As someone who manages my own business and time, I can often be found tapping away on my laptop in comfy bars, cosy coffee shops and on a nice day, occasionally amongst nature in a nice park. I was out and about recently and found a neat little bar with free WiFi where I chose to pause for a while and work. Two young guys took up a spot at the table behind me and I became interested in their conversation about how they make their relationships work effectively − with particular reference to the rules now imposed in their households with regards to technology access.
We’re all aware the constant bombardment of contact and information can be overwhelming, although, I’ve noticed recently that some are more aware of this than others. For instance, what’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Once upon a time I used to specifically get up early to get through my utterly ridiculous amounts of emails. Coffee at the ready, I’d use this beautiful, energised time of the day to plough through my inboxes, followed by a mindless scroll through Facebook. I’ve since realised this is not at all the most efficient use of my most alert and creative moments in the day. Similarly, prior to going to bed − and following nights and nights of restless and less-than-enjoyable sleep − I came to understand that answering emails and being entranced by the iPad’s bright glare up until bedtime is far from a positive practice.
Though I’ve made these discoveries for myself and have adjusted my routine and behaviour, I have a tough time trying to influence my nearest and dearest who still insist that they do not have time to put the technology away, so that period up until sleep and first thing in the morning is when they’re used to catching up on social and clearing emails.
How healthy is that though?
This is why I was intrigued to hear these boys (probably under 30), saying that they have rules in their households. One said he and his girlfriend have set aside an evening a week where technology is turned off the moment they each arrive home, and they use this designated evening to go on a date, read, talk or… you get the idea. His mate countered by agreeing that “time off from tech” is necessary; he and his partner switch everything off at 7pm, and tech is not allowed in the bedroom (and no, they do not need a phone for their morning alarm − they purchased an old fashioned alarm clock for this purpose… yep, they even talked about this).
Experts ranging from business coaches to sex therapists are all advocates of rules for technology, and scientific studies are consistently proving that [inadvertent] obsessive use is negatively impacting on our mental well-being and our closest, important relationships.
After listening to these boys and investigating a little further, I’m wondering if the under 30s have it sussed. They’ve grown up with this tech, and while they will all say they simply cannot live without their mobile phones, they also seem to take the tech in their stride.
The solution is possibly more simple than the actual devising and implementing of “rules” though. Being mindful of your behaviour is really the trick. Do you really want to still be working at 8pm − will you be thanked for it? Or more importantly, does it enhance your life and relationships? Is scrolling through Facebook the activity you most want to engage in right before sleep (keeping in mind the majority of “life updates” here are contrived anyway? First thing in the morning, is email correspondence going to make your day fantastic, or, would a nicer way to start the day be going outside for a walk, taking five minutes for a breath and noting positive intentions for the day, or even spending 15 minutes writing the book you have in your head or updating the blog you love but have neglected for 18 months?
New technology rules │ 5 of my favourite top tips from today’s experts
- Schedule time for emails throughout the day; do not let it be an ongoing, all-consuming task; designate one hour mid morning, one in the afternoon. Also, begin to manage client/boss/co-worker expectations about when you will respond. It IS possible.
- Choose to be mindful about when and why you’re on social media. It’s got a time and place, but in the end, your time is better spent communicating with family and friends, learning a new skill/hobby, or reading a book.
- Studies have shown the light from mobile devices is akin to sunlight, and tricks the brain into thinking it’s “awake” time. Moral of the story − spend some time away from that screen before going to bed, and if you can’t sleep, whatever you do, don’t turn to it for companionship because you’ll be up even longer.
- Do you pick up your smart phone or tablet at any given moment when you’re not working or eating; Is it really necessary, or are you doing it out of habit? Further studies have found our behaviour with regards to tech is effectively an addiction, and consequently, we’re missing out on being present and experiencing life… for the sake of a notification that someone has liked our last post, or followed us on Twitter.
- If nothing else, start your day by writing down a positive intention you hold for the day ahead, e.g. I will have a happy, confident and positive day at work. Try this for a few weeks before you switch on the (usually negative) news, or scroll Facebook to see what everyone else is up to – put you and your own positive mindset first… you might be surprised at how your day does actually shift!
