We had an awesome time at Play Date Connection: The Wellness Hour this weekend! Check out some of the fun that we had with the kids, moms and Kelly Wadler from Shine On Wellness! Hope to see you at the next one!
When you attend Open House night at your child's school this year, don't forget to ask these important questions to help set your child up for a successful school year.
Question #1: How much homework should I expect each night?
Question #2: What are the classroom behavioral expectations/rules so that I can keep them consistent outside of school?
Question #3: What can I do to help support learning at home?
Question #4a: How are conflicts between students handled?
Question #4b: How are conflicts between students and teachers handled?
Question #5: What is the most effective way to contact the teacher?
We hope you have a successful Back to School Open House Night.
"Back to School" is in full swing across the country. Now that your child is back in the classroom, how are they adjusting and what can you do to help them? Whether it's a new school, classroom or grade, there are things you can do to help your child with adjusting back to school to set them up for a successful school year.
Establish a morning routine. Be consistent. Make sure they wake up at the same time every morning. Set up a check list for everything that needs to be done before they leaving for school. Organize the list in the order that things should be done. For example, check the weather, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, check backpack for homework (and other items), grab lunch, and head out the door.
Eat Breakfast. Make sure a protein packed breakfast is a part of the morning routine. Keeping a child full until lunch is vital to help with focusing and optimizing time in the classroom.
Talk about the day together before heading into school. Ask your child what he or she is most looking forward to that day in school. Discuss what's been happening in the classroom. Ask specific questions. Make sure to keep an open dialogue up until dropping them off at the bus stop, school or classroom door.
Leave special notes, reminders, or pictures for your child to find. Put a family photo in their backpack, notebook or folder OR include a fun note in their lunch to remind them how much you love them and how proud of them you are for having a great day at school.
Keep an open dialogue about school when they get home everyday. Check out tips here for starting conversation. Try to keep the discussion positive. Ask about the best part of the day, but it's also ok to ask if there was anything difficult. This will give the opportunity to discuss what they can improve for the next day or can ask for the teacher to help with. Again, make sure questions are specific.
Pick a favorite after school activity or snack. After a successful day in school, allow them to pick a favorite activity or snack for making it through the day. This will also help motivate them to have more good days in the future!
Hope that everyone is successfully adjusting back to school! Don't get discouraged if it's difficult at first, over time it will be easier!
School's here! Even though there are plenty of classroom lessons to come in the upcoming school year, it's also essential to teach your children the importance of life lessons, especially “giving back”. Charity work and volunteering are big topics in the media. Parents often wonder when should my child start volunteering? What are some things that I can do with my kids to show them it’s important to help others? Are they too young to understand? While children may not be able to write a big check or attend a gala, it’s never too early to teach the art of giving back. Check out these ideas for how to get kids involved with volunteer work and “giving back” early!
1. Make birthday parties charitable. Many kids have houses full of toys, electronics, and clothes; turn birthday parties into a fun way to teach children the value of charity and keep your house from more clutter. Sit down with your child before the party and pick a charity that they are excited about. For example, if they love animals look into the Humane Society, if they love other kids look into Make a Wish, have a sports fanatic…check out the Special Olympics. Once you and your child have picked a charity, ask you guests for donations rather then presents. Your child will take pride and enjoy watching how much money they can raise for a good cause.
2. Donate Clothes. Children grow fast! Instead of waiting for the kids to be out of the house to go through your closets, have them get involved in the process. Pull items that your kids no longer wear and/or have outgrown. Go with your kids to The Salvation Army or another organization and give clothes to those who can’t afford to buy new clothes.
3. Volunteer in the community. There are plenty of opportunities for charity right in your neighborhood. Rake the leaves for the neighbors. Deliver fresh cookies to the elderly or service workers, including postal carriers, groundskeepers and handymen. Offer to pick up groceries for someone who is under the weather. Drop off food at a local homeless shelter. Help sort essential items for the troops in service. The possibilities are endless.
4. Teach goodwill. When children are old enough to earn an allowance, teach them that with money comes responsibility. Create a “charity” jar to keep in your home. Every week when your child earns their allowance give them the opportunity to give a portion of it to the jar and keep the same amount…or a little more for themselves. Explain that it does not have to be a large amount, 50 cents or $1.00 at a time. At the end 1 month (3 months, 6 months, whatever works for you), sit down together and pick a charity to donate the money. This teaches that giving back should be a constant, year-round activity. It also shows your kids that there are many different options and organizations to choose from. If you prefer, you can also pick an item to buy and donate (ex. in winter donate a pair of warm gloves to a coat drive).
5. Raise money with a lemonade stand. This classic is always a fun activity! All sales proceeds should go your child’s charity of choice! Your kids will have fun, be occupied for the day and bring in lots of money for a good cause.
It is never too early for kids to be involved with helping others. Giving back and volunteering is a great way to foster positive developments, teach meaningful lessons and have great family fun! What are you waiting for? Go ahead and get started!
Does your child (or you) have anxiety about heading back to school this year? Here are 5 easy ways to help you both ease those jitters and get excited.
