Self-Development

Change

I’m one of those weirdos who thrives off of change. It stresses me out but it lights a fire in me every single time. I do NOT like to fail (who does, really?!?), so I will do whatever it takes to make the changes be successful. Does that mean I make changes without anxiety? Without fear? Ha!! I wish!

As this school year comes to a close, I find myself making a major change in my professional life. After 16 years in a classroom, I’m switching to become a reading teacher. As if that wasn’t stressful enough (and trust me, I’ve got ALL the stress there), I’m switching to a different school (eek) and taking my youngest two kids with me (double eek). On the outside, I look calm about it. On the inside, I am a disaster. I wish I had a crystal ball so I could stop pondering my decision-making skills.

I am super excited about the change, don’t get me wrong! I know that I’m going to grow, professionally from the change. I’ve taught kindergarten for the last eleven years. I LOVE it, which makes this move all the more stressful. I have an amazing team, which also makes me stress. I’ve got it pretty good where I’m at. But I’m feeling stagnant. It makes me wonder if I’m feeling ungrateful. I worry about that. But I just am in a rut. Guys, I’ve been leading calendar every single day for eleven years. If I have to say, “What month is it?!?” in a fake excited voice for more than the ten days that we have left, I’m going to poke my eyeballs out! I’ve done this thousands of times in the last eleven years. It’s become exhausting instead of exciting. That’s how I know that I have to change. My great position with great staff, students and families isn’t enough. It’s become too easy to overlook ALL of the good because I’m so used to it. It’s become way too easy to see the tiny little flaws because they’ve become a novelty. I hate that. I don’t want to be that person.

And so, even through the anxiety, the worries and the flat-out fears…SO many fears (Will I be good enough? I don’t want to let anyone down. Will my kids thrive in a new environment? Will they make friends? What if people don’t like me?), I change. I change because I know that’s what I need to benefit myself and everyone around me. And you know what? I’ll make it work. All of those fears will be a giggle to me down the road. This change will start a new chapter in my life that is yet to be titled. I have a feeling it’s going to be beautiful, earth-shattering and life-changing. Bring it on!!

Parenting

The Million Reasons Kids Can’t Go To Sleep Yet

Do your kids create quite a struggle at bedtime? After they’re tucked in and the light is out, do they NEED a million things? Drinks, hugs, bathroom, etc? Monsters under the bed? It’s exhausting. It’s defeating. You know they are perfectly fine, but the “Moooooooommy” calls just keep coming. How do you make it end already?!?

I’m not saying we’re perfect over here…far from it, actually. Some nights are rougher than others. But I have learned to end the struggle as soon as possible. Anticipate, anticipate, anticipate. What you have to do first is ask yourself what they’re getting from all of these excuses. Are they trying to keep themselves awake longer? Are they trying to get more time or attention from you? Once you figure out what they’re getting, you can form a plan of action. Your game plan has to totally eliminate what they’re trying to get.

If they continually ask to get a drink and you think it’s to be out of bed to stay awake longer, have a drink there ready for them. Make it something that they can get themselves WITHOUT getting out of bed. Keep a water bottle by their bed. Is that causing nighttime accidents? Fill it mostly with ice and a tiny bit of water. They’ll have their first drink, then tell them they will just have to wait just a little bit for the ice to melt to make more water. I guarantee you they’ll fall asleep waiting! And if not, well they’ll get another little drink and wait for the next one. Soon enough, they’ll be asleep. What you absolutely can NOT do is continue to go in there to encourage them to wait for it to melt because you’re defeating the whole point of eliminating yourself from the equation. Be strong! Don’t go in there. You will thank yourself later.

Are bathroom breaks the excuse? Call their bluff. I dare you! I mean, don’t completely set yourself up for a load of laundry. Have them go to the bathroom before bedtime and make sure they actually GO. Then you can be pretty darn sure it’s a ploy to get out of bed if they’re asking to go 30 minutes later. I can almost bet money that they won’t actually have an accident. Or, if you believe they are trying to get more time with you, eliminate that benefit from the trips to the bathroom altogether. Make sure they are able to go independently and tell them they’re welcome to get up and go by themselves, but they’ll have to get themselves tucked back in when they’re done.

Are monsters the problem? This might be legit. They might actually be scared and not just trying to get your time. BUT, depending on how you approach this, you could totally shoot yourself in the foot. You can get a million great ideas from Pinterest for getting rid of the monsters. Pick one! But I will caution you that whatever route you choose to take, you need to make sure the kid is the one getting rid of the monsters. If it’s monster spray, make them the ones that spray them away, not you. If YOU are the one getting rid of the monsters, then YOU will be the one called to do it every. single. time. That’s what we’re trying to avoid!

Once you figure out what they’re trying to get, you can play the game and come up with a plan. Come up with solutions that take that outcome out of the equation completely. Pretty soon, they’ll quit making those excuses because it doesn’t get them what they want! Later this week, I’ll be talking about some other things that might help if this approach doesn’t cut it or you just can’t stay away. But I do encourage you to try this one first!

Self-Development

Being Brave

Last week, I was teaching my kindergarteners about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges and Ron McNair (read the children’s picture book, Ron’s Big Mission if you are curious about him…it’s such a great story). It’s so hard for them to truly understand the huge impact these people made when they’re only 5 and 6 years old. So I tried to focus on a word they might be able to comprehend: Brave. I asked them what the word “brave” meant. They’re so sweet. There were lots of answers because they have no inhibitions or worries at that age. One was “when your mom makes you do something you hate, like getting a shot or taking yucky medicine.” I had to giggle as I imagined his mom telling him, “You HAVE to be brave!” while shoving medicine in his mouth! We finally put the answers together to come up with “When you’re scared of doing something, but you do it anyway.”

Sometimes these kids really put things in perspective for me. Many times, when we think of brave people, we think they have no fear. In reality though, that is absolutely not true! Do you think Rosa Parks wasn’t scared when she stayed in her seat on that bus? Do you think Ruby Bridges walked into that school past an angry mob without some fear inside of her? Absolutely not. What mattered was how they acted.

I’ve come to realize that bravery is more of an action than a feeling.

I’ve come to realize that bravery is more of an action than a feeling. Rarely do I feel brave. For instance, with the encouragement of my students (who had no idea that the lesson on bravery was inspiring their teacher!), I created this blog. I’ve been thinking of it for awhile, but it terrified me to think that nobody would find me interesting or that this would be a huge flop. “It’s fine!” I thought. “I don’t need a blog or one more thing on my plate. I’m fine without every trying my hand at blogging!” However, with really nothing to lose, I pushed the fear aside and acted brave. So what if it flops? At least I will have gained a new experience. I’m positive that we all have something that we’re avoiding because we’re afraid or it makes us uncomfortable. I encourage all of you to find that thing, count to five and just act brave. Nobody on the outside will know the difference and you’ll be SO proud of yourself when you do it! I’d love to hear about what you tackled!