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.”

 

Review before you start anew! Review the Lesson!

review a lesson

 

Don’t start Teaching without this!

Why it is important to review a lesson:

School is starting however are your students or children really prepared? Before you can embark on new lessons, subjects and teachings, reviewing the old stuff has advantages.

Many lessons depend on previous knowledge, therefore before you begin teaching make sure the children have the fundamentals to understand and follow what you will begin teaching. In addition, reviewing old lessons will help the brain to fire up and begin working after a long lazy summer.

Of course, it is best to review shortly after a lesson was taught, however that unfortunately does not always happen. Therefore, try to summarize and review previous lessons taught before delving into new material.

Best ways to Review last years lessons with your Child or Students:
  1. Take a look at the work your child brought home before summer vacation, was there any summer homework? Any sheets that you can use as a review?
  2. If you are a teacher reach out to your students’ previous teacher and ask for the last few worksheets the students received. Use those to kick-start your lesson and your students brains.

Once the lesson was taught let us take a look at a great ways to review the lesson:

 

Reviewing the lesson:

  • K-W-L chart- this stands for what you Know, what you Want to know, and what you Learned. Before you begin the lesson, assess children on what they already know. Then ask the children what they would like to know and learn about the subject you are learning. After the lesson is complete let the children share what they learned throughout the lesson. I keep the chart handy and always refer back to it as the lesson proceeds. Once the lesson is complete I like to hang it up for reference.
  • Book Review- books are a great way to review a lesson and help children remember what was taught through a story line. Many children remember stories more than they remember lessons. If you can find an appropriate book to cement the lesson that is a great addition. This works especially well for pre-schoool. Most of my lessons actually revolve around books. However for older grades you can find books too that would make the lesson all the clearer.
  • Image Imagination- let the children draw an image in their minds eye with eyes closed as you review the lesson. This will help them retrieve information when they imagine the image they used to describe the lesson.
  • Write it down- writing down the lesson is a great way to review it. For younger children you can use pictures.

Good luck on the reviewing, and remember reviewing is the first step to remembering!

How to prep for a new school year

Prep for a new school year:

Summer is almost over and that means that a new school year is almost upon us- yikes! That thought, I hope is allowing some butterflies in, yet is laced with anticipation and excitement.

We should look forward to new beginnings, however that is not the case with many of us, why? There are numerous reasons ranging from feeling unprepared, nervousness, worry, sad to see the freedom of summer go etc. However were we to capture those feeling and deal with each one, we can make the start of the school year a new beginning in more  ways than one.

In order to make the school year a smooth start and transition for all, we have to prepare for it. Would we go on a vacation without any plans and expect to be relaxed and enjoy? So too, we should not enter the year without any prior planning.

How to be fully prepared and relaxed for the start of the school year:

  1. Find out what emotion you are experiencing and understand where that is coming from. Once you understand that will you be able to address that emotion and take it to the next level. example: you are nervous 
  2. Address the feeling-now that you understand that you are nervous ask yourself why you are feeling that emotion. example: now that you know you are nervous, ask yourself why? It might be that is coming from stress that you would not have enough time to prepare for the school year.
  3. Deal with the feeling-What can you to help you minimize that emotion? 

Many times it is the discovering the feeling, sorting and addressing the emotion that makes you feel validated and able to move on to the next step to ensure that you do not experience the negative emotion again.

Now that you know what you are feeling and why, how can you make that go away? Ask yourself what would make you feel better?

Many times preparation is the key to your answer. Should you prepare beforehand and not wait until the last minute, everything is ready for the school year to start can minimize the sinking in your stomach feeling.

Easy tips to ensure a successful start to the school year:

  • take the quiet time during the summer to reflect on your past school year, what worked what didn’t and what needs tweaking and allow that to be your focus
  • take time for yourself- was there a professional development you wanted to attend or something you want to learn more about to give you additional tools and make you feel better prepared?
  • write a to do list in order of importance and cross off an important task and and enjoyable task everyday
  • try not to leave anything for the last minute, prepare your mailings, your signs, name tags you name it, start early when you do not feel so rushed.

