Grab the Bonus!!! Pre-order Today…

The countdown is on…

(yes, literally – check out my site for the countdown box!) to the publication date of Confident Parents, Confident Kids: Raising Emotional Intelligence In Ourselves and Our Kids — from Toddlers to Teenagers! In collaboration with the publisher — Quarto Knows/Fair Winds Press — we are able to provide bonus materials if you pre-order now.

When I surveyed parents about what they most wanted to learn about, they said, “we want to learn about our big feelings.” And when I asked which specific big feelings, they answered, “anxiety!” They wanted to know how we teach our children and teens to deal with anxiety and how we best deal with our own. So that’s precisely what I choose to put into the bonus material. Actionable tips ALL ABOUT ANXIETY – YOUR OWN AND YOUR KIDS! 

Place your order for the book today. Then, send your proof of purchase (a screenshot works!) to Quarto at the following address: confidentparentskids@quarto.com and they’ll send you the bonus material within a day or less!

Want to know more about the book?

It answers the questions:
 How do we raise a confident kid? And how can we become confident that our parenting is preparing our child for success? 
Our confidence develops from understanding and having mastery over our emotions — and helping our children do the same. Like learning to play a musical instrument, we can fine-tune our ability to skillfully react to those big feelings that naturally arise from our child’s constant growth and changes, moving from chaos to harmony. We want our children to trust that they can conquer any challenge with hard work and persistence; that they can love boundlessly; that they will find their unique sense of purpose; and they will act wisely in a complex world. This book shows you how.
In it, you’ll learn:
  • The myths we’ve been told about emotions, how they shape our choices, and how we can reshape our parenting decisions in better alignment with our deepest values.
  • How to identify the temperaments your child was born with so you can support those tendencies rather than fight them.
  • How to align your biggest hopes and dreams for your kids with specific skills that can be practiced, along with new research to support those powerful connections.
  • About each age and stage — from babies to toddlers, to preschoolers, to school age, middle school and high schoolers — your child or teen goes through and the range of learning opportunities available.
  • How to identify and manage those big emotions (that only the parenting process can bring out in us!) and how to model emotional intelligence for your children.
  • How to alter challenging patterns we fall into to turnaround even our toughest moments into teachable ones.

This book represents the latest translation from science to everyday practice with countless small, simple ways in which we can promote the most critical social and emotional skills in our children to help reach our hopes and dreams today and for their future.

#parenting #parentingtips #SEL #mindfulness

 

Summer Scrapes, Cuts, and Bruises: How to Offer First Aid with Emotional Intelligence


“Are you okay?” I asked as E made a beeline from the outdoors in straight to the upstairs bathroom and shut the door. “No,” he uttered angrily coming out and showing me bloody elbows and knees and scraps up and down the side of his body. It was his first day out of school. And I truly cannot recall one first day out of school when the weather was beautiful and he was free to run outside that he didn’t wind up with at least one scraped knee. Yes, tis the season for “boo-boos”. And for some children, they’ll deal with more serious injuries this summer like concussions, sprains, or fractures.

So how do you manage your own big feelings when your child is in pain? These circumstances test our emotional intelligence because of the mounting emotions we’ll have to confront. After all, we are reacting to our child’s upset which may be expressed in inconsolable crying, yelling and anger (that could be directed at us), or running away and hiding. We have to cope with our empathy as they endure pain which can be no small feat as we desire their suffering to go away as quickly as possible. We may get squeamish at the sight of blood or have a sense of disgust or revulsion as we view their injury. We may also fear greater internal injuries that we cannot detect on our own so that we have to deal with anxiety and feelings of incompetence when we don’t know what to do.

This seemed an important day for me to consider how we can respond in ways that support our children, acknowledge their big feelings, and deal with our own in constructive ways. Here are a few well-considered tips.

Prepare.

Before your child comes to you with her first scraped knee, make it a start of summer ritual to stock up on first aid supplies. I carry band-aids in my purse everywhere I go. And I’ve helped out other parents in the grocery store, in the park. When a child needs a band-aid, they really need one. Don’t mess with feeling helpless and unprepared. My favorite supplies to keep on hand are: band-aids of all sizes, foaming anti-bacterial solution (it goes on fast and easy), cut strips of clean, soft t-shirts (thank you for this, Mema) to use to clean wounds or as flexible wraps, surgical tape so that it doesn’t hurt badly when you remove it (drug stores have this), ice packs, and popsicles. It’s nice to have a ritual that if you get injured, a cold popsicle always helps a child feel better. 

