Monday, January 15, 2018

Building Children's Self Esteem

Self-esteem begins to develop at an early age.  By giving our children the best start, we give them a gift that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.  Helping children understand their individual thoughts and feelings is the first step in guiding a child towards a positive self-image and an increased sense of trust - both in themselves and the outside world. By working on these skills at an early age, we give children a gift that they will carry for the rest of their lives.

What can we do to make sure we are supporting 
our child's growing sense of self-esteem?

  • Build on your child's individual spirit. Support their interests.  For example, if your child loves camping and being outdoors, search for a local cub scout or girl scout troop and enroll them!  Not only will your child be involved in their favorite activities, but will also be part of a peer group - which is also important in building confidence.  
  • Model appropriate behavior - Children model after people they respect.  Let them know that you feel good about yourself.  Make them aware that you make mistakes and that it is OK not to do everything perfectly.  Remind them that you have learned from your own mistakes many times. Give examples. 
  • Have you heard - "I can't do it"?  Don't give in and don't do it for them!  Rather, show your child the tricky task in steps so they can do it themselves next time. Also, try responding with statements such as, "You may not be able to do it yet, but you will learn," or "If you could do it, how would you start?" These steps will help your child feel competent and develop a sense of self-reliance. 
  • Incorporate simple, everyday steps.  Look children in the eyes when you talk to them.  Bend down to their level occasionally when talking.  Use their ideas.  Don't change or improve their projects.  Hang all of their work on your refrigerator - good or bad!  Give them chores and jobs around the house.  Listen!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Social Emotional Health Activities for Children 0-29 Months

0-2 months
  • You! Your face and voice.
  • Give your child new safe objects to explore such a plastic cup or a spoon.
  • Read books to your child. Show your child the pictures and explain what he or she sees.
  • Talk to your baby about what he or she is seeing, hearing, or doing.
3-6 months
  • Respond to your baby's cries. Hold him or her close and whisper to calm.
  • Look at books or toys at your child's level.
  • Sing silly songs and tell your baby nursery rhymes.
  • Use your baby's name when talking about activities.
7-11 months
  • Let your baby know every day how much you love him or her.
  • Play with child-safe mirrors. Talk to your child about what he or she is seeing.
  • Place your baby in new areas or new positions in your home.
  • Listen to music with your baby. Bounce an dance to different types of music.
12-17 months
  • Keep a routine and talk to your baby about what will happen next during the day.
  • Go to a place where children play and let your baby watch or visit with the children.
  • Invite a friend over who has a baby or young child. Have enough toys for both children.
  • Let your baby have choices about food, clothing, and toys.
18-25 months
  • Toddlers love hugs and kisses. Tell your child that you love him or her.
  • Play simple games such as chase or hide and seek.
  • Your child can help clean up toys. Make it simple with a large tub or box.
  • Let your child practice eating with spoons and drinking with a sippy cup.
24-29 months
  • Keep rules short and simple and be consistent.
  • Praise your child for learning new things.
  • Help your child take turns when playing with friends.
  • Help your toddler label his or her feelings when sad, mad, or happy.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Kinship Care - Grandparents Raising Children

Kinship care is the full-time care, nurturing, and protection of children by relatives, stepparents, godparents, or any adult who has a kinship bond with a child.  This type of care has existed since the beginning of families, and historically, the idea of relatives (other than direct parents) helping to care for children was commonplace.  Today, many families are still utilizing this form of care, with numbers on the rise.  

In Michigan alone, there are 66,738 grandparents who are primary caregivers for their grandchildren.  The reasons for these large numbers are varied and diverse, but some reasons may include:

  • deployment of parents in the military
  • parental mental/physical illness or substance abuse
  • death of a parent
  • poverty; the parent's work requirements
  • incarceration
  • family violence, a relative's concern for health, safety, and well-being of the child
Grandparents may feel strongly about keeping their families together and kinship care offers greater stability for children.  Receiving care from someone with a familiar face offers children many benefits, especially when turbulent life changes may be occurring.  But what about the grandparents that are supporting the children?  The responsibilities of caring for children the "second time around," can be taxing - physically, emotionally, and financially. 

Help is available.  

Through the Michigan State University - Kinship Care Education Center, grandparents can receive information on legal issues and referrals, find education opportunities on child development, view webinars, print resource guides and brochures, and sign up to receive an electronic newsletter.  

Locally, the Jackson County Department on Aging - Caregiver Support Program offers a caregiver support group, counseling, education, and unmet needs assistance.  

In addition, the Legal Hotline for Michigan Seniors offers free advice on kinship care issues for Michigan residents 60 years and older.  The toll-free number is 1-800-347-5297.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Winter Fun at Playgroups!

All of the snow we have right now made me want to do a craft this month that will remind us of all of January's blustery snow in the summer time! We are making paper snow globes this month, which the kids seemed to really like creating.

-blue (or whatever color you choose) construction paper
-construction paper crayons
-clear plastic salad plates
-glitter!  And fun snowflake confetti if you have it
-hot glue gun and sticks (for adult use only!)

I traced a plate onto the paper and added a base to it to look like a snowglobe then used that as a pattern to cut out enough for all of our playgroup kids to use.  The children colored their wintry scene onto the paper then added glitter and embellishments on top of their drawing, loosely.  I then hot glued a plate on top.  Check to make sure you don't have any spots without glue so your glitter doesn't go flying and have fun shaking up your snow globe!  Enjoy this fun wintry craft!!