I had a great opportunity today, to compliment a dad who was having a great “dialog” with his toddler in a restaurant. Think about this a second. a DAD with a TODDLER in a RESTAURANT – and they were HAVING A GREAT TIME! The little boy was happily engaged, the dad was moving between checking his smart phone and engaging with his son.
I’d like to video that dad, and put THAT on YouTube, as an example of what’s RIGHT in our world! AND what’s POSSIBLE!
We are working with a local home child care provider on a workshop for Iowa AEYC entitled: Children in Our Care: What Happens when we don’t “Feel the Love”? Rebecca, the provider, has had the experience of taking a child into her home for whom she feels little natural bond…many care providers and adoptive parents experience this dreaded lack of immediate attachment, and it can lend to guilt, blame, and what T Berry Brazleton would call a “derailment” of the relationship. Rebecca came up with a solution, namely, being INTENTIONAL about building a positive relationship with her little charge.
Being intentional in our relationships doesn’t come naturally. It comes out of our commitment to CREATING positive outcomes with whoever we interact with. In Rebecca’s case, her decision was based in her sense of her efficacy as a PROFESSIONAL care giver – so she worked hard to find little things about the child that she could appreciate, and she decided to “pretend” to be in love with this child. And guess what, she’s falling in love with him!!
I know, I know, so many ideas, so few posts!!
I’ve been sorting through thoughts and values and imagined “have-tos” for the past few months.
I’ve come up with this: Success from the Start offers strength-based coaching for parents who are unsure of what to expect of themselves as parents, and unsure of what to expect from their child as their child grows from infant to toddler to preschooler.
Hello, everyone, it has been a super busy month, with a trip to Orlando to present at the Convention of the National Association for the Educators of Young Children (also included: a chance to see some of the grandkids!), and an added part time “day job”, subbing for a friend with a sick child. This whirlwind is likely to continue through until the holidays, and who knows after that?
Here’s a great quote about our lives, and about parenting: Life…you live it forward, but understand it backward.” (Abraham Verghese) So true about parenting!!
I got lots of great ideas for this blog at the convention, but as I resume (hopefully) regular entries I’m going to address my own journey into parent coaching and support.
I do this work because I am passionate that ALL parents/caregivers develop confidence in their ability to do this parenting life, AND to share my experience and expertise in the field of child development. I believe that if a parent or the person they entrust with the care of their child develops knowledge and confidence, the parenting journey can be JOYOUS. If it’s not, we all need to converse about where the “derailment” has occurred (thanks to Dr. Brazleton for that term!)
This ISN’T to imply that every moment of a parent’s life is supposed to be fun. If you have a friend who says that’s so for her/him, RUN AWAY!! Parenting is scary, and the more we care about our child’s future, the scarier it can be. But I’m a tai chi teacher, too, and for every yin there is yang, and the opposite of fear might be confidence. Not that we’re doing it right every time, but that we care passionately about our child’s well being, and that we want our child’s best interrest to be served. I firmly believe that.
Here’s to finding the joy in the fleeting moments of parenting. Cuz, folks, they ARE fleeting!
I’m reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.
I’ll up load something on this later, but our group on Friday night was delightful! So much wisdom, and everyone supporting each other.
Discussion included using schedules to help plan the days (that sometimes seem endless!), how to get kids to sleep in or even not in their own bed, and some of the strategies people use when their little ones need a firm “no” – OR when their “no” includes a melt down!
As our little ones approach the age of two, their central nervous system continues to push them toward independence and control. Emotions are strong (ever seen a frustrated toddler? Watch OUT!) but the language to explain or describe just isn’t there yet with most toddlers…makes for a frustrating experience for everyone!
The Happiest Toddler on the Block, by Harvey Karp, is a great resource, if only because he really displays a sense of humor when describing these little “neanderthals” who have intention and emotion but not language OR the ability to regulate their feelings…
I like to give toddlers of this age choices, but NOT about what MUST be done. For example, when a bath is a NECESSITY, I like to offer bubbles or no bubbles, but the bath is a “done deal” – “Bath time. Do you want bubbles (show the bottle) or NO bubbles?” Another bathtime example: ”Bath time. Want your boat or your sponge?” (Expect that once in the bath, your toddler will change her mind about both the bubbles AND the sponge!)
Eating can be a tender event, too, at this age. Somewhere, someone said that toddlers really don’t need much to thrive. Milk, a few bites of fruit, – finger foods…we want our kids to learn to sit at the table, and at the same time, we want to honor their neurological need to move and explore. Parents often feel ambivalent, especially if some one else is watching – not so much “am I doing this right?” because if we are listening to our child and working at figuring out what “right” is, then we ARE doing it well – more like, “do others think I’m doing it right?”
the pressure we sense in society is ironic, because while we feel the need to parent well, at the same time we get mixed messages about the importance of good child care in our busy world.
Parenting is a trial and error process, and there is no age that shows us that more clearly than those precious months between 18 and 30 months!!
We are gearing up for our introductory parent class, Tips for Tired Parents of Toddlers. We’ll discuss how to deal with NO!. fun routines that build baby brains, and babies who don’t sleep…in only 2 hours!! How will we get it all covered??!
That’s one of the secrets – we won’t, because parenting changes all the time…and one of the frustrations and WONDERS about kids is that once we think we’ve got them (and us) figured out, everything changes!
That baby brain – keeps us guessing!!
Some great workshops at the IAEYC state convention this past weekend! So many people are dedicated to giving young children what they need BEFORE school starts – not just educators and child care providers, but financial consultants, internet-savvy folks, nutrition and physical educators. These people are dedicated to supporting the unsung heroes in every child’s life – the people they spend their time with.
I’ve finally come up with a structure for my introductory parent workshop at the end of this month – I’m callling it Caring for the Inner Neanderthal: Tips for Tired Parents of Toddlers.
(Now, I want to say right here that the idea of toddlers being like Neanderthals isn’t my idea. It’s something Harvey Karp came up with. Take a look at his Happiest Toddler on the Block book and video.
The workshop is meant to introduce SFTS to some of the local parents while offering some supportive ideas for dealing with issues that arise with our darling 2-3s.
Developing just the right content and delivery takes time, I’m finding, and while the content is sure fire, research supported, and field tested, getting it out there for people to benefit from is quite a challenge!
But I so firmly believe that developing our skills as parents is, in this culture, often so lonely, and so full of misconception, that I just have to keep plugging away.
Update: Workshop registration is now available here.
I have the honor to work with the planning committee for the Touchpoints Center annual forum, coming up in May, 2012. We had our first conference call yesterday and as we talked about speakers and activities to support our theme the idea of vulnerability came up. We as parents, as humans, want so much to appear to ourselves and others like we know what we’re doing – yet parenting, like most of life, is a trial and error process.
Can we show our unsureness and our vulnerability to our friends, the new moms we are meeting in this new life, and to the world? And will society support us?
At our focus group the other night I was struck by how willing some are to share their worries, and how others keep these things closer. Yet because we are ALL human, and because none of us is born knowing how to parent, those fears and concerns are a natural piece of the parenting puzzle. How do we support each other in this journey, how do we find confidence in ourselves that our own learning is normal and nurturing?
My neighbor, Christine, has put together a focus group of moms who are interested in what I can tell them about child development and who, in return, will help me find out what new and not so new parents are concerned about, and how my knowledge might be helpful.
These are well educated, with-it moms. It is an honor that they have agreed to share their time with me. And since they ARE moms, and moms deserve only the BEST, there will be good chocolate, fine wine, sparkling water, and who knows, maybe roses~~