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It can be stressful for a parent to get a tearful phone call from a child at camp. For children who are away from home, it is very common for them to experience homesickness. Ninety percent of all children report experiencing feelings of sadness when separated from their home environment. Most children are able to function at camp and learn to work through homesickness. And it’s worth the struggle when kids return stronger and more independent. Some preparation ahead of time may help lessen homesickness at camp.

camp

Have your child help pack. If your child is picking out his clothes and making sure they he has all that he needs, this will help him start to think about time at camp and taking care of himself.

Be positive when you talk with your child about camp. Remind him how much fun he will have with new activities and making new friends.

Address any concerns your child may have about being away from home. You can create some coping strategies together, or better yet, have him come up with suggestions of what he might do in certain situations. For example, when he feels homesick, or lonely he could write a letter home, find a friend, talk with camp staff, or get busy with an activity.

Back up Plans. Do NOT make a back up plan with your child in case he wants to come home. If a child and a parent have an easy ‘out’ it will likely be taken. Camp staff are usually prepared to help a homesick child. You might, however, talk with camp staff to make sure your child is working through it and still having a positive camp experience. You can encourage your child to stick it out. If the homesickness is severe and your child is not functioning well, decide ahead of time what you will do.

Pack notes in your child’s bag with encouraging words, affirmations, and even some funny jokes or camp mad libs for him to complete.  If you mail letters to camp, be positive and encourage your child that he can do it! Telling your child how much you miss him may not be helpful. Consider sending stamped envelopes and paper so your child can write you back. It will help him feel connected with you, and it’s neat to read the notes even after camp.

Prepare yourself to be apart from your child for the week. Have a friend you can talk with and that can give you positive and encouraging reminders. Click here for more tips for parents to manage their own worries about summer camp.

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County

Sources:

American Psychological Association. “Summer camp blues: Planning ahead to lessen homesickness at camp.” 2017. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/camp.aspx

American Psychological Association. “Sending your child to camp: Manage your own worries.” 2017. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/camp-worry.aspx

 

 

 

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I can remember sitting with my twin daughters, trying to figure out how one could be so easy going, easy to please, and agreeable, while the other was on the opposite of spectrum. I spent countless hours trying to make sense of how two people so much alike could be so different. They were the same gender, same age, and same biologically, but the biggest difference between them was their temperament. Through the process of parenting, I learned that my responses and techniques would need to be different to address the uniqueness of both children. Understanding a child’s temperament can help reduce the stress of parenting.

When parents understand how their children react to certain situations, they can learn to anticipate issues that might present difficulties for their child.  They can prepare their child for the situation or in other cases they may be able to avoid a difficult situation altogether. Parents can learn to tailor their parenting strategies to the particular temperamental characteristics of the child.  Parents often feel more effective as thepouting childy more fully understand and appreciate their child’s unique personality.

Children are born with their own natural style of interacting with or reacting to people, places and things.  This is called their temperament.  In the late 1950’s, researchers identified nine temperament traits or characteristics.  They found that
these nine traits were present at birth and continued to influence development throughout the life cycle.  Temperament is different from personality, which is really a combination of temperament and life experiences.  Think of temperament as a set of in-born traits that help organize your child’s approach to the world.

There are nine recognized temperament traits.  Each temperament has a description and parents are encouraged to rate their child on a scale from 1-5.

  • Activity level.  How active is your child?  Are her movements quick or slow?
  • Adaptability.  How quickly does your child adjust to changes in life?  How quickly does he/she adapt to new people, places, foods or things?
  • Approach.  What is your child’s first reaction to new people, places, or experiences?  Is he/she eager for new experiences or reluctant?
  • Distractibility.  Is your child easily interrupted by things going on around him?  Does he continue to work or play when noise is present?
  • Intensity.  How much energy does your child use to express emotions?  Does he/she laugh or cry vigorously?  Or, does he/she smile and fuss mildly?
  • Mood.  What mood does your child usually display?  Do
    es your child see the world as a pleasant place?
  • Persistence.  How long does your child continue with a difficult activity?  Can he continue when frustrated?  Can he stop when asked?
  • Regularity.  Does your child have a predictable internal cl
    ock?  Does he/she generally get hungry, sleepy, or have bowel movements at the same time every day?
  • Sensory threshold.  How aware is your child of his/her physical world?  How sensitive is she/he to changes in sound, light, touch, pain, taste, and odor?

 Understanding that these inborn behavioral tendencies are not the result of bad parenting is perhaps one of the most important insights parents gain from learning more about temperament. I wish I had known about the importance of temperament when my children were growing up.  I can look back now and see why there were some struggles.

