WELCOME TO THE PARENT
This is a new page on the website to help all parents & caregivers of young children in the very important job of parenting! First of all, as parents/caregivers, you are your children’s first and most important teacher!
Now, as we are facing the “stay at home” COVID-19 precautions, your job as a parent has increased to become your children’s only teacher. Maybe you never thought of yourself as a homeschooler, but now it has become a necessity! We know that one of the reasons you come to ECFE classes is to be together with other parents/caregivers and to bring your children to a safe school environment where they can play and learn together. Right now we all know that is not possible so we have created this page to inspire a “parenting community.” We want to help you with all aspects of parenting, from how to cope with this pandemic to the ordinary everyday issues of feeding, toileting, & sleeping issues.
To begin with, there are a few tips for staying home with your young children:
1. Have a schedule. Children thrive on schedules! They know what to expect and feel less anxiety. So, an example of a regular schedule could include: a regular waking up & bed time, breakfast, lunch, dinner time, putting on play clothes (and not staying in pj’s all day—even though that seems tempting!). Do all the same rituals children love and have come to expect, like reading books before bed, brushing teeth regularly, helping with home chores, bath time with favorite bath toys, walking the dog together. These routine things give us all comfort!
2. Have variety and flexibility. Schedules are important but so is spontaneity and creativity! Use this time you have together to encourage creativity and exploration! There are lots of good ideas for fun, child friendly activities on Pinterest, Scholastic, etc. Just Google it! (There will be more fun ideas for activities in the future on this page!)
3. Have a limit on technology. Although there are a ton of great learning ideas for young children on the web, please limit the time you allow children to spend watching videos, tv, movies, video games, etc. I think we can all fall down that rabbit hole to fill the time! Put the phone face down, turn the tv and Ipads off. Talk to each other, make up stories, bake cookies, draw, paint, do puzzles, play board games.
4. Allow your children to play outside with you in the yard. (It is becoming spring!) Take a walk, go on a hike in the woods, have a scavenger hunt, or make a snowman. We all need more vitamin D and fresh air!
5. Try to keep positive. Now I know that it is not always easy. We can get down in the dumps, wondering how long this crisis will last. However, we do have our family with us, and we have access to technology that allows us to keep in touch with friends and other family members, & the weather is changing from winter to spring. So—-there are things to be grateful for in our isolation.
Hopefully, this page will help cheer you up and bolster you in your parenting! Take care and stay safe! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know what you think and your ideas for future articles! Thanks!
Learning begins at birth! If an infant, toddler, or preschooler is interested and involved in an activity—and having fun—he or she is learning. Treasure these early days of playing and cuddling with your little one. It is exactly what your child needs to grow and learn. We now have an opportunity to spend time with our children and play with them.
I have a quote from one of our ECFE parents during this time when family means our whole world. “We have enjoyed our family time so much. I hope many families take this time to prioritize family and what it means, & my hope is there is a gentle shift in society once things are all back up and running.”
Our topic for this week is play and learning.
ART & MUSIC:
Using large sheets of paper (or paper bags cut open), paint to music. Observe how the pictures change between country, rock & roll, classical or jazz music.
Keep a variety of materials, such as wrapping paper scraps, fabric, ribbon, yarn, packing peanuts, etc. to make collages using glue or duct tape!
Go outside to paint with a bucket of water and large paintbrush. Or make chalk pictures for everyone in the neighborhood to see.
Make an empty oatmeal container into a drum, or get a pot and a spoon from the kitchen. Let your child keep the beat to his/her favorite song as you sing together.
Have your child walk slowly around the room using music to set the pace. Call out a movement, such as forward, sideways, little steps, giant steps.
Make boxes with the following ideas! COOKING BOX—mixing bowl, measuring spoons & cups, whisk, spatula, cookie cutters, apron, BATH BOX—plastic funnels, turkey baster, spray bottle, sink or float items, plastic dolls, rubber duckies, cars/trucks, GROCERY BOX—recycle empty food boxes and clean plastic jars, coupons, play money, cash register, shopping cart or cloth bags, CAMPING BOX—tent, flashlight, sleeping bags, blankets, binoculars, DRESS-UP BOX—use an old suitcase to store old clothes, hats, shoes, costumes, plastic jewelry, scarves. Dramatic play is a good way for children to role play, understand other’s perspectives, problem solve, develop & foster imagination, storytelling and much more!
You may hate junk mail but your child loves it. Give a pile of it to your children in an old purse or cloth shopping bag. Use an empty kleenex box or shoebox for the mail to be delivered to.
Have an indoor picnic. Put a tablecloth on the floor and eat there.
Play together the games you grew up with, such as “I spy” or “Simon says.” Make everyday a special time for you and your children by planning activities that the family can do together.
So many ideas to try! Please feel free to use them all!
If you would like free parenting tips texted to your cellphone from ThinkSmall Parent Powered Texts, please text TS to 70138. These tips are for families with children from birth to age 5. These texts will arrive three times a week.