Advancing Your Career – Effectively Asking for a Pay Increase

Advancing Your Career!

Evaluating your vocation

The first preparation step in getting a raise is to assess where you are in your career, and where you are headed. In my consulting and coaching practice, I meet a lot of accomplished, talented people. They got their BA, dove into their first jobs, maybe collected a Masters or an MBA along the way, and perhaps they also added a certification or two, and how about a family while we are at it. By the time they reach me, they are often exhausted and frustrated about losing track of their goals and aspirations, and no longer sure about their self-worth, let alone their market worth.
So, no matter where you are in your career, it is imperative to take a reflective pause from time to time, and reacquaint yourself with you; your values, your goals, and your strengths, skills, and accomplishments.

Understanding and owning your strengths gives you the raw material for completing performance reviews and answering job interview questions like, “Tell me about a sticky situation or challenge “and what you did to resolve it.” Or, “Why should we hire you?” To answer those questions with clarity, I am going to give you the highlights of an exercise called Looking Back to Move Forward, so you can begin to strategise your future.
Here is the first set of questions you need to answer. What did you accomplish in the past couple of years professionally and personally? What are the major accomplishments of your life from college forward? Take your time with those questions, and include everything that defines you, adventures, awards, certifications, go deep. Take one pass and set it down, and then come back to it later and add things as you think of them.
Now, look at your answers and let us mine them for the next set of questions. What values do your accomplishments reveal? Things like excellence, learning, resilience, and contribution. Next, what are the repeating themes? Do you consistently build great teams? Exceed sales targets? Are you one of those people who can translate complex information into readable prose? See if you can find a pattern. Whatever it is, own it, and write it down.

Now you want to ask what do your accomplishments and your results reveal as your most consistent strengths? If you build great teams, maybe your strength is collaboration. If you exceed sales targets, maybe your strength is relationship building or negotiation. Alright, you now have some pretty important Intel on yourself. Taking everything into account, here are two final questions to get you pointed forward. What are your immediate career goals, say in the next year or two? And, what are your long-term goals, say five, or maybe even 10, years from now?

These questions are designed to help you sit at the negotiation table with confidence and clarity. So, let us move on to the next step in your strategic planning process, crafting career narratives or stories that frame your value.

Fashioning your story

Career Development
Grow and Develop

When a hiring manager or your boss asks you one of those standard questions like, “What do you think your best accomplishment this year was?” You don’t want to stumble around and improvise, or worse simply give a just-the-facts kind of answer. You want to make an impression, and you want to do it in a way that doesn’t come across as bragging. When you analyse your results and accomplishments, you will find that there is a story behind everyone. A story with a cast of characters and a few plot twists. A story that shows not just what you did, but how you did it. Let me give you an example from my career. I was working at a PR firm during a recession, and layoffs meant we went from a team of 10 to a team of five. We had three new business presentations to get ready for, and we were all slammed and disorganized, working 12 hour days, and always arguing about how to handle certain tasks. One morning I asked everybody to join me in the conference room, to write each of their main tasks and job responsibilities on a Post-it note.

We then did the same thing for all the team members who were laid off. Then I asked everybody to pick the top three tasks they knew matched their skills and strengths, regardless if it was part of somebody else’s job description. We took another pass at it, and chose things that would be a stretch, a learning opportunity. What we came away with was a complete reorganization of the team, and a plan for handling new client presentations, and a shortlist of where our team would need support.
The net result was that we succeeded in getting new business, hitting our targets, and developing a repeatable process. As you can imagine, my boss was thrilled with the outcome of our work together, but the bigger point here is that I have used that story countless times, in job interviews, in networking, and right now, for you. But imagine, if I had given just-the-facts answer instead, “I worked in a PR firm where I reorganized our team “after some round of layoffs and we still hit our targets.” It is a perfectly fine answer, but it is not as relateable and memorable as a story is, and it doesn’t answer the main question, how.

And really, the most important uses of story are in your at-the-table conversation to support your request, and when you encounter resistance or pushback. A story can often help pull you up out of the weeds. So, now it is your turn. To help you craft your stories, let us break things down. The classic story arc is made up of four elements. First is the opening scene or presenting challenge. In my story, this was the three new business presentations, and an understaffed and completely disorganized team.
Next, is crisis and drama: From my example that would be working 12 hour days and arguing about how to handle things. The third element is climax. That was the moment we all headed into the conference room to try and solve the problem.

Finally, we have resolution, and presenting the strategy to our boss. Now to help you craft your stories, look at the exercise files for this chapter. Now plot them out and practice them until you have them down cold. Ideally, you should be able to tell this story in, say two minutes or less. And then the next time you happen to be riding the elevator with a CEO, you will have a story ready to share.

