Sunday, August 28, 2022

Safe Within These Walls: De-escalating School Situations Before They Become Crises by Andra Medea, MA

This book first came out almost 10 years ago. And while there's a lot that could be updated, especially with the violence in the past few years, a lot of this information is still useful.

In the wake of school tragedies and the growing concern about creating safe environments for children, teachers, parents, and school personnel, this resource provides practical techniques and guidelines for de-escalating aggression with insight and finesse rather than with force. Andrea Madea explains how to manage aggression from tantrums to mental health issues and school shootings, using anecdotes, research-informed techniques, and, at times, humor.

(affiliate link included)

**My thoughts**

Sometimes it is hard as an adult to reach an angry child. They become like human walls of rage. Anything we throw at them just crashes or bounces right back at us. They can be difficult to diffuse, which is necessary to get them to listen to reason and to find their voices. In theory, we know this, already, but in the heat of the moment may forget. This book does a great job in helping to identify children who are overly angry, even if it isn't as apparent on the surface. Sometimes kids are silently angry, those still waters that are about to erupt like Ol' Faithful. It gives plenty of tips to help the angry child to calm down. (I love the example right in the beginning where the administrator used to trick a child into holding a stack of books for several minutes, forcing them to stabilize from their core and thus calm down. It's a great sensory trick.) 

One important thing Andra points out is for teachers to also be aware of their own moods. If you are in a bad mood, chances are the kids are going to pick up on it and feed off of it. One of our fundamental lessons in Montessori training is to "Know thyself." Learn what makes you tick and find strategies to help yourself calm. Learn how nonverbal cues send authoritative and submissive messages. This book provides some fun ways to find balance.

It is broken down into easy-to-read sections, complete with examples of escalating situations and tried-and-true tricks to help diffuse those situations. At the end of each chapter is a helpful recap. The end has a comprehensive list of resources. The final chapter talks about handling completely escalated situations, such as Columbine or Newtown. This chapter would make for an excellent start for a seminar or lengthy full staff meeting in schools, to prepare for such an event to take place. It's not a pleasant conversation, but one that should be had, just in case.

I would actually recommend this book to anyone who has to deal with children on a regular basis. Yes, it is geared toward teachers who are trying to handle difficult children and sometimes difficult situations with parents. A lot of the advice within can be implemented at all times in the classroom. Even seasoned veterans may find something new to try, or else have an old idea sparked again, that they haven't tried in a while. Parents and other caregivers can also learn a lot about navigating those difficult waters with children.

I received a requested review copy from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Help Me Celebrate My Birthday! $15 Amazon Gift Card #Giveaway Ends 7/31


Thinking about my fellow educators who are already starting to think about going back to school for fall. Why not treat yourself one more time with something you've had on your wishlist at Amazon? For my birthday, I'm getting YOU a gift! One winner gets a $15 Amazon gift card. Good luck!

Monday, July 18, 2022

Review of A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens by Joani Geltman

Turn back the clocks! Your sweet child has morphed into a teen. And it's no longer just a messy bedroom or an attitude with a capital "A" causing concern. There's a whole new range of issues on the horizon.

What if your daughter texts a naked picture to a "boyfriend"...which he then forwards to the entire class? What if your son becomes increasingly withdrawn...Or your child is being bullied online? Would you know what to do? You could read a whole book on teen psychology--but who has the time! As a parent, what you need most is quick and candid advice for dealing with the issue at hand. After all, if you say the right thing you will open up the lines of communication, but say the wrong thing...and WATCH OUT.

A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens is the solution. Covering a broad range of issues from the terrifying (sex, drinking, drugs, depression) to the frustrating (defiance, laziness, conformity, entitlement), parenting expert Joani Geltman approaches each of the 80 topics with honesty and a dash of humor. Want to understand why teens do what they do? Joani reveals what they are thinking and feeling--and what developmental factors are involved. She then explains how to approach each problem in a way that lets your kid know you "get it" and leads to truly productive conversations.

From lying to sexting to falling grades, the teenage years can be an uphill battle. Here is the no-nonsense guide you need to get your teen talking, listening, and back on track.

