Back to School Series, Part 5 – Happiness

Back to schoolMany kids are already back in school (thank goodness mine are!), and those that aren’t will be starting soon, so to wrap-up our “Back to School Series”, let’s talk briefly about Happiness. Continue reading

Back to School Series, Part 4 – Accountability

Back to schoolAs we inch closer to the first day of school, there is much to be done to prepare our children… school clothes/uniforms, backpacks, and school supplies are some of the standard checklist items.  What about mentally preparing our kids to jump back into the routine?  Are you talking with your kids about your hopes and expectations for them this year?  Accountability is an excellent topic to touch-on.

Definition of Accountability
n.
1. the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable; an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.

Last week we talked about responsibility, the relative synonym of accountability.  Let’s be sure and understand the difference between the two:

“Accountability” is being answerable to others for your actions, or lack thereof.
“Responsibility” is being liable and dependable when it comes to tasks or actions.

Accountability leads to responsibility. Last week, I used my daughter forgetting to write down her homework assignment, as an example.  I can encourage her to be resourceful in hopes of getting the information she needs, but I will also need to remind her that it’s her responsibility to come home with the assignment.  Further, she needs to understand that the consequences for not getting the information and completing the assignment will be accountability to her teacher the next morning.  What that “accountability” entails is up to the teacher… sitting out of recess to complete the assignment, being given extra math problems, writing down 5 things that she’ll do in the future so it doesn’t happen again, etc.

Essential Questions:
How can we help our children think about accountability before they
take (or don’t take) action?

Being the “A Type” gal that I am, I like lists and charts!  I think a great way to get your children thinking about being accountable for their actions (or non-actions) is to lay it out for them in the simplest format possible and include them in tracking their actions day to day.  The more we talk to them about being accountable and reward them with our time and attention in tracking their progress, the more natural accountability will come to them.  They will also exhibit a great sense of pride in their accomplishments… I call that a “win-win”!

What are some ways that you’ve created a culture of accountability with your kids and in your home?  Do tell!  Let’s keep the dialogue going.  By sharing our thoughts and ideas we can help each other nurture accountability in our young citizens!

Until next time…

Much love,
Renee

Back To School Series, Part 3 – Responsibility

Back to schoolAs we prepare to send our children back to school, another excellent conversation to have with them is on Responsibility.

It’s clear that depending on age, responsibilities and our expectations of such will vary. Continue reading

Back to School Series, Part 2 – Empathy

Back to schoolAs we prepare to send our kids back to school, another great conversation to have with them is about empathy. Continue reading

Back to School Series, Part 1 – Addressing Differences

Back to schoolIt’s hard to believe the beginning of the school year is right around the corner.  With that in mind, I hope to get you thinking about ways you can better prepare your kids for the transition back to life in the classroom.

One of my personal goals Continue reading

Make Yourself Extraordinary

I love the below quote from Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.

“We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us. We don’t like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary.”
Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success    

Let’s teach our kids to do the work!  As adults, we know that there are no shortcuts.

Happy Monday!

A Checklist of Summer Fun

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Now that we’re about half way through summer, you may be starting to hear “I’m bored!”… does that ring a bell?  Good heavens, what are we, our kids’ personal social planners? I was recently chatting with a friend about our kids, and how for some reason they think we are responsible for setting them up to do something “amazing and fun” with friends everyday!  What happened to playing outside with the kids on the street, riding your bike or skateboarding to the park, or just simply jumping in the pool?

In search of ideas, I found this “Fun Summer Activities Checklist” on the Real Simple website. http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/entertainment/summer-activities-00100000082747/index.html

I love it!  I actually pasted it into Word and added a few select activities of my own, then  allowed each of my kids to make a checklist of their own, using this one as a guide.  Of course I had to set some boundaries or my son would have added a Travel category and expected a 4 day weekend in Rome!  All joking aside, I’ve found that my children tend to keep it simple when they feel empowered to be adventurous and “in control” of their time. Along the way, inject some lessons of gratitude… for summer, free-time, ladybugs and butterflies, a sense of adventure, popsicles, whatever!  There’s no shortage of things for our children to be grateful for, but as you know, sometimes they need to be reminded:)

Give your kids a chance to be their own social planner and see what they come up with… you may be surprised!

Have fun!

Let Them Play

iStock_000021122207XSmallWell, Here we are about halfway through summer.  Looking back over the past few weeks… which by the way have flown by… I’m feeling reaffirmed in my thought process of kids just needing to play.  I stumbled across this great article “Why Free Play is the Best Summer School” written by Jessica Lahey.

http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/06/for-better-school-results-clear-the-schedule-and-let-kids-play/373144/

The article states, and I quote:  “Unscheduled, unsupervised, playtime is one of the most valuable educational opportunities we give our children.  It is fertile ground; the place where children strengthen social bonds, build emotional maturity, develop cognitive skills and shore up their physical health“.

My kids are both very sporty, and therefore, typically over-scheduled with practices and games.  While I try to strike a balance, it’s sometimes tough, and it’s article like this that bring it back to center for me.

Check out the article and share your thoughts.

Until next week… it’s time to Play!!

Life as a Relay

iStock_000000698569SmallI’ve been reading Hard Choices the new Hillary Rodham Clinton memoir, and I am struck by a paragraph in chapter 2… she says and I quote:

“America’s leadership in the world resembles a relay race.  A Secretary, a President, a generation are all handed the baton and asked to run a leg of the race as well as we can, and then we hand off the baton to our successors.”

When I read that, I immediately thought about it’s application to parenting.  We parents are charged with what is arguably the most important job on the planet and I genuinely believe that all parents begin the journey (or race!) wanting to be the best parents we can be.  We strive to impart as much wisdom as we are capable, and instill all the important character traits in our children that we know to be right and true.  Hopefully, somewhere along the way, these character traits were modeled for us… by either a parent, caregiver, teacher, mentor or coach.

This is a vivid reminder that life is a marathon and not a sprint and that it is truly never too late to join the race and become part of a successful “relay”.  One in which we eventually pass the baton to our kids in hopes of someday seeing them as successful, responsible citizens and parents themselves.

As I prepare my summer reading lists for both kids and parents (coming next week), I will certainly be including Hard Choices.  Regardless of your political beliefs or alignments, reading the recently released memoir of the former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State should not be a hard choice at all!

Happy Summer!

Much love,
Renee