Parents Helping Parents of Wyoming State Parenting Center

Archive for the ‘PEN Parent Educator Guest Blogs’ Category

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.

Halloween is Just Around the Corner

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!

Ahhh,Summer!

Ethelyn Sharpe- PEN Parent Educator out of Cheyenne

I personally thought summer would NEVER come (I am not a cold weather person), but it did arrive and it has been glorious! 

Our community offers so many activities in the summer, many of them free, that sometimes it’s hard to decide what to do!  We have concerts at the Depot, Movies in the Park, presentations at the Library and Botanic Gardens.  Our Farmer’s Market started last Saturday and of course, the “Daddy of Them All”, Cheyenne Frontier Days. 

So many great opportunities for families to get out, get some fresh air and maybe learn something new.  What does your community offer, and have you take advantage of those opportunities?  If not, there’s a couple of weeks left before school starts, get out and find something fun to do!

How to Travel with Little Kids

Blanca Moye- Parents as Teachers Parent Educator- Jackson Area

I was waiting in a gate for a long flight from Jackson to Washington DC. And I was checking around counting some families with children (2,3 and 4 years old) looking at them running around, screaming, etc. When finally we boarded they were the first, with a lot of bags, chairs and strollers. In that moment I was thinking if maybe we can create a nice, smart and easy list of items to travel with them in cars or airplanes.

Like what you ask?

 • Books (with nice pictures, puzzles, music to keep them distracted)

• Music (children love music but sometimes is the last thing as parents we think to bring on the trip for them)

• At most 3 of their favorite toys (variety makes them happy)

• Good food and snacks (I saw a father giving soda to his daughter because they don’t have the juice she likes)

• Dress them comfortable (some were overdressed and some others needed a sweater for the direct a/c on the plane)

The flight was long and we finished with a poor baby crying maybe for more than an hour, this situation made me think on this topic. I know there are a lot more things to add to my list but if you can help with your comments I am sure we can do this together!

The Role of an Advocate

 

For me, the past year has given me many different definitions to the answer,

Julie Heil- PHP Outreach Coordinator located in Buffalo

“What is an advocate.” What I found to be most important is that the answer changes depending on who or what you are advocating for. However, the underlying question always remains true, that is, what is the unmet need and how can I help facilitate the solution?

 

Sometimes advocating for families and children involves an emotional reaction; anger, frustration, discontent, fatigue. I have found disconnecting myself from the emotion the hardest part of being an effective advocate. The counselor in me wants to do just that, counsel, however that is not our role.

I have made a list of what I believe to be the most important skills in being an advocate:

 

  1. Be a listener- listen for the details and filter out the emotion
  2. Take notes and be organized. This will assist you in helping the family you are working with to understand the nuances in the paperwork, plan, and conversation.
  3. Understand the laws and systems you are dealing with. Don’t speak up until you KNOW that what you are saying is fact. If you misspeak, then you lose the power you have as an advocate.
  4. Be a strong, assertive communicator.
  5. Build relationships with the people that work in your system. Knowing who to deal with and who your allies are is worth so much.
  6. Be respectful of the client and their needs. Don’t pass judgment and remember everyone needs a hand from time to time.

What we are really doing as advocates is demonstrating to our clients the skills they will need to be more effective the next time the encounter a problem. Remembering this is essential! When teaching by example, we are not rescuing or giving the solution.

Choosing the “Right” Friends

Do you have a child who complains that he doesn’t have friends or a child that picks friends that you don’t approve of?  How can you help them make better choices?

First, understand your child.  We are all different in unique ways.  You can’t make a square peg fit in a round hole.  Some children are quiet and passive while others are active and assertive.

Some suggestions:

1)      Allow your children to choose their own friends.  (They will anyway)

2)      If your child chooses a friend you don’t like, invite that child into your home often and hope that the love and values you practice will be beneficial to him or her.

3)      If you are afraid a friend you don’t approve of will have a negative influence on your child, focus on being a positive influence through a good relationship with your child.

4)      Don’t worry about whether your child has the right number of friends. 

Planning ahead to prevent future problems

1)       Help children who have difficulty making friends by exposing them to many opportunities, such as trips to the park, Scouts or other youth groups.

2)        Go along with your child’s wishes about clothing styles so he won’t be embarrassed about not fitting in.

3)      Make your home a place where kids love to come because they experience unconditional love, safe and respectful rules, and plenty of fun, child-oriented activities.

Children can learn that their parents are their best friends because they love them unconditionally, value their uniqueness, and have faith in them to choose friends that are right for them.

If your child is consistently choosing friends you do not approve of, look at your relationship with your child.  Are you being too controlling, inviting your child to prove you can’t control everything?  Is your child feeling hurt by your criticism and lack of faith in her and trying to hurt back by choosing friends you don’t like?  Have faith in your children and honor who they are.  Try to make the people your children choose as friends welcome at your home, even if they are not the friends you would choose.  Your children may be making decisions about friends based on how you treat your friends.  Are you acting how you would like your children to act?

