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Archive for 2016

When to Introduce Your Child to a Smartphone or Tablet

From the time they can grasp an object in their hands, children reach for electronic gadgets of all kinds, particularly our cell phones and computers. When you start noticing more child-size fingerprints on your iPad than your own, it may be time to consider introducing your child to a handheld wireless device.

A smartphone is a high-tech cell phone that runs its own operating system, allowing the user to talk, email, surf and take high-resolution photos and videos. A tablet computer does everything your laptop does but in a small, portable flat form with a touch screen. Here are some helpful tips on when and how to introduce your child to one or both of these technologies.

Wait Until Preschool

Just because toddlers like to push buttons and watch videos does not mean they are ready for a computer. Experts recommend waiting until your child is at least preschool age.  “Children under two years of age learn best from real-world experiences and interactions, and each minute spent in front of a screen-based device is a minute when your child is not exploring the world and using their senses, which is extremely important in their development process,” says Dr. Carolyn Jaynes, a learning designer for Leapfrog Enterprises. “However, by age three, many children are active media users and can benefit from electronic media with educational content. This content often uses strategies such as repeating an idea, presenting images and sounds that capture attention, and using child rather than adult voices for the characters.”

Your child may be ready sooner or later, depending on the level of supervision required. “In a supervised environment, children as young as four or five are able to engage in learning activities using smartphones and tablets of all kinds,” says Jeannie Galindo, supervisor of instructional technology for the Manatee County School District in Florida. “In an unsupervised environment, I wouldn’t recommend a smartphone or tablet purchase for a child until at least between the ages of 11 and 13.”

Parental Guidance Suggested

Experts recommend parents be very involved in their child’s experience with electronic devices, especially at a young age. The goal is balanced exposure. “Parents should keep media screens in family areas so that a child’s media usage can be monitored, and TVs and computers should be kept out of bedrooms,” Jaynes says. You can help your child get more out of a smartphone or tablet by sharing in the experience. Engage with your child as he tries out a new app, asking questions about the game and pointing out different aspects of the content. This practice, typically called “co-viewing” when applied to TV-watching, can help increase your child’s comprehension skills, Jaynes says.

However, doctors warn not to underestimate the learning power of reading a book with your child or spending time exploring the outdoors.

“Parents need to be models for their children. While we’re all embracing these great aspects of these digital devices, parents have to strike a balance, turn them off and spend real time with their children,” says Kathleen Clarke-Pearson, a clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics on communications and media. “The real world is a very important place for children to develop cognitive, social and language skills.” Clark-Pearson suggests allowing your child to take photos of bugs with your iPhone, then going online together to read more about the insects in the images they capture.

Limit Screen Time

“I would recommend no more than a half an hour per sitting for a four to five year old, no more than an hour per sitting for a six to seven year old,” Galindo says.  “I recommend no more than two hours for a high school student per sitting if the gaming is the focus of the interaction. However, if the student is using the device as a productivity tool that time would obviously be greater.”

As your child gets older, you can allow for more freedom. Galindo suggests using a gradual release model where you allow the child more time with the device as he proves he can handle it. Also keep in mind the risk of eye problems that too much screen time could cause. “Some clinicians suggest the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, spend 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away,” Jaynes says.

Content Matters

Whether you opt for a smartphone through your wireless carrier, or for many of the other tablets that continue to hit the market, there will be plenty of kid-friendly content to consider. “It’s important to focus on the content and message when making age-appropriate media choices. What children watch and play matters,” says Jaynes. She recommends that parents learn to distinguish between educational and entertainment-based content. Another good idea is to look for an age range listed on the app, keeping in mind what your child can handle.

For users of the iPad or iPhone, there are many apps that teach basic math, metric conversion, time, money and fractions, geography, the U.S. Constitution, Shakespeare, as well as tools for learning art and music. LeapFrog, known for its educational games and products for children, recently introduced a tablet for children ages four to nine called the LeapPad that has its own apps. Parents can also download apps from Zoodles.com, and check out sites like Common Sense Media or SmartAppsforKids.com that review kid-friendly apps.

“There are many games and interactive activities on mobile devices that are not necessarily about school subjects but still useful for children and beyond purely entertainment,” Jaynes says. “Games and activities that engage children in thinking skills like memory games, puzzles, spatial reasoning activities; nurturing skills such as digital pets; and creative skills – drawing, making music – are also great choices.”

Another Dimension of Learning

For school-age children, a smartphone or tablet can give them an additional learning layer, beyond the traditional classroom or book. “Smartphones and tablets provide students with multiple opportunities to access content and engage with curriculum,” Galindo says. “They connect students to the world beyond the four walls of their brick and mortar buildings and give them access to real world experts solving real world problems in real time. Technology makes their learning relevant.”

This article was taken from PBS.org.

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


The Holidays and Sensory Overload

Reducing and Surviving Sensory Overload During the Holidays

Holidays can be an amazingly fun time! Parties, decorations, songs, tasty treats and even smells fill our environment. For most of us, this is what makes the holidays so special. However, these are the exact same things that can bring on anxiety , meltdowns and sensory overload in many children, especially if they struggle with sensory processing disorder. I’ve gathered up some fantastic tips from real parents of children with sensory needs on how to prep for the holidays with kids with sensory needs.

The holidays can be completely overwhelming. Just think of everything that comes to mind when you think about the holidays yourself. Everything from hot cocoa to apple cider, busy malls to crowded houses, new foods to old favorites, street lights to tree lights… new sensations are absolutely everywhere. Now imagine for one moment, that your brain is unable to process that information and separate it all into separate categories. Imagine for a moment that you are bombarded with all of this information at once and still are expected to behave, attend in school and function the way you do on a normal day. Hard to imagine, right?

This is what children with Sensory Processing Disorder and other sensory needs struggle with on a day to day basis, making the holidays an even more stressful time of year {for both the children and parents}.

What is Sensory Overload During the Holidays?

When most people are getting excited about dinner and Aunt Suzy’s house, a child with sensory needs might be overwhelmed just thinking of all the new people they  have to encounter, Grandma Sophie’s perfume, Aunt Judy’s new baby crying, cousin John wrestling him to the ground, and then there’s the foods and smells. It can all be just too overwhelming for these children.

Believe me, I know. If you are a regular here, you know just how much our son struggles with sensory processing and regulating his behavior and body due to these struggles. On a normal day, we might see outbursts, hyperactivity, and even meltdowns. Then the holidays come. This starts 2 weeks before Halloween and lasts until Mid January. The countdowns, the anticipation, the excitement is just too much to handle some days.

Before I knew about sensory processing, I just thought I was doing something wrong. I just thought he was acting out.

Signs of Sensory Overload

Here’s the thing. Sensory overload can happen to anyone. It can happen to a typically developing child, a child with special needs, and even adults. It is more likely to happen to the children with special needs, but it does not mean that we shouldn’t all be aware of this possibility as we enter the holidays.

It might be a child in your class, a friend’s child at a party or it might even be your own child. Recognizing these signs can be vital in helping them cope and regulate this holiday season.

  1. Behavior is Heightened and Busy: this might include jumping off furniture, running in the house, spinning, and pushing, just to name a few.
  2. Extremely Bothered by Noises: in spaces that seem quiet or subtle to you, this child might be covering their ears,  screaming, making extra loud noises, to drone out the sounds that are overloading their brain.
  3. Aggressive Behavior:this might present itself as hitting, pushing, pulling, arguing, and even biting others
  4. Meltdowns Occur More Frequently: suddenly, and without warning the child might throw themselves on the ground, cry inconsolably, throw things, or even scream at you
  5. Withdrawn from Activities: this child might refuse to participate, refuse to go to a family function, or might even curl into a corner to read a book


Parent Tips for Reducing and Surviving Sensory Overload

It wasn’t until I learned ways to provide him with sensory support, that I learned ways of reducing sensory overload during the holidays.                                                                                                                                                                                Here are real tips and real advice from parents living with and supporting a child with sensory needs every day. These tips can help any child (or adult) during the holidays.

Preparing for the Holidays

Making sure if we go to someone’s house I bring food I know he will eat . ~ Nikki

No new clothes … Only clothes he has worn and approved will be worn on a big holiday day , so if I want him dressed nicely we have to practice wearing those clothes .  ~Nikki

Keep it simple so they can enjoy it! ~Britany

Ratchet expectations of yourself and your children down. Don’t allow others to dictate how you will spend your holiday. If you do go somewhere, come late, leave early, lots of planning. One of my biggest regrets is that I allowed the expectations of others to affect what was best for our family. Hard lesson to learn. ~Lisa

We try to be intentional with our plans and keep them low key. We brainstorm as a family the things individual really want to incorporate and scale it down to the ones each person holds most important. Lots of rest before any outing and additional transition time for winding down when we return (even if it means leaving early)  Above all we’re flexible…no event or activity is more important than taking care of each other and enjoying our time together (so sometimes we forego things). ~Shannon

We explained the accommodations he needed to thrive and nicely let the family know that we would only be at events that fit his needs…events don’t get scheduled during nap, and the aggressive dog stays at a relative’s house while we’re scheduled to be in town. ~Naomi

Seriously reduce the guest list. ~Karen

Take many breaks from family/friend get togethers. Really important that we don’t book every minute – which I love doing. ~Carolyn

Survival Tips for Children

Watch closely for signs of stress. Get out before meltdowns (yours or theirs) ~Carolyn

Make sure his bag of tricks is full and his sensory diet is well and truly in place, we check in with each other over the day to make sure he is still on track. If I see the warning signs I will feed him and then get him outside to run around or give him a “hug” . ~Nikki

My son has a teepee tent he can go and retreat to when it’s too crazy for him. I also have his bucket of sensory toys that vibrate, flash, fidgets, and softness of a plush stuffy. ~Jeanine

We locate and plan for a sensory retreat in any location we might be and have a signal to communicate if things are feeling overwhelming. ~Shannon

NO CLOTHES that they don’t pick out themselves. ~Regina

Try smaller visits before and after with gifts, kind of like 3 small Christmas celebrations instead of one big over whelming one. ~Ginette

