How to Help Your Child Stop Procrastinating

As a parent, you probably know the procrastination struggle is real! Your child waits until the last minute to start a project or homework, and they might not seem to understand the importance of doing things promptly. Getting your child ready and out the door on time can be stressful. It’s instinctive for us all to avoid doing something that gives us no joy or a task that doesn’t interest us. For children, procrastination on homework assignments or long-term projects can undermine their ability to be academically successful. Here’s how you can help your child break the procrastination cycle.

Ask why

If you ask your child why she doesn’t want to start her homework and listen to her response, you may be surprised by her answer. Children don’t have the same perception of time as adults. Students often overestimate the length of time needed to finish a task and are overwhelmed by the assignments they face. They feel it is impossible to accomplish, choosing to avoid even starting it. Time them on how long it takes to finish their spelling list, math homework, etc. Breaking the workload down into manageable chunks will help them better understand time management. 

Another reason your child may be procrastinating is fear. Some children feel that nothing they do will live up to their expectations, the teacher’s expectations, or yours. Some experience extreme anxiety, striving to be perfect. You need to talk with your child about realistic expectations and help them understand that procrastination is not the way to be successful. Don’t punish your child for this behavior; help them work through it. 

Discuss consequences

Children who procrastinate regularly tend to be very short-sighted. They may not understand that their grades can be affected by turning in assignments late or that putting off homework or chores will ultimately take away time from doing things they enjoy. Put it in terms that are meaningful to your child.

Set a schedule

Routines are important and help to define expectations for children. Establishing a designated time for homework to be done each day will help your child stop procrastinating. Build in break times so the assignments don’t overwhelm them. As an example, you can say: “Let’s get your math homework done, and then you can have a snack.” 

Remove distractions

Set the right tone for doing homework. Whether it’s at the kitchen table or a desk in their bedroom, students need to be able to concentrate on the assignment and feel that you are providing them with your support. It’s important that you not be distracted by your phone or the TV in case they need help.

Organization

The frustration of opening a backpack to find papers stuffed in, broken pencils, textbooks, etc. can make starting homework a problem for children. Help your child organize her backpack with folders designated for homework, messages from school, etc. Let her give input into what she thinks will help her stay organized. At home, ensure the homework space has the tools needed to complete assignments. This helps avoid delays in starting homework by reducing the temptation to wander toward other distractions in search of supplies. 

Praise and reward

Your child needs to know that his efforts are paying off. If he finished a project before the due date, point out how exciting it is to have free time and not be stressed about getting it done. Each time homework is finished in the allotted time, express your pride in his excellent time management skills. Reinforcement of positive behavior teaches children to set attainable goals for themselves and builds time management skills. Procrastination, however, negatively impacts their desire to succeed.

Our Orlando private school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, encourages parents to provide children with guidelines that will help them succeed during the school year and beyond. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

5 Ways to Make Science Fun for Your Child

We are surrounded by the world that our Heavenly Father created for us. With the gift of man’s intelligence, we have learned to examine the smallest details of our universe. From subatomic particles to the mysteries of biology and chemistry, science is everywhere. Merriam-Webster defines science as “knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method.” How can parents help stimulate a child’s interest and make science fun when the definition is cold and clinical? Make it fun, messy, hands-on, and exciting! Here are some of our favorite ways to make science fun for children.

Keep in mind that age appropriateness is an important factor for any experiment you may choose to introduce to your child. The objective is for them to learn and have fun while doing so. Don’t select an experiment that you believe may be too detailed for them to follow, and of course, safety comes first. 

Water Tables 

Children of all ages love to play with water. Experiment with objects that sink and float! Ask your child for his observations and to make predictions about whether the next object will float or sink. Ask why. 

Fill up 5 plastic cups with water and add different food colors to each one. Let them experiment by mixing colors. The experiments with water can become as sophisticated and simulate tidal pools, depending on the containers you use.

Bubbles

The properties of bubbles make for great fun and can be messy. Most children love playing with bubbles, and by introducing different wands to make different shapes and sizes, you demonstrate facts about surface tension, gravity, and chemistry.

Baking

Baking requires exact measurements and a perfect combination of ingredients to produce a delicious result. It’s a terrific learning opportunity. Kids as young as 3 can dump in cups of flour and sugar and even crack an egg. The recipes can increase in difficulty as your child grows. Introducing the chemical reactions that occur in the baking process is chemistry in its simplest form. 

