Preparing Your Child for When you Travel for Work (Part III)

Preparing Your Child for When you Travel for Work (Part III)

Traveling for work can be hard on you, your significant other, and your child. Although many people think traveling for work is a perk, having a child makes it difficult to just pick up your bags and head out the door. As hard as it may be, sometimes these work trips are company requirements and cannot be avoided. Your child may have strong feelings regarding your work trip. He may feel angry or sad at the idea of missing you and not being able to see you for extended periods of time. Here are tips for preparing your child for when you need to travel for work:

1. Help your child prepare special care packages.
2. Make a list of fun trips and things to do for your child.
3. Keep in touch.
4. Be understanding.

1. Help your child prepare special care packages.

While you are away, your child would love the idea of helping you on your trip. This is an awesome way for your child to understand the importance of the trip and that you also miss him just as much as he misses you. This activity keeps your child engaged and encourages her to think of different things that would make you happy while you are away on your work trip. Your significant other or child’s caretaker can help your child draw some pictures, pick out your favorite snacks, pick out a good book to read, etc. This can be a fun adventure to the post office to send you a customized “very special” care package from home!

2. Make a list of fun trips and things to do for your child.

Leave a list of fun things for your child to do. You can ask your significant other or child’s caretaker to take him to special places, such as an amusement park, aquarium, zoo, etc. This keeps your child busy while you’re away and helps your child make positive memories during this transition. Your child will be thrilled to tell you about everything he did when you return!

3. Keep in touch.

Remember…we are in the age of smartphones and screens! This mean you can keep in touch with your child and plan special times to communicate. Talk to them on the phone. Skype or facetime with your child so that he or she can see you. You can even read a bedtime story from afar…how awesome is that!

4. Be understanding.

It is most important to understand the different feelings your child will experience during your work trip. Be understanding. Remain calm. Be patient. Don’t set too many strict expectations. There will be tantrums, crying, lack of sleep, etc. This is a big change for your child. Instead of getting angry for any of their reactions, show your child love and patience. It’s an emotional journey your child is learning to process and navigate.

Written by Marilee Hartling and Daniel Munoz

Preparing Your Child for When you Travel for Work (Part II)

Preparing Your Child for When you Travel for Work (Part II)

Traveling for work can be hard on you, your significant other, and your child. Although many people think traveling for work is a perk, having a child makes it difficult to just pick up your bags and head out the door. As hard as it may be, sometimes these work trips are company requirements and cannot be avoided. Your child may have strong feelings regarding your work trip. He may feel angry or sad at the idea of missing you and not being able to see you for extended periods of time. Here are tips for preparing your child for when you need to travel for work:

1. Find a symbolic transitional object for your child.
2. Keep consistent routines.
3. Create a visual countdown for your child.

1. Find a symbolic transitional object for your child.

To best ease the transition, you can leave your child with something that reminds them of you. This could include photos, jewelry, letters, clothing, etc.

2. Keep consistent routines.

Children benefit greatly from routines and consistency. Your work trip is a significant change for them and will bring many strong feelings. It is important for you, your significant other, or any other person watching over your child while you are away to keep routines as consistent as possible. Your work trip should ideally be the only drastic change to minimize the number of stressors your child must navigate.

3. Create a visual countdown for your child.

Some children have difficulty understanding the concept of time and the difference between weeks and months. To prevent further confusion, you can make a calendar for your child that clearly shows what day you will return. The calendar can be interactive. Have your child place a sticker each day. Another fun activity for your child is a paper chain. Use strips of construction paper to create a chain. The number of loops should correspond with the number of days you will be away. As each day passes, your child cuts a chain until there are no more, which would indicate the special day that you come home. For younger children, you can refer to the days you will be away as sleeps.” “I will be away for 5 sleeps and then I will be home.” Children can countdown the number of sleeps.

Written by Marilee Hartling and Daniel Munoz

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Preparing Your Child for When you Travel for Work (Part I)

Preparing Your Child for When you Travel for Work (Part I)

Traveling for work can be hard on you, your significant other, and your child. Although many people think traveling for work is a perk, having a child makes it difficult to just pick up your bags and head out the door. As hard as it may be, sometimes these work trips are company requirements and cannot be avoided. Your child may have strong feelings regarding your work trip. He may feel angry or sad at the idea of missing you and not being able to see you for extended periods of time. Here are tips for preparing your child for when you need to travel for work:

1. Inform your child about your work trip ahead of time, a couple days in advance if possible.

2. Create a special map with your child.

3. Make a story book about this topic.

1. Inform your child about your work trip.

It is very important for you to give your child the heads up about your trip. Do your best to ensure that it is not an abrupt, last minute goodbye. There are times in which you have no choice but to tell your child last minute before leaving because of the short notice from your company. In these situations, remain calm. Emphasize how much you love your child and that your love will still be there even when you are not there. “Daddy always comes back.” Younger children have difficulty understanding the concept of time. With this in mind, they might not know the difference between a week long trip and a month long trip. The one thing they do know is that he or she will miss you. We suggest informing your child a couple days in advance, as informing your child too early will give your child more time to become more anxious and informing your child too late will be too abrupt of a goodbye. When informing your child about your work trip, give as much detail as possible. When are you leaving? What will be you be doing there? Will you still be able to keep in touch? When are you coming back?

