“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
By Beth Pinyerd
I love winter but during these cold winter months, it seems a little bit hard for us to wake up our children. Well, one thing that might pleasantly wake up your children today is that it is National Pizza Day. On this cold winter day, this is definitely something to wake up and plan with your children. You can make or buy a pizza. Too, sharing a pizza can be a good math lesson for fractions and sharing in cutting a pizza in halves to share, or fourths to share even more.
I lived in Mobile and Baldwin County for 30 years and Mardi Gras each February is a celebration that families and children look forward to and thoroughly enjoy. We have the delicious King’s cakes; moon pies, which even now I like to share with my Lee County friends; colorful beads; and parades, which set a joyful festive celebration.
Safely celebrating a Mardi Gras parade in the preschool classroom is a delight, as well as a neighborhood parade with bicycles, tricycles and wagons.
The intergenerational parades with both young and old is so much fun too. A little history: the first American Mardi Gras took place on March 3, 1699, with French explorers Pierre Le moyne D’Iberville and Sieur de bienville who landed near what is New Orleans, Louisiana. Mobile, Alabama, holds the oldest annual Carnival celebration in the United States, started by Frenchman Nicholas Langlois in the year 1703 when Mobile was the capital of Louisiana (Wikipedia).
This week on Saturday, Feb. 12, we remember the birthday of our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, known as “Honest Abe”. Sharing his life and his morals is something that intrigues children year after year. They learn from the story of Honest Abe walking many miles as a young man to return correct change to a customer.
Take some family time and sit down with your children and explain why it is so important to be honest. This can be explained according to their age and what they can understand.
Valentine’s Day lovingly comes strolling in next Monday, Feb. 14. Why not give your child a Valentine’s Love note? Maybe as time permits, why not you and your child make valentines to give to their friends. Children’s creations are memory makers. Playing Valentine’s post office at home or school is a fun exchange. This is a way children can make friends!
As a teacher and mom, I would like to share some tips that might help you and your child wake up easier. I know that most moms will be truthful in agreeing with me that struggling to wake your children on school mornings can be a challenge. I know that some families may not have any problems with their children getting up on time. But waking my son to get up and to get going was stressful. I turned to fellow moms and educators to get some advice. We did a lot of trial and error to avoid arguments and stress as we headed out the door for school each morning.
This Classroom Observer article will give some helpful tips that I hope will help families in waking up their children for school. Instead of frowns on your child’s face, I hope these tips will put a good morning smile on your children’s faces.
Make sure your child is healthy and that there is no hidden illness that is making them sleepy. Sometimes seasonal allergies can make a child drowsy or lethargic.
Is your child getting enough sleep? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine provides the following guidelines for these ages:
Preschoolers: 3 to 5 years old – 10 to 13 hours (including naps).
Grade-schoolers: 6 to 12 years old – 9 to 12 hours .
Teens: 13 to 18 years – 8 to 10 hours.
Maintaining a consistent bedtime and wake-up time for your children facilitates a smooth and easier morning schedule.
Establish a consistent morning routine by planning and preparing the night before, like packing backpacks, preparing lunches, setting out school clothes, shoes, etc. Children love to get positive reinforcement when they do things well. Putting a chart graph up reflecting the daily chores such as washing face, brushing teeth, combing hair, getting dressed, packing lunch, grabbing a backpack and rewarding your child with a star or happy face is a good morning motivator. Too, it provides internal morning structure and responsibility when the children can see what needs to be done.
Opening up curtains or blinds to let the sunshine in about 10 to 15 minutes before they get up provides a natural wake-up time for your children to meet the morning. Wake-up lights slowly emit light like a sunrise. These are so good to use during the winter months when it is still dark.
Use sound to wake up your children by setting an alarm clock, radio alarm clock or phone alarm clock. Too, set a music alarm with your child’s favorite songs to pleasantly awaken your child.
Make wake-up time pleasant and fun. A family pet is a good alarm clock. Pets can nudge, snuggle and playfully wake your child. Starting a delicious-smelling breakfast that is your child’s favorite is a wonderful way to gently wake up your child. Siblings can play the game to see who gets dressed the quickest. If you have an only child the parent can compete with their child or even encourage your child to beat their best times.
I hope these few suggestions make your mornings more pleasant. Our children grow up so quickly and we want them to have “happy memories” of their mornings at home. Make early morning wake-ups a happy memory for your children.
By Beth Pinyerd