Archive for kids

5 Tips on How to Help Kids Take Turns

One of the first milestones in a child’s social development is understanding how to take-turns and/or share with others.  This is a learned behavior children need for positive social interactions, and acquiring these skills is a process rather than a simple task.  Just as we teach young children the difference between healthy food and junk food, we also need to teach them how to take turns. These skills are best practiced with a parent or caregiver initially.  In the end, you will help to cultivate your child’s patience and consideration for others.

1)Picture Books- Using a picture book about taking turns is an easy method to initiate the topic. Picture books provide the perfect visual and auditory platform to stimulate discussion. Unlike videos, books let a parent or child pause as needed to discuss characters and emotions. Here are a few books to consider:

  • My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook (interrupting)
  • Should I Share My Ice Cream by Mo Willems (sharing)
  • Mine! Mine! Mine! by Shelly Becker (sharing)
  • Llama Lama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney (sharing)

2)Role Play/Drama- Role play is a powerful tool for children and parents to use in developing positive social skills. They have the opportunity to ‘act out’ the expected behavior without having emotions block their success. This practice helps to foster the behavior in real life. As the parent, you can choose the scenarios to act out that best suit your child. Write scenarios on strips of paper to perform. Be sure to play along, switching roles, modeling good and poor behavior.

3)Ball Toss- This is great introduction for those really little ones and those kinesthetic learners. Simply pass or roll a ball back and forth. Use this as an opportunity to expose them to vocabulary (your turn, now it’s my turn).

4)Music-Another great option to expose young children to the concept of turn taking is with music. Sing songs together with each participant taking different parts.

5)Board Games-Board games or any game that involves 2 or more players is an enjoyable technique for establishing an understanding of taking turns. Additionally, games provide exposure to the win/loss scenario. Losing often raises real emotions in young children. Before starting a game, consider having a pre-game chat about the possibility losing and how to react.

 

 

Kindness Matters!

Teaching children kindness is essential these days. By teaching our kids to be givers of kindness, rather than receivers, we contribute to their feelings of happiness, enrich their relationships, and create lifelong habits of showing compassion to others. Here are a few tips to begin today.

  1. Start early, by modeling kindness and respect to those around you. A simple greeting, compliment, or kind gesture goes a long way!
  2. Your turn-My turn dialogue helps to build turn-taking and listening skills. For example: “You can share your favorite winter activity with me, and then I’ll share my favorite activity with you.”
  3. At the dinner table, have each family member share an example from the day, where he/she showed kindness to another person. Be sure to discuss how the kindness made a person feel. This type of reflection will bring more meaning to every day actions.
  4. Create a habit of writing notes of kindness to friends and family. Get well cards, a message in dad’s lunch bag, or a sticky note on the bathroom mirror lets others know you are thinking about them.
  5. Create a kindness jar in your home, using coins or special “jewels”. Each time you witness your children use kind words, or show kindness, share how this made you feel, and place a coin or jewel in the jar. When the jar is full, your family can celebrate by doing something special together, like catch a movie together, or go to your favorite ice cream shop.
  6. Start a ‘Kindness Project’ as a family. Together, decide how you want to show kindness to others. Volunteer locally, shovel the drive of an elderly neighbor, or prepare meals for a family in need.

Empathy is “caught” by your daily actions and examples. Remember, no act is too small!

 

 

30 Day Challenges for Kids

Setting goals and working on consistency is not only important for adults, but great for young children, too. A 30 day challenge can help foster a new positive habit or just learn something new. Below are 10 challenge suggestions for young kids.

