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7 Ways to Know Your Child

How well do you really know your child?

There is so much information at our fingertips to learn more about a child's personality, 'behaviorisms' and intelligence. Of course, we want to be the best parent we can, and so we read all the information. And some of it is great! Take the four different temperaments . . . I can see my child in one, but then I turn the page and I see him in another temperament ? it all depends on the day or even the time of day!

I used to spend a lot of time looking at ways to give labels to my children. I thought that if I could just find the word that would sum them up, parenting would become so much easier. When child number three came along, I just didn't have the time to be searching for someone else's opinion about the type of child he was. I don't want any label other than his name used on him. This kind of parental confidence can be hard to find. We seem to be knocked off balance every time we read a newspaper ? you know, another piece of research, another thing we are doing wrong. But you are the one to understand and know your child the best. And this knowledge will teach you how to interact and support your own, individual child.

Seven Ways to Know Your Child Better

1. Observe your child: That's right. Just back off and actually watch them. Watch them at play, at work and while they are reading.

2. Allow your child to discovery their tendencies: Does your child, given the opportunity, rush to the Lego box, or maybe to the pile of books or to the art supplies. Find out what your child chooses to do ? it is probably this that they are good at!

3. Take lots of photographs: In this age of digital photography, it doesn't matter how many photographs we take, because we needn't print or keep them all. Photographs provide an excellent memory of what your child does ? and you will probably notice things you hadn't before.

4. Let your child dictate stories to you: Many children enjoy the art of storytelling, but find actual handwriting tiresome. Take this strain away from them by being their secretary. You'll be surprised at how your child's brain works when they create their stories.

5. Create a journal: Now, this doesn't need to be a work of art! Have a blank scrapbook and write in it, get them to draw pictures, glue in certificates and photographs.

6. Trust your instincts: Teachers may give you a wider understanding of your child ? take it on board ? but remember that your instincts are probably right.

7. Talk often with your child: Make sure you let your child lead a conversation with you every day. If you are the one that holds all the information and knowledge in your house, your child will be less likely to share with you. Let them joke, let them explore their emotions and let them just babble away.

Marilynn McLachlan, Author REAL parenting in the REAL world Author of "The New Parent Code: 12 Vital Clues for Achieving Modern Family Sanity", Penguin Books, 2005.

Visit http://www.marilynnmclachlan.com to sign up for her free fortnightly e-zine.

In The News:

Over the past few days, several media outlets have reported on a centuries-old claim that the Ark of the Covenant — which allegedly held tablets recording the Ten Commandments — is inside a church in Aksum, Ethiopia, called the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, and that only the "guardian" of the ark is allowed to see it.
The adorable red male hit the headlines in 2015 when photos of his muscly body and enormous biceps circulated online.
The Columbus Zoo in Ohio has officially added a new member to its animal kingdom: An Asian elephant, which was born early Thursday morning.
Wisdom, the oldest known wild bird in the world, recently laid an egg at age 68.
A manatee was found dead near a drainage area in South Carolina this week, an unusual occurrence as these sea creatures typically migrate south in the search for warmer water during the winter.
NASA's InSight Mars Lander made history when it touched down on the Red Planet in late November — the eighth successful landing on Mars since 1976.
China has launched a ground-breaking mission to land an unmanned spacecraft on the far side of the Moon.
Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered a trove of rare gold coins and a 900-year-old gold earring at the site of a Crusader massacre.
Tonks, the aye-aye, was recently born at the Denver Zoo and while her appearance may be ghastly, it's a win for biologists trying to save the species.
A huge gopher tortoise that was recently admitted to a wildlife clinic in Florida may have broken the state record for size.

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