How to Raise a Healthy Vegan Kid

Source: https://lifehacker.com/how-to-raise-a-he…vegan-kid-1828667417
Capture Date: 16.09.2018 23:12:25

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Illustration: Chelsea Beck (GMG)

When it comes to raising a healthy vegan kid, the challenges often aren’t so much nutritional as they are social. Raise your kid vegan, and you’ll hear everyone’s opinions and advice about it, whether you ask for them or not. And even within your own family unit, you’ll need to consider how to talk to your kids about why they’re vegan—whether it be for their health, the environment, animals, or all of the above—and how to properly approach their nutrition.

We spoke with health and culinary experts (several of whom are vegan parents themselves) to get the lowdown on what you need to know to raise a healthy vegan kid. Here’s what they had to say:

Sort Through All the Health Data

Generally speaking, plant-based diets are thought to offer protection from the most prevalent chronic diseases—but the potential benefits for kids aren’t only long-term. “Many of the common allergens—namely, fish, shellfish, dairy, and eggs—are naturally omitted on a plant-based diet,” The Plant-Based Dietitian Julieanna Hever (MS, RD, CPT) says. If you have a child with allergies, know that a vegan diet is a totally legitimate way to go.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics agrees and states in its position paper on vegetarian diets that appropriately planned vegan diets “are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” It adds that a vegan diet is appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and is suitable for athletes.

Supplement B12

A kid on a well-balanced vegan diet can be as healthy or healthier than any other kid. The only supplement a balanced vegan needs is vitamin B12. But if you have a picky eater or want to be sure to cover your bases, a vegan multivitamin also can’t hurt, Hever says.

If you’re breastfeeding and are vegan yourself, the CDC and ADA recommend supplementing B12, as well. Dr. Klaper suggests supplementing your diet with 500 mcg of methylcobalamin (a form of B12) five to seven times per week and 300 mg of (algae-derived) DHA per day in order to make sure you’re getting enough Omega-3s.

Have a Good Response Ready for ‘The Protein Question’

One of the most common questions vegans get is, where do you get your protein? If you’re raising your kids vegan, you’ll definitely want to have a good response ready.

Here are your two main points: A well-balanced plant-based diet has all the protein you need, and most people in the U.S.—the vast majority of people—get more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of protein, but the same number of people get less than the RDA of fiber. By feeding your kids a well-balanced plant-based diet, you ensure they get enough plant-based protein and fiber (not to mention a bunch of other wonderful nutrients).

Here’s a short list of vegan protein sources that should come in handy: beans, lentils, soy milk, tofu, tempeh, seitan, vegan meat products, peanut butter (and other nut butters), nuts, pumpkin seeds, edamame, quinoa, and oats. To give you an idea, one cup of soybeans contains 28.5 grams of protein (roughly the same amount as you’d get in 4 oz of red meat or half a chicken breast), while other beans tend to have around 15 grams per cup. A cup of oatmeal has 4 grams of protein, while two tablespoons of peanut butter has 8 grams. So long as they’re eating a variety of these foods, you don’t need to overdo it. According to national dietary guidelines, a child aged 1-3 should get 13 grams of protein a day; a 4-8 year old, 19 grams; 9-13 year old, 34 grams; and a teenager between 46-52 grams.

So what does a balanced vegan diet look like otherwise? According to this Permanente Journal from 2016, adults should have 5+ servings of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruit, 6-11 servings of whole grains, 2-3 servings of legumes, 1-2 ounces of nuts, and 1-3 tablespoons of seeds like chia and hemp a day. Depending on the age and appetite of your child, you can adjust that ratio accordingly.

Start the Day with a Smoothie Disguised as Ice Cream

Put a smoothie in a bowl with some toppings and you can call it dessert for breakfast; just use less liquid to make it more like ice cream.

“We start our day off with a smoothie that is packed with nutrients, so even if they eat snacks or just bread the rest of the day, you can feel like they started their day off well and at least consumed some fruits and veggies,” says Jenny Engel, one of the vegan chefs behind Spork Foods.

Spirulina makes a smoothie a fun blue hue, while adding just a little cocoa or carob powder makes a health shake look like chocolate ice cream. For extra fun, make a smiley face out of bananas, granola, nuts, and seeds. For a high-protein smoothie, use a vegan protein powder, and nut butter or this smoothie formula (minus the added agave).

