Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Quick Tips: Positive Parent-Teacher Relationships

Positive Parent-Teacher Relationships
            Although fall isn’t yet in the air, most schools have already started their new academic year. That often means meeting new teachers. Since you and the teachers are the most important factors in your child’s education, it’s important to build a positive relationship.
     Meet the teacher as soon as possible. Arrange to meet the teacher as soon as class assignments are made. Openhouse is crowded and doesn’t provide the best opportunity to talk with the teacher.
     Volunteer in the classroom.  Offer to do time consuming jobs that take the teacher away from the students. At the same time, you'll get to watch your child interact with other children and meet his friends.
     Share your talents. If you have traveled to another country, or have an interesting job or hobby, offer to share it with the class. Children like to learn about new things and are usually very welcoming. Leave lots of time for questions and stories.
     Keep in touch. Keep the teacher informed of any changes or stressful events that affect your child’s performance such as a grandparent’s visit, a new sibling or the death of a family member or pet can affect a child’s school performance.
     Building a relationship with your child’s teacher will boost your child's performance and be a valuable experience for you, the teacher, and your child.

Check out my Middle School Survival Manual HERE

Even my own children are reading it!

These are tips I wrote for a blog, and they first appeared here. Just scroll down to read.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Fun Friday: Here's an Easy One

Q: First I threw away the outside and cooked the inside. Then I ate the outside and threw away the inside. What did I eat?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Fun Friday: What Was the Number One Song the Day You Were Born?

The number one song the day I was born was "The Lion Sleeps Tonight."

What was the number one song the day you were born. Find out HERE

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Take Advantage of the Last Moments of Summer

Below is my blog post from the Tyndale blog. The pictures are from our trip to a state park yesterday.

It seems like just weeks ago you were counting down to the last day of school and the start of summer vacation, and now the countdown is reversed as the first day of school approaches too quickly—or maybe not quickly enough. Either way, take the remaining time to celebrate the last days of summer.
Plan one final outing. Let each child have a say in what the perfect end-of-summer activity would be. A pool party with hot dogs and hamburgers? A trip to the zoo, park, or lake? Talk through all your options and then compromise as much as possible so that the day is special for each child and you. Or, you could surprise your children with a new activity such as visiting a climbing wall, renting a canoe at the state park, or going to an indoor play area or laser tag arena.
Relive the high moments of the summer by creating a scrapbook. You can buy scrapbooks and supplies from an art or hobby store or create one digitally through a website like Snapfish or Shutterfly, which often have special deals on photo books. Think through the summer’s activities and have each child choose his or her top ten highlights of the summer. Make a book showing those. Include admission tickets, programs, postcards, photos, or drawings that will remind your children of the summer they had.
Celebrate new skills learned and new milestones reached. Did your child learn to ride his bike without training wheels, or did she get her driving learner’s permit? Did she learn to keep her room neat or master a layup at basketball camp? Did he learn new verses at Vacation Bible School? Have an ice cream party or other special treat to celebrate everything that was accomplished during the summer.
Set a goal for the new school year. Having something to work toward during the year will make it easier to return to school. Your children may want to try a new sport or musical instrument, choose an extracurricular activity or club, or take tumbling, dance, or karate classes. If so, they could set a goal of reaching a certain level or accomplishing a certain skill. They may want to make the honor roll each grading period. Or the goal may be to save a certain amount of money toward next summer’s special activities. You can make a chart showing how much a trip would cost, and break it into smaller goals. Sit down with your children and brainstorm possible goals for the new school year.
Summer vacation may be drawing to a close, but the fun doesn’t have to end yet. Make the most of the last days of summer.

You can see this on the Tyndale blog HERE

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

What Day is It?

Each month I am in charge of tips and trivia for a newsletter. These are seasonal and I use a calendar of special days each months. I am always amazed when I look at the calendar. Every day is something from mustard day to Mother-in-law day. If you celebrated every day listed, you'd be fat and terribly overworked. Here is the list of special days for August:

*Girlfriend's Day: 1
*Lughnasa - 1 
*Mead Day: 1 Link
*National Minority Donor Awareness Day: 1
National Psychic Day: 1 (Monday of Psychic Week)  Link

*Respect For Parents: 1
*Rounds Resounding Day: 1
*Spider-Man Day: 1
 (See also Oct. 14)
*US Air Force Day: 1 
Link*World Lung Cancer Day: 1
*World Wide Web Day: 1
*World Scout Scarf Day: 1
*National Coloring Book Day: 2 Link
National Night Out: 2
 Link  (First Tuesday)
*Take A Penny/Leave A Penny Day: 2  
*Friendship Day: 3 Link (Also July 30)
International Albarino Day: 3 (First Wednesday) Link

