Friday, 26 September 2014

Social Issues With Preteens…When Do You Intervene?

We were in the first full week of school. I was excited to begin my organizing project.   Just when I was about to start, I received a phone call from the school that my 5th grader was sick and needed to come home.   I remembered that she told me she didn’t feel well the night before and then again the next morning so I dropped everything and went to pick her up. As soon as she got into my car, she seemed a little better. She said it was a stomachache and a headache. That was understandable. We’ve had abnormally warm and humid weather and our schedules are back in full school time swing. I took her home to rest, not thinking much more about it.

 

When bedtime came, I sat down on her bed for a goodnight kiss and she just unloaded. The tears began to flow and she told me she wanted to be homeschooled.   She loves her teacher and is excited for everything she will learn this year but doesn’t like recess and lunch. She said that she doesn’t like them so much that she gets a stomachache when she even thinks about it. She said that nobody was being mean to her but she just didn’t fit in. This broke my heart because she is a happy, kind and caring girl. She is the daughter who wakes up happy and always sees the good in people and situations.

 

Once we ruled out homeschooling as an option (no way this mama could do that) we began to come up with ideas on how to handle lunch and recess. She is much like me. She is shy, quiet (until she gets to know you), and a rule follower. We talked about learning a new joke to share with friends. We talked about volunteering for lunch duty with the kindergarten class. We talked about practicing piano in the music room. We talked about taking a soccer ball to school to practice juggling. After our conservation, she felt better but STILL wanted me to talk to her teacher about getting off the playground during lunch and recess. So I made the appointment.

 

A few days later, she came home and told me to cancel the appointment. She had worked out the problem on her own. She decided to just walk up to her peers and start a conversation. She put herself out there. Everyone was kind. She was happy. And I was relieved.

 

Kids need to learn how to make friends. We are a social society. We did all the “right” things to socialize our daughter. We joined a playgroup when she was 6 months old, she did three years of preschool, and she played sports in our community programs. How do you give them confidence to make friends? When they are miserable at school, how far do you let it go before you get involved? When do you contact the teacher?

 

Please share your thoughts and stories.

 

 

 

 

Friday, 19 September 2014

The Great Debate: When To Enroll Your Child In Kindergarten

It’s been a little over a year since we struggled with the decision. Should we start our son in kindergarten at 5 years old or wait until he is 6 years old? We decided to wait. There were many factors and questions that went into the debate:

 

  • Will he be bored in preschool?
  • Will he become a bully on the preschool playground?
  • How will he feel if some of his friends start kindergarten before he does?
  • Wouldn’t our lives be so much simpler with all three kids at one school?

 

We spoke with academic professionals and they said he would be fine either way. We spoke with friends that had chosen to enroll their children at 5 years old and 100% of the people we spoke with said they would do it differently. In the end, we realized that you couldn’t get that year back. Bob and I had one last great year of slow mornings and lazy afternoons. These times were greatly appreciated by both of us since he is the youngest in the family. It was nice to have this special time together.

 

I’ve been volunteering in Bob’s art class at school this year and can really see the benefits of the extra year. He is neither ahead nor behind academically but appears to be somewhere in the middle. Many of the strengths I see from the extra year of preschool are social. He makes friends easily, he has no separation anxiety, he is kind and considerate with his peers and he raises his hand to participate.

 

The Wall Street Journal recently published an essay entitled “Should Children Be Held Back From Starting Kindergarten,”

 

http://online.wsj.com/articles/should-children-be-held-back-for-kindergarten-1410536168

 

that brings up some interesting points. They call what we did academic redshirting. “Redshirting” is a term associated with holding kids back for sports. We did not “redshirt” our son. We gave him one extra year to have more time with the family and grow socially. After reading the article, we still stand with confidence in our decision. After all, each child is different and a parent should do what is best for its child. This is not a one size fits all world.

 

At what age did your son or daughter start kindergarten?  Did you see a difference either academically or socially?  Please share your story.

 

 

 

 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Happy New Year… I mean, Back to School!

 

 

As a stay at home mom, this time of the year feels like the start of a new year. After a wild summer, it is a time to regroup and set goals not only for the children but for me as well. It is a little more radical for me this year, as my youngest will begin full time kindergarten. This will be the first year that I drive through the morning carpool lane and ALL my kids will hop out of the car.   Yahoo! I am sure I may shed a quick tear but he is ready to go to school and I am ready too.

