Internet Safety

The internet provides instant knowledge at your fingertips, but together with the abundance of information and opportunities for communication, many dangers lurk in the abyss of online technology. Online safety is without doubt a top priority for both parents and teachers, who allow and expect children to access the internet for their entertainment and education.

Schools have filters to protect children from reaching unwanted sites, and so will many homes, but educating your child on the importance of protecting themselves from the perils of the net, will equip them with the right tools to do so. Keeping their identity safe is paramount and using LifeLock, makers of The Smart Talk below, might be an option parents could consider.

In class, teachers can address the issue by having a class discussion and making them aware of the dangers. This presentation aims to give guidance to such a lesson and is created to help children take clear steps when it comes to being internet-safe. Click on the image below to access it, you will need a google account as its via Google Slides.

It is important for parents and teachers to be on the same page. Parents can also use the presentation to have an open discussion about internet safety and set their ground rules. A great platform for doing just that, is The Smart Talk. It allows for parents and children to discuss about taking the responsibility of becoming an internet user, as well as setting ground rules for the usage of other devices. Once you have a signed agreement, it will be your ground rules by which your child will abide by. An added bonus is that because its creation is a mutual agreement between you and your child mutual it will be more meaningful to them, thus respected.

Going back to parents and teachers being on the same page, encourage your child to take the agreement to school and show their teacher. Maybe it will prompt an internet-based discussion or one about responsible usage of technological devices; whatever the outcome it will most definitely spread awareness of helping your child to be safe as well as managing their internet time effectively and democratically.

Please share to help with internet safety awareness.

Till next time…

Advertisements

How to get your child ready for school after the summer holidays

So, here I am (and I hate to say this) nearing the end of the summer break. I know it’s been long thus I cannot complain in the least, and to be fair I still have a few more days to get into going back to school mode so not panicking just yet.

As I am contemplating my summer adventures and feeling ready to start the new year, it will, no doubt, take some time to adjust to my new academic routine and I am sure all kids, come September, will need to do the same. Some children may find it harder than others and many parents will find it hard to get their kids back into a school routine. This post hopes to make things as easy as possible. Read on to find how you can easily get your child ready for school after the summer holidays.

Adjust sleep schedule

Start to move their bedtime closer to their school bedtime a week before. The summer time makes our circadian rhythms go all over the place, some time will be needed to get it back into school mode.

Make sure uniform fits

Sort through your child’s school clothes and make sure their uniform still fits. You don’t want them going to school on their first day looking like Michael Jackson, no matter how much we love him. Children grow so fast and growth spurts over the summer are very common.

Label everything

Before school starts, make sure you label absolutely everything with both name and surname. If your child is old enough they can do it themselves. You can also get some really cute sticker labels online, to save yourself some time. Whatever you choose to do, it is a time-consuming chore so make sure you give yourself enough time to do it. Label clothes, shoes, water bottles, P.E. kit, pencils, pencil cases, anything and everything that belongs to your child. Your child’s year group is also a good idea to include on the labelling so that if something gets lost it can be returned to the rightful owner.

Eating times

Start by slowly changing eating times to mirror those during school times. Your child’s can then slowly start adjusting to those and won’t start feeling super hungry during lesson time, once school starts. Make sure you stock up on healthy food supplies to have for meal prepping once school starts. Your child will need vitamins and nutrients from healthy fruit and veg so don’t forget a nice healthy snack for them. More ideas for getting your children to eat more fruit and veg can be found HERE.

Revision

Holidays are great for the well-earned rest but can sometimes cause a hurdle in your child’s learning. A short while before school starts, some revising of taught concepts is a good idea to refresh their memory. This will help bridge new concepts taught in the upcoming year with older ones and will equip your child with the ability to make connections faster and easier.

Enjoy the new year ahead!

Till next time…

 

 

Top Tips! My child’s first day at school

What an exciting time! The big day is almost here! Your child will soon be joining the big boys and girls in school, starting their wonderful learning journey and making friends on their way. I’m sure you must both be feeling anxious, a little nervous, maybe a tad bewildered, but hey, don’t fret! All this is absolutely normal and expected. Read on for some top tops on how to make your child cross this milestone as smooth as butter.

