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Archive for the ‘Infants’ Category

Keeping Sibling Peace

I need a strategy for curbing sibling rivalry. How can I keep the school-age boy from playing too rough with his baby/toddler brother? The refrain of “Stop X. Don’t Y. Keep your hands to yourself, etc.” doesn’t work and makes the older sibling feel like he’s always scolded while the baby “never gets in trouble.”

How old should the little one be before I can let them duke it out themselves without my intervening so much?


Parents can’t quell sibling rivalry, but they can avoid making it worse. The firstborn child has parents to himself until the second comes along. Then he must give you up every time his sibling needs you. He must look on as you admire his baby brother, and he wonders when it will ever be his turn again or if you still admire him at all. As soon as the younger brother is old enough to scoot and crawl, the older one will have to fend him off when he comes to snatch one of his toys or knock down the block tower he has worked hard to balance. Moreover, the older one must please you when you beseech him to be a “good big brother,” which often means giving up his special place in the family as firstborn.

From birth, the second child has never known another position. He is grateful for whatever parental attention he gets, and as the baby of the family, he’ll get plenty. But soon he starts wishing he could do all the things his brother can. He falls apart whenever he fails to imitate him. Parents rush to scoop him up and coddle him – to his older brother’s disgust. Over time, if parents stay out of their struggles, the older child will learn to take pleasure in the younger one’s admiration, and enjoy his role in helping him learn.

To avoid reinforcing sibling rivalry, the first step is to accept that it is not a parent’s job to keep siblings from fighting. If you try, you’re likely to intensify the conflict by putting yourself in mid-battle. Every time you tell the older one, “No,” “Don’t,” “Stop,” he is likely to feel even more resentful of his younger brother. He knows you are mad at him. It’s easy to see how in his mind your temporary loss of affection for him is the little one’s fault – all the more reason to torture him again.

An infant must not be left with an older sibling unsupervised. But I’ve never seen one sibling seriously injure another when parents leave it to the children to sort out their differences on their own. When the youngest can fend for himself, make it clear you expect them both to straighten things out themselves.

Don’t bother trying to figure out “who started it.” Most of the time, you’ll never know, and engaging in this inquiry just heightens their competition to be your favorite. Instead, let them know that you don’t care who’s to blame. Tell them that you hold them both responsible for stopping their squabbling. And if you can manage it, give each of them regular separate times just to play with you.

Article taken from NAEYC.  (For more information: “Understanding Sibling Rivalry: The Brazelton Way,” by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., and Joshua Sparrow, M.D. Da Capo Press.)

 

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

A Family Shadow Walk

Now that the weather is warmer and the days are longer, family walks are a wonderful activity for everyone! Below are some ideas from NAEYC on incorporating Science into your family walks!

Family walks, no matter where (around the block, in a park, at the beach), provide wonderful opportunities to explore the mysteries of light and shadows. Your child can learn a lot—like how to make shadows bigger and smaller and how shadows move. Enjoy the walk and the fun of observing shadows and how they change as you move about outdoors.

  • Notice the shadows of the things around you—cars, a dog or cat, a bird flying from tree to tree.
  • Observe the way your shadows “walk” along with you, and play with the shadows!
  • Make different types of shadows by moving your arms or legs or jumping about.
  • Use chalk to outline your shadow and your child’s shadow. Come back later in the day to check on your shadows. In what ways are they the same or different?
  • Measure the lengths of your shadows using pieces of yarn or string or with a tape measure. Measure the shadows of other objects too, like a parked car, trees, the mailbox, or anything else that casts a shadow. Ask questions or make comments that help your child think:
    • I wonder what will happen to your shadow if you step forward or back?
    • What might happen if we stand close together?
    • Where is the sun in the sky right now? (Ask this at several times of the day.)
    • What happens to shadows on a cloudy day?
  • Explore, observe, and enjoy doing and learning about science together!

 

Article taken from families.naeyc.org

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

Children and Biting

Biting is a typical behavior often seen in infants, toddlers, and 2-year olds. As children mature, gain self-control, and develop problem-solving skills, they usually outgrow this behavior. While not uncommon, biting can be an upsetting and potentially harmful behavior. It’s best to discourage it from the very first episode. This article will help you to understand the reasons young children bite and give you some ideas and strategies for responding appropriately.

