Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Top Six Skills Your Child Needs!

As parents, we all imagine the day when our children become self-sufficient and enter the world of work! In this competitive economy however, how can we help our children become attractive candidates for those jobs that are sometimes few and far between?  These are some of the top 21st Century "soft" skills that employers value in workers. Please read on to see if your kids have them and how you can support them at home!

1)  Communication -  Part of being an effective employee is to have excellent communication skills so that nothing is lost in translation and you are a confident representative of the organization.  Can your child read, write and speak well?  There is a reason that teachers commonly assign at least twenty minutes of reading as homework.  Reading creates an expanded vocabulary and exposes the mind to new ideas. It also makes connections to prior knowledge and helps students become better writers. Nowadays, many class assignments include a speaking component as part of a project as well. In addition, being able to take constructive criticism and give valuable insight so that the department or company moves forward is also highly desirable.

How to help at home:  Find out what your child is studying in class and ask them open-ended questions about it so they can speak to you.  Read what they are reading and have discussion time. Look over their writing assignments, many English assignments ask students to persuade the reader by including evidence and defending their argument. Ask them to back up their statements with questions like, "What led you to that conclusion?" and "Give me some examples."

2) Collaboration - Basically, this is the "Does Your Child Play Well With Others?" idea. More and more modern companies are mobile, international, and modular requiring employees to interact and work with each other more than ever. The brick and mortar office may become a thing of the past as technology allows employees to collaborate without being in the same room or same country for that matter.

How to help at home:  Teach your child what it means to be an active contributor. Assign them a job, chore, or another responsibility at home.  Have them help you cook and reflect on how working together helps put on an awesome meal.  Work on puzzles together or the latest LEGO building project so they can see a finished product made out of everyone's efforts. Teach them to share, take turns, and make sure everyone is included.

3) Leadership - Employers want people who can be courageous, be role models, problem solvers, and motivators.

How to help at home -  Don't worry too much about what you say, because kids don't always listen. Worry about what you do however, because kids are always watching. Take every opportunity to be a model citizen to your children from how you treat your spouse, to how you take care of the elderly to how you balance work and home life. Disney and Pixar movies are the best to watch and discuss as a family.  So many themes around leadership can be discussed from movies like "The Good Dinosaur", "Sugar Rush", "Finding Nemo",  and "Wall-E" to name a few.

4) Work Ethic - Employers wants employees that are responsible, dedicated, loyal, and dependable. Those who have a strong work ethic are usually also honest and selfless.

How to help at home:  When opportunities arise to discuss these words, take them and model them for your children.  Movies like "Rocky", "McFarland USA" and "Rudy" are all good examples of people who had very strong work ethics.  In addition, this link is a somewhat shocking collection of photos of children from other countries that really put education in perspective  Ask your children what they think of these students from around the world who make this kind of journey just to go to school.

5) Critical Thinking - Employers want people who can see the big picture, anticipate obstacles and plan for them.  They want people who can find multiple ways to get to the desired result.

How to help at home: Encourage your children to see what people are doing all around the world to make a difference. What better examples of critical thinkers than the CNN 2015 Heroes: They identified a problem and came up with a solution.

6) Self Management - Employers want people who can work without much supervision needed. This entails earning trust and respect, two core values that kids learn from those who model them.

How to help at home: The key to self management is knowing how to ask the right questions so that directions are completely understood and expectations are met.  Teach your children to ask clarifying questions or to have instructions repeated so they know exactly what is expected.  Teach your children how to manage their time using a planner of some sort so that deadlines are met. Teach your children what "quality" work means by describing or showing them prime examples of what the task should look like when completed.  Teach your children how to ask for feedback often to see if they are on the right track.

Now you know what skills employers value in their workers and how you can help at home as parents! Have a suggestion, please enter a comment below! Like this article? Please share! Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sugar Rush at the 2016 LA Cookie Con and Sweets Show!

They weren't kidding when they named this the convention of sweets! I am a dessert person so I was smitten at the word "cookie"! This was a two day convention, however we could only attend on Sunday. My daughter and I had press passes to attend so since we were available and it was complimentary, why not?! We game planned this event since I had heard about the long lines from the first day of the convention. We arrived early enough to check in and were among the first 50 or so attendees in line for the convention to open. We looked at the layout of the vendors inside the program and took notice that massages were being held at one of the VIP areas.  After a 2 hour drive to Los Angeles, my shoulders needed to rubbed a bit!  We made a bee line to the area after the doors opened and  we ended up being the first in line there, hahaha! Seems that students from this college were offering massages to earn hours toward their certification.  Everyone got a complimentary 20 minute massage. It was so well worth it!
Then it was sample time! Oh my gosh, look at the spread we had.  Tiny portions of this and that added up.  I really wished there were water stations to cleanse my palate.  I was grateful too that there were some booths that were protein-based to balance out the sweets!

The following items were found in the VIP areas:

Many vendors had their products on sale, perfect for Valentine's Day gifts!

Don't really know what Del Real was doing here,  but hey the samples were great!

There was also a cake decorating contest!

