From the Parent Education Desk: Positive Communication IS Possible!

“Positive communication with your kids IS possible!” SCAN’s Parent Education team members often find themselves giving these words of encouragement to parents in our classes, support groups and workshops. Thanks to a great monthly email they send to parents, we’re sharing their thoughts here on the blog, too:

Positive communication can reinforce good behavior, and help you understand and eliminate bad behavior. It can build your child’s confidence and self-esteem. But positive communication is not always easy. With parents’ busy schedules these days, it can be hard to find the time to just talk with your children.

We recommend taking advantage of downtime and talking with your child while riding in the car, walking to or from the bus stop or waiting for a sibling. What should you talk about? We like using open-ended questions like, “What was the best part of your day? The worst?” or, “Who did you spend time with today?” and allowing your child to finish talking and really listen to what they are saying, without judgment.

For more tips on positive communication with your children, including fact sheets in English and Spanish, click here. For on-the-go-access to Positive Communication resources (and more!) download SCAN’s free app for parents here.

(Learn more about SCAN’s Parent Education Program here.)

New Video: Using SCAN’s Free App for Parents + Caregivers

Did you know that SCAN offers a free mobile app that allows parents on-the-go access to all of the information on our online Parent Resource Center? Now we also have a short, 1-minute video you can share with parents that explains how simple it is to download and use the app:

Our goal is to make it easy for parents to learn more about child development, parenting challenges and other family topics. Using the app, they can download fact sheets in English and Spanish, listen to our Parenting Today radio shows produced with iHeart Radio, and search dozens of parenting topics for more resources.

You can download the app for free on the AppStore and GooglePlay. (Or access direct links via our online Parent Resource Center here.) Do you already use the app? Please rate us so that more people learn about SCAN and more parents find this free resource!

It’s Report Card Season! How Can We Help Parents Deal with the Drama?

Report card season can be stressful for children and parents. Kids often want to please their parents, while parents might equate academic success with future well-being and happiness. When grades differ from expectations, it can be easy to respond in anger, disappointment or frustration. But parents should work to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children–not one focused on judgment, punishment or negativity. Share these four easy suggestions to help parents focus on making their child feel loved and supported during what can be a challenging time.


1. Focus on the good. Try to point out the positive aspects of your child’s report card. You can highlight an improved grade, or acknowledge the amount of effort that your child put forth in a subject. It’s important to focus more on EFFORT and less on the ACHIEVEMENT. Try this:

“This grade is a real improvement over last quarter’s grade in the same subject. I can see that you tried hard to improve in this area!”

2. Remind your child that no one is perfect. Report card season is an ideal time to discuss a time that you struggled to get a good grade, or didn’t meet expectations at a job. Let your child know that you have felt scared, frustrated, self-conscious, and disappointed about your own performance. It’s a normal part of life and the important thing is what you choose to do next. Try this:

“When I was your age, I worked hard on my science fair project and I thought I would receive a first-place ribbon, so imagine how disappointment I was when I didn’t place at all!”

3. Listen. There is usually an underlying reason for a child’s less-than-stellar academic performance. Give your child an opportunity to discuss their thoughts, feelings and concerns regarding school. As a parent, listen without judgement and ask open-ended questions. Try this:

“What part of the class is the most difficult for you? Which subject do you really enjoy?”

4. Devise a plan. Work with your child to help them succeed. Being supportive doesn’t mean not caring about grades, it means helping them set goals and improve their habits and understanding. Develop a plan–together–that includes a quiet place for your child to study, sets frequency and length of study sessions, and makes you or another caregiver available to provide help. If further assistance is necessary, consider tutoring or extra time after school with the teacher. Try this:

“Let’s write down some homework and study rules for our house. What will help you? I’d like to make sure you have a quiet place to focus, a snack, and…”

Parents sometimes need a gentle reminder that their child’s grades are NOT a reflection of their parenting skills. They are an opportunity to teach your child how to build resiliency, explore goal-setting and interests, and learn how to ask for help. We love these quick “Report Card Tips” we developed with the Child Protection Partnership a few years ago. Share with a parent you know this report card season!

October is Safe Sleep Awareness Month – Here are 5 things you can do TODAY to protect the infants in your community

Providing a safe sleep environment for a baby is one of the first things you can do to protect and nurture a child. October is Safe Sleep Awareness Month (#safesleepawareness) — and there is no better time to share 5 simple things you can do today to make sure the parents you know have the information and resources that can help them make the best parenting decisions when it comes to safe sleep!

