Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Children and crises

Radio Commentary

Whether it’s a hurricane, tornado, or an earthquake in a far-off place, or a fire or a shooting closer to home, or an airplane crash, parents and other caregivers must meet the challenge of reassuring children during times of crisis.

The way caregivers respond has a huge impact on how children will be affected.

To help, a booklet from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute, called When Terrible Things Happen: A Parent’s Guide to Talking with Their Children, offers some good advice.

For example, infants and toddlers, ages zero to three, can’t understand how a crisis or a loss has changed their environment.

But they can recognize and respond to changes in adult behavior.

The best thing you can do for infants and toddlers is to keep a routine and resume normal activities as soon as possible.
Pre-school children, ages three to five, may not talk about their feelings openly. Talking while playing games can help children of this age group express their thoughts more easily.
School-age children, five to 12 years old, have more understanding of how and why things happen. They will want to ask questions. Parents can help by talking, listening and answering their questions honestly and directly.

We cannot control a natural disaster or local catastrophe. We can only control how we react to them, especially with our children. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Teen search for identity

Radio Commentary

Limiting children’s exposure to objectionable material is a top priority for parents. A good start is to resist putting TVs or computers in your children’s bedrooms.

Instead, put the TV and computer in areas of the house where everyone has access to them.  Choose a place where you can talk with your pre-teens and they can talk with you about what they’re watching on TV or doing online.

There is little doubt that TV and Internet content can overload preteens with violent, confusing images.

By having the TV and computer in a common area, you can all enjoy them and discuss content together.

Don’t underestimate the power of your influence. Children will rarely thank you for your sound advice or act grateful when you set limits, but chances are really good they will listen and act accordingly.

Children want to know the opinions and values of their parents. They are only likely to tune out when adults lecture, preach, or scold. For this reason, it can be helpful to express opinions indirectly.

For example, in commenting on a sit-com character’s behavior, you could say, “It looks like she’s being awfully irresponsible about her friend’s safety.” See what kind of discussion you can generate with your child.

When you’re just talking about a TV character, your children are less likely to get defensive. Success is more likely if you approach these topics in a non-threatening, open manner.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Voting essential

Radio Commentary

With political campaigns in full swing, we know that education will continue to be a primary focus for candidates.

Polls show the public considers education a very high priority, and candidates will be quick to zero in on these concerns. Much will be said about how to support and improve our schools.

But campaign words will not solve the challenges our schools face. How do we hold politicians accountable for their sound-bite promises and lofty rhetoric?

Recent history shows that we must do a far better job of demanding accountability for our children.

 With all the promises, the task forces, the reform measures, and the best or worst of intentions, what kind of real progress and results have we seen in the past few decades?

Are American schools better off than they were before all these efforts?

Have we committed the necessary resources and leadership to our nation’s classrooms so that problems can be truly overcome?

Have we provided even half the needed funding for key early childhood programs that prepare our children to succeed in school?

In the long run, ensuring a positive future for our kids depends on each of us doing our part as individuals.

We must learn the facts about the candidate’s actual records on these issues, and we should vote accordingly.

In addition to supporting family values, we must also support community values. Our future, and that of our children, depends on our own accountability in this area.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Helping students

Radio Commentary

Parent involvement with children’s education increases the chances for success in school.

Studies show that children whose parents are involved in education are more motivated in the classroom. And motivated children become students with many opportunities for a bright future.

But just how do parents go about walking that fine line between being helpful and over-managing their children’s school work?

Here are some guidelines that have proven helpful for some parents:

  • Read with your children every day. You can read school assignments, or books that are just for fun.
  • Provide enrichment materials, like children’s books, magazines and educational toys. Be sure to show your own delight in reading.
  • Provide quiet, private work spaces where children can study undisturbed and monitored. Insist that no TV is playing within earshot. Try to limit phone calls during homework time as well.
  • Keep those workspaces well-stocked with all the supplies needed to complete assignments. This would include pencils, pens, erasers, staplers, paper, a good lamp, and access to support resources.
  • Help your children schedule homework into their daily routine of sports, music, family events, and long-term projects. Sometimes the prominent placement of a large calendar can make a big difference.
  • Reward good grades with recognition and praise for the effort.
Involved parents DO make a difference.

Education supporters to be honored - Students to receive computers at luncheon

News release

The Santa Maria Valley Industry Education Council and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor & Convention Bureau are hosting their annual Business Appreciation luncheon on Wednesday, Oct. 8 at the Elks Lodge from noon to 1:30 p.m. The theme for this year’s event is Partnerships Are Sweet! It is an opportunity to thank the many local companies, nonprofit organizations and individuals who support our schools and want all students to experience the sweet smell of success on their educational journeys.

Companies, nonprofit agencies, and individuals provide schools with resources, awards and incentives for students, plus food for school activities. Many business leaders also share their time and expertise by participating in career days and the Principal For a Day programs. These activities help teachers give students the skills needed for success, and the luncheon is an annual event to show that appreciation.

The following people, businesses and nonprofit organizations are among those who will be honored on Oct. 8 for their contributions to the listed school districts:

  • Georgia Schrager will be honored by the Allan Hancock College Foundation
  • Colette Hadley will be recognized by the Santa Maria Valley Industry Education Council
  • Altrusa International Foundation will be thanked by the Guadalupe Union School District
  • Del Taco #833 will be honored by the Santa Barbara County Education Office’s Special Ed Department
  • The Assistance League of Santa Barbara will be recognized by the Santa Maria-Bonita School District
  • Rabobank, N.A. will be thanked by the Orcutt Union School District
  • Plantel Nurseries will be recognized by the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District

The Partnerships Are Sweet! luncheon will include the distribution of eight computers through the Computer Connections program, a joint venture between the Industry Education Council and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce. More than 200 students and their families have received new computer packages through the program for under-served children. This year’s major sponsors were the Wells Fargo Bank Foundation, Santa Maria Energy, LLC, and the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor & Convention Bureau.

For reservations, please contact the Chamber at register@santamaria.com, or call Jennifer at 925-2403. For questions about the Santa Maria Valley Industry Education Council and their partnerships, contact Peggy Greer, SMVIEC Liaison at peggreer@sbceo.org or at 349-0443.