2. Create a special map with your child.

Before leaving, sit with your child and show him a printed map of where you will be. Your child can place a sticker on your location or draw a small stick figure. This keeps your child involved and helps your child gain a sense of control in a situation where he has no control. You can turn this into a fun activity by doing some research with your child. Show your child pictures of the place and tell them a brief history of where you are going. What is the most popular food there? How is the weather there? Are there a lot of people living there? Providing details to your child will give them the opportunity to visualize where you will be and possibly ease some of the worries.

3. Make a story book about this topic, so that your child has a narrative.

A “bye-bye” book is a narrative that helps illustrate what is going on and provides your child with a tangible object to help cope with the transition. You can use card stock and draw pictures with your child. You can add photos of you and your child at home and one of you at work. You can cut pictures from magazines. You can find pictures of an airplane and the place you are visiting, cut them out, and glue into your book. Work together and make this a special book created by you two. In the book, you can describe why you are leaving and when you are coming back. You can also use the book to emphasize that your love for your child is always there no matter how close or far you are. Your child will be able to read this during your time away and it will act as a great reminder of when you will return. Be sure to include a happy ending and what you will do when you return.

Written by Marilee Hartling and Daniel Munoz

Need help?

Stay Calm…Siblings Fight. Here’s What to Do!

Stay Calm…Siblings Fight. Here’s What to Do!

If you have more than one child, it’s probably become common for you to hear your children go back and forth during an argument and even possibly use their bodies to hurt each other. “Moooom! Mark keeps on bugging me! He’s flicking me. Mooooom!” This probably sounds all too familiar. The back and forth fighting between your children may become overwhelming and can easily drive you crazy! Parenting is already stressful without the constant fighting between your children. Don’t worry. Most parents with more than one child experience this and may worry about why their children fight and if it means there is something wrong with their children or their parenting abilities. Again, don’t worry. Let’s begin with trying to understand why siblings may fight and then discuss different things we can do to best help your children navigate these conflicts.

Why?

1. Conflict between siblings is typical.

It is important to know that it is quite normal for siblings to fight. Don’t worry. Although the fighting between your kids may drive you to want to pull your hair out, conflicts between siblings open the door for learning and provide your children with opportunities to resolve conflicts and think of ways to manage and explore relationships with others.

2. Children desire attention and a sense of control.

Children are intuitive and know you best. Often times, children want attention from you and want to be able to control the situation. Remember, all behavior has meaning and it is up to us to figure out the meaning of the behaviors we don’t like. For instance, when your children fight, you might overreact, raise your voice, and give attention to your kids as a means of trying to resolve the conflict. They will eventually come to realize that these conflicts or fights immediately get your attention away from anything that you’re doing and instead focus your attention on them. Are you on the phone and sometimes notice that your kids start picking a fight in the middle of your conversation? Your children are clever and know what it takes to divert your attention away from your phone.

3. Children compare themselves to siblings.

Fights between siblings may stem from comparisons. One child may feel as if he or she is less than his or her sibling. Although most of the time the negative feelings are not truly rooted in hatred toward his sibling, your child may feel as if he is unable to match up or “compete” with his sibling and is unable to make his parents happy or “like me just as much as him.” Your child may have this feeling even if it isn’t the case that you treat or “like” siblings differently.

What can I do?

1. Model for your child how to settle arguments safely and cooperatively.

Believe it or not, your children learn many things from simply watching you do things, such as navigating your relationships with others and interacting with your partner.

2. Let your child navigate these conflicts without too much parent interference.

Give your children the chance to learn! You may take on the role of mediator and help siblings to think of possible solutions to a problem, then let them decide together which solution will work best.

3. It’s okay to ask siblings to argue “somewhere else” if it gets too loud.

Offer to come in to help with the negotiations in 5 minutes when you are finished with your current task. Let them have a little practice negotiating before you step in. Of course you will need to step in right away if someone is getting hurt.

4. Avoid comparing your children.

Do not compare. Openly comparing your children will harm your children and plant these harmful ideas in their minds and prevent them from getting along cooperatively.

5. Emphasize the differences and special qualities each of your children have.

Explain to them that no one is the same and each of us have differences that make us who we are. Highlight each of their strengths and celebrate these differences!

 

Although fighting between siblings is typical, it is important to note that if the fighting becomes excessive, becomes dangerous, or is causing extreme emotional trauma within the family, you need to seek help from a professional. Don’t wait or ignore the issue. It is best to get help sooner rather than later. We are here for you! Feel free to contact our office to set up a consultation.

Written by Marilee Hartling and Daniel Munoz

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“Help! We’re moving!”: Tips on Preparing Your Child for the Move (Part 2)

“Help! We’re moving!”: Tips on Preparing Your Child for the Move (Part 2)

Moving to a new home and neighborhood is quite a stressful experience. Whether you’re single or married and have a family, moving is a monumental event that comes with stress and excitement. Moving to a new home means restarting in many ways for people, from packing up all your belongings to having to adjust to a new city and discover what is around you. If moving is stressful for you, imagine how it feels for your child. Moving holds many unknowns for your child and can make them feel uneasy, stressed, angry, or sad. Most children don’t know or understand what moving to a new home will mean for them. Are they losing their favorite toys? Are they losing their friends? Are they never going to eat at their favorite pizza place again with their parents? Children can also easily pick up on how their parents feel, which plays a significant role in how your child reacts and transitions during this big move. Here are some helpful tips in preparing your child for the move:

 

  1. Have a special goodbye dinner in your old home.
  2. Let your child pack his things in his own special box.
  3. Keep your child involved in the planning.
  4. Get rest.
  5. Tour your new home and explore your new neighborhood.
  6. Provide your child with consistency at his new home.

1. Have a special goodbye dinner in your old home.

A simple, yet classic tradition to have is eating dinner as a family around the kitchen table. This tradition usually encourages conversation and connectedness between family members. On the last day at your old home, you can have special goodbye dinner or small party in which everyone can say what they love about their old home and neighborhood and what they are looking forward to at their new home. This will help bring closure.

2. Let your child pack his own things in his own special box.

One way to add some excitement to the move is giving your child a box that he can decorate. You can say that this is his very special box that will hold his most treasured items from the old home and will be by his side in the car ride to the new home. This will make your child feel comfortable in knowing that despite the new home being something new, his favorite toys and items will still be there. This will help him transition in making the new house feel like home.

3. Keep your child involved in the planning.

One way to keep your child involved in what most people consider a hectic process is making them “little interior designers.” If your child is getting her own room, you can give them options on what color paint the room should be. You can draw an outline of her room on construction paper and have her color in and paste pictures of how she wants the room to be. This could be lots of fun and help prepare your child for the move!

4. Get rest.

During such a busy and stressful time, getting rest is important for everyone in the family, including you. Children can easily pick up on how you are feeling. Promise me…they just know! It is best to get some rest, stay calm, and be as patient as possible. Your children will follow suit and probably feel more at ease if they see that you are also comfortable with moving to a new home.

5. Tour your new home and explore your new neighborhood.

Now that you have already visited all your favorite old spots, have fun and visit your new home and places around it! This will help your child know what to expect when you move to the new home. It will give your a child a head start on building some familiarity with the new home and surrounding neighborhood. Introduce yourself to the new neighbors. Visit your new local library. Have a exploration journey inside the new home. “What will we find?” Visit the local park and have him pick out books that he wants to read at his new home. Have lunch at a local restaurant. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite pizza place! Give your child any empty boxes while you’re unpacking so that she can use her imagination and have fun. Take your child to play centers to meet children or schedule play dates with some of the children in the neighborhood. Make a fun-to do list of activities like these after exploring your new home and neighborhood. This will build some excitement and give your child something to look forward to.

6. Provide your child with consistency at his new home.

Routines and consistency are best for children. After moving to the new home, it is best to introduce a routine into your child’s life at his new home. Keep changes to a minimum as moving to a new home is a huge change alone. Introducing routines and consistency will make things more predictable for your child and will help him adjust.

Written by Marilee Hartling and Daniel Munoz

Contact us to join our groups or seek advice!

“Help! We’re moving!”: Tips on Preparing Your Child for the Move (Part I)

“Help! We’re moving!”: Tips on Preparing Your Child for the Move (Part I)

Moving to a new home and neighborhood is quite a stressful experience. Whether you’re single or married and have a family, moving is a monumental event that comes with stress and excitement. Moving to a new home means restarting in many ways for people, from packing up all your belongings to having to adjust to a new city and discover what is around you. If moving is stressful for you, imagine how it feels for your child. Moving holds many unknowns for your child and can make them feel uneasy, stressed, angry, or sad. Most children don’t know or understand what moving to a new home will mean for them. Are they losing their favorite toys? Are they losing their friends? Are they never going to eat at their favorite pizza place again with their parents? Children can also easily pick up on how their parents feel, which plays a significant role in how your child reacts and transitions during this big move. Here are some helpful tips in preparing your child for the move:

 

  1. Inform your child about the move or bring up the idea of moving ahead of time.
  2. Look for houses together. 
  3. Discuss things you all want from the new home.
  4. Visit all your favorite places in your old neighborhood.
  5. Make a memory “bye-bye” book.

1. Inform your child about the move or bring up the idea of moving ahead of time.

You have either already decided that you and your family are moving to a new home or are in the phase of juggling the thought in your mind. Whatever it may be, it is always important to include your child in the conversation. Keep in mind your child may have strong feelings when you tell him or her that you and the family are moving. He may feel upset or sad. This is okay. Acknowledge and validate your child’s feelings. Even if you may feel excited at that point, your child might not yet understand what the move means for him and may feel angry. Listen. Reassure him that you will be there for him through every step of the move.

2. Look for houses together.

After talking to your child about moving to a new home, you can consider including your child in the process of looking for new homes. This can mean your child tagging along with you when you visit possible new homes or giving you opinions on homes you search up online. Including your child in this process will give your child some comfort in knowing she has some control in what is going to happen and helps ease the feeling of unpredictability.

3. Discuss things you all want from the new home.

When looking for houses, you can have an open and fun conversation with your family about the different things you want from the new home. For example, your child might mention wanting a big yard to play outside or mention wanting the house to be close to a beach. You might want it to be closer to your workplace. Your partner may want the house to have a certain number of rooms. This type of open discussion keeps everyone included and makes everyone feel like they are being heard during this monumental transition for the family. It also opens the door to making compromises that will benefit the family as a whole and better prepare your child for the move.

4. Visit all your favorite places in your old neighborhood.

It is great for you and your child to begin to process the “good-bye.” There are probably many memories held within your old home and the neighborhood, which can make this process a bit difficult for your child. You can begin this process by visiting all your favorite spots in town. You can reassure your child that it may not mean that you’ll never visit again, but that it may be some time before you’ll be back. Spending time, having fun, and seeing familiar faces at your old favorite spots will be a fun activity to begin the process of saying “goodbye” and preparing to say “hello” to the new adventures of the new home.

5. Make a memory “bye-bye” book.

To further help your child process the goodbye to his old home and neighborhood, you can sit with your child and help him make a special “bye-bye” book. Print out pictures of the old home and of time you spent together. Glue these pictures to some card stock paper and write captions. You can turn this book into a special story that details why you are moving, how everyone might feel, when you are moving, etc. The book can begin with a photo of your family at the old home and end with a photo of your family at your new home. The ending of the book should be a happy ending and highlight the exciting things that are to come in the new home.

Written by Marilee Hartling and Daniel Munoz

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Is screen time or watching television as bad as they say it is for my child?

Is screen time or watching television as bad as they say it is for my child?

Screen time for children has always been up for debate. Will it delay my child’s development if he watches TV? How much is too much? What can I do with my child instead of letting him watch TV or watch videos on my iPad? From the TV to even our smartphones, screens are everywhere and it has become impossible to avoid them. For a parent who needs to juggle the world and more, television and online videos are understandably an easy way to multi-task and simultaneously keep your child entertained; however, some recent studies have shown that screen time isn’t beneficial for infants and young children. Screen time strips away the human interaction and experience that infants need most during their first year of life. Infants lose the stimulation, communication, and growth they gain from human interaction. When infants watch too much television or videos, they tend to have a difficult time developing skills in attention span, focusing, and learning. The constant changes on screen do not provide infants with enough time to process the sensory information on the screen. It is important to note that a television playing in the background can also share the same effects as a child directly watching a screen. Research is showing that although too much screen time can be harmful, limited amounts of screen time do not pose any harm to a child’s development as long as the content is slowly paced and allows gaps of time within the show for the child to process the information. Since there are several disadvantages to screen time, it is always good to keep a list of fun non-screen time activities on hand and always remember that just talking to your child is more beneficial than having him watch television.

 

1. What are the disadvantages of allowing my child too much screen time?

2. What are activities I could do with my child to avoid screen time?

1. What are the disadvantages of allowing my child too much screen time?

As mentioned previously, excessive screen time does not provide infants and children the necessary experiences and stimulation for ideal development. Some of the disadvantages include:

  • Difficulty with sleeping. Screen time can also make it difficult to sleep for adults. The blue screen on devices impacts our sleeping patterns and may make it harder to fall asleep. The blue light has been shown to cut down on the production of melatonin, the national sleep inducing hormone our bodies make that allows us to fall asleep easily. It is best to keep these devices away from your children before bed. As a mom or dad, bedtime might be your only time to relax and enjoy a couple videos on your phone or tablet. If this is the case, tt is recommended to use a blue screen filter (in the settings of most phones) that changes the color temperature of the screen to a warmer tone more suited for sleep.
  • Addiction. Just the same way adults now show a developed addiction or obsession for their smartphones, children are more vulnerable and can quickly become addicted to screen time and the happiness they temporarily feel from watching or playing something on a screen.
  • Disturbing content. With how ingrained the internet and media has become in our daily lives, it has become increasingly easy for children to watch explicit content not intended for youth, such as violence. Exposure to violent content at a young age makes a child more prone to anxiety, aggression, lack of empathy, etc.
  • Lack of physical activity. The more a child is allowed screen time, the more they are prone to sit for longer periods of time and not get the amount of physical activity they need, which can lead to health issues such as obesity.

