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Turn your kids melt downs into positive experiences

Ok. So, we are now in our second month of school…starting to get in a groove and settled in with the new school, routine, meeting new friends and basically getting acclimated to first grade and our new school.  Everything is going smooth, exactly how I like it, (I can be a bit of a control freak). 

Unfortunately, this week my daughter had a major melt down. I was surprised as she had been telling me every day that she loves school, her new friends, her teachers, etc.

It started with a bad dream.  She woke me up about 1 hour before I had to get up to get her ready for school.  She crawled in bed with my husband and I and we talked briefly about it and back to sleep she went.  All was fine, at least I thought it was.  She then woke up on her own to start getting ready for school and she was sad and started crying and telling me more about her dream.  She didn’t go into too much detail, but I realized that the dream had to do with me picking her up after school and I wasn’t there…she was left all alone waiting for me.  She was sad and scared all at the same time.  We discussed dreams and how it was just a dream and I would be there to pick her up as I had been every day since school had started.   She seemed to be a bit better and time was clicking to get to school so, off to school we went.  Her tears had dried up and she seemed fine, until we walked into school and the tears came, boy did the come.  I hadn’t seen her cry this hard ever at school.  I reassured her as best as possible. I talked briefly with the teacher about the situation.  Her teacher consoled her and she tried to be brave and wiped off the remaining tears and walked into her classroom. I felt sad and quite frankly wanted to just take her out of school for the day.  But we all know that is something we cannot do, otherwise it could become a habit that might be hard to break. 

I started to walk back to my car and ran into a friend of mine who also has a daughter at the school.  I told her what happened.  We walked back to our cars and said goodbye.  An hour later my friend called me and suggested I come in to volunteer for lunch duty, (even though it wasn’t my day to volunteer).  She went on to tell me that it would be a wonderful way for my daughter to know that I am there to support her, be there for her and what a wonderful surprise it would be for her.  I had a million things to do that day and did not really have the time to volunteer, but thought about what she was telling me and realized that it really did make sense, a lot of sense and she was absolutely right!   I made the calls and verified it was ok for me to come in and help out at lunch. 

I arrived on time and waited for her class to come to the lunch room.  As her class filed into the lunch room, she turned and saw me.  Her face lit up, it really lit up!!  For that one moment in time, I could see all the sadness and uncertainty turn into happiness, peace and light.  I was soooooo happy that I had shared my morning with my friend and was soooooo happy that I listened to her advice!  This is one of the reasons why I started this blog, for moms and friends to share with each other ideas that work, REALLY work for their families and kids to make a stronger family bond, community bond and relationships that are filled with love, happiness and commitment. 
Moms and friends getting together and sharing ideas about kids and life!

Even though a simple idea, I am not sure I would have thought of doing it on my own.  I am truly grateful for my friend, because it made such a difference in my child’s day that I wouldn’t have traded anything else in the world to have seen her day brightened right before my very eyes. 

Many wonderful benefits to this one.  I also helped out the school in volunteering.  Today, make a difference in your kids life.  Be aware of their needs, be there to support them in every way you can and hug them/love them as much as possible.  All of my best, Dyan


What I learned:  That it is possible to turn your kids melt downs into a positive experiences, sharing your challenging times with  friends can always give you a new perspective to help strengthen your relationships within your family and how much I value my friends and relationships because they help me be a better mom.

What my child learned:  That she is not alone at school, I am there for her and care about her feelings, I will be there to support her and how much mommy does love her.

First day of school Tears or no Tears?

