Friday, September 30, 2011

Ten Ways to build your child’s self-esteem

Approved by the Parent Center Medial Advisory Board

By: Sarah Henry

Self-worth is important for your child to grasp so that they can feel confident when they set out to try new things on their own.  According to Jane Nelsen a family therapist in California, “Self-esteem comes from having a sense of belonging, believing that we’re capable, and knowing our contributions are valued and worthwhile.”  Our goal is to help build our child’s self-respect, faith in his ability to handle life’s challenges which for preschoolers may just be writing capital letters accurately. 
Ten Strategies to boost your child’s self-esteem

1. Give unconditional Love: This is probably the most important thing you could do. Your child needs to know that he is loved no matter their strengths, difficulties, temperament or abilities. Show them that you love them by giving plenty of cuddles, kisses and pats on the shoulder.    When correcting a child, correct the behavior but not the person.  Instead of saying “you’re a naughty boy!” address the behavior by saying “pushing Gabriel isn’t nice.  It can hurt.  Please don’t push”

2. Pay attention: The most important thing you can do for your child is to give them your time.  By doing so you are sending a message that he is important and valuable to you.  This simply means stopping for a moment what you are doing to talk with them or answer a question.
3. Teach limits: Give reasonable rules for your child.  If you are consistent with your rules, it will help your child feel secure and give them responsibilities.  Show them that you trust them to do the right thing.

4. Support healthy risks: Support your child in trying new foods, finding a pal or riding a bike.  These all have the risk of failure but without risk there’s little opportunity for success.  This includes not taking over when your child shows little frustration when trying to figure out how to do something new.  
5. Let mistakes happen: when he drops his plate on the floor because it was set too close to the edge, help him decide what to do next time to prevent it.  When you make a mistake, admit it.  This will help him learn from his mistakes and learn to accept his own shortcomings.

6. Celebrate the positive: give little encouragements everyday so that they can hear.  This could be telling dad loud enough so that your child can hear that “Joshua washed all the vegetables for dinner.”  When giving encouragements, be specific “thank you for waiting so patiently in line” so that they know exactly what they did correctly. 
7. Listen Well: Your child needs to know that their feeling, desires, opinions and thoughts are important and valued.  Help your child identify their feelings without criticizing them.  This will help them be comfortable sharing their feelings with you.

8. Resist Comparisons: Comparison comments such as “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” causes feelings of shame, envy and competition.  Even sayings such as “you’re the best player” or “ you are so smart” can cause frustration because he can’t live up to your expectations.  Let your child know you appreciate him for the unique individual he is.

9. Offer empathy: Show empathy when your child compares himself unfavorably to siblings or peers, show him one of his strengths.  “You’re right.  Sophia is good at catching.  And you’re good at painting pictures.” This will help him appreciate others for their strengths and that he doesn’t need to be perfect to feel good about himself.

10. Provide Encouragement: Acknowledge progress, not just rewarding accomplishment.  The difference between Praise and encouragement is that praise rewards the task whereas encouragement rewards the person.  Praise causes a child to only feel “good” when they do something perfectly whereas encouragement acknowledges the effort. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weekly Play Group Craft: Worms (or Caterpillars!) in Dirt

Last week at our weekly playgroup, we read 
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar," 
& decided to make (and eat!) our own!

Worms in Dirt
(makes about 8-10 servings depending on size)
What You'll Need:
  • 16 ounce package of Oreo Cookies (or other chocolate cookies) For a healthier option, you could use Chocolate Graham Crackers
  • 2 cups of cold milk
  • 1 package of small chocolate INSTANT pudding
  • 1oz tub of Cool Whip, slightly thawed
  • Gummy Worms
  • Clear plastic cups
  • Ziploc baggies (sandwich size)
What You Do:
  1. Prepare the pudding with the 2 cups of cold milk. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Crush cookies in a ziploc back (if you are doing it yourself, one large bag with a rolling pin will be enough, or you can use a food processor)
  3. Add half the crushed cookies into the pudding, as well as the 8oz of Whipped Topping and mix together.
  4. Place about a spoon full of crushed cookies into each clear cup, then fill cups about half to 3/4 full of pudding mix, top with more crushed cookies.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve, place gummy worms on top and enjoy! 
Here are some pictures of us making it at play group:

Kids crushing the cookies in little individual baggies:

Pouring the crumbs into the cups!

All done and ready to eat!! Look how excited they are! 

A Sneak Peak at what else we do at Play Group:
(click to enlarge picture)
...and Read!!
Previous week's craft: Stop and Go Signs
(popsicle sticks, red and green construction paper)
Enjoy your At-Home Crafts this week, I'll be back next week with more!! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

How to teach your child the Rules of the House

At 15 months your baby is starting to walk and has the freedom to discover new and exciting things around the house.  With this new freedom, parents have an increased concern for safety which requires rules and limits.  When teaching rules, it is important to understand that it is difficult for babies to understand why they should or should not do something and they are learning how to control themselves.  This is why it is difficult for toddlers to follow rules.  It is also important to realize that Toddlers at this age are very messy.  Their attention span is very short meaning they will move to the next activity quickly and not take the time or be interested in cleaning up after themselves.  Rules at this age should be geared toward safety.  

What a child at this age can and should learn
  • To not go into the street
  • To not touch a stove or fire
  •  To not go places where they might get hurt
  • To respect people and their property by teaching them that it is not okay to break something or to hurt anyone
  • To respond to set routines at mealtime or at bedtime
  • Which drawers, cupboards and rooms they are and are not allowed to play in
Children this age don’t always respond to “no” but learn rules through practice.  This means that they will break the rules a few times and then eventually get the idea.

  • If your child breaks the rules you can help by:
  • Telling him what he did wrong
  • Helping him stop what he is doing (this may be by removing him from the situation)
  • Letting him know what he can do

Friday, September 23, 2011

Healthy Sleep Patterns...Happy Baby!

Healthy Sleep Patterns...Happy Baby!

After three or four months, parenting practices on sleep can influence sleep duration which in turn influences behavior. The goal is to recognize your baby’s sleep needs and do your best not to interfere with their sleep patterns. Before four months, your baby won’t have a consistent sleep schedule nor should we expect them to. After four months, parents are able to influence sleep duration which is especially important for older infants and toddlers. Infants and toddlers who sleep longer during the day have longer attention spans and are better able to learn from their environment.

Naps actually can help your child stay more alert and ready to learn during the day. Morning naps are a lighter sleep then afternoon naps. Also, short naps are better then no nap. Between fifteen and twenty-one months, your child may change to having one nap per day, making it important to have an earlier bedtime. In earlier months, however, early bedtimes should not replace nap times. Skipping nap times continually can lead to sleep deprivation making it difficult to get back on track.

Continuous and uninterrupted sleep is important at night and during the day. If your child is continually awakened from a slumber, daytime sleepiness increases and performance decreases. Sleep fragmentation ( interrupted sleep) can occur when parents rely on “motion” sleep such as in a baby swing or carrier, or when they are allowed naps in the stroller. Holding your dozing child in your arms, in a rocking chair during the day also interrupts sleep. The effects of this is called “night waking” , which describes when your child has a difficult time falling asleep without help. Stationary sleep is most effective.

Sleep is “food” for the brain. Just as you would stop what you are doing and find a quiet place to feed your baby while being careful not to force your baby to eat when it is not hungry you would take the time and effort needed to prevent “sleep-starvation” for your child. 

Helpful tips for a healthy sleeper from Dr. Weisbluth (For children four to twelve months
  1. Natural wake up time, usually around 7 a.m.
  2. Short interval of wakefulness before first nap.
  3. Consistent soothe-to-sleep method for midmorning nap, around 9 a.m.
  4. Limited nap duration to protect next nap.
  5. No snoozing during periods of wakefulness if midmorning nap is not taken (helps keep biological wake mode stay balanced).
  6. Consistent soothe-to-sleep method for early afternoon nap, around 1 p.m.
  7. Limited nap duration to protect bedtime.
  8. Variable third nap; you be the judge (but no third nap after nine months of age).
  9. Early bedtime (time varies based upon how your child appears, the quality of naps, and past performance) with regular soothing routine.
  10. No more than two feedings at night up to nine months of age.

* This post was adapted from Dr. Weisbluth's article Healthy Sleep Patterns

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Play Dough with a Pumpkin Pie Twist

I found this awesome playdough recipe from familycircle.com.  I love the idea of putting pumpkin pie spices in the playdough making it smell wonderful (but not good enough to eat).


