Category Archives: Holidays

Be The Change You Want To See In The World

The holiday season is upon us! This is the perfect time of year to model for your children how to give back through volunteering. You are showing your children that good deeds not only help others who are less fortunate, but also allow your family to experience the true meaning of the holidays.

Be the change you want to see in the world – or at least in your own home. Have your kids help you sort through your kitchen cupboards to donate non-perishables. And the next time you are grocery shopping, mention to your kids that you are buying two boxes of pasta – one for your house and one to donate. Have your kids go to the cereal aisle and get a few boxes for home and a few to donate. Tell them you are going to clear out the coat closet and donate outgrown coats and sweaters. Ask them to look through their closets for any clothes that are too small for them so that they can join you in donating

Assist younger children to “Keep 2, Give 1”. I have learned that telling kids, “We are going to give away some of your toys and you are going to love it!” is not the optimal way to get buy-in for the “donating-feels-good” concept. But you are likely to have a more positive reaction if you explain to your child that they need to make room for new toys. Give your child some control over the process by allowing them to choose which items to donate. A good rule of thumb is that for every two toys your child keeps, one toy is to be donated. A wonderful place to drop off donations is Goodwill. (goodwillsocal.org)

Tweens love to look back at their childhood and realize they are now the “big kids.” On your next Target run, invite your tween along to take a stroll down memory lane and remember which toys they loved when they were little. Challenge them to bring $20-$25 of their own money to shop in the toy section for their favorite little kid toy that they can buy and then donate.

For teens, discuss with them the fact that there are kids their age with parents who are struggling to make ends meet. Assist them to recognize how hard high school must be for teens who don’t have what is needed to look their best. Take your teen to CVS or Walgreens and have them put together a grooming kit for a teenage boy or girl. Items can include a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hair products, make-up and shaving items. Toys and hygiene kits can be donated to LA Housing. (lafh.org)

Talk with your kids about making volunteering fun by going with a group of friends or as a family. The Big Sunday website (bigsunday.org) is chock full of organizations that need holiday volunteers. For kids and teens  who love being outside, a service visit to Tree People (treepeople.org) is a lovely way to spend a day. In addition, most high schools have mandatory service hours so your teen can give back while also fulfilling a graduation requirement.

If you would like to talk about ways to encourage your child to enjoy service work, lets talk! Please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or email me at jerirochman.jd.ms@gmail.com

Happy Holidays,                                                                                                                                                                   Jeri

 

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day in Middle School: Drama!

                               “If you were a Transformer, you’d be Optimus FINE.”

Valentine’s Day in middle school is pretty much exactly as you imagine it: awkward, drama-packed and hormone-fueled. Navigating the holiday can be tricky for middle schoolers, especially for those in their first year out of elementary school. Because middle schoolers have five or more different classes, it just isn’t feasible to give a Valentine to every student in your child’s grade. Most schools solve this dilemma with candy grams that can be purchased or a Valentine’s Day dance. This means that the main topic of conversation at the lunch tables in the days leading up to February 14 is who-likes-who and who-is-going-to-the-dance-with-whom.

Eleven to fourteen year old kids can feel incredibly stressed and anxious around Valentine’s Day. Due to the wide range of maturity levels in middle school, some students are thrilled at the idea of having a boyfriend or girlfriend, while others are overwhelmed at the thought of a romantic relationship. There are also the inevitable hurt feelings when feelings are unrequited or an invitation to a dance is turned down. You can assist your child with the navigation of these socially choppy waters by sharing your own middle school experiences so that your child can begin know that they are not alone in their experience.If your child really wants to give Valentines to close friends, one suggestion is to mail them so as to avoid any hurt feelings at school.

Pro-Tip: If your child is in a school club or afterschool sport or activity, suggest that they bring a treat for everyone in the group as a way to bring back the sweetness of the elementary school all-inclusive style Valentine’s Day.  And again, share the holiday with the people at your child’s Middle School who offer daily assistance: the school nurse, attendance office personnel, librarians, and PE coaches.

If Valentines Day is causing you stress, let’s talk about it! Please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or send me an email at jerirochman.jd.ms@gmail.com.

All my best,                                                                                                                                                              Jeri

Valentine’s Day in Elementary School: Kindness and Inclusiveness

“Do you have a Band-Aid? Because I skinned my knee when I fell for you.”

As you drop your child off at school on February 14, thank your lucky stars for the genuine kindness of elementary school teachers. The general rule is that a child must bring a Valentine for every member of their class. This is a golden opportunity to talk with your child about kindness and inclusiveness. For arts-and-crafty parents, the holiday is a fun opportunity to break out the markers, stickers, and construction paper and let the creativity flow freely. And fear not parents who are not handy with a glue-gun, Valentine’s Day cards are not graded; your store bought cards are perfectly fine.

Something to keep in mind is that for students with reading and writing challenges, having to write all of their classmates names can feel like an impossibly hard task. Offer to assist your child in a manner that allows him to take the lead. One suggestion is for parents to write the classmates’ name in glue and then have your child sprinkle the glue with glitter. Or type and print the names on labels and have your child stick the label on the card. Keep in mind that the idea is for your child to enjoy the holiday and not for it to feel like it is one more homework assignment. It is fun to add a small piece of candy to your card but if your school has a no-candy policy, possible non-edible treats are stickers, temporary tattoos, pencils, and small party favors.

