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Your child is already (or finally) off to kindergarten. Did you go back to school shopping? Maybe purchase a new lunch box? If this is your child’s first time with lunch away from home, help her get ready in both practical and social ways. I’ve borrowed a few ideas and added a few more I learned along the way.
- Practice opening everything. Everything. Containers, lunchboxes, water bottles, juice boxes. If they can’t open it, don’t send it. There are not enough teachers on duty to open things, and really we want teachers focused on other things anyway—like eating their own lunch and helping kids navigate the chaos.
- Speaking of chaos, most elementary school students don’t have much time to eat and a lot is happening in a short amount of time. Practice with a timer (about 15 minutes!) so your child has a sense of how much time they have to eat. This will also give you a sense of how much they can eat so you don’t over pack or under pack.
- Practice eating at the table. If you have gotten in the habit of distractions while eating, like tablets or books, it’s time to put them away. Practice the expectation of staying in the seat with bottoms on the chair. This is very hard for many kids, so do gentle reminders of what the expectation is. This is hard for me too. Can someone come remind me to stay sitting while I eat?
- Set the expectation that school lunches are not chatty lunches. I 100% disagree with the punishment of silent lunch, but I do understand that the kids are so tempted to spend their lunchtime talking instead of eating. Recess may come before or after lunch, so they will have time to get in some socializing.If they can open their containers, eat their food, and stay focused long enough to get the job done, that might seem like enough. However, there are a few things you can do to help them be the best elementary citizens they can be.
- Introduce your child to new foods and cultures. This might only be in theory if he eats 6 things. That’s ok. The main thing is openness to the idea that a classmate might have a different lunch and like it. One of my favorite books about this is “The Sandwich Swap” by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah. In case you are all running to the same libraries, I will include a list of other books at the end of this post for more options.
- Introduce your child to the concept of food allergies. If they havenever come across a food allergy, the idea that some foods are safe for him or herbut not a friend, it will be mind blowing. It will helps children understand if they can’t bring certain foods to school or swap foods. Sometimes a friend will have to have a different treat when someone brings in food, and knowing ahead of time prevents some of the jealousy. It will also help any food allergy kiddos out if you ask your child to direct questions to the teacher or you. They will thank you for not having to field another set of, “Don’t you wonder what peanuts taste like?” questions.
That is enough to get your little one started. You might find yourself having other conversations down the road, perhaps around food insecurity, why some kids have hot lunch, why so-and-so can bring x and your child can’t, and more.
And double check that lids are on. Take it from someone who has made this mistake too many times.
Books for Starting the Conversation about School Lunch
- “The Sandwich Swap” by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdullah
- “Everybody Cooks Rice” by Nora Dooley
- “Everybody Bakes Bread” by Nora Dooley
- “All Are Welcome” by Alexandra Penfold
- “A Bad Case of Stripes” by David Shannon
- “A Normal Pig” by K-Fai Steele
- “On the Day You Begin” by Jacqueline Woodson
Becca Limberg lives in North Carolina with her husband and two girls, ages 9 and 6. Her kids have been in public school, and now one is in private school and one is homeschooled. She is a stay-at-home mom, part-time student, and apparently now a 6U soccer coach. She worked for Barnes and Noble for 10 years, so if you ask her, she will probably give you a book recommendation.
Want to get some ideas for helping your kids thrive in school, check out Peace At Home recorded class “School Success: Inspire Motivation” for parents of children in Kindergarten through 8th grade.
Thu, Feb 28, 20198:15 PM – 9:00 PM EST
Q&A Sessions are free for all parents and caregivers who participated in one of our live online parenting classes. Participants will have a chance to ask questions about the new approaches they are practicing as well as other issues if time allows. They will have a chance to connect with other parents, share challenges, and celebrate successes.
Presenter: Ruth Freeman
Peace at Home Parenting guidance does not stop when this live online class is over. After class, you will be invited to join our private Facebook group. There, you will have unlimited access to our team of parenting experts, who will share tips and answer parents’ questions. This Facebook community is also a place to connect with other caring parents, like you. We welcome parents to share challenges and celebrate successes.
In addition, you will receive access to free monthly “Question and Answer” sessions. During these sessions, you will be coached in applying the skills you learned in Peace at Home classes and again you will connect with other parents working to improve skills.
Worried about your child’s school performance?
When your children, especially teens, struggle with school, parents can easily fall into nagging, coaxing and hassling or even punishing when in reality none of those things work and sometimes actually make it worse. One mom wrote to us about her 13 year old son whose grades starting going down in the previous schoolyear and hadn’t improved. She and her son communicate well and she is looking for guidance on how to keep the lines of communication open while addressing her concerns Here are some action steps toward handling the problem while staying connected:
Step 1. Ask your son if he is willing to talk about school with you.
Step 2. If he says yes, ask about his goals for each class – what would he most like to be learning and does he have any ideas about grades he wants to achieve in each.
Step 3. If he says no, ask him if there would be a time in the future when he might feel comfortable talking about it. If he says no, back off for a good while. If he says yes, try to schedule a good time for both of you to chat.
Step 4. If he articulates any goals for any classes, ask him what is helping him be successful in the cases where he is achieving his goals and celebrate that with him. And then ask what he understands to be the barriers in the cases where he isn’t achieving his goals.
