All posts tagged: children

The Middle School Bus Stop – One Door Closes & Another Opens

So what’s up with that? Our pre-teens don’t want us waiting at the bus stop, but they’re the first ones to yell, “Shotgun!” as they enthusiastically plead to hop in the front seat of our car. I know I shouldn’t take it personally, like that day I ultimately acquiesced and didn’t go to the bus stop (okay, confession, I peeked from around the driveway….I mean, have you seen the news?), but can’t we maintain a mere bit of that parent-kid connection, that quality time thing……that How Are You, Tell Me About Your Day thing?   I hate to tell you, but those quality time days from the bus stop are gone. Gone like a ham sandwich with a hobo. Trade them in. Give that pre-teen of yours the rite of passage for . . . are you ready? . . . a new level of quality time. Once you view your tweener as big enough, safe enough, strong enough to handle that (gasp!) potential airbag thing, trade the bus stop in for the front seat. It’s …

Family Dinner: Leave it To Beaver . . . or Grab ‘N Go?

  Family dinner:  Is it more like Leave It To Beaver or Grab ‘N Go?  Or something in between? Me & my house?  We go through phases. One night . . . the kids will set the table.  And I’ll prepare the meal.  We’ll gather ‘round and talk.  Even have dessert.  Just like Beaver and the Cleavers (well, not exactly.)  Sometimes, two — three — nights in a row.  All of us.  As a family.  Dinner.  Sitting down.  Round the table.  That feels good. Not only does it bring back visions of Leave It To Beaver, but studies show all kinds of benefits to family dinners: kids who eat most often with their parents are 40% more likely to get mainly A’s and B’s in school than kids who have two or fewer family dinners a week  (National Center on addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University via sixsistersstuff.com); adolescent girls who have frequent family meals, and a positive atmosphere during those meals, are less likely to have eating disorders (University of Minnesota, 2004, via zenfamilyhabits.net); when …

SleepAway Camp: A Stepping Stone for Independence & Responsibility?

Summer. I find myself wanting to re-create my idyllic childhood summers for my children. Isn’t that human nature, parenting nature, perhaps pure Mother Nature that drives us to re-create for our children what was good in our childhoods, while also adding in what we didn’t have? I always wanted to go to summer camp, sleepaway camp to be exact. My husband too. Whether it was financial restraints, or just not on our parents’ radar, sleepaway camp wasn’t part of the summer recipe. It’s not that I’m complaining. I was blessed with the perfect childhood summers. I spent weeks at the Jersey shore, time in Pennsylvania with grandparents, aunts, uncles & cousins, all while spending my everyday summer time in my then hometown in Connecticut. Mornings were spent at swim lessons, followed by the library, and then long, hot, lazy afternoons at the pool. Capped by neighborhood nighttime fun of Kick-the-Can, Witch’s Hour, Spud . . . catching a few of the hundreds of fireflies . . . which later transformed themselves into a temporary lantern …

Turning an Awkward Moment Into a Teachable One

There we are. Sorting the laundry. My 6 year old son and me. In front of the washing machine, I’m bending down, one arm full of lights, another full of darks, as my son looks cheerfully up at me and says, “Mom?” “Did you take that pill to have me?” That pill? What pill is my 6 year old asking about? What has he heard? I took that deep breath. You know, that d-e-e-p breath that we all have learned to (subconsciously) take. And I said (to myself), this is BIG. Big I tell you. Take another deep breath. I took another deep breath, and journeyed . . . breeaathe . . . from an awk-ward moment into a teachable one. Am I really going to have this (sex?!) talk before the Santa talk with my six year old son? Then I ran right into that teachable moment. That’s what we gotta do, we parents. We gotta run right in to their open, little, inquisitive minds and in to their thirsty little souls. Right when …

Coping With The Tragedy

In light of the tragic shooting events in Connecticut, how can we cope? Remember – and remind your children – that there are lots of people helping the children, teachers, and families affected by the tragedy. Although saddened, horrified, angered, and troubled, (with incredible sympathy), for all those involved, try not to let your natural anxiety overshadow your day. Answer their questions. Remember that children take in everything they see and hear. Kids (even teens) are good observers, but are still learning to interpret and communicate their own feelings. Give children honest answers and information. Provide them with enough information to answer their questions, but be mindful that there is no need to fully describe the details of the event. As with any situation, it is okay not to have all the answers, and it is important to say so. Keep in mind your own behavior. Children learn from watching us. They watch how we respond to events. They also learn from our conversations with others. Although you are incredibly sad and unsettled, help your …

Serving Those Who Have Served Us on This Veteran’s Day

On this Veteran’s Day, let’s take a moment to remember.  Let us lead our children to remember, respect, and honor those who have served — and sacrificed — for our freedoms.   Here are a few simple and heartfelt ways that we can “serve” those who have served us — on this special remembrance day and the days to come. Thank a military service person.  Just smile and say thanks.  Your words will go a long way.  Just yesterday, a veteran reminded me how important it is to show our thanks to those who serve.  As you pass someone in uniform, take just a minute.  Smile.  Tell them, simply, “Thank you for serving.”  Your words will speak heartfelt volumes. Spend a few moments in meditation or prayer.  Remember those who have served, those who are serving, and the many sacrifices made by them and their families. Display a flag.  For those you know.  For those you don’t.  For all those in their honor.  For all that they have done. Take part in an Operation Welcome Home …