viernes, 30 de noviembre de 2018

7 Tips to Manage Your Child’s Routine During the Holiday Season

The winter holiday season brings with it much more than wonder and merriment. Weeks and sometimes months of holiday shopping, traveling, food, parties, visits and visitors can create enough stress to exhaust the most festive of us.
Children of all ages feel it, too, especially when their routines are interrupted with an overload of events that are often out of their control. The changes in schedule, though well-intentioned, can impact behaviors and moods.
“In general, we all do better with routines in day-to-day life,” said Dr. Mollie Greves Grow, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “Structured routines, even during busy times like the holidays, help parents regulate the emotional and functional changes their children undergo as they develop. Routines help children know what to expect as they go through these changes.”
The mother of 5- and 7-year-old girls, Grow speaks from experience as well as expertise. She offers parents several tips and reminders to help foster a peaceful and joyous holiday season for the entire family.

Prioritize sleeping and eating

There will be some deviation and relaxation from a normal schedule during the holidays, but parents should stick to their child’s sleeping and eating patterns as much as possible.
The amount of sleep recommended for children varies with age. Toddlers typically sleep 11 to 14 hours in a 24-hour period; preschoolers 10 to 13 hours; school-age kids and preteens 9 to 12 hours per night; and teens 8 to 10 hours. Eating on a regular schedule also helps maintain energy and blood sugar levels. If planned parties or meals conflict with your child’s eating schedule, work to find a middle ground whenever possible and bring along healthy snacks if needed.
For toddlers and younger kids, adhering to a consistent eating and sleeping schedule makes it less likely they’ll have a meltdown. “Regardless of age, we function better when we eat and sleep right,” Grow said.

Take part of home on the road

Comfort items from home may help your child acclimate to a different environment: a pillow, blanket, noise machine or favorite stuffed animal. For infants and toddlers, call ahead to see if a pack-and-play or a crib is available where you’ll be staying.

Be open and honest with family

We tend to see more extended family around the holidays. They may not always be aware of the rules and routines your household follows. A good approach is to be forthcoming and explain why something is or is not allowed for your child. 

Set limits when it comes to diet

The holidays offer easy access to unhealthy foods and dessert items that shouldn’t be consumed in big quantities. With younger children, it’s easier to choose what is put on their plate. As kids get older and make more decisions on their own, this can be a challenge.
When it comes to diet, moderation is key. Grow suggests one way to encourage moderation is to have the parents set limits on the quantity of certain types of food and then let the child decide what they eat. An example is allowing a set amount of sweets per week (i.e., one per day or only on a weekend) and leaving it up to the child to decide when they get to treat themselves.
“Have a conversation with your child and explain that the limits on consumption aren’t a punishment, rather, to help them stay healthy,” Grow said.

Develop a game plan for screen time

There may be more access to television, computers and mobile devices at home while children are on holiday breaks from daycare and school. One way to manage this is with an age-appropriate media and screen time plan. The American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines on the subject and are both great informational resources for parents.
Many of the same holiday specials parents watched as children are still popular today (“A Charlie Brown Christmas” first aired in 1965). Use your discretion in how many of these you allow your children to watch. When you do allow them to watch, be with them and discuss the lessons taught in the special. Make it more than just a show. By watching together, parents can be “media mentors.”

Plan for group activity

It is up to parents during holiday breaks to find a substitute for the physical activity that is part of a child’s normal daycare or school curriculum. Prepare for the indoor and outdoor options in your area by having the right rain or snow gear and attire available. Whatever options are available, try to make some of those family activities and have your child help decide those activities. These can be opportunities to create family traditions.

Enjoy the moment

Many of the frenetic activities we take part in during the holidays are not meant to take center stage, but often do. Focus on creating memories with your child. It’s a great opportunity to make the breaks from your routines special instead of stressful.
“Kids grow fast. They change quickly and each year is very different for them,” Grow said. “It’s important for parents to slow down, be present and enjoy this time of year with their children.

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viernes, 21 de septiembre de 2018

Supporting your child’s school-age friendships

Children who find it easy to make friends
If your child finds it easy to make friends and gets on well with them, you can arrange playdates and sleepovers by talking to other parents.
If your child finds playdates tricky or she and her friends aren’t getting along, try keeping the playdates fairly short – for example, 1-2 hours. You could also help the children choose an activity that they’ll both enjoy.
At the beginning of a playdate at your house, you can talk with the children about what areas of the house or garden they can use, including the bathroom, and offer a snack or drink. Be available in case a child needs help, but give your child and his friend time and space to learn how to get along with each other.
Children who find it harder to make friends
If your child finds it hard to make friends, you can be more active in helping her.
You could look for extracurricular activities – for example, sports, dance or art classes – to give your child opportunities to meet children with similar interests.
Sometimes reminders about what to do might help too. For example, you could encourage your child to introduce himself when he meets new children – ‘Hello, I’m Kai. What’s your name?’
You might need to be active in setting up playdates for your child. For example, on the way home from an activity ask your child if there’s anyone she’d like to invite. At the next class, help her to invite her friend.
Another idea is to ask your child whether he’s interested in the games other children are playing at school. He might be keen to play soccer, but unsure about the rules. If he doesn’t like the games that they’re playing, you could suggest that he starts a game that he does like by asking some classmates to play it with him.
Other ways to support friendships
Some schools have a buddy system, where the younger students have an older student as their buddy for the year. If your child needs help finding her friends or isn’t sure of what to play, she could try asking her older buddy for help.
Many schools have other great ways of helping children find someone to play with, so it’s worth asking your child’s teacher if you think your child needs some help.
If your child has special needs, he might also need extra help with his friendships. You could try making friends with other parents and getting together after school at a playground. Give the other parents and children some ideas on how to include your child. For example, ‘Bill loves watching people play soccer. He can throw the ball in and be the scorer’.
I was surprised how going to dance class each Sunday helped my daughter with getting along with others. She came out of her shyness a bit quicker, even though she didn’t know anyone there when she started.
– Colin, father of an eight-year-old

