Monday, October 31, 2011

Emotion Coaching

Emotion Coaching is being able to teach your children to understand their emotions and teaching them appropriate ways to handle or express them.  Emotions Coaching includes teaching your child to communicate their emotions, teaching them to skills to calm themselves, how their emotions lead to actions, and empathy.  Children look to their parents for comfort and strength, its important to give them the love, attention and understanding needed when they are sad or frustrated.  Here are 5 basic steps from Dr. Gottman to help you become an emotional coach.

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STEP 1: Be aware of your own feelings so that you can better understand and explain what your child is feeling
  • When appropriate, share your emotions with your child
  • Children are learning about emotions by watching how you show yours
  • Listen to your child for clues about what she is feeling
STEP 2: Connect with your Child
  • Take your child's emotions seriously
  • Be willing to understand your child's perspective
  • Encourage your child to talk about feelings
STEP 3: Listen to your Child
  • Listen to your child in a  way that lets her know you are paying attention
  • Try not to judge or criticize emotions that are different from what you expected
  • Research shows that it is important to understand the emotion before you give advice on the behavior
STEP 4: Name Emotions
  • Start identifying emotions even before a child can talk
  • talk about emotions like happy, sad, and angry and when people feel them
  • Name a range of emotions.  Talk about what these emotions mean and when people feel them
  • avoid telling children what they ought to feel--try to identify the emotions they are feeling
  • Model identifying your own emotions--children learn by watching and copying what adults do.
STEP 5: Find Solutions
  • When children misbehave, explain why their behavior was inappropriate or hurtful
  • encourage emotional expression, but set limits on behavior
  • Help children think through possible solutions
Life Application:

I chose this topic because I related to it.  Looking back, my parents had to use emotion coaching on me a lot when I was a child.  The most common emotion I had was crying.  I cryed when I was sad, frustrated, upset, mad, scared... This could have been because of my many fears and anxieties I had.  For one thing, I was very shy so whenever I was going to a party or to school or to any social situation I was nervous and if my anxiety built up enough I would start crying making it so I couldn't go to the party or other activity.  Once I started to cry I started to cry harder.  My Mom actually helped me understand that Icried harder because I felt embarrased or frustrated with myself for crying and so I would cry even more.  When it was ok (I wasn't in a public place), my parents would just let me cry becasue they realized that my crying was my way of letting out my frustration.  They would also never belittle my feelings (even though it was probably silly what I was crying over) and they always sit next to me asking me to tell them what is wrong, waiting patiently until I was ready to talk.  If I couldn't explain my emotion, they would ask, "are you feeling this way because..."  When finding solutions, it was really helpful when my parents were able to relate to what I was going through.  If my crying lasted too long or too often, or I was making a scene in the public park my Mom would tell me to "stop crying". It may have taken a few times but I forced myself to try to stop crying (exercising mind over matter) especially so I would learn to handle my emotions in certain situations. Through this exercise I was able to hold my emotions to myself (during school so I wouldn't embarrase myself) until I got home because my parents taught me that home was a safe place to share my emotions.      

Your going to find that every child is different and so will have different emotional needs.  Hopefully my storytelling was helpful and these steps and serve as a helpful outline for you. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Everyday Fun with Literacy

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You can help your preschoolers become ready to read by encouraging them to see themselves as readers when they identify letters or words, draw and label pictures, or recognize symbols, like stop signs.  Everyday, you have opportunities to help your child enjoy being a beginning reader. Here are some ideas.

At Home

  • Watch storytime together, and talk about it afterward.
  • Put magnetic letters on your refrigerator for children to play with. You can also cut letters out and post them with tape on the refrigerator.
  • Post invitations, announcements, and simple labels where children can see them.
  • Make pictures of favorite foods and label them.
  • Let your child see you use recipes. Point out words to them.
  • At snack time, make words out of finger foods such as alphabet soup, or letters with finger foods such as cereal pieces.

In the Neighborhood

  • Look for letters that children know on signs or license plates.
  • “Read” street signs together.
  • Notice and talk about billboards you see.

Visiting Family or Friends

  • Before leaving, draw a map and mark your route.
  • After the visit, have your child sent a thank-you note or picture that he or she has drawn.

At the Grocery Store

  • Create a shopping list with your child.  Items can be written or drawn.
  • Have children identify product names that they know.
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  • At the beginning of each aisle, pick a letter of the alphabet to look out for.  Count the number of times you see it an aisle.