Involve Kids Whenever Possible and Model Good Habits

It’s important to set healthy eating habits early, and to make children feel involved in the kitchen and connected to their food. Work together to grow a garden, shop with them at local farmers markets, and have your child participate in selecting, shopping for, and cooking the recipes you make. The more they feel a part of the process, the less likely they are to rebel against what you feed them—this is true for kids and food whether you’re a family of vegans, omnivores, or anything in between.

“I get them excited about food by cooking with them and growing vegetables in the garden,” says vegan chef Sepi Kashanian. “They want to taste the salad they made themselves.”

Plant-based doctor Michael Klaper suggests that kids’ earliest snacks should be simple—things like carrot and apple slices and broccoli florets, lightly steamed at first, then raw. “If you don’t introduce them to junk foods, they won’t develop a taste for them,” he says, adding that it’s key to set the example. “With kids, the recorder is always on, and it’s important they see their parents eat the same healthy foods that they are told to eat.”

Don’t Assume Certain Foods Are Too Advanced for Their Palates

In that same vein, if you don’t want to have a picky eater on your hands, you’ll be better off introducing your kids to all the same foods you eat as early as possible. Kashanian says she mostly cooks for her daughter the way she would for herself, using plenty of spices, garlic, and onion. Get them exposed and habituated to every vegetable there is as early as possible, and don’t assume they won’t like spinach, kale, or Brussels sprouts.

“If you start your child off seeing all sorts of different foods in the house, and on the whole family’s plate, then it becomes normal to incorporate these foods into their diets,” Engel adds.

But Be Patient with Picky Eating

If you do face picky eating, try to remember that almost every kid goes through it, no matter their diet. To make food extra fun, utilize the rainbow of colors in a plant-based diet with recipes like fruit kabobs or rainbow Buddha bowls.

“We don’t make our kids eat their vegetables to get to dessert, because that can reinforce the idea that veggies are the gross stuff you put up with to get to the prize at the end of the meal,” Engel says. “We just present it in small amounts and ask a few times if they’d like to try.” And if they don’t want to try? It’s your call whether you prefer a tough love approach, but you can always fall back on picky-proof options like PB&Js, vegan nuggets and burgers, and of course, smoothies.

If You’re Transitioning Their Diet, Learn Easy Swaps for Their Favorites

There’s a saying vegans like: “Anything you can eat, I can eat vegan.” And it’s true. There are so many substitutes and ways to veganize common dishes that your kids will never have to go without their favorite foods (even if they subsist on mac and cheese, pizza, or yogurt). Check out this article for simple vegan swaps, this guide to healthy vegan eating, this Trader Joe’s shopping list, and these vegan hacks, and know you can get free live coaching and nutrition consultation at ChooseVeg.com. Vegan recipe sites like Bosh, Vegan Richa, Vegan Yack Attack, and Minimalist Baker are also excellent resources for simple and fun recipe ideas.

Have Quick Go-To Meals That Aren’t All Microwaveable

While there are lots of good

, quick bean and veggie burritos with vegan cheese, or stir frys with veggies, tofu and rice noodles.

Keep an Open Dialogue

Don’t assume kids can’t handle the truth. In fact, the more you help them understand why your family chooses to be vegan, the more they’ll be able to make informed decisions at birthday parties and school.

Whatever your particular reasons for choosing a plant-based diet—you’re raising your child vegan because of a dairy allergy, other health reasons, or environmental or animal rights-related concerns—you’re going to want to explain that. Emphasize that if their friends have different diets, that isn’t a moral failing on their part. They should have an informed idea of why your family eats a plant-based diet, and be able to talk to friends about it without being judgmental. It’s also important to let them know that if they’re being teased at school for being vegan or asked questions they don’t know the answer to, they can always come and talk to you about it.

It can also help to introduce them to other vegans their age, whenever possible. There are lots of vegan kids and teens who are outspoken about why they choose not to eat animals. The burgeoning career of Genesis Butler is worth following with any kid, and you can follow hashtags like #VeganKidsofInstagram to share stories and ideas of other inspiring kids.

