Mentor Mumma

27/06/2017

Pocket money, chores and kids (aka, one less parenting stress, Part A)

There are so many differing views on pocket money, chores and kids. So, this is one single mumma’s tale: In our house we work as a team. So there are jobs that need to be done because we all live here! (Such as feed the cat, change the kitty litter, empty the bins, put the bins out, cooking and dishes etc etc). 

However, kids who are not old enough to go out and get part time jobs yet need a way to earn an income so they can learn the value of items, pay for things themselves, be financially empowered and learn financial literacy. So in our home there are also jobs the kids can do to earn money. (As a single working mumma this is also a godsend because I just don’t have the time, energy or care factor to do most of the ones the kids can do and plays perfectly into our Team philosophy).

What and how much?

These include:

Doing my laundry (they have to do their own for free because well they wear and dirty them!) $5 a load

Towels and sheets, $5 a load.

Washing the car and cleaning the inside $5

Washing out the wheelie bins (cause that’s super gross) $5

Weeding in the garden $5

Cooking and dishes on my night (because I hate cooking and I work) $5

Other jobs as they come up and I encourage them to suggest jobs they can do… there’s always something. Like sorting the pantry $3, cleaning out the fridge $5, wiping out cupboards $3, etc.

My kids are 15, 13 and 8. Miss 15 has a part time weekend job so she’s right but she still likes to earn extra around the home to top up her social life, make up purchases and saving for a car and her gap year fund. 

I know some people who give their kids a list of chores and if they do those they get their $5 or $10 pocket money. That’s teaching them to work for a salary and that’s fine too. But it becomes an either or and a point of argument. You really want to avoid that. 

By encouraging them to find jobs that need doing, and paying per job this teaches them the harder you work the more you earn. If they dont’ want to do them then that’s fine, you don’t earn money you don’t get to spend money. It really is as simple as that.

Another thing I do with Mr 8 and did with the girls when they were younger is give them smaller jobs or challenges and pay them in my silver change I had laying around.

Empowering and teachable moments

The upside of helping them earn money is that when you go out, go to the shops, go the local show, go to the movies, go anywhere, they don’t have to ask YOU for money, they have their own to spend! Takes a lot of pressure off you. Gives you a lot of life lesson teachable moments too. Especially if you help them set goals of earning a certain amount each month and help them achieve it and motivate them to reach their goals.

An example: Dan (Mr 8 at the local show) – 

Our local Redcliffe show is this weekend. Charz (Miss 13) went with friend of hers, all cashed up from her bank account (Used her eftpos card for the first time to withdraw) – ran into her a few times, not once did she ask for money just a hug hello, a quick chat and off they went. Meanwhile, Mr 8, counted out his loose change at home ($22.75) and asked me to get $20 out of his spending account so he went with $42.75. 

We had an absolute ball. I spent $14 on my own dinner and a Bertie Beetle bag! Dan wisely chose which rides to go on and decided the show bags ‘weren’t worth it because they’re not good value’ (although he did buy a $5 lolly one on the way out the gate later.. just so he had one I think lol). Absolutely no stress for either of us, he went on what he wanted to, he ate what he wanted because he was buying it, and the entire fantastic night cost me $14 for myself. He felt empowered, he got to make choices for himself and he’s very quickly learning the value of things and all that in relation to how much time that would cost him to earn that much. Great life skills, a great night, and absolutely no financial stress on me (I would have spent only $9 save for the enticing strawberry skewer and my must have Bertie Beetle for $2 hehe).

But I’m on a restricted budget.. what can I do?

For those parents not working budgets are tighter, you can encourage the kids to approach neighbours you know or friends to do chores for them – bring money from the outside in. Work out your own pay schedule that rewards their hard work but keeps you in budget. If grandparents live close by ask them to join in by having jobs for the kids to do in exchange for cold hard cash – you also want them doing things for grandparents for free too because we help those we love.There are so many different things they can do.

The important thing is to be teaching them financial literacy from a young age, putting age appropriate responsibility on their shoulders so they’ll become independent and grateful teens, and kids. 

It’s about finding what works for YOUR family and YOU.

 

Where do I start?

