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Even with hot summer-like weather beating down upon us only a few days ago, you can feel the change in the air. The school year is descending. For some it has already begun. My kids are reveling in one final day of “freedom” before the alarm goes off as the sun begins to rise. We had great intentions to begin easing into the early morning schedule but final sleepovers and bonfires and guests kept us delaying the plan until now… the day before the big day. It will hurt tomorrow but we will survive.
Aside from this lapse from the plan. I do feel that this year we are beginning on top of our game. I have everyone’s schedules programmed into my iphone. I have supplies and clothes bought and the house de-cluttered and ready for the onslaught of papers, homework and after school sport paraphernalia.
Mostly, though, I believe everyone is open to the potential of what a new year brings—new friends, new challenges, new directions and possibilities.
So much of what happens throughout the new school year will depend on both attitude and reactions. Children may not have control over which teacher they get, how much homework they have to do or what time the bus picks them up, but they are in control of the attitude they bring with them to each situtation.
As I read in the 5 Book written by Dan Zadra,
Attitude is a choice. We create our own world by the way we choose to see it. Your mind can focus on fear, worry, problems, negativity or despair. Or it can focus on confidence, opportunity, solutions, optimism and success. You decide.
Along with the new school clothes and new folders, find time to sit down and discuss how positive attitudes can start the new year off in the right direction. But if your child is clinging to your leg as that school bus rounds the corner, and is screaming that she is not going to school (I have been there… it shall pass), here are some simple ways to help turn things around.
Ways to increase positive attitudes:
1) Make sure your kids have a good night’s sleep.
2) Send your kids off to school with a healthy breakfast.
3) Teach your children some positive affirmations to say to themselves when difficult situations arise. Sometimes practicing in advance can help kids effectively navigate through challenges.
4) Find areas where you children can shine and feel their confidence rise and provide feelings of success.
5) Find ways to make your home a positive and nurturing environment. Modeling is often the best way to teach children.
6) Providing and displaying unconditional love often can soften the blow that comes with bad days.
Here is another post about attitudes.
If you have more than one child, then you most certainly have seen sibling rivalry. It is a natural part of the sibling relationship. How one handles the ugly monster can make all the difference in the world. Trying to figure out who started what and dolling out some kind of consequence seems like the right decision. The flaw with that decision is that without really knowing what happened one child will always feel that they “won” and the other that they “lost”. This further ignites and continues the rivalry.
In 3 Steps to a Strong Family written by the Eyres, the problem of sibling fighting is solved in a simple but very effective way. When the Eyres encounter their children fighting, they have them sit down together until both of them ask each other for forgiveness for their contribution to the problem. It takes two to fight and with this system each must delve down deep and come out accountable. I have found in my home that one child often feels that they are “right”. This solution helps each child step into the others shoes for a minute. It helps to create empathy—the ability to identify with the feelings of another. It also allows you as the parent to stay out of the middle of the situation which is ultimately the perfect solution toward reducing the fighting.
Next time you catch your kids fighting, try this technique. Twice I’ve used this technique just before we were going out to do something. The kids had to work things out and apologize sincerely before we were able to leave. Having this impending outing turned out to be great incentive for them to expedite the process of forgiveness.
As always, please share how this works for your family or if you have other effective ways to this very common family problem.