Posts filed under ‘Parent Tips’

New Years Resolutions for Kids

by: Jennifer Perez

As adults, we understand what it means to make a New Years Resolution.  It is the one time each and every year where we take some time to reflect on the past year-what we’ve done vs. what we haven’t done and what we plan on conquering in the year to come!  While reflecting on the past year, I was able to set my own New Years Resolutions for 2011.  As I was writing them down, I couldn’t help but think, “These resolutions are exactly like goal-setting.  Why not teach children and students to set goals/resolutions as well??”

If you have children ages preschool age and up, consider helping them set their very own New Years Resolutions.  It would be helpful to explain to them what a New Years Resolution is and how similar it is to goal-setting.  After your discussion, encourage your child/student to reflect on the past year and brainstorm for their 2011 new Years Resolutions. Please remind your child of the following:

  • ALL resolutions should be age-appropriate
  • Resolutions/Goals should be ones that are attainable
  • Keep the resolutions anywhere between 3-5 different resolutions

The following are some examples of New Years Resolutions from the American Academy of Pediatrics. (You can find even more suggestions on their site).


  • I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.
  • I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
  • I won’t tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.

Children 5 to 12 years old

  • I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!
  • I will always wear a helmet when bicycling.
  • I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.

Children 13 years old and up

  • I will help out in my community – through volunteering, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.
  • When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.
  • When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.

Hope everyone has had a blessed 2010!  Here is to an even better 2011…Cheers!

Happy Resolution Writing!

© Jennifer Perez 12/29/10


December 29, 2010 at 9:28 PM 1 comment

The Benefits of Keeping a Journal

by: Jennifer Perez

I have enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember.  My first recollection of writing was in my very own hard-back leather  journal.  The kind that came with two tiny gold keys attached to one another through a single silver hoop.  I remember feeling so important as I jingled those tiny golden keys to unlock my very own journal….a place I wrote my feelings, thoughts, dreams, fears and so much more.  I didn’t realize it then, but journal writing was very therapeutic.  I was always a quiet child- not one to verbalize much, but when I wrote…..I did so with such detail and emotion, it was as if I were actually speaking to someone, instead of just writing in a journal.  Or was I ” just writing in a journal?”

It wasn’t until I was an adult when I re-read my childhood journals that I was able to appreciate the importance of journal writing.  While reading those journals, I noticed several important things worth mentioning:

1. My spelling, at times, was horrendous!  Yes, I am admitting it…my spelling wasn’t always perfect, but in my journal I was able to take chances without anyone telling me that I needed to “look at that again.”  A part of growing up is learning from your mistakes, and let’s just say…I’ve learned from my spelling mistakes!

2. Every journal entry was different: some days it was obvious that I had  GREAT day, other days not so much.  Whatever the day brought it was visible through the writing on the pages of my journal.  As an adult, this made me wonder…..If everyone always spoke what they thought, would there be less “miscommunication in today’s society?”  Interesting thought to ponder as there can be miscommunication in anything and everything we do!

3. While reading these journal entries, I noticed that the entries were not ones that were written in 10 minutes.  It seemed as though I had plenty of time to myself to think about what I wanted to write….to truly choose the right words to express myself.  This made me think, “Just like adults, children also need some time to themselves.”  Why?  Everyone needs time to reflect, wind down from the day and just be in the presence of the now.  It may not be easy for a young child to ‘reflect’ on the day, but this would be a wonderful skill to teach your child as it will be something they will constantly do throughout their lives!

There are many benefits in keeping a journal ~ for both children and adults.  I have listed a few benefits from my own personal journaling experiences, but everyone is different.  If journaling is something you’d like for your child to take advantage of then explain to them what it is. Maybe even go to the local bookstore and encourage your child to choose their favorite journal.  Let them know that their journal is theirs, for their eyes only and they can write about anything and everything.  Share with them my experience if you’d like!

Happy Journaling!

