Once a month, Mainspring hosts a Parent Supper. At the most recent, parents were the teachers! Groups worked together to answer 4 Questions and then took turns reading their responses to the entire room. It was wonderful evening; parents were really engaged and shared some great advice. Here’s what they came up with: List Some Parenting Tips You’ve Learned at Mainspring • Make sure physical needs are met. (Hunger, sleep) • Read! Read! • Every moment is a teachable moment…to teach them teamwork, responsibility, language • Get down to their eye level when talking to them • Important to have a consistent routine so they know what to expect. • Build in some “Mommy Time” to keep your sanity. Teach your kids some self-directed activities • Keep your kids active! • Ignore what you can ignore • Pick your battles • Teach them to take one “Thank You Bite” at dinner…as thanks to the cook. • Increase their activity to get them to sleep easier • Give them freedom to choose; use more positive discipline • Every child is different and needs to be treated accordingly • Patience is key! • Learned to understand physical needs (and how they affect behavior)
What Have You Learned About Food / Health / Sleep / Exercise? • All tied together: More activity → More Healthy Food → More Sleep • Serving sizes are much smaller than we realized • There are resources available to help parents • Turn the TV off one hour before bedtime / white noise while sleeping / keep room cool • Get them exercise spread throughout the day • Relation of screen time to sleep • Self-soothing; taking a break • Idea of going shopping together and cooking together. • Pick your battle with food…don’t force • Work out when the kids are playing (so you have extra energy later, too) • Get at least 8 hours of sleep…more for kids. • The brain develops during sleep • The sleep schedule is key. Don’t wait until they show they are tired; it’s too late. • Present healthy food as the meal, but not too many options. They will eat what is presented, but they’ll also seek choices, which may lead them astray.
What Do You Wish Were Different About Mainspring? • The parking. (Unanimous!) • Open later…traffic is hard to get through (3 comments) • Have a “date night” for parents. (One parent jokingly asked if dates were provided!) • Use “date nights” as a way to raise funds • Change the sand on the playground to coconut husks • Wish we had a crossing guard / parking attendant • Miss the Child Inc partnership • More guest speakers at Parent Supper • Wish every parent came to PAC and took advantage of the parent support
What Do You Love About Mainspring? • Teachers are amazing • Learning techniques are on the children’s level • Environment: You can reach out to the parents • How the children are introduced to healthy eating • The many volunteers • Teachers • Curriculum • Community • Support Staff • Food • Individual attention
- Rudi Andrus, Executive Director