5 Great Tips to Teach your Child Respect

Photo by Kristy Kell

At Basik Training, my number one goal is to equip you with the tools you need to help your child become kind, respectful, and successful members of society. One major problem in our society is the lack of respect so many individuals have for other people, and more importantly, for authority figures. How did we get here? Who really knows…? But I do know that there is something we can do as caregivers and parents to help our children become respectful, kind and happy individuals.

In this post, I would like to share five easy ways with you to show your little one how and why they should be respectful and kind to others.

1. To teach your children to respect others, you must respect them too.

First and foremost, the best way to teach your child to respect others is to show them that you respect others. How do you speak to – or about other people in front of your child? If your child hears you complaining about other people or talking badly about them, chances are they are going to pick up on that. Think about the things you’re saying under your breath about your husband – are your little ones around to hear that? What about service people? Servers at the restaurant you eat at, or the grocery clerk.

If you want your children to become respectful and kind adults, it is important to model this behavior to them. Teaching your child that you respect others will cause them to respect others as well. Pay attention to the way you are treating other people, especially when you are in front of your children.

2. Teach your child to respond when they are spoken to.

Parenthood is hard enough. You’re trying to manage all of your responsibilities, as well as take care of your little one. It can be super to helpful to teach your child to respond to you so that you know they heard what you said to them. This can be super helpful to you and for the other people that will be caring for them, such as teachers.

When you ask your child to do something, remind them to respond to you. You may want them to respond with “yes ma’am” or “no ma’am”. Or you may be fine with a simple, “okay”. No matter how tired they are or what temperamental mood they may have at the moment, responding to you is not that difficult. If you’re having trouble getting them to do this, take a moment to get on their level and ask them to look at you. Explain to them that they need to respond to you when you ask them to do something so that you know they heard you.

Also, think about when you are out in public. How many times does someone ask them a question and not get an answer? Depending on the development of your little one and their verbal abilities, this really can be seen as rude. It’s not nice to ignore people who are speaking to you. Teach your little one that it is rude to ignore others. A simple response is not a hard thing to do, and it will teach them how to react in social situations.

*As a side note, I’m not suggesting that you force your child to share a deep conversations with everyone. I do believe that your child should be allowed to trust their intuition and not be forced to be overly friendly with others they aren’t comfortable with. Finding the right balance in this situation is important. However, you can always teach them to respond with a short answer or even by saying they don’t want to talk about it.

3. Teach your child to say please and thank you.

Saying please and thank you are the most basic forms of showing that you have good manners. These words convey respect, as well as appreciation, to the person who is giving your child something. Teaching your toddler these words can begin before they ever actually start speaking. Studies have shown that infants as young as seven months old are practicing word formation in their mind before they ever start trying to out loud. So, don’t wait! Start with modeling this behavior to them early on. And when they do begin speaking, practice this with them.

4. Be consistent when you tell your child “No”.

I absolutely know – this can be one of the most difficult things to do. To see your child lose it over something so small, can be very hard! I know it may be just one cookie, and it would be really easy to make your child happy again by letting them have it. But if you give in and let them have the cookie after you already told them no, you teach your child that it is okay to act like a crazy banshee in order to get what they want. The word “no” loses its influence and becomes meaningless.

Unless you are somewhere with your toddler where they truly do need to be quiet, like a church service or funeral, let them pitch their fit and don’t get involved. By not reacting to the tantrum, your child will see that they don’t get what they want when they act that way. Once the fit has died down get on your toddler’s level, take their hands and look into their eyes. Explain to them that when they act that way you don’t hear them. Tell them that their behavior in not acceptable and that sometimes we don’t get everything we want. This is so important for your child to understand! I guarantee you they won’t get it the first time, or probably even the first ten times. But teach them that sometimes we don’t get what we want, and that is okay.

5. Start a gratefulness practice with your child.

Many children today have and endless supply of toys, get to participate in so many different activities, and have no idea how good they have it. This is not their fault. Kids don’t know that life can be any different. Unfortunately though, there are also many children that don’t get these same luxuries. There are children that don’t have any toys and that don’t get to participate in any activities because their parents can’t afford it.

