Saturday, June 27, 2015

It's Summer and Mama NEEDS Peace and Quiet!


Summer is here, and that means that my (and many other) children are out of school.  Each Summer, I daydream about how nice it will be to sleep in and spend relaxing days with my kids.  That's a nice thought, but it rarely seems to happen!  For even when we do have down days, the relaxation piece is still missing.  Make sense?  If you are a parent, you understand!  If we parents (specifically moms) aren't running around taking care of domestic duties and children's needs all day long, we feel guilty.  The Mom Guilt.  Isn't it fun?  NO!  So let's say that by some bizarre and crazy reason, we actually find a few moments of sweet bliss and we sit down to relax.  We smile.  We giggle a little inside, maybe even outside too.  We take a deep breath and lay our head back on the pillow of our soft couch.  All is well in the world.  Peace is restored.  The universe loves us and we love it back.  Nothing could be better than this very moment of pure happiness...until we are interrupted with tattling, yelling, and fits of boredom.  That didn't last long!  Ugh!  Sound familiar?  Then keep reading.

This Summer I have been on a bit of a (physical and mental) health kick. I go through phases when it comes to my health, and when I am in a good phase, my kids are in a good phase.  I realize that kids benefit from basic structure and responsibility when it comes to managing their health.  Therefore, this Summer, I decided to do a bit of hands on research with my kids and make daily "To Do Lists" or guidelines as I like to call them.  We did this research by visiting medical programs focused on children's health, visiting my children's pediatrician, and going to the dentist.  Then we created the lists.  The structure these guidelines are providing to my kids, are helping to create a calm environment.  As a result, peace is once again restored, and I am quietly giggling once again.  Or singing.  Or humming.  Or smiling.  Bottom line-I am one happy mama!

Before I discuss the guidelines I created with my children, I want to say that I am NOT a Doctor, Nutritionist, or Psychologist.  I am Parent, former Teacher, and I hold a BA in Psychology and a MA in Education.  I am a firm believer in trial and error and tweaking things to work with different personalities, so I ask you to keep those things in mind when reading my guideline suggestions.

I have found that kids thrive on responsibility and independence.  When they feel like they have no choices, they feel powerless.  They stop thinking for themselves.  Boredom sets in, and tempers flare.  To teach my children responsibility, and independence, I allow them to take control of their day by using their checklist as their guideline.

Essentially, these guidelines are really a daily schedule/checklist which can be followed in a flexible order for the most part. Each day the guidelines change a bit, but many parts stay the same.  For example, they may choose to use to do their physical activity before schoolwork if they want, and they may also choose what type of physical activity or schoolwork they want to do (within reason).

The general checklist includes:
  • Brush Teeth (morning and night)
  • Make Bed (morning)
  • Pick up Toys (throughout the day)
  • Morning Activity (this may be a morning summer camp type of program, or other planned activity)
  • Fruits (throughout the day-include specific amounts/servings if desired)
  • Vegetables (throughout the day-include specific amounts/servings if desired)
  • Physical Activity (1 hour per medical advice-swimming, dancing, walking, bike/scooter, wii fit, etc.)
  • Screen Time (2 hours per medical advice-tablets, video games, etc.)*
  • School Work (worksheets, reading, educational games, etc.)
  • Hugs, Kisses, and Tickles from Parent (my daughter wanted this on the list since this is one her favorite parts of the day!)
  • Bath or Shower

*Upon the advice of medical professionals, I decided my children would have no more than 2 hours of screen time daily.  They don't have to spend that amount of screen time each day, it just provides them with a limit.  The time can be split up and generally isn't used when we have busy schedules.  If doing this, I recommend spreading out screen time throughout the day, and primarily using the full 2 hours on slow Summer days, (not busy days throughout the school year).  I personally do not include TV watching to be part of screen time.  That is because our days are pretty full, so we don't have a lot of time available to watch TV.  If my kids see a program here or there, it isn't much and I am not too concerned.  If limiting TV time is desired in your household, include TV in screen time on your checklist.

 These lists are flexible and may be changed as needed.  My kids like to add fun items when applicable.  For example, my kids are allowed to eat out once per week on Thursdays, (a day they chose).  They like to make sure this eating out treat is added to their list on Thursdays.  They get to choose the place and type of food when eating out.  Giving them the power to decide these things, provides learning opportunities for independence and responsibility.  It also encourages decision-making skills.  I have even started to notice they are making healthy eating out choices!  Yippee!  This comes as a result of focusing on a healthy lifestyle.  Be flexible when considering your child's individual needs when making these lists.  If you have a child that needs to work on a certain behavior, such as drinking milk, or eating protein, I would add that to the list. While flexibility is important, providing a foundation that stays the same is also of value.  Children love consistency, and clear expectations, so switching things up too much can be confusing.  Keep a baseline of items that stay the same, and add/delete others as needed.

So how does this list aid in creating a peaceful environment?  Instead of arguing with my child to do schoolwork, or make their bed, they simply do it because it is on the checklist.  Instead of complaining about boredom, my children turn to the checklist and find something to do.  They know they can always play throughout the day and when their checklist is completed.  Overall, they appreciate knowing what they are doing each day and they like making choices.  For the most part, this list has worked well.  My children haven't always completed the checklist 100% of the time, and that is ok with me as long as they are generally doing what is expected of them.  The list is heavily followed on weekdays, and only loosely followed on the weekends.  I have found that when children know what is expected of them, they will generally (not always) aim to please.   Happy children make happy moms and vice versa.   As a result, happy moms find peace! 

These guidelines have inspired me to create a variety of checklist charts for kids that will be available soon.  I will be sure to post about them after they have been completed.

Thanks for reading! 

I would love to hear about the ways you achieve peace in your house and the guidelines you provide throughout the Summer for your children.  Please comment below.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Character Education Awards

Who do I think I am?  Did I seriously just create and upload two HUGE teaching packets in the same day?  GO ME!  Truthfully, I have been working on these packets for quite some time.  A lot of work has gone into making them.  Nonetheless, I am proud that I was able to complete and upload them both in the same day.  The Character Education Awards Packet and The Character Education Awards and Poster Packet (see previous post) are both up! 

These award superlatives all focus on Character Education and come in color and black and white versions.   To see the full product description or purchase the awards, click here.

Teaching Suggestion-Awards may be given at any time of the year by themselves, or in conjunction with the Character Education Posters, which are available for purchase in my store.  Focus on one virtue per week.  Each day during your morning meeting, (or when you choose), discuss this virtue and poster, (if purchased).   Each day of that week, do an activity or read a book to deepen the virtue meaning.  At the end of the week, present a corresponding award to the student who has exhibited that virtue well.  Visit my store to purchase supplemental activities and posters. 

*These awards were revised on February 20, 2016.  Please re-download to get the recent version, if you own this product.


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/End-of-the-Year-Awards-Character-Education-1909704


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/End-of-the-Year-Awards-Character-Education-1909704


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/End-of-the-Year-Awards-Character-Education-1909704


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/End-of-the-Year-Awards-Character-Education-1909704


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/End-of-the-Year-Awards-Character-Education-1909704


Each award is unique in color and design.  No two are the same!

Character Education Awards and Posters

Three Cheers!   I finally did it!  130 End of the Year Awards and Posters are made!  All posters and awards focus on Character Education.  That was quite a project, and I'm quite pleased with how they turned out.  They come in color and in black and white versions, (to save on ink). 

I'm really passionate about teaching children virtues, and these offers a nice foundation.  This packet includes both the posters and awards.  To see the full product description or purchase the awards and posters, click here.

Teaching Suggestion-Focus on one virtue per week.  Each day during your morning meeting, (or when you choose), discuss this virtue and poster.  Each day of that week, do an activity or read a book to deepen the virtue meaning.  At the end of the week, present a corresponding award to the student who has exhibited that virtue well.  Visit my store to purchase supplemental activities.

*This packet was revised on February 20, 2016.  Please re-download this product if you already own it, to get the most recent version.


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/End-of-the-Year-Awards-Character-Education-1909704

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/End-of-the-Year-Awards-Character-Education-1909704

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/End-of-the-Year-Awards-Character-Education-1909704

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/End-of-the-Year-Awards-Character-Education-1909704

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/End-of-the-Year-Awards-Character-Education-1909704

Enjoy!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Character Education Posters

Character Education Posters are up! 

I made 65 color and 65 black and white (to save ink) versions. Each poster defines a virtue and provides a few examples. These are great for home or classroom use. They can be downloaded and printed from your computer.

Teaching Suggestion-Focus on one virtue per week.  Each day during your morning meeting, (or when you choose), discuss this virtue and poster.  Each day of that week, do an activity or read a book to deepen the virtue meaning.  At the end of the week, present a corresponding award to the student who has exhibited that virtue well.  Visit my store to purchase supplemental activities and awards.

*These posters were revised on February 20, 2016.  Please re-download to get the most recent version if you own this product.


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Character-Education-Posters-1887586

Here are a few examples...

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Character-Education-Posters-1887586


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Character-Education-Posters-1887586




https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Character-Education-Posters-1887586


Click on a poster to see full product description and purchase them at my Teacher Pay Teachers Store.

Thanks for viewing!