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Toddlers and Preschoolers: Preventing Childhood Obesity While Building Social Skills

Lil tykes and Monique graduation 1-11-11 178

Preventing childhood obesity and ensuring development of the four cornerstones of child development is what I do on daily basis. As an Early Educator and Dance, Movement and Play Consultant and Expert, I work with children  from infancy to school age. Along with making sure that they are developing physically, I also have the honor and privilege of making sure that they receive a foundation in basic life skills. Social skills and empathy are two very important skills that all children need that will help them be successful in school and  later on in life .

IT’S NEVER TO EARLY TO TEACH SOCIALIZATION SKILLS

When a parent or caregiver coos and talks to a child they are providing the foundation for their children to learn how to interact and be with others. When they look into a child’s eyes, they are not only acknowledging them and communicating to them that they are important and matter. They are helping them learn to experience the joys of connecting with another human being.

Today at one of my schools, I had another toddler push one of his class mates. “Not nice. Soft please. Gentle”. Because of their age and development level simple words work best. The tone of my voice is also a powerful tool as well as the use of my eyes. I maintain eye contact and speak in a matter of fact tone. And since children learn with all of themselves, I put my hand on his shoulder and said the word “Soft”.

Off he went and we all continued our music and movement class. We did a lot of running which boys love, as well as jumping. These two activities are great at getting children’s heart rate up and exercising their large muscles and cardiovascular system. Introducing them to structured movement early teaches them how to be in a class or group setting and also ensures that they are meeting developmental milestones.

LEARNING EMPATHY AND THINKING SKILLS

In another class, this time with the Pre-K class two students were fighting over a toy truck. One student was screaming and crying and the other was just watching her. I kneeled down with the both of them and began asking questions. What happened? ” She has my truck one student cried.” Oh I said and turned to the other student and asked, ” Was she playing with it first?” She nodded her head yes. I then asked them both what do you think you should do? I then said that our friend K looks upset and asked the other student did she see that and she said yes. I then asked them both again what do you think you should do? Finally I asked do you think the both of you can sure. They both nodded their heads.

In the end we did resolve the situation. It was decided that one would play on the truck for a while and then let the other play awhile. The other student went and played with other things in the playground while the other happily rode the truck.

QUESTIONS A POWERFUL TOOL

As an Early Educator one of the many things we want to do is empower children to learn to think for themselves, questions do that beautifully. Open ended questions help children to practice thinking for themselves. It opens the door up for children to explore themselves and others as well as different ways to resolve a situation.

Children are fast learners and this is a skill that helps tremendously in the classroom. It keeps things neutral and encourages children to be compassionate, calm and objective. It opens up possibilities and minimizes defensiveness. It’s also a great tool for adults also.

Dance, Music and Movement classes are an excellent opportunity for children to move their bodies in healthy ways to prevent obesity and learn how to interact and get along with others.

Please feel free to share this information with your friends, colleagues and family and on social media. I’d also love to hear about your experiences and what has worked for you. Please share your comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

Preventing Childhood Obesity By Getting Fit With Your Child

Portrait of a young couple and a child with their arms outstretched

Wouldn’t it be great to have an activity that’s fun, promotes health and help you feel great afterwards? Wouldn’t it be even better if you could bond with your child and it would be something that the entire family can do? While thinking about giving you tips to keep your New Years resolution about getting into shape or improving your life, the idea came to me to have a Preschool Dance for Kids and Parents class.

I would modify the class a bit but the whole objective of the class would be creating a space where parents and kids can have fun together moving and dancing. It wouldn’t be a hard class, it would sort of be like a party but everyone is doing the same steps instead of their own steps. Doing your own thing can be incorporated into the class so the participants can have their own time for creative expression and to be in the spot light.

In my mind I see all these moving bodies both big and small with big happy smiles on their faces, some eyes opened others closed having a blast dancing to Elmo, Yo Gabba , The Backyardigans, Jake and the Neverland Pirates and much more. It would be an activity for both boys and girls and moms and dads. At the end of the class there would be a time to wind down and stretch and get in touch with your body.

It would be broken down into age groups like a class for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school aged children up to about age 7. The music would be based on what interested the children and what programs they watch on television. It would be great if it could take place once a week every week.

