By Wendy Shah, RD
We all need to eat to live, learn, play and be healthy. Food also has many other roles in our lives. For decades, I have worked with adults who struggle with their relationship with food. They feel uncomfortable with what, when or how much they eat. They are concerned about the negative health consequences that result from their eating habits. Unfortunately, to change longstanding eating behaviors can be extremely challenging.
Our relationship with food and eating begins at birth. Drinking milk provides physical comfort to an infant, satisfying his empty stomach. The feeding is also associated with a sense of warmth and security while nestled in the arms of an adult. What a positive experience!
As the child develops, food continues to provide energy and nutrients for his growth and good health. Food starts to play other roles in the child’s life. Food may be offered as a reward, as part of celebrations, as a soothing tool or as a distraction. Add in food marketing messages, eating routines, learnings and possibly medical and diet advice. These associations and messages are filed away in the child’s mind.
The child develops into a ‘mind-full’ eater. As an adult, he is likely unaware of the food and eating information stored in his mind. Yet, these messages and associations have a powerful influence on his food choices and eating behavior. I postulate that it’s important to start early and to teach children skills to help them develop a positive and healthy relationship with food.
Changing or developing a behavior begins with self-awareness. Self-awareness promotes problem solving and helps us make decisions. A simple, effective technique for eating is to encourage your child to identify the ‘kind of hunger’ they experience when they’re about to eat or are simply thinking of food.
Consider the following ‘kinds of hunger’. Each of the three kinds of hunger is normal and acceptable.
Once the kind of hunger is identified, you and your child can learn and experiment with responses that satisfy the ‘hunger’. This helps promote a long-term, positive and healthy relationship with food and eating.
Looking for some free online resources to help your child learn English at home? Check out our selection of beginner, intermediate and advanced level ESL audio eBooks! Each eBook in our collection allows you to help your child in upper primary or middle school review vocabulary and grammar concepts taught in the classroom in a fun way.
In addition to helping your child expand their English vocabulary, the engaging storylines presented take your child on a cultural learning journey to the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Australia. Below is an overview of some of the themes covered in each of our levels:
Beginner ESL eBooks
The beginner series of eBooks focus on an eighteen-year-old boy named Jason Miller. Your child will be introduced to Jason's family, friends, and school life. They will also learn about what to see and do in New York State.
Intermediate ESL eBooks
In the beginner series, Jason introduced his cousin Janet, who lives in Vancouver, Canada. The intermediate thematic eBooks explore Janet's life and interests as she shops and dines in Vancouver.
Advanced ESL eBooks
In the advanced level series, both Janet and Jason embark on separate adventures. Janet travels to London, England, to visit her cousin Courtney Davies during the Christmas break. Jason has enrolled in an exchange program and spends a semester in Sydney, Australia. During this time, he makes new friends, travels, and learns about the Australian people.
Ideas on how to use our ESL audio eBooks at home as extra support or as part of your homeschooling program can be found in our Tips for Parents section. Worksheets, lesson plans, assessments and PDF versions of our eBooks are also available in our printables section.
Have questions about our English as a Second Language (ESL) resources? Feel free to contact us!
By Patricia Hill
The most common reasons that kids don’t do their homework include: the homework taking too long, not understanding the value of the homework, or their teacher not providing them with feedback. A 2007 study found that 45 percent of students between third and 12th grade spent more than one hour doing homework per night, and six percent spent more than three hours per night. But let’s face it: Encouraging your kids to do their homework can take considerable negotiating skills.
Read on for some tips and advice from Shala Books on this subject, including setting up a workspace free from distractions and offering fun rewards like electronic usage.
Image via Unsplash
Here’s the fundamental problem: Most kids don’t like to do their homework and you’re trying to get them to do their homework. How do you win this battle? Eliminate the battle. The best parents don’t raise their kids so that fear rules their actions. Don’t let them sidestep responsibility, but also don’t expect that everything your kids do will be perfect. Sometimes you’ll need to force them to do something (like their homework), but try to find a way to empower them to make the right decision. If you fight with your kids about homework, those fights will likely continue. The only way to get them to do it is to talk to them about the root reason they’re resisting the task at hand.
Another way to get your kids to do homework is to create a workspace to maximize their efficiency. That might mean designating a room as the “Homework Station.” Keep it well-lit and stock it with supplies. Also, help them come up with a homework organization plan. Talk to them about prioritizing their workload and the value of taking 15-minute breaks per assignment; these breaks can consist of activities that help calm your child's mind, such as art-making. These tips should give them the skills to focus on one project exclusively, which can also help them prep for long tests in high school and college.
Testing is an invaluable skill. Knowing how to do well on an exam will come in handy on college admissions tests or on entrance exams into postgraduate studies. You can cultivate those skills in your kids early on by giving them homework spaces and letting them focus on their studies. But also teach them some essential tips on the art of studying for a test:
Don’t hover over your kids, but make it a point to meet their teachers. That way, you can conference with them and learn what your children need to improve on. Witnessing you develop that open communication with their teachers should help your kids feel comfortable seeking help from their professors as they get older.
Skill-Based Tech Rewards
Rewarding your kids is not a foolproof parenting strategy, but they may get burned out if they don’t have some fun mixed in with all that studying. Come up with creative ways to get them out of that workspace station you created for them. They can get a break from their current project while still brushing up on skills by interacting with tools and apps on devices like the Apple iPad 10.2. This device lets you use skill-based tools for drawing and watercolor painting, as well as apps for other skills. Just be sure you protect it with a proper, kid-friendly case. You can also set aside some time for their favorite video games, in which case you can benefit from upgrading your internet speed; this will allow for a smoother gaming experience. These fun activities will help your kids be even sharper when they return to their homework.
Encouraging your kids to do their homework doesn’t have to be difficult. Make sure to engage them, teach them test-prep strategies, and add some fun rewards for a job well done.
Other Tips for Parents