Top Tip 1: Talk to your child and prepare them for what they will be doing. If they have older brothers or sisters, who already go to school, prepping them will be easier as it will not be a foreign idea to them. If this is your first child, then give them as much detail as you can, try to get them excited and to look forward to the big day.

Top Tip 2: Talking is great, but a visual is even better. Use a visual aid like ‘My School Book’ from CBeebies or any others you can easily find by doing a simple online search. This will expose your child to images they will encounter on their first day at school, bringing your words to life. The whole process may trigger questions, be sure to answer them all, as best you can.

Top Tip 3: If the school your child will be attending has a school uniform, have your little one wear it around the house prior to the start date of school, so they can get used to it.

Top Tip 4: Label all your child’s belongings. Have them choose which lunchbox they like, bag e.t.c. so that they can recognise their belongings easier. Point things out to them and show them where their name is. It should be visible both to them and their teachers.

Top Tip 5: Start getting your child up early and ready within a certain time frame, which will mirror your daily getting up routine once school starts, at least a week before school starts. Even if you have nowhere to go on that particular day, try to get them used to being ready “on time’. This will help you greatly once school starts.

Top Tip 6: Now, this is the last and most probably the hardest one, yet. So you have done everything to the t, and there you are on that special first day about to leave your little darling, and there are tears, cries and shrieks. You feel your heart breaking into a million little pieces and you have second thoughts about leaving your child at school, maybe they are not ready, mYBE you didn’t explain it enough the them, maybe tomorrow will be a better day; you are so close to picking them up and taking them home, whatever you do…that is something you must NOT do! Give them a hug, a kiss, reassure them you will be there to pick them up at the end of the school day and go. Your child will be fine, trust the teacher to do his/her job, to look after your little one for the rest of the day and for many more to come. Do not linger, the sooner you leave, the sooner your child will start their new life venture into structured learning, where the sky is the limit and the whole world at their feet.

You must be one proud parent!

I wish you and your little one a great school year!

Pinterest

Till next time…

Please leave a comment below if you have any other Top Tips for us.

Let your kids be bored!

No doubt are times changing and with them so is children’s position in society. Long gone are the days when children were heard but not seen. Today, children play a center role and parents attend to their every day wants with lots of TLC. Society is moving at an increasingly faster pace, so it’s no surprise that kids seem to grow up quicker, compared to say 10 or 20 years ago when kids where just kids and there was no rush to make them grow up faster.

Children today, are treated like little adults from the minute they are born into this world. Their thoughts and wants are not only taken into consideration but sometimes even shape their parents lives to the point where simple routine things like going out or going to work are affected.

Parents, in their efforts to do what is best for their little ones, to give them even more opportunities than they had, create jam-packed schedules, filled with as many extra-curricular activities for them to do as possible i.e. tennis, piano, karate, ballet, horse riding, languages, the list is endless. This in turn leaves very little time for kids to just be kids. That means very little time to just play and enjoy some free time doing something that isn’t planned. If children don’t play now, when they have no other responsibilities, when will they play?

Who remembers playing after school for hours on end on the street with the neighbour hood kids? Who remembers sitting around being bored, forced to come up with ways of being occupied. This does not happen any more, for the fear of children being bored, or for parents thinking that they are bad parents if they do not plan and spend every minute with their children.

Being bored to death is not what we are aiming for, but boredom in general is not necessarily a bad thing. It allows time for thought, creativity and imagination to unfold. This is especially beneficial to children, who will learn to rely on themselves to stay preoccupied. Being bored allows for time to think which can improve productivity. Daydreaming can allow for innovative connections and being relaxed promotes happiness. Once a child learns to rely on internal rather than external means of being occupied, they will have succeeded in becoming self-reliant at a young age.