Writer: Kathy Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Clark County, Top of Ohio EERA

Reviewer: Shannon Carter, Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

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As we work to take small steps to improve our health and well-being, are we taking into account the influence we have on others? As parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, volunteers, and our other roles, are we helping the youth and young parents make changes and establish habits to improve their long-term health and wellbeing?

I always think of examples of how this has played out in my life. As a dietitian, I have always encouraged my children to eat a well-balanced and healthy diet. My son was an athlete who ran a half mile run as part of the track team. I always encouraged him to drink milk, even chocolate milk, after competition as a post workout recovery drink. As a mother, my advice often went unheard, but one day I came home to see my son sitting at the table drinking a glass of milk. Being excited I commented on his change of heart and the happiness that he was following my input. Suddenly he replied by discussing the information that the track coach had shared about the value of drinking chocolate milk and so he was willing to try it. My excitement may have diminished, but the idea is that role models from other influences such as teachers, coaches, volunteers etc… are very important and valuable in the life of our children and youth.

Another example was a preschool education session I observed. The educator was discussing the importance of eating and drinking healthy foods. As the educator was talking the preschool teachers were sneaking a drink of soda pop and had bags of cookies on their desk. What are the students seeing to reinforce the messages being taught? Although no one eats perfectly or is as physically active as they need to be every day, when we are in a position to be observed by younger children or students are we displaying the kind of behaviors we hope those children and youth can learn good long term habits from?
Positive Role Model

The USDA has a great 10 tips nutrition education handout that is titled, “Be a Healthy Role Model for Children”. The ten tips are great ideas for all of us to keep in mind as we go through our daily routines and possibility influence others.

These tips are:

• Show by example— eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains when youth are watching you.
• Go food shopping together—let your children make healthy choices.
• Get creative in the kitchen—cut food into fun shapes or name a food after your child.
• Offer the same foods for every one—stop being a short order cook.
• Reward with attention, not food—everyone likes a hug.
• Focus on each other at the table—turn off the television and take calls after the meal is over.
• Listen to your child—offer your child a choice between two vegetables.
• Limit screen time—limit screen time to 2 hours and day and get up and move during the commercials.
• Encourage physical activity—make physical activity fun for the whole family.
• Be a good food role model—try new foods yourself.

Check out this tip sheet and others at the ChooseMyPlate.gov website. Consider putting this and others on the refrigerator for quick reminders of how easy being a good role model can be. With little effort you can make a big difference in someone else’s life!

Sources:

University of Texas at Austin, (2011). Chocolate Milk Gives Athletes a Leg Up after Exercise Says University of Texas Austin Study.

http://www.ChooseMyPlate.gov

Writer: Liz Smith, M.S., RDN., L.D., NE Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, smith.3993@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, M.A., L.D., Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, Treber.1@osu.edu

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“The more committed a child is to learning, the more likely it is that he or she will grow up healthy.” – Peter L. Benson, Ph.D.

14 August blog

Believe it or not, summer break is nearly over and school will officially be back in session soon. Going back to school can be an exciting time for many students; and for others, a source of added stress. However, there are things parents can do to help make the transition from summer vacation into the school routine less stressful.

The good news is children are born learners. They are curious about the world around them. They are motivated learners who accept some responsibility for their own education. They understand that success comes as a result of their own efforts. They pay attention and concentrate on school-related tasks. Successful students can ignore or reduce distractions in the environment or from their own thoughts which can interfere with learning.

Here are a few tips parents can use to encourage success in school.

1. Develop a study plan/routine.

Involve your child in establishing a specific time every day for homework and general reading. Check with the teachers to see how much homework to expect for your child. Some elementary school students have 20‐30 minutes a day set aside for this purpose. Junior and senior high school students may need at least 30‐45 minutes for daily study time. Some schools expect students to spend at least 15 minutes per subject each day on homework.

2. Create an environment conducive to learning.

Make your home a place where it is easy for your child to learn. Keep books, magazines, catalogs and writing materials within easy reach. Make sure that your child has a place to study. This could be in the child’s room, in the kitchen, or in another place where the lighting is good, and it’s quiet. Be near enough to answer questions that your child has.

3. Become a mentor/coach for your child.

Be enthusiastic! It can be contagious. Don’t give the message that homework is a boring chore; children who do well, enjoy learning. If your child does not seem motivated to do well in school, try to find ways to make the learning fun.

4. Listen.

Listen carefully when your child talks about having difficulty with her homework. Encourage her to break down problems into small steps.

5. Get to know your child’s teachers.

Get to know your child’s teachers and what they expect. Compare your goals for your child to those of the teachers. Make sure your child knows of your interest in his/her school. This will send the message that what they are doing is important.