I ask if there is a room he can go to when it gets to be too much for him. ~Sheryl

Avoid sugar and food dye.~Carolyn

Survival Tips for Parents

Breathe! ~ Regina

Don’t expect that in your wisdom that family won’t think you’re nuts over-sheltering your child. Educate them if they really want to hear it, but otherwise don’t be the stressed out mom. Just treat everything as calm and normal. ~Regina

I definitely have learned to lower expectations for the boys so that I don’t get overwhelmed myself We practice “just say no” to many invitations that come our way. I’ve also stopped cooking a big Christmas meal – which seriously cuts down on my anxiety and stress allowing me to enjoy the day with the family. I cook a Christmas Eve meal which we have early before we go out for one last look at lights. The we come home and put out reindeer food (making this is a great sensory experience!) on the lawn and cookies in the kitchen. I buy a pan of biscuits 1/2 cooked from a local restaurant and have them Christmas morning with various fillings. Happy Holidays!!!!! ~Karen       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This article was taken from lemonlimeadventures.com on 11-29-16

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

Toddler Friendships

Friends offer opportunities for a child to try out different aspects of her developing personality: her likes, dislikes and ways of relating.
She must learn how to socialize, to give without expecting an equal return, to share, to elicit positive responses and to care about someone her own age. She can use friendship as a safe haven, and as a mirror. She can try out different styles and new adventures through the encouraging eyes of a friend. In the process, she’s learning about herself, and about how to attract and hold onto a friend.
A friendship’s necessary give-and-take is different from relationships with parents and siblings. A child without friends is a poor child indeed. While a child must learn to deal with her own temperament – for example, her shyness or high activity level – it’s even more important for her to learn how to adapt to the demands of a group. A friend who is like her will help her do this. It has always intrigued me to watch two small children play and learn from each other.
First Friends
When should parents start introducing a child to other children outside the family?
In the second year, it becomes important for a child to learn how to cope with other toddlers. In a large family or in a busy neighborhood, she may already have begun to learn about sharing, rivalry, teasing and coping with older children or a new baby.
But the kind of relationships a child can make with children who aren’t her age are different from those she will make with her peers. Older children tend to protect, tease or overpower younger ones.
In healthy peer relationships among toddlers, children first learn the give-and-take of equality. They learn the rhythms of reciprocity – when to dominate and when to submit. This is basic to important relationships in the future.
In the second year, children are both demanding of others and learning to be sensitive to their needs. Just watch 2-year-olds at play. If parents set up regular play groups of two or three toddlers, they can all learn about each other.
At this age, learning occurs by imitation. In so-called parallel play, two toddlers can putter alongside each other without ever appearing to look at each other. And yet, they’re already far more interested in and capable of learning from each other than the concept of parallel play would suggest.
Each child imitates the other with entire hunks of behavior. This ability to pick up and imitate whole sequences of a peer’s activity is astonishing at this early age. As one toddler stacks a row of blocks to make a skyscraper, the other will stack the same number of blocks for her building – using similar gestures as she does so.
I’ve seen 2-year-old children absorb whole new sets of behaviors from other 2-year-olds, and perform tasks to which they had never before been exposed.
What if toddlers aren’t able to get along? What if one is too aggressive and overpowers the other, who is temperamentally a quieter, more reserved child? Is it healthy for either of them? Not really.
The parents of these unequally matched children will likely be drawn into taking sides and risk reinforcing each child’s imbalanced behavior. When parents of toddlers get into their children’s play, they risk changing it entirely to an adult-oriented occasion. The opportunity for the children to learn about each other is diminished.
Here are some tips to help create balanced friendships:
1. If the children can’t right the imbalance on their own, find another child more your child’s speed. If possible, find a playmate who’s suited to your child in temperament.
2. If your toddler is a quiet, thoughtful, rather sensitive child, try to find one like her. She’ll learn a lot more from a peer who is learning to handle a temperament like hers than she will from your urging her to be more aggressive or gregarious. Though you mean to encourage her when you rally a hesitant child to fight back or to act differently, she will sense that you don’t approve of her as she is. Her self-image is at stake.
3. If your child is aggressive and impulsive, look for another like her. They’ll build up to peaks of frantic activity but will probably find ways of subsiding. In this way they will learn – gradually – about not overreacting to their impulses. After playing together regularly two or three times a week, such children will eventually become bosom buddies and will be learning as much about themselves as about each other.
(This article is adapted by NAEYC from “Touchpoints: Birth to Three,” by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., and Joshua D. Sparrow, M.D., published by Da Capo Press, a member of The Perseus Books Group.)
For more information on The Goddard School in Franklin (Cool Springs) visit our website and our Facebook page

Is it too Early for Math?

We LOVE learning math here at The Goddard School!! We have so much fun learning math skills through play. The following NAEYC article gives tips on how to incorporate math into your child’s life. 

Preschoolers aren’t yet ready to memorize multiplication tables, but that doesn’t mean they cannot learn and explore math concepts they will use when they move on to primary school. Try these ideas at home to help your preschooler explore math. 