1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup water

Food coloring (6 drops of red and 15 drops of yellow)

Instructions:                                                                                                         Photo Credit

1.Combine the dry ingredients in a nonstick saucepan. Add the oil, water, and food coloring and whisk until smooth. Stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, cook the mixture over medium heat until it forms a ball, about 3 to 4 minutes.

2.Turn the dough onto a counter, let it cool slightly, then knead the dough until it has a smooth texture, about 1 minute. The dough will keep up to a week in a ziplock bag.

3. To make stems, place some pasta (we used fusilli) in a ziplock bag. Add five drops of green food coloring and a teaspoon of water. Seal the bag, then let your tot squish the pasta around until it's tinted. Pour the pasta onto a piece of waxed paper and let it dry for about five minutes before pressing it into your pumpkins.

Have fun!

* Recipe Found at this link

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Behind the scenes of Welcome Baby

There are so many people that help Welcome Baby to be a successful program. Our wonderful volunteers are a huge force that keep us running and we're so grateful for their willingness to contribute their time and knowledge.  However, another aspect of Welcome Baby is our wonderful Interns!  This semester we have interns from BYU, UVU, and Weber State.  These girls are high energy, excited about child development, and so much fun!  They truly are the hands (and smiles) that make the program run.  We thought we'd introduce each one of them to help you become a little bit more familiar with their fun personalities and perhaps the people you email and call.


Hey! I am Erika McIntyre,  I grew up moving a lot, but claim Tokyo as home, since there is where I was the longest. My mother is Japanese and father grew up in California. I'd like to say I get the best of both worlds. Some of my hobbies include: working with children, photography, music, basketball and EATING. I'm very good at eating. I'm always willing to try new foods, and learn about new cultures. I am majoring in Human Development at BYU, and graduate in December (2011). I decided to change to Human Development about 2 years ago because I love learning about people, more specifically children and how they develop in different domains. Ever since I can remember I always loved helping with my younger siblings, and as I got older I continued to  enjoy working with children! I worked at a preschool, summer camp for kids, a middle/high school--anywhere to work with children. I am excited to work here with Welcome Baby, and help families grow and learn! Hope to get to know you all better! Enjoy our blog!


I was born in California, and since my birth I have move approx. 23 times.  I love diversity in food, people culture, art, music etc.  I love embracing new people and new ideas cause it is through such that our world becomes a better place.  I am excited to marry the LOVE of my life in November and excited to work toward our dreams of promoting health education in small villages in Africa.  Food is my most favorite, subject, hobby, interest etc.  I am a hairstylist and my favorite conversations always start with "Where is your favorite place to eat." (If any of you have a suggestion of a good place to eat anywhere in the world, do share. I will put it on my ever cherished must try sustenance list.)  If I could travel the world, tasting all the different dishes of food, eating as much as I want, of whatever I want, and NEVER have to exercise to keep the weight off, I would die happy.  I look forward to whatever interaction I will be blessed to have with you from maybe meeting you in person, or just being able to share a blog that will hopefully in someway enrich both our lives.
I have lived in Utah all of my life, being raised mostly between Mapleton and Springville. I would consider myself a typical Utahan because I love doing anything outdoors, whether it's camping, fishing, hiking, or riding horses with my husband! The "indoor activities" I love to do are: sewing/crafting, reading, and watching any type of good movie. I have been attending UVU ever since I graduated high school in 2007 and it has been quite the journey! I am happy to say that I will be finally graduating with a Bachelor's degree in the Family Studies program at the end of the semester! YAY! After graduation, I hope to be able to spend more time with family and go on to become a Child Life Specialist through the University of Utah. As of right now, I am very excited to be expanding my skills and knowledge in working with the Welcome Baby Program at United Way! 
I am currently attending UVU and graduate in December!  It's been a long journey, but I'm so excited to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm looking forward to getting back in my hobbies after my upcoming wedding in October and graduation.  I enjoy cooking, being outside, photographing, and working on art projects.  I grew up in a household full of girls and being the oldest, I developed a love for children.  Welcome Baby has been a great opportunity for me to advocate for healthy families, help our community grow stronger, and learn more about child development!  Ultimately, I would love to work with teens who struggle with eating disorders and help promote positive body image and healthy life styles.

