Tag Archive for communication skills

Talking to Strangers

Can you start a conversation with a stranger?

I am OK with this. I can do it but I used to feel a freak for starting random conversations with strangers, that was until I watched this Tedx Talk by Danny Harris. Read more

Reading Matters Conference

Reading Matters

In case you weren’t aware Fink Cards teamed up with Reading Matters to create a set of cards to help improve literacy, build confidence, that are fun and easy to use and are suitable for all ages. The idea of these cards is to use the with individuals and groups to expand vocabulary and develop language and communication skills.

Reading Matters is a UK charity and they improve reading skills. They have a vision of the future in which all children and young people have the reading skills and confidence they need to get the most out of life and our mission is to help them to reach their potential by becoming confident and enthusiastic readers. They provide literacy support training to adults, young people, children, educational professionals and parents and carers, and manage networks of volunteer Reading Mentors and Reading Leaders in schools and other settings.

Reading is important because words – spoken and written –  are the building blocks of life. Reading develops our minds, our creativity and imagination and is how we gather new ideas and insights, gaining the knowledge and power to make our own decisions. Through reading we can go anywhere in the world and be whoever we want to be; the possibilities are endless.

This year I’ll be attending Reading Matters Conference which is called ‘Bringing Literacy to Life.’

The conference is aimed at head teachers, teachers and practitioners across the key stages, librarians and all those with an interest in developing the literacy skills of children and young people.

There is a great line up of confirmed speakers and workshops by a mixture of different people, myself included. The day will be chaired by Rachel Kelly, Chief Executive of Reading Matters.

reading matters conference set up

I’m so excited to share these Fink Cards with you and to get them out there into your hands!

What to do if your child is caught cheating.

Cheating at School

what to do if your child cheatsWhy are we so surprised when children cheat? Did we not all do it; if there is a quicker way to do something won’t we all give it a go? It is human nature to find a quicker way of doing something that uses less energy but gets the same results. Back in our cave days it made lots of sense for us to do this. However morally, it leaves us with an issue as parents. How do we get the point across about teaching without putting our children off trying things in a quicker more efficient way? Read more


Ever found yourself wishing you had a lot more to talk with your kids about other than the usual ‘how was school?‘ ‘what did you do today‘ type questions? Well trust me you’re not alone. With busy lives these days it’s not unusual that families schedule in time with each other but what good is that if you can’t get the best out of it?

The  emergence of new technology on the one hand has made our daily tasks  easier,while on the other hand, it erodes a huge aspect of family life integral to bonding – communicating the good old way – as in talking face to face, some of us hide behind our gadgets emailing, texting and bbing so much that it feels like a chore striking up a face-to face conversation even with our own children..so after the usual questions our kids hear all the time so much that they answer without thinking what do we do?

It’s time to ‘FINK‘ outside the box I say! FINK stands for Family Interaction Nutures Kids, (and adults too I add) the brain child of the Britain’s  Lisa Warner, mother of four, who believes that communication is essential for happy families and happy children and in putting her money where her mouth is, she developed a fantastic range of conversation cards to reclaim family life from BBs, PSPs, Ipods and the likes..


One in five kids embarrassed by ‘the birds and the bees’

One in five (20 per cent) Brits rate ‘sex talk’, including the mandatory birds and the bees chat, as their most embarrassing parental habit.

As the Easter holidays approach, many kids will be spending more time than usual around the folks, and for some this means having to endure the following top five embarrassing parental habits:

1. Sex talk – 20 %

2. Talking in youthful slang – 12 %

3. Asking personal questions in public – 12%

4. Waiting up for their child to return from a night out – 10 %

5. Getting the baby photos out to show visitors – 9 %

The survey by Paramount Home Entertainment, to coincide with the DVD release of Meet the Parents –Little Fockers, also reveals that over half (55 per cent) of British parents admit to regularly using Facebook to snoop on their child.

