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Category Archives: School Kid

Dealing with a bully at school

Finding out that your child is the victim of bullying is an experience that’s simultaneously heartbreaking and infuriating. While your first instinct is to step in to stop the torment by any means necessary, it’s not always easy to see the bigger picture and pick up on the lessons that your child could learn from this difficult experience. Rather than making a point of angrily confronting another parent or teaching your child to strike back in order to defend themselves, you might want to consider ways to help your child stand up to a bully on their own.

Practice Reasonable Avoidance
It may seem counter-intuitive, but one of the most effective ways of standing up to a bully is to cut bullying attempts off at the knees. Talk to your child about ways to avoid the bully without resorting to damaging measures like skipping class or quitting the team. You may find by working together that just a few adjustments in your little one’s routine helps avoid crossing the bully’s path altogether.

Emphasize the Importance of Confidence
Bullies tend to pick on kids that they perceive to be weaker than themselves, so make sure you work on confidence-boosting techniques and help your child understand why it’s important to appear very confident. Sometimes with self-esteem a useful approach initially is to “fake it till you make it.” Talk about ways that make your child appear more confident even when they don’t feel like it initially. Confidence building is a virtuous cycle – self-esteem levels will get a huge boost when your child experiences bullies backing off as a result of increased confidence.

Explain Why Some Kids are Bullies
In order to know how to stand up to a bully, kids need to understand why they’re a target in the first place. Having a conversation about the things that make some kids turn to bullying behaviors and why making other people feel bad can make the bully feel better will help your child understand that bullying is really about the bully’s own weaknesses or problems. Explain to your child that most bullies are mean to other kids because they’re bullied at home, or because they have big insecurities that affect the way they treat people. When your child understands that the root of the problem lies within the bully and not anything your child has done, it’s easier to regain confidence and stand up to the bully.

Talk to School Administrators and Teachers
So much emphasis is placed on not “snitching” that kids don’t always feel comfortable approaching an adult at school about the bullying they’re suffering from at the hands of another student. Your child needs to know that there’s a difference between being a tattle-tale that looks for attention by exposing others and asking a teacher or administrator for help when there’s a problem that’s too big for them to handle on her own.

Use the Buddy System
Bullies tend to target kids that are alone, so encourage your child to find an (older) buddy at school – many schools actively encourage a “buddy system” where older kids help younger ones with all sorts of trouble at school (including bullying).

Don’t Reward the Bully With a Reaction
Above all, a bully is looking for a reaction to his cruelty. Explain to your child that bullies are looking for any kind of reaction in order to feel fulfilled.  So in some cases the best defense is a studied air of nonchalance. Standing up to a bully by living well and being utterly unaffected by the things the bully says may not have a dramatic resolution, but it does solve the problem in many cases and ends the suffering your child feels.

Don’t Bully Back
Everyone has their breaking point, even a child. Before you start working on any other methods of combating a bully, you should make sure your child knows that any reciprocity can lead to an escalation of violent behavior. Encourage your child not to bully others in turn or start a fight with a bully. Aside from the fact that such actions generally tend to fuel a bully’s anger, zero-tolerance policies in schools can leave your child in big trouble for her actions, even if she feels they were taken in self-defense.

Originally posted by


Race car dad Kevin – muscles and cars

HarvickFamilyandBig TeamCB Race car dad Kevin   muscles and cars

Making his first trip to the Lone Star state, Keelan Harvick and mother DeLana headed to the deep south to support their favorite NASCAR driver, husband and father, Kevin Harvick. On Saturday night, Harvick claimed a Texas-sized victory following the NASCAR Nationwide Series race, receiving a Victory Lane cowboy hat that Keelan sported shortly after. With only two races remaining in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Harvick, still in 11th place on the leaderboard, salvaged a ninth-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway. The Richard Childress Racing driver started the scheduled 334-lap event from the 23rd position before alerting crew chief Gil Martin that his Chevrolet had an extremely tight-handling condition. Despite handling issues, Harvick and his team managed to stay strong until crossing the checkered line. Meanwhile baby Keelan achieved his own victory by being able to hold his bottle all by himself! And while his muscles are disguised by cute baby rolls for now, Christopher Boykin from MTV’s hit show “Rob & Big” declared this cutie an honorary member of the “Chunky Boy” club while visiting the Harvick family at the track.

Go Chunky Boys!

Kids and natural disasters – post Sandy trauma

Our thoughts are with all families affected by Sandy this morning after the region was hit by a devastating superstorm. We are reblogging the following article which was put together to help families affected by the various earthquakes in NZ and Japan last year.

