We all want to be a good parent or do we?

What does it take to be a good parent?

a good parent

What does it mean to be a good parent? We all want to be a good parent or at  least we try or think we are one.

Being a good parent means something else for everyone. For some  being a good parent is giving your children a good time, others a wholesome education and environment, while for others it means being there for your children. However, when we say we want to be a good parent we probably mean to say that  we are hoping to parent well and bring up our children  to be responsible, caring adults that will contribute to our community, environment, culture or nation.

Yes, that is when we look at the final result. Of course it takes a long time to get there however we got to start when they are young! It is a process and of course does not happen overnight, yet small steps become big accomplishments, and these small steps is what we initially see as parenting well.

What contributes to being a good parent?

  • expressing love
  • creating structure
  • being a role model
  • taking care of all physical and emotional needs
  • providing for our children, such as an education and things they need ( that is in italics for a reason we are not looking to unnecessarily spoil them, something extra is nice when it is done occasionally not on a day to day basis..)
  • give your children your full attention, be there for them

What can we do to be good parents?

  • don’t feel guilty when you slip
  • make easy resolutions- things you can keep
  • enjoy motherhood
  • take care of yourself as you are taking care of your kids
  • check in often with your children and yourself

I know it sounds so simple, however it really isn’t! It is so much easier to yell at a child when we feel frustration and pain. However we must remember that yelling does not help us raise good children. It might be our first reaction to something a child did that we did not like  and if we slipped, apologize and pick up the pieces and start again. Hopefully it will become a habit. Yelling does harm a child if it is not done often and the child feels the love and concern and knows that parent is there for them.

Children need to know that we love them even though they make mistakes and yet children need structure to know what is OK and what isn’t. It is a fine balance, a teeter totter you will have to trot, however the results are worth it all.

Remember- being a good parent is a lifetime of work, even when the children are grown, all living things need love to blossom! You can never say ” I love you too many times!”

 

Can you teach others to take initiative?

Did you think taking initiative is simple as 123? Think again! It is a work in progress to teach others to take initiative, if they were not born with “that gene.” Yet do not fret there are ways you can teach it to others!

take initiative

What does taking initiative even mean? To take initiative is usually to start something such as  a plan or action. If someone takes initiative it means they are usually the first ones doing that specific task. Sounds fun? It certainly isn’t for some people! Taking initiative might be difficult for many.

What are the obstacles to taking the initiative?

  • lack of self confidence
  • lack of know how

Most of the time a person is afraid of failure and ridicule resulting from lack of self confidence that does not allow them to be the start of a project, goal  or idea. We need to change this mindset to get others to take initiative.

Many people have great ideas yet they are afraid to share them so how can we get it heard? Of course, building self confidence will help but so will showing others how to take the initiative to get something started.

Showing children and adults how to step it up is easier said than done, though it certainly can make things much easier for you as a mom, teacher, educator or supervisor.

How can you get others to take initiative?

  1. Give others the tools. Break down tasks for them on a simple level.

    Child: ” There are no tissues in the bathroom”
    Mom: ” Do you know where we keep them?”
    Child: “Yes”
    Mom: “Can you reach them?”
    Child: “Yes”
    Mom: ” Can you please go get some and place them in the bathroom?”
    Child: “OK”
    Mom: “Thank you for your help, now next time you need some tissues you know where to find them.

    See how the task was broken up by making sure child knows what it is needed, knows where to find it, has the tools for retrieving it ( can reach it) and a push for the next time ( compliment).

  2. Model it– If you want others to learn, do it yourself the first time. It may sound weird yet it works! Talk out loud as you go about a task. ” Oh I see that next week there is a deadline, in order for us to meet it we must accomplish abcd….” or” I see the bathroom is lacking tissues that means I must go get some…”
  3. Take a step back– acknowledge the issue and let others step up. ” I see we need some tissues…”
  4. Compliment and Comment– If someone starts to take the initiative, compliment them for it fuels them to continue and wanting to do it more often. Do not say how it can be done better, believe me they will learn.

” Take the initiative by allowing others to take initiative”

 

 

What are the five love languages?

Learn your child’s love language:

the five love languages

Love makes the world a sweeter place. Everyone needs to feel loved in order to blossom and yet everyone feels love differently. For some a gift expresses that emotion and for others a kiss.