* Watermelon Day: 3
*Coast Guard Day: 4
India Pale Ale Beer Day: 4 Link  
(First Thursday)
*National Chocolate Chip Day: 4 Link
*Single Working Women's Day: 4
*Social Security Day: 4

*National Oyster Day: 5  Link
*National Underwear Day: 5 
Braham Pie Day or Homemade Pie Day: 5
 (First Friday)
International Beer Day: 5 
Link   Link   (First Friday)
Tomboy Tools Day: 5 Link  (First Friday)Twins Day: 5-7 Link   
(First Full Weekend)
*Hiroshima Day: 6
International Hangover Day: 6 Link 
(Always the day  after International Beer Day)
Mead Day: 6 Link 
(First Saturday)
*National Fresh Breath (Halitosis)  Day: 6
National Jamaican Patty Day: 6 
(First Saturday)  
National Mustard Day: 6 
(First Saturday) Link
*National Root Beer Float Day: 6 Link  
(See also August 19.)

Sandcastle Day: 6 
(First Saturday)
Friendship Day: 7
(First Sunday)   (Different than "International Friendship Day" in July. ) 

*Lighthouse Day: 7 

National Doll Day: 7   (First Sunday)
National Kids' Day: 7  (First Sunday)
Sister's Day: 7  (First Sunday)
*Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day: 7
*Professional Speakers Day: 7
*Purple Heart Day: 7
Earth Over Shoot Day or Ecological Debt Day: 8 

*Dalek Day: 8
 (See also Dec. 21)
Assistance Dog Day: 8  (Monday of Assistance Dog Week)

*International Cat Day: 8 

*The Date to Create: 8
*Happiness Happens Day: 8
*Odie Day: 8 
(Garfield's pal)
*Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night: 8
*International Day of The World's Indigenous People: 9
*Veep Day: 9
*National Duran Duran Appreciation Day: 10
*Paul Bunyan Day: 10
  (Also Feb. 12)
*Skyscraper Appreciation Day: 10

*Smithsonian Day: 10
*S'mores Day: 10

*Ingersoll Day: 11
*Presidential Joke Day: 11
Kool-Aid Day: 12-13  
(Always 2nd weekend)
*IBM PC Day: 12
*International Youth Day: 12
*Milkman Day: 12
(This is for Murray. former mascot for Milkman Day to help bring back his holiday as mentioned in the animation. There is another one also on June 26 with a dairy company as sponsor.)
*Sewing Machine Day: 12
Shop Online For Groceries Day: 12 
 (2nd Friday)
*Vinyl Record Day: 12
*World Elephant Day: 12

Worldwide Art Day: 12  (2nd Friday)
*International Lefthander's Day: 13

Middle Child Day: 13  (2nd Saturday)
National Bowling Day: 13 (Second Saturday)
National Garage Sale Day: 13 
(Second Saturday)Chef Appreciation Day: 14  (Sunday of Chef's Appreciation Week)*International Rose' Day: 14
*National Navajo Code Talkers Day: 14
Tisha B'Av: 14

*V-J Day: 14
*Best Friends Day: 15
*Chauvin Day: 15
*Check The Chip Day: 15 (Those Implanted in Pets) 

Cupcake Day: 15 (Third Monday)

*National Relaxation Day: 15
*National No SpongeBob Day: 15  
(SpongeBob Squarepants)
*Joe Miller's Joke Day: 16
*National Airborne Day: 16 
*National Rollercoaster Day Day: 16
*Wave at Surveilance Day: 16

*Black Cat Appreciation Day: 17

*I Love My Feet Day: 17
*Meaning of "Is" Day: 17
National Medical Dosimetrist Day: 17 
(Third Wednesday)
*National Thrift Shop Day: 17

*Bad Poetry Day: 18
*Birth Control Pills Day: 18
*Mail Order Catalog Day: 18
*National Badge Ribbon Day: 18

*Serendipity Day: 18

*Aviation Day: 19
* "Black Cow" Root Beer Float Day: 19
 (8/19/1893 by Frank J. Wisner, Cripple Creek Brewing Co., CO.  No website link anymore. Also Aug. 6 by A&W Root Beer).*International Orangutan Day: 19 
Men's Grooming Day: 19   (3rd Friday)

*World Humanitarian Day: 19  (Different than Humanitarian Day on 1/15)
International Geocaching Day: 20 (3rd Saturday)
International Homeless Animals Day: 20  (3rd Saturday)
International Tongue Twister Day: 20 

