Pocket Money Parenting

This week I have introduced a new concept to my kids; if your bedroom ain’t tidy then you ain’t getting any pocket money. So far so good. The biggest problem I have is myself, I feel bad at the end of the week if one of them doesn’t get paid. I need to stick to my guns otherwise this new system of mine just will not work. I also get tempted to add other chores, but I know that I shouldn’t really do that. They may think that it’s just not worth it anymore. At the moment I still have to remind them of our deal constantly, “If you don’t make your bed soon you will not be getting your pocket money this week!”. I also worry that they are going to lose pocket money rights at the beginning of the week and then just leave their rooms messy for the rest of the week. I am also acutely aware that my system is slightly unfair as my daughters share a room and if one slacks, the other gets punished too. It’s the type of punishment that I used to detest at school, whole class detention for example, when you have shown exemplary behaviour. It is just not fair, but it can’t be helped. I can’t, each week, try and work out who is at fault. All I can do is apologise to the innocent party, I guess it’s a worthy life lesson for them; life isn’t always fair. If it was, I wouldn’t have to pay my children to keep their bedrooms tidy.

Always a New Parent

When you become a parent, everything is new… forever. Whatever stage you are at in the parenting game is a new stage. It doesn’t just end with having another child, you then become the new parent of two children and that is something new that you have never experienced before. So I would go as far as to say that every parent is a new parent, having to work out how to get through the next new stage of parenting. Even if you were to have 10 children, it would be the first time that you had a 10th child and you’d have to deal with all the new situations associated with that. Things like, how child number 9 will feel not being the baby anymore and how child number 1 will feel having yet another new sibling.

I have three children and sometimes people look at me and think that I am an ‘experienced’ mother. I would argue that no one really is. I, like everyone else, don’t really know what I am doing. We just hope that we are getting it right, and because everything we do is new to us we sometimes make mistakes (and even if there was such a thing as an experienced parent, how many times would a person have to go through the same situations to become one?). Even when you have families of a similar constitution and age ranges, these families are still different and what works for one family may not work for another. Children will have different personalities and different needs. No two families are the same.

For us, we are entering a new stage. I am now the parent of two teenage girls. I am now the parent of two teenage girls! The thought is so new to me and so overwhelming sometimes. The whole parenting game is about to change, but no one has taught me the rules of this new game.

Developing Your Child’s Vocabulary

There’s no doubt about it, children with parents who have the most sophisticated vocabulary are the ones who grow up to have the most sophisticated vocabulary. Children will learn by your example and the words you use everyday are so important, so first step, better your use of language and your children will follow suit.

Step 2, of which you are all aware, is for your child to read. One thing I am guilty of along with other parents is that I stop reading with my children when they have learnt to read. It’s great if your child is able to read alone and hopefully for pleasure, but learning from what they have read becomes manyfold if you read together and have the opportunity to discuss what you have read. This is not something that you have to do everyday, but doing it a couples of times a week or more will greatly increase your child’s understanding.

Step 3, actively learn new words. My children have vocabulary books in which we write new words and their definitions. Writing new words down in a book gives us the opportunity to go back to the word at a later date and revise the word.

I use vocabulary cards like these to learn new words, but you can also find them online or even just from a dictionary.

Once we have learnt a selection of words, I use an online crossword maker to test my children’s knowledge. I find crosswords are the best way to revise new vocabulary. 

You can find an online crossword maker at discoveryeducation.com

I hope you have found this useful, a love (and understanding) of reading really can help set your child up for life.

Happy Housewife

Yesterday was a really busy day for me. I worked on my blog (I now have share buttons and a facebook page – yay!) I got some cleaning done.

I made my pogacas and finally got to update the pics. It’s not looking too bad, but as I am not of the selfie taking generation I do need to improve my photo taking skills. I still need to buy some pretty plates too, and yes they are still on my to-buy list. Perhaps in the new years sales… Most serious Turkish housewives will have a proper ‘dinner set’ with everything included. They’ll usually acquire one of these when they first get married. These sets are usually to-die-for beautiful, but I don’t have one. Someone get the violins out. Mind you, there is one good reason for not having one of these beautiful sets and that is how you would feel if someone was to accidentally break one of your beautiful plates; I can imagine that that would really hurt!