According to Gary Chapman there are 5 different ways to show love. What can you do to speak straight to your child’s  heart?  Showing them love in their language!

The 5 different love languages:

  1. Words of Affirmation – Kind and encouraging words mean a lot to those who fall in this category. Compliments are words gift wrapped. The opposite holds true harsh words and criticism is like a knife cutting through them.
  2. Acts of Service- Receiving assistance in times of need, speaks a lot to those whose love language is through acts of service. This includes being helped with household chores, homework, and other responsibilities. Words like “let me help you” mean a lot.
  3. Receiving Gifts- The idea of receiving a gift and  the thoughts behind it mean a tremendous amount to those whom speak this language. It shows them that they are loved, cared for and mean a lot to the giver.
  4. Quality time- Undivided attention along with quality conversation and actions mean a lot to those who fall under this category. Being fully present for the other person without any distractions such as the phone, TV or food, shows true love to those whose love language is quality time.
  5. Physical touch- a person who’s love language is physical touch likes to be touched. This includes holding hands, a pat on the back, hugs, kisses, and caresses. 

How to find out your child’s love language:

Young children have a difficult time sharing with you what means a lot to them.

As an infant, physical touch and being there for your child is a necessity however as the child grows older they will develop their own love language, which may not include physical touch.

So what should you do to find out your child’s/ students love language?

It may be helpful to have a conversation with your child asking them how they know mommy loves them and listening to what they are saying.

Having a conversation and asking children what they prefer can show you a lot about them-

” Would you like me to massage you now ( physical touch) or should we rather read a book together? ” ( quality time)

“Should I write a story why I think you are special ( words of affirmation) or should we open the gift?” ( receiving gifts)

As you start giving a choice you will see a pattern emerge of your child’s preference. Asking once is not enough!

What is your love language? How do you show and like to receive love?

What is your parenting style?

Do you have a parenting style?

different parenting styles

We all have different personalities, likes and dislikes causing us to have different parenting styles. However it is important to meet the basic needs of each child.

The four parenting styles are the ones most commonly referred to and parents usually fall in range between two of them. It is important to note that if you see yourself in a style that may not be healthy for your child to seek assistance.

Let us find out your parenting style and give you the tools to parent effectively:

The four parenting styles:

  1. Authoritative– High parental expectation of the child while being supportive and understanding.
  2. Neglectful- not recognizing children’s need for basics, such as warmth, food, clothing, physical affection
  3. Permissive–  parents whom like to indulge and spoil their children
  4. Authoritarian– demanding parents without support, expecting children to meet demands without showing them how to attain them and giving them the tools

Indicators of the 4 parenting styles:

Authoritative:

  • structure in the household- bedtime routines, rules
  • reasonable consequences if a rule is broken
  • open communication with child without fear of punishment

Neglectful:

  • child’s needs are not met whether it is physical or emotional
  • no knowledge of child’s feelings, personal and social life
  • not present for child whether at home, school functions and/ or events

Permissive:

  • inconsistent rules
  •  lack of structure or routine- for there is a want to please the child
  • bribing children
  • afraid of child’s outburst or frustration

Authoritarian:

  • strict household rules that never bend
  • unreasonable demands of the child
  • insisting the child listen without explanation
  • child is not allowed to make decisions or choices

Authoritative parenting helps children grow into responsible adults with a sense of security and understanding. Although at times it may be difficult for a child to accept parents demands they usually see that it is coming from a place of caring for the child and not selfish demands from the parents. Neglectful parenting is harmful for the child, for without the basic needs a child cannot learn and grow properly.

Neglectful children tend to grow up and neglect others for they did not learn proper relationship and communication skills.

Children whose parents were permissive throughout their childhood years have a tendency to be lacking in self control and grow up into demanding adults. They had seen that as a child by whining or complaining they got their way, thinking it might work as they grow older. They usually are self centered and do not respect authority.

Children of authoritarian parents may be noticed by low self esteem, constant anxiety and a wish to please others.

Although as parent we usually mix and match parenting styles it is important to keep in mind the effects of each style. Know that structure and support help build a child while the lack of it may break a child.

Are you Afraid of children?

fear of childrenDoes your stomach drop before entering a classroom or as your children walk through the door?

