Often times, children (especially the younger ones) may not have the ability to verbalize their feelings. As a parent, it is your duty to observe them carefully for any signs of stress. Stress symptoms may be long or short – it all depends on the severity of the situation.

As a parent, you would have gone through one difficult situation or the other – but when it comes to your kids, you sometimes might not have an idea on how to help them cope with difficult circumstances.

Life will always have its ups and downs and the earlier kids know how to cope in these kinds of situations, the better for them. The first thing to do when something negative happens is to answer their questions – this helps them understand what’s happening and teach them how to cope in the future.

Often times, children (especially the younger ones) may not have the ability to verbalize their feelings. As a parent, it is your duty to observe them carefully for any signs of stress. Stress symptoms may be long or short – it all depends on the severity of the situation.

Stress symptoms may include one or a combination of the following:

  • There may be changes in eating, sleeping, or bathroom habits
  • Children may experience increased separation anxiety
  • They may experience bad dreams
  • Crying spells
  • Kids may become withdrawn
  • Increased aggressive behavior or unnecessary tantrums

How can you help your children cope with stress? Here’s what you can do:

  • Encourage kids to express their feelings. Allow them to express whatever it is they’re experiencing and let them know it is okay to feel the way they do.
  • Ensure that they follow routines as much as possible. In addition, ensure they eat healthy meals and rest adequately.
  • For older kids, allow them read books that’ll teach them about characters in stressful situations – they will learn how to cope.
  • Encourage your kids to exercise. Simple exercises such as dancing, walking and swimming can help reduce the effect of stress.

If a child isn’t adjusted properly and is still showing signs of stress after a long period of time, it is in the best interest of the child that you seek professional advice immediately.

Helping Children Deal with Traumatic Events

In traumatic situations, children often react in different ways, depending on their personality. While some continue as though nothing happened, some may experience sadness or worse still, depression. If your child is experiencing difficulty, it is important that they are provided with the love and stability to help them process and overcome the situation.

Here are some guidelines to help you:

Answer children’s questions

The aftermath of an accident or dramatic incident may leave children with a lot of questions. Just like us, kids also need their feelings acknowledged, as well as an opportunity to talk about their feelings. Also, ensure that your explanation of the event matches the child’s developmental understanding.

Reassure them as much as you can

Physical contact such as holding and hugging not only reassures your little one, it’s also a great way to help your child feel safe. In addition, you can help the child feel better about the situation and provide comfort without giving wrong information or false hopes. For example, saying “I am sure everything is going to be fine” will help to put your child’s mind to rest.

Remain observant

Ensure that you keep a watchful eye on your child even as their thoughts and feelings about the situation evolves. Listen to them, ask questions and continue to reassure them as much as you can. Most importantly, give them the opportunity to express themselves.

Remember that life comes with its challenges and it’s your duty as a parent to teach and show your child(ren) how to go through life by handling these difficult situations positively.

Becoming independent is a critical part of growth and making mistakes can be a natural phenomenon that every individual will go through. How it is handled and lessons learnt from mistakes make the difference.

When kids make mistakes, most parents can be quick to judge their incompetence and lack of maturity, but then, it is a learning curve that gives everyone the opportunity to grow and become truly independent.

According to a parenting enthusiast and mum, Gift Adokie, when kids make mistakes that embarrass or disappoint their parents, it is important for parents to learn how to overcome the feelings of failure and not take it personally.

Having worked with parents as an educator of students with severe behaviour issues, she said that parents can do everything “right” and children will still make mistakes. Mistakes are a natural part of life and critical to learning, growing, and becoming independent. Missteps and failures allow kids to gain valuable insight, develop critical thinking skills, and acquire essential traits like resilience, grit, and self-compassion.

According to Adokie: “When your child makes a mistake that disappoints or embarrasses you, berating yourself is not going to help this situation. Feeling guilty is not either. In both cases, you are taking responsibility for something that is not yours to own. If your children think you are blaming yourself for their actions or making excuses for them, that is giving them the wrong message.

“Taking time to communicate your expectations, your belief in their capability, and making a plan for moving forward is a far better way to spend your time and energy.”

Adokie stressed that it may be helpful to keep in mind that when parents take on their children’s mistakes, this becomes a detriment to their children when they get into the real world and do not know how to handle failure or take responsibility for their poor choices.

