Monday, October 29, 2012

Removing the Struggle From Naptime

Do you ever struggle with putting your child down for a nap? The older children become, the more likely they are to resist napping when they’d much rather be running around playing!

One preschooler teacher recently shared with me her secret to getting kids to cooperate. She gives them a choice. She explains to them “You need to rest your body so you have enough energy for our next activities. However, you can decide if you want to rest with your eyes open or your eyes shut.”

When they know they can lie down but don’t have to shut their eyes, they are far more cooperative. Most of them end up shutting their eyes and falling asleep – but it’s on their own terms!

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Helping Young Children Find Something Appropriate To Bite - Not Another Kid!

A preschool teacher told the story of Sophia, a toddler who was in the habit of biting other kids. Although the teachers tried to intervene and show Sophia how sad the other children felt when she bit them, Sophia continued to bite.

They finally solved the problem by attaching a teething ring to Sophia's shirt. Whenever they saw she was looking like she might bite, they gave her the teething ring to bite instead. This actually solved the problem of Sophia biting other kids as she learned to bite the teething ring instead!

Monday, October 22, 2012

When You Overreact Your Kids Shutdown

If your kids have something difficult to share with you, they may tell you a little bit about it and decide how much more to tell you based on your reaction. If they don’t think you’ve been able to handle the first piece well, they are unlikely to tell you more.

You want your children to come to you for help in finding a safe way out if they are ever in a dangerous situation. In order for them to feel comfortable doing this, they need to trust that you’ll be able to hear the message without overreacting.

Honesty is important even if it means bad news. When you encourage your children to let you know what is really going on regardless if it will bother you, you are in a far better position to help them.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Celebrating When Kids Achieve a New Personal Best

Most of our kids are not going to be the best player on the team, the top academic score in the class or the first chair instrument in the band. By definition, only one child can be number one which leaves a lot of kids out.

Striving to be the absolute best in some area can leave children feeling depressed when they repeatedly miss the mark. A more helpful approach is striving to do your personal best.

The coaches for the cross country team that my son is on promote kids trying to improve on their personal best running times. Everyone celebrates when someone sets a new Personal Record. Anyone on the team has the possibility of achieving a new Personal Record on any race.

By focusing on improving against one’s own personal best, everyone has the chance of winning and being celebrated. The kids support each other and cheer each other on – a great lesson for life.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Keeping Digital Devices Out of Your Kids' Bedrooms at Night

Do you let your kids take their cellphones, laptops, Kindles, iPads or video games to bed with them? If so, it's a good time to think about changing your family policies around digital devices at bedtime.

There are multiple problems with kids having digital devices in their bedrooms. Some of the problems parents have reported include: kids texting each other late into the night, updating Facebook postings at 3:00 AM, watching porn and becoming upset due to social media comments.

Also these digital devices interfere with relaxing and falling to sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, "Doing work, watching TV and using the computer, both close to bedtime and especially in the bedroom, hinders quality sleep. Violent shows, news reports and stories before bedtime can be agitating."

If you want to avoid the potential problems with your kids and their digital devices at bedtime, decide on a place and time that all devices should be turned in for the night. Some kids may wake up in the middle of the night to use these devices, to avoid that problem store the devices somewhere difficult to access like your bedroom.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to Discipline When Children Misbehave

Your kids will misbehave and they will make mistakes. Mistakes are part of learning. Ultimately what they learn depends on how you respond.

What Are These Children Learning?

In a recent "Ask Amy" newspaper column a concerned neighbor wrote "What do you think about a parent who smashes and completely destroys kids’ electronic games and equipment (these were parent-approved gifts to these young children) because the kids were fighting over them? It seems to me that it might not be the best example of how to teach a child to deal with frustration. It actually sounds borderline violent and abusive to me!"

Amy chided the neighbor for not knowing what went on before the violence. She then provided an example of a mom who "had warned her kids about their television-watching habits and then, one day -- when she was trying to talk to them and they were ignoring her and watching the TV -- she pitched the television out the second-story window." Amy concluded "Violent? Yes. But it did the trick."

Destroying the equipment certainly solves the immediate problem. But what is the cost? Are these parents trying to help their children learn that it is acceptable to destroy property if they are really angry? Probably not.

Keeping Your Cool in Tough Situations

The parents in these situations acted on their feelings of rage. Once strong emotions take hold, one’s ability to think clearly is compromised.

(read the rest of the article at Priceless Parenting)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dealing with a Naughty Child

Patty is a preschool teacher who has plenty of experience dealing with challenging children’s behavior. This fall when parents were bringing their children to school for the first time, Kyle’s parents told her “He’s a naughty child.” They referred to Kyle being naughty a number of times in front of him.

Did Kyle live up to his label? Yes! When he didn’t get attention, he would sometimes throw things, hit or spit.

Labeling a child as “bad” or “naughty” produces feelings of shame in that child. Those feelings can lead to acting out or withdrawing. In Kyle’s case, he turned to acting out.

When the teachers responded to his acting out by removing him or holding him down, his behavior escalated. Trying to punish him for his poor behavior made it worse.

What finally worked in changing Kyle’s behavior was to guide him to a secluded area with toys where he could calm down. After about 10 minutes the teacher returned to get Kyle and he was calm and ready to cooperate. When Kyle was treated in a respectful way that communicated the belief in his ability to choose better behavior, he chose that better behavior.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Pain of Being Excluded

Being excluded is a painful experience that your children will go through at some point. It might be learning that there is a birthday party coming up but they’re not invited or kids are playing a game but don’t want to include them. It hurts.

If your child is going through a tough experience of being excluded, it’s helpful if you can be there to listen and validate your child’s feelings. Even though you cannot change the other children’s behavior, you can show empathy and understanding of what your child is going through. Being heard is healing.

It can be difficult to sit with your children in their pain without being able to solve it. However, just being there and listening is critical. Your loving attention will help your child through the difficult situation.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Disobeying Due to a Lack of Understanding

Are your children purposefully disobeying you or do they not understand your request? Rita explained how frustrated she was when her 3-year-old daughter, Sidney, colored on the table rather than staying on the paper. She had repeatedly told Sidney to keep her crayons on the paper but Sidney often forgot this rule.

One time after telling Sidney once again to keep her coloring on the paper, Rita asked Sidney “What did I just say?” Sidney replied “I don’t know.” Rita explained again to keep the crayons on the paper and asked Sidney again what she had just said. Sidney again claimed “I don’t know.” Rita found yet another way to explain it to Sidney and this time Sidney was able to repeat it back in her own words.

Once Sidney could say it back, she followed the rule and kept her coloring on the paper. Rita learned to check with Sidney’s understanding of a request before jumping to the conclusion that Sidney was purposefully disobeying.