Preschool Lessons: Numero Uno – Tantrums

Tantrum When I first started working at a preschool, I was twenty-two years old, but I’d been working with children, ranging from the ages of seven to fourteen, at a sleep-away camp for over five years. During my time at the camp, I’d dealt with numerous tantrums, and they all had a particular reason behind them, such as bad sportsmanship, homesickness, self-consciousness, hunger, and not wanting to shower. Over the years, I’ve found that the best way to deal with tantrums is to get down to that bottom line. Why are you upset? How can I help fix this problem? Except when I worked at the preschool, I ran into a tantrum that seemed to stem from nowhere.

Our class was outside playing in the snow at the end of the day. One of the girls, standing in the snow, had the zipper of her jacket undone. I went over to her and began zippering her jacket up. She started growing more and more upset and crying. I said, “What’s wrong, Carli?” (That’s not her real name).

She cried out to the clouds, “I DON’T KNOW!!”

It’s true; sometimes not even your child will know why they’re throwing a tantrum. I would like to propose that just because the tantrum may at the surface appear to have no obvious reason, and just because even your child might not know why they’re throwing a tantrum, no tantrum is baseless. Now, that’s not to say that base isn’t something stupid and/or selfish (I once had a kid who threw a tantrum because he wanted to watch his towel dry).

I think, looking back, that Carli was just cold, or she couldn’t handle socializing around all the kids playing in the snow. Her gloves were messed up, and she had snot dripping from her nose, which also must’ve contributed to her tantrum (without a tissue, I bit the bullet and wiped her nose with my sleeve, no big deal, and gained a far more valuable lesson: if you work at a preschool, always keep tissues in your pocket). Then again, Carli was always a volatile case, so maybe something else was running through her head, something from home. Whatever the issue was, Carli’s young mind was unable to put it into words.

At its foundation, that’s how I’d define a tantrum: when a child (or teen, or adult) uses their emotions inordinately to their dialogue because they don’t know how to communicate their problem in a better way. What’s important is to teach them the skills necessary to communicate their problems better in the future.

Asking mothers how they deal with tantrums, my top two answers were ignoring them and sending them to their room. Last summer, one of the mothers of my campers said that when her son throws a tantrum, she locks herself in her own room while he bangs on the door and screams. She asked me for advice on how to get him to stop when he gets home. I said, “Unlock your door.”

At the preschool, teachers do not ignore tantrums or let them continue, nor do we send them to a separate room. By elementary school, they can be sent to the guidance counselor, where they will talk and communicate as well. When a tantrum occurs in class, or a tantrum occurs at my camp, I do what most teachers do. I get down to their level and hold their hands softly (after first getting them to stay put in one place if it happen to be a stomping tantrum). I tell them to look at me, which is something you do when speaking to troublemakers also, to take their attention. With troublemakers, tone should be serious and stern, but with a tantrum, tone should be cool and soothing.

To get Carli to calm down I said, “I understand,” even though I didn’t. I said, “It’s going to be all right.” Try these similar phrases, even if your child is trantrumming for a selfish reason, like wanting a toy. Every tantrum is situational, so what you talk about and what you say to calm them down will always be different. It is true that locking your door will also solve a tantrum (after perhaps an hour or so), but in the end, the problem won’t be addressed, and I have no doubt more tantrums will follow.

-Adam Berg

 

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Hey Moms – Ever Hear of Diastasis?

medium_8570833723Looking back on it now, there were so many things about pregnancy I didn’t know that I really wish I had! One of these was about diastasis. As with all women, my abs obviously stretched out while I was pregnant. After I had my baby, I noticed a line in the lower part of my stomach, right under the belly button. As I began to lose the weight, the line didn’t go away. In fact, it seemed like one side was actually lower than the other. I thought it was just a gross fat thing and that I just needed to do more cardio, but after discussions with a few friends in the fitness industry, they said that it might in fact be diastasis recti.

Diastasis recti is actually a protective response that often happens during the 5th month of pregnancy. The abs will split apart in the center since that area has less surface area to stretch. The split happens to help prevent the area from excessively stretching. However, if this occurs, the new mom should be focusing on specific exercises to help close the diastasis and shorten the abs back to their pre-pregnancy state. Without these exercises, the abs may not come fully back together and/or may come back together lopsided.

Typically, a postpartum plan* should first focus on the transverses abs and pelvic floor strengthening. Once these areas have begun to heal, you should then focus on closing the diastasis recti. During this time, it’s important to stay away from exercises that require a strain on the rectus abs (the center). This includes exercise or movements that require you to lift your head and shoulders off the ground and/or lifting both legs up in the air. (So don’t jump right into those sit-ups!) Once the diastasis is fully closed, then you can move on to more advanced ab work.

