Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Internet parenting

I worked with a Mom once who thought the internet would tell her how to raise her child. Anything I told her she would then go research on the internet and then come back and tell me what the internet said. Most of the time it would tell her exactly what I had told her. However, she was would always look it up to see if I was 'right' and if it would tell her the same thing I had told her. Whenever she had a question she would go look it up on the internet then come tell me what it said.

This Mom would come at the same time to breastfeed her child. Even though I worked with toddlers and most weren't breastfeeding anymore occasionally one would continue to breastfeed past the age of one. One day she changed the time she came and the child was fussy so I gave him a snack. When I told the Mom she freaked out and acted like I had done something to the harm the child. The next day she came to me telling me how she did some research on the internet and was shocked at how much the child should be eating. I just politely listened to her then added some knowledge I had then continued on with the drop off process.

 My dear parents, the internet won't tell you how to raise your children. It doesn't know the child. The internet doesn't know your child's personality or their temperament. Where you can find some good things on the internet it will never be able to tell you how to be a parent, how to be a good one or anything else. If your going to consult the internet for advice on how to raise your child please look at the kind of source it is. What background does the person writing the article have. If it's just common information please look at where it's from because the internet will never be able to tell you how to be a parent. It will never be able to tell you how to raise your children.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


One of the things I've noticed about parenthood is everyone has their opinion about how to raise children and will share it with the expecting parents-particularly the Mom. This doesn't stop when the child is born either. Actually it seems to happen more often. "Do this, it was great!" "This is what I did and it worked." Where every bit of advice is well-intended most of it is unwanted.

For me personally I never give advice unless someone asks for it or if I do have advice I always ask, "Can I make a suggestion?" Then I offer my advice. Often when other people give advice they're only telling the other parent what worked for them. This of course is okay. However, what they don't always think about when giving advice is whether it would work for that family or the children they're raising.

I was talking earlier this week with the parents of the child I take care of. They were telling me how they have friends who they often don't go to bed before midnight and their children often stay up until eleven or later and one of the children sleeps until eleven in the morning. This is done because the Mom performs at a local theater and often doesn't get home until at least eleven at night. Where this would not work for most families it does for this family.

Each families dynamics are different and each parent has a different style in the way they raise their children. Often what is overlooked when giving advice about how to raise children is the child's personality and temperament.  When I do give advice I try to tailor it to the child's personality and temperament because it's going to be more helpful than just some random advice that worked for some other person's child or even my own. What works for one child doesn't for another. There is no one size fits all way to raise children or to discipline them. A child's temperament and personality always should be considered too. Sometimes I ask questions about a child and how they react to certain situations because this tells me about the child's personality and temperament and allows me to give what I hope is helpful advice.

One of the other things I've noticed about advice when it comes to being a parent. The parents who think they know nothing about how to raise a child are the ones who want lots of advice and are usually the ones who don't need it. They're figuring it out and doing fine. The parents who think they have it all figured out and don't want advice and don't listen when it's asked for are the parents who need the advice and help the most. They are often the parents who have no idea what they're doing and it shows. At least to a trained eye like mine.

Everyone will have their opinion on how to raise children but the best advice I can give anyone: listen politely and then do what works for you and your family.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Getting to Know One Another

This one is a little late as school is well under way but I also think it is a topic for all year round. Often in a child care center children are moved according to birth date not the school calendar so I've found myself getting to know children all year long as children are moved up. It takes time to get to know one another. The children need to get to know you and you as the teacher have to get to know them.

 I've started taking care of a new child recently. We're still in that getting to know one another stage. Today was the first day he would let me put him down and sit beside him while he played. Until today he wouldn't play unless I was holding him-even if I was just sitting beside him. He's starting to trust me and he's showing more of his personality. We're getting to know one another and be comfortable with one another.

Something to do to get to know a person is to use their name. When I'm taking care of the child whose in my care right now I not only use his name but I use mine. When I'm taking care of him I use his name and say, " Child, Ms. Taryn is going to put you in your bouncy chair while she makes your bottle." That way I've used both my name and his. It gives him the chance to recognize who he is and who I am and that I'm a different person from Mom and Dad.

Another thing I like to do not only when I'm working in a child care center or am taking care of a child in their home like I am right now is to get to know the family. I've found you can have a better relationship with the child if you also have one with the parent. Most of the communication is done through the parents anyway and if you take the time to have a professional relationship with them it earns the parents and therefore the child's trust easier and quicker.

One last thing I like to is to help children make friends. In a situation like I have now I like to know of a play group that meets once a week or every other week and go so that the child has interaction with other children. I also like to take them to the park. In a child care center I like to have the new child sit next to me or my co-teacher so that as the other children come and play around me the new child is included and the other children get to know them.

Here's a link to an article by NAEYC about helping children get to know one another.

Helping children get to know each other

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


The children in my classroom always made me laugh. They would do and say things that were so funny. To bring humor into the classroom always helped lighten the room particularly after something serious had happened such as someone got hurt, sick or a new face was in the room. Sometimes to eliminate stress or frustration I would sing a song about how I was feeling such as singing to a tune words like, "You're really frustrating me but I'm gonna come over here help the children do the project."

NAEYC has an article about putting humor in the classroom. They suggest making up silly rhymes. When I would sing to relieve stress or frustration this is what I was doing. Sometimes I would do it as they suggest and use phases like I just finished a puzzle wuzzle. I would do this when a child was learning how to talk or having a hard time with a certain syllable or the sound of a word. The children would try to repeat this and often made me laugh but it also helped the child learn the sound.

Another suggestion NAEYC makes is to do tongue twisters. Where I worked with toddlers this really couldn't be done. Children this age already have a hard time learning the syllables and sounds and it would only frustrate them. I instead brought this concept in with music and would play music that did tongue twisters and dance to the music. If a object was mentioned in the music that happened to be in the room I would hold it and point to it when the music said the word.

Other suggestions it mentions are replacing key words in songs and being absurd. Being absurd was never a problem. This is when I had the most fun and so did the children. I would often do this when the room was full of children crying. It got them to calm down and stop crying because I would be acting so absurd it would make them stop crying and they would stop and watch me and listen to the silly song I was singing.

This article also suggests modeling humor behavior in the dramatic play area, and reading humorous books. Some of my favorite authors who do humor well are Mo Williams and Sandra Boynton. I would read these authors a lot to the children and point things out in the pictures to show the humor. The article suggests having a silly face contest which would be fun to do with preschool and pre-k aged children.

The last three suggestions are to sing funny songs which I did on a daily basis and would play funny songs to lighten the mood in the room. It also says to fill a hoola hoop with preschoolers and see how many it will hold. The last one is to laugh and to let the children see you laugh. The children did see me laugh almost on a daily basis but certainly a weekly one. At least once a day someone would do or say something that made me laugh. Here's a link to the article if someone is interested.

Ideas for bringing humor into the classroom

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


I've always tried to be the best teacher I can be to the children in my class. I've always recognized that children can't and won't learn until they feel safe in the classroom and trust you. Sometimes it's hard to gain a child's trust and it can certainly take time but over time they do come to trust you and feel comfortable in the class.
In trying to gain their trust and help them feel comfortable I've tried to establish a classroom of learners. Once they learn the first lesson taught which is to be comfortable and trust you as teacher, the teacher can start to teach a child, whether it be colors, numbers, opposites etc.

I work with toddlers, so where each child is developmentally, is different. Sometimes there are children who have just turned one in the classroom and are trying to learn how to walk and there are also the children who are older and trying to learn how to talk. As a result I've had to find ways to enhance their development and learning. I've done this by taking a simple concept such as colors and finding objects of different colors. With the younger ones I tell them the name of the color and point to the object, then see if any child or object in the room has that color and point to it and repeat the color. With the older ones I don't tell them what the color is when I point to it, instead I ask them if they know what the color is and ask them to say it. This way what I'm teaching is developmentally appropriate.

Sometimes I plan a lesson with goals in mind. For example if I see a child who is really interested in cars I'll do a lesson plan on transportation. If I see a child who is trying to meet a milestone such as climbing the stairs on the slide I plan a lesson with lots of different kinds of movement in it. This way I can help the children meet the milestones they're trying to reach. Every so often I can tell a child is learning but may be ready for the next level of learning. For example with manipulatives, a child close to two has the skills to better do a manipulative game than a twelve month old. When I sit with them I assess where they are and then come up with a game that extends where they are into something they can learn. Often times I go and get activities from the two year old room to help the child develop and learn.

One last thing I've always tried to do in order to be a good teacher is establish good relationships with the children's families- the parents. The parents that are the hardest  to deal with are the ones who worry about everything. They are the ones who have questions about everything and just need to learn to relax. Best advice is: if it won't hurt you, it won't hurt your child. Most parents as long as you talk to them when they drop-off and pick up and keep open communication with them, you can have a good relationship with them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


As children get closer to two they obviously are closer to the size of a two year old rather than a one year old. This leads to the children being tall enough to reach the door knob and some of them learn how to turn it and before you know it... you have a runner! Then you're the one running in order to get them and often yelling for help at the same. "Child! Come here!" "Someone grab the child please!" Then the one who catches the child is telling the child that's it's not okay to run away from their teachers. The teacher gets the child back in the classroom and again is telling the child it's not okay to run away from the teachers and that the door is something for only teachers, mommies and daddies to touch. These then become the children whose hands you have to hold when you go out to the playground so that they don't run away from the teachers. Good times...good times....

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Toddlers part 2

The last post I wrote I shared a link from NAEYC about what to look for in a toddler program. I've noticed as I've worked with parents that most know the information shared but they don't always know how to do the information that's given. So, in this post I'm going to discuss how to do the steps that are shared in the article.

The first step shared is children staying with a primary teacher so that they can develop a relationship. This one I'm going to assume is pretty obvious. At the toddler age children are still developing trust in the world and in the adults in their lives and that they'll take care of them so it's important that a child have a primary child. As the teacher and child learn to get to know and trust one another the teacher will know what temperament the child has and how to respond to the child's needs. This will also result in the child going to the teacher when they need something such as if they hurt themselves or are tired.

These first two steps lead to the third which is the teacher learns how the child communicates their needs through cries or other behaviors. I had one child who when they were tired would come and sit in my lap and snuggle. I had another child who when they were tired would go stand by the cots until I laid him down. Learning these cues helped me learn how each child communicated and what they were saying. I then did the fourth step of treating the children with kindness and respect and teaching them how to use their words. For an example see the post 'help.' This is where a lot of parents go wrong and they think they can behave or treat their children however they want to but then teach them the opposite. It's what you do that your children will follow not what you say. Not only that but respect is not a one way street that leads from children to adults. If you want your children to treat you with respect you have to treat them with the respect you want them to show you.

Sing your children the nursery rhymes and songs you sang as a child. Put Raffi, The Wiggles and other children songs on and sing them with your children. Trust me you'll learn the words so when they ask you sing a song-sing it with them. These can be some fun bonding times so enjoy this experience. Keep to the same routines as much as possible. This will lead your children to fell safe, secure and will help them know you're in charge. When a child's routine is constantly changed it leaves the child feeling insecure because they don't know what's going to happen or when and can lead to misbehavior.

Take your children to the park and run around with them. Let them play on the equipment and take toys to play with. If you have a play set in the backyard occasionally go back there and play on it with them. Your children enjoy playing with you and spending time with you. Don't give them reason for this to change. I've only worked for one company who took time to train their employees. However, this training is important. No one knows everything there is about their field so it's important to learn. As parents take time to ask questions of their child's teacher and other professionals a parent will become a better parent. If your child's teacher doesn't welcome such questions you may want to consider a different program.

Being a parent is hard. It's probably the toughest thing a person will do. However, it is in my opinion worth all you sacrifice and do.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


I know I've mentioned it before but I've always worked with toddlers. I love toddlers! They're so fun and they change so much during this time that it's a fun and exciting transformation to watch. Toddlers can also be so funny! I don't know how many times-sometimes a day-they've made me laugh. They're all so different. It's been a fun, exciting thing to watch and learn each child's temperament. The toddler years are when their temperament and personality really start to show and form and it's fun to watch. Not a lot of people like this age because not everyone can handle the crying but it's my favorite age. Here are some things from NAEYC to look for in a good toddler program. I always worked really hard to make sure these things were a part of the room I worked in. I made them all a part of my room and it's a big part of how I made my room successful.

What to look for in a toddler program

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


As a substitute I occasionally worked in the infant room. As a full-time employee I would occasionally work in the infant room as well as I covered my co-workers lunches. The infant room is hard as they are all on their own schedule and at different milestones. It was always hard for me to work in the infant room because you would have a child crying while they waited for a bottle to warm up or while you finished changing the diaper of another infant. I found it hard because these little infants had to wait to be taken care of and it hurt my heart.

 Sure, it taught them that they had to wait and and that their needs weren't always going to be immediately taken care of, but they would be taken care of which is a good lesson, however, for me it was hard. It was hard to hear them cry and know they just had to cry or hold onto my leg until I could help them. In my opinion a child shouldn't be placed in child care until they're at least one, however, sometimes parents have to place their newborns in child care and I understand that. Here is an article by NAEYC to help parents determine what to look for in an infant program. If you're reading this and you're someone who works in child care here is a checklist to make sure your program is up to NAEYC standards.

what to look for in an infant program

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Children as human beings deserve respect. This is, in my opinion, one of the most misunderstood and biggest mistakes people make in dealing with children. Respect is a two-way street, not a one-way that leads from children to adults.

At one of the centers I worked at we were getting ready for our Halloween party. It was going to start with all of the children getting dressed up in their costumes and walking around outside in a parade for the parents to see.

I had a little boy in my classroom who didn't want to wear his costume. When I asked him to come over so I could put it on he told me 'no' and refused to put it on. I respected his choice and moved onto the next child to put their costume on. A few minutes later all of the classes were lining up in the entry hall to get ready for the parade. I was working with toddlers so most of them were in the stroller because they couldn't walk. One of my co-workers saw that this little boy didn't have his costume on and asked why. I told her he didn't want to wear it. She sighed, went into the classroom, got his costume, unbuckled him from the stroller and proceeded to try to put the costume on the child.

He kept trying to get down and kept telling her no while she tried to convince him to put the costume on and kept trying to force it on him. I finally said to her, "He doesn't want to put it on co-worker quit trying to make him. Respect his choice." She stomped away frustrated and mad not only at the child but me because she didn't get what she wanted. When I told the child's Mom that he didn't want to wear it, so I didn't force it she said, "Yeah he can be like that sometimes and it's best not to try to make him. It only makes him mad." It didn't even begin to bother her that he didn't have the costume on.

Children should be seen, listened to and heard.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Meal Time

At the second center I worked at we did family style meals. This meant not only did the children sit at the table but there was a seat for the teacher as well. Just like when a family sits down to eat can be an interesting time, meal times at the center were interesting. We talked and laughed just like a family does. Where I worked with toddlers the conversation mainly was two or three words at the most and there was a lot of repeating things. For example, a child would point to the chair, look at me and say, "Chair."
I would say, "Yes. That's a chair." Then the child would go around the table pointing out every child's chair.  Then it would be every child's cup of milk and on and on it went...