You start by having the conversation with your kids around how you are going to teach them about real life by bringing in chores we do because we live here and things they can do to earn more money, how they will now be responsible for buying their own treats when you go out, how they will be responsible for paying for ‘whatever your family thing is’ and reiterate just how exciting that is because you will have your own money. Tell them how you are going to teach them how to earn the money they need. How the harder they work the more they will earn, and just  how much they earn is entirely up to them.

I usually have a list on the fridge with jobs that need doing that week and what each pays. Initially the kids would fight over them. Now it’s evened out. Some weeks one kid is busier than another or just doesn’t want to, so that gives the others an opportunity to earn more, and it seems to even out. The important thing is to let them know that they can’t just wait until you are going somewhere and then do 10 jobs in the one week,

it’s about earning on a regular basis, saving on a regular basis, and then having a savings account and an account from which they can spend.

You as the parent have to work out how much you can afford to spend on additional jobs each week, and get them thinking outside the box too. With the internet, Gumtree, Ebay, Etsy etc there are so many ways kids can make extra money or maybe even team up and find ways to earn extra money as a family. 

I had to buy some moving boxes lately. Came across a lovely lady who picks up boxes from around town (fast food outlets, shopping outlets etc) and onsells them for $1 each. I paid $15 for the convenience of rocking up to her place and having them put in my boot. Great little sideline business for her, and a convenience for a super busy mum with extra cash but no time at the moment (usually my life has been the other way around!). Find something for YOUR family.

Extra resources…

I’ve written a book full of tips for teenagers but also for anyone else who perhaps didn’t have a family to teach them financial literacy – to help manage money, and learn some life skills. Just $10 and you can get a copy  here 

Play Monopoly with your kids, that helps teach them about accumulation and money to a certain extent. Or Cashflow for kids to teach them about creating income streams. There are a lot of resources out there. Have you set up their bank accounts yet? Preferably two – one for spendings and one for savings (long term so they can watch the miracle of compound interest work for them).

Mentor Mumma… 

Join our Facebook group if you haven’t already to join the conversation and other parents in this journey HERE

Have you seen my 5 minutes of fame on Today Extra yet? I had so much fun, but was sooo nervous. Ended up absolutely having a ball, and so did the kids. If you haven’t seen it yet check it out on our Facebook group: HERE 

 

Have an amazing week all xo

Posted in: Budgeting
25/06/2017

The B word … Budgeting – for all types of parents.

The B word.. Budgeting, none of us particularly like it. Most of us cringe at the thought of it. It is however a necessity in getting ahead and not spending your life looking back. I think it was John Maxwell who said Budgeting is telling your money what to do rather than wondering where it went! 

Google, and a host of well meaning Facebook memes tell me it’s just 26 weeks until Christmas 2017. That’s half a year! And the good news is with some small changes in your household, you can change financial direction and have a great Christmas, a great holiday and pay off any debts you have (some will take a lot longer). Great doesn’t have to mean big and expensive. Some of our most memorable family moments have been camping in a National Park that cost us less than $25 a night.

Only a few years ago I was counting every cent and had to beg friends for help by laying my heart, and our situation, on the line. Fast forward a few years, a few changes (physical and mentally) and a few improvements and here I am having just taken the kids on an amazing overseas holiday, I’m debt free (apart from that pesky HECS debt) and planning on buying myself and the kids a home (yep I regret selling our family home a decade ago). So here’s some of the top tips I’ve learnt and hope they help you too.

 

Oh but first have you joined our Facebook Group: Parenting Australia with Mentor Mumma? If not, click HERE 

Top Tip – Set your intention! Get a goal. Keep it in mind, every, single, day. Write it on your fridge and toilet door.

Tip 1 – Keep a record, even if just for two months

You will be amazed when you start keeping a record of where waste appears and areas you’re spending in that you never realised. By keeping a record of every cent spent you get an idea of where the ‘holes in your bucket are’ and where you can make changes. A 25c exercise book from Woolworths will do.

Tip 2 – Get a water bottle or old coke bottle

From this day forward any $2 coins you get, go straight into this bottle. Cut a hole in the top and super glue the lid shut so you can’t get anything out (nor can the kids!). Just keep filling it until it gets to the top, and when you do you should have close to $1000. Some people put any new $5 notes they get in theirs too. Depends on where your budget’s at. This is your ‘adventure’ money. Money set aside for a family memory making event.

