Happy New Year!
Do you feel like you are always rushing? Is there a lot of yelling going on at your house? Take the opportunity of a new year to rethink your family’s activities and make some a resolutions for starting start the school year off on a positive note.
Listen without fixing.
During the new year, resolve to listen to your child’s story about something that happened in school without immediately “fixing” the problem, interrupting or teaching a constructive lesson. Concentrate on listening first and then later on, when you and your child are both calmer, give advice or guidance and keep it short, very short!
Make a habit of finding time to talk and listen.
Pay attention to the times of day your child is most naturally open, whether it be during after-school snack, while watching TV, at bath or bed time, and protect those times as very special. In the new year, get in the habit of talking and listening for just a few minutes a day.
Try not to overextend.
Make an effort to limit activities for your kids, especially younger kids – one or two activities are enough, especially for parents with more than one child. Otherwise, it causes stress all around.
Use driving time to play some educational games.
Whether driving to school, an after-school activity or to a friend’s house, you can make the ride fun by playing some games and exercising their brains. Try “I Spy,” a game that is great for developing descriptive vocabulary, particularly for young children. You play by describing an object that you see out of the window and ask your child to “spy” or spot it.
Another game to try is Geography, where you say a state, country or city. Your child then has to figure out the last letter of the word and say a new location using that last letter. For example: You say Florida and now it is his turn and he has to say a new location that begins with “a” like Alaska.
Schedule time to relax.
Too many things on your family “to do” list? Consider adding one more to your list this year: relaxation! Schedule a family Saturday night at the movies at home. Consider renting a classic family movie such as “Wizard of Oz,” “National Velvet” or films of more recent vintage such as “E.T.” or “Shrek.” Make popcorn, curl up on the couch and turn off the computer, cell phone and video games.
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