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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Child's Play and Why You Should Play With Your Child

Play is the key way children learn-about themselves and their world. Through a wide variety of play experiences, they learn important information about their bodies and how they function. They use their five senses to discover new textures and tastes, scents and sounds, faces and places. Children gain valuable practice in sharing, compromise, and cooperation through interactive play. Just as parents have a "job" they must do, play is the "work" of childhood. It fuels the developmental process of growing.

Parents also "play" a valuable role in this "work." Putting aside your own priorities and focusing solely on playing with your child sends him vital life messages. To a child, time with you equals love. Focusing your attention and being directly involved in an activity with him says, without words: "I care." "You are special." "I value you." "You are worth my time and attention." These messages help to form the core of a child's self-esteem.

Other reasons to play with your child:
  • Playing with your child can boost your child's chances of succeeding in school.
  • Playing can enhance your child's vocabulary and IQ.
  • Playing can boost your child's emotional IQ.
  • Playing can improve a child's motivation and lead to a greater performance in school.
  • Playing with your child can connect you emotionally.
  • Playing can make life less stressful.
  • Playing can help put learning into context. 
Will You Play With Me?

Monday, December 15, 2014

How to Raise Responsible and Well Behaved Children

Responsible and well behaved children are taught to be this way early on. They are taught if I misbehave then I have a consequence (cause and effect).

Parents don't always promote accountability and that's when children struggle. You can promote this by:
  • Holding children accountable for not meeting their responsibilities. Being held accountable promotes a willingness to meet the responsibilities next time. 
  • Making the consequence for not meeting the responsibility less pleasant than if the child had completed the task in the first place. 
  • Six ways to teach responsibility:
    1) Start
    as early as possible in your child's life
    2) Identify responsibilities
    3) Use responsible language
    4) Use the power of example
    5) Teach and coach responsibility
    6) Use accountability
    7) Tell
    your children what you'll be doing differently. "From now on, I'm going to start to point out how we meet responsibilities around here. So, you'll have a clearer idea of how many responsibilities I meet and why I think it's important that you meet your responsibilities."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Promote Literacy at Home

Most parents read to their children every night. Reading with your child helps with:
  • developing his/her vocabulary
  • ability to listen and comprehend
  • ability to understand the purpose of print
  • helping to set up a lifelong positive attitude towards reading 
Talking and singing with children can teach them about sounds and how sounds come together to form language. Teach your child language games and songs. It's also important to listen to your child. Here are some examples of things to try with your child: 
  • Use rhyme whenever you can. Use phrases like 'snug as a bug in a rug' or make up nonsense rhymes about things you're doing-for example, 'putting fish in the cat's dish'. 
  • Sing nursery rhymes with your child when you're at home, in the car or out and about. Children love to sing, and nursery rhymes teach your child language, rhyme, repetition and rhythm. Try rhymes like 'Baa Baa Black Sheep', 'Miss Polly had a Dolly' or the Alphabet Song. 
  • Repeat sounds your child makes, or make up sounds and see if your child can copy them. 
  • Play 'I Spy' with your child using colors. For example, 'I spy with my little eye, something that's green. What's something green I might be looking at?'
  • Talk about the sounds animals make and ask your child to copy. For example, 'Cows say moo. Can you say moo?'
  • At mealtimes, talk about the food you're preparing, what you're doing to it, how it tastes and what it looks like.
  • Talk about objects outside the house or when on an outing-for example, the rustling of leaves, or the sounds of the birds or traffic. Ask your child if she can make the sounds for wind, rain, water, airplanes, trains and cars. 
  • Tell your child stories about when you were younger, or about his family's past. You might like to act out parts of the stories with your child, or tell the story through dance. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

10 Tips For Setting Good Examples

You are the most important influence on your child. You can do many things to help your children develop healthy eating habits for life. Offering a variety of foods helps children get the nutrients they need from every food group. They will also be more likely to try new foods and to like more foods. When children develop a taste for many types of foods, it's easier to plan family meals. Cook together, eat together, talk together, and make mealtime a family time!

  1. Show by example
  2. Go food shopping together
  3. Get creative in the kitchen
  4. Offer the same foods for everyone
  5. Reward with attention, not food
  6. Focus on each other at the table
  7. Listen to your child
  8. Limit screen time
  9. Encourage physical activity
  10. Be a good food role model
Click on the following link to be taken to the full article to read more:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Should You Spank Your Child?

Spanking does not work! It is not necessary. Instead, children can be raised with:
  • Age-appropriate expectations
  • Limits accompanied by empathy
Children who are raised this way don't need much in the way of discipline at all, and they become self-disciplined adults. 

However, children who are spanked are more likely to exhibit
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Drug use
  • Aggression as they get older
The only positive outcome that's ever been shown from spanking is immediate compliance; however, corporal punishment is associated with long-term compliance

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Leaving Children Unattended in a Car

Last month the parent education topic was "Keep Your Child Safe, Look Before You Lock" focusing on accidentally leaving a child in a locked car with extreme temperatures. However, we want to remind parents the dangers of intentionally leaving child/children in an unattended car while running errands.

Please do not leave your child in an unattended car even if it is just for a few minutes. Criminals look for vulnerable situations, such as this for kidnapping or car theft. Minnesota does not have a law regarding children in cars, but Minneapolis Police spokesman John  Elder says it comes down to a child-endangerment issue at the discretion of the officer. 

"If the officer feels the child is in danger, he can take the child and put them in protective custody," Elder said. Parenting coach Tina Feigal feels it's never safe to leave a child unattended in a car. 

"I really understand people think I'm just going to run in for a few seconds and I'm just going to get this one thing and it's going to be a little bit and I don't want to get this child cold or wet," Feigal said. "But, someone could come and drive that car, someone could hit that car or just the whole idea of being left in a car could be emotionally hard on a little child, they could be thinking "Where did Mommy or Daddy go?"

Feigal doesn't have a specific cut off, but recommends it is a child old enough to fend for themselves and able to get their parents in case something were to happen.

Resource Link: Leaving Children Unattended in a Car

Friday, August 15, 2014

Our New Location Celebration went great! Check out the slideshow below with some pictures from the event. Below the slideshow is a video of Dakota County Attorney, James Backstrom speaking on the importance of Early Childhood Education.