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Archive for the ‘Manners’ Category

Good Sportsmanship Is a Learned Skill

Being a part of a team, whether it is a sports team or a debate team, can cause the competitive side of children to surface. There is value in talking to your child about being a good sport both in winning and in losing. Emphasize the old saying, “there is no I in team.” Explain to your child that teams work together, win together and sometimes lose together.

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Learning to display good sportsmanship both when winning and when losing is a valuable life lesson. Our natural reaction is to be excited about winning, which sometimes can result in bragging. The act of being happy without bragging to others is an important skill. Our natural reaction to losing is to be upset, and this may cause us to place the blame on a someone. The skill is remembering that it is okay to be upset without blaming yourself, your teammates or members of the opposing team. As parents, we see our children as MVPs (and of course they are), but we should support our children and teach them to be happy for the winning team and be humble when their team wins. A great strategy is to encourage your child to move forward and start preparing for future games.

 

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When your children sign up to be on a team, remind them that winning is not the most important goal. It is more important for them to do their best and to work with the other team members to create a fun environment for all the children, their parents and the community.

Mealtime Makeover!

Sometimes, putting together a tasty and nutritious meal for our families can be difficult. Here are some tips for making dinnertime with our energetic little ones easier. twenty20_57c6a417-0cc7-4440-8840-1ca2d86f5dc0

  1. Gather your children at the table and ask them to draw simple items that you will rate from 1 to 10. Give high numbers to boost their self-confidence. They will enjoy this game before dinner, and you will appreciate the calmness of your lively preschoolers.
  2. Explain what you are cooking and let them participate. Children may be more excited to eat the food if they help prepare it. Some age-appropriate tasks might include washing veggies, measuring ingredients and setting the table.
  3. For a fun activity, have them create artwork to be laminated and used as placemats for the table. Your little ones will enjoy sitting down to eat more when they see their own pictures included in the table setting.
  4. To encourage children to eat new foods, talk to them about the different shapes and colors of the food while they are eating it. This is a great way to converse with your children. For them, dinner may seem more like a game than a meal.

What are some other ways to encourage your little ones to eat at dinnertime?

Siblings: First Friends

Siblings play a huge role in each other’s lives. Many siblings who are close in age become each other’s first friend. You can encourage a strong, long-term bond by letting your older child take care of his new brother or sister as much as possible.Siblings

Children learn a lot from their parents, and they also learn a lot from their siblings. It is best to encourage our children to have strong connections with one another for them to achieve stable social and emotional development. When children are close with their siblings, the transition to making friends at school is much easier. With siblings who are farther apart in age, the older child becomes a teacher who can explain how to make friends at school and how to behave in the classroom.

Along with being the first born, which is special in itself, your older child now has the extra special responsibility of being a role model for his little brother or sister.

What are some ways you encourage your children to bond with one another?

How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Respect

by Dr. Gerald Newmark
The Children’s Project

Developing Emotionally Healthy Children, Families, Schools and Communities

 Feeling Respected, Important, Accepted, Included and Secure

One of children’s critical emotional needs is to feel respected. For children to feel respected, adults need to be courteous, thoughtful, attentive and civil to them. As individuals, they deserve the same courtesy and consideration as others. Children learn about respect by being treated respectfully and by observing their parents and other adults treating one another with consideration.

When adults don’t treat children with respect, it can lower children’s self-esteem and cause them to rebel and act disrespectfully toward others.

Their parents’ opinions, values, attitudes and actions matter to children. Children have some of the same needs as adults, and what we say and how we say it affects them.

For example saying, “I’m sorry, honey. I don’t have time right now,” is as quick and easy as saying, “Can’t you see I’m busy? Stop bothering me!” With children, a simple act of courtesy can go a long way.

If we want our children to grow up feeling respected and treating others with respect, we need to do the following:

  • avoid being sarcastic, belittling children or yelling at them. We need to keep our anger and impatience to a minimum;
  • avoid lying;
  • listen more and talk less;
  • give fewer commands and more suggestions and requests;
  • say ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘excuse me’ and ‘I’m sorry’ to our children;
  • become conscious of our mistakes, be willing to admit them and be ready to correct our behavior.

Displaying these behaviors as parents will help us cultivate our values in our children.

In the next blog article in this series, Dr. Newmark will discuss children’s need to feel important. Until then, consider the following.

When you were a child, did adults constantly interrupt you before you could finish your thoughts?

If your toddler is feeding herself and getting food on her bib and clothes, do you grab the spoon and yell, “Stop that. You’re making a big mess. Here, I’ll feed you,” or do you put your arm around her and say, “Isn’t that great? You’re trying to feed yourself.”

Satisfying a child’s five critical emotional needs, which are to feel respected, important, accepted, included and secure, will enable them to become self-confident, independent, responsible, thinking, caring and civic-minded individuals.

Click here to read the introductory post in this series, “How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Meeting the Five Critical Needs of Children…and Parents Too!”

Supporting Your Child’s Friendships

The Goddard SchoolWhen children outgrow the ‘mine’ stage and begin to share with others and make friends, these new friends will occasionally argue over a toy or game. As parents, we are often tempted to solve the problem for our children or talk with the other child’s parent. While this may calm things down for the moment, it does not help our children learn the give and take of a friendship.

Help children learn to solve problems themselves with the following proven steps.

  1. Talk about the situation to help your child understand the other child’s point of view. “I guess Kyle wants a turn, too.”
  2. Stay calm and let your child know that hitting, grabbing and shoving hurt other people. “You hurt me when you grab the toy, and I don’t like that.”
  3. Model sharing for your child and congratulate your child when he takes turns or shares a toy. “Wow, you guys are having fun. I like watching you play together!”
  4. Be nearby. Watch and guide the children as they solve conflicts. Once the children resolve the conflict, step in and praise the children. Having an adult close by puts the children on their best behavior, and developing good social skills leads to fun and enjoyable play dates with friends.
  5. Don’t overwhelm your child with play dates. Hold your first play dates with friends your child feels comfortable with and have several activities ready. During the play date, let the children choose which activity to do.
  6. Have bedtime talks and read stories. Talk about the friendships your child is building and read books on friendship. Children learn how others cope in social situations through stories.

Talking Differences

What do we do when our preschooler asks about someone’s physical disability? What do we do if any of our children have a physical ailment and someone has questions? How would we want other people to talk to our children about the children’s condition? How would we want the children to react to people who stare or ask them awkward questions? With the help of Goddard School parent, SooAnn Roberts Pisano, who is the mother of a child with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), we are providing some tips for teaching our children appropriate ways to approach someone with a visible disability or ailment.

Society and tradition have taught us that staring and pointing is rude, and typically it is. However, SooAnn Roberts Pisano points out that teaching our children not to stare “does not teach us to see with our eyes in the same way we would naturally. It essentially instructs us to pretend like you have zero interest at all in what we are seeing and try to appear as natural as possible. It instructs us to remain ignorant about what we do not understand.”  We don’t need to allow staring, but we do need to explain to our children that taking an interest in others and seeking to understand their disabilities or differences is important.

How do children with disabilities or conditions that make them appear different than others deal with the stares and questions? While no solution works in all situations, Pisano developed some simple tips from her personal experiences, comments from adults with disabilities and parents of children with special needs. These can help us approach people with disabilities and educate ourselves and our children to embrace and understand differences.

  • Smile. When you catch yourself staring at someone, smile at the person in acknowledgment. Teach your children to smile at people they see and not to fear those who look different.
  • Ask, “May I ask you about ____?” When you notice someone with a disability or a genetic disorder, show interest and respect by asking them about themselves.
  • Let the person say no. If the person doesn’t want to talk about his or her situation, he or she will let you know. The person might tell you where you can find more information.
  • Use the K.I.S.S. principle and Keep It Short and Simple. Never use questions like “What’s wrong with him?” This can be highly offensive. A person may have a disability or a genetic disorder, but that does not mean there is something wrong with him or her as a person.  A better question to ask may be “May I ask you about your son/daughter’s skin/bandages/condition?” If you are the parent of a child with a disability or genetic disorder, keep your explanations short and simple. Any detailed explanation or any explanation involving medical jargon may confuse the listener. Keeping your explanation simple will help your child learn how to talk about his or her condition if you are not around.
  • Say thank you. If you’re the one asking the question, thank the disabled person for letting you ask. If you’re the one being asked, thank the questioner for asking. Even if the question results in the most awkward conversation you have ever had, these conversations help us fight ignorance instead of passively promoting it.

This is not a simple subject. Conversations about disabilities can be awkward, but we shouldn’t avoid them and remain ignorant about those around us. We can make a better society by taking an interest in those around us, teaching our children how to ask someone about their appearance or disability in a polite manner and embracing that people’s differences make our world amazing, inspiring and bright. The next time we find ourselves staring at someone, we should choose to understand that person’s situation rather than ignore it.

This article was adapted from an original article written by SooAnn Roberts Pisano for the Confetti Skin, Beauty Within website. She adds, “I hope this prov[id]es a tiny drop towards a ripple effect that gets us to talk to each other, even if it’s done in all the wrong ways.  After all, while saving face is nice, learning is what’s most important.”

Toddlers and the Word “No”

With your toddler asserting a newly discovered feeling of independence, you may find yourself at your wits’ end. Tasks that were once a piece of cake—from buckling a car seat, brushing teeth and getting dressed to grocery shopping and mealtimes—can be a big production these days. Now that your child is testing the waters of freedom—getting bigger, stronger, faster, and simultaneously discovering the word “No!”—you might wonder how to regain control. Consider these tips for guiding your child toward good behavior.

Prepare your child in advance by listing each step. Instead of asking, “Are you ready to go home?” use a happy but firm tone to say, “First, we’re going to walk to the car. Remember to hold my hand. Next, I will help you climb into your seat. Then, I will need your help buckling the seat belt.”

Allow your child feel as if they have some control of their world. Instead of, “What do you want to wear to today?” try, “Would you like to wear the blue shirt or the orange shirt?” Instead of, “What do you want for breakfast? try, “Would you like oatmeal or eggs for breakfast?”

Reward good behavior. When your child has cooperated, let them know how pleased you are. “Great job! Thank you for helping me buckle you in! It’s so important to wear your seat belt. Now I will get in and buckle my seat belt just like you!” and, “Great choice! Oatmeal is really yummy and will help keep your tummy full until snack time!”

Choose your battles. While it is critical to not give in on some things (seat belt use, holding hands when crossing a street, etc.), sometimes you have to pick your battles. If your child refuses to get dressed, sometimes you just need to call it a pajama day—easy to do on a day off! If she refuses her meat and veggies at dinner time, don’t make it a big issue. She’ll eat when she is hungry. Just continue to put healthy, well-balanced choices on her plate or tray at each meal and eventually she’ll try them.

How do you guide your child toward good behavior?

Whistle While You Work: Your Child’s Chores

Music - GirlChores are a valuable life activity for everyone. They help fulfill our basic need to feel needed and contribute to our household. Helping others, and doing a good job at it, helps boost children’s self-esteem, while making them feel more confident, competent and valuable. However, getting children to put down the toys, turn off the television and get off the couch to help clean, declutter and spruce up the house isn’t an easy chore in itself! Here are some great ways to motivate children of any age to consistently get their chores done, while minimizing the moaning and groaning.

  • Keep a list of chores for every member of the family—even mom and dad. This helps children see that no one in the house is exempt from doing their fair share of the housework. If they see in black and white what mom and dad do each day, their chores may seem like less of a hassle.
  • Don’t expect perfection. When introducing a new chore, show your child how it is done first and then let them do it their way. It may not be exactly how you’d like it to be done, but at least they’re making an effort. Don’t step in and take over or redo the chore after they have finished. Next time, offer some tips on how to do it better. They’ll learn eventually and be encouraged to keep up with it.
  • Time it! If a chore is assigned, give a time frame for completing it. If not, your child may realize they can put it off until you or someone else takes care of it. When a chore is completed properly and on time, offer appreciation and praise for your child’s diligent follow through.

From the Mouths of Babes: Unacceptable Language

The first time your preschooler blurted out “bad words” or other unacceptable language you were probably pretty surprised—and may have even laughed out loud. We may wonder: what happened to our eager-to-please, angelic sweethearts? As our little ones grow bigger, their curiosity to test and push boundaries grows bigger, too. As parents, we know that rude language and other maddening behavior will quickly lose its charm and humor. Instances like this provide the perfect time to lay the foundation for better behavior. Here are a few simple steps to curb the rudeness.

Establish the rules. Let your child know that “bad words” or rude behavior are unacceptable and will not be used again—and that they will have consequences if they are.

Pre-determine the consequence. Decide in advance on a consequence that you will use if this rude behavior should happen again. Choose something that has a fairly immediate effect such as, “No more playing outside right now,” or “Snack time is over,” as opposed to something you would be more likely to rescind such as, “You are not going to Grammy’s house next week.”

React with confidence. Next time your child speaks impolitely, respond with certainty. Calmly, but firmly, say, “We do not use that sort of language. For that reason, you will not be riding your bike this afternoon.”

Follow through. Do not negotiate or justify the consequences of rude behavior. It is important to set consistent limits by following through with your decision. If you cave in or offer multiple chances, your child may believe that what is acceptable and what is not is up for discussion.

Reward the good stuff. Recognize when your child uses “nice” language. Provide lots of praise, love, affection and positive feedback when they behave well.

The Goddard School Helps Build Confidence to Defeat Bullying

Preschool chain invites families to discover how playful learning nurtures skills to help prevent bullying

Throughout 2010, bullying has been on the rise at all levels of education. In an effort to combat this growing problem, the nation’s leading preschool franchise, The Goddard School, is reaching out with a renewed vigor to help families discover the benefits of playful learning at an early age and how it can prevent bullying. With their proprietary FLEX™ Learning Program, designed to build children’s self- confidence through play, The Goddard School hopes to break the cycle of bullying and halt a national trend.

According to Dr. Kyle Pruett, a child psychiatrist, published author, and advisor to The Goddard School, the success and enjoyment that preschool children experience through playful learning can help develop self-confidence. Confidence, along with strong parenting and learning to interact in a social group, is an important factor in helping children stand up to bullies.

“Confidence comes from competence, and there’s no better way for a child to discover competence than through play-based learning,” said Pruett. “When children learn through play, they become independent thinkers capable of solving problems themselves instead of seeking help from parents or teachers. That’s a huge self-confidence booster.”

Playful learning has been at the heart of The Goddard School’s core curriculum from the beginning. This approach to learning, which helps introduce children to new skills in a playful and engaging way, is supported by a growing body of research from Play for Tomorrow, the consortium behind the respected playful learning movement.

“We make learning enjoyable and we build in lots of opportunity for each child to experience the satisfaction of success,” said Joe Schumacher, CEO of Goddard Systems, Inc., franchisor of The Goddard School. “A key benefit of this approach to learning is its emphasis on building self-esteem and confidence as children try, and succeed at, new challenges. A confident child is much less likely to develop into a bully or to accept bullying from another child.”

To jumpstart this initiative, The Goddard School will be hosting the Goddard Community Games event February 5 in communities across the nation. The focus will be on fun and enrichment, but also teach children about playing well with others and accepting each other’s differences. The event will also give families across the nation an opportunity to join with their children in playful learning programs selected from The Goddard School’s enrichment curriculum, including Sign Language, Yoga, Nutrition and “Rock ‘n’ Tot” pre-dance and creative movement.

“In our preschools, playful learning activities not only equip children with specific skills and knowledge, but also teach them about friendship, compassion, cooperation and kindness,” said Sue Adair, Director of Education at Goddard Systems, Inc. “In fact, as a part of this special day of fun and learning, the children will be involved in a ‘Good Deed’ – an outreach program that will benefit the local community. As we foster a sense of accomplishment and purpose in each child, we build a foundation of self-confidence that we believe is the best defense against bullying.”

To learn more about bully prevention in preschool and beyond or The Goddard School, visit http://www.goddardschool.com/games.