Some of you may laugh at the question, others would silently nod and ask how I know, while a few might say no and suggest otherwise.

Children do not instill fear, it may be their actions or behavior that can instill fear in adults. In addition fear is very encompassing. A teacher might be afraid that her students will not behave and listen to her lesson while a mom might have a fear that when the child walks in the whole house disrupts.

There are many different ways to deal with such a situation. However, as an educator and one who observes classrooms regularly as well as being a mom, the biggest and most harmful issue is when the child feels or knows that the adult is afraid or uncomfortable around  them.

As adults we must instill in our children a feeling of security and strength. By showing that one is afraid of their child it ruins the stability and foundation that a child needs in order to blossom. Showing fear in face of adversity is different and not what is being discussed.

When parents are high strung before the child comes home and is seemingly irritated or when a teacher seems to be  unsure of themselves and uncomfortable  and lost in the classroom, it makes the children feel at unease and lost too.

When you show a child that you are afraid/ uncomfortable around them it indicates to the child that their caretaker is weak, and vulnerable and incapable of caring for them correctly. Thus they might feel compelled to take advantage of the situation and behave in the way you had feared; acting out, misbehavior, trouble and so on. Therefore it is extremely important that as a teacher, educator or parent you do not let your fear stand in the way of educating your child.

Fear of Children? Keep your feelings to yourself and deal with it head on:

How can you do so?

  1. Know that you are in charge- it is your house or classroom and the child cannot dictate how to act
  2. show confidence in what you say even if you do not feel it, stand straight and make eye contact
  3. stand to the ground and stick to it if you say something then follow through on your actions
  4. do not discipline without thinking it through and letting the child know the consequence of their actions
  5. review and revisit rules
  6. be proactive try to stop the behavior before it actually happens

When you show a child that you mean business and there is no fooling around with you, children realize they must comply with your wishes.

As long as your being reasonable, fair and taking the child’s needs into consideration you should know that you are doing the best to educate and discipline your child. Be confident!

Why saying “good job” isn’t good enough

Change your compliment tune!

Stop the “Good job” Domino Effect!

Have you ever experienced meeting a friend or acquaintance on the street, them stopping and politely asking ” how are you?” and then continuing on to walk without waiting for a response?

Some things go in one ear and out another and I am positive that you did not either bother responding to that query in full.

Life is hectic and busy and many of us choose what we want to hear. Being that the “hi how are you?” question is usually posed out of politeness and not actual interest, most people do not respond appropriately and if they do they are likely not even heard.

So too, a comment such as good job, does not hold much merit. It usually goes in one ear and out the other without processing what the speaker meant. The words are unfortunately overused and therefore not fully appreciated.

When a child is told good job on work they have done, they too usually accept the praise and continue on. The words are not something that they will remember. They would not come home saying:” Mom, my teacher told me good job today.” However should you change your tune and comment otherwise it is highly likely the children would react differently.

Imagine you would tell a child:” David, this is magnificent, I love the way you blended the colors.” or ” Rachel, you are sitting so nicely…” A child would appreciate that comment more and it would mean more to them.

Why?

The words are coming from your heart not from your mouth! It is something that you processed and shared with them. Saying good job is something that as a parent or teacher is often at the tip of your tongue. Commenting on specifics show the children you are fully acknowledging  their behavior or work.

What else can you say beside for good job?

  • Be specific!

You like the way they are sitting, say so. You like the way they worked on their project, say so. Let them know what pleased you.

  • Notice the details.

Take a closer look at their work or behavior.

  • Give feedback.

Comment on the effort they put in to doing something right.

  • Ask.

Ask them how they accomplished a certain task. This will make them feel good, build self confidence and will also help with communication skills.

Use your words wisely. Do not cheapen them with the “hi, how are you” sing song or the “good job” sayings. Change your tune to change the way your child will accept and hear your compliments!

 

Quick and Easy Questions to ask a child

Are Questions Really Important?

Do you know that questions play an important role in your communication with your children and students?

Questions are important. They help you understand what the child is thinking and can help you gauge their understanding of a lesson or discussion. In addition, questioning helps you delve into your little ones mind and teach you many things you did not know about your child. It helps you learn many new things too about your child, such as their likes, dislikes fear and successes!

