As another year gets ready to close, I’ve been spending a little time reflecting. 2016 has had plenty of turbulence, but there’ve been some great things going on here at Not Just Cute and some exciting things to look forward to in the year to come. I’m so grateful to have some of the best readers to be found on the internet, and I’m thrilled to have you with me for the adventures up ahead.
In no particular order, here are the top 5 posts from 2016:
(Click the title to read the full post.)
How Positive Parenting Shapes the Brain
A study published two years ago in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience which showed a connection between positive parenting techniques and brain development in adolescents. While there are many limitations to the study, and as always, replication would add validity, the findings made my nerdy heart get all atwitter.
The study didn’t just find that the brain development was different for subjects whose parents practiced positive parenting techniques, but it delineated where those differences were found.”
Teaching Children the Way They’re Meant to Learn
People don’t defend what they don’t recognize as valuable. And they won’t value what they don’t understand. This is why it becomes critical for early childhood professionals to be advocates and PR reps for developmentally appropriate practice.
To do that, we have to understand it ourselves.”
Sorry, folks. That’s not positive parenting.
There are perfect principles that guide positive parenting. But parents aren’t perfect, and they aren’t meant to be. The parent-child relationship is not designed to be a perfectly choreographed dance. In reality, it’s a system of missteps and course corrections. Connection and reconnection. But we’re wired for it.
The real problem arises when we fool ourselves into believing that we shouldn’t make mistakes. And if that’s the case, then we shouldn’t make repairs. That’s where the damage starts. Not in the mistake itself.”
Before They Write: Fine Motor Foundation
The idea that writing is not an independent performance task was somewhat new. The implication that poor pencil grasp could be prevented and remediated with something other than more writing was almost startling.
We have to get away from the idea that early education is a series of boxes to be checked, and recognize the real needs of the whole child and they ways they are wired to learn and grow.”
How 4 Words Changed the Way I Talk to My Kids (And Everyone Else Too)
I’ve heard for a while now, that parents — and good communicators in general — should avoid using the word “but” when possible. But (no pun intended) I just haven’t been able to find a suitable replacement word.”
And as an honorable mention, This Series on Developmentally Appropriate Practice, wasn’t written this year (I can hardly believe it’s 3 years old now!), but continues to be among my top posts and my most requested topic for keynotes.
Other Highlights from 2016:
- The new site design! It was a long time coming, but I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Along with the new design, there’s better organization, largely summed up by this Start Here page, and capped off with an awesome new welcome series (including the developmental guide) for those who sign up for the newsletter.
- Parenting with Positive Guidance Ecourse relaunched on a new platform. This platform is a much better home for the ecourse material, which was also cleaned up, optimized, and added to. I have really enjoyed connecting with many of you through the live webinars I’ve been hosting to teach some of these principles, and am excited to offer course access and live webinar trainings as a package for schools and parent groups in the coming year (email me for details).
- Speaking and Training. It is always an absolute joy to get together, face to face, with teachers and parents who share this passion for intentional whole child development. I’m always amazed that I can be introduced to people from across the country, and soon feel like I’m chatting with old friends. Thank you, to each of you who has welcomed me into your schools, your parent groups, and your conferences. Every opportunity has been an honor. Whether I’m traveling a few miles from my home, thousands of miles across the air, or around the world via the internet, I’m incredibly grateful to be given the opportunity to add my voice to the conversation on intentional whole child development.
Looking Ahead to 2017:
- 2017 NJC Read Along! Next month, we’ll begin discussing Emily Plank’s book, Discovering the Culture of Childhood. I’m so excited to share this perspective-changing book with you. Grab your copy of the book now, so you can join us!
- Not Just Cute… the Podcast? Late in 2016, I made a commitment to start a podcast in the new year. I’ve upgraded my microphone, set up the landing page, and started taking notes and making plans. It’s a brand new adventure for me (interpretation: I’m learning as I go), but I’m excited for the new opportunity! (I’d love to hear your thoughts on podcasts — what you love and what you don’t — in the comments section!)
- Letting Go of Perfect. I’ve had an ecourse bubbling up for a year or two now, but just had too many irons in the fire to pull it all together. Waiting has been so hard, because it’s a topic I can’t NOT share. I’ve finally made room for bringing it to life, and hope to launch it early in the new year. Head over here to learn more and get on the list to hear about it as soon as it hits the ground.
- Coming to a conference near you! 2017 is already shaping up to be a great year for conference keynotes and staff workshops, and I can’t wait to meet those of you on my schedule. It’s always a highlight! I’m maintaining my commitment to cap off traveling engagements at one per month in 2017, but I do still have a few of those spots open. If you are interested in having me speak at an upcoming event or provide a training for your group, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com before those dates disappear.
I’m looking forward to making 2017 an amazing year, and excited to have you with me!
What made it to your highlight reel for 2016? What does 2017 hold in store for you?
I just wanted to thank you for a truly outstanding blog.
NJC is a resource I refer to often, and a learning centre for me where the topics and conversations are thoughtful, relevant and always inspiring.
I enjoyed all of the above posts, and many more, and loved the Rae Pica read along and look forward to reading Emily Plank’s book with you this year. Thank you again for all your effort over the last year (and the many before) in producing such a great site. I wish you a wonderful 2017. – Miriam
Thank you so much, Miriam. Your kind words made my day! Thank you for being an NJC reader. I’m so lucky to have you here!
Andrea Despain says
ooooh! I am so excited for all the things to look forward to in 2017!!!!
I’m so excited to have you with me!
Andrea Despain says
I am particularly excited about your podcast and new course!!
I’m excited to get them going!
I just wanted to say (possibly again) how awesome your post “How 4 Words Changed The Way I Talk to My Kids” was and how much of an impact it had on my life. I still use your phrase in conversations with my kids and it’s made a huge difference to our relationship!
Thank you again,
Thanks, Sara! It’s been a game-changer for me as well. I’m so glad it’s had a positive impact on you and your family too!