Family Adventures 

Take time out with the family, and visit your local science center for some great opportunities for hands-on exploration. Exhibits appeal to all ages and every aspect of science is there to study while having fun. If you’re looking for a more relaxing trip, take the kids to the beach and look for shells and other sea life along the shore. Have them separate the shells and then identify the type of sea creature that used it for a home. Not feeling like taking a day trip? Dig in your garden, and let your child investigate what soil is made of, icky bugs and all. 

Construction

Children love to build things. From stacking pots and pans to building ramps with boxes and watching toys slide, children are drawn to seeing how tall, wide, and strong they can make their structures. Making a ramp is a great place to start. Your child can observe how to increase the speed downhill. Change the angles of the ramps, and have them make observations and predictions about how the movement will change. Build a birdhouse together, or go kite flying together. It’s a nice way to bond while fostering a love of science. 

Science is more fun for kids when they aren’t asked to memorize formulas and facts. The more we allow them to explore and observe, the more they will appreciate how science impacts the beautiful world around them. 

Our Orlando private school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, encourages parents to provide children with guidelines that help them succeed during the school year and beyond. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

How to Help Your Child Choose the Best Extracurricular Activities for School

With school now in session, the time has come to choose extracurricular activities. Finding the balance between academic time, family time, downtime and extracurricular activities can be an overwhelming task. So how do you decide the best extracurricular activities for your child?

What does your child like to do?

Our suggestion is that you ask your child what interests him. Does he enjoy sports, games, reading, music, art,  or other activities? Extracurricular activities help to develop and enhance skills outside the classroom. They are an important component of developing a well-rounded and happy student. Don’t be afraid to offer alternatives to your child when you feel they might be more successful in one activity over another. We also suggest that you encourage your child to attend introductory meetings to clubs and information nights for sports to help them understand the commitments required for the activities that interest them.

Will this activity fit into our lifestyle?

Consider the time and expense required by participation in a specific activity. Keep the following questions in mind when choosing an extracurricular activity for your child:

  • Will there be multiple practices during the week with games every weekend during the season? 
  • Is the equipment needed expensive? 
  • Does participation in this specific activity impact homework or family time? 
  • Will my child still get enough sleep? 
  • Can we provide necessary transportation to and from practices and games, club meetings, etc.? 

If you become stressed and frustrated with the time or expenses an activity requires, you will not be as supportive as you would like to be. 

Do extracurricular activities really benefit students?

Extracurricular activities provide students the opportunity to develop leadership and teamwork skills, as well as problem-solving skills. They allow your child to learn about the importance of committing to a cause. These activities also allow students to expand their circle of friends and meet people who are different from themselves. They provide students a way to explore their passions outside of the classroom. As they enter high school, participating in extracurricular activities will help build a strong resume for college applications. At the end of the day, the goal of these activities is to enhance their school experience, as well as their life outside of school. 

At our Orlando private school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, we are proud to offer a variety of extracurricular activities to our student population. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Back-to-School Prayers to Start the School Year Right

 

If you’re like most of our St. Charles Borromeo parents, you spent the last few weeks of summer vacation getting everything ready for another successful school year. From helping with homework to volunteering at school, we know the everyday demands of parenting. Another important component of preparing your children to return to campus is prayer. 

Easing Your Child’s Fears

From a child’s point of view, starting a new school year can be a source of anxiety, fear, and lack of self-confidence. Students can struggle with bullying, discrimination, and not fitting in. In addition to these social issues, children overhear what’s happening in the world, regardless of how you may try to shield them. Children today are struggling to maintain balance between these issues and being academically successful. Prayer can play an important role in helping assuage a child’s concerns. They can place their fears in the hands of Our Lord and know that He will hear and answer those prayers. 

Phillippians 4:6-7 teaches us: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 

As Catholics, we are reminded of the power of prayer daily. Instilling faith in prayer is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child. Learning how to pray isn’t difficult; neither is teaching your children to open their hearts to Jesus Christ.

Praying for a Good School Year

The prayers don’t have to be lengthy and you can encourage your children to speak to Him from their hearts. You can guide them by praying the Lord’s Prayer together first, or using one specifically written for the start of a new school year. Here’s an example:

“Heavenly Father, I pray that I will be safe going back to school. I ask you to watch over me and my family and friends. Help me to learn from my teachers. Help me to do my best in all my subjects. Please help me to be a good friend and to be kind to everyone I meet. Thank you for the blessings in my life. Amen”

For Parents and Caregivers

“Lord, I am worried about my children returning to school. The world is not in a good place right now. I ask that you wrap them in your arms and protect them from any dangers that may come their way. I also pray that they learn to be compassionate and kind and become good citizens of the world. Help them to learn their academic lessons and to utilize the gifts you bestowed upon them. In Jesus’ name. Amen”

Take time to pray and encourage your children to pray. Make praying together an important part of your family routine now and you will find the time to continue throughout the year. Our Orlando Catholic school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, encourages parents to provide children with activities to help stimulate them over the summer. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Child to Go Back to School

Preparation for the start of a new school year can be stressful and anxiety-inducing for children and parents alike. Parents who lay the groundwork for the return to school throughout the summer break are less likely to face the drama that returning to school can bring.  Whether they’re a kindergartner going to school for the first time or an 8th grader with a few years under their belt, here are a few tried and true suggestions for helping your child transition easily to school life after summer break.

