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Counselor's Corner
Helping Your Child to Manage Homework
One of the best ways to help our children take responsibility for their homework is by predicting and then preventing an unwanted behavior. Given a choice, a child will turn on the television or go out to play before doing their homework. We can predict this, so you can help prevent it by making sure your child understands the rules. Let them know the television won’t be turned on until their homework is complete, and you have looked over it. Agree on a consequence. “If you turn on the television before your homework is complete, it will be turned off and stay turned off after dinner that day.” Remind your child about the rule when they come home from school the next day. Your child may test your limits at first, but stay calm and enforce the consequence you have agreed on.
Teaching Your Child to Solve Problems
Answer the questions below to find if you are helping your child develop skills needed to solve problems for themselves.
  1. Do you teach your child that problems offer opportunities for solutions?
  2. Do you offer your child low-tech toys to play with? The best toys are ones that urge children to explore and invent ways to use them.
  3. Do you encourage your child to explore topics they are interested in? Children tend to try and find answers to questions about subjects they are interested in.
  4. Do you ask your child how they could solve a problem themselves?
  5. Do you allow your child to test the solution they select? Even if it fails, they’ll learn something from the experience. 

7 Steps to Help Your Child Prepare for Math Tests

  1. Review what will be on the test with your child
  2. Review homework and quizzes to make sure your child can work the problems.
  3. Have your child complete the problems at the end of the chapter.
  4. Have your child tell you the steps used to solve the problem. This will sometimes help them to catch a step they have missed.
  5. Have your child use different colors when completing a problem with many steps.
  6. Once your child understands how to work a problem have them play “Beat the Clock”. It is important in math to work quickly and accurately.
  7. Remind your child to always check their work before handing it in.

We don’t just want our children to learn, we want them to desire to learn!

Motivation and expectations are powerful influences for school success. As parents we can set high (yet reasonable) expectations and help motivate our children to reach those goals and even set their own: Stay involved. Monitor study time and stay in communication with the teacher. When parents are involved in education kids do better. Remember that kids are adaptable. If your child is struggling with school encourage and guide them. Work with their teacher to find solutions. Help them with problems but never do the work for them. Stick to a routine. When a child is use to studying at the same time every day they tend to resist less and giving them the freedom (age appropriate) to choose between two places to study promotes independence. If your child doesn’t have homework assignments, they can read or review. Limit criticism and communicate clearly. School can be very challenging. Use positive words to boost your child’s self-confidence. Never use criticizing words like “you have poor spelling. “ Instead say something like “You spelled everything right except these words! Let’s sound them out and I bet you can fix them.” Clarify your expectations without criticizing by saying “I want you to do well in math. I believe you can raise your grade to a C.” Look for progress not perfection. Even if your child does not reach the final objective celebrate the steps taken along the way. Compliment accomplishments specifically. Instead of saying “Your handwriting is better” say “Your report is so neat I can read the whole thing.” Celebrate milestones with a “You’re halfway done!” Offer praise, not prizes. This will help your child to become self-motivated-not motivated by prizes. You could tell them “Hey, you kept trying and it paid off!” Learn from mistakes. Help your child to see that mistakes are opportunities to learn and that good can come from them. Help your child to stay positive. Get more out of learning. Do a science experiment with your child or calculate a waiter’s tip together. Have fun! And if you find an expectation was too high or low, adjust it. But always keep it challenging and strength building. 

Eating Breakfast Improves Attendance and Concentration
There used to be a breakfast cereal that referred to itself as “The Breakfast of Champions.” Weather that was true or not there is doubt that a healthy breakfast in the morning helps kids champion in school.
Harvard Medical School studies show that students who eat breakfast have:
Better attendance
Fewer tardies
Higher math scores
A stronger ability to concentrate in class
Today’s hectic schedules can make it challenging to sit down to a warm healthy breakfast. Be prepared by keeping a healthy grab-and-go option such as granola bars and fruit or dried cereal and fruit juice to get your child’s day off to a good start. Last night’s pizza will even do in a pinch!
Source: “The Case for Eating Breakfast, “Healthy Children,

Build Your Child’s Respect for People and Belongings
Respect and obedience are not the same. Respect is a feeling whereas obedience is a behavior. To build your child’s respect for people, rules and belongings:

  • Be a role model: Your children will imitate what you do. If you treat yourself and others with respect, your child will likely follow your example.
  • Follow the rules: Discuss why a rule is important with you child. Discuss what would happen if everyone broke this rule.
  • Look for examples: Discuss with your child where they see examples of respect and disrespect. On television; in music; in real life? Discuss what you see and how you feel about it.
  • Take care of things: Teach the proper way to treat books, toys and other items and how to take care of them. Put items away in proper places after use. This will help a child learn respect for property.
  • Be positive: Help your child to build self-respect by making sure they feel cared for and trusted. Help them to see how lovable and capable they are.
    Source: S. McChesney, “Respect-How to teach it and how to show it,”teAchnology,

