via Child Development: The term “sibling” refers to children who are related and living in the same family. Sibling rivalry has occurred as long as families have existed. Think back to biblical times and Joseph’s problems with his brothers or of Disney’s “Cinderella” and the dreadful experience she had with her step-sisters!

It seems strange that whenever the word “sibling” comes up, “rivalry” seems sure to follow, despite the fact that there are many solid sibling relationships in families (brothers and sisters who genuinely like and enjoy one another). However, it’s typically rivalry that gets the most attention.

What causes sibling rivalry? Think about it. Siblings don’t choose the family they are born into, nor do they choose each other. They may be of different genders, probably of different ages and temperaments, and worst of all, they have to share the one or two people they want most for themselves: their parents. Other factors which may cause sibling rivalry include:

  • Position in the family. For example, the oldest child may be burdened with responsibilities for the younger children or the younger child spends his life trying to catch up with an older sibling.
  • Gender. For instance, a son may resent his sister because his father seems more gentle with her. On the other hand, a daughter may wish she could go on the fishing trip with her father and brother.
  • Age. A five and an eight-year-old can play some games together but when they become ten and thirteen, they will likely have very different interests.

The most important factor, however, is a parent’s attitude. Parents have been taught that they must be impartial with their kids, but this can be extremely difficult. It’s inevitable that parents will feel differently about children who have their own personalities with varying needs, dispositions, and places in the family. Picture the age-old conflict of the young child whining: “It’s not fair. Why can’t I stay up until nine-thirty like Johnny?” Fairness has nothing to do with it. Susie is younger and needs more sleep. It’s as simple as that, and parents are advised never to give in to the old “it’s not fair” strategy. Besides, when Susie is finally allowed to stay up until nine-thirty, it will feel like a privilege to her.

Many parents feel that in order to be fair, they must treat their children equally. It’s simply not possible, and can be dehumanizing if a mother feels that when she hugs one child, she must stop and hug all of her children. Hugs will eventually become somewhat meaningless in that family. When Susie has a birthday or is ill, she is the one who merits the special attention and presents. You can be sure that no matter what they may say, the other children in the family recognize the inherent “fairness” of the situation.

Ever since we decided that sibling rivalry is a normal occurrence in a family system, we’ve had a terrible time figuring out what to do about it. Here are some do’s and don’ts that may be helpful in reducing conflicts as well as the negative effects of sibling rivalry:

  • Don’t make comparisons (e.g., “I don’t understand it. When Johnny was his age, he could already tie his shoes.”). Each child feels he is unique and rightly so; he is his own person and resents being evaluated only in relation to someone else. Instead of comparison, each child in the family should be given his own goals and levels of expectation that relate only to him.
  • Don’t dismiss or suppress your children’s resentment or angry feelings. Contrary to what many people think, anger is not something we should try to avoid at all costs. It’s an entirely normal part of being human, and it’s certainly normal for siblings to get angry with each other and have the impulse to physically fight. They need the adults in their lives to assure them that mothers and fathers get angry too, but have learned self-control and that angry feelings do not give license to behave in cruel and dangerous ways. This is the time to sit down, acknowledge the anger (e.g., “I know you hate David right now but you cannot hit him with a stick.”), and talk it through.
  • Try to avoid situations that promote guilt in siblings. First, we must teach children that feelings and actions are not synonymous. It may be normal to want to hit the baby on the head, but parents must stop a child from doing it. The guilt that follows doing something mean is a lot worse than the guilt of merely feeling mean. In situations like this, parental intervention must be quick and decisive.
  • Whenever possible, let brothers and sisters settle their own differences. While it may sound good, it can be terribly unfair in practice. Parents have to judge when it’s time to step in and mediate, especially in a contest of unequals in terms of strength and eloquence (no hitting below the belt, literally or figuratively). Some long-lasting grudges among grown siblings have resulted when their minority rights were not protected.

When One Sibling is Disabled

Quite different considerations must come into play when there is a disabled child in the family, especially if it’s a child who requires a lot of extra support both in and out of the home. In this case, non-disabled siblings can be resentful of the time spent on their brother or sister; they sense the parent’s preoccupation. They often feel they are receiving only “surface attention,” and that the parent is not really alert to their needs.

There is one critical point that should be made and emphasized in all such cases. Whatever time and effort are spent with the disabled child, it’s done with the goal of improvement: making the child better able to function independently over time. As he improves his skills, the demands on his parents will decrease commensurately, freeing them to devote more time to other members of the family. It actually boils down to, “Come on, let’s everyone help, and ultimately everyone will benefit.”

