HELPING KIDS WITH HOMEWORK

 

Eleanor Mackey, Ph.D., a child psychologist who works primarily with the Obesity Institute and Children’s Research Institute (and a mother of 2 girls) wrote for “Rise and Shine” that now that school is back in full swing, many households are dealing with how to handle homework. Helping your child be successful at homework is very important because it is a very critical part of children’s academic success.

Homework helps children in several ways, including:

  • Continues learning after the school day
  • Teaches responsibility
  • It helps parents stay aware of what their child is learning in school

Being involved in your child’s homework is important. As with all parenting endeavors, though, there is a fine line between being too involved and not being involved enough.

So, what’s a parent to do?

Step 1: Set expectations
Set up appropriate expectations for your child and their homework responsibilities. For example, depending on the age of your child, they might be responsible for determining which homework needs to be done, doing the actual homework, and putting their completed homework into their backpack.

It is very important that the child take responsibility for the actual homework, not the parent. A parent might commit to finding a quiet space for the child to do the homework, checking answers, double-checking that everything has been done, as well as being on hand to answer questions. Read more

Wellness Wednesday- Mental Illness and Recovery

Kitten sleeping on the heart-shaped pillowNatalie Altenburg wrote in the DePaul Take Care Blog that now, more than ever, it is important that we have a “safe space” to allow us to cope with our emotions and regulate them. In this sense, a safe space does not necessarily have to be a physical place; it can simply be having tools prepared to help you feel safe when handling challenging emotions and situations. Here are a few tips she has for setting up your safe space!

  • Set and maintain boundaries. By doing this we are being proactive and protecting ourselves by setting clear expectations with others regarding what is and is not okay. Boundaries can be physical (ex: “Knock before coming into my room”) or social/emotional (ex: “I am not in the emotional space to be able to help you with this problem right now”). It is important for everyone’s physical and emotional safety that we set boundaries and respect the boundaries of others.
    Read more

Cyberbullying: How to identify and handle online harassment

Family in living room with laptop smilingAri Howard is an Associate Writer for the Allconnect team, focusing on broadband and wireless news, as well as broadband and TV provider deals. She shared with Healthy Lombard that similar to how a playground or workplace bully will terrorize someone in person, a cyberbully will harass and threaten their targets through various forms over the internet.

As our world becomes increasingly digital, dangers like cyberbullying that plague the online world continue to increase as well. COVID-19, unfortunately, exacerbated online bullying since millions of students were exclusively taking courses online and relying on the internet for most types of social interaction.

This increase in screen time throughout 2020 caused an immense spike in cyberbullying, with nearly 50% of students between the ages of 10 and 18 reporting that they were cyberbullied during the pandemic. In fact, the amount of reported bullying and hate speech on online chats increased by 70% in 2020.

What is cyberbullying and what does it look like?

Even though cyberbullying isn’t face-to-face, the effects can still be detrimental to the person experiencing the bullying. In fact, emotional distress can be even more severe when online bullying occurs anonymously. And the bullying is more likely to occur for a longer stretch of time since there are no immediate repercussions for a cyberbully.

Cyberbullying can occur through various online avenues, but here are some of the most common forms of cyberbullying among kids and teens:

  • Cyberbullying through chat rooms associated with work or school topics
  • Harassment on social media platforms
  • Online rumors
  • Purposefully leaving someone out of a chat or online group
  • Threatening emails
  • Anonymous apps
  • Harmful text messages
  • Compromising pictures

Read more

THE STATE OF HOME OFFICES IN 2021

If you’re still working from home, now nearly 18 months into the pandemic, you’ve got no excuse—at this point, you should have put together a proper workspace or home office (or found a professional contractor who can help).

Certainly, many people have limitations in terms of space, but much can be done with little, and you don’t necessarily need to break the bank to look professional in the Zoom Age. By now, at a bare minimum, remote workers should have a dedicated, functional space that supports their bodies, appropriate accessories to look and sound professional on video calls, and something other than a blank wall in their background.

For the most part, people are getting their act together, pulling their cats off their laptops, rejecting the kitchen counter as a “desk,” and learning the essentials of lighting. But many more are still several home improvement projects away from being in a place of comfort, productivity and professionalism.

