TLC’s Parent Tips for Raising a Child in the Digital Age

Whether we like it or not, our children are growing up in the digital age.  Many parents struggle to understand how technology will change their children’s social and emotional lives.  Many children receive their first device at a pivotal point in their lives, when stressors such as peer approval play a huge role in their decision-making process.  Turning the screens off doesn’t make everything better.  Some types of screen-based activities are beneficial.  It is important to help your children learn how to safely use technology in the digital world.  Here are a few tips to teach your child healthy digital use.

Watch the Amount of Time You Spend on Digital devices.
Although your child may seem glued to the screen, their actions could be a reflection from your own behavior.  How often are you reading emails, or texting in the presence of your children?  It is important to be aware of your digital usage and be the best role model for your child.

Manage Screen Time
When you manage screen time, children are able to learn the importance of interpersonal relationships.  Help your children create a balance between technology and play time with peers.  Time away from the screen will enable your child to participate in unstructured play and stimulated creativity.  Make play time an everyday priority.

Set Rules for Bedtime
Digital devices take time away from the sleep that every child needs.  Set rules for the whole family to follow, no electronics in the bed room.  Let them charge outside the room overnight so there is no temptation to go on them.

Safety First
It is important children share their passcodes with you for their own safety.  It should be transparent with your children that you will check their device to make sure they are using digital devises safely and correctly.  There are also parental blocks you can enable on devices so your child cannot access certain content.

Create Tech Free Zones
Keep family time tech free.  No technology during dinner.  This is encouraging more conversation and family bonding.  With the removal of digital devises at the dinner table and family functions, this will encourage more face-to-face interactions.

Ask About Their Online Experiences
Ask your child about the online behavior they witness, how they feel about it.  Talk about the choices they make online to get them to think about responsibility in the digital environment.  “What would you do if a peer was being cyberbullied?”

The key is for parents to have enough flexibility to provide their children with what is appropriate for that particular child.  Moderation is the key. In a connected world, we need to be aware about what is out there and what our children have access to.  It is important to be confident that you have taught your children the proper use of their digital devises, and trust that they should come to you if any mishaps occur.  A healthy childhood isn’t found on digital devises.  Remember that family and school come first.

TLC’s Tips to Help Your Child Develop a Growth Mindset

Ambition, achievement and happiness all correlate with personal growth. Kids with self-limiting attitudes will tend to be shy and nervous when accepting new challenges. It is important to break these habits early and develop a positive, self-motivating attitude towards life and all of its challenges. A growth mindset will help a child be the best person they can be. Here are some tips to remember when helping your children develop a personal growth mindset.

  • Recognize effort over success

It is important to recognize a child’s effort, so they don’t become discouraged. You cannot control an outcome of success, but you can acknowledge all of the hard work they dedicated and encourage them to try again, and never give up. It is better to try and fail then to never try at all. Success is driven by effort not natural ability.

  • Model “Growth Mindset” behavior

Let your kids see you make mistakes and learn from then, staying persistent with difficult tasks, or even learning something new. You are your child’s biggest motivator and influence. What they see you do and overcome will only show that everyone is human, even mom, and challenges only make us stronger.

  • Replace words like “failing” to “learning”

Failing tends to be viewed as a harsh word. Failing is extremely discouraging and could cause a child to never attempt something new again. Using learning instead of failing will encourage a child to look back at what went wrong and learn for the next time to one day achieve their goal. Your child might not have failed but they learned to do better next time and that is what is important.

  • Emphasize growth over speed

Not every child will learn at the same rate as their peers. It is important to recognize and celebrate growth as it occurs no matter how small, your child is improving. With growth comes times of mistakes and setbacks.

  • Provide regular opportunities for reflections

It is great to talk with your child about what they learned at the end of the day, what they enjoyed doing and what they struggled with. Regular reflection will put things into perspective about what a child really needs to focus on to become the best they can be, weather its being more positive, dedication more time to math or playing more with friends. Reflecting at the end of the day will give a child a new goal for tomorrow.  

TLC’s Tips for Transitioning into the New School Year

It is inevitable, the new school year is here.  After all, routine is good for us, right?  Especially for our little ones.  That doesn’t mean it is easy!  Embrace the journey and know that you soon will be settled in and enjoying that routine again.  Below are some tips for you and your family as you ease back into the new school year.

