Truth in the Tinsel by Amanda White is a wonderful ebook that teaches the Christmas story of Jesus birth through 24 advent activities. If the craziness of the holiday seems to sweep you away and you sit there on December 25th and say, “Wait. Did we even talk about Jesus the last 24 days?”. This book is for you!…
If you need simple fall activities for a crowd of children, here are two for you! These two activities are literacy related and were my contribution to our Fall Frolic at the local library for children 6 years and under. They are simple and inexpensive to create for a crowd or at home.
Life with a busy toddler can be a challenge. Tantrums and meltdowns can be a millisecond away since they have their own opinions and ideas. Everything in the world is new and exciting and must be explored. Their language is still limited. They struggle to put their thoughts in words and we sometime wonder if they understand us or are just being stubborn.
Here are eight gentle phrases we use at our house that work for us. I hope they will help you guide your little explorer through turbulent times into calm waters too!
1. I need to (state the need). I will be gentle.
Have you ever seen the grown-up that goes to a child without warning and furiously wipes the child’s nose or face? The child resists and flails his arms in defense and protests, then the adult chastises the child for resisting or crying. I hate that!
Before wiping a child’s face or nose, or doing anything that requires cooperation, tell them what you are going to do and that you will be gentle. For example, “I need to wipe your nose. I will be gentle.” Then be gentle. That doesn’t mean the child will like it, but when they know what to expect, and it happens gently, it builds trust and cooperation over time. This also models being gentle and ties that word to the action. It shows respect for the little person.This is not asking permission either. It is stating what is going to happen and following through.
2. Gentle hands, please.
When a toddler is playing rough or when they are grabbing something too harshly, stop the behavior and say, “Use gentle hands, please”. Then show them what you want them to do.
It is difficult for a toddler to understand when they are inflicting pain upon another person. They typically do not have the cognitive ability to understand another person’s perspective. They may be playing and totally oblivious that they are hurting someone by patting them on the back or head. Saying “gentle hands, please” is a phrase that teaches the social skill and language that will introduce seeing another person’s perspective.
3. Walk away.
When your child is in mischief and doing something that is off limits, the phrase “walk away” tells them exactly what to do. It helps avoid the negative “stop” or the over used “no-no”. If she still continues the inappropriate action state, “I will help you.” Then state again, “walk away” and physically and gently guide them to safety. Follow-up with positive reinforcement “Thanks for walking away” or “There you go, that’s the way we walk away!”
5. Please…sit down/put your feet on the floor/put the book on the shelf, and etc
Tell your child exactly what you want them to do. Give specific directions, if they don’t follow your directions then show them what to do. Toddlers are such busy curious little people they are able to find trouble around every corner. We want them to be little explorers! It is extremely easy to fall into the habit of focusing on the negative by saying: ‘no’, ‘stop’, ‘don’t do that’ and more. Take that split second to think about what you want them to do and tell them exactly what to do. Also, don’t ask them. For example, don’t ask, “Will you please pick that up?” Kindly tell them what to do.
If they don’t follow your directions, they may not understand. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they may not have the receptive language to understand what has been said. Take the time to show them what you want them to do.
6. That’s not a toy.
If your child is handling or playing with something that is off limits state, “That’s not a toy.” The world is a new place and everything is intriguing. Show them what they can explore. Rotating toys helps the old ones become new and fresh.
7. Thank you for….listening, following directions, putting the toy on the shelf, and etc.
Just like giving specific directions, give specific praise for what they did right. It is much more genuine than saying “Good job!” or “Good boy!” Giving specific praise is an opportunity for your child to hear exactly what they did right and supports language development by connecting the words to the action.
8. I’m sorry you’re mad.
So you have used one of the phrases above and a meltdown happens. You have told your child to walk away. She doesn’t walk away. She protests or has a tantrum. That’s normal. Just expect it to happen. Be calm. Acknowledge her feelings, name them, and show empathy. Research shows that empathy is the most effective way to respond to a tantrum. (Brain Rules for Babies, by Dr. John Medina) For example, “I’m sorry you’re mad.” or “It is so frustrating when things don’t go your way.” 0r “I understand it is so frustrating, but playing with the outlet is not safe.”
