Sunday, December 19, 2010

Music Tip #59 Nontraditional piano recital

I like to think out of the box and do nontraditional things. That’s why I have my piano Christmas recital at the post office! Yes, that’s right. Our post office brings in a piano and entertains its customers while they wait in line. It started several years ago and has been going strong due to the behind the scenes work of Linda, the organizer of the entertainment. She schedules the musicians--and what a variety there is. There have been school choral groups, guitar players, violin solos, singers, piano players, and of course, my piano studio. I book an hour time slot on different days and let my students sign up for which day is best for them. I usually have 6-8 students during each hour time slot. My students make a line by the piano and take turns playing a Christmas song. When they finish their song, they go to the end of the line and wait until it’s their turn again. They get to play 7-8 times throughout the hour allotted time.

The customers in line are great. They applaud after the songs and even come by after mailing their packages to tell my students to “keep practicing. I wish I hadn’t quit.”

This is a great way to help bashful students have a successful performing experience. The atmosphere is nonthreatening because people are constantly coming and going and my students feel like they’re just in the background. It helps focus their practicing through the month of November and December because they know people will be listening, and it’s fun--they wear a Santa hat and get a candy cane at the end!

Nontraditional and fun—my way of doing things!

Parenting Tip #61 Little Blue Bug to the rescue

My granddaughter did not want to get her hair combed. She ran out of the room and hid under a table in the other room so her mother couldn’t fix her hair. I found her and proceeded to do what I always do when a child doesn’t want to do what they’re suppose to: I tell them a Little Blue Bug Story.

Yes, Little Blue Bug has helped me diffuse a power struggle countless times. In this case, it was Little Blue Bug’s sister—Little Pink Bug—who helped us out. She had the same problem as my granddaughter i.e. she hated her mother combing her hair. So Little Pink Bug asked her father to cut her hair short just like her brother, Little Blue Bug’s. Her Dad, of course, didn’t think this was a good idea, but Little Pink Bug insisted. Just as Little Pink Bug’s father was about to buzz off her hair, she changed her mind. Her mother asked her why she hated getting her hair cut and Little Pink Bug said because it was boring and it hurt when her mother combed her hair. Mother bug suggested in the future they tell jokes while she fixed her daughter’s hair and she also promised to be more gentle as she combed her daughter’s hair.

As I was telling this story to my granddaughter, she immediately quit crying, let me hold her on my lap, and let her mother start fixing her hair. By the end of the story, the hair was combed, my granddaughter was laughing at the jokes Little Pink Bug and her mother told and my daughter-in-law and I high fived each other.

Children love to hear stories, so use this character trait to your advantage. If you struggle to get your baby to lie still while changing his diaper, or fight with your toddler who doesn’t want to wear his seat belt --tell a story. If your children are fighting with each other or won’t get ready for bed, tell a story. Tell about another animal or child having the same problem they are having and tell how they resolved it in a happy way.

Don’t think and plan out the whole story—just start talking and you’ll be amazed at what comes out of your mouth.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Parenting Tip #60 Techniques for the "difficult" child

I checked out this book from the library: Transforming the Difficult Child: True Stories of Triumph by Jennifer Easley and Howard Glasser. The whole book is one success story after another of how parents, teachers, counselors and schools have helped a difficult child get back on the road to success. I began reading it and couldn’t put it down. Now I want to get the original book that tells the steps in dealing with difficult children.

One of the techniques I read about was using “video moments”. The adult comments on what he sees the child doing, i.e. “I see you’re concentrating hard on that puzzle” Or “This picture looks like you were enjoying drawing.” You are validating their efforts and making a positive statement to them about them.

Another technique is to refuse to energize negativity. Again, it’s focusing on the positive traits your child has, and the positive things they do. Tell your child how strong and brave he is to get up and get ready for school when he doesn’t want to. Tell your daughter how thoughtful she is to tend the baby so you can fix dinner.

All the while I read the stories in this book, it made me think of how I could respond to my children. They, themselves, are not “difficult”, but they are often having “difficult times” in their lives. How can I help them? I can validate that they are having a rough time. I can tell them they are brave and courageous to deal with their employment situation. I can tell them what great parents they are to care enough about their children to discipline them and try to work out problems.

In the end, everyone--regardless of their age-- needs to be validated for what they are going through and given a positive outlook on how great they are.


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