Question of the Month: Preparing Your Child for Back to School

81785_back-to-school-green-blackboard-photoAs exciting as the first day of school is, lots of kids don't always take change in stride, and that means that getting back into the school routine can cause little people (and their parents), lots of stress. For my kids, there are always lots of sources of back-to-school stress, including adjustment to new teachers and classmates, an increase in homework, or just the transition to a different daily routine.

To help my kids (who really don’t like change) get ready for school, we always start about a week or two before by making sure everything from clothes, shoes and books are organized, bed time routines are set, as are wake up times.

The Question of the Month is how do you help your child prepare for back to school and what are your best tips for making sure it goes smoothly?

Question of the Month: Should Kids Have Homework During the Summer?

homeworkWhen I was young(er),  summer vacation meant unstructured sunny days of roaming the neighbourhood in search of adventure, family vacations, summer camp and lots and lots of down time. Today, some schools have started assigning summer homework to help students stay on top of their skills during the out-of-school months. Even for kids who are in the younger grades, time spent doing worksheets and math problems have been incorporated into their summer routine.

There is some research to suggest that reinforcing those math and writing skills learned throughout the school year can help a child jump right back into the academic mindset quickly during the first weeks of school. Others believe that summer should be filled with curiosity, imagination, and quiet time, which is incredibly important for  rejuvenating for the mind and spirit of our kids.

These days, during the school year, kids are pulled in all sorts of directions by parents, teachers, coaches, friends, and social media. They are over-committed, over-programmed and over-stimulated most of the time (my kids included). Shouldn’t summer still be a time to kick back, relax and just being a kid? Shouldn’t summer be that much-needed break from school work?

Do you think your kids should have homework or practice academic skills during the summer or should they just be able to kick back and relax, without worrying about reading, writing and arithmetic? Let us know what you think!

Question of the Month: Turning off the Helicopter Parent

Summer is finally here and in about three weeks, school will be done, the days will be longer and playing outside in the fresh air will be a number one priority for most kids. When I was young(er), playing outside meant roaming the neighborhood with friends until all hours with little parental supervision. It's not the same today, of course.

As a mom, I get how scary it is to let you kid go off on their own (or with friends). Whether it's to ride their bike around the block or go to the park with friends, the very idea of letting your kids out of your site strikes terror in the hearts of most parents. I freely admit that I am a helicopter mom. I have trouble letting my kids go off on their own and it takes a real effort for me to do so.

The questions of the month, then, is at what age would you or did you let your child go off on their own around the neighborhood with friends -- whether it was to the park or just riding their bike to a friend's house?

Please share your thoughts. This helicopter mom really wants to know!



Question of the Month: Do You Let Your Child Quit?

i-quitThis month has been a bit difficult for me as a mom. My daughter, who has danced at the same studio since she was three, has recently become disillusioned and has started balking at going to dance. There are many reasons for this the but the bottom line is that we are now one week away from our first competition and she wants to quit dance. As hard as it is for me to see her tears, I am making her finish the competition season. She can't let her team down, she made a commitment, I've already paid...there are lots of reasons why. She has reluctantly agreed but I still need to deal with the tears.

The question for this month is, then, when to do let your child quit an activity? Do the reasons behind quitting matter? How do you make them take responsibility for the "quitting?" (Sorry, I think that was 3 questions)

Please share your thoughts with us. We'd love to know!

Question of the Month: Money Sense

  photoMy daughter turns thirteen this week and for me, it's pretty scary to think I'm the mom of a teenager. She's generally a pretty good kid and has a good head on her shoulders but it seems that with a growing sense of self, my daughter also has a growing sense of the "gimmies."

At the beginning of the school year, I decided that we would start an allowance. Instead of a weekly allowance, however, we went for a lump sum at the beginning of each month. That way, I figured, she'd be able to budget her money throughout the month and start to learn a sense of money management. It's been working pretty well so far and when we're out, and those gimmies strike, I get to tell her that she can absolutely buy that brand new X, Y, or Z. It is, after all, her money (of course that does, at times, stop the gimmies in their tracks).

The question for this month is at what age did you (or will you) start to give your child an allowance and how much do you feel is appropriate for each age? Inquiring minds want to know.