School-to-home communication: Taking the stress out of everyday life

If your home is anything like mine, the mornings are definitely the most stressful part of the day. Trying to get everyone out of the house on time is always a challenge. It doesn’t help that my young son suffers from selective hearing, when it comes to subjects such as showering or cleaning his teeth. It often feels as if the only way I can get him to move quickly is by saying the same thing again and again and again or screaming like a banshee!

Life for us busy working mums can be a real juggling act and I am sure I am not alone in thanking God for the wonders of modern technology. How would we cope in a world without microwaves, dishwashers and automatic washing machines? Fortunately for us, new inventions come along all the time to help make our lives easier. One of the best examples, I have come across recently, is ParentMail, a school-to-home communication system.

In the past, schools relied on letters being sent home in book bags to communicate with parents – but this only worked if parents remembered to check their child’s bag regularly or, even less likely, the child remembered to hand the note over to whoever picked them up from school.

Thanks to ParentMail however, schools can now communicate with their pupils’ parents via a range of Apps.

As well as sending out emails about school news and events, ParentMail also allows schools to text more urgent messages to parents. E.g. my son’s afterschool football club was cancelled the other day, due to a teacher’s illness. I was sent a text from the school in the morning, which then gave me plenty of time to arrange for someone else to pick him up.

Thanks to ParentMail, keeping on top of all aspects of my child’s education has never been easier. There is also an App, which allows me to fill out and return permission slips online and even book a slot at a parents evening.  Just this week, I did exactly that. All I had to do was open a link to an online booking form, fill out my name, email address and telephone number and then my son’s name and class. This then gave me access to a list of all the slots my son’s teacher still had free. I ticked the time that was most convenient for my husband and I, and within a few seconds received an email confirming the date and time of the appointment – brilliant and so simple!

And, as if this isn’t enough, ParentMail can also help schools collect, track and bank parent payments via its +Pay App. This is an absolute godsend in my house, as I rarely have any cash on me and can never find my chequebook. With +Pay, schools inform parents by email and/or text about items they need to pay for, be it for school lunches, tickets and events, school trips or fees and other subscriptions. Parents then log into their school’s ParentMail account and settle bills online by transferring money straight into the school bank account.

With internet and mobile communications technologies now very much a part of our everyday life, ParentMail provides a service which helps make everyone’s life run more smoothly – I for one am a fan.

This article was written by Amanda Walters, an experienced freelance writer and regular contributor to Huffington Post. Follow her here: @Amanda_W84

Letting Kids Make Choices

I give my kids a voice, all three of the children know that they can tell me if they are mad at me and they can provide input and feedback on family decisions. We all work as our own little community in the household, respecting each other but being open and honest. Teaching effective communication within my household sort of just happened, it wasn’t that difficult to teach the kids to communicate.

My daughter is the oldest, therefore she usually has the most feedback for the five and three year old boys are still rather young to be placing too much feedback on various family decisions. It’s my daughter who is also in those tween years, meaning that almost everything gets an eye roll, a shoulder shrug or a “whatever” for a response. It’s seriously fun times, not.

When you allow your children to make age appropriate decisions for themselves you are giving them a sense of trust and confidence, you are teaching them that they have their own mind and do have a say in particular areas in life. I think that allowing my kids to have a voice and a mind of their own will assist them in standing up for what they believe in as they grow older and have to deal with peer pressure.

I must admit I love that my kids are comfortable enough to state whatever is on their minds to me straight away, that they do not cower down and avoid confrontation in the household. On the other hand, some days, I honestly wonder why they have to speak up? Cant’ they just do what I ask? I guess they wouldn’t learn anything if they didn’t challenge authority from time to time, it’s all part of growing up and testing boundaries with people. It’s up to the parents to teach the proper boundaries and set limitations on their child so they realize what the real life is all about.

Case in point, this morning my daughter decided that since last week was in the 70′s and 80′s that today when the temperature gauge read 30 degrees yet the windchill was making it feel closer to 20 degrees that she could go to school in just a sweatshirt. I stood my ground, she refused to make a good decision regarding wearing a coat so I made the decision for her. When she refused to put a coat on, I stated that I was not moving to bring her to school until the coat was on. She pouted, she stomped her foot, she even got tears in her eyes over this whole situation, but she eventually got that coat on and was on time for school.

My daughter walked into school not speaking to me, even though I gave her a big hug and kiss on the cheek with an “I love you” she was not speaking to me over a coat. You see, we are parents, so at times our kids may say they don’t like us, they make give us the silent treatment but when the day is done and over with, your child will still love you as much as you love them.  Teach children to have a mind of their own but set the appropriate boundaries that you are required to do as a parent and you will end up giving your child a chance at a real future in this world as they fly out on their own.

Communication is Extremely Difficult Sometimes

I always had a way with words, written down on paper, yet to speak to another human being as if they are a human being with feelings has not always been my strong point when I am upset or annoyed.  It is all too easy at times to throw the blame at someone else, specifically your partner in life, when something has not been done or maybe wasn’t done to your liking.  One of the promises I made to myself for this New Year is to start being more open about my feelings, both negative and positive alike.

