Posts Tagged ‘Parents’

Parents Report Spending Just 5 Hours a Week With Their Kids

January 27, 2020

 

This is a startling survey and a great wake up for us parents.

I couldn’t believe it. Parents claim to have only five hours a week of contact and four hours a week of conversation with their kids.

Many will justifiably point to the demands of dual working parents and the difficulty of getting their children off their devices. It is not for me to judge.

The issue is that it is more likely that today’s kids will become maladjusted due to their lack of meaningful contact with loved ones. This should be of great concern to all:

A recent survey of 1,000 British parents found that the average parent spends a mere five hours per week communicating face-to-face with their children.

More than half of surveyed moms and dads with children under the age of 18 said they feel “distant” from their kids. In all, 43% blamed their measly family time on their kids spending too much time in front of the television, with another 51% saying their kids spend too much time in their bedrooms. Another 44% said their familial disconnect is a result of their kids logging inordinate amounts of time on their phones during traditional “family time” in the evening.

The study, commissioned by Cadbury Heroes, also found that the average youngster starts to really avoid his or her parents around the age of 13. A significant 73% of respondents said their relationship with their children really changed once their sons and daughters became teenagers.

Nearly half (46%) of surveyed parents said they only talk to their kids for a maximum of four hours each week. Meanwhile, 54% said they would love to spend more time with their children.

To rectify this problem, over 80% of parents have taken an active interest in their children’s favorite activities in an effort to reconnect. For example, 20% of parents have learned how to play the popular online video game Fortnite, while 39% said they have gotten involved with their child’s hobbies. Another 33% have listened to their child’s favorite bands or musical artists in order to bond with them.

Comically, 25% have even tried to adopt youthful slang words such as “dope” or “YOLO.”

All in all, the average British parent tries to designate five days per month for “family time.” Regarding family time, 44% believe getting together as a family is a great way to avoid technology for a few hours. Finally, 50% of respondents said they try to encourage their kids to be more open and honest with them.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

The Other “F” Word

January 21, 2020

The first line in my well-received new novel is, “I’m so fat.”

It elicits cheeky giggles whenever I used to read it out. Kids are not used to hearing that word anymore and are especially surprised that a major character in a kid’s book nonchalantly expresses such a candid self-reflection.

By the end of the first page, my audience grows to love the character and appreciate his honesty. Cheeky giggles are replaced with unabashed giggles. Finally, a character that feels comfortable to express the thoughts that many of us feel on a daily basis – seems to be the consensus.

When I first started reading the then-unfinished manuscript, a student approached me and told me how much the character of Jake meant to her. She told me that she had been ignored and disrespected because of her weight and it was inspiring to see those very same students that have ostracised her completely warmed to the fat character and instantly accepted him. She told me it gives her hope that the overweight kid can achieve some positive attention for a change.

I asked her what her name was.

“Nina”, she replied.

I told her I would name one of the major characters “Nina” because her words had moved me so much.

Nina is probably an adult now and probably has no recollection of that day and the origins of her namesake in my book. But her reaction has not been unique.

As a teacher, I’ve had the opportunity to read my book to thousands of students along the journey. There is a good reason why the word “fat” is frowned upon and there is a logic behind society’s reluctance to explicitly draw attention to weight.

But fat people know they are fat and are looking for a character that can own up to it and then prosecute the case why being overweight should never overshadow a person’s spirit, wisdom and achievements.

Enter Jake Archibald and the book, My Favourite Comedian.

Thank you, Nina!

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

 

The 221 Mistakes Parents Make Every Year

January 20, 2020

 

A recent survey claims that parents make 221 mistakes every year. Well, that’s a relief. I thought I was the only one.

I can’t wait until the survey claiming teachers make 798 mistakes every year.

The biggest mistakes were quite predictable:

 

A survey conducted by OnePoll of 2000 parents, ages 23 and up, on behalf of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, found that the biggest blunder of parenting was allowing too much screen time for children. It accounted for 65 percent, followed by teaching children swear words (42 percent) and allowing them to watch content inappropriate for their age (39 percent).

The survey explored the challenges of modern parenting, finding that age six was the most complicated for handling children. Parents were ready to give up quite a bit to make their kids behave properly. 30 percent were willing to give up social media, 30 percent were prepared to sacrifice wine, and 26 percent were ready to sacrifice Netflix.

Among the surveyed group of parents, when it came to parenting advice, 42 percent approached their partner, 41 percent reached out to their mother, and 31 percent relied on other parents. Parents also turn to technology for parenting advice, and while 17 percent use the internet, almost 10 percent refer to social media.

 

I note that this survey was conducted by Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. Not sure I’d want a product with that name in my shopping trolley.