Find a Pediatrician Who Gets It (and Then Don’t Stress Too Much)

Check out this database to find a plant-based pediatrician near you who supports this healthy decision and knows about vegan nutrition. A vegan-friendly doctor should be well-versed in plant-based nutrition, and shouldn’t make you feel judged or scared for putting your child on a plant-based diet. They should be well-versed in how to monitor your child’s nutrition, and make you feel you have an ally in making sure your child is following a healthy plant-based diet.

When it comes to healthy growth, you shouldn’t worry more than any other parent. Anecdotally speaking, the kids I’ve met who’ve been vegan since in utero are some of the biggest and heartiest eaters I’ve seen. When everyone from Olympic athletes to celebrities are going plant-based for their health, it’s no wonder that the diet is one that promotes healthy growth. Of course, every kid is different. “As long as the child maintains their curve on the growth charts and their energy is good, everything should be fine,” Hever says.

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

Source: https://www.lifehack.org/686658/how-to-d…ifferent-age?ref=rss
Capture Date: 11.05.2018 00:10:16

One of the most difficult aspects of parenting is discipline. We want to have a good relationship with our kids. Discipline can make us feel like the bad guy.

Handing out consequences for bad behavior is not fun. It generally makes our kids upset to have consequences for their behavior. Then they get mad at us for being the enforcer of consequences. It is a tough thing to be the disciplinarian of our children. It would be great if a reward system with charts and prizes would be enough to keep kids well behaved and not need discipline at all. Reward systems are great, but they are simply not enough.

Children need age appropriate discipline. It is a simple fact of life and parenting. If you are at a loss for how to discipline your child, I hope to provide some helpful tips for what can work for your child.

I have three kids and all three require different discipline approaches. No child is the same, nor will they respond to discipline the same as the next kid.

Being flexible, fair, consistent in follow through, and loving are the keys to making discipline effective without breaking the bonds of trust with a child. Using discipline that is too harsh or without warning will leave a child having trust broken between parent and child. They need to feel that they are being treated fairly in order for the consequence to not harm the parent and child relationship.

This doesn’t mean all forms of discipline are the same for all children. You need to implement systems that work for each individual child in the household. Discipline is not a one size fits all.

Why discipline is essential

Children need discipline because it will help them now and also in their future as adults. They will develop a sense of right and wrong, with discipline in the home playing a major role in their moral development.

Discipline helps them to understand what is acceptable behavior and what is not. They will also learn to respect authority when discipline is done fairly and comes from the love of a parent. If they can’t learn to respect authority in the home, it will not be favorable to their future.

Will they listen to their boss and respect his or her authority? Much of their development of respect for figures of authority is directly correlated with how they were disciplined in the home.

Was there discipline and correction in the home or were the rules loose and unknown? They will develop a good sense of respect for authority figures when discipline is done correctly in the home with clear rules and consequences in place.

This again means that it is not too harsh (i.e. screaming and yelling), does not involve abuse, and is never done when a parent is filled with anger or rage.

How discipline affects development

There are four major parenting approaches, as outlined in this Psychology Today article:1

  1. Authoritarian
  2. Neglectful
  3. Indulgent
  4. Authoritative

As parents, we need to strive to be authoritative parents in order to be effective in disciplining our children in a manner that helps them develop into the best adults they can be.

With authoritative parenting approaches being utilized, a child will come to respect authority and discipline. The article from Psychology Today states the following regarding authoritative parenting methods:

Typically, authoritative parents give their children increasing levels of independence as they mature and this leads to higher leadership potential in the children of authoritative parents. Social skills, self-control, and self-reliance are more highly developed, and these are qualities that make ideal employees, leaders, and life partners.

When authoritative parenting methods are utilized, children will develop respect for authority figures that will carry over into adulthood. What we are teaching our children now in our discipline methods will have them develop not only a sense of morality of what is right and what is wrong, but they will also develop respect for authority figures.

The other methods of parenting (authoritarian, neglectful, and indulgent) are flawed and come with consequences that affect the child in their adulthood. The goal is to raise children who are prepared to leave the nest someday and be fully prepared to take on the world.

Discipline, and the parenting approach it stems from affects the development of children. Authoritative parenting is setting rules and boundaries that are fair to the child and their age. It is also discipline that helps the child to understand right and wrong behavior and the consequences of either within the home.

How to discipline a child

Whether we are using appropriate and effective discipline methods will determine whether our children will develop a strong sense of morality (that you have taught them) and a respect for authority.

