Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Separation Anxiety

When I was a child care provider, I sometimes had toddlers who experienced separation anxiety when their parents were dropping them off for the day. It's a natural part of development, sure, but there are also things that you can do to alleviate a lot of those tears and fears.

One strong word of advice I can offer: Commit to your Exit. It's not a bad idea at all to hang out for a few minutes while your child gets comfortable. I have always encouraged that and it's so much easier on a child than drop-and-run. What I didn't enjoy was when the child got involved in the activity and was happy and Mom or Dad made a big show of leaving. A content, acclimated child would suddenly become stricken with sorrow after hearing, "OK honey, I'm leaving. Mommy's going. Bye. Sweetie? Sweetie? Mommy has to go. I'm really leaving this time. Here I go. I'm gooooooooooooing." Please know that if that's your behavior at drop-off time, it's a trigger for your child's anxiety rather than something that settle it.

At the same time, I don't advise ever sneaking out the door just because you see your child is happy at play. Something as simple as a kiss on the forehead and, "Looks like you're having fun. I'll see you later," is all that's needed before you walk out the door. I've seen children have some pretty hard-to-calm breakdowns after realizing that a parent left without them knowing or getting a chance to say goodbye. It's a delicate balance between too much goodbye and not enough, but it's one worth finding.

If you are a teacher, how do you help ease separation anxiety for your students and parents?

If you are a parent, how do you want your child's teacher to handle your child's separation anxiety?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ways to Beat the Summer Heat with Young Children

It's so incredibly hot outside here in Texas. I literally cannot remember the last time the high was below 90. All my plants = dying. My neighbor's super green lawn? Yeah, I don't want to see that water bill. Apparently neither do any of my other neighbors who join me in the brown + patchy lawn club. It's really tempting to just stay inside and be a vegetable all day but when you've got young children who want to go go go all the time, it's not very practical. So what can you do? I've rounded up some ideas you can use every day this week.

  • Find an indoor playground (like the Little Gym or even a fast food place) with some air conditioning.
  • Head to a museum with -- guess what? -- air conditioning.
  • Bust out the sprinkler, get some water toys, make your own popsicles and eat them outside. Bonus: Your lawn gets watered at the same time!
  • Head to the beach. And remember, lakes have beaches, too! Also remember sunscreen.
  • Does Grandma or any other nearby relatives have air conditioning? Then grab your binkis and get in the car, kiddo! 
  • Find a local library and join a wonderfully cool story time.
  • Go ahead and stay home. Every day can't be an outing. But take advantage of this day to monitor your own and your child's water consumption so you know you're getting enough on these hot days.

What do you do when it's hot outside to keep your children (and yourself) from going stir-crazy?