Offer containers filled with small treasures. Think of lids, buttons, shells, beads, pieces of ribbon, pinecones, acorns, and similar items as the tools of math learning. Preschoolers will naturally sort them by size, color, and shape; they will count and compare collections; and they will talk about what they are doing and why—especially if a grown-up joins in. I saw you examine each button before placing some of them in the blue bowl. What were you looking at?

Talk about math. Include math talk when cooking, playing at the park, and at bedtime. Our family has five people eating dinner. How many ears of corn should we shuck? How many times do you want me to push you in the swing? We can read three books together before turning out the light. You can choose three books from the shelf.

Measure things. Preschoolers enjoy using measuring tools, like rulers and tape measures, and creative items, like shoes and plastic chains. Ask questions that invite your child to measure something. How wide is your bed? How tall is our dog? How many shoes long is the carpet?

Build together. Make buildings from wooden blocks, Legos, a collection of recycled items, or shoe boxes with the tops taped shut. Try masking tape to hold the structures together. Talk about shapes, sizes, widths, and heights as you build. Then get out the tools and take some measurements. How did you make the building so high? How wide is the bottom of the structure?

Source: Adapted from the Message in a Backpack, Teaching Young Children 8 (1): 23

© National Association for the Education of Young Children — Promoting excellence in early childhood education


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

Trick or Treating Safety

Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a safe holiday, here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).


  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives. Hats should fit properly to prevent them from sliding over eyes. Makeup should be tested ahead of time on a small patch of skin to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises on the big day.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • If a sword, cane, or stick is a part of your child’s costume, make sure it is not sharp or long. A child may be easily hurt by these accessories if he stumbles or trips.
  • Do not use decorative contact lenses without an eye examination and a prescription from an eye care professional. While the packaging on decorative lenses will often make claims such as “one size fits all,” or “no need to see an eye specialist,” obtaining decorative contact lenses without a prescription is both dangerous and illegal. This can cause pain, inflammation, and serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss.
  • Review with children how to call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they ever have an emergency or become lost.



  • Small children should never carve pumpkins. Children can draw a face with markers. Then parents can do the cutting.
  • Consider using a flashlight or glow stick instead of a candle to light your pumpkin. If you do use a candle, a votive candle is safest.
  • Candlelit pumpkins should be placed on a sturdy table, away from curtains and other flammable objects, and not on a porch or any path where visitors may pass close by. They should never be left unattended.



  • To keep homes safe for visiting trick-or-treaters, parents should remove from the porch and front yard anything a child could trip over such as garden hoses, toys, bikes and lawn decorations.
  • Parents should check outdoor lights and replace burned-out bulbs.
  • Wet leaves or snow should be swept from sidewalks and steps.
  • Restrain pets so they do not inadvertently jump on or bite a trick-or-treater.
  • If you can provide allergen free alternatives for trick or treaters consider placing a teal painted pumpkin on your porch to let other parents know children with allergies can come by your house!


  • A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.
  • Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or-Treaters:
    • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
    • Remember reflective tape for costumes and trick-or-treat bags.
    • Carry a cellphone for quick communication.
    • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
    • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic.
    • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
    • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways.
    • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
    • Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.



  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider purchasing non-food treats for those who visit your home, such as coloring books or pens and pencils.
  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Try to ration treats for the days and weeks following Halloween.

©2016 American Academy of Pediatrics

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

Fall Fun with Little Ones

Fall is here! It is that time of year where the weather cools off and pumpkin is everywhere! Before the weather turns cold, take advantage of the nice, humidity free days and evenings and have some fun outside with your kiddos! Below are some fun inside and outside fall activities!



Pick a preschool fall craft to do together and have fun being creative together.

Decorate the front door — the wackier the better!

Pumpkin slime. Goop is a blast to play with. This goop is pumpkiny-orange.

Pumpkin pie play dough — this stuff smells SO good!

For an indoor kids activity, go on a spider hunt and see if you can find any cobwebs hiding in your house.  After you dust them, create your own spider web using popsicle sticks, tape, and pipe cleaners.

Do your kids collect acorns? Mine love to squirrel them away. This is a great kids painting activity using acorns to make art.

Fall sensory bottle — fill it with all the best autumn colors!

Make fall slime to play with — kids love this ooey gooey stuff!

Build a catapult, take it outside and put a pebble or two inside.   Watch them fly and measure how far the items went.

Create an owl craft with scraps of old magazines —  kids in a cutting kick and would love this craft.

Make a owl from TP tubes using feathers, scraps of fabric and buttons. This craft for kids is adorable.

Make fall spice paints with ginger, pumpkin and more!

Watch your kids pretend and play in a “world” with leaves outdoors for your kids to explore through. Afterwards, the kids can help rake them up!

Go on a nature walk to a new destination. Bring a long a nature bag for the kids to help them document what they see.

Plant bulbs for the spring. My kids love to get muddy — gardening with kids is dirty and fun!

Donate food items to a food bank in your area. As the holidays approach, food banks are often strapped for supplies.

Make a pumpkin pie with your kids. Have extra filling? Add it to a smoothie with some yogurt.

Go bobbing for apples. Fill a tub with apples and see if you can get one with your teeth. Afterwards, make candy apples as a treat to enjoy with your kids.

