How do we Talk to Children about the Terrorist Attacks?

It is a frightening and unpredictable world not only for us as adults but also for children. Children worry about all sorts of things from having to read out loud in class, friendships all the way to the dangers of the world; children are generally worried little folk! So what can we do as parents? Do we talk about the terrorist attacks? We discussed in our Helping children through bereavement blog post about talking openly with children and this is very much the advice resonated from some of the leading psychiatrists and psychologist, encouraging parents, to talk to their children about the recent events. In an article in the BBC news online, consultant Clinical Psychologist Emma Citron, who specialises in children and trauma, says families should not shy away from talking about such events. “Give children basic facts, tell them what it is they want to know, ask them what they would. Support them and comfort them and be there for them, hug them, just respond to how they’re responding emotionally. Take the lead from them – we need to know what it is they want answers to.” Here are some of our key thoughts but all children are unique so always keep in mind your child’s age, temperament and maturity: Be open and honest and make sure your responses are age appropriate. Try not to bombard children with too much information, try and keep it simple, less is more. Make your child feel safe; most children want to know that they are safe so this is key. Try not to dismiss their worries by saying “you don’t need to worry”,...

Keeping your children safe online

In todays day and age, all children have access to the internet via a number of different devices, be it tablets, phones, laptops or desktop computers. It’s a vital part of life for most children, primarily for school work, but also for social communications. It’s hard to keep track of what your child is looking at when they are online, especially when they are using their mobile phones etc away from home. So here at Niche Etiquette Children we thought that it would be useful to share some tips on how to keep your children safe online and what is expected of them when they are communicating online. Set parental controls on all devices that have internet access Spend time with your child online. Find out what they like to do when they are online. Talk about the websites and aps they like to use. This will help you to see what they are accessing and allow you to comment if you think that something they are looking at isn’t quite right for them. Teach your child to ask you if they are allowed to complete forms online. A lot of forms are fine and are used by websites to collect data, but some might open you up to all sorts of issues, so from the first time they start to access the internet make it clear that they have to confirm with an adult before they can submit details Speak to your child about things they might have seen online that have made them uncomfortable. Let them know that they can talk to you at any time about...

How to handle school interviews

School interviews can be a nerve-wracking time for both parents and children. We’ve compiled our top tips for handling interviews and giving your child the best possible chance at being successful in the interview. If your child gets nervous easily, practice some deep breathing techniques with them to help them control their nervousness. Explain to your child in advance what will happen on the day so that there aren’t any surprises for them. They will be more relaxed if they know what to expect. Practice with your child how they should introduce themselves and enter the interview room. When should they sit down, how should they sit etc? Help your child to have a good understanding of what the school has to offer and what they feel particularly attracts them to the school. Talk through with your child what strengths they have that would fit with the school, help them to articulate this in a clear manner. Practice standard questions that schools usually ask, help your child to feel comfortable with how they should answer these questions. Try not to put pressure on your child, we all know how important these interviews can be if you are very keen on a particular school, but try not to let your child feel this pressure, it won’t help them in their interview. Have a knowledge of current affairs, your child may be asked about what’s happening in the news etc so help them to have an awareness of what’s happening in the world. Help your child to think of some questions that they can ask the interview panel. What do they...

Helping children through bereavement

Sadly, some children have to cope with a member of their family passing away. It’s very hard as an adult to deal with something like this, but as a child, who may not understand death, it can be nearly impossible. As someone close to a child in this situation, you will want to try to help as much as possible, whilst dealing with your own grief, and so we wanted to try to give you a few words of guidance to help you and your loved ones through such a difficult time. Don’t be afraid to talk about it We can often feel uncomfortable talking about death, we don’t want to say the wrong thing or offend people and so we often avoid it altogether. But for child, like adults, talking about death and their loved one can really help. Spend time talking about their memories, their favorite times together, what the person was like. Let them know that just because they aren’t there anymore, they won’t be forgotten. Try to answer questions honestly Often children have never experienced death before and so won’t know how to deal with it. They won’t know the correct language to use, the appropriate and inappropriate things to say, the questions they can and can’t ask. If they ask you a question, try to answer it honestly, no matter how uncomfortable you might feel. It will help their grieving process if they try to understand what has happened. Don’t be alarmed if they don’t seem to take it all in It can take a while for a child to understand the finality of...

Enjoy reading with your children and make everlasting memories

Children have great imaginations, making up magical worlds with their favourite toys. A great way to help children develop their own imaginations is to read stories to them regularly. It’s also a great way to spend quality time with them bonding, whilst creating life long memories for them. And if that wasn’t enough, research shows that children enjoy reading do better in all subjects at school than others! Reading to children is an art form, we’ve all listened in with a tinge of jealousy as someone really makes a story come to life when they are reading to child. So, to help us all make story ready as enjoyable as we can for everyone, we’ve compiled some top tips. Have a regular reading time It doesn’t have to be at the same time each day, but perhaps before or after the same activity. For example, after breakfast, before bedtime or after playgroup. Or better still, all 3. Get comfortable  Find a favourite chair, a cozy nook or bed to snuggle up on. Get close, have a cuddle and dive in.  Let them decide what book to read Children change their mind with the wind, one minute they are into dragons, the next trains. So, to help ensure they are really interested in listening to the story, let them chose the topic. Talk about the pictures Pictures say a thousand words. As well as reading the words, spend time looking at the pictures with your children, ask them questions about the characters and what they can see on each page. Discuss the book  To help your child empathise with the...