CRAFTJACK recently surveyed 1,520 Americans who have been working remotely during the pandemic to understand their experiences in improvised workspaces, their attitudes towards presentation on video calls, and the consequences of their bad habits. Read more

15 ways to remember 9/11

  –  Contributing Writer for the Business Journal, wrote this article in 2011.  We think they are still applicable in 2021.

This September 11, marks the 20-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Flight 93 that crashed in western Pennsylvania.

Recalling the devastation wrought on that day is filled with pain for many. Yet we must remember the past, or we deprive ourselves of its lessons for overcoming our present struggles and divisions.

Here are 15 ways that all of us can take action and find common ground by memorializing the events of September 11, 2001:

  1. FLY your flag at half-mast for the 2,996 innocent human beings and 11 unborn babies who lost their lives, as well as the service members who died or were wounded in Operation Enduring Freedom.
  2. TAP into the love of country that flows through your veins. Give blood to the Red Cross to show solidarity with the more than 6,000 injured on that day.
  3. ATTEND and participate in community events to observe the six moments of silence for each key event of the attacks.
  4. SHARE your memories of the attacks with loved ones and friends.
  5. POST an appropriate picture or remembrance on social media or your company’s website to show your solidarity with the many innocent victims.
  6. PARTICIPATE in a local 9/11 Stair Climb to show gratitude and understanding for the grueling conditions our first responders perform under in the line of duty.
    Read more

8 signs you’re overdue for a mental health day

Edward Elmhurst Health shared in its bog that we’ve all been there. You haven’t had a break— from work, from the kids, from life in general — in ages. You’ve been in high gear for so long now that you’ve gotten used to feeling mentally and physically depleted.

It’s important to put the brakes on before your health really suffers. Long-term stress weakens your immune system and can cause a number of health problems or make existing problems worse.

The following are eight signs you’re overdue for a mental health day:

  1. You’re easily agitated. You feel on edge, temperamental, and irritable more often than not.
  2. You’re having trouble concentrating. You find it difficult to focus at work and at home.
  3. You’re forgetful. You can’t remember simple tasks, like putting in a load of laundry.
  4. You’re always tired but you can’t sleep. Furthermore, you are exhausted, but you toss and turn all night and you don’t wake up refreshed.
  5. You’re overly emotional. You are sensitive to things that normally don’t bother you.
  6. You’re sick all the time. You are coming down with frequent illnesses and health issues.
  7. You’re annoyed by others. You have a low tolerance for other people lately.
  8. You’re not having fun anymore. You can’t remember the last time you had a good laugh.

If you can relate to most of the above, it’s time to re-focus on your well-being. There’s nothing wrong with needing a day off, so take one. You’ll come out of it more rested, energized, and productive.

Read more

BACK-TO-SCHOOL ANXIETY AND HOMESICKNESS

Stack of books and mouse. Online education and business conceptKaushal Amatya, PhD, a pediatric psychologist with the Divisions of Nephrology and Cardiology at Children’s National Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Pediatrics at The George Washington University School of Medicine, and Laura Gray, a clinical psychologist at Children’s National Hospital wrote for “Rise and Shine” that children have been staying home for a while now due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With schools finally opening up, parents likely have concerns about how their child might handle back-to-school anxiety and homesickness. Below, are some strategies for parents to reduce anxiety and homesickness and help ease the transition from being at home to being back in the classroom.

Strategies for parents to help reduce back-to-school anxiety and homesickness

  1. Practice coming up with a list of things your child would like to share with their teacher and classmates (e.g., unique interests or talents, fun things they did this summer).
    • For kids who feel shyer and more anxious, parents can practice these brief “sharing statements” so their child feels more comfortable talking.
    • Help your child with keeping their sharing time short (since the teachers may need to cut them off if it’s too long), speaking up so others can hear and making eye contact.
  2. If you know any of your child’s classmates, reach out to their parents and schedule a play date. Getting time with friends or peers before school can ease some worries, help your child practice their rusty social skills, and help all the kids feel more excited about return to school.
  3. Consider taking a tour of the school (especially if it is a new school) before the school year begins, if possible. Even driving around the school or taking a short walk or a picnic on school grounds may help kids re-familiarize with the school environment or feel comfortable with their new environment. Some schools may have a virtual tour, videos, or pictures on their websites that could be helpful if going to the school physically is not possible. Read more

How to adjust to being an empty nester

houseEDWARD ELMHURST HEALTH shared in its blog that a house that was once full of activity and noise is suddenly empty. Those busy days of carpooling, helping with homework and getting meals on the table are over.

