Saturday, February 27, 2016

Enjoy this video

Unexpected things came up this week and I don't have much time. Please enjoy this video from Sesame Street.

Dino the Dinosaur gets the apple

Next week I'll be presenting at the Utah Association of Education for Young Children's conference. I'll put another video or fun activity to do here on my blog.

The Child Whisperer

Saturday, February 20, 2016

10 DAP Teaching Strategies

Going to take a break today from the categories that are all a part of parenting. We often hear that parents are a child's first teacher and they are. When I'm in a classroom being a teacher one of things that is stressed by the director is making sure that developmentally appropriate practices are being used. Developmentally appropriate practices are exactly what they sound like. It's a teacher or a parent keeping the way that they raise children developmentally appropriate. An example of a developmentally appropriate practice is a child wanting to learn how to climb the stairs but allowing them to only do it when a parent is around to supervise them and keeping the stairs blocked with a gate when the supervision can't take place. The National Association of Education for Young Children (NAEYC) developed ten teaching strategies that they say are used in a classroom. These strategies can be modified to be used in a home by a parent.

The first strategy NAEYC mentions is to acknowledge what children do or say. When I'm working in a center I do this by seeing a child ask for something they want and saying, "Thank you for using your words," to them. For example, at one of the centers I worked at we kept teethers in a washed out empty wipes container. When the children wanted one they would point to the cupboard they were kept in and say, "Bite." When I handed one to a child I would say, Thank you for using your words," opposed to the usual pointing and grunting that occurs with children between ages one and two.
To use this strategy at home a parent can acknowledge what children do or say by noticing when a child helps a sibling without being asked and saying, "Thank you for helping (siblings name)."

The second strategy is to encourage persistence and effort. In a classroom if I saw a child trying to do a puzzle but getting frustrated I would encourage persistence by telling the child to try it in another place or turning it so it fit into the correct space. Parents can encourage effort by sitting by them while they do their homework and asking questions and explaining things that help them understand what they're doing.

The third strategy is to give specific feedback. In a classroom I would say, "Try holding the crayon this way," when a child is learning how to color and hold a crayon. A parent can give specific feedback when they say, "You did a good job cleaning your room. Next time can you remember that part of cleaning your room means to put your dirty clothes in the hamper and not leave it in a pile by your bed?"

The fourth strategy is to model behavior. In a classroom I would model behavior by saying please and thank you to the children. Parents can model behavior by making sure the child finishes the question they're asking before answering their child in order to make sure they're answering the question the child is asking, not the question the parent thinks the child is asking.

The fifth strategy is to demonstrate the correct way of doing something. For example, in a classroom I would put something in the sensory table like sand, buckets and shovels and show the children how to put the sand in the bucket using the shovel. At a home a parent can demonstrate the correct way of doing something by first showing a child how to clean the bathroom sink then supervise the child when they try it to guide them through things they may forget.

The sixth strategy is to create or add challenges. For example, once a child learned how to walk and were steady on their feet instead of letting them crawl up the stairs to the slide I would have them walk up the steps of the slide. A parent can create a challenge by having a child do a chore such as clean their room within a certain amount of time and setting the timer so the child knows when to start and when time has ended.

The seventh strategy is to ask questions that get children to think. When I was working in a classroom I asked questions while reading a book such as where is a chair, then the children would point to a chair in the classroom. Parents can ask questions to help children to think by asking questions like, "Do you think it would be nicer to ask your sibling to scoot over so you can sit down or do you think it would be nice to just scoot your sibling over so you can sit down?"

The eight strategy is to give assistance. For example, where I worked with toddlers and they were trying to  learn how to walk we often had push toys in the room or on the playground. When a child would push one into a piece of furniture I would put my hands over their hands and turn the push toy giving the child assistance to go around the push toy but they also felt with their hands and arms how to turn it . Parents can provide assistance to children by holding a cup while they pour the water or loosen a lid on something they're trying to open.

The ninth strategy is to provide information that give children facts. When working in a classroom when a child would point to an object I would say the name of the object such as, "Chair. We sit in a chair." Parents can provide information for children when they say similar things or give direction, "After you eat lunch we're going to go to the grocery store."

The last strategy is to give direction's for actions or behavior. Many times the toddlers I worked with would walk looking behind them instead of in front of them so I had to remind them to look where they were going so they didn't run into another person in the classroom, a wall or furniture. Parent can give direction as they guide their children while playing a game. For example, when it's the child's turn the parent can give direction such as move your piece to the green space or the space with the rocket on it etc.