Why do young children bite?

Some children bite instinctively, because they have not developed self-control. For example, when 3-year-old Marcus grabs a doll from his 2-year-old sister Gina, her first response is to bite him and grab the doll. She doesn’t stop to think about other ways to act or the result of her actions. But there are many other reasons why children may bite.

 

A child might bite to

  • Relieve pain from teething.
  • Explore cause and effect (“What happens when I bite?”).
  • Experience the sensation of biting.
  • Satisfy a need for oral-motor stimulation.
  • Imitate other children and adults.
  • Feel strong and in control.
  • Get attention.
  • Act in self-defense.
  • Communicate needs and desires, such as hunger or fatigue.
  • Communicate or express difficult feelings, such as frustration, anger, confusion, or fear (“There are too many people here and I feel cramped”).

What can families do to prevent biting?

There are a variety of things that families can do to prevent biting. It helps to

  • Have age-appropriate expectations for your child’s behavior based on his or her current skills and abilities.
  • Make sure your child’s schedule, routines, and transitions are predictable and consistent. At meal and bedtimes, try to do things in the same way and at the same times. Young children thrive when they know what will happen next.
  • Offer activities and materials that allow your child to relax and release tension. Some children like yoga or deep breathing. Offer playdough, foam balls, bubbles, soft music, and other stress-reducing items.
  • Use positive guidance strategies to help your child develop self-control. For example, offer gentle reminders, phrased in a way that tells them what behaviors are expected. “Be sure to hang up your coat on the hook.”  “You can each have a bucket to use in the sandbox.”  “Put a small dot of toothpaste on your brush. You won’t need much to get your teeth clean.”
  • Provide items to bite, such as teething rings or clean, wet, cold washcloths stored in the refrigerator. This helps children learn what they can bite safely, without hurting anyone else.

How should I respond when my child bites?

While every situation is different, here are some general guidelines for responding when a child bites.

Infants
Infants learn about the world around them by exploring it with their hands, eyes, and mouths. But infants often need help to learn what they should and shouldn’t bite.

If your infant takes an experimental bite on a mother’s breast or grandpa’s shoulder, stay calm and use clear signals to communicate that it is not okay for one person to bite another. A firm “no” or “no biting!” is an appropriate response.

Toddlers and Preschoolers
Toddlers have many strong emotions that they are just learning to manage. Toddlers may bite to express anger or frustration or because they lack the language skills needed to express their feelings.

Biting is less common in preschoolers than toddlers. When a preschooler bites, it may be due to something at home or at their child care program that is causing the child to be upset, frustrated, confused, or afraid. A preschooler may also bite to get attention or to act in self-defense.

Follow the steps below with both toddlers and preschoolers.

  1. If you see the biting incident, move quickly to the scene and get down to children’s level. Respond to the child who did the biting. In a serious, firm tone make a strong statement: “No biting. Biting hurts. I can’t let you hurt Josie or anyone else.” Next, offer a choice: “You can help make Josie feel better, or you can sit quietly until I can talk with you.” Help the child follow through on the choice if necessary.
  2. Respond to the child who was hurt by offering comfort through words and actions: “I’m sorry you are hurting. Let’s get some ice.” Perform first aid if necessary. The child who did the biting can help comfort the bitten child—if both parties agree. Help the child who was hurt find something to do.
  3. Finally, talk to the child who did the biting. Maintain eye contact and speak in simple words using a calm, firm tone of voice. Try to find out what happened that led to the incident. Restate the rule, “Biting is not allowed.” Model the use of words that describe feelings: “Kim took your ball. You felt angry. You bit Kim. I can’t let you hurt Kim. No biting.” Discuss how the child can respond in similar situations in the future.

What if biting becomes a habit for my child?

If biting becomes a habit for your child and ongoing positive guidance is not effective, it is time to set up a meeting with your child’s teacher(s). Together, you can plan an approach for addressing the behavior that can be applied consistently at home and at the program. Together, you can discuss and define the behavior and find the cause behind it. Next, you and the teacher(s) can develop a plan to address the causes and help your child to replace biting with acceptable behaviors. Try the plan for several weeks, but be patient. It takes time to change behaviors that have become habits. Keep in touch with your child’s teacher(s) to share information about changes in behavior. After several weeks, evaluate the plan’s effectiveness and make changes as needed.

What strategies can I use to help my child overcome a habit of biting?

Here are some strategies for addressing a child’s biting habit.

  • Observe your child to learn where, when, and in what situations biting occurs. Sometimes an adult may need to stay close to the child to prevent biting.
  • Pay attention to signals. Stay close and step in if your child seems ready to bite.
  • Suggest acceptable ways to express strong feelings. Help your child learn to communicate her wants and needs (“Amy, tell your sister you were still playing with the truck”).
  • Use a reminder system to help your child learn to express strong feelings with appropriate words and actions (“Tell Manuel that you don’t like it when he gets that close to you”).
  • Reinforce positive behavior by acknowledging child’s appropriate words and actions (“You didn’t like being tickled so you used your words to ask me to stop”).
  • Provide opportunities for your child to make choices and feel empowered.
  • Be sure your behavior expectations are age-appropriate and individually appropriate for your child. Expecting a child to do something he or she is not able to do can cause children to feel stress. Stress can lead to biting.
  • Offer foods with a variety of textures to meet your child’s sensory needs.
  • Teach your child words for setting limits, such as “no,” “stop,” or “that’s mine.”

What strategies are not helpful?

These strategies should not be used to address a child’s biting habit.

  • Avoid labeling a child as a “biter.” Negative labels can affect how you view your child, and even affect the child’s feelings about him- or herself.
  • Never bite a child back to punish or show him how it feels to be bitten. Biting a child sends the message that using violence is an acceptable behavior that can be used to solve problems.
  • Avoid getting angry, yelling, or shaming a child.
  • Avoid giving too much attention to a child who bites after an incident. While this is usually negative attention, it can still reinforce the behavior and cause a child to repeat it.
  • Do not force a child who bit and the child who was hurt to play together.
  • Do not punish children who bite. Punishment does not help children to learn discipline and self-control. Instead, it makes children angry, upset, defiant, and embarrassed. It also undermines the relationship between you and your child.

Article taken from families.naeyc.org

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

10 Tips: Keeping Children Safe in Cold Weather

 

When temperatures drop, children need extra attention to stay warm, safe and healthy. Young children are less likely to recognize when they are cold and more likely to lose body heat quickly due to their smaller size. Here are some tips to protect children when the thermometer dips:
  1. Think layers. Put several layers of clothing on your child and make sure their head, neck and hands are covered. Dress babies and young children in one more layer than an adult would wear.
  2. Beware clothing hazards. Scarves and hood strings can strangle smaller children so use other clothing to keep them warm.
  3. Check in on warmth. Tell children to come inside if they get wet or if they’re cold. Then keep watching them and checking in. They may prefer to continue playing outside even if they are wet or cold.
  4. Use sunscreen. Children and adults can still get sunburn in the winter. Sun can reflect off the snow, so apply sunscreen.
  5. Install alarms. More household fires happen during the winter so make sure you have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home.
  6. Get equipped. Children should always wear helmets when snowboarding, skiing, sledding or playing ice hockey. Any sports equipment should be professionally fitted.
  7. Teach technique. It takes time to master fun winter activities like sledding, so make sure children know how to do the activity safely.
  8. Prevent nosebleeds. If your child suffers from minor winter nosebleeds, use a cold air humidifier in their room. Saline nose drops can help keep their nose moist.
  9. Keep them hydrated. In drier winter air kids lose more water through their breath. Keep them drinking and try giving them warm drinks and soup for extra appeal.
  10.  Watch for danger signs. Signs of frostbite are pale, grey or blistered skin on the fingers, ears, nose, and toes. If you think your child has frostbite bring the child indoors and put the affected area in warm (not hot) water. Signs of hypothermia are shivering, slurred speech, and unusual clumsiness. If you think your child has hypothermia call 9-1-1 immediately.

Sources: Save the Children, American Academy of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Health System

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

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.

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.

Infant

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.