There are other measures to be taken to lessen sibling rivalry and tension in families with a disabled child. Every child deserves a certain amount of quality time with a parent. It needn’t be long but it should be undivided. Maybe a short quiet chat before bedtime, or lunch at a special restaurant. Additionally, when one of the non-disabled siblings is involved in a school or community function, the parents should make every effort to be there, no matter how much advance planning is required. Should the disabled child go, too? Take your cue from the child who is involved in the function — it’s his night. Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

When One Sibling Is Gifted
Different people, including gifted children, have abilities and talents in different areas. Talk openly about this reality with your children so they can begin to develop appropriate expectations for themselves. You can do this by comparing your own strengths with those of your husband/wife or other family members or friends. There are two important points to be emphasized:

  1. Don’t expect to be great in everything.
  2. Recognize and develop those areas of strength you do have. Help your children make similar comparisons among themselves in the hope that they will have a greater understanding and respect for each other (e.g., “My brother gets all A’s in school but he can’t hit a baseball.”).
    It’s also okay to mention your weaknesses. This can be especially effective if there is something you don’t do as well as your non-gifted child (e.g.,”I wish I could make brownies as well as yours.”).

Above all, honesty and acceptance are the greatest consideration you can give your children when the ways in which they are like and unlike one another come up in discussion.

Some Useful Sibling Conflict Resolution Strategies

Common Mistakes Parents Make in Managing Sibling Rivalry

  • Taking sides, such as attempting to punish the child who is at fault, (usually the one seen pounding on the other child). How long has this child put up with the taunting of the other child before taking drastic measures?
  • Ignoring appropriate behavior. Parents often ignore their children when they are playing nicely. They only pay attention when a problem arises. Behavior Mod 101 teaches that behaviors that are ignored (go unrewarded) decrease while behaviors that receive attention (are rewarded) increase.

Simple Parenting Techniques That Work

1. When the sibling rivalry progresses to excessive physical or verbal violence OR when the number of incidents of rivalry becomes excessive, take action. (Action does speak louder than words). Talk with your children about what is going on. Provide suggestions on how they can handle the situation when it occurs, such as:

  • Ignoring the teasing.
  • Simply agreeing (in a kidding way) that whatever the teaser is saying is true.
  • Telling the teaser that enough is enough.
  • When these measures aren’t working, ask the person in charge (parent, babysitter) for help.

2. When the above does not work, introduce a family plan to help with the situation that provides negative and positive consequences for all concerned, such as:

  • When there is any fighting or shouting, all involved will have a consequence such as a timeout or the temporary removal of screentime.
  • However, when we can go the whole day or afternoon or evening (whatever makes sense for your situation) without fighting, everyone will earn a privilege such as (1) you can have a snack, (2) I will read you a story, (3) we will all play a game together, (4) I will play outside with you (catch, etc.) or (5) you can stay up later. (Note that several of these provide parental attention for appropriate behavior).

3. Develop a system for evenly distributing coveted privileges. In other words, a system for taking turns for such things as:

  • Who gets to ride “shotgun” in the car. (It’s amazing how many teenagers and young adult siblings still make this an important issue).
  • Who gets to push the button in the elevator.
  • Who gets to choose where to go to eat lunch or dinner.
  • Who gets to chose the television show.
  • Who does the dishes or takes out the trash (rotate on a weekly or monthly basis).

For more parenting techniques visit Parenting 101. For help in improving your ability to cope with the rigors of parenting, we suggest Stress Management For Parents.

Yes, siblings can create certain stresses, but if they are overcome successfully, they will give your children resources that will serve them well later in life. Siblings learn how to share, how to come face to face with jealousy, and how to accept their individual strengths and weaknesses.

Best of all, as they watch you handle sibling rivalry with equanimity and fairness, they will be gaining knowledge that will be valuable when they, too, become parents.

via njfamily: It’s winter… which means you probably spend 20 minutes in the morning searching for the left mitten that’s lost in a snowdrift somewhere. Here are tips to keep them from getting separated.

Mitten Clips
One easy solution is to buy those handy little clips, where one end clips to their jacket and the other to the mittens. More precocious kids may pull them off, but its a good option for babies and toddlers. These are surprisingly hard to find once the snow starts falling, so check amazon for the best variety.

