How to ease the nightmare of working – prep for a long day at work

long day at work

The struggle and juggle of being a working mom:

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:

  1. Eat a good healthy breakfast.
  2. Sleep well the night before- I noticed the better I sleep the sharper and quicker I react and think
  3. Prepare lunch for yourself- and find a 5 minute break to eat something, however small it is.
  4. Breathe- practice taking deep long breathes- in from the nose out of the mouth.
  5. 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!

 

Baby Talk, Kids Talk and Parents talk

kids talk

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.

Baby Talk:

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.

Kids Talk:

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.

Parents Talk:

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 Environment Affect Children?

environment affects child

Can it be that environment affects children?

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?
  1. Make sure there is enough light coming in, open the shades.
  2. 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!)
  3. Keep your classroom neat and orderly. ( Obviously it will get messy though make sure everything has a space :). )
  4. Clean up spills as they happen.
  5. Furniture in house or classroom is in good repair and sturdy – nothing will fall and break on a child.
  6. 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.
  7. Is your furniture arrangement thought out? Is the playroom next to the bedroom? A “quiet center next to a “loud center” in your classroom?
  8. 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!
  9. 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?
  1. Greet them when they wake up or come to school. Wish them a good day.
  2. Teach them how and when to wash their hands properly. Do you know how to?
  3. Make meal time, fun time! Talk to the children as you eat with them. Share experiences.
  4. Ensure that bed/nap time is consistent and timely. It is a relaxed time, perfect for music or books.
  5. Teach children proper toileting procedures. How to wipe themselves properly, flush and wash hands.
  6. Don’t forget to brush teeth!
  7. 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:
  1. Read, read and read some more. Have a huge variety of books such as fact, fiction, science, people, and animals.
  2. Have materials to encourage talking and sharing such as dolls and puppets.
  3. Talk to your children, ask questions, share new words with them.

Activities:

Ensure you have various materials covering a wide range of activities. This includes:

  1. fine motor or manipulatives- stringing, beads, puzzles
  2. art- play dough, markers, crayons, collage materials
  3. music- have a cd player available with many cds, let them make music, drum away!
  4. blocks/ building- let them use their imagination to build and engineer.
  5. 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!
  6. dramatic play center- kitchen materials, dolls, dress up
  7. science- bring in natural materials such as pine cones, differnt color leaves, let them observe them, take care of pet or plant.
  8. math- counting, patterning, color games, various geometric shapes and sizes

Interaction:

Your interaction with the children should be pleasant. Be there for them to help solve problems and conflicts.

How you can ensure proper interactions:
  1. Enjoy being with the children. shoe them you are happy to be with them.
  2. Discipline in a manner that makes sense, in which they will learn, not from anger.
  3. Look out for child’s needs. ( are they thirsty after playing outside?)
  4. 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?
  1. Be flexible- understand each child.
  2. Let them play!
  3. 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!

Children’s Vocabulary- How to talk to children

how to talk to children

How to talk to children:

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.

Happy reading!

 

How to visit the Doctor without Crying Children

Can you visit a doctor office without crying children?

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:

  1. My little one was very well prepared. She knew what the doctor will check and how.
  2. The visit was not a surprise.
  3. I came well prepared not just with my goody bag but a hearty breakfast.
  4. 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. 🙂