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welcome to nurture 101!

More About Encouragement

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Welcome to the newest site within the emotional feelings network of sites!
 
nurture 101!
 
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what's the definition of nurture?

en*cour*age*ment
 
  1. The act of encouraging; incitement to action or to practice; as, the encouragement of youth in generosity. All generous encouragement of arts. - Otway.
  2. That which serves to incite, support, promote, or advance, as favor, countenance, reward, etc.; incentive; increase of confidence; as, the fine arts find little encouragement among a rude people.

    To think of his paternal care, Is a most sweet encouragement to prayer. --Byron.

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Finding Hidden Equity

I don’t know about you, but I am getting seriously bored with all this downturn talk. Next time someone directs the conversation towards doom and gloom, either stick your fingers in your ears or help them find some hidden equity.

One of the big problems with incessant talk of recession and the ever-growing language of ’sliding business confidence’, is that it’s very easy to fall into the trap where our only measurement of success is financial. If we’re not careful we can overlook the many other areas of our work and life where we are building value. Areas where we are, in effect, hiding equity.

Let’s start with business. In pretty well every small business I have seen there resides an aspect of value that the business owner has probably never paused to acknowledge.

Whether it’s intellectual property amassed through years of experience and training, a database of contacts, or recognition and profile of a brand. Value and equity exist to some degree in every business and we shouldn’t forget this when dark clouds appear.

The clouds will pass. The value will remain.

Outside of work, we are growing and nurturing equity in many, many places. Not the kind of equity we will trade for grubby old cash. This equity is far more important than that.

I’m talking about the personal equity we grow through our relationships. The equity we build in our children and the equity we build in ourselves through constant learning.

So when a friend or colleague tries to enroll you in dialogue about all things miserable, take them on the trail of hidden equity. Or stick your fingers in your ears.

Robert Gerrish is a coach and professional speaker and the founder of Flying Solo (www.flyingsolo.com.au), Australia's online community for solo and micro business owners. His co-authored book, Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business is an Australian business bestseller.
 
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Early Childhood: It's Important to Encourage Reading
Angela Oswalt, MSW, Natalie Staats Reiss, Ph.D and Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

There is a magical time between ages 3 to 7 when children expand out beyond verbal communication and start to develop written language skills as well. It's an amazing transformation. Very young children can identify letters and sound them out. Eventually, older children learn to identify common words, and then start to write and read on their own.

One of the most lasting ways caregivers can impact their children's overall success and joy is by instilling in them a love and passion for reading. Learning how to read and write opens up limitless opportunities for children, giving them an entirely new way to communicate, to expand their imagination, and to learn new information. Moreover, if children learn to enjoy reading, they will further develop reading skills on their own and not see it as a chore or difficult task to avoid.

Caregivers can encourage the love of reading in their children in many ways. First and foremost, adults should read in front of and to their children. Kids should see Mom and Dad reading pleasure books, recipes, how-to manuals, magazines, newspapers, and signs out in the community.

Once children have started learning to read on their own, caregivers can encourage them along in this process by asking them to help identify street names, addresses, food labels, store signs, and so on. Next, books and reading should be incorporated into the daily life of the family.

A nightly bedtime story or a weekly library trip can be a fun "reading ritual". In addition, many libraries also host free or low cost literacy events such as story readings and summer reading programs.

Finally, age-appropriate books should be easily accessible to everyone in the home. For example, simple board books with lots of colorful pictures should be stored on low shelves within easy reach of toddlers. Older children should have bookshelves in their bedrooms (or other dedicated yet convenient book areas) for current reading material and library books that are next on the reading list.

Caregivers should not worry about buying the latest books at expensive prices. Free or inexpensive children's books can be obtained at used bookstores, thrift stores, or garage sales. As well, all families (and children who are old enough) should have library cards which offer free access to library books and media.

As much as possible, trips to the library should allow children time to roam and explore the aisles and select materials that are new and interesting (as well as selecting favorite stories or authors).

Parents should not push their children too hard when they're learning to read. Many caregivers care so much about helping their children to read that they may give their children extra reading homework assignments or mandate a certain number of minutes that children must read every day.

Though well intentioned, such assignments can backfire and end up causing reading to be seen by children as an onerous chore. Caregivers need to gage children's receptivity to reading and respond appropriately.