(affiliate link included)

**My thoughts**

Raising teens is a difficult business. This book is a quick resource, designed to help parents with the usual situations that most find themselves in as they battle the hormones and precarious years leading to adulthood. Instead of reading the book from cover to cover, which you can easily do, the book is set up as a quick reference for different situations. Your teen is making your crazy today? Flip through the table of contents to find the situation that best describes yours and then read. Advice is concise, yet clear, and likely to be very helpful. Remember that you aren't going to change the behaviors overnight, but by following these steps you should see some gradual change. It's not going to be a quick fix, but is useful advice.

One of my favorite lines in the book is "If you see this as a teaching moment, like teaching your toddler to say please and thank you, you'll be on easy street." Joani tackles the tough topics with such humor and wisdom throughout the book. This helps to make it a more pleasurable read.

I received a requested review copy from the publisher via Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Education Aggravation: A Retired Teacher's View from the Trenches - A Call to Action by Leslie K. Brooks


The coolest magic beans in the universe . . .Education. . . has taken a back seat in the United States.

Oh, this is long before the pandemic. The pandemic just opened a can of worms long struggling to get out.

Sure, everyone talks about education, complains about it a lot but who’s really at fault here? And who really cares? Parents and students should be grateful. All children in the United States can get an education for free, a luxury not offered in many countries, if they will work for it. “Ay, there’s the rub!” Work ethic, changing priorities, time and technology.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff

Perfect for crafty parents who are eager to get their kids excited about DIY, ProjectKid is everything you could want in a craft book: 100(!) stylish, inventive projects; step-by-step photographs; tips for the novice crafter; easy-to-follow instructions; and a fresh, modern look. What really sets these projects apart are the unexpected, ingenious ways Kingloff uses everyday objects and materials. (Did you ever think a body-wash bottle would make a perfect rocket ship?) And these are projects for things kids want to make—and keep—from a juice-box owl to a pirate ship to a curio cabinet for displaying all of their treasures, plus games, jewelry, and more. Also included in the book are basic crafting lessons (such as pom-pom making and weaving) to help children of all ages build a DIY arsenal, a handy guide to must-have tools and materials, and a source directory.

(affiliate link included)

**My thoughts**

As Kingloff was the lifestyle director at Parents magazine for so long, overseeing the DIY content, I am not surprised to find such a comprehensive collection of activities for families to do together. The creativity found within these pages is astonishing. I would have gone absolutely crazy over this book as a kid.

Most of the materials that you need are already found at your house. For other items, Kingloff provides website and store recommendations to help you find what you need. Step-by-step directions are very clearly written out, with excellent photographs of each step. This is great for people who do better with written directions and for those who are more adept at following a photo tutorial. 

Activities definitely range in ability level. Projects such as the Joiner-Biscuit Butterflies would be easy to do with my preschool and kindergarten students. Juice-Box Owls would be more appropriate for older children. Some of them would even make great gifts, such as the Pom-Pom Poodle Pull Toy and the Embroidered Flyswatters. Others are more practical, such as the Family Message Center and Crafty Containers. Inspire learning while crafting with the Teaching Timepiece, ABC Flashcards, and Homemade Memory Game. 

I love the little art lessons at the end of each section, because they allow for open-ended creativity, beyond just the crafts shown in this book. The Montessorian in me appreciates open-ended possibilities, instead of only trying to mimic a craft! I also love the section on natural crafts, because it inspires you to spend time outside.

Both boys and girls can find something to enjoy in here, because crafts are not just for girls. The Robot Bank, Bottle Rocket, and Totally Tubular Train are sure to appeal to both!

Yes, a lot of the photographs are Pinterest worthy. I have a feeling that in the true tradition of Pinterest, a lot of attempts at some of these crafts are going to be significantly less than stellar. That isn't to say that with time and practice, your crafty skills, and those of your children, will not improve.

This is one that you'll want in a hard copy to make it easier to flip through the projects!

