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Archive for the ‘parenting’ Category

Holidays and the “Missing Parent”

Sunday, December 30th, 2012
Holidays can be difficult times for children when their parents are divorced or separated.  According to psychologists Evan Imber-Black and Janine Roberts”  “The child may be hurt or angry when the parent does not contact him on a holiday.  The parent who lives with the child may then be left to deal with the emotional reactions.  The child may have fantasies that the holiday would be much better with the missing parents.  or he may blame the parent he is with for the fact the other isn’t there.”

Ignoring the emotional stress may be tempting….especially if you yourself are still dealing with the stress and emotions of a divorce or separation.  But that only causes your child to feel worse, the authors say.

They suggest:  Sit down with the child and look at pictures of the missing parent and talk about what it would be like to have contact with him or her.  Set aside your own anger and simply listen to your child’s feeling, say the authors.  help make contact with relatives of the missing parent if they want to see the child.  if there is no chance of the child reconnecting with a missing parent at holidays, have an honest discussion about the subject.

“Family Change: Don’t Cancel Holidays,” Psychology Today

A Holiday of Reading

Friday, December 28th, 2012

It’s not unusual for adults to stop reading to children once they are old enough to read for themselves.  however, even children in the intermediate grades still like being read to now and then, says Texas instructional specialist Sam Ayers.  He suggests that parents continue reading aloud to children on a consistent basis even as they get older and that teachers and librarians can make age-appropriate recommendations to parents who don’t feel comfortable selecting books on their own.

Mr. Ayers has found older children often enjoy reading to younger children.  “Parents should provide opportunities for children to read to each other,”  he says.  “This provides them with oral reading practice and may positively affect their self-esteem.  it also provides the listener with a positive role model.”

Researchers at Clark University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education suggest that you do more than just read books to preschoolers.  They suggest that you discuss the books and vary the types of books as well. 

The researcher recommend asking “what” and “why” questions that encourage the child to think about a character’s behavior and motivation and connect the events in the book with his or her own experience.  Ask the child to name colors and label objects.  Also vary the types of reading material.  For example, one time you may want to read a work of fiction.  The next time, read a nursery rhyme or a non-fiction informational book.


Christmas Everywhere

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Phillips Brooks
(Born December 13, 1835; died January 23, 1893)

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!
Christmas in lands of the fir-tree and pine,
Christmas in
land of the palm-tree and vine,

Christmas where snow peaks stand solemn and white,
Christmas where cornfields stand sunny and bright.
Christmas where children are hopeful and gay,
Christmas where old men are patient and gray,
Christmas where peace, like a dove in his flight,
Broods o’er br
ave men in the thick of the fight;

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!

For the Christ-child who comes is the master of all;

No palace too great, no cottage too small.

From Christmas Songs and Easter Carols
by Phillips Brooks, 1903.

My Gift To You….

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Sometimes I find myself regarding you as a miniature adult; not tall enough to be awarded respect, not subtle enough to be offered consideration.

I give you love as I might offer you a piece of cake, enough, perhaps, to entice your taste and encourage your appetite, but not sufficient to nourish your needs.

The miracle is not that you grow with my love.   The miracle is that you seem to survive my mistakes….

I teach you words, that you might express new and adventurous thoughts of your own.

I teach you to read to enlighten your mind, knowing that knowledge will lead you to unexplored corridors over which I have no control….

I must also prepare you for realities.  I must offer you both…the way the world should be and the way it is…

Take my hand, my child, and we will explore the land.   I will tell you all that I know, and you will show me the secrets of your heart.  It may not be a fair exchange, but it is all I have to give.

I shall lead you only for this short while…how can I find appropriate words that can say only the right things?  How can I find proper answers to answer the question you ask?  How can I teach you when I, myself, am in need of guidance?  How can I be a teacher when much of me is still a child?

Excerpts from “I’ll Show You the Morning Sun”  by David Melton

Preparing Students for Reading

Friday, December 21st, 2012

The best way to prepare students for reading instruction is to read interesting books to them. Nearly any book that youngsters can understand and relate to will do. Nursery rhymes and books with repetitive patterns lend themselves to preparation for reading.

Children begin acquiring literacy (reading and writing) long before they enter school. Most school-age children have acquired a fairly extensive vocabulary and sophisticated language system. They have seen traffic signs and billboard advertising, printed messages on television, and printing on cereal boxes. They can tell a McDonald’s logo from that of Burger King and distinguish a box of Fruit Loops from a box of Captain Crunch.

They have seen their parents read books, magazines, newspapers, letters, or bills, and observed them writing notes or letters, filling out forms, and making lists. The children may also have imitated some of these activities. Their parents may have read books to them and provided them with crayons, pencils, and other tools of literacy. All youngsters, no matter how impoverished their environment, have begun the journey along the path that begins with language acquisition and ends in formal literacy.

Pressures on Children and Youth

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

As a parent, you want your child to learn from the experience of pressure as part of the process of growing up.  You also want to do whatever you can to help your child cope with the pressures in life and to prevent the pressures from becoming insurmountable.  Obviously, you cannot eliminate many of these pressures, even if you really wanted to.  But you can help your child face them and you can avoid adding to them to make them worse.

