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Thursday, June 11, 2009

The end of the school year is a great time to prepare for transition -- the transition from one grade to another, but also the transition from in-classroom learning to the ongoing learning process that takes place outside of school. Use the following tips to help your child make the transition to the next grade level as easy as possible.

1. Make the most of the final weeks of school.
2. Review your child's progress. Many teachers spend the last weeks of school recapping the year's work. You can help your children review by asking them to show you what they've learned, or working through homework problems together.
3. Schedule a final meeting or discussion with the teacher. Talk about the year as a whole and identify successes, but also challenges your child may face when he or she returns in the fall.
4. Help your children stay motivated about school so they gain the full benefit of their final days in the classroom. Have a conversation every day about school.
5. Ask the teacher for a reading list for the summer. Teachers often have lists for the appropriate grade level, or in some cases you might be able to get specific recommendations for two kinds of books, those your child may enjoy reading, and those you may enjoy reading to your child.

* Know what the next grade will bring.You can speak to your child's current teacher or a teacher in their next grade level about the upcoming curriculum.Ask not only about subjects, but changes in focus. For example, 4th grade students usually begin to “read to learn” rather than “learn to read.” If your 3rd grade student is struggling with her reading, this summer would be a good time to focus on improving reading skills. If the next year will mean a change in schools -- such as entering high school -- take advantage of orientation sessions where you and your child can learn more about the new school. Let your kids be kids. Summer vacation is a great tradition. It's important to enjoy the time off. But children can also learn while they have fun. In fact, the best learning occurs when children don't realize they're learning. You can plan summer vacation activities that are both fun and educational, such as: If you know your child will be studying history next year, visit local historical sites or borrow historical books and novels from your library.

Continue reading throughout summer. Visit the local library where they can help you select books appropriate for your child's age and interest, or go to www.bookadventure.com. Book Adventure is a free, Sylvan-created, interactive, reading motivation program online. Students choose their own books, take short comprehension quizzes and redeem their accumulated points for small prizes. Book Adventure also offers teachers and parents resources and tips to help children develop a lifelong love of reading. Plan family activities that are fun, interactive and educational. To help you get started, Sylvan Learning Center offers a free activity booklet, Family Learning Fun. The booklet provides seven different ideas and activities that will help sustain and renew your childrens interest in learning and discovery. It is available on the Sylvan Learning Center’s Web site, while supplies, last at learning activities.

Attend summer camp. There are many enrichment activities available for children when school is out-of-session. Sylvan Learning Center offers engaging programs that keep the interest and fun in learning alive through the summer and into the school year. Develop writing skills by writing or emailing pen pals. Demonstrate the value of continuous learning to your child by showing how you continually learn -- such as regular reading, developing new skills for a job or learning a new hobby or sport.

After having children, some couples find that the closeness they once had begins to fade. Here's how to avoid that predicament.

1. Make your marriage a priority. Kids will eventually grow up and move away and the two of you will be left with each other. Your spouse should come before the children- always. That's not to say that there won't be times when the needs of the kids have to come first. But in general, do not use the kids as an excuse to not spend time with your spouse. By setting this example, your children will learn to expect their spouse to make them a priority also. They will also learn that the world does not revolve around them.
2. Present a united front Never take the side of the kids against your spouse, even if they are wrong. If you disagree with each other on an issue with the children, discuss it in private. But in public, ALWAYS support your spouse. Doing that will continue to create intimacy and trust between you which often is lacking once the kids come along.
3. Take pride in your appearance. Look attractive for your mate. Remember what he/she found attractive about you before you had kids and continue doing it. Don't buy into the lie that since you're married you can "let yourself go".
4. Give compliments. Make sure you let her know that she is still attractive to you. Show him that you still admire him and appreciate his hard work in supporting and protecting the family.
5. Maintain physical contact. Always kiss and hug as much as possible. Not only is it vital for you, it's vital your kids see your love for each other.
6. Plan a regular date night, and if you can't hire a babysitter put the kids to bed early. Do something that both of you will enjoy, or try something new. Have romantic dinners and baths.
7. Communicate. Make time every day to discuss what's happening in your lives. You may talk all the time, but do you really sit down and hear each other out on all the issues going on? Or do you let them build and blow up? Write love notes that are short and simple.
8. Have interests outside of the marriage, like a hobby or club. That way you always have some time apart. Time apart as well as together is vital. Balance the time you spend together with the time you spend as a family, and the time you spend apart.
9. Don't nag each other. Nagging happens when our expectations are not met. If you expect your spouse to be perfect and meet all your needs, you will ALWAYS be disapointed. If you have a problem or need something addressed right now, instead of nagging, try to communicate better. Ask him to do something, instead of demand that he do it.
10. Show respect. Never berate your mate in public, in front of family, your children, or anyone else. If you have a problem, discuss it privately and rationally. Yelling and pointing out faults only drives a person away.
11. Keep up with the little things. They are what matter most. Flowers, shoes, clothing, etc., for her and a favorite meal, tickets to a concert or game, a hat, etc., for him as a surprise. Consider each other.
12. Be Romantic. Remember how it was before you had children - be attentive and romantic with one another. Candles, flowers, massage oil, satin sheets, lingerie, surprise gifts, filling up her car with gas, movie and dinner... these are essential in keeping things running as smoothly as possible.

Enjoy the children. Play with them and teach them. Communicate with them, and allow them to feel that they are a part of the family. When they go to sleep, make time for the two of you. Ask grandparents to take the children for the weekend or an overnight visit if they live near you. Spend the time together with your mate.


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