Blog

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 Separation anxiety can present as tantrums, clinging, or even just becoming quiet and withdrawn when dropped off.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.

Read more

Communicating Expectations Clearly

 

Many of us are familiar with the frustration we feel when someone or their actions disappoints us. While that frustration can certainly be warranted, it’s also a good time to be introspective about whether your expectations have been clearly communicated. Children typically want to be pleasers, but they may not always know what things they should be doing and may only hear about things they shouldn’t have done. Be clear in the expectations for your household and communicate through specific positive feedback when you see the desired behaviors or results.

Read more

Key Differences of Conscious Discipline and Traditional Discipline

 

Becky Baily, the developer of Conscious Discipline, outlines the key differences between what many of us grew up with (Traditional Discipline), and the strategies we aim to implement (Conscious Discipline) in three parts.  Traditionally, adults tried to make others change by prescribing the right punishment or withholding something desired.  Conscious Discipline on the other hand, realizes the individual will need to change themselves due to an internal process driven by how we interact with them.  Secondly, we may have been brought up believing rules and consequences govern behavior, while those studying Conscious Discipline come to realize relationships govern behavior.  For example, I want to solve conflict with family members because I love them so much.  Lastly, Conscious Discipline recognizes that conflict doesn’t have to be bad, but it does need to be productive.  It is an opportunity for growth and for us as parents and teachers to show children how to reflect on their choices internally, rather than us choosing the right consequence.  http://youtu.be/8j3gF1dh_t4

Read more

Steps Toward Understanding Child Behavior

 

 

Many of you have just conferenced with your child’s teacher and have seen the component within that is a behavioral checklist.  This serves as an assessment of the behaviors we see at Academy and may help parents and teachers discuss the cause or function of the behavior.  Once the underlying issue is identified, we can better address the undesired outcomes.  Young children can often act out of control because that is exactly how they’re feeling.  As an example, if a 2 year old boy swings his hand at peers when they are nearing the center where he is playing, we need to help him to identify his feeling of worry.  Worry that someone will knock down his tower or perhaps that there aren’t enough of that toy to share.  We can then provide him with the tools he needs to resolve this conflict.  We show children how to share, take turns, or sign the word stop.  We may even change the center to include more of that item.  Some children, even older children, after identifying the emotion may have a hard time carrying out the desired behavior “in the moment.”  It is important for us to teach replacement behaviors that are realistic.  If a child gets crying mad and frustrated over someone not following the rules we can’t expect them to automatically have a calm conversation about fair game play.  That child may need to be taught it is okay to walk away and get a drink at the water fountain in order to cool off.  If we all examine these behaviors as objectively as possible, it can help us approach them as teachable moments and also will serve to preserve our relationships with the child.  (They really didn’t do it just to make you mad!)

Enjoy your children!

Jordan Sicht

Read more

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

Read more

Make Expectations Clear and Consistent

 

 

It is important to discuss expectations with our children so they are clear on what behaviors we want to see. Some things will be the same (we will use safe hands,) and others will be specific to the occasion (we can roll down the hill at the park if we take turns.) We are entering a time of year when many of us will be travelling to friends’ and relatives’ homes for parties and special meals. With a less familiar environment you may want to remind your children of the expectations. Have these discussions before the occasion arises and also give them precorrects as needed. For example, as children are finishing their meal, “Yes, you may be excused. Remember what we talked about: Use a quiet, inside voice while you are playing.” Enjoy your children and safe travels!

Read more

Expectations in New Settings

 

 

Whether planning a vacation, business trip, or a night on the town (remember those?), we as adults like to have a basic idea of what to expect.  We feel a little more at ease knowing what things we’ll be doing or attending, what time we need to be somewhere, and with whom we’ll be meeting.  Children also need to know what to expect.  Some children may feel a great deal of anxiety about a change in surroundings.  While children are very resilient and are amazingly fast learners, they may not be able to communicate what part of the change or new experience is making them feel uneasy.  It is important for us here at school and families at home to talk about what children can expect when they are starting a new class, taking a vacation and staying in a hotel, or moving to a new home.  As a fair number of our students will be changing classrooms in August, or starting a new grade outside of the Academy, it is important that we communicate our expectations and prime them for what things they can expect.  Enjoy your children!

-Jordan

Read more

S.T.A.R. Power

 

 

 

The Academy of Early Childhood Learning has dedicated several hours to paid staff trainings so that our teachers can better understand and implement some of the findings and teachings of Dr. Becky Bailey’s Conscious Discipline program.  We’ve referenced the book I Love You Rituals previously.  In June, Dr. Bailey had this to share on the Conscious Discipline Facebook page:

 

YOU ARE A SUPER MODEL!

As parents and teachers, we are constantly modeling for our children what to do and how to behave. What we do is much more influential than what we say. So what kind of model are you? How are you strutting your stuff on the catwalk of life? Are you modeling your S.T.A.R. Power?

(Smile, Take a deep breath And Relax)

Modeling Anger & Frustration
Anger and frustration are motivating energies that deliver the message of change. They ask you to clearly define what you want instead of what you don’t want. To do this, you must first calm yourself and turn off the fight or flight response in your body.

The antidote to anger and frustration is breathing and calming. Then, you will be ready to respectfully share your feelings.

Here are ways to express anger and frustration like a Super S.T.A.R. Model:

– I feel angry. I am going to calm myself down and then I will talk with you.

– I don’t like it when you talk when I am talking. Please wait until I have finished my sentence.

– I feel frustrated. I was hoping we could talk through this calmly.

As always, we wish you well!

www.facebook.com/ConsciousDiscipline

 

 

Read more

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

Read more

PBS for a Happy New Year

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. Sometimes having your child walk into the building and classroom instead of being carried can make the difference between a rough drop-off and a good one.  Happy New Year!

-Jordan

Read more