A String
All you need is a long piece of string (twine, ribbon, yarn) that you match to the length of your kid’s wingspan. Tie the string to both mittens (you may need to make a small hole and a knot, but it is worth it in the long run). Then run one mitten and the string through both sleeves of the coat. The mittens will then just hang out the bottom of the sleeves and you’ll save your sanity.

Grab some adhesive Velcro and cut a piece as long as the cuff of her jacket. Then separate (aka un-velcro) the halves, remove the adhesive backing and stick one piece to the outside of his jacket cuff. Then press firmly. Next, turn his mitten inside out and press the other piece to the inside of the mitten cuff. When you velcro the pieces together, they’ll create an extra barrier against snow, as well as increase his chances of returning home with a complete pair. Check out for more detailed instructions.

Buy Multiple Pairs
If you’ve got a favorite pair of gloves or mittens you like, buy two pairs, so they can be mixed or matched as needed. It will cost you a little more at the outset, but save you a headache in the long run. As an alternative, Lands End will actually sell you a single kids glove throughout the season if you lose one of your pair.

Keep a Stash of Stretchy Gloves
Those little stretchy gloves aren’t the warmest outerwear you can buy, but for a dollar most places, you can stockpile a bunch of them and keep them handy as a backup for when your kid inevitably loses their “good” gloves. The best part is that they can fit many sizes, great if you lose your own gloves. Check dollar stores and the dollar bin at Target, they always seem to have them there.

Put Them in the Sleeve
It’s a simple fix, but if you put the gloves inside the hat and stuff them all in the sleeve of a coat, they should actually be there when you get back. Not ideal for wet items, but works well, especially at crowded places like schools.

Buttons and Elastic
If you can sew, try a more permanent solution. Stitch a piece of elastic to the inside of the coat sleeve. Then attach a button to the edge of the mitten. Cut a small hole in the elastic (just about the size of the button), put the button through the hole and you’re ready to attach them together.

via LIFECHO: We try to answer the question What is the Role of a Parent? by taking into analysis the biological, psychological, social and financial dimensions. The parents’ roles are of the maximum importance for personality development of the children. Basic traditional roles of being a parent are: nurture and educate children, discipline them, manage home and financially support family. Modern roles brought an active participation of fathers in children care. The main idea is that parents must be child centered and should aim to optimal growth and development of their children, to help them have satisfactory biological, social, psychological and emotional growth.

Take Care of the Biological Needs of Children
The first role of the parents is to take care of their child’s biological needs. Providing physical care to fulfill the needs of the child imply: proper food, fresh air, good lighting, enough sleep, recreation time, etc.

Provide an Optimal Environment
You have to provide a safe, nurturing and supportive environment that allows the children to grow healthy. For an optimal development, children need: adequate physical home environment; a tolerant and positive atmosphere; conditions for positive changes and improvements; opportunities to explore and experiment in his environment; consistent routine; etc.

Protect Your Children
Make sure their environment is safe. You have to protect your children, to warn them by telling what is safe to do and what isn’t, before they venture out on their own. Teach your child the difference between right and wrong, and that wrong may be harmful both for him and for others. Your goal is to protect your children from dangers to which they may be vulnerable and to keep them safe. Also children feel safe when there is continuity and consistency in daily routines, and especially when there is a loving atmosphere.

Teach and Educate Your Child
To raise your children properly, your duties aren’t limited to food, shelter and protection, but also require you to teach and educate them, to shape knowledge and character, to prepare your child to face the real world. So another parent’s role is to make possible learning of such actions as walking and talking, reading and writing (to facilitate learning of these activities, a parent must have patience and understanding). The main goal here is to provide the children with the best possible education. A parent has to be a fine observer (to have an overview of their children’s behaviors, moods and activities) and instructor for his children. If you want to be successful in this process of education, you have to be a model for your child. Especially be a gender model for the child and show him or her how to be a man or a woman. Teach your children about what is at the core of masculinity or femininity (see gender roles in the family).

Give your child various opportunities to finally become a healthy member of the community. To successfully integrate your child into your community, you should give him the knowledge of your community culture so that he will have the needed information and skills to grow up into a adapted adult. It is very important to guide your children toward social adaptation and integration. To help your kids develop appropriate coping skills and help them gain independence, explain and carry out tasks with your child. You also must be an advisor and a checker for homework. Take the time to explain. What is the role of a parent question doesn’t imply that there is just a single and essential role. There are many roles of being a parent and some of them are essential, while others are secondary.

