Category Archives: Families

Help for “Quarantine Fatigue”

by Kristin Cofield, Family Engagement Specialist

After two months of social distance and stay-at-home orders, many people may experience physical and emotional drain.  As our awareness about COVID-19 heightened, we went into crisis mode.  There was a lot of anxiety, panic, fear, and a need to make quick decisions for the best interest of our families and those we love.  It is difficult and unhealthy to maintain a state of crisis.  Eventually, reality sets in, and our mind will adapt to our current environment or situation. 

Even for those of us who may have welcomed the break in extended family obligations and an over-scheduled calendar, we still miss and crave the human connections we enjoyed. We are social creatures designed to interact with others. 

Now, a whole new type of uncertainty is creeping in as we reopen and return to some previous activities.  You may feel overwhelmed and stressed by the many unanswered questions and the unpredictability of our state. You are most likely feeling the effects of quarantine fatigue if you have felt this way:

  • Irritable or feeling on edge
  • Stressed, anxious, or having racing thoughts
  • Eating more or eating less
  • Unable to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Unmotivated or less productive

May is Mental Health Month, which is a great reminder about how essential it is to monitor and take care of yourself physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  Everyone reacts differently in a crisis.  Living through a pandemic is stressful and may cause your feelings to change over time.  If distress impacts your daily life for several weeks, consider seeking support.  If you or someone you care about are feeling overwhelmed or showing signs of distress, consider talking to someone about your concerns and feelings.  Looking for a place to start? Here’s just a sampling of licensed counselors able to support you:

Parents Need Love Too: A Guide to Self-Care

by Kristin Cofield, Family Engagement Specialist

Being a parent has never been easy, but we all know in this age of social distancing and COVID-19, it’s only gotten harder. Many of us are experiencing the current events personally. You may have loved ones suffering from the coronavirus. You may have lost a job or financial stability. You are likely juggling many priorities at once, with children at home doing distance learning or while working remotely.

When your mind is racing with thoughts of what can – or should – happen next, understand you are not alone.  We all are in this together.  We all feel the uncertainty, stress, and anxiety regarding what is to come.   During this challenging time, it is essential to prioritize your mental health. 

Self-care is not selfish.  Mental wellness is paramount to how you perceive and cope with stress.  After several weeks of social distance and quarantine, you may feel like you are riding a never-ending emotional roller coaster.  Being intentional about your mental health is in your best interest and benefits your entire family.  The following tips suggest ways to implement self-care into your daily routine. 

Make time for yourself.

It is okay to take a break to recharge and reset.  A shower, bath, or walk in your neighborhood allows time to release stressful energy.  Start with 15 to 30 minutes.  Hey, some time is better than no time!  Consider adding, “Be By Myself” time to your daily schedule.  You can encourage children to participate by reading, writing, resting, or engaging in activities that do not require your help. 

Make healthy choices.

It is easy to slip into unhealthy habits.  Maybe it feels good at the moment to binge-watch Netflix or Disney Plus while eating cookies-n-cream ice-cream and Doritos! To prevent long term health consequences, Dr. Jill Emanuele, a clinical psychologist from the Child Mind Institute, recommends eating properly, getting enough sleep, and including physical activity in your daily routine.  Now, this is not the time to pressure yourself to achieve Beach Body results! However, be mindful of how you are treating your body. 

You can involve your little ones in these routines as well. Spend family time cooking a healthy meal. Have a dance party in your living room. If you don’t have one already, create a soothing bedtime routine.

Be realistic.

Set realistic expectations and give yourself grace if you do not meet them.  COVID-19 turned the world upside down in a short amount of time.  You and your family are learning how to adjust and conquer these abrupt changes the best way you can. Whether you are single, married with children, a teenager, or a senior, it is difficult to comprehend the dramatic changes facing the world today.  Clinical psychologist, Dr. David Anderson states: “Perfectionism and coronavirus don’t mix.  Practice forgiveness, self-compassion, and cut yourself some slack.” 

Set boundaries.

Of course, you want to be well informed regarding COVID-19 updates.  To reduce stress, consider limiting your news intake, including social media.  Set boundaries or emotionally distance yourself from extended family and friends who are prone to send messages provoked with anxiety and fear.  Setting boundaries is not about hurting other people but about acknowledging your needs and being kind to yourself.

Reconnect with things you enjoy.

