SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER NEWSLETTER 2011
IN THIS ISSUE:
TOGETHER WEE CAN
PLAY IT SAFE
The crisp cool air of autumn reminds us of the important people we have in our lives and how thankful we are to share it with the ones we love. Let the backdrop of autumn foliage and the comfort of family and close friends inspire you to have a Thanksgiving you'll remember for years to come. This is a time where people reflect on what they are thankful for, and some may choose to give back to their community to show appreciation for their good fortune.
Some of us may plan on having a get-together for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and what better way to have everyone - young and old - share what it is they are thankful for in a creative way. To make a Chain of Thanks, cut (you can ask an older child to do this) a bunch of 2 x 6 in. strips of construction paper in fall colours. As people enter your home, have an older child hand out a strip or two or three to each guest, along with a marker. Each person can write a little personal thank you on the strip of paper. Link them together to make a long paper chain. Ask the older children or adults to help the little ones - they can dictate their words of thanks or draw a picture. At the Thanksgiving table, you can lay the chain down the middle, or undo each link and read them out to share your thanks with family.
The things that matter most in our lives are not the things we've acquired along the way - but rather the treasure chest of moments, memories, and experiences shared with the people we love. We hope this special time of year brings everyone happiness and good health, and we look forward to all the wonderful things this season brings.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from everyone at Wee Watch.
Dates Wee Watch
5 - Labour Day
6 - Back to School
21 - Together Wee Can: "Wee Care" Cookies in support of the Terry Fox Foundation
23 - First Day of Fall
10 -Thanksgiving Day
10-14 - Together Wee Can: Active Healthy Kids Canada "Animal Moves"
31 - Halloween
| TOGETHER WEE CAN |
During the week of July 18-22, Providers turned their homes into spectacular science labs and
conducted a series of experiments each day with the children. Using water and household objects, children learned about the world they live in and the effect water has on their planet. Their knowledge grew as they learned the meaning of float and sink, and the difference between a solid and a liquid. We thoroughly enjoyed reading the results of each experiment on the 'What Happened' tracking sheet and it appeared everyone had a unique experience, but ultimately it was a fun event for everyone.
On Thursday August 18 Providers and children held a Talent Show for all of their family and friends. Children showcased their special talent, whether they juggled, danced, sang, coloured or read, it was an exciting event for all. The children made a microphone out of recycled materials to go with our "Go Green" theme. Some chose to use their microphone as their prop when performing their talent. Children received a Wee Watch Kids Have Talent certificate. We enjoyed looking at all of the photos from this event, and it was nice to see the children happily participating.
September 21 - "Wee Care" Cookies
On Wednesday September 21, 2011 Providers and children will engage in a wonderful learning experience by baking to help raise cancer awareness. The children will partake in a baking activity in which they will get to personalize their own cookie in memory of Terry Fox, and all donations are voluntary and will go directly to the Terry Fox Foundation.
October 10 to 14 - Active Healthy Kids Canada "Animal Moves"
In an effort to promote Active Healthy Kids Canada, children and Providers will discuss the importance of being healthy and how being active helps our bodies. Children will play an exciting game called "Animal Moves". Each day children will share a laugh as they get to imitate the moves of a particular animal. Maybe they will be a snake? Kangaroo?? Or a frog??? Whichever one it will be, it is sure to promote physical activity and get the children moving their bodies.
Our exclusive "Wee Learn Program" is designed to meet the specific learning needs of each of our children enrolled. The Wee Learn Program provides the flexibility for each child to participate at his own pace and is designed to allow each child from the youngest Wee Beginner to the oldest Wee Mentor to learn as they play. As there is a mix of individual and group activities in the homes, the children are also given lots of opportunities to develop their social skills as well.
Your Provider is given resources that include age appropriate activities addressing areas of language, cognitive, math/science, fine motor and gross motor development. These resources include our FUNdamental theme related activities, an Activity Handbook full of easy homemade activities for each age group, website activity pages to further build on fine motor, math and language skills they have already been working on in their Play and Learn booklets.
Each month, take a look at the progress your child is making in his Play and Learn booklet. These
booklets are a great keepsake and give you an opportunity to see the skills such as cognitive, math, fine motor skills your child is working on each and every day.
Spending time together gives you an opportunity to see how your child is using skills that he has learned at home and at day care. Each day your child is progressing through stages of development and continually working on new skills and mastering others.
We are pleased to provide your child with his/her very own portfolio "My Wee Watch Work". Look for opportunities to praise your child for new accomplishments and milestones achieved, however small they may be. Your child will be proud to show you the activities, crafts, Play and Learns and worksheets in his/her portfolio.
