Sharing from the facebook page of Sarah Sutcliffe
I wanted to share some food for thought. As we face uncertain times here in WA (and everywhere) I see many parents concerned that their children are going to fall behind as our schools head into a 4-6 week closure. But I see this an incredible opportunity. An opportunity to slow down. To sit in silence and see what makes their souls happy, what interests them. Learning literally happens EVERYWHERE, not just in school.
So take a leap and watch how much growth can come from this. Do they have a love of music? Enjoy watching birds? A passion for cooking? See this as a time to deep dive with them. Learn to play the guitar, watch birds and create a nature journal, or let them cook dinner! This is not a time to fall behind in school this is a time to see what sets their souls on FIRE! 🔥 We can teach them about our community and how we can think bigger than ourselves. We can show them that they can take control over their own education and help them see just how brilliant they are.
There are a ton of resources out there, many that are free or low cost I would be happy to share. One of our favorites is Outschool.com. They can take online classes that interest them and Skype with teachers and other students. It’s time we show these kids what it’s like to slow down and FEEL the ebbs and flows of life. We as a society can either continue to rant and complain about this or we can show the future generation what an incredible opportunity this is for connection. The choice is yours.❤️
Resources for those that have asked….
But PLEASE, please do not try and recreate ‘School’ at home. This is already a stressful and confusing time for all of us. Use this time to connect deeper with your kids and find out what interests them. School at home doesn’t need to take place for 5-6 hours a day.
ABC Mouse tinyurl.com/t7f7l69(little kids)
storyboardthat.com (creative thinking)
Websites for printable worksheets:
Additionally many Museums offer online tours. A few of our Favorites,
The Spy Museum
create a fairy garden
ART. ART. and more ART.
create a nature journal
photography (let them take and edit)
start a garden (even in a pot)
Read Aloud REALLY GOOD books
By Dr. Charles Fay
Love and Logic Parenting
Perseverance is the key to building grit. There is no doubt that kids who develop it will lead happier and more productive lives than those who don’t. Listed below are few “grit builders” with corresponding “grit stealers.”
Teaching perseverance isn’t complicated. It requires a willingness to allow kids to experience healthy challenges as they grow. It also requires that we let them see that they have what it takes to cope with life’s challenges.
About a month ago, I started hearing noises overhead at night while trying to fall asleep. We have a large oak tree in our back yard and it isn’t unusual to hear squirrels run across our roof but not at night. After a few nights of lying awake due to the scratching noises, I became convinced that one of the squirrels was living in our attic.
I was met with skepticism when I told my husband, Michael. That is until one night, he heard the noise too. Now I love nature and animals as long as they don’t decide to move into my domain. What I really wanted was for my husband to do something about it—to fix the problem. But he wasn’t quick to respond.
I am not proud to say that I went into victim mode. I whined and fussed and complained. Finally, he said, “Why don’t you do something about it? Call someone to get a quote.” Wow, what a novel idea! Here I was wanting him to take care of the problem and suddenly, I was empowered to take action.
I contacted four companies that came to our home, tramped around in the attic and gave free quotes for their solution to our problem. I found out way more than I ever cared to know about critters that live in attics—roof rats, squirrels and even bats.
Turns out that squirrels can squeeze themselves through a hole the size of an apple core and rats can get through even smaller openings. And our roof had a number of possible entrances. One of the inspectors pointed out a chewed-out area on one of the gables that looked large enough for a whole family of squirrels to gain access. Michael got in on the action by putting a motion-sensitive camera in the attic and we identified our unwelcome guest—a raccoon!
The amazing thing about acting like a victim is that it puts us in a state to view everything in life as happening to us. Victimhood is the belief that other people need to make us happy and solve our problems for us.
With impeccable timing, Michael and I have been reading Greg Baer’s “Real Love for Wise Men and Women” during the raccoon habitation. Dr. Baer says, “If I appear pathetic and helpless enough—if I act like a victim—I can attract your sympathy and accomplish two things: you might not hurt me and you might give me what I want. Victims have to lie about their responsibility for the choices they make, and they have to lie about other people being perpetrators. These lies separate them from the truth and the possibility of feeling Real Love.”
Children learn their beliefs and behaviors from observing us. If in their presence, we whine and complain about our boss, our co-workers, our spouses, the government, the neighbors and so on, our children see us and learn to act like victims themselves. As well, we teach them to act like victims when we allow them to manipulate us. These learned behaviors can contribute to our children developing a sense of entitlement and view the world as treating them unfairly.
Almost all parents, when asked what they most want for their children, would respond that they want them to be happy. Being a victim can buy sympathy and attention, but never Real Love. Genuine happiness comes from taking responsibility, doing what needs to be done and feeling the sense of accomplishment no matter how old we are.
I am happy to say that we hired one of the pest companies. They have removed the raccoon and will patch up the holes in a few days. And I had the opportunity to relearn an important lesson in part because I have a wise husband who is helping me to recognize and move out of victimhood.
For almost twenty-five years, I taught kindergarten and preschool. I believe that I learned as much or more than all the students that I had the privilege of interacting with each day. Learning to be more present and authentic brought me the personal satisfaction. Developing more patience and willingness to try new things enhanced my life beyond the classroom.
I learned that I didn’t have to know everything and admitting mistakes was refreshing. Young children are refreshingly honest in their observations as well as being forgiving and accepting without too much judgement. Asking questions and really listening to what kids have to say is a wonderful way of empowering them to feel secure and to be curious about life and the world around them.
More than thirty years ago, Robert Fulghum published a simple credo that went on to become a New York Times bestseller. As an author he has written several other books, but this credo is still crucial and relevant wisdom for us all—that the most basic aspects of life offer the most important opportunities.
I share it with you here and hope that you can find wisdom to guide your daily choices in your family, workplace, community and beyond.
All I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten—Robert Fulghum
Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand box at nursery school.
These are the things I learned. Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you are sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw some and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day.
Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out in the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why but we are like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seeds in the Styrofoam cup—they all die. So do we.
And then remember that book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK! Everything you need to know is there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation, ecology, and politics and the sane living.
Think of what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about 3 o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and clean up our own messes.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
A young preschooler was trying to get his mother’s attention as she scrolled through social media sites on her phone. After trying repeatedly to get her attention, the young boy finally put his hands on either side of her face. Moving her face towards him, he said, “Mommy, I need you to listen to me with your whole face.”
This mother was participating in an experiment organized by ABC News. In May of 2019, the network spent six months traveling the country and talking to families, teachers, doctors and even tech insiders to put together a two-hour special about how screen time is affecting us and what we can do about it. The project was headed up and hosted by Diane Sawyer.
You can watch several short reports about what Ms. Sawyer discovered. I would like to first mention a shocking fact that I learned from this report by asking you a question? Do you know how many times a day you look at your phone? If you're like the average American, you unlock your phone around 80 times a day which adds up to about 49 days out of the year! If you think, “That can’t be right, that’s impossible,” at the end of this article you will find resources to help you monitor the screen time usage of yourself and your family.
During the six-month experiment, ABC News ran screen time experiments to see how young children reacted when their parent was distracted by his or her phone. Even though the parents were instructed to ignore the young child for only two minutes, most children got upset, cried or withdrew after less than 30 seconds. Watch a sample here. www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7_2K9E2m-w
In another video report, a brave family invited ABC News to come into their home and monitor their device usage for 30 weekend hours. The family was stunned to learn how much time they had spent on their phones and other devices. The good news is that they walked away from the experience with some steps to help make better choices as a family: 1) have a family meeting to discuss what they learned, 2) plan a family outdoor adventure and 3) embrace technology as a way to connect with each other through the day. www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqeOWatgN9w&list=PLQOa26lW-uI-pNs2w7ie09BET5LY_xDOF
If this issue is a challenge that your family faces or you want to be more aware for the future, there are tools available to help you monitor your own screen time as well as that of your family members. Remember, it is important as a parent that we lead by example. Check out these websites or find other options online. Getting buy in from your kids is key and might include some kind of family discussion or even a challenge to find out what your family’s devise usage really looks like!
11 apps that help you monitor/reduce your screen time:
Apps to help parents:
Today, our children need our attention and presence more than ever. Making time to connect is a challenge for most families in our rapidly changing world. Navigating phones and other media devises are just one of many issues parents face today.
It is important to remember that despite all the technological advances we have seen in the past 20 years, parents will always be the most important source of information and values for their growing children. Building relationships with our kids takes time, investment, patience and presence.
A young executive was running late for an important meeting as he drove down a neighborhood street near his office. He had a lot on his mind, and he was going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. Remembering that it was summer vacation, he did keep an eye out for kids darting out between parked cars.
Thinking that he saw something up ahead, he slowed down, but no one appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door. Slamming on the breaks, he backed up to the spot where the brick had been thrown.
Angrily, he jumped out of the car, grabbed the kid who was standing there and shouted, "What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?"
The young boy was apologetic. "Please, mister...please! I'm sorry but I didn't know what else to do. I threw the brick because no one else would stop!"
With tears running down his face, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. "It's my brother," he said. "He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him up."
Sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, "Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and he's too heavy for me."
Moved beyond words, the man tried to swallow the rapidly rising lump in his throat. He lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out a crisp linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts on the boy’s leg.
"Thank you and may God bless you," the grateful child told the stranger.
Too shaken up for words, the man simply watched the boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home. He walked slowly back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message, "Don't go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!"
Sometimes we need to be reminded to take notice of the precious moments with our children and others we love before they pass us by. Those we love need to be given our presence, not just presents. On this Valentine’s Day, think of how you can express your love with your presence.
In 2008, the New York Giants were not supposed to win the Super Bowl. The undefeated New England Patriots were considered the favorite. But the wild-card Giants took home the trophy.
What happened to tip the scales in their favor? Some analysts feel the Giants were able to synergize their determination and talents to beat the odds.
Given our current culture, some believe that the families face odds like the Giants. Instant access to media, alcohol and drugs, parents stretched by balancing work and home and other hurdles make raising children particularly difficult. How can parents lead their families to the same kind of success? Here are five practical ideas to help parents overcome the odds and develop a synergized family.
1. Increase family interaction
Communication is essential for family success because it enables family members to share thoughts and opinions, make decisions, solve problems and develop interpersonal relationships. And the best way to heighten communication is to increase family interaction. Cutting back on individual activities in favor of family time, eating meals together as a family, having a family night and scheduling regular family vacations are some of the best ways to increase interaction. the-power-of-weekly-family-time.html
2. Establish a common goal
Unity in any group is usually based on the desire for a shared purpose. Whether it is called a goal, objective, purpose or vision, parents can increase family synergy and unity by frequently discussing what it is they want their family to achieve in life. Making a family goal poster is a great way to get everyone involved. Get a stack of old magazines and begin cutting. Make more than one poster—fun things to do together as a family, ways to show we love each other, what we want to do on our next vacation, etc.
3. Recognize interdependence
Family members are affected and influenced by the actions of each other. A successful, cohesive family teaches every member to be responsible for doing his or her part. And that failure for doing one’s part can adversely impact the rest of the family.
One of the best ways to help family members recognize interdependence is to teach cooperation and teamwork by playing together. Jeff Spiers, a father of four from Englewood, Colo., expresses it this way: “My boys learn it on their baseball teams. When a throw is bad from short to first, the first baseman offers encouragement. In this way, the boys help coach each other and learn their reliance on each other.” family-synergy-being-in-tune.html
4. Work together
Physical and mental efforts required to work together to accomplish something can be one of the more rewarding ways to synergize a family. Our family was heavily into scouts—my husband was the scoutmaster and all three sons became eagle scouts. Our whole family participated in the annual canned food drives and support each son as he planned and carried out his eagle project. The sense of accomplishment we felt as a family through these service projects was incredibly rewarding.
5. Demonstrate love and compassion
Unity and synergy in the family rely heavily on individual members feeling as though they are understood and loved despite their personal flaws. Use kind words, caring tones and a gentle touch. Look for opportunities to praise one another, even when behavior is not exemplary. And, if children are whiny and complaining, take time to actively listen to them and restate back their reasons for feeling frustrated. Acting with love, patience and compassion toward each other builds the long-lasting positive atmosphere required for successful family life.
For more ideas on family synergy and how to create it, check out these blogs.
Love and Logic Parenting
By Jedd Hafer, www.loveandlogic.com
Ali’s kids helped her create a pawn shop and a charity. Her twin toddlers didn’t mean to help create these entities, but they did.
Eva and Eric left a mass of toys scattered all over the house. Ali used a Love and Logic phrase she learned in a class: “You get to keep the toys you pick up and I’ll keep the ones I pick up.”
Then came the hardest part — following through. She got a trash bag and filled it with the toys her children hadn’t picked up. At first, she worried because the twins didn’t seem particularly upset by their diminished toy supply (thanks to Grandma, it was quite impressive).
But Ali did notice there were fewer items spread out the next time. She also noticed the twins moved a bit faster and her daughter Eva checked out of the corner of her eye to see where Mom was while she picked up. Fewer toys went into the bag the second time.
By the third repetition, Mom barely had to pick up anything. And as she casually walked near one of Eric’s favorites, he scrambled to pick it up before she got there.
Ali’s new dilemma: what to do with these toys in the bag. She had heard that some parents decide to let their kids do extra chores (not their regular contributions to the family) to earn back some toys. She liked that idea, but she took it to another level. She picked out the best of the confiscated toys and placed them on a high shelf with actual price tags (Eva and Eric were learning about numbers and money). Some of the toys had twenty-five cents and a picture of a quarter on their tags.
