Florida Army Reserve Child Youth and School Services

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1 Florida Army Reserve Child Youth and School Services Your Family Programs/CYSS staff is requesting your feedback and participation in our monthly newsletter. We welcome your suggestions for themes, sections, articles you ve found interesting and helpful. We would like this to be your newsletter and a source for dialogue and the sharing of ideas. Volume1 Issue 6 Has your FRG had a special event for the children? We d love to include pictures and an article that might help others do the same. Please send suggestions to September 2011 Education Issues- Getting Back into the Groove Community Partners: Military Child Education Coalition This organization was established to meet the needs of all military children by informing and supporting those working with and in behalf of those children. The website -www.militarychild.org provides access to areas of interest for military parents; child and student programs; professional development and coalition partners. At Ask Aunt Peggie, there are answers available from a former military child with wide experience as a teacher and school administrator. In the Education Groove Helpful Hints for parents and students. Be a role model for your child. Continue your own education. Learn education/content/money -for-school/militaryspouse-and-familyeducational-assistanceprograms.html Supporting Children of the National Guard and Reserve Institute is a two-day professional training aimed at mental health counselors, social workers, guidance professionals, school administrators and teachers to help educate about the unique challenges that National Guard and Reserve children and families face. The National Guard and Reserve Institute is a program of the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC), which was established in 1998 to help military-connected children with the challenges of frequent moves and transitions often experienced throughout childhood. In addition to professional development workshops, MCEC provides transition services for students, parent workshops and counseling resources to help military children and families. Check the web site - -for a GRI or other training in your area. This information was taken from the MCEC website and an NPR report. Inside this issue: School Avoidance 2 Learning Disabilities 3 Homework: A parent s guide Staff Directory 6 4 & 5

2 School Avoidance: How to Get Your Reluctant Child to Class The transition back to school can be a tough one for many kids, and it's not just the first day. When one child began kindergarten last fall, he skipped down the sidewalk, eager to meet his teacher and new classmates. Then there was the second day. He sat down in the middle of the sidewalk, half a block from home, and insisted, "My hair looks doofy!" Eventually, his mom coaxed him to class. Only the next day, his shoes were uncomfortable. The day after that, his pants didn't fit. Sometimes called school refusal or school avoidance, this form of separation anxiety happens most commonly between the ages of five and seven and 11 and 14, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Those are periods when youngsters are dealing with the new challenges of elementary and middle school. Children are most likely to refuse to go to school after a period of spending extended time with a parent (i.e., summer vacation) or being under stress, such as moving to a new neighborhood. Here are tips you can use before school's in session. Help your child get familiar with school. Visit the campus ahead of time, or even better, go to an orientation or welcome-back activity. While it's tempting to stretch out summer vacation as long as possible, meeting future classmates and teachers or reconnecting with old friends can really help your child feel more comfortable at drop off. Say it's okay to feel nervous. Acknowledging your child's feelings helps him to understand that it's normal and common to be anxious about going back to school. "Remind your child of another time they had to make a change, such as going to a party where they didn't know the other kids," says Dr. Paul Horowitz, a Valencia, California pediatrician. "Remind them of how that turned out to be a good experience." Teach your kids words to explain their feelings. Sometimes children just don't know how to describe what is wrong. "Teach them words like 'anxiety,' 'fear' and 'stress. Those kinds of words are not words that parents usually talk about with their children. Establish routines, in and out of school. Although it can be fun to stay up late and have unstructured days during vacation, kids need to transition back to normal bedtimes (and healthy diets!) well ahead of the big day. Once school starts, learn about the classroom routines and talk to your child about the activities that are coming up each day (such as show and tell, library visits, or computer lab). Ask for help from teachers. Don't be embarrassed if your child resists going to class. Not only are educators used to it, they are trained to help. They can recognize a shy kid and engage them, Follow your instincts if you need help from a doctor or counselor. Stomach aches or headaches are common complaints when school starts. "The most important thing to do is to tell your child you understand, that you believe they have the pain," says Horowitz. "Do the best you can with your parental instinct to determine whether it's physical or psychological." If pain persists, it's time to consult a pediatrician or school counselor. Adapted from PBS Parents By Grace Hwang Lynch Page 2 Florida Army Reserve

3 Facilitating Successful Outcomes for Children with Learning Disabilities: What Parents Can Do Now Create opportunities for success and avoid frustration when possible. Set up activities, chores, and homework so that your child can be successful. Also, make sure to say something positive when things go well, and naturally don't praise work if it isn't worthy of it. You also want to avoid frustration -- both yours and your child's. If your child is having difficulty with an activity, try to simplify or end the activity before she gives up or gets angry. You can also teach your child ways to avoid frustration by encouraging her to ask for help when needed. Build your child s confidence. Every child (and adult!) wants to feel good about himself. You play an important role in how your child feels about herself. You can say things like I have every confidence in you or I knew you could handle that to point out that you trust your child and believe that he will achieve great things. You can also ask your child to teach you something. Children need to feel important and competent which leads to healthy self-esteem. Say what you mean. Children with learning disabilities often have difficulty understanding all they hear and read. Be very clear when you speak to your child.. Give simple directions and break down tasks into concrete steps. For example, ask your child to make his bed and put away his laundry rather than say clean up your room. Make sure he understands by asking him to repeat instructions before following them. Avoid sarcasm, especially if your child does not understand your meaning. Model what you want your child to do. Let your child know what to do by modeling the activity or chore. For example, show your child how to complete a puzzle or art project so that she can see the steps she needs to follow. Or model a social skill, such as asking for assistance to teach your child how to appropriately ask for help when needed. When you model the behaviors you want to see, you set a good example and make your expectations clear. Prepare your child for new situations. Help your child succeed by telling her what to expect and how to behave in new or unfamiliar situations. Because she may not pick up on the unspoken rules, it is good to discuss what the expectations are. For example, if you are going to a movie theater, it may be helpful to remind your child not to talk during the movie. Letting your child know about a situation beforehand allows her to think through her actions and be less anxious. Adapted from PBS Parents Volume1 Issue 6 Page 3

