March 16, 2017

Q&A With Aunti Marissa

Today, Ilana and I had breakfast as we do every Thursday (or sometimes Tuesdays or Wednesdays depending on our schedules) with a special guest joining us:  Aunti Marissa.

Aunti Marissa is my Aunt now Great Aunt to my boys who she shares a very special bond with. She lives in Toronto and is Head of the Guidance department in a secondary public high school. She has been a teacher for her entire career and this year won Teacher of the Year in her board. Pretty huge and so deserving.

She’s a person I trust deeply when it comes to advice about my children and today I opened up the Q&A to her instead of Ilana and I. There was an overwhelming response from you all on Snapchat. We were going to each answer 3 questions however we ran way short on time.

Because Aunti Marissa has such great advice to share we decided to answer the third question chosen plus a few additional questions asked on the blog today. Hope you find Aunti Marissa’s answers helpful! I think you will…

How can I get my 5 year old to want to clean up? Pick up toys and such…

Prior to the situation occurring, parents must sit down and have a discussion with the child about household responsibilities. You need to create a chart defining everyone’s duties one of which will include “tidying up after playing”. It is important that children realize what the parent’s expectations are beforehand. If you try to address it in the moment, there will be tension and resistance. Now, with expectations come consequences if the expectation is not met. These consequences need to be decided beforehand as well with the involvement of the child so that they are clear. If and when the situation arises again there are no arguments. If the child does what they agreed to do by cleaning up their play area, great if not consequence number one is put into action. The child knows that you mean business. There is no loud voice on the part of the parent. Calm and cool. Just remind your child of the agreement. Have the chart in plain view so that you can refer to it. In time, the child will take control of their own duties and only the odd reminder may be needed. NOTE: The consequences must be acted upon or this plan will be for naught.

What techniques do you have for getting really smart kids to listen and behave in class when they already “get” the lesson?

This is a very difficult situation to be sure. You will have to have some strategies that you can work through with your child while you are at home first. They need to learn to take control of their own behavior. Your child needs to have “tools” in his/her toolbox that they can draw upon when the situation in school arises. Secondly, you need to set up a meeting with the teacher to discuss some options for classroom behavior management. What plan is the teacher willing to facilitate? For example, when your child is finished their work ahead of time, will the teacher be willing to allow your child time to research an extension to the topic? Would you be able and would the teacher allow you to provide some materials that could enhance your child’s learning? As an example, would your child’s teacher be willing to allow your child to create an easy experiment such as the one I have copied and pasted below. This would be an engaging extension and give your child something to look forward to. They could make predictions and then chart the progress and then explain it to the class. Sometimes teachers will give “extra” worksheets to children who are finished quickly but it is not always received by the student as a positive solution. Maybe there can be a “maker space” created in the classroom that could be used by all students but would be a positive addition for your child to be sure. This space gives children the opportunity to understand the concept being taught by using physical manipulatives or technology to enhance their learning. Maybe all parents could donate materials to build up this space.

I’m a mom with disabilities. I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and MS. It’s hard to keep up with a 10 & 2 year old. How can I make sure they feel like they have my attention? I’m in chronic pain and feel like I miss a lot of their life. I want them to know how much they mean to me.

First of all, I cannot profess to understand or identify with your situation. It is a very difficult one to be sure. Here are some ideas:

I am not sure how much your older son understands and if he comprehends your limitations. You need to have a discussion with him to discuss what you can and cannot manage. He needs to be able to be allowed to help plan ideas around what works for you. Secondly, he needs to be invested in his younger sibling. By that I mean he can become not just a brother but a mentor to your younger son. He can be the one to teach him how to do certain things and maybe read to him so that they develop a special bond and your little man looks up to his older brother. Now as far as your older son’s needs go, you must give him the opportunity to participate in his normal activities as much as possible. This may mean that someone else takes him or if you can manage it you take the little one with you. If you are able to go too, maybe there is another adult who could watch your younger son to give you some special one on one time.

I suggest that you have a family meeting to discuss your needs and create a duty roster, which accounts for everyone’s personal and emotional needs, household duties and chores, (which should include your little one) and activities and school responsibilities. This needs to be a working document that changes weekly. It should include quiet bonding time with mom. The activity could be a craft that is geared to your older son such as putting together a birdhouse (just an example). For your younger son, you can get a pre-made version at one of the dollar stores or a craft store and your little one paints it and puts on embellishments. Same outcome different difficulty level.

Your duty roster must include every part of your day in order to “find time” to make sure that your children feel your presence and include you in their daily ritual without anger or frustration.

I hope that I have provided you an idea that you can use and I wish you all the best!

Any travel tips for a first flight with my 8 month old?   First time momma here!

First of all, I would recommend the bulkhead if at all possible so that you will have extra space in front of you. I was able to put my daughter down on a blanket to play with them. Secondly, I would recommend an arsenal of favorite toys or a book and snacks. Thirdly, I found that nursing (if you are nursing) or giving them a bottle upon take off and landing helps to stabilize the pressure in their ears. Happy flying!

xx, Seri
1 comments
Party conversation
  1. Jessica Mischna

    Thanks Aunti Marissa this is great!

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