Archive for the ‘Nurture’ Category

The Toddler View

Remember when your child would instantly spin around to you when you said, “cookie” even though you thought they were not listening? Toddlers have an incredible ability to pay attention to all the details around them. It is their superpower! Adults naturally filter out extraneous information, like a cool pattern of shadows on a sidewalk, but toddlers do not know what is most important. There is actually a biological basis for this. Young children have fewer inhibitory neurotransmitters, the chemicals that prevent neurons from firing, so their brain is constantly exploding with stimuli. It is similar to what you see when you visit an exotic new location. Your attention is overtaken by new sounds, smells, and sights.

This super attention is critical for learning, but it can be a distraction for a child, and sometimes can be very frustrating for you. You may feel a bit better knowing that one reason your toddler likes you to read the same book over and over to them is because when they hear it again, they are not distracted by as much of the new information. Young children learn new words when they are exposed to them in the same stories read repeatedly. They fail to learn these new words when they are exposed to them in different stories. So while you may have your child’s favorite kids book memorized, they are still delighted by the new sounds and words that they are uncovering with each repetition. Check out our first post on Toddler Goggles. 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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Reading

You will be much happier when the kids, their siblings feel like there is enough to go around: sufficient marshmallows and time and puzzle pieces and attention. When my children were tiny handfuls, the book Siblings Without Rivalry, made a huge impression on me. I did not have to grouse at Joe, “Can’t you see how busy I am?” because he wanted to play Sorry! and I was bathing his baby sister. I could just say instead, “I would love to, as soon as I am done here. Do you want to get her towel for me?” It is just a small recasting, right? But it is the one that seems to quiet that miserable sibling drumbeat of competition for resources. Likewise, I have a slightly quirky practice of gossiping to the kids about each other, but in positive ways. “Read Jenna’s school report with me,” I say to Joe. “They totally get her, you are going to love it.” I invite Jenna to join me in making a card to celebrate Joe’s successful making of the baseball team. “Could he be more awesome?” I say, and she responds, “Seriously.” It is not some big philosophy I started consciously, but I see what it does: It rewards the siblings with special attention for mutual appreciation. When you have these close relationships you feel secure. If my son sees me dancing with my daughter to ‘I Will Always Love You,’ he can laugh and enjoy it. He knows I love him just as much. 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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If you do need to get involved, your job is not to decide who is right and who is wrong. You are just simply a mediator. Start the conversation by stating what you have seen or heard. “You seem to be having trouble deciding who gets to wear the fancy dress up shoes.” Have each child tell their side of the story without shouting or hurling insults. Just to make sure they are listening to each other, have them repeat what the other has said. Then you can ask the million dollar question, “What can we do to solve this?” Let each child share their ideas. Try one of the proposed solutions, no matter how crazy it sounds. “OK, we can give the shoes a time-out in the freezer.” If they do need further direction, offer them some suggestions. “Each of you could wear the shoes for 10 minutes, we will set the timer to keep track.” Keep reminding yourself that your kids are practicing the art of conflict resolution. They are expressing themselves calmly, listening, validating other perspectives, and coming to an agreement. This approach requires time, energy, and great patience, but the payoff is well worth it. Doing it every time they fight is difficult. But if you adopt this strategy a few times, they will pick up on it.  And eventually, they will learn to resolve disagreements without you, which is the whole point of being a parent. 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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cool

 

 

Indoor triggers can cause the symptoms we usually associate with spring. Here are some tips on how to combat the sniffles.

  • Identify the cause. If you or your child frequently show the classic signs of allergies, like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes, check with a certified allergist. They can help you get to the root of the problem and will be able to suggest solutions.
  • Fight the dust mites. Some people are allergic to these microscopic critters who live in dust and are often found in bedding, mattresses, pillows, and carpets. Use mattress protectors made of finely woven material to prevent dust accumulation. Vacuum your carpets often.
  • Put Rover out. Keep your cat or dog out of your bedroom if you are allergic to animal hair. Symptoms can get worse at night. Consider buying a high efficiency furnace filter that will extract hair and dander particles from the air.
  • Get rid of mold. Basements, attics, bathrooms, or other areas of the home that are often damp can be a breeding ground for the fungus. Keep bathrooms clean and dry and avoid letting damp clothes or towels pile up.
  • Clean carefully. Dust, animal hair, and mold can be stirred up when you sweep or vacuum. Consider wearing a N95 high efficiency face mask to protect yourself against an allergic reaction.

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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allergy

ACHOO!

Let your child learn their lessons from natural consequences of their own actions. You can prevent many power struggles without being the bad guy.

When I was a child the word “discipline” meant that I was getting one of my favorite things taken away by my parents for misbehaving. If I hit my brother, NO TV for a week. If I did not do my chores, NO trip to the mall. Not only was this the method in my house, but in the home of everyone else I knew. This classic approach of discipline can make kids cooperate in the short term, it is not the best way to teach life long lessons. Kids do not learn when they are feeling threatened. Your child may go along with your demands because they are afraid of what will happen if they do not, rather than because they have grasped anything about right and wrong.

Let your kids experience the natural consequences of their actions. If your child does not wear a jacket, let them be cold. The next time you probably will not have to fight over it. Logical consequences entail more adult involvement, but they are also connected to the misbehavior. If your child runs out in the middle of the street, then they must hold your hand for the rest of the walk. It is this connection that helps a child understand and learn from their actions.

Sounds real easy, right? Not so fast. I thought so too. That is until my kids did something that did not seem to have natural consequences. What is the outcome of having to nag your child 30 times in order for them to do their chores? Or the refusal to wear nothing but a birthday suit to daycare on a hot day? They can not do the trick every time, but they do work in more situations than you realize. In our next post we will cover tips for getting better behavior now and in the future. 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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discipline

 

It is good to stay away from the ruts sometimes and look at things in a new refreshed light. Recently, we headed up to Wisconsin for a weekend stay at the Wisconsin Dells complete with lots of exciting things for the kids to do. As we walked around exploring new places, whether it is near or far away, it is a great way to see your family differently. You haven’t lived until you see your kid wipe out while playing and then laugh hysterically when you expect a full on tantrum.

I do not know a lot of things, but this I do know: If it were not for the bonds we formed when traveling away from home, interrupting our overly comfortable lives, I wouldn’t have these amazing kids who still tug at my arm at night, asking for another chapter of Harry Potter. (Yes they still do this.) With that I am off to snuggle and read. I hope you get to do the same. 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 friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Reconnecting

 

 

4 Years-Old And Under

  • Their first and last name. The first thing an employee will ask your child when they are lost.
  • Your full name. If they only know you as “Mommy” or “Daddy,” you can not be paged by name.
  • Do not go anywhere with, accept anything from or get into a car with anyone. Never without your permission, PERIOD!

5-7 Years Old

  • Your cell phone number. You can be reunited more quickly if you get separated.
  • A “safe list.” Instead of saying “Do not talk to strangers,” list 3 to 5 people who are always OK for your child to talk to.

8 Years Old and Up

  • An easy to find meeting place. The more specific the location, the better if you do get separated.
  • A buddy or a sibling to come along to places like a restroom that your child is starting to visit independently. There is more safety in numbers.
  • To beware of grown ups asking for help and to never approach a car. Tell your child to yell loudly if anyone tries to make them go somewhere.

Check out this children’s book, Learning to Slow Down and Pay Attention.

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 friends. Remember to always praise your child.

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Teach