, painting together, making funny hats, reading stories to them, baking together - these can all be treats that can be savoured by your child's friends as well as your child. "All children will store away such memories - regardless of whose home they experienced them in. Avoid plonking them in front of a video or the television, they can have that any time." endangering the energy or interest you may so wish to give your child." She advises parents who are unhappy to seek help, ideally a counsellor. "Always remember - change can be achieved. The motivation to build a better life for your child may give you the courage to seek help or advice. Understand where any unhappiness or discord may be coming from and plan from there - as a parent, as an adult, as a couple or partners and for now, always as the mother or father of your child." She says it is important to realise that children need time alone. "Watch for the times that your child may be looking into space, peering at a flower, playing quietly with their dolls or blocks or reading a book. This is when you become the proverbial `fly on the wall'. This is where respect begins and contemplation grows. This ability to spend time alone, to be alone with oneself or with an activity is the rarest of gifts in any human being and gold dust in the life of the child. It is the powerhouse of concentration - so vital to your child's ability to learn in life, to communicate in life, to think. "But, even more so, the capacity for your child to be happy with their own company, to be at peace with themselves. Such a child will not be tossed and turned in the storm and cauldron of constant future loneliness. They will be reflective by nature, enjoy thinking time on their own, treasure solitary interests and go back out to the world of others and work, refreshed and renewed from the spirit within."
The importance of happiness
She urges parents never to underestimate the importance of happiness in the life of a "successful child". "Should you realise that happiness or family peace is not in your home, in the relationships that touch you and your child, then act. Consider also the happiness of your child at school and with their friends. View also your own happiness, fulfilment and role in your life, in your career." The key here is to "act" not "re-act' she says. Consider what can be changed or worked-on personally that may create greater peace, harmony and happiness in your lives. "Unhappiness stunts growth. It can consume a child's total energies and leave nothing for personal and academic growth. So too will unhappiness consume a parent or adult, thereby
Listening to the wind
This special day could be spent having a meal together, reading stories, walking on the beach, going on a bus or train trip, sitting quietly, listening to the wind, singing at the top of your voices or falling asleep together. She says when your children become parents they may recall this fond memory and recreate it with their families. Helping your children cope well at school is important, also, according to Ms Barrett. "Succeeding in school makes it and learning a happier experience for your child. So prepare the building blocks of education by reading and reading to your child, by talking and listening to them and developing vital early vocabulary." She recommends encouraging premaths activities, such as jigsaws, Lego, building blocks, sorting colours, among younger child. "In the older child develop a positive attitude to maths in the home. Should he/she have early difficulty with either maths or reading get early assessment and help. Under no circumstances allow either of these skills fall behind in your child." She believes reading and maths skills
Spending time and doing things together will help build a strong bond with your children.