What word defines what you want to focus on enhancing in the New Year?

New Years’ resolutions can get a bit weighty and difficult to follow. So when I heard of the concept of choosing one word to focus on for the year, I loved it! The idea is to decide on a word that represents an area of your life that you would like to enhance this year.

My word for 2013 is presence. My goal is to increase the time I’m truly present in the moment – not worrying about the future or ruminating about the past. I will especially try to do this when I’m with my husband and kids.

To help me remember my word throughout the year, I have put this quote from Lao Tzu on the bulletin board by my desk.
"If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present."

-- Lao Tzu (570-490 B.C.)

What is your word for 2013?

Kids Frightened About the Predicted Apocalypse

There is a lot of talk about the end of the Mayan calendar on Friday, December 21st along with predictions that this coincides with the end of our world.  NASA astrobiologist David Morrison has received thousands of questions about the potential doomsday.  Some of the concerned questions come from children.  Children who have access to watching TV shows and YouTube videos claiming that the end of the world is near are especially vulnerable.

During an interview on NPR Morrison said "But I am so sorry for the people, especially young people that are really scared. And I don't know what I can say. I can tell them the facts, the science, that it's all just a fantasy. But you know, if the kids' friends in school are telling them the world is going to end, if they turned on the TV and it says the world is going to end, it's pretty scary."

Children are susceptible to believing what they see on TV or in videos.  It looks and sounds convincing so they think it’s probably true.  If you have kids who may have been exposed to these ideas about an apocalypse, take the time to talk to them about why these types of predictions are popular and why everything they see on TV or videos isn’t necessarily true.     

Priceless Preschools Provides Continuing Education for Child Care Providers

If you are a preschool teacher or child care provider, you play a critically important role in the lives of many children. What you do during the hours you spend with these children literally wires their brains.

Your work requires you to complete continuing education in order to prepare for the ongoing challenges you face. Now you can learn at your pace and place through online classes from Priceless Preschools.

These classes are specifically designed to bring the latest research together with practical applications for your classrooms. All classes involve video, answering questions and applying the new ideas to your classrooms.

What classes are available?

We are pleased to announce the first four classes:

• Anger and Consequences Versus Empathy and Solutions
• Communicating with Babies and Toddlers Using Sign Language
• Learning Through Experimenting for Babies and Preschoolers
• Understanding the Impact of Media on Babies and Preschoolers

Each class is worth two hours of credit and costs $29.

How Can I Sign Up?

Learn more about each class and register at Priceless Preschools.

Are you a teacher or child care provider in Washington State?

If you work in Washington state and participate in the STARS system, you will receive two hours of STARS credit in the MERIT system. Washington state also provides reimbursement up to $100/year for continuing education. You can learn more at the Washington Association for the Education of Young Children's site.


If you have any questions, feel free to call 425-770-1629 or email Kathy@PricelessParenting.com.

Inspiring Kids to Think Positively About Themselves

A preschool teacher said she was worried about some of the negative things her preschoolers were saying about themselves. They'd say things like "I'm a bad boy." or "I'm naughty." This was disturbing to her as these kids declared it as the truth.

After watching the movie "The Help", she started using a quote from the movie. Every day she would tell her preschoolers, "You are kind. You are smart. You are important." She said their faces just lit up whenever she told them this.

If she heard them say something negative about themselves, she would respond by repeating "You are kind. You are smart. You are important." She found that reminding them of this brought out the best in their behavior.

photo credit: cafemama via photopin cc

Teaching Your Children Generosity Through Giving Gifts

One of the fondest memories I have from when my children were young was when they would give us a gift they had made. It was often a gift they had made at school – a rock with their picture glued on it, a painted tile, a handprint with a special poem or a decorated plastic placemat.

They were so excited to present these gifts to us. They waited in anticipation as we opened their special gift. It was something they had made themselves with love which made it so meaningful.

Generosity Comes From the Heart

When you receive a gift that someone has made or picked out especially for you, you feel their love within it. Children are particularly good at putting their love into gifts and cards. I treasure the homemade cards my kids have created throughout the years. Their expressions of love contained in these cards are the most valuable gift they’ve given me.

Throughout the world people give gifts to each other as an expression of what’s in their hearts. In her book Living in Gratitude: A Journey That Will Change Your Life, Angeles Arrien discusses generosity.

"Generosity of heart is extended cross-culturally through the practice of giving gifts. Every culture of the world gives gifts as offerings of respect, love, good will, and gratitude. There are no exceptions. December is our month of gift-giving, especially to those we love, to those for whom we feel immense gratitude, and to those who are in need or are suffering. Notice the difference in gift-giving when it is motivated by love, generosity, gratitude, and respect rather than by a sense of obligation to participate in a meaningless ritual."

(read the rest of the article at Priceless Parenting)

Deciding What Not To Say

The older your children become, the more you may find that holding your tongue is one of your most powerful parenting tools! Equally important as deciding what to say to your children is deciding what not to say.

For example, when my daughter was in high school she practiced gymnastics 25 hours a week. This meant by the time she got home and finished her homework, it was often pretty late. Instead of going right to bed, she’d often play a game of Spider Solitaire on the computer with her dad. She loved having this special time with him.

I bit my tongue to avoid a mini-lecture about how late it is and how I think she should go to bed. Instead I just wished them a good night and went to bed myself.

Sugared Cereal Is Not Healthy For Kids

Did you know that  sugared cereals have more sugar per serving than frosted cakes or donuts? Yikes! Dr. Michael Greger's article, &qu...