Feeling Inspired to Make a Change


CLCConference15

As I boarded the plane to Cincinnati for the annual Child Life Council Conference, my gut was filled with an overload of excitement and anxiety. The butterflies in my stomach wouldn’t settle down as I looked over my notes in preparation for the presentation the following day. I had to put it all away and do mindless things, like clean my desktop for the 90 minute flight. It was also a bit odd for me to fly without kids. I wasn’t wiping down hands, pulling out snacks and offering a lollipop for take off and decent. I was traveling alone for the first time in 5 years and my destination would be work related.

I think subconsciously I was coping with a pivotal time in my life. I had been laying the groundwork for building a private practice in my community, but I knew that when I returned from conference that I would push full force.

This was the first CLC conference that I have ever attended and I had specific goals. I wanted to network, share resources, feel inspired and learn from my colleagues. I wanted to attend the town hall meeting with the board and council members and listen to the changes that need to take place for our profession to grow. I wanted to shake the leader’s hands, echo the concerns for myself and colleagues and strategize on making a difference.

These goals were checked off one at a time.

11127699_1044023859004336_324854346715148453_n

The conference was simply amazing. The presenters did an outstanding job, the exhibitors had great resources to share and I was delighted to meet so many fans and followers of the blog. It was such a bizarre experience to hear that people knew who I was because of the creation of Child Life Mommy. It was faltering and also a “ah-ha” moment for me. I can see how powerful the use of child life skills can make on others both in and outside of a clinical setting. It just fueled my fire to push forward to the next level of work experience, serving the community in private practice and co-teaching an online graduate child life course at Bank Street College.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement. I am truly inspired and grateful. 🙂

-Shani

What did you think about conference? What inspired you? Will you be joining me in Orlando next year?

 

 

 

Empowering Kids Through Play

Empowering Kids Through Play

The Young Child Expo and Conference was a success last week. My colleague, Deb Vilas and I presented on a very hot topic right now, Play in Early Education: The Antidote to Technology Overload. We broke down the negative effects of too much screen time and what it does to kids; problems with attention, sleep, self-regulation, impulse control and poor social skills.

We also discussed the academic pressure that both the teachers and children are feeling. The curriculum is incredibly tense and doesn’t allow kids to learn in a healthy environment. Sitting at a desk, with a pencil in hand and memorizing 120 site words isn’t the most optimal learning space for a kindergartener. School doesn’t become exciting anymore, it becomes work and we are turning them off at a very early age. Kids begin to act out and misbehave both in the classroom and at home.

So our antidote is to bring child centered techniques into the classroom setting. Play is the most natural way for children to learn and express themselves. By being with kids, allowing them to lead, explore, and problem solve with full acceptance of who they are and where they are at the moment, we are empowering them. Kids will begin to strengthen their skills in self-regulation, impulse control, communication, self-confidence, mastery over experiences in their life and feel safe to express their emotions and thoughts. They are building their self-identity.

young child expo collage

We broke it down into a four components to help the attendees absorb the information and see themselves using it with their kids.

We even had some fun role-playing and provided the audience with an opportunity to try it out. We made it playful by providing the audience with noise makers shaped as lips and they were told to whistle every time we made a mistake. It was a captivating presentation that brought up a lot of great discussion from the audience.

11037180_957100767647400_7073501374795819287_n

We hope to bring this presentation to other conferences to help caregivers, educators and professionals working with kids.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, please leave a comment below or email me at Childlifemommy@gmail.com 

Related Articles:

Ready, Set, Present!

Child Life and Social Media: Presentation at the CLGNY Conference