At the Park

  • Draw letters in the dirt or sandbox.
  • Collect leaves along the way.  Then go to the library to find books so that you can identify them.
  • On index cards or squares of paper, have your child draw pictures of all the people, animals, equipment or things you saw at the park.  Write the corresponding word on another card. Turn the picture cards upside down.  Play a memory game to see how many the child remembers by showing and saying a word and asking the child to find the matching pictures.

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At the Library

  • Have the child spend time looking at books they have picked out.
  • Participate in a library story hour and attend the library’s other family-oriented events.
  • Get a library card for your child and check out a variety of books.

At the Zoo
  • Create a list with your child of the animals you think you will see.  You could also cut animal pictures out of magazines or draw them on the list.  Help the child cross names off the list as you see each animal at the zoo.
  • Name each animal you see.  See if your child can guess what letter the name begins with.
  • Have the child draw a picture of a favorite animal.  Hang it in a special places.

KBYU 11, Utah’s Family Station

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Play Group Craft and Snack: Under the Sea!

This past week in play group, we read about ocean animals, made turtle rattles and ate sharks!
Turtle rattles are fun and easy to make! 
Here's what you'll need:
-Paper Plates
-Coloring materials (crayons or markers)
-Paper to make head, arms and legs (I just searched online for a template and printed it)
-Stapler/staples or tape
-Beans, rice, popcorn (anything that will rattle)

What you do:
-First let your child color the plates (shell) head, and legs of the turtle
-After they are finished coloring, put plates together and staple (or tape) around the edges, leaving a big enough hole to put rattlers in.
-Throw in a few beans or whatever will make noise and staple the rest back up.
We also ate these adorable ocean snacks:
They are pretty delicious AND easy to make!
What You'll Need:
-Vanilla Wafers
-Clear cups
-Blue yogurt or you can dye it with food coloring)
-fish fruit snacks or gummies
What You Do:
-First, crush the Vanilla Wafers into crumbs (this is the sand) and place in cups
-Then, pour blue yogurt on top
-Lastly, place fruit snack fish on top

Thanks for reading! See you next week for HALLOWEEN fun!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Daddy Time!

Lately I have been more appreciative of my dad, grandfathers, uncles and brothers in my life.  I am always grateful when they fix the sink, help me with my car, give helpful life/job advice or even open a jar for me.  I am able to go to my dad for advice and help because of the trusting and loving bond made when I was young and continues today.  Here is a post on the role of Dads and some advice (or reminder) on how to be involved in your babies life.

Dads for a family provide
  • Protection
  • Consistent rules and discipline
  • A sense of freedom
  • Teacher
  • Teamwork with common goals
  • Experiment with games, skills, and competition
  • Sense of security
Dads remember you are important in your child's life.  Be a dad by...
  • Being involved in child's care changing diapers, read stories, put child to bed, etc. Moms, remember to allow dad take care of the baby once in a while too.
  • Dance, rock, or gently bounce your baby to calm them
  • Read and talk (or sing) to your baby.  Children love the sound of your voice.
  • Learn to communicate your feelings and listen. Understanding is a must.
  • Play with your baby.  Your baby needs your special insight and full attention
  • Try to stay on your child's timetable, he will respond much better
 Support Mom by

  • Pay attention to Mom and find ways to compromise about child care
  • Remember that parenting is a partnership, you both are responsible for your baby
  • Remember to take time for mom and dad to be together.  Wait until the baby is asleep and spend time together
  • Relieve mom when you return home from work
  • The greatest thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother
Here is a suggested book list for New Dads

  • Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child [Paperback], Kyle Pruett (Author)
  • The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year [Paperback], Armin A. Brott, , Author)
  • Partnership Parenting: How Men and Women Parent Differently--Why It Helps Your Kids and Can Strengthen Your Marriage [Paperback] Kyle Pruett MD (Author), Marsha Pruett PhD (Author)
  • Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man's Soul [Paperback], John Eldredge
  • ·         Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads [Paperback] , Gary Greenberg Gary Greenberg (Author) Author), Jeannie Hayden (Author)
  • Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know [Paperback], Meg Meeker (Author)

Yay for Dads!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Babysitter Tips

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Leave your Babysitter the following information
  • Important phone numbers like your cell phone or where you can be reached in case of an emergency, poison control number, etc.
  • What time bed time is.(so your children can go to bed at a reasonable time and they can tell them that mommy said baby time is...)
  • Exchange Phone Numbers- Make sure you have the babysitters number and the babysitter has your phone number
  • Neighbor's numbers just in case.
  • Have food Available-If the kids haven’t eaten yet, have food that the babysitter can give them and what time dinner should be eaten.
  • Food allergies that the kids may have (very important) and what to do if they have a reaction
  • Medications that the children use or may need in case of an emergency (epi pen or inhaler)
  • Bottle Feeding instructions-If you have a child who is still on breast milk or formula, leave information on how to make formula and/or how to long to heat the milk
  • First Aid Kit- Location of first aid kit.
  • Address of the house
  • House Rules. ( for example… how long they can watch tv, how many friends they can have over)
  • Security Alarm-if you have a security alarm teach them how to use it
  • Suggestions- every child is different and nobody knows better how to put your child to bed or handle their tantrum than you do.  Also, children act differently around babysitters than around you.  Your babysitter will appreciate any suggestions you have for them.
When looking for a babysitter ask: 
  • A trusted friend or family member to babysit
  • Your neighbors, they may have a good babysitter that they trust
  • A co-workers child could be a good choice
  • Your neighbor or friend if they would want to take turns watching each others children.

We would suggest..
  • Meeting with your babysitter before having them babysit for you. Show them around your home and have them meet your children. 
  • Having a babysitter older than 12 
When is my child ready to be left with a babysitter?
  •  This ultimately the parents' decision.  You may ask your friends what they are doing and see if that is what you want to do as well. You may want to consider the difficulty of your child and how closely you have to watch them and how difficult they are to control.  This will suggest how experienced your babysitter will need to be.  
  • Get your child used to you leaving for short periods of times before separation anxiety sets in. This could be leaving them with dad to bottle feed while you go for a short walk or run a quick errand. Start with 15 minutes and then work your way up.  This will also allow bonding time between dad and baby. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Play Group Craft/Snack: PEAR MICE!!

Another week has blown by and we have had another wonderful day at our weekly playgroup.
This last week we read about mice and a very hungry cat. I then told the children that we were going to eat mice for our snack. Most of them were not very excited about that.... well, until they saw what the mice were made of!!
Pear Mice are a great HEALTHY snack for kids of many ages! You won't feel guilty letting your children eat lots of these!

Here is what you'll need:
-Pear halves (canned or fresh, either one works fine)
-Twizzlers pull and peel (or anything long and skinny that could work as a tail)
-Almond Slivers
-Mini Marshmallows (these are another option for ears--not required)

Here's what you do:
-Lay a pear half down on a plate
-Add raisins for eyes and nose, almond slivers (or marshmallows) as ears, and a licorice for the tail
-Grab a fork and ENJOY!

Here are pictures from our experience with this crafty snack:

The Finished Product:

Singing Time!!
See you next week!!! We will have an Ocean theme!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Baby Sign Language

I just got back from a trip visiting by Brother, Sister-in-law and niece in Oregon.  While I was there, I was amazed at how well my17 month old niece was able to communicate with her parents and how many words she already knew.  Come to find out, our little niece loved to watch signing time.  This explained why she had such a large vocabulary at a young age.  Not only was Baby Sign Language educational but it was also adorable and fun.  Here's how Baby Sign Language could help you and your baby.

She's Saying "Please"

Bonding: Baby Sign Language helps you bond with your child as you are able to communicate with them better and teach them something new.  It is always exciting to see your child learn something new especially when you are the one who taught them.  Research on baby sign language has confirmed that signers enjoy a stronger parental bond. In fact some early childhood education programs have started teaching baby sign language to infants and their parents to help get their relationship off to the best possible start.

Reduce Fussiness: More often than not, your baby is being fussy because they are frustrated.  Put yourself in their shoes, you are hungry, thirsty, hurt or have a dirty diaper but you can't tell anyone or do it yourself.  Often times, parenting becomes a guessing game and if you can't guess correctly, discouraging. baby Sign Language allows your baby to tell you exactly what they need.  Parents have an easier time with terrible twos if they have a signing baby.

