How to Handle a Mid-School Year Move - By Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach
Q: What’s worse than moving ?
A: Moving in the middle of the school year.
My family did it more than
once when I was growing up. I still remember some of the incidents-being introduced in the front of the class, having to share
a locker until they could find one for me, breaking into the already-formed social groups, having the wrong "accent".
Whatever the reason for the move, moving is stressful.
you're anticipating the new location and the new job, doing all the paperwork, showing the house, packing, and handling those
logistics, remember that your children are going through the same stress only with less cognitive understanding and practically
no control. If they don't know what it's like to "be the new kid on the block," they're about to find out.
The NCC says it takes as long as 16 months for both adults and children to adjust to a move.
Here are some tips for helping make the move easier for your family.
1. Keep structure amidst the confusion and disorder.
up on meal times, bedtime routines, and other traditions that give structure and stability to your family life. Stay home
and skip the babysitters for a while. Let some important things remain stable while the earth moves beneath their feet.
2. Expect regression.
we're stressed, we retreat to former times to regain stability. And our kids do too! You can expect a newly potty-trained
child to relapse, little ones creeping into your bed at night, more tears,maybe picky eating. Loosen up on these things. They'll
go away once things settle down.
3. Acknowledge both negative
and positive feelings.
You, too, will be having them. There's this you'll
miss, and this to look forward to. The old town had an amusement park, but this one has a great children's museum. You'll
miss the snow, but now the beach is an hour away. Ambivalent feelings are typical of any transition. Help your child look
forward to good, new things while they say good-bye, sadly, to things and people they'll miss. Share your joy in your beautiful
new home, and your frustration in
not knowing where the light switches are, or the ice cream store.
4. Orient to the way your child thinks.
we moved when my older son was 6, we left him with my aunt and uncle while we went to look for the new house. A naturally
outgoing child, he was upset until he learned we'd be leaving the family dog there too. Children look at things differently.
In his mind, he knew we'd come back for the dog. He was calmed. This is akin to the nursery school teacher who told me to
bring a handkerchief and leave it with my crying younger son. Not, she said, as a wubby, but "because he knows you'll come
back for a
5. Be concrete and talk
Help the child see what it will mean to them, depending upon
sevelopmental age and temperament. With a preschooler, let him help you pack up a treasured item in a box, seal it up, move
it around in a wagon, then return it, open it up and take the treasured thing out and put it back where it came from. This
is an experiential lesson that what we pack up doesn't disappear forever. Children are concerned about their possessions,
just like we are. Also they displace their general anxiety onto something concrete like that because they have no other way
to express it.
With a toddler, use the doll house and dolls and toy cars to show
what will happen. Read books about moving. "Mallory's Moving and her Monkey is Missing" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0964546302/susandunnmome-20) is a good one.
6. Instead of focusing on logistics,
focus on people and feelings.
The move will get accomplished. Take time to
deal with the
emotional aspects and it will pay off in the long run. It's a lot more important. This is just one of many
transitions your family will go through, and how you handle it will have repercussions in the future. All transitions bring
ambivalent emotions and fears and fantasies about the future, which is unknown. You'll grow through this as a family.
7. Make a trial run if you possibly can.
Go visit the new place with your children. Show them where
their new room will be (let them decorate it if
possible). Visit their school. Meet the neighbors. Point out the "same things" like the DQ and McDonalds. Look up sports and
scouts programs. Show them where the new movie theater is.
8. Expect an adjustment period at school.
Children learn best in a comfortable
emotional environment, and a move is stressful. It will take them a while to get acclimated. Observe when you pick them up,
or talk with them to find out if they're making a satisfactory social adjustment. According to research one of the highest
emotional intelligence competencies is being able to break into an already formed group. Be compassionate.Help them learn
the skills. (You may be going through the same
9. If not you, then who?
We've lost track of who brings the homemade cake
over - the old neighbor, or the new one. Don't ask for whom the bell tolls -- let your children choose a cake, bake it together,
and carry it over to meet the new folks. Or have an open house and invite the other families over.