I also helped my children with their studying in the evening which was really productive. I read with my girls. We have now moved onto more challenging texts. I recommended that we read Jane Eyre together (my favourite classic) instead she borrowed Jane Austin’s Emma from the library, because the librarian recommended it and it was new. So we read a chapter or so every night and my poor daughter doesn’t understand a thing, so after every paragraph we go over what has happened. I think it is helping her and I am really enjoying it too. Who needs to pay for audiobook subscriptions when you have children? 🙂

So at the end of the day I crashed out on the sofa exhausted and thought, wow, I am actually happy today.

Now I really must go and clean the bathroom. I have been putting it off for days. Nothing says Turkish housewife like a clean and fresh smelling bathroom. I just spash a whole load of bathroom cleaner, bleach and water around. I then use old towels to dry. I also use these for streak free cleaning, they are also good for shiny surfaces and windows:

 

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Right I am really am off now, that bathroom won’t clean itself – though I wish it would!

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Children’s Book Recommendations

I loved reading to my children when they were younger! Here are some of my favourites:

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This book has my all time, most favourite, last sentence in a children’s book.

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This book made us all very emotional, especially when I put on a baby’s voice.

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I love rhyming books and I love silly books, this book is both:)

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I love ALL of Julia Donaldson’s books. This one is my favourite because I get to put on a mean accent.

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A classic that is always fun to read together!

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This one is not my choice or one that you can read to your children, but my children loved this growing up and they got to read this book together, over and over again…

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Forget Biff, Chip and Kipper, DR Seuss books are the best for early reader, and yes it’s another rhyming book, but the words are also really easy to sound out.

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How can one of the most inspirational quotes of all time come from a children’s book?

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

I really do love children’s books – I could do this all day. If you have young children, don’t underestimate the importance of reading to them. It sends the message that reading can be fun and sets them up as readers for life.

Happy reading!

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How to Teach your Child to Read

When I first became a parent I was very relaxed about education. My first born didn’t go to nursery and I was happy with that and didn’t mind having her at home with me. This did mean that she was slightly behind when she started school and that is when the panic kicked in. The first thing I decided to do was to teach her how to read. When I successfully taught my daughter how to read I then started to wonder what else I could go on to teach her, and that is when my love of teaching started. I also learnt then that with the right tools, teaching becomes much much easier.

You can teach your child to read in a random way, but I find that this would take a lot longer than if you were to do it systematically. Which is why I recommend this book:

  • The Reading Lesson: Teach your child to read in 20 easy lessons (by Micheal Levin and Charan Langton).

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One or two pages a day is all you need to do.

This book uses American English, so I had to skip a few words in it, being from England.

I’m sure there are other equally good books out there that you can use. The main point that I am trying to get across is that it is important to use a systematic approach.

I am also a huge fan of flash cards. Unfortunately the English language includes a lot of ‘sight words’ where you just cannot learn to sound them out. For these words I recommend using:

  • Sight word flash cards

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You can either buy these or make them yourselves.

Sometimes teaching can be as easy as putting on a video for your child to watch, and there are some great ones on you-tube. I recommend:

  • Jollyphonics Jolly songs

I guarantee that not only your child but you will be singing along to them in no time, they are that catchy.

If you would like to get your child to start writing too then I would recommend the Jolly Phonics workbooks:

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Do not worry if your child cannot read the words themselves, learning how to blend words together is a very tricky skill to learn. Just keep teaching them the sounds, and finally when they do learn how to blend the words together they will have learnt all the sounds they need.

 

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Mothers are from Venus, Sons are from Mars

I do not pretend to understand my son. He is 9 years old and I just don’t get him. I have two daughters and we have very different personalities, but they still make sense to me.

There is a very special bond between mother and son, and I understand that now. I see it in my mother and how she interacts with my brothers. In her eyes they can do no wrong. They still joke and have fun together whereas I have a more serious grown up relationship with my mum, where we talk. She is my go to for advice on anything, but it is a different relationship that she has with her sons and I can see that now. I don’t necessarily understand it.

I only have the one son and he is the baby of the family. I know this will affect the way we treat him and how his personality develops. Although I accept all this I still think the fact that he is a boy means that we are on different wavelengths.

I can no longer blame my mother-in-law for my husbands faults. I understand that now too.

Perhaps boys and girls need to be parented differently? Or is it that we subconsciously treat our children differently based on gender?

I think I understand now why they say that boys need male role models in their lives. I will do my best to parent my son and teach him the difference between right and wrong, but I will be doing this blindly, without really understanding how his mind works. We are fundamentally too different.