Provide Guidance, Direction, Assistance and Help
Sit back and listen to your child, abstain from imposing your point of view and just offer appropriate direction and guidance. Another important role of parent is to provide guidance and assistance in the process of personal development and growth. The most effective way to help children is to advise them instead of commanding and to guide the progress of child development without doing his work (help them cope, but don’t solve yourself their problems). Give them a sense of direction and provide sufficient support to succeed and to feel that they are the source of the achievement.

Step back and facilitate children find out independence, allow and encourage them to be independent, help them handle and balance their needs for independence and dependence. Understand their need to be independent without loosing all your authority. When children show a certain level of responsibility and independence extend their privileges and freedoms, but hold them back when their behavior go wrong. At an early stage you make decisions for your children, but at teenage just assist them to decide (provide the wisdom to make themselves the final decision). Assist your child in the achievement of a task; help him only when necessary and only as far as needed. Familiarize your children with the diversity, pros and cons, and benefits of the most relevant ways to make a living, but let them to choose their own career. Ask various questions to get the child to discover exactly what it is he wants to do or be.

Support and Motivate the Child
If you want the child to be successful and to achieve his goals, encourage and motivate him. Positive motivation and encouragement is a must, love your kids both when they succeed and when they fail. Provide empathic encouragement as a reward for an achievement, but also to minimize the frustrations of failure. Teach the child to look at failure as a situation of learning and not as a tragic situation. Listen and be supportive, encourage instead of crushing child’s capacity to say no, at all costs. Motivate and persuade children to achieve more than they thought possible. Motivate the child and even gently push him to strive ever harder, if you want him to gain a strong will.

Don’t think that your children are sufficient to themselves and that they will grow up into strong young adults by themselves! Children should be personally motivated and trained to achieve their tasks. In short, you must be the personal coach of your kids: hearten the positive, temperate the negative, be active and influence your kid development. Praise your child, not only his behavior!

Take Care of the Social Emotional Skills
Another duty of you as a parent is to help your child to acquire emotional wellbeing. There are positive factors, such as: praise, encouragement, calm talk and response, affectionate attention, etc. that will help to build healthy emotions. Strive to eliminate negative factors such as will annihilation, sarcasm, neglect or bullying. Each child is unique, don’t compare your child with others (especially when you observe a weakness), rather help him deal with being different and even encourage him to be unique. Assist children in learning how to express their feelings and desires and help them develop healthy relationships. Socialize your child.

Monitor the emotional development of children and keep away main traumatic events that can negatively affect their emotional dimension. Assist child develop a positive self-perception, a strong sense safety and make sure they feel loved, if you want to raise an emotionally healthy young adult. Be calm and emotionally supportive. Teach child how to control and change their thoughts, emotions and behaviors.

Discipline Gently
Understand what the child is communicating directly or indirectly by his attitudes and behaviors. A major aspect of the parent’s role is to establish and maintain order in family by requesting a certain level of discipline. Always have a calm reaction, respond consistently, appropriately, and sensitively and gently give a corrective feedback to your child when his behavior is inappropriate. A calm and emphatic talk helps children become conscious of their mistakes. An upset reaction increases the tendency of child to defend him. You have to do what is best for your children, rather than overlook their ways of behaving in order to meet your need for silence. Practice a gentle but firm style of discipline.

Set boundaries and limits to control the children, impose ground rules and standards if you want to cultivate a good will. Build your authority, take charge and when limits are transgressed, issue ultimatums, enforce discipline and impose consequences. Don’t provide approval, praise or rewards when child’s behavior is inappropriate. Also parents’ duty is to warn their children to set aside games and TV until homework is finished. If you want to master the art of gentle discipline you have to acquire effective parenting techniques.

Finally, as a parent you have to be strong and do your best for your children even at your own cost (put your children position first). Be a giver rather than a receiver, give and go on giving, but at the same time demand (role of the child may be that of succeeding in school and of respecting the ground rules of family). You also have to continually learn, improve and optimize your parenting knowledge and skills. We tried to answer to What is the role of a parent? inquiry by describing the most important roles of being a parent and hope you will benefit our tips.

Teaching friendship skills to children is one important mission that parents need to take on to develop the social skills in their children.

This mission however could be especially hard for parents of introverted kids.

Even though some kids are born shy and introverted, social skills are still an important lesson to be taught to them.

Teaching friendship skills to kids will have a tremendous impact to our kids’ wellbeing. It happens so because kids who bond better with their friends can harvest better sense of belonging which help them to develop their emotional skills and reduce stress.