Surely that counts as one of the mistakes parents make.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Speaking to Children About the Australian Bushfires

January 12, 2020

 

It has been so difficult to watch the carnage at the hands of the bushfires in my country, Australia.

What has offset some of the pain and devastation has been the outpouring of goodwill from regular Australians as well as prominent figures both locally and overseas. No greater than Shane Warne, a local cricketing hero who has auctioned off his prized “baggy green” representative cricket hat for the bushfire appeal. The hat raised over 1 million dollars and will make a significant difference to those affected.

I don’t have a million dollars to give, but I am looking forward to donating all the royalties for my book sales during the month of January. I may even extend it to February to maximise my donation.

One of the difficult aspects of this story is how the crises is affecting children. An event of this magnitude poses many challenges for parents as they try to ensure that their children don’t become too anxious or depressed over it.

Samantha Dick from the New Daily wrote a brilliant article on this very topic, which included the following tips for parents and teachers:

 

1. Let them know that whatever they are feeling is okay

Listen to your children’s concerns and respond from a position of strength.

E.g. “I can hear how worried you are. What’s happening is scary, but you are safe. There are so many people who feel exactly the way you do. You aren’t alone – I promise.”

2. Reassure your children

Let them know there are lots of people like firefighters working hard to keep them safe.

If they see emergency services personnel or hear sirens, reassure them that these experts are very skilled at what they do.

3. Help your children know they, and others, won’t be alone

Disasters are a time when communities come together.

Remind them that people who have lost their homes or have been hurt in the fires will be looked after.

Talk to them about the charities and organisations like Foodbank Australia and Red Cross providing support.

Remind them of the good in the world.

4. What if this happens to us?

Traumatic events can make children very aware of their own vulnerability. They will usually look to the close adults in their lives for signs of safety.

E.g. “Every time something like this happens, we learn how to stay safer. We learn how things like this happen, so we can stop it happening again.”

5. Keep up to date with weather and warnings

Talk to your children about weather warnings and fire ratings, especially for total fire ban days, and explain why some activities like cooking sausages on barbecues are prohibited at these times.

6. Make sure your children know vital information

Make sure they can recite their full name and address, emergency contact numbers and any allergies or medical conditions they have.

Check they know to call Triple Zero in an emergency and practice what they need to say.

Practice your fire plan with them.

7. Help them find ways to help

Encourage your children to find ways to help others in their community.

Explain how their own acts of kindness will help alleviate their own feelings of despair and helplessness.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Discussing the New Zealand Volcano Tragedy with Children

December 11, 2019

How on earth do you explain the tragedy that took place in Paris to young children?

Below are some tips by experts in the field that can be used to assist in facilitating discussions about the recent New Zealand volcano tragedy:

 

Watch for Trauma: “Young children may have difficulties identifying and expressing feelings. Parents should pay attention to the children’s play (for instance, preoccupation with certain aggressive electronic games, drawings, repetitive play that imitates the traumatic event or events). Another sign of trauma is avoidance of reminders.” — Dr. Aurelia Bizamcer, Medical Director, Outpatient Psychiatry at Temple University Hospital

Keep Answers Truthful but Simple: “We’re not holding back, but we’re not giving more because the giving more could have the risk of alarming the child. … As a parent you have an obligation to protect a young child from being overwhelmed.” –Alan Kazdin, Professor of Psychology and Child Psychiatry at Yale University; Director of the Yale Parenting Center.

Reassure Them: “We need to appreciate that kids have different fears. Many will worry about the movies, but others will worry about such events spilling over to other areas, such as the mall, school, the neighborhood. For kids of all ages, it is really important to let them know that these kinds of events are incredibly rare. ” –Dr. Gene Beresin, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training, Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital

Keep Answers Age-Appropriate: “Parents should be sure to pitch the discussion to their kids’ developmental level. For a 6-year-old, it’s completely appropriate to reassure them of their safety, with some emphasis on the fact that this person is no longer at large. For kids over the age of 8, more concrete details are appropriate, along with, perhaps, a general discussion of how to be safe in public — locating exit doors for instance, and getting to safety in the event of any dangerous occurrence.” –Jay Reeve,President and Chief Executive Officer, Apalachee Center

Don’t Make Assumptions: “Don’t project your own feelings, fears and anxiety on kids because you know you don’t really know exactly what your kids are feeling until you talk to them.” –Dr. Jane Taylor, psychiatrist

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can download a free ebook copy by clicking here or buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Explaining Hawaii to Young Children

January 14, 2018

 

Twitter is awash with jokes about Hawaii and the missile false alarm.