  1. 30 Day Bed Challenge: Make your bed every morning for 30 days. If your child hasn’t been involved in
    making his/her bed, adult help will be needed. This challenge is great for developing independence and a positive start to the day.
  2. 30 Day State Challenge: Learn 2-3 new facts about a state per day. Start with your state and its border states.   Write the facts in a journal for a cool way to document the challenge and remember learned facts.
  3. 30 Day Poetry Challenge: As a family, read 1-2 poems together.  After listening to each poem, take time to discuss your thoughts. Did you like it? How did it make you feel? Did it remind you of anything?
  4. 30 Day Landmark Challenge: Pick one significant landmark per day to learn about. Check out facts and videos about the landmark. You and your child can draw a picture of each landmark for a challenge keepsake.
  5. 30 Day Know Your ‘Digits’ Challenge: Practice memorizing your phone number and address. Repeating these important numbers every day for 30 days is a great method for ensuring your child knows his/her ‘digits’. You can write the focus phone number &/or address on a card to read daily, until your child seems ready to recall the numbers. Put a sticker on the back of the card each day as a method to support the daily challenge.
  6. 30 Day Country Challenge: Learn 2-3 new facts about a different country per day.   Write the facts in a journal as a challenge keepsake.
  7. 30 Day Storytelling Challenge: As a family, work together to make-up a story. Each day, have the characters embark on a new adventure. Then, you or your child can write a sentence or two about the day’s story.
  8. 30 Day Drawing Challenge: Take 10-20 minutes a day to draw or paint with your child.
  9. 30 Day City Challenge: Learn 2-3 new facts about a major city per day. You can choose cities within the U.S.A. or all around the world. Write the facts in a journal as a way to document the challenge and remember facts.
  10. 30 Day Cooking Challenge: Have your child help with preparing a family meal. Working with a parent, share ideas for the family meal, go shopping for ingredients, and work together in preparing the meal.

Comment below on which challenge looks interesting for your family.

Please let us know how your challenge turns out. Sharing our experiences can be a positive motivator for others to start a challenge,too.

Stocking stuffer ideas that encourage outdoor play

Here are a few suggestions to fill your stockings that get your kids outside during the winter break.

*A new pair of warm and fuzzy socks

*Hand and feet warmers for outside play

*A blow up snow tube for sledding

*Ear muffs, scarf, new mittens or hat

*Snow paints or snow markers for colorful fun

*Snow-Lights to decorate a snow fort or igloo

*Tickets to a local snow tubing or tobogganing chute

 

Holiday Playdate Ideas

Holiday Break Playdate Ideas

Every child looks forward to the holiday break from school and the typical daily routine. It is that magical time to spend with family and friends.  It is the perfect time to set up playdates with friends from school, cousins and/or neighbors.  Here are some ideas for making these playdates fun and memorable.

  • Free Play

Free play is a great way to start any playdate. Children need and enjoy free imaginative playtime.  It fosters creativity, negotiation skills and independence.  Free play can often take up half of a playdate.

  • Painting

Set up a special project for the playdate that each child can keep, such as painting projects from your local craft store.  Sticker scenes are another K-3 Climbers favorite for children.

$3 for six door hangers
Use markers or paint to decorate

Great for an keepsake gift!

 

 

  • Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!

Making cookies together is a fun activity on a playdate as well. I suspect you may even have a few offers to taste test the final product. In the winter, consider making hot chocolate, too.

  • Movie and Popcorn

Hanging out with a friend and sharing a movie is not just for adults. Kids love it too. Although it is important to limit the amount of screen time, sharing a movie is a great bonding experience.

  • Lego Extravaganza

Bust out a big bed sheet and let the Lego building begin. The sheet helps to keep the Lego pieces in a set space and making them easier to find. Put several Legos out for the playdate buddies to go to town in developing a city, a space adventure, or whatever.

  • Indoor Camping

Pitch a tent inside with sleeping bags and flashlights, and watch the excitement appear.

  • Drama/Dress Up

Display some dress up clothes or costumes for the kids to use in putting on a play or just dancing around.

Feel free to share your favorite playdate ideas in our comments. Don’t forget to enjoy some hot chocolate and cookies,too. You’ve earned it!

5 Tips for Creating Holiday Traditions

Here are 5 simple tips for creating meaningful traditions with your family.

  1. Write an annual letter to your children and loved ones. Highlight observations from the year, as well as things you are grateful for, or love about them, and place the letters in the stockings. For example: “I love how you wake up each morning with a smile, and the determination to tackle the day.
  2. Select a special ornament that signifies an important event in your child’s life that year. Maybe a bicycle to represent learning to ride a bike that year, or a nutcracker to remind your child of seeing his/her first performance.”
  3. Shop together for a Secret Santa gift for a charity, or volunteer locally to serve others.
  4. Start a Gratitude Jar for your family. Throughout the month of December, have family members record what each person is grateful for on strips of paper. Beginning on New Years day, pull 2-3 strips to share aloud at dinner.
  5. Purchase new Pajamas to be opened on Christmas Eve, and watch a favorite family movie together. Top off the night with reading a favorite Holiday classic!
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