My Kids Watch TV – Mommy Teacher Spotlight

For the last couple years I always sat back amazed at my sister Becca who would dissolve problems between our oldest children who are not even two days apart in age.

When our kids would fight over a toy she would start singing “You can take a turn, and then I’ll give it back” and they would almost immediately jump in singing and taking turns became a game.

When they got mad she would start singing “If you’re feeling mad and you want to roar… take a deep breath and count to four – 1 -2 -3- 4.” And they calmed down and started counting.

When we were about to leave the park she would sing, “It’s almost time to go, so choose one more thing to do. That was fun and now we’re through.”

I learned techniques similar to this in my under-grad and my teaching experience so I always sat back amazed that she would handle guidance in such an age-approriate way!

After about six months of enjoying her little songs, we finally discovered “Daniel Tiger” (The PBS TV show)  I finally made the connection, calling my sister on the phone saying, “BECCA! Hahah I am just now figuring it out!  I love it!  You stole (“borrowed”) those guidance techniques from the show – you are so smart!”

It’s funny because experts help write kid-friendly series to make them educational and some people treat TV like it is the devil. Or, you feel like you are a bad parent if your kids watch TV – NOT TRUE!  There are plenty of shows (especially on PBS kids) that are beneficial for kids – especially when you watch them, pause them, discuss them, dialogue with your kids about them, and even use some of the same tips in your parenting.

I tell Sean Patrick all the time not to take things out of someone else’s hands because he doesn’t want to be a swiper (Dora).


Swiper No Swiping


Or if he wants all the toys to himself I tell him to share like Jake not to be greedy like Captain Hook (Jake and the Neverland Pirates)


Don't be Greedy


Here is a guidance song that I didn’t know as well, but it is something we experience every day with our little ones:

And here is another on feelings:

Are there any quotes/songs from TV shows your kids watch that have helped your parenting?

Showing Your Children How They Communicate

Recently, in my “Parenting is Heart Work” group, we talked about how some children have a VERY hard time taking “no” for an answer.

Anyone? Anyone else experience this with their child?

I’m wondering if there are parents who don’t relate to this?!?

Well, children don’t recognize that when they don’t say “Yes ma’am” or “Yes Sir” to our rules and expectations that they appear to “disrespect” our authority.  They simply can’t comprehend why we would deprive them of joy…. ever.   Kids are like “Wait you are my parent… you are supposed to meet all my wants and needs in my timing at all times”  haha they are adorably mistaken.

But, we have a little of that in us as adults as well;  so, instant gratification is not a foreign concept for us either.

Either way, we have a big responsibility to ensure that our children become civilized little beings who can communicate in healthy ways… and unfortunately sometimes we don’t exactly model healthy responses.  As parents we can often be more reactive than anything else.

When Sean Patrick crosses his arms, throws himself on the floor, or loses his control, he doesn’t know that not only are his words destructive but his voice level and his body language also need to be replaced with appropriate responses.

So, I created a visual to show him how he communicates with me.



SS teaching children emotional control



I talked to him about all the different ways we can communicate about something and I made up stories about the children in a few of the pictures.  I strategically “make up” stories that are past examples of Sean Patrick’s impulsive responses.

For the picture of the demanding child crossing his arms I might say “This is Johnny.  Johnny’s mommy said that he couldn’t have a gummy snack until after dinner, and Johnny said ‘NO! I want it NOW!’  Can you see what Johnny’s face and arms are doing?  Do you think he is ready to listen and say “Okay mommy!”  Or do you think he is going to make his problem worse?  (Sean Patrick said he is not listening to his mom and he needs to get in control) .  The way Johnny is speaking to his mom with a mean face and crossed arms shows his mommy that he is demanding she listen to him instead of using his words to talk about the problem.  Can you tell Johnny that he can have a happy heart and wait until after dinner to get his fruit snack?”

We talk about the pictures and we also practice coping and fixing our problems AFTER we have a problem and he cools down I might say, “Sean Patrick what went wrong when we had that problem earlier?  Did you  try hard to calm down and talk about the problem or were you out of control?” (He usually is very honest about his emotions.  After we talk about that then we practice our coping strategies:  breathing, counting, walking out of the room for a minute, etc.

I hope this helps you too!

If you want this printable you can get it HERE

Make My Pumpkin

In the spirit of Halloween, I wanted to do an art project with my 4-year-old while my 6-year-old was at school.  My middle child loves and cherishes this one-on-one time with Mommy.  Jess’ post on Monday inspired us to make our own Jack-O-Lanterns, but I had a different objective in mind.

I was also inspired by a “find the differences” book I was reading with Leyson that has two near-identical pictures side by side, but with subtle differences.  Each page asks you to “find (x-amount of) differences” which may be as simple as the omission of an object in the picture or a change of color, shape, size or placement of an object.

The objective of our activity was for my son to be able to both point out and fix the differences between my picture and his picture to make them the same, and also to recreate the picture I created… in this case, a pumpkin.

Materials needed:  construction paper, scissors, maybe some glue after the activity 🙂



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Mommy Prep:  Using orange construction paper, I cut out two large pumpkin shapes, and lots of different sized rectangles*, triangles, circles, squares and other various shapes with brown, yellow and black paper.

*I cut out 4 different types of rectangle stems to bring in some vocabulary to our activity:  short, long, thick, thin


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Leyson first had to close his eyes (or cover his face with a blanket because I learned that I can’t trust him to keep his eyes closed) and count to twenty while I arranged the different shapes to make a face on my pumpkin.  Apparently, counting to twenty now means omitting numbers 14 and 19, so we will be working on that again soon.