Be patient with yourself and don’t rush it. Debbi Goodman, MSPT,** states, “On average it takes most women (even extremely fit women) approximately 6 months to 1 year to regain full integrity of the abdominals. So, this is a slow process and one that should not be rushed. Advancing abdominal strengthening too quickly can jeopardize the joining of the recti and leave women with a central weakness.”

It can be frustrating waiting to get your body back, but trust me, it will be much more frustrating to have it heal incorrectly!

I know those first few months postpartum are so exhausting and finding the time for yourself sometimes seems impossible. But if you can, it is so worth it to work with a professional trained in these postpartum exercises to help you through and to make sure you are doing it the right way to properly heal your body. You could either work one on one with someone that has this specialty, or look for an ab rehab type of class or postpartum specific Pilates class taught by a qualified instructor. It will definitely be worth it in the long run, and at least this will be one thing that you won’t have to say, “I wish I knew….” for!

 

*It is important to talk with your doctor about any exercise program before starting. Be sure to discuss with him/her first!

**Debbi Goodman, MSPT is a licensed manual physical therapist with specialties in women’s health, dance medicine, and sports medicine. Debbi has had a private women’s health/orthopedic practice in New York City, and since moving to the Albany, NY area in 2004, she has developed a private practice in the Capital District. Debbi is one of the few physical therapists trained in internal evaluation and treatment of the pelvic floor muscles. In addition, she is specifically skilled in treatment of pregnancy problems including: sciatica, back/neck pain, pelvic pain and rib pain, and postpartum problems including: cesarean section recovery, urinary incontinence, pelvic/vaginal pain and post-delivery scars. Debbi teaches continuing education workshops for physical therapists, trainers and Pilates instructors focusing on exercise during pregnancy, and she is an instructor for prenatal and postpartum group fitness classes.

Source: Postpartum Recovery: Helping New Moms Get Their Bodies Back by Debbi Goodman in Pilates Pro

Another Interesting Article: Bigger Postpartum Challenges Than Just Baby Weight, by Sarah Nassauer in The Wall Street Journal

Photo Credit: Kit4na via photopin cc

Letter to My Younger Self – It’s Not Perfect

medium_4698434786Hi, it’s me. Just thought I should check in. I know you’re busy right now. College classes, shows, activities, friends – you’re having a blast, aren’t you?

I know you’re thinking ahead – thinking about the “adult world” and having a family. Looks like a great plan, doesn’t it? Finish college. Get a job. Find the perfect husband. Have the perfect wedding. Buy the perfect house, and have 3 kids running around all while you keep your career, do your hair every morning, and all before you’re 30.

It won’t be perfect.
I’m not trying to shatter your dreams, because it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I just want to warn you – It isn’t perfect. You can’t control who you fall in love with. The first house ends up being a lot more work than it seemed like it would. And you won’t get pregnant right when you want. In fact, it will end up being such an ordeal that you will almost be at the point of giving up. But don’t – it will happen. And when it finally happens, you’ll be a lot older than you hoped, but you’ll be ecstatic. You’ll treasure each moment so much more. You’ll be in complete awe of everything miraculous. Everything you will ever need in life will be wrapped in that little, tiny blanket in the hospital that day. But it still won’t be “perfect.”

You’ll be tired.
So. Very. Tired.
You’ll have feelings of extreme inadequacy. There will be many days that you won’t do your hair. Some days, you won’t even shower. It took so long to get the 1 kid, that the thought of 3 will go right out the window.

You are going to do a good job.
You’re a great mom and you find your way, but you will have moments of extreme Mommy guilt. You’ll feel like no matter how much time you spend with her, it won’t be enough. You’ll feel like this precious preschool time is just slipping away from you before you even get to experience it and you’ll want to hold on to each moment as tightly as you possibly can. You’ll try desperately to do anything you can to slow things down, to do it all right. You’ll make mistakes – you’re human – but you’ll do a lot of things right too. And you and her will have an incredible bond that will pull on your heart every time you look at her.

You won’t have the career you thought you would – at least not yet. You’ll feel torn by that one for a while – on one hand, you want to be home with her as much as possible to take full advantage of these precious first few years. On the other hand, you want to show her that women can do anything they set their minds to. They can be a great mom and still have a passion outside the home they can follow successfully. After a while struggling with it, you’ll realize that you’ll still have plenty of time to follow your outside passion later. For now, you’ll follow your heart’s passion and find a way to make it all about her.

You’ll be content knowing that you are doing all you can, but you will still feel like you’re making mistakes. Just remember that you’re doing a great job. Everyone can see what a fantastic kid she is. She’s so smart and playful. Imaginative, inquisitive, creative, strong, funny, and kind. And that’s because of you – she learned that from you! She doesn’t know that you’re making mistakes. She just knows that you’re mom – Super Mom in her eyes. You can see it every time she looks at you. And she’s happy and so full of love. Your heart will melt every time your eyes meet, and your soul will fly every time you hear her laugh.

