EduKids Early Childhood Education Centers

Posts Tagged ‘Change

Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

My husband and I went to a very casual neighborhood restaurant for dinner recently. Tables were filled with different aged patrons, groups of young people and families with children. It was a typical evening.

A table near us “opened” and a family of four came in and sat down. There was an adult man, a woman and two girls who looked to be pre-teen or young teenagers. No one spoke to each other. Both girls and one of the adults were attentive to handheld devices. The other adult opened an envelope and read papers. There was a brief pause with ordering but they all went back to their own interests quickly.

Walking down the street, at sporting events and even sitting next to each other, adults, teenagers and children who are quite young (7-8 years old) are constantly talking or texting on handheld devices. This does not require eye contact with another person. It does not offer casual cues we learn to associate with messages (shrugged shoulders, raised eyebrows, smirks and smiles). There is no needed exchange of live person-to-person ideas. Print does not include physical contact or voice inflection.

What is the model provided to young children who are just trying to figure out how to connect with others? How should they manage their own interactions in a group? How do they initiate and maintain relationships? A conversation is a give and take that includes body as well as voice.

Young children need you – personally.

They need to listen to your voice and watch the way you manage your face and body to convey messages to others. How close do you stand next to someone? Why do you laugh near someone and how does that change your body? What do you do when someone near you is sad? What does it mean when your voice is soft, loud, squeaky or silly?

Your child is watching you. When I look at you or you look at me, I know we are connected. When you ask me a direct question and there is a space for my answer, it lets me know you are interested in what I say. We can take turns talking. When I don’t have to wait for you to hang up or finish texting, or turn something off, I know you think I’m important. When you hold my hand, I know we belong to each other.

Life is fast. We are completely surrounded by astonishing technology. Competition is real and change is swift. These are facts.

But these facts truly pale in comparison to how quickly the baby in the crib is asking for car keys and the toddlers in the sandbox are off to school. Don’t miss this time with your little one. You’ll never get it back.

Find a balance. Make it personal.

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

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Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director

An age old trick to creating comfortable as well as exciting places for children is to literally change their existing space while keeping it the same. How is this done and what’s the point?

Here’s how and why!

In any size space, move the furniture. In a bedroom, change a bed to the other side of the room, add a small chair or table, switch out baskets where toys are stored in and change the lighting. Are there lamps or even lamp shades that can be exchanged? Add a colorful blanket to the end of the bed or a fancy pillowcase. Frame (inexpensive) your child’s paintings and works of art to create a gallery at their eye level, place hat or sweater hooks next to the  bed, tie the curtains with wide ribbons, add a calendar (for older children) and look through the house for other safe and appropriate items to exchange in their bedroom. Move the bookcase and highlight favorites with simple displays. Put colorful placemats on the dresser and be sure children have an eye level mirror (safety glass for young children). Plants and pets (fish, gerbils, birds) are wonderful ways to teach responsibility and caring – with your help.

Depending on their age, children will love to be the designer of this “new” space with you as their assistant!

Rotate toys and books – go through baskets and bins and collect toys and books that have been out for a long time. Tuck them away to be brought out later or in a different way.

Throw away puzzles that you still can’t find that last piece to after looking for 3 weeks! Throw away broken toys or the ones that haven’t had a battery in them for months. Donate outgrown favorites if they are in good shape.

Go through art supplies with your little one. I guarantee there will be broken crayons, dry markers, empty glue sticks and flat pencils. No one wants to use these but they are always around!

A quick and inexpensive splash of color, a new frame for a favorite friend, baby dolls and superheroes given a quick cleaning, and personal spaces given new love – these are lovely ways to support the very real ways children learn to accept and embrace change.

Appreciating and caring for personal space and property are life skills we want our children to have. Our attitude and models will support these skills. Engage children with simple tasks and experiences in their homes to see how this is done!

-Kate Dust, EduKids Education Director


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