Monday, August 13, 2018
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Children love to experience new things. When they experience new things, they love to talk about them. I see this everyday at preschool. My little ones are bursting with excitement when we do something new, or introduce a new toy or activity to our classroom. And they love to tell me all about the new or different things they have experienced at home.
I remember teaching a student who never had anything to talk about at sharing time except his experience playing Minecraft. Over and over again, when the other little ones were recounting a visit to the zoo, or a movie they had seen, or a playdate they had enjoyed; this little guy would offer up his gaming experiences. The other children had a hard time relating to him, because they were not as familiar with his game. And he had a difficult time relating to them, because on some level I know he felt as if he had missed out. He had not been to the zoo, read books from the library, played at the park. I felt so sorry for this boy. He had two loving and successful parents, but they had fallen into a pattern of allowing their son to play on an i-pad for hours on end. It was sad to think about all the time this little boy had spent doing this one activity while his young brain was being developed--and all the experiences he could have been having if the game was not part of his daily routine.
Each time you introduce your child to something new, you are growing their brain! You are introducing new concepts to them. You are helping them experience the world around them. Children love this and NEED this. We live in a time where children can be put to the side on devises, and be completely cut off from real world experiences. To me, this is a form of child abuse. Children need real world experiences and it is our responsibility as parents and teachers to make sure that they are exposed to new and different activities and environments.
So please, put down your phone. Close up your tablet. Power off your computer and go play with your child. Give your child the gift of new experiences--and have some fun, together!
Friday, September 8, 2017
Thursday, April 6, 2017
I was so lucky to attend a Cubs Spring Training Game last week. The weather was beautiful in sunny Arizona. The Cubs didn't disappoint either, hitting home runs and making incredible defensive plays. It was a beautiful afternoon and I was so thankful to be there with my husband. There were families sitting near us, and the children in those families didn't share my sentiments.
First, let me explain that we had splurged on excellent seats. We were in the second row, directly behind the Cubs dugout. Seated both in front of us and behind us were two families. The family in the first row was a dad and his two young boys (around 6 and 8 years old). The dad spent the game leaving his seat to buy the two boys shirts, nachos (which ended up uneaten on the ground), and finally ice cream. The older boy threw a fit because his dad did not bring him the flavor of ice cream that he wanted. He ranted and raved at the dad, and dad apologized over and over again. Near the end of the game, they left and left the new shirts in their bag on the ground. Keep in mind, these boys were in FRONT ROW SEATS! They had better seats than anyone else at the game. This idea was clearly not brought to their attention.
Behind us was a family with older children. Mom left this family near the end of the game to buy cotton candy for her middle school age daughter. She was gone a long time. When she returned, she told her daughter that she waited in a very long line and when she finally got to the front, they were all out of cotton candy. The daughter got very upset and began throwing a fit that her mom didn't try another counter or find the cotton candy that she wanted. As a side note, this family had already enjoyed a complete lunch, when Mom had gone and gotten burgers and fries and drinks for the family.But once again, Mom felt guilty and apologized over and over again.
We need to do better, parents!!!! If we don't teach our children to appreciate the things we give them, then why are we surprised when they grow up to be entitled, unhappy and ungrateful. Why were these parents apologizing to their kids, in the midst of giving their children such a wonderful experience? I found it difficult to hold my tongue and listen to these apologetic parents, while their children sat in the best seats in the entire stadium. Thousands of other people were less fortunate than these families but clearly this lesson was lost on the children. Where is the active teaching of thankfulness and appreciation? Here are some suggestions to help teach these important lessons to our kids, so that we as parents can develop empathy and appreciation in our children.
1. Model Thankful Behavior: Kids learn what they live. Show them you appreciate things in your life by thanking your spouse, children and others when they give you something or make you feel happy.
2. Pray: Say a prayer of thankfulness before meals or before bedtime with your children. This practice of thinking outside one's self is an amazing way to pass on the lesson of being grateful for simple things like food, a warm house, a comfy bed, our loved ones, etc.
3. Help Others: Nothing breeds gratefulness like the realization that everyone doesn't have what you have. Donate food to a food pantry and discuss with your children that some don't have enough to eat. Donate clothes to a charity and discuss that some children don't get new clothes. You get the idea. Generous people are grateful people.
4. Teach Polite Words: Start when your children are small, requiring them to use polite words. Expect them to ask for things with polite words "Please may I have" and regularly use "thank you" when they receive something. Remind them that at birthday celebrations and other gift centered times, each gift requires a verbal thank you.
5. Write Thank You Notes: Teaching children to send thank you notes helps them acknowledge that they appreciate a gift. This is a wonderful exercise in appreciation, and a skill they will need through out their lives.
These five tips will go a long way in helping your children realize the blessings in their lives. Small lessons over time make a huge difference. Embrace thankfulness in your own heart and life, and see it spill over into the attitude of your entire family.
For more ideas go to this helpful post:http://www.purewow.com/family/how-to-teach-kids-gratitude
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Monday, August 15, 2016
I had asked my son (who is 21 years old) to renew his passport this summer. He was home on Summer break from college, and was attending two summer school classes and doing odd jobs--so I knew he had some responsibilities in addition to this request, but last week as he prepared to return to college this task remained unfinished. I had reminded him multiple times throughout the summer but to no avail.
Two days before he was to leave he began asking me questions about what to do and how to accomplish this task. Needless to say, I was a little frustrated. But I made a conscious decision to hold back. I did not jump in to help him figure the process out. I did not run and find his birth certificate as he requested. I told him where to look for the documents and tried to refrain from answering any of his questions. All of this did not come easily to me especially as he became angry at my hands off approach. The frustrated parent in me wanted to just handle this myself. But a little voice inside of my brain kept urging me to stay out of the process and let him figure this out on his own.
Did I mention he was leaving for college in two days? Did I mention the mother's guilt that kicked in, when I thought about how I would not be seeing him for the next few months? This whole situation was as much a struggle for me as it was for him...but I stayed strong. I left it all to him--and he got it done.
This situation is an example of how difficult it can be as a parent to allow our children to grow. Although Michael is not a child any more, I can remember other times in the years when my four children were at home that my husband and I consciously pulled back to allow them to grow.
What ways do you allow your children to grow? Do you have them do chores in your home? Do you ask your 'tweens to babysit their younger siblings, or pick up the phone and order a pizza for your family's dinner? Do you have your little ones clean up their toys or practice good manners while visiting someone's home? Growth only happens when parents take the time to pull back and encourage their child to take ownership of his/her own behavior. It is a constant challenge for a loving parent to know when to hold back and allow your child to step up.
At the beginning of the school year, my preschool students often are scared to leave their moms and dads at the door and come into the classroom, but with a final hug goodbye--we encourage the parents to go, as we assure them that we will call if their child is inconsolable. This exercise is often more difficult on the parent than the child.
So Parents, please remember to hold back because: every new experience is an opportunity for growth. And this is a parenting skill you will be practicing for many years to come!
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