All of these seem pretty simple and are things parents do on a daily basis unconsciously. If you're interested in reading the article by NAEYC you can find it below.

10 DAP Teaching Strategies

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Self-regulation and stress

Self-regulation skills help children (people in general) deal with the stress they have in their lives. Self-regulation helps people control their emotions and how they respond to stressful situations in their lives. There are two types of strategies that can be used to cope with situations that are stressful. They are: emotion focused coping and problem focused coping.

Emotion focused coping is a strategy that involves the management of negative emotions such as fear. For example, when a child starts the first day of school for the school year, a child may feel fear about the first day of school. This fear may come regardless of what grade the child is in. A child can feel fear that their teacher will be mean, that they won't have any friends, that the assignments will be too hard or any other number of things. These fears are real to children and should be worked through, not brushed off. A parent can help the child manage their fears by using emotion focused coping. This is done when a parent listens to the reasons why the child feels the fear they're experiencing and gives help by giving them suggestions of how to work through the fear. This can be done by the parenting saying something such as, "I heard your teacher has a jar of toys the students can choose from when they pass three spelling tests in a row. Do you think that makes the teacher nice or mean?" or "I heard your friend Julie was in the same class as you so you'll have at least one friend in the class you know." A parent has then helped the child cope with the fear they were experiencing and has given reasons why the fear can be lessened. A parent has also acknowledged the emotion the child is feeling and helped the child through those feelings.

Problem solving coping is a strategy that involves goal efforts and includes behavior and attention regulation strategies that resolve stressful situations. For example, when a child is feeling stressed because of the amount of homework they have they may be feeling overwhelmed and need help coming up with a solution to get all of their homework done. A parent can help the child think through the situation by talking it through with the child. A parent can ask questions like, "What assignments need to get done?" "What is due first?" Then offer a suggestion, a solution, to the problem. "Start with your math homework first because that's due first, then do research for your paper, then study for your biology test." The solution of the order to do the homework assignments is a strategy that involves a goal, the effort to achieve the goal and has resolved a stressful situation. Now the next time a child is in this same situation they can do the same thing on their own.

Emotion and problem solving strategies take a lot of time and effort by child and parent to teach. There will be times even after your children are off to college that they need to call their parents and talk through the fear and problems they're having. It's not so much that they want the parent to solve the problem or take the fear away. The child just wants help talking and thinking it through to find a solution. They need someone to bounce ideas off in order to see if their parents may have an idea they haven't thought of.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ways parents can develop self-regulation

Parents can develop self-regulation by how warm they respond to their children, particularly when they are in distress. A parents warmth is connected to the emergence of a child's sense of self. Often a child is in distress because they are trying to communicate with words what they want but don't have the vocabulary yet to tell parents what they want. They can also be in distress when they don't get something they want. For example, if a child is trying to tell a parent what they want to do and are pointing to the toy box, the parent needs help in understanding what in the toy box the child wants. If a parent responds with warmth and uses a calm voice while pulling out toys and asking if the toy is the one the child wants, the parent teaches self- regulation because the parent has used self-regulation to not get mad or discouraged with the child.

Parents can develop self-regulation through social structure. For example, if a child is having a play date with a friend and the friend is playing with a toy that the child wants to play with, a parent teaches self-regulation by teaching the child to wait until their friend is done playing with it before having a turn and the parent has taught the child that taking turns is part of the social structure expected of people.

A parent can develop self-regulation by teaching manners and social etiquette. For example, when a parent is on the phone and a child interrupts them, a parent is teaching self-regulation by having the child wait until the parent is off the phone before talking to them and the parent responding to what the child needs. A parent also develops self-regulation by teaching their children to say phrases such as please and thank you.

One last way that a parent can teach self-regulation is through modeling appropriate behavior in different social situations. For example, when a parent goes to the grocery store and there aren't enough lines open which makes the check out lines long, instead of a parent getting upset, frustrated and saying rude things a parent can show children how to wait patiently by waiting patiently themselves and being kind to the checkout clerk instead of rude. By developing and demonstrating self-regulation to our children it shows our children how to behave appropriately to different situations. It also shows children how to control our emotions and how to respond appropriately to our emotions.