Ask questions of your child

Sit down with your child and ask them what their take is on school life. What are their expectations? What are they looking forward to? What are they concerned about? These topics can easily overlap into what they think their teacher will be asking of them, what they will be learning, establishing friendships, bullying, and how to handle whatever comes their way. There are some terrific books available for students of all ages that can help ease back to school concerns.

Set Back-to-School Schedules

Children like routines. Establishing routine is essential to successful transition back to school. Bedtime routines should be customized to your child’s personality. If they are typically sluggish in the morning, make sure they are laying out their uniforms before bedtime. Help them organize backpacks, socks and shoes, and lunches if appropriate. That will ease the stress of the morning and help to get everyone out the door on time. 

Enforce limits on screen time, turning off screens at least an hour before the bedtime routine begins. When your child returns from school, give them a chance to wind down and re-enter family life. Let them share their day with you as best they can, when they are ready to. In a perfect world the routine wouldn’t change during the summer, but it’s really hard to stick to some routines during summer break.

Communicate

Communicate with your child’s teachers. If you notice atypical behavior at home, reach out to her teacher to see if something may be going on in the classroom. The reverse is also important. If something is going on at home that might affect behavior at school, let the teacher know so that she is equipped to provide assistance. Parental involvement and support is key to a child’s success from kindergarten through the high school years. 

Summertime Fun 

When possible, schedule a get together with friends from the previous school year, or with friends who will be starting school for the first time. This builds a sense of fellowship and helps maintain connections when the children are not seeing one another on a daily basis. For younger students, it helps them to have a friendly face that they can identify on the first day of school.

Be Positive About School

Children learn best when they are happy and secure. If you talk up how wonderful it will be to start, or return, to school your child will pick up on your enthusiasm. This is especially true with younger students who will need support throughout the transition. Visits to the campus, meet the teacher day, are all important to establish a sense of security for your child.

When your child is prepared, going back to school can be a fun and exciting time! Our Orlando private school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, encourages parents to provide children with activities to help stimulate them over the summer. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Keeping Children Safe in the Summer Sun

The summer sun has been heating up Florida for months now, and the ever-rising temperatures confirm it. School is out, and families are taking to the pool, lakes, and ocean beaches to beat the heat for summertime fun. There are some precautions that parents and caregivers should take to prevent sunburn, long-term skin damage, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Spend time in the sun wisely.

Children want to be out all day long during the summer break. However, parents and caregivers should limit the amount of time spent in direct sunlight. If possible, schedule outdoor activities before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. to avoid the maximum strength of the sun’s rays. If being out in the sun can’t be avoided, have them wear UV protective clothing, which provides a great layer of protection. 

From swimsuits to lightweight long sleeve shirts and pants, sun protective clothing can provide up to SPF 50 protection to delicate skin. Wide-brimmed hats are recommended as they not only shield the face, but protect the scalp and neck from direct sun exposure. This is especially important for newborns and infants too young to have sunscreen safely applied.

Sunscreen is still your friend.

Sunscreen is still the most valuable tool in the summer sun protection plan when used properly. It should be applied at least 15 minutes prior to the first exposure of the day and then reapplied every 2 hours. Reapply more often if swimming or sweating profusely. Effective sunscreens protect from both UVA and UVB light and have a minimum of SPF 30. Whether spray on or lotion, sunscreen is an absolute must have for keeping kids safe in the summer sun.

Protect those beautiful eyes.

Children’s eyes allow more UV light to pass through to the retina than adult eyes. The radiation that passes through causes cellular damage which can cause complications later in life, such as cataracts and cancer of the cornea. Children are more likely to reach for a pair of sunglasses before heading outside if they have been encouraged from infancy to wear them. For added incentive, children are also more likely to wear them if they have selected their own style and color. Set a good example by wearing your sunglasses every time you are out in the sun. Make sure everyone’s eyes are protected before heading out for summer fun in the sun.

