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One of the things no one told me about becoming a mom is that it will
make you feel like you are back in high school again. When you first go to the playground with your kids, that is. You’re the newbie mom (or dad) and it seems that all the other parents and caretakers there already know each other. You are the outcast. Like the kid in the lunchroom who has no one to sit next to. How do you break the ice? Do you talk to the people with kids around the same age? Or maybe you size up the mom and think … yeah, she seems like someone I would get along with.
Either way it’s hard to make a connection when you often have to run off in different directions to stop your little one from stealing the ball from the older kids at the park. But you look for similarities, ways you are alike, and try to make some parent friends. In doing so I realized how there is 11 types of moms (dads, even caretakers) at the playground … and these types seem to be standard no matter where I go.
1. Fancy Mom
She’s in high heels, her makeup looks perfect, and you really want to know where she bought her clothes. You envy the fact she can run after her kids in a dress and still manage to look like a gazillion bucks.
2. Pajama Mom
She’s comfy, cozy, and maybe doesn’t match, but she doesn’t care. She gives you ideas on what sweats would look best with what t-shirt.
3. Always Coffee In Hand Mom
She’s the envy of every tired parent at the playground because she always has her cup of Joe. But it does make some wonder … is it really coffee?
4. Cell Phone Mom
This mama cannot deconnect from her phone — talking or texting or scrolling. Maybe it’s for work, maybe it’s some social network, maybe she’s reading the mobile version of a magazine, but she’s on the phone so much you start to believe she does have eyes on the back of her head.
5. Photo Taking Mom
This mom must have full photo albums for each day because she’s snapping a picture from every angle, for every step her little one takes.
6. “Ack! Where Are My Kids?!” Mom
Let’s just say this mom isn’t paying a lot of attention to her kids.
7. Hovering Mom
And let’s just say this mom is the definition of a helicopter parent, not letting her child take one step without being rightherenexttoher.
8. Peter Pan Mom
Fun, free-spirited mom isn’t afraid to slide down the slide, get sand in her toes while building sand castles, and really get into playing at the park.
9. Loner Mom
This type makes no eye contact, and never smiles at the other parents. It’s clear she doesn’t want to be involved with even the smallest of talk.
10. Super Friendly Mom
Quick to smile and say hello, Super Friendly Mom remembers how old your kids are and even their names. She’s the mom who will text you asking for playdates.
11. Entourage Mom
This mom rolls with at least two other moms wherever she goes. It’s hard to tell whose kid belongs to who in this group but they’re tight and are like the cool kids in the lunchroom.
I think I’ve been every one of these moms at one time or another. Even Loner Mom … on those super cranky days.
Which type(s) of mom do you think you are? What other types of moms have you run into at the playground?
Does getting your child to do something feel like an impossible task? One of the reasons may be the way in which you are asking. Children are not necessarily receptive to the types of verbal instruction that we use with our spouse, colleagues or other adults. Instructions for children must be given in a way that they understand. Below are some helpful hints on how to give kids instructions that will make both you and your child more successful.
Get your child’s attention – Make sure that you have your child’s attention before you give a direction. You should be within three feet of your child so you can talk in a normal or calm voice. This helps your child know that you are talking to him/her. You can get your child’s attention by calling his/her name, making eye contact, or turning off the lights.
- Be clear and concise – Instructions should be short and to the point. The fewer words the better. A good guide is one word per year of life. (ex. Instruction for a two-year-old might be “shoes on”; where a five-year-old might be “go get your shoes on”). If there are too many words, it becomes more difficult for the child to know what is expected. The instruction should also be free of vague words.
- Give one instruction at a time – Do not give your child a long list of instructions. When you give more than one instruction at one time, your child may forget, not understand, or feel overwhelmed.
- Be realistic – Give your child instructions that you know he/she can follow. For example, do not expect a 3-year-old to get completely dressed by him/herself.