I can see having this type of activity in the beginning of a PTSO meeting at schools or just a way for schools both elementary and preschools to have a fun and healthy way of relieving stress for the parents and providing fun and fitness for both the parents and their children.

In my mind it sounds wonderful but I wonder what you all think of this. I would love to have your feed back and hear your thoughts on something like this. How do you think it would work best. I know initially the parents will not want to move. They will probably just want to sit and watch like they normally do. So somehow I will have to encourage them just a little.

Maybe I have to have it split where they can rest during the class and take breaks until they get their wind and the children can do more action oriented stuff like pretending to be pop corn, frogs and dogs crawling  and hopping on the floor. Anyway please share your comments on this idea by leaving a comment below and also sharing it with your family, friends or anyone you know that might be interested in something like this. You can also share this post on social media. I would love to hear from you. :-)

 

Play With Your Child At The Park

fun in the sun

The park is a great place to play year round in any season. I’m in the Northeast and many people in this area think of the park as a thing to do in the Summer or in warm weather. But playing outdoors is great all times of the year. When I was coming up we played outside year round and rarely ever came indoors.

Only when it was frigid outside did we bother to come inside. Our fingers were numb and blue and we looked like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, which was some feat as I am caramel in color. We would come in and drink hot chocolate to warm up.

In the winter, Read more »

Fun Fitness With Your Kids

Two Young Men (16-20) at Soccer Training

You know you should exercise more and you also want to spend quality time with your kids, but, after a hard day of work you just want to crash. Here’s a fun activity that will require some energy but not as much as an entire workout. The thing you’ll love most about this activity is that it involves you watching television.

Really? I get to watch my favorite t.v. show. Almost, as I tell my students, actually you’re going to watch your child’s favorite kids show. The only requirement is that the show has to have commercials. Commercials are normally about two minutes in length. During the commercials you are going to chase your child around the sofa or general area until  the program comes back on.

I know you are like what, chase my child. Yes, I am saying to chase your child. I am recommending it because chasing and being chased is a lot of fun. You will be filled with joy as your child is screaming and laughing. It’s only for two minutes so this should be a piece of cake. The reason why I want you to run is because it is only two minutes and then you can sit down and catch your breath. Running will get your heart rate up and cause you to also use a lot of oxygen. You will notice you will feel much better and a little bit energized when you sit down.

Your child will love it and think it’s a fun game. Remember to give them a little head start first. Make sure the area is free of toys and safe to run in. Make sure all expensive items are safely out of the way. If you don’t want to run you can do things like marching in place, jumping in place, running in place, jumping jacks or pushups. You and your child can decide. You can even do this if you have more than one child.

If they complain and give you a hard time about doing it no problem. No exercise, no t.v or electronic gadgets, they will have to study their school work even if they have no homework, you will find something for them to do. I think they will chose to exercise. It’s up to you as the parent to really sell them on the idea though. So maybe don’t call it exercise may be call it playing chase, or whatever the two of you think of. Those famous words” You can’t catch me.” , should be enough to get them started.

Please try it and let me know how it works out. You can let me know by commenting below. You can also comment if you’d like to share what works for you. If you have a show that the entire family watches you can use that too. Please share this post with family and friends online or off. Have a great day! :-)

Movement and Play Two Essential Elements To Healthy Babies

Lil tykes and Monique graduation 1-11-11 178

Movement and play are essential  for all babies to grow up healthy and achieve optimal development. I was reading several comments to an article written by an occupational therapist, a mother or three and has a PhD in Educational Psychology. This article was on crawling and the therapist and PhD gave her expert opinion on the fact that she felt it was instrumental in a child’s development. She also acknowledged that there are some babies that never crawled and were fine.

I couldn’t believe all of the argumentative and upset comments she got in response. Many people seem to get so defensive and wanted to slice the woman in two it seemed. To be fair not all of the comments were like this, there were many people who thanked her for the information and also agreed with her. What she was sharing was from her experience and training and she wanted parents to be safe rather than take any chances with their children’s growth and development.

To my surprise I read a comment from a mother whose son didn’t start crawling until he was a year old. He didn’t move  in any way or even  roll over until Read more »