© Jennifer Perez 12/27/10

December 27, 2010 at 10:27 PM 1 comment

Ways to help your child’s teacher

by: Jennifer Perez

Being a teacher is one of the most heart-warming and fulfilling careers out there.  There are so many aspects of being a teacher that I just absolutely love:

  1. Creating exciting lesson plans
  2. Working with eager learners
  3. Attending Professional Development
  4. Meeting new families
  5. Meeting needs of my students and their families
  6. The list can go ON AND ON!

During my teaching career, I have had the privilege of meeting all types of people: my students, their families, tutors, guidance counselors, therapists, social workers and more.   What do all of these groups have on common?  They all agree that parental support and involvement have an impact on student learning!  You may be wondering, “do your students really believe that or are you just saying that?” Here is your answer…YES!  They do believe that their learning is impacted positively when their parents are involved in their school and education.  (I conduct a brief one-one-one interview with my students the 1st week of school where I ask all types of questions about their learning and learning goals.)

Knowing this, I really try to get my student’s parents involved in as much as possible.  I do keep in my mind that everyone’s home life is different.  Some families have two working parents, other families have only one parent and that parent works, other students live with relatives other than parents and some students are even foster children.  The following is a list I’ve compiled over the years of ways that parents/guardians can get involved with their child’s education.

Ways to get involved at home

  • Check student homework daily

– If assigned correctly, homework should be a review of lessons learned that day or some time during the week.  By reviewing your child’s homework, you are ensuring that your child is applying lessons previously learned.  If your child is not performing well on said assignments then speak with their teacher immediately. This way, the teacher may continue working with your child in that specific area.

  • If school planners are used, check to see that the child is writing his/her homework.

-This will help with building your child’s responsibility.  Around 3rd grade, it may be a good idea to have the ‘responsibility’ chat with your child.

  • Encourage your child to read daily.

I cannot stress the importance of reading each and every day!  Your children can read anything-just as long as they are reading!  To change it up a little bit try: magazines for kids, comics, online stories and poems.

  • Each evening, make sure all school supplies are in your child’s book bag ready to go for the next day.

One of my classroom rules for my students is “Be prepared to learn each and every day.”  This means, bring everything to school that you need in order to be successful.  If your child forgets their homework-that is not being prepared.  If they accidentally left their silent reading book or pencils in the car, they are NOT prepared.  Take a few minutes each evening to make sure that your child has everything they need for school the next day.  Trust me, kids sometimes forget the most obvious things!

Ways to get involved at school

  • Volunteer in your child’s classroom.

Volunteering in your child’s classroom does not need to be an all day affair.  Ask the teacher if there is something you can do to help in the classroom that will take no more than a few hours.  I guarantee the teacher will gladly find an area where your help can be used!  Trust me, any help is helpful!!

  • Join the school’s PTA and be an ‘active’ member.

By joining the school’s PTA, you will be signing up to speak on behalf of ALL children-not just your child.  You will be able to help make decisions at your child’s school that can have a positive impact on ALL children.  I suggest taking a look at the PTA National site at www.PTA.ORG.

  • If you cannot volunteer in person, ask your child’s teacher if there is anything you can do or donate to the class.

-Teachers understand that parents have to work so they not expecting you to come in and volunteer in the classroom.  If you can, then wonderful!  If not, that’s all right too!  There are many other ways to help out without physically coming to school.  You can:

  1. Replenish classroom supplies once per quarter.
  2. Send some disinfectant wipes or hand sanitizer when you find them on sale. (Teachers LOVE these! TRUST me on this one!)
  3. Provide the classroom with snacks once per month-the kiddos will LOVE the unexpected treats.  These snacks can be used for incentives or just a necessary brain break.
  4. Donate any age-appropriate books to the classroom library.  Books-need I say more?
  5. Donate any type of gently used educational games.  Scrabble, Monopoly and even Chutes and Ladders are all great keep-sakes for any classroom.