Questioning is also a form of communication and relationship building. That means it helps you form a stronger bond with the child. How is that done? By simply questioning a child you show you care and want to know more about them.

Enough with the introduction what type of questions am I talking about? And when can you ask questions.

Questions can be asked any place anytime and anywhere, just make sure not to overdo it and frustrate the child!

Great time to ask child friendly Questions:

  • lunch or dinner time
  • after reading a book
  • after teaching a lesson
  • during/ after a class trip/ vacation or activity
  • when children show you their art work
  • when children pose a question to you
questions to ask a child
Examples of great questions to ask a child:
  • What did you do yesterday?
  • How would you feel if the character in the book did….?
  • When would be a good time to copy the characters in the book,and why?
  • What do you think will happen to the character in the book if he does…?
  • Who was your favorite character in the book, why?
  • What was your favorite part of the trip, why?
  • What did you draw? ( don’t tell them, “oh I see you drew water and a house!”- ask!)
  • …”my favorite color is red, what is yours?”

You may notice a pattern with the questionings. Most of the questions begin with the w’s: who, what, where, when and why. The w questions along with how allow children to expand on your question without there being one correct answer. This allows children to think before responding and each of them can answer differently, yet still have a great response to the question posed!

This works great supper time, when my children are sitting around the table, I like to ask them what their favorite part of the day was and why. There are so many great questions to ask!

Once you get into the routine of asking questions, children will get used to responding. This is turn will build a stronger bond with them as you learn more about them and hear what they have to say.

Go ahead, ask away!

 

5 Quick tips to New Teachers

Quick tips for teachers or moms to make your day easier:

Are you walking into a classroom for the first time? Or are you a mom that just needs some gentle reminders? Take a look at the quick tips for teachers and moms.

Regardless of who you are, remember these tips for a great day!

5 quick tips for teachers and moms

#1. Never give an empty threat– if you are having a hard time in the class or at home and you are trying to gain back control  it is so easy to fall into the rut of threatening, anything just anything. Regardless if you mean it or not.

However, it is important to know that children will notice you do not mean it and will stop taking your word. It actually does much worse than not doing anything! Firstly they will be less likely to believe you the next time you discipline and secondly you are diminishing your respect in their eyes.

#2 Catch children doing good– if you notice great behavior, share it with the class. Let them know how you expect them to behave by complimenting the behavior you want imitated.

#3. Clear Expectations- Are you sure the children know what you expect of them? Did you clearly explain and ensure they all understand? Modeling behavior and actions is helpful for children and they can relate to it more easily than abstract rules.

#4 Appropriate for their age level- Are your expectation on par for their age? Sometimes expectations are either too low or too high for the children. Asking an eight year old to make dinner is too of a complicating task. All children can help with household or classroom duties however they need to be on par with what they can do. Asking a Pre -k child to take care of her lunch plate is perfectly reasonable and a great way to teach responsibility and ownership.

#5 Keep your relationship in mind- Build your relationship with your child or student with kind words. Show them you care and want to hear what is going on.

 

Who are teacher assistants?

job description of a teacher assistant

 

Job Description of a teacher assistant:

If you think that all a teacher assistant does is to help their teacher, think again.

Teacher assistants are very important to the classroom environment and play an important and integral role in the education and efficiency of the classroom.

 Teacher assistants play an important role:

Although they certainly help in the classroom they do so much more that that. Assistants tend to develop very strong relationships with the students for they may spend more time with them than the actual teacher. In addition, teacher assistants do not have the concern of meeting and completing lesson plans and therefore can be more available for your child. Build your relationship with them as well for they are capable of looking out and caring for your child while the teacher is teaching. Assistants may know your child better than the teacher for they have the time to observe and interact with them.

The Teacher Assistants Job:

As an assistant your job is to be there truly for your class. Your teacher might be busy with the basic tasks of running a classroom and you do not have that worry. Therefore expend your energies on the children. Get to know them, learn their likes and dislikes, converse with them. Have meaningful daily conversations with the children. Do not just comment; compliment and question. Ask them how their night was, how dinner was by grandma, what their favorite book is etc. Show your interest in their daily lives. This will show the child you care and will build trust and love. They will feel secure in your surroundings and share their concerns and emotions.

As an assistant you are lucky not to be consumed and too heavily burdened to meet curriculum goals, use it to your advantage. You may notice things before the teacher. Mention them to your teacher before issues or concerns crop up. You should be proactive when it comes to this. Of course, you must help your teacher reach her goals and assist in the classroom management, however as an assistant you have more time on your hands than the teacher.

Make a Great Assistant!

I like to suggest that the teacher assistant should choose a child a week to focus on relationship building. This does not mean to ignore the other children yet to ask more questions and focus a bit more on a specific child that specific week, in mind to do this to all the children. When the child you chose for the week to work with enters the room, be sure to engage him or her in conversation. Try to have a minimum of 3 interactions each day with that child. Do this until you have given special time to each child in the classroom.

Many times children that are not too needy or disobedient may not be noticed or complimented for their good behavior. This gives you the opportunity to notice each and every child and to ensure each and every child receives the love, care and concern they deserve. Keep a notebook to remember which child you have worked with.

Furthermore, as an assistant you should focus on building your relationship with the teacher. Know that although the teacher is your superior you are still responsible for building a relationship with him/her. Knowing your teachers likes and dislikes, habits and concerns can make the classroom a real pleasant place to be. See how you can further assist your teacher with his or her goals. See what triggers him/her. Be kind and caring as well. A teacher has a lot on their plate and you can ease the burden. Offer your  help, it will be appreciated. In return, you will see that you will enjoy coming to work and spending time with the people you love.

Wow! A teacher assistant really works hard. Yet do not worry all that work will be worth it and pay off in the long run.

Best of luck!

 

Motivating Children and Students

motivating children and students

Motivating children and kids to do what they should:

School is beginning and many of us wonder how to motivate our children and students to either do better in school, complete assignments on time, do homework without nudging etc. You get the picture.

The gist of motivation is that everyone gets inspired differently. You need to find out what it takes to get each child or adult motivated. For some children it can be a kind word yet others need some more.

Understanding Motivation:

To get people to do things they generally do not want to do can be tough. Many of us turn to rewards, bribery or punishment however that undermines our goal to get children to things on their own without us telling them to do so. That is because children will learn to do something based on the reward. In addition, the reward must  always be available and at times it can get redundant and children will feel it is not worth the work for the reward anymore.

Such as, if you are giving a jelly each time they complete their homework, they can decide the effort involved in completing their homework is not worth the jelly or they are sick and tired of jellies! In addition, you must always have a jelly on hand to get them to do their homework. Is that worth it?

Thus the best way to motivate them is to give them the inner satisfaction for a completed job. Of course, it is simple to say that yet much harder to get the children and students there. However once they have the opportunity to taste  the feeling of satisfaction, it will supersede the want for any physical reward, and will keep them motivated to go for some more of that feeling.

How can you give your child the feeling of inner satisfaction?

  1. Use your words– compliment, praise the effort the child put in. Say “I noticed you are trying really hard.” That will get them to try even harder. ” Wow, you just cleaned up your room..”. When a child feels they are being acknowledged and supported they feel a want to please.
  2. Understand where the child is coming from– If a child does not want to do their homework, ask yourself why. Is it because they do not understand the work or is it because they need some time for themselves to relax after a day at school. Once you understand and show some empathy, strategize with the child to see what you can do to make it easier to get the task completed.  “What will help you do your homework better?” Child can say they need a quiet space to work and then figure out where to set up the child in a space that meets their requirements to do their homework.
  3. Give Feedback– when a child does something let them know how they did. “Look  you finished your job early so now you have extra time to play.” Let them see for themselves the pros and cons of either doing or not doing their job on time. When you see a child did something positive – catch them doing something right, praise and acknowledge them. It is never too late to give positive feedback. ” Yesterday you made me so proud when you cleaned up the toys without me telling you to do so.”
Children want to please

Students and children alike want to please their parents and caregivers. When they see that their actions cause satisfaction for themselves and for those whom they love they would be more willing to continue doing the action that caused it.

 

Know that as a parent or educator you are capable for helping kids reach for the stars. Be careful to model proper behavior, motivation and watch your words!

” Use your words kindly and often, for you will see the fruits of your labor rather quickly.”