Development: Baby Sign Language is a stepping stone for full speech and gives your child the opportunity to exercise communication earlier.  Studies have shown that babies who have early exposure to signing have larger speaking vocabularies earlier.  This maybe because as you are teaching the signs, you are more likely to spend more time repeating the word and showing pictures to them earlier than you otherwise would.

Learn how to get started by watching this video.

babysignlanguage.com offers free resources to help you teach your baby sign language including free tutorials, video dictionary, flash cards and wall charts.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Weekly Playgroup Snack: "MUD" (No-Bake Cookies)

Good Morning Wonderful Parent-Readers!
This past week at our PLAY GROUP, we read about dirt and mud, and decided to eat some "mud" afterwards!
(not really, we just had some delicious no-bake cookies)
This is a great treat for your children, especially to give them a little more whole-grains in their diet... there is oatmeal in this recipe and your kids won't even notice!!

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut-Butter Cookies
I got this recipe from The Food Network
Here's What You'll Need:
- 3 cups of quick oats
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 4 Tbs of cocoa powder
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 Tbs vanilla
- Wax paper
*TIP* Some kids may not like the texture of the oatmeal in the cookies. I had some oatmeal ground up (in a food processor, so it was more like flour) and did half n half in the recipe.

Here's What You Do:

  • First, combine the sugar, milk, butter, and cocoa in a big sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  • After boiling for 1 minute, add the peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal.
  • Mix until all even, and then drop teaspoonfuls onto the wax paper to cool and harden.
    • (I placed them in the fridge to speed up the cooling process)
  • And that's it! All ready to eat!!

*TIP*: although this snack is not all nutritious (lots of butter and sugar) it does have oatmeal and peanut butter, here are some healthy facts about oatmeal and peanut butter:

Oatmeal is a good source of Fiber, something that children (and adults!) struggle to have in our diets. One cup of oatmeal equals 4 grams of fiber. Other high-fiber foods can be found HERE.
For more information on fiber and the benefits of whole grains visit QuakerOats.

Peanut Butter can also be beneficial to us. Natural peanut butter is much better than refined, because it does not have as much sugar and other additives. Nonetheless, peanut butter, natural or refined, contains protein and is good for the heart. Click HERE for more facts about peanut butter.

 Here are some pictures of the play group this week:

 See you next time!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Here is a craft idea from family fun .


  • 3 egg carton cups
  • Pencil
  • Brown acrylic paint and paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Brown felt
  • Craft glue
  • 6 small googly eyes
  • 3 tiny black pom-poms
  • One 12-inch brown pipe cleaner, cut into 3 equal pieces
  • Acorn or other small nut
  1. To make the squirrels: Use a pencil to poke a tail hole in one side of each cup, then paint the cups. For each squirrel, cut a face, ears, and a tail from brown felt. Once the paint dries, glue the faces onto the cups, then glue the eyes, ears, and pom-pom noses onto the faces, trying to make the squirrels look identical for a better game. Fringe the edges of the felt tails and glue a piece of pipe cleaner in the center of each, letting a 1/2-inch stem extend beyond the bottom. Attach each tail by inserting the stem through the hole and gluing it to the inside of the cup.
  2. Nutty Squirrels - Step 1To play the game: With the other players watching, place a nut on the table and cover it with one of the squirrels. Now begin sliding the squirrels around the tabletop, weaving them around each other to make the other players lose track of which squirrel has the nut. The faster you move them, the more likely you are to distract your audience. After a while, stop and challenge one person to guess which squirrel hides the nut.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mason Jar Jack-o-latern

I found this adorable craft idea from ourbestbites.com and it is easy enough for the kids to help.


Mason Jars, any size

Tissue paper

Mod Podge

Paint Brush


Ribbon or paint for the tops (explained below)

Start by cutting your tissue paper into strips about 1-2 inches wide. Brush a thin layer of mod podge on the glass jar and stick a strip of tissue to it.


Take more mod podge and brush on top of it, sealing it onto the jar.  Place your jar upside down to dry. 

As your jars are drying, work on your faces. Cut out faces from black paper and use a glue stick to glue them onto the jars. Wait until modpodge is dry before gluing on the faces. I also tried attaching them just with mod podge and they didn’t stay. Our Best Bites used guidline available from Not So Idle Hands for the silly monster faces.  You probably could cut out faces from a coloring book or stencils from the dollar store.

For the tops you can use paint to paint around the rims, or you can do what I did and attach a piece of ribbon.