Parent tips and suggestions

Eating Together As A Family
November 10, 2016

Scheduling a family meal is not always easy.  Family members have different schedules and are often running in different directions. Mealtime,
however, is a great time to come together as a family to catch up on the day’s activities, as well as share nutritious foods. Try scheduling at least two or three family meals each week.

Avoid distractions like the TV or reading at the table. Keep the mealtime as pleasant and as unstressful as possible. Mealtime is not the time to bring up problems or discipline issues.The family meal is a place for children to learn what their parents think is important, learn good manners and how to hold a conversation with an adult.

The family meal is a good time to introduce a new food or recipe. The family meal gives children a feeling of being connected with their parents. Studies show that children who eat with their families are less likely to have problems in their teen years. Make having a family meal a priority; you’ll be glad you did!

HANDLING TATTLING
October 10, 2016

You want your children to inform you about serious matters, but you don't want them to tattle about small, insignificant issues.  

TRAIN YOUR CHILD TO REPORT
Children need to be taught when they should report to you.  The general rule of thumb is: If someone is hurt or might get hurt, or if somebody's property is going to be damaged, report it.  Issues involving how your child gets along with another child or how other children are getting along should not be reported.  Tell your child, "settle that among yourselves."

One way to help your child understand what he/she should report is to ask your child a question such as, "If Mary calls you a name once in awhile, should you tell me about that?"  The answer is obviously no.  If you child does not know the correct response, then teach it.  Other examples of questions to ask your child are, "If Billy is throwing stones at cars, should it be reported?  If Tammy cheats at a game, should it be reported?  If Johnny is throwing stones at Mark, should that be reported?"  By asking questions that refer to different behaviors, you can teach your child under what conditions it would be appropriate for him/her to report to you.  Know when to report and when not to, stops the constant tattling that many children do.

DEALING WITH TATTLING
If your child continues to tattle after proper training, you need to develop a "deaf ear."  Either refuse to respond to your child or say, "Take care of it yourself."  If you do not listen or respond to tattling, it will not continue for very long. 

Do not scold your child for tattling.  That will merely make matters worse. Rather, develop a "deaf ear" and simply ignore any comments of a tattling nature.  When your child begins talking about something else, start interacting immediately.  You want to give your child attention for behaving properly.  Be careful NOT to give for inappropriate behavior.  When tattling is ignored, it seldom persists for very long.  It is when children get attention or they when they are able to get another person in trouble, that tattling is rewarded.  Be careful not to make tattling an issue.  Simply dismiss it and go on with whatever your were doing.  

REMEMBER:
~ Teach your children when to report to you or another adult.
~
 Do not scold a child for tattling.  Ignore the behavior.
~ Tattling usually goes away if it is ignored.  


TALKING TO KIDS ABOUT MONEY
November 12, 2015

My children were always asking to buy things such as dress-up shoes or new games.  They didn't seem to understand that these items weren't in our budget.  

I wanted them to learn about how we spend our money - and that it is limited.  So I got a spiral notebook and labeled it "Family Spending Journal."  I explained that for two weeks, everyone would keep a record of what they spent money on.  I listed items like my subway fare, the electric bill, and the takes taken out of my paycheck.  The children wrote down expenses such as school lunch, soccer cleats, and field trip fees.  

After a few days, they were surprised by how many things we needed money for.  Our kids had no idea, for example, that we paid for takes on our income, several types of insurance, and membership in our homeowners' association.  Sometimes they still ask to buy too many things at the store, but when i say no, at least they understand why.  

SHORT NOTES
October 30, 2015

Celebrate progress:  Suggest that your child create a fun reminder of all the things he/she has accomplished.  Let them cover a container with construction paper and label it "I did it!"  Then, they can write each success ("I memorized my times tables") on a slip of paper and put it in the container.  

Excellent attendance:  Being in school every day means your child won't miss out on learning.  Try to schedule appointments and family trips outside of school hours.  If your child asks to stay home "just because," remind them of what they will miss, such as art class or PE.  Explain that he/she can only be absent if they are sick or there is a family emergency. 

Eat meals together:  You may have heard that it's important for families to eat dinner together.  But other meals count, too.  If you work in the evenings, maybe you could make time for a family breakfast.  On a weekend, try a picnic lunch.  Research shows that children who regularly eat meals with their families tend to do better in school and avoid risky behavior.  

A RECIPE FOR RESPECT
September 25, 2015

Ava listens quietly when her teacher talks.  Ben claps for each performer at his piano recital.  These children show respect for others.  Here's how you can encourage your youngster to do the same.  

DEMONSTRATE:
Your child will learn respectful behavior by watching the way you treat others.  When she makes a mistake, for instance, gently tell her what she's done wrong -  and out of earshot of others.  Also, let her see you respect ideas and beliefs that are different from your own.  For example, point out that you're happy a friend is voting in an election, even though you each favor a different candidate.  

NOTICE:
When you see your youngster acting respectfully, let her know that you've noticed ("I like the way you asked your sister before borrowing her sweater").  Your words and attention will encourage her to show respect in the future.  

TIP:  If you see disrespectful behavior on TV (a child rolling his eyes or talking back to a parent), tell you youngster that isn't okay in real life.  Then, ask her to be on the lookout for respectful actions by the actors.  How many can she spot before the program ends?