Behind Every Child Behavior, There is a Feeling

Behind Every Child Behavior, There is a Feeling

Challenging behavior in young children often triggers strong reactions in parents and caregivers. When parents feel angry, overwhelmed, frustrated or embarrassed, it can be difficult to figure out what is driving a young child’s actions. Sometimes a child may even seem to be trying to get a rise out of their parent! But behind every child’s behavior is a feeling that they’re experiencing, too. When parents and caregivers learn to recognize the feelings behind their children’s behaviors, parenting is easier. Also, the more parents understand about their children’s behaviors, the closer they feel to their children and the better they can express care and love to them. Children who feel cared for and loved develop stronger social-emotional skills like confidence and self-esteem, which make it easier for them to manage their emotions so they can do better in school and beyond. The behaviors babies and toddlers use to communicate with their parents and caregivers depend a lot on their age and development. Very young babies cry when they’re hungry, uncomfortable, or tired. As they get older, they learn to communicate using words, facial expressions, and gestures, too. By observing their children closely, and with a little practice, parents and caregivers can learn to translate the behavior they see—throwing food off a high-chair, for example, or having a tantrum when dropped off at child care. The effort to understand the feelings behind a child’s behavior can bring a parent and child closer, and help that parent teach their child the social-emotional skills they will need to learn and grow. But how do you know if a baby is crying at...
Back in the Habit: New Routines to Kick-Off the School Year

Back in the Habit: New Routines to Kick-Off the School Year

Summer is almost over, and that means one very important thing: back to school season has begun! In the next few weeks and months, families across the country will start preparing for a new year full of learning — both inside the classroom and beyond. For many families, this season marks the beginning of a brand new routine as their little ones get ready to start school for the very first time. The transition from summertime to school time can be difficult for parents, caregivers, and children. That’s why this week, we’re exploring ways to help ease the process and make the most of your back to school or child care routines. Research shows that simple, predictable routines can help children develop new, healthy habits that will help them start each day ready to learn and experience the world around them. For example, having a routine can help your baby learn self control as well as guide positive behavior. Make a School Year’s Resolution To empower parents with practical advice to support their child’s overall development, NBC News Education Nation is sharing a free Parent Toolkit so you can support the students in your life who are preparing to go back to school. Whether you’re a parent, a grandparent, another family member or even a teacher, you can help make a difference. Make a School Year’s Resolution with the Parent Toolkit community and be entered to win gift cards for back‐to‐school supplies. Share your School Year Resolution and join the community by visiting ParentToolkit.com.   Tip of the Week Sing lullabies with your baby every night. As part of encouraging consistent bedtime...
The Special Role of Moms

The Special Role of Moms

This week we are celebrating mothers and the special bond they share with their babies, which plays an enormous role in children’s early development. Maternal bonds help children build a strong sense of safety and self-esteem, which are vital to healthy social-emotional development. It starts with simple, everyday interactions. Talking, reading and singing about the things you see and do together is a great way to start building bonds from birth! Research shows that the emotional bond created between a mother and her baby can help build healthy bodies and minds! How do you create this bond? By being responsive to your baby’s needs: soothing her when she cries, comforting her when she’s upset, and interacting with her on a daily basis. Lots of warm hugs, kisses, and smiles build bonds, too! Bonding with your newborn baby is a very important and pleasurable aspects of parenting, for both mothers and fathers. Check out this great resource to learn all you need to know about bonding with your baby Tip of The Week Newborn babies –even if they can’t talk yet—love to hear your voice and can respond to your words, touch and eye-to-eye contact. Hold your baby close and talk with him or her. You can talk about anything: your day, a story, what you are doing in the moment. Your baby will love the attention and the sound of your voice! In Case You Missed It     Newborn babies –even if they can’t talk yet—love to hear your voice and can respond to your words, touch and eye-to-eye contact. Hold your baby close and talk with him or...
Developing Your Child’s Sense of Humor

Developing Your Child’s Sense of Humor

Did you know that babies make jokes before they can even talk? They are little comedians! Research shows that even babies can try to act goofy and make you laugh. Humor starts early and has many benefits for children’s development. Laughing together is a great way to bond with your child, and a sense of humor can boost children’s self-esteem and help them handle challenges. Here are some helpful resources to start giggling together: A sense of humor is a learned quality that you can help your child develop! Depending on their age, children appreciate different types of humor. Find out what’s funny to your little one so you can laugh together and help her learn to appreciate and share humor. To encourage your children to develop a sense of humor, create a humor-rich environment for them. Reading funny books is a great start! Check out this great list of books to look for at your local library. Tip of the Week: Children find humor in the unexpected. That’s why your little one laughs when you put socks on your hands and make funny faces! Children also love rhyming sounds, especially funny rhymes like banana, zanana, fanana. You can even make up silly rhymes using your child’s...
Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Your Children

Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Your Children

Someone once said that parenting is a lot like football:  children are on the offensive (trying to cross the line of scrimmage of our rules) and parents are on the defense (trying to close the gaps and present a barrier that cannot be penetrated).  While the analogy is cute, it has a fundamental flaw in its presuppositions.  As parents, we are on the SAME team as our children, not opposing ones. If we consider ourselves as defender of the rules and expectations of the home and our children as set on breaking them, we create an innately adversarial environment.  This “us against them” mentality undermines what God has in store for us as a family unit.  He has created us as relational beings.  HE is a relational being.  He wants relationship with us; that is why He sent His Son to redeem us.  His desire is that we will be in relationship with the members of our family as well.  Just as the body of Christ functions best when each member does his part, the family functions best when each member is supported and encouraged to do their part.  When one member is “sidelined” the whole team is affected. The idea of a relationship between parents and children has been skewed in our culture.  We have confused relationship with friendship.  We seem to know that the relationship is essential, but often our attempts to achieve this have ventured too far into friendship territory.  It seems like a difficult balance to achieve, but you can have a close and meaningful relationship with your children and still maintain your position as...
Tips for Busy Families

Tips for Busy Families

Make the Commitment: The most important thing in our busy world is to make the intentional choice to have dinner together. Some tips: Turn off technology: Cell phones, work, email, TV. Schedule it: Like you schedule the other appointments in your life, put dinner in your calendar. Instead of Skyping to dinner, go home to dinner and Skype back to work. Be flexible and easy on yourself: If you have a soccer game, bring a picnic. If schedules don’t match, stretch dinner out: Veggies and dip while cooking, dinner with one parent, and dessert with other parent after work. Keep other meals in mind: If dinner isn’t possible, have family breakfast or late night snack. Make it Simple: The last thing you want is more stress. Pre-make meals: Cook a big batch of soup or a double batch of a casserole over the weekend, and freeze it to make weekday dinners easier. Choose meals that are fast to assemble: Meals can be thrown together quickly with help from store-bought ingredients, like pre-cut veggies or pre-made pizza dough. Have everyone pitch in: Getting everyone involved makes dinner easier/faster, not to mention more of a fun event. Encourage kid participation with simple dishes – crepes, tacos, or even a pot of chicken rice soup, which kids can add their favorite toppings to, like chopped carrots or peppers, roasted garlic or sliced cheese. Dishes with bright colors also encourage participation. Make it Fun: The more fun/special parents make meals, the more likely that kids will clamor to keep having them. Create meals based on favorite books, like Green Eggs and Ham or...