Teaching your child to be grateful for what they do have is the first step to helping them see how fortunate they are. My suggestion for you is to start a gratefulness practice with them. Pick a specific time of the day that you aren’t rushed for time to discuss three things that you are grateful for. This can be a great family activity at dinner time, during bath time, or before bed. Start with sharing the three things that you are grateful for and go around allowing each child to share theirs. Not only will this be beneficial for your children, but it will also be beneficial to you. One of the biggest side effects of gratefulness is happiness.

6 Tips for Making Mealtime Work with your Toddler

It’s dinnertime! You just spent an hour or more preparing a delicious dinner, all while small changes to make it more toddler appropriate. You made sure all of the ingredients were cut into small, bite-sized pieces. And you toned it back on the pepper and other spicy ingredients. Your toddler has a healthy and balanced meal for dinner and you’re confident that they are going to enjoy it.

However, when you set his or her plate down in front of them, they wrinkle their face and want nothing to do with it. They don’t even want to touch it – much less take a bite of it. In hopes that they will change their mind and that you won’t make matters worse by encouraging them to eat it, you walk away so they can inspect it on their own. Two seconds later, the plate goes flying and the delicious dinner you just prepared, specifically for them, is all over the floor.

This can be infuriating! What are you supposed to do now? Feed them your go to peanut butter and jelly sandwich and throw in the towel? Be as it may, sometimes that might just be the right thing to do. Fortunately, here are six tips that will make meal time easier.

1. Always introduce new foods along with familiar foods.

Take the pressure off yourself and your little one. By including foods your toddler already loves, you can be confident that your toddler will eat something off of his or her plate. It can be very frustrating to be in the situation explained above. This method will help you to feel confident that your toddler won’t be going to bed hungry. And therefore you won’t have to try to bribe them into eating something they’re unsure of. When the pressure is off, your toddler will be more likely to give it a try.

2. Don’t force it.

By all means, encourage your toddler to try new foods. Ask them to give it a taste, or ask them if they like the food. This way, it is their choice and they can make an unbiased opinion of the food on their own. Forcing your toddler to try something will almost always result in them never wanting the meal again. It will almost always make matters worse, and all meals will become a battle for both of you.

3. Offer healthy fruits and vegetables as snacks between meals.

Many toddlers refuse to eat their vegetables at meal time, and many parents start to worry if they aren’t getting enough nutritious foods because of it. One way to make sure they eat more nutritious foods is to offer them as snacks in between meals. Oftentimes when a fruit or vegetable are the only items offered, you will find your toddler really enjoys them! Cut out the goldfish, and instead offer him or her cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and some of their favorite fruits.

4. Teach your toddler sign language.

Two of the best signs for meal time are “finished”, and “more.” The word “finished” is signed by holding two hands up with the palms facing you and then turning them outward. “More” is signed by putting all of your fingers together, and making your hands kind of kiss. This can be super helpful in keeping food from flying because your toddler doesn’t want more of it, and knowing that your little one is still hungry for more. These are easy signs to teach them. All you have to do is show them each time you take their plate or give them more food. Your toddler is so much smarter than you might expect him or her to be!

5. Sit down and eat with them!

Toddlers are more likely to give something a try when they see someone else enjoying it. Sit down with your toddler at meal times and eat some of the same food they are eating. Besides being helpful in convincing them to eat their food, it also teaches them table manners. Have them sit in their chair while they eat, and until you are done eating as well. This will help when you’re out at dinner in a restaurant. Your toddler will learn that they must stay in their chair until everyone else is finished.

6. Don’t give up!

If your toddler refuses to eat a meal you’ve prepared the first time, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t like it later. Some toddlers have texture issues that they will eventually overcome, and others just might not be in the mood for what is being offered. That’s okay. Give it another try and you’ll be surprised how many times kids will like it the second or third time it’s offered.