Make s’mores on the patio with your kids. Try experimenting and adding extra ingredients to your s’mores like berries or bananas.

Make your own apple cider by adding cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and honey to juiced apples (if possible, get fresh pressed juice)!

Churn your own butter — this is a fun activity for a kiddo who loves to move!

Play games during a bike ride. Use Chalk to create start and end points on a race or to make an obstacle course of sorts for your kids to weave through.

Go camping in your own backyard with a DIY PVC pipe Tent.

Take a collection of leaves and make leaf skeletons — soak the leaves in washing soda until the chloroform disintegrates and you are left with the leaf structure.

Go on a hayride — we love to visit the local orchard, pick apples, and go on a hayride.

Practice fractions as you chop up apples and mix ingredients while baking an Apple Pie with kids.

Take crayons and some of your favorite leaves and layer the leaves between pages of paper. Rub on the pages with a crayon to see the leaf pattern emerge.

Set a pumpkin outdoors and journal about the pumpkin’s decomposition as it rots. Be sure to take pictures of the pumpkin in its various stages.

After you prune your trees, chop up the logs and the twigs, clean them off and bring them inside to make tree blocks.

Bake pumpkin seeds.

Make Jack-o-lanterns from items in the recycle bin, orange paint and black foam stickers.

Feed the birds with a kid-made bird feeder craft using toilet paper tubes or pine cones, peanut butter and seed.

Make Candy Corn Cookies — Layer three colors of sugar cookie dough and follow these instructions to make your own wedged treats.

Create your own costume for Halloween! Here are some simple costumes you can make with your kids.

Go trick-or-treating with your children. We love saying hi to all our neighbors!

Fun Halloween Kids Activity — Make Eerie sounds! All you need is a plastic cup, a paperclip, string (wool is best) and a piece of paper towel.

Spooky and slimy sensory — with spaghetti?!? Dye some spaghetti bright orange and dark black, add a bit of veggie oil so they are extra slimy and have fun squishing and squeezing!

Have fun with food and the kids — Make a Snakey Jello. This activity uses jell-o (Jelly for UK folks) and toy snakes for some squishy fun.

Have turkey races! This is a fun Thanksgiving day activity.

Do some simple Kitchen Science experiments with the leftover Trick-or-Treating candy.

Bake a batch of pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies — this recipe is a loved favorite of more than one quirky family!

Spend the afternoon at a bookstore researching a project for the winter months.

Afternoon craft activity — Make matching scarves for you and your daughter to enjoy together.   Here is a collection of no-sew scarves you can make in an afternoon.

Stuff old clothes to create a scarecrow for your front yard — a children’s Thanksgiving craft.

Bake apple chips. Thinly slice apples, spray them with oil and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on them.   Bake them in the oven till they are crispy.

This is a great family craft for Thanksgiving, make a thankful tree detailing all the things you are thankful for this past year.


Information provided by kidsactivitiesblog.com

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


Dental Hygiene and Preschoolers

Dental hygiene for preschoolers should be a priority, even though baby teeth don’t stick around for long. After all, children can develop cavities and tooth decay in their baby teeth if they’re eating sugary foods and not following proper oral care.

Good dental hygiene in preschoolers starts with you. Lead by example by brushing and flossing every day.

Tips for Brushing

Make brushing fun by starting with a toothpaste that has a flavor your kids will enjoy, such as watermelon or strawberry-flavored toothpaste. Involve your child in picking out a toothbrush to get them excited about toothbrushing. Toothbrushes should be soft-bristled to avoid damaging the gums. They can be used for about 3 months, and then they should be replaced. If your preschooler gets sick, pediatricians recommend replacing his toothbrush once he is healthy again.

After age two, your preschoolers can use a pea-size drop of fluoride toothpaste (rather than just water and a toothbrush). You can ask your child to open wide so that you can brush your children’s teeth for them, or you can teach your kids to brush from left to right for two minutes. Set a timer for brushing to help ensure that they brush every tooth, from the incisors to the molars. Make sure your kids spit out the toothpaste when they are finished. Fluoride toothpaste can only be swallowed in very small amounts.

Brushing should be done at least twice a day. If your child eats something sugary, he should brush when he is finished, or, at the very least, rinse his mouth with water.

Mouthwash should not be used until your child has learned to spit it in the sink and rinse his mouth properly, which typically happens around age six.

Start Flossing Early

Flossing is also an important part of dental hygiene for preschoolers; it is another way to prevent cavities, keeps gums healthy and removes plaque. Even before your child grows two teeth right next to each other, it’s time to start flossing.

While your children are preschoolers, pediatricians recommend flossing your children’s teeth for them. Pediatric dentists may recommend using a floss holder, as that may make the process easier. Whether you use floss or a floss stick, sit your child on your lap and face a mirror. Start in the back of his mouth, and gently move the floss back and forth between all of his teeth so there is fresh floss to use and you are not reusing the same area again.

When your child is ready to floss on his own, start by guiding him with the floss to make sure he is adequately flossing, touching the gumline with the floss and removing any stuck food or plaque.

