Natalie Pique- PEN Outreach Liaison Casper Area
Our family is always sad to see summer go, but we always look forward to fall in Wyoming. We have several “fall” traditions that make this time of the year fun for everyone in our family. As we live in a 60 year old neighborhood with very mature trees, there are always plenty of leaves to make piles to jump in. With 11 kids on our block, there is always fun to be found by simply gathering the leaves in big piles and taking turns jumping in! Another fall activity that we always make the time to do is to take the short trip up to Casper Mountain to see all the beautiful leaves and their brilliant fall colors. The best place to see the leaves is to take a hike around the falls or Beartrap Meadows. My kids always seem to have a “Fall Leaves” project at school, and they get their best collection from these trips to the mountain.
Our very favorite activity in the fall is a tradition that we started when we moved to Casper from Colorado 10 years ago. When we first moved here, we didn’t know many of our neighbors, so we planned a “Soup before Trick-or-Treating” dinner at our home. We had 4 crock-pots full of various kinds of soup and invited all of the neighbors on our block over for a warm-up before going out to Trick-or-Treat. This was a big hit for kids and parents alike: The kids all got to show off their costumes, the parents got to visit with neighbors while knowing their kids had something in their stomachs other than mini Hershey Bars & candy. This tradition has grown to include friends, family, and new neighbors throughout the years, and it is something our family will treasure forever. Happy Fall!
Juanita Bybee- PHP Office Manager
Parents are their child’s first teacher. If we are to expect our children to respect others, we need to show respect to each other as well. Children are like sponges, they observe and mimic especially parents who they look up to and want to emulate. Here are a few helpful hints to think about.
1) Start early – It is easier to start off with the desired behavior. Research says that it takes 21 times to change an undesired behavior. 7 times a conscience choice, 7 times to reinforce, and 7 times semi-conscience choice to change the undesired behavior. That seems like a lot of work, it is easier to do it right the first time.
2) Start off small- Make it easy. Use please and thank you’s. A good foundation will help parents to build upon as your child gets older.
3) Ignore the poor choice and reinforce the good choice. Children love to get compliments; they beam with happiness when they feel like their parent took notice of their behavior.
4) Practice, practice, practice… Make it a habit over time; model the desired behavior with your child. It is not enough to teach children what NOT to do but what TO do.
5) Give eye contact – be present in the moment. It doesn’t have the same effect if you are not looking at the person. Take that extra second to make sure that the person knows that you are truly paying attention.
Jennifer Petri- PIC Outreach Parent Liaison- Rock Springs and Green River, WY
Children need to feel respected and to learn to respect other people around them. This is a hard lesson to learn, and some children are more receptive to the message than others. All children are taught the basics of respect at school, but outside of school it’s our responsibility as parents. One thing is for sure: respect is something that can be taught only by example. Our children will not be respectful of other people and other people’s possessions if we do not lead them in the right direction with our own words and actions.
Teaching respect begins very early in life. Many children as young as one are old enough to begin to learn not to hit people, and how to softly handle animals. They can also begin to understand that some things are not for them. This is not a onetime lesson, but an ongoing way to learn how to live respectfully. Instead of focusing on our children to teach them respect, we have to focus on our own behavior. Here are some tips I find useful:
1. Respect your child’s boundaries. This means that if they don’t want to be touched, keep your hands off. If they don’t want to play, allow them to mellow out alone.
2. Respect your child’s decisions (within reason). If your child does not like to play basketball, do not force them to play so you can live vicariously through their play. Let them choose their own activities based on their personal preferences, once they are old enough.
3. Respect your child’s view of the world. This means that you might have to slow down and smell the mud pies with them. This is what childhood is all about.
Learning to be respectful is a lifelong process. What are some ways you can think of to show your child respect, so they may pass it on?
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?
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!
Juanita Bybee- PHP Office Manager
I personally think that kids need to have some simple and age appropriate chores that are not tied to money. I think that they need to be some type of chores that a child can do to make them feel like they are a part of the family. There are always chores to be accomplished around the house that a child can take pride in, folding clothes, setting the table for dinner, putting away the dishes in the dishwasher, keeping their bed made and their toys picked up. Their room should be their sanctuary and keeping it neat and tidy will help them feel good about themselves. It also will prepare them for school when they will need to find things quickly, have homework and be ready to start the day.
I feel like allowance should be saved for extra things- age appropriate things. If they want a special toy or want to save up money for an outing to a movie with friends. These are things that could help teach children patience and how to save and manage money. I do not feel like children should have to pay for their own lunch tickets or clothing …things that are the parents’ responsibility- of course.
I think this is where parents can help children start to take charge of their own personal self esteem. A child will not know how to pull themselves up out of the mud if they are never in the mud. A child will never know how to push themselves if there are no expectations placed on them. I think this is where the rubber meets the road. If we challenge our children and keep raising the bar, they will begin to challenge themselves and know for themselves that they are more than capable and can accomplish anything they put their mind to. But it starts at home with simple and meaningful tasks, and probably a lot of whinning. What are your thoughts?
Blanca Moye- Parents as Teachers Parent Educator- Jackson Area
As a new year comes, we have a new to do list and on that list should be SCREENINGS for your children. Whether it be general development screenings, vision, Audio, or Dental. It seems that every year an often forgotten screening is neglected. For example in 2008 there were a huge amount of Dental issues for young children in Wyoming. In 2009 it seemed that Vision screenings were huge, and 2010 brought the focus to Audio Screenings- so please add all of these to your 2011 goals and ensure that your children are checked for all areas.
On a personal note, I was talking with my cousin and she stated that now she doesn’t listen to music loudly whether at home or in the car. Her reasoning went beyond her children’s audio development to include being alert to her surroundings. Being able to listen for a police or ambulance siren, or if the child in the rear seat was having issues. This really made me think about her reasoning, I wonder if others agree or have other tips to remain alert in the car?