Tag Archives: new year’s resolutions

New Years – Conversation Starters


So the end of our calendar year is upon us again as we say goodbye to 2015 and hello to 2016. We have made another orbit around the sun and many cultures find this time of the year to be a time to reflect on the past, plan for the future and generally hope for more prosperity. It is also a great time to talk with and listen to your children about their thoughts about their year and what they hope for in the coming year.

Of course starting a meaningful conversation beyond ‘what do you want for dinner’, ‘do you have any homework…is it done?’ and/or ‘did you pick-up your toys?’ with a child or teen can seem a harrowing task.  Below you will find a few conversation starters you might try the next couple of days.  Remember you might be surprised by the response but you should try not to be negative nor judgemental. Should that surprise (which can actually be good) happen, a positive way to understand the response better is to ask ‘can you tell me more about that?’ or ‘what makes that important to you?’.  Digging a bit deeper just might bring a smile to your face and warmth to you heart.

New Years Conversation Starters

  • What word describes the last year for you?
  • What word do you think will describe the next year?
  • What is your educational goal for this year?
  • What are you most proud of in the past year?
  • If you had the power to change something in the past year what would it be? Why?
  • What was the best advice you had last year?
  • What you do in the new year that will help make the world a better place to live?
  • Did anything inspire you last year?
  • What was your favorite memory of last year?
  • What is one thing you really want to do in the coming year?

For a nice set of 220 free questions you can print on index cards visit the Balancing Beauty and Bedlam website.

Happy New Year!

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New Years – Conversation Starters


So the end of our calendar year is upon us again as we say goodbye to 2014 and hello to 2015. We have made another orbit around the sun and many cultures find this time of the year to be a time to reflect on the past, plan for the future and generally hope for more prosperity. It is also a great time to talk with and listen to your children about their thoughts about their year and what they hope for in the coming year.

Of course starting a meaningful conversation beyond ‘what do you want for dinner’, ‘do you have any homework…is it done?’ and/or ‘did you pick-up your toys?’ with a child or teen can seem a harrowing task.  Below you will find a few conversation starters you might try the next couple of days.  Remember you might be surprised by the response but you should try not to be negative nor judgemental. Should that surprise (which can actually be good) happen, a positive way to understand the response better is to ask ‘can you tell me more about that?’ or ‘what makes that important to you?’.  Digging a bit deeper just might bring a smile to your face and warmth to you heart.

New Years Conversation Starters

  • What word describes the last year for you?
  • What word do you think will describe the next year?
  • What is your educational goal for this year?
  • What are you most proud of in the past year?
  • If you had the power to change something in the past year what would it be? Why?
  • What was the best advice you had last year?
  • What you do in the new year that will help make the world a better place to live?
  • Did anything inspire you last year?
  • What was your favorite memory of last year?
  • What is one thing you really want to do in the coming year?

For a nice set of 220 free questions you can print on index cards visit the Balancing Beauty and Bedlam website.

Happy New Year!

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Sunday Morning Shout Out


healthy-grocery-shoppingA new year may bring many hopes for change in our lives. Many people would like to make improvements and some changes in their family life.   Megan Wallgren and the folks at Familyshare.com list ten habits of healthy families at http://familyshare.com/10-habits-of-healthy-families.

