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Archive for October, 2012

How to Leave Your Child at Daycare When He’s Crying

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Returning to work and leaving your child in the care of relative strangers for the majority of the day is a very difficult situation for any parent to deal with, but it’s one that’s made dramatically more painful when the child in question is hysterically clinging to you. Instinctively, you want to protect your child and eliminate the source of his pain; something you can’t easily do when you must report to work. Managing an emotional meltdown and dealing with the resultant guilt is by no means easy, but there are some steps you can take to minimize both your child’s anxiety and your own remorse.

  • Stay Calm and Positive – Keeping your cool and maintaining an optimistic, upbeat attitude when you’re leaving a crying child behind is no mean feat, but it’s a necessary part of soothing him. If you exhibit signs of anxiety, reluctance to leave or misgivings about the wisdom of leaving your child in daycare, he will almost always pick up on these feelings and be influenced by them himself. Even if you need to have a moment to yourself in the car before heading off to work, make sure that you don’t show your child that you’re conflicted.
  • Let Staff Members Help to Soothe Him – As a parent, your first instinct is to care for your child and soothe his anxiety yourself. However, he needs to learn that it’s okay for other caring adults to attend to his needs while he’s away from you. Allowing a member of the daycare staff to assist you and make the effort to calm your little one down alongside you is an effective way of both sharing the burden with a trained professional and sending your child the message that he’s in good hands.
  • Don’t Rush Your Goodbye, But Don’t Linger – Rushing out the door immediately to avoid an emotional scene will only leave your child feeling bewildered on top of his anxiety, but lingering too long only prolongs the separation process. Almost invariably, a crying child will calm down and show interest in activities soon after his parents leave. The longer you stick around before leaving, the longer he may cry and feel scared.
  • Don’t Take Him Home – It’s tempting to call in sick and take a particularly upset child back home for the day, but it’s not the best idea in the long run. Capitulating to his demands will only send him the message that crying and tantrums are an effective way of achieving his short-term goals. Reinforcing the idea that crying will help him get what he wants will only make him reliant upon such behavior, rather than helping him to outgrow it.
  • Resist the Temptation to Sneak Away – Waiting until your child is distracted by the teacher, a toy or an activity to sneak out the door will eliminate emotional scenes, but it will also leave him feeling abandoned and confused about your departure. Make sure that you let your child know that you’re leaving, make a point of telling him goodbye and engaging in any parting rituals that you may have established.
  • Assure Him That You’ll Be Back for Him – For young children, the idea that a departing parent is never going to return seems like a very real threat. To prevent your child from feeling that you’re leaving him at daycare forever, be sure that you tell him what time you’ll be returning for him and attach it to an event that he understands. Statements like, “I’ll be back at five o’clock, just after your story time,” will make it easier for him to connect your return with part of his routine.
  • Try to Interest Him in an Activity – A child that’s engaged in an activity will be more calm about a parent’s departure than one who’s standing in the corner of a large room by himself. Before you leave, encourage your child to engage in a specific activity so that he’s less affected by your leaving.
  • Be Patient – When your child is miserable each and every day, it can seem like you’re fighting a losing battle. Keep in mind that your child will adjust to his new routine before you know it, and that soon he’ll be bounding out of the car in anticipation of the day’s events.

While almost all children will suffer from some sort of separation anxiety when they’re thrust into a new situation, the vast majority adjust fairly quickly. If your child isn’t showing any signs of growing accustomed to his new routine, it may be time to discuss the matter with his pediatrician.


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10 iPhone Apps that Help Young Kids With Math

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Using technology to help kids learn the fundamentals of math is easier than ever, thanks to the powerful device that many modern parents carry in their pocket every day. Apple’s wildly popular iPhone and the dazzling array of applications available in the App Store provide parents and caregivers a variety of options for helping their little ones master the early concepts of counting, simple addition and subtraction, and other basic mathematic equations. These 10 are among the best math apps for small children, and are all available in the App Store.