Here are some general guidelines for authoritative parenting in regard to discipline:

  • Rules and the reasoning behind them are clearly explained.
  • Parents will try to help their child when the child is frightened or upset.
  • Respect for the child’s opinion is provided, even if they may differ from the parents’ opinions.
  • The child is encouraged to talk about his or her feelings.
  • Consequences for breaking rules are clear to the child before rules are ever broken.
  • Communications and conversations with the child take place after rules are broken to help the child and parent process what took place. This conversation is done with empathy on the part of the parent.
  • Children are provided with discipline when they break rules. This is done in a consistent manner (i.e. if their smart phone is revoked as a consequence of not having their bedroom clean, then it is also revoked the next day if that same rule is broken).
  • Parents discuss with their children the consequences of their good and bad behavior, so there is a clear understanding of consequences and discipline in the home.
  • Parents follow through with discipline and are not lax about allowing rules to be broken without consequences. Rules being broken means that there are consequences. Not just sometimes, but always.
  • Consequences do not involve harsh punishments, shaming, screaming, yelling, name calling, or withholding of love.
  • Consequences are followed by healing words of encouragement and love to assure the child that even though they are being disciplined they are still very much loved. Example, after a time out period the parent would hug their child and tell them they love them unconditionally.
  • Parents encourage children to be independent within boundaries.
  • The reasons for the rules are clearly emphasized when discipline takes place so that the child clearly understands the “why” of their consequence. For example, when a child runs into the street after their ball, they are taken inside for a time out and it is explained that they are not allowed to go into the street because there are cars driving on the street making it very dangerous for them (it is for their own safety).

Them knowing the house rules and boundaries along with the subsequent consequences are the first components to having a good discipline system in place.

The next major factor to consider are the consequences. Are the consequences for their behavior fair? Is the consequence age appropriate for the child? Below are some general guidelines for age appropriate discipline methods.

Discipline at different ages

Discipline methods need to change as a child ages. What worked for your child at age 2 may not be effective at age 7. You need to recognize when your discipline methods are no longer effective and need modification.

Understanding that age plays a role in the type of discipline that is most effective is important. Below are some age categories and discipline methods that are effective for these age groups:

Babies

Babies generally don’t need discipline. They are just learning about the world and they don’t have a grasp on good versus bad behavior. That will come soon enough when they are toddlers. However, this doesn’t mean that babies don’t do things that require consequences. For example, we don’t want our 9 month old crawling over to a light socket and putting their finger in it.

The key is to create a safe environment so that the baby can explore their world in a safe manner. If they develop behaviors such as hitting or touching things they shouldn’t, they can be redirected.

Redirect babies’ attention

Provide them with something safe to touch and play with. Teaching them the difference between “yes touch” and “no touch” is essential. If they can’t abide by the “no touch” for a particular item, such as pulling the cat’s hair, then remove the item from their view and ability to touch. A 9 month old is not likely to understand the concept of a time out.

Parenting.com has some helpful tips on handling a baby’s behavior outside of the realm of punishment. They state the following about discipline and babies:2

Discipline begins with trust. The child who trusts his mom or dad to give him food and comfort when he needs it will also trust them when they say, “Don’t touch!”

The key with babies is that they need love, comfort, and redirection rather than punishment such as time outs. They are just developing their sense of self and discovering the world around them. Soon enough they will be toddlers and consequences can become part of the routine. Until then, it’s the parents’ job to keep baby away from unsafe situations and things.

The parent can distract or redirect their baby when behavior needs to be modified.

For example, when I began brushing my kids’ teeth when they first got their new teeth as babies, they did not like to have a toothbrush in their mouth. I had one child that would kick, scream, and cry when she saw the toothbrush.

I developed a silly song to make teeth brushing entertaining and distract her from what was happening. I made silly faces and sang the song very excitedly every time it came to brushing their teeth, so that she was distracted by my song and dance and I could more easily brush her teeth without a fit. It worked like a charm and within a couple of weeks, she was excited to see the toothbrush because it meant I would be the entertainment.

Find creative ways to distract your child or engage them with other activities to diffuse crying because they don’t want anything that is unsafe for them. They don’t need punishment for grabbing the TV remote control. Instead the parent simply needs to replace the remote with a toy and make the toy appear far more interesting and fun than a boring remote control.

