Don’t Drink the Water: Lori Wildenberg

very excited to have Lori Wildenberg here today to share! I encourage you to
visit her websites. Thanks so much for being here today, Lori! Take it away…

don’t have to tell me twice. Actually you don’t have to tell me once.
Seriously, who would drink toilet water? Okay… besides Murphy (my dog).
Like a
splash in the face, it hit me. I do. I drink toilet water. I pour all kinds of
tainted things into my heart and mind. My thoughts, the things I view, or what
I listen to can be poisonous.
Why do I
do this?
I am a sinner.
am a saved sinner. There is hope for me. God has given me the power to turn
from sin, to run from it. I just need to tap into His Holy Spirit power, drink
it in, and let it flow through my veins.
my own, I’m parched, dying but His Spirit is the life-giving, pure
water-waiting to be consumed.
I pray my children will drink living water.
college years are filled with toilet water, beckoning the kids to take a sip,
next a gulp, then consume a gallon, finally it is their beverage of choice.
They can’t even taste the poison. (This can make a parent sick, heart-sick.)
If you
find yourself in this position of hurting due to your young adults choice of beverage,
prayer for my kids is any activity that does not honor the Lord leaves them
thirsty. I pray they desire clean water. I pray that only Jesus can
can quench that thirst.
The enemy may have won the battle but he hasn’t won the war.
Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.
John 4:14
When was the last time you were actually parched for God’s Word? So thirsty you thought you might die if you didn’t get to it right then? If you’ve never been that thirsty, why do you think that is? (question by me–Jess)

Wildenberg, co-founder of 1 Corinthians 13
Parenting, loves speaking and writing about raising kids. She’s a
licensed parent-family educator and certified teacher, passionate about
mentoring parents. Since Lori, her husband, and four kids are perfectly imperfect, her approach to family life is real,
honest, and warm-hearted. This style makes her a favorite speaker at women’s
and parent events. In her seminars, she offers practical and easily applicable
techniques based on living out 1 Corinthians 13 love. Lori is co-author of EMPOWERED PARENTS: Putting Faith First, a
contributor to many other Christian books, a radio station guest, a member of
The M.O.M. Initiative team, a curriculum writer for teacher development at the
Professional Learning Board, and is co-columnist of Parenting Prose seen in Marriage
Magazine. For more information go to or

Come by and join
in the conversation!
I’m  hosting!

*Lori took that photo at the Grand Canyon! LOL

I don’t wanna see your girls, dress appropriately! A guide to quality childcare


Mary Lange (this isn’t the pic she sent, but I couldn’t download that
one) But really, this is the REAL Mary! Tons of fun and


Today’s guest blog is from a very dear friend and former colleague of mine, Mary Lange. Mary has taught me how to run a financially tight ship! She can squeeze blood out of a turnip! (not literally, if so I never got to see it!) Every time I entered her center, equipment flowed and she was NEVER over budget! Thanks, Mary!


My name is Mary Lange.  I am a wife, mom of 3, stepmom of 2.  Currently, I attend ASU and substitute teach at the local school district. I was lucky and had the opportunity to stay at home for the last three years with my youngest child.  She went to preschool this fall at the old age of three.  My oldest daughter, who is now 19, went to day care at 6 weeks of age.  My son, now 16 went to an in home daycare until he turned one, then he came to the center that I worked at.  So, I have been there, done that too.    I worked in a licensed childcare facility for 14 years beginning as a toddler teacher and working my way up to academy director and I must say that I enjoyed my time as a teacher more than I did as an administrator.   I have cared for and taught children of all ages, infants to high school.  The greatest achievement as a teacher is when you see that light bulb go off above the child’s head.  I believe that teaching is a calling from God and all people are not meant teachers. 
When speaking of a teacher, yes they can be male or female, but I normally use the feminine term especially when speaking about teachers in childcare facilities.
One of first things that most people look at when they walk into a teacher’s classroom is her appearance.   The teacher should be dressed appropriately.  Appropriate is a word that can be interpreted in different ways.
This is my idea of appropriate dress for a childcare facility.  If the facility mandates uniforms for their employees, does the teacher adhere to the policy?  Is her uniform clean?  Does it look like she slept in her clothes or didn’t take a shower that day?   I feel that personal hygiene is very important in a childcare facility.  If she doesn’t take pride in or care of herself, how can you expect her to take care of your child?  If uniforms are not worn, appropriate means that they are dressed ready for inside and outside active play and bending and stretching without showing any extra skin.  By extra skin, I mean cleavage and the upper thigh area that can and will expose the booty cheeks when bending over. Is she dressed sloppy?
 Are her clothes excessively baggy or so tight that it appears that she has been poured into them?    Clothes should fit well and be easy to move around in.  Shoes should be clean and low heeled.  The only high heels that should ever been worn in a preschool is by the preschooler playing dress up or the Director.  The preferred shoe of choice is a tennis shoe or a comfortable low heeled dress shoe.   Yes, some ladies do like to wear skirts or dresses.  This is okay too, as long as they are able to sit on the floor and play with the children.   Hair should be neat and clean.  Jewelry should be kept to a minimum. 
Remember to look at more than what she is wearing, appearance goes beyond the clothes.  What does her face say when you walk in the room or when you are peeking in the window before entering;  does she look happy, tried, frustrated, or  is there a blank look on her face?   What does her classroom look like; does she take pride in her room?
If you are concerned about what the teacher is wearing, you can and should talk to the Director about you concerns.  I know personally, I do not want to go into my child’s preschool class and see the teacher bending over exposing themselves to the children or to other parents.  (Me either, Mary! -jess)
What are your thoughts? What do you expect? Any stories you’d like to share?


