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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy's Private School Blog

Spring Cleaning: Four Ways to Organize Your Children's Rooms

Here at Sewickley Academy, we are excited that spring is finally on its way because it means milder temperatures, sunshine, and the opportunity for outside play — three things everyone is looking forward to after those long, dreary winter months. 

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Topics: Parenting

Weekend Warriors: How to Keep Your Kid Fit When They Can't Get Outside

When cooler weather sets in, you can't rely on taking your child outside to run and play in order to keep him or her fit and active. Regular activity, however, is critical for keeping your child as healthy as possible. Making exercise part of your routine could even help stave off some of the cold and flu germs that are so prevalent in the winter months. Figuring out how to keep your child active when it's so cold that you don't want to be outside for more than a few minutes is a challenge that many parents struggle with all winter long.

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Topics: Parenting

Helping Your High School Student Thrive

The high school years can be tough. Early mornings, late nights filled with homework, and the stress of preparing for college can really take their toll on the developing teenagers in your life. These things — in addition to the fluctuating hormones their bodies are producing — can cause them to become irritable, moody, and sometimes even downright rude as they work to find their place in the world and discover who they are as people. 

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Topics: Parenting

Craft Ideas You Can Do with Your Children on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is not just a day for couples to show their love for each other, kids can also display their love and thankfulness for friends and family with cards, gifts, and crafts. Show your kids kindness and service by helping them prepare Valentine’s Day gifts this year. Here are some fun craft ideas you can do with your children.

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Topics: Parenting, Crafts

Holding on and Letting Go: Parenting in Middle School

Parenting a middle school-aged child is a complicated dance that weaves boundaries and guidance with an appropriate response to growing independence. How you manage this balance will go a long way in your success as a parent to a child in this age group. 

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Topics: Parenting

The Many Wonderful Options for Educating Your Child

Today parents have numerous choices for educating their children. Whether private, public, magnet, charter, or homeschool, the options for parents are readily available. However, one problem that many parents confront is knowing the difference between each type of school. Providing an education for your child is a privilege and a responsibility. As parents gain information about the differences between the schools, they make better choices for their child’s education.

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Topics: Parenting, Education

New Year, New You: Map Your Resolutions For 2017

The new year just arrived, and many people are making resolutions. They are resolving to lose weight, make better financial decisions, and find emotional peace.

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Topics: Parenting, Holidays

A Letter to Varsity Basketball Parents

Dear Varsity Basketball Parents,

It was a fun opening weekend as we played two different style opponents. Saturday's game in particular reflected so many different aspects of our team and a basketball game. The first half was tough to play, coach, and watch as we struggled to be a cohesive unit, partly due to Baldwin's play and part of it we owned. I was quite proud of the boys' demeanor at halftime despite the frustrations from the first half. They were not blaming each other; instead they readily listened to each other and the coaches' suggestions and ideas on how we could turn things around in the second half. There was no technical solution that we found at halftime, rather it was the inner confidence and belief that we could get it done together as a unit.

I told the team afterwards that it was a gritty victory, and that it is those types of victories that are truly important. When you face adversity, how do you rally and put the past behind you and focus on the present? We truly believe the entire team had a different affect the second half, as everyone pulled together as one and we were no longer 15 individuals. Outscoring Baldwin by 13 points in the second half after struggling in the first half was difficult to do.

This morning, I was reflecting on the word grit and discovered this University of Pennsylvania study that you may find interesting. It speaks to the enormity of what can be gained from a lengthy high school basketball season. I still remember a number of years ago, a young man saying to me, "Coach, all I want to do is play basketball - why do I have to think about these other things?" That young man is now a successful business man in his mid-40s with a growing family. While he has no memory of ever saying that, he still speaks to this day about the powerful lessons learned from his successful high school basketball teams that he instills in both his personal and work life.

A University of Pennsylvania (Penn) study found that “grit” (passion and perseverance for long-term goals) is the best predictor of success. Grit is unrelated to talent.

The Duckworth Lab at Penn's Positive Psychology Center focuses on two traits that predict success in life: grit and self-control. Founder and Scientific Director of the Character Lab Angela Duckworth defines grit as the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals, and self-control as the voluntary regulation of behavioral, emotional, and attentional impulses in the presence of momentarily gratifying temptations or diversions. "On average, individuals who are gritty are more self-controlled, but the correlation between these two traits is not perfect: some individuals are paragons of grit but not self-control, and some exceptionally well-regulated individuals are not especially gritty," Penn's website states. "While we haven’t fully worked out how these two traits are related, it seems that an important distinction has to do with timescale: As Galton suggested, the inclination to pursue especially challenging aims over months, years, and even decades is distinct from the capacity to resist 'the hourly temptations,' pursuits which bring momentary pleasure but are immediately regretted."

Some educators typically prefer the umbrella term “social and emotional learning,” whereas many other educators, as well as philosophers and positive psychologists, embrace the moral connotations of “character” and “virtue.” So, grit and self-control are facets of Big Five conscientiousness, but are also conceptualized as dimensions of human character, social and emotional competency, and non-cognitive human capital."

While I recognize this is not easy reading on a leisurely Sunday, it speaks to the powerful moments, thoughts, and lessons our young men are gaining through their experiences playing a challenging schedule facing a bull's-eye on our backs throughout the WPIAL since we are blessed to have many talented players who are also very hard workers, all while facing academic challenges that rival their athletic challenges. 
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Topics: Parenting

Hot Holiday Gift Ideas for Every Kid on Your Nice List (Pst! They're Educational, Too!)

Thanksgiving has come and gone, Black Friday is over, and Cyber Monday is now a thing of the past. With only a few short weeks until Christmas Day, you have probably already invested in those must-have gifts that they cannot live without this year. Now is the time to invest in the gifts that they don’t even know exist yet, gifts that can help them not only have fun in unexpected places, but also learn a lot in the process. From the future programmer on your nice list to the "Paper Towns" fanatic who always has his or her nose in a good book, here are some of our favorite holiday gift ideas for every kid on your list.

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Topics: Parenting, Education, Gift Ideas, Holidays

Holiday Happenings in Pittsburgh

Nothing makes the holiday season quite so wonderful as all of the amazing sights, sounds, and events around town. Pittsburgh is one of the very best places to be during the holiday season due to its incredible lineup of holiday events and activities. Why not take advantage of a few of these events this year and make some lasting memories with your family?

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Topics: Local, Parenting, Holidays

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