Tip 3 – Plan, Plan and Plan some more

Every year get new prices on your insurances.

Set up a direct debit or credit situation where you automatically make payments to your main bills ahead of time, each fortnight (or pay period) for electricity, phone, internet, etc so that you never have a bill again, you’re always ahead.

Shop wisely by creating meal plans, using what’s in the pantry and avoiding as much wastage as possible.

Simple Savings taught me the $21 challenge which I adapted to the $30 challenge. One week take an inventory of what’s in your fridge, freezer and pantry. Then work out what meals you can make with that. The $30 for the little extras you need to complete a week’s worth of meals using what’s already in the fridge/freezer and pantry. This will save a small fortune when done every six to eight weeks.

Plan, plan, plan.

Tip 4 – DO NOT USE CREDIT CARDS

Unless you own your own home and have a redraw facility that benefits your mortgage, and you are also extremely disciplined to pay the card off every month without fail, then do not ever have a credit card. They give you a false sense of security. They teach you bad habits – living off what you don’t have yet. And they 99.9% of the time lead people into financial hardship and a never ending cycle of debt. Instead, only live on what you have and that may at times mean going without, sacrificing and having a few baked beans on toast meals. It’s worth it in the end. You’d also be surprised how many meals you can make with baked beans, just saying.

Tip 5 – Set yourself financial goals

I saw a billboard recently that said most humans spend more time planning their annual holiday than they do their future and retirement. It’s true. Start to set yourself financial goals. Get your superannuation in order. Dare to dream.

Tip 6 – Team effort: Get the kids on board

As a single mum I run my family like a team. Everyone plays their part. That means when we have holidays, everyone saves their own spending money, everyone contributes to the family in some way be that saving their own money or turning off the lights, turning power points off at the wall when not in use (this saves a small fortune too), having cold showers in summer, using a timer for hot showers in winter (cause let’s face it we all want to stay in there for an hour!), etc.

Tip 7 – 60/10/10/20 rule. 

I’m reading a great book at the moment by Scott Pape called the Barefoot Investor.  For it to be any good to you, you have to be above the poverty line and earning a decent income. HOWEVER, some of his basic principles can be applied:

  1. Ensure your bank account does not have annual fees.
  2. Set up four accounts: 1. Spendings/Daily living = 60% of your income. 2. Savings = 10% of your income. 3. Splurge = 10% of your income. 4. Fire Extinguisher (which is used to pay down and off debts quickly) = 20% of your income.

Tip 8 – Christmas bottle

Christmas is what you make it. If you choose to make it about gifts and overspending and getting in to debt, then that’s what you are teaching your children. THIS is the year you get to decide what legacy you want for your children’s future. DO NOT go into debt for Christmas, or anything else for that matter other than a roof over your head. Rediscover family, rediscover connectedness, put balance into your lives, and start the new year without a Christmas debt hangover. Start your Christmas bottle now – start putting $2 coins into it and what’s in there at Christmas time is what you spend. Nothing easier than that.

Tip 9 – Dream.

Don’t be afraid to dream. Work on your mindset. If things are working for you, change yourself first. I have a great ebook to help you do this if you’re struggling. Hat Trick Therapy: Three ways to change your life – Just $4.95 HERE 

There are so many more tips to get ahead financially, but prioritising your expenditure is a key one. I would love to hear your budgeting tips and tricks, success stories, and even failures too because everyone wise knows, failure is a major step in the success process.

Wherever you’re at financially, this is not where you have to live. This is not where your story ends. This is just the beginning.. you get to write the rest of your chapters. YOU get to make changes that change your life, and that of your kids lives. You’ve got this. If I can do it, then seriously, anyone can.

Have an amazing week,

Jo

11/06/2017

Overwhelmed… Disneyland, Dreams and Reality.

I’m overwhelmed. THANK YOU.  Firstly at the amazing response to our recent trip to Disneyland. Seems we appeared in a lot of online media outlet articles and on their pages. Kids were even recognised a few times which has made them feel super special. Then reality hit and we got back, jet lagged, exhausted and my website went missing in action (seems although my domain registrar thought I was paid up I wasn’t and now that’s been rectified we’re back :)).

