News Articles & Tips

HOT OFF THE PRESS

Do you have information, resources, research, articles, handouts, etc. that you would like to share with the greater Park Parent Community?
Please contact the site designer at 
nfairplay@aol.com to share your news.


Please remember that information found here is to be used as a resource only, not all information here will be agreeable to everyone.  Any medical information you find here is opinion based and should not be followed without first consulting your Doctor.

ABCs and 123s: What's Appropriate

Many parents are concerned when their children aren't practicing letters and numbers. They feel that completing paper and pencil exercises will most effectively prepare their children for elementary school. Preschools could give your children workbooks and make them memorize the alphabet. Your children could be drilled and tested. If preschools operated this way, however, your children would lose something very important.

Children who are rushed into reading and writing too soon miss important steps in learning and may suffer later on because they lack the foundation they need for using language. Children who are taught to read before they are ready may be able to sound out and recognize words, but they may also have little understanding of what they are reading. If they haven't been given time to play, they won't have explored objects enough to know what words like hard, harder, and hardest mean. If they aren't allowed to string beads, button, dress up, cut, paste, pour, and draw, they won't develop the small muscle skills they need for writing.

Similarly, because math involves more than memorizing facts (2 + 2 = 4)—it involves logical thinking—children shouldn't be pushed into paper and pencil arithmetic too soon. To acquire the foundation for logical thinking, children need many opportunities to count objects, sort them into piles, add some to a pile and take some away. It is by playing games like these that they will learn to understand what is meant by addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication. Without concrete experiences, children may give correct answers but may not really understand what they are doing and why.

Probably most important of all, if children are rushed into academic subjects too soon, they may lose their enthusiasm for learning as well as their sense of themselves as learners. If children are told what to learn and memorize by the teacher, they may become passive and dependent learners, unexcited about learning something new. Children who have had plenty of time to play, however, learn to ask their own questions and figure out their own answers. They are responsible for their own learning. They see themselves as explorers, discoverers, problem solvers, and inventors.

[Resources for Families-Teaching Strategies GOLD]


 

Kids Health Website

This proved to be a good website when I took my son to the emergency room with breathing problems.  I was able to call my husband and say "Google croup!" he found this site and it was very helpful.  In looking around more at the site today it's a good one to have on hand for parents.

General health, growth and development, discipline, first aid and safety, pregnancy & baby and much more!

http://www.kidshealth.org/

 Your Toddler’s Emotional World

Many new milestones mark your child's transition from infancy to toddlerhood

by: Scholastic

Sometime within a few months of his first birthday, your baby will learn to walk without help. When he does, he leaves the more placid phase of infancy behind and is renamed a "toddler." After taking his first independent steps (often to his own astonishment), it may be days, even weeks, before your toddler-in-training trusts the upright position to really work for him. He'll crawl when he is in a hurry, then walk, crawl again, creep, walk a bit more.

What matters most is getting to a goal — reaching an intriguing toy or smiling parent. We might say true toddlerhood begins when the act of navigating upright becomes a goal in itself. You spot a "Look at me; I'm doing it!" expression; and soon your former baby is ready to walk across the continent, unless you stop him. He is positively gleeful, so joyous about the mastery of this new way of moving that he puts aside fears of being away from his home base. Once walking becomes routine, the independent guy often has a jolting realization that being safe requires at least one of his special people to be close by. For awhile he will toddle only within sight of this person, then return for a "refueling" — often bearing a gift discovered on his travels.

 

During this busy transition time, you’ll notice some major developments in your child's social and emotional skills.

Negatives, Tantrums, and "No!" More than at any other phase of development until early adolescence, toddlerhood is marked by an ongoing conflict between the urge for autonomy and an equal desire to be safe.  That may be why toddlers (and 12 to 15 year olds too) have the reputation of being negative, contrary, grouchy, or any other term used to convey their parents' bewilderment and consternation about their children's puzzling behavior. One moment your little one is demanding independence; the next, she is clinging. This core conflict may largely explain the tantrums and power struggles — often associated with toilet training in toddlers and personal grooming in young teens.  "Whose body is it, anyway?" both groups of children seem to be asking.

A limited command over language, especially in early toddlerhood, often causes frustration. When your little one can't make her compelling needs and desires known, she may resort to temper tantrums. Psychologist Alicia Lieberman points out in her wonderful book, The Emotional Life of the Toddler, that there are four other factors contributing to the "upheavals between parents and toddlers": disagreements about "what is safe and what is not; about the toddler's desire to have it all; the opposition and negativism that accompany this new sense of personal will; and the temper tantrums that may follow when the parent says no."

 What to do: While your toddler seems determined to impose her will,

she is also very eager to please you. So pile on the praise when she

endures frustration or does a good job at anything at all. In Lieberman's

words, "This wish for approval is the parent's most reliable ally in the

process of socializing the child. Appealing to it is far more effective and

much healthier than threats of punishment."

 

Pride and Power

This is, as I suggested, an exuberant age — a time of wonder, exploration, and discovery; and most of all, a

time when your child delights in his growing personal mastery. He finds he can make things happen: not only

cause the jack-in-the box to jump, but make Mommy smile or frown. He can point for what he wants with

grunts and real words mixed with gibberish, early attempts at

language. When you respond, two-way communication

happens and becomes a window into the real world and a

step toward further mastery.

What to do: Join your toddler in play. Tune in to what he is

feeling and tell him you are doing it. Become a play partner,

allowing him to remain in command of pretending. Show your

respect and admiration for his accomplishments, for his

creativity and originality. Respond to the ideas he is trying to

express with both gestures and words: "Oh, you want more

juice! Here's some." Try to put his intentions into words: "Ah

yes, you want a hug. Me, too!" As he grows, he'll use these

skills to communicate with peers and teachers.

 

The New World of Pretend

At this age, your child begins to express ideas and feelings through true imaginative play. The dolly falls down

and cries; the kangaroo "Mommy" comforts her. Your toddler will begin to share her feelings and start to solve

problems through such play. She will also start to use words to express her feelings too. "Mommy up!" means

please pick me up.

What to do: Be there; be attentive and responsive. Show that you

understand and enjoy your child's budding signs of reasoning. When

you comply with her request for a kiss or a cuddle, you encourage

further communication and a sense of feeling understood.

 

Lots to Say

From about 18 months on, language growth is dramatic. In the last

year and a half of toddlerhood (from 18 months to age 3), your child

delights in naming everything and in forming short phrases, then more

complex sentences. Some toddlers are more inclined toward action

than words, but virtually all love to talk, as well as tell and hear

stories. They are getting ready for the calmer life of a socially

engaged preschooler.

What to do: Support your child's efforts by listening and responding

to his words. Have patience with his endless requests to know "what

dat" or his retellings of a recent incident. Satisfy his thirst for new

words with books, songs, and everyday conversation. 

 

Healthy Eating for Vegetarians
10 tips for vegetarians

A vegetarian eating pattern can be a healthy option. The key is to consume a variety of foods and the right amount of foods to meet your calorie and nutrient needs.  Go to www.ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information. 

10 tips Nutrition Education Series

Think about protein

Your protein needs can easily be met by eating a variety of plant foods. Sources of protein for vegetarians include beans and peas, nuts, and soy products (such as tofu, tempeh). Lacto-ovo vegetarians
also get protein from eggs and dairy foods.

Bone up on sources of calcium 

Calcium is used for building bones and teeth. Some vegetarians consume dairy products, which are excellent sources of calcium. Other sources of calcium for vegetarians include calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage), tofu made with calcium sulfate, calcium-fortified breakfast cereals and orange juice, and some dark-green leafy vegetables (collard, turnip, and mustard greens; and bok choy). make simple changes.  Many popular main dishes are or can be vegetarian—such as pasta primavera, pasta with marinara or pesto sauce, veggie pizza, vegetable lasagna, tofu-vegetable stir-fry, and bean burritos.

Enjoy a cookout

For barbecues, try veggie or soy burgers, soy hot dogs, marinated tofu or tempeh, and fruit kabobs. Grilled veggies are great, too! Include beans and peas Because of their high nutrient content, consuming

beans and peas is recommended for everyone, vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.  Enjoy some vegetarian chili, three bean salad, or split pea soup. Make a hummus filled pita sandwich. 

Try different veggie versions

A variety of vegetarian products look—and may taste—like their non-vegetarian counterparts but are usually lower in saturated fat and contain no cholesterol. For breakfast, try soy-based sausage patties or links. For
dinner, rather than hamburgers, try bean burgers or falafel (chickpea patties).  Make some small changes at restaurants.  Most restaurants can make vegetarian modifications to menu items by substituting meatless sauces or nonmeat items, such as tofu and beans for meat, and adding vegetables or pasta in place of meat. Ask about available vegetarian options.

Nuts make great snacks

Choose unsalted nuts as a snack and use them in
salads or main dishes. Add almonds, walnuts, or
pecans instead of cheese or meat to a green salad.


Get your vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is naturally found only in animal products.
Vegetarians should choose fortified foods such as
cereals or soy products, or take a vitamin B12 supplement
if they do not consume any animal products. Check the
Nutrition Facts label for vitamin B12 in fortified products.


Find a vegetarian pattern for you

Go to http://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/ and check
appendices 8 and 9 of the Dietary Guidelines for
Americans, 2010 for vegetarian adaptations of the USDA
food patterns at 12 calorie levels.
DG TipSheet No. 8
June 2011
USDA is an equal opportunity
provider and employer.

 

 

 

Get Ready To Read!

Checklist for Parents of Preschoolers!

Here are some ways you can help your child "get ready to read" during the ages of 4 and 5.

 

  • I help my child hear and say the first sound in words (like "b" in boat), and notice when different words start with the same sound (like "boat" and "book").
  • I help my child hear words that rhyme (like moose, goose, and caboose).

 

  • I introduce new words to my child, like "bow" and "stern", which mean the front and the back of a boat.

  • I talk with my child about the letters of the alphabet and notice them in books like "c" for canoe.

  • I point out signs and lables that have letters, like street signs and foods in the grocery store.

  • I encourage my child to find the joy and fun in reading.  Usually, I let my child choose the books we read.

  • I let my child pretend to read parts of the book when we read together.

  • I talk with my child about stories and make connections to things that happen in our own lives.

  • I ask "what", "where". and "how" questions when I read with my child to help her follow along and understand the stories.

  • I help my child write notes or make books (like an alphabet book), even if her writing only looks like scribbles or marks right now.

This list was compiled by the National Institute of Literacy from the Literacy Begins at Home publication.

Baby Brain Map

Visit: http://www.zerotothree.org/baby-brain-map.html 

to learn all about how your baby's brain is developing!

 

 

 

Children and Good Mental Health

Pikes Peak Mental Health~ Children and Good Mental Health
taken from the Children and Good Mental Health brochure

What every child needs for good mental health
It is easy for parents to identify their child's physical needs; lots of good food, warm clothes when it's cold, bedtime at a reasonable hour.  However, a child's mental and emotional needs may not be so obvious.  Good mental health allows your youngster to think clearly, to develop socially and to learn new skills.  Additionally, suitable playmates, encouraging words from adults and guidelines for behavior are all important for helping your child develop self-confidence, high self-esteem and a healthy emotional outlook on life.

Give Your Child Unconditional Love
Love, security and acceptance should be at the heart of family life.  Your child needs to know that your love does not depend on his or her accomplishments.  Mistakes and/or defects should be expected and accepted.  Confidence grows in a home that is full of unconditional love and affection.

Nurture Your Child's Confidence and Self-Esteem
Praise your child
Encouraging your child's first steps or his or her ability to learn a new game helps your child develop a desire to explore and learn about his or her surroundings.  Allow your child to explore and play in a safe area where they cannot get hurt.  Assure your child by smiling and talking to him or her often.  Be an active participant in your child's activities.  Your attention helps build his or her self-confidence and self-esteem.
Set Realistic Goals
Young children need realistic goals that match ambitions with abilities.  With your help, older children can choose activities that test their abilities to increase their self-confidence.
Be Honest

Do not hide your failures from your children.  It is important for youngsters to know that we all make mistakes.  It can be very reassuring to know that Mom and Dad are not perfect.


Avoid Sarcastic Remarks
If your child loses a game or fails a test, try to find out how he or she feels about the situation.  Your youngster may be discouraged and need a pep talk.  Later, when your child is ready, talk about a new way to play the game or study.  Encourage your child to not only strive to do his or her best, but also to enjoy the process.  Trying new activities teaches children about teamwork, self-esteem and new skills.

Make Time For Play


Encourage Your Child To Play
To a child, play is just fun; however playtime is as important to your child's development as food and good care.  Playtime helps your child be creative, master problem solving skills and develop self-control.  Good, hard play, which includes running and yelling, is not only fun, but also helps your child to be physically and mentally healthy.
Children need playmates
If there are not children in your neighborhood, you might find a good children's program through neighbors, local community centers, schools, or a local parks and recreation department.
Parents can be great playmates
Join in the fun!!  Playing a board game or coloring with your child gives you a great opportunity to share ideas and spend time together in a relaxed setting.
Play for fun
Winning is not as important as being involved and enjoying the activity.  One of the most important questions to ask your child is "Did you have fun?" not "Did you win?"
TV should be monitored
Try not to use the TV as a "baby-sitter" on a regular basis.  Be selective in choosing television shows for your child.  Some shows can be educational as well as entertaining.

Top of the Page



Kid Friendly Interactive Websites

Kid Friendly Interactive Websites

Please feel free to contact me directly with other suggestions you would like to share with the community.
nfairplay@aol.com

Brain Research-What It Has Told Us About Learning

By Diane Trister Dodge and Toni S. Bickart

Today, we can actually see that when children are active learners—handling materials and trying to figure out how to solve a problem—connections are being made in the brain. Within the last decade, scientists have made exciting breakthroughs toward understanding how the human brain develops and works. New brain-imaging technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) enable us to watch brain activity as it takes place.

You have probably noticed an increasing number of articles on brain research in newspapers and magazines as well as stories on TV and radio. Some of the research findings are particularly relevant to parents and teachers of young children.

  • The early years are critical for brain development. By age ten, a child’s brain has formed most of the connections it will use throughout life. Nurturing, supportive, and consistent relationships early in life "wire the brain" for learning and loving.
  • The brain actually builds itself. Each sensory experience—what a child sees, hears, touches, tastes, and smells—creates connections (synapses) between brain cells. Repeated experiences solidify these connections and promote understanding.
  • The brain is most receptive to learning language during the first ten years of life. The more language a child hears, the greater the child's vocabulary.
  • Learning comes through the senses, and language develops in the context of meaningful interactions with adults and other children. The more senses involved, the more solid the learning. Words (like dog) have meaning because they evoke images in the mind (what a dog looks like, sounds like, smells like, and how it feels to the touch). Direct experiences—connected with the words to describe these experiences—create solid images and understanding, which are essential for success in reading.
  • Movement is critical to brain activity. When the hands are active, the brain is more engaged. Therefore, "hands-on" learning such as building with blocks, drawing and painting, fitting puzzles together, exploring materials, and acting out an experience actually activates the brain.
  • Stress caused by physical or emotional trauma produces a hormone called cortisol. This chemical actually kills off the connections between brain cells in the part of the brain that is important to learning and memory. Too much stress literally "shuts down" the brain. Children can handle stress when they have established positive relationships with their parents and other significant adults, such as teachers.
  • Music enhances brain development, especially spatial orientation and the ability to think mathematically. A good time to encourage music experiences is during the preschool years.

Best practice in early childhood education reflects what we have learned from brain research. The active, sensory, movement experiences that are characteristic of preschool children's play actually build the brain.

[Resources for Families-Teaching Strategies GOLD]

Child Safety Seats

Click It Or Ticket

Under Colorado's Child Passenger Safety law, infants and children must be properly buckled up when riding in motor vehicles.  A driver can be ticketed and fined a minimum of $82 for each unrestrained or improperly restrained child in the vehicle.

 

visit www.carseatscolorado.com for guidelines for best protecting child passengers.

Talking About Toddlers-

Talking About Toddlers
Ayelet Talmi, Ph.D.
The Children's Hospital
October 2007

Miles of Milestones
Some of the key developments during the toddler years are:
  • Locomotion- walking and walking away from caregiver to explore the world
  • Receptive and expressive language- from words to sentences to life stories
  • Emotional development- self-esteem, egocentrism, emotion regulation
  • Play and social relationships- from imitation to parallel play to creativity and friendships
  • "I can do it" - the ongoing struggle between independence and dependence
What Toddlers Need
  • available, nurturing, and playful caregivers
  • stimulating and safe environments
  • to learn about the world through play and exploration
  • rituals and routines to help them predict what will happen next
  • encouragement for verbal and nonverbal expression
  • help handling frustration, anger, sadness
  • choices and guidance for interacting with others
  • encouragement for their creativity and uniqueness
  • modeling of appropriate behaviors
Everyday Magic:  How Toddlers Get What They Need

  • Routines and rituals (bedtimes, mealtimes, getting dressed, clean-up)
  • Telling a life and other communications- "something happened"
  • play-Full, "again, again", wearing out and wearing down
What's Hard for Toddlers and their Grown-Ups:  The Terrible Twos (and Threes)

  • Tantrums
  • Taking, hitting, biting, kicking and saying "NO"
  • Time outs
  • Transitions (to daycare, to big beds, to being a siblings)
  • sleep Terrors
  • potty Time


Life Lessons for Busy Moms

Life Lessons for Busy Moms - Dorthy K. Breininger, Debby S. Bitticks, Lynn Benson
Excerpts from from a book by the above title and authors.

"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate"  Oprah Winfrey

Ask Yourself
  • How much time do I focus on my positive qualities?
  • How much time do I focus on my mistakes?
  • When was the last time I credited my own achievements as a busy mom?
  • How do I celebrate those achievements?
  • When was the last time I actually celebrated my achievements?  If not, what has stopped me?
  • Write down four ideas on how you can celebrate your achievements and actually calendar them.
"The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children."  Elaine Heffner

Ideas to Promote Our Parenting Style/Philosophy
  • If we want our children to possess good manners, let's mirror the habits we want them to use.
  • Children benefit and know their parameters when we provide consistent limit setting.
  • Emotionally charged arguments in front of our children can weaken the family unit.  Making a commitment to problem solve in an effective and calm manner can help develop our kids' interpersonal skills.
Picking Your Battles~ Lorilee Craker
"NO PANTS!  I want to wear my pajamas!"  My three year-old was filled with righteous indignation over my suggestion that it was time to get on a shirt and pants for preschool.
  His arms were folded over his chest, and his lip jutted out in defiance.  Irritated and about to run late, I dug in my heels.  "Ez, you have to wear clothes to school."
  "I am wearing clothes!" The child even stomped his foot at that statement.  But he did have a point.  It wasn't like he wanted to go flouncing off to school in his birthday suit, although that scenario was certainly possible.  Let's cross that bridge when we come to it, I figured, hoping fervently we wouldn't.
  Faced with this flannel-clad bundle of opposition and with about five minutes to put out this fire-- or fuel it-- I made a choice to let this one go.
  "Ez, you may not talk to me like that, but you may wear your Thomas the Tank Engine jammies if you ask nicely."  stunned that he could actually be allowed to do so, Ezra acquiesced.  He unfolded his arms, un-pouted his lower lip and then asked nicely if he could please wear his pajamas to school.
  The thought flitted through my mind that my mother never, under any circumstances, would have allowed her little child to attend school or any other public function wearing jajamas.  She would have as soon burned her bra in a front-yard bonfire and declared herself a patriot of the women's liberation movement.
  But I, semiliberated and wearing a bra, picked a battle at that moment. Or rather, I picked "no" on fighting that particular battle.  Why?  Well, it's preschool, not the SAT's.  You know, finger painting and cookie baking, an unstructured, winsome place where whimsy and wonder abound.  I knew he would be sufficiently warm and decently clothed, and also that his whimsical teachers wouldn't blink an eye over Ezra's one-man pajama day.  (Indeed, Miss Susan and Miss Catherine celebrated his entrance with great fanfare and made a big fuss over how silly and funny and wonderful Ezra was to wear his pajamas to school!)
  Motherhood is crammed with opportunities to pick a battle or to step out of the ring.  I could have forcibly stripped Ezra of his pajamas and then wrestled him into some school clothes.  Or maybe I could have threatened him with consequences.  The thing is, I knew it would be a huge ordeal to force him to do what he so clearly didn't want to do.  Was it easier to let him attend class wearing his jammies?  Absolutely. 
  The child has a will so steely it boggles my mind.  We could be in the ring all day long at times, duking it out over some disagreement or other.  But if I turn every misdemeanor into a felony, I'll lose my maternal authority and probably my mind.  Shaping and guiding a preschooler's moral character will be a long, hard slog, so I've learned to save my energy for the lessons he really has to learn.

Oh Poo!!

The Children's Hospital
Free Parenting Seminar Series 2007

Oh Poo!  Common Toilet Training Problems in Children

Information found here has been taken from the Contemporary Pediatrics publication
Vol.21, No. 3
Toilet Training your child: The basics

Your child is toilet trained when, without any reminders, he (or she, of course) walks to the potty, pulls down his pants, urinates or passes a bowel movement (BM), and pulls up his pants.  Some children learn to control their bladder first; others start with the bowel control.  You and your child can work on both kinds of control at the same time.  Bladder control through the night normally happens several years later than daytime control.  The gradual type of toilet training described in this Guide usually can be completed in one to three months- if your child is ready.

Toilet training readiness

Don't begin toilet training until your child is clearly ready!  Readiness doesn't just happen; it involves concepts and skills you can begin teaching your child at 18 months of age or earlier.  Almost all children can be made ready for toilet training by 3 years, most by 2.5 years, many by 2 years and some earlier.  Ways to help your child become ready include the following:

18 months
, Begin teaching about pee, poop, and how the body works.
  • Teach the vocabulary (pee, poop, potty)
  • Explain to your child that everyone makes pee and poop.
  • Point out when dogs or other animals are doing pee or poop.
  • Clarify the body's signals when you observe them: "Your body wants to make some pee or poop"
  • Praise your child for passing poop in the diaper.
  • Don't refer to the poop as "dirty" or "yucky"
  • Make diaper changes pleasant for your child so she will come to you.
  • Change your child often so she will prefer a dry diaper
  • Teach her to come to you whenever she is wet or soiled.
21 months, Begin teaching about the potty and toilet.
  • Teach what the toilet and potty chair are for ("the pee or poop goes in this special place").  Demonstrate by dumping poop from diapers into the toilet.
  • Portray using the toilet and potty chair as a privilege.
  • Have your child observe toilet-trained children use the toilet or potty chair (an older toilet-trained sibling can be very helpful)
  • Give your child a potty chair.  Encourage your child to sit on it with clothes on for fun activities, such as play, snacks, and watching television.  Help your child develop a sense of ownership ("my chair")
  • Put the potty chair in the bathroom and have your child sit on it when you sit on the toilet.
2 years, Begin using teaching aids.
  • Read toilet learning books and watch toilet learning videos with your child.
  • Help your child pretend to train a doll or stuffed animal to use the potty chair.  It doesn't have to be an expensive doll that pees water.
  • Introduce wearing underwear as a privilege.  Buy special underwear and keep in a place where your child can see it.
The Potty Chair

Buy a floor-level potty chair.  you want your child's feet to touch the floor when he sits on the potty.  This provides leverage for pushing and a sense of security.  It also allows him to get on and off whenever he wants to.  Take your child with you to buy the potty chair.  Make it clear this is his own special chair.  Have him help you put his name on it.  Allow him to decorate it or even paint it a different color.
Then have your child sit on the potty chair fully clothed until he is comfortable with using it as a chair.  Have him use it while eating snacks, playing games, or looking at books.  Keep it in the room in which your child usually plays.  Never proceed with toilet training unless your child clearly has good feelings toward the potty chair.

Steps in toilet training

Encourage practice-runs to the potty

A practice-run (potty sit) is encouraging your child to walk to the potty and sit there with her diapers or pants off.  You can then tell your child, "Try to go pee-pee in the potty".  Only do practice runs when your child gives a signal that looks promising, such as a certain facial expression, grunting, holding the genital area, pulling at her pants, pacing, squatting, or squirming.  Other good times are after naps, after two hours without urinating, or 20 minutes after meals.  Say encouragingly, "The pee (or poop) wants to come out.  Let's use the potty"
    If your child is reluctant to sit on the potty, you may want to read her a story.  If she wants to get up after one minute of encouragement, let her get up.  Never force your child to sit on the potty.  Even if your child seems to be enjoying it, end each session after five minutes unless something is happening.  Initially, keep the potty chair in the room your child usually plays in.  This easy access markedly increases the chances that she will use it without your asking.  Consider buying two potty chairs.
    During toilet training, children need to wear clothing that makes it easy for them to use the potty.  That means one layer, usually the diaper.  Avoid shoes and pants. (In the wintertime, turning up the heat is helpful.)  Another option (although less effective) is loose sweatpants with an elastic waistband.  Avoid pants with zippers, buttons, snaps and belts.

Praise or reward your child for cooperation or any success.

All cooperation with practice sessions should be praised.  You might say, for example, "You're sitting on the potty just like Mommy," or "You're trying real hard to go pee-pee in the potty."  If your child urinates into the potty, you can rewards him with treats, such as animals cookies, or stickers, as well as praise and hugs.  Although a sense
of accomplishment is enough to motivate some children, many need treats to stay focused.  Reserve big rewards (such as going to the toy store) for occasions when your child walks over to the potty on his own and uses it or asks to go there with you and then uses it.
    Once your child uses the potty by himself three or more times, you can stop the practice runs.  For the following week, continue to praise your child often for using the potty. (Note: Practice runs and reminders should not be necessary for more than one or two months)

Change your child after accidents as soon as convenient.

Respond sympathetically.  Say something like, "You wanted to go pee-pee in the potty, but you went pee-pee in your pants.  I know that makes you sad.  You like to be dry.  You'll get better at this."  If you feel a need to criticize, restrict criticism to milk verbal disapproval and use it rarely ("Big girls don't go pee-pee in their pants," or mention the name of another child whom your child likes and who is trained).  Change your child into a dry diaper or training pants in as pleasant and non-angry a way as possible.  Avoid physical punishment, yelling, or scolding.  Pressure or force can make a child completely uncooperative.

Introduce underpants after your child starts using the potty.

Underwear can increase motivation.  Switch from diapers to underpants when your child is cooperative about sitting on the potty chair and has passed urine into the toilet spontaneously 10 more times.  Take your child with you to buy the underwear and make it a reward for his success.  Buy loose-fitting underpants that he can pull down easily and pull up by himself.  Once your child starts wearing underpants, use diapers only for naps, bedtime and travel outside the home.

Overcoming toilet training inertia: The bare-bottom weekend

If your child is over 30 months old, has successfully used the potty a few times with your help, and clearly understands the process, committing six hours or a weekend exclusively to toilet training can lead to a breakthrough.  Avoid interruptions or distractions during this time.  Younger siblings must spend the day elsewhere.  Turn off the tv, and don't answer your telephone.  Success requires monitoring your child during the training hours.
    The bare-bottom technique means that your child does not wear diapers, pull-ups, underwear, or any clothing below the waist.  This causes most children to become acutely aware of their body's plumbing.  The dislike pee or poop running down their legs.
    You and your child must stay in the vicinity of the potty chair, which can be placed in the kitchen or another room without a carpet.  A gate across the doorway my help your child stay on task.  During bare-bottom times, refrain from all practice runs and most reminders.  Allow your child to learn by trial and error with your support.
    Create a frequent need to urinate by offering your child lots of her favorite fluids.  Have just enough toys and books handy to keep your child playing near the potty chair.  Keep the process upbeat with hugs, smiles and good cheer.  You are your child's coach and ally.

If your child resists training.

Request the parent guide on toilet training resistance if:
  • Your 2.5 year old child is negative about toilet training
  • Your child is over 3 years old and not daytime toilet trained.
  • Your child won't sit on the potty or toilet
  • Your child holds back bowel movements.
  • The approach described here isn't working after six months.
Using incentives to motivate your child.

Incentives are rewards for good behaviors.  Incentives are especially helpful for overcoming resistance when children are locked in a power struggle (control battle) with you over toilet training.  They give the child a reason to leave the power struggle.

How to use incentives

Four conditions are required to make incentives powerful:
  • Your child strongly desires the incentive.  Ask for your child's input ("What would help you remember to look after you poops?").
  • You give the incentive immediately after the child meets the goal (releases urine or stool into the toilet, for example).
  • You allow your child access to the incentive for 30-6- minutes.
  • You, not your child, continue to own and control the incentive.
The last requirement is essential.  The child's access to the incentive (a bike, costume, videotape, remote-control car, paint set, or whatever) must be time-limited.  In essence, the child earns a privilege, not another possession.  That's the only way to maintain the value of the incentive.  None of the incentives discussed here is essential to normal child development, and that is why they can be selectively withheld.

Incentives to choose from

  • Access to a new or favorite toy. (Examples: time with a tricycle or bicycle, train set, Star Wars toys, Lego sets, cars and trucks, remote-control car or dog, dinosaur toys, jewelry kit, art or drawing supplies, water pistol, magic sword)
  • New costume or outfit (Examples: Batman or Superman, Snow White or Belle, nail polish, special shoes)
  • Video time. (Examples new viedos, tapes of favorite tv shows, trip to the movie theatre, new computer games)
  • Special foods. (Examples: candy or other sweets, ice cream, or popsicle, favorite cookies, other favorite foods such as pizza or strawberries, trip to the grocery store to pick out a favorite food or to a favorite restaurant or snack shop)
  • Money
  • Grab bag of surprises (written on pieces of paper)
  • Triple reward for breakthroughs: Fast food restaurant, then video stores and stay up late to watch a movie
Never withhold special reinforcers

Social reinforcers include physical affection (hugs and kisses) and parent-child activities (going to the library or zoo, reading stories or playing board games).  Never withhold social reinforcers and use them as incentives because they are essential for your child's emotional growth and mental health.  Moreover, nurturing makes your child more receptive to parental rules and requests.  Never withhold physical activity (playing catch, walks, or going to the park) because fitness and endurance are essential to physical health.  You can offer extra parent-child incentives, however.






Temperament & Behavior

Temperament describes how a child approaches and reacts to the world. It is her personal "style." Click the link below and you will find information and tools for tuning in to children’s temperament, a key factor in understanding their behavior and the way they interact with others.

http://www.zerotothree.org/child-development/temperament-behavior/

How Is Your Child Smart?

 By Diane Trister Dodge and Toni S. Bickart


In the past, good preschools have always given children opportunities to explore learning in many different ways. We now have additional research that shows the value of child-initiated learning and validates the concept that children learn as they play.

Dr. Howard Gardner, a professor of education at Harvard University, has studied the development of cognitive abilities in human beings and has concluded that people are smart in different ways. Rather than viewing intelligence as a score on a standardized test—which focuses on math and language—he has defined intelligence as the ability to solve problems that one encounters in real life, and to make something or offer a service that society values. Gardner developed a way of classifying human abilities, and has identified at least eight different kinds of intelligence in his ongoing research. Each of us has these abilities to some degree, but in varying amounts. (Note that only the first two have traditionally been a part of IQ tests.)

Think about your own child. What strengths and interests are you beginning to notice? See how these relate to the eight kinds of intelligence we describe below.

  1. Does your child love to talk, ask questions, make up stories, or repeat stories and poems you have read together? This behavior demonstrates linguistic intelligence—the ability to use language to express ideas, tell a story, understand others, or learn new vocabulary or a second language with ease.
  2. Some children particularly enjoy manipulative materials that involve making and repeating patterns. They find it easy to divide up a set of objects, or enjoy guessing what caused something to happen. Actions like these highlight logical/mathematical intelligence—the ability to understand the system of numbers, add and take away, use one-to-one correspondence, and predict what will happen.
  3. Children who can listen to music and remember the tune easily may be demonstrating musical intelligence. This is the ability to produce and recognize songs, repeat rhythms and chants, and keep a beat.
  4. Does your child love to build with blocks, make collages, and construct three-dimensional structures? Can he or she easily find your car in a large parking lot? These characteristics may indicate spatial intelligence—the ability to form a mental image of a building or find one's way around a neighborhood.
  5. Children who are natural athletes, graceful dancers, or who seem to learn new concepts by experiencing them using their bodies demonstrate bodily/kinesthetic intelligence. This is the ability to manipulate objects skillfully and use the body to solve problems.
  6. Does your child find it easy to make friends, recognize how others feel, and know how to resolve a conflict? This behavior indicates interpersonal intelligence, or the ability to understand and interact effectively with other people—in effect, to "read" emotions and respond appropriately.
  7. Some children seem able to talk about feelings, express emotions, and carry out their plans in very focused ways. Strengths like these are characteristic of intrapersonal intelligence—the ability to understand oneself and to use this knowledge to plan and be self-directed.
  8. Then there are children who love the outdoors, collect living things to bring indoors, and ask for and look through books to learn the names of different plants and animals. This behavior demonstrates naturalistic intelligence, or the ability to recognize different kinds of plants or animals in the environment.

Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences emphasizes the importance of learning experiences that respect individual interests and build on children's strengths. It encourages teachers and parents to look at each child and ask, "How is this child smart?" rather than "How smart is this child?" When children have opportunities to play with different materials and initiate exploration in ways that are comfortable, they find their own strengths. When children have opportunities to learn through their strengths, they develop confidence in their own abilities.

[Resources for Families-Teaching Strategies GOLD]

Geting Ready for Kindergarten!

"Shyness is a personality trait, not a fault." –Dr. Sears

Teaching your child what is expected of them in Kindergarten and what they can expect from Kindergarten will help to ease the stress they may feel and make for a smooth transition to Kindergarten this Fall.

START READING!!!- Books about Kindergarten can be checked out from the Edith Teter Learning Center’s Lending Library on Wednesdays from 10am-11am June 12th-July 17th. The Fairplay Library also has many titles to enjoy. Here are some titles to look for.

· Welcome to Kindergarten

· Kindergarten Rocks

· How to Be a Friend

· On the Way to Kindergarten

· The Kissing Hand

PLAY DATES -Set up play dates with other kids headed to Kindergarten. Together you can role play. Set up a pretend classroom. Pack a pretend school lunch. Pretend to be the teacher and practice how the children will enter the classroom, make eye contact with the teacher, and say “Hi!”

