Archive for the ‘Growing Up’ Category

Recognize the fact that your child is not color blind. Experts think that one big mistake that parents make (especially white American parents) is assuming that their children are unaware of race. We always hear, Oh, my child does not even see skin color, but the truth is that kids absolutely do notice.

As your children grow, look for cues about what different appearances mean and which ones matter. They will quickly realize that some things, whether someone wears a hat, for instance, are irrelevant while others, such as sex are significant because we talk about them constantly (“Boys line up on the left, girls on the right”). What about race? Obviously, we do not say, “Good morning, black and white children,” or Asians go get your backpacks.” But even if you never say a word about ethnicity, racial distinctions are plainly visible to kids. Many communities are highly segregated, which children notice. You will be driving through town and your preschooler is thinking, Oh, here is where the Chinese people live.

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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Infants as young as 3 months begin to instinctively categorize people based on their sex, skin color, and the language they speak. Between 5 and 10 months babies begin to learn about race based on experience. Furthermore, 3-5 year-olds not only categorize people by race but express bias based on it. Overcoming these types of inherent prejudice will take a proactive effort on your part, and it needs to start early, before your child’s opinions are fully formed.

Tolerance is an absolute necessity in our increasingly global and multicultural society. So-called racial and ethnic minorities now make up the mafority of children born in the U.S. By the year 2043, nearly half of the population will be people of color, according to recent Census projections. Our nation is becoming more diverse in other ways too. Islam and Mormonism are among America’s fastest growing religions. Same-sex marriage is legal in 37 states plus the District of Columbia. More than 35 million people now speak Spanish as their primary language at home. And our school system is increasingly placing children with disabilities in regular rather than specialized classrooms.

Today’s kids are going to have to interact with people from many backgrounds and cultures, as well as with those who do not look or act like they do. Celebrating diversity, not merely tolerating it, is going to be the key to their success. In our upcoming posts we will give you some steps you can take to teach your children how to be open-minded towards others.

Check out part one of this series of raising a respectful child. 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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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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Of course, your child is running around half-naked these days, but do not forget to work on the dressing skills that will be critical in the classroom. A 3-year-old should be able to pull up their own pants after going to the bathroom, Velcro their shoes, place an object into their backpack, and put on their own coat. Although, it is OK di they need help with buttoning and zipping. Not only do kids feel pride when they master these tasks, but it encourages their independence and helps them learn to be organized. Be mindful not to ask your child to accomplish too much at once or you may risk overwhelming them. It is as simple as breaking everything down into one manageable task at a time. Check out our previous post on creating transitions. 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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Self Help

 

 

A preschooler’s day is all about moving from one activity to another one. Sorting and putting away toys at the end of play time helps give a clear ending to the activity and a sign that something new is about to happen. Just as they do at preschool, set up bins at home and label them with pictures of blocks, Legos, and dolls. Work with your child to correctly clean up and put away each toy in its correct spot. Remember to keep them working those little fingers. 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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Creating Transitions

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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