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Bully proof your kids…

Here’s Ten tips to help bully proof our kids.
Unfortunately, bullies and bitches still exist in the playgrounds (and real life).
They’re a fact of life.
So rather than pretend it’ll never happen to our kids we need to prepare them on how to deal with those who would treat them badly, harass or even hurt them.
We need to teach our kids it’s okay to ‘dob’, it’s important to tell mum (or Dad). We need to encourage conversation (There’s a saying that goes along the lines of “Listen to all their stories so when they’re older they’ll tell you the important stuff because to them it was all important”).

Here’s some tips to help your kid/s navigate bullies and bitches:

1. Teach your kids NOT to be a victim. Bullying says everything about the bully and nothing about the person being bullied. Teach them that them being bullied is about the bully having issues, and is not their fault.

2. Teach them to have the confidence to speak to the bully if they feel safe enough to. Often times calling out a bully and their behaviour is enough to stop it. Making the bully accountable for their actions and words helps. Teach them to speak up, to seek help and call the bully out for their horrid behaviour.

3. Remove the reaction. Bullies thrive on reactions, fear and intimidation. If you can teach your child not to react, not to enter into bully banter, not reply to any communication from the bully then the bully has already begun to lose ground. This is especially so for social media. Teach your kids to block bullies on all forms so they can’t message your child.

4. If bullying moves to physical abuse or sharing photos of your child/teen online then it’s time to involve the authorities. Teach kids about the difference between teasing, harassing, bullying and criminal activity. If it’s happening at school that should be your first port of call but if there’s no resolution there then contacting the local police is paramount.

5. Being bullied is extremely stressful. Teach your child de-stressing techniques such as meditation, journalling, deep breathing etc.

6. Most importantly listen to your child. Hear their fears and equip them with the right arsenal to counter bullies and bitches. For some it might involve learning self defense, for others it might be about teaching them to speak up and to the offender, for others it might involve changing classes.. every situation is different. Whatever you do don’t ignore it and hope it will go away, be proactive and teach your kids to do the same.

7. If the parent of the bully is known to you you can try talking to the parent. Usually best if on neutral territory with a third party if you think there’ll be denial or issues. We all want to believe our kids are the best in the world and at times finding out our child is causing others pain can be hard to comprehend and process. ALWAYS verify facts first. This is crucial. Kids lie. Even mine. Even yours. Verify facts first.

8. Instill confidence, a good sense of self and positive body language such as posture and eye contact.

9. Have mock rehearsals where you let your child practice things they’ll say or do to defend themselves and practice various interactions, role play outcomes.

10. Let your child know they are not alone. This is not normal and they do not have to put up with it. EVER!

What do you do when YOUR child is the bully/mean child?

There is a great article here by Linda Stade: HERE

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Here’s to a great year for everyone in 2017.

Have you joined our Facebook group yet with like minded parents? Come on over we’d love to have you: JOIN HERE

Love

Mentor Mumma
aka Jo

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Back-to-school anxiety

Some kids can’t wait to get back to school, some drag their feet but enjoy it and others suffer anxiety at the thought of anything new, especially back to school.

My master 8 was one such child. Those who know him are confused and shocked by this, but that’s what used to happen. Still does to a much lesser degree the older he gets. The past three years it’s been the start of any school year, footy season or ongoing event with his anxiety manifesting as acting out and and saying he hated whatever the event was!!!

So what did we do and what can you do?

1. It’s important to understand what your child is really saying. For Dan him saying “I hate footy I don’t want to play” (Despite being obsessed with it) for the days before season was him saying I’m scared of the unknown, I’m worried about *insert any number of things*. Before school started what he was really saying was “I’m worried about no knowing what to expect” etc. Once you know what their real fear is you can address it one issue at a time. If you can’t read them and aren’t sure, ask them in a non-confronting way.

2. Know what works with YOUR child. For Dan he doesn’t like talking about the issues so I made sure not to talk directly to him about whatever the upcoming event was, HOWEVER, his older sisters and I would make sure he could hear us when we were ‘talking’ about THEM going back to school (or soccer or Scouts or gymnastics) and how excited they were, we’d use key words that work with Dan such as ‘grown up’ ‘independent’ ‘big kids’ ‘other people feeling exactly the same’ etc. If your child is an avoider then avoid until the last minute, if your child does better with talking things through for days do that. What works for each child will be different. Find THEIR thing and meet them on their level, always with confidence. Often children will pick up on your anxieties and fears.

3. We started the back to school routine a week before they go back. They start going to bed at school night hours. They start making their lunches. They start discussing what they’ll make for school lunches etc. A few days before they wash their uniforms and we go shopping for what they want to make themselvs for lunches.

4. If possible have your child meet their new teacher before the school holidays and find out who is in there class they already know. For older kids talk to them about their entire grade being in exactly the same situation, feeling the same as they are.

