Category Archives: Families

Teaching Children the Art of Giving

by Kristin Cofield, Paths to QUALITY Coach

Four year old Kennisyn overheard a conversation between her parents discussing donating to the United Way of Central Indiana. Kennisyn chimed in and told her parents that she would like to donate also. Each day for one week, Kennisyn took money from her pink piggy bank to school and donated to the United Way collection jar in her class. Kennisyn even asked other family members to contribute to her classroom jar and help raise money for children in need.

Teaching children the art of giving develops kindness, compassion, and caring for others.  Anne Frank said “How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.” At any age, we can all make a difference in someone’s life by showing compassion through our giving, acts of service by volunteering, or other forms of community outreach.

When families make giving and volunteering a normal part of their lives they will teach their children strong core values as they demonstrate these values in action. This philosophy is also true for educators who create a classroom learning environment that introduces and encourages children to practice social tolerance and respect for all people regardless of religion, race, socioeconomic status, gender, age, etc.  There are many creative ways families and educators can teach children the art of giving. The following are a few thoughtful ideas for families and educators to help children become involved in their local community.

  1. Thinking of You: Have children draw or paint a picture of their choice; frame the picture and give to a local hospital where the patients are fighting a terminal illness. Sometimes knowing that someone is thinking of you gives these patients hope to continue fighting their illness.
  2. Charitable Giving: Children can raise money through a lemonade stand; bake sale, art sale, etc.  Allow the children to choose an organization and donate the proceeds to that organization.
  3. Acts of Service: Ask family, friends, and classmates to donate items to create care packages for the homeless.  Donations may include food such as crackers, packaged fruit, or water; personal hygiene items such as soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste; socks, hat and gloves, etc.  Allow the children to help pack the sack lunches or care bags.

A simple Google search will generate many other ideas to help families and educators teach children the art of giving.  So search away and make giving and volunteering fun for the children in your life.  Follow the child’s interest and remember no deed is too small when the act of service stems from a heart full of kindness, compassion and most importantly, love for humanity.

Preventing Illness this Winter

by Joslyn Hurm-Sullivan, former Education Coordinator and current Deputy Director of Training & Professional Development for Early Learning Indiana

Welcome to October!  As the weather changes, be sure to take extra steps to help prevent illnesses like the flu.  Wash your hands and the hands of your children often and make sure to scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds. Be sure hands are washed after blowing noses and sneezing. You may want to wash pacifiers and toys more often in the coming months as well. Another step is to have your children vaccinated with the Influenza vaccination. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine every season. Call your pediatrician today to learn more.

If your child comes down with a fever of 101 or higher please be sure to see your pediatrician and make other arrangements for child care. Many child care programs have a sick policy. You may want to follow up with your child care and refresh your memory of this policy. Some policies include but are not limited to the following:

  • A fever above 101 degrees taken orally (102 degrees taken rectally or 100 degrees taken axillary – armpit)
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, or rash of unknown origin
  • Cold or other illness causing breathing difficulties or other symptoms that prevent the child from participating comfortably in activities
  • Positive reaction to tuberculin skin test
  • Ringworm
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)

If your child has any of the following symptoms, you will need to wait 24 hours after the symptoms have subsided–without the aid of medication–before returning him or her to child care.

Take additional steps like drinking plenty of water, getting as much sleep as possible and eating a healthy diet along with the vaccination to prevent the flu. You also may want to wash down table tops, door handles, and other surfaces more often to stop the spread of germs.

Click here to view tips for proper hand washing in child care centers. All child care centers follow this policy. View tips for sanitizing toddler and baby toys here.

Cover image by Flickr user Brandon OttoCreative Commons license.

Teaching your kids about fire safety

by Vanessa Vance, Early Learning Adult Educator

National Fire Safety month is coming upon us. Many children may think fire is pretty and fun. The misconception may be because their first experience with fire may have been a birthday candle. They do not know the dangers that can happen. It is important to make sure your child knows what to do in case of a tragedy such as a fire.

Practicing fire drills in your home can help prepare them for this. Have a “safe place” that the family agrees to have as a waiting spot to meet. Make sure the “safe place” is far enough from the actual home to be safe from the heat and flames of a possible fire.