Toddlers (around 1 to 2 year old)

Redirection of behavior is also helpful for toddlers. You will find yourself saying “no-no” repeatedly when you have a toddler. You have to decide which behaviors are stepping over the line and require consequences. Others beahviors can simply be redirected much like you would do with them in the baby phase.

Simple verbal corrections are helpful at this stage. When the verbal corrections fail, then you need to take action. Sometimes toddlers are just testing the waters to see what they can get away with.

Know your limits, so you recognize when the behavior has gone too far and verbal correction simply isn’t enough. That way you can move onto other methods such as time outs, taking away toys, or removing privileges (simple things for toddlers like no ice cream).

Toddler melt downs and tantrums are the norm. If you have a child who doesn’t go through a temper tantrum phase that involves yelling and hitting, then you are lucky and your child is a unicorn. For the rest of us, we need a huge dose of patience, deep breathing, and a calmness of our mind and emotions when the temper tantrums start.

Avoid triggers that cause tantrums

Try to avoid triggers that may cause the tantrums to occur (like skipping their naptime or forgetting their snacks and you end up with an “hangry toddler”). When you are in public, remove yourself from the public situation.

More than once I have left the store with a child in my arms who was in full tantrum mode. I take them to the car and we wait out the tantrum. I don’t yell or punish in any way.

Quiet times

The best consequences for tantrums of toddlers are quiet times. This is different than a time out. The time out is usually the same number of minutes as that of the child’s age (if the child is 3 then they get a 3 minute time out). Tantrums require additional time for the child to calm themselves and recover.

I always placed my children in their rooms on their bed and told them I would come get them after they calmed down and were quiet for a while. Sometimes, they would fall asleep because the tantrum was related to them being overtired. Other times they would come out of the room and say “I calm” in their toddler voice after they had recovered from their fit.

Usually I would go to their room after all was quiet and I knew that they calmed down and the temper tantrum was over. We would talk about things and then I would ask them to come rejoin the family now that they had calmed and were committed to good behavior.

The key with toddlers is to remain calm. You need to be their rock, not the one losing it when they lose it. Empowering Parents discusses some more helpful tips on dealing with toddler tantrums including the following:3

Be clear and firm with your child. They want to see that you’re in charge and that somebody is in control. Keep your center and be very firm. You can say, “We are not staying here. We can come back when you can pull yourself together. We are leaving now.”

Time outs can begin during the toddler phase. A special chair designated as the time out chair is helpful for making this consequence method consistent and understandable for the toddler. You can use a timer that is designated as the “time out” timer.

A general guideline for time out length is that the number of years of the child’s age is the same amount of minutes for the time out (i.e. 2 minutes for a 2-year old, 3 minutes for a 3-year old, etc.). If the child keeps getting up from the timeout chair, then the parent needs to keep taking the child back to their time out chair until their time out is complete.

I instituted a policy in our home that if they got up from time out then their time out would start over. They learned from a very early age not to get out of time out until the timer went off.

It can be a battle of the wills having to keep putting a toddler back in the chair over and over again. But doing so will teach them that you will not give up and they are required to finish the entire time out.

Eventually they will catch on and realize that the time out will go much quicker if they simply go to the chair and do the time. It may take dozens of time outs to get to that realization, but it will happen eventually.

If it results in an all out temper tantrum, then use the tantrum policy and remove the child to a safe area, such as their bedroom or crib until the temper subsides and they are calm once again.

There are some kids that do well with a time out when they can sit with Mom or Dad. They need their parent there as it is a reassurance that they are still loved even though they are being disciplined. That works too as long as they are being removed from their playtime and toys, the consequence of time out in their chair with Mom or Dad near them is fine.

Removal of toys

The policy for toddler toy removal is that the toy is taken away if it is used to harm others or two or more children are fighting over the toy.

Toy time out is what we call it in our home. The toy went on top of a cabinet that the children could not reach. Be sure to put these toys for time out in a place that the children will not try to climb to retrieve and get hurt in the process.

Our cabinets are bolted to the walls because of this safety issue. My kids were all climbers and you don’t know if your child is a climber until you catch them doing it and by then it can be too late to avoid a horrible accident.

