Parenting Matters!
Fall 2009
In This Issue
Welcome to Parenting Matters!
Helping Your Child With Transitions
Managing Your Child's Fears
Easing the Anxiety of Separation
The Doctor is In
Novel Influenza A/H1N1 ("Swine Flu")
Your Child's Development
Ways to Support Birth To Three
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Quick Links
Welcome to Parenting Matters! 
African American family reunionFall officially began on September 22. With this seasonal
change, you and your children may have found yourselves transitioning from a more relaxed, summer schedule to one requiring more structure. This is also the time of year when your family may celebrate a number of major holidays and plan reunions.
This issue of Parenting Matters! focuses on some of the challenges you and your children face, not only because of the events that take place during the months of October, November, and December, but also due to your child's stage of development. We hope you find the articles and links helpful.
Next issue: The Importance of Play 
How do you provide your children with opportunities to play during these winter months? Do you still head outside with rain gear? Do you have playtime indoors? What are some of your favorite activities? Share your ideas by December 31!
Helping Your Child With Transitions
heart to heart
There may be a variety of reasons why your child has difficulty making transitions, moving from one activity to another. Your child's temperament, stage of development, or abilities are possibile explanations for your child feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or confused during the many changes made each day.
In her article, Helping Children With Transitions, Peggy Veltman, Ph.D., explains that the majority of young children's time can be spent in transition. For example, she explains, a child's typical morning often involves a string of transitions including getting out of bed, bathing, brushing teeth, dressing, eating breakfast, cleaning up, getting into the car or bicycle trailer, and arriving at the next destination...
Preparing children for transitions helps reduce or prevent behavior problems. Veltman has found success using the following suggestions:
  • Try to give yourself plenty of time just in case . . .
  • Use of a "transition toy" your child can hold before, during and/or after the move.
  • Describe what's going to happen next and what he or she can look forward to.
  • Compliment your child on something he or she is doing well.
  • Remind your older child what will happen later in the day.
  • Ask your child care teacher what works at child care.
  • Sing a favorite song together.
  • Make a game out of the move, and let your child be the leader.
  • Ask other parents what works for them.
Managing Your Child's Fears
by Sylvia W. Lee
father and crying childFear is one of the most basic human emotions. In addition to experiencing strong emotional unpleasant feelings and physical symptoms, it puts us on alert--is this situation threatening or dangerous? Do I need to flee or retreat? Whether felt by adults or children, it helps keep us safe from potentially dangerous situations.
Monsters, darkness, thunder and other loud unexpected noises, barking dogs, beards and eyeglasses, and abandonment are some of the triggers that may make your child fearful. It's not unusual for children to say they are worried, nervous, or scared. Some even say they feel "sick." 
You play a critical role in helping your child develop skills to cope with fears and manage feelings. As children overcome their fears, they gain confidence in their ability to handle situations. When you make time to talk, demonstrate appropriate ways to deal with difficult situations, provide opportunities to be successful and build independence and confidence, and role play responses to potentially scary situations, your support and guidance helps your child through another important stage of development.  
Easing the Anxiety of Separation
                                                                                                                                   mother comforting crying child
The holidays are approaching! Your parents arrive from out of town for the family reunion. You may decide to do some last minute shopping while they are here. They can't wait to spend some quality one-on-one time with their grandchild whom they haven't seen in six months. Instead of positive reactions, however, you see tears, hear shrieks, and suddenly have to deal with clingy behavior.
To explain this emotional meltdown, please keep in mind that your child may be experiencing separation anxiety as well as stranger awareness. This may not be the most opportune time, after all, to have out-of-town relatives provide child care. 
Your child needs time to get reacquainted and to feel comfortable. It also helps to respect your child's temperament. Some children may not be ready to socialize immediately and require more time to warm up and adjust to new faces and situations. Rather than introduce them in a large group setting, which can be overwhelming, make introductions on a one-to-one basis.
Dealing with separation anxiety and stranger awareness can be challenging. However, they are natural steps in the development process. As Deborah Nygaard states in her article, Easing the Anxiety of Separation, "Your job as a parent is to assist your child and yourself through this process, which may, at times, seem to last forever; a process that will certainly revisit itself in the future."