Anticipate and address your child’s anxiety. Going back to school is stressful for kids of all ages, so head off the stress before school even starts, says Renee Clausell, a child psychologist in Long Island, New York. Talk with your children about new experiences and traditions, from using the potty at preschool to learning how to use a locker “in a playful and creative, role-playing way,” Clauselle says.

Manage your own anxiety. Maintain a positive attitude about summer ending, advises Edward Christopherson, a Kansas City-based child psychologist. “If you are nervous about school starting, then your child is certainly going to be nervous about school starting,” he says. It also helps to plan fun, transitional activities to prepare your kids, says Tina Feigal, an author and parenting coach in Roseville, Minn. “Plan a fun weekend for Labor Day, and include the kids in the plan,” she suggests. “If school has already started, it’s a nice buffer vacation. If it hasn’t, Labor Day is a great time to say good-bye to summer and hello to all the good things coming up in the new school year.”

Ease back into scheduled days. When your kids are used to running around outside until dark each night, shifting to the early morning school bus rush can be a real shock to the system. To ease the transition, about a week before the first day of school, start their bedtime routine about 10 minutes earlier each night and wake them up 10 minutes earlier each morning, every day, until they’re back on track. And Mom and Dad: don’t forget to readjust your bedtime schedules too!

Stay connected to nature. Going back to class doesn’t mean your kids have to say farewell to outdoor fun. Make a habit of getting outside together after the school day ends, for as long as the warm weather lasts. When the air turns cold, hold a “camp-in” weekend evening, suggests Sarene Marshall, director of The Nature Conservancy’s global climate change team: “Set up floor pillows or sleeping bags, turn off all the electronics, and play good, old-fashioned board games.” You can also encourage your kids to create a lasting record of the family’s outdoor activities by creating a “summer adventures journal” together, she notes.

Get back to healthy eating. If your family is like mine, your household inventory of potato chips and cookies skyrockets during the summer. The arrival of fall is a perfect time to teach your kids that family-focused healthy eating can be fun too. “While [kids] may be used to having ice cream every night in the summer, start swapping [those] out some nights for fruit Popsicles, frozen yogurt, or baked fruit sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar,” says Rania Batanyeh, a San Francisco-based nutritionist and wellness coach. “And be prepared with healthy snacks and meals when things get hectic, such as in the morning before school, when kids come home from school, and before dinner.”

Seek out one-on-one time with your child every day. Yes, this one is daunting, especially when your days consist of carting Kid A to one activity and picking up Kid B from another. But challenge yourself to set aside just 15 minutes per day, per child, to enjoy a quiet activity together. Whether it involves reading a few extra books to your toddler, taking turns making up a story with your preschooler, or gazing at the stars with your oldest after the others have been put to bed, your children will savor your undivided attention. And both of you will benefit from putting yet another hectic day on hold.

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TLC’s 10 Reasons a Summer Teacher Can Help

“Wahoooo, school’s out!” Everyone seems excited for this time of year and while parents, teachers and students do love it…learning loss does occur if we aren’t preventative.  All children face challenges in school at various times during their educational development (confidence building, transitional periods, specific academic subjects, etc.).   While there are activities you can do with your own children that will help, a professional teacher (tutor) can provide just a little extra boost over the summer and/or during the school year.  This will help your child feel confident starting back at school in the fall.  As parents, we desire to bolster our children’s love of learning, and here at TLC we all are dedicated to our students and their future success.  Below are 10 different reasons why your child might benefit from extra help or someone to keep them on track while school is not in session.

  1.      Builds Confidence and Self-Esteem
  2.      Helps with the Common Core Standards
  3.      Helps Establish an Early Foundation
  4.      Offers Strength-Based Training
  5.      Supports One-on-One Learning
  6.      Transitions a Move to a New Location
  7.      Gives Your Child Permission to Struggle
  8.      Helps Maintain Acquired Skills During the Summer
  9.      Eliminates the Parent-Child Homework Wars
  10.      Opportunity for Another Role Model and Positive Influence

Finding the right teacher/tutor can take time.  Ask your friends for recommendations and don’t be afraid to ask questions when you do connect with a teacher.  Stay positive and know there are plenty of teachers ready to help you and your child!   