Meal time was a fun time though. It gave a chance to interact that doesn't occur any other way and to teach skills that can only be taught sitting at a table during meal time. It's a time to teach manners and for a child to gain independence. Because the center 's meals were family style this meant that if a child wanted to try to serve themselves they were allowed to. When a child tried, I allowed it and guided their hand until they were close to two and they didn't need the guidance as much. This way the children learned independence and their self-esteem grew.

Meal times are a great time to teach  how to have a conversation. Because there were five children plus me at the table they all wanted a chance to talk. They had to learn how to take turns and to listen to their friends. They would also have to wait for me to respond so that they learned that one person talks while the other listens and then it changes. It taught them how to wait for their turn while I finished listening to one of them and explained to them that they had to wait until their friend was done before telling me what they wanted. This also taught them patience. It also taught them a small part of etiquette as they learned what was appropriate to bring to the table. For instance the pacifier and the favorite toy that they held onto all the time had to remain in their cubby while they ate.

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has a good article on how to introduce learning at meal time. Here's a link to it if anyone is interested.

naeyc article on mealtime

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Diaper Change

One day at the second center I worked at, I was changing diapers first thing in the morning before we did the activity. I was changing the diapers of my primary children while my co-teacher was sitting with the children singing songs, doing finger plays etc. to keep the children busy so we didn't have to clean the room again before a group went outside and a group stayed in to do the activity. I had only two more children to change before I was done. I walked up to one of the children and said, "Come on child, I need to check your diaper."

She shook  her head no, pointed to the other child I still needed to change and said, "Friend, first."
I said, "Okay, but then I need to change your diaper okay?"
She nodded her head yes and I went to change the other child's diaper. When I was done I went over to her and said, "Okay, child's turn."She came and got her diaper changed- no fuss.

However, that was funny!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Ever worked with people who were insecure? I've worked with many of them. Many people think that working with children is easy to do when in fact it's quite hard. Many people think dealing with children is about telling children what to do and them going to do it, but it's not. I've worked with many people who thought they were as good at their job (if not better) as me. It instead has brought out their insecurities.

When working with children the staff is made up of the babysitter's of the world. Ego's get big as everyone thinks their way of doing something would be the best way to do something. I've made a lot of my co-workers mad as they've been trying to deal with a child, I then given a suggestion and it works. These co-workers have been so busy trying to prove they were as good as me (if not better), that they didn't learn from me. I don't say that to boast. I say that because we all have things we need to learn when it comes to being able to do our job well and if we don't learn from those who know something we don't we only get resentful toward that co-worker.

When it comes to what I do, I don't apologize and I'm not going to apologize for being able to do it well. If the fact that I'm good at my job intimidates you, that  is on you. Don't try to make me change the way I do my job, gossip, or go complain to the director. The fact that I do my job well intimidates you is a reflection of who you are, who you choose to be and that you may not know as much as you're trying to prove you do. I don't have anything to prove when it comes to my job, so I'm not going to play those silly, immature games with my co-workers of who knows most and whose better at their job. It's immature and unprofessional and I have better things to do.

We all have different things we're good at and we all have things we need to learn because we never know all there is to doing a job. We might know all there is to a certain position but we should all be learning from one another instead of proving we're just as good at our job as someone else. It's part of how working on a team works.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Primary Children

At one of the centers I worked at I had a co-worker who constantly had to prove she knew as much as me. She is not the only co-worker I've worked with who was like this but she took it to a different level.

When you work in child care each teacher in the classroom has what is called 'primary children.' These are the children you as the teacher are primarily responsible for. You call the parents when they're sick, change their diaper, fill out their daily sheets etc. When parents pick their child up at the end of the day you are the one who speaks to them and tells them how their day went.

The co-worker at this particular center wouldn't let me talk to my primary children's parents. When a parent walked in at the end of the day regardless of whose primary child they were she would run up to them and start talking to them and telling them about their child's day. When I say run up to them I mean literally she would put down what she was doing and run across the room to speak to them before I could get there. On those days I got there first she was so mad. I don't know what she had to prove but I've never worked with anyone before who insisted on talking to the parents regardless of whether the child was her primary child or not like this co-worker.

The parents of one of my primary children finally went and said something to the director. When she called me in and told me of the parents concern I told her what my co-teacher was doing. The director asked me if I had said something to her and I told her I had said something multiple times but she kept doing it. The director called her in and asked her to stop and to let me talk to the parents if the child was my primary child. She was so mad....

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


There are some parents who raise their children in a bubble. Sometimes this bubble is really big and it leads to the children learning to fear the world. These are the parents who expect their child's caregiver to stand over them all day long and prevent them from getting hurt in any way or even hold them all day long so that nothing ever happens to them. The thing is though, that not only is this harmful for the child but in a day care center it can't happen. There are other children who need to be taken care of and sometimes even though an adult is right there a child can fall so fast you can't catch them. Bumps, bruises and scratches are going to happen to children as they grow up. There is no way to prevent this, although most of the time you can prevent the severity of the injury.

