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How To Empower A Struggling Student To Succeed

Jul 02, 2022

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Do you have a student who struggles?  Karin Jakubowski, school principal and educational leader, shares her surprising approach on how to empower a struggling student to succeed.  

If you are a parent or teacher, then don’t miss Karin’s expert advice and the unexpected discovery that resulted in her proven method of empowering healthy, happy students.

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  • The key to correctional instruction
  • How parents and students can best support teachers
  • Behind the scenes perspective in education
  • Whether or not grades still matter
  • The correlation between education and interests
  • How mindful education works
  • How playing benefits students
  • Practical interventions for behaviorally challenging children



Dr. Jakubowski is a well-known international influencer in the field of helping children live happier, healthier lives. With her ability to connect and assist children in experiencing success from challenging behaviors, she has impacted the lives of thousands of families across numerous states. With a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and nearly 2 decades of teaching experience, she is largely viewed as a gamechanger in education.



Welcome to the imperfectly empowered podcast with leading DIY lifestyle blogger on a Fullmer where women are inspired with authentic stories and practical strategies to reclaim their hearts and homes by empowering transformation. And perfect day at a time. Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast.

I'm your host on a Fullmer today on the podcast, we have Karin Jakubowski current is the creator of the educational impact academy, and she uses her doctorate in educational leadership and her 10 plus years of experience as a public school principal to empower struggle. Students and their parents to succeed with mindfulness practices and her unique collaborative approach.

Welcome educational. Game-changer Karin Jakubowski. Welcome to the podcast. It's so good to have you here. I see. Are you in your office, right? Yeah. Yes, I am. I love it. You have such a cute office. My principal's office was definitely not cute, uh, laterals in the principal's office a whole lot. And they're like, you're the principal.


You're the nicest principal I ever met. My principal was mean and old. And like, it's funny how we have this like stereotype perception. Yeah. I can break some of those molds, but it's all good. So funny. I have to laugh because. Um, when I introduced you, I, for those of you listening and watching, I always ask my guests, the phonetic spelling of their name on my sheet, and Caryn gave me the phonetic spelling of her first name, but not your last name.


And I'm pretty sure I probably butchered it. So just for the sake of all of us, how do you pronounce your last name?  Yeah. JECA Belsky, that's so funny. I've never  because everyone always butchers my first name. So that's the only one I focus on. That's fair. Yeah. And it's funny that you said that I didn't phonetically put the Jakubowski because yeah.


I just get stuck on it. Cause everyone calls me like Korean, Korean, Korean. I get so many. Anyway. I, I, I totally get it. My parents gave me honest spelled H N a they're like doomed me for the rest of, I know I'm like Ana not Ana Ana, like even I mentally, no worries. Just think the movie frozen. Yeah. I've no, one's actually gotten my name.


Right. So often, like, because of the movie frozen people are more likely to try on. Which is interesting. You don't put car in, in a movie. Oh, they should. It's dreaming. I like it. Caryn. It's pretty. I love asking this question. When you look back to your younger years. Can you see yourself being in charge of a couple hundred kids?


Like, were you the kid that somebody would have been like, oh yeah, she's going to be a principal one day. Or were you the kid that was sent to the principal's office? And it's like, shocking that you are now. Well, actually a couple of things. I was really bad as a kid. Like I was in like second grade and I still crowns crayons.


Everyone says, I say it wrong. Crowds, crowds, whatever crayons from a car and someone in my class and gave it to the group who just came to school as if I bought a bar, like I've such a giving heart that I give away other people's.


I'm so generous. I take your stuff and get it. No, it's so bad. And then, and then I think it was in first grade as well, first or second grade, and I was sick and I missed the lessons or whatever. And I came into school and we had a test and the girls spelling list was under her chair in front of her. And I cheated, like, I didn't know.


I don't know what I'm not here for. So yeah, I cheated. I lied. I stole things I stole, oh my gosh. I was like a bad kid. Yeah. So what's funny is that when I became an assistant principal, 'cause I know what it's like to be a bad kid and feel bad. I hated that. And so I learned a positive approach to discipline.


It went up before I became an assistant principal and I, it just synced with what I believe, because I hated the way I. When I was bad because you were treated bad and you were treated like you were a bad person. And I, I make that clear between kids today. You're not bad. You did something unexpected, but that you're not bad.


So I helped them with that because I struggled with that. And then on the flip side, I actually would line up my, um, my stuffed animals in my. And teach them with a little chalkboard. So early on, I saw myself as a teacher and then it wasn't until I was teaching and teaching. And sometimes didn't always have the most respect for my principals and bosses.


And I was like, wait, the difference between you and me is just like some education experience. Like, so I, my impetus to go for my become a principal actually was because of what I saw that I didn't like, which is. Whatever a main may not be the best thing to go for, but I wanted to create and well, not necessarily.


I mean, if you see a need to the change, I want to, I want to create a school where the kids love coming. I mean, it's elementary school. The rest of your life is darn hard. Like life is tough elementary. Like you should be having fun still. So let's figure out a way to do everything you're supposed to do.


And so I just, I just love those kids and I just love them. Like I. Felt good when there were those people in my life who just love me unconditionally. Yeah. They're such formative years too. I mean, it would be really hard if you were in an elementary school and your administration started off with a poor experience, you know, like you have such a prime opportunity at that age to foster a relationship and yeah.


To invest in them. So I love that in your, a teacher for. Six years, six years. Okay. What did you do? First second, third and fourth. And every year, well, I started first and I loved it. And then, and then there was second grade and I was like, oh, I don't know if I'm going to like that. And I loved that. And then I did third grade.


I was like, wait a second. No one, I would have never believed if someone said the higher you go, the more you'd love it. But fourth grade I did for four years and I was like, okay, at the end of fourth grade, you are so ready for someone else. And that is not me. So I never. I don't feel naturally cut out for like middle school and secondary experiences.


But, uh, yeah, so it was funny, like fourth grade, do you think is the hardest to teach in your experience, which is the hardest, which, which one, which teacher really, really, truly does deserve the most. Probably not having gone to middle school. Cause that's probably its own can of worms. I would say the lower you go, the harder it is because you're doing so much for kids that the older grades get more independent and they get your jokes.


You can kind of like connect with them a little bit more than your kindergarten teachers really were not making it up. When we say there's a special place in heaven for them. Yeah. And when my fifth grade teachers have to sub or, or do something with kindergarten, first grade, they are like, oh, I take my hat off to you.


I mean, they realized, whoa, you guys are like babysitting. I mean, You still have to teach. I mean, it truly, yeah, I have so much, we just had an open house, my kids school, and I have a third grader, a first grader, and then it will be kindergarten or next year. And my youngest Lily was like, where's my classroom.


You know, we got to see my, my daughters, my nine-year-olds. And then we got to see Caleb's my first graders. And then Lily was. Wait, where's my classroom. So we went onto the kindergarteners wing, the kindergarten wing, and we were like, well, this could be your classroom next year. And, uh, she was all excited, but we were talking with the kindergarten teacher.


And just once again, it was like, she was kind of reminiscing about some of the COVID years. And we, we were just like, I mean, if being a kindergarten teacher, wasn't hard enough add COVID to it. And we're just. She couldn't have any of her toys. She couldn't have a lot. She couldn't have so much of what she normally would have.


I still don't know how they all did it. I take my hats off to them. I didn't have to do it an idol. That was, that was a big leap and a job. But here's, here's something for a little tip for you and anyone listening to those kids in school. So please, anything, anything you love about your teacher, which believe me, like words of praise and affirmation, like yeah.


Our go a long way. And I said this the other day and they were like, oh, I'm so glad you said that. So I'll throw it out for whatever it's worth whenever you want to thank your teacher for something CC the principal, the teachers just cause you don't hear a bit enough, like get all the product. I do. I get all the problems.


I get all the, uh, all the issues, all the concerns. And it's it's that. In the middle of, you know, the month that someone says something nice and you're like, and you just hang on to it. So whenever you email your teacher, you're like, Hey, I just want you to know, thank you so much. Or sending like a $5 while a gift or something little, like, it just goes such a long way and CC the principal.


And they're just, it lights, it fills their bucket. Like someone. Yeah. I love that. It's so true. I mean the same was true in medicine, you know, you mostly just hear problems and then of course, you know, your leadership has to pass it on, especially if it's something that's truly. Uh, problem, but absolutely that one positive comment.


Yeah. I, so I love that. So there you go, everyone listening, if there's anything or maybe ask your students, it might be a good idea too, is just simply ask them. What is it that you love about your teacher? Write that into an email, CC your principals. A bright light in their day. I think that's a beautiful, easy, free, right?


So easy free. And yeah, just goes such a long way because unfortunately we remember the bad things and that's what we talk about. And it's like, let, let those good fill those moments with good things. So the teacher was more good things to think about you. And then when you have a problem with. They, they, they might come with a little bit more understanding with you, cause it's not.


Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. But if you've couched it with some things, they're like, okay, that's all right. Let's figure out how we can solve this problem together. Ooh, wow. What a construct? The criticism is much, much easier to swallow when you know that you have been bolstered by a lot of positive praise. Amen to that.


What would you say, what has been your greatest challenge in your career? Can you think of a time as a really young teacher or as a first principal? Is there a memory that you have where you were like made a major mistake? You learned a lesson from. You know, what's the hardest thing that I have faced being a I'll just pull principal out for an example.


The example here is so I, I was on the younger side of being a principal and assistant principal, and I only taught for six years. And so people really calculate how much experience you think you have and how much they think you. Are able to do the job of leading a school leading, you know, and, and when people have come from a principal who has a very strong instructional focus, um, which the principal who started this school that I'm currently in, uh, she hired the staff and she trained the staff.


So they are like at their a game. Right. And I actually never thought of myself as such an incredible instructional teacher, as much as. An incredible supporter and encourager. So yeah, there's those parts of the job that I know aren't my strength. And so people easily kind of want to nail you for that.


It's just easy to find things that aren't so right or great. And it's been really tough, just still standing up confidently, knowing that. I think people kind of like use that against you and it's in a way, but yet there are parts to me where I can encourage and support and inspire kids to become more than who they thought they were today.


Like I always felt like I was that better as a teacher. Then the instructional piece. And then there's that phrase that you hear, you know, put out there and comes around again, kids don't know how much don't care, how much, you know, until they know how much you care. And so I really built that sort of care into it.


And when I was a teacher, I had a Tuesday talk to talks on Tuesday where kids could come in, like right before the bell started the day. And we would just sit and talk and chat. And I would just love that because I just wanted to. You know, what makes you tick so that I can make whatever we're doing.


Something you can get through. Cause some kids really struggled from my experience over the years to do this thing. We call school, which is what I call it. And it's hard. It's not, you know, we expect them to do a lot and come in knowing and doing a lot in a dog, different areas. But yet how much as adults do you find people who are excellent math, excellent writers, excellent readers.


Like. We all are like, oh, I can't, I'm not good at that. Right. But in school, somehow we, we expect the kids to be good at everything. And that's, that's, that's really challenging and difficult. And so I like to highlight other things you're good at and strengths and character traits that we don't put enough focus on these days.


And, um, and actually those are the traits that people in jobs want their employees these days to be able to connect with others, problem solve all these things that we don't put a lot of weight in, and sometimes don't even count on a report card. And yet those are the things really skills that, you know, the future leaders of our country are going to need.


Do you think we put it's so interesting hearing you say this because I've already processed this a little bit. I mean, my kids are young, but just the concept of that. I don't necessarily want to push my kids to feel like they need to get A's in every class. It's more so I want to see that they are working hard and putting in the effort, you know, I could see the frustration being more.


So like if I have a kid who is exceptionally bright, Is not trying at all and is not doing well simply because he doesn't care versus the kid who works their butt off and gets a B I guess what I'm trying to ask is how has parents, can we find the balance of pushing our kids hard, but then also recognizing the letter versus the word.


Does that make sense? What I'm asking? I did not word that well at all. I need more. I think that's no, no, no. It's so important. What you're saying, because there are kids who are just brilliant and bright or their parents push them so much and they're in after-school Kumon and extra. And they're like on, uh, you know, grades above in math and reading.


But really, so right now in our, uh, PTA meetings, we're reading the book. Uh, and I can't even think of her name, Angela Duckworth. Oh my gosh. This is so great because she did studies multiple studies where she found it. Wasn't just the kids who were smart naturally and that natural talent that got kids far, it was those who could stick to it.


Those who could work hard, those who put more hours into investing in that. Those were the ones who ended up successful. So it's it's, as I've been reading this with parents, it's, it's been encouraging to them because we don't all have the Albert Einstein's as our kids. And then, and then you put a couple of kids who have this, what they call it, individual education plan, because they have special needs and now they need specialized instruction and you can sit in those meetings and come out going, oh my gosh, my kid, like can't do hardly much of.


Anything, and it can be very discouraging and just, you can just be in tears. So it's so good to hear that, you know, what the other characteristic traits that your child does have, whether they're an artist or creator or you name it, like those are the things we want to foster as well, because that's, what's going to help them get through all those difficult and boring moments of school that they might have difficulty with.


Yes, parents. It's so important. I mean, obviously you do your work and you do your studies and you, you put your time and energy into it, but your kid is at school for eight, seven or eight hours working hard. So after school, like whatever they have to do to get their homework done, et cetera, but invest in things that they love.


Because if you find what they're passionate in and it might not be what you would choose for your child. So that's really. You know, there's that piece too. Cause there's a lot of things we have our kids do cause we want them to do, or we didn't have that opportunity. So my kid's going to X, Y, and Z. Okay.


Just make sure your kids are doing what they love. And sometimes it's doing a bunch of things, realizing what they don't like to finally find out what they really love and that's okay too. Um, and so there's, there's two. Really key pieces here. Like find things your kids love because it will help them get through the boring moments of school that might be difficult for them.


And to that grit, like, yes, that sticktuitiveness, there's a lot to be said. And, and a lot of kids are just fizzling out and they don't have that endurance. And that's what we need to help foster in our kids. I think too, I've found it's really helpful when I can, um, correlate for my kids. Why. They're doing what they're doing.


Meaning if you find something that they really love, then try to somehow correlate something that they don't love. To why it might help them in what they do love. I just use piano as an example, my daughter doesn't hate it, but she does not love practicing piano, but she loves, loves, loves singing and acting.


She loves being on stage. So I tried really early on in her piano to help her understand that, you know, you're not taking piano lessons to be a pianist. You're taking piano lessons so that you can accompany yourself when you want to perform. You know, a musical number or you can accompany yourself so that you can learn the numbers better or whatever.


It's an education that supports what she really loves. So I don't, you know, I feel like that could probably be applied in some sense to what you're saying, to trying to help a kid. You know, you're not taking math to be a mathematician. You're not taking math to be an engineer. Maybe you're just taking math so that you can better understand.


Um, X's and O's on a football field. I don't know, like it's somehow correlating the two in some way, shape or form might help their young minds be like, oh, Yeah. If it makes sense to them, right? There's so many things we do at school that we just do because it's what we've always done. Right. But if we can connect it to like a real world situation or real life problem, a real, like show them where they're going to using this.


Like I was in a kindergarten class and they were reading this big book cause they made books so big in kindergarten to see the pictures. And as I was in there, just observing for a few minutes, Th the, the teacher was like, we love this author. This author is amazing. Listen to this story and they write like this.


So while she's talking, I'm Googling the T the, the author. And all of a sudden I turn around and I'm like, Hey kids, look, here's a picture of the author. And Hey kids, if you liked her books so much, and you wrote her a note saying how much you loved it, give it to me. And I'll find a way to get it to her.


You could write this author, this picture of her, right? Like you make it real for them. Like you talk about things. But however, you can make it so real to them and you should just see their faces. They were like, really? You could talk to her. Really. We could send them a letter, like yeah. Anything to really make it meaningful for them.


We always do something better when it's more meaningful. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. We're going to take a really quick break, but when we come back, we are going to chat more about Karnes expertise specifically when it comes to empowering, struggling students and parents to succeed. Right? When we come back from this break, you have tried it all worried.


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And start your own transformation story. We are back here with Caryn jacobowsky we clarify that earlier here, before the break. And first, before we talk about her expertise, we're going to play a quick round of this or that Caryn. It is very simple. You're going to get two options. You just pick one this or that cake or pie cake.


What kind of cake is your. Oh, that's a tough one, but the first one off the top of my head, a strawberry cake with like spongecake whipped cream. Oh, yum. A strawberry sponge cake with whipped cream. That's that? Well, like sponge like sponges cake or maybe yellow cake, but like stress, strawberries and whipped cream.


Ooh, that sounds still now my mouth is drooling. Would you rather teach English or math? Oh, neither. I'm kidding. English actually legit, neither but English. Fine. I wasn't going to, would you prefer. Oh, is there one subject you love teaching? Well, social studies because I would come alive with it. The kids would be like, they've called me.


Dr. J they'd be like, talk to Jay. You should be an actress because I would just make the stories come alive. You like the history and the good. And they're always like a story. So you could like change a voice. You could be like, oh my gosh, listen to this. And then that happened and you can be three at the attrical with it to get their attention more.


It was just fun. Oh, good for you. History was always like, I definitely, this is going to, some people are going to sh. Unsubscribed to my podcast for this, but like history just, oh, it always drove me nuts. I'm like, why are we learning this now? I have an appreciation for the past, but I bet it was your teacher.


Well, how is this going? I think it's the teachers that really helped me love it. That is. And then when I was in college, I had an excellent art history teacher and he, it was because of him, he made it so fascinating and make the past come alive in a really interesting theatrical way. Like what you're saying, I can see how it would have been much more, much more entertaining.


Um, okay. Kindle or old fashioned book. Oh, the book for sure. Would you rather have a personal yacht or a private jet? Oh, probably the jet. Cause I can travel farther quicker than I have so many places around the world I want to visit. So you have your private jet, where are you flying to? Oh my gosh. How long do you have like, um, south of France comes to your mind first.


I have so many places. My dream is to travel the world. Like there's so many amazing places to see it. I'm like I should be able to see, to see them. Yeah. Greece is up. Yeah, the Mediterranean. Um, I'm with you. I'll join you. I'll take the yacht. You take the jet, I'll meet you there. And then we can travel. I do like the water and see on my yacht.


Yeah. Cat or dog. Oh, actually neither. That's fair. I'm actually in the same boat as you. I mean, I guess if I had to choose probably at all over a cat. Same. I would take the dog of her cat, but we're not, we didn't grow up with animals and we've never had a pet, neither my husband and I did. So I always say I'd rather another kid than a pet.


There you go. Maybe that's why we're going to have four kids. There you go. Uh, okay. Last question. New Yorker, Paris. Oh, Paris. Cause I've never been because you've never been and you're wanting to travel the world and your jet. So of course. Right. We're going to terrace there too. I've actually heard, it's not that nice.


Think I've heard that a little too. I've heard people go to the Eiffel tower and they're like, oh, that's it. And I'm like, oh, what a let out. Like, everybody looks at this big thing. But anyway, I have heard that I have multiple friends that have said that anyway, I have not been either. It's on my bucket list to go to France.


Well, as much as we can talk about our world as babbles one day, next time you come on, I'll ask you another podcast traveling throughout the world, foreign with her, jet me with my yacht I'm in. So back to students, back to our struggling, struggling students here. So you have found mindfulness practices have drastically improved student performance, and I loved reading through your website and seeing different student testimonials.


On how specifically they've been able to apply these practices. Tell us a little bit more about this, how you discovered that this was so beneficial and how do you apply it to empowering, struggling students and parents really, to succeed. Tell us a little bit about that. So Ana, I mean, so this is my 10th year as an administrator started as an assistant principal into a principalship.


And every year I literally would look at my education diagnostician and my psychologist. And I'm like, what is wrong with these kids? Like they're coming in with more and more mental health issues. Yeah. We deal with the problems and we're not the experts in this area and get, we are stuck solving problems and it sometimes feels very impossible and that was pre COVID.


I was saying this pre COVID for several years. And then I'm always waiting around for the state to do something, to bring in more mental health supports and nada. I mean, you just hope something will change and it doesn't change. And then one day my school counselor said, Hey, my daughter, you know, goes to the neighboring public school to us and they have a mindfulness coach.


Teaching the kids mindfulness lessons. And I'm like, what is that? That's interesting. And she's so excited about it. Like what's going on here? So she's like carne. I really think we should, you know, maybe pilot this lady in our first grade, like let's just pick a class. So that year, at the end of the year, for six weeks, um, we put together some grant money, some other money, and we got this mindfulness coach to come teach mindfulness, whatever that was to keep first graders.


And the teachers were like, Are we doing and what is she doing? And we have to do what, and I'm like, you just have to watch them, sir. You're you're just in the room. You don't have to do anything. I mean, they were like not into it. I was like, what, what do we have to lose? Do you think mindfulness for a first grader?


And we throw that word, but first grader can barely sit on a stool without falling off. So it was amazing. But at the end of these six or eight weeks, the one teacher who would literally was like, what are we doing? I can't believe this. By the end of the six weeks. She's like, Karen, I can't believe I'm saying this.


I'm using the practices. She's teaching us for myself and my kids at home as well as my classroom. And I was like, are you serious? Like I saw teachers do like a 180 kids were going home and parents were like, my child is teaching their sibling. These breathing practices. Seriously, you can't even get a kid to tell you what they learned at school that day.


And they're coming home, teaching someone else, something they learned at school that day. Like I was just so drawn to it. Well, this particular coach works through mindful schools, which is a program and they offer courses. And so one of my teachers was like, carne, you really got to take one of these classes.


And I was like, Okay, fine. And then I, I, she shared at a faculty meeting and so I opened it up for all the staff, whoever wanted to, I would see how many were interested in and figure out how many I could pay in a sense. Well, it was about a handful of us, so I just paid for those, including myself. And I started embracing the practices.


I mean, I had been meditating for probably about one or two years on my own before this came along. But I, I, I learned so much more about some breathing techniques and just the power of being still and quiet and just sitting, um, you don't do any special poses. You don't put your hands certain way. You don't like, there's nothing Buddhist about it that people tend to be like, what are you really doing?


Um, which just really sitting with your eyes closed and the mindfulness that they teach us being aware of the present moment without any. And the blessings include, like listening, your senses, tasting, what do you see? What do you feel in your body? Like just noticing, and then some breathing techniques.


Like they call it ball, breath, finger, breath to teach kids some breathing techniques. Like when they're taking a test or they feel. They're self getting, you know, maybe a little anxious or stressed. And so the following year we brought the coach in for all the students for six to eight weeks. And those are some of the testimonies you read on my website and on, I have two YouTube channels.


The old one is mindfulness with Dr. Jay, which I interviewed some of the kids. Like they would use it on a test. They would use it at home when they're their mother. Working with their sibling. And they were frustrated because they wanted to help with their mom now. And I was like, these kids are like using this.


This is, this is amazing. So where I had waited and hope for years that we get more experts in mental health for our kids, all of a sudden I was like, wait a second. This month, this mindfulness practices are actually like an intervention or like a pre therapy tool, giving kids strategies. To use to help them in this area.


And I was just so, like, I ended up taking the second course to learn the lessons, started teaching to kids, putting some of them on the YouTube channel. And even last month started a weekly zoom. Mindfulness lesson with kids just for the month of March. And at the end, I was like, do you guys want to continue this on Tuesdays?


And they were like, yeah. So we're still doing it every Tuesday. Um, that's a nutshell over the years because you've been doing this for 10 years now. Obviously COVID hit, we know that mental health has become, you know, Even bigger issue for, for everybody, but certainly students, my husband's a high school teacher.


He has certainly seen it. I saw it in medicine, you know, with mental health becoming increasingly difficult, even in younger years. In addition to that, though, with COVID sending us even more virtual than social media was already doing. Tell me in your experience, what impact are you seeing sort of the virtual world, including social media.


On mental health on kids and what can we be doing as parents to help combat it? Oh gosh, social media and the virtual world. It's almost like a drug it's. So I find myself going on Facebook and literally, literally having to tell myself mentally, okay, you're stepping off now. You're closing the app. You're you're moving on.


I get, and I don't even get on it much, which is why I think I'm monitoring myself because I know how sucked into it. I get, and yet it's become second nature. To our kids at the youngest of ages now, um, kids are just like stuck on the virtual gaming. Like let's just take the world of games. So I, my recommendation to parents is really monitor the time your child is spending on it and really try to.


Blood. It not be the only thing that they are interested in. So give them those other interests and outlets to play a sport or create, get a hobby, spend time outside, outdoors in nature, and then really just give them that time to connect with other kids and play. So I interviewed one on one author on my podcast too.


Um, magnificent, and she, she shifted everything for me. I was thinking. This is going to sound bad, but I was thinking it was the parents fault that our kids were coming to school every year, over the last 10 years, with less and less social skills, which is what we were seeing. Like, this is like, what is going on?


And she said, Kids are coming to school with less and less social skills because they aren't what she calls true free play. They're not playing anymore. If she said, when I was a kid, I had three races in school. I was like three recesses. Like, are you, how did they do that to Ana? Do you know that because of that conversation I had with.


This year. And last year we put in two resources in our kindergarten, first grade class. Like nobody does that two recesses. I didn't know that. I'm so glad I only ever had one so glad. And I'm telling you, I was like, okay, however, you're going to get these kids to play the true free play, where it's not scribed and scripted.


Like they're doing whatever comes to their mind. And in that play, they're learning conflict resolution. They're learning. I want to play this, but I couldn't play it now. And patients and. She shifted it for me. I never knew it was from that. I thought it was like a parent problem. So parents, please, please, please have your kids play, play, play.


I forgot the question. You were asking me. What was did I answer? So that's great. No, that's great. I mean, there's so many things that could be expanded on this question. The question was how to the impact of your seeing social media have on end the virtual world on kids, but then how has parents. We can be intervening.


It is a heart, it's a fine line because students have to make a choice. But at the same time, as a parent myself, there's also a part of me that wants to be like, I'm the parent, you know? I mean, you hear parents say, well, they're always on their phone. And my, in my mind, I'm like, are they paying for their own phone?


Is it their phone? Are they paying for the home in which they're staying? Like you are the parent. It is within your power to stop. The boundaries. I think humbly speaking for myself, the bigger issue is that we're exhausted. I think as parents we're tired and it's easier to just let our children so easy, distract themselves with the TV.


You get a moments rest. Cause we're all going 110 miles an hour, do a way too much. Like just another interview that I had. I was like, what's one thing you want to leave our listeners with. And she's like, Yeah, slow down. Like we are doing so many things in assisting. Like we think we have to, and it's like, just check in with yourself and, um, and I think it's, it's powerful.


Yeah. What you're saying, there's two things that I think personally, when it comes to social media is that, well, the one I interviewed some high schoolers and they were like Caryn. It's the first thing we do. When we wake up in the morning, we check our social media feed, who said, what? Who responded? Who, who.


Like that's how addicting this is. And they take their identity from it, whether someone liked or didn't like anything that happened. And, and, and I, I call social media. It is moments of people's beautiful lives. Like. Okay. You think their life looks like that all the time and you psychologically then start comparing you feel like you don't match.


No, it is a moment in their life. And that's what I've told myself. It's a moment. There are moments. Just life is not all like. Well, so you can be like, well, my life must suck. Yeah. When you compare it to something perfect all the time and it's, that's the deception of it. It's not all the time. It is moments.


And we all have those beautiful moments and we all have crummy moments and I'm learning. It's okay to be, feel about the crummy side because actually people connect with that more because we all experience pain, but yet we all want to throw out there the beautiful and the perfect and et cetera. Yeah, and I want to throw out there too.


I mean, phones are in, my kids are younger right now for me. The conversation is more TV and limiting, limiting that type of entertainment. But I think even phones, you know, my husband and I have already been trying to integrate this as adults because when our kids do have phones, we will implement this, but we're going to have charging a charging station.


That'll be in the main area of our house. This is what my husband and I currently do. And then, um, when we get home or our kids are home, we put our phones. At, well, I do, my husband's getting better at it. He's getting better, but putting it in a kind of a home-based location where it stays there. So it's not constantly in my pocket or, you know, readily available.


And it's much harder for me to just go check my phone cause I have. In our kitchen at a home base. And I think that's one way, if it rings, you can still hear it. Your kids can still hear it, but it's not just on their person all of the time. So it gives them some separation or else that social interaction never ends.


And it's like, you're saying even as teenagers, there has to be some sort of separation free play. It might look different as they get older, but. So that's one strategy, find a home base for your phone, keep it out of your bedroom. I did a whole different podcast on that. And then another thought I would have for the elementary school kids that we do is it's work sometimes, but it does help in the end.


If you keep at it is, um, instead of entertaining through TV, our kids don't watch TV Monday through Thursday. They only get TV on the week. And then we forced them to read. We get asked a lot. How do you see, how do you get your kids to read so much? And we're like, because we don't let them watch TV. It's just a no.


And sometimes I am really mad at myself that I have implemented that rule. I know we forced them to read. We all lay on the couch and we read, and my youngest who can't read yet, she draws and like, and I lay and read with them, you know? So like my own book, I'm not reading to them. I'm reading my own book.


They're reading their. So I'm still getting a break. Anyway, I'm throwing that out as option something, if you can. Yes. Yes. That's so good. And if a parent is listening and they're like, so what age should I let my kid go on social graph or have a phone? And I interviewed a guy who, oh gosh, he had so much to say about the pandemic and teens and anxiety.


And oh my God. And he, he, from his research, they say the age is 13 that you could may consider allowing your kid to go on social media. I still think that feels young, but then again, it gets hard when all of your peers are on it and you're not. And then at what age do you end up letting your child, but 13 was what he said.


So I'll just throw that out there for anybody who is interested or wants to consider that. But I did not know that age. And again, it always feels like it's two years. Than what it should be, but I don't know. I'm sure we'll change ours. We're like, not until you're driving


drive until you're 21. So, um, I know it's, it's gotta be really tough and hard, but you're right. Valuing the in-person things and, and things like reading. Just, just try to keep a mix of it. Keep it balanced. Maybe it just balances as a word to think about. It's a quiet, it's kinda like what you're talking about with mindfulness.


It's a slightly different, but it's still that sense that it's not filled with noise and constant motion and moving pictures. And you know, it's a book where you're, they're now using their imagination or they're drawing or coloring. There's still a sense of rest and stillness. Um, as opposed to just the noise, the constant noise.


Even if it's just like information, you know, that social media is, or the internet is it's just noise in our brains constantly. You have the sprays that you use. And, um, I want to kind of wrap up the conversation with the concept of connection before correction, and then. Pulling out from that being the foundation of kind of how you've approached everything in your academy that you've created in all of your resources, which is what I'm.


So, uh, you know, have so much respect for you and how you have approached these things. Tell us about connection before correction. You've touched on it a little bit and then give us if you're able your three best tips for empowering, struggling students. Specifically connection before correction. So it all comes from this positive behavior approach that I learned like 12 years ago from Dr.


Abla. He came to the state of Delaware. He spoke to six school districts and I was on a team for my district that went and ever since I heard it, I was like, yes, that is the way we should be handling kids with behavior issues. Cause it's sinked with. My low self-esteem that I thought of myself probably when I was in trouble.


So many times kid and, and it's like the underdog and it's like, I guess I have such a heart for the underdog. Cause I couldn't. Cause I kind of was blind. And so I really, really like I'm in their shoes when that kid's in trouble. Like I know what they felt feel like. Cause I was there. And so the, the connection before correction was.


I think that my, my school psychologist it's it's out there. It's not really anything that new, but if what I ended up doing as an assistant principal was. All the kids that were had the most behavior referrals and the school. I ended up having lunch with, with them once a week and they could bring one friend and we would play, you know, it's crazy kids, kids, kindergarten, fifth grade love, you know, it's the easiest, simplest thing.


So we'd eat lunch and we play UNO and we would have such a good time and I'm like a kid at heart. So I just like laugh and, and like, shoot, like literally shoot the breeze with them. Like, no, like no pretends, nothing. We're just, we're just connecting, right? We're just having fun wherever you are. There I am.


And we had so much fun and it was, might've been the highlight in their week because they were kids who tend to get in trouble a lot. And then people see them as the kid who's always in trouble. And then they, they get this whole rapport and see themselves a certain way. And I, I never wanted that to happen for them.


So I would have like these fun times with them and invest in the trust between us, so that when they got in trouble. Okay. You know, This is, you really can't do this. Like, and they would listen to me and it wasn't so like, oh, you're the assistant principal or we're going to the principal's office because we're in trouble again.


No, it was a connection so that they could actually learn from the situation. And then my three takeaways for kids and parents with your kid, who's struggling, um, maybe academically or socially or behaviorally. The first thing is. Practice not talking to your kid when you are upset, just start there. We always were.


Okay. I regret it. When I yell, we had changed students international school exchange students because I don't have kids of my own and I would end up getting frustrated with them, like getting ready for school. And I have a meeting don't, you know, I have an important meeting. I woke you up and you're still not in the car.


So the times I would get upset and frustrated or yell, et cetera, I always felt bad. I regretted that I did that, but in the moment it's like, I am so frustrated. So what I teach parents and we go through a lot first is just one simple thing. Just start noticing and practicing that. You're not going to talk to your kid when you're upset.


Like the non-negotiable I call it a non-negotiable like, just like, you're going to cut yourself. We're at the habit of it. So it's hard, you know how long it takes to break a habit. But yeah, just check yourself. I, I'm not gonna talk to my kid when I'm set. The second piece is I'm not going to talk to my kid.


Until my kid is calm. You never get anywhere with them and it just gets worse and you get frustrated and then you feel like you can't connect with them and then they shut down and then they're just gone. Like there there's no coming back after that. So two things you'll check yourself, you know? And there's simple things you could say, like I'm really upset right now.


And we'll talk about it in the. Or terrorist, but then make sure you talk about it. Make sure. Cause that's easy. I've been there. It's like set a time. You walk away for a minute and then you're like, oh, I just don't even feel like it. And then you don't talk about it. And so your kids just like, oh, well, great.


I'll set a timer. Make sure you talk about it. Type two, two hours, three hours later. I don't care. Like sometimes teachers would bring kids in from recess and they kicked the kid and then it's lunchtime and they'd be sit in the office and I'd be like, Behind closed doors, the teacher would be like, oh, I know.


Did I say that? I'm kidding. I probably said it so fast, but behind closed doors, like. Even when you're in prison, you eat lunch. Like the kid goes to lunch and then I will talk to them. And nine times out of 10, the kid was not in and upset and can't think straight and tell you his name anyway, like, like stop, just stop.


And you can't make a kid calm down faster than they're going to calm down. So not that can happen in every situation because I know there's life and you've got to get things and do sometimes you have to just kick that kid. I'm laughing. Cause as a parent first time that I'm like you do. I said this and they are not listening.


And it's like, the only thing you can do is throw something out. Then we're like smack. They're like, no, it's true. It's true. So when you not advocating, kicking your kids, but you know what I'm saying? Let your kid calm down before you're going to talk to them and, and don't stare at them. Like, just leave them off to the, to the side.


Just do your thing, but keep them in your peripheral. No one likes to be stared at anyway. If you just get, don't give them the attention. Eventually they will calm down. And then the third thing is you're going to have to buy my course on my website to hear the rest of it. No, I'm just kidding because there's like steps.


How you get to that. There's how you, how you talk. You have to use the empathetic voice. I don't care if you don't feel like it. Yeah, but, but if you're calm, you'll be more empathetic when you're ready to say something to them. And I, I swear, they're going to get me a shirt when I retire that says what's up with that because that's the magic question.


You end up asking them when you're calm and they're calm. Hey, I noticed you kicked you on the playground. Like what's up with that. And that's literally how you say, and they just stare at you because. Nobody ever talks to me like that. Nobody ever asks you a question. Cause what do we say? You know, better.


I didn't teach you that. You're uh, you know, you're a jacobowsky jacket basket. Like we just, no, no, no, no, no. Duh. It's like, I just say this to parents. I'm like, you. Shut up, just stop you disengage and the emotional they are mirrors of us. So you get elevated. Don't be surprised they can help you calm down.


They will eventually calm down and when they're calm and in control of their body, it's like what I like to say. You look calm and in control. Yeah, another great open-ended question that I've found is really helpful with my kids. For those of you listening is so what's on your mind. It's like before I even start with what's on my mind, because I've got all kinds of things to say, I do try to start with after I've calmed down.


Cause I, you know, we all have the kids that drive us more crazy than others. Let's be honest. We all do. Whether we're a teacher, whether we're a parent. And somehow we need longer to recover with a certain child than we do a different one. But with all of them, I do find it as helpful to ask them first, give them the first word, give them the opportunity by just the open-ended.


So what's on your mind. Uh, Gloria gold. You have to listen to me. Yes. Oh yeah. There's, there's hard parts to this, but it's so worth it. Once you practice it enough and you have success with it enough, there's no, like I can't go back. It is how I treat every kid when they're in trouble and Gloria gold. Uh, she's, she's an awesome author, uh, writes about kids and behaviors and stuff.


And she said, Karen, behind every behavior, there's a story. And this process gets to the story and I am always amazed. At the story behind the action. Cause it ma sometimes it's not related to what I saw in that instant. Right. And you get to start unpacking the real need. And could you imagine if you really knew the need of your child and not just what you saw happen, but get to the root of it?


Like who wouldn't want. Yeah, that's beautiful. And then I think it also speaks to the idea of even as a parent or as a teacher, you can learn to be proactive as opposed to reactive, because if you can address the underlying behavior that initially, you know, or the underlying story that initially caused the response, it might be helpful to have.


Prevent it again in the future. Maybe I can learn from it. Cause kids either it's a problem to be solved. And that's the problem-solving process you go through, which has more steps to it. Or it's a skill they need to be taught. And we can't assume the kid knows how to do it. Even if we feel like we've talked to them a million times, it could be something they need taught one more time.


So it's either a lagging skill or it's a problem. Yeah. And sometimes you just repeat yourself over and over and over again. Yeah. It, it makes me laugh. Sometimes I find myself getting more and more ridiculous as like I'm repeating. My daughter is she's such a fighter, my youngest one, and she refuses to put her seatbelt on.


We're slowly getting. Like, she still sits in like a booster seat and she's such a booger and it's like a seat. It's a big deal. You know? And I worked in a trauma, ER, I've seen the horror stories and so it just, every single time, it's this battle. And the other day she just is such a fighter. She's like, well, mommy, I'm just going to do the top bit.


And I said, no, you need to do three points. All of them do the two bases as well. No, I'm only going to do one. And then she said, what's going to happen if I don't. And like my re reasons are getting more and more ridiculous. I'm like, But the stinking thing on, and then she said, well, what happens if I put one on and I'm like, you'll lose your leg.




laughing to myself. I was like, the conversation was getting more and more ridiculous. And I was sounding like the stupid one anyway. Oh, that does say sometimes we do just sound like you just have to keep plugging away and really to keep plugging away. Every parent teachers you can. Oh my gosh. Okay. Tell us about your course.


You have this incredible course. You also have a podcast. We want to know all the places that we can find you, but tell us a little bit, what will. Yeah. So my website educational impact academy has the course that I finally recorded because I've taught it live twice. It's a six week course, one hour a week.


And, um, so I, you could sign up on my website for my email list. So you get the next email. I launched the course live. Some people like it live on zoom. Like, let me, let me phone in. Let me listen. If you're like on the go, just give it to me while I can. Then I recorded the course for you. So take it at your own pace.


Um, and the podcast is magnificent and it's any, and all things related to raising kids, just finding authors specialists, former heads of school, high school students, just across the country. Just bringing information to you where it's easy. It's quick on the go. Give me something I can use today. Great.


And then I take all those and put them on my YouTube channel. Education mill Inc. Impact academy is the YouTube channel because some people like to watch it and there's like the listen YouTube, you can do both. So it's on several platforms, whatever works for you. But, um, I have a Facebook group called happy.


Mom's happy kids. And I just post in there twice a day. Just inspirational things and little videos and some snippets of interviews. If you can't hear the whole thing. So. Ton of different ways. I'll give you all this information to put in the prescription notes and yeah, if you ever have a question or you want to do something more, she didn't my way.


Cause that's how I bring in more guests to what the parents are looking and need help with. I love that. Yes, all of this is going to be on the podcast. Show [email protected] and, um, the educational impact Um, is her website. And then the course is there, if anything that Karen is saying is resonating with you and if you, I mean, listen, I have students and they're only in third and first grade and it's resonating with me.


So I can imagine what she's saying is resonating with a lot of people. I highly recommend checking that out, signing up for her course and certainly follow her on social media. Current is such an honor to have you here. I love chatting every time, every time that we did. Me to Ana I'm like, oh man, we're done.


This is so much fun. I have to like cut my answers short because I'm like, this is so funny that jet where's that jet best burn. And I are flying to Europe. We'll see. Y'all let's watch out. It's coming kids, not coming kids staying.


And daddy can get you to put your seat belt on. I love the day. She finally does it. Oh my gosh. Look back and be like, are you serious? It took us out or just a light job will be done on the habit. Thank you so much for joining us for this episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. It is my honor to be here with you.


So grateful for each and every one of you. If you were watching on YouTube, be sure to click the subscribe button below. So you don't miss a show and leave a comment with your thoughts from today's episode below. If you are listening via your preferred podcasting platform, would you help keep us on the.


By rating our show and leaving an honest review of your thoughts from today in case you haven't heard it lately, your story matters and you are loved. This is your host on a former, and I will see you here next time on the, in perfectly empowered podcast.


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