She added: “By communicating that mistakes are part of life, you also dismiss the notion that perfection is needed in life’s journey, which is also very damaging to personal growth, happiness and wellbeing. We never want our kids to believe they are failures when they experience failure.

“Commending them for owning a mistake and getting back up to try again is extremely beneficial. Sharing mistakes from your own life and how you handled them helps kids perceive you as a trusted source of support when things go wrong.”

Owning your own mistakes and apologising for them provides a powerful example for young people to follow.

She added that, above all, these are the three mistake reminders to keep in the forefront when kids make mistakes:

• How I collect myself and move forward in courage and love after making a misstep shows kids how to move forward in courage and love when they make a misstep.

• We are not the sum of our mistakes; we are not a collection of our failings; we are human and sometimes we just need a moment and every moment is a chance to start anew.

• Mistakes mean we are learning, growing, taking risks, and showing up. The day we stop making mistakes is the day we stop living. Let us live bravely, boldly, flawed, and full of hope.

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia for Guardian

“Parenting is a huge job that comes with so much responsibilities,” says Mrs. Oluwabusayo Adebowale, Director, Inspired Kids Network. You, out of love, desire to give the little humans in your life the best you can afford, you vow to propel them to heights you never attained and see that they become the best that they can be.

This can make parents place perfectionist demands on children. So many parents fall into the trap of comparing children’s developmental milestones. Nothing crashes a child’s self-esteem as fast as direct or indirect comparison with another. The truth is, when you start comparing your child to others, you’ll lose sight of the unique attributes of your child. Children are unique and special in their own way.

“Frankly speaking, the educational system of our country Nigeria has also contributed to this problem, as the emphasis on paper qualification or certification over actual abilities is a major sponsor. Even schools have bought into this philosophy as even toddlers write exams and are graded by position. For this reason, so many parents are desperate to see their children measure up on paper.”

Adebowale said that recently, a mother on a support community for mothers she belongs to, recounted how her husband met a home-schooled toddler who blew his mind away with his knowledge level. “This young child of 21 months could identify his colours, shapes, numbers and could communicate in long fluent sentences. Her husband suddenly felt that their 22-two-month old son who could count up to 30, loved to sing, knew his alphabets and could communicate in a few words was not measuring up. This is the story of many parents, they begin to place unreasonable expectations on children instead of celebrating their uniqueness and letting them learn at their pace.

“They start getting worried that a three-month old isn’t sitting, a 10-month old isn’t walking, a one-year-old has just two teeth, an 18-month-old isn’t talking fluently and so on. Parenting on the overdrive places undue pressure on children to perform. What then happens when they are not able to perform?

“I remember my elder brother slunked into depression and began to contemplate suicide because he had an extra session in the university. Can you blame him? We were brought up with the notion that you were as good as your performance. I hear my dad’s voice in my head now and some of his words ‘Bury your head in your books!’ ‘Why should you come second in class? Does the first person have two heads?’ My father did the best he could at the time, given what he knew. However, we have to do better with the children God has committed into our hands.”The parenting enthusiast and mum noted that some children actually go through the motions and amass knowledge but are oblivious on how to apply it unfortunately.

She continued: “Isn’t that why we have graduates with sparkling certificates in Nigeria who cannot defend their certificates with commensurate practical output? The purpose of knowledge is for life application. Life is more practical than theoretical; if your children have practical wisdom then the theories will just be a piece of cake. Can we teach our children to know things first for the purpose of learning, put the brakes on perfectionism and comparison while celebrating their every effort?

“As a parent its always easy to talk about the things your child is doing right while parading them as a trophy, but what happens when the child doesn’t meet the set expectations? Personally, I think the real challenge of parenting is loving and celebrating our children through their low points. Children who have not learnt to assess challenges and failures well will grow into adults with low self-esteem.

“I strongly believe that if we can groom self-confident children who don’t see a fall as their end, but will rise back with dignity no matter how hard they fall, then we have tried. As parents we need to examine our motives always as over-driving perfectionism parenting could be played out even subconsciously,” Mrs. Adebowale concluded.

