Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Strengthening communication with schools

I get a lot of communications from my son's school. This includes everything from text messages and emails to printed notes and online flyers. I try to read through everything that comes in and ensure that I am not missing anything major. Sometimes this is difficult, as the school sends multiple messages out each week.

But, overall, I am happy with the way that the school reaches out to parents and ensures that we are informed about what's going on in any given week. Communication is important, and I make sure that my son's teachers know how to contact me. In my parent-teacher conferences I explicitly tell the teachers that I have no problem with them reaching out to me if anything is needed - whether that is more tissues and disinfecting wipes for the classroom or something that needs to be addressed with my son.

The downside to this is that my son is at a disadvantage here: His teachers have an instant way of communicating with me - even before he has a chance to know. With the ability to look at his grades and get school notifications, sometimes I know how he did on a test before he does. And, I do think that is unfair. My son does deserve the chance to communicate his school life to me from his perspective. I need to make sure I give him that opportunity.

Does your school do a good job of telling you what is going on? Tell me about it in the comments.

Monday, December 10, 2018

What our children worry about

I am always surprised when my son is paying attention to the money that we spend as a family. For example, we recently bought an inflatable for our holiday decorations, and he was upset over the amount of money we were spending on it - at least until I explained to him that the price of the inflatable was spread out over several years and led to our overall enjoyment. After that math breakdown, he relaxed a bit.

I have had many conversations with my son around money. And I have noticed that the majority of them are prompted by something that happens at school - something to do with his friends' comments on money or spending or something similar. So, I know that this is a topic my son has on his mind more often than he needs to.

I remind my son of the basics: That our family budgets, and pays attention to money and that we have enough money to pay for what we need. In short: I don't want him to worry about money. I know that some of that is out of my control - my son will worry about whatever he wants to worry about - but my job is not to add worries to his life.

What do you think your child worries about? Let me know in the comments. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Another list of things we should be doing

If you open any parenting-based magazine, you will quickly come across a list article. And, undoubtedly, the list article will be of things you should be doing as a parent, but you probably aren't.

These types of articles used to get me down and make me feel like I wasn't holding up my end of the parent-child bargain. According to many lists, I am not injecting enough science, creativity or exploratory fun in my son's day. And if I do manage to do anything different, it will probably only be one or two times because it is not working out.

And I think that sums up most parents quite nicely: We try things, and when they don't work out, we move on to something else. We are adaptable. I like adaptable. (I find adaptable easier to maintain than consistent.)

So, yes, I should probably continue to read articles like this one that point out what successful families are doing. But with a different mindset. My mindset is now more about trying something new and not being afraid to fail at it.

What recent parenting trick have you tried and failed to integrate with your family's life? Tell me in the comments.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

When your birthday really matters

I have a birthday in June.

When I was little, this meant that I could stay up as late as I wanted on my birthday or celebrate it with a slumber party on the day of my birthday without having to wait until the weekend. But I was sometimes unhappy that I had a birthday outside of the school's calendar: I couldn't celebrate by bringing treats into the classroom, or by however the teacher gave students special attention on their big day.

It also generally meant that I was younger than a lot of my friends in school. But, since it was only a few months, it didn't seem to matter.

What I didn't realize is that being younger by a few months really matters when parents are first entering their children into school, as most states have a cutoff date for Kindergarten entry. And - the younger you are when you start Kindergarten, the less mature you will be. That means that school can be a strain for those "younger" children, and in some cases, lead to them being diagnosed with ADHD more often than their peers.

That is a tricky diagnosis, and it is a tricky label to shake. Once you have a doctor who believes the diagnosis is correct, it is a long, uphill battle to determine if the diagnosis is correct. So it is up to parents to be the advocate for their child and speak up if they want a second opinion.

It's hard to remember how much difference a few months can make when we are adults. But to our children - the ones who still say their ages in terms of years-and-a-half - the months really do matter.

Were you the oldest or youngest child in your class growing up? Tell me in the comments.