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Is It Developmental or Behavioral: Children’s Misbehavior

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One of my greatest honors is teaching babies and boys!!! They both tickle me so much. Today I was teaching my students about their bodies and force. They were learning how to roll a ball to the other side of the room. They had to figure out how much force to use to get the ball to the wall. So of course these little cuties pies started throwing the ball at the wall , kicking the ball, balls were flying all over the place I was cracking up.

THANK GOODNESS FOR PATIENCE!

I had to stop the class and the music 3 times to explain the instructions and how it was to be done, and that if I saw a ball flying through the air, it was flying right back into my bag. Everyone complied except two little boys, so the balls went flying back into my bag. Well of course you know those boys had the fit of life, crying and carrying on. I explained in a calm voice what I had said earlier and said now they had to watch. They were not happy about that at all.

They both sat out one song, after which I asked did they want to try it again. The purpose of them sitting and watching was not to punish them. In watching the other children they could learn how to do the activity.  I once again explained the instructions. One little boy was able to do it. The other one sent the ball flying into the air again at which point I realized that he just didn’t know how to do it. So his teacher and I showed him how and broke it down so he could see what was happening.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER

Because I work solely in private schools and early learning centers, it is important for me to understand when a child is really misbehaving and can understand what I am asking them to do or when it is a situation where the child doesn’t have the capability to carry out a task because it is beyond them developmentally. We don’t expect babies to run  or hop or skip. You may say that’s a physical thing, but this happens physically, emotionally, socially and in other ways.

As educators and parents we have an opportunity to look further and ask is this a behavioral problem or are my expectations too high for what the child can actually do.  Asking this question opens up many opportunities to make things better and easier for both the child and us. Once we know the answer we can respond appropriately and in the best interest for everyone.

 

This is why I love my job so much. Sometimes things children do are not out of misbehaving but because they are not quite there developmentally. As Educators it is our job to know the difference and then support them in working on and mastering what it is we are teaching them. HOT DIGGITY!!!! I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!! ♥♥♥

Health Alert For Children: Enterovirus D68

Mother Taking Care of Sick Daughter

There is a respiratory virus, Enterovirus D68 that is moving quickly across the United States affecting young child. It is highly contagious and starts out like a common cold, but lasts much longer.  It has affected over 1, 000 children so far and is growing. Children that suffer from Asthma are particularly vulnerable.

SYMPTOMS

Parents and caregivers should monitor their child closely, looking for any difficulty in breathing or speaking , shortness of breath or wheezing. If you are concerned seek immediate attention. The normal cold and flu symptoms like runny nose, coughs, sneezing and fever are present with this virus also.

TREATMENT

Hospitals and doctors are treating this virus with medication that they’ve been using for asthma. In the story I was following all of the children are better and recovering . I was very concerned because some cases were so bad that they had to be admitted to ICU. Some children lost consciousness due to difficulty with breathing.

PREVENTION

This is the time of the year where we should be advising our children and following this procedure ourselves of washing our hands more frequently. Instruct your children to cough or sneeze in their elbow to prevent spreading germs.

Even in my dance classes if someone has a runny nose I instruct them to blow and wipe their nose and then immediately wash their hands before returning back to class. I make sure they put soap on their hands and scrub thoroughly. Drying your hands are also very important, wet hands spread germs also.

Make sure you and your children are getting plenty of rest, eating more fruits and vegetables and drinking a lot more water and fluids. Citrus fruits have a lot of vitamin C and actually all fruits and vegetables are very helpful.

Stay healthy and alert to any warning signs, so you can respond quickly. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Wishing you a healthy and happy Fall season. Eat plenty of apples since this is a great time for them. Please feel free to share this on social media, your own site and with your family and friends.

