SchoolFamily Voices

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All parents want to raise their kids to be  self-reliant, hard-working, successful adults. It is not easy to do, because to do so children must take responsibility for their own actions. It is difficult to watch a child suffering the consequences he deserves. Here are some tips that can help you decide what is best for your child.

  • Give your child certain chores to do every day at home. If you have a family pet, it can be her job to take care of it. She can keep her own room clean or help with laundry. Whether you decide to give her an allowance for her part of the work is up to you. The point is that she has certain contributions to family life that everyone can count on her to do.
  • If your child leaves his homework on the printer at home, let him suffer the consequences for his actions. He will likely receive a lowered grade for turning it in late, or perhaps he will have to do it over at school. Regardless, if you rescue him every time he forgets something, he will learn that he really does not have to remember anything for himself. I have personally witnessed parents who make multiple trips to school to bring things to their children. These kids often do not get any better at remembering what they need!
  • Take time as a family to contribute to the greater community. Helping out at the local food bank, helping to clean up a playground, or visiting residents at a nursing home can teach children that they can make life better for others. This helps them to appreciate their own situation and assume responsibility for taking care of what they have. It also develops empathy for others which is a key step towards emotional maturity.

Help your child grow into a responsible adult. Tell him how much you love him every single day, and tell him that is why you are not going to rescue him every time he fails to take what he needs to school. Hold him accountable for doing his chores. Plan some community service time together. Raising children is difficult, but these tips can help your child become a pleasant, caring, responsible teen and an independent, reliable adult.

If you are sending a child off to school tomorrow morning, you may be thinking of the Sandy Hook community, which was struck by tragedy last month. Tomorrow, the Sandy Hook students will return to school at a new location, a repurposed middle school in the neighboring town of Monroe, Conn. As parents and teachers, we continue to look for ways to show our support for these families. The Connecticut PTSA, for example, has been running a snowflake program that asked schools to send paper snowflakes as a show of support. That was so successful that the PTSA actually had to request that schools stop sending these paper gifts and instead do snowflakes for their own schools. 

Here are some other ideas you might consider:

Community service to honor Sandy Hook: The PTSA also recommends that schools set up a community service project this year in memory of the students. Sandy Hook’s principal, Dawn Hochsprung, who perished in the Dec. 14 tragedy, started a community service program she called Project Eagle to encourage elementary school kids to help others. Schools could run their own Project Eagle effort as a tribute to the Sandy Hook principal.

Sign a national condolence card on behalf of your school: Be one of the more than 2.5 million who have signed what’s been dubbed a Global Sympathy Card for Sandy Hook.

Help organize a remembrance day at your school: The T.C. Miller Elementary School for Innovation in Lynchburg, Va., held a Sandy Hook day at its own school. Many staff wore green and white, the colors of Sandy Hook, and then they created a large banner for all the students to sign. The plan was to gather all the students for a school photo and to send it, along with the banner, to Sandy Hook.

Reach out to others in need: Consider holding a collection for other children in need in memory of the Sandy Hook children. An act of kindness in their names will help keep their memories alive. Also, you can find additional resources for reaching out to the Newtown families listed in on the PTO Today blog.

Tagged in: Community Service

Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?