It is that time of year. All of our school aged children are headed back to school. PWM wanted to take a moment and focus on the importance of after school activities.
I know that sometimes it can be time consuming and frustrating (and expensive) to find an after school activity that works for you and your family. Believe me, I know first hand. I have one son who has always loved soccer. He has been playing since he was 4 and it has always been a no-brainer. My other son (now 11) has struggled to find the right fit. We have tried everything: soccer, basketball, swimming, art class, drama, tennis, golf, tae kwon do, flag football, skiing and baseball (longest season of my life). It is frustrating because we are searching for something that he loves to do. Although he likes a lot of these things (except baseball- another post for another time), he seems luke warm about most of it. After a season or two, he is done with it. It is also time consuming and expensive. So what is a parent to do? Keep trying. Here is why:
The most important thing that an after school activity or program can offer is to widen your child’s area of interest. He or she is introduced to new things, new skills, and new people. There are new and interesting challenges. It is all good. Mastering a new art
form or a new skill can increase self-esteem and make your child more confident. It also allows you to introduce your child to new career options. A child attending a music
class, for example, may decide that she likes it so much that she wants to make a career
out of music.
Socialization is another great advantage of after school programs. Children get to meet others who share their interests and make new friendships. It teaches you lots of great life skills like being part of a team, working hard, and how to get along with others.
When your children get older, an after school activity keeps your teenager busy and focused. This leaves less time to worry about common teenager pitfalls like drugs, alcohol or other destructive behaviors. Surveys indicate that children who are kept busy through diverse absorbing activities are less prone to abuse, depression and burnout. Significant
increase in achievement and attendance and a reduction in drop out rates
are other advantages of a good after school activity.
Most after school programs have children interacting with other adults. This allows them to benefit from positive relationships with adults. Children often find it difficult to confide in parents and teachers, but may open up to other adults.
Healthier children. Many are introduced to after school recreational programs to
help lose weight and get healthy. New studies reveal that about 15% of children below the age of 16 are obese. Getting your child involved with a sport will help them get used to a more active lifestyle and achieve a healthier weight.
Clearly, a good after school activity has many benefits. By introducing your children to all these great experiences, you are shaping their future and setting them up to succeed and if you are lucky, introducing them to something that they love doing!
Good Luck PWM!
In a perfect world, your child’s school and the teachers within would be attentive and aware of all the individual needs of each student. But it is impossible, even in great schools, to know exactly what is going on with each child at all times. There may come a moment in time when you feel that your child needs something beyond what they are receiving, and it is up to you to make it happen.
Your child’s school, and even their teacher, doesn’t know your child the way you do. Whether you suspect your child may have a learning disability, or they have already been diagnosed with one but their learning situation is no longer working for them, you are your child’s biggest advocate and it may be time to spring into action.
Your Child’s Learning Has Stalled
If your child is having difficulty completing assignments, or has always had difficulty in this area, you should start by asking some questions at school. His/her teacher is a great place to start. Perhaps the teacher may have some insights or ideas for you. You may even be asked to take the next step and see your pediatrician. In the off chance that your child has a learning disability, understanding it and getting support is the most important next step.
Your Child Seems Anxious or Depressed
Undiagnosed learning disabilities can cause a child to become depressed. If a child feels like they are different, but can’t figure out why, it can be overwhelming. If they have a learning disability but have not been diagnosed, their teacher may think they are lazy and pick on them. When you sense that your child is struggling emotionally in any way, that may be a sign that something else is going on.
Your Child Is Not on Par with Their Peers
All children have different learning styles and paces, but if your child is drastically behind their peers, it is worth taking note of. The best way to find out if this is the case is to meet with your child’s teacher (preferably without your child). This is a great way of voicing concerns and seeing where your child is compared to his/her peers. It is not absolute, but a great starting point.
Your Child Doesn’t Want to Go to School
All children have days that they would rather stay home. However, a child with an undiagnosed learning disability may dread going to school. When a child is forced to attempt to learn in a situation not suited for them, it can be an exhausting experience. Not wanting to go to school can be a sign of other issues, such as bullying. But it may be as simple as having special needs that aren’t being addressed.
Listen to your ‘Mother’s Intuition’
We have said it before on PWM and we will say it again…a mother’s intuition is a serious thing. You should listen to that voice. (See Something’s Not Right; A Mother’s Intuition).
You are likely with your child more than anyone else. If something is wrong, you may be the one who realizes it first. Many situations force you to rely on your intuition, which lets you know when something isn’t right. It may feel like something is amiss, and your child is facing struggles with their education beyond what an average student faces. Whatever the case, arrange to meet with someone who can do some testing and give you some direction.
