Category: Parenting

School Starting 2017

school startingSchool starting makes kids worry. I mean school starting really makes kids worry! Whether kids are popular, not so popular, attractive, not so attractive, smart, not so smart, abled, not so abled, tall, short, lean, wide, boys, girls, new to a school or have gone to the same school in the past… they are all worried! As parents, there is a lot that you can do to help them worry less.

School Starting: Things to remember

  • Try to be positive about making new friends and try to go at the idea from different angles, e.g. When you go to lunch, maybe someone will have the same lunch bag or be eating the same things as you like. That might be someone you would like to eat with.
  • You can often obtain class lists and set up play dates prior to the start of school.
  • Remind your child about his or her interests and the possibility of meeting new friends with the same interests.
  • Kids worry about certain teachers. The reputation of the teacher can be a cause of concern. Remind kids that some kids don’t like certain teachers while others love them.
  • Kids must be reminded of the value of being respectful and starting off on the right foot.
  • Make sure your child knows that you will be on hand for parent teacher night.
  • Your child’s level of self-esteem will make or break how he or she adapts to the new school year. Help them with their self-esteem. That won’t happen by telling them that they are wonderful.  You are the parent, they know you think they are wonderful.
  • If your child’s behavior is out of the ordinary because of school starting, you may need to think about getting outside help. This could mean talking to a teacher or school psychologist.
  • Sometimes talking about the things you remember about what they are going through helps and sometimes it doesn’t. Take care in going this route. Your child is not you!
  • Make sure that you have all of the necessary school supplies for your child to begin the school year.
  • Take your child to the school to walk around and help them get a feel for the school’s layout. Some schools will provide maps to students.
  • Make sure your child has their schedule with teacher’s names and room numbers.
  • Children with social or behavioral issues are especially at risk because of school starting. Even though it may be difficult, it is better to discuss the potential issues instead of avoiding potential conflict by avoiding the issues. Pick your timing and then pleasantly mention school starting and ask questions about how they feel. Don’t ever negate or minimize their feelings.
  • School is about academic success but it is also about fun. When kids experience behavior issues during a school year, it is often easy to make those the focus because of school starting. Remember the times that your   child had success and remind them of those times.
  • As you prepare for back-to-school time, use strategies to remind kids of the fun parts about school to help activate pleasant memories and reduce anxiety. There are a lot of funny school movies and everyone has a funny story to tell.
  • It is very important to get your child acclimated to a new schedule because of school starting. Change bed times and meal times to match the times that are required because of school starting.

School starting can be exciting and rewarding in addition to triggering anxiety. FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE WITH YOUR CHILD!

 

 

Rugby’s Friend Has Cerebral Palsy

My friend Glenda has Cerebral Palsy and she is way cool! She is very funny and very smart and I like her a lot. She wrote a book called I’ll Do It Myself. My mom has been reading it to me and we laugh during parts of it and cry during other parts. Do you know why? Well I’ll tell you. It’s because Glenda’s story and mine have things in common and we are both very smart, determined, very funny and we overcome hurdles in our lives because of our courage and tenacity…whatever that is!  Well, except that I am a dog and she is a person but you already knew that, right?

I’ll tell you more about Glenda later but here’s one very cool part of her story. When she was little and in the hospital, she had gone through a lot because of the Cerebral Palsy and her parents knew that if she could see her little dog Bonnie, she would feel better. Guess what? They made it happen. Glenda got a visit from Bonnie while she was in the very clean and sterile hospital! How cool is that?

I wish I could have been allowed to see my human mom when she was in the hospital but I wasn’t because nobody pushed the issue. Glenda’s mom and dad must be so awesome to have accomplished what they did.  They must be very remarkable, just like I am. Well, except that I am “Remarkable Rugby Jones” and they are remarkable Glenda’s Mom and Dad. Don’t you agree?”

Believe It! Achieve it!

believe it“Believe it and you will achieve it,” says one parent. “Don’t try because you may fail,” says another. Still another says, “You can’t do that.” And another says, “You are different and you won’t be able to succeed.” Yet another says, “You have a handicap but you can accomplish anything if you believe you can!”

What kind of parent are you? Time for some soul searching here!

Are you the kind of parent who compliments your child for anything and everything? If you are, you are not helping your child because he or she doesn’t believe you or your false compliments.

Maybe you are the kind of parent who tells your child that he or she “can’t” when the child tries? If you are that kind of parent, your child will assume that he or she shouldn’t be confident.

Are you the kind of parent who is honest with your child? Because you believe in your child’s abilities and you help your child learn how to accomplish goals through work, perseverance and discipline. An example of this kind of parenting is Stash Serafin’s mother and how she helped her blind child succeed.

Believe It! Achieve it!

“In the middle of the vortex is the eye of the storm. There’s a stillness and a quiet in there. The eye of the storm is the real metaphor of my life,” he said. “If you can’t see, you might as well do the things your mom taught you in the little circle.”

The little circle has been Serafin’s safe haven since his childhood on a four-acre farm in Blue Bell.