As parents or caregivers, we want our children to grow strong and healthy. We also want them to have healthy confidence and self-esteem. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we may do things that actually hurt our children’s confidence and self-esteem instead of helping it.
Here are five ways parents can kill children’s confidence:

. Comparing them to others: 
Instead of motivating your child to improve, comparisons will most likely make your child have low self-esteem. It is never a good idea to draw comparisons between siblings or those within their peer group. Children need to know that they are accepted and loved for who they are, not because they are better or not as “good” as another. You do not want them to feel like they have to act like someone else to get your approval.

. Always solving their problems for them: 
Constantly solving a child’s problems or correcting their mistakes deprives them of a chance to learn, mature and develop self-confidence. This will ruin their chances of developing the skills and confidence required to navigate through life. When children solve their problems, even if they do not get it right, it is a great way to learn problem-solving skills.
Also, are you in the habit of speaking up for your child even when they are old enough to speak for themselves? This can make your child become withdrawn and lose confidence in their ability to speak for themselves. Allow your child to express themselves both in private and in public.

. Always shouting and nagging about their mistakes
Shouting at your children when helping them out with homework, or teaching them a skill can kill their confidence. As a parent, you have to be patient with your child. Making mistakes is an integral part of a child’s learning and growth process. At some point when you ask a question, they will be too scared to answer because of your shouting habit. Always correct them with care and make them feel that they can do it. But don’t over-pamper them. Teaching your child to accept mistakes and failures positively is a good way to go about things. There is a great deal of value in recognizing when you make a mistake and then correcting it.

. Making fun of their physical differences:
Many parents want their kids to be physically and emotionally flawless. They often view their children’s physical and emotional differences as imperfections to be corrected and/or changed. However, this has the opposite effect and gives the child a permanently poor body and self-image. Some young children have become anorexic just to escape being called “fat” while others become obese to avoid being called “skinny winky.” Most often than not, namecalling affects children’s self-esteem. These days, teenage girls cannot wait to turn 18, so that they can go in for surgery.

Focus on building your child up and preaching positivity. Instead of pointing out their flaws, help them develop their positive characteristics. Teach your child that no one is flawless and that everyone makes mistakes.

. Living your life through them and planning their careers:
There are parents who plan their children’s lives from birth to marriage to career and beyond based on what they want for themselves. They believe that they are making their kids’ lives easier and less stressful. However, they are doing irreparable damage and making their kids quite dependent and indecisive regarding the simplest life choices. Many people are living their parents’ lives, not their own authentic lives, much to their regret.

It is okay to set some boundaries and steer your child in a direction you’d like to see them go in, but let them have some independence. Support the choices they make and the lifestyles they want to live.

. Denying them your attention:
Children need and crave love and affection that only their parents can give. Not being there for your children creates “emotional neediness” in them. Some of these children crave and look for a “mother” and “father” figure in other people which could sometimes lead to abuse. Be intentional about spending time with your children. This might be difficult since we all live busy, stressful lives and have endless concerns as parents. However, give your children all your attention, some of the time! Whenever you have time to spend with your children, ensure that they have all your attention. The occasional hugs, kisses and “I love you” should also not be forgotten.

Sleep training is basically a process of helping a baby learn to sleep well, teaching your child how to sleep independently without help like rocking, backing, nursing, carrying, etc., which usually adds to your stress as a parent.

While we all understand the importance of food to the body, we fail to realise that sleep is more important, and is an essential part of human development. In fact, it is possible to go days without food, but just try going three or four nights in a row without sleep and you just might start hallucinating. Yes! That’s how dangerous lack of sleep is.

Now, as a parent, when you’ve not had enough consolidated sleep, consecutively for say three days, how do you feel? Tired, cranky, exhausted, unproductive—the list is exhaustive. The same can be said for kids. Imagine what your children go through each day when they are not having enough sleep, especially four-month-olds and above.

Benefits of good consolidated sleep

  • They are more alert at school, and easily grasp and comprehend things. Yes, children tend to be forgetful because, of course, they are kids. But their attention span and comprehension is better when they have slept properly.
  • Increase in concentration level is also noticeably better.
  • They are physically and emotionally healthy, as the brain repairs and recovery takes place during consolidated sleep period.
  • The growth hormone in children is developed adequately during sleep.
  • Mummy time becomes possible. I mean, imagine putting your feet up after a long day, with a glass of wine while reading a book, watching your favourite TV show or catching up on BellaNaija. Of course, your child must be fast asleep for you to truly enjoy it.
  • Extra bonding time with your partner. Now, for me this is just the icing on the cake! Who doesn’t love bonding time with zero interruption from your little one.

