Recently when my sister, her husband, and her two young teen daughters were here visiting in Indiana from North Carolina, we took as many from our family who could come and my sister’s family to our local YMCA to play a game called “walleyball” (rhymes with volleyball). This game is similar to volleyball in its rules–with the addition of walls as it is played in a racquetball court.
“When a child is allowed to do absolutely as he pleases, it will not be long until nothing pleases him” (Anonymous).
One of our favorite Preventive Parenting tips is that of becoming a problem solver. As parents, we can complain that we do not like how something is going or how our children are behaving–or we can decide to solve the problem at hand.
We have found that many things that seem insurmountable–getting kids up and around on time in the mornings without too much stress, having the evening meal on the table at a certain time, and being sure that our kids are reading a lot–are easily taken care of when we decide to solve the problem–rather than just complaining about it or wishing that things were not as they are.
Let me give you some real life scenarios that I have recommended or heard of lately to get your “thinking skills” and “problem solving strategies” working:
1. Kids up running around in the morning, getting into things, etc., before Mom has had a chance to get herself ready–and prepare for their rising!
Make a “nobody up until you are told you can get up” rule. Our preschoolers were not allowed to get up whenever the pleased.
Just like they had to go to bed at a certain time, they also were not permitted to get up at random times. We had tape players in their bedrooms with radio dramas and talking books available–and also had them put their favorite books on their headboards. They were allowed to read or listen to tapes in the mornings, but they had to wait for me to get them up before they got out of bed.
2. Kids outgrowing their naps but fighting with each other when Mom and other littles are trying to rest.
We can come out and referee fights, yell at our kids for waking the baby, etc,. or we can make a quiet hour–a time in which only quiet activities are allowed. For us, these quiet activities were in a tub marked Quiet Hour–and were items that did not need any assistance to use.
In the case of fighting after outgrowing naps, the two who are fighting must have Quiet Hour in separate rooms–and if Quiet Hour is violated, it’s back to naps for them.
3. Kids not ready in the morning on time, stress and fighting, etc.
Implement morning routines–a set list of things that each child does from rising times until breakfast, or whatever the end of morning routine time holds. Figure up the amount of time needed to get those things done, subtract that from leaving or ready for school time–and make that time the Morning Routine time. (Read more about morning routines here.)
The point of this post is that so many things that cause us stress, fights, poor relationships, nagging, etc. can be handled through problem solving–proactive parenting–parenting in a way that we prevent those times, as opposed to always putting out fires because we did not prevent them to begin with.
Proactive Parenting provides a much more peaceful environment in our homes. It allows us to work on the discipline issues that are really crucial–and to ward off punishment, etc., for situations that can be handled ahead of time, rather than in the heat of the moment.
As an added bonus, Proactive Parenting teaches our kids how to solve problems, come up with options, get a handle on things before they become too big, etc., as they watch us model these skills for them.
|The homeschooled kids in our area start out young (as early as ten years old with their parent) serving in the One Heart Disability Ministry. Look at the joy that children bring to those with disabilities!|
A Facebook post just came through from my daughter and her husband concerning their
disability ministry, One Heart:
“Got some sad news this morning that Charlie, one of our dear One Heart members passed away this Wednesday night. Charlie always made us smile and brought us joy. I bet he’s bringing other people joy in Heaven now! He always answered questions about the Bible with, ‘Jesus died on the cross for us.’ What a simple, amazing truth. Last year at the Talent Show he sang ‘Jesus Loves Me.’ So blessed that he was part of our lives!”
Once school starts and the textbooks have been previewed, you can help your students get into good homework habits by doing their homework with them for a few weeks.
Here are some tips along those lines:
1. Taking the textbook preview further
There are a number of ways that you can take the previewing of textbooks that I discussed yesterday even further with your children for more comprehension of the material:
a. Do his first few assignments out of the book with him, pointing out the things again that you observed in your first preview. This will help him see that those things are not just good things to know, but also helpful for completely homework quicker and more accurately.
b. Help him prepare for his first test with his textbook and you by his side. Show him how he can use the glossary, sidebars, table of contents, etc. to quickly fill in his study guide or quickly determine what the most important aspects of the chapter are in order to prepare for a test.
c. As you are previewing a text (for the first time or an additional time), use a large sticky note to record what you find. Write the title of the text at the top, then make notes about what it contains as far as study and homework helps. Stick this in the front of his textbook and help him refer to it when he is doing homework or test preparation. You could even record a plus and minus system, such as
+++ means something is going to be really helpful—a +++ beside the Table of Contents, for instance
+ beside a word he writes in the front of his book tells him that this might be somewhat helpful—Example: +Some graphs
– No study questions at end of chapter—again, he can make a list in the front of his book (on a large sticky note), etc.
d. Help him “label” different sections of his book with sticky notes along the edges. For example, you could put a yellow one at the beginning of each chapter and a pink one on the page that has definitions for that chapter, etc.
2. Prepare your younger student for textbooks by using user-friendly non-fiction books
Maybe you are not in the textbook stage with your kids; however, you can begin preparing them for those all important study skills that I described yesterday with quality non-fiction books. If kids at ages five, six, eight, and ten, learn to navigate around Dorling Kindersley, Eyewitness, and Usborne books (among many others), they will be heads and shoulders above other children who have only been exposed to fictional stories (more on the benefits of fiction later!).
These outstanding non-fiction books have literally hundreds of topics that interest kids, but they are so colorful and alluring, you do not feel like you are “teaching” at all. Additionally, they have many aspects that your child’s future textbooks will also have: glossaries, Tables of Contents, sidebars, graphs, pictures, inserts, definitions, bold font, italics, etc. Reading these to and with your children when they are younger will provide a natural step into textbooks later on.
Note: We teach our students (in our home, our cottage classes, and in our language arts books) a simple memory device for remembering fiction and non-fiction:
Fiction=fake (both begin with f)
Non-fiction=not fake (both begin with nf)
|Speaking about “Building Study Skills and Comprehension” at a conference|
There are many aspects of teaching a child how to learn, one of which is working to increase our children’s comprehension. When people have good comprehension, they can learn anything, anywhere, anytime.