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.

Teaching Your Child Leadership Skills

child in suit

Every child has the potential to be a leader, but not all are born with natural leadership skills. The good news is that many important aspects of leadership can be taught. As a parent, you’re in a unique position to foster your child’s abilities and help them become the best version of themselves. Here are some of the most important qualities of a good leader and how you can help your child nurture them. 

Patience and Forgiveness

To succeed in life, your child needs to learn to be patient with others. When your kid gets upset at needing to wait on someone or for something, talk about how being patient ultimately helps everyone. Explain to your child that most people who cause harm don’t do so with intent and that all people make mistakes. This will also help your child become more patient with themselves. 

Confidence

Leaders need to be decisive and confident. Even if they’re not always sure about the decision they made, they need to be able to explain why they made that decision. Allow your child to make their own choices, starting small and expanding the scope over time. Let them speak directly to wait staff and cashiers, rather than speaking or ordering for them. This will help boost their confidence over time and help them become independent.

girl playing piano

Creativity

Being a leader involves creative thinking and strategy. Encourage your child in any creative pursuit, whether it’s music, art, writing or a unique method of problem solving. Display art around the house, and play music in the car. Talk to your child about how their favorite movies and video games come to life. 

Negotiation Skills

Your child will get far in life if they learn how to negotiate early on. You can help teach them this important skill. When they request something you’re unsure about, rather than saying “no,” make them an offer so they can make a counter offer. See if you can provide multiple options for them to choose from that will help them accomplish their goal. Children often need to ask for permission, and giving them the option to negotiate will be great practice and make them feel more empowered to act independently.

kids playing soccer

Team Player Mentality

To lead others, your child will need experience being around others in different environments. Find out what they’re interested in, and encourage them to explore group activities that allow them to meet like minded people. If they’re into the outdoors, they may thrive in a Scouting organization. Artistic children may enjoy art clubs, school bands or drama troupes. Team sports are a great option for athletic children because everyone has an important role to play. While leaders need to be independent, they also need to know how to work with others.

The teachers at our Orlando private school know that children are the future and that many of our students are destined to become great leaders. Located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, our school is more than a place to learn; it’s a community. The 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.

7 Tips for Teaching Children About Respect

child returning an elbow bump

In order to thrive in life, children need to know about respect. Children who understand how and why to respect others will carry those lessons on throughout their lives. Phrases like “because I said so” teach children the wrong lesson by making obedience feel like a punishment. Before your child goes out into the world on their own, try following these tips to teach them about the benefits of respecting others. 

Demonstrate Respect

Children learn best when they follow a trusted adult’s lead. Be kind to others, especially when you’re around your child. If you slip up in front of your child, talk to them about why that was a mistake and how you could have handled it better. Do the same if they get flustered and act a little rude. Always be forgiving, thinking of mistakes as learning opportunities.

Tell Them Why

Make it clear what you expect of your child, and help them understand why being respectful matters. Demonstrate how respect can improve both sides of any relationship they have. People like to be respected, and it feels good to make others happy. On the flip side, tell them how rudeness or lack of respect can reflect poorly on them and have negative consequences.

Teach Polite Language

The earlier your child learns words like “please” and “thank you,” the more likely they are to incorporate the words into their daily vocabulary. Use polite words often when talking to your child and talking to others around your child. Encourage your child to do the same. Say “please” and “thank you” in every appropriate situation so your child understands the positive effect these words have.

happy family at breakfast table

Practice as a Family

Get everyone in the immediate family involved in teaching your child or children manners, and the lessons will be more likely to stick. The dining table is a great place to start, since many things, like not talking over each other and arriving on time, can be demonstrated over family dinner. Everyone in the family can work together to teach each other respectful habits, keeping in mind that signs of respect vary across cultures.

Don’t Force It

Friendly reminders to say “please” and “thank you” and listen attentively are fine. However, it’s not fine to chew your child out every time they forget. The more aggressively you present the idea of respect, the more likely your child will be to resist. You can’t force your child to learn how to respect others overnight, so use these opportunities to set a positive example.

Let Books be a Guide

Find books that are appropriate for your child’s reading level with themes of respect and kindness. Children’s books often have a “moral of the story,” and some books take on these subjects directly. Talk to your child about the characters in the story and how being kind helped them. The more examples your child has, the easier it will be for them to relate to these concepts. 

statue of Jesus with blue sky in background

Use Jesus as an Example

Jesus demonstrated kindness and respect to those who were often looked down upon. He didn’t hesitate to dine with people who weren’t conventionally “good.” He broke down boundaries by preaching to people of different races and healing lepers, which was unheard of in His time. As He hung on the cross, He begged that those who hurt Him be forgiven. Even today, Jesus can be a model of respect and tolerance. 

