Monday, December 9th, 2013
Many people look forward to the holiday season. It’s typically a time to reconnect with family, take some time to slow down and reflect on the year, and – of course – spread some holiday cheer.
But for people grieving a loss, the holiday season can feel overwhelming, empty, and exhausting. Even when spirits are bright for a moment, the memories of good times with a loved one can remind us of the magnitude of the loss. In essence, the celebrating and connecting that is a very natural part of the holiday season highlights the absence at the table.
Grief comes and goes in waves, and it can be a very personal journey. But while loss can feel completely overwhelming for both parents and children, it’s important to find ways to keep the holiday spirit up for young children, even when a loved one is missing.…
Thursday, December 5th, 2013
Kids have a lot of wants during the holiday. They are bombarded with images of the next great toy at every turn. Often you’ll find that grandparents, other family members, and close family friends are happy to indulge little ones during this time of year. A little bit of indulgence is usually part of the holiday season. But sometimes there are so many things that kids don’t even know what to do. It can actually be overwhelming to be bombarded with so much stuff. And the true meaning of the holiday can easily get lost in the piles of toys.
Sometimes too much is just too much.…
Monday, December 2nd, 2013
Preschoolers are busy. They talk a lot, eat a little, and always have something to do. In fact, it can seem as if the only time they stop talking and doing is when they take a mandatory rest. They are energetic and completely impulsive, to say the least.
So it might seem completely out of the ordinary if a teacher or other childcare professional starts throwing around acronyms like “ADHD”.
The truth is that, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), ADHD can be diagnosed in children as young as age four.…
Thursday, November 28th, 2013
Some might say that messy play is a theme in my house. Others might say that cleaning isn’t my strength. I recently saw an image on Facebook that really spoke to me; it was captioned, “My house is clean, it’s just your eyes that are dirty.”
All joking aside, I do encourage messy play as much as possible. While I know that the cleanup will be a process, there is so much to be gained from getting messy.
Messy play offers many opportunities for learning, and learning while doing (and, more importantly, playing) is always fun for kids. So go ahead and look the other way when your house starts to look like mine, and focus on your smiling kids instead …
Monday, November 25th, 2013
From the moment Halloween ends until we ring in the New Year, the holiday season seems to go by in a blur. With gifts to purchase, cards to send, concerts to watch, parties to attend, and treats to bake, it begins to feel like the holidays are really just one giant to-do list.
Although the holiday season is often thought of as merry and bright, the reality is that it can also include a significant amount of stress. For parents, there is always something that needs doing. And for kids, the overstimulation, increased sugar intake, and later bedtimes can really shake up the normal routine.…
Thursday, November 21st, 2013
When behaviors escalate and parents feel frustrated, time-out is often a first course of action taken in an attempt to put an end to the behavior. In some ways, it makes sense. Kids and parents can become very frustrated and angry at times, and a break might help decrease the anger.
But time-out doesn’t always work. While it might give the caregiver a moment to take a breath and relax, it leaves many children stewing over the initial problem, thereby increasing the child’s anger, or it leaves a child feeling alone, overwhelmed with emotion, and/or anxious.
In fact, time-out can increase separation anxiety for kids who already struggle to separate from parents. Bottom line: Time-out doesn’t fit all temperaments.…
Monday, November 18th, 2013
Compassion is best described as an emotional response to others that is rooted in empathy. It is a feeling of wanting to help someone who is suffering in some way.
Teaching children how to care takes more than a conversation. Compassion is a skill that is learned over time and through a multitude of experiences. And while some kids seem more innately compassionate than others, all kids are able to learn to be more compassionate.…
Thursday, November 14th, 2013
While the holiday season is fun and exciting, it can also lead to long want lists and demanding behavior. The truth is that the holiday season seems to begin a little bit earlier each year, and that makes for a very long season of celebrations, wrapping, unwrapping, and missed betimes; it can be a lot for little kids.
It can also take away from the true meaning of the holiday season. While people are patting themselves on the back all over Facebook for finishing their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, I prefer to take a different approach. In an effort to appreciate the present tense, I implement a one-holiday-at-a-time approach. Trick-or-treating was great fun, but now we’re focusing on giving thanks.…
Monday, November 11th, 2013
Creativity helps children view the world through a different lens. When kids are engaged in activities that require creative thinking, they enter a different world of their own creation. They are free to think, problem-solve, and express themselves without concern about providing the right answer.
Creativity allows children to be individuals.…