Your child has gone to college and now there’s a huge void. While your college student adjusts to a new beginning, for you it may feel like an end. This is called empty nest syndrome. It isn’t a clinical diagnosis, but it’s what parents experience when their children leave home for college (or when they leave the nest to get married). The experience of letting go can be painful and emotionally challenging. It’s common to lose sight of who you are as an individual during the child-rearing years. You’ve spent the last 18 or so years in the role of caretaker, and so much of your identity has been wrapped up in your child.

Now they’ve grown into a young adult. You want your child to be independent and move forward, but their departure can fill you with grief.

It’s normal to feel sad, lonely, and even anxious about their well-being away from home. Some parents feel a loss of purpose in life. Other parents feel regret or guilt over not spending enough time with their children when they were younger.

It can be particularly difficult for women, stay-at-home parents, single parents, and parents of an only child — anyone who strongly identifies with their role as a parent. Empty nest syndrome can make you more vulnerable to depression and anxiety, marital conflicts, and even alcoholism. Read more

A school year survival kit for parents

Edward Elmhurst Health shared in its blog that if you’re like many parents, the school year can be stressful. Very stressful. And this year, there is added stress as families continue to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

From making breakfast, packing lunches, and trying to catch the school bus, to making dinner, juggling after-school activities and helping with homework, before you know it the day is done — only to repeat all over again tomorrow.

Even as you’re at your full-time job, your inbox gets flooded with emails about what your child should bring tomorrow, permission slips to be signed and upcoming school events you can’t miss. Your sports/school apps are buzzing with notifications.

Most days, it feels like there’s not enough time to get it all done. Your stress level is through the roof and you could lose it at any moment.

How can you get through the school year and maintain your mental well-being? Try these 10 tips:

  1. Get organized. Store important school papers in the same place (e.g., a kitchen drawer). Hang reminders on the fridge or add them to your phone’s calendar. Have your child keep their school backpack, music instrument, etc. in one location in your house (e.g., mudroom). 
  2. Encourage good homework habits. Establish a consistent time and a designated homework spot for your child. Provide help, but don’t do the work for them. Be sure to praise them for their efforts. Get 6 tips to help your child develop good homework habits
  3. Prepare for the day ahead. Do what you can to make the mornings go smooth. Have your child lay out their clothes the night before. You can also pack school lunches the night before, or get your child to pack their own lunch. 
  4. Keep the teacher in the loop. Keeping the lines of communication open with your child’s teacher will help you stay on top of any issues. If your child seems to be struggling to understand assignments, let the teacher know. Read more

4 Ways to Welcome New Neighbors into Your Block

Madison Smith asks, “Have you ever been the new kid on the block or have moved into a completely new neighborhood where you don’t know anyone?” On top of organizing a new home, fitting into a new lifestyle and socializing with your neighbors can be overwhelming. 

Offering new neighbors a welcoming introduction to the neighborhood can make a world of difference when it comes to feeling accepted and supported in your new neighborhood. A simple act of kindness can make your new neighbors feel at home. 

Here are a few warm and friendly gestures that you can do to make new neighbors or tenants feel welcome in your neighborhood. Who knows, maybe this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship! 

Introduce Yourself 

While introducing yourself to your new neighbors is very important, make sure that this interaction is somewhat brief. Your new neighbor probably has a ton of new chores and maintenance to do around their home. 

On the second day after the move, feel free to dig deeper into your interaction and strengthen your connection. Starting with a simple smile and wave and later conversation won’t overwhelm your neighbor. 

If you are looking to introduce yourself to your new neighbors without overstepping or making them feel like they have to take time out of their busy day to socialize, download this welcome tag to hang on their door. Whenever they have a moment to reach out, this welcome tag will encourage them to come to say hello.  Read more