Monday, December 26, 2011

Alternatives to threats (ages 3 to 4)

We've all been there: Your preschooler does something you don't want her to, over and over again. Finally, you snap, and threaten to lock her in her room if she does it again. Here, tips for saying something you won't regret later:
You want your child to:Instead of this:Say this:Which is better because:
Go to bed and stay there"If you get out of bed one more time, I'll scream.""After I put you to bed, I expect you to stay there."The expectation for the behavior is clear and unemotional.
Eat her peas and carrots"You're going to sit at the table until you finish your peas.""Remember — we won't have a snack before bed."It reminds her that the kitchen's closed, but she can still choose whether or not to eat.
Brush her teeth"No bedtime story if you don't brush your teeth.""It's time for bed. What do you do first to get ready?"It lets her know it's time for her bedtime routine without being punitive.
Behave in the grocery store"Stop running now or no TV when we get home.""Can you help me find the cereal you like?"It distracts from the negative behavior and offers a positive alternative.
Ask without whining"If you whine once more, I'll take your sticker book away.""I'd like to listen, but I can only understand your normal voice."It lets her know you're interested in what she's saying, but won't accept the tone.
Clean up her room"No dinner until your room is clean.""I'd like you to pick up your toys and put them in your toy chest. Do you want to do that before or after dinner?"It makes your expectations clear, but also gives your preschooler a choice.
Stop tattling"I'm not taking a tattletale to the playground.""It sounds like you're upset with your sister. You need to tell her why."It helps your preschooler understand that kids have to work it out together.
Be quiet in the car"If you scream one more time, we'll turn around and go home.""I'm having a hard time driving. I need to pull over until you're settled."It lets your child know the effect, limits, and consequences of her behavior.

Dorothy Foltz-Gray is a freelance writer and mother of two in Knoxville, Tenn.


Time-outs: How to make them work (ages 3 to 4)

by Karen Miles
Reviewed by the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board

What to expect at this age

Preschoolers are intensively learning rules and testing boundaries. That means yours may gleefully flout your directives and push the limits you impose whenever she gets the chance. And though a preschooler is much more capable of rational thought than a toddler, she's still ruled by her emotions, and can turn on a dime from a happy-go-lucky kid to a flailing, wailing wild thing.

When your preschooler crosses the line or gets too worked up for her own good, sometimes the best way to help her get a handle on herself is to remove her from whatever sparked the meltdown (or the limits-pushing) in favor of a little quiet time, better known as a time-out. This discipline method is a great, non-punitive way to shape behavior. The key is knowing how and when to use the technique. Six strategies for making the most of time-outs:

What to do

Understand what a time-out is — and isn't. If you don't think of a time-out as punishment, neither will your child, and that's as it should be. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to help your preschooler cope with common frustrations and modify her behavior. Although at times it may require superhuman effort, try not to scold, yell, or speak angrily when you call "time-out" — the point isn't to chastise your preschooler, it's simply to help her switch gears. Quiet time allows your preschooler to calm down if she's gotten worked up. Just as importantly, it gives you the chance to step aside and not get caught up in your child's struggle. The goal of a time-out is to defuse and redirect an escalating situation in an unemotional way, and to teach your preschooler to behave without setting a negative example, the way yelling does.

Time the time-out. When it's called for, impose a time-out swiftly — as immediately after the transgression as possible. In fact, preschoolers often wind up for a while before they actually lose it. So when you can, call "time-out" before she blows. This will make it easier for her to settle back down and teach her to get a grip on herself before she loses control. Use an old-fashioned kitchen timer to track the minutes your child serves; most experts agree that a minute a year is a good rule of thumb (so a 4-year-old would spend four minutes in time-out). If you leave your preschooler in time-out longer than that, she's likely to shift her focus from calming down to being angry and resentful, which counteracts what time-out is supposed to do.

Choose the right place. Find a time-out spot removed from the activity that set your preschooler off, but within earshot (a bottom step or a chair in a nearby room, say). Don't put her somewhere frightening — even her bedroom with the door closed can be too much in her heightened state, and a dark pantry or basement may well be fodder for future therapy. Remember: Your purpose is to calm her down, not to scare her into submission.

Many experts recommend a boring spot, with no toys or other distractions. Even so, you may find it helpful to encourage your child to experiment with self-calming techniques. If looking at a book, listening to some music, or even having her dolls duke it out helps your preschooler wind down, she'll not only have served her time, she'll have learned how to get her temper under control by herself. Eventually, she may even call her own time-outs (but don't hold your breath).

Be consistent. Decide — when you're not angry yourself — what actions merit a time-out. If you use time-out too often, you'll dilute its effectiveness, so save it for the tougher problems — aggressive acts such as biting, hitting, and throwing toys, or open defiance. Then find a quiet moment to discuss with your preschooler the time-out policy in your family, letting her know where you'll give time-outs, for what reasons, and for how long. Once you've outlined the rules, stick to them. Being wishy-washy, or offering lengthy explanations or third and fourth chances will only invite protests. Your child needs to know exactly what to expect, and she needs to know that she can't wheedle her way out of it. "You're screaming, so you're going to have a four-minute time-out right now," is all you need to say.

Follow up. When your preschooler's time-out is over, address the transgression that put her there in the first place. If she tackled her brother when he declined to share a toy, for instance, have her tell you what she did wrong and apologize to her sibling. Also ask how she'll handle the situation next time. Don't yell at her, don't lecture her, and don't give her a big hug now that it's over. She may be remorseful (and you may even feel a little guilty for banishing her), but rewarding her with positive reinforcement at the end of the time-out may actually encourage future misbehavior.

