Google+ Authentic Parenting: May 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Behind the Silence

It's been REALLY quiet here... I think I've never gone this long without posting to this blog in the +4 years I've been writing here!
But obviously there are reasons, and I haven't really shared them with you because I couldn't... which also made me reluctant to write.

My husband has quit his job. We're moving back to Belgium. In fact, I have been in Belgium already for over a month and am not going back. We've been brooding over this decision for a long time. The constant moving and instability, the lack of your personal space, it was getting too much for me. It's partly what caused the two year depression I was in when I was pregnant with my son.

I didn't want this for this pregnancy. I didn't want to have to move a newborn to a different country at mere weeks. I didn't want to spend most of my pregnancy alone.

So we've done it.

I couldn't write about it beforehand because it was still kept secret at my husband's company and I know some of his colleagues read here. So I was in a funk about writing.
And I've been alone in Belgium with the kids for quite some time, so there really wasn't much writing time left.

Moreover, this pregnancy really has me question things... like this blog, and where I'm going with it. But I'll write more on the pregnancy later. Make sure to check back on Wednesday for pictures!!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Raising Helpful Kids - Never Say "No" To Help

I often get asked how one gets his kids to help around the house. Obviously, there are many aspects at play in having helpful kids, but I wanted to limit myself - for today - to one: accepting help.

Our kids grow up eager to help out their parents, that's what they're biologically designed to do: mimic  the adults of their society.

Now, in our busy times, kids often get brushed off when they show a genuine interest in helping out, especially when they're very young. We think they'd make a mess and we're better off doing it ourselves.

Most likely, you are. As I'm typing, my daughter took over cleaning the floor of the dining room. I can clearly see spots she missed, and she keeps going through the wet spots. I'll probably have to pass over again.

But here's why I allow her to do it anyway: by brushing off our kids when they offer to help, we stunt their genuine desire to help. It should come as no surprise - but oddly does to most parents - that when they are eventually expected to help, as teens and preteens, they don't really want to.

Working alongside a child can take more planning and time, the job might not be done to your standards, but you will reap the benefits eventually, and your child certainly will.

A couple of tips if you're in a hurry:

  • get a second set of whatever it is you're using and have them help along
  • perform another task (preferably in the same room so you can give a hand and some pointers where needed) while your child takes over what you set out to do
  • Ask for help from an early age, but don't force
  • When you have more time, take the moment to do a chore together and explain how you like it done (you may want to explain why too)


Friday, May 2, 2014

The Best Attractions for Kids in London

Content provided by Janice

London is one of the most popular destinations in the world for family vacations. The culture, intrigue and sheer buzz on offer are undeniable but many of the typical tourist hot-spots may not be of so much interest to your children. Luckily, there are places in London – both well-known and hidden gems – that will both delight and educate kids and make for an unforgettable experience.

Madame Tussauds
A visit to Madame Tussauds is a unique artistic experience. Here you will find incredibly, almost spookily detailed and life-like waxwork models of some of the biggest stars from throughout time. Historical figures are sure to intrigue many but the kids will be thrilled to stand just feet away from replicas of their idols, with exhibits of celebrities from all areas including One Direction, Adele, Mo Farah, Lady Gaga, David Beckham, Beyoncé and the Queen. There is even a Marvel Superheroes range, which should certainly entice many a young film or comic book fan.

ZSL London Zoo
Home to over 12000 animals, London Zoo has established itself as one of the best and most educational in the world. You can marvel at some of the rarest and most enchanting animals that live on our planet as you might expect but there is also the ‘Animal Adventure’ children’s zoo tailored specifically to teaching them about the natural world, and even opportunities to feed and pet certain animals. There are also history tours and screenings of ‘silent movies’, where the entire audience watches animal related films wearing headphones in the great outdoors, regardless of the weather; a unique experience that has proven to be a big hit.

Sea Life London Aquarium
There’s no place in London to rival the experience of what lies beneath our waters than the Sea Life Aquarium. See hundreds of species of stunning fish, seahorses, stingrays, sharks, eels and even a supervised touch pool where you can get up-close to many of these awe-inspiring creatures while learning about them from the expert staff.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not London
Celebrating everything weird and wonderful, Ripley’s London offers a truly unique day out that will leave the whole family speechless. Utilising the best in optical illusions, science and sheer wonder, you will find exhibits as far ranging as a mirror maze, a four metre long scale matchstick model of Tower Bridge, a graffiti wall, an upside-down tea party and a life-size replica of the world’s tallest man.

London International Gallery of Children’s Art
Rather than merely art geared towards children, this fascinating gallery is home to work actually produced by children. Exhibitions come from all over the world and show insight into many different cultural ways of life before touring to schools, hospitals and galleries far and wide, with their aim being to bring real and relatable art to youngsters of all backgrounds. A trip here is sure to inspire the creative side of any child.

Want more inspiration on what to do in London? Read Authentic Parenting's series on London with Kids