10. Saying good-bye precedes saying hello.
your child have a going away party with their friends, and then a new party in the new place. We moved a lot when my oldest
son was growing up, though usually in the summer, and fortunately he had a mid-October birthday. By that time we knew the
names and faces of the other kids in the class and then could have everyone over for a birthday party and get him well into
the loop. Worked great
How to Help Your Children Succeed in School
by Barbara Freedman-De Vito
As a parent who wants the best for your
children, there are undoubtedly many things that you already do every day to help your children succeed in school. The purpose
of this article is to provide some practical ideas for you to try. Some of these suggestions may be new to you, many will
be familiar, and some are just plain common sense but, hopefully, they will all serve as reminders of the many simple steps
you can take that are too often taken for granted or forgotten about, due to the hectic pace of everyday living.
to your kids, whatever their ages
First of all, read to your children. We all know that this is important, but I'd
like to point out that reading aloud should begin in infancy. It can contribute to your baby's developing attention span and
receptive language skills. In addition, I'd like to encourage parents to read to growing children, even once they are able
to read on their own. Don't stop once your kids are in elementary school for, whatever the status of their reading skills,
hearing a good book read aloud is an experience apart.
Being read to allows children to focus more on the descriptive
passages and the action, rather than having to struggle with understanding every single word. It also allows them to hear
great children's stories that are beyond their current reading level, and it's a wonderful way for a family to share a magical
experience. Choose a children's book that can also be enjoyed by you as an adult, and have a family reading session each evening
or each week. A classic children's story, such as "The Wind in the Willows," or the Harry Potter books might be perfect for
your family, depending on the ages and interests of your children.
Encourage independent reading and library use
quality children's literature to your growing children and encourage them to read on their own - at their own level and at
their own pace. Fiction and nonfiction can both open up new worlds of knowledge and experience and help prepare kids for success
in school and in adult life, and don't forget that online children's stories are an exciting new resource to add to your reading
Take your children to the local public library. Be sure that each member of the family has his or her own
library card. Help your children see the public library not just as a place associated with homework and drudgery, but rather
as an exciting doorway to interesting information and adventure. Encourage library book borrowing related to any special topic
that interests your kids - from astronomy to adventure stories, from fact to fantasy.
Get your kids to participate
in some of the special free extra activities and programs that are regularly scheduled in many public libraries, like storyhours,
craft projects, films, and summer reading clubs. Take your children to museums, concerts, puppet shows and the like. Expose
them to any forms of entertainment and cultural enrichment that you may be lucky enough to have access to.
effective research skills and good study habits
Help your kids develop research skills that will serve them well, not
only on school projects, but later in daily life as an adult. For instance, if you're planning a family trip, let the kids
conduct library and Internet-based research on possible destinations, sites of interest, driving or flying routes, and how
to dress appropriately for the climate of your destination spot. If you're thinking of buying a new car, let your kids take
part in your consumer research, comparing different car models according to a variety of pertinent criteria.
good study habits and self-discipline. Set aside a regular, daily study time for homework in a quiet, well-lit room. Be sure
that your kids have a study environment that's sound physically, as well as conducive to mental concentration. A quiet room
is important, but so too is good lighting, a chair that provides good back support and access to all the materials that your
children need to complete projects. Supply them with pencils, erasers, rulers, and so forth.
Encourage kids to keep
their desk or other study area neat and well organized. This will prevent lots of time-wasting searches for materials and
will really pay off as your children get older and their school assignments become more complex. Good organizational skills,
which include the arrangement of physical objects, plus the logical structuring of the steps involved in completing any given
project, can last a lifetime.
Take an interest in your kids' day-to-day school life
Take an interest in your
children's school projects. Encourage them to show you reports they've written or pictures they've drawn. Make them see that
you care about what they're doing and about how they're doing, but don't make them feel like they're constantly being monitored
or judged. Don't add pressure, just give them plenty of support, encouragement and praise for jobs well done. Provide them
with the resources they need (such as Internet access, library time, books and magazine articles) to do a good job on school
assignments, but... resist the temptation to do the school projects for them.
Take the same approach with everyday
homework. If your child's having trouble with a math problem, review the rules, explain the procedures, and check the results,
but don't just give a child the answers. The learning process is more important than a list of correct answers to hand in
to the teacher.
Help them discover their special talents
Set aside some time for engaging in special activities
with your children. Build a model volcano together, perform science kit experiments, design a family tree, build your own
dollhouse, draw maps, etc. Make learning into a fun and creative process. Help your kids discover their own unique aptitudes
and talents, as they discover new subjects that might interest them throughout their lives. Stimulate your children's natural
intellectual curiosity and spark their desire to learn more, to take a subject to a deeper level.