  • Provide guidance in dealing with pressure.  Your child could take one of three general approaches…retreat, capitulation or action…to reduce the stress.  You can help your child determine what action would be most effective in a given circumstance.
  • Let your child know you care.  Be available to help her or him work out difficulties.  When a child has the security of parental love and respect, pressure can be met with self-confidence.  Be supportive, not smothering.  The more children feel they have solved problems themselves, the more assurance they feel the next time.
  • Be a positive force in your child’s life, not a major pressure point.  Throughout school years, avoid making unrealistic demands.  It is fine to start education early, but don’t pressure children to learn or to read before they are ready.  Let them feel they are reaching for their own goals, not satisfying your needs.  Don’t push children into early social experiences…they will mature emotionally and physically at their own rate.
  • Teach your child to live with limitations.  No one excels in everything; no one is perfect.  It is not your child’s particula
  • r handicaps that are crucial, but his or her attitude toward them.  Children should know their limits and recognize their strengths.
  • Help your child find time to be alone….time to think, to dream,  to plan, to make decisions.
  • Ground your child in a system of values.  Even if pressures become overwhelming, you do not want your child to seek ethically unacceptable means of dealing with them.  Students who have cheated report a wish for more parental direction, firm rules and guidance in                        determining right and wrong.
  • Encourage your teenager to develop self-responsibility.  Volunteer service, such as community work, provides one of the few remaining outlets in adolescence for independence, cooperative rather than competitive activity and useful and socially necessary work.

Five Reasons to Give a Gift of Art

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Using a little creativity when choosing gifts for school-age family members or friends can really pay off….with gifts that youngsters grow with rather than out grow.  Some expand children’s creativity and curiosity and encourage learning throughout the year.  They also can provide opportunities for family members to join in the learning process.

  • Art Supplies. Young artists will appreciate basic art supplies, like paper, paints, markers, pencils and crayons.  Avoid art kits that have pre-designed patterns, since children should be encourage to use their imaginations and creativity.
  • Framed Art. Have a piece of your child’s artwork matted and framed; this transforms a temporary “refrigerator door” piece of art into a beautiful wall piece that your child can treasure in adult years. Your child may also enjoy a work of art purchase at an art fair, gallery or museum shop.  Additionally, some libraries and art museums rent or loan art pieces.
  • Nontraditional Art. For students who do not express an interest in traditional art, select a gift in some other art form.  Architects, illustrators, filmmakers, fashion designers, cartoonists and industrial designers are also artists.
  • Photography. A digital camera of one’s own is a good gift idea for students who have an interest in art, as well as for students who have not yet acquired that interest.  Children can take pictures on family trips or can use photography to collect ideas for drawings and paintings.
  • Private Space. Provide your child a special place to work on art projects, such as an easel in a quiet corner with good lighting and a comfortable stool.

Communicating

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Individuals often assume that others know how they feel or that their feelings are reflected by their behavior.  As a result, people become lax about communication.  In all relationships one must not only express love and appreciation through behavior, but must openly verbalize these feelings.  Words alone can be empty and meaningless if an individual’s behavior is not consistent with them.

Although beginning to change, socialization practices in American culture have led men to be generally less expressive and affectionate than women.  This attitude can be problematic because both males and females are equal in their need for emotional warmth.  Family members should try to be sensitive to these gender differences and develop ways of expressing supportive-affectionate feelings that meet the needs of males and females while allowing all family member to feel comfortable.

The Importance of Language in Reading

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Reading is first and foremost a form of communication.   When learning to talk, children develop the concept that words communicate thoughts, emotions, and needs.  When learning to read, they develop the concept that words can be communicated visually as well as orally.  In order that the printed words will have meaning for them, children must have a solid foundation in language.   Mastering spoken language is a key step toward mastering written language.   The more experiences children have, the more they are talked to and listened to, the more stimulation they receive….the more they will be ready to read.  Parents can help their children develop the needed foundation in language by talking with them and listening to them.

  • Talk with your child while doing things together:   folding laundry, driving the car, cooking.
  • Ask your child to sequence the events of the day at dinner or at bedtime.
  • Discuss what you’ve seen on TV or read together.   Ask questions:  Who was your favorite character?  Why?  What would you have done?  What do you think will happen next?
  • Repeat favorite nursery rhymes and stories.  If your child has memorized them, listen while the child tells them to you.
  • Encourage questions and try to answer them.

Safety Tips for Parents and Children Using the Internet

Friday, November 30th, 2012
  • Keep the computer in a main area of the home, not in your child’s bedroom. The computer should be set up where it is easy for parents to see the screen and monitor behavior.
  • Spend time with your children while they explore the Internet. Let your child know that you care and that you intend to participate.
  • Keep your children out of unmonitored chat rooms. The best Internet filtering software blocks access to all chat to keep children safe from the threat of dangerous persons, masquerading as kids.
  • Become familiar with the quality family-friendly and kid-friendly sites on the Web. Load your computer with bookmarks to sites, such as www.homeschoolingingcorner.com, www.e-tutor.com and www.knowledgehq.com. These sites offer both great educational and entertaining information for children that allows them to explore safely and will discourage wandering.
  • Know your child’s e-mail password and tell your children to inform you immediately about troubling, unsolicited e-mail. Make sure they understand it is not necessarily their fault if such e-mail arrives.
  • Inform your kids of personal information that should never be given out over the Internet without your consent; telephone numbers, address, credit card numbers, name of school, age, financial information, etc.
  • Stay abreast of technology and regulatory changes regarding Internet safety.
  • Take advantage of the Web filtering software available in the marketplace. These block access to inappropriate sites related to sex, drugs/alcohol, hate and violence and gambling.
  • Let your child know that you are there to talk anytime, about anything they come across that may cause discomfort.
  • It is important to review these tips from time to time to ensure these guidelines are being implemented.