HOMEWORK BLUES!

When It Comes To Doing Homework Does Your Child Feel Overwhelmed?

When It Comes To Doing Homework Does Your Child Feel Overwhelmed?

Does your child get overwhelmed when facing a pile of homework? Do they sometimes melt down and take forever to get it finished? Do you sometimes wonder if you could do it for them just to avoid the stress of them doing it? If you answered yes to any of these questions then please read on…

 

The first couple of years in intermediate classes can be tough for kids.  The work gets more challenging, teachers assign more homework and projects expecting more detail, things are harder to understand and grades really start to matter. It can be overwhelming for kids to go from having a little bit of homework in grade 3 to a lot in grade 4 depending on who their teacher is.

I remember when my kids were in grade four and five. They would get so overwhelmed with homework that sometimes I wished I could just do it for them so I could stop fighting with them and  just get it out of the way. Of course that wasn’t the answer, the answer was to help them establish a routine so the homework would get done and not feel like such a chore.

Homework Routine:

Make sure your child brings everything home:

Right when you pick them up from school, before they get to play on the playground have a quick read through their School Planner to see what homework your child is supposed to bring home that day. Then have your child check his/her backpack to make sure it is all in there.

This routine has always paid off because 9 times out of 10 my kids have had to run back into the school to get the books or homework sheet they had forgotten. Five minutes on the playground saved me countless trips back to the school after we got home to retrieve the missing pieces of homework and believe me when we forgot to check, we did have to go back.

Give your child a break:

Kids are tired when they first get home from school. They have been working hard all day so having them sit down again and do homework as soon as they get home might not produce the best results. Every child is different some children will need to have a run around break outside or some downtime maybe watching a quiet show or computer time for half an hour before they get into their homework. Other children will want to get started right away and get it done so they can do what they want later. Let your child help plan their evening so they can be the most productive with their time.

Make time for a Healthy Snack:

Making time in your child’s break for a healthy snack is so important. A healthy afterschool snack will rejuvenate your child and give them the energy needed to get started on their homework.  Sit together and have tea or hot chocolate and some healthy brain food snacks like fresh fruit, granola bars, mixed nuts or my kids favourite a grilled cheese sandwich. The time together will give you the opportunity to discuss your child’s day, any homework they have and together you can come up with a plan to get it finished.

Getting down to business The Homework Zone:

It helps to set your child up for success. Have a quiet area for them to study in and preferably at this age somewhere you are close by if they have any questions. The kitchen table was and the most popular spot in our home. I could make dinner and my kids could ask questions if they didn’t understand something. Make sure they have all the papers necessary to do the work in front of them before they start.

Review the instructions with your child:

Before starting their homework review the instructions with them so they are clear on what has to be done. Kids will work much faster knowing exactly what they are supposed to be doing than if they have to continually go back to the instructions and figure it out. This is especially important when tackling math homework. If you review the examples of the questions at the beginning of the chapter in their textbook before they start their math homework everything will be fresh in your child’s mind as they work through the problems. Teach them to focus on one subject at a time with a 5 minute mini break in between subjects so that they can re-energize themselves for the next subject.

Having trouble getting your child to study their spelling words? Try putting a little dry “Jello” powder mix on a plate or tray, spread it out and let them practice writing their words with their finger. Worked for my kids every time.

Get everything ready for the next day:

Once your child is finished their homework have them place it immediately into their backpack ready to go back to school the next day. Nothing will get forgotten at home and they will have it ready to hand into their teacher.

Remember Good study skills are an excellent practice for your child to learn now and will only benefit them in the long run. When they get to High School and have to study for exams they will thank you. The more study skills you can teach them now the better prepared they will be later on in life.

Teach Your Children The Game Of Gratitude….

The Game Of Gratitude...It Can Change Our Life!

The Game Of Gratitude…It Can Change Our Life!

Ever wonder why things happen over and over in our lives. Good or bad if we focus on something and think about it all the time we will bring more of it into our lives. When I was younger and had just received my driver’s license I had a minor accident in my car. The memory of the accident created fear in me and I became over cautious. I would constantly be focused on close calls when driving, watching for them, hoping they wouldn’t happen. Well guess what, I got into another minor accident and it wasn’t even my fault. After three accidents I started thinking, maybe my fearful thoughts and focus on people hitting me was the problem. I changed my focus and every time I got into my car I would say, “Thank you for seeing me safely to my destination”. Sometimes if the fearful thoughts persisted I would chant the phrase in my head until I reached my destination. Each time I said the Gratitude phrase I could feel my energy change from one of caution and fear to one of peace and safety knowing I would arrive to my destination safely. I have never been in another accident and the Game of Gratitude was born.