*National Radio Day: 20 

Sand Castle Day: 20 
World Honey Bee Day: 20 (3rd Saturday)*Brazilian Blow-out Day: 21
*National Spumoni Day: 21

*Poet's Day: 21
*Senior Citizen's Day: 21

*Be An Angel Day: 22
National Honey Bee Day: 20  
(Third Saturday)
*Southern Hemisphere Hoodie Hoo Day: 22
*Take Your Cat To The Vet Day: 22
*Day For The Remembrance of The Slave Trade & Its Abolition: 23
*Valentino Day: 23
*Knife Day: 24

*Pluto Demoted Day: 24
*Vesuvius Day: 24
*Wayzgoose Day: 24 

*William Wilberforce Day: 24
*National Waffle Iron Day: 24

*Kiss and Make Up Day: 25
*National Park Service Day: 25
*National Second-hand Wardrobe Day: 25
*National Whiskey Sour Day: 25 
 (Also observed on 29th)
*National Dog Day: 26

*National Toilet Paper Day: 26

*National WebMistress Day: 26
Tug-of-War Day: 26 
 (Last Wednesday)
*Women's Equality Day: 26
World Daffodil Day: 26  (Last Friday)
Franchise Appreciation Day: 27 (Last Saturday)
International Bat Night: 27-28 
 (Last Full Weekend)*Just Because Day: 27
*The Duchess Who Wasn't Day: 27
Pony Express Day: 28 
(Last Sunday)
*Race Your Mouse Around the Icons Day: 28
*Radio Commercials Day: 28
*Crackers Over The Keyboard Day: 28
Go Topless Day: 28 
 (The Sunday closest to August 26 - Women's Equality Day)
*According to Hoyle Day: 29
*Individual Rights Day: 29 

*International Day Against Nuclear Tests: 29
*More Herbs, Less Salt Day: 29
*National Sarcoidosis Day: 29
*National Whiskey Sour Day: 29  
(Also observed on 25th)
International Cabernet Sauvignon Day: 30 
*International Day of The Victims of Enforced Disappearances: 30

*International Whale Shark Day: 30 

*National Grief Awareness Day: 30
*National Holistic Pet Day: 30
*National Toasted Marshmallow Day: 30

*International Overdose Awareness Day: 31
*Love Litigating Lawyers Day: 31
*National Matchmaker Day: 31

See what I mean? They range from practical to the absurd.

Still, it might be fun to celebrate some of them. I think I'll go for the Rootbeer Float Day on the sixth and s'mores day on the 10th. Or maybe cupcake day on the 15th and toasted marshmallow day on the 30th. Now I have an excuse to get a sugar high!

How about you? What unusual days do you celebrate?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Setting Boundaries for Teens

     When your children were toddlers, it was important to keep an eye on them and establish boundaries to keep them safe. Toddling into the street or playing with a knife were potentially harmful behaviors. Now that your children are teens, it's still important to set boundaries that will keep them safe.
     Teens with clear expectations and rules are less likely to engage in risky behavior or make poor choices. Even "good kids" can get into trouble when they aren't required to live within reasonable boundaries and be held accountable for their choices. Boundaries let our teens know we care what they do and where they go. They set ground rules for knowing what's expected and the consequences if the expectations are not met.

 Early teen (12-14)
     Structure is still necessary in this age group. During the middle school years your child is becoming an individual with his own preferences about friends, activities, clubs and class schedule. Friends may seem more important than family to your child, and the push to go places with peers, not parents, increases.
     It's important to have boundaries in place before situations arise to provide a sense of security and routine and give your child some control over his life. Some areas to establish boundaries are: chores, spending, electronic devices, homework, friends and extra-curricular activities. Pick what's important to you, but also be willing to negotiate within reason.
What household responsibilities will your child have? What happens if the job is not done?
Does your young teen need your approval before making a purchase? How much control will you have over his personal spending and saving?
Will your child own a cell phone? Borrow a parent's phone when away from home?
When is the child allowed to use the Internet? What rules are in place for use?
When and where is homework done? Will homework be checked by a parent each night?
Under what, if any, circumstances will your child be with friends not under your or their parents' supervision? (Youth group activities and school clubs run by adults are two possibilities.)
Will you meet the parents of your child's friends before they hang out together?
What extra curricular activities can your young teen take part in? How much adult supervision is necessary? What time should your child be home?
Since you are probably still paying for your child's clothing, how much say does he get about styles and cost?

