How can you help your kids achieve, accomplish and succeed?
I can go on and on about what is important and what you can do. It certainly is a very lengthy discussion and something that can take days. However I would like to focus on one thing, allowing children to fail. Allow them to try again and be there to cheer them on.
Why do I think that is important? From my experience I am finding that parents are afraid of hurting their children. Either hand holding them without allowing them to fail, while others allow their children to stumble without giving them guidance. It is important to be there as you watch your child take his or her first steps.
So what does this all mean?
Let your child learn how to do things on their own, allow them the taste of failure for success then will be much sweeter. Know, that failure is success.
They have a spelling test? They want to learn how to ride a bike? Be there for them for guidance and encouragement, however do not overwhelm them with your insights. Let them try to figure it out themselves. If they fail encourage them to try again, do not force them. If you will put pressure they will likely choose to give it up. They cannot handle your pressure and the pressure of failure. When you show them that failure is OK for they can learn from their mistakes, they will learn to be softer on themselves. You can show them how to learn from failure with a positive and confident attitude.
At times, a child will want to give up ( after your encouragement and feedback that they should try again) and that is OK. Do not make them feel bad that they did not accomplish their goal. When they will be ready to go for it again it will be with determination that they did not have before.
Your job as a mom or educator is to be there for your children, allow them to make mistakes.
It certainly is not easy watching children fail however the benefits will be long lasting.
At times, too much failure can hurt a child, so how do you know when it is too much? As a mom or teacher you know your child and his or hers frustration levels. Work with them. They might need direct guidance on how to accomplish their goals. Such as if they are studying for a test and are finding themselves overwhelmed and claiming they are dumb and stupid, point out to them what they do know. This can encourage them to continue studying. In addition, ask yourself how do they study best? What do they enjoy? Can that help them with their studying?
They failed a test? That happens. But what are the next steps? Where did they go wrong? Revisit the failure.
When a child is looking to learn how to ride a bike showing them the ropes is important, basic safety is important however if you see them getting frustrated give them time, do not push, encourage their progress. Show them that you care. It is OK to fall off a bike, you just need to stand up again.
Failure is Success:
When the children see you are OK with their failures and you show them how they can grow from failing they will learn to be OK with it as well. Children must know that if they failed once or twice or many many times it does not give them the permission to give up. They should still try again and again. ( they may needs breaks in between however it should be clear to them that you are not allowing them to give it up completely)
Many successes come from failure- learn to fail, you will learn to succeed.
Failure is success, in obscure packaging.
“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that did not succeed”- Thomas Edison
“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”– Winston Churchill
“Failure is the only opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely”- Henry Ford
I can try to sum it up in one long run on sentence. Being a parent or educator you will appear sleep deprived, often hungry, sometimes thrilled, emotionally incapacitated, ecstatic, depressed, hysterical at times, calm and collected other times; simply every oxymoron possible.
Yes, being a parent is not easy. It comes with many ups and downs.
So how can we make it the most wonderful and worthy experience ever?
Let us take a look at what a parent or educator does:
Parenting/ Educator roles:
to nurture and guide a child in all aspects of development- social, emotional, cognitive, and physical.
support and encourage learning
Being a parent or educator means you are there for the children at all times. Every moment of the day you have the opportunity to educate the children. They look up to you as role models and learn to imitate your actions. The way you talk or deal with others will show them how to do so. It does not make a difference what you teach it makes a difference how you actually do so.
Goals for being a parent or educator:
Of course, being a parent is tough and difficult at times. With a proper support system and set goals you can make the job a bit easier. You will benefit from it and so will the children. It is important that as a parent or educator you reach out to other parents or teachers and hear from them. Share thoughts, ideas, things that worked and things that didn’t work. Share your failures as well, let others learn about them and then you did not go through it in vain.
Every parent or educator should have goals in place as well. Think about it, what is the most important thing for your child/ student? It will differ for each child and goals may overlap.
I just spoke to a parent who said her overarching goal for her child is that her child should be an asset to the community. She then outlined what steps she is taking to help her child reach those goals. She volunteers in a shelter a few times a week, she brings home books to read to her child etc. The parent is ensuring that her child understands that it is important to be a giver and sees how her mother is doing just that. There are many avenues that a parent/ educator can take to reach goals, however you first have to know what they are.
