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Losing A Pet

As parents,
one of the hardest things in life is watching our children experience pain and
sadness. When a treasured family pet dies, many children are faced with their
first introduction to death.

Death is a
difficult subject for adults and when we struggle ourselves with the concept,
it makes it even harder to know how best to handle explanations with our
children. Religious beliefs definitely come into play when you determine
how/what you will share, but following are some basic Do’s and Don’ts to
consider.

DON’T

…tell
children the animal was “put to sleep” or didn’t wake up from sleep. Children
may develop a fear of sleeping themselves.….minimize
the event by saying things like, “It was just a cat.”….stop
talking about the pet. At first it may be painful but it’s an important step in
being able to remember the happy memories and to show that there is value in
all life.….tell
children not to cry. Expressing their sadness is important.…rush
into getting another pet immediately. One animal does not replace another.

DO

…encourage
children to talk about the pet that died and about their feelings.…discuss
dying, death, and grief honestly, but don’t dwell on it. Children may need only
small amounts of information at first if they are very young. …be
clear about the permanence  of death.…watch
for signs children are struggling – loss of appetite, withdrawal, toileting
lapses, nightmares or other sleep disruption.…understand
children may return to the subject repeatedly as they process the death.…consider
holding some kind of small “good-bye” ritual.….find
a special way to remember the pet.

By |May 10th, 2019|Child Care|0 Comments|

Creating A Feeling of Safety in an Unsafe (at times) World

The world is a scary place sometimes. With access to
non-stop news everywhere we turn it seems like there are constant references to
school shootings, attacks in public places and armed intruders. Many adults
find these stories upsetting and children are often drawn into seeing and
hearing about these same disturbing events.

How can we protect our elementary school age (and younger)
children from becoming overwhelmed with fear and anxiety? Following are a few
tips to help your family:

Keep some perspective yourself. Bad things have
always happened in the world, but we didn’t have the kind of almost immediate
information sharing that modern media brings.Talk honestly with your child but at their
level of understanding. Don’t give more detail than they are ready to handle.
Keep it simple. (“Sometimes bad people do hurt others. I work very hard to
always keep you safe.”)Turn off the constant media flow. It’s
important to limit how much negative information your child hears. Be aware of your own conversations with others.
Children tune into more than many adults realize. Watch for signs that your child is experiencing
anxiety. Changes in sleep, eating habits, or difficulties at school are three
common indicators. Be the good in the world. Look for ways to take
action in a positive way to counter the negative. When appropriate, include
your child in taking some action. Feeling helpless about something contributes
to anxiety over the issue. Remember that you are the rock in your child’s
world. If you find yourself slipping into fear and anxiety yourself, get help.
Your children will look to you for cues on how to react to events.Share positives. Watch for stories that focus
on kindness, giving, warmth, and sharing friendship.

The world can be scary but it’s also a big wonderful place
full of kind-hearted people. Help your child learn to […]

By |March 7th, 2019|Child Care|0 Comments|

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.

How
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.

-Regina

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
life.

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|