Sometimes you have to take a deep breath and try to be more patient with your little guy or girl. I know how tough meal times can truly be but the more calm and collected you are, the better behaved they will be. Stay consistent, smile through the messes, and take each moment in stride as your toddler learns how to properly behave at mealtime. Try out a few of these tips, and feel free to share how it goes in the comments below.

The 5 Core Areas for Child Development

Hey guys! I thought it was important to break down some of the foundation of where my posts come from. I want to write and share things with you based on my foundational beliefs about toddlers and children.

I chose the name Basik Training originally because I wanted to open a preschool that taught kids the basics of becoming good, wholesome people who were kind to others. My idea was to teach them good manners, to enjoy learning, and to care for themselves. Since I never actually opened a daycare, I want to share my message with you here in this blog.

I have taken the time to break down for you the foundations of helping your toddler develop into an outstanding member for society. We are responsible for our children. As a parent, you are obligated to provide them with everything you can to help them manage their life the best way possible.

The following five areas are the most important to focus on for ages 1-5.

1. Health & Wellness

Becoming a healthy adult starts with childhood. It is your responsibility to provide your child with the skills to be and remain healthy, and it can be fun! You have the ability to teach your little one to enjoy fruits and vegetables and to enjoy going outdoors for fun physical activities. Help your little one out! Provide him or her with healthy meals and snacks. Take them for a short hike and show them how refreshing it is in nature, or turn on some music and have a dance party once a day. By teaching your toddler to enjoy this part of life can help them so much later!

2. Social Skills

If you have a toddler, you know how interesting they can make social gatherings! Show them how to properly interact with strangers. Teach them to trust their intuition, but to be respectful at the same time. Show them how to treat their friends, and help them understand why. You have the obligation to raise emotionally intelligent children who know how to handle themselves in social situations.

3. Ethics & Discipline Tips

In addition to social skills, ethics and values are key! Babies aren’t born knowing that stealing is wrong. They don’t know that lying is a bad thing to do. It is up to you to teach your toddler what is right. It is also up to you to teach them that the world is good, that they are loved, and that we should show other people love.

Sometimes, in order to teach your child right from wrong, you must discipline your children. This is not a bad thing! In fact, teaching them how to behave is very good for them. Always keep in mind though, there is effective discipline and very ineffective discipline. It’s important to know your child well enough to know what style works best for them.

4. Self-Awareness & Mindfulness

Every human being is different. We all love differently, learn differently, and think differently – and that is normal. Knowing how to calm yourself down in a tense situation can be very helpful. Getting to know your toddler and helping them to figure out what works best for them can help them so much! For example, some kids wake up after their nap happy to see you and wanting to cuddle while others are grumpy and need their space. There is nothing wrong with that! Help them out by giving them what they need.

*In addition, I find this category super important because of the amount of technology we have available to us. Although it can be helpful in many ways, it can also be very distracting! Teach your child how important it is to disconnect, and how to focus on what is happening around them. Learning to live in the present can help reduce stress and make everything in life more meaningful.

5. Education & Life Skills

Last but not least, education and life skills are a very important area to train your child in. From birth through age five, your little one is going to change and develop tremendously. You can begin teaching them numbers, letters, and colors as early as you want to. You can also help them learn everyday life skills based on their development. Your toddler is capable of putting his or her toys away, putting their laundry in the dirty clothes hamper, and many other small tasks. Toddlers love having their independence, and you’d be surprised how much they enjoy helping! Give them tasks they are capable of and observe how much it can actually be fun for them!

Basik Training is based off of these five core categories. These are the five most helpful areas to help your child develop skills in that will help them in every stage of their life. I will be sharing many more ideas, tips, and tricks to help you instill these foundational skills into your child.

6 Food Prep Ideas for your Toddler

Mealtime can be one of the most challenging parts of your day with a toddler. It’s incredible how big of a mess such a small person can make in very little time! Luckily, I have found that taking some time on the weekend to do a little food prep helps to make mealtime each day much easier.

