The Educational Advice Nurse

The Educational Advice Nurse

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My son, Joshua, was lucky enough to be in Ms. Buse's 1st grade class at Vare-Washington Elementary School. Joshua made amazing progress with Ms. Buse! Academically, socially, emotionally - Joshua grew in every area in Ms. Buse's class! Joshua's math and reading skills showed explosive growth, and it sometimes startled me how quickly Ms. Buse was able to bring Joshua along. Also, in Ms. Buse's kind, supportive classroom, Joshua learned so much about working together and being proud of yourself, and your team! Meredith Buse is a 'Quiet Giant', and 'Child Whisperer'! Ms. Buse's ability to identify a child's needs and deliver holistic education in a kind, supportive, and rigorous way is exemplary. Ms. Buse is one of the finest Educators I have ever met, and I give her my highest personal and professional recommendation(s)

I'm an education expert with tried, tested knowledge of what helps kids succeed in school and life! Do you have a school or parenting issue and want some advice, but don't think it's serious enough to see a doc? Call me, The Educational Advice Nurse!

[04/20/20]   Hi everyone,

The Educational Advice Nurse has been hunkered down trying to navigate this brave new world like everyone else. I just wanted to share a few ideas we are using in our home to help our girls cope socially and emotionally through these many, difficult changes.

1) ACKNOWLEDGE GRIEF
2) CREATE A DAILY ROUTINE
3) TRY A MORNING MEETING
4) LOTS OF LONG HUGS

1) Acknowledge your child’s grief (and your own) in this unprecedented time. So much has changed in the span of just a few weeks, it is confusing for children and difficult for grown ups, too.

In my house, we made a list of three things and we keep them on the wall and add to them as we think of things. One list is of things we have lost or things we miss (school, our friends, playing at the park). The second is a list of things we still have (our family, our home, enough food to eat). The third is a list of things we hope for (that our family will remain healthy, to go back to school one day, to be able to visit the library, to be able to give hugs to friends again).

B) Create a daily schedule that works for your family. Routine is important for children all the time, and especially now that so much is in flux. In our house, details of our weekday routine change based on what work needs be done and what online meetings and playdates are happening, but the rough outline is the same.

The kids do roughly two hours of academic time before lunch and they have two hours of “rest time” or independent playtime in the afternoon. We try to stick to a consistent bedtime and wake up time during the weekdays, mostly so we as parents can have a break!

C) Try a morning meeting: Because everyone’s emotional states are so constantly in flux, we have instituted a morning meeting in our house. At 8:30, after breakfast but before we get into the swing of the day, we gather and check in with each other. I put a big 1 through 10 number line on a chart paper (or you could do tape on the wall) and we put a post it with our name up to indicate how we are feeling that morning.

We discuss our feelings and thoughts at that time and try to normalize and give the girls vocabulary for things they might be feeling. Then, we each list our wants and needs for the day. Last, we create or adjust the schedule for that day to make sure that everyone’s needs (and maybe some of their wants) get met.

D) One of the biggest things you can do to make your children feel more secure when there is so much change and insecurity is to give them long LONG hugs. Try to give them a long hug each day and hold on until they let go. This could last a long time, especially when they are feeling so vulnerable, but the more you do it, the more secure they will feel and the less long hugs they will need.

I hope some of this was helpful for you. Be well and be kind to yourself and your loved ones. We're all in this together.
-Meredith

YEAR-END UPDATE: Our family’s end of year reflections went great! We had wonderful discussions over five nights about how our year went, and the girls even wanted to ask their own questions.

One night, Sarah asked about what was something that was hard for us during the year, and the next night Rebecca asked how we dealt with that difficult thing—which (amazingly!) covered the final question on my list!

So, on the fifth night we substituted another question: When did you feel happiest this year? This question prompted us to consider what made us happy throughout the year, and the answers revealed we were happiest when we spent time with family and friends eating good food.

Overall, the questions helped us get to know each other and ourselves better and helped each of us put a cognitive bow the year. Plus, the reflection exercise (or possibly seeing Frozen 2), inspired multiple games of Charades, so that was a win-win for all of us!

Did you facilitate some year-end reflections with your family? How did it go? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear from you!

-Meredith

WOW Wednesday Tip: Don’t Like New Year’s Resolutions? Try Setting Intentions, Instead.

The beginning of a year, month, week or any other defined period of time provides an intuitive and powerful opportunity to make a fresh start—one parents can leverage to foster the values and priorities they hope to instill in their children.

However, some people don’t enjoy the format of setting a New Year’s Resolution. Perhaps it seems disingenuous to heavily focus on something at the start of the year, and unsustainable to keep up the same focus throughout the year. Or perhaps these resolutions end up making the resolver feel worse instead of better (especially when they cannot be kept).

If you hold any of those objections (or one all your own!) don’t worry. You can still use the optimism and newness of the year to steer yourself and your children in a fresh direction, or even to continue on a path already chosen. And, you can do it gently, mindfully, and with an emphasis on attention and learning—not guilt.

This year, try setting an intention for yourself, or helping your child or children set their own intentions.