I have so many articles to write for you I’m a bit overwhelmed with where to start, so thought, I’m just going to start. So here I am, starting.

So here’s a very brief run down of our trip, with much more to come in the next few weeks.

The good

 Dreams DO come true. There were happy tears shed for making this trip happen – at the airport, walking through Universal Studios gates, Walking into Disneyland for the first time, Watching the Disneyland Adventure Park World of Colour Display (I bawled), watching Tinkerbell in the Electric light parade, meeting Fantasia Mickey Mouse!, watching Steve Martin host the 50th anniversary of Disneyland video half an hour before we left the park for good and all of us did NOT want to leave Disneyland on the last day, choking back tears. Dreams came true. New ones we didn’t know were experienced.

 

Another good thing that I did was before we left, a year in advance I told the kids I would pay for most things but they had to pay for their own lunches, souvenirs and extras. This saved me a small fortune and taught them a host of valuable lessons.

We had an absolute ball and would do it all again in a heart beat. I inherited the travel bug from my parents, and my kids are slowly catching it from me – this makes me happy. We travel well together – even after a fortnight sharing beds and being constantly in each other’s space. We’ve even applied for the Travel Guides show on channel 9 – cross fingers, toes and hair follicles for us.

The bad 

Doesn’t matter where you are, you are there, and kids will be kids! So we had meltdowns (mine and theirs!) and what I refer to as teenage ‘resting bitch face’ moments. When you arrive at YOUR Disneyland and then realise you’re sharing it with 10,000 other people in 30 degree heat, it’s a bit of a shock to the system. That and the strollers. OMG strollers. We HATE strollers now. After 16 hour days, hot days, little sleep, and waiting in queues there were a couple of times where it was all too much for one or three of us, and other times where we went Hurricane Harlow hilarious crazy mode to cope hehe. Hollywood was not what we expected and was a real let down – the homelessness (and homeless men blowing kisses to my 8 year old son and waving him over – thankfully he was head down, walk straight ahead due to our prior warning) and state of the place is a shock (apparently no one but tourists, sales people and the homeless go to Hollywood!).  That was really the only bad we encountered so not too bad at all. The bad was outnumbered 1000000 to 1 with the good.

Coming up…

In coming weeks I”ll do some articles with much more specifics on Disneyland, Universal Studios, Travelling with kids, budgeting, budgeting WHILE on holidays (no credit cards allowed), and a host of other things that are on my mind or that you’ve asked for. And I have LOVED getting your messages, thank you so much. If there’s something you’d like me to focus on please send me a message on our Facebook group (and if you haven’t joined, come on over) HERE.

Have an amazing week,

Jo.

PS: If the kids look tired in this photo it’s because this was our one day at Adventureland, we’d already been there 10 hours and they had milked every second on the rollercoasters and rides having a blast. this was very much a DO day. This is about 8pm at night.. after they let me take this pic they raced off for another hour on the California Screaming rollercoaster (the one you see in the background). I waited on a comfy seat and people watched lol.

 

 

15/05/2017

This is how an Aussie single mum took her kids to Disneyland…

So how did this Aussie single mum take her kids to Disneyland! Here’s How….

Just 14 months ago I realised that my eldest daughter’s childhood was almost over! So I decided to make one of her (and her siblings) childhood dreams come true -Disneyland Anaheim (that’s the only one that counts in her books). So I surprised the kids (their beautiful reactions are in the vid link attached below, worth watching..still brings tears to my eyes) with a family trip to USA to visit Disneyland, Universal studios, Hollywood, Vegas and Grand Canyon. We leave tomorrow!!!! A concert to Miss 15’s favourite Youtuber has been thrown in, along with Dodgers games, Santa Monica etc etc. So, how did I, a single mum who just a few years ago was on the poverty line, make this happen for us? 

Watch the moment I told the kids ‘via a storybook’ they were going to Disneyland HERE 

Intention setting

We’ve approached this trip like we do life, worked as a team and set our intentions. I saw Oprah Winfrey a few years back and as a ‘comper’ (someone who enters multiple competitions) in the past I’ve always been a part of the set your intentions, affirmation and positive vibe ‘thing’. But seeing Oprah she reiterated to me the importance of setting your intentions, every day. It’s like adjusting your sails and setting course. I love it. I love her. So we set our intention to visit Disneyland as a family without financial issues in 2017. And as we did that the universe conspired to make it happen. I started getting more work than I’ve ever had ( I’m a sub contractor (Disability and Aged Care Assessor, and Relocation consultant) so a mega thank you to APM and Nuss Relocations for the extra clients and work – great companies to work with), miss 14 got a job, the kids started earning money from outside sources and we researched intensely for good deals. So step one, was set our intentions and continue to do so each day.

Team work

It meant we all got on board. As a single mum there is no back up apart from the support network I’ve put in place, and I’d be lost without them. So my little family, works and operates like a team. This meant we had two no spend months. Other than rent, set bill money, food and petrol for the car, we spent nothing else (I always prepay my bills – put money in weekly ahead of time so I never actually get a bill). You’d be amazed how much you actually fritter away when you’re not looking. Having NO money to spend once the weekly shop and petrol is in the car saves a heap over the course of a month. We also had a few $30 shop weeks where we did an inventory of the pantry, and then worked out our meals with what was already there and what we needed to get to make a meal out of what we already had. This was an idea I got years ago from Simple Savings – thanks guys. You’ll be surprised what you find in that pantry and freezer! It’s about working smarter, not harder. This again saves around $120-$170 a week (our normally shop for 4 is between $150 to $200 a week). We tried to do one every six weeks (some weeks I got so busy we inadvertently did it lol). If you can avoid late fees on bills, reduce your shopping and incidental spends you’ll be amazed that you can save $100 a week, which is $5200 a year!!!. Take care of the cents, the dollars take care of themselves 🙂 Go Team Harlow.

 

Planning

Intention setting is all well and good, so is having dreams but at some point the practical has to step in and that’s where the planning happens. Working out the budget and working to get as much value as we could from each dollar. The conversion rate is a real party pooper however we managed to pay for all our accommodation while the dollar was at 79c, Disney and Universal tickets bought at 77c and cashed converted around 75c (which is really 72c when you buy it .. OUCH!). I also put a shout out to anyone else that wanted to join with us and while a few families put their hands up lifelong friend Feliesha said yep and she, also a single mum, who I used to babysit when she was 3, is coming along with her now 4 year old son Zavia, which has been fantastic as she is brilliant at finding bargains and getting good deals too, so between us we really did get value for money. And that’s important to me. I’m a strong proponent of the, WHEN you take care of the cents the dollars will take care of themselves” philosophy. We worked from our budget, worked out where we wanted to go and then worked out what we could do within those boundaries – a LOT it seems lol. Dreams need plans and goals.

Saving

The kids had to work and save their own spending  and lunch money. I find that when you feed them a buffet breakfast (which I chose accommodation where this was provided) and a large dinner, lunch is fairly give and take. If I’m paying they’ll want lunch and a lot of it. If they’re paying, they’ll be happy with $5 sangas. So that was the deal, I pay for flights, accommodation, Disney, Universal, breakfasts and dinners. Everything else they have to pay. Miss 14 found a job and started working and saving. Miss 13 and Master 8 started finding ways to earn pocket money at home and elsewhere (which also helped me as I was working a lot – thank you Universe). We were also blessed by awesome grandparents who put in $70 spending money for each of them and their gorgeous Aunty Jarxxi gave them U.S. spending money – that made it a bit more real too, so now they’re set. I set them a goal of saving $500 each, they all surpassed that in 14 months. Way to go kidlets. Already they’ve paid for their hop on hop off bus tour at $80 for the girls and $55 for Dan. It’s been a pain having to pay adult fairs for teens but that’s life it seems. Set the budget then get to doing what it takes. Don’t say I can’t afford it, ask HOW can I afford it <3 

 

Staying focused (Focus + Effort)

This trip has been in the forefront of our minds for just over a year. Their savings goal was put on a Disney inspired sheet and plastered around the house (toilet door, bathroom mirror, fridge – all their home hang out spots 😉 ) as a reminder of what we were doing as a family but also what THEY needed to do to help make it happen. For me I have done a daily intention setting “It is my intention to take Kit, Charz, Dan and I to Disneyland and surrounds in healthy and whole condition, without financial issues in May 2017″ (I set the May date about a year ago – one of the cheapest times to go, one of the less crowded and fitted in with our lives). Also, my favourite celeb on the planet, Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson has a saying: “Success at anything will always come down to this: Focus and Effort. And we control both”. His Baywatch premier is in LA the same time we are so, yes, I’m setting my intention to meet him!!! Focus and Effort style.

