Here’s the Plan Stan

We live in a digital age. Most homes have several televisions and they often are placed in bedrooms as well. Computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones are commonly used by children and even toddlers. Kids have access to a multitude of video games options and unlimited games are available for every brand of console. It is easy for children (and adults) to spend hours every day on some sort of electronic entertainment. I firmly believe our grandchildren are wasting their lives on such things and intend to change the situation in our home.

My own precious grandson is incredibly intelligent (yes, I am partial) and should be an A honor roll student every semester. However that does not happen because he becomes distracted, lazy or just plain addicted to some screen. He wants to play computer games, video games or watch raucous cartoons all evening. Then his school grades suffer because he is not giving his work the attention it deserves and requires. So in the interest of his future, a plan was put in place.

He starts each day with no screen time and I mean zero. But that is harsh and negative, leaving no room for recreation which causes frustration and hopelessness. He does extra practice schoolwork after finishing homework and earns screen time. For each hour of practice, S earns one and a half hours of video game, computer or television time, whatever he chooses. This gives him a sense of empowerment which is crucial to building self confidence.We have a chart where he records all Practice/Play times so we easily keep track of his progress. Earned time does not roll over to the next day, it must be “spent” the same day. This prevents the child from piling up hours and hours of play time and calling it due for his/her own convenience.

I will warn you that every child will try to manipulate you and come up with every possible objection and labyrinth to work less and play more. Questions such as:

  • “Do educational shows count as TV time?” Yes. Watching a lion tear apart a gazelle is screen time.
  • “I forgot to record my practice time.” Then it does not count toward play time. Here is a timer to keep on the desk.
  • “None of my friends have to do this. They get unlimited screen time.” Maybe I should call their mom and share this plan with her!
  • “I am SO tired. My fingers-back-head-hurts.” I am so sorry. Let’s put you to bed for the evening so you can rest.

Whatever the creative excuse, have a wise answer ready. Honestly though, my own S quickly settled into a pattern and does not complain. He enjoys seeing his grades improve and smirks to know I cannot refuse when he lounges in front of Woody Woodpecker for two hours!

Try this plan. The results of positive parenting are evidence based and rewarding for all involved. It has turned out to help us all spend more time together. When S does not want to practice, we all play some sort of board game or put together a puzzle. So the downside is, well there is no downside!

Keeping records is a positive step

Keeping records is a positive step

Be an Advocate for your Grandchild

 ADVOCATE (Mirriam-Webster)

1one that pleads the cause of another; specifically : one that pleads the cause of another before a tribunal or judicial court
2one that defends or maintains a cause or proposal
3-one that supports or promotes the interests of another

Most of our grandchildren are in the public school system which can become an unpleasant experience. Many factors come into play that cause a child’s daily school time to be a rewarding experience or a dreaded one. School is stressful for kids even when they love school and all is going well. When something goes wrong though, it can cause a child to lose his/her desire and love of school. We want our kids to look forward to class, not to dread it.

The teacher has all the authority, the child does not have power to fight back or defend him/herself. Sometimes personalities clash between the child and the teacher(s). It is hard to accept that an adult would fail to hide such a thing and choose not to overcome this issue. But it does happen that our beloved grandchild is in an environment where he knows he/she is not liked or loved. That is a bitter pill to swallow for adults, let alone a little child.

Sometimes it is not personal, just the personality of the teacher or whatever adult is projecting negativity toward the child. I know a little boy who receives only negative comments from his teacher. Every note that is sent home tells what he did wrong or how he failed to live up to the teacher’s expectations. This same child finished the semester at 362 percent over his reading goal and never received a word of acknowledgement. He does much right and is a funny and bright child who has always loved school but now gets a stomachache every morning when he knows he must face this teacher. He said he feels doomed and likely he is right about that.

How do I know these things? Because this is my own precious grandson. I prayed and thought for weeks about what I can do to help improve the situation and decided positive always is better than negative. There is an old saying that one can draw more flies with honey than vinegar. So I am keeping that in mind when I deal with this particular teacher. When she tells me what S. did wrong or failed to do right I listen carefully and respond accordingly. Then I ask her to tell me something he did right. For every negative, I expect a positive. This forces her to notice his strengths as well as what she considers his failures.

When we stand strong for our grandchildren, they feel secure in the knowledge that we are always on their side. My grandson knows he can tell me anything no matter how bad it is. He knows he never has to lie to me because while I will not allow him to run away from the consequences, I will be by his side to figure out a solution to any problem. As his advocate, I never leave him or force him to be alone but am there to lean on as he learns life lessons. We cry together at the hard ones and shout for joy together at the fun, easy ones.

Recycled Moms, remember there are two sides to every story. This includes what your child’s teacher is saying. Get your grandchild’s side of it before making up your mind. Don’t be afraid to bring your grandchild into a meeting with the teacher. Having them face to face can solve and even prevent confusion and miscommunication. But be positive both to the child and the teacher. Just let your little one know you are on their side-right or wrong-not matter the issue.

Love really does conquer all!

Hand in Hand

Hand in Hand