RESOLUTIONS VS. INTENTIONS

A subtle distinction exists between between a resolution and an intention. A resolution derives from the word resolved or resolute, meaning unwavering, fixed, immutable. Resolutions are meant to be specific, measurable, and unbending. But, as my favorite Targaryen once said, “What happens to things that do not bend?”

So, if we set ambitious resolutions for something we would like to change about ourselves at the start of the year, we often break them shortly thereafter! And then, once the resolution is broken and our record is tarnished, we lose motivation to continue trying.

However, an intention represents a purpose or aim that can be initiated and acted on in the moment or over time. An intention represents something you tend toward over time, and “setting an intention” means you tend that way on purpose.

More importantly, while a broken resolution may cause feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and potentially instigate a vicious cycle, an intention can’t be broken.

When you set an intention, you can’t fail at it.

You might not tend toward it as much for a time, but it is always there, waiting for you to come back. In fact, straying from your intention proves a learning experience—it provides more information to guide you in further fulfilling your intention in the future.

You simply come back to your intention whenever you can, without fear of it being tarnished, messed up, or too far gone to recover.

And the more you check in with your intention, be it every month, every week, every day or several times per day, the more fully you can manifest it.

SETTING INTENTIONS WITH CHILDREN

Depending on your child's personality and age, an intention could be for the entire year, or just for a week or month.

When setting an intention with your children, start off by asking what they would like more of or less of over that time period. Then, when they have chosen a few things they care most about, drill down and keep asking questions until you have reached the value or intention underlying their choice.

For example, if your child says they would like more candy this year (true story!), ask them what about candy they enjoy. Does it bring them happiness? Joy? Peace? Does eating candy make them feel free? Do they seek more sweetness in their lives?

If they say they want to watch more TV (another true story!), ask them why the act of watching TV or that particular show feels important to them. Are they seeking fun? Do they want more couch-cuddling time with Mom or Dad? More comfort? More love or affection?

You can focus on a single word such as a value: “Friendship,” “Love,” “Peace,” “Helpfulness” or “Fun.” Or, you can choose a verb + noun combination such as “Be friendly,” “Seek Joy” or “Bring Peace.”

This may take a bit of sleuthing and possibly a few false starts before you and your child can determine the intention that feels most important to them and that you want to reinforce.

Then, keep checking in with them about their intention throughout the given time period, and be amazed as they start to see their intention show up in ways big and small throughout their lives!

-------------------------------------------------
Have you set a New Year’s Resolution or set one with your child? Do you think an intention may fit better this year?

I have set a personal intention for the year that I hope will help our whole family thrive—and I can’t wait to share it with you next week!

-Meredith

HAPPY NEW YEAR! No WOW Wednesday tip today – just a huge THANK YOU for all your support this year: for reading my posts, for your “likes” and your thoughtful comments!

You and your families are why I do this! :) I hope you’ve found some of my offerings helpful – even if it’s just to see you are not alone on this parenting journey.

I have some super exciting plans for the coming year at The Educational Advice Nurse.

In 2020, I will launch my new website, publish my Family Meeting Handbook (to foster connection and communication for ALL families!), and create a list of practical resources for you (including my #1 top secret to success in keeping our home and family sane – it’s surprising, but soo worth it!).

Thank you, thank you again for your support!
Have a peaceful, joyful new year -- and stay tuned!

-Meredith

SERVICES SPOTLIGHT:

CALL ME IF YOU: are seeking strategies to help your child slow down and stay in the moment. Especially in this whirlwind time of year, when family gatherings, celebrations, gifts and sugary treats abound, our kids' attention seems to spin wildly from one shiny object to the next!

Call me and we can strategize to promote more calm and appreciation from your children. We can create opportunities and rituals to cultivate connection within your family.

Or, we can minimize the post-holiday haze with new ideas and intentions!

Call me and together we can ensure everyone in your family gets what they need and want in the new year – without all the struggles!
- Meredith
----------
Message me right here on facebook,
e-mail me at [email protected], or
send me a inquiry through the app at Quireme.com. My provider ID is mbuse847

Initial intake - Always free!
General Inquiry - $25
1-Hour Consultation - $80

In-person or tele-conference consultations available. Multi-hour coaching packages also available.

SERVICES SPOTLIGHT:

CALL ME IF YOU: are frustrated with having to tell your children the same thing OVER and OVER again. You’ve given the same direction 30 times and you feel like you’re either talking to a wall or hitting one.

I will give you simple, practical and age-appropriate strategies to help your children master their routines and get through tricky times with ease—while at the same time building their skills to be more independent and self-sufficient young people.

And, best of all, I will help you determine where you boundaries are and should be and help you create a plan for personal support so you can enjoy your time at home and with your kids!

Let me help you bring more peace into your home in the coming year.

- Meredith
----------
Message me right here on facebook,
e-mail me at [email protected], or
send me a inquiry through the app at Quireme.com. My provider ID is mbuse847

Initial intake - Always free!
General Inquiry - $25
1-Hour Consultation - $80

In-person or tele-conference consultations available. Multi-hour coaching packages also available.