  1. Take the Safe Sleep pledge from the Virginia Department of Social Services. Then share it with every parent, caregiver, babysitter and grandparent you know!
  2. Speaking of grandparents, use these Safe Sleep FAQs for Grandparents (here in English or Spanish) to educate older adults in a baby’s life. Guidelines have changed drastically, and this tool helps explain why.
  3. Download our Parent Resource Center App for direct access to resources like fact sheets and radio shows on Safe Sleep, Soothing a Crying Baby and Understanding Baby Blues/Post-Partum Depression.
  4. Learn more about SCAN’s Operation Safe Babies program, including our free Pack-n-Play distribution and our NEW work as a Baby Box distribution site.
  5. Read about the latest guidelines on safe sleep from the American Academy of Pediatrics. We also produced a Parenting Today segment on this topic. Listen here.

(And here’s one extra thing you can do — follow @scanofnova and our Safe Sleep partners @cribsforkids, @VDSS, and @babyboxcompany on Twitter for updates, research and more on safe sleep! @NICHD_NIH also has excellent resources.)

 

 

Back to School: How making friends makes a difference

As children head back to school, some of their biggest concerns often involve making friends, “fitting in” and navigating relationships. But when a child has good, healthy friendships, the benefits can include increased self-esteem and appropriate emotional growth.

So how can parents better understand social development and its impact on their children? There’s a fact sheet for that! Our “Making Friends” and “Formando Amistades” fact sheets are a great tool to share as students return to the classroom. They include 4 simple questions to ask kids as they begin to build new friendships this year:

  1. “Who do you know that likes to do the same things you do?”
  2. “What makes someone a good friend? How do they make you feel?”
  3. “What is one kind thing you did for someone today?”
  4. When something negative happens with a friend, ask your child, “What can you do differently next time? How do you think your friend is feeling?”

Working with parents and children on making connections and building good relationships? You might also be interested in our Parent Resource Center fact sheets on:

(Remember, you can download our FREE Parent Resource Center app HERE and access these resources on-the-go!)

Support for Immigrant Parents

There have been countless (and often conflicting) news stories in recent weeks about immigration in the United States. In our networks, the discussion–for years–has simply focused on how we can best care for and support these families. What is it like to be an immigrant and a parent? What are the unique fears, challenges, and needs faced by these families?

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Please consider sharing our resources with the professionals and parents in your own networks:

We also highly recommend browsing our new Parent Connection Resource Guide for parenting classes and support groups for parents facing immigration and reunification.

What resources do you depend on in your work with immigrant families?

SCAN’s Favorite Tools for Managing Stress (Holiday Edition!)

It’s December — are parents around you looking a little more frazzled? Stress is an issue for families all year long, but during the holidays it can reach a fevered pitch. Here are some of our favorite tips and resources to share with the families in your community:

  1. Make smart decisions about what you say “yes” to as a family during this very busy time of year. If something doesn’t bring your family joy, consider saying no. Learn more about tackling Holiday Stress here.
  2. Talk about stress with your kids. Kids and adults might worry about different things, but the affects of that stress can be very similar. Parents can ask – and LISTEN to kids answer – questions about friends and family, activities and feelings. Explore some tips for understanding and addressing “Kid Stress” vs “Adult Stress” here.

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  3. Remember that resilient families are better able to handle stress and other challenges that come their way. Choose a couple of resilience-builders to try this month when many of us need our resilience the most! Create a “Strengths Family Tree” or spend time before bed talking about one positive thing that happened during the day. Get more Resiliency tips here.
  1. Parents, take care of yourself this season! Your kids are watching you and will follow your lead when it comes to things like sleep, healthy eating and busy schedules. Choose some Self Care steps here.
  1. Recognizing, understanding and reacting to stress is not an easy job! If parents need some help on-the-go, download SCAN’s Parent Resource Center App. They can access all of the content above no matter where they are in their holiday travels! Download the App on iTunes or GooglePlay.

 

New App for Parents, Service Providers

We talk a lot about families and technology – how to deal with things like sexting, creating family tech rules and unplugging together to make time to connect with each other. But the reality today is that the average person spends about 8-10 hours a day consuming digital media and between 4-5 hours a day using their smartphone. Our goal is to meet parents where they are – and we KNOW they are on their phones!

Thanks to support from AT&T, SCAN recently launched its new Parent Resource Center App. The FREE app gives full access to the information, fact sheets and audio files from our online Parent Resource Center, with more than 75 parenting topics available for browsing.

Have you downloaded SCAN’s new app yet? We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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