Tag Archives: kids

Kids and their Questions!


So I’m attending the VAEYC conference once again, and our keynote was about the power of questions.  Dr. Lindsey Godwin from the Appreciative Inquiry Center, an internationally renowned speaker and author, shared her work and perspective on questions.

Did you ever notice that we, as adults, often get annoyed by kids asking us questions?  We are busy, and it takes time and energy to stop and explain things, and quite honestly, why is it important to answer a “silly” question that isn’t important to us?  

Well, it’s valuable to respond so to encourage more questions.  Why on earth would we want to do that?  To cultivate creative thinkers, problem solvers, innovators, and open minds!  Dr. Godwin states, “As children, we get messages from adults that they want answers, not questions.”  And she’s right, we are always asking kids to tell us things, when we should really invite them to find their own answers by asking more questions.  

Dr. Godwin has two lessons for us to take back to our classrooms:

1. Inquiry is intervention. Inquiry leads to change.  Our questions set the stage for what we find, they determine what we pay attention to, and ultimately the direction of what comes next, whether it is curriculum plans and activities, or your next fundraiser or parent meeting.  Inquiry has the power to inform and shape opportunities for all of us.


2. What we ask about “grows”.  If you ask a question based on a deficit, that will be the focus.  Instead, shift focus from your biggest challenge to your most unique assets to  “magnify and learn from moments of highest engagement and enthusiasm.”  

This is how we accelerate the positive changes that we need to grow and learn, and ultimately how we grow the curious minds of the youngest members of our communities.  

Check me out on Facebook
Or find me on LinkedIn

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What’s the big deal with play?

  So I’m attending my annual conference and I finally have time to write. Sorry it’s been so long, though thankfully I have lots of renewed energy tonight so let’s talk about play.  It’s such a popular word in early education these days, but what are they all talking about?  Isn’t just about kids using toys? 

No it’s not, it’s much much more. It’s the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky.  It’s the method by which children are living their lives, their anchor, their work.  The definition of play in our field is usually described in a paragraph with so many terms and variations.  The common threads are enjoyment, participation and engagement.

Different types of play occur throughout a child’s development.  There’s no schedule or order, no wrong or right, though some patterns exist.  There are natural shifts in the kind of play as children’s environment, community, and minds take shape.

  • Solitary: a child plays alone
  • Parallel: a child plays alongside another child without interaction
  • Cooperative: children interact as they work toward a goal
  • Symbolic: a child uses one object to represent another
  • Sociodramatic: pretend play in which a child takes on a role
  • Games with rules: children follow guidelines dictated by an established game
  • Mature: a child will dive deeply into their play, staying with it for an extended period of time

Please keep in mind that each type of play serves a purpose, and has its own value.  For example, a child who pretends a ball is an apple will later be better equipped to visually represent quantity.  A child taking on a role is learning to self-regulate, practicing self-control.  

I’m interested in hearing what children say when asked, “what is play?” You probably wouldn’t hear words like problem-solving, achievement, creativity, imagination, identity, or persistence.  But if you observe carefully, you’ll see these qualities and more.  And they make for amazing adults; adults which will one day take care of us, our planet, and the children to come.  So next time you think play might just be a simple word with little meaning, think of all that is gained from it.

  
Find me on Facebook
Find me on LinkedIn

  

  

  

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

“Don’t make a scene.”

20140507-221315.jpg

Ever heard yourself say these words to your child in public? Ever heard someone else say them? You know what happens, it’s like a green light for a power struggle. It’s like your child wants to make you even madder so you’ll give in. They push and push until you just can’t take the staring and humiliation anymore. And you give in, and it happens again the next time and the next time. You feel like your child is some sort of manipulative genius, right?

I’ve been there, and I’m sure so have many of you. Guess what? Your child is not trying to manipulate you. There is no secret desire to embarrass you. So what gives? You’re at the grocery store with your three year old child, and you pick up a container of strawberries and place it in your cart. “Not that one! I want that one over there.” You stand firm and ask what the difference could be, they look the same to you. “That is the one we need. Put this one back, I like that one .” It’s just a container of fruit, no big deal.

