Wednesday, May 31, 2017

#1 Thing Parents Need

The #1 Requirement Every Adult Needs to be an Exceptional Parent

Over the course of my career I have worked hard to help adults really work at becoming the best parents they can be. I was sitting with a Dad in a restaurant and he asked me a question. What is the one thing I can do to be a great Dad? I said to him let me think about that for a moment. When I got back I said to him “Be their living example. He asked me what I meant and I gave him a general answer. Later, in another session we revisited this question and I told him this. Be as much yourself as you can be. Over the years this has begun to shape my whole philosophy of parenting. I now say the #1 thing every adult needs to be an exceptional parent is Authenticity.

I define authenticity as living a life in which your beliefs, thoughts, words, and actions are all aligned. I say this because 85% of what children carry forward in their lives are the things they observed their parents doing. This is important because; it is not what we say which our children carry forward into life. It is what we do. When we tell our children not to lie. Then ask them to tell someone on the phone we do not want to talk; to tell them I am not here. We confuse them. Ultimately, they will do what we do and not what we said.

There is an old saying “actions speak louder than words”; this is the exactly what children learn. We do and act according to what we really believe. If we say not to lie, and then we lie we have told our children lying is okay. I realize this is an inconvenient truth. However, I truly believe learning to live an authentic life makes a true difference in our lives and the lives of our children. So, how do we live authentically

Becoming authentic is a journey. I have worked on this for years. Here are two links to help you get started. The first is a 500-word Luminary I wrote for Inspire Me Today. The second is the first in my blog series on becoming Authentic. Happy reading!

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Gift Guide for Empowering the Child 's Brain

Giving great gifts is both a talent and a skill. As parents we want to give our children gifts they will love . If it is a toy we want to see them play with it endlessly. However, finding such a gift is not easy. I have been giving this a lot of though and I have come up with what I think is a great idea for gift giving. I am combining the theory of Multiple Intelligence with gift giving for children ages 2+. I have divided the tow gift giving guides into two separate documents. One for ages 2-5, and one for 6+. I hope you find these guide helpful. Happy Shopping!

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Book Launch Postpones until June 8

The best laid plans of mice and men often come slowly or not at all. Fortunately, for me my plans are simply delayed a week. Computer glitches and technical difficulties aplenty have slowed down the launch of Education From the Cradle. All the glitches have been corrected and the book will be made available on June 8th. The introductory price of $9.99 will stay in place until June 9th, So if you were waiting you have and extra 8 days to get it at that price. The cost will go to it's regular of $14.99 on June 10th.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Graco Seat Recall

If you are a parent of a child in a Graco car seat. take the time to check the information below and check your child's seat. Graco is asking parents to check and report if you have a model. They are saying replacement parts will be available 7-17-2017. There have been no injuries as of yet. However, I think it would be wise for parents to check the model numbers and if need be get a new seat. If you cannot afford a new seat many fire departments around the country help parents get seats.  Also check this website for more ideas.

The most important thing is for your child to be safe. If you buy a new seat be sure to keep your old Graco seat and the receipt for the new one. I am sure a class action law suit will be coming down in the future. You want to be sure to be able to prove your costs and be reimbursed should this occur.

I am glad Graco is stepping up to let people know about this issue. I am also sure they chose to let people know before they had the solution so parents could make their own decisions on whether to replace the seat now or wait for the kits. I applaud their honesty. I emplore you to check and be sue your child is safe. the information is in the chart below which I got from the Graco website.

This recall includes the following Graco My Ride 65 car seats in the table below:
Graco My Ride TM 65 Model NumbersAffected Manufacturing Date Range AND Webbing Tag Code 2014/06
19081527/23/2014 through 7/27/2014
18130746/20/2014 through 7/27/2014
18726915/16/2014 through 8/1/2014
18534787/11/2014 through 7/27/2014
18716897/5/2014 through 7/24/2014
18775355/26/2014 through 7/27/2014
18130157/3/2014 through 7/24/2014
17943345/20/2014 through 7/15/2014

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Book; Education From the Cradle: Choosing Quality Childcare

E-Book Launch June 1 

Pre-Orders Available $9.99 

goes to $14.99 June 2 

I have been in the field of Early Education since 1987. I obtained my Masters degree in 1995. Over the years I have talked to and advised many Mom's about finding good quality child care. Ever since President Obama started talking about high quality early childhood education; I felt it important to help parents understand what that means in common language. The following is the books introduction. I hope you like it.

I have never met a Mom or Dad who liked the idea of leaving their child in a center. In fact, as a center director I have hugged a crying Mom leaving her baby with us more times than I care to count. It is hard leaving your small, helpless child in the care of strangers. I know this and I have great compassion on the millions of Mothers’ who live the reality daily. It is one reason why I wrote this short manual! Let me tell you a story about the main reason.