Work, school, family responsibilities, and extra-curricular activities may have left you with little time to engage in personal hobbies and interests.  Consider this enforced time as divine intervention to reconnect to the things you like to do but have been too busy to begin.  What about that project you planned to start last spring?  Or the new skill you want to learn but pushed aside due to a lack of time and commitment?  Let’s not forget the importance of building stronger family relationships during this time.  Remember, children are experiencing anxiety and stress as well.  They depend on you to be their safe place right now.  The project may be self-care for you but can develop into cherished memories with your family. 

To cope with stress in a healthy manner, make an effort to implement the five tips described above into your daily routine. These coping strategies are effective ways to promote mental wellness and reduce stress.  Remember, self-care is not a luxury or a needless practice!  Your body and mind need your time and attention more than ever.  Being kind to yourself does not mean you have abandoned the people who love and need you.  When you put your oxygen mask on first by practicing self-care, you have a greater emotional ability to care for others.   

Join us for our weekly Parent Mental Wellness online series!

Licensed marriage and family health therapist Abram Sinn joins us for these informal but important weekly discussions via Zoom. We invite parents (married or single), grandparents, foster parents, adoptive parents, or anyone integral in raising children to ask questions, comment, or just listen in. Click each link below to register.

What are you doing to practice self-care? Tell us in the comments below!

References

Jacobson, R., & Child Mind Institute. (n.d.). Self-Care in the Time of Coronavirus. Retrieved April 3, 2020,.

Rylander, A. (2016). Soul 7: Poetry 4 the Soul The Red Diaries. California.

COVID-19: Your resource for resources

Updated July 22, 2020

You may feel like the world we’re living in has gone wild- it’s definitely not the same Central Indiana we were living in during February. It can be overwhelming to digest all of the ever-changing news about COVID-19, whether you’re a parent, a teacher, a child care administrator, a business owner, or a supporter of early care and education.

We may not have all the answers, but we know a lot of smart people and caring organizations who do.  As you’re navigating these new changes, we recommend consulting some of these resources.

FOR EVERYONE

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Get the latest recommendations for prevention and resources if you think you are sick.

Anthem Community Resource Link: Type in your zip code and get hundreds of resources, based on your needs. Categories include food, housing, health, work, legal, money, and more!

Child Care Aware of America: The latest Coronavirus news and resources for Child Care Professionals, Families and Policymakers.

FOR FAMILIES WITH YOUNG CHILDREN

Your Child – Tips for Parents: We’re continually updating our resources for parents, including Transitioning Back to School in the “New Normal”, eLearning Success Tips, and at-home activity ideas.

WFYI At-Home: Guides and links for helping your little one continue their educational journey from home.

Marion County Commission on Youth (MCCOY): Making Connections During Social Distancing: This page offers resources such as how to keep your kids busy and informed, food and employment assistance resources, and mental health resources.

Family Promise of Hendricks County: Contact Family Promise if you are a Hendricks County resident and need emergency assistance with items such as utilities, food, phones, or internet.

Good Samaritan Network: Hamilton County’s collaborative/network of non-profits.

FOR CHILD CARE PROVIDERS AND TEACHERS

Help for Local “Front Line” Child Care Professionals: Check out our recent blog post, specifically for child care programs currently in operation.

Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (OECOSL): The state of Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration has all hands on deck to ensure you have the resources you need for your child care program and to support your familes and children.

FOR BUSINESSES

IndyChamber: Rapid Response Hub – Resources and FAQs for small business owners, including child care programs.

Indiana Small Business Development Center – Resources for funding, counseling, and advising on your small business or child care.

LIKE, FOLLOW, AND SHARE

If you haven’t already, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or Instagram. We’ll have all the latest news and resources right there in your newsfeed!

All aboard for potty training

As our resident infant/toddler expert, our Family Support Specialist Lauren George talks the talk (but most, importantly, walks the walk). When she’s not busy corralling her active first-grader, she’s living the dream of toilet training her two-year old.

WHEN’S THE BEST TIME TO TOILET TRAIN?

There is not one “right” way or one “right” age to learn how to use the toilet. Finding a toilet training method that works for your family is the key. No matter how you do it, remember: this is a learning process that takes time, possibly with many hiccups and accidents along the way. Most children will transition to underwear between the ages of two and four, with nighttime dryness coming anywhere from two to seven years old.

HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN MY CHILD IS READY?