Assembly your support system

It does not matter if you are just starting out in your career or well into it; we all have a need to lean on our support system from time to time to accomplish our goals and aspirations. I like to call this your Influence Posse. Your Influence Posse is your internal and external networks. These are people who know you and know your work, people that you have a connection with and shared support. So, before you start any negotiation for salary, you need to identify well in advance who the decision makers are, and who will be most influential in helping you get that raise.

So, let us look at your Internal Influencers. Who are these people? Well, they are colleagues and co-workers, your boss or manager, senior executives, leaders and high performers, and mentors and sponsors, people who can open doors for you. Your External Influencers are people like friends and former colleagues, top performers in your field, and people in professional associations you belong to or people you volunteer with.

Ideally, you would create an influence plan well in advance of your asking, and work on your plan throughout the year. To help you create the influence plan, I have several focusing questions for you. Given your immediate career goals, what relationships do you need to put on your radar immediately? Let us get a little bit more specific. Who have you done great work for, or who have you done a favour for? Who can speak highly of you and recommend you? Who can you go to for confidential, in-the-vault advice? And finally, who are the decision makers, people with power? Now, considering your long-term goals, what relationships do you need to cultivate and what resources and learning do you need to get there? Let us say your goal is to move from Senior Designer to Creative Director in five years.

This kind of a move hinges not only on great work, but also on great relationships. And that means networking within and outside your workplace. You are managing your reputation, your personal brand. And what that looks like is making quick phone calls to connect with an influencer, say in marketing, attending conferences to up your knowledge and skills, and having lunch with a colleague from another company who is doing what you want to be doing; and, taking on stretch assignments to develop your potential.

Now, it is not all one-sided, you need to be thinking about how you can reciprocate and be of value to the people you are asking for support. Give a little, get a little. I want to pause right here to say that my clients often tell me this process makes them uncomfortable, they feel like they are using people to get ahead, being too competitive or self-serving. To that, I say, “Consider this your edge, “a stretch assignment, be yourself.

“Be valuable to others and give as good as you get.” Remember, both your career objectives and your compensation goals hinge on your authentic and consistent connection with the people in your influence plan. So, circle back and make sure all the right people are on your radar, and work them into your influence plan. You might be thinking, “Who has time for all this?” My answer is, “You do.” You must make time because your livelihood and continuing employment depend on it.

So, find five minutes every week for an e-mail or 15 minutes for a conversation, an hour for lunch once a month, or maybe an evening at a networking event. Plan it, reach out, and put it in your calendar. So, let us make sure all the dots connect. You have assessed your career for accomplishments, results, and strengths, and used that information to craft your stories, and now you have an influence plan to help you put your short and long-term goals in action. It is time to research your market value.

Researching your market value

The next preparation step in getting the compensation package you deserve, is researching your market value. But let us take a minute to define market and market value, and where your personal value figures into the equation. Your market is your employer, and the general industry your company belongs to. For example, if you are an engineer in a green energy company, your market is the company and say, the electric car industry. Your market value is determined by your company’s position in the market, how well they are doing, and what competitors are paying for people like you.

And then there is you, the personal part of your market value. You are a store of value, and the shelves in your store are stocked full with your education, degrees, and certifications, and your experience, accomplishments, and results. And that is not all when it comes to Brand You, you have a reputational value as well, that you have been building over time with your network, your influence posse. So, let us say you are a UX designer with a reputation for creating simple and elegant customer experiences.

And let us also say you have spoken on panels, or delivered talks at industry conferences on usability trends. Or maybe you have conducted workshops for your company that have increased cross-departmental collaboration. That is your reputational value, and a huge piece of Brand You. So, your market value is the combination of internal and external factors, along with Brand You. And what all this means, is that your employer should make you an offer based not only on what you have delivered in the past, but also on the future benefits you can be counted on to bring to the company.

Now what you might have noticed is that your market value has nothing to do with what you personally need to survive or pay the bills. It is the value of your services in the hands of your employer. And to make sure you are not leaving money on the table, you must research. Step one in your research involves visiting salary websites. These are sites like salary.com, payscale.com, glassdoor.com, and the Bureau of Labour Statistics.

Now, salary sites are all a little different, but in general you will be able to enter information like your industry, job title, and years’ experience, which will produce a targeted salary range for the position you are researching. Step two in your research is to connect with people in your external influence posse, who hold similar jobs as you, and ask them to share their salary information. Now be careful here, you want to focus on people who are doing well in their field and working in companies that are comparable to yours.

And, if you are a woman, just be aware that the wage gap is still alive and kicking, and many women are being paid 10 to 30% less than their male peers. Step three is to consider contacting a recruiter. An industry-specific recruiter can quickly assess your experience and give you a range for a given role. A recruiter can also give you an idea about what other forms of compensation are typical in your industry, like bonuses, and profit sharing.
Establishing a relationship with a recruiter may also help you move out and up in your career, by landing an outside offer that you can either accept, or use as leverage with your current employer.

So, I want you to think about where you are now. You have credible salary data to support your request, you have a list of results that have saved or made your company money, you have influencers who are willing to speak on your behalf, and you have a story or two to tie it all together. The next step will be to be specific and prioritize all the items you plan to ask for.

