AVOID OVERSCHEDULING KIDS FROM THE START
The start of the school year is the best time to prevent overscheduling children, says Wake Forest counseling expert Samuel T. Gladding. “Don’t wait until family members have signed up for more activities than they can handle,” he says. “Work out a schedule that allows for curiosity, exploration, spontaneity and serendipity.” Gladding, father of three school-age sons and the author of “Family Therapy: History, Theory and Practice,” says a good rule of thumb is two activities per child. More than that, he says, asks for trouble.
TALKING WITH TEENS: TIPS FOR PARENTS
When parents try to start a conversation with their teen-agers, they often get one-word answers, says Christy Buchanan, associate professor of psychology at Wake Forest University. Although talking with adolescents can sometimes be tough, Buchanan offers suggestions for ways to improve communication. “Direct questions are sometimes not as effective,” says Buchanan, who has written numerous articles on parent/adolescent relationships. “Kids are not always ready to talk in response to a question.” Conflict between parents and children during the adolescent years is connected with negative behavior, so good communication is worth the effort, Buchanan says. She stresses the importance of overcoming awkwardness about addressing difficult subjects, so adolescents feel okay about bringing up those topics.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE SHOULD NOT BE LEFT BEHIND
As the No Child Left Behind Act and budget woes put pressure on many school systems to cut back on foreign language study in the elementary grades, Mary Lynn Redmond advocates for strengthening foreign language programs. Redmond is associate professor of education at Wake Forest and executive secretary of the National Network for Early Language Learning, housed at Wake Forest. “Learning languages helps increase listening ability, memory, creativity and critical thinking — all of which are thinking processes that increase learning in general,” Rednomd sasy. “The work force has an increased demand for people who can speak foreign languages at a sophisticated level,” she says. “School administrators have to think out of the box and look at foreign language study as a regular part of the curriculum. Redmond edited the book, “Teacher to Teacher: Model Lessons for K-8 Foreign Language.”
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