Practical 

Besides working, working and working. Finding ways to save money and tighten the belt by resetting priorities. Finding ways to save on the actual holiday by getting bargains. My highschoolers went to their teachers, found out when assessments were due and worked with the staff to get ahead on their school work and make sure things were handed in on time or ahead of time, or extensions granted where needed. (Kudos kidlets #soproud). I also had to improve my fitness. I’m 46, and fat – that’s life. I’m happy with me but the reality is I’m not currently built to walk 15kms a day, so that had to improve so we started getting up earlier and going for family walks. This did two things. Improved my fitness, and got us closer to LA time, and also gave the kids a few laughs at mum TRYING to jog and keep up. It also identified a foot injury I didn’t know I had and was able to rectify before we left. I also decided we would only take hand luggage therefore we had to get the kids the right sized bags (I chose that as less stress and hassle with checking in, arriving, possible missed bags which I’ve experienced in the past, etc etc etc). And the hours spent the past two days printing out all our bookings, setting the itinerary and earlier in the year checking passports (getting passports that was a drama but that’s another story!), getting visas etc etc. We’re even catching up with an old friend of mine June over there #awesome timing. Today I’m crossing the I’s and dotting the T’s 😉 It’s great having dreams but at some point the goals and planning needs to have action to make it happen.

A Dream + Focus  + Effort + Intention Setting + Goal setting/planning + Action  has resulted in this becoming a reality for us. Me and my three. And the good news is, anyone can make it happen!!!

Gratitude

We teach kids to say thank you but so few adults do these days. I have tried really hard to impart not just the generic thank you into the kids lives but also true gratitude for the experiences they have, the things they have and do and for all parts of their lives – because everything can teach us something. They dont’ always see it that way but they’re learning to, slowly 😉 I think gratitude has a lot to do with achieving goals and dreams. I am soo very grateful for everything coming together (including the mindsets, the actions, the extra work , and the actual initial thought to do this trip) so we could make this trip happen for ourselves. We did it. So proud. So grateful.

What’s your family’s dream?

Join us in our FACEBOOK GROUP to share in our journey, and others parenting teens and preteens.

Now, please Watch the moment I told the kids’via a storybook’ they were going to Disneyland HERE 

Love,

 

Jo and Co

xo

(Jo has been a single mum for almost a decade now, and has had a rollercoaster of a ride. With a passion for helping others achieve their dreams, she created Mentor Mumma – for those who want to enjoy the ride together, learn from each other, and use the village to raise our kidlets <3 )

12/04/2017

Happy Easter – Forgiveness and Gratitude.

However you celebrate and spend the 4 days of Easter, have the most amazing time. For us we go camping with friends – old and new, and enjoy good old fashioned fun: Movie nights with dress up theme and acting out our scenes; mini olympics for all ages; tug of war; concert; karaoke; pig on the spit; hangover brekky and lots of laughs while the kids run free, meeting new friends, catching up with friends they haven’t seen in a year, getting dirty and being adventurous. We are blessed. Yet, Easter is also a great time for forgiveness and gratitude and reflecting on these.

 

Regardless of your religious persuasion (or lack thereof) forgiveness and gratitude are fantastic tools to teach our kids and teens, and to use ourselves (not just at Easter but all year through, it’s just more prevalent at Easter time in this household).

Gratitude

Firstly, gratitude changes perspectives and lives. Being grateful for what we have in our lives, truly grateful, brings more of the good things into our lives. Our mindsets change.  Our perspectives change. Our outlooks change. Our lives change, for the better,  and we as human beings grow.