Everyone knows you need to be careful of your head especially when hitting it because it can cause damage. However, most of the bumps and bruises a child will get on their head will never need more than ice or your basic first aid. If more is needed you know that immediately. All centers have what the parents want done in these cases in the child's file (I have only seen once when this needed to happen and a child hurt themselves bad enough to have to call an ambulance and the child taken to the ER). Like I said if it's this bad you know immediately.

I had a parent who was raising their child in a bubble and expected us as the teachers to hover over her child all day long and despite the fact that we constantly told her we couldn't and why, she still expected it. There was one day her child fell and bumped his head (remember toddlers are still learning to walk and obtain balance so they fall a lot) so I got the ice pack to put on it and he was sitting with one of the teachers. I got the parents information and was on my way to call the mom. I was walking down the hallway when I saw her coming and I said, "Oh I was just on my way to call you." I proceeded to tell her what happened.  I got as far as bumped his head when she said, "He bumped his head!" then took off running down the hallway to the classroom. I"m not kidding she ran down the hallway to the classroom. The director saw all of this so she came with me into the room.

When I got there she was holding her child like he had not been taken care of all day long, cradling him like he was going to die. She started yelling at me about why I had let him fall and why wasn't I watching him, and why didn't I stop him from falling and how bumps on the head can be serious and cause brain damage.

The director got her to calm down and looked at the child's forehead. It was red and you could tell he was going to have a bump but that was all. She asked me what happened and I told her what happened to cause him to fall and bump his head. The director took the parent into her office and talked to her and got her to calm down and then came back and told me and my co-teachers what happened. The parent wanted the piece of furniture he bumped his head on removed from the room. She explained that it couldn't be because certain furniture had to be in the room to meet state standards for the center to be open. The parent eventually left the center and got a nanny.

The thing is even a nanny can't prevent a child from ever getting hurt. It's going to happen. A child can't develop the skills they need to when placed in a bubble and everything expected to be prevented. They don't learn things because we learn from our mistakes and bad choices and if these are always prevented the child doesn't grow and develop like they need to. Am I for preventing accidents particularly ones to the head? Yes. However, at some point or another a child will hit their head on something hard enough to cause a bump or bruise or both.

What's important is for the parent not to overreact like this parent did. Staff in a center are trained in CPR and first aid and know how to treat injuries. Trust them to take care of your child or it will be hard to develop a relationship with them if one ever is.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


At the first center I worked at they had the toddlers (age 12-24 months) separated into younger and older toddler classrooms. The younger toddler room was 12-18 months and the older toddler room was 18-24 months. Each teacher in both classes was referred to as the primary caregiver of some of the children in the class. For example the ratio for toddlers in the state this center was located in was 1:5 which meant there was one adult to five children. The primary caregiver of these children changed the diapers, took care of the children when they were hurt, talked to the parents etc. However, we as the teachers also helped take care of all of the children. For example, if someone was at the changing table changing a diaper and another child had a diaper that needed to be changed the person at the changing table would go ahead and change the child's diaper regardless of whether they were the primary caregiver or not. It's how we worked as a team.

One day I was outside on the playground and one of the co-teachers of the older toddler classroom was leaning up against the wall of the building. She hollered at me across the playground and when I went over there she pointed to one of my primary children and said, "Child has a runny nose." I said, "Then wipe it please, the tissues are right behind you," and I walked away. (The tissues were literally right behind her sitting on the window seal).

She was furious at me and went and complained to the assistant director. The assistant director pulled me and my co-worker into the break room and asked what was going on. I told her everything was fine. My co-worker went ballistic. She started screaming at me and telling the assistant director how she had called me across the playground and told me that one of my primary children had a runny nose and how I told her to wipe it and how it wasn't her responsibility because the child wasn't one of her primary children. The assistant director looked at me like 'she has got to be kidding,' but said, "Is that what happened?
"Have you ever wiped the nose of any of the children in the other class?"
"K. Well this is what's going to happen. If any of the teachers from either class see a child from either classroom who needs to have their nose wiped they're going to wipe that child's nose. It doesn't matter who their primary caregiver is. Do both of you agree?"
Me: "Yes."
Co-worker- "Fine."

She was furious with me! However, the fact that she wouldn't wipe the child's nose and called me from across the playground to do it was petty, childish and unprofessional.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


At the first center I worked at there was a co-worker I worked with who constantly gossiped. It happened in her classroom, on the playground, during her lunch break... One day she was on the playground talking in her little group when I happened to walk by because I was cleaning up toys before going inside. I heard her say, "Well, that settles it, Friday we'll have a teacher day." How this was any different than any other day I don't know...

If something happened at the center, you would know about it within minutes. She would either come into your classroom and tell you what happened or she would open the door, tell what happened and move on. It depended on the type of news and how quickly she wanted it known.

One day I finished changing a diaper and was on my way across the room to help settle the children down for nap. As I got to the door she opened it and said, "Did you hear?"
About this time I was walking by the door and said, "I don't care," and closed the door.
My co-teacher started to laugh and said, "You should have seen her face."
"Co-teacher, I honestly don't care. My life doesn't revolve around what happens within these walls."
"I know."