Natural disasters can be frightening for everyone involved, especially for children who may not understand what has happened. Here are some tips for supporting children after a traumatic experience. At times like this when you are feeling stressed, scared or tired it can be hard to know what to say to your children or to know what to do. It is normal for children who have been through a traumatic event like hurricane Sandy to feel insecure and emotional. Here are some thoughts and suggestions for time spent with your kids after the event:

  • Be as calm as possible, listen and try to understand and be tolerant of any changes in their behavior. Children might have problems with sleeping and nightmares and be too scared to sleep alone. They might also be more clingy and cry, or be more frustrated and impatient than usual. Be extra patient and tolerant (more so than usual)
  • Let your children know you will all look after each other and spend time together with lots of hugs and cuddles. If your children want to use a dummy or carry a cuddly blanket – let them, it will help them feel reassured and more secure. Let them know everyone feels scared and that is ok.
  • Children want to try and make sense of what is happening and when they don’t know they use their imagination to fill the gaps this can make things more frightening for them. Try and explain what has happened and if they are interested – the science of it. You might also need to explain why we need to be careful with hygiene or special arrangements (e.g. living in a house that has no running water or electricity).
  • You are the most important part of your child’s life and how they respond to a natural disaster like hurricane Sandy will depend on how you react to it. Try to act calm even when you are not feeling that way – it will reassure your children.
  • Keeping to familiar routines will help your children feel more secure. So if the schools are open let your children go back so they can have as normal a routine as possible.

All the best

Racing Dad Kevin Harvick – Halloween and belly time

Kevin Keelan Monkey Racing Dad Kevin Harvick   Halloween and belly time

What seemed like a solid run at Martinsville Speedway for race car dad Kevin Harvick turned into a bit of a belly landing with 27 laps to go, Kevin’s engine corked it and his No. 29 team had to settle for an unfortunate 32nd-place result and the loss of one spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. However one unconditional fan of Kevin wasn’t worried: his son Keelan, who cheered on his dad during the race and after with excessive cooing, laughing and screaming. Looks like Kevin and his wife DeLana might have a future NASCAR driver on their hands! While Kevin practices his racing skills on the track, his son Keelan practices his tummy time on the floor.

Meanwhile Halloween isn’t lost on the busy racing family either – Keelan got dressed up as a Monkey to celebrate. But there’s no monkeying around for Kevin to prepare for his upcoming race in Vegas! So pack some extra bananas Kevin and get those other monkeys off your back on Sunday – good luck!


Fathering at 200mph – Kevin Harvick and DIYFather

KevinHarvick with Keelan Fathering at 200mph   Kevin Harvick and DIYFather

Ever wondered what fathering in the fast lane would be like? Meet a daredevil dad who does this every day – Kevin Harvick: diaper shopper, digital native and NASCAR race driver. Kevin is currently competing in his 12th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and has been given the opportunity to follow Kevin for the last 5 races of the season. On July 8 this year something wonderful happened – Kevin became a dad to son Keelan. With that added support and “dad mojo” we have no doubt that he’s got the edge to beat all the other drivers on the circuit. So get behind this campaign and check back over the next 5 weeks to follow and support Kevin on his epic journey to make Keelan the youngest son of a NASCAR Champion!

About Kevin Harvick

  • Born and raised in Bakersfield, California
  • Received a go-kart for kindergarten graduation that led to the start of his racing career
  • Moved to NASCAR competition in 1996
  • Has won 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races
  • Captured two NASCAR Nationwide Series championship – NASCAR’s junior division – in 2001 and 2006
  • Kevin and wife DeLana owned their own race team that fielded two fulltime NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams and two NASCAR Nationwide Series teams for 10 years (2001-2011) before closing the doors at the end of the 2011 season to start a family
  • Named 2009 Driver of the Decade
  • Won NASCAR’s biggest race of the year – the Daytona 500 – in 2007
  • Established the Kevin Harvick Foundation in 2010 to support programs that positively enrich the lives of children throughout the United States
  • Engages with fans on his personal Twitter page (@kevinharvick) and has over 249,000 followers

About the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup
The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is the championship system used in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series that awards the top 12 drivers in the regular season with a chance of winning the coveted championship trophy. Their points are reset for the final 10 races of the season and the close points battle throughout this period ends at Homestead-Miami Speedway where the champion is determined.

Remaining Schedule:
10/21 – Kansas Speedway
10/28 – Martinsville Speedway (Va.)
11/4 – Texas Motor Speedway (Dallas/Ft. Worth)
11/11 – Phoenix International Raceway
11/18 – Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway

Go Kevin!


