children reading books

Make summertime–reading time

Summer is almost here!   Planning to relax and chill out? Worried about keeping the kiddos entertained?  Afraid they will be brain-dead from too much screen time by the time school starts back?

Summer is a great time to encourage kids to spend time reading. Not only is it entertaining but studies have shown that over the summer months, students typically lose many of the reading skills that they have worked so hard to gain throughout the school year. Parents can prevent this by making sure that there are plenty of opportunities to read. Even reading for just 15-20 minutes a day can make a big difference.  It’s so important that the state of Georgia has issued a summer reading challenge designed to keep kids engaged in reading.  You can read about it here.

Engage Children in Summertime Reading

One of the best ways to get children engaged in reading is to model it yourself.  Set aside reading time when the whole family reads and shares what they are learning.  Discuss the characters, anticipate the plot and ask questions.  What if the main character did something different?  What if the story was set in another time or place?  What if you had to make similar decisions?

There are a lot of great books out there too that are not only exciting adventures but wonderful messages as well.

Young adult author, Martha Orlando has a  trilogy that is packed with action, humor and inspiration. For a young adult book that is a real page turner pick up A Trip, A Tryst and a Terror, Children of the Garden and  The Moment of Truth.

My friend Erin Casey, has penned two terrific young adult books in her Zany Zia Hats To Where series. In the first book, An All Knight Adventure, Evan Tanner is transported to a castle in the middle ages where he conquers his fears in order to battle dragons and bullies. In Lost in Comanche Country, Marianna bravely navigates between Indian warriors, hungry mountain lions and cowboys out for revenge, while learning that despite all our differences we still have much in common if we will but take the time to get to know each other.

Jordan Crowl, author of Ed’s Journal is a talented author and illustrator who has written a series of character education books  (12 at last count)  that allow the reader to determine possible choices and consequences.  These books make for great discussions between children and parents, as well as a wonderful classroom lesson too. Check out all the titles in this interactive series.

For the younger set, my favorite author is Helen Lester.  Her books are humorous, clever and teach an important lesson at the same time.  A couple of my favorites are Hooway for Wodney Wat  and Listen Buddy.

 

Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About Winning

Finally, I have to mention my own series of books about Wyatt the Wonder Dog.

In the first book, Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About Good Manners, Wyatt learns what to do about a bossy friend who doesn’t use his manners.

In the second book, Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About Being Organized, Wyatt learns how to plan ahead and organize his day, a skill that I’ve had many adults tell me they need to develop as well!

In the third book, Wyatt the Wonder Dog Goes to Kindergarten, Wyatt learns that adjusting to change can often be very rewarding.

The fourth book has Wyatt wondering what he will get for Christmas in, Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Giving.

In the fifth book, Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Winning.  Wyatt learns what it takes to be a winner after the disappointment of not being chosen for the traveling baseball team.

In the sixth book, Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Cooperation, Wyatt learns to be the Superhero among his friends as they build a fort and learn cooperation at the same time.

Happy Summertime Reading!

Related Posts:

Create Summertime Family Fun

Create Summertime Memories

3 Ways to Slay the I’m Bored Dragon

Last week… Special ends June 4th!!

Four of my best selling books:

Wyatt Learns about Cooperation, Wyatt Learns about Good Manners, Wyatt Learns about Winning and Wyatt Learns about Being Organized.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog -Cooperation Cover

Wyatt_the_Wonder_Dog_Cover_Manners_KindleWyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About WinningWyatt_the_Wonder_Dog_Front_Covr-Organized[1]

Plus Wyatt’s Little Book of Lesson Plans, Worksheets and Games

Digital Cover New

 




angry child

Do your kids push your buttons?

Does it seem like your kids just naturally know how to push you buttons?
Do they know that nothing makes you more crazy than…
waiting until the last minute to do a project,
leaving toys out where you trip over them
begging you for candy while you are checking out a month’s worth of groceries,
or what ever your pet peeve is?

You can feel it coming… You get angry and frustrated…quickly.  It’s like someone lit the end of a trail of gunpowder, leading right up to a big explosion.

