Archive for ‘parenting’

June 11, 2012

diet doctrine

Food & drink have been celebratory mechanisms for gatherings & parties for hundreds of years.  Here’s why it is becoming a problem now:

  • the abundance of accessible food
  • the ready-made processed shelf foods are easy to purchase & serve
  • the caloric content is unrealized (glazed donut = 255 calories)
  • people & parents find it hard to say “no” in a crowd

Well meaning groups contribute to the issue as laid out in the following article:  The Obesity Epidemic in American Churches

Especially concerning to parents ~ Who typically makes a dash for the Sunday morning donuts or the birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas Eve service?…  Maybe we should thank groups for providing plenty of teachable moments.

How about a…

  • produce potluck
  • pedometer party
  • fruity fellowship
  • small plate party

“Childhood obesity is best tackled at home through improved parental involvement, increased physical exercise, better diet & restraint from eating.”  ~ Bob Filner

April 25, 2012

clean sweep

Kids’ rooms…what a task to maintain!  Typically, no one likes to get them in order…   What works depends on the day.  Over the years, we’ve attempted many strategies:

  • create a checklist, then reward with a prize after everything’s checked (normally not a fan of this tactic, but when everyone loathes the chore a treat motivates)
  • choices:  “Do you want to clean your room today by yourself?  Or clean your room with mommy’s help?”  “You can clean your room this morning OR clean your room AND wash the dishes!”  “Would you like to clean under your bed or pick 5 things to give away?”
  • pay for giveaway items –  “25 cents for each item you pick to donate to the thrift shop.”
  • set a timer & have a pick-up race
  • assign cleaning in a sibling’s room as a consequence  – didn’t to x daily chore = 5 minutes picking up in sibling’s room

Once complete, the benefits are great.

  • seems like there’s more oxygen
  • clean room = play in the rooms more!
  • occasionally, kids conclude they have too much stuff, the mental antidote to stuffitis
  • open space = room for new play

“If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.”  ~ Abraham Maslow

April 23, 2012

sugar free

A thought-provoking book about agendas & politics & how they trickle into education, media, & our culture.

Don't Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left's Assault on Our Families, Faith, and Freedom

Looking to protect traditional values & parental rights, Marybeth Hicks gives notice through example & intellect as to why parents should pay attention.

Interesting points from book:

  • socialism is easily instilled in children due to their limited understanding of justice
  • the public costs of family breakdown among working class & poor communities exceed $112 billion/year (pg. 28)
  • “America’s children are learning an entirely backward interpretation of separation of church & state – not that we are freely religious, but that our nation is meant to be religious-free”
  • political messages in television shows…entertaining, yes…conversation openers, YES
  • “The real cause of bullying is not intolerance for people who are different.  It is a lack of conscience & character in the hearts & souls of our children.”

Additional resources offered:

  1. www.parentalrights.org
  2. www.charactercounts.org
  3. www.parentstv.org

“Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”  ~ C.S. Lewis

April 20, 2012

save up

A fun art activity to help kids (or adults) reach savings goals.  Especially good for visual learners.

Supplies:  envelope, printed grid, tape or glue, fine black marker

  1. Each square in the grid represents a dollar amount.
  2. Draw a picture with the black marker.
  3. As savings are stashed in the envelope, color a square.

“Money will buy you a fine dog, but only love can make it wag its tail” ~ Richard Friedman

April 19, 2012

check points

Yesterday, a friend (hi, Deb!) shared an awesome parenting tip regarding activity decision-making.  The reference was to sports, but the concept can be applied across the board for many age groups.

Ask the following three questions:

  1. Is he/she learning?
  2. Is he/she improving?
  3. Is he/she having fun?

Short, sweet, substantial.  Love it!  Do you have any quick parenting tips to share?

“God gives every bird his worm, but He does not throw it into the nest.”  ~ P.D. James

March 29, 2012

real lessons

What a GREAT book!  Use What You’ve Got & Other Business Lessons I Learned from My Mom, by Barbara Corcoran (with Bruce Littlefield)

Use What You've Got

Marrying lessons she learned from her mom during childhood to the world of business, Barbara Corcoran gives a wealth of transferable concepts & skills.  The stories entertain, the teachings inspire, & the lessons reveal true life applications for parents, families, teachers, & business leaders.  Ms. Corcoran shares struggles, failures, processes & successes of her life while highlighting the journey as the joy.

Favorite points & quotes:

  • systems make a well-run house & office
  • color code, be fair, give appreciation, make a “good idea” box
  • identify what motivates people
  • raises are soon forgotten–try unexpected bonuses
  • play together
  • “good performances are a result of great preparation
  • on bad days, reframe perspective

“And that was my mother’s genius.  She kept her house going by putting her finger on the special gift she saw in each of her children, & making each & every one of us believe that gift was uniquely ours.  Whether it was true or not, we all believed it.”  ~ Barbara Corcoran

March 20, 2012

report card

Published in 2011, Push Has Come To Shove by Dr. Steve Perry delivers a raw & honest view of the state of education in our country.