You should let your child decide when he/she is ready but also be aware of readiness signs; this helps you know when to encourage your child and build interest in using the toilet. There are often signs that let you know your child is ready to take the leap and transition to underwear.

Signs of Readiness

  • Follows simple directions
  • Stays dry for an hour or two at a stretch
  • Occasionally wakes up dry
  • Regular and predictable bowel movements
  • Walks easily, possibly runs
  • Can do basic dressing/undressing (pulling pants down, holding skirt up, attempt to pull pants back up)
  • Understands and is able to use your family’s words for bathroom functions and associated body parts
  • Seems uncomfortable with soiled or wet diapers; may remove or pull at diaper when wet
  • Communicates when wet/soiled (“I pooping now”)
  • Signals by hiding or grunting during BM
  • Shows interest in using the toilet or watching toileting
  • Has asked to wear or shows interest in underwear

WE’RE READY TO GET GOING. WHAT SHOULD I KEEP I MIND?

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you in your child’s potty journey.

Play up the pottying positives. Highlight the benefits of using the toilet and say things like “Wearing underwear is fun!”. Don’t knock diapers or call your child’s old habits babyish though — that could lead to resistance. Let your child practice flushing, watch you use the restroom, read books about toileting and watch the Daniel Tiger Potty episode. (The song is pretty catchy…you can thank me later!)

Watch closely.  At this point, you might be better at detecting his body’s signals than he is. Look for tell-tale signs (like fidgeting or straining), and gently ask when you suspect he has to go. Even if you’re too late and he’s already done the deed, have him sit on the potty anyway to reinforce the connection.

Offer gentle reminders. In the first few weeks, you may need to remind your child to use the potty. Setting timers (“Hey Alexa, set a timer for 30 minutes”) may provide both of you the reminders needed to be successful. Start with sending your child every 30-90 minutes, and begin phasing back as she becomes successful. Trust when your child says she does not have to go, and offer to wait a few minutes instead.

Be patient. Even the most enthusiastic child can take several weeks to master potty training proficiency — often with as many steps backward as forward. If your expectations are unrealistic, you could diminish his self-confidence. Accidents happen – don’t scold, punish or shame.

Avoid a bathroom battle. Arguing over going to the potty actually prolongs the process. If you are met with total resistance, hold off for a few weeks and try again later. Be patient! As you wait for your child to come around, don’t bring up the subject or compare him to peers who are already in underwear.

OK, LAUREN, I FOLLOWED YOUR GREAT ADVICE AND AM STILL STRUGGLING. NOW WHAT?

You’ve come to the right place! Child Care Answers offers a number of FREE parenting resources to help out in just this sitution.

Attend a webinar

Join me for Ready, Set, Potty Time! on January 21, 1-2pm or February 27, 12-1pm. Register today! We will talk about this and so much more, like wiping (eek!), bedwetting, and handling power struggles. Come prepared with questions, too!

Meet with an expert

Want to meet one-on-one with a potty training expert and mom of two? Complete our Family Info Form to get connected.

Read up online

A number of fantastic resources are available online. I recommend ZERO TO THREE.

Potty Training is a big skill to learn. Be patient. Accidents are part of the learning process, but if your child is truly ready, accidents should be very minimal after just a few short weeks. Good luck!

Healthy Eating and Cooking with Children

by Molly Manley, Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Coordinator

Looking for a way to learn and grow with your kids, while also promoting healthy eating? Get on your aprons, and get ready to whip up something delicious with your children or those in your care. Cooking with children can promote lifetime skills such as:

  • Basic Math – Cooking involves counting, addition, shapes, sizes, and measurements.
  • Science – Highlight growing food or changing forms, like liquids and solids.
  • Language – Conversations with children while cooking will increase their language development and ability to follow instructions. Creating simple recipe cards with instructions is also a useful tool. Obtain children’s books from the library that pertain to the type of foods they will be eating.
  • Art – Have children draw pictures of the foods they ate.  Ask them to create a picture by painting with yogurt, or glue cereal to a piece of paper.

GO ON A FOOD ADVENTURE

Cooking with children also encourages them to explore new foods and how food gets to our tables. Discuss where food comes from, plant a garden, or take a field trip to the grocery store or a farm. This will give them a better understanding of what they are eating.

It would also be a good idea to shop around for child size utensils, cups, bowls and pitchers. This will make it easier for the child to prepare and serve themselves. We are promoting self-help skills, and, if the child has a difficult time succeeding, it may prompt them to quit out of frustration.

