The Growth and Giggles Blog

Ideas for helping parents and their preschoolers.

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How to Help Your Children Wait Would you like to raise a patient child? (Wait…is that an oxymoron?) They say that patience is a virtue, but it’s a virtue that is hard for adults, let alone preschoolers. But waiting is a part of life, so we need to help our children learn to cope with it. An important first step is to set realistic expectations. It is easier for children to wait if they are expecting to wait. Set a timer where they can see it, and tell them, “We’ll go to Katie’s house/ have dinner/ play together in 10 minutes, when the timer beeps.” Let them know what’s coming next. Children get much more antsy when they don’t know what is going to happen. One important note: make sure you tell them in the order it will be happening. (Say, “First we’ll have a nap, then we’ll go to the park,” instead of “We’ll go to...

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How to Address Screeching “My nine-month-old has found his voice…in the form of an ear-piercing shriek! Do I just try to wait it out until he learns words, or are there ways I can teach him more mom-friendly sounds?” There are three main reasons for children loudly screeching in their communication, and the reason your child is screeching will determine the best course of action. He may be experimenting with his voice. Babies are just learning how to control what comes out of their mouths. They learn by experimentation with mouth shape, throat constriction, air flow, and vocal cords. And, yep, some of that experimentation will be loud! You can tell if this is what your baby is doing by reading his face and body language. If he seems upset, there is likely another reason behind the screeching. But if he is happy or neutral, it is likely vocal experimentation. The best thing for a...
Tagged in: Discipline
How to Have a Happy Grocery Shopping Trip With Your Preschooler Is grocery shopping a nightmare for you? Fussy kids, grumpy mom, whining for Lucky Charms, strangers staring, coming home with the wrong items because you couldn’t concentrate. Sound familiar? We used three simple rules that made grocery trips a whole lot smoother. We recited both the rules and the consequences together in the car before every shopping trip, because little ones can’t always remember the rules from week to week. Kids also need to say the rules themselves, not just hear them. Rule 1: Don’t touch. For the safety of the children and the merchandise, kids are only allowed to touch what mom hands them. Let them help with anything they can’t damage. They can put items in a child-sized basket or in the big basket. Rule 2: Stay where you can see Mom. You need to state this from the child’s perspective—a preschooler can’t take someone else’s perspective, so they...
Tagged in: Discipline outings rules
Teach Your Child to Follow Directions the Fun and Easy Way Have you ever wondered how to teach your child to follow directions without it turning into a power struggle? The key is to focus on following directions as a skill that children can learn gradually in the same fun ways that they can learn their colors or to tie their shoes. Here’s the Following Directions Game: The best age to introduce this game is around one year, but you can introduce it any time, adjusting to their age and skill level. Keep in mind your child’s attention span—keep the game short, and stop before the kids are tired of it. Tell your child, “I have a game. It’s called the Following Directions Game. I’ll tell you something to do, and you see if you can do it.” Start off with one instruction. Demonstrate while saying, “Touch your nose.” When they do that, give them a second instruction, “Touch your head.” For...
Did you know that the secret to a happy marriage is the same as the secret to happy kids? It’s a simple ratio. John Gottman, a marriage researcher, found that a ratio of 5 positive interactions to each one negative interaction tipped the balance from a troubled relationship to a happy, healthy relationship. He called this the Magic Ratio. You can apply this principle today with your child. Start by noticing your positive and negative interactions. Keep a chart on the fridge and make tally marks to help you keep track. Andrew Armstrong researched this ratio between parents and small children and found that his control group generally had a 1:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions with their young children. Good parents often are more negative with their kids than they realize. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, right? So the behaviors that need to be “fixed” are the ones...