Hope is in Your Horoscope
Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Hope is a learned response and a bigger determinant of success than intelligence, skill or previous success. It is your work as parent, grandparent, or caregiver to help your children stay hopeful. If your children have a higher “hope score,” they will be more successful at achieving academic and athletic goals. They will be able to recognize and make the best use of opportunities. With your children and yourself, if you make the choice to hope, you put yourselves in control of how you react to circumstances, knowing that you can draw on hope to see things in a new or different way. Hope strengthens us and expands our capacity to believe in our dreams and what is possible for us.
How do you develop hope? First of all, you need to be optimistic, to believe that things will get better. You need to set goals for yourselves and help your children to do so. What are you good at? What are your strengths? Look at yourself and see what you have to share with your children now. Not all learning is done in school or on the internet and you know things you can teach your children. It may be how to cook or sew, or how to kick or throw a football. It may be how to sing or play an instrument. It may be how to read a book out loud or tell a joke. There definitely needs to be something to work toward. Having goals to work towards in one of the best ways to have hope.
Hopes are the strands that run through our lives—our struggles, our successes and setbacks, our strengths and shortcomings. Realistic and reasonable hope can move us forward toward achieving goals and lift us up as we accomplish each step in attaining them You and your children need to “high five” or pat yourselves on the back each time you move a step closer to your goals. If each one of you is setting and accomplishing a goal, you encourage and help each other. (www.wikihow.com). Hope breeds hope.
You can even schedule hope according to Noami Drew. You can create a daily 5-minute silence ritual and curtail your intake of the news. Develop a mantra such as "I am the key to hope." "I am the key to peace in my family."
Using this time to make a difference in your lives gives you the opportunity to live your greatest promises and to develop your highest and best selves. Hope is energy, fuel for living. Hope is a necessity, an emotional engine and basis for engaging in life.
Hopeful thinkers achieve more and are physically and psychologically healthier than less hopeful people. Charles Richard Snyder
Treat your family to a healthy, hopeful life in spite of COVID 19.
Laughter—Antidote to Coronavirus
All you need in the world is love and laughter. That’s all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other. August Wilson
Laughter occurs when people are comfortable with one another, when they feel open and free. And the more laughter there is, the more bonding happens within a family. Maybe we do not have enough laughter in our lives these days. There is so much stress, unhappiness and fear in the world and in our families. No wonder we run with tech.
Parents who are dedicated to the best interests, social development and academic success of their children can accomplish great things by using a variety of humorous approaches to family activities, meals and studies.
Laughter is a link to creativity and divergent thinking. It may lead to new ideas and understandings. Laughter is important to physical well-being and stress relief for all ages. Laughter runs through many regions of the brain as a source of energy to help grow stronger relationships and opportunities for success. It is a highly effective way to stimulate conversation for both the speaker and the listener.
When you have a meal together, laughter provides time for bonding and building trust. However, be careful that you don’t laugh at the wrong time or in a derogatory manner. Don’t let your children make fun of each other which causes embarrassment or ridicule. This is counterproductive to social and academic growth.
As you help your children with their schoolwork, laughter enables learning and relieves boredom and monotony. It helps children stay “tuned in” to what they are learning. As you come up with rhymes and songs to help children remember important math facts or new words, your "silliness” my help them retain important information. Use rhymes, chants, riddles, jokes, anecdotes and games to help children make valuable connections, enhance learning, boost creativity and critical thinking skills. Use humor and laughter to teach good moral behavior and responsibility. Use this ability to instill trust and confidence and provide children with a means of coping with sadness and disappointment.
Reading books that rhyme is fun for all and increases children’s desire to read. Such books as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Brown Bear, Brown Bear and many of the Dr. Seuss books are fun for younger children while Parts, For Laughing Out Loud and The New Kid on the Block by Jack Prelutsky might bring out the giggles with older readers. Check your library website for more suggestions.
From your parents, you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot in front of the other. But when books are opened, you discover you have wings. Helen Hayes
Laughter may even improve job performance as you work from home, especially if your work causes frustration and involves solving complex problems. The major function of laughter is to bring people together, to connect people emotionally.
Count the times you have a good laugh together. together. Give your children love and laughter.
Within the articles posted recently, I have tried to share websites with you that I have found helpful. I have often referred to them throughout the writing of my weekly articles for the Southern Arizona newspaper—the Sahuarita Sun.
I would also like to share an article I happened across about “6 Parenting Mistakes” on Empowering Parents. This is to show you that you are not alone and there is no such being as a “perfect parent.” The six mistakes that most of us make are not forgiving ourselves for losing our temper, for being inconsistent with discipline, for blaming ourselves for our children’s behavior, for doing too much for our children, for giving ineffective consequences, and for feeling as it you never have enough time or money to give your children. For more, see empoweringparents.com/article/perfect-parents-don't-exist-forgive-yourself-for-these-6-parenting-mistakes written by Sara Bean.
Sara also suggests giving them strong values, teaching them the value of hard work, saving money, careful spending, gratitude for what they have, and giving to others less fortunate are the most valuable gifts you can give your children.
I agree … hope you do also.
A Time for Patience
Patience is defined in the dictionary as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset. Throughout the times we are presently forced to tolerate, I cannot believe that there is any greater quality needed than patience.
We must spend a lot of time right now with our children who are not in school. We need to get to know them and tolerate their moods and actions. We need to be patient with them and with ourselves in a rare situation through this virus attack.
Patience can be taught to our children as we attempt to help them at home. They need to be patient with themselves when we limit their screen time which may be all they know to do with their out-of-school time. They need to be patient with their siblings when they get little break from them. They need to be patient with you as their “substitute teacher--more patient than they have been with the substitute teachers in school.
If we teach patience as a strength when dealing with people, as courage, as something that makes our children healthier and happier, we will accomplish more learning than they receive in school. If we teach them patience as steadfastness in face of the teasing and tormenting from siblings, we will also help ourselves to have patience. If all of us can remain calm in waiting for this to pass, we will have become better people, patient people.
Patience is not the ability to wait, but how you act while you are waiting.
(See specific articles to learn how to grow patience in your children of all ages.)
Even if the goal is academic, when we teach young people emotional skills, social skills, we see better mental health. Shimi Kang
If we want our children to succeed in life, there are social and emotional skills we must teach them. As parents and caregivers, our time is important, but taking time to help children learn to control and use their feelings and emotions properly in society is worth every minute of our time. This generation is growing up with tech time, but not parent time.
Children who grow up feeling like they can't do things, are not good enough or that they are not worth anything experience mood swings, loss of pleasure and poor concentration. These feelings are made worse by a tech-based society in which children experience social isolation and disconnection.
Impulse control is one of the skills with which we can help our children. "Mastery of impulse is all about self-discipline and choice. The mind is a powerful tool with which we have the ability to be in control of ourselves," says Alaric Hutchinson.
Children need balance in their lives which parents and caregivers can give. Creating routines, providing the right amount of nourishment in the form of fruits and vegetables with fewer calorie-rich snacks, limiting the amount of time children are on screen, providing time for physical activity, enough sleep for their age, and family time, especially at meals help children to know who they are and their place in the family as well as society. Communication and conversations are needed for children to grow successfully, to feel good about themselves and to achieve in their studies.
Suggestion: Make time to listen to your children.
You may have attended your fall parent conference; you may have found
that your child is still “not getting it.” You may be frustrated and ready to give up
on this parenting thing.
We know that children are our future and we need to prepare them for that. However, they are not going to be able to pick up all the technological things they need if they cannot read, write and spell satisfactorily. (Notice, I did not say successfully or perfectly.) They surely need a basic amount of communication skills to continue to be interested and grow their learning.
The skills they continue to learn are skills you can help them with at home. If they claim they have no homework, still give them “quiet time”—reading, writing, drawing, just thinking, but not playing video games. They can look at pictures in a magazine or book, read graphic novels (comic books, when we were growing), read or write poetry, write in a journal (spelling excepted), draw their dreams or sketch a robot to help clean their room.
You must give them time to explore their interests, to help you to know the kind of gift you might get for them for Christmas that goes along with their developing passion. You might purchase a reasonably priced guitar or music lessons if they show interest in music, a model car they can construct, or a game they can conquer or sports lessons to challenge their competitive spirit. How about a science kit or a microscope for your children whose bent is towards discovery of nature or how things work.
You can use your “quiet time” to show interest and observe your children. For this, you, too must put down your phone or tablet to find what interests your children. Learning skills will strengthen as your children pursue what they like or what interests them. If there is strong interest, they will want to discover more, read more, even write more. They will develop their own way to learn and will do what is necessary for them to acquire more knowledge. Nagging, pushing or doing more worksheets will not help. Time spent with your children and conversation with them is invaluable.
They may forget what you said, but they will never forget HOW you made them feel. Carol Buchner
Summer vacation presents a new challenge for parents, especially for those working parents. For young families, it means looking for someone to care for your children. If older children, parents wonder how they are using their time off. Hopefully, if they are old and responsible enough, they may be baby sitting your own or other children. If your sons are ambitious, they may be seeking to help an elderly neighbor, such as cutting their lawns of putting their trash barrel on the curb for pick-up.
Here are some items for you to consider:
Try to keep as much of a routine as you can. Children thrive on knowing how, when and where they must operate.
