Parents Helping Parents of Wyoming State Parenting Center

Tammy Wilson- PIC Outreach Parent Liaison, Green River

As a preschool teacher nothing makes me happier then starting another school year. I love routines for myself and the children. They are so important for small children; they do so much better socially and emotionally when kept to a routine. Getting up and going to bed at the same time just makes life for everyone run smoother.

For children that have disabilities such as those with Autism, Asperger’s and ADHD a routine is absolutely essential. It is so important to them to know what is coming next. Swaying from routine is rarely pleasant for small children or those with disabilities.

Sometimes even a visual time line can be helpful for children that crave structure. It can begin with a picture of a child or a picture of the child themselves eating breakfast. The next picture can be the car or the bus to represent going to school. The teacher can then have the time line up somewhere in the room with the picture representing the order in which everything that will take place during the day. The time line should always end with bed time.

There is also the issue of over scheduling children throughout the day and not having enough creative playtime to engage their imagination. I feel routine is important but that does not mean over scheduling children.

Setting routines and expectations from the beginning leads to success!

This summer all routines went out the window at my house, except two:  nightly reading and going to bed by 9:00 pm.  Now that school is in session, we have to be more disciplined and get our routines in place for a successful year.  Routines are important for keeping kids on track and having structure within a family.  Here are some suggestions for school year daily routines:

  • Set out clothes the night before.  Better yet, younger elementary school children can sleep in their clothes the night before and wake up already dressed.
  • Make a checklist for each child to mark off their own responsibilities before they head out the door.  This eliminates the need to nag.
  • Designate a set time for homework. This guarantees that your child will have an appropriate amount of time to get the work done.
  • Come together as a family daily.  The school year can be hectic, but only as hectic as you make it. Carve out time with the entire family, even if it is just to eat breakfast, so that you can all connect every day

Every family can come up with their own routines that work for them.  What are some routines your families use to keep the day running smoothly?

Ahhh,Summer!

Ethelyn Sharpe- PEN Parent Educator out of Cheyenne

I personally thought summer would NEVER come (I am not a cold weather person), but it did arrive and it has been glorious! 

Our community offers so many activities in the summer, many of them free, that sometimes it’s hard to decide what to do!  We have concerts at the Depot, Movies in the Park, presentations at the Library and Botanic Gardens.  Our Farmer’s Market started last Saturday and of course, the “Daddy of Them All”, Cheyenne Frontier Days. 

So many great opportunities for families to get out, get some fresh air and maybe learn something new.  What does your community offer, and have you take advantage of those opportunities?  If not, there’s a couple of weeks left before school starts, get out and find something fun to do!

 

Janet Kinstetter- PIC Outreach Parent Liaison- Moorcroft

The world is awakened. Sounds of children playing fill the air. Trips are taken. Fireworks light up the night sky. Summer is here! Summer is here for now. At some point it will fade away. It is effortless in going but thankfully easy coming as well. Summer will be back.

Published by Jolie Wicklund

Summer can be a time of “recharging” one’s batteries and doing something completely different than we do at other times of the year. Did you make a “bucket list of things to do after school was out for the summer?  If so, how many things did you do?

Some of my “bucket list” of things to do this summer was:

  • Going swimming
  • Spending time at the library
  • Spending more time with my family
  • Taking everyone on a picnic
  • Going camping with the entire family
  • Volunteering at my local church
  • Keeping in touch with family and friends who live away from me by writing letters instead of sending emails.
  • Going through family pictures and putting them in albums
  • Learning Spanish
  • Going to the movies and eating buttered popcorn!
  • Being thankful and truly appreciative of all the good things in my life
  • Going on vacation, go someplace new that you have always wanted to go.
  • Keep a journal of your summer to look back on and remember all the good times you had with family and friends.
  • Learn to water ski

Did I get everything completed on my bucket list?  No, but there’s always next summer! What were some of the things you wanted to do this summer? What were you able to get completed this summer and what are you putting on your list for next summer?  I hope you all have a great rest of the summer!

Summer Fun!

Amy Skalicky- F2F Outreach in Cheyenne

It’s August, and it seems like school just ended for the summer last week.  Where did the summer go? Perhaps the late winter-like weather delayed that summer-fun feeling. Playing outside later, flip-flops, sunscreen, Saturday night racing, mosquito bites, painted toenails, hiking, fishing, swimming, camping—soon to be replaced by school supplies, teacher meetings, assemblies, earlier bedtimes, earlier rise-and-shine times, check-ups, vaccinations, new clothes, schedules, IEP’s and homework.  