Your Provider and agency staff continue to assist your child in reaching goals by participating in the Wee Learn Program. Please click on the stages below to find new ideas to do at home to assist your child in reaching his milestones.
Expressing Emotions in Early Childhood
We use our emotions to respond to experiences and to express ourselves. How you deal with uncomfortable emotions also influences and impacts your relations with your child. How you communicate your emotions to your child, and how you respond to his or her emotions, plays a critical role in forming secure and healthy attachment.
Wee Beginners: 0 - 18 months
Wee Explorers: 18 months - 3 years
Wee Builders: 3 - 4 years
Wee Learners: 4 - 5 years
Wee Experts: 5 - 6 years
Wee Mentors: 6+ years
| WEE BEGINNERS |
Everyone knows that babies cry. It's the
only way they can let their parents know something is wrong. Is your baby hungry, wet, uncomfortable, overtired? If your baby seems physically fine but fussy, try to stay calm and comfort him the best way you can - hold him in your arms or in a sling or carrier that keeps him close to your body. Try taking him out in a stroller; many babies find the motion soothing and this will help settle him down to sleep. Whichever technique you try, know what your own limits are. If you feel you are getting frustrated with your baby, put him gently in a secure place and get support from your partner or a trusted friend or relative.
Another common struggle that can appear at this age is separation anxiety. Babies begin to realize that some faces are not familiar to them. You may find your child is showing anxiety when you are trying to leave him with a relative or caregiver. Older babies have improved visual and cognitive abilities, which make them better at defining features on people's faces. This development leads to more wariness around people they are less familiar with.
Instead of getting upset, recognize that this is a developmental milestone, and your baby needs to be soothed - not pushed to strangers. When you plan on leaving your baby with someone, plan a few visits a couple of times before you leave the two of them alone together. Another tip: When your baby wakes up, start talking so that he hears your voice before he sees you. That will help him start to understand that just because mom or dad is out of sight; it doesn't mean they're gone for good.
Playing peek-a-boo and hide & seek games with your child may help reduce separation anxiety when they reach the pivotal age of 8 to 9 months. The important components to be found in any of these games are "appearing and disappearing," "seeking" and "revealing" objects. It encourages babies to actively explore the world around them -- so don't be surprised if you begin to see them initiating these games on their own.
Babies enjoy water because they are fascinated by its qualities. Water is unlike anything else they experience. It's clear and wet. It flows through their fingers and makes a sound when they slap it. Warm water can have a soothing affect on an upset child. While your baby is in the bath, add a sponge to the soapy water and show your baby how to squeeze the water out of it. This is great for strengthening the fingers and hands, which is important to fine-motor control, but also by squeezing the sponge it can relieve your child's stress by stimulating the nerves in his hand, which carries signals to the brain. This causes the brain to produce endorphins that will make him feel good, since they are natural stress and pain relievers.
| WEE EXPLORERS |
Children during this stage will test the limits. They want to see how far they can go before a parent or Provider stops their behaviour. At age 2 children are very egocentric and cannot see another person's point of view. They want the independence and self-control to explore their environment. When children cannot reach a goal, they show frustration by crying, arguing, hitting, or yelling. Many times children stop the temper tantrum only when they get what is desired.
So how do you manage your child's behaviour without interrupting his growing independence? You need to introduce a rule. You need to be direct by explaining what it is he is not allowed to do and that there will be a consequence if he does not listen. For example, "We do not throw food. If you throw food, I'll take it away.'" And be sure to follow through so your child understands. You can also take steps to minimize a struggle:
- Offer your child a variety of foods so he can choose what he likes.
- Put just a few pieces of a food on your child's plate so he doesn't feel overwhelmed with his portion and to keep potential food-throwing to a minimum.
It is important for children to learn how to manage their emotions so they can develop successful interpersonal skills. Encourage your child to use his words to express thoughts and feelings, rather than relying simply on emotional displays such as crying, whining or throwing tantrums.
This is a fun, interactive activity that reinforces what your child is learning about: identifying emotions. Not to mention it's a great excuse to indulge your sweet tooth!
Whip up a batch of your favourite cookie dough. Use a round cookie cutter to make circular shapes that will be used to create different faces. Using assorted candies create all kinds of cookie faces: happy, sad, mad, silly, etc. Use this activity as an opportunity to discuss emotions with your child.
By age three many children are less impulsive and can use language to express their needs. Tantrums at this age are often less frequent and less severe. Nevertheless, some preschoolers have learned that a temper tantrum is a good way to get what they want. While defiance is terribly frustrating, it's a sign of normal development. Defiance is about independence, and children at this age are realizing that they have their own ideas and there are things that they do not want to do.