Are you a Parent worried about having to have the sex talk our cards may help.

I will be having a much wider discussion on snooping in this month’s think tank. If you want to be part of it and join in then sign up here.

Help! I just found drugs in my son’s room

Dear Sarah,

I cleared out my 15-year-old son’s bedroom the other day when he was at school, and found a packet of cannabis under his bed. I raised it with him as soon as he got home, but he swore he had never seen it before and one of his friends must have hidden it there. I don’t believe him, but I’m not sure how to punish him when the issue is so serious. How can I make sure he doesn’t keep smoking it?

Katherine, 38, Southampton

Katerine my first question to you is why you don’t believe him?  Does he have a history of not telling the truth?  We must be careful not to jump to any conclusion without all the evidence. The long and short is that you cannot stop him smoking cannabis (if he is). In fact, you cannot make him do anything, just like I cannot make you do anything you don’t want to.  What you can do however is make it clear what is and is not acceptable in your house.  I would sit him down and let him know how you feel about the fact you found cannabis (whether it be his or his friends). Let him know it is unacceptable for anyone to bring cannabis into your house; let him know that if you find anymore that belongs to his friends then he will be unable to have any friends around anymore.  Let him know how you would feel if you found out he was smoking cannabis, stressing the point that you would need to take a different course of action if this happened. By doing this, you will be letting him know where he stands and at the same time, making it clear that you are not blaming him. If you subsequently find cannabis that is his, then I suggest another very clear conversation and a consequence, which can be agreed upon together.  The best consequence in this instance is to cut off the money supply.  The most important thing here is not to panic; only a very small percentage of teenagers are actually addicted to cannabis. Some will try once and others only a few times. The best way to tell if you child is addicted is to look for changes in his everyday habits that are quite noticeable, for example sleeping patterns and the times he goes out, etc.  If you suspect he has a drug problem, then seek profession advice as soon as possible from a doctor or drug counsellor. I wish you all the best.

Talk to your teens about Drugs

Video about Drugs

Help! I think my daughter may be gay

Dear Sarah,

communicating with children and how to improve communication skills, My daughter is 16 and has never had a boyfriend. Her female friend stays over regularly and last weekend I went into her bedroom early in the morning to find them cuddled up together in the same bed. My daughter shouted at me to get out, and has avoided me ever since. I want to tell her that I will love her no matter what, but she seems too embarrassed to talk to me and I don’t want to make it worse. How can I broach the subject? Read more

Tips for dealing with bad behaviour in teenagers

How to get through the Teen Years.

communicating with children and how to improve communication skills, 			The teenage years have become linked intrinsically to bad behaviour and appalling attitude, and the stereotypical images we see on TV do not help. But are they really that bad?

Well, the answer is yes, they can be and no, not if you don’t allow it.

1. Enough is enough ! Read more

Parents doing things differently

I have No Rules and it Works

communicating with children and how to improve communication skills, Recently  I asked to hear from Parents who are “doing it differently” so I could share with you some great inspiration.

Here is my first “doing it differently” Parent Christy Bell who has some great insights to share.

if you are doing things differently I would love to hear from you. Read more

Learn about your teen

What can you learn from your child’s musical tastes?

As Parents we so often dismiss our children’s musical tastes. We listen to the din and just want them to turn it down! But how much do we really listen to their music?

If we were for a moment just to ignore the noise and listen to what the music is saying, how much could we learn about our teens?

So I challenge you to go and listen, really listen to their music and the lyrics. What is the music saying and what feeling is it portraying? What could this tell you about your teen? What could your teen be trying to say to the world? What feelings and emotions may they be releasing by listening to this music. If the music they listen to had certain qualities about it what would they be? Is it about freedom to express, or choice, or perceptions? Are these the qualities that your teen has, or wants to have? You can learn so much about your teen by just taking that extra step and really listening to the music. What is your teen trying to say to you by the music they are listening to?

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