Some of the things holding us back include:

Co-sleeping with your child
While this may be seen as bonding in the beginning, it is a long term recipe for disaster, because you’ll never be able to get enough sleep.

Guilt as a working parent
You know those times you tell yourself you’re just going to bond with your child, but really you’re just bonding with your phone after a long day.

Sometimes, we are just so impatient to put the child to sleep. You just don’t want to stop what you’re doing at the expense of your child’s health.

Easily give in to your child
Your child wants to continue watching cartoons till 11 PM, and you agree so he/she doesn’t cry or disturb your peace. This is wrong whichever way you look at it. Who is the parent, who is the child?

5 signs to know your child’s sleep pattern needs to be improved:

  • Your child throws too many unnecessary tantrums. We sometimes wrongfully assume that it is “normal” for kids to throw tantrums, but it really isn’t.
  • Your child cries too much, especially in the mornings.
  • If you have to wake the child up in the mornings, and the child is refusing to wake up or sleepy till he or she is ready for school.
  • You are in and out of hospital many days, except your child has a form of health challenge.
  • You aren’t as productive as you should be as a mum.

Creating a sleep pattern for your child needs consistency and a realistic sleep routine. When you are having a bit of challenge creating a consolidated sleep pattern for your child, as a child psychologist who is also a sleep consultant, I just advise parents to sleep train the child.

Sleep training is basically a process of helping a baby learn to sleep well, teaching your child how to sleep independently without help like rocking, backing, nursing, carrying, etc., which usually adds to your stress as a parent.

Children need, depending on their ages, an average of about ten to fourteen hours of consolidated (uninterrupted) sleep every day, while newborns need about fourteen to sixteen hours. I hear some mums say, I wasn’t sleep trained or taught to sleep and I grew up great, why should I teach my child to sleep? But what we forget as parents is that life sleep trained us.

Remember in those days there were no gadgets, DSTV, YouTube, unlimited access to internet. Children’s TV stations closed 7 PM. Your parents went to bed after the 10 PM news. There was no generator and when power went off, everyone retired to bed. So we were sleeping well and having uninterrupted sleep.

Fast forward to this digital age with everything 24 hours. 24 hours access to the internet, generator, TV, phones, etc. This lifestyle is greatly affecting our sleep pattern, thus affecting the quality of our sleep and health.

That is why it’s necessary to help your child develop a great sleep pattern now. Imagine their lives ten years down the line if nothing is done now in this digital age.

If your child isn’t having enough sleep, or you as a mum aren’t, you’re harming both of you. Is this what you really want? Or would you like to do something about it today? Think about it.

Source: Bellanaija

Last year, my daughter saw me scribbling fast on my notepad and wanted to know what I was up to. I told her about my New Year resolutions and she was interested in writing hers, said Rita Bada, lead speaker for a teens-based outfit called Riospeaks.

“So, together, we embarked on a project of writing her New Year resolutions. She wrote down things she wanted to accomplish the next year and how to accomplish them. So far, she did accomplish most of them and I am glad we did it together.”

According to history, the ancient Babylonians are said to have been the first people to make New Year resolutions, some 4000 years ago. New Year resolutions have to do with making goals that we want to carry out in a new year. In summary, they are promises we make in order to live a better life. It is not enough to make resolutions. We must state the objectives of that goal.

The foremost teen coach stressed that children are certainly not left out, “I believe that great things start with small beginnings and as such children should be encouraged to start now so that as they grow older, it becomes a part of them. There is no better time than now to teach your children why and when they should write their New Year resolutions. From an early age, it teaches them to be purpose driven, focused and goal-oriented. This goes with them as they grow into adulthood.

Bada noted that when her daughter wrote down her resolutions, she pasted it on the wall and it was a constant reminder of what she was supposed to do from time to time. It guarded her daily actions because she had a column where she ticked done after she had accomplished any, and where she missed one she tried to make up for it. This really helped her to understand the importance of goal- setting.

