Tuesday, October 22, 2002 08:28 PM Last Updated
Issue 7, vol. 7.2 Archive
|Child Care Magazine
Contact the Magazine
Contact the Ads Department
Contact the Editor
Letter From the Editor
Child Care Magazine Topics
Night Time Child Care - Home Based Care
By: Jeff Stimpson
My baby Alex is out of the hospital, but my wife Jill and I haven't escaped nurses. We have several home care people involved in our life now, including Nurses, Therapists, and Home-Equipment Guys From Long Island. Many times Alex has been in the clutches of a home care somebody, and lifted his brow and seemed to ask, "Daddy, why don't you just hit these guys?!"
By: Ed Kemper
Welcome back, readers, from what I hope was a safe and fun 4th of July.
Matching: Tutorial # 6: One-to-one correspondence.
Shapes: Select pairs of different pasta shapes. Glue each piece of pasta to an index card. Mix up the cards on the table. Have the child find the matching pairs.
Size: Save your paper towel cardboard tubes. Cut them into different heights, always two
the same size. Arrange them on the table at random. The child stands them up on the table, moving them around until they are paired up according to height.
Go to the cupboards. Take out all the cans and place them on the floor. Have the child
Next Week: Measurement; Serration: Ordering 2 or more objects according to size.
By: Jenifer B. McCrea
There is nothing quite like moving to a new city with an infant or toddler. Once your children are in school, it really becomes much easier to meet people. There’s PTA, or at least volunteering at school functions. Of course your child makes friends, and hopefully you can at least tolerate your kid’s friend’s parents.
However, when you have a younger than pre-school child and you move to a new city, it’s just not that simple. After you get settled into your new digs, it rapidly becomes apparent how many wonderful friends you had wherever it was you just moved from. I once called my husband three days AFTER we had sold our house, moved three thousand miles and put a bid on a new house, and cried, I mean cried, that we had made a huge mistake and could he get his old job back and take us ‘home?’
Of course, I was sitting in a dingy temporary apartment, in the worst part of town, with my toddler sitting next to me on an air mattress eating "Cheez Whiz" out of the jar. It was not a good day. OK, it was a truly horrible day, followed by several more horrible days. Eventually though, things evened out. My husband really likes his new company, and once we moved out of the squalor that was temporary living and into a house, things improved immensely. I also met another mommy who has a daughter a few months younger than my son, and the kids play together beautifully. After that, things really looked up.
But what is a stay at home Mom to do? Where do you go to make friends your child is between "Gymboree" and Gym Class? They say that the best place for singles to meet is in grocery stores. I can pretty much guaranty that any Mommy in the grocery store is there on a mission, and is not in the “let’s chat for a bit and see if we can make a play date” mode. Don’t despair you displaced Moms or those of you new to the stay at home game. It isn’t as much who you know as where you go that will make the difference. As old hat to the moving game, I have four recommendations below. Some are even free. I have tried them all and have met other Moms, some of whom are now friends, some that didn’t work as well, but then again you have that no matter where you go.
The MOMS club (www.momsclub.org)
I joined the MOMS (Moms Offering Moms Support) when I was a new stay at home Mom living in California. I found that while I adored my new baby, he just wasn’t quite up to in depth conversation. I had bored all my work friends with baby stories and my husband was beginning to ask if I was ever going to leave the house again.
It’s a terrific group. They separate by age, and branch off new groups to maintain a fairly small number in each group. I was in a group with other new moms, and we were all first time mothers as well. We talked about feedings and who was sleeping through the night. We got to praise (or complain about) our partners for their help (or lack thereof). It was a nice forum. The groups generally meet weekly, and rotate homes, so the cost is minimal each week. As the weather improved and the kids got a little more mobile, we also went to parks together. I have to admit, it was nice to get out of the house once a week and go to another child proofed home.
You can check out their website and email for more information. Each region seems to be structured slightly differently, so you’ll need to talk to your local group to find out more information. There is also an annual fee, but I believe it is less than $25.00 a year, you get a members list, a newsletter, and lots of great information.