From the Stable of Befitting Life 

Becoming a Thought Leader – Building Authority in the Public

Becoming a Thought Leader – Building Authority in the Public!

Finding your path to authority

In the last chapter, we covered the process of how you can build your authority within the company that you are currently in. If you complete that process, you will already have a significant advantage over many people in the market. However, you can take your career to the next level by building authority in the public. Allow me to give a little perspective by sharing my background. I began business coaching many years ago prior to even completing my degree in business.

Although, I did eventually complete my degree, I first became certified by a training company as a small business consultant. After using their material for several years to coach small businesses, I later went independent. I began creating my own library of training materials, including worksheets and articles. I also had a mentor who was a successful business coach, and he coached me for many years about how to build my practice. About 10 years into this process I decided that I wanted to enhance my value in the market, so I wrote my first book The Myth of Multitasking.

That book led me to the opportunity to be featured in Time magazine, The BBC News, the Washington Post and many other national and international press outlets. This also led to my second book Invaluable and an increased online following and my ability to command a better retainer fee as a business coach. I give you this brief background because the journey that I took is to a large degree a pattern that almost anyone can follow.

It is not that you are going to walk the exact path that I walked, but it shows you a path that many people have followed in their unique ways successfully. In this chapter, I want to give you, ideas you can use to slowly increase your authority in the public over time. This will help you earn even greater respect and wages in the marketplace. We will begin this process in the next video where I show you how to begin to climb the authority ladder.

Climbing the authority ladder

Let us look at some ways you can build authority in the public. To help you do that, I have provided you with the authority ladder worksheet. Think of building your authority like climbing a ladder one step at a time. This worksheet shows you rungs in that ladder. Bear in mind that this process may take years and that you may not follow this exact path, but it gives you a general idea of how to improve your authority, starting with the easiest and moving one rung at a time.

So, let us start at the bottom of the authority ladder. First is writing helpful reviews of products and services. I recommend that you focus these reviews in the area in which you have chosen to become an authority. Next, you can actively comment on others’ blogs. You want to participate regularly so that you become recognized on those blogs as an expert. Next you can also create your own blog or a podcast. In a matter of minutes, anyone can create a new blog and begin writing about something that they are passionate about.
The trick is in creating a schedule to write on a regular basis.

Next on the authority ladder is higher education or certification. The titles these provide communicate to people that you have a high level of expertise and therefore your words are credible. Next, you can build your own specialized social network. This involves going onto a popular social network, and creating a page or a group that follows a specific topic. For instance, if I am talented in grooming dogs, then I would create the Dog Groomers Society Online and invite other dog groomers to participate.

By doing this, I would become the person leading the discussion. Moving up the ladder, you can create and consistently send a newsletter. This is something that starts gradually and grows with your subscriber list. Next, you can build an offline networking group, a real-world group of people that get together to discuss their interests. Included in this would be creating your own association. You can also become a guest expert on other blogs and networks.
Having a third party tell others that you are an expert will very quickly build your authority.

Self-publishing a book or a video course is another option. While it is certainly more credible to have a book or course that is published and distributed by a major publisher, it is simple for anyone to self-publish. Next, you can even become a talk and news radio guest. This is much simpler than it seems as many of these shows are continually looking for experts to interview and to share knowledge with their audience.

Next, you could also have someone else publish and distribute your book or video course. And then possibly become a columnist for a publication such as a newspaper or a magazine. And continuing up to the top of the ladder is national or international press coverage. The authority ladder that I have provided is designed to be a starting point for you. You may have your own innovations to build authority. There is a space for you at the bottom to list those ideas.

Find where you are right now on the ladder and consider what next steps you could take to build your authority. As you take that step, you will continue your journey up the ladder.

Building a library

In the previous video, I discussed the authority ladder and how you can climb your way up. Let us talk about the elements of that ladder that deal with building your own library. When I say your library, I don’t mean books that you plan to read but instead the materials that you will have built for other people to use. By building your library of materials that you can send or perhaps even sell to other people, you will establish tangible evidence of your expertise.
There are three general ways in which you can build your own library. They are articles, books, and videos. Articles are short essays that you have created about a topic. For simplicity, I would include a short audio recordings and blog entries in this as well. The best way to begin building your own library and helping other people make decisions is by regularly writing an article. You will want to create a schedule and set aside some time at least twice a month to create a new article.

Now some of you may think, “Dave, I am not very good at sitting down and writing, or it is very painful to me; it is not one of my talents.” The good news is there are easy ways to create articles for those of you who are more verbal. For instance, I can use a good quality audio recorder and dictate my thoughts on an item and have someone else transcribe them or use dictation software instead. Whichever way you choose, be sure to edit the transcription after it is complete.

