Parents as Teachers Newsletter
December is Here!
The end of 2022 is nearly here. We hope the December newsletter finds your family healthy and filled with joy. This time of year can be busy, so we hope you are able to take some time to rest, rejuvenate and soak up memories with your children. Below, you will find some great books to explore, information on holiday safety, creating fun countdowns, winter illness, and maintaining home visits. We look forward to seeing families at the Winter Wonderland Event in January.
Early Childhood Mental Health Newsletter: The Safe Place
When a child is in their survival or emotional state, they are unable to access their problem-solving and higher thinking skills (executive state). This makes it impossible for the child to process information or learn new skills. This is where the Safe Place comes in. The goal of the Safe Place is to help the child learn to regulate their emotions to return to a state of calm where they can access their executive state. We use Safe Places in many of your children’s classrooms.
You can create a Safe Place in your home in order to help children recognize their upsets and learn to self-regulate. Safe places begin with seating (a beanbag, rocking chair, pillows, etc.). If your child is a toddler, make sure there’s enough room to allow for an adult and child to co-regulate together. Your lap is your toddler’s primary Safe Place. The Safe Place can include print outs of breathing icons, either ones from Conscious Discipline or one’s you’ve come up with together. Remember to practice deep breathing with your child when they are calm and able to take in information. This will allow the child to more readily utilize the breaths when they’re upset. Include other items in your child’s Safe Place that they find particularly comforting. Some ideas include fidgets, stress balls, stuffed animals, coloring materials, a hot/cold pack, etc. Sensory elements (touch, texture, temperature) are often helpful.
A useful phrase to use in the Safe Place is, "You’re safe. Breathe with me. You can handle this." The Safe Place is NOT a time out. Children must go to the Safe Place willingly, not forcibly, for it to be calming and effective. A useful phrase to encourage use of the Safe Place in the moment is, "Your body is telling me you’re having a tough time right now. Let’s go to the Safe Place together to calm down." With practice, you may find your child utilizing the Safe Place and returning to an executive state without prompting. This will ultimately lead to internal self-regulation as the child grows and will become their own sense of inner peace.
For more information, please visit our website
Navigating visits during winter weather and illnesses
As we head into the winter months it can become a tricky time for home home visitors. Parent educators and families are faced with an increased exposure to illness. Due to the nature of our job and visiting multiple homes in day we want to ensure we are not taking illnesses from one home to the next. Parent educators also have an added challenge of navigating to homes during winter weather.
There will be times when visits need to be cancelled, however our goal as parent educators is to keep as many appointments as possible. Our number one priority is keeping your family healthy and safe.
HONORING THE APPOINTMENT
We know you have set aside an hour of your time to meet with us and we want to honor the time you are giving us. Your parent educator has also blocked out time in their schedule to meet with you and we ask you to honor that as well. When visits get pushed back, it may be 4-6 weeks before being rescheduled. These delays create challenges in providing continued supports for helping your child meet their goals by the end of the year.
ALTERNATE VISIT OPTIONS
Before you cancel a visit we ask that you please consider switching to a virtual visit. One good thing that came out of COVID was learning we don't have to be in-person to make a great connection with you and your family. Your parent educator is very skilled in meeting virtually as well as in person!! Depending on the situation they may drop off materials needed for the visit ahead of time, send you a list of items to gather from around your home, or they may play some games that don't need any materials at all! Virtual visits may also provide you with and extended time to chat one-on-one with your parent edcuator.
Please switch to a virtual visit if you are someone in your home has experienced any of the symtpoms below within 24 hours.
- Fever or chills
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sore throat
WINTER WEATHER / SCHOOL CLOSURES
Road conditions can vary wildly across the district during snow says. Your parent educator will work with you on a case by case basis to determine if the visit can still be held in person or if it needs to switch to virtual.
If you have any quesitons please chat with your parent educator or call me at 816-321-6530.
