At Home with Homer

11 Back to School - Thumbnail

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Back to School, Creating a Path to Confidence — with Stephanie Dua

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Back to School, Creating a Path to Confidence — with Stephanie Dua 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

Kanika: It’s been a hard year; families have been through a lot of twists and turns. Through it all, our kids have shown us just how resilient they are. As we prepare for kids to go back to school this Fall, what should parents be thinking about? How can best prepare their kids?

Stephanie: For me personally and the way we think about it at HOMER is, it’s most important to spend time this summer building confidence and connection. As you mentioned, kids have shown just how resilient they are but we as parents must continue building their confidence by giving them tools to continue learning, solving problems, overcoming obstacles, and taking on challenges with a growth mindset.

Stephanie Tips:

  • Building Social Emotional Confidence
    • To thrive academically, kids need a deep sense of security and safe spaces to process their pandemic experience.
    • Create open dialogue about the pandemic
      • What I loved the most about last year, what I liked the least?
      • What I am most excited about next year, what I am most nervous about?
      • Write a story
  • Celebrate “I Did it Moments”
    • Celebrate the small victories along the way, Learning is a journey
    • When kids are learning something new, praise can really help them through those early frustrating moments and help them push on
  • Embracing a Growth Mindset
    • Develop a daily affirmation
    • Practice tools and strategies to change and grow and with a healthy mindset
    • Calming strategies to help deal with stress
  • Prepare for the academic year
    • What supplemental resources might you want to incorporate this year, that might not have in the past? There are a number of digital resources including HOMER, codeSpark Academy, etc that can help academically all while playing and having fun!
    • Be informed — Speak to the school about:
      • Their focus on SEL
      • How they might deal with the varying learning levels after 2020

Episode Links:

Visit learnwithhomer.com/momsense for a 60-day FREE trial

10 Happiness - Thumbnail

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Happiness — with Stephanie Dua

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Happiness — with Stephanie Dua 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

Kanika: I heard you mention in a recent interview that it wasn’t your job to “make your kids happy” and it stopped me in my tracks. I mean, making sure someone else is happy is a tall order (and might I mention impossible), but so many parents assume that role. I know I did. If happiness isn’t the goal, what is?

Stephanie: Yes, I can totally relate. It’s so natural to assume that responsibility. But once you acknowledge that it’s an impossible task and start focusing on the things you do have control over, a huge weight lifts.

Stephanie’s Tips:

  • Give them power over their decisions, even the wrong ones.
    • If kids are fighting you to put on shoes or a raincoat, once I said, “Okay, don’t wear shoes” or “Okay, don’t wear a raincoat” and when they felt the direct consequences of their decision, they were able to make better decisions in the future
  • Give them agency over their success and failures
    • Ex. not checking homework — allowing the teacher to build a direct relationship with the student and hold them accountable
  • Support them as they experience a full range of emotions
    • You can’t control their feelings — sadness, elation and disappointment are all part of life, so instead help them develop tools to be able to cope with these emotions
  • Build resilience

Episode Links:

Visit learnwithhomer.com/momsense for a 60-day FREE trial

9 Getting Involved - Thumbnail

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Getting Involved— with Stephanie Dua

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Getting Involved— with Stephanie Dua 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

Kanika: In case our listeners don’t know, your children are very involved in their community. How do you inspire your kids to get involved?

Stephanie: I used to think that teaching my children generosity meant I had to put together these big, elaborate gestures to be meaningful. But the BEST form of generosity we can teach our children comes in the form of small, simple acts of kindness. The best part is these small acts can fulfill many purposes, making them a double win — a win for you and your child!

Stephanie’s Tips:

  • Put together a care package for a neighbor
  • Collect non-perishable items for a food pantry
  • Set up a spare change jar in your home for a local charity
  • Pick up trash around your neighborhood
  • Find your local community garden and volunteer

Episode Links:

Visit learnwithhomer.com/momsense for a 60-day FREE trial

8 Parent Burnout - Thumbnail

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Parent Burnout — with Stephanie Dua

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Parent Burnout — with Stephanie Dua 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

Kanika: Parents are juggling more than ever these days. You have so much on your plate as a mom of three and the president and co-founder of HOMER, how do you avoid burnout?

