Signal Knob Middle School February 2015 Short Stops Being assertive Does your middle grader know how to assert herself? Have her practice clearly expressing what she needs. If a friend borrowed her sweatshirt and hasn’t returned it, she could call and say, “I need it back by tomorrow morning, please.” As she gets more comfortable speaking up for herself, her confidence will grow. Extra reading time Try this idea to get your middle grader to read more. Consider letting him stay up 15 or 30 minutes later if he spends that time reading for pleasure. Read in the living room as a family, or he can read in bed. You might even like to read the same book, then discuss it when you’re finished. spend billions ? Companies of dollars marketing to kids. Help your child be a savvy consumer by encouraging her to notice product placements, such as candy bars as characters in video games or soda cups on TV reality shows. When she spots one, discuss whether it influences her and how she thinks it affects others. DID YOU KNOW Typical tween behavior As your child goes through the middle grades, you can see the rapid changes his body is making. But his brain is also changing, causing normal tween behaviors like these. Push-pull You might notice that your youngster wants to venture off and do his own thing— but still look back to see that you are there. This gives him security and comfort. So let him have space and spend time with friends, but don’t assume he doesn’t need you. Ask about his life regularly, and attend his school or extracurricular activities when you can. Also, plan fun times together to keep him in touch with family. Mood swings One minute your child is cooperative and pleasant, willing to vacuum the car or play with his little brother. The next, he’s slumped on the couch, communicating only with grunts or shrugs. Tween moods tend to shift quickly and without warning! You can help by staying calm and Worth quoting “Deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own.” Chinese proverb upbeat. And where possible, save serious conversations (“We need to talk about your grades”) for when he’s in a more receptive mood. Risk-taking Middle graders don’t always stop and think before acting. The good news is that you still have influence over your youngster and can motivate him to make good decisions. Bring up important topics often, and be clear about your position. Example: “I’ve heard kids are sharing prescription medications. That concerns me because it’s dangerous and illegal.” He will likely be listening more than you know. You’ve got my attention Just for fun Concentrating in class not only lets your child learn — it can also prevent her from distracting others. Share these creative strategies for staying tuned in: Q: ■ Picture an imaginary tunnel between you and the teacher When is a black cat very bad luck? A: When you’re a mouse. as she talks. Purposely ignore anything that happens outside of the “tunnel,” like a classroom door opening or students whispering behind you. ■ Make predictions, and listen to see if you’re right. For instance, predict what will happen next in the presidential campaign the teacher is discussing. ■ Use the SLANT method: Sit up in your chair, Listen, Ask questions, Nod when you understand, and Track the teacher as she speaks. © 2014 Resources for Educators, a division of CCH Incorporated Middle Years February 2015 • Page 2 Learn with homework Make it relate. When your middle grader has choices in her assignments, encourage her to think about her interests. For instance, if she has to write word problems for math, she could make them about fashion or music. If she needs examples of natural resources for an economics report, she can look at the country her grandparents came from. Learning doesn’t end when the last bell rings. Help your child get as much as possible out of homework with these tips. Be ready. Have your tween gather everything she needs before she begins working. She’ll learn more if she doesn’t have to stop to sharpen pencils, search for her dictionary, or call a friend to find out which problems she’s supposed to do. Tip: For handy reference, she might bookmark class websites and links to electronic textbooks. Start the timer. Suggest that your child pick one specific task (making an outline) and set a time limit (10 minutes). That will help her get going, and accomplishing something may energize her to continue. Forecast: A fit winter Don’t let chilly weather keep your family from being active this winter. Stay fit—and have fun together —with these three ideas. 1. Go sledding. Balancing and steering a sled, and walking back up the hills, will give muscles a workout. Your child could pull a younger sibling on a sled, too. 2. Think summer. Try traditional warm weather activities like Frisbee or badminton in your backyard or at a park. For a real summery experience, find your beach towels and swimsuits, and go to an indoor pool. 3. Create a fitness course. Does your area get a lot of snow? As your youngster shovels, he can pack the snow into obstacles like mounds to climb and mazes to navigate. In a milder climate, he might build a course on grass with cones to run around and hula hoops to jump in and out of. Time each other going through your course. O U R P U R P O S E To provide busy parents with practical ideas that promote school success, parent involvement, and more effective parenting. Resources for Educators, a division of CCH Incorporated 128 N. Royal Avenue • Front Royal, VA 22630 540-636-4280 • [email protected] www.rfeonline.com ISSN 1540-5540 © 2014 Resources for Educators, a division of CCH Incorporated Q & A Curing the “gimmes” Q My son wants everything he sees. How can ■ there are limits on what he I teach him that can have? A At this age, your child knows the difference ■ and wants— but he might not between needs always think about it. Remind him of choices you your make in your household. For instance, the water bill must be paid to keep water running, but getting a new gym bag may have to wait. money. Having your son pay for his own wants will help teach him the value of the see Perhaps he gets an allowance or earns cash from odd jobs. He will quickly and ies results of his financial decisions. For example, if he buys too many smooth doesn’t have money to see a movie with friends, maybe he will make better choices down the road. Parent How to boost critical thinking to I asked why people might be against it. During my recent job Parent search, She thought about it and said a later I learned that critical thinking is a key skill employers look for. So when I heard about a free seminar on the topic, I decided to go. As the presenter spoke, I realized the information could help my eighth grader, Josie. For instance, critical thinkers analyze situations from different viewpoints. I told Josie that I’d heard our school district was considering later start times for students, and I asked her opinion. She thought it was a great idea (of course— she would get to sleep later!), but then schedule might interfere with afterschool activities or jobs. I also learned that critical thinkers ask a lot of questions and reflect on how and why things happen. When Josie mentioned a famous battle her class studied, I asked, “Which side did you agree with?” and “Why do you think the other side felt they were right?” The end result of all this? Better discussions for us, and better thinking for her!
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