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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Are Kids Getting Enough Recess at School?

For many of us, recess is one of the the more memorable staples of our early childhood school experience, along with long summers and sweet treats. For many kids, recess is the most anticipated part of the day, but in many schools recess only comes once a day given that the weather allows it. As schools across the country are looking for ways to improve the experiences that they are providing for their students, one school in Texas has taken recess to a whole new level.

For the most part, schools tend to offer recess for children once a day around lunchtime. Oftentimes, the scheduling of recess relies on the weather, indoor space, and other scheduled school activities, but at Eagle Mountain Elementary in Fort Worth, Texas, recess knows no bounds.

At Eagle Mountain Elementary, kids have several recess sessions: The youngest kids at this school now enjoy two 15-minute breaks in the morning and two in the afternoon. That makes for a total of one hour of recess a day, which is three times longer than they used to get.

The faculty and the staff were anxious about enforcing the change, but they have found that increased recess time has actually improved their students’ overall performance.  They also found that their students are more focused and less fidgety, contrary to what most will think when giving kids too many breaks, that they would lose focus.

The secret behind this success?

According to Debbie Rhea, a kinesiology professor at Texas Christian University, allowing kids time to run around, play, and be generally active can help children focus better once they’re back in class. Rhea is actually the creator of LiiNK, a new program that boosts the amount of recess for the youngest students. The goal of the program is to allow kids the time to “reboot”, helping them function at their best level.

With lessened activity, children are more likely to become fidgety, impatient, and even to misbehave. By allowing kids to release their excess of energy in a healthy and positive manner, issues that teachers normally face are less likely to occur or affect their students.

The idea of “rebooting” is not a foreign one. Have you ever been told that taking breaks while studying or working can actually help increase your productivity as well as your brain’s ability to intake and retain information? Much of the same principles apply. By allowing kids to take a break and move around, they are more likely to willingly devote their attentions to more sedentary activities while also gaining more from the experiences overall.

Staying active has benefits when it comes to health, as well, which is a major concern for American children in particular. Putting more of a positive emphasis on recess can help to encourage more active lifestyles and healthy living while also improving a child’s overall academic performance.

Did you like this article? Feel free to pass along and let's start a movement on bringing recess back to schools and making them for longer periods.

For more parenting resources be sure to check out the KD Novelties blog and check out our unique books for kids to promote literacy and boost self-esteem.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Simple Ways to Encourage a Healthy Self-Esteem in Kids

Self-esteem is something that many people need to work on. Some individuals naturally have a healthy self-esteem, but there are many others who struggle with self-image - especially children. Kids may have problems with the way that they see themselves, with their overall confidence in their abilities and with who they are for a number of reasons. Kids are still learning about themselves and their capabilities, and things like bullying may not help. It is important for parents to help their children navigate difficult issues such as these without letting them get too spoiled or over-entitled. So what is a parent to do?

Give them choices.
Showing confidence in your children is a great way to help them build self-esteem, but it also helps to impart them with even simple responsibilities. Allowing your children choices can help them to develop their own unique opinions, thoughts, and ideas. Something simple enough as offering your child a choice of different breakfast dishes to choose from can help them feel empowered and in control of their decisions.

Don’t do everything for them.
It can be difficult for parents to not step in when their child is having difficulties. Whether they are struggling with a puzzle or trying to figure something out, it’s important to exercise patience and allow them to develop a solution on their own. This is important for many reasons. Not only will your children begin to rely on themselves for their own resourcefulness, but they will also develop a strong sense of self. Having things handed to them all the time can be dangerous - it can lead to spoiled attitudes as well as difficulties facing any kind of failure in the future.

Remind them that people are human.
No one is perfect, and people make mistakes. Children may fret over these kinds of trip-ups but mistakes are great opportunities for learning. Things happen, and it is important that children understand that there is always room to improve and to get better. This can help your children when they make mistakes of their own but it can also help them become a better judge of others, as well.

Spend time with your children.
Whether you have one child or many, it is important that you spend one-on-one time with them. Parents are arguably the most important people in a child’s life, and knowing that they are worthy of your undivided attention when appropriate can help them to understand their importance as people. For parents with only one child, it’s important to remember to give your child space and allow them to spend time on their own as well. For parents with multiple kids, it’s important that you spend time with each child individually and that you are careful not to compare your children to one another, either. It’s important that you appreciate each one's individuality. 

Incorporate positive words. Positive words/phrases can help boost kids self-esteem and self-image.  You should be telling your kids these positive phrases more often...

- good thinking
- keep it up
-you can do it
-nice going
-very proud
-much better
-thank you
-great choice
-well done
-keep trying
-great job
-I believe in you
-way to go
-you make me happy
-give me five
-how kind

 Be sure to check out our parenting resources and personalized storybooks to boost self-esteem while promoting literacy.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Partnering with Your Child's Teacher

Many parents first learn of their child’s new classroom teacher when the school supply list is first sent out, if not at the tail end of the previous school year. Regardless of which grade your child is in, there are different reasons as to why you should reach out to their new teachers and develop a rapport. First, it can help to get to know the teacher and see what they are like for yourselves. Second, you may need to explain some of your child’s needs or behaviors beforehand. And lastly, you can gather some information regarding your child’s new teacher and their expectations early on so that you as well as your child understand what is needed from the upcoming school year.

Working with your child's teacher can help you and your child. Some teachers openly invite parents early on in the year, whether during the first couple weeks of school or the weeks just prior to the first day, to come in and learn more about the environment in which their children will be learning for the next several months. It is highly encouraged that parents take teachers up on this preliminary meeting for a variety of reasons. It can be troublesome to have to talk to a teacher for the first time because a negative event precedes and demands it, so in the event that this should happen to you for any reason, having that initial meeting with the teacher first can help make meetings like that much easier to swallow. Additionally, working with your child’s teacher can give you a better understanding of the “big picture” at school and in your child’s current grade. It will help you to know what the educational objectives are in your child’s classroom, as well getting a better idea of what the teacher is like in terms of personality and temperament.

Specific needs. Whether your child has a learning disability or simply has behavioral quirks that could use some coaxing and understanding, explaining this to your child’s new teacher early on can also help to alleviate, if not prevent, future issues or disputes. If your child’s teacher goes into the school year with a marginal understanding of your child, they then have the tools with which to better judge their behavior and needs in the classroom, avoiding misunderstandings and other problems. It can also help to tell your child’s new teacher whether they have any particular difficulties with certain subjects, concepts or classroom activities, making it easier on the teacher as well as your child in the future.

The more a teacher knows about a student, the better he/she can teach them. They could suggest ways to approach a writing assignment that involves your child’s interests in which they would have not known about without your partnership.

Knowing what to expect. Making sure that you, your child, and their teacher are all at least a bit acquainted with one another can do a lot to make the rest of the school year much easier than you expect. Making sure to meet with your child’s teacher can make future appointments and meetings much easier to make and it can also make them more productive and informative.

For more parenting resources and tips be sure to check out the KD Novelties blog and to get your kids to read more and love it visit our website at KDNovelties.com.


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