Tag Archives: new year’s

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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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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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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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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Resolutions


The time after the first winter holiday surge and before New Year’s has always felt a little depressing to me. The allure of vacation quickly grows old, the thrill of having nothing to do becomes boredom, and the mess of the holidays seems impossible to clean up. It’s appropriate, then, that the new year looms right around the corner, bright and shiny with promise.

I used to think that however the new year started was somehow indicative of how the year would go. If my family was irritable and crabby and fighting when the ball dropped, the rest of the year would follow. If the stars aligned and the new year came in with joy, then that would mean a great year was forthcoming. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that it doesn’t particularly matter how the new year is brought in, and more and more it seems as though New Year’s Eve is simply an arbitrary moment in which people try to get rid of the baggage of the previous year and start a bright and shiny new year. It isn’t that simple, of course. You don’t just get to have a fresh start when the ball drops and leave all the baggage of the old year behind. New Year’s Eve doesn’t bring with it some sort of magic.

The only thing magic about New Year's Eve is the fact that adults are willing to wear funny hats! (Image Credit:http://www.holiday-gifts-gift-baskets.com/articles/tag/new-years-eve-for-kids/)

 

However, millions (if not billions) of people across the world still ring in the new year with celebration and a magical sort of thinking called resolutions. Some people are so convinced in the magical powers of New Year’s Eve that they create lists of things that they want to change in their lives or that they want to continue doing into the new year. It is as though this one night offers a true fresh start, and the next day you really will get out there and start training for that marathon. Resolutions, however, are not that simple either. Just writing a wish down on a piece of paper doesn’t make it real.

The Oxford English Dictionary online records the first appearance of the phrase “New Year’s Resolution” as occurring in 1850, and defines the phrase as “a resolution made on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day to do or to refrain from doing a specified thing from that time onwards, or to attempt to achieve a particular goal, usually during the coming year.” However, the OED also tellingly offers two quotes out of five that address the ease with which these resolutions are broken.

I think that most people truly mean to follow through on their resolutions. After all, resolutions are rarely spontaneous. A resolution usually comes from a long-held wish or desire. The problem is that often, resolutions are broad goals that don’t necessarily have steps in place to make them achievable. Rather than saying “I’m going to get an A in history!”, try saying, “I’m going to study 30 minutes each day for history.” Of course, the latter statement doesn’t necessarily sound like a New Year’s resolution, and it lacks the excitement of the former exclamation. It is, however, a clearly defined goal, which may help improve its odds of success.

The malaise of the post-holiday season comes back, for me, in full-force on New Year’s Day. This phenomenon is probably closely related to my deification of New Year’s Eve, and my subsequent disappoint when the world hasn’t changed in just one night. The truth is, New Year’s resolutions can only do so much, and giving one specific day so much importance can backfire. Any day can be New Year’s Eve. If you commit to a new course of action, you can start a new world for yourself whether it’s December 31st or April 17th.

Maybe we lose sight of our resolutions because of all the sparklers and fireworks on New Year's Eve! (Image Credit:http://www.splinterslanes.com/)

While many of my own New Year’s resolutions have failed, I have made changes in the past that have been just as momentous. After biting my nails from the time I had teeth, I finally stopped in the summer of 2010. One day, I just decided that I was done, and with a few minor relapses my nails have been bite-free since that day. Sometimes, the pomp and circumstance of New Year’s can distract from the intent behind the resolutions, which may very well be good. If I had declared on New Year’s Eve that I was going to stop biting my nails, I probably would have woken up the next morning, realized the world was the same as it had been last year, and continued with my bad habit.

Maybe the thing to remember is not that New Year’s Eve isn’t special, but that every day has the potential to be as special and full-of-promise as we make New Year’s Eve. It’s interesting that the word “resolution” is only one letter away from “revolution”. A revolution implies action, while a resolution connotes less action and more hot air. Why not start a revolution in your life in those moments when you inspire yourself to do so? Don’t be dependent on a date on the calendar to make changes in your life that you want to make. If you want to take French lessons or be kinder to strangers or grow out your hair, start doing it that day. Use the power and energy and inspiration inside of you to make it happen.

Maybe my relative apathy toward New Year’s resolutions stems from the fact that I’ve never successfully kept them. Oh, sure, I try. I kept the journal I swore to write in every day for a week before I lost it. Of course, on the off-chance that this whole “New Year’s Eve magic” idea has merit, I’m going to make a few resolutions, just in case. Who knows? They might even stick.

Wishing you and your family a very happy New Year from all of us here at Tutor Doctor WNY!

 

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