Category Archives: Parenting

Learning – it’s a child’s mission. Supporting parents with the real stuff that happens with kids.

Still learning after all these years!

I have my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in education, but I am most proud of my recent education – learning to be Papa.

I clocked thousands of hours in the classroom, but over the past few years, the education I have been getting from my grandchildren has been an eye-opener. It’s also a challenge.  After all, I’m an adult and a teacher, so shouldn’t I be showing them what to do?

When they are doing a puzzle, they may begin to struggle a bit, get frustrated. They look to me for just a little suggestion, and perhaps a quick bit of praise.  I’ve learned it’s not about saying “Good job”.  It’s encouraging the small achievements along the way, “Wow, you’ve got that whole corner finished already!”   I get it now and we enjoy each other’s company and the reward comes when they turn to me and say, “I did it. All by myself!”

I am careful when to step in and I’m ready to quickly step back, so I don’t de-rail their mission. It’s like being a soccer coach on the sideline of the field.  I can step onto the field during a short time to give some suggestions out, but then must back away to let the game to continue. After all, it’s their game to play… right?

My grandchildren have convinced me that what I am doing in Act 2 of my career as an educator matters. Kids, especially younger children, need an advocate, a spokesperson to say what they often cannot express, “Please let me learn this for myself, so I feel capable and proud.”

I’m re-energized! I’ve got a plan! I’m looking forward to helping kids in this way.

If you are also interested in how we help kids learn – so they can enjoy a lifetime of learning, check in, I’ll be here!

Angelo Truglio, PAPA, BS, MS 

Which reminder will be on your fridge?

We all need to do what we can to preserve the curiosity and love for learning so it continues for life!

hand raised

Here’s some food for thought and ways to support your child as they shift into “back-to-school” mode:

  1. My child’s strengths.  Start the day pointing out their strengths.  Can you think of 3 positive strengths your child has?  Here’s one you may not have thought about:  at times you notice that your child is focusing intently on doing something, goes into “another zone”.  Point that out for them.  Say, “I like the way you work at that and not let anything distract you!”  
  2. “This is too hard!”  You can help them realize that doing “hard stuff”  is like an obstacle course – or like trying to beat a video game.  There are things that may slow us down or get in our way and we need to figure out how to get around those obstacles..  It may be difficult, but it’s not impossible.climbingwallAsk, “What is something else you did that was hard and finished it?  What worked?”  They may not remember or respond, but you’ve planted the seed.
  3. “There’s too much to do!”  Say, “Let’s break this down!”  Help kids work at a challenge by looking for a small, doable piece they can succeed at.  Success breeds success.  Ask, “What is the first step or first level you think you can do?”  It’s best if they decide, so be patient and try to let it come from them.
  4. “I’m not good at this.”  We need help kids understand what happens on the road to success.  For example, before they begin ask, “Are you ready for mistakes?  They happen and we learn from them.”   Tell kids a recent mistake or setback you experienced,  how it felt and then what you learned from it in order to keep going.  Never waste a mistake – help kids realize what they have learned from a mistake.
  5. “I don’t remember what to do.”   Don’t jump in too quickly – increase their “think time”.  Delay giving them hints or information until you are certain that they have exhausted their resources.  The message you want to deliver is, “I know you are capable“.
  6. Praise the HOW, not just the result.  We’ve all heard, “Win or lose, it’s how you play the game that matters”.  But most kids don’t hear enough about the HOWs, so why should they matter?  Emphasize the “HOWs”.   For example, “I can see that  you keep trying. That’s awesome!”   You are teaching them a huge HOW –  STICKING TO IT   When kids realize that the HOWs matter,  they are better prepared to take on difficult tasks, rather than avoid them.

Strengthen your child’s feeling of “I can!” 

Which reminder will be on your fridge?

 ~ Angelo Truglio

“I Try!”

“You know what Mommy?  Grandma cooks, Papa works in the garden, and I try!”  ~  A comment made by my 4 year old granddaughter who has learned about trying!

Here’s what I believe led to the comment:  She asked if we could do a puzzle together, and it was challenging for her.  It became an opportunity to teach her strategies that would help her not give up, or decide, “let’s play something else!”  I wanted her to receive two messages as things started to get a bit tough:  1st, she was capable; 2nd, accomplishing small sections mattered; two ingredients for her to persist!

Child doing a Puzzle

I said, “This is a challenge so let’s use your Action Star helpers”,  characters she had  been introduced that help children work at difficult tasks.  They have become part of her tool kit of strategies – HOW to work at “hard stuff!”

“You can’t just tell a child to try hard without giving them strategies and supporting their efforts.”   ~ Carol Dweck, Psychologist, Stanford University. “‘Growth Mindset’ Gaining Traction as School Improvement Strategy”,  edweek.org,  September 10, 2013.

“FOCUS”, who reminds children to look and listen;  “PUZZLE”, teaches them to work at small pieces – very appropriate for this task; and “ERASOAR”, who tells kids to ERASE a mistake and keep trying – so they will SOAR!

ICDTK_FOCUS             Puzzle               ERASOAR

My role was important.  I needed to:

  • stay aware of how I reacted to her attempts because  my tone of voice and body language speaks volumes;

  • congratulate her with a very upbeat, energetic voice when small accomplishments were achieved AND…

  • making sure I mentioned the Action Star strategy she was using.  For example:

    “Wow, you just found 2 pieces of the face – you used FOCUS to find the right match!”  

If she tried a piece that didn’t fit and then tried another:

“You made a mistake and used ERASOAR!  You didn’t give up!”

As she persisted and found another:

“PUZZLE is happy and says, “YES! You found more pieces!” 

This type of praise is more than just saying, “Good job” or “I’m glad you’re trying.”  She was learning tools that help her stick to it.

Teaching kids to HOW to persist – to not give up or divert themselves as soon as reading, math, or anything becomes difficult – helps them develop learning traits they will have for a lifetime, especially when learned as young as 4 years old!

 

 

The Holiday Season – How will kids stay focused?

The Holiday Season is here.  Excitement, energy levels, and sugar levels are up!  There’s lots of distractions that can interfere with end of the year goals.

HolidayRushExtra lists are popping up along with decorations and added events. It’s a challenge to stay focused, but with a little help children can learn to break down tasks into manageable bites and use time wisely. Parents can share strategies with children as we drive our sleighs through the season, so that the responsibility for keeping them on track in a “Merry” way does not rest solely on us.  However,

telling children how things must get done is not as effective as helping them come to their own realizations.

When trying to get a child to hunker down and focus on a goal, whether it’s homework, chores or piano practice, try this:

·        Plan for a 10 minute dialogue.

·        Explain the task and say, “It’s the holiday season and lots of things can distract us.”  Solicit ideas from the child:  “How can we get this done so we’ll have more time to enjoy the season?”

You may get some blank stares or “I don’t knows” – but persist!  The first step is for them to realize you are serious about hearing their input.

·        When they offer an idea,  good ones or not, commend them for thinking about what can be done.  Say, “It’s great we’re making a plan. It will help us have more time to enjoy the holiday happenings!”

·        Keep them involved – brainstorm solutions!   That’s when they’ll realize what they need to do, to gets things done.

·        The opportunity will come up for you to share what works for you.  Say, “Here’s something I do to not get distracted.”

When children are aware of distractions that interfere with goals and start to come up with strategies  – it’s just as valuable as getting things done!

Our team is excited to offer “kid-friendly” ways  to teach children how to be “I can” thinkers.  Check out  www.icandothatkids.com  – make difficult… possible!