BCF News & Articles
Creating Harmony in Your Home - Suggestion No 8 - The Countdown Technique
Written by Alan   

28 May 2020

Imagine you have had a hard day at the office and have just curled up on the couch to read a book or watch your favourite soap or football game. You are just getting into it when someone picks you up and drags you into the kitchen to wash the dishes without even asking you. You would probably be outraged. You might even have a tantrum. Same with little people. They are busy people playing a game on the floor and you swoop on them without warning and take them to bed, or tell them to put away their toys immediately and get dressed to go out. No wonder they have a tantrum.

By using the Countdown Technique you are able to very respectfully tell them that in, say, 15 minutes it will be bedtime, or in 15 minutes you will be going out and they will need to put their toys away and be ready to go out.

The steps are

1. Give the children a specific time e.g. 15 minutes to finish what they are doing, put their toys away and get dressed ready to go out, come to table to eat, or before they must go to bed, etc.

2. Place a clock where they can see it.

3. As the countdown proceeds tell them every few minutes how much time is left.

Children need to mentally prepare themselves for change.

Try to remember to keep all your interactions with your children respectful. Respect and love has to be earned - even from the little people.

Each child must bring their own mug
Written by Alan   

28 May 2020

When I was at school if you wanted to drink water you went to the bathroom, bent over the basin and 'drank from the tap'.

Little could spread the Covid 19 virus faster.

I appeal to every ministry of education and every school principal to insist that every child brings their own mug or cup to school to drink from.

Here comes the post C19 change
Written by Alan   

28 May 2020

As schools are about to reopen one can anticipate that some students will be glad to get back to school to escape nagging parents while others, especially teenagers, will resent the need for conformity and discipline. They possibly have become used to rising at 11am and doing most of their schooling at night when they are at their best.

This leads me to contemplate the opportunities for schools and offices to do things differently.

Perhaps schools could offer students who thrive on home learning the opportunity of attending school for a few hours around mid-day and provide them with 2-3 hours self tuition work either online or by providing school materials which they can take home. This would not be suitable for all students as many will do better through a formal school day either because of preference, lack of self-discipline, or that there are no facilities at home where they can sit at a desk in a quiet room and work. (Millions of children share a one or two room home with parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters.)

This does however offer schools the opportunity to consider shortening the school day to perhaps 3-4 hours per day for students who prove through performance that they can adequately work at home. This would allow schools to conduct two shifts a day where some students attend the early shift and others the second shift allowing smaller classes and more individualised tuition.

The same applies to office workers who commute two hours a day and shop and bank at lunch time or on the way home. Some may prefer to work at home in hours which suit them and their family better. Perhaps some of these workers may be required to attend meetings at the office once a week or perhaps work at the office a few hours a week.

However it happens, the change will come, possibly very soon.

Creating Harmony in Your Home - Suggestion No 7 - Praising
Written by Alan   

19 May 2020

I bet your parents and teachers didn’t teach you one of the most important skills you can ever develop – how to praise.

The first three steps are praise immediately, be specific and smile!

Don’t pass up an opportunity to praise for a Friday afternoon or for a birthday. Give praise earned immediately.

Be very specific when you praise.

“You thanked your Grandmother for the present she sent to you without me having to remind you and with so much feeling.”

“You answered the phone so politely.”

But it’s not only children who should be praised. Mums, dads and other carers all need praise.

“Mum, I loved your new Italian recipe.”

“Dad, thanks for spending so much quality time with me over the past few weeks.”

If you praise without a smile you will not be perceived as being sincere.

Here are a few more suggestions

Look for things to praise as children struggle to learn a new skill or gain new knowledge. Don’t try to coach them as they struggle unless they ask for help. Just let them enjoy your praise.

Don’t wait for anyone to perfect a new skill. Praise them when they get things approximately right. This shows you have noticed their effort, that you are on their side, and it can lead to extra effort to get it right the next time.

Praising a child frequently for something he/she is really good at or was born with such as being beautiful, being good at sport or academically gifted can lead to over-praising resulting in him/her believing you only love him/her when he/she wins, gets good marks or because he/she is pretty.

In addition to using words when you praise, you could reward good behaviour by giving your child

Creating Harmony in Your Home - Suggestion No 6 - Love Words
Written by Alan   

12 May 2020

Harmony in the home and at work is boosted by the use of 'Love Words'. Some love words are expressions of thanks and appreciation. Others convey the deepest feelings of love.

The Billion Child Foundation started a collection of 'Love Words' in 2006 when we first developed our Win-Win Parenting Skills Programme.

At every Win-Win Parenting workshop we have invited parents to share the words they use most often or love to hear in their homes.

See whether your favourite or most meaningful words are contained in the list below. If not, please send them to me ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) so that we can share them with millions of parents around the world in the years to come.

*Well done! * You are so creative * Terrific * Fantastic * You are very thoughtful * Thank you * I trust you * You are a joy * Stupendous * Marvellous * I'm so proud of you * That was ambitious * Let's try again * Let's try it together * It’s not your fault * You are generous * Great * You make me smile * You're a great artist * You are super * You're on your way * I appreciate your … * You are really growing * I am so happy for you * I like the way you handled that * Thank you for your honesty * You are not alone * Outstanding * Congratulations * You can do it * You have a terrific sense of humour * That took a lot of patience * You deserve it * I forgive you * You are courageous * You are independent * Give it a try *  You are so bright * I'm sorry * Please join us * Let's try it! * I see real improvement * You tried your best * Wonderful! * I see you like to explore * You're clever * You are my sunshine * You are perfect * I love you just the way you are * I respect your privacy * Great idea * That was original * I love your imagination * You're a great athlete * I love to hear you sing * You are a good friend * It's okay to make mistakes * You are very observant * You are a good listener * You're growing up * I have confidence in your judgement * Thanks for helping * You are so special * You are making progress * You've discovered the secret * That's incredible * You're unique * You belong * Nothing can stop you now * You really tried * Now you're flying * Well done * How did you do that * You're doing it * Bingo * Bravo * I like your work * You're important * You're a winner * Exceptional performance * You are getting it right * You are making progress * I love you *

Some parents have called using these words as 'The language of love'.

Children are highly motivated by their parents showing approval through appreciative eye contact, a special look or signal which they share such as looking pleased and excited, by beaming with pride, love words, by a special hug or by squeezing their hands.

Why not look for opportunities to use these at home and at work. Providing you use the words genuinely to express your emotions, you will enrich your relationships and enhance your reputation for being fair, kind, predictable and consistent. Something as small as 'generous conversation' can boost your mood and spread good vibes to those around you.

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