Posts Tagged 'parent encouragement'

Need to Wiggle? Teacher Tips

Tips for those kids who need to wiggle to stay alert but should not leave their seat:

1. Chew gum or suck on sour candy (if allowed in school; allow at home if no problem with choking or swallowing)

2. Tie a stretchy exercise band around the front legs of the chair.  Place your legs and feet behind the band.  When the need to get out of the chair arises and you should not, push against the band to help release the “wiggles”.

3. Try a “Sit and Move Cushion”. This has bumps on one side and air inside which allows “wiggling” without getting out of the chair.  Purchase at or

4. Place tennis balls on the back legs of the chair to provide gentle rocking movements.

Other tips you can think about?

Just a thought: For I know the plans I have for you….Jeremiah 29:11


Mid Summer Anxiety?

As school rapidly approaches, some may experience “mid summer anxiety”.  Looking ahead to another school year often means joy to some: “Yea! The kids are back in school!” and anxiety to others: “Will this be a good school year to my child? Will the teacher emphasize his strengths rather than focusing on his weaknesses? Will there be “meltdowns”?” and the list goes on.  These are some suggestions to think about and I would love to hear your suggestions as well!

  1. Make a list of your child’s strengths, those you would like the teacher and yourself to focus on this school year.
  2. Make a list of the modifications that would encourage these strengths and reduce the impact of his weaknesses.  You may want to schedule an early ARD meeting to discuss these.
  3. Rather than waiting until his teacher “discovers” your child’s weaknesses, meet with her early in the year to discuss your concerns and make her aware of your child’s “possible needs”.  Why let your child begin to fail because help was not put in place.
  4. Schedule fun times with your child: Have set dates when you two can “play” rather than focusing on school work.
  5. Try not to over schedule yourself or your child.  You both need “down time”!
  6. Pray for God’s guidance, the right mix of children in the classroom, yourself, and especially for his teacher!

Summer Fun: Bowling with Blocks or Bottles!


Materials needed

Play Dough                                      Marker board and markers

Marbles/balls: Size will depend on size of the blocks that need to be knocked down

Ten wooden blocks of varying sizes or sixteen ounce water bottles (each filled partially with sand or water and carefully sealed)

1. Choose a place to play on the floor or at a table.

2. Choose the name of your team. Help your child with the beginning letter of the team.

Four year olds: Make the letters for your child out of sticks or wicky sticks or write the letters for your child on the marker board.  Do not expect him to write letters at this age.

Five years old and up:  Help your child write the beginning letter of each team on the paper (playing field).  If your child cannot write the letter, talk him through it or write it for him.  Remember the larger the letter is written, the easier it is to write and to remember.

3. Have your child use both hands to roll the play dough into long ropes to become the “bumper” pads for your bowling alley.  Put the bumper pads in place.

4. Set the blocks or bottles in a triangular pattern as in real bowling.

5. Roll the marbles or large ball down the alley, knocking down the blocks or bottles.

6. Help your child write tally marks or write numbers on the marker board to keep score.  Do not expect your child to keep adding the numbers. That is your job!


Rolling marbles down a swimming pool noodle to knock down small blocks.  The child places the marbles in the noodle, aligning the noodle with the blocks.

Shoe box with three doors cut out of it: Place the inverted shoe box at the end of the alley.  Give each “door” a number. As he rolls the marbles down the alley through a door, the child receives that number of points.

Place stickers with shapes or letters or numbers on the bottom of each bottle.  When a bottle is knocked down, the child may write or draw the shape, letters or number that appear for an extra turn.  Be a good sport if you don’t get a turn!

Memory game: Insure that there are pairs of matching stickers on the bottom of the bottles. Ask your child to find the matching pairs by turning the bottles over. The person with the most pairs wins the game.

Developmental Skills:

 Gross Motor: If playing on the floor, balance in sitting may be improved as the child moves to hit or retrieve the ball or to move his players. When standing, balance may be improved as the child shifts his weight to maintain his balance.

Fine Motor: Rolling the marbles requires precise eye hand coordination. Setting up the “bowling pins” requires arm strength and an adequate grasp of the objects. Using both hands together (bilateral integration) is promoted by using a large ball and by rolling the Play Dough ropes.

 Perceptual: Setting up the “pins” into a triangular shape stresses diagonal perception.

Numbers and letters may be learned as well as concepts of up and down.

 Language: Development of social skills such as taking turns and learning to play fair as well as losing or winning may be enhanced. Concepts of same and different, how many, are practiced.

 Tactile/Kinesthetic: As the fingers are used for precise movement, feedback is received as to their position with the hand and rest of the body.

Page 20 & 21 Alphabet Soup: Stirring Your Child’s Interest in Letters by Lyn Armstrong O.T.R.

School Wind up: Questions to Think About

As parents we almost always sigh with relief when the last school door closes for the summer!  Along with our children, we have worked really hard keeping track of schedules, homework and other assignments, and outside activities plus daily cooking, cleaning, washing, etc!  Before you jump into your summer schedule (which is almost as busy!), take time to decompress with your child, especially if its been a year of struggle.  This might include taking time to talk about the past school year and writing your child’s thoughts down by his yearly school picture:

What did you like about the year? Friends? Teacher? A special subject?

What did you like least about the year?

What was your favorite subject? Why?

Then you may want to take time to think through these questions by yourself plus the following ones:

What would you change if you could go back?  This may help you avoid the same issues this coming year.

What progress did you see your child make?  Sometimes if there is a learning difference its easier to see the struggles than the progress.  Make notes of even a tiny bit of progress in an area.

How do you need to prepare now for the fall? If tutoring or therapy is involved, its time to make that scheduled appointment now if you want after school hours.

Now have FUN!!!! Summer can be about work but must be about FUN and PLAY for both you and your child!


Play With Me: Summer Reminder

Play with me

I tried to teach my child from books;

He gave me only puzzled looks.

I tried to teach my child with words;

They passed him by, oft unheard.

Despairingly I turned aside:

“How shall I teach this child? I cried.

Into my hand he put the key:

“Come” he said, “play with me.”

Author Unknown

Spring Grief: Your Sadness

As parents approach the end of school, you may also experience sadness due to expectations that were not met.  Are you asking:

1. Why did my child not progress as much as I thought he would?

2. What should I have done differently?

3. Why did the teacher not push harder?

4. Why did the long hours of homework, therapy, and frustration not “pay off”?

Making a list of your child’s accomplishments for this semester may help you see his progress!  Try to focus on even little things as they do indicate that your child has moved forward.  Though it may appear that struggles outweigh progress, focus on the accomplishments and praise your child.  He needs your praise and encouragement to keep trying! Please seek professional help if you feel “stuck” with your discouraged feelings or if they turn to anger toward your child.

Other helpful blog from Lyn: Encouragement to Parents: Grief

Spring Sadness: Your Child

As summer rapidly approaches, your child may experience joy about the end of school mixed with sadness.  Promotion to the next grade level is exciting but may cause anxiety about the new teacher and new classmates as well as leaving the familiar teacher.  Be aware of these mixed emotions and help your child work through the anxiety.  Anxiety can look like sadness, irritability, acting out in school. Some things to think about doing before school is out:

  1. Visit the new grade level and look at the classrooms, meet the teachers.
  2. Help your child write a story about this year’s good and bad times.  Then add his expectations about next year.  For younger children, have them tell you the story.  Note fears and help your child with these. This could be especially important if your child is moving to a different school.
  3. Add play dates this summer with children who may be in the same grade level.  If they are not in the same class, they will have a friend at recess.

How have you helped your child with this sadness?

Handwriting Questions

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Alphabet Soup: Fun Activities to Stir Your Child's Interest in Letters by Lyn Armstrong O.T.R