Parents Helping Parents of Wyoming State Parenting Center

PHP in 2011

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,400 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 57 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Ethelyn Sharpe- PEN Parent Educator out of Cheyenne

Are you ready for all of the ghosts and goblins that might visit your house?  Here are some ideas that you might find helpful:

A Halloween scavenger hunt:  parents create a list of Halloween items you might see while out on Halloween night (or on a walk anytime in October).  The list might include a pumpkin, witch, skeleton, scarecrow, etc.  For little ones not quite reading, pictures can be drawn beside each item on the list.  Then as the items are seen, they can be checked off.

Do you live out in the country where houses are too far apart for Trick or Treating?  Having a Halloween party, complete with a Halloween hide-and-seek, treat or trick game is always fun.  At the end of the party, have parents hide in the yard and the children can then go and “seek” their parents.  Each time a parent is found, the kids yell “trick or treat” and collect their goodies. 

Did your children get waayyyy more candy than they need?  Consider having the “Sugar Witch” or some such character (think Tooth Fairy) come and get the extras , after the kids have picked a sandwich bag of their favorites.  The witch can leave a thank you note, or small token gift and the candy can be donated to a local food bank, or shelter. 

Here’s hoping everyone has a safe, fun, spooky Halloween!

Terri Dawson- PHP of WY, Inc. Executive Director

The first nine weeks are up—-do you know how you can link learning at school to home?

The first 9 weeks of school are over, and parent/teacher conferences have either just occurred, or are happening in the next week or so. So- let’s test the water. How is your child doing? I just estimated how many parent/teacher conferences I have attended in the past 20+ years. Not counting any of my sons’ special education meetings- I have attended approximately 80 parent teacher conferences for my kids. In looking back, I have to say I enjoyed them…..but I had to prepare for them. Maybe not as much as the teacher, but certainly, I had my own list of information to gather.

Here’s what I learned from all those P/T conferences. Many times the teachers want to go over each item and grade—and I usually wasn’t as concerned about that. I typically knew most of that information from the day-to-day questions I asked my kids about their grades. What I always wanted to know was- what were they going to do next? What was the next project for Science? What book would they be reading in English or Lit class? What was the next unit in social studies and what was the target or main point of the lesson? How could I support my child at home- and support the teacher in his/her work in the classroom by discussing the topic with my kids at home? By knowing that, I felt I could help make the learning experience and/or lesson relevant to our day-to-day world.

Most of the time, I had done some pre-visiting or had discussions with my children’s teachers prior to the PT conference- since I always wanted to be prepared and not be surprised about a missed homework assignment or failed test. One of the most important questions before the PT conference was for my kids. I would ask them, “What am I going to hear from your teacher about you? What is your favorite thing about each class or teacher?” This is so I can start the conversation off with a positive comment about what my child likes about them -i.e. “Heather said she loved the project on dinosaurs last week in your class!” It’s a great conversation starter, and shows the teacher that what they have done does matter to the students- and we are paying attention. 

What questions do you like to ask you teachers and/or kids for parent teacher conferences?

Janet Kinstetter- PIC Outreach Parent Liaison- Moorcroft

The start of a new school year for a typical child can be stressful but for the parent of a child with a disability it can be a challenging time and often very stressful. More than likely you have had your annual IEP meeting in May to discuss the next new school year. You have discussed strategies to use to make transition easier for your child. You have prepared all you can for the upcoming school year.

The first nine weeks are now over. How is your child doing? You eagerly await your child’s progress report that you should receive as regularly as parents of children without disabilities.

You receive your child’s report, either through mail or at a P/T meeting. The report says that your child is making progress toward achieving the annual goals contained in the IEP.  This is great news. You visit with the teacher generally about your child. Does the teacher have any questions about how to work with your child? Does the teacher have any concerns? 

If you go in and find your child is not making adequate progress the IEP team may need to meet and reevaluate the appropriateness of one or more of the annual goals. The IEP must be revised to address any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals. There must be an IEP team meeting for any change to be made to the IEP (unless parent and school agree otherwise). The school would send you a notice of the IEP meeting. You would receive a Prior Written Notice of Proposed Action to be taken in regards to the IEP.

