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What to do when your child is fixated on TV - It can be harmful

Studies have found that violent and obscene programming, including cartoons, have a significant negative impact upon children especially those with violence and indecency. 

Violent ones can:

1. Make your child become insensitize towards violent acts.
2. Create nightmares and increase a child's fearfulness.

3. Encourage aggressive behavior.

4. Undermine imaginative and cooperative play with peers.
5. Encourage the acceptance of gang behavior.

Obscene ones can make your child easily prone to developing unwanted sexual pleasures beginning from an early age.

We know that watching TV is not entirely bad for your kids because there are a wide range of good programs that not only broaden children's use of vocabulary but exposes them to a wider world of creativity. However, those can be learnt from watching specific TV programs. 

So, what steps should you take to protect your child? 

1. Be a positive example. Let your children see you watching informative, non provacative, educative and entertaining programmes. Take away obscene and violent programmes from your TV timeline.

2. Check your child’s developmental level and encourage the selection of worthwhile programs. Decide with them which programs to watch.

3. Always be apt to comment when you agree or disagree with the values portrayed by the actors.

4. Watch television with your child. Explain the difference between fact and fiction. If any violence or obscenity occurs, comment that although the actors are pretending to be hurt and/or derive unusual pleasure, such violent and obscene acts in real life result in pain, immorality and suffering. Discuss ways to deal with problems other than by hurting people.

5. Turn the television and other objectionable media off when the material is contradictory to your family values. Explain to your child why you disapprove. Consider using a television lockout device to prevent exposure to “adult” programming. If possible, play soft music or practice silence during family meals that contribute to friendly conversation. Furnish a calm place where your child can relax or read.

6. I insist that you should resist the temptation to put a television in your child’s room. Instead locate it where viewing can be monitored. If your family is on the internet, keep the computer in a central location.

7. Encourage your child to become involved in activities. Foster participation in hobbies, imaginative play, music, art, crafts, gardening, household tasks, yard work, cooking, and other worthwhile projects. Invite your child’s friends to play at your home or apartment. Do more reading, walking, talking, listening, and playing together. Get your child involved in programs that promote healthy development like sports, scouts, clubs, dance, camps, and/or religious groups.

8. Be an advocate for quality television programming. Join forces with other parents and teachers to set television viewing guidelines.

Thanks to Leah Davies for giving us permission to publish  and for being friends with us here at The Learning Craft


15 Reasons Why Children Steal & How You Can Help

From my last blog post, here are some insights into why children steal and what parents, teachers and caregivers can do to help.

By Leah Davies, M.Ed.

Stealing is taking things that belong to others without their permission. The act is common in young children because they tend to be self-centered and feel that it is all right to take what they want from others. A child’s true understanding of the concept of stealing usually occurs between the ages of five and seven. By this time, children can understand the idea of ownership and realize that taking things that belong to others is wrong.

Motives for stealing can differ from child to child, and any one child can steal for a variety of reasons. Children may steal because:

1. They have poor impulse control and want instant gratification.

2. They want an adult’s attention.

3. They have not been taught that stealing is wrong.

4. They have observed the adults in their life take and keep things that did not belong to them -- for example, dad bringing home office supplies or mom keeping incorrect change when the store clerk made a mistake.

5. They lack family closeness and feel neglected; a stolen object might serve as a substitute for love.

6. They are suffering a form of abuse and need help.

7. They are expressing displaced feelings of anxiety, anger, or alienation resulting from a major life change such as parental divorce, moving to a new school, or being rejected by peers.

8. They want revenge for the pain they feel others have inflicted on them so they steal to get even or to hurt someone.

9. They crave what others have but they cannot buy -- for example: food treats, popular name-brand clothing or electronic equipment.

10. They want to appear tough, bold, and important.

11. They desire to fit in with a peer group that steals.

12. They like the thrill that comes from stealing.

13. They think they can get away with it.

14. They are rebelling against authority.

15. They need money to buy drugs.

Children who frequently steal tend to exhibit the following characteristics: impulsivity, loneliness, detachment, insensitivity, boredom, anger and low self-esteem. They often have difficulty trusting others and forming close relationships. When school personnel demonstrate regard for all students and provide a mutually supportive school environment, theft is less likely to occur.

What can teachers do?

1. Explain that stealing means taking something that belongs to someone else and that it is wrong, unacceptable and dishonest. Clarify that when an individual takes something without asking or paying for it, someone will be hurt. For example, if a child takes someone¹s pencil, he will be unable to do his work. If girl’s bracelet is stolen, she might get in trouble at home.

