Your child’s school year is starting up and you may be wondering whether it’s the right time to be giving your son or daughter a home key. This is one tough question and many parents disagree as to whether there actually is a “right age” for handing over a key to the house. According to the Netmums News Team, “8% of kids who have keys to their parents’ home are under 9 years old, and one in five parents have handed keys over to a child between the ages of 9 and 11. “
If you are considering making a key available to your child, here are a few things to consider:
Does he or she actually need one? Is it a precaution, a needed tool to get in the house when I am not there or a status toy?
Is your child responsible enough to safely hold on to and transport a key? Here’s a clue - Do they remember to bring home their lunch box, jackets or backpacks from school? If the answer is no then a key may be more responsibility than they are actually ready for right now.
Can they handle being home alone? Are they easily scared or uncomfortable being alone in a house without a parent or other adult?
Are there any neighbors nearby for help if needed? If your child is going to be home and alone for an extended period of time, do they have a friend or neighbor they can call if help is needed?
Do they know how to reach you by telephone?
Do they have a place to safely keep a key during school hours? Can you pin the key into a backpack or book bag and be assured that it will stay there? Are they the kind of child who would remember to pin it back in once it is no longer needed to enter the house? Would they do better remembering a code to a key pad?
Can I trust them to get themselves a snack without using the oven?
From all that I have read it appears that parents are more often giving keys to kids who are 10 years or older. However, before offering any child a key, carefully review each of the above questions and make sure that you are comfortable and confident that your child can handle this responsibility.
If the likelihood of your kids actually needing a key is small, you might be wiser to hide a key somewhere safe at home and just tell your child that it is there. Please don’t slide it under the front door mat as this is easily discoverable by bad guys!
And don’t forget practice the following with your child:
How to actually use the key. You might be surprised that some kids have trouble with this.
Where the key goes after they have opened the door. Make sure that this is a mutually agreed upon place.
What to do if they lose the key. This is important and kids should know that losing a key can be problematic for the entire family.
Not to answer the door when they are home alone. Role play with your child what to do if someone knocks on the front door when they are home alone.
Who to call in an emergency. (Make sure the number is handy)
As parents, watching our kids struggle and fail can be one of the most painful things that we ever have to do. We all want our children to be happy, feel confident and recognize success. But the truth is, if a child never tastes failure - they will never truly enjoy success.
Far too many of us bend over backwards to make certain that our kid’s road to success is smoothly paved without struggles, conflict or failure. Many of us moms have been known to mercilessly plow down a teacher or coach who we thought got in their kid’s way or made their life extra tough. And when parents over extend themselves, make excuses and offer cover ups rather than expecting accountability from their child, they are actually preparing that child for a life of pain not power.
Certainly, our shared end goal is to groom our kids for success in life. To do so we must empower them with the skills that they will need to work their way towards success. That means that as parents we must step aside, encouraging our kids to take responsibility for their own actions; even when they sometimes stumble into failure. As much as we may want our child to be that star student, athlete or leader - if they do not work for it and earn it - they do not deserve it. An unearned trophy, grade or certificate is without true value.
A child who “earns” feelings of discomfort, uncertainty or sadness because of something that they could have done, but chose not to do, can quickly be taught the value of cause and effect. I do my homework and I get credit for it and feel good knowing I have completed my job. I don’t do my homework - but mom calls in and makes up an excuse for me and I don’t need to feel bad because mom covered for me! Who has the power? Certainly not the child! And what have we taught that child? That they really don’t have to be responsible for their own actions. Someone else will cover for them . They have little to no power over their future.
Being a good parent is not coming up with excuses or fighting battles for our kids but rather teaching responsibility and accountability. Failure can actually be a valuable starting place when a parent couples it with guiding questions like, What was your role in this episode? How did that make you feel? What could you have differently ? What will you do next? If you could have changed something what would it have been?
By asking the right questions, offering supportive insights and sharing your love for your child a parent can actually make failures less painful and the road to future success more clearly visible. Making certain that your child has the essential problem solving skills to tackle an issue insures that they will have the tools they need to address future challenges, turning potential failures into successes!