10 ways to help your kids develop high levels of Emotional Intelligence

Having a high level of emotional intelligence in your children is the best way to ensure that they live a happy, successful, and responsible life as an adult. Just in case you’re not quite sure what Emotional intelligence (also often referred to as “EQ”) is all about – here’s a definition from Wikipedia: the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. OK so here are ten ways to help your kids attain a high degree of emotional intelligence:

1. Be willing to say “no” to your kids
There’s a lot of stuff out there for kids. And your kids will ask for a lot of it. Saying no will give your kids an opportunity to deal with disappointment and to learn impulse control. To a certain degree, your job as a parent is to allow your kids to be frustrated and to work through it. Kids who always get what they want typically aren’t very happy.

2. Be aware of your parental “hotspots”
Know what your issues are—what makes you come unglued and what’s this really about? Is it not being in control? Not being respected? Underneath these issues lies a fear about something. Get to know what your fear is so you’re less likely to come unglued when you’re with your kids. Knowing your issues doesn’t make them go away, it just makes it easier to plan for and to deal with.

3. Practice and hone your skills at being non-judgmental
Start labeling feelings and avoid name-calling. Say, “he seems angry,” rather than, “what a jerk.” When your kids are whiny or crying, saying things like, “you seem sad,” will always be better than just asking them to stop. Depriving kids of the feelings they’re experiencing will only drive them underground and make them stronger.

4. Start coaching your kids
When kids are beyond the toddler years, you can start coaching them to help them to be more responsible. Instead of “get your hat and gloves,” you can ask, “what do you need to be ready for school?” Constantly telling your kids what to do does not help them to develop confidence and responsibility.

5. Always be willing to be part of the problem
See yourself as having something to do with every problem that comes along. Most problems in families get bigger when parents respond to them in a way that exacerbates the problem. If your child makes a mistake, remember how crucial it is for you to have a calm, reasoned response.

6. Get your kids involved in household duties at an early age
Research suggests that kids who are involved in household chores from an early age tend to be happier and more successful. Why? From an early age, they’re made to feel they are an important part of the family. Kids want to belong and to feel like they’re valuable.

7. Limit your kids access to mass media mania
Young kids need to play, not spend time in front of a screen. To develop creativity and problem-solving skills, allow your kids time to use free play. Much of the mass media market can teach your kids about consumerism, sarcasm, and violence. What your kids learn from you and from free play with others will provide the seeds for future emotional intelligence.

8. Talk about feelings as a family
State your emotional goals as a family. These might be no yelling, no name-calling, be respectful at all times, etc. Families that talk about their goals are more likely to be aware of them and to achieve them. As the parent, you then have to “walk the talk.”

9. See your kids as wonderful
There is no greater way to create emotional intelligence in your child than to see them as wonderful and capable. One law of the universe is, “what you think about expands.” If you see your child and think about them as wonderful, you’ll get a lot of “wonderful.” If you think about your child as a problem, you’ll get a lot of problems.

10. Model emotional intelligence yourself
Yes, your kids are watching very closely. They see how you respond to frustration, they see how resilient you are, and they see whether you’re aware of your own feelings and the feelings of others.

Having a high IQ is nice, but having a high IQ and “EQ” is even better. The modern work environment requires smart people who are also good at building relationships and rapport with clients and peers. So you can help your child be more successful at their job by developing high levels of EQ with them.

Inspired by Mark Brandenburg

Bonding with your kids

You may be a father who spends ten hours a day in the office before coming home exhausted, or a mother who works her shifts as a doctor in a busy hospital who barely has a chance to read to her children before bed. No matter the situation, there is always something you can do to get a chance to bond with your children. Here’s a few suggestions for every day activites and special occasions.

There is nothing more rewarding than working hard to spend a week traveling the country with your family. Going on vacation helps to build memories and establish strong relationships that will last for years. You will always have the photos to remind you of your amazing trip. Rent an Arbogast RV and drive across the states, or fly to your nearest big city and road trip home. Better yet, include your children in the process of planning the vacation.

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to bond with your child is through play. Get down on the floor with them and make it up as you go – no need for expensive crops … kids are full of fantasy play so you can just create “pretend” props for your play out of whatever is at hand (paper, cardboard, old bottles or ceral boxes). Build forts, play with dolls and make the stuffed animals talk.

Make physical activity a part of your family’s routine. If your child plays sports, consider volunteering with the local team as an assistant coach. One-on-one bonding time can be more rewarding, however; consider reserving a few hours a week to go play catch, run, golf or shoot some hoops. Your family will benefit from improved physical health in addition to increased confidence.