Give your child plenty of time-in, too. Just as time-outs discourage bad behavior, "time-ins" reinforce good behavior. If you find yourself constantly imposing time-outs on your preschooler for getting into scrapes with her little sister, for instance, make every effort to "catch" her getting along with her sibling too. Then tell her, "What a great job you're doing playing with Zoe. I love it when you're kind to her!" The more effort you put into time-in, the less you may need to enforce time-out.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Philip Airfryer? Buy or not?

Recently, I've got a chance to try out Philip AirFryer before buying one. I was so excited about frying without oil and without mess. Before you start wondering where i get it from, i borrowed it from a friend. 
Dishes Tried:
1.       Onion Rings from supermarket
-          Taste great! Crunchy on the crust
2.        Fish ball from market (fried type)
-          looks exactly like fried fish ball from wok, with no oil added
3.       Sotong Ball (frozen fromm supermarket)
-          It bloated up, but shrink (become quite ugly) after it cooled down - taste, ok.
4.       Nuggets (from supermarket)
-          Taste ok, not as good as fried.
-          Takes very long for it to become golden colour.
5.       Home-made french fries from potato
-          followed the instruction, cut a potato, soak it, dry it, mix abit of oil, and put into the fryer
-          Taste more like wedges then fries.
-          Disappointed.
6.       Home-made Ngoh Hiang (Wu xiang)
-          No oil added : Skin very dry, not crispy, not fragrant
-          Added oil: skin cruchy, more fragrant. But, still a distant from the taste of fried with oil. 
7.       Home prepared fried chicken drumlet
-          too dry
-          Doesn’t taste fried.
-          Disappointed.
8.        Home prepared Pork Chop / Beef steak
-          taste flat
-          have problem finish them
-          Usually, fried from pan, they taste great.
-          Added oil subsequently, but nothing near frying in pan. 
My conclusion after trying is that I'll not buy it. Received as a gift, it's alright. 
1) Healthier 
2) Mess free 
3) Easy to clean up
4) Good for small portions preparation. 

1) Take much longer compare to frying. (Air fryer takes average 15-25 minutes, whereas using oil to fry might take less than 5-10 minutes.) 
2) Waste lots of electricity. 
3) Home prepared food doesn't taste as great as frying. However, with food purchase from supermarket that was pre-fried, they taste good. 
4) Have problem preparing food for a party. Have to do them by batches. Too slow to prepare the food. 
Fish balls and Sotong balls will be inflated, so don't fry too many at a go. I did that and those on top were burnt by the "coil" 

 Hope this review helps. If you have recipes that work, do share with me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Developing Co Parenting Skills: Working Together To Raise Happy Kids

Co-parenting isn’t easy. It’s actually quite a chore. When neither parent is willing to negotiate or communicate, the child has the job of transitioning from one parenting style to the other. As a parent educator and family therapist, I have seen many anxious and confused children affected by their parents’ inconsistent rules and styles. Sometimes children do this under the same roof and sometimes under two, but the bottom line is that it is the parents’ responsibility to create a balance.
Parenting skills vary much like personalities. The differences can be as subtle as the setting of bedtimes to as serious as choosing consequences for bad behavior. The bottom line is adults have a number of motivations for parenting. For instance, they might try to do better than their parents. Thus, we attempt to find new and effective strategies to raise good kids. These ambitions can be difficult enough. Now add the challenge of joining forces with another adult who was raised by different parents and who may be select different strategies.
So how do parents, married or divorced, stay clear and consistent, raise confident children, and feel influential as parents? They learn how to work together and become better co-parents! Here are several successful co-parenting steps:
  1. Identify your personal style and motivations. Your first job in becoming a successful co-parent is to figure out your general style and motivations. If it were all up to you, how would you parent? How would you motivate your children? How would you use punishment and encouragement? What are the top 10 values you would like to teach your kids? Now ask yourself WHY? Why would your style be that way? What is your motivation? How did your parents parent you? Are you attempting to repeat their upbringing or compensate for it?
  2. Share your parenting style and motivation with your co-parent. I understand that you might feel vulnerable sharing your style and motivation. Your style may be different than your spouse’s style. In order for you and your partner to co-parent successfully, you both need to appreciate and support the ideas you bring to the table. When you listen to where the other parent is coming from, it will allow you to join forces.
  3. Before deciding on a parenting style and direction, consult parenting books and classes. Now that you have looked at each other’s parenting style, take a look together at good parenting books and the current research. Report back to each other and consider how your styles measure up.
  4. Decide on a parenting style. You now have several examples of parenting strategies and philosophies. Its time to blend what you believe with what your co-parent believes and what the experts say. This is the ultimate in negotiation but remember that if you do not negotiate at the adult level, it leaves your child to figure it out. Once you’ve decided, then write down the basics and embrace your new co-parenting style.
  5. Implement your new co-parenting style. Now you parent! Both parents are on the same page. Children are clear on what is expected of them and what the consequences are if they do not follow the family expectations. Thus, it lessens the occasions of arguing between the parents and the opportunities for manipulation by the children.
  6. Hold weekly co-parenting meetings with your spouse. Since you are the CEOs of your family and are business partners in a very real way, you must stay in constant communication. The success or failure of your family rests in your capable hands. Thus, co-parenting meetings are a must! These meetings should include finances, home maintenance, parenting, and relationship issues. Meetings should be held weekly with schedule book, meeting journal and budget book in hand. Continue to review your parenting style. You may find that one child thrives under your new system while another loses balance. Good co-parents always re-evaluate and restructure when necessary.
We are busy parents today. It is difficult to take the time to evaluate our parenting styles but the payoff is big for you as a parenting unit as well as for your child. Co-parenting takes the pressure off our children and the conflict out of our lives.
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