Thank you to all of my readers in both the U.S. and the United Kingdom. I continue to be humbled by your support of my book, Bully Maze Finding A Way Out.
I want you to know that I read all of your comments and suggestions and am pleased that many of you benefitted from learning simple new strategies to help your childr with their unfortunate bullying issues.
I am especially encouraged that so many readers took heart hearing about famous actors, actresses, athletes and political leaders who were actually bullied as children and how they have handled it.
If you have not read this book and your child is struggling with bullying issues - check it out at www.amzn.to/1bpmihk .Many before you have found it most helpful.
I saw the most incredible advertisement for Amazon's kindle.
The ad goes like this: The effects of reading can vary among children. Newfound CURIOSITY, a sense of DISCOVERY and a big IMAGINATION are all possible side effects. Adult supervision not required.
What a simple way to say that reading is one awesome way to open a child's mind, to inspire interest and to promote wonder. Even though it's summer please don't be afraid to put a book (or a kindle) in front of your child. You pick a few books - then let them pick a few. It's a sure way to experience a win-win with your child this summer!
Over the summer months kids naturally lose some of the information that they earned over their previous 9 months of school. And this gap will only widen if they are not encouraged to pick up a book, a pencil and maybe even a few worksheets over the summer months. Help your child to expand their knowledge, not widen their summer amnesia.
Unfortunately, convincing your kids that reading really is important can be challenging. So take advantage of the free help that is available for parents. Most public libraries offer free summer reading programs which offer lists of suggested books by grade level. Even if you are working full time, find a Saturday morning, twice a month, to have your librarian help you and your kids to select some fun books. Before even entering the library, talk with your kids about their interests. Do they want to know more about the moon, pets, dinosaurs, fairy tales? This simple information will empower your librarian to point out just the right books to engage young readers.
The American Library Association tells us that the benefits of summer reading include:
Encouragement that reading become a lifelong habit
Reluctant readers can be drawn in by the activities
Reading over the summer helps children keep their skills up
The program can generate interest in the library and books
And it being summer, the program can just be good fun and provide an opportunity for family time.
If you are in the Los Angeles area, Paws To Read is the Los Angeles Public Library Summer Reading Club. Check it out! Not near L.A.? No worry. Go to your nearest public library and ask about their program.
Another great, free summer reading program is the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. This program challenges kids to increase their reading minutes while recommending books, offering
Books are even better than any photograph in helping your child to capture memories of a family vacation. Books can tell stories about the people & places where you are traveling. Make your travels come alive by collecting & reading books written just for kids.
By collecting children's story books as you travel throughout our world you will be able to capture child sized information about:
the people who live or lived there
the geography & ecosystem
how the state or country came to be
important historical figures
flowers & animal life
curious facts, legends & mysteries
As you read each of these stories point out facts that you learn. If the story mentions armadillos, search for one at the local zoo or on the roadside. If wild Lupine flowers are discussed, see if you can find some on the hillside or in a local flower shop. If the story focuses on a historical figure, like Davy Crockett, talk with your children about who he was & where he lived. Visit the Alamo and discuss how different the structure may look now from when he was there.
Use these stories to compare & contrast various the other places you have traveled to.
And don't forget to write the name, date & place that you bought the book. You will want to read & reread these books to help remember your family trips.
Books capture moments filled with as much color, life and history as any photograph could and they never fade!
here to edit.
Sorry for not having kept up with my blogs lately. I have been working on a new project - writing fiction. However, I didn’t want you to think that I had given up on my blogging for Project -Parenting all together.
Any of you who regularly follow my blogs know that I always say that any positive conversation between a parent and a child can begin by reading a good book together. And faithful to my word I wanted to share a new book with you today. However, I wanted to broaden my scope this time.
Over the past couple of months I’ve spoken to so many friends whose kids are either away at college or will be next fall. And some shared how bogged down with worries their children appear to be. It’s hard to be the parent at home wondering how your child will handle the accelerated academic and social demands of college. And while the problems kids share may seem manageable to us as parents, it’s sometimes hard for our kids to see as clearly.