Respecting others is the first step to becoming a successful, well-liked person, which is one of many reasons why we encourage it in our students. 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.

Helping Your Child Deal with Social Reentry

children packing food donations

Even if your child was a social butterfly before the pandemic, they might struggle to go back to full classrooms and events without social distancing. They could also be starting to make up for lost time with friends and family. These sudden changes can be overwhelming.  Here are some ways you can help your child deal with them.

Have an Honest Conversation

Your child might be nervous about facing large crowds, even if they’re excited about things going back to normal. They may feel brave until the moment they see the full classroom or notice how cramped a gym locker room can feel. This is a great opportunity to open up a dialogue with your child. If you’re also nervous about reentering crowded situations, talk through it. Maybe you can navigate it together. On the other hand, if you’re not nervous, be understanding with your child, and try to pass on some of that bravery.

crowded outdoor market

Prepare Your Child

Learn as much as you can about the policies at your child’s school, especially ones that will change in the upcoming school year. Will masks be required? Will the school still provide virtual options for vulnerable children? Tell your child everything you know to help prepare them for what’s ahead. Your child may have trouble understanding how things that were considered dangerous earlier this year are safe now. Walk them through it as much as you can, and try to answer all their questions.

Ease Into It

Help your child ease in by starting with small crowds. Find events that they’ll be excited to attend. If your child has trouble engaging with others after a year of online interactions, wait until you’re alone, then talk about it. Don’t embarrass them in front of their friends and family; you can’t bully your kid into bravery. They dealt with a lot of change over the past year, so it makes sense that they would forget about social graces. 

alarm clock on table

Get Back into a Routine

If you’ve been working from home for a while and are finally reentering the office, there are a few things that might feel new again: commuting, planning meals, or spending the day in the office. The same goes for your child. To get your child used to getting ready for school and doing after school activities, establish daily routines at home. Make sure your child wakes up early and doesn’t stay up too late. Plan meals on a schedule that works for the whole family. When your child gets back into a flow, encourage them to try new activities so they have something fun to look forward to.

Children may need help adjusting to the changing world around them, and parents are in a great position to help. 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.

5 Tips for Summer Water Safety

pool lifeguard water safety

When the weather heats up, it’s natural for children to want to take a dip in the water to cool off. While most adults can easily find their way through bodies of water, children need a little extra help. Drowning is a serious concern, especially when children find their way into water without supervision. Here are our recommendations for keeping your child safe around water this summer.

Pay Attention

In a perfect world, every pool and beach would have attentive lifeguards on duty at all times. However, this simply isn’t the case. Whenever your child gets in the water, whether it’s an inflatable pool or an ocean, stay vigilant. Make sure you know your child’s location and pay attention to how they’re handling the water. If you have a pool in your home and can’t find your child, check the pool first. Paying attention to your child’s swimming habits could save their life.

swimming children in pool with sunglasses

No Swimming Alone

When you’re busy and your child wants to go swimming, you may be tempted to let them go alone. However, anything from cramps to overconfidence in swimming ability can create a dangerous situation. See if they can find a buddy to go to the pool with if you’re not able to go. While a friend or sibling may not be as strong as an adult, they can at least call for help. Tell your child and their buddy who to call in the case of an emergency.

Swim Lessons

One way to help your child stay safe is by teaching them how to swim. By taking swimming lessons, your child learns how to stay afloat and hold their own in the water. Swim instructors make sure your child swims with proper form and technique. Lessons alone will not keep your child safe from harm, but they can help your child confidently navigate the waters under normal circumstances. No child is too young to learn to start swimming; even infants can take water exposure classes and get familiar with bodies of water.

boy with life jacket paddle boarding on lake

Life Jackets

When your child is just learning how to swim or going on an outdoor adventure near the water, wearing a life jacket can quite literally save their life. These are especially important when riding on boats or going near large bodies of water where it’s not always easy to keep track of your child. Children are naturally curious, which can get them into trouble. Life jackets aren’t a substitute for watching your child; they are an added layer of protection. Floaties can help children who are just learning to swim but are not replacements for life jackets.

Know What to Do in an Emergency

Telling your child what to do in an emergency can help keep them safe. However, it’s equally important that you know what to do if something goes wrong. Here’s what you should do in the event of an emergency:

  • Alert the lifeguard if one is available to help.
  • If no lifeguard is present, remove the person from the water if you can do so without putting yourself in harm’s way.
  • Ask someone to call emergency services. If you’re alone, provide 2 minutes of care, then call. 
  • Use rescue breathing, CPR and an AED if available.
  • Signs a swimmer needs help: 
    • They’re not moving forward in the water.
    • They’re vertical in the water and can’t move.
    • They’re motionless and face down in the water.