TRY OUT A NEW AND FUN RECIPE

Below are three simple recipes to try with children.

Fruit and Yogurt Muffin

Ingredients:
1 Whole Grain English Muff
¼ cup of Yogurt- any flavor
¼ cup of fruit- bananas and berries work well

Directions:
Adult: Portion out yogurt and fruit for each child separately.
Adult: Toast English Muffin.
Child: Spread yogurt over English muffin using a spoon.
Child: Add fruit to top.

Pizza Rollups

Ingredients:
1 tube of crescent rolls
1 jar of pizza sauce
1 package of string cheese – cut into quarters (1 ounce each)
1 bag of pepperoni- cut into quarters, unless using minis

Directions:
Adult: Unroll crescent roll dough, separate into 8 triangles.
Child: Place 8 pepperoni pieces on each.
Child: Place a piece of cheese on the short side of the triangle.
Child: Roll up dough starting on the short side and pinch seams to seal.
Adult: Place 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Cook at 375 for 10-12 minutes

Serve with ¼ cup of warm pizza sauce
Makes a 8 roll ups.

Celery Snails

Ingredients:
1 bunch of celery –  washed and cut in halves
Apples –  cut into slices small enough to fit into celery
Peanut or Almond Butter

Directions:
Adult: Wash and cut celery and apples to appropriate size.
Child:  Spread peanut or almond butter on celery pieces.
Child: Insert apple into middle of celery.

Cover image by Flickr user Andrew Seaman, Creative Commons license.

Building a relationship with my child’s teacher

by Kristin Kahl, Knowledge Manager

I’m one of the few staff here at Child Care Answers who doesn’t have Early Childhood Education experience. So why am I writing this blog? What I do have is this – experience in being a parent who is inexperienced. I needed every bit of help I could get. I learned some things the hard way. Hopefully, sharing some of my stories can help families who are also in the same boat.

When my first son Miles was born, I didn’t have a clue about what was supposed to happen in a child care setting.  Sure, I knew the basics. Caregivers shouldn’t lay babies down to sleep in cribs with blankets or pillows. I should not find a teacher in a room alone with 20 two-year olds. I shouldn’t walk away to hear adults screaming at the children (although my own kid screaming “Moooooooooooommmmmmmeeeeeeeeeee!!!” was going to happen sometimes).

Thankfully, none of the above happened the first day I dropped him off when he was three-months old. Nevertheless, I was uneasy to hand him over to Ms. Sandra (name changed to protect the innocent). In my previous visits, she had been quiet, making as little small talk as possible. Although she had a grandmotherly vibe, she didn’t give off the goo-goo ga-ga baby talk that Miles had seen from his relatives and gray-haired church ladies. How was his day going to go without the over-the-top songs and silliness he was used to? I was nervous about my about my day away from him, my first day back to work, and about my first day pumping as a nursing mom.

I was, however, fortunate to be able to go in to nurse Miles twice a week. The first time I came in, Ms. Sandra was just finishing up feeding another baby. Instead of the hustle and bustle of the morning drop-off, I caught a glimpse of her in a lovely quiet one-on-one moment, with just a hint of goo-goo and ga-ga. She looked up and offered me the rocker. At first, I froze, wanting to whisk Miles away to keep him to myself in a private room. I accepted, though, and I’m so glad I did.

That was the beginning of a long series of talks with Ms. Sandra – me at the rocker with Miles, her tending to the other babies, and us chatting about our days. I discovered she had quite the understated sense of humor with an amazing twinkle in her eye when she joked. I got to see firsthand as she changed a diaper on a wiggly worm like a champ or soothed a colicky baby after drop-off. She got to hear (whether or not she wanted to) about Miles’ crazy gas last night or his hilarious new trick. Eventually, the time came for me to wean Miles and for him to move to another room. Even so, I continued to visit at the same time to play and connect with him and his new teacher.

TIPS FOR CONNECTING WITH YOUR CHILD’S TEACHER

How can you make the best of the time that you have to learn what in going on in your child’s classroom? Keep the following in mind.