  1. MathGirl Number Garden – Designed specifically with budding female mathematicians in mind, this $0.99 app caters to children ages four and up. With feminine graphics that are sure to capture the heart of girly-girls and sound mathematic principles that will carry kids well into more complicated concepts, this highly-rated app is sure to be a hit with parents and kids alike.
  2. Math A+ – Part math lesson and part kiddie sci-fi game, Math A+ keeps kids engaged with the subject matter while they learn basic math skills. There are three difficulty levels to accommodate increasing skills, along with simple counting practice for younger players.
  3. Toddler Counting – Every journey begins with a single step, and the first step to mathematic excellence is simply learning to count. Aimed specifically at toddlers and designed by a team of preschool teachers and parents, Toddler Counting is a powerful and engaging app that’s sure to keep your child entertained and help him gain valuable early math skills.
  4. Coin Math – Teaching kids to manage money, make change, and understand the concepts of spending along with other basic math skills is the aim of Coin Math, a $1.99 app that offers educational entertainment for kids at a variety of skill levels. Starting with recognition of coins and an understanding of their value, even very young children can use Coin Math to jump-start their academic success.
  5. Park Math – Winner of the 2011 Parents’ Choice Silver Award, iLounge’s 2010 Best Kids’ iPhone/iPod App of the Year, and the Children’s Technology Review Editor’s Choice Award for Excellence in Design, Park Math is a $1.99 app that helps kids learn to count, add, subtract and sort while keeping kids thoroughly engaged. Early math concepts are taught with colorful graphics and kid-favorite songs, including two separate skill levels.
  6. First Math Abacus – Preschool & First Grade Practice – Just like the abacus of your own childhood, this app allows you to carry a digital facsimile of the interactive counting devices used for centuries in your pocket. Recommended for kids between three and six, this $0.99 app offers four learning options and adorable graphics to keep kids’ attention.
  7. Cute Math – Count, add and subtract all things adorable with this $1.99 app that offers up baby penguins, chipper birds and other uber-cute animals and objects. Featured as a New and Noteworthy iTunes download and ranking high on the “Top Paid Apps” list in the Education category, kids and parents alike will marvel at the cuteness of the app while working on basic math skills.
  8. Math Magic – Using a digital version of the same star stickers rewarded to students of previous generations, as well as bright colors and an easy-to-navigate interface, Math Magic aims to make math fun and exciting for kids. Parents can customize the skill and difficulty level, allowing the app to grow with your child and her budding skills.
  9. Pop Math Lite – Combining the inexplicable joy of popping bubbles with basic math concepts, Pop Math Lite is a the free version of a paid app that offers an extended variety of options. Beautiful background images make this app an aesthetically-pleasing and addicting app, so it’s a surefire hit with kids.
  10. Math Drills Lite – Turning basic math concepts into an interactive experience, Math Drills Lite is the free version of a very powerful app. Addition and subtraction are covered, along with more advanced concepts like multiplication and division. Number lines, objects and fingers are all interactive counting aides, helping kids master math concepts on the go.

The most powerful teaching apps in the world can’t compete with a loving, attentive parent or caregiver. While these apps are great for educational, on-the-go diversions, they’re also great tools for parents and children to use together. Exploring basic math skills will give your child a head start on academic success, and provide you with quality time to spend together in the process!

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30 Blogs with the Best Childcare Tips

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Whether you’re a parent, professional childcare provider or an occasional caregiver, taking care of children can be a challenge. Even seasoned veterans can sometimes find themselves at a loss, in need of advice from someone with a slightly different perspective from their own. Just as parents and caregivers in days gone by relied upon one another for childcare tips and hints, those in charge of children today can turn to the global village created by the Internet and the blogosphere. These 30 blog entries offer helpful advice and hints when it comes to caring for children.

Infant Care

Despite her diminutive size, an infant can be one of the most intimidating people in the world. Newborns and young babies require very special care to ensure their safety and wellbeing, which can be daunting to those who have limited experience caring for them. These five blogs are valuable resources for newborn and infant care advice.

Toddler Care

When toddlers begin to walk and become verbal, they begin to present an entirely new challenge. While the days of supporting fragile necks and fears of SIDS have passed, the prospect of chasing an active toddler and capturing her attention can be equally nerve-wracking. When you’re not sure where to turn for toddler care advice, these five blogs may have just what you’re looking for.