The Doctor is In
Rx: Infant Vision and Eye Care Health
QUESTION: My family has a history of vision problems. Has our child inherited them as well? 
In her article, Seeing to Learn Begins in Infancy, Dr. Carol Marusich states, "There is a wealth of research about the important role in early childhood vision plays to support sensory, motor, spatial, behavioral, and cognitive development. During the first three years babies learn how to use their senses together in a way that is unique to this phase of development and unmatched during all the rest of their years combined. They are learning how to learn thus laying the foundation from which all other understanding  will develop.
"Vision impairment, even small irregularities, can have a profound impact on development. Early diagnosis and prevention are the best approach to infant vision and eye health care because most conditions respond best to early treatment, before additional complications arise. 
"We only get answers to the questions we ask. If we want to know if our baby's eye health and vision are developing normally, it makes sense to have that early eye examination and take advantage of the American Optometric Association's National InfantSEE Program."
This column is for medical concerns and issues you face every day as a parent. Do you have a question? We'll do our best to have a physician in our community address the topic. Contact me by phone, 541-349-7786 or e-mail.
Novel Influenza A/H1N1 ("Swine Flu")
immunizationThe latest swine flu update from McKenzie Pediatrics in Springfield, Oregon states that, "As expected, the number of cases of swine flu has risen rapidly in the U.S. during the past few weeks, especially in states east of the Mississippi where most schools and universities opened for classes in late August. The Southeastern U.S. has thus far been hardest hit." The following information and suggestions appeared in their recent update and reprinted below with their permission.
It is essential to seek medical care when you or your children present the following symptoms:
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • purple or blue discoloration of the lips
  • seizures
  • fever that continues for more than 72 hours. All babies less than two months old should be seen by a doctor in the event of a fever above 100.4F (38.0C)
Since the virus spreads person-to-person by inhaling infected droplets from coughing or sneezing or touching a contaminated surface then touching your eyes or nose, it is vital that you take precautions to protect your children and yourself against swine flu or to prevent the spread of the virus if you are ill.
Here are some simple measures to take:
  • Cover your mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing (preferably with a sleeve or elbow, or into a tissue--not with a hand). Teach your children to do the same.
  • Use tissues, dispose of them as soon as possible, and follow up immediately with thorough hand washing or hand sanitizer.
  • Educate your children to the importance of not sharing cups, glasses, or utensils.
  • Stay at home if feeling unwell, even if taking medication. If you have been diagnosed with H1N1 influenza, stay out of public places (work, stores, classrooms, etc.) for at least seven days after the onset of symptoms. If you must go out, wear a facemask; keep at least six feet away from healthy people, if possible; and use a hand sanitizer often.
  • Above all, stay informed by visiting these sugggested sites: 
Your Child's Development 
Do you want to learn more about your child's development?
Use the ASQ questionnaires to check your child's development between the ages of birth and 5 years. The results determine if your child's development is on schedule.
Ways to Support Birth To Three
Volunteer opportunitiesThere are simple and easy ways you can support Birth To Three without writing a check or using your credit card to make a contribution. Linking your Albertson's Preferred Savings Card, using the eScrip program, and partnering with SeQuential Biofuels will do the trick!
In addition to these, there are a variety of other ways you can be of help.
Give to Birth To Three while honoring a family member, friend, business associate or employee with a one-of-a-kind donation.

Many thanks to all of you for choosing to participate and support Birth To Three!

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Activities For Children and 
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Special and ongoing events (storytimes, playgroups, swimming, art and music, museums, etc.) for you and your children.
Here are the most up-to-date lists for your family's enjoyment! Visit it often for the latest changes!
Your Parenting Matters!
"A child is a person who is going to carry on what you have started...You may adopt all the policies you please, but how they are carried out depends on [our children]. [They] will assume control of your cities, your states, and your nation...The fate of humanity is in [their hands"].
                                                                   -Abraham Lincoln
editor.croppedSylvia W. Lee, Editor
Birth To Three
The views expressed or implied in Parenting Matters! are not necessarily representative of the views of Birth To Three. Links to other sites do not constitute Birth To Three's endorsement of them, and unless otherwise noted, the web information may not represent official statements or views of Birth To Three. Use information here at your own risk.