Calmly be present for them until the emotions pass. Once they are calm you can guide them to walk away or give them options for things that they can do. It may take some time for them to be ready for them to move on. Give them that time, but don’t give into the tantrum.
Leaving the kids at home while you travel can be stressful but unavoidable at times. As parents we didn’t leave our kids home often but when we did, we worked hard to make it a pleasant experience for them and their grandparents who were caring for them. Taking time for some advanced planning will give you peace of mind, and help make your time away fun for them, you, and the grown-ups caring for your kids. Here are some tips and ideas to make your travels special for you and your children.
Creating peace of mind for you and your child when you travel:
1. For medical care leave phone numbers for your health care provider and copies of your insurance cards. Complete a medical release form for your child so that medical decisions can be made in the event of an emergency. Include in this document a list of medications, allergies, and diagnoses for each child. Check with your local authorities or personal lawyer for further details and what would be needed in the area that you live.
2. Print a calendar and note when you are leaving and returning. This will help your child visualize when you will be home. At the end of each day they can mark off the day.
3. Create a schedule so that the folks who are providing care and your child know exactly what to expect each day. Include the times of events and activities along with address of locations so they can find their way.
4. Make an outline of the daily routine with the times to get up, go to bed, when school begins and is out, and anything else that is unique for your family.
5. Provide a list of favorites: foods, toys, blankets, games, pacifiers, and any other favorites that will help your child and the care provider have a good day together.
6. Describe bedtime routines. Bedtime can be such a challenge for young children and sharing expectations and routines will make the end of the day more enjoyable.
Making Each Day Special for Your Child
We thought it was important to make each day special for our kids. Choose one or two of the following ideas to create something for your child to look forward to each day:
7. A short daily letter to describe what you are doing on that day and what they have on their schedule for the day. The letter might include one of the following:
- An inexpensive gift card for a treat such as going to Sonic for ice cream or a soda
- Hints to find a gift that was hidden in the house (see number 8)
- Tickets to a game or movie
- A coupon for an activity such as going to the pool or park
- A book
8. This is a great time to crack open a new app for the iPad, x-box game, or a new movie for an evening of fun. We would often hide these in the house and leave a hint in their letter.
9. Hide post-its around the house and in their drawers with encouraging notes for them to find throughout the week
10. If possible, schedule a time to call, Facetime, or Skype with your children. Having a predictable time to chat with you and share each others adventures.
Wishing you safe travels and your children a fun time at home!
Playing in rice. Sometimes it is the simplest play that is the most intriguing to our kids. We needed a different activity at our house one afternoon. I threw about 4 cups of rice into a 13X9 inch pan, grabbed a couple of measuring cups, a measuring spoon, and a scoop took it outside on a cheap quilt where Ruby played and played. It was just simple, wonderful play.
Creating handprints on a canvas is so easy dads can easily make this happen with their little ones. This gift idea is perfect for Mother’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, and just anytime you want to share some love. It is fully child created which makes it that much more special….
Here is a collection of ten favorite, fabulous fine motor activities from CCK. They are open-ended and include art, construction, stringing, scissor, and writing skills.
My husband, Doug, is a creative builder. He found a log and made this cool log walk for our granddaughter. I grabbed my camera so I could share the process with you. It really isn’t that hard if you have the equipment or someone to do the cutting for you. This outdoor play area cost us nothing except the energy to gather the supplies. Our city produces the mulch from trees trimmings and gives it away for free.
Spring has arrived early in Missouri and we’re ready to start planning and planting a little flower garden. This year I have a place for flowers and want to start the seeds by planting them in eggshells. And I wanted to share the process with you.
This year we wanted a simple method for decorating Easter eggs and went with decorating them with stickers. Our little Sweetpea is twenty months old, and with some help she was able to place the stickers on the eggs and loved every minute. Not only is sticker decorating easy for little kids, it is an inexpensive way to decorate eggs for large groups too.