Elementary-Age Care

Elementary school, homework and extracurricular activities become a major part of many kids’ lives. Learning to manage their time, the stress of their obligations, and their behavior isn’t always a simple process for elementary-aged kids, but these five blogs can help their parents and caregivers guide them along the right path.

Tween Care

With junior high school comes peer pressure, bullying, acting out and the potential for a host of brand new challenges. These five blogs tackle the very real challenges that parents and caregivers of tween boys and girls face in today’s world.

Special Needs Care

Each child with special needs has her own challenges to face and needs assistance in different areas than her peers. Tailoring your parenting or childcare approach to those needs is imperative if she’s to thrive, and these five blogs can help parents or care providers with limited experience in such areas learn new hints and tips so that all of those needs are met.

Disobedience and Misbehavior

There are as many methods for dealing with disobedience and misbehavior as there are individual caregivers, though most would agree that some of those methods are far from ideal. When the child under your care exhibits poor behavior or defiance, these five blogs might help you find the best way to connect with him and correct that behavior.

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Things to Consider About Archery for Elementary Schoolers

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

After watching movies like Hunger Games and Brave many kids are taking a sudden interest in archery.  Young children may be asking for archery lessons, bow and arrows, and to have their birthday party hosted at an archery range.  Parents may be willing to indulge this new interest, but are unsure when it is appropriate to buy a real bow versus a toy one.  Consider a few of these things when you are thinking about letting your kids take up archery.

Age: According to Ken Colgrove from Full Draw Archery in Omaha, Nebraska, the best time to get kids involved in archery is between the ages of 5 to 7.  He feels that if kids start young they will be more likely to stick with it for a lifetime.  Kids can start later than this, but often older kids are already involved in several activities and don’t really have time to add something else to their already hectic schedule.

Price: Bow kits for beginners start at around $20 and can go up to over $400.  The more expensive kits have high quality compound bows instead of the basic recurve bow set.  Most kits come with practice arrows as well.  Depending on the archery range you go to, there may also be leagues and classes offered, and the prices will vary by location.

Longevity: Archery has been around for almost as long as humans.  Archery became a sport in 1879 when the first archery tournament was held and the NAA (The National Archery Association) was founded.  Archery first appeared in the Olympics in 1900, but was removed after the 1920 Olympic Games because there was a lack of consistency in the rules.  Archery did not make another appearance in the Olympics until 1972 in Munich, Germany.  Interest in archery has gained popularity thanks to popular culture movies.  Katniss in Hunger Games, Marida in Pixar’s Brave, and even Susan in Chronicles of Narnia all feature strong females that are very talented with a bow.  Girls seem to be identifying with these strong female characters, which is sparking their desire to get involved.  Boys are also enjoying these movies, and like the idea of shooting an arrow.  There are two more movies coming out in the Hunger Games trilogy, so it’s likely that archery will stay popular for at least a few more years.

Opportunity: Check around at your local YMCA or YWCA for archery classes.  Ask at your local sporting goods store or archery range to see if there are archery leagues for kids to join.  Check online to see if there are any archery clubs in your area.  Boy scouts and girl scouts learn archery, as do many 4H members.  JOAD (Junior Olympic Archery Development) has groups in every state, so they may be of some help as well.  If you don’t find any clubs in your area then you might consider starting one.

Not just for hunting: Archery isn’t just for hunting, it’s also a sport that can be a great option for a child who is not interested in traditional sports.  To excel at archery you need to learn patience, focus and perseverance.  Archers are independent, and target shooting gives immediate feedback – either you hit the target or you didn’t.  There’s no need to wait around to hear from the coach.  Archery can be a great hobby and, if there’s an interest, can also be used for hunting.  There are special hunting seasons reserved just for bow hunters. 

Archery at school: Schools have been teaching archery for decades, but about 10 years ago National Archery in the Schools instated a program to train teachers in archery and encourage schools to teach archery in PE classes by offering discounted equipment to the schools.  This year more than 2 million students will experience archery in gym class.

If your kids show an interest in archery, explore your options.  Check to see if you have an archery range near you and if they offer classes.  Archery can be a fun way for parents and children to enjoy a hobby together.

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