We’re hooked.

And the drama begins…

The good news: You have a choice.

  1. Stay in control–I know that’s the point right?  Your child is out of control though and as the adult you need to do what it takes to maintain your calm and control.  Take a deep breath.  Turn on your objective mind and re-frame the situation.  Remind your child of the boundaries and rules in a calm voice.  If necessary, take a break and come back when you are under control.
  2. Refrain from arguing and threatening–  These are techniques that escalate the drama rather than solve the problem. Besides, is “you’ll never come with me to the grocery store again!!”  a realistic option?   Your child knows it’s not… When it becomes a power struggle there is bound to be a battle to the end and you may not be the winner.  If you need to discuss the situation and review rules and consequences wait until you are both calmer.
  3. Set up a later time to review the problem,- Restate the rules and teach the appropriate behavior.  This is not the time to label a child as lazy, or irresponsible or bad or any of the other negative labels that are often applied.  Instead, frame this as a situation where he/she has not yet learned the necessary routine and skills.  Then just as you would if he brought home a failing grade in math, set aside some time to ‘tutor’ him in the appropriate behavior.

You can prevent being the drama mama, by planning ahead and recognizing your role in the dance.  Disconnect those buttons and create a proactive plan for dealing with out of control behavior.

Related posts:

5 tips for thriving with your strong willed child

It’s Mine!  Tackling the Sharing Dilemma

5 steps to keep your cool

 

While supplies last… end of the school year special!

Four of my best selling books:

Wyatt Learns about Cooperation, Wyatt Learns about Good Manners, Wyatt Learns about Winning and Wyatt Learns about Being Organized.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog -Cooperation Cover

Wyatt_the_Wonder_Dog_Cover_Manners_KindleWyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About WinningWyatt_the_Wonder_Dog_Front_Covr-Organized[1]

Plus Wyatt’s Little Book of Lesson Plans, Worksheets and Games

Digital Cover New

Regularly: $60 Now: $50 (plus $5 postage)!



 

I only have a limited supply, so get these while they last:)

a

Creating a growth mindset in kids

One thing that parents and educators can agree on is that they want the best for children. They want them to learn skills that will serve them well in the future.  When we focus on motivation and cajole, threaten or even bribe kids to learn and behave we may think that we helping them  but in reality we are setting a precedent that will be hard to change as adults.  We have to take a hard look at not only what best serves  kids but also what we model for ourselves.

In an effort to create optimum learning for children, many times we have created a false growth mindset.  There are two main culprits:

  • Praising effort alone without regard to the result–this means saying “you really worked hard on that” without giving suggestions for improvement.  The end result is a child who does not know what they are striving for as a finished product.
  • Teaching ‘you can do anything” without teaching the effort involved:  Perhaps in the past, we were too discouraging of a child’s efforts but now instead we have created a generation who not only believe they can do and be anything, they expect it to happen with little effort.

Sometimes we apply techniques to children without spending time evaluating what is most effective for us.  What do you do when you are learning something new?  How do you handle problems and challenging situations?  Once you spend some time observing your own strategies for learning you will be better equipped to help your students learn effectively.

How do you create a growth mindset?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Help children understand how to set a realistic goal by checking out where they are now and where they want to be in a designated period of time.
  • Teach children to evaluate progress, not by how close they are to the goal but instead by how far they have come from the starting point.
  • Provide positive and encouraging feedback that takes into account not only progress made but the effort involved.  Point out ways they can improve and overcome challenges.
  • Finally, teach children how to encourage themselves with positive self-talk.

Related posts:

How do you change a child’s behavior?

Create success with organizational skills

Are you sabotaging student learning with rewards?

While supplies last… end of school year special!

