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How to Prepare Your Student to Go Back to School

  • Written by Grassroots Newswire

If your child could use a little help getting back into the school swing of things, there are a number of simple things you can do to make the transition easier. “Take steps these final few weeks of summer to help your student prepare mentally and otherwise for a new school year,” advises Erica Hwang of the Bothell Huntington Learning Center.

Hwang offers these tips to ready children for the first day and week of school:

Call up friends. If your child hasn’t seen classmates from last year all summer, now is a great time to arrange a few activities with school friends. If you know students who will be in your child’s class, encourage your child to reach out to them, too.

Make a school visit. Stop by the school at least once to let your child walk around and check out his or her new classroom, if possible. If your child has an opportunity to meet staff members and his or her new teacher (at back-to-school night or in another way), take advantage.

Go over the routine. If your summer routine has been relaxed, now is the time to remind your child how a typical school day will go. If needed, start enforcing a reasonable bedtime a few weeks before school starts. Hang a family schedule and/or calendar in a visible place.

Get the home organized. Keep hooks near the entry door to your home where your child can keep the backpack, jacket and other school gear. Have him or her organize his or her desk or homework area. Take your child shopping to restock school and organizational supplies for the home and the classroom. Don’t forget to buy a new planner for him or her to use to stay on top of all obligations and assignments.

Do some refresher work. The final few weeks of summer, incorporate a little school work into your child’s daily schedule, using workbooks or worksheets from last year to brush up on math, reading and other basics. To practice writing, have your child keep a daily journal on the things he or she did this summer. As you bump up bedtime, include reading in the nightly routine — letting your child choose books from the library.

Sit down to talk about goals. Goal setting can be a powerful tool. Talk with your child about the things that he or she would like to accomplish or change this school year—academic or otherwise. If your child had any difficulties last year, let him or her know that you are there to help and want to maintain open communication about school.

When it comes to preparing for back to school, a little can go a long way. “Back to school preparation is largely about getting in the right mindset,” says Hwang. “Help your child prepare by talking positively about this coming school year and the good things to come. Remind your child of the best parts of school, and also let him or her know that you’re always there to help problem solve when issues arise.”

For more information about Huntington Learning Center: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Using Your Intuition to Keep Your Child’s Love for Learning Alive

  • Written by Submitted By Dr. Melodee Loshbaugh, Executive Director, Brock’s Academy

Children love to learn. In fact, you can’t stop them from learning; it’s inherent in their very being. They bounce through their first handful of years tasting, smelling, touching and listening to everything they possibly can; they are authentically in love with learning.

The key for parents is to acknowledge this inherent love for learning and make sure they select the right people, places and circumstances to continually support their children as they venture out into the world. The good news is we haven’t been left to our own devices. We’ve been given a tool to help keep our children’s love for learning alive and well: intuition!

Throughout my career, I’ve spent hours coaching parents about the power of intuition when raising and educating our children. My message is always the same, “the most important thing you can do for your child is to trust and follow your intuition.” It doesn’t matter how much formal education you have, how much research shows you should be doing this or that, or how many experts with PhDs are telling you what you need to do or not do.  At the end of the day, no one knows what’s best for your child better than you. If you follow your intuition, your child will be in the right place getting exactly what they need 100 percent of the time.

As I was raising my sons, Brock and Gabe, this intuition was my preemptive comfort. It made me aware and cautious of potential hazards,   told me to take numerous head counts while at the park, and allowed me to look in on them just one more time before going to bed at night. Once my children were in school, it let me know which teacher could provide the best possible learning environment, which adults truly had my children’s best interests at heart, and in no uncertain terms, if something was going on in my child’s education that was tampering with their love for learning instead of honoring it.

I trusted my intuition, even when it meant I had to buck the system with its scary rules and intimidating people. I trusted it even when I didn’t have any facts, logic or wordy rationales to back it up.

Once, it actually spoke to me and told me to pick up a phone and call home just in time to find out that one of my boys had been in a terrible bike accident.

It wasn’t a literal voice (although I have talked with parents that have had this experience) but more of a knowing feeling that something wasn’t right. In this case, it prompted me to ask the clerk in the store if I could use her phone (this was way before cell phones).

I experience my intuition as a feeling — a sort of hunch or “hum” telling me that something is up or not quite right.

We may call it different things, and each of us may experience it a bit differently, but the common thread is this: It’s an internal mechanism we have and it’s quite powerful. My experience, plus the testimony of multitudes of parents I have worked with over the years, has been that when we trust these feelings, our children end up with the best possible educational solution, and we find their joy for learning alive and well. Conversely, when we don’t pay attention to it, we leave our children at risk for losing their inherent abilities and love for learning.