Don’t get me wrong.  My daughter enjoys school and I enjoy that part of the journey with her.  But there is a joyful freedom that comes with summertime, a freedom to enjoy the outdoors more, freedom to play more, and freedom to be who they really are.  I learn the most about Peanut when I am playing badminton with her, picking out the stars and planets on GoogleSky, or just sitting on the front steps watching her fly by with her friends on their scooters.    I am amazed, as I always am, at how much she has changed in the few short months since school ended–taller, more self-sufficient, and more aware.  Summer fun brings summer growth.

Summer is also a good time to regroup and recharge for a fresh start in August.  Many children, my daughter included, develop a before-school anxiety, and this is a good time to reassure them and plan for the successful start of the next grade.  Teachers are busy with their own preparations for school, but a quick meet-the-teacher before that first day could alleviate some apprehension and allow any special needs to be discussed before the first-day rush.  EpiPens, medications, diabetes supplies and what-you-need-to-know-about-my-child information for the school should be ready before school starts.   Starting now on a little earlier bedtime and earlier waking time can make the first day a bit easier as well.   In addition, it is a good time to set up the homework area, making sure it is stocked with needed items—pencils, crayons, laptop, paper, books, glue, and favorite snack food. 

The bathing suits, camping supplies and sandbox toys are on clearance, making way for the crayons, notebooks and locker accessories that have already invaded store shelves.  School registration information, supply lists and open house schedules once again adorn my refrigerator, and my daughter giggles that this year she and I both have homework, so we should do it together. I am then informed that I cannot go outside to play until it’s done.  Thanks, Peanut.  Glad you’ve been listening.

But I am not letting go of summer just yet.  There is plenty yet to do and time left to do it.  Perhaps it’s time for a new end-of-summer ritual.   This year my daughter has some things she wants to put into a summer scrapbook.   As for me, I am going cling to the warm sunshine, sidewalk chalk, giggling kids in my yard and muddy prints tiptoeing through my kitchen.

Natalie Pique- PEN Outreach Liaison Casper Area

Ahhh…summertime! Summertime at our household means baseball games most nights, motocross races most weekends, and bike rides & swimming at the pool at the end of our street during the long days. My family looks forward to summer and all the fun that it brings…as well as the less stringent schedule that we keep during the school year. That being said, I have always tried to “sneak” in a little education & learning activities to alleviate the loss experienced with three months off from school. The easiest way that I have found is to sign my kids up for the local summer reading program at the library. This program offers incentives such as baseball tickets, ice cream tokens, and free pool passes in exchange for a reading log with recorded minutes of reading. Another way is to look for educational camps such as Astronomy Camp or the multiple Science Camps offered in our area. My most favorite learning/reading activity that has proved very successful with both of my children is to choose a book that we read together for at least 20 minutes a night. This summer, Jake (my 10 year old) chose Harry Potter. It is so much fun to spend time with him this way…even when I am tired and grumpy, to see him excited about what will happen next always makes my day! There are so many ways to keep kids in “learning mode” during the summer, whether it’s cooking, gardening, or having kids set up a Kool-Aid stand (math & money management skills)!  Happy Summer!

Blanca Moye- Parents as Teachers Parent Educator- Jackson Area

I was waiting in a gate for a long flight from Jackson to Washington DC. And I was checking around counting some families with children (2,3 and 4 years old) looking at them running around, screaming, etc. When finally we boarded they were the first, with a lot of bags, chairs and strollers. In that moment I was thinking if maybe we can create a nice, smart and easy list of items to travel with them in cars or airplanes.

Like what you ask?

 • Books (with nice pictures, puzzles, music to keep them distracted)

• Music (children love music but sometimes is the last thing as parents we think to bring on the trip for them)

• At most 3 of their favorite toys (variety makes them happy)

• Good food and snacks (I saw a father giving soda to his daughter because they don’t have the juice she likes)

• Dress them comfortable (some were overdressed and some others needed a sweater for the direct a/c on the plane)

The flight was long and we finished with a poor baby crying maybe for more than an hour, this situation made me think on this topic. I know there are a lot more things to add to my list but if you can help with your comments I am sure we can do this together!

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