It's just about time to purchase new bookbags, lunch boxes, and school supplies. Time to jump on the big yellow bus or plan carpools. Yes, a new school year is approaching. How can you make this year the best ever for your child? Here are my top 4 recommendations.
1. Get to know his teacher(s). Set up a time before or after school to talk with the teacher about your expectations, your child's strengths/weaknesses, and to let them know that you are ready to support them as they work with your child.
2. Set a weekday routine, including bedtime, wake-up time, homework time, and free time. Each of these serve a specific purpose, so don't leave one out.
3. Get involved in the activities at your child's school. If you work full-time, you may be able to volunteer for evening/ weekend activities. Ask how you can help, even if it is just writing encouraging notes to the staff. This involvement will help keep you informed about what is happening within the school.
4. Celebrate successes! Take notice of small achievements, such as moving up a reading level, doing better on a math test, or completing a project. Try to minimize focus on grades. Instead, reward effort and attitude.
I hope these ideas will make the 2022-23 school year special for your child. If you need assistance this year, please contact me. I would love to help!
The school year is finally coming to an end! What will your children do during the summer to avoid boredom, try something new, and create memories? Start now talking with your children about what they would like to do during the summer break. When asking them, do not use the word “learn”. They have been “learning” for months. Instead, ask what they would like to experience, discover, be able to do, or get better at. Give them time to come up with ideas and be willing to assist them. Encourage them to select things that can’t be done in one or two days. Have some ideas ready to get their minds going. Here are a few of mine, but the sky’s the limit:
1. Learn a foreign language or sign language
2. Study the history of your city or state
3. Get better at a sport (baseball, soccer, dance)
4. Practice baking, canning, sewing, art
5. Learn how to take care of the car (change tire, change oil, etc)
6. Create an amazing “Lego City”
7. Plant and maintain a vegetable or flower garden. Encourage them to share the results with neighbors.
8. Operate a small business. Ideas could be a lemonade stand, car wash, pet walking service, or yard clean-up service.
I know Father's Day is next month, but I came across this article written by a dad and just had to share it. I hope that you are encouraged as I was from his honesty and love for his kids!
3 Things Every Dad Worries About by Brandon Janous
I’m not a big worrier. I never have been. I think it’s because I’ve learned that most things tend to work out alright and that no matter how much I worry, it never changes the outcome. The truth is, worry is a great way to ruin one’s day, week, month, or even year. It’s a counterfeit to peace. Now, I say all that to then turn around and completely contradict myself when I tell you that I worry about my kids. A lot. I’m a dad and the truth is, dads worry too. A lot. I’m a widowed dad to three kids—ages 10, 8, and 6. And when it comes to them, I worry about all kinds of things. I worry about getting my girls’ ponytails to stay up for an entire school day. I worry about whether or not three nights in a row of chicken nuggets and mac-and-cheese is a bit excessive. I worry about them not informing me when their shoes or underwear get too tight. I worry about being smart enough to help my fourth grader with her homework. I worry about packing their lunches each morning and if the other kids’ parents pack better lunches than I do. I worry about my kids being the kids with the “bad lunches.” I’m worried that they have a name for them, probably “dad lunches.” Oh, and don’t even get me started on how much I worry about their teenage years. I just can’t.
Some of my worries might seem silly, but they are super-real to me, and I’m pretty sure they are here to stay. That being said, I think it’s safe to say that there are a few BIG things that we ALL worry about as dads.
We worry about their safety. I think this is normal—and probably even instinctive—to worry about our kids’ safety. From the moment they are born we feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to keep them safe. Seemingly overnight, things that we never thought twice about suddenly become super-dangerous. I want you to try something for me. Go ask your kids if they feel safe. I asked mine and their answers were awesome. You see, not only do my kids feel super-safe, but they also think I’m a superhero, and I bet your kids feel the same about you. I don’t know why they think that. I’ve only made it to the gym like three times this year. My dad bod is in full form. I’m not sure I could run a mile if someone paid me to. But to them, I’m all the Marvel superheroes rolled into one. It turns out that no one on the planet makes them feel as safe as I do. Does this mean that I’ll worry less about their safety? Probably not. But it’s nice to know that to them, I’m the safest place on earth. And I bet if you asked your kids, you’d feel a sense of peace once you learn that they feel the same way about you.
