Thursday, August 27, 2015

Forgive Me If I Stare

Us....
Tomorrow, my baby goes to college.  It's so hard to believe.  

When my older son went to college, it was a milestone. My family started a new chapter of children spending most of the year elsewhere.  It felt like part of a piece of my life puzzle was missing but we reveled in his successes.  He is now a college graduate with a full time job and a grown up life.  We launched one.

Now, it's my younger son's turn to do what we have spent 18 years teaching him to do - be independent and find his life.  There's something different about sending him to college.  He has pointed out a few times that this time, my husband and I are really empty nesters.  Though his older brother is living here, he is an adult who is barely here and planning his final move out.  I will come home from work and no one will need anything from me.  There will be such quiet.

My mother likes to say that it is as it should be and for that, we have to be so grateful.  I know she is right.  When he was born, we imagined him growing up with maybe few bumps in the road and going to college someday.  Our dreams for him are coming true.  He is quite a young man and will have such a wonderful four years.  He will emerge an adult from the experience of being on his own.  He makes me proud every day and I can't wait to see what his life becomes.

I will only ask that he forgive me if I stare at him tonight or tomorrow.  I want to memorize the moment.  I want the picture of this young man with his whole future in front of him forever seared into my brain. I will put the picture right next to that of his brother on his first day of college.  Both images rest in my head next to the faces I memoized on the days they were born.  
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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 2015 © 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.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Trust is Built in the Quiet Moments

Trust is taught and built when you least expect it.  It isn’t in the large, loud, dramatic moments.  It happens in the quiet, everyday-ness of life.  It is taught through demonstration and not by lectures, never by punishment. 

Show your children trust by keeping their private lives private.  Ask their permission before posting on social media and don’t post if they don’t give their permission.  Don’t talk about their every misstep with all of your friends and relatives.  It is ironic that adults wouldn’t want their loved ones to call the neighbors every time they made a mistake, but we do that to children.  If you wouldn’t want your children to tell their peers when you misbehave, don’t do it to them.

When your children as a question, tell them the truth.  They won’t ask until they are ready to hear the answer.  They will ask about the tooth fairy, Santa and other childhood stories when they want to know.  If you have built a good relationship, they may ask you about sexuality, drinking and drugs.  They need to know simple truth from you.

Keep every one of your promises. Don’t even hint about things you may not be able to do.  Children believe you when you say you will take them to the park or buy a new toy…until they can’t believe you anymore.  Show them that you only say what is possible and that you are one of the very few people in this word that they can count on.

The pivotal moments in every relationship are the moments we barely think about.  They are the moments when you kept your word or you didn’t.  They are the moments when you chose not to gossip but to do what you say by keeping some things in the family.  Trust is built by respecting the needs, privacy and humanity of others.  It’s true for you in your adult relationships and it’s how you build a lifelong trusting relationship with your children. 

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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 2015 © 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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

36,526 Words and Counting: A Lesson in Understanding When Children Feel Overwhelmed

Speaking in NYC - Little did I know how my life would
change just twenty minutes later...
Last April, I was speaking in New York City when I received an email from an editor of a New York publishing house asking if I ever considered writing a book based on my talks.  I had played with the idea but never imagined that I would be approached.  I imagined trying to get someone to buy it or self-publishing, both of which felt too daunting so I hadn’t written a manuscript yet.  I was not about to let this golden opportunity pass so I entered the process of working with the editor to write a book proposal for her board.  Much to my amazement, they approved and offered me a contract.  Thus began my lesson in what it must feel like to be one of our overwhelmed students.

After discussions with my editor, I learned that a typical length for non-fiction books is 50,000-70,000 words.  My book is a guide for educators about appropriate expectations for preschoolers.  I had no clue how many words were in my head about that but who am I to argue with typical?  I had my outline from the approved proposal and a summer ahead of me to write my heart out.  I learned some things about myself.  My “process” seems to be to empty my head into Microsoft Word and keep moving forward.  I learned to walk away when I stare at a page for too long because I am most likely to figure out my next sentence while I am in the shower or making lunch or sleeping.  I am at 36,526 words with several chapters to go and have learned that I cannot ignore the word count on the bottom left of the screen no matter how much I try.

More than anything, I have learned a new meaning for the word “overwhelmed.”  The task is huge.  It is so huge that a final and completely edited manuscript ready for publishing isn’t even expected from me until December 2016 (though my editor said she’d be thrilled to get it done before the contract date).  It’s been many years since I was in high school and college. I’d forgotten this sort of overwhelmed.  I write a few thousand words and my brain is literally heavy.  It must be how a young child feels facing an empty page that has to be filled with carefully printed A’s.  This must be how they feel when an adult tells them to clean up a cluttered room and they don’t even know where to turn first.

My sympathies are with you, letter learning, science experimenting, math testing students as you go from this overwhelming task to many more years ahead of assignments and tests.  They are necessary and you will learn from it but I get it.  This book is an opportunity not only for me professionally but as a reminder.  Great accomplishments come from hard work.  I look forward to having students in my school again in the fall and I hope I get a chance to tell someone who is struggling or overwhelmed that I really do understand.

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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 2015 © 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.

Monday, August 24, 2015

When You Look At Your Children, What Do You See?

It’s a busy, hectic world.  Everyone is running here and there as they try to keep up with the demands of work, marriage, parenting and other responsibilities.  We run home, make dinner and ensure homework gets done between dance or sports or other lessons and appointments.  Everyone is in the same frenzy – adults with their responsibilities and our children with theirs.  It is easy to forget to take a moment to stop and really look at our children. 

Take a moment and look at your children.  What do you see?

Look at your children.  They are being the best them they can be.  They may be struggling.  They make mistakes.  They are the best they can be at this moment.

Look at your children.  They seek your attention because it is part of what they need from you.  They need clothes, food, shoes and your undivided attention.  They need you to smile at them so they know you see them amid the busy-ness.  They need to feel the connection to the most important people in their world.

Look at your children.  They are growing and becoming more independent while you are the keepers of the memories.  Watch them for the “remember when…” moments and the “I will never forget when you…” stories.  Memorize who they are at every age so you can give your recollections back to them like a gift.

See your children.  They are the best and worst parts of you and some original parts that will take them to new places and new experiences beyond your imagination.  They are deserving of all of the wisdom, hugs and encouragement that you can give them.

See your children look back at you as they move simultaneously toward and away from you in the struggle to walk their own paths with one arm reaching back for you.

When you look at your children, what do you see?


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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 2015 © 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 20, 2015

Acceptance: A Course Outline for Your PreK thru 12th Graders (and Adults – It’s Never Too Late)

I wish that school curriculum included the topic of acceptance.  Each year, children would have to learn literacy skills, math, science, physical education, social studies, art, music and acceptance.  The curriculum would spiral – be taught every year by starting with what they know and adding to their knowledge.  Very young children are egocentric so it could start with them as they learn self-acceptance and then spiral out each year to include more of the world.  Realistically, schools are not going to jump on the idea so parents need to consider how acceptance can be part of at-home learning.  Here is a suggested outline for teaching your children about acceptance:

PreK thru 2nd Grade – Self-Acceptance
Students would learn that each one of them is capable by being allowed to experiment without critique or criticism.  They would be praised for their efforts and not constantly corrected.  They would be told that they should be so proud of who they are and what they do.

3rd Grade thru 6th Grade – Acceptance of Differences
As students begin to exit the more egocentric years and notice more about the people around them, they are taught to embrace the differences they see.  They are taught that all people have gifts to offer the world.  Everyone is different and everyone is a part of what makes life wonderful.  Students are encouraged to participate in “Get to Know You” activities in rotating groups throughout the year. 

7th Grade thru 9th Grade – Acceptance of Change and Emotions
These are years in which students start changing both physically and emotionally.  They discover that friends come and go.  They have their feelings hurt.  Their changing bodies feel foreign and awkward.  Students will learn that emotions are not facts.  Our emotions are real and we have a right to feel them but they can block our logical thinking. Students will learn to accept that sometimes they are happy and sometimes they are sad.  All emotions pass.  Good days will come again.  They will learn to breathe deeply and accept that they are changing and so are their peers.  They will participate in activities that provide them with proof that they are in it together.

10th thru 12th Grade – Acceptance of What You Cannot Control
High School students applying for college need to know how to accept that there are other people making decisions that will impact their lives.  They cannot control college admissions staff.  Students will participate in activities that help them to focus on what they can control and accept the “things happen” nature of life. 

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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 2015 © 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.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Understanding Teaching as a Skill Set: Written by a School Director, Teacher, Parent and Perpetual Student

That's me - teaching a ballroom
full of teachers.
The ability to teach well is a skill set.  Not everyone with knowledge of a topic can teach it.  As a certified teacher who jumped through what felt like the flaming hoops of course work, field work, a national teacher’s exam and still happily continues to get my continuing education hours every year, I am offended by the notion that anyone can do what I do.  I have spent years studying, learning, reflecting and observing to hone my craft.

Teaching is a year-long, more-than-a-full-time-job job.  We spend all year and many hours outside of our workplaces planning and preparing.  More than that, more than the hours that you can count on a clock, is the gravity of our work and how it stays always in the forefront of our minds.  Teachers worry about your children.  We think long and hard about how to help students learn more, find their voice, succeed both academically and socially. Teaching is not a job that can be left at work.  We have the humbling task of shaping every child’s experience and, though we are human and make mistakes, we try so hard to reach everyone. 

When future teachers are working to become certified or current staff are attending their continuing education workshops, they are learning the newest theories about brain development.  They are being trained on new curriculum.  They are learning from experts about approaching behavioral and learning challenges in a way that is respectful, kind and productive.  The key to a productive class is all that is encompassed in a classroom management plan – organization, reasonable boundaries, how to keep the class attentive & interested and more.  A person may have an understanding of a topic and a willingness to stand in front of a group to talk about it but they need a pocket filled with tools.  Schools are living, breathing environments where anything can happen – amazing, challenging, though provoking, and difficult things.  It takes education and practice to be able to keep our tools at the ready while capturing the attention and imagination of our youth.

 It is true that for parents, in-service days at school when teachers use the day to learn and the school is closed are inconvenient.  I was that parent, too.  I had to figure out what to do with my children on those random days of school closures.  Conferences, conventions and well-planned days of teachers learning the newest ideas and methods are more important than most people can imagine.  We come out of our silos and get to learn how to reach our students even better than we did already.  We are invigorated.  I wouldn’t want my children to be taught by people whose last bit of education about teaching was twenty or even ten years ago.  I want my children to have teachers with current knowledge.  I juggled babysitters but I welcomed the school closings.  As a fellow educator, I knew how important those days were to the people who spent more hours with my children than I did.

We don’t just have to know math, literacy, science or history facts.  We have to know about people and child development.  Being in the business of human development isn’t easy and we don’t always hit the mark even when we are educated in education.  That background knowledge and the continuation of learning is essential.  The teachers who work with your children are professionals, or they should be because, I will say it again, not everyone with knowledge can teach.

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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 2015 © 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.

Monday, August 17, 2015

It’s All An Act: Teaching Children That Social Media Isn’t An Accurate Depiction of Anyone

Today’s children are growing up in a world where social media is at the center.  Adults, teens and even younger children are watching everyone else.  Pictures are posted of happy families at the beach or at the mountains on vacation.  Scroll through your apps and a majority of people look so happy.  Many make social media declarations about how lucky they are and how life has been good to them. 

The everydayness of life is missing from social media.  Every life is multi-dimensional.  Children need to know that social media is all an act.  It doesn’t depict the whole truth.  They are not less than anyone else because they are not always smiling.  Their lives are not worse than everyone smiling at them on social media.