One can understand why. When a person tries to regroup from a near trauma, they go to comedy to help them manage the shock.

But there is one section of the population that wont want to make light of this episode – young children. The kind that I teach in Primary school.

They wont get the humor and will be perplexed (and often wounded) by the story if it isn’t explained in a discrete and careful manner. The worst thing in the world a parent could do is make light of it or laugh it off. That wont work for children.

The best way to deal with it is to explain that sometimes adults believe things that make no sense. That a missile is never going to hit Hawaii and adults were so surprised by the message that they lost all common sense.

But isn’t that lying?

I feel that this white lie is imperative. Children must have it reinforced that their homes are not going to be pelted with missiles. Not now. Not ever.

Jokes will enable adults to move on.

I worry about the children.

 

Click on the link to read The Death of a Student

Click on the link to read Explaining the Paris Tragedy to Young Children

Click on the link to read Some Kids Are So Brave! (Video)

Click on the link to read Guess What This Map Represents

Our Students Show us Up All the Time!

November 7, 2015

bobby

 

You just know when there’s a badly worded question that our students will pick up on it. Take the worksheet above for example.

 

 

Click on the link to read Hilarious Video of Children Eating Candy

Click on the link to read Helping Kids Learn from Failure

Click on the link to read How Babies Learn (Video)

Click on the link to read Celebrating Our Mistakes

Tips for Making a Parent-Teacher Relationship Work

January 5, 2015

parent-teacher-cartoonThe strength of the parent-teacher relationship is absolutely pivotal to achieving in the classroom. Below are some insightful tips by teacher Toby Sorge:

 

* Think of what the end goal is. Teachers can tell when the focus is on a specific grade or assessment, whether the communication is by email, phone call or in person. Giving authentic feedback and grading assessments is not an easy task, but remember that the grade that was earned is now in the past.

* Work with the teacher to create a plan. This plan should focus on student engagement and growth. This may take time, so it’s important to trust the process. Maintain open lines of communication, so if you have questions about your role, you can ask and have them answered.

* Trust is one of the core values when it comes to fostering a successful relationship. Trust that the teacher knows what’s best for each student and how to get there.

* Trusting the process of learning is also important. True learning and deep engagement do not happen with one quiz, test or writing assignment. They take time.

* Make sure you work with teachers and not against them. Instead of coming in with an agenda, work on creating a plan with the teacher. The plan should focus on the development, practice and reinforcement of skills.

* Offer suggestions but also take advice. Discussing with teachers ways for students to succeed will help everyone fully understand children and what their capabilities are.

 

Click on the link to read Sometimes It’s Worth Risking a Fight With a Parent

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Dealing With Difficult Parents

Click on the link to read 5 Helpful Tips for a Better Parent-Teacher Conference

Click on the link to read The Cafeteria Controversy

Click on the link to read Insensitive ‘Parent Bashers’ Take Aim at Grieving Colorado Parents

Are Our Expectations for Children Too High?

September 16, 2014

shave

 

I believe very strongly in setting firm but fair expectations for my students when it comes to behaviour, respect for others and effort. But in doing so, I must be mindful not to overburden them. The last thing I want is for them to drown in unrealistic expectation.

Author and speaker put together a list of unfair expectations parents put on their kids:

 

1. Always be in a good mood.

Isn’t it upsetting when you come home from a long day of work and your kids are in a bad mood? You worked hard all day to put food in their bellies; the least they can do is not add to your stress. Right?

I’ve felt this way, but the thing I had to realize is that they have bad days too. It might have been that irritating kid at school or a teacher in a bad mood, it could have even been their other parent, but our children experience things throughout their day that will put them in a bad mood, just like us.

We have to cut them some slack at times; they have issues to deal with too. Do you remember how crazy being young felt at times? They’re not always going to be in a good mood, and we have to learn to accept that. Don’t misunderstand me, if your child is ALWAYS in a bad mood, that’s a different story.

2. Be perfect in school.

It’s natural to want your children to study hard and breeze through school like Doogie Howser, MD, but you have to remember that was a TV show! In real life, children learn things differently. It’s our job to guide them, not punish them because they may have a harder time learning.

We’re not perfect at work — at most jobs, it’s not expected. School is our children’s form of “work” until they go out into the world.

3. Never mess up.

It’s frustrating when our children mess up. It could be a dish dropped, door slammed or something bigger, like a car accident. Hey, WE MESS UP TOO! Why do we try to hold our kids to a standard that we can’t maintain ourselves? Mistakes happen, we ALL mess up, that’s life. Don’t hold being human against your children.

4. Be grateful for what I’ve given you.

We give our children so much, and yes, they should be grateful, but being a parent means putting your children’s needs before your own. We can’t just give them the scraps.

