Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Helping Children Develop Confidence
Image result for children smiling clipart

Where do you start? If a child does not have confidence they may be afraid to try something new. As parents we want to see our child(ren) succeeded and do bigger and better things in their life. Zero to Three has some great information about children developing self-confidence. What is self-confidence? Confidence is a belief in your ability to master your body, behavior, and the challenges you encounter in the larger world. Children who are confident are eager to learn new skills and face new challenges. They also expect adults to be helpful and supportive of their efforts. Self-confidence is also crucial for getting along with others and working out the many social challenges—such as sharing, competition, and making friends—that children face in school settings. Self-confident children see that other people like them and expect relationships to be satisfying and fun.

How does self-confidence develop? Babies are born with no real sense of themselves as separate and distinct beings. They learn who they are primarily through their interactions and experiences with others. Primary caregivers—parents, relatives, caregivers, and teachers—reflect back to children their unique strengths and special attributes. In large part, a child’s sense of confidence is shaped and nurtured (or not) by those who care for him. Watch how confidence grows across the first three years of life: 
  • A newborn cries and is comforted by her parent. This baby is learning that she is loved, important, and worthy of soothing. 
  • An 8-month-old shakes a rattle and smiles at the sound it makes. His caregiver says, “You figured out how the rattle works! Nice job!” This baby is learning he is a clever problem-solver. 
  • A toddler takes a stool to reach her favorite toy—dad’s cell phone—on the countertop. “I can’t let you play with my phone,” says the girl’s father, “But how about playing with this?” He hands her a toy phone and she happily begins making calls. This toddler is learning that her interests are important and will be respected and supported (within limits) by those who love her. 
  • A 3-year-old sobs as his parents leave for a night out on the town…without him. They help him calm down and get settled with his babysitter. This toddler is learning that his feelings are important and that his parents will listen and respond to him when he is distressed. 

Below are ways you can nurture your child’s self-confidence through your everyday interactions together.

Establish routines with your baby or child. When events are predictable, when they happen in approximately the same way at approximately the same time each day, your child will feel safe, secure, confident and in control of his world. He knows that, for example, bath comes first, then books, then songs and then bedtime. He understands the what will happen next and can prepare himself for those changes. If day-to-day events seem to occur randomly, it can cause children a lot of anxiety. If life doesn’t make sense, it may feel too scary to fully explore. When children know what to expect, they are free to play, grow, and learn.

Allow for and facilitate plenty of opportunity for play. Play is how children learn about themselves, other people, and world around them. Through play, children also learn how to solve problems and develop confidence —finding the ball behind the couch, getting the right shape into its hole, getting the jack-in-the-box to pop up. An infant who successfully presses a button on a toy that produces a pleasant sound is learning that he can make something happen.

It is also through play that children learn how it feels to be someone else, to try on new roles and to work out complicated feelings. A two-year old who dresses up, playing a mommy going off to work, may be working out her feelings about separations. A three-year old playing Power Rangers may be practicing being more assertive, mastering fears or venting aggressive feelings. Let your child lead playtime—this will build his confidence, assertiveness, and leadership skills.

Help your child learn to be a problem-solver. Help your child work through problems, but don’t always solve them for her. Move the blocks on the bottom of the tower so they are a little more stable, but don’t put the tall one on top—let her figure out how to make it balance. This way you give her the chance to feel successful.
  • If your child is building a block house on the rug and it keeps falling, you could: 
  • Tell her that you see how frustrated she is 
  • Ask her if she knows what may be causing the problem 
  • Offer your observations, i.e., that the rug is soft so the blocks aren’t stable 
  • Ask if she has any ideas about what might make them steadier 
  • Ask if she wants suggestions: "How about making it on the hard floor?" 
The goal is to guide and support your child in her problem-solving efforts but not do for her what she has the skills to accomplish herself. Sometimes, your child’s times of greatest frustration are in fact golden opportunities for her to develop feelings of confidence, competence and mastery. She’ll learn that she can depend on you to encourage her. Meanwhile, she’s the one who finds the solution.

Give your child responsibilities. Feeling useful and needed makes children feel important and builds confidence. Jobs should be age-appropriate. Very young children can sort laundry with you, help feed pets, water plants, and pick up toys. Be specific about what is expected. Say, "Please put a napkin on each plate," not "Help me set the table."

Celebrate your child’s successes. Showing your child that you recognize how he is growing and learning helps to build his confidence. Make a photo album of his accomplishments. Take pictures of your child struggling to climb onto a chair, and one of your child sitting in it proudly.