What Do You Do With A Problem? By Kobi Yamada is a great book to share with children of all different ages. Kobi explains how problems make us stronger and more capable because they “challenge us, shape us and push us.” He points out the value of a problem and how we can become better people as we learn to face them head on. This is a tough concept for most adults, let alone a child. But Yamada’s words and illustrations help readers to understand that problems can continue to grow in size until we turn and face them. He makes solving even the biggest problem - doable.
How would I use this book for different ages?
* Tuck the book in their suitcase as they head off to college.
Include a note: Can’t wait to see you to discover all of your opportunities. We believe in you!
* Have it waiting on your child’s bed when they return from school this summer.
So proud of how well you turned your problems into opportunities. Way to go!
And although your college kid may laugh at you for giving them a kid’s book or for writing a personal note in it - no child is too old or too young to be told that you believe in them. Let your kids talk with you, share their fears, their successes and their challenges. You are making a memory they won’t forget. And you are also enforcing your belief in your child.
School Aged Child:
Read it to them tonight and then talk about any big problems they had this year in school. How did they handle it? Can they unwrap an opportunity that they didn’t see before? Is there anything brewing now that you could help them with?
Let this book open doors for meaningful conversations between you and your child.
“When I got face-to-face with it, I discovered something. My problem wasn’t what I thought it was. I discovered that it had something beautiful inside.”
In each of my blogs and in all of my books I mention that the most important conversations between a parent and a child can begin by reading a book together. If your child is dealing with a challenge, a worry or a concern, I bet you’ll find the perfect book to aid in your search for a resolution. As the characters act out a problem, share their emotions and find a solution - you and your child get to watch.
But after the story is over, important conversational seeds have been sewn. Using the story as a foundation for your discussion takes the attention away from your child allowing them to react to what they’ve just heard or seen the characters go through.
But recently a friend reminded me of an addition benefit gleaned from reading to our children. And chances are it has slipped past most of us. Within the pages of many good children’s books are highlighted some of the greatest of life’s lessons delivered in a way your child can understand. And these lessons are also helpful tools in guiding our children.
Let me give you a few examples:
Concern: Child is frustrated because they are the smallest or youngest child in the family. Smallest
kid on the playground or team.
Quote: “Never forget that even the grandest of trees once had to grow up from the smallest of seeds”
Book: Miss Maple’s Seeds By: Eliza Wheeler
Concern: Child being bullied, afraid to spend the night away from home or anxious about starting
a new activity, sport or club.
Quote: “Promise me you’ll remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than
seem, smarter than you think."
Book: Winnie the Pooh By: A.A. Milne
Concern: Child feels that they are different from everyone else, weird, because they are filled
with unique thoughts and ideas.
Quote: My idea “ It wasn’t just a part of me anymore…it was now part of everything. And then, I realized
what to do with an idea....You change the world."
Book: What Do You Do With An Idea? By: Kobi Yamada
Having trouble finding the right book to help you teach one of life’s lessons or to provide a foundation for an important conversation? In the back of each of my parenting books I list tons of helpful books. Check out my website for more information. www.project-parenting.com
Thank you Smashwords for placing the newly revised Bully Maze Finding A Way Out in your Premium Catalog.
Two years ago I published the first edition of Bully Maze Finding A Way Out. I had just retired after 35 years in education and completed my final position as an elementary school principal. I felt confident that I was in a good position to share my insights on bullying with interested parents, educators, child care providers, coaches and community leaders.
Since my first publication I have had the opportunity to do additional research and to speak with many individuals who have either experienced bullying or who have chosen to do more in depth research on the subject. And as my knowledge grew, I felt it important to make some enhancements to my first book. This book addresses bullying from three perspectives: The Bully, The Victim and The Bystander. While many of the strategies are consistent with the first book, I have added recent insights and recommended literature. I hope that you find this added information helpful.
As I read up on people who said that they had been bullied as kids I was amazed to see names like Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Lawrence and football player JJ Watt. Each of these people shared how bullying had been a part of their childhood and talked about how it had affected them. Even Justin Timberlake and Taylor Swift discuss being picked on as kids. And as I read on, I was further surprised to see who volunteered that they had actually been a bully during their childhood. The insights of these famous people and others are shared throughout the book pages.