It is important that parents guide their children in making New Year resolutions by intentionally having a simple conversation about it and then help them put it into writing with colourful descriptions and pictures. An example is, if the goal is to live a healthier life, then state when and how many times, snacks is taken to school in a week.

Here are five simple tips to help you and your child in keeping your New Year resolution.

Be Realistic: When setting New Year resolutions, be realistic. Do not set goals you know your child cannot attain. Make smart (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals.

Outline your plan: After you must have decided on the goal, it is important that you outline steps that will help in achieving that goal. For example, if your child wants to be the best in his class, then there is a need to draw up a personal timetable and reduce TV time or time spent on social media.

Track your progress: It is important to have an assessment tool. Find a way of measuring your child’s success from time to time. You might need to talk to his teacher about his performance, constantly review homework together and find better ways to improve.

Celebrate small wins: There is a need to constantly reward your child when you see improvements especially in the achievement of their New Year resolutions. Get a small gift or take him out. This will further boost his morale to do more and stay motivated.

Stick to it: Sometimes, it’s easy for children to lose focus. It is our duty as parents to guide them through the process of achieving their New Year resolutions by encouraging them always.

Bada noted that children should be allowed to make age appropriate resolutions; an example is you cannot expect your five-year old to wash the toilet, but you can expect him to tidy his room by making sure all his toys are neatly kept away. “I want to urge every parent out there to remember that when it comes to resolution, it is important to lead by example.”

Source: Guardian Woman

The days of motherhood and careers being an “either/or” are long gone. Currently, having both simultaneously is the standard, and women are taking things to the next level. Women aren’t only balancing motherhood and career–they’re balancing motherhood and entrepreneurship, exuding a whole new level of determination, management, and commitment.

From the outside looking in, it may seem like these “mompreneurs” have it easy. They can create their own schedules, govern their workloads accordingly, and have it all, in one place, at one time. On the surface, that seems simple enough, but mompreneurs have revealed that looking easy and being easy are two different ball games.

How do these mothers do it well? Here are a few tricks of the trade:

1. Find your groove.

Though motherhood may come naturally to some people, with entrepreneurship, it might take time for you to find your knack. There are several moving parts to starting and maintaining a business, and typically you won’t discover many of those parts until you do. Allow discovery to be a part of the process; take one day at a time to continuously build, until you’re grooving right along.

2. Manage your time well.

Create a reasonable schedule for yourself and try to adhere to it. If you happen to get off course, that’s perfectly fine. Just find your way back. Managing time for your business and your family not only makes you feel like you’re turning all of your stones, but you’ll also be impressed by the pay-off of investing in both.

RELATED: Meet The Black Woman Entrepreneur Who Created The First Ever Ride-Sharing App For People With Health Problems And Disabilities

3. Whoever says you must always do it all, knows nothing.

Don’t, for a second, be afraid to ask for help. If you need a lending hand on the home or business front, ask someone you trust to do so. What you need to know firsthand, as a mother and an entrepreneur, is that your assistance is your golden ticket. Finding another set of hands that is willing to dig into your responsibility pot makes the load a lot lighter. Teamwork is what makes this dream work.

4. Don’t underestimate passion.

Build a business that you love, as sometimes that love will have to be the driving force. Find something you’re really passionate about, so your work won’t feel as daunting as it could. Loving what you do offers personal fulfillment, reduces the stress of the work, and can help sustain your energy.

5. Let yourself off of the hook.

Sometimes balls drop, and that has to be okay. Situations change, schedules alter, things don’t always go exactly as planned, but motherhood has prepared you for anticipating the unexpected. Try not to be too hard on yourself if your superwoman cape starts to wrinkle. Look at unforeseen circumstances as opportunities to be innovative, to learn, and test your adaptability.

Source: Black Enterprise

Greatly concerned with the safety of children and their use of social media, a group of people, Project Open Eyes, came together recently and conducted a survey of over 2000 children in select secondary schools in Lagos State, to understand how they make use of digital devices to access social media.The survey, the first of its kind in Nigeria in terms of content and scale, targeted children between the ages of 13 to16 and was conducted in the light of the fact that children are increasingly owning mobile devices, using the Internet and joining several social networks that might be harmful to them. The goal of the survey was to have relevant facts relating to what children are exposed to online and how they react to it.