So parents, let your kids be bored! They will have plenty of time to do have chock-a-block schedules when they are older. Encourage them to read a book, or create a game to play. Avoid putting them in front of a screen to keep them from feeling bored. Screen time should be earned. By giving them the opportunity to have the time to be alone, to think and create ways of being occupied you will help them in the future to become responsible, creative, confident adults!

Till next time…

Summer Rules for Electronics Free Printable

Holiday season is here! ❤

Who doesn’t love the hot days, the relaxed evenings and the down time. Parents may take some time to adjust to their children’s lack of schedule and with the long summer days it is easy for children to get bored despite efforts of daily outings and activities. When this happens your children may immediately ask you to watch T.V. or play on the iPad. Screen time is not necessarily a bad thing but having a few rules can help not only you, but your children to lead a more balanced holiday.

Click on the image below to download and print for free these summer rules! Teach your children to be responsible and earn their screen time.

Summer Rules free download

Till next time…

 

 

How to deal with a defiant toddler

The other day, I ran into my next door neighbour, a lovely lady with three adorable kids. After the first few minutes of social small talk she blurted out her immense exasperation with her two defying toddlers. She asked me, more rhetorically than literally, about what she could do, as losing her cool had not been helping the situation. Being a teacher of 20 years has equipped me with experience of handling young children, but not toddlers. What do you do when a toddler looks you in the eye and does something you have explicitly told them not to? Losing your temper is a justifiable reaction , but is it the best? This got me thinking and researching about writing this post. Read on for the best strategies to deal with a defying toddler.

how-to-deal-with-a-defiant-toddler

WHATEVER YOU DO DON’T LOSE YOUR COOL: You guessed it, all the research shows that you must not lose your cool. As soon as you do that, it’s game over. Defiant behaviour comes down to boundary testing and gaining power. Think of it as a power game, if you lose control the power is in your toddler’s hands, look at what their behaviour can do to you. The more they continue the more you lose it and boy does that feel good, they know how to control and manipulate you.

BE THE EXAMPLE: Children look to adults to model and copy behaviour patterns. If you get angry often, then chances are that your child will do the same. Model the behaviour you want your child to have when things go wrong, or when they get upset. Teach them strategies to calm themselves down, like counting or going somewhere by themselves until they are ready to return.

SET CONSEQUENCES FOR THEIR MISBEHAVIOUR:  There should be consequences for their behaviour, for example a time out system. Give them 2 chances to correct their behaviour and then give them time out. Have them sit alone for a few minutes, it needs to be something immediate and effective. Time out should be a minute for every year of their age.

BE SYSTEMATIC: Whatever you do, be systematic. Your child will know what to expect and will stop being defiant if they reach the same time out spot again and again, without you getting angry. Do not get into a long conversation about it and expect an apology. You are teaching your child about consequences, obedience and remorse in an effective calm manner. I repeat do not lose your cool.

PRAISE GOOD BEHAVIOUR: Just as misbehaviour should have consequences, so should good behaviour.  A reward is a consequence of good behaviour. Good behaviour should be rewarded with praise, affection or extra privileges. Every time your child reacts and responds in a good way, make sure you make them aware of it and praise them. Rewarding them in such a way  encourages more good behaviour.

These strategies are closely linked to the 1-2-3 Magic. I highly recommend that all parents read this book  ‘1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12‘ by Thomas W. Phelan, as it has foolproof strategies for dealing with misbehaving children.

I hope this post helps you. Don’t forget to leave me a comment below to let me know.

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

 

Benefits of learning joined-up handwriting

Is it important for young generations to learn how to join up their handwriting, especially in the age of iPhones and pads? I’m sure this question has crossed many pupils’ parents’ and teachers’ minds.

Evidence is mounting that putting pen to paper has benefits that typing cannot replace. – CursiveLogic

Benefits of Joined-up Handwriting

CURSIVE Vs JOINED-UP

Is there a difference between cursive and joined-up? According to Wikipedia, cursive is any style of penmanship in which some characters are written joined together in a flowing manner, generally for the purpose of making writing faster. Formal cursive is generally joined, but casual cursive (joined-up) is a combination of joins and pen lifts. So basically it is the same thing, the only difference is one joins up all the letters and the latter has some lifts of the pen.

