Getting to Know Your Children as Individuals

Raising children is one of the most fulfilling experiences in life. As with most parents, you probably feel very close to your children, because after all, they’re a part of you. Parents tend to see their own children as extensions of themselves. Of course, this is true to a certain extent.

However, it’s also important to recognize that your children are also individuals. Regardless of their maturity levels, your children are “budding” adults, interesting and evocative in their own special ways. Even very young children have their own wants, preferences, and sense of self.

As children grow and thrive, they develop their own interests. For example, you might have a son who loves to finger-paint and a daughter who prefers drawing. One child takes particular pleasure in riding bikes while another would much rather sit and read a book.

To raise children with healthy self-esteem, it’s a good idea to allow children the emotional space to express themselves. If you encourage your children to be themselves, they’ll grow and bloom into fascinating, independent human beings.

Try these activities to get to know and appreciate your children as individuals:

1. Spend one-on-one time with them. Allow them to choose what activity to share or game to play. Observing your kids as you play together is a fun way to learn who your child really is.

2. Listen. Although you most likely do a fair amount of talking to your kids, the other side of it is to listen very carefully to what your children have to say. Children make concerted efforts to talk about what they like, and when they talk about what they like, they’re sharing what’s important to them.

* When you know what’s relevant to your kids, then you’re truly getting to know them.

* Establishing easy communication early will help make the teenage years go more smoothly.

3. Initiate conversations about their interests. Inquire what happened today on your child’s favorite television show. Again, listen intently to how your child conceptualizes what occurred.

* Take the time to engage with your kids each day, regardless of their age.

4. Invite your child to play “house” with you. Allow them to decide who will “be” the mom, dad, brother, sister, or other members of the family.

* Encourage them to set up the situation however they like. They might even act out something they’ve seen you do at home.

* Playing house with your children encourages them to express themselves, which helps you really get to know them while enhancing their self-esteem.

5. Give your child choices. When children are allowed to choose, their choices show something about them as people. You can learn about your children by noticing the choices they make.

* For younger children, set it up so they can choose from 2 activities: for example, take a walk to get ice cream or go play miniature golf.

One of the most enriching experiences you’ll ever have as a parent is getting to know your children as individuals. Try some of these strategies to draw out your child’s personality. As your children grow, you’ll learn more and more about who they are.

Frugal Living – Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent has a huge markup! A lot of what you’re paying for is water! Making your own detergent will not only save a significant amount of money, but it’s also a fun activity to do with the kids.

You should be able to find the ingredients at your neighborhood superstore. The recipe below will allow you to make great performing laundry detergent at 1/10th the cost of store-bought detergent. Let’s get busy!

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

•       6 cups of water

•       1/2 bar of inexpensive soap, grated (find a soap that smells good to you)

•       3/4 cup washing soda (not baking soda)

•       3/4 cup of Borax

•       10-gallon bucket for mixing

•       4 1/2 gallons of water

Pour 6 cups of of water in an appropriate size pot and heat on low. Mix in the grated soap and continue to heat until the soap has completely dissolved. Add 4 ½ gallons of water to the 10 gallon bucket. Add the soap and hot water mixture to the bucket. Now slowly add the Borax and washing soda while stirring. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens. All the work is done, just let the concoction sit for 24 hours and it’s ready to use.

There you have it, laundry detergent that costs about $0.02 per load. Yes, that’s 2 cents! The name-brand stuff from the store costs 10 times as much. Give it a try – it’s easy and fun! You and your clothes won’t know the difference.

Building Strong Relationships

Strong relationshipsInvesting time and emotions in a relationship that ends up failing can be exhausting. At work or in your personal life the affects are the same. Time and energy are spent and heartache happens.

Relationships are part of being in a community. Being judged for relationships that we are involved in or that surround us is part of being in that important community. Should we step out of the community and give up on relationships altogether to avoid further pain? Of course not.

Good working relationships are a part of everyday business and your personal life. You want relationships in your life at least for networking and of course for fun. Relationships can vary, there are: family, managers, mentors, lovers, neighbors, acquaintances, employees, and many others in your life.

Here are a few tips to building strong relationships of all types:

Honesty – Be open and transparent. People appreciate it. It may seem risky but being real is the foundation of it all.

Apologies – If you are wrong – admit it. People respect that. Don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes – it only makes you look ridiculous. We are all human.

Communication – Keep in touch so that you are not out of touch. Be available – it is worth it.

Face time – Face-to-face visiting can never be replaced by anything other just that. Spend time together – the quality cannot be surpassed.

Old-fashioned writing vs. emails –  Don’t forget this format – you will be glad you didn’t. Emails are a wonderful way to say hello as well.

Compliment – Let people know you appreciate them and notice what they do – it will take the both of you a long way.

Interest – Really and genuinely care about the person you are in a relationship – do this by taking a keen interest in what they do, like, and enjoy.

Relationships are a wonderful part of life that you do not want to miss out on. Spend time doing a little research and exploration in how you can live out this part of your life – a little fuller – and you will be glad you did. The application of what you have learned is the fun part.