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the sad thing about talent is that sometimes, it never gets discovered. it continues to be buried for such a long time that the owner of the talent never realizes that he has it. this does not need to happen with your child if only you would be able to provide excellent opportunitues for discovering his untapped gifts. how do you do that?

here are some effective ways i know:

1. let your kid play. play is child’s work. it is through play that he learns various skills and lessons crucial for his proper development. but aside from that, it is also through play that he learns where he is good at. make sure you give him the right educational toys to aid him in skill and talent discovery.

2. allow your kid to be himself. don’t expect your kid to grow up exactly the way you are. mikkel looks exactly like his dad but we never want to make the impression that he can only be good at things that mike or i are good at. i suck in math but if mikkel grows up to become a math whiz, why not?! while his dad is an artist, if mikkel grows up to become a scientist, we won’t stop him.

3. never pressure your kid. your kid is just a kid. if you make him do hundreds of extra-curricular activities a day just so he would become talented, you are only going to make him feel that all of these is a chore, instead of a great learning experience as what they are supposed to be. instead of enrolling him in piano lessons, basketball lessons, dance lessons, voice lessons, math lessons, and drawing lessons all at the same time, ask your kid what he really likes to do. also, make sure there is sufficient time left for family bonding time and for fun and games.

i can’t say i have successfully unraveled all of mikkel’s hidden talents but so far, i have learned that he is good in puzzles, and building blocks. he loves manipulating things and he has adept visual and memory skills. i also noticed that he has a penchant for photography just like his dad. i know mikkel will surprise me with more skills and talents as he grows up but all i want to do is to encourage (but never pressure) him to be the best in whatever he wants to become.

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right from the moment your child came out into this world, you have been washed away with a sea of mixed emotions—happiness, excitement, fear, amazement and worry. the very first time you saw him you could not help but feel a unique sense of joy that you did not know you were capable of feeling. at the same time, you have that persistent fear of what is ahead as you worry about things like disciplining your child and making sure that he grows up to be a person of moral values.

your fears begin to transform into reality once your child becomes a toddler. you see some changes in his attitude. from the tiny innocent baby, who does nothing but coos and cuddles with you, he slowly transforms into a toddler who begins to know about the world. soon, you notice that your child begins to cry more often or does not obey you anymore. to raise a child properly, here are some key disciplining pointers that every parent should know:

1. do not give in to your child’s every whim. many parents think that giving their child everything they want is a good way to express their love. but this is the biggest misconception when it comes to parenting. not giving your child everything is healthy as this will make him more grounded with the reality of life that he can never have everything that he wants and that he will not always have it his way. children raised this way grow up to be mature and level headed adults who can handle problems and disappointments with more ease than adults who were spoiled brats in their younger years.

2. be consistent with your rules. most children of today are very smart and they remember things quite easily. If you say no to him eating snacks before mealtime but allow him to have a couple of treats the next night, he will get a disoriented notion that rules can be broken. this will not stop him from breaking other rules that you set.

3. do not say “no” too much. this word is supposed to be used only for important matters like when your child is about to touch an electric outlet. using “no” too much will lose its sense of urgency.

4. be generous with praises and compliments. positive reinforcement of proper behavior and good manners is always more effective than punishment in forming your child’s moral values.

5. do not let the surroundings be tempting for him. If you have a child in the house, keep all things dangerous away from his reach. do not place your expensive China in a place near the play area and expect that you can just discipline him into not breaking it.

6. talk to your child often. communicating with your little one and instilling proper values such as saying thank you, please and excuse me is one of your prime duties as a parent.

7. distract to stop crying sprees. if your child cries to get what he wants, do not give in to the temptation of handing him the object of her crying session. instead, remove from her from the area and distract her to make her forget about it. giving him what he wants after he cries will reinforce this behavior and teach him to use this to wrap you around his finger.

8. spanking is never the answer. this violent manner of punishment may only cultivate aggressive behavior in your kid and give him the wrong idea that you can hurt anyone who makes mistakes. time-outs and negative punishment (removal of things that your kid likes to discourage a certain behavior) are more effective forms of discipline.