- Be positive – Let your child know what you want them to do rather than not to do. When we only describe the negative behavior “don’t run” we still leave many other options available (skipping, hopping, etc.). Telling the child what we want them to do “walk, please.” Does not allow for any other options.
- Don’t ask, tell – Do not ask your child to do something. Instead, tell your child in a firm but pleasant voice what you want them to do. Do not say “will you go brush your teeth?” To the child this implies that they have a choice. Instead, say “go brush your teeth.”
- Reward compliance – let your child know that he/she did a good job following the instruction. Praise your child. The more you praise your child the better the chances that he/she will follow directions in the future.
Examples of Good Instructions:
• John, give me the truck.
• Lindsey, go wash your hands.
• Dylan, look at the book.
• Taylor, put three blocks in the bucket.
• Jessie, walk next to me.
Examples of Bad Instructions (Followed by why it is a bad instruction):
- “Be Careful” (Too Vague)
- “Can you put your toys away?” (Don’t ask, tell)
- “Go upstairs, wash your face, brush your teeth and go to bed.” (Too many instructions)
- “Okay, I think it is time for you to go to bed” (Too many words)
- “Don’t run in here.” (Negative and too vague)
- “Stop horsing around!” (Negative and too vague)
- “Can you give the toy to your sister?” (Don’t ask, tell)
- “It is time for you to go upstairs to go to sleep.” (Too many words)
How to manage biting behavior in children
Christine Koh, Care.com contributing writer
Parents dread being the parent of the classroom or play group biter, but it happens and is a common developmental phase for many children. Here are some p
ointers to help parents and caregivers work through the challenge of biting.
- Remember that the behavior is not uncommon. Biting happens for a number of reasons. Babies and toddlers may bite experimentally (remember, they put everything in their mouths as a means to explore their world), or kids may bite when they feel frustrated, stressed, overstimulated, or powerless.
- Act immediately, calmly, and consistently. Remove your child from the situation immediately. Stay calm and tell your child that biting is not OK and will never get your child what he/she wants. Be consistent in how you respond to each biting incident. Avoid dramatic negative responses that could cause more stress and frustration and lead to more biting.
- Teach consequences. Each time your child bites, remind him that there are consequences. Tell them that whenever biting happens, you have to stop playing with toys and friends and go together to a different room to cool down. Talk about the idea that you may not be able to have play dates because it isn’t safe or fun for other children to worry about being bitten.
- Teach empathy and alternatives. Explain to your child that biting hurts the other child, both physically and emotionally. Ask your child whether it would hurt their feelings and their body to be bitten. Talk about alternative ways for them to express that they need something, such as using words or pointing or drawing a scene or acting out a play. And when your child uses these alternative behaviors, praise them to reinforce the behavior.
- Comfort the victim. Don’t forget about the child who was bitten. Once you have handled your child, go to the victim and ask they’re OK. Take your child with you when you do this so they can see your empathetic behavior.
- Evaluate other factors. Think about the factors surrounding biting incidents. If biting occurs when your child is playing with older kids, look into whether your child may feel powerless and picked on, talk to the older children about playing at a level that can include the youngest child. If your child bites due to stress or frustration, think about any recent changes to your routine and think about whether there are ways to smooth over the transitions. If your child always targets a specific child, closely supervise these play dates, or think about what is causing this relation between the two kids. For example, if there has been too much contact between the two children lately, take a break from the play dates.
- Plan play dates accordingly. If you notice that your child bites when in larger groups, or when hungry, schedule accordingly. Limit play date length and size to prevent overstimulation, make sure there is snack, and keep an eye on your child if it looks like they are starting to melt down.
- Be mindful of other parents. Don’t be embarrassed. Tell your play date parents that your child is going through a biting phase and ask all parents to keep on the alert with you for meltdowns and bites. Tell them how you are handling biting behavior, and ask for their help in reinforcing the response.