Our society has always over valued happiness above other emotions.  All emotions come and go.  Every emotion is part of the human experience.  We should enjoy happiness when we have it, of course.  We need to understand that it is a feeling just like sadness and fear and they all pass.  The goal in our lives needs to be acceptance.  With acceptance, comes peace of mind.  Endless happiness is an unrealistic goal but there it is on the pages of social media – a seemingly endless stream of people without a care.

I remember my mother telling me that everyone has problems.  I wonder if today’s children will have a harder time believing that because of the physical evidence to the contrary.  Our children are natives of the social media world.  They are growing up with a different understanding of privacy than prior generations.  To see a picture of my generation, you actually had to visit my house and look in a photo album.  My baby pictures were not posted for everyone to see.

Social media has benefits, too.  Our children can be in touch with family more easily.  They can stay connected to friends who move away.   As they look over our shoulders when they are young and they get their own social media accounts as they get older, we need to keep telling them, “It’s all an act.  Everyone picks what they put on social media.  They are trying to entertain us or document their happiest moments or sometimes just get attention.  This is not everything about them.”   Let the children know that every life has joy and sadness, bravery and fear, good times and challenging times.  No one is alone in the human experience.

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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 2015 © 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 6, 2015

“My Kids Aren’t Listening!” Changing Your Approach Can Change Everything

It is so frustrating to talk and talk and the toys are still on the floor, the shoes are still in the living room and the bedroom could probably be declared a disaster area.  There are times when every parent wonders if we are speaking at a pitch only dogs can hear.  When repeating ourselves seems useless, we try more often and louder.  At some point, we have to admit that we have become background noise.  It’s true.  No one is listening anymore.  The only thing left to do is to consider our approach.  What can you do differently?
  • Try conversing instead of barking.  At a time when your child is most receptive – for some it is in the morning and for others just before bed – have a calm discussion.   Sit at eye level with your child and smile.  Explain that you need to figure out together when tasks can be completed.
  • Be empathetic.  We need to let our children know that we understand that cleaning up so we can find the floor isn’t the most fun activity in the world.  Share that you didn’t enjoy the task at hand when you were their age.  Let them know that you understand their point of view.  By demonstrating empathy, we teach them to be empathetic to others.
  • Explain the necessity of the task and the reason that your child is being asked to complete it.  Acknowledge that while it isn’t fun, it’s necessary and give a few reasons.  It is, for example, important to put toys away because they can get broken or someone can get hurt.  Give your children a larger world view by explaining that if we all left everything everywhere, it would be such a mess.  Let your child know that we all have to do our share for the family. We take for granted that our children understand that but, often and especially when they are in the preschool and elementary school years, they see the world from only their point of view.
  • Tell your child that you are not doing it for them and then don’t do it.   My mother and uncle still tell a story about my grandmother going on strike. They were so surprised at this event that it became one of their most vivid long term memories.  Now, they laugh about it.  They recall the day by saying, “Remember when Mom went nuts and went on strike?” So many years later, they even remember that she made a picket sign.  The notion that their mother wouldn’t just do everything left an impression.  Her way of expressing it has stayed with them.   I bet they don’t remember every time she asked, nagged or got angry but they remember the strike.
  • Decide together when the task can be completed.  Make your child part of a plan.  You may find that the plan needs to include the when and how of the situation as well as a positive motivation.  You don’t necessarily need to run to the store to buy something as a motivation.  You can offer to do something special together once the task is done.  You can offer more time watching TV or playing games.  Decide all of the particulars as a game plan rather than an annoying chore.
  • Above all else, mind your tone of voice.  We don’t like when our children nag, whine, beg or yell.  They don’t respond well to negative tones of voice either.  A frustrated adult should be able to take a breath and speak quietly & calmly.  Sometimes, the best thing you can say is nothing.  Other times, the best way to say something is quietly and sincerely.

Have you found a strategy for getting your children to listen to your requests?  Please share your strategy with other blog readers by posting your comment below!

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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 2015 © 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.