Child Centered Parenting versus Parent Centered Parenting

Proud Mommy Moment Naomi Mc Laughlan 14 June 2017

To be or not to be….or the chicken and the egg question comes to mind, doesn’t it?

Since my son Jason has turned 20 yesterday, I have reflected upon the past 20 years of parenthood and the experiences I have accumulated over the years…

His first smile, first word, first step, first birthday, first day at kindergarten, first day at school etc. So many pressures memories, almost unbelievable how fast the time has passed!

I also noticed how many other parents I have encountered; during pre-birth classes, at nursery, kindergarten, school and hobby groups, as well as my son’s friendship cycle. Many different approaches to parenting, many little lives influenced on how their parents conducted the ‘parenting game of life’.

I have learned that some focus their approach around the child, value the little person as a unique individual who cannot conform to ‘norms’, but rather allow them to flourish and explore the world, while the parent (s) organise their lives based on their child’s needs and wants.

Meanwhile, I have also met many parents who ‘add their child on’ to their life, life style and general way of approaching their day-to-day. By for example, continuing their life’s pretty much as prior to having had the child; they continue their work schedule and leisure time and manage their child’s day by delegating childcare either between each other and also towards family members or childcare providers, friends and other children entertaining activities. They continue to meet up with friends and when they go out as a family they base their choice on what they (the parent(s)) would like to do, not their child. Interestingly, those parents often wonder why their child ‘misbehaves’ e.g. can’t sit still in an adult centred restaurant and even doesn’t like the food served or during a show that they are not interested in.

In my opinion, there is no ‘right or wrong’ type of parenting, as each child is so different, even within the same family. My three children are entirely different and truly need and want very different approaches, not just based on their age, but also based on their individual interests and personal preferences.

However, I do think that parents need to pause and reflect on a regular basis, to spot issues asap, to avoid taking a route that is damaging for the child or even for themselves.

I have met mums who constantly hover over their kids, completely lose their sense of self and practically live solely to please their children. Or mums and dads who feel burdened when they ‘should or have to’ spend extended times with their kids, buy as many toys as they can and yet still find little to no connection, while those children have no interest in their countless toys and are constantly bored. Both are unhealthy in my opinion, as both will lead to heart ache in the long run, for all involved.

In my parenting, I have always tried to balance between the two and learned that this approach is best, not just for my eldest, but also for my younger two girls. For example, when we want to eat somewhere together, we choose a buffet (most often Chinese) or simply McD’s (although their veggie menu is limited), as the first offers the option to choose food everyone likes and the second that the children (almost) cannot ‘misbehave’ (be a child, move around and not noise restricted), as it clearly is a child centred food outlet (balloons, crayons and paper and toys included). Another example is that while I drive and drop my kids to their hobby sessions (ballet, judo etc.), I either take a book with me and read while they enjoy their sessions, chat with another mum while drinking a nice cup of coffee or listen to an audiobook. I use these pockets of time to also enjoy the time, so that I don’t feel that I am ‘just the Taxi’.

I do have to admit though, that if I had to honestly evaluate which side I am on, I would consider my parenting approach to be child centered, and I guess that has come from learning experiences of the past 20 years; If you try to enjoy an adult type activity, don’t force a child to enjoy it and vice versa. Although, I do actually enjoy many child centered activities, e.g Disney and Co.

I had my son very early in my life, so I guess that is another reason why I enjoy the child centered approach, as I was so young I had not yet established a ‘me first’ e.g. ‘selfish way of life style’ that may have led me to feel ‘disturbed’ by my child’s needs and wants. Instead, as I wanted to traveled the world, for example, I chose places and hotels etc. which would entertain both of us. In addition, as I had my second child 5 years later and then my third another 6 years later, the child centered approach made even more sense, the bigger the family became. Which led to many decisions, including to homeschool, to start my business six years ago, working from home serving customers around the world and writing business and children books.

I would love to read your thoughts on this! Have you found a parenting approach that works well? If so, please share it in the comment section below. Thanks 😉

All the Best,

Naomi xxx

P.S.: Enjoy every second of being a parent!

Homeschooling Your Preschool Child

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Each child has unique interests and learning needs, not to mention attention spans. Therefore, if you are wondering whether homeschooling is suitable for your child or children, it is best to do an initial evaluation of what your preschool child’s needs are.

Several online resources provide lesson suggestions for preschoolers. You may find these materials very helpful. However, consider them only as a guide to give your child’s learning some direction. It is highly advised to be aware of the learners’ interests, be it an inclination to writing, sports, arts and crafts, or any other subject. You can then incorporate these interests into your list of “things that a home schooled child should know.”

For different age groups of children, you may need to employ different methods and techniques for homeschooling. And in order to know which methods and activities best suits your child under a specific age group, this short list may be of help.

Children of age 2 are found to be the most difficult. The child often gets bored and at times frustrated when being taught. Stimuli are needed in order to catch their interests. Children of this age group are most eager to learn, often walking around, and climbing steps. Common behaviors of this age include self-centeredness and possessiveness. Their sense of humor also develops. Do activities relating to these capabilities of the child.

Homeschooling a 3 year old is even more trying. At this point, the child is more physical in affection and in play. They don’t mind change, love having friends to play with, and they take verbal instructions very well. Use these to stimulate them to participate in learning activities. At this age, they are already capable of communicating their needs.

Children of age 4 are usually capable of working with scissors, hopping around on one foot or skipping. They start to learn to draw and possess a lot of physical energy. Let them try new things, as this will be their number one interest. They are very imaginative so give them an opportunity to develop and express this creativity.

