Renegade rule: Your child can reject a playmate—and vice versa.
Don't Forget, It's About Play
The main thing to remember is that playdates should be fun for kids and easy for parents, explains Anastasia Gavalas, author of WING IT: 6 Simple Steps to Succeed as a Modern Day Parent. Deciding on the best time to have a playdate is important. After school can be tiring for younger children, especially if they have school the next day. But, non-school days give kids ample time and flexibility to engage with friends and play freely. “Playdates can be great opportunities to help teach children how to interact positively and develop relationships,” says Gavalas. “If it feels stressful or tiring, then parents need to shift their focus. Kids don’t care about making everything ‘just right.’ They simply want to play and have fun.”
* Also featured in CafeMom & GreenMomsMeet.com
WING IT: 6 Simple Steps to Succeed as a Modern Day Parent
By Anastasia Gavalas, MS, SDA
The Wing It way provides new perspectives and soulful solutions for modern day parents to thrive in parenthood and life.
Being a woman (yes, really!)
Logging intuitive "hits"
"Build on your parent-child relationship without worrying too much about what other parents may or may not be doing," suggests Family Life teacher Anastasia Gavalas. "The relationship is what makes the difference. Children thrive when they have those meaningful connections."
So excited to announce that Leadership Through the Eyes of Children has been selected as a Creative Child Award Winner 2012!
A fantastic article highlighting Anastasia's new parenting book.
She said that first part of her book is about choosing the right foundation for your child. "We always say, 'it takes a village,' but you have to build your village, and it has to be a village that supports your goals."
"Family life teacher Anastasia Gavalas agrees. "There are always 'emergencies' and allowing a child to pee in a bush or on the side of the road may be necessary sometimes, but allowing a child to go potty wherever sends the wrong message and confuses the child," she says—even if the child's ready to potty train."
Anastasia Gavalas, a parenting education consultant from New York, says that parents should keep these things in mind when choosing a camp, whether it’s for kids with LD or not:
Really — in winter, what's more natural than cold-weather sports? Strapping on skis, lacing up skates or grabbing the sled can be just the thing to keep kids moving in wintertime.
“Taking up skiing as a family has really helped in getting my children (ages 6, 8, 10, 12, 14) excited about a winter sport, as has ice skating and sledding,“ says Anastasia Gavalas, MS, SDA. “Keeping children physically active just takes some creative planning and if skiing is not in the budget, then a game of tag in the backyard also works.“
Sensitivity often comes in the form of having fears. You may have a child who hangs back in groups or who doesn’t want to do things that other kids are doing. Parenting expert Anastasia Gavalas recommends giving kids space and time to mature and get used to activities that cause fear and anxiety. “Sensitive children just need to feel safe but not smothered,” says Gavalas. “They need to be encouraged to explore and do [so] on their own so they can build up confidence and recognize their own strength.” Avoid arguing or pushing your child into doing things that scare her. A struggle will only make things worse.
"Encouraging independence through play is the best way!" says family life teacher, Anastasia Gavalas. "When experiences are presented in a fun, light-hearted way children are more open to trying new things. When parents allow children to discover their preferences and abilities, children naturally become more independent.
Present children with favorite toys and include something unfamiliar," suggests Gavalas. "Without leading, let them make independent choices about what to play with. Praising creativity and imagination encourages the child to become more independent in everything they do.
Give them lots of room to discover things to play with -- both at home and in public. "The more diversity you present, the more open your children will be to new experiences," explains Gavalas. "This naturally fosters more confidence and independence."
Children have reasons for why they do certain things or choose one thing over another," says Gavalas. "By asking questions, parents gain insight to how their children feel and think. And the children feel heard."
“Schools across the country and parents across the country are fear-based, and they feel that they cannot do enough to prepare children for the next thing,” according to Anastasia Gavalas, a family life teacher and author of Wing It: Six Simple Steps to Succeed as a Modern Day Parent.
Learn how to say no
Even if an extra language or an accelerated math course is available, it’s important to decide if it’s really the right choice for your child, according to Gavalas. So assess how your child is handling his or her current workload and decide together if it’s appropriate for his or her individual needs.
Explore other options
If your child is already overwhelmed, it’s time to evaluate if the coursework is appropriate for him. “There’s always movement in scheduling,” according to Gavalas. So if a child can’t handle the Regents or AP class, he or she can move into a less intense program. Speak with your child’s teacher or guidance counselor and come up with a plan that works. “It’s a matter of making that connection and seeing what it is your kid can handle,” she said.
