UNICEF partners with Korean Agency to avail safe water in Karamoja

By Deo Wasswa

UNICEF and Korea International Cooperation Agency have signed a partnership to scale up water, sanitation and hygiene services in seven districts of Kalamoja.

The five year programme, worth 10 million US dollars will commence from May 2018 to 2022 and targeting to benefit over 56000 children   in 100 government aided schools and in communities.

The project will include, construction of infrastructure such as solar pipe water systems, rehabilitation of non functional boreholes, construction of latrines with hand washing facilities among others.

Speaking at the signing of the agreement, Doreen Mulenga, the UNICEF representative in Uganda has noted that open defecation among Karamajongs is still contributing to poor hygiene in this region and she is hopefully that building latrines will help to bring the practice to an end.

Other interventions of the project will include, provision of life skills education for girls, including menstrual hygiene management, social mobilization campaign to accelerate positive behavior change among the individuals and broader social  change among communities and district level advocacy.

UNICEF receives 8Bn to help with the growing refugee crisis in Uganda

An emergency nutrition and education response to the refugee crisis in Uganda by the UN Children’s Agency-UNICEF has received a boost of 8 Billion Shillings thanks to the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO).

More than 950,000 refugees have crossed into Uganda since the start of the conflict in from South Sudan in December 2013, driving the refugee population in Uganda to 1.3 million people. At least 750,000 of these arrived after July 2016.

“With over 2,000 South Sudanese refugees arriving in Uganda every day, Uganda is now host to the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world,” Isabelle D’Haudt, ECHO’s Humanitarian Advisor for Uganda said in a statement issued this morning.

The ECHO contribution will enable UNICEF to provide nutritional screening for all children at refugee entry points, appropriate treatment and care for severely malnourished children, Vitamin A micro-nutrients and deworming medicine for children, and iron/folate supplementation to pregnant and breastfeeding women. The nutrition intervention is estimated to reach nearly 200,000 beneficiaries.

A recent food security and nutrition assessment conducted in the refugee hosting districts shows high malnutrition rates, stunted development due to chronic malnutrition and high levels of anemia among children and women.

Similarly, in the education sector, in both early childhood development (ECD) centers and primary schools, there are vast needs ranging from inadequate classrooms, teaching materials and latrines, among other needs.

“Considering 60 percent of all South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are under the age of 18 and 56 percent of the population in all South Sudanese refugee-hosting districts in the country are children, children are the face of the South Sudanese refugee crisis in Uganda,” Aida Girma, UNICEF’s Representative in Uganda said.

For education, UNICEF will construct seven new ECD centres as well as upgrade 15 ECD centres from a temporary to semi-permanent state, which will provide multi-sectorial quality early childhood development to around 5,000 young children.

As at May 2017, UNICEF’s response to South Sudanese refugees and host communities in Uganda has supported more than 135,000 children with vaccinations against measles, over 70,000 children with vaccinations against polio, nearly 185,000 people with clean water and 9,000 severely malnourished children with therapeutic feeding treatment.

More than 12,000 children who have been separated from their parents and families have been supported with family tracing and reunification services, while another 85,000, children and adolescents have had an opportunity to access education and nearly 50,000 young children to access critical Early Childhood Development services.




Pregnant women benefit from free antenatal care by UNICEF in Kamuli

By Patricia Osman
Pregnant mothers have been given free antenatal care, a number of children have been immunized, and adults benefited from free HIV/AIDS testing and counseling in the eastern district of Kamuli.
 Expectant women have also received folic acid tablets and children given de-worming tablets as part of UNICEF  activities as it launches the Early Childhood program in the district.
 Thomas Badaza the focal person of ECD in Kamuli says the program will go a long way in reducing the number of cases early marriages, child neglect by men, defilement and incest in the Busoga region.  The campaign is running under the theme “ nurturing and caring for children”.

Watch your children carefully to know what social skills they haven’t learnt #BestStartinLife

Not all kids need help with the same social skills, and what your child needs practice with could vary, depending on her age. “It’s important to know the normal developmental skills appropriate for different age groups so you can determine where the help is needed,” says Susan Diamond, M.A., a speech-language pathologist and author of Social Rules for Kids. The proper social skills that need to be taught can be divided into three stages: determining the social skills that need development, figuring out ways to teach the skills, and reinforcing lessons with the right resources. We’ll take you through all three stages and offer examples on how a child struggling with general shyness and social anxiety can become a friendly kid who’s comfortable and ready to handle any social situations.