Your Local Library
Many local libraries have a weekly toddler story time. You stay with your child, it isn’t a daycare situation, but you get to hear a story, and maybe interact with some other Moms. Take it from me though; the storyteller doesn’t usually appreciate unexpected audience participation. My son went and grabbed the little felt people off her felt board she was using as a prop to tell the story. If looks could kill, I would be dead.
Story time is free, and while you are at the library, if you don’t have a Library Card, you should get one. It is a lot of fun to cruise around the children’s section reminding yourself of old favorite books and finding new ones with your child.
Large Chain Bookstores
If you have either a Borders or Barnes and Noble near you, this is a don’t miss opportunity to meet other Moms. There isn’t the need to be as quiet as in a library and the Children’s section is usually extensive. At the information desk or checkout counter, they usually have a monthly calendar that you can take home. Barnes and Noble as well as Borders sponsor story times once or twice a week. Barnes and Noble is also a retailer for Thomas the Tank Engine, therefore many locations have a Thomas the Tank Engine table set up, where kids of all ages can play with the trains. My son and I have spent many an hour sitting chatting with people while crashing Percy and Thomas into the roundhouse. This one is free if you can resist buying books (which I can’t) and coffee (another failing of mine).
If you are new in town, or have just bought a new house, you can join the Newcomer’s Club. Often clubs will have subsets, like a Mom and Tots group, or even a Young Couples subset. Check your local newspaper on Sunday for a calendar of events. Newcomer’s Clubs sometimes take out small ads in the calendar, listing their meeting dates and times, or check with your local Chamber of Commerce. There may be a nominal fee charged for babysitting, or if lunch is provided, but other than that Newcomer’s Clubs are usually free.
By: Elizabeth Pennington
Within the world of children, inevitably lies a world of monsters...the imaginary and the not-so-imaginary. Children and monsters go hand-in-hand, are joined at the hip, are each other’s shadows. Monsters are always lurking about under beds and in closets waiting for dark to fall and bedtime to roll around. But, children do not have exclusive rights to monsters. Parents can be plagued by these pesky beasts as well. To both children and parents, they come in the guise of insecurity, anxiety, doubt, fear, and jealousy. Of all, it is jealousy, the Green-Eyed Monster, that tends to nag and gnaw the most at many mothers whose children spend the majority of their days with a nanny or any other childcare provider.
As a former daycare teacher and nanny, I have witnessed up close and personal this green-eyed monster at work. A pretty sight it is not. A child squeals in delight and jumps into the waiting arms of her nanny in the morning and wails in utter sorrow at the end of the day as the nanny walks out the door. I have seen the tension and anxiety in a mother’s face as she watches this interaction and displays of emotion from her child. Every time I have witnessed this maternal sadness and concern, I have longed to reassure her and to put her at ease, to tell her that in no way am I a threat to her and the bond with her child, to dispel the notion that if your child loves me then she must love you less. A child’s heart is insatiable for love; she cannot give nor receive enough of it. Just as an adult’s heart is capable of infinite expansion, so is a child’s, if not more.
While I was living in West Virginia, I nannied for a family who had a little boy named Timmy, and I will never forget when his mother arrived home from work one evening. I was holding Timmy in my arms as we greeted her at the door. She walked in, gave me one hard look, and nearly snatched Timmy away, turned her back to me and began to coo and giggle with her son as she walked away from me without a second glance. Her actions and body language spoke loudly and clearly demanding that I watch it, that I don’t get too close. Clearly, my closeness with her son was a threat. From that day on, I made sure that I was not overly affectionate with Timmy in front of her, that I blended into the background when she was there so that Timmy’s attention was focused squarely on his mother instead of me. I felt I had to distance myself a bit from Timmy in order to not offend his mother. This distancing took a bit of the joy out of the relationship I had developed with this little boy, and for a child who deserved as much love as possible, this was not fair to him. Timmy and I both lost out.