The key is not to underestimate the value in the simple activities. Reading together for 15 minutes right before bed is a great way to spend time together. Older children might even enjoy taking part in a family book club in which every person reads the same book so that a discussion can follow. You can also spend some time together reviewing schoolwork and helping your child with homework. While your child is doing chores before bed, join him or her and talk about your day.

It is never too late to start building new patterns and hobbies. Start putting together puzzles, which are relatively affordable. If you live near the beach, lake or river go on a search for the most interesting rocks you can find. Begin looking for recipes and cooking meals together. Start getting in the habit of trying new activities.

If you begin bonding with your child early, you will start building a lifelong relationship. It is never too late to build a relationship with your children – it might take a while but is definitely well worth the effort. Your children will always remember the time you spent together and cherish the experiences as they grow older. Building these memories together is essential to building a strong family unit.

By Alex Summers

What else to do on a pumpkin patch

As harvest time approaches family outings and school field trips to pumpkin patches and apple orchards become more and more common. Here’s a few ideas for additional knowledge and concepts kids can pick up during these visits:

  • The Life Cycle – Even the biggest pumpkin in the patch begins as a tiny, tiny seed, which is something that your child will learn when he visits the patch where those pumpkins grow. Most pumpkin patches and orchards that open for tours and outings also provide a guide of sorts for each group, and he will typically offer a brief explanation of the life cycle, simplified to help little ones grasp the basics.
  • Agriculture and Farming Practices – Many children, especially those that live in metropolitan and urban areas, have only a faint idea of farming and how agriculture affects their own lives. Taking a trip to the pumpkin patch, where farmers actively cultivate pumpkins and other crops, can help kids gain a better understanding of the important role that farming plays in society.
  • Bees and Pollination – Bees are an integral part of the pumpkin-growing process, something that kids learn when pollination is explained. In addition to the hands-on science lesson, kids can also learn that bees are more than just scary, stinging insects, and that they actually play an important role in our ecosystem.
  • Weights and Measures – Pumpkins are usually sold by weight, something that your child will be able to learn when he purchases his own pumpkin for carving or painting. Parents or caregivers that are determined to help kids learn as much as possible on their trip can also help children in their care measure the pumpkins they choose while teaching them about circumference and units of measure.
  • Buying and Selling – While they might be fun places to visit and learn, pumpkin patches are, above all else, a marketplace. Kids can get a hands-on, up-close-and-personal view of the mercantile process, the ins and outs of buying and selling, and the way that our society trades money for goods.
  • Shapes and Colors – The prevailing image of a pumpkin is one that is large, round, and orange. In reality, however, they actually come in a wide variety of colors and shapes. Young children can practice their color and shape recognition skills at the patch, and older kids can learn about the dominant and recessive genes that cause these variations.
  • Counting and Basic Math – Helping a youngster practice his counting skills, or basic addition and subtraction for kids that are a bit older, is greatly simplified when the objects in question are large and sport a bright orange hue.
  • Halloween and Harvest Time Legends – The legends of Halloween aren’t always considered suitable for all children, depending upon their family’s belief system, however harvest legends from cultures around the world are a great way to help kids appreciate diversity and gain a larger world view than what they’re afforded in their own city. Using a trip to the pumpkin patch as a conversation starter about such subjects can ensure that your kids have a fun-filled afternoon that’s followed by an informative discussion around the dinner table.
  • Farming is Hard Work! – When children have little-to-no working knowledge of farming or agriculture it’s easy for them to imagine that fruits and vegetables are produced in a factory alongside their favorite processed snacks. With a single trip to the pumpkin patch and a chance to observe the farmers there, kids can learn to appreciate the hard work that goes into every piece of fruit or vegetable that they eat.
    • If you’re taking a self-guided tour of the pumpkin patch as a family, it might also be wise to brush up on your farming and gardening knowledge beforehand so that you can pass it along to your kids in the absence of an expert guide.

      Inspired by

The Bullyman

I’m thinking of making a movie about a badass superhero called The Bullyman—who flies from town to town beating the snot out of all the bullies in the world. You might be thinking, “What’s the big deal about bullies? Everybody gets bullied as a kid. Grow up and get over it.” The big deal about bullies is that the damage they inflict doesn’t disappear after school. It can last for decades. And although some people associate bullying with getting physically beaten up, emotional bullying (such as being ignored) is often far worse. And the scars usually last longer.

Case in point – when I was 13, my best friend invited another friend to go with us to the movies. We rode our bikes to the mall, laughing and telling dirty jokes. Good times, right? The problem was, I wanted to see The Pirate Movie; they wanted to see Tron. We argued back and forth, until finally I convinced them that The Pirate Movie was the way to go. Right before the movie started, my two friends went out to get some popcorn and licorice. Which wouldn’t have been a problem except … they never came back.