Give your kids an
opportunity to participate in extra-curricular activities: to learn to play a musical instrument or to play team sports, for
example. Again, expose your children to as many different skills and pastimes as possible, so that they can discover which
ones will really click with them. See where their aptitudes and proclivities lie, but don't force them to participate in something
if they don't enjoy it and don't put undue pressures on them. It's a cliché, but don't try to vicariously live out your own
dreams through your children.
Go to PTA meetings, attend school plays and music recitals. Once more, it's important
to show your kids that you care and that you share their interests and concerns, that you know what's going on in their lives
and that you're proud of their achievements. This kind of regular positive reinforcement can help them develop self-confidence
and a solid sense of self-esteem.
Go that extra mile
Among the most precious gifts
that you can give to your children is your time. Put them first and make time for them. Build a happy, stable home environment,
full of love and security, and you've already gone a long way towards helping your children thrive and succeed both in school
and in life. Be involved in the big and the small events that make up their daily lives. Offer your support, encouragement,
resources and love. Be there for them, no matter how busy your professional life is or whatever other commitments you have.
Before you know it your children will be grown up and what they'll become depends largely on you. For their sake, as well
as for your own, make the most of their childhood.
There are no pearls of wisdom here, just a refresher course in things
that we've all heard a million times, but don't always stop to take them to heart. They're so important that they deserve
our attention, to periodically remind us of what really counts in life.
Barbara Freedman-De Vito, children's librarian, teacher, professional storyteller,
and artist, writes and illustrates animated children's stories which are available at http://www.babybirdproductions.com which also has free games and educational activities for children, teachers and parents. Clothing
and gift items decorated with artwork from the stories are also available.
10 Tips For Back-to-School Success!
by Toni Schutta, Parent Coach, M.A., L.P.
Almost all of us dread the end of summer. Kids are reluctant
to get back into the routine of early mornings, structured days and the homework that school brings. And many parents are
also reluctant to get back into the routine of early mornings, structured days and homework!
Whether your child is
returning to pre-school, elementary school or middle school, here are 10 tips to help make the transition back to school a
1) Scale Back the Bedtime Hour- It’s easy in the summer to let bedtime slide a little later. About
3 weeks before school begins start scaling back bedtime so that by the end of the third week your child is rising at the same
time s/he will have to get up for school. (It takes about 3 weeks for the body to adapt to a new sleep schedule.) If you’ve
been putting your child to bed at 9 p.m., the first week put him/her to bed about 15 minutes earlier at 8:45. The next week,
make it 8:30 and then the next week 8:15. Also start waking your child up a little earlier each week so that one week before
schools starts, you’re mimicking the school schedule.
2) Shop early for school supplies with your child. Your
child will gain a sense of ownership by picking his/her own supplies.
3) Create a Homework Basket- While you’re
shopping for school supplies, have your child pick a homework basket. This basket should contain all of the supplies that
will be necessary to complete homework i.e. lots of pencils and erasers, a ruler, scissors, paper, markers, etc. These supplies
should be used exclusively for homework to prevent dawdling/excuses when it comes time to do homework.
4) Find kid-friendly
breakfast and lunch ideas. Shop for easy, nutritious foods that pack a lot of protein into your child’s diet. Protein
enhances neural connections in the brain.
5) Get Yourself Organized- Develop a filing system for all of the paperwork
that comes home.
5) Review bus safety rules.
6) Shop for a first-day of school outfit. If you can afford it,
let your child start school in a fun new outfit that will feel special.
7) Develop Morning Strategies- Do as much as
you can the night before each school day. Check the weather forecast with your child and pre-select an outfit with your child
that’s weather-appropriate. Make sure his/her homework/supplies are in the back pack at night. Have lunches or snacks
pre-packed. Have a picture chart with your child’s morning duties outlined and have your child check them off at they
are completed. Time out how long the morning routine should take and add 10 minutes.
8) Meet the Teacher- If your school
hosts a meet-the-teacher event or open house, be sure to go. Ask the teacher for an outline of the day’s activities
so you can prepare your child. Also ask the teacher’s expectations for homework. Take a picture of your child with his/her
teacher and post it on the fridge. Make sure your child knows his/her way around the school. Set up a play date if your child
knows even one other child in the class.