  • Connect with the teacher in her “natural habitat.” If a teacher is covering for another teacher in a different classroom or is at a shift change, she won’t be giving you her best self. Set her up for that opportunity!
  • Try different options until you find what fits. Not everyone will have my same fortune to be able to visit twice per week during the day. Look at your own schedule and see what would work best to find time to regularly connect with your child’s teacher. If you can’t connect face-to-face, make sure that each of you have a way to ask questions and get answers. That could mean paper, text, app, phone, or some other way to communicate.
  • Keep the teacher’s needs in mind too. Remember that your teacher is caring for other children and cannot focus her attention solely on you and your child. If you notice you are being a distraction to her or the other children, wrap up your visit or conversation.
  • Don’t forget to keep your child at the center. As your child ages, what works one month may not work the next. For example, when my youngest son was going through separation anxiety, I couldn’t come in the middle of the day anymore. So,I built in extra time and stayed a little longer when I picked him up.
  • Be flexible! This is the most important! There are a lot of people and parts to this equation, but remember that you’re doing this for the best interest of your child. If you’re making things difficult for the teacher, child, or yourself, then find a better way to do it!

Can my two-year old read?

by Ann Aull, Early Childhood Adult Educator

We have all seen advertisements of babies and young children reading words off flash cards with proud parents beaming in the background.  While there are varying opinions on the effectiveness of these programs, the truth is that very young children are beginning to gain the skills necessary to be readers.

Adults in children’s lives can be integral in helping children to work on these skills.  How many young children can recognize the golden arches of McDonalds or the cowboy hat in the Arby’s sign? Guess what?  Connecting symbols with meaning is a huge step toward reading.

HOW DO I ENCOURAGE MY CHILD TO BE A READER?

When you are in the car with your children, ask questions about familiar signs and symbols.  If you see a stop sign, you can repeat the word “stop” and spell it. That will help children associate meaning with letters.

Make a photo album with your child of his or her favorite things with the word underneath the picture so they associate the word with the item.  It is through this association that children will eventually associate letters with sounds, sounds with words, and, finally, words with meaning.

SO…WHAT’S THE ANSWER? IS MY TWO-YEAR OLD READING?

The answer to the question above is yes! Your two year old is born curious and hard wired to learn language.  So, he or she is a born reader!

Cover image by Flickr user Dan Hatton, Creative Commons license.

Preventing Childhood Obesity

by Jenny Mathis, School Age Specialist

As a parent in today’s hurry-up society, I recognize how easy it can be to succumb to unhealthy habits that are responsible for creating an overweight child.  For the sake of convenience and budget, we all have all been guilty of these habits. My vice? Swinging by the closest fast food joint when the evening hours fade away after extracurricular events or running errands. At some point in time, most of us have relied on a computer screen to keep a child occupied. It sure makes things easier to handle issues, cook dinner, or just sit down and take a deep breath.

If we take time to look at the potential long term effects, it can help families become empowered to make small changes that will make big impacts.

OBESITY IS TRENDING UPWARD

Statistics says that nearly 1 in 3, or over 30% of Hoosiers are overweight or obese*. Unfortunately, this trend is getting worse, and the numbers are increasing each year.  What can you do to make sure that your family is not among these statistics?

IDEAS TO KEEP YOUR KIDS ON TRACK

Childhood presents an opportunity to instill life- long healthy habits with regards to physical activity and healthy eating. I find these some ideas helpful:

  • Plan meals for the week.
  • Pack healthy snacks for kids in between meals on busy days.
  • Limit screen time.
  • Set aside time for physical activity.

Staying active and eating healthy is the key to helping combat this ever growing problem.

WALK THE WALK AND TALK THE TALK

Do your child and yourself a favor. Role model behaviors. Incorporate healthy behaviors as often as you can. Eat right. Keep moving. Little changes will render big gains.

OTHER RESOURCES

For more tips, check out these resources:

Cover image by Flickr user University of Delaware Alumni Relations, Creative Commons license.

*Harper, Jake. “Report: Nearly 1 In 3 Hoosiers Obese.” WFYI Public Media, 21 Sept. 2015, www.wfyi.org/news/articles/report-nearly-1-in-3-hoosiers-obese. Accessed 15 Sept. 2017.

Child Safety in the Home

Make your home safer for little ones

by Vanessa Vance, Early Learning Adult Instructor

BABY’S SIDE OF THE STORY

“Ooh! Look at that pretty stuff over there! I should check it out!” thinks Baby, making his way across the living room floor.

Mom is busy making dinner in the next room. ‘Silence is golden’ some say. In this case, silence can be dangerous! Little eyes spot things adults wouldn’t even give a second glance to.

