1) Do acknowledge them
Talk to them when they come in. Show some interest. Get to know them.
2) Do show respect
Kids want to be treated like an adult, this is one area in which that works.
3) Do provide food
Food always works. Feed them. Even let them have access to the kitchen.
4) Do be some fun
Do something unexpected from the normal routine. Be a little playful.
5) Do avoid confrontations
This isn't the time to correct your kid. Do that later, where you can discuss.
6) Do remember them
Names, siblings, & unique things about them. Also, how your kid knows them.
7) Do make it peaceful
An environment that's void of contention makes a place people want to be.
8) Do leave a little space
Give them some room. Not the bedroom. But, some talking space to be private.
9) Do like them
Everyone has annoyances. Overlook them. See what your kid sees. Be open.
10) Do keep long hours
It doesn't have to be 'open all night' but kids like late nights. Especially weekends.
Bonus: Do treat them like family
Everyone wants to belong. Somewhere. Make it you and yours that they think of as 'family' when they need to connect. How you interaction with your kid's friends, and your kid, will benefit everyone.
What do you do?
At church we have a program for young women (12-18 years) to develop character. They have various activities they can perform. One of the experiences they get to have is a chance to "strengthen your relationship with a family member by showing love through your actions". To help the girls I made up this Hugs & Kisses Kit.
I did this around Father's Day so the girls could have a chance to focus on their relationship with their Dad if they wanted to. Since it's close to Father's Day I thought I'd share it with you.
This activity lasts two weeks so I gave simple suggestions of what they can do to interact each day. Some of the activities are
Day #7 Make a treat for this person,
Day #11 Text a nice comment to this person,
Day #2 Find out their favorites,
Day #8 Talk about your favorite things to do in Summer.
I designed these into 1/4 sheet handouts. They can put it on a ring to help them remember. I call it The Ring Thing™. I've made several for different topics to go on the Ring Thing which I'll share periodically. Here's a photo of my Ring Thing.
Here's a PDF to download if you'd like to use it for some activity you have. It's a black and white PDF that you can print onto colored paper. Then you can cut it into 1/4 sheets.
Did a little surfing down memory lane and came across an article that I contributed to a long time ago and forgot about. It was about TV viewing and what can be done to curb the amount of time watching it. (We've never been big television watchers. There's just so many other really fun things to do.) I'm glad to report the things I said yesterday (relatively speaking) are still valid today. You can see if you agree.
If you've got going back to school on your mind, here is an article at OnlineSchools.com that might give you some inspiration. It also happens to quote me and tell a little about my experience going back to school. (I'll share a few more tips another day, after I know which ones aren't going to be used for another article.) Going back to school was really hard but very worth it. An investment in me and our family.
PS Other articles I've contributed to.
Last year I read an article and did a post about my New Year resolutions going in a new way. Here is part of what I said in 2011, "...after reading this article I realized that Christine's idea of picking a word as a guide for the year, something to "become", was a better fit for me now." This year I am looking back on that to see how it went.
My guide word last year was "FOCUSED" and I found that is was simple and it became a sort of mantra for me. With whatever I did I went back to "focused" for guidance because that's what I was looking for in my life. It was helpful and the first 8 months went really well. The last few got a little, unfocused. I think the thing I would do differently to avoid that is to put the word up for me to see, somewhere, and so I could remember near the end of the year. Maybe by the 8th month "focused" was just more ingrained and less conscious. Whichever way, I liked it and I'm going to try it again this year. So I have a new word for 2012...
It's "finish". On New Year's Day I went through many words thinking about what I wanted to have guide me and I am really in a need of finishing things. When I think of this guide word it makes me think about what I am going to take on, because I have to finish it. It makes me think that if it will help me be more thoughtful and balanced. It makes me think of what is on the table now, and finish it.
Kind of ironic because this post sat here for several days before I actually finished it, to post it. So, my guide word "finish" is very fitting.
Well, yesterday I talked about gift giving. Today I have something else on my mind. This morning I read an article about a NYC public school teacher who told her class of second graders, during a geography lesson, that there was no Santa. She was discussing the North Pole and the children assured the teacher they knew where the it was because Santa lived there. The teacher decided to clarify that myth and said that there was no Santa. Also, she felt a need to tell them that it was their parents who put presents under the tree for them, not Santa. What exactly that had to do with geography I don't know.
