Wednesday, April 16, 2014

NYT: Raising a Moral Child (model action vs. preach, nature vs. nurture, praise character vs. praise action vs. praise person)

Raising a Moral Child by Adam Grant (click to open in new window)

A great article by UPenn Professor and author of “Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success.”  Based on psychological studies about how to raise a child that displays the morals we like- generosity and caring, in particular.

Highlights:
1) Praising character teaches children how to see themselves.  Use nouns.  "Come be a helper and make salad with me."  "Don't be a cheater."  "We are generous people."
2) Modeling moral behavior is the most effective way to develop that value in children.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

parenting blog musings- great thoughts to ponder



YOU are the curriculum in whatever kind of school your child attends. 
Those that have studied early childhood know that children learn by imitation. This is stressed in every single Waldorf early childhood book I have read. Your young child learns by watching you! And not just watching by you, they “feel” you. They pick up on your moods, your stress, and your joy. Then, after they watch and feel you, they begin to play it all out. I’m sure you’ve overheard your child practicing something you’ve said in a tone you’ve used! This is how they learn.

On TIME-OUTS
Let's imagine a child is cranky for some reason or another and is complaining or disruptive. Mama is tired of his whining and sends him to his room for a time out.

Let's look at what it means to send a child to his or her room for being miserable. Misery is a feeling, an expression of emotion.

A miserable child is having some big strong emotions, like sadness and disappointment. Children do not know what to do with these big strong feelings, so they lash out and have meltdowns and have tantrums.  This is completely normal and to be expected.

Children have big emotions. They squeal with joy, cry in frustration, stamp their feet, interrupt and whine in the most annoying way.  Our initial impulse is probably to push it away, make it go away, or at least put it out of earshot. (this is probably a protective impulse of sorts!)

And the more we ignore it, or discount it, the more likely it is to resurface with new found intensity in a completely unrelated moment. For our emotions go somewhere. They go in deeper and get stronger and heavier to carry around.

When we name it and acknowledge it, the child will usually moves through it, like this, "you're feeling sad about not going out to play, you want to be with the other children. you are angry at me for saying no."

Right there we help the child be in his body, be fully present and grounded and aware that he is feeling something strong and it is sadness and anger. If we share a story of our own about being young that helps too sometimes. No need to process the feelings or get into to them deeply or talk about them beyond naming them and acknowledging the child in the moment.

If we send them off to be alone because we are feeling uncomfortable with their feelings, then we have some work to do on ourselves. Sending them off when they are in distress is a form of abandonment.

This is a great example of  where inner work helps us grow and understand our children by understanding ourselves. Then we can respond with calm action rather than react all over the place and make a big mess of it, make our children fearful and teach them to stuff their feelings.

When my children's behavior arouses feelings in me, that is a sign that I have something to look at and release from my own experience of childhood in order to really see my children and respond healthily. We all have it. It is part of being human. When we ignore it and get angry and frustrated with our children's behavior it is very difficult to guide them. We need to take care of ourselves first. Then we can be grounded to really see, hear and feel them and guide them through the big emotions and challenges of life.

When we send our children to their rooms because we don't like their behavior, we are missing a chance to look beneath that behavior at what the child is trying to tell us, what does the child need in this moment? Usually it has to do with connection. A separation only drives it all deeper and makes it harder for the child to grow and learn how to get their needs met in healthy ways. And then we feel bad about ourselves.

Rather than have bad feelings, let go of them, remember we are all learning. Our children are our teachers.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Games for education- from Dr. Laura/kidfocused.com

Games are so important to a child's development. We have a coffee table in the family room. Even if the television is on or we only have a few minutes, there are easy ways to play.Here are some of the games that have been great teaching tools without my kids even knowing it:
Play Cards
1. Go Fish- this card game helps kids sort and it helps them think ahead, or strategize. This kind of critical thinking is what many schools sorely lack.  Schools often ask kids rote memorization questions, but critical thinking is the muscle that when flexed causes big learning.

2. Uno- I started with my son when he was 3.  We had an actual Uno deck of cards with the color coordinated cards.  You can also play Crazy Eights with a deck of cards.  Just like Uno but eights are wild cards.  Kids learn card suits with this game, which is a good skill to have.
3. Kings in the Corner- this game spreads across the table, showing kids the order of cards.  It is pattern practice as well.  The cards must be laid out black, red, black, red, and from Kings down to Aces.  Even young children 3 and over can grasp this. Their later teachers will be impressed they are already familiar with pattern formations too.
4. Old Maid- deal all of the cards.  Each person picks a card from the opponent to their left and discards pairs until one person is left with the Old Maid. With the set we have, Ursula from the little mermaid is the old maid.  Young children may have a hard time holding all their cards so have them place them on a table with something to block them from view. The rest of the game is easy enough and it will excite kids about cards, strategy, and help practice good sportsmanship.
Other Games:
5. Work on a puzzle together- some families I know always have a puzzle out on the coffee table.


6. Blow bubbles

7. Invest in a magnetic erase board like the Magna Doodle- tons of fun and you aren't using any paper.  I used this toy with the kids so often I even wrote an article- Ode to the Magna Doodle.  Starting about 18 months you can play one of baby's first games with it- I call the game day/night. Black out the screen and say "Night." With one swipe erase and say "Daytime!" Kids even that little will chuckle- it's so cute.  Soon thereafter kids understood light and dark- as soon as they're old enough to walk, they can help sort laundry after this game. We have the daytime (lights) pile and the nighttime (darks) pile to this day.
8. Hangman- another great game on a magnetic erase board like a Magna Doodle. Very young children can play hangman with 2 and 3 letter words. Older children can play for longer words and phrases. Turn the table and let your child make up the word. When they're young, they may misspell the word, "but there has to be a vowel!" It's great practice and they'll get it soon enough
9. Yahtzee- Today you don't have to buy the full game. You can print the score sheet off the Internet and grab 5 dice.  Bunco is also very close to, and less complicated, than Yahtzee.  Dice games like these help with early Math.
10. Scrabble- great about 5 or 6 on. Encourage one app for your older child- Words With Friends and play with them.
11. Memory- Starting at 3 years old, this is sure to be a favorite. There are inexpensive memory games targeted to boys, girls, or gender neutral.
12. Play Monkey in the Middle with a third person- throw the ball over one person's head. If she catches it, she doesn't have to be the monkey anymore.
 
13. Dots and Boxes- my 4-year-old loves this game. The person to close the square gets to put his or her initials, which claims the square once it's time to tally up the boxes. You can play with older kids too by adding more squares.  It's great for teaching kids to think strategically. (show image)

14. Pictionary- write simple 3 letter words like "pig" "lip" for 3 year olds to read and then draw.  For older kids write out more complicated words and phrases.
15. Play Sorry. At four years old my kids have been able to play this game. With the four pieces having to make it around the board before someone wins, it's helped them learn to problem solve as well as early reading.  The Sorry cards are straight forward "move forward 3 places."  They see the number and then start to recognize words like "forward."
16. Say patterns out loud. A, B, A, B, See if your child knows A to be next in the pattern.  You may also do with numbers. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, _.  As they get older try, banana, apple, orange, banana, apple, ___?  My daughter begs to play this game whenever we're in the car.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

key points from The Case for Make Believe by Susan Linn



The Case for Make Believe by Susan Linn

Boy, I’d be proud if I could say I wrote these amazingly strong messages about the value of play for children!  I am very glad I read this book so carefully.  It was fascinating and highly instructive!  I hope you find these topics as compelling as I do if you are taking care of kids!  And some of these bits of wisdom can be applied to adults as well.  I hope the highlights I listed below inspire thought and action and that you go check this book out from the library!

Notes from The Case for Make Believe by Susan Linn
·         Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood- aim is to mitigate the harmful effects of commercial culture on children
·         We need to prevent ourselves from raising a generation of children who are bored or anxious unless they are in front of a screen
·         2007 study found that children are active, not passive learners, acquiring knowledge by exploring their environment = play
·         Play flourishes in environment that is simultaneously safe and open to sponteous activity (Winnicott)
·         Just playing = “water to learn about the physical world and nature of materials” and other things that look like play but are very educational to the child
·         Using puppets in therapy to communicate with children:  each puppet can represent a different person or point of view, which can be a protected way to express unacceptable thoughts of feelings.
·         When children pretend to be attached by imaginary things, it gives them a chance to gain a sense of themselves as competent and to learn to cope with fear in smaller doses.
·         A review of 1000 studies over 30 years, a review concluded that “viewing entertainment vfiolence can lead to increases in agreesive attitudes and behavior, particularly in children.”
·         “From the safety of ‘Once Upon a Time…’ dairy tales allow children enough distance to grapple safely with the most passionate of human emotions- grief, envy, fear, rage and joy.”
·         Violent punishments in fairy tales can be a springboard for talking about social justice issues with older children
·         Playing make-believe with children gives adults an opportunity to share new ideas and information, including those that counter prevailing sterotypes.
·         Phenomenons that coincide: Kids Growing Up Sooner AND Adults Staying Younger Longer!  (Children are taking longer to achieve real independence after college.)
·         “Developmental psychologists believe that children develop at their own rates, but that there’s no real shortcut through development stages.”
·         Middle Childhood (ages 6-12) is being eroded- First they are bombarded with toy marketing, then all the tech toys when younger, and then when older they are getting into inappropriate things sooner.
·         “The longer parents delay, the longer babies have a chance to develop the capacity to make things happen, to solve problems, to create their own amusements- to generate creative play.”
·         The skills children learn in play- critical thinking, initiative, curiosity, problem solving, and creativity, as well as more ephemeral qualities of self-reflection and empathy- are essential to thriving in and protecting a democratic society.”
·         …”These are in contrast to the values children learn from a commercially dominated media: unthinking brand loyalty, impulse buying, the notion that self-worth is defined by ownership, and a belief that consumption is the solution to all ills.”
·         Since the 1980s attention to the concern about “latchkey kids” we have come to the point where parents don’t think they have what it takes to raise kids without frequent use of screens.”

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My sewing repairs business

Clothing Repair and Modest Alterations
by Kate

Short on time?  Don’t know how to sew?  Don’t want to pay dress shop prices?
Bring me your mending pile!  I can usually do small repairs and hems within one or two days, and I endeavor to do quick, quality work.

 My abilities include:
Hemming
Repairing seams and holes
Heightening necklines
Baby products
Shrinking skirts and shirts
Adding slips to skirts
Replacing buttons & fixing misc.
Making toys, stuffed animals, t-shirt quilts
Closing wrap dresses, adjusting sleeve length
Emblems and patches
Lessons & camps- all ages
Gifts for kids & families

Call 314-692-8184 or email KFriedman18 @ gmail dot com
24/6 drop off/pick up at my house
Pick-up, drop-off, and supply shopping service available for a fee

Good to know for customers
-I offer complimentary fittings and consultations.
-If you provide the thread for your garment (even the little baggie of extra that comes attached to garment) it will expedite the job and ensure that I have the closest color match possible.
-Regarding significant alterations- Be cautious about buying garments that will need significant alterations.  While garments can be taken apart, cut down or lengthened and then reassembled, that is a very major renovation which may not be worth your money in the end.
-I can do custom work at an hourly rate + cost of materials
-I like to offer very quick turn-around time on completing a job, but sometimes this is not available.