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Adjusting to a Child’s Allergy Diagnosis

Helping a family dealing with a new diagnosis can be challenging.  This is a conversation between a Director and a parent about a child with a food allergy.  I have had many conversations like this over the years with parents.

I have also been on the other side, as a parent with a child who has gotten a life changing diagnosis.  It can be hard.  Strike that.  It will be hard.  This parent has learned that a significant part of her/his life and that of the child in question will be different.  It will affect the child, siblings, parents, grandparents, teachers…the list is long.

As a Director we have to offer support and understanding.  Don’t let the parent horrible-ize or minimize the issue.  Help them to find resources.  Be the calm in the storm.  You got this!

Q: I’m struggling to help my family adjust after we found out one of our children has a serious allergy. Katie is only four years old, and she was just diagnosed with a wheat allergy.

How can I help my family accept the changes and help Katie?

Katie is our youngest, and her older siblings are struggling to understand what is happening, or why we have to make changes in the kitchen.

To keep Katie safe, we have to make big changes in our entire household.

One of the issues I’m seeing is that many members of our family, including my parents and sisters, don’t understand how serious the allergies are for Katie. They keep saying how it’s not as serious as a nut allergy. However, it’s serious for Katie, and she has horrible reactions to wheat.

What can I do to help them understand and keep Katie safe around them? I’m worried they’ll keep feeding her wheat. 

A: Food allergies should always be taken seriously because they can be unpredictable. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), patients can experience a variety of symptoms, including anaphylactic reactions. Allergies can be deadly for some patients.

It’s difficult for families to handle such a diagnosis in a young child. She may have to spend the rest of her life dealing with this condition, so it’s hard to accept it.

However, you’re taking the first step to help Katie by recognizing that she needs her entire family’s support. Allergies in a young child can lead to hospitalization and multiple doctor visits. It’s important for your entire family to recognize the severity of the situation.

You may want to talk to Katie’s doctor and ask for pamphlets or other printed information that you can share. Your extended family members may also want to attend some of Katie’s doctor appointments and ask questions.

Have a family meeting and discuss Katie’s condition. You’ll be able to address any questions or concerns they may have about her allergies.

Q: I like the idea of holding a family meeting to discuss Katie’s wheat allergy; however, I don’t think it will help with another issue. Katie’s doctor told me she’s very sensitive to the smallest amount of wheat. So we have to completely remove all the wheat in our kitchen because even a crumb can make her sick. That means we have to completely eliminate a lot of the food that our family loves.

My other children think I’m taking it too far and just want me to restrict a few shelves to be wheat-free. I want everyone to be happy, but I can’t take the risk of crumbs ending up in Katie’s food.

We’ve already had several visits to the ER because Katie’s food got contaminated with wheat.

How can I help my other children accept the changes we need to make for Katie?

A: Children can have a hard time accepting that a sibling has an allergy. In addition to the attention the sibling suddenly receives because of the diagnosis, the household tends to go through multiple changes.

Your children may not understand how serious Katie’s allergy is to her health.

You may want to purchase books about allergies or get other material that helps explain the dangers of allergies to children. Explain how Katie can end up in the hospital if she eats a crumb of wheat.

Your other children are part of Katie’s support network. Due to her young age, she may need them to be her voice in difficult situations that may involve wheat.

If your doctor has asked you to make big changes in the kitchen to keep Katie safe, then it’s important to follow these instructions.

Although your family may need time to adjust to the changes, they’ll learn to accept them. Katie’s health can’t be put in jeopardy every time you cook, so you have to follow the doctor’s advice.

Q: I intend to follow the doctor’s recommendations for Katie, but I’m still worried about how she’ll handle the allergy because she’s so young.

Katie is four and has a hard time understanding why she suddenly can’t eat some of the food she likes. She thinks she’s being punished or in trouble. She doesn’t believe me no matter what I say to calm her down.

What can I do to help Katie understand she has an allergy and isn’t being punished?

A: It’s important to explain the allergy to Katie on her level. She needs information that is easy for her to understand. She won’t be able to process medical jargon or understand what some of the reactions mean.

