Archive for the ‘Focus’ Category

Treating people of all races and backgrounds honorably is not just politically correct, it is the right thing to do, the respectful thing.

When my 4-year-old son, David, started flipping out about going to preschool, I thought it was typical first day jitters. Then he told me the reason: I do not want a teacher with brown skin. Our family who is white and live in a diverse neighborhood in Northwest Indiana. I must admit I was a bit horrified and confused. He had been around people of many races before. Our neighbor who had babysat for David before when he was a toddler is African American. But his new teacher whom he had met before at the school orientation was from Africa, so I think it had more to do with her accent. Concerned I turned to a psychologist who was also a family friend. I was reassured that little David was not being a racist.

It is natural for young kids to notice differences in a person’s appearance and manner of speaking, and to express curiosity or even fear about them. Many of us can probably share a comparably mortifying moment, whether it was our kid’s insensitive comment about someone in a wheelchair or an objectionable question about why a classmate of Asian descent has “squinty” eyes. In our upcoming posts we will share some steps with you that you can take to teach your child how to be open minded. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Preschool calls for more use of kids’ fine motor skills. My daughter, Jenna, struggled with this so we set up some activities to challenge her. We had string beads and macaroni or I would give her tweezers and have her pick up art supplies like pom-poms and then sort them into toilet paper rolls. Other ideas could include having your child rip paper into long strips or get kid-safe scissors and practice cutting or even pull out some age appropriate puzzles. Practicing these activities regularly will give your child the finger and hand strength to do these simple tasks. Want some practice with letters, check out this post. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Strengthen Little Fingers

Just because your child can sing their ABC’s does not mean that they know their letters. It means that they have memorized a song. To help them become more familiar with the letters they will start seeing every day in the classroom, try this little exercise.

  • Write each letter on an index card
  • Mix them up on the floor
  • See if your child can arrange them from A-Z

You can help them by putting out every fourth letter and encouraging them to fill in the blanks. With repetition they will soon become familiar with the order. Keep in mind that by age 4 most preschools expect a child to recognize their name, and will encourage them to start writing it. Make this a fun activity by writing it in chalk on the sidewalk or with a stick in the sand. Check out our post on setting the stage. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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ABC

Kids may pick up something because they are afraid to ask for it. They do not know what to say or they think the response will be a no. Focus on helping your child learn how to ask permission and practice it with them. You might guide them through asking a friend to borrow a bookmark, for instance, or asking a teacher if they can have a sticker. Praise them when they do the right thing in their daily activities. “Jenna, I appreciate that you asked for the crayons before taking them.” Explain to them that requesting permission does not automatically mean that they will get what they want all the time. The person may just say no. Discuss other ways that they could get what they want, for example, adding it to a birthday wish list, or doing some extra chores around the house to earn it. If they know there are other ways to get sunglasses, they may be less likely to swipe those that belong to a friend. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Stealing

I am sure that you have already discussed the topic before, but now is a good time for a bit of a refresher course. Rather than bringing up stealing randomly and making your child think that they are in trouble, get the conversation started by reading a children’s book together like Ricky Sticky Fingers, by Julia Cook, or watching a movie together like Despicable Me. Then ask your child what they think about the behavior of the characters. Remind them what stealing is, Stealing is taking something that belongs to someone else without asking permission. And also let them know why it is wrong. Stealing makes the other person feel sad. It may help if you give a specific example of stealing. Tell them that taking a toy car from the store without paying for it is stealing. Then see if your child can determine if certain scenarios, like putting the teacher’s pen in their backpack, borrowing a book from the library, or taking papers from Dad’s briefcase are considered stealing as well. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Stealing

Your little one asks for a cup of water, and just as you hand it to her, she screams “NO!” and swats it away. Why did she freak out? When she asked for water, she wanted it with her Dora cup and the straw you gave to her yesterday, not the little purple sippy cup. What is wrong with you?

For toddlers, language issues are often the cause of emotional upsets. For the cup scenario is just a classic example. Your daughter expected exactly what she got last time, but she simply did not have the vocabulary to ask for that particular cup. And even though she did not react politely, it actually makes sense, in this case, to give it to her. Look at it this way: You are meeting your child’s need, now that you have figured it out, and you might even be preventing an even bigger meltdown.

Toddlers do read faces very well, so use both your voice and your language to convey your message to them. And pay attention to your child’s nonverbal cues, such as tilting her head when she does not quite understand something you have said. At least, as much as her words, the results just may surprise you.

One last piece of advice: Instead of spending your energy cleaning up every last mess and worrying about discipline, embrace the toddler perspective more often. You may actually discover a more creative side to yourself and a more cooperative side to your toddler. Leave us your comments. Your feedback is greatly appreciated. Let us know what other topics you would like to have discussed. Share this post with your family and friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Sticky Fingers

 

A child’s whiny requests can wear any parent out by the end of the day. So why does your child whine or throw things or kick you? From their perspective, it works. Whining is a super effective way for an attention loving toddler. It gets you to turn around and focus on what they are saying. If you ignored their 3 previous requests to be held while you were cooking dinner, they neither understand nor cares. They resort to whining because it simply put gets you to respond. Toddlers also do not care whether they get attention for good or bad behavior. Kids will even have seizures or muscle spasms and even eye rolling or head shaking. This is just simply an action that they found to get a parents’ attention. This is what they love, so they keep doing it. When your child misbehaves, try your best to ignore them unless they are in danger or hurting someone else. If you can not blow it off,  move them away from the situation or cause a distraction. This will send a powerful message that you are not going to just respond to negative behavior. Just be careful not to reward bad behavior. For instance, if your child is interrupting you while you are on the phone and you hang up to deal with their behavior, they have gotten exactly what they wanted. Try to predict their need for attention and look for opportunities to encourage her cooperation. You just might be able to fit in a 3-minute phone call if you give your toddler a few reassuring words and kisses while you are on the phone.

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Attention-Seeking