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DC school HUB is the ultimate resource in your search for the best DC area daycares, preschools, private schools and independent schools. What you’ll find here:
- Every known daycare, preschool, and private school in the Washington, DC, area aka the DMV,
- Chatrooms to talk with experts, school officials, daycare professionals and other parents,
- Forums to ask and answer questions,
- A section to find Who’s Got Spots in their daycare or school currently and in the near future,
- Blog posts from area educational leaders,
- A calendar with events to visit and learn about daycares and schools,
- And much, much more!
by Jen Cort, Founder, Jen Cort Educational Consulting
Recently, a friend with young children asked how my husband and I ‘grew such well-behaved kids’ (now age 10 and 15). My mind immediately went to the moments when they aren’t so well behaved, the moments when we, as parents, have the option of telling our children what to do and asserting our power as the heads of our houses by giving consequences when requests aren’t met. My husband and I work best when working for someone who approaches situations with empathy, works collaboratively and holds a consistent set of expectations. We attempt to actualize these values when parenting.
My mind goes to one morning about six years ago when waking our children I was greeted by my pre-adolescent son with “I’m TIRED, GO AWAY!” who didn’t appreciate me saying “I am choosing to interpret this as ‘Mom, you are the best, but may I please have five more minutes?’” From my daughter I received a grunt and a near kick at my face. My son then silently moved through the morning while my daughter clung to her grumpy mood like a well-loved security blanket. That evening, as bedtime approached, our daughter, still holding on to the mood of the morning declared that she was not putting on her pajama bottoms and “that was all there was to say!” Being a four year old and quite a bit smaller than myself, I knew I could either physically put the bottoms on her and issue consequences which would have been quick and taken little energy or I could redefine the idea of a successful day.
Letting go of all pretenses of a Norman Rockwell evening, I shifted my expectations for success and recognizing she needed an ‘out’, I quickly grabbed her pajama bottoms declaring “Of course you aren’t going to put on your pajamas, I need them for my crown because I am the Queen of Pants Land”, did my best to make them look like a crown and promptly put them on my head. As you might imagine this was met with a look of confusion and then a rambunctious wrestling match and enough laughter to compel my son to join us (an increasingly rare event as he rapidly approaches adolescence). In no time, our daughter had successfully taken the pajama bottoms, put them on her own head and stated she was in fact the Queen of Pants Land and my son and I were now relegated to being a Prince and Princess.
With a few minutes before bedtime, our daughter promptly put on her pajama bottoms (as they were meant to be worn) and slippers and climbed into bed. Repeatedly during story time she asked “Mom, do remember that I am the Queen of Pants Land? I LOVE that game!” That night, as our son brushed his teeth, I followed our normal routine, of turning on the bedside lamp, putting on my glasses and opening to the latest chapter in our book. As he came in the room, he found all of the usual things and upon my head, a pair pajama bottoms. Unfazed, he laughed, took the pants off my head and returned them to the drawer muttering “Mom, that is creepy. Cool, but creepy” (considering his preadolescent state, I take that as a win) and asked me to begin reading. The next morning, when I went into my daughter’s room, she was awake and greeted with giggles proudly showing me that she slept with her slippers and pajama bottoms on all night.
So, the answer to my friend’s question of how we got our children to be so well behaved? The truth is, they aren’t always well behaved and when they are, that isn’t because of us – because parenting isn’t about us. I don’t take credit for our kid’s successes, don’t use “we” when describing their accomplishments and I try really hard not to blame myself when they aren’t doing what works. My husband and I support our children’s interests, speak to them with respect for the value for their contributions, give them ‘outs’ when they have worked their way into a corner and approach them with empathy and laugh a lot (mostly at ourselves).
To yell or not to yell at your kids? That is the questions.
by Beth Anne Feldman, Ph.D., Georgetown Psychology Associates
Every parent has yelled at their kid. Most parents know they should stop yelling, but still believe yelling is the only way to get their kids to listen. But when we yell, it teaches our kids not to listen to us until we yell. It trains our kids to yell back at us. And for most parents, after the screaming match is finally over, you are left with a big pit of regret and guilt at the bottom of your stomach.
So what should you do when you find yourself in the middle of another screaming match with your kid over not cleaning a room or getting dressed? Take a break, as long as you need. Leaving the situation does not mean you’ve lost the battle; instead it models self-control to your child. How can we expect a child to learn to control their own emotions if we can’t control our own? Change your thoughts so you can change your feelings and actions. In the heat of the moment, thinking becomes distorted and anger becomes the lens through which you see the world.
Rather than allow yourself to be consumed with angry and resentful thoughts that don’t calm you down (e.g., She is a such a brat; I can’t let him think he can get away with that), change them to be more constructive and rational (e.g., My daughter is acting like a child because she is just a child; I bet I acted like that when I was her age; Most adults don’t like to stop what they’re doing immediately).
Don’t take whatever your child just did personally. The situation is not about you. Take deep breaths or count to fifty. Put water on your face or use another active strategy that works for you to help regain your composure. Say very little. If you don’t, inevitably you will find yourself launching empty threats and regrettable words. If you can do it calmly, tell your child you need to cool down and think about what happened before you are ready to talk again.
When you are ready to return to the crime scene, you will know because your body no longer feels like it is going to explode, your mind no longer is on a warpath, and your child no longer is enemy number one. Where to go from here depends on many factors such as the issue at hand and age of child. But the universal place to start is to apologize for letting your anger control you and agree to redo. Tell your child, “I’m sorry that my anger got the best of me. Let’s try this again.” Remember, you ultimately cannot control your child’s behavior but only your own.
by By Joseph E. Powers, The Woods Academy, Head of School
I am just freshly showered after a cold and wet night of sleeping outside. Our 8th graders, as part of preparation for the Capstone Leadership Projects, just spent the night outside, in our courtyard, in a homelessness simulation. It was definitely cold and wet and not all made it through the night outside, but ALL took something from this experience, yours truly included.
The reflection we did this morning after the night of “roughing” it was fantastic. The students “got it.” They have a deeper understanding of what it is like for homeless men and woman. While it was just one night, and we all knew we would be back in our Sleep Number beds tonight, the thoughts shared by the students lead me to believe they will look at the homeless person with a Giant shopping cart, filled with plastic bags, cardboard and dirty blankets, a bit differently now. There was a great deal of empathy shared as we reflected and that makes me feel proud.
As I awoke this morning, after sleeping on brick pavers under a portico, with pizza boxes underneath my sleeping bag, I sat up to survey the courtyard where many slept. I was leaning up against the wall as I glanced over at the students, and then reached for my bag. I had to check and see who the New York Jets drafted last night. After gathering this all important information I noticed a zippered pocket on my bag that I had not opnened in a while. I unzipped the pocket to find a receipt in it from a stay at the Four Season’s Hotel in DC from November of 1999 (look below). Two things stood out immediately. This was the receipt from the night Brit and I got engaged and the bill was $648.02 FOR ONE NIGHT! Yes it was a memorable night as our marriage soon began and yes my wife is worth every penny of it, but $648.02 FOR ONE NIGHT!
The irony is rich here. Finding this receipt on the morning of a homelessness simulation is not lost on me. It is something I will probably never forget because the memory leaves a feeling inside of me. It only hammers home the point more about how fortunate I am and our students are as well. “To whom much is given, much is expected,” is a quote I think of often and believe in wholeheartedly. The UNS are not given much. They are definitely not given living accommodations for $648.02 a night. Last night will stick with me for a while. I know I can do more to help those with less. I think our students feel the same way