Setting a rule that children must work on their homework for a set amount of hours right after school is not effective. “It’s not allowing the child to take control of their feelings of anxiety and overload,” Gavalas said. Instead, trying out different routines will ease their stress and allow them to figure out which strategy works best.
Few things can make you feel more helpless as a parent than facing a kid having a full-scale meltdown. To help, here are 19 smart ways to stop a tantrum -- one of them is bound to work.
Accept Your Child's Limits
What to Know: Even though we know that kids are best when they're rested and fed, we all try to cram in just one more errand at 5:00pm. If you're dragging a hungry and tired toddler all over town, know that you're upping the odds that she's going to lose it. After all, it's hard for adults to be on their best behavior when they're sleep-deprived and starved.
What to Do: Whenever possible, plan outings outside of her nap or meal times, says Anastasia Gavalas, MS, SDA, author of Wing It: 6 Simple Steps to Succeed as a Modern Day Parent. Stashing snacks in the car helps too, as can having entertaining toys and books that will buy you some extra time if you need it. And, for times when you're desperate for your kid to keep it together for just a little bit longer, keep an emergency lollipop in your purse and break it out before things start to head south.
A great segment with lots of information for anyone who works or lives with children.
Ages 9 to 12
Bottom line: kids this age can be responsible for an entire meal. Mother of five and family life teacher Anastasia Gavalas has had her three oldest — currently 10, 12 and 14 — responsible for planning and executing a full meal once a week, with their younger siblings helping.
Provide the proper environment
Anastasia Gavalas, MS, SDA, family life teacher, author and mother of five says, "Providing a nurturing yet independent environment for children to discover their preferences and strengths helps them develop confidence in themselves and their sense of self."
Perhaps the best tip ever, Gavalas adds, "Love children without conditions and for who they are. "
make it a family affair
Watch Anastasia on TLC's hit show Four Houses. Anastasia said, "My intention was to show parents that they can have children, a fun family life, and a nice house too."
Family life teacher and education consultant Anastasia Gavalas was given the Fair Media Council’s “Media Savvy” Award last week at Southampton Elementary School. The award, given yearly, goes to teachers nationwide who promote media literacy. By utilizing news sources to help their students use deductive reasoning and their critical thinking skills, teachers are “media savvy.”
Created more than 30 years ago, the Fair Media Council is a non-profit organization that advocates for quality local news in the New York metropolitan area and aims to educate youth about the important role media play in society.
“It’s important to get to the kids before their critical thinking skills and deductive reasoning skills are fully formed,” said Fair Media Council Executive Director Jaci Clement. Doing so helps students become educated consumers of the news, she added. According to the Fair Media Council, teachers like Ms. Gavalas are doing a good job introducing students to the news during the most critical time in their lives.
Two years ago, Ms. Gavalas volunteered to run her leadership workshops for kindergarten, fourth and sixth grade classes to compliment the school’s “Leader In Me” program. Students were asked to use the media around them, such as newspapers, TV news and news on the internet, to find examples of leadership and explain the characteristics of leaders they admired. The students pointed out leaders in entertainment, business and politics, such as Oprah Winfrey, Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg and President Barack Obama.
“It was different in the past, when I was growing up,” Ms. Gavalas said. “Leaders were in religion and politics. But now, in talking about leadership of today, children are looking at it in a whole different realm.”
After determining what makes a leader and whom they look up to, students were then asked a tough question: “If all the world’s leaders disappeared, and you were put in their place, How would you lead?” Ms. Gavalas gathered their responses and published a book and short video called “Leadership Through the Eyes of Children,” featuring the students’ responses, just a year later. “It was amazing to see these kids realizing and recognizing how profound their ideas were, and how I utilized them in the book and video,” Ms. Gavalas said. “It was a combination of hard work and lots of free creative thinking.”
On May 9, Ms. Gavalas accepted her award from the Fair Media Council while surrounded by some of the children she worked, who continued the discussion about leadership. “I like Ellen DeGeneres,” said Southampton Elementary School sixth-grader Hope Brindle. “She’s done so much, and she’s proved that no matter who or what you are, you can be amazing.”