My name is Chantel Hill and for the past four years, I have been studying Health Science with emphasis in Community and Worksite Wellness at BYU-Idaho.  I am currently working as an intern for Help Me Grow and Welcome baby.  I enjoy studying Science and Math but also wanted to work with people.   I love to talk with friends and go on walks.  I enjoy horseback riding, cake decorating, bicycling and old movies.   I grew up in Hollister California but recently moved to Provo Utah.  In High School I was on the Swim Team and water polo team.  I miss the ocean in California but love the many biking trails, beautiful parks, and hiking areas around here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Steps to help your child with fear

Some of the most common childhood fears are monsters, the dark, storms/thunder/lightening, bugs, snakes, getting lost, being kidnapped, dogs, fire, harm coming to a parent and failing in school. Here are some ways to help your child handle or face their fears      
  • Don’t leave an upset child.  This is the most important time when they need help being comforted.
  • Listen Carefully and respect whatever the child tells you about his fear
  • Help him to see that it is natural to be afraid and worry about things
  • Reassure him that what now seems scary and overwhelming can be handled and that as he gets older, he will learn to overcome his fear
  •  Look under the bed or in the closet for witches and monster with the child but don’t get agitated.  Let him know that you both know they aren’t there, but that every child worries about them.  You can be accepting of his feeling without conveying that they are real.
* T. Berry Brazelton's book Touchpoints: Birth to Three Second Edition

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Play Group Craft: Rain Sticks!

Sometimes crafts at home are a hassle, here is an easy craft you can do, where most of the supplies are already right in your home!

What You'll need:

-Paper Towel Roll
-Construction Paper 
-Masking Tape (or other kind of tape)
-Sewing pins
-Rice (or popcorn kernels or beans)

**When you begin the craft, you can give your child/children a sheet of paper to draw on, which will later be put onto their rain stick. Encourage your child to draw something that has to do with RAIN, to go with the theme of the craft!**
Step 1: You first want to put a paper (it can be construction or cardstock--something that will be strong enough) on the end of the paper towel roll and tape it on. 
**TIP: If it is a thinner paper, it might be good to put a layer of duct tape over the top so that it doesn't rip or get a hole.**

Step 2: Insert the sewing pins into the roll, about a centimeter apart.
**TIP: It was easier for me to poke the pins into the crease of the roll, but if you were to poke them in all over the roll, it may create a different/better sound--something worth trying!!**

When you are done, the inside of the roll should look something like this:

Step 3: This is when your child can get involved! Pour (about an 1/8 c) the rice, popcorn kernels, or beans (or a mixture of all three!) into the roll. Tape up the other end of the roll, just like in STEP 1.
**TIP: I liked the sound the popcorn kernels the best, and mixing it with the rice gives the sound variety too!**

Step 4: Now that the rain stick is complete, roll your child's drawing onto the stick (to avoid the exposure of the pins). You can do this with glue, double sided tape, or just regular tape. If you don't want to put paper over it, be sure to put tape over the top of the pins, so that the pins don't fall out!

Turn it up and down to get the sound of rain falling and hitting things! It can also be used as a fun little instrument! This is very easy to do, and your children will love it! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Singing to your baby, greater than or equal to reading???

Good morning to all our faithful readers out there! We appreciate you and your time.  We know it is precious and full of accomplishing great ideas, some of which you may have taken from this blog, in which case we are truly grateful for your support.  One such idea was given at the close of a fabulous summer and the opening up of a new chapter in you and your child's life.  I am just going to take a moment and re post part of that blog.

"With summer coming to a close and school starting again, it's time to switch our focus to helping our children becoming ready for that big step. One of the best things parents can do for their children is to read to them daily.  This will help your child in so many ways, mentally, physically, and socially."-(taken from 8/15/2011 on Preschool Reading.)

