Blog

Self Control

 

We see the effects all around us of adults that haven’t learned self-control, the ability to follow rules and understand limits. Developing self-control begins at birth and continues throughout adulthood.  Children learn self-control through group play and from guidance given from parents and other loving adults.

In order to help toddlers cope with limits we need to provide guidance and intervene when appropriate. Things we can do:

  • Stop the behavior.  Firmly, but not angrily, tell the child, “No hitting, hitting hurts.”
  • Label the emotion.  We need to feel understood. “You are angry that he took your toy.  It’s okay to be angry, but we do not pinch our friends.  Pinching hurts.”
  • Offer an appropriate “Can Do,” like jumping up and down or stomping feet.  A favorite of mine is the sign for “Stop” as it can be expressed emphatically.
  • Help the child solve their problem.  Go to the friend together and ask for the toy back.  Or, give them livable choices: “Do you want to play music while we clean up the toys?”
  • Be a role model for handling frustration.  “I’m feeling frustrated that I can’t find my phone and we’re running late.  I’m going to take a deep breath before we look for it.”
  • Create a cozy corner in your home.  This is a positive and soothing place to go when you need a break, not a time-out punishment.

For more information like this on child development, including other ideas for social-emotional development, go to Zero to Three, National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families at www.zerotothree.org

Jordan Sicht

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April 22nd is Earth Day

There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.

-Sir Rannulph Fiennes, the world’s greatest explorer.

April 22nd marks the 48th Earth Day celebrated in the United States.  The concept was introduced to raise awareness for the many troubling environmental threats that Americans had been largely ignoring. At Academy of Early Childhood Learning, we would like to use it as a day to bring to light the importance of nature in children’s lives.  50 years ago, families and educators could take for granted that young children would spend time outdoors (Clements 2004).  Present day children, with growing interest in technology, have the world at their fingertips through Google and Wikipedia yet have never peered closely into a newly bloomed bud or watched tiny ants empty a beetle’s exoskeleton.  Tomorrow’s stewards of this incredible natural wonderland are in our classrooms today and are open to deepening their connection with nature (Rivkin 2014).  There are many psychological, sociological and physical benefits outlined in the book, The Great Outdoors.

http://naturalstart.org/bright-ideas/need-ideas-encouraging-nature-play-new-free-guide-available

Mary S. Rivkin, The Great Outdoors

Clements, R.,An Investigation of the State of Outdoor Play.” Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood

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March 2 is Dr. Seuss’ Birthday

 

 

It was 1960, Green Eggs and Ham was published, and Theodor Geisel (who you may more readily know as Dr. Seuss) implored, In these days of tension and confusion, writers are beginning to realize that Books for Children have a greater potential for good, or evil, than any other form of literature on earth.”

Dr. Seuss had written Horton Hears a Who some years prior to Green Eggs and Ham as a way to connect to young readers in a positive way. His art had experienced quite a shift from the derisive propaganda cartoons and film he had published as part of the war effort.  He wanted to effect change in society’s buds, our children.

He would go on to publish The Sneetches in 1961 with its civil rights theme, and ten years later, The Lorax, raising environmental awareness.

We can continue this important work in our homes and classrooms by teaching our children to be safe, kind, and responsible.  We can encourage activities that show we value each other for our similarities and our differences.

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Coping with Separation Anxiety

Helping Children Adjust to New Settings and Coping with Separation Anxiety

For the last few weeks some of our children have been experiencing new classrooms or are new to our center. Some tears due to uncertainty, new expectations, and missing parents and previous educators is a natural and healthy part of your child’s development! Separation anxiety can present as tantrums, clinging, or even just becoming quiet and withdrawn when dropped off. As caregivers and parents, there are a few things we can do to help:
Plan a visit to their new setting, showing the child you are comfortable with the new faces and routines.
Have a short and positive good-bye ritual. (Please never sneak away!)
Relate your return time to their schedule. (I’ll see you after nap, snack, and gross motor time.)
Acknowledge your child’s feelings while encouraging appropriate behaviors.
Keep a regular schedule at home and with your drop-offs at school.
Discuss the use of a transitional object (small teddy to keep in their cubby for the first couple weeks) with your child’s teacher.
Make pick-up a reunion! Sometimes work needs to wait – a precious little person has looked forward to your face all day!

*https://www.prosolutionstraining.com/index.cfm
Books to Help Children with Separation Anxiety
Appelt, Kathi, illustrated by Jane Dyer. Oh My Baby, Little One. Orlando: Harcourt, 2005.
Edwards, Becky, illustrated by Anthony Flintoft. My First Day at Nursery School. New York: Bloomsbury
Children’s, 2004.
Penn, Audrey. The Kissing Hand. Terre Haute, IN: Tanglewood, 2006.
Rusackas, Francesca, illustrated by Priscilla Burris. I Love You All Day Long. New York: HarperCollins,
2003.
Tompert, Ann, illustrated by Robin Kramer. Will You Come Back for Me? Boston, MA: National Braille,
2003.
Viorst, Judith, illustrated by Kay Chorao. The Good-Bye Book. New York: Aladdin, 1992.
Zalben, Jane Breskin. Don’t Go! New York: Clarion, 2001.