Be sure to differentiate between normal toddler behavior and direct disobedience. I had one toddler use coloring crayons to draw all over the walls. My daughter who is two years older than her twin brothers pointed out that they didn’t have any more coloring pages left so he had to draw on the walls. Sure enough, I had told them to go into the kitchen and color. I had never told my toddlers to not draw on the walls.

Rather than scolding him and sending him to time out, I had him helped me clean the walls and we talked about how color crayons are only for paper. I let him know that next time there would be more serious consequences if he wrote on the wall with crayons.

Toddlers do strange things, so be prepared for your reaction (or the need to hold off on reacting to your toddler’s antics) because sometimes a bean up the nose is just a toddler experimenting and not them trying to be disobedient or act out in any way badly.

Preschoolers (around 2 to 3 year old)

Time outs are also useful for preschool aged children. The preschool age is when you can begin to see that some discipline methods work for one child but they may not work for another.

I have one child that will laugh at me and say “I don’t care about time out, it doesn’t bother me” and I know he means it. Therefore the time outs are no longer used for him. Instead we take away favored toys.

If you child is obsessed with their fire engine truck that they have to take to the store, to church, and to preschool, you then know it will be effective in taking away this toy for disciplinary measure if needed. For our kids it depends on the severity of the action. For hitting that caused injury to a sibling they will lose that toy for an entire day.

You don’t want the child to ever feel defeated, so don’t threaten to throw it away because that is far too harsh. Instead a time out for that toy for a designated amount of time is appropriate.

Thorough explanation and discussion of the behaviors

It is important at this phase to be more thorough on explanation and discussion of the behavior and consequences. You want your children to understand why you are taking away their favorite toy or giving them a time out. You also want them to feel a sense of growing right and wrong in their heart and mind.

When they understand that their name calling or hitting their siblings results in hurt feelings and physical hurt, they can begin to empathize with their siblings pain and hurt. They will feel bad for their actions.

Maybe not immediately, but as they grow and you are consistent with both the consequences and the calm, empathetic conversations about their actions and the resulting consequences, you will find that they will develop a greater sense of remorse and empathy.

The goal is not to simply change their behavior. It is to change their heart and motivations. You want your children to desire to get along with others and to abide by the rules. They will when they understand the reasons for those rules, the clear consequences, and their emotions are involved in the process.

Discipline is guiding their hearts as much as it is guiding their actions.

School-age children

When children reach school age, then generally the era of when time outs come to a halt. However, there are times when quiet time in their room is needed. For attitude adjustments and mood swings, room time for the child to calm themselves away from others (and electronics) is often very helpful.

Taking away screen time

This is the age where electronics are becoming more important. Whether it is a personal tablet, smart phone, or television, school age children are increasingly more attached to these items. It becomes an easy source for effective discipline. They lose time on their electronic device as a consequence for rules being broken.

No child specialist has yet to say that depriving a child of screen time will be harmful to them. If anything just the contrary has been proven. Therefore taking away screen time as a consequence of their behaviors can be beneficial to them in more ways than one.

Be sure the time frame is fair with the severity of the behavior. If they didn’t make their bed that morning, maybe an hour restriction is fine. For purposefully damaging their siblings property or harming another child, the device can be restricted for a full day or more, depending on the severity of their behavior.

Again, it is of utmost importance for the child to understand the “why” of the rules, so they understand why consequences are necessary when rules are broken.

Removal or restriction of privileges

This is also effective for school aged children. Understand your child and their desires to make this effective. For example, you may have a child that likes to go ride their bike around with neighborhood kids after school. They may have gotten in trouble at school for something that you deemed worthy of restricting their after school bike riding for a day or two.

Make sure that your child understands why they are being dealt the consequence and try to make the time productive- such as writing an apology to the teacher or child they offended at school.

School age is when friends become increasingly more important to kids. Socialization is an important part of development. However, when misbehavior is severe enough, then time with friends can be restricted. “Grounding” is what my parents called it.

When children are of young school age, it can be simply not allowing them to attend an upcoming friend’s birthday party. Again, make sure that your punishment is not overly harsh. If they believe you are overly harsh and severe in your punishments, then resentments will form.

Talk with your school aged children about what punishments they deem fair or unfair and for what violations specifically. Having these open conversations can help you develop fair discipline methods that are also effective for your specific child.