In this post, I will include six of my favorite foods to prepare ahead of time. These foods are sure to keep a toddler full of good nutrients and energy, and to take the headache out of preparing your toddler’s meals.

This week, I urge you to pick one or two of these foods and get ahead of the game. Your toddler will thank you… actually no, they probably won’t thank you. But, I’m sure you will thank you!

1. Sweet Potatoes

Thankfully, I know very few children who refuse to eat sweet potatoes. When they’re prepared correctly, sweet potatoes don’t need anything added to them to make them taste good. They are loaded with good vitamins and carbohydrates that your toddler needs.

Preparing these are simple. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Rinse your potatoes. Then, pat them dry and wrap it with aluminum foil. Place them in the oven and let them cook for about an hour. You can tell when they are done when a butter knife can slide right through the potato with little to no effort.

I would suggest eating a serving right then and there. Then, remove the potato peel and store it in your Tupperware container for the week. You can serve sweet potato along with any meal, and know that your toddler is getting something they enjoy that is also full of vitamins.

2. Muffins

Another great tip that I have found useful, is whipping up some healthy muffins together. Your toddler will love the activity of cooking in the kitchen with you. It is a great learning activity that can be useful to you as well.

I enjoy making a delicious pumpkin, banana, or zucchini muffin with as many clean ingredients as possible. You can serve one along with fruit for breakfast, or you can give it to your little one after dinner to help them fill up on something you know is good for them.

Try these recipes:

Chocolate Chip Banana & Zucchini Muffins | Recipe by: The Nutrition Twins

Flourless Pumpkin Muffins | Recipe by: My Whole Food Life

Blender Banana Oatmeal Muffins | Recipe by: Well Plated



3. Veggies

Another great idea is to go ahead and make a vegetable to go along with meals throughout the day. You can make a pot of green beans, mixed veggies, broccoli, corn, or steamed carrots. Since you will have this on hand, it can easily be added to a meal or snack.

My go-to for preparing flavorful vegetables  is to start with fresh or frozen, organic vegetables. I like to cook them in low sodium, organic chicken broth. I add a bit of butter, salt and pepper. The chicken broth add flavor to the veggies, which will make your toddler more likely to eat them.

4. Rice

Another food option I like to include in my toddler’s food prep is rice. Go ahead and prepare a couple of servings of regular brown rice, depending on how many people will be eating it during the week.

What’s great is, there are so many ways to change it up. One day, you could toss it with teriyaki sauce and mixed veggies and call it fried rice. Another day you could add butter, salt, and pepper, and then top it off with the mixed veggies you prepared this week.

5. Raw Fruit & Veggies

In my experience, I’be found that planning and efficiency is what helps me to meet my goals. If I want to make sure my toddler is getting all his or her servings of fruits and veggies, I must plan and make it easy!

Pick your toddler’s favorite fruits and veggies, and get a head start by chopping them into bite size pieces.

Be sure to keep in mind, not all fruit keeps well after it’s been been chopped. I find that strawberries can become sweet like candy when they’re cut ahead of time. Some other fruits and veggies that keep well are pineapple, bell peppers, cucumbers, grapes, watermelon and more.

6. French Toast // Pancakes

Who doesn’t love pancakes and French toast? Most kids that I know love both of these breakfast foods. The best part about making these is that I often make way more than I need, and get to save the rest for a sweet and filling breakfast all week! I like to freeze leftover French toast and pancakes, and then pop in them in the toaster in the morning.

The best part? You can make a healthier version of pancakes that you and your toddler will love. Try this Banana Pancakes recipe out this week!


When your Toddler Won’t Stop

Toddlers are interesting little creatures. They’re always discovering new things and testing out different ways to get your attention. Sometimes that might be bad behavior. Sometimes that might mean hitting something that results in a loud noise over and over, or sitting on the table instead of a chair. They are testing ideas, testing your limits, and learning. Even when your toddler won’t stop that bad behavior your keep telling them to, they are learning. They are also learning what is acceptable and what isn’t. It’s not acceptable behavior to sit on the table, instead they should sit in a chair.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a parent or caretaker tell me, “They just will not listen to me!” This can be one of the most frustrating parts of being responsible for a toddler. There’s a tactic I like to use when this happens that will help him or her learn what they should be doing. When your toddler is doing something they shouldn’t be doing, try this out.