Watch this video now for how you can help your kids making friends if social skills do not come naturally to them.

As parents, it is our responsibilities to teach children the right values, various life skills, and the essential knowledge for them to succeed in life.

Out of so many things for kids to learn, it might be challenging for parents to set their priorities right when it comes to teaching their children.

If you are concerned whether are you missing out any important life lessons to teach to your kids, the following video is for you.

This video is a great guide to help you decide what to teach children and what are the things that they should have known at the age of 10.

Watch the video now and share it with your friends if you find it helpful!

10 Things Children Should Know By Age 10

10 Things Children Should Know By Age 10

Posted by David Wolfe on Saturday, March 17, 2018

Many studies have found that messy play for kids is one of the best ways to let them learn and develop. It was also found that messy kids are more creative.

With the findings of these researches, more and more parents are starting to embrace messy plays and messiness in kids to empower them in exploring their curiosity, creativity and imagination.

However, it is never easy for parents to put up with their kids’ mess.

If you need help to deal with your messy kids, check out this video now for the children hacks that will help your life way easier.

BLhacks – Children Hacks to make things a little less…

Children Hacks to make things a little less messy!

Posted by Madres Solteras on Friday, March 30, 2018

Even though many children are lucky enough to become establish strong sibling bond with their brothers or sisters, it is common for siblings to fight. Sibling rivalry is unavoidable as long as there is more than one kid in your house.

Sibling rivalry usually starts when the second child is born. As the children grow to reach different phases of development, the way they relate to one another would be significantly affected by their evolving needs.

It certainly is upsetting and frustrating to watch your children fighting with one another. When a family is full of conflicts, the growing environment can sometime become stressful and toxic to the kids.

If your kids fight often, you might be worried about their sibling bond.

Check out the following video and article now for the sibling bonding activities you could try to improve the sibling bond in your little ones.

Via Playtivities: 20 Sibling Games to Bond, Compete and Cooperate

Activities for siblings that are easy to set up, can be played independently, help siblings bond, be a team member and even have some healthy competition. I picked our favorite sibling activities to share with you today. Honestly, they are life savers during colder weather when play time outdoors is limited.

Activities for Siblings

Lava game. It’s fun active game for at least 2 players/siblings. Let the kids jump from couch to couch without touching the floor unless it’s a pillow. The players must keep moving and try to hit and make other person touch the floor and melt (in lava).

T-shirt walk. Put both kids in one t-shirt and let them walk in the house. Ideally pick a room or place with less sharp furniture edges in case they fall. This sibling activity would be perfect to play in the backyard on the grass.

Pillow sumomo. We have played this so many times already. Find the rules here.

Apple roll. Give your kids an apple and tell them to roll the apple between their bodies without dropping it. Great team work!

Twister game is a classic, but perfect to play on a family night or on a rainy afternoon.

The ball roll. Let 2 kids hold long piece of cardboard with their hands and roll ball back and forward and try not to let it fall on the floor. The longer they will keep it on the cardboard – the better.

Freeze game. Perfect activity to lift up the mood in the house. Turn on favorite music and let your kids dance. Then stop the music, the kids must freeze until the music starts playing again. If anyone budges before you start the music again, they get a point.

Catchy Catch. Get a beach ball (balloon could work too) and toss it in the air. The players cannot touch the ball with hands and cannot let the ball fall on the floor. Advise them touch it with their noses, heads, feet, tummy.

Balloon pop. Ready for some loud fun? This sibling game is perfect if you have more players and bigger space to play in. Tie a balloon to the right leg of each player’s leg and leave a three foot long string. Then tell the kids that they have to pop each other’s balloons by stepping on them. Whoever is left with the balloon on their feet that is not popped – wins the game!

Balloon walk. Stand your kids side by side and but the balloon between their hips. Tell them to walk across the room without dropping the balloon (and without using their hands to help hold it). If they drop it, they need to start all over again.

Together we stand. Sit your kids on the floor, touching their backs and their arms linked at the elbows. Now tell the kids to get themselves up and standing without ruining the position (their backs touching and elbows linked). There will be some pushing against each other. To make the game more challenging leave some treats on the floor around the house for them to pick it up (while linked together). My kids had so much fun doing it!

Potato drop. This sibling activity is great for kids who are competitive and can handle the race. Put 2 bowls at the finish line. Then mark starting point across the room and give each child a potato. The task is to race while carrying the potato between their knees and drop it in the bowl at the finish line. They can’t use hands!

