Today I did a thing. That thing was have a meeting with our daughter’s new preschool teachers. How on earth my daughter is old enough is beyond me. I have ALL the feels about her starting school. The largest emotion, though, is gratefulness. She’s healthy enough and her medical team agreed she could go to school. This isn’t a promise for each year to come, but this year? Yay! We will only go few hours a week. She’s an extrovert in a family of introverts, and we want to keep her growing, even if I’m confused by it all.
Before kids, I was a Special Ed teacher and then I taught 2nd grade. I ran tons and tons of IEP (Individualized Education Program) and other similar meetings. I always tried to be positive, and look for the kids’ strengths before we tackled areas of improvements. I follow several teachers on Instagram still (I’m SAHM now due to my daughter’s medical needs) and I saw the COOLEST fake IEP. I say fake, because IEPs are a legally-binding document and forgery or changing them into internet memes isn’t allowed.
But what this faux IEP did was list the child’s abilities ONLY. I’m sure page 2 had the areas of concern. But the first page contained all of the triumphs. YES. Yes, yes!
Today, as I was writing out the notes I wanted her teachers to have, I started out with the positives of my child. Writing them down was amazing. It made me remember how far she’s come (even though I see how amazing she is on a daily basis.). She doesn’t have many weaknesses anymore, but there’s a few areas to talk about. But building a “Pro” list first? It changed the whole mood and let me start the meeting with her teachers in a positive way. It was enjoyable!
I took it a step further. My 3 year old is in the “What are you doing, Mommy?” phase so I told her about the notes, and I asked her what her strengths and weakness are. Since those words are a little higher level, I asked what she was good at, and what she didn’t really like to do.
You can see her thoughts in the photo (I wrote in shorthand because she talks fast!)
Her number 1 strength? Going to parties.
I. LOVE. THAT. I don’t understand or always enjoy parties myself they are something she values. The rest of her list was family and toys and I’m so happy I made the there, phew!
Her weaknesses according to her? Coloring. I’m not sure why she chose it as I have always felt she does fine, but it’s her list! Also on the list? Going to the doctor. She goes to the doctor often. I can not blame her for not enjoying it. In truth, it breaks my heart a smidge, but it’s our reality and I am on board with her owning her feelings about it.
So, tomorrow, consider writing out a similar list for each of your kids. It’ll take like 30 seconds–it’ll take longer to find a pen, I promise! Come up with some strengths and then ask them. See what they value versus what you value. As they age, we start having higher expectations and opinions about kindness and grades and work ethics, but it could be fun to see the difference in what your child sees as his or her personal strengths. Especially the younger ones. And maybe you’ll call out a small piece of a “weakness” in an older child that you can help them work on. First, correct their minds that it’s not a weakness. Some important conversations are sure to follow.
So what do you think? Do we tackle the spouses/significant others next? HA!