Sticky: Children Who Feel A Sense of Purpose Are Happier


Children who are engaged are happier

Dear Parents,

A happy child is the unspoken creed for successful parenting. Yet, many times parents feel helpless when they see their children experience sadness, apathy or low self-esteem. If you want to improve the well being of your children you are not alone.

Over 20 years experience in education has lead me to an understanding of what attributes are necessary for children to succeed. To embrace the world with excitement and joy children need to feel a sense of purpose.

Unlike adults who can actively seek situations where we can connect with others and garner a sense of purpose, children must have most of their needs met within the family and school settings. The elements needed to raise happy well-connected children are attainable for every parent. Most require little time, but offer great returns on building a foundation for your children to be happy and engaged in life.

This site shares insights, advice and guidence for parents. By implementing some of the suggestions offered here, parents can help their children feel a heightened sense of happiness,  belonging and success. Sign up to receive updates on new post and learn simple ways to improve the life of your children.

Happy Parenting!


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A Simple Game to Help Your Student Thrive

It is common knowledge that a large vocabulary leads to increased intelligence. And, since the use of language begins in childhood, why not teach your children to enjoy learning and using new words?

I have always found pleasure in teaching new vocabulary to children of all ages. They generally balk at the mention of learning new words, it sounds too much like work, but once they realize they can use these new words to impress their friends, they generally get into the spirit of it.

Parents, it’s easy to make an ongoing activity of helping children learn and apply new vocabulary. Create a game for your family where each member listens or looks for one new word each week. (Search Google for word of the day sites if your children start off reluctant to play.)

At dinnertime, in the carpool line, or on the way to a sports event, family members can introduce their chosen word. The word should be pronounced and used in a sentence as a way of having family members guess the meaning. Once the meaning has been guessed, go one-step future and have family members practice the word by finding ways to use it in conversations throughout the week. Applying the new word helps children to recall it’s meaning over time.

If your children are young, there is an easier form of this activity you can play. Simply, introduce a “word of the week” on Monday. Pronounce the word, tell it’s meaning and use it in several sentences. Then ask children to find ways to use this word each day.

Granted in either game, not all words will be remembered over time. But some of the words will “stick” and become part of the way your child communicates. This game is a means of helping children feel smarter while offering your family a positive and unique way to bond.

Two of my favorite books for increasing the vocabulary of children are The Weighty Word Book and Weighty Words, Too. I used both these books in my years in the classroom. I also like giving them to young people as gifts. They are non-intimidating, colorful, short story books that teach new vocabulary in the most clever way imaginable. These short stories are written to be mnemonic devices that help children remember meaning and pronunciation of new words.

If you have a reluctant reader, buy one of these books and read a few of the stories together. It is likely your child will begin to read these entertaining stories independently. But beware you could soon be hearing some hundred-dollar words being tried out on you.
Parents, in order for children to thrive in school, it’s important that they feel successful and smart. Learning new vocabulary is one simple, easy way you can help your child grow academically.

Happy Parenting,


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Three Keys to Transitioning to Middle School With Better Grades

It is not uncommon for students who earned passing grades in elementary school to find themselves overwhelmed and over worked in middle school. The level of academic responsibility increases with each year of schooling, but the leap from elementary to middle school creates the biggest challenge. Curriculum becomes more in-depth as the academic pace accelerates. This combination along with newfound social connections leaves many students struggling and many parents frustrated.

Follow these three simple habits at home to help regain control of the situation:

1. Organization is Key

As simple and unrelated as many people feel this component is, it is critical to academic success. Beyond the obvious and overstated, have a specific spot for homework assignments to be completed. The next step to this process is rarely mentioned; put the homework, books, teacher notes, notebooks etc, in the book bag at night.

Many students stumble into class each morning half awake only to find the work they spent time on the night before is still sitting on the dinning room table.

When this happens these assignments are considered missing, incomplete, or late. All of which put a lower grade in the gradebook. Several days of this repeated pattern and any GPA would certainly be reduced.

2. Be Proactive

Unlike the elementary years where teachers were available to keep parents informed of progress, middle school educators teach 100 or more students a day. The parent to teacher communication now falls mostly on the parent.

Be proactive. Monitor your child’s grades weekly. If you see low grades or notice that your child struggles with understanding homework assignments, it is wise to seek intervention immediately. Email the teacher. Ask what steps he or she recommends to get the tutoring your child needs. Take action and get help. The work your child is doing will only get more challenging as the year progresses.

3. Social Activities and Academic Effort

The adolescent mind is different than that of a child. By now your children are probably seeking more social outlets, friendships, and activities. While parents need to encourage children to participate in extracurricular activities, clear guidelines must be set. These guidelines should include a base level of academic success. Participation in social events should be allowed only when the agreed upon base for academic grades are met.

Far too many parents are unaware of the power of tying social events to academic success. When children know their social outlets are contingent upon their academic efforts, most are more willing to take responsibility to earn good grades.

Start and follow through with this practice in middle school, and by their high school years your children will know academic responsibility is imperative to their freedoms.

If you would like a happier, less stressful relationship with your child go victoria@thrivingstudent and ask for a free 30 minute consultation

Happy Parenting!


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