Touch my po-po (pom pom). This fun activity was created by my kids. I am not sure if they saw it somewhere, but they have been playing it for a while now. Attach pom pom to kids’ backs and tell them to try to catch each other’s pom poms. Lots of fun and laughter!

Beach ball towel game. Grab a beach towel and and a ball. Let your kids hold the towel stretched from both ends and drop the ball. The goal is to let the ball bounce on the towel on not fall on the floor. This is a great boredom buster activity for siblings.

Cardboard Slide Indoors. This is one of the favorite activities for siblings in our house up to this day. They play on it the entire day. See how we made our ultimate indoor slide.

Engineers. Let your kids explore with different ”building materials”. Let them build a tower together from what’s around the house. Then knock it down. How fun is that. My kids used pillows, trash cans, pots and pans, even their Lego blocks.

Blind Treasure Hunt. Place some treats around the house and blindfold one of the siblings. Let the other one (who is not blindfolded) guide the ”blind one” to the treat with words.

Spider Game. Tie some rope on the hall between the walls and let them get out of there.

Large Paper Painting – Tape some paper to a large piece of cardboard, put it on the ground outside and let the fun begin!

Scavenger hunt. Get these 30 free printable scavenger hunts for indoors and outdoors that are perfect for siblings. It’s great for teamwork practice.

Happy Zoo Lover’s Day!

Visiting the zoo is such an exciting event for kids! Seeing the animal in real life which was taught to them in books or even on screen would get most of the kids hyped and excited.

If you are planning on a zoo trip with your kids today, it is important to educate your kids on the zoo safety rules and some safety tips for kids to keep your kids safe throughout your exciting trip.

Here are some zoo safety tips for kids that you would need to take note of before bringing your kids to the zoo.

Via Love and Marriage Blog: 10 Must Know Tips to Keep Your Child Safe At The Zoo

With the recently terrifying incident at the Cincinnati Zoo, you may be a parent who is wondering how to keep your child safe at the zoo. I don’t blame you. I have been, too. To find out as much as I could about keeping your child safe when you take them on a trip to see the animals at the zoo, I’ve done some digging at a number of sites that offer safety information from the experts.

How to Keep Your Child Safe at the Zoo

1. Don’t hold your kids in a dangerous position so they can get a better look.

You may think you have a tight grip on your kiddo, but it’s better safe than sorry. (A parent did this at a zoo & their child fell into a Cheetah exhibit.) For goodness sake, DON’T let your kids sit on the zoo fences or walls.

2. Teach your children not to tease the animals.

You shouldn’t trust that a piece of thick glass will always hold. There have been instances of cracked glass at zoos in the past. No matter the danger of cracked glass, teaching your child to be respectful of animals is just the right parenting decision.

3. Read and follow the zoo signs.

If a sign says not to feed an animal, don’t. If a sign tells you to stay back, do so. It is your responsibility to follow the rules so that your kids are safe.

4. If your child mentions wanting to go in the enclosure, take it seriously.

Children are often mesmerized by the animals, but also by the enclosures themselves. They often look like fun swimming pools are exciting places to play. When your child tells you they want to go in let that sound a caution alarm for you.

5. Create a learning opportunity about wild animals before you visit.

Your kids have stuffed animals at home. They watch cartoons and nature shows. Those things are fine, but they may ultimately teach kids that all animals are friendly, snugly and harmless. Spending some time teaching them about wild animals prior to your trip to the zoo is important.

6. Keep your kids close & accounted for at all times.

While you may find it appalling to use a child harness or a backpack with a harness, I personally would rather see a child safely attached to Mom or Dad than to see them on the news at the bottom of an enclosure. Hand holding is great, but kids have a knack for wrangling away. If your child is too big for a harness, you must be extra vigilant. Have a talk prior to your visit about your rules and make sure they know if they aren’t followed you’ll have to leave.

7. Stop with the photos.

If you’re distracted because you’re taking pictures or selfies or videos, you’re not being a responsible parent. Focus on making memories, not on documenting your outing for Facebook.

8. Focus on the educational benefit of a zoo outing.

Talk to your kids about the animals. Read them the signs. Take every opportunity to impart a love of wild animals so that when they grow up, they’ll carry that love with them.

9. Tell kids you are visitors in the animals’ home.

This is where animals live and kids need to know they are to be respectful visitors. You wouldn’t want a lion tapping on your bedroom window and yelling at you, would you?

