I graduated high school with a 4.0 and a full-ride scholarship. I had been an athlete, class president, and valedictorian. In college, I completed a dual major in four years and was set with an acceptance to graduate school and a teaching assistantship before closing my final term as an undergrad.
I’m not listing these things to brag. As I run through this resume, what I recognize is how much satisfaction I get from setting my sights on something, checking the to-do boxes, and accomplishing goals. For years, I rode on a wave of short-term accomplishments; enjoying the rush of goals set and completed within semesters, years, or seasons.
I typically write about the early childhood realm. That’s where my professional expertise is. But as my own kids grow, I’m beginning to make some interesting observations about the span of childhood.
While my youngest two boys are still in the early childhood years, my oldest two are solidly in the school age years. (My oldest, in fact, seems intent on flirting with becoming a “tween”, which is puzzling to me, since I recall birthing him just yesterday.)
I’m starting to notice some of the perspectives and attitudes about “big kids” from a new vantage point. Just yesterday, my husband and I were talking about observations we’ve made as we’ve watched interactions in public playspaces. Not always, but sometimes, there seems to be almost an air of irritation when the big kids show up.
Ah, March Madness! It’s a fun extended family tradition in our house, connecting siblings and cousins across generations and across the US as we share our best guesses (and a lot of random selections) in our personal brackets. All for bragging rights, and maybe some free ice cream.
We got our boys in on the action this year, with our ten year-old checking out the ranking system (coupled with some of his personal team loyalties), our eight year-old comparing team colors, our five year-old showing we may need to brush up on our Geographic awareness as he selected “Virgeorgia” as one of his teams, and our two year-old showing a clear penchant for the underdog, selecting a #10 team to take it all home. (I guess that’s what happens when you fill out the bracket with a series of “this or that” questions.)
Filling out the brackets as a family made for some questionable life lessons, such as my husband’s comment that, “You don’t have to make a good choice, you just have to make a choice.” But one of the lessons March Madness always brings to my mind is the importance of a good coach and what time outs should really look like.
Trust me. It really does have something to do with child development. (Incidentally, this basketball analogy may be the post most frequently referred from wives to husbands. Go figure.) Continue reading →
There is something about a good picture book that really gets me really excited. It makes me want to tell everyone about it immediately. (OK, honestly it makes me want to purchase it immediately, then it makes me want to tell everyone about it.) That’s what happened when I laid eyes on the first book presented by Dreamling Books, The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth.
Maybe it was the gorgeous pictures — amazing illustrations by Disney Interactive artist David McClellan, mimicking the stunning photography style of the author, adventure photographer Chris Burkard.
Maybe it was the message: to slow down, enjoy the journey, and breathe in the beauty all around you.
Whichever it was that hit first, it was the combination that reminded me of so many moments when I’ve suddenly realized that the grandeur of nature has enveloped me. You know, that moment where something stirs inside of you? Continue reading →
‘In response to DNAinfo’s inquiries, Hsu released a statement defending the new homework policy — insisting that the playtime, conversations with relatives and unstructured reading was key to education.
“We are excited that we are redefining the landscape of homework — but we are certainly not eliminating homework,” Hsu said.
“We are creating opportunities for students and their families to engage in activities that research has proven to benefit academic and social-emotional success in the elementary grades. We look forward to seeing the positive impact our newly-designed homework options will have on our students and their families.”’
I’ve spent a lot of time reading, writing, and teaching about positive parenting. It’s not all selfless professionalism, of course. I’m a mom to four awesome boys. Four awesome boys who make my heart explode with happiness. And four awesome boys who sometimes make my head explode with craziness.
No one gets out of parenthood challenge-free. And so, I — and many other parents I know — spend a lot of time reading up on the latest advice and all the oldest tricks in the book. Anything to help us feel like we just might be getting the hang of this parenting gig.
I’ve read (and written) pages upon pages of well laid out and even complicated theories on development and parenting. I’ve picked up tool upon tool from hours of studying and training. I value every opportunity for learning and growth — even the ones that come in the form of challenges.
And yet, I find that some of the very best tools for parenting are some of the simplest. I don’t regret hours of hitting the books, attending conferences, or sitting in university classes, but intertwined with that learning shines the simplicity of truths I’ve learned from a variety of sources: professors and experts, yes, but also friends, family, and life itself.
Here are a few of the top pieces of parenting advice that just happen to be some of the simplest. Continue reading →
Challenging child behavior comes from a variety of causes (you can read more about how to get to the root of those causes here). Because the causes are so varied, we have to have a variety of tools at the ready to help us respond appropriately. Just as Bob Vila carries more than just a hammer in his tool belt for addressing the variety of challenges presented in a home, parents and teachers need more than one tool for responding to behavior.
Some (not all) links to products may result in an affiliate share paid to Not Just Cute. Regardless, all reviews and opinions shared are those of the individual writer.
The owner and writers of this blog accept no liability. Readers are personally responsible for their own safety and the safety of the children in their care. Please use wise judgement in selecting activities and adapting them appropriately for ages, abilities, and personal circumstances.