Remember that all children grow at their own rate,

and in their own ways.

To achieve maximum benefits for the home schooled preschooler, you should trust your child’s own intuition of their momentary needs and wants and give them sufficient freedom to explore, inquire, and ultimately learn.

I invite you to take part in the Professional Home Educator Academy, which is an online based training program for parents who like to set up a successful home-school environment. I have been a homeschooling mum of three for many years now, and I have highly enjoyed every step of it.In the program I share not only my experience, but also easy to follow steps and strategies on how you can make homeschooling integrate into your own family setup.

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Let me know what you think in the comment section below!
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All the Best,
Naomi xxx

How do Children learn best?

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Have you ever asked yourself what the best approach may be to teach your children new knowledge and skills?

Especially if you are a homeschooling parent like me, this thought may have crossed you mind too.

I have prepared an outline for you, including the learning theories and styles which are most referred to and associated with learning.


How children learn best NaomiMcLaughlan 3

Learning through Sensory Stimulation

According to the sensory stimulations theory effective learning occurs when the senses are stimulated. In relation to this theory the VARK questionnaire was established which tests a persons’ preference for learning best. Most people are multimodal learners which basically means that they prefer all learning styles, Visual, Aural, Read/Write, Kinesthetic, but some more than others.

Children learn best if their senses are stimulated while learning and this could be achieved by changing learning materials and learning activities to keep them actively interested in the lesson. In Waldorf schools children form letters out of play dough and experiment a lot with different materials during their lessons. Some of these lessons take place on the actual place of action, for example a visit to a farm to learn about the work as a farmer and the animals.


Learning through Reinforcement

The reinforcement theory developed by B.F. Skinner outlines that desired behaviour will be learned by positive reinforcement in the form of rewards, either verbally or through tangible rewards. Some schools use this technique by mentioning how well a child has done something to the child directly or written under the child’s work. During assemblies special certificates are handed out to children who have done especially well during the week, most of these certificates are for rewarding good behaviour in class or during break time. This way of reinforcement can easily be incorporated for a home educated child.


Learning through Facilitation

The humanist approach or facilitation theory, outlines that learning will occur by the educator acting as a facilitator, which means that children have a natural eagerness to learn and will do so, if the teacher (parent) and learning environment offers a stimulating atmosphere. This approach is the basis of Montessori schools worldwide, which was founded by the Italian educator and physician Maria Montessori. Children are inquisitive from birth onwards; they try to understand the world around them; by asking chain questions, trying something new, and keeping themselves busy all day long.


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Learning in a Homeschool Environment

Home schooling works wonderfully by using a mix of learning styles and approaches to engage your child during a lesson, because sometimes one approach could work for some children but maybe not for all children.

Most children enjoy experiencing new concepts, engaging in a new activity and  using their imagination to solve a problem. Their interest can be enhanced when they are able to access a variety of media, in form of books, brochures or EBooks, looking at or producing posters, graphs and videos during the teaching sessions.

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If you are not a home educator yet, but would like to start homeschooling your child or children, I invite you to visit the ‘Professional Home Educator Academy‘, which will help you to set up a successful home-school environment.

All the Best,

Naomi xxx

Why teaching your child multisensory simultaneous helps her/his brain to function at its best!

In all activities both sides of the brain are used to a greater or lesser extent.

However some people use one side of the brain more than the other side of the brain.

Brain Facts:

  • The emotional and long-term memory part of our brain is called the Limbic System.
  • The brain is divided into left and right hemispheres; it’s called the Neo Cortex.

The logical left hemisphere helps us with;

  • numbers
  • reading
  • writing
  • logic language
  • sequencing
  • fine detail

The creative right hemisphere helps us to;

  • visualise
  • see, recognise and appreciate  images and pictures
  • see, recognise and appreciate  art and design
  • appreciate music
  • to see patterns

The aim is to connect the hemispheres, although the two sides operate in different ways.

We can retrieve information easily, if we can learn in variety of ways. The best way to learn and remember things well is when we can use our emotions while we learn something new.

Children as well as adults use a combination of learning styles.

What are Learning Styles?

Most prefer to learn using only one or two of these ways. If we can learn to use both sides of the neo cortex (whole brain learning).By using different learning styles, learning will improve. Everyone has a preferred learning style.

  • Visual learners like to see pictures, moving images, colour and diagrams.
  • Auditory learners like to hear voices and sounds.
  • Kinaesthetic learners like use touch to learn, they move around and to do things practically.Image

What about concentration?

The concentration span is higher at the beginning of a lesson, children lose concentration after some time, and they may misbehave and stop learning. Especially for young children it is hard to sit still and listen for a long period of time.Image

Baking numbers and letters is one way how I teach my little one multisensory simultaneous –  with lots of fun.  Here is what you need for up to 40 cookies;

Vegan Maple Oat Cookies

110g margarine

125g sugar

3-4 table spoons Maple Syrup

2 table spoons sparking water

200g self-rising flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

100g porridge oats

1. Preheat oven to 180’C/350’F/gas4.

2. Cover a couple of large baking trays with baking paper.

3. Mix the margarine and sugar together in a mixing bowl until creamy.

4. Add the Maple Syrup, flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt.Image

5. Now add the sparkling water and the oats.

6. Knead the dough until it is nice and firm.

7. Dust your hands, rolling pin and your work surface.

8. Roll out the dough until it’s about ½ cm thick.

9. Use Number or Letter Cutters to make shapes and transfer them to the trays.Image

10. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy!!!

Naomi xxx

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