1. Shop with your child before school starts. Let them pick out a new outfit they feel confident in and get school supplies they are excited to start using. Your child wear school uniforms? No problem. Shop for a fun backpack and/or accessories such as headbands and socks.
2. Fun family picture. Place in your child’s backpack, folder or notebook as a reminder of all the people that are proud of them and are supporting them while they tackle that first day.
3. Remain calm yourself. Refrain from showing signs of your own anxiety. Children are often more perceptive then we realize. Act excited and consistently talk about how wonderful this day is going to be rather then that fact that you will miss your child.
4. Redirect negative thoughts. When your child talks about nervousness or worries about that first day back to school, respond with, “I understand those concerns but there are so many wonderful things to think about too. What are the top three things that you are most looking forward to?”
5. Walk and/or drive to school (or school bus stop) with a friend. Before the day starts, make sure your child has someone with them whom is experiencing the first day back as well. Kids show amazing resiliency if they feel they are not alone. If possible, have breakfast with a friend’s family before heading off to the school building to both have fun and alleviate some back to school jitters!
Kids are headed back to school very soon! Before it begins, here are ways for organizing kids spaces (Playroom, Bedroom, Closet) efficiently to help ease back into the school year:
1. Have your kids help with organizing. Getting them involved allows them to create their own space so they know where everything is. They will also be able to access their belongings without depending on mom and dad.
2. Get rid of the clutter! When you begin organizing kids spaces, donate or throw away anything they have outgrown or do not need anymore.
3. Pull your kids favorite AND most used items so they can be stored in a space that they can reach themselves. This allows kids to be more independent and keep things organized.
4. Label containers. It allows you (and your kids) to keep organized and know exactly where things have been stored.
5. Store items/clothes that are out of season in a separate location. Items that are not currently needed or are used the least, can be stored away in a labeled plastic container until the items will be needed. For example, winter clothes in the summer time.
After everything is sorted, it’s time to create a space that is best structured for your kids.
6. Clothing should be arranged by style. Put pants with pants, shirts with shirts, socks with socks, etc. so that your kids will know where to find each item.
7. Make clothes accessible so that your child can pick out their own clothing. The key is to organize kids spaces from low to high. Anything they do not need access to can be placed on a high shelf out of reach. For example, drawers and closets need to be within arm’s reach and easy to access (open/close).
8. Label items. Labeling is a resourceful way to keep things together and in their designated spots. This reminds your child where each item is stored and encourages them to put things back where they belong.
Organizing kids spaces before heading back to school will help kids with their daily routines, to be structured, independent and get them into the habit of putting away clothing and toys on their own! It’s a win-win for all!
Thank you, Lindsay, for sharing this advice with our families!
Lindsay Pasternack currently works in fashion but has a real passion for organization! If you have any questions or need help with organizing your life (and who doesn’t?), she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We still have plenty of time to enjoy the summer days at the pool wearing our bathing suits and weekends spent by the beach in shorts, but everyone knows that back to school shopping is just around the corner. Retailers are vying for your attention through commercials and ads plastered on billboards to choose them to supply your child’s fall wardrobe. Every savvy parent wants their little one to look cool and trendy but some children’s fashions may not be an appropriate choice for during the school day. As a teacher, I have seen many “fashion fails” sit in my classroom. My ten years as an educator in early childhood have helped me devise a list of helpful tips to keep in mind while you are purchasing your promising little pupil’s new duds. Following these guidelines can ensure a stress free and successful back to school shopping experience.
Minimize Accessories. Nothing is cuter than a little girl with bling or a little boy in a superhero cape, however, wearing these extra accessories can become a distraction during the school day. Students play with them while they should be paying attention to what their teacher is teaching. They can also distract fellow classmates. Many of these accessories can get lost or stolen. You want your kids to focus at school so think of leaving these “extras” at home.
Functional Footwear. Interactive learning is all the rage in schools. Kinesthetic approaches to academics engage students to maximize learning and make school fun. Make sure that your child wears functional footwear such as sneakers, flat shoes, or boots to ensure full participation in any of these activities. It is very possible that your child may be moving, jumping, dancing, or running even on days when they do not have gym class. Avoid flip-flops, high heels, and wheel-y shoes to ensure full and safe participation. Also, make sure your child’s shoes fit properly and are not too small. Socks should be worn with sneakers to ensure comfort and proper fit.
Machine Washable Fabrics. When purchasing new clothes, please read the care label to ensure easy laundering. Classrooms can be breeding grounds for germs. Make sure you wash your child’s clothing after each wear to minimize the transfer of illness or bed bugs back to your home.
Age Appropriate Logos/Phrases. Please proof-read any words or phrases gracing the garb of your child. Designers are tending to write things that may be rude or sexual in nature on shirts and pants. School should be a friendly and safe place for all students. A teacher or another student could be offended by an off- putting graphic or logo. Make sure whatever is plastered across your child’s chest or behind is age appropriate.