Start your holiday with a pleasant, enjoyable journey

We’ve all planned a beautiful holiday in a lovely location only to have the horror of the journey dawn on us a few weeks before we are set to leave. Here at Niche Etiquette Children we’ve compiled a list of handy hints and tips to make travelling with young children less stressful and more enjoyable for all involved.   Help your children understand what’s happening On the run up to your holiday, spend time talking to your children about your holiday. Tell them what will happen when during the journey and explain what’s expected of them. For example, if they haven’t flown before, tell them about the noises the airplane makes, that they have to sit in their seat and ask them to help you pack some activities for them to do during their journey. Be prepared Snacks are easily available at the airport, but most of them come with lots of packaging and are usually packed with sugar. You know your child best and what snacks they prefer, so pack a few small bags of snacks that are nutritious and enjoyable, but aren’t going to send your child off into a sugar high! Pack wisely If your child has a favourite toy or blanket pack it so it’s close to hand to reassure your little one during the journey. Take some games, ideally without any small pieces that will inevitably roll under the chair in front of you never to be seen again. Keep these games and activities for when they are needed, don’t reveal them all too early in the journey. Something new and exciting just before...

Mealtimes are a great chance to spend time together as a family

In his farewell address to the nation, President Ronald Reagan declared, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table. So tomorrow night in the kitchen, I hope the talking begins.” Barack Obama has a strict rule in The White House, at 6:30pm each night he stops work (albeit sometimes temporarily) and enjoys his evening meal with his family. Meal times are a great time for families to get together, share stories of the day and spend quality time with each other. Life is busy and it’s often difficult to get everyone in the same place at the same time, but whenever you can, try to all sit down and eat together, it will do wonders for your families relationships and your children’s social skills. We’ve developed some top tips to help you and your family to get the most out of meal times. Every meal is an opportunity to bond We understand how busy we all are today, so eating your evening meal together might not always be possible. But you can eat any meal together, not just dinner. Why not try to eat breakfast together before everyone sets off for the day, start the day with a positive feeling and a sense of belonging. Get everyone involved  If you can, try to get everyone involved in the preparation. Perhaps the children can lay the table, chop vegetables, or put the dishes in the dishwasher afterwards. Make everyone feel that they have a part to play in the family dinner. Technology free zone Turn off the TV, the mobile phones, tablets and games consoles. Sit together at...

Sibling Rivalry

As we congratulate the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their new baby, Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, spare a thought for Prince George and how he will feel when he realises he has a new baby sister to contend with. It can be tough for a toddler to welcome a new baby into his world. Sibling rivalry is the competition, jealousy and fighting between brothers and sisters.  It can be a problem for most parents who have two or more children, and problems can begin soon after the birth of a second child.  Rivalry usually continues through childhood and parents can find this very stressful and frustrating; there are not many children who start out as “best friends”, playing together happily for hours on end. A toddler will not realise his feelings are of jealousy, he just wants your attention, and may react by misbehaving or refusing to do things. He may jump on the sofa while you are feeding the baby, refuse to walk, stop using his potty or even prod the new baby. Here at Niche Etiquette Children we have put together a few tips on sibling rivalry that may help you, but remember it is a normal part of family life. Time share Spend quality time with your toddler, try to set aside time to do something with just him while baby sleeps. Make the older sibling feel important and build his confidence Ask your toddler for help, ask him to pass you the baby wipes etc., and point out how helpful he has been and how much the baby likes him. Find small manageable...

9 Net Etiquette rules for children

Net Etiquette rules developed as more people began to communicate and interact on the Internet. There is no way to avoid the digital social interaction that will almost certainly become a large part of children growing up in this age of evolving technological devices. Parents need to have regular conversations with their children about online safety, digital etiquette and cyber bullying. Children are more likely to behave properly online when they know and understand what is expected of them. Below are examples of good net etiquette rules for your children to follow: Treat others how you want to be treated. Sometimes children need to be reminded about good manners, even online. Make a point of stressing that sometimes it is better to discuss sensitive issues with the person directly rather than sending a hurtful email or posting something online. Keep your friends’ secrets – ask your child how they would feel if one of their embarrassing moments or photos was posted on the web for the world to see. Before you join in a discussion on the web, always check that your questions and comments are relevant to the group. It is a good idea to “lurk” or watch the conversation before joining in. Double check your messages before you hit the send button – teach your child to slow down and think about their post or comments, and that once sent there is no way to take back their words. Never respond to threatening or rude messages anywhere – on message boards, newsgroups, social media platforms or chat. If a conversation makes you feel uncomfortable – always leave...

Two huge etiquette blunders involving President Obama

Learning etiquette the hard way at Buckingham Palace The importance of learning the etiquette of the country you are about to make a state visit to cannot be understated as President Obama found when he decided to  propose a toast to the Queen after dinner at Buckingham Palace. Cultural differences were highlighted in the most embarrassing manner when two people were clearly expecting different things to happen; the Queen because she knew the protocol and Barack Obama because he didn’t. As the President proposed the toast the National Anthem began to play and as can be seen on this video link  he encouraged people to raise their glasses whilst the “Queen’s song” was still playing. No one raised their glass and we see the Queen saying something which is not particularly audible but one assumes it was “wait till the end” or “not now”. When the National Anthem is being played everybody stands until the end and then activities can continue but clearly the President wasn’t aware of this and we can see how awkward he looks having been “reprimanded” by the Queen like a naughty schoolboy. However, one might wonder whether the Palace staff were at fault to begin playing the National Anthem whilst the President was making the toast. In other circumstances, without English Royalty becoming involved, the person receiving the toast would have accepted it irrespective of the lapse in etiquette but at Buckingham Palace there are strict rules about the correct protocol.  Anyone in doubt can always call the Royal Household before a visit to make sure they know what to do and how to...