Now, this is a verbal child, and that makes a huge difference in how this could play out. But the bottom line is the same: do not worry about the other folks in the store judging your response. You are the parent (or guardian or grandparent…), and you need to approach each situation as you see fit. If your child doesn’t agree with your decision, react as you would had no one been observing. Children expect consistency and predictability from the adults in their lives, and that goes for every situation (I know I use these words often but they are just so true).

And some of those power struggles are the child’s way of checking in just to make sure all the rules are still the same. My 9 year old will ask for something, I’ll say no, and he’ll say, “can’t blame me for trying.” If our young children could say this to us, wouldn’t it be so much easier?

And let’s remember that all of us have either been there, or will be there at some point in our child’s life. I remember walking my child into preschool in his pajamas with only one shoe on one time. He was crying and whining, and all I could think was : “I’m so embarrassed. I’m an early educator in this community and my kid is acting like this?” Guess what? His teacher reminded me that the other parents were probably just relieved it wasn’t their child that day. She reminded me to take a breath, and be the parent that I had been just 10 minutes before when I told my child, “if you won’t get dressed, that’s your choice, but you still have to go to school.” I stood by that decision, and was so glad I did, despite the perceived judgement.

It’s sometimes those moments that our children learn the most from us. So next time you’re on the edge of a public power struggle with your child , remember: you are still the parent you were before the scene began, and you’re not alone.

check out my Facebook page

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Hats, Mittens, and Boots! Oh my!

It’s that time of year again, and over the past few years, I’ve learned a few things about outerwear for toddlers and young children. Living in the northeast, it’s just part of taking care of children here.

1. Label it. Kids lose things, and we all tend to purchase similar items.

2. Avoid Velcro. It’s wonderful for so many things, but not for boots and mittens. Once it gets caked with snow, you’re done, the boots won’t close and neither will the mittens.

3. Boots with liners are helpful. Boots will get wet, filled with snow, and just plain stinky. Having removable liners will make it so much easier to dry out the boots and make them last longer. Just in case it’s too late, stuff newspaper into the wet boots and change it often. It works!

4. Look for more flexible mittens, and mittens with an elastic cuff. If a mitten is too thick or stiff, the kids will take it off more quickly. Kids want to stay warm, but they also want to pick things up and use their hands. They will choose to be cold.

5. Hats are just super fun! Get your kids wearing their hats in October and thru April so when it’s really cold, they’ll be ready.

I hope these hints are helpful! Let me know if you have any thoughts on outerwear for kids!

20131110-001802.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Fake it!

So I’ve decided that a great way to beat the blues when you are with young children is to just fake it till you make it.

Before I figured this out, I did a couple of things: owned those feelings, shared those feelings, and took some deep breaths. You see, I was given sad news just before my work day started. I had to continue with my day, and luckily, we were able to splash in some mud puddles. The kids noticed that I was sad, and so I just said, “yes I feel sad” and guess what? They gave me hugs. After that, they went back to their mud puddle. Deep breathing and watching the splashes were just what I needed to clear my head.

The rest of the day, I tried to just be in the moment and enjoy. At times that it was more difficult, I chose to fake it. It worked, I faked being myself until I just felt like myself.

But seriously, mud puddles are like magic!

20131106-140522.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Poop

There are days when it feels like all I do is change poopy diapers. But did you know that you can discern a lot about a child by their elimination habits. Temperament tends to coincide with bowel movements. For example, a slow-to-warm-up or fearful young child may be irregular or infrequent with elimination. These children also tend to hold their waste in stressful situations or transitions. Children with an easy-going or flexible temperament will be more regular and predictable in their bowel movements.

Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule, but it sure seems to be the case for many of the children I’ve worked with over the years. (And some adults too!)

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Who am I?

Though this is my first blog post, I’m no stranger to sharing my opinion. I am an early educator who has worked with young children, children of many ages, since I was a teenager. I was a camp counselor, a nanny, a baby sitter, an after-school staff, a pre-school teacher, and now a family child care provider in my home. And of course, I’m a mom. That is my biggest role, and it’s one of the reasons I decided to leave my job at a center. My child is learning so much from my program. I love that he is bonding with the kids, but I also love being available when he needs me. I also think it’s important that he see me as more than just his mom. 

Over the years, I’ve learned so much, and cultivated values and ideas that I hope to share with all of you.

Image

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized