Friday, August 1, 2014

Summer Transitions

In Arizona, where we live, we have already started school and our transition has not been that easy.  A lot of the US will begin their transition this month, as most schools tend to start either at the end of August or the beginning of September. A lot of parents and transition, so we were wondering, how have you all tried to combat the difficulties of transitioning…

1. Summer workbooks
These are a great way to keep kids interested in school, and at least somewhat prepared for the first day of school. These are sold at most bookstores, big box retailers like Walmart, and at learning-focused stores like teacher stores. They vary in subjects like math, grammar, reading, etc. So many workbooks, done a little at a time, can at least keep kids learning-focused (especially if you have rainy days).

2. Summer camp
Whether you use a camp where kids go away for 2 weeks or a dropoff camp at your local YMCA, camps are a great way to keep kids on a schedule that resembles their school day. Part of the problem with the summer to school transition is that the schedules for kids change so much. During the summer, later nights and later mornings make the school transition of early to bed and early to rise quite difficult. Camps, because of typically strict adherence to time and schedule, can help keep kids time-focused!

3. Sports
Sports classes and practices can also help in keeping a child’s mental focus ready. Team and individual sports both work the mind in different ways, keeping kids learning new rules and new ways to approach the world around them. If  the classes are martial arts, your child can learn focus and discipline, which will help make the school year better. If you use team sports, being around a lot of kids helps keep kids thinking about being in groups and how to handle themselves appropriately. Individual sports also offer the mental benefits of focus and repetition.

These are just a few that we have tried. We have noticed that Lucas was more ready for school than we expected, and he is already doing really well. Maybe his time is getting too structured, but we don’t want to have him fall into any bad habits or worthless behaviors. Let us know any more “easing” activities you might know!

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Is this really a thing?

So, I have heard from a number of non-parents that over-tired is just something parents say that exaggerates the condition of being tired in their children. As a parent, I think there are a number of significant differences between “over-tired” and just plain “tired”.

1. Meltdown city

Kids that are just tired are not typically that crabby, and can usually fall asleep easily. Kids that are overtired react to everything as if the world just ended, their dog died, and all their Lego’s were stolen by their worthless best friend Steve. In short, being tired does not typically lead to meltdowns in children as what parents would call “over-tired”.

2. Sleep

Kids that tired will go to sleep, whereas an “overtired” kid will probably throw every fuss and fit known to man before going to sleep. It is actually very frightening that a lack of sleep becomes such an inhibitor against falling asleep.

3. It happens to adults too

We read these stories all the time about how Americans get less sleep and rest than most countries. What happens to the “overtired” adults? Trouble sleeping, depression, anxiety, drug dependence, weight gain, etc. Have you ever talked to an adult who has their schedule inconvenienced and becomes overtired? Trust me, you don’t want to!

This whole concept boils down to the fact that children are becoming more like adults, and getting less sleep. As a parent, I am in favor of constant napping, as I could take one every day and often do. I have been a fan of the extra nap for many years, and have always been more functional and ready to experience life when I’ve had the chance to sleep more. Find time for your kids to get good rest, get physical exercise, and sleep for as long they can. When they are adults, they will thank you for it.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Fresh Haircut before School starts up!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Teaching your kids about alcohol

adult, child, beverages, handle, controversy

So, what do you do when you enjoy a glass of wine in front of your children? What do you when you like to partake of a beer when you go out to dinner with the family? There are many possible responses when your children start noticing that you enjoy a beverage that they cannot have or order. Your choices, as a parent, will determine a lot of your child’s preferences, as they get older, so it is important to make a decision as to handling.

1. Focus on adult vs. child beverages
My wife and I tend to discuss what we are drinking with Lucas, and if we are enjoying a wine with dinner, we make sure and say that we are having adult beverages. Lucas typically doesn’t care, although he does tend to want to order a kid-friendly non-water beverage (which 9 times out of 10 is a juice of some sort).

2. Let them try it
The biggest mistake I think some parents make with their children is hiding the taste of the adult beverages. We have let Lucas try a finger dip of wine, beer, and a pina colada. He hasn’t liked any of them, but the last thing we wanted was for him to develop a sense of “forbidden fruit”.  Having been raised by a European family that drank wine with every meal outside of breakfast, I have tasted wine off and on since I was 6. I also never get drunk, and firmly thank my parents for being normal and open to my curiosity.

3. Teach, don’t lecture
If your child has real questions about alcohol and its role in adult life, then explain in words they can understand. Much the way a scoop of ice cream or a cartoon band-aid can ease a trouble child, sometimes a glass of wine can ease a stressed out adult’s day. Find a way to not make it important, because the less stressed you become about alcohol, the less of a chance that your child will want to experience the highs and lows of this drink.

I hope you have some strategies in place as your children get older. It is important to demystify the importance of the absolutely silly “growing older” rituals that teenagers typically experience. Good luck, parents! Remember the modeling good behavior usually serves to help your children show that same behavior you are trying to teach!  

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Monday, July 21, 2014

First Day of School!


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