While it is good to try to motivate children to be interested in important activities like reading, their enthusiasm for such activities needs to be kept as genuine and internally motivated as possible.

Should they start feeling pushed, rushed, or otherwise forced to engage in cognitive tasks like reading, their enthusiasm may be squashed. As is the case when helping to promote other aspects of children's development, caregivers should take care to stay calm and relaxed while working with their children.

Caregivers who have concerns about their children's reading or writing skills should talk to their children's teachers for support and ideas about how to help. They should also make certain that children are not having problems due to a medical or physical problem such as poor eyesight or hearing difficulty.

Children who continue to struggle with or to resist reading and writing even after their vision and hearing have been tested and corrected (if necessary) may have a learning disability. Testing conducted by an appropriately trained psychologist may be necessary to pinpoint the source of a particular child's problem.

Having a learning disability doesn't mean that a child is unintelligent. Children with learning disabilities have average or above-average IQ (intelligence) scores as often as do non-disabled children. What makes them different is that their brains simply process written or spoken information differently than other children.

As a result, these children may benefit from specific non-mainstream teaching strategies and/or special classroom environments that are adapted to the unique ways they process written information. In many states, local public school districts are mandated to provide such special education to children who need it (although the quality of such special programs varies dramatically district by district). Talk with your children's teachers and with the school psychologist for more information.

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Encouragement

Families that practice encouragement promote one another’s growth and development, helping each family member reach his or her full potential. These families structure family life so that members can develop intellectually, physically, spiritually, and socially.

Members of strong families feel they really belong in their family. Family members feel accepted for what they are and promote one another’s self-esteem. They celebrate each other’s successes and help each other learn from mistakes.

Strong families spend time together, but also give their members privacy. For example, family members encourage one another to become involved in individual hobbies, extracurricular activities, and relationships outside the family.

Activities outside the family help foster the development of skills and maturity needed to be self-sufficient. In fact, one national study found that encouragement of independence is associated with fewer behavior problems among youth. All family members are given the opportunity to develop their own identity as a unique and separate person.

There are many ways to foster encouragement at home:

Discovering Talents. Consider holding a family night to help family members discover their gifts or talents. Help them understand that a major purpose for talents is to benefit others, as well as for our own enjoyment.

On a sheet of paper, have family members list things they feel they are good at. Children frequently list obvious talents such as music or athletics. Help them be aware that skills such as listening and being compassionate are also talents that should be celebrated and that can be developed. Look for these hidden talents in your children and point them out.

Encourage family members to develop their talents. Have them select a talent they would like to work on during a specified period of time. Provide opportunities for all to share their talents inside and outside the home.

Strength Bombardment.” At the dinner table or during a family night, take turns sharing with each other the positive traits that make each family member special. Focusing on assets and strengths helps build feelings of self and family worth.

Encouraging Words. Sometimes life gets rough and we need all the encouragement we can get. An encouraging word from a family member can really come in handy. Think of some things you might say to a family member, like these:

“Good luck on your exam!”

“Smile! You look great in braces!”

“You are great with your hands. You’ll do great on that science project.”

Put the words on sticky notes or on 3 x 5 cards you have cut in half. Tuck or stick them in places where they can be found, such as on bathroom mirrors, or in lunch sacks, briefcases, and shirt pockets.

Homework and Hobby Connections. Set aside time to help children with homework or other projects they are involved in, such as learning a new craft.

Sharing Talents in the Community. Attend activities where family members are sharing their talents, such as music recitals and school plays.

Quiet Time. Structure the home environment so that both parents and children can pursue individual activities. For example, one area of the home could be designated as a “quiet place” during the evening for homework, reading, and other quiet projects.

For Further Reading:

Fantastic Families: 6 Proven Steps to Building a Strong Family
by Nick and Nancy Stinnett, Joe and Alice Beam

The Intentional Family: Simple Rituals to Strengthen Family Ties
by William J. Doherty

Additional Websites

Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service Website - Arkansas Families
http://www.arfamilies.org/

Children, Youth, and Families Education and Research Network (CYFERnet) at www.cyfernet.org includes has practical, research-based information from the nation’s leading universities. Includes hundreds of articles on early childhood, school-age children, teens, parent and family, as well as community.

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