If your child is struggling in any of these ways, it is time to take a deeper look. Arrange a meeting with the teacher, principal, or the school administrator that is responsible for special education. You are your child’s greatest advocate, and with their individual needs addressed, they will once again be able to thrive and reach their full potential.
Do you have good time management skills or do you just THINK they are good?
Here is a question ~ Do you think there are never enough hours in the day? Some days, there are not. Other days, being good at time management can get you over that finish line before your head hits the pillow.
Today, PWM is taking a look at ways to improve your time management.
1. Organize your day by priorities. Work on your highest priority items first.
2. Make time in your day to plan and revise your schedule for the coming day and week.
3. Make an honest assessment of how long it will take you to complete the various tasks on your list (not how long you would like them to take you).
4. Minimize interruptions (or ignore them) until you have completed your current task. I set aside an hour in the morning and in the afternoon where I close my door, turn off the phone and ignore email. This gives me time to complete important tasks.
5. Set personal goals every day.
6. Set aside time in your schedule for unexpected things (because they always come up).
7. When you receive a new assignment or task, take a moment to determine the level of importance and prioritize it accordingly.
8. Get organized about deadlines and commitments and you won’t stress about meeting them. Procrastination is not your friend.
9. When taking work home with you, be realistic about your ability to complete work at home and recognize when it is impossible.
10. Make sure you review priorities with your boss at work and your partner at home. It is important to make sure everyone is on the same page.
If you do all of these things all the time, then you are AMAZING! Most of us mere mortals struggle putting all these in place every day. It is a good review for all PWMs to make sure we are on our game!
No one wants their child to be in trouble at school. It would be wonderful if everyone always got along and agreed about everything in regards to a child’s schooling. But we don’t. Children will get in trouble at school, whether it is their fault or someone else’s, whether fairly or unfairly. It is up to us as parents to dig deeper and find out what really happened, so that we can support fair discipline of our children when they are at school.
Find Out the Truth ~ When your child has gotten into trouble with a person in authority at her school, it can be difficult to find out the full truth. No child enjoys getting into trouble, and if she knows she can get his parents to come to her defense each and every time, she will keep on making it work for her.
We must be careful, though, not to always assume that our child is in the wrong. There are times when a teacher punishes unfairly, or another child is to blame and avoids their responsibility in the situation. Be sure that you do not automatically lean to one side at all times, and be careful to gather all necessary information before deciding what to believe.
Get in Touch with the Necessary Contact ~ When your child has a discipline issue at school, know who to get in touch with. If there are ongoing issues, it is helpful to have one person you can speak with regularly regarding your child’s situation. Get to know the person well and be in contact with them as often as necessary. You will avoid much frustration if you are speaking with one person regularly as opposed to explaining your story over and over to multiple people.
Work Together for Your Child ~ If your child is truly having issues that need to be dealt with at school, work together with his teacher and other key individuals. If discipline is necessary at school, then it is in your best interest to support their discipline while at home. In order for your child to thrive, discipline should be consistent between all caregivers – including school staff and parents.
Speak to Professionals ~ Most schools have staff who are trained in child development. If you need any ideas on effective discipline for your child, talk to someone there who can help. Ask if your school has such resources and you may be able to utilize them.
Believe Your Child ~ If your child tells you they are being treated harshly or inappropriately, listen to them. You are your child’s best advocate. After an investigation of the facts, decide if action is necessary. You are the parent, you know your child. If you get that feeling, like something is not right, make sure you take action.
Whether they are in the right or the wrong, they deserve to have a parent who listens and comes to their aid each and every time there is an issue. Be involved and know your child and the situations she is facing. Don’t be afraid to make necessary calls and take further action if needed.
Discipline issues at school are never easy to deal with, but they are a part of parenting. Know your role in supporting and teaching your child. You can and will navigate this situation and you and your child will come out of it stronger.
I have been working for a long time, but when I became a mom, just like you, I transformed from working woman to working mother. Everything changed: values, priorities, and the time available for both.
Proud Working Mom is dedicated to living this dual path without guilt and providing inspiration, empowerment, and information. It’s also an honest and sometimes twisted look at our reality.
But that’s what makes it cool.
This time of year I find myself thinking of all the things that I am thankful for. Number one on that list is my family. Following that, I could come up with an infinite number of reasons why I am thankful to be a mother. This post is different because it highlights the reasons I am thankful to be a working mother.
At Proud Working Mom, we believe that working motherhood is a good thing for ourselves and our family. Here are 9 reasons why I am thankful: