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HOW TO HAVE A SAFE AND FUN HALLOWEEN

Halloween is a magical night where the world of make-believe comes alive for children, but it can also be a great time to practice good manners, good sense and good fun!

The Goddard School and Trampoline Learning provide essential tips for a safe and happy Halloween.

Before Halloween:

  • Avoid masks that make seeing difficult. Opt for face paint instead.
  • Be sure that children can walk easily in their costumes. Hem if necessary.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes. While high heeled shoes are fancy, it’s easy to fall in them and little feet will tire quickly.
  • Provide children with a glow stick or add reflective tape to their costumes so that they can be seen by cars as it gets dark.
  • Plan your route so that children do not become overtired. Agree ahead of time about how many houses you will visit.
  • Explain that children must stay with parents and that they should walk, not run from house to house.
  • Take the opportunity to explain that normally children should not speak with strangers. Remind them that Halloween is a special time when it is alright for them to go door to door because you will be with them to keep them safe.
  • Share your expectations about using good manners BEFORE you go out. Let children practice trick or treating at their own door a few times. Reward good trick or treating manners with a treat!
  • Bring a flashlight to light the way.

When Trick-or-treating:

  • Start early before it gets dark.
  • Be sure children are traveling in small groups accompanied by a responsible adult.
  • Only go to houses where lights are on, preferably those in which you know the resident.
  • Be respectful of people and property. Use sidewalks. Remind children that it is not polite to walk through gardens, hedges or across lawns.
  • Cross only at intersections and crosswalks. Watch for moving vehicles.
  • Be careful around lit candles in jack-o-lanterns.
  • Ring the door bell or knock on the door only once.
  • If you are with a group, wait patiently for your turn. No pushing or shoving!
  • Say, “Trick or treat!” in a loud, clear voice.
  • If you know the homeowner, greet them with, “Hello, Mr./Ms. ____.” Make eye contact as you speak.
  • Be sure to say, “Thank you!” or “Happy Halloween!” once you have received your treat.
  • If someone compliments you on your costume, remember to say, “Thank you.”

After Trick-or-treating:

  • Discard treats that are unwrapped, loosely wrapped, damaged or homemade.
  • Limit the amount of candy your child can enjoy in one sitting. Agree on a number and stick to it.

PREPARING YOUR CHILD TO READ

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Reading is one of life’s most important skills, that’s why parents should focus on reading readiness early in their child’s life. Reading begins with language and how it relates to your child’s world. Creating a language-rich environment will help your child’s vocabulary grow. A print-rich environment may also help prepare your child for reading by making the connection between your child’s world and the symbols we use to communicate.

Below are some suggestions on the steps you should take for infants through toddlers. Our next post will look at ideas for preschool and pre-Kindergarten-age children.

INFANT TO ONE YEAR

 Read simple board books with one picture per page, contrasting colors or simple pictures, and point to the items on each page.

 While reading to your child, make faces–it’s fun and your child will notice subtle differences.

 Allow your child to point and turn book pages.

 Describe everything; name colors, shapes and sizes.

FIRST STEPS (12-18 months)

 Read longer stories to your child and allow him or her to interact with the book–pointing, turning pages or even turning the book upside-down.

 Name objects as your child points.

 Make noises! Imitate cars, animals and eating sounds during play.

 Speak to your child in a normal tone to demonstrate accurate sound recognition.

 Enunciate words of interest like M-M-Mommy.

 As syllables start to represent words, such as “juice” and “more,” expand upon them  (e.g., “apple juice,” “Would you like more apple juice?”).

TODDLER (18-30 months)

 Read everything–signs, labels, toys and your child’s name.

 Take cues from your child—interested, not interested, read or just look at the pictures, read more or stop before the end of the story?

 Find and point out shapes and symbols in your home or community.

 Recite rhymes and alliterations; pause to allow your child to fill in the last word or phrase.

 Play games where symbols lead to action (e.g., two orange squares on the card means to move two orange spaces).

CHOCOLATE-BANANA YOGURT SUNDAE

Spruce up snack time or dessert with this delicious chocolate-banana yogurt sundae!

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INGREDIENTS

  • Non-fat vanilla yogurt
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Banana
  • Shredded coconut

Spoon a desired amount of yogurt into a dish. Slice up the banana, and place the slices in the yogurt. Then drizzle with chocolate sauce. Sprinkle shredded coconut over the sundae.

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities. Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

HOW TO MAKE CHORES FUN

When you’re a busy parent coming home from the workday and continuing your second job of being a parent, simple household chores can take up valuable time and can become aggravating.

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Lessen your stress by teaching responsibility to your little ones. Encouraging your children to contribute to small tasks around the house will not only help them develop gross motor skills and responsibility, but it will also provide extra time for you as a parent to bond with your children by playing a game or reading a book.

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  1. Call their help something other than chores. Emphasize that your child will be helping with daily tasks. Children may feel happier about completing their task if they are helping.
  2. Create a Mommy’s and Daddy’s Helper chart. Children will be anxious to check off their task of the day; it will entice them to complete it
  3. Add a sticker each time your child completes an assigned task. Offer your child a special prize for obtaining a certain number of stickers. Prizes can be one of the following:
    • Having an extra 30 minutes of screen time;
    • Choosing the family dinner for a night;
    • Picking the game for family game night.

FIVE WAYS TO ENCOURAGE GOOD MANNERS

Learning to be polite and respectful is just as important as learning any other life skill. Here are five ways to encourage good manners in children.

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  1. Be a good example. Children imitate what they see and hear, so if you are polite and respectful to others, there is a good chance that your child will be, too.
  2. Role play with your child. For example, ask her to pretend she’s at a restaurant. Then ask her what she would do if she needs somebody to pass the salt or what she would do if the server asks her what she wants to order.
  3. Enlist help from other family members. If you are comfortable with it, let other family members know that it is okay for them to encourage your child to use good manners. Or, say, if a grandparent burps, gently remind the grandparent that he or she should say “Excuse me.”
  4. Begin teaching manners early. Even if your child is a toddler, it is never too early to start teaching manners. After all, if a child is encouraged from day one to say please and thank you, it becomes a regular part of his everyday life.
  5. Correct mistakes politely. Your child is bound to make mistakes, and it is perfectly fine for you to correct her. Just be sure to do it calmly and politely.

ENCOURAGE OUTSIDE-THE-BOX THINKING IN YOUR PRESCHOOLER

A fantastic way to get your little one to think outside the box is with cooking.

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For example, you can make numerous different croissant dishes with a simple roll of the dough. Unfold each section from the packaged roll and form it into an individual triangle. Once it is face open, ask your child what to add to the middle. There are a ton of possibilities; following are three examples:

  1. Add a piece of ham and a piece of cheese, and then roll the dough for a delicious ham and cheese sandwich.
  2. Add pepperoni and cheese, and serve with a tomato sauce dip to create a mini-croissant pizza.
  3. Add shredded chicken and bacon and serve with ranch.

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Another way to encourage your child to think outside the box is with riddles.

  1. A man went on a trip riding his horse. He left on Friday, stayed in town for three days and came back on Friday. How did he do it?  Answer: His horse’s name is Friday
  2. What has three hands, but cannot clap? Answer: a clock

KUKU GAME

KuKu (Koo – Koo) is a game that teaches risk, money and numbers, but it’s easy enough to explain to your child.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • One large poster paper
  • One large drafting compass
  • A pencil
  • A deck of cards
  • Coins (pennies, nickels, dimes or quarters) or poker chips for each player

SET UP

To set up your board, take the poster paper and draw a large circle close to the edge with your protractor. Next, draw a smaller circle inside and continue that process until you have about five concentric circles decreasing in size toward the middle. Then, draw lines coming from the center to the edge, resembling pizza slices (see below).

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PLAYERS

  • three to eight

GOAL

  • To not end up with the lowest card

HOW TO PLAY

  1. Choose a starting dealer. The deal will rotate clockwise with each round.
  2. Have each player put a coin on the red dot at the bottom of the poster.
  3. The dealer distributes one card per player face down.
  4. Starting to the left of the dealer, the player decides to keep the dealt card or to switch it with the person on the left. If switched, the second player can either keep it or switch it again with the player on the left. Remember, the object is to not end up with the lowest card of all players.
  5. This play continues until it circles back to the dealer. The dealer can either keep the card he has or switch it with a card in the deck.
  6. All players turn their card face up. The person with the lowest card moves up one space on the board.
  7. Start a new round with a new dealer.
  8. Once your coin is in the innermost circle, you are out.
  9. The last person left with a coin outside the inner circle wins all the coins.

** If you are dealt a king at any time, you can yell “KuKu” and refuse to give your card to the person asking to switch with you.

Have fun!

 

CARDBOARD TUBE BIRD FEEDER

This cardboard tube bird feeder craft is a fun way to invite feathered friends to your yard! Watch as birds come to feed, and talk with your little one about all the different birds that visit the feeder. You can even look up the birds you see online to learn more about them. Audubon.com and National Geographic Kids are great resources.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • Plate
  • Birdseed
  • Nut or Seed Butter
  • Cardboard Tube (toilet paper size or half of a paper towel roll)
  • String

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INSTRUCTIONS

Pour the birdseed onto the plate and use a spoon, butter knife or popsicle stick to coat the outside of the cardboard tube with the nut or seed butter.

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Roll the coated tube in the birdseed. Fill in any gaps as needed until the whole tube is covered.

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Thread a piece of string through the cardboard tube and tie the ends of the string together.

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Hang it from a tree for the birds to enjoy!

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THE BENEFITS OF COOKING WITH CHILDREN

Inviting your preschooler to help you cook provides numerous learning opportunities. You can spend quality time with her while increasing her skills in the kitchen.

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Cooking involves careful planning and time management. Learning how to plan and manage her time will benefit your child as she grows.

While your child learns how to prepare food safely, teach her about the dangers in the kitchen. Point out these dangers, and talk to her about how to avoid accidents.

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Helping out in the kitchen can increase your child’s creativity and help her develop math and reading skills. When you follow the instructions on a recipe together, she can practice reading. Measuring ingredients is a great way to introduce her to the importance of learning math. Letting your child choose ingredients will enhance her creativity and encourage her to voice her opinions.

HOW TO MAKE EDIBLE NUT- OR SEED-BASED BUTTER PLAY DOUGH

Inspire your child’s creativity (and appetite) with some edible nut- or seed-based butter play dough!

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup smooth nut- or seed-based butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey or agave
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar or milk

Combine nut- or seed-based butter and honey in a bowl and stir. Add powdered sugar or milk, ¼ cup at a time, kneading into mixture until it is no longer sticky and has the consistency of play dough. Ask your child to wash his or her hands before handling play dough if he or she plans on eating it afterward.

 

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities. Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.