Be a flexible parent

Determining what kind of punishment is effective for your child is not a one and done policy. What is effective this week may not be an effective consequence for their behavior the next week. Be prepared for conversations with your growing child so that you can understand one another in this process of discipline and rule following.

The clearer you can make the process for the child, the more likely you are to make things fair. Involving them in conversations about what they believe are fair consequences is also effective in setting up disciplinary measures for their behaviors.

Give them love and reassurance of that love following discipline because above all the goal is showing them love through the good and bad, so they feel that they are loved unconditionally.

Discipline is part of loving that child. If you love your child, you want them to develop into emotionally healthy adults and discipline is a part of that process.

How to Introduce Your Kid to Dungeons & Dragons

Source: https://offspring.lifehacker.com/how-to-…s-dragons-1822920357
Capture Date: 24.03.2018 16:01:21
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Illustration by Angelica Alzona/GMG

Once upon a time, I was a wizard named Gandalf. It is an unimaginative moniker, admittedly, but it came from a tween who just finished reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy. As Gandalf, I knew a few common spells, for protection and attack, and could speak dwarvish. I declared my alignment to be Lawful Good, naturally, and went about my business seeking gold and magical treasure.

By the time I rolled ability scores for Gandalf—my first role-playing game character—Dungeons & Dragons had been out a couple years. My most geeky friends and I would get together on Saturdays or during sleepovers to pretend we were medieval fantasy heroes, battling Lizardmen and Beholders in search of the elusive +2 Vorpal Blade. Even as I stashed my 20-sided die into storage when I headed to college, I couldn’t wait for the day I could get it back out and role-play with my kids.

In 2010, I bought my two sons the Fourth Edition starter kit for D&D, which is made of a collection of nuanced rules. The game lost my kids’ interest before their first characters could swing an axe.

I could empathize. Arguing fine print is as much a signature of the game as the crazy dice. Many of my D&D sessions as a kid and an adult wasted lots of time trying to get an adventure started, or looking up specific rules as situations surfaced. To make my childhood pastime more accessible to my kids, I had to iterate.

Keep It Simple, Sorcerer

At the time, my solution was coming up with a stripped-down version of D&D (“DnDish”) that threw out all but the most essential parts of the experience. In doing so, I gutted the rules and only kept the crucial parts: Create a character, Roll the dice, Level up. The rest relied on our collective imagination.

With the release of the Fifth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons in 2014, the official rule set now addresses some of the obstacles my family encountered trying to learn the game. However, there are still some things you can do to simplify 5E and improve the experience for your kids.

The biggest threat to an enjoyable RPG session is attention span, so all of your house rules should be implemented with three goals in mind:

  • Quicken the pace to first action.
  • Minimize reference lookups.
  • Keep players engaged at session end.

These goals can be achieved with a combination of rules omissions and game preparation by the Dungeon Master, the person most responsible for moving the adventure forward.

Hide What You Don’t Use

Battling some easy monsters early will help a new player learn how their armor, weapons and magic work. That knowledge will last into future sessions, but the little-used bits will likely to force a DM to consult the books. While you thumb through one of the three main D&D guides or surf an online resource, your kids may find more interesting things to do. To avoid costly reference checks, don’t play with the parts that prompt research.

When you can’t eliminate reference checks, consider making the information you need easier to find. Create simple one-page cheat sheets that contain only the most useful information. Try to reduce all the books into four key pages—Character creation, Player actions, a Shopping list, and Leveling up. If something doesn’t fit on a sheet, don’t use it.

Decisions Are an Investment

In D&D, a lot of decisions are required to create your character. For new players or those attempting to use an unfamiliar character class or race, those options can delay the start of action for everyone. The quicker you can get to the first monster, the better.

There are 9 core races and 12 classes in 5E, though most are rarely used. You can reduce a lot of complexity by making everyone use a Human Fighter as a character template, but let them play as anything they can imagine. In my own kids’ adventures, we had Oracle Ducks, Toddler Plumbers, and Walking Goldfish Chef Wannabes. Under the hood, though, is a single D&D archetype.

Some boxes on the standard D&D character sheet are vital. You need a name, of course, and an alignment. (Kids usually choose Lawful Good, but play Chaotic Neutral.) Ability scores and their modifiers drive most of the game play. There are also a handful of derived stats—like initiative, passive wisdom, armor class, speed, and hit points—that are used regularly. The rest of the sheet looks open-ended but is actually backed by a lot of structure found in the Player’s Handbook. If you replace that structure with negotiation, kids’ imaginations will create their own constraints.

Don’t offer an option to play a pre-rolled character. While that will certainly get you to game action quickest, players tend to be less invested in characters they didn’t create. That makes it easier for them to disengage later or make reckless choices in game.

Let Weaknesses Become Strengths

When creating characters, it isn’t uncommon to see a bunch of low numbers and hear, “That didn’t count.” Re-rolling to get an acceptable set of high numbers guarantees your character will start strong, but playing with low scores inspires creativity.

In FATE, another RPG platform, character traits are treated as double-edged swords. Every strength can be a weakness, and vice versa. This is a valuable perspective to take when encouraging kids to play with bad rolls. The DM has the power to make use of ambiguity to reward weaker characters for embracing their faults, or to turn strengths against others. The smartest tactician can overthink a plan, and the dumbest tank can be insightful.

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Use Fewer Dice More Often

Rolling dice is the most enjoyable part of an RPG. It combines player control with destiny. Since the dice only come out when there is some challenge to overcome, there is always an anticipation that the story could take a dramatic turn. Players shouldn’t be rolling dice for every action, but asking a character to roll when player attention wanes will increase engagement for everyone without having to rely on endless monster battles.

In D&D, there are typically seven dice—d4, d6, d8, 2d10, d12 and d20—but most of the action can revolve around just two. A 20-sided die is used heavily in battle and in skills checks. Rolls of 20 (critical success) and 1 (critical failure) allow the DM to augment an outcome to cause extra joy or pain to a character. d20 is the signature die for D&D.

The rest of the dice are most often related to damage inflicted by different weapons or to facilitate larger lookup tables. By replacing these dice with the most familiar one—d6—you can reduce the frequency of the common question, “Which dice to I use?”

Clearly Separate the Context of Conversations

Bored kids get goofy and say funny things. There is a difference, however, between Susy insulting an Orc and her character Pickles the Bard doing it. Within a game, poor behavior can have deadly consequences. Out of the game, the DM and players can talk more freely without their characters picking an unwise fight.

Use of conventions like “In Game” and “Out of Game” help to delineate what is exploratory or offhand and what is a game decision that could impact the narrative.

End Before They Are Ready

The younger the kids, the less stamina they likely have for a long gaming session. I try to adhere to a Three Encounter rule, where the goal is to get three opportunities for experience in any gaming session before stopping. This means a 90 minute to 2 hour session is a reasonable duration, long enough to get players in a flow but not so long that we’ve overstayed the welcome.

It helps future game play to wrap things up while the players are all paying good attention. Gaming sessions are like episodes in a TV show. While I try to resolve the last encounter before closing the session, I like to leave with a hint of the next mystery or drop in surprise character at the end. Doing so generates conversation in between sessions and makes it easier to ramp up the next time we play.

Make Leveling Up Simple

Leveling up a character is an intermittent reward for continued play. The economics of experience points is such that it takes an increasing amount to reach the next level. In D&D, point values vary from one monster or action to the next. Rather than deal with those nuances, I award the same points for each encounter. Every character who participates earns those points. Forward movement in the story is still incentivized—the more encounters, the more points—but it de-emphasizes individual achievement.

Don’t delay gratification. Because my kid-focused games have unreliable attendance, we have to deal with characters who don’t progress at the same pace. The last thing I do in a gaming session is award experience points. This avoids an awkward situation in the next session where some players have to watch as others use previously-earned points to increase ability and power.

Manage All Character Sheets

Unless you enjoy rolling up new stats and backstory every week, it is a good idea to collect the character sheets at the end of each session. Not only does this lessen the chance of a player losing theirs, but it allows you to review the character abilities between sessions to cater the next chapter of the adventure.

Between doodling and injury, a character sheet can become overrun with pencil marks. If you keep a digital copy of the character sheets, you can update and reprint them to keep everything legible.

A DM should know how to play the full game, even if the players don’t. If you are brand new to D&D yourself but are interested in learning it, odds are good you already know someone who runs a game. An estimated 20 million people have played D&D since it was created, and the long public playtesting of 5E has resulted in a resurgence of interest in the RPG. Once you know the rules, it will be easier to find the places to break them and make the experience more enjoyable for your kids.