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Monday, August 29, 2011

Dream about going to school

So your children have probably been in school for a few weeks now. How have they adjusted? Are they on a schedule? Do they have a routine? Are they enthusiastic about going to school and learning? Luckily, you, as parents, have the tools and school experiences to help your child enjoy his/her academic experiences. Children need to not only be prepared for school  academically and socially, but emotionally, as well.

Children need to hear about your positive school experiences at a young age. If there are older siblings attending school with pre-schoolers at home, they can help by sharing positive stories from their school day. Pre-schoolers should look forward to the experience, not fear it. Take your preschooler out with your older children to watch them get on the bus, so they are prepared for school transportation. take your preschooler to the elementary school to visit before or after school hours so they can visualize what the school looks like.

Pre-school is also a great way to prepare children for elementary school. Children learn routine, expectations, socialization skills and, of course, academic skills. They have a clear understanding of the role of a teacher and their role as students. They increase their attention spans so they are better prepared for half-day or full-day kindergarten. Their thoughts about attending  elementary school should be positive since they enjoy their pre-school experiences.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Love your teacher

Well, it's that time of the year again: Time for the kids to go back to school.  If you thought the two months  of summer vacation went fast for your children and you, try being a teacher.  It is amazing how fast two months of summer can go, yet how slow the last two months of the school year can go for a teacher. 

Though I only taught for 10 of my 21 years in education, I have nothing but respect and admiration for teachers! They have one of the most thankless jobs available with the responsibility of  educating, parenting, coaching, counseling, mediating, guiding, etc. The list goes on and on. Parents may not always agree with a teacher's approach or style, but they need to trust in the teacher and believe the teacher has the students' best interest at hand.  

I have found that some of the most strict teachers actually have quite a large heart. (yes, there is always that one who maybe doesn't-but for the most part.....) When or if your child comes home possibly complaining about his/her teacher, remember there are two sides to every story.  Try not to be quick to judge! I know as a school counselor I have had ample opportunities to do this when student's have a conflict with their teachers. It is amazing how the two stories differ once I talk with the teacher?!   As parents you need to keep an open mind and positive attitude until (and hopefully after) you have all of the details. These are great opportunities for you to role model to your children unconditional love and respect for others.

Take yourself back to your classes when you were a student. There were probably class clowns and poorly behaved students in your class. Your teacher had to deal with all of them while making sure you received a valuable education. Compare  how you perceived the interactions back then to how you see those same experiences now as an adult.

Personally, I can think of a number of teachers I could have 'loved' a little more. I was that class clown (or poorly behaved student????) in most of my classes. I never thought of what my behavior did to interfere with the teacher's responsibility of teaching or my classmates interest and need to learn. I didn't quite get that memo until I taught special education, moreover,  children who were Severe Behaviorally Disturbed. I am sure the nuns were laughing   as they watched me in action from the Heavens. Paybacks, ey?

Have a great school year!!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Laugh in the pool

I am loving this summer thanks in part to all of the swim parties at my house. The kids just make it so much fun! Their enthusiasm, laughter and playfulness is so contagious. They have no inhibitions and all the energy in the world! They will step out of the pool soley to refuel with snacks and then they are right back at it. Games like "Fish out of water" and "Marco Polo" are played along with silly diving board contests. The kids really make it a blast when we are in the pool.

Somehow, somewhere in our lives we find ourselves sometimes just lounging in the pool, which is certainly healthy and good for the soul. I, myself, like to have both: lounge time and play time! I float around on a couple of noodles while engaging in play with the kids. We can learn a lot from the kids in the pools.

Do you make time to play in a pool when weather permits? Do you play with your kids in the pool? Do you show them ways to enjoy the pool, laugh and have a good time while swimming? The pool can be a great source of good fun and lots of laughter!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Relax on a couch

This is one of our pages from our "Relax" book which says, "Relax on a couch." How often do you allow yourself to just sit or lie down on your couch for a few minutes or hours a day? You can sleep, read a magazine or book, or you can just sit and think. You can think about your day: how it has gone or how you anticipate it going. You can think about how you could have done things better or what you need to do better for the remainder of the day. It is good to reflect on your day each day just to keep yourself grounded.

My husband has taught me how to relax, though, as I have stated in another blog, I am a work in progress. I have come a long way, I can say that, but still could just sit and relax a little bit more after a day of work. In the summer, I do try to sit on the couch once a day and either watch a mindless TV show, read a magazine or just take a nap. I am off of work during the summer so I best relax around noon each day when I take a nap on the couch in our sunroom. It is very relaxing and I feel very rejuvenated afterwards.

What do you do to relax? Do you make time to just sit or lie down on the couch each day and either nap or reflect or do something mindless? What about your children? Do they ever take time to relax? Maybe you can have "couch time" set aside during the day?

Monday, August 1, 2011

RELAX!

Relax. In order to face life's little challenges, you have to know how to relax and make the time to do it! Life can get hectic and stressful given the obstacles thrown at us at times.

Do you make time for yourself each day and just relax? Everyone relaxes differently and everyone needs time to relax. My idea of relaxing includes taking a walk or reading a book, even Facebooking is a relaxing activity for me. My husband can relax sitting in his chair and watching sci-fi for hours. He is the poster-child for "Relax" and has taught me to slow down a lot. I'm still a work in progress, though!

I used to think that the day wasn't well served if I didn't have a list of accomplishments completed at the end. I would review all the tasks and activities I did each day and feel like I really conquered the day. I am a lot like my father and not my mother who would sit and stare at a lamp for hours just thinking about where it might look best.  (for real!) My husband has taught me to just sit and enjoy a TV show. I do, but I am usually multitasking with my computer and Nook-yes both. Maybe that is a female thing? Maybe it is just the way I am wired. I feel relaxed and I don't feel stressed, so it must work for me.

What do you do to relax? Are you taking care of yourself? You have to take care of you before you can take care of others. You have to make time for yourself. Everyone needs downtime. I know a number of young (30's-40's) mothers who have anywhere from 2-4 kids each. They are all runners-most are very new to the sport. They run 5k's, 10k's half-marathons and full-marathons. They work and either have full-time working husbands or are divorced, but somehow they make the time for themselves each day. To some, running is relaxing. It calms the mind, clears your thoughts and also releases endorphins which allow you to feel better about yourself. These mothers seem very relaxed when I see them at work or at social gatherings. I am impressed with their drive to take care of themselves so that they can take care of their families. They relax through running and that works for them!

Set aside 30 minutes a day just for you. Wake up a half an hour before the family, go to bed a half hour later or take off some time when your spouse gets home. If you are a single parent, work something out with a friend or neighbor. Watch their kids while that parent relaxes and then he/she can watch your kids while you do the same. It can be a  simple activity: meditate, stretch out, do yoga, walk, run, watch TV, Facebook, look at old pictures, garden... anything, as long as you are relaxing and not doing household chores at the time.

You will find that by giving yourself one half hour each day, you will actually have the time and energy to get through the rest of your day. You will work smarter not harder and you will work with less stress on your mind. Try it. Relax!!!

Teach your children to relax, too. This seems to be the generation of kids having to be overly  involved in sports, dance, skating, clubs, etc. Every day the kids have to do something, be somewhere, have something scheduled. It's ok to let them just go outside and play and it is ok to let them just relax. They can sit under a tree and read a book, ride a bike, play in a treehouse, fish, take an afternoon nap. They have to learn at a young age how to relax so they are prepared better for life's challenges, too!!!