Mindsets…Yours and Your Childs

As I continue to expand my blog and community Facebook page, I devote a certain amount of time per day perusing through Flipboard and a few of my favorite pages to find things to blog about and share.   One of the articles I came across today was about mindsets and how you speak to your children can encourage them to be successful.  Normally, I would have shared this article on my Facebook page and moved on, allowing for the discussions to begin, but since I’m now focusing harder on getting Henry up to speed, I find myself needing to blog about this article, which I will include at the end of this post.

As many of you know, my children are with me daily, even though they are both in school.  I had the opportunity to put them both on the same days of the week, thereby allowing me some alone time, a chance to recharge, and even accomplish a few things I’ve put on the back burner since becoming a mom (MY BOOK that I’ve desperately attempted to edit over the past 4 years).  My husband and I discussed this option and we decided it best to separate the boys and allow for me to have individual one on one time with them.   So, as I’ve stated before, Henry is a T/Th student, while Davey is a MWF student.

When Davey was 4 months old, I quit my job and decided to be a stay at home mom.  I immediately jumped into my role, taking him to the library for story time, reading to him profusely, quizzing him on animals and their sounds, and even stepping out of my comfort zone to join a playgroup with other moms and their children.   I perused through the internet and pinned like crazy on Pinterest all sorts of ideas to get my child ahead of the game.  I’m not one for wasting time.  I have to be productive in everything I do, even if that productivity is only perceived through my eyes.

By the time, Davey was almost 2, he was enrolled in a Mother’s Morning Out program.  I was in the final trimester of my 2nd pregnancy and eager for a little breathing room and to get Davey into a routine that was all for HIM before Henry came along.  He was well ahead of the game when he started.   He was speaking at a 3 year old level, enunciating words, and learning how to grammatically speak correctly.   He knew his letters in order and randomly as well as numbers, shapes, and colors.   I was proud of him and my ability to get him there.

When Henry arrived, for obvious reasons, I was unable to devote all of my time to just one child.   I still worked with Davey, especially during the first couple of months of Henry’s life when he was nothing more than an eating, sleeping, drooling, and pooping mess.   I continued to build upon my foundation I had started with Davey and by the time he started actual preschool, he was ahead of the game, and still is.   As for Henry, I’ve struggled.

It’s hard to teach Henry the same things that I thought Davey, because Davey is always there and he wants to answer the questions.   He wants to please me and he wants to show me that he knows his stuff, displaying his fixed mindset, which discourages Henry from answering my questions.    When I ask Henry what color this is, I get, “I don’t know,” but he really does know.   How do I know this?   Because when I’m NOT trying to sit down and teach him, he’ll pull out a yellow crayon, for example, and say, “mom, I color this sun yellow.”   He knows his stuff.   I just haven’t figured out how to get him to sit with me and let me teach him or to show me that he is just as smart as I know he is and can be.

Henry has been in school for 4 days total so far, meaning that I’ve had 5 days (not counting Labor Day) with which he and I could work on the basic concepts every preschooler should know.   I had started the approach of the fixed mindset when teaching him, since that’s what worked best with Davey, and as a side note, Davey displays characteristics of both mindsets dependent upon what he is doing or working on.  Unfortunately, it appears that the fixed mindset doesn’t work with Henry and he needs to be challenged instead of taught in a basic setting.

He told me this week, while shoving flashcards of letters and numbers across the table, “I not want to do this.”   We’ve bought him a LeapFrog, but he doesn’t use it.   Davey loves ABC Mouse, and so I set Henry up with his own Avatar for it as well.   Nope, he’s not a fan, so I’m finding that I have to step outside of the box and find ways to be interactive and that includes walks in the park where I may take leaves and make a letter “L” out of those leaves.   He then will find rocks and make letters out of those, so you see he knows his stuff.

So, the article that inspired this blog is here:

If You Want Your Kids To Be Successful In The Future, Talk To Them In This Way

It doesn’t go in depth nor is it judgmental, it just helps with finding other ways to encourage your children to be successful.

Of course, dealing with Henry, has given me a new level of respect for teachers as I never really looked at the fact that each child is different (it’s obvious, I know, but I haven’t really considered it) and what these teachers must do and go through to reach each child, to help them to be successful and to learn.

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Highlights Of His Life

When I was a kid, one of the most exciting parts of the day for me was when the mail would arrive.   I loved going out to meet the mailman, to get the mail directly from his hands, and to come running inside with our treasure trove of bills, mail outs, magazines and cards.   It became much more exciting for me when I started receiving my own personal mail.

There’s something about seeing your name on an envelope or on a label on the back of a magazine.  It seemed like everyone knew my mom and dad, and didn’t just know them but also knew their entire names, even names they didn’t go by in normal day to day conversations.  I thought they were famous because of all the mail they would receive and when I finally received my very own first piece, I genuinely thought I had joined the ranks of the rich and famous!

This month's issue
This month’s issue

My first piece of mail came in the form of a magazine for children, Highlights.  I’m sure many of you have heard of it and if you’re from my generation, then you likely received the magazine on a monthly basis.   Back then it was only one magazine bursting full of games, riddles, stories, and stickers.   By the time I started receiving my first subscription, I was old enough to actually read the words.

Reading the stories.
Reading the stories.

I used to sit on our couch at home, cross my legs one over the other, and put on my fake plastic glasses as I read through my magazine.  I usually had a cup of chocolate milk alongside me that I liked to pretend was my own cup of coffee, just like my dad’s, and read through the “news” of the world, or at least the news of a kid’s world.   Hidden pictures were my favorite.   I would never actually circle the pictures when I would find them because I wanted to make sure I could reuse the magazine.

Finding the pictures.
Finding the pictures.

These days, Highlights has progressed.   They now offer three different levels of the magazine, starting with “Hello”, which is geared towards the 0-2 age set, “High Five” for the 2-6, and “Highlights” for the 6-12.  We started a subscription for Davey before he turned one.  At that age, he didn’t really understand the excitement of getting mail, but I was looking for additional ways to boost his brain power.   Once he became two, we graduated to the “High Five” subscription and it’s been a tremendous success.

Hello
Hello

He loves his Highlights magazine.  He’s come to expect it, to actually ask for it on a regular basis.   Sometimes, when he’s getting the mail from our postman, he inquires, “do you have my magazine for me?”   It’s sweet actually and I love that when he does receive it, he points out his name on the back and then immediately wants to drop everything so that we can read it and do the puzzles.   And just like his mommy, hidden pictures are his favorite.

I keep all of the magazines, as I’m eager to recycle them for Henry’s use.   We’ve started reading the “Hello” issues to Henry.  He loves the size, as they are perfect for fitting into his hands.   He’s learning the various words and can even find a few of the hidden pictures in those.

Puzzle Book
Puzzle Book

Highlights has also progressed to a level of offering up puzzle books and other little ways of learning and encouraging our children.  We subscribe to the puzzle books as well, another exciting anticipation for Davey.   The puzzle books offer up stickers that you can use to complete a picture, as well as word finds, rhymes and riddles.

High Five
High Five

I love that things I adored as a child are still around for my children.   As with most anything, they’ve progressed with the times, but they are still around.   Occasionally, Davey will ask, “is this what yours looked like, mommy?” when he starts reading one of his new Highlights.  I tell him it’s close and then I remind him that I had just as much fun with mine as he does with his.