Your doctor may also have resources aimed at young children, such as books, posters, and other fun items that help children understand more about allergies. You can also search online for resources and ask other parents to help you find them.

Although you don’t want to scare her, Katie needs to know that eating wheat can make her sick. You may want to remind her about the recent ER visits you mentioned. It may be tempting to hide some of the serious issues from a young child, but her safety depends on understanding the importance. You’ll simply have to adjust the terminology to her level.

If Katie misses some of her favorite foods, experiment with creating new dishes she may like. You can find multiple cookbooks and online recipes that are designed for people with allergies. In time, she’ll find substitutes for her former favorite foods.

Instead of complaining about her health, you may want to direct all conversations to stay positive. In addition, Katie can benefit from feeling special at this time.

You may want to purchase a special ID bracelet that notes her allergy when she’s with others and get her allergy stickers. Let Katie participate by picking out her favorite colors and styles.

Q: I’m surrounded by family, but I feel alone with this issue.

No one else in our family has a wheat allergy, so Katie is the first. My husband doesn’t understand how she developed it and blames my difficult pregnancy for creating it. Our doctor states that my husband is wrong, and it’s not my fault.

Unfortunately, I still feel guilty. Between the shame and accusations, I feel like I’m dealing with Katie’s health issues on my own. 

I’m tired of dealing with everything on my own, and I need support. What can I do?

A: Try joining a local support group with other parents who have children with allergies.

Support groups can help you work on eliminating the guilt and shame you feel about Katie’s health. They can also help you learn more about keeping her safe. The group members can also offer advice and tips that can help your household transition to eliminating wheat.

If you can’t find a local support group, then consider joining an online version. You can find a variety of support groups on social media such as Facebook.

It sounds like you also want your family’s support.

It’s important to understand that a serious allergy diagnosis is difficult for some family members to handle and acknowledge. They may need more time to accept it and come to terms with Katie’s new diagnosis.

You may also benefit from family or individual therapy if you’re struggling with shame and guilt.

You don’t have to deal with these difficult emotions on your own, and therapists can help you cope.

Q: I understand I can join support groups, but they’ll be filled with strangers.

I want my husband to be part of my support net. However, he doesn’t seem interested in helping me educate the entire family about Katie’s allergies.

Instead, my husband tells the children and everyone else to go to me if they have questions.

I don’t mind answering their questions, but it would be nice to have his support and help. I can’t do everything on my own. I’m already struggling. My husband simply sits and doesn’t talk while I spend all of my energy trying to explain things to them.

What can I do to change this and make my husband understand I need his help with Katie’s health? The stress is starting to overwhelm me, and I’m worried that it will start to affect my own health.

A: This is a significant change that affects your whole household and Katie’s entire life. Your husband may still be trying to process the diagnosis and figure out how to help.

Your husband can still be an important part of your support network and make it easier to handle the upcoming battles you may face. However, you may just need to give him some time and space to adjust to Katie’s diagnosis.

Have a calm conversation with your husband and explain that you need his support right now. He may not understand that you don’t want to be the only one to answer questions. He needs to know that you want him to help educate the children and other family members about Katie’s health.

You can split the duties, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. For example, you can answer questions from your parents. Your husband can answer questions from your other children.

In addition, you can split other family obligations, so your stress levels are reduced. Try rotating with your husband in taking Katie to her doctor’s appointments or talking to her teachers.

With time and patience, your whole family will adjust to these changes and learn to support Katie in her new path.

Complete the form below for copy of the conversation as a resource to give out to parents &/or staff.

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Apps are fun and cool, which is why they’re so popular. And while many apps are useful and time time-savers, many others do a lot to lower your productivity.

 

If you feel like you don’t have enough time in the day already, it doesn’t make sense to spend time on things that have minimal value.

Turn the silly things off. Focus on your work and when you take a short, timed break, you can play for a few minutes.

Here are a few such online apps that probably hurt more than they help:

  1. Twitter. You don’t need to know what your favorite celebrity is up to. Do you really need to know what the President has to say, right now?  It will be on the news if it is significant.  Surely, it’s more important to focus on your own life! Is it critical that you be informed (while you’re working) that your friend from high school just left the movies to go shopping for a new pair of shoes? Come on, now. Really?

