Tag Archives: child development

Activities Summer

Livin’ Wild and Free

What To Do With Your Kids During the Summer

It’s summer time and the living’s easy. At least, for some of us, for others, however, it’s become something of a frustrating period. It’s hot, kids are out of school, and if you’re a stay at home parent, you’re likely panicking over what tobeach play do with them all day. For whatever reason when the temperatures climb higher, kids, unlike their parents, have an influx of energy. The high heat and humidity does nothing to dim their excitement, leaving parents even more tired and their toddlers more restless than during the cooler months.

Take my cousin, for example. A mother of two, she’s a stay at home mom who has her hands full with her eldest, who is eight, and her youngest, who is four. No matter the day, no matter what’s been done already during the week, and no matter how much energy they may have expelled in the hours before, they are still always craving for something more to keep their blood pumping. From summer camps and sleep-aways, to family vacations, my cousin has out did herself, trying to keep her little ones entertained during the long stretch of vacation. Only, there comes a point when the money runs out, and suddenly you’re left scratching your head, looking for things to do to occupy your kids.

Fortunately, when this happens, there’s always a handful of free activities to partake in, giving your kids back their summer fun, while keeping your pocket full in the mean time.

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Uncategorized

Join the Club: the Babysitter’s Club

Tips for Searching for the Right Baby Sitter

Like most every teenage girl, I spent a great amount of time searching for babysitting jobs in my neighborhood to make some extra cash. Particularly as a preteen, after the boom of “the Babysitter’s Club”, I took my career seriously, investing in name cards for my would-be clients and posters signaling my desire to further my career. All this while gathering with my best friend, and neighbor, to make our plan of attack for the summer camp we’d create to watch our sure to be huge influx of clients. Of course, preschool playour summer camp never happened, my mom promptly removed my posters from telephone poles, and my client’s name cards went, for the most part, unused. I guess in a world where it’s hard to trust just anyone, my mom wasn’t willing to put my phone number or information out there for the world to see.

My how times have changed.

These days, looking for a babysitter for your young ones is not only much easier to do, but slightly more stressful as well. With things such as iPhones and computers taking over our pre-teen and teenager’s worlds, it’s hard to separate the responsible, from those who simply want the house alone for the night. Not to mention, there’s always the problem of finding someone available on the days and times that you need them. A night after work is often problematic for those still in school, while a weekend night might turn your potential sitter off because it’s likely their night off as well. Granted, you’d think that a sitter seriously looking at looking toward making some money will of course jump at the chance to work regardless of the night, but unfortunately that’s not always the case.

With so many factors playing a role in your babysitting needs, and your child’s care resting in the palm of their teen hands, it’s important to take considerable thought over who you choose to care for your toddler.

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Child Development

Bully On Me Part II

Advice for Dealing With Bullies

When I was little, I was teased mercilessly for a variety of things. In preschool it was for my smile, because it wasn’t like everyone else’s smiles and only showed my top row of teeth. While in the third grade it was because my last name was the same as the gasoline provider at camp (causing me to promptly be called ‘Gas’ for the remainder of the year), and in sixth grade it was because my body was adjusting to that ever loving period of life: puberty. It wasn’t until years later as an adult that I even realized that I was something more than a punching bag, or for that matter, that others were teased just as much as I was at some point or another. Now looking back, I’m able to recognize that bullies are everywhere, waiting to prey on those even mildly different from them.

What is perhaps most startling to find, is that bullying does not wait until we’ve reached our brain’s full capacity of understanding. As discussed in a previous post, bullying begins as young as the preschool level, before preschoolers even understand what they’re doing. At 3-5 years old, our kids are only just beginning to learn how to articulate what they mean to say 1415869_31101194and think, while trying to wrap themselves in the world around them. While this is happening, however, they partake in roles around the playground, finding him or herself as either the alpha or underdog, as bullying patterns are created and honed. Because this age group is unaware of what they are doing and is only exerting qualities of their own personality, it’s important for we—the parents—to keep a keen eye and handle the situations as they come.
If you think your child is exhibiting early signs of bullying you’ll want to visit this post here for advice and tips for how to help your child learn how not to act, if your child is the subject of the bullying, you’ll want to keep reading.

