Early Childhood

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Technology Free Trends

Technology Free Trends

Have you heard about the pledge that numerous families are taking to spend one evening a week completely free of all things technology?

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz centered around the movement “Tech Free Tuesday’s”. It seems there are a billions ways that technology can distract both adults and children every second of everyday… Let’s see, there is Facebook, Twitter, Instragram, video games, Netflix, cable, movies, etc.. etc.. etc… The list literally goes on and on!

Watson’s Furniture Store wants to help by sponsoring Tech-Free Tuesday, where you pledge to go tech-free – even for just a few hours in the evening – by signing up here. When you pledge, you’ll also be entered to win one of four $1,000 gift cards to Watson's! I have heard numerous radio stations in Cincinnati marketing this movement to "Take the Tech Free Pledge."

Could you and your family spend one whole evening completely free of all things technology?

 Tech Free Tips and Sample Ideas

  • Pick a night that is most convenient for your family. It can be ANY NIGHT throughout the week. 
  • Spring is in the air!! Why not spend your tech free night with your family by taking a hike, going to the park, or creating a scavenger hunt!!
  • Have dinner OUTSIDE! Plan a picnic for a marvelous Tech Free dinner!
  • Host a family game night.
  • Volunteer! Playing with animals at the local shelter, visiting with residents in the nursing home, cooking and serving a meal at a soup kitchen – there are countless ways you can make a difference together as a family by volunteering your precious time and hard work. Did you know that you do not even even have to leave home to volunteer? You could spend the evening writing letters and assembling care packages for the troops with Operation Gratitude or clean out the kitchen cabinets and assemble donations for the local food pantry!

  • Spend an evening reminiscing and documenting your family memories together during a scrapbooking session!

  • Read Together! There are a ton of great books that both kids and adults will enjoy reading out loud to each other. A couple ideas for book series that your family may enjoy reading out loud together: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Harry Potter series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, Nancy Drew mysteries, If You Give a Mouse a Cookies series, etc!
  • As the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers,” so here’s a bonus idea for those rainy Tech Free Nights! Check out this page at Parents.com where you can search for indoor activities by theme, ages of your kids and materials you already have on-hand!

There are plenty more GREAT ideas for ways you and your family could spend their Tech Free Evening at http://techfreetuesday.com/.

Best of luck with this "Tech Free" challenge!

 

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Social & Emotional Development- The Kindness Tree Activity

Social and Emotional Development- The Kindness Tree Activity

With Mother-Nature FINALLY sending us some Springtime weather... I thought it would be a great time to post some activities that can help promote your children's Social and Emotional Development, while enjoying the beautiful outdoors!

Have you heard of The Kindness Tree Activity?

The Kindness Tree Activity can assist children and parents together in exploring acts of kindness.

Materials Needed:

  • flowers made from colored paper or real flowers that can be safely picked from nature.
  • a tree (trunk, branches, leaves) made of construction paper or real tree leaves, branches, and bark from nature.

Directions
Make a "Kindness Tree" with your children, and show them how to make it bloom.

  1. Comprehend kindness: Have your children name ways that they can be nice to people. Ask questions to prompt ideas: What can you say to make someone feel better when he's/she's sad? How can you help each other every day? What special things can you do to show your friends you like/care about them?
  1. Count kindness: Each day, ask your children to share ways that they have been kind or helpful to a friend or family member, or ways that a friend or family member has been kind to them.
  1. Commemorate kindness: Write down each example on a paper flower and tape it to the tree.

Take It Further

 Have your children take photos of people who have been kind. Encourage them to make drawings to illustrate their experiences. Add these photos and drawings to your Kindness Tree or even create a book to commemorate all things kind!

With a Group

 With a group of children participating, your Kindness Tree will bloom even more! Help children read the flowers: Can they find their names? Can they find the names of their friends?

Related Books that may assist with exploring kindness even more:

  • Alfie Lends a Hand by Shirley Hughes
  • Tucking Mommy In by Morag Loh
  • The Berenstain Bears: Kindness Counts by Jan Berenstain and Mike Berenstain 
  • Sharing: How Kindness Grows by Fran Shaw 
  • Have You Filled a Bucket Today?: A Guide to DAily Happiness for Kids by Carol McCloud

Based on an activity in Play and Learn with Arthur, Volume 1 on PBS Parents Online Website: http://www.pbs.org/parents/arthur/activities/acts/kindness_tree.html?cat=development. Retrieved on April 1, 2015.

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Teaching Children to Problem Solve & Self-Regulate

Teaching Children to Problem Solve and Self-Regulate

Please consider your own personal opinions for the following two questions:

  1. Why would you assisting our children to learn problem solving skills help them in school, with friendships, and later in life?
    •  Problem solving skills can assist children in developing: friendships, anger management coping skills, identification and verbalizations of feelings, building children self-confidence/self-esteem, promoting their independence, etc.) 
  2. What does it mean to self-regulate? Why is it important for children to obtain this skill?

Problem Solving Steps:

  1. Identify the problem through feelings (sad, angry, frustrated, disappointed, worried, fearful, etc.)
  2. Define the Problem
  3. State the Goals
  4. Brainstorm Solutions
  5. Evaluate the Solutions and Make a Good Choice (Is it safe? Fair? Lead to good feelings?)
  6. Evaluate the Success of the Solution that was Chosen

Principles for Teaching Children to Problem Solve and Self-Regulate

  • Model creative problem solving yourself when you're faced with a problem (for example: deciding what's for dinner, where to park, what movie to watch on movie night, etc.)
  • Encourage your child to play games to learn problem solving skills. Coach them through a problem if it arises during the game.
  • Use stories, puppets, toys, and cartoons to make problem solving fun. Use these as a way of role playing common problem situations that your child encounters. For example, if you child has difficulty sharing toys while at school, you can each be a puppet and have the puppets practice sharing. This is another great way to model positive problem solving skills.
  • Talk about feelings.
  • Help your child to define their problems.
  • Be positive and imaginative.
  • Encourage children to think through various consequences (positive and negative) of the different solutions that they come up with.
  • Clarify the problem situation and help your child identify the feelings involved.
  • Encourage your child to think of as many solutions as possible.
  • Praise your child’s attempts at thinking of solutions and model these for your child.
  • Encouraged to be an “Emotion Coach” by labeling/talking about different emotions during play and throughout your daily activities, providing books about feelings, walking through how to cope with your own emotions, and providing your child with a safe place to express his/her feelings.
  • Remember to praise your child when they safely expresses their feelings and letting them know how proud you feel when they talks about his/her feelings with you.
  • REMEMBER, at first it is the process of learning how to think about conflict that is critical, rather than getting the answers correct.

It is important to remember, one problem solving session will not teach your child all of the skills needed for problem solving; it will take hundreds of learning trials and much patience.

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