January Focus: Independence
Promoting Independence in Children
A key task of parenting is raising independent, self-motivated children who are able to appropriately use the support of parents and friends as they grow. You can help your child develop a healthy sense of independence. Independence is an important aspect of your child’s development. From the age of two, children strive for more independence. From this age, you should encourage your child to make simple choices about their lives.
The degree of independence you can expect from your child must be appropriate for their age and abilities will differ with each situation. Children may be more independent in some situations than others.
It can be a common pitfall for busy parents to do things for children that children are capable of doing themselves. Although it may take more time at first for parents to support children to do age-appropriate tasks for themselves, your child's self-confidence and independence will grow as a result.
Ways to encourage appropriate independence:
- Allow your child to make simple choices from a range of options you are prepared to accept. For example, allow your children to have a say in which clothes they will be wearing each day, even if this is limited to basic color selection. Let children make mistakes and support them to learn from them.
- Let children participate in household chores, such as vacuuming, dusting and making beds.
- Develop a responsibility chart, so your children can keep track of the household chores they have completed.
- Let children know you are interested in their thoughts and ideas. Ask their opinions on things that interest them and have to do with them.
- Respect your child's decisions; whenever possible.
- Help children understand the impact of their choices.
- Teach children problem solving skills – encourage them to think about what they could do to fix the problem rather than telling them what to do.
- Provide positive support for your child in situations that may be challenging.
- Encourage and praise children’s attempts to do things for themselves no matter what the outcome.
- Provide age-appropriate toys so that children can learn to play by themselves for short periods of time.
- Help children take responsibility for packing up their toys.
- Teach older children to use a watch and incorporate time in some directions you give. For example "You can go next door to play, but I want you to be home by 4:30."
- Help children to set achievable goals and work toward achieving those goals.
Info source: bringingupgreatkids.org literature grammar correction: LWilson
December Focus: Gratitude
Don’t forget to be thankful. Did you know that adults, children and adolescents who report strong feelings of gratitude and thankfulness are less likely to develop mental health issues like stress, anxiety and depression? Even more importantly, people who feel more gratitude also tend to be healthier, more optimistic and even happier in general. With Thanksgiving passing and Christmas right around the corner there are several activities that families might want to consider doing together to help everyone feel more gratitude:
(1) Express appreciation: just simply saying out loud the things that make you feel grateful has a positive effect and when kids hear parents expressing appreciation they are more likely to do it themselves. Just remember to be as specific as possible, for example “I am so grateful all the kids remembered to hang up their towels after getting out of the shower tonight!”
(2) Gratitude jar: similar to expressing appreciation, when anything lovely happens in the home, just say "I am so grateful for this!” and then write down what happened on a slip of paper and add it to a jar. Children and parents can participate in writing down and adding things to the jar and everyone can join together to read all those slips of paper as a special family ritual.
(3) Help kids write thank you letters: Parents and children can have a conversation about all the people who did something really nice or helpful this year and then choose 2-3 people and write them a nice thank you card and deliver it in person or through the mail. If possible try to think about people who don’t always get recognized or appreciated for everything they do to help others.
By: School Mental Health Team
November Focus: Morning Routines
Don’t Fear the Morning Routine
Getting our kids up and ready for school every morning can be a terrifying process for any family and all families will find it frightening from time to time.
Here are some common questions and answers that can make the whole adventure a little less scary.
How much sleep is enough?
If your kids let out a bloodcurdling scream every time you wake them up maybe they are not sleeping enough. There is no one right answer, but the general guidelines are 9-11 hours of sleep each night for children ages 6-13, with a little more sleep needed for younger kids and a little less for teenagers.
What is the best way to wake up my kids?
If your kids walk around like zombies after getting out of bed try letting in some natural light by raising blinds or opening curtains before you wake them up; and it is always a good idea to provide a buffer zone of 5-10 minutes for children to stay in bed after waking.
What about after they get out of bed?
If getting your kids to complete basic tasks feels like a beastly struggle try using a step-by-step written checklist to keep children focused on getting ready. Start with something simple like: eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, pack backpack, and then add more steps as kids get used to using it. And don’t be afraid to use written schedules with older kids too, even teenagers will appreciate the added structure in the morning.
What should I do the night before?
The night before…
Prepare Breakfast and Lunch
Take clothes out for school with assistance from your Child.
Pack backpack/sign school slips
See this chart for a morning routine chart to create independence in your child:
October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month
To celebrate Bullying Prevention Awareness Month we will be wearing blue on Friday October 25th. On this day students in the upper grades will be participating in No One Eats Alone day during their lunch period. At this time they will be encouraged to sit with students they do not normally sit with. Our Student Leaders are working right now to come up with more activities for this day to help promote unity in our school.
At home you may want to look into some of the resources provided below. They will outline some of the different aspects of bullying with a large focus on cyber bullying and internet safety. As technology has become such a big part of day to day life it is important you are aware of how to keep your children safe online.
Take a look at the resources below to learn about the importance of good attendance in schools. As we start our year we want to create good habits to support ongoing success all year long.
This fun video is something you can watch with your child and it emphasizes the importance of showing up.
These resources from the NYC Department of Education will tell you more about the potential consequences poor attendance can have on your child's education.
If you are concerned about your child's attendance and are looking for support please reach out to the guidance department at any time.
- Your School Counselors