Hello Parkside Families,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoyed your time with family and friends.  It was an awesome way to begin the week by seeing Parkside decorated for the December holidays; we have enjoyed the joy of all of the kids’ faces as they walked through the hallway or when they saw the gigantic snowman!  Thank you to Jen and Bob who took the time to transform our lobby into a fantasy land!

2016 Tuition Rates:  This week we published the new rates for 2016.  You will soon receive a new tuition contract from Allison that reflects these changes.  Please stop by the office or e-mail Jen M-R with any questions at

Shut Down Update:  Thank you to all of the parents who signed up for a parent/teacher conference last Wednesday.  I heard the conferences went well and the new forms that we asked you to fill out before the conference helped!  If you were unable to sign up for a conference please stop by the office and we can arrange another time/day for you.   After our conferences we took the rest of the day to devote to training on Conscious Discipline.  If you haven’t taken a look at the Conscious Discipline website, it is a great resource for both teachers and parents.  You can visit it at  I also just found out that Conscious Discipline has a Facebook page, which is another great resource!  We enjoyed special treats we purchased from two parents and their businesses; thank you Jillian Sarnacki for yummy cupcakes and Emily McQuarrie fro Longhorn’s Mac n cheese, chicken parmesan, and steak tips!

Results from the food drive:  Thank you so much to all of the families that donated through the month of November!  We brought several bags, a 8 gallon storage tub to the Bangor Mall to donate to Manna Food Cupboard.  We had a tie for which classroom donated the most food… congratulations to the Zion and Big Sur classrooms!

Family Activities:  If you are looking for some fun activities to do with your family over the upcoming weekends, the Festival of Lights parade is scheduled for this Saturday at 4:30.  There are many activities planned before the parade, you can find the list on the city of Bangor’s website,  Also, on Saturday, December 18th the Maine Discovery Museum is planning a gingerbread house decorating event!  You can find more information on this even on their website at

Gingerbread Cookies with Jen M-R:  Our annual tradition of gingerbread cooking continues!  For families who have not experienced this tradition, we begin at 9:30 to mix the cookie batter and making the cookies.  During the lunch hours we will cook the cookies in our kitchen, and return back to the classroom around 2:30 to decorate.  This is such a wonderful time for all of the kids, but it makes it even more special when we have family members to help!  Here is the schedule for baking and cooking, each classroom will begin at 9:30 to make the cookies and 2:30 to decorate the cookies; volunteers are welcome at both times to help!  Olympic: December 10th; Yosemite: December 11th; Big Sur: December 15th; Yellowstone/Zion: December 16th; Sequoia: December 17th.  Please let your child’s teachers know if you are able to help!

Snowman building contest:  Now, I know that we don’t have any snow yet…but we all know that this is going to change soon!  Anne-Marie had an idea of having a snowman building contest with parents and kids.  We would love to hear from you on your feedback, you can e-mail me at  Our thoughts are that we will plan it after the holidays between January and February.

“19 Things You Should Never Say Kids” Jen M-R came across this article last week, as we were reading it I couldn’t help but to recognize things that I say to my child that are on this list!  There are also phrases that I heard when I was a child that are on this list.   This article did bring up some discussions about why we shouldn’t say things; I appreciated that this article provided reasons of why they are not on this list.  You can find this article at:

Unfortunately, kids don’t come with a manual — imagine how great that would be! Parents make mistakes all the time, and that’s OK. One of the hardest things to learn as a parent is how to talk to kids. It’s easy to say something that gives them the wrong message or idea — you may not even realize it. But we’re here to help.

Read on for a list of things you shouldn’t say to kids. Share them with your nanny so she knows how to talk to your kids too.

And for more tips, check out the 21 Best White Lies I Tell My Kids »

  1. “I’m Proud of You”

Dr. Carl Pickhardt, psychologist and author of “Surviving Your Child’s Adolescence,” says that you shouldn’t simply give your child a blanket statement of encouragement because: “Now the child feels responsible for parental pride (‘How you acted makes me proud to be me.’)”

Try this instead: “It’s better for the parent to place credit where it belongs: ‘Good for you,'” he suggests

  1. “Good Job”

Love something your child did? Social psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Susan Newman says, “It is far more helpful in terms of encouragement and building self-esteem if you focus on how your child achieved whatever he or she accomplished.”

Try this instead: Here are some situations and examples of specific feedback she says would be more beneficial:

◦Your child brought home good grades: “You got all As, you must have worked really hard.”

◦Your child’s team won: “I liked the way you passed the ball so your teammate could score.”

◦Your child drew a nice picture: “What made you choose those pretty colors?” or “How did you figure out the design/shape?”

“Parental reactions like the above get a child thinking about the process and working toward a goal,” Newman says. “‘Great job, what a smart boy, you are wonderful’ and the like become white noise after a while.”

  1. “You Should Set a Good Example for Your Brother”

Older siblings can act out, perhaps out of jealousy due to the extra attention a younger sibling may be receiving.

Try this instead: To curb this, Dr. Katharine Kersey, professor of early childhood education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., suggests praising the older sibling and noting how important he is in his sibling’s life: “Your brother looks up to you; you’re such a good role model!”

  1. “Wait Until Your Father/Mother Gets Home”

Why are you passing the buck? This may be a familiar refrain in lots of households, but parents are equals and one shouldn’t be designated the disciplinarian or used as a threat. Stick together as a united team.

Try this instead: “You’re grounded for one week because you said a bad word.” Don’t postpone penalties for a child’s actions — handle them right then and there.