I tried using the Game of Gratitude in other areas of my life too like parking spots. Whenever I am driving somewhere I say to myself, “Thank you for the perfect parking spot.” It works every time! The only time I have had to look for parking is when I forget to ask and be grateful for having it.

Whether we are expecting something good or bad the universe will make it happen! When my children were little I would play the Game of Gratitude with them. At dinner time we would go around the table and each person would share something good about their day. When my kids complained about something during the day I would ask them to come up with five positive things to say about it. If they were complaining about each other then each child would have to come up with five positive things about the other and share it with them. It taught my children to stop looking for the negative in people and situations and find the positive. Even if it was difficult in the beginning they got better at it and it became easier.

If they were being picked on in school, we would discuss different strategies they could use to deal with it. Then say a Gratitude Phrase morning and night, as well as whenever they thought about being hurt, “Thank you for keeping me safe at school!” and “Thank you for my fun, respectful friends.” The problem would usually go away after a couple of days because they no longer felt like a victim and were focused on having good relationships in their life. Very seldom would we have to take the next step of going in and talking to the school about the issue.

I taught my children to play the Game of Gratitude in all areas of their life. When they went to bed we would talk about things they were grateful for in their lives and list them off. We would discuss one thing they wanted to change in their day and come up with a Gratitude Phrase they could use to help make a difference for the next day. If there was a moment in their day where they were really struggling with I would have them close their eyes and visualize how they would have wanted the moment to go and to see themselves succeeding. The Game of Gratitude gave a positive focus to the end of their day and helped them settle into their nights rest.

We all worry about little things once in a while. The Game of Gratitude helps us put our worries aside and focus only on what we want in our lives. We can change our thoughts and create a happier life for our whole family!

To help you get started here are some of the Gratitude phrases my family has used in our lives…

Kids:

Thank you for seeing me safely to school.
Thank you for the excellent mark on my Science Test.
Thank you for my wonderful respectful friends.
Thank you for helping me ride my bike.
Thank you for my wonderful parents.
Thank you for my nice teacher.
Thank you for helping me hit the ball each time I bat.
Thank you for a better relationship with my brother.
Thank you for helping me to improve my dance routine. (or any other activity)
Thank you for seeing mommy/daddy safely home from work.

Parents:

Thank you for seeing child’s name safely home.
Thank you for seeing me safely to my destination.
Thank you for the abundance in my life.
Thank you for keeping my family safe.
Thank you for my perfect job.
Thank you for the harmony in my home.
Thank you for the perfect teacher for my child.
Thank you for guiding me to whatever you are looking for.
Thank you for my perfect health.

There are many more Gratitude Phrases out there if you have some you would like to share please feel free to leave a comment. It would be great to have a list for every situation!

Looking for a great book on Gratitude? Check out The Secret by Rhonda Byrne or check out the website Moments A Day for some Simple Gratitude games you can play with your kids!

When Should I Get My Child a Cell Phone?

Cell Phones - When Is Enough, Enough!

Cell Phones – When Is Enough, Enough!

When is the right time to get my child a cell phone? I am a big advocate of having an emergency cell phone for my child. However, I am puzzled when I see teenagers and younger children who no longer seem to communicate other than with their cell phones. I have seen groups of teenagers walking or hanging out together and no one is talking, they all have their heads bent over their phones. What has social communication come to if everyone ignores one another when they get together and just play with their phones? Why even get together when they could just sit at home and text each other? Coming from an age where we didn’t even have cordless phones never mind cell phones I just don’t get it! (Not that I am dating myself here and from my parents point of view they probably wished they could have given me a cell phone sometimes)

I totally understand the parents reasoning for getting their child a cell phone. It is important for us to know if our child was ever in need of help they could call someone and get it. With all the cell phones around these days it can be very difficult to even find a pay phone so sending them with quarters would be a waste of time.

When my kids were 9 or 10 and were starting to walk to school on their own with their friends I felt they needed some means of communicating with me, especially if there was a problem on the way home or if they wanted to go over to a friends house after school. I searched around for a cell phone plan that would be economically reasonable and would not encourage them to be on the phone all the time.

