Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Parenting Tip - "But it's so hard!"

I was teaching a music class with a group of children who have autism.  We had a song about following directions and had done several activities during the class time having the students practicing following musical directions. As I summed up the class I reminded the students to try and follow directions the rest of the day.  The teacher then asked the students to pick up their chairs and take them back to their desks.  Marshall did not do this and the teacher said, "Marshall, didn't you just learn about following directions?" Marshall responded with a frustrated voice saying, "but it's so hard to follow directions!"

Don't we all feel that sometimes?  It's hard to follow directions whether it's how to install a program on our computer or a complicated new recipe, or even helping a child with his math.

Children feel the same way, of course.  So how can we help them learn this invaluable skill?  We can try to think and feel as a child.  We can use our imagination, use games, toys, music, and play to make it fun. We can use incentives or set family rules and be consistent in following them.

Time to get in the car and the fight to get the seat belt buckled starts?  Try some imagination: "Hurry, hurry, here come the tickle bees.  Get in the car and get buckled before they start tickling you!"
OR
"Hey, Mister Bus Driver, are you going to drive this bus?  Get in and get buckled and start your wheels goin' round"

Toys all over the floor?  Play a game.  My mother was a master at playing army and giving commands to the soldier grandchildren. She would salute each one, give them a specific thing to do (pick up all the blue toys), then have them report back to her for their next assignment.

As a mom, I wasn't in the mood to play games, I just wanted the bedrooms cleaned up.  But I was willing to make it fun, .  So I would hide M & Ms under books, clothes and toys on the floor and tell my kids they could eat the candy they found, but they had to put the item away first.  Worked like a charm!

Time to practice the piano?  Give incentives for following directions to "get in there and practice".  Do your child's chore while she practices (I don't know how many dishes I washed for my daughter when it was her turn to wash, but she still needed to practice the piano).

Other incentives could be, "let's read library books when the toys get cleaned up" or "after your homework is done you can go out and play".  An incentive to clear the table or wash the dishes quickly after dinner when I was a kid was this family rule:  if you get all the dishes washed before the person whose job it is to clear the table gets finished clearing, then they have to wash those dishes.  I caught my brother only a couple of times on this rule before he learned to do his job before starting to play.

Here's a tough direction to follow:  be reverent during Church.  Remember, this is an ongoing learning situation and different age groups will be better at it than others.  But try this family rule:  if you are not reverent in Church, you need to practice being reverent when you get home. Put Church music on and have your child sit quietly on the couch for one or two songs (or more, depending on their age).  You as the parent may need to sit with your young child or even hold him on your lap while listening to the music and practicing being reverent.  Keep in mind the child's age. Perhaps a 4 year old would sit for 4 minutes while a 10 year old would sit for 10 minutes. This would not be appropriate for a one or two year old. They would not connect the events from Church to couch sitting.

Following directions.

Yes sometimes it's SO HARD!

But what a valuable skill and habit to learn--for adults and children!

Thanks for reading,
Cathy
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Monday, August 22, 2016

Parenting Tip - "Not Shrinking" is More Important Than Surviving

Elder Neal A. Maxwell served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) for 23 years.  His last few years were spent painfully battling leukemia.  After undergoing chemotherapy, he was asked by Elder David Bednar, also an apostle in the LDS church, what lessons he had learned through his illness.  Elder Maxwell replied, "I have learned that not shrinking is more important than surviving."
Not shrinking?  What does that mean?
        The scriptures say:  
“Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.
“For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
“But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
“Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—“Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men”.  D&C 19:15-19

Again, the phrase, not shrink.  We know Christ did not shrink from the agony he suffered for us in the Garden of Gethsemane or on the hill of Golgotha. He did not shrink and he did much more than "survive".  He overcame!  He was triumph!  His path led to a glorious reward.  And while He was on that earthly path, He walked in love and humility, taught with gentleness and compassion and set the perfect example for us to follow.

How can we apply this concept to our lives, to our daily struggles, to our trials.  How can we not shrink and do more than just survive?

When we are tested, when we have situations arise that are not fun, be it financial loss, health issues, problems with children, depression or a myriad of other concerns, how do we face these situations?  By not shrinking from them, I picture us as meeting our problems head on.  We deal with them.  We have faith that they will pass and that a wise Father in Heaven will give us strength to get through them and learn from them.  

If we don't shrink, we have patience and longsuffering.  "But how long is longsuffering suppose to last," I ask myself?  "I do have patience.  But come on, how long do I have to have patience," I ask impatiently?????