Stephanie: We often put so much energy into our children that by the end of the day, we have nothing left to give ourselves. Burnout can make us feel exhausted, moody, and just not like ourselves

Stephanie Tips:

  • It’s about special things, not the everything
    • Stop thinking doing everything is critical, its not
    • Access clear expert-based guidance on what matters for your parenting goals
    • See diverse points of view combined into ranked results from developmental experts, educators and experienced parents (our experts on the front line).
    • Discover ways to get the ‘jobs’ off your plate
  • Self – care is child care
    • No matter how busy your kids keep you, it’s important to take time alone so that you can recharge
    • Self care is child care — Reference recent conversation with Dr. Harold Koplewicz
    • Arrange a baby-sitting swap with a fellow mom, giving you both every other Saturday AM off
  • It’s about the connection, not perfection
    • Not everything needs fixing
    • Reject parenting fomo, you’re the best person to decide what’s right for you
    • Screen time – fubbing. Connected or disconnected.
    • When used correctly, screen time can give you those quick breaks throughout the day
    • HOMER can increase early learning scores by 74% in just 15 minutes a day. That’s screentime you can feel good about, while also allowing you to enjoy a cup of coffee in peace 🙂
  • Don’t compare yourself to others
    • Everyone may look like they have perfect lives on social media, but the truth is that we’re ALL growing and facing different challenges.
    • Audit your social network
      • Unfollow those that make you feel less than
      • Find some new accounts that make you feel seen, heard and that embrace
  • Create memories, not perfection
    • Remind yourself that no one has the perfect life
    • Create a weekly tradition, ex. Dua Family UNO

Episode Links:

Visit learnwithhomer.com/momsense for a 60-day FREE trial

7 Rebuilding Our Foundation (Horizontal)

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Re-Building Our Foundation — with Stephanie Dua

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Re-Building Our Foundation — with Stephanie Dua 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

Kanika: Wow, we are starting to resume normal life — Kids will soon be out of school, long days, warm nights are here along with traveling, bike riding and reading but there are also nerves, questions and unknowns. How are you thinking about carrying forward some of the experiences and learnings from covid as we return to “normal”?

Stephanie: Yes, alongside all the excitement there are so many questions and unknowns and still so much to process from the past year.

Stephanie Tips:

  • The Role of Mom: Less in the job of “mom”, more in the relationship of the child. Less about drive time means more quality time.
  • Make room for kids to take agency
    • Creating a schedule offers some structure while also giving kids agency to decide how they’ll spend their time
    • It’s also important to make sure your kids feel like they’re part of the team by contributing with certain chores around the house. This also gives them some structure and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Hold onto the “silver linings” of the last year
    • Rose, thorn, bud at dinner — sharing the highs and the lows helps kids understand that life is full of ups and downs. They feel confident and more resilient.
    • Increased family time
    • Decreased social calendar — In the past our weekends would be packed with 2-3 commitments/day, which would lead to a lot of rushing, not much enjoying
    • Option 1: 1 commitment / day
    • Option 2: Sunday funday
  • Re-engage slowly
    • Depending on the age of your child, they might not remember certain places or people, so re-engage slowly
    • Be careful not to overly stimulate — Cut outings and social gatherings in half or start with a beach day or a hike.

Episode Links:

Visit learnwithhomer.com/momsense for a 60-day FREE trial

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Freedom and Flexibility — with Stephanie Dua

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Freedom and Flexibility — with Stephanie Dua

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Freedom and Flexibility — with Stephanie Dua 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

Kanika: Summer is officially underway — School is out, warm weather and longer days are here and after a year of living through a pandemic, that freedom we feel each summer feels even more special. We’ve talked about how finding a balance of play and learning is important, but can you share tips on how families embrace the freedom and flexibility of summer, without losing structure?

Stephanie: I can really relate to this. Kids more than ever need this summer to play, see friends and family and simply enjoy all the activities we weren’t able to experience during the pandemic. However we also know kids need structure. Here are a couple tips to help families strike that balance:

Stephanie Tips:

  • Create a schedule, yes even in the summer schedules are key!
    • I’m not suggesting an hour by hour rigid schedule here (it is summer after all), but rather organizing larger blocks of time dedicated to a variety of categories. Be sure to create what works best for your family but here are some examples: free time, work time, sibling time, outdoor time, creative time, music time and family time.
    • Weekly household themes are another fun element to layer into the schedule — for example, cooking week, nature week, gaming week, etc!
    • Start a project that can be worked on a little bit everyday. This summer could be a great time for a new scrap book that documents the past 12 months all while being creative and spending time with my daughters
  • Make room for kids to take agency
  • Creating a schedule offers some structure while also giving kids agency to decide how they’ll spend their time
  • It’s also important to make sure your kids feel like they’re part of the team by contributing with certain chores around the house. This also gives them some structure and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Self care is child care
    • Self care is child care. Taking care of yourself is essential, so find time to recoup and don’t feel guilty about it.
    • Establish a healthy balance of independent play and parent and child 1:1 time.
    • Encourage children to engage in something because you’re not their entertainment.
  • Don’t fear the dreaded “I’m bored”!
    • It’s ok for a child to say they’re bored – it’s important that they understand how to get themselves engaged in something.

Episode Links:

Visit learnwithhomer.com/momsense for a 60-day FREE trial

5 Building Math Confidence (Horizontal)

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Building Math Confidence — with Stephanie Dua

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Building Math Confidence — with Stephanie Dua 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

Kanika: Math can be daunting for kids (and parents)! I know HOMER recently added new math content to your learning program, HOMER Learn & Grow. What tips can you share with our families to ensure they’re setting their children up to be confident in math.

Stephanie: Sure, math can be a real point of anxiety for both children and kids. My husband Andre is [insert Andre’s math expertise] has always loved math and I have to credit him with instilling a passion and love for math in my kids

Stephanie Tips:

  • Make math a part of everyday life
    • Have your child count out the number of forks needed for dinner
    • Measuring – height
  • Math thinking: Children are natural mathematicians as math is all about exploring and problem-solving.
    • Start early, talk about problem-solving strategies, use math language in everyday life
  • Modeling math confidence
  • Honor “I Did it Moments” – the little (and sometimes big) wins that happen every single day on the path to learning. Keep an eye out and celebrate the moments when something just “clicks,” and kids take what they’re learning and make it their own.

Episode Links:

Visit learnwithhomer.com/momsense for a 60-day FREE trial

screen time featured

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Screen Time as Purposeful Time — with Stephanie Dua

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Screen Time as Purposeful Time — with Stephanie Dua 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

Kanika: The last year has given us a new perspective on screen time. While it allowed for remote learning during a pandemic, we also have screen time fatigue — and new blue light lenses : ) — from too much of it. What are some tips, resources, and guardrails you can share regarding screen time for young learners.

Stephanie: As you mentioned, technology has saved us in so many ways this past year. We’ve been able to stay connected to the outside world — teachers, family, friends — because of our screens. Furthermore, The pandemic has accelerated the spread of laptops and learning apps in schools, they say, normalizing digital education tools for millions of teachers, students and their families.” -NYT

While those are 2 examples of beneficial screen time, we are fatigued by it and for early learnings especially, not all screen time is created equal

Kanika: So how do we as parents and caregivers determine what is good screen time?

Stephanie: For starters, recommend embracing Mindful Media. Rather than using the amount of time our kids are spending on screen as the only consideration, we came up with the P-L-A-Y Framework: a quick and easy guide to help you make smart media decisions for your children.

  • P – Purpose
    • There are so many reasons to hand your child a screen — It could be to keep them entertained, to give them an opportunity to connect with family and friends, to assist in their schoolwork, to help them wind down at night, or to keep them safely occupied while you cook dinner.
    • Whatever the purpose might be, think about whether the type of media you are putting on that device matches up with the intended purpose. For example, in the evening if you’re winding your kids down, you want to make sure the content is calming.
    • Additionally, experts estimate that 65% of kids will have jobs that don’t currently exist. So even if the purpose of giving your child a screen doesn’t have direct learning value, you can feel good that your child is learning 21st-century skills that will set them up for 21st-century jobs.
  • L – Learning Value
    • Understand the learning value: There are so many rich, entertaining apps and digital experiences that you can find for your children
    • Common Sense Media is a great resource that has done a lot of the legwork for parents—I personally found them to be a lifesaver with my kids.
  • A – Appropriateness
    • Deciding whether an app or digital experience is appropriate for your child can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Here are a couple of things to think about:
      • Is it appropriate for their age?
      • Will they engage with it? For example, will it make them giggle? Get up and dance? Try out a new word?
      • Is it personalized to them? Does it appeal to their individual interests and learning needs, or encourage them to look at the world in a new way?
      • Is it going to be a positive experience? Keep in mind what makes them feel confident, and what might make them feel scared or upset.
  • Y – YES!
    • Yes, you can use screens – Parents should feel empowered to use screens in a way that is mindful for themselves and for their family. They aren’t designed to ruin your child’s future, but rather when used appropriately, will give children the skills to thrive in the 21st century.

