Mindful Parenting: How to Respond Instead of React

Our bodies and brains are wired to react to high stress situations as a safety net. If our brain perceives a threat, it signals the amygdala, body’s “alarm” system, which tells our body to act without thinking. The amygdala responds to situations with the fight, flight, freeze response. This is to protect us, but our stress receptors cannot distinguish between real dangers or false dangers. In everyday parenting, our stress response often gets triggered unnecessarily by events that are not actually life threatening. Our bodies are reacting to our kid spilling cereal all over the floor in the same way we would react if we were being chased by a bear.

School Mornings Without the Stress

What makes school mornings so hard? “They’re kind of like a perfect storm,” says David Anderson, PhD, senior director of the ADHD and Disruptive Behavior Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute.

“You have a number of things that have to get done,” he explains, “and there’s also a time limit.” Add to this the fact that parents sometimes feel their kids don’t appreciate the ticking clock while they’re trying to get everyone to school and work and you’ve got a pressure cooker that can, at its worst, lead to yelling, tears, and forgotten lunches.

Read the full article at childmind.org

Creating Strong Relationship with Teachers

Nothing is more important to parents than to have a good relationship with the teachers of their children at the start of another school year.Teachers also realize that involving parents in teaching children has a big payoff. They are encouraged to meet parents early and to contact one another the minute they see the need.

The Importance of Art in Child Development

The Importance of Art in Child Development

In recent years, school curricula in the United States have shifted heavily toward common core subjects of reading and math, but what about the arts? Although some may regard art education as a luxury, simple creative activities are some of the building blocks of child development. Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics may be more important than ever to the development of the next generation of children as they grow up.

6 Tips to Raise an Optimist

6 Tips to Raise an Optimist

There are many reasons to encourage optimism in our children, including long-lasting positive affects on their mental and physical well-being. (Did you know optimists are much more likely to live past 100?) But how do you go about raising an optimist? Put these six tips into practice, for starters, and watch the positive benefits extend to the rest of your household. 

9 Curiosity Killers

You want your child to be curious, right? Of course you do! After all, curiosity is the drive to gather new information and experiences and it’s at the very heart of learning. Studies show that kids who exhibit a higher level of curiosity are at an advantage at school and beyond, benefitting socially, emotionally, psychologically, and intellectually. 

3 Place Families Should Make Phone-Free

3 Place Families Should Make Phone-Free

Take back family time and set an example for your kids by creating tech-free zones in the most important areas of your life.

You're sitting down to dinner and -- buzz, buzz! -- your phone starts vibrating. You're driving your kid to practice and -- beep, beep! -- a call comes in. You're tucking your kid into bed and -- squawk, squawk! -- an app begs to be played. It never fails: Technology interrupts our most treasured family moments.

10 Things Parents Of ‘Normal’ Kids Should Know

Many children who suffer from depression, generalized anxiety disorder (which is not the same as teen angst), ADHD, executive function impairment, ODD, dyslexia, sensory issues, and/or are on the autism spectrum can “pass” for normal, their symptoms attributed to bad behavior or (everyone’s favorite) bad parenting.

But it’s not that simple. This article by Jami Ingledue talks about some things parents of “neuro-divergent” kids want you to know. CLICK HERE to read the full article. 

Crisis in the Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School

The importance of play to young children's healthy development and learning has been documented beyond question by research. Yet play is rapidly disappearing from kindergarten and early education as a whole. We believe that the stifling of play has dire consequences-not only for children but for the future of our nation. This report is meant to bring broad public attention to the crisis in our kindergartens and to spur collective action to reverse the damage now being done. 

#NoTeachersNoFAPE - Call to Action in Support of Fair Teacher Salaries

The New York State Coalition of 853 Schools was formed in 1991 to meet the growing needs of students with IEP diploma requirements. Today, the coalition meets the educational requirements of New York State on the grounds of agencies that provide various child welfare, juvenile justice, and family/community support services.

The Parkside School is an 853 school, and therefore urges everyone in our community to join us in a final effort to call on our senators, assembly members and governor to include $18M in the adopted state budget to begin to address the huge disparity in salaries between our teachers and those who work for public school districts.

How Your Can Help:

With the state budget being finalized in less than 2 weeks, please CALL, TWEET and POST on Facebook to get the message across that our kids deserve a Free and Appropriate Public Education too!

1.  Call Governor Cuomo at 518-474-8390
2. Call your Senator & Assembly member (find their contact information)
3. Tweet and Post using these slides, hastag #NoTeachersNoFAPE and tag @NYGovCuomo @CarlEHeastie @LeaderFlanagan and @JeffKleinNY

Sample language for your calls/posts: 
Our kids deserve a Free and Appropriate Public Education too! Including $18 Million to begin to fix the problem for 4410 & 853 school teachers in the final budget!


The Science of Character: Developing Positive Learning Traits

In the last ten years psychologists have done a lot of research into the character qualities and strengths that help people feel happy and satisfied with their lives. There’s been a similar emphasis on the personality traits that help students succeed in school by remaining engaged and motivated to learn over an extended period of time. Traits like optimism, curiosity, social intelligence, and enthusiasm are just a few of the character traits that have shown to lead to satisfied lives.

Check out this post by Katrina Schwartz on KQED. It features an eight minute film by Tiffany Shlain and The Moxie Institute Films. It explores how people can strengthen good character traits by appreciating the positive qualities of others and oneself. It discusses the neuroscience behind a strong character, emphasizing that character is not a fixed quality, but rather something that can grow, change and ultimately improve happiness and satisfaction.

Click here for the post and video. 



5 Ways Parents of Preschoolers Can Raise a Body-Positive Kid

How's this for a scary statistic: Studies show that kids as young as 5 say they don’t like their bodies.

Common Sense Media's survey of body-image research shows that parents play a huge role in shaping how kids think and feel about their bodies. Starting to bolster kids' body image early, even in preschool, can make a big difference in how kids feel about themselves as they grow up.

Here are five ways to immunize your kids against poor body image, with conversation starters, media picks, and resources to support your discussions. Read the full article on commonsensemedia.org.

How Praise Became a Consolation Prize

Helping children confront challenges requires a more nuanced understanding of the “growth mindset.” By Christine Gross-Loh, The Alantic

As a young researcher, Carol Dweck was fascinated by how some children faced challenges and failures with aplomb while others shrunk back. Dweck, now a psychologist at Stanford University, eventually identified two core mindsets, or beliefs, about one’s own traits that shape how people approach challenges: fixed mindset, the belief that one’s abilities were carved in stone and predetermined at birth, and growth mindset, the belief that one’s skills and qualities could be cultivated through effort and perseverance. Her findings brought the concepts of “fixed” and “growth” mindset to the fore for educators and parents, inspiring the implementation of her ideas among teachers—and even companies—across the country. Read the full article here.