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She Decided To Live The Life She Had Always Imagined.

These were powerful words for me this past year. I stopped inviting into my life anything that made me stressed or unhappy. I began eliminating anything that did not add to my vision of who I want to be. Strike that. I began eliminating anything that did not add to my vision of who I am.

A wise man once said, "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

So as you begin this new year, turn your can'ts into cans, and your dreams into plans. Listen to your heart above all the other voices.

We are so busy doing all of the "have to's" that we never get around to doing what we really want to do. The secrets are: eliminate whatever you can - stuff, tasks, unhappy relationships, time wasters, papers, lazy employees; and take baby steps toward what you want your life to be and what you want your school or child care center to be.

Most of us fill our lives with things that "will do for now" thinking that "some day" we will have more time or more money to do the things we really want to do, and in the "now", we settle for less than we really want. That's like heading toward the mountains and expecting to take a dip in the ocean!

Think of your life or your child care center or your marriage, etc. as an apartment. An empty apartment that you can decorate however you want. You envision a calm space decorated in whites, neutrals, textures, hints of nature and small curios from your life so far, and large soft furniture perfect for curling up in with a sweet little Chihuahua lap dog... Excitedly you go shopping! But you select a red rug because it's of good quality and marked down to a great price, pink and purple floral drapes because the cream colored ones next to them are not lined, and sleek modern furniture because your sister is getting rid of it and it is still in great condition and the vinyl will be so easy to keep clean since you also bought a drooling St. Bernard...

Satisfied with your purchases you decorate your apartment. But each time you walk into it, you feel unsettled instead of calm and you still envision and dream about how it will look "some day." Why did you acquire those things that did not fit into your vision of what you wanted? You collected things that you thought would be temporary. You rationalized and settled for less than you wanted. Now this is your life. The truth is that our lives are made up of the small decisions and small actions we make every day.

Make a decision to live your life on purpose. The days of trying to maintain and keep your personal and professional lives separate are over. It never really worked anyway, did it? You are one person. Trying to preserve separate lives means that at any given time one of those lives is suffering and neglected. You must simplify. So focus on the most important, and try to find ways to decrease the other tasks - automate, eliminate, delegate, or hire help. Find ways to free up time for the important stuff. That means eliminating the stuff you don't like, cutting back on time wasters, and making room for what you want to do in your one life.

Some steps to get you started:
Specify Your Goals For This Year And The Due Date For Each. Then write them in your planner. Break them down into monthly mini goals. This will make it easier for you to include a daily action step for at least one of your goals in your daily To Do list each day.

Make Rules For Yourself. Making rules for yourself can keep you from rationalizing a situation and settling for less than you really want. For example: If you hate feeling rushed in the mornings, make a rule that you cannot hit the snooze button on your alarm clock at all - not even once - and that when the alarm rings you have to put your feet on the floor before turning off the alarm. A good rule for Directors at work: Walk your school every morning and again every afternoon and once more later in the evening. Walk into each classroom so you know what is really going on, the moods and attitudes of your staff, and what the parents are seeing when they come into your center. Take it a step further by secretly using a successful classroom technique: Write each staff members name on a popsicle stick and place them in a can in a drawer in your desk along with another empty can. After your daily walks take the stick for each staff member you complemented and place it in the other can. This will ensure that no one is overlooked and also help you identify trouble spots. If Miss Teresa's stick is always the last one moved each week, Miss Teresa needs some training/motivation/attitude adjusting!

Give It Back. When someone tries to hand you a problem, hand it right back to him or her. Directors are problem solvers. As soon as someone brings a problem to us, we can see in our minds the steps necessary to solve it (or begin to solve it) and we add it to our own "To-Do's." Stop that. Empower your people! Ask them what they think they could do to solve the problem. Give them advice if necessary and send them on their way as you say, "I have confidence in you." "I see this as a chance for you to grow." "Here's your chance to take on more responsibility." "I appreciate your assistance with this matter."  Then make a note in your day planner to check on in with them in a day or two to make sure they are not just ignoring the problem and to let them know that you do care.


She had a gift. She was able to see the bright spots in every day and in every person. And, because of that, they were able to see the brightness in themselves. Each of them knew that no matter what they did or where they were, someone was cheering for them to soar. And that knowledge gave them wings. from Queenisms

Create A Simple Mail & Paperwork System. If you don't have a system, this stuff will pile up fast. But a simple system will keep everything in order. Keep one IN box, work from the top of the pile and deal with each piece of paper appropriately. Do it if it takes 2 minutes or less, trash it, delegate it, file it, or put it on your to-do list or calendar to do later placing the actual paperwork in your action file. Bottom line: Keep an action file for things that are unfinished and do, delegate, trash or file everything else.