In 1993 after I left grad school, I got a job at a government installation running their child care center. I was the employee of a Non-Governmental Organization who ran centers all over the country. This company had an extremely high quality of care. I wanted to work with people who were as dedicated to the growth and development of young children as I was. As a director, I spent 40 hours a week working with and supporting staff. While also taking care of center logistics. I also worked between 15-20 hours a month after hours doing things like ordering supplies and payroll kinds of work. A year later the company lost the contract. I applied with the new company. I did not get the job. It was about three years later when one of the staff called me and asked me for a reference. I swung by the center to give it to her. As I entered my heart sank. The center was more than half empty. What was once a bustling center with 145 children and 50 staff members had severely shrunk. I am being generous when I say I saw about 70 children and 15 staff. After giving my former employee her reference. I stepped into the directors’ office. She said,” You are Barb Harvey, right? You used to be director, here?” I said, “Yes, what happened this place seems a little empty.”  Her reply stunned me then and even now I have tears in my eyes remembering her response. It was this: “I was on the original committee who was examining candidates. They gave you a courtesy interview. But, before you even entered the room it was decided they could not hire you. Your standard of care was way too high.” Now, let me tell you, what I heard? The company was only willing to do just so much for the children in their care. The results were obvious, the parents had sought out other places for their children. 
I do not ever want to see a parent or child end up with a group of people who are only willing to go so far in educating the children in their care. You and your child deserve better. This guide is here to help you avoid centers who are doing just enough.

This book gives you my view into what it means to have quality in early education.  I also provide exercises, tips, and information about education in general. This will give you the information you need to help your children to succeed.--

It is my hope this short book will help parents choose high quality child care. I am giving the jargon, basic early childhood quality information tips and questions to ask because it is not easy to spot those who give basic and not quality care. High quality care is available, you just need to know exactly what to look for, and I give you that in this book.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Week 10 Parenting and Mentoring Teens

Welcome to Week 10

Last week we discussed making a shift in your parent-child relationship with the teen in your life. We talked about being an influence rather than primarily a teacher. A mentor still teaches, however they also coach, counsel, negotiate, and communicate. The shift takes place as we put more responsibility on our children to begin making their own decisions. We are talking age appropriate decisions here. But, we will get into that later. Right now I want to concentrate on the mentor role.

Teaching-here teaching changes tremendously.  When a teen was a child teaching was all about telling them exactly what to do, when, how and not necessarily why. However, teens need to know why some things are they way they are.  Parents need to teach teens what they will need to stand on their own in life.  This includes self-care, finances, banking, paying bills, taxes, a work ethic, and other things children will need to understand how to get along well.  The teen years are where teens begin to understand the pressures and responsibilities of the adult world.  Parents teach them and then back-off and allow them to develop their own way

Coaching- This is the next step after teaching children the things they need to know and letting them move on to do it their own way. A parent then becomes a coach.  Help teens by giving them suggestions and even preferences for how to deal with issues, problems, or planning.  Teens are given some rope to work with parents decide how much rope and can help teens to develop by letting out and pulling back on the rope as needed.

Counseling- Coaching and counseling are very close however they are different in that coaching is about what to do. Counseling is about how you feel or are reacting to a situation. Parents need to keep calm about whatever situation a teen is facing and help them to fight their own battles and work through their own issues.  

Counseling is the time to help teens work these things through and give them the tools they need to work things out. Parents can be supportive and helpful, but they should refrain as much as possible from taking sides or jumping into the fray.

Negotiating- Parents should set rules on issues that are non-negotiable.  However, the things that are not nailed down should be open for negotiation.  For instance, if week-end curfew is 11:00, but you really don’t care if they stay out a little later on Friday or Saturday night, that could be occasionally negotiated.  Trust is a large area in negotiation.  Parents and teens need to be open and honest about what they want and need.  Negotiation is not arguing.  Parents should never argue with a teen.  Parents who remain calm and resolute will gain a teens respect.  Just let your no be no and stick to it.  

Negotiation is a calm and focused discussion based on mutual respect and firm reasoning not emotional outbursts.  If a teen begins to argue a parent should end negotiations until the teen is calm.  Understand that emotional outbursts are part of a teenager’s make-up, however, that does not mean you have to put up with them.  Make sure you point out the drama and let them know negotiations can re-start when they are calm.  You can also shut down negotiations period if they continue to argue.  If you shut down negotiation don’t back down maintain a consistent and firm resolve.  When you say something mean it.

Communication (listening)-Parents can help a teen by listening and truly hearing what is being said.  It is important to first deal with what is being said and then to deal with parental issues once the teens issue is dealt with.  It is important to keep open communications.  Most teens feel that parents do not listen and are frustrated.

Parents can make the mistake of putting their own feelings before that of their children forgetting that teens are indeed still kids.  They need all of the care and support they can get.  Listening is the best way to do that.  Keep in mind that teens are not likely to communicate with an audience.  In addition, teens are not likely to sit down and have an eye to eye discussion.  Parents can help by setting up an activity to do together.  Whether it is making dinner or golfing teens are more likely to talk if they are given opportunities to do so without direct eye contact or worrying that someone might overhear.

Both eye contact and ease dropping can be intimidating for someone especially when you care what the other person thinks of you.  Teens really do care what their parents think.  Even if they say they hate you they still care what parents think.  So, parent can show their best support by caring what their teens think.  Simply listening with an open mind can get teens to know you care.


  1. Take some time and think about the five areas of mentoring. How will you use them to shift your relationship?
  2. Talk with all the adults responsible for supporting your teen about wht this shift should look like and how it will change the dynamics of your relationships.
  3. If you are married discuss who will take on the primary role of mentor. Sometimes it is the same sex parent. However, if the teen has a closer more openly communicative relationship with the parent of the opposite sex they may be a better fit as mentor.
  4. Take this week next two weeks and think about the shift and begin to think through having a discussion with your teen about making this shift. Consider how it will change your whole family dynamic and prepare yourself and your signficant other for the changes. J

Take the next few weeks to journal about how you fee and think of your teen entering into the adult world. What things do you want them to know and how can you get it across to them without beating them over the head with it. In two weeks I will post on how to begin the conversation.

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