When handling your child's temper tantrum it is important to not let yourself get upset, otherwise you end up with two angry and frustrated people, and that will not get you anywhere. By staying calm, you're in a better position to settle the tantrum. A strategy to help avoid a meltdown would be to avoid stress-producing situations. It is not always possible to avoid them, but getting to understand what triggers tantrums in your child can benefit you greatly. Triggers can include, but are not limited to, a child being tired, hungry, bored, or even overstimulated. A child who is overwhelmed will not be able to listen to reason. Sometimes you just have to ride it out and be there for him. You can try whispering rather than yelling. Sometimes your child will quiet down to hear what you are saying.
There are many different ways to teach your young child how to identify feelings. A basic starting point is to read a story with your child and make a point to observe the facial expressions of the character and the emotion he or she may be feeling at that time. You can also choose a book that explores the same emotion that your child is feeling at that moment. When a child sees that there is a book written about a character in a similar situation, he will feel less alone and realize that others share the same feelings and problems. It will also give your child strategies on how to cope with the situation.
Here is a short list of some favourite children's books that touch on the topic of emotions:
- Happy Hippo, Angry Duck: A Book of Moods by Sandra Boynton
- Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie L. Curtis
- How to Take the GRRR Out of Anger by Elizabeth Verdick
- The Way I Feel by Janan Cain
An extension to the previous activity would be to show your child pictures of people's faces in magazines or photographs. Talk with your child about how they think the people might be feeling. Give your child a large mirror, and have him make his own "feeling" face. You can make it into a game where you can take turns guessing how you and your child is feeling based on the face you are making.
| WEE LEARNERS |
At home there are predictable situations that can be expected to trigger temper tantrums, such as bedtime, suppertime, getting up, getting dressed, bath time, and limiting the TV just to name a few. Most children at this stage have the necessary motor and physical skills to meet many of their own needs without relying so much on an adult. At this age, children also have better language that allows them to express their anger and to problem-solve and compromise. Despite these improved skills, even kindergarten-aged children can still have temper tantrums when they are faced with demanding tasks and new situations in their life.
It is much easier to prevent temper tantrums than it is to manage them once they have erupted. To prevent a tantrum you can give your child control over little things whenever possible by giving choices. A little bit of power given to the child can lay off the big power struggles later. For example, "Which do you want to do first, brush your teeth or put on your pajamas?" You can teach your child how to make a request without having a tantrum. For example, say "try asking nicely and I'll get it for you", and then honour your child's request if he is able to comply.
There are a number of ways to handle a temper tantrum. One strategy is to think before you act. Count to 10 and then think about the source of the child's frustration. Try to intervene before your child is out of control. Get down at your child's eye level and speak to him firmly. At this time you may consider offering a distraction to focus his attention on something else, like an activity he can partake in.
Never, under any circumstances, give in to a tantrum. That response will only increase the number and frequency of the tantrums. Explain to your child that there are better ways to get what he wants, such as remaining calm and asking politely for what it is he desires. Do not reward the child after a tantrum for calming down. Some children will learn that a temper tantrum is a good way to get a treat later. Teach the child that anger is a feeling that we all have, and then explain to him ways to express anger constructively.
This activity can help your child express his emotions. You will need a milk carton or other box with four equal sides, scissors, crayons, coloured paper, pencil, glue or tape.
1. If the carton has a peaked top, cut it off.
2. Measure the four sides and top of the carton on coloured paper. Choose light-coloured paper because the child will be drawing on it. Each side will contain one emotion, so it might help to choose colours to go with each emotion. For example, ask your child, "What colour reminds you of being sad?" Then use that colour for the sad side.
3. Have your child draw an emotion on each side: happy; sad; angry; and, scared. Your child can draw faces that show different emotions, or cut faces out of old magazines. He could also portray each emotion using colours, lines and shapes.
4. Use the Emotion Station to discuss different emotions with your child. For instance, after a tantrum, you can show your child the angry side and say, "You were angry. Is this what you felt like when you were crying?" Or use the Emotion Station to discuss your own feelings.
| WEE EXPERTS |
Parents have the ability to shape their children's behaviour. These behaviours are shaped by rewards that are given to them. A common mistake that parents make is to accidentally reward their children's bad behaviour. When a tantrum happens it is important for parents to be able to provide him with the support to deal with these difficult and uncomfortable feelings. Children learn a lot through their parents' modeling of behaviours and this is the main reason for parents needing to be most in control when their children are feeling out of control.
