Back to School

Welcome to my parent support blog. I'm new to this, but hoping to create a healthy, supportive community where we can discuss everyday parenting concerns and trends. I welcome your comments and questions. By the way, I'm definitely more of a talker than writer, so, please forgive my grammar and punctuation errors. I really try to live by the motto " Nobody's Perfect  "

So, today is my first day as a freelance parent support coach and educator. I'm a bit nostalgic about leaving my fabulous position of 6 years as a facilitator at a very busy downtown drop in program where I served families and caregivers with children aged birth to 6. In that position, I always loved coming back in September to hear everyone's summer stories and to marvel at how much developmental change happened in such a short time. I'm not sure who was prouder of these new milestones, parents, caregivers or the children themselves. I am already missing the hugs and smiling faces but have changed gears professionally in search of restoring some much needed balance in my own family life.

The first day of school is already here and I think I had more butterflies in my stomach than my 12 year old son did. I've got my fingers crossed that he ends up in a great homeroom class with an empathetic teacher and some good pals. My husband and I tried to pack his brain with positive advice in small portions all weekend long.. Things like" don't forgot how important it is to make a good impression this week, be polite, listen well, try to tone down your larger than life personality when the teacher is talking, keep calm, enjoy your time with friends and know that mom is home at lunch time if you need a little stress buffer." He looked pretty resilient and keen as he left the door this morning.

I did a lot of reading this summer and I'd like to share one article that really resonated with me. Thank you to my colleague Sandy who forwarded it to my inbox. It is called " What should a four year old know? " by blogger Alicia Bayer. I'd encourage you to read the article in full on her blog In a nutshell, this great article reminds us that counting to 100, knowing the alphabet, being able to cut and write your name are not nearly as critical as the following:

A child should know she is loved unconditionally all of the time.

He should grow up in a safe, respectful environment and be encouraged to trust his own instincts.

A child should know how to laugh, be silly and use their imaginations to the fullest. Kids should know it is okay to paint the sky orange and draw a cat with 6 legs.

Children should have opportunities to get to know their own interests and be encouraged to follow them.

Our children need to know that the world is magical and so are they in their uniqueness, brilliance, kindness, etc.


The article also goes on to discuss what the parent of a 4 year old should know. In summary:

All children develop at their own pace.

The best predictor of academic success is reading, so, read your child great books over and over.

Smartest doesn't equal happiest. Give your child the gift of a simple, carefree childhood.

Surround kids with books, nature, art, music, physical activity, cooking, quiet time and opportunities to freely explore.

Give your child your time.

I believe that a balanced life rich in nature, art, music, science, physical activity, calm restorative moments, giving back to your community, friendship and love is the magic we all seek. So let's be intentional in our quest of allowing everyday magic to enter our lives. Slow down, connect more.

Have a great week. Joanne

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