5 Simple Questions to Encourage Reflection at the End of the Year:

As we near the end of the year (and also this decade!), parents have a wonderful opportunity to support their children with creating meaning and purpose through reflection.

Endings have the power to elevate and create meaning for people, even very small people, as we look at how far we’ve come. However, someone needs to cue them in to the end as it occurs and give them avenues, opportunities and prompting to look back.

So, here are 5 Simple Questions to Encourage Reflection at the End of the Year

1) What have you learned this year and how did you learn it?

2) What are you proud of from this year, and why?

3) Describe a time when you were really brave. How did you do it, and why?

4) Describe a time when you really helped someone. How and why?

5) Describe a time when you overcame a challenge. How and why?

You can have your children reflect on the past year, or depending on your child’s age, the decade.

My oldest had not yet been born at the end of last decade (only dreamed of 💖), so going from non-existent to being a wonderful, interesting, charming and creative person in that amount of time is pretty impressive.

You can have a discussion about these questions over dinner or ask your child to draw or write their response. You can ask them one per day for the five days leading up to Dec. 31st or tackle them all during an end-of-year family meeting.

Any way you present these questions, they should help your children crystalize their own learning, pride, bravery, service and persistence by encouraging them to create a narrative around their lived experience of these qualities.

And don’t forget to answer the questions yourselves with your children—reflection helps us ALL process, create positive meaning through our personal narrative, and move forward to the new year with an optimistic and joyful fresh start.

SERVICE SPOTLIGHT:

CALL IF YOU: are an anxious parent. You try to do what's best for your kid(s), but you worry that you're missing something important.

Maybe you've read all the parenting books and websites and, frankly, feel lost among the influx of (annoyingly contradictory!) information!

Through our work together you can become the calm, confident parent you want to be -- sure that your approach is the right one to parent YOUR child.

And you will be freed from worry over "doing it right" so you can relax and enjoy your precious time with your small people.

If this sounds like you, get in touch today!
----------
Message me right here on facebook,
e-mail me at [email protected], or
send me a inquiry through the app at Quireme.com. My provider ID is mbuse847

Initial intake - Always free!
General Inquiry - $25
1-Hour Consultation - $80
Multi-hour coaching packages also available.

Did you know the average human lifespan is 560,000 hours? That number struck me because of how small it is, not how large. It’s not an inconceivable number. It’s a number I can understand or even count to if I wanted to waste a few of my 560,000 hours doing so.

With two daughters born in December, I have lately been imagining how long a childhood is.

This month, my youngest turned 6 and my oldest will turn 9. If you measure childhood as the first 18 years of life, that means my youngest has already lived 1/3 of her life with me and the oldest has lived HALF her life with me.

Half her life with me is over.

Turns out childhood—the years we get to spend together, in the same house, as a family—lasts not so many hours at all.

Then, take out all the hours spent sleeping, schooling, working, engaged in extra-curriculars and the Saturday mornings when I let the girls watch cartoons so I can sleep in (non-negotiable!), how many hours do we really get together?

How many mornings will I get to spend herding them through the getting-ready motions, throwing cereal at them and rushing out the door before they leave for school?

How many walks will I get after school, holding hands? How many car trips? Family meals shared—eaten or uneaten? How many desserts and treats begged for?

How many weekend afternoons spent walking outside, playing on the swings, reading at the library or cuddling on the couch?

And of course, this analysis assumes an average-length life, and that a parent’s influence lasts until age 18—but I know the walks home holding hands will end far earlier than that.

I know I will still be their mom even after they’ve left my home, but the relationship necessarily changes. They will hopefully have the independence by then to (mostly) take care of themselves, and I will get to advise from the sidelines and watch them grow.

I'm not being Pollyannish. I am the mom who most often chooses cleaning up the kitchen over reading bedtime stories. I send my girls to summer camp so I can enjoy some concentrated alone time.

I know parenting is hard.

Getting tunnel vision becomes so easy, natural, and understandable as we focus on getting them from point A to point B—zipping and buttoning coats, finding lost shoes, transporting them safely, cajoling them into doing their chores or going to sleep, helping with interminable homework assignments.

Some days it IS all we can do to get to the end of the evening, tuck everyone in bed and finally breathe a sigh of relief.

And, surely, times exist when tunnel vision and an intense focus on getting through the day, week or even year proves necessary.

But, as I take this moment to calculate how much of my girls' childhoods have already passed, I want to try to remember that I only get so many morning wake-ups. Only so many birthdays, so many bedtime stories, so many tickles, and a truly finite number of little-person hugs and kisses.

And I’m going to try to be present and enjoy each one.

As Rebecca celebrates her 9th birthday and I mark the transition into the next not-even-a-decade of her childhood, I intend to really listen to her, understand her, teach her, laugh with her and love her—for as many of my 560,000 hours as possible.

Got School or Parenting Problems? I can help!

Hi, I’m Meredith, a veteran educator and “child whisperer” offering expert advice, proactive strategies, problem solving, and reassurance around your child’s social and academic development. I have taught more than 1,000 kids, ages 5 - 15, from all over the country. I helped them and their families. I can help you, too.

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