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Child Development

Well Bully On You Part I

Advice for Dealing With Bullies

I’d say it’s safe to assume that at some point in each of our lives, we’ve been the target of bullying in some way, shape, or form. Particularly with the uproar of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, cyber-bullying in particular has become a problem with school-aged children as young as fourth and fifth grade. This, of course, is due in large part to our children growing up too fast in a world that is developing at an equally alarming rate, but nevertheless is cause for concern in parents and teachers alike. But when does bullying really begin? And how, once it’s begun, can we as parents and preschool San Diego teachers learn to end it quickly and swiftly.preschool bullying

Firstly, while preschoolers might not have the problems that their future selves will certainly have (puberty, crushes, ect…), and while they most definitely do not need to worry about cyber-bullying issues, they do encounter first hand bullying situations on an everyday basis. From the little girl who openly invites Susie, Sally, and Annie over to play after school, while leaving Cassie out, to the little boy who continually rejects Peter from playing in his sandbox but no one else, bullying is a very real problem. While most children might display feelings of hurt or anger at being forced to the sidelines, others will likely forget their feelings by the end of the day and move on, leaving parents none the wiser about bullying in the preschool San Diego school yard.

Luckily, handling the early signs and stages of bullying is something that most preschool teachers are prepared to do, but even so, understanding what you—the parent—can do while your child is outside of the preschool San Diego realm, can help but a stop to bullying before it gets out of hand as well.

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Activities Child Development Summer

Float On

Helping Your Preschooler Overcome A Fear of the Water

In case anyone’s keeping track, spring is quickly approaching its end. Here in San Diego, we’ve been experiencing something like the last dregs of winter, however, but per the calendar; the warmest time of the year is quickly on its way in. With something close to only four weeks left until summer solstice takes place, the stores have quickly filled with outdoor patio furniture, barbecues, Fourth of July gear, and swimming supplies. Despite summer’s June 21 start date, anyone who’s everyone knows that summer really begins on Memorial Day weekend, leaving you and your family only a short week and a half from the beginning of outdoor cookouts, short sleeves, and pool days.

My own husband only in recent years has decided he’s comfortable in the water, having spent the majority of his life hovering preschooler swimmingclose to the edge from a traumatizing near-drowning experience as a child. Unfortunately for him, despite his fears he was never reintroduced to the water, leaving him uncertain of its depths, and fierce oceanic waves. Yet, as he’s grown older he’s spent his time learning to cope with the fear and now even water-skis when we visit our family’s lake house.

No matter a person’s age, fear of the water can strike when you least expect it, but for those of us with preschool aged children, that fear seems to be a constant issue. Luckily, this summer you can start your toddler off early and get them in the water. Whether they have been in the water and are uncomfortable or if it’s an experience you will be embarking upon for the first time, getting your child to be accepting of the water early on will help keep them from being fearful in their later years, leaving you free to hit the beach or pool throughout the summer.

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Child Development

Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk

Helping You Deal With Your Toddler’s Shyness

Over spring break, my older cousin and his family came out to San Diego to visit. Aside from being excited to see my cousin, who was always more like a brother than a cousin, I was overjoyed to see his two kids, both of whom are under the age of five and hardly know me. Given that I see his kids usually only twice a year and that they are both at ages where strangers make them uncomfortable, his kids have a tendency to clam up quickly when in their distant family member’s presence. In fact his oldest, Hannah, not only instantly ducked her head into her daddy’s shoulder when I said hello, but wouldn’t talk to me until two days after they’d come to visit.preschool

This, in contrast to the two young cousins who live in the same city as me, and my cousin’s wife was panicking slightly, worrying if her kids would ever be as comfortable around their extended family to exchange more than a handful of glances. Knowing a thing about the toddler age group, I attempted to lull my cousin’s concerns about her children, insisting that shyness is something they’re likely to grow out of—at least to an extent. This tied in with the fact that she mentioned that it’s not something that suddenly occurred and rather was shyness noticed over the past several years, and I begged her not to worry. Some toddlers, I explained, are naturally quiet in social situations. Some even grow up to be quiet adults, comfortable in their introspective personalities, which is perfectly normal and often not something to ever be concerned with. However, for parents unsure of their child’s inability to hold eye contact with friends and family, or for those kids who have problems with verbal communication there are some tips and tricks to put to use to help assuage the problems.

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Activities Spring

Children Laugh In Flowers

Gardening and Your Preschooler

Unless you’ve been entirely out of the loop, you’d agree with me on the point that personal gardens have made a big comeback. Even heading to the grocery store on most days I’m bombarded by seed packets, fresh herb bunches, and soil to feed my flourish seedlings. Aside from being a very fruitful—pun intended—endeavor for me, gardening brings a sense of peace and calm to an otherwise stressful day, while prov1440603_72605143iding nourishing food for my family. But the perks of gardening don’t stop there, for my preschooler especially having a garden has proven to be nothing but beneficial.