2. What are activities I could do with my child to avoid screen time?

Some fun, engaging activities for you and your child include:

  • Talk to your child. The mere act of talking to your infant and young child provides much more stimulation and learning opportunities than your child could ever receive from any television show or online video.
  • Read books together.
  • Sing songs together and listen to music.
  • Create a space that allows your child to engage in sensory play. You can purchase a sensory table and constantly add new materials to the table to give your child a fun, engaging experience that helps develop his or her brain and senses.
  • Visit local museums.
  • Make a trip to the zoo.
  • Visit the library weekly and let your child pick out his or her own stories to read with you.
  • Visit the park.
  • Play turn-taking games like zingo, the snails pace race, or “go-fish.”
  • Go on nature walks or stroller rides together, stopping to talk about what you see.
  • Plan short play dates with a friend or neighbor.
  • Let your child help you in the kitchen with the toddler kitchen stool. He can be up to the counter with you and watch you prepare the salad for dinner or make a yummy snack. Perhaps he can help stir in ingredients with your help. See the photo above for an example. Here is a link for a toddler kitchen stool: https://www.amazon.com/GuideCraft-Kitchen-Helper-Limited-Black/dp/B00CH9SKU4/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1530923397&sr=8-2&keywords=child%2Bkitchen%2Bstool&th=1

Have fun!

Written by Marilee Hartling and Daniel Munoz

Contact us to join our groups or seek advice!

Exploring Strong Feelings: Is anger okay?

Exploring Strong Feelings: Is anger okay?

Parenting is quite a challenge. It’s a journey that opens the door for many people to question what’s right and what’s wrong. Some may say it’s an emotional roller coaster raising and parenting a child who will be ready for the real world. Just as much as it is an emotional roller coaster for you, your child is also experiencing a range of strong emotions, like anger, that he has yet to fully understand, process, and act out. It is easy to worry when your child is has anger towards you and is being a “bad boy” or “bad girl.” “My child hates me!” This isn’t really the case. Your child is on a developmental journey and experiencing anger. Anger directed towards you is part of it. Helpful things to remember when you are worried about your child directing anger towards you:

 

1. Children are vulnerable.
2. It is okay for your child to be angry.
3. Parenting is difficult.

1. Children are vulnerable.

It is always important for you to remember that children are vulnerable. They need help with emotional regulation. Their brains and nervous systems are not yet mature. Parents function as “co-regulators.” During infancy, children have yet to understand their own needs. When a child is an infant, parents and people around the child must learn to adapt. At this stage of development, parents need to make guesses about what their child needs or wants as your child is not yet ready or capable of understanding and knowing what he or she needs and has no mature way of communicating this to you. This even relates to the way parents sometimes set inappropriate expectations and unknowingly place children in difficult circumstances when the parents themselves are experiencing a range of strong emotions. Since children are extremely vulnerable, they are greatly impacted by their environment and those who are always around them. They can pick up vibes emitted from their parents and learn a lot from seeing you react and respond to your own strong feelings and the strong feelings your children are starting to explore.

2. It is okay for your child to be angry.

A healthy developing child or infant will experience many emotions, such as anger. The anger may even be directed at you sometimes. It is best to stay calm and strong and understand the behavior is not rooted in negative intention. Anger is a strong emotion for a child or infant to process. Seeing you remain calm as they explore and experience anger will help them understand that the strong feelings he or she believes to be true in the moment are not as severe or accurate to the actual situation or interaction that prompted the initial surge of angry feelings. Strong feelings, such as anger, directed towards parents are very much part of normal development and growing up.

Don’t worry. Stay calm…it’s not personal. Let your child explore these emotions. The relationship between you and your child is the first and strongest relationship he/she has had since day one. Your child will feel some comfort in exploring these strong feelings in a relationship that is strong enough to withstand any breaks. Go to the feeling. Name it. Connect. Then redirect when your child is calm.

3. Parenting is difficult.

It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed when parenting. Parenting is an emotional roller coaster for both you and your child. Whether you’re a first-time parent or parent of three, parenting is hard. You’re not alone. There will be mistakes made, but don’t worry. Things will be okay. Take a deep breathe. Your child will learn many things from you, including how to explore his or her emotions. Just remember: love and adaptation are essential in guiding your child through this journey. To learn more, we recommend No Drama Discipline and The Whole Brain Child by Dan Siegel and Tina Bryson. If you need support, please contact us at 323-655-5580 or at office@ecdevelopment.co.

Written by Marilee Hartling and Daniel Munoz

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Preschool Prep: Fun at the Farm!

 

Our Preschool Prep toddlers had a great time learning about farms and baby animals this month! Paper plate cows, sheep with cotton balls, pigs made from pink paper cups, and baby chicks decorate our window and shelf. So much fun!

 

 

In our farm at ECDA, our toddlers get to explore and dig through the dirt using their hands and tools. The pigs joined in on the fun! I wonder what they’ll find!

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8 Tips: Raising a Confident Child

8 Tips: Raising a Confident Child

Sometimes children just need a bit of encouragement. Being a bit shy is normal, but here are some tips to help your little one to feel more confident.

1. Give emotional support

2. Don’t always tell your child what to do

3. “Good job” is not enough

4. Effort counts

5. Help dealing with frustration

6. Dealing with shyness

7. Join a Social Skills Group

8. Compliment her confidence

 

 

1. Give emotional support

Learning to be confident requires successful experiences. When your child succeeds she will most likely take new risks in the future. Let your child experience new things. Let her overcome obstacles by herself. Be there to support her, making her feel safe to try.

 

2. Don’t always tell your child what to do

Show her the way and try not to control her. Building confidence is all about the effort. If you do things for your child, you will show her that she is not capable of doing it herself. Do things WITH her, supporting her.

 

 

3. “Good job” is not enough

Saying “good job” doesn’t actually tell your child what she did right. Rephrase it, emphasizing how she must be feeling. “After so much practice, you climbed this all by yourself. You must be feeling so good!”.

 

4. Effort counts

The outcome is not always what you’re looking for. The effort to get there is most important. Encourage your child to keep trying “I see that you are working really hard!”. This will keep her engaged and will give her enough confidence not to give up.

 

5. Help dealing with frustration

Instead of just jumping in to remove what is frustrating your child, help her deal with it. “I am sorry this is so hard”. If she learns to deal with her frustrations, she will overcome this feeling and will have the confidence to try again.

 

6. Dealing with shyness

– Modeling social situations

If your child is too shy, help her by showing how you would do it. “Hi, Amanda, I see that you have a new doll. She is so pretty!”.

– Don’t compare her to others

It’s ok not to like sports. Children who are shy may like to do activities by themselves. So, encourage her to do what she likes in a group. Sign her up for art classes, for an example.

– Ease your child’s anxiety for new social situations

Plan ahead. Let your child know about the upcoming birthday party. Give her details. A stuffed animal or a toy from home can help your child feel more confident and safe in social situations.

 

7. Join a Social Skills Group

Our “Little Friends Group” at ECDA is perfect for children ages 4 to 7 who need a little support in learning to make friends and navigate social situations.

 

8. Compliment her confidence

Tell your child how proud you are of her efforts. Children are always looking for grown up’s praises. Comment that she has built a new skill and how great that is. Showing her love and security will provide her a safe environment to develop self-esteem and confidence.

 

Written by Marilee Hartling & Paula Boscardin

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Mindful Parenting

Mindful Parenting

What is Mindfulness after all? Being mindful is a way of living, being fully aware of the moment that you are in. That means being truly present by learning to understand your emotions and how they affect you. Mindfulness is all about finding your own balance.

Mindful Parenting is about developing and deepening the parent-child connection by intentionally bringing focused awareness to everyday parenting situations. According to Daniel Siegal, author of Parenting from the Inside Out, this approach to parenting enables children to experience the full presence of their caregivers. It is a way of being attuned, parent-to-child, that fosters resilience and emotional intelligence. Mindfulness can also be thought of as having a sense of security as a parent. Research shows that the parent’s “state of mind” is the best predictor of how their offspring turn out in terms of their own attachment or capacity for close, caring relationships

Being a mindful parent brings many benefits. Children are taught skills to develop their awareness of their inner and outer experiences, to recognize their thoughts as “just thoughts,” to understand how emotions manifest in their bodies, to recognize when their attention has wandered, and to provide tools for impulse control and calming down.

3 mindfulness parenting techniques to help you being a “Mindful Parent”:

1. Notice your child’s point of view

2. Every situation needs attention

3. You can only work with the present

 

1. Notice your child’s point of view

Try everyday, for a few minutes, to see the world from your child’s eyes. This will help you understand how she faces her reality. By doing this you can think of how your child must be feeling in the moment. “How am I, as a parent, from my child’s point of view?”

 

2.  Every situation needs attention

If it’s a good one, or a bad one. Being a mindful parent is about listening to your child’s needs, even when you disagree. You have the power on how to respond to a situation – with anger and stress; or with attention and acceptance. Learn to pause and take a deep breath, before responding. Help your child to feel noticed. Listen carefully.

 

3. You can only work with the present

Be accepting.  Model to your child that you are fully aware of the moment that you are living together. Be present. Be aware of any tensions building up throughout the day and try to release them. Learn to keep your balance. Your child depends on you to foster a good environment, so communicate in a way that she will understand and will feel heard.

 

Being mindful is about being calm and aware of your surroundings. Be patient with yourself. Role model to your children the behavior you want to see in them. Practice being more flexible and loose the tension between you and your child. Try not to anticipate the future or regret the past. Live in the present.

 

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Facilitaded Play Dates

Facilitaded Play Dates

Social problem solving skill development is a process that begins very early in childhood.  We see the progression of these skills every day in the toddler groups in our office on Melrose where children and parents meet weekly for facilitated developmental play and parent discussion.

Scheduling play dates at least once a week is a great way to give your toddlers and preschoolers the opportunity to practice their developing social skills.  The following are strategies that will support emerging social relationships, facilitate friendships, and resolve conflicts.

5 Strategies to Help Young Children Resolve Conflicts on Play Dates

1. Calling for help

2. Trading

3. Taking Turns

4. Walking away

5.  Making a Plan

 

2 toddlers playing with cars on the trail, learning to take turns being supervised by adults at early childhood development class

1. Calling for help

On playdates we teach toddlers about the benefits of learning to use their words instead of hitting, pushing, biting, etc. when there is a conflict.  One of the best phrases we can teach our young children to use is “help me”.   The tendency to call for help emerges as children develop and adults respond. Quick responses to calls for help when children get too close to each other or have a conflict tell children that their communication is received. When we validate these calls for help, children learn that the world is responsive to their needs.

When 2 children want the same toy, both may grab it and then scream for help. Parents should be responsive to these situations, validate the call for help and begin to help the children involved to understand that although grabbing didn’t work, there are some other strategies that will work better.

adult teaching toddlers how to play together with cars trading and taking turns at early childhood development class

2. Trading

When children’s expressive language skills are not yet sophisticated enough for them to deal verbally with their peers, parents can teach them “trading”.  In a situation in which one child begins shrieking as another child grabs a favored toy, parents can hand the child who is grabbing the toy  another one of equal interest, to trade and say, “Ask him to trade with you!” or, “Give her the doll in exchange for the book.”    The concept of trading (exchanging something for something rather than something for nothing) facilitates social skills that can be expanded as children grow.

kids playing and learning to share using with sand timer at early childhood development class

3. Taking Turns

After trading is learned, the concept of “taking turns” can be introduced on play dates. This requires children to delay gratification for a little while and to participate as an onlooker until the other child is ready to take a turn.  Sensitive adults can help children learn this skill by explaining what is happening while providing the physical support and supervision necessary. Parents can say, “Who had the toy first?” and “Let’s give it back to Jasper because he had the toy first” followed by, “Say ’Turn please’ if you want a turn, Jacob,” and, “Let’s use the timer so we know when it is time for your turn.”  We recommend use of the large one minute sand timer from Lakeshore for this purpose.  Another way to facilitate taking turns is to say, “Let’s count to 10 and then it will be Jacob’s turn.”  Counting to 10 is a good way to go when playdates occur outdoors or in an environment in which there is no place for a timer.

4.  Walking away

“Walking away” is a technique used to help children begin to use words rather than aggressive actions to solve problems.  There are 2 forms of “walking away”.  I can tell you to walk away from me or I can walk away from you if you are bothering me.  Both techniques empower children to solve their own problems while using words as problem-solving tools. “Walking away” is an adult-supported activity during early childhood.  Parents need to be close and remind the child to talk to his friend who is standing too close. “Tell Henry you don’t like it when he stands too close. Tell him, ’move please!’”  Parents provide the words and the support.

toddlers playing inside a pretend boat at early childhood development class

5.  Making a Plan

When there is a conflict on a play date, facilitated “plan-making” helps both children to get a turn with a treasured toy. This also requires adult support.

Parents can say,”I have an idea about how to solve the problem so that both of you will get a turn” followed by,  “Ruby will use the toy for 3 minutes, and then I will help Ruby to give the toy to Grace for 3 minutes.”  Then the parent helps the second child to find an activity to do while she waits.  “And right now I will help Grace to find another activity to do while she waits. Let’s go blow some bubbles, Grace!”

“Plan-making” keeps parents from becoming referees on play dates.  No one loses. One child has to delay gratification, but she gets the adult’s help in doing so. “Plan- making” also keeps parents from saying “no” all the time.  Having a plan is very different from not being able to do something.

Facilitated play dates are an important part of young children’s early education and social development. Play dates help to prepare children for school and for later success in their community and work place.

written by Marilee Hartling

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The Early Childhood Development Associates is located at: 8344 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles | CA | 90069

6 – 8 Months Separation Anxiety

6 – 8 Months Separation Anxiety

Infant Separation Anxiety

Infant  Separation Anxiety begins  around 6-8 months when infants suddenly become fully aware that their parents exist apart from them.  They understand that their parents can leave,  but they don’t,  however,  fully understand that they are coming back.  This can last several weeks to several months.   Infants eventually realize  that their parents are not disappearing forever, but just going to the bathroom!  And they will come back.

In our ” Mommy and Me ” Program,  we “practice ” parents going away and coming back every time we play peek-a-boo and every time  we use our colored scarves while singing the  song,  “Someone is Hiding” .   This helps infants to understand and to manage their separation anxiety.  For toddler separation anxiety we also recommend  listening  to one of our favorite songs on Hap Palmer’s album entitled   “My Mommy Comes Back”.  This song is so reassuring to young children.  “My mommy comes back,  she always comes back,  she never will forget me.