Clear Your Desk. Currently my desk is cluttered with all the things I am currently working on plus assorted To Do Lists, papers to be filed, and stacks of stuff I really want to work on when I "have time." A friend of mine recently told me, "I often have to clear my desk before I can even try to get any work done! Unfortunately for me, that means moving the stacks and piles to the sofa in my office rather than dealing with them. I do get things cleared away and organized about once every couple of weeks, but it quickly piles up again. Reading this article 3 Steps To A Permanently Clear Desk makes a long term solution seem very doable." 

Keep Your Email Inbox Empty. Jot quick replies as necessary. Make digital files for the emails you really need to keep. Delete the rest. Deal with each email only once rather than quickly clicking and scanning each email. You have not really accomplished anything when you do that. You are not a cow! Stop chewing your cud twice.

Cook Once, Eat Twice. Make 4 simple menus of easy to prepare meals that you and your family enjoy. It takes the stress out of figuring out what's for diner each night.  Then, when you do cook, cook enough for leftovers the next night (or the night after that.) Another hint: Make frozen pizza guilt-free by serving sliced fresh vegetables with a little low calorie Ranch dressing, or have fresh fruit & yogurt parfaits for dessert after frozen pot pies. Easy peasy.

Do Not Over Plan Your Day. You already know that you have to have a plan for each day, right? Be careful not to over plan. If you saddle yourself with an impossible To Do list, you have simply made a plan for feeling like an anxious, overwhelmed, stressed failure each day! Make your list, then go back over it and highlight the items that you will cause you the most grief if they are not done by the end of your work day. Make sure at least one of these items is tied to one of your goals. Next, write down next to each item the amount of time it will take. Finally, add up those minutes and hours and subtract them from the amount of time in your work day. Whatever is left over is all the time you have for everything else.  Eliminate or delegate or hire help for the rest. Let go.

Use The Night Before To Jumpstart The Next Day. Have an evening routine that makes the next day easier to face. For me it's making sure the kitchen is clean because waking to a dirty kitchen puts me in a bad mood, choosing the next days clothing, clearing my vanity table so I have an inviting space to apply my make-up, looking over meetings and To Do's for the next day, setting the table for breakfast (okay, it's really just a couple of coffee cups and bowls & spoons for cereal on the kitchen counter, but it works for us!) When my kids were little the list included packing lunches and putting backpacks by the front door.

Spend Less Time In Front Of Screens. Less television. Less computer. Less ipad. Less iphone. Spend more time in front of the people you care about. That includes the staff and children in your child care center or school. Spend some time singing with two year olds, hugging three year olds and listening to four year olds. Call in a couple of after school kids each afternoon to "help" you for 20 minutes. They can help with simple tasks such as filing or collating papers. There are lots of small tasks they can help you with, and they'll probably open up and chat with you while their hands are busy.

Use Tickler Files. Make a drop file for each month. Make others for major events like Christmas Program, Graduation, Schooler Summer Activities, Open House, etc. I also have tickler files for Staff Newsletter Ideas, Parent Newsletter Ideas, and Staff Meetings.
When I come across information I want to use in the future, I pop it into the appropriate file. For example if I see that several members of my staff are becoming lax about limiting TV time in their classrooms I mention it to them but I also pop a reminder in the Staff Meeting or Staff News file so I can deal with the issue in depth by providing information on prop boxes, flannel board stories and active indoor games for "No Outside" days.  It frees my mind and makes me less crabby, major events do not overwhelm me, and my newsletters practically write themselves! Used consistently, a tickler file can become an important part of your "outboard brain", popping stuff up for you when you need it, and keeping it out of the way when you don't. In today's all-high tech all the time world, it's even a little reassuring: simple, decidedly low-tech, and effective.

A big part of our jobs is to motivate and inspire people to be the best they can be. Choose a new mantra for your new year. One that centers you and creates a vision of who you really are.

She always sees the little bit of awesome
in people, even when they can't see it themselves. And she takes the time
to point it out to them.



The Child Care Consulting Group offers both public and on-site conferences across Texas. On-site training can be custom-tailored to meet individual program needs. Some of our topics include:


Dealing with Difficult Employees

Hiring and Firing

What Every Manager Needs to Know

Survival Skills for Effective Directors

The A to Z of Personnel Policies

The Secrets of Employee Recognition that Works

Ten Low-to-No Cost Ways to Motivate Your Staff

Ten Secrets of Getting Great Employees to Stay

The Top Ten Legal Mistakes Made by Directors:

How to Keep Them from Landing You in a Lawsuit

Employers Boot Camp

Essential Time Management and Organization Skills

Increasing Your Enrollment



Positive Guidance and Discipline


Developmentally Appropriate Practice

Child Growth and Development

Risk Management

Health and Safety

Minimum Standards


Observation and Assessment

Building Relationships


Dealing with Difficult Children

SIDS/Shaken Baby Syndrome

Infant Brain Development


Early Childhood Educators / Caregivers, School Administrators / Leaders, Child Care Center Owners / Directors, Elementary Educators, After-School Staff, Family/Group Day Home Providers, Teachers, Staff    