After the article, there ensued a back and forth in the comments section about whether kids should be told the truth, if they should even be told to believe in Santa at all, and every opinion in between. I have issues with Santa myself. I've never told my kids there was and never told them there wasn't. When they asked me I would always respond with, "What do you think?" Sometimes they'd say what they thought and sometimes they didn't. I let them talk. So, the belief in the man Santa has been perpetuated very little, if at all, in our home. But, the spirit of Santa and Christmas has.
As an artist I'm very aware of symbols and their use. We use symbols in society all the time. Santa Claus is a symbol. A collective symbol of the intangible attributes of joy, wonder, mystery and surprise that we have few other means to share and pass on. For most of society we have mutually agreed to do that. Just as we've nationally decided that the American Flag is a symbol of patriotism, wedding rings a symbol of fidelity and love, and yellow ribbons a welcoming back home. Whether we choose to embrace these icons and the ideas they represent are personal choices.
A lot of times people get so emotional that they miss the mark about what the problem is. The real issue with this situation is that this teacher believed, and acted on the idea, that it was her RIGHT to tell these children. She decided that Teacher usurps Parent. Put another way, Teacher displaces, supplants, confiscates, or cuts out Parent. This is a policy that is being perpetuated in some schools - teacher has more right than a parent to decide - on many issues like gender, sex, and religion. The problem with not seeing the core issue is that Parent then relinquishes, surrenders ands hands over their right to Teacher.
This teacher decided in that moment, without care, concern, nor consensus of others, that she would take on the role of Parent. In her "truth-telling" did she really have regard about how the truth was told? How the children might respond to it? That it might shatter their (not her) belief system? Is this truth age appropriate? Did she let parents know that she would be busting this tradition so that they could be prepared for the aftermath? Did she let the parents know after the fact with a note home? Did she teach about symbols in society? Did she teach about the different methods of gift giving? Did she teach about celebrations? Did she teach any historical context? These are things a real parent are concerned with. That differentiates Teacher and Parent. This teacher didn't care enough about the children, nor was she willing to take on the real role of parent, to consider the outcome and welfare for those children. I for one want to be a real parent, not some make-believe one that this teacher is trying to be.
Quotes that inspired me this weekend. Designed them so they might inspire your home space.
Click here to download.
Here's an idea to help teach youth leadership skills. I often have the opportunity to teach Young Women (YW)
how to be leaders. I come up with a metaphor or object idea to go along with information from my church.
This one is One Smart Cookie and trains on how to conduct a meeting. Add cookies with the handout.
Here's a free 2 page download. Print page 1, back to back, with page 2. Fold along the vertical axis. Then cut along the horizontal axis. It creates two, 4.25" wide by 5.5" wide booklet. We punch a hole in the upper left corner and keep them on a metal ring. This way, they have the information all in one place for easy reference. I call it our Ring Thing.
We quote this in our family. I believe it comes from a clip in the animated Robin Hood - "For heaven's sake, just let it go." I probably have it all wrong, the movie and the exact quote, but I'm sure one of my 'toons' will correct me. I do know that we say this often and it's a truth.
Family Vacations. Ahhhhhhhhhhh. Not.
Usually when I think family vacation, I don't think, ahhhhhhhhhhhh. Maybe it's me. We don't family vacation the "resort" way. You know, in a hotel, where other's cook the food, make the beds, clean the rooms when you're away and leave fresh towels. We've mostly camped to and from our destinations, or stayed with extended family and friends. I adore my friends and family, but since when is staying in someone else's house or a campsite a vacation for a mother?
And really, is there such a thing as Family Vacation? A vacation is "a period of time devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation... suspending activities" according to thefreedictionary.com. It also says that family means, "all members of a household... who have long-term commitments to each other". I think that vacations should also add, "being away from home" otherwise, it's a party, not a vacation. By definition, so far, a family vacation is long-term committed members of a household sharing a period of time, suspending regular routines away from home, devoted to pleasure, rest, or relaxation. "Family Vacation" seems like an oxymoron by that definition. Much of the time, a family with children isn't restful or relaxing. And some of what goes on with families is needful, helpful, and satisfying but not necessarily pleasurable. There's more to "family" vacations.
Vacations are sometimes called "escapes" because of the pleasure seeking priority. We go on family vacations because of the people we're going with. Our intention is to be with them, not to escape them for the sake of pleasure. Those are different types of vacations. We want to strengthen our familial relationships, that's the point. With this in mind, family vacation can be define as long-term, committed members of a household sharing a period of time, suspending regular routines away from home, devoted to emotionally fortifying kinship through pleasure, rest, or relaxation.
Family Vacation Defined: