EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Archive for February 2011

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Sometimes we cry just because we can’t seem to stop our baby from crying.  We feel helpless.  We don’t know what to do.  If it is during the day, we want our baby to sleep.  If it is at night, we want to sleep too.  While this is the natural reaction of a loving adult that wants to calm a little one, please don’t cry.

Get to know your baby.
Many children develop predictable crying patterns.  While some very young children can go through a phase known as PURPLE crying which is an unexplained and distressing crying period that children do grow out of (www.purplecrying.info), most infants respond to safe and loving caregivers. Don’t forget – Infants have just entered this big world after life in a warm, dark, tight womb!  Imagine the shock they are going through!

Swaddle your infant.
Wrap your baby in a clean, soft, cozy blanket – a large, thin receiving blanket instead of a heavy, fuzzy one.  Lay your infant in the center of the blanket and tuck the sides and bottom together. (They will look like a little ice cream come).  Keep airways open at all times. This will help make your baby feel warm and secure.  Hold your baby in your arms while you sit or when you stand.  Always keep your baby secure.  Lay your baby down on her back to sleep at all times. (www.nichd.nih.gov/sids)

Sway with your infant.
Babies have gotten used to movement and motion while developing.  Rock in a rocking chair or stand and sway with baby in your arms.  When you hold your infant up to your shoulder and they snuggle into your neck, they are comforted by the motion and scent of your skin.  Car rides, buggies, infant swings, baby carriers and “papoose packs” can have calming effects on a fussy baby. Swaying while holding your baby is a comfort to their digestive system as well as soothing for sleep.

Sing to your baby.
She thinks you have the most beautiful voice in the world, simply because it is yours.  Soft melodies, repeated sounds (tick-tock), white noise (fan or dishwasher) and simple songs truly make a difference.  Read and tell stories to your baby at the earliest age.  Include a music box in the nursery.  Babies quickly respond to your voice and he will look directly at you. Smile at your baby and hold eye contact with him while you sing and talk in loving tones.  This reinforces critical development of social skills and emotional milestones.

So, please don’t cry.  Babies will find their way and so will you.

If your body is calm theirs will be too.  If you look in their eyes and smile, they will learn to look into your eyes and smile.  A new baby is a mix of joy and apprehension to all adults that love them.  Time is the great equalizer – give yourself time to learn to about your baby and you.  Your baby is counting on it.

“Hush, little baby, don’t say a word.
Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird…”
classic Southern lullaby

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Potty training is, once again, a hot topic.  There are new and improved products being advertised that will “assist” in helping your child stay dry.  Parents are starting to pay serious attention to potty success because their toddler is going to move up to an early preschool class next September.  We are all thinking about summer.  Summertime is a time of bathing suits and cotton shorts.  Diapers are a required nuisance for toddlers and their families.

Here is some information and standard tried and true tips for potty training:

  • Know your child – each child is not ready at the same time; don’t compare siblings.
  • Typically, children in good health have potty success by the time they are 3 or are in their third year.  While training older infants and young toddlers comes in and out of fashion, these children have difficulty “reading” their body’s message to eliminate.  When they “go” it is typically because an adult knows the signs and can get them to the bathroom in time.
  • Girls typically potty train faster than boys.  Urinating is successful ahead of bowel movements.
  • Help your child in all ways.  Celebrate effort as well as achievement.  Be patient.  Never scold or belittle a child when accidents occur (and accidents always occur!)
  • Daytime potty success precedes nighttime success.  Many children will have nighttime / sleep accidents long after they use the potty with complete daytime success.
  • Set up success – have a potty chair or potty seat in your home bathroom if you think your child will use it – keep it clean.  Keep toilet paper in easy reach.  Teach children to wipe carefully and wash their hands after using the potty.
  • Routines are helpful.  At wake up time, after snack and meals and before bed are critical times to set up for a visit to the potty.  Make this a fact of life.
  • Eliminate drinks and cereal with milk before bedtime.
  • Once started, don’t go back on forward potty progress.  It has been my experience and my training that mixed messages don’t work.  When children start to wear underpants, diapers are gone. Children, at this point, know that cloth underpants are to keep dry as best as they can.   Pull-ups (while convenient for bedtime and older toddler play) are diapers in the shape of underpants.  It was ok to soil a diaper but now they know that they should and they want to keep underpants dry – so what should they do?
  • Buy underpants that your children want.  A Princess or Spiderman can be very motivating!
  • Expect the unexpected.  Have extra supplies, clothes, etc. in your car, at grandmas and at childcare.
  • Most importantly…Relax about potty training.  Stressful situations delay success.  Work with your child’s childcare program or babysitter so that everyone is on the same page.

Consider this:  it took your child over a year to walk and over 2 years to talk – give them some time to potty train!

