Reducing Stress in Children and Teens: Tips for Parents

Parents don’t have to look far to see that their children are impacted by both academic and social pressures.  By some indications, teens now report even more stress than adults.  As curricula become more rigorous and testing more high-stakes, the pressure to succeed academically weighs heavily on students at increasingly younger ages.  Meanwhile, students are navigating the str

ess of making and keeping friendships, social media, bullying, and lockdown drills.  All of this is overlaid by an ever-growing array of extracurricular activities and commitments. How can parents help children and teens manage this stress? Through tuning into core personal values, fostering problem-solving approaches, and highlighting proper self-care, parents can help children manage their stress.
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Screen Time

Children and Screen Time: Finding A Practical Balance

Parents face the daily struggle of managing time spent by their children using technology.  This is so prolific that even Apple is being pushed to develop tools to respond to smartphone addiction in youth.  But the idea of simply “limiting screen time” is impractical given that children, like adults, now use technology for a significant amount of their work, learning, and socialization. Continue reading

The Importance Of Reading Fluency

Reading

In preschool through second grade, most schools place a lot of emphasis on developing pre-reading and reading skills.  By third grade, however, the focus typically shifts from learning to read to reading to learn.  By this age, and throughout the rest of their school careers, students are expected to use their reading skills to learn and understand academic content in all areas, from science and social studies, to music, art, and even math.  Through fluent reading, students also learn the more complex areas of language and communication skills, including spelling, grammar, and vocabulary.  To effectively and efficiently absorb content in all of these areas, children must not only know the mechanics of reading, but be able to read fluently.
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Five Strategies to Mitigate Sibling Conflict

Sibling RivalryWinter break is a time for family fun. Parents set expectations high for that perfect family vacation at the beach, on the slopes, visiting new places, or enjoying a stay-cation. Along with your dreams of your perfect family vacation, there needs to also be an expectation for sibling conflict. Sibling conflict is a natural part of relationships, and parents should expect an increase in these interactions particularly when siblings are together for longer periods of time in less structured environments. Some of the reasons for sibling conflict revolve around feeling bored, seeking more attention, and experiencing jealousy or a lack of fairness. To decrease sibling conflict, parents can use the following five tools: Continue reading

Six Secrets That Foster Enthusiastic Learning

Children acquire information through natural experiences and directed learning in school. When encouraged, children develop the belief that they can be successful, apply themselves, and enjoy the discovery process. Research routinely concludes that there is a positive correlation between family involvement and student success. Parental attitudes influence student motivation, self-concept, and school achievement. In other words, what parents do, say, and think helps to shape and inspire student academic motivation. By focusing on the following 6 principals, you can help your child become an engaged and enthusiastic learner.

  • family readingValue Learning. When parents explicitly express their belief about the value of learning, children model this attitude. Tell your children that school and learning are important because it increases their knowledge base, develops basic skills, fosters personal growth, and builds their future.

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Summer Fun Brain Boosters

Summer vacation may be upon us with kick back days relaxing at the beach but our children can still be learning. Summer is a great time for experiential learning, review and reinforcement of last year’s skills, and a chance to preview what’s to come next September. Studies show that students lose one to three months of learning after a long summer vacation. Before you stick your head in the sand, check out some family friendly ways to combat summer brain drain and make summer learning FUN!

Keep Counting! 6 Everyday Ways to Play with Math

  • Lemonade Stand Nothing says summer more than a homemade lemonade stand. Kids have a chance to measure ingredients, set prices, figure out cost per serving, count money and provide change, and calculate profits.
  • Take Me Out to the Ball Game This national pastime allows for a great day cheering for your favorite team as your child graphs the batter’s balls and strikes, outs per inning, calculates batting averages, or the cost and change due when buying a ballpark hotdog and soda.
  • In the Kitchen Cooking is a great activity with yummy treats to eat at the end. Teach your child to sort ingredients, use fractions when measuring, or multiply if doubling a recipe.
  • Let’s Go Shopping! Teens love to shop. This is a wonderful opportunity to teach about the value of money, budgeting, as well as using percentages, fractions, and decimals to calculate sale prices. For example, if a $25 item is 15% off, how much does it cost?
  • Construction Kids Whether you are building a birdhouse, dollhouse, or a tree house construction allows kids to use their creativity while learning to measure, calculate angles and square footage, all while developing their algebra and geometry skills.
  • Green Thumb Gardeners know about math because they measure how far apart vegetable rows need to be and how deep to plant seeds. Plus it’s a real world way for kids to experience nature and healthy eating.

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Parent-Teacher Conferences…10 Ways to Make the Most of the Moment

Research has shown that parent involvement in school is the most important factor in determining a child’s success. No matter how old your child is, you matter! Parent interest and participation in schooling conveys the message to your child that school is important and that you care about his or her progress. It is natural that students become more independent, self-sufficient, and self-advocate as they get older. Yet, communication, whether it be parent-child or parent-teacher is essential. When talking to teachers and receiving feedback about your child make the most of your moments and make your time count.

Parent Teacher Conferences-550x0Talk to Your Child
Ask your child if there is anything specific s/he would like you to discuss with the teacher about school. Explain that you are talking to the teacher so that you can help with anything that is going on academically or socially. Continue reading

Ready, Set, Let’s Go to Kindergarten!

September means backpacks, books, and back to school for kids. Four and five-year-old children may have attended preschool but this is their initial venture to “big kid” school. This may include a larger building, a first ride on a school bus, a longer school day, a new teacher, and meeting new children. Kindergarten is a big year in many areas—academic, social, physical, and emotional. Here are some tips to prepare your child for a great start.

countdownEarly to bed, easy to rise
Kindergarten-aged children need on average, 10-12 hours of sleep. Regular schedules and consistent bedtime routines promote healthy sleep habits. Sleep is essential for cognitive abilities such as learning, attention, memory, decision-making, reaction time, and creativity. Sleep also influences mood and behavior. A well-fed child who has had a healthy breakfast will be better prepared for a day of learning. Continue reading

Taming Middle School Madness: Getting Your Student Off to the Right Start

As September draws near, the lazy days of summer and joys of vacations and summer camps will soon be replaced with tweens and teens needing to manage the academic demands of middle school. This means balancing time with friends, extracurricular teams and activities, and schoolwork. Yes, schoolwork! Children everywhere are anticipating long hours of homework and time spent studying for exams. Implementing good habits early in the year will help improve academic performance and reduce stress at home. Here are some tips to share with your child to help get them off to a great start.

BoyLockerTransitions
Expect the initial transition back to school to be an adjustment period. Even if your child is returning to the same school, they will need to learn a new class schedule, understand the expectation of a new set of teachers, and respond to increasing academic demands. Listen to your child, be supportive, validate their feelings, and reinforce their ability to cope and problem-solve. Continue reading