Reading is absolutely one of the best things we can do to promote our children's growth.  Yet with such a good thing concerns can arise.  Concerns like these:

-Isn't my child to young to read too?
-They cannot sit still for two seconds, no way they will sit through a book.
-All they care about are the pictures so why read it to them?
-I barely have time today to get my cleaning done, errands, walk the dog, think, let alone read to my child.
-And many others

In this world where we are juggling our huge list of to-dos, literally fighting the time we have to do it in, may I suggest that singing to your child is just as effective as reading.  Singing involves words, rhythm, repetition and often times rhyme.  All these things are needed to help a child grow mentally and all these things can be done starting at a very young age.   Singing can be done with your child as you sit together, as you clean, play run errands.  It can be done as you turn a picture book so that your very smart, bright child can associate the words with the pictures they see.  Singing can, not only calm a crying child, but it can calm your nerves too as you triumph over your day.

If you are worried about whether you child is paying attention as you sing? Yes! They are!  I taught a singing class to a bunch of 3 to 11 year olds, in the which at the end of the year the children put on a show.  The entire time I was teaching the songs they would need to be prepared to sing, they rolled their eyes, smacked their gum, talked to their neighbor, laid all over their teachers, and had a general bad case of the wiggle worms.  Many times I went home and cried because I "JUST KNEW" our program was going to be a failure.  Yet I carried on.  To my absolute surprise and utter amazement when it came time to preform the program the kids were so still, and quiet.  They sang every word not skipping a beat.  That night I went home and cried again for the last time, because I saw that they had been learning and listening the entire time.  When it came time to use it, what they had learned came through, and I never took seriously their wiggle worm syndromes again. Is it best to be jointly singing together for best results? Yes. But are they listening, and more importantly learning, when you sing to them?  Yes, sometimes even more then we may know.

It has been said that 20 minutes of reading a day to your Child will help them grow and be more prepared of the challenges of school that lay ahead.  When your child is young, even baby stages, singing can take place of this 20 minute reading time and will still be as beneficial.

So the next time you look at your long list of incredible things to do and think, "How am I ever go to do it all?"  Try singing a tune for your Baby's health and yours.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Baby Proofing

It is always so exciting to watch your baby develop, learn, and go through new stages. One major milestone that you may be looking forward to in your baby's life is crawling. BUT, crawling in itself can create an array of potential DANGERS for your baby if you are not careful about proofing the house.
Baby proofing a house is not an easy task, especially when we don't usually experience life from the ground up.

Here are some potential dangers that you may want to consider when going through the house:

-electrical outlets
-hanging cords from any type of object (example: television, computer, window blinds...etc.)
-stairs, stairs, stairs!
-location of household cleaning supplies
-heavy vases, plants, or decorative items that could fall on your baby
-any pesticides or mouse traps used in the house

Electrical Outlets:
For baby proofing your electrical outlets, you can purchase covers that are specially inserted into the socket. While these are easy to remove by an adult, they are almost impossible for a baby to remove. You can usually find these outlet covers at any type of hardware or home store.

Hanging Cords:
Cords can be one of the most dangerous things for babies and small children to get a hold of! To ensure that these are out of your little one's reach, use a string, a rubber band, or a bread tie to hang them up high and out of their sight.

Stairs, stairs, stairs!
After your baby has mastered their skill of crawling they will probably be on to figuring out other ways to develop their gross motor skills. To a baby, climbing up or down a staircase seems like an exciting new adventure, but just the thought of it can give a parent a heart attack! Think about installing a baby gate or other device to keep your baby away from these potential dangers and then when you have the time, safely let your baby practice climbing up and down each stair with you right behind them--that way if they loose their balance, you will be able to catch them.

Heavy vases, plants, or decorative items
Before the days of babies and children, you probably decorated your home with fancy things to display your tastes in design. Now that your home is filled with pacifiers, diapers, and toys you may want to retire the fancy decorations (don't worry it's only for a little while). Make sure the items that you don't end up retiring are placed in places where a baby can't hurt themselves. Any plants in the house should have sturdy pots so that they can't fall or tip over on your baby. 

Household cleaning supplies
While these items are extremely toxic to ingest, they can be irresistible to babies and children because of the bright colors and labels. The best way to avoid problems is to keep all of your cleaning supplies in one area, either in a locked cupboard, on a high shelf, or in a room where your child cannot enter.

Like cleaning supplies, pesticides can be very dangerous to ingest or touch. If possible, try not to use them at all but if you must, use your best discretion in using them in places where your baby is not likely to go.

This is only a short list of some of the things you should take caution with. To investigate other areas of the house, try getting on your hands and knees and actually get a baby's eye view of what trouble they could get in to.