Sunday, January 7, 2024

The J O Y S of Grandparenting

I have transitioned from a parent to a grandparent in the last few years. The happiness that my three grandsons bring me is unparalleled! I delight in their tiny toes, warm, soft hands, wispy hair, baby teeth smiles and belly laughs. Everything they do is simply amazing. 

Because I am in a new life stage, my S.P.L.A.S.H. Parenting days are also coming to a close. I have spent years encouraging, advising, and supporting parents as they navigate the ever changing landscape of parenting little ones. My S.P.L.A.S.H. Parenting Principles of Structure, Patience, Love, Autonomy, Spirituality and Humor are timeless themes for any parent, but my own days of presenting are over because I have moved into a new era of being a Grandma.  And what a delightful era it is. 

The lessons I have learned in the new space are briefly translated as  pure JOY.

J--Just say yes if you are asked to spend time with your grandchildren and you are able to.

O--Only allow every minute spent with them to be full of giggles and playtime and fun.

Y--Your viewpoints on parenting are only given when asked for--because the torch has been passed. Your grandbabies have the wonderful parents of their own. Your role is to love and support. 

So if you are like me, and find yourself blessed to be someone's Grandma--embrace the JOY!


Monday, November 22, 2021

Warning--Preschoolers in Crisis

I have taught preschool for over a dozen years and raised four children of my own. We all are born with gifts and talents, and mine happen to be firmly planted in understanding and relating to young children. I love reading books to them, playing games with them, helping them to discover new things, and generally being in their presence.  

The preschool I worked in before the pandemic was a joyful place. The children were eager to learn, eager to socialize, eager to make friends and discover new things. Behavior problems were an afterthought.  Occasionally my assistant or I would need to redirect a child who was not playing nicely with others, or comfort a child who came in to the classroom feeling sad.  Tears in the morning only lasted a minute or two. But in general, we spent only a tiny fraction of our day responding to negative behaviors. 

I recently re-entered the preschool classroom and found it to be a completely different setting--and it has me seriously concerned! I witnessed children who were socially and academically far behind where children of a similar age were in the Spring of 2020. I witnessed children who were filled with uncontrollable rage and children with a seemingly complete lack of empathy. The children were far less interested in making friends and their self interest was the driving force of most of their interactions. They exhibited much less self control and generally seemed so much less happy or content than pre-pandemic.

In the 6 weeks that I was there to observe a three and four year old classroom, I had not one, but two students who when feeling angry would proceed to violently wreck the classroom--pushing chairs over, grabbing baskets of markers and pencils to throw across the room, trying to actively kick and hit other classmates and teachers who were trying to restrain them. I saw children unable to sit and listen to a short simple story--one that was at a level far beneath what I was reading to my pre-pandemic class. I found children who showed little curiosity for novel information, and had little or no interest in listening to the spoken word. 

Games, songs and books that used to make little ones giggle or smile with delight, fell on deaf ears--these little ones exhibited much less joy.  And it has me worried! I follow other preschool teacher websites and message boards and I know for a fact that my observations are being seen and heard and felt all across the country as other preschool teachers are struggling.

What is going on? Why are our littlest learners struggling so very much? Is this the result of overwrought parents? Is this the result of parents who are just trying to survive--working from home and willing to let the little ones do whatever it takes to keep them quiet? Are the mental health struggles of adults being mirrored by the children? Why are a little ones lacking any self control? Why are they lacking motivation to learn and discover? Why are they filled with anger? Why are they lacking empathy?

I know that little ones learn what they live. I firmly believe our family lives are in crisis and the smallest among us are paying the price. 


Do you read to them?

Do you eat meals together?

Do you talk to them?

Do you play with them? 

I am beginning to wonder what is really going on in most households. 

Your child needs you. Please, please, please take notice. If you are struggling, get help so that you can be the parent you were meant to be.  Your and your child deserve your best self!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Family Decision Making

The Four "F's" of Family Decisions

A decision making framework outlined in The New York Times: "A Smarter Way to Make Decisions About Your Kids", July 31, 2021, Dr. Emily Oster,

Frame the Question:
(What specific question are you trying to answer)

Fact Find:
(Investigate all relevant information through multiple sources)

Final Decision:
(Set a Decision Date, Analyze all facts, family input, and family priorities and decide)

Follow Up:
(If needed, set a follow up date to revisit, review and revise if necessary)

Friday, May 21, 2021

Early Clues in Childhood

 My daughter is graduating from Law School tomorrow.  I am a proud mama for many reasons. She had a successful and rewarding career going in Washington DC but she listened to her inner voice that was urging her to make a change. She uprooted herself from the life and friends and all the experiences she had amassed in her post college years to take a leap of faith and follow her intuition where it was leading her--to study law. 

Her courage and bravery to leave the familiar and jump in to the unknown fills me with pride. And while she was in law school, she not only studied but put herself out there--becoming President of the American Constitution Society on campus and organizing some incredible events, writing opinion pieces for the campus newspaper, and even winning a few different writing prizes during her short three years.

When she was a little girl, she loved all everything to do with history. She loved learning about the Presidents.  She asked Santa for poster of them in first grade!  Her passion for history and love of learning has carried her through these three years, and almost made them look easy!  Which I know they were not.

Tomorrow we are so thankful to go to the outdoor ceremony and watch her graduate in a field she always had a passion for.  She is ready to change the world as a fair minded and compassionate lawyer--and her mother couldn't be more proud to watch it happen!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Children Are Not Born Racist

Young children are accepting and open.  Young children are curious and loving.  Young children are welcoming and inclusive.  Parents: Let's take our cues from them.