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Difficult Topics with Children

Recently, as well as in the past, we’ve been bombarded with upsetting, sometimes tragic, news stories describing the sometimes turbulent world around us.  What to do and what to say falls well outside of the scope and space available in this quick monthly snippet.  I can recommend that we parents and teachers have some idea of what to discuss, what to say, and how to help, before a child asks us for clarification about the images or topics they may have seen or heard discussed. The following notes are borrowed from the Applebaum Training Institute.

  • Try and come to terms with your own feelings before talking to children so that they see you calm.  Children catch their moods from you.
    •    Turn off the television.  Seeing the graphic images is terrifying.
    •    Give children opportunities to talk about their feelings.  Let them vent.
    •    Give them opportunities to ask questions.
    •    Teach them relaxation exercises, like deep breathing.
    •    Children feel safe with traditions. Have some daily rituals that stay the same no matter what is happening in the world.
    •    Remind children that the world is a good place, even if a few people do bad things.
    •    Promote lessons of kindness, diversity, and respect for all people so children learn early on to value human life.
    •    Talk about the wonderful community helpers available to help.  There are emergency workers, doctors, nurses, firemen, and police officers all working together to help keep children safe.

Another good article on this topic can be found at:

Talking with Children

 

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Are rules necessary?

As parents and caregivers it’s important that we don’t fall into the trap of creating rules for no reason other than conformity.  Many rules we follow as adults are for specific safety and responsibility reasons; speed limits, food prep temperatures and expiration dates, carrying insurance on your property, to name a few.  When we start having rules just for the sake of conformity, it can feel restrictive and agitating. Sitting in the only car at a red light for several minutes when there isn’t another motorist in site might show this frustration.  We need to create more “roundabouts” in our children’s lives.  If we explain what needs to happen (the objective,) and are willing to accept a variety of possible methods to get to that end, we as caregivers/parents are more relaxed and your child is more empowered, self-reliant, and better prepared for their future.

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Natural Learners

There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.

-Sir Rannulph Fiennes, the world’s greatest explorer.

April 22nd marks the 47th Earth Day celebrated in the United States.  The concept was introduced to raise awareness for the many troubling environmental threats that Americans had been largely ignoring. At Academy of Early Childhood Learning, we would like to use it as a day to bring to light the importance of nature in children’s lives.  50 years ago, families and educators could take for granted that young children would spend time outdoors (Clements 2004).  Present day children, with growing interest in technology, have the world at their fingertips through Google and Wikipedia yet have never peered closely into a newly bloomed bud or watched tiny ants empty a beetle’s exoskeleton.  Tomorrow’s stewards of this incredible natural wonderland are in our classrooms today and are open to deepening their connection with nature (Rivkin 2014).  There are many psychological, sociological and physical benefits outlined in the book, The Great Outdoors.

http://naturalstart.org/bright-ideas/need-ideas-encouraging-nature-play-new-free-guide-available

Mary S. Rivkin, The Great Outdoors

Clements, R.,An Investigation of the State of Outdoor Play.” Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood

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Nature Revealed

On Presidents’ Day Academy teachers had the great pleasure of receiving training from Kim Cole, Conservation Education Consultant – Outreach & Education Division of Missouri Department of Conservation. She gave instruction on and provided us Nature Revealed, a Pre-K Instructional Unit.  Many of these lessons and lessons like them will be used in our classrooms. Even our youngest students can benefit from an early exposure to the fascinating natural world around us.  Please visit this wonderful website for children and their parents.  http://xplor.mdc.mo.govBy clicking a link on this site you can also request to receive the Xplor publication monthly.  It is taxpayer funded and available to all Missouri residents.  Please join us in getting your children outside and encourage their sense of wonder and curiosity.

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February – I Love You Rituals

 

 

A wonderful woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children she knew exactly what to do.
She held them. She rocked them, and tucked them in bed.
“I love you, I love you” is what she said.

-Dr. Becky Bailey

Dr. Becky Bailey’s book, I Love You Rituals details how to build strong connections between children and parents, children and caregivers/teachers, and between each other.  One of our many jobs at the Academy of Early Childhood Learning Centers is to help children to build trusting, safe relationships.  Her variation of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, for example, teaches children how to be kind and caring using gentle touches.  You may have your own rituals you implement at home.  Some traditional examples would be reading a bedtime story and tucking your child into bed.  What rituals are important to you?

Everyone needs to feel their relevance and value are recognized; in their homes, their classroom or at work, and in the hearts of those around them.

-Jordan Sicht

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Consistency is Key

With the busy holidays behind us, many of us are anxious to get back on schedule. Consistency in your expectations of your child at home as well as at school can be a comfort to your child.  If your child can serve himself at the table at school, they can probably do the same at home. Talk to your child’s teacher to find out what things your child is doing independently. You may be surprised at all they can do at home as well! Children learning self- reliance in a supporting environment makes for a happier classroom or home, and a more confident and competent child.  Remember to give Specific Positive Feedback when they do “wow” you with what they’ve done.  Happy New Year!

 

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