 

Several people have asked me when I will go back to work.   This is a sensitive subject for me. I love staying home with our kids but I’ve always struggled with not working. While I haven’t had an “official” job, as many of you know that stay home, I’ve been working my bottom off the last 10+ years. They say watch what you wish for and now I am at a point where I may have some time to work and I am not sure that is what I want to do.

 

Last week I attended a birthday party for one of Bob’s future kinder classmates.   Attending the party were many mothers that will be sending their last child off to school. The conversations were interesting. Almost everyone I spoke with was planning a new adventure from running a half marathon to joining a tennis team to putting more hours in at the office.

 

There are two things that I know I want to do, make delicious dinners and exercise. I want the kids and my husband to come home at the end of the day to a calm and peaceful home. This may seem simple to you unless you understand the chaos that occurs between 3pm and bedtime in most homes.

 

I want the time after school with my kids and husband to be enjoyable. I want to embrace my stay at home status. As James M Barrie once said, “The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.”

 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Summer Through the Eyes of Our Children

This summer has been an interesting one. This is the first summer that all of our children are really appreciating and enjoying summer vacation. To the children, it’s been a true break from school and all activities. There has been no piano practiced, no workbook pages completed and no alarm clocks set. We’ve had a wonderful summer of staying up late, sleeping in, attending a few camps, traveling, going to the beach and pool with friends and family. It’s nice to slow down and enjoy the simple moments in life.

 

As the end of summer is almost here, I find my emotions are torn between the simpler side of summer and getting back into the routine of the school year.

 

I’ll end with a quote from Dr. Suess, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

 

Please share summer of your favorite summer moments with us!

 

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Friday, 1 August 2014

America The Beautiful…Have you seen it?

Summer was quickly approaching. My friends planned summer trips to Israel, Turkey, England, and Italy. My stepdaughter prepared for a European vacation. I planned a trip to a family reunion in Kirksville Missouri.   Even though I knew a trip to Europe was not fiscally possible, part of me wished for one as I listened to my friends share their plans. When asked what we were doing, I quietly said we were driving to a family reunion. At the time, I couldn’t get excited about it. It didn’t sound very glamorous.

 

Summer arrived and off we went on our two-week road trip. Our first stop was the Grand Canyon. I had no idea how beautiful and overwhelming it would be. The word grand doesn’t come close to describing the experience. The countless stars we saw that first night was like nothing my children had seen before. We are lucky if we can pick a few stars out of the sky where we live. From there we went to Lake Powell. I like to describe it as the Grand Canyon filled up with water. We met several Navajo Indians that still speak their native language and that really impressed our children. Then it was off to Four Corners. Although there was not much natural beauty to speak of, the expression our daughter’s face lit up the landscape as she said it was very cool to stand in four states at the same time. It was in the car again and off to Mesa Verde National Park. It was yet another breathtaking and amazing part of American History as we stepped back in time. Our next stop was Durango Colorado and it was beautiful, peaceful, and so green after driving through the Arizona desert. I decided that I could move there. As we drove across the Continental Divide I found myself singing “America, The Beautiful” because the song so perfectly describes our United States of America.

 

In the end, the experience was so much better than I imagined and seeing it through my children added special magic. We had two weeks of uninterrupted quality family time, we saw parts of the United States that we had never seen before, and it inspired us to do it all again next summer.

 

As a young girl, one of my goals was to travel the world and to set foot on every continent. I still have that goal but this trip inspired me to see my own country. I am a true patriot. I cry at the National Anthem, I cry when I see my Dad stand at attention for the National Anthem or Pledge to Allegiance and I think there is nothing more honorable than an individual that choses to join a branch of the military and defend our freedom.

 

I am sharing my new dream with you. I will see America. I will enjoy its beauty. I will share with my children the history and majesty or this country.

Have you seen America?  What is your favorite spot?

 

 

 

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Friday, 2 May 2014

Newest Joovy Star – Kendra Wilkinson

Check out our new celebrity FAN Kendra Wilkinson-Baskett!!!

Joovy was thrilled to have participated in Kendra’s Baby Sprinkle. Here she is with her new Joovy Qool in hot pink and graphite.

Welcome to Joovy Kendra!

Photography courtesy of Dusty Lu Photography

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Fit Pregnancy, April/May Issue 2014

Check out the April/May issue of Fit Pregnancy on new stands now! A couple of cool Joovy products just might make an appearance!

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