Friday, December 6, 2019

The way parents feel about school matters

Sometimes my son asks me how I felt about school. I tell him about the positive things I liked about it - the library, getting to run messages to the teachers, picking my classes as I got older - and the weird things - like the time that I got roped into helping one of the nuns, lost track of time and missed science class.

I do not focus on the unpleasant bits - like all of seventh grade science class - but I do try to paint him a picture of fun learning and challenges to be met. When we are young, school exposes us to lots of topics - and we might not be good at all of them. As we get older, we get to choose the subject we care most about and explore it further.

I'm careful with what I share because I know that my thoughts about school - especially higher education - will shape my son's thoughts about school. When I share my college stories with my son, I tell him about the good times (although to be honest, I don't remember many bad times). I pull out the photo albums I have from those days and show him my school records. He has a hard time recognizing me in some of the pictures, but he likes them.

I know my son has good days and bad days at school. That is to be expected. What I don't want is for him to feel like school is something to get through. Rather, I want him to see school as an opportunity to explore the topics that interest him.

Do you share your school experiences with your children? How does it go? Tell me in the comments. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Making a little music

We had bought our son a guitar a few years ago after he had mentioned he wanted to learn how to play it, but that desire was short lived. Maybe we rushed it. Or maybe we didn't ask the right questions to determine if it was really the right instrument for him.

A year later, the music teacher at our son's school gave him a few drum lessons. He seemed to really enjoy that and often beats out a rhythm on surfaces with his fingers or pencils or whatever else is handy. He tells us that he wants to play drums.

He has said this for long enough that I am starting to believe him. But, I'd like to try and learn from my previous mistakes, so I am reviewing the tips on this link regarding music lessons for children.

My first step is to find out if he really wants to play the drums.

The good news is that the guitar that we bought is getting some use. My wonderful husband is teaching our niece some things on it, since he knows how to play. It's great to see her take an interest in an instrument and hopefully she has chosen the right one for her.

Does your child play an instrument? How did they pick what they wanted to play? Share the story in the comments.

Monday, December 2, 2019

LIttle faces staring at little screens

While we do not normally go out for black Friday sales, my family ventured to a few stores over the weekend to look at furniture. I knew this would be boring for my son, but I reminded him that not every moment of his life is going to be filled with excitement and fun. I still think he managed to find his own fun, as he asked to explore the children's section of the store on his own (and was allowed to do so). We caught up with him in the office furniture section (he was checking out the chairs).

As my husband and I were looking around the store, I saw several other families there and every single child had their head down in a screen. Even the children still in strollers.

While I've gotten used to seeing older children with screens, I will admit that I didn't like seeing all those toddlers staring down at little screens.

I, of course, do not know how long those families were out shopping that day and if this was a reward for being good. And, of course, I completely understand letting a child have some fun when they are going to be dragged around all day. Our son was allowed to use his iPad on the long drive up to the store and home again, and that was his only screen time for the day.

It's hard not to let your child exceed their daily screen time amount, which is probably why toddlers are currently getting too much of it. When you start adding up all those short sessions over the course of a day - before you realize it, they have gone way over the recommended amounts.

My son is old enough that he understands why his screen time is limited. Granted, he doesn't like it, but he seems to understand it. There are going to be times in his life where he will be bored, and that is OK. I want him to be able to find the worth in any situation without having to rely on a little screen.

Do you use screen time as a reward? Tell me about it in the comments.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Lowering the bar on family meals

I know that I put a lot of pressure on myself to have my family eat together. I meal plan, I leave work at strategic times to try and avoid traffic to get dinner on the table on time, and I review the week's activities to see where conflicts arise.

I want us to eat together. It is my reward for a long day of work to spend time with the two guys I love the most in this world. I love it when we are connecting over silly stories from the day or talking through future plans or simply catching up.

There have been tons of studies touting the benefits of eating together as a family. And I get that. But it is still a lot of pressure. So it is nice to see that we can all lower the bar when it comes to family meals.

While there are a lot of important tips on that link, the one that stood out to me the most was this one: To get the benefits of family meals, you really just need two people twice a week. That is totally doable.

Granted, I will still try to get us to eat together as often as possible, but now all those times when it is just my son and I at breakfast or my husband and son together at weekend lunch, I know that we are still getting all the connectivity and positive vibes from each other that we need.

What is your favorite meal to eat together as a family? Tell me in the comments.