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Passionate Parenting Blog

Passionate Parenting Blog

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"Homeschooling" in the time of Covid-19

Posted on March 29, 2020 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (1260)

The Memes about "homeschooling" being sent around recently have brought out so much laughter in such a serious time. But keep in mind, most parents are not actually homeschooling. The kids are at home. They’re “going to school” but we are not actually homeschooling. For most of us, our teachers are planning, assigning and grading. We may be acting as an aide and occasionally assisting. But let’s thank the teachers this week for pulling this new way of reaching our kids together with very little time! ��. If they’re actually teaching through a virtual classroom, it’s probably very nerve wracking to know that some parents are also on the receiving end. Teachers are missing those little faces and the energy they give back during lessons. They’re worried about those they’ve worked so hard to support so far this year and disappointed for the lessons they counted on that may be too tricky to attempt over a computer. Thanks teachers. Parents, if you’re working from home and trying to simultaneously manage your kids, kudos to you! Be kind to yourself. It’s a time like no other and I think families will truly come out of this stronger. Happy Friday! Looks like the weekend is going to be very similar to the week. ��

New Normal

Posted on March 29, 2020 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (673)

Even though Bruno is one of the few that has to continue to GO to work, these days leave me wondering how we will all be when the day comes that the quarantine is lifted. Families will be forever changed. I asked the boys how they thought this new normal would change them. Their answers were so interesting. And we won’t really know until we’re there. I’m wondering if there will be a decline in some mental health issues with this slower paced, family-centered living? These are for sure stressful times for all. But what will be the biggest impact on families and children who are old enough to remember these days, weeks and months?

Keep it simple and PLAY!

Posted on November 8, 2015 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (1471)

I remember my dad telling us how his brothers and sisters would race out of the house right after breakfast on weekend mornings and not come back until the streetlights came on.  They knew that grandma would make whomever was left hanging around help with the household chores.  He'd laugh telling me, because as an adult he realized it was her great plan to have the kids busy outside playing so that she COULD take care of the house.  

I've been reading so many articles lately about the emotional and physical detriment lack of play is having on today's children.  Parents somehow came to believe that an academic edge would benefit their children more than the imperative free play time.  It effects them in every aspect of their lives and adults find themselves trying to "teach" these skills to children later in life.  

There has been a rise of anxiety, depression, attention problems and lack of self control.  Children are suffering from sensory issues and the inability to even hold themselves upright in their chairs at school.  In their effort to be more affective parents, adults have taken more control of their children's activities. It's actually hard to even find kids in the neighborhood who are out after school as opposed to being at an organized activity or class.

There are many reasons why free play provides critical life experiences that lead to confident and capable adults.  It gives children the opportunity to develop a connection to their own interests, they figure out how to make decsions and problem-solve, they also learn how to follow rules.  The emotional issues often stem from the lack of control they feel over their own lives.  When children are allowed to free play, they role play, swing, slide, climb and both physically and socially challenge themselves.  It also enables them to best learn how to socially interact and cooperate with others. Most importantly, play is a great source of happiness.  

As a teacher, I interact and observe children every day.  I feel so strongly about this topic and I hope to see a great change in our idea of what's best for our kids.  See you outside!

Moving Forward With Motivation

Posted on October 7, 2015 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (1881)

What do M&M’s and toilets have in common?! Well any parent can tell you it’s the key to potty training success of course! While parents would prefer for their children to be intrinsically motivated, we often find ourselves offering our children “prizes” for performing certain tasks. While conditional motivation works for all people, no matter the age, the positive effects of the rewards are short-lived.

Encouraging our children to follow through with the activities that excite them and watching them experience the feeling of fulfillment and the thrill of achievement is irreplaceable. What is more motivating than that feeling of mastering that which you set your mind and heart on doing? This is a feeling to be recognized, celebrated and stored away to try to duplicate in other situations.

It is also important to consider our expectations for our children. While I am a strong believer in setting the bar high because kids always seem to meet, surpass and surprise you, I also believe in reasonable and age appropriate expectations. For example, if I was offered $10,000 to speak to a group of people in Mandarin right now, I couldn’t do it. It’s not a matter of being defiant. No matter how much I would like to earn that money, I don’t speak the language and I simply don’t have the skill set to do that right nowt. Sometimes what we ask of our children they’re just not developmentally ready or capable of doing at that time.  Maybe they’re tired so they're physically and mentally not able to do perform at that moment.

