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Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Stay Active

As parents, our main goal is to keep our children happy and healthy. One challenge, especially with enticing gadgets, is getting our children to keep active and understand the importance of exercise. Creating good habits early helps
9children maintain and form positive habits later. We want to teach our children to turn off the TV, put down the electronic devices and go outside to use their energy and imagination.

Here are some ideas of what you and your child can do together to stay active:

  • Go for a walk in the park or in your neighborhood and have a scavenger hunt (look for a pine cone, a red bird, etc.);
  • Use sidewalk chalk to create a hopscotch court and teach your child to play the game;
  • Find a new park or playground to explore;
  • Walk your dog or play fetch with your dog as a family;
  • Plant flowers together in a garden;
  • Visit a local zoo or museum;
  • Go outside and play with a bouncy ball;
  • Teach your child to ride a tricycle;
  • Have a family room dance party;
  • Set up a small inflatable pool in your backyard;
  • Play Simon Says, and make sure Simon includes plenty of jumping and other active movements.

Celebrating Grandparents

National Grandparents Day falls on the first Sunday after Labor Day every year.  With well over 25 million more grandparents today than in 1980*, it is a holiday worth observing. Grandparents all over the country help care for their grandchildren, and they deserve to be recognized for the support they provide to their families.

Celebrate National Grandparents Day with some creative activities and gifts.

  • Create an ecard online. Ask your children to help you choose the card and compose a message;
  • Help your children write a note or draw a picture for their grandparents. You can also send a photo of your children with their grandparents. Add a stamp and address the envelope, and have your children place the note in the mailbox;
  • Help your little one craft a one-of-a-kind piece of art for their grandparents. You can even buy a frame for the artwork and present it to Grandma and/or Grandpa;
  • Bake something special for your children’s grandparents. If they have a favorite treat or snack, your little chefs can help you whip up something sweet for their grandparents. Wrap it up in a nice tin or container;
  • Schedule some one-on-one time for your little ones to bond with their grandparents. Grandparents love nothing more than uninterrupted time with their grandchildren.

Reading is another excellent way to share stories and bond. Here are some special books to share with your children’s grandparents:

  • Your Mommy Was Just Like You written by Kelly Bennett and illustrated by David Walker – Children wonder what their parents were like when they were young. In this story, a grandmother tells her granddaughter what her mother was like as a child.
  • You’re Lovable to Me written by Kat Yeh and illustrated by Sue Anderson – This story illustrates that parents’ love never wanes, no matter how young or old their children are.
  • One Love adapted by Cedella Marley and illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton – This story adapts Bob Marley’s lyrics into a story about a family, including a grandmother, that works with the local community to build a park where everyone can play and enjoy the outdoors.
  • You’re Going to Be a Grandma! written by Deborah Zupancic and illustrated by Joel Grothaus – This book lets a grandmother-to-be record important information about her new grandchild.
  • Grandpa Green by Lane Smith – This special story is about a grandfather who may be losing his memory and his grandson bonding over the topiary garden the grandfather has lovingly maintained for many years.
  • Here Comes Grandma! by Janet Lord – This book whimsically illustrates the lengths a grandmother will go to see her grandchild.
  • The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster and Chris Raschka – This book is written from the perspective of a little girl whose grandparents are her caregivers. This book is great for grandparents to share with their grandchildren, especially if they often look after their grandchildren.

Make celebrating your children’s grandparents and yours an annual tradition.  While we may show our appreciation for them every day, National Grandparents Day gives us a special opportunity to show them extra love and attention and teach our children about the importance of respecting their elders.

*Source: The MetLife Report on American Grandparents

Five Ways To Help Ease Back-To-School Butterflies

Back-to-school time is approaching, and excitement is in the air. Sometimes all that excitement can be accompanied by nervousness, though. Help ease back-to-school butterflies with these five simple tips:

  1. Begin transitioning your child into a consistent school-night routine a few weeks before school starts so he has time to get used to the new schedule;
  2. If your child has specific worries about the first day of school, listen to her, offer reassurance and brainstorm together for solutions;
  3. When dropping off your child, be loving, be direct and leave promptly. Don’t say you’ll miss him; instead, say you can’t wait to hear about his day;
  4. Visit the classroom, playground and/or building with your child a few times before school starts. This can help familiarize your child with a new environment, easing any anxiety she might have;
  5. Establish a reasonable bedtime so that your child will be well-rested and ready to learn in the morning.