Determining the Stages of Social Development

In general, kids will have developed certain social skills and social cues by these ages:

2- to 3-year-olds: able to seek attention from others, initiate social contact with others both verbally (saying “Hi” and “Bye”) and physically, look at a person who’s talking, have the ability to take turns talking, and laugh at silly objects and events.

3- to 4-year-olds: are able to take turns when playing games, treat a doll or stuffed animal as though it’s alive, and initiate verbal communication with actual words.

4- to 5-year-olds: are able to show more cooperation with children, use direct requests (like “Stop”), are more prone to tattling, and pretend to be Mom or Dad in fantasy play.

5- to 6-year-olds: are able to please their friends, say “I’m sorry,” “Please,” and “Thank you,” understand bad words and potty language, are more strategic in bargaining, play competitive games, and understand fair play and good sportsmanship.

6- to 7-year-olds: are able to empathize with others (like crying at sad things), are prone to sharing, use posture and gestures, wait for turns and are better losers and less likely to place blame, joke more and listen to others tell their points of view, and maintain and shift/end topics appropriately. At this age, however, they still can’t understand the clear difference between right and wrong, and may not take direction well.

Improving Social Development

Playdates are a crucial part of growing up, but kids with social issues can have a hard time making plans. “Having a playdate is a great way to introduce your child to the concept of using rules when a friend comes over and to teach him how to be polite to guests,” Diamond says. Discuss ahead of time any situation that could be uncomfortable. “Write a plan beforehand. Go over all the different things the kids can do together, and then have your kid offer his guest three activities to pick from. Have them take turns picking activities from there, to avoid fights and to help teach compromise,” Diamond says. “Talk about what you think will happen, what could possibly happen. You can even role-play and practice greetings and manners. If it’s necessary, write a script to help reduce your child’s stress.”

To enhance your child’s social development further, Lawrence Balter, Ph.D., child psychologist and parenting expert, suggests the four strategies below.

Teach empathy: Run through different scenarios by asking your child how other people might feel when certain things happen, and substitute different situations each time.

Explain personal space: Tell your child that it’s important for everyone to have some personal space to feel comfortable, and practice acceptable ways to interact with someone during playtime.

Practice social overtures: Teach kids the proper way to start a conversation, get someone’s attention, or join a group of kids who are already playing together. These are all situations that can be discussed and brainstormed at the dinner table, or in the car on the way to school or activities.

Go over taking turns: Sit with your child for at least an hour a day and play with him to explain what it means to wait, take turns, and share.

Reinforcing Specific Social Skills

Activities and games can provide additional help in developing specific skills, and you can reinforce your child’s social development and interaction by playing The Name Game and Follow the Leader. Researchers Sandra Sandy and Kathleen Cochran developed The Name Game to help young children learn the importance of getting someone’s attention before speaking. Have kids sit in a circle and give one kid a ball. Ask him to name another child in the circle, and roll the ball to that child. The recipient then takes his turn, naming another child and rolling the ball, and so on. The classic Follow the Leader game teaches kids about taking turns and practicing patience. Designate either yourself or your child as the leader, and have the follower(s) mimic the leader’s actions.

Dr. Diamond recommends these other activities for recognizing particular social cues:

For nonverbal skills: Help kids recognize facial expressions and body language by watching kid-friendly TV shows with the sound off and observe what characters are doing and what certain movements might mean. (Just make sure to follow the media guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggests that kids watch TV for a maximum of two hours a day.) “Predict what you think they’re saying, and really start [observing] facial gestures,” Diamond says. “You can also look through magazines and make collages with different facial expressions, and talk about what the people in those photos might be saying.”

For tone: To help kids differentiate a range of tones, “use a tape recorder and record different emotions in your voice and ask your child what they are, then explain how meaning changes with voice change,” Diamond recommends. For example, try recording phrases like “I’m angry!” in a loud, empathic voice, and “I feel so sad” in a soft, low, dejected voice.

For attention span If your child has trouble staying on point, pick a topic and say three sentences — two related to the topic and one random. Then ask your child to pick the sentence that’s off-topic. For example, bring up the family dog. Talk about how long he played outside today and what he did at the dog park, and then say something about the weather. Ask your kid to differentiate between the different sentences. “Also, at the dinner table, have your kid keep track of how many times the topic changes during dinner,” Diamond suggests.