Pediatric dentists can offer further guidelines for taking care of your children’s pearly whites so that when their adult teeth come in, they’ll continue to be healthy. Dental cleaning appointments should be made at least twice a year.


Things You Can Expect During Childhood with Your Child’s Teeth

  • Wiggly teeth
    When a child is about 6 years old, his/her teeth will begin to come loose. Let your child wiggle the tooth until it falls out on its own. This will minimize the pain and bleeding associate with a lost tooth.
  • Cavities
    Cavities can develop when sugar-containing foods are allowed to stay in the mouth for a long time. Bacteria that live on the teeth feast on these bits of food and can eat away at tooth enamel. Saliva washes away the acid between meals, but if your child is always eating, there may not be time for this acid to get washed away.

As always, children mirror our behavior so be sure to let them see you taking care of your teeth too!


This information was taken from colgate.com

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


The Importance of Physical Activity in Children

We are hearing more and more about the importance of physical activity for our good health. This applies to children too. Below is an article explaining this concept very well. Children love to move and it is proven to be good for their mental and emotional health as well as their physical health! So as the days and nights are cooling off, grab your kiddos and go outside to play!

Let’s Get Physical!
By Rae Pica
There are so many reasons why children need to move. But today, more than ever, the primary reason may be movement’s contribution to their physical fitness. Word of the childhood obesity crisis is everywhere: magazines, newspapers, television, and radio talk shows. Even so, it’s sometimes difficult to take it all seriously. How can we be experiencing a childhood obesity epidemic? Worse yet, how can we be using words like heart disease in relation to young children?Unfortunately, we are. Obesity among children is increasing faster than among adults. In 2000, 22 percent of U.S. preschoolers were overweight and 10 percent clinically obese (Pica, 2003). Obesity is also now seen among infants and toddlers as well (Huettig, Sanborn, DiMarco, Popejoy, & Rich, 2004).Studies have shown that 40 percent of children ages five to eight have at least one heart disease risk factor, including hypertension (Bar-Or et al., 1988; Berenson, 1980; Ross, Pate, Lohman, & Christenson, 1987). The first signs of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) are now appearing at age five (Institute for Aerobic Research, 1987). A recent Centers for Disease Control (CDC) presentation contends that American children born in the year 2000 face a one-in-three chance of developing Type 2 diabetes (formerly known as adult-onset diabetes because it was previously nonexistent among the young). And a number of experts believe this may be the first generation of children who will not outlive their parents.

A Different Kind of Energy Crisis

Why is this happening? The formula is pretty straightforward: energy in/energy out. This is the phrase nutritionists use to describe the intended balance between calories consumed and calories burned. If the level of physical activity isn’t great enough to burn the amount of calories taken in, weight increases. If this imbalance continues, obesity may result.


Given our fondness for fast food and our tendency to “super size,” it’s easy to imagine that caloric intake is the crux of the obesity problem. And certainly it is part of the problem. But studies both here and abroad have indicated the greater problem lies with the second half of the equation: energy out. Children simply aren’t moving enough!


It’s been estimated that between the ages of two and 17, American children spend an average of three years of their waking lives watching TV (Cooper, 1999). That’s the equivalent of more than 15,000 hours in front of the set (and this doesn’t even include time spent watching videos, playing video games, or using the computer)—as compared with 12,000 hours spent in a classroom. The end result? A minimum of 27,000 hours—more than six years of their young lives.


The Importance of Physical Activity

Although most of the research has been conducted on the relationship between physical activity and adult health, there’s now enough evidence to show physical activity causes health benefits for children and adolescents as well. Improved aerobic endurance, muscle growth, muscular strength, motor coordination, and growth stimulation of the heart, lungs, and other vital organs are among these benefits.


Given these rewards, it’s important that teachers and families work together to help children establish healthy eating patterns and healthy physical activity habits during the stage when important habits are formed: early childhood! Also, the goal should not only be to ward off ill health but to promote good health and physical fitness in all children.


The Five Fitness Factors

To help children along the path to fitness, it’s helpful to have some understanding of the components involved. It’s also important to realize that the emphasis should be placed on the health-related, as opposed to the skill-related, components of fitness. Descriptions of the five health-related components of physical fitness and some sample activities follow.

Cardiovascular Endurance. The ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen and nutrients to the muscles defines cardiovascular endurance. In simple terms someone with great cardiovascular endurance has a strong heart—one that actually grows in size and pumps more blood with every beat, resulting in a lower heart rate. As you can imagine, this can happen only when an individual exercises regularly. Typically it’s aerobic exercise that improves cardiovascular fitness, but where children are concerned we can’t think of “aerobics” in the same way that we do for adults.

Children are not made for long, uninterrupted periods of strenuous activity. So expecting them to jog, walk briskly, or follow an exercise video for 20 to 30 minutes, particularly before the age of six, is not only unrealistic but could be damaging. Rather, when we consider developmentally appropriate aerobic activities for children, we should be thinking along the lines of moderate to vigorous play and movement. Walking, marching, playing tag, dancing to music, and jumping rope all fall under the heading of moderate to vigorous exercise for children. In other words, it’s anything that keeps the child moving continuously, sometimes strenuously and sometimes less so.

