New School Year -- Also Check out our Back to School and Parenting Tips below.
September activities @ The Bridgewater Library – Click on an image for more info or to register.
LET YOUR FINGERS DO MORE WALKING – Parenting Tips:
Why Words are Like Toothpaste -- Thoughts on Starting Middle School from Amy Beth Gardner
My daughter starts middle school tomorrow. We've decorated her locker, bought new uniforms, even surprised her with a new backpack. But tonight just before bed, we did another pre-middle school task that is far more important than the others. I gave her a tube of toothpaste and asked her to squirt it out onto a plate. When she finished, I calmly asked her to put all the toothpaste back in the tube. She began exclaiming things like "But I can't!" and "It won't be like it was before!" I quietly waited for her to finish and then said the following:
"You will remember this plate of toothpaste for the rest of your life. Your words have the power of life or death. As you go into middle school, you are about to see just how much weight your words carry. You are going to have the opportunity to use your words to hurt, demean, slander and wound others. You are also going to have the opportunity to use your words to heal, encourage, inspire and love others. You will occasionally make the wrong choice; I can think of three times this week I have used my own words carelessly and caused harm. Just like this toothpaste, once the words leave your mouth, you can't take them back. Use your words carefully, Breonna. When others are misusing their words, guard your words. Make the choice every morning that life-giving words will come out of your mouth. Decide tonight that you are going to be a life-giver in middle school. Be known for your gentleness and compassion. Use your life to give life to a world that so desperately needs it. You will never, ever regret choosing kindness."
Make sure they start the school year off right. Here are the good habits that will help them rock their first report card. GET THE TIPS
What Your Child's Teachers Really Wish You Knew
Real NJ teachers tell us the things they wish they could say to parents on the first day of school. READ THE STORY
10 Things to Expect When Your Kid Starts Kindergarten
Gone are the cushy comforts of daycare or pre-school. Maybe she’s nervous or maybe she’s ready. Either way, you can handle it. SEE THE 10 THINGS
This went viral on Facebook this week and National Public Radio wrote a story about it,..what do you think?
This was in our last August blog, but it is so important that we are repeating it since so many were on vacation:
Jill Starishevsky Author, Speaker, Child Safety Expert, Prosecutor
As a prosecutor of child abuse and sex crimes in New York City for the past nineteen years, I have heard all the reasons why parents don’t discuss child sexual abuse prevention with their children. I have heard them so often that I can recite them by heart. Several years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to memorialize the top 10 reasons for not discussing the subject and add some clarity to each. I invite you to add any that may have been omitted. Click to read more in this important article for the safety of all our children.
1. Children are seldom victims of sexual abuse. Actually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, in the United States, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused by the time they are 18. Consider those numbers for a moment. They are shocking and devastating. Those figures alone should motivate parents to seek out prevention strategies.
2. This kind of thing doesn’t happen where we live. Actually, child sexual abuse has no socio-economic boundaries. It doesn’t care if you are black or white, rich or poor or what religion you practice. It can creep in when you least expect it.
3. We don’t let our children go near strangers. Actually, 93% of all child sexual abuse occurs at the hands of someone known to the child and trusted by the parents. Even if a child is never around strangers, he or she could be victimized by a neighbor, a coach, a religious official or family member. Parents who teach only stranger danger are doing a disservice to their child.
4. My child is not old enough for this discussion. Actually, the appropriate age to discuss child sexual abuse prevention is when a child is three years old. The conversation can start as simply as “Did you know that the parts of your body covered by a bathing suit are private and are for no one else to see or touch?” Continue the conversation by explaining to the child that he or she should tell Mommy, Daddy or a teacher if someone touches him or her on those private parts. Be sure to include any necessary exceptions for potty training, hygiene and doctor visits.
5. I don’t want to scare my child. Actually, when handled properly, children find the message empowering and are not frightened at all. Parents do not refrain from teaching traffic safety for fear that their child will be afraid to cross the street. So too should we address the subject of body safety.
6. I would know if something happened to my child. Actually, child sexual abuse is difficult to detect because frequently there are no physical signs of abuse. The emotional and behavioral signs that may accompany sexual abuse can be caused by a variety of triggers.
7. My child would tell me if something happened to him. Actually, most children do not immediately disclose when they have been sexually abused. Contrary to a child who falls down and runs over to tell his parents, a child who has been sexually abused is likely being told not to tell anyone because no one will believe him, that people will say it is his fault, that the disclosure will cause great sadness in the family and that the behavior is their little secret.
8. We never leave our child alone with adults. Actually, children can be sexually abused by other children. The very same lessons that can help prevent children from being sexually abused by adults, can keep them safe from other children. Teach children what touch is appropriate and what is inappropriate, teach them the proper terminology for their private parts and teach them who they can talk to if anyone touches them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
9. I don’t want to put thoughts in her head. Actually, there is no data to indicate that a child who has been taught about child sexual abuse prevention is more likely to fabricate that they have been sexually abused. According to Victor Vieth, director of the National Child Protection Training Center at Winona State University, “Children do lie, but seldom about being abused. All human beings can and do lie, but it's hard for kids to do it about sex. They can't lie about something they have no knowledge of," he said, “and children don't learn about oral sex on Sesame Street."
10. It’s not going to happen to my child. Actually, as the statistics reveal, child sexual abuse is so pervasive that it could happen to any child. This reason is the catch-all. Educated, loving parents have actually said this to me. If one were to ask any parent whose child has been sexually abused if they thought their child would ever be sexually abused, I can guarantee each one would say no. No one wants to believe this could happen to their child. We need to stop denying that it could happen and recognize that there are ways to prevent it from happening. Make the decision to talk to your child about sexual abuse prevention in 2016. It could be the greatest gift you ever give them.
The library has lots of books on these and other parenting topics – ask a librarian to help you find what you are looking for.
Around the Community:
Come one, come all to the country fair with wagon-rides, food trucks, farm animals, live music, exhibits, old-fashioned games, demonstrations, and hands-on activities that offer something for everyone!
Date:Sunday, September 18 12 noon - 5 p.m. Fosterfields Living Historical Farm, 73 Kahdena Road, Morris Township
Cost:$8 per adult, $7 per senior (65+), $6 per child age 4 - 16, and $4 per child age 2 & 3, Contact:973.326.7645
Learn about the bats of North America with Dr. Lance Risley of William Patterson University. Use an echolocation device to attract bats as you walk the trails in search for theses elusive creatures. Ages 8 and up.
Date:Tuesday, September 20 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. Location: Pyramid Mountain NHA, Intersection of Mars Court & Boonton Avenue, Montville Township
Cost:$6 per person Preregistration is required. To register, 973.334.3130
Finally, what librarian could resist sharing this….
30 minutes of book reading a day offers a ‘survival advantage,’ a study finds
NEXTAVENUE.ORG|BY NEXT AVENUE