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.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Parents: Your Children are Taking Notes
















I cannot write a post today, without thinking of the millions of people affected by Covid-19 and the ramifications from this pandemic.  Parents who are juggling online work, parents who are out of work, parents who are being called upon to become sole teacher, coach, cook, and care giver to children at home.  Parents who are worried about paying their bills and making ends meet in the face of the economic downturn.  Parents who are isolated from their normal support system--friends, family, grandparents, teachers, and religious leaders. And the true heroes--parents who are and have been on the frontlines, continuing to work for all of us and return home to children with worry in their hearts about bringing the dreaded illness into their own homes and back to their own family members.

These days have not been easy.  The past month and a half has changed our lives and turned our normal routines upside down.  So what is the message for parents who are dealing with all of these hardships?

Remember your children are watching.  During times of stress and disappointment: your children are watching.  When you feel and anger, fear and helplessness: your children are watching.  When you take your stress out on your husband, wife or neighbor: your children are watching.

But they also are watching when you stay positive.  When you wake up with a smile on your face.  When you help them to carry on when they are struggling.  When you make a plan and stick to it. 

Children get their cues on how to behave from you.  So if you are stressed, overwrought, angry or depressed, you can expect the same from them.  This can be your finest hour of parenting or your worst.  The choice is yours.

During times of difficulty, choose to rise above the situation.  Choose to be the parent who can smile in the face of adversity.  Choose to be the neighbor who is reaching out to comfort others.  Choose to lend a hand, or a meal or a kind word to those who have more struggles than you.  Choose to be the person who creates a feeling of warmth and calm in the midst of frustration and chaos.

You will be teaching your children such a POWERFUL message.  Everything will be fine.  Everything will eventually be normal again. And while things are not how you would like them to be, you are able to choose to make the best of it--for you, for your family, for your neighbors, for your community, and for our future!
facebook: SplashParentingPrinciples


Friday, March 27, 2020

Corona Virus = Boredom For Your Kids!






The United States is dealing with a pandemic and most of us are finding ourselves "sheltered in place".  School is cancelled and our children are home and probably for many of them, this is their first taste of boredom--in their entire lives.  Boredom can put them on a treasure hunt for creativity and inspiration.  Many children have online learning tasks, but what else can they do--when the school work is done, but they can't go hang with their friends?  Here is a list of things that might inspire your children during these unusual circumstances:

MUSIC:

  • CHALLENGE THEM TO WRITE A SONG
  • HAVE THEM LIP SYNC TO MUSIC THEY FIND ONLINE
  • ASK THEM TO PUT TOGETHER A PLAY LIST THAT IS TIED TO AN ACTIVITY--LIKE CLEANING THE HOUSE OR STUDYING OR ROAD TRIPS
  • HAVE THEM MAKE UP A DANCE TO A FAVORITE SONG AND RECORD THEM PERFORMING IT
COMMUNITY OUTREACH:
  • WRITE NOTES OR CARDS FOR NEARBY RETIREMENT CENTERS
  • COLLECT ALL THE POCKET CHANGE THEY CAN FIND AROUND YOUR HOUSE AND MAKE A DONATION TO A FOOD PANTRY
  • MAKE POSTERS OF HOPE AND KINDNESS TO DISPLAY IN YOUR WINDOWS
FAMILY CONNECTION:
  • HAVE THEM FACETIME OR SKYPE WITH AN OUT OF STATE RELATIVE
  • WRITE, DRAW OR SING A GREETING TO SENT TO A FAMILY MEMBER
  • SET UP AN ONLINE MEETING WITH COUSINS OR EXTENDED FAMILY GROUP
  • PLAY ONLINE GAMES WITH EXTENDED FAMILY MEMBERS
BAKING/COOKING
  • GIVE THEM COOK BOOKS TO READ
  • ENCOURAGE THEM TO CHOOSE A COOKING SHOW SERIES TO WATCH
  • ALLOW THEM TO BAKE SOMETHING OF THEIR CHOOSING
  • CHALLENGE THEM TO COOK AN ENTIRE DINNER FOR THE FAMILY
ART
  • FIND ART MATERIALS AND ENCOURAGE AN ART PROJECT
  • FIND ITEMS IN YOUR HOME LIKE VASES OR FLOWER POTS THAT THEY CAN PAINT OR DECORATE WITH MOSAIC ART
  • CHALLENGE THEM TO CREATE A COLLAGE FROM MAGAZINES, CATALOGUES, NEWSPAPERS
  • TAKE THE TIME TO TEACH THEM TO KNIT OR CROCHET OR SEW--OR LOOK FOR TUTORIALS ONLINE
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
  • ENCOURAGE THEM TO DO SOME YARD WORK
  • HAVE THEM PLAN A GARDEN-FOR FUTURE PLANTING
  • REPOT PLANTS
  • START A SEEDLING FROM FOOD LIKE POTATOES OR ONIONS OR AVOCADO
  • TAKE SOME CUTTINGS OF SPRING BUSHES AND FORCE THE BLOOMS INSIDE

This crazy time will come to an end, but maybe the interests your children develop during the mandated down time can blossom into a life long passion.  Every challenge is an opportunity in disguise.  Sending love and encouragement to all of the families facing these challenges right now.  Be kind and good to one another!

