Meaningful conversations with your child are hard to schedule; they happen when they happen. But there are things you can do to encourage them. Many children prefer to talk while they are doing other things. Find the time when your child is most likely to open up: while doing dishes, for example. Use this time to have a conversation. Ask concrete questions such as, “What happened next?” or “Who else was there?”
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Discipline is serious business, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a sense of humor about it. Humor can diffuse a tense situation, motivate your child to act appropriately, and even see the error of her ways. For example, instead of sending a foot-stamping, cookie-begging first grader to her room, join her in her protest. Stamp and demand every sweet possible. She’ll probably forget all about her meltdown.
Geoboards can help kids learn basic geometry. To make one: On a 12-inch square piece of wood, hammer 10 rows of 10 nails about one inch apart. Give your child a variety of rubber bands in different sizes. Ask him to stretch rubber bands around the nails to answer questions, such as: Can you make a triangle? How many triangles can you make? What is the largest square you can make?
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Give your child the key to this secret code and get set for a summer of sleuthing fun. Assign each letter of the alphabet a consecutive number. A is 1, B is 2, C is 3 and so on. Then write your child a message in number code and ask her to respond. What will she say to this idea? Probably something like “20-8-9-19 9-19 6-21-14! (This is fun!)”
Do your family’s summer plans include travel? Add some learning by including your child in the planning. You can ask him to research things you might see on your trip. Or give him a map and a highlighter and ask him to mark the route you will travel each day. Keep math facts fresh by having him calculate the distance in miles. Then let him choose an audio book that your family can listen to in the car.
Every child needs to feel capable and appreciated. Family gatherings on holidays, such as the 4th of July, are great occasions to boost your child’s sense of accomplishment. If she is learning to cook, serve a dish you have made together. If she’s learning to read, make some time for her to read to Uncle Steve. Asking your child to demonstrate a new skill will show her you value what she is learning.
It takes time to help your child develop an internal sense of right and wrong, but it is time well-spent. Help him learn to make good choices by taking advantage of teachable moments as they occur in your lives. For example, if your car door scratches another car, tell your child, “Since no one saw that, I could just drive away. But I’m going to leave a note for the car’s owner. Taking responsibility is the right thing to do.”