“Remember, don’t pee-pee on Iron Man – he might get rusty.”
Dad talking to his little boy while in the middle of a successful period of training!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

It is customary to list and tell people all of the wonderful things about them on this very special day of the year.  And although it is often considered a Hallmark Holiday – (and rightly so; the Valentine revenue for Hallmark is staggering!), February 14th, Valentine’s Day, is rooted in stories of the Christian martyr St. Valentine.

So how will you show the people you love on this special Valentine’s Day that you want them to be your valentine?

  • Let them see that you love them:  a smile on your face tells it all.
  • Let them hear that you love them: say the words “I love you”.                                                     
  • Let them know you love them through the sense of smell: there’s a reason that fragrant flowers and rich chocolate are considered Valentine essentials – they smell wonderful!                                                        
  • Children love fancy cupcakes with sprinkles, some pink icing and heart decorations are perfect! This is a delicious way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.                                                                                  
  • Let them feel your love by holding hands, lots of kisses and hugs, snuggling with a good book and taking time to really be together.

Focusing on love and concentrating on the way to show people you love them should not be for only one calendar day in the year.  For most of us it isn’t.  But why not join the crowd and “do it up” for this day?

  • Hide a valentine card under your child’s pillow to be discovered first thing in the morning.                       
  • Make a big, bright sign that says “Happy Valentine’s Day” that children will see first thing out of bed.          
  • Sprinkle little paper hearts around the house that are left by Cupid.                                             
  • Mix up some pancakes and cook them in heart shapes at night.  Toast them in the morning as a surprise– serve with strawberry milk.                                                                                                   
  • Wear red clothes and tell your children your Valentine’s Day name is Cupid.                                        
  • Hide special love notes in lunch boxes or backpacks, behind the couch…to be discovered during the day.            
  • Make red jello for a snack.                                                                                       
  • Use paper doilies on the table with pink and red ribbon – kids think this is fancy.                                
  • Make a list of all the things you love about each person in your family to be displayed on the fridge and read throughout the day.                                                                                               
  • Read a book about love at bedtime.                                                                                
  • Don’t miss a chance to say “I love you”.
  • Repeat throughout the year.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
“All you need is love, love.  Love is all you need”  John Lennon

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

The National Center for Family Literacy http://www.famlit.org/ inspires me with down–to–earth ideas for families that will help their babies and young children become readers.  The ideas the NCFL offer are far from cutting edge and they actually don’t cost a thing.  But there is no doubt that the simple (yet critical) ideas presented actually work.  Literacy seeds sown early will grow readers.  Children will read better and with more interest as they grow and mature when their family sets reading as a priority. 

Have you got a few minutes a day to grow a reader?  Good!
Plant reading seeds – your blossoms will bloom forever.

1. Make reading a pleasure.  Read to your child in a comfortable well-lit place that you both enjoy.  Hold a baby on your lap.  Snuggle up with a little one.  Sit close to an older child.  Smile and look at both the book and in your child’s eyes as you read.  Take your time when you read to your child.  Don’t rush and hurry.  Reading is joyful!

2. Show enthusiasm as you read to your child.  You know that you can bark and moo and cluck like chickens.  I know that you can beep like a truck’s horn and choo-choo-choo like the train.  Clowns are silly and bees buzz.  Whisper & shout, tap & clap, laugh & cry when you read to your children.  Reading is exhilarating!

3. Read to your child often.  Whether it is reading labels in the super market or setting a reading routine that establishes time and energy spent with books, never miss the chance to read to your child.  The world is rich with the printed word.  Literacy is critical to success in every aspect of your child’s life.  5 minutes or 5 books—Reading is powerful.

4. Talk to your child as you read together.  Point to pictures in the story and talk about them.  Let your child ask questions along the way and ask your child What do you think will happen?…Did you see that cat?..Can you huff & puff, let’s try to blow that house down…  Comment on what you think about a book and ask for your child’s opinions.  Start a reading conversation.  Reading connects people.

5. Encourage your child to explore books.  Let your baby touch, hold and throw books!  Board books and washable cloth books invite babies to look at, move and even chew on stories! A toddler loves a basket of books she can rummage through by herself.  Toddlers never tire of story books about pets, animals and young children just like themselves.  Preschoolers will “read” to their babies and carry books in their purses.  Take older children to the library and bookstores where they can find books about anything and everything!  Reading opens the doors of the world.

6. Read favorite books again and again.  Children become attached to certain stories and books.  They love everything about them.  Adults who try to skip pages or hurry through a favorite story are told about it (even by very young toddlers!).  Respect children’s favorites.  Keep a journal.  Take pictures of your child with their favorite book.   Reading is your child’s best friend.

Are you ready for a Birthday Party?  Dr. Seuss will be 107 this March!
Invite some friends over for some Green Eggs and Ham!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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