I ran into some friends not too long ago, and throughout the process of catching up on what’s new, they divulged that they were expecting their first child. Knowing my experience with children, they began grilling me as to what I suggested for day care. A live-in nanny? Day care? A family member? As the discussion continued on, we came to the topic of maternal jealousy. She admitted to me that she was afraid of her child becoming attached to the childcare provider, whomever she eventually was to choose. She was afraid of her reaction to see the bonding between her child and someone else other her or a family member. I think this is partly due to guilt, guilt that she, the mother, will not be there to care for her child during working hours. But, I told her this, as I would tell anyone who cares to ask, that no one could possibly take her place in her child’s heart. A child doesn’t become confused as to who is her mother. The bond between mother and child begins from day one and continues on through the time in the womb and beyond. No other bond can even begin to come close to duplicating the mother/child bond.
I look back on Timmy and his mother and wonder why she chose to be jealous instead of appreciating my feelings for Timmy and vice versa. Didn’t she want her child to be cared for and loved while she was gone? Can there possibly be too many loving adults in this boy’s life? Why couldn’t she realize that what I was able to provide for Timmy would only help ensure a happy and healthy son for her to come home to every night? Would she have felt better if Timmy feared me day in and day out? Was fear better than love?
This is why jealousy is a monster. This monster robs people of time, time that could be spent being at ease, knowing that the child they love with all their heart is being well cared for. This monster robs people of the knowledge that the bond growing between child and nanny will help this child grow into a healthy and centered adult. Don’t give into this monster. Embrace the relationship your child enjoys while you are gone, then embrace the relationship you have with your child when you are home. Your child deserves all the love that can possibly be heaped upon them. Instead of resenting your nanny, thank her for loving your child. After all, she is doing her job and doing it very, very well.
By: Christine L. Pollock
Did you ever stop to think where our music and songbooks come from? Who goes around collecting the pieces? There is a man from England who is famous for doing just that.
Ralph Vaughan Williams was born on October 12, 1872, in Gloucestershire (at Down Ampney) in England. It is said that his compositions were true works of England. The man was a brilliant composer whose works reflected those of Brahams. Some of his music touched on Impressionism (like Debussy), but he also flirted with more dissonant sounds.
As an extremely musically gifted man, Vaughan Williams composed many different genres. His varying styles included: nine symphonies, 5 operas, church music and picture music as well as theater music and much more. In 1903, Ralph went through the English countryside gathering Folk songs so the tunes could be immortalized. He also edited the English Hymnal and even composed hymns (an example would be the music to For all the Saints http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/126/richard_jordan.html).
Sometimes Ralph (pronounced “Rafe” – he got angry when people pronounced his name as “Rolph”) would take poetry and composed music for it. A grandmother in NY requested that I write about his piece, The Lark Ascending (http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/100/gary_kibler.html).The Lark Ascending is a composition for orchestra with a dominant violin sound. It is based on a poem by George Meredith. The entire poem can be found at As the orchestra plays a folk style tune, the sound of the violin soars over it with beautiful twists and turns of graceful flight. The piece symbolizes the English countryside before the war destroys it. My personal favorite lines of the poem are: “So thirsty of his voice is he, For all to hear and all to know, That he is joy, awake, aglow…”.
Ralph wrote the music for The Lark Ascending in 1914, but it was not publicly performed until 1920. The year he composed the piece was also the year that Vaughan Williams volunteered in the Field Ambulance Service in Flanders. He was dedicated to the war effort although he suffered deeply at the killings, especially of his close friend, the composer George Butterworth. In 1939, Ralph aided the Second World War effort by composing film music.
The music Vaughan Williams composed touched the hearts and minds of the people of England. The compositions told England’s story in music throughout the world. Ralph Vaughan Williams died in his sleep due to a heart attack on August 26, 1958. His fame was so great in England; his ashes were placed in Westminster Abbey.
How can Vaughan Williams come to life with our children? We day care providers can use this as a great excuse to study England. We can talk about the beautiful gardens and the old castles. Children love stories of knights and kings and queens. Some ideas for this week are:
Next week we will look at the beautiful English countryside in the works of John Constable. For a while now we have been looking at the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Next week we will step back a little further in time.
If you have any favorite artist or composer you would like to see highlighted, please e-mail me at
By: Deb & Dave Graham
The River of Life is wide and swift and success is most often measured by merely making it to the end without piling up on the rocks or drowning along the way. There are many methods of travel. Some simply jump in fully clothed and let the currents carry them however and wherever they will, and others build amazing watercraft to help them along. Still others band together and travel in floating societies, each member specializing in something the others cannot do. These societies have become quite sophisticated. Now, after millennia of advancing humanity, it is possible to make it all the way down without knowing how to swim. Some have even finished without ever actually getting wet. And along the way, we have built ourselves up philosophies that it isn’t really necessary, anymore.
Everything is taken care of. No worries. If something goes wrong, we’re covered because the insurance people are doing their jobs, and they can handle it. That’s what we pay them for. Which makes for a nice smooth journey, except for one thing… our children keep jumping over the side. They do not realize the danger of being up so high and are forever fascinated with the water. We call these the “rebellious years” and comfort ourselves with the knowledge that nearly everyone goes through them. Nevertheless, they can give us some of the most heart-wrenching experiences of our lives. Whether you are the parent or the child.
It is in our nature to want to experience things for ourselves. To accomplish something “on our own”, to divide the waters from the waters, and to ultimately see what lies at the end of the River. We don’t talk about what lies at the end of the River (even though EVERYONE ends up there) because – in our elaborate societies – it simply isn’t in good taste. And we spend a good deal of time these days trying to teach our children how to get along in the societies rather than how to get down the River. Figuring out the River is rather old fashioned, considering the boat is already headed there – so, why all the turmoil?
Because for everything the societies take out of you, the River gives back. Children know this because they spend a lot of time looking. And feeling. For every impression they manage to vocalize, they are feeling nine more, and trying to make sense out of them all. It has been said that the human brain absorbs more fully and works faster in childhood than any other time in life. And if that is so, it is prime time for “swimming lessons.” The thing about swimming is – outside of a few pointers – it is learned mostly by trying it out. Children learn who they are and what they are good at by trying things out. And as soon as they have mastered the home environment, they are ready to explore. They NEED to explore. Not too far, at first, but they will always be pressing to go farther.
The clash comes because this is a time in the societies when it’s a real hassle to get down to the River anymore. We’re too busy fulfilling our obligations to the boat, which if we don’t keep up, could very well cause us to lose our ticket. Which is unacceptable. The societies have helped us out a bit in this by providing pastimes for children that fit in with the routine of daily living, but these only suppress the latent impulses of human nature temporarily, storing up ammunition for the coming rebellious years. That’s because the pastimes are lavishly embellished with stories about… the River.
So, what do we do about all this?
We take a better look at the River. There’s a reason why it’s so appealing to humans: it fulfills their need for adventure, their need to excel, their need to “touch bases” with a little bit of the nature that courses so strongly through every one of us. Adventure and Excellence. Everyone dreams about these two things. They are the ultimate goal of every human being, no matter how they choose to achieve it. And – once, again – it is a force so strong that it would be far better for us as parents (and children) to work with instead of against.
So, let them fish where they’ve never fished; let them explore where they’ve never explored. Encourage them in this quest for themselves that they are driven to embark on from their very earliest days. The River of Life is full of many channels – let them experience what it’s like to change in midstream once in awhile. They won’t be successful at everything – in fact, they can’t be – but something happens in the mere trying that makes them a stronger, more confident individual. And one day they will happen upon something that will turn them into the very person they were meant to be.
Of course, we’re not advocating that you pull out all the stops and give your eleven-year-old the keys to the family car if he asks for them… although that’s exactly what Charles Lindbergh was doing at that age, and look what an amazing and wonderful person he turned out to be. But we’ve acquired a few too many vehicles on the roads since his day and had to come up with an elaborate set of rules and driver’s licenses to keep the chaos at bay. The point here is, at that age, the young Lindbergh was not only capable of driving the family car – he became so good at it that he was designated the official driver on some of his father’s political campaigns and even went so far as to be responsible for the care and maintenance of the vehicle. He kept detailed records of repairs and fuel consumption, laying a foundation that would serve him later in life and allow him to go where no one else had gone and do what no one else had done. And because of these experiences – one on top of the other – he was ultimately able to change the course of the entire Pacific Campaign during World War II, by showing other pilots how to coax more miles out of the airplane engine than anyone had ever believed possible.
Childhood experiences are important. They make up the foundations of a person’s life, and from it spring hopes, dreams, and – more importantly – values that last through a whole lifetime. All the way down the River. But compared to a lifetime, childhood is relatively short. And today, more than any other time in history, much of what has become “on hand” for children to do, is deceptively passive. Interactive is NOT the same as active, and sooner or later a person WILL DO WHAT HE THINKS because that’s Life and that’s what living is all about. So, then it becomes very important how that thinking process is developed. In the same way that the law of gravity is no respecter of persons and “what goes up must come down,” the human brain is a processor, and “what goes in must eventually come out.”
Be careful what you allow into that wonderful little brain you – as a parent – have been entrusted with. It’s the only time in life you will have the sole power to decide what does or doesn’t go into it. It’s the only time in YOUR life when you will be able to declare what is or isn’t worthwhile and have those values carry on way beyond your own lifetime. It isn’t so much a question of good or bad. Most people desire good things for themselves and their children, and most people are good people. The danger lies in wasting the fertile ground of childhood with pastimes and experiences that simply aren’t worthwhile. And because it is the nature of children to amuse themselves with whatever is at hand… make sure you surround them with something of value.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.” As far as we’ve come in “the societies” over the years, we human beings still only have the same allotment of time doled out to us. Twenty-four hours in every day. Rich or poor, good or bad, no more and no less for EVERYBODY. And the truth is, in order for you to help your children have more worthwhile experiences… you might have to do a little “channel changing” yourself, in order to provide opportunities for them.
It takes energy to change channels. A channel is a river of current that will carry you along quite nicely without much effort. But try to get out of it, and you will find that some pretty intense resistance is involved. You have to go against the current to get out into another channel… and then that one proceeds to sweep you along wherever it’s headed. So, what’s the point? The point is, each time you accomplish a channel change, you get stronger. And the more times you do it, you actually find yourself looking forward to the exertion, and the refreshing change of perspective that comes from seeing and experiencing something different. Like working out at a gym: it’s hard to go but you feel so much better after you do. Do it enough and you become dedicated to working out, simply because you get “hooked” on feeling good. Pretty soon it becomes a channel, and not difficult to stay in at all. The secret to helping your children experience this is to make sure that the channels available to them are worthwhile ones.
Here are some tips to “get your feet wet” with channel changing:
Changing channels and experiencing new things can add new dimensions to not only your children’s lives, but yours too. You might find yourself seeing things through the eyes of a child, again, and that’s a rare and wonderful experience in these hectic times. What’s more, you might discover that you’re living with one of the most fascinating individuals of our day, right there in your own home. So, don’t let hours or days go by without spending “prime time” with them instead of pastimes, because it all goes by very quickly. And never be afraid of your child’s insatiable pursuit of adventure and excellence…
They make wonderful companions.
By: Emily R. Bridges
Instructions for feeding:
Once your child reaches 12 months, he or she will be eligible to participate in daily meals as provided by the daycare. A typical menu is as follows:
Bread or bread alternative (cereal, oatmeal, toast, pancakes, etc)
Fruit or fruit juice
Meat or Meat alternative, at least 1 oz. (meat, beans, peanut butter, eggs)
2 fruits or vegetables
Consists of 2 of the following :
Bread fruit or fruit juice
Milk Meat or meat alternative
If you would like for your child to automatically be placed in our dietary program, please indicate by your initial here:_________. If not, your child will continue on your specified schedule as listed above.
