Here you will find helpful tips for issues involving your toddler and preschooler.

Social Skills In Preschool

In preschool, your child will learn many types of skills. Reading books together in which the characters are going through the same thing can also help your preschooler develop these important skills. Below are four books in which the characters are learning some of the same skills as your preschooler. Consider adding these to your next stack from the library.

social skills

In preschool, your child will learn many types of skills. Your child will practice separating from you at drop off time. He will learn to adjust to new situations, to make new friends, to listen to others, and form some first friendships. All of these things develop with time, patience, and practice. Reading books together in which the characters are going through the same thing can also help your preschooler develop these important skills.

Below are four books in which the characters are learning some of the same skills as your preschooler. Consider adding these to your next stack from the library.

The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn Chester Raccoon just wants to stay with his Mom. Despite her assurances about how great school is, Chester would rather stay home. Chester's Mom sends him off with a special secret (The Kissing Hand) that makes the transition much easier.

Chester's Way, by Kevin Henkes This is the story of Chester and his friend Wilson, who know just how they like things. From shoelaces to sandwich cutting, these two are best friends. And then Lilly moves into the neighborhood. She turns things upside down and teaches us all about making new friends.

Otis, by Janie Bynum Otis just doesn't fit in with his family. Despite being a pig, he likes things neat and tidy. And he does not want to roll in the mud! One day, Otis meets a frog with a mud problem. The solution, and the friendship, will leave your preschooler smiling.

I Like Me!, by Nancy Carlson Another story about a pig, this book is about loving who you are, an important message to send to kids. "I like my curly tail, my round tummy and my tiny little feet," the pig says. "When I make a mistake, I try and try again!" A comforting story about loving the special things about you.

Each of these books provides an opportunity to talk with your child about what's happening with the characters and what's happening at preschool. Your child will appreciate a safe and fun setting for sharing their feelings.

Three Priceless Reasons You Should Not Smoke Around Children

no smokingSmoking indoors or in a car tends to concentrate the smoke for children to breathe in.

Very few homes are designed to ventilate tobacco smoke out in such a way as to render it harmless to others. Children who live in these homes are forced to breathe the smoke as it comes off of the original burning tobacco. They continue to breathe the particles left over in the home's atmosphere until it is filter by the heating and air conditioning systems. The fact that significant amounts of this residue remains is proved by the smell that permeates the home and all of its contents. This smell is readily apparent to visitors who do not smoke.

The small size of the cabin area of cars makes the concentration of smoke even more severe. Since modern cars are designed to be driven year round with the windows shut, even the prospect of fresh exterior air circulating to limit the smoke is not going to happen. If the child happens to have a condition like asthma, a car can begin to seem like it does not even have air inside to breathe.

Indoor smoking compels your children wear the smell out in public.

The scent of tobacco smoke not only lingers in the furniture, carpet, and building materials of the house, it collects in clothing in the closets. When the children go to school or other places, they will now have to smell like to tobacco smoke. This can be a problem for young people with the risk being singled out for their odor by their peers. Even recently laundered clothing will be recharged with the odor within minutes of being stored with other clothing. Hair can absorb the tobacco odor, too


You And The Terrible Twos

terrible twosEvery stage of development with your baby introduces new and exciting challenges. The first few months you might ask yourself, “When will he sleep through the night?” Then before the end of the first year it’s all about, “When will he start walking?” Maybe you’ll move on to, “When will he start eating” or “When will he stop eating?” Then there will come a day, possibly, where you might ask, “When will the terrible twos end?” The terrible twos just sound so negative to me. We don’t have the threatening threes or the frightening fours… so why do we have the terrible twos? Also, why the twos? I mean, this behavior could start before the age of two or last until after the age of three. Take a deep breath for this one folks. You have no control over when it happens and your best line of defense is patience! Hang in there. It won’t last forever and believe it, or not, there are some strategies for dealing with this most challenging time of your child’s life.

You might be wondering why your child has suddenly starting behaving like a little monster. He’s hitting, biting, defying you with an aggressive “NO!”, or simply ignoring you completely while going on his merry, destructive way. You’ll ask people what happened to your sweet little angel, that smiling happy baby you used to hold in your lap while he cooed back at you. He still does sometimes, but more often you are pulling your hair out trying to figure out where you went wrong. It’s at this age or to be more specific, this stage of life that your child is going through some very big changes. He’s suddenly realizing that the word just might NOT revolve around him. This could be a great disappointment. I’d be disappointed if I found out that the world I thought was all about me really wasn’t just about me at all. Learning that other people have feelings too? That’s pretty hard stuff to comprehend for a two-year-old. To make matters even worse, he doesn’t know how to communicate all these feelings. Understanding that your child is going through these changes and frustrations might help you to be more patient when you start to see the negative behaviors. So take a deep breath and offer a lot of hugs and reassurances that you will help your child through this.