Why does this all help with your emotional intelligence, you ask? Because you have no control over when and where injuries take place, this will help you feel more competent and ready so that you can take action and not feel helpless.

Clear your schedule.

Injuries, even if just a scraped knee, take your time and attention. A work conference call, a haircut appointment, or a lunch date cannot compare – in the big scheme of things – to taking care of your hurting child when they need you. Time pressures wear away at our patience and add a layer of anxiety to an already charged moment. So remove the time commitment so that you can focus your attention on your child.

Remember to breathe.

There’s typically a time when a parent is sitting and waiting. Whether a child is crying hysterically or shut inside her room or turned away and refusing treatment, there’s waiting time involved with children’s hurts. Use those times to deep breathe. This will prepare your mind and body to respond in the way you most want to respond — with empathy and compassion.

Acknowledge and accept feelings.

It can be tempting – particularly in a sports’ setting – to utter words like, “you’re fine,” “power through,” or “stay in the game,” when you are not sure the degree to which your child is genuinely hurt though you see him crying or wincing in pain. After all, it’s likely this is how you were coached or parented as a kid so it can become a reflexive response. In addition, you may have a hidden (or not-so-hidden) fear that acknowledging a child’s feelings might encourage the child to seek sympathy or over-emphasize their hurts. In fact, that is a fallacy. The opposite is true. When we ignore or downplay our children’s feelings, they come back stronger in order to get your attention. Their upset wasn’t good enough the first time so in order to prove it to you, they have to up the emotional ante. 

Use your own inner coach in these situations. Breathe first and think “what’s my best response?” Then, acknowledge and accept what they are expressing or what you are observing they are feeling. “It looks like you are really hurt. I’m here to help.” This simple comforting statement will offer your child acceptance. You understand. And you are there for them.

Manage your own reactions. 

If you are indeed feeling disgusted or appalled or terrified by a child’s injury, there’s no way to bury those big feelings nor should you be expected to. But become aware of your big feelings and do something about them. Put your hand on your heart and attempt to slow it down. Stepping aside and taking a few deep breaths or intentionally relaxing your tense body before addressing a crying child can help you respond in a more effective, calming manner which, in turn, will better support your child through the pain.

Wait for consent to treat.

Your child may just refuse to have a wound cleaned for fear it will cause additional pain, as mine did. After you’ve let your child know that it’s necessary to clean it first or it can get infected, you may need to give him time. No need to nag, insist, or force the issue. Being compassionately clear that you cannot move on until you treat the wound is enough. Eventually, your child will consent. Bravery takes time. Be sure and allow your child the time he needs to agree to treat his wound. Of course, in an emergency, you would indeed rush to treat and not offer a choice. But with everyday cuts and scrapes, it gives a child a chance to practice self-management skills, caring for and giving permission with their own body, and handling their emotions with courage if we allow for it.

When in doubt, check it out.

Perhaps you’ve treated the scraps but you see bruising emerging which could indicate an internal injury. When in doubt, check it out. Call your pediatrician triage line and talk with the nurse on call. If you don’t, you risk greater problems down the line so why not take care of it on the day of the injury? If you have questions you might want to research first, check out the site, Kids Health: https://kidshealth.org.

Distract! And offer comfort.

Throw a bag together before leaving for the doctor with some favorite books or card games. Joke books, Seek and Finds, “Would You Rather,” and other puzzle books can be helpful. For young children, pack favorite comfort items like a beloved stuffed friend, blanket and book. And yes, for school age and up, this is the ideal time to use handheld media to help your child through a tough time. Waiting while a child is in pain can be challenging so have some distractions on hand to help get through those time periods.

Children learn to self-soothe by first, watching how we help them feel better. So after the wounds have been cleaned and bandaids carefully placed, how can you offer a quiet, soothing activity in which they can return to feeling better? Can they snuggle up with a bear, pillow, or blanket? Can you read a comforting storybook together? This will help both you and your child transition back to feeling better.

Tell the story.

Reflect together with loved ones on the surrounding events and recount how the injury happened including the feelings’ journey you’re child took. “I felt so hurt, then scared, then relieved.” This offers your child invaluable practice with discussing the difficult pains in life to help learn the lessons involved, process the feelings experienced, and also solidify the memory that he endured pain and survived.