In addition, a parent or educator may have many more than one goal. Goals or milestone targets can be for a year or for many years. An overarching goal which is so to say a main goal can be for a lifetime. ( Such as my friend whose overarching goal is for her child to give back to their community).
I suggested to parents that New Years is a great time to sit down with a pen and paper and think, not just what you want to accomplish this year but what you want for your children to accomplish=goals.
Once you have a goal in mind you have to make it attainable. Think of different ways that you can reach that specific goal. Be realistic, life gets in the way, therefore you must make sure that when you set the steps to reach your goal it is something you know you can do. Do not write down to visit the library weekly if the library is a half hour drive from you.
As said, being a parent or educator is surely not easy, yet being prepared for it, makes it seem doable. Plan your goals well and how you will attain them. Know that as a parent you will learn so much and gain from the experience of being a parent or educator. Do not let little things discourage you. Know that you are doing the best you can. You will find yourself discovering new things about yourself everyday, it is a journey not just for the children it is with the children.
Do you want happy children? What does your discipline look like?
The most acceptable ways to discipline has changed over the past few years. Yes, we all know things have changed. However with much research it has shown that positive behavior directly influences children’s behavior and limits the need for discipline.
How does this work?
Work on respect and trust.
The first step is respect and trust, without it children cannot learn. Children can feel when they are in a safe and nurturing environment. How do you do so? Use positive language, be warm and welcoming, engage in positive communications. When you greet a child warmly at the start or at the end of the day- it shows you care about them. Acknowledge them, use their name, notice something new or different, follow up on a previous conversation- ” so how was your night at Grandmas?”
When you show children you care- you listen to their woes or read a book that interests them it helps build a foundation of trust, respect and care.
Structure and Routine
In addition to a warm atmosphere children need structure and routine. The children should know what to expect at the start of the day. Have a set schedule, of course if things come up and you change something let the children know. Do not think the children will not pick it up! Flexibility is important. However it cannot take away from routine.
Children learn better when there is routine. They know what to expect and are not hit with many surprises along the way. Although there are changes throughout the day and children may get lost and frustrated, parents and teachers should prepare them for it. When teachers or parents prepare the children for transitions or changes, children know what to expect and it makes it easier for them to follow the adults expectations. Before you go outside to play, remind children the outside rules and how we walk in the hallway. This indicates the teacher is aware of problems or issues that can arise yet she is prepared to deal with them.
In addition, it is important for children to know a bit of a time frame. Telling children that they have 5 more minutes to play and then 2 minutes.. helps them realize that play time is almost up.
As a parent before you take your children out for a day trip, reminding them of your expectations can help them try to attain it for they know what you want. Telling a child ” why did you run off?” without them knowing it is dangerous or something that should not be done will cause frustration for you and for them. However if you tell them before you go how you expect them to behave you will nip problems before they happen.
Communicate clear expectations
Once you have the atmosphere and structure you need to communicate your expectations of them. These are your rules. What should be your rules? Think it through well, let us call them your “musts”. This is what you must have in order to run an efficient classroom or orderly home. Keep them simple and clear. They can range from-
One person talks at a time to-
we keep our hands and feet to ourselves.
This list of rules should be about 4-5 rules depending on the age group.
Rules should be in a positive manner, such as what we do, not what we don’t do.
Once you have your set of rules, you can expect for them to be broken- aren’t rules meant to be broken? No more! You will need to take the time to reinforce, constantly remind and gently point out and re visit the rules. This is the tough part. That is because you will stick to your rules and ensure that they are followed to a t. In the classroom, I call it transition time, the students are learning what the classroom rules are and are learning that they cannot break them. When a rule is broken that is the perfect time for teachable moments, revisit the rules, reteach if necessary.
Limit your teaching and focus strongly on your classroom routine and rules. This is usually done the first 2-6 weeks of school. However if you missed that don’t fret start now, though beware it might be tougher to emphasize them. Children will not be sure if you will stick to them and they might try to make you break! Be a stickler, for it will make the next few months or years a wonderful time for learning and growth. You will not need to discipline much for you took care of it a while ago!
Acknowledge thoughts or feelings
It is important to remember that children are children. They have thoughts and feelings. When an adult such as a parent or teacher acknowledges their thoughts or feelings it makes children feel empowered and understood. They will feel less inclined to act out for they know that you know they are upset/angry…However it is important to teach children how to deal with their emotions. It is normal to become frustrated and upset at times, however there is a proper way to deal with emotions.