Instead of telling your toddler to stop whatever that thing is that  he/she is doing, tell them what you want them to do instead. For example, if your child keeps sitting somewhere you don’t want them to say, “Come sit on the floor by me.” Or “Please sit on the couch to watch your show.” If your child is hitting something that you do not want to have damaged, give them a drum that they are allowed to beat on. Or give them a task. Ask them to bring you their favorite book and read to them. Provide them with something you want them to do instead of just telling them to stop.

Sometimes a child just wants your attention. You may not be able to give it to them 100% of the day, and that’s okay! Learning to play on their own is very important as well. However, sometimes taking a few moments to read them a book to them, or interact with them and what they’re playing with is all they need.

Once they have responded by trying to do what you’ve asked, it’s important to tell them how happy you are that they obeyed. Tell them you are proud of them. Even a response as simple as “thank you, little guy,” or “good job, Charlie!” can go a long way. It shows them that they did something good, and it gives them a confidence boost.

Instead of getting frustrated and thinking that your child just doesn’t listen, try a different approach. You must keep in mind, this is a little person who has emotions and opinions. It’s your responsibility to teach them what they should and shouldn’t do.

Five Places to Visit with Your Toddler

Sometimes, to keep boredom-induced-bad-behavior at bay, you and your little one might need to just get out of the house. I would suggest that you try to get out of the house with your little ones at least once a day, if and when you can. There are so many fun things you can do together, and often they can help break up your day. Here are five places to visit with your toddler that are free!

1) Check your local library story times.
Libraries are one of my favorite places to visit. Most libraries have a program each week for your toddler’s age group. There are many different styles of story time, so if there are multiple libraries nearby you can plan to visit each of them and find your favorite one. Some are musical, where they sing songs with the children between stories, some have puppet shows, and some might have a craft at the end.

2) Google free, child-friendly events in your city/county.
One city I worked in had an event each Tuesday at a very upscale outdoor shopping center. They had craft booths, coloring, rocking horses, slides, music, train rides, and held special themes each week. This was one of our favorite places to visit. Some restaurants in the shopping center also conveniently promoted kids eat free on the same day, so we could get out with a cheap lunch as well.

3) Parks and playgrounds.
I used google, or any search engine really, to find all the parks and playground nearby. I would recommending visiting all of them in your area and figure out which is you and your toddler’s favorite place to visit. Some have more toddler friendly playgrounds, and some parks have better playground sets for older children. My favorite parks are those that also have walking trails and big grassy areas. Children love to explore. Sometimes just walking through a grassy field can be super entertaining for a little one.

4) Farmer’s Markets.
Just like you enjoy discovering new products, enjoying some fresh flowers, and picking out some home-grown fruits, veggies and other treats, your toddler will probably enjoy this as well. Your toddler will enjoy people watching, smelling and tasting local treats. Point things out to him or her, and let them sample the same things you do. This can definitely be an activity you both enjoy, and a fun place to visit on the weekend.

5) Barnes & Noble.
If you’re like me and love to read, you probably already love Barnes & Noble. However if you haven’t already discovered their kid’s section, you’re about to fall much more deeply in love with it. Most of these stores have a train table, Lego station, and play area in almost all of these stores. If your child enjoys trains at all, this place can entertain them for hours on a cold and rainy day or when they can’t go outside to play. While you’re there you can introduce them to some new books and help them discover some new interests.

The plus side? While your child is happily playing, you can browse through some new books that you may be interested in while sipping on coffee from their Starbuck’s Café. Barnes & Noble is a great place for both parent and child!


