Monday, May 22, 2017

Response for Growth

Some days it seems like the only job of a parent is to say “no, don’t, or you need to listen.” We are charged with keeping our children safe and teaching them how to be happy healthy members of their communities, yet it seems that children of any age find more ways to travel the wrong path than the right one.

None of us wants to be a drill sergeant barking at our children all day, but if we do nothing but wait to praise the right behavior we are not likely to succeed in keeping our children safe. Not only that, but nothing-but-praise won’t work any better than nothing-but-nagging. And while I know there are experts who have devised ratios of words of praise for each correction, a mixture of the two is also insufficient.

The problem is that nagging and praise are two branches of the same tree. They are both law because they let your child know how they have measured up to your standards. 

Children need more than law; they need grace, too.

Grace is what we do for our children simply because we loved them. We can’t show the same Grace that our Heavenly Father expresses, but grace needs to be part of our discipline equation.

This chart gives great examples of connecting words that provide a blend of law and grace. These comments not only show a child what is expected, or what behavior needs to be changed, they also express love in a way that encourages children to think about the behavior and to learn why it happens. Most importantly these connecting words remind children that their parents stand ready to help them make a change.

We can’t always use connecting words. Some situations simply call for a loud, quick “NO!” However, whenever  we can use these phrases we will give our children so much more than a simple direction.

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Psalm 103: 8

Monday, May 15, 2017

Can You See Me Now?

Summer vacation is just a month or so away and now is a great time to think about any checkups your children might need. Along with well-child checkups, vaccination checks, and sports physicals think about making an appointment with an optometrist.   

The clip above shows what happens to learners who have visual struggles not detected by a typical vision screening performed at the Pediatrician’s office or at school.

Issues such as trouble switching back and forth between near and far vision interfere with learning, can cause headaches, and encourage behavior issues. A relatively inexpensive eye doctor visit can make a huge difference for a learner.

Don’t count on a simple screening to tell you what is going on with your child’s vision and don’t count on your child to tell you either! Vision changes slowly and children are often not aware that they cannot see as well as before, or as well as they need to in order to learn. A child having difficulties is more likely to think she is not as smart as other children. Other students develop anxieties that contribute to behaviors that mimic ADHD. 

It is also not wise to assume that because glasses are not widespread in your family that you don’t need to take your child to an optometrist. Children spend much more time with screens close to their faces and this will impact vision development.

Give your children every advantage in school. Introduce them to an optometrist this summer.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Cheers to Chores!

To chore or not to chore, that is the question. When my children were little I would set up elaborate chore schedule in an effort to bring organization to our house. Even my husband and I were included on the chart to show the children that a clean house and a nice yard need many hands to make them happen.

Chores do many good things for children. They help to develop a family community that assumes each person will work to serve the others. This translates easily to service outside the family and prevents the development of an attitude of entitlement while promoting good self-esteem. Chores also help children to develop self-regulation as they keep track of what needs to be done and what has been completed.

My challenge with job charts was accountability. It quickly became easier to do the work myself. One mistake I made was waiting until my children were older to start them on chores. That is what I like about the chart above. Each age group has several job possibilities. 

Bless your children with a chore or two. Let them know they are an important part of the family.