I discovered that 7eleven has a speak out, pay as you go phone plan and in it you can buy a phone for $50 then buy $25 worth of minutes and they last for 365 days. So, for roughly $25 a year my kids had an emergency phone that they could use to communicate when needed. The phones were nothing like the tablet phones out now so it was more challenging to text. Texting also cost .30 cents each so they were discouraged from texting or making a lot of phone calls. Our deal was if they went through the minutes too fast they had to contribute to the next purchase of minutes for the phone. What the 7eleven phone did provide was an emergency phone when needed and it allowed me to get in touch with them if there was an urgent message.

People miss out on a lot in life when they walk around glued to their cell phone. Face to face Communication with others becomes a challenge. There is a great YouTube video on a Poem called “Look Up” by Gary Turk that sends an important message to everyone on how cell phones are affecting our lives. I would highly recommend checking it out especially if you or your child are already addicted to a cell phone. Is it not better to teach our children to communicate face to face rather than text to text? I believe it is and the face to face social skills they learn today will better equip them for the real world when looking for their first job or going to a college interview.

Teach Your Child To Be Themselves!

Be Yourself! Following The Crowd Never Makes You Happy!

Be Yourself! Following The Crowd Never Makes You Happy!

Every child wonders to themselves Who Am I? Parents, teachers, friends, coaches, grandparents and everyone they come in contact with all have different expectations of them. No wonder children are confused as to who they should be at different times with different people. They switch masks from the good boy or girl for the teacher, sometimes the scared or hurt child on the playground when other kids pick on them, the tough kid among their peers putting on a brave face, the joker making their friends laugh, or the perfect player for their coach doing their best for the team. Not to mention all the roles we as parents expect them to play at home; brother, sister, responsible, hardworking, studious, well behaved child. No wonder kids have a tough time figuring out who they really are.

Being with their peers can be the most challenging place for them to be themselves. Peers sometimes expect certain behaviours from them in order to fit in with the group. If those behaviours feel wrong or uncomfortable it takes a strong person to say “No, I don’t need to behave like you to be accepted”. I have always taught my kids to be their own best friend. If a friend of theirs is not treating them with respect then they are not a true friend.

Grades 3-4 can be challenging social years in school, especially for girls. When my daughter Anya was in grade 4 a couple of the popular girls in her class started playing a mean game. It was the “Friend today, Ditch you tomorrow” game with some of the other girls in the class. The “popular” girls would talk about who they were going to be friends with and who they were going to ditch at recess, lunch or walking home that day. The game would rotate among the group of girls changing each day as to who could play and who couldn’t. For the girls who really wanted to fit in it was a very hurtful game.

One day when Anya went out to play at recess they would tell her, “we are ditching you today so you can’t play with us”. The next day they would play with her like nothing had happened. My daughter being the strong-willed child she is did not tolerate the treatment for long. As she was walking home from school one day with her best friend of many years her friend told her, “I am sorry Anya I am ditching you as a friend to be with the more popular girls”. Anya was so hurt and fed up with the whole game she said to her friend, “You know what, fine, I’m not going to hang out with you anymore!” then she walked away. We talked about it when she got home and I was so proud of her for standing her ground. She had another friend she could hang out with and they respected each other. She would not tolerate any more cruel games. A couple of weeks later her x-best friend came back to her and wanted to be her friend again because the popular girls had ditched her. Anya stood her ground and told the girl she had hurt her too many times and Anya was not willing to let it happen again. After that Anya was always polite to her but would no longer consider her a good friend.

Anya and her friend who was also tired of the ditching game started their own group where everyone was accepted for who they were as long as they were respectful with the others. If girls joined them for lunch or recess and we’re disrespectful Anya and her friend would walk away. They were still nice to everyone they just didn’t tolerate disrespectful behavior. By her grade 6 year Anya and her friend’s group had grown into a cluster of 6 to 8 girls who would hang out every lunch and recess and were always respectful to each other. They would play card games or on the playground including anyone who wanted to join and have fun. They didn’t care what anybody else thought of them they were just happy to be themselves.

Teach your child it is always better to play alone than to hang around other children who do not respect them or expect them to do things they feel uncomfortable doing. There are lots of nice kids out there just like them who would love someone to play with. If our children expect respect from their friends they will get it. They will also have the courage to stand up to a friend and say “No” when they don’t feel comfortable doing something their friend wants them to do.   ©

 

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Disclaimer

The information on this site is based on the personal experience of the author. There are no guarantees of a perfect method to raise a child, it is all trial and error. Please feel free to try some of the suggestions on this site and let me know how you make out. If you would like to use any words or pictures from this blog please contact me for written permission. © 2013

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