At the end of the survey, nine out of every 10 of the teenagers sampled said that they own mobile phones that can access the Internet and said phones were bought for them by their parents. Others got theirs from friends or boyfriends and girlfriends.

Enquiries into what they use the Internet for showed that academics/research and entertainment are the main reasons children go online. Other reasons include playing games, watching videos and movies, listening to music, and downloading content. Many of them also say that they go online to read news, read biographies of individuals that interest them, and some of them blog.

The children were found to also be heavy social media users. Altogether, they use over 70 social media networks, chat apps and even dangerous dating sites. Facebook is the most used social network among the children surveyed followed by WhatsApp, then Instagram. 34% have a Twitter account and 35% use BBM.

Interestingly, while Facebook’s policy is that only people 13 years and above could join, most of the children surveyed had joined the network by 8-9 years. This simply means that they lied about their ages in order to join. Furthermore, nine out of every 10 that have Facebook accounts say their parents are aware.

More worrisome is the fact that 77% of the children say that they do not know all their Facebook friends but were willing to hook up. Not surprisingly, 68% of the girls surveyed said that a male stranger had tried to start a conversation with them online. When asked what they do when strangers contact them online, at least one in two girls say that they first discuss with the strangers to find out what they want, 30% of them say that they sometimes block the strangers and just 12% of the girls say that they always block or ignore such advances.

At least one in two girls surveyed say that they have received an offer to date from someone they have only met online. One in every five girls that have received such offer has said ‘Yes’. The implication is that 13, 14, 15 and 16-year-old girls are dating persons that they have never seen face-to-face and their parents don’t know and seven out of every 10 of them say that they would not allow an adult read their chats or messages.

It was also found that many of these young ones are exposed to pornography. While 72% of the girls have seen pornography online without looking for it, 67% of the girls have experienced same. However, 46% of the boys and 24% of the girls surveyed have intentionally visited a pornographic site or accessed pornography online.

One out of every two of the girls surveyed say that someone online had tried to have a sexually explicit conversation with them. One out of every eight of the boys surveyed say that they have been asked online to send a nude picture of themselves while one out of every four girls said same. 7% of the girls who had received such requests admitted that they had sent a nude picture of themselves to someone online they do not physically know.

One in two of the teenagers surveyed say that they use social media daily while one in five claim they spend over seven hours online daily. Only one in four children say that their parents place some form of restriction on their mobile phone use. 92% say that their parents are on social media and 8% of the children whose parents use social media, say that their parents’ use of social media affects time that they should devote to them.

One out of every three of all the children surveyed think that social media negatively affects time they should spend studying. 12% of the boys and 2% of the girls report that they have been involved in online betting and dubious deals online that their parents do not know of.


By: Tobi Awodipe for Guardian.ng



Good morning, mamas. How was school resumption yesterday? How many of you shouted Halleluyah? You see yoursefs? ?

I’m back today with school lunch. Because of our children. Because of you mothers.

What are we feeding our children? The healthiest meals are balanced meals. Every food group is needed by their bodies. The trick is to add each in balanced quantities.

I also don’t believe children should not eat sweet things, except maybe for specific health reasons. But it should not be an everyday thing and I believe in making those sweet treats myself so I know exactly what goes inside.

The School Lunch Menu contains all the above with easy preparation methods and prep ahead tips. That is your own part. You don’t have to worry anymore what to pack in your children’s school lunch. How to balance their meals. How to cook varieties. How to make all those tantalizing meals.

Everything has been sorted out for you. For N2,000.

For everyone who has been inquiring, there are currently 3 payment options available for The School Lunch Menu:

– PayPal for International Payments
– Paystack for Local Online Payments
– GTB for Direct Bank Transfer

All the payment options are on this link – http://lagoshousewife.com/recipe-books/school-lunch-menu-timetable-recipes/

Please send me an email after payment so I can send you your copy.
My email address is also included in the link.

Don’t forget, The School Lunch Menu is an e-book in PDF format and will be sent to your email after payment. So your location is no hindrance. If you have an email address or a whatsapp number, you will get your copy.

Follow my instagram account https://instagram.com/lagoshousewife  for more pictures of school meals prepared by me for my children

****This was posted  for free in line with our vision to support female owned businesses and showcase their work for free every Tuesday through our #EmpowerTuesday initiative.