“It all started with a little circle my mom would do on the front lawn,” he said. “She would put acorns in her pockets. She’d say, ‘Catch me if you can,’ and start running. I would hear the acorns rattle and I would chase her. She’d start with a small circle around me, then make it bigger and bigger. Eventually, her circle became the whole front lawn.

“I must have incorporated that when I started skating,” he said. “I would work in a little tiny area and never leave that area until I felt comfortable about where I was.”

Looking back over a half-century to his childhood, he still draws strength from it to navigate through his blindness.

“The thing my family did was, they just assumed I was going to be a regular kid, so they . . . let me do whatever I could do,” he said. “I learned to climb trees. I don’t know how. I just did.

Believe it! Achieve it!

My parents were always supportive about my skating though they felt uncomfortable that I was the only blind skater in the world with little support from any organizations. They were always proud of me. I passed figure tests, dance, and free style tests — All with flying colors and high marks. ”

In a 2007 memoir, A Skating Life: My Story, the Olympian Dorothy Hamill said she was “moved to tears by Stash’s courageous performance” at a show in Wilmington in the 1970s.

“He didn’t let his blindness stop him from expressing his passion on the ice,” Hamill wrote, adding that Serafin stirred her to teach ice skating to children from the Los Angeles School for the Blind.

Competitively, Serafin won an artistic solo gold medal for his figure skating routine at the 2014 Gay Games 9 in Cleveland, interpreting his own musical composition, “I Don’t See You But I Sense You.”

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Self-Esteem Building – Part Two

self-esteem

Self-Esteem matters! If this were your child or a child you care about, how would you handle things with him? Well, I don’t have kids but I sure know about them and I know how kids like this often become targets of bullying.

If you ask yourself what do you want for him or her? Be realistic okay? If your kid is short, he won’t usually become tall overnight. If he wears glasses or needs some other type of assistance, that isn’t likely to change. There isn’t any point in telling a kid that he or she is perfect because they know differently. What’s important is to do things that help a child believe in himself or herself. Their self-esteem matters and kids need to understand that the way they think about themselves is the same way that others think about them.

Self-Esteem

If you look at the picture above, you see a kid who is facing two potential bullies. Instead of the boy showing them a fearful and easily bullied kid, he is facing them and saying “Hi.” Why? Because he has a realistic knowledge of who he is and what he is about. He may not be the most popular or the most athletic or the best looking but he is who he is! He likes himself and others see that. When kids like themselves the world sees them differently!

Spend some time where parents and kids gather. You’ll hear all kinds of comments from parents like, “You were wonderful. You did the best. No one else did as well as you did.” That seems like a good thing… right?

New studies are showing that exaggerated or overstated praise can back fire especially with children with low self-esteem. What the studies found was that kids with low self-esteem were more likely to choose easier tasks after they received inflated statements of praise. Often they will be afraid of failure because so much is expected of them. The opposite is true when parents say things like, “You worked hard.”

…Researchers often refer to this constructive encouragement as process praise. Letting the child know exactly what they are doing well and noticing the detail of their work is critical. Trading ambiguous praise for detail-oriented questions lets the child know that their work is interest-worthy. When children are explicitly told what they are doing right (e.g. “good job at cleaning up the blocks”), it’s more effective in changing future behaviors and promoting improved effort. *

Maybe it’s time to think about how you praise your child!

Building Children’s Self-Esteem: Part One

building children's self-esteemWhat if you knew the secret to building children’s self-esteem? You could change the world s of all of the children  who suffer from poor self-esteem. You could bully-proof children who have been targeted by bullies. You could help children be more successful in life!

Here’s the thing and I get it. I do know the secret to building children’s self-esteem and it starts when kids are little.  You may be thinking, “What does a dog know?” Well, I’ll tell you.  If you want to help little kids understand that they should be respected and valued, you need to help them understand that everyone is different and that’s okay. They need to understand that being different isn’t a bad thing. In fact being different can be a very good thing. But you need to do it in a fun way and that’s where I come in.

Building Children’s Self-Esteem

Kids love animals especially dogs. I love kids and kids listen to me because I think the same way that they think. I just have more personal experiences that taught me a lot! Plus, I don’t lecture them!  We all know that kids tune out when they get lectured… right? They also tune out when parents tell them how wonderful they are at everything they do and say… every minute of every day.

Look at the picture above.  What do you see? Maybe you will say, “I see the reflection of a happy kid and yours truly smiling.” Well look again! Look at the back of the boy looking at the reflection. He is small. His shoulders are down and his hands are down. He isn’t anything like his reflection. He sees himself quite differently because we both talked. We both listened. We both learned about each other and then he began to get my message. He understood what I meant about building children’s self-esteem. He understood how to begin to build his own self esteem.Building Children's Self-Esteem

Look at the second picture. When we first got together, that is what his reflection looked like. He was sad and he had been bullied. He didn’t see himself as special or of value.

He told me that his parents tell him all the time that he is handsome and talented and that kids will figure that out.  Then he told me that he doesn’t believe his parents because they complement him all the time. He told me that they never tell him anything except how perfect he is. He was confused because he heard one thing at home and something different at school.

To be continued.

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