Even children in preschool can enjoy books and learn from sharing books with you. Sharing books with your children can help them learn to talk better and get them ready to listen and learn in school.
Making Books A Part of Your Child’s Bedtime Routine
Set aside 20 to 30 minutes with the TV off for sharing books as part of your regular bedtime routine. Regular bedtime routines started when children are young help prevent future bedtime struggles. Teaching your children how to fall asleep alone by putting them in bed awake helps prevent future night wakings.
4 Year Olds Can:
What Parents Can Do:
Committee on Early Childhood (Copyright © 1994 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
You are tired and frazzled but have managed to get supper ready. The kids have scattered toys, papers, coats, and shoes from one end of the house to the other. You’ve instructed them to pick up and help set the table. They are not responding like you want. What can you do?
Getting children to complete chores can easily turn into a battle of nagging. We tend to get into the habit of nagging when children act as if they haven’t heard us, or we feel a reasonable time has elapsed to complete the still undone job. We can find ourselves spouting orders and feeling like a drill sergeant, or falling into other negative patterns such as yelling, blaming, threatening, lecturing, or name calling.
Skills To Gain Cooperation:Faber and Mazlish* outline the following five strategies:
Acknowledging emotions can help a child feel understood and more cooperative. Children can feel manipulated by any strategy when their feelings are disregarded or the relationship is reduced to a formula (I say this, now you respond).
Building time to enjoy each other can keep a relationship strong. Research indicates that positive experiences with parents enable children to better handle stress and negative emotions.
These components can help us nurture an emotional atmosphere where cooperation can grow and flourish.
Author: Patricia Faughn, M.Ed
University of Illinois Extension
*Source: A. Faber, E. Mazlish. How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, 1980.
Whether it is July 4 or a special celebration, how to help kids enjoy the showIf your child is afraid of fireworks, certain celebrations can quickly become not-so-fun for your family. July 4 festivities, fireworks after a baseball game, even after-hour celebrations at Disney World suddenly go from happy events to places you need to leave as quickly as possible.
It's not surprising that fireworks are something that many little kids are not fans of. While beautiful and awe-inspiring and downright magical, they are often very loud.
Even shows put on by the professionals often include more than their fair share of booms, bangs, and pops.
And just because your kids are happy with the fireworks at first, it doesn't mean that contentment will last. Many little kids are able to sit through one show, but the next time they attend, end up leaving in tears. If a fireworks celebration is in your near future, there are things you can do to help your preschooler enjoy the festivities, rather than want to flee from them. Here's how:
Prepare them ahead of time. Given the chance, most little kids would want to like fireworks, it's just that the unexpected noise freaks them out. So do some preventative work. Explain to your preschooler where you are going and exactly what they are going to see and hear. Talk about how while fireworks are loud, they can't hurt your child or anyone in the family because they are so far away.
Ask questions. Find out from your child what it is exactly he or she doesn't like about fireworks.
The noise? The flashes of light? The dark sky? Once you know exactly what it is that is causing your child to be afraid, you can come up with a strategy to help him or her enjoy the show.
Answer questions. For some kids, it isn't the noise part of the fireworks that is scary, it's the balls of fire falling from the sky that cause some concerns.
So talk to your child and explain that the fireworks are very, very high up in the sky and won't be able to hurt anyone.
Do some homework. Hit the local library for a fireworks display movie, or do a google search of firework movies. Show your preschooler ahead of time exactly what they can expect -- the sights and the sounds.
Give your child fear-fighting tools. A pair of noise-cancelling headphones can do wonders for a child who doesn't like the sounds of fireworks. A light blanket will help a child who simply wants to take peeks at the bright lights, rather than take everything in at once. A flashlight is sure to please those kids that are afraid of the dark. And for those kids who are simply unsure about everything, can you park your car near enough to the display so your child can go inside of it if things get too intense? Letting your child know you will do what you can to help will go a long way to easing their fears.
Let time do its thing. If your 3-year-old isn't a fan of fireworks, your future 4-, 5-, or 6-year old probably will be.
So don't push the issue. Don't be afraid to skip the show for now, knowing that in the coming years your child will be right by your side, cheering on the fun.
Author: By Amanda Rock
By Wendy C. Fries
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Your 3 to 5 year old is starting to show her true colors.
You probably noticed your preschooler's unique personality peeking out those first few months of life --reaching eagerly for a rattle or perhaps pushing away a teddy bear. But between the ages of 3 and 5, your child's personality is really going to emerge.
What sorts of changes can you expect during the preschool years, and what can parents do to help their child blossom? Or should you even try intervene at all?
