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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Competition

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

With the beginning of school, comes another season of sports of all kinds for our youngsters. We have come to believe that competition is good for us.  But research show that “offensive competition.” which involves aggressive gamesmanship, can be counterproductive. A study conducted at the University of Texas disclosed that people who were more concerned with winning than with performing well had lower levels of achievement.  If you are competitive or your child is competitive, consider the following:

  • Keep in mind that competition is not the opposite of cooperation. Using cooperative strategies will often help one be more “competitive.”
  • Accept that other people are needed to get ahead. A combination of healthy competition and cooperation can go a long way.
  • Learn to believe in yourself. Do not strive to prove yourself in others’ eyes.
  • Keep an open mind to new ideas, information and feedback.  Offensively competitive people often resist others’ suggestions.
  • Help others to achieve their goals.

Making Time Count

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

time.gif (19378 bytes)What is the one thing you give your child that you can never replace? Time. You cannot buy it, sell it, rent it or change it. All you can do is use it!

You cannot change the quantity of time you have, but you can change the quality of your time.

  • Write down the things that are most important in your life. Chances are that your family will be at the top of the list.
  • Try to remember how you have spent your time during the past few days, hour by hour. Does the way you spend your time reflect your priorities? How much time was spent with your children? How important were the things that you cannot remember?
  • Make a plan for how you will use your time in the week ahead. Write it down. Include time with children in your plan. Check to see how you did at the end of the week.

We do what we think is important. Deciding what we think is important can be the first step in making time count.

Individuality as a Source of Value

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

There is no such thing as a value unless there are people involved. A value is something that provides benefit or opens up the possibility of benefit for someone. Values do not hang like clouds in the air. The have to be attached to people. Values require a constant asking of questions.

  • Who is going to be affected by this?
  • Who is going to benefit?
  • Who is going to be inconvenienced?
  • What will the perceptions be?
  • What are the immediate effects, both short and long term?
  • Will this value be noticed, will people talk about it?
  • Are there any special circumstances where the value will be different?
  • Are there special people for whom this could be a value?

Every educator knows….or should know….that there is no “average” student. If there are characteristics of intelligence, discipline, laziness, energy, trouble making, or boredom, troubles at home, and so on, then an educator knows that every possible combination of these factors will be exhibited in an individual.

The trick is to recognize individuality as a source of value.

By Edward de Bono

Have a Good Laugh!

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Having a good laugh is a great way to reduce the stress of family life.

Create your own “humor first aid kit” for days that don’t go well. Collect items that will make you and your kids laugh….silly books, squeaky toys, cartoons, and funny videos.

Find a special place to tape up cartoons and other funny items….if your kids like silly poems, they’ll love Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends (Harper & Row).

Some families like to write stories about funny things that have happened to them….you may want to create your own silly stories.

Every library is full of humorous stories and songs that your children will love. And don’t forget the joke and riddle books. Ask your librarian to recommend a few.

Laughter is not a cure-all, but it certainly helps.

Are They Ready for Schooling?

Friday, September 13th, 2013

School is on the mind of everyone this month as the children start school for another year of learning. Backpacks bulge with new books and supplies, girls wear the latest fashions and boys find the baggiest levis. Happy faces and anticipation as the little ones trooped off walking or to catch a bus.

A neighbor stopped over and asked about her child who is three. With a birthday in September, she has been told that it might be better if she holds him back from attending school a year. Her concern is that he will be the youngest child in the class and may be immature and not do well in the school. This is a difficult question for me…..my own children have October birthdays and I did not hold either back. I know they struggled not only through elementary and high school, but college as well. Nevertheless, they both were bright enough and I didn’t see the problem as theirs, but that of the schools. In hindsight would I have done things differently….probably not. It is painful, though, as a parent, to see your child struggle.

So, my response to my neighbor was “wait and see, he is still young.” My children are adults now and there weren’t as many options then. However, it saddens me to think that a parent has to even consider this question today. Many parents choose to keep their children home for schooling, but others are unable to do this. So, do they have to worry that their child may not be ready? “Who is not ready, the child or the school?”

Competition

Friday, July 26th, 2013

With the beginning of school, comes another season of sports of all kinds for our youngsters. We have come to believe that competition is good for us. But research show that “offensive competition.” which involves aggressive gamesmanship, can be counterproductive. A study conducted at the University of Texas disclosed that people who were more concerned with winning than with performing well had lower levels of achievement. If you are competitive or your child is competitive, consider the following:

Keep in mind that competition is not the opposite of cooperation. Using cooperative strategies will often help one be more “competitive.”

Learn to believe in yourself. Do not strive to prove yourself in others’ eyes.