By Sarah Blinco. Originally published Get it Magazine, March 2015
Who was your favourite teacher growing up and what do you remember most about them? I’m confident most of you would describe how they made you feel and the sense of excitement and the confidence you felt on your road to discovery.
The function of a teacher is both diverse and meaningful. Teachers have a greater responsibility than simply standing in front of a class delivering material. It is now mandatory for them to teach social values and etiquette, mediate conflicts and most importantly develop positive-teacher student relationships.
A child’s academic and social development hinges on a teacher’s capacity to develop a positive and long lasting relationship. Students who have a healthy relationship with their teacher are more likely to achieve gains or experience success when they feel valued and respected than students who don’t have a personnel connection to the teacher. A student is more likely to show more engagement in an academic setting and display less disruptive behaviour when they experience regular communication, praise and guidance from their teacher. Positive teacher-student relationships promotes their desire to learn.
Canter and Canter (1997) make the statement that we all can recall classes in which we did not try very hard because we didn’t like our teachers. This should remind us how important it is to have strong, positive relationships with our students.
Imagine for a moment. You have a boss who makes you feel valued, respected and appreciates you as an individual. Are you more likely please your boss? How would you then feel if your boss didn’t value you as a person and lacked respect for you? This is how a child feels. That’s is why it’s critical to develop a positive supportive classroom environment. It’s important to remember, students are more willing to want to please you and behave appropriately when they are treated with respect and appreciated.
What to do │ fostering positive teacher-student relationships
- Be patient, engage in conversation and actively listen
- Get to know each child, the lives they live and learn about their interests and needs
- Spend time with them individuality and seek out the those who are reluctant or problematic
- Show students you want them to be successful through words and actions
- Create a positive environment and enhance relationships among peers
What not to do │ fostering positive teacher-student relationships
- Accept that treating a child with respect and being nice is enough. Teachers set high standards for their students and encourage opportunities for students to make a personal connection with their teachers and their peers.
- Don’t admit defeat too quickly in your efforts to develop a positive teacher-student relationship.
Rita Pierson states, “It’s hard to learn if you don’t feel connected. Which means that kids don’t just need a teacher, they need a champion, someone who believes in them, invests in them, nurtures in them the belief that they can be more than they are, that all kinds of things they don’t imagine are possible”.
By Cooper Dawson
Does your child talk to you? I mean really talk to you, about important topics like boys, girls, alcohol, drugs and the one that starts with S (sex).
When children reach that delicate period known as puberty, it can be a confusing time for both parent and child. Children begin noticing changes in their body, mood swings and not to mention those raging hormones.
For some parents it’s that overwhelming feeling of frustration and helplessness when you try to offer guidance and your child rejects you and disconnects the lines of communication.
Most adolescents are under a lot of pressure, both academically and socially, while also discovering who they are and where they fit into a society that is forever changing. It is possible to be a part of this journey and maintain a strong relationship with your child.
How to get your teen to talk to you? – communication is key.
“Communication is the key to developing positive relationships” –Kath Bunney (student services professional)
How to get your teen to talk to you
1. Listen – Actively listen. Stop what you’re doing and listen. Show them that their thoughts, ideas and feelings matter and their concerns are being heard.
Listening is the best way to find out what your teen knows or needs. Just listen and then say, ‘Would you like advice?’
2. Don’t lecture – when adults yell, exaggerate, get frustrated, roll their eyes, sigh, it turns teens off and they stopped listening. As a result, the relationship suffers.
3. Take a breath before speaking; smile, look friendly and set a positive tone. Keep the conversation happy and upbeat.
Happy conversations are more likely when you’re both in a cheerful mood. The conversation will decline quickly if either one of you is upset. Never demand they tell you their problems or what is bothering them.
Friendliness gets the point across quicker than sarcasm, scolding or a lecture.
4. Distraction – Before you ask too many questions offer them a snack.
Let’s be honest, how many a good conversation is had over food?
5. If you’re hoping to make a point keep the conversation short, simple and to the point.
Timing can play an important role in how the conversation goes. Choose short sentences over paragraphs.
You’re the parent, you know you have life experience; you don’t need to flaunt it and waffle on.
6. Don’t be afraid to ask open-ended questions to encourage them to open up. Allow for their point of view.
Teens are at a stage of their life where they feel they know more than you do. Okay, they might know more about pop culture and technology but it isn’t the whole story.