9) End-of Summer Ritual- It can be helpful to create a ritual with your kids
that signals the end of summer. It might be creating a scrapbook of the summer’s events. It might be going to an amusement
park for one last hurrah.
10) Duplicate School Rules- Once school has started, ask your child what the rules are in
his/her classroom. i.e. No putdowns. Try to mimic the language that’s being used in the classroom at home to reinforce
the lessons in both places.
By taking these steps, you’ll be preparing your child to start the school year prepared
Byline: By Toni Schutta, Parent Coach, M.A., L.P. Visit www.getparentinghelpnow.com to receive the free mini-course “The 7 Worst Mistakes Parents
Make (and How to Avoid hem!).
Toni Schutta is a highly successful National Speaker, Author, Parent Coach
and Licensed Psychologist who specializes in providing parents of children ages 3-12 with practical, easy-to-use parenting
tips that will make a parent's life easier!
Back to School Means Back to Health
by Isabel De Los Rios, The Official Guide to Nutrition
It happens to the best of us. The kids get out of school and
our exercise routines and healthy eating habits get thrown to the waste side. Evening trips to the ice cream shop, hours of
sitting in a beach chair, long car rides where only fast food is available: all of these factors may have added a few extra
pounds to you and your kids over the course of the summer. Now with the start of the school season how can you get yourself
and your kids back on a good eating and exercise routine? The following 4 steps will help you lose those unwanted summer pounds
and develop a good routine for the whole school year.
Pack your lunch. Not just your child’s lunch, but
your lunch as well. Make meal preparation an activity that you do along with your kids. Include them in the process from start
to finish. First start by making a grocery list of all the foods you will need for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week.
Remember that kids are more likely to eat healthy foods if they have chosen them themselves.
Next, food shop together.
And last, make lunches at the same time that you make dinner in the evening. Not only will your children enjoy the foods that
they have prepared themselves but they will also learn the value of taking time to prepare healthy foods. Yes, we are all
limited by time these days. But children who learn that healthy food takes time to prepare become teenagers and adults that
will take the time to choose and prepare healthy foods. Children who eat on the run usually turn into teenagers who eat fast
foods on the run who then turn into adults who eat fast food. This starts them on a downward spiral that will only lead to
obesity and heart disease.
Schedule your exercise. Schedule your exercise routine around your child’s
school schedule and/or activity schedule. For example, wear your gym clothes to drop your kids off at school and go directly
to the gym. Not only will you be setting a great example for your children, you will be less likely to skip your workout if
you are dressed and ready to go. You can also schedule your exercise time around your child’s sports or activity schedule.
If you know your child has dance on certain days, at certain times, schedule your exercise during that time as well. If you
prioritize your own exercise time this way, you will be showing your child how valuable exercise is and how it is an integral
part of your day. Children who see you value and prioritize exercise time become adults who value and prioritize exercise
Make sure your back pack is packed the night before. Again, this does not only go for your child but it
goes for you as well. What do you need to have set up at night to make the next morning run smoothly and free of chaos? When
I was a little girl my mom would help us each night set up our clothes and backpacks the night before. Every night I would
have to think about the next day’s activities and plan accordingly. Did I have dancing school after school? Was it gym
day? Was I going to a friend’s for a play date? Now, as an adult, the questions are a bit different but still require
planning and packing the night before. Am I going to the gym first thing in the morning? Do I need to pack my clothes for
an after work workout? Am I meeting a friend for a run? Do I have some healthy snacks with me? This simple step each night
still helps me, to this day, make each morning run smoothly.
Get a tutor or outside help. If your child was
doing poorly in math, you would not just let him throw in the towel and drop math class. Same goes for your workouts and eating
regimen. If you find that you’re struggling with your current plan, find yourself some outside support just as you would
find your child a tutor or supplementary tutoring class. Join an exercise class at the gym, hire a trainer for a few sessions,
consult with a nutritionist, find an exercise/nutrition support group. When one avenue doesn’t work, try a new strategy.
You would never let your child just drop out of school if one method of learning wasn’t working. Same goes for your
exercise and nutrition plan. No one plan works for everyone, so explore all your options and choose the best plan for you.
