3 Ways to Prevent Siblings From Fighting

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As the Mayweather vs McGregor fight became a part of history, and the debate amongst family and friends has been settled, we wanted to share quick tips for not having your children imitate the ring at home. As parents we need to remember we need to help our kids learn and manage their social/emotional skills. This is crucial for their emotional intelligence (EQ) which will help them become better decision-making young adults.

Your children obviously like to play together and sometimes they just get stuck in conflict. Here are three tips to help prevent conflict:

1) Lead By Example
This is tough as you have to be aware that your children are better than secret agents when it comes to observing your every move. Which means when you are with them you have to be careful about how you express your emotions. No road rages or bad lipping your peers and no yelling. A couple things you can do is to show them how you resolve your issues as parents. Just as you want your children to take a breath, calm down, and then talk about the problem, you should do the same with your significant other. Show your children that you appreciate what you do for each other. Tell them that you appreciate your significant other cooked for you or helped your children with their homework.

2) Help Them Become a Team
Reward-based appreciation is not necessarily a great method, especially with siblings. Even though it might look like a harmless form of appreciation, there might be a reward that might be considered better, which can cause increased internal conflicts for the kids. However, do reward teamwork. Dr. Laura from Aha Parenting, suggests using something like a cooperation jar where if they come to you for help with a conflict or if they work together to avoid/solve the conflict put money in the jar that they will split equally.

3) Don't Separate Your Love
It is important for kids to know that they are loved and accepted for who they are. This helps children respect enforced standards and be better at sharing. More importantly,, they feel more confident with what makes them different and also begin to appreciate what is different about their siblings and others. A couple ways to go about this process is to create win-win situations. When a treat is being shared, the one who doesn’t do the dividing then gets to pick first, or the one who gets to play the game later may get to play his/her game a tiny bit longer. The important thing to remember about such activities is to never compare your children to one another. Make sure each has enough personal space and make sure that you spend enough one-on-one time with each of them.

Keeps these tips in mind while you are preventing a fight. Overtime your kids will learn to resolve their issues by themselves. The most important will be setting the example yourself. You cannot expect your child to do something, that you are not willing to do yourself. They are watching your every move.

3 School Readiness Tips For Parents

School readiness starts with parents and caregivers. It is never too early to start spending time with your child to get them ready for school. Read to them, talk to them, and play with them. There are many tools that can send you bite-size instructions to perform such educational activities.

School-readiness refers to the academic, communication/social, and independence skills your children need to succeed in school. Here are 3 tips for parents to provide increase school-readiness:

1) Become their First Teacher (academics)
Children derive 83 to 96 percent of their vocabulary from their parents between the ages of 0-6. That is why it is crucial to spend time with your children to expose them to as many words as possible; enhancing their vocabulary. There are many activities you can perform as a parent to help. A couple examples include things like; teaching your child colors, reading to them daily, dictate every action you take throughout the day, and discuss what you read. Write, scribble, and draw with your child. Sing the alphabet song and etc.

2) Become their Coach (social/emotional/communication)
Since speaking and listening are sometimes learned before reading and writing, help your child communicate his/her thoughts and feelings. Not only will this help with their academic performance, but also prepare them to get along better with other children and adapt to changing environments. Things you can do as a parent to provide the communication and social skills necessary for better school-readiness include things like: setting rules and consequences, having routines, encouraging your child to listen and respond to others when they are speaking, discussing positive ways for your child to express his/her feelings and etc.

3) Be their Sensei (independence)
Your children need to build confidence and self-esteem at early ages by increasing their independence. As they grow they will be expected to do many things by themselves. Teach your young grasshopper how to fish early on. This is important because paying attention to the small details will immensely help parents raise self-sustaining adults. A couple things parents can do to achieve this are: buying clothes that are easy for your children to buckle and zip on their own, letting your children dress themselves and tie their own shoes, doing simple chores like cleaning up their toys, and letting them do puzzles or play with Legos by themselves.

Improving school-readiness is about providing your children the types of experiences that will help them be successful at school. Increase your child’s exposure to academics like vocabulary words and numbers, increase their social, emotional, and communication skills, and increase their independence. These three tips will help enhance your child’s experience being taught subjects in a classroom setting, interacting with other children, and being proactive about their independent behaviors to increase their self-confidence and competence.

Why is Parent Involvement Important in Early Education?

According to the Harvard Family Research Project, parental involvement are activities that parents conduct at home and in early childhood settings to directly or indirectly support their child's learning. The same goes for caregivers as well. Whoever is taking care of the child should focus on creating this relationship as it helps extend the child’s learning outside of the classroom and creates a bond which extends to adolescence. This means, through parental involvement, your child is equipped to perform better at school and make better life decisions.

Compiled together from multiple studies, underneath are examples of why parental involvement is important and how it can be accomplished.

1) Why is it important for children?
According to studies:
- children achieve more, regardless of ethnic or racial background, socioeconomic status, or parents' education level
- children achieve better grades, test scores, and attendance
- children have better self-esteem, are more self-disciplined, and show higher motivation toward school.