So, listen to and trust your intuition about your child and their education. No one knows the best learning environment, curriculum, teacher or school for your student better than you. If you are tempted to waiver, giving in to self-doubt, please contact me. I will remind you in short to trust yourself, to listen to and follow your feelings and provide you will a long list of other intuition-following parents you can call on for support. (425) 483-1353 brocksacademy.com.

Three must-have conversations about online child safety

  • Written by ARA

15944466_web(ARA) - Academic performance expectations, attendance at school functions and balancing extra-curricular activities with time for homework — parents and children have a lot to talk about at the beginning of the school year. Few conversations, however, will be as important  or as fraught with tension as discussing how children should and should not behave online.

While many kids look forward to reuniting with school friends from last year, they’ll be meeting new people, too. Many of those interactions will take place, in part, in the digital world bringing online child safety front-of-mind for parents as back-to-school season arrives. To help protect your child while he or she is online, start the school year with three important conversations:

How to behave when connecting online

The anonymity of the Internet makes meeting strangers seem appealing and safe. But kids should use at least the same level of caution when meeting someone new online as they would in the real world.

Explain to kids why they should never initiate or accept online contact from someone they haven’t first met in person. Given all the information we tend to give away in our online profiles, it’s like walking up to a stranger on the street and inviting him or her into your home.

Employ tools like SafetyWeb to help keep kids safe online. The tool helps parents monitor online activity and includes an active blog/forum that allows parents and pros to discuss the latest child-rearing challenges of the digital age. Review the privacy settings on your child’s social media accounts so that your son or daughter understands what’s visible to friends and what is visible to everyone else (preferably, nothing). Create the social media accounts with your child so that you know what sites she uses and who her online friends are.

Establish designated times when children are allowed online for social media use and times when they can use the Internet for schoolwork. Never allow children to use the Internet behind closed doors. Yes, they’ll probably say everyone else does it and that you’re ruining their lives, but keeping Internet-enabled devices in a common area can help make it easier for you to protect your child.

How to behave when interacting online

As a parent, you have two concerns for your child’s online life: first, that he or she experiences no harm from online interactions. Second, that he or she causes no harm to others.

The digital world makes communication fast and easy, yet its drawbacks are many: it’s highly conducive to impulsive behavior, it’s difficult to accurately convey tone and intention, and it’s nearly impossible to erase something once it’s posted online. Children need to understand the limitations of this form of communication and that missteps online can have a long-term impact in the real world.

The anonymity of the Internet has made it easier for people to be mean to each other and given rise to a whole new type of bullying: cyberbullying. A study by isafe.org found that 58 percent of fourth- through eighth-graders have had mean or hurtful things said to them online, and (even more disturbingly) 53 percent admitted to having said something mean or hurtful to another person online.

Help your child understand the type of behavior that constitutes cyberbullying so that she can both avoid cyberbullies and avoid engaging in acts of cyberbullying. In addition to monitoring your child’s online behavior, encourage him to have a robust social life in the real world — the environment in which we really learn how to behave with others.

How to behave when interacting in person

While you’re teaching about appropriate online behavior, it’s important to reinforce lessons about being a good person in face-to-face interactions. Bullying has been around as long as people have; teach children how to recognize instances of in-person bullying and help them learn techniques for coping with bullies.

Being a good citizen of the digital world starts with being a good person in the real world. Reinforce with kids the importance of good behavior both online and in person, and most importantly — lead by example.

Creating super summer snacks with grapes is a breeze

  • Written by ARA

(ARA) - Early summer marks the beginning of the California grape season. These bite-size treats are the perfect snack —  crisp, sweet and only 90 calories per 3/4 cup serving. Grapes are also very juicy, making them a welcome source of hydration as outdoor activities and temperatures increase.

Always ripe and ready-to-eat, convenient (no peeling, no seeds), and packable for a picnic or day camp, grapes are really today’s super snack. And there’s more good news: Grapes of all colors are a delicious source of antioxidants and other polyphenols, and research suggests that grapes support heart health and may help defend against a variety of age-related and other diseases.

Selecting grapes is a breeze, since all grapes are fully ripe when they arrive at the supermarket.  Simply look for plump grapes with pliable green stems. Once home, keep your grapes unwashed and refrigerated in a plastic bag until ready to use, then rinse with cold water and serve.