Have a great weekend! See you Monday!

The Dreaded Day Doesn’t Have to Be: A guide to finding quality childcare


Lisa Boyd far right at an Academy event

Today’s GUEST blog is from Lisa M. Boyd, my mentor and friend!

My name is Lisa Boyd.  I am married and have 2 grown children and 3 grandchildren. I worked in the childcare industry for 27 years at all levels.  I loved being a teacher.  Everyday was different and never boring.  I usually learned more from them than they did from me.  The number one lesson we can learn from children in that of forgiveness.  If someone wrongs them, they get mad and they get over it. If  it could only be so with adults. In the latter years I was a Director, which was a whole new ballgame of challenges. Not only did I have to deal with children, but now their parents and caregivers. There are things that drove me crazy at times but I wouldn’t change many things that happened over the years. The largest lesson I learned in all my years was that to really be successful in life we should do as Christ instructed, “you must become as a little child.


What to Expect on Your Child’s First Day 
It is wise to allow an extra 30 minutes at drop off time on your child’s first day at preschool.  Upon arriving at the center or home, you and your child  should be greeted by the Director or another designated member of management. They should walk you through the drop off and pickup procedures for your childs age group.
 There should be happy noises in the morning,usually breakfast or snack may be occurring.   You should then be escorted to where your child will be at that time of the day. Take into consideration that preschoolers are often grouped together in early morning and late afternoons.  Infants and toddlers should never be grouped with older children.
Upon arriving at your childs classroom, you and your child should be greeted by the caregiver. At this time you will be shown where to place your childs belongings.(their name tag should already be in place)The caregiver should ask for any written instructions (generally for Infants and young toddlers) or any verbal instructions for the day.  A good caregiver will jot down the verbal to pass on to the next shift. 
Your child should be led to the group and introduced to the other children and led into the activity occuring at the time. It is always best to tell your child goodbye, never sneak away or your child may feel abandoned. You should expect a call from the Director sometime in the morning to let you know how things are going and the activities that occurred that morning.  The main caregiver should also give you a call after lunch. Be sure to call yourself anytime, it is just as hard on parents as it is on children when leaving each other for the first time.
At the end of the day, you should receive some type of progress report from your child’s caregiver.  Infants , toddlers and 2 yrs olds  should receive some type of care provided sheet to let you know about diapering and feeding times.  The main caregiver should write you a personal note about your child’s first day. 
The Director should be available to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your child’s first day.  We also must keep in mind that some times there is an adjustment period for some children. They may cry or have a tantrum depending on their age, but these go away in time. In all my years as a child care worker/Director , I never saw a child who did not adapt.

First…Go Inside: A guide to finding quality childcare

Touring the Facility
By now, you’ve made the phone calls. You’ve asked questions and you’ve narrowed down your choices. It’s time to go to those scheduled appointments! Before you go, decide if you are going to bring your child with you. There are pros and cons to both.
1. Pro-If a director schedules a tour, she will (if she’s good) inform the teacher and have something prepared. A cool name tag, pencil, a treat bag to take home. The teacher will prepare the children (age appropriate) and they will make your child/children feel welcome.
2. Con- Your child may not engage immediately and therefore cling to you. If this happens, it’s going to be hard to really focus on what’s being said and remember all the questions you wanted to ask. It might be a good idea to not take the child to the first tour and then bring them on a day when you decide to “pop” in. I encourage you to definitely do this.
Whatever you decide, be on time!
Here’s a basic list of things to look for. You may have some that aren’t on the list. Great!
1. Is the office clean? Clutter free? Does it smell good? (Dirty diapers–gag)
2. Is anyone in the office when you arrive? Can you just waltz in without anyone knowing or even acknowledging you?
3. What does it sound like? Is it noisy? (it will be a little but happy noise and whining and crying–not the same)
4. Are you greeted warmly? Does the director remember she’s scheduled you? She should. Do other teachers acknowledge you and say hello as you walk through the facility on your way to the child’s room? Do they greet your child?
5. Are children happily engaged? Are there more crying than playing? What do their faces look like? Snot crusted? Food on their face? Shoes untied? (Get out!) Now, let me just say, you will see some runny noses and a shoe untied and if you go right after lunch some food, but it shouldn’t be a majority of the kids.
6. How does the teacher greet you? Is she friendly? Does she address the child? Does she engage him/her into the chilren’s activities allowing you time with the director/management? She should!
7. Listen for other teacher’s voices. Watch how they interact with the children. Do the children seem to enjoy being near them? Are toys everywhere? (The toddler room may be a little messier than preschool. It shouldnn’t be as cluttered.)
What to ask
1. Ask to see a lesson plan; do they follow it; do you get a weekly sheet and does it include what your child had for lunch; if appropriate do they get a potty or diaper sheet; how often do they change the children?
2. Ask what the discipline policy is. It should be age appropriate. (We’ll cover behavior in a future blog) Quickly though, infants, toddlers and two’s should always be redirected, although this is debated and you’re getting my opinion. Preschoolers- time out one minute per age. But even preschoolers can be redirected better than time out works. NO NO NO PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT. EVER. If you spank your child fine, but do it at home. Most regulations won’t even let you spank on site your own child! I’ve had parents tell me, “Close your eyes, for about one minute!” 🙂
3. Ask for a schedule and all policies. Do they close under severe weather and how does that effect the weekly price; Do you get free days? Vacation days? When is payment due? Is there a late pick up policy? (Please don’t be one of those!) Is there a late payment fee? (Yes.) Do they have cameras?
4. Ask to see the curriculum if the director doesn’t offer to show it to you, but she should. Ask about napping procedures. Ask for the menu and what is the rule about snacks being brought in.
5. And yes, ask if you can see the bathrooms and the playground (the director will probably offer to show you the playground anyway…kids love it. It generally seals the deal if you have a good one-to the child anyway) Seriously. Take a look. (Poor directors are now shaking in their boots right…what if that little boy missed the target and then you walk in! Sorry!)
If your child has any type of special needs, now is the time to see if that facility can accomodate them. Allergies, illnesses, medications. Get a medication policy. Who administers medicine? Do you get a sign off sheet?
If your child sleeps or not…tell them. Anything you think is important make sure and tell them!
Your child may act shy and hang on your leg even with coaxing and encouragement from you and the teacher to engage in activities. It’s okay! It doesn’t mean they hate the place. It’s an adjustment for everyone. Give it time.
When you walk out of there, make sure you have in your hands all of their policies and pricing info., a buisness card, a menu, and if they have weekly connection sheets–get one. And go with your gut. Your looking for a place where you feel at home, where your child will feel comfortable, a happy place with happy teachers and smiling kids (for the most part). 
Hope this helps! Directors/Teachers, if I missed anything feel free to add to it!
Tomorrow a guest blog by Former Director Lisa Boyd!

Who’s going to keep my baby!? A guide to finding quality childcare

“I don’t want to leave my baby!”
How many times over the last decade have I heard that! How many times lately have I heard that? A LOT. I couldn’t begin to count. 
I’ve had over a decade of experience working with children in a corporate childcare setting. I started young as the infant teacher, went through training and state credentialed programs to move all the way to the Academy director. I’ve seen it all. More than my share in fact. I’ve seen the good. I’ve seen the bad and the ugly to be cliche. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve been fit to be tied.
I’m also a parent.  I’ve been a parent with a child “raised” in the center and I’ve been a parent who’s had the opportunity to be a stay at home mom.  I’ve helped family members and friends find the “right” childcare center for them.
The childcare industry is tough. Being a parent trying to find a center–equally as tough.
So, I thought I’d bring what I know to you. Maybe it will help you find a center, run from one, find a job or humor you in the very least if you’re a teacher/director—maybe even help you improve in your classroom or facility.
Not only will I bring you what I know, but you’ll get to hear from some other professionals in the business. Respectable ladies some with more years on their belts and some with less, but all with great insight!
Finding childcare is scary! Especially in the times we’re in and with everything we see on the news. What’s a good fit for you? In home? Mom and Pops? Corporate?
How do I find a good childcare center? The telephone tour.
First of all, as a “green” parent inquiring of childcare, make phone calls! What does the person answering sound like? How many rings does it take to answer? Is she friendly? Is she hurried? What do you hear in the background? Is it quiet? (it won’t always be if you call while the director’s watching a class or cooking) Noise can be good and it can sound loud. Question is who’s louder the adult or the children? You can tell the difference between happy noise and unhappy.  If she’s busy with kids, she may ask to call you back. This doesn’t mean she doesn’t care. It means she can’t hear you and she’s smart! Nothing is more frustrating than trying to ask questions about the most important step you’ll be making only to hear, “What? Huh? Say that again? Johnny, honey go play I’m on the phone.”
 Get the name of who you are talking to, their position, and ask a few questions. Most teachers don’t answer the phone—management does, but occasionally it will happen. I usually designated the infant teacher to handle a call if no one was available but me and I needed to run to the restroom. Believe it or not, the infant room really is the quietest! I also trained her in what to say and how to retrieve information so I could return a call. (BTW, if you don’t receive a call back by the end of the business day unless specified that the call would be the next day don’t bother touring. There’s no room to forget to call a customer who needs the greatest service ever. That’s my personal opinion.)
As a parent be curious to how teachers interact with you over the phone, but remember teachers aren’t always as informed as the director or management. How they tell you that makes a difference. No one wants to hear this, “Could you tell me what you charge for an infant?”
“Uh, no. It’s expensive though. Want me to have someone call you?”
NO!  Hang up!
“Could you tell me what you charge for infants?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t have that information in front of me. Could I please take your name and number and have my director, (name) call you back.”
When you do get a hold of the director she may ask you to come and see the facility—at a scheduled time. This is okay. She wants to be able to spend time with you and your child! She’s not necessarily “hiding” anything. Childcare directors wear many hats. They stay running all the time! Sometimes, when a teacher calls in, the director wears the teacher hat and touring you isn’t going to happen at that moment! Even if you pop in unexpectedly and she’s in a class, she may ask you to come back when she can be free to give you undivided attention. This is okay too.  Been there…done that!
However, ALL centers should have an open door policy and popping in is okay to do after the initial scheduled tour (or anytime, but you can’t be guaranteed the time and attention you’ll get if you schedule a tour). I encourage you to do that—pop in later! What’s going on when everyone DOESN’T know you’re coming?
Make a list of centers you’ve called with the questions you’ve asked and answers. Some good questions to ask over the phone is:
  1. Do you have childcare availability?
  2. What is the state teacher/child ratio? Do you follow that ratio or do you keep a lower ratio? (Some centers especially non-profit keep lower teacher/child ratios. It’s a plus but it doesn’t mean a state followed teacher/child ratio isn’t as good.) How many children are in the classroom and how many teachers or caregivers?
  3. What is your full time rate? Part time? Does this include meals/snacks?
  4. What curriculum do you use? (If they charge big bucks…they better give you a bang for it!)
Let me make a note here…good schools use curriculum. It’s a learning center. If they don’t use curriculum and they simply say, “We teach them stuff.” It’s not a learning center. If you just want a place for your child to play then this might appeal to you. But most parents want their children to learn something while they’re gone all day!
These few questions will give you an idea if you want to tour or not. Write them down and compare answers with other centers. (All ratios should be the same as it’s a state mandate unless they specify they use lower.)
Schedule your tour. Good directors will make appointments and add you can come anytime though. They want you to feel comfortable popping in, but want you to be aware that they also want quality time to spend with you.
Have you had any nightmare stories when making phone calls or really great experiences? Teachers, Directors…any other advice to offer parents on the “phone tours?” Have any questions about phone touring that wasn’t covered? Just ask!
Next blog…what to look for when you visit the center for a tour.