Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Back to School Tips
It is good to know where you stand on this continuum and discuss it with
your spouse or partner, if any, in parenting, so that you can avoid
misunderstandings and potential conflict later. If one parent wants to
oversee all homework projects before play and the other would rather see
the child play until it's dark and then do what she or he can on her or
his own, the child will be caught in the middle and maybe even figure
out how to get her or his own way which may not suit either parent.
your child starts another year of school, it can help to get in touch
with exactly what is the role of school in your family's life? Although
home school can be an option, most families do delegate schooling to our
government or privately supported school systems. But for each family
what role the school plays can be different and can change over time. It
can vary from on the one hand setting up the family's whole life around
the school activities to on the other hand letting the child deal with
school on his own and continuing as usual with family patterns as
As we would expect, most studies of how children function in school suggest that moderation is key. Children must find their own way to adjust to the rigors of school, but they also, as children, need the guidance and support of their parents.
Some intriguing studies have shown that children's report cards improved when the parents took more of a hands off approach, avoiding adding pressure to the pressure already inherent in the school teaching environment. Offer answers and help when asked, but avoid micromanaging their school interactions.
There is plenty to do at home as a parent,. Setting schedules is much easier if it is done before school starts, or at least early in the year. Depending on the child's age and maturity, do what you can to involve the child in setting the schedule. But remember who is in charge and be sure there are enough hours for sleep, breakfast and dinner, and family social time. That pretty much uses up whatever is left after school and homework. But these parts of a child's day are every bit as important as schooling.
It is during these family times that children pick up what is important and valuable to their parents, what lifestyle choices will stand them in good stead for life, and how to interact in a more comfortable informal setting, rather than the largely artificial setting of school, where a hoard of children respond to a few authoritative adults who are non-family and where the day is broken up into managed segments over which the child has no control.
Be sure to take time before and after school to greet the child with caring and a smile. Try to avoid last minute reminders in the morning, or grilling in the afternoon. The child will tend to have more self-confidence if it is clear that the parent-child relationship is still more important than the child-school relationship.
And let go of perfectionist tendencies. Kids will make mistakes, forget their assignment, forget their ball, forget what the teacher said, etc. If you give them space without shame to do better next time, they will learn much more quickly than if they think they have let you down.
Make sure their home diet is up to your standards, as the challenges at school regarding diet can be daunting. Studies show that if quality food, which is relatively free of chemical additives, fabricated food products, and highly refined or artificially flavored foods, is made available to kids, they will tend to eat a healthy diet over the course of a week. So make meals a fun social time, not a stressful time for lectures. And also be careful about body image issues.
But do have meals. Have the kids help prepare them and they will be better eaters. And be sure to have healthy snacks for after school. The parent's example is always stronger than anyone else's, especially in the early years.
There's a lot to think about, but the pay-off is worth it. So many children today are missing breakfast, not getting a good night's sleep, and then snacking on sugary and/or chemical-laden drinks, candies, and baked goods. It is no wonder attention and behavior problems are on the rise.
Encourage your children to have compassion for those kids, but let them know you are serious about your job to help them avoid these problems.
You can find much more in my books, You Can Postpone Anything But Love, and The Seven Secrets of Successful Parents.
Randy Rolfe Take Home Tips: Just as parents have a whole lot going on in their work day, whether at a job, as an entrepreneur, or as home administrator, so children have a full day at school. Their stresses can be just as frustrating and depleting, or as satisfying and enlivening, as our day has been. So we do well to respect their experiences and listen compassionately when they share them. Remember that your child's emotional life is at least as complex as your own. That way you both will feel better when you are sharing your mornings and evenings and weekends together. http://www.parenthoodtools.com.
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Baby Knows More Than You Think
Recent research, as well as the experience of many parents and families I
have worked with, says no. Kids are born learners. Even at birth, a
child who has not had blinding silver nitrate drops put in their eyes
follows the humans around her or him and recognizes the mother almost
immediately. From then on they take in everything, and learn through all
their senses, imitating everything they see us do. How could they not
learn as they go?
our "information age," parents and authorities alike seem to put ever
more emphasis on "early learning." We have endless educational toys,
flash cards, and kindergarten preparatory programs. And parents often
feel they must be like the teachers they had in school. But is this
really what will create happy, successful, contributing adults?
Experiments recently described in the New York Times by Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, demonstrated that even very young children like to experiment with tasks they see us doing as well as to imitate what they see seems to work when we do it.
They also respond differently depending on how we talk to them. If we are instructing, they will tend to do what we say, but if we leave the task open ended they will be quite creative but also surprisingly logical as they figure out how to accomplish the task.
We forget sometimes to give credit to the amazing capacity we have as human beings to learn. Babies often act like little scientists says Gopnik. While schools are a recent invention to teach skills like writing and reading and grasping world affairs, humans have always learned by being around their parents and caring adults, imitating, interacting, and playing.
Headlines today often speak of "different learners," "early burnout," even youth suicides from the pressures of today's educational and media assault on our children's natural programming. This is one of many reasons a small but growing group of parents choose to home school their children, in order to let the natural progression of development proceed, and also to let the parents be parents instead of mini-teachers.
As Gopnik notes, in a society which is now begging for more creative, adaptive, and open-ended thinking, we would be wise to move to an attitude which trusts the child to learn. Says Gopnik, "We don't have to make children learn, we just have to let them learn."
To explore further this question of learning and teaching from infancy on, please go to my book You Can Postpone Anything But Love, and for the older child, The Seven Secrets of Successful Parents, http://www.parenthoodtools.com.
Randy Rolfe's Take Home Tips: From an early age, keep your child with you. Let them see what you are doing and hear you talking about it or with others. Talk to them even if they are still non-verbal. You will be amazed how quickly they imitate you and learn to grasp communication cues, tone of voice, and language. They are born to learn and love being stimulated, but you don't need to buy lots of artificial stimulation. YOU are the automatic teacher of your baby and child just by sharing your life with them. Be a model of the kind of acts and words you want them to absorb and you will help them best to become all they can be.
Friday, July 8, 2016
Thursday, June 9, 2016
The Most Overlooked Way to Connect with Your Child
When you are with a child, every moment is a chance to connect and our
moments seem ever harder to find with parent and child occupied with
school, work, play, social media, grabbing a snack, getting where we
want to go in a hurry.
often have you seen a parent walking with a child and looking down at
their mobile phone? Have you thought about how this may be a missed
opportunity to connect?
But with kids, there is no time like the present. Eye contact is what they crave. It only takes a moment to let a child know you care, by stopping whatever you may be focused on (except when driving!) and looking into their eyes.
This simple task is the most overlooked way to connect with a child. And yet it is the simplest and the quickest. And it has the added benefit of putting you the parent in touch with your parental love.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes we even avoid eye contact with a child because we know instinctively that it will change our focus and reset our priorities in an instant?
It is a lot easier to say no if we avoid eye contact, if we can tell ourselves the child is bothering us, being unreasonable, can wait a minute, or can take care of him or herself.
But what they want most in that moment is to know they are top priority. And a warm look into their eyes can empower them like nothing else to wait, or to find their own amusement, or to solve their own problems.
You may find this simple step can save you all kinds of time talking, consoling, making excuses, fixing problems, and so on. If a child knows they are tops with you, their confidence soars and they feel more capable, independent, and yes happy.
Randy's Take Home Tip: Next time you heave a sigh and wonder how you will ever get everything done if your child wants your attention one more time, give her or him the gift of your direct undivided attention, demonstrated by your warm glance into their eyes. Love doesn't wait. It is only now. I knew I had to write my first parenting book when its title came into my mind: "You Can Postpone Anything But Love."
Please visit my brand new website designed to connect you with the best tools on the planet for creating the life you want with your child. http://www,parenthoodtools.com.
And tell me what you think!