Visit www.thechildcareconsultinggroup.com to download 

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or call 972-979-0282 for more information
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This Licensed Child Care Center is located in a thriving upscale bedroom community, has an excellent reputation with limited competition within a 5 mile radius. The center is licensed to serve more than 250 children operating Monday-Friday, 6:00am to 6:30pm. This year-round program offers educational day care services for infants, toddlers, pre-kindergarten and school-age including before-and-after school care and summer programs. The state-of-the-art facility is over 10,000 square feet is in impeccable condition and well-equipped. The current operation and qualified staff allow for minimal involvement from the owner.  

See you next month with more new and exciting ideas and information!


Staff News Header 

Click here to download

this month's

Staff Handout "How Children Learn"  

from our Document Center.  

While you're there, download and print ABC's for Teachers. Cut it up and add the appropriate letter to your weekly alphabet themed units as info for the teacher as motivating reminders to do their best throughout the school year!


Prop Boxes - Now is the time to prepare prop boxes for use in the classrooms during those "no outside" in late January and throughout February when it is too rainy, cold or wet to play on the playgrounds. Prop Boxes are large plastic bins or cardboard boxes you fill with materials and props related to one topic, story or theme. Be sure to include printed materials in your prop boxes, too, such as cookbooks and menus in the Restaurant Prop Box, magazines in the Beauty Salon Prop Box, and phone books in the Office Prop Box.

Some of the Prop Boxes can be used in the Home/Living Area, some in the sensory tub with sand, dry rice or beans, or water; and some can be used on their own as a new center in the classroom.

A few suggestions to get you started: 

  • veterinarian - stuffed animals, doctor kit, toilet paper for bandages or make some from felt and the hook side of Velcro, boxes and baby blankets
  • wash the baby dolls...
  • doctor...
  • restaurant or fast food...
  • flower shop...
  • the Three Bears...
  • beauty salon...
  • camping...
  • office...
  • store... 


Circle Time Song


(tune: "Frere Jacques")

Are you criss-cross?

Are you criss-cross?

Eyes on me?

Eyes on me?

Hands in your lap!

Hands in your lap!



Some of our favorite ideas from Pinterest this month:

A bad attitude is like a flat tire. You can't go anywhere until you change it.

Seal the hole or opening in water table with hot glue to prevent mold from getting inside and you from having to clean them!

People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise, and rewards. Dale Carnegie

Cut a hole in the end of a shoe box. Cut paper to fit in the bottom of the box. Let kids place teaspoons of paint on the paper for a friend. They put the lid on the box and the friend reaches in and fingerprints without looking. Then they switch tasks.

Write letters or numbers your children are learning a plus a few they already know on the bubbles on a piece of bubble wrap. Let the kids pass it around the circle, each identifying a letter and popping it!

Kids sort plastic letters by attributes: curvy or straight.

To build trunk stability, have children participate in Circle Time while kneeling.

Print flannelboard pieces on milk filter papers using  your computer printer. Just cut the filters to regular paper size 8.5"x11" and run them through the printer one at a time. Awesome!


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You can purchase our products online right here!

 While visiting our website, be sure to click on "Newsletter" and scroll to the bottom of the page

to view newsletters from 2010. More great ideas you can use right away!   

You'll also want to visit our  document center for free information you can print and use today!

Parent News logo

*We're making Prop Boxes and need your help collecting supplies! Prop Boxes are large plastic bins filled with props for the children to use as they pretend to be doctors, teachers, chefs, waiters and waitresses, store clerks, and more!

We need silk or plastic flowers, men's dress shirts (especially white), note pads, sticky notes, pens, pencils, clipboards, toys your children have outgrown, etc.

*Car Seats and Coats Are A Deadly Combination! Let's say, for example, that your child's torso measures 19 inches around without a coat. Then you put her coat on and it adds four inches to that number. Where do those extra inches go when your car is in a crash? The car set straps compress and those extra inches disappear! Bulky coats make it difficult to properly tighten the harness around your child which could lead to ejection of the child in a crash. Many owner's manuals for car seats specifically state that parents should "remove bulky coats and jackets before placing the child in the car seat." Simply put, a harness adjusted to fit 23" around a child cannot properly restrain a 19" torso. Keep your child safe and warm with a blanket or car seat poncho specifically made for this purpose.



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Previous Newsletters
December 2012 Newsletter January 2013 Newsletter
February 2013 Newsletter March 2013 Newsletter
April 2013 Newsletter May 2013 Newsletter
June 2013 Newsletter July 2013 Newsletter
August 2013 Newsletter September 2013 Newsletter
October 2013 Newsletter November 2013 Newsletter

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