Baby makes his way across the floor and glances up at the colorful glass vase full of flowers. “I just need to get higher,” he thinks. As Baby pulls himself up to the low table, he is startled by someone saying his name very loudly. He starts to whimper. “You scared me!” he says in his mind.

Mom walks over, picks him up, and comforts him. She didn’t mean to scare him, but she needed to alert him of the possible danger.

SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUR HOME

As parents, we want to keep our children from harm. Oftentimes, we don’t see or think about things that need to be “baby-proofed” in our homes. One way to see things the way a child would is to get on her level.  It may seem silly, but crawl on the floor around the house, looking high and low for things that could be a hazard. Pay attention to:

  • Electrical outlets – do they have safety covers?
  • Glass and other breakable items – can they be placed somewhere out of reach or packed away?
  • Cleaning supplies – are there any under the bathroom sink? In the bathroom closet? On the floor behind the toilet? In the hall closet? Under the kitchen sink? In the pantry?
  • Tip hazards – are all cabinets, bookcases, stands or tables, secure and unable for baby to pull over on himself?
  • Small stuff – anything we may drop – from cookie crumbs to earrings – Baby will find them! Keep the small stuff picked up or swept up.
  • Sharp stuff – big sister doing a school project? Make sure scissors are put away as well as sharp pencils, pens, and even paper.
  • Tablecloths – It may be time to take off the tablecloths and table runners. Anything that hangs can look fun to play with.
  • Stove handles – Do you have a stove with handles on the bottom front? Make sure they have safety handles.
  • The refrigerator – Need an easy way to keep it closed for little ones – and easy for us? Place two non-permanent hooks toward the top of the fridge, one on the side and one on the door. Place a rubber band or string around both hooks. Baby can’t open, but magically, you can!

OTHER HELPFUL SAFETY RESOURCES

There are so many things to think about when a little one is around. By taking these first few steps, you have made yourself aware of other possible hazards to take care of.  Below are some website addresses to further explore safety in the home:

Cover image by Flickr user Lars Plougmann, Creative Commons license.

summer-learning-gap

Closing the summer learning gap

by Jenny Mathis, School Age Specialist

In the blink of an eye, the school year is over and another summer is before you.  The majority of us out there are working parents, and we often have a hard balance to achieve in the summer: keeping kids safe, enriching their learning, and seeing that they have an enjoyable time.

If you’re like many parents, you secured a spot for your child at a local day camp or child care facility.   As a concerned and engaged parent, you may be wondering how your child will fare in the two months spent away from the formal education they received at school. Will they have an educational experience that will fill the gap of school?

Research shows all young people experience learning loss when they do not engage in educational activities over the summer, and most students lose almost two months of grade level equivalency in math computation skills 1.

While these stats are startling, you can do your part to help your child lessen these kinds of summer losses. Knowing these gaps exist is your first line of defense when it comes to helping your child.  Instead of relying on the summer camps and child care to help fill the gaps, you can help fill the gap by doing your part at home.  Parents are in fact their child’s original teacher, right?

The thought of trying to facilitate your child’s learning is probably the last thing on your mind after a long day at work. However, it may involve less effort than you think.

TIPS TO KEEP YOUR CHILD ENGAGED OVER THE SUMMER

Below are some simple strategies that you can use at home with your child:

  • Limit screen time. Set limits on how much television, computer, video game, and tablet time your child may spend, based on the amount appropriate for his or her age.  Encourage games and websites that are educational and interactive. The Minnesota Parent Center offers a page of links with websites that are parent-approved, safe, and educational.
  • Use practical applications to teach. Participate with your kids in everyday activities. Help your kids set up a lemonade stand. Let them help you cook dinner or bake a dessert.  Put them in charge of tasks while grocery shopping, such as keeping track of coupons or finding the lowest-priced item.
  • Encourage exploration and adventure (even if it’s only in your backyard)! Ask open-ended questions to spark your child’s curiosity.
  • Take your child places in your community. Local parks, museums, theaters, libraries, or zoos help children learn about the world around them.

As you can see, many of the strategies are things you are probably doing anyway. Why not capitalize on the experiences and turn them into teaching moments for your child? The benefits will be long lasting.

A wise man once said, ”Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.” Albert Einstein

Here’s to a summer of experiences and learning that lasts a lifetime!

 

1 National Summer Learning Association: http://www.summerlearning.org/?page=know_the_facts

Cover image by Flickr user Penn StateCreative Commons license.