If we don't shrink from our problems we are cheerful as we go through them.  We think positive thoughts, and are kind when we feel miserable, are gentle when we want to hit something or someone and refuse to let the adversary lead us into depression and bitterness. 

When I have big trials and problems, not shrinking is my goal.  But what about those little pesky or middle sized trials and problems.  What about a house too small for your family or a 3 year old who doesn't want to be potty trained?  What a spouse who doesn't agree with your spending values or a teenager who wants to be more independent? What about your boredom in staying home with the kids or your jealousy of your friend's slim body? Here's one, what about what to fix for dinner every night when you hate to cook?

The answer to not shrinking is the same for big or small problems and trials.  Face them.  Problem solve them. Pray for strength, insight and faith to overcome, learn and grow. Listen to the answers that will come.

Not shrinking is more important than surviving.  Surviving means you got through it.  Not shrinking means you were faithful, you learned and you made it to the end with glory and honor.

Here's to not shrinking!!

Thanks for reading,

Cathy

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Parenting Tip - What are you teaching?


Here is a great article that every parent needs to read.  The whole article is here.  The following is  an  excerpt:

"I am an occupational therapist with 10 years of experience working with children, parents, and teachers...I have seen and continue to see a decline in kids’ social, emotional, academic functioning, as well as a sharp increase in learning disabilities and other diagnoses.  
        Here is why…"
 The author, Victoria Prooday, then goes on to explain what we are doing to our children when we let them use too much technology, don't let them wait for things they want, don't say NO to our children, don't let them get bored and let them constantly be entertained.

Parents, what are you teaching your children, either by your intentional teaching or by the absence of teaching?

Let your children be bored, let them play, play, play.  Tell them no.  YOU be the parent, not them.

Thanks for reading,
Cathy

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Music Tip - I Will by Hilary Weeks

Our girls who were going to girls camp this summer learned this song by Hilary Weeks.  I simplified it so they could learn to play it themselves.  Such a powerful song with a much needed message at this time in their young teenage lives!

Let me know if you like it. Click to get the pdf.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Music Tip - Someone Like You

I just finished arranging Adele's, "Someone Like You".  If you would like my simplified arrangement of it,  Click here to get the pdf.

Leave a comment if you like it.
Thanks,
Cathy

Music Tip - Piano Music 7 Years

I've been busy writing music for my piano students, that is, arranging and simplifying popular songs.  They love them.  But I've been traveling too, so I haven't got as many songs done as I would like to. Here is my version of 7 Years by Lukas Graham. Leave me a comment if you like it. If you would like a pdf copy, click the link.



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Parenting Tip - Parenting Teenagers

 You may have already seen or heard about Josh Shipp.  I just listened to one of his videos that was posted on Facebook--the place I see all the upcoming news and info.  I liked what I heard. He is being called the "teen whisperer".   He speaks common sense and comes from a background of being a troubled youth himself.

As my husband and I parented our children through their teen years, I always remembered what my mother said when she had 4 teenagers growing up in our home at the same time-- myself, my sister and two brothers.  She said,  "I loved having you all as teenagers.  You were the best kids, and it was so fun to be around you." 

Now that's NOT what the majority of parents would say.  And I don't think my siblings and I were perfect or abnormal.  But my parents had taught us to be respectful, honest, have faith in God and know that we were children of God and that He had a plan for our lives.  We did experience ups and downs and normal teenage disagreements with our parents, but we respected each other, listened to advice from our parents and more importantly, they listened to us.  We cooperated together, we supported each other and we loved each other and had fun together.

When I had my teenagers, I experienced the same thing.  They were good kids.  They were funny, respectful, hardworking, compassionate, and good students.  They knew God loved them and had a purpose for their lives.  We were blessed with children that would listen to us and honor our decisions. 

We were firm and a lot more strict than other parents.  I know, because they told me--often.  But all seven children have also told me later as adults, that they were glad we were so strict.  They were glad they had boundaries and limitations.

Teenagers have a lot of peer pressure to deal with.  But so do YOU as parents.  Don't cave into your peer pressure, Moms and Dads.  Don't go with the flow and let your children go and do what others are doing, just because it is easier and your adult friends are letting their children do things you feel uncomfortable with.  Have rules in your home.  Let your family set those rules and help everyone to understand why the rule is as it is.

If your teen is having mental health problems, medical problems or acting different, get help--don't let it slide until the problem is worse.

But most importantly, ENJOY your teenagers! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mom Puts Zip Ties On Her Baby’s Stroller, The Reason? Genius!

 I love it when someone problem solves issues and makes it easier for others.  View this video for wonderfully easy things to enhance your stroller use.

