Handling Disciplinary Issues at School

The first eighteen years of your child’s life can be some of the hardest, though we are mostly referring to the school days ahead. Almost every child will experience disciplinary problems at school whether they have started the problem, or are simply the innocent victim. Getting to the bottom of these disciplinary problems is very important, especially if you want them to succeed in life. That said, let’s talk a bit about potential problems and how you can address them both at home, and at school.

Getting to the Bottom of It

Something very important for you to understand is that children do not often cause problems at school simply for the sake of it. Normally there is an underlying problem, something that needs to be addressed, and eventually be sorted out. If your child is having disciplinary problems, sit down with them, talk to them, and try to get their side of the story. As they say, in any situation there are three sides to the story: yours, theirs, and the truth. The same applies to your child. The last thing you want, is for your child to believe you are not on their side, making an enemy of them is never advised.

Handling Disciplinary Issues at School

Speak with the Teachers

There is nothing worse than being absent from your child’s education, and to avoid this it is strongly recommended that you touch based with their teachers regularly. Find out how your child is doing, what can be improved upon, and most importantly, what you can do at home.

Reinforce Punishments at Home

This might seem harsh, and it can be exhausting, but one of the best things you can do for your child is implement a ‘trouble at school, trouble at home’ policy. With this policy you will enforce the idea that school is something to be taken seriously, and that you fully support the actions of those placed in authority.

Investigate

Finally, make sure that you DO in fact support the disciplinary action being handed down by the school. Talk to your child, investigate the actions, and of course make sure that it is something you can live with. If it is not, you need to say something, speak with other parents, and try to make improvements. You do have power as a parent – never forget that.

Schooling is an important part of a child’s life, and disciplinary actions are something that will help to shape their behavior in the future. Keep a close eye on the situation at all times, and make sure that you have a decent grasp on what is happening in their day to day life, even if they don’t always realize you’re looking quite that closely.

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Preventing Lice in Children’s Hair

The school year is in full swing, and almost halfway over. Chances are, your kids have brought home everything from happy crafts and loads of homework to germs and sickness. Hopefully you haven't been faced with an outbreak of lice; if you have, you know just how big of a pain it can be. Lice are miserable. The itching and scratching is incessant and inconsolable until they're dead and gone; trust us, if you haven't dealt with it, you'll want to take every precaution in preventing it. Here's what you'll need to do to prevent lice in your child's hair.

Preventing Lice in Children's Hair

Discourage Sharing

It may sound like the complete opposite of what you're trying to teach your child, but it's vital to the health of her head without lice. Lice are transferred by contact, so keeping your child's personal space separate from the rest of her class is key. Label her belongings, specifically clothes, coats, hats, and hair accessories, and teach her that she's never to share them without speaking first with an adult; nor is she to take someone else's stuff. Have a talk with her teacher and ask her to prevent the children from sharing these items (she likely will already).

Keep it All Clean

Lice are simply microscopic bugs that are attracted to dirt and oil and live life laying eggs in their “dens”. For that reason, lice are more prominent in places where dirt and grime run rampant (think inner city slums). You better believe that lice are more likely to find a home in an unclean toboggan rather than a clean one, and once they lay their eggs, they spread like wildfire. For that reason, make a habit of washing clothes, hats, gloves, scarves regularly, and keeping your home clean.

Mayonnaise Will Do the Trick

If you've seen your child scratching a bit, but you're not convinced that lice is the culprit, take an extra precaution before you dismiss it all together: cover her head in mayonnaise. In extreme cases where head lice has become a major problem, mayonnaise may not do the trick (you'll want to spring for a chemical applicant like Rit), but mayo is perfect for the beginnings of an outbreak. Mayonnaise is thick, it's heavy, and it will suffocate the life out of each louse that's trying to take up residence and lay eggs in the hair. Allow the mayonnaise to set for an hour before rinsing it out and then gently combing through with a very fine comb to pull out any nits (egg sacks) and lice carcasses.

Cut it Short

If you're still pretty paranoid about your child contracting lice, keep their hair short. Long hair touches more, so it's much more likely to come away with an infestation than, say, shoulder length hair on a girl, or buzzed hair for a boy. It's extreme, but eliminating a lice “den” all together will definitely do the trick.