Middle teen (15-17)
     During these years your teen has a lot more control over his life as he chooses school classes, gets a part-time job and driver's license, and interacts more with the opposite sex. Even though he's more in control of his day-to-day life, he still needs boundaries. While some of the same boundaries still apply from the early teen years, some will change as he branches out. Set new boundaries with your child's age in mind. You may want to have a written contract so when a situation arises, boundaries are already in place. The contract would outline responsibilities and privileges and set consequences if rules are broken.
Can your teen get a part-time job? How many hours can he work? What is the latest he can come home on school nights? On weekends?
Is his money his own to spend however he likes or will you monitor it? Should a certain amount be saved? What things will he be responsible for buying?
Most teens carry electronic devices. Will there be unrestricted access to them? Will you do random checks to see what's on his phone and iPod?
What are your rules about clothing, piercings and other tattoos?
What rules do you have for unsupervised time with friends?
Will your teen individual date, group date or only be in supervised situations with the opposite sex?
Will your teen get his driver's license? Are there things he must do to prove he's responsible enough? Who pays for insurance and gas?

Older teen (18-20)
     Having an older child in the house can be a wonderful blessing—or a challenge. On one hand, they are old enough to run errands or be in charge in your absence. On the other hand, some children of this age consider themselves grown up and beyond your rules. But your house rules should not change for your older child. It's not okay to hit a sibling, lie or skip your job when you're five--and it's still not okay when you're 19.
     Teens in this age group may be finishing high school, attending college or working. Boundaries may vary depending on which is true of your child. And while it might seem your twenty-year-old doesn't need boundaries, he does. Children don't suddenly become mature at 18 or even 21. It's a growth process, and your goal as parents is to get your child to the point where he can live independently and responsibly. Of course you want your older teen to share your faith and values, but that is not a choice you can make for him. You've worked toward that all his life.
     Discussions with children this age might concern:
Future plans—college, military, vocational training or a full-time job?
At what point will your child move out on his own?
Will he be required to attend church and family functions while living at home?
If he's not in college or vocational training full time, will he pay rent or share in the bills, including groceries?
What will you continue to pay for him? Doctor and dental bills? College tuition?
Is there a curfew? Under what circumstances can it be changed? If there is no curfew, will your child call home at certain times?

     As your teen matures, he is capable of both greater responsibility and greater freedom. The important thing is to find a balance between being overprotective and not strict enough. The boundaries you set should reflect what is most important to you and what values you want your teen to embrace, while giving appropriate levels of freedom. Discuss the boundaries, and be willing to compromise, but stand your ground on the things that matter most.

Please leaves comments on what has worked for you in the comment section below. If it doesn't let you comment, try clicking on the anonymous box to comment, but please leave your name. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Backyard Swing Set Safety

Backyard Swing Set Safety

          Many children grow up with fond memories of summers spent playing on a swing set in their backyard. When I grew up, only a few fortunate children had swing sets and it gained them favor from the others who hoped to be invited to play on them. But with the affordability of today's swing sets, they are a common yard toy.
          Unfortunately, approximately 15,000 children are treated each year in the emergency room for injuries from backyard playground equipment. Most of the injuries are due to falling from equipment. 
          Although it might be tempting to buy a used swing set, it's better not to because of the possibility of unseen rust or damage. Never compromise safety for price. The best swing set to get is one that grows with your child whether modular, wooden or steel framed.
          Regardless of the type of swing set you chose, look at the fasteners and chains used. Screws should have caps that keep children from scraping or cutting themselves. Chains should be coated or have a casing so that children won’t pinch, scrape or cut their fingers or hands. Rough surfaces or edges should be sanded down or covered to prevent injury.
          For the safest use, place the swing set with six feet clearance all the way around and anchor it to the ground to avoid tipping or rocking. Since most swing set injuries are from falls, check the ground underneath for debris or sharp objects. 
          Consider adding soft material under the swing set such as sand or ground rubber. Avoid swing set with play equipment over six feet high for young children. Equipment over six feet in height doubles the chances of injuries. 
         Place the swing set in a shady area to avoid the equipment getting too hot. Metal slides that are heated by the sun can cause burns on little legs.
          Check the swing set often for loose or rusted hardware. Check the swings, slide and chain casing for cracks.
         You may have the safest play set available, but if your child doesn't know the rules, it becomes unsafe. Your child should understand that he or she needs to follow the same rules at a friend's house.

Common Sense Rules
·        Don’t walk in front or behind a swing in use.
·        Don’t wear clothing with strings, ties or anything that can get caught in playground equipment.
·        Check equipment that is in the sun to see if it’s too hot.
·        One at a time on the slide.
·        Go down, not up, the slide.
·        Don’t stand or kneel in the swing.
·        One on a swing at a time.
·        Don’t twist the swing chains.
·        Don’t swing an empty swing.

·        Make sure the swing has stopped before getting off.