- Give them something to bite on. Whether your child is actually teething or not, as your child learns not to bite, offer an object (such as a teething toy) to bite on if they feel overcome by the need to do so.
Dealing with biting can be stressful, but it is a phase. With consistent, firm, and calm responses, your child will eventually learn to express needs in other ways.
How to manage biting behavior in children
Christine Koh, Care.com contributing writer
Parents dread being the parent of the classroom or play group biter, but it happens and is a common developmental phase for many children. Here are some pointers to help parents and caregivers work through the challenge of biting.
Remember that the behavior is not uncommon. Biting happens for a number of reasons. Babies and toddlers may bite experimentally (remember, they put everything in their mouths as a means to explore their world), or kids may bite when they feel frustrated, stressed, overstimulated, or powerless.
Act immediately, calmly, and consistently. Remove your child from the situation immediately. Stay calm and tell your child that biting is not OK and will never get your child what he/she wants. Be consistent in how you respond to each biting incident. Avoid dramatic negative responses that could cause more stress and frustration and lead to more biting.
Teach consequences. Each time your child bites, remind him that there are consequences. Tell them that whenever biting happens, you have to stop playing with toys and friends and go together to a different room to cool down. Talk about the idea that you may not be able to have play dates because it isn’t safe or fun for other children to worry about being bitten.
Teach empathy and alternatives. Explain to your child that biting hurts the other child, both physically and emotionally. Ask your child whether it would hurt their feelings and their body to be bitten. Talk about alternative ways for them to express that they need something, such as using words or pointing or drawing a scene or acting out a play. And when your child uses these alternative behaviors, praise them to reinforce the behavior.
Comfort the victim. Don’t forget about the child who was bitten. Once you have handled your child, go to the victim and ask they’re OK. Take your child with you when you do this so they can see your empathetic behavior.
Evaluate other factors. Think about the factors surrounding biting incidents. If biting occurs when your child is playing with older kids, look into whether your child may feel powerless and picked on, talk to the older children about playing at a level that can include the youngest child. If your child bites due to stress or frustration, think about any recent changes to your routine and think about whether there are ways to smooth over the transitions. If your child always targets a specific child, closely supervise these play dates, or think about what is causing this relation between the two kids. For example, if there has been too much contact between the two children lately, take a break from the play dates.
Plan play dates accordingly. If you notice that your child bites when in larger groups, or when hungry, schedule accordingly. Limit play date length and size to prevent overstimulation, make sure there is snack, and keep an eye on your child if it looks like they are starting to melt down.
Be mindful of other parents. Don’t be embarrassed. Tell your play date parents that your child is going through a biting phase and ask all parents to keep on the alert with you for meltdowns and bites. Tell them how you are handling biting behavior, and ask for their help in reinforcing the response.
Give them something to bite on. Whether your child is actually teething or not, as your child learns not to bite, offer an object (such as a teething toy) to bite on if they feel overcome by the need to do so.
Dealing with biting can be stressful, but it is a phase. With consistent, firm, and calm responses, your child will eventually learn to express needs in other ways.
The following New Year tips are from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). For additional re-sources from the American Academy of Pediatrics visit their website at www.aap.org.
- I will clean up my toys and put them where they belong.
- I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and before eating.
- I won’t tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.
Kids, 5- to 12-years-old
- I will drink milk and water three times each day, and limit soda and fruit drinks to once each day.
- I will apply sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I’m playing sports.
- I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike) that I like and do it at least three times a week!
- I will always wear a helmet when bicycling.
- I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.
- I’ll be nice to other kids. I’ll be friendly to kids who need friends – like someone who is shy, or is new to my school
- I’ll never give out personal information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without my parent’s permission.
Kids, 13-years-old and up
- I will eat at least one fruit and one vegetable every day, and I will limit the amount of soda I drink to one glass daily.
- I will take care of my body through physical activity and nutrition.
- I will choose non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities.
- I will help out in my community – through volunteering, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.