There are plenty of good apps available that reinforce social skills. “Model Me Going Places” allows kids to look at photos of other children modeling appropriate behavior in certain situations (the hairdresser, doctor, playground), “Responding Social Skills” teaches kids how to respond to others and how to understand others’ feelings, and “Small Talk” presents conversation fillers for awkward social moments. But if your child still seems to have difficulty keeping up with the skills she should be developing for her age group, it may be time to give her a little help. “Some children have problems with impulse control and self regulation; some have a problem with processing information,” Dr. Balter says. “These issues can lead to [kids] having awkward interactions with peers.” So if social issues cause your child fear or make him feel isolated, seek help from your pediatrician or another child expert, such as a therapist.




Teaching children to save money will give them the #Beststartinlife

1. Use Different Envelopes/Jars
You may be familiar with the envelope budgeting system for your own money, but this can also work for children. On either envelopes or jars, have your child draw pictures of what he or she wants. You may also want to help your child understand that some items will take longer than others to save for.

For example, the short-term savings container might have a picture of a specific toy, while the long-term container might have a picture of a trip to Disneyland. Teach your child to set aside money for short-term and long-term goals, and have another container or envelope for spending on everyday items.

2. Make a Savings Goal Chart
Once you know what your child wants to save for, figure out how many weeks it will take and make a chart. You can represent each week with a box and your child can put a sticker in that box once the money from that week’s allowance is set aside.

We did this with my son, and he put a picture of the Transformer toy he wanted on the chart. We figured out how many weeks of allowance it would take to save up (after his long-term savings and church donations were taken out). Every time he received his allowance, he would divvy up his money and put a sticker in a square (he loved stickers at the time). This way, he could see himself getting closer and closer to his goal.

3. Offer Rewards for Saving Money
Consider rewarding your child for saving his or her money. Much like my credit union, which offers t-shirts and other prizes, you can offer prizes to your children.

For example, if your child doesn’t spend any money for a certain amount of time, provide a small reward or treat. You can also make the prizes better the longer your child saves. Try stickers, an extra 1/2 hour of video games, toys, or whatever motivates your child.

4. Set a Good Example
One of the best things you can do is let your child see that you save money too. Put money in a jar while your child is watching and tell him or her it’s your savings jar. This will show your child that saving is “normal.” Plus, since most young children want to be like their parents, seeing you do it will provide them with money lessons that further inspire them to save.

5. Match Your Child’s Contributions
A “savings match” can be a great way to encourage your child to save extra money and get an early peek at the benefits of a company match for a retirement savings program like the 401k. While we have a standard amount my son is required to set aside from his allowance, if he chooses to save more, we match it.

girl piggy bank

Helping Older Kids Practice Saving

As your child gets older, a goal chart may be less inspiring, and drawing pictures on an envelope tends to lose some of its charm. However, you can still set an example of saving and you can still match your child’s contributions. Plus, it’s always a good idea to have different envelopes, jars, or accounts for different purposes.



-Money crashers

Handwashing will save your toddlers from diseases and give them the #Beststartinlife

Teaching children about hand washing early in life is important. Hand washing prevents the spread of diseases which make children sick. When kids learn early in life, hand washing is more likely to become a habit they’ll practice for the rest of their lives.

Children are ready to learn about hand washing when they are still very young. Most children develop the ability to wash their hands independently by about three years of age. Before that you’ll need to help them wash their hands (or for babies and young toddlers, you might need to do it for them). After age three, your children will probably still need a bit of help.

But even when they know how to do it, kids don’t always take time out to wash their hands. You’ll almost certainly need to give them lots of encouragement and reminders. Kids don’t always enjoy washing their hands, partly because it means time out from more exciting things like playing. So the best strategy is to find ways to make hand washing part of the fun, rather than a distraction from their favourite activities.

Provide appropriate hand washing facilities

A good place to start is by ensuring that you have facilities that are appropriate for your child’s age. If the basin is too high for their little legs or the bar of soap too big for their little hands, your children will be less likely to wash their hands properly.

Teach children why hand washing is important

Children are more likely to wash their hands if they understand why it’s important. However because kids learn by using their senses (by touching, seeing, tasting, smelling and hearing) understanding why hands need to be washed can be difficult. The germs that need to be washed off hands can’t be seen, smelt or heard, so it’s little wonder young children have difficulty comprehending why they need to wash their hands.