Talk with your child and find out their concerns. If you learn your child feels ignored or “picked on” in the classroom, talk with the appropriate school official. If you can’t find the time to visit in person, call the teachers or attach notes to your child’s homework they are taking back to school.

One of the most difficult challenges facing parents and teachers today is that of encouraging youth to value learning and make a personal commitment to education. Youth who develop a love of learning will not only increase their chances of academic and career success as adults, but will also be more likely to avoid problem behaviors and negative peer pressure.

References:

How Parents Can Help Their Kids Be Successful in School, August 9, 2012 in Families Matter http://extension.udel.edu/factsheet/how-parents-can-help-their-kids-be-successful-in-school/

Back to School Success, by Bill Stone, http://lee.ces.ncsu.edu/2013/10/back-to-school-success-2/

SCHOOL SUCCESS, (2005) by Peter L. Benson, Ph.D., What Kids Need to Succeed http://cte.ed.gov/nationalinitiatives/gandctools_viewfile.cfm?d=600051

Encouraging Success in School, by Beth D. Gaydos, Faculty Emeritus, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences.

Written by: Cindy Shuster, CFLE, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Reviewed by: Polly Loy , Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Belmont County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Bridgett Kidd, Extension Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension, Human Ecology Extension Administration

Reviewed by: Kim Barnhart, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA

Jennifer Lindimore, Office Associate, OSU Extension, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA

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prom pic

It’s that time of year. Everyone is ready to celebrate. Proms, graduations, and other events mark the end of the school year. Memories of these wonderful occasions will be with our youth for the rest of their lives. These occasions are associated with a higher teen traffic death rate, often due to the increased temptations to participate in drinking activities. Be proactive with your child by having open conversations to increase their awareness to keep them SAFE!

Tips for Prom and Graduation Parties

graduation

Parents:

• Make sure your son/daughter has a plan for the evening and that you know the plan.
• Contact the parents of your teen’s date. Discuss the plans for the evening and plan to meet each other.
• Know who is driving to and from – if it’s a limo know the alcohol policy.
• Talk to your son/daughter about the risks of alcohol and drug use.
• Take stock of your alcohol in your home prior to the beginning of the night.
• Talk to your son/daughter about the school’s prom rules and your prom rules and the consequences of violating them.
• Always let your son/daughter know that you will be available to pick them up if they feel unsafe regardless of the circumstance.
• Communicate with other parents of your teen’s friends. Discuss the plans for the night and the need for locking up and inventorying all alcohol and prescription medication in advance.
• Have an escape plan for a bad situation. Define a code word or text message they can send to alert you to help them out of this situation. Be sure to reinforce with them it is alright to call you anytime.
• Set up times they are to call and check in. These may include when the prom is over, when arriving to an after prom destination, or before heading home.
• Remind your teen to keep you notified of any changes in the plan.
• Limit the number of teens in the car. The risk of teens getting into a car crash increases as the number of passengers increase.
• Stay up until your prom-goer returns home for the night and let them know you will be waiting up for them.

Teens:

• Keep yourself safe and remind your friends to keep safe.
• Have the number of trustworthy cabs programmed on your phone.
• Have emergency cash to pay for these rides.
• Be sure to have plenty of rest the night before the prom.
• Think through and talk with your friends about pressure situations. Have a plan to handle them ahead of time.
• Consider going for breakfast, bowling or seeing a midnight movie after your prom. These are fun activities and none of them involve alcohol or illegal substances.
• Have your cell phone charged and with you at all times.
• Eat a good breakfast and lunch the day of these activities to keep your energy level up.
• Never leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from someone else.
• Drive on well-lit roads and be sure the vehicle you are driving is well maintained and has a full tank of gas.
• Never ride with someone who is fatigued or impaired in any way.
• Wear your seat belt.
• Know the warning signs for alcohol or drug overdose and call 911 immediately is you see someone exhibiting them.
• At all times, know where you are and where you are going. Make sure your parents know also.
• Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable over any situation, something may not be right. Leave immediately.

Written by: Beth Stefura, Ohio State University, Extension Educator, stefura.2@osu.edu
Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Ohio State University, Extension Educator

Resource: Safety Awareness Officer, Mahoning County Sheriff’s Department

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back to school

Many parents want the best for their children. This includes school success. Every child has the power to succeed in school and every parent, can help. What parents say and do can help children develop positive attitudes toward school and learning and build confidence in themselves as learners. Showing children that education is valued and useful provides them with powerful models and contributes greatly to their success in school. In addition it is shown that when parents and families are involved in their children’s schools, the children do better and have better feelings about going to school.