Successfully shepherding a child out of their role of bully, victim or bystander requires the coordinated efforts of parents, coaches, educators and other involved adults working together to foster a greater understanding of all sides of the bullying experience. The ultimate goal is to stop bullying while promoting healthy behaviors in our children. But, unless and until, people step in bullying will continue to adversely affect the lives of kids everywhere. The first step is learning how and when to step in.
I hope that you'll find just what you are looking for in the revised issue of my book. And stop by my website for other important parent help within my many blog pages.
I live in Southern California and we are all wondering what our lives are going to be like this winter as we hear horror stories about a disastrous El Nino coming our way. I can only assume that kids will be trapped inside their classrooms all day, unable to run and play outside on rain soaked playgrounds. The school day can drag on for both students and teachers alike and when kids have no opportunities to release pent up steam, they come home ready for action!
If you are worried that your kids are going to come home wound up after a day where they were forced to stay inside - plan ahead. Whether you are anticipating rainy days, snow filled afternoons or freezing cold temps, it’s a good idea to have a few activities up your sleeve for after your kids have finished their homework.
Here are a few ideas:
Grab a 1000 or more piece puzzle and lay it out on a table where it won’t be disturbed. Put a couple pieces together, then move away and challenge your kids to complete it.
Make some playdough and let your kids create! www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-for-kids/no-bake-play-dough/
Bake cookies, cupcakes or a pizza. Assign roles - one child reads the recipe as another gathers the ingredients or mixes them together. If adult supervision is scarce, have your kids mix the ingredients and wait till you get home to power up the oven.
Have a toy hunt - give your kids a large plastic bag or plastic grocery bag and ask them to fill it with toys that they would like to donate to a local shelter.
Movie afternoon. First - select a book that you think your kids will love. Use your bedtime story to read to all of the kids. Now show the movie version on one of your weather challenging afternoons
Write a letter to grandma, grandpa or another relative. Have your child include some home grown artwork and make sure they decorate the envelope. If your relative lives are out of state, take a moment to find a website with a map and point out for your child where on the map grandma’s house is. Have your kids guestimate how long it will take their letter to arrive.
Set up your own pint sized photo studio and encourage your kids to take pictures. Whether they create their own sets, use dress up costumes or include the family pets, let your kids act as photographers. Using the camera on your cell phone allows you to immediately view and download pictures for collection in homemade photo albums.
Sock puppets. Use some old socks to create puppets. Your kids will need some help with the hot glue gun. I’ve linked this suggestion with a utube site with great instructions. And if you can find an old appliance box your kids can create their own sock puppet theater. This is sure to fill many an afternoon as your kids come up with new script ideas.
Create a space craft. Use old shoe boxes or cereal boxes for your kids to create their own spacecraft. Make sure that you have crayons, pipe cleaners, aluminum foil and more for your kids to use. Then have your kids connect for Nasa for kids. There are so many neat things here! Make sure that they stop by the Kids Clubhouse to play games, download coloring sheets and to learn more about space travel!
Imagine your own restaurant. Have your kids create their own restaurant complete with menus, play money and more. Kids can craft their own recipes, envision how they might decorate their own restaurant and what might their waiters wear. Compare and contrast their restaurant with another similar themed spot at dinner that night.
Create a bag for the collection of toys, books or dirty laundry. I’ve linked you to an inexpensive one. Give your kids paints to decorate their bags. Consider making stamps out of apples or oranges to be dipped in the paint and then placed on the fabric. Cookie cutters and other shapes can also be used. When done, consider filling the bag with books they no longer need or toys they don’t play with or clothes that they have outgrown. Take the bags to a local shelter for donation. Or fill the bags with stuffed toys, books or games for later use.
Create your own town using left over, washed out, milk cartons. Cut out doors and windows and stack cartons together to create a city where small cars and figurines can rule. I’ve linked you with a great example. Cartons turned sideways can add spice with homemade garages and store fronts. Now have your kids write a story about the town they created. Who lives there? Where is the town? What’s the weather like? Are there any schools?