Take the proactive steps necessary to prevent your child from being a victim of a dreaded lice infestation. They will thank you (and you will thank yourself) in the long run.

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Play Versus Work – What’s the Right Balance?

When it comes to parenting and loving our families in the right way, striking a balance is usually necessary: grace and discipline, play and work – extremes in either category are usually not productive. Who's to know what's right? While every parent, child and family are different, there are a few general guidelines that will help you in deciding what's the right balance for your family.

Play Versus Work – What's the Right Balance?

What Age are You Dealing With?

The first thing you need to realize when you're considering what's appropriate for your circumstance is that what's appropriate now won't be three years from now. As children grow and develop, they naturally are able to take on more responsibility. Sometimes responsibility is thrust on to them a little earlier than feels right, so that's when you need to use your judgement.

With that being said – how old is your child, and what “work” are they dealing with? Homework is one you've likely faced, or will face very soon: teachers send it home and kids fight it. Nowadays, it starts as early as kindergarten; it piles on year after year, and by the time the child is in fifth grade, he's come to dread the after school hours because it simply means more school.

Some things to bear in mind: studies show that homework doesn't increase any chance of post-secondary schooling success when it's completed up through fifth grade. If we're being honest, the most important thing for kids in the elementary years is reading and playing outside. Sure, if homework is implemented, it's important from a character building standpoint to have it done correctly. Consistent assignments for young ones, though? Too much work, not enough play. Your child will walk away from the experience with an extreme distaste for responsibility, and that's not what you want.

Do You Practice What You Preach?

The kids are going to naturally follow your example, so you need to set a healthy one. Do you complain about work? Do they even see you working? Do you work too much? All of these things should be considered. A workaholic may find that their child puts too much pressure on themselves; a lazy man may find that their child complains about work. Look in the mirror and understand that your child's habits are often a reflection on you. If you want to see your child work hard  without complaining and play hard without a care, you need to do those things as well.

Always Err on the Side of Grace

At the end of the day, no one is perfect. There are going to be times where you simply don't know what to do: your third grader's teacher has sent home one hundred math problems for the third night in a row, and you can see it in his eyes that he's about to dig his heels in and shut down to the whole concept of homework. What's worse? You agree with him, not the teacher: it's just too much for a child. Know that when you feel this way, it's okay to go with your gut and would actually be a great lesson learned for both your child and his teacher. Advocating for him and showing him grace is something that he needs to see early on, more than he needs to do that third homework sheet. It'll prove that you're on his side, and it will validate his feelings more than simply making him do the work. It'll also give you the opportunity to show him the correct way to address a problem, as you bring it up to his teacher. If there's ever a question – show grace.

As we stated before, there's no hard and fast rule about finding the perfect balance. It's mostly just about making an assessment based on age and situation, practicing what you preach, and then going with your gut.

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Why a Sleep Away Camp Is So Beneficial—for Parents

There is a tag word trending around in parent psychology circles right now and take it from me it's not cool to be catching that label as a parent. “Helicopter parenting” is when you go a bit overboard with your adoration and smother the kids. Your child can certainly do without an extra serving of a super-sized cup of love,  but as a parent you may not realize how over parenting is having a negative impact on YOUR OWN life.

The problem

When walking the apple of your eye to the bus stop every day, turns into hour long drives to camp, just to deliver a bag of cookies, please know that you have messed up. But relax and continue reading, we are going to fix this.

Kids grow up fast and yes they do need your constant love and attention during toddlerdom but if you're not careful you will not see it coming when it actually does. A couple of years in and suddenly your whole life are planned around the kid’s soccer schedule, their homework routines and their timetables. You spend less and less time with your own friends and your kid’s friends parents turn into your friends. Everything is a fast-paced race on the clock where you are fixing three breakfasts in fifteen minutes or running more laps in a car than Schumacher. Dropping them 5 minutes before class or picking them up from soccer practice or driving them to the mall and then coming home collapsing on the couch, spaced out on the TV making  a mental list of chores that need to be done at home. Now is the time to let your child experience life in a much more realistic way by letting them go to a sleep away camp for kids.

camp for kids

It's a fix, did not see that one coming

If you were going sick from missing your kids when they were away at camp and are shocked to find out they did not miss you that much, maybe it's time to realize that you cannot depend just on the kids as your only source of happiness and joy.

Seven weeks away at a sleep away camp is somewhat a standard period of planned separation between parents and their children as part of a sleep-away camp experience.

Take this time to reconnect with yourself and your significant other and slow things down to a nice focused and enjoyable pace. Take a romantic weekend out together yourselves to rekindle the romance and spice back into your lives. Get your social circle back in order and invite some long lost friends to a great evening back at your place and catch up on old times.

Sleep Away Camp for Kids is Ideal

Wow, you can already feel that the stress levels are so much lower. Maybe you have also started to take note of the relationship between you and your child.  You are reevaluating things much more positively now, yes you do love your kids so very much, but there are something’s you can now let go off. Maybe now when they are back from camp, they can wake up a few minutes earlier to fix the bed sheets. They certainly will be in great practice after seven weeks away from home making their own bed every morning!

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Breast Milk or Formula – Which One Should You Choose?

As many of you may know, there is a clear split between those who say that breast milk is ideal and those that argue for formula instead. Sometimes women are actually unable to breastfeed their babies, which requires them to use formula, when they may have wished to breastfeed instead. Or, there are instances where women are not producing enough milk in order to exclusively nurse their baby and therefore switch off between breastfeeding and formula. Yet, for those of you that have the option, here are a few things to consider that may help you choose which route is best for you and your baby.

Breast Feeding Can Help With Your Baby’s Health

Breast milk is made up of vitamins and nutrients that are essential to your baby’s health. It is the natural food for your baby, full of protein, calories, fat, and vitamins. Also, when breastfeeding, the mother will actually pass on antibodies to her baby that will help make the baby stronger and more able to resist disease. For example, it can help the baby fight off an infection. Also, studies show that, generally, breast fed babies are healthier than those that were bottle fed with formula.

Breast Milk or Formula

Breast Feeding Can Help Build A Bond With Your Baby

Along with the nutrients, breast feeding is a way to bond with your new baby. While you will get to spend plenty of time with your little one with a bottle in your hand, breast feeding makes that bond even stronger as you are producing the food for your baby.

Formula Is An Option, and A Popular Choice

Did you know that only about 28 percent of American women breastfeed for the entire year? This is because women are working and they do not have the time to take out of their busy schedules to stop and pump milk for their babies. Also, companies that create formula, have created it so that it is a great alternative to breastfeeding. There are plenty of vitamins and nutrients in formula so that it is very similar to breastfeeding. Your baby will be just as healthy being bottle fed as he or she would be breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding Has Negative Stigmas Associated

Breastfeeding has for sometime been somewhat “shunned” by our society, where it is not acceptable in society. You are expected to breastfeed your baby in a private room somewhere where no one can see you and if you do have to do it in a public setting, you best be sure to have a large towel or blanket to hide yourself—or someone may freak. While this is changing somewhat in some areas, it is still a social no-no, which means that if you want to breastfeed, you’re going to have to sacrifice a bit of your social life.

At the end of the day, only you can choose what is best for your specific circumstances. If you want to breastfeed—do it! If you don’t—use formula! If you want to do a little of both—feel free!

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10 Things Your Children Should See You Doing

We have all heard the phrase, “truth is caught not taught” and in parenting this could not be more true. Children learn, yes by hearing, but predominately by seeing. They mimic. Babies mirror the movements of mom and dad. Toddlers mimic sounds and phrases mom and dad use regularly. Truth can be taught but it is more often caught. Below are ten things that your children need to see you doing.

Loving Your Spouse

Your children need to see you love your spouse. This can be a physical act of love, like a hug or a kiss, or it can be through verbal affirmations of character. It can also be simply the way you speak and act. Loving your spouse helps children see what’s most important. It teaches them invaluable truths about marriage and gives them security in their family.

Exercise

This one may sound a bit silly but your kids need to see you prioritize workouts (however- not above them!). Let them see you tying your running shoes, have them help you pick a workout mix, and show them the importance of workout nutrition. 

Laugh

Your kids need to know mom and dad can let go! They need to hear your belly laugh over dinner. Tell stories and laugh – it will break down barriers when they see that you are normal!

Cry

This is the other side of the coin. It is valuable (in moderation) to allow your kids to see you process pain. When your cherished pet dies, do not be afraid to cry with your kids. Emotional health in children is important!

Family Playing

Play

Are you silly? Do you ever just sit back and have a good time? Do you throw the ball with your boy? Your kids need to see you play. Play cards, throw darts, pick up pecans in the front yard and shoot them into buckets. Teach your kids to have an imagination!

Volunteer

The golden rule is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Take the kids to the local soup kitchen and serve during Thanksgiving. Teach them this cherished truth by volunteering on a regular basis.

Read

Whether you are reading Shakespeare while the kids are playing at the park or you are scoping out new techniques on productivity, allow your kids to see you read. Reading is basic to learning and if they see you have a strong interest in it- hopefully they will too!

Work Hard

Hard work is not a bad thing – in fact it is a virtue to have a healthy work ethic. Let your children see you send an email, hammer a nail, wash the car, cook dinner, mow the yard, or write a proposal. It will teach them about being a productive member of society.

R&R

Sleep is vital for normal functioning. The body cannot continue without proper rest. The other side of the coin from hard work is rest and relaxation. Take a nap while watching a movie with the kids. On Saturday morning snuggle with your children in the bed. Feel free to lounge and be lazy with them. This will teach them the importance of slowing down.

Build Others Up

Your kids need to see you visit sick people in the hospital. They need to watch you write an encouragement letter to someone going through a difficult season. They also need to hear you speak well of others. Fight the temptation to bash people in front of the kids. Rather, speak of others strengths and personal virtues.

Modeling is crucial. Your kids will mimic you. So model well and remember that truth is often caught not just taught!

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3 Educational Movies You Must Watch with Your Kids

Most children absolutely love movies, and jump at just about any chance to veg out in front of one. The line is drawn, though, when it comes to educational movies... those all seem to be boring or just not entertaining enough. As parents, we want our children to enjoy learning as they grow, and finding solid educational films is one solid way to ensure that happens. Added bonuses factor in when these flicks are worth your time, as well. Believe it or not, there are a few educational movies out there that will keep both you and your child entertained.

March of the Penguins

Actor Morgan Freeman narrates this documentary film that depicts the annual journey taken by the emperor penguins of Antarctica. It begins in Autumn, as all penguins of breeding age leave the ocean, their normal habitat, to walk inland to their ancestral breeding grounds. There, the penguins find a mate and produce an egg that results in the hatching of a chick. Over the next year, both penguin parents make multiple journeys to and from the ocean from the breeding ground in order to produce food to ensure the chick's survival.

The film is wrought with intense situations as the penguins face predators and environmental challenges, but is lighthearted and amusing as it really emphasizes the beauty and the quirkiness of these cute animals. In 2005, the film actually won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Truly, you'll learn something new each time you watch it, and you'll laugh and cry while you do.

Educational Movies

Finding Nemo

Entertainment really melds with education in this funny and cute film about the underwater world. It all starts when an over-protective clownfish forbids his son, Nemo, from swimming out of their Pacific Ocean Reef. Nemo rebels, and in turn is taken on a wild journey away from his home. Eager to find and rescue his son from the dangers of the ocean, the clownfish and his friend Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) set out on a great adventure to bring Nemo home. The movie explores and educates children about anemones, coral reefs, sea turtles and the different types of species found in the ocean. Ecological messages abound in this one that proves to be a hit for both children and adults alike.

Bears

Disney Nature released its documentary “Bears” in 2014, and quickly found it to be a hit among parents and children who are eager to learn. It's a film that depicts the fierce Alaskan grizzly bear family in their everyday life and habitat. The cubs, who are adorably curious and oh-so cute, are taught important lessons daily as they approach dangerous situations with innocent and inexperienced minds and bodies. Kids will learn a ton about brown bears, and about the role of the irreplaceable role of mother bear in the family. Intense situations abound as the bears face challenges in the wild.

Any one of these educational films will do more than teach your child something new – they'll entertain for hours while imparting a plethora of useful information. We guarantee that both you and your child will watch these films once, and look forward to seeing them again in the future.

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5 Reasons You Should Keep Your Two Year Old Away From Tablets

Let's be real: kids these days are different, entertainment is different, and technology is everywhere. The world is at our fingertips with our smart devices, and all of this is just as available to our kids as it is to us. We, however, like to think we know how to handle it in moderation; kids do not. What's the result? Kids who must be entertained at all times, who rely solely on technology to do it, who don't know what it's like to get outside. In order to avoid this for your child, eliminate the seed from being planted as early as two years old, and keep the tablets away. Here's why.

They Develop a Dependency on Entertainment

When we were kids, there were times we were bored. Sure, we fussed and cried about it some, but the result was perhaps a form of discipline that got us being more appreciative of what we had to play with. If not? We were just bored, and that's okay. Life isn't all about being entertained, although the convenient accessibility of tablets and smart devices would lead us to believe it is. The fact is, by giving your two your old a tablet to play with when he's fussy, you're teaching him that fussing will give him what he wants, and that he can always be entertained – and we all know that's not accurate. It's the easy way out for you, but it's wrongful teaching for your child.

Reasons You Should Keep Your Two Year Old Away From Tablets

They Become Gamers, Not Adventurers

If you've ever tried to carry on a conversation with an 8 year old, it didn't take you long to figure out that most can talk your ear off about apps and Minecraft and video games, but very few talk about climbing trees or building forts. Imagination has really taken a hit since tablets have taken over our households and become the go-to solution as a quick fix for a fussy child. Adventuring is a game that will start or stop early on in a child's life – so keeping tablets a way is a great way to promote a strong start.

Their Health Will Decline

Kids simply don't exercise when they use tablets. It's a stagnant activity, one that's done sitting around. Over time, this is going to wreak havoc on the health of your child. You don't quite realize just how much sitting around takes its toll until obesity sets in – a huge problem with many young children in America today. Prevent health issues early on by nipping tablet usage in the bud at an early age.

They Aren't Very Socialized

As they get sucked into tablet world early on in life, they miss out on all types of conversations and opportunities to make friends and meet new people. As a result, they often grow up and get into a classroom of kids and awkwardly withdraw. The only place they find comfort and solace is in the presence of their precious iPad – friends don't quite make the cut.

They'll Always Need the Latest and Greatest Technology

It's true that it starts young, and it's true for pretty much any desirable object... we always want the latest and greatest. Before the age of buying 6 year olds cell phones, however, parents actually said “No”. A child who hears “no” early on in life will be more likely to adapt to an answer they don't want to hear later on, say, around 16 years old when they're wanting a car. Your child may reach for the tablet to watch some video at 2 years old, but it never hurts to sternly respond with a, “No!”

The reasons are numerous as to why you should actually take care not to introduce tablets to your children at age 2. Fight the urge to ease the fussing with the convenience of a tablet; muster up a “no” and you'll be thankful you did years down the road.

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Fun and Easy Games for your Kid’s Party

Finding games that are quick, easy, and will be fun for everyone can be a challenge.  Something that is too long may be hard for the younger ones to keep track of.  Ones involving a lot of running may not work for guests with asthma – so how do you ever find games that are not only fun for everyone, but also easy to create? It isn’t a simple feat.  Here are a few ideas to make your foray into party planning just a little less hectic!

Obstacle course

This can be as complicated or as simple as you want to make it.  Whether you set up a whole course in your backyard or use a series of chairs, ribbons, and clothes, you can make a team game that everyone can enjoy! Make sure that you have enough room for at least 2 teams.  If you have a large backyard, create one long course and do a relay style.  If not, do a game with a consistent relay style for each team member.  For example, the first team members have to run to a large paper roll, run around it three times, then put on a new pair of shoes.  Next person has to run to the paper roll, run around it three times, but put on a shirt!  Whatever you choose to do, this is a fun option that will let you get creative and have some fun while you are at it!

Easy Games for your Kid’s Party

Balloon relay races

This game is especially funny when older kids are doing it.  To play this game, you must run with a balloon between your legs to your teammate, and pass the balloon off to them for their leg.  Whoever completes this task to the finish line first, wins!

Pin the tail on the donkey

A classic, this one is a lot of fun for younger kiddos.  Using Velcro or tape, have the kids try to pin the tail onto the right spot on the donkey. The closest ones get a prize – everyone else gets candy!

A scavenger hunt!

This activity is a great way to use time. Create a hunt that will send them all over, and give you some time to either set up a new game, or kick back and relax for a little while!  Split the kids into two teams, and then give them a beginning clue list. As they move throughout the hints, give clues to each item.  All items should be following a certain theme, and should lead to an ultimate item, theme, or compilation.  This also allows you to use complete creativity and have some fun.  You can also let your child in on the fun – let them pick the theme, and have some say in how many clues there should be, etc. Even with the surprise of what you ultimately pick, they can know that it will be something everyone can enjoy!  Whatever you pick, these simple activities can make a good party great!

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5 Things Moms Should Never Feel Guilty About

Things Moms Should Never Feel Guilty About

Some moms do guilt better than others, but most feel like they have not done all they can at some times.  Before you beat yourself up much, remember, you are not SuperMom, we’re all just humans, and, as humans, we make mistakes, errors in judgment, and do some silly things sometimes.  Be kind to yourself.

Where to Start?

There is so much to feel guilty about for most Moms so picking five is hard, but here goes.

  • Realizing you don’t have it all together.  You see other moms who seem to be skipping through life with not a care in the world.  Her house is immaculate, her baby happy and precocious, dinner on the table at 6 sharp, and she still has time to attend to her husband’s marital needs.  Either you are hallucinating, she is very good at keeping up appearances, or you are delusional. During stressful times, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking everyone else’s life is perfect, but it’s not.  We all are out there trying to do things the best we know how and, many times, flying by the seat of our pants.  If the house is a wreck, if you never get dressed, if dinner comes from the freezer section don’t sweat it.  The fact is, even if it feels like this time lasts forever, it doesn’t.  Some day your house will be restored to order, but enjoy this time as much as you can.  You’ll never get it back.
  • Not volunteering for the PTA or other school functions like field trips.  I know you want to volunteer, but to be honest, sometimes you just don’t feel like heading a committee, corralling 20 students around the zoo, or hanging 5,000 streamers.  You just don’t.  Once in awhile it’s good to give another parent a chance to step up and help.
  • Scheduling birthday parties outside of your home, meaning Chuckie Cheese, McDonalds, roller rink, whatever.  If you have no desire to clean your house top to bottom, plan, decorate, schedule, invite, hire entertainment, and buy a ton of food, don’t feel bad.  You and your counterparts are keeping various establishments in business, helping the economy, and creating jobs for teenagers.  It’s practically philanthropic!
  • Allocating dinner time to your sitter.  Every mom wants to make healthy homemade food for her family, but some just don’t have the time.  Once kids are older there is school and homework and bedtime, etc.  In the interest of eating before midnight, getting homework done and keeping your sanity, speak with your sitter to see if she would be amenable to making dinner in exchange for a few more dollars in her pocket.  If you don’t have a sitter at home, check into meal services in your area.  A popular service is similar to catering, but involves someone coming into your home once a week, preparing family meals to be frozen with directions on how long to cook, etc. so you can pop it in as soon as you get home.  Or try some Crockpot dinners for a ready meal.
  • Being too tired for story time every night.  Sometimes everything seems to get crazy all at one time.  The kids are in a play at school, they are involved in sports, you have to work overtime, and your husband is out of town, phew!  That’s a lot going on.  At the end of these kinds of days, it’s no shame for you to want an early bedtime for the kids and a glass of wine for you.

Things will happen, or not.  It doesn’t mean you are a bad mother because things get mucked up here and there.  Millions of children around the work are being raised by fallible humans, and turning out just fine.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Kids will remember the good times and forget the rest.

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