The U.S. Department of Health has compiled resources for parents. Here are some suggestions to help your child succeed in school:

  •  Encourage Your Child to Read-Helping your child become a reader is the single most important thing that you can do to help the child to succeed in school, and in life. The importance of reading simply can’t be overstated. Reading helps children in all school subjects.
  •  Talk with Your Child-Talking and listening play major roles in children’s school success. It’s through hearing parents and family members talk and responding to that talk that young children begin to pick up the language skills they will need if they are to do well. For example, children who haven’t learned to listen carefully often have trouble following directions and paying attention in class.
  • Monitor Homework-Have a special place for your child to study. The area should have good lighting and it should be fairly quiet. Provide supplies such as pencils, pens, erasers, writing paper, and a dictionary.
  • Set a regular time for homework-Remove distractions. Turn off the TV, cell phones, and discourage your child from making and receiving social telephone calls, and using social media sites during homework time.
  • Monitor TV Viewing and Video Game Playing-Limit the time that you let your child watch TV and play video games. Too much television cuts into important activities in a child’s life, such as reading, playing with friends and talking with family members.
  •  Helping Your Child with Test-Taking-Talk to your child about testing. It’s helpful for children to understand why schools give tests. Don’t get upset because of a single test score. Many things can influence how your child does on a test.
  •  Meet with your child’s teacher as often as possible. Ask the teacher to suggest activities for you and your child to do at home to help prepare for tests and to improve your child’s understanding of schoolwork.
  • Make sure that your child attends school regularly. The more effort and energy your child puts into learning, the more likely it is that he will do well on tests.

As our children’s first and most important teacher, it’s important that all parents build and keep strong ties to our children’s schools.

Please visit Ohio State University Extensions Backpack Buddies Fact Sheet at http://ohioline.osu.edu/bb-fact/ for more information,

 

Resources

Canter, Lee. (1995). What to Do When Your Child Needs to Study: Helping Your Child toMaster Test-taking and Study Skills. Los Angeles: Canter & Associates.

Clark, Rosemary, Hawkins, Donna and Vachon, Beth. (1999). The School-Savvy Parent: 365 Insider Tips to Help You Help Your Child. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing.

Ramey, Sharon L. and Ramey, Craig T. (1999). Going to School: How to Help Your

Child Succeed: A Handbook for Parents of Children 3 to 8. New York: Goddard Press.

U.S. Department of Education. (2002). Helping Your Child with Homework. Washington, DC. (available online at http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov)

Written by: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County, green.1405@osu.edu.

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu.

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As the school year comes to a close, many parents are faced with the task of finding child care for the summer or deciding if they should take a chance and let their children stay home alone for the first time. Whether for a few minutes or a few hours, all parents will face the dilemma-is my child old enough to stay home alone? Many state or local laws, do not list a specific minimum age. Instead, like the Ohio Revised Code, say that parents are responsible for providing proper care and supervision for their children. So, the real question isn’t so much one of age, but one of your child’s maturity and readiness and your ability to plan for safety, emergencies and activities. There is no magic age at which children develop the maturity and good sense needed to stay alone. However, there are some signs that your child may be ready.

First, your child should indicate a desire and willingness to stay alone. Children who are easily frightened or who don’t want to stay alone are probably not ready to do so. Your child should also be showing signs that he or she can be responsible, is aware of the needs of others, and can think about options and make decisions independently. Children who are able to get ready for school on time, solve problems on their own, complete homework and household chores with a minimum of supervision, and remember to tell you where they are going, have some of the skills they will need to care for themselves. For many children, these abilities begin to appear between the ages of ten and twelve.
If your child shows these signs, you may want to consider letting your child stay home alone. However, you must also think about several other factors. These are:
-The neighborhood in which you live
-The availability of adults nearby
-How long your child will be alone

If your neighborhood is unsafe, if there are no adults nearby to call in case of an emergency, or if your child must remain alone for a very long time, it is best to continue to use some form of child care even if your child seems ready to stay alone. Remember, children, like adults are all different. Some are more independent than others, and some are more fearful, despite your care and preparation.

If you and your child decide that you are ready to stay home alone, the next step is giving your child some guidelines, knowledge, and training. Involve your children in decisions and discussions that affect them. If children understand the reasons for the rules and participate in developing rules, they are more likely to follow them.

For more tips and information on this topic, check out the complete OSU Extension fact sheet at http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5321.pdf

Source:
Adapted from Ohio State University Extension Factsheet, HYG-5321-10, Home Alone: Is My Child Old Enough? http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5321.pdf

Author: Kathy Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Butler County.

Reviewer: Donna Green, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

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