 
As the summer winds down and the first day of school draws near it is time to prepare our little ones for school. Whether their starting pre-school, kindergarten or first grade or any grade you need to prepare them for the first day of school. In the past what I have done for my daughter is make a paper chain for the “count down” of the first day of school. This year was a bit more hectic with no days home before her first day, it was ok though because she is in first grade and is understanding the concept of time minutes, hours, days and weeks more and more everyday (which is good and bad – a topic for another day).
I was so tired from our road trips and summer break that when my alarm went off this morning, I couldn’t figure out why, but then quickly remembered it was her first day of school. Here we go again! As I walked down my hallway to make my much needed cup of coffee, I started to get tears in my eyes…wasn’t expecting this, but none the less, I embraced the moment and realized that my little buddy was going off to school again for the next nine months. What am I going to do without her all day? Did I do everything I wanted to do with her this summer? Did we play enough, do enough crafts, Do enough summer learning to keep her brain fresh all summer? Was I present with her all summer? Is she prepared to go? Is she excited? Scared?.......I quickly pushed the negative thoughts out of my head and stopped myself from putting too much pressure on myself to be the “perfect mom” and realized I did all those things.
I made my coffee, let my way too many dogs out and got into the routine again, making lunch breakfast, etc. I woke my daughter to find her excited for school. She couldn’t wait to put her uniform on, have breakfast and we even had enough time for a picture of her new toothless smile, (she lost her second front tooth last night). We talked over breakfast, finished packing her lunch, got dressed and brushed her teeth.
As we approached school we talked about her first day, the excitement, meeting new friends, how cute she looked in her new uniform, new lunch box, back pack and were amazed at how many parents and kids were going to school (last year her school was very small, so a much different experience for her).
Our goal is to not be late for the entire year so we made it to class with plenty of time to get settled and acclimated. We greeted her teacher, found her cubby, unpacked her lunch, water bottle and back pack. Yes she was ready! As the minutes clicked towards 8 o’clock. It was time to leave. I quickly took some last minute pictures gave her a kiss and hug goodbye and wished her luck with a few other positive remarks. Yes, she was ready!!
I walked out the class and stood by her window, greeted a few parents and then the tears came, not from my daughter but from me. Not a lot, just a few to remind me how much I love my daughter, how wonderful this new experience would be for her, how she was ready and how much I would miss her everyday. I watched and observed some other parents and kids, some frantically getting their children in class, other kids relaxed and sitting at their desks ready to go and other children crying. I wondered why the tears?
The difference between tears and no tearson the first day of school could be that these parents are not preparing their child for the first day of school. It is important to get them excited for the new experience. Ask them questions about what they are excited about (for my daughter it was the new playground). Even if it is for the playground, that is something to be excited about, acknowledge their excitement and expound on their excitement.
As we ate dinner last night I suggested many things for her to be excited about, new teachers, making new friends, her new uniform, new books to read and new things to learn. We discussed everything we saw on the walls in her class, talked about the weather charts, birthday charts and the maps. We recited the pledge of allegiance to refresh her memory from kindergarten (she even got a kick out of it when I recited it with her and put my hand on my chest in a very dramatic way). We went over the school rules and what will be expected of her in behavior, attitude, morale, school work and all the exciting things she would do and learn this year.
As we shopped for food for her lunches this week, we discussed the importance of nutritional snacks and trying new foods. We went to one of our favorite stores Trader Joes. They have shopping carts for the kids and she put all her food in her cart. At first she didn’t even want to go with me. By making her a part of the decision process she loved it! She enjoyed putting her own food in her cart and remarked several time on how organized her cart was and that food I picked out might have too much sugar in it and would it be ok to bring to school. Her teacher has a low sugar policy on snacks which my daughter and I discussed earlier that day.
We read a book on the first day of school before she went to bed last night. I didn’t have any on starting first grade, so we read one from last year changing the words from kindergarten to first grade and even changed the characters pet name of the cat to my daughters dogs name. She thought this was hysterical and we had a great time reading together.
It’s the little things that can make a difference between tears or no tears on the first day of school. My husband always tells me my daughter is too dependent on me….I think not! She was prepared and ready for the day and embraced the day with open arms, an open mind and an open heart. For me, no more tears and back to mommy time and doing what I have been waiting to do since May. Good luck preparing your child for the first day of school! The little things that you do and taking the time to interact, ask questions and get them involved can and will make all the difference. All my best, Dyan
What I learned: Positive reinforcement brings positive experiences. Getting my daughter involved with decisions for school and giving her choices makes her more confident, mature and independent. Communication is the key to success and new experiences.
What she learned: Preparing for school can be fun, learning about better food choices can make shopping for good food and snacks more enjoyable, letting her make some better nutritional choices can bring new things to try and starting a new experience is exciting.
 
 
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