Fortunately, my son was back up and running outside the very next day and though he had moments of pain, he was healing quickly. Summer injuries can test our patience and ability to show compassion at a time when our child most needs it. But with a little forethought, you’ll get through feeling competent, modeling ways to react to the pain that maximize your ability to support your child and help all feel better.

* This article was authentically researched by the author as she endured a basketball bouncing full force into her nose mere days before publication experiencing her own injury offering greater empathy for her son and challenging her once again to react with emotional intelligence. Ouch! 

In Youth Connections Magazine… “Decisions, Decisions… How Can We Prepare Our Children to Make Responsible Choices?”

For the Youth Connections Magazine’s summer issue, we are discussing how you promote responsible decision-making skills in our children and teens. The article offers some guidance on children’s developing sense of what to base their choices on, how parents can support that development along with specific age/stage tips for promoting this essential life skill. Here’s how it begins…

“Decisions, Decisions…How Can We Prepare Our Children to Make Responsible Choices?”

“I don’t like playing anymore, but all my friends are joining the team again,” relays my eleven-year-old son, Ethan, voicing his debate over whether to commit to another season of baseball. He has played for a number of years cultivating valuable friendships along the way. But, as he’s grown, the coaches, parents, and kids alike have become more competitive. And so too has the pressure. Ethan has enjoyed the game less as the emphasis on performance has increased. This spring, he was faced with the challenging decision: Do I continue to do something I’ve always done because my friends expect me to or do I follow my interests and motivation?

Children are at the very beginning stages of developing decision-making skills. They grow from basing decisions on chance with games like “Rock, Paper, Scissors” or “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe” to weighing pros and cons like whether to rejoin a baseball team that’s grown stressful. Then, in the teen years, youth face tempting risks like whether to follow peer pressure to try alcohol despite the fact that most parents — as confirmed in a recent survey of Montana parents — disapprove of underage drinking. Children will increasingly have to decide when to accommodate friends, when to assert their needs, when to show care for others, and when and how they should think ahead about consequences that might result from their actions.

Young children rely on adults to establish and enforce the rules. Their central concern focuses on their own safety and secure attachment to their parents and educators. But, by the age of nine, children move to the next stage of moral development in which the care of others and their social relationships takes priority. This is also a time when children begin inventing their own rules among their peers through games. They weigh social values when decision making like belonging to a friend group, contributing to a team, or meeting parent and teacher expectations.

Read the full article here! 

Also, do check out the https://parentingmontana.org site which contains guidance for each age/stage around hot topic issues like dealing with anger, bullying, making friends, managing homework, dealing with stress and more.

Reflecting on the School Year’s End

Creating a Thoughtful Transition Into Summer

The pace of activities and anticipation of summer can add to a sense of frenzy in these final school days. Children are excited about vacations and swimming. Parents are ready to shed the early morning commute to school and the pressures of homework duty. It’s tempting to race blindly forward into the sunshine without looking back. But there is significant value in taking a moment to reflect on the growth of the past year – friendships, academic progress, and newly developed interests.

Children may be sad to leave their teacher, their friends and the predictability of the school routine. They may worry about the loss of the stability and consistency that school provides over the summer and all of the unknowns of the anticipated next school year. There are some small, simple steps you can take to ease the transition and also deepen the lessons of the year through reflection. Here are a few suggestions.

In Reflection…

Retell the defining moments.
I began asking last night, as my son and I anticipated the last day of school, questions about his year. What was the most surprising thing that happened? Did you make a new friend? When did you feel embarrassed? What made you belly laugh? What were you most proud of learning? These simple questions elicited a range of stories. I could tell my son loved thinking back on the significant moments of the past year. And you can promote reflection on learning by asking questions about specific subjects and what your daughter knew at the beginning of the school year, how she progressed and where she is ending the year in her knowledge and experience. These reflections help children think more about their own thinking (metacognition) and learning processes which, in turn, will help them when they return to school in the Fall feeling a sense of capability, motivation, and persistence. At a family dinner, bedtime, or on a road trip drive, ask some reflective questions and spend time together thinking about the many defining moments of this past school year.

