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    20 Ways to Bring Out the Best in Your

    Children

    1) Love your children unconditionallyirrespective of whether they behave nicely,

    clean up their room, and do their homework. Your love must go beyond this. Your childrenwill feel it.

    2) Each day tell your children that you love them. All you have to say is three words, I

    love you. If this is difficult for you, that is a sign you really need to say it.

    3) Speak and act in ways that give your children a positive self-image. Believe in yourchild. Believe in his abilities and potential. Say explicitly, I believe in you. How do you

    know when you are successful at this? When your child says, I see that you believe in

    me.

    4) Be a role model for the traits and qualities that you want your children to possess. Shareyour day with your kids so they know what you do and can learn from you and your

    experiences.

    5) Clarify the main positive qualities you want your child to develop. Keep praising those

    qualities. Reinforce each quality when your child speaks or acts in ways consistent withthat quality.

    6) Each child is unique and different. Understand each childs uniqueness and take it into

    consideration when a challenge arises. Dont take the cookie cutter approach. A method

    of discipline that inspires one child may discourage another.

    7) Word your comments positively. Focus on the outcome you want. Say: By developing

    this quality (for example, taking action right away), you will be more successful in life.

    (Rather than saying the negative.)

    8) Keep asking yourself, What is the wisest thing to say to my child right now? Especiallysay this when your child has messed up.

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    9) Read great books to your children.

    10) When you come across a story that has an important positive lesson for your child,

    relate it. Look for stories that teach lessons. Ask people for stories that had a positiveinfluence on their lives.

    11) Create a calm, loving, anger-free atmosphere in your home. Consistently speak in a

    calm and loving tone of voice. See, hear, and feel yourself being a calm person who has

    mastered the ability to maintain an emotional and mental state that is centered, focused andflowing.

    12) Master patience. Life is a seminar in character development. Your children are your

    partners in helping you become a more patient person. Even when challenges arise, speak

    in a tone of voice that is balanced.

    13) If you make a mistake when interacting with your children, apologize. Ultimately they

    will respect you more than if you try to deny the mistake.

    14) Watch other parents interact with their children. Notice what you like. Apply the

    positive patterns.

    15) In watching other parents, also notice what you dont like. Think about ways that youmight be doing the same. Resolve not to speak and act that way.

    16) Keep asking people you know and meet, What did you like about what your parents

    said and did?

    17) Every day, express gratitude in front of your children. Ask them regularly, What areyou grateful for?

    18) Become a master at evaluating events, situations and occurrences in a realistic positive

    way. Frequently ask your children, What would be a positive way of looking at this?, or

    How can we grow from this?

    19) When your children make mistakes, help them learn from those mistakes.

    20) Each and every day, ask yourself, What can I say and do to be an even better parent?

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    50 Ways to Bring Out Your Child's Best

    by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D.

    (first published in Family Circle, February 2, 1993).

    Richard loved to tinker with mechanical devices. As a 6-year-old, he took apart an alarm clock. At 9, hehelped his dad fix the lawn mower. In high school, he spent hours tearing apart and rebuilding stereoequipment. Now, as a young adult, he's a sound technician for a professional theater company. Richard'sparents encouraged his interests at an early age, which helped him become a successful adult. However,Richard was never labeled as "gifted." In fact, he had trouble with math in school. The definition of "the giftedchild" has traditionally been based on school-related skills and limited to the upper 5 to 10 percent ofchildren who achieve high test scores, write well and excel academically. These are certainly important, butthere may be hundreds of other ways for children to show their gifts. "Today's intelligence researchersemphasize that nearly all children-not just the celebrated 5 percent-have special talents, "says David G.Myers, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Studies at Harvard Universitybear this out, suggesting that kids can display intelligence in many different ways-through words, numbers,music,pictures, athletic or "hands-on" abilities, and social or emotional development. As an anonymousobserver once said: "All children are gifted, some just open their packages later than others. "You can playa crucial role in awakening latent talents or developing current strengths through experiences you give your

    child at home. Here are 50 ways for you to bring out your child's best, regardless of how his gifts arepackaged:

    1. Let your child discover her own interests. Pay attention the activities she chooses. This free-time playcan say a lot about where her gifts lie.

    2. Expose your child to a broad spectrum of experiences. They may activate latent talents. Don't assumethat he isn't gifted in an area because he hasn't shown an interest.

    3. Give your child permission to make mistakes. If she has to do things perfectly, she'll never take the risksnecessary to discover and develop a gift.

    4. Ask questions. Help your child open up to he wonders of the world by asking intriguing questions: Why isthe sky blue? Find the answers together.

    5. Plan special family projects. Shared creativity can awaken and develop new talents.

    6. Don't pressure your child to learn. If children are sent to special lessons every day in the hope ofdeveloping their gifts, they may become too stressed or exhausted to shine. Encourage, but don't push.

    7. Have high expectations. But make them realistic.

    8. Share your work life. Expose your child to images of success by taking him to work. Let him see youengaged in meaningful activities and allow him to become involved.

    9. Provide a sensory-rich environment. Have materials around the home that will stimulate the senses:finger paints, percussion instruments, and puppets.

    10. Keep your own passion for learning alive. Your child will be influenced by your example.

    11. Don't limit your child with labels. They may saddle her with a reputation that doesn't match her innergifts.

    12. Play games together as a family.

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    13. Have a regular family time for reading, listening to music, talking.

    14. Have reference materials available to give your child access to the world.

    15. Allow your child to participate in community activities that interest her.

    16. Use humor, jokes, silly stories to encourage creativity.

    17. Don't criticize or judge the things your child does. He may give up on his talents if he feels evaluated.

    18. Play with your child to show your own sense of playfulness.

    19. Share your successes as a family. Talk about good things that happened during the day to enhanceself-esteem.

    20. Provide your child with access to a home, school or public library computer.

    21. Listen to your child. The things he cares about most may provide clues to his special talents.

    22. Give your child a special space at home to be creative.

    23. Praise your child's sense of responsibility at home when she completes assigned chores.

    24. Visit new places as a family.

    25. Give your child open-ended playthings. Toys like blocks and puppets encourage imaginative play.

    26. Give your child unstructured time to simply daydream and wonder.

    27. Share inspirational stories of people who succeeded in life.

    28. Don't bribe your child with rewards. Using incentives to get children to perform sends a message thatlearning is not rewarding in its own right

    29. Suggest that your child join peer groups that focus on her gifts.

    30. Discuss the news to spark interests.

    31. Discourage gender bias. Expose your child to both feminine and masculine toys and activities.

    32. Avoid comparing your child to others. Help your child compare himself to his own past performance.

    33. Be an authoritative parent.

    34. Use community events and institutions to activate interests. Take trips to the library, museums,concerts, plays.

    35. Give presents that nourish your child's strengths.

    36. Encourage your child to think about her future. Support her visions without directing her into anyspecific field.

    37. Introduce your child to interesting and capable people.

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    38. Think of your home as a learning place. The kitchen is great for teaching math and science throughcooking.

    39. Share feelings. A child's gifts can be stifled by repressed emotions.

    40. Encourage your child to read.

    41. Honor your child's creations.

    42. Do things with your child in his areas of interest.

    43. Teach your child to trust her intuition and believe in her capabilities.

    44. Give your child choices. It builds willpower and fuels initiative.

    45. Show your child how to use books to further an interest. For example, "how to"