The Growth and Giggles Blog

Ideas for helping parents and their preschoolers.

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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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How to Make Colored Rice or Pasta Materials: Uncooked macaroni or rice Ziplock bag Food Coloring Rubbing Alcohol Put a couple of tablespoons of rubbing alcohol in the ziplock bag. (Use about a tablespoon for 2 cups of rice or pasta.) Add a few drops of food coloring. Add the uncooked pasta or rice, zip the bag, and mix it around until the pasta or rice is colored. Take the rice or pasta out of the bag, and spread it on paper towels to dry. Once it is dry, the color will stay and not come off on your fingers. The alcohol evaporates, so what's left is non-toxic, but we don't recommend eating it! The colored rice or pasta is fun for pouring and measuring or for digging in. Hide little plastic animals in the rice, and let your child dig around for them. Name each animal as your child finds them. If you are working on colors,...
Tagged in: Crafts learning games
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Saying No To Your Kids Do you love the excitement on your little one's face when you say yes to something they really want? Do you cringe inwardly when you know you are going to have to be the "bad guy" and say no? With some skillful maneuvering, you won't have to play bad cop very often. We believe that it's important to say yes to everything you reasonably can say yes to, and to only say no for a strong reason, like safety or health. But the key to avoiding negativity is to stay out of yes-or-no scenarios. Instead, offer choices. Offering a choice between two acceptable alternatives makes a yes inevitable. You only offer options that you feel good about, so you can accept either choice your child makes. Offer only two options. Children feel overwhelmed and confused by more options than this. This is especially true if your child is under three, but...
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Children at Church and Other Solemn Occasions 'Tis the season…to try desperately to keep your children quiet during religious services, concerts, plays, and the like. But let's face it, they are kids! They're not exactly hardwired to sit still and look angelic. Except, of course, when no one is looking. I mean, there is Murphy's Law to contend with. So whether you are looking to survive a one-time event or to make weekly services more enjoyable, how do you help your child stay quiet? To start off with, we are assuming that you are going to an event where children are welcome, but need to be relatively quiet and calm. Let's just acknowledge that this is not always possible with little ones, and taking them out of the service if they are not handling it well is not a punishment; it's just acceptance of the limits of preschoolerhood. Staying quiet requires a set of skills that can be...
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9 Principles for Playing Learning Games Learning games are a great way to teach your child a well-rounded set of skills and to lay a foundation for all the learning she will do in life. You’ll find lots of examples and activities on our blog and website. Here we’ve collected some principles that will help your experience of playing learning games go smoothly. Keep it fun and lighthearted. As soon as learning feels like work instead of play, your kids will resist. Don’t force anything. Invite, make it appealing, demonstrate how much fun the activity is, but don’t make your child do something he isn’t interested in. He may not be developmentally ready, or his development may be centered around a different skill this week. Appeal to his interests rather than what you think he ought to be doing. Plan ahead. Take a few minutes the night before to get familiar with 1-2 games. Make sure you...
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