Work together with your child on a thoughtful card or letter for her teacher.
End of the year gifts or flowers for a teacher are one traditional way to show appreciation. But consider instead of or in addition to a gift, sitting down with your child to write a letter together about what you appreciate about that teacher and the past school year. Talk about it a bit before launching into writing. “What were some of your favorite activities you remember from this year? Why is your teacher so special? Do you remember a time when your teacher was especially kind?” are all questions you might ask before putting words to paper. My son was so excited each day as we moved toward the final day that he rarely sat down. So instead of a letter, I wrote some prompts for him to consider and he easily contributed to this meaningful appreciation of his teacher (see picture). Writing down what you appreciate about the teacher and the school year with your child can serve the dual purpose of a valued keepsake for the teacher and a helpful reflection for your child on her year.

Create a temporary museum using artifacts of learning.
You likely have a pile, a bin or a busting-at-the-seams binder (as we do!) of school work from the past year. Before recycling or filing away, why not use the accumulated papers as evidence of learning and growth and a tangible way to reflect on that progress? Use your home as a museum. Place the school work in the order of the school year starting in the fall. Line them up across chairs, the couch and on end tables for display. Walk around as a family and talk about what you notice particularly when you note positive developments. With a little support from you, your kids may be excited to put together the museum themselves. With multiple children, use different rooms of the house and you may have a full academic museum for an evening.

Create a time capsule.
A terrific early summer activity might be to generate a time capsule in memory of this past school year. Work with your child to find and decorate a shoe box or other container and mark with the name of the child and dates of the school year. Now ask your child to consider their older self. What if he came across this time capsule hidden in the attic years later? What items would help him remember the unique attributes of this past school year?

Transitioning into Summer…

Talk about your routine “lite.”
Though you may be eager to relinquish the rigor of the daily school routine, children still thrive with some sense of predictability. So talk about changes in your routine while your family is together. Consider your morning, bedtime and meal times and other transitions in the day. How will things stay the same? How will things change? Having this discussion can help set expectations for the summer and also provide that sense of stability children can thrive on through routines.

Consider instituting quiet time or reading hour.
Sure, you may be gone some days during a typical quiet time. But consider assigning a particular time of day to serve as a quiet time whenever you are around the house. After lunch seems to work well for our family. Turn off devices and media. Haul out blankets and books. You could include snacks. But it should be a time when all in the household “power down” and take it easy. Set the expectation for this at the beginning of summer and kids will assume it’s part of their summer routine.

Brainstorm a list of favorite summertime activities.
Grab a poster board or newsprint and brainstorm together a list of favorite activities you want to be sure and get in over the summer. Separate into “at home” and “out.” Make sure there are some ideas that can be done as solo play. Hang it on the refrigerator or somewhere you can refer to it throughout the summer. This serves as a terrific way to anticipate the fun of summer and can be an invaluable support for pointing to when your child comes to you bored and unsure of how to spend his/her time.

Discuss summer screen time boundaries.

When I speak with parents who are anticipating summertime, this seems to be their biggest concern. “Feels like a power struggle every day of the summer,” one parent told me. So establish rules around screens from the outset. Involve your child. Do the summer activity brainstorm first and then consider what they might not get to do if they spend hours a day on screens. Learn more about ways to limit screen time by learning together. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for this two and under, two-years-old to five, only one hour. For five-year-olds and up, they recommend two hours a day of sedentary screen time, no more.

In Anticipation of the Next Level in the Fall…

Catch a glimpse of next year.
While you are able with school staff still around, wander past next year’s classroom with your child. See if you might catch next year’s teacher in the hallway just to say hello. Perhaps talk with a student who has just ended the next level and ask about highlights from the year. Teachers are likely talking with students about their next step. And your child might be harboring worries about the great unknown ahead. Stepping into the new environment and even making a brief connection with the teacher can go a long way toward allaying fears and preparing for a smooth transition.

Great is the art of beginning, but greater the art is of ending.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Happy School Year’s End and Summer’s Beginning to You and Your Family!

Adapted, Originally published on June 1, 2017.

“I’m a Different Butterfly” – Expanding Empathy and Social Awareness through Summer Reading

There’s a new children’s book that explores what questions arise in an individual about their own self-perception and how others react when one looks different than others. I’m a Different Butterfly was written for ages 4-8 and is the story of Lulu Noire, a black butterfly who feels unsure at first about looking different from other butterflies but comes to realize, through interactions with other animals, that she is beautiful the way she is. This playful book offers opportunities to explore issues with young children of friendship and of learning from and embracing differences.

Author Sherri Oliver cares deeply about teaching young children how to relate to and form friendships with others even if they may look different than those around them. Sherri is a former child care program director for a nonprofit serving children and families and has a B.A. in Communications from Howard University.