By writing a string of short articles, you make it easier to create your next item in the library, which is a book. The more you get comfortable with writing and creating short articles, the easier it will be for you to create a book. The book can be an assembly of all the things that you have created up to this point, or it can be something that delves more deeply into a popular topic. Let us say I am talented in creating cartoon characters. I may start by writing articles; sharing some of the cartoon characters that I am making.

Then I might compile all those writings into a comprehensive book about how to create cartoon characters. If you have a good amount of material that can be packaged as a book, you are ready to be an author. There is no hard rule about how long a book needs to be or even what format it should be delivered in. You are only limited by your creativity. And that leads us to the third item that you can include in your library, which is video.

Video is becoming more widely accepted as a medium for teaching people, and it is becoming more affordable for anyone to get started. There are many resources here on BefittingLife.com that can teach you how to create videos of professional quality, even with limited resources. You don’t necessarily need to be in front of a camera like I am now to create videos. Using the example of our cartoon expert, you could have videos that shoot over your shoulder as you draw pictures, or perhaps even capture the screen if you are using digital illustration.

If you can bring your expertise to life in a video, people will hear your voice and see your work in action, and they will become more familiar with your expertise. In summary, every public authority in some way has built their own library; you can begin building yours today. All it takes is your first article.

Building an online network

Now let us talk about how you can build an online network. In becoming an authority, it is certainly nice to be invited by other people to speak as a guest expert. Imagine though if you were the one inviting experts to speak to the group you lead. That is exactly what I am talking about when I suggest that you create your own online network. Before I go through some of the concepts behind this, here is a caution. If you are working for a company, you want to be very careful not to violate any company policy.

When I talk about building a social network, I am referring to building your perceived authority by becoming the leader of other leaders. Let us say that I am an expert in organic gardening, or least I want to become an expert. I can go onto a social networking site such as Facebook and create a group for organic gardening enthusiasts. I might even get more specific, such as creating a group for organic gardening in Phoenix, which would focus it geographically, or organic gardening on the patio, which would focus on a target market.

The more focused you can get your message the easier it will be to build your authority. I can then invite other people who are already perceived experts in this topic to join the group. I can invite them to share their articles and their blog posts on the site. By doing this, I become the curator of information and a gatekeeper of sorts, because I am the one inviting people, and I am the one commenting on their posts, I immediately build my authority because I am associating with other experts.

This is a very quick and simple way to position yourself as a decision leader. This technique of creating a topical group online is usually much more effective than creating a group about you. Unless you have already had a lot of publicity and attention, most people don’t know you well enough to seek or follow a group about you. Yet that is not to say that you don’t have valuable things to offer; it just means you haven’t built enough authority yet to have a following.

Create a group about a topic that already has a following and get people to follow that group. Then you put yourself as the leader of that group and begin sharing items from your library with the group over time. The beautiful thing about this is that thanks to improvements in social media, it is simple for anyone to do. So, take a moment right now to decide what kind of group you want to create, then set aside time in your calendar to begin the process.

Building an offline network

In my course on building professional connections, I talked about how valuable networking groups and associations can be in helping you become invaluable. These groups can be especially helpful in building your authority, particularly if you are the person who creates and leads those groups. The same principles in building an online network apply offline, in the real world. Once you have decided on your area of expertise and you have created the online network that you want to build, then you can create an offline group.

I recommend building the group locally as that is the easiest to get people to attend. Begin small. Don’t feel like you need to have 50, 100, or even 10 people to begin. If you start with just three or four interested people, you have the nucleus to form a group. Think of it like an association, regardless of what you want to call it. Any association you have seen, such as the Association of Accountants or Home-builders, all began with just a few people getting together to discuss common interests.

For instance, suppose I create an association of ski instructors in my area. I would invite all the ski instructors in the state to join the association to get together to discuss how to become better ski instructors or how to grow our businesses. I might even take those relationships that I am building offline and connect them to my online association. If it is not possible to meet physically, you can meet through telephone conferencing or even web conference. As you get people talking with each other to build connections, it also serves you in building your authority because you can be the president.

Even if someone else becomes the president later, you will always be the founder, which is one more feather in your authority cap. It is very possible that the type of group that you want to form already exists. In this case, you have a couple of options. First, you can try to create a more targeted version of that group. For instance, I might try to create a group that focuses in a suburb of larger city or that specializes in a narrower topic. So, using my example I might focus on high-altitude ski instructors in Aspen.

The other option is to join the existing association and commit to becoming a part of its leadership. You will do this by regularly being involved in volunteering time to help them grow, with the intention that over time you will earn a leadership position within the association. There is no right or wrong way to do this. The goal is to build your credibility and your authority by either creating or actively participating in groups that are related to your area of expertise. It is another important step on the authority ladder.

Gaining personal publicity

Recognition and coverage in the press can be very helpful when building your reputation as an authority and a decision leader, not only will it give you exposure to people who are interested in your expertise but it becomes a resume builder. In this video, I will discuss just two ways you can begin getting publicity. Let us talk about becoming a guest expert on other blogs and networks. This involves finding people who are already discussing issues related to your expertise or who are speaking to your market.

For instance, if I am an expert in parenting techniques that nurture children, becoming a guest expert on blogs for parents is a great outlet for me. You start by approaching these bloggers and asking them if they ever interview experts or have guest posts on their blog. This also works with company or association newsletters. You can be a guest author for an article on your area of expertise. I have found from experience that these sources are much more likely to bring you on as an expert if you have already been actively participating with them for some time.

If they can see that you are already a supporter and participating, they are going to be much more likely to want to help you than someone who has not been involved at all. If you have something from your authority library that you can send them, they will also be more likely to invite you as a guest because they will see that you already have a body of work. Moving up the ladder, being a talk or news radio guest is an option especially locally. I can tell you from having grown up around the radio industry, the talk and news stations have a lot of time that they need to fill in their schedule and they are actively looking for good guests.

The key is having a message that is relevant and interesting to their audience. These shows are not interested in promoting you, although they are often very willing to do so if you provide a meaningful interview. What they do want is to entertain, educate, and inspire their audience. A great place to begin is to research online who a show’s producer is and then approach that producer on what you must offer. You will do this with what is called a hook.
A hook is something that is controversial or exciting to a potential radio listener. If I am an expert in parenting techniques that nurture, my hook might be the top five mistakes parents make or how to handle temper tantrums. These are just two ways that almost anyone can begin to get some publicity. By being creative, you will find many other outlets for presenting your message to groups of people, who will be interested in learning from you.
Just keep this rule in mind, publications, blogs, radio shows, or any kind of publicity source exists to serve their audience. If you can show them how you can make their job easier and serve their audience, they will be interested in you. Then they can become a partner in helping you build your authority and becoming invaluable.

 

To Your Success!

www.BefittingLife.com

Home of e-Learning

Leadership
Be A Thought Leader

Parenting Tips that you might find useful

Parenting and Grandparenting tips that you might need

Parenting
Great tips for Parents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clear Expectations Make Discipline Easier

Sometimes it can be very challenging to communicate anything with your child.  Setting clear expectations regarding what is acceptable behaviour and what isn’t imperative to successfully teaching your child right from wrong.  If the parameters are muddled or the child learns that in one situation the rules hold true yet in another situation the same rule does not, it makes for confusion and frustration on both sides.

Sit down with your child well in advance and line out the expectations and consequences of misbehaving or a misdeed.  Make it clear that in no uncertain terms is there any room for negotiation at the time of the infraction, and that should such a behaviour occur you intend to be firm in your discipline.  Rules regarding your child’s safety, health or well-being should have no room for negotiation when being set or enforced.  Other rules can be openly and honestly discussed with your child and an agreed upon action should be forged that both parents and child can agree upon.

If necessary, make a contract between parent and child.  Lay it all out in black and white, in language your child can clearly understand.  For younger children, you might want to develop a good behaviour chart within the contract, and for each week that goes by without any infractions being noted, a favourite or special activity might be earned.  The connection between good deeds and special time with mom and/or dad might be just the currency they understand.

But all children need to understand that disciplining them is your way of teaching them what is acceptable behaviour and what isn’t.  It may seem as though children fight rules and regulations, but they truly know that such parameters are meant for their well-being, health, safety, and enable them to grow into a mature person capable of making wise decisions.

Connect with Your Child but Don’t Overdo it

We all want to connect and be involved with our child.  Children of involved parents generally feel more confident, assured and have a higher level of self-esteem.  They excel in school and do well in extracurricular activities and with their hobbies.

But is there such a thing as too much involvement? It is imperative when you are becoming involved with your school-aged child’s activities and academics that you recognize the line of what being too involved can be.

Remember, you are becoming involved in your child’s life.  It’s important that you don’t intrude too much upon it.  Children need their space and privacy and they need to be able to develop their own skills, talents and abilities.  In our eagerness to help our child succeed, it’s tempting to want to step in and start doing things for them because you feel they are doing it incorrectly or inadequately.  But remember, you had to learn too, and this is their chance to learn on their own.

Be there to encourage and support your child, and offer praise at a job well done.  But also remember to step back and allow your child to learn from their own mistakes, and to develop their own way of doing things. We all know from our own life experiences that there is always more than just one way to do something, and just because your child is doing it differently than you would doesn’t make it wrong.  Who knows, it could present a terrific opportunity for you to learn from your child as well.

In addition, try not to become too overbearing or nosy when it comes to their social life.  Be available for them should they need to talk and encourage them to share their troubles with you so you can help them sort through a problem.  But if they say they don’t want to talk about it or they just need some time to figure things out for themselves, respect that need by letting them know you are available whenever they need you.  This is an important part of growing up and allowing a child to figure his own way through things is an integral part of that process.