TLC’s 9 Tips to prepare your child for standardized tests

“Hooray, standardized tests are coming!” said no parent ever.  While none of us (yes, including teachers) are excited about it, we all want our students to be prepared and successful.  Below are nine different ways to help you prepare your child and boost their confidence levels for an optimum testing experience this year.

  1.  Make sure that your child gets plenty of rest each night during the testing week.
  2.  Make sure that your child eats a healthy breakfast and lunch on testing days.  
  3.  Talk to your child about taking tests. Offer advice and tips that worked for you
  4.  Limit television viewing and video games during the week of testing.
  5.  Stay positive about testing and encourage your child to do his/her best each day of testing.*
  6.  Be sure your child arrives to school on time each day.
  7.  Gently support and encourage your child to do their best.  (“You can only do your best.”)
  8.  Practice simple breathing exercises to help calm your child.  This is great to do before school and during school day. Remind them that they can use these exercises during the test. **
  9.  Practice simple yoga with your child.***

Standardized tests can be stressful for students, teachers, and parents.  

Try these tips in effort to relieve some of the anxiety and empower your child to reach his/her fullest potential.  With support from school and home, your child can have a great testing experience this year.   We would love to hear your strategies too!  Send us a message or tag us on Facebook to let us know what works in your home as you prepare for these tests. 

*Check this out for encouraging notes for your child:

** For simple breathing exercises, visit:

***(For yoga ideas, visit:


Parent-Teacher Conference Checklists by TLC

Parent-Teacher Conference Checklists by TLC

Before the conference
  • Ask your child how she feels about school.
  • Ask your child if there is anything that he wants you to talk about with his teacher.
  • Tell your child that you and the teacher are meeting to help her.
  • Make a list of topics that you want to talk about with the teacher.
  • Prepare a list of questions such as:
    1. What are my child’s strongest and weakest subjects?
    2. Does my child hand homework in on time?
    3. Does my child participate in class?
    4. Does my child seem happy at school?
    5. What can I do at home to help?
During the conference
  • Be on time (or early) for the meeting.
  • End the meeting on time. Other parents will probably have a conference after yours.
  • Relax and be yourself.
  • Stay calm during the conference.
  • Ask the most important questions first.
  • If your child receives special services such as English classes, ask about your child’s progress in those classes.
  • Ask for explanations of anything you don’t understand
  • Ask your child’s teacher for ways that you can help your child at home or during the long breaks.
  • Thank the teacher.
After the conference
  • Talk about the conference with your child.
  • Talk about the positive points, and be direct about problems.
  • Tell your child about any plans you and the teacher created.
  • Keep in touch with the teacher during the school year.

Discussing Your Child’s Report Card: TLC’s 7 Helpful Tips


Although report cards are important, it is only a snapshot of your child’s progress in school both academically and behaviorally and measures how your child is doing at one particular time.  Be sure to continue to motivate and encourage your child in the areas they are doing well (even if that isn’t a tangible grade observed on a report card).  Positive motivation from parents is a great way to build your child’s confidence and lead to a more successful experience in the future.  We want to continue to foster a positive learning and growth mindset in all children.  Below are 7 tips to help you meet this goal.

  1. Set aside enough time for a relaxed discussion. Your child deserves your attention without interruptions.
  2. Allow your child to take ownership and reflect before giving any of your own personal feedback, opinions and praise.
  3.  Elicit a discussion with your child about his/her strengths and areas of improvements.  Encourage the child to use mistakes and/or areas of improvements as an opportunity to grow and learn.
  4.  Words are powerful.  Choose your words carefully as not to cause anxiety.  Instead of  the word “weakness” or “poor grades”, use the words “areas of improvement”.  Instead of “hard” or “difficult”, use “challenge you can overcome”, etc.
  5.  Discuss what the student is most proud of and also what they would like to see themselves do better.  After they have had an opportunity to reflect, offer your feedback.   Initiate a conversation of how they would like that to happen (more help at home, discussion with teacher or school counselor, hire outside help).
  6.  If you have a question about what a specific standard or description may mean on the Report card, reach out to your child’s teacher.  If it is a standards based report card in New Jersey, you could also learn more about those indicators online.
  7.  When praise is in order, let your child know you are proud of his or her efforts and encourage them to feel proud of himself/herself.  When changes must be made, let your child know that you will help.  Leave the discussion with a firm understanding of everyone’s next steps.

Way to go!  Parenting is hard work and you are doing a great job!