When you show children how you deal with specific emotions, they learn what to do. When you get frustrated that someone did not cap the markers and say- ” Who did not cap the markers? you cannot play with markers anymore this year.” Children see that you can be unreasonable when you get upset. However, when you say something like- ” I am so frustrated that someone forgot to cover the markers and now we have less markers that work. I hope that next time someone will remember to cover them. My favorite color marker is dry, I guess I will use my second favorite color.” Children note that you named your emotion, dealt with it properly and moved on. You can teach children emotions through various ways such as through puppet play or picture cards.
Now how can you enforce the positive behavior that you worked so hard on?
How to Maintain Positive Behavior at home or in the classroom:
Let the children know how they are doing! Are they playing nicely? sharing toys? let them know either through praise or a physical sign such as a high five or thumbs up.
When a child breaks one of the rules there is redirection– remind them the rule and redirect to something positive. such as when you are reading a book and a child talks disrupting the flow you can remind the rule and say “OK remember rule #1, no talking when someone is talking- let us get back to our book and see what happened to the caterpillar.” This is called redirection you are redirecting the child to the task at hand. They usually do not mean to break a rule or disrupt.
When redirection does not work positive reinforcement might do the task-” I love the way Rachel and Sara are sitting..” Reinforce the positive, bring attention to it.
Some times a child may be acting out if something is bothering him/her, they did not sleep well or something is going on at home. If an unusual behavior is continuing on for more than 2 days, I follow up with the parent to clue in to see what is disturbing the child. At times the structure or set up in the classroom is hard for the child to maintain. Work with the parent to figure out what you can do. Keep track when the disturbing behavior is occurring so that it can give you and the parents an indication of why it might occur.
Tools to help children in the classroom:
offer children choices, either we can do this or we can do that
support children- teach them how to regulate emotions and what they can do when they are upset ( cozy corner, quiet time, calm down box)
focus on positive behavior at home and in the classroom
when there is a need to discipline, let it make sense to the children such as when markers are not being used properly they will be put on hold.
develop strategies with the child to help them stay on task, such as a visual cue
Work with the parent that your goals and the parent goals are aligned. There should be the same bedtime goals, responsibility and accountability. This will help the child extend his/her day to their home turf and further his learning and responsibility. Positive behavior guidelines will help you raise happy children.
Is there such a thing as the best cell phone for children?
Cell phones are becoming a need for children of all ages! However, is cell phones for children a must? Currently 21% of children 8 and under own cell phones and 78% of children age 12-17 own a phone!
As in many other things in life there is a good side and bad side.
Yes, cell phones can help keep a child safe- you can know where he is at any given time. You can reach your child and let them know what you need or want; such as ” be home in 10 minutes” or “please, pick up a bottle of milk”. Sure it is convenient at times, however is it absolutely necessary?
There are numerous articles conveying opposing opinions whether children need cell phones or not.
Pros and cons on cell phones for children:
WebMD, is pretty clear with laying out the risks of having a cellphone. When using cell phones there is a possibility that children are exposed to radiation, although additional studies are needed to confirm that. Children might go to sleep later when having a cell phone nearby to keep them company. Cell phones may disturb sleep patterns for children will usually answer a call at any given time. Cell phones may pose a risk for inappropriate socializing and internet use. Children may post texts or pictures that they will later regret. Once something is out on the web it is there to stay. In addition, there is a cause for concern regarding cyber bullying which unfortunately is becoming more common.
However, there are many that counter that there is an answer to all the worries. You can be careful not to hold a phone to close to yourself to minimize possible radiation concerns. Set limits when giving your child a cell phone. This will help a child not use a phone at night, such as cell phones may be used until 10:00 p.m. . In addition, cell phones can be bought without any games or internet, thus slashing the risk of addiction,regret and bullying. Of course many children would admit to wanting internet connection, thus feeding the need for monitoring their usage. There are various apps and programs that can do that.
So, should a child have a cell phone?
You are the parent, you know your child best. You must do what works for you and for your child. Friends may have cell phones however you feel your child is not ready. This is not a matter of peer pressure it is a matter of safety and precaution. Sit down with them, discuss your concerns and re-evaluate.
How do I keep sane when there is a long day at work?