I started off with a simple face.  Two circles for eyes, a circle for a nose, a fat, brown rectangle and a U-shape for a smiley mouth.

 

When he got to 20, he pulled the blanket off of his face, he had to use the remaining shapes to make his pumpkin look just like my pumpkin.



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To make the project more challenging in other rounds, I layered some of the shapes such as using smaller circles on top of larger circles for the eyes.

The most difficult part of the activity was when I used only triangles to make a face and he had to figure out which direction the triangles were facing.  It’s harder than it looks!



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We experimented with all the different things we could learn from making pumpkins:

  • Feelings/Emotions: We made happy pumpkins, and sad pumpkins, and angry pumpkins, and scared pumpkins… and talked about why each pumpkin was feeling the way they were feeling.



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  • Counting/More or Less:  Sometimes Mommy’s pumpkin had 4 teeth, sometimes it had more or less.
  • Compare and Contrast:  “What is different about the nose on your pumpkin and the nose on my pumpkin?”  “Do our pumpkins have the same shaped mouth?”
  • Vocabulary:  Colors, shapes, sizes, parts of the face
  • Spacial Awareness:  “Are the eyes close together or far apart?”  “If you put the eyes in the middle of the pumpkin, can we fit a nose and a mouth too?”
  • Phonemic Awareness & Writing:  We segmented the sounds in pumpkin /p/ /u/ /m/ /p/ /k/ /i/ /n/… which is pretty hard to do when your child pronounces it like “po’kin” but we wrote the real word on the back of our project.



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When you are finished the activity, grab some glue so you can add some Halloween decor to your house!



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Who needs to buy decorations from the store, when with a little glue and tape you can make your house ready for any holiday?!

Remedy for the little one with the “I can’t” bug!

My son has been using the phrase “I can’t” a lot lately because he is so catious, but lately I have noticed that he is using it as a crutch. We went swimming in the lake on the fourth of July and when asked to go into the lake he cried out “I can’t” because he was scared. I don’t want to ignore his fears so we are going to be swimming in pools more often until he is comfortable. But, I also want to implement the “I can” mentality into his vocabulary as much as I have the influence to do so.

So, here are a few things that I have casually introduced to Sean Patrick and spent time encouraging him with in the past week.

1) We started off coloring an “I Can” book that I could read to him and encourage him to “read” to daddy and others as well.

2) We made a homemade video of him on my iphone acting out all of the “I CAN” actions from the book (I would’ve shared this, but he didn’t feel like putting clothes on for the video haha).

3) I started a little personalized “I can” book for him in a Word document:







And 4) I stumbled upon a Barney (yes the big purple dinosaur) video called “I Can Do That” featuring a group of friends playing “I Can _____” and then putting on a skit about it.

These tips are NOT a short-term “cure” for the I can’ts!  All of these ideas are things I am currently teaching toward a GOAL that we can replace “I can’t” with “I can.”  I’m sure there will be plenty of reminders 🙂

Real Life Lessons From The Mommy Calling Blogger

I was following “Mekmommy” on Instagram and saw this fun, illustrated picture:







The Mommy Teacher that I am had to know the play-by-play and story behind this authentic, on-the-spot mini lesson.  Krista (this particular mommy teacher) is a mommy of three and the blogger behind “The Mommy Calling.”

So, here is the story shared by Krista that I hope inspires you the way that it inspired me:

“It all started b/c Maddox ran inside freaking out because our yard was full of spider webs. Of course, living in the country cobwebs will always be there, so I had to figure out a way to help him understand. It actually turned into a lesson about counting, adding, habitats, the food chain, a ton of things!

I tore some paper off of the butcher roll and drew a spider. As I drew it, we talked about how it has 2 parts to its body, the head and the body, setting up for a later conversation about the difference between insects and arachnids. Then we counted out the 8 legs as I drew them and talked about how there are 4 on each side and how 4+4=8.

I used a different color crayon to draw the “silk”. I drew some in the spider’s belly, and drew a line coming from the spider and as I drew a random “web” pattern I explained that as the spider moves with the silk behind him it makes the web. After I drew the web I talked about the uses of the web. I broke it down by first drawing the spider in the web telling Maddox that the spider lives in his web. Then I drew an egg sac and explained that this is where the spider lays its eggs and they hatch. I drew a bug flying on the outside of the web and a dotted line leading to the web explaining that as the bug is flying it gets caught in the web because it is so sticky. I explained that the sticky web is how the spiders catch their food to eat. I drew an arrow from the spider to the bug and explained how the spider will then eat the bug. I then asked him if he remembered what the web was for and we broke it down into living, laying eggs, and eating.

Maddox then got his own crayon to copy what I drew and he explained it back to me while I reinforced that there were 2 body parts and counting and adding of the legs (making sure he drew 4 on each side rather than just drawing out 8 random legs so he could visually see the 4+4=8). We didn’t go into the details of the web again, but again we discussed the live, lay eggs, eat. All-in-all it was about 15 minutes and he was so proud that he spent the next 15 minutes talking about it over and over and hung his picture up and called his daddy to tell him about it. In 30 minutes he learned so much about so many things. And it wasn’t anything that was hard to explain or too over his head. It was such a great reminder of how many important things they can learn without a classroom and without making it a boring ‘lesson.'”



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