Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Are You Programming Your Children?

The answer is yes, you are. You may have heard the old saying that we only use about 10% of our minds, but the actual figure is closer to 5%. What's going on in the other 95%, you wonder? A lot. All of our drivers are there. Our conscious minds aren't doing much work at all and often the work we are doing is being sabotaged by our subconscious.

What the heck am I talking about, you wonder? And what does it have to do with programming children? Well, I'm really using this post to process what I'm learning right now and it is fascinating stuff, so bear with me.

You may know that the neural pathways in a child's brain are formed with every new experience and solidified through repeated experience. Anything not repeated is let go or lost. Example: You sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," a neural pathway is formed in baby's brain. If she hears the song again and again that pathway will become solid and the baby will have "learned" the song. If you sing it once and never again, the neural pathway will break up and no learning will take place.

We're not just teaching songs to our babies, but behaviors, values, and how they look at the world. We're programming our "stuff" right into them. Our views on money, relationships between mothers and fathers, whether to world is a good place or a bad place, whether people can be trusted or not, whether it's a world of lack or abundance... all of these things, these beliefs of ours, we are directly programming them into our children's brains!

From birth to about age 7, little ones are essentially walking around in a somewhat hypnotic, suggestible state. What are you suggesting to your child? Think about it. I have and I'm thrilled to be learning a way to correct some of the bad programming I've done on my little babes.

What did your parents program into you? Did you manage to break free, or are you still repeating the same patterns as them? Have you tried changing something in your life only to find it coming up again and again? It's that 95% subconscious part of you working to protect you. But that's another post...

I'm off to study now. Change your perceptions and you'll change your world... maybe even THE world.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cuddles, Love and Mrs. Cookie School

My three are home this week for their half-term break. I'm falling in love with the school calendar here. It's basically 6 weeks on, 1 week off and a much shorter break (5 weeks) during the summer than in most US schools.

I thought I might dread this week, especially as I've just begun a certification course in transformational leadership that I'm jumping-out-of-my-skin excited about. It's not The Passion Test yet, but once I'm through  (approximately 3 months) I'll be certified to coach clients toward success while finally achieving my own. I'll need plenty of practice to hone my skills, so contact me if you'd like a free session in return for a blog post or a Facebook shout-out for you non-bloggers.

Ear, Throat and Chest? Oh My!
I'm actually enjoying the time with my kids. The Boy is sick and needing constant cuddles (he's like a Koala bear even as I type). It sounds like a chest infection and he has a fever, so we're headed to the doctor in a bit (update: he has ear, throat and chest infections! Yikes!). How lovely that we can walk there in this spring-like weather that is the English winter. Lovelier still that with the National Health System I don't pay a dime for appointments nor for the childrens' medicines, which are dispensed on site.

We're immersing ourselves in board games, computer games, cuddles and videos and something the girls call Mrs. Cookie School. I have no idea how they came up with it, but back when I was a Kindermusik educator I would practice the songs and activities with them. Then, as they started preschool and began learning letters and numbers in a more organized environment (they'd been learning with me since birth, of course), they wanted the same at home on their off days. Thus, Mrs. Cookie school was born.

Worksheets, spelling practice, color-by-numbers where you have to do simple addition to get the number and all sorts of fun learning activities. They asked for it yesterday on their first day of vacation! I love my kids! So, for an hour we learned about George Washington and Abe Lincoln in honor of President's Day (have to teach them American History myself for the moment) and did two multiplication worksheets, two handwriting practice sheets and a silly tongue-twister word puzzle. I find great material at www.familyeducation.com - you have to register, but it's free.

It's fun to watch them learn and grow, to notice the differences in their learning styles and personalities. One girl is carefree and often careless, the other focused and meticulous. Both far smarter than me already with a love for learning. I take pride knowing that I've instilled a passion for learning simply by following their lead, their interests, their hearts.

Yes, I thought I might dread this week. But I'm loving it. Instead of trying to carve out time away from them, I'm stepping toward them in every moment. When I move toward them, they stop chasing me and my "me time" happens easily and naturally.

What is (or was) your favorite way to spend school breaks with your kids?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Raising Voracious Readers

I haven't just raised readers... I've raised voracious readers! A couple of years ago I wondered if my daughters would develop a love for books like I have. They loved being read to, but didn't want to do the reading themselves, even though their reading skills were progressing nicely.

I have no concern today. All it really took was finding one story, a series, that they loved so much that they just couldn't wait for bedtime to read more. I wrote about that here.

Sweet Rose is the top reader in her class and my Nature Girl is a reading machine. Santa brought her The Chronicles of Narnia and she finished the 7th book last night. Immediately, this morning, she began reading Shakespeare (a child friendly version written in modern English). She's already moving on to the 3rd book in that set as I type.

Even The Boy is coming along nicely. At 3, he's recognizing a good third to half of the alphabet and starting to connect the sounds. He can recognize the name Thomas (thanks to the tank engine), which is a double plus since it is one of his middle names (all my kids have two - in the French tradition).

As a writer and one who has had a love affair with books since I was a child (thank you, Mom!), I am beyond thrilled that my children share this passion. A good story transports us; makes us forget that we even exist as we dwell within the character's world for minutes or hours at a time.

To me, encouraging a true love for reading, not just the technical capability, is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give to your children. Ask them questions, discover their interests and then encourage them to explore them through books. Make the library your second home. Open to them a world of possibility and adventure.

What are you waiting for?! Go read a book with your kids!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Uniforms, Routines and Sex Ed at Home

I've been busy lately, studying for my Passion Test Certification and writing more for ParentSociety.com. I even busted out a new picture book story, though it is in the very early stages.

So, since I've been putting most of my thoughts down for PS instead of here (because they pay me to!), I thought I'd share with you a few of those posts. I'd love it if you visited me over there and left me a comment on the site!

Learn about my love of the uniform here: 3 Reasons Parents Should Push for School Uniforms

What I learned from having "The Talk" with my girls: 6 Tips for Talking About Sex with Your Children

and why I'm the master of the morning routine with my 3 Keys to a Smooth Morning Routine!

As I gear up to launch my Indigogo campaign (procrastination always has an internal reason, you know), my new website, get my certifications, oh, and finish a baby/toddler food recipe book I'm working on, I'll likely post less often than I have in the past, but I'll do my best to be here at least once or twice a week! I still have several great reviews and a couple of great giveaways coming up, so keep visiting!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Glamorous Cleaning for the Domestic Goddess in You! A Bizzybee Review

One of the reasons I will always remain an "aspiring" Domestic Goddess is because I actually don't like to clean my house at all. Yet, when I do it, I do it amazingly well (thanks, Mom!). Last week we were due to have an inspection of the house that we're renting and like any DG, I wanted the house to shine and smell like freshly baked cookies (or bread).

It did, let me tell you. It was serendipitous that I was offered the opportunity to review bizzybee gloves and cloths and that I received them just a few days before the inspection. I was a cleaning maniac!

I chose the gloves from their elegance line. Cleaning is such a drab task, you just have to liven it up a bit! I choose music (Pat Benatar's a favorite) and cute gear. The gloves (pictured above) fall just below the elbow, which is key to keep my entire arm dry when I'm digging deep in a sink full of dishes. Plus, they're nice and grippy so things don't slip out of your hands while you're washing. 

The beauty of the products that I chose was that they allowed me to go straight through room to room without stopping, with just a few cloths in my apron pocket (psst bizzybee - add an apron line!). 

The 3 cloths are from the bizzybee microfibre cleaning kit. The blue cloth, peeking out from under the others, is for glass; the green is brilliant for spray-free dusting; and the purple worked wonders on the walls (especially the one next to the children's breakfast and craft table!).  

The line is excellent quality and quite affordable. It's washable, so you can use, wash and use it again. Overall, I'm very pleased with my bizzybee products and definitely recommend them!

What's your favorite cleaning tool?

*** I received these items for review purposes. All opinions are my own!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Feet Show - Episode 1

The Feet
My daughters have taken to running off with my phone to make videos. They're actually kind of funny, so I'm sharing! Who knows, perhaps they're the future of comedy! Tell me what you think.