Step 5. If he begins to reflect on the barriers he may be experiencing, be curious about how he experiences those barriers. Try to understand them from his point of view. Ask what he has done to address the barriers in the past, any ideas he has about how to address them now. Maybe watch this hysterical TED talk on procrastination together and ask him if that is true for him in any way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arj7oStGLkU&fbclid=IwAR2dU06yb1nO9WwdRaJASTY_zM4JJ2v4S-3H2R5TQgj553VmmYYBbUlg0Jk
Step 6. Ask him if he’d be interested in your thoughts about addressing the barriers.
Step 7. If together you come up with any ideas about how to proceed, discuss how effective each of you believes those ideas might be. Ask him what he anticipates would be the outcomes of those ideas.
Step 8. If he decides to try one or two, make a time 2 – 3 weeks in the future when you might talk together about how it is going. Ask him if there is anything he wants from you during that time period in terms of support and decide if you can offer what he wants. Refrain from reminding and coaxing during that time period unless he specifically asked for that kind of help.
Step 9. Do your best during this process not to catastrophize in your own mind or with your son. See this as a challenge to address together and remember to consistently celebrate his positive behaviors and contributions. And listen, listen, listen.
Clearly your child may not engage at all. In that case, go back to ground zero and continue to focus on keeping lines of communication open. Or you may go through a few of the steps and he may just stop there. Keep in mind that homework and school progress belongs to your child and you will best remain a consultant and cheerleader. If you see more of an academic decline going forward, express your concern and try a meeting with teachers that includes your son. If all else fails, talk with the school psychologist or social worker to make sure you aren’t seeing symptoms of bigger concerns. If indeed you do suspect bigger issues, press your school to complete a comprehensive assessment to get clear about what is needed.
When a child climbs out of the crib, it can be a safety challenge. This can be hard to prevent and some parents use this as a cue to transition to a toddler bed, which is lower to the floor. Parents need to consider what their long term goals are for their toddler: If you want him/her to stay in his/her room, you need to be ready to help the child stay there. Access to the door is increased with a toddler bed. Sleep experts recommend parents purchase a doorknob grip to help prevent this. Sitting outside the door for a time may be needed to redirect a toddler who is reluctant to stay in the new bed. Redirect calmly, limiting contact to a few minutes, repeating a routine phrase, such as: “I need to keep you safe in your bed. Lie down in your bed, honey.” Hum a quiet melody for a minute or two; gently rub his/her back. Leave quietly, without speaking, and close the door. Be prepared to stay by the door until the child has settled.
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When the weather takes a turn for the worse, children often turn to video games or television for their entertainment. Instead, take advantage of your kid being stuck inside to educate them with fun activities. Thanks to search engines and online platforms such as YouTube, there is a never-ending wealth of ideas to keep your child entertained while teaching them valuable academic and life lessons. Make their learning fun with some hands-on interactive education that your family can enjoy.
1. Get Out the Musical Instruments
According to Parents, learning an instrument can help improve children’s academic skills, develop their coordination and motor skills, refine their self-discipline and practice patience. There are numerous websites providing online music lessons for almost any instrument imaginable. You and your kid can even learn an instrument together, helping each other as you follow tutorials online.
2. Let Them Stretch Their Artistic Muscles
Kids love to draw and craft. These artistic activities let them work with their hands, express themselves, and explore their imagination. Luckily, there is no shortage of fun DIY ideas online to get your kid involved in art. You can even look up some drawing tutorials for kids to help them hone their fine motor skills. Also, painting videos for kids can teach them about color mixing and palettes.
3. Get Them Moving
Keeping kids active will improve their academic performance, cognitive abilities, and help them keep a positive attitude. When it’s raining, try out one of the fun indoor activities suggested by Today’s Parent. Or, look up some kid-friendly exercise videos on YouTube. Kids love dancing, yoga, and bouncing around as they follow the instructor in a fun exercise video. Continue reading
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Parents often ask how to make kids listen and follow directions, how to stop yelling and nagging, and how to teach children respect. The truth is, the way parents speak impacts children’s ability to listen. Here are seven tips to help you get kids to listen without yelling. Continue reading
During a recent online class, a parent asked the questions, “What do you do when your eight-year-old child calls themselves stupid or dumb all the time? I respond with ‘No you’re not‘ but they just say back, ‘Yes I am!‘”
This is a great question and we hear it from lots of parents. Continue reading
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All children are born with personality traits that remain relatively constant throughout their lives. Some kids are more sensitive or more withdrawn. Others are born more active or more persistent.
But two traits that can change, with a little help from parents, are optimism and resilience. Optimism is a positive outlook and hopefulness; resilience is the capacity to effectively bounce back from challenges. These traits are key components of happiness. The good news is that happiness is a skill that you can teach your children. Continue reading
By Brynn Rosadino & Amy Kostak, CFLE.
Is your little boy or girl all grown up?
Are you struggling to have a positive, productive relationship with your adult child?
Once your child is 18, you are no longer legally required to support him. However, many adult children live at home and receive both financial and emotional support from their families. While many adult children depend on their parents, hopefully they are also striving for independence. And while parents want their children to successfully launch, they may still be reaching for connection and, yes, even control. With these new dynamics, it can be difficult to set appropriate boundaries while maintaining positive communication with your children when they are adults living at home. And recognizing what you can and can’t control, as well as what you should and shouldn’t control is an important part of this stage. This can be a learning experience for many parents and adult children. Continue reading