Kathy Salazar’s “Practical Parent Talk” Is All Talk AND Action

Don’t have time to speed-read the latest 300-page parenting book? No, you don’t either?! Well, then you might want to look into a “Parent Talk” program in your area ASAP.

Parent Talk books and materials by author and creator Chick Moorman. These are the basis of Kathy Salazar's "Practical Parenting Talk" system.

Parent Talk books and materials by author and creator Chick Moorman. These are the basis of Kathy Salazar’s “Practical Parent Talk” system.

Kathy Salazar is Long Beach’s (CA) local expert on the extremely accessible and easy-to-use global parenting system of books and seminars known as Parent Talk by Chick Moorman. The core idea behind the Parent Talk system is not to focus on why a child does the things they do, but how we can focus our own language, tone, and words to change the child’s responses, actions, and behavior. It’s about choices and consequences, not right from wrong, not bad from good. By simply changing how we parents talk with our children, versus talking to or at them, we can help lay the foundation for building up empowered, independent, responsible, confident, and thoughtful kids.

Kathy Salazar holding up one of Chick Moorman's "Parent Talk" books. She's a certified instructor of the system by the same name.

Kathy Salazar holding up one of Chick Moorman’s “Parent Talk” books. She’s a certified instructor of the system by the same name.

Kathy’s series of classes and tutorials, which she’s coined as Practical Parent Talk, takes Chick Moorman’s program a step further. From her 25 years of experience in the Long Beach City College’s Child Development and Parent Education programs to her overlapping years of being a certified Parent Talk facilitator, Kathy’s dissected the Parent Talk tips, mixed them with her seasoned teaching experience, and put it all into easy-to-digest, bite-size pieces for those of us learning on the job every single day (that job being parenting). Because she makes it all so easy to understand and put into use, there’s no practice period required and no extra time necessary to understand how it will work. The point I’m making here is that it works immediately; Kathy’s Practical Parent Talk tips are immediate-use tools that all parents can carry out the moment they leave class and reunite with their kids.

Thank you to Coastal Cuties' founder Andrea Salisbury (R) for opening your home to us and inviting Kathy Salazar (L) to speak to the group Friday!

Thank you to Coastal Cuties’ founder Andrea Salisbury (R) for opening your home to us and inviting Kathy Salazar (L) to speak to the group Friday!

Parents take note, literally, during Kathy Salazar's "A Taste of Parent Talk" introductory course for Coastal Cuties. She talked Friday to part of the group, and it's on me to pass along the good word to those who missed it (!).

Parents take note, literally, during Kathy Salazar’s “A Taste of Parent Talk” introductory course for Coastal Cuties. She talked Friday to part of our group, and now it’s on me to pass along the good word to those who missed it (!). Thankfully no one is counting on my photography here (sorry so blurry as I was busy taking notes myself!).

Kathy spoke to small gathering of the Coastal Cuties Parenting Co-operative Friday morning. The 20 or so parents, grandparents, and other care-givers in attendance listened to Kathy’s “A Taste of Parent Talk” one-hour introductory seminar. Her brief Practical Parent Talk overview refocused and re-energized the room so much so that our group’s now considering hiring her to return and teach a private series of classes just for us (a two-hour a week, six-week commitment)!

A mom takes notes during Kathy Salazar's "Practical Parent Talk" Friday.

A mom takes notes during Kathy Salazar’s “Practical Parent Talk” Friday.

Yes, I know, I said most of us don’t have time to sit and read a 300-page book BUT we do have time to commune with others just like us and learn from not just an expert but from one another. That’s the spirit of Parent Talk also: We are all in this together, whether it’s parents and parents, parents and their kids, or entire families and the community. I only wish now that I’d had known of Kathy’s courses when I wrote this post (my apologies, RMT’ers, and to you as well, Kathy – whoops).

I plan to share what I and the others learned over a series of posts in the next few weeks. Even though the session was just one hour, it would be far too much information to share in a single post. To start, today I will share the tips we got from Kathy about getting our kids to help around the house with chores. This was the original intent when inviting Kathy to our group to speak, so I figured I’d begin here.

How to Create a Family Chore Chart
(from Kathy Salazar’s “A Taste of Parent Talk” class Friday March 8, 2013)

NOTE: To those RMT’ers who’ve been with me for a while (a while meaning since summer 2011, 300-something posts ago around the time that I started the blog), you might recall that wrote about our chore experiences when T was much younger. Still, despite our own early successes (lucky us really), I still wish I had Kathy’s information to start from even back then.

There are 3 columns to the Chore Chart, which are:

1. The Chores. What needs to be done? Dishwasher unloaded? Laundry sorted, folded, put away? Vacuuming? Make a list of each item and put them under the first column.

2. Deadline. When does each job/ chore need to be done? Daily? Weekly? Do remember to give a bit of learning curve leeway for those new to the chore. Assign each chore a deadline in the second column.

3. Completed. Was the chore completed? Was the job sufficient (please focus on age-appropriateness here, not how you might have done the work!)? On time? If so, check it off in the third column. Think of “completion” as the new star, but rather than this being a good-bad or rewards-punishment system, this of it as simply a series of answers to yes-no questions.

After the chore period ends, Kathy says it’s time for another family meeting. Think of this as a “debriefing.” If there were items on the chore chart left undone, then discuss how the chore can be done more completely and/or in a timelier manner next time. Remember also to focus on what was completed and to mention (with gusto!) any remarkable improvements from the week before. Always focus on jobs well done. People of any age love to hear about how helpful and accomplished they are, especially kids!

More tips and troubleshooting for setting up your chore charts from Kathy:

– Call a family meeting to compile your chore list (step 1). Everyone should be involved so they know what needs to get done on a daily-weekly-monthly basis.

– At the family meeting, first ask for volunteers on who would like to do which job. This means kids AND parents! Does someone have a favorite chore? If so then assign that person that job.

– Do two people like the same chore(s)? If so, then assign an alternating or “teamwork” task to that particular item(s).

– No one is stepping up to take a task(s)? If so, then let those person(s) know that the choice here is that they choose a chore(s) or that the parent running the team meeting/ chore assignment chart will assign the chore(s) for them. Choices bring Consequences!

Reflection: Are you noticing a wild inconsistency to your chore habits and a list of chores left undone week after week? Yes, we all are busy. Whether it’s busy schedules and long to do lists or lots of places to be and places to go, the truth is that there are only so many hours in a day-week-month despite our best efforts to stretch that time. How we choose to spend our time (such as signing up for a school volunteer effort instead of doing a chore) elicits consequences (such as a chore being left undone). This could mean that it’s time for a different (not better, not worse) choice. After eliminating other items from the schedule and to-do list, did you get different results? Did you get the results you wanted? If not, try another choice next time. Sometimes it just comes down to saying no to or removing a few things from the schedule to make time and room for other things (a-ha!).

Coming soon on RMT, look for posts on additional topics, such as:
The Antidote to the “I Can’t” Chant. Does your child say “I can’t!” non-stop? Kathy’s tips will help you “pretend play” your way through this phase.
“Please make a different choice.” Here, Kathy gives four steps that parents can implement to help empower kids to solve problems independently without judgment and with limited assistance.
Instruct Instead of Tell. Research states that on any given day, parents tell preschoolers what to do an average of 250 times. WOW! No wonder they might be just as annoyed with us as we are with them! So stop annoying one another and learn Kathy’s Parent Talk techniques on how to better communicate with your child to get to the end-results you want.
Promoting Independence with the 4-D Model, a Parent Talk Technique. Through Direction, Doing, Debriefing, and Deciding, Kathy guides parents and kids through the best practices of how to introduce new behaviors. This model can be used for the youngest child in making the bed for the first time or for the teenager when it comes time for the first drive of the family car.

RMT’ers, have you used any of the “Parent Talk” methods and tools? If so, please share your results. For more information on Kathy Salazar’s “Practical Parent Talk” (both for parents-only and her parent-and-me preschool sessions via Long Beach Parks and Recreation), please visit her website, or contact her via her web page or call her at (714) 803-9928.