Remember that health should always be your highest priority. Teaching your child that health is just as important
to their future as school will get them started on a life long path to healthy living.
Isabel De Los Rios is The Official SelfGrowth.com Guide to "Nutrition".
You can find complete information on Isabel De Los Rios and her products by visiting thedietsolutionprogram.com.
"I'm Not Going to School This Year!" Four Back to School Tips for Parents with Kids Who Hate
by Dr. Charles Sophy
Kids are getting ready for school... and change. A new school
year can mean new friends, a new teacher, a new schedule, or even a different school. All that change can be scary. Your child
may be wondering, Will my teacher be mean? Will the kids like me? Will I be able to find my room the first day?
how do you feel about these changes? Are you ready for a new schedule and daily obligations: morning routines, homework, reviewing
the day’s events? How prepared are you to handle the coming school year?
To rev up for change, let’s take
a look at some of the challenges and opportunities your child might face and how you both can make a smooth shift from summer
Let’s meet Sam.
Sam is an easygoing 8-year-old boy who loves playing with his friends and family.
He’s typically the first to answer the phone, plead for play dates, or keep the conversation going at home.
summer ends, though, Sam is spending more time on his own. His parents monitor this change and increasingly find Sam alone
on his bed staring at the ceiling. As the sunny days pass by, Sam sleeps more, eats less and doesn’t seem to care about
much of anything.
Concerned, Sam’s parents ask him about his feelings, but he doesn’t want to talk. When
they ask if he’d like to meet his school friends in the park he shrugs his shoulders and says he’d rather stay
Then one morning Sam refuses to get out of bed and announces that he’s not going to school this year. His
parents glance at each other and ask if something bad happened at school. No, says Sam. I’m just not going. He rolls
over on his bed and faces the wall. After a while Sam’s parents convince him at least to get out of bed.
that day, Sam’s parents contact his school and ask for advice. They’re relieved to learn that Sam’s behaviour
is natural for kids returning to school. Even with school transition programs it’s common for children to resist going
back at school.
Transition can be scary, and returning to school can be a big change after a carefree summer. Here’s
what you can do to assist your child with the shift back to school... and how to cope with your own feelings about the coming
Feel Good: Celebrate when summertime changes into school time. Start a fun back-to-school tradition
your child can look forward to as summer ends. And praise your child when they do a good job. Focus on their effort, not on
accomplishment. This boosts their confidence and makes it easier to face new events. And you get to feel good, too. The beginning
of a school year means another successful milestone in your life as well.
Awareness: Ask your child’s
teacher what he or she is teaching this year. Find out where your child excels and where you can help them improve. With a
little preparation you can make homework sessions productive and fun. But don’t do your child’s homework, just
be available when they need extra help. And here’s one for you: If you’re a stay-at-home parent you might feel
a little lonely without your child around all day. Find ways to keep occupied or check in with other stay-at-home parents
during the day for a little company.
Structure: Starting early with school rules, duties, and schedules can
be a great way to ease into change. Begin your school-night sleep schedule a couple weeks early; assign a light chore; and
play games with clear rules that encourage teamwork. Notice how these functions help structure the change that’s coming
in your life, too.
Communication: Talk to your child about school well before it begins; listen to them, and
watch for behaviour changes. When you talk to them, focus on what they enjoy at school, but be realistic about their expectations
to avoid possible disappointments. Now here’s one for you: let you child know how these changes are affecting you, too.
Help them understand that they’re not going through the changes alone and that it’s okay to feel a little uneasy.
Also, attend school functions like meet the teacher nights. Get to know your child’s teacher, what they expect from
students this year, and how to reach them if needed.
Dr. Charles Sophy currently serves as Medical Director for the Los Angeles County Department
of Children and Family Services (DCFS), which is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of nearly 40,000 foster children.
He also has a private psychiatry practice in Beverly Hills, California. Dr. Sophy has lectured extensively and is an Associate
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California Los Angeles Neuro-Psychiatric Institute. His lectures and
teachings are consistently ranked as among the best by those in attendance.
Dr. Charles Sophy, author of the "Keep ‘Em Off My Couch" blog, provides real simple answers
for solving life’s biggest problems. He specializes in improving the mental health of children. To contact Dr. Sophy,
visit his blog at http://drsophy.com.