Particularly for those San Diego preschoolers, living in a world of near constant sunshine and warmth, gardening is an amazing way to get your preschooler outdoors and interacting with nature (more on that here). By having my toddler help with watering, weeding, and harvesting I help them observe, discover, experiment, nurture, and learn about the world around them. With observation and discovery comes the realization that plants, both big and small, must be cared for properly, and with this comes a growing sense of responsibility in your child. This sense of responsibility increases a toddler’s understanding and desire to nurture a positive environment for their plants and flowers, which in turn feeds their understanding of the world around them.

Additionally, studies have shown that toddlers that help with gardening early on in life develop and encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables. Toddlers who help with gardening are less likely to question the green on our their dinner plates, and more likely to accept the vegetables that they themselves have not only grown, but picked for their meal.

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Activities Spring

Spring Clean-A-Bloomin’

How To Let Your Toddler Help You Clean

Like I mentioned in a previous post (visit here), spring has definitely sprung in San Diego. Here in southern California, we’re only twelve short days into the spring season and already, we’ve hit our highs of 90’s and lows of 70’s, leaving us just shy of a typical summer day. With spring being the current season and with flowers and allergies-a-bloomin’, (does this remind anyone else of Meryl Streep in the Devil Wears Prada, “Florals, for spring. How ground-breaking,”? No? Just me? Moving on, then.) We’re not only more likely to spend our time outside basking in the long forgotten sun, but we’re more apt to make room for the things in our lives that we 1445426_32607218can’t otherwise fit.

There’s a reason that it’s called “spring cleaning” and not “winter wash” or “fall hose down”, and it’s because with spring comes a sense of renewal. As the bulbs break free from their soil in the ground, so do our souls yearn to break free of the clutter in our lives. If nothing else, spring-cleaning is the perfect excuse to gut that corner closet that you’ve been too afraid to open for a year, or to go through your toddler’s toys and decide what they can and cannot live without. Of course, if you’re anything like me, then your toddler has a penchant for making sure they’re present whenever toys that they haven’t seen in awhile make an appearance, making cleaning with a toddler nearly impossible. If this is you, then read on for tips and tricks for cleaning with your preschooler.

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Child Development

Everybody Wants To Be A Dinosaur

Imaginary Play and Preschoolers

Have you ever looked at your toddler and wondered what it must be like to see the world through their eyes? I’m not talking about their eye-level of course, that’s old news with the invention of extra durable cameras, but the actual going-on inside their minds. I myself recall a moment in elementary school wherein I had fully convinced myself that I was flying on an imaginary carpet, going back even further I had a stuffed asparagus that engaged in all of my adventures. His name was Tony, and my mother tells me that when I was little, I told her that he had a French accent. You just can’t make this stuff up.preschool

Then in high school I got my first, adult-like look into the child’s eye, working as an assistant pre-school teacher in my Regional Occupation Program. One child in particular, really struck my attention as I would find her roaming the playground, on hands and knees, growling at invisible—to me at least—objects. Her name was Iris[1], she was an adorable blonde-haired, blue-eyed preschooler, who also happened to be a dinosaur. Each day I watched young Iris spend her outside time, crawling on her hands and knees, growling to her fellow dinosaurs (all of which were entirely invisible to the grown person’s eye) as a form of communication. In the moment that I asked her what she was playing, she turned to me, eyes confused, and responded simply “I’m a dinosaur.”

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Activities Spring

Spring Has Sprung

Getting Your Preschooler To Spend Time Outdoors

Well folks, it’s official. Despite what the groundhog might’ve said six weeks ago, spring has definitely sprung—and for those of us in southern California it’s sprung in a big way. Last weekend we were hit with a heat wave, which even as I type, is still stifling the outside air. Our last weekend of winter was spent in ninety-degree, dry, allergy-inducing heat. Now for those of you not in southern California, you may be rolling your eyes, and wondering why this is such a big deal. To you I say, I understand. Well, kind of, in all honesty while I was preschoolwalking around the mall the other day, looking at all of the bathing suits and shorts, I couldn’t help but reminisce on that one real week of winter we had. But that was it, one.

With the sun shining bright, and the winter gloom quickly disappearing, the urge to spend time outside is greater than ever. No longer do we need to bundle up and brace the chill (or in my case sixty degree weather—brrr), but shorts and flip-flops are calling our names. But what about for our kids? In a world where the web and iPhones rule our lives, the inclination to get outside and get some sun has dwindled greatly.

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