CURSIVE Vs PRINT

According to neurologist William Klemm, the neurological benefits of writing by hand are compounded with cursive writing.  He states that cursive writing, compared to printing, is even more beneficial because the movement tasks are more demanding, the letters are less stereotypical.  Diane Montgomery posits that the connected letters and fluid motion of cursive handwriting are especially beneficial to students with disorders such as dyslexia and dysgraphia. Brain imaging studies show that cursive activates areas of the brain that do not participate in keyboarding.

HANDWRITING Vs QUALITY OF COMPOSITION

Researchers Steve Graham and Tanya Santangelo found that teaching handwriting is strongly correlated to the improvement in the quality of writing, not just the legibility of the handwriting, but the quality of the composition. Fluent handwriting allows the student to freely concentrate on higher level skills needed for good writing and to write at a much faster speed.

Do you think handwriting should have a slot in the taught curriculum?

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

Sources: 

Children and Lies

Most parents like to think of their children as angels. “My child never lies,” is a statement that is reiterated and believed by many parents. It usually comes as a huge surprise when parents discover that their children are after all human and do lie. It is within human nature to lie, and research shows that lying even to one’s parents, is a natural and important part of growing up. However at what point is lying a normal part of the growing up process and when is there a need to show concern.

children-and-lies

Arnold Goldberg, a professor of psychiatry at Rush Medical College in Chicago says that “Lying is as much a part of normal growth and development as telling the truth, the ability to lie is a human achievement, one of those achievements that tends to set them apart from all other species.”

Psychiatrists see lying as pathological when it is so destructive it affects the liar’s life and those to whom they lie, writes Daniel Goldman in his New York Times post, Lies Can Point to Mental Disorders or Signal Normal Growth.

Research shows that infants start misleading their parents very early in life. Infants mislead their parents through fake cries, concealing mistakes, and pretending to be injured, just to name a few.

Between the ages of two to three, children start lying when they break established rules and by age five children get quite adept at being able to successfully lie to others. Not only are children predisposed to using deception, but more often than not, children learn this behaviour at home and socialising with others.

Children watch their parents lie and they are explicitly taught to lie by their parents; what we call white lies. It is a social skill that has to be mastered, for positive social interaction, as it is intrinsically linked with good manners and a good upbringing.

According to Daniel Goldman, children lie for the same reasons adults do: to avoid punishment, get something they want or make excuses for themselves. However, preteen-agers usually have not yet learned to tell the white lies of adults, which work as social lubricants or to soothe another’s feelings, researchers say. Those with higher IQs are more likely to use deception.

 

 

As children grow up, deceptive behavior tends to get worse, especially during the teenage years, when children are trying to assert their independence. To make matters more complicated, teenagers tend to put rewards ahead of risks, causing them to act more carelessly and often more deceptively than adults would like.

While there is no one full proof method to deal with lying, if you discover that your child is lying stay calm. Talk to your child about the underlying issue and try to get the whole picture, remind them that you value honesty in your relationship with them. Have consequences that correspond with the child’s age and type of lie. On the other hand, if you are dealing with a child who lies even when there is no reason to lie, or a child who is constantly putting themselves at risk, seeking out professional help may be the wisest course of action.

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

Further resources: Children and Lying

The importance of hugging your kids

Hugging is SO incredibly powerful, it’s not just beneficial for kids, but for all ages. Whether you’re wrapped up in the arms of your beloved, greeting a friend or saying goodbye, hugs have a way of making us feel special, protected and loved. This simple gesture can do wonders for our well-being and the emotional development of our young ones. Below, are just a few of the many benefits hugging our loved ones gives – be it a bear hug, a cuddle or a warm embrace.

