Mom, mommy, mother, mum — a mother by any other name is still a mother. During May, join us to talk about what mothers mean to their children.
We’re looking beyond the Mother’s Day cards and flowers, presents and breakfast in bed. There is more to consider than just the ritualized and commercialized recognition of children’s appreciation and love for their mothers.
We’re taking a look at what science tells us about the importance of mothers. We’ll talk about the types of mothers, the roles they play and the benefits to children. We might even include some of the lessons we’ve learned from our mothers.
Podcast: Play in new window
family time, parenting, podcast
As adults we go to work each day – either at a place of employment or at home. And by the end of the day we’re tired and ready to relax. Well, did you know that child also go to work by playing. That’s right, play is a child’s work.
Let me give you some examples. When I was a child I played house. I took care of the babies, fixed meals, and talked to my pretend husband and kids. I played school with my siblings and we took turns being the teacher. On other afternoons we took things out of the cupboard, lined them up on the counter, and played store. One of us got to be the clerk while the others made the purchases.
We worked hard at playing and at the same time we worked hard at learning. These play experiences helped us with skills in math, science, language and writing. We also learned how to get along, how to have conversations, how to figure out problems.
How do you see your child playing? What is he learning as he “works”?
I admit to feeling like I had a play deficit when my children were little. So much so that I used to make myself feel pretty guilty because as an early childhood educator I felt like I should be better at ‘PLAY’. What I discovered is that I just play differently. And guess what. So do you!
We all play differently. I found that I like play that is active or has action. Others like to play board and/or card games that are more quiet. While still others enjoy the make believe and dress up adventures. There is no right or wrong way to play. There is just play. Pure and simple. Play. Play is face to face with the children in your life. Engaging their mind and body while creating strong relationships. Back and forth communication. I guess my message really is don’t over analyze how you play or if you play is good enough or right enough.
Pat yourself on the back, give yourself credit and tell me how you like to play with the children in your life.
education, family time, friendship, grandparenting, language development, Play, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional, temperament
“Play is a way in which we can learn about ourselves and others. It is at the heart of creativity and makes us more productive”.
Parents often greet a new baby with stuffed animals, dolls and other toys, all given in anticipation of the play that is to come. Join us in March as we talk about the power of play for children of all ages.
Click on the podcast below to hear fascinating research on play.
Podcast: Play in new window
education, family time, language development, Play, podcast, positive parenting, social-emotional
Guest Blogger- Family Life Intern Mackenzie K.
As Donna and the podcast suggested, anger is natural for children. There are countless issues that may cause a child to feel angry: not getting their way, frustration over things that are hard, learning difficulties, family problems, or friendship issues.
Often times we want to tell our children that they should not be angry. Their anger sometimes seems irrational and unjustified to us as parents. In reality, the emotion of anger is not the problem; it is how they handle that anger.
So allow your child to feel angry. We all know how hard it is to try to change your emotions. Help your child identify their feeling as anger. Saying and labeling the emotion like this may be helpful, “You are angry because I won’t let you eat candy before supper” or “I can tell that when you don’t make the circle perfect it makes you frustrated”.
Now that they can recognize their anger, they can learn how to address it. There are some great strategies and tips to try when helping your child learn to handle their anger in the article below:
Helping Children with Anger
Does anyone have any experience using these techniques? What has worked best for you and your child?
discipline, education, family time, friendship, language development, overindulgence, positive parenting, raising teens, school, social-emotional, spanking, temperament
Hmmm so I wondered after the last blog about myself and my children. I checked out the resources that Donna listed and am sharing here four of the clues to overindulging children. You can find the research and resources here…. 4 Clues to Overindulgence
Instead of sharing with you the questions, I am going to share with you the examples.
- My five-year-old has toys in every room of the house, but he is always begging for new toys.
- My ten-year-old’s clothes closet is bulging with garments, but she can’t find anything to wear to school in the morning.
- My 13-year-old has a heavy after-school activity schedule every day and all day Saturday. We want to keep him occupied so he won’t get into drugs.
- My 17-year-old loves the computer and video games. He spends all of his time looking at the screen. He isn’t interested in sports, and it is a struggle to get him to exercise. I’m afraid he stays up half the night.
I encourage you to go view the questions. Then come back here and share your thought with us!
They made me think.
education, family time, friendship, overindulgence, positive parenting, raising teens, school, social-emotional
Parents want their children to have friends, but childhood friendships can be puzzling. One day a child is part of the “in group” and the next day he or she is on the outside. What’s a parent to do?
The good news is that parents can help children develop the skills they need to make and keep friends. Join us this month as we navigate through the world of children’s friendships.
Listen to a brief podcast on Children and Friendship:
Podcast: Play in new window
education, family time, friendship, podcast, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional
“I have a note for you from my teacher” are not the words a parent usually likes to hear from their child. Or perhaps you get an email asking you to stop by the school. Before your radar sets off, take a deep breath. Sometimes teachers contact parents if their child has done really well. Other times the call comes because there is a problem. It’s important to remember your child’s teacher will have information about what aspects of her work are creating a problem. The teacher can tell you if your child is not paying attention, not participating in class, or not completing homework.
It’s also a good idea for you to initiate a conversation with teachers early in the school year about expectations. Find out how often homework will be given, when it is due, and how you will find out your child’s progress. Some teachers have a system they follow for assigning homework – assignment notebooks, folders, sign-off sheets. Discover what the teachers want and then do your part to be supportive.
