Teaching Table Manners

It’s time for an honest assessment. How do your child’s
table manners rate? Table manners are an area that often seems to fall by the
wayside in this busy world we live in. If asked, most parents would likely say
that they want their children to know the ins and outs of civilized dining, but
where do we begin?

Following are some simple first steps to set children on the
right path:

Start early. Toddlers and preschoolers are not
too young to start practicing some basics.Be realistic. Very young children are still
developing fine motor skills and meal times WILL be a little messy.Eat meals at a table whenever possible. Setting
a table and eating at it goes a long way in helping children understand the
concept of “table manners.” Eat WITH your children. It’s not always possible
with work schedules, sports practices, dance lessons etc., but children need to
eat with others to learn about taking turns talking, keeping mouths closed
while chewing, passing food carefully, listening to others at the table, asking
to be excused from the table, etc. Meal times are also an important connection
time for families to stay tuned in to each other and share the day’s events.Turn off the TV and ban all other electronics
from the table. Meals should be a time to converse and enjoy a communal
experience. Teach your child how to set a table. What are
the various utensils for? What do we do with our napkin? Plan times to visit restaurants. Eating out is
another chance to practice table manners. How loudly do we talk? What do we do
while waiting for our food? What do we do if we don’t like something we were
served? How do we talk with wait staff? What do we do if we drop something?

Starting some basic […]

By |February 4th, 2019|Child Care|0 Comments|

When Can I Leave My Child Home Alone?

Every family at some point will face the question of when they can safely leave their child home without adult supervision. Often the first question people have is, “When is it legal?” The answer for Wisconsin families is that there is no set age. The recommended guideline is often listed as age 12,but many factors come into play. Following are some things to consider when trying to decide what is right for your family.

mature is your child?Is
your child comfortable with the idea?Does
your child have help nearby?Does
your child know what to do in an emergency?Is
your child responsible for any siblings at the same time?Are
there any medical issues?How
safe is your neighborhood?Have
you established some safety rules regarding answering the door, having friends
over, using the oven or stove, etc.?Are
there any firearms in your home? Is
your child aware of dangers involving internet use and strangers?

When you
feel your child may be ready, start out by leaving your child for a short
period of time while you run a quick daytime errand like picking up a few
things at the grocery store. Be sure your child has access to a phone and that
you have a phone with you as well. As both of you become more comfortable, you
can gradually increase the length of time your child is alone.


By |December 12th, 2018|Child Care|0 Comments|

The Rise of the Lawn Mower Parent

The term “helicopter parent” is familiar to most of us to describe the parent who constantly hovers over their child to watch their every move. A more recent version of this is gaining attention – the “lawn mower”parent.

A lawn mower parent is described as one who mows down all
possible obstacle in their child’s path. On the surface, it sounds harmless
enough – as parents we want to help our children in any way we can. Many of us
would argue that one of our primary jobs as a parent is to help our children
navigate life. Where things start to get complicated is when parents take that
to the level of trying to eliminate all challenges, tough decisions and
disappointments for our children.

One of the greatest traits our children can have is
resilience. Life is full of hurdles and highs and lows. Children who have
learned that some days will be challenging, that life will have problems to
solve, and that they are capable people who can work their way through
difficult times will ultimately be happier adults. The ability to brainstorm
solutions and tap into available resources will serve children well all through

How do we set our children on the right path and avoid the
lawn mower urge? Starting early is critical.

A few tips to get started:

Encourage and praise independence with self-help
skills. (“You zipped your coat all by yourself!”)Take time to show and teach before you perform
simple life skills. (“I’m sorting my light colors and dark colors before they
go in the washing machine. Let me show you how the machine works.”)Teach your children to name and express their
emotions. (“You seem worried. Let’s talk about it and see if we can figure
something out.”)Share your own disappointments when appropriate
and model good coping […]

By |November 20th, 2018|Child Care|0 Comments|

Headache Free Holidays

It might seem like just a few weeks ago we were all saying goodbye to summer, and children were going back to school. One look at the calendar however and we can see that in reality, the holidays are just around the corner. Do you love the IDEA of holidays but dread the REALITY of the work and stress associated with them? Take a few minutes and consider some of these ideas to help you lose the headache and celebrate the happiness.

Narrow down what is important to you. Think
about what you want your children to remember someday. Re-visit your own
favorite childhood childhood memories and think about how you might want to
incorporate a few special holiday traditions. Any traditions you DIDN’T like?
Let go of them. One man’s tradition is another man’s torture.Make a list of your “must haves.” Do you want
house decorations? Do you have a favorite holiday movie that gets you in the
mood? What foods do you associate with happy memories?Consider rotating some traditions. You may not
want to go see “The Nutcracker” every year……Don’t over spend. Decide what is a realistic
budget and stick to it. It’s easy to get carried away with holiday shopping but
in the long run, you’ll only add to your stress when bills arrive.Be flexible. If the movie you were all going to
see as a family is sold out, make another choice. The important thing is to enjoy
the time as a family.Think family and friends. Spend time with the
people who are important to you.Be in the moment. In all the frenzy holidays can
bring, we can forget to savor what we planned and prepared. Slow down. Sit
back. Enjoy. Appreciate and give back. One of the greatest
things you can do for your children […]

By |October 24th, 2018|Child Care|0 Comments|

The Playdate Dilemma

Parents often wonder about the right age to start playdates for their children.  Bottom line- there’s no magic number and a lot of factors enter into the decision. Following are a few questions to start the thinking process for your family.

What are you hoping to accomplish?

Some parents are looking for socializing opportunities for children who may not have siblings, relatives, or neighbors to play with. In some cases, parents are trying to help a child develop a deeper connection with a classmate to help school transitions go more smoothly. Sometimes parents are just trying to find ways they can have a little “me time” in the midst of busy lives. Any of these are reasonable!


Has your child spent time away from you before?

If the answer is yes, they are a lot more likely to be comfortable with a playdate. If not, you may want to take a few small steps first, like leaving them with a relative for a short period of time, taking them to a story time where you can sit in the back of the group, or having a babysitter come to your home for a trial session in surroundings that are familiar to them. In any case, start with short periods of time until your child gains confidence in their safety and ability to be without you.

How well do you know potential playdate partners?

Are you setting something up with a trusted friend or neighbor? Is the playdate with a classmate whose family you don’t know at all or may only know casually? There’s a fine line between being a “helicopter parent” and being a cautious one. Children are vulnerable, and we need to be comfortable that […]

By |September 25th, 2018|Child Care|0 Comments|