While fresh grapes are most often enjoyed as a snack, more and more people have discovered the versatility of grapes as an ingredient. Why? Fresh grapes from California add color, crunch and a light touch of sweetness to snacks and meals. Toss them into yogurt or nearly any kind of salad: fruit, green, grain, chicken or tuna. Create grape and cheese skewers for an easy appetizer. For a cool summer treat, freeze your grapes: just rinse them, pat them dry and place them in the freezer for two hours. The result is like sweet bursts of sorbet.

Here are a couple more tasty snacks for kids and adults. These wholesome and easy-breezy treats show off grapes’ natural pairing potential with all things dairy.

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Grape, Honey and Yogurt Pops

Makes eight standard size frozen treats.

Ingredients:

1 pound red or black seedless California grapes, rinsed and stemmed

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon honey

1 container (16 ounces) vanilla or honey Greek yogurt or a combination

Directions:

Puree the grapes in a food processor or blender (you’ll have about 2 cups). Transfer to a medium-size pot and bring to a boil. Boil the grapes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and reduced to about 1 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the sugar and honey and let cool to room temperature.

Fold in the yogurt just until nicely swirled, then spoon into frozen treat molds. Cover with foil, insert sticks and freeze for 4 to 6 hours or until set.

Nutritional analysis per serving: calories 127; protein 4.2 g; carbohydrate 27 g; fat 1 g;  7 percent calories from fat; cholesterol 2 mg; sodium 16 mg; fiber .5 g.

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Grape Snack Bites

Makes eight snack bites.
Ingredients:

2 full graham crackers (to yield 8 small rectangles)

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons lowfat cream cheese

8 seedless California grapes, sliced

Directions:

Break each graham cracker into its four small rectangles. Spread 1 teaspoon cream cheese on each cracker and top with sliced grapes. Serve immediately.

Nutritional analysis per snack: calories 28; protein .7 g; carbohydrate 4 g; fat 1 g; 35 percent calories from fat; cholesterol 3 mg; sodium 40 mg; fiber .1 g.

For more grape snack and recipe ideas, visit www.grapesfromcalifornia.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/GrapesFromCalifornia.

When parents should seek professional help for an out-of-control teen

  • Written by ARA

Adolescence can be a tough time for children and their parents. While it is a natural part of childhood development to test boundaries and explore autonomy, how can a parent tell when to call in a professional for help with an out-of-control child?

It can be difficult to tell what is normal development and what is beyond the pale, especially between 12 and 16 years of age. There is an established rise in difficulty in the parent-child relationship in the late middle school and early high school years, says Devin Byrd, Ph.D., dean of the College of Health Professions at South University.

“Around this age, children are developing abstract thought and autonomy,” says Byrd, who holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is an expert in child and adolescent psychology and development. “Children and teens are finding that their friends have opinions they may want to agree with, which can lead to a loss of authority for parents.”

While some level of boundary-testing is natural, Byrd says that there are signs that parents can look for to tell if their child needs help.

“Some children exhibit externalizing behavior: acting out in school, fighting, stealing and being less tolerant of others’ behavior. Some will internalize things. They will become anxious or depressed, withdraw from friends and family, and be less interested in activities and schoolwork,” he says.

Other signs could be bad grades, a change in peer groups and a tendency toward daring, high-risk activities. Sometimes these changes can be tied to a life-changing event, such as divorce or the death of a loved one. But the changes may also occur so gradually that a parent may not be able to recognize how bad things have become.

Byrd suggests talking to your child’s teachers and even your friends and family members to gauge whether a child has gone too far. Overall, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is better to get help too early than too late.

Once you have decided to seek professional help, you may be able to find a referral for a therapist from your child’s doctor or from school or church officials.

Another option may be to go through your health insurance provider or workplace employee assistance program.

When you have chosen a therapist, Byrd offers a few suggestions for your first visit:

• Talk to your child about why you want to seek help, and be open about the process. Don’t think you can trick your child into therapy.

• Take any notes you have made about your child’s behavior, along with any drawings, poems or stories that the child has created.

• Go in with your child for the first visit. It will show your child that you are committed to the process. After that, the therapist may or may not invite you back for future sessions.

• Be ready to talk in an open, honest manner  and be prepared to make changes alongside your child. Byrd says to remember that “you are not dropping your child off to be ‘fixed.’ You may well be part of the problem.”

Depending on the issues involved and the style of the therapist, the length of time your child may spend in therapy will vary. But in general, be prepared for a commitment of two to three months or longer.

Therapy can and does help adolescents through what can be a very difficult period in their lives, and you can demonstrate a healthy pattern for living by addressing issues with the help of professionals.

“As with any therapy, having a professional take an outside view at the situation can be quite beneficial,” says Byrd. “It is much easier for someone else to see what is going on with us than it is for us to see what is going on with ourselves.”