Parenting Tips

Responsibility means being dependable, making good choices, and taking accountability for your actions. A responsible citizen looks out for the well being of others and understands we all have a part to play in making the world a better place. For a five-year-old, responsibility might look like getting themselves ready for school in the morning, helping with specific household chores, or helping care for a pet – in other words, age-appropriate tasks that contribute to the well-being of their family.

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One of the most powerful ways to develop your child's literacy skills is also the easiest: talk to your kids! At age six, children begin to use language to explain both their outer world (what they see) and their inner world (what they think, feel and imagine). When they talk to caring adults, they can expand their vocabulary and learn more about the give-and-take of conversations — including taking turns and building on someone else's ideas.

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Honesty means we are truthful in what we say and do. It means people can rely on us and it’s the basis of a trusting relationship. For seven-year-olds, honesty looks like consistently telling the truth, accepting responsibility for their actions, and sharing important information with trusted adults – particularly about situations where they or others may need help.

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Are the kids going to be okay?

That’s the collective worry I sense from parents when I scan parenting sites and my social media feeds. We are nervous about how this pandemic will affect our children’s wellbeing now and in the future. Since young children aren’t likely to say, “Hey Mom and Dad, I feel stressed and need help right now,” what should parents be looking for? And when we do see signs of distress, how do we support our kids in a way that builds resilience?

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Not so long ago, I was walking down the street with my daughter. At each passing tree, she was determined to pick berries from the so-called “berry trees.” She pulled the berries off the tree, looked at them, rolled them in her hands, and carefully collected them in her pocket. I thought to myself, “Ugh, again? Do we really need to keep these prickly berries?” and “How long will it take for her collection of berries to decay in her pocket?”

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Courage involves making good choices in the face of fear or obstacles. It’s another term for bravery. Remember: Bravery doesn’t mean fearlessness. It means we do not let fear hold us back from exploring new opportunities, developing our skills, and doing what is right. For a four-year-old, courage might look like meeting a new teacher, trying an activity for the first time, or talking about situations that make them feel scared.

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