lunes, 16 de abril de 2018

The Transition from School to University

One of the hardest tasks for freshers is to get to grips with the way university differs from school. It can be a shock when teachers start being really pleased if you answer back, and you don't have to hand in your homework for weeks and weeks. You will also discover that since you can now smoke and snog without getting into trouble, university bike sheds tend to be mainly for bikes.
Like anything in life, preparation will help. This means talking to existing students on your course to get a realistic picture of how many rubbish lecturers there will be and how impossible it will be to keep on top of the workload or live on your student loan. Talk to friends and family, too, making sure they feel included in this exciting new step in your life and that they realise how much you will value their support until you meet more interesting people.
This will happen more quickly if you learn a few life skills before you start at university, such as being able to boil an egg, read a bank statement and put the right amount of bleach down a toilet.
One of the first things you should do when you arrive on campus is to walk around and identify all the buildings relevant to you before you have to find them in the five minutes to spare after realising your alarm failed to go off. Join the campus tour, library tour, even the tourist tour so that not only do you know where lectures are, you can also feel a full part of your new community.
You also need to join something - a society, seminar, bus queue - as soon as possible so you can start making friends. It is much harder to join things later in the term, so resist the temptation to appear mysteriously self-contained.
In any case, an air of mystery is hard to sustain when you are sharing a bathroom. So don't be intimidated by other people's mysterious personas either - they won't be able to keep them up.
However, do make sure you know what is expected of you when it comes to academic work - and what you should be expecting from tutors. Don't forget that they won't yet know how capable you are, so it is up to you to make an impression, and to ask if you don't understand something. No one will think you are stupid. But they might get irritated if they've just sent you an email explaining everything.
One of the biggest differences from school is that teachers won't keep nagging you about deadlines, or even tell you how many hours of study you should be doing. Instead, you will have to work all this out for yourself.
You will need to learn to prioritise and leave plenty of time for assignments, especially at the beginning so that you can work out where to find things like books.
The most important thing is not to rush things, or expect too much from friends - or yourself - too soon. And remember, even if you ignore all advice, nobody is going to give you a detention.
Shared from www.theguardian.com

viernes, 23 de marzo de 2018

Questions to Ask Your Child about Their Day

 

Get a sense of your child’s life at school by asking questions that elicit more than a one-word response. Try one of these conversation starters:
  • Tell me about the best part of your day.
  • What was the hardest thing you had to do today?
  • Did any of your classmates do anything funny? Tell me about what you read in class.
  • Who did you play with/hang out with today? What did you do? Do you think ________(insert subject here) is too hard?
  • What’s the biggest difference between this year and last year?
  • What rules are different at school than at home? Do you think they’re fair?
  • Who did you sit with at lunch?
  • Can you show me something you learned or did today?

Shared from  http://www.thelearningcommunity.us

lunes, 5 de febrero de 2018

Kids & Tech: Tips for Parents in the Digital Age


​In a world where children are "growing up digital," it's important to help them learn healthy concepts of digital use and citizenship. Parents play an important role in teaching these skills.

Tips AAP to Help Families Manage the Ever Changing Digital Landscape:

  • Make your own family media use plan. Media should work for you and within your family values and parenting style. When used thoughtfully and appropriately, media can enhance daily life. But when used inappropriately or without thought, media can displace many important activities such as face-to-face interaction, family-time, outdoor-play, exercise, unplugged downtime and sleep. Make your plan at HealthyChildren.org/MediaUsePlan.  
  • Treat media as you would any other environment in your child's life. The same parenting guidelines apply in both real and virtual environments. Set limits; kids need and expect them. Know your children's friends, both online and off. Know what platforms, software, and apps your children are using, what sites they are visiting on the web, and what they are doing online.
  • Set limits and encourage playtime. Media use, like all other activities, should have reasonable limits. Unstructured and offline play stimulates creativity. Make unplugged playtime a daily priority, especially for very young children. And—don't forget to join your children in unplugged play whenever possible.
  • Families who play together, learn together. Family participation is also great for media activities—it encourages social interactions, bonding, and learning. Play a video game with your kids. It's a good way to demonstrate good sportsmanship and gaming etiquette. You will have the opportunity to introduce and share your own life experiences and perspectives—and guidance—as you play the game.
  • Be a good role model. Teach and model kindness and good manners online. Because children are great mimics, limit your own media use. In fact, you'll be more available for and connected with your children if you're interacting, hugging and playing with them rather than simply staring at a screen. 
  • Know the value of face-to-face communication. Very young children learn best through two-way communication. Engaging in back-and-forth "talk time" is critical for language development. Conversations can be face-to-face or, if necessary, by video chat with a traveling parent or far-away grandparent. Research has shown that it's that "back-and-forth conversation" that improves language skills—much more so than "passive" listening or one-way interaction with a screen.
  • Limit digital media for your youngest family members. Avoid digital media for toddlers younger than 18 to 24 months other than video chatting. For children 18 to 24 months, watch digital media with them because they learn from watching and talking with you. Limit screen use for preschool children, ages 2 to 5, to just 1 hour a day of high-quality programing, and watch it with them so you can help them learn from what they're seeing. See Healthy Digital Media Use Habits for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers.
  • Create tech-free zones. Keep family mealtimes, other family and social gatherings, and children's bedrooms screen free. Turn off televisions that you aren't watching, because background TV can get in the way of face-to-face time with kids. Recharge devices overnight—outside your child's bedroom to help children avoid the temptation to use them when they should be sleeping. These changes encourage more family time, healthier eating habits, and better sleep, all critical for children's wellness.
  • Don't use technology as an emotional pacifier. Media can be very effective in keeping kids calm and quiet, but it should not be the only way they learn to calm down. Children need to be taught how to identify and handle strong emotions, come up with activities to manage boredom, or calm down through breathing, talking about ways to solve the problem, and finding other strategies for channeling emotions.
  • Apps for kids – do your homework. More than 80,000 apps are labeled as educational, but little research has demonstrated their actual quality. Products pitched as "interactive" should require more than "pushing and swiping." Look to organizations like Common Sense Media for reviews about age-appropriate apps, games and programs to guide you in making the best choices for your children.
  • It's OK for your teen to be online. Online relationships are part of typical adolescent development. Social media can support teens as they explore and discover more about themselves and their place in the grown-up world. Just be sure your teen is behaving appropriately in both the real and online worlds. Many teens need to be reminded that a platform's privacy settings do not make things actually "private" and that images, thoughts, and behaviors teens share online will instantly become a part of their digital footprint indefinitely. Keep lines of communication open and let them know you're there if they have questions or concerns.
  • Warn children about the importance of privacy and the dangers of predators and sexting. Teens need to know that once content is shared with others, they will not be able to delete or remove it completely, and includes texting of inappropriate pictures. They may also not know about or choose not to use privacy settings, and they need to be warned that sex offenders often use social networking, chat rooms, e-mail, and online gaming to contact and exploit children.
  • Remember: Kids will be kids. Kids will make mistakes using media. Try to handle errors with empathy and turn a mistake into a teachable moment. But some indiscretions, such as sexting, bullying, or posting self-harm images, may be a red flag that hints at trouble ahead. Parents must observe carefully their children's behaviors and, if needed, enlist supportive professional help, including the family pediatrician.
Media and digital devices are an integral part of our world today. The benefits of these devices, if used moderately and appropriately, can be great. But, research has shown that face-to-face time with family, friends, and teachers plays a pivotal and even more important role in promoting children's learning and healthy development. Keep the face-to-face up front, and don't let it get lost behind a stream of media and tech.
Shared from www.healthychildren.org

lunes, 8 de enero de 2018

Setting New Year's Goals With Your Child

Creating a New Year’s Goal

However appealing an end goal is, it’s easy to get sidetracked. Help your child craft a sustainable plan. Make sure it’s:
  • Specific: The resolution should include your child’s goal, the skill she’s working on and how she’ll achieve it: “To become a better trumpet player by our May concert, I’ll practice 30 minutes a day.”
  • Measurable: She should track her progress—on a chart or in regular check-ins with you.
  • Attainable: The goal should be ambitious but realistic—something that will stretch your child’s skills but not overwhelm her.
  • Results-oriented: The resolution should explain what she’ll be able to do once she reaches her goal. For example: “Studying with a tutor twice a week will help me consistently get As in math.”
  • Time-bound: Your child’s resolution should specify a reasonable time frame and can include mini-goals along the way (mini-successes can be very motivating).
And another big must:
  • Relevance: Your child has to want to set and reach this goal! She should feel eager and committed.

What a Good Resolution Looks Like

Your child’s specific goals will depend on her challenges, abilities and interests. Here are a few examples of how you might help her refine her ideas.
Social Skills Resolution
Beginning idea: “I’ll be the most popular kid in my class.”
Resolution: “This year, I’ll make more friends. Twice a month, I’ll invite someone over from school or Scouts.”
Academic Resolution
Beginning idea: “I’m going to get all As this year.”
Resolution: “In January, I’ll get a B or better on every science quiz by studying at least 45 minutes for each one and asking my teacher for advice on studying.”
Athletic Resolution
Beginning idea: “I’ll start running and make the varsity track team this spring.”
Resolution: “To learn to run, I’ll download a training app. Then I’ll practice for a Valentine’s Day 5K. If I like it, I’ll find a 10K over summer break.”