I hear parents talking about how much homework their children have and if it’s a reasonable amount. That’s a good question and can vary depending upon school systems, teachers, and children’s ages. Harris Cooper, Director of Duke’s Program in Education says research is consistent with the “10-minute” rule” suggesting the optimum amount of homework a teacher should assign. Before anyone gets too excited, let me explain. It is a commonly accepted practice in which teachers add 10 minutes of homework as students progress one grade. For example, a first grader would have 10 minutes of homework while that 6th grader could handle 60 minutes.
What do you think about the 10 minute rule? Have you had a conversation with your child’s teachers about homework expectations this school year?
Grandparents have always been an important part of children’s lives. In fact, many schools celebrated grandparents day on Sept 9th this year. In celebration of grandparents and in keeping with the theme of school success for our September podcast and blog (www.scienceofparenting.org), here are a few tips on how grandparents can help children this school year.
- Ask. But ask specifically! Rather than ask how school is going, be specific. Ask children what book they are reading, what their favorite part of the school day is, or what they are studying in a particular subject.
- Praise. Not for their accomplishments but for their EFFORT! Praise them for the long hours they put into their studies. For eating that breakfast that helps their brain or simply for sharing their activities with grandpa and grandma!
- Participate. Visit or volunteer for activities or functions. Be a guest speaker. Or even join the class online blogs and discussion boards.
- Read. Share stories both written and verbal with your grandchild. Write them notes, letters or emails.
- Plan. Encourage your grandchildren to think about their future plans and goals. Let your grandkids know you believe in them and the importance of trying their best.
“If you as a grandparent are raising your grandchildren, remember that it is important to know the child’s school and teachers. Get involved in your grandchildren’s homework, make school work a priority and stay in contact with the school.”
How have grandparents impacted your child’s school success?
For more information see the link below on Grandparents and School Success
Check out the recorded Parenting Webinar on Helping Children Succeed in School!
education, family time, grandparenting, positive parenting
Ok, maybe your kids haven’t used that excuse, but homework has a way of getting lost. Misplaced homework is often the result of not having an organized study space for kids. My guess is that you purchased school supplies and some new clothes for back-to-school. But did you help your child create an inviting spot to study?
I remember doing my homework at the kitchen table and any reading in my bedroom. That seemed to meet my needs for concentration. Students have different needs. Some are easily distracted. Others don’t seem to be bothered by noise or activity. Talk with your child about his preferences. Add in what you know about him and then together set up the study area.
Kids need a desk or table with a comfortable chair. It’s important to have enough space for a computer, books, papers, and any other materials being used. Be sure there is good lighting and some type of storage. Perhaps you can designate a book shelf, filing cabinet, specific drawers, or even plastic containers. Then add the necessary school supplies – pencils, pens, markers, tape, glue, rulers, etc. – so everything your student needs is in one place.
If this is a “dedicated” study space, think about adding color with wall paint, pictures, or posters. The idea is to make this an inviting place.
Would you want to go to work every day and not have a place to do your work? I’m guessing the answer is no. What ideas do you have for creating a study spot for your child?
This month we are focusing on how to get the school year started right!
The short podcast gives a few ideas on homework and we are having an evening webinar on Monday the 10th of September to add more ideas to create success! Listen to the podcast and join us on the 10th!
Lori and Donna
Podcast: Play in new window
education, homework, podcast, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional
The hot weather has sent people scurrying indoors to the AC. It’s just been too uncomfortable to enjoy many of the usual outdoor family fun activities. The temps normally cool down in the evenings so maybe we could look for some fun under the stars.
I remember my mother talking about when she was a child back in the 1930s. It was so unbearably hot in the house that at night they pulled mattresses outside to sleep, hoping for a cool breeze. When our girls were young we laid blankets in the front yard. Then we would stretch out for some rest punctuated by lots of giggles and interesting conversations.
This is a family fun activity that parents and kids of all ages can enjoy. Grab some blankets, cool drinks (maybe even a snack), and head outside. Allow everyone to get situated and then see what happens.
Use this as a chance to talk about the stars. Don’t worry if you’re not up on what is where – there’s an app for that on your computer or smartphone or stop by the library for a book.
As the mood quiets and the night grows deeper, just be present and allow the conversations to go where they may. There is something almost magical about a beautiful summer night that allows people to share their thoughts and feelings.
When was the last time your family spent time under the stars? Why not tonight?
family time, nature, positive parenting, Uncategorized
Welcome to our new format!
This month we will have a shorter podcast which we hope gives you more opportunities and ideas to blog!
Listen to the Family Fun Time podcast below and then share your ideas with us!
Podcast: Play in new window
education, podcast, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional
Do you ever having trouble remembering something you just read? Or you’ve already forgotten what you did five minutes ago or plan to do next? Happens to me way too often and I’m always telling myself, “Focus Donna.”
When I listened to the podcast I heard the “focus” word loud and clear. We’re told that focus has a lot to do with what we remember. In the classroom the teacher has to first get a child’s attention before he can teach a new concept. As a parent you have to get your child’s attention before you can even have a conversation.
Then the next step is to do something to elaborate on what was learned. This points out the need for enrichment activities to take learning to a higher level.
For example, let’s say your child just learned fractions. What can you do to enrich the concept? One idea is to have him help you bake his favorite cookies. He will soon be using those fractions with the measuring cups and spoons. Perhaps an older child is wrestling with active and passive verbs. She can elaborate on the definitions by writing a short story.
Focus and enrich – two simple words and concepts that are so important when it comes to learning. First we must remember and then we use or practice what we learned. What do you do to help yourself focus and remember? What have you found helpful in extending and enriching your child’s lessons?
When children learn something well the first time, even if they do forget, relearning is easier. This month’s Science of Parenting podcast from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach examines how children learn and how teachers and parents can adapt teaching to fit learning and memory. It’s the final long-form podcast in the series.
ISU Extension Publications
Podcast: Play in new window