During summer break, children in Florida naturally gravitate toward the water. It’s important to keep them safe when they do. At St. Charles Borromeo, teachers work hard to guide students toward academic and spiritual growth. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just 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.

Motivating Children and Teens During Summer Break

teen girl having waffles for breakfast

School’s out for summer, and suddenly there seem to be infinite hours to fill. Some children try to sleep the boredom away, while others look forward to spending quality time with their screens. Keeping children and teens motivated during summer break may feel like a chore, it’s far from impossible. Just like adults, children sometimes just need an extra push to get motivated. Here are our recommendations. 

Decide on a Daily Schedule

Planning out a child’s entire summer will be met with groans. However, it’s important to keep them on a regular daily routine. Setting approximate wake-up times, mealtimes and bedtimes can keep them on track without being overbearing. Make sure the times are age appropriate, keeping in mind that teenagers naturally stay up longer and go to sleep later. See if you can incorporate physical activity each day, even if it’s just a short walk. Try to find a balance between structured activities and downtime. This will help your child keep up healthy habits while still giving them a much-needed summer break.

dart board with dart on outside

Help Them Set Goals

Setting goals is essential to staying motivated. Your goals for summer might be to lose a few pounds, read a few books or clean up the cluttered garage. Consider goals for your child that will keep them focused on the future. For younger children, goals like reading at the next grade’s reading level or learning a new sport would be great. For teens, maybe this is the summer they learn to drive or get their first summer job. Help your child set actionable goals, and walk them through the steps to complete them. 

Try a Summer Job or Volunteering

Whether it’s paid or unpaid, working in a structured environment is a great opportunity for older children and teens. It gives them a purpose when they’re not going to class every day. Working helps improve communication skills, build work ethic and develop leadership skills. Either type of job will look great on a college application or resume. If your child has passions for certain causes, help them find volunteer opportunities. If they’re looking to fund hobbies, a paid summer job may be a better fit.

happy young family outside

Plan for Family Time

Whether you’re keeping it local or traveling to see other family members, spending time with your child will help them focus. Come up with screen-free plans and outdoor activities everyone can do together. Make sure to keep your child posted and, if they’re interested, see if they want to be involved in the planning. Activities like camping, riding bikes or going to the park, pool, beach together can be fun and safe to do as a family. 

At St. Charles Borromeo, teachers work hard to guide students toward academic and spiritual growth. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just 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.

Preparing Your Child for High School

mother and girl graduating

High school can be an overwhelming step for children, especially if they feel unprepared for what’s ahead of them. You can help them get through this process so that high school becomes an enjoyable experience rather than a place they dread going to every weekday. Whether your child decides to continue Catholic education or moves on to a magnet program or public school, there are steps you can take to encourage your child during their transition. Here are ways you can help ease the stress of moving on to high school. 

Plan School Visits

When it comes to choosing a high school, there are many options, and none of them are one-size-fits-all. If your child needs some help deciding where to go, consider taking tours at different schools. Some schools offer virtual tours, so you can get a feel for the campus from the safety of your home. Once they choose a school, make sure to attend orientation with them. See if you can bring them to school performances or fairs on the weekends before they graduate. Look into extracurricular activities the school offers, and encourage your child to get involved in ones that interest them. 

boy studying at desk with notebook and computer

Enhance Their Study Habits

Even if your child breezed through elementary school and middle school classes, they may find high school more challenging. Take these final days of eighth grade to help your child create the perfect study space. Find a quiet area free from distractions, and add tools like planners, labeled binders and calendars to help your child get organized. Help them set aside time for studying so they’ll be used to it when high school comes along. Make sure your child continues reading over the summer, and encourage them to brush up on past lessons so they’ll be caught up when they start school. 

Communicate Openly 

One of the most difficult things to do with a teenager is have a serious conversation. Try to keep communication as honest and open as possible, even if it’s uncomfortable. Ask them about their experiences, and don’t accept one-word answers. Ask about what they learned, who they spent time with, and what they enjoy or don’t enjoy about school. Keep this habit up going into high school so they’ll know they can turn to you. Listen to what they have to say, and ask how you can help. Encourage them to come up with their own solutions, and offer advice only if they seem stuck. This will also help them become independent, which is an essential part of growing up.

planner and coffee

Set Goals

When your child starts high school, they’ll be in a whole new world full of opportunities, and it can be difficult to stay focused on what matters. The goals they create can be educational, like keeping certain grades or getting into AP classes, and social, like joining a club that’s relevant to their niche interests or helps them get more involved in the community. Encourage them to come up with new goals each year so they always have something to look forward to in the future. 

At St. Charles Borromeo, we prepare children to excel in high school and beyond with the help of their families. Our Orlando private school located in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando is more than just 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.