Southampton - Family Life Teacher Anastasia Gavalas received The Fair Media Council's Media Savvy Teacher Award for her work with Southampton Elementary and Intermediate School students on Wednesday May 9, 2012.
The two part project titled Leadership Through the Eyes of Children was on the subject of leadership in the modern world. For the first part of the project students described qualities of a leader and leaders throughout the world that they admired. For the second part of the project, students thought about what would happen if all the leaders disappeared and children took their place. Students decided what changes to leadership they would make and how they would rule the world.
During the brainstorming process of the project Gavalas was amazed to see how profound the student's ideas were. She was inspired to document them by creating a book and video of student responses. Students who worked on the project with Gavalas were on hand when she received the award. When asked who they considered leaders sixth grade student Hope Brindel responded "Ellen Degeneres because throughout the years she has helped so many and proven so much".
The award which is in its third year recognizes fourth, fifth and sixth grade teachers who are using news in their classrooms. The Leadership Through the Eyes of Children video is available to watch on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oE-yLxX0tM).
Additionally, Anastasia Gavalas, who is the mother of five and a teacher with Family Live said that she has seen first-hand how the media can impact teens and their personal images.
“No matter how much parents try to shield their teens from the effects of media and the entertainment business, they will be exposed and swayed by things they observe by others they view as "successful," Gavalas emphasized to me. “The entertainment business is carries so much power that parents need to consciously and continually balance all that is presented to their teens by teaching them about real-life morals they wish their children to develop. So, they [teens] need strong guidance from their parents and the community that is realistically formed around them.”
Anastasia Gavalas, an experienced educator who blogs at www.anastasiagavalas.com, suggests notes from their students. PTA volunteers can ask each class to write a note about their teacher and how that person has impacted them. The very young children can dictate their thoughts to a volunteer and draw a picture to go with it. Then compile each teacher’s notes into a book and give it to them.
Seasonal Stressor #10: I always seem to have a let-down after all the holiday excitement is over. How can I plan now to start the new year on an upswing?
Answer: First, try to tame the upswing of intensity during the holiday season by filtering out all non-essential activities for your family. As much as possible, focus on tasks having to do with service to others and those that have meaning to your family. Once the holidays have passed, plan a fun activity like a family game night, prepare dinner together and enjoy an evening of fun. This is a simple but fun way to create meaningful memories for the whole family. Consider having a clean out day to gather toys, books and clothes to donate. Make a family visit to a local charity to donate the items. It's a good lesson in service to others and can help your child realize how fortunate they are to have what they do.
Mementos. Kids’ letters and hand- made projects smothered in fingerprints are some of Anastasia Gavalas’s most- valued possessions. She says, “I know that every moment they made those things, they were thinking of me.”
Hire someone. "Even if it's once a month, it's still money well spent. A cleaning person can do the 'big' jobs, like scrubbing down the bathroom. Children want time with their parents -- not to watch them clean," says Anastasia Gavalas, a parenting consultant.
“Parents need to exhibit patience and appreciation for the short time span they get to spend putting their children to sleep.” - Anastasia Gavalas, parenting education consultant
Anastasia Gavalas, a parenting education consultant and mother of five, says that children deserve a little time to share their thoughts with parents before bed. “Parents need to exhibit patience and appreciation for the short time span they get to spend putting their children to sleep,” she said. “Children who feel heard and appreciated do not throw tantrums.”
"At one time or another, even the most compatible caregivers find themselves struggling over whose technique or method is better," says Anastasia Gavalas, M.S., a family life specialist and mother of five (www.anastasiagavalas.com). "The most important thing to remember is that the best way to parent is in a way that is authentic and right for each individual person."
Anastasia Gavalas, a mother of five, realized this early on before her children reached kindergarten. She was determined to choose balance from the get go. Gavalas says she asked herself, “How can I structure my life so it supports what I believe in my heart?” The answer came in a move from a busy Long Island suburb to the laid-back lifestyle of the Hamptons. “I recognized that the competitiveness is not what life is all about. Parents are so fear- based. We think if we don’t give our kids every experience they will miss out or fall behind.”
And as Gavalas learned, a balanced life is an intentional life. Evaluate your priorities. Probe to find your children’s priorities. Then organize your calendar around those. “Taking stock and evaluating after a season is better than signing up wildly. Parents can talk about realistically what the kids can do,” says Gavalas.