4 Homework: A Guide for Parents Homework has been around as long as public schools have, and over the years considerable research has been conducted regarding the efficacy of homework practices. While the results are not uniform, most experts on the topic have drawn some common conclusions. Reasonable Homework Expectations It is generally agreed that the younger the child, the less time the child should be expected to devote to homework. A general rule of thumb is that children do 10 minutes of homework for each grade level. Therefore, first graders should be expected to do about 10 minutes of homework, second graders 20 minutes, third graders 30 minutes, and so on. If your child is spending more than 10 minutes per grade level on work at night, then you may want to talk with your child s teacher about adjusting the workload. Strategies to Make Homework Go More Smoothly There are two key strategies parents can draw on to reduce homework hassles. The first is to establish clear routines around homework. The second is to build in rewards or incentives to use with children for whom good grades is not a sufficient reward for doing homework. Homework Routines Tasks are easiest to accomplish when tied to specific routines. By establishing daily routines for homework completion, you will not only make homework go more smoothly, but you will also be fostering a sense of order your child can apply to later life, including college and work. Step 1. Find a location in the house where homework will be done. The right location will depend on your child and the culture of your family. Some children do best at a desk in their bedroom. It is a quiet location, away from the hubbub of family noise. Other children become too distracted by the things they keep in their bedroom and do better at a place removed from those distractions, like the dining room table. Some children need to work by themselves. Others need to have parents nearby to help keep them on task and to answer questions when problems arise. Ask your child where the best place is to work. Both you and your child need to discuss pros and cons of different settings to arrive at a mutually agreed upon location. Step 2. Set up a homework center. Once you and your child have identified a location, fix it up as a home office/homework center. Make sure there is a clear workspace large enough to set out all the materials necessary for completing assignments. If the homework center is a place that will be used for other things (such as the dining room table), then your child can keep the supplies in a portable crate or bin. Page 4 Florida Army Reserve

5 Homework: A Guide for Parents Continued Step 3. Establish a homework time. Your child should get into a habit of doing homework at the same time every day. The time may vary depending on the individual child. Some children need a break right after school to get some exercise and have a snack. Others need to start homework while they are still in as school mode (i.e., right after school when there is still some momentum left from getting through the day). In general, it may be best to get homework done either before dinner or as early in the evening as the child can tolerate. The later it gets, the more tired the child becomes and the more slowly the homework gets done. Step 4. Establish a daily homework schedule. In general, at least into middle school, the homework session should begin with your sitting down with your child and drawing up a homework schedule. You should review all the assignments and make sure your child understands them and has all the necessary materials. Ask your child to estimate how long it will take to complete each assignment. Then ask when each assignment will get started. If your child needs help with any assignment, then this should be determined at the beginning so that the start times can take into account parent availability. Resources and Suggested Readings Canter, L. (1993). Homework without tears. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN: Dawson, P. (2001). Homework problems and solutions. Unpublished manual. For information on obtaining a copy, contact Peg Dawson at her address( Please be aware that addresses may change): Dawson, P. & Guare, R. (2003). Executive skills in children and adolescents: A practical guide to Assessment and Interventions. New York: Guilford. ISBN: Romain, T., & Verdick, E. (1997). How to do homework without throwing up. Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing. ISBN: She s Nervous She s nervous. Her stomach clinches. It s her first day At a new school. She wishes for her friends. -a poem by Chloe Grade 10 From On The Move Vol 6 Issue 3 April 2011 Page 5 Florida Army Reserve

6 Your Family Programs Staff is Here For You! The mission of Army Reserve Child, Youth & School Services is to support readiness and quality of life by reducing the conflict between Military Mission requirements and parental responsibilities. We offer: Child Care Solutions Youth Development Opportunities Unit & Command Support School Support Services Please contact your: CYSS Community Outreach Specialist (COS) CYSS School Support Specialist (SSS) Leslie Bouwman, Serco CTR Anastasia Sandy, Serco CTR AR MEDCOM 2801 Grand Ave. AR MEDCOM 2801 Grand Ave. Pinellas Park, FL Pinellas Park, FL / CYSS Community Outreach Specialist (COS) CYSS School Support Specialist (SSS) Marta Feliciano, Serco CTR Matteo Orfanel, Serco CTR 9500 Armed Forces Reserve D 9500 Armed Forces Reserve Dr Orlando, FL Orlando, FL X X1294 Volume1 Issue 6 Page 6

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