Five Ways to Easily Incorporate Learning

Toddlers are changing every single day, and observing everything around them. Even if your child is having a particularly hard day, there are still moments in which they will be capable of learning something new. Here are a few ways that you can incorporate learning opportunities for your toddler in your normal day-to-day life.

1) Sing songs!

Your child is learning new words, movements, gestures, and reactions in the things they listen to and observe every day. Songs can be a fun way for kids to learn the meaning of and how to say new words. They can learn their letters, days of the week, animal sounds, new hand motions, silly movements, and all kinds of different things through songs. Sing the ABC’s to your child throughout the day. Eventually you may catch them singing it all on their own. Sing “Wheels on the Bus” and “Old McDonald.” Singing together is a fun way to interact with your child, and you might be surprised at how much they pick up on.

*If you don’t know any songs, you can always look them up on YouTube, or use the Toddler Sing-Along’s channel on Pandora to help you get started.

2) Count everything.

Little ones are very smart. They are capable of learning to count as soon as they begin trying to talk. Find something you do repetitively with your child each day that you might be able to incorporate counting into. For example, If you have a set of stairs in your house that you go up and down with your child each day, you could count each step with them. The repetitiveness will teach him or her the order these numbers go in, and what the words are associated with.

You can also incorporate counting into many other things you do together throughout the day. Count their blueberries, their Legos or little cars, count things you find while out exploring. Even when you feel like your little one is not paying any attention, keep working with them. They are observing so much more than you might think.

3) Go for a walk.

Personally, going for a walk is pretty much therapeutic for me. When I’m feeling depressed, tired, or stressed I love to go on a relaxing stroll. I know I am getting some exercise and it feels good to get some fresh air. Sometimes when a toddler has been cooped up inside for a while, you might notice them acting agitated or emotional. I believe toddlers sometimes just needs some fresh air as well.

Also, this is a perfect opportunity for a learning activity! Don’t feel like you always have to do something extravagant. It’s easy to forget that your little one may never have seen a pinecone before. They may be fascinated when you blow the seeds off of a dandelion puff. They might learn what a ladybug looks like in real life! Learning opportunities are everywhere if you allow them to be.

4) Self-entertained.

Is your little one always under your feet while you cook? Set them up with something creative to do, or give them an activity. If your child enjoys coloring, you can set them up in their high chair with a piece of paper and a few crayons. Be sure to tell him or her the color of each crayon, and occasionally check back in on them while you’re getting the meal cooked. Ask them what color they’re using. Suggest to them that they try another color. By engaging them in conversation, they’re developing their little brains and thinking about what you are asking them.

If your child is not into crayons, you can always try this with play dough. Other ideas include giving them a puzzle they are able to solve, a shape ball, or little connecting trains. Whatever it is you get them doing, try to keep them entertained with something else. Learning to play without someone else is just as important as playing together for your toddler.

5) Read books to them.

Now, I do agree that some children enjoy books more than others. However, if you start reading to your child early they are more likely to be interested in sitting still long enough to get through a book. To succeed in getting your toddler interested in reading, try it during different times of the day. Maybe before bedtime, or after nap works best because your toddler is more calm and able to sit still with you. It is also a good idea to read to your child even when you don’t have their full attention. Finish the book even if they get up and walk away right in the middle of it, because they are still hearing what your are saying.

Once a toddler has found his or her favorite book, they may ask you to read it to them several times every day. To an adult this behavior may seem ridiculous and annoying because we just read this repetitive book five times in a row. However, if you treat it as a learning opportunity your child can easily increase their vocabulary. In addition, repetition will help your child to learn how a word is pronounced properly.

You can also ask questions about what the characters in the book are doing. Ask about the colors they see and count how many birds are in the picture. Ask the little one to find different objects or to tell you what they are. There is a variety of things to learn in a single book.

Toddlers are so impressionable. There are so many ways to incorporate learning into your child’s daily activities. I believe if you are seeking out opportunities to teach your child new things on a regular basis, it won’t be difficult to discover new ideas. Try some of these tips, and leave some ideas that work for you!