Lead Parent Educator
December 6th, Speech and Language Development presented by Meghan Sheldon, NKC SLP (virtual)
- 5:30-6:15 From Babbling to Sentences; Supporting language development in infants, toddlers and two's. Click here to join
- 6:30-7:15 Speech? Language? What is typical and when should I be concerned about my preschooler? Click here to join
January 25th and 26th 5:30-7:00 PM Winter Wonderland
February 23rd, 5:30-7:30 Romp and Stomp at the EEC
March 14th 5:30-7:30 PM Early Childhood Resource Fair at the EEC
DECEMBER ACTIVITY SUGGESTIONS
Building an Indoor Obstacle Course with Little Ones- A Perfect Activity for Cold Weather
When it gets cold out and we're stuck inside more often, it gets hard to come up with ways to entertain your kids day after day. You've watched the same movie five times, baked endless treats, and have done so many arts and crafts projects that your hands are permanently covered in glitter. Now what? Build an obstacle course for your kids that will provide endless hours of fun and challenge them. Plus, it will help them (and you) to stay active during those days when it’s just too cold to venture outside for a walk or game of catch.
As you design your obstacle course, keep in mind the ages, abilities, and number of children involved as well as the space you have. You can really get creative when designing station concepts and layouts. If you have stairs, consider carefully incorporating them.
You can also look around your house for everyday items you might be able to use like empty paper towel rolls, blankets, soup ladle, kitchen tongs, jump rope, etc. Again, this is a great opportunity for you and your child to put your creative minds to work.
Make the obstacle course simple at first and change the stations as they're mastered. If you like, time the kids to see who can complete the course fastest. Just beware, it can quickly turn competitive.
Here are a few ideas to get you started on building an indoor obstacle course for your kids:
1. Crawl under or over a row of chairs.
2. Crawl under a string stretched between two chair legs.
3. Jump into and out of a Hula-Hoop five times.
4. Walk on a balance board.
Information Written by Trish Kuffner
Check Out Some of These Books
Charlie's House Safety Information: PREVENTING ACCIDENTS DURING THE HOLIDAYS
Injuries and deaths associated with celebrating the holidays can be prevented by putting safety into practice while purchasing toys, cooking a holiday feast, or decorating your home. So, what can you do to keep your child safe during the holidays?
- Light Your Tree, but Not on Fire: Christmas trees are reported to cause 200+ structure fires annually. Pick a flame-retardant tree or a live, healthy tree that is watered daily. Keep all trees at least 3 feet away from all heat sources.
- Keep Potential Poisonous Plants Away: Mistletoe, holly berries, Jerusalem cherry, peace lily, and amaryllis are all extremely dangerous to children and pets.
- Cook with Care: 2/3 of all holiday fires start in the kitchen. Do not leave your pots and pans unattended! Make sure you have a working smoke detector.
- Deck the Halls Safely: Tour your home with a child’s-eye view. After setting out your decorations, walk (or crawl!) through your home, looking at new objects from a child’s height.
- Give Safely: Choose toys for children under three that do not have small parts that could be choking hazards. Also, be cautious about toys with button batteries or magnets that are harmful or fatal if swallowed.
Explore the link below for tips and tricks for your family!
CREATING COUNTDOWNS WITH KIDS
For little ones everywhere, countdowns can be a fun and practical way to look ahead to exciting events in a family's life. This season is full of excitement and a magic that can be overwhelming for children. By creating a countdown to an important event, or experience, we can help children learn practical skills.
Countdowns can help children:
- understand the concept of time.
- independently complete activities for a given amount of time.
- create a visual representation of how time passes
- transition from one activity to another.
REPEAT INFORMATION: Tips to Keep Your Kids Healthy This Fall and Winter
It might be a little cooler outside now that summer is over, but that shouldn’t mean fall is simply a time to hibernate away and fear that everyone will catch flus and colds. It can certainly be a challenge to keep children healthy during the fall and winter months. However, using this information might make it a little bit easier and small changes you can make may protect your child, and other children, from catching a cold or the flu. These tactics can also help reduce the intensity of an illness.
A child’s healthy development relies on the freedom to play, learn, and grow all year round and a parent shouldn’t shy away from letting their kids be carefree. However, it is important that you keep up good practices to prevent them from catching viruses as much as possible. Plus you don’t want them bringing a bug back home to the entire family.
If you want more information on 5 Simple Tips for Keeping Little Ones Healthy check out the link from Mom Collective at orlando.momcollective.com
- Up Their Fruit and Veg Intake
- Teach Them Good Hygiene
- Establish a Good Sleep Routine
- Still Encourage Outside Play
- Don’t Forget About Mental Health Too
CONSCIOUS DISCIPLINE CORNER
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