Conquering the Summer Reading List

July 24th, 2014

boy reading bookSummer’s just about ½ over! That means along with camp, sports practice and summer fun, children and teens also need to find time for reading. Many schools provide a summer reading list beginning in the fourth or fifth grades requesting that students read two or more books from a selection. Requirements vary from one to five books and students may be asked to either write something about each book or take a “test” on them once they are back at school.

If your child has a list and has not started it here is a way to create a plan and avoid the last minute rush. First figure out how many books are required and either borrow them from the library, download them onto an ipad or tablet or buy them. Look at the calendar and divide the number of weeks left by the number of pages in the book. For example, if you have two books to read and each is 200 pages then your child would need to read 400/5=80 pages a week (based on 5 weeks left of summer) to finish both books. That would mean reading about 16 pages a day five days a week. A reality check with a calendar and the books required will help your child develop a better sense of time management. Or you can divide the book by its chapters and figure out how long it would take to finish if your child read a chapter a day.

To encourage children to read, there is no better way than to model it yourself. Set aside 20-30 minutes of reading time for the whole family each day. Find a time that works for your family such as, after a meal, late afternoon, or before bedtime. Summer is a great time for you to get some reading in too. Nothing beats reading a good book in the shade while sipping an iced tea. Sharing and discussing books is a great way to keep those communication lines open. What are you reading? Let me know on my Facebook page or in the comment section below.

“Connecting a child and a book is like dropping a pebble into the water. You never know where the ripples will end up.” Ronald Jobe

Family Room Fixes to Encourage Communication

June 30th, 2014

family-room-lIf the kitchen is the heart of the home then the family room/living room is the soul. It is the room that brings the family together. It is a place to relax, unwind, entertain and be entertained. Communication happens here and relationships are built and/or strengthened here. Is your family room conducive to communication or is it cluttered with energy draining reminders?

First, take a look around. Often things are piled because they do not have a “home.”  Remove those things that do not belong in the room or create a space for them. Do you have enough storage for your CD’s, DVD’s and Video Games? Shelves, baskets or closed cabinets work well for these. Sort all media into piles and then count or measure how much you have before purchasing new containers. Be sure that you leave space to grow. Recycle newspapers, catalogs and all but the current month of your magazines unless there are important articles you want to read. Tear them out and put them in a plastic file folder (the kind with the string closure) and keep them in your car for those unexpected waiting times. Consider cutting down on those magazines that you never seem to get to read.

Take a look at the furniture placement. Is it encouraging communication or is the seating spread out to the edges of the room? It is often difficult to have conversations especially while the TV is on if people are seated too far away. Ever notice how loud commercials are? Well, take advantage of those three minutes to communicate by pausing (if you have a DVR) or muting the commercials. Discuss the show or take time to connect with your family. Better yet, plan some family fun for one or two nights a week and keep the TV off.

Keeping the family room neat and functional makes it the room everyone wants to be in. Take the time to give it a summer pick me up and then have the family take 10 minutes before bed to put everything back in its place. Then enjoy the added time to connect with your loved ones.

If you’re not sure where to start, or your room needs some extra organization help, then give me a call (781.659.0513) and in two or three hours you’ll be amazed at the difference.