Self-Expression and (a Little) Self ControlFrom age 3 to 5, kids are becoming more comfortable expressing themselves with words, says Kirby Deater-Deckard, psychology professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and author of Parenting Stress.
During these years, preschoolers also gain more self-control. They begin to rely less on you and others and more on themselves. They're learning how to calm themselves when they get excited, frightened, or upset, and they're becoming more attentive and less emotionally reactive.
Preschoolers are also building their self-confidence. And they're "gaining lots of experience in learning how to treat others," Deater-Deckard says.
By age 5, kids typically start showing more concern for mom and dad, at last starting to understand that you have your own needs and feelings. They also begin to show affection more easily, develop a fantasy life, and may see-saw between being demanding and being cooperative.
Ways You Can Help Your Child's Personality GrowWhile your child's personality will blossom on its own naturally, there's actually a lot you can do to help as well as a few things to avoid.
1. Remember that your child is unique. "Children differ in remarkable ways from each other in their budding personalities," Deater-Deckard says. That includes siblings. Ultimately, "healthy personality development is fostered by parentingthat is sensitive and responsive to the individual strengths and needs of the child."
2. Encourage play. Play is a huge influence on a child's development. Pediatrician Tanya R. Altmann, author of Mommy Calls: Dr. Tanya Answers Parents' Top 101 Questions About Babies and Toddlers, says giving kids time to play is key to helping your child's personality blossom.
Play helps kids develop physically, mentally, and emotionally. It teaches them to work in groups, settle conflicts, develop their imagination, and try on different roles. When kids play, they practice decision-making, learn to stand up for themselves, create, explore, and lead.
3. Avoid labels. You want your child's personality to develop on its own without being shaped by your (or anyone else's) views. So avoid labeling your preschooler with words like shy, bossy, emotional, or tough.
4. Set an example. You're probably the person your preschooler sees and imitates the most. So it's up to you to model politeness, sharing, and patience.
5. Realize it's nature and nurture. Don't chalk up your child's personality to just his or her nature or the nurturing you provide. Both matter, Deater-Deckard says, and both work "together to create the diversity of children’s and adults' personalities."
6. Let your child be himself or herself, not an image of you. Maybe you're very outgoing, focused, quiet, or shy. You may want your child to be like that, too. But it's much more important that your child be him or herself and that your child make friends and meet the world in his or her own way.
There are more ways to help your child's personality grow. For instance, reading to your preschooler can be an important key, Altmann says. She also favors limiting television time.
Other experts recommend supporting your preschooler's interests and broadening your child's experiences. How you help your child's personality develop just may turn out to be as unique as your child.
Should You Try to Change Your Preschooler?
Preschoolers should be allowed to be themselves while still being encourage to try out things that may seem to stretch their emerging personalities.
By the preschool years, Deater-Deckard says, the major parts of personality are already pretty stable. But they're not rigid. "People change," Deater-Deckard says, and the parts of us that make up our personalities have a certain amount of flexibility.
Deater-Deckard suggests that instead of trying to change your child's personality, focus on giving the child experiences "that may support growth in new directions."
"I encourage parents to enjoy and even relish each child’s individual qualities and strengths," Deater-Deckard says, "while they try to figure out how to respond to that same child’s more challenging or difficult behaviors."
Deater-Deckard's main advice for parents is to "strive to create a loving and supportive environment, rather than trying to make the child become like a particular kind of person."
By Wendy C. Fries
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Children Love to Learn
Children do best when they know what to expect.
In the morning:
Read at bedtime. This helps your child:
This is a great way to spend time together and share family traditions, while also teaching good eating habits and table manners.
Take Time to Talk and ListenChildren feel important when adults take the time to talk with them. Talking often, and about many things, helps them gain self-confidence. Ask about friendships and the activities that your child enjoys. Talk about your own best and worst experiences.
Ask your child:
Assign ResponsibilityWhen young children copy everyday household tasks, they are really learning how to contribute. With your support, tasks will soon be done with few reminders. As children grow older, they can begin to take on real responsibilities, such as:
Encourage Independence in Bathing and DressingAt first, this may take a little more time than helping your child get dressed or take a bath, but
it is time well spent. Independence comes with practice, and with your guidance.
If you get the clothes ready the night before, the morning routine will involve only getting dressed. This way, your child can focus on just one thing. Your child may need to be reminded of all the steps.
“You did a great job getting yourself ready for school today!”