Luckily for parents, most children want to please them. Parents can therefore use this to their advantage when deciding how to discipline children. When a parent shows joy for a behaviour that is good, the child will be positively reinforced for doing this behaviour. On the other hand if a parent shows disapproval for a behaviour, the child is less likely to repeat this given the basic principle that children want to please their parents. Discipline is the system in which parents guide and teach their children. This word is often confused with the term punishment. The purpose of discipline is to teach children the difference between right and wrong, to tolerate delayed gratification and to incorporate a sense of limits and appropriate behaviour.
Reward good behaviour and do it quickly and often. A child's good behaviour will be positively reinforced and therefore strengthened when he receives a reward from his parent. Social rewards are the most effective rewards and include smiles, hugs, kisses, words or praise, eye contact and attention. Social rewards are the most powerful, easiest to give and least expensive.
For a child painting can be a satisfying way to soothe himself when he is upset. It also helps him slow down and enjoy the process. Painting works to calm children down because it is a sensory activity with a natural rhythm to it, and it's a simple task that every child can be successful at.
Give your child a blank piece of paper and have him paint at the speed and feeling of different kinds of music you play (classical, country, rock, etc). This is a great way to illustrate how music can have an effect on our emotions.
| WEE MENTORS |
Children will sometimes dig in their heels and refuse to attend their after-school activities or family commitments at this age. It's not just about the child being defiant for the sake of being defiant.
For these children to act defiant, there must be something going on in their life. It could be that he is worried or perhaps he has a fear of something. The problem could also be something more serious - such as someone who bullies him. Ask your child about what is going on. After discussing his concerns, you may decide together that changes are necessary. Your child may not receive the answer he wanted, but importantly he will feel listened to.
Sometimes children need advance notice for an upcoming event or change in the regular routine. Your child may object to attending an event, but mentioning it to him a day or two in advance gives him time to anticipate and talk through any concerns he may have.
When your school-ager refuses to follow your request, you are better off to be firm and sympathetic. Tell him what your expectations are, and that you are sorry for what is upsetting him. Promise that you will talk about it later, and then follow through with a chat before bed that night, or the following day.
As frustrated as you may feel, try to take comfort that a little defiance is a good thing. It is completely healthy and natural for a child to assert oneself.
A Book about Feelings
Creating a feelings book can help young children identify their feelings and learn how to describe them by writing it on paper. To make this booklet, you will need about seven pieces of blank paper. Bind the papers together and put different captions at the bottom of each page, such as "I am happy when ..." as well as, sad, silly, angry, scared, good, and loved. Your child will then complete the sentence and also draw a picture of what it looks like to feel that particular emotion. Once the booklet is completed, you and your child can discuss their feelings and can go deeper into the reasons as to why they feel that way.
PLAY IT SAFE - Food Safety
Anyone can fall ill from food poisoning. Here are some tips for keeping food safe.
Hot temperatures usually kill bacteria, while cold temperatures prevent them from multiplying. Temperatures between 4 C and 60 C are within the danger zone. Within this range, bacteria can easily survive and multiply in foods. Therefore, potentially unsafe foods should never be kept at normal room temperature for more than 2 hours.
The following is a list of common foods that may become unsafe if they are not properly handled or stored:
- Meat, poultry and fish.
- Cooked vegetables, peas and beans.
- Cooked rice, custard, puddings, and whipped cream.
- Milk and milk products (except hard cheese).
- Processed meats (e.g. Bologna, hot dogs, ham).
- Meat sandwich spreads.
- All canned foods (after opening).
- Eggs, egg products (except dehydrated eggs), and egg salad.
- Soft cheeses.
- Refrigerate or freeze meat and poultry as soon as possible.
- Ensure that meat and poultry are thoroughly thawed before cooking.
- Thaw meat in the refrigerator or the microwave oven, and not at room temperature.
- As a general rule, cook meat until juices are no longer pink.
- Do not allow cooked foods to touch uncooked foods. This includes using the same plate and utensils for cooked food that uncooked food was on or touching.
- Wash hands before and after handling raw meat and poultry.
- Wash dishes, cutting boards, and counters with hot, soapy water and diluted bleach after they have been used for preparing raw meats, poultry and fish.
- Hard cheese with a patch of mold on it may still be eaten provided that the mould is cut away to a depth of 2.5 cm.
- Cool large quantities of food quickly and reduce the risk of bacterial growth by dividing food into several small containers.
- Never use any food that comes from a bulging can, is mouldy, and has a gas build-up or a bad odour.