Forgiveness

Secondly, forgiveness is crucial for life. I don’t think a single person has walked this planet that hasn’t been hurt, betrayed, wrongly done by or upset by another. In those times we can either harbour anger, growing more more and more bitter on the inside, OR we can forgive. Not for the other person, but for ourselves. Forgiveness frees up our minds, our emotions and our lives for better things, and we as humans grow.

Is there anyone you need to forgive? Maybe it’s yourself? Right now, forgive them… not for them, but for you! For your growth. For your freedom. (I love the saying that unforgiveness is like giving free rent in your head to someone you dont’ even like! #crazy). For your sanity. For your future.

Happy Easter

Have a great Easter, if you’re driving – drive safe.  If it’s about Jesus then celebrate in style and reflection. If it’s about getting away – then do so with loved ones (friend and/or family). And if the Easter bunny comes to your place may he bring an abundance of the good chocolat. 

Before you go, have you joined other parents on our Facebook group yet? You can do so HERE

Love,

Jo

Mentor Mumma

 

Posted in: Uncategorized
22/03/2017

Parenting early teens: Relationship Vs Discipline

So you’ve got preteens or early teens. Congratulations, you’ve entered a fresh new chapter. (Some call it a fresh new hell! But it doesn’t have to be that way.) It should be an exciting relationship building time – fraught with challenges, conversations and collaborations.

When kids are under 10 and their behaviour is inappropriate we reprimand, discipline and when required punish. But as they get older how we treat them should change. Our relationship dynamics change and rightly so. We don’t want them to remain children we want them to grow into responsible and respectful young adults. Preteen and early teen parenting requires less to no discipline, and

more relationship building and communication – listening, a LOT, and using teachable moments to mentor, to guide and to provide insights

(which doesn’t mean there’s no phone confiscations, screen time modifications or increased chores at times – these can be great behaviour and attitude modifiers when a message isn’t getting through!).

HOW?

 Many will state they want more independence, great, that’s what you want for them too – help them gain this by giving them the independence to make their own breakfasts and lunches every day, the independence to contribute to the family by planning, cooking and cleaning up from a family dinner once a week, the independence to be doing their own washing, and the independence to go to the movies with friends without you (or whatever activity it is – within safe guidelines of course) using money they earned themselves from chores around the house.

In our home I look for teachable moments (okay so I don’t have to look they turn up every bloody day in a stack of different ways!) and address the real issues, the root causes and work from there. This is only possible by having open dialogue with them, keeping the lines of communication open, being in their lives, actively And setting a standard of respect in the home – respect for self plus respect for others.

If you find your preteen arguing back, this is a great sign that they trust you enough to dialogue with you (silence is never golden, silence is hard to break!). When it becomes an issue is when it’s done with disrespect. Teach them this. Teach them they can argue and disagree with anyone at anytime as long as they do it with respect and have done their research and can back themselves up with facts.

Remember especially preteen and teen girls have a host of self esteem and self confidence issues – help them improve their sense of self worth. Guard what they watch and listen to (and who). Affirmations and positive role models and influences. Encouragement from you – if you as their parent are not their greatest champion, you’re parenting all wrong.

And never be afraid to call in reinforcements. Parenting is not for the faint hearted – consult others  – friends, psychologists, articles, coaches, other people of influence in your child’s life. 

Seek to build relationship and use teachable moments, putting behind you the years of punishing and disciplining. Let them see you vulnerable and human. Say you’re sorry when you need to and be the type of person you want them to be. We teach people how to treat us, if you don’t like the way your preteen or teen is treating you, change how you respond and teach them how to treat you with respect.

And we do this by building relationships with them: discussions (where they’re allowed to disagree with you!), hugs, encouragement, building a family team environment, listening, loving unconditionally, expecting and setting respect as a standard, and being their greatest champion (when they KNOW you have their back you’ll have a different child on your hands).

You’ve got this xo

Love,

Jo

Mentor Mumma

PS Have you joined our Facebook Group: HERE

 

 

 

20/02/2017

Proud! And you should be too…

Dear kidlets,

Parents, don’t be afraid to be proud of your kids,  and especially don’t be afraid to let them know just how proud of them you are. Not for what they do, but who they are. Teach them to be proud of themselves and even more important teach them to be proud of and for their friends and family.

I’m proud of you.