 

 8 Tips for Handing Infant Separation Anxiety

1. Play “peek-a-boo”  several times a day. This activity is a way for babies to “practice” their understanding of going away and coming back.

2. Tell your baby you are going away into the other room and then say a big “I’m back” when you come back.

3. Introduce your baby to other regular caregivers such as grandparents or a trusted babysitter during infancy for short periods of time.  These experiences can minimize anxiety later on.

4. Keep your “good-byes” short.  Prolonging your departure can give your baby the idea there is something to fear.

 

5. Match your body language with your words.

6. Flash a smile and give a cheerful wave.  Your baby can sense your confidence as you walk out the door.

7. Avoid sneaking off.  This interferes with trust and increases anxiety.

8.  Instruct caregivers to redirect baby’s attention directly after you leave.  Make sure that your baby’s transitional object or “blankie” is available so that the caregiver can use it to provide extra comfort for your baby while you are gone.

 

 

Written by Marilee Hartling

Recipe – ECDA’s Home Made Play Doh

Recipe – ECDA’s Home Made Play Doh

We made red play doh for our toddler groups in honor of Valentine’s Day.  Our play doh is nontoxic and even “edible.”  It isn’t very “tastey” so most toddlers only taste it once, but it will not hurt if it is ingested.  We have received many requests for our recipe so here it is:

Early Childhood  Home Made Play Doh

2 small packages of unsweetened Kool Aid  (choose flavors with good smells and colors)

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cup salt

3 Tbs. Wesson oil

1 Tbs. Alum (like you use for pickling)

l.  Add 2 cups hot water to above ingredients and mix with spoon -smells soooo good!

2.  Kneed on floured table or bread board

3.  Place in covered container or Zip lock bag

  •   Good for 3 weeks

Tip:  in our groups we use play doh and play doh scissors to introduce  cutting  with  scissors  to  our  older  toddlers.  Cutting  play  doh  is much  easier  than  cutting  paper  and play doh  scissors  are  much  easier to hold than  regular ” kid scissors.”   Our  toddlers  love  it because they feel “grown up” and successful!

Marilee Hartling RN, MFT

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December Preschool Prep Curriculum

December Preschool Prep Curriculum

Themes for December for the Preschool Prep Program included Family Traditions, the Celebrations of Light, Winter, Christmas, Chanukah and making holiday gifts for parents. Concepts and vocabulary introduced included opposites such as “big and little”, “day and night”, “hot and cold”, and “hard and soft”.

A new word “absorption” was introduced as children worked on fine motor skills using eye droppers to drop water colors in various shades of blue and violet onto coffee filters which were later made into snow flakes.

Children also participated in making hand made snow. FUN!

Chanukah was celebrated as families shared their holiday traditions, menorah, candles and latkas in our classroom.

Christmas was celebrated with families bringing in their traditional holiday food for a pot luck. Children worked on fine motor skills as they decorated their wooden picture frame with glue and buttons. A picture of each child was placed into the frames and this became the perfect gift for parents!

The holiday celebrations included a discussion about “giving” and children exchanged wrapped board books during the holiday party.

Favorite stories were “Snowman at Night”, “Llama Llama Holiday Drama” and “The Snowy Day:”

Happy Holidays!

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Children and Self Esteem – Part III

Children and Self Esteem – Part III

Balance Praise and Criticism:

There is a danger in the pressure today to read, write  and perform tasks not appropriate for age  level and  developmental stage. There is a pressure to exceed and to be “the best.” This pressure often overwhelms a child’s sense of competence. Teaching too early, “precocious learning” pays a price. The child is learning to perform because of his desire to  please others rather than his inner curiosity, which  is the best motivator.

5 principles for building positive self-esteem in children

1. If a child learns to please others he may not get the sense of having achieved it on his own.

2. Too much praise can overwhelm and become pressure rather than encouragement.

3. Criticism induces passivity rather than energy to solve problems.

4. Learn ways to nurture your child’s initiative and boost his self esteem with any new task.  Encourage him but don’t shape or pressure him.

5. Let him try different ways to solve problems and have fun within boundaries of safety and respect to others.

Need Help Boosting your Child's Self Esteem?

November Preschool Prep Curriculum

November Preschool Prep Curriculum

Theme for November for the Preschool Prep Program included Fall leaves, Fall changes, Turkeys and Thanksgiving traditions.

Children brought leaves from their yards and we noticed the many colors and shapes. Leaves were used to make “leaf prints” and were placed on top of our parachute so that children could work together to make the leaves go up and down while singing a new song “All the leaves are falling down, it is Fall!”

Our classroom windows were decorated with “stained glass leaves” made with colorful tissue paper, glue and wax paper.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approached families shared their holiday traditions. Children made hand print pine cone turkeys to decorate their tables at home. Turkey hats were worn for our Thanksgiving Feast as each family brought food to share.

We had so much fun in November!

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