Encourage your child to try to master tasks he is struggling with. Children learn by doing. Break down difficult tasks into manageable steps to help him feel in control, confident, and safe. For example, if he is trying to learn to put his shoes on: 
  • Unlace his shoes and open them for him 
  • Line them up so he can step in 
  • Let him lean on you while he steps in 
  • Guide his hand, if necessary, as he fastens the shoes 
  • Tell him: "Nice job getting your shoes on!" 
As you work on a task or skill that is tough for your child—like making the transition to training wheels or learning to go down the big slide—let him know you believe in him, but also communicate that you will not be disappointed if he isn’t yet ready. You are there to support him whenever he is ready to try again. When children feel in control, they feel strong in the world.

Provide language for your child’s experience that accurately reflects his experience, shows understanding and empathy, and instills confidence. "You tried to pour your own juice. Good for you. Some juice is in the cup. Some spilled. You look sad about that. Here, wipe it up with this sponge. That pitcher is heavy for little hands. I’ll give you a smaller one and you can try again."

Be a role model yourself. Children are always keenly watching their parents for clues about what to do or how to feel about different tasks or social interactions. When it comes to learning how to manage emotions like hurt, anger, or frustration, you are their "go-to" person. If you can model persistence and confidence in yourself, your child will learn this too. Try new things and praise yourself aloud. "I was really frustrated putting up that shelf. It was hard to do. When it fell, I was mad. I rested and tried again. Now I’m proud of myself for getting the job done and not giving up."

If you can say to your child when you are angry, "I don’t like that you threw that ball at me. I know you are angry and that’s o.k. But throwing hurts. You can tell me why you are mad and hit this pillow if you have to do something with your body." You are not only addressing your child's behavior, and offering alternatives, but the way you are dealing with your anger gives your child a healthy model for coping with strong feelings.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Flu Signs and Symptoms

What is the flu? What are the signs and symptoms? What can I do to help prevent my child or myself from getting the flu? When can my child return to school? These are questions that we all may face during the cold and flu season. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that we are informed of the following information during this 2016-2016 Flu Season: 

Let's Start Here: What is the Flu?

The influenza (Flu) virus causes serious illness that may result in hospitalization or death. It mostly affects the breathing system, but may also affect the whole body. The flu season usually starts in the fall and ends in the spring. Talk with your doctor about getting vaccinated at the start of the season (late summer or early fall) so that you are protected during the whole season. People can get the flu more than once per season and many times in their lives. Influenza viruses are unpredictable and strands vary from year to year. As many as 4 different flu viruses are expected to make children sick again this flu season.

Signs of the Flu:

All flu viruses cause a respiratory illness that can last a week or more. Flu symptoms include: 

A sudden fever (usually above 101°F [38.3°C]) 
Chills and body shakes 
Headache, body aches, and being a lot more tired than usual 
Sore throat 
Dry, hacking cough 
Stuffy, runny nose 

Some children may vomit and have diarrhea. Talk with your child's doctor if your child has ear pain, a cough that will not go away, or a fever that will not go away.

How to Prevent the Flu:

Get the flu vaccine every year. Safe vaccines are made each year to protect against the flu. Everyone should get the vaccine as soon as it is on hand in your community. This year's flu vaccine includes 3 strains (trivalent) or 4 strains (quadrivalent) of the virus. The trivalent vaccine protects against 1 strain from last year and 2 new strains. These are: Influenza A (H1N1), Influenza A (H3N2), and Influenza B. The quadrivalent vaccine protects against the same 3 strains as the trivalent vaccine, and it adds a second influenza B strain (the same one added to last season's quadrivalent vaccine). One flu vaccine is not preferred over another. The number of vaccine doses your child needs this year depends on his age at the time the first dose is given as well as his flu vaccine history. Recommendations are as follows:

Children 9 years and older need only 1 dose.
Children 6 months through 8 years of age
Need 2 doses if they received fewer than 2 doses of flu vaccine before July 1, 2015. This includes children getting the flu vaccine for the first time.
Need only 1 dose if they received 2 or more doses of flu vaccine before July 1, 2015.

You Should Consider Receiving the Flu Vaccine this Year Because....

Protection from the flu vaccine lasts for only about 6 to 12 months and the virus strains in the vaccine often change.

Does the Flu Vaccine have Side Effects?

The flu vaccine has very few side effects. The area where the IIV flu shot is given may be sore for 1 or 2 days. Fever may occur within 24 hours in about 10% to 35% of children younger than 2 years but rarely occurs in older children and adults. Your child might get a stuffy, runny nose within the first few days. 
You or your children will not get the flu from the vaccine. It takes 2 weeks for the vaccine to start working, so people can catch the flu before they are protected. Keep flu germs from spreading The flu virus spreads easily through the air with coughing and sneezing or through touching things such as doorknobs or toys and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. 

