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.

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.

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.

How to Teach Your Child About Friendship

Friendship means everything to children. While some are naturally gifted with magnetic personalities and inherent kindness, most have to work on their friendship skills. Making friends helps children understand who they are and their place in the world. It’s important that they know what makes people happy and what might upset others. Here are a few ways we recommend teaching your child about friendship: 

Learning Through Stories

Books and movies are great teaching tools for learning about friendship. Sentimental classics like E.T. and modern adventure stories like Big Hero 6 show different forms of friendship and how they all have similar roots. Books like Winnie the Pooh give children heartwarming perspectives on how different kinds of people (or in this case, people and animals) can be friends. 

Sharing is Caring

One important lesson that children need to learn is the importance of sharing. This can be a difficult concept for children to master, especially younger ones. Start by showing your child how to share simple things like pencils, markers and crayons. If they refuse, ask how they feel when other children don’t share with them. This can help them understand another important friendship skill: empathy.

Teaching Empathy 

One of the most important ways to teach empathy is by modeling it in your own life. Laugh with your child, cry with your child, and encourage them to do the same for others. When your child is upset by another’s actions, help them see it from the other person’s point of view. Even if your child struggles to see other perspectives, they’ll at least know the basics: cheer on others in good times, and be there for others in bad times. To get a deeper understanding of other perspectives, another key lesson is to learn when to talk and when to listen.

Learning to Listen

No one likes being around someone who never listens or never talks. Finding a balance is important. Quiet and talkative children alike can benefit from learning to ask questions. Asking other children about themselves is a great way to show interest. It also gives your child a chance to relate, remember the information and recall it in later conversations. The more children understand each other, the more room there is for deep, meaningful friendships. Once they find out what their friends are interested in, they can invite them to be part of their lives.

Inviting Others Along

Children see their friends at school every day, whether it’s online or in person. However, they can’t depend on the times they’ll automatically see each other to build strong relationships. Children need to take initiative to keep friendships going. Sitting by new friends during lunch or inviting friends over after school can allow children to deepen their current friendships and create new ones. This also helps children who may not take this initiative themselves feel included. 

Learning about being a good friend from a young age can help children grow into compassionate adults. Our Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando encourages children to live in their faith. 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.

Celebrating Florida Winter as a Family

two manatees under water

The concept of a “Florida winter” is almost an inside joke among long-time Floridians. It never gets cold enough to snow, though it sometimes gets almost cold enough for a week or two. While winters in Florida certainly aren’t postcard-worthy, there’s no lack of things to do to celebrate the season. Some activities, like going to the beach or a park at the end of the year, are only possible in a warmer climate. Here are a few ways we recommend celebrating the season as a family.

Observe the Manatees

Hundreds of manatees migrate to Crystal River every winter when they’re seeking warmer water. Visitors of the wetland refuge surrounding Three Sisters Springs can see these manatees up close in crystal clear waters. You can observe them from the boardwalk or swim, snorkel, paddle beside these magnificent creatures. Since it depends on their migratory patterns, this can only be done during Florida winter.

kids ice skating with adults

Visit an Ice Skating Rink

While Florida kids may not experience snow in the winter, they can still learn what it’s like to fall on the ice. Winter is the perfect time for Floridian families to head to the ice skating rink. Indoor ice skating rinks are open year-round, and sometimes fairs come into town with pop-up ice skating rinks. Some places, like Gaylord Palms, take the experience a step further with full-on winter wonderland experiences. Whatever type of ice skating rink you go to, you’re sure to experience weather conditions that are a little colder than the temperatures outside.

Give Kids the World Village 

One great way to ring in the holidays is by looking at Christmas lights. The Night of a Million Lights at Give Kids the World Village gives families that experience and much, much more. This immersive holiday lights spectacular includes dancing lights, a tree trail, music and treats. The best part is that by attending this event, you’re helping children around the world. Give Kids the World is a nonprofit organization that gives critically ill children and their families a dream vacation at no cost. 

big wave for surfing

Surfing Santas

It’s great to have traditions, but sometimes, it’s even better to change them up! The Surfing Santas at Cocoa Beach provide a great opportunity to do just that. At 8am on Christmas Eve, you and your family can watch as surfers dressed as Santa Claus hit the waves. This free, family-friendly event includes a surfing contest and a costume contest. 

Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. 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 the Kitchen Safe for Holiday Cooking

washing hands in kitchen sink

Quality time comes in many forms, and over the holidays, the kitchen is the perfect place for families to bond. Everyone can get together to make meals that they’re truly excited to eat and share. Whether your child is just learning to roll out dough or trying out knives for the first time, they need to know about kitchen safety. Here are tips for keeping your kitchen safe this holiday season. 

Always Wash Your Hands

Make sure everyone in the family washes their hands before going into the kitchen. Children love to touch everything, and adults bring their cell phones just about everywhere. It’s good practice to wash hands before eating, but it’s just as important to do so before cooking and preparing food. Holiday dinners tend to include several different dishes, and each one needs to be free of germs and bacteria. 

mother supervising child

Supervise Children

When your child helps out in the kitchen, show them what to do. Then, watch to make sure they’re doing it correctly — and safely. The last thing you want is to have a preventable emergency over the holidays. As your child gets older, you may start trusting them to deal with more hot appliances and knives. These can even be tricky for adults, so it’s important to make sure children form safe kitchen habits.

Clean While You Cook

When multiple people are in the kitchen, leaving spills for later is a recipe for disaster. Clean dishes, spills and utensils as you go, rather than planning to do it all at the end. The more you get in the habit of cleaning while you cook, the less work you’ll have later on. This is also a good habit to teach children, who may have an even more difficult time motivating themselves to clean after an hour or so of cooking and preparing food. 

fire in gas stove

Limit Fire and Burn Hazards 

Grease fires occur regularly in kitchens, but oil isn’t the only fire hazard. A child may have to be reminded that metal of any kind — including foil and silverware — can’t go in the microwave. If you store pots and pans in the oven, your child may not realize it and attempt to preheat it, making the oven unusable until the items cool down. Always use potholders or oven mitts when handling hot pots, pans or baking trays. Your oven may also have a pilot light that goes out. If this is the case, safely light it yourself rather than leaving it up to your child. When you’re done using gas appliances, make sure they’re fully turned off. 

Talk About Safety

Children may not see the kitchen as a dangerous place, especially if they’ve never been around when an accident happened. You need to let them know why it’s important that they wash their hands. Talk about the potential dangers of taking shortcuts with knives, touching hot pans and leaving spills on the floor. The more you talk about safety, the more prepared your child will be to help you with Thanksgiving dinner.

The holidays are a great time for children to learn about cooking and kitchen safety. Our Orlando Catholic school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. 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.