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lunes, 27 de agosto de 2018

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martes, 7 de agosto de 2018

11 ‘Back To School’ Parent Tips

It’s time to re-train your child’s brain
Where did the summer go? Fall is just around the corner and “back to school” is on many parent’s minds. The challenge is getting school back on the mind of your “live-in” student. If you want your child to hit the ground running academically this school year, then it’s time to retrain their brain.
Schools around the globe provide a system of routines for maximizing learning that is specific to each student’s age and ability. Unfortunately, these routines have been breached with approximately 90-days of vacation and they need to be re-established prior to the first day of class. Here are 11 tips to help your student establish routines for a successful school year.
1. Re-set sleep patterns. Seven to ten days prior to the first day of school start the process of regular sleep. Wean the student off of going to bed late and sleeping late.’ll probably cave to the “Mom, it’s my last weekend before school, why can’t I stay up late?” However, sleep patterns are crucial for reaching peak performance during the first class period and maintaining it until the bell rings to go home. Start this process sooner than later and help maintain it all year. Good luck on this one. Be bold. Be consistent.
2. Re-set eating habits. Once school begins the eating patterns of the student need to be set so that they can maintain a high level of energy throughout the day. The routines of breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and after-school snack prior to homework need to be implemented. In fact, the entire nutrition of the student needs to be well thought out 7-10 days before school begins. Someone other than the student needs to be the chief, family nutritionist.
3. Exercise the brain. Just like NFL conditioning and exhibition games that prepare each football player for the upcoming season, your student needs to warm up and begin to hone the basics of math, reading and writing prior to the school year. To allow your brain to stagnate for three months without reading is a travesty for super-learning and learning itself. Is it too late? It is what it is. But begin now to encourage reading and writing at least 7-10 days prior to the first day of school. If school textbooks for the upcoming year are available, start there with the first several chapters. In addition, math skills can easily erode over the summer. Have your student review the previous year’s math basics before they go to the next level.
4. Set academic goals. Establishing well-defined goals is one of the hallmarks of a champion. Each student needs these academic goals with corresponding strategies and tactics for reaching them. Set goals for each class and hold your student accountable.

5. Identify priorities. Football games, dances, playing video games, watching television, social media, homework, sports, extracurricular participation and friends are all part of each school year. Does academics top the list of priorities? When is homework to be accomplished? Before dinner? After school? After dinner? When can I watch my favorite TV shows? This 90-minute to 120-minute homework routine needs to be placed in your student’s schedule before the school year. Sunday night is a great night to prepare for the upcoming school week. This is a routine they can take into their adult life.
6. Social media. This activity gets its own mention. I believe Smart phones aren’t always smart. This device is your student’s pipeline to the rest of the world with emphasis on their peer group. Self-discipline and concentration don’t always mesh with the cell phone. No cell phone usage during homework. Period. No cell phone usage after certain hours (you decide the nightly cell phone curfew). As a student or guide to a student, you need to know three things about social media. What is my responsibility? What is my authority? And lastly, what will I be held accountable. Monitor this activity. You don’t need surprises. Keep abreast of where and when your student goes on the web and with whom they communicate.
7. Risk and reward. This subject needs to be addressed frequently with your student. Every thing they do or don’t do has a positive or negative consequence. What is the risk of doing this activity? What is the reward (or consequence) of doing this activity? The risk and reward “talk” needs to be given and repeated often. 

8. Ask questions. Tell and yell does NOT work as a form of communication. Many of us have been raised with this form of information delivery. In order to turn your student into a viable and responsible decision-maker, then great questions will eventually produce great answers and ultimately great actions. Asking questions that can easily be answered with a terse and or mumbled yes or no are NOT great questions. Prepare this type of communication and be consistent. “What are your goals for grades and how are you going to accomplish this?”
9. The peer group. Birds of a feather flock together. Interview, research and keep tabs on ALL of your student’s friends during the school year. This definitely includes monitoring ALL social media. If you’re paying the phone bill, then it’s your phone NOT their phone. Your student’s “circle of friends” is the main influencer of how they approach homework, speech, dress, music and any other behavior. Police the peer group. Also, meet all parents of your child’s friends. This will tell you a lot.
10. Get ready Mom and Dad. Yes, as parents we need to prepare to assist our live-in students in setting, organizing and managing the best routines for maximum learning. This also pertains to family activities such as dinner, chores, family outings, sibling behavior, and community service. Of course, your student’s priority is preparing for their academic year and maintaining good grades. But do NOT forget family. This institution is the fabric of our country and needs constant building and repair. Make your student an integral part of the family. Keep them in the loop of all upcoming activities. Make the family name a brand each family member is proud to showcase in the community.
11. Allow for freedom of choice. Academic champions study with great self-discipline and commitment. They make sacrifices and choices. However, all students need some time to blow off steam and just hangout with friends or do nothing while chilling alone. Allow your student the time in their busy schedule to do this. Just be moderate. Grades first.
As parents we have the sole responsibility, accountability and the authority to oversee the education of our children. We can become best friends with them later in life. For now, we are the guides, mentors and coaches. We must be consistent in this endeavor. Be the coach. Be the teacher. Be the guide. Parent! This verb is NOT always cool, but it will reap dividends.
Pay now or you and your student will pay later.
Good luck Mom and Dad. You are the role models our students, schools, and communities need. Our country’s future depends on it.
Have an awesome school year!
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