Hand Paint a rock or two. The only limitations are hoe creative your child can get!
Create No Sew fleece Blanket. Simple to do for boys or girls. the link will lead you to simple to follow instructions.
The secret to success is planning ahead. Gather your materials now and be ready to engage your kids in some pretty cool activities when the weather gets rough!
Don’t Let Your Kid Earn A Title !10/17/2015
If your elementary school kid has earned the unwanted title of Teaser, Class Bully, Scaredy Cat, Child Most Likely To Say I’m Sorry, But Not Mean It or the Mannerless Monster- they are in need of a helping hand.
No kid wants to be labeled at such an early age, but far too often our children don’t realize that the actual behaviors they are displaying are earning them a title. And as parents, we frequently don’t have the right words to introduce a topic or to jump into an important conversation with our own kids. This can be frustrating for both you and your child.
How many times have you stumbled over your words, let emotions drive the conversation or remained silent because you just did not know how to say what you wanted to say to your child? Thankfully, we have tons of talented authors who have already put our thoughts into their words. So use the power of a well written story to act as a mirror, highlighting for your child their behavioral errors.
There is a simple formula to follow. Read the book first to yourself. Then read it with your child. Then talk about the book. Finally, read it again together as you help your child to formulate their new plan of action.
Here are a few good books to help you and your child better understand and ultimately defeat their title:
Tease Monster (A book about teasing vs. bullying) by: Julia Cook
Simon’s Hook (A story about teases and put-downs) by” Karen Gedig Burnett
King of the Playground by: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
I Didn’t Know I Was A Bully by: Melissa Richards
Just Kidding by: Trudy Ludwig
Scaredy Cats by Audrey Wood
Sorry! By; Trudy Ludwig
I Did It, I’m Sorry by Caralyn & Mark Buehner
Mary Louise Loses her Manners by: Diane Cuneo
0 Comments How badly did they want that Jaguar?10/16/2015
Russian newspaper, Komsomolskaya Pravda, reported that two five year olds tunneled their way out of their pre-school yard, using toy shovels, with the intent of buying a Jaguar automobile. Apparently it took them several days to dig their way out and a half hour walk towards the dealership before they were discovered by a passing motorist. I guess that these were two determined, motor savvy youth!
The closest any of my kids ever got to this was escaping from the college pre-school to buy candy from the adjacent bookstore. What 3 year old carries cash? No problem! My son just put it on my office account before quietly letting himself back in through the preschool gate! Boy was I surprised at my end of year bookstore bill!
0 Comments Has your child ever shared an idea with you?10/15/2015
C Have they looked with great expectation into your eyes believing that the idea they just shared was the most novel, incredible and fantastic idea ever dreamt up? Could you track their excitement as it bubbled from their boisterous, tooth filled grin all the way out to their all hearing ears? Did their eyes take on a dreamlike state as they seemed to envision the actual birth of this idea? And did they look like they might just pop if you didn’t share in the excitement of their vision?
I wonder if your heart ached just a little as you wondered how in the world to respond?
Helping kids to grow and nurture ideas can be challenging for a parent as we struggle to balance inspiration and creativity with reality. So here are a few things to try.
Let your child talk - sharing their excitement, expectations and dreams fully with you. Leave the conversational door open so that all ideas can be shared, evaluated, dissected and pursued. Allow your child to give voice to their ideas by including them as topics for dinner table conversation.
Give them a Dream Catcher Journal in which to generate, investigate, evaluate and record their great ideas. Encourage your child to think their ideas through. What will they need to grow this idea into a reality, who will it serve, will it cost time, money, manpower? And give them a space in which to develop their ideas more fully; be it a desk, a corner of the room or a cushion on the couch.
Connect your child with like minded resources. Find books, websites, museums or movies that touch on, investigate or expand your child’s ideas.
Do not worry if the idea is actually achieved. It is the process of investigation, validation, success and failure - all while having fun - that will motivate your child to continue to build their imagination in pursuit of new and fascinating ideas.