This wasn't in the contest, I just thought it was really cute!
I even found some Disney characters!
In real life too! Do you recognize this cutie? She's Trinitee Stokes from "K.C. Undercover"! There were many YouTube personalities and Master Chef Junior contestants sitting on panels as well as workshops and demonstrations. Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to sit in on any, there were too many booths to visit!
I was grateful to meet up with my fellow blogger friends even if just to take a quick pic. It was getting crowded, not like Comic-Con crowded, but to the point I know some people left because they felt claustrophobic. 
Some suggestions for next year!

  • Keep the VIP areas, but add some belly bars for people to eat at! It is difficult to eat a cupcake and drink coffee when you're laden with swag bags.
  • I LOVED the massages, but maybe add privacy panels. It's hard to drift off to a peaceful place when twenty people are in line staring at you waiting for their turn!
  • Have water stations throughout the hall.  Sweets require some liquids!
  • Offer more variety of real meal food than the one convention vendor if possible.  Sweet lovers are also probably foodies too!  We can't live off sweets alone!
  • This one I got from the lady I was chatting with in line before the convention opened. Food demonstrations needed mirrors above the cooking station so the audience can see technique and finished products.
  • Limit how many tickets are sold. It was really crowded.
  • As in most conventions, check in should really be done just once.  I was in line with some people who were annoyed that they had to stand in line to check in again for the second day to get another bracelet.  They at least got another swag bag filled with protein shake mixes, but see if that can be figured out. 
  • We loved the vendors that had samples in "to go" packaging!  They made for quick pick up and we could save them for later!
Until next time LA Cookie Con!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

What Your Wife Really Wants for Valentine's Day!

I recently asked my besties what they want for Valentine's Day this year. Their answers may surprise you. One of my BFs, Norliza, said she really doesn't want anything.  She feels Valentine's day is too commercialized and that celebrating love should be all year long. She doesn't need things "bought".  I asked her for more details and she mentioned that she would rather have her husband do tasks without being asked to show his love and appreciation for her all year round. Tasks like folding laundry, putting away the dishes, filling her car with fluids and the like.

My sister Melanie agrees.  For her, feeling loved is not about things so much but gestures from her husband that show appreciation. Simple things like doing laundry (interesting this is mentioned again!), putting gas in her car (this too), cooking dinner so she doesn't have to cook, or getting her favorite fruits or food or things in her favorite color (my sister LOVES purple). She emphasizes that these gifts don't need to be anything expensive.

I guess it is true that birds of a feather flock together. I'm also a "show me throughout the year" gal instead of a "buy me" something person. I really don't need flowers, chocolates, a fancy dinner, jewelry or even a card. I also appreciate chores being done by my husband without being asked (laundry is a big one for me too!), school lunches packed,  groceries bought, and homework done with my son. These show me that he is my partner, that he cares about managing my stress level and well-being and wants to make me happy!

But as Valentine's Day approaches, I thought of some ideas that are sort of "out of the box" that I would love to receive from my husband and wanted to share them.
  • A love letter - I would really treasure a love letter from my husband.  We used to write each other regularly when we were young. Of course, there was no world wide web for email or cell phones for texting then.  There's something really sweet about your husband putting his thoughts on paper about how much he loves you. 
  • A modern "mix tape" - He knows my favorite songs and artists.  I would love to have him download music onto my phone or make a CD. That way, every time I am in the car listening to it, I'll be thinking of him!
  • A slide show set to "our" songs - What a wonderful way to review memories together than through a slide show or video of pictures he has picked out.  A photo book would also be a great printed gift!
  • A re-creation of one of our first dates - I think our first movie date was watching "The Last Dragon" or "Karate Kid". We ate pizza before the movie.  We also went on a picnic way back when at the beach with some sub sandwiches and chips. We were definitely on a student budget then! Another memory of mine was going jogging in the morning as I was on a weight loss kick, yet I believe we ate a stack of pancakes afterwards, hahaha! It would be fun to re-live those moments!
  • A vision board of future plans - There's a sense of security in having your spouse put your future dreams and goals together onto a board.  Having your financial goals, travel plans, your bucket list captured is an awesome demonstration of commitment to a future together.
  • A time capsule - This could be made of items real or representational of your meaningful moments from your past, future, or both!
  • The good old coupon book - It would be great to be able to redeem a coupon once a month for all the activities that he knows I would enjoy. For example, activities like getting a massage, a day of shopping with him (he doesn't enjoy this very much), cleaning the bathrooms (my least favorite chore), or going for a walk with me to get some exercise, etc...
  • A photo shoot - As our families grow older, it can get more difficult to get everyone together for a family portrait.  I would love for my husband to take care of the wardrobe theme, set up a salon appointment and hire a professional to do a photo session. I have yet to meet a girl who doesn't enjoy being done up and photographed.
Aside from these ideas, I believe the single most important gift husbands can give their wives on Valentine's Day is some undivided attention and time. This means putting the phone down, asking questions about her day, doting on her, and making her feel like she is the most important person in the world!  Please share this with your special someone if you think it would help! Have an idea as well? Please leave a comment below! Thanks for reading!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...