ENROLL IN A CLASS OR CAMP - There are many opportunities for camps and classes. One local (and FREE) opportunity is MRHI Family Adventure Series- Growing Up WILD . It is a 3, 1/2 day classes for children ages 3-7. Another opportunity for your child locally is The Fairplay Library is also holding a Summer Reading Program. Whatever camp or class you choose; it will introduce the shy child to socializing with children they do not normally interact with.

CLASSROOM VISIT – South Park Elementary School holds assessments for incoming kindergarten students. This is a great time to take your child on a tour around the school and get them excited about Kindergarten. For most kids, meeting their teacher can ease anxiety. Show your enthusiasm and excitement about what a special thing it is to go to Kindergarten. Make your child feel excited about Kindergarten by being excited yourself!

COMMUNICATION - It is important for your child's teacher to know about your child's personality. Partnering with your child's teacher will help your child's teacher create an environment that your child can be comfortable in.

School READiness

Checklist for Parents of Preschoolers

Here are some ways you can help your child "get ready to read" during the ages of 4 and 5.

  • I help my child hear and say the first sound in words (like "b" in boat), and notice when different words start with the same sound (like "boat" and "book").
  • I help my child hear words that rhyme (like moose, goose, and caboose).

  • I introduce new words to my child, like "bow" and "stern", which mean the front and the back of a boat.

  • I talk with my child about the letters of the alphabet and notice them in books like "c" for canoe.

  • I point out signs and lables that have letters, like street signs and foods in the grocery store.

  • I encourage my child to find the joy and fun in reading. Usually, I let my child choose the books we read.

  • I let my child pretend to read parts of the book when we read together.

  • I talk with my child about stories and make connections to things that happen in our own lives.

  • I ask "what", "where". and "how" questions when I read with my child to help her follow along and understand the stories.

  • I help my child write notes or make books (like an alphabet book), even if her writing only looks like scribbles or marks right now.

This list was compiled by the National Institute of Literacy from the Literacy Begins at Home publication.

Let's Get Ready For Kindergarten!

"Shyness is a personality trait, not a fault." –Dr. Sears

Teaching your child what is expected of them in Kindergarten and what they can expect from Kindergarten will help to ease the stress they may feel and make for a smooth transition to Kindergarten this Fall.

START READING!!!- Books about Kindergarten can be checked out from the Edith Teter Learning Center’s Lending Library on Wednesdays from 10am-11am June 12th-July 17th. The Fairplay Library also has many titles to enjoy. Here are some titles to look for.

· Welcome to Kindergarten

· Kindergarten Rocks

· How to Be a Friend

· On the Way to Kindergarten

· The Kissing Hand

PLAY DATES -Set up play dates with other kids headed to Kindergarten. Together you can role play. Set up a pretend classroom. Pack a pretend school lunch. Pretend to be the teacher and practice how the children will enter the classroom, make eye contact with the teacher, and say “Hi!”

ENROLL IN A CLASS OR CAMP - There are many opportunities for camps and classes. One local (and FREE) opportunity is MRHI Family Adventure Series- Growing Up WILD . It is a 3, 1/2 day classes for children ages 3-7. Another opportunity for your child locally is The Fairplay Library is also holding a Summer Reading Program. Whatever camp or class you choose; it will introduce the shy child to socializing with children they do not normally interact with.

CLASSROOM VISIT – South Park Elementary School holds assessments for incoming kindergarten students. This is a great time to take your child on a tour around the school and get them excited about Kindergarten. For most kids, meeting their teacher can ease anxiety. Show your enthusiasm and excitement about what a special thing it is to go to Kindergarten. Make your child feel excited about Kindergarten by being excited yourself!

COMMUNICATION - It is important for your child's teacher to know about your child's personality. Partnering with your child's teacher will help your child's teacher create an environment that your child can be comfortable in.

Why Buy Organic?

     There is a lot of talk about whether you should eat organic foods. Nonorganic produce and meat are often genetically modified. In other words, different chemicals and hormones are used on those foods to make them bigger. Side effects of consuming genetically modified food have not been studied long term in people. In animals, however, researchers have found that liver problems, tumors, and even death can be side effects of eating genetically modified food.
 

     If that information is not enough to scare you into eating organic foods, consider this fact: organic food contains more nutrients than nonorganic food. For growing kids and adults alike, that is pretty important. As a whole, people do not get enough nutrients in their diets.
 

     Eating organic foods may also reduce your risk for cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency has studied the toxins used on nonorganic foods. They have found that many of these toxins have the potential to cause cancer.
 

     Organic food does cost more than nonorganic food—sometimes a lot more. If you are on a tight budget, consider buying at least some organic foods. Fruits with skin that you can eat—apples, pears, and grapes—are best when they are organic. Any kind of leafy greens, such as lettuce and spinach, are also better when organic. However, items such as bananas and oranges can be organic or nonorganic because you eat only the inside portion of these fruits.

     While it is best to switch to an all-organic diet, making even a few changes could bring about great improvement to your health and overall well-being.  One change could be to start a garden in the spring and grow your own veggies.  Container gardens do not take up much room and you can grow them inside!  Don't forget how much enjoyment you and your kids can have watching your fruits and veggies grow!

Welcome! Check out our Facebook Page at Parkparents.org