As you can see, there are MANY ways in which you can help your child’s teacher, whether directly in the classroom or not.  Becoming a presence in your child’s classroom and/or school will directly impact your child’s educational positively. If your child knows that you are coming to school ‘one’ day this week, but they do not know when, they will be more apt to be on their “A” game so to speak.  They will be less likely to act up in class because they know you are in constant communication with their teacher.  There can be no excuse of, “my teacher didn’t tell me to do such and such,” or “No, my teacher didn’t assign any homework” because you, as the parent/guardian would already know the answers!  Think about how powerful this truly can be…begin helping your child’s teacher NOW and you and your family will reap the benefits!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 9/12/10

September 13, 2010 at 6:02 AM Leave a comment

Bookbag + Lifesaver = iSafe Bag

by: Jennifer Perez

iSafe Backpack ~ Introductory offer $59.98 regularly $69.99

When our black iSafe  School  Backpack arrived, my husband and I were excited to learn about this innovative safety bag.  Me being the kind of person I am, my first thoughts were, “ What exactly is this bag?” “Where can I buy it?”  “How does it work?”  Obvious questions for any curious parent.  In this aspect, my husband and I are very much the same.  Without a further thought, he grabbed the bag and WOW!  We found out exactly HOW the iSafe bag got its name!   After pulling the activation cord on the bag, an ear piercing sound came from this ordinary looking bag.  My husband fumbled to re-insert the activation cord which was found under the right shoulder flap.  That 30 second experience changed our lives forever.

About 260,000 children are abducted every year.  That number is amazing or better said, frightening.  Although nothing in this world is full proof, the iSafe bag helps in the defense of child abductions.  If shown how to properly use the iSAFE bag, a child can sound the alarm and ensure that the abduction does not go unnoticed.

As a parent you are always going to worry about your children.  All we can do is put safety nets in between our children and the dangers of the world to try to protect them.  This is a safety net that all children should have, and my child will always have.

© Jennifer Perez 8/18/10

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary ISafe Bag for this review. No other compensation was provided.

August 18, 2010 at 9:31 PM 3 comments

Mommy’s Little Helper

by: Jennifer Perez

With getting ready for Back to School, I have tried my hardest to take every possible free moment to either work in my classroom OR get some work done at home for my classroom.  My principal was generous enough to allow the staff to work in their rooms ONE week early so that we may have a head start!!  WOO-HOO!  Since I took last year off, I was extremely anxious to get into my classroom and begin making sense out of the disorder that awaited me.

I figured I would go ahead and bring my daughter along for the journey; this way, we would still be spending time together AND she could help in any way she’d like!

Here is Peyton cleaning off one of the bookshelves in the future Guided Reading area. She was extremely excited to be helping mommy get the classroom ready for learning to happen!

This photo makes me laugh out loud!  This is definitely MY daughter-she was trying to clean the floor as well!

Needless to say, we actually had a great time together trying to get things organized and in their proper places!  I can already tell that Peyton is going to continue to enjoy being her Mommy’s Littler Helper!  Parents, welcome the idea of having your child with whatever they can whenever they can!  Even if the task is small, you will be teaching your child responsibility AND your child will have a sense of accomplishment!  It’s a win-win all the way around!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 8/14/10

August 17, 2010 at 4:51 PM Leave a comment

Mental Nutrition

by: Jennifer Perez

I have always big a strong supporter of teaching my students responsibility.  Being a 3rd grade teacher, I have always felt my students were a perfect age because they are NOT too young to function on their own and NOT too old to want to disagree with you.  I have used this to my advantage in my classroom!  Along with teaching the latest Math, Reading, Writing and Social Studies curriculum, I like to throw in a bit of the real world in my classroom.  I frequently have discussions with my students about their future: how to set goals for the future and how they must work HARD to achieve their goals.  Each year in my classroom, we ALWAYS have the, “you can be ANYTHING you want to be when you grow up conversation!”  I make sure to have this conversation with my students because I:

  1. Believe in that statement and
  2. I believe in them!

My school is classified as a Title I school- definition: Low income and high poverty.  Most of these students hardly have enough to eat each day.   They are not worried about what they are going to be when they grow up when their little tummies are grumbling.  Heartbreaking-I know, but it’s true!  As their teacher, it is my responsibility to plant this seed of knowledge and hope and to provide enough “mental nutrition” for their seeds to grow!  Once this knowledge has been given, it then becomes their responsibility to begin working on their future-with my guiding them of course!  “How can they do that when they are only 8 or 9 years of age?”  This is how:

  1. Asking questions when something isn’t clear
  2. Completing all homework assignments
  3. Thinking about what they enjoy doing.  Most of the times, I can connect their enjoyment to a career and share that information with them.
  4. Setting short term and Long-term goals

I think it important to note that if high expectations are set then our students and children will strive to meet and exceed those expectations.  Again I say, it is never too early to begin teaching younger ones responsibility.  When you break it down, they are the ones that are responsible for the futures and happiness.  It isn’t too early to begin to instill this concept into their young minds.

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 8/13/10

August 16, 2010 at 5:20 PM Leave a comment

5 Tips to get Back to School Ready ~ Student Edition

by: Jennifer Perez

Going Back to School is one of the most exciting times in a child’s life!  What’s not to be excited about? A new school year brings new: teachers, friends, materials, experiences and memories!!  Parents read over this list with your child and help them realize that getting Back to School ready is just as much their responsibility as it is yours. **The rest of this article is written as if your child were reading it. ** (Order of Tips does not signify order of importance.)

1. Math Refreshers ~ After a long summer break, it is a wonderful idea to brush up on your math.  To help with this, get out some math assignments from the previous school year and begin reviewing as much as possible.  Chances are the material will help jog your memory with what was already learned!  Reviewing ahead of time will give you a head start for new school year and put you in a position to begin learning as soon as possible. A few items to consider are:

  • Repeated addition/subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Word Problems covering all Math Operations

2. I.L.S. ~ The Individualized Learning Space is The I.L.S. is a place where you can learn and grow on a daily basis using the resources available to you.  The I.L.S.  is  extremely beneficial if used properly and regularly.”  A few aspects of the I.L.S. that will need your attention are:

  • Location~ where will you feel the most comfortable completing homework, conducting research and doing your BEST learning.
  • Personalization ~ What would you like to add to your I.L.S. that will make you feel at ease? Learn better?

3. F.A.C. ~  The Family Academic Contract is an extremely powerful tool for you and your family.  “The F.A.C. is a working agreement between family members in order to help each child in the household strive academically.  In order for the F.A.C. to be successful, it must be a “working” agreement.  A working agreement means having the flexibility to change the agreement for the betterment of your child/children to help them succeed.”  As a student, welcome the F.A.C. because it will absolutely guide your academic school year and help keep you focused!

4. Summer Reading List ~ Before summer began, you were given a list of Summer Reading books to read before returning back to school.  Hopefully, at this point, you don’t have too much more to read from that list.  If you do, no worries!  There is still plenty of time to get reading.  I strongly urge you to read these books that were assigned.  I feel confident in saying that these books were chosen for a reason.  More than likely, there will be a class discussion, a project or even a test on these books when you return to school.

5. School Supplies ~ Once you arrive at school, you will most likely already have in your possession every item from the recommended School Supply List.  Sometimes, teachers will ask their students, YOU, to purchase a few other items that will be needed for specific lessons and/or projects.  Your responsibility is to let your parents know if any other materials have been requested.  I will repeat…it is YOUR responsibility to let your parents know if any other materials have been requested!

I sincerely hope that you enjoy the rest of your summer vacation!  I urge you to take advantage of any and ALL opportunities you may have to read and review!  I promise it will not be time wasted!

Happy Learning!

© Jennifer Perez 8/5/10

August 5, 2010 at 7:38 PM Leave a comment

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