Be sure each child knows how they are to contribute to your family: feeding and walking the dog, loading/unloading the dishwasher and/or clothes washer and dryer, taking out the trash, and making sure the recyclables are in the right container for pickup on the right day. Children need to be responsible for their own rooms—making their beds and putting their clothes in the hamper. Habits you establish during the summer when you and they have time help your children consider them part of their school-day routine. to Experts suggest these chores not be paid as allowance, but necessary to the functioning as a family. Give allowances for extra work, but not for those necessary to the daily health of your family.
Make quiet time part of the schedule. We all need time to read, think, dream in favorite ways, and summer gives us time to do so. This is what helps us to have a relaxing summer.
Keep children’s minds working through planned summer activities, day camps for their special interests, online academic classes (Khan Academy, Epic, Brain Chase Summer Learning Challenge Treasure Hunt, Summer 20 (audio books for fun and games), HappiMe for Young People and Three Good Things—A Happiness Journal (to keep your children mentally healthy).
New experiences and new places to travel for the whole family, even on weekends, help children to be curious, ask questions, and learn fascinating things.
Summer should be time planned for family activities but not to forget to learn. Make your summer learning a joy for you and your children.
A balanced brain makes a child's digestion and immune system function properly and also increases intellectual ability...When a child does not have a balanced brain, he can have problems with his motor skills, ability to process information, digestive system, hormones, and immune systems. Dr. Robert Melillo
Opportunities for parents to balance children's brains make an exciting and interesting summer. There are many ways to help your child expand their capacity for learning without stressing your budget. First of all, you must limit screen time--the time children spend watching TV, playing video games, talking and texting on their smart phones.
We have the power to change our brains--through exercise. Exercise spawns neurons in the brain and feeds the brain to help cells survive. Aerobic exercise, such as jogging, riding a bike, even playing a sport that involves sprinting or running is good. It has been suggested that moving in this way 30 minutes, 2 or 3 times a week for 12 weeks or throughout the summer improves your children's ability to organize, plan, and act on information.
Learning a new skill such as rock climbing, yoga, karate, Pilates, gymnastics, or skating strengthens and expands the brain's networks and ability to think and learn. Tennis and other activities done with a partner combine aerobic and skill training which strengthens the cardiovascular system as well as beefs up the brain's infrastructure. Twister and "freeze dancing" (dancing or moving until music stops, then freeze) give body and brain stretches.
Play, unstructured play, is an opportunity for children to exercise their brains and bodies while learning to navigate social situations and problem solve on their own. With their play, children improve their alertness, attention and motivation. They even build and encourage nerve cells to bind to one another and develop new nerve cells from stem cells in the area of the brain related to memory and learning.
Balance the brain through games like Go Fish (improves hand-eye coordination), tangrams and jigsaw puzzles (improves spacial relationships and logical ability), Uno ( improves attention, pattern recognition, numbers and colors), Scrabble (vocabulary and spelling), and strategy games such as checkers, chess, and Chinese checkers (planning and critical thinking).
Use the senses to build brains. Blindfold children and let them taste things to identify what they are. Allow them to smell different kinds of smells (black pepper, coffee, and lemon for right brain to become open to new and varied foods) and banana, lavender and chocolate for left brain. Exercise children's eyes to improve focus. Have them hold their thumb in a hitchhiking position and follow it with their eyes as they move it near and far in front of their face. Holding head still, have children move eyes in all directions to improve peripheral vision. Maintain their balance and coordination by taking a walk, climbing stairs, and standing still on one foot at a time.
Summer routines including these kinds of exercise helps the brain learn and improves the rate of learning for all your children. Don't let their brains idle!
Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one. Author Neil Gaiman.
Your local librarian is a treasure that you as parents must discover for the sake of your children. He/she can research anything you or your children want to know. If your children are working on a project or assignment that requires them to find out more, take a trip to the library. If you do not know to use the computer, your librarian will be your guide. If you do not know how to use the card catalog, or sources for research, your librarian will help. She will even help you find pictures and diagrams to enhance your presentation.
The only thing your librarian can not do is think and figure out how to use the information you find. Parents can help you organize material if given enough time.
Children, make sure your parents know your assignment as soon as it is given. Your parents cannot help if you do not keep them in the loop...and give yourself enough time. The research sometimes is the easiest to do, but the thinking and organizing takes time.
Parents, check out the articles posted here for this time of year. It is so more important that you spend time with your children (without devices) than for you to buy them expensive gifts. You put your family under more pressure to pay for these gifts using credit that needs to be repaid in the new year.
Build memorable times together that will last longer than digital devices and you will be giving presents to future grand- and great-grand children as your children grow and remember past Christmases with you. Your children will imitate Christmases they remember with you to pass them along to their children if you make happy, even traditional and cultural, memories for them now.