Know the warning signs of sunburn and treat it as soon as possible.

People who suffer five or more sunburns over the course of a lifetime have doubled the chances of developing skin cancer (melanoma). Contrary to old-school thinking, there is no such thing as a “healthy” tan. If you see that your child is starting to exhibit red skin, get them out of the sun as soon as possible. 

To prevent a burn from becoming painful, immerse your child in a cool bath, and after patting them dry, moisturize with aloe or cortisone cream. Stay away from heavy creams and lotions that will retain their body heat. Do not use lidocaine or benzocaine products, as they can further aggravate the sun burn. Make sure they drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Staying safe is an important part of summer fun in the sun, and we always encourage our students to keep safety in mind. Our Orlando private school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, encourages parents to provide children with activities to help stimulate them over the summer. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

5 Continuing Education Activities In The Summer

Learning over the summer can sometimes be the last thing on your mind when you’re busy trying to find ways to entertain your child. Keeping their minds active sets them up for success when they return to school in the fall. Try out one of these activities when you’re stuck on what to do with your child to continue their education this summer. 

Gardening

Gardening requires planning and patience from both you and your child. This activity can teach your child about natural science and how to care for things. When gathering the materials, you can explain the process of how plants grow. You can sit down with them and let them watch videos about how plants grow and the purpose of caring for them. Gardening requires children to have patience and the ability to nurture and care for something other than themselves. 

Science Experiments

Doing at-home science experiments is a great way to incorporate science and fun over the summer. Children will be excited to do an experiment at home in their own space. Trying experiments like a volcano, slime, and a milk color wheel can be both fun and educational. These experiments teach children about science outside of a classroom setting. For examples and instructions for science experiments that are safe and fun to do with your kids, click here.

Scrapbooking and Journaling

Scrapbooking and journaling make writing fun and easy for kids. Scrapbooking gives them the opportunity to create their own collection of memories in one place. Encourage them to collect things they see in their everyday lives, and give them a way to take photos. Ask them to journal with each item that they place in the scrapbook, as a way to remember that moment and how they felt. This will make writing easier for them and help develop their writing skills 

Math Based Games

Playing games that require numbers and computation can be a seamless way to incorporate learning into summer fun. Games like UNO and Monopoly require math in a subtle way. Qwirkle is a sequence game in which the goal is to match shapes and tiles together. Card games can be math-based as well; try playing pyramid solitaire, go fish, or a game of 21 to incorporate math in a game format. 

Make Reading Fun

Creating a reading competition for your children can be a fun way to get them to read over the summer. Set up an incentive like a pizza party or sleepover with friends to inspire children to complete a certain amount of reading. This will bring out their competitive sides while encouraging them to read for fun. You can do a themed reading series like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. At the end of their reading, you can have a movie night and watch the correlating movie. Another way to make reading fun is to create a dedicated space for them to read. This will allow them to have an area they can go to separate from their play areas and get them into the mindset to read. 

Continuing education over the summer is important for keeping children’s minds active. That’s why our Orlando private school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, encourages parents to provide children with activities to help stimulate them over the summer. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

Teaching Your Child How To Serve Others Biblically

It’s important to teach children how to serve others so they can follow the example that Jesus set for us in the Bible. Learning how to serve people while young creates a foundation for serving selflessly throughout life. As parents, the best way to teach your child to serve is to lead by example. Learn ways to teach your child how to serve others biblically.

Blessing Bags

Creating blessing bags will require some time and dedication. Gather essential personal items like toothpaste, soap, and socks. With your child, place these items into a reusable or Ziploc bag, and ask your child to write a prayer or word of encouragement to place in each bag. You can drop these bags off at a local shelter. This activity will open your child’s eyes to the blessings they are given every day. It can also teach children about constantly looking for opportunities to serve others.. 

Thank You Cards and Letters 

Creating thank you cards for the people who influence your child’s life is a great way to serve. Have your child pick some members of their community who help them or serve them, then ask your child to write a thank you card for those people. Jesus washed the feet of His followers. By setting this example, He showed us how to serve out of a heart of compassion and love. You can also write letters to those in the military or to those in the hospital. Jesus says that we must comfort those that go through trials, and writing letters is a real-world application of that. 

Picking up Litter 

Doing this activity with your kids teaches them to respect the earth and their surroundings. Start by finding an area that needs some attention, like a park or a beach. Then, with your child, gather plastic bags and gloves so that you can be safe while collecting litter. Along with helping keep the environment clean, it reminds your child that we’re here to be good stewards of God’s creation.