Consistency is Key to Successful Discipline

Consistency is key to successfully teaching your child right from wrong when disciplining them.  It keeps small misdeeds and bad behaviours from later becoming bigger misdeeds and worse behaviours.  You have to stand firm and mean it when you say, “Turn off the television now” or “no dessert after dinner because you didn’t touch your dinner.” Consistency teaches your child there are defined consequences for misdeeds and inappropriate or unacceptable actions or behaviours.   Inconsistency when disciplining makes you directly responsible for your children’s misbehaviour and doesn’t teach them how to be responsible for their actions.

It is also that each partner is consistent with the discipline.  If one parent is too strict and the other is too lenient, the child will key into that and try to manipulate the situation to his or her advantage.  Parents must agree on disciplinary action in advance and make a commitment to one another to be consistent in implementing and following through with the consequences.  This can be especially difficult if the child’s parents are separated or divorced.  Though you may not be together anymore, it’s imperative that you parent on common ground. Openly and honestly discuss these parameters with your former spouse and your child in advance, so that if discipline is needed, the consequences of such misbehaviour are well understood in advance. Any disagreements between parents should be discussed out of the child’s earshot.

Consistency is about being strong and standing firm, even when doing so is extremely difficult or exhausting.  It can sometimes be hard to come home after a hard day at work only to find a hard night of parenting in front of you.  Your child will consistently test the boundaries and ‘push the envelope’ with you to see if there is any play in those consequences.  By standing firm you are showing there is not and that you expect them to do nothing less than take responsibility for their actions.

 

Parenting and Relationships
Smart eBook Shop

Benefits of Structured After School Activities

After School Activities for Children!

After School Activities
Benefits of After School Activities

After school activities and burnout!

For millions of parents around the world, the day does not end with the school bell. There are still pictures to be painted, songs to be sung and games to be played. This all adds up to keeping children happy, safe and out of trouble. But, parents have to steer away from going overboard.

After school is not baby-sitting:

After school activities thrive only if it is backed by sufficient parental involvement. What would a soccer match be without parents cheering their little heroes from the side lines?

Research and choose:

Instead of convenience being the decisive factor, find out things that will interest your child. Once you select a program, get the fine print and find out what you have to contribute.

Free time:

Many children attend piano classes, followed by ballet and squeeze in some time for play dates in between just before they rush home in time for bed. This rigor is too much for a child. So, go slow.

When to quit:

Often, parents enrol their child in an activity to discover that he may not be the prodigy they thought he would be. This is the time to let go. Your child may not become the next wonder-kid. But, let him cultivate an interest that he enjoys. Remember, happiness and fulfilment are all that matter.

 

After school activities and relationship building!

After school activities are the rage of the day. With about $500 million invested in these programs and more than 10 million children attending them in America alone, the popularity of these activities cannot be overlooked. Everyone understands the need to develop new skills, gain more knowledge and keep the children safe when parents are working.

The most important factor in the success of any program is the relationship between the children participating in the program and the adult members who work with these children. Often, children may confide in an adult member who is not a teacher. This kind of emotional interaction is a must when children are struggling to make sense of the whirlpool of emotions that assail them.

Direct contact with professionals can be an inspiring experience. Children are very much impressed by the knowledge and experience of these adults. Young people gain a lot of knowledge and experience when they deal with experienced adults and older youth who serve as teachers or mentors in these programs. These mentors are different from the teachers in the school and children are more likely to draw inspiration from them.

After school activities that are managed professionally by people who are successful in their own fields of expertise will produce children who are more enthusiastic and successful. Meaningful interaction with adults is a learning experience in itself.

After school activities for the overweight!

Research and studies show that our children are growing fatter by the day. Many families all over America are struggling to keep the weight of their children within reasonable limits. As a parent, I know that it is nearly impossible for me to look into the tear-filled eyes of my son and refuse food.

So, what is the alternative? Studies show that the number one reason for obesity in children is not junk food and colas. It is actually TV. Children tend to plop themselves on the sofa and munch away happily when they are in front of the TV sets. But, once the set is off, their natural buoyancy will lead the children to do stuff and to move their body. They will then be diverted from eating.

Recreational after school activities are a must if you feel that your child is beginning to put on undesirable fat. It is better to begin these activities as early as possible. The more weight the child gains, the harder he has to work to shed it. Football, swimming, skating and Karate are just some activities he can participate in. Structured and disciplined exercise is possible only when one is put into a formal environment. That is why an overweight child simply HAS to be put into an after school program of this kind.

By the Smart eBook Shop team!

Everything About Parenting and Relationships. Check here!

Chores Can Help your Child Learn about Teamwork and a Strong Work Ethic!

Help your Child Learn about Teamwork!

Uniqueness
Your children are unique!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chores can help develop a sense of responsibility and self worth in your child. It should be understood by all family members they are expected and necessary to a household running successfully and efficiently. They can help create a sense of unity and family and is a great place for your child to learn about teamwork. Parents should take special care to handle the delegation of chores to children so they don’t become a source of frustration or create arguments.