Day Care Provider:____________________________Date_____________
By: Emily R. Bridges
(Please beware of dosage amounts for each individual child. When in doubt, call your Doctor! This permission slip should be updated every 6 months or less and the dosage amount for the child for each medication should be listed. Your doctor may be able to fill out the amounts for your provider, with this form. Also, please note that children's formulas are use and not any adult medicines. )
I, ___________________, parent or guardian of ___________________, hereby give my childcare provider, ______________ (or person appointed by _____________), unrestricted permission to apply sunscreen to my child during outdoor play times, apply topical medications, (i.e. antibiotic ointments, hydrocortisone 1%, etc.) or oral medications such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen in the event of high fever.
I also give permission for Benadryl to be administered to my child in the event of bee sting, insect bite, or sign of allergic reaction at the discretion the childcare provider, _______________, (or person appointed by ______________).
In the event that my child experiences an allergic reaction in which it may be beneficial to administer Benadryl, I will be notified once my child’s immediate safety is ensured.
I have read this note in its entirety. My child is not allergic to any of the ingredients in sunscreen, topical medications, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, or Benadryl. My child has no known adverse reactions to these substances or any ingredient found in these substances.
Signature ______________________________________ Date: _____________
Parent Emergency Numbers:__________________________________________
Signature ______________________________________ Date: _____________
(Day Care Provider/or Person appointed)
By: Heather Haapoja
In last week’s column, I mentioned our upcoming family vacation. Well, we survived (thanks to many, many breathing exercises) and actually managed to create a few happy vacation memories.
On the return trip, however, things were a bit more hairy. Of course, the trip home is never as much fun, but as I sat researching my next article in the cramped back seat – an attempt to “divide and conquer” the kids – I came to understand part of the reason for all of the tension. We were trapped.
When you think about the “fight or flight” response, it becomes quite clear why stress is such a problem today. When we experience stress, our body reacts with an adrenaline boost, designed to give the strength to either fight the stress or run from it. However, in most of today’s stressful situations, neither is a possibility. You can’t very well turn and run away when your boss, child or spouse makes unreasonable demands on you. Therefore, muscles grow tense, breathing becomes shallow and adrenaline levels continue to build as your adrenal glands go into overdrive.
On our first trip, we made lengthy stops and allowed the kids to run and everyone to stretch. But on the return trip we made one big mistake, we were so anxious to get home that we didn’t take as much time to stop, move around and stretch. Our minivan became overloaded with adrenaline.
Physical activity is one of the best methods of managing stress. It benefits your stress levels in five basic ways.
Try to incorporate the following simple exercises into your daily routine and see if you notice the benefits.
Progressive Relaxation Exercise.
Above all, try to think of exercise as a treat, not a chore or a punishment. Remember the joy that you felt as a child racing across a wide-open space, jumping rope or climbing a tree? Recapture that sense of joy and you have made the first step toward better health.
By: Victoria L. Pietz
(Needs to be updated yearly or every 6 months if under 2 years of age. Check with your state to see if there are any variations or changes needed.)
Name of child____________________________________________D.O.B.__________
Name of Parents__________________________________________________________
Is there a need to restrict physical activity? Yes_______ No_______
If yes, what
Vision results Right eye___________ Left eye____________
Does the child require corrective measures? Yes_________ No_________
If so, what are they?
Hearing results Right ear___________ Left ear____________
Does the child require corrective measures? Yes________ No_________
If so, what are they?
Is this child fully immunized according to state standards? Yes______ No_______
Signature of Physician____________________________________Date______________
Too many times, the immunization and exam records are not completed or kept up to date. Many childcare providers have been in violation of this requirement. When you are in violation, you will probably need to update the information and state what steps will be taken to prevent re-occurrence of violations.