That goes for giving of yourself too. Just because you’re in a room with them doesn’t mean you’re spending time with them — especially if you’re glued to the TV. They shouldn’t be grateful for just your presence; they need your attention, too. Give them everything you have, not what you think you can afford to spare.

5. Ignore how we treat each other.

Our children see and pick up more than we think. When we have those “heated” discussions in what we think is private, chances are they know what’s going on.

How you treat each other will affect what kind of people they grow up to be. If you talk down to each other in front of them, if you criticize or belittle each other, you better believe they will too one day.

Our children learn how to treat others from us. Not what we tell them — how we actually treat people. Think twice before you let your emotions take over and cause you to say something that could affect your kids.

6. Don’t try to get away with anything.

I remember trying to get away with so much stuff when I was younger. My mother would yell at me when she caught me. She would tell me daily that she couldn’t wait for me to have children to see what she has to go through.

I use to think, Whatever, Mom… until I had children of my own. Turns out, mom was right. We have to remember what it was like at that age and not make every incident a nuclear explosion.

Yes, some things warrant certain punishments, but others aren’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. If it’s a minor issue, letting your kids learn a “life lesson” might be a better approach.

Our youngest son worked hard all summer to buy a laptop for himself. When we moved here to Maui, he ended up dropping it and cracking the screen. We found out a few weeks later, and we were furious.

He lied to us, he hid things from us, he broke an expensive item. We had to take a step back, cool off and remember that this affected him more than us; he bought it with his own money. We talked to him about the lying, but him breaking his own laptop was a life lesson.

7. Always forgive.

You can’t constantly treat your children poorly and expect them to always forgive. They might have a high tolerance for our issues, but there will come a limit.

There are some rough situations. Parents split up, maybe even divorce; there are money issues, stresses of everyday life, and lots of things that are out of your control. But you have to make the best out of every bad situation and not take it out on your children. In those situations, you have to do as much as you can to give them some sense of normalcy.

8. Do what I say, not what I do.

At the end of the day, our children learn more by what we do, not what we say. Actions do speak louder than words in parenting, and you have to lead by example.

When I told my children I was writing this, they informed me that I had a lot more than eight unrealistic expectations. I was irritated, but I’m sure they’re right.

We have to let our kids be kids, not perfect robots. They’re going to mess up — that’s life. Our job is to guide them and be there for them. If a situation requires discipline, then by all means do what needs to be done.

Here is what I challenge you to do: Take a step back first, and don’t let your emotions control the situation. These years are vital in molding the kind of people they will become.

9 Characteristics of a Great Teacher According to Parents

May 12, 2014

 

teacher quality

 

This list of of characteristics that great teachers possess prove that parents are extremely perceptive when it comes to assessing teacher quality.

 

1. They teach self-confidence.

“My daughter has gone from being shy and lacking self-confidence to being brave enough to teach a math class to her peers. She is shining and thriving and is excited about school every morning.” — Christine Sulek-Popov

2. They’ve got it covered.

“I know that my children are well looked after at school and I don’t have to worry because you will let me know if there is a problem.” — Erin Marsee Irby

3. They make kids feel special.

“My child feels like he belongs!” — Sherri Kellock

4. They know every child is different.

“You don’t compare his skill set to the other [kids in his class]. He is an individual and he’s treated as such.” — Athena Albin

5. Their commitment is unparalleled.

“My kids’ teachers are amazing. All 3 of them. They’ve brought my son out of his shell, they’re teaching my daughter how to be a leader, and they spend countless hours outside of the school time working on homework, fundraising, organizing class outings, and continuing to upgrade their skills all so they can be even better teachers than they already are.” — Jane Brewer

6. They have parents’ backs.

“My daughter had so many opportunities to see how valuable helping her peers can be, and you’re helping reinforce my lessons to her that there is joy in service.” — Debbie Vigh

7. They’re fair.

“My son is accepted for who he is. And you make the playing field even for everyone!” — Gayle Stroud

8. They’re always raising the bar.

“My daughter has grown in ways I never could have imagined. I’ve seen her flourish in areas I struggle in.” — Shaunna Glaspey

9. They generally rock.

“My son loves going to school everyday. You make him feel safe, loved, and included. It may be hard for you to see (since he is so shy) but he loves spending his day in your care.” — Jennifer O’Donnell Snell

 

Click on the link to read 9 Secrets for Raising Happy Children

Click on the link to read Brilliant Prank Photos Show Parenting at its Worst

Click on the link to read Little Girl’s Delightful “Brake Up” Note

Click on the link to read 9 Truths About Children and Dinnertime

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