I was at 3 jobs yesterday. My regular job, a consulting job and my mommying job. And I was tired when I came home from my second job. Real, real bone tired. Oh and cranky and in a real ugly, head in a mush mood. Yet, I still had to work. Work at being a mommy. It was not easy. I should capitalize the word not. I made a lot of mistakes, done things I shouldn’t, and said things I wished I didn’t. Yet, I was tired, real bone tired. And it was all my fault.
Why do I say it was my fault?
I should have been prepared. Don’t students have the responsibility to study for a test prior to taking it? Well then, don’t working moms have a responsibility to prepare for their job? I knew it will be a long day. A very long day in fact. However, I figured I would just ride the wave. Boy was I wrong. Riding waves also need prep, real waves and imaginary waves. No surfer would go out to sea without prior preparation and practice.
So, what should I have done differently to help prep for my long day at work? I sat down to write a list to help me do a better job next time. I ran through my day and wrote down what I felt would have been a help to get me through my long day.
How to prepare for a long day at work:
Eat a good healthy breakfast.
Sleep well the night before- I noticed the better I sleep the sharper and quicker I react and think
Prepare lunch for yourself- and find a 5 minute break to eat something, however small it is.
Breathe- practice taking deep long breathes- in from the nose out of the mouth.
Prepare dinner the night before or pre-plan an easy meal to prep!
Had I been a little better prepared, the day would not have been that bad. I was just exhausted and that is what made the day and night so tough. I did have a hearty breakfast however I took no break during the day. In addition, there was no dinner prepared so when I came home from work the children were hungry and so was I. I certainly was not in the mood to cook and being that I do my grocery shopping once a week, I did not have any frozen dinners in the freezer.
Life is busy and I am grateful for that, and many of us have many long days at work, however to keep going and to accomplish remember: “that prep for the day sends the exhaustion away!
How baby talk is different from kid talk and kid talk is different from parent talk.
Talk, talk talk. Don’t we do that all day? However all talk is different talk, yet they are all meant to communicate a need. Each need varies, some may be a need for food or drink while other needs are for emotional support.
Don’t we all know someone that won’t stop talking? Well, that is for a very good reason! Either they are trying to build a relationship with you or they might be looking for emotional companionship or support. Talking, is how they understand they will receive what they need.
When a baby talks they usually mean to communicate an urgent matter, such as “I need a diaper change now”, “I need a drink”. Of course, their talk is usually in the form of crying. When they get older they will point to what they want until they can utter some semblance of speech. When it gets frustrating that a parent does not understand what they want, they will resort to the talk we originally understood, crying.
When a baby cries our natural instinct is to soothe and calm them. This usually has the desired effect on the baby. When parents or caregivers show that they care and look to minimize baby’s distress the crying usually stops.
As a child grown older, speech gets clearer and kids might talk more. Kids talk might be meaningless as they try out new words such as sharing that they are “nauseous” before understanding what that means or that they are” sooooo exhausted!”
However all talk is important! Children at this stage are learning new words daily and are trying to figure out the meaning. They want to see if they can say it too! In addition, when kids talk they are also expressing a need. They look to converse with their parent or caregiver to build a relationship with them. At times, it would be meaningless talk yet they notice if you are nodding along, asking questions and see interested. This in turn builds children’s trust in their caregivers. Parents should let children talk. Do not fill in for them unless they ask or turn for help. Let them try to figure it out on their own. It helps build their language as well.
Having toys or activities to model speech and communication assists children with their talk. Puppets, dolls, dress up clothes go a long way with helping children and kids talk. they get to mimic conversation, share experiences and act out various scenes.
What’s parents talk like? We talk to communicate, we talk to share and laugh, and we talk to foster relationships with those around us. Our talk is there to fill a need as well.
Whether we talk with our children to hear about their day or share what happened in our day it helps build our relationship with them. When we talk to a partner, friend or colleague we gather information, friendship and understanding.
However, when we talk to our children to tell them what to do that is not talk. Instructed our children to clean up or get ready for bed falls in a complete different category of talk. I would consider it semi- talk, the need is there to get the child to complete a task and do what you need them to do however it usually does not foster and help build relationships.
Talking has different levels. Make sure you talk the real talk to your charges. Talk, converse, laugh read and enjoy each others company, build your relationship with others in a positive talking fashion..