So, what do you do to achieve this for your child?
You don’t need the best educational toy but you do need to spend time with your child working on educational activities. Something as simple as, singing a song about what you are doing while giving a bath to your child is an example of spending educational time with your child.

2) Why is it important for parents?
According to studies:
- you become more confident in your parenting/decision-making skills
- you gain more knowledge of your child’s development, which provides an increased use of positive reinforcement and less use of punishment on your child
- you have a better understanding of the teacher's job, the school’s curriculum, and their effectiveness

So, what do you do to achieve this for yourself?
You don’t need to spend a ton of money on the newest toys and apps, but do invest in resources that give you examples of the educational activities that build this relationship and foundation. Something as simple as a picture book or a text message can go a long way in guiding you.

3) Why is it important for schools and teachers?
According to studies:
- schools experience better community support as they usually do better and have higher quality programs than programs that do not have involved parents
- teachers and principals often earn greater respect for their profession from the parents,
- school personnel and the parents both attain higher satisfaction and trust each other more

So, what do you do as a school/teacher to achieve this?
- invest in providing parents the opportunities/resources for parental involvement
- incentivize parents to spend the necessary educational time with their children. There are many platforms that can accomplish this deed for schools, so partnering up with one program would be the easiest way to go.

Parental involvement is critical as it helps extend teaching outside the classroom, creates a more positive experience for children and helps them perform better when they are in school. So, make sure to spend some time doing your homework to find the best tool to help you get more involved; whether you are a parent, a teacher, or a school.

Reading to a Child is More Effective Than Homework

We know parental involvement and engagement is crucial in building the right foundation, especially in early ages. NY Daily reported that a study on homework conducted by University of Tennessee professor of Theory of Practice in Teacher Education, Richard Allington, showed that reading to your child is more effective than homework.

Parental involvement is so important that states from Vermont to Florida have schools ditching homework for it. So crucial, that a whole county in Florida is implementing a "no homework" policy. But why? It is because, regardless of family income or background, it allows children to be more successful. This is not something new. In fact, it dates back 15 years to when Southwest Educational Development Laboratory reported that children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more when parents and schools are more involved.

Then, as parents and schools, how can you be more involved? Parents, it is not about getting your child the latest Fisher-Price toy or the latest app, it is about the time you spend with them and the relationships you build. Do not be content with the in-school activities, spend time with them to plan out-of-school activities. Read to them and get them involved in things they might like such as art and sports. For schools, share decision-making responsibilities with parents. National PTA recommends schools to invite parents to be full-time partners in making school decisions that affect families by sharing what the school expects from parents and vice versa. This can be accomplished by increased communication between school personnel and the parents through open houses, home visits, family nights and well organized parent-teacher conferences.

Though school contribution is crucial, parents you are the main focus for this matter. As parents you might say, we understand the importance of involvement for today, but why does it matter for tomorrow? The way your children will shape their academic future literally depends on these simple moments of engagement. The same studies that proved the importance of parent engagement also showed that children with more involved parents earn higher grades/test scores, attend their school and pass their classes regularly, enroll in higher-level programs, and have better social skills. In fact, the studies even found correlation between parental involvement and going on to post-secondary education and being promoted.

As parents, instead of focusing on homework or the next best toy or the next best app, being more involved with your children allows them time to be creative thinkers, follow their passions, and succeed.

What Age Should Your Child Should Go To Kindergarten?

School readiness is a tough assessment to make. Though we have always considered the cognitive side of development as parents, teachers or even evaluators, understanding the psychological and mental health readiness has always been hard. The study co-authored by Stanford Graduate School of Education Professor Thomas Dee found that a one-year delay dramatically improves a child’s self-regulation abilities even into later childhood.

Here are the 3 things Stanford identified as being mindful of while making the decision.

1) Does Age Matter
Thomas Dee said, “We found that delaying kindergarten for one year reduced inattention and hyperactivity by 73 percent for an average child at age 11 and it virtually eliminated the probability that an average child at that age would have an ‘abnormal,’ or higher-than-normal rating for the inattentive-hyperactive behavioral measure.”

What to do?
Although most parents are choosing to delay enrolling their children to kindergarten for a year in US, according to the Stanford article, Dee suggests parents to have conversations about start time with teachers first.

2) Real World Practice
Though the study was performed with a Stanford professor, it was done in Denmark. Knowing that the kids who were studied had access to reasonably good pre-K since the study was done in Denmark, Dee also states that children in the U.S. may not be as harmed by starting kindergarten earlier if they do not have access to good pre-K.

What to do? 
Start at home. Parent engagement is vital to a child’s success. Parents should be mindful of the pre-K education their children receive before making the decision to hold off enrolling their kids to kindergarten. Which is why having a conversation with their teacher before making the decision is important.

3) Focus on "Play"
The study also showed consistent results with other studies that have shown extended early childhood education, especially if it is play-based, yields better mental health development. This means your children can benefit from longer preschool experience.

What to do? Focusing on play-based learning can allow your children to be more self-regulated and mentally healthy.

It truly is difficult to make the right decision when it comes to school readiness. However, these 3 factors can help you have a better understanding on how kindergarten ready your child is.