Category Archives: Children

What’s Really Important?!

It has been brought to my attention lately about what constitutes a quality program.  Substance vs. Fluff.  Perception vs. Reality.  As a parent of a child who is looking for a good program in which to put your child, the question is “How do I recognize a quality program?  Because really, you can tell if it’s a bad program easily but it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between good and really good.

In our parent meetings, we tell the parents that having a lot of “stuff” coming home everyday does not mean that the program is meeting that quality marker.  Have you ever been inundated with busy work?  Is it always good?  Just because your child cranks out a bunch of papers or artwork and brings them home doesn’t mean that what was done in the classroom was beneficial to your child.  Just because you can hang their beautiful artwork on the wall or are sent a picture of your child holding a paper flower doesn’t mean that something worth while was happening in the classroom.

When our accreditation agencies and the Early Learning Coalitions come around to check on how our school is doing, over 80% of what they are looking for is interaction with the children.  Teacher/child interaction.

So, here are some things that I believe make a program one of quality.  I welcome you to come and check out our school and see how we measure up.

1.How does the staff greet you?

2.How much communication is going on between teacher and child and child to child.

3.How much exploring of their environment is allowed.

4. When you walk in the child’s classroom do you get a positive feeling about what is happening?

5.Are the teachers friendly with one another?.

6. As the children explore different mediums, (ie. paint, play doh, exploration table) is the child always directed by a teacher or allowed to explore on their own?

7. Do teachers and staff reach out to the parents through different forms of communication?

8. What are the ratios in the classroom?

9. Does the teacher show you that they love your child?

10. Is the administration transparent or are you left to wondering what’s going on?

And most of all…

9. Does the love of Jesus shine through the staff and spill over to the families?

Come by our center and check us out!  I’d love to give you a tour and show you around.


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Boundaries For Kids – Week 3

Wow, this boundaries class is really good.  I would highly recommend to parents to buy the book, Boundaries For Kids.  It is such a great tool to have in your parenting arsenal.  We’ve all said it before…we wished that children came with a “How to” manual.  Oh, but wait, there are many of those on the bookshelves at the store.  They just don’t come at the hospital when you take the baby home.  I know you are busy parents but the things in this book may save you a lot of pain and heartache when put into practice.  Now, on to what I’ve learned this week.

Motives drive our behaviors.  We ultimately want our children to WANT to do the right things for the right reason, not because we will punish them if they don’t.  Doing something to avoid punishment is a good motivator for a lot of things but having the moral character within is a better reason for most things in life.

Standing over our children and nagging them may win the battle but will lose the war.  Kids will only stay in line while you are watching.  External restraint must become a part of their character.  Behavior that is externally driven is the mark of a child, not a young adult.

Tactics like guilt or loss of relationship will end up hurting more than helping a situation.

How do you help your children develop good motivation?  First your child needs to be rooted and grounded in love.  Love first, set limits second.  Children can only grow when that connection is strong.  Be empathetic, Give support and provide balance.  This is what love means.

There are 4 stages of Motive Development

1 Fear of consequences – There are always consequences.  Lack of allowing your child to experience the consequences of their actions will keep them in the child stage when we really want them to mature and grow.  Stick with your boundaries, be fair but consistent and empathize with your child’s emotional reactions.  When a child expresses that he is only doing something to avoid punishment, praise him/her and then help them to the next step.

2. An Immature Conscience – The next step is a child beginning to internalize his experiences with his/her relationships and this begins to develop their conscience.  Your child is learning to be motivated to love and be good by internal forces, not just a swat on the behind.  Stay consistent, love them and be attentive to changes in their behavior.  If you are showing love, empathy and being supportive and balanced in your discipline, then a child will accept your boundaries and they will become theirs.

3. Values and Ethics – At some point, your child will begin to ask many value-laden questions.  Be prepared and ready to explain what you believe about how people should conduct themselves in the world.  Practice explaining the “why” in terms they will understand.  As your child begins to work out his/her own ethics, keep bringing them back to reality principles like, “That goes against what you and we believe”.

4. Mature Love, Mature Guilt – Our ultimate goal is getting a child to move from the ethical questions of right and wrong to the highest motive:  LOVE.  Never over-criticize or withdraw love from your child.  Children who are internalizing boundaries need to move beyond “this is wrong” to “This hurts others or God”.  Your role is to help them freely choose who and how to love and to freely love.

There are 3 motives for Good Behavior – Don’t undervalue any of the these motives.

1. Pain of consequences for irresponsibility

2. The “rights and wrongs” of behavior

3. What pain his/her actions may cause his friends and God.

Happy Parenting!!    – Mrs. T.

My Faith Journey!

I realized that I have not yet told about my faith journey on my blog.  So here goes…

“Feelings, nothing more than feelings.”   Do you remember that old song?  Well, before I asked Christ into my life I was always trying to “feel” my way to faith.  I was a pretty good kid.  My dad was a preacher.  I was a typical kid, I had friends, loved to watch TV and play games.  I went to a church every Sunday and Youth group every Sunday night and we went to camp meetings in the summer at my grandparents house.  And whenever the Pastor gave an invitation to come forward to accept Christ into your life I went because I knew I wasn’t good enough to have Christ die for my sins.  I’d kneel down, cry my eyes out and feel an incredible high…for a few days or weeks afterwards.  But then I’d go back to doing the same old things, being selfish, prideful, going through the religious motions.  Then around the age of 13, I went to a Holy Spirit retreat.  There was this singing group that came to our church called The Good News Circle and they were awesome.  They invited our Youth group to this Holy Spirit retreat.  While I was there I heard these amazing people sing and tell their stories and I began to realize that it wasn’t about what I was feeling but about what Jesus did on the cross for me, that He took my place on that cross.  I also found out that it wasn’t about me and my great track record of church attendance or being a part of Youth group or going to camp meetings and singing in the choir.  It was all about a God who loved me.  And I learned that God would never leave me or forsake me even when the “high” wore off.  I realized that faith wasn’t about feelings but about knowing Jesus.  I John 5:13 – I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

And now I am confident that Christ lives within me and loves me and everyday I am more eager to do His will and not what I feel is right.  I try to let Christ lead because I’ve learned to put my trust in Him and not my feelings.  I don’t always do it right.  I’m still growing and at times I fail but I KNOW now, not FEEL that God will help me through just like He said he would in His word.  I struggled a lot in high school about all of the things Christian kids struggle with, peer pressure, loving myself, finding out who I was in Christ but things were different because I had begun to realize Who I needed to look to when I was struggling.  I feel like my life has been a gradual climb to trust in God.  These days I go to God a lot faster than I’ve done before when problems arise.  It doesn’t take me long to lay out the problem at the feet of Jesus.  That still doesn’t mean I don’t take the problems back or always make the right choices.  Sometimes I forget to listen to God’s still small voice because I get busy and crowd God out of my life.  But my relationship to Christ is so close now that it’s not long before I turn to Him and rest in His love.  Jesus is everything to me.  So that song “Feelings”?  is just a song now and not the way I live.  Because I know that I know that I know that my Redeemer lives.

Process vs. Product – why is it important?

The staff at Aloma recently revisited the topic of Process vs. Product.  If you’re not familiar with what this means, let me just say that when you’re talking about Preschoolers it usually means that the artwork or thing that you are producing either looks like a child made it or it looks like a teacher made it.  That’s it in a nutshell.  If you are talking about penguins and they actually look like a representation of a penguin then you can probably be sure that it was fashioned and manipulated by an adult.  But if the thing sort of, maybe, kind of looks like a penguin, maybe…then it is probably made by a child.

You may ask why is this important and why are we talking about this?  It is VERY important and it is something that all parents should be aware of so they can continue to implement it throughout a child’s life.

Let me ask you how you learned to use a computer?  Or an IPad or your Smart phone?  Did someone show you how?  Did you follow instructions?  Or did you fool around with it and figure things out as you went along.  Probably a combination of both, right?  We learn by doing.  Even if someone showed you how to do something you probably had to do it a couple of times to remember it and to get it right.  You had to practice to remember it and sink it into your mind so that you wouldn’t forget it.

Well, that’s exactly what process means in this context.  Allowing the children to figure things out, choose their art mediums for themselves and come up with their interpretation of what a “penguin” looks like.  Now, of course, some things you may have to give them a little instruction and help with in order for them to succeed but for the most part, it’s “hands off, adults”.

Why, you might ask?   Because ultimately you are trying to raise  your child so that they can stand up for themselves and what they believe in.  So, they can express themselves confidently when others challenge their interpretations.  So that when they walk into an interview with a prospective new boss they will be able to present themselves in a way in which that boss will look at the candidate and see how they could be an asset to their company.

So, next time your child looks up at you, whether it is doing an art project in Preschool, working on homework in elementary or tackling an essay for mid-hi or high school, and asks “Is this okay, mom/dad?”  Respond by saying, “What do you think?”

Let’s all work together to raise the next generation of movers and shakers!



Surprise, Surprise!

Does anyone remember Gomer Pyle?  He always said that phrase, Surprise, Surprise!  Usually it wasn’t accompanied by a very good surprise, unfortunately.