10. Visit the zoo’s website before your trip.

There is always lots of helpful information about rules and regulations as well as info about the animals your child will get to see. As a parent you’ll also want to know where the first aid office is, where the bathrooms are, and whether you’re allowed to bring water or snacks inside the zoo.

No matter your feelings about whether animals should be in zoos at all, you can be a great teacher and a great example for your kids about loving, respecting and protecting wild animals. Just be safe while you’re doing it!

The sense of humor is said to be one of the most important qualities in human being for the many benefits that it brings to one. With a good sense of humor, one can live healthier both physically and emotionally due to his or her optimistic attitude. It is also extremely helpful when it comes to networking and reinforcing relationships with the people around us.

You might think that the sense of humor is only important to the adults, but surprisingly, it is equally as important to your kids! Instilling kids’ humor early on in life will help them to take up challenges in life much easier as they grow up.

Kids’ humor can be observed in children as young as babies. If you are keen to explore on how to develop a sense of humor in your kids, check out the following article to find out how your kids can develop their sense of humor.

Via The Conversation | How children develop a sense of humour

Try a pun or some sarcasm on a toddler and you’re likely to draw a blank stare. Babies can be even harder to impress – ignoring your best clown impressions while laughing at some completely random event. Of course, children aren’t completely humorless. But what do they find funny at different ages and when can we expect them to get things like sarcasm and irony?

My two-year-old son has recently started grabbing my nose and pretending to throw it in the kitchen bin while laughing hysterically. It may not be a joke that I’m likely to try at my next dinner party, but it shows that his sense of humour is developing.

The main element needed for humour to evolve in children is socialisation. Children must understand that they are sharing an experience with another person before they can begin to establish a sense of humour. We typically do this by laughing and sharing reactions together – a process that effectively starts as soon as a newborn can engage in eye contact and smiling. The psychologist Lev Vygotsky believed that humorous social interactions of this type actually facilitates a child’s cognitive development.

However, a child needs to posses a few basic cognitive skills to communicate jokes in the first place (beyond just pulling a funny face). The most important ones are imagination, the ability to take a different perspective and language. Because these abilities tend to develop at different rates in different children – and continue to grow and change throughout adolescence and adulthood – there is no firm theory that can pinpoint specific, age-related stages of humor development.


Almost all types of humor involve a realization of incongruity between a concept and a situation. In other words, we laugh when things surprise us because they seem out of place. Take for example the following joke: “A horse walks into a bar and the barman says ‘why the long face’”? This is partly funny because horses don’t normally walk into bars. But the punchline “why the long face” is amusing because we first don’t get why the horse would be sad. We then suddenly realize that there are two meanings of the expression – horses also literally have long faces.

It may therefore seem that language is a prerequisite for humour. Infants without language and younger children with limited language typically enjoy physical humour, such as a game of peek-a-boo. But such simple jokes, involving less cognitive skills than language-based jokes, are also about incongruity realisation. Peek-a-boo has an element of surprise – someone suddenly appearing out of nowhere.

Indeed, many researchers argue that it is communication that is key – and that humour actually facilitates the process of learning a language.


Imagination plays a big part in spotting incongruity. It helps children place themselves somewhere different, to enact social roles that they normally wouldn’t, and even to pretend that their nose has come off of the body.

Imagination begins to appear in children around 12-18 months. Interestingly, this corresponds with the time when children are starting to copy parent’s jokes – making them more active in the production of their own brand of humor. Indeed, children as young as seven months can deliberately repeat any behaviors that elicit laughs, such as a funny face or a game of peek-a-boo.

A developing imagination is important for a child to eventually be able to produce their own jokes. This starts to happens by around two years of age, with jokes often being object-based, such as placing underwear on the head, or conceptual, such as claiming the “pig says moo”.

When making up their own jokes, children often draw inspiration from whatever they are learning about. Importantly, this helps them process social rules. For example, my son often jokes that his friend Lilly “pooped on the floor”. This is because potty training and excrement is at the forefront of his life right now. Joking about it is a good way to learn about the social rituals and emotions that go along with this process – particularly in dealing with accidents.

Perspective and deception

Another cognitive skill that helps children develop humor is an understanding of how the mind works. Knowing that different people can have access to different knowledge or mental states – and that some can have false beliefs or be deceived – is important. For example, when parents pretend to be oblivious to a child sneaking up to scare them, this is actually an example of a child understanding deception.