I suggest keeping a separate folder for each child and all records pertaining to the child be kept in this folder. There are quite a few forms that are necessary. It can be easy to overlook something. It would be a good idea to staple a simple checklist of necessary information that is required on the inside of the front cover. When information is completed, the necessary information can be placed in the folder and the missing information can be checked off at the time it is received.
It may help you to be organized if you set aside a specific time each month or each week, to review the records and update as necessary. Perhaps this time could be during naptime.
I have designed a form that puts two forms in one. The immunization and exam records. Remember to give parents the immunization form for updating after their child receives an immunization. You should give the parent a new form when the child is having a physical. Remember that children under age 2 need to have a physical every 6 months. Have the examination form completed and signed by the doctor. A good way to do this is to ask that the immunization and physical exam records be returned by the first day of attendance. Reminding the parents to give you the date when the exam is scheduled and putting that date on the calendar may help you remember to give them a new form; or you could give them one right away.
I hope the use of one form helps you keep a little sanity in all the confusing paperwork required to run a great child care operation.
By: Sharon Wren
When most of today’s parents were children, “time out” was something that you called during a game so you could tie your shoes. Today it’s the preferred method of disciplining children, especially during temper tantrums. A time out is what we now call being sent to your room or having to stand in the corner. Some parents send their children to their rooms, while others have a special chair set aside just for time outs.
Tantrums will happen to every child at some point, but there are ways to limit their frequency. The best ways are to watch and listen to your little one. Is he rubbing his eyes? Is it close to the usual naptime? Dragging a sleepyhead from store to store is just asking for trouble. Either limit the number of errands you do until he’s rested or do them way before or just after naptime. Is he grabbing at food in the grocery store? Maybe he’s hungry. Think about it – don’t you sometimes get irritable when you skip lunch? Try feeding him before you go out. I always have a big bag of cheese crackers and cereal in the diaper bag for emergencies and they’ve saved both my son and me from a few fits. Don’t forget that your child may just plain be bored. Have you ever tagged along with your spouse as he went from one hobby or hardware store to another in search of some gizmo? Did you always have a good time? Again, either limit the number of errands you run or make sure you bring along a couple toys or a book.
Time outs should be immediately imposed after a rule violation if they are to be the most effective. If you wait, the child may forget what he or she did to deserve it by time it’s imposed. This is especially true of young children. It’s easy enough to give a time out when you’re home, but what happens if you’re in public? If you’re somewhere that has a bench or seat, like the park, try having the child sit down until he has calmed down. If that doesn’t work, your best bet is to go to the car. If you’re at a store or the library, you’re probably better off just to go to the car. Don’t make him take a seat in the furniture department because the manager probably wouldn’t appreciate you using his merchandise to discipline your child.
Sometimes you may not need to put your child in a time out. My oldest son hit the Terrible 2's a little early (18 months) and I was worried about overusing time outs. One day he threw a fit and I put him on my lap and said “all right, I’m just going to hold you and read you a story until you feel better.” To my surprise, he settled down almost as soon as I picked up a book. We snuggled up while I read and when I finished, he hopped down and happily went off to play with his toys. We’ve used that tactic several times since then and it usually works.
If you do end up having to put your child in a time out, make sure it involves some sort of punishment. I don’t mean chaining him to the walls, but be honest – would it be a punishment to be sent to a room bursting with distractions like video games and a television? If you normally let your child have such items in his room, either remove them for the duration or send the child to a less distracting place. Advocates of putting children in a corner point out that there’s nothing there to amuse or distract them, just two walls.
How long should a child be in a time out? It depends on his age. Five minutes seem like an eternity to a toddler but that’s hardly enough time for an older child to calm down and that’s the point – you want him to compose himself. Try telling him “you can come out when you’re more calm”. Give it a few minutes and then check on him. There’s a good chance he’s had time to settle down and may be more receptive to a brief discussion on why what he did was wrong. Gently but firmly explain the rules – “you can’t scream in the library because it’s a quiet place” or “you must not hit your little sister, under any circumstances”. Sometimes kids just need to be reminded of the rules.