Be a hand washing role model

Letting your children see you washing your own hands is one of the best things you can do to teach them about the importance of washing their own hands.

Encourage your children to wash their hands properly

Encouraging children and taking the time needed to reinforce positive hand washing behaviour is an important step in developing your child’s hand washing skills. Discuss hand washing rules, for example that they must use soap and running water.

Give clear hand washing instructions

When asking your child to wash their hands, give them clear instructions so they know exactly what you want them to do. For example you might mention things like standing on the stool so they can reach the tap, lathering with soap, and drying the hands when they’re done.

Make hand washing fun

There are many things you can do to make hand washing fun. For example you could:

  • Wash your hands with them.
  • Sing songs while you wash. It’s a good strategy to prevent your child rushing the process. Washing hands properly takes about the same length of time as it takes to sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song twice, so use that as a guide. But you could sing a special hand washing song.
  • Count with them while they’re washing. You’ll be developing their mathematical skills and also helping them learn how long proper hand washing takes.
  • Use a chart which your child can mark off or put a star on each time they wash their hands.
  • Play a guessing game, for example ask your child to guess how many more times they’ll be able to wash their hands with the soap that’s left in the liquid soap dispenser.


~Parent Hub

Over half a billion children live without access to basic needs :UNICEF

More than half a billion children live in countries affected by conflict or disaster, without access to medical care, quality education, proper food and protection, according to new figures  released by the UN Refugee agency-UNICEF.

The figures were released as UNICEF, marks 70 years of relentless work in the world’s toughest places to bring life-saving aid, long-term support, and hope to children whose lives and futures are threatened by conflict, crises, poverty, inequality and discrimination.

The impact of conflict, natural disasters and climate change is also forcing children to flee their homes, trapping them behind conflict lines, and putting them at risk of disease, violence and exploitation.

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to nearly three-quarters – 393 million – of the global number of children living in countries affected by emergencies. In South Sudan alone, 59 per cent of primary-aged children are out of school and 1 in 3 schools is closed in conflict affected areas.

Most of these found shelter in Uganda where thousands sought refuge as a result of ongoing insecurity and late rains that led to failed crops and severe food insecurity. An estimated 2.8 million people, or a quarter of the population, are facing acute food and nutrition insecurity as a result of prolonged conflict in the country, an intensifying economic crisis and diminished household food stocks.

Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Somalia, are the other countries in the region where children have been uprooted – more than half of them driven from their homes by conflicts. The Sub Saharan Africa region is closely followed by the Middle East and North Africa.

“UNICEF was established to bring help and hope to children whose lives and futures are endangered by conflict and deprivation, and this enormous figure – representing the individual lives of half a billion children – is a sharp reminder that our mission is becoming more urgent every day,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

He added that the emergencies faced today by the most vulnerable children threaten to undermine immense progress made in recent decades. Since 1990, the number of children dying before their fifth birthday halved and hundreds of millions of children have been lifted out of poverty. Out-of-school rates among primary-school-aged children have reduced by more than 40 per cent between 1990 and 2014.

“Whether children live in a country in conflict or a country in peace, their development is critical not only to their individual futures but also to the future of their societies,” said Lake.




Help your children be interested in school for a #Beststartinlife

As Nixon states, “A parent’s attitude is contagious,” so getting your kids to love school starts with you — and your nanny. Here are 10 ways you and your caregiver can get your kids on the right track for an enjoyable school year.

  1. Be a Role Model
    As a parent, you’re often the most influential teacher in your child’s life, and if you employ a nanny, she’s also a very important mentor. Nixon says, “When parents read a book or take an adult education class, they’re modeling that everyone continues to learn — which is one way to instill a positive learning attitude in their children.”
  2. Maintain Respect
    Think back to when you were in school — it’s likely you had some teachers you absolutely loved and some you weren’t too fond of. But regardless of your adoration (or disdain) for certain instructors, you were always taught to respect your elders. The same values should be instilled in your children.

    “Speak respectfully about the teacher, so kids will respect and obey them,” Nixon advises.

  3. Get Them Involved
    School isn’t just about time spent in the classroom — it’s also about fun after-school activities, whether they be sports or clubs. Encourage your kids to pursue their interests outside of class and it will give them something else to look forward to when they school day is over.
  4. Resist Overscheduling
    Music lessons, baseball practices, art classes, karate tournaments. Many kids’ schedules are so packed that you need a real live personal assistant to help organize. While your child may love all of these after-school activities, and they’re great for socializing and improving future college applications, you don’t want your child to become overwhelmed.