  2. Any kind of messaging app. Messenger apps just make it easy for people to interrupt what you’re doing. You jump at the chance to take a little break and, before you know it, 30+ minutes have passed. Don’t log into these things unless you’re done working for the day. Even at night, it would be better to just get on the phone and talk like a real person.
  3. Email notifications. Email can be a great tool but it can also be a huge waste of time. Check your email in the morning and at night. The last thing 99% of the population needs is an email notification every 5 minutes, because then you just know that you have to check it. It will drive you nuts until you finally cave and see what’s going on.
  • Many highly efficient and successful people make it a point to check their email no more than twice a day. Most only check it once a day. Some only check it a couple of times a week. They have better things to do, and you could, too, with such a system.
  1. Blogs. Good blogs are highly interesting and informative. Give yourself a time limit or limit yourself to a set number of blogs. Life is all about prioritizing, so set some priorities.
  2. Facebook.  It can be a great way to keep in touch, but it’s much like Twitter: 99% of the stuff you’re exposed to is fluff. Viewing pictures of someone’s trip to Africa is interesting. Reading that your friend is sitting on the deck drinking margaritas is of questionable value. You have a life to live, do you really have time for this stuff?
    • Again, set some limits and strive to stay within them. Also consider limiting the number of ‘friends’ that you have. No one has 500 real friends.
  3. Social bookmarking sites. Websites like Digg, Delicious, Reddit, and other bookmarking sites are great tools for finding blogs, articles, and sites related to your interests. Just be careful how much time you’re spending on them. It’s easy to be fed 1,000 interesting sites every day. It’s also easy to burn a lot of time on them. Be careful.

Online apps can be wonderful, if they’re used wisely. Don’t spend a lot of time on what are essentially frivolous things. Life is short! Focus on what you want to get done each day and avoid letting such apps steal away your time that you could be using to make your dreams come true.

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Make Your Michael Jordan Moment

I want you to have a moment where you feel like Michael Jordan as a Director.  Your center is your court.  You should dominate it!

I am a basketball fan.  I have several heroes from that field, but Michael Jordan is someone everyone knows, or at least they think they do.  Millions of Nike’s Jordan sneakers have been sold over the years.  He still earns over $100 million a year, because he is such a part of the American culture.  He is the what we think of when we think EXCELLENCE.

But how did he get there and how can you emulate him?  He said, “I had to learn the fundamentals of basketball. You can have all the physical ability in the world, but you still have to know the fundamentals.”  Did you take time to learn the fundamentals?  What are the fundamentals of Directing a child care center?

  • Professionalism
  • Marketing
  • Curriculum Development
  • Staff Recruitment & Training
  • Communication

These are the core of the Texas Director’s Director Credentialing courses and most of our ongoing trainings. There are other things you need to know, but these are the core.  If you have these down cold, then the minor crises can be handled.  

If you don’t feel confidence in your fundamentals, reach out to us.  We can help you with training or individual coaching.

A child falls on the playground, breaking an arm.  As a professional who has trained her staff well, you know that first aid will be rendered, the child will be comforted, that then the parens will be communicated with well, and then the paperwork will be completed.

OR

The city cuts off the water to your street while they are upgrading lines or the road, whatever.  It doesn’t matter why they did it, but it happened and now you have a situation.  Go out & use your communication skills to find out how long all this is going to last & help them to understand why this is a huge issue for your children.  If it is going to be more than 5 minutes, lean on marketing, curriculum development & professionalism to determine what you can do that will provide a quality day for your students.  You may have to call the parents to get the children because you can’t provide care, or you might be able to create an impromptu field trip to the neighborhood park, using their plumbing, facilities & picnic tables.  If so, just call, text, email parents to let them know how the plans have changed.

Once we have the fundamentals down we move into proficiency.  