Remember the key rule:
“Talk builds communication and communication builds relationships.”
Does having a clean and organized space really help children flourish and learn? I’m sure most parents reading this will get scared saying ” help, my house is a mess!” However, no need to worry if your house is basically organized and all dangerous items are under lock and key. Read on.
It is important to know that, yes, environment affect children. In a safe and productive environment children learn and absorb better. It is important that teachers and parents accommodate children’s needs and know what they can do to help children reach their full potential.
Many children learn better, absorb and remember and feel comfortable asking questions when their environment such as their classroom and home is safe and pleasant. So what does safe and pleasant mean?
According to the ECERS scale – a tool used to assess classrooms says that the environment is all encompassing. Their definition of environment is ” those spatial, programmatic, and interpersonal features that directly affect the children and adults in an early childhood setting.” So yes, the environment affect children.
What are they and how can we ensure that our environment is conducive for our children or students?
The features that they noted that affect children are :
Space and Furnishing, Personal Care Routines Language- Reasoning Activities Interaction Program Structure Parents and staff
Space and Furnishing:
This covers the classroom or if you want to assess your house it will cover your space at home. It includes amount of space, cleanliness, proper lighting, ventilation and any safety hazards. Your goal is to make your house/ classroom comfortable and a pleasure to be there. No child can be in a hot stuffy room whether it is at home or in school.
What can you do to ensure proper and a safe space?
Make sure there is enough light coming in, open the shades.
There should be enough space to move around ( if you live in the city in a tiny space you might need to get your child moving outdoors!)
Keep your classroom neat and orderly. ( Obviously it will get messy though make sure everything has a space :). )
Clean up spills as they happen.
Furniture in house or classroom is in good repair and sturdy – nothing will fall and break on a child.
The ECERS demands a :”cozy corner” or a soft space in the classroom. I use this at home too. It is a safe space for a child to go to if they need time for themselves or some space and quiet.
Is your furniture arrangement thought out? Is the playroom next to the bedroom? A “quiet center next to a “loud center” in your classroom?
Do you foster independence? Do your children or students know where the toys or classroom materials belong? Label the stuff with pictures to help them!
Decorate your house and classroom with the students/ child’s artwork!
Personal Care Routines:
Personal Care includes greeting, meals, nap or bedtime. Do the children have a routine?
What can you do to ensure proper personal care and routines?
Greet them when they wake up or come to school. Wish them a good day.
Teach them how and when to wash their hands properly. Do you know how to?
Make meal time, fun time! Talk to the children as you eat with them. Share experiences.
Ensure that bed/nap time is consistent and timely. It is a relaxed time, perfect for music or books.
Teach children proper toileting procedures. How to wipe themselves properly, flush and wash hands.
Don’t forget to brush teeth!
Anticipate problems and look out for it. You are serving cake and children tend to see who got a bigger piece- anticipate it, dont lose your calm!
Language and Reasoning:
Build your child’s or students language. Read books, talk to them, help them learn and grow!
What you can do to ensure proper Language and Reasoning:
Read, read and read some more. Have a huge variety of books such as fact, fiction, science, people, and animals.
Have materials to encourage talking and sharing such as dolls and puppets.
Talk to your children, ask questions, share new words with them.
Ensure you have various materials covering a wide range of activities. This includes:
fine motor or manipulatives- stringing, beads, puzzles
art- play dough, markers, crayons, collage materials
music- have a cd player available with many cds, let them make music, drum away!
blocks/ building- let them use their imagination to build and engineer.
sand and water table- this is great for children with sensory needs. At home I usually fill up a sink with water and give them some toys and it keeps them busy for hours!
dramatic play center- kitchen materials, dolls, dress up
science- bring in natural materials such as pine cones, differnt color leaves, let them observe them, take care of pet or plant.
math- counting, patterning, color games, various geometric shapes and sizes
Your interaction with the children should be pleasant. Be there for them to help solve problems and conflicts.
How you can ensure proper interactions:
Enjoy being with the children. shoe them you are happy to be with them.
Discipline in a manner that makes sense, in which they will learn, not from anger.
Look out for child’s needs. ( are they thirsty after playing outside?)
Your conversation with them should be 80% pleasant talk and 20% direction or instruction. When you tell them 5 more minutes until clean up or go get dressed that is considered instruction.
Program/ home Structure:
Understand each child’s needs, some may need more time to complete a task.