How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Meeting the Five Critical Needs of Children…and Parents Too!

by Dr. Gerald Newmark
The Children’s Project
Developing Emotionally Healthy Children, Families, Schools and Communities

Everyone, including babies, toddlers, teenagers, parents and grandparents, has similar emotional needs. Meeting your child’s needs in childhood provides the foundation for success in school, work, relationships, marriage and life.

In his book How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Meeting the Five Critical Needs of Children…and Parents Too!, Dr. Gerald Newmark shows parents and teachers how to nourish children’s emotional health at home and at school. The book helps parents and teachers recognize and satisfy children’s critical emotional needs, which are to feel respected, important, accepted, included and secure. Parents and teachers can benefit from this process, too.

In the coming weeks, we will share a series of articles on this blog with tips, activities and more information about meeting each of these five emotional needs. We’ll also address hurtful and helpful behaviors and how to become an effective parent. These simple, powerful ideas can enhance the lives of children, parents and families.

The goal is to raise self-confident, independent, responsible, thinking, caring and civic-minded individuals.

In the next article in this series, Dr. Newmark will discuss children’s need to feel respected. Until then, consider the following.

When you were a child and someone asked you a question, did your mother or father ever jump in and answer it for you?

Have you ever interrupted a conversation with your child to answer the phone, and then found yourself saying to your child, “Don’t be rude. Can’t you see I’m talking?”

Taming the Sweet Tooth in Children

Children love sweet treats. Children have more taste buds than adults and are more sensitive toThe Goddard School sweet flavors, which may be why they crave sweets more. How can we help them avoid overindulging with all the birthday celebrations, holidays and treats available?

One way to minimize the allure of and desire for sweets is to serve dessert with dinner. This makes dessert seem like part of the meal, not something children have to work for by eating foods they haven’t tried yet or don’t like. They may grab the dessert first, but over time, they will learn that the other, healthier foods on their plate are the ones that provide them with more nutritional value and energy.  Let your children decide when they’ve had enough; they may start out overeating, but they will quickly learn that too much sugar makes their stomachs hurt and can lead to headaches, hyperactivity and tiredness. Let your children know that they can and will have more sweets another time, so they don’t feel like they’ll never have a chance to have this “bad” food again.

Make sure that your children mostly eat healthy, good-for-you foods that help bodies grow, and the rest can be fun foods, like sweets and salty snacks. Children can grasp this concept, and it helps them make decisions about what to eat.

As parents, instead of describing sugary foods as bad, we can explain to children that these foods have very little nutritional value and won’t help them grow healthy bodies. If we see sweets as an occasional pleasure that won’t offer us a lasting boost in energy instead of as something forbidden, we may be healthier for it.

Planning and Organizing – Critical Thinking Skills

Some children are naturally organized, but messy children can learn organization skills. Whether The Goddard Schoolyour children are messy or neat, the executive function skills of planning and organizing will help them accomplish goals, complete tasks at school and enjoy success in life.

You can help your children develop their abilities to plan and organize. Below are a few tips to get you started.

  • Conduct weekly family meetings and discuss your family’s schedule, upcoming events and goals. Let your children help with the planning. You can hold these meetings during meals;
  • Keep a family calendar visible. Use it every day so your child becomes accustomed to the household schedules and routines;
  • Teach your child how to break down tasks. For example, when he is cleaning up his toys, ask your child to put all the dinosaurs away, then all the trucks, etc.;
  • Make a chore chart and have everyone in the family mark off jobs as they complete them;
  • Talk about events, such as trips and errands, before they happen. Before you go to the grocery store, make a shopping list with your children. At the store, ask them to help you collect the items;
  • Read stories together and talk about what happened first, next and last;
  • Play games that involve following directions and rules.

Make planning and organizing fun for your child and some of your child’s skills may rub off on you!

Supporting Your Child’s Friendships

The Goddard SchoolWhen children outgrow the ‘mine’ stage and begin to share with others and make friends, these new friends will occasionally argue over a toy or game. As parents, we are often tempted to solve the problem for our children or talk with the other child’s parent. While this may calm things down for the moment, it does not help our children learn the give and take of a friendship.

Help children learn to solve problems themselves with the following proven steps.

  1. Talk about the situation to help your child understand the other child’s point of view. “I guess Kyle wants a turn, too.”
  2. Stay calm and let your child know that hitting, grabbing and shoving hurt other people. “You hurt me when you grab the toy, and I don’t like that.”
  3. Model sharing for your child and congratulate your child when he takes turns or shares a toy. “Wow, you guys are having fun. I like watching you play together!”
  4. Be nearby. Watch and guide the children as they solve conflicts. Once the children resolve the conflict, step in and praise the children. Having an adult close by puts the children on their best behavior, and developing good social skills leads to fun and enjoyable play dates with friends.
  5. Don’t overwhelm your child with play dates. Hold your first play dates with friends your child feels comfortable with and have several activities ready. During the play date, let the children choose which activity to do.
  6. Have bedtime talks and read stories. Talk about the friendships your child is building and read books on friendship. Children learn how others cope in social situations through stories.

Talking Differences

What do we do when our preschooler asks about someone’s physical disability? What do we do if any of our children have a physical ailment and someone has questions? How would we want other people to talk to our children about the children’s condition? How would we want the children to react to people who stare or ask them awkward questions? With the help of Goddard School parent, SooAnn Roberts Pisano, who is the mother of a child with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), we are providing some tips for teaching our children appropriate ways to approach someone with a visible disability or ailment.

Society and tradition have taught us that staring and pointing is rude, and typically it is. However, SooAnn Roberts Pisano points out that teaching our children not to stare “does not teach us to see with our eyes in the same way we would naturally. It essentially instructs us to pretend like you have zero interest at all in what we are seeing and try to appear as natural as possible. It instructs us to remain ignorant about what we do not understand.”  We don’t need to allow staring, but we do need to explain to our children that taking an interest in others and seeking to understand their disabilities or differences is important.

How do children with disabilities or conditions that make them appear different than others deal with the stares and questions? While no solution works in all situations, Pisano developed some simple tips from her personal experiences, comments from adults with disabilities and parents of children with special needs. These can help us approach people with disabilities and educate ourselves and our children to embrace and understand differences.

  • Smile. When you catch yourself staring at someone, smile at the person in acknowledgment. Teach your children to smile at people they see and not to fear those who look different.
  • Ask, “May I ask you about ____?” When you notice someone with a disability or a genetic disorder, show interest and respect by asking them about themselves.
  • Let the person say no. If the person doesn’t want to talk about his or her situation, he or she will let you know. The person might tell you where you can find more information.
  • Use the K.I.S.S. principle and Keep It Short and Simple. Never use questions like “What’s wrong with him?” This can be highly offensive. A person may have a disability or a genetic disorder, but that does not mean there is something wrong with him or her as a person.  A better question to ask may be “May I ask you about your son/daughter’s skin/bandages/condition?” If you are the parent of a child with a disability or genetic disorder, keep your explanations short and simple. Any detailed explanation or any explanation involving medical jargon may confuse the listener. Keeping your explanation simple will help your child learn how to talk about his or her condition if you are not around.
  • Say thank you. If you’re the one asking the question, thank the disabled person for letting you ask. If you’re the one being asked, thank the questioner for asking. Even if the question results in the most awkward conversation you have ever had, these conversations help us fight ignorance instead of passively promoting it.

This is not a simple subject. Conversations about disabilities can be awkward, but we shouldn’t avoid them and remain ignorant about those around us. We can make a better society by taking an interest in those around us, teaching our children how to ask someone about their appearance or disability in a polite manner and embracing that people’s differences make our world amazing, inspiring and bright. The next time we find ourselves staring at someone, we should choose to understand that person’s situation rather than ignore it.

This article was adapted from an original article written by SooAnn Roberts Pisano for the Confetti Skin, Beauty Within website. She adds, “I hope this prov[id]es a tiny drop towards a ripple effect that gets us to talk to each other, even if it’s done in all the wrong ways.  After all, while saving face is nice, learning is what’s most important.”

Un-Scary Halloween Costume Ideas

 

Goddard School - Fire Fighter

Halloween for preschoolers should be light and upbeat, not scary. If you plan to celebrate with your little ones, either with trick-or-treating or a party, here are some fun and simple costumes to consider.

  • Superhero – All you need is a long-sleeved t-shirt, a colored hand towel or a rectangle of fabric for a cape; leggings or fitted pants; and felt for making an eye mask, headband and symbol cutout of your children’s choice. They can pick a superhero from a favorite movie or television show, or they can make up their own.
  • Hula Dancers – You will need a grass skirt bought from your local party store or made from the heads of rope mops. You will also need a lei from the party store, or you can make one from fake flowers purchased at the craft store.  Add leggings, fitted pants or tights, too. A toy ukulele can also make a fun prop.
  • Monster Truck – If you have a child who loves trucks, you can make a truck costume with cardboard boxes, some careful cuts (by a parent, of course) and some paint or markers. You will need to add some shoulder straps to the ‘truck’ to make sure your child is properly buckled (and can easily carry it).
  • It’s Raining Cats and Dogs – Most of us have an umbrella, children’s raincoat and rain boots handy at home.  Many of us have some stuffed dogs and cats at home, too. Have your child pick out which stuffed dogs and cats to use, and then you can attach them to the top of a sturdy, inexpensive umbrella with string or safety pins.

The options for fun costumes are endless. If you have other options for easy, fun Halloween costumes, share them with us here or on our Facebook Page at https://www.Facebook.com/GoddardSchool.

 

Summer Survival Tips for Parents

 

We are now in the thickMom with Boy of summer, which means heat, packed summer schedules, vacations and road trips. Whether your children are continuing their summer at a Goddard School summer program, traveling with you or staying at home, these tips for summer survival can help keep things running smoothly.

Stock Up on Summer Staples

If you’re a member of a big warehouse store or have a local grocery where household staples are sold in bulk, then you may want to the take time to stock up on daily summer staples like sunscreen, bug spray, after sun lotion, anti-bacterial hand lotion or wipes, diapers, wipes, freezer-safe barbeque foods, condiments, road trip snacks, reusable water bottles, electrolyte-infused drinks, allergy medicine for adults and children, a first aid kit for each car, favorite summer treats like ice pops and any other items you may use on a daily basis throughout the summer.

Road Trip Readiness

To keep road trips fun and educational, pack a bag for each child with age-appropriate toys, books and activities.  Pack electronics in a separate bag and keep it with you so that you can charge any devices and monitor their use.  Have a cooler or cooler bag stocked with ice, water and chilled snacks ready for anyone who gets hungry or thirsty. If you are potty training your child, pack a travel potty or travel toilet seat and a change of clothes, and keep them handy.  Make sure your first aid kit is in the glove compartment, so you can put it in your backpack or beach bag during a hike, a visit to the beach or another family adventure.  For more information on traveling with children, click here.

Prepare for Take Off  

If your family is traveling by air this summer, keep certain items on hand to keep everyone calm and alleviate any fear of flying. To move swiftly through security, wear slip-on shoes, avoid wearing belts with metal buckles and keep items you typically put in your pockets in a plastic zip-top bag in your carry-on bag.  Bring a backpack or small carry-on for each child filled with age-appropriate toys and activities and an extra layer for everyone in case the airplane is chilly. Include summer reading and fun learning activities, like flash cards or a little dry erase board for writing numbers and letters, playing tic-tac-toe and doodling.  Bring gum so the children can pop their ears, pain relievers for you and your children and wipes for spills or messes. 

Keep Summer Safe, Fun and Educational

Craft a summer checklist with your older children and involve them in the planning, packing and preparation stages of your outings, whether you are gearing up for a day at the pool, a road trip, a plane ride to your vacation spot or a visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.