“I’m not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat. “-Michael Jordan  We have to keep working on things.  Practice.  Drill.  Do it again.  And again.  And Again.  Walk through the program every day.  Talk to parents every morning & afternoon.  Do tours.   When you are done, evaluate how it went.  Do you need to shift something?  Are you making your free throws?  BTW tours are the child care version of the free throw.

Jordan is faithful: “Be true to the game, because the game will be true to you. If you try to shortcut the game, then the game will shortcut you. If you put forth the effort, good things will be bestowed upon you. That’s truly about the game, and in some ways that’s about life too. ” Are you being consistent?  He was. Keep going.  Get better, focus on the fundamentals.  

Some folks have a hard time seeing themselves as Michael Jordan.  OK, fine.  You don’t want to be the icon of excellence.  It can be scary to reach that high.  How about trying to be his coach?  A lot of what you do is coaching the staff, parents & children.  The coach he credits with getting him to excellence was University of North Carolina Coach, Dean Smith.  “Other than my parents, no one had a bigger influence on my life than Coach Smith. He was more than a coach – he was my mentor, my teacher, my second father. Coach was always there for me whenever I needed him and I loved him for it. In teaching me the game of basketball, he taught me about life.”  Can you be Coach Smith?  “I built my talents on the shoulders of someone else’s talent.”  Be the base for your people to reach excellence.

If you need a coach of your own, so that you can get your center court moment, I am here for you.  Coaching & training is what I do.  Get your Michael Jordan Moment!

sign-up-now-blue 

Focus on the fundamentals.  Get a coach if you need one.  Practice.  Evaluate.  Do it again.  Then when it is game time, you will shoot the game winning shot.  Stand your ground & take your shot.

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Are These Your Monkeys?

The most request article published by the Harvard Business Review is on Monkey Management.  All Directors become familiar with managing monkeys, even if they don’t know that they are doing it.

Below is an excerpt covering Monkey Management from our  book:

Management Time:  Who’s Got the Monkey?

By William Oncken, Jr., (former CEO, The William Oncken Company of Texas, Inc. and Donald L. Wass (former President, The William Oncken Company of Texas, inc.) (Adapted from an article in the Harvard Business Review as an analogy that underscores the value of assigning, delegating and controlling.)

In any organization the Director’s bosses, peers, clients and staff – in return for their active support – impose some requirements; just as the director imposes some requirements upon them where they draw on his support. These demands constitute so much of the director’s time that successful leadership hinges on an ability to control this “monkey-on-the-back” input effectively.

Why is it that directors are typically running out of time while their staff is typically running out of work?  In this article, we shall explore the meaning of management time as it relates to the interaction between directors, their bosses, their own peers, and their staff. Specifically, we shall deal with three different kinds of management time:

Boss-imposed timeto accomplish those activities which the boss requires and which the director cannot disregard without direct and swift penalty.

System-imposed time– to accommodate those requests to the director for active support from his peers. This assistance must also be provided lest there be penalties, though not always direct or swift.

Self-imposed time– to do those things which the director originates or agrees to do. A certain portion of this kind of time; however, will be taken by staff and is called, “staff-imposed time.” 

The remaining portion will be your own and is called “discretionary time.” Self-imposed time is not subject to penalty since neither the boss nor the system can discipline the director for not doing what they did not know the director had intended to do in the first place.

The management of time necessitates that directors get control over the timing and content of what they do. Since what their bosses and the system impose on them are subject to penalty, directors cannot tamper with those requirements. Thus their self-imposed time becomes their major area of concern.

Directors should try to increase the discretionary component of their self-imposed time by minimizing or doing away with the ‘staff’ component.  They will then use the added period of time to get better control over their boss-imposed and system-imposed activities. Most directors spend much more staff-imposed time than they even faintly realize.  Hence we shall use the analogy of a monkey-on-the-back to examine how staff-imposed time comes into being and what the superior can do about it.

Where is the Monkey?