    “Resist the urge — and your child’s begging — to sign him up for tons of after-school activities,” Murphy says. “All children need some downtime. And the fewer distractions your child has, the more likely you are to keep homework hassles to a minimum.”

    Talk to your children about the different activities they participate in, what they really enjoy doing and what can be cut from the schedule.

  5. Set up a Homework Routine
    Homework is a big part of the school experience. “Designate a homework area,” Murphy advises. “Many of us grew up believing that the best place to do homework was alone in a quiet room at a tidy desk, sharpened pencils in hand. But lots of kids do better sprawled on their bedroom floor or sitting at the kitchen table. Let your child pick the spot; just make sure there’s a relatively clutter-free surface on which to write, good light and no TV or blaring music.”

    Nixon adds that it’s important to, “Encourage homework before play…However, allow brief breaks during the homework, as [kids’] minds will absorb more when they take brief interruptions from their studies.”

    If your nanny or after-school sitter will be watching your kids in the afternoon, be sure to clue her in on the new homework spot and routine so your child’s regimen remains consistent.

    For more help, read up on these 9 Solutions for Homework Challenges ??

  6. Encourage Meaningful Relationships
    “In making new friends, quality is more important than quantity,” Nixon says. “Don’t force kids to be ‘popular’ by making tons of friends. Ratherencourage a couple of meaningful relationships.”,
  7. Show an Interest
    Keep the positivity going during homework hour and ask about assignments, such as what homework kids have and what their favorite subject is to get the conversation going about school.

    Be an active participant in their education, too, by volunteering at school. This shows the value you put on their schoolwork and progress and will lead to added pride. If you don’t have time to devote to being on-site, be an active participant by signing up for the school list-serve, reading the school newsletter and being aware of what is going on in the school community.

    Learn about the 16 Ways Parents Can Be Involved in the Classroom ??

  8. Keep the Communication Going
    “Keep the home environment relaxed, open and inviting, so kids will come to you with the conflict or issue they’re facing in school,” Murphy suggests. “Rather than sitting down and confronting a child or pushing a child to open up, use a form of play therapy, where you take a walk or color together and then casually bring up the topic you wish to discuss.”
  9. Reinforce Lessons
    If you notice that your child has taken an interest in a particular subject area, see what you and your nanny can do to extend that learning. Set up some science experiments in your kitchen or visit a local museum to get up close to the fossils your kid has been reading about in textbooks. Showing them real-world applications for the knowledge they are learning in school is empowering and caters to their natural curiosity.
  10. Set the Tone
    With early morning wake ups, it’s easy for adults to start the day off on the wrong side of the bed. But if you’re cranky in the morning, that attitude may transfer to your kids. It’s not easy, but Nixon advises you to help kids anticipate an enjoyable day by sending them off with a smile! Drink some coffee first — it’ll help.





Early childhood education helps your child and the community at large #Beststartinlife

Benefits of early childhood education

Early learning helps children to be confident and curious about the world. It also helps them do better when they go to school or kura.

Already your child is learning through:

  • everything they do, see, feel, smell, taste and hear
  • everywhere they go
  • everyone who talks, smiles and plays with them.

Research shows that children who are involved in quality early childhood education (ECE) benefit in many ways, and that their family and wider community benefit too.

ECE services build on the early learning your child is already doing:

  • on the marae or at church
  • playing with their friends.

ECE can help your child learn important skills that will help them become strong, happy, and successful in later life.

Getting on with others

ECE helps your child learn to get on well with other children and with adults by learning to:

  • make friends, to share and take turns, and to co-operate
  • listen to others and to communicate their own ideas
  • be independent and to take responsibility for others’ needs as well as for their own.

Doing better at school

Children who take part regularly in quality ECE are likely to be confident and curious about the world, and this can help them do better when they go to school or kura. ECE supports your child to:

  • become resilient – to manage challenges and to stick at it when things get difficult
  • settle more easily at school or kura and to get the benefits of education more quickly
  • become life-long learners, for example:
    • talking, singing, and listening to stories build children’s language skills and help them to love books and reading
    • painting, dancing, making music, dressing up, and pretend play help to develop children’s imaginations and creativity
    • puzzles, number play, and counting games help children to understand maths concepts
    • building or construction activities, helping to prepare food, caring for plants and animals, and playing with water and sand (measuring and mixing) support children to learn about maths and science concepts.