Allow your child to have an active say in the delegation of chores. Give them choices. We all have household chores that we don’t like to do, but if it is a chore the child enjoys doing then there is less likelihood it will create a battle in the end. The child will most likely appreciate having the chance to be heard and having a choice.

It is imperative that you set parameters early on for the successful completion of a chore. They may not perform up to snuff when they first start performing the chore, but show them where improvement is needed and praise them for a strong effort. Also make sure the child understands there will be repercussions if they only put forth a minimal effort. Ensure the child understands the need for the chore’s effective and efficient completion. Set consequences for substandard completion as a team. Make sure they see that if they don’t perform their chores, it affects the other members of the team.

Spouses must work together and be a strong example for their children by completing their own chores each day. And don’t allow a child to undermine your authority by battling with you over a designated chore. Stand your ground and don’t give in, and emphasize the consequence and negative effect an uncompleted chore has on the family.

And keep an open mind when a child wants to discuss their thoughts or express their opinions about chores. Make sure the conversation stays positive and on target.

 

Chart your Child’s Accomplishments with a Chore Chart

Chart your Child’s Accomplishments!

Child Development
Chart your Child’s Accomplishments with a Chore Chart!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It can be very frustrating to ask your child over and over again to complete their chores without them ever getting done. If this describes your house to a tee, consider designing a chore chart. Chores might include taking out the garbage, doing the dishes, cleaning their room, yard work or putting laundry in the laundry room. Each chore has to be done just once or twice a week. Anything more is unrealistic. After your child completes each chore, they can put a check mark on the chore chart. At the end of each week, it is very inspiring for both parent and child to look at the chore chart and easily see that each designated job was completed. Just like our ‘to do’ lists, your child will find great satisfaction in being able to check off each chore as it is completed and take pride knowing they accomplished a set task or list of tasks.

Once you have sat down with your child and discussed and designed a chore chart, it is time to discuss the rewards for accomplishing each task listed. Perhaps at your home you decide you will give a set sum for each task accomplished. If you should decide to grant your child some sort of monetary allowance, make sure it is age appropriate and granted on a regular basis. A good rule of thumb is 50 cents per year of age. So your 8 year old child would earn $4.00 per week if each chore on the list has been completed. If it has not been, they do not receive their allowance.

This is a great opportunity for you to teach your children the value of both earning and saving money, and also giving back. Perhaps the child can divide their allowance into thirds: 1/3 to spend, 1/3 to save, and 1/3 to use to help those less fortunate than themselves. You might also want to consider designing a ‘bank book’ for each portion of the allowance and tuck each into three separate coffee cans or money jars, and that way you and your child will be able to keep track of how much has been saved, how much has been spent, and how much of their allowance has gone to help someone else.

Should you decide to use non-monetary incentives as chores payment, be sure you set clear parameters for your child. Be sure they understand that two hours each weekend of their favourite video game or going to see a movie with mom or dad is only earned by completing the chore list successfully each week. You might want to consider writing these on a slip of paper as ‘currency’ for the child to keep in their ‘privilege bank’ and they can cash it in with you when they would like.

Regardless of the method you choose, keep in mind this can be a valuable tool for both you and your child.

Celebrate Your Child’s Uniqueness

Your Children Are Unique!

Uniqueness
Your children are unique!

Just like a snowflake or a fingerprint, every child is unique in their own special way. Every child has a unique way of feeling, thinking, and interacting with others. Some children are shy, while others are outgoing; some are active, while others are calm; some are fretful, while others are easy-going. As a loving and nurturing parent, it is your job to encourage them to embrace their uniqueness and celebrate their individual qualities.

Allow your child to express themselves through their interests. They may find a creative outlet in theatre, dancing or art, or they may be exceptionally talented in the sciences. Encourage them to embrace what they like to do, what interests them, and what makes them happy. Help them realize that they don’t need to worry about being ‘like everyone else.’

Teach your child to make positive choices, and praise them for good deeds, behaviors and positive traits they possess. Encourage them to become actively involved in their community, and introduce them to activities that promote a sense of cooperation and accomplishment. Be firm yet fair when handing down discipline for misdeeds or misbehaviours, and make certain the rules and consequences for breaking the rules are clearly defined. Show a cooperative, loving and united front with your spouse when it comes to discipline.

Accept and celebrate your child’s uniqueness. Remember that your child is an individual. Allow your child to have his or her own personal preferences and feelings, which may be different from your own.

And finally, encourage your child to be true to themselves by doing the same. Show your child how to make positive choices with the choices you make, and that nobody is perfect and you too make mistakes. Show your child that mistakes can be a great learning experience, and that they should not be ashamed or embarrassed about making them.

Building You Child’s Self-Esteem

Children’ Self-Esteem

Self-Esteem
Build your child’s self-esteem!