REMIND CHILDREN:
  • Matches and lighters are dangerous and should not be touched by children
  • What an alarm sounds like, so they are not scared when they hear it
  • Not to hide from the fire
  • Stay low to the ground
  • To “Stop – Drop – and Roll” if clothing or hair catch fire
  • To stay in the “safe place” and not leave until an adult meets them
  • That an adult may be a fireman or policeman
  • To NOT return back to the home to save belongings

Remember to replace the batteries in your fire alarms even if you think they are still good! It may just save your lives!

Cover image by Flickr user Aberdeen Proving Ground, Creative Commons license.

Books to help your child learn to share

by Candice Wise, former Early Childhood Development Specialist and current Partnerships for Early Learners Inclusion Specialist

Llama llama time to shareThere comes a time when parents realize that one of the goals of parenting is to help their young child learn how to share with others.  There is no magical age that all children are willing to do this.  Some children will be willing to share at a very young age, while it takes others a little bit longer.  This can be somewhat alarming and frustrating for parents to understand when it is appropriate to expect their young child to share.  It may feel uncomfortable to hear your child grab and shout “Mine!” with siblings and/or peers on play dates.  When young children refuse to share their toys, they aren’t being selfish – they’re behaving typically.  Sharing is a skill that can take several years to develop.  Children struggling to share their possessions are common childhood experiences.

SHARE SOME “SHARING” BOOKS

One way you can help your child learn about sharing is through reading books about this topic.  Reading books about sharing will provide a fun and interactive bonding experience that will help your young child identify the importance and rewards of learning to share with others.  To make the most out of this experience, talk about the characters in the story and help your child identify how the characters solve conflict through the scenarios.  The following is a list of popular books that you can find at your local library or book store:

  • I Can Share by Karen Katz (Ages infant-5)
  • Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney (Ages 2-5)
  • Mine! Mine! Mine! By Shelly Becker (Ages 3-5)
  • Mine! A Backpack Baby Story by Miriam Cohen (Ages Infant-2)
  • Sharing How Kindness Grows by Fran Shaw (Ages 3-5)
  • The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister (Ages 3-8)

Cover image by Flickr user Blue Skyz Studios, Creative Commons license.

Hearing Loss and Language Development in Young Children

by Mindy Bennett, former Director of Programs of Child Care Answers and current Director of Family & Community Engagement Content Manager at Child Care Aware of America

The doctors recently discovered that my 16 month old granddaughter is having hearing problems. She has fluid trapped behind her ear drums and it causes her to hear things as if she is underwater.  This has caused her to have a bit of a language delay as well as problems with her balance.  To correct this they are going to put tubes in her ears. This is a common problem for many children, so I’m sharing my research about how hearing impairments affect language development.

Children who are born with or develop a hearing loss are at risk of language delay.  It is important that parents and other caregivers carefully watch newborns and young children who have been sick to ensure that they are not experiencing any type of hearing loss.  Some signs that a child may be experiencing a hearing loss include not responding to loud noises and not responding to their parent or caregiver’s voice.  Parents may also notice that the sounds that their infant makes taper off and do not sound complete. In my granddaughters case she was actually running her words together.  When she would say I love you it actually sounded like “iloveyou.”

Children who have not received early intervention to correct or improve their hearing often struggle with their language development.  It is common for them to experience delays in both their receptive and expressive communications skills. Research shows that the gap between their language development and their peers who do not have a hearing impairment increases with the age of the children.  It is typical for a child who has not received intervention for their hearing impairment to significantly struggle academically in school across all subjects.  Research has shown that children who are identified with a hearing loss before they are six months old respond better to intervention treatments and have a significantly higher chance of developing typical communication and language skills than children who aren’t identified until they are older.

If parents suspect that their child is experiencing a hearing loss they should take their child to the doctor right away for further testing.  The sooner you detect hearing loss, the better. In many cases, including my granddaughter’s, the hearing loss is only temporary. If you treat this type of hearing loss, the child’s hearing can be completely restored. In other cases, a doctor is able to teach families early intervention techniques that they can use with their child to promote language development.

LEARN MORE

Want to know more about hearing loss and how it affects language development?  Check out these great resources:

Cover image by Flickr user Manda Creative Commons license.