- When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find constructive ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or discussing my problem with a parent or friend.
- When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.
- When I notice my friends are struggling or engaging in risky behaviors, I will talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.
- I will be careful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other person with respect and without coercion or violence. I will expect the same good behavior in return.
- I will resist peer pressure to try drugs and alcohol.
- I agree not to use a cell phone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.
American Academy of Pediatrics, 12/10
Picture an arborist puzzled by an ailing tree. He has tried giving it more water. He has protected it from blight. Why won’t it grow?
If the tree stands for public education, the arborist is today’s education reformer. Ideas continue to pour forth on how to help students, fix schools and revamp No Child Left Behind. But none tackles the environments the tree experienced as a sapling, when its roots never got the chance to stretch out and dig in.
Few would dispute that public education is in trouble. Last month’s reading scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress showed that two-thirds of U.S. fourth-graders cannot read well enough to do grade-level work. Many schools are not measuring up to federal standards.
Now consider what dominates the debate on how to make amends: charter schools, public school choice, dropout prevention programs, linking teacher pay to student performance. President Obama has embraced many of these ideas, which might help some children in some districts.
But have we forgotten to look underfoot? Experts talk too often about poorly performing middle or high schools and dismiss elementary and preschool time as the “cute” years. But these are the years we should focus on.
Science continues to provide insights — and warnings — about how much of a person’s capacity for learning is shaped from birth to age 8. Young children need to experience rich interactions with teachers, parents and other adults who read to them, ask questions of them, and encourage their exploration of myriad of subjects.
Unfortunately, the state of early education is not good. In a 2007 national study in Science, researchers found that only 7% of children in the elementary grades were getting consistently high-quality instruction and attention to their emotional needs.
Kindergarten, which faces unstable funding, is troubled, too. School teachers get little training on the best methods for reaching 5-year-olds.
Lag in preschool
And many children are still not getting the benefit of preschool. While a few states, such as Georgia and Oklahoma, offer universal prekindergarten, in others only 10% of children are enrolled in a public preschool program, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. Expensive private programs are not an option for many working families.
To earn the label of true education reform, the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind must recognize these earliest years. The law should include a fund that extends to third grade. It should encourage districts to use their Title I dollars (which go to districts with economically disadvantaged families) to build better programs and partner with existing preschools. It should require districts to integrate data from children’s earliest years with K-12 data so that parents, schools and communities can track how their children are progressing relative to the kinds of programs they experienced before and during elementary school. It should ensure that funding for professional development extends to preschool teachers and principals.
Above all, the law should reward states, districts and schools that create high-quality programs and have the data to show that they work.
If No Child Left Behind cannot help foster better learning environments from the beginning, we will forever be that arborist, scratching his head at why, despite so many fixes, our students still aren’t reaching for the sky.
Our kids looked so cute! We loved seeing everyone dressed up and having fun so we thought we would put this slideshow together for our Family’s to enjoy!
Our education system starts at age 5, pays little attention to children’s development and achievement until third grade, and is strewn with remedial programs to get older children back on track.
Meanwhile, studies keep pouring forth that highlight the importance of children’s earliest years – birth to age 8 – in developing the mental capacity that enables life-long learning.
In short, our education policies don’t align with the latest science on how and when children learn. American public education is out of whack.
Two new books drive home this point: Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills All Children Need and Britain’s War on Poverty. A third piece of reading — a landmark study in the journal Child Development published this spring – also makes the argument for getting smarter about policies that affect young children and their later achievements in school.
Now, I don’t mean to get too heavy. I know summer is for beach reading about the girl with the dragon tattoo, not education and child policy. So let me summarize as quickly as I can:
Mind in the Making is, in essence, a parenting book. But author Ellen Galinsky, the president and co-founder of the nonprofit Families and Work Institute in New York City, doesn’t talk about diapers and baby food.
She bases her arguments on dozens of experiments on how and when children form ideas about the way the world works and what they need to learn. The science makes clear that children need adults in their lives who recognize that abilities are not preordained by genetics. When parents and caregivers engage in one-on-one conversations with toddlers, for example, they help children develop the language skills needed to succeed at reading, writing and communicating in their later years.
Britain’s War on Poverty, by Jane Waldfogel of Columbia University, is a book for policy wonks. It tells the story of a country getting it right.
In 1999, the United Kingdom pledged to halve the poverty rate among the nation’s children. At the time, 26 percent of children lived in poverty – a number that was higher than any other European country and mortified many Brits. Ten years later, the rate is 12 percent, while the rate in the U.S. is on track to hit 22 percent, according to recent data from the nonprofit Foundation for Child Development.
How did Britain do it? Waldfogel goes into rich detail about the multitude of policies that were changed to help families with young children. These included generous paid maternity leave, better benefits for single parents on welfare, improvements in the quality of child care, universal access to preschool and improvements in elementary schools.
The Child Development article, led by Greg Duncan of the University of California at Irvine, showed that babies, toddlers and preschoolers who grow up in poverty are more harmed by its effects than older children.
Other studies have shown that the effects of poverty on brain development are linked to cognitive ability in later years. But Duncan demonstrates that the impact of being poor is still evident, 37 years later, in incomplete schooling and jobless rates.
The harm starts at birth, with poverty elevating the stress parents feel, which can cause an increased likelihood of harsh parenting practices. These have the greatest impact during the early childhood years when the mother-child relationship serves as the foundation for a child’s ability to regulate his emotions.
That regulation, in turn, has an effect on children’s achievement, behavior, and health.Meanwhile, with little money to spare, parents cannot afford to financially support emergent literacy with books and high-quality child care or preschool.
All three readings lead to one conclusion: It’s beyond time to give all American children – especially those in poor circumstances — exposure to language-rich and cognitively stimulating environments in their earliest years. This doesn’t mean just increasing access to preschool, though that would help.
(More than 5 million children under age 6 live in poverty, according to Kids Count, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Head Start, the federal preschool program for poor kids, is available to about a million children birth to age 5. State-funded pre-k, where it’s available, covers another million. That means we’re leaving more 3 million children out – and that’s not including families with moderate incomes who still find preschool and child care unaffordable.)
An education system aligned with the latest science would help poor parents increase their incomes so they can provide for their children. It would create better parental leave and “extended time off” policies to help parents find time to care for their children and learn along with them.
And it would offer a comprehensive early childhood system with effective teachers who help children develop and learn, starting at birth and including preschool if parents wish, and extending all the way up through the early grades of elementary school.
Yes, the recession and the federal budget deficit make this difficult. But there’s no better time to revamp public policies to match up with our new understandings.
Cognitive and social development starts in the womb and requires sustained, high-quality nurturing throughout childhood. We can keep waiting for more books that make us feel like we live in a backward country. Or we can start transforming policies to revise our education system with children’s earliest years in mind.
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Why our Parents Love ACA:
At ACA Alice likes being socialized with all the other children and the teachers. She loves when Ms. Claret sings her Spanish songs, when Katrina teaches her sign language, when getting introduced to English by Ms. Gail and all the other teachers. She loves it when teachers take her outside to the playground when they introduce new games, plays, songs to her. She loves learning table manners from the teachers and sharing the environment with the other children. Whenever I have time to look after her at home, I still prefer to take her to ACA, since she is learning so much at ACA in addition to having lots of fun.
The cheerful and helpful attitude of administration, Ms. Pat and Ms. Heather makes the transition of a baby from home to daycare possible. With their help parents feel more comfortable in leaving their baby in the hands of a trustworthy second address. We feel very happy with the decision of bringing Alice to ACA due to the atmosphere which is consisted of love, care, safety, and dedication.”
Mine & Serdar Astarlioglu, Gainesville, FL