Child Friendly Clothing. Our kids want to fit in and wear the coolest sneakers or the trendiest jeans just like their classmates. Style is unique and we do not want to hinder personal expression at a young age. We also want our kids to fit in. With that being said, please make sure you spend time teaching your child how to put on these garments alone. Teach your child to zip and unzip, tie and untie, button and unbutton. Please understand that teachers legally cannot dress or undress your child. If your child is unable to handle typical closures please consider alternatives such as Velcro, slip on shoes, elastic waist bands or magnets.
Happy Back to School shopping!
Thank you to Alyssa Goldinger, an experienced NYC teacher, for sharing this advice with all of our families!
It’s easy to forget that for a small child, this year’s July 4thfireworks display may be the first time it has even occurred to them that huge, fiery balls of color loudly exploding in the sky could be a good thing!
Here are some tips to have an anxiety-free July 4th!
1. Prepare little ones. Watch movies featuring fireworks displays, explain what they are, prepare your child for the noise, and reassure them that the fireworks are very far away. Tell them not to be scared that the fireworks cannot fall on them. Introduce earplugs and demonstrate how the noise changes significantly when wearing them. This may help them feel ready for what they'll see and hear.
2. Go for a trial run. Visit the location of the fireworks, search online for examples of what fireworks look and sound like. Many communities have fireworks days leading up to July 4th, however, they aren’t quite as big and loud as the real deal. This can still be a good way to gauge your child’s initial reaction and help them get a taste of what’s to come.
3. Location, location, location. If you are going to “venture out” and try the fireworks, find a well lit, not too crowded area that is easily escapable to make a quick exit. If you feel that your child is too scared and cannot handle being outside with the fireworks, try watching from a window (car or house) so they don’t miss out on the complete experience.
4. Make a home-based plan. If you have multiple kids, some enthusiastic some not, divide-and-conquer strategy in which one parent/family member takes the kids who are not scared to watch, while the others stay at home and do something that’s “fun” for them.
Happy Independence Day!
Just because there’s no homework, syllabi or grades over the summer does not mean you should forget about learning. Exit: your child’s teacher...enter: YOU! Summer regression is a real thing and it can happen to the best of us. In fact, students typically lose 2.5 months of learning over the break. Avoid summer regression in your household by incorporating math into some of your child’s favorite summer activities.
Cook and/or bake. Find fun recipes that incorporate mixing and measuring. Put your child in charge of the numbers. For an added challenge, add in a few extra fractions and multiplication problems by making a “bakers dozen” or a “double batch”.
Schedule a day trip or vacation. Allow your child to play a role in planning. Establish a budget. Determine how much gas will be need based on how many miles you will be going. Also, figure out how much time you can allocate to each activity, etc…the numbers are endless!
Hold a game night. Playing games are a great way to incorporate math. Many games require adding numbers on a dice, counting numbers of moves, and keeping track of scores. Some of our favorites include: Rush hour, Sumoku, Sum Swamp, Head Full of Numbers, Monopoly, Sorry, Candyland, Bingo, Life, Trouble, Chutes and Ladders, and for the real little ones Richard Scarry’s “I Found It”.
Play sports. When you take your child out to the ball game, have them keep track of the score and figure out the batting average of their favorite player. Also, keep track of the team records and compare who’s best in the league.
Grow a garden. This doesn’t need to be in a large area, it can simply be in a windowsill. Have your little one help determine the amount of water and soil needed. Measure the growth of the plants each week. Count the buds of flowers. Track during which month and week the plants show the most growth.
These math activities will not only avoid summer regression, but add more quality family time. *Added bonus: they will be having so much fun they won’t even realize they’re learning!
As an adult, you look back on your childhood and realize that fathers are significant role models for their children, who teach many of life's lessons. For me, one of those lessons was learning the value of writing a “thank you” note. For Father’s Day, I want to write a different type of “thank you” note, one that includes everything that I was too young to express before. It goes something like this:
Thank you for being such a good dad, for attending my soccer games and ballet recitals. Thank you for the fun birthday party, and that awesome vacation. Thank you for spending countless hours driving me around and even letting me pick the music, sometimes. Thank you for teaching me the value of music, and for showing me that no matter what you are facing you, should never stop singing.
Thank you for showing me what unconditional love looks like, for loving me and knowing when I needed a hug. Thank you for knowing me better then I know myself, especially during those “growing pains” years. Thank you for giving me wings and letting me fly, while still knowing I would always have a place to come home to. At the same time, thank you for encouraging me to reach for the stars, while making sure my feet were firmly planted on the floor. Thank you for teaching me to take every opportunity that came my way, but to never feel entitled to any of them. Thank you for explaining to me that it’s good to be proud of accomplishments, but that accomplishments don’t make one person better then the next.
You showed me what it means to truly be generous, and to give without expecting in return. You taught me that success in life is not measured by the number of dollars in your bank account, but by the number of smiles you can collect by using those dollars to help others. You showed me how to be strong and courageous in life. You lead by example and you teach not only with words, but also with actions.
I promise to remember all of the things you have taught me and I promise to live in a way that makes you proud. Finally, and most importantly, thank you for being “the best dad in the world” (as most Kindergartners would say).
Happy Father’s Day!
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