The Growth and Giggles Blog

Ideas for helping parents and their preschoolers.

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Teaching Your Child Ball Skills—Part 3: Throwing Now that you’ve been working on catching and hitting with your little one, you may want to move on to throwing skills. Obviously, your baby has probably been tossing toys around since he could sit up, but you’ll want to work with your preschooler on how to throw properly and how to make the ball go where he wants it to. The best place to start is with underhand throwing. Use something squishy that your child can easily grasp. A rolled-up pair of socks is perfect for this. Have him hold onto the “ball” and swing his hand backward, then forward, and back again. Then have him swing his hand back and hold it there, then forward and hold it there. This helps develop control. Explain that when he swings his hand forward, that’s when he lets it go. When he has practiced swinging his hand forward and letting go, then...
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Teaching Your Child Ball Skills—Part 2: Hitting Hitting a ball is a great activity for developing eye-hand coordination, and it lays a foundation for many sports activities as your child grows. As a bonus to you, this section provides some great games your child can play while you are cooking dinner or otherwise occupied! Have you noticed how fascinated little ones are with balloons? Batting a balloon is a perfect early step to learning how to hit a ball. Start with a helium balloon anchored to the ground by a string. (Tie it to something heavy.) Show your child how to hit the balloon and then wait til it pops back up again before he hits it again. This helps him follow its progress with his eyes, work on depth perception, and develop a sense of timing in hitting a ball. Once your child is batting a helium balloon well, tie a regular balloon to the top of...
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Dealing with Bickering Few things can grate on a mom’s nerves like constant fighting. You want your kids to be best friends with each other, to play well together, and to love each other, but you may be at a loss as to how to deal with the inevitable bickering. The first step to dealing with a fight is to help your kids calm down. When emotions are running high, kids are not capable of problem solving. You may need to separate the children, not as a punishment, but as a break to help each one regain some equilibrium. Do you know what calms your children down? Is it being alone or cuddling with you? Do they feel better when they sit down with a book or doll or when they listen to music? Does it help them to have a comfort item? If you ask your children to take a break in their...
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Reading to Your Wiggly Preschooler You’ve heard that reading to your children is important for their eventual success in school and in life. But your preschooler just won’t sit still to listen to you read! In order to have success at reading to your little ones, you need to have the right goals for your reading time. For infants, reading is about hearing the intonation of your voice. They aren’t going anywhere, and they don’t understand the words, so you can read whole sections from your own books if you want. Once your baby starts getting busy, reading is about vocabulary building. Vocabulary for babies and toddlers is all about nouns. At this age, you should be looking at board books together and naming only one object per page. No adjectives—just “ball,” “truck,” or “book.” They need to understand names of objects before you add colors, shapes, or sizes to those objects. Your toddler will want...
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I Can Do It: Preschoolers and the Drive for Autonomy One of the main tasks of the toddler and preschool years is developing autonomy. This can be a great inconvenience to parents, who know that, for example, getting out the door would happen much faster if three-year-old Trevor didn't insist on dressing himself when he can't do the buttons, tying his own shoes when he doesn't know how, or struggling into his jacket without help…backwards. One of your jobs, as a parent, is to facilitate the emerging autonomy of your children. This doesn't mean suddenly abandoning your child to the mercy of his shoelaces, but it does mean supporting your child's drive to learn to do things himself. You can survive your child's growing autonomy by: 1. Planning ahead. Supporting fledgling independence means planning for more time to get out the door, allowing for tasks to be accomplished more slowly because of the "help" of your little apprentice, and taking care...
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