Monday, December 20, 2010

Parenting Tip of the Week: Sharing

It takes time for children to develop the skill of
Children go through five stages.

Everything is “mine.” this stage usually begins at or around age 2.
Children then progress to the following 5 stages:

  1. “Not mine” is different from mine.
  2. “Not mine” things have owners.
  3. Owners may lend items. This is a big step, children need an understanding of time—taking turns, “now” and “never and that the owner of a toy may choose to lend it to her temporarily.
  4. “Ours” is joint ownership. At this point, true sharing can really happen. Two siblings can have joint ownership of a common item, say, a go-cart, and understand how to share it fairly.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter is is the stress! Tip of The Week: Routines

There are places in the Midwest that are digging out from 20 plus inches of snow and subzero temperatures this week, both almost sure signs of a white Christmas. Added stress and enhanced beauty all rolled up into one!
 I for one am in awe of how beautiful the snow looks. I never tire of seeing the crisp white tree branches bending with the weight of the snow. I do tire though of winter driving. It is an added stress, especially this time of year when there are more errands to run and more social visiting than usual. Most times I enjoy the drive.  I have a 20-minute commute into town when the roads are not snow-covered.  It gives me pause to sort my mind, and reflect on my to do list.  Stress management experts say the commute (to work and home after) can actually be a healthy stress buster. It allows time to decompress, switch gears and get focused on a new task. So even though the price of gas is a stressor in the pocketbook, the longer commute can be a plus. That being said stress is everywhere and whether you have a long commute or roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee and are on the job in less than 20 minutes there will be moments in your day that are more stressful than others. 
Children feel stress too. They may not tell you they are stressed out but changes in their behavior can be a signal that they have reached their limit. Environmental changes as well as emotional turmoil in the family can all have an effect on young children. Young children crave routines and predictability. The holiday season is a time when routines are changed, schedules are altered and regular bedtimes become nonexistent. This is all done with good intentions and in the spirit of the season.  This week's Tip offers some thoughtful advice on
helping preschoolers with routines.

Tip of the Week:

Toddlers and preschoolers crave routines.  It helps them anticipate what is next; create a sense of predictability and safety.

Two good tips when in come to preschoolers and routines are:
  • Tip--Planning ahead helps family members know what is going to happen next, so they can increase their confidence and level of cooperation.
  • Tip--The younger the child, the more important routines are as the focus of learning. Establishing routines in the following four area will be helpful:
      • Hellos and Good-byes
      • Diapering and Toileting
      • Eating and Mealtimes
      • Sleeping and Naptime

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays,

It’s that time of year again when sometimes it feels as if  there is not enough time in the day, not enough money in our wallets, not enough ideas, shopping centers and food in the pantry to make the holiday season brighter for those we love. Each year I feel the holiday stress approaching earlier and earlier. The sudden urge to Christmas shop came in July for me this year, and now I am rummaging through bags to try to remember what I bought and for whom. I never thought I would board this train so early, never thought I would fret months before the holiday was here and certainly never thought I would stop looking forward to spreading the holiday cheer. Somehow, somewhere gift shopping started becoming a task to be completed, names ticked off a list in a school teacher fashion, Andrew; done, check, uncle Jim, done; check, and so on. In effort to “just get through it” it is easy to lose site of what is important and miss the season completely.  This month I am taking a deep breath,  and remembering some simple holiday “rules” to keep me sane.
  1. Less really is more, with adults and kids of all ages.
  2. Hot chocolate and the Polar Express is a great wind down
  3. Zero percent down…just gets me into trouble
  4. Get outside to do one of  the three S’s: Skate, Ski or Sled.
  5. breathe more…fret less
  6. have fun!

Another added stress this holiday season is the recall on literally millions of toys for children. A good link to check out is: This site is sponsored by the  toy safety group called: World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH). W.A.T.C.H.'s  released its annual "10 Worst Toys" list  W.A.T.C.H.'s annual "Toy Conference" has generated extensive national press and media coverage. Because of these efforts, and the positive response from both the media and the public, there have been many toy and product design changes. Founder Edward M. Swartz (1934-2010) and W.A.T.C.H. fearlessly exposed potentially dangerous toys to the general public. As a result, children’s lives have been saved.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Making a List, Checking it twice

The Holiday Season isn't the only time of the year when lists are useful.

I am one of those people who read the top ten lists. Lists like the top ten places to go when you retire, the top ten remodeling tips and the top ten great comeback lines to the question “When’s the baby due?” (When you’re not pregnant).  I don’t like to remake the wheel so if someone has done the research on the top ten cars with the most cup holders I wanna know this. Years ago I attempted to make up a list of my top ten favorite movies and books. The list kept growing and changing with each New Year. During my children’s youth the list included such movies and books as The Jungle Book (movie version) and Goodnight Moon. I had watched/read each so much that I felt I needed to include them!

 But seriously, making lists can be a wonderful tool to organize your thoughts, prioritizes tasks and concentrate on what’s important. A list of parenting tips can help you stay focused on what to do rather than on what not to do.  Most of the times we are on track, staying the course, but every once in a while it is not uncommon as parents to feel overwhelmed and out of our element.  As children grow and change we need to develop new tips and tools to address the joys and stressors associated with parenting.  I have included two good lists:   Ten Things Every Child Needs from the film of the same name, and the top ten books to read to your child before they leave home, compliments of the Keweenaw Family Resource Center staff.  Enjoy the lists, create your own and respond to the post. We will include some of the most practical and insightful lists we received on this blog.

  2. TOUCH
  8. PLAY
  9. MUSIC
Top Ten books you should read to your children before they leave home

  1. Pat the Bunny--
  2. Old Turtle--Douglas Wood
  3. The Giving Tree by Shel  Silverstein
  4. Love that Dog—Sharon Creech
  5. Velveteen Rabbit--Margery Williams
  6. Lorax—Dr Seuss
  7. The Polar Express- Chris Van Allsburg
  8. Harry Potter-J.K. Rowlings
  9. Where the Wild Things Are –Maurice Sendnak
  10. The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Parenting tip of the week: Play

This is a stressful time of the year. As parents we can easily get caught up in our to do list. Remember to take time out to play.

According to the Child Development Institute, 75 percent of brain development
 occurs after birth. Physical play helps a child to develop connections between
the nerve cells and the brain. As these connections develop, a child's fine and
gross motor skills, socialization, personal awareness, language, creativity and
problem solving are improved. The ideal physical play incorporates play
           with social interactions and problem solving.