Tips for keeping kids happy and able to enjoy the fun
It’s easy for children to be smitten with the magic of the holidays. Fun presents. Extra sweets. A vacation from school—there’s a lot to like. But with the freedom and excess of the season, sometimes kids can get a little carried away. For most families, there will be a point when the kids get overtired and cranky, or greedy about presents, or would rather play a video game than talk to Grandma. Here are some tips to keep kids happy and ready to enjoy whatever the season brings.
1. Gifts, gifts, gifts: Getting presents is a high point of the holidays for any kid, but they shouldn’t be the only focus. As adults we know that giving presents can be just as rewarding as getting them, and we shouldn’t wait to teach that lesson to our children.
Even when kids are too young to buy a present, they can still make one, or help you pick out something. Some of my best holiday memories are of helping my father look for the perfect gift for Mom, or combing the mall to look for presents with my siblings as we got older. Volunteering, participating in a local toy drive, or giving each of your kids a little money to give to a charity of their choice are all great ideas for getting children in a more generous mood.
Also, remember that the best gifts that you give your children probably won’t be the material ones. Taking time for the whole family to get together to play a game, watch a movie, or decorate sugar cookies—these are the things that kids remember as they get older.
2. Let them help out: There’s a lot of extra work to do around the holidays — putting up decorations, cooking big dinners, throwing parties. The Martha Stewart in all of us can take over, but it’s important to take a step back and make sure our kids are included, too.
Children can help set the table, decorate the house, and wrap presents. If they’re too young to wrap, they can help by holding down the paper or getting the tape ready — there’s always something kids can do. And at holiday time, the preparations are often as fun and as meaningful as the end product. Plus, this way kids won’t feel left out — or be glued to the iPad for hours.
3. Keep routines: We love the holidays because they give us a break from the everyday, but that can also make them stressful, especially for kids who find routine comforting. Try to keep some things constant. Kids still need snack time, they still need special attention from you, and they still need a chance to unwind before bedtime.
At family gatherings when they notice the kids are “getting antsy,” psychologist Rachel Busman says she and her sister give them their baths, get them into pajamas, and turn on a movie. “We know when they need to wind down, and no one judges us for excusing ourselves from the table to do these things,” she says. “In fact, my sister and I enjoy some great conversations during this time.”
4. Remember they’re kids: Some holiday traditions depend on kids being on their best behavior: lengthy services, parties with lots of strangers, elaborate meals that may not appeal to picky eaters. Try to keep those to a minimum and customize festivities for your kids’ frustration level. Don’t schedule more than one demanding event in a day, and make sure to include physical activity and plenty of downtime. Your kids will be grateful — and so will you.
Author: Rachel Ehmke
Source: Child Mind Institute
If your child is not feeling well, your physician is the best person to consult about whether she can go to school. Common sense, concern for your child's well-being, and the possibility of infecting classmates should all contribute to the decision about whether your child should stay home.
As general guidelines, keep her home if:
1. she has a fever
2.she is not well enough to participate in class
4..you think she may be contagious to other children
If your child has been ill but is feeling better, yet has still awakened with a minor problem, such as a runny nose or slight headache, you can send her to school if none of the three circumstances listed above is present. Even so, make sure the school and your child have a phone number where you can be reached during the day if more serious symptoms develop and she needs to return home.
Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
Share the fun this holiday with these Thanksgiving activities for kids.Thanksgiving is a time when families get together to share a meal and take time to be thankful for everyone in their lives. As parents, we know all too well that sharing that meal comes with a great deal of preparation, not to mention an even greater amount of stress. Add children running around the house to the mix and you have a recipe for chaos.
This year, get your children involved with preparing the Thanksgiving dinner and make the experience not only more meaningful for you as a family, but also a lot less stressful for you in the kitchen. Here are 16 ways to involve kids of all ages.
Ages 5 and Under
Here's how even the littlest of kids can help with the celebration.
Try these activities for slightly older kids.
Be inspired by these easy tasks.
Give older kids more responsibility.
Author: Alaina Sullivan, freelance writer. Source: www.care.com
Candy and costumes are great, but there is more than one way to appreciate the Halloween season. We’ve thought up some additional Halloween activities your family can enjoy before and after the one night of trick or treating.
Pumpkin decorating is a great activity for fine motor skill development. Carve or paint pumpkins with friends or family! If you have time, you could save the seeds and innards to make toasted pumpkin seeds or bake pumpkin bread later.
