July Book Salute: My Secret Bully

3 Jul

When I taught elementary school, I was constantly on the lookout for children’s books with appealing narratives that contained important messages.  Had Trudy Ludwig been publishing her acclaimed picture books during my teaching days, every single title would have been found in my classroom library. Not that I’m dwelling on missed opportunities here – I couldn’t be more grateful as a parent to have such wonderfully written books to draw from at home in dealing with difficult friendship issues and nontraditional bullying.

image credit: trudyludwig.com

Ludwig is a master at weaving important problem solving skills and coping strategies into realistic and relevant stories for kids. Continue reading

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Maybe she was listening after all….

26 Jun

Just when I think my words are falling on deaf ears…..

Annie: “Can Sasha and Aaron be friends?”
Me: “Of course. Why?”
Annie: “Because Morgan and Sarah said she couldn’t be friends with a boy, but I said she could. So I was right, right mom?”
Me: “Right.”
Annie: [Big Smile]

Isn’t it great to get it right?!  😉

How to create stronger gender stereotypes in 2 short weeks!

19 Jun

Caryl Rivers, one of the authors of “The Truth about Girls and Boys,” wrote a terrific post on BlogHer last week which received a good amount of buzz. Her article, “6 Ways You Can Avoid Gender Stereotypes of Your Kids,” highlighted practical strategies for parents backed by some solid research. The post dispelled myths about brain development and gender, encouraged parents to be mindful of their own expectations for their children’s interests and abilities, and promoted the importance of exposing children to a variety of experiences. These tactics tofight back against toxic stereotypes and help girls and boys discover all their talents so that they can follow their dreams wherever they may lead,” got me thinking about something else parents and teachers can do to combat gender stereotypes – we can minimize our use of gender labels and limit how often we use gender to organize groups.

Photo Credit: MS Office Images

In 2010, researchers at Penn State University wanted to see if purposefully making gender salient in preschool classrooms for two weeks would change kids’ attitudes about each other. Continue reading

He’s not my boyfriend, he’s my buddy.

12 Jun

There was a struggle at bedtime at my house the other night, but it didn’t involve the usual “one more story,” stalling or “can I have a glass of water?” Nope. The struggle went a little like this:

“Mommy, Lucy’s boyfriend Noah is going to Kindergarten with me. He doesn’t even know me, but I know who he is because she showed me a picture of him.”

“You know, there are no boyfriends in Kindergarten, right? Everyone gets to be buddies.” Continue reading

June Book Salute: Brave Rooney

5 Jun

We are an iPad/iPhone lovin’ family. Of course I prefer my kids to play outside, create projects or read, but I have to say that at the end of the day (especially a day that involves a waiting room, a restaurant or a long car ride) these gadgets bring more peace than problems to my family.

image credit: Gerry Renert/Author

I love my iPad as an e-reader for myself, but until recently, I hadn’t found anything worth sharing with my kids in the way of children’s literature.  They weren’t very interested in hearing a story on the iPad when they could be frosting a cake or solving a puzzle. Well, that all changed with “Brave Rooney,” Continue reading

WHAT did you say???!!!

22 May

“Smile!”

At the ENT – and in an especially photogenic mood – my kids kept asking me to take their pictures. Happy to oblige, I snapped away on my phone as we waited for our turn.

Smile!” instructed my 5 year-old. “Now make a sassy face.”

What did you say?!” Continue reading

The Cycle of Gender Segregation

16 May

A post I wrote in January – 10 Reasons Girls and Boys Should Play Together – was recently shared by Pigtail Pals Ballcap Buddies and revisited by many (which was a thrill). In the post I make the statement that boys and girls don’t spend a whole lot of time together, and I go on to list some reasons why they should. I revisited this post myself, realizing it begs the question – why are girls and boys not spending time together in the first place? Continue reading

It’Sugar

8 May

As I gear up for my 8th summer here in Phoenix, I’m reminded of a couple of lessons I’ve learned over the years that have helped me cope with the heat: 1) a shady parking spot is worth the extra walking and 2) you can enjoy the outdoors as long as there’s water. With the latter lesson in mind, I recently took my kids to play in the splash pad at a nearby outdoor mall. If you are unfamiliar with “splash pads,” they’re basically play areas where kids can run through water fountains without feeling embarrassed that your kids are running through a water fountain. They’re designed for kids, and in Arizona, one would think that having a business located right in front of a splash pad would be prime real estate. Especially if your target market includes kids, like for instance if you’re selling candy….

Continue reading

May Book Salute: Cinderella Ate My Daughter

1 May

In case you missed it, April 22nd marked the beginning of the first annual National Princess Week. Inviting children across the country to “celebrate the sparkle and wonder of every princess,” the long and the short of it is that Disney and Target partnered up (with Julie Andrews as a spokesperson) to get folks to buy a bunch of stuff for girls. Regardless of how you feel about the princess craze (and I pass no judgment here), I think we can all pretty much agree that these beloved characters are hardly lacking the attention and admiration that would warrant a week dedicated to their appreciation. But alas, as the Oncler once said to the Lorax, “business is business and business must grow!”

Photo Credit: PeggyOrenstein.com

So in the wake of Princess Week, it seems fitting to devote this month’s book salute to Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter. Continue reading

Getting Schooled By My Preschooler

24 Apr

The intention of this post is not to incite a princess debate. That being said, I certainly have my opinions, and I’ll admit that I can swing back and forth on the pendulum. Like many of you, the messages and lessons one can gather from fairy tales leave me uncomfortable. Likewise, the sheer overabundance of princess products in every aisle of every store makes me feel very put upon. I’m fairly certain I’d feel the same way about any commercial product that was showing up everywhere and stalling my progress in the grocery store by causing unnecessary “discussions” with a 3-year-old (translation: a 10 minute tantrum regarding a giant Cinderella gift bag we have no use for). Now on the other hand, I know my kids would love to go to Disneyland this summer, and I can’t imagine denying them the thrill of meeting the “real” princesses. We also have a number of princess products that have made their way into our home, and I will say that I rather enjoyed taking my kids to see ‘Tangled.’ So there you have it…I’m all over the board. But as I stated above, this isn’t about the great princess debate. It’s actually about me getting schooled by my 5-year-old. Continue reading

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