Monday, December 8, 2008

Kindergarten Nightmare

When our oldest daughter was in kindergarten, she told me she wanted to kill an old man we knew because it was time for him to die. After the initial freak out over raising a sociopath, I discovered this was a delayed reaction to the death of her beloved 13-year-old dog. Licorice had been in the throws of advanced stage cancer, so we'd put him out of his misery. If the pets we cherish get "put to sleep" when ill, why not people? Her daddy and I explained the difference between animals and people, at least as far as laws and society. It took some time, talking and tears, but our little girl eventually accepted that her black, furry snuggle buddy would never come home, and we can't choose when a human being's "time is up."

Sarai told me that her five-year-old son, normally a mellow boy by nature, started off this kindergarten year by smashing a banana into another boy's back. He ended up in the principal's office the first week of school! An only child, her little one spends most of his time with adults. Please and thank you roll off his tongue, and he gets a kick out of helping with family chores. But other kids can be so frustrating. They sometimes don't answer his questions, or they push their way in front of him in line. His mommy, daddy and the teacher met with him to set some ground rules and teach this little guy elementary school etiquette. Sarai worried she was a terrible parent, so I told her about our kindergarten nightmare - and she laughed.

Share a favorite story, so the rest of us might giggle a bit in remembering that kids do strange things, and it's not the end of the world.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Start Your Engines: Breakfast the body's morning fuel

Did the kids have a rough time rolling out of bed this morning? Sometimes that morning rush means skipping breakfast. But humans need those calories to get their brains and bodies in gear, to turn the key and put a foot on the gas. A study in Bloomington, Minnesota found that eating breakfast in the morning before school meant fewer visits to the school nurse, less behavior problems, greater attention span and higher student achievement.

So make sure your children throw something down, even on crazy mornings -- maybe a cup of yogurt or a Cliff Bar on the run.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Higher test scores from adequate sleep

"Mom, I wan't to just watch this show!" Don't listen. A recent study shows test performance can improve as much as 23% when children get adequate (8 hours or more) sleep a night. Tuck 'em in now.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Read to your child

Not sure what to do? Here's a very helpful link, full of tips, from the University of Michigan:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Picking up garbage pays better than teaching kids

One job takes 5 years of college, the other requires a commercial drivers license.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Helping your child with homework

Why are we more impatient with our own children? Try these tips, courtesy of

  • Set goals with not for your child. Then focus on one at a time.
  • Make your child aware of his or her improvement. Reward achievement.
  • Direct praise to the task at hand.
  • Try not to show disappointment if your child doesn't do as well as you'd like.
  • Be enthusiastic. Show humor.
  • Be prepared to teach as well as help.
  • Use concrete, hands-on materials whenever possible, especially with younger children.
  • Help your child build associations between what she knows and what she is learning.
  • Provide adequate practice to facilitate overlearning.
  • Provide variety. Switch from one subject to another and take breaks to keep up attention.
  • Encourage creative thinking. This is an opportunity your child may not be getting at school.
  • Encourage independence.
  • Take every opportunity to build your child's self-esteem.
  • Show a positive attitude toward your child's school and teacher. Work with the teacher not against her.