Everything that is new and exciting today began yesterday with a simple idea. Let go and encourage your child to grow their ideas into fruition.
Want to begin a conversation on sharing great ideas? Here is a great book to share with your kids , entitled What Do You Do With An Idea by author Kobi Yamada
0 Comments October 14th, 201510/14/2015
I was visiting Barnes & Noble the other day in search of a few new books. After finding a novel that looked exciting I moved to the kid’s section. I was hunting for a copy of The Princess and the Pea to complement a colorful kid’s quilt that I am making. When there was none to be found for full price I headed to the discount section and was overjoyed to find a copy there.
While perusing tons of books and calendars, I came upon a group of beautiful writing diaries. I knew that they were writing diaries because there was a mother there encouraging her daughter to pick one out. Over and over again mom pleaded with her child to select one so that her daughter could use it to capture all of her child’s “great ideas”.
“I don’t know what you want me to write!” complained the child. Mom told her that she could write about anything. The push and pull went on for another five full minutes until the little girl gave in and selected a journal. As the child slunk away from the table she whispered , “She drives me crazy! I don’t like to write…I don’t want to write!”
I climbed into my car thinking about mother and daughter. On one hand I applauded the mom for encouraging her daughter to write and for providing a method for recording her child’s thoughts. On the other hand I felt sorry for the child as she truly seemed perplexed as to how she would now fill this colorful thought collector.
Sometimes children need more than a command to stimulate creative writing. Even if they love to write, coming up with an idea to write about can be challenging. So here is a thought, give them some help. Find a picture, postcard, website or magazine with an unusual picture in it and then tantalize their interest with a few cues. Use these as writing prompts to get them started. Down below I’ve attached a couple of my own photos and one from on line , as examples of what you might use with your own kids.
PICTURE ONE: Looks like someone forgot their bicycle. I wonder who? Maybe it’s just resting before it takes a doctor or a mailman all around the city. The basket looks like it could hold a lot; maybe me , maybe even my dog!
PICTURE TWO: I think I see a Princess peaking out. Do you?
PICTURE THREE: What a spooky doorway…wonder where it leads to? Could it be to a mine and old workshop, a store from long ago? Could there be money hidden inside? Do you want to go in? I do!
PICTURE FOUR: Who could she be? A witch, a magician, a mom, a teacher or an actress...or maybe someone quite different! I wonder if she has magic powers?
Whether you want your child to write something short, start a longer story or describe an event, give them the help of a few good clues and then let them go!
0 Comments Who gets the treats after Halloween?10/9/2015
Carving pumpkins, dressing up in fun costumes and candy delights - for many of us, this is what Halloween is all about. But after the costumes are put away and the pumpkin begins to decay what’s a parent to do with all of the left over candy?
Most kids collect far more candy than any of them should be eating and parents are torn between allowing kids to continue to munch on sugary sweets for months to come or throwing the treats in the dumpster to protect pediatric teeth.
Here are a few other ideas on how to positively dispose of excess wrapped Halloween candies.
At my old school kids brought their left over, wrapped candy to school. A parent collected the treats and mailed them overseas to individuals serving in our military. Parents said that it was much easier to separate kids from candy when they knew it was going to make a soldier happy!
Check with your local dentists. Many of them have adopted the practice of trading candy for toothbrushes.
Contact your local food banks or homeless shelters. As long as the candy is wrapped, many of them will accept it for distribution at their site.
If your employer is okay with this, consider taking a bowl to work to put in the company lunchroom. Chances are it will disappear all too quickly!
Make cupcakes for your school teachers and staff. Decorate the cupcakes with left over treats.
If you have no one to share your sugary leftovers with and don’t
0 Comments Halloween Costumes Cheap, Cheery and Creative! 10/5/2015
Every year as Halloween approached I began to worry over what my kids would wear. And each year it seemed as if the costs got higher and higher. Sure wish I had known that I could be creative with my costume making with just a roll of toilet paper, an old safety vest, a few balloons, a piece of felt and a big plastic bag!
Don't stress, dress your kids for less and have some fun along the way!
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