How can you ensure proper structure?
Be flexible- understand each child.
Let them play!
When you are not consistent them them know. Such as you are planning to go to the park today- prepare them.
Parents and Staff:
Build relationships with your student’s parents or your child’s teachers. Be in touch with them. Let them know if there are any changes and what is going on. As a teacher send home feedback in the form of newsletters or a small handwritten note. As a parent, send in a thank you note or call teachers to brief them on any changes in the home ( baby, move, grandparent visit). A thank you note will go a long way.
Now that you know that things as basic as a warm and loving atmosphere and a safe and clean environment affect children you will hopefully be motivated to make some changes. I know this is a long list with many things to do. Take it one step at a time and you will see it will get easier. A lot of the things go hand in hand. Loads of luck!
I sometimes wonder why people tend to “baby talk”. Why, do we need to speak in a sweet and basically incoherent manner to little children? Why in a sing song? Are they a different species? Do they feel better when spoken to like that? It’s fun to coo to babies but it can be harmful to their language development. Although, singing and talking softly is perfectly OK, when the talk becomes incoherent or sounds gibberish it impedes development.
How vocabulary can impact children:
When children are spoken to in full clear sentences they tend to speak faster and with a better vocabulary. Of course, this is not always the case, however to give your children the step ahead, change the way you talk.
There are many studies that show that talking and reading to children improve brain development. In addition, it boosts the child’s language skills that will have tremendous benefits even helping them with math in their later years.
Let conversation be conversation. When asking children questions, do not ask for one word answers! Question students and children to think before replying. This will help them build their cognitive and language skills and acquisition. Take a look at great questions below you will be surprised at the great responses you can get.
How to improve your children’s or students vocabulary:
When reading a book, read the words written do not input your own words.
Let children talk in full sentences. When they point to a cup and they say “drink” say- ” oh, you want a drink- ask, can I please have a drink?”
Interchange words often such as say ” This is very nice, it is magnificent.”
Talk and talk- have a conversation with them, ask questions and wait for answers
Model and talk as you do something- ” I am going to write a note now.”
It is important to note that each age level has different capabilities however with all ages keep to the basics. No sweet talk, read and talk full sentences. Read and read some more.
Do you think it is a dream to visit the doctor without crying children?
Yup, my dream is to visit the doctor without crying. I just had a well visit today with my little one. I tried to prepare her and told her what she can expect. At first when she waved goodbye to her older sisters she was so excited with the mommy time that she was singing that she is going to visit the doctor!
When pulling up to the office she was still calm and relaxed and then you guessed it we walked in. The waiting room was in chaos. There were many children there. Many unhappy, crying children. Many tired and anxious mommies. Oh boy, it seems like it will be a loooong visit!
5 minutes later, the little girl sitting next to me, said she wants to go home. the wait was getting long and we were impatient yet I was prepared!
Prepared for the visit:
I revisited our little discussion we had in the morning, what we can expect from the visit and why we visit doctors. The parents and some children actually stopped with their noise making to listen in as I was schmoozing with my little one. We were comparing the amount of shots I had and how many my daughter had, the different types of doctors and if she wants to become a doctor when she grows up.
When she grew tired of all the mommy talk and as my girls call it teacher talk, I pulled out a book that I keep stored away for special occasions like these. That made it one happy little girl!
I had a ready goody bag on me! Crayons, books and small toys. When we entered the room where the doctor check her patients, my little girl was calm and relaxed. Yay!
We were informed we had a wait time of 30 minutes for the doctor to come in. Now for a little girl in a small room with lots of scary looking equipment 30 minutes feels like a lifetime. All I can say was I was keeping her engaged in conversation and storytelling. Yes, my mouth really hurt when we finally left!
Alas! Doctor came in and finished rather quickly. My daughter knew that the faster and better she behaves the faster she will be out of there.
Honestly, I am grateful that the visit was pretty much uneventful and my daughter was really good.
What helped me at the doctors office:
My little one was very well prepared. She knew what the doctor will check and how.
The visit was not a surprise.
I came well prepared not just with my goody bag but a hearty breakfast.
My daughter slept well the night before and ate well the day of the visit.
Can you think of anything else?
And oh yea, when I left the office the mommies all wanted to know the magic powder I used, that I was able to visit the doctor without crying. 🙂