This center particularly had a big problem with gossip. I know gossip happens in any business setting but this was the worst I've ever experienced. This co-teacher is one of the worst I've ever worked with. It drove me crazy and I knew all kinds of things I didn't want to know and thought were private. I've always worked in any business I've worked in with the goal of keeping my private life separate from my professional.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

occupational hazard

One day when I got home from work I was making dinner. My daughter was sitting on the couch reading when I asked her to do something. Normally when she's reading and I ask her to do something she just finishes the paragraph she's reading and then she'll go do what I asked. This means she usually does what I ask fairly quickly. This time she decided to finish the page before she went to do what I asked. This also meant it was taking her longer than normal to go do what I asked. So after a few minutes, when she wasn't going to do what I asked, I peeked around the corner, "Daughter, listen to my words. Go do this please." She was standing up by then and just stopped and looked at me. "I am, I heard you and I'm not one of your little kids."
I let this connect and then I laughed. "Sorry. Occupational hazard."

This is an occupational hazard because all day long when I'm working with the little children I work with I say many times a day either, "Listen to my words," or "Listen to your friends words. They don't like that." It was bound to come out at home at some point...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


It's hard not to project our fears and nervous habits onto our children. It's important that we try not to though. At the first center I worked at there was a little boy who didn't like to get his hands dirty. Anytime he got them dirty he would either wipe them on his pants or ask you to clean them for him. Some children are sensory sensitive and they don't like to do any activity with the senses, however this little boy wasn't a sensory sensitive boy. When his mom was around and he got his hands dirty she would be right there to clean them off and basically didn't like him getting dirty in anyway. This kept him from exploring the world around him because he was taught not to touch anything and if he did to immediately wash his hands.

Some parents are so afraid of anything bad happening to their child they non-intentionally teach their children to fear the world. Then when the child won't try anything new they get frustrated and don't understand that they have taught their child not to be curious because every time their child was curious about something they rushed in and told them no because something bad may happen to them.

It's important to teach your child about the world and it's our job as parents to teach them about the world. Don't touch the stove because it's hot, don't play with the mop it's dirty, don't eat the sand, bite, hit etc. It's our job as the parents to teach our children how the world works and what the rules of the house, child care and world are. It's also important to teach your children why the rules are what they are. If you just say don't touch the stove and don't tell them the reason they shouldn't is because it's hot, they really aren't going to care that an adult told them not to touch the stove. This concept goes with anything you want to teach your children. Tell them why they should or shouldn't do something. If a parent or care giver doesn't tell the child why they'll just blow off what the adult said and not care that the adult said not to do something. A child doesn't care that they were told not to do something and won't unless they're told why they shouldn't do something.It's hard not to teach our children not to fear the things we fear and to not project our fears or idiosyncrasy's onto our children but it's our job to teach them how the world works and why, not teach them to fear it.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


Training is not a big thing in the early childhood education world. It's sad really. We're supposed to be seen as professionals and yet administration doesn't take the time to do any training. At the first center I worked at, there was no training given to the staff at all. The state required that the staff have twenty hours of training a year, but they never did any. There were training's the state did that you could go to. These were done in the evening after work and for a fee. The center that I worked for though would not reimburse you if you went. It was money that came directly out of your pocket. Maybe it's just me but a business should pay for the training of their employees and in the corporate world they do.

At the second center I worked for they understood this. They did a training/staff meeting every month. We stayed late one night a month for a couple of hours and the administration trained us on a variety of things. At this center we were also paid to be there, so staff showed up. Feeding us dinner helped too. This center understood they were a business and needed to pay for their employees training. You could tell such a difference in the staff between the two centers. The staff that were trained were professionals and the problems at the first center didn't exist at the second. We talked about the problems and found solutions to them and there was a camaraderie among the staff and it helped us work together.  

No one knows everything about a job, there is always things to learn even if it then means taking it to the next level and being promoted-which is another thing that doesn't happen in early childhood education like it does in the corporate world. A person should always be learning new things and training employees does this. It also helps administration know which employees to take to the next level. Training is important in any business and in the early childhood education business if training doesn't occur it simply becomes babysitting.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


At the second center I worked at there was this little girl who was the most feisty girl I have ever known. She had opinions and let you know what they were. She had so much energy and was so full of spunk. She was one of those children that did not-and I mean did not- do anything she did not want to do. She was so much fun though. She was kind to everyone and she loved her older brother.

One day she was playing at the kitchen there in the dramatic play area of the room when he walked in with their mom. She saw him put the toy down, said hi to her brother, then walked over to him and put her arms up for him to pick her up. My co-teacher and I lost it. It was one of the cutest things we have ever seen and we laughed. It became a running joke between us and the brother. Whenever he'd come with mom to pick this little girl up we'd look at him and say, "Hi (brother's name)." He took it well.