We worry about the world they are growing up in. Turn on the news. Actually don’t, but if you happen to, you’ll see pretty quickly why I’m worried. It’s incredible how two different networks can report the exact same story, on the exact same day, in such different ways. It’s scary how divided we are as a country. Heck, it’s scary how divided we are as communities right now. Here’s a tip, just unplug. Every time you turn on the news or open up your computer, you’re hit with division. And anger. And hate. And unfortunately, it rubs off on us. And for me, it causes more stress and worry. It’s amazing what happens when you just unplug for a bit. You start to see that most people around you are actually really good. And that most of these issues that we spend so much time angry about are very much out of our control. My advice, let our kids be kids. All too often, as parents, we push our agendas onto our kids. We want them to be little advocates for the things that we are advocates for. We are so focused on them being like us that we miss out on letting them be them. If we are cursing the school board’s decisions, they will too. If we are cursing the president’s decisions, they will too. If we are cursing our neighbors’ decisions, they will too. This is a dangerous game. And just as parents begin to turn against each other, our kids will follow. With that comes division. With that comes anger. With that comes hate. I have a great idea: Instead of playing that game, let’s encourage them to play hide-and-seek. Nobody hates hide-and-seek.
We worry about messing up. I have an amazing dad. Possibly the greatest of all time. To this day, he is my best friend. But I’m sure he messed up some as I was growing up. Heck, I’m sure he messed up a bunch. But the thing is, I don’t remember his mess-ups. And that’s important. I’m sure he remembers his mess-ups, but I sure don’t. To me, he was and still is, a superhero, and in my eyes, he could do no wrong. The fact is, we are going to mess up. Probably a lot. So it’s best to accept it and stop worrying about it. Messing up is part of the gig. We all do it. The key is to learn from the mess-ups and do better the next time around. Give yourself some grace because I can promise you that our kids give us a ton. Worrying about our kids is natural. It’s what we do. From the moment they took their first breath, to the moment they took their first step, to wherever we may be today, we’ve worried. No one on the planet will ever worry about them more than we will. But if we really step back and think about it, 99% of the time our worries don’t even come to fruition. So do me a favor, let’s not get so caught up worrying about what doesn’t matter, that we forget to take the time to focus on what really does.
And if nothing I’ve written helps you to worry less, maybe Pooh will. “Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?” Piglet asked. “Supposing it didn’t,” said Pooh.
As parents, we continually praise our children for their successes, but what do we teach them about failure? Children may take failure in tasks as meaning failure as a person. They may fear disappointing you or their teacher. It is important that we support our children when they make mistakes or fail, letting them know that it doesn’t change our view of them. We can also model a healthy way of handling failure in our own lives. Let your child see your mistakes and show him an attitude that says you will try again.
It is also equally important to recognize how much your child is affected by mistakes and failure. Does she obsess over getting things right, often redoing tasks that weren’t good enough? A desire for perfection can lead to anxiety and fear. Let your child know that it’s okay to do some things “less than perfect”. Help him see that you appreciate her effort to do the task well.
Finally, if you see that your child is developing more anxiety over mistakes and failure, to the point that it is affecting his willingness to attempt tasks, preventing sleep, or manifesting in physical symptoms such as stomach pains or headaches, please consult his pediatrician. Anxiety in children is real and can be debilitating in some cases.
Everyone likes to win, and conversely, no one likes to lose. Yet we will all lose at some point in our lives. We also know that people can be very critical of others. Criticism hurts. That’s why it is important to begin teaching your child how to respond to these situations now.
· Talk with your child about how it feels to win (happy, proud, confident). Then ask her to describe what it feels like to lose (sad, angry, embarrassed). Discuss that in win/lose situations, there is usually only one winner and everyone else is considered a loser. She should focus on what she learned in the contest and congratulate the winner. Remind her that she is a “winner” when she loses with grace. And there will always be another opportunity to win.
· Set up opportunities for your child to win and lose. Play board games or have races to see who can do something the quickest. Praise him when he loses well.
· Your child will experience criticism at school, with friends, and eventually in the workplace. Teach her to respond by doing the following three steps:
o 1. Listen to the criticism without becoming angry or defensive.
o 2. Think about the criticism. Is it valid? Will it help me do better?
o 3. Take action. If it is helpful or if it is from a parent or teacher, follow the advice. If it isn’t helpful or appropriate, ignore it.
When children learn to handle these external negative experiences, they will have less frustration and anxiety. And they will develop self-confidence, self-esteem, and will gain the respect of their peers.
Helping your child develop a rich vocabulary is a powerful way to improve reading comprehension, writing skills, and communication skills. We know that children who participate in conversations at home are better able to glean meaning from oral communication in the classroom. Having access to a wide vocabulary gives children the ability to express thoughts and ideas in writing. So, how do you build your child’s vocabulary? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Have a “Word of the Week”. Encourage everyone in the family to use it as frequently as possible.
2. Play a game where you start with a simple two-word sentence, such as “He ran.” Each person adds another word to make the sentence more interesting.
3. Start a “Cool Words List”. Whenever someone hears an interesting or unique word, find out what it means and add it to the list.
4. One way to improve writing skills is to speak in complete sentences. So often, we get in the habit of giving one or two word answers. Teach your child to speak complete thoughts. Practice this yourself. You’ll be amazed how infrequently you actually use full sentences.