9. spend a lot of quality time with your child. this is probably the most important ingredient in raising your kid properly. do not allow yourself to be caught up with too much work and be sure that you set aside sufficient time for your little one.

being a parent is truly an extraordinary and wondrous feeling that you are lucky to be able to experience. it will never be an easy and smooth ride but you will know that all the challenges and problems you face along the way will be all worth it.

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some of you would probably say that this post is rather late for it is june already and summer is over. not quite! for my family and i who live in a vacation spot, summer is all year round! as long as the sun is shining right above our heads, nothing can stop us from packing our swimsuits and running off to the beach, which is roughly an hour away from where we live. (there’s one that’s nearer only a few minutes away but quite crowded already).
mikkel has gone to the beach much more times than a regular two-year-old because his parents happen to be beach bums. (the flexibility of our online careers allows us to indulge in a beach escape whenever we feel like it).
well, anyway, if you are planning to bring your kid to the beach anytime soon or next summer, you will find these tips very useful.
1.  invest in a good quality sunscreen. my son inherited the kind of skin that i have which is the kind that does not easily get sunburned (or get that stinging sensation after long exposure under the sun). both mikkel and i just turn dark brown instantly without any pain whatsover. but i still invest in a good quality sunscreen not because i intend to protect his or my complexion (which is not the primary objective of a sunscreen anyway) but to protect our skin from harmful UV rays.
when buying sunscreen, keep these tips in mind:
* get the right SPF factor. SPF means sun protection factor. common notion is that this is the degree of protection you can get. not necessarily. consider the duration by which you normally burn under the sun without protection. let’s say 20 minutes. multiply that number by the SPF on your sunscreen. for example 20 (minutes) x 15 (spf) = 300. 300 is the number of minutes you’re protected with that sunscreen. i bet you didn’t know that huh! 😉
* get one that has protection for both UVA and UVB rays.
* opt for one that is free from PABA or para aminobenzoic acid since many children (and even adults) are sensitive to this.
2. avoid sun exposure from 10 am to 2 pm. this is when the sun’s heat is the strongest.
3. bring lots of water. mikkel always gets thirsty as a horse after roughing it his with dad in the water for hours. that and the strong heat of the sun can easily dehydrate anyone.
4. prepare simple meals. i love cooking and there was this one beach outing where i prepared really nice but elaborate dishes that took me quite the whole day. it didn’t leave me time to spend with my little darling. so take my advice and don’t bring your penchant for cooking at the beach. it’s a day to spend with the family, not with the pots and pans!
5. don’t forget to bring an extra plastic bag for the wet suits. i go to the beach all the time but i still always forget this! is it just me?!
anyway, more andda, ganto ba yung rak!more beach trips for us!!!

strolling along with my baby

some of you would probably say that this post is rather late for it is june already and summer is over. not quite! for my family and i who live in a vacation spot, summer is all year round! as long as the sun is shining right above our heads, nothing can stop us from packing our swimsuits and running off to the beach, which is roughly an hour away from where we live. (there’s one that’s nearer only a few minutes away but quite crowded already).

mikkel has gone to the beach much more times than a regular two-year-old because his parents happen to be beach bums. (the flexibility of our online careers allows us to indulge in a beach escape whenever we feel like it).

well, anyway, if you are planning to bring your kid to the beach anytime soon or next summer, you will find these tips very useful.

1.  invest in a good quality sunscreen. my son inherited the kind of skin that i have which is the kind that does not easily get sunburned (or get that stinging sensation after long exposure under the sun). both mikkel and i just turn dark brown instantly without any pain whatsover. but i still invest in a good quality sunscreen not because i intend to protect his or my complexion (which is not the primary objective of a sunscreen anyway) but to protect our skin from harmful UV rays.

when buying sunscreen, keep these tips in mind:

* get the right SPF factor. SPF means sun protection factor. common notion is that this is the degree of protection you can get. not necessarily. consider the duration by which you normally burn under the sun without protection. let’s say 20 minutes. multiply that number by the SPF on your sunscreen. for example 20 (minutes) x 15 (spf) = 300. 300 is the number of minutes you’re protected with that sunscreen. i bet you didn’t know that huh! 😉

red floater

* get one that has protection for both UVA and UVB rays.

* opt for one that is free from PABA or para aminobenzoic acid since many children (and even adults) are sensitive to this.

2. avoid sun exposure from 10 am to 2 pm. this is when the sun’s heat is the strongest.

3. bring lots of water. mikkel always gets thirsty after roughing it with his dad in the water for hours. that and the strong heat of the sun can easily dehydrate anyone.

4. prepare simple meals. i love cooking and there was this one beach outing where i prepared really nice but elaborate dishes that took me quite the whole day. it didn’t leave me time to spend with my little darling. so take my advice and don’t bring your penchant for cooking at the beach. it’s a day to spend with the family, not with the pots and pans!

5. don’t forget to bring an extra plastic bag for the wet suits. i go to the beach all the time but i still always forget this! is it just me?!

anyway, more and more beach trips for us!!!

for desktop

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bath time with mikkel means huge splashes of water on my face, wild screams that can be heard next
town, banging of walls, throwing of shampoo bottles, drowning soaps into the pail, and the whole
bathroom turned upside down, inside out.
my overly energetic and mischievous curly top is just too fond of water to keep me sane. it is
horrific, i tell you. i always find myself screaming louder than ever. “mikkel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
the good news is i have found a couple of tricks to make bath time more bearable.
1. bring his favorite toy in the bath. this is the best tactic so far in distracting him during bath
time. however, his penchant for the toy only lasts for a few minutes so i must always bring a
different one as an added precaution.
2. tell him to scrub and rinse himself. mikkel is the kind of kid who thinks he’s already an adult.
that’s why he loves it when i give him tasks that reinforces this belief.
3. put him in a small tub of water. mikkel loves this so much that he stays still for a couple of
seconds, long enough for me to get most of the shampoo out of his hair. take note, rinsing his hair is
the most sensitive part of the bath time because he just would not let anything touch it.
4. sing songs or act out plays. when i do this, mikkel would stare at me, watch me, and forget for a
little while about his mission to get wild during bath time. if he gets tired of my act, i do another
one until i finish off his bath. this can be pretty exhausting given that you are already exerting too
much physical effort attempting to contain a kid gone wild.
5. struggle and plead. well, this hardly ever works even if i cry fake tears. but this has become a
normal part of giving my kulit kulot a bath.
for kids who dread bath time, it’s a different story. here are some ideas that might help:
* join your kid in the tub. it makes a child feel safer knowing that you are also in the water with
him.
* find out what he is scared about bath time. if it is the cold water, then go give him a warm bath.
if it is the scary rubber duckie you try to distract him with, ditch that. if it is the weird
accummulation of hair in the drain, clean your bathroom more often!
* tell your kids stories about bath time and be sure to tell him only nice stories so he has fond
memories to associate bath time with.
* make bath time interesting. it could be a new set of bath toys or a little bath game or some singing
of happy songs.
i don’t know how many baths i still have to give mikkel before he gives a calm and pacified approach
to this activity. i surely look forward to that day!

mikkel bath

bath time with mikkel means huge splashes of water on my face, wild screams that can be heard next town, banging of walls, throwing of shampoo bottles, drowning soaps into the pail, and the whole bathroom turned upside down, inside out.

my overly energetic and mischievous curly top is just too fond of water to keep me sane. it is horrific, i tell you. i always find myself screaming louder than ever. “mikkel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

the good news is i have found a couple of tricks to make bath time more bearable.

1. bring his favorite toy in the bath. this is the best tactic so far in distracting him during bath time. however, his penchant for the toy only lasts for a few minutes so i must always bring a different one as an added precaution.

2. tell him to scrub and rinse himself. mikkel is the kind of kid who thinks he’s already an adult. that’s why he loves it when i give him tasks that reinforces this belief.

3. put him in a small tub of water. mikkel loves this so much that he stays still for a couple of seconds, long enough for me to get most of the shampoo out of his hair. take note, rinsing his hair is the most sensitive part of the bath time because he just would not let anything touch it.

4. sing songs or act out plays. when i do this, mikkel would stare at me, watch me, and forget for a little while about his mission to get wild during bath time. if he gets tired of my act, i do another one until i finish off his bath. this can be pretty exhausting given that you are already exerting too much physical effort attempting to contain a kid gone wild.

5. struggle and plead. well, this hardly ever works even if i cry fake tears. but this has become a normal part of giving my kulit kulot a bath.

for kids who dread bath time, it’s a different story. here are some ideas that might help:

* join your kid in the tub. it makes a child feel safer knowing that you are also in the water with him.