Tips for Health 

Everyone should wash their hands often. You can use soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. That is about as long as singing the "Happy Birthday" song 2 times. An alcohol-based hand cleanser or sanitizer works well too. Put enough on your hands to make them wet. Then rub them together until dry.  Teach your children to cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Show your children how to cough into the elbow or upper sleeve (not a hand) or use a tissue. Throw used tissues into the trash right away. Wash dishes and utensils in hot, soapy water or the dishwasher. Do not share items such as toothbrushes, pacifiers, cups, spoons, forks, washcloths, or towels. Teach your children to try not to touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. Wash doorknobs, toilet handles, counter tops, and toys. Use a disinfectant wipe or a cloth with soap and hot water to help kill germs

What if my Child Gets the Flu?

Call the doctor right away if your child shows any signs of the flu and: 
Is 3 months or younger and has a fever 
Has fast breathing or trouble breathing 
Looks very sick 
Is more sleepy than usual 
Is very fussy no matter what you do 
Cannot or will not drink anything 
Urinates very little 
Keep your child home

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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Meet Baymax!

Baymax is one of HTB's newest additions to our PreK classroom! This furry, friendly, and cuddly bunny has captured the hearts of our children and staff. How did we come up with the name, "Baymax" you ask?? Well let me just tell you a story.....

The children carefully observed, waited and brainstormed. They knew the name just had to be perfect! Names like Olaf, Ella (and basically every other member of the Frozen cast), Bunny & Fishie, were thrown around as naming options. None of them seemed to stick! Then, a friend shouted, "BAYMAX!" It was a then, the PreK children made a unanimous decision that this would be our new friends name!

At first, Baymax, was shy as you would expect most to be in a room filled with new faces.

Then, he came out of his shell....or cage:) and really started to show us his personality!

He even taught us about one of his favorite pass times..... snuggling!

We can't wait to see what other adventures Baymax will have with our children in PreK and are looking forward to sharing them with you!

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Books +Time =Happiness

     Reading to your child is such an integral part of their development. The benefits and educational opportunities this encourages are endless! Starting to do this at infancy or even pre-natal is often recommended by experts. Continuing to do this throughout a child's life also has many benefits.

According to National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAAEYC), reading to a young child is important for several reasons:
  • It builds your relationship with the child- There’s always something to talk about—the characters, the action, how it makes you feel and why. And all the language you share in conversation is an amazing learning experience for the child 
  • It teaches rhythm- Children need exposure to the rhythm of language. What better way to teach it than with a silly book like Who Stole the Cookies From the Cookie Jar?
  • It teaches rhyme- another essential skill when learning to read. Read nursery rhymes aloud and repeat them often with your child. “Little Boy Blue” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb” should be on your reading list as well as other old favorites.
  • It strengthens focus and attention span- If you say, “My 3-year-old won’t sit and listen to a book,” try a wordless book with bright, colorful photos that interest her (e.g., dogs, trucks, butterflies). Focused attention is a necessary skill for later learning.
  • It teaches new vocabulary- When you read books like Is Your Mama a Llama?, by Deborah Guarino, animal names and their babies’ names become a natural part of the conversation. Did you know a baby llama is called a cria? Your 3-year-old may even recognize the names of some animals when your play group visits the zoo.
"When you read with your child, you cozy up with him and a good book because it’s fun. The time spent together is irreplaceable. No, you don’t set out to teach your child when you read to him. But it happens." says Mary Reid, teacher of Pre-K and Kindergarten for 11 years.

For more information about the benefits of reading to young children, please visit:

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015


What is more fun that going to a zoo? Have a petting zoo come to your school! Loving Touch Petting Zoo paid us a visit, and brought several of their animal's. They brought a duck, a calf, goats, sheep, bunnies, a chicken, and a llama. Each of our classrooms had the chance to go outside and pet any of the animals that they wanted to. It was  a fun time for our children. The younger children when asked what sound does the... make; they would make the sound! 

Preschool  two friend loved petting all the animals, but his favorite was the sheep.

Preschool Three friends did not know which animal to pet first! They were running from animal to animal! 

This Preschool friend loved the duck and while the other was fascinated with the brown sheep.

This Preschool One friend was following the duck around saying "quack quack!"

The Pre-K class was very excited to see the bunnies! When the class saw the bunny that looked like their class pet the said "look it looks like Oreo!" The gentleman told the children that indeed the bunnies name was Oreo!

For more information about Loving Touch Petting zoo, please visit them at:

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