If you still have concerns regarding your child’s progress and changes have been made to the IEP give the IEP time to work.  Be in communication with the teachers on how you can help the IEP be successful for your child!

Natalie Pique- PEN Outreach Liaison Casper Area

Our family is always sad to see summer go, but we always look forward to fall in Wyoming. We have several “fall” traditions that make this time of the year fun for everyone in our family. As we live in a 60 year old neighborhood with very mature trees, there are always plenty of leaves to make piles to jump in. With 11 kids on our block, there is always fun to be found by simply gathering the leaves in big piles and taking turns jumping in! Another fall activity that we always make the time to do is to take the short trip up to Casper Mountain to see all the beautiful leaves and their brilliant fall colors. The best place to see the leaves is to take a hike around the falls or Beartrap Meadows. My kids always seem to have a “Fall Leaves” project at school, and they get their best collection from these trips to the mountain.

Our very favorite activity in the fall is a tradition that we started when we moved to Casper from Colorado 10 years ago. When we first moved here, we didn’t know many of our neighbors, so we planned a “Soup before Trick-or-Treating” dinner at our home. We had 4 crock-pots full of various kinds of soup and invited all of the neighbors on our block over for a warm-up before going out to Trick-or-Treat. This was a big hit for kids and parents alike: The kids all got to show off their costumes, the parents got to visit with neighbors while knowing their kids had something in their stomachs other than mini Hershey Bars & candy. This tradition has grown to include friends, family, and new neighbors throughout the years, and it is something our family will treasure forever. Happy Fall!

Juanita Bybee- PHP Office Manager

Parents are their child’s first teacher. If we are to expect our children to respect others, we need to show respect to each other as well. Children are like sponges, they observe and mimic especially parents who they look up to and want to emulate. Here are a few helpful hints to think about.

1) Start early – It is easier to start off with the desired behavior.  Research says that it takes 21 times to change an undesired behavior.  7 times a conscience choice, 7 times to reinforce, and 7 times semi-conscience choice to change the undesired behavior.  That seems like a lot of work, it is easier to do it right the first time.

2) Start off small- Make it easy. Use please and thank you’s.  A good foundation will help parents to build upon as your child gets older.

3) Ignore the poor choice and reinforce the good choice. Children love to get compliments; they beam with happiness when they feel like their parent took notice of their behavior. 

4) Practice, practice, practice… Make it a habit over time; model the desired behavior with your child. It is not enough to teach children what NOT to do but what TO do.

5) Give eye contact – be present in the moment. It doesn’t have the same effect if you are not looking at the person.  Take that extra second to make sure that the person knows that you are truly paying attention.

Jennifer Petri- PIC Outreach Parent Liaison- Rock Springs and Green River, WY

Children need to feel respected and to learn to respect other people around them. This is a hard lesson to learn, and some children are more receptive to the message than others. All children are taught the basics of respect at school, but outside of school it’s our responsibility as parents. One thing is for sure: respect is something that can be taught only by example. Our children will not be respectful of other people and other people’s possessions if we do not lead them in the right direction with our own words and actions. 

Teaching respect begins very early in life.  Many children as young as one are old enough to begin to learn not to hit people, and how to softly handle animals.  They can also begin to understand that some things are not for them.  This is not a onetime lesson, but an ongoing way to learn how to live respectfully.  Instead of focusing on our children to teach them respect, we have to focus on our own behavior.  Here are some tips I find useful:

1. Respect your child’s boundaries.  This means that if they don’t want to be touched, keep your hands off.  If they don’t want to play, allow them to mellow out alone.

2. Respect your child’s decisions (within reason).  If your child does not like to play basketball, do not force them to play so you can live vicariously through their play.  Let them choose their own activities based on their personal preferences, once they are old enough.

3. Respect your child’s view of the world.  This means that you might have to slow down and smell the mud pies with them.  This is what childhood is all about.

Learning to be respectful is a lifelong process.  What are some ways you can think of to show your child respect, so they may pass it on?

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