Indeed, some research has shown that this knowledge is crucial for children to understand more complicated jokes involving sarcasm and irony. One study showed that some children as young as three (but typically around five) are able to understand some forms of irony. In the experiment, children watched a puppet show and were asked questions about what they saw. An example of irony was when one puppet broke a plate and the other commented, “your mum will be very happy”. Some children could laugh and understand that this wasn’t literal and that the mum would in fact not be happy at all.

Other research argues that the understanding of irony develops through experience with humour itself rather than perspective taking or knowledge of deception. Joking is social and cultural, so a part of this process is having to learn through social interaction.

When children have developed a basic understanding of others and an imagination they can use their humour to explore possible and actual emotions. For example, by hurling invisible food around and yelling in glee, “I’m messy” a child can get a parent to act out a scenario in which they pretend to be angry. The joke enables them to explore anger safely.

So when it comes to children’s humor, we need to be patient. And thank goodness for that – those Disney and Pixar movies would be so much harder to sit through without the off-color jokes that go over the children’s heads. For now, we enjoy just stealing noses.

Kids’ school holidays are the perfect time for parents and kids to bond through the extra family time you get.

School holidays might be fun at first, but as you cross out one after another activity on your holiday checklist, things could get boring and expensive after some time.

In addition, you would also want your kids to learn something out of the holidays. The key is to put proper planning in place on how to spend the holidays with children, so that your children may engage in self-development over the holidays.

Check out the following article now for the list of activities beneficial to your family and kids during kids’ school holidays!

Via Child and youth Protection Center of Zagreb: Spending holidays with your children

From children’s perspective, quality time includes direct and undivided attention of their parents.
School holidays offer opportunities for more family time and for the parents to improve positive communication and relationship with their children. Many parents, thinking about planning activities and fun for their children, may feel the approach of holidays is stressful. Some international studies show that about two thirds of children see quality time different from their parents. Parents who are very busy may think that cooking or watching TV in the same room is quality time with their children. From children’s perspective, quality time includes direct and undivided attention of their parents. We believe that it should enable talking about significant issues and practising useful shared activities.

Sometimes it is difficult to decide when is the ‘right’ time to spend with your children. The more grown up they are, due to their school and extra curricular activities, the more difficult it is . Parents often expect their children to be happy when they have planned special family events and activities, but it is not always the case. Apart from shared activities, quality time with children includes quality communication, too. Taking time to talk with your children is important in building an open and honest relationship, and it also creates an atmosphere where children can feel free to take up various issues. Talk to your children, but also remember to listen to what your children have to say. Foster your children’s curiosity and interests by asking a lot of ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’ questions. This helps children in learning how to express their thoughts and feelings. Let your children talk about themselves, about what they like to do and about their worries. This will help in creating the atmosphere of trust and acceptance.

10 tips how to improve the quality of communication between your children and you:

1. Gather round the table and enjoy family meals

Family members can exchange information; this is time when parents can listen, offer advice and support to their children;

2. Read to your children

Research show that it develops interest in knowledge acquisition and stimulates language development in children. It also enhances attention, concentration and curiosity in children;

3. Do household chores together

Sharing household chores is a very productive way of teaching children responsibility. Doing them together with your children helps them understand the value of team work and good communication;

4. Help your children with their homework

Parents’ willingness to help reinforces children’s interest for school and better academic achievement. Regular visits to the library are an inexpensive and good way of spending time with children;

5. Take up a family hobby

Activities like cooking, making things, fishing or cycling are an excellent way of spending quality time with your children;

6. Play

Parents should choose social games with their children over long hours of watching TV programmes;

7. Plan occasional family outings

Prepare a picnic, visit the local park, go cycling, walk in the forest, visit the zoo or the museum;

8. Initiate family physical activities

Both strengthening the body and helping in building up their personality and increasing motivation and perseverance, they are very important for the development of children;

9. Make a calendar of ‘family time’

Since many parents have a busy schedule, time scheduled for their children is getting lower on their priorities list. Make a calendar of planned family events together with your children. It may bring about some creative ideas. Try to stick to the plan.

Some ideas for family activities during school holidays:

· Organize the ‘Olympics’ for your family and friends. Let the children decide which disciplines will be included and let them make the medals. Hold the medal ceremony and proclaim the medallists. Celebrate at a barbecue.

· Visit the airport and watch the airplanes taking off and landing.

· Make your family coat of arms.

· Make and decorate some new and unusual cookies.

· Read about activities and events during school holidays in the local newspapers.