Let us imagine that a director is walking down the hall and the he notices one of his teachers, Jones, coming up the hallway. When they are abreast of one another, Jones greets the director with, “Good morning.  By the way, we’ve got a problem.  You see…”

As Jones continues, the director recognizes in this problem the same two characteristics common to all the problems his staff gratuitously brings to his attention.  Namely, the manger knows (a) enough to get involved, but (b) not enough to make the on-the-spot decision expected of him. Eventually, the director says, “So glad you brought this up. I’m in a rush right now.  Meanwhile, let me think about it and I’ll let you know.” Then he and Jones part company.

Let us analyze what has just happened. Before the two of them met, on whose back was it?  The teacher. Now whose back is it on? The director. Staff-imposed time begins the moment a monkey successfully executes a leap from the back of a staff member, to the back of his superior and does not end until the monkey is returned to its proper owner for care and feeding.

In accepting the monkey, the director has voluntarily assumed a position subordinate to his staff. That is, he has allowed Jones to make him the subordinate by doing two things a subordinate is generally expected to do for a boss: the director has accepted a responsibility from his staff, and the director has promised a progress report.

The staff – to make sure the director does not miss this point – will later stick their head in the director’s office and cheerily query, “How’s it coming?” This is called, “supervision.”

Or let us imagine again, in concluding a working conference with another staff, Johnson, the director’s parting words are, “Fine. Send me a memo on that.”

Continue reading Are These Your Monkeys?

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Stupid Stuff Directors Do

I have done a lot of stupid stuff during the early years of being a Director.

Most of it was because I didn’t have a mentor & a lack of experience/knowledge in how this business was different from most.

The thing about not knowing something is that you usually end up paying for it big time while trying to figure it out.

And I did.

Strategies have gotten better over the years, but I still see Directors making many of the same mistakes I used to make. I’m going to share 4 of those mistakes with you today. I consider them to be pretty big.

Pay close attention because these mistakes cost time, money and energy and have even caused some centers to close their doors for good:

Mistake #1: Not Signing Up Clients for My Waiting List.

Telling parents to go somewhere else sometimes seem like the right thing to do.  Sometimes parent call & want information about your program and over the course of the conversation you find out that the classroom they would need is full.  S you tell them you have no space at this time & suggest other centers for them to call.

Great, but what if they are really a good fit for you?  Do you actually KNOW that all the children in that class room will be with you next week, next month?  The number of times I turned someone away, just to have a spot open up days later is mind boggling!

Go ahead & schedule a tour.  Treat them just like any other potential client.  I now ask everyone at the end of the tour if they would like to fill out an application form.  For $15, and some brief questions, they can secure their spot on your list on your mailing list.

Now you have their contact information and permission to keep in touch with them even if the end up enrolling elsewhere either because you don’t have space or they made a different decision.  The newsletter should be full of useful information: when is the the Watermelon Thump happening & what is it anyway?  What car seat has been recalled?  How do you get a baby to sleep through the night? What dentist can do the whole family?  Is there a local family restaurant that will pay you to print a coupon for $3 off mac& Cheese kids dinners?  Everyone will want to be on your newsletter.

Sending people off to other centers first, puts you at risk. But, that’s exactly what I did when I started my business. I would talk to folks on the phone & then send them on their merry way. What did that do to my income? It caused it to go up and down drastically.

Not only that, it’s also hard to have a center full of happy parents if they don’t really know how much better than everyone else you are. It usually takes least 3 months for a family to be really settled into a center. By signing clients up for the newsletter & waiting list, you’re increasing your chances of enrolling families even after they start somewhere else.

Benefits of Avoiding This Mistake: You get happier families and you remove yourself from financial traps.

 

Mistake #2: Not Having a Clear and Specific Market.

At first I was just any old child development center.  I cared for infants through school age & didn’t have any specific culture.  I would take anyone who seemed interested.  This meant I got a lot of families who needed things I couldn’t provide or who wanted a different type of program. Once I started focusing on who I wanted as clients, it got a lot better.

Which do you think did better, the general CDC of the focused one?  You’re right.  The focused one.  People knew what I was selling. Over the years I’ve had a center that was an adapted Montessori, one that use the Reggio Emilia Methods, one that focused on low income households & one that focused on academic readiness.  I had focus each time.

That’s what I recommend you do too. Get really specific on your market.