When you see your child acting out in these negative ways, take a quick inventory of the time, recent activities, and your child’s food intake. Children who are hungry, tired, or bored are going to be the most difficult to deal with. You can almost always stop these things before they become issues. When you are scheduling your days, make sure to include breaks for downtime and snacks. When you are out and about, carry cheese cubes, grapes, crackers, or other healthy, filling snacks to keep the hunger pangs away. Avoid late lunches or meals whenever possible. Hungry kids tend to be unhappy kids and oftentimes, don’t recognize that they are hungry. Similarly, kids will be tired, which is sometimes more obvious because they are rubbing their eyes or having sporadic bursts of energy to keep themselves awake. Routine naps or downtime will help alleviate the tired grumpiness. Routines will also prevent periods of boredom. When kids know what to expect, things run much smoother and during this adjustment period of their lives, the less changes they have to worry about, the less rebellious they will be against the few changes that are naturally occurring. Handling Negative Behavior as it Happens [[AdMiddle] Even if you have set up your preventive measures to limit the negative behaviors your child is exhibiting, you most likely can’t stop it completely. It happens. So, when it does, be prepared to handle it. Be consistent and firm. When your child acts out remove him from the situation and give him a warning. Let him know that the behavior will not be tolerated. If the behavior repeats or continues, use whatever your usual disciplinary measures are. Time-outs are generally helpful in that it allows a child to calm down, gather his thoughts, and report back to you. Allow your child to apologize for his behavior and, if possible, have him repeat back to you what he did that was wrong and why he should not do it again. Even a two-year-old can usually say, in his own way, “I hit my friend. Hitting hurts. Sorry.” Make sure to give your child time to explain to you WHY he was acting out also. You can tell him that it’s OK to be upset or even angry, but instead of using his hands or screaming about it, he should come tell you. “Use your words” is a very common phrase parents use with their children. It’s a good phrase and I definitely recommend it, especially in these types of situations. Sometimes you might need to put the words out there for your child. “Do you feel mad?” “Is this game too hard?” You could even ask, “What can I do to help?” Give your child the opportunity to explore his feelings so he can deal with them, instead of just giving in to them. In a moment of honesty, I have to admit that even as an adult, I sometimes have feelings that are difficult to communicate and I, too, give in to frustration. I think it happens to all of us at one time or another. Imagine being this tiny little child and having that great amount of frustration and no ability to communicate it. Remember this when your child is acting out in what you think are the “terrible twos” and it might give you some more compassion as to who it’s actually more terrible for. Hang in there moms and dads! This phase will pass and with a little help from you, your child will move on to the next phase of life! Let’s hope it’s the “I want to help clean my room” phase! -

New Baby Sibling-Helping Your Older Child (or Children) Adjust

What do I need to know about adding a new baby   into our family? Sibling rivalry usually starts right after, (or even before) the arrival of the second child.   The older child often becomes aggressive, “acts out” or even regresses.    Regression means acting more like a baby—for example, by wanting a bottle,   or peeing in their pants.  It’s important to prepare your older child when you   know you are expecting a new baby.  Kids need to know what to expect, and they   need time to adjust.  After your baby arrives, there are many things you can do   to make the adjustment easier.
Having a new baby in the family may be   one of the tougher things your older child has to deal with.  However, it may   eventually be one of the greatest gifts you can give them.
How can I prepare my child ahead of time for their new   baby sibling?     Here are some things you should do to help prepare   your older child:

  • Tell your child about your pregnancy when you tell your friends.  Your child   needs to hear about it from you, not from someone else.
  • If you plan to move your child to a new bed and/or bedroom, do so well   before the baby arrives, so your older child doesn’t feel displaced by the   baby.  This also goes for any other major changes, like weaning, toilet training,   and starting preschool or child   care.
  • Check with your hospital about sibling preparation classes and hospital   tours.
  • Bring your child to prenatal visits so they can meet your birth attendant.
  • Give them a realistic idea of what to expect when the baby first arrives.    You will be tired, and the baby will take lots of your time.  The baby will not   be able to do much at first, except eat, sleep, poop, pee and cry. The baby will   not be a playmate.
  • Visit friends with a new baby, if possible.
  • Read books about pregnancy, birth, newborns, and baby siblings with your   child (see below for some suggestions).  Give them a chance to ask questions,   voice concerns, and vent feelings inspired by the books. girl kissing mom's pregnant belly
  • Look at pictures/video of your older child’s birth and babyhood.  Tell them   about their birth and what they were like as a baby.  Tell them how excited you   were when they were born, and how everyone wanted to see them and hold them.
  • Have your child practice holding a doll and supporting the head.  Teach them   how to touch and hold a baby very gently.
  • Let them participate in preparations in any way possible.  Give them   choices, such as choosing the baby’s coming home outfit from two acceptable   options.
  • Should your child be present for the baby’s birth?  Many families have found   this to be a very positive experience, but it is not necessarily right for every   family. If you do decide to have your child at the birth, make sure you have an   adult caregiver whose only job is to be there for the child. Prepare   your child thoroughly, by watching videos of births with them, bringing them to   midwife or OB appointments, and talking with them about what it may be like. It   may be nice to give them a special, age-appropriate job, such as cutting the   umbilical cord or putting on the hat.

