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Monday, September 1, 2014

Searching for People Happy About Autumn


Could the Facebook posts possibly be more depressing?   No wonder going back to school is viewed with such negativity.  Parents are so melancholy.  Yes, summer brings a measure of freedom and invigorating weather,  but autumn has its benefits, too.   We merely need to be sure to schedule time for fall fun.  That’s right.  The fun doesn’t end because it is September 1.  Take out your calendar and look for days with free time.  Write these activities on those days:
  • Go to the beach or the mountains or the park.  Autumn brings the best weather for being outside.  It won’t be as hot and humid.  As someone who lives near the ocean, I have always loved going to the shore in the fall far more than in the summer.  There are no crowds.  We can walk in the sand in peace.  We also enjoy riding to the mountains with their beautiful colors.
  • Find the changing leaves.  Plan an excursion to see the fall foliage.  Even if you are too busy to plan a whole day out, be sure to notice the beautiful colors in your travels.  Stop the car and really notice nature.  It is going to be so beautiful.
  • Take the family to the orchards.  Apple picking, pumpkin picking and all sorts of harvests abound in the autumn.  Hayrides and corn mazes should be advertised soon.  Many places have tables or parks nearby so you can make a day of it.

As you ensure that you will have family time for fun activities, remember to talk to your children about the exciting new school year.  They will see old friends and make new ones.  They will grow, mature and add to their knowledge.  Their extra-curricular activities will be back in full swing.   With every ending, there is a new beginning.  That is true of our change of seasons, too.  Bring on the flocks of migrating birds, the squirrels looking for nuts and the piles of leaves to jump into.  And someone, please, get on Facebook and start a trend of looking forward to something happy about the rhythm of a steady routine and the fun times that still await us.

                                                                         
                                                                                                                   

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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.
For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC
                                                                                                                               
Copyright 2014 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Acceptance: It’s Come a Long Way and Yet…..



When I was a girl, a number of topics were only spoken of in a whisper.  I remember my grandmother only whispering the word “cancer” when a relative was ill.  When a child struggled in school in that time before there was so much help available, the adults would whisper that there were “issues.”  Then, they would exchange knowing glances.  Sexual preferences were not even spoken of in the quietest of tones.  I also remember a family member struggling with mental health issues and whispering about that took place in corners away from children.  We’ve come a long way in a relatively short time, but we aren’t quite there yet.  We still have stigmas in our society.  We can lift stigmas with the right messages to our children.

Today, students who struggle with learning have so many more opportunities.  We have better ways to diagnose and work with students with learning challenges.  And yet – many parents are afraid of pursuing that help because of the fear of labels and stigmas.  Parents have told me that they don’t want their child “classified” without even fully understanding what that means.  The federal law entitling students to special services is called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  To receive those services, students must have a challenge that falls within specific categories or classifications.  The child has a diagnosis that matches a classification.   It does not mean that the child is doomed.  In fact, it means that the child qualifies for needed assistance.  As a society, we need to do a better job demonstrating acceptance for learning differences.  We need to teach our children that we all need help sometimes and there is nothing wrong with qualifying for it.  Perhaps, the stigma can be diminished so that less fear will be associated with special services.
                                          
The recent, tragic death of Robin Williams shined a bright light on mental health.  We have come a long way from the days of filthy, abusive asylums and random electric shock therapy.  And yet – so many of our teens engage in self-destructive behaviors behind a curtain of shame.  So many parents seek help for their teens and feel alone in their journey and their fears.  So many adults go for therapy but are afraid to tell anyone.  We live in a very competitive, stressful, always connected society where advertising tells us that good isn’t good enough.  We spend less time in nature and less time taking care of ourselves.  We are better able to diagnose and treat clinical depression, bipolar disorders and other imbalances.  There is no shame in seeking peace and happiness.  Again,  we need to teach our children that we all need some help sometimes and there is no shame in reaching for it.  In fact, it takes courage to seek help.

As the parent of a member of the LGBTQ community, I am so grateful that acceptance has reached a point of allowing same sex couples to marry.   And yet – so many young people are so afraid to tell the adults in their lives that they are lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgendered or questioning.  People should not suffer emotionally for their biology.   We should be grateful when our children find love so they can share their lives with others.  We need to teach our children that sexuality isn’t a choice, no one lifestyle is better than another, and we are all entitled to love and to be loved. 

As I watch my sons and their friends, I see how much more accepting they are than generations past.  They whisper less.  They don’t talk in the shadows as often.  Acceptance has come a long way and yet…..

                                                                                                                   

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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.
For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC
                                                                                                                               
Copyright 2014 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.                                                                                                                    

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Random Acts of Pride



One of the greatest gifts we can give to our children is a healthy self-esteem.  When children believe that they are capable, they are more willing to try new things.  They learn to believe in the possibility that they can succeed.  We do them a terrible disservice when we point out what is wrong more often than what is right.  A preschooler should not struggle with defeat.  Preschoolers should reach for a familiar feeling of success.   It is, however, human nature and a symptom of our adult preoccupation with the details that draw our attention to the negative.  We are so busy that we forget to catch the little moments - the random moments -  when our children do great things and praise them.  It is easy to congratulate your child when they put a piece of paper in your hand and say, “Look what I made.”  It is harder to find the random moments when they:

  • Wait nicely in line at the supermarket – This is not easy for anyone.  I know that I get impatient with the people and their price checks and their coupons.  Children have an even harder time waiting.  The frontal lobe of their brains are fully developed and so they cannot resist impulse or stay still as long as an adult.  When they wait nicely, tell them!  Say, “You waited so patiently.  You should be proud.”
  • Choose their own clothes - It is highly likely that the clothes won’t match and aren’t quite right for the occasion but they chose.  The point is that they boldly chose and did not wait for you.  Tell them, “You should be proud that you picked your own outfit” instead of shaking your head and apologizing for the clashing colors all day long.
  • Make a keen observation – Children do say the most amazing things.  Just when you think they haven’t developed empathy yet, they tell you about a child who is upset.  They seem to be paying no attention and then add a tidbit to a conversation that stops everyone in their tracks.  Tell them how great it is when they notice something important that you missed. 
  • Entertain themselves – When you are parenting small children, it is always a relief when they spend some time entertaining themselves with a toy.  Amusing themselves and not requiring your participation is one of the first steps of independence.  Make note of it.  Tell them that they should be proud of how long the spent playing with that doll or building that building.
  • Walk into a building – Put that child who can walk down!  Leave a little extra time if you have to but for goodness sake, let that child walk!  Walking into school, the store or a friend’s house is a very grown up thing to do.  It is also one of your child’s first ways to feel separation from you.  Celebrate it with your child.  High fives all around!

You may have noticed that in each scenario, the adult points out how proud the child should be about the action or behavior.  The Random Acts of Pride aren’t about us.  They are about instilling pride in your child.  Children need to integrate that feeling and will do so more readily when we make it about them.  They will feel good because you noticed them being well behaved or doing something praiseworthy.  That feeling has a name but they don’t naturally have the words for what they feel.  Commit Random Acts of Pride and help your children to identify that wonderful feeling that is a building block for positive self-image. 
                                                                         
                                                                                                                   

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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.
For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC
                                                                                                                               
Copyright 2014 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.                                                                                                                    

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Transitioning From Summer to School



It is hard to go back to work.  When my administrative assistant or I take a vacation, on our first day back we always look at each other and say, “Re-entry is brutal.”  The same is true for your children.  Going from one routine to another requires time to transition.  When they go back to school, they are going back to work.  In preschools, we know that transition times are challenging.  We have songs we sing before snack time.  We give the children plenty of warning before it is time to clean up and go outside.  When we are outside, we talk about going in for at least 5 minutes before we actually attempt to go.  Make going back to school gentler with a routine of transition.  After each break of more than a few days, have a plan that you always adhere to and is predictable.  The longer the break, the longer the transition time should be.  Here are some back-to-school suggestions:

  • Put down the computer and go to the stores.  I understand the ease of internet shopping.  I know there are cyber-bargains.  Resist!  Spending a fun day buying things for school helps to transition your child.
  • Buy special items that are saved for the first day of school.  When I was a girl, everyone had “back to school shoes.”  It was very common to buy shoes in August that were kept in the box until the first day of school.  I couldn’t wait to wear my new shoes.  It gave us something to look forward to that was connected to the first day of school.  Today, my peers and I talk about the years of “back to school shoes” fondly.  I hope you will buy a pair for your child or find something else your children love – clothing, backpack, accessories – and keep them in the box.
  • Gradually get back to a school year routine before it starts.  Summer brings flexibility.  Children can stay up a little later and sleep until whenever they wake.  Weeks before returning (or days if it is a shorter break), get back to stricter bedtimes and waking to an alarm.  Help your children to adjust to the school schedule by getting their bodies adjusted to the correct sleep routine.
  • Tell stories about when you went to school.  Our children love our stories.  When we share positive memories about school, we are an example of enjoying education.  Our attitudes have a tremendous impact on how our children view their world.  They need to know that we know that school can be both challenging and fun.  Our stories teach them that we weren’t always adults – we were also students who had similar experiences to theirs.
  • Give your children permission to be anxious.  The year ahead is filled with unknowns and unknowns make us nervous.  The worst thing that you can do is to tell them that they have no reason to be scared.  They do have a reason.  They are starting something new and don’t know what it will look like every day.  If your children are anxious, tell them that it is perfectly normal.  Assure them that you also get scared when something new is starting.  Tell them that when they are feeling scared, they should take a few deep breaths because that will help them to be brave (and reverse the physiology of fear thus allowing them to think clearer). For more information about separation anxiety, see the links below this article.

Have a terrific school year filled with laughter, listening, patience, purpose and kindness.  Before you know it, the lazy days of summer will be back.


                                                                         
                                                                                                                   


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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.
For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC
                                                      
Copyright 2014 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved


Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.