Class Novels – make them a positive reading experience

Seeing as it’s the start of the school year and that 2012 is the National Year of Reading, I thought it would be a good time to talk about making the class novel a positive reading experience.

A couple of years ago I was visiting a school when an enthusiastic English teacher asked me if I could suggest new ways to engage students studying a class novel. Following on from this, I did a talk on New Ways To Present Class Texts at a 2010 VATE (Victorian Association of English Teacher’s) Conference.

At the time it struck me that the getting the most out of the class novel isn’t just about the teacher. It’s about collaboration between teacher, parent/caregiver and student.

As an author and parent, I want my kids to feel inspired by their class novel. I want them to learn about the book and how it was created; to help them gain an increased understanding of the way it was written and the themes and topics covered.

I think there’s a lot that parents/caregivers can do to help this process, and the first thing is to read the novel ourselves so that we model good reading, and that we’re in a position to have informed and insightful discussion about the book within the family.


An Attention Span – Your Child’s Basic Foundation For Success in School and in Life

“May I have your attention?” With that request made daily in thousands of classrooms, teachers make an important assumption: Attention must be given from within the child. The ability to mentally focus, attend, and sustain concentration is an internal process within the human brain-mind. Because it’s an internal ability the human attention span has to be protected, nudged, and nurtured along in childhood and adolescence. The right ingredients from the external world will ensure the attention’s span development. The wrong ingredients can hinder its development, and even extinguish it. =>

An Attention Span – Your Child’s Basic Foundation For Success in School and in Life

“May I have your attention?” With that request made daily in thousands of classrooms, teachers make an important assumption: Attention must be given from within the child. The ability to mentally focus, attend, and sustain concentration is an internal process within the human brain-mind. Because it’s an internal ability the human attention span has to be protected, nudged, and nurtured along in childhood and adolescence. The right ingredients from the external world will ensure the attention’s span development. The wrong ingredients can hinder its development, and even extinguish it. =>

Ten Things I Have Learnt As A Stay-At-Home Dad

It wasn’t a very difficult decision to make when we sat down to decide how we’d structure our lives once our second child – Lewis – came along. Reservoir Mum loves to work and makes a lot of money doing it. Reservoir Dad doesn’t like work very much at all and made a lot less money. We assumed the kids would be happier at home with us than at child care.


Learn basic skills from the friendly monsters

Monster Teaching Time

Kimbo Audio

Friendly "monsters" teach basic skills in an imaginative way.
Kids will learn about shapes, manners, colors, counting,
following directions and more.

Give your kids a head start in their homework

Lucky are the parents who have kids who love school and studying. These kids sit right next to their books the moment they reach home without being told. These kids get on with their assignments with minimal input or supervision from they parents. And the best part is, they do not hesitate to ask if they find some things confusing.

However, not all kids are thrilled with studying. In fact, most kids dislike the idea of school and making assignments. These kids are very moody when they make their assignments, and they get easily frustrated when they come across something they find confusing. On top of that, they usually complain and get frustrated about their assignments.

Because of this, some parents make their kid’s assignment to avoid getting into a fight with their kids. Children with poor frustration tolerance often make homework a battlefield, which is why parents end up answering their child’s assignment instead. In order to maintain a positive atmosphere at home, parents end up making their kid’s assignments.

However, doing this does not solve the actual problem. While parents must help their kids through their homework, they should not do the actual work for their kids. There are some parents that you can do to help your child build a positive attitude when it comes to school and making assignments. If your child finds making assignments too tiring or too boring, perk his senses up by doing some changes.

At home, make sure that your child has his own place for studying and making assignments. This will help your child see the positive side of doing schoolwork. Give him a study area that is free from distractions and interruptions. Make it ideal for learning by making sure that it is well-lit, organized, and has useful books and encyclopedias for reference.

Aside from a study area, you should also give your child a particular time for studying and making assignments. Develop a certain time routine, and follow through it every single day. When the time is set, make sure that your child sticks to it. By doing so, you will help your child feel less frustrated because he is following a structure.

But the most important thing that you should remember is to give your child a head start when it comes to making assignments. Especially if your child finds the topic difficult, help him through by giving him an idea or the first few words of the answer and let him finish the assignment on his own.

Giving your child a head start helps him accomplish his homework without over functioning. Aside from that, you are also letting your child make his own decisions and exercise his own ideas when it comes to completing his assignment.

Looking for parenting help? We highly recommend The Total Transformation Program for parents dealing with Obnoxious Children. Check on the link for more information.

25 Ways to simplify your life with kids

“Babies are always more trouble than you thought – and more wonderful.” – Charles Osgood
Anyone who has kids knows that any life with kids is going to be complicated, at least to some degree. From extra laundry to bathing and cooking and shopping and driving and school and chores and crises and sports and dance and toys and tantrums, there is no shortage of complications.

You won’t get to ultra-simple if your life includes children … but you can find ways to simplify, no matter how many kids you have.

Helping Parents Make Important Decisions Through Appreciative Inquiry

In the mid-1980s, Dr. David Cooperrider, consultant and professor at Case Western University, began an examination of a company by starting with his traditional method-collecting all that was wrong within the organization. He soon became bored because he had done this approach countless times. He suddenly asked himself, “What if I began by examining all the things that were right with this company?” This approach excited him and he proceeded. The results were exciting. By starting off in a positive direction, not only were problems solved, but deep transformation occurred on many levels. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) was born!

AI has been researched in corporations, community organizations, and in some school settings. It has a wonderful track record for supporting positive, long-term change, offering much hope and unleashing creativity, innovation, and inspiration in the process. The Parent Coaching Institute adapts AI to parent coaching conversations, using its principles (which are in alignment with living systems principles) and its methodology as a basic structure for those conversations. Instead of jumping in to solve the problem directly, AI employs a four-stage process for coach and client to co-create exciting and sustainable solutions:

Discovery-finding out through well-crafted and careful questions what is presently working in the situation. What is currently giving life to the parents, the children? The family?

Dream-helping parents articulate a clear vision of what it is they want and to feel the positive emotions and qualities that living in that preferred future with their child would evoke.

Design-encouraging strategies, ideas, behaviors, parenting practices, reflective exercises, and other applications to help parents design both external and internal activities that would best support fulfillment of their dream.

Destiny-as a parent’s dream emerges into actual lived experience, the role of the coach is to point out the “evidence indicators” that show this is happening, to help the parent gather the qualities and resources to make sure the emerging dream is sustainable, and to acknowledge that deep change has occurred and that the parent is a primary cause of this change.

Each phase may take one to four coaching sessions within a series of weekly coaching sessions lasting over a period of three to four months. In this way, parents begin to value the process they are involved in and come to understand that in living systems such as families, many changes will occur when they are seeded properly and nurtured over time.

Beginning with the Discovery phase harnesses positive energy to solve the problem and keeps parents focused on what they value about their children. It addresses the subtle, but powerful tendency of humans to make the person the problem and not the situation. For instance, when exhausted by discipline problems with a young child, a mother may be dreading to spend time with her son. She may not want to take him out in public. She may use TV more often to keep him quiet. She begins to see her son as “her problem.” By seeking the positive qualities in her son and helping this mom begin to appreciate him in new ways, a PCI trained parent coach can help her get out of the energy-draining mind set. As the coach asks careful questions, affirms her, reframes her concerns to bring forth the good in the situation and in her child, she begins to see her son as the loveable, curious, beautiful child he really is. She becomes more hopeful and energized. She observes her child in his daily activities. She responds differently to him. Now she is ready to address his behavior issues in a pro-active and meaningful way that is much more likely to get the results she desires.

Before coach and parent start discussing strategies to help the child’s behavior (we often find that the behavior has changed for the positive at this point because the mother is now responding more authentically to her child’s needs), we begin the Dream phase. Here we ask her to picture an ideal day, if her son were acting and doing what she wanted. What would it look like? What would it feel like? Often during the Dream phase a parent may get an unexpected insight. This mother finds that in her ideal day, she would have a few short breaks to have tea and gather herself. She realizes that she isn’t giving herself needed breaks, that she is tired all the time, and wants the coach to help her find out ways to do this. In living systems there is usually growth that may surprise and often an element of uncertainty. The parent and the coach can’t be sure what issues will begin to come to the surface, but as they work together, usually other situations arise that the parent wants to change in addition to the original challenge that initiated the coaching in the first place.

The Dream phase is critical because we cannot achieve our goals unless we have the image of goals at the forefront of our minds. It is true that “What we pay attention to grows.” This is another PCI principle, based on brain research and extremely important when considering the power of the positive image to reshape current and future realities. Indeed, the positive image of the future is a critical component of not only changing family life, but society as well. As parents learn to hold mental models of their preferred future, they also begin to include more and more systems in their positive images-the ideal school, the type of teachers that would support the child’s learning, the playmates that would be trusted friends, etc. The dreaming of a preferred future naturally expands to encompass community and cultural ideals.