Confused on how to communicate with your child, here are a few tips #Beststartinlife

Knowing when and how to talk to your child or teen makes a world of difference in getting them to open up.

1. Talk during the in-betweens.

What were you doing the last time you had a good conversation with your child? I know the answers: walking or driving to school, baking together, bath time, and, of course, bedtime. These times and activities loosen tongues because parent and child aren’t looking at each other. In fact, we are in parallel position. Most of us think talking is supposed to be about relating deeply, but kids actually open up in the middle of doing other things, during what I refer to as the “in-betweens” of life.

2. Create talking rituals.

Observe your child’s conversational style. You’ve heard about learning or attentional styles, but our kids have hard-wired conversational styles that don’t change much. One child may be a lively morning talker. Another is barely human before the bus arrives, but after school it’s no-holds-barred banter. One of your children likes a lot of back and forth, another needs to talk at a slower pace, a third can’t tolerate questions. The key to openness is to not change what is unchangeable, but instead to respect natural times and ways of talking. Build what I call “talking rituals” around them: 15 minutes of driving together or downtime side-by-side in the evening may be all you need to make that connection.

3. Be a person.

Respond to your child with real emotion. Don’t go over the top with reactions, but don’t be a therapist either. Nodding one’s head, naming feelings, and reflecting back is terrific when kids are extremely young or upset or sick or scared. But for the everyday tracking we need to stay in touch with their lives, it is far better to respond like an actual person. “Are you kidding me, Michael did what to Earnest?” “I love what you said to Jenny, it touches my heart.” After all, don’t genuine responses make you want to share more too?

4. Encourage emotional literacy.

Help your kids tell the story. We focus on academics, but our kids also need to be emotionally literate, able to tell a story from beginning to end. Problems are better solved when one can articulate them to another person and people find solutions together. I know, kids take so long to get to the point and schedules must be followed. But slow down for two minutes to ask action questions: “Who was there? What did they say? What happened next?” These help your child feel heard and show you are interested in the whole story. “Love is focused interest,” it has been said, and our kids can tell when we are interested in the story. As a 6-year-old said to me, “I want mom’s undivided attention.” “What do you mean, no siblings around?” “No,” she replied,” not thinking about 50 other things at once.”

5. Details matter.

Pay attention to the superficial. “You lost quarters under the vending machine. What year were they?” often leads to the real scoop. “I was at the vending machine because I didn’t think anyone would talk to me at lunch.” The trivial is where kids live; they get scared off when we delve for deeper feelings, as in “How did that make you feel?” So, commit to the superficial, and more often than not the trivial will lead to what’s really going on.

6. You count, too.

This is big in our child-centered world. Talk about yourself if you want your kids to talk about themselves. Next time at dinner, spend a few moments opening up about your day. Your child will interrupt, and I guarantee you won’t get to the end of the story. The reason it’s such a conversation trigger is that when you talk about yourself it reminds kids about things in their distant memory three hours earlier. For example, if you say, “I had an argument with one of my friends at work,” your child might well respond, “I had a fight with Jenny during gym.” And a special note about dinnertime: grill the food not your kids. Endless queries such as “How was school?” are conversation-busters. As one pre-teen told me, “It feels like I have to produce all over again at dinner.”

7. Give advice.

It’s hard to believe, but our precocious 21st Century kids of all ages still crave direction. After the story, after you’ve responded, then discuss together how your child might handle the situation differently next time. Ask for her ideas, and don’t be afraid to give yours. Try not to lecture, and pay attention to those subtle signals of going on too long. Keep it short, and use your life-wisdom to guide. Begin with, “I know my experience isn’t anything like yours, it’s very different now,” since even young children need to feel separate enough to discover what works. Powerful advice means recognizing your own limits to help kids make decisions without you. Tell them, “I can’t be there to make the decision about sharing that toy or sharing that secret with Joanne, but here’s what I think will happen.” When children know where you stand, they feel closer to you and more willing to open up.

If you follow just one of these suggestions, you will see change. You love your kids, as I do mine, so I know you’ll try. Many of the seven keys to great communication you’ve already sensed, and they will work for almost every child.