Muscular Strength. Muscular strength is described as the ability to exert force with a single maximum effort. Strong muscles are necessary not only for performing certain tasks, like throwing for distance, hanging and swinging, climbing, and carrying heavy books and groceries, but also for preventing injury and maintaining proper posture. An added bonus is that increasing muscle strength also increases strength in tendons, ligaments, and bones.

Strength training, also known as resistance or weight training, is the best way to build muscular strength. But here again, we must view things differently than if we were discussing adults. While there’s a lot of debate over the appropriateness of involving young children in strength training, there are some points on which the experts agree.

First, it’s never a good idea to modify an adult strength-training program for children. Adults’ bodies are fully developed; children’s are not. Adults have long attention spans and the motivation to endure the monotony of repetitive exercises; children do not. For these reasons the best “strength training” for children involves the use of their own weight in physical activities they’d be performing anyway, like jumping, playing tug-of-war, and pumping higher and higher on a swing.

Muscular Endurance. Muscular endurance is the muscles’ ability to continue contracting over an extended period of time. In other words, it’s about stamina. Landy and Burridge (1997) write: “Good muscular endurance gives you the ability to repeat a movement without getting tired or to hold a position or carry something for a long period of time without being fatigued. A child who has good muscular endurance will enjoy and have greater success in her daily work activities, in play, and in sporting and athletic competitions.”

Obviously, muscular endurance is tied to muscular strength; so many of the same kinds of activities and exercises benefit both. However, muscular endurance also depends on skill level. Children, by virtue of having fewer years of practice in most skills, will use the maximum force and contract more muscles than actually needed for the movement. Therefore, they won’t be able to last as long as a skilled mover.

Flexibility. Flexibility is the range of motion around joints. When people possess good flexibility, they can stretch to put something on a high shelf, bend to tie a shoe, or sit cross-legged without effort or aches and pains. They can swing a tennis racket or a golf club, perform a lay-up in basketball, or reach for a high fly without fear of muscle strain, sprain, or spasm.

If children are physically active, they’ll be flexible. But they should also be encouraged to work on their flexibility through gentle, static stretches that take a muscle just beyond its usual length (without pain!) and are held for at least 10 seconds.

Two no-no’s regarding stretching: First, children should work their own limbs through their range of motion; it’s extremely easy for an adult to stretch a child’s muscles and joints too far. Second, children should be warned against ballistic (bouncing) stretching. It can cause small tears in the muscle fibers and is not as effective as static stretching.

Body Composition. The final component of health-related fitness is body composition: the body’s makeup in terms of fat, muscle, tissue, and bone or the percentage of lean body tissue to fat.

Obviously, with childhood obesity becoming more of a problem as the years go by, much attention is focused on body composition right now. But weight alone is not a good indicator of body composition. Some children are simply large-boned. Also, muscle weighs more than fat. So it’s possible for two children to have the same weight but very different make-ups, one possessing very little fat and the other too much.

Research has shown that inactive preschool children were almost four times more likely to enter first grade with increased body fatness (Moore, 1995). Physical activity, of course, is the key to combating fat, with aerobic and muscle-strengthening movement making the largest contribution.

By ensuring our children stay active, we can combat obesity before it starts rather than once it’s upon them. We can also help guarantee they derive positive health benefits both as children and as adults.

Rae Pica is a children’s movement specialist and author of 14 books, including the text Experiences in Movement: Birth to Age Eight,Moving & Learning across the Curriculum, and Your Active Child, written for the parents of children birth to eight. She speaks on early childhood issues throughout North America.


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

Family Readiness for Disasters

We practice our disaster drills here at school quarterly and have fire drills monthly. It is so important that BEFORE a disaster occurs our kiddos know how to react. We practice these so that it is ‘old hat’ to them. You should do the same thing at home! You might be hesitant to discuss negative things such as disasters because you are concerned about scaring your child. However, most fear is rooted in the unknown. If you give your kids as much info as they are ready for with simple responses, they will be less fearful and better prepared.


How to Get Your Family Ready Before a Disaster

It’s important for all family members to know how to react in an emergency, because when a disaster strikes, you may need to act quickly. Discuss possible disaster plans with your children–in a very general way–so that they will know what to do in various situations. For example, if you live in a part of the country that is prone to tornadoes, it is important for your children to know what to do if a tornado is coming. Remember that it is possible that you and your children may be in different places when a disaster strikes; for example, at school and work. Also, older children may be home alone when faced with an emergency.

Create a Family Disaster Plan

You can create a Family Disaster Plan by taking some simple steps. It’s important for all family members to know how to react in an emergency because the best protection is knowing what to do.

  • Talk with your children about the dangers of disasters that are likely in your area and how to prepare for each type.
  • Make sure they know where to go in your home to stay safe during an earthquake, tornadohurricane, or other disasters likely for your area.
  • Teach your child how to recognize danger signals. Make sure your child knows what smoke detectors, fire alarms and local community warning systems (horns, sirens) sound like and what to do when they hear them.
  • Explain to children how and when to call for help. Keep emergency phone numbers (your local Emergency Phone Number List) where family members can find them.
  • Pick an out-of-state family contact person who family members can “check-in” with if you are separated during an emergency. For children who are old enough help them to memorize the person’s name and phone number, or give them a copy of the emergency list included in the kit.
  • Agree on a meeting place away from your home (a neighbor or relative’s house or even a street corner) where you would get together if you were separated in an emergency. Give each family member an emergency list with the name, address and phone number of the meeting place. For children who are old enough help them to memorize the person’s name, address and phone number.
  • Put together a disaster supplies kit for your family.
  • Practice your Family Disaster Plan every six months so that everyone will remember what to do when in an emergency.

It’s important for all family members to know how to react in an emergency because the best protection is knowing what to do.

Kids Get Ready Kit

Assemble a special “Get Ready Kit: for kids. Explain to your children that you might need to leave your house during a disaster and sleep somewhere else for a while.

Here are some items you can your children could put into a backpack or container so it will be ready if needed:

  • A few favorite books, crayons, and paper.
  • Favorite small toys like dolls or action figures.
  • A board game.
  • A desk of cards.
  • A puzzle.
  • A favorite stuffed animal.
  • A favorite blanket or pillow.
  • A picture of your family and pets.
  • A box with special treasures that will help you feel safe.

This infomration was taken from healthychildren.org

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

Supporting Social Emotional Learning in Preschoolers

There are lots of ways preschool teachers and parents can support children’s Social Emotional Learning (SEL). Every adult who regularly interacts with your child has the opportunity to contribute to her SEL in a variety of ways.

Traditionally, SEL has been considered part of the parents’ realm. But as kids spend increasing time in child care and preschool, care providers and teachers are being held accountable for a child’s SEL needs, too. In truth, all adults actively provide a model for social and emotional competencies, and the more closely parents and caregivers align in their modeling, the more consistent the lessons they convey will be.

Here are some ways that adults can support children’s understanding of emotions and engagement in competent social interactions:

1. Give explicit instructions.

You can ask children directly to demonstrate their SEL skills through certain prompts and activities. For instance, you can show children different picture cards of emotional expressions and teach them the names of new emotions (like disgust or surprise). This may occur in the context of an SEL curriculum, or as a stand-alone lesson, such as during story time at school or at home. The lesson can be as simple as saying, “When I make this face, it means I’m feeling ____.”

Another activity teachers can implement at school is displaying pictures showing children making different facial expressions and asking students to point toward the image that represents how they’re feeling that day.

2. Provide scaffolding.

Teachers and parents can support children’s emerging social and emotional skills through scaffolding. Scaffolding describes progressive supports that build upon what children already know, such as the names of basic emotions, so that they can learn new skills, like how to identify when a playmate is sad. You can guide a child to notice the feelings of an affronted peer and suggest possible solutions. For example, “Serena is crying. She seems sad that no one has invited her to play. I bet she would feel better if you would be willing to share your trucks with her.”

3. Practice through books.

You can read a book and prompt children to think of times when they have felt the same as the main character. For example, the Mercer Mayer classic I Was So Mad can encourage children to think of times they’ve been mad and what they do to feel better. For a great list of story books that can support children’s social and emotional learning, check out the list published by Vanderbilt’s Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning.

4. Model rules and expectations.

Articulate the rules you set about expressing emotions in the classroom or at home. This includes providing specific rules — no hitting, share your toys, and so on — but also means following the rules yourself. Children learn a great deal through observing and imitating others, especially their parents and teachers. As such, adults can promote SEL by conscientiously modeling ways in which emotions are expressed and regulated in social situations. This can be through elaborate role-playing activities, or just by expressing emotions and narrating to children how you feel and what you’re going to do about your feelings.

5. Validate and encourage the expression of feelings.

Respond to a child’s emotions by validating her feelings as opposed to dismissing them. For instance, this means asking, “What’s wrong?” rather than saying, “Stop crying.” Teachers and parents can encourage a child’s emotional expressions by responding constructively to them. Only when an adult understands why a child is upset can the adult help the child cope with her emotions and what has caused them. Minimizing, punishing, or dismissing a child’s emotions does not give the child the opportunity to learn how to respond constructively to those emotions.

Parents’ reactions to children’s emotional expressions can teach children how to regulate and understand their own feelings. Emerging research is showing similar associations between preschool teachers’ reactions and their student’s SEL. When teachers respond positively to a child’s emotional expressions, the child is more likely to respond positively to others’ emotions; the converse is also true.

6. Guide children toward reflection.

It is important for children to associate social and emotional competence with some relief from strong emotions, either on their part or on others’. This is key to their development of traits such as altruism and empathy later in life. You can point out moments at which these occur to help your child understand them. For example, you might say, “I like how you noticed Johnny was upset and gave him a hug. How did that make you feel?”

The preschool classroom is a busy, emotionally-charged place. Children are observing and absorbing lessons about emotions throughout the day, even when those lessons are unintentional. Children are learning social and emotional competencies through nearly all of their regular interactions with teachers and classmates. These lessons continue on the playground and at home, where parents can continue to teach social and emotional competencies to their young children — and in the process, better prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.

This article was taken from Noodle.com

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