2. Teach the concept of ownership and how it makes others feel to have something stolen from them. Use examples and ask children questions like, "How would you feel if someone liked your new coat, took it, and said it was his?"

3. Compliment and reinforce honest behavior in students.

4. Ask the guidance counselor to teach lessons on honesty.

5. Invite a police officer as a guest speaker to explain the ramifications of theft.

When a child is caught stealing, an adult’s reaction should depend on whether it is the first time or if there is a pattern of stealing. When it is the first time, the focus should be on the reason for the theft rather than on the deed itself.

How to Handle a Stealing Situation for First Offenders

1. Remain calm. Deal with the situation in a straightforward manner. Show your disapproval, but do not interrogate, lecture or humiliate the child.

2. If you are sure who took an item, talk to the child privately. Do not ask, “Did you take the money?” Instead say something like, “I know you took the money. I am disappointed because I thought I could trust you.” Then you might ask, “Is there a reason you needed the money?” Then listen and try to understand the problems the child may be having.

One teacher reported that she talks discreetly with a child who has been caught stealing. She said that she points out that as a class everyone depends on everyone else. She said that she tells the student that he or she is a fine person and if he takes things from others, they won`t know just how great he is. Then she expresses confidence that the student will not steal again. The teacher also makes it a policy at an unrelated time to put the child in the role of being responsible so that she can compliment him in front of his peers.

3. Students who steal need to experience a consequence such as apologizing, returning or replacing the item or making restitution in some other way, as well as losing a privilege. You need to decide what will happen if the child steals again and let him or her know what the consequence will be.

4. If you are not sure who took an item, provide an opportunity for the “taker” to return it and save face. For example say, “Whoever found Adam’s hat needs to return it.” Or say, “Everyone look in your backpack to see if Adam¹s hat was accidentally put in it.”

5. Do not label the child “bad” or a “thief.” Let the child experience a “clean slate.”

6. Take time to ask yourself why the behavior occurred:

What personal problems could the child be having?

Is the child stealing to call attention to him or herself?

Which of the reasons listed above fit this child?
Then decide on a way to get to know the child better. Examples are eating lunch with him or her and one or two other children, talking with the child on the playground, or meeting with him or her before or after school.

7. Limit the opportunity for theft to occur by locking up valuable items and by closely observing the child.

What if the above methods are ineffective, and the student does not express remorse, continues to steal, or has other behavioral problems?

• Follow the school guidelines.

• Contact the school administrator.

• Make sure the parent is aware of the concern.

• Involve the school counselor or school psychologist who can help the child learn appropriate ways of behaving.. An evaluation by a child psychiatrist may be necessary.

Habitual stealing in children and youth is a major social problem because it can lead to other unlawful behaviors. However, if the underlying problems of frequent offenders can be addressed at an early age, further anti-social behaviors will be less likely to occur. Teachers have a responsibility to deal constructively with the child who steals, to follow the school rules regarding theft, and to seek assistance from other professionals when considered necessary.


Why do children steal?

Children develop stealing habits from a pretty young age. Their little fingers tend to be sticky, allowing foreign objects to mysteriously find their way into their little pockets. 

Within the school, a lot of teachers have many personal encounters with children who exhibit stealing habits as it does happen frequently.

Before complaining that you are harboring a little thief in your house, take a moment to tell us why you think children steal. 

....and together we will discover how to handle this common problem. Yes, it is common! 

Let's talk.....


How to Help Your Child Build Strong Comprehension Skills - Parents

Comprehension is the ability to understand and interprete what is read. For your child to be able to accurately understand written material, he/she needs to be able to:
a. decode what they read
b. make connections between what they read and what they already know; and
c. think deeply about what they have read.
d. draw reasonable inferences and facts from the text.

A sizable part of comprehension is having a sufficient vocabulary, or knowing the meanings of enough words (which can be developed too).
Readers who have strong comprehension skills are able to draw conclusions about what they have read. They can identify:
● what is important
● what is a fact
● what caused an event to happen
● which characters are funny.
● what the moral of the story is if any
So, comprehension involves combining reading with thinking and reasoning.

Here are some tips to help you identify that your child is having difficulty in comprehension.  
● Not able to summarize a passage or a book.
● They might be able to tell you what happened in a story, but can't explain why events went the way they did.
● Can't explain what a character's thoughts or feelings might have been.
● He/She doesn't link events in a book to similar events from another book or from real life.

