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Archive for 2015

Developing Healthy Relationships between Your Parents and Your Children

Love and time…need we say more?  How about wise historian, mentor, confidant, elder, counselor, spiritual guide, financier, playmate or parental antidote?  These are all roles that grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren.  And grandparents are a growing force!  The number and percentage of the population that grandparents account for has grown dramatically in the last 15 years – from 58 million to 78 million.


Here are a few ways that you can help foster a healthy relationship between your parents and your children:


  • When planning a visit, talk about how you can help and what you should bring to help things go smoothly.  Discuss recent routines and help your parents childproof their house – more to keep your child safe than to protect the crystal. This communication
    provokes less defensiveness in grandparents, and helps them be a part of the solution from the start.
  • Relax some rules, but don’t compromise your core values. For instance, sweets seem to be a generational prerogative, but television monitoring should continue according to your child’s habits and your beliefs.
  • Children and grandparents are so close because they share something in common – you!  They can share stories, secrets, etc. that allow children the experience of close relationships with a loving family member who is not wholly responsible for their future happiness, homework or well being.
  • Spoiling is not a helpful approach to grandparenting and most of them know it.  Positive expectant attention is best.  Interestingly, today’s grandparents are so busy, I think this is less of a problem these days.
  • Enjoy the relationship your children are developing with your parents.


When misunderstandings or problems occur (and they are bound to), it’s better to figure out a way to talk about them than to avoid each other. That is too steep a price for your children. We all want this relationship to work because the benefits are forever.

by Kyle D. Pruett, M.D

For more information on The Goddard School in Franklin (Cool Springs) visit our website and our Facebook page.

10 Tips for Raising a Compassionate Toddler

Recent research shows that infants and toddlers are far more empathetic than we once thought.  While they have short fuses, and don’t cope well with sharing, they are capable of being compassionate.  With this in mind, here are ten tips I use in the classroom to help infants and toddlers become pro-social that families can also try at home.

  1.  Be respectful, patient, and loving to your infants and toddlers and everyone else. Infants imitate what they see.  Model saying “please” and “thank you”, touching gently, using your words, using a calm voice, cleaning up your messes, helping others, and sharing your things:

“Thank you for the Cheerio, would you like some of my raisins?”

  1.  Media is powerful!  Read books about feelings with positive social interactions and discuss them.  If your child watches television, watch too, and talk about the situations and emotions that happen in the shows, especially if the actions are antisocial.

“Caillou said that Philip could not use his ball – how did that make Philip feel?  Do you think taking turns might make Philip feel better?” 

  1.  When things are upsetting your toddler, you can engage your inner child.  Doll or puppet play can help your child explore feelings and perspectives.

Puppet, “I don’t want to take a bath!”  You to puppet, “You sound mad – you don’t like baths!  I wonder what things could make bath-time fun?”

  1.  When people are upset, model compassion – talk about the problem and offer help.

“That boy fell off the climber, let’s go see if he’s ok!  His daddy picked him up and the boy stopped crying.  Let’s see if they need a Band-aid…”

  1.  Model touching gently on pets and guide toddlers who are rough to touch everyone gently, leave toys in others’ hands and to walk around people rather than pushing.

“Stop!  The puppy is crying because you pulled his fur – touch him like this, that’s gentle.  Let me show you how.  Yes!  That’s gentle! He likes that better”

  1.  Point out when harm has been done and suggest ways to make things better.  Point out the facial cues that let you know what is happening.

“You were mad, but when you bit him, it hurt.  He’s sad.  See his tears?  Let’s help him get some ice.  Next time if he grabs your toy, say, “That’s mine.””

  1.  When conflict breaks out, stay calm and support your child’s feelings. Offer solutions and stay close.  It helps to use the same solutions each time, for example, if the conflict involves one child grabbing another child’s toy, get close and hold the toy in question, state the problem, comment on the children’s emotions, offer solutions, find one that is mutually acceptable, and restate the solution.
  2.  Point out kindness to others, “He liked it when you gave him the flower, see his smile?”  That was kind of him to hand you the ball.” Point out social mistakes,“He just pushed you out of the way.  I think he doesn’t have the words yet to tell you that he wants to play over by the balls.  He should have walked around you.” Point out your own mistakes, too, “I made a mistake, I bumped her with your stroller – I’m sorry!”
  3. Involve your child in home tasks like cooking and re-gifting.   Talk about the teamwork involved in helping the house run smoothly or the way others will feel when they get the gift.

“This salad will taste so good, thank you for tearing up the lettuce!” “I bet the new baby will like that bunny – it’s so nice of you to give away the toys you are too big to use.”

  1. Stay close and guide your child as she navigates the complex world of feelings. Babies and toddlers will have strong feelings, make mistakes, feel possessive, seek autonomy, and struggle to control their impulses. Expect them to try and to make mistakes.  Respect that all people may need time to get calm and composed before they are willing to talk about upsetting things.

“You got so mad you threw the cup.  Next time you can hand it to me.”

Keep in mind that not everyone learns social skills at the same pace.  The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations of Early Learning suggests that when a child can’t dance, swim, etc. we teach them, but when a child can’t behave, we punish.  Committing to teaching social skills to children that don’t “get it,” creates a better community for everyone.

By: Julia Luckenbill

For more information on this topic see: http://www.naeyc.org/yc/files/yc/file/201407/YC0714_Rocking_and_Rolling.pdf

For more information on The Goddard School in Franklin (Cool Springs) visit our website and our Facebook page.

Car Seat Safety

Several questions can arise for parents as they consider  car seats and their child(ren):

“How do I choose the right car seat?”

“When do I know it’s time to change car seats?”

“When can my child start sitting front facing?”

“How do I know if I have installed it correctly?”

“How long does my child even need a car seat?”

I looked to the NHTSA website for some answers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, you should select a car seat based on your child’s age and size. The car seat you choose will give you the specifications for what age/size require a new car seat. The manufacturer will also guide you as to when you can turn your child to face the front. Children need to remain rear facing until they have outgrown the rear facing car seat.

Any local law enforcement officer will gladly help you determine if your child’s car seat is installed properly. Stop by any police station and ask or perhaps a local preschool will have a car seat check day like we did at The Goddard School Franklin (Cool Springs).

Once your child outgrows the forward facing seat with a harness, it is time for a booster seat. Deciding when your child can stop using a booster seat can be a tough call! Keep your child in a booster seat until he or she is big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly the lap belt must lie snugly across the upper thighs, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest and not cross the neck or face. Children should still remain in the back seat until at least age 12.

Click Car Seat Safety to see a quick reference for ages and car seat recommendations.

More safety tips when it comes to car seats and children:

-Never leave a child unattended in a car.

-Never let your child sleep in their car seat. To lower the risk of SIDS children should always be transferred to a crib for sleeping.

-Create a plan to always check your child’s car seat before leaving your vehicle.

For more information on The Goddard School in Franklin (Cool Springs) visit our website and our Facebook page.

Age Appropriate Fitness

Focusing your child’s physical fitness on fun activities will increase your child’s ability to move with confidence and competence.  Exercise increases overall metabolism, builds a healthy heart and lungs, strong bones and muscles, and improves coordination, balance, posture and flexibility.


Encourage babies to explore activities that allow for reaching, rolling, sitting, crawling, pulling themselves up and walking.  ‘Tummy Time’ is the perfect opportunity for babies to practice lifting their heads and develop strong muscles.  Placing toys just out of reach encourages babies to reach for the toys, assisting in physical development.

First Steps/Toddler

Support young toddlers mastery of walking by allowing them to be active!  Play with them as they learn to run, hop, dance and throw.  Have them chase bubbles or invent a silly walk – play becomes exercise.  Remember to always provide encouragement to toddlers as they build self-confidence.

Preschool +

Preschoolers need plenty of time and space to run around and play.  Taking your child to a playground or park is a great way to release energy and exercise!  Encourage creative dancing and riding scooters and tricycles.  Play ‘Statues’ by playing up-tempo music.  Have your child move while the music is playing and freeze into a statue when you pause it.  Play outside with your child and teach hand-eye coordination by showing the basics of throwing, catching and kicking a large, soft ball.

For more information on The Goddard School in Franklin (Cool Springs) visit our website and our Facebook page.

Busting the Binky Habit

You may cringe when you think about ending your child’s “binky” or pacifier-sucking habit. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), “sucking is one of an infant’s natural reflexes. They begin to suck on their thumbs or other fingers while they are in the womb… Placing a thumb or another finger [or an object] in the mouth provides some children with a sense of security during difficult periods, such as when they are separated from their parents, surrounded by strangers or in an unfamiliar environment.”

However, as the ADA and most pediatricians in the U.S. will also point out, a prolonged sucking habit may cause problems with healthy growth of the mouth and roof of the mouth, as well as alignment of teeth. For these reasons, as well as the obvious social ones as your child gets older, it’s best to try to break the habit as early as possible. Most pediatricians will encourage stopping by age two, and many children will break the habit on their own between the ages of two and four.

To discourage your child’s habit, consider the following tips:

• Start by letting your child know that a binky is only to be used at bedtime and naptime. Give your child the responsibility of making sure that the binky is stored on her pillow or nightstand each time she wakes up.

• Peer pressure may encourage preschool-age children to break the habit at naptime while at school. Use this opportunity to encourage the elimination of a binky during naptime on weekends.

• Don’t put too much pressure on your child to pass up the binky. This may cause anxiety and can actually make it more difficult for your child to kick the habit. But, DO encourage every positive step in the process.

• Consider that sucking may occur when your child is feeling insecure. Comfort your child, address the stressor and try to resolve or redirect. Reward her when she avoids sucking during stressful situations.

• Ask your child’s dentist to talk with her while at six-month checkups. Believe it or not, for older toddlers and preschoolers, sometimes this is all it takes!

• When all else fails, you may want to consider the “Binky-Fairy”! Cuddle up with your child during a comfy, quiet, low-key time and break out your most creative skills to tell your child a story of the Binky-, Button- or Pacie-Fairy who collects pacifiers from children who are ready to be “big-girls” and “big-boys.” Let your child know that when she is ready, she can pack up her pacifiers to trade to the Fairy for a very special reward. Mention the Fairy on a regular basis—keep it fun, positive and low-pressure—and most importantly, let the decision about when she is ready be hers to make. You may be surprised how quickly your child is ready to make the trade!

For more information on The Goddard School in Franklin (Cool Springs) visit our website and our Facebook page.