Pro-Tip: Spread the love by making extra Valentines for your child to deliver to your school’s unsung heroes. Your school custodian, bus driver, crossing guard, nurse and front office receptionist will be truly grateful.

If Valentines Day is causing you stress, let’s talk about it! Please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or send me an email me at jerirochman.jd.ms@gmail.com.

All my best,                                                                                                                                                                     Jeri

 

‘Tis the Season to Volunteer!

Holiday season volunteering can provide many teachable moments for kids and teens.

By modeling for your children how to give back, you are showing them that good deeds  not only help others who are less fortunate, but allow your family to experience the true meaning of the holidays.

                               TEACH YOUR CHILD TO COUNT THEIR BLESSINGS

Ring in the season with a family meeting over a favorite meal. Tell your kids that this year, for every window opened on an Advent calendar or for every candle they light on the Menorah, there will be an acknowledgment of the blessings in their lives. Explain that there are families who are less fortunate; families that struggle to have enough food and often go hungry.  Allow your child to talk about the gifts they hope to receive but also explain that there are parents who may not be able to buy gifts for their children this year. Talk about the good fortune of having friends and family with whom to celebrate. Then ask your child for ideas for how to give back to those who are struggling during the holiday season. Guide the conversation with questions such as, “Do you think you can give some of your toys that you have outgrown to a child who might not have any?” or “What can we do as a family to help other families have a happy holiday?”

                                                 MODEL WHAT IT MEANS TO GIVE BACK

Be the change you want to see in the world – or at least in your own home. Have your kids help you sort through your kitchen cupboards to donate non-perishables. And the next time you are grocery shopping, mention to your kids that you are buying two boxes of pasta – one for your house and one to donate. Have your kids go to the cereal aisle and get a few boxes for home and a few to donate. Tell them you are going to clear out the coat closet and donate outgrown coats and sweaters. Ask them to look through their closets for any clothes that are too small for them so that they can join you in donating.

                      ASSIST YOUR YOUNGER CHILDREN TO “KEEP 2, GIVE 1”

I have learned that telling your kids, “We are going to give away some of your toys and you are going to love it!” is not the best way to get buy-in for the donating-feels-good concept. But you are likely to have a more positive reaction if you explain to your child that they need to make room for new toys. Give your child some control over the process by allowing them to choose which items to donate. A good rule of thumb is that for every two toys your child keeps, one toy is to be donated.

                                                              TWEENS AND TEENS

Tweens love to look back at their early childhood and to realize they are now the “big kids.” On your next Target run, invite your tween along to take a stroll down memory lane and remember which toys they loved when they were little. Challenge them to bring $20-$25 of their own money and to shop in the the toy section for their favorite little kid toy that they can buy within their budget. For teens, discuss with them the reality that there are kids their age with parents who are struggling to make ends meet. Assist them to recognize how hard high school must be for teens who don’t have what is needed to look their best. Take your teen to CVS or Walgreens and have them put together a grooming kit for a teenage boy or girl. Items can include a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, hair products, make-up and shaving items. Toys and hygiene kits can be donated to LA Housing (lafh.org)

                                       VOLUNTEERING IS A FUN GROUP ACTIVITY

Talk with your kids about making volunteering fun by going with a group of friends or as a family. The Big Sunday website (bigsunday.org) is chock full of organizations that need holiday volunteers. For kids and teens  who love being outside, a service visit to Tree People (treepeople.org) is a lovely way to spend a December day. In addition, most high schools have mandatory service hours so your teen can give back while also fulfilling a graduation requirement.

If you would like to talk about ways to encourage your child to enjoy service work, lets talk! Please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or email me at jerirochman.jd.ms@gmail.com.      Best wishes for a happy holiday season!                                                                                                   Jeri

 

 

Here come the Holidays!

The holiday season is just around the corner! And along with the celebrations, delicious foods, and family get-togethers, are the more challenging feelings of stress and anxiety.

One way to have more joy and less strain during the holiday season is to take time to plan ahead for what you want the holiday season to look like for your family.

Hold a family meeting and decide what activities are truly meaningful for your family.

We often wish to continue past family traditions while also including new activities that are equally special but  can lead to an over-scheduled family calendar. Have each family member make a list of the activities that are important to that person. Then, as a family, evaluate which family traditions are still meaningful and which activities no longer hold their original value.  Allow for family activities to evolve as each member grows and changes.

Then decide how many activities and events can be scheduled along with down-time for breathing space. Plan for some holiday stress in the form of melt-downs due to delayed bedtimes and more sibling bickering due to more time spent together. Keep in mind that  it is perfectly normal for not every holiday event to go smoothly!

The holiday season is to be enjoyed. By creating a schedule that works for your family, you can relax and give meaning to this special time of the year.

If you would like to talk about ways to have a more peaceful, and less stressful holiday season, please call me at 310-849-6751 or send me an email at jerirochman.jd.ms@gmail.com. I am here to help!

All my best,                                                                                                                                                                         Jeri