5. Teens with anxiety can often be a symptom of something more serious such as nutrient deficiency like magnesium (google magnesium deficiencies, anxiety is one of the top symptoms). It can also be related to bullying, issues with friendships, fearing workload, feeling overwhelmed or ‘dumb’ or stressed about workload. The list is endless! This is where keeping communication lines open from a young age come in to their own. If you can’t get them to open up to you Headspace offers great counselling and you can also get them a mental health plan through your GP to talk to someone on a professional level. Whatever you do, don’t ignore their concerns.

Do you have any other tips you use that work?

Love
Mentor Mumma
aka Jo

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Back to School Lunches

Have you watched the movie Bad Moms yet? I absolutely love it. One of the premises is that if you give a child responsibility they will learn life skills, they will launch into responsible and grateful humans. And, school lunches and mornings will be so much easier for you! No more morning stress (well only the missing socks, the missing shoes, the lost hair bands etc etc etc until you get them to prepare EVERYTHING the night before).

Pics of Kit (aged 12 then) and Dan (aged 8) preparing food and doing the dishes because I can’t find the one of him as a preppie making his first ever school lunch like a big boy. He was so proud, I’m sure he grew ten foot that day.

Here’s some tips on how to make it happen for you and yours.

1. Even prep kids can make their own lunches, therefore any school student can! (If they’ve never done it before you will have to show them how for the first week or so, don’t do it for them, but supervise them doing it. Younger kids you will need to do the cutting of fruit and sandwiches but they can get it all ready).

2. They can only pack what you have put in the cupboard and fridge. Have the talk about nutritional needs, protein requirements etc.

3. Get them in the habit of putting freezer blocks in the freezer at night and lunch containers in the sink etc. Teach them to wash their lunchboxes out with disinfectant regularly.

4. Include them in the decision making process of what they would like you to get at shopping for THEIR lunches. When they pack their own and make decisions about what they’d like (with your guidance on nutritional requirements) then they’re more likely to eat their lunch.

What happens if they won’t make their own lunches?

I’ll give you one guess!
Under 9’s get a chunky, sandy, multigrain vegemite sandwich and piece of fruit. That’s it. But they also get to do chores when they get home. Do that for a few days and they’ll get the message.
Over 9’s get nothing. They’ll go hungry. Consequences for their laziness.

Hold to your expectations and they will rise to them. Most kids really enjoy it. Be warned when they are first learning it is messy, and it does take a few weeks for them not to need your help. Have patience. Help them clean up after themselves. Make it fun for them and you. If you’re resistant to them learning to make their own lunches ask yourself why and work on that.

respons

For those with kids and teens not already making their own lunches you could start this week before school goes back.

You’ve got this. #lifeskills breed independence, confidence and responsibility which will become evident in the classroom and playground too. You’re both worth it.

Love
Mentor Mumma
aka Jo

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Back to school: Friendship Tips…

Like minded fun friends who love to laugh

One of the most important parts of 13 years of school is friendships. For some kids forming new friendships and maintaining them is easy. For others it’s a real struggle. Below are 3 practical things I’ve done in the past with my kids that have worked in finding new friends or meeting new class and/or team mates and further down are 10 things to teach your kids to maintain and build friendships.

Firstly though have you joined our Facebook group? IF not come join like minded parents here

If they struggle with meeting new friends here’s 3 practical things I’ve used in the past:

1. Set them daily challenges to meet new people and learn their names. Teach them how to ask questions and be genuinely interested in other people without seeming creepy or stalker.

2. Encourage them to invite other kids home on a regular basis or set up get togethers yourself with other parents. For teens encourage them to take an interest in other people, step outside of their comfort zone and invite people to hang out or do things.

3. Help them write affirmations to repeat twice a day that build their confidence, encourage their friendship making and improve their mental wellbeing.

Here are some tips to help your kids and teens build and maintain friendships

1. Teach them what friendship is by role modelling. Let them see you interacting with your friends. Let them see you laughing, crying, confiding, giving, receiving, listening and just being with your friends. Role modelling is the most powerful training tool.

2. Teach them about forgiveness, conflict resolution and identifying people with intentions that aren’t good for them (toxic people, people drawn to drama, ‘users’, etc). Friendships never go smoothly ever because we’re all human, teach them how to read situations, resolve them and be a good friend as well as expect their friends to do the same.

3. Teach them about being the kind of friend you want your friends to be. If friendship is not reciprocated after a semester then teach them about finding friends who complement them in life and vice versa, finding people who are real friends.

4. Teach them to be confident. Teach them about eye contact and body language. Teach them how to speak to others their age, people older and younger, those in authority and those who sit beside them in class. Teach them social skills.

5. Teach them when friendship fires happen, put water on it, not fuel! This will save them sooo many dramas in life. Dramas only happen when someone reacts or plays along, when ignored they fizzle out super fast. Teach them not to play the ‘blame game’ nor the ‘drama game’.

6. Teach them to include the ‘lonely’ children in the playground when they’re in primary, and in activities, conversations and events when they’re in highschool.

7. Teach them everyone has something to teach them in life – sometimes it’s what to aim for, sometimes it’s who we don’t want to be, sometimes it’s a lesson, sometimes it’s trivia, .. we can all learn something from everyone.

8. Teach them to respect others and themselves. If every person did this what an amazing world we would live in. Also teach them to set boundaries and when disrespected speak up.

9. Teach them ‘we teach people how to treat us’. If you don’t like the way people treat you, look at the messages you’re sending out and speak up for yourself.

10. Confidence is key. Confidence is crucial. Help your child grow in confidence.

The above photos are from my days in highschool. Met some amazing people in highschool that I’m still in contact with (Facebook has helped with that!). Others are of today’s friends and our crazy fun antics (I couldn’t put up the ones where we’re supporting each other through some of the hardest days of our lives, or ones where we’re just being in each others companies so the crazy ones it is … )

Oh and remember, “some people are for a season, some for a reason and others for a lifetime”. Don’t know who said that but I like it!

IF as a parent you find you don’t have many friends try some of the tips above.. we all need friends. Here’s to an amazing year ahead for you and yours.

Love

Mentor Mumma
aka Jo
.

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Want your teen to level up this year?

The teen years can be the best of times and they can be the worst of times and often all in the same day.

Making the teen years a success for all begins when they’re under 10. Building relationships. Setting boundaries. Instilling respect, self confidence and boosting their self esteem while requiring them to move toward and embrace independence and responsibility. That’s another article.

This one is for those in the trenches, already surrounded by teens.

Five Tips to Peace with your teens:

1. Ensure their nutrient intake is appropriate. If they consume a lot of sugar their magnesium levels deplete and that’s when anxiety and depression kick in. (So many other nutrients and their deficiency signs covered in our book).
2. Give and expect respect.
3. Stop giving them everything they want. Make them earn them. That’s real life. Put responsibility onto their shoulders. Teaches them respect and gratitude, and the value of time and money.
4. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Do fun things with them on a regular basis that they enjoy and they will open up to you.
5. Parenting now moves into more of a mentor role. Gone are the punishments and control, this is now a time for boundary teaching, goal setting, mentoring, advising, and preparing for adult life.

It’s at this stage of our lives we realise their childhoods are almost over.
We realise we have so much to teach them.
We start to realise we don’t know everything they need to know.
We want them to have all the tools to succeed.
We realise that the gap between what we teach at home and what they learn at school is vast.

That’s where my book Beyond School: Practical Tips for Teens comes in.
I wrote it to fill in the gaps for our kids.. our teens, our almost adults.

The book has activities at the end of each of the 16 chapters that you and your family can use as discussion points to talk about the various topics in the book such as different types of employment, tax and savings, goal setting and conflict resolution, mortgages and rent, uni, tafe or work, Australian politics (the part where you teach them to critically think about things), compounding interest and 16 more chapters with hundreds of other tips and advice.

Books are 50% off until January 27th. Just $10. Grab a copy for your teen and family today HERE

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How many did you create?

Office supply shops are doing their biggest trade of the year. Shoe shops are inundated. Socks are flying off the racks. “omg what is that smell’ has been found, in the bottom of someone’s school back from 6 weeks ago! Yep, it’s the lead up to back to school which means just one more week of school holidays *insert sad face*.

Which brings me to my question, how many memories did you and yours create these holidays?

We created some big ones. Master 8’s first ever plane ride (which was part of a work junket). Kids spending time with one of the most amazeballs people in the world in Townsville. Checking out beaches, rock pools and anywhere to keep cool. Spending Christmas with my brother and his family at mums and her pool and ocean breezes! A midnight to 6am road trip to get to Mums! Lots of memories created. Most were free or very low cost. All included lots of laughs, jokes, fun and of course the occasional tired tanty (often by me!!). Then there were the high cost events we did that were great memory makers such as taking the kids to speedway for my birthday! A trip to the movies with recliner seats and all the bells and whistles, popcorn and treats. (Almost had to sell a kidney for that one!).

One of the big tricks I use to keeping costs down is at the start of each week or holiday I give the kids a lump sum of money, they can spend that any way they like but once it’s gone it’s gone. If there’s anything left over it’s theirs to spend. This is when you see them making smart choices, learning to budget and prioritise, and it saves me a small fortune. Highly recommend it. Eg when we went to Townsville for the week I paid for them to visit Magnetic Island and they had an additional $80 for the six days we were there for the movies, lunches, outings they’d do with Aunty Jarrxi. They all came home with money! Jax wondered why they were so grateful when she bought them all an ice-cream at the movies hehehe.

Memories are created from people who love each other spending time together doing things they enjoy. That’s what makes a great holiday and lifetime memories, not the cost. I hope whatever you did you enjoyed it and I”d love to hear what you did to create memories with yours these holidays. Still a week left to create more……

Mentor Mumma
aka Jo xo