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Emotional Development in Preschoolers

As parents, we can wonder ‘how healthy is my child’s imaginary friend’ or ‘why does he insist he is a doctor at the dinner table’? The article below from healthychildren.org helps explain why children do these things and if they are developmentally appropriate.

Your three-year-old’s vivid fantasy life will help her explore and come to terms with a wide range of emotions, from love and dependency to anger, protest, and fear. She’ll not only take on various identities herself, but also she’ll often assign living qualities and emotions to inanimate objects, such as a tree, a clock, a truck, or the moon. Ask her why the moon comes out at night, for example, and she might reply, “To say hello to me.”

From time to time, expect your preschooler to introduce you to one of her imaginary friends. Some children have a single make-believe companion for as long as six months; some change pretend playmates every day, while still others never have one at all or prefer imaginary animals instead. Don’t be concerned that these phantom friends may signal loneliness or emotional upset; they’re actually a very creative way for your child to sample different activities, lines of conversation, behavior, and emotions.

You’ll also notice that, throughout the day, your preschooler will move back and forth freely between fantasy and reality. At times she may become so involved in her make-believe world that she can’t tell where it ends and reality begins. Her play experience may even spill over into real life. One night she’ll come to the dinner table convinced she’s Cinderella; another day she may come to you sobbing after hearing a ghost story that she believes is true.

While it’s important to reassure your child when she’s frightened or upset by an imaginary incident, be careful not to belittle or make fun of her. This stage in emotional development is normal and necessary and should not be discouraged. Above all, never joke with her about “locking her up if she doesn’t eat her dinner” or “leaving her behind if she doesn’t hurry up.” She’s liable to believe you and feel terrified the rest of the day—or longer.

From time to time, try to join your child in her fantasy play. By doing so, you can help her find new ways to express her emotions and even work through some problems. For example, you might suggest “sending her doll to school” to see how she feels about going to preschool. Don’t insist on participating in these fantasies, however. Part of the joy of fantasy for her is being able to control these imaginary dramas, so if you plant an idea for make- believe, stand back and let her make of it what she will. If she then asks you to play a part, keep your performance low- key. Let the world of pretend be the one place where she runs the show.

Back in real life; let your preschooler know that you’re proud of her new independence and creativity. Talk with her, listen to what she says, and show her that her opinions matter. Give her choices whenever possible—in the foods she eats, the clothes she wears, and the games you play together. Doing this will give her a sense of importance and help her learn to make decisions. Keep her options simple, however. When you go to a restaurant, for example, narrow her choices down to two or three items. Otherwise she may be overwhelmed and unable to decide. (A trip to an ice- cream store or frozen yogurt shop that sells several flavors can be agonizing if you don’t limit her choices.)

What’s the best approach? Despite what we’ve already said, one of the best ways to nurture her independence is to maintain fairly firm control over all parts of her life, while at the same time giving her some freedom. Let her know that you’re still in charge and that you don’t expect her to make the big decisions. When her friend is daring her to climb a tree, and she’s afraid, it will be comforting to have you say no, so that she doesn’t have to admit her fears. As she conquers many of her early anxieties and becomes more responsible in making her own decisions, you’ll naturally give her more control. In the meantime, it’s important that she feels safe and secure.

Just as it was when he was three, your four-year-old’s fantasy life will remain very active. However, he’s now learning to distinguish between reality and make-believe, and he’ll be able to move back and forth between the two without confusing them as much.

As games of pretend become more advanced, don’t be surprised if children experiment with make-believe games involving some form of violence. War games, dragon-slaying, and even games like tag all fall into this category. Some parents forbid their children to play with store-bought toy guns, only to find them cutting, pasting, and creating cardboard guns or simply pointing a finger and shouting “bang, bang.” Parents shouldn’t panic over these activities. This is no evidence that these children are “violent.” A child has no idea what it is to kill or die. For him, toy guns are an innocent and entertaining way to be competitive and boost his self-esteem.

If you want a gauge of your child’s developing self-confidence, listen to the way he talks to adults. Instead of hanging back, as he may have done at two or three, he now probably is friendly, talkative, and curious. He also is likely to be especially sensitive to the feelings of others—adults and children alike—and to enjoy making people happy. When he sees they’re hurt or sad, he’ll show sympathy and concern. This probably will come out as a desire to hug or “kiss the hurt,” because this is what he most wants when he’s in pain or unhappy.

This is a fun time for children but can also be overwhelming at times. Using the above tips can help you both navigate these changes a bit easier. 

Article source: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics)

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


Healthy Eating and Physical Activity with Preschoolers

Healthy eating and physical activity are important habits that keep our bodies healthy! It is very important to start these habits in our children when they are young. Teaching them with our words is important but teaching through our example is crucial! Below are some helpful reminders about nutrition and being active.

Food Groups

The kinds of food your preschooler eats and drinks are important for his or her health. Fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy provide the nutrients that their bodies need. Keep an eye on the amount of added sugars, sodium, and saturated (solid) fat.

  • Fruits – Let your preschooler enjoy a variety of whole or bite-sized fruits such as apples, sliced bananas, and mandarin orange pieces. Serve 100% fruit juice in small amounts and less often.
  • Vegetables – Prepare red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli as part of your child’s meals and snacks.
  • Grains – Make at least half their grains whole grains by offering 100% whole-grain cereals, breads, and pasta.
  • Protein Foods – Choose a variety of protein foods such as seafood, beans, and small portions of meat or poultry.
  • Dairy – Give them low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese to provide much needed calcium.
  • Encourage water instead of fruit juice or sugary drinks – Too much 100% juice or sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda, juice drinks, or sport drinks, can add more calories than your child needs.
  • Check out the sodium (salt) in canned foods, bread, and frozen meals – Read the Nutrition Facts label to find foods with lower numbers.
  • Watch the amount of saturated fats in foods – Cakes, cookies, ice cream, pizza, cheese, sausages, and hot dogs are okay sometimes but not every day.


Picky Eating

Do you have a picky eater in your home? Do any of these statements remind you of your preschooler?

  • “Michael won’t eat anything green, just because of the color.”
  • “Ebony will only eat peanut butter sandwiches!”
  • “Maria doesn’t sit still at the table. She can’t seem to pay attention long enough to eat a meal!”

You’re not alone. Picky eating is a typical behavior for many preschoolers. It’s simply another step in the process of growing up and becoming independent. As long as your preschooler is healthy, growing normally, and has plenty of energy, he or she is most likely getting needed nutrients.

Many children will show one or more of the following behaviors during the preschool years. In most cases, these will go away with time.

  • Your child may refuse a food based on a certain color or texture. For example, he or she could refuse foods that are red or green, contain seeds, or are squishy.
  • For a period of time, your preschooler may only eat a certain type of food. Your child may choose 1 or 2 foods he or she likes and refuse to eat anything else.
  • Sometimes your child may waste time at the table and seem interested in doing anything but eating.
  • Your child may be unwilling to try new foods, especially fruits and vegetables. It is normal for your preschooler to prefer familiar foods and be afraid to try new things.

Having your preschooler help you in the kitchen is a good way to get your child to try new foods. Kids feel good about doing something “grown-up.” Give them small jobs to do. Praise their efforts. Children are much less likely to reject foods that they helped make.

Physical Activity

Being physically active helps your preschooler learn healthy habits. Preschoolers who participate in active play can get the physical activity they need to maintain a healthy weight, develop muscles and strong bones, and reduce their risk of developing chronic disease such as Type 2 diabetes.

Encourage your preschooler to play actively several times every day. Preschoolers’ activity may happen in short bursts of time instead of all at once. Physical activity does not always have to be led by adults..

Preschoolers need quiet time but make sure your preschooler is not inactive for too long.

Limit TV and screen time to less than 2 hours daily, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • Encourage reading or crafts rather than TV time.
  • Quiet time is best before naps or bed.
  • Be a role model and limit your own inactivity. Your preschooler will learn that being physically active is part of a healthy life. Manage the time you spend watching TV or using mobile devices.
  • Avoid having the TV on during mealtimes.
  • Only put TVs in family rooms. Don’t put a TV in your child’s bedroom.

HealthyTipsforPickyEaters   KitchenHelperActivities

This information was compiled from Choosemyplate.gov  

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


We Love Our Earth!!

Today is Earth Day! During the month of April we have experienced lots of fun activities that have taught us about Children and the Earth! There are many things children can do to help the Earth. Some things we have done at our school this week to celebrate ‘Root for Earth’ included creating art with recycled materials, a visit from Home Depot where we painted flower pots to use at home, a visit from The City of Franklin Sanitation Department who talked about recycling with us and going an hour without lights at school. Here are some ideas of things you can do with your children at home that will benefit the Earth while also building skills:

*Children love to sort! Sorting items for recycling is a wonderful activity to reinforce math skills while helping the Earth. Counting the paper, glass and metal items will also develop math skills. Social skills, such as compassion and kindness, can grow as you discuss why you recycle with your children.

*What child does not enjoy turning switches and pushing buttons? Encourage your child to help the Earth by turning the lights off when they leave a room and turning the water off when they are brushing their teeth. You can also develop their responsibility by making them the ‘light helper’ and having them turn lights off in the house when not in use. Children thrive on being given responsibility!

*Planting plants and gardening are another wonderful way to build learning skills while having fun digging in the dirt! You can develop math skills by counting seeds with children. They can develop gross motor skills as they dig small holes for flowers and fine motor skills as they pick up the seeds. There are countless science discussions to be had about plant life and weather while outside!

Take advantage of the beautiful weather and have some fun while helping our planet!!


For more information on The Goddard School in Franklin (Cool Springs) visit our website and our Facebook pageIMG_2549 IMG_2555 IMG_2558 group   IMG_2511

Discipline and Your Children

Can discipline be the same for different children in the same family? Not always. Is it fair to treat them differently? They won’t think so, and they’ll be playing close attention. But of course it may be, because they are different. Differences in discipline depend on age differences, differences in ability, sensitivity and temperament.
Siblings will reproach parents: “You’re always so much easier on her than you are on me.” I would advise parents to lay out their reasons openly so that differences in discipline won’t be seen as playing favorites: “Do you really think it would be fair to treat you alike? You’re three years older.” Parents may also find that they discipline their boys and girls differently, or they may do so without realizing it. Many will naturally soften to speak to a girl, and are more likely to be tougher with a boy. Will boys see this as unfair? Probably. Parents will need to stop and consider whether their different responses to a boy and a girl really fit the child or, instead, are based on a stereotype.
Fair discipline does not necessarily mean the same discipline for all. If different children really need different kinds of discipline to be contained and to learn from it, all the children can be helped to understand and accept this.  What happens when two or more siblings are involved? When they gang up to make a ruckus that you must stop? An older child may set up a younger one to do his dirty work because he’s more likely to “get off easy.” Sometimes, parents may know that the mischief goes beyond the younger child’s abilities. Sometimes they won’t. What should you do?
–  First of all, parents will need to get themselves under control.
–  Then, address both children together. This is their chance to learn that they’re all in it together as a family.
–  Afterward, separate each child for individual discipline, in private.

–  Finally, bring the children back together again. Remind them that they are all responsible for each other, even when only one is guilty. Then, plan for a family time – a meal, reading together, a walk, or anything else that allows everyone to feel close again.
Separation from each other has the powerful effect of getting each child to listen to the teaching that goes with discipline, and defuses the excitement of ganging up on a parent. It also makes them realize how much they want to be together, no matter how upset they’ve been with each other. When children keep misbehaving, over and over, either they’ve not yet learned from your discipline or the motive to misbehave is stronger. It is essential to help children discover their own motivation to get along with each other and to comply with the family’s rules and expectations. Then they can begin to assume some responsibility for self-discipline. If this doesn’t happen, siblings are likely to find it far more rewarding to gang up against parents and to goad each other to test parents’ patience and resolve. When you can, turn it back to them and make the misbehavior their problem, not yours.
Another possibility is that your response has not been consistent. If you respond on some occasions, and not on others, children are bound to keep on testing. They need to find out whether or not you’ll respond next time. If you mean business, show them by responding the same way, every time. But don’t get worked up about it. That may make the misbehavior even more exciting, and hard to resist.
1. Make the punishment fit the crime.
2. When you find yourself spending a lot of time disciplining your children for fights and rivalry, stop and consider how much to leave to them. They’ll be more likely to listen if they haven’t heard you nagging for a while.
3. Balance positives with the negatives. When your children are quietly getting along or working on their own projects, surprise them with a word of praise.
4. When problem behavior happens too often, ask the children what would help them behave. Let

them plan solutions together.
5. Don’t compare one child to another.
6. Don’t talk about one child to the others.
7. Don’t humiliate one child in front of the others.
8. Discipline is best absorbed by a child when it can be done in private. But it often happens that two or more children need it at the same time. You can remind them as a group of expectations and consequences that apply to all of them, without singling anyone out.
9. Match the discipline to the child. A parent who knows each child’s temperament, stage of development, learning style, and thresholds has a better chance. Watch her face and body movements for evidence that you are reaching her.

Article taken from families.naeyc.org

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.

Building Social and Emotional Skills at Home

School classrooms are busy places where young children learn all sorts of things, including social and emotional skills such as how to express feelings and how to work together with friends on a project. Here are some suggestions for helping your child develop social and emotional skills at home.

Puppets. Teachers sometimes talk with children about conflicts and help them think about solutions while using puppets and families can try this technique at home. Puppets are a great way to introduce children to feeling words like happy, sad, angry, and children will sometimes talk to puppets about their feelings. Puppets can also help in discussions about challenging topics, like getting to bed on time.

Think out loud. When your child hears your thinking process, it helps her understand how to cope with frustration and solve problems: “Whoops. My favorite shopping bag has a hole in it. I’d better take another one with me to the grocery store.”

Read bedtime stories. There is something magical about this end-of-the-day routine that makes it the ideal time for talking about feelings. Discuss the characters and events in the story. Invite your child to share her thoughts and feelings by asking questions: “What do you think he should do? How do you think she feels? What would you do if you were this character?”

Do a job together. Instead of asking your child to do a chore alone, do it with her. The two of you might fold laundry, set the table, rake leaves, or paint a wall. Help your child join in by shortening the handle of a broom to make it child-size or providing a small paintbrush or roller.

Play games. Card and board games and outdoor games such as tag or hop-scotch offer built-in opportunities for helping children learn to take turns, cooperate, handle frustration, and more. While playing games together, focus on fun instead of winning or losing.

Prevent potential problems. Before a friend comes to play, help your child put away toys he does not want to share. Before taking a bus to the zoo, provide a step-by-step explanation of what you will do: “We will wait at the bus stop for 5 minutes, then get on the bus and sit together and watch the sights go by for about 30 minutes [explain this as the length of one episode of a favorite TV show]. Then we will walk three blocks to the zoo and tour the lion house before anything else!” During the trip, remind your preschooler of what will happen next.


Article taken from families.naeyc.org


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

Helping Your Preschooler Gain Self Control

When asked about school readiness skills, many teachers say children who succeed in kindergarten know when and how to control their impulses. They can follow through when a task is difficult and listen to directions for a few minutes. These skills are linked to self-control. Children can develop them at preschool and at home. Here are a few ways families can help children learn self-control.

*Change the rules of a game to make it an opposite game. For example, instead of playing the familiar version of Simon Says, play Simon Doesn’t Say. Explain the new rule in words and actions: “Do the opposite of what Simon asks you to do. If Simon Says ‘Touch your head,’ you should touch your toes.” Be sure to demonstrate how this works. Keep directions simple. Take turns being Simon.

*Finish what you are doing, then respond to requests for attention. For example, if you are on the phone and your child asks for something (and it’s not an emergency), let her know you need to take time to complete your conversation. This is a good way to let your child practice waiting for a short time.

*Do activities together that require following directions. For example, put together a model, play follow the leader, or cook or bake: “I’m going to read the recipe aloud. Listen carefully so we will both know what to do. I’ll read them again as we do each step.”

*Help children understand how long they will have to wait for something and suggest activities to do while they wait. Say to your child, “Grammy and Grampy are coming over before dinner. Would you like to draw some pictures to give them?” or “As soon as I put your sister to bed, I will read you some stories. You can choose three books for us to read together.”

*Work with your child to complete a puzzle that has a few more pieces than he or she is used to. Set up the puzzle in a place where you can work on it for several days, if needed. Celebrate together when one of you puts the last piece in place.

*Plant some easy-to-grow marigold seeds in a pot or in a garden. Check together every day until the plants pop up. Over time, watch the plant grow leaves and flowers.


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 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

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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.