* find out what he is scared about bath time. if it is the cold water, then go give him a warm bath. if it is the scary rubber duckie you try to distract him with, ditch that. if it is the weird accummulation of hair in the drain, clean your bathroom more often!

* tell your kids stories about bath time and be sure to tell him only nice stories so he has fond memories to associate bath time with.

* make bath time interesting. it could be a new set of bath toys or a little bath game or some singing of happy songs.

i don’t know how many baths i still have to give mikkel before he gives a calm and pacified approach to this activity. i surely look forward to that day!

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how to distinguish toys with real educational value

i must admit, a part of me secretly wishes for mikkel to become a
prodigy. this is probably why, i give him all sorts of educational
toys to make him smarter.
he played with shape sorters, stackable rings, plush building blocks,
and musical toys as an infant. and he is now toying with puzzles,
books, abacus, and dominoes as a toddler.
of course, toys won’t really turn any kid into a genius. but they do
help in the process of mental and physical development of a child.
various educational toys can nurture early learning and hone crucial
skills such as hand to eye coordination, spatial awareness, motor
skills, cognitive learning, visual perception, sensory exploration,
problem solving skills and the creative imagination.
like most moms, i also find it difficult to choose toys for my little
curly top. try entering a toy store and you would be bombarded with a
vast array of choices, all claiming to be educational and beneficial
for your little one.
so how can a mom distinguish toys that have true educational value?
well for one, real educational toys are engaging. they do not simply
make a passive observer out of your little child. if you would to
choose between an education DVD and a set of building blocks for your
toddler, the right choice would be the latter. after all, it is not
advisable to let children below 2 watch too much television even if
it is supposed to be educational.
apart from that, real educational toys encourage interaction and
communication. you should also try to buy toys that are related to
the interests of your kid. this way, the fun factor in playing is not
eroded by the whole concept of educating your kid. after all, kid’s
play should be fun and enjoyable.
moreover, educational toys should always be age appropriate. toys
that not suitable for your child’s age are not beneficial for them.
more importantly, they can also pose danger for your child’s safety.
speaking of safety, it is not enough that you get a toy that is
educational. you should get something that is durable, of high
quality, and will not put your little one at risk.
toys do play a big part in a child’s life but this can never replace
the quality time we should spend with ourmikkel exploring his new toyDSC_0528 copylittle ones to make
playtime more fun, educational, and worthwhile. 🙂

DSC_0528 copy

i must admit, a part of me secretly wishes for mikkel to become a prodigy. this is probably why, i give him all sorts of educational toys to make him smarter.

he played with shape sorters, stackable rings, plush building blocks, and musical toys as an infant. and he is now toying with puzzles, books, abacus, and dominoes as a toddler.

of course, toys won’t really turn any kid into a genius. but they do help in the process of mental and physical development of a child. various educational toys can nurture early learning and hone crucial skills such as hand to eye coordination, spatial awareness, motor skills, cognitive learning, visual perception, sensory exploration, problem solving skills and the creative imagination.

like most moms, i also find it difficult to choose toys for my little curly top. try entering a toy store and you would be bombarded with a vast array of choices, all claiming to be educational and beneficial for your little one.

so how can a mom distinguish toys that have true educational value?

well for one, real educational toys are engaging. they do not simply make a passive observer out of your little child. if you would to choose between an education DVD and a set of building blocks for your toddler, the right choice would be the latter. after all, it is not advisable to let children below 2 watch too much television even if it is supposed to be educational.

apart from that, real educational toys encourage interaction and communication. you should also try to buy toys that are related to the interests of your kid. this way, the fun factor in playing is not eroded by the whole concept of educating your kid. after all, kid’s play should be fun and enjoyable.

moreover, educational toys should always be age appropriate. toys that not suitable for your child’s age are not beneficial for them. more importantly, they can also pose danger for your child’s safety.

speaking of safety, it is not enough that you get a toy that is educational. you should get something that is durable, of high quality, and will not put your little one at risk.

toys do play a big part in a child’s life but this can never replace the quality time we should spend with our little ones to make playtime more fun, educational, and worthwhile. 🙂

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