7. Understand how your child likes to communicate. Driving in the car, cooking dinner, kicking the footy, waking the dog or in a quiet place with no distractions can be a successful way to get little bits of information from your child.
I can remember many a conversation with my mum on the way to school.
8. Look at yourself. How strongly you feel about certain topics such as teens engaging in sex, and using drugs and alcohol may prevent your child opening up to you.
If your child already knows what you’ll say about this topic why would they bother asking?
9. Be consistent and thank them for opening up to you.
“The importance of listening to your child as they are growing up cannot be underestimated. The listening I am talking about is when you give your child the time and opportunity to share their problems.
It is not necessarily about jumping in to give them the solution; it is about giving them the space to verbalise the myriad of issues that the young person has to grapple with as they move from child, to young person to young adult.
What your son or daughter may be looking for is knowing that they have been heard and understood rather than wanting a ready-made solution to their issues”.
-Paul Campbell (school principal, Australia)
The most important parenting skill is effective communication. Parents need to start early – well ahead of the teen years.
Show your child it’s okay to talk about anything. Don’t wait until your child is in school and a teenager before you try to work on the relationship.
And of course, if you are struggling with any challenges, consult a local, trusted professional or two for advice – ideal people to talk to include a teacher, principal, child psychologist, school chaplain or counsellor, but do not leave it until things are really bad. Prevention is better than cure.
Do you have a question, concern or comment? Please drop us a line below or on social media to get the conversation going.
By Cooper Dawson
Most parents understand the importance of their child’s education. However, trying to convince a child to share your wisdom can be both frustrating and distressing.
Children who are disengaged from school find it difficult to be successful. The challenge we as parents, teachers and guardians need to overcome is how to make a child interested in learning; in other words, how to get your child interested in school.
From my experience as a teacher, the best way to get a child interested in school work is to make learning fun and approach all subjects with a touch of creativity and humour.
Having a parent tell you their child enjoys coming to school always gives me goose bumps and a sense of pride. I wish I’d felt that way about my teachers as a child.
How to get your child interested in school
Tip 1: Speak positively about education
Consistently let your child know how important education is and celebrate their successes whether it be for academic achievement, behaviour or effort.
Children from negative households and with parents who are disinterested or who fail to see the importance of education are contributing to their child’s negative experience towards learning.
Tip 2: Show your child you are interested in their homework
Ask your child how their day was; what did they learn?
Have them show you or explain it to you. Get them talking to you.
All parents should know what their child has for homework and when it is due.
Timetables, spelling words and reading aloud each day are the fundamentals of success, and should not be ignored or taken for granted.
There are wonderful resources available that can make this process a fun learning experience the whole family can enjoy.
Tip 3: Speak to their teacher
Every parent should speak to their child’s teacher at least once a term. This is an excellent opportunity to discover your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Conversations with their teacher can help to determine if there are any issues causing your child to disconnect or disengage from the classroom.
Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens Association president, Margaret Black says, “There’s nothing more powerful than a three-way (parent/teacher/child) partnership,” and I agree.
Tip 4: Visit their classroom
It is your responsibility to visit your child’s classroom on a regular basis. Teachers are always looking for volunteers and this is an excellent opportunity to witness your child’s behaviour, social skills and academic interest. Your presence alone will reinforce the importance of education and encourage your child to show more interest in the classroom setting.
Personally, I could count the number of parents I’ve had in my classroom on one hand. I realise parents are busy – everyone is busy – but if a classroom visit throughout the semester is planned, it can be worked into your diary and is achievable (and worthwhile, as far as I’m concerned).
Tip 5: Open up the lines of communication
Talk to your child. Make sure your child knows they are in a supportive, loving home environment and you are interested and respect what they have to say.
It may take many conversations but it’s crucial you actively listen to understand your child’s social wellbeing.
Finally, it is also the role of the teacher to make each child feel that they are in a positive and supportive classroom environment where someone believes in them and encourages them to believe that anything is possible.
If both parents and teachers maintain a united front, then the child is placed in the best possible situation for success and contentedness.
“Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like” –Rita Pierson
Do you have a question, concern or comment? Please drop us a line below to get the conversation going.
By Cooper Dawson