Why is it hard for an older child to adjust to a new   baby?             There are many things that can contribute to a difficult   adjustment:

  • Research indicates that a child’s personality has the most effect on how   they react to a new baby.
  • Children with the closest relationships with their mothers show the most   upset after the baby is born.
  • Children with a close relationship with their father seem to adjust better.
  • Your child’s developmental stage may affect how well they can share your   attention.  Often two-year-olds have lots of trouble getting used to a new baby,   because their needs for time and closeness from their parents are still great.
  • Stress on the family can make your older child’s adjustment harder.
  • See Sibling   Rivalry on YourChild for more on causes.

To get a sense of how your older child might feel about the   addition of the new baby, imagine this:  Imagine that your partner puts an arm around you and says,   "Honey, I love you so much, and you're so wonderful that I've decided to have   another wife (or husband or partner) just like you."  When the new wife (or   husband or partner) finally arrives, you see that (s)he's very young and kind of   cute. When the three of you are out together, people say hello to you politely,   but exclaim ecstatically over the newcomer. "Isn't (s)he adorable! Hello   sweetheart... You are precious!" Then they turn to you and ask, "How do you like   the new wife (or husband or partner)?" 
How can I help my child adjust to the new baby once it’s   here?

  • Set aside special time for your older child.  Each parent should spend some   one-on-one with the older child every day.  It’s amazing how much even just 10   minutes of uninterrupted one-on-one time can mean to your child (and help their   behavior!).  Let your child choose the activity, and you follow their lead.
  • Listen—really listen—to how your child feels about the baby and the changes   in your family.  If they express negative feelings, acknowledge them.  Help your   child put their feelings into words.  Never deny or discount your   child’s feelings.
  • Make sure it is very clear that absolutely no hurting is allowed.  Give your   child other ways to express bad or angry feelings they may have toward the   baby.  For example, they could draw an angry picture of the baby, or act out   their wishes with dolls, or roar like a lion.
  • “Baby” your child, if that’s what they seem to crave.  This may help stave   off regression in areas that are less acceptable to you.  There is a tendency to   suddenly expect your child to become more independent when you have a new baby.    If you expect less independence, you are more likely to get more!
  • Have the new baby and older child exchange gifts.
  • Have some special “big brother” or “big sister” gifts to give your child as   friends and relatives start showing up with baby gifts, so your older child   won’t feel left out. girl kissing baby sib's hand
  • Remind visitors to pay attention to your older child, and not just the baby.
  • Make sure the older child has some special, private space, and things of   their own that they don’t have to share with the baby.
  • Give them special jobs that they can do to help the family and help with the   baby’s care (but don’t overdo it—take your cue from your child on this).
  • Let them participate in the baby’s care—baths, dressing, pushing the   stroller, etc.
  • Point out the benefits of being an older child, like choosing what to eat,   being able to go the park and play, and having friends.

What other resources (including Spanish   information) are there?

Are there any good books for parents on adding a   new sibling into the family?             Either of these books would be helpful   to read while you are expecting your second (or third) child.  Both address many   issues, including parents’ feelings about a second pregnancy; helping your   firstborn adjust; understanding rivalry issues; the father's role; setting up a   family birth plan; and managing two or more kids while sustaining your marriage.

  • From One Child to Two:  What to Expect, How to Cope, and How to Enjoy   Your Growing Family, by Judy Dunn.
  • And Baby Makes Four : Welcoming a Second Child into the Family, by   Hilory Wagner

What books can I read to my child to help with   adjusting to the new baby?             There are lots of great children’s books   about pregnancy, birth, adoption, and new baby siblings.  Reading books with   your child will help them prepare for and understand what is happening in your   family.  Books about feelings will help your child know that all their mixed-up   feelings are normal and okay.  Books can spark conversations between you and   your child about their worries, questions, and feelings about the new baby.

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