Even though you can have success as a general center, I believe you scale faster when you have a clear market that you talk to.

Just take a look at this example…

If you had two centers on the same street, one can care for any children under 12, and the other one helps single parent families, who do you think “newly divorced” women are going to pay attention to? Most likely, the center who helps “newly single” parents.

Benefits of Avoiding This Mistake: The more specific and clear you are about your market, the better your chances are of attracting the kind of people who will stick around and have the greatest success.

 

Mistake #3: Chasing Unhappy Clients. 

There was a time I used to bend my program into all kinds of crazy directions to keep a client.  I increase my hours (for 2 families), installed a camera monitoring system, adding free Spanish classes, and I don’t even know what else.  I would work my heart out during because I just knew that was the only way to keep my center in the black.

Turns out that’s one of the fastest ways to go broke. I eventually realized that when I solved people’s problems that no one else had, I wasn’t giving them a reason to stay.  I was costing myself $$$$ and staff stress.

When a parent is unhappy, see if it something that really needs to be fixed (a hot classroom) or not.  During your conversation with the parent, it’s best to unearth their problems, show them the “light at the end of the tunnel” about this issue and show them how you address their most pressing needs (happy child, quality care, good education, fun play environment & convenience to work/home).  If they want to leave….let them.

Benefits of Avoiding This Mistake: You leave your existing program in good shape & allow those who don’t fit to self-select OUT of your hair.

 

Mistake #4: Providing Childcare For Free.  

The last mistake I want to share with you is caring for children for free. I used to hear all the time in the early years that the best way to keep good staff was to give them childcare for free.

I don’t believe that that’s the best way to get good teachers. You need to be getting paid something for having a child at the center.  This includes 50% of tuition with no cap.  Pay staff well, give them benefits, but nothing should be free.  People don’t value things that they don’t pay for.  Watch a kid with their parent’s IPhone, if you don’t believe me.

Another way Directors give away their services is to not collect tuition.  To let parents slide.  “They will pay next Wednesday, it’s no big deal.” Is what I used to say.  Wednesday became Thursday, then Friday and finally Monday.  That is a lot of service provided without payment.  Would HEB let you have your food for 5 days without paying for it?

When you provide care for free, the parents aren’t as invested in the results. I’ve found that when people pay they appreciate and the more that they pay the more they pay attention.

Benefits of Avoiding This Mistake: You don’t waste your time with people who may not respect you or the work you do.

 

Now that you know 4 of the biggest mistakes coaches make, you can avoid them.

You’ll notice your business becomes much more stable and scales a lot faster.

Leave a comment and share what mistakes you used to make in your program that you no longer do.

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Vacation Recharge

I have been neglecting this blog.  I got caught up with other things.  Writing is something I love to do, but the hubbub of daily work has gotten in the way.  So today I thought I would write about how my vacation recharged my productivity batteries.

Most summers of my adult life I have gone to the family farm that has been in my Mom’s family for almost 100 years.  It is lush and I am basically offline.  No television, limited internet, and cell coverage.  I send time opening up the farm properties, puttering in my cabin & hanging out in the woods.  I don’t think about work.  I don’t plan.  I create, I sit, I nap & I listen.

Now that I am back, I feel ready to make all the things.  I want to build 500 things.  I want to improve programs.  I want to re-work old projects.  I am making new videos.  It is amazing.

If you haven’t taken your summer vacation yet, please do.  You will get so much more done when you come back.  Take a week.  The business won’t fall apart.  Something may get messed up, a room might go over ratio, a receipt might not get out, or a check may be late being deposited.  But it won’t fall apart.

You have done good work.  Your staff can be trusted to do their job.  Trust them.  You have trained them well.  They know the routines & the systems.  They can handle it.  Let go.

Go somewhere that is just beautiful.  The beach, the mountains, a riverbank,  the fields of amber grain…go to wherever you can and walk in nature, take a nap, RELAX!  Recharge your batteries.  Let your brain be empty.  It will be hard for the first couple of days.  You will want to call in and check up.  Resist.  Give one person your contact information to one person who can call you if there really is an emergency.  If you don’t hear from them, then everything is OK.