 

 

 

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 With A Fun, Easy Way To Eat Vegetables

Arranged Vegetables Creating a FaceI have an 18 year old daughter who to this day does not like cooked carrots. I couldn’t figure it out, when she was a baby she ate all kinds of vegetables in the form of baby food. But as she grew older  probably around the age of 5 or 6 cooked carrots became this horrible thing.

One day while preparing a meal with carrots  she grabbed a raw one. They were baby carrots, which I love and often times eat as a snack. She loved them. I stood looking at her in shock. You like them! I said to her, you like your carrots raw? She smiled up at me with this little cutie pie face and said “Yes, mommy.”  I don’t know why but at the time it never dawned on me to feed her raw carrots as a part of a hot meal.  At the time it didn’t make sense to me to have both raw and cooked vegetables on the same dinner plate. In my mind all of the food should be hot unless you’re eating a salad before the meal.

I had to open my mind and thinking and think about what was the ultimate goal that I was trying to accomplish. That goal was to get her to eat healthy foods and one of those foods was vegetables namely carrots. From then on I started to think creatively about how I could get her to eat fruits and vegetables and drink adequate amounts of water.

One of the techniques that I used when she was a baby that helped when she was a little older was to have her eat airplane food. I would put the food on the spoon and it would fly around on top of the spoon with these sound effects of an airplane flying around and then into her mouth. She thought the sound effects were great and it really worked well.

One great idea that I got from http://www.ChooseMyPlate.gov is “Delicious Dippers”. It’s under Kid-Friendly Veggies and Fruits: 10 tips for making healthy foods more fun for children. They talk about how kids love to dip their foods which is true. I notice this a lot in my preschools. They suggest that you make a quick dip for vegetables with yogurt and seasonings like herbs or garlic. The vegetables that they suggested were broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. I find that cucumbers, cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes depending on the age of the child and red peppers are great too.

I find that kids really love the act of dipping and often just love eating with their fingers anyway. You can also change it up a bit and use yogurt with cinnamon or vanilla dip with fruit chunks. Eating doesn’t have to be a bore and a chore we can make it fun and interesting too. Please share your healthy recipes for preschoolers and young children that have worked for you. I’d love to hear from you. Just leave a comment below. You can also share this with your friends and family on social media, email or whatever works for you.

Sometimes It’s Both: Helping Children Make Good Decisions

Father and Son Dancing TogetherHelping  your child to learn to make good decisions start earlier than we think. When we ask our toddler, “Fruit pop or jello” we limit the choices to only two things.We unconsciously give our children choices of either/or, rarely ever a choice of  both. Sometimes we should introduce the concept of having and doing both. How about do a little dance while you clean up your room or pick up your toys. Turn on the music and have fun while you are cleaning up. It doesn’t have to be all of the time, but it should be some of the time so that children learn that there are more choices than this or that.

I totally understand that as a parent you just don’t have a lot of time and you just need things done. Ditto that for teachers, you have even less time because there are so many other demands in the classroom. But what would happen if we could expand our thinking just a little bit to think about how we can teach children as well as ourselves to ask “How can I do both.” or ” Is it possible to do both.”  So we can give choices of would you like tuna salad and turkey salad, have a little of each. Or in the other example clean up the room and have fun while doing it.

The choices that we give children should grow up with them. They wont need to have either or choices forever. They can make decisions on having both. When my daughter was making a choice on her career, she initially felt that she had to choose between being a dancer or an attorney. I asked her why can’t you do both. You can be a professional dancer and find a way to practice law also. It doesn’t have to be either/or.  A light bulb went off in her head, she had never thought of that.

I am going to make a point of thinking in terms of both when making decisions and choices and be open to thinking about what else is possible.  Doing this will open up greater possibilities and choices to  choose from. Having greater choices and possibilities will result in experiencing a richer and fuller life.

Try this not only with your children but also when you have to make decisions yourself. Think in terms of how can I have both and see what opens up for you. Come back and let me know what happens. I’d love to hear from you. Please share this with family and friends if you find value. Also please feel free to leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you