What can you do to help
★ Hold a conversation and discuss what your child has read. Ask your child probing questions about the book and connect the events to his or her own life. For example, say "I wonder why that girl did that?" or "How do you think he felt? Why?" and "So, what lesson can we learn here?".
★ Help your child make connections between what he or she reads and similar experiences he has felt, saw in a movie, or read in another book.
★ Help your child monitor his or her understanding. Teach her to continually ask herself whether she understands what she's reading.

Take a moment to read the text in the picture to help with an important skill in comprehension - identifying the main idea. 
★ Help your child go back to the text to support his or her answers.
★ Discuss the meanings of unknown words, both those he reads and those he hears. To help them make meaning of more words or increase vocabulary, use those words in your regular discusions outside school work too. Another helpful activity is to make them read a lot...books of their own interests. 
★ Read material in short sections, making sure your child understands each step of the way.
★ Discuss what your child has learned from reading informational text such as a science or social studies book.
Find a schedule that works for you and your child and regularly practice all the above and more.

For more engaging reading tips and resources, visit www.readingrockets.org 

Credits- readingrockets.org


#Ebola Free as Literacy Saves the Day

What does it mean to be literate today? Today, literacy includes developing the skills to navigate digital media, exploring ideas from global sources, searching for answers using information given by experts and the ability to sift through many streams of information to suit one's purpose whether social, cultural or academic. The primary sense of 'literacy' represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning and critical interpretation of a written, printed or electronic text.

I'd like you to be aware that the Ebola virus was contracted by people who were literate. 

I have listened and read in earnest, the many theories postulated as to how Nigeria was able to control and/or contain the #EbolaVirus. It continues to be surprising, how the most important factor/s that influenced our 'success', mostly never gets mentioned on tables of discussions globally.

This text gives some insight - 'Nigeria has more doctors and hospitals per person than most African countries. It also has teams in place to investigate outbreaks of diseases like cholera and Lassa fever. These tools were simply redirected. A command centre financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fight polio was used to co-ordinate the Ebola response. Experts from America’s Centres for Disease Control (CDC) were already training 100 Nigerian doctors in epidemiology, so 40 of them led the process of tracing Sawyer’s contacts. The government worked with airlines to find people whom he could have infected. Then health workers repeatedly took the temperature of nearly 900 possible contacts, paying them more than 18,500 visits in total.' Read more here .

My surprise lies mostly in how little, people know about our systems and cultural inclinations, in spite of the numerous findings and research done in this case. Most fail to dissect the importance of our sociocultural 'goings-on' in controlling the spread of the virus vis-a-vis the vast number of 'literate' people surrounding the part of Nigeria (Lagos state) where the index #Ebola case was recorded. 

Let's explain.

1. Ebola came into Lagos state, the state with the highest number of literate people in Nigeria, a multicultural and diverse state with a high number of upwardly mobile people. If by some streak of bad luck, the virus began to spread in one of our remote villages in Nigeria, I'm afraid the story would be markedly different today. Certainly, before any information gets to authorities, the virus might have spread beyond some control. Simply because, there would have been a great sense of denial about the viciousness of the virus as seen in other countries, somewhat due to the apparent little knowledge about its deadly and highly infectious nature in those remote areas.

2. We have a culture of respect for authority. In most situations, many will give up some human right to adhere to instructions given as it comes from either traditional, religious or governmental authorities. So when the government demanded for a certain number of people to stay quarantined at home, it is common knowledge that most would have adhered. Yet, we recorded a few people who escaped surveillance as in the case Mr Olu-Ibukun Koye, the man who fled to Port Harcourt to seek help from an assuming Dr. Samuel Enemuo..(read about it here). 

In all this, because we were dealing with 'literate' #ebola victims in Nigeria, again we were able to save the day. The seeming culture of respect for authority would have brought little results if it were not for these literate individuals. Yet, our sociocultural convictions thrived as most people did their best to adhere to the state government's instructions that were widely publicized; while many included some disturbing actions that were not from the authorities e.g. the 'hot salt-water bath'. One wonders!

The global call for every country to do more to increase the level of literacy in our communities, villages, towns, cities and all over the country is a duty all must share in.... (click International Literacy Day to read more).

The day was saved with #Ebola and we are free for now. Will the day be saved for our large number of unskilled and illiterate hands, which by default makes up Nigeria? Time to think global, but act local.