Thank you to NetGalley for fulfilling my review request. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

How Parents Can Raise Resilient Children: Preparing Your Child for the Real Tough World of Adulthood by Instilling Them With Principles of Love, Self-Discipline, and Independent Thinking by Frank Dixon


Being a parent isn't easy. From the ear-splitting temper tantrums of the terrible twos to the heart-stopping antics of elder siblings who should know better, sometimes the family home can feel more like a psychological battleground with a masterful manipulator of your emotions!

One thing is for sure: a child's life is one of exploration, discovery, and wonder. But between those wondrous moments, even the most cautious of children will suffer the consequences of their youthful trial and error.

As a parent, it's hard to say "no" to an eager little face that you love – and it only gets harder when resisting your natural, hard-wired impulse to rush in and save them from their terrible decisions.

Does this make you a bad parent? Of course not: you are, like your children, a human trying to make sense of the world – and you alone have the power and responsibility to show them the best path forward.

But Just Where Do You Draw the Line Between Liberty and Discipline?

How Parents Can Raise Resilient Children is a new, step-by-step guide that shows parents how to navigate the precarious tightrope of raising independent, resilient, and honest children.

Taking inspiration from some of the latest research in child development studies, Frank Dixon lifts the lid on just why kids will be kids and how parents can build an empathic, nourishing, and stable relationship with their children based on empowering behavior mentorship.

Building on a foundation of 7 'C's – competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control – Dixon offers an easy-to-follow strategy that frazzled parents can immediately put into action.

Childish Mistakes Are the Building Blocks of Adult Success

How Parents Can Raise Resilient Children
 reveals seven core areas of parenting where you can act as a role model when dealing with setbacks and upsets. Through exploring these 7 'C's with examples, this book acts as a handbook for resilience parenting.

With its easy-to-understand style, this guide offers step-by-step guidance to show parents how they can effectively:
  • Foster the brilliant imagination of the young mind with strategic use of praise and providing resources to enable the development of innate skills and talents
  • Understand the way the human brain is wired in childhood – and how to discipline mistakes with empathy and understanding rather than punishment
  • Nourish and grow your relationship with your child as a trusted supporter and advisor through childhood and adulthood, empowering both sides with love
  • Demonstrate desired behaviors when faced with hardships through your own actions and thought processes to give your child a powerful emotional toolkit
  • Know when to intervene and how to intervene when mistakes and failures happen – and how to turn any situation into a powerful learning moment
  • Make friends and develop strong bonds with peers with an ability to lead and influence through their character
  • Develop an optimistic, cheerful approach to life where failure isn't a disaster but merely a challenge that can be resolved with creative problem-solving

Life has never been fair. As a parent, your goal is to proudly guide and watch as your baby grows and develops into a resilient and stable adult, emotionally equipped to handle life's vicious slings and arrows.

(affiliate link)

About Frank Dixon:
Parents. Moms & Dads. Families that live together, or separated. There’s no official handbook for new parents. Every family and situation is unique, and the idealistic pedestal isn’t only what we see in movies and on TV.

The titles within the Best Parenting Books cover a range of skills on specific and important topics that are “easy to digest” and implement. In there I place many useful resources that are beneficial to any type of parent or family member.

You’re on a journey to becoming a more successful parent, and part of that is exploring different paths to find which approach best resonates with you— or to choose the perfect combination for you and your child.

My straightforward approach is designed to help you understand child behavior, backing up that knowledge with research, and teaching you some actionable strategies you can use every day.

This is exactly what I used to do with parents like you in one-on-one sessions. Transforming those experiences into tried and true print means between my pages you’ll find yourself on the way to raising a happy, healthy, independent, strong and resilient child— who’ll grow into a successful adult.

My own childhood was engrained with turmoil which left me a past filled with its share of guilt, shame, depression, low self esteem, and anxiety. It often made me feel trapped, and is what set me on my professional course to helping parents find direction.

Putting my insight, strategies, and experience into the written word extends my reach farther than a limited number of face-to-face sessions ever could. Since then I’ve published several books on the subject, with more on the way.

Together I hope we’ll be able to pass on positive parenting onto future generations to come.

Kind Regards,

Frank Dixon

I was compensated via Fiverr for sharing this post. I only share those books that I feel will be of interest to my readers.