A NEW online program has answered the prayers of parents concerned about the development pace of their children.
Sunshine Coast teacher and author Katrina Kahler is the creator of HowtoHelpChildren.com, an initiative aimed at assisting parents and providing guidance as their children undergo crucial development phases.
Ms Kahler said she had been prompted to create the website after numerous parents' pleas for help as their children struggled both in the classroom and at home.
"I've been teaching for a lot of years and over those years, I've constantly had parents coming in asking for help with their children," she said.
"Kids are often having trouble making friends. They have to deal with bullying - children who are lacking in confidence or lacking self-esteem."
To combat these problems, Ms Kahler's online program provides the advice and strategies some parents so desperately crave.
"Over the years, I've helped so many children in the classroom with their personal and social skills, so we've put all this into one package on the website in a section for personal development and strategies parents can use to really help their kids achieve," she said.
Ms Kahler herself underwent personal development and she believes it changed her life.
Now she hopes to pass on what she's learnt and help kids reach their potential.
"I just felt over the course (of teaching these children) for a whole year, through the use of a lot of consistent praise and a positive attitude, it's been a complete turnaround and these kids have become happy individuals who have learnt to make friends and how to communicate with other people," she said.
Ms Kahler preaches a positive outlook for children, and insists parents must lead by example - enforcing encouragement and a "glass half-full" attitude.
"Build their children's confidence, tell them they've done a great job and constantly encourage them to do their best and praise them for their efforts," she said.
"Give them the 'I can' attitude and give them a positive outlook that their kids will take on as well as a belief in their abilities."
University of the Sunshine Coast associate professor in education and science Michael Nagel echoed Ms Kahler's premise.
"It's a bit of a no-brainer because parents will lead by example whether they want to or not," he said.
"Parents are a child's first port of call in terms of learning about the world and learning how to engage with the world."
Above all Ms Kahler hopes the online program enables children to gain confidence to believe in themselves, which in turn will reflect a joyful persona that will not get bogged down with the hardships of life.
"What I want to see happen is that children develop a positive attitude from a young age rather than having to experience all the negative stuff life throws at them and feel knocked down," she said.
"Children everywhere have so much potential and they just need the opportunity to understand they do have potential and believe in themselves that they can go out and achieve."
"From a really young age, just know that they can really believe in themselves and the world is at their feet. All they have to do is have belief."
KATRINA'S TOP FIVE TIPS
1. Consistent praise and positive reinforcement.
2. Positive attitude - optimistic outlook on life.
3. Be a positive role model - kids mimic actions and behaviours of parents.
4. Demonstrate perseverance.
5. Don't express negativity - avoid pessimistic comments like "I can't do this."
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