It is often been said that children learn what they live. So if you are looking for a place to start helping your child build positive self esteem and self value, then you should show them your positive sense of self and strong self esteem. Be positive when you speak about yourself and highlight your strengths. This will teach your child that it is okay to be proud of their talents, skills and abilities.

Your child also benefits greatly from honest and positive praise. Find something about them to praise each day. You could even give your child a task you know they can complete and then praise them for a job well done after they are finished. Show your child that positive acts merit positive praise.

When your child’s feeling sad, angry or depressed, communicate openly, honestly and patiently with them. Listen to them without judging or criticizing. They may not fully understand why they feel the way they do, so the opportunity to communicate with you about it may be what is needed to help them sort through a difficult situation. Suggest positive behaviors and options as solutions, and make sure to leave that door of communication open so they know the next time they feel badly, they can come to you for help and know that you won’t judge or punish them for how they are feeling.

Teach your child the importance of setting goals and developing a plan to meet that goal and complete that task. Small projects are the best to start off with in the beginning. Ensure that it is an appropriate task for your child, and not too complex. Don’t only give praise at the end of the project, but praise their accomplishments during the project as well.

Most importantly, tell your child “I love you” each and every day – many times throughout the day, in fact. When they have behaved badly, remind yourself that it is not them you don’t like, only their behavior. Tuck short, sweet notes in their lunchboxes or coat pockets, or even send them a card in the mail. Soon, they will learn to say “I love you” just as easily and honestly in return.

“Because” Just Isn’t the Answer

Children Inquisitiveness!

Children Inquisitiveness
Curious and Inquisitive by nature!

Children are inquisitive by nature. When they are younger, it is usually because they want to better understand something. When they are older, it is because they want to better understand why you think something is important and why they should also feel the same way. Regardless of their age, it is imperative that when setting forth the rules and expectations in your home, your child understands there is no room for questioning the rules you set forth and the consequences of breaking the rules.

Younger children usually do not understand a lengthy explanation of why it is important that they be home from their friend’s home at a certain time or why they are not allowed to play ball in the house. But the one thing they do strive to do most of the time is to make their parents proud and happy. So when a young child asks “Why?” or “Why not?” when they are told they cannot play with something or someone or why they have to obey a rule you have set forth, simply explain to them that “because it makes me happy when you follow the house rules and do what I have asked of you.” You should avoid using the term, “Because I said so,” as that only adds to the child’s frustration and confusion.

Older children, adolescents and teenagers alike will probably require more from your explanation. When they question “Why?” or “Why not?” it is best to directly, honestly and clearly state your reasoning. “I asked you to be home by 10 p.m. because we have to be at the dentist’s office first thing in the morning for your check-up and we cannot be late.” It is also a great opportunity for you to reiterate the consequences of breaking the rule. “If you are not home by 10 p.m., you will be grounded from going to your friend’s house for a week.” Be consistent, be firm, and be clear.

Though your child may challenge you by asking your reasoning why a rule has been put in place, it also shows their growth as an individual thinker. So try not to get angry or frustrated when they do so; realize it’s their way of understanding their world around them.

Brought to you by SmarteBookShop.com

How To Motivate Children In The Classroom

Actively Listening to your Child

Nurture Your Child!

Communicating with our children can be a difficult task at times. We feel like they are not listening to us; they feel like we are not listening to them.  Good listening and communications skills are essential to successful parenting. Your child’s feelings, views and opinions have worth, and you should make sure you take the time to sit down and listen openly and discuss them honestly.

Listening to your child
Is your child living up to his or her creative potential?

It seems to be a natural tendency to react rather than to respond.  We pass judgment based on our own feelings and experiences.  However, responding means being receptive to our child’s feelings and emotions and allowing them to express themselves openly and honestly without fear of repercussion from us. By reacting, we send our child the message that their feelings and opinions are invalid.

But by responding and asking questions about why the child feels that way, it opens a dialog that allows them to discuss their feelings further, and allows you a better understanding of where they are coming from. Responding also gives you an opportunity to work out a solution or a plan of action with your child that perhaps they would not have come up with on their own. Your child will also appreciate the fact that maybe you do indeed understand how they feel.

It is crucial in these situations to give your child your full and undivided attention. Put down your newspaper, stop doing dishes, or turn off the television so you can hear the full situation and make eye contact with your child.   Keep calm, be inquisitive, and afterwards offer potential solutions to the problem.

Do not discourage your child from feeling upset, angry, or frustrated.  Our initial instinct may be to say or do something to steer our child away from it, but this can be a detrimental tactic. Again, listen to your child, ask questions to find out why they are feeling that way, and then offer potential solutions to alleviate the bad feeling.

Just as we do, our children have feelings and experience difficult situations. By actively listening and participating with our child as they talk about it, it demonstrates to them that we do care, we want to help and we have similar experiences of our own that they can draw from. Remember, respond – don’t react.

Grab a copy of this eBook today, and you will be glad you did!

Nurturing Creative Children!