I believe that the ability to imagine an ideal future is a necessary parenting skill in our current industry-generated culture. We need our own imagination to counter thousands of trivial images wedged into our daily lives by mass media. We can more readily attain what is meaningful to us by imagining our own focused mental models, generated from our true needs and desires, not imposed upon us by an industry. Frankly, if we are unable to hold images of what we want our future to look like, we will give away our dreaming capacities to corporate conglomerates, as well as throw our entire future into their hands.

The final phase of AI, the Destiny phase seeks to support the parents in collecting evidence of the dream emerging and in celebrating the goals accomplished. This is often a phase of jubilant announcements of positive changes and considerable gratitude towards the coach. But the coach knows and reminds the parent that it was the parent, after all, that has made all the achievements. With full participation and willingness, the parent accomplishes much more than initially expected and is filled with energy, joy, and hope at the outcome. The coach has been a catalyst for transformational change by employing powerful positive change strategies, using Appreciative Inquiry as the basic structure. Like “playing jazz,” once the basic structure of AI is understood, the coach can adapt it by integrating past knowledge and experiences. Appreciative Inquiry can be a powerful tool in the hands of all professionals who have been educated to support families and who willingly apply and trust its dynamic process.

Gloria DeGaetano is the founder and CEO of The Parent Coaching Institute, (The PCI™), the originator of the parent coaching profession.
An acclaimed keynote speaker, Gloria is a sought-after favorite for major national and international conferences because she is a recognized leader in family support, media/digital literacy who provides very specific and practical tools for parents to successfully navigate the stresses of modern day culture.
Ms. DeGaetano, a best-selling author, has written Screen Smarts: A Family Guide to Media Literacy; Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie, and Video Game Violence (with Lt. Col. Dave Grossman), and manuals for parent professionals. Her latest book Parenting Well in a Media Age, has won the 2007 i-Parenting Media Award for excellence. Ms. DeGaetano’s books and articles have been translated into Spanish, German, Danish, Romanian, Korean, Chinese, and Turkish.
Ms. DeGaetano’s ideas and articles have appeared in numerous publications including McCall’s Magazine, American Baby Magazine, The Boston Globe, the American Academy of Pediatrics Newsletter, and Catholic Faith and Family Magazine.

Parenting – Be a golf mentor

Golf can teach kids many valuable lessons. Unfortunately, it’s harder for the younger generation to learn the game. This article tells you how you can be a golf mentor.

10 Reasons For Telling Bedtime Stories

Cinderella . The Three Little Pigs. Peter Pan.

Bedtime stories are all time favorite of young children. They are great for bedtime. They are great for leisure time. They are simply kids companion.

There are many reasons why we should have bedtime stories and some are listed below:

1. Bonding. When you read to your child, both of you are of close proximity – physically and psychologically. Your child will feel loved because of your companion.

2. Moral values. While there are amusing, bedtime stories teaches children a wide span of moral values. The Kid Who Called for Wolf teaches children not to tell lies and make jokes on people.

3. Good night sleep. Children can have a hard day too. Reading a story book before bedtime simply eases sleep and encourage sweet dreams. We surely never emphasis them on the scary monsters and trolls.

4. Learn to read and spell. Story books have high accuracy of proper usage of English language. Children are sure to pick up good command of grammar and spelling which improves their language easily.

5. Encourage writing. Do not be surprise that you child may be inspired to be an author later in life. They learn by good examples from authors in writing stories and definitely improves a child’s composition skills.

6. Friendly and soothing images. More often than not, bedtime stories offer better images than the TV and internet. They are child friendly and you need not worry about children being exposed violent images.

7. Encourage children thinking and imagination. Alice in Wonderland is a great example. Isn’t it fascinating to see Alice chasing after little rabbit? Surely children would be curious to know what the lead role is going through. When child go through a story, they will always imagine themselves as the lead role and kept thinking about how the story will end.

8. Learn to love books at young age. When children learn to love books, it becomes part of them. Their engagement becomes their hobby.

9. Encourage sibling sharing. Older children who can express themselves well can tell stories to younger sibling. They share. They bond. They rival lesser.

10. Learning and accepting villain in reality. While most bedtime stories places emphasis on good characters, children will also learn about the existence of villain in the reality world. The big bad wolf, the witch and the pirates are somehow important in the peak of the storyline. Children will also learn that the story always concludes with villain receiving retribution. Which is important for them to know that it should happen in reality too.

So you have all the reasons to grab a bedtime story book today! Good night. Sweet dreams.

Justina Wang owns a Parenting Kids website. Being a mother of 2 young children, she acquired experience in Positive Parenting and happy to share with any parents who shares the same passion.

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