Ali made a list of chores that were worth twenty-five cents when completed. By some strange coincidence, they were also tasks she wanted done. Ali’s pawn shop was born, and they all had quite a bit of fun exchanging chores, money, and toys.
Some toys didn’t make it to Ali’s pawn shelf. She tried to donate them to an organization but learned that particular charity would not accept “used toys.” Never one to give up easily, Ali called her local church daycare and asked if they could use some toys. They could! And they were even willing to come to pick them up. To make it worth the church’s while, Ali enlisted a neighbor friend who also needed to get rid of some excess toys. To top it off, she decided to donate some of her own clothes to the church’s program for people in need.
Eva and Eric were given the gift of watching some of their toys being handed to the church staff as well as seeing Mom donate, too.
While many parents would lecture the kids and hand the toys back quickly (or maybe not enforce the limit in the first place), this mom was able to turn the toy mess into two important lessons.
:Recently, I had several opportunities to speak to a group of parents of young children. As I was preparing my remarks, I looked over the articles that I have written for my blog over the past year and a half. Of all the knowledge that I have gleaned from the numerous parenting books that line my bookshelf and sit in stacks next to where I write can be distilled down to a few fundamental phrases.
Relationship is key.
The world has changed tremendously over the past thirty years. In the past, children and youth developed their ideas, values and worldview largely from their family and community. Today, growing up in a global community, social media impacts our children’s taste in clothing, food, music, social/political/religious beliefs, fears, anxieties and more.
Yet, family is still essential and relevant. Regardless of all technological advances, parents will always be the most important source of information and values for their growing children. But our relationship with our children is key. Parenting with empathy, love and modeling what we want our children to inherit are a big part of creating connection. Go to this blog for more on this: gifts-we-can-give-our-children-empathy.html
Love and respect of oneself and others are largely determined by how well a child’s basic needs are met in the first two years of life.
Every time an infant’s basic needs are met, a seed of trust and kindness is planted into that child’s mind and heart. Dr. Foster Cline coined the phrase “The Trust Cycle” in the 1970s. When a child expresses a need by crying/expressing discomfort and the parent responds, trust is achieved. The basic components of eye contact, smiles, hugs, holding, touch and relief from pain and discomfort all contribute to this trust. It is a known fact that an infant will die not only from lack of nourishment but also from not receiving physical touch, eye contact and smiles.
Our children never outgrown the need to know that they are loved. We all need touch, connection and to know that we matter!
Presence is love
In May of 2019, the ABC network aired a special called “Screen Time” hosted by Diane Sawyer which looked at how smartphones are affecting us. One preschooler conveyed the immense importance of presence when he was observed going to his mother who was talking on a cell phone, taking her face in his hands and saying, “Mommy, I need you to listen to me with your whole face.”
Children learn more from who we are when we are with them than what we try to teach them. We don’t need to be perfect but showing up and being present means noticing the little things, learning to put down our cell phones and really listening. Provide it when you’re meeting their needs; when you’re expressing your love to them; when you’re disciplining them; when you’re laughing together; even when you’re arguing with them.
Failure is part of growing up; it contributes to developing resilience and succeeding
Dr. E. P. Seligman, often called the father of Positive Psychology, discovered children need to fail in order to succeed. In fact, it can help them figure out how to succeed next time. He discovered that until the early 1960s, achievement was the most important goal that parents sought to instill in their children.
However, from the 1960s to the present, the goals of happiness and high self-esteem have replaced achievement and become the key focus. In four large scale studies by Dr. Seligman, the results of this new trend are that depression has skyrocketed and feelings of self-esteem have actually plummeted.
In his book. "12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid," Tim Elmore states, “Refusing to let kids fail brings two negative outcomes. First, it fosters the fear of failure later in life as adults…Second, it dilutes the will or motivation to excel.” Click here for his book tinyurl.com/qo3vvn4
As a parent, we need to learn to weigh learning experiences against rescuing them. Which choice will enhance our child’s self-concept? Often, learning to ask a guiding question can support our child’s decision without taking away their life lessons. Quiet support and empathy go a long way as our children, youth and young adults are figuring out their next steps.
Learn to Prepare the Child for the Path instead of the Path for the Child
Tim Elmore concludes that learning to prepare the child for the path instead of trying to change the path for the child is what is needed. There is much for us to be hopeful about as parents when we learn to be honest about our relationship with our children and see where we need to adapt.
I would like to invite you to check out my parent coaching services and sign up for my four-week webinar series “Mission Possible: Raising Resilient, Responsible, Respectful and Fun-to-be-with Kids.” It is on-demand, you can watch it from the comfort of your home and put the skills presented into practice each week. I am offering it at a special introductory price through March 2020. Webinars