One day she was climbing on the table and I kept going over to her and putting her on the floor and telling her that her feet belonged on the floor. One time after I did this I told her that next time I was going to use my angry voice. She started to climb back on the table and I started back over to where she was when another child got there first. This child looked at her said something in babble and then the little girl responded. The child that had gone over to her looked at me, pointed at me while telling her something. The little girl looked at me, looked at the other child then walked away. My co-teacher and I looked at one another and started to laugh.
I said, "I have no idea what just happened or what was said. I only know it had something to do with me." Then we did one of the many scans of the room we did  a day to make sure the children were okay. We were both sad when this little girl moved up to the two's room.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


At the first center I worked at I eventually took over a room after all three employees quit on the same day. The first month was rough as my co-workers and I taught them not to touch electric sockets and all kinds of other things they had been allowed to do that was unsafe when the other teachers were in the room. One of the things that was the hardest to stop was biting. It was difficult but after a month we went down from multiple bites a day to maybe once a week and as those children moved up to the next room and we got new children biting occurred around once a month.

I had a little girl in this room who was part of the new class after the other ones who moved up who were biting. She would bite at least once a day. After about two week of biting around once a day I started to shadow her so that I could not only prevent it but figure out why she was doing it. Turns out she was biting when she felt enclosed. Every time a lot of children were around her and she didn't see a way out of the crowd of children around her she would bite. I started to shadow her less but keep an eye on her and made sure no more than two or three children were around her at once. The biting lessened and then stopped unless I couldn't get to her on time and remove her from the situation in time.

This little girl wasn't the only child who bit that I've dealt with and what triggers the biting has varied. For this little girl it was enclosed spaces. For a little boy that bit it was because he was hungry. For another little boy it was because he had a cloth he used to bite on all the time and when the parents took it away so that he didn't get too attached, he started to bite other children instead. Some children bite because they were frustrated or were trying to communicate using their words, couldn't get them out so they bit. Some children did it because they were teething and it was a release of the pain.

With each situation I've dealt with it differently.  With the little boy who bit because he didn't have his cloth anymore to bite on I talked to the parents about bringing in another toy to help him feel the security the cloth did. With the boy who bit because he was hungry I broke the bread into bite size pieces for him and let him start eating on that while we got the rest of lunch ready. We did this with the whole class and it helped calm lunch time down. With the ones who bit because they got frustrated or didn't have the words yet to communicate I really started to help them gain their vocabulary and started teaching them to use their words to communicate. Each time the biting went down. One thing I did all across the board is right after they bit I would give them a teether and tell them to bite on it. This really helped those who were biting because they were teething. It helped relieve that pain and it always worked regardless of the reason the biting occurred.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


I have only worked in one center where favoritism didn't exist. The administration was professional and so was the staff because it was expected and modeled. This was the best experience I've had in working in child care and I wish I had found it earlier than I did. I may have felt differently about working in the field and had a better career in it than I have.

The other two centers that I worked at, favoritism was part of the daily work environment. There was favoritism toward the staff from administration. It was done openly and everyone knew who the favorites were. These were the staff members who sat up front by the administration offices and talked to the director and assistant director almost all day. They had more of a say in the problems that occurred than others and these were the people who were always given the time off that was requested and never told no. This would be a reason why staff are not loyal to a company.

Favoritism has also occurred between staff and children or families. It was worst at the third center I worked at. It again was done openly and some were unprofessional enough to openly admit to not only staff but to the families themselves that their child/ family was their favorite. There were teachers at these centers who treated the children unequally and would sometimes be down right rude or exclude children from things. They treated the children differently and you could see it hurt their feelings. The administration would do nothing about it. This would be another reason why staff are not loyal to a company. Administration doesn't step up and fix the problems they have.

When children are excluded and treated differently this sends them a message that they are not as important or loved as another child and it's in my opinion wrong. This effects children's self esteem and self worth and it can cause irreparable damage. Yes, some children get in a little deeper than others and you have a stronger bond with them than you do other children, however, it doesn't give a teacher the right to treat them differently and to teach them that there are different rules for them than others. The children who are taught that there are different rules for them than others have a hard time when they enter 'the real world' because not everyone is going to give them the special treatment that teacher did. They all of a sudden have to follow the rules and sometimes these children grow up to be the people no one likes because they think their special and expect others to treat them like they are because teachers, family whoever treated them like they're special and taught them rules don't apply to them but instead other rules apply to them. It is in my opinion, a great disservice done to them. Their lives can end up being harder than they need to be all because they weren't treated with equality somewhere along the line. Favoritism hurts children.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


At the first center I worked at, they added another room onto the center and put the room I was working in, in that room. I worked with toddlers ages 12 months to 18 eighteen months. The room we were in before opened right out onto the playground. The room that was added on that we were moved to opened up onto the older children's playground (2-5 yrs). This meant we had to walk around the corner, walk by the side of the building, then turn the other  corner at the other end of the building to get to the playground. This in my opinion was not smart and I don't know what the director or owner was thinking. They had the children who either couldn't walk yet or who were still learning how to walk go the longest distance to the playground. They put the 2's classroom in our old classroom that opened up to our playground so now the 2's were in a room that opened to our playground and we were in a room that opened onto theirs. It made no sense to me.