So, how can we intrinsically motivate our kids more? Really listen to your children when they’re speaking and ask curious questions. I hated math growing up because I couldn’t find how it connected to my life. I couldn’t figure out it’s importance to me. “Just do it because you have to,” our teachers always said. I can tell you from experience, that is not a way to motivate a student. How does it connect to your life? Point out the benefits of non-choice activities so your child could find what feels good about achieving them. If they’re interested in more play time after school, have them come up with a plan for how they can achieve that. Maybe they’ll see that getting homework started right away and getting it completed quickly, without long and numerous breaks, leads to a great sense of accomplishment and more free time.

Sometimes we are motivated away from what we don’t want or towards what we do. If you are speaking with an older child, you can ask them questions that may lead to recognition of one of these styles. Avoid battles and power struggles and try to work with your child to figure out how you can help.

Remember when your toddler wanted to sweep and vacuum? When does that change to a dreaded chore? Relax your standards about how it gets done and compliment the helpfulness and contribution to the house and family.

Here comes that word “empower” again. Find areas where your little person is given choices to avoid power struggles. For example, “Do you want to make your bed before or after breakfast?”

Research has recently showed that the most important qualities leading to success are persistence and determination, resilience, self-control, curiosity, grit, conscientiousness, self-confidence, and optimism. These are all qualities that parents instill in their children and act as the main role models for. We need to lead by example and start each day with an optimistic approach!  Happy new day!

"Raising" Our Children

Posted on October 2, 2015 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (2245)

How many moms can say that the second they pick up the phone, space aliens invade their children's bodies and instruct them to act irrationally and make sure they're loud about it?  Your child may as well be marching through the kitchen with a picket sign reading, "I need more from you." While that phrase may make most moms and dads deflate, as they feel they have no more to "give", perhaps just simple adjustments to how we approach situations with our children can make a significant difference in our children's behavior and overall demeanor.

It is a part of every child's biological makeup to do whatever it takes to fill themselves with attention (whatever kind it may be), feel as though they fulfill an important family role, and carry a sense of their own value and significance.  Parents tend to control and manage every aspect of their little one's lives in their effort to be the best caregivers they can be.  Being a caregiver is a complicated task because in order to make quick decisions you must be completely tuned in to not just what your little person is saying but how they're behaving.  

   Where to start?  Just pick one or two things to try for a week and reflect on any noticable results.  Just give yourself one week to commit to one of these choices.  My favorite, is to allot 10 minutes once or twice a day, if possible, to spend just with one child at a time.  Your role is to do whatever the child chooses.  They're in charge.  Do not answer the phone, texts, or allow yourself any other distractions.  Let your child come up with a name for this time.  Brayden Time for example.  You'll find your child asking for these 10 minutes with great anticipation!  

Another task to try is to "catch your child doing good."  Please take out a magnifying glass for this one!  Do your best to be very positive and complimentary (not with prizes, but with compliments).  Allow your child to overhear you praising them to other people.  Example, "Bruno put his markers away after he used them this morning without me asking.  He is SO organized for his age."  It could even be little things like complimenting manners and generalizing how very polite your little person is.  

Have conversations at dinner about how each family member is counted on for certain contributions and how the house just wouldn't run as smoothly without them.  Be very positive and complimentary.  Ask your child to suggest any other tasks that they would like to contribute to the home or family.  If they get stuck, point out some of their strengths or hobbies.  If they love coloring, maybe they can be in charge of making beautiful pictures to decorate the kitchen with.  

Overall, make sure that there is constant communication and that expectations are clear.  Keep the atmosphere in your home positive.  If rules are clear and consequences are appropriate...always follow through. (Look for Creating House Rules in an upcoming blog.) Children look for and appreciate boundaries.  It is an important part of making them feel safe.  Allow your child to find their important role in the home, praise them for their contributions, empower them as often as possible, and above all give them the gift of your time and undivided attention.  It will pay off in more ways than you can imagine.  Remember, we all have bad days.  Think of each new morning as a fresh start! 

I'd love to hear any feedback, results, or additional ideas and comments.  Please click on COMMENTS to share, like, or well...comment.  

Thanks for reading!

-Tara Lynn D'Uva

Passionate Parenting