hugging

  • It makes children comfortable with receiving and showing affection toward others
  • It increases good chemicals in the brain which in turn lower stress, promote healing, lower
    blood pressure and make us feel happy
  • It’s a way to communicate love and affection without words
  • It can be a good exercise, rocking, carrying and holding your kids
  • It promotes bonding
  • It creates a healthy sense of personal boundaries
  • It encourages calmness and relaxation
  • It improves immune functions and sleep patterns
  • It lowers anxiety and stress
  • It reduces discomfort from teething, congestion, colic and emotional stress
  • It strengthens the digestive, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems

Research shows that adults need an average of 5 hugs a day. So what are you waiting for? Start those hugs! Just make sure the person on the receiving end is as eager to get them the person giving them. ❤

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

Special thanks to R. Centeno for the featured image photo. 

 

Taking a closer look at the theory behind dyslexia.

umbrellaDyslexia, a wide umbrella term used to describe a range of difficulties a person may have with reading and phonological awareness. Dyslexia is a  highly controversial term because research has been carried out for different purposes and this has resulted in different findings. A major consequence of this, is that there isn’t a clear conception of dyslexia, making it still quite an unclear term for many. Uncertainty as to how to help someone with dyslexia and what being dyslexic entails are issues that arise within the educational system.

Firstly, it is important to distinguish between what causes dyslexia and what the description of dyslexia is. Descriptions don’t necessarily trace back to the same cause and vice-versa. A great analogy, I read during my Masters course in SEN, was that of an “allergy” – the same allergy can lead to different symptoms depending on the individual. I’m by no means saying that dyslexia is an allergy, I am clearly stating that it is vital to determine the true cause of it, so to administer the appropriate intervention. Someone with dyslexia, needs the appropriate intervention based on the cause of their dyslexia and not only by their symptoms.

Research shows that there are three levels of theory of dyslexia. These are: 

Behavioural – which can be seen as ‘symptoms’ poor reading, spelling, rhyming etc

Cognitive – which can be seen in slow infornation processing; phonological awareness; deficits in short/working memory etc

Biological – how the brain functions, cerebellum, abnormlities in language areas of the brain etc

These levels of theory could be the underlying cause of confusion when it comes to understanding dyslexia. Fawcett notes that one of the reasons of tensions in dyslexia is the different agendas of the individuals or interest groups researching. Practitioners are concerned with the treatment, educational psychologists focus on the symptoms and researchers are concerned with uncovering the cause. Nicolson (2001) mentions other reasons such as marketing issues and increasing ranges of ‘treatments’ for dyslexia. ‘Research’ may confuse and mislead practitioners if there has been claim for the success of a particular so called ‘treatment’.

Firth believes that a causal modelling framework involving all three levels can solve problems and confusion. The integration of all three is essential to support improved student learning.

Dyslexia can be defined as a neuro-developmental disorder with a biological origin and behavioural signs beyond written level. 

Interactions with cultural influences occur at all three levels. When we consider these influences on the clinical demonstration of dyslexia, the difficulties encountered by the individual and possibilities for remediation, only  then can a precise definition of dyslexia be formed.

You will find many definitions of dyslexia by doing a simple search on the internet. Here I share with you just a couple.

In October 2007, the British Dyslexia Association approved the following definition:

“Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills.  It is likely to be present at birth and to be life-long in its effects.  It is characterised by difficulties with phonological processing, rapid naming, working memory, processing speed, and the automatic development of skills that may not match up to an individual’s other cognitive abilities. It tends to be resistant to conventional teaching methods, but its effect can be mitigated by appropriately specific intervention, including the application of information technology and supportive counseling.

Often there is a negative feeling about having dyslexia because we concentrate on the disadvantages and difficulties it causes. The situation can be turned around to harvest the positive aspects of having dyslexia.

This post hopes to bring more awareness on the theories behind dyslexia. Only by keeping positive and focusing our attention on somebody’s uniqueness can we help them to fully develop into the person they really are.

Till next time…

Peppi Orfanogianni

Bibliography:

Nicolson, R. I., Fawcett, A. J., & Dean, P. (2001). Developmental dyslexia: the cerebellar deficit hypothesis. Trends in Neurosciences