She also created a discussion for families to pair with her book to enhance the opportunity for reflection. Some of those questions include:

  • How would you feel if others expressed that they didn’t like you because they feel you are different than them?
  • Say… “Nature made me, me.” Say it again… “Nature made me, me.” What does this mean to you?
  • What does it mean to appreciate others?
  • How are you and your best friend different? (Best friends can be another child, imaginary, pets, a grandparent, etc.)
  • How are you and your best friend the same?

What books are on your children’s summer reading list that stretch their thinking about how they might learn from and connect with others who look, sound, or live differently than they do? Reading can offer an important opportunity to build social awareness, empathy, and sensitivity in your child.

Check out this great new children’s book – I’m a Different Butterfly – and the helpful discussion guide to add to your summer reading list!

Here are also a few other related children’s book recommendations:

One Day, So Many Ways
By Laura Hall, Illustrated by Loris Lora

Discover what daily life is like for kids all around the world! Meet children from over 40 countries and explore the differences and similarities between their daily routines. Over 24 hours, follow a wide variety of children as they wake up, eat, go to school, play, talk, learn, and go about their everyday routine in this stunning retro-style illustrated picture book. Gorgeous illustrations! This book is a must have. Published by Quarto Group

 

The Skin You Live In

By Michael Tyler, Illustrated by David Lee Csicsko

With the ease and simplicity of a nursery rhyme, this lively story delivers an important message of social acceptance to young readers. Themes associated with child development and social harmony, such as friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity are promoted in simple and straightforward prose. Vivid illustrations of children’s activities include a wide range of cultures.

We Are Family

By Patricia Hegarty, Illustrated by Ryan Wheatcroft

Through illness and health, in celebration and disappointment, families stick together. Some families are made up of many people, and some are much smaller. Sometimes family members look like each other, and sometimes they don’t! But even though every family is different, the love is all the same. Illustrations many varied types of families.

 

Starting Today — Mindful Parenting for High Needs Kids


Does your child learn differently than other students at school whether or not he or she has been labeled ADHD, dyslexic, gifted, or dealing with auditory processing disorder? Or are you regularly challenged at home by behaviors that seem confusing or frustrating to you? Is your child easily upset by loud noises, rough textures, or spices and tastes beyond their standard fare? If so, there are likely numerous talks in the Mindful Parenting for High Needs Kids online conference that could provide support for you starting today!

Jennifer Miller of CPCK will speak with Jason and Cecelia Hilkey, conference organizers as well as parenting experts, on Friday, May 17th about a favorite topic: food! But instead of sharing recipes, we’ll share ideas for how you can create a calm, positive environment at mealtimes in which children want to stay and connect and want to try new foods. We’ll discuss how you can raise a child who has healthy habits around eating together.

Check out the short video below on “Creating an Enjoyable Family Dinner” to give you a “taste” of what we’ll be touching on but be sure to catch our discussion too on Friday since they’ll be so much more! 

To join, sign up here! 

Creating an Enjoyable Family Dinner

Free Online — Mindful Parenting with High Needs Kids


Once again, parenting and child development experts Cecilia and Jason Hilkey are hosting a 5-day online event THIS WEEK from Thursday, May 16th through Monday, May 20th. The line-up of speakers and their expertise is remarkable. I’ll be talking with Cecilia and Jason about food and how food impacts our children’s social and emotional development! In my experience, every child has his or her sensitivities. And these can become challenges in family life. Learn how to support your child bolstering their development and strengthening their social and emotional skills.

This conference is for you if:

  • You have a highly sensitive or special needs child in your family (or you teach one);
  • You want expert advice to guide your child to make friends, stay motivated, do their best and yet feel loved by you no matter what;
  • You want to use connection and understanding to help your child manage their feelings and behaviors (rather than threats or bribes); and
  • You are curious about when to have healthy boundaries and when to let things slide.

Join tens of thousands of other parents, professionals, researchers, and authors sharing the science of parenting. Get practical tools to make everyday family life easier. Join me! Sign up here!

Drum Roll, Please! Big Announcement…

It is with great pleasure and delight that I announce the very first book from Jennifer S. Miller and this site: Confident Parents, Confident Kids: Raising Emotional Intelligence in Ourselves and Our Kids — From Toddlers to Teenagers. 