Food or Clothing Drive

Starting a food drive with your child can teach them to serve those who are less fortunate. The Bible says in Proverbs 19:17, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.” This is a lesson to teach our children in order for them to grow in their faith and be stewards of what God has given them. Donating their clothes is an application of how Jesus calls us to live in the Bible. Since we have and don’t need, we are able to give. This is the blessing of abundance that we can teach our children.

Serving others is a fundamental part of being a follower of Christ. That’s why our Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando encourages children to serve others just as they are taught to in the Bible. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

How To Encourage Your Child To Be Active At Home

Many children spend the majority of their days looking at a screen. Granted, a lot of this interaction between technology and children is for educational purposes. As summer approaches, it’s a good time to break up your child’s time on the screen and get them up and moving. Learn about ways you can encourage your child to be active without using technology. 

 

Providing Alternative Activities

Start by taking it old school, teaching your child games that you used to play as a child. This will help them to feel connected to you and allow them to learn about games that are new to them. Some activities to consider are building Lego forts, teaching your child a new skill, and playing board games like Monopoly or Scrabble! These may be old-school activities, but they allow your child to interact with the whole family and learn problem-solving skills. 

 

Starting a Technology Fast

A part of our walk in faith is fasting and prayer. Introducing a technology fast to your children is a great way to get them to take a break from their screens and get them into the Bible. Just like we fast from food, we are able to fast from technology by setting limits or fully removing it from our lives. This is a great way to get your child to explore their faith more deeply and understand what fasting is like. 

 

Creating a Bucket List or Competition

Humans are competitive in nature. Proposing a bucket list or competition for your child will allow them to develop a spirit of fun to not use technology. Creating a bucket list of activities like building forts, decorating contests and baking would make your child look forward to being off of their devices. Having family competitions like relay races and artistic challenges would be a fun way to get everyone involved and in good spirits.  

Getting out in Nature

Depending on where you live, you can get your kids out in nature doing fun activities after school and during summer break. Going on excursions to amusement parks or nature walks is a great way to decompress as a family. Fishing and swimming are two activities that are both relaxing and will be able to keep the screens away. 

 

In a world that is stuck on the screen, we know how important it is to find ways to engage children outside of technology. That’s why our Orlando Catholic school, located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, encourages children to be active when they are at home. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.

5 Ways to Show Teachers Your Appreciation

We love our teachers and staff that pour into classrooms each day. Teaching children and leading them to the future is not always an easy feat. We like to show our appreciation to teachers by being supportive and encouraging while meeting their needs in and out of the classroom. Keep reading for ways that you can show appreciation to your child’s teachers.

Writing Letters of Gratitude

One way to get your child involved in showing their appreciation is by having them write letters to their teachers. They can get their classmates involved by asking them to write letters of their own. This shows teachers that their students care about them and want to take the time to express their gratitude. The students will also be able to express how grateful they are and have an opportunity to learn about how to build better relationships.

A Video Card

This gift would be a great keepsake for teachers to keep for years to come, allowing them to look back at all their students. Start by gathering videos of students leaving a short message to their teachers. Compe these videos onto a flash drive to create a cute small gift to show the care students have for their teacher. Consider decorating the flash drive or picking out a distinctive-looking one so they can tell it apart from others they have. If you want to make a teacher’s day even brighter, add an extra flash drive or two along with the video drive present.

Getting the Community Involved

A teacher’s impact goes beyond the walls of a school; what kids learn from teachers can last a lifetime and affect whole communities. A practical gift would be gift cards and vouchers to local restaurants and small businesses. Going around the town and asking local businesses to help support teachers in this way is a great way to show how much they really impact the world around them. It will also allow teachers to step out into the community and have fun.

Hosting a Surprise Dessert Day

Everyone loves a treat after a job well done; teachers are no different! With the permission of administrators, you can help host a dessert day for your child’s teachers. Bringing in a dessert that teachers love, like coffee cake and ice cream, would be a great way to help break up their day and boost their energy!

School Supplies

Teachers are always using up their school supplies and could always use more. Start by asking if they need specific supplies, which will allow them to feel appreciated and listened to. Find a group of fellow parents who are interested in helping out, and give each parent a list of supplies to contribute. This not only shows appreciation but also helps in fueling your child’s education!

 

Teachers do so much for our students, and it’s important to let them know they’re appreciated. That’s why our Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando encourages children to show their teachers appreciation, just as they are taught to in the Bible. Our staff is committed to proclaiming the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ. We believe in teaching the whole child and want students to love learning, helping them grow into well-rounded, contributing members of society. Learn more about us by contacting us here.