Corn mazes can easily become a fall tradition for your family or close friends. Stay in a group and get lost together weaving through tall rows of fresh corn. Corn mazes are also a great way for kids to exercise problem solving, memory and leadership skills as well. Let children take turns leading the group.
Haunted houses can be a ton of fun if you let kids plan and operate their own version. Set rules about props, equipment, and cleaning up afterward and allow kids some free time to create their own “haunted” experience. Let the kids think through the path their visitors will take and space out spooky aspects along the way. If creating a haunted house is too scary for your child you can create a fall fun house displaying pumpkins, scarecrows, and other fall-themed decorations. Gather neighbors and other adults to walk through and enjoy the fun.
Scavenger hunts can be a great adventure for kids. Get creative and make up a scavenger hunt for your kids. Have a friend or partner hide and be the treasure the clues lead to. Divide into groups so no one is running around outside in the dark alone. If young children are playing, assign each time a grown-up captain.
Werewolf Tag is a name for playing hide and seek tag outdoors after dark. There are many names for this simple but fun game. Be sure to establish boundaries before play starts. If younger children are hiding, break into pairs to hide. Once the people hiding have been spotted or suspect they’ve been found, the chase is on! No one is officially out until they’re tagged. Once someone is tagged they join the werewolf so there’s more than one seeker. By the end of the game there’s a whole pack of werewolves!
Flashlight tag is a nice alternative if Werewolf tag is a little too scary. Play tag at night, but participants carry flashlights so they can be seen and can see around them.
Lantern making is a fun crafting idea and a great way to decorate for a party. Simply take some brown or white paper lunch bags and cut fun shapes and designs into them. Put a little bit of sand into the bottom of the bag and place a battery operated candle in the base.
Costume report means doing something like a book report but covering a Halloween costume instead of a single book. If your child is dressing as a famous person or character, help them read and watch information on this person and prepare a little oral report that they can give in class, at show and tell, or for family members. If your child is dressing as an animal or thing, they can do research and prepare a report. Your child can also include why they chose to dress up as this particular character or animal. A presentation like this one will help practice communication skills.
** It’s important to modify activities depending on age or ability of your children. Parent supervision is necessary for each activity listed. Talk to your children about safety during the Halloween season in order to ensure everyone has a fun time.
Whatever your child’s age, a specific question, or even a specific statement, may prompt more of a response than the more general “How was school today?” If you listen to your child’s answer, and (if the opening is there) ask another question, you’ll be on your way to a meaningful conversation.
Ask kids about what interests them:
Understanding Each Other
So why don’t our kids want to tell us about their day at school? And why do we think we need to know every detail? And how can we become more effective listeners? To find out, take a look at the situation from your child’s perspective and compare it to your own.
“How was school?” and “how are you?” are not really questions — they’re greetings. A problem arises because we expect an answer. But the question is so general that it’s difficult for kids to answer, particularly when they are on overload from a challenging day at school. “What parents are trying to do when they ask ‘how was school?’ is to make contact with their child,” explains Michael Thompson, Ph.D. But we don’t realize that the question “how was school” may not be the most effective way to connect.
Kids often think adults ask too many questions.“And they are right,” adds Thompson, “we do. Adults are often just trying to start a conversation and don’t understand that their questions make a child feel put on the spot. Be aware that a question from a big person like you can place demands on a small child, even though you don’t mean it that way.””It’s important to also be clear why you are asking children about school. Is it merely chit chat, are you looking for something more meaningful, and are you communicating in ways that relate to your child’s experience?” notes Diane Levin, Ph.D.
School can be hard for kids and that’s why it’s hard for them to talk about it.Every day at school, kids get things wrong and make mistakes. That’s how they learn. But generally, kids don’t want to come home and say, “I was frustrated by my mistakes but I learned from them.” They would rather come home and say, “I got everything right.” Their feelings about meeting the expectations of their teachers, their parents, and themselves can make school a challenging topic to discuss.
So — should we stop asking questions? No. But you might ask fewer ones and try not to get crazy when your kids don’t respond the way you want them to. Remember that if your kids don’t want to talk, it’s not a rejection of you. When you do speak, try to find ways to discuss what’s meaningful to both your child and you, because this shows that you care.
There isn’t one right way, one perfect question, or one right time to have these conversations. Here are some suggestions to try:
Greet your child with an enthusiastic hello. Try saying “great to see you!” or “I missed you!” or simply, “I hope you had a good day,” instead of “How was school?” These statements communicate what you really feel without instantly putting your child on the spot with a question. As a result, your child is more likely to speak about her day.
Allow your child not to talk right after school. Many kids don’t want to talk the minute they walk in the door. They want to have a snack, call a friend, or just chill out. (Think about how you feel when you walk in after a long day at work. Wouldn’t you rather put your feet up and talk later?)
Learn about your child’s life at school. The more details you know about your child’s school experience, the more valuable your questions will be. If you know the teacher reads a story every day, ask “What story did Mrs. Younger read today?” If you know the teacher’s newsletter comes home on Wednesday, set up a ritual to read it together at dinner. If you visit your child’s classroom, make note of new things you might want to discuss with your child later.
Say what’s on your mind. If what you really need to know is “How did you do on the math test?” just ask. If you fish around, your child will resent it more. “But keep in mind that if you frequently ask questions about tests, that’s all kids will think you care about,” notes Lawrence Cohen, Ph.D.
Avoid face-to-face interrogations. You might do better in situations where you’re not face-to-face like the car, when your child takes a bath, or when you are cooking. In this way, your child won’t feel put on the spot.
Let the talk emerge naturally. Discuss the day while you cook dinner, read together, or check homework. But try not to use dinner as a time to talk about problems like homework or tests. Everybody needs a break!
Listen before you talk. Let your child lead you into conversations on her own. Sometimes your child will drop hints without your asking, like “We planted seeds today!” or “Where’s the atlas? I need to find Antarctica.” These are perfect openings to talk together about school.
Try communicating without words. The best way to make contact with your child isn’t necessarily through talking. “We want our children to talk with us — because talking is our way of communicating. But talk is not how all kids express themselves: play is,” notes Lawrence Cohen, Ph.D. “If we insist they talk our way, we may not get much information, but if we play on their terms, we might. Many children would prefer to reconnect with a hug, by playing a game, or rough housing. Some are more physical than verbal, so you might ask them to give you thumbs up or thumbs down about school, instead of describing it.”
Talk about funny things that happened to you. One of the best ways to stimulate conversation is to talk about funny stuff kids can relate to. “A great way to start conversation is to describe an interesting and funny event from your day. Kids will then respond and talk about interesting things that happened to them,” adds Cohen. Talk about the skunk you passed on the way to work. Talk about the toilet paper that got stuck to your shoe. Talk about the booger you saw hanging from your boss’ nose. Your kids will laugh and probably start talking to you — even the older ones.
Don’t jump in to fix your child’s problem immediately. If your child brings up a problem like “I hate my teacher!” take it in stride. First, find out what else your child has to say and what he wants to do about it. You might encourage your child to figure out solutions by asking, “What do you think you want to do about this?” and “Is there something you’d like me to do?” Follow up later with “How did your new strategies work?” or “You haven’t mentioned math class lately, does that mean it’s going better?” If the problem is serious, discuss it with the school.
Help children develop their own solutions. Don’t feel you need to supply the right answer yourself. Instead, share ideas about possible solutions that will help your child feel better. “This is a way to help your child see you as an ally who will support him when problems come up. By helping your child figure it out for himself, you are also giving him a whole set of tools for solving the problems independently as he gets older,” advises Diane Levin, Ph.D.
With back to school looming, now is the time to start thinking about getting your children back on a routine when it comes to getting to bed at a decent hour. Now’s the time to start implementing a sleep routine that will help ensure your kids get the sleep they need each night.
Give your kids the best chance at excelling in the classroom by making certain they get enough sleep. Students who get between nine and ten hours of sleep a night perform at their highest level.
Top tips for getting into a back-to-school sleep schedule:
Get the kids involved when it comes to setting up a bed time. Make the process gradual rather than immediate, so kids have time to adjust.
Helping your child get into a good sleep routine will benefit their academic performance and help them become more engaged in activities in and outside of school.
T.M.A.D. (Teens Making a Difference) a Non-Profit Christian Youth Organization in Herrin is offering a fun filled Summer Youth program every Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the Summer months.
The program is being offered to children from PreK through 5th Grade and runs from 10 am- 3 pm and runs from June 6th to August 2nd. Activities include recreation/field trips, music, drama, dance, home economics, art and community outreach. The program is being held at the groups Youth Centers at 313 & 317 N Park Ave
Admission is by donation and the recommended donation is $5 per child per day if you are able. All donations go toward the funding of the community youth center's programming.
T.M.A.D. is not associated with any specific denomination or church and they invite all people to be a part of T.M.A.D. Inc. regardless of denomination, race or background.
For additional questions call (618) 534-8928.