  1. Huff it or bike to it when possible: Wallgren discusses  creating a no-drive zone around your neighborhood, and replacing it with a fun zone of places to walk to in your immediate area. This list might include: school, friends’ homes for playdates, playgrounds, etc.
  2. Drink water: Nix the sugar and empty calories. Drinking water keeps us hydrated and increases energy.
  3. Quality sleep: Wallgren suggests a reasonable bedtime for everyone in the house, as not enough sleep leads to fatigue, difficulties with concentration, fighting, and tantrums.
  4. Get outside: Even though the weather might be cold, even short stints outside can do wonders to improve mood, concentration, increase healing, and spur imagination. Bundle up of course!
  5. Limit screen time (all screen time) and instead focus on a game or project.  Accomplishing something as a family leads to improved overall health and increased self-esteem.
  6. Have fun in your backyard. Use this  area to  play games, grow a garden, take in nature, and get to  know your neighbors.
  7. Eat together.  It has been found that families that eat together consume less calories; strengthen family bonds; are less likely to have substance abuse problems or eating disorders; and are more likely to  have their children graduate from high school.
  8.  Home grown: Be it gardening, raising chickens, or be it keeping bees, such activities not only provide for the family, but teach hard work and self-reliance.
  9. Exercise as a family, exercise alone.  When families walk, bike, or hike together, their children are more likely to carry these activities into adulthood. When children see their parents exercising alone, it also sets a  good example of good behavior.  Enjoy some alone time or invite your children to join you.
  10.  Be service minded and pay it forward: Serving and helping others in need builds selflessness, gratitude, and civic mindedness. It can be as easy as donating non-perishable foods to a food drive or shoveling an elderly neighbor’s driveway to volunteering at a soup kitchen or welcoming the new family in the neighborhood.

Wallgren reminds us of Benjamin Franklin’s words, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Like anything else, when parents teach these habits to their children, they are more likely to take them into adulthood. Healthy habits now mean less chances of  things like heart disease, diabetes, stress, and depression later….

 

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Filed under Education, Health, Improved Learning, My Experiences, Parenting

Five New Year’s Resolutions Every Parent Should Consider


Your 2014 resolutions don’t just have to focus on dieting and exercise; you can set valuable intentions for your parenting too.  Your resolutions for the coming year shouldn’t be vague promises to ‘spend more time with the kids’, but attainable, realistic goals for improving the emotional and academic support you are able to provide.  The key is in the daily routines; small changes here can really lead to big improvements in your family life.

Listen

Take time each day to really listen to your students.  When they have problems academically or socially, ask them for explanations and listen attentively.  If your student is shy or going through a phase where communication is tough, don’t give up or become frustrated. Continue to ask open-ended questions even if all you get is a shrug or an “I don’t know.”  It’s important to keep channels of communication open at all times and to listen without judging.

Stay The Course

When it comes to getting a couple of more minutes of computer time, or moving back curfews, children have better negotiating skills than politicians.  It can be tough to stay the course when you are being nagged and hounded, but it’s important to set firm boundaries.

If you’re not sure about the ‘No’, then put off the answer with “I will have to think about it”.  If you have said no, then stick to your guns.

Take Better Care Of You

I call this the ‘oxygen mask’ principle. In an airplane, adults must put their own oxygen masks on before attending to their children and you need to take care of your own needs in other situations too.  You can’t be a great parent if you are stressed out or unhealthy. Take the time out you need to keep functioning optimally.  Whether that means an occasional night out, exercising more, taking a day off or enabling your children to be more independent, do what you need to in order to maintain your composure.

Be Constructive

Empty threats and blanket criticism can be the result of understandable frustration on the behalf of parents but a constructive, non-judgmental response will often help to solve the situation.  For example, if your student is having trouble academically and has a poor attitude towards studying, parents become frustrated.  Their frustration is borne from a genuine concern for their child’s future, but continuous arguments and criticism won’t solve the problem.

Instead, speaking with tutors, teachers and the student in a constructive, supportive atmosphere can help to create a game plan to improvement that suits both parents and students and results in positive academic gains.

Have Fun

Laughter really is the best medicine and a family that has fun together will form tighter bonds.  Take time out to enjoy yourselves and have fun with your kids. Do enjoyable activities individually with your children and together as a family.  Ask your students what they want to do as participating in planning is more likely to result in participation in the activity.

This year, set yourself really attainable goals that work on your everyday habits. For example, if your resolution is to spend more time with your children and to be a better listener, then start a tradition of spending Sunday afternoons doing something together.  You could take each child to a movie, shopping, or out for a meal.  One-on-one time will really help to give you the space to listen and communicate.

Setting attainable, realistic changes that are tangible will mean that you are more likely to succeed.  Small steps in the right direction result in small victories that are a real encouragement to keeping your resolutions past Valentine’s day.

Note: adapted from a post originally published 12/30/2013 on the Tutor Doctor Corp. blog

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Filed under Health, My Experiences, Parenting

New Years – Conversation Starters


So the end of our calendar year is upon us again. We have made another orbit around the sun and many cultures find this time of the year to be a time to reflect on the past, plan for the future and generally hope for more prosperity. It is also a great time to talk with and listen to your children about their thoughts about their year and what they hope for in the coming year.

Of course starting a meaningful conversation beyond ‘what do you want for dinner’, ‘do you have any homework…is it done?’ and/or ‘did you pick-up your toys?’ with a child or teen can seem a harrowing task. Below you will find a few conversation starters you might try the next couple of days. Remember you might be surprised by the response but you should try not to be negative nor judgemental. Should that surprise (which can actually be good) happen, a positive way to understand the response better is to ask ‘can you tell me more about that?’ or ‘what makes that important to you?’. Digging a bit deeper just might bring a smile to your face and warmth to you heart.

New Years Conversation Starters

  • What word describes the last year for you?
  • What word do you think will describe the next year?
  • What is your educational goal for this year?
  • What are you most proud of in the past year?
  • If you had the power to change something in the past year what would it be? Why?
  • What was the best advice you had last year?
  • What you do in the new year that will help make the world a better place to live?
  • Did anything inspire you last year?
  • What was your favorite memory of last year?
  • What is one thing you really want to do in the coming year?

For a nice set of 220 free questions you can print on index cards visit the Balancing Beauty and Bedlam website.

Happy New Year!

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Filed under Parenting

New Years – Conversation Starters


2013-CalendarSo the end of our calendar year is upon us again. We have made another orbit around the sun and many cultures find this time of the year to be a time to reflect on the past, plan for the future and generally hope for more prosperity. It is also a great time to talk with and listen to your children about their thoughts about their year and what they hope for in the coming year.

Of course starting a meaningful conversation beyond ‘what do you want for dinner’, ‘do you have any homework…is it done?’ and/or ‘did you pick-up your toys?’ with a child or teen can seem a harrowing task. Below you will find a few conversation starters you might try the next couple of days. Remember you might be surprised by the response but you should try not to be negative nor judgemental. Should that surprise (which can actually be good) happen, a positive way to understand the response better is to ask ‘can you tell me more about that?’ or ‘what makes that important to you?’. Digging a bit deeper just might bring a smile to your face and warmth to you heart.

New Years Conversation Starters

  • What word describes the last year for you?
  • What word do you think will describe the next year?
  • What is your educational goal for this year?
  • What are you most proud of in the past year?
  • If you had the power to change something in the past year what would it be? Why?
  • What was the best advice you had last year?
  • What you do in the new year that will help make the world a better place to live?
  • Did anything inspire you last year?
  • What was your favorite memory of last year?
  • What is one thing you really want to do in the coming year?

For a nice set of 220 free questions you can print on index cards visit the Balancing Beauty and Bedlam website.

Happy New Year!

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Sunday Morning Shout Out


I can think of many clichés and famous quotes about change on this New Year’s Day.  Whether wiping the slate clean or in following the words of ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu, “The journey of a thousand steps, begins beneath one’s feet, “ I believe lasting change is often incremental. All too often this time of year, resolutions get broken very quickly when they are too grand in scope. At least mine have.

This year my resolution is to make some changes in my life and in our family life by starting gradually and subtly. I believe that if I can be healthier and a better person, my family will be healthier, as well.  So to start I will ask myself: Am I showing them a good example with resting, eating, exercise, reading, loving learning, and loving life? What type of tone am I setting in the house? Is it patience or impatience? Is it kindness or sharpness? Is it consistency and routine or chaos and disorder?

As I consider these questions, may they inform my changes as well?  I resolve to consider and make these big considerations prominent in my thoughts and my striving every day to live a life well lived, so my children have a role model and do as well.

Whatever your resolution may be or not be, I wish you and your family well.  Happy clean slate and Happy New Year!

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Filed under My Experiences