Push Has Come to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve--Even If It Means Picking a Fight

Interesting points Dr. Perry states…:

  • nothing improves student performance as much as quality of instruction
  • parents are neither the cause nor the solution for the problems in our schools
  • many schools don’t know how to make parents useful partners
  • most good teachers don’t want anything to do with teachers’ unions
  • students know who the good teachers are
  • schools & educators derive some of their greatest growth from a sincere question

Additionally, Dr. Perry offers parenting thoughts from what is the best home atmosphere in promoting life-long learning to the challenges, including his own, of the 24/7 world of parenting.

  • “What I see in all successful parent-child relationships is humility & respect.”
  • 5 things parents can control (pg 95):  early reading, early numeracy, setting high expectations, curiosity, discipline
  • being a parent means putting your kids’ needs above your compulsions of adulthood while simultaneously keeping the you in you
  • “from the middle class up, we give our kids too damn much.”
  • successful students’ parents don’t do the studying for their kids, even if they do it together
  • successful kids are not perfect
  • create a shrine to learning in the home – read, watch what money is spent on as it reflects values, find educational toys supporting intellectual growth

“There’s always a price for what you want.”  ~ Dr. Steve Perry

March 8, 2012

risk vs. reward

As we learn more about the human brain & its development, we can apply more effective parenting & teaching strategies to help kids mature.  Inspiration & information for today’s blog comes from:  National Geographic’s October 2011 article Beautiful Brains by David Dobbs.  Another fabulous, entertaining article full of relevant & eloquently written discoveries.

Starting with points we know & have now been proven via MRI science & studies.  Adolescence can be:

  • emotional, trying
  • a risk taking era
  • a time when social interactions greatly influence motivation & behavior
  • full of inconsistent behavior

From age 12 thru 25, “….brains undergo a massive reorganization…”  “…as we move through adolescence, the brain undergoes extensive remodeling, resembling a network & wiring upgrade.”  The brain “upgrade” directly impacts performance, behaviors, etc..  Plus, positive or negative (stress, fatigue) variables add another layer to behaviors & decisions.  Other points to keep in mind:

  • teens tend to have a high regard for reward gleaned from taking a risk even though they may realize the consequences on a cognitive level (ie. they’re not stupid)
  • risk taking with success contributes to being able to adapt
  • the brain matures from back to front

Basic Parts of Brain

Switching gears…consider the following important fact:

“The United States spends about a billion dollars a year on programs to counsel adolescents on violence, gangs, suicide, sex, substance abuse, & other potential pitfalls. Few of them work.”

HUH.  Are you surprised?  What has the greatest impact on kids?  PARENTING!

  • share the brain development process with kids
  • guide children, do not helicopter parent
  • connect with kids & encourage independence
  • have patience!!
  • let kids fail..it is the best way to learn & the perfect lab to exercise  adaptation skills
  • remember that building social relationships is key to their success now & in the future

“Heredity is what sets the parents of a teenager wondering about each other.”  ~Laurence J. Peter

February 27, 2012

mister maker

Isn’t it great when teachers suggest ideas or introduce resources to students & the students run with it?  Three cheers for intrinsic motivation!

Check out Mister Maker:

http://www.mistermaker.com/Default.aspx

Loads of art based activities for kids.  The Minute Maker is especially fun – gather materials & make a piece in a minute.  Kids get a charge out of timing themselves.

“He who teaches children learns more than they do.”  ~ German Proverb

February 21, 2012

knew you

How are those New Year resolutions coming along?  Although the general idea is good, the lofty, dreamy, laundry list is, typically, a set-up for failure.  However, overall consistent goal setting & self-improvement are certainly positive & worthwhile.

The article “The Secrets of Self-Improvement” (pg 38-43) from Scientific American Mind (March/April 2012) gives excellent tips & thoughts on reaching goals (verbatim bullet points below)…a bit of proven “I knew that” common sense.

  • maintain realistic expectations
  • find what motivates you
  • take baby steps
  • formulate action plans

Additional thoughts for success via the article:

  • “overcoming external challenges has less to do with willpower than with specific coping skills…” (ie. predict what may trip you up & have a plan ready)
  • making a new behavior automatic = lasting behavior change
  • try a number of tactics to find what works best

Parents, consider another point – use behavior techniques to prepare kids for decision-making off the cuff.  Practicing automatic responses, based on knowledge, values & morals, in preset scenarios will give kids tools to stay on their goal track.

“Too many people overvalue what they’re not & undervalue what they are.”  ~ Malcolm Forbes

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