Best Teacher Ever?

Ethelyn Sharpe- PEN Parent Educator out of Cheyenne

Hands down, Mrs. Rose, 4th grade, Stonegate Elementary in Bedford, Texas. She went above and beyond the curriculum…I can’t really recall what I learned academically that year (fractions? prepositions?, couldn’t really tell you), but I can recall many life lessons I learned that year. She read us “Where the Red Fern Grows” after lunch every day, and taught us that it’s okay to become emotionally involved in a story and to love books and reading. She made us all coin purses for Christmas that year and kept them in the classroom as our own personal bank account. We could deposit money with her, and she made deposits with her own money for us, and at the end of the year we all had a little spending money to take on our field trip. In doing so, she taught us how to budget and save our money. She taught us all to embroidery, had us all bring a white shirt to school, each of our classmates signed the shirt and we embroidered the signatures, teaching a craft that I still use today. We hosted a “Before School Appreciation Breakfast” for our parents and administrators, teaching us to be gracious hosts/hostesses. She ran a tight ship, but we all learned that having self-control and being organized are both much needed skills in life. In this age of technology, I have found many friends on Facebook from Mrs. Rose’s class. It’s been over 40 years since we were in that class together, and many of us still have that shirt that we embroidered, but I have a feeling that more importantly, many of us still experience the benefits of the life lessons that she taught us.

The Best Teacher Ever….

Julie Heil- PHP Outreach Coordinator located in Buffalo

The best teacher I every had-

That’s an easy one- the best teacher I ever had was my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Ellis. Somehow she knew that I needed a little extra nurturing that year. She invited me to spend a lot of time with her after school, we would clean off the desks, organize the bookshelves, talk about life and friends, movies and books. I had a sick sister, came from a single parent home and really needed the extra attention that Mrs. Ellis gave me.

 I’m sure she was a great teacher in many other ways too.  Because of the huge Wyoming quilt our class made, I canstill remember all the Wyoming counties and their county seats  However, the subjects she taught and how she taught them are not what stayed with me. What stands out the most, is how she made me feel; safe, special and most of all, worthy of her time. I’m sure this experience is what led me want to be a teacher myself. Mrs. Ellis’s influence was one of the greatest gifts. I learned that every child may need a little extra scoop of attention from time to time and that sometimes the smallest kind gesture can make a world of difference.

Cell Phone Nemesis

The world of instant communication has brought us a lot of advantages. We can reach across the whole world in a matter of seconds. It has also brought with it a host of problems. Call me old fashioned but why are six year olds carrying around cell phones? There is a place, a reason, and time for everything and school is not the place, reason, or time for cell phone use. I have heard some of the arguments that the children would be able to dial someone in an emergency.  More times than not, small children freeze during a crisis. There should be a teacher in every class room and monitors in the hall.  If there is an emergency they can call for help. I do believe it would be alright for high school age students to keep them in their lockers, or cars where they could access their phones during lunch time. I cannot see how a student could possibly be learning in class while holding a cell phone on their lap texting. We know it is very dangerous to try and drive while on the cell phone. It is also dangerous for a lot of children that are continually mocked teased and harassed through cell phones. They make an excellent tool for bullies.  I overheard a girl in the hall of the high school who was so upset because she had forgotten her cell phone. I thought she was going to cry.  I could not help but wonder, would she be that upset if she had misplaced a good book she was reading, or a school report?  I would love to see a nationwide ban on cell phone use by students in public schools. What about all of you?

All of that UNWANTED Advice….

 

Jan Jones- PIC Outreach Parent Liaison- Cheyenne

I love to sneak in the unwanted parenting advise with all my children. After all, I have been there, done that! I certainly got a lot of that advice from my mother so It is now my turn to shine!

I recently had to decide where my granddaughters were going to get their  PROM dresses. I suggested the local recycle prom dress exchange. Now this exchange has already been open for two months so everything is picked over! Wow! All the dresses looked like something from the 80’s. Even I agree.

One granddaughter came out in a cotton dress, floor lengh, flower child style with a lot of ribbons. The next granddaughter came out in a tight fitting, low cut black version of Cruella De Ville. (She did not have the necessary curves but it did match her black nail polish) There were many different left over bridesmaids dresses that made them look like they were unhappy never a bride material. One suggestion was made to add a hoop petticoat under one dress. My granddaughter was concerned about how she would fit to dance with her date. We are headed to the CHEAP prom dress section of the mall tonight.  I will hate going along but since I have the pocket book I will provide the unwanted parenting advice. I may even provide pictures of the big day to all you bloggers!! Wish me luck!

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