Recently I had something happen here at the school and it was a great surprise.  It was such a surprise to me that I was in awe of how it happened.  I was also a little disappointed in myself because I wasn’t able to see the answer come about the way it did.  As a Christian, I couldn’t imagine that God would bring about the answer in that way.  And then as I acknowledged that I was limiting the power of God, I was even more disappointed in myself.  How dare I limit God.  His power is so unimaginable.  In the Bible it says that He wants us to know how deep, how wide, how long and how high his love is for us and that His power is vast, beyond our comprehension.  I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on myself since the Bible says it is beyond our human understanding.  But still in my humanness I should be able to know that there are no boundaries to what God can do.

Well, the reason I decided to write this in my blog this time was because I was thinking about my last article, Secret to Success, and I feel that this sort of equates to raising successful children.  Are you confused?  Stay with me as I make the connection.

God is our heavenly Father and he loves His children with a vast love, as I indicated above.  As a parent, the same is true.  We love our children with an incredible love that sometimes knows no bounds, right?  We would do anything we could for our children within our power.  And yet I see parents who put limits on what their child can do.  They sometimes talk right in front of them as if they aren’t even there, thinking the child isn’t listening, as they tell someone about their failures or lack of skills, motivation or capability.  Without realizing it, the parent is limiting the child by not believing that they can overcome the obstacles in their path and excel beyond what the parent can imagine.  Just like we limit God because we can’t imagine what He can do, parents sometimes limit their children because they can’t imagine that their child could excel beyond the parent’s limited knowledge.  Or sometimes we as parents limit our children because we never could get beyond that next step.  But a child has such wonderful capabilities of doing and being who God created them to be if we only step back, give encouragement and guidance and let them go.  Just like us looking at God and not comprehending that He is more than capable of exceeding our expectations, we sometimes look at  our children and we can’t comprehend that they are more than capable of exceeding our expectations.

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So, another secret to success is to allow our children to be the person God created them to be and not the person that we “see” them to be.  So, as the song says, “Let it go”.  Let go of what you think should happen and stand back and watch what God can do in the life of your child.  By the way, this works in your grown up life too.

Keep honing those parenting skills and see what God can do!


Secret to Success!

If you took a survey of parents of young children and you asked them what success looked like for their child when they became an adult, what do you think they’d say?

Well, I think that they’d say they wanted them to be happy, successful in a career or job that they enjoyed.  Maybe some would say that they’d make plenty of money so they wouldn’t ‘want” for anything.  Maybe some would say married with children or own a house and  a car.  Well, whatever your definition of success in life is, the question remains…how do I get my child to that place.

Wow, what a good question.  If only there were an instruction manual that came with the child when they were born.  You know, like you get when you go to Ikea and purchase a set of shelves. only way better.

So, let’s explore how you can guide your children to becoming that successful adult.

First off, I’ve seen, in my many years of working with children, far too many adults who don’t know the answer to this question.  And the reason I know they didn’t know, is because of how they let their children treat them.

Successful adult children are not allowed to be the boss of their parents.  You won’t believe how many children I see that are allowed to be the boss of their parents.  Parents end up bowing to the small 4 year old child instead of being the parent.  They ask them what they want to eat and what they want to do, when then want to go to sleep and whether or not they want to go to school, etc. 

Successful adult children have learned that they don’t always get their way.  And they start learning this as young children who don’t always get their way.  Now, I’m not saying you can’t allow your child to get what they want sometimes.  But as a parent you need to be the one in control guiding them and giving them the choices that are appropriate for a young child to make.  I could write a whole book on this topic but suffice it to say, if you want your child to be successful as an adult, then make sure they know that you are the boss and you control the choices.

Stay tuned to my blog for more on this subject.  But if all parents could get a grasp on this one secret to success they would see a big difference in their children and be setting them on the path for success.  And, after all, isn’t that what we want for our children?

Keep honing those parenting skills!











Imitation – Am I flattered?

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  I’m not sure who “they” are but if you’ve ever watched a child you might tonguereconsider that thought.  Or you still might think it was flattering but sometimes it’s not exactly a great thing.

Children are like little sponges, just soaking up everything around them including what the adults in their life are doing or saying.  And that is scary.  As an adult, I don’t always speak and say things that are good and right.  Sometimes I let my tongue get carried away and then I sure am glad that “little ears” aren’t around to hear it.  Now, I don’t mean I swear up a storm or anything.  You can check by asking my husband.  But I do sometimes let mean words come out of my mouth about someone or something.  And I’m not proud of that.

Anyway, the point is that God has entrusted us with the children in our lives and we have to take that trust seriously.  So, next time you’re around children, make sure that they are imitating the great things about you.  And by the way, that would be nice if we did that around adults too.

Just a thought…