I’m proud when you give things a go, (regardless the result).

I’m proud when you stand up for yourself.

I’m proud when you stand up for others.

I’m proud when I hear you counselling/helping friends who are anxious, scared or worried.

I’m proud of you when you overcome fears and obstacles to achieve your goals.

I’m proud you set goals.

I’m proud you follow your passions, regardless of what others say.

I’m proud you know who you are and aren’t afraid to be exactly that, you.

I’m proud you rise above negativity and leave it behind.

I’m proud you choose to use humour, your brains and your heart.

I’m proud of your accomplishments because I know how hard you work to achieve them.

I’m proud when you are elected to school leaderships positions, but I’m more proud of you putting yourself out there,  having initiative, being brave, giving it a go, and in one of your cases overcoming a fear of public speaking to do so. Regardless the result. 

I’m proud when I get reports cards that state you are valued members of your class – not because of what a test tells us but because you volunteer to help, show respect to others, you step up, you show initiative, and you shine as YOU.

I’m proud when you get good grades because I know how hard you worked for them, and it gives you opportunities, now and in the future. 

 

But most of all, I’m proud to be your mum, because you are you, a kind hearted human being with hope in your eyes, ambition in your bones and dreams in your hearts. You are you.

I am your biggest supporter.  I will be proud of you all of your life, not for what you do but for who you are.

Parents, don’t be afraid to be proud of your kids,  and especially don’t be afraid to let them know just how proud of them you are. Not for what they do, but who they are. (And definitely celebrate the successes and achievements too, they all combine to make them who they are). #proud #proudmum Teach them to be proud of themselves and their friends. Real self esteem. Real self confidence. Let’s build it together.

Love,

Mentor Mumma,

aka Jo.

05/02/2017

Let’s teach our kids to dream…

Teaching our kids to dream keeps us dreaming too.

Kit turned 15 last week. When she was four I took her, Charz, and my two nieces to Disney on Ice. There they fell in love with Disney and Kit was especially enamoured. I declared then that before they reached adulthood I’d take them to Disneyland.

Life happens. Time passes and before you know it your cute little 4 year old is 15 and in grade 10. Last year I decided WE WOULD make the family trip to Disneyland happen.

The video attached shows their reaction when we I ‘told’ them in my own way.

Fast forward to 2:07 for THE reaction. VIDEO HERE

 

Fourteen weeks on Tuesday we head to Los Angeles where that decade long dream will come true!

So how did we make it happen?

We had a dream.

We set goals. Me for the main budget and the kids have a goal each of $US500 to save for anything other than transport, accommodation, main meals and entry tickets they want. They are all well on target and Miss 15 has blown that goal out of the water and has moved on to saving for her car. Did I mention we leave in 14 weeks! OMG so excitement plus.

Teaching kids to dream, set goals and put plans in motion teaches them that they can do pretty much whatever they want in life WHEN they put in the hard work required and do the mind (mental) work required. We have this picture on the back of the toilet door:

Kids absorb far more than you realise. They are little sponges. Dan sees this every time he goes to the toilet. At footy training this week he quoted it back to me in the middle of an every day conversation. Don’t underestimate what a child with a dream can achieve when they are given the tools to set .an
d make plans.

Top tips on getting kids started on dreaming and setting goals:
1. Have them come up with something they would like to do.
2. Help them set goals/steps of how they’re going to get there.
3. Encourage them to get started actually DOING the steps required.
4. Place positive affirmations reinforcing their dream and their ability to achieve it around the house (Toilet door is perfect, captivated audience there).
4. Celebrate successes. And if they fall short, teach them to reflect on what went wrong, adjust goals and start DOING again.
5. Have them do a vision board..that’s another topic but is awesome. Have you got one? If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it! Just sayin…

This is one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids, but also ourselves.

This isn’t just for teens, it’s for kindergarten right through primary school too.

Have you forgotten your dreams? Lead by example.

If you haven’t joined our Facebook Group then please do so and you can follow our families journey for the family trip of a lifetime HERE

I”m playing with changing our name to: Parenting Australia or Parenting with Mentor Mumma. Which do you prefer?

Love
Mentor Mumma
aka Jo

22/01/2017

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

15/01/2017

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