Four of my best selling books:

Wyatt Learns about Cooperation, Wyatt Learns about Good Manners, Wyatt Learns about Winning and Wyatt Learns about Being Organized.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog -Cooperation Cover

Wyatt_the_Wonder_Dog_Cover_Manners_KindleWyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About WinningWyatt_the_Wonder_Dog_Front_Covr-Organized[1]

Plus Wyatt’s Little Book of Lesson Plans, Worksheets and Games

Digital Cover New

Regularly: $60 Now: $50 (plus $5 postage)!



I only have a limited supply, so get these while they last:)

children and persistence

Teaching a child persistence

Here’s a pop quiz for you:

Your child begs you to take piano lessons.  You aren’t so sure it’s worth the time and commitment.  After all, no one in your family has an ounce of musical ability and it’s a big expense. She is persistent though so you decide to give it a try. Three months in, the newness has worn off and she wants to quit.  You:

  1. Remind her that she made a commitment and require her to stick it out for a year.
  2. After saying, “I told you so,”  you let her quit; who wants to be the piano practice police?
  3. Ask her to give it a little longer and see if she learns to like it.  You negotiate with her to go another three months.
  4. Talk with her to  discover what has changed and see if she can push through the resistance.  Did she have expectations that are unmet?  Did she not understand the effort involved?  Is she frustrated with a lack of progress or expertise?

It’s a common dilemma isn’t it?  Will you make her hate the piano forever if you require her to stick it out?  Or will she learn that persistence is the foundation for learning any new skill because she didn’t give up?

The Right Answer

This isn’t one of those questions that has an easy  or right answer.  Problems like this don’t just plague parents either.  As an educator, do you require a student to keep trying when an assignment is hard?  At what point do you modify it or even change it altogether?  As a coach, do you require someone who can’t perform to practice more or do you move them to a different position?

The answer of course is… it depends.  Some of the things to consider are:

  • What is the age and ability of the child?
  • Do they have a pattern of starting new things and not following through?
  • What is a reasonable expectation for success and improvement?
  • What have they learned from the experience?
  • Have they given it a fair try?
  • Whether they quit or continue, what is their mindset moving forward?  Have they gained confidence or do they feel like a failure?

One of the most important things that we can teach children is that the opposite of success in any situation isn’t failure but learning.  Sometimes we learn that we need to approach a challenge differently.  Sometimes we learn that we need to practice more or stick with it longer.  And sometimes we learn that certain pursuits just don’t fit us.  Either way, we have learned some valuable information that will serve us well in the next challenge we face.

Related Posts:

Why failing first leads to success

Focusing on joyful parenting

How to raise responsible self-reliant children

While supplies last… end of school year special!

Four of my best selling books:

Wyatt Learns about Cooperation, Wyatt Learns about Good Manners, Wyatt Learns about Winning and Wyatt Learns about Being Organized.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog -Cooperation Cover

Wyatt_the_Wonder_Dog_Cover_Manners_KindleWyatt the Wonder Dog Learns About WinningWyatt_the_Wonder_Dog_Front_Covr-Organized[1]

Plus Wyatt’s Little Book of Lesson Plans, Worksheets and Games

Digital Cover New

 

Regularly: $60 Now: $50 (plus $5 postage)!



 

I only have a limited supply, so get these while they last:)

children who are introverts

Celebrate Your Child, the Introvert

(This blog is a repost from September 2015)

One of the most common misconceptions about personality styles is the difference between being shy and being an introvert. It’s not really the same thing. Shyness is often rooted in fear and anxiety while introversion is a type of personality style that has certain characteristics, most notably the fact that introverts recharge their energy with time alone while extroverts gain energy from time spent with other people. Although shy children typically are also introverts, not all introverts are shy.

Here are some of the strengths that introverts can celebrate:

Introverts are highly observant—  Introverts typically notice and remember details about people and their surroundings. They take time to notice and process what is happening around them.

Introverts are creative–  Perhaps due to their powers of observation, introverts typically take the information that they observe and create wonderful new ideas. They can think outside of the box and provide a unique perspective on life. For this reason, they often make great writers and artists.

Introverts are great listeners– Introverts listen to understand, process and respond with thought and empathy. For this reason, they often make great teachers and counselors because they really tune in to others.