Episode Links:

Visit learnwithhomer.com/momsense for a 60-day FREE trial

summer of play featured

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Summer of Play — with Stephanie Dua

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Summer of Play — with Stephanie Dua 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

Kanika: Summer is here, but it feels different from any other summer. Typically summer break is a time to travel, enjoy the sunshine, spend time with friends and family, however this year, how we spend our summer isn’t as clear — Is it safe to travel? Should we use this time to catch up on school? Take summer school classes? Or is this a time for play? A time to recover and recharge?

Stephanie: Absolutely, I think all families can relate to what you just described. I know I certainly can. On the heels of the pandemic, everything looks a bit different and this certainly applies to summer break.

Kanika: What advice do you have for families when it comes to making the most of this summer break?

Stephanie Tips: School offers kids that needed sense of structure. When summer comes around it’s important to give kids the freedom to play, while offering some structure. The key is finding a nice balance!

  • Get into nature. Nature has the ability to heal us, so whether that’s a walk around the neighborhood, hike or a day trip to a nearby national park with your family.
    • Create a scavenger hunt together. Before you head out, make a list of things you might see on your walk
  • Encourage independence and a bit of downtime
    • Start a project that can be worked on a bit everyday
  • Studies have shown the importance of having jobs around the house. It’s important to make sure your kids feel like they’re part of the team but contributing with certain chores. This also gives them structure and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Encourage play, not academic learning because the good news is that Play is Learning! Like our friend Fred Rogers once said: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” So think of this as your SUMMER OF PLAY!
    • Play is so powerful because kids don’t realize just how much they’re learning while playing. It’s like “sneaking” vegetables into the muffin or smoothie recipe to get some greens in there.

Episode Links:

Visit learnwithhomer.com/momsense for a 60-day FREE trial

mental health featured

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Mental Health & Social Emotional Learning — with Stephanie Dua

AT HOME WITH HOMER: Mental Health & Social Emotional Learning — with Stephanie Dua 1920 1080 Chase Jennings

Kanika: My kids are having a really hard time being cut off from their friends and dealing with COVID. How do I help them navigate through these times?

Stephanie / Statistics:

  • Most notably, the low-income, Black and Hispanic communities that urban districts more often serve have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. Their students are expected to have some of the greatest academic, social and emotional learning losses coming out of the pandemic (USNews).
  • Even before the coronavirus hit, mental health problems such as depression and anxiety were on the rise in children ages 6 to 17, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research shows social isolation can worsen these symptoms.
  • Based on prior research on isolation and loneliness, children and adolescents are more likely to have high rates of depression, and, probably, anxiety, even after the enforced isolation resulting from the COVID‐19 pandemic ends, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (source).
  • A national survey of 3,300 high school students conducted in the Spring of 2020 found nearly a third reporting they were unhappy and depressed “much more than usual” in the past month. Almost 51% said they felt a lot more uncertainty about the future as well. (source) ADHD, behavior problems, anxiety, and depression are the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders in children (CDC).
  • Overseas, in a survey of 1,143 parents measuring the effects of the lockdowns in Italy and Spain, nearly 86% reported changes in their children such as difficulty concentrating and spending more time online and asleep, and less time engaging in physical activity.
  • A study of 2,330 schoolchildren in China found both anxiety and depression rose in comparison to rates seen in previous investigations.

Stephanie / Tips:

  • Make sure you have a daily check-in, something I do with my child:
    • Rose, thorn and bud
  • Mindfulness corner, walk and belly breathwork (CMI)
  • For younger kids ages 3-6 who might not be as verbal, HOMER has this great activity kit called Explore Feelings, and you do just that. Kids learn self expression and to identify feelings, through hands-on activities and prompts.
    • Color-in Feelings Forest Map
    • Conversation Prompts + Bag
    • Social-emotional Matching Cards
    • Feelings Activity Book & Crayons

Episode Links:

Visit learnwithhomer.com/momsense for a 60-day FREE trial