Gavalas’ family is also enjoying the quieter lifestyle. Her eldest daughter volunteers at a horse farm. Her second daughter attends a dance class twice a week. And her sons play two sports each. They have more time for playing and being outside.
“We are our child’s best advocate and advisor; our intuition is our greatest gift. To become awakened parents is to first evolve as a person by reflecting and listening to people whom you are drawn to.”
“With three daughters, Anastasia Gavalas understands just how important that one-on-one time is, so Gavalas and her daughters each plan what they call "special night."
"This is a time that’s carved out during the week for me and each of my daughters (ages 13, 11 and 5) to do anything she chooses," Gavalas said. "The reason that time is so ‘special’ is because they choose what they want to do, and it’s uninterrupted time between mother and child. It’s something I’ll treasure forever and I know they will, too."
The main point to remember here is that we always need to find individual balance. Some parents use television as a regular activity and others on the other end of the spectrum who forbid any media consumption what so ever. Neither one of these approaches are healthy. All children need their bodies and minds engaged. They need to develop healthy, nurturing relationships and need to play as much as possible. The moment a parent feels that their child is watching too much television is the time to change their question to, "Am I providing the best balance for my child and their growth?"
As a parenting and educational consultant and mother of five I can certainly tell you that the American Public School System is dated and failing children across the nation. I can also tell you that private, independent, religious, and charters are also failing children on a smaller scale. Private does not necessarily mean better. Do I recommend private to my clients? No, I recommend that parents get involved in their children's schools and get to know what is really going on good and bad and make decisions based on the child and the dynamics of the school. There are good teachers and bad teachers in every school. Personally, I have all five of my children in Southampton Schools and they are all doing well and have had some wonderful teachers.
In either path, whether public or private, if there is no attention paid to the social-emotional development or to differentiate instruction based on the individual, schools are not doing their job. I believe parents must be advocates for their children and get to know the kind of learners they are so that they can work together with their teachers and school in order to provide them the best possible educational experience. Above all, parents need to keep being vocal about meeting the individual needs of all children and getting the educational experience everyone deserves no matter public or private.
As a responsible parent, you must make the commitment to be part of your child's life, which, in today's world, includes the social-media-technological experiences.
Anastasia Gavalas, a parenting education consultant in Long Island, New York, explains that parents cannot simply ignore the existence of technology. "Technology is a current facet in every parent's life," Gavalas said. "As a responsible parent, you must make the commitment to be part of your child's life, which, in today's world, includes the social-media-technological experiences."
Play is critical in every form. "Children can easily lose their capacity to play if a parent is not mindful of balancing the time and depth of play with media outlets and in nature," Gavalas said.
Anastasia Gavalas, a mother of five and parenting educational consultant, said she gets asked often about whether mixing public and private schools is a good thing. The short answer is, “It is a very individualized decision and one that needs to be made together with your child.”
If a child is in a place where teaching is not child-centered or meaningful to them, she said parents have options and should make changes. Gavalas said, however, parents should also be aware of the pros and cons to combining private and public school education.
“The pros are that parents can custom-create an educational experience for their child … that supports their individual learning styles and philosophies, ” she said. “The cons are that this may cause anxiety, academic and social-emotional delays from the inconsistency.”
A great television segment on ABC Smart Family for any parent who has ever disagreed on how to raise children.
Just as the fullest, strongest, most beautiful tree is a source of strength, so are children. They are inspiring and show resilience even in the stormiest of times. They always belong just where they stand as curious explorers of the wondrous world around us. If we allow children to grow like trees, towards light, and stars they will believe in their potential...
One of my favorite quotes as I became a parent and realized it's relevance, especially as a mother of five and parenting education consultant to so many, is from the author Hodding Carter Jr. He stated,
"There are two lasting bequests we can give children; one is roots, the other wings."
I believe now more than ever parents need a balance in the roots and wings they give their children. We live in a time of abundant possibilities with children who are more insightful than any previous generation and with more resources than ever before...
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5373570
Turn the tables. "Whenever my children’s grandparents offer advice that I think sounds overly cautious—like not walking around the house barefoot, because they’re convinced it makes my kids sick—I have a trick I use. I smile politely and ask questions, like ‘How does not wearing socks or shoes transfer bacteria?’ or ‘Has that ever happened to you personally?’ It sometimes turns out even they don't know why they believe the things they do—they usually learned it from their parents! It transforms a potential confrontation into an interesting, thoughtful conversation."