No, it will not be perfect.

But the thing is, when you look at her,
It Is.

 

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Tips for Dads with Daughters

Saw this post on Life to Her Years the other day and absolutely loved it.  It is so right on!!
So in honor of the upcoming Father’s Day, I am posting it here for all the dads out there with little girls. And also for all the girls out there who love their dads!

Happy Father’s Day!

dad and baby

 

50 Rules for Dads With Daughters

1. Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good.

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2. Always be there. Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she adds years to her life… add life to her years.

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3. Save the day. She’ll grow up looking for a hero. It might as well be you. She’ll need you to come through for her over and over again throughout her life. Rise to the occasion. Red cape and blue tights optional.

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4. Savor every moment you have together. Today she’s crawling around the house in diapers, tomorrow you’re handing her the keys to the car, and before you know it, you’re walking her down the aisle. Some day soon, hanging out with her old man won’t be the bees knees anymore. Life happens pretty fast. You better cherish it while you can.

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5. Pray for her. Regularly. Passionately. Continually.

 

Finish reading (and see the great pictures that go along with it!) at: http://lifetoheryears.com/50rules
One of the best posts I’ve seen in a long time and well worth the read!

 

Photo Credit: Solis Invicti via photopin cc

Psycho Mom

retro momSome days I feel completely psycho. I feel like I’m failing at whatever I do. If I were to take a step back and look at my life from the outside, I’d see that in reality, I’m really quite successful. I have a great job (or 2 or 3), I’m healthy, I have a beautiful family, and a kid that I just adore to no end who seems to think I’m pretty cool too. But the problem is, I live in my life and whether if I actually am or not, I feel like I’m failing at everything.

How does that happen? How does a happy, successful person suddenly start to feel like a complete psycho?

I’ll tell you how – I became a mom. That and the fact that society has created ridiculous expectations for ourselves. Back in the day, moms were expected to just be a mom. Little Suzy Homemaker – take care of the house, take care of the kids. But now, moms can have it all – family, house, career, kids.

And kids these days? They don’t just run outside to play in the yard all day. Now they have classes, and sports, and dance, and clubs, and play groups, and music lessons, and the list goes on and on. Being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job in itself with lots of overtime hours. How do you even just keep up with your kids?

Then there’s the pressure to have it all – kids and career. So now you have this great job, which is full-time job #2. When you are at work, you’re thinking about what you should be doing with your kids. When you’re with your kids, you’re thinking about all the work you didn’t finish at your job. Not to mention you can’t really take your kids to all these groups and activities because there are just so many hours in the day.  But you will anyway because “that’s what good moms do.”

And housework? What’s that?!? You’re just happy when dinner gets on the table at a reasonable hour…

Women today can have it all. But at what price?

We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the best at everything, just because we can. Get the promotion at work, look fabulous every day, have the house spotless, the kids perfect, the hubby happy, workout, do yoga, meditate, don’t forget to treat yourself to the spa every now and then. Yeah, right. How often does all that really happen? Without a nanny and obscene amounts of money anyway… Society makes us believe that it always happens – or should happen. But in real life, these moms just feel psycho.

I know I do. I’m Miss Multi-tasker all the time, but I never think I am doing them well enough. I feel guilty being at work, because I “should” be home with my kid and doing things with her. I feel guilty if I’m just home because I “should” be showing my daughter that women can have a career too and I should be setting an example of a strong, independent woman. I need to pay the bills, but I feel like I’m not around enough to do ample activities to help “expand her development” and “socialization.” At the same time, it seems like we don’t just “not do anything” enough either. We should have more hang-at-home time to chill out and have quality time together. I feel like I can’t even stay on top of the laundry. I think my husband is getting the short end of the stick. I feel guilty if I dare to take a little bit of time just for me to do one workout or go get my hair cut. Some days, I feel completely psycho – have I mentioned that??

Let’s face it, anyone who says they do all these things and it’s not a problem is a big, fat liar. Back in the day, “it took a village” to raise a child. It still does, but we often no longer have that option. And that’s okay. This is what life is like now. We have to just remember that we can’t do it all. Nor should we. The most important things a child needs is shelter, food, a few clothes, support, and love. Lots and lots of love. Now, that’s “doable”. The rest is just gravy.

Having the internet and everything else at our fingertips can be a great resource, but sometimes it’s our biggest downfall. We are constantly barraged by all the “should be” images and that’s a major contributor to the psycho mom feeling. Maybe sometimes we need to just click it off. Remember we are human. We are only 1 woman with only 24 hours in the day. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what “doing it all” really means to us since it’s probably something a little different for each person. It’s always good to work towards a goal. As long as we remember that we are who we are (forget about the “should be”), and as long as we have a hefty source of love, we are 3/4 of the way there. No psycho mom needed.