When I asked fifty parents in a neighborhood Mom’s Club the question: “what one issue do you want to read a parenting book about?” – they responded: big feelings – mine and my child’s. How do we deal with them and promote confidence and emotional intelligence? So that’s precisely what this book is about. 

Here are some numbers that tell a bit about the journey I’ve taken to publishing a book. I’ve:

  • blogged each week for over seven nearly eight years for a total of 481 posts;
  • developed nine distinctly different, full book proposals (about one per year) over that time;
  • surveyed countless (and of the ones I did count – 150!) parents to learn what they care most about and what keeps them up at night;
  • researched, wrote, and sent out specifically targeted query letters to 46 literary agents with mostly rejections, no response, or non-committal interest;
  • landed with my 47th – Tina Wainscott of the Seymour Agency – I am so grateful for you!!!!
  • conducted research with partners Shannon Wanless and Roger Weissberg to demonstrate the essential link between parenting and social and emotional learning (which is highlighted in this book);
  • expanded audience reach from family, friends, and collaborators to 22,000 followers and views in 152 countries and growing; and
  • engaged in countless collaboration discussions and projects with readers, contributors, researchers, educators, and other professionals who care about making a difference in the lives of families.

Last summer, I entered into a partnership with literary agent Tina Wainscott who took a look at my book proposal and instead of trying to reshape it to fit a pop culture view of what works in publishing, she encouraged me to deeply infuse it with everything that Confident Parents, Confident Kids has always been about. So I’ve been able to write and fully illustrate the book of my dreams, the one in which I tell the stories of our community, of our dialogue with one another about ways in which we can become more confident in our parenting and raise confident kids with small, simple, everyday practices that are tied to research. These practices promote kids’ and parents’ social and emotional development and as a result, offer ways to cultivate their inner resources and thrive. Quarto Publishing and the Trade Winds Press team not only loved the content and its potential to help parents but also, loved the illustrations and supported the development of a full-color book!

Thank you, Tina Wainscott, Amanda Waddell, Todd Conly, David Martinell and the whole team at Quarto/Trade Winds Press for making this possible — and doing it collaboratively. I am also especially grateful to my family – extended and immediate – who supported me through this intense process. I am grateful to CASEL and Roger Weissberg for the rigor and research you put into the social and emotional learning framework that is the backbone of this work. I am grateful to partner Shannon Wanless for her heart and mind and passion in collaborating on moving this work forward. I am grateful to the NBC team – Esta, Jamie, and Gabbi – for your rich partnership and expanding my reach! And to the many other CPCK collaborators pictured here, I thank you! And thank you, reader, for your role in making this possible! This book would not exist without your readership and participation in this critical dialogue!

I hope you’ll share this great news with anyone you know who is interested in reading about parenting! Here’s more on the book:

Confident Parents, Confident Kids lays out an approach for helping parents—and the kids they love—hone their emotional intelligence so that they can make wise choices, connect and communicate well with others (even when patience wears thin), and become socially competent and confident human beings.

How do we raise a happy, confident kid? And how can we be confident that our parenting is preparing our child for success?
Our confidence develops from understanding and having mastery over our emotions — and helping our children do the same. Like learning to play a musical instrument, we can fine-tune our ability to skillfully react to those big feelings that naturally arise from our child’s constant growth and changes, moving from chaos to harmony. We want our children to trust that they can conquer any challenge with hard work and persistence; that they can love boundlessly; that they will find their unique sense of purpose; and they will act wisely in a complex world. This book shows you how.
With author and educator Jennifer Miller as your supportive guide, you’ll learn:
  • The myths we’ve been told about emotions, how they shape our choices, and how we can reshape our parenting decisions in better alignment with our deepest values.
  • How to identify the temperaments your child was born with so you can support those tendencies rather than fight them.
  • How to align your biggest hopes and dreams for your kids with specific skills that can be practiced, along with new research to support those powerful connections.
  • About each age and stage your child goes through and the range of learning opportunities available.
  • How to identify and manage those big emotions (that only the parenting process can bring out in us!) and how to model emotional intelligence for your children.
  • How to alter challenging patterns we fall into responding to turnaround even our toughest moments into teachable ones.

Available for Pre-Order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble NOW. The actual release date will be November 5, 2019.