Introverts are introspective– Typically introverts are not quick to respond but need time to process information. They spend a lot of time thinking through and analyzing information about themselves and others.

Introverts are rarely bored–  Because introverts are deep thinkers they are constantly planning and working out their dreams and goals in their head. This can keep them entertained and busy!

Introverts are loyal friends–  Because introverts are thoughtful observers who value their time alone, they typically choose a select few friends. With their inner circle, they are supportive and loyal through thick and thin.

Parenting the Introvert

In the past, many parents felt a need to “help” children who were introverts overcome what were seen as deficits. Today, thanks to much research and eye opening books like Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, introverts are celebrated for their unique strengths and abilities. Cain concludes her book with a section on advice to parents.

Here are some of her main points: 

  • Take the time to understand the personality style of your introverted child
  • Don’t try to change them into someone more extroverted by pushing them into sports, activities, play dates or anything that they are not interested in doing
  • Recognize that the areas where they have strengths are sometimes solitary pursuits.  Encourage and celebrate these talents.
  • Learn about and share with them the lives of some of the famous introverts.  Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt are a few.
  • Recognize and teach children that introverts can be leaders, performers, really anything that they have a passion for, they just go at it from a different direction.
  • Celebrate with your child the characteristics they have that make them uniquely special.

What about you?  Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How do  you celebrate your unique personality style?  I’d love to hear in the comments section..

Related Posts:

Celebrate Your Child’s Personality Style

5 Tips for Thriving with your Strong Willed Child

Parenting the Careful Conscientious Child

 

Want to learn more?

Parenting with Heart: Understanding your Child’s Personality Style

Do you sometimes feel that your children are speaking a different language?  Do you wonder how to motivate and inspire them?  In this ebook you will D-I-S-Cover your own personality style and how to speak the language of other personality styles to create a winning  environment in all the seasons of your family’s life. parentingheart

Click on the link below to purchase the ebook: Parenting with Heart: Understanding Personality Style

children at play

The Benefits of Play

As chilly winter days transition into balmy spring time, children and adults both anticipate spending more time outdoors.  Unfortunately, the school environment doesn’t always cooperate with the onset of spring fever as students prepare for and take mandated tests or complete end of year projects.  Some classes forgo recess altogether in order to focus on academic excellence.  A nationwide study on how first through fifth grade children spend their time at school found that on a randomly selected day, 21% of children did not have any recess  at all.

What are the benefits of recess?  Here are a few:

  • Brain research show a relationship between physical activity and the development of brain connections.
  • Children who are active at school continue to be active at home.
  • Children develop social and behavioral skills as they learn to exercise leadership, negotiate, take turns and resolve conflicts.
  • Memory and attention are improved when learning is spaced out and recess provides a necessary break from academics.
  • Play for children is not just a social and physical outlet, it is a real learning activity.

How can adults encourage positive play? The best way is by setting the stage before hand.

  • Just as in the classroom, develop a specific set of rules for children to follow.  Encourage them to be a part of the process and then commit to following the rules.
  • Brainstorm games that encourage responsibility, cooperation, and communication. Make a list of the games to facilitate child choice.
  • Anticipate and discuss the most  common problems that are encountered on the playground:  not including everyone in a game, not encouraging others or putting someone down because of a lack of ability, not following the rules.
  • Develop a system for students to solve problems when they occur.  Practice with role-play how to handle disagreements.
  • Regularly review the process to see how it is working.

Related posts:

Children and Friendship Problems

Good or Bad Decision?

Teaching Kids How to Handle Emotion

Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Cooperation

Wyatt wants to play Frisbee. Max want to build a fort and Callie wants to have tea party. How do the three friends reconcile their differences? Can it be done? When Wyatt doesn’t get his way, Max’s mother suggests he be the Superhero for the day. Join Wyatt as he learns how the magic of cooperation and compromise can bring the five friends closer together.

Wyatt the Wonder Dog -Cooperation Cover
Wyatt the Wonder Dog: Learns About Cooperation (Volume 6)