Parents Helping Parents of Wyoming State Parenting Center

Posts tagged ‘parenting’

Linking Learning to Home and School

Terri Dawson- PHP of WY, Inc. Executive Director

The first nine weeks are up—-do you know how you can link learning at school to home?

The first 9 weeks of school are over, and parent/teacher conferences have either just occurred, or are happening in the next week or so. So- let’s test the water. How is your child doing? I just estimated how many parent/teacher conferences I have attended in the past 20+ years. Not counting any of my sons’ special education meetings- I have attended approximately 80 parent teacher conferences for my kids. In looking back, I have to say I enjoyed them…..but I had to prepare for them. Maybe not as much as the teacher, but certainly, I had my own list of information to gather.

Here’s what I learned from all those P/T conferences. Many times the teachers want to go over each item and grade—and I usually wasn’t as concerned about that. I typically knew most of that information from the day-to-day questions I asked my kids about their grades. What I always wanted to know was- what were they going to do next? What was the next project for Science? What book would they be reading in English or Lit class? What was the next unit in social studies and what was the target or main point of the lesson? How could I support my child at home- and support the teacher in his/her work in the classroom by discussing the topic with my kids at home? By knowing that, I felt I could help make the learning experience and/or lesson relevant to our day-to-day world.

Most of the time, I had done some pre-visiting or had discussions with my children’s teachers prior to the PT conference- since I always wanted to be prepared and not be surprised about a missed homework assignment or failed test. One of the most important questions before the PT conference was for my kids. I would ask them, “What am I going to hear from your teacher about you? What is your favorite thing about each class or teacher?” This is so I can start the conversation off with a positive comment about what my child likes about them -i.e. “Heather said she loved the project on dinosaurs last week in your class!” It’s a great conversation starter, and shows the teacher that what they have done does matter to the students- and we are paying attention. 

What questions do you like to ask you teachers and/or kids for parent teacher conferences?

First Nine Weeks Are Up. Now what?

Janet Kinstetter- PIC Outreach Parent Liaison- Moorcroft

The start of a new school year for a typical child can be stressful but for the parent of a child with a disability it can be a challenging time and often very stressful. More than likely you have had your annual IEP meeting in May to discuss the next new school year. You have discussed strategies to use to make transition easier for your child. You have prepared all you can for the upcoming school year.

The first nine weeks are now over. How is your child doing? You eagerly await your child’s progress report that you should receive as regularly as parents of children without disabilities.

You receive your child’s report, either through mail or at a P/T meeting. The report says that your child is making progress toward achieving the annual goals contained in the IEP.  This is great news. You visit with the teacher generally about your child. Does the teacher have any questions about how to work with your child? Does the teacher have any concerns? 

If you go in and find your child is not making adequate progress the IEP team may need to meet and reevaluate the appropriateness of one or more of the annual goals. The IEP must be revised to address any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals. There must be an IEP team meeting for any change to be made to the IEP (unless parent and school agree otherwise). The school would send you a notice of the IEP meeting. You would receive a Prior Written Notice of Proposed Action to be taken in regards to the IEP.

If you still have concerns regarding your child’s progress and changes have been made to the IEP give the IEP time to work.  Be in communication with the teachers on how you can help the IEP be successful for your child!

Changing Behaviors…

Juanita Bybee- PHP Office Manager

Parents are their child’s first teacher. If we are to expect our children to respect others, we need to show respect to each other as well. Children are like sponges, they observe and mimic especially parents who they look up to and want to emulate. Here are a few helpful hints to think about.

1) Start early – It is easier to start off with the desired behavior.  Research says that it takes 21 times to change an undesired behavior.  7 times a conscience choice, 7 times to reinforce, and 7 times semi-conscience choice to change the undesired behavior.  That seems like a lot of work, it is easier to do it right the first time.

2) Start off small- Make it easy. Use please and thank you’s.  A good foundation will help parents to build upon as your child gets older.

3) Ignore the poor choice and reinforce the good choice. Children love to get compliments; they beam with happiness when they feel like their parent took notice of their behavior. 

4) Practice, practice, practice… Make it a habit over time; model the desired behavior with your child. It is not enough to teach children what NOT to do but what TO do.

5) Give eye contact – be present in the moment. It doesn’t have the same effect if you are not looking at the person.  Take that extra second to make sure that the person knows that you are truly paying attention.

Sticking to a Schedule

Tammy Wilson- PIC Outreach Parent Liaison, Green River

As a preschool teacher nothing makes me happier then starting another school year. I love routines for myself and the children. They are so important for small children; they do so much better socially and emotionally when kept to a routine. Getting up and going to bed at the same time just makes life for everyone run smoother.

For children that have disabilities such as those with Autism, Asperger’s and ADHD a routine is absolutely essential. It is so important to them to know what is coming next. Swaying from routine is rarely pleasant for small children or those with disabilities.