Determined not to let their little prank bother me, I sat and watched the entire movie by myself. And I fully expected my friends to jump out laughing at me when I left the theater. But when I got outside, their bikes were gone. They had gone home without me. And neither one of them ever talked to me again.

Of course to them, what they did wasn’t a big deal at all. But to my 13-year-old mind, it felt like the end of the world. And today, over 30 years later, I still get pissed off thinking about it. And some part of me still wants some sort of revenge. So maybe I will make that movie about The Bullyman—and believe me, after he gives my two “friends” a little visit, they’re going to wish they’d stayed and watched The Pirate Movie after all.

By Jim Gratiot

Jim Gratiot, father of 5, is the author of ‘The Cootie Kisser Convention on Canterbury Court,’ a novel for 3rd – 5th graders. If you have a child who has ever been bullied, do them a favor and give them this book to read – here’s the link

10 iPhone apps for kids learning to read

Many parents are currently trying to work out how to limit kids’ screen time and use of technology. However recently reported that some kids may actually benefit from tech-heavy learning environments. For children that are just beginning to learn the fundamentals of reading, well put together iPhone apps may be a simple and effective way to help these kids along. Apps tend to combine interactive play with structured content keeping kids engaged as they learn. “Gamification” has well and truly entered the world of education and smart devices are the media of choice to deliver this learning experience.

Here’s a list of useful apps for early readers:

  • Sight Words List – Make your own cards and record the sound of your own voice reading them to personalize the sight word experience for your beginning reader with the free Sight Words List – Learn to Read Flash Cards & Games app. Parents can also create new lists and change font sizes and color for a customized, personalized experience. The application also features an infant mode for children who are under 12 months, which is ideal for parents who wish to share a love of reading and learning with their babies.
  • Bob Books #1 – Reading Magic – this app brings the beloved Bob Books to the iPhone (the app costs $1.99). The phonics-based approach to helping kids learn to read has been successful for millions of kids; now your child can have the power of Bob Books at her fingertips!
  • Read Me Stories – This free app allows users to access an entire library of children’s books, inspiring a love of reading in the smallest new readers. Free sample books are available, in addition to the scads that can be purchased through the app to keep your child occupied and entertained as she learns the fundamentals of reading.

  • First Letters and Phonics – Learning letter shapes, names, and the sounds that they make is an exciting and entertaining prospect, thanks to Learning Touch’s First Letters and Phonics app. For $1.99 in the App Store, First Letters and Phonics includes two versions of the Alphabet Song, and will help build a foundation and give kids the basic skills they need to start the exciting journey that is reading.
  • Alpha Writer – Based on Montessori principles like Moveable Alphabet, Alpha Writer helps kids learn to read and write by doing. The app also allows youngsters to create their own stories with illustrations, letters, and phonetic sounds, which encourages learning in a self-directed environment.
  • Word BINGO – Based on the Dolch Word List, Word BINGO offers four different educational games (for $0.99). Kids can play Word BINGO, Spelling Practice, Word it Up, and Fling It at a pre-primer through third grade level, and parents are able to review their progress through the My Report Card function.
  • Spell Blocks with Sight Words – Interactive play is educational for little ones with Spelling Blocks, which uses a virtual version of the ever-popular alphabet blocks to help kids learn to spell more than 200 of the Dolch Sight Words. The Word Proficiency scale allows you to review his progress and determine where he needs help. The app is $1.99
  • Learn Sight Words – Ad-free and designed with little fingers in mind, Learn Sight Words helps kids learn and commit to memory 300 different sight words. Sounds can be turned on or off, allowing kids to hear the word as they look at it, or to focus on reading words quietly. Words are clearly pronounced and displayed in large, bold letters that are easy for kids to make out, and you’re given the option of flagging words that need more practice.
  • Interactive Alphabet – ABC Flash Cards – Interactive Alphabet is a universal app that helps kids develop the basic skills they need to learn to read, with an entertaining and immersive lesson on letters A to Z. The app even has a “baby mode,” which advances flash cards at 15 second intervals, perfect for keeping pint-sized scholars occupied while you’re driving or otherwise engaged.
  • Learn to Read! – Designed for kids in pre-school through second grade, Learn to Read! features voice prompts and example usage of sight words, and comes highly recommended by educators. Learn to Read! almost replaces the physical deck of flash cards that teachers distribute, keeping your home free of clutter and allowing your little ones to access their list at home or on the go.

One things to bear in mind with all these Apps though – even the best application is useless if you’re not actively involved in the learning process of your children. So spend some time with your kids to play these apps and support the learning process.

By Tina Marconi