Me in a Tree

Posts Tagged ‘school’












We are all saddened by the shocking tragedy that happened in Newtown, Connecticut. Although, we may not fully understand the events or motives that led to this unthinkable crime, as parents we are left trying to make sense of it all and wonder how we help our kids through it.


A common feeling among parents is how do you talk to your children about the shooting? Here are three helpful tips.


Did you know there might be as little as 200 face to face words spoken between family members in a 24 hour period and most of them are barks or orders like “finish what’s on your plate” or “hurry up and go to bed”. With our hyperactive life

styles there seems to be very little time for sitting down and having the “how was your day?” and “what’s going on in school?” conversation. Parents often lose sight of the fact something as simple as having a conversation with their child will not only deepen the relationship, increase their self esteem, but will make them feel more loved. We are caught in a cycle of running around putting children in too many activities to hone their skills and talents trying to boost their confidence and self esteem yet something as simple as having a real conversation, where children speak about their fears, doubts and apprehensions without the worry of the parent getting angry, criticizing or giving immediate advice, will actually help the child feel more important, more than any activity could do.Activities can build confidence, but giving a child a sense of what they can do, by time spent talking with them, can give them a sense of who they are. Making time every day to listen to your child is perhaps one of the best gifts you can ever give them; it does not get simpler than that!


It’s a New Year and a great time to set some fresh new goals for yourself and show your kids how they can do the same. Children live by example and what better example than to set yourself a goal, follow through and encourage them to do the same.

Here are some things to bear in mind when helping your children set goals.

  1. Start by sitting down with your children and explain what a goal is. A four or five year old is quite capable of understanding the concept of a goal. Explain, a goal is something positive that we want and are willing to work to achieve or obtain it. Most kids are new to this and may need some direction and support.
  2. Teach your child to visualize the outcome. Ask your child to close their eyes and imagine what their life will be like when they achieve their goal. Maybe they want to be more successful at school and come home with a better report card, maybe they want to be a stronger skater or have a healthier body. Ask them, “What will you be doing to achieve your goal?”. “How do you think you will feel during and after you’ve achieved it?” “What will this bring you?”
  3. Talk to your child about the reason/s why? “Why do you want this?” “Why do you want to do better in school, or be a better skater?”. Until they really understand why they want this and how it will make their life different, the goal is harder to achieve.

There has been a lot of talk in the media over the past year about children coming home with so much homework that they have little time left over to have some downtime after school. (or after piano, hockey, swimming, dance and art lessons.)

It’s a touchy subject, not just for parents but for teachers as well. Our job is to make each child as successful as possible, and we see the difference daily practice makes. There is no doubt that strong routines and solid support from home translates into better understanding and work habits.

There seems to be a prevailing opinion that all that “learning stuff” should take place at school. But the fact is, teachers barely have enough time to teach the curriculum outcomes. For mastery, practice needs to happen. And yes, it has to happen outside school time.


It’s coming up on that time of year again. I know, because my report cards are due in two weeks.

Here are a few tips for a successful Parent-Teacher interview.

  • Bring your child. They are the reason we are all there. Meet all together so the expectations of parent, teacher and child are laid out at once. You can always have them step out at the end if there are confidential issues you’d like to discuss.
  • Come prepared. Write down your concerns ahead of time.
  • Stay calm. Remember that teachers love your child too, and want what’s best for him or her. Threats will get you nothing but a reputation in the staff room. And an administrator sitting in on your next interview.

How do you find balance? Sometimes you have to drop something, like that friend who takes too much of your time. Sometimes you have to add something, like a babysitter one afternoon a week. And sometimes you just have to look at things differently.

An example: my son’s school asked me to put him on the school bus instead of driving him (By filling that bus, they could add another route to an under-serviced part of the city.) I hated having to devote 1.5 to 2 hours each day driving to school and back. Traffic was often terrible. I was always fighting to get back to my work. It was such a waste of time and one more thing I had to juggle my freelance work around.

Bussing was the perfect solution and would give me some much-needed balance.

But wait!