Upcoming Social and Emotional Learning Conference in Baltimore, MD

Shannon Wanless, Director of the Office of Child Development in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh and Jennifer Miller of Confident Parents, Confident Kids will be presenting a workshop in Baltimore at the end of the month. Come join us! We’ll be presenting at the national Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Conference which brings together practitioners and some of the top SEL thought-leaders in the nation to learn best practices and strategies for effective implementation. The conference is targeted for professionals who work on behalf of children and youth – school administrators, state and federal officials, national experts, educators, psychologists, policy-makers, program coordinators, youth development workers, student support specialists, and counselors. It will be held May 20-22, 2019 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, MD. Registration is still open so check out this link to learn more or sign up!

Here’s the workshop Shannon and Jennifer will be presenting:

Essential Connections Between Parenting and Social Emotional Learning World Café 

Two findings from a recent study conducted with 90 social-emotional learning professionals, who were also parents, concluded that parents care about their children’s social and emotional development and care about using social-emotional strategies in their own parenting practices. In this session, participants will learn how to communicate about social and emotional learning (SEL) when talking to parents, practitioners and scholars. While these groups are not far from each other in their values, sharing ideas and working together can, at times, be challenging when their words and examples are not aligned. Participants will explore vignettes gathered from SEL experts, who are also parents, that highlight the connections and the disconnections across settings. Additionally, evidence from school-based SEL research will be shared in terms of its applicability to parenting and ways the field might be informed by this rich body of work while adapting to the unique needs of parents. Participants will enjoy plenty of dialogue and interaction working to identify ways to translate best practices to parenting from varying cultural backgrounds and a wide range of family histories.

#SELCONF2019

“Bring Your Child to Work Day” With My Son, E

Today was “bring your child to work day.” And up until yesterday, I hadn’t planned on bringing my own child to work despite the fact that I’ve written about the concept in the past. My child, E came home from school saying other kids were going to their parents’ work. Couldn’t he come with me? I hesitated. “Won’t he be incredibly bored since I am either writing, illustrating or talking with others in meetings?” I thought. But I began considering how to involve him in those activities and realized that a.) it wasn’t that difficult to find ways to involve him; and b.) I could actually make it interesting so that he could learn about what I do. I found myself feeling grateful that I could help him understand the work that is so meaningful in my daily life.

I thought, since today is blog publishing day, that I would interview him about his perceptions on parents, on teachers, and on what he wants to learn about related to social and emotional skills. We took a selfie and from it, he drew this beautiful (keeping-it-forever) illustration of the two of us. 

I also had a video conference meeting with the Making Caring Common Project at Harvard’s School of Education in which they were examining activities that could promote empathy. In advance of the meeting, my son helped review those activities and had numerous ideas to share. 

It was well worth the short time it took for me to reframe my perspective from “all I do is sit in front of a computer all day” thinking to a full day’s work agenda that substantively involved my son and gave him a genuine sense of what I do all day. I encourage you to think about it. Any day can be “bring your child to work day”! How can you give your child an authentic experience of what you do? 

Here’s my interview with eleven-year-old E Miller.

  1. What does your Mom do for work? 

 She does parenting work and helps moms and dads better understand kids and helps them be better parents.

2. What do you think parents need to know and understand about kids?

Kids are very active. They are always excited and full of energy. 

3. If you became a parent someday, what would be important to you to learn in becoming the best father to your son or daughter?

Punishing doesn’t help anything. Instead talk to him or her about why she or he did that and find a solution.

4. What do you think teachers need to know and understand about students? 

They get bored at school easily and they do not know what to do about it so they play in their desks or start talking with their friends because they are not doing anything active. Punishing does not help anything so what I would do is make learning fun and make a game out of it.

5. If you became a teacher someday, what would be important for you to learn in becoming the best teacher for your students?

I would make learning fun.

6. What motivates you to work hard?

It’s different doing something you want to do versus something you don’t want to.

7. What do you think kids need and want to learn about their feelings?

If I’m really upset, I sit down to relax and calm down.

8. What do you think kids need and want to learn about making friends?

How to get friendships and how to keep friendships.

9. If you could offer one bit of wisdom to any and all parents, what would it be?

Be a kind person to kids because they are more delicate than you think.

10. After visiting your Mom’s work, is your impression of what she does the same as what you thought it was or different? In what way?

Different. I always thought you had a boring on-the-computer, editing job. Not doing fun stuff. But now, I see that you have a really fun work that you can do a lot of stuff. Super fun. 

Hope you try out this worthwhile experience with your child!

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