  1. “I Will Never Forgive You”

It’s happened to even the best of us — we react quickly when a child does something unthinkable. Saying something like this could be truly damaging to a child. Pickhardt says, “Now the child feels that whatever has been done will forever be remembered against them.”

Try this instead: “It’s better for the parent to say: ‘What you did was harmful, but we will find a way to leave this behind us and carry on,'” he recommends. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to say something rash. Take a deep breath and wait until you calm down before you speak.

  1. “I’m Ashamed of You”

Pickhardt and Kersey both agree on the negativity of this phrase. Pickhardt says that using this phrase may “make the child feel like a disgrace in the family.”

Try this instead: “It’s better for the parent to say: ‘Although I feel badly about what you did, as always I love who you are,” Kersey suggests.

  1. “Don’t Worry, Everything Will Be OK”

Are your kids concerned about a tragic story they saw on the news? Don’t push aside their concerns — address them head-on. Dr. Newman notes it’s “better to explain how you as a parent will do everything you can to keep your child safe.”

Try this instead: “Mom and Dad are always nearby and we’re going to set up a plan in case of emergency.”

Learn more about How to Talk With Kids About Violence »

  1. “Here, I’ll Do it”

It’s easy to get frustrated when your child can’t quite finish a project or has trouble completing homework.

Try this instead: Kersey aims for a more collaborative approach, suggesting that it would be best to say, “Let’s do it together!”

  1. “Don’t Cry”

It’s important to encourage kids to express their emotions — not bottle them up. Help them recognize their feelings and deal with them openly and honestly. Even if the noise is driving you nuts, realize that your kids are hurting and need to be comforted.

Try this instead: “I know you’re sad that Katie moved away. It’s OK to cry — everyone needs to let out emotions sometimes. Let me give you a hug.”

  1. “Thinking About Sex Is Bad at Your Age”

The inevitable question of where babies come from is something parents worry about facing constantly. Don’t brush this question off or say “I’ll tell you when you’re older.”

Try this instead: “Curiosity about sex is normal and I will answer any questions that you have,” says Pickhardt, arguing that it’s important for you to be ready to speak honestly and age-appropriately with your children.



  1. If You Eat All Your Dinner, You Can Have Dessert”

We’ve all heard this one before — dessert is so good, even adults sometimes want to jump the main course and head straight for the cake and cookies. But don’t use dessert as a reward — it sends a bad message that other types of food aren’t as good.

Try this instead: “We need to eat healthy so our bodies will be strong. Your tummy will tell you when you are full. Would you rather have apples or cherries for dessert,” Kersey suggests.

Use these 12 Tricks to Fix a Picky Eater »

  1. “If You Don’t Clean Your Room, You’ll Get a Spanking”

This one is much like number 11, with the typical “if … then” scenario, although the threatening aspect of this phrase makes it more volatile. Avoid phrasing things as threats like “I’ll give you something to cry about.”

Try this instead: “When your room is clean, then you may go out to play,” Kersey says, emphasizing that you should turn it into a positive scenario.

  1. “If You Take Good Care of Yourself, You’ll Stay Healthy”

Especially if you have older individuals in the family who are ailing, this can draw many questions from concerned youngsters.

Try this instead: “Even healthy people get sick, but health does help people get better after falling sick,” Pickhardt says.

  1. “Family Finances Aren’t Your Business”

Concerns about family finances are constant in many families, and if an argument between parents ensues, it can be easy for children to overhear and become concerned.

Try this instead: “Finances are how we make and manage money, and when you like, we will teach you what we know,” Pickhardt offers.

  1. “I’m Disappointed in You”

Did your son fail an exam? Pickhardt says that saying something so blunt could leave the child feeling “like he/she has lost loving standing in parental eyes.”

Try this instead: “I’m surprised and was not expecting this to occur,” he suggests.

  1. “This is Terrible, the Worst”

Constant repetition of a phrase like this could set your kids on edge and cause even more concerns. “By saying fearful and emotional words over and over, very young children may believe that the event you reference has happened many times,” says Newman.

Try this instead: “I’m having a hard time believing such a tragedy, but we’ll talk about it if you’d like to,” she suggests instead.

  1. “Come Here, NOW”

Dr. Kersey believes it’s better to give a child time to respond to your wishes, instead of constantly rushing.

Try this instead: “It’s almost time to go. Do you want one minute or two,” she suggests.

  1. “You’re in the Way”

It can be easy for kids to get underfoot, especially with their constant high-energy.

Try this instead: Kersey advises asking your child to get involved and creating a project they can easily handle, such as: “Can you help me wrap the packages/tie the string?”

  1. “Because I Said So”

This is probably the most clichéd parenting saying around — but you should avoid it. It’s a powerful phrase, but it takes all control away from your kids. You don’t always have time to explain your reasoning, but you should try to give your kids a better context of why you’re asking them to do (or not do) something.

Try this instead: “I know you really want to visit Tommy this afternoon, but I have to do the laundry — and I need your help. How about we see him tomorrow?” It helps your kids know that their feelings matter and you listen to what they have to say.

No matter what you say to a child, it’s important to think before you speak. Understand that youngsters are naturally curious and active, and speaking to them candidly about any problems or questions they may have is always your best bet.
Upcoming Events:

*December 24th and December 25th:   Parkside is CLOSED for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (tuition remains the same)

*December 31st and January 1st: Parkside is CLOSED for New Years Eve and New Years Day (tuition remains the same)

Enjoy your weekend,

Jen V.