For the first few months of being in this new classroom, every time we opened the door to go outside there was a little boy that rolled down the hill. We would get the children around the corner and this little boy would lose his balance and roll down the hill. This happened on the way to the playground and the way back in. My co-teachers and I saw the humor in it, but we also were consistently asking that a fence be put up so that it didn't continue. We eventually made sure that one of us had this little boy's hand whenever it was time to go outside so that he wouldn't roll down the hill. We also  eventually got the fence, but even then it was still hard to get the children to and from the playground. If the teachers of the older classes were outside some of them would help us get the children around the corner.
The center eventually got a new director and she didn't like that we were back where we were and that the playground walk was so long. I left the center shortly after the new director took over so I don't know if they eventually moved the class again. I hope so...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Love doesn't have a color

At the first center that I worked at there was a little girl who was 'my baby.' I call her this because she was a child in the class who was really attached to me. She wouldn't let anyone else put her down for her nap, help her, or console her when she got hurt or do anything else for her. I loved this little girl! One day, at the end of the day when I was getting ready to go home, she started to follow me out the door. The director got my attention and I had to wait to walk out the door until her Mom had her. I loved all the children in my classroom but sometimes some of them just get in a little deeper than the others did and I had a stronger bond with these children than I did with the others. The bond I had with this little girl has happened with many children over the years. Sometimes they are girls and sometimes they are boys. I can't explain why the bond is stronger with some children than it is with others, particularly when you spend the same amount of time with each one, each day, but for some reason the bond is just stronger with some of them than with others. Despite having a stronger bond with some children than others I've treated the children with equality. The ones that I had a stronger bond with didn't get away with something the other children didn't. Consequences were the same for everyone. This little girl happened to be a little black girl and some of the teachers had a problem with the bond that we had. For little children though, they don't see race and they understand that love doesn't have a color.

Friday, February 21, 2014

So funny!

At one of the centers that I worked at there was a bench in the front of the window that the children sat on to play or stood on to look out the window. Occasionally, I would sit on it and watch the children play. One day I was sitting on this bench when a little boy came and sat beside me. As he sat down he put his arm around me and let out a really big sigh. My co-teacher and I laughed so hard. My co-teacher looked at me and said, "Taryn, I thought you said you didn't have a man in your life?!" This made me laugh even harder. I don't usually laugh in front of the children but I couldn't help it this time. It was so funny and I will never forget it! I looked at me co-worker when I stopped laughing and said, "Now we know what Daddy does when he sits next to Mommy."

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Sometimes parents are hard to deal with. Sometimes they even make a person uncomfortable. At the second center I worked at there was a dad who made the staff uncomfortable. He would rub up against the staff members as he walked by them, touch them inappropriately, walked around with his chest out like he was 'the man,' etc. One day he had come in to pick his child up. His child had a fever and I had called to let the parents know and ask them to come pick her up. Since dad worked closest to the center he came to pick her up. As I was telling him about her morning he kept advancing on me. I would step back and he would move forward. I finally asked him to please stay where he was because he was making me uncomfortable. He "apologized" and tried to blow it off.

Right after this my co-teacher who was outside with her primary children while I was inside doing the activity for the day opened the door and asked if we were ready for them to come in. The children were getting cold. I told her to go ahead and come inside and looked at her like 'please hurry.' Once the dad had left she asked me what happened and I told her. I then called up front and asked the director to come back to the room and told her. She was very exasperated and said, "I'm getting tired of this guy." By now she had had months of us complaining about him. Two or three days later when I walked into work he was in the office with the director. Later she came in and informed all of us that she had just given the family a two week notice to find new child care. The child was actually only there for about another week before she was gone.

FYI to parents- sometimes your behavior makes the staff really uncomfortable. By the way the staff are sometimes married and even if they aren't you are. We've met the wife!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

funny question

Parents can be so funny. I had a parent ask once if the reason their child had a fever could be caused by them not getting enough milk. No seriously, the parent asked this...

The child was not feeling well that morning. He had been cranky, crabby and clingy and he wouldn't play. I felt his forward and sure enough it was hot. I took his temperature and he had a fever of 102. I called the mom and told her and told her someone needed to pick him up within the hour if possible. When the mom came to pick the child up I was settling the other children down for their nap. Usually if you're the primary care giver of the child you're the one who talks to the parents as well at the end of the day etc. However, because I was busy the mom went to my co-teacher who had just finished changing a diaper.

Anyway, the mom went over to my co-teacher and she was telling the mom how the child had been cranky and crabby all morning, how he didn't eat anything etc. The usual things that trigger that something is wrong. The mom then asked my co-teacher if the reason the child has a fever could be because he isn't getting enough milk. I was moving to help another child settle down for nap and looked at my co-teacher like 'did she really just ask that?' My co-teacher explained that the fever had nothing to do with the child's intake of milk and that fevers are caused by viruses. The mom kept going on about the child's intake of milk and how she was concerned about the child's intake of milk and kept asking in different ways if the fever was caused by the intake of milk the child was getting. My co-teacher once again told her it had nothing to do with the intake of milk and that the child probably had a virus of some sort and that she needed to take him to the doctor.

When the mom left with the child my co-teacher and I looked at one another unsure of what to say to one another. I said, "I didn't dare look at you again because I saw you were having a hard time and trying not to say things you shouldn't."
She said, "Girl..."

The mom took the child to the doctor and it turned out the child had the common childhood disease called roseola. It is not connected to the intake of milk a child is getting...