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Parentelligence Blog

'parenting' Parentelligence posts

Your Child's Champion

Our children face all sorts of challenges. Challenges at school, at home, with friends and with siblings. Challenges that are self-imposed (questions about worth, and self-doubt) and challenges of just sorting out this big world.

As parents, we’re there when they take their first breath. We help them thrive and exist as an individual being. We help them take their first steps. We cheer when they are happy and we experience physical pain when they are hurt, sad or heartbroken.

We know our child’s personality better than anyone else in the world. We know what scares them and what makes them happy. We know their likes and dislikes. We can see when they’re getting tired or hungry. We know them better than we know ourselves.

If a child then develops a problem ...

Praise Junkie

What does it mean when you say, “You’re so smart!”? Are you telling someone they’re intelligent, clever, cunning, observant, ‘book’ smart, ‘street’ smart, adept, sharply painful?

What does your child hear if you say it to them? “Mom loves me be because I’m smart.”

How about if you tell your child, “You’re so cute!” or “You’re funny!”?

When we offer praise to a child we’re putting emphasis on a trait that we appreciate. Of course, we think our children are smart, cute, and funny, but what we really need to say are things like, “Wow! I really like how you worked on that puzzle to figure it out.” Being specific teaches them about what it is that we like and value.

Do we really want our child to grow up thinking that we value them for being ‘cute’?

Say No to Mom Guilt

We moms have all sorts of things we feel guilty about but shouldn’t.

We feel guilty because...

  • We go to work (we feel like we should be home)
  • We stay home (we feel like we should go to work)
  • We play with our kids (we should get the chores done)
  • We work on the chores (we should be playing with the kids)
  • We want some ‘me’ time (we should be spending time with our partner)
  • We want to work out and get back in shape (we should be working, playing with the kids, getting the chores done, and spending time with our partners)

That’s it! We work at work and work at home (and only write our blog at 11pm the night before it’s due after partner and the kids have all gone to bed.)

Mom guilt is a real problem. If you search “Mom Guilt” in Google, you’ll get 12,700,000 results in .2 seconds. This topic is well versed, but they all say the same things:

9/11

 The 10th Anniversary of 9/11 happens on Sunday. There will be much coverage in the news and online. As parents, we need to be prepared for questions and we might need to censor how much exposure our children receive about the events on 9/11/01.

Lunchbox Battles

In order to be successful in school, our children need fuel. School lunches can be tough. We have to balance what is healthy and what our child will eat. There’s also the distraction factor.  They have 20 minutes and a cafeteria or gym full of other kids who are all talking and eating.  The distraction is enough to delay nutritional intake past the time when lunch is over. (To see what I'm talking about, Try to fit in a lunchtime visit to your child’s school sometime. Prearranged with your child and the office. You'll be amazed.)

So, we need something tasty and quick and easy to prepare, but nutritionally sound and easy for our kids to eat quickly.

A birthday and a backpack

As school starts, I am reminded of my youngest child’s first day of kindergarten.  The poor child had 5 stitches in his right heel from an unfortunate accident with a metal door plate.  He turned 6 years old a few days before school started and he was using a walker which gave a little extra stability than crutches.  He was standing in line with the other kids outside the kindergarten room.  All the parents were standing a couple of paces away from their kids  anxiously awaiting the bell to ring.

My husband and I were old hats at this as he is our third child.  The backpack was full, the emergency card was signed and his lunch was packed.  We did our part and now off he went.  I had a moment of misty-eyed “My baby is growing up” motherly emotions, but it passed and off we went to spend the day alone, childless and enjoying it.

In the afternoon, we returned to pick him up and the teacher was standing next to him.  As we walked up, excited to see him and hear how his first day of school went, the teacher stepped up to talk to us.  (Now after two other boys, I took this as a sign that there was a ‘talking to’ in my youngest son’s future.)  The teacher hugged me and said, “Thank you so much for preparing him for school.”  She had spent the day with kids yelling, misbehaving and jumping on the furniture.  My son, confined as he was because of his foot, was patient but helpful.  He waited until someone was available to help him to get his lunch or binder.  He waited until he was called on.  We couldn’t have been prouder of our son.

I hear so much about schools needing to do better.  They have tests to measure how the teachers are performing and there’s more and more scrutiny on the schools’ performance.  But what about the parents?  Where is the accountability for the parents to prepare their children?

We’ve created Head Start to try and catch the kids earlier in order to better prepare the kids for school, but preparing for school starts years earlier.

Here are a few things that parents can do to prepare their children for school:

What's life without a little song?

Most of us have heard about the studies that show kids who study music:

      Can score higher on standardized tests, such as the SAT;

      Can help develop problem-solving and math skills;

      Develop their brains in areas that non-music studying kids don’t;

      And a whole slew of other beneficial things...

But music also releases serotonin and dopamine to give us the same sort of feeling of pleasure that come from eating chocolate.  It can make us happy.  There’s nothing like that good feeling when the perfect song pops up on the radio or on our iPods/MP3s.

This is important in our stressed out world of today.  We’re stressed about work, chores, bills, economy, blah, blah, blah.

So how do we get more music into our children’s lives?  And how do we cultivate an appreciation for music, not just a rebellion?

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