Working on communicating, truly speaking with someone back and forth in a real conversation about a topic that is important, is extremely difficult for me with a specific person. I find it’s easier for me to keep reminding myself of how it used to be, of things that have happened before, essentially I resort to the non-trust mode and therefore shut down completely. Shutting down isn’t going to solve any problems nor is it going to resolve the problem at hand. I realize my fault with the difficulty in communication and have resolved to work harder at letting go of the negative things I do during a conversation.

For instance, I have decided to truly let go of things people have done to hurt me in the past. I found out I was putting someone on a higher level than my own self and expecting them to live up to it. Why I was doing this, I have no clue, because I often feel I have been held to higher standards within some of my family members minds and it’s hurtful to me. I can’t believe I was doing the same thing to another person.

From now on when a problem arises or something doesn’t get done, I no longer lay blame and I no longer lash out in words or write some long email or letter to the person.  I am certain to take time to cool off and once my thoughts have been collected, sit down and discuss my feelings in the best way I know how. I also take time to apologize for maybe not using the right words or the right tone in how I am speaking. I calmly address my concern, issue, problem with the other person and we attempt to have a discussion about it.

This communication gig is a work in progress but it has certainly started to make me feel more relaxed and positive about life in general and relationships. I believe everyone should take the time to communicate effectively, efficiently and politely whenever an issue comes to light.  Remember, practice makes perfect or close to it ;-)

How Do I Teach My Child To Deal with Mean People

My daughter is getting to the age and grade where students are not so nice anymore. It seems cliques are being created, rumors are flying and well my daughter is starting to have to deal with the immaturity of children. The problem is that my daughter is around high school level for all academic areas and quite intelligent on an emotional level too, but she is still only nine years old and sensitive like her Mama. There are some skills this year I have had to start working harder on teaching my daughter.

People Are Not Always Nice

I don’t care if you are nine years old or thirty years old, people can just be plain mean. Rumors can be started about you whether you are a young child, a teen or an adult. It happens and in a small town the rumors fly fast!

Although some people are not nice, it doesn’t mean that you have to be mean back. Simply accepting criticism with a smile can go a long way. I am a firm believer that a smile cures all, and if it doesn’t it will surely upset enough people that eventually they will leave you alone realizing that you are not being impacted by their negative attitude.

It Starts with Communication

Whether you are a young child, a teen or an adult communication can start to solve many areas of life. You see, when a person is mean it usually means that they are hurting inside themselves and rather than face those painful thoughts or memories they tend to lash out to others and make their life a living hell. This is human nature, and it happens more often than I wish to admit.

The best way to handle a person who is being rude and mean to you is through communication either to a trusted adult or to the person who is bothering you. Now if the person is truly a mean person then communication with them directly may result in a negative outcome, so try to utilize all resources for communication which are not limited to but can include; a school guidance counselor, a parent or a trusted friend. These resources may be able to help serve as a mediator to diffuse the situation.

Learn How to Cope and Be Confident About The Situation

Although connecting with a friendly resource may help to diffuse the situation, it could make things worse before they get better, which means you need to learn to cope with those mean people in the world. Learn and trust in your own self, realize that you are a good person with a positive attitude and that no one can bring you down unless you allow them to.

Give or get a hug from a parent or similar person who you trust and is a good person. Smile with this person, laugh and open up about how you feel. This trusted person should be able to help you find ways to cope with mean people through finding your own confidence in your self. Coping with a mean person doesn’t mean hiding in a book, getting lost into the fantasy world found within books, it means truly acknowledging and accepting others for their flaws but not allow their flaws to create a flawed, negative person in your own self.

Be Strong

Remember that you are powerful, a smile and a little kindness can go a long way. Find the strength to do something kind to someone else and you will get kindness in return, eventually.

 

 

Do You Trust Body Language?

Something I have always told my ex and all is that body language can tell a lot about the attraction between two people. Maybe I read into it a bit more than some think I should, but to me body language never lies! Your body automatically reacts or acts to a situation or a particular person in a natural reflex kind of way. I decided I wanted to learn a little bit more about body language, such as someone always looking for a way to touch you, no not in a sexual way people, just a hand on your back as you walk next to them or slightly in front of them, the reaching to lightly touch your hand just as another example. What do they mean? Is body language really a subtle way to show someone you love them without words?

I am sure males and females have different body language going on, but for the most part I have read and watched shows about body language showing that it’s almost involuntary; meaning one can not help how they automatically respond to another person. Although I do think many public speakers and hire up authorities may be taught how to appropriately respond with body language, the average human does this out of instinct. So if you were interested in a guy … maybe you find a way to bump into them, touch their hand, their leg, etc. We do it all the time, body language is an amazing tool to learn. I so am going to teach myself as much as I can.

So if a male is always placing his hand lightly on your back while you are walking, is this a sign he likes you? Wants to be near you more? Or is it just simply an act of kindness, affection … that someone is going to read too deeply into?! It’s all a matter of opinion … and some facts… right?!

**Did I mention I love to ramble?!

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