Accept that other people are needed to get ahead. A combination of healthy competition and cooperation can go a long way.

Keep an open mind to new ideas, information and feedback. Offensively competitive people often resist others’ suggestions.

Help others to achieve their goals.

What is Discipline?

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

There are times when children simply need discipline, and nothing else will do. We discipline them because we love them. We discipline our children to prepare them for life. Discipline is training through containment, setting limits or boundaries with clearly defined consequences. Here are a few things that discipline provides to help children make good choices and to live life well:

  • Discipline Provides Protection: Discipline provides limits that protect our children by keeping them away from danger. As we set limits, we also give our children ample opportunities to apply what they are learning to life.
  • Discipline Provides Security: In life, we must submit ourselves to people and laws to succeed. Teachers, police, principals, baby-sitters, parents and bosses have say over what is permissible and advisable behavior. To achieve and keep peace in our society, our children need to develop a healthy respect for those limits that make their lives make sense.
  • Discipline Provides Responsibility: In order for children to grow toward independence and take their place as adults, they must assume various responsibilities for themselves. They must learn to handle their money, to hold a job, and to manage emotions, to name a few. As they grow up, they learn that freedom and responsibility go together
  • Discipline Provides Training: Discipline trains a child in self-discipline and prepares the child for his future as an adult. A child who learns to do his chores or homework forms the habit of getting work done first, which leads to maturity and independence.

Measuring Our Students Educational Program

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

The other day a neighbor visited me while I was working in the garden. She wanted to talk about the changes occurring at the local school. Comparing the education she and her husband received with that her children were receiving, she had determined that they were getting an excellent education. Both parents were pleased their children were learning “so much more” than they had.

I had to agree with my friend, that, we most often use this standard of measurement for our children’s schooling. I certainly did when my children were young. But is this the best measure for quality in education? I asked the neighbor to consider how the world had changed, in the time since she was in school, and the amount of information we and our children have at our finger tips. It seems reasonable to assume that our children should be learning a great deal more of the information that took us years to assimilate. For the most part, our children begin school having access to more information than we had. By the time a child has completed one year of schooling that information has almost doubled. When I was in school it took many years for information to change. That provided me and those of my generation a certain consistency with learning information that is not available today. Therefore, I’m not certain that the same paradigms for learning, that served my neighbors and me, are adequate for today’s student.

Unfortunately, I do not have an easy answer for what should be or could be. I do know that when I hear about educators who continue to teach the way they have for many years, it concerns me. I have seen wonderful teachers who are very good with their students, but who are missing the mark in preparing their students for this fast-paced world. That human aspect is so very important to teaching, but what of the child who does not receive adequate information to be successful in ensuing years. What a dilemma it raises for those of us who work with these well intentioned people on a daily basis. The tried and true paradigms of the past, that served us well, that prepared our youngster for a successful future, are not adequate today. We all have to try harder to challenge our own methods of educating and of evaluating schooling.

Your Child and Reading

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

The best way to prepare children 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.

Excerpts from Creating Reading Instruction For All Children by Thomas G. Gunning, Allyn and Bacon, 1992.

Home Alone

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Are you considering leaving your child alone for short periods of time? If so, you are not alone. Statistics show that    occasional self-care is a normal experience for a large number of young children.

An estimated two million to six million children are considered to be “latchkey” children….7 to 10 percent of all five to 13-year-olds. Should your child be staying alone? The answer depends on several factors, according to Christine Todd, extension specialist for child development at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Self-care can be a rewarding experience for children who are ready for it,” she says. “However, if the child is not ready, self-care can be a frightening and potentially dangerous situation.”

Benefits of self-care by children who are ready for it include increased independence, increased knowledge of self-care skills, increased sense of responsibility, greater self-esteem and a sense of contribution to the family. Concerns related to children who are not ready include reduced learning opportunities and social contacts, increased misbehavior and legal consequences for parents.

Ask yourself the following questions when determining a child’s readiness:

  • Is the child physically capable of taking care of and protecting himself or herself?
  • Is the child mentally capable of recognizing and avoiding danger and making sound decisions?
  • Is the child emotionally ready? Will he/she feel confident and secure or afraid, lonely and bored?
  • Does the child know what to do and who to call if a problem or emergency arises?

There is no “magic age” at which children are ready for self-care, and that other factors besides a child’s age or maturity may influence your decision. For example, if your neighborhood is unsafe, if there are no adults nearby to call in case of emergency, or if your child must remain alone for a very long time, it is best to continue to use some form of child care even if your child seems ready to stay alone.

Adapted from Illinois Association of School Boards.