Working Toward a New Year’s Goal

As your child works on achieving his resolution, she’ll also be building important skills like:
  • Self-reflection: “How do I want to improve this year?”
  • Self-advocacy: “What do I need to do to help me reach my goal?”
  • Self-awareness: “Am I making progress toward my goal?”
  • Problem-solving and self-control: “What can I do to get back on track?”
  • Self-esteem: “How does achieving my goal make me feel?”
Encourage her to step back and ask herself questions like these—or even discuss the answers with you—along the way. They’ll help her stay on track and get more out of the experience.

Helping Your Child Stick With It

However good her intentions—and her plan—your child may sometimes have trouble persevering. These tips can help you help her:
  • If your child agrees, consider joining her. You’ll make each other more accountable. “I’m also looking to exercise more this year. How about we swim together at the Y every Saturday morning?”
  • Don’t nag. In addition to the regular progress checks you’ve built in, ask questions and offer reminders—but in ways your child can accept. Some kids might respond well to: “I know you wanted to have someone over twice a month. Has that happened yet for February?” Others might do better with, “We don’t have any plans this weekend, if you want to have a teammate over.”
  • Share your own experiences. Be honest about what did and didn’t help you with your New Year’s resolutions. “I’m so glad I joined the library book club last year. It really helped me reach my daily page goal.”
  • Make it meaningful. Let your child work hard at her resolution. If she doesn’t achieve it, you can help make sure that her struggle is motivating, not paralyzing. Talk through how things went off-track and what she might do differently next time.
Shared from www.understood.org

miércoles, 25 de octubre de 2017

Help Your Child Balance Homework and After-School Sports


Most afternoons my children come home from school with their backpacks loaded with homework assignments. They both play multiple sports, and it’s always an ongoing struggle to find a way to get it all done before bedtime.
More often than not, it’s a losing battle. As a result, the kids are up late into the night, trying to finish those last math equations or study their spelling words. In the morning they wake up tired, only to start the cycle all over again.

Many Kids Today Juggle Homework and Sports

Most other families we know are struggling with the same problem. As our kids get older, their homework increases, while at the same time their coaches often start demanding longer and more frequent practices and training sessions.

The Experts Weigh In on the Value Factor

To help my children better navigate the co-existing demands of school and sports, I recently decided to do some research on this issue. What I discovered surprised me. I found lots of articles and blogs written by psychologists and guidance counselors addressing this very topic. Although I expected that many experts would frown upon letting kids take on so many commitments, what I found was the reverse. Many of these experts saw real value in allowing children to apply themselves to athletics and other extra curricular activities.
In addition to the many health benefits of being active, there is also much to be learned on the golf course, football field, and gymnastics floor that supplements what happens in the classroom. For instance, young athletes can get a crash course in the importance of working as a team, training to master new skills, developing effective strategies, and setting goals. Better yet, all of these lessons can actually help improve kids’ grades and study habits.

Parents Also Play a Role

In order to get these benefits, your children need to be able to handle the pressure involved. That’s where parents can help. They can play an important role in helping children manage their athletic commitments and homework and keep a clear head throughout the process.
Here is a rundown of some of the best tips I found for parents of busy kids:
  • Sit down with your child and make a schedule of all of your after-school commitments and figure out where homework will fit. Be creative. If time is short, it’s okay to have your child study in the car or bus on the way to a practice or to start homework during lunch or study hall. By planning ahead to fit it all in, your child won’t feel so overwhelmed.
  • Keep in close contact with your child to be sure he is thriving in the situation. Ask him how he feels and what he is enjoying or not enjoying. By talking with your child, you’ll get a sense of when he is in control, or when he is in over his head and may need to pare things down.
  • Stay on top of your child’s grades on homework and tests so you can be sure the quality of work isn’t suffering as a result of him being stretched too thin. If you find that grades are slipping, this can be a sign that it’s time to cut back for a bit.
  • Be sure to allocate family time for everyone to come together and bond. If evenings are too busy, you can sneak in some time on the weekend or even in the mornings. There is no rule about when you need to come together, but it’s important that school and sports don’t replace your family’s connection.
  • When life feels too rushed, figure out other activities your child can pass on to free up his schedule a little. Maybe he won’t be able to make it to a weekend party or special event; it’s a good lesson to learn that it’s okay not to do everything. By leaving some free time, he’ll be able to spend more quality time with family or friends and he’ll approach his sports and homework feeling refreshed.

The Need to Prioritize School Over Sports

While these tips can help you to find that precious balance between doing enough and doing too much, always keep in mind that you have to look at your individual situation. If despite your efforts your child seems to be struggling with sports and homework, don’t feel compelled to have it do it all. Your children are more likely to go on to college than they are to become a professional athlete, so if you need to make some choices of where your child should focus his attention, remember that school should always be the priority.
Shared from www.noodle.com