I would like to share with our school community, portions of an article written by Victoria Prooday that I recently came across. Each day I find myself reflecting on my interactions with kids, parents and staff. As a parent of two daughters myself (12 and 15 years old), I am always hoping that I am making the best decisions for and with them as they grow into young adults. I sometimes evaluate or adjust my own parenting style after observing different styles of other parents. This is my 11th year as Principal at Spencer Pointe and many of our staff have been here since the school opened in 2006. Of course, as always we see the pendulum swing back and forth with many things. We are definitely dealing with social media at a much younger age than we have experienced in the past. As much as we know that teaching the curriculum is our job each day, we also know that we are teaching citizenship and responsibility, as well as all of the character traits that we learn throughout the year.
The aforementioned article that guided my reflection states that it is scientifically proven that the brain has the capacity to rewire itself through the environment. Our kids are a huge reflection of us as parents. I wanted to share a few tips from the article that I found helpful:
- Provide nutritious food
- Have a daily technology-free dinner
- Play a board game
- Implement a consistent sleep routine to ensure that your child gets lots of sleep in a technology-free bedroom
It also suggests that parents teach responsibility and independence. Don’t overprotect them from small failures. Instead, give them the skills needed to overcome small issues, so that they will be prepared to deal with life’s greater challenges.
- Have your child pack and carry his/her own backpack. If the child forgets a paper, snack, etc., just have them get through the day without it and discuss how to learn from it when they get home. You do not need to run anything up to school.
- Don’t feel responsible for being your child’s entertainment crew. Children can get very creative when bored and that is a good thing. Have them create a “boredom first aid kit” with activity ideas for “I am bored” times.
- Avoid using technology during meals, in cars, restaurants, malls. Use these moments as opportunities to train their brains to function under boredom.
Also, most importantly in my opinion, be emotionally available to connect with kids and teach them self-regulation and social skills. As a parent:
- Turn off your phones until kids are in bed to avoid digital distraction.
- Become your child’s emotional coach. Teach them to recognize and deal with frustration and anger.
- Teach greeting, taking turns, sharing, empathy, table manners and conversational skills.
- Connect emotionally - smile, hug, kiss, read, dance, jump and play with your child.
Again, as a parent of two daughters myself, there is nothing harder on my own heart as to see them have a struggle that I want to solve for them. I have learned to take the time and talk with them about choices, consequences and what they can control and what they cannot. As they are getting older now, I have seen them begin to cope better with changes in friendships, prioritizing, completing homework, and all the struggles that life throws at kids. I also know that, by my actions and guidance, I am giving them the tools to learn and grow. I am not solving problems for them. However, I continue to promote those good responsible citizen traits that we continue to reinforce with all of our younger students. Are they perfect? Absolutely not. However, they continue to grow and make decisions and cope appropriately to the situations in which they find themselves.
As always, thank you for working with us to make Pointe be the best school community that we can offer. We know that our jobs continue to change each year. We will continue to teach more than reading and math, as we enjoy helping raise the future leaders of our world. We are two-thirds of the way through your child’s school year. We are looking forward to a great last trimester and hoping to continue to prepare our students for life’s challenges.