Sometimes even a visual time line can be helpful for children that crave structure. It can begin with a picture of a child or a picture of the child themselves eating breakfast. The next picture can be the car or the bus to represent going to school. The teacher can then have the time line up somewhere in the room with the picture representing the order in which everything that will take place during the day. The time line should always end with bed time.

There is also the issue of over scheduling children throughout the day and not having enough creative playtime to engage their imagination. I feel routine is important but that does not mean over scheduling children.

Routines and Children

Setting routines and expectations from the beginning leads to success!

This summer all routines went out the window at my house, except two:  nightly reading and going to bed by 9:00 pm.  Now that school is in session, we have to be more disciplined and get our routines in place for a successful year.  Routines are important for keeping kids on track and having structure within a family.  Here are some suggestions for school year daily routines:

  • Set out clothes the night before.  Better yet, younger elementary school children can sleep in their clothes the night before and wake up already dressed.
  • Make a checklist for each child to mark off their own responsibilities before they head out the door.  This eliminates the need to nag.
  • Designate a set time for homework. This guarantees that your child will have an appropriate amount of time to get the work done.
  • Come together as a family daily.  The school year can be hectic, but only as hectic as you make it. Carve out time with the entire family, even if it is just to eat breakfast, so that you can all connect every day

Every family can come up with their own routines that work for them.  What are some routines your families use to keep the day running smoothly?

Summer Fun!

Amy Skalicky- F2F Outreach in Cheyenne

It’s August, and it seems like school just ended for the summer last week.  Where did the summer go? Perhaps the late winter-like weather delayed that summer-fun feeling. Playing outside later, flip-flops, sunscreen, Saturday night racing, mosquito bites, painted toenails, hiking, fishing, swimming, camping—soon to be replaced by school supplies, teacher meetings, assemblies, earlier bedtimes, earlier rise-and-shine times, check-ups, vaccinations, new clothes, schedules, IEP’s and homework.  

Don’t get me wrong.  My daughter enjoys school and I enjoy that part of the journey with her.  But there is a joyful freedom that comes with summertime, a freedom to enjoy the outdoors more, freedom to play more, and freedom to be who they really are.  I learn the most about Peanut when I am playing badminton with her, picking out the stars and planets on GoogleSky, or just sitting on the front steps watching her fly by with her friends on their scooters.    I am amazed, as I always am, at how much she has changed in the few short months since school ended–taller, more self-sufficient, and more aware.  Summer fun brings summer growth.

Summer is also a good time to regroup and recharge for a fresh start in August.  Many children, my daughter included, develop a before-school anxiety, and this is a good time to reassure them and plan for the successful start of the next grade.  Teachers are busy with their own preparations for school, but a quick meet-the-teacher before that first day could alleviate some apprehension and allow any special needs to be discussed before the first-day rush.  EpiPens, medications, diabetes supplies and what-you-need-to-know-about-my-child information for the school should be ready before school starts.   Starting now on a little earlier bedtime and earlier waking time can make the first day a bit easier as well.   In addition, it is a good time to set up the homework area, making sure it is stocked with needed items—pencils, crayons, laptop, paper, books, glue, and favorite snack food. 

The bathing suits, camping supplies and sandbox toys are on clearance, making way for the crayons, notebooks and locker accessories that have already invaded store shelves.  School registration information, supply lists and open house schedules once again adorn my refrigerator, and my daughter giggles that this year she and I both have homework, so we should do it together. I am then informed that I cannot go outside to play until it’s done.  Thanks, Peanut.  Glad you’ve been listening.

But I am not letting go of summer just yet.  There is plenty yet to do and time left to do it.  Perhaps it’s time for a new end-of-summer ritual.   This year my daughter has some things she wants to put into a summer scrapbook.   As for me, I am going cling to the warm sunshine, sidewalk chalk, giggling kids in my yard and muddy prints tiptoeing through my kitchen.

Tips to Keep Kids Ready for School

Natalie Pique- PEN Outreach Liaison Casper Area

Ahhh…summertime! Summertime at our household means baseball games most nights, motocross races most weekends, and bike rides & swimming at the pool at the end of our street during the long days. My family looks forward to summer and all the fun that it brings…as well as the less stringent schedule that we keep during the school year. That being said, I have always tried to “sneak” in a little education & learning activities to alleviate the loss experienced with three months off from school. The easiest way that I have found is to sign my kids up for the local summer reading program at the library. This program offers incentives such as baseball tickets, ice cream tokens, and free pool passes in exchange for a reading log with recorded minutes of reading. Another way is to look for educational camps such as Astronomy Camp or the multiple Science Camps offered in our area. My most favorite learning/reading activity that has proved very successful with both of my children is to choose a book that we read together for at least 20 minutes a night. This summer, Jake (my 10 year old) chose Harry Potter. It is so much fun to spend time with him this way…even when I am tired and grumpy, to see him excited about what will happen next always makes my day! There are so many ways to keep kids in “learning mode” during the summer, whether it’s cooking, gardening, or having kids set up a Kool-Aid stand (math & money management skills)!  Happy Summer!

%d bloggers like this: