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Archive for November, 2011

Celebrate Diversity

Blocks - Boys PlayingAs toddlers and preschoolers, children are beginning to notice there are differences between themselves and others. While their observations are very broad at this point—a child may notice another child’s hair is different from his, but not quite know why—they are beginning to form their own ideas about what all these differences mean, and their natural inquisitiveness can lead to many questions.

To help your child understand, learn to respect and celebrate differences in others, guide him as he explores and learns from the diverse world around him.

  • Be open to his questions and provide clear, age-appropriate answers. Listen attentively and explain why certain words or thoughts are hurtful.
  • Embrace differences in others, don’t try to avoid them. Use books, music, games and food to explore different cultures together.
  • Set a good example through your positive relationships with others. Your little one will learn to accept and respect their peers, too.

Managing an Infraction

Keep it short and simple.  About six to eight words is the upper limit here, and don’t repeat it endlessly, as it means less every time you say it.

Move in sooner rather than later as the excitement of the act itself starts to take over and the child can no longer hear what she might have heard a minute or two before.  Don’t give more than two warnings before you move in to resolve the situation.

Label the child’s feeling or wish:  “I know it’s so hard to wait,” or “That made you so angry.”

Follow with what you expect:  “We don’t hurt people here,” or “Screaming won’t help me know what you need,” or “I will help you calm down.”

Conclude with a solution, joint when possible:  “Is book time a good idea?”  or “Would ‘softie’ help you settle down?” or “How can we fix this?”

Always remember to count to 10.  It actually works.

If needed, punishment tactics that have proven their worth over the years are:

  • Timeouts
  • Physical Removal
  • Immobilization (for short periods – a few seconds)

The Time Crunch: The Modern Parent’s Dilemma

It’s the modern parent’s dilemma: the time crunch. Sometimes it feels like there just are not enough hours in the day to accomplish all of life’s tasks—and still be an effective and loving parent.

Consider quality of time versus quantity of time. It’s all about compromising.

Vacuum tomorrow so you can cuddle up with your child and a good book instead! Prepare a few extra meals on the weekend to reduce dinner prep time during the week and free up time for a quick walk with your family. Set your morning alarm for a half an hour earlier to create time to eat breakfast together.

What compromises do you make to ensure quality time with your family?

When an Older Sibling Acts Out

If your older child is acting out, she may be feeling less important than a younger sibling, who may have more needs—and require more of your time. While she may be verbal or even conversational at this point, she may not be developmentally able to express complicated feelings; she doesn’t realize why she’s acting out.

Making sure that each child receives a fair share of your time can be a challenge! Squeezing in a few special moments or rewards for your older child can help to feel more important.

Here are some ideas you may want to consider:

  • If you have to run a quick errand (and someone is available to supervise the younger one), bring your older child along. A quick run to the post office can feel like a special adventure when it’s presented as special time together.
  • Allow your older child to stay up a bit later—even it’s just 15 minutes. Save a special “big kid” activity just for this time such as a pop-up book, paper dolls or a special model truck.
  • Offer to read an extra story before bedtime—just the two of you.

Going on a Treasure Hunt

An ancient treasure map has turned up miraculously on your door step and it leads to a treasure chest hiding in your home! Great for parties or just a fun afternoon activity, send your children roaming around your house or backyard for some fun-filled treasure hunting adventures.

Like a scavenger hunt, create clues that will send the treasure hunters from one hint to the next, eventually ending at the “buried” treasure! Have fun and be creative when writing your clues—use riddles or rhymes—but don’t make them too hard for young children to figure out quickly.

Once you’ve created your clues, set up your landmarks for the treasure hunt. You could use stuffed animals and pretend they’re “wild dingos,” build a totem pole out of empty boxes or fill a small kiddie pool with sand (outside, of course) and encourage the children to dig for their next hint. The possibilities are endless! Be sure to set boundaries, and keep all landmarks and treasure chest within your home or backyard where you can easily supervise.

Cardboard treasure chests can be found in most party stores, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you could make one using a few supplies from your local craft store.