 

Take it from me.  You won’t regret it.

 

 

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How to Take Action Consistently

Actions speak louder than words. Talking and planning aren’t enough to make progress with most tasks. Some of us specialize in daydreaming and planning. We might have the best ideas, but ideas without action are a waste of time and mental energy. It’s important to spend the majority of your time actually doing something. Action is the key.

 

Those with control over their lives and their time are able to take action on a consistent basis.  They move goals forward.

 

Become more action oriented and gain control over your time:

 

  1. Realize that nothing changes until your behavior changes. Visualization and positive self-talk have their place, but they’re only effective if your behavior changes. You can try to wish your way to a new Bentley, or to make a million dollars by aligning your chakras with the universe, but it won’t happen unless you’re actually doing something different.

 

  • Understand that a consistent change in your behavior is the key to real change.

 

  1. Know the outcome you desire. It’s not easy to take action if you don’t know what you’re attempting to accomplish. Be clear on your intention. Take the time to determine what you want to accomplish. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? What actions can you take today to move in that direction?
  2. Start by taking small steps. Do you want to jog for 60 minutes each day? Get started by jogging for one minute each day. You won’t get in shape by exercising for only one minute, but you will develop the habit of getting out the door each day. After a week, up the time by another minute or two.

 

  • After 4-6 weeks, you’ll have developed an exercise habit and can begin to exercise for real.
  • Does it seem like that schedule is too easy? Good! How much running did you accomplish in the previous 12 months? There’s nothing wrong with easy, provided you’re patient and can see the big picture.

 

  1. Limit your planning time. Those that are slow to take action love to plan, but the best plans are worthless until they’re executed. While you’re trying to work out the fine details, everyone else is already taking care of business.

 

  • There’s no reason to be hasty, but set a limit on how long you’re going to strategize before you actually do

 

  1. Use rewards wisely. Small, meaningful rewards can help you to get off the couch and get busy. Decide on a few rewards and when you’ll receive them. Get excited and begin taking action. When you’ve earned a reward, enjoy it.
  2. Get started early in the day. If you can accomplish something worthwhile before 9AM, you’ll be motivated to do even more during the rest of the day.

 

  • If you fail to do anything substantial by noon, you’ll feel bad about how you wasted the morning. Then you won’t feel like doing anything in the afternoon. Then you’ll let yourself off the hook by telling yourself that you’ll get twice as much done tomorrow. Many people make this process a habit. Avoid becoming one of these people.

 

Take a close look at the most successful people you know. Notice that there’s nothing exceptional about them. They aren’t smarter or more capable than you. But they do manage to get things accomplished each day by taking action consistently. The good news is that you don’t have to be spectacular either.

 

You only need to learn how to avoid wasting your precious time. Consistent action is the key to wealth, weight loss, strong relationships, a strong business and anything else that matters in your life.

Sometimes we all need help getting it done.  If you need help getting going email me TexasDirectorCourse@gmail.com.

 

 

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What is a Mentor Coach and Do You Need One?

Athletes have coaches. Many entrepreneurs and professionals have mentors. They’re really the same thing. A mentor coach is a coach for your growth. Most of us weren’t formally taught how to grow successfully. A mentor coach can help you to figure out what you want to do with your life, set goals, and achieve them. They have experience in helping others to live fulfilling lives.

A mentor coach wears many hats:

  1. A mentor coach is a cheerleader. Life is easier when someone is in your corner. When you know you have support, it’s easier to take risks and chase after big goals. You always have someone on your side when you have a coach. *Your coach will also push you. They’ve seen plenty of clients attempt to avoid hard work and stressful situations. They’ll know when you’re playing games and push you to succeed.
  2. A coach provides guidance. It’s not always easy to make good decisions, especially when you’re stressed or fearful. And let’s face it, some folks just don’t make good decisions, period. A coach can help you to make wise decisions. * A friend can’t always be objective or completely honest, but your coach can. You’ll hear what you need to hear from your coach.
  3. A coach helps you to determine what you want to be when you grow up. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 68. A mentor can help you to determine what the next step of your life should be. If you’re feeling lost, a coach might be the answer.
  4. A coach will help you to find balance. Coaches are aware that there’s more to life than just money or a perfect classroom. They emphasize keeping things in balance. Health, professional success, relationships, finances, spirituality and leisure activities are all part of a well-balanced life.
  5. A coach is not a therapist. Therapists deal with past issues and traumas. Coaches work from the present moment and into the future. A mentor won’t help you get over a past loss or deal with the fact that you were bullied in junior high. A coach can guide you toward building a more desirable future.
  6. A coach isn’t required to have any training. There are organizations that certify coaches, mentors or trainers, but they aren’t necessary to hang out a shingle and make a living in these areas. Be sure to vet anyone you’re considering hiring. Since the barriers to entry are so low, there are plenty of coaches that aren’t good at what they do. * Pay attention to reviews and schedule an introductory session to see if a particular coach is a good fit. Choose carefully.

Do you need a mentor coach? A mentor coach won’t solve your challenges, but they can help you to help yourself. If you need a steady hand to guide you and a cheerleader to support you, a mentor coach can make a big difference. There are good mentor coaches and bad mentor coaches. If you’re looking for a mentor coach, ensure that you find a good one.

Texas Director offers Mentor Coaching services. Schedule your session today.

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15 Years of Training Directors

Kate and I (Carrie) have been teaching people how to direct childcare programs for 15 years. Did you ever wonder

Where did you come from, where did you go?
Where did you come from, Cotton-Eye Joe?

Sorry.  My Texas roots are showing.  Every time I tried to just type where did we come from, that song just popped into my head.  Anyway…

Back in 2001 we were both working side gigs with a non-profit organization, focusing on helping women grow their businesses.  I was providing training and support to Registered Family Home providers and small child care centers.  Kate was administering a grant focused on job opportunities for low income  women.

They approached me to write a curriculum for a Director Credentialing course, but said they wanted to have an academic teach it.  That didn’t make sense to us.  Why not have the instructor be someone who has actual experience in the field and an academic write the text?  How could they answer questions that came up in class?  They wanted to ensure that the text hit all the points that a new Director needed to know, and so they wanted a “practitioner” to write it.  OK, I can get behind that.  I decided if I was going to create the materials, I darned well wanted to teach it!  Kate agreed, and we set off to create what is now Texas Director.

Cousins 2009.jpg

We researched, compiled our knowledge, filled out paperwork, and found a place to teach the first class.  We talked through everything that we wished we had known when we started from marketing tips to insurance to classroom arrangement techniques.  Writing the book was much harder than we thought it would be.  We were literally finishing it while we were teaching that first class.

We tweaked it during each class for the first year.  Sometimes it was just that we noticed a place where we needed to add punctuation, but other times we realized that we had not explained a key point well enough.

We knew that adults retain information better if they have short activities after each topic.  So, we had a quiz or work product that corresponded to each area. When the new Director was done learning about goal setting and all the ways they can use that tool to improve their center, there was a goal setting worksheet to go through to cement the knowledge and give a chance to practice the skill.

Everyone who has ever worked in pre-k knows that to really learn something, you have to actually do it.  You can teach Tommy that his name is spelled T-O-M-M-Y and show him the letters, demonstrate how you write it, but he won’t be able to sign-in in the morning until he holds the pencil and tries.  It will be a mess the first time, but he won’t master it if he hasn’t tried once.  That was the core of our teaching and evaluating philosophy.

It still is today.  A lot has changed in 15 years, but that concept and our commitment to making sure our Directors have what they need to start their careers off strong hasn’t.  If you or a friend is thinking about becoming a Director, let us help you.  You won’t regret it.

My time with Texas Director’s has been life changing! Your company
helped me really take charge of my career and give an amazing 
learning experience to lots of children, including my own daughter.
I have been working with children for over 17 years and obtained my Directors
License about 10 years ago! I have had the privilege of working
in so many different types of centers.
From the credential program and trainings you provide, I have learned the aspects of a great 
Center! – C. Monk