Friday, March 13, 2020

What do Parents do during Corona Virus Shut Downs?




Okay.  Schools are closing and the kids are going to be home.  Parents are going to be working from home.  This unexpected set of circumstances is shocking--to say the least.  So what are parents to do?  If panic is setting in I have a few suggestions:

Breathe. Take another deep breath. You have the mental capacity to choose your reaction.  Your children are watching. Choose a positive reaction to an inconvenient set of circumstances.

Face the upcoming days with optimism.  See this temporary slow down as a gift to your family.
Set a schedule for school days.  It is comforting for children to know what to expect.  Let them know you are going to follow a schedule that includes time for learning, time for working, time for playing and time for resting.Take these coming days as a gift to family life.  Here is a list of activities you might want to incorporate into your action plan and add to your schedule:

  • Cook a special meal
  • Make slime or play dough (recipes on pinterest)
  • Build a birdhouse 
  • Create with legos
  • Play board games
  • Sketch
  • Paint
  • Knit
  • Sew
  • Watch movies/tv shows
  • Clean closets or drawers (and donate to local charities)
  • Print photos and create scrapbooks
  • Call grandparents
  • Bathe your pets
  • Write letters or create cards and mail them to friends/relatives
  • Bake brownies
  • Wash your bicycles or toys
  • Snuggle up and read together
  • Put on fun music and dance
  • Take a walk
  • Start a puzzle
  • Above all--Enjoy this gift of time with your loved ones.  We will get through this, so let's all try our best to make the best of this unique situation!



Thursday, October 17, 2019

Letting the Animals Run the Circus...






I have been a preschool teacher for a LOOOOOOOOOOONG time--almost a dozen years.  My first students are in high school now, and I am still at it.  And before jumping into the profession I dearly love, I was busy raising my (and my husband's) own four children.  So as you can guess, I have had a lot of time to study, observe, and reflect on children.

My husband and I decided early on that we would not allow our little monkeys to rule the roost.  We enforced bedtimes and a code of behavior that included no back talking, no physical violence, and in general a helpful attitude.  We didn't always succeed at this but the love and respect grew over the years of effort, and the chores always got done before bedtime.  No excuses.

As a preschool teacher, I find my students bright, engaging, funny, caring, sweet, and impossibly cute most of the time. I enjoy each and every minute that I get to share with them.  I marvel at their triumphs (like coming to school sans blankie--when the first week we had a hard time putting blankie down to do anything).  I swoon when they are willingly kind to each other -- sharing a toy or a turn with another classmate.  I praise their paintings and block towers, and gladly help them put on their coats or wash their hands.  They are amazingly capable and enthusiastic learners with kind and loving hearts.

So here is my struggle these days...PARENTS!  My littles are blessed with loving and devoted parents.  So what is the struggle, you ask? My preschool parents either have no energy or no knowledge of how to PARENT their children.  The ringmasters have left the tent, and the monkeys are running wild.

They leave it all up to me.  Do they teach them manners? Nope.  I do.  Do they teach them to follow instructions? Nope. I do.  Do they even require them to look up when they hear their name? Nope. I do.  And the list goes on and on.  The bar is so low on the behavior that they accept, that it all falls to us in the classroom to corral and wrangle these little ones into a semblance of order.

We could never allow our preschool class of over a dozen children to run wild and do what ever they want every second of the day.  Children would get hurt, the noise level would be frightening, and the environment would prove impossible for any sort of learning.  But I am quite sure that many of my families allow this at home.  This lack of parenting in the long term will be a detriment to these children.  Children who grow up lacking all boundaries continually seek boundaries.  Boundaries show a child who is in charge, which in turn make children feel safe and secure.  Children raised without any boundaries or respect for their parents, have a higher likelihood to be depressed or indulge in risky behaviors in their later years.  The research to prove this has been done, and I personally have seen it in my many years.

I wish I could figure out where this laissez-faire attitude towards parenting is coming from.  These are parents who are by all accounts well-equipped. They are married, educated, and financially secure.  They are lovely people.  They are involved and helpful.  But they don't seem to have the stomach or drive or backbone to parent. They cannot find the strength to make their children listen to them.  They seem frightened of the result of being an authority in their children's lives.  They seem to duck and cover rather than expecting that their child(ren) listen to them or follow any code of behavior.  I am mystified.

When did parenting stop being a verb? Where have all the ringmasters gone? 

I know parenting can be daunting, but that's why it's important start small.  Expect a child to listen when her name is called. Have him make his bed every morning. Give them real consequences if they don't listen but also give real praise for what they accomplish. Have simple expectations of your children and their behavior. This will help them through the years.  I promise it will.

And it may just keep me teaching preschool.