Teach Simple Rules About Safety with AdultsKeeping children safe is an important job for parents. You want your child to respect and trust others, but you also need to teach your child to be careful. Following are some simple rules and ways that you can start a conversation with your child about different safety issues.
For parents struggling to find ways to encourage their kids to eat a healthy and balanced diet, gardening can be an important tool. Don’t let the idea overwhelm you. Gardening doesn’t require a perfectly level, large or sunny backyard. Try planting in a small raised bed or growing a few edibles in existing landscaping. Lean a trellis against an outside wall to grow beans or other edible vines. If you don’t have a lot of outdoor space, a few containers and soil in a sunny spot can be an easy way to grow herbs or some sweet cherry tomatoes that kids won’t be able to resist. Plants like zucchini, radishes and herbs are fairly easy to grow without a lot of fuss, making them a great return on your investment. The much bigger return is how planting a garden can affect not only your child’s body but also their brain and soul.
How gardening can affect the BRAIN:
There is a myriad of scientific concepts you can discuss with your kids when planting and tending to a garden. One study showed that children who participated in gardening projects scored higher in science achievement than those who did not. The wonder of seeing a garden grow may spark your kids to ask questions like: Why do the plants need sun? How does the plant “drink” water? Why are worms good for the plants? Soon you will be talking about soil composition, photosynthesis and more! Add a little math while gardening by measuring how much plants are growing from week to week or counting the flowers on each plant. Supplement the experience of gardening with books about plants, trips to a botanical garden, or a photo journal of the plants that you are growing.
Once you harvest your produce, think of all the brain-building vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients your kids will be eating and how that will continue to boost brain development. Foods like spinach, garlic and beets (which are all easy to grow) have been show to help with cognitive function and can give your kids an advantage in their growth and development. Even if kids may not love the foods they grow at first, teach them to keep tasting and trying and to train their taste buds to enjoy the bounty of their garden.
How gardening can affect the BODY:
When children participate in gardening, the fruits and vegetables that they are inspired to eat will no doubt have a positive effect on their body. But the act of gardening itself can also promote a healthy body. Kids LOVE to get their hands and feet in the dirt, which can run counter to the modern parenting style of compulsively keeping hands and surfaces cleaned and sanitized. However, consider the “hygiene hypothesis,” a theory that a lack of childhood exposure to germs actually increases a child’s susceptibility to diseases like asthma, allergies and autoimmune conditions by suppressing the development of the immune system. So getting dirty while gardening may actually strengthen a child’s immunity and overall health.
These days all kids could benefit from a little more physical activity and sunshine they’ll get while gardening. Activities like moving soil, carrying a heavy watering can, digging in the dirt and pushing a wheelbarrow can promote gross motor skills and overall strength for a more fit body. Plus, these activities, known as “heavy work,” have been shown to help kids stay calm and focused.
How gardening can affect the SOUL:
In this electronic age, kids need time for meaningful family connection. Time in the garden allows for team building and promotes communication skills. Planning a garden, planting the seeds and watching them grow give kids a sense of purpose and responsibility. Making sure that the plants get enough fertilizer, water and sun fosters mindfulness. The concepts learned while gardening, like composting food scraps for fertilizer or using gathered rainwater, can show kids a deep respect and responsibility for taking care of our planet.
Furthermore, studies show that when children have contact with soil during activities like digging and planting, they have improved moods, better learning experiences and decreased anxiety. Most important, the self-esteem a child gets from eating a perfect cucumber that he grew himself is priceless
Courtesy; PBSParents.org Authors:By Nimali Fernando, MD, MPH and Melanie Potock, MA, CCC-SLP
Emotional Health, Family Life, Science
Are children born optimistic or do they learn it from their environment?Every parent dreams of having children who are secure, well adjusted, and generally happy and positive in life. But what gives children a happy disposition? Are they born optimistic or is this dependent on their environment?
Bella A. Villarin, guidance counselor at the Ateneo de Manila High School, describes the optimistic child as someone who is “bubbly, always smiling, laughs with gusto, has excitement coming from within, sociable, assertive and confident.”
According to her, optimism is more than just being happy or looking at the brighter side of things. “It is likewise recognizing that there are little rocks along the way of life and that through hard work these challenges may be overcome. Optimism is synonymous to wellness,” she says.
Optimism: Inborn or acquired?
Villarin says that a child’s optimism may both be inborn and acquired. “There is the heredity factor. Genes that make up outgoing and assertive people may produce an optimistic child,” she says.
Another factor is the mother’s disposition when pregnant with her child. “While in the womb, a baby usually imbibes the nature of the mother,” Villarin adds.
But for those mothers who may have had difficult or emotionally stressful pregnancies, all is not lost. Villarin adds that a child’s optimism may also be acquired through a conscious effort from the people who are raising the child, and his child’s environment. “When a child is in a nurturing environment and is allowed to express herself and her feelings, then this contributes to a happy well-being,” she adds.
Happy parents, happy children
Have you noticed that when you’re in a bad mood, your child also becomes a bit agitated or somewhat reserved? A parent’s frame of mind, attitude and character can affect and even shape the personality of a child.
Villarin advises parents to reevaluate the goals, values and principles they’d like to impart to their kids. “Parents should sit down as a couple and share their views in life. From these, they should check how they can blend their priorities and raise their children to how they want them to be,” she advises.
It is important for a child to be in a setting that lives out the life that you want your child to eventually lead. Villarin adds, “Children model according to what they see. They learn from parents how problems are tackled, decisions are made and values are put to use. How you handle your life will definitely reflect on your children.”
Kathy M. Santos, mother of two, says, “Before I couldn’t help but be moody and tired when I’d come home from work especially when I had to deal with a difficult customer or I couldn’t resolve a problem at work. I noticed that my children would be reserved and would keep to themselves.”
A talk with the school’s counselor revealed that Kathy’s children saw her as unapproachable and one who easily blows a fuse when irked. “I knew then that I shouldn’t let my work’s stresses be carried over to my home,” Kathy says. Kathy then made an effort to leave concerns that are related to work at the office, and this has helped lighten the atmosphere at home.
Happiness and optimism in children stem from a healthy self-esteem. This is the basis of a child’s well-being and a key to his success as an adult. Parents are the main source of a child’s self-worth. Nurture your child’s positive self-image to help him sail through life’s challenges and appreciate its many joys.
According to Villarin, here are a few ways to build your child's self-esteem:
1. Express your feelings
“As a parent, you have to have a paradigm shift and be able to express yourself to your children both verbally and physically. Learning to do so teaches your children to express themselves too and they become more loving and sure of themselves.”
Listen actively to your child. Share insights and experiences. Villarin suggests swapping stories of the days’ events during mealtimes, and having a one-on-one “date” with your child to allow him to feel that this time is his. You can also engage in sports together or talk in the car while you’re caught in traffic. “Sometimes parents take the presence of their children for granted. They may be physically there but not really communicating with their children. Avoid saying ‘hmmm’ or ‘yes’ to pretend that you are listening. Children can perceive this. This is actually an insult to them,” Villarin says.
3. Teach kids to accept their strengths and limitations.
Kids who know what they can and cannot do are often more sure of themselves. They display more confidence in their capabilities and are more assured of what they want to achieve in life.
4. Avoid comparisons.
Be aware of your children’s different personalities. Enhance their strengths. Make sure that each child believes that you value him for who he is and not for what he can do. Avoid comments like, “Why can’t you be as neat as your sister?” or “Look, your brother can play basketball really well. You should try to shoot more baskets next time.”
5. Be mindful of your choice of words.
The words that we use when talking to our children can make a big difference in their lives. Words can break their spirit more than spanking or beating can. Villarin says, “Instead of saying that an action is ‘bad,’ say it's ‘not good’.”
Courtesy: Smart Parenting Magazine
Have a Concern about School? Tips for Talking to the TeacherBy: Angèle Sancho Passe
You have a concern about your child’s care and education, how do you handle it?
When Paul picks up Sofia (4 months), he’s surprised to see she’s sucking on a pacifier. He and his wife Molly had communicated to her teacher that they didn’t want Sofia to use pacifiers. Flustered, he takes the pacifier out of Sofia’s mouth and leaves without saying a word. At home, Paul and Molly discuss the situation. Did the staff give Sofia the pacifier because she was crying too much and that was the only way to console her? Did the teachers disregard their wishes? Or did they just forget?
Sandra is worried that Mason (3.5 years) does not want to go to preschool any more. He used to calmly say good bye, but now he protests loudly and cries. The teacher says he is fine, just a little “touchy”. Sandra is increasingly nervous. Is there something going on at school that she is not being told about?
These stories have a common theme. Parents have concerns and they don’t know how to talk with their child’s teachers without being emotional. They may feel anger towards the provider, guilt over wondering if they are leaving their child in a good place, embarrassment about confronting the expert teacher, and confusion about what to say and when. But often, not communicating leads to more negative emotions and concerns.
Here are some tips to address concerns with teachers. Unless it is an urgent safety issue, it is OK not to react immediately and take some time to collect your thoughts.
Before the meeting:
A few days later, Paul and Molly called the teacher and requested an appointment. During the meeting, they shared they felt strongly about not giving Sofia pacifiers. The teacher apologized and explained what happened: A new assistant teacher had given Sofia the pacifier without consulting Sofia’s chart. They all agreed that this was a mistake. Paul and Molly asked if there was a policy to avoid this kind of situation. The teacher offered to put in place a policy that all staff would review parents’ preferences weekly. Paul and Molly felt reassured but wanted some confirmation that the policy would be followed. They planned to talk again in two weeks to check in.
Sandra was a bit nervous, but she decided to ask for a formal meeting with the teacher. At the meeting she told the teacher that she didn’t understand the meaning of “touchy” and wanted to talk about it. The teacher apologized for using casual language. She explained why she was not worried: “It is common for preschoolers to go through a new phase of separation anxiety, even after they seem to have adjusted well. They still feel very dependent on their parents, and are learning about independence at the same time. They protest when parents leave, but recover quickly and play well the rest of the session. The important part is to notice Mason’s behavior at the end of the day: does he seem happy?” Sandra agreed that he was and she was reassured by the teacher’s knowledge of child development. They planned to continue to check in weekly to assess how Mason was progressing.
Quality child care centers follow NAEYC’s Code of Ethical Conduct which recognizes the primary importance of families in children’s development. Most of the time life goes along smoothly. Occasionally it takes extra effort to be on the same page. Parents have the right and responsibility to bring up their concerns. Children learn more and are happier when their families and teachers collaborate for their care and education.
Angèle Sancho Passe is the author of Is Everybody Ready for Kindergarten? and other titles. She is an education consultant and past member of the NAEYC governing board. She lives in Minneapolis. www.angelesanchopasse.com
- See more at: http://families.naeyc.org/learning-and-development/child-development/tips-talking-teacher#sthash.JIM3Busk.dpuf
10 Things Every Parent Should Know about Play
by Laurel Bongiorno
1. Children learn through their play.
Don’t underestimate the value of play. Children learn and develop:cognitive skills – like math and problem solving in a pretend grocery store physical abilities – like balancing blocks and running on the playground new vocabulary – like the words they need to play with toy dinosaurs social skills – like playing together in a pretend car wash literacy skills – like creating a menu for a pretend restaurant
2. Play is healthy.
Play helps children grow strong and healthy. It also counteracts obesity issues facing many children today.
3. Play reduces stress.
Play helps your children grow emotionally. It is joyful and provides an outlet for anxiety and stress.
4. Play is more than meets the eye.
Play is simple and complex. There are many types of play: symbolic, sociodramatic, functional, and games with rules-–to name just a few. Researchers study play’s many aspects: how children learn through play, how outdoor play impacts children’s health, the effects of screen time on play, to the need for recess in the school day.
5. Make time for play.
As parents, you are the biggest supporters of your children’s learning. You can make sure they have as much time to play as possible during the day to promote cognitive, language, physical, social, and emotional development.
6. Play and learning go hand-in-hand.
They are not separate activities. They are intertwined. Think about them as a science lecture with a lab. Play is the child’s lab.
7. Play outside.
Remember your own outdoor experiences of building forts, playing on the beach, sledding in the winter, or playing with other children in the neighborhood. Make sure your children create outdoor memories too.
8. There’s a lot to learn about play.
There’s a lot written on children and play. Here are some NAEYC articles and books about play. David Elkind’s The Power of Play (Da Capo, 2007 reprint) is also a great resource.
9. Trust your own playful instincts.
Remember as a child how play just came naturally? Give your children time for play and see all that they are capable of when given the opportunity.
10. Play is a child’s context for learning.
Children practice and reinforce their learning in multiple areas during play. It gives them a place and a time for learning that cannot be achieved through completing a worksheet. For example, in playing restaurant, children write and draw menus, set prices, take orders, and make out checks. Play provides rich learning opportunities and leads to children’s success and self-esteem.
Laurel Bongiorno, PhD, is the director of Champlain College’s graduate program in early childhood education, with specializations in teaching and administration, in Burlington, Vermont. She has taught preschool, directed early childhood programs, and studied parents’ perceptions of preschoolers’ learning through play.
© National Association for the Education of Young Children — Promoting excellence in early childhood education
- See more at: http://families.naeyc.org/learning-and-development/child-development/10-things-every-parent-should-know-about-play#sthash.rfRwUtMR.dpuf
Take a big bite of math, science, language arts, and more on your next trip to the grocery store.