Mom Puts Zip Ties On Her Baby’s Stroller, The Reason? Genius!:

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Parenting Tip - Dealing with Anxiety, OCD and Depression

I have recently heard of so many people, of all ages, dealing with anxiety, OCD and depression.  This is such a hopeful and uplifting article.  Please read.

Thanks,
Cathy

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Parenting Tip - Will They Remember?

For the past 3 months I have been teaching home schooled children how to play the ukulele.  They have been coming to my home once a week to learn songs, and now for the past month we have been performing them at retirement centers.

Yesterday I took my ukulele group to a private home to sing and play for the residents living there.  The husband and wife of this home care for 6 elderly women plus the wife's mother.  You immediately felt love and peace upon walking into their home.

The husband introduced all the women and told us their names and a little about their backgrounds.  All were wonderful women who had accomplished much in their lives.  One had taught school for 40 years, a couple of the women were musicians, one had something to do with the opera, and one had served with her husband when he was a mission president for the LDS Church and when he was temple president of the Snowflake LDS Temple.  Then the man said, "but they won't remember anything after you leave, so don't worry about making any mistakes!  In fact you could come back tomorrow and they wouldn't remember you."

We had a wonderful time playing for them, and I am always energized after these performances and visits with the elderly.  They are so sweet and appreciative of everything you do and they LOVE the children.  We were invited to come back often.  But as I drove home I kept thinking, "So what's the use.  Why did I spend time going there and why should I go back again if they won't even remember that we have been there."

I know deep inside that we should show kindnesses to everyone, but what if they forget our kindnesses?????  Then I thought  if my mother or father were suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's, I certainly would want people coming and visiting them to bring them joy and happiness, even if it only lasted a half hour.

I was thinking about all these things while driving, and was almost home and sitting at a green light, waiting to turn left, when I saw a little tiny dog running on the street between two oncoming cars.  It suddenly veered into one of the cars and was hit and immediately killed.  I thought about how important one moment was to him--life and death.  Then I thought about how important moments are to those who won't remember with their physical minds, but will remember with their spiritual minds.

I thought about babies who won't remember the love and singing and hugs and kisses we lavish on them as infants.  I thought about the toddlers and preschoolers who won't remember the picnics and toys and games we played with them for countless hours. 

But though they may not remember the exact moments we shared, they will remember the feeling of love they received from us and the special ties they have as they continue growing and begin to remember fun times. 

It's those drops of water, adding one at a time that makes an ocean.  It's the love and strength of that love that ties them to us forever.  And when they are parents, and hugging and kissing their babies, they'll know. In the eternities they will remember.  It is so worth it to make the memories now!

Thanks for reading,

Cathy

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Music Tip - Clocks,simplified

Here's a great song preteens and teens like to learn.  Teach your students how to analyze and see patterns in music.  It makes it so much easier to learn songs that way.  Notice that in the first measure, it is a 1st inversion of a D chord that is played as a broken chord, but backwards.  You play it 3 times in a row (except on the 3rd repeat you don't play the last note)

The 2nd and 3rd measures are identical, and again, they are just broken chords played backwards (A minor 2nd inversion).  The 4th measure is an E minor chord (in root position) played backwards too.  Then you repeat all four measures.  A piece of cake!

Teach the next section by playing the melody.  Notice that the melody is played 3 times, but the rhythm is a little different each time because of the words.

I love to help children analyze and quickly learn a song that could have been hard to learn without noticing the patterns first.

Enjoy!

Thanks for reading,
Cathy

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Music Tip - Don't Stop Believing

Here's another 4 chord song to teach your student or child.

I teach the right hand chords on the first line and help them identify the kind of chords they are, ie. G 2nd inversion, D root position, e minor 2nd position, C root position.  Have them play the chords several times, then you play the left hand with them.

Next, have them play the left hand. On the second measure they will need to move their 3rd finger to the E.
Duet the first line with student playing left hand and teacher/adult playing the right hand.  This makes it so much easier to play before they put hands together, which is the next step.

Teach lines 2 and 3 with learning the left hand chords first. Then follow the same procedure of dueting it, they play right hand, duet, they play both hands.

The last two lines can be taught, notating that on measure 3 the right hand needs to move the 2nd finger to the B.

Enjoy!

Music Tip - Popular 4 chord Songs

I've been teaching my piano students chord inversions to prepare them for playing the 4 chord songs I've been giving them.  My pre-teen and teen piano students are loving them--the songs, not the chord inversions!

