Practical Parenting Series: Kathy Koch

Today, Sabrina Marasovich speaks to Kathy Koch about raising children and practical parenting. Kathy Koch is the co-writer of No more perfect kids.

This is a snippet of what she talked about:

Mom’s and dad’s are trying to raise kids they don’t have. We all picture what our children are going to be like before we have them and then reality strikes. It’s important to see what our child is like, what they need and how God created them to be and raise them in THAT way, not the way WE want for them. Parent them for who they are.

We have 1 brain divided into 8 parts.

2 parts are school smart:
Word Smart – talk, read, write and listen.
Logic Smart – ask and answer lots of questions, these kids gravitate towards math.

But there are 6 other parts to the brain:
Picture smart – think with your eyes
Rhythmn smart – think with music and sound
Body smart – move, touch (these kids are usually told all day to sit down or keep still)
Nature smart – likes to get dirty, gravitates towards biology, etc.
People smart – can read body language, know when their mom is upset or needs a hug.
Self smart – quiet, peaceful, like their privacy and space. Deep thinkers, they know what they know.

People tend to only think of “smart” kids as those who can read and write well and do well in math and science. But there are all kinds of smart. It’s important for parents to understand this early on, even before conception. There are multiple ways of being smart.

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There are so many people who didn’t do very well at school but they graduated and now they are so successful. And vice versa, many who did well at school, found school an easy and safe place but floundered when they left because life just wasn’t as easy as school was.

We can study with all 8 parts of the brain and that further empowers kids to do well and please their parents (which is what most kids want to do).

As parents, we keep raising expectations. When our kids do well, parents often say “I knew you could do it, next time you can do even better.” All they hear is “next time you can do even better”. Children slowly begin to believe they can’t satisfy us and it’s so damaging for children to believe that. Often parents don’t even realise they are saying that. Kathy Koch thinks as parents we need to sometimes just say thank you to our children when they do well. And ask them what they did differently and how they worked to improve and how it made them feel.

When your child says “I can’t do this”, you should ask them “What can you do?” That tells the child you believe in them and you’re asking the child to pinpoint what the dilemma is. By helping them break it down, you can encourage them to build up from there.

Kathy gave an example of how when she was a child, she went to her mom really upset and said she didn’t like being so tall, she was very clumsy and awkward. Knowing there was nothing her mom could do about it, except help change her daughters attitude, she enrolled her in tap dancing class. Kathy went on to be the back centre tap dancer, a position only saved for tall girls, a position of high honour. So her height became her advantage and not her issue. So many parents these days are too busy and their answers are “Well there’s nothing I can do about you being tall, it’s in your genes.” As parents, it is our responsibility to problem solve for our children. Perceive what’s going on with them and then have compassion.

We watch our children roll over, then start crawling, then pull themselves up and we have a “come to mama” perspective as they learn how to walk. And when they take their first steps, we jump for joy, we pull out the video camera and say “come to mama”. When they fall, we pick them up and tell them to try again, until they get it. We don’t say they are wrong when they fall or that they made a mistake. So can you imagine what things would be like if we had a “come to mama” perspective all the time? If we encouraged them every time they fell? To get back up and try again, to celebrate every effort.

While technology is important, kids should read more proper books. The kitchen and restaurant table should be digital free zones. We have a generation of children who don’t know what to do when they are bored or what to do with silence. It’s so important to learn how to live and deal with boredom. Whether it’s in the car or in their bedrooms, kids technology should be limited. We should make sure they can hold a conversation, make eye contact and have proper relationships outside of social media.

Have fun with your kids, it’s in the fun times (skipping together, tickling on the sofa, rolling down a hill) that makes the harder times easier to take. And it’s in the fun, spontaneous time that kids talk to us and we can talk to our kids. Although we’re all busy and we adhere to such time management, they are children and there’s supposed to be fun and laughter. It’s all about the heart connection and letting our kids know that we love them and that they can trust us.

To read more about what Kathy spoke about, you can visit http://www.celebratekids.com/

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A life less ordinary #BYOM

I’ve always thought it important to live a life filled with love, laughter, wonder and have experiences to look back on, with no regrets….to live a life less ordinary. To live the best life I can live, as long as I’m living. And this so happens to be notonthehighstreet.com’s mantra.

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About 10 days ago, the lovely ladies at Mumsnet sent out an invite for bloggers to attend a glamorous event hosted by NOTHS in lieu of mother’s day on the 30th of March. I sent through my interest and was chosen as one of the bloggers. So off I went last night to the uber posh No. 5 Cavendish Square. As we entered we were offered the choice of Champagne or some really yummy Gin and Lychee cocktail. There were waiters walking around with plates of mini Halloumi Burgers, Beef Burgers and other light bites. As the evening went on they served salad, mushroom risotto and fish and chips in a bowl (really good posh fish and chips!)

The theme was #BYOM (Bring your own mum) but as mine couldn’t make it this week, I took my dear friend Anni instead. There was a wooden tree at the entrance and wooden hearts on the bar. Everyone was invited to write words of advice or a wish on the heart and hang it on the tree.

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The evening started off with Holly Tucker (Founder of NOTHS – we got to chat to her later in the evening and she was lovely) giving a brief introduction followed by a presentation delivered by Odette Toilette (who incidentally told me her name was Lizzie 10 minutes prior to going on stage?!). One of the things NOTHS are about to launch is experience days. So we’re not talking about race car driving or hot air ballooning but instead as Odette so beautifully presented, an example would be a perfume workshop. Over her 10 minute presentation, she handed out 3 different feathers doused in 3 different fragrances. One from each era. When it came to the one from the 80/90s, she had most of us in the room ooh’ing and aah’ing as we reminisced our youth: the days of hyperglobal t-shirts (yes, I had one of those), dummys on strings and trolls. As well as White Musk and Dewberry from the body shop. It’s funny how a simple scent can transport us back 15-20 years while the memories attached to that scent wash over us.

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After that we had a break to get something to eat (read: drink more champagne!) and take some funky pictures in the photo booth room. I absolutely love photo booths, it’s an opportunity to muck about, have fun and style yourself with all the various props. Although with only 3 seconds between each picture, you can see Anni and I missed our shot a couple of times!!

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The next bit of entertainment was in the form of comedian Shappi Khorsandi (Anni and I got a chance to chat to her by the Cloak Room before we left. Unfortunately she’s off to Australia for a month but I’ll definitely be looking at when she’s next doing a gig in London, I thought she was hilarious!) 

NOTHS are in the market of creating special, bespoke, personalised gifts. Gifts that say “I thought this through…” For mother’s day they have a wide variety of mum and grandma appropriate gifts. My two favourite are:

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They had pedestals around the room depicting all the roles moms play in our lives. My favourite was “Thanks for being my life long phone a friend” 🙂

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At the end of the evening I was very chuffed when I was asked to give a little interview on motherhood and the event of the evening. Those who know me can’t shut me up when I start talking about S or my love of being a mom!!

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With the thrill of being on camera and aching feet from wearing high heels after such a long time, we headed home. But not before receiving a fabulous little goddie bag from NOTHS.

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Thanks notonthehighstreet.com and Mumsnet for a fabulous evening. I’m off to order my mom something in time for Mother’s Day next weekend.

“I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity.”