Child Care

Reconnecting Kids With Nature

When you ask
a group of adults to share some of their favorite childhood memories, very
often the answers will involve time spent outdoors. At a recent staff meeting,
we did just that and teachers shared great stories about camping trips, fishing
in small streams, playing with sticks and mud, and laying in the grass to watch
clouds, among other things. Just hearing about the remembered positive
experiences created a relaxing and uplifting mood for all of us.

So what will
our children (and grandchildren} say? Are we giving them opportunities for the
same kind of relaxing time in nature that we all remember so fondly? In too
many cases, we are probably falling short of what we would like to say. So many
families find themselves with very busy and very structured lives that don’t
include enough outdoor time.

How can we
help children reconnect with nature? It might be easier than you think.
Following are some simple suggestions. Start small and make it a point to add
more experiences as you go.

Plan
family outdoor experiences like after dinner walks, picnics, or trips to parks
and beaches.Provide
your child with outdoor toys like butterfly nets, binoculars, bug catchers,
sand boxes and sand toys, kites, etc.Take
your books outside! Create a family outdoor reading area. Start
some simple gardening.Dress
your children for the weather so they can enjoy being outside in all four
seasons.Go
outside after dark and look for stars, fireflies, or the moon.Bring
some nature inside. Decorate with plants, seashells, driftwood, and interesting
stones.Play
relaxing “nature sound” music in your home to set a peaceful tone.Watch
for outdoor events like concerts, craft fairs, food events, or charity walks.Eat
outside when you can!Help
your child notice their surroundings – trees that are budding, birds in the
trees, cloud formations, etc.

The best
thing you can do to encourage a reconnection with nature is to reconnect
yourself […]

By |August 12th, 2019|Child Care|0 Comments|

Future Success Anxiety

When we think about starting our own family, most of us dream about happy times, adorable children, and magical moments.What many of us don’t think about at that point is the heavy load of responsibility that comes with being a parent – and that responsibility never ends no matter how old our “baby” becomes.

While a pregnancy absolutely can bring its share of worries and “what-ifs”, many people find that when that baby comes home from the hospital, the true worrying begins. A very common concern among parents is what kind of person that child will be as an adult. Will they be successful? Will they get into college? Will they find a job? Will they get married? Will they move far away? Will they have friends?

Laying some basic groundwork for a child’s future IS important, but the key is to balance the future with the present, with a heavy emphasis on the present. If all our energy goes into what our child will be like as an adult, we’ll miss the joy of knowing them as a child. A popular buzzword these days is “mindfulness” – taking time to genuinely and fully experience what is happening at the moment. As parents we can get very caught up in all of the daily distractions of life – meals to fix, bills to pay, car repairs to schedule…..When we are practicing mindfulness we might be playing a game with our child, baking cookies together, watching a movie with them, going for a walk, or we might be stepping back and listening in when our children are playing with friends to hear how they are interpreting the world.

Worried about your child’s future? Spend […]

By |June 24th, 2019|Child Care|0 Comments|

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|