Although these are great tips they may not work for anyone. You must know yourself to help yourself. If you are nervous that you will have a difficult class always ask yourself what is there that you can do that will make you feel better and calmer. You cannot ask yourself this the day before school is about to begin, ask yourself the last day of the prior school year. Preparation is key to a smooth beginning. If attending behavior management classes will make you feel better armed then do so. If having all your copies neatly stacked up will make you feel less worried then get it done.

How to prepare yourself as a parent for the first day of school for your child:

As a parent you may also feel various emotions at the start of the school year. The answer is the same, address and deal with the emotion. Are you worried that your child will not be in the same class as her best friend? Ask yourself what can you do to make yourself feel better about it and do something about it! Perhaps your child is not that concerned and therefore you do not need to be. Discuss it and address it. Do not wake up last minute!

Did your child have a difficult year last year and you are afraid for that to repeat? Ask yourself what you can do about it and address the situation.

Always remember- “Being nervous won’t help you, addressing the emotion would.”

How do you deal with the first days of school?

 

Exercise for kids:

Exercise for Kids:

Getting kids moving is important. It is a great way to build muscle, endurance and flexibility. there are many different exercises that you can do, start off with one and get moving.

Why is exercise important for children?

Exercise helps maintain a healthy body weight while building muscles. In addition, exercise helps improve motor coordination and helps to develop motor skills.

Regular physical activity and movement helps ward off chronic disease.

There are different types of exercises that are children can do.

Running, biking, walking, swimming are all great exercise, however if you want to chin up and work out when the weather is not the greatest, try these.  Join your students or children on the floor and get going!

exercise for kids

Great exercise for kids at home or in school:

  1. Push Ups

    Keep hands straight as you try to lift your body off the ground. this tightens your abs. You can try this with straight or bent knees. Bent knees might be simpler.

  2. Squats

    Bend your knees as if you are sitting down. Keep your feet and shoulders apart. Keep your hands out or on your hips.

  3.  Planking:

Put your elbows on the floor while keeping your back straight and on the tip of your toes. Try to do it as long as possible.

4. Crunches

Pretend you are doing sit ups. Do not sit up all the way, while on your back just bend your knees and sit up half ways.

5.  Lunges:

Stand straight then take one step forward. Bend both knees until they are at about a 90 degree angle.

6.  Burpees:

Burpees are tough, however they help you exercise many different parts of your body. There is an easier way to do it as well as a harder way.

This is a basic sequence of exercise:

  1. go into squat position
  2. drop your hands to the ground in front of you
  3. move or jump legs back to form a plank position
  4. jump or move legs forward again
  5. move back to squat position
  6. stand up or jump up

 There are many great exercises out there to do with your children, this list can help you get started. Sometimes the best exercise is to let the children choose what they prefer and work from there building their muscle and endurance.

 

 

Summer Homework

Summer homework may surprise you that it is important for many reasons. Most teachers and school staff feel that the work is beneficial and try not to give to much. Although it may seem like a bother, know that it will help your child. What will your child gain from summer homework?

1.

Helps you remember what you learnt.  

2.

Reinforces lessons learnt.  

3.

Keeps your mind sharp.  

4. 

Prepares for the upcoming school year.  
Set time and place

When homework is done in a set time and place, it makes it easier to get it done. Such as after breakfast or after camp.

It is not a punishment

Summer homework is not a punishment. Prepare something special such as a snack as they sit down to do homework.

Do not let it pile up

Do the homework on a daily basis so that it should not pile up and get overwhelming.

Summer Homework

Summer homework makes the transitions into a new grade more seamless and allows the teacher to briefly review last years lessons before continuing on with the new curriculum. It may seem like a pain, however your enthusiasm will hopefully make the kids see it differently. Never complain about the amount of work in front of them! If the work seems like a lot speak to the teacher or principal without having the child overhear! However most of the times, summer homework is a reasonable amount. Be sure to set a time and place for the work. It will make everything much smoother, the children will know where to find their homework and not waste time settling down. In addition, preparing a quick snack or a special something makes the work much more pleasant. Pop some popcorn, have a special homework lamp, cushion or pen, cube some melon. Make it fun! Be sure not to let it pile up and do it on a daily basis. Playing catch up is never fun! Good luck!  

   

Make the most of your summer!