For some students, I give them just the chords for hands alone until they are comfortable playing them--usually one week--then I give them the whole song.  For other students, I give them the whole song, but first have them play the chords, hands alone, so they can understand the chord progression.  I also reinforce the correct fingering and point out that it is always the 2nd inversion (for the left hand) that changes and uses the 2nd finger instead of the 3rd finger.

The whole point to these songs is to show a simple 4 chord progression that is repeated throughout the song, thus making the song EASY to learn and FUN to play.  It "hooks" my reluctant learners. 

"Piano Man" is a popular song that I give my students first.  I teach the left hand chords, then I play the melody while they play the chords.  This gets them interested in learning both hands, plus, if they're not familiar already with the melody, it helps them learn what it sounds like. The first week all they practice are the left hand chord progressions, which sound pretty cool and they all come back playing them really well.

The second week I play the melody while they play the left hand again, just to reinforce the song/melody.  Then I have them play just the melody line by themselves.  Next I play the left hand chords while they play the melody.  Dueting a song is SO IMPORTANT because it helps the student hear how the left and right hand coordinate the sounds together. Finally, I have them play both hands together.  This whole process takes about 5-8 minutes of their lesson time. They go home and practice both hands together and whola, when they come back the next week, it always sounds pretty darn good!  I can tell they have practiced--which is my aim!

By the way, did I mention I have been using my smart phone during piano lessons a lot?  I use it to introduce a popular song I want my student to learn to play.  I play the song on you tube (finding appropriate views, first) so they can get interested in the song.  Sometimes they've heard it before and sometimes they haven't, but hey, getting to watch a you tube cover song during piano lessons is a real grabber and motivator for my students!

Here is my arrangement of "Piano Man".  Enjoy!!

Thanks for reading, offer any suggestions you might have on the music.
Cathy

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Parenting Tip - Angels to Help Us

There is a great article on LDS Living that reprints some of Sister Wendy Nelson's writings in her newest book, "Covenant Keepers: Unlocking the Miracles God Wants for You".
She tells the poignant story of a woman deep in despair, ready to take her own life, when she happens to walk by a bookshelf that has a picture of herself as a young mother with her children.  The picture has been lost for years, but now there it is exactly at the moment she needs to see it.  She realizes that those young children, though now grown with children of their own, still look to her with trust and need her continued guidance.  She realizes that she could never leave her children and "was amazed at the precise timing when the Lord sent His angels to find the framed, formerly lost photograph and place it exactly where she would see it. Exactly when she needed to see it."

I want to read the book!  It tells us how we can ask for angels to help us, how God wants to help us through His angels and who those angels are.

I experienced angels helping me after my husband passed away and I was left to live alone with my mother-in-law who was living in my home. I don't like to cook and feel very inadequate and so my husband had been the cook for lots of our meals all of our married life. Now I was the cook, and had to prepare meals for my aging mother-in-law. For a week or more after the funeral, every time I thought with a sinking feeling in my stomach, "Oh no, what shall I fix for dinner?" immediately a meal would come to mind that I felt qualified to fix.  This happened so often and so quickly after my thought, that I knew I was receiving help from the other side.  I think my maternal grandmother, who was a professional cook, was helping me.  I know she was.  What a tender mercy from a loving Father in Heaven who could have looked at my need and viewed it as something trivial, but instead loved me enough to help me in my needs.

Sister Nelson quotes Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s April 2010 general conference address where he counsels us to, “Ask for angels to help you.”

As we enter into covenants with the Lord and try our best to uphold those covenants, we are entitled to received the blessings of ministering angels.  I feel I need to ask more often for help and then I need to thank Heavenly Father as He gives me the help I ask for.

How about you?

Thanks for reading,
Cathy

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Parenting Tip - How to Help an Anxious Child

I'm a worry-wart.  At least I use to be.  I inherited my worrying from my mother.  I also learned how to stop worrying from my mother, and it has saved me a ton of stress and anxiety.

Children can also be worriers.  This article gives some great advice to parents on how to help their children cope with worry and anxiety.

This article has helpful phrases you can say to your child such as, "How big is your worry?", or "Can you draw your worry?"  Acknowledge your child’s fear without making it even more frightening by using the word “AND.” After the word “and” you can add phrases like, “You are safe.” or “You’ve conquered this fear before.” or “You have a plan.”

 Sometimes words won't help an anxious child.  But there are still things you can do to calm your child, such as whispering about something unrelated, or singing, or hugging.  Read this article to find more suggestions that might work with your child.  Not every child will respond and be comforted by the same things.

And as a last resort, my mother and I always comforted ourselves when worrying, by remembering that everything we worried about, never actually took place.  So we had our own "worry insurance" and it worked!

Thanks for reading,
Cathy
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