A Reading Response Journal Can Help Build Reading & Writing Skills
A reading response journal can excite your child about reading and writing. To create a reading response journal all you need are few pieces of paper stapled together to create a book and some pens and crayons. Ask your child the name of his favorite book and have him draw a picture on each page that reminds him of something in that book. Once his illustrations are complete ask him to dictate a sentence about each picture. Write each sentence on a separate sheet of paper exactly as he dictates. If he says “The bunny gots big ears,” that’s what you should write. Read the sentence back to him and have him transfer it to the journal himself. If it is a long sentence have him circle the words he wants to write and you can write the others. When your child has finished read the pages to him. Let him read as much of it as he can back to you. Your child will feel like a “real” writer and will be excited to read the next book and transfer it into a journal. Parents Can Play an Important Role in Building Children’s Character If we are dedicated and watchful of our children’s growing character we can help them grow up with a strong moral compass that will serve them well in school and in life. To guide the growth of your child’s character: • Remain focused on good morals in daily activities. Find ways to work the ideals of honesty and respect into dinner and car conversations. • Talk with your child about the values-such as tolerance and generosity-that help you make certain decisions in your daily life. • While watching TV with your child discuss both bad and good decisions characters make during a program. Discuss why a decision might have been wrong and how the character could have made a better choice. If a character makes a good moral decision discuss how it was the right thing to do. • When your child displays good character praise them for it. Tell them how proud you are of them for finishing a task or for telling the truth. • Turn to friends, family and books for other ways to develop your child’s good character. Sources: J.W. Lindfors, Teachers College Press and “Reduce Screen Time” U.S. Department of Health

Social Skills Begin at a Young Age
Have you ever known an adult who lacked the ability to close their mouth while they chewed, or perhaps the ability to give a healthy smile and hello? These people can be annoying at times and chances are their lack of social graces impacts their personal relationships and the quality of their lives. There are basic social skills that we should be teaching our young children even as young as preschool. Many of these skills should be taught out in the real world at the very moment our children are interacting with others. Just a few of the things we ought to expect our children to do are: • Shake people’s hands and look into their eyes. • Smile. • Say “hello.” • Say “thank you” when complimented. • Say “please.” • Say “goodbye” and wish people well. It is understandable that some children are extremely shy and want to hide behind their parents when meeting people, but parents who maintain high expectations for their children raise far happier and more socially skilled kids. These tips come from the Love and Logic Institute, Inc. Their goal is to help parents raise positive thriving children.

When Your Child Gets Teased
In a picture perfect world bullying would not exist in our schools. Truth of the matter is most of us will encounter bullies even into adult hood. Dr. Charles Fay of Love and Logic Institute offers advice for parents to help equip their children with skills that allow them to manage intimidating situations. Teach them that bullies get their power from our negative emotions. The more upset we get when picked on, the more powerful mean kids feel. Show your child how to trick bullies by pretending to be calm. If our children can learn to act calm when bullies hassle them, they become far less attractive targets. Teach your child to confuse or bewilder bullies by responding to verbal taunts with replies like, “Thanks for noticing” or “I appreciate the feedback.” Help your child develop great social skills so that they are liked, accepted, and protected by positive peers. Kids who don’t know how to relate in healthy ways often find themselves gravitating toward peers who treat them poorly. In her book Words Will Never Hurt Me, Sally Ogden provides practical strategies for achieving these goals. A mother who read the book commented, “Because of this book, my daughter has convinced the bullies in her school that she’s no fun to pick on!”

With today’s hectic schedules, how can parents manage their time more efficiently and fit more time into their child’s daily routine for homework?

Listed below are some parent-tested tips that will help you help your children make better use of their homework time.

  • Find your child’s prime studying time and set it as regular homework time: Work with your child to find their prime time for homework. Some kids need to let off steam after school by relaxing or running and playing and can’t seem to settle down to study until after dinner. Some kid’s fall asleep by 8:00 p.m. so they need to study early in the afternoon. Once children get in the habit of studying at a regular time they feel more in control of their lives and learn to use their time better. Remember to give them breaks after 15 to 20 minutes of study.
  • Have a Homework Place: Children need a regular place to do homework. Once children become conditioned to their homework place it is easier for them to concentrate and make good use of their study time. Be sure and keep the area stocked with supplies such as pens, pencils, paper and even a dictionary. Research has found that soft music can help some students concentrate better. Let your child study with music off and on and see which produces the best grades. But no matter what, no one can study with the TV on. Eyes need to be focused on what is being read. You as a parent need to respect your child’s homework time which means no TV, no phone calls, no visits from friends and no interruptions from you. You can work on your own projects like paying bills, writing letters or reading a book close to your child while they are studying. This shows them that you think homework time is important. Little Ways We Can Help Our Children Succeed In School
  • Using time in the car: Review spelling words; discuss what they are going to write an essay on. Find other pockets of time to squeeze in learning, such as counting in the bathtub or practicing phonics. In the Doctor’s office help them to read a children’s book to you.
  • Setting our own priorities: Consciously decide how to spend your time on things that matter. Have a choice of cooking a fancy dinner or reading with your child? Order hamburgers and read the book!
  • Spending one-on-one time: Nothing makes a child feel special like having a parent all to themselves. Every week set a date and time to spend with your child and put it on the calendar. Treat that appointment as seriously as you would any other.

Teach Your Child the Importance of Losing & Winning Gracefully

Competition can be a good thing. It can teach kids how to win and lose. It can encourage kids to do their best. But some kids are just too competitive. They treat every board game like it’s World War III. They cheat. They throw tantrums. They are rude to other players. Could your child be too competitive? A poor competitor:

  • Gets very angry if he is losing.
  • Has a tantrum in the middle of a game.
  • Throws things (soccer balls, cards, game pieces).
  • Cries after any loss.
  • Makes threats to other players.

If you see these signs, it’s time to take action. Start by talking with your child. Tell him that winning and losing are both part of life.Say you want to help him become a better winner and a better loser. Then talk about what makes a good winner or loser. What have other kids done that he admires? What do they do that bugs him? Help him see that he may be doing some of the same things he doesn’t like in others. Set up chances to compete at home. When your child wins, don’t fuss too much. Pick out one thing your child did well in winning the game. “You took a risk on that hand. But it paid off.” Sometimes, of course, your child will lose. Again, look for something positive to say, such as, “That was a good strategy.” Show your child by your actions how to be a good loser and winner. Source: B. Conner, Everyday Opportunities for Extraordinary

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