Friday, November 26, 2010

Distractions in Your Child's Classroom

What do you do when your child complains about another child being a distraction in the classroom being a distraction? Have your child write a friendly letter to the teacher! (E-mail it if you can!) It could look something like this:

Dear Teacher, (Be sure to get the proper name spelling.)

I’m having trouble doing my best work because I’m distracted by (Insert classmate’s name here.). I need your help. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you for your time.


(Child’s name)

Try to work with the teacher to give your child strategies for success such as:

• Ignore the distracting person. Quite often they are looking for attention.

• Move away—your child could politely ask the teacher if she could work at another table or move her desk.

• Put up a barrier of some sort. Some classrooms have portable cardboard that students put on their desks for privacy during a test and to help them focus.

It’s not easy to concentrate and get work done when other students are off task. Helping your child learn advocacy and responsibility for her behavior is a first step.

What if the teacher doesn’t respond to your child’s plea for help? You can call and request the intervention on her behalf. Be cordial and give the teacher a chance. Remember, on a daily basis, teachers deal with many, often 25 or more, little human beings.

Still no support from the teacher? Go through the proper steps:

• Write a letter to the teacher. (Keep copies)

• Request a meeting. (Again, document your request)

After you have tried the above strategies, if you are still not satisfied with how the teacher is handling the situation, get the principal involved.

Keep records of all of your communications. Your child’s education is important. Getting along with others is important, too, including the teacher.

Friday, November 19, 2010

There comes a time when children request an addition to the family. Sometimes it’s another brother or sister, but more often than not, they’re asking for a pet.

Every child is different, but it’s vital your child learns responsibility before he can handle the care of an animal. Usually by second grade, children become more responsible because they are less ego-centric,more aware of others’ needs.

The choice of pet is up to you, of course. Various pets require different levels of monetary and physical care. Dogs need the most care while fish, the least. Dogs have veterinary and grooming costs; whereas, fish only need partial water changes, fish food, and a few neutralizing chemicals.

Walking a dog can be a fun family activity where everyone gets good exercise and fresh air. It’s also a great opportunity for conversation with your children. However, keep your climate in mind. If you get a lot of inclement weather, do you really want to be out there walking your dog?

Do you frequently go on vacation? A dog or cat will need a pet sitter or kennel. Guinea pigs and other small critters might need a pet sitter or an extended stay at a friend, neighbor, or relative’s house. Fish can just be given a vacation feeder, a big chunk of food they can nibble on while you’re away.

Only you can decide if your child is ready to take care of a pet on a regular basis—not just during the first few days. One way to determine this is add a few extra chores to your child’s list, such as washing dishes or dusting the furniture. Keep a log of chore accomplishments. Once she has maintained responsibility for a month or two, she is ready for a pet.

If you decide a pet is not a good fit for your family, be sure to explain why. If your apartment complex doesn’t allow certain pets, be sure to tell this to your child. If you think your child isn’t quite ready, be honest. Let her know that you are open to a pet in the future when she is capable of consistently completing chores without being reminded

Pets are a wonderful addition to a family. They often teach us many important things from unconditional love to mortality. While dealing with the death of a pet is difficult, it’s an important life lesson.

You may just find that you enjoy your child’s pet just as much as she does! Do you have any pet success (or failure) stories? Please leave me a comment.