No one ever said parenting would always be fun and games and it’s not fun being the voice of authority. A little common sense goes a long way in preventing trouble. When the inevitable happens, keep calm and be consistent and it won’t be too awful.
By: Deb DiSandro
If I had only ditched Barbie for a baseball every once in a while, I wouldn’t be in this current predicament. Had I paid more attention to the play by play of a Major League game instead of investing all my talent and energy into selecting the perfect ensemble for a day at Barbie’s Beach House, I might be better prepared. But when the kids on my block were sliding into second, or rounding third, Barbie and I were packing for a trip to France.
How was I to know that one day I would actually grow up, get married, have kids and a body not like Barbie’s, but closer in proportions to my Voyager mini-van? And that instead of Lear-jetting to Europe, I would be standing in the middle of a baseball field, trying to catch a curve ball, a screw ball or any ball for that matter! A straight one, a fast one, even that one bouncing off my foot. Oops! I missed it.
“Don’t worry, Marcus.” I shouted to my impatient son. “I’ll catch the next one. Oops! Well, okay, then maybe the next one. Could you throw it slower?” I beg.
“Any slower, mom and I probably could run out there and catch it myself. “
“Okay, okay. Why don’t you get your bat and I’ll shoot some balls to you.”
“PITCH! Mom! It’s PITCH some. . .OOOW!”
“Sorry, Marcus. Bad pitch. Here comes another one."
"Come on, Marcus. I didn’t hit you that time.”
“No,” my son said shaking his head. “You hit that lady over there on that bench.”
"Just shake it off, lady. Nice slacks, by the way!"
Thanks to Barbie, I possess the athletic skills of a cross-eyed gnat.
As game time draws near, I impart my meager nuggets of baseball wisdom, “Now remember, Marcus. If the ball is coming toward you, move out of the way so you don’t get hurt, honey. And tuck your shirt in, Ken, I mean Marcus!"
As I take my place in the bleachers, I resist the urge to go over and straighten Marcus’ cap and pull his left pants leg down. Those Barbie days resurface when you least expect it.
“Marcus!” I shout.
He swings! He misses. He turns to glare at me.
“Straighten your pants leg!” I bellow across the field.
Soon Marcus is heading back to his seat. As I understand it, my son is out without even hitting the ball.
“Is that good?” I ask the father sitting next to me.
“Not unless your son was on the other team,” he explained, while edging down the bleacher in the other direction.
Marcus and his team lost the game that day, and the game after that and the game after that. And with each loss the team racked up, I learned a little more about baseball. I now know the difference between a ball and a strike. I understand that it’s better to hit than to miss. I can tell a foul ball from a fair ball. And I can even decipher when the umpire is wrong about a call. “My son was safe, you near-sighted buffoon!!”
But having never played the sport, there’s one thing I can’t help my son with and that’s losing five straight games in a row. The tears are unstoppable and the crying, though understandable is almost embarrassing.
“I don't get it. Our pitching is improving. We’re fielding better than ever. It’s not fair!”
“I know it's tough. But remember it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game, Mom.”
“You’re right, son," I sob, wiping the tears from my eyes. Thanks for reminding me. "Can we go for ice cream?”
“Sure, mom. But you’ve got to promise me one thing. At the next game wear something besides that Barbie cheerleading outfit?”
"Can I still bring my pom poms?" I pleaded.
"Not unless you want to cheer from inside the van."
By: Emily R. Bridges
If you are lucky enough to know which ear is causing the pain, you can hold
First Aid kits can be put together with reasonably small
Copyright 2001 DataWorkZ.com and Child Care Magazine. No unauthorized reproduction of any kind without express permission of Child Care Magazine and the Individual Author. All rights reserved.